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GOP Triggers National Mental Health Debate

by Bill Prendergast on February 21, 2017 · 0 comments

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Script/Layouts: Bill Prendergast Art: Caitlinn Skaalrud

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Corporate media, anti-poverty programs, and race

by Dan Burns on February 20, 2017 · 0 comments

mediaLast Friday, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reprinted an article from the Washington Post titled “Whites benefit most from government safety nets.” Here’s the Strib link. In the print edition, it was at the top of page A2, and got blurbed above the fold under “Top News” on page A1. It’s based on a study called “Poverty Reduction Programs Help Adults Lacking College Degrees the Most.”
 

People of all races and ethnic groups who lack a bachelor’s degree receive significant help from the safety net, but on two significant metrics, the results for white working-age adults stand out. Among working-age adults without a college degree, 6.2 million whites are lifted above the poverty line by the safety net — more than any other racial or ethnic group. (See Figure 1.) In addition, the percentage of people who would otherwise be poor that safety net programs lift out of poverty is greater for white working-age adults without a college degree than for other adults without a college degree. Still, poverty rates among people without a college degree are substantially higher for blacks and Hispanics than for whites — whether or not safety net assistance is considered.
 
These findings are particularly noteworthy because the election has brought increased attention to the economic difficulties that people without a college degree can face. Largely overlooked in the discussion of these issues to date, however, is the fact that the nation’s poverty reduction programs provide extensive support to adults lacking a college degree, including working-class whites, and that such people would be the principal losers under various proposals to cut these programs that may emerge in coming months.
(Center on Budget and Policy Priorities)

(As is often not the case with right-wing propaganda mills, the CBPP describes its methodology in detail. Of course, when you have facts, intelligence, and integrity on your side, you can be a lot more comfortable doing that. )
 
What I find interesting is that the CBPP article, from the title on down, is primarily about how differences in educational attainment affect use of, and benefits from, government aid for the poor. Corporate media is spinning it here to emphasize the racial differences, in a way that directly contradicts the African-American, inner-city “welfare queen” narrative that has been such a key part of right-wing propaganda going back to the Reagan era. And they’re doing this in the context of the openly racist Trump presidency.
 
For purposes of political hyperbole I sometimes characterize corporate media as all about just pandering and propagandizing to conservatives. It’s really more complicated than that. Among other things, they don’t want to lose paying customers whatever their political views, which can and often does lead to strange and erratic juxtapositions and so forth.
 
But maybe this is evidence (and it’s far from the only piece, since Trump’s “election”) of something of a shifting agenda here, what with Trump’s pitiful approval rating – historically low for a new presidency, which usually gets a “honeymoon” – and his own attacks on and threats against corporate media. We’ll see.
 

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Trump voters got well and truly suckered, Part 15

by Dan Burns on February 20, 2017 · 0 comments

devos2Though it’s certainly possible, we probably can’t count on Education Secretary Betsy DeVos getting caught up in this Russia thing.
 

Levy’s observations are confirmed by my report on how the “school choice” issue, so beloved by big-money Republicans, is hitting opposition from red state rural Americans. Rural schools across the country face formidable problems including high dropout rates, low academic performance, and lousy funding. None of these problems will be solved by creating more charter schools and using vouchers to siphon off even more students and resources. In fact, that option will only make things worse.
 
So the unprecedented opposition to DeVos is more about a struggle over the soul—at least an education soul—of America. And regardless of how the vote turns out, this fight is not about to end.
(Jeff Bryant/OurFuture.org)

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Women’s March General Strike Set for March 8

by Invenium Viam on February 19, 2017 · 0 comments

General Strike

Sometimes, the right idea just comes along at just the right time.

 

On January 31, I floated the idea of a wide-scale walk-out organized by the leadership of the Women’s March as a way of keeping up the momentum and bringing focus onto women’s issues [Code Red Walk-out: A $50 Billion Dollar Slap-in-the-Face for Trump].

 

I figured the Pussygrabber-in-Chief needed a wake-up call.

 

At the same time, I sent out a boosted post from the MN Progressive Facebook page to try to get as broad a read of that article as possible, with the hopes that maybe someone would take notice and run it by the applicable forums, but which instead sent the RW trolls into grand mal seizures and hyper-colonic hemorrhagic spasms worthy of a US Army medical training film on the effects of terminal cholera among the third-world malnourished.

 

On February 6, the organizers of the Women’s March announced their intention to call a “General Strike: A Day Without A Woman,” pending the announcement of a date.

 

On Thursday, February 16, the leadership announced a date for their action, Wednesday, March 8, International Women’s Day. In an Instagram post announcing the date, they had this to say:

In the spirit of women and their allies coming together for love and liberation, we offer A Day Without A Woman. We ask: do businesses support our communities, or do they drain our communities? Do they strive for gender equity or do they support the policies and leaders that perpetuate oppression? Do they align with a sustainable environment or do they profit off destruction and steal the futures of our children? We saw what happened when millions of us stood together in January, and now we know that our army of love greatly outnumbers the army of fear, greed and hatred. On March 8th, International Women’s Day, let’s unite again in our communities for A Day Without A Woman. Over the next few weeks we will be sharing more information on what actions on that day can look like for you. In the meantime, we are proud to support Strike4Democracy’s #F17 National Day of Action to Push Back Against Assaults on Democratic Principles. This Friday, February 17th, gather your friends, families, neighbors, and start brainstorming ideas for how you can enhance your community, stand up to this administration, integrate resistance and self-care into your daily routine, and how you will channel your efforts for good on March 8th. Remember: this is a marathon, not a sprint. #DayWithoutAWoman #WomensMarch

That Instagram post also produce a massive sh*t-storm of negative comments from many quarters including a fair sampling of antagonistic women.

 

Hey, guys, what’s with all the attitude? Women, and I presume supportive men, are going to take a day off work to kinda – you know – demonstrate that women have worth beyond what a cobble of pre-eminent white male racist-sexist-religionist knuckle-walkers in the White House and on Capitol Hill are willing to grant them.

 

What are you afraid of … that it might be successful? That political leaders and business leaders would be forced to take notice? Do you think that if women gain, men somehow will lose? Why wouldn’t it be just as likely that everybody gains and nobody loses? My advice is to put down your bananas, chill with the high-pitched anxiety displays, smooth down the guard hairs on your sagittal crests and maybe show some loving-kindness and some emotional support. You can start by sharing this post with your friends on your social media. And then maybe plan to take the day off on March 8 and attend a rally or two.

 

Whaddaya say? After all, these are your co-workers, your friends, your sisters, your lovers, your wives, your mothers, your teachers, your physicians, your …

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Top Five Russian Sitcoms, Right Now

by Bill Prendergast on February 17, 2017 · 0 comments

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Script/Layouts: Bill Prendergast Art: Will Dinski

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Still Rootin’ For Putin

by Bill Prendergast on February 16, 2017 · 0 comments

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MN lege: When will the crazy end?

by Dan Burns on February 16, 2017 · 1 comment

minnesota_state_capitolSome of the dumb sh*t that right-wing legislators from the Minnesota Party of Trump have been hard at work on.
 

In a 76-49 vote on (Feb. 9), the Minnesota House of Representatives passed H.F.235, a bill that would eliminate the Made in Minnesota Solar Incentive Program.
 
Launched in 2013, the 10-year incentive program helps residents, businesses and communities fund new solar PV and solar thermal systems whose equipment is certified as manufactured in Minnesota.
(Solar Industry)

This next one is basically about ending any liability for extremist kooks who booby-trap their property in anticipation of attacks from Obama’s hordes of ISIS Muslims. And pandering to fans of “survivalists” and the like on “reality” TV.
 

HF985, sponsored by Rep. Dan Fabian (R-Roseau), would prevent, in most cases, landowners from owing a “duty of care” to people who venture onto private property without permission…
 
Rep. Andrew Carlson (DFL-Bloomington) attacked the bill as a product the American Legislative Exchange Council, also known as ALEC, an organization dedicated to the principles of limited government, free markets and federalism…
 
Rep. Debra Hilstrom (DFL-Brooklyn Center) warned that HF985 would freeze existing common law in statute, making it impossible for Republican proponents to expand protections for property owners in the future.
(Session Daily)

Comment below fold.
 
…READ MORE

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Trump voters got well and truly suckered, Part 14

by Dan Burns on February 16, 2017 · 0 comments

trump8It’s readily apparent that the GOP discombobulating over how to accomplish its fervent promises of Obamacare repeal is being driven mostly by pressure from the medical-industrial complex. The latter basically wrote the ACA for themselves, after all, in an effort to stem any drive toward Medicare for all, which has strong public support. But that doesn’t mean anyone benefiting from Obamacare, and many are, should be feeling confident that it will stay that way.
 

The Trump administration, with Obamacare-hater Tom Price now ensconced at the head of Health and Human Services, is proposing a rule that they say would stabilize Obamacare markets. The proposed rules aren’t exactly the draft rules leaked last week, but are easily as damaging. These new regulations would allow insurance companies to sell plans with higher deductibles and narrower networks and reduce the subsidies that low- and middle-income families get to purchase insurance. Yes, higher out-of-pocket costs and less help buying insurance. For the people that have the hardest time affording insurance and medical care.
(Daily Kos)

Here is analysis of what ACA repeal would cost each state, including Minnesota, in coverage and jobs.
 

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MN lege: Some pro-women legislation

by Dan Burns on February 15, 2017 · 0 comments

declarationThe Minnesota NOW e-newsletter, to which you can subscribe on their website, drew my attention to some worthy proposals. They probably won’t get far this session, but it’s good to spread the word anyway. Stuff like this really reinforces the need to get things turned around in the matter of voter participation. I’ve added links to the legislative web pages.
 

The Comprehensive Contraception Act will work to increase access to birth control by requiring health plans and public health care programs to cover a 12-month supply of prescription contraceptives and requiring health plans to cover all contraceptive methods, sterilization, and related medical services, patient education, and counseling.
 
The Protect Physicians’ Integrity Act removes barriers to abortion care by authorizing health care providers to provide patients with health information and services that are medically accurate, evidence-based, and appropriate for the patient, and by repealing informed consent requirements.

In my estimation, it’s misguided to characterize women who voted for Trump, and unfortunately there were a lot of them, as just mindlessly submissive and self-abasing. That won’t help get them to see the error of their ways. They had their reasons…not good reasons, by any rational standard, but they weren’t grounded in some kind of complete deficiency of self-respect. They honestly thought they were making the better choice.
 

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Legalizing marijuana in Minnesota

by Dan Burns on February 14, 2017 · 0 comments

imagesqtbnANd9GcSZspAVD2tLmnO6nfzr8GRRrcxptdR9GGJhQgVDlYnCtVzbgJ5ykQMinnesota unfortunately is not likely to be the next state to “legalize it.” Currently there is a GOP legislature, and Gov. Mark Dayton (DFL), for all of his excellence on many other issues, is not progressive when it comes to drug law reform. More fundamentally, the drug is simply not as widely popular here as it is in some other parts of the country. But when it comes to trying to put an end to destroying people’s lives over what is far and away the least harmful (note that I didn’t type “harmless”) mood-altering chemical I’ve used, and that includes plenty of alcohol, there’s never any reason for righteous people not to try.
 

FOX 9 reports that Rep. Applebaum believes his proposal is in-step with what most Americans think about pot.
 
“The world is changing, and Minnesotans are rightfully developing different attitudes on marijuana,” Rep. (Jon) Applebaum (DFL-Minnetonka) said. “Other states’ successes, along with the failed prohibition attempts of others, have validated the need for a statewide conversation on legalizing the personal, recreational use of marijuana.”
 
A fellow Democrat, Rep. Tina Liebling (DFL-Rochester), also thinks it’s high time their state went recreational. On Wednesday, she proposed another, separate bill to legalize marijuana through a constitutional amendment.
 
“My bill would let citizens decide whether it is time to try a different path—one already successfully paved by many other states,” she said in the FOX 9 report.
(The Weed Blog)

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