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Three of the top six employers in Minnesota are fighting better wages and benefits for Minnesota voters.
Mayo Clinic is busting their food service union. Good paying jobs with benefits will be outsourced to sub-contractor Sodexo who plans to pay poverty wages with no benefits.
Allina Health System attacked pay and benefits for, and security demands by, nurses for weeks. The nurses fought back since Labor Day and although an agreement was made, they still feel Allina’s assault on their value as healthcare professionals and human beings.
The University of Minnesota wants to segregate their faculty and are practically begging for a massive, statewide strike like we see in Pennsylvania.
Voters love Minnesota’s vibrant economy and world class quality of life. Our biggest employers, who benefit from subsidies and our states standard of living, need to share these values with voters.


Both sides on the legislative pay amendment

by Dan Burns on October 27, 2016 · 0 comments

minnesota_state_capitolI looked around, and I’m presenting cogent arguments that I found for both “yes” and “no.” Here’s information on the amendment itself.

For nearly two decades, the Legislature has done the politically expeditious thing. It has not raised its own pay since 1997. Compensation for legislators has been stuck at a lean $31,140 a year, though legislators are also eligible for per-diem payments of up to $86 for senators and $66 for House members, and lodging reimbursement of up to $1,200 a month for those who must move to St. Paul during sessions.
That salary is not sufficient to attract the caliber of candidates this state’s government needs to fill a job that is billed as part time, but in reality is full time during sessions and part time for the rest of the year. Low compensation is complicating candidate recruitment, operatives in both parties confide. Over time, it risks populating the Legislature with people of independent means and/or those young enough — or desperate enough — to settle for a low-income job.
(Star Tribune)



Preface: The writer is a true progressive and therefore anti-partisan.
House Minority Leader Paul Thissen and Senate Majority Leader Thomas Bakk support a proposed amendment regarding lawmakers’ pay which discriminates against at least 1,000,000 Minnesota voters.
The amendment would inscribe discrimination based on party affiliation into the Minnesota state constitution. From the language of the proposed amendment:

One-half of the members appointed by the governor and one-half of the members appointed by the chief justice must belong to the political party that has the most members in the legislature. One-half of the members appointed by the governor and one-half of the members appointed by the chief justice must belong to the political party that has the second-most members in the legislature.

That means only members of the Minnesota GOP or DFL may sit on the “independent, citizens-only council”. However, partisan affiliation across the country is declining rapidly according to Gallup.
At least 43% or 1.2 million Minnesota voters, who identify as Independents, Greens, Constitution Party, etc. may not sit on this council. This may violate Title VII discrimination law as well.
According to a Pioneer Press article House Minority leader Paul Thissen supports this codified discrimination.

Like a bipartisan majority in the Senate, he supported the amendment in the House three years ago, along with a majority of Democrats.

The Star Tribune reported that Senate Majority Leader Thomas Bakk supports this plan as well.

Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk said raising one’s own pay is somewhat of a conflict of interest. He said the Legislature sets pay ranges for the governor’s commissioners and judges.

Discrimination is wrong. Partisanship is hurting Minnesota voters — see SWLTR failure, MNSure failure and Marijuana Reform failure for details. All can be laid at the feet of partisan bickering and inaction.

Vote NO on this amendment.

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Minnesota-State-CapitolFirst thing today, I need to shout out nothing but love for all of our DFL candidates, especially those that are working very hard in long-shot districts.
Rep. Tim Kelly (R-Red Wing) is leaving House 21A after a sex scandal. Our candidate is Lisa Bayley. The district goes D+1.

Invest in Education: A mother of two, Lisa knows a first class education is key to making Minnesota a place of innovation. She’ll fight to increase funding for early and K-12 education and supports plans to allow students to refinance college loans and reduce debt.
Work for our Seniors: As an attorney with a family law practice, Lisa sees the lack of care our seniors are receiving and the need to increase housing and assisted living choices. In St. Paul, she’ll cut through the red tape and work to ensure seniors have secure, affordable options in retirement, right here in our community.

The Republican candidate is Barb Haley. Her website’s issues page is terse, very non-specific boilerplate. In doing these posts I’ve noticed that that’s quite a popular approach among GOPers in competitive districts, this year.

Our candidate in 36A, in the NW metro, which goes R+2, is Kevin Parker.


Earlier this week, Trump brought up Brexit while campaigning in Florida.


The Republican nominee finds himself behind in both national and Florida statewide polls, down six and two respectively, according to the Real Clear Politics average.
“I think we’re going to have a little Brexit coming up in November,” he said.  (my emphasis added – DG)

Brexit has not been good for the UK now, and it is looking as if the predictions of a large consensus of economists is coming true, that it will hurt the economy in the UK in the future. In particular there is an expected loss of jobs as foreign investment, notably Japanese capital, moves to the mainland of Europe.


As the following news article from Reuters notes, there are 2 MILLION jobs involved in the projected move, and a potential loss affecting up to 12% of the UK economy. That kind of move hurts, it can lead to a significant recession or even depression, and it will continue to have ripples for global economies, including our own.


An example of how Brexit has affected a company with operations in the UK but based here in the US, from the Irish Times:


Brexit turmoil sees Whirlpool cut annual profit forecast
Appliance giant hurt by sluggish US sales and Brexit-inspired uncertainty in UK
Whirlpool cut its annual profit forecast after results fell well short of estimates in the third quarter, hurt by sluggish sales in the US and Brexit-inspired turmoil in the UK.
…The UK’s vote to leave the European Union – and subsequent impact on the pound – also took a toll on results, the Benton Harbor, Michigan-based company said.

Here’s what the British Chamber of Commerce had to say last month about how Brexit affected the UK, from the Guardian:

UK economy to hit near standstill as Brexit vote hurts investment – BCC
British Chambers of Commerce more than halves GDP growth prediction for next year to 1%, citing post-referendum uncertainty
Britain’s economy will grind to a near standstill over the coming months as post-referendum uncertainty triggers a slump in business investment, a leading business group has warned as it slashed its growth forecasts.
In its first set of forecasts since the vote to leave the EU, the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) on Monday more than halved its GDP growth prediction for next year from 2.3% to 1.0%. That would mark the worst economic performance since 2009, when the UK was emerging from a deep recession sparked by the global financial crisis.

Much as the low-education pro-Trump dummies who hate globalism would love to see less of it, here’s a story from Reuters back in May before the actual Brexit vote.

If Britain votes to leave the European Union in June, some U.S. banks could give up parts of their business in the bloc altogether.The scenarios being studied by taskforces at U.S. banks underscore the extent to which the London operations of non-European banks are linked to business on the continent.
In particular focus are the banks’ market operations, as trading of most European securities is regulated at the EU level but conducted by many investment banks mainly out of London.
The five largest U.S. banks employ 40,000 people in London, more than in the rest of Europe combined, taking advantage of the EU “passporting” regime that allows them to offer services across the bloc out of their British hubs.

Those businesses in the UK shut down, it means not ONLY the loss of 40,000 jobs in London, it will mean the loss of jobs here too.


Trump was notorious in his very public ignorance of Brexit when he was visiting Scotland. He appears to have continued his ignorance late into the campaign.  From Reuters:

Banks preparing to leave UK over Brexit, says banking body chief executive
Big internationalbanks are preparing to move some of their operations out of Britain in early 2017 due to the uncertainty over the country’s future relationship with the European Union, a top banking official said

Writing in the Observer newspaper, Anthony Browne, the chief executive of lobby group the British Bankers’ Association, said the public and political debate was “taking us in the wrong direction” and businesses could not wait until the last minute.
“Most international banks now have project teams working out which operations they need to move to ensure they can continue serving customers, the date by which this must happen, and how best to do it,” said Browne. “Their hands are quivering over the relocate button. Many smaller banks plan to start relocations before Christmas; bigger banks are expected to start in the first quarter of next year.”
Many of the world’s major banks have their European headquarters in Britain, where the financial sector employs more than two million people and makes up almost 12 percent of the economy. …READ MORE


Monica’s TED Talk

by JeffStrate on October 25, 2016 · 0 comments

Dog Gone provides appreciated perspective on Big Dog’s record of ambling about when Hillary wasn’t looking.  Bill was a fool.  Swordsmen in any kind of marriage at every level of society and power will be detected by the wives, no matter how cunning or cuddly their mongrels.  The confessions and careless musings of opportunistic blackmailers and naive, romantic interns are not needed by wives to detect a dalliance, although they may be useful to them in the proceedings of a divorce court.
Monica Lewinski, you may know, spoke about her life after the Oval Office about a year and a half ago.   It is an engaging and informed TED Talk.


We’ve heard Donald Trump claim that Hillary shouldn’t be president because Bill Clinton had infidelities.  To be specific, Trump claims Bill Clinton was a sexual predator, the worst in the history of the presidency.  Specifically per the AP, Trump said this:


 “But Bill Clinton has sexually assaulted innocent women and Hillary Clinton was attacking those women viciously.”
“Bill Clinton was the worst abuser of women to ever sit in the Oval Office. He was a predator,”

There is no credible evidence that Hillary ever attacked these women, much less viciously.  She did stand by Bill through rough going, but that is arguably evidence commitment to traditional marriage, not of abuse of anyone else.  Trump in contrast has not only demeaned and vilified his accusers, he has threatened them with law suits.  (Prediction, I expect counter suits, and that Trump will drop his suits, and pay these women to settle theirs.)


But as to the claims against Bill Clinton, I would argue that as sexual escapades in the White House go, he’s been among the less egregious, not the worst.  More on that below, but first an examination of the allegations against “President Bubba”.


To get specific, Bill Clinton had five formal allegations of sexual misconduct; the claims of Juanita Broadderick, Kathleen Willey, and Paula Jones, have not been established.  They exist as accusations of dubious authenticity, given Broadderick and Willey both testified under oath that Clinton never made unwanted advances.  Further Willey had a history of false accusations, which included telling a boyfriend she was pregnant, when she was not, and then claiming a miscarriage that she didn’t have.  Linda Tripp of Monica Lewinsky scandal fame claimed it was Willey who was obsessed from day 1 with seducing the President.


Gennifer Flowers and Monica Lewinsky both appeared to have had some kind of sexual relationships but not apparently coitus with Lewinsky.  Bill Clinton admitted to a one time sexual relationship with Flowers. She couldn’t prove otherwise, and offered up what appeared to be doctored phone calls that did not prove a long term sexual relationship.


Gennifer Flowers used her notoriety for profit, to the tune of $500,000.  All of the women who have appeared with Donald Trump prior to his second debate, both alleged victims of Bill Clinton, and a very questionable rape victim, were paid to do so, to the tune of $2,5000 each, and their stories conflict with prior accounts of events, including Grand Jury testimony under oath.


Hillary has also been accused of laughing at the alleged victim of a rape case, presumably thereby abusing HER,  where she had no option out of defending the accused rapist, whom she got a plea deal.  She did laugh at the botched case of the prosecution, and she was recorded laughing at the unreliability of polygraph testing, which showed the accused rapist to be innocent.  But she did NOT laugh at the victim.  Further complicating the rape case, the 12 year old victim had consensual sex with a 15 year old boy prior to the accused rape, and had previously made false accusations of bodily attacks.


Hillary Clinton tried to get out of defending her client, but she got a good outcome for her client (a plea deal, not an acquittal)  because he passed a polygraph test, and because of lack of evidence and mishandling of evidence by the prosecution.  It was her duty as a defense attorney to do so; she did her job. The victim previously supported the defense role of Hillary before it became profitable to object to her.


In contrast so far as can be established, there are more women who have credibly come forward to make accusations against Trump, and NONE of them have been paid to do so, and none of them have been credibly contradicted by others in defense of Trump, except by Trump himself who makes a highly suspect denial, much less contradicted themselves.


In contrast Bill Clinton, who turned 70 this past August,  has had no sex scandals since Monica Lewinsky back in the 1990s.  Trump, who also turned 70 this past June, has had sex scandals pretty much right up until he decided to run for President, which he announced in 2015.  These include a law suit for multiple violent rapes of a 13 year old, to other accusations of sexual assault and sexual harassment.  Trump’s accusations are distinctive in how consistently they are not consensual – although he has had consensual affairs as well.  He admits to having cheated on Ivana, his first wife, with Marla Maples, his second wife, and to having cheated on Maples with multiple women, including his third wife.  He has been recorded multiple times admitting to have at least attempted to cheat on Melania Trump, his third wife.


Putting Bill Clinton’s conduct in context, and at the same time putting the claims that Hillary Clinton jeopardized the security of the country with her email problems, I offer you a few examples of bad presidential conduct. Richard Nixon – yes, Tricky Dicky – had an ongoing affair with a Communist Chinese woman with close ties to Chinese Generals.  MI-6 recorded his sex-capades and head of the FBI J. Edgar Hoover got his own dirt on Dick, and used it to blackmail him.  Trump campaign staffer and key adviser to Donald Trump was in the Nixon White House and is one of those who confirm the story.  Both JFK and Gerald Ford had affairs with an East German Communist spy, by the name of Ellen Rometsch, with both being allegedly blackmailed, again by J. Edgar Hoover. Ford was not president at the time, but allegedly was blackmailed for information from the Warren Commission on the JFK assassination.  JFK was far more of a sexual predator and serial philanderer than Bill Clinton, including alleged sexual impropriety with interns. Ronald Reagan had a credible accusation of rape while president as well – but that was while he was Screen Actors Guild president, not US president.


Arguably black mail of the president is a far greater danger to the security of the United States than a private email server with very low level information on it.  And if one takes a look at the totality of presidential history when it comes to inappropriate sexual conduct, there are few who pass scrutiny.  George Washington has been credibly accused of having a long term sexual relationship with a slave named Venus and a speculative one with a certain Mrs. Fairfax.  Jefferson’s relationship with Sally Hemmings has been established by DNA evidence, and possibly began when she was as young as 16.  This is not unique to recent presidents.  The founding fathers had more than their fair share of bastards.


Looking at presidents from WW II forward, the only apparent cases where there were no credible accusations of infidelity or sexual misconduct, before, during or after their presidency were Barack Obama, Jimmy Carter and Harry Truman.  Both Bushes appear to have had affairs – more than one, and Dubya was accused of rape. Looking back before WW II across the 19th century, there were not only heterosexual affairs, some with presidential bastard offspring, there were rumors of homosexual relationships attributed (at different times in history) to both presidents Abraham Lincoln and James Buchanan.


So, no, Bill Clinton is FAR from the worst president in terms of keeping himself safely in his pants, and he seems considerably less bad in that regard than the conduct of Donald Trump, past and recent past if not present.  That is IF you look at factual histories of our presidents and their most private conduct.  Just a word to the wise, before you take a look at our unsanitized history – you will NOT be able to look at Mount Rushmore, or stamps with presidents on them, or money, quite the same way again afterwards.


MN-08: Hooting at that KSTP poll

by Dan Burns on October 24, 2016 · 2 comments

stewartjobHey, it’s possible that it’s right. Part of scientific thinking is that technically anything is “possible.” But when you’ve been following elections and polling for quite a while now, it’s OK to apply some experience-based common sense to the proceedings. That’s what I’m looking to do, here.
The polling was actually done by Survey USA, commissioned by KSTP. KSTP’s news is the closest local approximation to what Fox “News” is nationally, and the brand is owned by the extremely conservative and also extremely wealthy Stanley Hubbard.

In a rematch of one of the closest congressional races in the country two years ago, Republican Stewart Mills leads Democratic incumbent Rick Nolan by four points in Minnesota’s 8th District, 45 percent to 41 percent, in our exclusive KSTP/SurveyUSA poll…
However, even a superior get-out-the-vote operation might be more difficult in 2016 because the top of the Democratic ticket, Hillary Clinton, appears to be very unpopular in the 8th District. Our poll shows Republican Donald Trump with a 12-point lead over Clinton, 47 percent to 35 percent.

The Lake Superior-sized red flag is immediately apparent. President Obama won this district in 2012 by 5.5%, and we’re supposed to believe that this time it’s going to go for Trump by 12, at a time when Donald could well be looking at a double-digit landslide loss, nationally. While for all I know such a four-year swing in a congressional district anywhere would not be unprecedented, it is certainly extremely rare and would require extraordinary circumstances.
A far more likely explanation is that you get a number like that by massively overpolling Trump’s base of conservative old people. Which if you look at the polling internals you will see is exactly what they did.


minneapolis_skyline__hero(Update: A candidate forum was held on October 26, and you can read about it here.)

Minneapolis has been, and remains, far and away the biggest pro-public schools vs. deformers stage in the state. This excellent article from Southwest Journal has candidate profiles and links to websites.

Four of the nine seats on the Minneapolis Public Schools Board of Education are up for general election on November 8, 2016. Incumbent Kim Ellison is running for the at-large seat, leaving her District 2 seat open for a newcomer. She faces challenger Doug Mann. The race for the open District 2 seat features candidates Kimberly Caprini and Kerry Jo Felder. In District 4, incumbent Josh Reimnitz is running against challenger Bob Walser. In her bid for re-election in District 6, incumbent Tracine Asberry faces challenger Ira Jourdain. In addition to choosing which candidates to add to the board, citizens of the district will vote on an operating referendum.

If you click that Ballotpedia link and scroll down some, you will also see information on the operating referendum question.
Ellison, Felder, Walser, and Jourdain are endorsed by the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers, and the DFL. According to the SW Journal article, they “see eye-to-eye on the issues and are running as a team.”
All that I can tell you for sure is that Reimnitz is a deformer. I don’t know who all may be getting deformer “dark” money in this election; I couldn’t find a convenient source for that, and I have neither the time nor the expertise to pore through individual campaign reports. Anyone who knows more is more than welcome to comment here or on our Facebook page. From their website it appears that Minnesota Comeback, the new face of the deformer movement in this state, hasn’t endorsed anybody. They just might realize that doing so could well be an electoral liability for any “favored” candidate(s).


Using the courts to screw working people

by Dan Burns on October 21, 2016 · 0 comments

greed2It’s long been a favored right-wing tactic, and it’s successful all too often. Though I’m reasonably confident that neither of these will be backed by the Minnesota Supreme Court, when they get that far.

Minneapolis small business owners are speaking out against a Minnesota Chamber of Commerce lawsuit challenging the city’s new earned sick and safe time ordinance.
“The ordinance that was passed represents a compromise that was negotiated and supported by a vast majority of our community, including small businesses like us,” said Andy Pappacosta, events coordinator at Gandhi Mahal and Main Street Alliance of Minnesota member. “This lawsuit is being led by a select number of businesses, and does not represent many small business owners who have deep roots in our community.”
On Friday, the Chamber announced it had filed suit in Hennepin County District Court to challenge the ordinance on the grounds it conflicts with state law.
In May, the Minneapolis City Council made history by passing the state’s first ordinance requiring employers to provide earned sick and safe time.
(Workday Minnesota)

A yearslong battle over unionization of personal care attendants continued Wednesday as a handful of them sued three state agencies, asserting state government has illegally withheld information they need in their drive to decertify the union that represents them.
The attendants trying to decertify the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) must produce thousands of signatures by December to force a vote on decertification. In their lawsuit, they claim that state agencies have refused to hand over the most recent and accurate lists of workers. Without it, they have been unable to find PCAs who might sign their petition to break up the union…
Myron Frans, Minnesota Management and Budget commissioner, said state officials are not allowed to turn over the data.
(Star Tribune)

Lest anyone think that second one is really just a few regular folks, without corporate backing and manipulation (from the same article):

Doug Seaton, an attorney who represents employers and has litigated against PCA unionization for several years, is representing the plaintiffs. The news conference on their behalf was organized by the Center of the American Experiment, a conservative think tank.