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Wiley Miller | The Intricate Mechanics of Government / GoComics.com

Well, Isn't This a Fine Mess the DFL's Gotten Us Into

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DFL Candidates: Get out from behind the lawn signs, the brochures, the ads, the polls and surveys (all that branding crap), and start behaving like candidates for political office: talk to me face-to-face of ideas I can get fired up about in language that I can understand. 

David Culver, Evergreene Digest

Ladies and Gents of the late, great DFL,

Out of the frying pan into the fire. First Governor Numb Nuts  orders Minnesota not to apply for Federal health care reform money. Then, unnamed (read “cowardly”) state officials take another run at screwing up GAMC even further (apparently that was possible!) and manage to succeed at their draconian objective.

“Well, as Stan Laurel would say to Oliver Hardy, “isn’t this a fine mess you’ve gotten us into.” Thanks a lot DFL. We couldn’t have done it without you!

Go ahead, scream and yell at me as Steve Simon did recently in reply to my letter about job loss and GAMC shenanigans and try to pin it on Governor Numb Nuts. Steve wrote, “Keep in mind that it was his narrow view of the world (and his apparent contempt for some for the most vulnerable of our fellow-citizens) that resulted in the GAMC deal that we got. I am counting the days until we have a new governor -- someone who values compassion and common sense.” But know that that line of reasoning isn’t cutting it with me. The days of making excuses for DFL inaction with male bovine feces explanations for the “good” DFL cowering in a fetal position in the basement of the capital while the big (bad) Puddy Tat governor beats up on them are over!

Because the DFL is more concerned about raising money than hell, tapping into special interest campaign contributions (the same ones the GOP uses to finance the spread its fanaticism), it’s gone all wobbly on why Minnesota needs a DFL party. This is why the Democrats have been so wimpy. Their primary funding source and, consequently their behavior, is the same as the Republicans: corporations and lobbyists! To paraphrase Jim Hightower:

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“The sad truth is that none of T-Paw’s agenda would be hanging around our necks without the complicity and often the direct support of state Democratic leaders. They’ve ditched the Red Wing boot bunch and thrown in with the wing-tip crowd, going all wobbly on the whole concept of why Minnesota needs a DFL party.”

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Let me point out to you that, to the very best of my knowledge,  T-Paw has never enjoyed majority support for any position he’s taken. If the DFL hadn’t taken the fetal position and wasted time whining about the bully that is governor, they could have, instead, fanned out across the state, framing the issues in the people’s, not the partys’ or special interests’, terms, surrounded him ideologically and rendered him a political lame duck! Well, we’ve got a governmental lame duck alright, only it’s the DFL Party and not Governor Numb Nuts!

But I can’t entirely blame a sadistic, ignorant T-Paw and a lame-duck DFL Party for the present mess we’re in. The citizens of this state in general, and voters in particular, have failed Minnesota as well by buying into the boogeyman philosophy proposed by the DFL that voting for the DFL might not be great, but the GOP is worse. How much worse you can get than being complicit in and directly involved with supporting those GOP policies is beyond me! As Rabbi Lerner has written:

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If our elected officials always believe that no matter how far to the right they move we will always be giving them our money and our votes because we fear something worse on the right, they have zero incentive to take our peace, justice, love, generosity and environmental sanity messages seriously. We need to let them know that these positions of ours are not just "preferences," but rather they are our bottom line and that we won't support those who support war, militarism, injustice, and a worldview of domination and power over others, even if they tell us that deep in their hearts they believe something quite different. -- Rabbi Michael Lerner

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Or, as Chris Hedges has put it in an article (The left has lost its nerve and its direction):

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If the left wants to regain influence in the nation's political life, it must be willing to walk away from the Democratic Party, even if Barack Obama is the (president), and back progressive, third-party (officials) until the Democrats feel enough heat to adopt our agenda. We must be willing to say no. If not, we become slaves.

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You won’t find me submitting to slavery. I’m no longer willing to go along with mediocrity, broken promises, and striving for second best. That's not the Minnesota I grew up in. And it's not what I voted for, or was promised. I refuse to be part of a political institution (DFL) that I feel in large measure is not serving me or the common good, and prefer instead to strike out towards something that I can participate in with integrity!

As proof, I’ve already left the DFL (Why I Did Not Caucus with my party (DFL) on February 2.) (or, more correctly, the DFL left me)! And Ron and Steve, do not assume I’m going to rubber stamp your candidacy this time with my vote. It’s too precious to waste. I’ve fought too hard for it, both here (ACLU) and abroad (Vietnam). Until and unless I see on your part a willingness to stop the whining, get out of a fetal position, and fan out across District 44 framing the issues in the people’s way,  you will not get my vote in November.  Get out from behind the lawn signs, the brochures, the ads, the polls and surveys (all that branding crap), and start behaving like candidates for political office: talk to me face-to-face of ideas I can get fired up about in language that I can understand. (Any similarity to this and how DFL heroes of the past--Paul Wellstone, Hubert Humphrey, Floyd Olson--campaigned is purely coincidental.)

In other words, tell me how you’re going to fight for me in ways other than assuming a fetal position and whining while waiting for a better governor!

And that goes for Mark Dayton, Keith Ellison, and any other DFL candidate running this year!

In case you haven’t noticed, people are angry, fed up, disillusioned. They see no one willing to take up their cause and fight for them. So, they retreat into the fantasy world of an America gone by and to which we cannot return; or they retreat into apathy and ignorance, hate, homophobia, sexism, xenophobia, violence and war, anger, etc., following pied pipers pandering to that. Our votes are there for the taking, but you have to earn them the old fashioned way: you have to prove you can identify with, and fight for, us!

Related:

Fewer to get care with GAMC alteration, Warren Wolfe, Minneapolis Star Tribune | MN

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  • Now only one hospital remains to offer coordinated care, with 3,500 slots for 18,000 low-income adults.
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  • Pawlenty Orders Minnesota Not To Apply For Federal Health Care Reform Money
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Fewer to get care with GAMC alteration

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  • Now only one hospital remains to offer coordinated care, with 3,500 slots for 18,000 low-income adults.
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  • Pawlenty Orders Minnesota Not To Apply For Federal Health Care Reform Money
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Warren Wolfe, Minneapolis Star Tribune | MN

Because of a change made by state officials Wednesday (September 1), about 2,500 fewer people will get coordinated care in medical clinics taking part in a program for Minnesota's poorest and sickest patients.

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Instead, those patients will need to find clinics that offer charity care, wait for a medical emergency so they can get free care in any hospital emergency room, or go without.

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Pawlenty Orders Minnesota Not To Apply For Federal Health Care Reform Money, Eric Kleefeld, Talking Points Memo

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  • Pawlenty's order contains various points of explanation, taken right from Republican arguments against the new law.
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  • Playing politics with the peoples health. This move to swear off federal health care money could be worth a lot -- namely, a potential gain of five points in the Iowa caucuses in 2012.
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Pawlenty Orders Minnesota Not To Apply For Federal Health Care Reform Money

Pawlenty's order contains various points of explanation, taken right from Republican arguments against the new law.
Playing politics with the peoples health. This move to swear off federal health care money could be worth a lot -- namely, a potential gain of five points in the Iowa caucuses in 2012.

Eric Kleefeld, Talking Points Memo

Submitted by Evergreene Digest Contributing Editor Thomas Sklarski

Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-MN) is taking a bold step among Republicans opposed to the new federal health care reform law. As his latest move, Pawlenty has issued an executive order forbidding his state's officials from applying for grant money from the new law.

Pawlenty's order allows only applications for money that are required by law -- which would seemingly mean that this is not a case of nullification, and falls short of such an extreme step -- or approved by the governor's office.

Pawlenty's order contains various points of explanation, taken right from Republican arguments against the new law, such as: "WHEREAS, the Act represents a dramatic attempt to assert federal command and control over this country's health care system, which accounts for one-sixth of our nation's economy, thereby reducing individual freedom for health care decisions."

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Minnesota 2020 Property Tax Report: 2002-2010

Our latest analysis outlines how eight years of regressive “no new taxes” state policy has forced local governments to rely more heavily on property taxes as a source of revenue while also making deep cuts in education, infrastructure and public services.

Jeff Van Wychen, Minnesota 2020

Property taxes in Minnesota have soared since 2002, the product of state policies that have shifted more public costs on to property tax and more of the property tax on to homeowners.  Minnesota 2020 Property Tax Report: 2002-2010 examines the causes of the growth in property taxes and what can be done about it.

The principle culprit behind statewide property tax increases since 2002 is the reduction in revenue the state shares with local governments.  In constant 2010 dollars, state aid to local governments has fallen by $2.6 billion since 2002.  In response, local governments have increased property taxes by $1.7 billion.  However, property tax increases weren't enough to replace lost state aid; therefore, total revenue of Minnesota local governments fell.  In fact since 2002, local government revenues have fallen much more rapidly than state government revenues.

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What Did FDR Really Do for America?

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All those Tea Party people who want austerity, to eliminate Social Security, medicare, unemployment benefits, etc., and who think that all sort of jobs are out there and that unemployed Americans laid off in near record numbers are lazy and undeserving leeches, need a history lesson.

Steven D, Booman Tribune

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Submitted by Evergreene Digest Contributing Editor Thomas Sklarski

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Sometimes its worth taking a moment to remember what America was like the day before FDR's inauguration in 1933. All those Tea Party people who want austerity, to eliminate Social Security, medicare, unemployment benefits, etc., and who think that all sort of jobs are out there and that unemployed Americans laid off in near record numbers are lazy and undeserving leeches, need a history lesson.

And guess what? David Glenn Cox is here to give it to them:

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Let's look at Roosevelt's predecessor, Herbert Hoover. Hoover was strongly against any direct aid to the poor, fearing that the poor would become demoralized. The Republican Congress, likewise, was against any national scheme to aid the poor. The United States was the only industrial power with no system of social security. No system of national unemployment. No minimum wage law, no national labor laws of any kind. No aid for the elderly or the disabled. Looking back at that America it is like looking into almost medieval proportions. [...]

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Before the New Deal, the elderly were the poorest demographic in the country. When you got too old to work, you lived on your savings, and if you didn't have savings you starved or lived on charity or with your children. America was mainly rural then with most people living on farms, so those elderly worked until the day they died. Healthcare existed only for the rich and hospitals were a cash affair except for the "charity ward". If you were sick or injured you went home and you either got better or you died. There was no public health service. Hypothermia was the second leading cause of death for the elderly and pneumonia was the first. In Detroit in 1932 two people an hour died of starvation; in Toledo unemployment was at 70%.

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What FDR Gave Us, David Glenn Cox, OpEdNews.com
Both of my parents lived through the Great Depression. My father was born in 1920, and my mother was born in 1926. My father was raised in a small industrial town, my mother in inner city Chicago. Those of you familiar with Chicago's waterfront might be surprised to learn that children once played in the empty shell of what now is the Museum of Science and Industry. It was dilapidated, hollow, crime was rampant in the area, vegetable gardens were guarded with shotguns, and in a strange dichotomy whole families would sleep on the beaches of Lake Michigan on summer nights to escape the Summer heat.

Understanding Conservatism

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Call it an insurrection if you want, but it's not the GOP who is besieged. It's the entire federal government (and, therefore, the country) that is under assault. The post-war consensus was never agreed to by conservatives. And they're coming to try to uproot eighty years of legislating history. That they won't succeed doesn't mean that we want to witness them try.

BooMan, Booman Tribune

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Submitted by Evergreene Digest Contributing Editor Thomas Sklarski


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E.J. Dionne says that the Republicans are experiencing an 'insurrection.' At least metaphorically, maybe they are. Most people are understandably viewing this as a kind cyclical right-wing reaction to both a Democratic president (who happens to be black) and a severe economic downturn, but Dionne makes an important additional point.

The agitation among Republicans is not surprising, given the trauma of the final years of George W. Bush's presidency. After heavy losses in 2006 and 2008, it was natural that GOP loyalists would seek a new direction.

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Primaries Show GOP Extremism, E.J. Dionne, RealClearPolitics
Republicans are in the midst of an insurrection. Democrats are not. This vast gulf between the situations of the two parties -- not some grand revolt against "the establishment" or "incumbents" -- explains the year's primary results, including Tuesday's jarring outcomes in Florida and Alaska.

Deregulation, Market Concentration at the Root of Egg Recall

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  • And this is how we get the circumstance that the FDA cannot even recall foods, and has to hope that corporations do it on a voluntary basis.
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  • Proper levels of funding for the agency have languished
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  • Please ask your senators to make recalling unsafe food mandatory.
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David Dayen, FireDogLake

Submitted by Evergreene Digest Contributing Editor Thomas Sklarski

Jon Cohn explores the egg recall in greater detail, and comes to a similar conclusion as I did: that it just shows a continuation of e.coli conservatism, particularly the fervor for deregulation that goes back 30 years:

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This is not a story that begins with the administration of George W. Bush. It begins, instead, with the administration of Ronald Reagan. Convinced that excessive regulation was stifling American innovation and imposing unnecessary costs on the public, Reagan’s team changed the way government makes rules.
Prior to the 1980s, agencies like the FDA had authority to finalize regulations on their own. Reagan changed that, forcing agencies to submit all regulations to the Office of Management and Budget, which cast a more skeptical eye on anything that would require the government or business to spend more money. The regulatory process slowed down and, in many cases, the people in charge of it became more skittish.

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There are new egg regulations in place now, implemented this year, but the food safety bill, which would give the FDA authority over recalls, has languished. So has proper levels of funding for the agency.

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Rotten Eggs, Andre Delattre, U.S. Public Interest Research Group (USPIRG)
Please ask your senators to make recalling unsafe food mandatory.

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