Category Archives: elections

Meanwhile in Minnesota – Three issues and ideas for action

mct state capitol

While Washington hold center stage, Minnesota Republicans are trying to tie the hands of local governments, impose crippling costs on free speech and protest, and politicize redistricting in 2020. That makes it time to focus on St. Paul and start calling and contacting state legislators. Minnesota have already compromised on premium relief for health insurance. They might be more open to hearing voices of reason than their counterparts in Congress. Continue reading

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Russian bear or Washington weasel?

laufendes Wiesel

Wikipedia: “Wikipedia: In English-speaking areas, weasel can be a disparaging term, noun or verb, for someone regarded as sneaky, conniving or untrustworthy. Similarly, weasel words is a critical term for words or phrasing that are vague, misleading or equivocal.” [Image from Fotolia – https://us.fotolia.com/id/48296139#%5D

Vladimir Putin and cyberwarfare loom like threatening Russian bears, at least in media depiction and public imagination. While cyberwarfare is a threat, the newest weasel in Washington and his plans to install billionaire buddies in positions of power and dismantle hard-won social safety nets and public education pose an even bigger threat. Continue reading

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What’s wrong with the “Russian election hacking” meme

 

boris-and-natash

Boris Badenov, Natasha Fatale, and Fearless Leader were cartoon representations of Russian spies in the Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoon (1959-1964). Any resemblance between comic cartoons and current political rhetoric is purely intentional.

On December 29, the New York Times headlined, Obama Strikes Back at Russia for Election Hacking. As news consumers, what questions do we need to ask about that story?

Question #1: What is this “election hacking?” Continue reading

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Stand up, speak up, show up: Resistance for a new year

Teacher with shirt

Looking toward the new year of 2017, I resolve to resist. Again. Still. Forever.

Resist hate. Resist racism, xenophobia, misogyny, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism.

Resist greed. Resist privatizing Medicare and Medicaid and Social Security and prisons and probation and schools and social services. Resist taking away the very limited gains won under Obamacare. Resist defunding Planned Parenthood. Resist pipelines and fracking and environmental destruction in the service of private profit.

Resist repression. Resist limits on free speech and academic freedom and freedom of ALL religions. Resist defunding of public defenders and restriction of the right to an attorney. Resist registering people by religion or nationality. Resist mass deportations and denial of asylum.

Figuring out what to resist is easy. Figuring out how to resist is tougher. Maybe if I were 16 or 26 again, I could do it all: write letters, sign petitions, door-knock for voter registration and get out the vote, march in the streets, choke on tear-gas, risk arrest, stay up all night writing briefs for federal court challenges to suppression of civil rights, and show up in court the next morning.

I’m not young any more. I don’t have the same energy. And I’ve been broken more than a few times. I get up and keep going, but I can’t go as far or as fast as I once could. (Or thought I could.) Continue reading

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Dialogue, not demonization – for “rural, white Christians”and others

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Graphic by Rini Templeton

The Dark Rigidity of Fundamentalist Rural America: A View from the Inside, with its repeated and eloquent denunciations of “rural, Christian, white America”  has gone viral in the past week. When I read it, I got angry. Demonization of “rural, Christian, white America” seems just as bigoted as denouncing  Muslims as fanatical jihadists or  Jews as world-controlling conspirators. Continue reading

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L-R: Bo Thao-Urabe and Kaoly Ilean Her  Photo by Mary Turck  “We are the experts on our lives and on our needs. Women have to speak up. Women have to organize if we want to elect someone who will care about us.”  – Kaoly Ilean Her

The first Hmong candidates to win elected office were Minnesota women: Choua Lee on the St. Paul school board in 1991 and Mee Moua in the Minnesota Senate in 2002. Now, in 2016, Minnesota has the first Hmong women’s political action committee: Maiv PAC. (“Maiv” is pronounced “my,” which is a term of endearment.)

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Fake news exposé brings real threats

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Communications prof Melissa Zindars posted an exposé of fake news, complete with a list of “False, Misleading, Clickbait-y, and Satirical ‘News’ Sources.” Then, reports the Los Angeles Times, she took down the list, as  “a safety measure in response to threats and harassment she and her students and colleagues had received.” That’s the power, and the peril, of good reporting in a time when fake news wins elections and earns big bucks. Continue reading

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The mourning after

rini marchers

(courtesy of Rini Templeton)

Trump’s win – and the magnitude of the Trump vote across the country and in Minnesota – is a triumph for ignorance. And hate. And fear.

But — we go on. So what next?  Continue reading

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Mainstream media FAIL: He said, she said and the biggest liar contest

pants-on-fire

PolitiFact is a fact-checking website run by the Tampa Bay Times that focuses on political actors and statements. Politifact classifies statements as True, Mostly True, Half True, Mostly False, False, and Pants on Fire.

The Star Tribune published a commentary piece October 28 featuring “The Top 10 whoppers of both leading presidential candidates” as identified by Politifact.com. What’s wrong with that? Plenty.

The clear implication is that both candidates are equally liars. That’s wrong. Even worse, the “everybody is a liar” meme increases cynicism not only about the candidates but about the political system, voting, and the possibility of meaningful choice. Continue reading

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Voting down-ballot in Minnesota

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Minnesota Congressional districts from Wikipedia

Down-ballot races make a huge difference in post-election life, which is to say, in all of our lives, every day of every year. These are the people who make the laws (U.S. and state legislators), who preside over the justice system (district, appellate and supreme court judges), and who run the schools. Down-ballot voting this year also includes referendums on a Minnesota constitutional amendment and on a Minneapolis school tax levy. Continue reading

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