Category Archives: Uncategorized

Two Takes on Tuesday’s Results: Trump and Clinton

Here is where we stand today. We have less than 20 weeks until the Democratic Party National Convention in Philadelphia, and we have less than 34 weeks until Election Day. I think I hear this every election, and I even may say it myself every election, this election is shaping up to be one of the most important in history.

The results of yesterday’s primaries in Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, Missouri, and Illinois signaled two things to me. First, the Republican establishment is not going to beat Donald Trump. An ABC exit poll indicated Republican voters are angry at the government, favor an outsider, and feel the United States is falling behind. Trump is right in their wheel house, and winning four of five states yesterday, and finishing second in Ohio far ahead of Ted Cruz, indicates primary voting Republicans want Trump.

The the thing we have to remember as Democrats, is the attitude of those voting Republicans is a minority of the entire voting population, even if they seem to be the most vocal and have their own news network, they are a minority. That notion of a voting minority brings me to my second impression of last night’s results. It is time for Democrats to coalesce behind one candidate for the Democratic nomination. Hillary Clinton was expected to win four of the five states, but won all five. It is tough for Bernie Sanders supporters to hear, but Clinton’s path to the nomination is virtually a lock. That is not to say we have to stop supporting Bernie’s ideology, he is not going away, but it does mean we need to be pragmatic about this election.

Elections have consequences. They are not the doom and gloom consequence scare tactics to garner votes, after all, President Obama didn’t destroy the country, gas prices did not rocket up, the small increase in income tax didn’t damage the economy, and Iran has not attacked us. The consequences of a presidential election are a world forum to speak and negotiate, veto power, executive actions, and appointments. The death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia is a case in point of the last one.

Mr. Obama has the opportunity to appoint his third Justice to the Court. In addition, Associate Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Anthony Kennedy are 83 and 79, respectively, and Stephen Breyer is 77. The next President could solidify a court that returns to protecting people, not business and political ideology. Our political system needs to change, and it will not change until the Supreme Court cares about the constitutional freedom of people as individuals over corporate power and cash.

We shouldn’t worry about Donald Trump or Ted Cruz. It is time to be pragmatic about who is going to win the Democratic nomination because it is far more important for overall political plans to move forward. It is admirable to stand by one candidate, and to mourn a loss, or even be angry, but baby steps are often the best method for reaching a goal. It is time for us to begin backing Hillary Clinton and setting her up to win in November. She will make good appointments and continue to lead the charge toward a more fair and progressive nation. It is Hillary’s time.

Republicans think tactics are better than principles… why?

I was about to write a blog post about Republican claims that Minnesotans are already tired of DFL control.  It’s funny, because DFL principles seem to have taken hold, principles like personal freedoms, civil rights, affordable education, strong schools, and a solid infrastructure.  I’m not sure Minnesotans are getting tired of that.  They obviously got tired of an extremist social agenda and mean-spirited debate based on the last election.  But who I am I to say…

While beginning to do a bit of research, I stumbled on this picture featured prominently on the Minnesota GOP website.  I think it is hilarious.  The party of white suburban flight from the cities and redneck hate has this picture on their main page:

MNGOP Ad

Why do Republicans insist on trying to win using tactics instead of principles?  Showing pictures of minorities, and claiming to be the party of Abe Lincoln, freer of slaves, does not counteract decades of bad policy.  Decades of hatred of an entire class of people.  Decades of laws concentrating on those who are already better off at the expense of those who aren’t.

It doesn’t fly.  These are actual pictures from the Republican State convention.  How many old white men are in the picture above? Two, maybe three?  There are more black men in the picture than old white men.  These are the real pictures:

Minnesota Republican Convention 4

2012 Minnesota Convention 1

Minnesota Republican Convention 2

Minnesota Republican Convention 7

Minnesota Republican Convention 3

Minnesota Republican Convention 6

Minnesota Republican Convention 5

I just don’t see a lot of racial diversity.  Do you?  The party of civil rights… what a joke.

There are 152 days until the caucuses.  It may seem like a long way away, but begin looking at the candidates.  We need to make sure we don’t elect anymore people who place a desire to win using anyway they can, over a legitimate desire to care for our state.  Educated people! Healthy people! Clean air! Clean water! Those create financial and environmental sustainability!

 

Proposal to elect the president based on popular vote is about time, and logical.

Rep. Steve Simon has authored a House bill to change the way the Electoral College works. The bill would allocate Minnesota’s electoral votes to the presidential candidate who wins the national popular vote. That is a big change, but it has bipartisan support, including my Republican Representative Pat Garofalo.  If it passes, it could be possible for a candidate to win in Minnesota, but still lose the Minnesota electoral votes.

That seems odd doesn’t it? But, in reality, we don’t elect our Minnesota senators by using an electoral college based on county population, so why should we do it for the president. Every vote should count, and every person in the US should care about the presidential race. That is not the case right now. If you are a Democrat living in Alabama, you have no input in the presidential race. If you are a Republican living here in Minnesota, you also have no input into the presidential race. In fact, because of the Electoral College, more than 80% of Americans get ignored by presidential candidates every election. That means less than 20% of the population in so-called “swing states” decide who the president is for the rest of us. In 2012, it was Florida, Iowa, Ohio and Virginia, 13% of the nation’s population!

It seems so logical to elect the person who gets the most votes. That is what every other election does. It would engage more people. Democrats in Alabama have somebody to vote for, just like Republicans in Minnesota. How many people feel like their vote doesn’t count, so they don’t vote? That changes with popular vote. As I said before, we don’t elect others using an Electoral College type system, why reserve an old outdated system to vote?

Many opponents are against it because it means Democrats will more easily win by concentrating on metropolitan areas exclusively, but I would argue that isn’t the case. In the Electoral College, Minnesota has ten votes and Alabama has nine. That is plus 1 vote for the Democrat. Minnesota, hasn’t voted for a Republican since Nixon, and Alabama hasn’t voted for a Democrat since the Dixiecrats moved to the GOP in the 70s. But if you look at the vote totals for the two states in 2012, Romney beat Obama by over 200,000 votes: Obama – 2,341,288 votes, Romney – 2,574,028 votes, despite the fact that Minnesota has half a million more people and a much larger voter turnout, Romney won.

The truth is, that electing a president by a national popular vote would elect moderates, almost every time. Super-liberal Democrats concentrating metropolitan areas would be no more likely to win that super-conservative Republicans concentrating on the south and rural areas. That frightens both Democrats and Republicans. But every vote should count, and I think a lot more would be accomplished without the extremist candidates parties put forward.

Hypocrisy from the 5/7/09 “Inside Scoop” by Pat Garofalo

Pat Garofalo likes to send out his “Inside Scoop” newsletter.  For some reason I saved one the “witty” representative sent out on May 7, 2009.  As I was cleaning out email files, I found it, read it, and laughed.

First, he commented on something he titled “NONE OF GOVERNMENT’S BUSINESS.”  He states the government has no business “controlling what web sites people visit on their own personal computer” and continues saying that it is “NOT a proper function of government.”  Apparently the proper function of government is to decide who can get married and who cannot.  Partisan priorities trump what is “NONE OF GOVERNMENT’S BUSINESS!”  Pat Garofalo either let his far-right and extremist allies lead him, or if it is his religious beliefs, he let the Pope in Vatican City make a decision for him rather than make his own decision about what is government’s business.  Reminds me of how absurd he thought it was for NYC to limit how much pop people could buy. I guess soda and gambling are more important freedoms than marriage.

Secondly, in a paragraph he titled “APPARENTLY…HOUSING PRICES AREN’T LOW ENOUGH” he lambasts the DFL controlled legislature for passing a bill to lower the amount of interest that can be claimed as a tax deduction.  Obviously, with a high value house, the richest Minnesotans couldn’t get quite as much free money returned to them.  He states “This would increase the cost of home ownership… To say this is a bad idea is an understatement.”  Hello? Eliminating the Homestead Credit?  A question for Pat Garofalo: You did vote to eliminate the Homestead Credit, right??? Was that a good idea?  Can you say hypocrite?

It is time for the smarmy Pat Garofalo to stop embarrassing the voters of Farmington.  I believe if more voters actually paid attention to how he conducts business, and how little respect he seems to have for people he disagrees with, they would demand change.  This year, voters have a great independent choice for 2012 in Jim Arlt.  Let’s try and make sure Pat has tweeted his last insult. Vote for Jim Arlt.

Below is the entire 5/7/09 Inside Scoop:

THE INSIDE SCOOP Representative Pat Garofalo 5/7/2009
-End of Session (or not) Update
When my son was younger, one of his favorite books was “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day “.  In that spirit, I’d like to describe the last week as “Representative Garofalo and the Terrible, No Good, Very Bad Week At The Legislature”.  Keep in mind, you couldn’t possibly make this stuff up.
NONE OF GOVERNMENT’S BUSINESS
An official with the MN Dept. Of Public Safety has ordered 11 Internet Service Providers to block access from Minnesota to 200 gambling related web sites.  Whether you like gambling or not doesn’t matter.  Controlling what web sites people visit on their own personal computer is NOT a proper function of government.  I have no idea how this could be constitutional.  Here is an article about it.
IF ONLY SPOT KNEW HOW TO READ
After an extensive debate, the MN House passed legislation that would require warning labels to be posted whenever selling cocoa bean mulch.  For a small percentage of dogs (2%), the mulch can end up being poisonous.  No word on if government is going to tell those who put the mulch down, that they need to post signs as well.  The bill passed by one vote.  Here is a StarTribune story on the issue.
APPARENTLY…HOUSING PRICES AREN’T LOW ENOUGH
The legislature recently passed a bill to repeal the home mortgage interest deduction from state tax returns and replace it with a partial credit.  This would wipe out the state interest deduction above $6,000 of interest paid.  This would increase the cost of home ownership and discourage home purchases.  To say this is a bad idea is an understatement.  How the legislature could pass such a bill given the collapse in housing prices is beyond me.  I can assure you that Governor Pawlenty will not allow this to become law.  So I guess that is good. 🙂
I’m hopeful that in the next week the legislature will get serious about balancing the budget.  Stay tuned.  As always, it is an honor serving as your State Representative.  Thanks!
Rep. Pat Garofalo District 36B 221 State Office Building 100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. Saint Paul, Minnesota 55155 (651) 296-1069 1-888-667-3337

It may not be on the disaster scale of Haiti or Indonesia, but a $10 flood relief donation to a small village in Guatemala is just as important

I have not been active blogging or politically active in weeks, but I am obviously getting an itch after a little break.  I was in a huge discussion talking about breaking the poverty cycle, arguing that we need to look at ending poverty with the next generation, not discounting programs tday because they aren’t helping immediately.

Groups that are doing a good job of changing for future generations, are the small Lutheran congregations in the mountain villages of Guatemala.  I had the opportunity to visit a village this spring with my father-in-law, and really regret not going.  Last month, that village had their crops destroyed in flooding.  They saved the newly built church my father-in-law helped build, by building gullies around the church to divert water, but they lost their food for the winter, mostly corn and beans, and their seed for next year’s planting.

My father in law started a small fundraiser through Razoo (the organization that does Give to the Max day) in conjunction with a St. Paul area Lutheran organization that will donate all of the donations to the village of Milagro de Dios for flood relief.  The Lutheran church will be buy food for the villagers to survive the winter, and seeds for next growing season.

If you can contribute anything, even $10, I hope you will make a donation to help the families who work really hard just to live out a meager existence, and who cannot afford this natural disaster.  It may not be on the disaster scale of Haiti or Indonesia, but that does not make it less important.  Think about how cool it is that just a thousand dollars collected by 100 of us could save a village.

Click on the picture below to make a donation: