Minnesota Liberal

Thursday, March 25, 2004

One nation... INDIVISIBLE... with liberty and justice for ALL

On Monday, March 22nd, a hoard of hateful bigots stormed the Minnesota state capital. Filled with fear, this mob demanded that our state write discrimination into the constitution. It was a sad day in this state's history.

Led by the Minnesota Family Counsel (check out their webpage- words cannot describe how appalling it is), thousands of "Christians" swarmed lawmakers offices, demanded a ban of gay marriage/civil unions in the constitution, threatened the unseating of lawmakers that disagreed with them, and prayed that homosexuals would be damned to hell.

I don't think I have ever wished anyone be sent to hell.

It has been described by many capital staff members as the ugliest example of blind hatred in they have ever seen.

The governor of our state even made an appearance. Did he lambast this terrible mob. No. Did he ask them to please respect the right of others to live free lives. No. Instead, Gov. Tim Pawlenty supported them. He encouraged them. From his bully pulpit, he led them.

I sometimes wonder what these people really think about the GLBT community. About people such as myself. I know that I rarely ever publicly express the true anger I feel about Bush. So if I have only seen a small piece of their rage, how far would they take their animosity if they could.

It nearly put me in tears, seeing images of large crowds holding signs demanding the defense of "the sanctity of marriage."

But today, I was uplifted by the rallying of the GLBT community (including gay supportive friends and family). Thousands gathered on the steps of the capital with a united cry. A cry for equality, a cry for justice, and a cry for unity.

I brought along a sign with me that read, "The GOD I believe in doesn't promote HATE." My partner, Justin, brought a sign that said, "Our agenda- love and equality." And we were joined by several straight friends.

I am truly blessed to be surrounded by individuals that possess such warmth. And I truly feel sorry for those who wish to persecute others. I can't imagine how empty it must feel... grasping at such desperate straws.

Their boogeyman is out of the closet... and it ain't goin back in.


Saturday, March 20, 2004

The little email that could.

In the latest Republican hypocrisy news...

Please refer to my "Kerry's Defense Team" posting.

Then check out this press release from the MN GOP.

This story by the AP.

And finally this opinion piece in the Crookston Daily Times.

It is really too bad that the DFL "Action Alert" offended a few people. As far as I am concerned, they deserve every darn bit of it's brutal honesty. If they can't take a long hard look at what they have done to this country, I will certainly help point it out to them.

Personally, I have always believed that negative campaign politics are wrong. I think that personal attacks, deceptions, and the misuse of images weakens the hearts and minds of America's voting public. The goal of most political ads is to crush the morale of an opposing candidates supporters, thus helping to kill voter turnout. That is not democracy.

But to expect an even playing field in this landscape of ideology would be ludicrous. Much of political identification is affiliated with peoples views on religion/morality. And people do not weigh those values lightly. I know I am willing to go quite a distance to stop what I believe is "wrong", and quite further to build upon what I know is "right".

Sometimes you just have to say, "I'm mad as hell, and I'm not gonna take it anymore." And that is where I began my contribution. I can no longer just sit and watch conservatives do as they like. Whether any of us like it or not, this is where our country is at. Hopefully I can help make it a better place. Then, maybe, we won't need to always be out for blood.


Saturday, March 13, 2004

All About the Benjamins

Campaign financing is one of the most dreadful subjects. To begin with, the normal person (myself included) doesn't understand the rules and regulations. There are so many different types of political organizations, IRS filing distinctions, individual donor limits, and etc. that it is very easy to become confused. So when John McCain started whining about "soft money" Democratic groups I thought I would do a little homework. Soft money is a term used to describe donations made to 527 organizations. 527 is the tax-exempt code given to non-profit political committees by the IRS. They can fundraise and spend money however they like, except they cannot contribute money to political candidates.

For the past year or so, many Republicans have been crying out against these organizations. They believe it is a loophole in the current campaign finance law to allow these groups to spend money in a partisan manner (i.e. commercials against President Bush). The Bush administration is starting to get in on the act of bashing these groups as well. In particular, the Republicans are going after a group called Media Fund. Media Fund has become notorious to conservatives because they are in the midst of a $5 million dollar ad campaign critisizing Bush. The commercial has played quite a bit here in Minnesota and in other states throughout the country. This has the Bushies pissed. They claim that groups like Media Fund are illegal. George Soros, a major financial backer of several 527's, is being crowned the new king of "evil rich Dems." But what they don't tell you is that the commercial does not mention John Kerry a single time. It can't. That would be illegal. But as long as a group is just voicing their opposition to a politician's political viewpoint, what is wrong? It seems to me that by limiting a 527's funding or preventing them from running these types of commercials is a violation of free speech.

And by the way, I wonder what Bush would say about the Bush/Cheney 2000 Inc.-Recount Fund. It raised over $11 million. Or the Republican Governors Association. I am sure it is just a coincidence that their list of top donors is full of pharmaceutical companies. No special interests there. How about the College Republican National Committee. I wonder if that is a partisan political group? Like usual- the elephants want to have it both ways.

The point I guess I am trying to make is that if a millionaire like Soros wants to spend $5 million dollars to produce commericals saying he doesn't like Bush's policies, he should be able to. He is following all of the rules that prohibit him from coordinating his activities with those of Kerry. So what is the big deal.

And why doesn't anyone call the Republicans on their shit either. My interesting factoid of the week: Employees and directors of Enron had given $623,000 to Bush over the course of his political career. That includes $220,700 from executives and directors named in the lawsuit brought against the company. Bush received $74,200 from the top 24 executives and board members in the 2000 election alone. Also, take a look at Bush's top campaign contributors throughout his career. And no one seemed to care when Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty was shown to have actually broken campaign laws. He didn't just find a loophole, he broke the law. But he won anyway. Then later we found out that he hadn't even reported significant amounts of income he had made from "independant consulting" for a friends company (which happened while he was running for Governor). He has never been able to document what his "consulting" consisted of or why his friend felt the need to pay him a couple hundred thousand dollars for no such work. It seems pretty plain to me that this was an illegal campaign contribution deliberately disguised as real income.

There are tons for great research tools for following the money:
The Center for Public Integrity
Follow the Money
Federal Elections Commission
Political Money Line


Friday, March 12, 2004

Kerry's Defense Team

George W. Bush and his party of thugs have made careers of lying, cheating, and misleading the public. Whether it is lying to the citizens of our country to manufacture a war in Iraq, lying about our Presidents National Guard non-service, lying about revealing CIA agent Valerie Plame’s identity for political gain, lying about who will benefit from tax cuts, and especially lying about political opponents with war hero records. The Republicans stole former Senator and war hero Max Cleland’s seat by creating commercials comparing him to Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein. During the 2000 campaign, Bush’s cronies started rumors implying that Senator John McCain fathered a “black child out of wedlock.” For more check out Jim Boyd’s commentary from the Star Tribune.

Now, Republicans are demanding Senator John Kerry apologize for calling them "the most crooked, you know, lying group I've ever seen.” Apparently they don’t see the hypocrisy, but we do. And that is why they will get no such apology from any Democrat. Senator Kerry is going to hold them accountable and reveal them for the frauds they are, but he needs our help in doing so. We need to flood every newspaper with examples of the lies they have spewed for so long.


Tuesday, March 09, 2004

Crazy Midterms Before Spring Break

You might wonder why I haven't posted for the last couple days. I work 40 hours a week at the front desk of a hotel, 20 hours a week as an intern for the DFL, and attend the University of Minnesota- Journalism School full-time (16 credits). So when every class I take (5 in all) have assignments due... I start to get a little flustered.

Why are my evil professors doing this to me right now? Well, it is that wondrous week before "Spring Break" where every teacher decides to drop some kind of bomb on his/her students. As of this hour, I am studying for a test in Biogeography of the Global Garden, finishing an assignment for College Algebra, and preparing to write a short case study analysis for my Strategic Communications Campaigns class. And did I mention that I am also working at my hotel right now as well. *Multi-tasking is so much fun*

All of these assignments are due tomorrow (I can just hear you scoffing at my procrastination). Even better, I also have a midterm in my Visual Communications course on Thursday and I am about 200 pages behind in the readings. I should be able to catch up before the test, but it sure gets a fire lit under my a**.

I will try and write about something a little more important to what goes on in ALL of our lives tomorrow (like how stupid Bush's political commercials are, or how wonderful it is that Kerry is destroying Bush in the polls). Until then, pity me.


Friday, March 05, 2004

Band-Aid for the Broken Brain

In case you haven't already heard, Martha Stewart was "found guilty of obstruction of justice and lying to the government." While I feel very little sympathy for someone who may very well have broken the law... give me a break. We are talking about a whole $250,000 worth of stock. There are hundreds of thousands of people who have lost their jobs because of unethical business practices by giant companies. Corporations have devastated our economy with their bogus accounting practices. And the best our government can do is slap a professional homemaker on the wrist? What about the real corporate criminals like Kenneth Lay of Enron, Jack Welch of GE (the primary financial backer to WorldCom), or even President George W. Bush- formerly of Harken Energy. For more info about our President's insider trading history click here. It seems that Martha is the sacrificial lamb of the recent corporate scandals. While most of the charges against her were dropped, any type of guilty verdict is devastating. I guess that is what happens when you are a woman without powerful political connections to protect you. Maybe that was a little exaggerated (Martha probably has plenty), but there are so many bigger fish to fry. Maybe when oil companies are not determining our foreign policy decisions (gas is $3 a gallon in California!!!), maybe when insurance companies provide adequate coverage without being ordered by courts, maybe when discrimination is not tolerated against any groups, maybe when our men and women aren't dying in another country protecting us from the illusion of WMD's, maybe when we have Supreme Court Judges that decide cases without wining and dining with the defendants, maybe when our public education system isn't being flushed down the toilet, maybe when we have a real President that can make real decisions that affect real people. Martha's guilt is just a damnation of this country. We could have real social change, but we will settle with made-for-tv dramatizations.


Thursday, March 04, 2004

State Sponsored Racism

If a lawmaker told someone, "Give me a cut of the profits from your business or else I will pass a law making your line of work illegal," he would be arrested for extortion/blackmail. But if two Republicans tell Native Americans to give the state a cut of their profits or else they will pass a law making gambling illegal, it is business as usual. This is blatant racism of the worst kind. The indian tribes were given the monopoly rights to slot machines in the state of Minnesota... forever. Just because our state is in terrible financial trouble (thanks to Mr. No New Taxes Pawlenty), we have no right to (once again) screw the tribes out of what is rightfully theirs. But as long as racists like Rep. Jim Knoblach-St. Cloud and Rep. Tom Neuville-Northfield continue to get elected, they will continue to discriminate against everyone that is not white and Christian.

Gov. Pawlenty promised not to raise taxes, but wouldn't forcing the Native Americans to give Minnesota part of their profits would be a tax on their community. Not to mention the increases we have all suffered in property taxes, decreases in education quality, and so forth.

The only reason this whole thing is happening is because Pawlenty and his goons want to finance their sports stadiums (God forbid they be remembered as the politicians that made sports franchises leave). This whole mess isn't even about financing our schools (which need money, but not at the expense of a minority group).

Don't let the politics of this confuse you. This is racism. But what did you expect from these Republicans.


Tuesday, March 02, 2004

And the winner is...

Congratulations go out to John Kerry, the next Democratic candidate for President. I think he is a good choice to run against Bush. I just feel his voice resonates well with the majority of Americans. Now we can finally begin to organize a unified voice against the Bush administration. I can't wait to see Howard Dean, Dennis Kucinich, John Edwards, Carol Mosely Braun, Al Sharpton, Joseph Lieberman, Bob Graham, Wesley Clark, and the rest of the previous candidates put their support behind Kerry and push things forward.

In honor of the Kerry win you will now find a Kerry 2004 link on my page (as evidence that clearly avoided putting my endorsement on anyone previously- not that anyone would have cared who I endorsed).

The big question now is... who will join to run for Vice-President? Rumor is running rampant about Edwards. In his last few public appearances, the southerner has kindly referred to Kerry as his friend. But who would best compliment the Massachusetts Senator? Personally, I would like to see new face. Not too many people know who this is, but he is a funny Jewish guy named Al. NO! Not Al Gore. He already served two terms as the VP. Al Franken is my choice. (I can hear many of you saying "Oh that would be great" and "That is the dumbest thing I have ever heard.") I know this is not really possible - due in part to his new radio show in the works - but a boy can dream, can't he? For a serious candidate, I would look to Congressman Harold Ford, Jr. from Tennessee as a possibility. He is a moderate, young, goodlooking, from the south, African-American, and he endorsed Kerry. There is probably zero chance he will be chosen, but I could see it working well. There will also be talk of Bob Graham, Bill Richardson, Dick Gephardt, and etc.

Let me know who you would like to see as Vice-President.

As of 9:45pm on Tuesday night, 35% of Minnesota precincts have reported their votes on the DFL's homepage. I am amazed to find out that Dennis Kucinich has 19% of the votes. Kerry has 49.4% and Edwards has 26.6%. I would have thought that it would be a little closer between those two.

Am I the only one who finds it annoying when people vote for a candidate that has dropped out? Dean has 344 votes, Lieberman has 16, and Clark has 69. These votes wouldn't really help any of the other candidates out with the percentages like this, but what if the race had been closer? Didn't anyone learn their lesson from Nader 2000?


Monday, March 01, 2004

Super Duper Special Tuesday!

Go out and caucus! Tomorrow (Tuesday, March 2nd 2004) precinct caucuses are held here in Minnesota. If you don't know where to find your caucus you can just click the Minnesota DFL link. The DFL homepage has a tool where you type in your address and it tells you where to go. It starts at 7:00pm, but you need to get there about 6:30 to register. Caucuses will hold a presidential preference vote. That vote will help determine which candidate will run against Bush in November.

In other news... the Star Tribune reported a very interesting story about voter decision making. Although, there is one small problem with it. It argues that Democratic voters aren't necessarily looking for the candidate that would most likely beat George W. Apparently people are actually voting for the candidate that best represents their view on the issues. Exit polls show that voters who believe that the economy is the most important issue favor Edwards. They also state that among issue oriented votes, Kerry doesn't do well. After all that info telling us people want a candidate based on issues... the story ends with this sentence. "Among those who said they voted primarily on the basis of which candidate could beat Bush, Kerry defeated Edwards by 31 percentage points, which you could say is why Kerry won Wisconsin." So Kerry doesn't do well on the issues, and people want an issues candidate... so they vote for Kerry??? I know. I am confused too. Must have been a slow news day at the Strib.

Addressing the Richard Perle resignation, I must say I am somewhat surprised. Officials have claimed that he resigned because he did not want the Bush administration to be criticized for his personal views on foreign policy (such as wanting to invade every middle-eastern country not named Israel). But I wouldn't be surprised if he was forced out. The White House, according to most of what I have read, has been divided into two camps. Bush and Cheney's. There are certain officials that are part of Cheney's crew (Perle, Rumsfeld, and other war hawks) that don't get along so well with Bush's crew (Condoleeza, Powell, Ridge). If Bush's re-election team thought that the crazy things coming out of Perle's mouth would hurt his chances... he is easily replaced and few will miss him.

Paul Spies (of Minneapolis) wrote a very astute letter to the editor for today's Star Trib. He noted that the new Minnesota social studies standards don't even mention the word "caucus." Our schools are is serious danger. Department of Education Commissioner Cheri Pearson Yecke is a disgrace to this state. Besides trying to indoctrinate children with her warped views of US and state history (such as ignoring the Vietnam War, celebrating President Ronald Reagan, and trivialize the ethnic cleansing of Native Americans), she somehow forgot to discuss our process of electing government officials??? I stand by the view that Gov. Pawlenty and his administration are intentionally trying to destroy public education in order to privitize the entire system.

Remember to go caucus.