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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

Norm Gets It Wrong On Somali Recruitment

Category: Norm Coleman
Posted: 04/23/15 21:27, Edited: 04/23/15 21:29

by Dave Mindeman

I am more than a little troubled about Norm Coleman's Op-Ed in the Star Tribune, regarding the recruitment of young men in Minneapolis for the terror networks of ISIS and Al-Shabab.

I say troubling because I am a little leary of exactly what Norm Coleman would want us to do about this.

He focuses on what US Attorney Andy Luger said recently after some terror arrests:

"To be clear," he (Luger) said, "we have a terror-recruitment problem in Minnesota. ... This case demonstrates how difficult it is to put an end to recruiting here."

Regarding which, Norm extrapolates:

When the U.S. attorney tells the nation that Minnesota has a terror-recruitment problem, it is time for Minnesota to do something.

What bothers me about what Norm says here is that he seems to be saying that we aren't doing anything. And I would say that this is not true.

Back in November, US Attorney Andy Luger was invited to the White House and received Federal backing for an anti-recuritment program....

The one-year pilot program -- labeled Building Community Resiliency -- will include job creation and after-school activities and is likely to cost millions. The Obama administration has targeted Boston and Los Angeles for similar pilot programs aimed at other minority communities with strong ties to the Middle East.

This program has been put forward after consultation with the Somali community and looks like a very good first step in confronting the problem.

What is hampering efforts to gain trust in these communities is the tendency for profiling them...

Somalis have complained vigorously to Luger about racial profiling when they fly out of the Twin Cities. Describing it as a "serious and recurring problem."

What I fear Norm Coleman's "awareness" effort is going to do is worsen that profiling issue.

Yes, Minnesotans should be on the alert, but let's let the professionals work on the actual details of thwarting these recruitment practices. This is not a case for the average Minnesotan to get directly involved and hamper efforts of communication between law enforcement and the communities affected directly.

To me, Andy Luger is doing this right. He is not denying the problem exists - he seeks to confront it - and he is working with the Somali community to find those solutions.

There will be some natural conflicts between law enforcement and the Somali community as a whole, but I think Norm Coleman is wrong to broaden the activity via a "task force" or worse, put forward legislative hearings which would allow uninformed legislators to worsen or agitate the situation.

Norm is not addressing or forwarding a solution to the known root causes of this problem....

Job creation is likely going to be a key marker, community leaders say. Minnesota's demographers estimate that only 49 percent of the Somali-born population between the ages of 16 and 64 are working, based on survey averages from 2007 to 2011. In addition, among the men in Minnesota's five largest immigrant and refugee groups, Somali men of working age were most likely to struggle to find employment, demographers found.

Luger said a second, immediate issue is assuring Somalis that their personal freedoms will be respected even as federal authorities protect national security, especially at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

I am sure Norm Coleman means well. But he latches on to the same old tired Republican solution to these problems - fearmongering. We must isolate minority communities....single them out....force them to defend the group as a whole for the actions of a small group.

That is exactly what we do not need here. We need to help the Somali community assimilate into our society and help them to deal with some of their own troubled youth. Not with fear, but with the compassion that is the only right way to change this disenchantment and hopelessness.

Norm is right about one thing....this IS a Minnesota problem and not just a Somali problem. And what they need is Minnesota's support, not more suspicion.
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On This Earth Day, A Whole Lot Of Education Needed

Category: Environment
Posted: 04/22/15 00:29, Edited: 04/22/15 00:32

by Dave Mindeman


It is Earth Day. Let's hope we can still be celebrating this well into the future. But if any changes are going to occur, I think this country is going to need a shift in educational perceptions.

A Yale Climate Opinion study in 2014 gave us a little more nuanced look into the way Americans view climate change -- and they broke it down by state.

The interactive map can be viewed here....

A number of things were disappointing in the survey.

While 63% do believe that global warming is happening...only 48% attribute it to human activity. Unless we accept the fact that we have culpability in this problem, there isn't much likelihood that we will make the sacrifices necessary to find a solution.

What is somewhat surprising is that although Texas and Minnesota have an equal belief (63%) that global warming is happening, Texas actually has a slightly higher acceptance that it is man-made (49% TX - 48% MN) The MN number there is quite surprising...and extremely disappointing.

And here is an even more discouraging note - only 41% of Americans believe that most scientists have a consensus on climate change. 34% believe that there is quite a bit of disagreement. I find that astonishing.

The misinformation has been effective.

The urgency of the situation is also questioned by most people. Only 34% believe that climate change can harm "me" personally; yet, 61% will concede that future generations will be affected.

Still, it seems, the lack of personal effects reduces the willingness to confront the problem.

On this Earth Day, I think it is necessary to take stock of the education needed to make this particular generation understand what is at stake. This is not about our own comfort level or effects - it is about what we leave for the future. And frankly, that is the near future as we watch the predictions begin to take hold.
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Bachmann To Obama: Thank You For Being Demonic

Category: Michele Bachmann
Posted: 04/21/15 18:45

by Dave Mindeman

I don't know what it is about Michele Bachmann, but she inspires weird things to happen in my head....

Her latest weirdness:

Former Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) expressed a mixture of condemnation and appreciation toward President Barack Obama for, in her words, bringing the world to end times.

"We need to cry out to a Holy God," Bachmann said on Jan Markell's "Understanding the Times" radio show over the weekend. "This is coming faster than anyone can see."

"Barack Obama is intent, it is his number one goal, to ensure that Iran has a nuclear weapon," she said. "Why? Why would you put the nuclear weapon in the hands of madmen who are Islamic radicals?"

Bachmann, however, then seemed to approve of the President moving mankind into "the midnight hour."

"We get to be living in the most exciting time in history," she said, urging fellow Christians to "rejoice."

"Jesus Christ is coming back. We, in our lifetimes potentially, could see Jesus Christ returning to Earth, the Rapture of the Church."

"These are wonderful times," she concluded.

Bachmann made similar remarks on Markell's show last week.

"We have very little time, in my opinion, left before the second return of Christ. That's good news."

OK - ready for more weird? As I read that article, for some strange reason Andrew Gold's hit single (and theme for the Golden Girls) "Thank You For Being A Friend"....kept going through my head. I have no explanation - it just happened.

Which naturally led me to what would be Michele Bachmann's version of the lyrics. So hum that tune along as you check these lyrics out....

Thank you for being demonic,
Pushed the apocalypse and brought the Son,
your heart is cold, you're Satan and a evil man.

You can count on me to say,
I'm alway there - I'll always be this way
My brain is whacked, won't you smile and take a bow.

And if you threw a party
Invited everyone we knew
You would see, the biggest gift would be from me
and the card attatched would say,
Thank you for being demonic.

Thank you for being demonic
Thank you for being demonic
Thank you for being demonic

If it's nuclear you lack
I'd help to get your back
Whatever it takes, any time or any kind of might.

You can count on me to say,
I'm always there - I'll always be this way
My brain is fried, won't you smile and take a bow.

And since we won't get older
With walking canes and hair of gray
There's no fear, even though it's hard to hear
I will take my Bible and say,
Thank you for being demonic

(I want to thank you)
Thank you for being demonic
(I want to thank you)
Thank you for being demonic
(I want to thank you)
Thank you for being demonic
(I want to thank you)
Let me tell you bout demonic
(I want to thank you)
Thank you for being demonic
(I want to thank you)
Thank you for being demonic
(I want to thank you)
Thank you for being demonic

And as the rapture comes, I float away
Into the night, the Milky Way
You'll hear me call, as I ascend
Won't see you here, but once again
Thank you for being demonic.

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