Minnesota Network for Progressive Action

About Comments
The mnpACT! blog welcomes all comments from visitors, which are immediately posted, but we also filter for spammers:
  • No active URLs or web links are allowed (use www.yourweb.com).
  • No drug or pharma- ceutical names are allowed.
  • Your comment "Name" must be one word with no spaces and cannot be an email address.
You should also note that a few IP addresses and homepage URLs have been banned from posting comments because they have posted multiple spam messages.

Please be aware we monitor ALL comments and reserve the right to delete obvious spam comments.

Politics Blogs - Blog Top Sites

Listed on BlogShares

site search

Site Meter
  Progressive Political Blog

Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

Withdrawn Ballots Still a Little Foggy

Category: Al Franken
Posted: 12/19/08 16:24

by Dave Mindeman

The US Senate race numbers that are on the media outlets are kind of mysterious. The count is transparent and and then again, its not. For instance, the Coleman campaign sent this out to supporters:

You may have noticed that according to news reports today, Franken has taken the lead. This is only a temporary blip due to the timing of the recount process at the state canvassing board. Because of the timing of when we put in our challenges, the board is treating the Coleman withdrawn challenges on a different timetable from most of Franken's withdrawn challenges. Rather than taking the withdrawn challenges and allocating them behind closed doors and attributing them to the way the ballot was called by the election judge, the board is allocating our withdrawn challenges in this public setting. The withdrawn Franken challenges - which will result in a surge of our numbers - will be done in the next week behind closed doors. So, for example during yesterday's proceedings alone, the board allocated 244 of our withdrawn challenges this resulted in 223 votes going to Franken and 23 to other or 3rd party.

Aside from the little math problem at the end, it does make one wonder what is happening with the withdrawn ballots. Are they being counted into the totals a little at a time? or are they all just sitting there waiting for the challenge phase to end? Coleman seems to be indicating that some of them have been included and that more of Coleman's have been accounted for which would "inflate" Franken's numbers temporarily.

Although most of the information has been made clear by the canvassing board, the withdrawn challenge ballots is one area that is still a little foggy.
comments (0) permalink

The Tax Cut That Destroyed the Economy

Category: Economy
Posted: 12/19/08 06:27

by Dave Mindeman

Question: Could a tax cut have destroyed the economy?

Well, the New York Times is suggesting that the 1997 Capital Gains elimination on home sales may have contributed to the mortgage crisis we have now.

Here is the crux of it:

The provision ? part of a sprawling bill called the Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997 ? exempted most home sales from capital-gains taxes. The first $500,000 in gains from any home sale was exempt from taxes for a married couple, as long as they had lived in the home for at least two of the previous five years. (For singles, the first $250,000 was exempt.)

As more people began to take advantage of this provision, the speculators and the loan sharks entered the scene:

Together with the other housing subsidies that had already been in the tax code ? the mortgage-interest deduction chief among them ? the law gave people a motive to buy more and more real estate. Lax lending standards and low interest rates then gave people the means to do so.

The economic effect has been studied by economists:

But many economists say the net effect of the law was clearly to inflate the real estate market. Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, a liberal policy group in Washington, criticized the exemption as ?a backward policy? that ?helped push more money into housing.?

Tax cuts and tax breaks are easy to sell to the public, but it is irresponsible to move on these type of provisions without looking at the total effect on the economy. Favoring one investment over another can lead to an imbalance in capital outlays.

The tax break on housing wasn't a bad idea on its own, but when an unregulated mortgage market entered the picture....well, we see the end result right now.

Tax policy is not a simple case of tax cut after tax cut. We have a complex system which has consequences. There is no such thing as a simple tax cut anymore.
comments (0) permalink

Spinning Our ?Success? in Iraq

Category: Presidential Politics
Posted: 12/19/08 05:56

by Terry Burke

Two days of the Star Tribune?s coverage of the shoe throwing incident illustrate how the Strib spins the news to give us an inaccurate picture of the situation in Iraq.

On December 16, the Strib has a large article on page 4 devoted to the incident where Iraqi journalist Muntadhar al-Zeidei threw his shoes at President Bush. Their sources for the article were a New York Times and an AP article. It is instructive to note what they chose to put in the article and what was edited out.

They did cover the anti-U.S. demonstration in Sadr City ?calling for an immediate U.S. troop withdrawal?, a demonstration in Baghdad for his release, and three paragraphs about his family?s comments. By giving one fourth of the article to Zeidi?s family?s comments and his Che Guevara poster, the Strib personalizes the opposition to the U.S. occupation. The article makes it clear that this individual is opposed to the occupation but leaves out the quotes in the NY Times from other Iraqis who express their country?s opposition.

?Although that action was not expressed in a civilized manner, it showed the Iraqi feelings, which is to object to the American occupation,? said Qutaiba Rajaa, an Iraqi physician.

?I swear by God that all Iraqis with their different nationalities are glad about this act,? said Yaareb Yousif Matti, a teacher from northern Iraq.

If a Strib reader is one of the many who still operate under the illusion that the U.S. is a liberator of Iraq, rather than an occupier, the article does not dispel that notion. There are also two brief letters to the editor on the 16th. One praises the shoe thrower for having the courage to express what the world has been saying about Bush for six years. The other asks what would have happened to the shoe thrower under Hussein.

On December 17th, what actually happens to the shoe thrower under the U.S. occupation is not printed in the Star Tribune.

The Strib ignores news the rest of the world is covering ? that Zeidi has been beaten in custody. According to the BBC, his older brother Dargham states that, ?Muntadar al-Zeidi has suffered a broken hand, broken ribs and internal bleeding, as well as an eye injury.?

Instead, the Strib gives prominent placement and a picture to a 2 column letter that extols the free speech that now exists in Iraq so that someone could throw a shoe at a head of state ? a letter that states that the only consequence will be ?being subject to rules of public behavior?.

So the myth lives on. We liberated Iraq from Hussein. They now have a democracy. We successfully lowered the level of violence with the surge and most Iraqi people are grateful.

Never mind that we broke the country ? hundreds of thousands were killed, injured, made homeless, became refugees, and are unemployed.

When an Iraqi clearly expresses anger over what has been done to his country ? Zeidi said, ?This is for the widows, the orphans, and those who were killed in Iraq!? ? his act is spun to be a great example of the free speech that now exists. Withhold the information that he was severely beaten in custody. Withhold the quotes from his countrymen supporting his action.

A devoted fan of the Iraqi war can continue to maintain their faith in our ?victory? in Iraq.

Minnesotans deserve more information and less spin.
comments (0) permalink


« March 2018 »
Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28 29 30 31

Latest posts


(one year)




RSS Feeds

RSS 0.91
RSS 2.0

Powered by
Powered by SBlog
Copyright © Minnesota Network for Progressive Action. All rights reserved. Legal. Privacy Policy. Sitemap.