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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

Freedom Needs Defending - We Need To Act

Category: Donald Trump
Posted: 06/16/18 15:51

by Dave Mindeman

Kids ripped away from their parents.

Is this really America anymore? How much more of this are we going to allow? After all, this is being done in our name. The people of the United States are complicit in a massive incarceration of children.

Sounds pretty bad doesn't it. But this President and his Attorney General think this is a viable solution to our immigration problem.

What is even more grotesque about this is that these are not "illegals". They are simply oppressed people looking for safe harbor. They are applying for asylum under US immigration law. They are coming to the border, turning themselves in and asking for refuge.

And our response is to take their children away from them without telling them where they are taking them or how to contact them.

Asylum seekers treated as criminals.

And through this outrage, Trump will not even take responsibility for the action. He blames Democrats. He blames laws that give him the option. He blames everyone but himself.

He knows the truth. He can end this with a wave of his hand. For once, he has the actual executive power to end this travesty. He doesn't need Congress and he doesn't have to make up a new rule. He can just say, Stop it.

But he won't do that. In his warped mindset, he thinks this is some kind of deterrent. That we can stop people from taking up the Statue of Liberty's offer and seek a new life in a country of opportunity. Trump does not want them. He thinks they are the enemy. While he cozies up to dictators, he thinks that the people they oppress are the real adversary.

I can't believe that we have come to this. I really can't. I have always felt that the people of the United States could never be convinced that this type of cruelty can actually be allowed. I guess I was wrong. It's happening. And the only defense these people have is, once again, the ACLU.

The rule of law is supposed to protect people involved with this country. We are supposed to have our day in court. Trump is making that day as difficult as possible. He lies about it. He blocks it. He pushes his agents to make things as difficult as he can. And he takes away children. The horrible nature of such a thing cannot be allowed to happen.

We are not an autocratic state. Deep within us is the compassion and empathy that will end this assault on decency.

We, as the citizens of a free nation, must insist that freedom win out and that families are kept sacred and intact.

It is the right thing to do.
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"Liberals Don't Know Anything About Guns"

Category: Guns
Posted: 06/09/18 21:01

by Dave Mindeman

The gun debate goes on and on. And every time we make some progress, a new obstacle is put into the path.

The latest version of this is that Democrats can't make rational decisions about guns because they are clueless about how they operate and don't know the different nuances of the variations.

Now that statement is not completely wrong. Democrats are not too concerned about how big the bullet hole is or if the bullet can pierce armor or not or whether it fires 15 rounds per minute or hundreds. The bottom line for Democrats is that some people use them to kill other people.

In a Newsweek article, a former Marine makes this case in detail.


And his arguments have a validity I can understand. But these complications aren't entirely valid because what he seems to be saying is that laws can only be made by well informed gun owners and that policy makers who are Democrats disqualify themselves by their firearm ignorance.

Here are some of his points:

As infantrymen, we lived and breathed guns, because our lives depended on them. We attended schools on their functioning, maintenance, safe operation, and employment. We trained for months to develop the proficiency and confidence to fire machine guns in support of our friends, our rounds impacting just 50 meters in front of our fellow Marines.

So, are we being told that everyone in the country must be fully informed and even trained on guns to participate in policy discussions? We have non-military civilian personnel making military decisions. We have non-doctors doing health care. We have zealots defining reproductive policy. And we have non-scientists determining climate change direction.

Yes, guns are a complicated issue in the US. But we are the only western democracy that has this problem. We tend to start our discussions with the idea that everything about guns must be free, open and legal. Other countries start their discussion with what can we safely allow.

But then our author goes back to semantics:

The intent isn't bad--we want to stem the tide of gun violence sweeping across America. It's a necessary and noble goal. The prevalence of mass shootings in America, especially those targeting schools and children, is a horrifying trend. Gun control is part of the answer. However, in doing so, we have attempted to distinguish between murderous 'assault weapons' and 'reasonable weapons' owned by recreational gun owners and hunters. The Assault Weapons Ban of 1994 was such an attempt. It identified features to classify a rifle as an '"assault weapon"'--not one of which has anything to do with the weapon's function. Two are ergonomic (adjustable stocks and pistol grips), one is irrelevant (bayonet lug), one is insignificant (flash suppressors), and one is already regulated (grenade launchers).

Sure, I can stipulate that the average American doesn't read up on these differences - but I and most anyone else DOES know the difference between hunting weapons and weapons of death. Yes, some people immensely enjoy shooting at the range. Firing expensive round after expensive round into a stationary target from some distance and with noise reduction head phones maintaining some silence. Sure, I guess some people call that fun. But if that is the choice you wish to make, then why should the rest of us be compelled to make that selection easier and easier to obtain? Why?

Gun owners have a myriad of protections to protect their ownership. We are the only country that has a special second amendment in their Constitution. I accept that. I don't begrudge that right. But where is the special protections for the rest of us who have to live in a world that has hundreds of millions of guns in them. That has multiple mass shootings per month....many of them at schools. Where is our amendment? Where are our protections?

The 2nd Amendment is not absolute. No right ever is. We can debate what we need to do, but dismissing my concerns because I don't study a weapons catalog is not acceptable. Public policy is for the public - not just for the NRA.

Mr. Vrolyk does make some common sense suggestions...

There are obvious improvements--requiring universal background checks and making bump stocks as illegal as fully automatic sears. Most Americans agree on these reforms, and they should be enacted into law--yesterday.

Yes, I think most of us agree with that - but though he says these laws should have been enacted yesterday, why haven't they?

Because responsible gun owners, the educated gun owners continue to support the gun maker lobby to fight every restriction put forward.

More agreement...

We must stop hiding from this hard conversation. We should talk about regulating semi-automatic rifles more stringently than bolt-action rifles. We should talk about different regulations for weapons with detachable or high-capacity magazines. We should talk about these things--even when they impact hunters or recreational shooters--because they affect how weapons function. We will face opposition, not just from the NRA and the industry, but also from responsible Americans who own guns. My Marines might be among them. But we don't need to convince them to accept our position on gun control--only to recognize that our approach is honest.

I concur....on virtually all of that. Except the part where he contends that current gun safety approaches have not been honest. In fact, I would contend that the gun lobby is the one who has not been honest. There is no reason for gun manufacturers to get special exemptions from liability. There is no need for foolish arguments about arming teachers. There is no sense to the idea that the government is constantly trying to take away legal gun ownership.

None of that is honest. The majority of it is political. Until we stop looking for obstacles in the gun debate and rather look for REAL solutions - we will never get anywhere.

Democratic ignorance about guns is not the problem. I would gladly defer to the expertise of gun owners when making public policy. But if they are not serious about gun safety and are only looking for excuses to bury the topic once more - the we will need to move around them.

We need to fix this - and if that means in spite of the gun lobby - so be it.
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Some DFL Gov Analysis and Thoughts

Category: 2018
Posted: 06/07/18 15:37

by Dave Mindeman

OK, I am going to offer up a discussion of the governor's race here. I want to make it clear from the outset that I am not promoting or endorsing any particular campaign. Not at all. I am still deciding what to make of all this - so some of this is just thinking out loud.

So with that said, here are those thoughts.

I don't buy the idea that the Democrats are in disarray and hurting their November chances. All of these filings will take some time to sort out but you can make a case that the DFL attention going into the primary could be a very positive thing - even if some of it means airing a lot of dirty laundry.

The Republicans have their own divisions - they have always done better at internalizing those issues in their tribal ways. But that does not make them any less of a factor. A Pawlenty/Johnson race will probably get nastier than anything Democrats might deal with.

The catalyst of most of the Democratic activity probably centers around Keith Ellison's decision to leave his Congressional seat and file for Minnesota Attorney General.

I think his reasoning is real and actually very logical. He can be more effective in dealing with the Trump administration by serving Minnesota from the AG office. California is the prime example and Ellison teaming up California AG Xavier Becerra to tag team Trump's administration in a legal sense is a great, grand strategy.

But for Democrats, there is another aspect which is more important. With Ellison running for re-election, the CD5 race would be a sleepy race with a slight uptick in turnout to vote for Governor. But the Ellison filing turns CD5 into a Democratic turnout juggernaut. Our core voters will be weighing in on a CD5 primary and November election. The national interest will be significant with Ilhan Omar in the mix. And with her legislative seat now in play, and that, in turn, will affect turn out in 60B.

So who benefits? Frankly, it probably benefits the endorsed Erin squared ticket. These are the most metro and most blatantly liberal voters in the state - and they will be coming out in the primary in droves.

So there is one point to ponder.

But let's look at it in another way. Lori Swanson and Rick Nolan provide a working base in the 8th District. Democratic mining and 2nd Amendment people can find a home in that campaign. And again, it will probably benefit turnout in the Range, where there still is a basic core Democratic base. This ticket has more geographic balance, however, Swanson has alienated a significant portion of the core liberal vote.

Walz/Flanagan has been counting on an appeal to a statewide constituency. Their base will be in the rural first district. The early addition of Flanagan to the ticket was a wise choice. She automatically brings in a progressive base appeal - balances the ticket geographically -and enhances the youth and female vote. That strategy may have gotten a hiccup from all the last minute filings. The statewide strategy is still a good one meant for the general election - but now it will have to overcome a primary electorate which will be more left than expected.

So, any issue of disunity in the party is probably going to be made up for in turnout expectations. Democrats will be very engaged. Candidates that can emerge from the primaries without getting into negative warfare, will have a clear path to win in November.

Like I said before, I have the feeling that the negative aspects of a primary contest are larger for Republicans because the Trump schism in the party will have to be aired out in public. Don't underestimate that problem.

So, when you see people shaking their heads about "Democratic disarray", don't buy into it. The interest is with Democrats and if the GOP thinks they have a window of turning Minnesota red - they are wrong.
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