First, a little clarification on the “Light Brigade.” This term originally referred to a British military unit of light (as in not heavy) cavalry that engaged with the Russians (the enemy in this story) during the Crimean War, in October, 1854. The brigade, made up of Light Dragoons, Lancers, and Hussars, was tasked to take over some territory from which Turkish (not the enemy) troops had been vanquished, in order to prevent the Russians from recovering artillery pieces left there. But somehow, there was a miscommunication, and the Light Brigade was sent to attack a well fortified and entrenched enemy unit that they had no business dealing with. This assault gained no ground and 110 of about 670 troops were killed, 161 wounded. Continue reading The Charge of the Light Brigade: A Cautionary Tale
To the Editor:
I was disappointed but unsurprised that Congressman Erik Paulsen supports the Trump tax plan. The elimination of a state tax deduction will disproportionately hurt Minnesotans. The huge giveaway to corporations that send jobs overseas hurts all Americans. The multi-billion dollar tax break for billionaires while everyone else continues to pay the same is a cynical payback to those who fund our broken election system.
The rest of the Minnesotan Republican delegation also loves the plan. We need no further proof that Republican is the party of the 1 percent, a special club which, by definition, 99 percent of us are not allowed in!
First a word about our lovely press. If I hear one more reporter grovel and squirm about how we don’t really want to hurt the NRA or take away any gun rights or do anything unreasonable, no, no, we just want to assume there is a solution to the carnage that does not inconvenience any of the gun loving yahoos that watch our networks …. then I’m going to I just don’t know what. Reporters: Please leave open the possibility that a double digit percentage of Americans don’t care one whit how much restrictions there ends up being on guns. We just want the insanity to end, and if that means taking away all the guns, then, whatever. It was not our decision to make guns so available that they can be amassed in sufficient quantities to shoot over five hundred people in one sitting. We want results, we do not care, not one bit, who’s feelings are hurt.
But I digress.
You need to do this before any upcoming elections. Find out who on the ballot has a record of opposing guns vs. who has a record of supporting guns, and vote against the gun supporters and for the gun opposers.
In a recent rating of recent and current members of the Minnesota House delegation, the NRA gave Rick Nolan, Keith Ellison, and Betty McCollum the grade of “F” and none of these three lawmakers have taken money from them.
Collin Peterson took $2,500 bucks from the NRA, Michele Bachmann took $3,500, Erik Paulson took 2,250, John Kline $2,500, and Tim Walz took $2,000. They all got a rating of “A” from the NRA.
Notice that party lines are being crossed here.
During the recent congressional session, Congresspersons Betty McCollum and Keith Ellison supported zero bills that support guns, but have supported 14 gun control bills.
Richard Nolan has supported one gun control bill.
Al Franken has supported two gun control bills.
Amy Klobuchar has supported two gun control bills.
Those are the clear good guys in Congress from Minnesota. But you might ask why the great variation in number of bills?
Congressman Erik Paulsen has supported one gun rights bill and has not supported any gun control bills. Collin Peterson has supported three gun rights bills and zero gun control bills. Tom Emmer has supported zero gun control bills and five gun rights bills. John Kline has supported a whopping nine gun rights bills and zero gun control bills.
Last night, I went to an event, apparently organized by an indivisible group, in Plymouth Mass.
Plymouth is in Minnesota’s 3rd Congressional District, and is represented by Congressman Erik Paulsen. Paulsen took over, years ago, from a “reasonable Republican” that even Democrats in CD03 remember fondly. But Paulsen has quietly and without fanfare served as a Tea Party Republican since being elected. During the time that he and Michele Bachmann served in the same Congress, in physically adjoining districts, Paulsen and Bachmann voted the same way on almost every bill, and the few differences were trivial, such as, one was absent, or a division on a water district resource bill, or something really minor.
Other than being a lock-step Republican, Paulsen is famous for something else: Doing or saying absolutely nothing to anyone at any time, and keeping entirely to himself. Back when he was first elected, he had a town hall meeting or two, the last of which was done electronically, as far as anyone remembers, so no one would be in the room with him. That was close to seven years ago. It is like Paulsen is pathologically unable to be in a room with constituents.
Meanwhile, the voters of the third district are a mixture of Democratic union supporters and recent immigrants who are politically active and vote, wealthy Republicans who quietly write checks and vote, and workers in the technology, medical device, or Big Ag industries whose livelihoods depend on good science policy in Congress but who are not politically active and don’t vote. This is the education district. Some of the top school districts in the state are in this congressional district. But the voters prefer to send education-killing Republicans to the State House and an anti-Education member to Congress, then compensate for their bad policies by voting yes, sometimes, on school district bonding bills. It makes very little sense that Erik Paulsen gets elected every two years.
Part of this has to do with the inability of Democrats to get their acts together. One year, two medium-strong candidates slogged it out in the primary and caucus process, but caused so much hate that a lot of Democratic voters stayed home. Several year later, in 2016, that vitriol probably kept some of the Democrats that might have elected one of those candidates, back for another try, from being elected. One year we had a good candidate who was very honest, and thus, another candidate who was less than honest in his positions was selected to run against Paulsen, and he stopped running several weeks before the election for personal reasons. One year a really good candidate emerged, but a different candidate, very well connected in the Democratic Party on the national level, shoved him aside, ran, and lost. That sort of thing.
So, the other day, I was communicating with some environmental activists about an event we’ve got coming up. Somebody said, “hey, let’s bring some flyers for our event to that thing going on Thursday down at the church.” So I looked into the thing.
It turns out that an Indivisible group had organized a Town Hall for Congressman Erik Paulsen. He never has his own, so they kindly organized one for him. He was invited, but just in case, they got a big cardboard cutout to put up in front of the room.
The event was not that well publicized. I know a lot of activists in the area who did not know about it. I learned about it at the last minute from a random mention, as noted. And, I did go.
So, I got in the car to drive the five minutes down to the church. Partway there, traffic stopped. About 25 minutes later, I got to the church, crawling along in this huge traffic jam, that was going out in all directions from the church. Five minutes after that I got a parking spot a few blocks away, and walked down to the church. So, maybe a thousand cars were in this giant traffic jam, and hundreds of people were standing around outside the church. Inside, were the 600 or so maximum occupancy, and and the cardboard cutout.
One or two thousand, maybe a little more, citizens showed up to let Erik Paulsen know that they did not appreciate his having ignored the voters for so long, and demanding to know what he will do, as a member of the House, and as a Republican, about his fellow Republican, Donald Trump.
I hear the news reporters were there, but there were no TV trucks identified as being affiliated with a station. I saw one guy from MinnPost. I see zero coverage of this event on most of the news this morning, and where there is coverage, it is minor (the Strib did something small).
If people are wondering what they can do about Trump, one thing you can do right now is to contact WCCO, KARE, FOX-9, Eyewitness 5, and the Star Tribune and ask them why they did not cover the protest with a couple thousand people at it held in Plymouth.
First, a word to my fellow Minnesotans. Go the the damn caucus tonight! For the rest of you, please become aware of the political process where you live and get involved. Science-oriented people, people who understand that climate change is real and important and that we need to develop a green energy economy (with our without nuclear, that’s a separate issue not an alternative) need to become more involved in the political process. Support candidates who understand these things and who will work towards saving us from driving of the cliff we are heading rapidly towards. Also, keep gender in mind; support excellent women candidates. Also, keep diversity in mind. Support diverse candidates. OK, you really can’t be a “diverse” person, but you know what I mean.
Climate change did play a measurable, observable role in some of the elections last year. I don’t think we can say that it was the deciding issue in any campaign, but there is almost never a single deciding issue. Rather, there is a short list of issues that matter in many campaigns, and quite possibly, for the first time ever climate change was on that short list for some contests. It is YOUR job (and mine) to make sure that climate change is on the short list for all campaigns ever from now on. We have to start by getting involved in the electoral process. In the 17 or so US states with a caucus system, this means becoming a delegate. Being a delegate means candidates go out of their way to find you, talk to you, find out what is important to you. Why the heck would you NOT want to do that? Eventually, you will be a member of what is effectively a small Electoral College who will decide who runs from your district. Your vote may end up being one of only dozens that determine candidates for your party at various levels.
For me, I’ll be working to retire the Republican representative from my district, Minnesota CD3. Erik Paulsen is probably more pro-environment than he votes, but he is a cookie-cutter Tea Bag Republican and votes the party line along with Michele Bachmann (I can see her district from my living room) and the rest of the over-the-top conservatives who run the Republican party, and thus, the House, at the moment. He needs to go.
I’ll be working to recruit a woman of color who has a background as a scientists (chemistry degree, worked in green technology early in her career) and for whom climate change and green energy are top issues, along with the usual social justice and economic issues. This is why I’l be supporting Sharon Sund if she runs. (If you want to help me help her to decide to run, even if you don’t live in Minnesota or, for that matter, the US, pleas go SIGN THIS PETITION!)
I’ll also be working with Shawn Otto and others to advance the Science Debate Project. I don’t know what we’d be doing this particular election cycle but we need to have the candidates for president in two years debate science in the public forum. In the mean time, everybody should be debating science in the public forum. And no, I don’t mean science vs. science denialism. I mean demonstrating an understanding of the science on one hand and making claims about policy that is actually based on the science on the other.
Sitting around and complaining about how science does not enter politics and when it does, it does so as a lifeless Tea-Drinking Zombie, is uninteresting and unproductive. It isn’t that hard for individuals to do something, and if enough pro-science individuals get involved, change can happen.
Go make change happen. Please.
Obomified with this on line resource.
I’ve written a post I’d like you to read at Minnesota Progressive Project: Why Erik Paulsen Has To Be Replaced As Minnesota’s Third District Representative
I’ve written a post I’d like you to read at Minnesota Progressive Project: Why Erik Paulsen Has To Be Replaced As Minnesota’s Third District Representative
As many of you know, because you’ve not seen me around as much as usual, I’ve been devoting a considerable amount of my time to volunteering for a political campaign in my district. I’m trying to help Sharon Sund replace Erik Paulsen in the Third Congressional District of Minnesota. Erik is the Republican who took over the seat held by Jim Ramstad, who was a moderate Republican.
I wrote a blog post during the last congressional race addressing the question: Who is Erik Paulsen, anyway? Go read it if you have a chance, but I can summarize it for you: Have you seen the old Mission Impossible TV show, where the guy reaches down to his neck and pulls off a mask and it’s somebody else? If Erik Paulsen did that, he’d look like this when the mask came off:
There are three reasons that I’m supporting Sharon, and this has evolved over time so pay attention:
1) She is an Unabashed Liberal Progressive. I feel that we need more people like her in Congress, and I feel that running a “moderate” against a “Bachmann Clone” is a doomed strategy.
2) Although I tend to agree with Sharon on issues across the board, I’m particularly interested in her work in Health Care (that thing we used to have until the SCOTUS gutted it, I kid nervously?) and Green Energy and the related Green Economy. She was trained as a scientist and worked in Green Energy, as well as information technology and has experience in the medical device industry.
3) I’ve been watching her, as well as other candidates for various positions in various settings (the latter, over many years) speaking to audiences and small groups, and there is something Sharon does not ever do: She does not adjust her story on the issues depending on whom she is speaking with. She won’t tell environmentalists that she’s for saving the forests, spotted owl collectors that she’s against saving the forests, and Union representatives that she wants to turn the forests into jobs at any cost. (She is generally pro environment and pro jobs, I quickly add. Not sure how she stands on the Spotted Owl specifically, but I’m not worried.)
4) Some issues are hard, difficult, tricky, and approaches to them have to be nuanced and correspondingly complex. Sharon is reluctant to simplify her position on these issues into a sound bite, and prefers to discuss the complexities and hear what people have to say about them. (See the part above about having a background in science.)
5) After watching her campaign for a while, I’ve realized that Sharon has the campaign organization in place to win in November. She is running for the nomination against another DFLer, Brian Barnes (Brian is a really nice guy and is good on the issues too) so there is a campaign going on now for us to observe how she does. And, Sharon Sund is ahead in delegates (we are almost done with the nomination campaign … the last “convention” is Saturday) and had a great showing last Saturday when nine conventions happened on the same day, even winning in her worthy opponent’s home district.
Here is the list of people I’ve had the pleasure to meet working as a volunteer on this campaign; note that the campaign staff has grown as Sharon’s campaign gains momentum, and various experts have flocked to join. Here is the growing list of endorsements Sharon has received. This is a long list considering that endorsements don’t really start happening until after the nomination, or even the primaries, in Minnesota (we have a complicated system).
And now, the moment you have been waiting for. Here is the web page you can go to in order to donate to Sharon’s campaign.
When Sharon or any other person running for office asks for money, they have to be all nice and stuff. I don’t. IF YOU DON’T GIVE SHARON MONEY I WILL BE REALLY MAD AT YOU. I will, of course, be relying on the honor system to see if you’ve donated or not. But I know when you are telling me the truth and when you are not, so don’t even bother resisting. Just click there now and send Sharon 10 bucks. Or 25, if you can.
ORDER BY MIDNIGHT! … It turns out that if you give some money to Sharon’s campaign right now, by the end of the day Friday, there is a person who will match your donation.
That is all, thank you very much.