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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Earth Day spoiled by spill

The oil rig explosion occurred on Earth Day. Could it have been eco-terrorism? Or just plain terrorism?

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Wall Street reform

I’m glad this is on the table. They can do banking, energy, and immigration all at the same time as far as I’m concerned. I think the GP approach at this point would be to quick use reconciliation to pass positive things people will notice before November, as well as positive things that will take longer to notice. The blueprint for energy is “Confronting Collapse” by Michael C. Ruppert. The blueprint for Wall Street reform is “The Web of Debt” by Ellen Brown, which I have mentioned several times on this blog.

I have a couple new talking points for you:

“Republicans want to debate financial reform in secret.”

“Too big to fail means too big to be a single company.”

Protest the RSC

Protesting the RSC.
RSC Welcoming Committee.
Defend the RSC 8!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Kelliher supports single payer

Yes, this is encouraging, and as one might expect because of the brutality issue, I am relieved that Rybak did not advance.

Interestingly, the Strib reported that ReNEW MN came close to endorsing Rybak, but did not have 60% within their group. So, apparently Rukavina and Marty beat them to the punch. The spokesperson for ReNEW is Erik Peterson, who Cam Gordon and I worked with as part of the 6-member Citizens' Reform Network in 1993. Peterson went on to become Marty's first campaign manager, but they had a falling out which I never got to the bottom of.

I know Kelliher blocked putting the stadium tax to a vote of the people, but I want to hear from opinion leaders Dave Bicking, Farheen Hakeem, and David Shove. Is Kelliher better than Rybak?

Tom Cleland
Golden Valley

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Employer immigration tax

We don’t have an illegal immigration problem. We have an illegal employer problem. The solution: Tax employers who hire non-citizen immigrants. Structure the scale of the tax to split the difference of the margin that is saved by hiring immigrants over U.S.-born citizens, and graduate it on how long the immigrants have been here. Long-time immigrants would be virtually grandfathered in, while new immigrants would provide no incentive for employers. This way, the flow of people could be slowed without sudden disruption, and the government could have a new source of revenue. I’m putting this idea forward as a possible compromise. Ideally, there would be no border controls except for potential terrorists.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Greens in ReNEW MN

I found the following Greens on this DFL “Supporter List”:


Mahamed A Cali
Darrell Gerber
Marcus Harcus
Bill Oldfather

Do these people need to de-activate their Green Party memberships, as I did when I caucused DFL? If any of them are DFL delegates, the DFL says they cannot be active members of another political party.

Even if they are not DFL delegates, it is still extremely disappointing, as ReNEW MN is committed to supporting one of three conservative candidates for governor: Rybak, MAK, or Thissen. I have chronicled some of the problems with these three on my blog: http://tomstream.blogspot.com/2010/03/i-hereby-resign-from-dfl.html

Rybak clearly violates the KV of Nonviolence. This is stunning.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Robert A. Cleland, 1920-2010

[Below is the obituary for my uncle, Robert A. Cleland. When my father, Burton J. Cleland, died in 1982, Uncle Bob sent checks to my sister Janet and me, to help us with our college expenses. While in college I traveled to Chicago with the U of M Ad Club for a field trip, and met Bob downtown. He was chairing a meeting of activist leaders, and that had a lasting impression on me. More than anyone, Bob persuaded me to leave the Republican Party, which I eventually did around 1990. My most recent trip to Chicago was in July 2008, which I chronicled on this blog. Bob was an inspiration, who led an exemplary life. -- Tom]

Robert A. Cleland, longtime Wilmette resident, 89, died April 11 at home, leaving his wife of 65 years, Jean, nee Rolfing; six children; and three grandchildren. A 1943 graduate of the University of Minnesota, Cleland served as a Naval officer until 1946. In the 1960s he co-founded the Wilmette chapter of the Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy and organized protests against the Vietnam War. After retirement in 1976 he served as director of NOMOR, an arms-control advocacy group, and co-founded the North Suburban Peace Initiative (NSPI). As members of Wilmette's First Congregational Church (UCC) for 54 years, the Clelands urged the church toward positions against the Vietnam War and in support of civil rights, affordable housing, sanctuary for Central American refugees, and nuclear disarmament. In 1986, Cleland was the Democratic candidate for Congress in Illinois's Tenth District, earning the endorsement of the local Pioneer Press newspapers. As an activist, Cleland gave countless presentations at churches, universities, and community forums; organized marches and demonstrations; and regularly composed essays, signature ads, and letters to the editor. Beginning in 1957, "Mr. C." turned the family's backyard into a playground for two generations of neighborhood children, who played on rope swings and flew through the air on an overhead zip line. In winter, tobogganers raced down an iced ramp and across the snowy yard. Cleland enjoyed gardening, singing in the church choir, chopping wood, and writing frequent newsletters to a far-flung network of relatives and friends. A memorial service will take place in May. In lieu of flowers, the family welcomes contributions to NSPI (www.nspipeace.org).
Published in Chicago Tribune on April 13, 2010

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Moment of Truth for Bicking

[This post is from Dave Bicking. He is up for reappointment to the Minneapolis Civilian Review Authority, which investigates complaints of police misconduct. I consider Dave to be the city's foremost intellectual and trusted watchdog.]

I attended the City Council's Committee of the Whole meeting this morning. You'll recall that after the hearing at the Public Safety Committee last Wednesday (March 24), they passed a motion to move forward all the applicants' names with no recommendation, for discussion at the Committee of the Whole. As I noted then, the usual process is to move it forward to the City Council meeting directly, and normally the Council is presented with a list of recommended appointees at their meeting - the decisions having been made behind closed doors in the meantime.

So it looked hopeful that this would at least lead to a bit of open discussion today on the merits of the applicants. Or at least a brief discussion regarding the remarkable and unprecedented unwillingness to reappoint a reliable incumbent CRA board member.

Ha! I of all people should know better. That just isn't the way things are done in this city. Instead, when we finally came to the report from the Public Safety Committee (after 2-1/2 hours), Don Samuels, Public Safety Committee Chair, just read off the recommended list of names - three appointments chosen by the mayor, and one "chosen" by the City Council - though one wonders who actually made that choice.

At least that was a little better than the usual process - we know one day ahead of time who the Council will be voting on. One other significant piece of good news - Ward 2 Council member Cam Gordon indicated an intent to introduce a substitute motion during the Friday meeting. He didn't reveal the nature of that motion, and there was no further discussion.

I'll bet you can guess by now that I wasn't on the recommended list. Here's who was: Mayor's choices: Arlene Santiago, Ward 11 Dean Kallenbach, Ward 6 Pramma Elayaperumal, Ward 2 City Council choice: Mary Pargo, Ward 2.

I don't think it is appropriate for me to comment on the merits of any of these appointees, at least until after Friday's meeting.

There is a reason I listed their wards. It is very unlikely that it is just coincidence that the only two applicants from Ward 2 were both chosen, especially since one existing board member is also from that ward. I think the intention was to lessen the likelihood that Cam Gordon would try to amend the list to include me, since that would mean going against someone from his own ward. Given Cam's announcement that he plans to introduce a substitute motion, that appears not to have worked. (Thank you, Cam Gordon!)

IF Cam can find a second for his substitute motion tomorrow morning, there will be a discussion, or at least a vote, regarding my reappointment (assuming that is Cam's motion). That is a very good thing. At least Council members will have to vote for or against my reappointment. Maybe someone will even express a reason publicly. In three emails and in my public testimony, I asked for any Council member with a concern about my reappointment to let me know what that concern is, so I could address it. I have received NO responses.

I want to thank the two brave souls who accompanied me this morning - and apologize for leading them into such tedium. Tomorrow morning's full Council meeting may be more interesting. (9:30am, Room 317, City Hall)

Also, thanks to all who have signed the petition in support of my reappointment. I sent that to the mayor and all Council members early this morning. It lists 4 organizations, and 316 individuals!!! That is beyond all expectations! This petition, and the overall campaign we have waged, is like nothing the City Council has EVER seen for a board appointment. It shows not just good organizing, but also the depth of support and concern regarding the CRA and its mission. If nothing else, the CRA is far better known than before. If this comes to a vote tomorrow, we get to see if any of the City Council members give a damn.

152 of the signatures are online at: http://www.petitiononline.com/CUAPB004/petition.html

I've also formatted the statement, the signatures, and all 42 comments from the online petition into a single 6-page Word file, which I would be happy to send to anyone who is interested.

Still time to call or email your Council member before tomorrow morning!

I'll report to you again after the final vote tomorrow.

Dave Bicking

Student Loans and Government Banking

Ok, the Dems may have taken a small step in the right direction with this. I trust Ellen Brown: "Student Loans: The Government Is Now Officially in the Banking Business" by Ellen Brown

But I still think Obama is showing us what we would have gotten under Gore or Kerry: Piecemeal incrementalism. And Obama's recent decision to drill offshore sounds like piecemeal decrementalism. In the face of crisis.

Maybe they're testing Brown's theories with the student loans before making the case to expand the concept. I just hope there's time.