FREE SPEECH ZONE | Drilling deeper into the Bachmann charges

Much has already been written about the frivolous (many would say dangerous) claims Michele Bachmann has made about radical Islamic influence in our government. No need to revisit those; and the comparisons with Joe McCarthy have been well documented. Actually, since I lived in the McCarthy era, I can attest to the validity of those contentions. However, if you drill deeper into the Bachmann phenomenon, there are factors in her actions that are mostly unexplored, and worthy of comment.On the surface, Bachmann shows concern for the security of our government. Also, the idea that she is seeking attention is plausible. Continue Reading

OPINION | Why Minnesota political junkie is calling it quits

Politics in America today is exhausting, crummy, and well…just not worth the effort anymore. At least not for me. How about you?At 79 years old, and about 60 years of deep, active, and personal political involvement, I am ready to “call it quits”. It’s not that I am unconcerned about our state, our nation, or future – its just that politics in today’s America (especially presidential politics) is so unbecoming…so unattractive…so exhausting…so…well you get the idea. At any rate, it’s not for me anymore. Continue Reading

FREE SPEECH ZONE | America falling further behind in global healthcare

 As we continue to get wrapped around the axle of intricate detail in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) now before SCOTUS, we are experiencing a classic case of not seeing the forest for the trees. While we debate the minutiae of a several thousand page document, and critics such as  Michele Bachman claim it will “infringe on personal liberty,” what we really ought to be discussing is assuring that all our citizens will have affordable and universal health care – just as every developed nation in the world, except one, now provides its citizens!  The one developed nation without universal health care: the United States of America. And the arguments against the insurance mandate are so spurious and weak (when viewed globally), it is surprising they are even challenged. Indeed, that is precisely how the rest of the world is getting healthier, while we lag behind.The United Nations has long had criteria as to what constitutes an “industrialized, developed nation”. There are currently 33 on that list. Continue Reading

FREE SPEECH ZONE | GOP tax proposal has no basis of fact

Like a bad meal, brought up again, the Republican dominated Senate repeated the old myth that business tax breaks will create jobs (“Minnesota GOP proposals would phase out state property taxes for businesses”; Pioneer Press 3/21).  There are only three things wrong with this claim: it is unproven … it damages our state’s financial health … and it is (as frequently the case) being proposed by legislators with little or no real life business experience.Let’s start with the latter claim, because everything else following may have more credibility. I DO have real life business experience – like more than 50 years of running my own businesses. After serving in the USAF for 3 years active, and having gone to flight training, af friend of mine owned an advertising agency, and advised me that his largest account sold communications equipment to the Air Force. Continue Reading

The era of conservative discontent

It takes very little political savvy to see the discontent that roams the right in the American political scene. A conservative House of Representatives is dysfunctional – with Speaker Boehner unable to coalesce his troops. The popularity of GOP presidential candidates changes monthly, with half already dropping from the race.  The voices of the Tea Party are surprisingly quiet. Continue Reading

FREE SPEECH ZONE | Newt Gingrich is “tired of the elite media”. I am tired of Newt Gingrich!

Like the newscaster in the movie Network, I am “mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore!” At least not with the nonsense purporting that the major media in America is some sort of liberal cabal conspiring to defeat conservative principles.  Such a claim is totally without merit, and the facts speak just the opposite. And that is why Newt Gingrich’s comments at a recent debate (“…I am tired of the elite media protecting Obama by attacking Republicans”) was so egregious, so wrong, and so lacking the facts.Free Speech ZoneThe Free Speech Zone offers a space for contributions from readers, without editing by the TC Daily Planet. This is an open forum for articles that otherwise might not find a place for publication, including news articles, opinion columns, announcements and even a few press releases.In fact, just a very few major companies dominate ownership of the media in our country – with dangerous implications that come with such consolidation. Moreover, these companies are clearly oriented toward their large corporate interests, and any claims that the major media in our country is skewed left is simply not true. Look at the facts – and the top 4 alone (whose revenue is over $250 Billion annually):GE: General Electric media-related holdings include a minority share in television networks NBC and Telemundo, Universal Pictures, Focus Features, 26 television stations in the United States and cable networks MSNBC, Bravo and the Sci Fi Channel. Continue Reading

FREE SPEECH ZONE | It’s time for a Ronald Reagan reality check

To quote the 40th president’s own words: “There you go again!”  And indeed we do, as we enter the 2012 presidential election year. Virtually every “certified” conservative candidate, at every opportunity, now kneels in front of his or her base, and reverently says the magic words…“Ronald Reagan”. The applause never fails. Free Speech ZoneThe Free Speech Zone offers a space for contributions from readers, without editing by the TC Daily Planet. This is an open forum for articles that otherwise might not find a place for publication, including news articles, opinion columns, announcements and even a few press releases. While Reagan may appear as an iconic figure to those Republicans who solemnly invoke his name, the reality of his presidency was far different than portrayed by his avid admirers. Continue Reading

FREE SPEECH ZONE | Let’s expand Gingrich’s child labor plan

In a well documented and highly controversial statement, Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich called Child Labor Laws “truly stupid” while appearing at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government in November.Free Speech ZoneThe Free Speech Zone offers a space for contributions from readers, without editing by the TC Daily Planet. This is an open forum for articles that otherwise might not find a place for publication, including news articles, opinion columns, announcements and even a few press releases. He then went on to make a proposal that children in poor schools and neighborhoods (like Public Housing projects) would benefit if they were given janitorial tasks in their schools – like cleaning toilets and mopping floors.  If we were to make an assumption that such a plan would benefit these kids (and perhaps our economy long term), there might be a way to expand that idea, as described later in this commentary.Having said that, let’s first start by examining the negatives – and ramifications – of the Gingrich plan. To begin with, it is covertly racist. Gingrich has focused mostly on single mothers living in the projects contending these parents do not provide a good “role model” for honest work. Continue Reading

FREE SPEECH ZONE | The real tragedy of the Solyndra affair

The recent Daily Planet story on the Hiawatha transmission line brings up the subject of clean energy development, and revisiting the demise of Solyndra solar.To some, the potential loss of $500 million of taxpayer money would be the greatest tragedy of the Solyndra event.  And while that kind of loss is not trivial, it is small compared to the long term ramifications of the debacle.Free Speech ZoneThe Free Speech Zone offers a space for contributions from readers, without editing by the TC Daily Planet. This is an open forum for articles that otherwise might not find a place for publication, including news articles, opinion columns, announcements and even a few press releases.To recap, Solyndra is a solar panel manufacturer in Californiawho was provided with a Department of Energy (DOE) loan as part of an effort to stimulate clean energy development in America. The company recently filed bankruptcy and layed off 1100 employees. This is not a defense of the company, the DOE, the Obama administration or any other parties to the transaction. If there is mismanagement, it should be uncovered; if fraud, prosecuted.  But none of this: the loan, the bankruptcy, or the possible mismanagement represents the true tragedy of the event.  The real cost could be aborting and/or diminishing future loans to clean energy developers and manufacturers.Already there are such calls. Continue Reading

FREE SPEECH ZONE | Fear of Muslims has gone over the top

In a recent Daily Planet story on American Muslims after 9/11, and an excellent editorial in the September 11 Star Tribune (“America paid too high a price for fear”), the writers touch on the important point that “political opportunists” have stoked unfounded fears about Islam; and fear mongering “has become  a staple of American political discourse”.  Indeed it has, and although I have written on this subject before, its resurgence at this time deserves renewed discussion and analysis.Free Speech ZoneThe Free Speech Zone offers a space for contributions from readers, without editing by the TC Daily Planet. This is an open forum for articles that otherwise might not find a place for publication, including news articles, opinion columns, announcements and even a few press releases. To start with, less than 1% of our nation’s population is Muslim, yet, we have created a startling xenophobia about the religion.  While our image of Muslims centers on bearded, turban-wearing, armed Middle Eastern zealots — most Muslims do not even live in the Middle East, and most have lives well outside this perceived image. In fact, around 62% of the world’s Muslims live in Asia, with over 683 million adherents in such countries as Indonesia(the largest Muslim country by population, home to 12.9% of the world’s Muslims). Continue Reading