Keith Ellison thinks Dems need to ‘create a crisis’


Congressman Keith Ellison has had it with playing nice with his Republican counterparts. The latest blowup, over compromises on the so-called Bush tax cuts, has the 5th District congressman telling MPR’s Tom Crann: “ ‘I think that we need to create a real crisis here so that the Republicans will have to answer for denying Americans unemployment benefits on the eve of the Christmas holiday,’ Ellison said. ‘We let them off the hook, in my opinion.’ “

The interview also included this exchange:

Ellison: “Another thing that’s very disturbing about this bill is that the giveaways to the highest income brackets are so startling that what we’re literally doing is funding our own demise. We live in the era of Citizens United. This is a Supreme Court case which said that corporate dollars could be spent in campaigns, and as yet, we haven’t even passed the legislation to demand that these dollars disclose their source.” 

Crann: “I need a little more clarity on that. When you say, ‘funding our own demise,’ do you mean the American citizens or do you mean as members of Congress you’re funding your own demise?”

Ellison: “I mean American citizens … We are pushing money to the highest income levels in our society which will invariably be used to suppress programs that are in the best interests of our country, such as education and job creation. Do you understand what I mean now?”

John Hugh Gilmore at Minnesota Conservatives continues to make some of the more salient points from — and toward — that end of the spectrum. In his latest blog, titled “On Losing: Lessons Learned,” he writes: “[T]he media didn’t drag Mark Dayton over the finish line. This narrative from the hard core is boring, actually. MC doesn’t think the Minnesota media is all that tough (this *is* Minnesota, after all) and we can’t really find any sustained mistreatment of our endorsed candidate. That he had lousy skills in dealing with them is his fault. Why can’t that be said out loud? MC does fault the media and all three campaigns for endless debates. For those not born in Minnesota, as MC was not, there are at times things deeply weird about this state that those born here cannot perceive. We offer the earnest, rote, school-boy debates as a first but not only example. [Also] … Minnesota isn’t a Tea Party state but that section of the RPM more or less got Emmer the endorsement. A high school mentality reigned supreme in that faction at the convention and no amount of cold, rational argument could convince them of the downsides of their choice.” Lo! A sprout blooms in the desert.

Tim Pawlenty and Mark Dayton met and played nice Thursday, but at least one dramatic shift in policy will take place ASAP. MPR’s Elizabeth Dunbar reports: “Dayton said he will fulfill a campaign promise to enroll Minnesota in a Medicaid expansion plan soon after taking office in January. Hospitals and health care providers around the state are looking forward to expanded Medicaid because they said it would reduce the state’s cost burden and allow more providers to participate. More than $1 billion in federal funds would come to the state. ‘The money basically is to allow the federal government to pick up half of the cost that Minnesota is currently spending,’ said Mary Krinkie, vice president of government relations for the Minnesota Hospital Association.”

The family of the cabbie accused of assaulting a 26-year-old female passenger says the cops have the wrong man. Mara Gottfried’s story in the PiPress doesn’t leave a lot of room for mistaken identity: “Before a taxi driver in St. Paul allegedly groped a passenger and attempted to rape her, he gave her his cell number and told her to call if she ever needed a ride, police say. The 26-year-old gave the number to police, and they called Abdikadir Yusef Mohamed on Tuesday, said Andy Skoogman, St. Paul police spokesman. A policewoman, posing as a fare, told Mohamed, 23, that she needed a cab at 367 Grove St. Mohamed drove up to what turned out to be St. Paul police headquarters. Police arrested Mohamed on Wednesday, after they showed the victim a photo lineup and she identified the man.” Gottfried adds: “Mohamed’s family in St. Paul spoke on his behalf Thursday, pointing to his clean criminal record and noting that he works two jobs to support his family. ‘I think they have the wrong person,’ Ilhan Aden, Mohamed’s wife, said in an interview. She is nine months pregnant and has a 2-year-old daughter with Mohamed. ‘I asked him and he said he never did the things they’re accusing him of.’ “

The Milwaukee District Attorney’s Office has declined to press charges against the 37-year-old woman accused of pushing over a … 100-year-old Wal-Mart greeter. It’s a story with an after-the-commotion twist. The Sentinel-Journal story, by Ryan Haggerty, says: “Kai Metcalf said Thursday she had no problem allowing a 100-year-old woman who works as a greeter at a Milwaukee Walmart to inspect her receipt as she left the store last month. Metcalf, in an interview at her lawyer’s office, said she did have a problem when the greeter, Lois Speelman, kept complaining about ‘you people,’ before saying something to the effect of ‘You people think you can do whatever you want. Not today.’ That’s when Metcalf, who is black, tried to take her receipt back from Speelman, who is white. The two made what prosecutors described Thursday as ‘incidental contact’ with each other, causing Speelman to fall backward to the ground.” Haggerty continues, “Metcalf said Thursday she wishes she had handled the situation better and apologized for Speelman’s fall. ‘It was humbling and humiliating and a lesson learned,’ Metcalf, a Milwaukee resident, said of the incident and her arrest. ‘I hate that I’ve been made to look like this monster or something, because everybody kind of jumped on the story and ran with it. It was a horrible experience.’ “

The hook is that it is a TV traffic reporter in jail with her second DUI arrest in two years, but you do take some pity when that otherwise anonymous person gets the full C.J. treatment in the Strib. “No comment” might always be the better course in these situations.

Some 3,000 of the 400,000 DVDs the local Catholic Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis mailed out this past fall (with the help of a very generous anonymous donor) are coming back at it. The Strib story, by Rose French, says: “A group of Catholic protesters will go to the archbishop’s office in St. Paul Friday to return about 3,000 DVDs the archdiocese mailed out to support a ban on gay marriage. The project’s organizer, Bob Radecki, of Burnsville, said the group was denied a meeting with Archbishop John Nienstedt to discuss the DVD controversy.” And: “Archdiocese spokesman Dennis McGrath confirmed the group would not be meeting with the archbishop on Friday. ‘The bishops of Minnesota have communicated what the purpose of the DVD production and mailing was,’ he said. ‘And that was to reaffirm that centuries-honored institution of marriage as a union instituted by God between one man and one woman. There’s no reason for future dialogue on these fundamental beliefs of the Church.” Well … that sounds encouraging … and healthy, doesn’t it?

You can also learn about all our free newsletter options.

Comments (19)

  1. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 12/10/2010 - 06:42 am.

    So Ellison thinks that letting people keep more of what they earn is “pushing money” to them.

    So in other words, he obviously considers it his money that he doesn’t want to give away. Typical democrat.

  2. Submitted by Joseph Skar on 12/10/2010 - 07:41 am.

    Dennis – I think you need to understand that the starting position for the Democrat Party is that money earned is inherently the governments first then yours.

  3. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 12/10/2010 - 07:52 am.

    Some of among us believe, having brought themselves to life by slithering out from under rocks in an isolated cave, nursed themselves until they could wean themselves onto solid food, educated themselves (without teachers or school buildings), and fought their way to extremely high levels of income without the assistance of a single other creature on God’s green earth, let alone the inspiring help of God, which led them (aware or not of the source of those inspirations) to purse the avenues they pursued…

    Now, that they have left the caves of their origins behind and, being completely self-made, believe they have no responsibility to help pay, from out of their overabundance of resources, for the societal infrastructures which support their enterprises, keep them healthy, keep them safe (locally and globally), and keep stable the society in which they now live.

    Typical “conservative” Republican (and NOT typical of MOST Republicans).

    But know this, pursuing the making and keeping of money as your “holy grail,” as the only acceptable testament that your life, and you, in living it, have been worth anything, will inevitably disappoint you.

    Money, no matter how much you accumulate, will never give you what you need. The belief that it will inevitably leads those for whom financial wealth, accomplished regardless of the cost to society, the planet, your fellow humans, and yourself, is the ultimate value, will inevitably arrive at their “Richard Cory” moment, whether in this life, or the next.

    Better for such people that they find the help they so need to accomplish the healing of whatever it was that was done to them as they were growing up…

    and thereby find greater health in order that they might see themselves, the world around them (including other people) and their place in that world more accurately, and reestablish their ability to successfully relate in healthier, happier ways, to something OTHER than their wealth – to people, nature, God, etc.

  4. Submitted by Josh McCabe on 12/10/2010 - 07:59 am.

    OK Mr. Tester, I hear you. I sympathize with what you say, I genuinely do. I’m not in favor of mindless redistribution of wealth or class warfare. But it’s a matter of degree and we’ve been here before in this country. It doesn’t end well if you let wealth overconcentrate like this. You’ve got to keep things reasonably balanced, and we aren’t doing that right now.

    Perhaps it helps to talk about this in terms other than money. Imagine: You are sitting at table full of food with 10 others. Everybody is hungry and ready to eat. But then the fattest, meanest person at the table takes 95%% of the food away, eats a huge meal, and locks the rest of it up in a secure pantry. Everyone else at the table splits the remaining 5%. Everybody could have eaten well because there was plenty for all, but now it sits locked away. Gee whiz, that seems ridiculuous, and .

    Oh, and the one person who took 95% says they had to work very hard to get it, and that anyone questioning this is a communist. The fat person hires burly security guards to make sure no one can break into their pantry too. And the fat person gives food to their buddies, but not to anyone else. Now the food is being redistributed all right, but you better please the fat person if you want any of it. Or you better get ready to fight with the mean fat person with all the food and all the power. Too bad you’re hungry and weak now, that’ll definitely make it tougher.

    It’s a matter of degree. I begrudge no one a fair measure of success when they work hard, even if people’s shares aren’t equal. Some people DO work harder than others. I recognize that if you work hard you should get ahead, that’s a good thing. But the current situation is heading far past that. It isn’t sustainable or even remotely fair, even if one claims they have earned it.

    Would you need the situation to get so dire that only 5 people in this country have 99.9% if the wealth while everyone else starves or begs them for scraps? Would that reach the level where you would think action should be taken? Of course, if those 5 people have pretty much all the wealth, who’s going to take it from them and give some back to the rest of us? You want to try? Should I?

    It’s not just hyperbole. Most of known history records why this is a bad idea. Feudalism. It’s often called feudalism. It’s only recently that we started to experiment with the idea that everyone could have a fair share.

  5. Submitted by Bill Schletzer on 12/10/2010 - 08:11 am.

    As #3 says here, the first two responders ignore tha fact that we all derive benefit from the government in one form or another and we all should have to pay for that. Their greed blinds them to their greater social responsibility.

    I sort of wish we still had the draft so that these people could learn first hand the obligation of a citizen to its country. Scrooge was a “conservative” Republican, at least up until that night of epiphany. You die alone but you live with all.

  6. Submitted by Jeff Klein on 12/10/2010 - 09:19 am.

    Good for Ellison for standing up to the hostage-takers.

  7. Submitted by Doug Cole on 12/10/2010 - 10:01 am.

    Folks who use this ‘income redistribution’ argument sure have no compassion or sense of fairness. They also don’t pay their fair share. One can identify with the really rich but they have no more money than you or me. What happened to the message of Christmas? Merry Christmas indeed.

  8. Submitted by Lyn Crosby on 12/10/2010 - 10:49 am.

    So Tester thinks that letting people with higher incomes keep a larger percentage of what they earn.

    So in other words, why should I pay a larger % of my income while someone who earns ten times me pays a smaller % ? Typical republican.

  9. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 12/10/2010 - 11:34 am.

    Lyn, when you buy a loaf of bread you pay a larger percentage of your income than someone who earns ten times what you do. Same as when you buy a gallon of gas.

    Are you suggesting that it makes sense in a free society that Bill Gates should pay $30,000 for a loaf of bread while you pay $3?

    And Bill Schletzer, we all pay for government. Considering income tax, sales tax, property tax, gas tax, licenses, etc., we all about half of what we earn. But the graduated tax rates to pay for government makes as much sense as a graduated price list to pay for groceries. And oh by the way, regarding the draft, I risked my life in the armed forces for 8 years, so if you’re keeping a balance sheet, I’d say you and the government still owe me.

    Doug, check to see who’s manning Second Harvest and the local food shelves. Plenty of church people. Hardly any government bureaucrats.

  10. Submitted by Neal Rovick on 12/10/2010 - 11:44 am.

    The Democratic Congress has been unbelievably bad in their strategy on the issues that remain to be resolved.

    Military wants DADT repealed. Republicans don’t.

    Military wants treaty with Russia ratified. Republicans don’t.

    Most Americans don’t want tax cuts continued for millionaires. Republicans do.

    Most Americans want tax cuts for middle class. It’s not as important as tax cuts for millionaires to Republicans.

    Most Americans want 99 weeks of unemployment compensation continued. It’s not as important as tax cuts for millionaires to Republicans.

    All of these were good arguments to have before the election when seats could have been swayed to Democrats by campaigning on those exact issues. After all, the Democratic position WAS the popular side of these issues.

    After the election, when it is clear that the Republican gains can stymie all of these issues in the new session, the Democrats have far less leverage on these issues. If they can’t bring forward a passable deal now, they certainly will have an even less palatable bargain in the next session.

    Shut down the issues now, in hopes of what? What really do you think will be done by the new session for at least the next 6 months? It certainly won’t be the Democratic agenda on these issues.

    What pathetic strategists the Democrats are. Effective positions before the election are much weaker after the election in the waning days of a session.

  11. Submitted by Lance Groth on 12/10/2010 - 11:56 am.

    #1 & #2 – perhaps this article on the term “noblesse oblige” will help:

    Personally I don’t like the term all that much, because I see nothing noble about most who need to read the article, but if it strokes your ego enough to feel some sense of obligation, then so be it.

    The wealthy would not be wealthy if this society had not afforded them the opportunity to become so. That includes physical infrastructure, police and military protection so no one can take their wealth away by force, educational opportunities, etc., – you know, the things government does, which is paid for by taxes. Common decency suggests that those who have profited by the system should give some back to support the system. Morality demands that they extend a little extra help to those for whom life has been very much harder. To whom much is given, much is expected.

    Or you can be a selfish pig and hoard it all for yourself, like the mean fat man in the parable above.

    It’s pretty simple really. One need merely reflect on the question, what kind of human being am I?

  12. Submitted by Rich Crose on 12/10/2010 - 12:07 pm.

    Rhetorical question: If you have $100 and 100 people, but only one percent of those 100 people get 95% of the money (because they earned it), that leaves 5 cents to divide up between the other 99 people. Do the other 99 people gang up and eat the one person?

    If you answer no, then you are a Republican.

    Fatten ’em up. They’ll taste good with potatoes and gravy.

  13. Submitted by B Maginnis on 12/10/2010 - 12:40 pm.


    Same old liberal “class warfare” tic.

    They just can’t help themselves.

    Problem is, the do-nothings create nothing.

    It’s unsustainable to penalize the producers.

  14. Submitted by Hénock Gugsa on 12/10/2010 - 12:58 pm.

    @# 2 – Joseph Skar says, “… that the starting position for the Democrat Party is that money earned is inherently the governments…”
    And the Republican position is that waitresses and bartenders make a $100 Grand or more a year, and so minimum hourly wages should be reduced.

    Regarding the 100-year old Wal-Mart greeter …

    I sure hope it’s not true she let her mouth run off and cause a customer’s ire. Because then, being pushed and falling down may not the least of her problems. She could end up not being able to “get up” ever again.

  15. Submitted by Hénock Gugsa on 12/10/2010 - 01:12 pm.

    @#4 – Excellent, Mr. McCabe.

    I’m completely in your corner. But, I’m afraid such sentiments fall on deaf ears. At the end of the day, you cannot wake up a conscience where there is none. You are dealing with the blind who neither see nor feel anything outside of themselves.

  16. Submitted by Hénock Gugsa on 12/10/2010 - 01:52 pm.

    10, 9, 8, 7, …

    Any moment now …

    There will be serious accusations of “covetous lefties,” etc., etc.

    Oh and of … “old liberal “class warfare” tic.
    Oops, too late with that one!

  17. Submitted by Hénock Gugsa on 12/10/2010 - 01:54 pm.

    And by the way, it is very true … “the do-nothings create nothing.”

  18. Submitted by Anita Newhouse on 12/11/2010 - 09:47 am.

    So let’s see: the wealthiest generation since the world was divided into monarchies wants to continue to get (earn) and keep more. Wasn’t THIS and the fact that the same kings used their power to tell people how to worship, what started this whole party in the first place. And it’s only taken roughly 200 years to swing back in that direction. The governmant IS the people (ie: workers, farmers, producers, colonists, entreprenuers, stay at home moms, people who disagree…..). We are the legislative and executive branches we vote into power. Monarchs and fascists have used fear, nationalism and ignorance to wield power over masses for milenia.

    Our society suffers from the duplicity of success and denial. A small group has used the rights afforded to all as their personal bootstraps and now deny any responsibility for keeping the boat afloat. Republicans proverbial bootstraps are Marie Antoinette’a cake. Keith Ellison makes perfect sense. And I for one would rather lose some of my paychecks come January than riot in the streets as they are in Europe.

Leave a Reply