Resist Protest Event in Minnesota Draws Huge Crowd, Ignored By Press

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.

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Update: WCCO tells me they did cover the event on the evening and AM news. However, as I pointed out to them, it is not on their web site (as of this moment) along with all the other important news.

One part of the solution:. We desperately need legislation to compel voting. Mandatory voting. Vote and get a tax credit (incentive to cooperate). Or pay a misdemeanor fine if you fail to view (stick instead of carrot). Or both. "Not voting" is NOT an option!

By Brainstorms (not verified) on 24 Feb 2017 #permalink

Not voting is only going to be acceptable when you get time off, and mandatory paid leave. And even then you have to be able to have a "None of the above" which means something if that garners the winning vote.

Otherwise you're just pushing for a flip flop of two big parties even more.

And you need to remove private finance from politics because there's no fucking use in voting when all candidates suck because they're looking for the votes that paid them the most.

"None of the above" = not voting at all.


By Brainstorms (not verified) on 24 Feb 2017 #permalink

You also fail to appreciate the changes in candidates that will occur once everyone is required to vote. Business as usual will no longer be business as usual.

By Brainstorms (not verified) on 24 Feb 2017 #permalink

Erik Paulsen is also my representative.

He is doing an excellent job (as did Jim Ramstad before him).

Did Erik show?

On the issue of mandatory voting - I wonder if that is constitutional. It seems like it would be a right, not an obligation. If it is constitutional to make it mandatory, I wonder if a right wing congress could make the right to bear arms mandatory (everybody has to buy a gun and carry it!). Are you sure you want to go there?

if it is constitutional, I would recommend passing a law which ties voting to government payments. No voting, no social security, no medicare, no medicaid, no section 8 housing, no welfare, etc. That would give an economic incentive to vote.

Kind of a reverse poll tax.

Good idea.

Glad we agree.

By Brainstorms (not verified) on 24 Feb 2017 #permalink

My local Congressman once was a moderate Republican, but since the Tea Party wave he has strictly followed the party line and refused to hold real town halls.

The last redistricting, however, weakened his majority. This district is still supposed to be his "safe" district, but it doesn't have to be, not if he gets enough bad press.

Right now, some 6,000 people (1% of the district's population) are actively giving him that press. The thing is, you don't get enough press by protesting just once. People go to his office all the time, sometimes in groups, people call his office all the time. There are "missing" posters all over the district, emphasizing how little he's seen.

And we've been on the national news multiple times.

We also held four empty-suit town halls, all full, with some very interesting substitute speakers.

I don't know about making voting mandatory, but I definitely want it to be more accessible. Make election day a holiday, get better transportation to the polls, do vote by mail, make more hours, whatever it takes to make sure that everyone who wants to vote can vote without substantial difficulty.

By Young CC Prof (not verified) on 24 Feb 2017 #permalink

Vote by app. Vote online.

Having to show up in person is so last century.

Typo at the end of the first sentence, pilgrim. :-)

By Paul Hutchinson (not verified) on 24 Feb 2017 #permalink

Right after we are told the elections are hacked, you support online voting? I would go the other way and eliminate absentee ballots as well as early voting where people are voting before the debates happen. Open more polling places and get the lines smaller than the Dumbo ride. Maybe do the new Disney thing where they have a separate priority voting line and they give you a ticket to appear at time X. Not sure if it works when there's only one ride.

Is the group invisible or indivisible?

Eliminate absentee ballots? Only a real asshole would suggest that--oh, yeah, it was mikeN.

"“None of the above” = not voting at all.


Since "None of the above != "not voting at all", NO FAIL.

I think the first line that says Plymouth "Mass." might have meant to say Plymouth Mn.

By Dimitrios Papa… (not verified) on 24 Feb 2017 #permalink

Since “None of the above" produces the same end result as “not voting at all”,


Don't lower yourself to the level of RickA and Michael2 with childish sophistry in order to "be right".

By Brainstorms (not verified) on 24 Feb 2017 #permalink

Dean, how about limiting absentee ballots to people who are actually not available to vote at the time, instead of too lazy to vote?

Brainstorms - tax credits only help those who have income over the poverty line (if they are anything like those here in Canada). If you want to elect progressives then you have to get the poor out to vote. A fine is much more of an incentive for a poor person than a tax credit that won't do them any good.

By Doug Alder (not verified) on 24 Feb 2017 #permalink

"Since “None of the above” produces the same end result as “not voting at all”,


And since I said it had to produce a real effect, which is not the current system and is therefore NOT the same end result.


Doug a poor person can't afford a fine therefore there's no deterrent. Might as well arrest them for not being able to levitate.

Paid leave and a bonus would motivate them. $50 to someone on the breadline means a shitload more than $50 to Bill Gates.

But it still won't help if your only choices are fucking awful. That's why there needs to be a "None of the Above" option that means something, so that the parties don't get to just default in on the "least evil option".

#21 - MikeN - your question makes no sense. If someone asks for an absentee ballot, isn't that evidence they are NOT too lazy to vote. Or perhaps you mean "too lazy to go to the polling place". In Michigan, an absentee ballot is available if one is "out of town" during voting hours. When I was working long days 45 minutes from my precinct, I would routinely obtain an absentee ballot on the "out of town" basis, precisely so that I could vote.

By FLwolverine (not verified) on 25 Feb 2017 #permalink

FL, yes too lazy to go to the polling place. States have different rules on absentee ballots. In many places the absentee part is not required, it is just mail-in balloting.

My state allows permanent mail-in balloting. Since then, the number of voters who have taken advantage of this option has grown steadily, as has the percentage of eligible voters who cast a ballot.

By Brainstorms (not verified) on 25 Feb 2017 #permalink

I am not in favor of this concept of NONE OF THE ABOVE.

I assume if NONE OF THE ABOVE gets the most votes, the election is done over?

What happens if in election after election, NONE OF THE ABOVE wins?

No government?


It seems like a bad idea to me.

Why have an election to decide nothing.

You shouldn't have an election to decide whether to have another election (should NONE OF THE ABOVE win).

It's Wow's childish way of making a point about the American election system. Ignore it.

By Brainstorms (not verified) on 25 Feb 2017 #permalink

Brainstorms #29:

Excellent advice.

I shall follow it.

No, it was exactly the same method you were using brainstem.

You: FAIL!

If you're not going to put more effort into saying what you think is wrong with a "none of the above" with a meaningful result if it wins the vote, then try supplying one rather than just yelling FAIL! because a claim without evidence will be refuted likewise: NOT FAIL!

Since you said nothing about why it might be a fail, there is no fail there.

Your petulance notwithstanding.


"I assume if NONE OF THE ABOVE gets the most votes, the election is done over?"

Yup, why not?

Caretaker in the meantime: everyone is set just doing the headline job, no meetings for the congress or senate, no new laws no repeals, no new spending, things go on hold while it goes through again.

And none of those who lost to "none of the above" can go again.

So it would not have been a choice between Hilary and Donald, because neither of those were acceptable.

Second time round it might have been Jeb v Sanders.

And without a full year build-up because every senator wants to do a job that pays them, and until there's a new party in charge, there's no work to be paid for, the campaign will go a lot quicker and cheaper.

And for the PAC money wasted on failed options, the corporations and large donors (which would include the large unions) will reconsider whether it is worth just paying for the stoogiest stooges to "win" if the money just gets wasted in the election, and they'll start looking for some candidates that the people may actually want to vote for, then back from those, the most favourable to the donors.

"I don't like it" isn't much of an improvement over "FAIL!", but it's still not much.

"What happens if in election after election, NONE OF THE ABOVE wins?"

Well why not? Might as well ask though what about if a ELE meteor strike happens while the elections are being held?

"No government?"

There's still the government, but no new laws. No new spending, only going on as-is for as long as it takes for politicians to actually garner winning votes.

And surely this is what the conservatives and libertarians are aiming for, "no government", even while in it.

“I assume if NONE OF THE ABOVE gets the most votes, the election is done over?”

Yup, why not?


Because the American voting system does not work that way.

Which doesn't mean that it shouldn't, it means that it currently does not.

Which means that a vote for "None of the above" is functionally equivalent to not voting at all.

Not voting at all is a FAIL.

Ergo, your #3, et al is a FAIL. Try to come up with a proposal that works within the system. Otherwise state clearly that you have a proposal to change the election system in the U.S. and don't peddle it as a viable option without the laws being passed to implement your proposal.

(The other shortcomings and flaws with your proposal should be obvious to the casual reader.)

By Brainstorms (not verified) on 25 Feb 2017 #permalink



The US voting system doesn't work your way either. So, agin, your complaint is pointless.

Dictatorships and communist states have mandatory voting and oddly enough the ruler gets almost 100% of the vote.

Oh, and your parenthetical, I will let Captain Subtext rewrite it:

"I don't have a fucking clue why it won't work but can't say that so I will hint that it's obvious, negating my need to think and making anyone who can't see the problem someone I can call stupid."

Try giving a fucking reason, retard. If it's "so obvious" then you should be able to write it out where it can be defended or attacked.

Unless you're a dumbass and a coward.

How to make friends and influence people...

Yeah, but childish though it is, he started it.

Hey, maybe you can fill in for brain there and, since it's so "obvious", fill in what's wrong that BS implied.

Lets see if you can guess it.

>I assume if NONE OF THE ABOVE gets the most votes,

Then you win $300,000,000.

>How to make friends and influence people…

In case people undecided about global warming show up here, I think Wow should not be banned so he can help persuade them.

Yeah, just another weaksauce attempt to run a tone argument there, "mike".

See, the thing is that in science it doesn't matter who says them (or now), but what is said and the evidence for it.

If you're too busy being butthurt over swearing when you're vilifying entire industries for nothing more than telling you the inconvenient truths of reality, then you're going to just find another "reason" to disbelieve the truth if it's removed.

And it cuts through a fucking shedload of crap ignoring your complaints and treating them as irrelevant as they truly are.

It's also highly amusing when "I will fight to the death your right to do so" free speachers get all angsty and annoyed when your speach isn't done in a manner that they like, it rather proves that this voltaire quote is only valid in the abstract, never in a case that inconveniences or upsets someone. In that case, they'll scream holy murder until you stop speaking.

In that case, they’ll scream holy murder until you stop speaking.

Oh, more than that. Much more.

It seems that what they will do is hack your entire fucking culture with profiling and targeted psyops, fake news plagues and of course, billionaires' money.

We Brits are just beginning to find out that Brexit was not quite what it seemed, and that the money came from overseas. From a libertarian billionaire in the US, to be precise.

I thought it was bad but it is so much worse than that.

BBD #40:

I read your link and see you are referring to Robert Mercer and probably Brietbart London.

How is Brietbart London any worse than say The Guardian?

People publish stuff and have opinions.

People read stuff and decide whether or not they agree.

Sounds all good to me.

There are plenty of liberal news sites and there are plenty of conservative news sites.

They cater to their readers - just like Huffington Post caters to their readers.

Is there anything wrong with that?

I am not sure what the billionaires' money is supposed to be buying - is it votes? Or just buying the right to publish opinions?

Please tell me what is wrong with Brietbart London.

breitbart is no more a news source than the heritage foundation is a think tank (although heritage used to be quite respectable, the infusion of libertarians and modern conservatives bankrupted any signs of integrity and intelligence.)

both are producers of fact-free propaganda pushing a bigoted and racist world view.

dean #42:

Do you feel the same way about Huffington Post?

Yes. Not everyone is as massively dishonest and hypocritical as you are rickA.

I will say that HP is not as directly racist, anti-woman, anti-poor, anti-anyone who is not rich and white as breitbart is, but I don't consider HP a reliable source.

deam #45:

What do you consider a reliable source?

Any conservative newspapers, like say the Financial Times?

Sorry for misspelling your name - it was a typo.

How is Brietbart London any worse than say The Guardian?

Read the fucking link. Since when did the Guardian use military psyops to profile people from their social media and target them with lies?

I cannot believe that even you, hollow little man that you are, can defend the interference in the UK referendum by some vile libertarian billionaire who is not even a UK citizen. It's practically a casus belli.

You idiot pawn.

dean, please read the article. It's utterly horrifying.

"dean, please read the article. It’s utterly horrifying"

Yes, it is. The work discussed in it is simply a sign of the times. We've seen big changes in the statistical world in the past few decades: first came the availability of cheap but powerful computers and software (R, python, too many others to mention) to everyone, now there is the combination of huge amounts of data "for the taking" — as mentioned in that article — and the growth of powerful models that can be used to exploit that data. (Even "huge" is losing meaning: when I did my dissertation in the 80s I had to run several robust models on small (under 1 mb) data sets, and each took a good deal of time, even on a PDP10. Last semester
I had two students submit a project for a data modeling course -- the data set they used was 2gb in size, and they worked on laptops).

The issue isn’t with the fact that all the data is out there (we’re a little too late to worry about that horse escaping the stable) or with the algorithms and models used. It’s the folks who receive the
output from the analyses — as in that article.

One more thought on that Guardian story.

I'm sure the data analysts at Cambridge Analytica did a good job building their model, and testing it appropriately on their collected data.

What we don't know is whether they had any data to support that the predictions they received would really be effective, and even if so, to what extent. If you take a large enough set of data, with a large enough collection of variables, you can develop a model that makes some subset of variables seem important and will perform well on test data, but not perform well in the wild. The poster child for worthless research for that reason is Lott and his bogus gun safety work.

The acid test for it will be if they can use it to get an obvious idiot (a useful one) such as Donald Trump elected as the president of the U.S. That would indicate some seriously powerful juju...

By Brainstorms (not verified) on 27 Feb 2017 #permalink

Or bounce the UK out of Europe by fucking with the referendum...

I'd say we have now seen not one but two successful tests of the system.

> they’ll scream holy murder until you stop speaking.

But I said I DIDN'T want you banned!

If you take a large enough set of data, with a large enough collection of variables, you can develop a model that makes some subset of variables seem important and will perform well on test data, but not perform well in the wild. The poster child for worthless research for that reason is Lott and his bogus gun safety work.

So you have doubts about the quality and usefulness of Lott's Gun Control Models?

"But I said I DIDN’T want you banned!"

But you ARE screaming that others are using their speech in ways you don't like and are complaining.

Either you want the speech to change, want them banned without saying it (implausible deniability), or want to whine and whinge and complain, in which case you need to thank rather than complain for us giving you what you want: abuse to complain about.

When you avoid answering questions or won't MAKE claims, you don't get to whine about how you haven't said what is inferred, since this is demonstrably unable to indicate what you want to mean.

"So you have doubts about the quality and usefulness of Lott’s Gun Control Models?"

So you can't read?

Or you want to restate what you've just read for no comprehensible reason?

Or you just wanted to shout "LOOK AT ME!!!"?

None of the above. I think some others will comprehend it.

>Either you want the speech to change, want them banned without saying it (implausible deniability), or want to whine

I didn't do so, and have been pretty consistent in my claim. Your style of argument(TONE) leads more people to be against your position than for it. It doesn't make your position wrong. As I tend to be against your position(Bernie vs Hillary notwithstanding), I support you continuing to post in your style, and do not wish to see you banned. You will of course make the tone argument defense that you have memorized, and disagree about the impact, but I wonder if anyone else will disagree. You may think it is a plausible deniability way of getting you banned. While I wouldn't be too upset about it, I sincerely prefer you weren't for the reason stated(and that I generally in favor of letting people have their say).

Interesting the way the trolls are experimenting with game theory on this and other threadz.

Consider what you are saying, when you accuse me of secretly trying to get you banned. It means you think others will agree with me that your tone is not helpful. If you think that, then perhaps you should consider changing it, which was my point the first time I said it.

"when you accuse me of secretly trying to get you banned"

For a whiney little bitch you sure do wigne a lot. I never accused you of that, "mike". I left the determination of your reasoning up to you, and you've decided you must mean what you complain of. That was you making the assertion, dumbass, not me.

"perhaps you should consider changing it,"

Nah, I'm fine. Perhaps you should consider reading lessons.

OK, fair enough. And you're right, I need reading lessons. Your first case is correct, I do want the speech to change.

Lott's gun control work is complete crap. That's been known for years.

"I do want the speech to change."

Well change yours then. You rightwingnutjobs are the ones who bang on about bootstraps and self empowerment and taking responsibility for your actions.

Lead by example.

I didn't ask about Lott's 'gun control work' but Lott's Gun Control Models(GCM) in response to your objection:

If you take a large enough set of data, with a large enough collection of variables, you can develop a model that makes some subset of variables seem important and will perform well on test data, but not perform well in the wild.

And the difference?

But this is going to be another example of the RWNJ's simplistic thinking being the only method they can conceive of anyone else using.therefore you want dean to say that his model was bullshit and go "GOTCHA! The GCMs used by climatologists are ALSO crap, then!".

Just because you're far too stupid to hold more than one idiom at a time (and even worse, dumb enough to change it without caring or knowing it's changed to fit your needs at the moment) doesn't mean that it's everyone else's problem.

Lott's analysis (which is NOT a model, only an analysis, dumbass) can be bullshit while other analysis OR MODELS can be valid.

Yup, the usual false equivalence gambit. Generally employed by people who mistakenly assume you are as stupid as they are.

At least you caught on, Wow. Kudos to you for catching up with the rest eventually.

mikeN, the reference was to his regression models - i know you are ignorant of virtually everything past basic addition and subtraction.

Those models are worthless.

So many republicans terrified of meeting people outside their circles, the ones they're supposed to be representing. So terrified they're using the RWNJ shooting of a Democrat at their goading to cry off town halls. So much cuck, so little mind.

Too bad you didn't think to refute the point I made, "mike". You are guilty as charged.