I met Jesse Mortenson at the Yanez verdict protest at the Capitol.  This is our conversation about Louis Hunter. 


"This is the story of a lot of people who don't have a lot of resources to deal with the criminal justice system."


"The loss and the verdict have absolutely devistated that family, and on top of that, he has to fight for his freedom." 


"We gotta ask ourselves, are we as the Twin Cities, as Minnesota, are we ok with this outcome where a member of Philando's family could be the only one serving jail time or prison time."





Nazir is a labor organizer who spoke with me on behalf of Convergence Twin Cities. We had a conversation about unions, immigrants, immigration, ICE raids, labor rights, and the 2016 election, among other things. 


"People are really upset, this goes against our sense of what is right and fair in this country. . .  People don't know how intensive it is and  much (it has) turned into a police state, especially for those who are undocumented or differently-documented."



"We have to look beyond just this country's problems or its relationship to immigration and we have to have a global analysis of what's happening or at least larger than this specific country, because . . and that is the failure of the labor movement in this country to do that, because,  I think a lot of people voted for Trump because they're angry about that, that people are taking jobs because they're lowering the wages because they're willing to work for less because they're desparate coming here. . . . It benefits a small section of this country's population to have that really cheap labor, that hurts people who wouldn't take such low pay."


**Note: the episode of the podcast I refer to at the beginning was episode #32, not #33. 


"I'm not Bernie Sanders.  I'm not.  I wish. He's pretty awesome."


"For every conversation we're having on the left about "we need to just beat the republicans and get them out of here," that's just wrong. What we need is independent political power that takes the power away from these two groups, not that they're equal in their morality or whatever, it just, takes the tension out and allows people to come back and think about real issues and real people, rather than this crazy hyperpartisian, because government doesn't work.  Our government does not work.  It can never be progressive if it does not work."


"If Minneapolis were on trial for being too progressive--this is my favorite example--if we were on trial . . . Donald Trump pulls us in, "you're too progressive, you have to prove that you're not progressive" it would be so easy for us to prove that we aren't progressive.  We spend billions of dollars on a stadium, we have some of the worst racial and economic disparity in the country, we have segregation, where . . . you know if you go to North Minneapolis, thats where concentrated areas of poverty overlap with our communities of color, its barriered off by highways and industrial zoning . . .  and then we polute that area higher than anywhere else. . . This is not a progressive city.  And to say that we're going to lose ground if we start going away from the DFL is just obscene." 


"There will be no progress on racial or economic equity until its a nonpartisian issue."






"When you have money, you can stay out of trouble, you can stay out of the system and have lesser conviction and it might not prevent you from getting good paying jobs."


"I drove under the influence and I killed a little baby by the name of Timmy on August 15, 1977." 


"I didn't want to tell him what was really wrong with me, I don't even know if I knew."







This is a conversation about what I've learned from doing the podcast so far, and what direction the podcast is going in the future.  Big news toward the end. 





Joe the socialist and I finish up our conversation.  There's background noise, and we're eating fries, so-that's a thing to be prepared for.  


"In Minneapolis, it's not the republicans that kept the $15 an hour minimum wage off the ballot, it was  the democrats. . . . In Saint Paul, it's not the republicans voting to give millions of dollars to a billionaire soccer owner and allow him to pay no taxes on a brand new stadium, thats the democrats. And there's room. . . . for a party that's independent of corporate cash and corporate money to run in those environments because there you have the democrats who can't run on their one winning issue, which is 'we're not republicans.'"


"Even if Putin was behind the Russian email hack, no one at the democratic party is saying those emails were forged. That's what they wrote."


**Note: Joe's previous episode was the 5th episode, not the 4th as I stated in the intro. 


Back my popular demand, my friend Joe--whom I would label "Joe the Visionary"-- but he specifically asked me not to. 

"The democrats run on a platform of being entitled to your vote."


I learned from the first time I interviewed Joe that preparation can work against me.  I try to follow Joe's lead to the extent that I can keep up, which I can barely do.  

The last time I spoke with Joe (episode #5 of the podcast), Joe explained to me some of the reasons Hillary lost the election.  In this episode, the first of two, we talk about:

*economics (historically),

*what the democratic party is selling (and why he's not buying),


*The Supreme Court

*how Larry Flint saved Bill Clinton's presidency,


*the Kennedy assasination and why *if* LBJ did it, it wouldn't be *that* big of a deal,

*Syria and Libya,


*the most frightening thing about Trump,

*and how the election was similar to a college football game. 


Anne: You gotta know that there are people I know who are pretty mad at the Bernie or Bust.

Sam: Well, I would ask those people how many doors they knocked on for their candidate, and what did they do to make sure Hillary won, because whatever they did, it wasn't enough either.



"As someone who is a participant, it gives me a way to grieve with my community over an injustice by not just sitting in a room and feeling powerless, it let's me go out and join with a bunch of other people who want justice for the families of the victims, who want accountability for the police,  and without any public pressure, nothing happens.  Even with the pressure, a lot of times nothing will happen." 


"The values that I have are not unique to Christianity, but that's a lot of where they're derived from."


Sam sets the record straight on third-party votes.  Sam, like John and Levi (Gary Johnson voters), wouldn't have voted if the only options were Hillary or Trump. 


***Notes: The OJ Simpson documentary was not made by 30 for 30.  Both "30 for 30" and "OJ: Made in America" are documentaries made by ESPN.

*The lawyer I refer to at the end of this podcast who explained the murders was Bill Hodgman, not Chris Darden.





"It's a hard world to live in, but I don't think it's ever been an easy world to live in."


"You're causing fear where fear isn't necessary and now you're making kids fearful."


Azure and I talked about the following things: Chisago Lakes Marching Band, Molly Savold, Homer Simpson, O.J. Simpson (no relation), gay republicans and Catholic democrats, abortion, homeschooling, parenting, Hardcore Lutherans, Rosalie Wahl, Adam Voigt, Scrouge McDuck, refugees, immigration, Hawkins v. McGee, Wickard v. Filburn, and other favorite court holdings. 


When the podcast was getting started, I had the hardest time finding women to step up to the plate.  I'm thrilled that as of late, more and more ladies are actually saying yes and sharing their thoughts. 

Something I found really interesting when I listened back to my conversation with Azure was how often religion came up.  I asked her to talk politics, and she framed everything she believes based on life-experiences related to religion.  We never--throughout the course of the conversation--even discussed our personal religious beliefs, but we repeatedly discuss impressions of various churches from the perspectives of people outside of the church.  After our conversation, Azure suggested that I start speaking with people more about religion, which I'm happy to do if people are willing to talk.  




"We have stopped telling the truth in our society."


"It's not that are politicians aren't on our side-it's that they're actively against us."


"I'm the same person who, because of the way I look, when I show up in San Diego at a conference that I'm running, I'm asked to send more towels to the room, because they assume because of the way that I look that I'm one of the maids at the hotel regardless of what I'm wearing."


"I was frustrated by the level of thumb-on-the-scale outright corruption, whatever you want to call it, within the democratic party, that--essentially--did whatever it could to make sure that Sanders was not going to be their nominee."


"I know that at least three of them (superdelegates) were threatened outright by the Clinton campaign because they said they were uncommitted."


It took me listening to this conversation about three times to realize what the overarching theme of it was, and that's truth.  Truth and questions about what constitutes as truth--in various ways, shapes and forms--keeps coming up in my life as something that requires examination.  

One good outcome of the election is the ways it has inspired me to seek out non-fact-based truth, by which I mean, the truth behind statements like, "Donald Trump can fix things" or "Hillary Clinton can't be trusted."  These statements are based on subjective feelings, not facts, but that doesn't mean that they aren't worth attempting to understand, because fact-based or not, they influenced how people voted.  

Towards the end of the episode, Mira shares a story about something that happened to her in Woodbury, and I can hear in my voice a reluctance to believe that the events she described could have possibly happened in Woodbury, my back yard, the Edina of the East.  But I have to recognize that Woodbury is a different place for Mira--a non-caucasion immigrant--than it is for me. 

Similarly, the way I viewed the United States under the leadership of Barack Obama.  I believed things were going well because they were going well for me.  It's become clearer to me now how many people were suffering during that time due to harsh economic realities that I never had to face.  

I want to be optimistic for my own sake.  I want to find all the silver-lining I can find.  The cloud I found in my reflection was how divorced I am from the truth.  The silver-lining I'm finding is that this election has created an opportunity to either seek out and attempt to grasp uncomfortable truths, or to bury my head further in the sand.  




**Note: George H.W. Bush coined the term 'voodoo economics' in 1980 when he was running against Reagan for the nomination.


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