Opinions

Fri
13
Jan
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Legislators - If You Want Our Support Do This

by Reed Anfinson
Publisher, Swift County Monitor-News

 

With the 2017 session of the Minnesota Legislature underway, Republicans control both the Minnesota House and Senate primarily for one reason – the voters in rural Minnesota. Republicans have a commanding hold on to the House with a 76-57 majority. In the Senate, Republicans took control away from the Democrats, but by the barest of margins – one seat. They have a 34-33 majority.

As you look at the Legislature, Republicans who have promised to look after rural voters to reward them for their support heavily represent rural Minnesota.

Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton has another two years left in his term and will be butting heads with Republicans on much of what they propose. But Democrats also recognize that they need to do a much better job of connecting with rural voters if they want to win back the House and Senate in two years as well as hold on to the governorship.

Fri
06
Jan
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Benson Temperatures Reflect A Warming Climate

by Reed Anfinson
Publisher, Swift County Monitor-News

 

2016 made it three consecutive years that the Earth has broken its all-time heat record based on data that goes back to the 1880s. It also means that 16 of the 17 hottest years on record have occurred from 2000 to 2016.

More than 95 percent of the world’s climate scientists agree that there is one primary cause for the warming planet – heat trapping greenhouse gases that we pour into the atmosphere by burning of fossil fuels like oil and coal.

Climate scientists also say that as the Earth warms the atmosphere can hold more water vapor. That is going to mean more flooding downpours. The “Northeast, Midwest and Upper Great Plains have seen a 30 percent increase in heavy rainfall events,” Seth Borenstein, science writer for the Associated Press, reports. However, at the same time California and some other western and southwestern states have seen extended droughts.

Fri
09
Dec
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Our World’s Animals Are Rapidly Disappearing

by Reed Anfinson
Publisher, Swift County Monitor-News

In an election year that was abysmal in tackling subjects of substantial importance there was one story that was entirely missed. A story with implications for the future of humankind. But instead, the nation’s media focused incessantly on Hillary Clinton’s deleted emails or Donald Trump’s outrage of the week.

Television, by far the biggest source of news for most people, did by far the worst job of giving us meaningful news. They sought ratings that would bring in advertising dollars. They didn’t seek to inform the electorate on critical issues.

What was this critical story that was missed?

Few people have probably heard of something called the “Living Planet Index.” It is a measure of the condition of biological diversity in the world. It is a look at trends within species of vertebrates around the globe. A vertebrate is an animal that has a backbone.

Fri
02
Dec
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Time For Action On Rural Policies

by Reed Anfinson
Publisher, Swift County Monitor-News

Since the Nov. 8 presidential election a lot of stories, columns and editorials have been written about how starkly the lines of support for Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump were drawn throughout America. But the lines they all focus on aren’t the ones between liberals and conservatives, Democrats and Republicans, but between rural Americans and big city Americans.

Rural America is less educated, more down and out, losing the promise of the American dream, more white, older, less diverse, less tolerant, more prejudiced, and less accepting of change. The list goes on.

Wed
23
Nov
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Fake News A Problem For An Informed Citizenry

by Reed Anfinson
Publisher, Swift County Monitor-News

 

“People do not believe lies because they have to, but because they want to.”

Malcolm Muggeridge, British Journalist & Author

Stories about how fake news pervades the internet and how it even helped Donald Trump win the presidency have been wide spread in the news media over the past couple weeks.

First, we don’t think the Republican candidate won because of fake news. He won because a majority of those who voted in states that count in the electoral college did so because of his conservative social stands, because he was a Republican, because many undecided voters detested Democrat Hillary Clinton, because many Democrats wished they had another choice, and because people wanted change in Washington.

Fri
11
Nov
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‘Government We Deserve’

by Reed Anfinson
Publisher, Swift County Monitor-News

“Every nation gets the government it deserves.”  -- Joseph de Maistre – 1811, French Philosopher

In today’s world, Joseph de Maistre ‘s observation is an indictment of our entire political system. It starts with citizens who tune out of the political process and are easily manipulated by slogans, inflammatory rhetoric, and impossible promises. Most of us don’t participate in the early stages of the campaigns when candidates for office are selected. As a result, the far right and far left set the foundation for what comes later as they choose our candidates and their platforms.

Thu
03
Nov
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We Endorse Falk, Koenen, Peterson

by Reed Anfinson
Publisher, Swift County Monitor-News

 

Republicans Endorse Clinton

We don’t expect that our Republican readers would give much weight to our words if we wrote about why Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump was not qualified to be president of the United States. We know they expect us to give an endorsement of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, listing all the qualifications that make her best for the job despite obvious flaws.

But rather than make that case, we will let your fellow Republicans tell you why they are either voting for Clinton, writing in some other name, or simply not voting for a presidential candidate Nov. 8:
 

Former Minnesota two-term Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty

Wed
26
Oct
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Pardoning Edward Snowden

by Reed Anfinson
Publisher, Swift County Monitor-News

“Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”
-- Benjamin Franklin

New attention is being paid to American exile Edward Snowden these days with the release of a movie by filmmaker and screenwriter Oliver Stone. Titled “Snowden,” it looks into what drove the National Security Agency (NSA) contract worker to take top secret documents from his workplace.

More attention to Snowden is also being generated with the calls by Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the American Civil Liberties Union for President Barack Obama to pardon him.

Wed
05
Oct
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All Digital World Means No Community Newspaper

by Reed Anfinson
Publisher, Swift County Monitor-News

Last week we received an email through the International Society of Weekly Newspaper Editor’s listserv from a journalism student at a university researching when community newspapers would go all digital. She was talking about the day there would be no more printed newspapers.

When this question has been asked by other young people it is asked with the assumption that when print goes away there will be plenty of sources from which to get the news you need to be an informed citizen. You’ll get all the news that connects you to your community’s life from your schools, to your clubs, to the births and deaths, marriages and anniversaries, to the farm community, to business news, letters and opinions from fellow citizens, and much more. You’ll also get all the information that keeps you up-to-date with what your city, school district, county and hospital are doing.

Fri
30
Sep
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‘Gone Country’ in Franklin, Tennessee

by Reed Anfinson
Publisher, Swift County Monitor-News

Being part of the National Newspaper Association (NNA) has provided us with opportunities to travel across the country and experience events that we would have never encountered but for our membership. We had one of the most memorable experiences last week when we traveled to the NNA annual convention in Franklin, Tennessee.

Franklin is about the same distance from Nashville, the heart of country western music in America, as Bloomington is from downtown Minneapolis.

Last Thursday night at The Factory in Franklin four top country singer-songwriters sat across the small stage with their acoustic guitars. Though they entertained us for more than an hour, the four never played as a group. Rather each one took a turn at describing one of the songs he had written, the country artist who had picked it up, and how it became a hit.

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