Opinions

Wed
13
Nov
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Facebook Ad Policy Threatens Democracy

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

“Democracy requires citizens see things from one another’s point of view, but instead we’re more and more enclosed in our own bubbles. Democracy requires a reliance on shared fact; instead, we’re being offered parallel but separate universes.”
 
Eli Pariser, The Filter Bubble
 
We are now less than a year away from the presidential election of 2020. That it will be contentious and fraught with partisan anger is a given. That we will be inundated with misleading, demeaning, and outright false political advertising an unfortunate reality.

Candidates will have their own ads for which they take responsibility; these may be on the edge of truth and civility. A larger share of the ads will come from political action committees (PACs.) These ads will make no pretense of fairness, honesty, or civility. They will deceive and villainize.

Wed
06
Nov
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This ‘Red’ States ‘Blue’ States Battle Will Get Worse

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

A pitched battle is underway between America’s Red and Blue states. It’s a battle that in many cases is fought behind the scenes through outlandish schemes that would cost taxpayers billions of dollars. It’s a battle over climate change and the depletion of America’s precious resources.

It’s not the political and ideological battle you suspect between conservatives and liberals.

In this fight, the red states are those in the American Southwest burning up as rising temperatures and extended droughts make their unchecked growth unsustainable. The blue states are those with plentiful water reserves the red states jealously covet and desperately eye to for their sustainability and future growth.

These developing water wars are just starting with one such red states’ scouting mission exploring possibilities in Minnesota.

Fri
01
Nov
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Remembrances Of Yesterday; Fears For Tomorrow

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

Some childhood memories are etched deeply into our psyche with their vivid recall, including sight, sound, and smell. For us, leaf piles burning in the fall is one such indelible memory. Today there are no leaf piles burning. It is illegal in most cities.

 “There are sound reasons for not burning leaves,” the late Hal Borland writes in his book Twelve Moons of the Year. “Their smoke adds to the urban smog, their smoldering flames create a fire hazard, and unburned leaves make good mulch and compost.

Wed
23
Oct
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Business Supports Dreamers For Good Reasons

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

Next month the United States Supreme Court will hear a case that will have a profound impact on an estimated 2.1 million young people in America. Its decision will also have broad consequences for the health of the U.S. economy.

We are talking about a legal case that would block the Trump Administration’s efforts to deport Dreamers. The Court will decide whether or not Trump’s White House has the power to administratively kill the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, or whether Congress and the courts have a say in its future.

Wed
16
Oct
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Levels Of ‘Division And Animosity’ Growing In U.S.

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

A North Dakota man is facing two felony terroristic threat counts because he apparently couldn’t stand the political beliefs of a woman whose car featured an Elizabeth Warren bumper sticker. Senator Warren of Massachusetts is a front-runner in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination.

The Associated Press reported that 27-year-old Joseph Schumacher, of Bismarck, North Dakota, “was charged last week with carrying weapons without a permit, the unlawful transportation of firearms and disorderly conduct.” He is alleged to have pulled up to the woman’s vehicle yelling at her about her Warren bumper sticker, pointing to his President Donald Trump sticker, then driving away while flashing a gun.

Moorhead police arrested Schumacher in a nearby restaurant wearing a Trump 2020 hat. In his vehicle, they found two loaded guns. He claims he was just “flirting” with the woman.

Wed
09
Oct
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Our Youth Must Receive A Civic Education

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

Growing Growing up with a limited number of televisions and radio programs, we relied mostly on the information provided in magazines and newspapers for our knowledge of the world, national and local affairs. While television and radio could provide headlines, it was print that gave stories depth. It was a simple, straightforward time. For the most part, we trusted the news we were getting. How times have changed!

With the internet and the unchecked fire hose of information it delivers, the expansion of TV news stations, and the satellite talk-radio programs, the news environment today is vastly more complex. It is also polluted with highly partisan shows, intentional disinformation campaigns, and conspiracy theories.

Wed
02
Oct
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Headed Toward A World Of Information Elites

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

America is becoming more stratified. The gulf between the haves and have nots is getting wider.

We’re not talking about the growing inequity between the ultra-rich in America and the rest of us, though that matters to our country’s future. Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos and Warren Buffett, the three richest men in America, have as much wealth as the bottom half of our country’s people. Three men with the wealth of the 165 million Americans.

The wealthiest 10 percent of Americans own 75 percent of household assets.

The inequity that concerns us will empower those who have hoarded wealth onto themselves and rigged politics to ensure they become even more obscenely wealthy. We are talking about the creation of information elites.

Thu
26
Sep
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3 Billion Birds Gone - Do We Care?

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

Nearly 3 billion birds have disappeared from the U.S. and Canadian avian populations since 1970. It is a stunning number and one that should give us a sense of shame, dread and motivation.

We’ve always heard about the species that go extinct  - the dodo and the passenger pigeon being among the most well-known. Now a study published by the journal “Science” brings light to a disturbing tragedy unfolding in plain sight, but so slowly that we don’t really notice.

Using past research, counts provided by bird enthusiasts, the Christmas Bird Count, the North American Breeding Bird Survey, and 143 NEXRAD weather radars spread out across the U.S., researchers looked at what was happening with most of our common bird species. The weather satellites not only capture rainfall, but flocks of migrating birds as well.

Wed
18
Sep
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We Must Make The Most Of The Coming Change

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

Three entrepreneurs have approached the City of Benson in recent weeks who were inquiring about starting a business here. Swift County’s Rural Development Authority has also been contacted by three people looking at possibly opening a business in the county. Great news! Exciting news!

All six of those contacts have one thing in common – they were all with people limited, or no knowledge, of the English language. Great news! Exciting news! Was that your reaction? It should be.

America has been steadily, dramatically culturally changing in recent decades. In western Minnesota, like in much of rural northern plains states, diversity has been slow to materialize. Still, we have seen change, and we will see a lot more in the coming years. It is a change we had better be ready to accept and capitalize on for our future growth.

Wed
11
Sep
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Is A ‘Farce and Tragedy’ Unfolding?

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

Founding Father James Madison said: “A people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives. A popular government without popular information or the means of acquiring it is but a prologue to farce or tragedy or perhaps both.” We fear the farce and tragedy are unfolding.

President Thomas Jefferson also saw a real danger in the general population becoming disengaged from what their leaders were up to and where that could inevitably lead us.

 “If once they become inattentive to the public affairs, you and I, and Congress, and Assemblies, judges and governors shall all become wolves,” the nation’s third president wrote.

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