Opinions

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.

Fri
06
Sep
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Amazon’s Dominance Not Good For Small Towns

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

We recently met a driver for UPS while dining out who gave us some insight into just how pervasive Amazon’s sales are in rural Minnesota. He said that 60 percent of the deliveries he makes are Amazon packages. Now multiply that percentage across rural Minnesota and rural America. It will give you some insight into the online retailer’s dominance and growing impact on the health of small businesses.

Amazon isn’t content with its current market share and what it offers customers. It wants to grow. It seeks to overwhelm its competitors, large and small. It wants to spread from retail, to groceries. It seeks to replace UPS and FedEx with its own delivery system.

Tue
27
Aug
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Yes, You Have A Right To Be At That Meeting

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

 “I just wanted to find out if I can show up or not?” rural Danvers resident Mark Hughes told the Swift County Board of Commissioners at their meeting last week.

Hughes was referring to a meeting of the Community Perspective Committee established by the commissioners at their May 7 meeting. It consists of two members appointed from each of the five county commission districts. It was formed in response to strong citizen opposition to a proposed $17.5 million justice center.

Wed
21
Aug
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Pushing Back Against Rural America’s Detractors

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

When you see a headline on a story like, “The Rural America Death Spiral,” it can be dismaying, make your blood boil, and create doubts about our future. Then you have to consider the source. Axios, the publisher of the story, is based in the suburbs of Washington, D.C., about as far removed from the extraordinary diversity of America’s rural landscape as you can get. Still, it stings.

“Many of the nation’s current pathologies are taking a heavy toll on the majority-white population living in rural America, which was severely impacted by the opioid crisis and has dealt with falling populations, job losses, and rising suicide rates,” Stef W. Kight and Juliet Bartz write for the news website Axios.

Wed
14
Aug
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Trust In Short Supply In America

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

 “Trust is an essential elixir for public life and neighborly relations, and when Americans think about trust these days, they worry.” That was key finding in a report written by Lee Rainie, Scott Keeter And Andrew Perrin for the Pew Research Center titled: Trust and Distrust in America.

Trust in our government is a near historic low, Pew’s study says. But that is no surprise when 76 percent of Americans think a low level of trust in the federal government is justified.

We are also less trusting of one another with Americans saying that people just aren’t as reliable as they once were. Pew’s study also found that those who don’t trust other people have less trust in our public institutions.

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