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WhiskeyGrinder's Journal
WhiskeyGrinder's Journal
November 9, 2017

Multiple women accuse Minnesota state Senator Dan Schoen of sexual harassment


Minnesota state Sen. Dan Schoen sexually harassed women involved in state politics while serving as a DFL lawmaker, according to multiple women who have spoken to MinnPost. Schoen, currently a first-term senator from Cottage Grove, previously served two terms in the House. He also works as a paramedic and police officer in Cottage Grove.

The women describe behavior by Schoen that ranges from persistent and unwanted invitations to meet to physically grabbing a woman from behind. One woman, who asked to not be identified, said he sent her a photo of male genitalia via Snapchat.

Schoen, who was presented with the allegations in a meeting with MinnPost, was aware of each incident but said in a subsequent statement that the allegations are “either completely false or have been taken far out of context. It was never my intention to leave the impression I was making an inappropriate advance on anyone. I feel terrible that someone may have a different interpretation of an encounter, but that is the absolute truth. I also unequivocally deny that I ever made inappropriate contact with anyone.”

“Despite this, if any of my actions or words have ever made another person feel uncomfortable or harassed, I deeply regret it and truly apologize,” Schoen continued. “This is not who I am nor is it the person I would want anyone to feel I am.”

GET IT TOGETHER, MEN. Bakk is calling on him to resign.
November 7, 2017

Harvey Weinstein's Army of Spies


In the fall of 2016, Harvey Weinstein set out to suppress allegations that he had sexually harassed or assaulted numerous women. He began to hire private security agencies to collect information on the women and the journalists trying to expose the allegations. According to dozens of pages of documents, and seven people directly involved in the effort, the firms that Weinstein hired included Kroll, which is one of the world’s largest corporate-intelligence companies, and Black Cube, an enterprise run largely by former officers of Mossad and other Israeli intelligence agencies. Black Cube, which has branches in Tel Aviv, London, and Paris, offers its clients the skills of operatives “highly experienced and trained in Israel’s elite military and governmental intelligence units,” according to its literature.

Two private investigators from Black Cube, using false identities, met with the actress Rose McGowan, who eventually publicly accused Weinstein of rape, to extract information from her. One of the investigators pretended to be a women’s-rights advocate and secretly recorded at least four meetings with McGowan. The same operative, using a different false identity and implying that she had an allegation against Weinstein, met twice with a journalist to find out which women were talking to the press. In other cases, journalists directed by Weinstein or the private investigators interviewed women and reported back the details.

The explicit goal of the investigations, laid out in one contract with Black Cube, signed in July, was to stop the publication of the abuse allegations against Weinstein that eventually emerged in the New York Times and The New Yorker. Over the course of a year, Weinstein had the agencies “target,” or collect information on, dozens of individuals, and compile psychological profiles that sometimes focussed on their personal or sexual histories. Weinstein monitored the progress of the investigations personally. He also enlisted former employees from his film enterprises to join in the effort, collecting names and placing calls that, according to some sources who received them, felt intimidating.

In some cases, the investigative effort was run through Weinstein’s lawyers, including David Boies, a celebrated attorney who represented Al Gore in the 2000 Presidential-election dispute and argued for marriage equality before the U.S. Supreme Court. Boies personally signed the contract directing Black Cube to attempt to uncover information that would stop the publication of a Times story about Weinstein’s abuses, while his firm was also representing the Times, including in a libel case.

I have no words. Just when I think I've come to terms with how much men hate and distrust women, they surprise me all over again.
November 2, 2017

Stewart Mills the Third announces he's not running in the 8th this year.

Plenty of snark directed at Republicans, though. From his Facebook page:


First, I would like to thank all my supporters for the how they came through for me, in ways completely above and beyond, during both the 2014 and 2016 election cycles. As you all know, we came so incredibly close both cycles. As much as I am warmed by your unwavering support, I feel that in a way I let you down and need to explain our loss in the 2016 cycle, a loss of only 2,009 votes. As you know our campaign could not, and did not, coordinate with any outside groups, but we were aware of their publicly available ad buy reservations while we were structuring our media strategy in the final weeks. When the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) pulled their ad buy from our race two weeks before election day, it was a blow that we were not able to recover from. Even if I wanted to reach deeper into my own pocket to replace that broadcast media exposure, there wasn’t enough time to do so. The NRCC succeeded in doing something the Democrats were unable to do, leave us flat footed and unable to mount a commensurate campaign. I do very much thank those outstanding folks at Congressional Leadership Fund who stood with us until the end, matching Nancy Pelosi’s House Majority PAC’s ad buys against me. It is inexcusable that the NRCC hung me out to dry and left me vulnerable to the Democrat Congressional Campaign Committee’s media attacks by shifting their planned ad buy to an incumbent, an incumbent who won by very solid double digits.

Secondly, I have decided not to have my name on the ballot this election cycle, this is not a cycle I feel comfortable with. In my study of this coming cycle, the Democrats have an impressive offensive strategy. The best encapsulation of this was yesterday by Nathan Gonzales: “Democrats have an impressive group of challengers — retired Navy SEALs and Army Rangers, former CIA operatives, prosecutors and businesswomen and -men who have grown multimillion-dollar companies. Even a scientist who develops life-changing cures is among the fresh crop of Democratic recruits… these are serious individuals mounting credible campaigns.” The Republicans, in my direct and personal experience, are recruiting folks without a strategy, polling, or an explainable path to victory. In my opinion, these candidates will be the sacrificial lambs the NRCC will build their incumbent protection strategy upon. If there is a meaningful change of leadership and priorities at the NRCC, I might be open to looking at another run in the 2020 cycle.

Thirdly, while my name probably will not appear on any ballot in 2018, I intend to be VERY involved in policy and politics this cycle. This should speak for itself, I ask not to be contacted by media as I am currently immersed in getting my planned initiatives off the ground. When I am ready to unveil my projects, that will be the time to talk about them publicly.

Of course, things change, and as things change I will continue to review options and possibilities, but at the present time I plan not to run for any office this cycle.

Thank you to all my awesome supporters!
-Stewart Mills

So we've got Stauber, and I can't remember who else, on the Republican side, and so far an endorsement run for the DFL.
November 1, 2017

Orleans rape suspect's 'lawyer dog' request lacking, state Supreme Court finds


A Harvey man's contention that he was denied his constitutional right to an attorney when New Orleans police ignored his request for a "lawyer dog" two years ago was rejected by the Louisiana Supreme Court.

Justices voted 6-1 last week to deny the writ application of Warren Demesme, who awaits trial in Orleans Parish on charges of first-degree rape and indecent behavior with a juvenile under 13.

Demesme, 24, was arrested in October 2015 on allegations that he sexually assaulted two juvenile victims, including the rape of one preteen girl. He faces a mandatory life sentence if convicted of the rape charge.


The ambiguity, Crichton wrote, was contained within Demesme's tortured syntax as he told police, "If y'all, this is how I feel, if y'all think I did it, I know that I didn't do it so why don't you just give me a lawyer dog cause this is not what's up." "In my view, the defendant's ambiguous and equivocal reference to a 'lawyer dog' does not constitute an invocation of counsel that warrants termination of the interview(," Crichton wrote."

A good editorial take on it here:


Are we to believe that New Orleans detectives who are interrogating a suspect would stare in incomprehension if a suspect says, "Gimme a lawyer, dog?" Let's say those detectives asked a person where he lived and that person said, "Kenner, brah," would police go looking for "Kennerbrah" on a map?

Of course not. That's why Justice Chrichton's written opinion is so problematic. It makes a suspect's use of the vernacular grounds for the state ignoring that suspect's request for legal counsel. The ruling pretends to not know how real human beings, including real Louisianians, talk. It pretends to be wholly unfamiliar with the vernacular when that's just about all anybody around here speaks.
October 21, 2017

In Northern Minnesota, Two Economies Square Off: Mining vs. Wilderness


Minnesota is home to some of the world’s most ancient rocks, as old as 3.5 billion years. Earth has been around for only 4.5 billion years. About 2.7 billion years ago, basalt lava flowed underwater near what’s now the state’s border with Canada; the lava hardened, and the creep of geologic time turned it into a bedrock of greenstone and granite. On top of it, a layer of sedimentary rock rich in iron ore formed nearly two billion years ago, when the region was ocean floor. Then a billion years ago, Earth’s crust cracked open, producing a 50-mile-wide fissure stretching from Lake Superior to Kansas. For the next 100 million years, lava bubbled up into what geologists call the Midcontinent Rift, forming a mineral deposit filled with copper and nickel. Settlers first made their way to the area in 1865 in a fruitless search for gold. What they did find was iron ore, and lots of it. Rails were laid for iron-ore transport, and the town of Ely was founded a few years later, in 1888.

Today Ely is home to a few thousand people, a place of long, hard winters that is, in the words of one resident, “not on the road to anywhere — we’re literally the end of the road.” People do not end up here by accident. For most of the town’s history, the main reason they came was to make a living off the rocks. The ore supported abundant mining jobs for generations.

For almost as long, however, people have been coming to this area for another reason, too: to visit America’s most popular national wilderness area, the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, which encompasses roughly a million protected acres and thousands of lakes and welcomes 150,000 visitors annually. The “Land of 10,000 Lakes” is actually a land of 11,842 lakes, and that figure counts only those bigger than 10 acres. They are a legacy of the glaciers that retreated from the region about 10,000 years ago. As a result, the state has a significant fraction of the world’s supply of surface-available fresh water; 6 percent of Minnesota’s surface area is water, more than any other state.

Geological coincidence makes Ely — one three-square-mile town in the northernmost reaches of the continental United States — a focus of a national debate about the proper use of public lands. The place also distills the political fault lines in today’s America, pitting an angry working class against progressive activists. Just southeast of Ely, an international mining conglomerate has invested hundreds of millions of dollars during the past decade toward potential copper-nickel mines a few miles outside the Boundary Waters. The company — Twin Metals Minnesota, a subsidiary of the Chilean mining giant Antofagasta — has drilled 1.6 million feet of core samples out of 496 holes to explore the deposit from which it soon hopes to process 20,000 tons of mineralized ore a day. The company believes the area’s valuable metals — copper, nickel, platinum, palladium, gold and silver — can be extracted in an environmentally responsible way and can provide hundreds of jobs to the job-starved economy of Minnesota’s Arrowhead Region, along the northwestern coast of Lake Superior.

But there’s a generations-long rift in Ely — between those who believe minerals are the region’s greatest asset and those who believe clean waters are — that has been laid bare recently. In December the Obama administration denied a renewal of Twin Metals’ mining leases and put in place a moratorium while a two-year comprehensive federal study is being conducted on mining near the Boundary Waters. Depending on its findings, the stoppage could be a prelude to what conservationist groups here hope for most: a 20-year prohibition on mining in a 230,000-acre portion of the Rainy River Watershed that includes land surrounding the Boundary Waters. That could lead to a permanent end to mining around the Boundary Waters.

The article caused quite the to-do on both sides up here, and on both sides within the party.
October 21, 2017

Where my Fighting 8th at?

Nolan, Phifer, Sandman, Stauber and maybe Mills. As Minnesota Brown said, we're not unique anymore -- just your everyday scorched-earth swing district.

October 10, 2017

"Why didn't she say something?"

The thing is, she probably already did.

Maybe in kindergarten about the boy who wanted to show her his penis, but she was told to just look away.

Or it could have been in fifth grade about the kid who sat behind her and whispered things under his breath over and over again, she was told it's because he likes her and doesn't know how to show it. Did she try talking to him?

She might have said something in junior high about the boys who tried to grope her in the hallway, but was told she was trouble. There's a dress code, after all!

When she said something in high school about that one guy on the football team, she may have been told she was a slut or a bitch. Probably both.

In college, she might have mentioned the dropout who shows up at parties and hits on the freshman girls, at which point everyone wondered why she had to be such a fucking downer or so uptight.

At work she may have had the courage to ask about that guy in accounting who offers backrubs in the break room, at which point she was told he does that to everyone.

When she asked her guy friends for to do something about their friend who says the most inappropriate things when he comes over to watch football, they may have said it's hard for him since his dad died and they want to be there for him, you know?

It goes on and on. This is what rape culture looks like: disbelief of women's experiences. Putting men's feelings above women's safety. There are women who speak out. There are women who speak until they're heard -- and supported, and advocated for, and understood. But it can be hard.

I was thinking about this after reading this (long) advice column. It was so, so familiar to me and probably will be to many of you as well. Women need men to hear them the first time they say things about other men in their midst.


October 10, 2017

The Rock Test: A Hack for Men Who Dont Want To Be Accused of Sexual Harassment


Are you a man confused on how to treat the women you work with? Do you feel like if you can’t say or do *anything* you don’t know what to say or do at all? Well stress no more! This life hack will have you treating women like people in no time.

From Harvey Weinstein to like all of Uber, it seems each day a wealthy and powerful man is being brought down by accusations of sexual harassment or assault. And just today the New York Times reported that men are becoming less likely to mentor females out of fear.


While navigating professional relationships can often require that dreaded thing known as “any amount of work at all”, there is hope. You see, by following this one simple rule, you too can interact with women as people.

It’s as clear cut as this: Treat all women like you would treat Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.

I cackled. Having seen and heard sentiments along the lines of "It's gotten so you can't ________ anymore!" here and in other progressive circles, I thought this might be helpful to some.
October 4, 2017

Facing Facts: American Identity is Based on Alternate History


I studied this particular book for a full year—in a display of singular dedication to an idea, the teacher designed her entire district-approved curriculum around it. The premise of this particular alternate history was “what if everything was fine?”

This supposition was carried through the text with a level of meticulous finesse that I’ve never seen anywhere else. It permeated every facet of the built world on which the book was focused. What if, the book supposed, America had been entirely undiscovered prior to 1492? What if the Pilgrims had been a peaceful, God-loving people? What if they had worked together with the Native population, rather than slaughtering them and stealing their land? What if voyages of exploration were driven by a pure, heartfelt desire to expand the map of the world, and nobody had ever been interested in gold or drugs or slaves?

What if everything was fine?

What if the country wasn’t built on the backs of enslaved peoples? What if slavery was rare, and when it happened, the slaves were usually treated quite well? What if the founding fathers who did own slaves were good guys who should be admired and celebrated? What if sexual assault didn’t exist? What if the Trail of Tears was a mutual endeavor? What if the Civil War was driven more by dry economic and political factors than by a desire to perpetuate the subjugation of slaves? What if America never participated in eugenics? What if America was always staunchly anti-fascist and anti-Nazi?
October 4, 2017

They thought they were going to rehab. They ended up in chicken plants.


The worst day of Brad McGahey’s life was the day a judge decided to spare him from prison.

McGahey was 23 with dreams of making it big in rodeo, maybe starring in his own reality TV show. With a 1.5 GPA, he’d barely graduated from high school. He had two kids and mounting child support debt. Then he got busted for buying a stolen horse trailer, fell behind on court fines and blew off his probation officer.

Standing in a tiny wood-paneled courtroom in rural Oklahoma in 2010, he faced one year in state prison. The judge had another plan.

“You need to learn a work ethic,” the judge told him. “I’m sending you to CAAIR.”

Long read looking at the intersection of addiction, the way our "justice" system is built on punishment, the fetishization of "hard work," and economic exploitation

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