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War, wealth creation and partisan politics

The April 7 Conversations with Al McFarlane: Public Policy Forums at Lucille’s Kitchen welcomed Eric Mitchell, Director of Outreach for Minnesota DFL.

Host Al McFarlane set a candid tone,… The April 7 Conversations with Al McFarlane: Public Policy Forums at Lucille’s Kitchen welcomed Eric Mitchell, Director of Outreach for Minnesota DFL.

Host Al McFarlane set a candid tone, inviting Eric Mitchell to address critical, controversial issues. “What’s going on in politics? Democrats must be under siege locally and nationally. George Bush stole the presidency. The Democrats let it happen. So, there’s a national retreat and, I think, in Minnesota. Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s administration is advancing legislative initiatives detrimental to people of color, poor people and people of good will.”

Mitchell responded, “You’re correct, actually, in your assessment of the Republican budget. It’s highly detrimental. We’re in an economic crisis. It’s shameful that the only answer we’re getting from the governor’s office, the White House, U.S. Senate, U.S. Congress and our own House of Representatives, here, in Minnesota from the Republicans is more tax cuts for those who make over $300,000 a year. Now, it’s on the back of the rest of us.”

Mitchell said citizens who rank among the ordinary, middle-income and lower-income class are being penalized.

Liberty Lending Group senior vice president Ernest Scott spoke about how he helps even the odds for would-be homeowners. “I might work with them over the course of few months to get their credit to a little better situation. Instead of paying 10 percent, they can get a loan for maybe 6 percent in three months.”

Scott said nothing is more valuable than having good credit. “I try to really educate people on credit because that’s the single most important factor in buying a home. It’s more important than work history. It’s more important than having cash on hand. If you have good credit, a bank will give you money at a reasonable rate.”

Nichelle Shannon, a stockbroker, advised on how to create wealth in a gradual organized fashion. “It starts with a financial plan, a visual plan. You need to set clear objectives and turn them into your ultimate goals. It’s quite simple. A lot of us do not use the stock market, but that’s [an] equity vehicle. The investment arena is a way to create wealth. It’s not instant gratification, but when you take the risk, you do have a greater reward.” She echoed Scott’s emphasis on having good credit. “When you invest, you have a key asset on your credit report.”

Also at the forum were Professor David Schultz of Hamline University and Marnita Schroedl joining Al McFarlane for the weekly discussion of the war against Iraq. Schultz commented on how the media covered the war (prior to Saddam Hussein’s regime being eradicated). “War coverage [became] the ultimate reality entertainment show, bombs without bodies and bullets without blood, a completely sanitized view of the war. The mainstream media [acted] almost like the house organ for the Bush administration, presenting [only] one side. What we’re seeing is the repercussion of what’s happened for the last 20 years where we’ve had media ownership [go] into fewer and fewer hands. There are few diverse outlets to give alternative views.” The result, Schultz feels, is propaganda. “I’m not saying this to be unpatriotic. But it’s true.”

McFarlane considered the drain on community resources caused by financing the war, questioning whether this was a strategy to further destabilize groups already on the fringes of American society. He asked, “Given this environment, how do we organize communities to improve their quality of life?” Schultz responded, “Getting involved in the political process is extremely important.”

“The Black community,” Schradel added, “[did not] support this war. In opinion poll after opinion poll, 24 percent of Black Americans [supported] the war. Which means 76 percent [didn’t]. That is a huge number.” Schradel also indicated that money spent waging the war was desp

April 21, 2003
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CONVERSATiONS W/ AL MCFARLANE