consultants are sandburs

Thursday, August 28, 2014

McConnell's entire speech is about how he has made as the number one passion of his career to make sure the millionaires and billionaires in the room can give as much money as they want to whatever politician or political entity they want without having to disclose who they gave to. He even brags about leading filibusters, and inventing a new one, in his fight against campaign finance reform in his very first term, saying, "And I was so determined, I came up with a new filibuster."

The headline to this post is a paragraph from within this Crooks and Liars post; having this opening screen capture:

click the image to enlarge and read

Go to the original item, please go there, to get the live links, and to read the full post.

If you read objectively, it appears that among other promises, Mitch McConnell whores to the Koch brothers' main point of interest. Their dirty energy business bucks, where they'd have less of them, the more regulatory constraints put on them to protect the rest of us and OUR environment from the likes of the Kochs and other Koch-like allied privateers who are like all privateers, after plunder at whatever the cost may be to others.

Following links from that start is easy, so I end the post now so readers can promptly move to the linked item, and explore further from there.

For those wanting to explore elsewhere, do a Google = Koch brothers Mitch McConnell

It is all online for those wanting to inform themselves, and hopefully there are legions in Kentucky who fit that bill.

A friend in need is a friend indeed. Michele Bachmann's and Ron Paul's friend in Iowa, Kent Sorenson, pleads to a count or two of back then being in need of a friendly loyalty bribe.

Is it one of those cases, loyalty to who paid him more, or to who paid him more recently?

Most recently apparently was Ron Paul's campaign, Rachel Maddow last night on MSNBC gleefully recounting detail, including not only the names Kent Sorenson, Michele Bachmann, Iowa, and Ron Paul, but the name Jesse Benton, which goes beyond opening old scabs, such as the fact that Benton was the manager of the Ron Paul campaign back when the bribe to switch endorsement from Bachmann to Paul was given Sorenson; to the present where Benton, due to his skill set no doubt, is presently (or was before the Sorenson plea hit the fan), reelection campaign manager for: Mitch McConnell (Rand Paul being the other senator from Kentucky, with his seat not up this cycle).

The Wikipedia item on Benton notes the Sorenson situation as allegations in the past, but now there is the plea by Sorenson (possibly a plea deal, one count in exchange for testimony). Benton's Wikipedia page likely will soon be updated to include this week's Sorenson plea deal.

In addition to the two links given above, (the DailyBeast item being quite succinct, with links), Politico reports, along with WaPo. A Google.

Yahoo News is on to the story, and why would you expect the thing would be covered in Texas? Because they understand criminal stuff there, indictments and such? Likely also understanding pleas touching the Paul family.

Strib reports the Bachmann dimension of the Sorenson plea; and is that the reason she declined another term in the Minnesota CD6 seat? Anticipating the timing likelihoods of this plea, to federal charges? Strib's lead image, for the report - that Sorenson looks like such a nice, decent, genuine-integrity guy - one you'd trust with your money. No wonder he was attractive to these image-conscious Republican politicians. Likewise, Jesse Benton? Photo collage:

Jesse and Ron.
Jesse and Mitch
Jesse and Walt

Wait. Sorry. That last one is a different Jesse. So please substitute in your minds this clearly Photoshopped image.

UPDATE: This link, to reach the online video of last night's Rachel Maddow coverage, (link discovered at the post end here).

__________FURTHER UPDATE_________
The Justice Dept. press release dated Aug. 27, 2014, on the Sorenson "plea agreement" is online here, stating:

“An elected official admitted that he accepted under-the-table payments from a campaign committee to secure his support and services for a candidate in the 2012 presidential election,” said Assistant Attorney General Caldwell. “Campaign finance reports should be accurate and transparent, not tools for concealing campaign expenditures. Lying by public officials – whether intended to obstruct the FEC or federal investigators – violates the public trust and the law, and the Department of Justice does not tolerate it.”

“Today, Mr. Sorenson has taken responsibility for his crimes,” said Acting Assistant Director in Charge Gallagher. “Exploiting the political process for personal gain will not be tolerated, and we will continue to pursue those who commit such illegal actions.”

Kent Sorenson, 42, of Milo, Iowa, pleaded guilty today to one count of causing a federal campaign committee to falsely report its expenditures to the Federal Election Commission (FEC) and one count of obstruction of justice in connection with the concealed expenditures. The guilty plea was taken by Chief Magistrate Judge Celeste F. Bremer of the Southern District of Iowa for later review by Senior District Court Judge Robert W. Pratt. Sentencing will be scheduled at a later date.

According to a statement of facts filed with the plea agreement, Sorenson admitted that he had supported one campaign for the 2012 presidential election, but from October to December 2011, he met and secretly negotiated with a second political campaign to switch his support to that second campaign in exchange for concealed payments that amounted to $73,000. On Dec. 28, 2011, at a political event in Des Moines, Iowa, Sorenson publicly announced his switch of support and work from one candidate to the other.

The payments included monthly installments of approximately $8,000 each and were concealed by transmitting them to a film production company, then through a second company, and finally to Sorenson and his spouse. In response to criticism of his change of support for the candidates, Sorenson gave interviews to the media denying allegations that he was receiving any money from the second campaign committee, and noted that the committee’s FEC filings would show that the committee made no payments to him.

In his plea agreement, Sorenson also admitted that he gave false testimony to an independent counsel appointed at the request of the Iowa Senate Ethics Committee, which was investigating allegations from a former employee of the first presidential campaign. Sorenson testified falsely to the independent counsel about the concealed payments, in part to obstruct investigations that he anticipated by the FBI and FEC .

The case is being investigated by the FBI’s Washington Field Office, with assistance from the Omaha Field Office and the Des Moines Resident Agency. The case is being prosecuted by Election Crimes Branch Director Richard C. Pilger and Trial Attorney Robert J. Higdon Jr. of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section.

Well, sentencing is pending, and only criminality by Sorensen is stated, with "one campaign" and "secretly negotiated with a second political campaign to switch his support" not, yet, naming names. Is there any reader wanting to bet that there will not be other shoes to drop? And, "On Dec. 28, 2011, at a political event in Des Moines, Iowa, Sorenson publicly announced his switch of support and work from one candidate to the other."

Timing is everything? It's some time later, and while this is not an October Surprise, it's an August How-do-you-do.

Hello, Mitch. Mr. Holder wonders, how're things going? Picking up the pace on the backstretch?

As to other shoes likely dropping, there is that last press release paragraph stating, "The case is being prosecuted by Election Crimes Branch Director Richard C. Pilger and Trial Attorney Robert J. Higdon Jr. of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section," i.e., use of the present tense instead of "was prosecuted" for a plea deal closing the criminal fault book on Sorenson. Wording like that surely implies other action is contemplated. Closing a book chapter on the Sorenson plea, together with that language, suggests more chapters of the book will be written. Possibly touching upon the Bachmann boogie back home. One can hope.

Last thing, that press release references a "statement of facts" also filed with the federal district court in Iowa, along with Sorenson's plea. If any reader knows of a publicly open online link for that statement, giving its detail, a comment or email would be welcome. (In general: Federal district court filings, our federal courts' stuff, is, shamefully, behind a paywall. Go figure that one.) [UPDATE: See sidebar at "Let's Make a Deal," per the caption there; it was found online. Also, here, for link to a 566 p. report finding "probable cause" to conclude Sorenson violated criminal law.]

__________FURTHER UPDATE__________
Regarding CD6 retiring Rep. Michele Bachmann, Strib wrote:

Sorenson publicly announced that he switched his support from Bachmann to Paul on Dec. 28, 2011, just days before the Iowa Caucus. [...]

At the time, Sorenson said it was clear that Bachmann was no longer a viable contender.

“The fact is, there is a clear top tier in the race for the Republican nomination for president, both here in Iowa and nationally,” Sorenson said. “Ron Paul is easily the most conservative of this group.”

Bachmann’s congressional staff did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Sorenson’s plea.

[...] Last year, a special investigator found probable cause that Sorenson violated Iowa’s ethic rules by taking money from committees tied to Bachmann’s campaign by laundering the money through separate consulting firms.
Iowa Senate ethics rules prohibit legislators from receiving payment for work on political campaigns.

On two separate occasions, Sorenson issued written statements to the Senate Ethics Committee, denying that the Bachmann campaign paid him.

Bachmann has also denied the allegations that her campaign paid Sorenson.

[italics added] In subsequent enlarged reporting, Strib added:

Bachmann investigations continue

It remains unclear what implications Sorenson’s plea could have for Bachmann, whose presidential campaign remains under investigation by several federal agencies.

In December FBI field agents seized materials from Sorenson’s home related to his work for the Paul and Bachmann campaigns.

The raid came two months after a special investigator appointed by the Iowa Supreme Court found probable cause that Sorenson violated its rules by taking money from committees tied to Bachmann’s campaign by laundering the money through separate consulting firms.

Iowa Senate ethics rules prohibit legislators from receiving payment for work on political campaigns.

[...] The congresswoman’s presidential campaign also faces an active investigation by the U.S. House Ethics Committee.

A federal grand jury probe of top Bachmann campaign operatives, including Bachmann’s husband, Marcus Bachmann, was revealed last fall.

The U.S. Justice Department has subpoenaed financial registers of the National Fiscal Conservative (NFC) Political Action Committee, which allegedly agreed to help raise funds for a Bachmann campaign mailer ahead of the Iowa caucuses.

The Federal Election Commission is also probing allegations of illegal coordination between the Bachmann campaign and the NFC PAC, as well as with Bachmann’s own political action committee, MichelePAC.

Bachmann announced last spring that she would not seek another term in Congress.

[emphasis added] Leaving in disgrace is no surprise to those thinking her entire political career was a massive disgrace.

In terms of possible money laundering, does any reader know of any payments to Sorenson from MichelePAC?

If so, comments on point would be appreciated.

_____________FURTHER UPDATE______________
This link, 19 pages of detail
That Florida address again, the one online for MichelePAC, Nancy Watkins there, noted as hired by Bachmann in a Sept. 12, 2013, Beltway Insiders item headlined, "Bachmann Hires ‘Fixer’ for Campaign Money Troubles," which reported:

Nancy Watkins, a well-known campaign finance treasurer in GOP circles, submitted paperwork a few weeks ago naming her the new treasurer of both campaign accounts for the Minnesota Republican. Watkins is still the treasurer for Bachmann’s failed 2011 presidential bid, and despite allegations of impropriety surrounding that campaign, Watkins’ stewardship of that account has not been questioned.

“She is a fixer, in terms of coming in and cleaning-up the mess that other people left behind,” said Brett Kappel, a campaign finance lawyer at Arent Fox.

Kappel described Watkins as a “total straight arrow” who has been asked by other troubled GOP campaign committees to “clean up the books.”

Former Sen. Mel Martinez, R-Fla., brought Watkins in to help him fix his reporting lapses. He ended up paying the FEC a hefty $99,000 fine.

Former Arizona GOP Rep. Rick Renzi also hired Watkins to help him deal with FEC violations. He paid a $25,000 fine. Earlier this year, Renzi was found guilty of 17 felonies connected to a land-swap deal, including conspiracy, racketeering and money laundering.

Like others before her, Bachmann appears to face some potential legal troubles. An Office of Congressional Ethics report released Wednesday said there was “substantial reason” to believe that Bachmann authorized or failed to prevent illegal contributions between her campaign committees, and that she improperly mixed promotion of her book, “Core of Conviction,” with her presidential campaign activities.

In particular, Bachmann is accused of using her leadership PAC, Michele PAC, to subsidize her presidential campaign activities, particularly when it came to paying Guy Short, the director of the leadership PAC.

The OCE explained in its summary:

During the course of the presidential campaign, Mr. Short was compensated by both Representative Bachmann’s leadership PAC and her presidential campaign. Funds from the leadership PAC may have been used to subsidize her presidential campaign.

After Representative Bachmann launched her presidential campaign, Iowa State Senator Kent Sorenson was named as her campaign’s Iowa State Chairman. Mr. Short and other consultants to Representative Bachmann’s presidential campaign may have arranged to compensate Senator Sorenson for his service to her campaign by directing payments to Senator Sorenson through Mr. Short’s consulting firm.

During Representative Bachmann’s presidential campaign, she engaged in a series of promotional activities for her book, Core of Conviction, including a multi-stop book tour organized and paid for by the book’s publisher. Representative Bachmann may have used funds from her presidential campaign to promote her book, and may have used book promotional activities paid for by the publisher to promote her presidential campaign.

Around that time NY Times similarly reported, with an image showing Bachmann holding a neat looking presidential campaign tee shirt for her loyalists, a blue one commparably colored to one featured in the sidebar in a link accompanying a red tee shirt image.

Going further, there are links readers can pursue, but listing more would be cumulative. Readers, however, are urged to check that CREW pdf report imaged above.

_________FURTHER UPDATE_________
A parting thought but one having 2016 implications. What did Ron Paul know, and when did he know it? The usual prosecutorial ploy in negotiating a plea deal is to seek out and negotiate with a lynch-pin person in the deepest end of the criminal liability pool, within the full range of investigated dealings, who can sit on a witness chair and provide first-person testimonial facts reaching in a host of directions. Somebody with something to trade.

Kent Sorenson seems that person, in this scenario, and pleading to only two federal counts with sentencing pending, where prosecutorial recommendation one way or another will weigh heavily in the sentence given; that pattern suggests a gift that will for a while keep on giving. Over time. With voters listening.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

A thought experiment on little yellow tags on the pavement.

This image, from this Strib report, shows how efficiently local police noted and marked shell casing locations at a shooting scene.

Somewhat more efficiently than they did in Ferguson.

MSNBC last night played audio from a neighboring resident's video chat having at the time of recording two clusters of gunshots audible in background sound. [UPDATE: CNN online, here.]

If there were two clusters of shell casings that would fit both the audio and eyewitness statements to the media that the shooting was by the officer in two segments, witnesses saying the second segment was after Brown's hands were up and he had stopped.

These are bystander eyewitness statements, not solely that way in Brown's friend's statement. Video statements of at least two separate women interviewed by different news outlets, have been posted on YouTube. Interested readers should have no trouble navigating Michael Brown YouTube content, e.g., here. NY Times, here, with a video and a timeline report indicating 4 hours between the time of the shooting and removal of the body.

Metadata is for sharing.

Your's, mine, the libraries', the book stores', Wall Street's, but relax. It's controlled sharing. Only government agencies. Law enforcement. Not any bad guys:

ICREACH has been accessible to more than 1,000 analysts at 23 U.S. government agencies that perform intelligence work, according to a 2010 memo.

[...] The search tool was designed to be the largest system for internally sharing secret surveillance records in the United States, capable of handling two to five billion new records every day, including more than 30 different kinds of metadata on emails, phone calls, faxes, internet chats, and text messages, as well as location information collected from cellphones.

Wow, two to five billion a day. But relax. Records. Not dollars. Just your life story. Nothing interesting. So smile. You are on a surveillance camera.

Dan Burns has two interesting posts at MPP. First, inversions and profits of lawmakers. Second, home care workers vote to unionize.

Inversion profits, here, linking to Bloomberg.

Home care unionizaton vote, here, linking to SEIU's website.

For a differing view of the home care unionization vote, here.

RAMSEY - Yesterday there was a Work Session and Council Meeting to which I paid inadequate attention.

The work session looked at page after page after page of boring budget stuff, but it is where the money is taken, where the money goes, so the link is here. A long multimegabyte pdf doc download. But better than the hypertext format sometimes used, chopping stuff up vs having it all in a single sequential easy-reading format. Better the big pdf file.

Work session news, the current econ development staff person, Ted LaFrance, has resigned and staff recommends giving Patrick Brama a new job title, greater responsibilities, and a likely higher salary in line with the other stuff. The alternative staff did not recommend was to not fill the vacancy, to cease having the job function. I'd not dismiss that possibility too easily or too promptly, but Brama has proven to be sound and should well handle enlarged responsibility. Not my decision. Same link as before, after the near-interminable pages of charts and numbers. For convenience, these screen captures (click the thumbnail images to enlarge and read - two pages of gov-speak to say give the guy a promotion):


Leaving the work session agenda without mention of salacious nanny state stuff might bother some "nanny state dislikers except for setting townwide moral constraints ..." readers, (council candidates or whatever); hence, this screen capture (same above link):



The main televised meeting agenda was a whopping 381 pages long, really, (snow in August), a bigger download file than some movies, and given that, the link is here. No screen capture. It is always hard to tell without study what might be hidden in the consent agenda, or within vague wording of the leading index pages of the full agenda. That was a big time problem during James Norman days, with less cause for suspicion that way with Kurt. Those on council going through all that load of stuff, they have my respect for tenacity, I am glad it is not my duty.

Download that humongo file and read to your heart's content, if you care. We have to trust the elected people to not pull any fast ones, don't we, and watching the televised meetings is tedious. At least they televise the formal in-chamber meeting stuff while declining to televise work sessions or EDA meetings where business fiscal favors can be reviewed and approved for doling out (to none but the deserving, of course).

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The political genius the Republicans want you to vote for, as Attorney General.

Screenshot, from here (click the image to read what you need to know):


Presenting all you need to read, hence the Gaussian blur on other text. He authored that amendment because of how he knew it would play for his Republican Party, at the polls. Bless his success. This is the dude who used a press release to distance himself from Michelle MacDonald and tout her opponent. A step [UPDATE: he may have] taken because of how he knew it would play for his electability at the polls. He would bring that track record and level of judgment to the office of Attorney General, if elected.

Weigh that in voting.

___________UPDATE___________
Web stuff reliability/infallibility is a non sequitur. Strib, today, a Wed. Aug 27 editorial about the wisdom of political parties not endorsing judicial candidates; this quote, links in original:

The sideshow has included watching GOP luminaries squirm as they attempt to distance themselves from MacDonald without casting aspersions on the party endorsement process that boosted her candidacy. State Sen. Scott Newman, the party’s candidate for attorney general, didn’t mince words. He announced his support for Lillehaug last week — an ironic choice, since Lillehaug was once an unsuccessful DFL candidate for attorney general.

Nice to have the links, but toggling them and getting "404" error messages, what's up? Lost in the ozone, Brodkorb scrubbing posts, machine glitch, web glitch, whatever it is, at the timestamp: 6:33 AM 8/27/2014, neither link worked and going to Brodkorb's site he has the link: MacDonald loses support from top Republicans

Toggling that Brodkorb homepage link; same 404 unavailable error message. I would have to check my screen captures from his series, to see if I have it. I believe I do. The main post, and the comment thread attached, 404 unavailable. [Aug 28 update, the Brodkorb links are back to operative, please check them, and see what comment-thread activist Don Evanson has to say in comments longer than Brodkorb's post - reader help, who is this guy].

__________FURTHER UPDATE__________
While considering Strib online editorials this one, curiously, uses the name, Bill Ingebrigtsen, and the phrase "poor judgment" in a connected context within succeeding paragraphs. How can that be? Well, we know, editorials are statements of opinion, not statements of fact where an untrue representation of fact might be actionable.

Mark Dayton is against the market's invisible hand balancing supply and demand, as is the case, elsewhere.

This link. From the shadow of Mount Rainier. It is time for a true voicing of belief by all true believers in the market's immaculate management conception of supply demand forces, for the good of all if simply left unfettered to achieve equilibria all over everywhere. But Dayton's a Democrat, and not inclined to test unregulated market theories, so what's the word, Republicans? Agree with Ron/Rand, trust in liberty and the market, or why not? The demand side seems real, and the Reagan Repubicans are supply-siders, aren't they?

UPDATE: Yes, it is a slow loading page, but even so, isn't it better than mixing with street criminals, some armed and ready? More varieties than a wine shop. Taking questionable middlemen out and legalizing things - more bang for the buck?

Latest Michelle MacDonald links. Croc. tears, over Franken and cones.

MacDonald: Kos (cumulative), CapitolReport (noting Wersal of GOP judicial election politization fame gave the MacDonald nominating speech, birds of a feather, etc., worth reading), CityPages latest (cumulative to what Brodkorb's posted, new noting of some tweets). UPDATE: Wonkette national level laughingstock, here and here.

Crocodile tears: Five Republican ladies, of the party of Hagedorn who they seem cordial with, satisfied of his qualities, criticize Al Franken,



Yeah, croc. tears. Mercifully kept to a single page. Story and image source, Brodkorb's blog, (where no attribution was given as to that photo's original source).

A have to add note: This Franken thing, said by the ladies to date to 2012 has mysteriously surfaced, and it truly would be helpful if Brodkorb attributed his photo sources, helpful to the public's understanding, perhaps not too helpful to a source that wishes anonymity. The ladies wrote:

Earlier this year, a video surfaced [sic] of Sen. Franken walking around with traffic cones on his chest – clearly pretending that they were breasts. This wasn’t some “Saturday Night Live” skit from yesteryear - this video was from an event in 2012. Months after the video surfaced [sic] online, Sen. Franken has yet to apologize or otherwise provided [sic] an explanation for this very un-Senatorial behavior.

Wow. Apart from the one grammatical error, things "surfaced." Ambiguous passive voice, vs active voice -- somebody seeded stuff with a purpose. The letter fed to Brodkorb for distribution. With a purpose? More of that croc. tear stuff?

And Wow. Again, wow. They write, un-Senatorial. Heavy, heavy, fuel to these ladies' unbiased judgment.

Kind of like teaching the young about the humor of a sock in the crotch being, what, Senatorial?

Five ladies. Two standards. Make of it what you will.

------------------------------------
MacDonald update: Already cited, CapitolReport states MacDonald's situation one way. For a contrasting view, a telling of the story from a different perspective, this link.

One wonders, with the degree of vetting of things now, on the web, where were the GOP officials responsible for vetting at or ideally before the Republican convention where MacDonald made her Bible speech, where the video of the speech is also posted online here and here.

Jeff Kolb, here and here, strangely in this saga, making sense in what he says.

Again, per the First Amendment attorney MacDonald can say whatever she chooses, but when in a public context, seeking public office, it is to be judged. My vote, my part of the public, remains appalled at the direction her remarks took, and more appalled by the response they drew from those entrusted by Republican party processes to choose Republican candidates to endorse.

So what if she was the only one stepping up to seek the run against Lillehaug? That does not mean she must be endorsed by default, does it, if she is not the best option over "no endorsement?"

These Republicans made their bed so bless them as they have to lie in it. (That's in large measure what Kolb wrote.) I do not care much about the DUI, many of us may have been at risk for one but were never stopped, or not held/charged if stopped. I do not care too much about Pat Anderson's role, if any, although it deserves sunshine, fully so.

That MacDonald convention speech is the big time deal killer for me, in any consideration of Michelle MacDonald as fit for interpreting the law from the bench. She posts the video of it, with pride. Think if she were the only candidate for that seat ...

Scary.

___________FURTHER UPDATE__________
MacDonald: Disagreement within the Minnesota Republican Party and untoward situations centered upon judicial candidates and whatever endorsement and/or vetting processes were appropriate are not new in 2014. This administrative complaint from 2012 indicates that people going in different directions created inner party confusion that ultimately had to be resolved by a tribunal. It is unclear to me whether unrest and problems in general might attach to Republicans within the First Judicial District. Crabgrass readers more familiar with things in the state's GOP would have to comment publicly on that question for it to be clarified. Or such readers might know persons fit to resolve unclear dimensions from 2012 and the present.

Greg Wersal and Tim Tinglestad for the Minnesota Supreme Court, and Dan Griffith for the Minnesota Court of Appeals, none of whom I have cause to respect, were the judicial candidates about which confusion was created in 2012.

As I read the findings and conclusions of the tribunal's opinion back then, where readers should rely on their own reading, study, and deliberation; none of those three individuals had any central Republican party endorsement, but some went about falsely casting confusion as if there were some official Republican position taken in accord with the party's body of rules and procedures.

I am unsure how the 2012 situation relates to the MacDonald situation now, but I believe the most recent Downey communication that MacDonald is the endorsed candidate for the seat Lillehaug holds hinges upon the outcome this time being different than in 2012, i.e., this time a convention endorsement happened, unlike in 2012.

Whether the present MacDonald-related memo from the several GOP lawyers was felt necessary because of events of 2012 is something one having interest in finding out would have to ask the current memo authors. I hope somebody does ask them that question.

___________FURTHER UPDATE___________
FRANKEN: Yogi Berra originated the phrase, Deja vu, all over again.

The five GOP ladies do their thing, not as outraged individuals, but on GOP stationary, bearing a footer,



And they said, "Sincerely." Gee.

Above the "Prepared and Paid for ...".

Actually, the tried and true stunt worked better back in Ron Carey days, when he sent the pony express to hand-deliver a Franken directed missive. More class back then, before Downey's re-reaching into the lets-do-a-gotcha-for-the-hell-of-it bag of tricks, for a 2014 lower budget summer rerun.

--------------------------------------
Worth a passing notice, the online lawyers memo re MacDonald which Brodkorb published did not bear a "Prepared and Paid for ..." footer. Is that an error of omission, or an expression of an item being an unofficial but very Republican action item?

Monday, August 25, 2014

Brodkorb - connector of some dots. [UPDATED]

putsch with a grudge? image source

Dots as a question, Crabgrass, here. Brodkorb's partial connecting of dots, here. (timestamped August 24, 2014 10:03 PM)

What part in planning or having knowledge of the latest Brodkorb report's factual allegations did the writing attorneys have, and when did they have it? They, or as more likely, any one or subset of them? As in who among them instigated the idea of their communication such as it was, and under what representations and/or pretenses was a consensus signature attained - and with what factual knowledge withheld or shared among them at the time of writing and signatures? (The recent Hoyt Properties case presents an interesting review of the factual candor that is required to be shared by negotiating lawyers). In effect, were any of the signing lawyers sandbagged via inadequate full disclosure by one or more of the others? Or by third persons pushing things and/or with a stake in having a lawyer-group public castigation of the Party's endorsee?

And why the blanket silence as to the circus stunt speech the now blackballed candidate made to the convention loyalists, in gaining applause and a standing endorsement? Why no criticism as that being akin to:

MacDonald’s lack of respect for law enforcement and the rule of law, both before and after her endorsement, demonstrates that she is unfit to sit on our State’s highest court and that her values and beliefs directly contradict those of the RPM [that is Republican Party of Minnesotsa] and its members.

[...] Her attitude is not appropriate for a judicial candidate.

Notice the artful drafting of "both before and after her endorsement" to exclude during that side show exhibition.

Admittedly, her Bible-waving disgraceful speech exhibition might not have been "values and beliefs [that]directly contradict those of the RPM and its members." The most essential problem is it should have been viewed that negatively by those wanting general public voting support, and it should have not gone unnoted by a group of distinguished and experienced litigators, keenly aware of best practices and norms of evidence and presentation.

Did that speech spectacle stunt pulled at the convention by MacDonald make her less or more "unfit to sit on our State's highest court?" Was it "appropriate for a judicial candidate?"

Turning next to Brodkorb's latest GOP revelations. Brodkorb wrote:

Since Thursday evening, Michelle MacDonald, the Republican endorsed candidate for the Minnesota Supreme Court, had been contacted numerous times by an attorney working with a member of the Republican Party of Minnesota’s State Executive Committee, with an offer to repudiate the Republican Party of Minnesota’s endorsement and end her campaign.

According to multiple sources, including members of the Republican Party of Minnesota’s State Executive committee, Patrick Burns, an attorney with Burns & Hansen, P.A, was working with Pat Anderson, a member of the Republican Party of Minnesota’s State Executive Committee from the 4th Congressional District on a plan to get MacDonald to repudiate the Republican Party of Minnesota’s endorsement and end her campaign.

My sources also confirmed that Republican Party of Minnesota Chairman Keith Downey was aware that Anderson was working on a deal related to MacDonald’s candidacy. This information conflicts with a statement provided by the Republican Party of Minnesota that no offer was presented to MacDonald by the Republican Party of Minnesota.

Anderson and MacDonald have crossed paths before, as MacDonald represented Anderson’s ex-husband, Mike Awada, in legal proceedings with Anderson after her divorce from Awada. Burns previously worked for Anderson’s successful campaign for state auditor in 2002 and later served as her communications director starting in 2003.

Burns began contacting MacDonald with an offer from the Republican Party of Minnesota that she repudiate her endorsement from the Republican Party of Minnesota and also end her campaign starting on Friday, August 22, 2014.

After reviewing electronic communications and the phone records between MacDonald and Burns, the offer from the Republican Party of Minnesota was discussed as both a request for MacDonald to repudiate the endorsement and also end her campaign. While MacDonald’s letter to Downey only referenced the request that she repudiate the endorsement, the request communicated by Burns discussed both items.

According to phone and text message records provided by MacDonald to politics.mn, Burns called MacDonald 14 times between Friday, August 22, 2014 to Saturday, August 23, 2014. During the same time span, Burns sent MacDonald approximately 22 text messages. All of the communications were focused on the offer from the Republican Party of Minnesota.

MacDonald did communicate back and forth with Burns, but after reviewing the communications, Burns was aggressively pushing MacDonald to accept the offer from the Republican Party of Minnesota.

Burns declined to comment on any conversation he had with a representative of the Republican Party of Minnesota or the State Executive Committee, saying, “I’m not going to discuss any communications that I may have had or advice that I have made on behalf of anyone.” [...] “my communications are privileged.”

So, there is an assertion of attorney-client privilege. That could only ethically be raised by this Burns if, factually, there really was a privileged relationship vs his collaborating in "let's torpedo Michelle" as a coconspiracy or whatever you'd call it, but as an active participant beyond the giving of legal counsel.

He's on record, per the Brodkorb reporting, as having asserted a privileged relationship; so hopefully, for him, when the chips all have fallen it proves to be a legitimate assertion and not a convenient figleaf for silence over any co-participation role he may have had. If the figleaf is the case, and it gets dropped in the fallout, this Burns will not look too good.

What appearance does it all have to you, the communications Brodkorb reported; fitness and quality on the part of the stone casting MacDonald opposition, or a lesser prestige? Consider Burns in the phoning exchanges:

You’ve got a 12 o’clock deadline, according to what I can get out of the folks over at the committee [The Republican Party State Executive Committee], so what decision do you want to make?

They’re [The Republican Party of Minnesota] going to squash you like a bug. That’s what they want to do.

I’m trying to help you, by saving you before a noon deadline.

[bracketed material in original web posting] " ... squash you like a bug." Dire Straits sang, Sometimes You're the Windshield, Sometimes You're the Bug. To me, it looks as if the Republican inner party people who [presumably] instigated Burns contacts with MacDonald do not resemble a windshield; no, not much at all.

As to timing of the Burns-MacDonald reported events, the earliest timestamp Brodkorb gives is:

Burns sent MacDonald a text message at 4:39 PM on August 22, 2014:

I have a deal from the party for you

I am unaware of the timing of signing of the lawyers memo, or of its release to the press. i.e., whether it was before, after, or contemporaneous with the Burns-MacDonald contacts.

One last thing: When election day arrives in November, please, please, please Vote Lillehaug in the Supreme Counrt contest. Regardless of your vote anywhere else on the ballot, consider David Lillehaug as universally respected within the state's legal community.

__________UPDATE__________
A yet not publicly fully vetted thing, but needing vetting because of the lawyer letter, that opening part of the letter characterizing alleged affiliates of Ms. MacDonald as "some of her supporters who have referred to themselves as members of the 'Judicial Election Committee (JEC) of the 2014 Republican State Convention.' "

So is this some discredited rump group pushing the idea of partisan politicization of judicial elections, or an official offshoot of some in GOP leadership that went under the radar of others in GOP leadership; suggesting a right hand - left hand communication gap to where one did not know what the other was up to?

I would hope the writing lawyers might dare to write more about that choice of wording. Theirs, not mine.

Will heads roll, chips fall, or there be little more sound and fury signifying nothing?

It seems if you write once, ambiguously, there's a duty to write again, as with a supplemental brief clarifying a part of an argument to a judicial body. The public seems to deserve more detail. More detail specifically as defined by the partial disclosure chosen as, so far, appropriate in degree and kind. This instance - more is better.

___________FURTHER UPDATE__________
The undated posting of the lawyer letter is clarified by wording in this Aug. 24 updated item quote, "The executive committee received a memo from a group of conservative attorneys last week saying that she was unfit to be a Minnesota Supreme Court justice."

Please note: That "last week" language appears to place authoring and delivery of the lawyers' letter before the reported Burns-MacDonald contacts, hence, unless one or more of the lawyers knew of planning between Anderson-Burns and possibly others, the evidence is the lawyers wrote without knowing of parallel event planning/actions. That is reassuring. This business cooked up out of the CD4 republicans, not from any bastion of GOP party strength, reflects badly on the Republicans in their stronger districts/places, and that CD4 venue should worry about being a liability to ticket strengths elsewhere, while pushing whatever the agenda of the day may be.

As in: Were MacDonald to have "accepted" the Burns suggestion to repudiate the endorsement and step aside, who stood a heartbeat away to step in concurrently as a party substitute candidate, it having to be a licensed, admitted, practicing lawyer? (Which excludes Pat Anderson, but not Burns, from being the one ready to step in.) Possibly, of course, a MacDonald back-down might have been left as a situation where Lillehaug was then to be left running unopposed for the Supreme Court seat he currently holds as incumbent; i.e., an abandonment of politicizing Minnesota judicial elections, or at least a temporary backing away as a delicate necessity for the present.

Last, does anybody know why the Brodkorb post here in ending says "3 COMMENTS," but only two are shown? [update - the third was a pingback, and now a second pingback makes it four comments, two with content]

__________FURTHER UPDTE___________
Sheck Aug 25, at MPR, writing:

Republican gubernatorial hopeful Jeff Johnson says he’s still backing MacDonald but is calling her actions at the Fair booth “a distraction.”

Downey has refused repeatedly to answer questions about MacDonald and the decision to ban her from the booth. Today he denied a Politics.MN report that said party leaders made a formal offer to MacDonald to “repudiate the Republican Party of Minnesota’s endorsement and end her campaign.”

Downey walked out of the news conference when a reporter asked whether a lawyer was not telling the truth when he said he told MacDonald in a recent phone call that he was sent by the party with the offer.

“We’re talking about Al Franken here today and very un-Senatorial behavior. I’m glad to talk to you about other matters in a different venue. For now, let’s leave it at this,” Downey said.

It appears there is a recording of lawyer Burns, one way, and Downey the other way, saying Brodkorb's reporting is in error but declining more detail.

When an attorney/client privilege is asserted, by the attorney in the course of a negotiation, is client identity itself privileged information in that situation? As noted earlier, the recent Hoyt Properties case presents an interesting review of the factual candor that is required to be shared by negotiating lawyers. Attorney Burns is held as a matter of law, to know the law. To know candor in negotiation of a settlement is required. Hence, disclosing who his client is, in making an allegation of privilege, seems proper.

BOTTOM LINE: Is the identity of the client privileged or not privileged information under Minnesota law? And, would that be so under any circumstances, or are there relevant exceptions?

That's something a Minnesota lawyer might know. I do not. I expect the question might have to be researched by MacDonald if she were to decide to litigate how she was dealt with by various persons.

[Note - final above three paragraphs were rewritten from previous posting]

____________FURTHER UPDATE____________
MN Progressive Project covers the MacDonald saga, and it seems they too much wish to gleefully criticize the Republican inner party operatives' conduct that they make MacDonald look like "the victim" without noting that there is substantial evidence that she never really was particularly fit for the job she is seeking, and they ignore the dreadful speech she gave at the convention where somebody's brain fart was to push the GOP into judicial race endorsements and this was the racehorse they chose to put their money on. Bible waving, can you imagine that in Minnesota Supreme Court deliberations? We already are embarrassed as a state by Michele Bachmann, and we have this Michelle, (two l's).

That Bible waving convention stunt should offend every fiber of conscience of those treasuring greatly the principle of separation of church and state.

NEXT: In passing, who exactly in things is Don Evanson, who leaves post comments with Brodkorb and MPP, critical of GOP insider, Pat Anderson?

Reader help via a comment would be appreciated. This Evanson in his MPP comment wrote:

I suspect that controversial, divisive Executive Committee member Patricia Anderson, with the support of the disaffected, self-interested attorneys that sent Downey the memo that he forwarded to Party regulars are behind the engagement of attorney Patrick Burns, and likely the bouncers at the Republican State fair Booth.

Patricia Anderson was formerly known as Patricia Anderson Awada, but that marriage ended with a divorce, and it is known that Michelle MacDonald was of counsel to Mike Awada.

I also suspect that Anderson feels threatened by Michelle MacDonald’s success with the Party’s convention delegates, further overshadowing her declining influence in the Party. While she is strongly outspoken and apparently carries undue influence with the Executive Committee, she has a vindictive agenda, seeming to follow her failure to win election by Party delegates to a full term as the MNGOP National Committeewoman after serving a partial term that she filed due to a retirement.

For those that are pleased with the disruption that the Party is faced with, they might want to consider engaging attorneys that are the cause of the disruption for their legal representation needs. I’m sure that Kevin M. Magnuson, David W. Asp, Douglas P. Seaton, Harry Niska, R. Reid LeBeau II, Todd R. Vollmers will be pleased to hear from you. Oh, and don’t overlook the foul-mouthed “fuck”ing — his term — Patrick Burns.

[italics added] The final sentence relates to a partial transcript presented in the body of the MPP post.

Without in any way condoning the actions and possible motivations of Burns: In having earlier criticized the attorneys' memo, my focus was its apparent deliberate incompleteness, its avoidance of criticism of the disgraceful speech MacDonald made to the convention delegates (and how they applauded it). The memo's avoidance of any comment about the wisdom of politicization (any further) of judicial elections in Minnesota was its second major neglect. Yet, the lawyers laid out their points of belief that MacDonald's candidacy and conduct hurts the party ticket, up-ticket being where the stakes are highest, and it is hard to suggest they got that, (as far as they chose to argue), wrong.

It would be a most unfortunate thing were MacDonald, from the name-recognition in what is a down ticket race, were to end up elected over Lillehaug. That would be a public decision based other than on a rational look at the qualities and history of both candidates, before voting.

Taking glee in the "fumblers and Bumsteads" dimension of GOP inner party meanderings, sure, go for it since they deserve it, having earned it by their activities, but please do not boost the MacDonald image in the process.

Michelle MacDonald - Screen capture of the letter a bloc of lawyers sent Minnesota Republican Party higher-ups. [UPDATED]

(Brodkorb reports at Strib, referencing the item for a context, and posting the item on Scribd. Scribd is a Facebook operation, and for others hating both, I have done a screen capture. Why people at Strib do not simply use linked pdf posting of documents remains a puzzle to me. As a Facebook/Scribd hater, I would appreciate their moving that way, but ...)


Here is the item, click the thumbnail to enlarge and read. Only one sender name registers with me, Harry Niska who resides in Ramsey, but I have to presume each is active to some level in GOP party politics within the state. Brodkorb identifies them that way, and it is unlikely they'd recruit DFL folks to join in on dumping on their party's endorsed candidate.

That their party did that endorsement, is something the letter authors acknowledge. Indeed, she got applause at their party's convention for her speech's opening Bible waving segment. For all I know, it was standing applause, since the online video does not show the crowd at that point.

Most importantly, the letter authors fail entirely to question the wisdom of politicizing judicial elections, and instead conclude embracing "the power of the Party's endorsement." In doing so, they embrace politicizing judicial elections as a general thing, only expressing buyer's remorse in the particular first instance exercise of the practice, Bible waving and all (where convention speech "nuances" also go without comment in their learned discourse).

The lawyers do not object to a DUI record alone as disqualifying for high office, if without the surrounding context circumstances that riles them.

There's Emmer after all, so they tread carefully.

As to MacDonald making a state fair spectacle of herself, the writing lawyers disapprove. Rocking the inner party's boat, not good, "she lacks appropriate temperament to be a Supreme Court Justice," they state, and (without weighting her sins one against the others in importance to show where their hearts may be), they also note "she is willing to bring negative attention to the party," after her excommunication from state fair participation, by a private enclave of some top inner party muck-a-mucks without even according their endorsed candidate a hearing prior to issuing a heavy-handed exclusionary ruling.

No hearing, no problem? With aspects surrounding the inner party's highly questionable excommunication procedure being something the writing lawyers decline to mention or analyze, that seems inexplicably negligent of them, in choosing how to craft their communication content.

There "to bury Ceasar not to praise him," nor to criticize the ways and means and motivations of those who did the stabbing?

Well, they chose their own points of emphasis, and did not consult my opinions in advance of writing.

The gentlemen implicitly attribute an ill will (or ill-willingness in light of how she was treated) to embarrass her Party as motivated by her acting in defiance of the procedures employed against her by her Party's leadership cohorts, i.e., they say she aimed "to pursue her own agenda," which seems to be a wholly rational agenda of insisting upon equal treatment to that accorded other endorsed Republican candidates.

Indirectly and without analysis, but clearly implicit in their writing, these attorneys suggest MacDonald should not have asserted any claim of right under the circumstances.
Because, they conclude, she made a spectacle of herself, and cast her party in a bad light? I find that curious, especially since the learned gentlemen have not seen fit to comment publicly one way or the other about a GOP volunteer making a spectacle of himself, at a different venue, not in the party's state fair booth; with that blind-eye posture being entirely consistent with the non-mention of MacDonald's Bible waving rhetoric in the course of her seeking the GOP convention endorsement for a judicial seat, with party endorsements that way not being the norm in Minnesota. The MacDonald/Bible spectacle at the Party's convention was a trailblazer in that sense and it truly would be enlightening if those gentlemen were to take time to revise and extend their comments. To me, trailblazing in that obtrusive fashion and not with suitable decorum fitting a candidate for the state's highest court was the most objectionable and offensive thing in any of MacDonald's conduct. The rest was simple aftershock.

UPDATE: MinnPost's latest coverage of MacDonald, Downey, and the GOP executive bloc. Worth reading, with links worth following. In rereading the attorneys' letter, another thing they decline to explore is who knew what about the DUI citation prior to the Party's convention and MacDonald's being the sole seeker of the trailblazing political party endorsement of a top court candidate. In blazing that trail, who knew what, who made choices and what were they, and does that group overlap the now-deniers of the MacDonald candidacy? Every aspect leading to the endorsement, including MacDonald's performance at the convention, are, by indifference, cast by the writing lawyers as irrelevant considerations. In a situation of buyer's remorse and piling on, the core long-lasting error trail appears grounded in deciding in the first instance to blaze a trail by the state's GOP's venturing into the politicization of judicial candidacies at the party convention level, and then negligent choosing of the vehicle for their doing so, (and making it a tawdry convention floor show to boot). Again -- Dead silence from the writing lawyers that way is not encouraging public reliance on what they've chosen to analyze. Last, Red Wing Republican Eagle Aug 23 online reporting, this link.

___________FURTHER UPDATE____________
In presenting the lawyers' memorandum and questioning dimensions of it, including its motivation and purpose, and in mentioning Harry Niska as the only one of the signatories I know, it is necessary to correct any misimpression that I am critical of Niska. Having been on the Ramsey charter commission where Niska is deputy chair, I have grown to respect his intelligence and the restraint he has shown in dealing with the franchise fee question in a way that avoided politicizing it to an unnecessary degree. He has a brief online bio, and it is impressive. Having spoken only once and quite briefly with his spouse Jen, I cannot say much beyond a belief that whatever I have seen on the internet concerning them, they appear a sound cohesive family close to their children. There is our differing on politics, with them holding an apparently strong allegiance to the Republican party or at least to several people and aspects within it while I distance myself from both parties as too alike and too conservative, but I favor the more moderate of the two. In that context, I cannot in any way after getting to know Niska better find fault with him as a person. His judgment on Charter issues and his reasoning ability are things I can respect and trust. I have no idea of the level of his involvement in MacDonald questions related to the drafting of the memo, and it is the document I criticize as incomplete in its range of analysis, not individuals. In believing MacDonald's convention speech video displayed an approach that would be out of line on our State's highest court, well out of line, I have no clear idea whether or to what extent Niska might dispute that view, having never exchanged words with him about it. From his joining in the memo I can infer that if arguing a case to the Court he'd likely be more comfortable with Lillehaug in the seat vs MacDonald, but that's at best, a guess.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Our Republican friends. In Minnesota. Dots exist. I am insufficiently informed to judge whether they connect in any particular GOP inner party manner.

Puzzling evidence. Brodkorb's blog lists tweets:


For a context when reading those tweets, Strib here, reporting:

On Saturday, MNGOP Chairman Keith Downey sent a memo to party delegates saying that MacDonald remained the party’s endorsed candidate. However, Downey said her campaign controversies were taking a toll on the party.

“Unfortunately, this whole episode and her candidacy is undermining the conservative argument for electing judges and judicial restraint, and is also calling into question the merit of endorsing judicial candidates,” he wrote.

Downey said that information about MacDonald’s legal issues and “her legal and judicial philosophy” are now known to delegates, which they did not know when they voted for her endorsement.

In addition to her legal woes, Downey said MacDonald’s campaign had raised just $120. Plus, members of the executive committee were concerned that MacDonald and her campaign team could be using the endorsement for “their personal pursuits,” Downey said. He also referenced the State Fair incident.

MacDonald said that she was contacted by an attorney Saturday with a formal offer on behalf of the party to repudiate her endorsement.

A spokeswoman for the MNGOP said that no formal offer was given to MacDonald by the party. The spokeswoman also said that the attorney doesn’t speak on behalf of the MNGOP.

Downey’s memo was one of a few recent public jabs at MacDonald.

The executive committee received a memo from a group of conservative attorneys last week saying that she was unfit to be a Minnesota Supreme Court justice.

[italics added]

Next, a screenshot of consecutive comments to a Brodkorb post about MacDonald meanderings:



An unnamed GOP inner party official, a divorce, MacDonald a divorce lawyer.

Next, commenter John K. had a prior MNGOP4 leadership dust-up with Pat Anderson involved; this link and here.

When Pat Anderson was the Minnesota State Auditor, she went by the name Pat Awada until her marriage dissolution was finalized, Case No. 19-F5-04-006012, per online Minnesota district court dockets.

Michelle MacDonald was not the "lead attorney" of record per that case header, for either spouse; however, in Case No. 19-C4-04-014330, she represented Michael Awada.

It being Sunday when the court webmaster does system maintenance, I could not check further on the names involved in the above series of items. If readers know of any ties suggesting grounds for a hostile animus on the part of any GOP inner party top-level honcho against MacDonald beyond the unclear situation of GOP official knowledge of the MacDonald DUI history, who knew what and when did they know it, comments clarifying the situation are welcome.

In effect, was there someone with a grudge against MacDonald apart from a belief that MacDonald's DUI had been insufficiently vetted prior to her unanimous stand-up GOP convention endorsement after she'd waved a Bible about and touted it as a lead in to a speech ending, "God Bless America Again," noted by her to the convention crowd to become her avowed campaign slogan; per the video? A grudge to intervene against such an otherwise avid-and-stellar-theoGOP performance to "the base," who duly stood to endorse her, as theirs.

_________UPDATE_________
This link. From before the Brodkorb firing and the resulting litigation/settlement.

It makes one wonder, is there some disconnect between the GOP convention going rank-and-file, and disputing factions within inner party GOP leadership? Was not the turn to relative outsiders Mills III, McFadden, and Honour an effort premised by some (the donor elite?) to bypass inner party factional pis preening matches, putting the GOP way of the past behind them this election, and presenting a new pack of faces to entice the public's trust?

_________FURTHER UPDATE__________
Was it inner party factional positioning that resulted in the anonymous Tumblr blog photo posting about Laura Brod? Who did in the Brod public persona that way, and why? Those who/why aspects remain unanswered GOP inner-party conflict concerns.

__________FURTHER UPDATE__________
Has anyone gotten around to asking GOP CD6 candidate Tom Emmer his view on the Michelle MacDonald DUI and her excommunication subsequent to rank-and-file endorsement? My guess is he'd not like seeing such "distractions" but, as GOP-endorsee Johnson did, he would tout the legitimacy of the outcome of endorsement conventions.

Brodkorb should ask. Pose the question to beer-bong Mills III. The McFadden was an easy shot, nothing noted as rattling in that closet, but the others, what say they?

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Larry Klayman's litigation against NSA domestic spying is benefited by an amicus brief filed jointly by EFF and ACLU.

This EFF press release link, this excerpt:

In the new amicus brief in Klayman v. Obama, the EFF and ACLU lawyers repudiate arguments by U.S. officials that the records are "just metadata" and therefore not as sensitive as the contents of phone calls. Using research and new case law, the civil liberties groups argue that metadata (such as who individuals called, when they called, and how long they spoke) can be even more revealing than conversations when collected en masse.

"Metadata isn't trivial," EFF Legal Fellow Andrew Crocker says. "Collected on a massive scale over a broad time period, metadata can reveal your political and religious affiliations, your friends and relationships, even whether you have a health condition or own guns. This is exactly the kind of warrantless search the Fourth Amendment was intended to prevent."

The brief explains that changes in technology, as well as the government's move from targeted to mass surveillance, mean that the holding of the 1979 Supreme Court case Smith v. Maryland that the government relies on (often called the "third-party doctrine") does not apply. Instead, EFF and the ACLU point to a series of recent key decisions—including the Supreme Court decisions in United States v. Jones in 2012 and Riley v. California in 2014—in which judges ruled in favor of requiring a warrant for electronic search and seizure.

"Dragnet surveillance is and has always has been illegal in the United States," says ACLU Staff Attorney Alex Abdo. [...]

For the amicus brief itself, online in pdf document form:

https://www.eff.org/files/2014/08/20/klayman_amicus_brief.pdf

UPDATE: The brief is not tedious to read. You can scan the header info, list of cases, etc., and start at the first prong of the two pronged ARGUMENT: METADATA REVEALS HIGHLY PERSONAL AND SENSITIVE INFORMATION (second prong being THE BULK COLLECTION OF TELEPHONE RECORDS VIOLATES INDIVIDUALS’ REASONABLE EXPECTATION OF PRIVACY).

If you do read it, ask yourself, (as a quintessential reasonable person), does this exceed MY basic expectation of privacy?


Many Individual Conservatives Helping Elect Leaders Everywhere PAC

http://www.michelepac.com/contact/ says:

Many Individual Conservatives Helping Elect Leaders Everywhere can be contacted at:

MichelePAC
610 S. Boulevard
Tampa, FL 33606

So, what's in an address?

And if it's an address remote geographically from other addresses you have for your favorite money sink barker, so? Flow that cash anyway? Speculate? Wonder? Perhaps click the address link above? See if that enlightens with whom you may be dealing?

Even look for online info about how the money flowed in has gotten flowed out; to whose benefit - possibly conservative candidates for election - possibly?

Have a better use for the cash, including spending it on yourself and family?

Questions you can answer.

Friday, August 22, 2014

State fair hijinks. Republicans at their booth fashioned an ad hoc rule. Any candidate with a pending criminal proceeding was barred from the booth. How many do you think that covered, and guess who showed up? [UPDATED]

Lawyer and party-endorsed judicial candidate M. MacDonald, insisted on her rights, and was told, "Wrong."

Escorted from the scene after making a scene.

I think she has cause to sue. Winning, who's to say, but go ahead lady, sue the bums.

Getting name recognition is often a problem for down-ticket candidates, but she tries.

Trying hard, against a Minnesota Supreme Court sitting Justice, one who served for years as the local US Attorney. One having respect within the legal community.

Why would those big-tent Republicans turn away one of their own?

It looks bad.

Endorsed by them, no less.

Not only that; from Minnesota's finest law firm, and doubtlessly approaching her party's booth with preparedness and tenacity, personal traits of which she appears proud.

Yes, sue them and see if you can take the case all the way to the Supreme Court. But short of that, make a promise they can't ignore:

She says she isn’t trespassing and plans to return every day unless the party takes legal action against her.

A daily show at the fair. Ouster of the unwanted.

A continuing boisterous crowd pleaser? Or not? Wait and see.

One hope, she will wear a chicken suit. Or show some other fowl conduct.

_______________UPDATE______________
After a bit of web research I believe MacDonald's greatest sin to the Republican base, in seeking the endorsement; she held up and waved a Bible, but did not thump it.

Insufficient theater, akin I suppose to a bad apple, and hence that might, instead of the DWI, be a truer believers' cause to hold a groupwide expulsion of MacDonald from GOP state fair Eden.

And yet, in that self-nomination speech, saying GOD, and GOD BLESS as frequently as she did, how can that offend theo-GOP powers that be?

They all stood in accord.

___________FURTHER UPDATE___________
In a quasi-insider's review of collective bad apple indigestion, leading to a scurrying to be that angel with the sword of judgmental expulsion; Brodkorb reporting the dominoes falling, here. There's a bit of irony to Brodkorb being a GOP-driven-from-Eden reporter.

___________FURTHER UPDATE___________
In reviewing the comments to Brodkorb's post, I very much look forward to reporting of these events in Harold Hamilton's Anoka County Record.

"... if left alone, would have attracted no attention whatsoever." Wow. From an ostensible media editor. How's that for a peep under the ol' kimono? (And, yes, I did a full screen capture.)

___________FURTHER UPDATE___________
That above-noted comment to Brodkorb's Aug 21 post, was preceded by a like-minded parallel comment to an Aug 20 post by Brodkorb:


Email authentication is being sought from the person captioned as being the comment author. In effect: The GOP's 1%'ers erred, letting Minnesota's groundlings, the 99% of us, see - oh my - strife within the big tent?

In effect, chastise other inner-party souls who elect to not bury such stuff, but elect as the wiser choice to disavow mistakes publicly, as error?

Media should disapprove of stiffling of transparency or not? What is at play? What policy suggestions underlie the comments, by whom?

___________FURTHER UPDATE___________
That Aug 20 Brodkorb comment thread is a hoot. Within it, you sometimes see something that cries out for naming of names. Crabgrass readers are urged to start at the link in the last sentence, and from there explore the main post and the range of thoughts in the thread. It is worth the time.

FURTHER: Post was corrected re spelling, MacDonald. Further MacDonald news, Strib here wherein The McFadden casts shame:

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Mike McFadden also said in a statement Saturday, “Given her recent behavior, I’m concerned that Michelle MacDonald does not have the temperament to serve on the Minnesota Supreme Court.”

Interestingly, although not mentioned in that Strib item, The McFadden waffles around too about another GOP ticket "master of comedy" Hagedorn, who apparently also registers as a co-ticket embarrassment to The McFadden, and his and his handlers' ambitions. Give him a week or two, his handlers might have him change his mind, either to condone or castigate his co-ticket folks further. For now it's perhaps a difference of degree, insistence upon an entitlement of being endorsed by The McFadden's party, and being a misogynist, each of which registers this way, with The McFadden (and handlers).

I’m disappointed in the conduct of some of the other Republican candidates on the ballot this fall. Given her recent behavior, I’m concerned that Michelle McDonald [sic] does not have the temperament to serve on the Minnesota Supreme Court.

Meanwhile I think that Jim Hagedorn needs to apologize for the inappropriate comments he’s made on his blog. His writings do not reflect Minnesota values. This country has become too divided; we need leaders to focus on uniting not dividing us. From the beginning, I’ve set out to share a positive message with Minnesotans, and I would encourage every candidate – Republican and Democrat – to do the same.

Meanwhile, GOP Guv hopeful Jeff Johnson, longer in GOP politics than The McFadden, expresses loyalty without enthusiasm:

“I am the leader of our ticket so I’m going to support our endorsed candidates,” Johnson said. “I will tell you that I’m not thrilled with the distraction and the way she’s been acting. It’s not helpful, but I’m going to stick with the ticket.”

Johnson’s statement comes one day after Scott Newman, the Republican candidate for Attorney General, said he’s backing Supreme Court Justice David Lillehaug over MacDonald. He said MacDonald is unfit to serve.

Johnson said he has not spoken with MNGOP Chair Keith Downey or other party leaders about their decision to ban MacDonald. He said he’s too focused on his own race to get involved in another one.

But Johnson also suggested MacDonald should back off her push to appear at the booth.

“I just don’t think we need to be creating scenes,” Johnson said. “I think she should be out there campaigning like the rest of us and if there’s a dispute then you figure out where people actually want you and listen to you.”

Hunky dory,
with Hagedorn?
Johnson has yet to speak to put distance between himself and Hagedorn, and likely would do that in the same waffling loyal-to-the-ticket, loyal-to-the-endorsement manner. Distanced, not happy, but not disloyal. Nor overly judgmental. So far still level-headed Johnson; unlike others who appear keen to emphatically dislike drunkards and feminists, but not misogynists (the shirt is long enough for one or more lines, e.g., misogynists, bigots, first stone throwers, etc.).

Figure that one out Soon. Before November.



ONE LATE GREAT IDEA OFFERED OUR GOP FRIENDS
DUAL USAGE: Below, a potential dual-use logo that

Michelle MacDonald

should consider using to advance her campaigning:


After all, it's kinda cutsie. Ad-agency keen. Unless, of course it's a registered, protected trademark, for brand identification  (as in don't buy any look-alike substitutes). Reader thoughts?


Thursday, August 21, 2014

Police impound/forfeiture powers and permissions in Minnesota are constrained by state Supreme Court decision, on Fourth Amendment grounds (despite forfeiture being a civil rather than criminal matter).

This Strib link. Strib offers no links, but oral argument of the two cases is online, here (Rhode), and here (Garcia-Mendoza). Opinions are online here (Rhode), and here (Garcia-Mendoza).

Garcia-Mendoza is the forfeiture case. Rhode involved suppression of evidence in a criminal prosecution, with a Constitutionally improper auto impound/search at issue in Rhode.

An online opinion in a newly decided "stand your ground" (aka "duty to retreat") Minnesota case, here.

RAMSEY - "The most expensive projects to the city and residents are road reconstruction projects because it includes tearing up the road and fixing any problems beneath the surface and drainage issues rather than just repaving the road or patching potholes." Really? Who sez?

The headline is a quote from within ABC Newspapers' coverage of a Ramsey Council vote, with quotes.

That's simply fiction for most existing Ramsey roads in established large-lot neighborhoods.

The sandy soil drains water to the water table, refreshing the aquifer we all depend upon for household water.

Some places, density is such or commercial parking lots require storm water drainage NOT required in the large-lot established neighborhoods.

What is going on? WHO is setting this unneeded policy, and WHY?

Is it some Met Council demand again?

Is it unreal engineering thought?

Sandy soil drains rain. It is the nature of things.


UPDATE: Are we seeing insinuation of sewer/water into neighborhoods that do not want or need it?

If so, WHO is setting such a policy and WHY?

It is NOT in the general public interest to see that question largely infused with sotto voce misdirection if the aim is to extend sewer/water universally in the community despite that being unneeded and unwise. What is happening? Why do our roads have to be redone with storm water drainage stuff in the established large-lot neighborhoods? It is certainly not a hydrology engineering thing. It is policy. Diminish our wetlands? Why lower the water table sending water down stream when we are pressing local north metro aquifer capacity now? The environmental dimension needs debate.

_______________UPDATE______________
A clarification is needed. Road reconstruction can be required if there are drainage issues under an existing road bed. In such a case drainage measures would of course be needed as part of a reconstruction. However, road bed inadequacy can occur without drainage issues, such as where an inadequately prepared dirt road has been blacktopped in the past. Probably drainage issues causing roadbed failure is more common than other causes for reconstruction. To the extent that is so, the headline proves correct. However, a wholesale tearing up and rebuilding of older but adequate town roads to install first-instance drainage measures would be wasteful, and the hope is that it becomes clearer in reporting whether such less than nuanced matters were part of the overall engineering review and council decision processes. What is unclear is the extent of reconstruction that good sense might require, vs the extent of less costly maintenance continuation of roads without storm water drainage, and without sewer/water lines embedded in road rights-of-way. In analogous terms, the adequate Chevvy need not be replaced in every instance with a Cadillac. Maintain it. Service it. But it is a luxury to upgrade it needlessly, as a statement of preferred fashion. If a sound and thorough road study exists at this time grading individualized roadbed quality and needs city-wide, independent of loose "age implies needs" seat-of-the-pants theory, I have not seen such a thorough study referenced anywhere or publicized by city staff.

___________FURTHER UPDATE___________
I am aware of one city spot repair, for drainage reasons.

On 156th Ave. NW a drainage ditch running all the way to Trott Brook, crossed 156th parallel to Hematite St. Because of silting or sand in the culvert, or for some other reason, the culvert under 156th was not functioning properly. It was replaced, a spot patch over the bed after the repair was put in place, and with a sealcoat in the neighborhood after that, the repair is not something you can see anymore.

This is unlike the rework along Alpine Blvd at Hematite, where the drainage ditching is continued across both sides of Hematite to where the ditching is an axle-busting thing at anything over 2-5 mph. when crossing Hematite or turning off Alpine onto Hematite. It's good my lower back has not been problematic recently, or I'd have to avoid that spot entirely while driving across or off Alpine. And that's in an SUV. Worse in a sedan, I'd expect.

Alpine storm drainage stuff, with curbing, is in place on the stretch of Alpine between Hematite and Ramsey Blvd, where the new drainage grates get covered up with weed cutting debris, and where previously without curbing the wetland the road runs through took the runoff and it made the cattails happy.

It seems a questionable "improvement" to have partly clogged drainage grating in place of clear, clean runoff into the wetland.

It is not something I'd have engineered, and that's absent a degree in civil engineering. It was in the specs, so it was done, but curbing to prevent runoff into a wetland, how bright is that, really?

I notice the county road, Ramsey Blvd, north of Alpine does not have curbing and storm water grating along the road where it passes through wetlands, and in this case it seems there's more sense in county road maintenance and upgrading. Ramsey Blvd remains as it was curbing-wise, with wetland drainage unimpeded, after the recent needed and very nice re-surfacing done by the county.