consultants are sandburs



Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Sam Ronan.

At the DNC candidate convention to start the ball rolling. Than, a productive "aggressive progressive" conversation.

Substance. Less rant than other YouTube. More substance. At the tail end of the presentation - Ronan does not say it this way exactly - but what about a general strike? Three days. Four. Make a point. It can be done. A good old fashion stop working effort. It was why Martin Luther King Jr. went to Memphis. The sanitation workers' strike. Unfortunately, why he got shot. There was also killing at Kent State and Jackson State. Sad, but shooting people who speak up works. Nobody went to jail for Kent State, Jackson State. They put up a marker. Big deal. This link; word search = Kent State, down list, as if someone's afterthought. That is Hallowed Ground. People have to awaken.

This video.

Leave me and MY PARTY alone, say some Dem savants.

YouTube, here.

Grassroots, you need round-up all over you, if you voice a choice? Father knows best.

Face looks funny, spited, by the nose cut off.

Another YouTube rant; same person, but truth can be ranted. It may be necessary to rant it. Some fools are downright deaf; or play so, and need to be exposed like wizards behind a curtain.

More.

Corporatism - was it the failing problem in the 2016 presidential election -- Democrat effort?

Young Turks, here.

Can you smear me now?

Young Turks, here.

A view of why Gen. Flynn got cashiered; not the more popular narrative of phone error with a Russian.

Discordant message? Kill the messenger. Gen. Flynn as the lead Afghanistan-based on the ground military intelligence officer coauthored a report highlighted and described by CFR, here, and ultimately found, online still, at the pdf download link, included here:

https://www.cnas.org/publications/reports/fixing-intel-a-blueprint-for-making-intelligence-relevant-in-afghanistan

In the downloaded pdf document itself, p.9, et seq., the authors opine:

The most salient problems are attitudinal, cultural, and human. The intelligence community’s standard mode of operation is surprisingly passive about aggregating information that is not enemy-related and relaying it to decision-makers or fellow analysts further up the chain. It is a culture that is strangely oblivious of how little its analytical products, as they now exist, actually influence commanders.

It is also a culture that is emphatic about secrecy but regrettably less concerned about mission effectiveness. To quote General McChrystal in a recent meeting, “Our senior leaders – the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Secretary of Defense, Congress, the President of the United States – are not getting the right information to make decisions with. We must get this right. The media is driving the issues. We need to build a process from the sensor all the way to the political decision makers.”

This document is the blueprint for such a process.

The authors of this document outline changes that must occur throughout the intelligence hierarchy. Its contents should be considered as a directive by the senior author, who is the top intelligence officer in Afghanistan. We chose to embody it in this unconventional report, and are taking the steps to have it published by a respected think tank, in order to broaden its reach to commanders, intelligence professionals and schoolhouse instructors outside, as well as inside, Afghanistan. Some of what is presented here reinforces existing top-level orders that are being actedon too slowly. Other initiatives in this paper are new, requiring a shift in emphasis and a departure from the comfort zone of many in the intelligence community.

We will illuminate examples of superb intelligence work being done at various levels by people who are, indeed, “getting it right.” We will explain what civilian analysts and military intelligence officers back in the U.S. must do in order to prepare, and what organizational changes they should anticipate. (As an example, some civilian analysts who deploy to Afghanistan will be empowered to move between field elements in order to personally visit the collectors of information at the grassroots level and carry that information back with them. Analysts’ Cold War habit of sitting back and waiting for information to fall into their laps does not work in today’s warfare and must end.)

[...] In addition to reflecting the thinking of the war’s senior intelligence officer, this memorandum combines the perspectives of a company-grade officer and a senior executive with the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) who have consulted the views of hundreds of people inside and outside the intelligence community before putting pen to paper.

This memorandum is aimed at commanders as well as intelligence professionals. If intelligence is to help us succeed in the conduct of the war, the commanders of companies, battalions, brigades, and regions must clearly prioritize the questions they need answered in support of our counterinsurgency strategy, direct intelligence officials to answer them, and hold accountable those who fail.

Too often, the secretiveness of the intelligence community has allowed it to escape the scrutiny of customers and the supervision of commanders. Too often, when an S-2 officer fails to deliver, he is merely ignored rather than fired. It is hard to imagine a battalion or regimental commander tolerating an operations officer, communications officer, logistics officer, or adjutant who fails to perform his or her job. But, except in rare cases, ineffective intel officers are allowed to stick around. American military doctrine established long before this war began could hardly be clearer on this point: “Creating effective intelligence is an inherent and essential responsibility of command. Intelligence failures are failures of command – [just] as operations failures are command failures.”

Nowhere does our group suggest that there is not a significant role for intelligence to play in finding, fixing, and finishing off enemy leaders. What we conclude is there must be a concurrent effort under the ISAF commander’s strategy to acquire and provide knowledge about the population, the economy, the government, and other aspects of the dynamic environment we are trying to shape, secure, and successfully leave behind. Until now, intelligence efforts in this area have been token and ineffectual, particularly at the regional command level. Simply put, the stakes are too high for the stability of Afghanistan and Pakistan, for NATO’s credibility, and for U.S. national security for us to fail in our intelligence mission. The urgent task before us is to make our intelligence community not only stronger but, in a word, “relevant.”

All POlITICS IS LOCAl: TACTICAL INTEL EQUAlS STRATEGIC INTEL

Why would four-star generals, and even the Secretary General of NATO and the President of the United States, require detailed district-level information and assessments on Afghanistan? For many in the intelligence chain of command, the answer, regrettably, is “they don’t.” Intelligence officers at the regional commands and below contend that the focus of higher echelons should be limited to Afghanistan’s large provinces and the nation as a whole – the “operational and strategic levels” – and not wander “into the weeds” of Afghan districts at the “tactical level.” In fact, top decision-makers and their staffs emphatically do need to understand the sub-national situation down to the district level. For the most part, this is precisely where we are fighting the war, which means, inevitably, this is where it will be won or lost.

One of the peculiarities of guerrilla warfare is that tactical-level information is laden with strategic significance far more than in conventional conflicts. This blurring of the line between strategic and tactical is already widely appreciated by infantrymen. They use the term “strategic corporal” to describe how the actions of one soldier can have broader implications – for example, when the accidental killing of civilians sparks anti-government riots in multiple cities.

[...] To understand the dynamics of this process, it is useful to think of the Afghanistan war as a political campaign, albeit a violent one. If an election campaign spent all of its effort attacking the opposition and none figuring out which districts were undecided, which were most worthy of competing for, and what specific messages were necessary to sway them, the campaign would be destined to fail. No serious contender for the American presidency ever confined himself or herself solely to the “strategic” level of a campaign, telling the staff to worry only about the national and regional picture and to leave individual counties and election districts entirely in the hands of local party organizers, disconnected from the overall direction of the campaign. In order to succeed, a candidate’s pollsters and strategists (the equivalent of a J-2 staff) must constantly explore the local levels, including voters’ grievances, leanings, loyalties, and activities. Experienced campaign strategists understand that losing even one or two key districts can mean overall defeat. (Recall, for example, the defining impact of two Florida counties – Miami-Dade and Palm Beach – on the national outcome of the 2000 presidential election.) To paraphrase former Speaker of the House Thomas P. “Tip” O’Neill’s famous quote, “all counterinsurgency is local.”

Information gathering in a counterinsurgency differs from information gathering in a conventional war in another important respect. In a conventional conflict, ground units depend heavily on intelligence from higher commands to help them navigate the fog of war. Satellites, spy planes, and more arcane assets controlled by people far from the battlefield inform ground units about the strength, location, and activity of the enemy before the ground unit even arrives. Information flows largely from the top down.

In a counterinsurgency, the flow is (or should be) reversed. The soldier or development worker on the ground is usually the person best informed about the environment and the enemy. Moving up through levels of hierarchy is normally a journey into greater degrees of cluelessness. This is why ground units, PRTs, and everyone close to the grassroots bears a double burden in a counterinsurgency; they are at once the most important consumers and suppliers of information. It is little wonder, then, given the flow and content of today’s intelligence, that they are seriously frustrated with higher commands. For them, the relationship feels like all “give” with little or nothing in return.

In short: How you gonna get 'em out in the field - in sufficient numbers watching the correct things - after they've seen Langley desks? It is not just Langley. Political parties face the grassroots bottom-up frustration of top-down "father knows best" folks, say, e.g., at the DNC and at conventioneering superdelegate levels of vexing irrelevance.

Apart from that divergence, back to the intel community: Those told they were doing the wrong job, with "never getting fired" language included there at one point, did not get mad.

They got even. They leaked and Gen. Flynn, under whatever explanation of the several offered by the Trump insiders including Trump himself, was sacrificed rather than changes made in "the way we've done things, the way we do things, the way we intend the future to be."

This IS NOT to say Flynn's report was correct, incorrect, or part of both. The knowledge of a senior military officer with 33 years of service clearly entails dimensions a non-veteran can only read and quote. (With analogy to imminent political processes thrown in to flavor the soup.)

This IS to say not liking what they saw, the knives in secret got sharpened, and then used to cut. No thousand cuts needed, this was a more efficient chop-chop effort.

The general was saying this is not a game, not cold war think tank musing to imagine thinking like the Russians think, this is a war and the military needs help on information it believes is needed to fight the war by knowing the nature of the combat place and people, the mood of things, on the ground in the national milieu and culture where the war exists.

(Ending on that tone and thought, with more to the report for readers who are interested, let's give a passing hello to Ellison and Perez and the 447 inner party Democrat savants about to do something that could be blundered, big time.)

With the CPACers convening today to do their annual thing, a retrospective look, and a tie-in to rural Minnesota.

Readers are urged to websearch CPAC, or use this search return.

It is ancillary to the gist of this post, and will not be mentioned below. Except, with the convening upon us it is proper to look elsewhere for sincerity of differing viewpoints -

A retrospective can focus on an individual, in this case, Angela Davis; who has a Wikipedia page, and who outlived two of her key defense lawyers, who were older than her at time of trial; see: here re attorney Branton, and here re attorney Walker (NOT a Texas Ranger, fictional or otherwise).

Each having reached 90, thereby proving not all of the good die young.

As the two Davis links show, her current activism is aimed at undoing "the prison industrial complex."

Which brings us to Appleton, Minnesota, which absent the big house of privitized confinement is moribund, with good reason to let it fend or go under without reopening the big house. See: coverage, here, here, here, and most recently by Sorensen at Bluestem Prairie, e.g., here, here and earlier, here.


It is interesting that the ol' Gipper fired Davis from a California University teaching position in 1969 for being a Communist and then fired Communism in cahoots with Gorbachev, two decades later; his having died since.

This closing image, Branton and Davis at time of the trial.

N.Y. Times image

Well, backtracking on an earlier promise, that Appleton site would be a peachy location for the CPACers to gather, each and every.

Rediscovering an online mix - Gin and Tacos.

Any site that uses a montage from a single image as its background image, like this one, has promise:

Bookmark this site
http://www.ginandtacos.com/

While it is best not telling a reader what to read on a site such as this one, but encouraging sampling, nonetheless this post got 89 comments.

It stands on its own, but is a part, and not wholly representative, so do not read only it, and then stop.

For some reason, thinking of the site, forgetting the name but knowing it unique, a search of older bookmarks found it.

For some reason of fleeting mental movement, it caused a though of Camus; and web trolling found NPR having a book review on point.

Many including myself can fall into a pattern of blunt reading habits, the web encourages it by overwhelming prevalence of content, so this shout out seemed due.

With one last minute agenda change, starting today, crazies convene.

The sunglass brigade. Doin' the CPAC shuffle.
image credit - New Yorker

Lost in the CPAC shuffle, the guy who got Bannon-Citizen United treatment worthy of that hallowed production, Hillary the Movie. But so many, it surprises that one agenda change gained any press attention at all. Quality, such as it is, will be unimpacted by one singular change. Dreck before. Dreck after, one less dumb hate-laced speech; but a hate-fist in a velvet glove.

A turnaround is fair play is an old southern phrase I heard in childhood. Among others -

That nice Mr. Bannon having a dose of his own medicine, as a kick-off to such a stellar bunch; it is just such a tearful shame that a hoist in his own petard happened to a Bannon hench-person. That's just unfair.

Somebody ought to get that gentleman O'Keefe to do his ACORN bashing best to do an alternate, real news, item on the Bannon hench-person's being demonized by edited footage and perhaps some form of set-up, whatever the need and aim required.

Check that opening  CPAC shuffle link, O'Keefe may be a booked speaker. Fake floozy in tow. The entire dog/pony extravaganza. Or not. I did not take time to verify, but he'd make a fine last minute backup for the disinfranchised Bannon person. Of a feather; real news folks to the core.

There's rumor Andrew himself will be channeled, so pay attention, it's a prize winner for certain. The big mystery - which of the throng of presenters will be honored to do Andrew channeling; where he/she and all the others join hands around a table with a lit candle, and wait.

UPDATE: What would it be without Santorum? Don't worry. Be happy. He'll be there, not square.

FURTHER: Did a word search on that persenters page. O'Keefe not listed. No hit on word searching "Duke" either.

FURTHER: Carly Fiorina is booked. Her topic? Touched by an embryo part? Trump himself touted; he can be there to comment on the Fiorina appearance. (Again.)

Perez is Podesta, with one less syllable. But, business as it's been is Perez in a nutshell. Losses in elections are losses, but core elite survival on top the Democratic Party is his peoples' essentiality.

The headline is personal opinion. New Yorker publishes online (in a Feb. 27, 2017 print edition pre-release) a quite good item on Ellison/DNC, here. It is a focus piece on Ellison, but gentle in tone toward Perez; where headlining here need not be gentle, with truth trumping gentility.

To fully understand the Ellison conscience, and something that the New Yorker item briefly addressed, understand this:


That line of integrity (and campaigning enlightenment) is why people of integrity and impatience with the status quo embrace Ellison as the next DNC leader; Warren and Sanders being but two, along with pragmatists knowing "CHANGE" has to be more than a politician's slogan - e.g. Schumer and Harry Ried.

Perez, giving him some due credit, is likely brighter than Wasserman-Schultz is/was/ever will be, more like a Tim Kaine when he headed DNC, being there, moderate, ineffectual but bright and self assured. An allay of all the money and the Clinton "Third Way" disaster that put the party into tatters as Republican-lite. Less bad at that than the Clintons, probably now more careful in his emailing than Podesta; but basically Podesta-like in spirit, with a Hispanic name.

It failed. Eight Clinton years, NAFTA, all that stuff and the Podesta campaign for the second Clinton - think - either Perez and more of the same, or a broom shall be the 447 savants' decision; and with the decision making hinging upon obscurity vs reinvigoration. Ellison being the latter possibility. Ellison being a chance to capture and keep allegiance and activism of the young and suffering. Something the Democratic Party establishment has been tepid in approaching.

Ellison is sincere. That counts.

Ellison did not serve under that U.S. Attorney General who declined to put a single Wall Street crook in the slammer.

Nor did Ellison serve a cabinet position in the Obama-Biden administration, which declined to put a single Wall Street crook in the slammer.

Ellison is a core progressive. Bona fide in the Wellstone tradition.

Perez is status quo redux - with a half-hearted attempt at a veneer.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Trump has gotten insufficient positive recognition for a reform effort regarding administration member future lobbying curtailments.

Think John Podesta, and the Podesta brothers.

Trump's steps outlined: here, here, here, here, here, here.

This image, from second to last of the above linked items, shows one distinct individual not touched, unfortunately, by any executive branch lobbying reform. He should be. Members of both houses of Congress should be likewise banned/curtailed from lobbying revolving door usage; as well as Congressional staff persons.

The revolving door - it's swamp to be drained.

And nobody at the bureau gets fired.

This Strib link. Title, "Exurbs seek relief after sewer facilities built for growth come up short -- An idea by the Metropolitan Council 15 years ago to rein in sprawl by offering wastewater service to rural mini-cities hasn't panned out. It spent upward of $40 million building the sewer pipe for Elko New Market and a wastewater plant in East Bethel that the communities now can't afford.
By Eric Roper Star Tribune - February 20, 2017 — 7:19am."

Readers of that item will discover a key concern: Who has to pay and suffer and sacrifice for Met Council faulty practice and judgment? Nobody at the bureau gets fired; so clearly others pay.

Met Council has too many planners; one being too many given the way they pull outrageous growth projection numbers out of dark places, impose them while denying they impose anything, and jerk towns around by their Comp Plans. Met Council has gone so far as to litigate a wrongly-decided growth cramdown where it was unwanted; case online, reporting from then, here and here and with images, by MPR.

Met Council's Comp Plan periodic game has created a consultancy cottage industry of itinerant planners and forced towns to have staff planners in otherwise unneeded numbers. Boondoggle is but one term that comes to mind, along with the shorter word, "stupid"

Ramsey, where I live, had the CAB pipeline cramdown in the mid 1970's a big pipe run under the Mississippi River to connect an otherwise placid Anoka County with the Pigs Eye STP run by Met Council, CAB standing for Champlin, Anoka, Brooklyn Park. That pipe dream led local land speculators to gain a town council seat and push Ramsey Towne Centre, (as one of the promoter spouses wrote it = Ramsey Town Center, when spelled without pretense), which was a bad idea from the start and stands now as a lesson project that still is as much open land as built, a decade and a half after the unsound move by the politics of the then mayor/council, and James Norman as City Administrator - who later got his comeuppance while being himself in Albert Lea.

Statue dubbed on this blog
"Ben Dover, The Ramsey Taxpayer,"  
located across the street
from Ramsey's decade old
$19 million City Hall; which was
to be the anchor "catalyst" for
Ramsey Town Center prosperity.
The blog title "Developers are Crabgrass" notes the issue. It was begun as a forum of complaint because of the Ramsey Town Center bad judgments, and the name was chosen to reflect how Met Council has or appears to have been captured by developer interests to where the outrageous growth projections force towns to authorize more growth than they'd in wisdom ever permit; with developers then being able to cherry pick the land sites that suit their profit lusts best.

Crabgrass is unwanted, but it spreads if watered. Money and TIF being the water for this particular Crabgrass variant. And that consultancy brigade fed by Met Council; sandburs, the blog sub-title added after a particularly bad consultant was hired by Ramsey for one of its many sequentially required Comp Plans. A friend and former Ramsey council member characterized Met Council as "selling flushes" and dealing with Met Council's ever escalating demands as "arm wrestling with a ratchet." Since deceased, may the gentleman rest in peace. He nailed truth with apt wording.

This post is, of course, but one view of Met Council: Unneeded, heavy-handed, meddlesome, and costly without justification. Opinions can differ.

_______________UPDATE______________
Dreck put online - paid from tax dollars: The manner of galling propaganda the Mondale-led Met Council was churning out at taxpayer expense, to tout their existence and planning finesse, such as it was, is mirrored in these screen captures from the time - since scrubbed from the bureau's website, but archived:






Subsidized parking ramp - taxpayer money:



Reality Intervenes:

----------------------------snip----------------------------------




While some of that text, when images are clicked to enlarge and read, is fine print; the upshot after the last item, three officials at the loan originating bank pled guilty to criminal charges related to how they handled things. Then, after a period of bank foreclosure limbo, no developer takers for the mess; City of Ramsey "bought the farm" in that millions were paid to get the remaining distressed RAMSEY TOWN CENTER land out of foreclosure. City of Ramsey still has land there for sale, now, over a decade after the ill-fated, downright dumb thing was hatched. About a decate after it went SPLAT!

And nobody at the bureau gets fired.

________________FURTHER UPDATE______________
All that Smart Growth folly was spawned and advanced during Ted Mondale's watch as head honcho at Met Council.

So, after being responsible, as boss, for all mistakes; he got regarded with a six-figure paycheck to involve himself in the Wilfare situation; the billion dollar football stadium built for Vikings team owners, the Wilfs of New York. They put some money into it, and had the market value of their team franchise increase by far more; while welfare for the rich; a/k/a Wilfare, was done with Ted Mondale at the "stadium authority" helm. Until he resigned. Crony politics in all that double-dip saga, Met Council, then the Stadium helm? You decide.

______________FURTHER UPDATE_____________
As a post mortem, the entity Bruce Nedegaard used, Ramsey Town Center, LLC, inactive now, when last registered with the Secretary of State had Nedegaard's daughter, Christy Dahlberg as registered agent. The situation with the bankers/originating bank for the consortium loan is noted in this still online item. A helpful partial timeline of Ramsey Town Center events up to 2007 remains online, here.

A screencapture from the Dorsey firm indicates Ramsey Town Center, LLC, was a Dorsey client in some of its negotiations (no online indication found of any Dorsey involvement in financing arrangements which led to the banker indictments, however): see 2-page screen images, here and here. (Ramsey Town Center info is on the second page). It appears unclear online, datewise, when attorney Jay Lindgren left his position at Met Council and when he began representation of Ramsey Town Center, LLC on a project that had received Met Council grant assistance.

Again, despite all the slop, it appears nobody at the bureau got fired. If any reader is aware of online contrary evidence, a helpful comment to the post with a link would be appreciated.

FURTHER: One additional link, from adjudication that the bank lending consortium suffered no actual loss from the insiders bridge lending roughly $6 million, and paying themselves back first, before and rather than amortizing the $35 million consortium loan. Yes, they did front run the other debt, but they'd have never loaned the $6 million, without wanting it repaid, so they put in 6 and took out 6, before the consortium knew it was happening; this link. It is not unlike an extension of credit in a bankruptcy after the filing having a priority; except there was no bankruptcy filing at the time, that being so whether the promoter LLC was actually solvent or insolvent at the time. Had the bridge lenders forced a bankruptcy and then, with notice to all advanced $6 million with court approval, a priority as a matter of law would have been attained; presuming that any objection of any other creditor would have been heard and resolved before release of the cash. But it did not happen that way. The consortium on the hook for $35 million had no notice of the front running loan arrangement. It bought time based on hope, where the hope failed, and then there was dispute.

Strange. The court saw an analysis others might not have seen. A binding analysis.

FURTHER: The camel's nose under the tent. For historical completeness, this City of Ramsey resolution is the earliest item in city online records that I could find on the commitment to bring CAB Met Council sewer service - the connection to Met Council's Pigs Eye STP receptor network, across the Mississippi to where Anoka had its own STP and Ramsey had been developed via private well and septic systems to that point.



And once Met Council made that cross-river transit, it wanted to sell flushes, hence it promoted dense shared wall housing in what had been a detached single family large-lot housing town/area.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Twin Cities Apartment boom - does it spell doom for the Flaherty Ramsey-by-the-rails adventure, or for Jim Deal's new thing?

Strib reports in a locally authored item, not a wire feed, this opening:

Twin Cities apartment construction accelerates to highest level since 1980s --In the boom, only 1 in 10 new units will be for low-income renters.
By Jim Buchta Star Tribune - February 18, 2017 — 6:16pm


After tapping the brakes in 2016, apartment developers in the Twin Cities are shifting into overdrive.

Apartment building is expected to rise by more than 30 percent this year and reach the highest number of new units — 5,600 — in at least 30 years, a new market study says.

Nearly all of it will be in upscale buildings in the suburbs, where there’s been little new apartment construction since the 1980s. Only 1 in 10 will be for low-income renters.

“I would like to see stronger production in the middle-market and affordable price categories, but it’s harder to make these projects financially feasible,” said Thomas O’Neil, who wrote the market study and is a vice president at Dougherty Mortgage in Minneapolis.

“We can really never build too much affordable housing and a variety of forces are pinching production this year,” he said.

The construction boom comes at a time of growing concern that the rental market is saturated.

For the entire story follow the Strib link. It is a detailed report, talking neighborhoods, and more.

As far as Ramsey; it's had its latest Town Center apartment building frenzy, with the watchword "up scale."

There has been, next to the Flarherty eye-sore, a more modestly sized and more attractive building, for affordable housing.

Jim Deal's work seems completed on the one apartment unit. He declined to build a parking ramp, opting for ground level parking rows as approved by city government. Whether taxpayers will be saddled with another ramp, the one Flaherty's building is hung onto having been built with taxpayer money, much of it funneled back into town from other governmental coffers. Still, taxes are taxes at any level, and if there is another ramp to benefit private for-profit speculators, it should be paid for entirely by private for profit speculators; but don't hold your breath for that to happen. It's Ramsey, after all. TIF-haven.

One must remember, those newer Town Center apartment buildings will have a life of decades, and it is older buildings that can be transitional headaches after early as-built success. What will not change, landlords will be landlords, so optimal for-profit cash flows will be pursued, whether it be high per-unit middling occupancy, or price concession to boost occupancy, there are few other adjustments that can apply. Fifteen years down the line, ask about the success of the Flaherty project, and don't even bother asking if Flaherty would then care. It seems he's already arranged a cashout sale to other landlord interests; moving on, may he prosper.

Logan Act.

The Logan Act is the federal criminal statute some have alleged Flynn's contact with the Russian Ambassador violated. Here is the text of the statute online. Passed in 1948; apparently amended, 1994, it reads:

18 U.S. Code § 953 - Private correspondence with foreign governments

Any citizen of the United States, wherever he may be, who, without authority of the United States, directly or indirectly commences or carries on any correspondence or intercourse with any foreign government or any officer or agent thereof, with intent to influence the measures or conduct of any foreign government or of any officer or agent thereof, in relation to any disputes or controversies with the United States, or to defeat the measures of the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.

This section shall not abridge the right of a citizen to apply, himself or his agent, to any foreign government or the agents thereof for redress of any injury which he may have sustained from such government or any of its agents or subjects.

(June 25, 1948, ch. 645, 62 Stat. 744; Pub. L. 103–322, title XXXIII, § 330016(1)(K), Sept. 13, 1994, 108 Stat. 2147.)

Here is the one online case found construing the Logan Act, well after 1948 passage; concerning an issue that arose before the CIA coup against the Mossadegh government of Iran; but likely related at least in part to the motivation at play in our government having wanted and engineered a coup; oil being at issue. A U.S. citizen, cognizant of nationalization by Iran of British Petroleum oil rights, had attained a written State Department policy statement:

"In the Department's opinion the British-Iranian oil controversy is basically a matter for negotiation between the two Governments directly concerned. Because of our vital interest in this matter the United States Government continues to use its influence toward finding a solution of this difficult problem. In line therewith, we welcome the initiative of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development which is currently trying to work out a plan for settlement of the controversy and are extending every appropriate assistance in such efforts as the Bank is making in this regard.

"The Department is of the opinion that the injection of any non-official individual, group or organization into this dispute might prejudice the ability of the parties concerned in reaching a satisfactory solution. Accordingly, the Department believes that non-official entities should refrain from getting involved in the dispute."

231 F. Supp. 72, at 76-77 (1964).

In stating facts of the case, the court, Id. at 77, stated:

From this point forward and continuing until the time that the contract was actually negotiated, the Waldron group and Raphael engaged in a correspondence that contained patent misrepresentations and none-too-subtle hints of bribery.

There were flights to Iran by parties in furtherance of attaining an oil deal, which resulted; but the deal fell through with one party to it suing another. Readers are encouraged to study the case in more detail, if interested. The defendants moved for dismissal; and the Court in its legal analysis re the Logan Act opined; Id. at 88-89 [formatting and footnotes in original omitted]:

Does Plaintiff's Alleged Illegal and Similar Misconduct Preclude His Standing To Sue?

Defendants attack plaintiff's standing to sue, arguing that the uncontroverted evidence establishes that plaintiff procured his NIOC contract by means of conduct grossly violative of and repugnant to public policy.

While there are variations in defendants' verbalization of this argument, the theme is the same: the NIOC contract, the predicate of plaintiff's Section 4 "property," is the fruit of plaintiff's illegal, immoral and corrupt acts and, therefore, the Court should deny judicial recognition to plaintiff's status derived from that tainted contract.

One line of attack is that plaintiff procured the NIOC contract through the commission of federal criminal offenses. He is specifically charged by defendants with having violated five criminal statutes: the Logan Act (18 U.S.C. § 953), the mail fraud statute (18 U.S.C. § 1341), the false statement to government agency statute (18 U.S.C. § 1001), the conspiracy statute (18 U.S.C. § 371) and the false passport application statute (18 U.S.C. § 1542).

However, the record discloses the existence of genuine issues of material fact requiring resolution before it could be fairly determined that plaintiff had committed crimes in the process of securing the NIOC contract.

The Logan Act makes it a crime for any citizen of the United States directly or indirectly to commence or carry on correspondence or intercourse with any foreign government or any officer or agent thereof "with intent * * * to defeat the measures of the United States."

Such evidence as there may be in this record of a violation of the Logan Act places in issue plaintiff's specific intent. That subjective circumstance would alone be sufficient to defeat this summary judgment motion, were the motion grounded only on a transgression of that statute.

Moreover, in considering proof of the "measures" of the United States required to spell out a violation of the Logan Act, the Court finds that there is substantiality to plaintiff's factual argument that the expressed United States policy with respect to the importation of Iranian oil was neither definitive nor clear at the time of plaintiff's alleged violation.

The State Department's letter of February 4, 1952 (SONJ Ex. 3 for id.) to Senator Johnson (who forwarded it to plaintiff) would, at first reading, indicate that the State Department felt that Waldron should not in any way become involved in Iranian oil. A closer reading discloses that the letter expresses the State Department's "opinion," "attitude" and "belief," without incisively declaring or promulgating a defined policy.

While the State Department's choice of words may, according to diplomatic convention, be regarded as an expression of policy, it is doubtful whether this opinion-letter and its pronouncement rise to the status of "measures" for the penal purpose of the Logan Act.

That the State Department's attitude was not clearly and unequivocally delineated is suggested by its own subsequent language in a press release, dated December 6, 1952, expressing a less stringent view—a view that the movement of "small quantities of oil or oil products" seemed to the State Department as of relatively "minor importance" and "that the decision whether or not such purchases of oil from Iran should be made must be left to such individuals or firms as may be considering them, and to be determined upon their own judgment." State Dept. Bull., Dec. 15, 1952, p. 946.

The record thus poses an issue of material fact as to the existence and identity of "the measures of the United States" during the material period of time in 1952.

Another infirmity in defendants' claim that plaintiff violated the Logan Act is the existence of a doubtful question with regard to the constitutionality of that statute under the Sixth Amendment. That doubt is engendered by the statute's use of the vague and indefinite terms, "defeat" and "measures." See United States v. Shackney, 333 F.2d 475, (2d Cir. 1964); Note, The Void-For-Vagueness Doctrine in the Supreme Court, 109 U.Pa.L.Rev. 67 (1960); E. Freund, The Use of Indefinite Terms in Statutes, 30 Yale L.J. 437 (1921). Neither of these words is an abstraction of common certainty or possesses a definite statutory or judicial definition.

Since, however, there are other grounds for disposing of this motion, it is not necessary to decide the constitutional question.[30] Furthermore, any "ambiguity should be resolved in favor of lenity." Bell v. United States, 349 U.S. 81, 83, 75 S.Ct. 620, 622, 99 L.Ed. 905 (1955), quoted in United States v. Shackney, supra, 333 F.2d at 475.

Defendants' contention that plaintiff was part of a conspiracy (18 U.S.C. § 371) to violate the Logan Act is subject to the same infirmities as the defendants' claim based on a substantive violation of the Logan Act.

Again, readers are urged to read the online item, itself. The suggestion here is that nothing in that opinion strengthens any assertion against, Flynn. The court analyzed intent, and in dicta noted concern over statutory vagueness. Not strong points of authority for purging Flynn. If any reader knows of other judicial opinion construing the Logan Act, such reader is urged to give a citation/link via a comment.

In the noted case the court early in its Logan Act analysis siezed on language, "with intent * * * to defeat the measures of the United States."

If as Flynn contends and his vaguely stated memory serves him right, his discussion was basically that all relations between two nations would be under review once the soon-to-be presidential transition was to happen; it appears an intent to give notice, without any promise, was at issue and as Flynn has stated, no hard and fast line was crossed. Transcripts of phone conversations remain non-public; so for now taking Flynn at his word seems proper.

Two other federal cases online mentioning the Logan Act were found. This link and here. Both were dismissive of private plaintiff assertion of rights to sue premised upon the Logan Act; the latter case citing the former for that principle:

Insofar as plaintiff brings a claim under the Logan Act, the Court concludes that he lacks standing to do so. Only the United States Department of State is aggrieved by a violation of the Logan Act, see ITT World Comm`cns, Inc. v. Fed. Comm'cns Comm`n, 699 F.2d 1219, 1231 (D.C. Cir. 1983), rev'd on other grounds, 466 U.S. 463 (1984), and plaintiff cannot demonstrate an injury suffered due to defendants' Logan Act violation that affects him "in a personal and individual way." Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife, 504 U.S. at 560 n.l.

Nor does plaintiff have standing to bring a claim that defendants' actions deprive him of a republican form of government. The Supreme Court has "consistently held that a plaintiff raising only a generally available grievance about government — claiming only harm to his and every citizen's interest in proper application of the Constitution and laws, and seeking relief that no more directly and tangibly benefits him than it does the public at large — does not state an Article III case or controversy."

The issue was standing to sue premised on the Logan Act in each of those cases; not the reach or meaning of any wording or part of the Logan Act itself.

This clearly is obscure federal law; trotted out for whatever motives apply, in hostility toward Gen. Flynn. A Time magazine online passing reference to 1947 "gabbiness" of a former vice president during a trip abroad, here, as motivation for passage of the Logan Act, suggests a fit to Romney as much or more than to Flynn; but it appears only the federal government has standing to sue. The Trump-Exxon State Department and the Trump-Sessions Justice Department are unlikely to sue. It is a dead issue. The intelligence community has Flynn's scalp on its tentpole, for whatever consequences may further arise.

Are you comfortable knowing the Logan Act exists, if you conduct foreign business, or give mid-six-figure paid speeches arguably ancillary to foreign mineral deals, or would you feel better if the statute had never been passed? Are we over-lawed, and over-lawyered, as a nation, or not?

UPDATE: A bigger further, related question, are the size and tentacles of the intelligence community, and its ability to hide its tracks in secrecy, a creature of a swamp needing some major degree of draining? And, should we anticipate that draining, hope for it, or fear it under a belief that the good and fine dedicated civil servants and outside consultants with security clearanaces have our citizenry's best interest in mind at all times, to protect us from threat, of whatever nature, foreign or domestic? Related: What is the full cost of "the intelligence community" in annual budget terms; and are taxpayers getting any good measure whatsoever of bang for their bucks? Or is a big morass of money sink holes replete with cronyism at issue; perhaps analogous to a swamp; perhaps worse?

MONEY. A quick further thought on the "intelligence" community. Perhaps why Flynn was considered a threat to a status quo; who had to go.

Wikipedia:

The Washington Post reported in 2010 that there were 1,271 government organizations and 1,931 private companies in 10,000 locations in the United States that are working on counterterrorism, homeland security, and intelligence, and that the intelligence community as a whole includes 854,000 people holding top-secret clearances.[3] According to a 2008 study by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, private contractors make up 29% of the workforce in the U.S. intelligence community and account for 49% of their personnel budgets.[4]

Get that down. Not climbing up the security ladder, but sitting atop "top secret" totem pole status. For a perspective, over twice the population of Cleveland. Put them all in Cleveland at once, there'd be a housing crisis. A lot of homelessness.

Next, 854,000 households means "a lot of knives and forks on the table, gotta eat something."

That quote is as a recent Nobel Laureate has written/sung. Didn't he have another song, "The Mighty Flynn?" Something like that? "When Flynn the Eskimo gets here, pigeons all will crap on him?" Something like that I vaguely recall, so YouTube research is needed. For sure, ya betcha.

UPDATE: With 854,000 of 'em atop the totem pole, consultancies included, and given the way bureaucracies work, we need a new term of national discourse:

CRONY CLEARANCES

They know what we do not. We are insufficient humans, as voters, to be among the anointed; the blessed; the savants. Get that down.

FURTHER: Great story. Big question, going into his election, did he have a CRONY CLEARNACE? Has he one now?

Did not check the word count on that Politico story, but did a word search "clearance." Not mentioned. Wow. Long story, about who he is and how he got to be where he is, . . .

FURTHER: Same story, mid-item quote:

In fact, of the seven countries listed included in Trump’s attempted ban, most of them boast influential officials that spent time in the United States, usually to attend school. Former prime ministers in Yemen and Libya attended American universities. One of them, Shukri Ghanem, was a reformer who worked, with some success, to push Muammar Gaddafi toward reconciliation with the west. Javad Zarif, the Iranian foreign minister who oversaw negotiations of the Iran nuclear deal, went to a private high school in San Francisco, received a B.A. and M.A. from San Francisco State University and a Ph.D. from the University of Denver. An influential rebel leader from Sudan who was a key player in the country’s 2005 peace agreement, John Garang, attended Grinnell College in an Iowan town of 9,000, surrounded by corn fields.

Foreign leaders who’ve spent time in the United States can frequently, if not every time, give the United States government a leg-up when conducting diplomacy. Joel Giambra argues that will definitely be the case with Mohamed: “I believe he would love the opportunity to collaborate with the United States,” he said. “He always said to me that the most effective way to eradicate terrorism in the United States is to stop it in Somalia.”

[italics emphasis added] A thought, would any such "leg up" advantage be in the public domain? Or classified, so that we voters would not know whose leg's up?

FURTHER: Same Wikipedia entry as already cited [quote omits embedded links]:

Among their varied responsibilities, the members of the Community collect and produce foreign and domestic intelligence, contribute to military planning, and perform espionage. The IC was established by Executive Order 12333, signed on December 4, 1981, by U.S. President Ronald Reagan.[2]

[...] Executive Order 12333 charged the IC with six primary objectives:[7]

-- Collection of information needed by the President, the National Security Council, the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense, and other executive branch officials for the performance of their duties and responsibilities;

-- Production and dissemination of intelligence;

-- Collection of information concerning, and the conduct of activities to protect against, intelligence activities directed against the U.S., international terrorist and/or narcotics activities, and other hostile activities directed against the U.S. by foreign powers, organizations, persons and their agents;

-- Special activities (defined as activities conducted in support of U.S. foreign policy objectives abroad which are planned and executed so that the "role of the United States Government is not apparent or acknowledged publicly", and functions in support of such activities, but which are not intended to influence United States political processes, public opinion, policies, or media and do not include diplomatic activities or the collection and production of intelligence or related support functions);

-- Administrative and support activities within the United States and abroad necessary for the performance of authorized activities and

-- Such other intelligence activities as the President may direct from time to time.

This Wikipedia link, on Executive Order 12333, including a sidebar pic of the ol' Gipper himself; whether the order text is online or not is not known, but the above points of inclusion as listed show it elastic enough to be stretched wide enough to drive a Kenworth full logging truck through with much clearance top-bottom, side-to-side. Last bulleted item; what about a president elect; would that not be included by implication? That Logan Act stuff sure seems to be a smoke screen for "Get Flynn." As such, individual political proclivities aside, it's bogus and improper, whether you voted Trump, Clinton, Jill Stein, or otherwise; or just stayed home liking Bernie. Just bogus. Hard to see it differently.

What Romney did visiting Bibi is far, far more suspect - a candidate hunkering with a foreign head of state with an election pending - than Flynn, whose status was a to-be-appointed intelligence official designated as such by a president elect. Election over, in Flynn's case. No hunkering. No head of state. Not on foreign soil. What's your reader judgment? Romney deserves a keelhaul? Or keelhauling Flynn was improper? Is there any "Clintonian" third way?

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Scrubbing bubbles. An S.C. Johnson trademark, but who else conceptualizes a good scrub? [SEE: final UPDATE]


After reposting an earlier crabgrass item showing a Dorsey law firm's scrub of Ramsey Town Center from its capability tout page (see: 2-page image capture, here and here), the thought was web scrub would not be a subject again, for a while.

Well, tracing steps, this link was one in the post directly below this post [highlighting added to screencapture, but an interesting excerpt, in toto]:


Screencaptures show links, but they are not live links; the highlighted one linking here, but don't bother, it gives a 404 document not found error. That report authored by Flynn and others is cited several places on the web, each giving the same broken link; including CFR here, and here and here.

Internet Archive did not produce archived records when accessed for

https://www.cnas.org/

which may be a generic request from the site to not be archived, or an error just now, in the search attempt, this browser, etc.

In any event, if a reader knows of an online copy of that item, please in a comment give the link.

There is this Aspen item authored by Flynn, a 40 page pdf item, archived here in case it too gets scrubbed, but there is enough to get the mood, if not the detail, of the Flynn critique of the intelligence community's orientation/capability - so that knowing that means you know the gist of their having grounds for a grudge exists, and is crystal clear (even despite the detailed report having suffered a present apparent online demise).

The scrub is most unfortunate, given how the man's position on issues may be relevant evidence of his position as a key Trump security advisor might have been impacted; one position axed over somebody besides Trump disliking the other position. Curious, and not encouraging trust in internet decency being a respected rule, among some.

NOW, YOU TELL ME, WHAT ELSE IS AT PLAY BUT A BALD-FACED SCRUB WITHOUT APOLOGY, BUT WITH INDECENT INTENT SEEMING TO BE ALL OVER IT? SILENCE MAY BE GOLDEN, BUT TO WHOM IN THIS INSTANCE, AND WHY?

__________________________________________________
UPDATE: In giving you a "Meet the Bubbles" link, don't expect some intelligence agency link. Plain old S.C. Johnson promo stuff, where the firm fails to identify its best product for internet page scrubs, but reader web search might find that too. Perhaps the same place that Flynn report might be located as still on the web?



______________APOLOGETIC FURTHER UPDATE______________
It sometimes amazes even the elderly, how the best of theories fall under the sunshine of truth.

NOT A SCRUB. FUN POSTING, BUT A RELOCATION, ON THE ACTUAL WEBSITE WHERE ALL THE DEAD LINKS POINTED.

The Flynn et al. item is online, at a different CNAS link; per the homepage; linking to the actual full Flynn item; here.

There is wisdom to read/search fully, first; write later. Doing that means less frequently making an ass of oneself.

AFTER ALL THAT EFFORT, SOUND AND FURY, YOU HAVE THE LINK SO READ THE REPORT, PLEASE. AND CUT SOME SLACK, DEAD LINKS CAN REALLY ENRAGE.

A national shame? A University of Minnesota - Morris prof. makes news; stating beliefs about immigrants which are First Amendment protected speech and should not be punished, because a breach of academic freedom would be entailed; and what really should be the first thing said against the man's viewpoint?

The question is deceptively simple in its statement, but each person likely has a personal, differing "first thing" answer.

Starting with links about the prof/commentary, for background; here, here, here, and this websearch. From web searching the situation has not grown internet legs to any great extent, yet, with most attention focused in Minnesota, per the websearch. Whether the matter grows legs or not is independent of this post.

This thumbnail image, cut from the City Pages reporting, presents the Facebook post - click it to enlarge and read:


One of the sites already noted as commenting on the Facebook post, this one, has a sidebar item, linking here. READ IT.

With that read, as context, this screencapture from here:


So, Kurt G. had a postulate, and do you suppose, put aside John Roberts as a person and his Citizen United opinion as evidence of the Goedel hypothesis, and consider only this: SEVENTEEN FUCKING INTELLIGENCE AGENCIES IS MORE THAN EVEN STALIN HAD. EVER. BELIEVE ME OR RESEARCH IT YOURSELF.

That said, each of the magnificent seventeen has a payroll and a pretty badge.

Doubt that badge comment, then view the evidence by looking here (admittedly, several badges published there are for the parent bureau, e.g., the Coast Guard or State Department, with it possible that intelligence sub-bureaus have secret, perhaps top secret badges, for themselves as a special privilege and distinction; but don't doubt the payroll part since spooks never work for free). Of the stand-alone badges, the NSA is a Snowden favorite, so it's reproduced below in honor of patriotic whistleblowing:


The questions of which is prettiest stand-alone badge involves subjective judgment, but my suggestion of prettiest:


I like the asymmetry, and the imaginative rendering of the national bird, while the font and color choices rock. Only two more, this one, most familiarity (this is like a beauty contest, Miss Cordiality, . . .)


And only one more, in honor of our news media's current favorite veteran currently being yanked around by his security clearance:


It's also neat, how each of those stand-alone badges represent agencies who can identify and differentiate with only a three letter acronym; but if having only seventeen, that might not be too difficult a task. Still, neat, slick, special.

Now back to the MN-Morris prof; starting an argument with an arguable postulate is questionable practice; and so, what of his "rule of law" gig?

Is "rule of law" necessarily a postulated good; or might it be examined? The rich make the laws, to serve themselves, and to protect the sanctity of capital as the preeminent value - beyond family, religion, and individual rights. There is a bill of ten rights; but how many laws are there protecting capital - it's only taxed on an uber-valued multimillion dollar estate upon transfer because some rich fart croaked, not otherwise; but what's all of contract law and central banking next to that sole exception?

More of the argument against the man's opening postulate can be formulated; and readers are capable of such detail.

BOTTOM LINE: Ain't those intelligence agency badges really pretty; and isn't it heartwarming to the citizenry to know taxes are so expended? Who could argue against that? Spook paychecks; seventeen varieties each likely printed with proper badging, it almost brings tears of joy to know a nation that values a high soaring predator bird also has seventeen separate spook payrolls. Do your suppose anybody sees a payroll check threatened by the mood, worldview and orientation of Gen. Flynn? Doubt of dogma should have consequences, a general should know that from moving up the ranks.

A few more links: here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and if you think you've seen the last of badges, think again:

Wikipedia

If Flynn truly wanted the beast more trim and agile, more fat-free, what's to be made of his demonization? Business should be done as it's been done? Paycheck mania? What? Get them out of the office and forward deployed seems to entail safety consequences; and Trump giving a speech to insiders standing in front of the CIA's wall of stars might have resonated wrong with a building full of desk jobbers.

Who knows? I don't. Without getting any security briefings I only have opinions. Bless free speech. Is a hatchet job being planned for the MN-Morris prof? That would be an unfortunate consequence of arguable issues vs. trending insider dogma. Doubt of dogma after all has consequences; Luther's nailing theses on a door being but one example. It's a shame Goedel did not publish his "proof." The narrative of its genesis is hoot enough, but the proof; that would be golden.

Last: YouTube.

_____________UPDATE____________
The RT version. Not hanging together entirely, either. Likely correct on the intelligence powers, their term "the deep state" wanting its narrative and not Flynn's; but they fail to explain where Trump is in all of this - who he listens to and what decisions can be anticipated - next time, new issue. Loose cannon, vs. their assertion of a weakness and insecurity. The RT interpretation of "drain the swamp" sees the intelligence community's positioning of policy narratives as "The Swamp." Is it a swamp, but not "The Swamp?" The Swamp seems to be the stranglehold money has over political decision-making in DC, and it seems the intelligence community either likes it as is; or has no skin in that game - domestic policy setting, vs international positioning. Time to call Ghost Busters.

_________FURHTER UPDATE__________
Most readers would agree double standards suck. Where was mention of the Logan Act, with this? And, that's written prior to research of the Logan Act, itself. Just, what Flynn did, a few phone calls; and Romney going to Israel and getting in cahoots with Netanyahu; was it monitored, and if so, why was it NOT leaked?

Things don't seem justly congruent, and distinctive criteria need to be pointed out to me, in my naive state of thinking consistency somehow should matter. Reader help is requested on why Flynn was keelhauled, and Romney was reported as "an old Bibi pal" with no implications to that being problematic, U.S. private citizen conferring with a head of state via an extended personal visit.

Simple questions, for which the President can and should demand intelligence subordinates provide a comprehensive answer:

Was the Romney Bibi spiel monitored, and if not why not? What was said about policy - and potential policy revisions, should Romney win the White House?

This is the candidate, himself in the flesh on an extended visit to a foreign power. Not a phone call. Or two. With an election pending - in the balance, not between a victory and an inauguration, briefly by phone involving a subordinate of the victor - not an extended stay confering while a private citizen with a foreign head of state and not a subordinate.

Wha's happening? Bibi special, Putin evil? Get real. That's phony. Does the Logan Act have a statute of limitations; and would Romney still be on the hook?

Okay - make it the Russians again, and be bipartisan. This, as Logan Act material? Have to study the Logan Act, to see its reach here or here.

BOTTOM LINE: Flynn was removed. Trump had that option and made that choice. Done is done and will not be undone. So?

What remains for study: Why did the intelligence community have it in for Flynn; what policy of his did they dislike, and were they right in using a sneak attack via a little used, virtually unknown Act? Also, this Logan Act - what does it say, what is its history, and would it be a good snare for sleazy business deals involving foreign government officials? There has been a claim that the new Secretary of State's corporate person, EXXON, was a "Citizens United" person with a half a trillion oil deal in play with the Russians; so could it at that level have all been private sector? What of Guilani and Qatar, et al.?

The beat goes on. Unless that Logan Act is to be read narrowly, there could be a very crowded gallows.

For readers wanting to do a bit of research; Google Scholar, Federal Courts, search = "Logan Act." The first of the blurbs the search returns says "a natural person" so it would have to be EXXON officials, not the inanimate corporate "person" on the hook there. Study is needed.

___________FURTHER UPDATE___________
Badge design must be a well-paying cottage industry; if farmed out to crony consultants, or a time sink, if done in house. A bet: bang for the buck, cost of badge vs. quality of badge is bad use of cash.

That last one shown, sixteen stars around the center design, complete with a bastardized Latin banner. "COLLABORATUS VIRTUS FIDES" if you read the enlarged archived Wikipedia image. And looking at that, why the five hot dogs drawn around the central eagle? What are they for?

At least it's a badge costing less than an F 35, at going rates; that can be said in its favor. Why not banner the badge as "virtuous, loyal collaboration," with five swords instead of hot dogs, or is bastardized Latin a requirement to be "official?"

Friday, February 17, 2017

The what if game.

What if it was Pence that green-lighted Flynn to talk to the Russians; and Flynn, unlike John Dean in earlier times, willingly became the fall guy?

The universal din from mainstream press is Flynn's error was lack of candor with Pence; and not whether Pence knew he was being untruthful when he said "Flynn's okay."

Why is that, as a possibility, not being discussed?

Some might rather trust a general than a politician. A general, used to chain of command, likely was green-lighted by somebody. Bannon perhaps. The Mercers? Was Pence in Flynn's chain of command, i.e., who did Flynn report to? Trump directly?

Who had prior knowledge of Flynn talking by phone with Russians; and why did they think the spooks would not be listening and/or not happily leaking what they'd heard? They had to know the spools felt a cause to hold a grudge. The spook nation had an invested ongoing "Russian perspective" that being diplomatically engaged with the Russians had to be from a set of fixed premises, which Flynn did not hold in concert with spook nation. At least apparently so. Trump stating that the leaking process, its motivations, is worth inquiry is not an unreasonable thing to add to deliberations. Not to deflect from, "Who authorized Flynn," but as an ancillary point of interest.

What did Pence really know, and when did he know it?

Sound familiar?

Only an idiot or a shyster would not own up to a simple question when asked one.

This link. Two answers, neither rocket science. Yes, being one. No, being the other.

Candor will lead the lost children to the promised land. Perez could not do that even if handed a road map. He'd have to check with the Clintons about any road map handed him.

Beltway man, why are you doing this?

Now, readers: If you want to see unaldurated caviling and servility, then read this.

Diogenes weeps. Snuffs out his lamp and walks away.

Can this individual be trusted with actual responsibility? Will he inspire young blood into a moribund machine? Does he even care to?

Three "no" questions in a row. Simple questions, clear answers. Three strikes and out used to be the rule. The sole problem is the 447 who have a vote, and whether they'd rather circle the wagons and lose more but their way, or open up to of all things, popular needs and ideas instead of slanted money interests buying future favors; with those interests already currently having each of the two parties to service that inclination and to be played off one against the other, Trump flavor, Clinton flavor. No flavor.

The people, they have no party; but there is promise one may HONESTLY turn to them, and they in turn, young especially who are less easily deluded and less easily compromised, as well as long-time party workers, including union special interests who need to widen greatly their interest in and solidarity with all labor; not just their bargaining unit's leadership; their contract; their pension fund.

Will the beast change? We'll see. In the meantime, MinnPost has an interesting item on chasing sound DNC leadership; while in parallel MinnPost has another one of Curly, Larry, and Moe; the alternative to change.

CHANGE beyond cynical sloganeering. The real deal. We need it.

Last, Curly, Larry and Moe, left to right:

Moe is the mean and nasty bossy one. The others,sub-stooges.
Curly sells steaks, ties;  Larry loves Jesus; Moe even lies about his marathon time.
Reuters image, posted at this MinnPost link.


_____________UPDATE____________
More MinnPost; re Curly's tax returns; and Erik Paulsen's studied disinterest in same.

What's in it for Tomassoni?

Who'd expect him to have laudable motives? The inexperienced. But who else?

And where Tomassoni is; Bakk is not far removed. Or that's been a pattern a betting man might trust.

This link.

UPDATE: Some may find it interesting that Aaron Brown reported Nolan as a possible Gov candidate; January 11, 2017. Has any reader an earlier hint of a candidacy? Given Aaron's insight a month ago; this new letter to draft the man already a month ago noted as interested, seems to not need too much of a push to convince the man to move. It looks more like a trial balloon than a "Let's draft" out of the blue by a band of loose thinkers.

The one thing strongly in Nolan's favor; Brown reported he was a Bernie supporter. If he runs as a Justice Democrat, endorsed by Our Revolution that makes it a different story than running as somebody Tomassoni touts. A difference between night and day. Bernie being day. But how can you reconcile the two? The gulf between Tiomassoni and Bernie is so great that Nolan cannot handle that straddle. Pick a side, sir. Darkness or light. They don't mix.

There is Becky Otto, who's not on Tomassoni's short love list. Otto is on his other list; which cuts strongly in her favor.

Stadium "parking lot" cleared - Mondale and Kelm-Helgen resign. What about Mondale cohort, Lindgren? Will that shoe drop with a public thud?

image source, see, also, this resignation report


PARKING LOT: Said then, not needing repeating, read it from 2015. Crony board seats? Think of the airport board too (Metropolitan Airport Commission). Lindgren and Mondale ties can be traced to their Gov. Jesse early 2000's Met Council days where Ted talked "smart growth;" back when Ramsey Town Center was spawned as one of six "Twin Cities Opportunity Sites" - Met Council grants and all - it WAS/IS/WILL BE growth, yes; but smart? You decide. Growth can be real dumb; especially when politicians and planners get their hands on things, appointees and all (see, this 2009 crabgrass post).

Lindgren and Mondale ties can be further traced, as interlaced. You want an example? Try this, e.g., p.12-13 (click an image to enlarge and read):



That was 2010, and they looked younger then. More recently, 2012, here, a first page screencapture:


Reader help request: Are there Mondale fingerprints on this - public funds, Hiawatha line; Lindgren played a role in a stop being placed at old Control Data building in Bloomington, MN, and incorporating renovation of that building into Hiawatha light rail planning. (2011 crabgrass link)

Reader help request: Are there Lindgren fingerprints on this April 2013 report of ties to Petters mischief; where Mondale faced a bankruptcy action clawback, and settled? Re same Strib reported:

Last week Ted Mondale struck a deal with the receiver in the Tom Petters Ponzi scheme to pay back $50,000 of a $150,000 personal loan Petters gave him in 2005. The “clawback” was based on the notion that people shouldn’t profit from a crime, whether they knew about it at the time or not.

According to court documents, a motion by receiver Doug Kelley to accept that payment will be heard by U.S. District Judge Ann Montgomery Tuesday morning.

Mondale, the son of former Vice President Walter Mondale, did not respond to requests for comment.

The $50,000 payment was negotiated between Kelley’s office and Mondale and included a review of Mondale’s financial situation by former federal agents working for Kelley.

“He [Mondale] submitted a financial statement. My former FBI and IRS agents dissected it and we are convinced this is the most Mr. Mondale can pay,” Kelley said in an interview Monday.

The settlement with Mondale is one of several that Kelley has negotiated with former Petters business associates; the recovered funds go into a pool for eventual payment to victims of Petters’ $3.65 billion Ponzi scheme, which collapsed in 2008. The settlements are part of a so-called “clawback” process in which Kelley attempts to recover transactions made by Petters using ill-gotten proceeds.

Kelley’s clawback efforts have ranged from nonprofits including St. John’s University to lenders BMO Harris Bank and General Electric Capital Corp. to former Petters executives. Several clawback requests have resulted in lawsuits that remain unsettled, including those involving early investors who made money during the Ponzi scheme’s heyday.

In addition to Mondale, Kelley will also ask the judge Tuesday to approve settlements of $16,400 from Richard Wolbert, a former Petters business associate from Milaca who received $600,000 in 2005 from Petters, and Stephen Ratliff, a former executive with Polaroid, a firm Petters owned. Ratliff and his insurer will pay $108,400 from a total of $565,000 transferred to his Twin Cities company, Integrity Marketing & Sales, between 2002 and 2008.

Mondale, 55, has spent much of his adult life in the public spotlight. After two terms in the Minnesota Senate, he was appointed chairman of the Metropolitan Council in 1999. In his current position, he is responsible for overseeing the construction of a new stadium for the Minnesota Vikings.

Mondale joined the Petters operation as a senior vice president in 1999 to look for Asian manufacturers of consumer electronic goods. Petters testified at his own trial that the Mondale name “opened up incredible doors” in Asia, where Walter Mondale once served as U.S. ambassador to Japan.

Mondale held a series of positions with Petters until he resigned in 2003 to run Nazca, a start-up software company that developed programs to trace land records more easily. One of Mondale’s early investors was Petters, who invested $750,000 in the company.

Petters made the $150,000 personal loan to Mondale in 2005 instead of increasing his stake in Nazca directly, according to Kelley. The loan carried a 10 percent interest rate and was due in December of 2006, one year after it was made. The loan was not repaid; the software company was sold in 2010 for an undisclosed amount.

Petters is serving a 50-year sentence in the Leavenworth federal prison for his role in masterminding the decade-long fraud that persuaded investors that their funds were being used to purchase consumer electronic goods for sale to big-box retailers when the new investments actually were used to pay off earlier investors and finance Petters’ other business interests.

33-1/3 cents on the dollar is not bad. Art of the Deal? Did Mondale do his own negotiation, or was it through counsel?

Strib doubled on its reporting; see here, also, stating in part:

Mondale has not responded to reporters’ questions on the loan.

Mondale, sadly, is one of many former Petters employees who only paid a fraction of “loans” and “bonuses” back. The fact is, almost no one pays back all the money in a clawback. In the Petters case, some charities couldn’t pay back a dime. Others forked over millions that Petters had given them because they thought it was the right thing to do.

It is the right thing to do. Mondale didn’t do it until forced to. So, just as electronic bingo is being touted as a new solution to the shortfall, and just before stadium plans are unveiled, we are reminded of the fuzzy math of the stadium deal by Mondale’s personal financial situation.

I asked Sen. John Marty, a fellow DFLer who disagrees with how the stadium is funded, if Mondale’s unpaid loan bothered him.

Given his high profile, “you’d think it’s something you’d get settled pretty quickly,” Marty said. “He makes a lot of money and he made a lot of money before. But I don’t know anything about his finances.”

A tax accountant I talked to said Mondale is likely on the hook for taxes on the $100,000 of forgiven debt, now that the deal is settled.

During the negotiations last year between the state and the Vikings, Mondale was frequently dubbed “the point man.” He, like the governor and enough legislators on both sides, pushed e-tabs as a financial solution. Either they were gullible beyond belief or they trusted in the maxim that it’s better to ask for forgiveness than for permission. They went with the numbers that made the stadium work for them, and now find themselves rummaging through the cushions to scrape up enough money to build it.

The business Petters helped fund and Mondale ran, Nazca, promoted itself as a software company that could track real estate transactions for clients. Mondale promised it would be working in six months, but three years later he hadn’t delivered. By 2008, the company has losses of $5.7 million.

Mondale surely has skills that have gotten him many prominent jobs. He also has one undeniable currency to trade on: his name.

Petters acknowledged as much. During testimony in his trial, Petters said that he used the Mondale name to solidify his company’s reputation. Mondale held several positions at Redtag, which did business in Asia. His father, former Vice President Walter Mondale, had served as ambassador to Japan, and Petters said in court that the affiliation “opened up incredible doors.”

A good door man is a valuable asset, I admit. I just wish a little more of that hefty public salary could go back to people scammed by Petters.

When Mondale was trying to explain how he could hold both the part-time position as chairman of the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission and his full-time job for Greater MSP back in 2011, Mondale told a reporter that “a stadium deal is not complicated.”

The Mondale family ties to Petters promotion are not news; (see this 2011 crabgrass post).

There is that old saying, "Birds of a feather prosper together." Lindgren and his firm, apparently still with the stadium management legal affairs account in tow, appear to still be prospering. We live in interesting times; where Justice Democrats advocate redefining the Democratic Party.

Last, an online law review item; local to Minnesota, but generic in emphasizing good sense is a precious commodity.

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[worth noting, those older referenced crabgrass posts suffer a common worldwide web affliction; dead links; but isn't that scrubbed Dorsey tout of Ramsey Town Center a real hoot; good there was a google capture (or was it Internet Archive)]


_______________UPDATE_______________
MPR, stadium players;

http://blogs.mprnews.org/stadium-watch/stadium-players/

this screencapture; top two stadium board staff players:


Is there a difference between those two? Should one of them be wearing sunglasses, drum-beating? Still Going?