consultants are sandburs

Friday, October 31, 2008

Norm Coleman, Laurie Coleman's ostensible job, Naser Kazeminy and $75,000 (beyond any Nieman Marcus suits), and a lawsuit bridging stuff together.

This will be a bit disjointed and episodic. But court papers will be allowed to speak for themselves instead of telling you about them, what they say, what they mean. I will voice opinions and tie in other things, but basically, there are allegations within a verified petition [seeking appointment of a receiver to manage a company allegedly mismanaged as an alter ego ("treated as a personal bank account") of Norm Coleman's crony and benefactor, Nasser Kazeminy]. A verified petition means one sworn to under penalty of perjury by the signing complaining individual, a Mr. Paul McKim.

First, here is a picture of a glass house, in the context of an old saying as well as being an attractive photo.

Now here are statements of Norm Coleman, expressing his ethical standards about how others in the Senate should behave and the standards of conduct others should be held to, first, from August 2007, here:

• Arizona Sen. John McCain, Minnesota Sen. Norm Coleman, Michigan Rep. Pete Hoekstra and others said Craig should resign.

• In a joint statement, top Senate GOP leaders said they were stripping Craig of his committee assignments while the matter is being investigated by the Senate Ethics Committee.

• A spokesman for President Bush described the administration as "disappointed" by the Craig controversy. "We hope it will be resolved quickly," White House deputy press secretary Tony Fratto said.

In Boise, Craig spokesman Sidney Smith told the Associated Press he has heard no discussion of a possible resignation. On Tuesday, Craig told reporters it would be weeks before he announces whether he will seek a fourth Senate term next year.

Some Republicans don't think he should wait that long.

"Senator Craig pled guilty to a crime involving conduct unbecoming a senator. He should resign," said Coleman, one of 21 Republicans whose Senate seat the party will defend next year.

Next there is this from STRIB, Coleman on clean hands, and on ethical standards applicable to a Senator's taking of undisclosed gifts:

Sen. Coleman: Stevens should resign
Last update: October 28, 2008 - 9:13 PM

In the wake of Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens' conviction on ethics violations, Sen. Norm Coleman called Tuesday for his Republican colleague to resign.

After Stevens was charged in July, Coleman donated $20,000 in campaign contributions that had come from Stevens' political action committee. Coleman, who gave the money to childhood cancer research, joined other Republican senators who were returning contributions from the Alaska senator.

On Tuesday, DFL Party chair Brian Melendez called on Coleman to return $14,000 in campaign funds that he said the senator had received from Stevens and discredited oil executives in the 2002 election but not yet returned.

Coleman campaign officials said the money was spent years ago and won't be turned back.

Finally, in the sequence there is a third item, from here, as always click to enlarge and read about Sen. Norman Coleman's history of making allegations of wrongdoing by others.

See the above picture of the glass house.

Next, since the suit is about Norm Coleman and Laurie Coleman and alleged gifts from Nasser Kazeminy, and we all know what Norm and Laurie Coleman look like, here is what Nasser Kazeminy looks like, (pic. is from here via here):

Actually, it is a picture of Nasser Kazeminy, and spouse, with Elliot Spitzer, and spouse. Without prodding from Norm Coleman, Spitzer did resign when his call-girl usage records surfaced. He did not wait for lengthy court proceedings to wend their way to completion. He bit the bullet, owned up to what he'd done, admitted his wrong-doing, and did the noble thing - stepping down. In doing so, Spitzer did not lash out against or blame any political opponent.

But that was New York's Eliot Spitzer. We are talking about Minnesota's [and New York's via Brooklyn and Hofstra] Norman Coleman, expert on when others should resign, and there are different strokes for different folks, e.g., reporting here:

Coleman Blasts Franken For "sleazy" Reports On Wife
By Glenn Thrush
Oct 31, 2008

(The Politico) Minnesota Republican Sen. Norm Coleman is accusing a Texas executive who claims he paid the senator's wife $75,000 of defaming his family -- and for the first time suggested his opponent Al Franken might be behind the allegations.

"Each and every allegation in this lawsuit relating to me and my wife is false and defamatory," Coleman said in a statement.

Paul McKim, former CEO of the Houston-based oil-rig servicing company Deep Marine Technology, filed a lawsuit Monday alleging Coleman supporter Nasser Kazeminy, who owns a stake in the firm, funneled cash to an insurance company employed by Laurie Coleman.

"She has not received one dime from the company that was involved in this lawsuit – she was not the producer on the account – she was not responsible for this transaction in anyway," Coleman said.

"My wife has been devastated by this. She turns on her computer and reads on the blogs the most vicious attacks, impugning her integrity and trying to destroy her ability to do her job. She's angry-- and she has a right to be -- and so am I."

Coleman, who held a defiant press conference in Minnesota earlier today, called on "Al Franken and his allies to end their vicious 11th hour political attacks against his wife and his family... If Minnesotans want to know what kind of Senator Al Franken would be – watch his campaign this last week – see how he has attacked my family – my wife – and my reputation."

Franken's campaign didn't immediately comment.

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, which has poured millions into the race, has blasted reports about the case to reporters since details of the story broke yesterday.

The Brooklyn-born former Democrat said the allegations against his wife had been floated before the suit was even filed and "delivered in Minnesota in an unmarked envelope to two Minneapolis Star Tribune reporters.

See the above picture of the glass house.

Self-righeous outrage, with no willingness to get to and answer to the facts. Earlier the man, Kazeminy, when flying Coleman and family members to vacationing spots was "a friend with a plane" end of story. No detail. Reporting is that an offshore oil drilling venture owned/controlled by Coleman's crony Kazeminy routed money improperly to the Colemans. The firm, Deep Marine Technology, Inc., on its website, here and here, defines itself:

Since 2002, Deep Marine Technology has been providing comprehensive subsea services to the Offshore Oil and Gas Industry. Far surpassing its modest beginnings as a Direct Operated Vehicle contractor, DMT has quickly grown to become a significant player in the Gulf of Mexico and now includes:

Deepwater Construction Group
Commercial Diving Group
DOV Group
Intervention Systems Group

A US Company located in Houston, TX, DMT is bringing to the market, assets and subsea assistance that will benefit its Clients by providing a fresh approach to the complexities facing today’s deepwater Oil and Gas Companies.

Deep Marine Technology, Inc. is a subsea construction services provider to the Offshore Oil and Gas Industry located in Houston, TX.

The allegations basically are that Kazeminy money, via this DMT venture was routed to Laurie and Norm Coleman via Laurie's purported employment by Hays Companies, a situation already posted about in some detail on Crabgrass based on limited Coleman disclosure of the purported employment, per a scant single line entry from a Senate disclosure form Coleman signed, without stating dates or amounts of "salary" that Laurie Coleman "earned"), see post, here.

To summarize, Hayes Companies is an insurance brokerage and underwriting boutique, and does loss-risk consulting, primarily from its headquarters in St. Paul, MN.

Besides having his "friendship" with Kazeminy (who as noted is a player in oil and gas services), here is a picture of Coleman chumming around with another man having ties to the oil and gas services industry, the former boss of Halliburton, talking intently about what? Bringing hockey back to Minnesota? Oil and gas services? Coleman's nice suits?

Based on the McKim lawsuit and pictures like that, immediate political questions come to mind. How has Coleman been on oil and gas issues, especially deep water offshore issues? With Cuba claiming 20 bn barrels of offshore oil, how has Coleman been on normalizing economic relations with Cuba? What has he said and advocated about Chavez in Venezuela, or immigration and NAFTA relations with Mexico? Venezuela and Mexico have extensive offshore reserves, presently being exploited. How is Coleman on tax policy for oil and gas exploration and related services? On Katrina related FEMA aid for the Gulf oil and gas industry? Has he been indifferent to the plight of New Orleans and Mississippi residents, but quick to push for aid to oil-gas ventures? With DMT doing worldwide business, are there any tax or trade policy positions that Coleman has taken that would favor DMT's international lines of business? So far, both the press and Coleman have been silent on such concerns - in effect, is there an appearance of legislative log-rolling in return for "friendship" in all its aspects?

Much credit is due to Big E at MnBlue, for defining relevant dots, and cogently connecting them in much detail. Here, read all of it to be an informed voter. It puts Norm's oil and gas position out front, and this lawsuit demonstrates possible quid pro quo reasons he might feel that way - "friendship" in all its aspects. (It even comes with opening links to mainstream media reporting, from Strib here, and to "Norm speak" a clear digression, but one well worth the time to read it.)

The Strib item, again, here, is an op ed authored by Sen. Norm Coleman, himself, and as fitting a "friendship" with "a man with a plane" who also is into oil and gas deepwater drilling as a for-profit business, our esteemed Senator opines:

We have remarkable domestic oil and natural-gas resources, but unfortunately, much of it is off-limits. Just consider that 85 percent of offshore acreage is currently not available for development. If we developed the entire Outer Continental Shelf (OCS), we could see an additional 86 billion barrels of oil and 420 trillion cubic feet of natural gas -- a significant amount that would make a real dent in our dependence on Mideast oil.

As a means to passing a comprehensive energy bill, my amendment to open access to the OCS while ramping up research on battery technology for plug-in-hybrid vehicles was offered as a compromise. Not only did Democratic leaders block a vote on my amendment, but they went so far as to object to drilling even if gas were to reach $10 a gallon. How high do prices have to get before producing more becomes a viable option?

Over the last few months, we moved quickly to deal with the effects of the downturn in the economy and housing crisis. How can we allow the energy debate to be bogged down in partisan bickering? I know the objections of Majority Leader Harry Reid do not represent the views of all Democrats -- there are many on the other side of the aisle who do want to utilize America's resources and innovative potential toward a multifaceted solution that includes increasing supply. And most Republicans, likewise, understand that compromises are going to need to be made, for example, by keeping the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge off the table and making sure we invest in conservation. This spirit of compromise is what allowed us, Republicans and Democrats, to work together to pass the energy bills of 2005 and 2007 -- shouldn't $4 gas make us more, not less, willing to bring all good ideas to the table?

So he wants to push hell-bent forward on the "OCS" where deepwater drilling and other services apply, but stay the course in ANWR, where Nasser's boats don't go because it's the middle of Alaskan wilderness. But there probably are multiple reasons for a policy position, and I am sure the Senator would caution us against jumping to any hasty conclusions.

And were we to go that route, the Coleman-oped route, coincidentally, it might mean bucks for Nasser Kameniny, which although the Coleman op-ed omits mention of that, is something that presumably Coleman would not oppose as in any way improper or out of the ordinary.

He is an interesting man, isn't he?

"Innovative" and "multifaceted" were his words - for his Nasser-friendly amendment that the mean old Democrat, the Luddite, Harry Reid, could look at and yet fail to see innovative benefits with multifaceted aspects. Reid's fault, not Coleman's, and what did result from the Senate workover of the Paulson Treasury Department's seven hundred billion bailout bill - offshore development concessions, added during Senate review between initial House rejection and final passage, as I recall.

Curious, indeed.

Coleman has campaigned characterizing himself as effective at getting things done.

Not only that, read more, Norm Coleman is expert in "sleazy politics," he says, claiming to be the target of such things, (never a perpetrator - reminding one of Gilbert and Sullivan "What never? Hardly ever," operetta lyrics).

Weigh this: Coleman plays up the indignant denial routine, but has shown no willingness to voluntarily disclose publicly Hays Companies pay records for Laurie Coleman which might fit or refute the timing patterns of three $25,000 installment payments the suit alleges.

While indignant, Coleman has seemed equally uninterested in producing or pushing to have publicly produced Hays Companies' insurance records showing whether there was actually any bona fide business relationship between Hays Companies and Kazeminy Gulf Coast businesses.

Here is a screenshot of the opening part of Strib's opening report of the McKim claims (Coleman in a plaid shirt, not a Nieman Marcus suit, perhaps because of earlier blogsphere and mainstream reporting claiming Kazeminy bought Coleman's expensive suits for him):

Interestingly, Strib in that report, (since updated with a different opening photo, same plaid shirt) notes that upon filing of the suit a fast hush-up was attempted but negotiations fell apart:

He [Coleman] said he believes Minnesotans will "see it for what it is -- sleazy politics -- and reject it out of hand."

"If my opponents have any shred of decency left in this campaign -- stop attacking my family," the statement said.

The company, Deep Marine Technology, is controlled by Kazeminy, a close friend of Coleman's and a longtime campaign contributor.

The allegations about Coleman were among the claims in the suit over corporate practices filed Monday by Deep Marine's former CEO, Paul McKim, who founded the company in 2001. The suit was withdrawn later Monday during a flurry of settlement negotiations but was refiled Thursday after those talks failed, said Casey Wallace, a lawyer for McKim. Robert Weinstine, listed in the lawsuit as Kazeminy's Minneapolis attorney, did not return phone calls seeking comment.

Bruce Gilman, chairman and interim CEO of Deep Marine, said today that the firm is investigating the allegations with the assistance of an outside law firm. "To date, we have not found any evidence of wrongdoing,'' Gilman said in a news release. "However, due to the nature of the ongoing investigation we cannot comment further at this time."

Next, screenshots from the McKim court filing are presented. All litigation images are from the Adobe pdf document STRIB posted online, here. As always, click to enlarge.

The crux of the claims related to the Colemans are here, p.10 - 13 of the 36 page item, with p.8 for context, presenting the claim of improper payments complete with an alleged in-company cover-up attempt:

Exhibits are interesting, p.29, et seq., with p.29 purporting to be a $100,000 service fee arrangement between Kazeminy's DMH/DMT operations and Hays Companies, for fees incident to and not separate from a contract for insurance coverage:

It should be a slam dunk, either there is a policy and legitimate paper trail, or not, and if not then it's party over for the arrangement and all that remains is follow the money to see what was disbursed when to the Coleman spouses by Hays Companies. So, a valid insurance contract situation is key, (see the screenshot of p.12, in particular, re this question and for a context to the p.29 exhibit). Then there is this 2 page "Exhibit G" at the end of the court filing, and with this many players besides the plaintiff, if there's to be stonewalling it gets hard to keep a stonewall intact. Somebody along the way knows things and testifies truthfully at deposition - as with Enron. But all that will be after our election.

Here is the Exhibit E offered to show the cover-up attempt alleged at p.13 of the complaint, just before alleging Nasser Kazeminy used the firm's funds to pay money to his relatives.

Our concern, as now informed voters, what do we do election day when looking at the Franken, Barkley, and Coleman choice for United States Senator from the great State of Minnesota - who's best, is there cause to doubt the incumbent and favor others? That is the immediate question.

If you read the McKim court filing carefully, there are a number of places and gaps that suggest themselves as key facts to be pinned down with certainty on which to hang a cogent refutation, if actual facts allow it. Instead, what do we see? Fulminating and outrage - and categorical denial. It is reminescent of Sen. Stevens of Alaska who was decisively convicted of the crime of accepting unreported gifts, on a record, but publicly denied things and yet never presented the press and public a cogent paper trail to back up the denials - because the actual paper trail led to a conviction and punishment.

So, is it all a baseless attack suit, filed by McKim and timed to harm Coleman election chances? Consider how this opening McKim salvo sounds more like politics than language normally found within opening litigation papers:

From Abscam to Adelphia, for many years American principles of corporate governance have been disregarded in the name of "might makes right." And from Pete Williams to David Durenberger, political alchemy involving business, power and money has proven not to be so rare. But rare is the occasion when a person, such as Sherron Watkins at Enron, stands up against oppression and wrongdoing. Where Deep Marine Holdings, Inc. ("DMH") and Deep Marine Technologies, Incorporated ("DMT") are concerned, Paul McKim is that person. Mr. McKim has consistently stood up against the wrongful acts of those in control of DMH and DMT when they acted in a manner that was illegal, oppressive or fraudulent, and resulted in the corporate assets of DMH and DMT being misapplied or wasted.

It's almost as if that p.2 of the court papers gets polemical about things pro-American and anti-American. (But that's a different political football, outside the Senate race.)

BOTTOM LINE: Surely, the criminal law always applies a standard of innocent until proven guilty. That, however, has nothing to do with voters making a ballot choice over who they'd rather trust prior to allegations going to trial.

And while hard to tell in a small picture, Norm surely looks to be wearing a nice suit.

Say goodbye, Norm.

CHANGE is a theme for this election cycle.

See further and/or newer coverage, all worth reading: here (highlighting the vagaries of the word "responsible"), here (for what it does not say, for not releasing pay records, for the vague word "responsible"), here, here, here (for months earlier showing Coleman vigorously promoting things that, coincidentally perhaps, were in the best fiscal interests of his pal, Kazeminy),and here (PiPress' top people, weighing in).

What's worth emphasis, although it seems obvious to me, the notion of Hays Companies in this - ostensibly hiring Laurie Coleman because she was of value to them, other than being spouse of an influential U.S. Senator and hence a conduit for access and other things - the pay records are the proof. What other things had she done to earn anything? Who for? And most importantly, these Nasser Kazeminy alter ego firm payments, of which there seems little doubt that three were made, one curtailed because of dispute in the firm, each in an amount of $25,000 - what can Hays Companies justify them as being for, and what fee split do the Hays books show between the company and Coleman. If it all got flowed through to Coleman, contrary to regular practice in the trade, the evidence would speak for itself, loudly in terms of false payment of gift amounts, but disguised for unjustifiable reasons.

It is strange how the blogs and press are taking the Norm Coleman "bait" and speculating, is the Franken campaign complicit in this disclosure happening timed as it is, and did Strib have some unique "notice" of issues by some unusual means?


The question, the only question, was Norm Coleman bought and paid for?

Everything else is diversion and digression, as Norm Coleman would like to spin things without getting to facts and paper trail.

What does that tell any sane person about the likelihoods, not having Hays Companies and Coleman and Kazeminy coming forward with documentation disputing the appearance of a U.S. Senator being bought and paid - remember the "energy" proposals coming from the Coleman office - drill offshore, including deepwater drilling, "exploit" the outer continental shelf, but leave ANWR alone - where friend Kazeminy's deepwater boats and expertise was inapplicable so that Kazeminy gets no slice of the ANWR pie.

Coleman simply needs to stop the indignation and do one simple thing - tell the truth and back it up with a real paper trail. The longer he waits the greater the chance an after-the-fact trail is being currently constructed for presentation. The greater is the chance of deceit the longer the man waits.

That is all that counts, not indignation, not blaming Franken without a shred of evidence that way, not blaming Strib for a conspiracy to derail him, but stand up with books and papers, and explain them after people have a chance to see what they say.

So far, only the papers appended to the refiled suit are public. They are unsupportive of Coleman. They make it look as if he took a bribe.

Autumn - leaves fall, yard signs sprout -- Vote for Andrew Boho for Minnesota House Dist. 48B.

Jim Abeler, the GOP incumbent has a gazillion signs, puts them out each cycle, and miraculously never forgets one and leaves it behind.

But Boho supports healthcare reform, in Minnesota even if not done in parallel at the national level, and as a DFL candidate he is not any part of the economic down trending, job outsourcing and loss, mortgage woes, or other problems - he simply wants the chance to serve in the legislature to be part of the solution.

Abeler has been a GOP regular for years, reelected regularly as such. He had to go to a primary contest recently because his own party hung him out to dry. Boho can be equally independent of party pressures, but will approach decision making from the DFL perspective and not from Taxpayer League or other constrained outlooks.

I endorse and will vote for Andrew Boho.

Third party political mailings - Planned Parenthood knows its friends, and they and friends agree - Norm Coleman must go.

Here are the card scans [8-1/2 x 11, glossy cardstock]. It was either the Wednesday or Thursday before election day, as I recall, when the item arrived in household mail. Click to read and enlarge. One side is about Planned Parenthood's good friend - the flip side on a pair of birds of a feather, who overstayed their collective welcome.

Clean Water, Wildlife, Cultural Heritage, and Natural Areas - something only a total fool would oppose. Vote YES on the ballot proposition.

This is a scan from the most recent Minn. Sierra Club "Northstar Journal." As always, click to enlarge and read. And when you get to the proposition part of your ballot next Tuesday - VOTE YES.

The organization's website is

For more info on the ballot proposition, see:

Have a look. At each.

IN PARTICULAR: Check that YesForMN site by clicking the above link, find out if your lake is polluted, and find out what some newspapers are saying in favor of the ballot proposition. You owe it to the State, the land, following generations, and all the big and little critters without a vote - to vote YES.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Tinklenberg takes umbrage, "Michele Bachmann is calling me names," but gives no link or meaningful detail. And what about no-bid contracts?

Lastest in contribution-solicitation email from Elwyn Tinklenberg:

I had hoped this campaign would be an honest discussion of how to rebuild our nation’s economy, create jobs, and strengthen the middle class. But Congresswoman Bachmann is embarrassing the people of the Sixth District once again, dragging what should be a civil debate into the gutter with two new attack ads accusing me of being a criminal.

Her allegations are baseless and just flat-out false – evidence of a desperate campaign that will do anything to win.

Sure. And that "take the high ground" thing about an honest discussion of issues, that must be why he's run ads about Michele Bachmann kissing President Bush after the one State of the Union address.

To him, it must be a key issue.

I wish he had given a link to what he is so strenuously objecting to. The only Bachmann ad I saw in that direction was calling out Tinklenberg for the widely reported MnDOT no-bid contract situation - where great kinds and levels of abuse can occur and that's why they have rules - rules that Tinklenberg, as was reported, breached.

Calling that a crime?

Perhaps that's what he's referring to.

The evils of no-bid contracts: However, crime or not, what was reported back then surely looked to be or to offer the opportunity for unacceptably shabby cronyism.

There is cronyism in having headed the North Metro Mayors Association, which lobbies, as Tinklenberg did before getting the Ventura nod to head MnDOT; and being on that organization's insider group along with Ramsey's present mayor, Tom Gamec, with Tinklenberg Group getting big-time big-money contracts from Ramsey as soon as he left MnDOT, incorporated his Tinklenberg Group enterprise, and began soliciting contracts.

Tinklenberg left MnDOT Oct. 2002, incorporated the cash-cow Nov. 2002, and was in contact with James Norman, Ramsey's then City Administrator, Dec. 2002. Those are facts.

Go figure.

I don't think a single Tinklenberg Group contract with Ramsey ever was put out for bids via an RFP, etc.

Each, I believe, was a no-bid contract.

So, Tinklenberg sought out Ramsey to give him money via no-bid contracts where his past crony Tom Gamec sat in the center of the council table and voted in favor of such arrangements.

If short of crime, does it or does it not somehow unpeg the bullshit meter, off zero, to midscale or further? Each of you has your own built in meter, your unique circuitry, where your meter might be less sensitive, or more so, than mine.

Remember Obama - remember change: Shabby cronyism and revolving-door practices are one of the things Obama has criticized and wants to change, yet here is Elwyn Tinklenberg as the ticket-mate Obama must run with because the Sixth District DFL power structure favored and helped steer this blue dog with fleas to an endorsement.

Again, go figure.

Request for evidence: Does any reader have a YouTube or other link to the Bachmann ad [or is it an NRCC or other group's ad] to which the man is referring? If so, please in a comment post the information.

Put it this way - If you are sure of yourself, give the link Tink.

I wish he had.

It would have made it easier to cogently weigh facts and accusations, with voters best informed that way.

Because Tinklenberg did that mini-outrage act without giving the meaningful context, I went to the Bachmann campaign website to see if I could discover anything. Rep. Bachmann has YouTube and "In the News" links, here for YouTube, and here for in the News, so which of the items [or is it yet another non-Bachmann item he rails over] in those two overlapping groups, is the one where Tinklenberg says Bachmann is calling him a criminal?

I really would like to see the evidence. Is he misstating what Bachmann said and then bashing it - the old straw man propaganda tecnique of building a straw man and then knocking it apart? Or is his claim real?

All I can remember of the one Bachmann ad I saw around the time the Obama half-hour infomercial ran, was that it said, if anything that way, what papers and primary sources had said in published reporting, and did not express any particular opinion by Rep. Bachmann of her DFL challenger.

So, what's the story? Reader help on this would be appreciated -- especially, if anyone knows for a fact whether or not there is evidence of criminal conduct of any kind by Tinklenberg.

Readers, please post a comment about any detail you might know of.

It seems to me, if a career politician, one who knows proper and improper ways and means, says an opponent's allegations are "baseless and just flat-out false" without saying what the allegation are even, then that is a shameless resort to a tactic used to take advantage of people and to take advantage of a situation. People hear only one side of things - "she called me names that are false and scurilous," something like that - which in the ordinary course of things demands that you say what, if anything real and not invented, it is that you are aggressively defending against. More than the school yard, "She called me names so I hit her," thing is expected of adults wanting my vote and your vote for Congress.

Is there any reader agreement or disagreement about that view, that it's incumbent on Tinklenberg to provide a context for the "so very offended" defense he's manufactured? Am I wrong? Is my standard of fairness too harsh one way or the other?

Comments are welcome.

Without double-checking, my recollection is that the NRRI taconite-aggregate-in-paving contract, where Tinklenberg gained about $94,000 to promote the use of the material, was advertised for bid and awarded Tinklenberg Group after review of submissions received before a cutoff date. I think NRRI dotted "i's" and crossed "t's".

However, almost $840,000 in money to Tinklenberg Group [some admittedly for subcontractors] has been paid from Ramsey to Tinklenberg Group [some admittedly being grants, etc., from other taxing entities but taxpayer funds one way or the other] and all that was without any competitive bidding situation, for Tinklenberg Group or its subcontractors. I believe it was Tinklenberg group, alone, that solicited Scott Renne for appraisal purposes involving buying land along Highway 10 where self-admitted felon Bruce Nedegaard, the Ramsey Town Center promoter/developer, was involved in title to one parcel and his "Ramsey Town Center, LLC" entity involved in title to another - one with an unrecorded security interest to heighten its charm, where Nedegaard was in title, all the money went to another, and $1.7 million was paid for the one property, $1.8 million for the other, where Nedegaard and his LLC were in chain of title to one for him and spouse, and the LLC in chain of title for the other. That and flogging for a Northstar stop in Ramsey, and other things, multiple contracts, and I recall seeing nothing about any competitive bidding.

Finally, I have seen East Bethel, Elk River, and other contracts discussed in public government minutes online, and I believe none of the minutes ever mention putting out RFPs and soliciting bids. I think all must have been no-bid contracts.

I ask any reader with a fuller knowledge of facts to correct this, and to identify any Tinklenberg Group contract with a governmental entity, besides the NRRI contract, which was put out for bidding.

I shall send an email to; asking the campaign to identify whichever Tinklenberg Group contracts were put out for bid.

_____FURTHER UPDATE_______
I recall Tinklenberg Group had a contract with East Bethel for sewer-water planning, working on a town center type of development proposal, and doing the city's comp plan proposal to Met Council for 2008. I think there was some Highway 65 funding being sought also, via Tinklenbreg Group. I recall the comp plan was put out for a bid, Tinklenberg Group being given the contract. I am unsure about the other East Bethel items. I recall Ramsey minutes about Tinklenberg Group and an administrator from the Highway 10 Coalition, soliciting Ramsey to join. How that group came about and how it connected to Tinlenberg and his group is a mystery to me. I recall Ramsey council member David Jeffrey asking if the Highway 10 Coalition had a website with minutes posted for citizens to access and read, the reply being it was something they could do. Whose money want into that effort, whether it lobbied, etc., is for others to fact-check. That exhausts my recollection and there's yard work to do before the first fall snow.

I did email Tinklenberg's campaign site, the official communication organ, requesting that they read the post and respond about what bid and no-bid contracts Tinklenberg Group has arranged for itself since he left MnDOT in Oct. 2002.

Complacency is the biggest thing that can hurt Obama now. And he will need Al Franken in the Senate to be able to deliver the promise of "CHANGE."

Obama. I expect the Obama campaign, which has been very astute so far, knows that it must be on message, "Do not rely on any poll saying whatever it says. There is only one thing you can do to assure an Obama victory, vote and tell all your Obama friends to be certain to vote."

Any lead can disappear if voters are indifferent.

I expect the Obama GOTV effort will be flawless.

I expect the GOP will, as always, be skilled in its GOTV measures. It has been one of the ways they have snatched victory from the jaws of defeat [election fraud being the other, such as Florida in 2000, Ohio in 2004].

The new "energized" voters Obama's "change" message has attracted to support him likely will show up at the polls in record numbers.

They likely will be ready, to do what they can for change. If so, the coattails can be very, very broad, down-ticket.

If you support Obama, and do not vote, it might not affect the presidential numbers, but down-ticket it might be decisive. And, it could be difficult at the top of the ticket if any air of complacency develops.

Franken. Ideally, Obama supporters would realize that change will be harder without a filibuster-proof Senate majority. That means we need Al Franken more than ever.

Besides Al Franken being a good guy and attractive on his merits as true to the Wellstone legacy, a strong majority in both houses will fit well with an Obama White House pursuing change, delivering on the promises.

Checking email, this Franken campaign message from Ben Goldfarb [recall, he was the Klobuchar camaign manager]. He is now the GOTV coordinator for the Franken campaign. His message speaks for itself, (and I hope I transcribe all the links correctly):

Dear Friend,

There's a place we call Packetland -- a giant warehouse basement in St. Paul where volunteers and organizers are hard at work around the clock assembling Get-Out-The-Vote packets for the doorknockers and phonebankers whose efforts will push Al over the top and win this race.

We're going to knock on 2.8 million doors -- and make another 1.5 million calls -- before this thing is over. And that means we're going to need your help.


But it's a two way street, and to help you get fired up to help Al and Barack, President Clinton and the Obama campaign are holding a huge rally at the Minneapolis Convention Center (of course, Al will be there as well) TONIGHT! Doors open at 7:00, and we'd love to see you there!

But before you come out, please make a commitment to change by going to right now and signing up to take one of these packets we're assembling and talk to some voters about bringing Minnesota the change we need.

Our organizers and volunteers in Packetland are laying the foundation for the biggest grassroots push this state has even seen, President Clinton is coming in to get us all energized, but we can't do it without you! It's going to take 77,000 volunteers, working together, to retire Norm Coleman from the U.S. Senate. Can we count on you to be one of them?

Please, click here and sign up today.

Thanks for all you do,
Ben Goldfarb

The one link, the will get you to the Obama main GOTV site; where the other links presumably will be for local Franken sites or pages.

Finally, there is this Franken website volunteer page, and you can contribute through the Franken website opening page, see also the Franken site's homepage.

_______FURTHER UPDATE______
Try this thought on and see if it fits like a Nasser K. suit: The GOP right wing theofaction (those abusing the language by calling themselves "social conservatives" as if their stance were not inspired by a will to merge church and state) is fond of pointing out the President over the next four to eight years might appoint three Supreme Court judges. Ask yourself, would you rather the "advice and consent" of the Senate coming from Amy Klobuchar and Norm Coleman, or from Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken. Then, do what's needed.

Mesabi Daily News, Virginia MN -- We like our pork, plenty of it, we like Norm [we endorse Oberstar too].

Here. How blatent can you be? Sling us plenty pork, and we'll try to convince voters you're just fine, that others have deficiencies. Not just "we like Norm," but getting into specific cuts which they like and which they say he delivers. This excerpts:

We firmly believe the most important issue this election campaign for the Iron Range is which candidates for state and federal office will work the hardest, and without giving an inch to certain environmental special interest groups, when it comes to helping pave the way for jobs in the region.

U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman has a proven six-year record of working hard in a bipartisan manner for economic development projects in the state and on the Iron Range.

Coleman has been a champion of mining initiatives, including his wholehearted support of non-ferrous ventures of PolyMet near Hoyt Lakes and Franconia Minerals on Birch Lake near Babbitt.

He understands that the Iron Range was built on development of our natural resources; that we extract minerals to create jobs that provide opportunities for families to stay in the area and to build healthy communities.

The senator has also been a consistent and persistent supporter of the Excelsior Energy clean-coal project for the Range

Coleman teamed with the majority of area DFL legislators and Democratic U.S. Rep. Jim Oberstar to move the coal gasification project forward. While lawmakers did their jobs securing Iron Range Resources Board funding and also legislative support in St. Paul, Coleman led the effort in Congress to obtain $133.5 million in federal tax credits for the project.

In addition, Coleman is working with both Republicans and Democrats in Washington to get funding to develop and build underground pipelines in the country to sequester carbon dioxide emissions from the coal gasification plants that would transfer that carbon residue to other areas where it could be used in further energy production. Such a project does not happen overnight. It needs public servants who see its value and how it fits into an overall Made in the USA energy policy and who then keep the faith and do not give up the battle. Sen. Coleman is one of those elected officials.

Barkley is definitely our second choice in this race. However, we are concerned that he has not been a strong public advocate for mining and logging and multiple use of our recreation areas in Northeastern Minnesota. Perhaps he is supportive on those issues, but that has not been a key component of his campaign.

We are especially concerned with Franken on economic development issues.

He has been lukewarm at best and that’s being kind regarding the copper/nickel/precious metals mining projects on the East Range. Meanwhile, Coleman has been a steadfast supporter of those projects and the jobs they will create. That’s a huge, huge difference.

On Excelsior Energy, Franken is opposed to the project. He has flat out said it should be built elsewhere in coal country with the jobs it would create benefiting another state. So much for looking at an innovative way for economic development in Minnesota and on the Iron Range. Coleman and most DFL legislators have worked hard to move along this energy project.

Regarding recreational use of our land and water, Franken has obviously been prepped well to stay away from seeking the endorsement of the Sierra Club, which is a constant challenger of multiple use and mining and logging on the Range. However, we believe that’s just a politically convenient move by the Democratic candidate.

There's little to add in analysis. These esteemed editors say it all, and they say it clearly. He oinks. We love him.

And Oberstar, before explicitly mentioning any particular cuts of pork, they sing, they sing:

Jim Oberstar was elected to Congress in 1974. The 17-term veteran of the U.S. House is seeking re-election next Tuesday as the 8th District Democratic congressman.

And like a fine wine, the Chisholm native just keeps getting better and better serving his constituents in an expansive district that stretches from the Canadian border down to the far northern suburbs of Minneapolis.

Now, what exactly, would YOU guess "serving his constituents" means to these editors?

Finally, they do not like the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment, here.

Three strikes.

Bozos out.

I missed the significance of a date, a friend pointed it out.

How's this for poking a sharp stick in every Minnesota progressive's eye - these press gentlemen in Virginia MN chose their Coleman endorsement date carefully: October 25, with the truth known by every cogent person within the State being that Norman Coleman would never have left Minnesota for Washington DC except for the Wellstone plane-crash death; October 25, 2002.

How gentlemanly, how thoughtful, how special these editors are in their ways and means.

There seems to be only one rational answer - send more money to Al Franken, to defeat this kind of thing and to emphasize we, like Franken, treasure the memory of Paul Wellstone and want to serve his legacy.

Michele Bachmann discussed, PiPress online.


I would like to see mainstream media attention on the unique situation in MN 6.

We have four candidates to choose from, election day.

Ranging from two conventionally conservative and similar major party career-politician items, Bachmann and Tinklenberg, to IP choice Bob Anderson, and Prof. Immelman, the write-in Republican, who is the candidate with the most interesting background and in many ways he represents the most unconventional choice.

To me that overall situation is more unique than the reporting PiPress devoted to the incumbent, Ms. Bachmann, alone.

You can take this [McCain-Palin call center] job and shove it.

In Indiana workers left the call center rather than call folks with offensive hate-Obama messages. See details of the full story, here.

Open thread - the Obama infomercial, any thoughts, any undecided voter committment, any changed preferences?

I watched it, already decided. The thread is open for anyone wishing to comment.

ECM papers endorse Sarvi.

Thanks to Blueman for the post and link.

The ECM original is here, stating in part:

We feel Sarvi has a better approach on a wide range of issues, and we endorse his candidacy.

With regard to the issue that has risen to the forefront in this election - the economy - we feel Sarvi is better equipped to make decisions in these troubling times.

We feel Sarvi's experiences as a mayor, city manager and U.S. Army sergeant in charge of rebuilding infrastructure in Iraq are the kind needed to rebuild the U.S. economy.

Sarvi has managed budgets and will champion tighter regulation of the financial markets, which didn't happen under Kline and the hands-off Republican administration.

We applaud Kline for his vote for the $700 billion bailout package, but Sarvi said more needs to be done [to] help the middle class through incentives to lenders to help those facing foreclosure. Sarvi notes the economic collapse could have been worse if Kline had his way on privatizing Social Security by investing more retirement savings in the stock market.

With regard to the Iraq war, Sarvi's experience on the ground in Iraq will help as the United States moves forward with a plan to stabilize, reduce troop levels and rebuild the country.

Sarvi and Kline do not favor a timetable for withdrawal from Iraq, relying on conditions on the ground to dictate when to reduce troop levels. Sarvi adds that it is urgent to stabilize Iraq as soon as possible, so it is no longer a financial drain on U.S. spending. He's also been vocal in saying that the Iraq war diverted the nation's attention from post-9/11 target Osama bin Laden, whose continued presence is causing more concerns in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

We acknowledge Kline's support of an increase in troop levels that has helped reduce violence in Iraq, but we feel he, as a member of the Armed Services Committee, should have been more critical of the Bush administration's handling of the war for much of the past five years.

In communicating with the people of the 2nd District, Kline has been criticized for his lack of public availability and was pressed to hold a "town hall" style forum in 2007 after constituents repeatedly asked for it as opposition for the Iraq war mounted.

We don't foresee Sarvi having such communication problems. He has a leadership style that relies more on coalition building, as demonstrated by his grassroots campaign, which has drawn the Independence Party endorsement and focused on communicating with voters in person, by e-mail and through his Web site.

For Sarvi on the issues, link here.

Is anyone really surprised, Kline having been on the scene for years, that he is speaking both ways about earmarks? See detail, Blueman in a Red District, here. I think we in other districts helped Sarvi with contributions. I think we can hope he wins, and some might volunteer to help his last minute phone and GOTV efforts - check it out - here, to volunteer; here to contribute.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

More news, yesterday, on Sarah Palin, and McCain's making that strange choice of running mate.

I will only excerpt the first few paragraphs of the entire item.

Please, please go to the source and read and contemplate the entire report.

This is journalism at its best. It is going beyond press releases and sound bites, to the heart of darkness.

Sarah Palin and the new Apostolic reformation
by Russ Bellant
October 28, 2008

Sarah Palin has been associated all her adult life with churches and political groups that are way out of the theological and political mainstream. Her extreme policy views as Governor reflect this background and raise questions about what kind of vice president John McCain seeks to have voters endorse.

It has been widely reported that McCain barely knew Palin and his team never fully evaluated her to determine her fitness to be vice president.

A recent report in The Anchorage Daily News stated that evangelist Franklin Graham made the Palin connection to McCain, not Republican professionals. Graham, the once-estranged son of Billy Graham, has strong ties to the various strands of the religious rightwing. He met with McCain on June 30 at his headquarters in Boone, North Carolina, after which Graham issued a statement praising McCain’s "personal faith" and prayed for "God’s will to be done in this upcoming election."

The Daily News concluded that "subsequent events suggest that the price of support for McCain by the fundamentalist Christian leadership would be a vice presidential candidate of their liking. Governor Palin was a logical choice for Franklin Graham, whose ties to Alaska include a palatial, by Alaska bush standards, second home in Port Alsworth, a community that has served as a retreat for Christian fundamentalist leaders."

Graham has been the keynote speaker at Palin’s annual prayer breakfasts for the last two years. When she fired the Public Safety Director over what is being investigated as a family matter, few noticed that she hired a local police chief, Chuck Kopp, who was "a rising star in Alaska’s Christian conservative movement," according to the Daily News. He was a frequent speaker at religious and "patriotic" gatherings, but perhaps more significantly he was a director of a Bible training camp in Port Alsworth primarily funded by Graham.

Those and other ties give credence to Graham’s support for Palin. When her nomination was ratified at the Republican convention, Graham called to congratulate her through the cell phone of Rev. Jerry Prevo, a Republican delegate who is considered the leader of Alaska’s evangelical movement, according to the Washington Post. He is also on the board of directors of Graham’s charity, Samaritan’s Purse.

A recent report in the New Yorker stated that conservative writers around the National Review and the Weekly Standard had met with Palin in 2007 and some had advocated for her.

The Nation reported that she had been vetted by the secretive Council for National Policy just before the convention, but that meeting may have been more of a ratification of the McCain selection. The Council is composed of several hundred of the foremost leaders and funders of the ultraconservative right wing, including billionaires from the Amway families, the Prince families ( the Blackwater mercenary operations in Iraq ), as well as Pat Robertson, James Dobson, Phyllis Schlafly and the late Jerry Falwell.

While McCain may have trusted Graham to help him out of the political decline he was experiencing at the time he named Palin as his vice presidential pick, he would have benefited by having a thorough review of her character before he took the plunge with her name.

McCain would have found that she supported Ron Paul, not himself, in the Republican primaries; that she tried to ban books not to her liking; that her amateurish land deals ( building on land that the city did not own ) put Wasilla in deep debt; she also tried to fire people that disagreed with her or crossed her family. He would have found that she was active in churches that are part of a movement that excoriates major Christian denominations while building a movement to take dominion over society. He would have found a Governor who flirts in a fringe rightwing pro militia political party that wants Alaska to secede from the United States.

There is much, much more. Hunter Thompson is with us no more, but his headline term, "fear and loathing" remains his legacy.


Earlier, Rolling Stone did an incisive review of John McCain -- who he's been and who he is, posted about on Crabgrass, here. This item takes the same detailed approach in examining the GOP candidate for vice president. I think voters should read both items together, and decide whether they or the nation should stomach a McCain-Palin presidency. To me it is unpalatable. They stink. Together and individually.

Another voice heard from, an Oct. 29, item, here, about the Council for National Policy [probably, not for certain] and their plans for the GOP future of their dreams [and prayers?] It is not my beautiful dream. Have a look, and the same site has an item on Bachmann and Musgrave, here.

Aubrey Immelman posts a "platform." His responses to a St. Cloud Times Voter Guide candidate inquiry.

I expect other candidates will have their responses. I do not know if they will post them on their campaign websites. I leave it to readers to pursue whether or not they do. If any candidate or campaign rep reads this, and wants Crabgrass to reference website postings of the same questions and their responses, please email a link [see the sidebar email address].

Without excerpting, go read things for yourself, the Immelman "platform" is here.

PBS, last night, Lyndon Johnson's presidency - "winning" in Vietnam and the McCain answer to the Bush war legacy.

In the debates, McCain kept saying Iraq is "winnable" despite all indications that is false. It struck me that in response Obama never disputed the remark. He simply let it stand, as the McCain position - stay until we win.

The PBS item on Johnson, when I tuned in, was talking first of Great Society, civil rights and voting rights. Then it moved to escalation of the war. It moved to dissent over the war and the lack of quick and real civil rights action, the riots and burning and soldiers in the streets of our cities. It moved to an entrenched will to win in Vietnam. To the truth that Ho Chi Mihn realized at some point the Americans would leave. And then, if not sooner, he would win. Johnson failed, Vietnam won. The long and extremely costly and corrosive occupation ended - as it did, where it could have ended differently but it was inevitable that Johnson knew and Ho knew the occupation would end. The indigenous forces would win. Civil war would work itself out on its own terms after the occupation ended. That was the lesson of Vietnam.

All of that is the extreme burden of persuasion that McCain and his position bear, the burden of history, the burden of reality.

To tell people we will win Iraq, and have the situation as it is, is too much a stretch. Particularly so for those who lived through the Vietnam years. The full cost of that to our society and how it might have grown to have us a better nation is felt by many and fully grasped in all aspects by no one.

And the Bush-neocon fools went in. McCain, saying he is not George W. Bush, says stay and win. Too many of us have heard too much falsehood to not recognize it for what it is. Obama showed a brilliant understanding by simply leaving McCain's statements as they were on the debate record. No counter comment was really needed.

For a capsule view of what is "winnable" and not, the Immelman campaign website excerpts a recent report from Mosul, Iraq:

Iraqis Await Resurrection of Scarred Mosul
REUTERS - Oct. 26, 2008

MOSUL, Iraq – Five years of war have reduced much of Mosul to rubble, and U.S. and Iraqi authorities are pledging to deliver on long-time promises to rebuild as they launch a new campaign to rout a stubborn insurgency. …

Near a giant U.S. military base, American humvees rumble down “Baghdad Highway.” The thoroughfare is lined by buildings flattened into heaps of cinderblock or pockmarked by mortar blasts and bullets.

Sewage runs freely and cows graze around mounds of litter. Shops keep their metal gates shut tight, and people stay indoors. At dusk the air is thick with burning trash. …

“When anyone arrives in Mosul today, he would think it is a battleground,” said the minister, Farouq Abdul-Qadir, ticking off a list of problems: an ancient sewage system, a woefully inadequate power supply, high unemployment, and a slowing but still grim drumbeat of assassinations and bomb attacks.

“In the past, the problem for reconstruction was security, and the same problem exists now. We still don’t have full security in Mosul,” he said.

“Abject failure”

Since 2003, the United States has spent millions of dollars in Mosul to improve electricity, overhaul army facilities, rehabilitate schools and on other works. …

U.S. Brigadier General Tony Thomas, commander of U.S. forces in Mosul, said a recent Iraqi initiative to follow military operations with millions of dollars’ worth of reconstruction had been an “abject failure.” …

On October 15, Iraqi and U.S. forces began their third major military operation in Mosul since May. They will go house to house in search of insurgents and weapons caches. …

Violence and decay

Rebuilding a city still marred by violence is not easy.

Earlier this year, U.S. soldiers visited a school in western Mosul they were planning to renovate. Soon afterwards, the headmaster received a call warning him to send the children home early. A car bomb flattened the school that afternoon. …

Rubble, not being rebuilt while the occupation continues, occupation troops visiting a school then eliminated as "damaged goods," it all fits a story of a leadership faction making the occupation always harder than pre-occupation times to keep "on message" for the Iraqi people. It appears the universal sentiment among Iraqi factions is to end the occupation and have a US troop withdrawal, and then by civil war or measures short of that to work out their future among themselves, for themselves. Talking "surge" or otherwise does not seem to counter or undo that reality.

SENATE RACE - A blanket mailing, a targeted mailing, and the myth that high-tech wind energy jobs will be everywhere.

It seems the wind turbine is the new symbol of environmentalism, cure of balance of payment imbalances [aka "energy independence" or "ending dependence on foreign oil," etc.], and the shorthand image for envisioning a future yielding of great jobs everywnere to be every state's answer to a better future for its work force.

How all that is expected to work out is of course unclear, and devils are in details. For now large corporations dominate large wind energy unit production, with the Europeans well ahead, as Boeing was when Airbus started.

In effect, yes, Bob Olson was right locally to seize the issue before others did, and he was right to suggest the alternative to large wind turbines was smaller distributed ones, each part of the power grid, along with some stand alone farm and other local installations. Winds, on average, average out if the geographical area is great, so that local wind intensity changes can be handled by the grid as less variable in aggregate than if localized. A single large turbine failure or wind farm failure, tornados do happen, can be tolerated, and the more distributed the sources, the better grid demand variance can be handled. And yes, a shift to renewable energy is needed. Ultimately, all energy is solar. Solar energy reaching earth makes the winds blow, the biomass grow, and it made the oil and coal deposits over geological time by growing the organic matter that later became overlain into formed pockets of oil, gas, coal, and oil shale, tar sands, etc.

But saying all energy ultimately is solar, is like saying life is like an endless river. So what, how does that translate to help make reality better today and tomorrow?

On the same day, yesterday, I got the Franken positive we-are-the-world enviro targeted mailing, an 8-1/2 x 11 four page glossy paper thing; plus the generic orange hate-and-fear mongering item from NRA saying I need Norm Coleman, gun-wise, since I need to hate and fear others.

Each mailing has premises and its differing goals behind it, with the ultimate goal of capturing votes one at a time. Each carries its own cachet. You may find one thing or another more convincing, but I find the Franken intrusion into the quiet space of my home less an intrusion, and more promising of a sounder policy and mind and intent, than the Coleman/NRA half-page cardstock, and its insultingly simplistic sophistry and misstatement. Here are the images. The middle two Franken pages are the mailer inside, the others the address page and outer "back." As always, click to enlarge and read. Enjoy.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

My presidential pick - Obama-Biden, go with quality and reject expedient self-centered decision making.

Either Barack Obama, or if mid-term there is need, Joe Biden could manage the nation without major mishap or blunder.

McCain is doubtful that way, in terms of temperament and as representing no break from the failed Bush presidency, with which he admits he voted 90% of the time.

For more detail: The NY Times Obama endorsement was extensively excerpted, here, and as excerpted is true in my mind and expresses thoughts I also hold and have independently reached.

Finally, my bottom line, the Palin choice was an insult to the nation and to every sentient voter in it. To selfishly play to a selfish faction of his own party, one he in the past has denounced, and to let them make his choice for him and to uncritically accept the chosen unfit individual, Sarah Palin, as VP running mate says very much about the true character of John McCain, and of what it says, nothing is good. It shows weakness and compromise, not statesmanship, not anywhere near to statesmanship. It is GOP business as usual, and if you liked the last eight years, well --- bless you.

On the Palin pick, one friend characterized it as, McCain cashed in all of his credibility for a gimmick.

Barkley and Tinklenberg - with little difference between them, are recognized that way via St. Cloud Times endorsements. However ---

I favor Franken and Immelman.

St. Cloud Times and the Barkley endorsement, here. St. Cloud Times and the Tinklenberg endorsement, here. The tradition is to endorse and in the editorial explain the thinking. I will endorse here, but we all know enough about how things have unwound, about the choices, that I will not argue my choices as much as state them with only a part of the thinking presented.

Let's be truthful. In the Senate race and in the Sixth District race, there is no Paul Wellstone. This post is dedicated to his memory - whenever you talk candidates there has to be a political gold standard, and for Minnesota that is Paul Wellstone. He was closest to what I would want in a federal government responsive to the need to protect the poor from the ravages and indifference of the wealthy, and then to protect the wealthy from each other. When such protection is lax or removed, when regulation is deregulated, the ravaging of the worse of the wealthy and their motives has been seen - an economic meltdown of unusual proportion, led in part by creation of casino-like derivatives, "swaptions" and such, with mortgage-bundling and securitization to where the underlying quality of long term mortgage debt was ignored to produce more of it because it was not held by the originator but fobbed onto investment outlets such as pension funds and insurance coverage trust pooled money. It was Wall Street running amok. And then it was the former head of Goldman Sachs, having made himself a mid to high nine figure wealth that way, coming forward as the George W. Bush Secretary of the Treasury and saying, "We have taken your economy hostage and will kill it if not paid a $700 billion ransom."

The ransom was paid, via, as our trusted and loved government will do, taking the three page Paulson ransom note and producing a pork-laden 450 page bill.

Into that morass, we need to reintegrate the kind of integrity that Wellstone had and that now seems missing. We need the compassion for the little guy that Wellstone had. We need another Wellstone.

The closest we have is Franken.

Franken at least can and does make the promise to respect and follow the Wellstone legacy. To me that is decisive, because I look when he says it and I believe it is sincere. I believe the stories of Frannie Franken's family surviving on Social Security but doomed without it, are part of a background different from Norm Coleman's and his spouse's. I believe Franken will be true to family roots.

In the Sixth district, with the public's regard for Congress now at an all time low, we can see why that is. The two party system has totally failed us. We could have had a two party system give us quality and brains - Bob Olson from the DFL, Aubrey Immelman from the GOP. Instead party bosses and ideologues present their sorry shadow people - revolving door lobbyist Elwyn Tinklenberg, theocrat and neo-McCarthyite, Michele Bachmann.

It is tempting to say, give me a third choice. Barkley is that, but little different than Tinklenberg as a crypto-Republican running as something else; they have common roots and common ties through the history of the IP and each is close with the IP bosses, Barkley being one.

Barkley is not a reasonable alternative to much of anything. A second Republican to Coleman, ideologically, and tainted via the Tinklenberg endorsement the IP pulled off after the DFL had made an identical mistake.

So Franken for Senate, is how I will vote.

Immelman, the write-in choice for the Sixth Congressional District is my other choice and has my vote for Congress. While I expect he differs with me on the reproductive rights and choice issue, he is refreshing as a conservative with a pragmatic and humanistic view against war as an instrument of policy and a tool to enforce a national will upon other nations. He completely rejects the neocon view that we have an unmatched military so let's bully somebody, or bully a few others.

Surely a write-in has to be seen as having little chance of being elected. But there is more to voting than picking a race horse and betting money.

Surely Bob Anderson, the IP ballot choice election day has a better chance than a write-in, and he has the appeal of not being either Tinklenberg or Bachmann.

Bob Anderson is to be commended for how he stood up to his party bosses and said no to the Tinklenberg arrangements, and ran.

However, the governing motive for a voter should always be - pick the best person, the one you believe would best do the job, the one whose integrity and capability you most trust.

Based on that: Aubrey Immelman for Congress is how I will vote.

Also, based on picking the best of what's offered regardless of polling or other indicators, I will vote for Al Franken for Senator.

This might be my final word this way, because once you've said, "Here's my choice," there's little to add. Poll-chasing and local media endorsements of one candidate or another carry little weight in my forming a judgment. I might note endorsements, as I have done, and some might give them weight in election decision making. I like to know what the papers say and why, but it has little or no true influence on my vote. Each person has his/her way to decide, and there is good reason to have a secret ballot. And there might be major breaking news in the last week before balloting.

If you know what you are doing vote. If not, stay home. You can only mess things up by ignorant voting. And the chance of ignorant or insufficiently informed voting increases for contests lower on the ballot.

That is why I will post separately on city council choices.

Everyone knows Obama-Biden vs. McCain-Palin, and has thought before reaching a final choice. But city council, or judicial candidates or county commissioners, that part of the ballot is where name recognition alone or incumbency alone might be too big a factor.

Monday, October 27, 2008

USGS study of the right migratory bird and genetic tracking of avian influenza viral makeup indicates potential pandemic strain might reach the US.

Pintail ducks were the study species yielding evidence contradicting earlier more reassuring work on other species. See here and here.

No complete genetically identical virus was found, but

Released: 10/27/2008 11:49:09 AM
In an article published this week in Molecular Ecology, USGS scientists observed that nearly half of the low pathogenic avian influenza viruses found in wild northern pintail ducks in Alaska contained at least one (of eight) gene segments that were more closely related to Asian than to North American strains of avian influenza.

Elwyn Tinklenberg on the record --- He is anti-choice.


He declared himself a pro-life Democrat - a different position on abortion than child safety advocate and Democrat Patty Wetterling ran on last election in the district.

"It's (pro life) been my perspective since the early days of my life as a minister," said Tinklenberg.

Nothing could be clearer. It has been his consistent stance since his days preaching.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Who is Elwyn Tinklenberg, do YOU know who you're sending your money to, and why he is leaving clear gaps in the resume?

An unaltered image of El Tinklenberg, Candidate for Congress. He has been a revolving door career politician-consultant-lobbyist most of his adult life, yet does not disclose such a status in any reassuring way. The door has revolved - pulpit, to town board and mayor of Blaine in Anoka County; consulting; working years for Anoka County [doing what, is undisclosed, but it appears arranging contracts ("pork" some might say) for the County and those it does business with - while having received media heat for no-bid contracting while heading MnDOT], being on contract to the county as its rail authority lobbyist, being at a PR-flak-lobbying firm (Goff&Howard, see, e.g., here), MnDOT head, and forming his own consultancy, Tinklenberg Group, which I contend has been lobbying, with he himself lobbying, but with he and group not wholly registered that way.

In his past he has had his name associated with entities besides the Goff & Howard firm noted above that lobby within our state, see, here, here, here and here; while he has registered himself and filed reports as lobbyist for two others, see, here and here (identifying himself and his Tinklenberg Group business-lobbying affiliation).

And he scoffs and bristles at being called a revolving door lobbyist, and says ONLY two past activities matter, not the lobbying, in his most recent (and misleading by omission) mailing to this household:

If you read and rely on that, you'd never know a thing about the revolving door's constant turning throughout the man's life.

A "follow the money" view of the man, what he does and believes and advocates in relation to his personal cashflow and income potential is interesting to consider, as well as checking to see how much, if any, of his own money he's ever put into his Congressional campaign (where he asks others to fund it).

Another question concerns his campaign disbursements, how he spends the money you might send him, how much is paid out to close family and to former or present members of his consultancy, Tinklenberg Group. The FEC has the data, have a look. The names Anna Ritchie and Amanda Vickstrom are examples respectively of Elwyn Tinklenberg's family and business insiders drawing out as "salary" substantial campaign funds that were contributed by voters and taxpayers from within and outside of Minnesota's Sixth District.

Michele Bachmann's musings over anti-Americanism of others (against whom she's not running) obscure the fact that her attention should be more focused upon Elwyn Tinklenberg, the revolving door lobbyist-career politician seeking her seat.

And while many nationwide have been reported uncritically sending bushels of cash to someone they probably know little about, the question is, "Well, can't they just go to his campaign website and read his online biography and find out who he is?"

Not exactly. - states only:

He received his undergraduate degree at the University of Minnesota at Duluth and attended seminary at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. He served as a United Methodist Minister in Blaine, Minnesota from 1977 to 1986.

While serving on the city council for 4 years and as Mayor of Blaine from 1987 to 1996, Tinklenberg quickly gained a reputation as an expert in the field of transportation, eventually serving as Governor Jesse Ventura's Commissioner of Transportation from 1999 to 2002. Charged with managing the day-to-day operations of the department's 5,500 employees and $2 billion annual budget, he worked directly with the legislature to secure funding for the state's first light rail, the development of a regional commuter plan, and a (short-term) doubling of the state transportation budget. In 2003 he served on the Board of Directors for the American Public Transportation Association.

In 2006, Tinklenberg ran for congress in Minnesota's sixth district. He eventually lost out on an opportunity to run in the general election when he was narrowly defeated by Patty Wetterling in a bid for the DFL endorsement.

Currently, Tinklenberg is President of The Tinklenberg Group, a consulting firm that specializes in transportation and related issues affecting government and businesses.

Moreover, Elwyn Tinklenberg has myspace and facebook entries, which are the same as or less inclusive of what his adult life's efforts have been and what he does for his money. (His facebook presence is via linking to the campaign website.)

As already noted, the man's history includes registered lobbying - the Minnesota CFB had him identifying himself as top lobbyist for a real estate development at the Brockton Rd. Hwy 94 area in Hennepin County, where he wanted to pave all over the place with possibly hazardous taconite tailings, and for a Northstar related promotional effort out of Anoka County, his home grounds for most of his career politician-lobbyist lifetime, once he stepped out of the pulpit.

Remember that phrase, "But wait, there's more"?

There's this, where it appears some 'splaining is due, of what the man himself had to say of his fuller-than-campaign-revealed work history, this time with dates and a few more "entries;" italics added for things the website leaves unspoken:

He was appointed Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Transportation in January 1999 by Governor Jesse Ventura. Prior to that, Tinklenberg headed the public policy team with the public relations and government relations firm of Goff & Howard, Before joining Goff and Howard Tinklenberg was employed by Anoka County for 11 years, including six years as Manager of Public Services. Tinklenberg served 14 years on the Blaine City Council, including 10 years as Mayor from 1986 until 1996. He was President of the North Metro Mayors Association from 1990 until 1996 and led the North Metro Crossing coalition, a transportation advocacy group, from 1990 until 1994. He also has served as President of the Minnesota Transportation Alliance. Previous government service also includes membership on the Metropolitan Transit Advisory Board, the former Regional Transit Board and the Legislature's Major Transportation Projects Committee. He was instrumental in creation of the Northstar Corridor Development Authority between Minneapolis and St. Cloud and in the planning for the commuter-rail demonstration event in July 1997. Tinklenberg is a graduate of the University of Minnesota-Duluth.

Copyright Institute of Transportation Engineers Aug 2001
Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning Company. All rights Reserved.


Do you believe he did all that, without being a lobbyist, a status he denies? Do you think pigs can fly?

You might ask yourself, "Why do a bunch of transportation engineers have him saying more of his lobbying and PR ties than he cares to tell voters whom he wants to send him to Congress?" Does that suggest to you that the truth is an elastic thing to the man to be stretched, cut and tailored to the audience he's playing to? It suggests that to me.

I suppose voters are deemed by Tinklenberg as best left on a need-to-know basis, and the less they know the better things are - according to his needs --- that's my guess.

Tinklenberg was not merely a member of lobbying entities North Metro Mayors Association and The Minnesota Transportation Alliance. He was President. He was boss of those shows. And for lobbying firm Goff & Howard, "he headed the public policy team," and most voters realize that to influence and shape public policy from outside the legislature and agencies, you lobby, which that firm clearly does now.

What sorts of things, heading the "public policy team" at Goff & Howard could be buried skeletons? I do not know, but the Goff & Howard website gives this pair of screenshots, as always click to enlarge, and they say that the firm's had Polaris and its ATV business as a client "for over a dozen years," a time frame which includes Tinklenberg's leadership tenure there, and the firm touts that it has shamelessly lobbied for ATV proliferation despite the havoc these motorized devices cause the environment and the nuisance they represent to environmentalists, hikers, campers, or hunters using public forest trails to get to favored hunting sites and not wanting noise or extensive rutting to ruin the landscape and harm the environment.

ATVs are an environmental nightmare. But compromise has resulted from the vigorous lobbying on both sides of that nuisance issue. See, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

And it appears Tinklenberg was their champion - in exchange for a fee.

Before ATV use became a nuisance there were Polaris snowmobiles used wrongly and where banned, the latter still being a problem, see here.

Here is a screenshot showing Goff & Howard touting it's lobbying effectiveness:

And there is Tinklenberg as President of the Minnesota Transportation Alliance, which registers with the State as doing lobbying and where it's website touts benefits of membership in terms of legislative contacts and access - if not lobbying, certainly something close, including that Federal Fly-in, for what, but to have interests discussed and attended to:

In the past, when not a candidate wanting to avoid the revolving-door nature of his past, Tinklenberg's past was more openly disclosed, e.g. in January 1999, this was part of a press release,

Elwyn Tinklenberg named Mn/DOT commissioner

Elwyn Tinklenberg, president of the Minnesota Transportation Alliance and the former mayor of Blaine, was appointed as transportation commissioner by Gov. Jesse Ventura today. Tinklenberg has been involved in transportation policy for more than 12 years. He directed a transportation consulting firm where he worked to secure transportation improvements throughout the state, studied the feasibility of commuter rail projects and explored potential commuter rail corridors.

From 1991 to 1997, Tinklenberg was the manager of public services for Anoka County. [...] Since 1996, Tinklenberg served as a board and executive committee member of the Minnesota Transportation Alliance and served as president in 1998.

There is the advocacy site, "MnLRT -- Minnesotans for Light Rail Transit," (which has not registered as lobbying in-state), which reported much MnDOT and other activity of the kind they advocated, making mention in their timeline, for January 1999, that when appointed by Ventura to head MnDOT, Tinklenberg was "President of the Minnesota Transportation Alliance." I defy you to find Tinklenberg not hiding that situation, at present - and if not hiding it, why is it going unmentioned in the official campaign bio blurb? Unimportant? Immaterial to voters making a choice?
Get real.

Now, there is misrepresentation by omission, and there can be misrepresentation by active and intentional misstatement, where culpability can be greater because motive to mislead is more manifest. And Elwyn Tinklenberg apparently in March of 2008 released a campaign letter/statement, saying in relevant part [with bracketed commentary added and not in original]:

Dear DFL Friends:

Over the last few months, my campaign has worked diligently and in earnest to reach out to the activists of the district and to earn your support for my candidacy for congress in the 6th District.

With a message focused on optimism, progress and vision, we have been writing, calling, emailing and meeting with the delegates to the senate district conventions. We have held over 25 house parties and [...] put forward a campaign that is disciplined, competent, inspiring and focused [...]

In the course of meeting with delegates, I and my staff were met with some questions that both surprised and disturbed us. I feel that it’s important to clear up the speculation that has apparently been running wild [...] The first of these issues had to do with whether or not I am a federal lobbyist or do federal lobbying without being registered. The following are the guidelines for federal lobbying registration:

[A denial of being a federal lobbyist follows while ignoring the more fundamental question, is he or is he not a revolving door lobbyist, at any level, doing lobbying in exchange for money]

At no time have I met these guidelines. If at any time I had, I would have registered federally, as I have with the State when I’ve been required to hold meetings with State legislators on behalf of clients.

That being said, I am proud of the work I’ve done on behalf of cities, counties and businesses that were seeking support for transportation projects.

The second issue had to do with taconite tailings, a by-product of iron mining, and speculation that I was involved in a project that was potentially exposing people to asbestos and the resulting cancer risk.

This is a horrible accusation and particularly so because my first wife died of cancer and I would never be involved in anything that would expose others to the misery my family went through.

This is a rumor that was invented two years ago by a staffer for the Wetterling campaign and I believed it had been refuted effectively at that time. I am saddened to see it resurfacing in an attempt to damage my character.

The project I have worked on is sponsored by the University of Minnesota’s Natural Resources Research Institute (NRRI) and is funded by a grant from the U.S. Economic Development Agency. The goal of the project is to conduct additional testing of by-products of taconite mining in the western portion of the iron range for suitability as transportation aggregate. [...] A secondary goal is to identify potential markets for the use of this material as a transportation aggregate, should the testing support it.

That’s the work in which I have been involved. The use of these western range materials in this way has consistently been approved by MnDOT, NRRI, the PCA and the EPA. Additional testing and monitoring is ongoing and should any concerns surface, I’m certain the University would suspend the project; an action I would support.

For additional information you can contact Larry Zenko at the National Resources Research Institute. [Every Crabgrass reader is encouraged to do exactly that, and ask Zanko (correct spelling} whether he said or did a thing about answering the question of whether taconite tailings are safe for use in paving and/or whether taconite tailings are, themselves and independent of any possible "asbestos" content they might have, safe and noncarcinogenic - and please ask him what the State Health Department and U. Minn three year study started Jan 2008 is for, relative to a 2007 discovery of a history of an extensive mesithelioma cancer deaths among taconite miners throughout the iron range, independent of whether to the east or west of any suggested demarcation line, the suppression of which led to replacement of the head of the Minneosta Department of Health.]

It is important in this endorsement process that we remember the numbers of new people who are turning out to participate in Democratic politics, nation-wide. They are doing so because the energy and positivity of the presidential campaigns and our successes over the last couple of years, have inspired them to believe we are headed in a new direction. [and whom we would not want to disillusion or mislead]

Please continue to contact me with any questions you have going forward. If you’d like to see a copy of the taconite study, it is available from my staff and you are welcome to view it.


El Tinklenberg

What's the story, Elwyn Tinklenberg? Is that a full defense, or a glide-and-slide shading of facts to mislead rather than illuminate? Is it sophistry and manipulating words, or straight and direct and fully respectful of the truth. Is a lobbyist past viewed as something to deny and avoid by getting into "federal lobbyist" definition distinctions, hair-splitting when the question is, Elwyn Tinklenberg, Is your lobbyist past an embarrassment to you, and if so, why exactly?

You decide. If you vote in the Sixth District decide election day, and if you think of sending money, decide before mailing a check. There's more evidence to consider.

What was Tinklenberg doing other than dispensing contract pork while "manager of public services for Anoka county"? Just as he has had pork dispensed to Tinklenberg Group, after leaving MnDOT October 2002, and forming and registering his business entity, Tinklenberg Group, with the Minnesota Secretary of State, November 2002.

How exactly should the gaps Elwyn Tinklenberg is deliberately leaving in his current campaign resume be fleshed out, and then, why did he choose to leave part of his past unsaid? Fill in the gaps of your resume. Explain what you did. Who you were.

This blog has presented much of the evidence, from diverse available online sources, attained by email and public data disclosure requests, and posted via document images and analysis. This concerns the issue of taking five-figure money to promote the possibly cancerous taconite tailings for use in paving statewide and nationwide, and the promotion of competing road projects of Minnesota municipalities, where differing projects were at stake and limited federal funding available, where interest in one project conflicted with the interests of those wanting another, and Tinklenberg Group representing both.

Here are a number of representative, not an exhaustive listing, of past posts at this site, concerning Tinklenberg and what he's been doing for cash.

Regarding taconite: see here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here (mentioning that Tinklenberg Group had been paid at least $94,000 for promoting taconite tailings use in paving), here, here, here (with this), here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

Regarding the I-35 bridge and Tinklenberg responsibility/neglect while heading MnDOT: see here, and here.

Regarding conflicting road projects and other municipal Tinklenberg-fee-generating activity: see here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

For further materials from this blog concerning Tinklenberg, for example taconite, any reader can do an advanced Google search, specific to this site,

and with the search words being tinklenberg plus others to narrow the hit-list, for example this one, (note search terms at the top page window), this example, or this example. Or this, without the Tinklenberg name in the search window, or this, again without Tinklenberg's name in the search.

I will close with this:

The identical opening image, Elwyn Tinklenberg trying to tart himself up in Wellstone Green. Looking currency green, more than Wellstone green.

There was some media questioning of no-bid contracts when Tinklenberg headed MnDOT, see, e.g., here. That history, and leaving the period of contract administration for Anoka County off the resume, raises a question of whether any no-bid problems were involved in the Tinklenberg career before going to MnDOT. That's speculative for now, I have seen no evidence either way.

______FURTHER UPDATE_______
Another Crabgrass link, that links to a different blogger, Gary Gross, who has a GOP leaning in general, is here.

______FURTHER UPDATE________
My most recent discovery of Tinklenberg lobbying, not necessarily his most recent activity that way, posted here, concerns his representing developers wanting to profit from closing and converting the Crystal Airport. That one sentence in his letter to DFL convention voters certainly rings true, "I am proud of the work I’ve done on behalf of cities, counties and businesses that were seeking support for transportation projects." Every class of client, he's had them, the Goff & Howard thing, the firm being an ATV lobbyist, developers for the Stone's Throw project [this link, mentioning his ties and connections with the Bohn lobbying family, ATV lobbyists], so that not only does he represent competing municipalities for scarce federal transportation cash, he also represents competing developer groups, for the limited [and now shrunken] housing buyer market, via Ramsey Town Center rail stop work in Anoka County, Stone's Throw development in northern Hennepin County, and this more southerly hope to turn a regional airport into cash for those paying him cash. A hired gun believing in the merit of the aims of people handing Tinklenberg Group checks. Helping Oberstar in the Eighth District rid his nest of mine waste, by promoting at trade shows and among highway departments and rail and shipping interests the idea of sending the mine waste all over to pave with it as aggregate, while health concerns remain unanswered. A go anywhere say anything kind of guy, hoping to go to DC where his connections and rolodex wlll expand and prosper. He has not even committed to shutting down Tinklenberg Group if elected, or has he? Does any reader have that answer?

In that campaign website blurb, he calls himself "expert in the field of transportation" while I have used my own term, highwayman. Not necessarily with pistol saying, "Stand and deliver" but gaining a comfortable living by working the highways, whichever side of the revolving door he finds himself on. And GOP bloggers have noted deficiencies of this highwayman, while MnDOT has slowly released materials about the old, fallen I-35 bridge, but not the email showing what exactly the head highway man knew, and when he knew it. Negligence during his watch must, until the email trail is out, be assessed based on a "should have known" and "should have acted" standard - and some people are publishing that way. Along those lines, there is this site-specific Google of Crabgrass = tinklenberg MnDOT.