consultants are sandburs

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Worth a thousand words? The Sixth District. Six images.

set 1:



set 2:



set 3:




____________
photo credits, set 1, here and here; set 2, here and here; set 3, here and here

Any questions? Okay, I left out Bachmann. Make it eight pics. Try this:





CAUCUS ENDORSEMENT - Will the GOP hold or break ranks? It appears anti-Endorsement Notice Was Given in at least two DFL contests.



In an orderly year, the image conveys the meaning of victory in the caucus process. Dayton and Entenza already gave notice things will be disorderly, DFL governor's race. Tinklenberg is postured to be disorderly, in the Sixth District DFL Congressional race. The GOP is positioned to get into massive cross-over mischief if they hold ranks under the new [Ron Carey free] leadership. They have so many dwarves in the running right now - for instance, if the Emmer candidacy does not take the GOP Guv endorsement, will he "abide?" Will all the others, or will the smell of opportunity break ranks so that GOP mischief-makers stay at home and don't cross over? Get your popcorn and cotton candy - the circus is coming.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Tarryl Clark enters MN 6 -- Larry Schumacher, St. Cloud Times breaks the story.


Clark has a website shell up already, "for Congress," and I have earlier posted about her legislative sites, and the Project VoteSmart info. She has a Wikipedia entry, so for now Marueen Reed is the only one of the three where I don't get any hit on a Google = Maureen Reed Wikipedia. The Google = Tarryl Clark Wikipedia - it did ring the bell; website shell here; and then Wikipedia page here. The opening screenshot shows the shell campaign homepage.

It would suprise me if the field grows beyond three. Clark, Reed, and the 2008 candidate who lost to a Bachmann plurality during the Dem. landslide and after Bachmann had generated nationwide ill-will on HardBall by questioning patriotism and suggesting something akin to a new McCarthyism witch hunt as her idea. The guy who put the lack in lackluster. Who did win an election - over a decade ago, and for mayor of Blaine.

If you couldn't coattail on Obama, and the Dem landslide, what's your story now?

There will not be any big coattails for the DFL general election candidate this time, unless a super strong DFL governor voter-turnout happens. Caucus time will be interesting. The Anoka County old boys will play a role. How influential will be fun to see.

SCHUMACHER HAS AN EXCELLENT POST BREAKING THE CLARK STORY. READ IT HERE.


______UPDATE______
Two interesting things are showing up, the hired gun brought in from DC by the former Blaine mayor has had a higher recent profile than his candidate. More lipstick so far than pig you might say, with that playing well among DFL'ers from outside the Sixth District.

I put more stock on readings of District sentiment from Blue Man and Political Muse, in District, and the comments they draw. Outsiders from DC, from South Minneapolis, their opinions are helpful, but off-point when caucus and election balloting is what calls the shot. In that sense, one of the most lasting things I have read, Blue Man here,

Clark has been all over the 6th in the past, helping candidates at all levels, party building and being a leader. That will go a long way in a long endorsement fight.


That is an interesting viewpoint.

The former Blaine mayor's been drumming up transportation consulting-lobbying money for his "Tinklenberg Group" business formed months after leaving MnDOT, working on the highways wherever the name "Oberstar" resonated at all, but not being that strong a person inside the DFL after leaving the IP governor's MnDOT appointment. He has kept his IP contacts and credentials updated, but that's a separate thing.


________FURTHER UPDATE________
Maps can be a helpful way to view data. An interesting pair of maps, self explanatory, at the Secretary of State's site, precinct by precinct margins for the Sixth Congressional District - 2008, here [Bachmann won - Tinklenberg lost]; then 2006, here [Bachmann won - Wetterling lost]. Neither Wetterling nor Tinklenberg could get it done. Each tried.

And remember, Tinklenberg in 2006 lost even before the general election, in caucus.

In terms of the numbers, victory margins, and the strength of the IP protest vote [Binkowski at 7.80%, IP endorsed, 2006 margins here - Tinlenberg, not Anderson endorsed, Anderson got 10.8%, 2008 margins here].

Bachmann had avoided inflamatory statements on the eve of the election on nationwide TV in 2006; contra to her HardBall gaff in 2008, a situation which was insufficiently campaigned to make any difference, victory-wise; and one unlikely to be handed the DFL candidate on a platter, this cycle.

A third map of great interest, county by county [with vote margins in fine print if you enlarge the map - US Senate race, 2006, here].

Surely, we can all read the tea leaves differently, but I see a younger resonant female who's proven herself in having held a recent and substantial elective office set of responsibilities as a DFL'er can predominate where a man with IP appointive roots and a basically insubstantial, decade-old elective record in one locale lost. And where a more elderly and reserved female candidate without any prior elective office campaigning experience also failed to reach enough voting hearts and minds within the Sixth District. That overall pattern suggests Tink redux would yield the same as previously - same individual and same outcome; while Reed, much like Wetterling, would not resonate as a DFL candidate in a general election setting.

Read things differently if you want.

But the data's there - [1] Tink lost; [2]how do you handicap Reed; and [3] who of the three current MN 6 candidates has a "Klobuchar chance" of defeating Michele Bachmann?

If Dana Houle or someone else has any interesting contrary spinning on the data, he or someone else can leave a comment.

My guess is other blogs being posted by people within the Sixth District with progressive leanings will not differ much (if at all) in conclusions from mine.

The GOP blogs, Residual Forces and Let Freedom Ring Blog - who knows how they'll view things. My guess is they'll whine as usual about taxes; and characterize Bachmann as an attractive, vibrant, and clued-in candidate. Yeah, sure. And they will spin her position on healthcare and her basic ineffectiveness in office. As a guess.

Again, I would discount any cheerleading, especially insider cheerleading either way, from urban DFL bloggers outside of the district. They tend to discount the judgment of Sixth District residents and suggest Blue Dogs [aka GOP-lite woofers] are fine, "for them, in that District."

"For us in this district," the view's simply different. Go figure.


_____FURTHER UPDATE______
Blue man in a red district - posting about Clark's making the move, here.

MinnPost, PiPress and Strib this Tuesday July 28 morning at quarter to ten still have nothing I could find online, but there's coverage, here and here. That latter item is an AP feed, so the statewide daily print folks cannot be far behind. They usually read and repost the AP wire feeds.

The Tarryl Clark website, here, (the link given earlier), has a new look this morning differing from the one leading this post. Still in an introductory mode. Not yet telling eager people where to send the check, not yet having PayPal contribution capability available online. If in no hurry for cash, that's surely a novelty among candidates. The other two DFL hopefuls are hustling the hustings full time that way.

Last thought, here is a screeshot from within the Tinklenberg FEC disbursements report; showing money going to the DC hired gun, Houle; and with substantial starting photo, printing and video-media payments already being made.



The photographer has a website, here. Aaron Richey also is online, here, and did 2008 Tink stuff, this screenshot,



Also he shares the last name of Tink's stepdaughter, Anna Richey. Are they kin? She's been a regular on that campaign payroll, 2008, 2010. Is Aaron Richey more of the Anna Richey pattern, unions in 2008 contributed for Tink, where substantial payments out of contributions went to family? That might not sit well with the rank-and-file.

If anyone knows kinship dimensions, please leave a comment.

________FURTHER UPDATE_______
GOP spin on Clark's latest move, here. People are taking notice.


__________FINAL UPDATE_______
Anything else starts a new post. However, some smug, pompous, demeaning and clueless attitude problems just might need a solid Tarryl Clark, frontrunner smackdown. Namely, the KOS illuminati, the font of knowing how crude we Sixth District individuals are, collectively hicks they almost imply, per KOS comment thread excerpt, STARTING HERE [italics emphasis added]:

El and The Brownbacker

First, sorry to hear that you'll have The Brownbacker for your Guv. My in-laws live in Wichita and are bracing themselves for their state's impending doom. My Dad-in-laws favorite line is "What? You think that's bad? That's nothing. We're going to have Sam Brownback as Governor."

Yes, Tink fits his district very well and I understand your concern that he'd be a Blue Dog. Some people call it Jesusland up there. It's quite conservative and strongly pro-life. It's the pit of doom for DFL statewide candidates -- statewiders just try to lose by as little as possible up there. [ed. Ask Amy Klobuchar, eh]

mnprogressiveproject.com - community blogging, political activism and truth in new media

by The Big E on Mon Jul 27, 2009 at 07:55:17 AM PDT

+++++++++++++++

Dana Houle

As an elected town official in one of CT-4's Gold Coast towns, I can tell you how highly regarded Dana's operation on behalf of Jim Himes was. Although we met only briefly at one of Himes' fundraisers ( I wrote checks to the Himes campaign but was off to Ohio to work the legal teams' phone banks for Obama during early voting), I know from the political cognoscenti what a well run shop the Himes campaign was. Himes' election over an entrenched Chris Shays was due in large part to a massive minority voter turnout in Bridgeport, which we won't be able to count on in the same numbers next year when Himes will be up against the Republican leader of the CT State Senate who happens to be the son of the Republican congressman who preceded Shays and who is still remembered by older voters. We'll miss Dana terribly but wish him well in his new gig. BTW, Do you think Bachmann and Sarah Palin were twins separated at birth?

by kwirf on Mon Jul 27, 2009 at 08:20:59 AM PDT

++++++++++++++++++++

That's Very Nice of You To Write That

I really liked working with the folks in Connecticut, and when I took over the campaign I was showered with support and cooperation. A lot of the town committee leadership worked really well with our regional staff, and that allowed me to really focus heavily on the Bridgeport operation. It was a tremendous team effort, and by working so easily with us, the people in the small and medium sized towns in the district who ran their operations in ways that helped us all contributed to the success we had across the district, including in Bridgeport. The most gratifying results we had that day were the tiny undervote in Bridgeport, where almost everyone who voted for Obama continued down their ballot and voted for Jim. No way that would have happened if myself and the rest of the staff were embroiled in all kinds of silly drama or didn't get a ton of cooperation from everyone else.

Again, thanks for this comment, because too often the squeaky wheels are what get noticed, so I really appreciate you passing this on, and tell whomever you speak with how happy I was to work with you all last year.

"Dignified people, without a whimsical streak, almost never offer fresh insights, in economics or anywhere else." Paul Krugman

by Dana Houle on Mon Jul 27, 2009 at 01:55:01 PM PDT

++++++++++++++++++++++++

The news that Dana Houle was running the

race turned it into a real race for me. Two years ago contributing to Tinklenberg seemed like a moral imperative because Bachmann is so evil but it didn't seem like a real campaign.

Now it will be a real campaign. I'm sure we can count on Dana to make sure that somebody blogs about it on dKos frequently, even if he is too busy to do it.

by St Louis Woman on Mon Jul 27, 2009 at 11:42:14 AM PDT



"Political cognoscenti." Indeed. Did I say, smug? I meant to.

In fairness, Big E usually does better.

You almost get the feeling these loving folks are wishing, "If only Dana were the candidate -- instead of Elwyn what's his name ... ". And what you really have to like, the way this Dana Houle says wait a minute, you never get far bad-mouthing an electorate whereas he might just, if a lesser man, have basked in the glory and praise.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

HEALTHCARE: SC Sen. DeMint lets cat out of the bag on GOP intentions - stall and then bawl. As if they were Napoleon, hanging on, hoping, at Waterloo.

Well, that's not exactly how he said it, but it is the message anyone in the thinking public will receive. You cannot help but see it for what it is. Dancing on your grave, for politics, if having sound healthcare into the future is a concern over which you may be worried.

Do your own research, Google or Bing = DeMint Waterloo. Or do the same search on Google News.

For the quick lowdown, click and read this screenshot, from here.



After Obama's quiet, measured, and reasoned press conference, and after he released upon demand from CREW the list of Health Industry key people he'd met with since taking office in sincere, ongoing consensus building efforts, including influential meetings with AMA people causing that physicians' group to be supportive of the true need for reform; after all that we see the GOP tactic is to stall, stall, and then stall some more against the growing national will for reform.

The GOP Napoleonic emporor's called out as naked, naked delay, playing with one of the major things that is causing worried concern among Americans. How can/will the other GOP delay-mongers and nay-sayers try to talk their way out of DeMint's exposing their bare-knuckled screw-the-public truths? It will be interesting to see how well the post-Rovian GOP spin doctors do with this hot patoto.

My bet. Poorly.

DeMint was truthful. He exposed the truth. Spinning away from that will be problematic for the entire GOP anti-healthcare-reform pro-status-quo minions.

And how will they look if all they appear to be doing is saying, "Why couldn't the dumb SOB from South Carolina have thought a bit before shooting his mouth off."

Not good. For the Grand Old Party.

GOP; ball's in your court. Explain yourselves.


________UPDATE_______
One thought worth facing in all the partisanship.

It is clear the Dem propaganda machine is all over the DeMint commentary, and KOS has picked it up, e.g., here.

What would be unfortunate is if the Dems wholly get away with blaming their Republican "strawman," alone, over this because with the Whitehouse held by the Dems, and both houses of Congress decisively held by the Dems, the truth is it will be a compromised situation not because the GOP gets in the way, they are too weak to do it alone, but because a substantial bloc of the Dems get in the way too.

The Blue Dog Dems and other Dems owing their souls to the insurance industry lobbying-and-campaign-donations crowd will be the bigger factor in lessening good reform into a hashed up mess of quasi-reform, if that is what as I expect, will emerge.

Bigger than the GOP, which has the will and orientation to oppose reform, but not the power, will be an impediment-oriented coalition including GOP and some Dems, enought to matter.

So, be truthful if in politics as a Dem.

Be vigilant, if in the public wanting actual not token reform.

Don't let ANYONE pull the wool over your eyes, from either party.

If, and it's a presumption, but if Obama truly wants good solid real reform and not mere cost shifting, diddling, and such, with nice talking points for the next election; but if he wants true reform, he will have to fight and drag along many unwilling Democrats to the effort.

That's the ugly truth from which the Dem propaganda machine that is now jumping all over DeMint would want to distract your attention.

Not only do the GOP scumbags need to be watched and disarmed, there is bipartisan scumbagging afoot and responsible for some of the goings-on (or else there'd have been reform decades ago), and if folks are distracted or deluded from seeing that truth I fear the final healthcare reform product will suffer, and be less than best.

Watch everybody, with your money and your futures on the table.

______FURTHER UPDATE______
A quite sensible well-reasoned op-ed, here. Please read it. Besides saying the politicians will have to be more statesmen for a while to move off the dime and produce a package, with consequent abandonment of untenable ineffective lying to people by denying that the current system has failings, and with a cautionary bit about perfection sometimes being being the enemy of sufficient - in economics the question of satisficing vs optimization. The emergent package has to at least be satisficing, and then over time things can be tuned to be better when weaknesses are seen or when technologies improve and treatments evolve.

_____FURTHER UPDATE______
For a flavor of who the dissemblers and foot-draggers and perhaps well-intentioned ones hoping to be all things to all people are, beyond DeMint's ham-handed hatchet job, compare here, here, here and here. It is not just the GOP, it is Pelosi saying we have to soft-pedal how it can be paid for, and with that, take a deep breath and hope; it is McConnell from a tabacco state saying cut the plaintiffs' litigation and if people smoke, or are obese, it's their own fault; it is Joe Lieberman from the state of insurance company headquarters saying take our time; it is UnitedHealth Group from our State, with its profit gains recently reported. That's only a sampling, and not presented as exhaustive of all dimensions of the situation. But the enemies and pratfalls of reform run further than just DeMint talking stupidly on a stupid Fox TV show intended to be followed by stupid people.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Suppose you were depraved and heartless. Suppose you were a boss somewhere in the health insurance industry. But I repeat myself.


Cartoon from here. This site. Apologies to Mark Twain, but then his statement is an open vessel. I doubt if alive today he'd dislike or dispute my preemption of his irony.

Some flotsom and jetsom on the Sea of Tranquility:

"UnitedHealth Group reports higher than expected earnings" Strib reports it today online, here.

The PHNP website, a resource for reason in the healthcare debate, sitemap here. Homepage, here.

Page Logo, headline, and randomized Featured Lead Quote from a PHNP article I opened about the history of universal payer effort in the US - "Little more than 1% of GDP assigned to health could cover it all.":



Then, from the history, this page, this quote:

After FDR died, Truman became president (1945-1953), and his tenure is characterized by the Cold War and Communism. The health care issue finally moved into the center arena of national politics and received the unreserved support of an American president. Though he served during some of the most virulent anti-Communist attacks and the early years of the Cold War, Truman fully supported national health insurance. But the opposition had acquired new strength. Compulsory health insurance became entangled in the Cold War and its opponents were able to make “socialized medicine” a symbolic issue in the growing crusade against Communist influence in America.

Truman’s plan for national health insurance in 1945 was different than FDR’s plan in 1938 because Truman was strongly committed to a single universal comprehensive health insurance plan. Whereas FDR’s 1938 program had a separate proposal for medical care of the needy, it was Truman who proposed a single egalitarian system that included all classes of society, not just the working class. He emphasized that this was not “socialized medicine.” He also dropped the funeral benefit that contributed to the defeat of national insurance in the Progressive Era. Congress had mixed reactions to Truman’s proposal. The chairman of the House Committee was an anti-union conservative and refused to hold hearings. Senior Republican Senator Taft declared, “I consider it socialism. It is to my mind the most socialistic measure this Congress has ever had before it.” Taft suggested that compulsory health insurance, like the Full Unemployment Act, came right out of the Soviet constitution and walked out of the hearings. The AMA, the American Hospital Association, the American Bar Association, and most of then nation’s press had no mixed feelings; they hated the plan. The AMA claimed it would make doctors slaves, even though Truman emphasized that doctors would be able to choose their method of payment.


For the post-WWII era, onward, this set the stage and defined the propaganda attack song faithfully and repeatedly trotted out by the opponents of decency in healthcare. The article continues, and Truman's position had its history. Read it all. The Shibboleth of The Vested Interests: "Socialized Medicine." Crap like that. Fear mongering. Current version, if this goes through bureaucrats will come between you and your doctor. As if the insurance folks are not bureaucratic. The sky will fall. Chicken Little is quite busy shouting it, and wants you to listen.

Again, that bureaucratic thing, for the truth see PNHP here, on the incremented cost of insurer mandated paper shuffling [and where have I seen that cartoon before]:

Single-payer national health insurance is a system in which a single public or quasi-public agency organizes health financing, but delivery of care remains largely private.

Currently, the U.S. health care system is outrageously expensive, yet inadequate. Despite spending more than twice as much as the rest of the industrialized nations ($7,129 per capita), the United States performs poorly in comparison on major health indicators such as life expectancy, infant mortality and immunization rates. Moreover, the other advanced nations provide comprehensive coverage to their entire populations, while the U.S. leaves 45.7 million completely uninsured and millions more inadequately covered.

The reason we spend more and get less than the rest of the world is because we have a patchwork system of for-profit payers. Private insurers necessarily waste health dollars on things that have nothing to do with care: overhead, underwriting, billing, sales and marketing departments as well as huge profits and exorbitant executive pay. Doctors and hospitals must maintain costly administrative staffs to deal with the bureaucracy. Combined, this needless administration consumes one-third (31 percent) of Americans’ health dollars.

Single-payer financing is the only way to recapture this wasted money. The potential savings on paperwork, more than $350 billion per year, are enough to provide comprehensive coverage to everyone without paying any more than we already do.

Under a single-payer system, all Americans would be covered for all medically necessary services, including: doctor, hospital, preventive, long-term care, mental health, reproductive health care, dental, vision, prescription drug and medical supply costs. Patients would regain free choice of doctor and hospital, and doctors would regain autonomy over patient care.

Physicians would be paid fee-for-service according to a negotiated formulary or receive salary from a hospital or nonprofit HMO / group practice. Hospitals would receive a global budget for operating expenses. Health facilities and expensive equipment purchases would be managed by regional health planning boards.


Sanity and ability to plan better would replace patchwork quilted healthcare. And that link that was quoted, here, ends by providing a wealth of additonal resource materials to better understand the situation.

Press release materials, here. MinnPost and Minn.Independent staffers pay heed.

Maureen Reed, as a physician, you can join other physicians if you have not already done so you can sign the "Open Letter to President Obama," here. And let us voters know, it would gain you good will in the district rank-and-file.

Al Franken, you have had staff around the state conduct listening sessions with the public. You KNOW what staff has to report back on feelings in the hustings about getting it done and doing it right. Go for it. We love you anyway Al, but we'll love you more if you speak loudly and effectively for us.

Here, July 17, know the score:

Yesterday we met with LAs and two Representatives. One of the Representatives came out of a committee that is marking up the House bill agreed with us that the main objective in the long run is to make health care a right, and that we need single payer reform, but he saw no way to get further than the current proposal now. In the committee, the Republicans were using delaying tactics, taking 5 minutes each for each of the 50 plus amendments, and making absurd statements.


The good people are talking, and we must hope they are being heard.



And they tell the truth:

Every other industrialized nation in the world provides universal health care to its citizens. Under the complicated, employer-based American system, average health care spending per person is double what Europeans spend - and many people still have no coverage. Over 70 percent of uninsured Americans are in families where at least one adult works full time.


Two additional items, Amy Goodman reprinted on the PNHP website; and an update on KOS, do not forget the name, "Nataline Sarkisyan," as representing how CIGNA feels and "cares."


Health Insurance Whistle-Blower Knows Where the Bodies Are Buried
By Amy Goodman - TruthDig.com - Posted Jul 14, 2009

Wendell Potter is the health insurance industry’s worst nightmare. He’s a whistle-blower. Potter, the former chief spokesperson for insurance giant CIGNA, recently testified before Congress, “I saw how they confuse their customers and dump the sick—all so they can satisfy their Wall Street investors.”

Potter was deeply involved in CIGNA and industrywide strategies for maintaining their profitable grip on U.S. health care. He told me: “The thing they fear most is a single-payer plan. They fear even the public insurance option being proposed; they’ll pull out all the stops they can to defeat that to try to scare people into thinking that embracing a public health insurance option would lead down the slippery slope toward socialism … putting a government bureaucrat between you and your doctor. They’ve used those talking points for years, and they’ve always worked.”

In 2007, CIGNA denied a California teenager, Nataline Sarkisyan, coverage for a liver transplant. Her family went to the media. The California Nurses Association joined in. Under mounting pressure, CIGNA finally granted coverage for the procedure. But it was too late. Two hours later, Nataline died.

While visiting family in Tennessee, Potter stopped at a “medical expedition” in Wise, Va. People drove hours for free care from temporary clinics set up in animal stalls at the local fairground. Potter told me that weeks later, flying on a CIGNA corporate jet with the CEO: “I realized that someone’s premiums were helping me to travel that way … paying for my lunch on gold-trimmed china. I thought about those men and women I had seen in Wise County … not having any idea [how] insurance executives lived.” He decided he couldn’t be an industry PR hack anymore.

Insurance executives and their Wall Street investors are addicted to massive profits and double-digit annual rate increases. To squeeze more profit, Potter says, if a person makes a major claim for coverage, the insurer will often scrutinize the person’s original application, looking for any error that would allow it to cancel the policy. Likewise, if a small company’s employees make too many claims, the insurer, Potter says, “very likely will jack up the rates so much that your employer has no alternative but to leave you and your co-workers without insurance.”

This week, as the House and Senate introduce their health care bills, Potter warns, “One thing to remember is that the health insurance industry has been anticipating this debate on health care for many years … they’ve been positioning themselves to get very close to influential members of Congress in both parties.” Montana Sen. Max Baucus chairs the Senate Finance Committee, key for health care reform. Potter went on, “[T]he insurance industry, the pharmaceutical industry and others in health care have donated … millions of dollars to his campaigns over the past few years. But aside from money, it’s relationships that count … the insurance industry has hired scores and scores of lobbyists, many of whom have worked for members of Congress, and some who are former members of Congress.”


[italics added] Then, comparing the situation to that of Ms. Sarkisyan, a KOS diarist, reports here, a teenager Nick Columbo, not with CIGNA this time but Pacificare, has been denied coverage for needed treatment for Ewing's Sarcoma [a form of bone cancer]. We in Minnesota can be proud, the KOS diarist indicating, "Who owns Pacificare? Who else? UnitedHealth."

Go to the thread. You can scan until you pick up the thread in the grey box,

Hospitals Rank UnitedHealth/PacficiCare "Worst" Insurance Company in Nation

The Minnetonka, Minn.-based insurer received an "unfavorable" opinion from 91% of the hospital executives who responded, while 8% gave it a "favorable" rating. United owns PacifiCare of California.

http://www.latimes.com/...


Read and think about how UnitedHealth makes its money. Read there the link over to reporting about the backdated options we here have already heard about. Read there about the California investigation into 100,000 claims-processing situations of Pacificare. And read the linked Bloomberg item about
"UnitedHealth/Pacificare Looking at 13% Growth,"
http://www.bloomberg.com/...

Recall the opening blurb: "UnitedHealth Group reports higher than expected earnings" Strib reports it today online, here.

Now, whether UnitedHealth is making unconscionable profit levels, as the KOS item suggests, or whether the extreme care needed in some cases is outside of normal insurance industry coverage standards - the fact in the case of both of these teenagers, Sarkisyan and Columbo, is that AS THE SYSTEM STANDS HEALTHCARE IS BEING RATIONED, QUITE CLEARLY SO, AND IT IS BEING DONE UNDER A BOTTOM-LINE PROFIT MOTIVE WHERE LESS PAID FOR CARE MEANS A FATTER BOTTOM LINE, and that would not be so in government single payer coverage AND the Potter indication of other games insurers play also would be nonexistant; so to whatever extent there might be cost-based "rationing" of coverage in a government-run program, the naked greed dimension of the insurance industry need not be a "rationing" impact on your child's or your neighbor's child's health provider's decision making (if the scumbags are put at bay under reform of the system the scumbags now own, operate, and love dearly).

Anytime you encounter a scare-mongering moron talking about single payer coverage carrying the threat of "rationing" of health care, remember the truth, no government rationing could be as bad as the rationing now done by profit-mongering insurance industry bureaucrats.

Don't be deluded by such industry-sponsored talk, which is designed exactly for the purpose of deluding, and for no other purpose.


###

Finally, if you've a mind to deny the truth and favor being lied to, or if you've no mind at all, believe this sophist of the status quo.






_____UPDATE_____
Dr. Don McCanne, opinion from PNHP, worth this addiitonal flag. On the Elmandorf budget testimony at Senate hearings, the GOP has seized upon that, and the answer is the federal budget can be juggled to shift more cost onto individuals and employers of varying sizes, to have to continue wrestling with big insurance, big HMOs, big Pharma. It's a way of screwing the little people who in droves voted Obama, and I believe the President is more principled than to do that.

But he must articulate that fact, and mobilize his Senate and House allies, and he and they must come to see single payer advantages, even if it increases the budget short term. Long term, it will allow, as Dr. McCanne said, "For those who are very concerned about future federal deficits, there is a solution. Simply remove health care costs from the federal budget. Projections of future budget spending have been shown to be fully sustainable if health care costs are left out. Then set up a separate budget for health care financed through an equitably-funded universal risk pool.

"President Obama has stated repeatedly that we must control health care costs as the first priority, and then we can cover everyone. The current proposals do neither. But with a single risk pool, and with the monopsony power of our own public administration we would be able to ensure health care value for absolutely everyone." [italics added]

The current situation, where consumers are fragmented into small pools or even individual bargaining powers, and the moneyed interests are concentrated against them, will change to "monopsony power" as McCanne notes. The greater concentration of market impact will be in the other direction. As with a water flow reversing, a logjam can be quickly washed away. Harmony and sunshine can prevail again. All that.

More directly - squeeze those who've been squeezing us and making it hurt.

Turn the tables. It's only fair. It's payback. Long overdue payback. Remember - Truman!

Truman, that long ago.

Truman wanted it done right.

That was over fifty years ago, and the vested interests have held sway that long, and before. Reform is overdue and delivering anything less than true reform would be unconscionable. That is not to say that less than true reform will not happen. Only if that's what our House and Senate and Presidency do to us, there's no word but unconscionable. Each and every one of them. Except Jim McDermott. His position has been and remains just.

________FURTHER UPDATE___________
A good friend emailed about twelve hours ago, this thought, paraphrased:

Do you want your health care decisions made for you by a for profit health care system or the government? I believe that the politicians have a government health care system now. Don't they? And they seem able to believe that they are healthy enought that way, to work well past a normal retirement age. So government run healthcare must be okay for them. Why would they then keep such a nice thing FROM us, instead of FOR us? It is not as if they feel themselves specially entitled, is it?


During the election Obama did say (then) his proposal was, "You could keep the coverage you have if you like it, or you can have the coverage I have." Some of the approval slippage might be because such a simple and fine sounding thing seems to now be "off the table." Somehow. Somebody's doing.

It's a hard argument to dispute. Both when Obama made it and as my friend put it.

I welcome any GOP or other status quo advocates to post a comment in rebuttal. Please. I would like to read the rebuttal Sen. McCain could not make and never cared to even try. Ditto Palin. What's happened? Who took the tremendous simplicity out of things? Why?

_______FURTHER UPDATE_______
My sister points out, we have government run healthcare now. For the oldest and sickest.

It makes sense to look at things that way. There is government coverage, NOW, for those the privately run system presently is first to exclude as more costly than they would get as a return in enrollment fees. They don't want the old folks. It goes along with their universal will to exclude preexistant conditions, (where the elderly have had time to accumulate a lot of those). It is the major reason or one major reason for age discrimination in business, under privateer coverage plans.

If the hardest to insure are being covered sensibly when the government runs things, the suggestion is that making them responsible for a universal population pool including all those healthy youngsters would be just dandy, for the government, as a way to average out costs of covering all to a substantially lower per capita cost figure than Medicare now can show.

So do it.

________FURTHER UPDATE______
As usual, Brad Freidman at BradBlog comes through with an excellent (guest) post on the healthcare situation, here. It is so excellent I will not quote or excerpt a single word. Either go to the item and read it or remain ignorant of what it says.

Canning, the guest op-ed author, earlier had written "Single Payer and the 'Democracy Deficit'," carried June 5 on BradBlog, here, as well as other outlets here and here. Amy Goodman at the Democracy Now site, here, has a July 17 healthcare related interview with Howard Dean, a physician as well as a Dem leadership person. It is something readers should look at, with this clear and explicit lead-in paragraph:

“I don’t give a damn about the health insurance people being in business or out of business. I want a system that works,” sayd Dean, physician, six-term Vermont governor, Democratic presidential candidate in 2004, and former chairman of the Democratic National Committee. We speak to Dean hours after the House Ways and Means Committee approved legislation to overhaul the nation’s healthcare system and expand insurance coverage. By a 23-to-18 vote, the committee backed key elements of President Obama’s blueprint for healthcare, including the creation of a new government health plan and requirements for employers to offer health insurance to workers or contribute to its cost. To help fund the changes to the healthcare system, the House committee also agreed to impose a surtax on families with incomes of more than $350,000 a year. Meanwhile, the conservative American Medical Association has just come out in support of the House bill, saying “the status quo is unacceptable.” Howard Dean’s solution embraces President Obama’s healthcare plan but argues that the reform bill is “not worth passing unless the American people have the choice of signing up for a public option—a real public option.”


Mainstream media is deathly silent on this life-and-death healthcare single-payer outlook; go figure who fuels their coffers, and why their silence prevails.

Or if I am wrong and there are good single-payer MSM items, please put links into a comment or an email to the 4crabgrass email address.

________FURTHER UPDATE_______
It was suggested I look at MPR. From recent Polinaut links, and follow-up, there is this one Mankato Free Press item and several MPR/NPR items, here, here, here, here and here, respectively.

Then for lies, sophistry, nonsense, shibboleths, and such, here and here. The Amphibian [Newt] even trotted out the Cold War scare term, "socialized medicine," he could not resist being what he is. As noted earlier McCollum indicated as Strib reported, that in the course of reform the Pawlenty talking point, Minnesota would be more penalized because its Medicare reimbursement rates are lower because the State's been effective in keeping costs low, is yet one of several side-issue things that can be fixed in the course of passing comprehensive reform. But, hey, keep your eyes on the prize. Side issue fix-ups are good and needed, but, eyes on the prize, please.

_______FURTHER UPDATE_______
Strib reports online,

UnitedHealth profit soars 155%

The challenges facing America's biggest health insurer range from the uncertain to the unknowable.

Despite a continued drop in commercial members in the recession, UnitedHealth reported Tuesday better-than-expected earnings for the second quarter because of lower administrative costs and strong growth in its public-sector businesses, Medicare and Medicaid.

For the quarter ended June 30, UnitedHealth said net earnings were $859 million -- a 154.9 percent increase from $337 million a year earlier, when earnings were dragged down by big lawsuit settlement costs.


If one of the stated goals of nationwide healthcare reform is to have lowering costs, isn't profit taken out by for-profit insurers like blood taken by a leech?

Unavailable for the health of the human being.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Obama's poll approval on healthcare reform reportedly is slipping. Yet, read the whole item. Trusting GOP spin & lies is the real minority belief.

While Reuters buries in late paragraphs the key insight, (a form of misleading but not the most egregious kind), a site like Chicago Tribune's "Swamp" simply acts like a bottom-feeding flounder, having its eyes only on one side of its head to only see one side of things. So we go with Reuters, and give an extensive quote, since all the facts tell a truer story than only some of them:

Support for Obama on healthcare slips - poll

WASHINGTON, July 20 (Reuters) - Public support for President Barack Obama's handling of healthcare reform, the pillar of his legislative agenda, has fallen below 50 percent for the first time, a Washington Post-ABC News poll released on Monday said.

Obama and his Democratic allies in Congress have run into stiff opposition this month as they try to pass legislation to restructure the $2.5 trillion U.S. healthcare industry through the creation of a government-run health insurance program.

Republicans and some fiscally conservative Democrats argue the plan, with an estimated cost of more than $1 trillion, could hurt small businesses, add to budget deficits and reduce the quality of medical care for many Americans.

Those concerns may be having an impact on the public, according to the poll, which showed 49 percent of respondents approving of Obama's stand on the issue compared to 57 percent in April.

Those saying they disapproved rose to 44 percent from 29 percent during the same period.

Obama and the White House have gone on the offensive to drum up support for the plan, which would compete with private insurers, provide cover to many of the 46 million uninsured and try to stem runaway medical costs.

With time running out to pass a bill in Congress this year, the battle is shaping up as a major test of Obama's presidency.

Delaying legislation until 2010, a congressional election year, could give Republicans and critics in the healthcare sector more time to galvanize opposition to the plan.

But Obama remains more trusted than Republicans in Congress to do a better job on healthcare reform, the poll showed, with 54 percent of respondents putting their faith in the U.S. leader versus 34 percent in favor of Republican lawmakers.

His overall approval rating also remains high at 59 percent despite some slippage in approval ratings for his handling of the economy, the federal budget deficit and other leading domestic issues, according to the poll.

[italics emphasis added]


And to Gary Gross, my good friend at his GOP blog
letfreedomringblog.com,
who seems to be quite a nice guy despite being a Republican, Gary, your guys' sophistry over the healthcare mess you're collectively responsible for, with the fat cats prospering fatter and fatter, and little guys not covered or paying way more than sensible - that brand of "keep the status quo" simply is not selling because no matter how much you repeat it, and spin it hither and yon, it's a total BS show.

Readers - Go to Gary's site. Read what he says.

Do you buy that brand as in any sense best for the public, folks in the entirety of the USA public, and not merely a mega-cash cow of the elite corporate provider-pharma cabal who built it and do not want to give any of it up despite all the indecency?

If so, if you like it or love it, you probably also voted Bush-Cheney-Pawlenty; and got what you deserved; namely, a gigantic bubble turning to depression before the culprits in the Whitehouse could sneak out of town and blame others; so, good luck on your job, good luck on your retirement, and good luck on your mortgage, and I hope you loved the Wall Street mega-looting job they engineered on the way out too. Holding the economy hostage, threatening to kill it if the ransom was not paid.

The problem, GOP mainstreet voters, by your voting dumb, I also got what you deserved.

That injustice is why I feel a bit harsh about things.



And remember, those GOP guys do all they can to give you flounder eyes. They're happy if you flounder. They're happy if they can hook you.

Rush speaks. They want you to hear and believe.

_______UPDATE_________

Apologies to readers, I wrote one thing in obvious haste. The term in the third paragraph or so after the one quote, "elite corporate provider-pharma cabal who built it and do not want to give any of it up" should have read "elite corporate insurer-provider-pharma cabal who built it and do not want to give any of it up." That troika, not a mere pair, has been all over the public like a pickpocket team, and their status quo indecencies is the sole "preexistant condition" that healthcare reform should exclude. In reform, the insurers can be left with extended catastrophic coverage to sell beyond the baseline package for everyone, the providers will adapt just as the physicians adapted from running things to having HMO bosses with MBAs, (I do feel sorry for the physicians on that one), and the big pharma block will have to make due with only conscionable profits. But the Chicken Little fear-mongering from the GOP - well the sky isn't falling and will not. The truth is that simple. The only thing simpler are those buying into the GOP line of talk.

__________FURTHER UPDATE________
While the GOP is useless and wholly untrustworthy at this "healthcare love-in" we're now having, just saying they're worthless and should be written off as such and that it's amazing that still one in three polled people still trust that brand, that is not the end of dissatisfaction and nobody should be let off the hook.

Perhaps a good measure of that disapproval of Obama so far showing up in some polling is that people universally dislike being victimized by bait-and-switch, i.e., consider this comment by an MD to a Physicians for a National Health Program online post:

Imagine presidential candidate Barack Obama telling his audiences during the campaign, “We promise you choice. For most of you already receiving your health insurance through your place on employment, we will provide you with the choice of keeping that insurance plan or paying heavy financial penalties for dropping off the plan, no matter how unhappy you are with it. For a select few of you, we will offer the choice of private plans within an insurance exchange, even if you can’t afford them, and maybe even throw in a public plan that a couple of you may be able to purchase, if you meet our rigid enrollment criteria.”

[...]If reform is to be effective, it must be based on sound policy science. Instead, it is being based on political messaging. It may sound good, but nothing fits together. What a disaster.


[italics added] In that context we have our own bright Betty, per today's online Strib reporting, tap-dancing for the footlights and floodlights, while dodging the main lines of disagreement while tooting the horn loudly over what anyone can recognize as a side issue. Disingenuous? Fiddling while Rome's burning? Loud foot-stomping over a side issue to gain latitude to do dealings over the heart of the issue? And to still be postured to go to folks in district, saying, "I fought the good fight"? You decide. There is this screenshot also showing, for those liking cartoons as much as I do, why there's dissatisfaction among those who knew exactly who McCain-Palin were and represented, and hoped without believing too much that the other guy was not an equal flim-flam:




- from the Hightower Lowdown, here; as always, click to enlarge and read -

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Oak Grove, a good place to live. With wise leadership. And, Kelly Johnson, of ABC News, you blew the headline. The word is "declines" not "fails."



The screenshot is from City of Oak Grove's web homepage, here, and they have a FAQ page, here.

Click the image to be sure you read and fully understand the statement Mayor Jim Iund signs, with Oak Grove giving that statement the featured position on its website.

I'd bet they are a bit uncomfortable calling themselves a "city" since they want to be something less than anyone's megopolis, and it would not surprise me that most there feel "town" a more appropriate term, but they are a "statutory city" under Minnesota law, hence they adopt the wording.

Furthermore --- Just look at that screenshot. They've got this great, decent, modest, unpretentious, decently-scaled city hall. Wow.

They have a mayor who emphasizes the importance of "the reasons we moved here."

Now, they do lack a failed Town Center, (they have not kept up with the neighboring Jones that way), but that's okay. They're okay. They are friendly in saying things up front on the opening webpage, nonconfrontational. However, they clearly emphasize in those few sentences, they have rights.

They in Oak Grove even are unpretentious enough to have only a five member mayor-council operation, without wards, all elected at large. Not so pretentious that they feel they have to have a cute badging insignia for their community, cattails, whatever. A national flag is their choice. Symbol enough, for them.


###

OAK GROVE SAID NO. They even are politely nonconfrontational in saying "No" with BIG SUMO [aka Metropolitan Council]. That's hard, since BIG SUMO seems to want either obsequious compliance to its will or to "Lake Elmo" you, [see photo, BIG SUMO Lake Elmoing a victim community]. The BIG SUMO offers token community baksheesh ["grants" they call it] in exchange for a community's administration and council selling out. Selling the existing residents down the river, the river of "inevitable" growth, BIG SUMO's way. There being no other way.

OAK GROVE SAID NO. It is about a concern years into the future, but it is a statement of traditional value that Oak Grove's neighboring Jones don't seem to share. It is also a concern about how things can be flim-flammed around, when a community thought it had a deal.

OAK GROVE SAID NO. ABC Newspapers, except for the "fails" instead of "declines" miswording of the headline, laudably reports:

Oak Grove fails to approve 2030 comprehensive plan
Tuesday, 14 July 2009 - by Kelly Johnson - Staff writer

Oak Grove remains without an approved 2030 comprehensive plan.

The city council July 13 voted down a motion to formally adopt the 2030 comprehensive plan.

Mayor Jim Iund and Councilmember Mike Wylie voted in favor, while Councilmembers Kristen Anderson, Mark Korin and Scott Lawrence voted against.

The main sticking point in the decision was an area of land outlined in the comprehensive plan for municipal sewer and water sometime after 2030.

Oak Grove is designated as a diversified rural community in the Metropolitan Council’s regional blueprint.

Communities with a diversified rural designation are required by the Met Council to accommodate for future growth goals by preserving areas for urban development sometime after 2030.

“The Met Council has the ability to say you’re going to be diversified rural,” said Al Brixius of Northwest Associated Consultants, Inc., which helped with the city’s comprehensive plan update.

Under state statutes, all communities within the seven-county metro area are required to update their comprehensive plan every 10 years and that plan must conform to the regional development framework.

Updating Oak Grove’s 1998 comprehensive plan began in fall 2006, when the city contracted with Northwest Associated Consultants, Inc., to help prepare the update.

During that time, a planning inventory was done and one-on-one interviews were conducted.

The end result was a set of goals and priorities for planning the city’s future.

These goals included securing a commuter rail stop on the Burlington- Northern Santa Fe Railroad in the Cedar neighborhood as part of the proposed Cambridge Corridor.

A second goal was to pursue a 2.5-acre residential density throughout the entire city to preserve the existing rural character (identified as a third goal).

The fourth goal was to expand the city’s commercial land use options to provide a greater variety of retail and service businesses to residents.

The fifth goal identified was to conserve the city’s natural resources.

The final goal was to provide industrial opportunities to expand the non-residential tax base and provide local employment opportunities.

Met Council staff members indicated the city’s second goal of having a 2.5-acre residential density throughout the city, was in conflict with the city’s diversified rural designation.

While it was in conflict, the Met Council said it was willing to work out a compromise that would benefit both the city and the region.


How generous. How expansively special, and gratuitous BIG SUMO can appear; in mongoosing a cobra. It's not a quick kill, it's an almost ritualized dance, but in the end the mongoose eats what it's after. And there is always the MUSA curse of the BIG SUMO [Met Council is in the business of selling flushes, it is how the bonding debt service income is generated, it is expansionary for more flushes equals more cash in the accounts, more cronies on the payroll, planners, planners, more planners, all a big bureau at its worse can represent]. The MUSA curse of the BIG SUMO is the absolute worse thing to be feared, by a community, for, continuing an analogy, it spells the end of the cobra's beauty, uniqueness, and autonomy, so the mongoose can eat; ABC reporting continuing:

That discussion included that a change to a rural residential planning designation, allowing 2.5-acre density, would be allowed if a portion of the city was reserved for future regional sewer and urban development.

What resulted was the establishment of a 2030 Metropolitan Urban Service Area (MUSA) of 2,680 acres with a net buildable acreage of just more than 1,000 acres (or 11.8 percent of the city). The rest of the city (88.2 percent) will be designated rural residential, with 2.5 acre lots, under the proposed comprehensive plan.

“Getting the rural residential wherever we can will give us a bit of protection,” Brixius told the council.

According to Brixius, the Met Council had planned for additional areas to be included in the MUSA, but a lower amount was negotiated.

“I want to make sure that you understand that under diversified rural, these areas remain open for urban development,” Brixius said.

Properties inside the proposed MUSA area are designated as agriculture in the city’s 1998 comprehensive plan and have never been eligible for 2.5-acre lot subdivision, according to a memo provided by Brixius.

Under the proposed comprehensive plan, properties located within the 2030 MUSA could develop in 10-acre lots, a one in 10 cluster development or in a post-2030 urban development.

These development options are the same as those that property owners have with the current diversified rural designation.

“The development rights are the same,” Brixius said.

“This is an opportunity, I think, for the city to preserve everything.”


See, it could have been worse. BIG SUMO is not that bad, even reasonable. Sure. This Al Brixius is a consultant. Selling the service of writing comprehensive plans. What you have to understand, they work for BIG SUMO, not a community, despite gaining contracts with communities, Brixius, as Phil Carlson in Ramsey's case, the cousultants have ongoing business with Met Council, their repeat customer to be kept happy, whereas each city contract is a one-shot affair. Often cities switch consultants, out of dissatisfaction over how "the last one" worked out in dealings via the consultant with BIG SUMO. The report continues with a counterthought to that of consultant Brixius having, in effect, said, as all the consultants will say, "At least we got something, SUMO's table scraps, and that in a way is very significant:"

“It’s hard to have a discussion or debate when we have mandates from the Met Council,” [city council member Mark] Korin said.

The Met Council does what it wants to do, where it wants to do it, when it wants to do it, Anderson said.


Uh, that sounds like the 800 pound gorilla, the bear in the woods, doesn't it.

But it's a fair characterization of exactly who BIG SUMO really is. The report continues, describing how BIG SUMO likes and values community cooperation:

“We have our hands tied behind our back and we’re supposed to roll over,” [city council member Kristin] Anderson said.

She said she is concerned the Met Council won’t stop with the MUSA area designated in the 2030 comprehensive plan.

“I personally don’t believe it will stop there,” Anderson said.


And it is wise to have that view. Read the online ABC report for the remainder of the story, it is worth the time.

That worry about BIG SUMO incrementally changing the rules to be less and less favorable to the community's autonomy, never the other way, was characterized by one former Ramsey council member as, "Dealing with Met Council is like arm-wrestling with a ratchet." Indeed, there is only to be give one way, BIG SUMO likes it and calls it adaptability - a one way street in BIG SUMO land, not give and take, take and take (except for the actually unhelpful baksheesh "grants" handed out now and then).


###
LESSONS LEARNED: If there are any Elk River or other Sherburne County people reading this - fight like hell and never give in to the "Metropolitan Area" being expanded to snooker you into the grasps of BIG SUMO.

There should be total community awareness, and a compelling will to push AS HARD AS YOU CAN AS LONG AS YOU MUST on the hilltop in St. Paul against any effort by BIG SUMO or others to convince the legislature to expand "metro" boundaries to disadvantage your town and county.

Who in the world would ever want a place like Elk River to get Lake Elmoed? Who, besides BIG SUMO and the Crabgrass contingent, BIG DEVELOPMENT, as BIG SUMO's hangers-on, if not true bosses, as appears to be more the case.

For the current times while the development market remains in the doldrums the threat appears less. Do not be deceived. It is only an appearance.

Legend has it Crabgrass can lie dormant for years, and take off rampantly all over everywhere at the first whif of change - of black ink instead of red.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Maureen Reed, here is an outline. A roadmap. Put yourself on the map's spectrum, on issues, if you expect any chance of rank-and-file caucus strength.

I have already noted two state Senate members seeking higher office. First, there is Tarryl Clark who I regard as having the encouraging, realistic chance of unseating Michele Bachmann in the Sixth Congressional District. Second there is Mike Jungbauer, in whose district I reside, running now for Governor.

As current office holders, each has been "charted" by Project Vote Smart.

For those not familiar with it, Project Vote Smart is premised on the notion that informed people make better choices in elections, so that it's core belief and value is that it should publish information online for voters and potential voters - party caucus attendees included - to allow them to know where a person stands so that decisions reach beyond "the cut of the jib," or past accomplishments in areas unrelated to holding a major elective office and discharging those duties.

In short, for those favoring having informed voters Project Vote Smart defines a clear and immediate format and "roadmap" of how a candidate for office, even if not in the current database, can, if willing, create a cogent, discernible record on the issues upon which a candidacy can be intelligently and fairly built.


PROJECT VOTE SMART SHOWS:

TARRYL CLARK ON THE ISSUES: Senator Clark's Project Vote Smart profile in aggregate is shown by individual pages, here, here, here, here, here, and here. This is a candidate I could support, based on her voting record, other noted factors, and statement of where she is on the issues.


MIKE JUNGBAUER ON THE ISSUES: Senator Jungbauer's Project Vote Smart profile in aggregate is shown by individual pages, here, here, here, and here. This is a candidate I find personally agreeable, but who I cannot support based on his voting record, other noted factors, and statement of where he is on the issues.


MAUREEN REED ON THE ISSUES:




BOTTOM LINE: If there was a 2006 set of Reed footprints when she ran as a Minnesota IP candidate, they were footprints in the sand and the tide's washed them away. Reed appears in no hurry whatsoever to remedy this lack of voter access to information on what she stands for and believes best, policy-wise, for Minnesota.

So far, Ms. Reed, Dr. Reed, all we know of you is a lot of out-of-district people you would not be representing like you and gave cash; and then that you, via the Hutchinson-Reed IP spoiler ticket, helped achieve Tim Pawlenty having a second term as Governor.

That alone should entitle you to zero support in DFL caucuses.

The clear choice is to define yourself as either proudly having a position on issues, or being fearful of having a publicly divulged position on the issues. Middle ground is lacking.

And in fairness, there is FEC disclosure and a bare-bones campaign website giving biographical information generally unrelated to legislative experience or issues-and-policy beliefs. Being a medical clinician and administrator over the years is proof of intelligence, and an achievement, but says nothing about why I would vote for you or not. You have not even floated an idea of how healthcare reform should proceed, and it's been your career work. Please, we are not mushrooms.

WHY SHOULD I VOTE FOR YOU IN CAUCUS? DEFINE YOUSELF THAT WAY, PLEASE.

OR BE PROMPTLY PASSED UP.


______UPDATE_______
Maureen Reed is not a dunce, definitely not, nor a generally unattractive candidate and person, as is incumbent Michele Bachmann. But because Reed clearly is no dunce the game of playing only on saying "I merit it, there are problems, Bachmann is problematic" while hiding from taking positions and promising what she'd do with the job if we gave it to her is more vexing - because knowing she's not a dunce makes it crystal clear she and her out of district elite donor pool feel we in the district can be treated like mushrooms. And that offends greatly.

Today, date of the update, Sun. 19 July, a Reed emailing - read it - why in the world would any sane person buy into this deliberate hiding on the issues. Click the image, read it, and see if you are as offended as I am:

Recently Disclosed Campaign Spending by Sixth Congressional District DFL challengers to GOP incumbent Michele Bachmann.

Tarryl Clark, not yet a declared Sixth District candidate has not been required to file FEC forms. She shall have to once officially a candidate. Maureen Reed and Elwyn Tinklenberg have filed.

Donor lists are generally the most informative thing early in an election cycle, as they show early adherents to a candidacy, and it's been said early money is like yeast, in leavening things.

Elwyn Tinklenberg's spending is reported online, here.

Maureen Reed's spending is reported online, here.

Tinklenberg's disclosure shows the DC hired gun, Dana Houle, $2500 for "strategy consulting." Blue Man has noted, "El also has three staff members on the payroll still as well, including his daughter." That would be the "Anna Richey" expenditures for "salary." She is his step-daughter, hence the name difference. There is a May 13, 2009 expenditure of $6850 for "media consulting" to a Mr. Aaron Richey. I do not know if there is a kinship relationship to that, but the last name is the same. Bottom line pattern, as noted in an earlier Crabgrass posting the family appears to be putting none of its own wealth into the candidacy, but taking cash out. This is not to be judgmental, because whoever you are, if you provide labor or services you've a right to expect compensation. It is a disclosed fact set. I would not make more of it.

Reed's disclosure shows the opposite pattern, the Reed-Hart family putting some of it's own wealth behind the candidacy, constituting a substantial fraction of the donations but not nearly the majority. There is no indication of disbursements to any family members from campaign money. Noteworthy payments appear to be to a Ms. Cathy Braaten, three equal amounts so far, for "consulting." No salaried campaign manager disbursements are listed. Googling the Bratten name did not yield much beyond this Mark Dayton Feb. 9, 2009 press release critical of Pawlenty junketing and listing Ms. Bratten as contact person; implying she is a political operative or advisor of some kind. I am unaware of whether any Reed-Dayton allegience ties should be inferred from a common use of a single advisory assistant. I am guessing Bratten is serving at this point as the primary hired campaign advisor Reed has.

Friday, July 17, 2009

It's like a gossip story, reading all those linked names and stories, and like a mystery, reading between the lines. It is FEC report analysis.



WHO PUT OUT ALL THE CORN?

Blue Man has blogged excellent summary numbers and brief analysis, and he has given the links to the reports, so I will only do the briefest of excerpting and let you read his other most interesting post, about Tarryl Clark, for the thread of a sound analysis.

Financial disclosure: My take, other than for having Jim Deal's family, with help from Opperman, (and with the unions holding onto their cash for now); Tink would look awfully lonely. Almost wholly devoid of supporting contributions.

NOTE, no Tink family cash listed; unlike the Reed-Hart family putting its money where its candidacy is.

And Reed, beyond family and a handful of isolated donors - NOBODY IN DISTRICT.

Once Tarryl Clark is officially a candidate, with a money drop P.O. Box and PayPal account, the grassroots rank-and-file in-district names will show up.

THE REPORTING

Tarryl Clark (as not yet an official fundraising MN 6 candidate filed no report).

The Maureen Reed detailed-donor report is here.

The Elwyn Tinklenberg detailed-donor report is here.

Have a look. Beyond those brief notes, Blue Man in part says:

Maureen Reed raised $231,839 this past quarter and has almost $219,500 cash on hand. Just a quick look at who gave money to Reed shows no surprises, lots of money from the University of Minnesota and from the health care industry.

Elwyn Tinklenberg raised $54,891 this past quarter and has $198,548 cash on hand (and an IOU from the DCCC for $250,000). El also has three staff members on the payroll still as well, including his daughter. Tinklenberg really needs to step up the fundraising because raising less than $60,000 a quarter will not cut it!


NOW - excerpting Blue Man's views on the Tarryl Clark candidacy - If she does not do it we'll have to grab her and drag her to it. He lives in that end of the district and could easily recruit help for such an effort:

The 6th Congressional District is better served by having a good, open, and honest endorsement battle.

Enter Senator Tarryl Clark.

I've been hemming and hawing at this one for more than a week. Should Clark get into a large but shallow Gubernatorial pool? Or would Clark and Minnesota be better served by her running in the uber competitive 6th?

Getting into the race in the 6th makes sense now. It immediately hurts both Tinklenberg and Reed.

Back in 2006, Tinklenberg received no less than $36,000 from labor PAC's before his failed endorsement run against Patty Wetterling. Post endorsement, labor wrote more checks to Patty Wetterling.

2008 was a smoother run for Tinklenberg as he garnered every major labor endorsement...and for that matter...every endorsement in the district in his bid to unseat Congresswoman Bachmann.

Clark's entry into the race changes that dynamic. Labor will not be so quick to give Elwyn boatloads of money with a candidate of Senator Clark's profile.

Clark has been all over the 6th in the past, helping candidates at all levels, party building and being a leader. That will go a long way in a long endorsement fight.

So with that said...if Senator Tarryl Clark has not been drafted yet...then lets just get it on and get it done!


I do not see Oberstar or anyone else stepping in Clark's way. More than anything people want a DFL winner in the district.

It will come down to whether Reed or Clark offers the better shot - and so far Reed has been hiding too big behind too small a rock on issues, to not be noticed hiding with people wondering why.

A whois of her campaign website says a lot.

Updated Date: 21-apr-2009
Creation Date: 21-apr-2009
Expiration Date: 21-apr-2010

Put up Apr. 21, 2009. She'd already declared herself a candidate before then. Put up then as a skeleton site, with a bio page, a sign-up for solicitation emails, and a here's how you can contribute money part; but then not one single news item, not one single position on issues up since then. Last update = same date as created.

Why hide from the district which does not really know you, (since the U. Minn. Board of Regents does not meet in district). WHO ARE YOU? WHY GIVE YOU MY VOTE? SHOW SUBSTANCE.

Does "Endorse me or I'll cause an ugly primary," sound like a spoiled child, or a staunch party regular?

Primaries are not all bad, for had Mark Dayton not saved us from the Iron Rangers getting a bar tender up there endorsed the one time for Senator, Rod Grams concievably might have had a second term. I cannot remember the name. It began with a J.

Yet this is different.

This is an IP guy who held statewide office only briefly as an IP appointee the wrestler liked, who left to cash in "consultancy" opportunity as the door revolved behind him. Is he really anything but, at heart, an IP anti-choice individual? Really, beneath the veneer?

With all advantages, Bachmann causing him to get cash from nationwide sources when he could not raise jack from folks knowing his local history, he put none of his lobbying wealth behind his candidacy, and looked upon the biggest election day landslide DFL showing in memory, if not over the life of the nation, and he lost.

To a plurality Bachmann showing.

He snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.

Now a sore-head; I will get in an ugly three-way primary, he says that; when no other two people have said anything to give cause for him to use that provocative chip-on-the-shoulder language, beyond a will to try to intimidate his way into an endorsement he's done little to nothing, to deserve.

Eric Black reports, MinnPost, online here:

This announcement follows the news that broke here Wednesday that state Sen. Tarryl Clark of St. Cloud has decided to seek the Dem nomination. (Officially, in a non-confirmation confirmation of that scooplet, Clark said that she "is not ready to formally announce her candidacy for Congress.")

At the time, I sought reaction from the candidates who were already in that race -- Tinklenberg, who has sought the seat twice before and was the Dem nominee in 2008, and Dr. Maureen Reed, former chair of the U of M Board of Regents. I asked Tinklenberg campaign manager Dana Houle whether Tinklenberg would enter the race for endorsement as an abider or whether he would be prepared to run in a primary if he lost the endorsement. On Wednesday, I didn't get an answer, but now Team Tinklenberg has decided to state publicly that:

"El Tinklenberg is the best candidate in the field, and the only one who can defeat Michele Bachmann. He will work to earn the endorsement at the DFL convention. But our goal is to win in November, and if El is forced to fight through a three-way primary to take on Michele Bachmann, that's a battle he's ready to fight, and a fight we will win."


Of course, the election is 16 months away and there will be many bounces of the ball, but this is an interesting moment, especially at this formative stage of an upshaping intra-party contest.

Nationally and locally, Dems will want the best candidate to take Bachmann on, but also will want a unified party for the entire summer and fall of 2010, not a three-way primary that will leave the distracted and weakened eventual winner unable to concentrate on making the case against Bachmann until September.

Reed is running hard and raising money fast and it seemed likely that she would pursue a primary strategy. (When I asked her Wednesday whether she would abide by the endorsement, she replied: "Plan A is to get the endorsement. Plan B is to make Plan A work.")

Traditionally, candidates stand little chance of winning a DFL endorsement unless they pledge to abide by the endorsement. Reed's statement would be taken by endorsement hard-liners as cute, but way short of a pledge to abide.

Although Tinklenberg would have some strength in an endorsement fight, I believe Clark would be the endorsement frontrunner on the day she announces, especially if she comes in as an abider. (Until she announces, I doubt I can get her to say how she views the abiding issue, but I'll try.)

Now here's Tinklenberg apparently threatening to go to a primary if Clark gets the endorsement.


I wonder how this selfish crybaby stuff sits with Oberstar.


________UPDATE________
Hat tip to Blue Man - he flagged the fact that FEC campaign finance disclosure reports are online (with a newer related post above linking to Blue Man's post).

Wondering about Oberstar, as noted, and then looking at the finance reporting, I also have to wonder how deep Jim Deal's pockets are.

And even he will tire of the hopelessness of giving CPR to a corpse.

Deal did get that cozy Anoka County $500,000+ per acre, for a 1.2 acre parcel of raw land next to the busiest rail tracks in the State - for Anoka County's new morgue [the whistle screech and track rumbling noise won't bother the stiffs, so it's an opportune site for the morgue in that sense too].

Deal, like the singing seven dwarfs, must regard Tink, Dan Erhart, the DFL old-boy net in the County, etc., properly, respectfully, so for now he is paying and singing, "I owe, I owe, so off to work I go."

And there's a disclaimer, that even with seven councilmembers in Ramsey, all male on the existing board, that image is more to represent Deal and his several family members contributing along with the former Community National Bank employee during Nedegaard-Town Center times, now a Deal employee, Curt Martinson who does not have a beard, all going to work, merrily for now, for Tink's fundraising; aka CPR to a corpse. You look at the fundraising data, and after thinking it over you can see why the ten-percent Tinkster is already talking about a primary. Desparate men say desparate things.

Closing now with one last semi-related thought, how long do you figure it will be before Tarryl Clark sends Shane over, to take care of the hired gun? The one brought into town from land of the raging Kos.

_______FURTHER UPDATE__________
As a correction of something that was confusing to me, Curt Martinson's status apparently no longer is as an employee of Jim Deal, but a few summers ago after Martinson had left the Community National Bank (the bank that had given the multi-million dollar bank loan to Bruce Nedegaard and his LLC for his Town Center plans and efforts), Dave Orrick in a series of articles had reported there was an employer-employee relationship then. The Tinklenberg FEC data identifies Martinson as now a "consultant" with Business Solutions Consulting, LLC; with this Secretary of State filing:


Deal's name is not on that filing. From all that, I should make it clear that I have no cause to believe either way whether there is any present business tie between Martinson and Deal, even while one had been published by Pioneer Press in the past. On the other hand, I have no cause to believe any friendship between Deal and Martinson has lessened. There are ties at least of friendship, as I encountered them after the Orrick reporting entering the Anoka Perkins in the lobby while I was leaving a winter or two ago, and I observed both present and conversing with each other last election cycle when Deal hosted a Tinklenberg fundraiser in his Plaza building across the street from the new City Hall in Ramsey's Town Center neighborhood.

Also I should note that Jim Deal has long been a DFL contributor and noteworthy in the community as such, so that his supporting one or another DFL challenger is not out of character and the "dwarf" thing is pure parody - the man is no dwarf in the community. Rather he has been active in property ownership and on the consulting board formed during the James Norman tenure as Ramsey's city administrator, tasked to advise on the Comprehensive Plan prior to the more recent 2008 planning. Deal's longterm DFL bona fides is clearly apparent from his having drawn ire years ago for it, from GOP operative Michael Brodkorb in Brodkorb's past MDE blogging. I have no idea how far back in time Deal's support and belief in Tinklenberg reaches, but my belief is it predates the Tinklenberg Group's activity in "mapping" efforts along the Highway 10 corridor in Ramsey.

My understanding is that Jim Deal formed his crop insurance business after leaving the US Agriculture Department in the late 1980's and has had the business headquartered in Ramsey for most of the years since its formation; and also that he owns or has owned extensive acreage in Collin Peterson's district and has remained a good friend of Peterson for years. I have seen mention of such things online from the past, but nothing detailing any changes in the last year or two. Personally, I have spoken only a handful of times to Jim Deal, without any conversation touching matters of substance. I have seen Deal reported as a supporter of Mike Hatch, and I share the view that Hatch would have made a far, far better governor than Pawlenty.

I remain disappointed that the IP Peter Hutchinson - Maureen Reed candidacy may have attracted enough votes away from Hatch among DFL leaning people to have possibly made the difference in the very close loss the Hatch - Dutcher ticket suffered.