consultants are sandburs

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Journalism as a public good. To be funded but not managed via public money.

Why should journalism be "privatized" to where an advertising stream is needed of sufficient size, or there is retrenchment and less free reporting and opinion expressed? Is Journalism lacking in inherent value? Whether it moves to the Internet including video, or not, if information is not soundly available to the public how can a voting public make sound decisions on political matters?

Read and agree or disagree with the thoughts of this link.

Several outlets focus on money raising. What about endorsement and primary likelihoods? And - who really is Michele Bachmann?

Misc. Notes. Before the money raising, a few comments. Comments on future posts here are closed. None will be accepted.

Next, Residual Forces reports interesting news, hopefully it all will prove correct since Ron Carey related items are not widely reported. First, Ron Carey to be Michele Bachmann's staff head, starting February; noted here and here. Here, Brod backs Emmer.

Fund raising analysis and primary implications. Fund raising commentary and reporting, here, here, and here. If there's more, I have not seen it, and apparently the CFB for state races will post news Monday. That should lead to widespread reporting and analysis.

My question, with the GOP looking like Siefert and Emmer as the contestants, and Siefert seeming to have the inside track if not the thing in the bag, what happens to the Emmer true believers? Grin and bear it? Move to Repya in the IP? What?

Next, with the continued strength and committment of the DFL candidates, so many, it might be that the convention reaches no endorsement decision. That means those who've committed to abiding by the endorsement will have no choice but to either fold the hand or go into the primary. Siefert and the mud-slingers on that side will have to wait for specific mud-slinging and instead have only their Tea Party and hate-immigrants, hate-healthcare, hate-taxes, hate-Pelosi, hate-Obama, hate-progress, hate-choice, mantras to recite until there's a clear target in September. Bless them, they will be "doing the mantra" in intervening time, rest assured of that.

The interesting thing, how strong will the GOP crossover be in the primary if Siefert's got it bagged? Who will they shoot at? Clearly if there's crossover in the Sixth District so far the GOP pundits online seem to have a greater fear or dislike for Tarryl Clark than Maureen Reed; although they appear to be equal moderates on most issues. Certainly each is a moderate, and an intellectual giant, in comparison to the sorry incumbent dressed these days in tea bags, even more than in pearls.

Finally, the legislative down-ticket seats are where there might be interesting things happening in some spots. Yet that is all fairly local.

Michele Bachmann. What bothers me most about Michele Bachmann, she hates the community banks and the victims of credit card company abuse - and has not done a thing about their plight, all over the district.

She does not even consider credit card abuse reform an "issue." Look at her campaign website [before she might change it] and look at this pair of telling screen shots.

First, the only committee assignment she has is Financial Services, yet she has no indication financial system reform - getting rid of too-big-to-fail, mortgage relief, ending credit card abuse, saving community banks from failing and being gobbled up by larger-scale interests - is even an issue in her mind for us in the nation and the district to know if she has an opinion or even any cognizant knowledge, whatsoever.

Second, again from sitting on the Financial Services committee, a Google screenshot of her campaign site - it's sole mention of "credit card" showing who this individual really is and what her priorities really are:



As always, click on each to enlarge and read.



This, from a Socialist welfare-state farm subsidies welfare queen. Disingenuous? Michele Bachmann? You decide.

I think the woman just hates reform of any kind. She's not said, but Tea Party rhetoric and all; what's her belief and stand about the Citizens United corporate spending decision?

Is it in line with her purported Tea Party sympathy?

Or is it in line with her being the big-subsidy farm welfare queen she is, liking corporations, the bigger the better, and loving their "contributions" to the political process?

My momma used to say, "Actions speak louder than words." She talks Tea Party "anti-Socialist" dissatisfaction. She cashes her share of the extended family's "Socialist" subsidy checks.

Decide for yourself about her actions and her words.

And does she like Big Oil and hate the environment? She's been for pumping oil, not for price protections at the pump, not for expanding refinery capacity, not for curbing speculative abuses by Big Wall Street in the commodities markets, where oil spot pricing and futures are traded among wealthy corporations, hedge funds, and very, very wealthy speculative individuals. Mom and Pop, and Main Street - well lip service via the Tea Party talk. But she's not walking the talk. The walking's been hand in hand with entrenched big-money interests.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

I had a dream last night that Sarah Palin left Todd, for a liaison with Judson Phillips.

John Edwards turned the script down, so it was Judson Phillips.

Todd, in the dream, was not rouge enough. Driving snowmobiles at high speed and killing arctic wolves with his teeth got, well, very regular and somehow unromantic.

Then Judson Phillips, a southern gentleman of the old kind appeared in her life, her political life and her actual life, there being little difference.

She and Judson each had a paddle, in the dream.

Then it got bizarre. Happily making money but still having the political pit bull will, she and Judson hit upon the idea - Sarah Palin, Inc., as the candidate so that Sarah Palin the person could sleep in late wrapped up in Judson. It was genius at play.

The corporation could raise campaign money, get the actual Palin person up and about and spiffed up on somebody's credit card for filming the half minute and full minute TV spot commercials, but then be the candidate incorporated, vs the flesh and blood embryo loving individual we know and love. The dream diverted, only briefly, with a vision of Judson incorporating potential embryos and then there was dynamite, and Planned Parenthood offices, and a quick drift back to the main thread.

Sarah's corporation was challenged, in court. Who else, but liberals, indeed tax and spend liberals like silent film villains at the door demanding the rent in cash or favors, with a multitude of singing lawyers - I cannot remember a single tune, dream memory often fades quickly - but there was a Supreme Court hearing in front of nine corporations ruling on whether humans could, via personal corporations, run for office or only true corporations with a larger base of shareholders, listed on exchanges, and doing international trade.

At that point I awoke in a sweat and I have no idea whatsoever where the dream might have finished. I believe there was one side digression where a corporation was getting keelhauled by Capt. Ahab for letting lines get tangled and the Whale escaped, but I cannot even remember any of the ship's crew songs, or if they were singing.

Thomas Pynchon drifted into the dream at one point, talking Tea Party and Wall Street in very well turned wording but where I searched for the sense of his drift, but I think it was all related to an effort of Sarah Palin to add diversity beyond Judson, for Thomas as both educator and paramour. I was gladdened by being able to see what Pynchon looked like and how his voice sounded, but as with other fading dream memory - I forget exact details there.

I will not get into any of the lurid parts of the dream, Palin and Bachmann and more diversity for each, but it was probably the pizza before going to bed that triggered the interesting dream state.

I had a dream briefly, months ago about Barrack Obama, being a socialist, but the thread evaporated almost as quickly as it formed, since it takes a very, very, very special and specially disciplined mind to ever consider that individual a socialist.

I look forward to the Caucus doings next week as food for future bizarre dreaming. Indeed, look at all the dreamers already, both parties -

I anticipate a dream, soon after caucus, a fanciful thing where there is a first ballot selection of a DFL candidate for governor, and hoping for that I am eager in anticipation to find out who it is who will win.

And sorry people, I cannot dream the way Martin Luther King did, nor articulate any such dream as Dr. King did in lofty and inspiring ways.

However, I've not been shot so even with the limitations I suffer there's a personal bright side. And someone, some fool, may have read this far so that my sense of the absurd is satisfied entirely. Look on the Bright Side, as the song says. Yes, that's it. That's what the whalers were singing, Ahab tapping rhythm with the wood leg, and the singing reached a third verse just as the boat was rammed by a Greenpeace speedboat, gunfire breaking out, as the whalers thought it was Somali pirates.

Let's all work at dreaming. It is the stuff from which the future is built. Dream the location of bin Laden, collect the reward and become a Republican with more than two quarters to rub together. It would be the functional equivalent of winning the lottery, but with a scalp on the tent pole.

___________UPDATE__________
Isn't it amazing how reading web news can sharpen memory? I had one of those moments, triggered by reporting, here, click to enlarge the screenshot and read:



Well, Ariana's high class only-for-intelligentsia site triggered dream memory into better focus. It was not as if Palin and Judson Phillips were ever, say intimately embraced, in the dream. It was the two personal corporations, Sarah Palin, Inc., and Judson Wheeler Phillips, Inc., that were in merger; just as the screenshot has Palin suggesting for Tea Party and the GOP.

"I'm going to speak there because there are people traveling from many miles away to hear what that tea party movement is all about and what that message is that should be received by our politicians in Washington. I'm honored to get to be there."

Palin is getting $100,000 to deliver the keynote address at the conference. The 2008 vice presidential candidate insisted that her fee will "go right back into the cause" in the form of donations "to people and to events, those things that I believe in that will help perpetuate the message, the message being, Government, you have constitutional limits. You better start abiding by them."

Asked by Van Susteren whether she thinks the Republican Party would be best served by merging with the tea party movement, Palin replied with an enthusiastic endorsement of the idea.

"They need to merge," she said. "Definitely, they need to merge. I think those who are wanting the divisions and the divisiveness and the controversy -- those are the ones who don't believe in the message. And they're the ones, I think, stirring it up. We need to ignore that and we need to forge ahead with a cohesive message. It's a common sense message. It, again, is, Government, limit yourself so that the private sector, our families, free individuals can grow and thrive and prosper and enjoy America's freedom!"


Yes a merger, the Sarah and Judson personal closely held corporations, merging each other just as Palin would have the GOP and tea baggers merge to merger over the entire nation. And that sidebar about tattoo misspellings, that also reminded me (even without having to click over), about some detail of the part of the dream with Bachmann and Palin in the tattoo parlor, Palin getting the intimate tattoo that mispelled Michele, with two "l's".

Now it is all more vivid.

My earlier dream recollection, in some details, I misspoke.

Surely, reading stuff on the web can put strange notions into your mind, even about single payer and such as if it is just, fair, and humane. However, aside from such risk, I believe I have found a partial cure for Alzheimer disease. Surfing the web.

Keeping the mind supple that way, by reading GOP and Tea Party sites, solid and substantial stuff like that. A sharp mind at the razor's edge.

Friday, January 29, 2010

It is so easy to disagree with and mock Michele Bachmann, but this time I agree. I think she is making a correct choice.

Judson Phillips is a Tennessee lawyer specializing in DUI and other areas, with the picture to the left appearing on his law offices home page, where it asks, "Up the creek?" He sponsors the upcoming Opryland "Tea Party Patriots" extravaganza, featuring speechifying by Sarah Palin. Bachmann, listed as a speaker, has dissociated herself from the effort and will not be there to speak.

I remain fearful she and other GOP politicians ultimately intend to hijack Tea Party unrest to their personal political ambitions and benefit. Having said that, and starting with the first report I saw, HufPo, here, she is doing the right thing.

I believe her questioning the bona fides of the operation at Opryland is wise, and timely; so far as her stated position is genuine, and I have no proof it is not.

Other links to similar news; here. TPM, here.

Does anyone willing to post an informative answering comment know, is this Judson Phillips individual behind the hundred grand to Palin Opryland circus stint any relation to Howard Phillips, right wing pundit and author of several books? On that Wikipedia page children of Howard Phillips are listed, with no Judson in the list.

(opening image from TPM link).

Leahy blasts Alito. Under oath Alito testified on judicial restraint. On the bench a slash-and-burn right-wing activist? Disingenuity in a black robe?

There is yet another voice raised in a way suggesting that the Supreme Court's recent "give the corporations power to write a blank check" decision needs to be fixed by the simple Constitutional amendment:

Money is not speech, and human beings, not corporations, are persons entitled to constitutional rights.


Argument against the decision and favoring effort toward a Constitutional reform was earlier posted on Crabgrass, here and here.

HufPo, (posting a video along with text), reports Vermont Dem Sen. Leahy's floor statement on whether "Alito" is another word for mendacity. For the video, follow the link. To read the report text, this screenshot:

Health care reform opponents -- if you cannot laugh you would cry, in anger, disgust and rage, "A conspiracy to engage dunces, don't you see?"

Why not try self-proclaimed Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, not in New York City but Eveleth, in the Hockey Hall of Fame building?

It would mean jobs. Guv candidates Bakk and Rukavina should like the idea. It would focus national attention on the Iron Range and create jobs. All attending press and counsel would have to book into local hotel housing, and that means jobs. And the venue, a chance for the world to learn about high culture in Minnesota, while providing jobs.

Beyond that, why the hockey hall of fame? Several reasons. Besides being a statewide tribute to Eveleth and its expression of Minnesota culture, the legislature recently put good statewide taxpayer money into its upgrade and maintenance. It would be, like a return on investment, for us all - not just the Eveleth population, and the flocks of tourists the hall already attracks. It would be a focal event. And jobs. They could build a new wing, on the history of the trial there. Construction is an economic sitmulus. I am sure the legislature would fund it. They funded such before. So, make it habit.

And that would not be pork barrel, not from Rep. Rukavina, but true need. And pride in Eveleth being "The place the 9/11 Mastermind met Justice." It would have lasting tourism effect. It would mean jobs.

If you are staging a show trial, what better place?

And according to Strib it supposedly would make Indiana politician Mike Pence happy since he says he emphatically does not want the trial in New York City, and somehow that's related to his district and duties:

Embracing a position that New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has taken, Rep. Mike Pence said Friday it is "a terrible idea to return the mastermind of 9/11 to the scene of the worst terrorist attack in U.S. history." The Indiana Republican commented on ABC's "Good Morning America" a day after Bloomberg appealed to Attorney General Eric Holder to reconsider the prosecutorial strategy.

Pence said he believes some congressional Democrats will join Republicans in seeking legislation to block funding for security-related costs if the administration doesn't back down.

Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., said Thursday he has introduced a bill that would prohibit the use of Justice Department funds to try Guantanamo detainees in federal civilian courts. Hours later, New York Gov. David Paterson said he wants discussion with federal officials on the issue of venue.

Last month, the Obama administration announced that professed Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four others would be tried in federal court in lower Manhattan.

Bloomberg said he called Holder to lobby for moving the trial outside lower Manhattan. They spoke Thursday afternoon; both sides declined to comment afterward.

Bloomberg initially supported the Manhattan trial decision, declaring: "It is fitting that 9/11 suspects face justice near the World Trade Center site, where so many New Yorkers were murdered."

But the mayor this week reversed from what he said in November, when the administration announced its plans.

"Unless the administration comes to its senses and abandons this absurd idea," Pence said Friday, "the Republicans, and I suspect some Democrats, will abandon funding."


Well, if Pence does not want the business boost from a show trial in New York City, where does he want it? His own district, probably. Or what, hold the trial and attract world wide attention to the French Lick Railroad Museum, bring the luster and jobs there, is that Pence's motive?

Boost business for the resort hotels and casino? Make it a basketball promotion, Larry Bird and all that, instead of an opportunity to showcase America's sport, hockey?

Look at that Pence photo. Arm out. Hand out. It looks like putting the grab on, to me. Is the local chamber of commerce pushing Pence, is that it?

I say there are the regional Minnesota chambers of commerce that can push back. Look at the side image, Eveleth stands as the very heart of Minnesota, and it's proud residents will tell you that. Good possible Minnesota jobs, to go to Indiana? No way I say.

I say undercut that Indiana opportunism. Make it the greatest show on ice, putting the Sheikh on ice, in the ice hall of fame. What better imagery. Think of that possible new wing to the Hall. A giant mural, trial lawyers depicted as opposition players on the ice. The trial judge dropping the puck for a face-off. The Sheikh, where else but in the penalty box? And by the way, that's a face any team's hockey goon would covet, isn't it? Even if he cannot skate, the face seems to suggest he's got the meanness. For hockey goons that's what counts. It's what motivates the will to bring to grief the other team's best skater.

Hold the trial in Eveleth in the Hockey Hall of Fame. Bottom line. Do it.

Just, there is a problem with air traffic there - I would not want Al Franken flying into Eveleth out of Fridley, no way, ya betcha. Not with Franken in the Wellstone seat now. One plane, one Senator taken down is enough.

Leaving that sombre note aside, however, there is the overarching argument. Jobs.

There are ways you can look at the healthcare "debate," the GOP "reasoning."







Wednesday, January 27, 2010

ACORN in court, while BradBlog calls Andrew Breitbart the instigator and newly arrested James O'Keefe the ACORN filming front-man.

If you are weak on Constitutional law and don't know what a Bill of Attainder is, (do you think Michele Bachmann has the slightest idea), then you can learn something from BradBlog, here. Headlined, "ACORN Awaits Expansion of Injunction on 'Probably Unconstitutional' Defunding Measure, As Phony Pimp Who Set Them Up is Arrested for Federal Felony."

Earnest Canning writing that post reports that ACORN on Dec. 11, 2009, was granted a preliminary injuction on the basis that the House and Senate Appropriations Resolutions against ACORN were unconstitutional Bills of Attainder. Check Wikipedia, here, if you want more general info on the history of the attainder - tainted concept as it grew out of English practice well before the colonies revolted and the Constitution was approved with a clause of the Bill of Rights on topic.

See, Brad Friedman writing on BradBlog, here, on the report of the famous phony pimp being arrested, and alleging the "real" right-wing pimp is busy taking the GOP favored tactic, the Sgt. Schultz defense.

See Friedman's follow-up post, here, which focuses even more on Andrew Breitbart, the man Friedman calls the "real pimp."

First whiff I had of the story, Residual Forces, here, posting mainly a link but short on detail.

Andy linked to FOX, a source short on credibility.

There is detail, a downloadable FBI affidavit, this link.

There is the TPM story (BradBlog links to it), here, stating:

The news of the arrests was first reported by the Times-Picayune.

O'Keefe was apparently in town as early as last Thursday to give a speech at the Pelican Institute, a libertarian think tank in New Orleans.

The AP is reporting that [codefendant] Flanagan is the son of acting U.S. Attorney Bill Flanagan in Shreveport. Reached by TPM today, Flanagan's office said he is not talking to the press.

The ACORN stings that made O'Keefe's name were posted on Andrew Breitbart's Big Government Web site. Reached by TPM this afternoon, Breitbart said: "I need to find information on this. I'm out of the loop on this. I will make my determination then on when to comment."

Breitbart later told Politico: "We have no knowledge about or connection to any alleged acts and events involving James O'Keefe at Senator Mary Landrieu's office. We only just learned about the alleged incident this afternoon."


Moreover, TPM in a parallel link, here, mentions a "Pelican Institute," as connected or possibly so.

What do I know about that operation? I know what's online, here, and that I judge them by the "birds of a feather" company they keep; this link yielding this screenshot photo sequence:



Remember all the righteous indignation Michele Bachmann fulminated over registered lobbyist Jon Bohn and his ham-headed, ham-fisted attempted infiltration of the Bachmann campaign, with Bachmann blaming it on Patti Wetterling personally, and all, back on the eve of the election in 2006 at the time when Bachmann was doing her circus act at Pastor Mac Hammond's theater-prosperity church? (That was when Hammond discredited himself by saying he surely was voting for Bachmann while knowing he resided in the Third District, not the Sixth).

I bet there will not even be a single further peep out of Minnesota's and DC's greatest ACORN hater, Rep. Bachmann, about this young fellow, who calls himself a "videographer" when not calling himself a pimp at any ACORN office he could find (that did not immediately throw him and his floozy out the door). Michele Bachmann is the kind of career politician who will yell easily, but then go stealth entirely, now that her ACORN accuser is getting himself caught by the acorns by the grasp of the long arm of the law; the cause for arrest being his being into a bit of phone tampering mischief in, of all places, Sen. Mary Landrieu's offices, while apparently working in concert with a pair of conspiratorial confederates (which is the correct term for accomplices, in Louisiana).

_______________
The Breitbart character has a "Big Hollywood" blog to go with his "Big Government" effort, this link. It also leads into the O'Keefe arrest story with Sgt. Schultz's tutoring on the "I know nothing, nothing," mode of expression (per this screenshot excerpt - click the above link for the entire page):



The story was first reported by Times Picayune, here, and was reported by Atalantic online, here, and the Swamp, here [source, ending photo].

Friedman's eariler linked work itself links here, where an employer-employee relationship between Breitbart and O'Keefe is reported, likely running from about the time O'Keefe did his "videography" in ACORN offices, onward, but the timeframe and detail of scope of employment are somewhat unclear in the reporting. The term Breitbart uses in the transcript blurb with Hewitt, "life rights," is a new one on me. Does Breitbart have exclusive rights to O'Keefe's version of what he was doing and why, in Landrieu's offices? If he's divulged any such info, discussions with third persons can lead to waiver of rights against self-incrimination, by gaining discovery of admissions made to third persons, such as an employer not part of the conspiracy.

Finally, you tell me, does this guy look like a pimp to you, even possibly one from Borat's neighborhood, or is he just more like a GOP dork? It amazes me that not every ACORN office worker he approached had the sense to see that phony of an impersonation.



_________UPDATE__________
Okay, Michele Bachmann's a busy woman and cannot read all the web reporting, but the one item online about Breitbart and O'Keefe I would love to have her analyze, here by Brad Friedman as already noted, is where Breitbart disclaims respondeat superior vicarious fault for things O'Keefe did on his own outside of the scope of his employment - a position which is the exact opposite of what he and Bachmann would want to impose on ACORN, vicarious liability for misconduct of an employee outside of the scope of employment.

Hypocrites probably would not see the sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander nuances. Bachmann might not either.

PiPress reports DFL Sixth District challengers Maureen Reed and Tarryl Clark hold equal balances after fourth quarter fundraising.

This link, written in terms of released data for Maureen Reed and Tarryl Clark.

It is unclear to me whether the report is based on summary press releases, or whether the FEC detailed filings for the fourth quarter of 2009 have been submitted. Pesuming that lack of links to FEC data means press release numbers are the basis of reporting, we might need to check the FEC pages after early February DFL caucuses, to view detailed income and expenses.

In any event each of the two have about $390 thousand cash on hand.

Bachmann, as incumbent, will always have an advantage in terms of money, even without the Citizens United decision on corporate giving.

That decision probably favors Bachmann.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Isn't Paul Thissen one of the good guys? How did H.F. 135 end up tabled in HIS committee?

I ask any and all reader help on this one. The Minnesota Health Plan has a home page and subpages that are quite clear and self explanatory. They seek the best for all of us, not necessarily the biggest earnings, profits and executive bonuses for big-buck free-spending lobbying firms in the health-industrial complex, like UnitedHealth.

There is a Minnesota Health Plan bill status page, here, stating:

HF135 was tabled by the House Health Policy committee on Wednesday, February 25, stalling progress for this session.

The MN Health Plan was successfully voted out of the Senate Health, Housing and Family Security Committee by an 8 - 5 vote.

The bill was approved by the Senate Commerce Committee on February 10, 7 - 3.


I read that as saying the Senate was moving more, while the House was foot-dragging.

Who, specifically was foot-dragging?

The legislative code revisor's bill page indicates the committee it was assigned to was "Health Care and Human Services Policy and Oversight." The House has a page on the committee, here, and Paul Thissen is chair. Does that mean he was sandbagging on the bill, bottling it up. or is there any other cogent way to read things?

Those on that committee are identified, here with mug shots, and there are a number of impediments to progress: Tom Emmer, Laura Brod, Steve Gottwalt.

The others are just names to me.

Lead GOP, Jim Abeler. My Rep? Not that I vote GOP, but he and I live in the same district. He's a chiropractor and was cosponsor of an alternative medicine thing that Michele Bachmann pushed while in the State Senate; her family owning a faith healing clinic doing business in Woodbury, I believe.

I am unsure of the location, but it advertises as faith healing.

Abeler, what are you doing bottling up a perfectly fine bill? Why?

What's up?

Who is my friend? Who is my enemy?

I am friendly with the Minnesota Plan, so the enemies of my friend are my enemies.

Thissen, can you explain yourself?

He just got taken off my short list. Marty, Dayton and Kelley are it, for now, with my mind open if news of what Thissen and committee cohorts were up to has a credible and innocent explanation. Otherwise, they were standing on top of, in the way of progress. And should stand aside and not be put into the head of the executive branch.

What's happening?

Study the Minnesota Health Plan webpages. Again, homepage here. Think it all over. This needs passage to move into the twenty-first century as a civilized nation and not as a nation wanting to fear-monger the working class over healthcare worries in order to make them more docile and amenable to being exploited and pulled around because of the employer-paid situation that makes changing jobs harder. Who is my friend? My enemy?

__________UPDATE___________
How's this for your legislature getting transparency so you can see who did what?

Committee minutes for Feb. 25, consideration of H.F. 135, at p.2

Rep. Laine moved that HF135 be laid on the table. MOTION PREVAILED.

The meeting was adjourned at 4:25 P.M.


Sure they can operate that way, not put a vote count on the record or do a roll call vote on record. Only when they do the answer should be to vote the batch of them out of office onto the street. We deserve to know the ones stabbing Ceasar, the ones trying to prevent the stabbing. Don't we? Or are we the citizens paying all the bills just mushrooms? Kept in the dark, etc.

_______FURTHER UPDATE___________
With the comment left, which I cannot verify but assume is valid from Thissen, (despite the double negative), it appears Thissen basically supports the Minnesota Health Plan moving forward into law. Again, it is something which might impact care providers somewhat but which would cover everyone and make payment more efficient by eliminating slack and avarice among insurers, as suffered under the status quo.

I am generally impressed by Thissen as a candidate and he is still on the short list, despite the comment being less than clear about the dimensions of opposition, the "who stood strongly in the way" dimension, being left publicly undefined.

I again criticize publishing official committee minutes where individuals will kill a proposal without courage and conviction to put their name publicly behind their actions. It is irresponsible representation, and calls the entire process into question.

I deplore such hiding in the weeds and citizens should be expected to do so, universely and regardless of party loyalties or status as independents.

Sunshine is the best disinfectant.

I have reevaluated criticism of Mary Kiffmeyer's involvement in a bank failure in Otsego. I have second thoughts.

I was judgmental against Mary Kiffmeyer in relation to a bank failure in a way that, to be honest and consistent, I would have to apply an same harsh and uncompromising standard to Bob Olson, when the failure of the St. Stephen's State Bank was reported.

I have met Olson and spoken very briefly, once in Anoka after he had debated Elwyn Tinklenberg, and have spoken with others who know him. He is capable and cautious. Yet a bank of 80 year's duration in rural Minnesota failed because of the current economy where community banks and savings institutions nationwide have failed at a rate not equaled except during the Great Depression and roughly so during the savings-and-loan crisis in the mid-1980's.

Because I cannot fault Olson or his judgment, (I have no basis for that), I have to withdraw my criticism over the Kiffmeyer situation with the other bank.

I dislike Mary Kiffmeyer and how she handled the Secretary of State duties and her passion for undermining separation of church and state.

But that does not make her good or bad as a banking person, and it is unclear at what stage she assumed responsibilty for the failed operation.

BOTTOM LINE: Since I cannot fault Bob Olson, and the Kiffmeyer situation is similar, if I do not publish now my second thoughts and withdrawal of criticism, it would be hypocritical. I must now say I was too hasty and too critical in my judgment. An intervening situation caused me to revisit my thinking and change my opinion.

Haitians were not visited by an earthquake because of sin. Tom Pritchard is an idiot. And we love Google cache defeating website scrubbing low-lifes.



I have commented before how Tom Pritchard of Minnisota Family Council is not pro-Family, in essential ways, this link.

Now I believe there's the distinct air of mendacity about the man. Hat tip to a recent anonymous blogger who sent in the comment on that post Jan. 26, 2010, at about noon - go to the post and read that comment.

Then, to see the quality of Tom Pritchard standing behind his beliefs, as a first step try this search:

http://mnfamilycouncil.blogspot.com/2010/01/haiti-disastrous-earthquake-what-did.html

Well, that cite is from a Google = minneosta family council haiti

This screenshot - and note the red, for the hit that gave the results that link produced when, today Jan. 26, 2010, at 3 pm, I did the google and tried the link:



Right, our old friend Google Cache to the rescue. It saved what was a low-life scrub.

This screen shot, with the highlighting by Google, on the cache [see top text] where the search words show up.



Ask yourself, if this is something Tom Pritchard believes, he posts it. But then, do you think his belief changes, or is he a simple town hypocrite by scrubbing it when he saw the press reaction to the Pat Robertson parallel stupidity? You answer that. Not me. I do, however, have an opinion. To me the steps taken show insincerity, bending too much with the wind, and cowardice.

The man, if he has the courage to attempt to maintain a shread of credibility, should repost the item, with an update apologizing for having said it in the first place and then apologizing for having pulled it and being caught and having to republish it because anything less would be a deceit upon the public. Or, he can be silent. And continue being exactly who, what he is.

______________
- non screenshot image from here -

_______UPDATE_______
Scrubbing at that site appears to have reached beyond this one instance; per Minn Independent reporting, here. The comment referenced at the beginning did not link to the Minn. Independent item. Had I seen it first, I would have known that Andy Birkey had flagged the one Google Cache, and another I learned of there, with background. Read his report. He had a Pritchard comment offered in explanation of the scrubbing. I still feel harsh about it. You publish, you have second thoughts, you keep it up and update it with your renewed viewpoint. You don't just pull it back as if it had never been published, without a word of why a retraction was made. That's questionable practice. I recall I have updated at least two posts, as I recall, indicating I pulled the trigger prematurely on one, and that I had reached an agreement on the other to delete a part.

Taking it to the streets is fine. But don't forget US society's need for educated people. Don't screw undergraduate and postgraduate students.


An email newsletter from a friend noted this item (source of phote), which at its second of three pages notes:

Tax Shifts

When you cut taxes that pay for public needs, you are actually shifting taxes. You are taxing others. In California tax cuts for corporations last year led to cuts in the support for public universities, which led to 32% higher tuition and a drastic cut in the number of students educated. That 32% constituted a tax on those students and their parents, and when they had to borrow the money for college, interest payments on the loan effectively double the cost of the loan. That's a very high tax shift. But an even higher tax is shifted onto students who cannot afford the higher tuition: the tax of a lost education lasts all one's life and its cost is not only monetary, but a cost in human potential. It is also a cost to employers, who get less educated workers, and to society, which gets less educated citizens.


The other way to say it is don't eat the seed corn.

Dumb and undereducated people often underestimate the importance of smart educated people, as a social asset for all the rest of us, and that quote shows the "lower my taxes" limitations. You sell out the future of the nation.

Without educated smart people you would not have the home heated and the lights at night - i.e., the ability to provide such a service hinges not just on infrastructure but on power engineers, computer programmers, and linemen. Given the risks of being a lineman I expect the dumb and careless eliminate themselves one way or another.

The Chinese are exemplary in spending to send their brightest and most promising young to US and European graduate schools to become educated and hence worth more to their state and society; while we are hanging our young to the yardarm with costs out of proportion to the ability to pay. And that so some idiots can pay less taxes and drink more Budweiser and smoke more while driving the Dodge Ram trophy truck.

It's unwise. Yet the dumb vote in droves because there are more of them. The bright vote too but are outnumbered. Unfortunately, too often the dumb vote dumb. They are easily deluded by FOX tv, and are short-sighted and too selfish over tax levels.

Government is not inherently evil although crooked or bought politicians are. You do not eliminate the former, you aim and hope to at least curtail if not eliminate the latter. At the local town board level, up to the national and international governing levels, clean house but don't throw the baby out with the bathwater.

And don't eat the seed corn. Protect it.

____________
The brief excerpt is fine, the entire item gives context and other points of thought. The theme of trying to find effective routes of action, to alter things for the better, is timely as we all are soon to have the opportunity to go to caucus.

Roger Moe and the DFL guv hopefuls.

As an icon of the DFL in the legislature over past years Roger Moe is in Rachel Stassen-Berger's news:

Moe has held house parties, plans such parties or has written checks to eight of the 12 candidates for governor, including state Sen. Tom Bakk, former U.S. Sen. Mark Dayton, former state Rep. Matt Entenza, former state Sen. Steve Kelley, House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher, Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak, state Rep. Paul Thissen and state Rep. Tom Rukavina.

Another former colleague and gubernatorial candidate, Sen. John Marty, is not on the list. Moe says he's not shunning his old friend. Moe is a registered lobbyist, and Marty does not take lobbyist money.


Everything I have seen about John Marty I like. I have been openly critical of the revolving door. I thought Moe did a good job in the state Senate for the time I lived here overlapping his service, but Moe's CFB registration page shows, lobbyist, indeed. Ninteen clients listed, some names being heavy hitters, not chump change spenders.

Regardless of friendship or respect, if you pledge to not risk lobbyist tie-ins you have to step back and keep a distance from that range of influential operations.

I like Marty even more for not taking lobbyist money. However, with the recent Supreme Court error, he could be swamped on the TV ads by the GOP if he is the DFL candidate into the general election. Still, it would be better to risk a loss with the candidate you think best than to equally risk a loss with one others tell you would be "more electable." You have to let your brain follow your heart, since "more electable" might only be code words for "more compromised."

Delusions of grandeur by a court jester. Grumbling.

Respectively, here and here.

_________UPDATE________
As background to the grumbling link - It appears GOP bosses and true believers differ on guv choices, this link. Best guess is the bosses have it in the bag, grumbling will continue but will lessen over time leading to the general election, and Joe Repya did move to the IP for a reason.

Not that other true believers will follow. But they may.

And the GOP has Horner moving to the IP, for a spell at least, for reasons the bosses might know.

Siefert, Emmer - I'd fear both. Siefert is a Pawlenty clone, mediocre to the core. Emmer would be mediocre with more right-wing leaning. Either way an unwholesome-to-thought-and-progress-and-enlightenment choice. How do they find those people? And Quist. Maybe it's trace chemicals in the drinking water.

Monday, January 25, 2010

The latest Kucinich emailing continues his fight for a healthcare provision to expressly authorize states to establish single payer.

John Marty has sponsored bills aimed at Minnesota single payer healthcare law which have had extensive support but not yet enough support for passage. Within that goal the Kucinich proposal for pending federal law proposals is to expressly rather than implicitly authorize individual states to opt out of a federal constraint should such states choose to adopt a statewide single payer plan.

That would remove ambiguity, or any need, should Minnesota adopt single payer, to then seek federal permits or waivers.

It is not a suggestion requiring Minnesota lawmakers or citizens to do anything, but instead it aims to give them the option, expressly, to do something sensible if it can be passed into state law.

The latest Kucinich email explains things honestly and directly:

I Will Continue To Fight For Single-Payer

Click here to view Kucinich congressional webpage and video.

Dear Friends,

Forty-seven million Americans are without health insurance. Why? Because they can't afford it.

And what's Washington's solution? Require people to buy private insurance with the government providing a subsidy to the health insurance companies.

What a pathetic state of affairs that our national government cannot respond to the needs of the people and must first respond to the needs of Wall Street and the health insurance industry and their stock prices.

I am going to continue to fight for single-payer. And I'm going to continue to try to get in the final legislation a provision which will protect the rights of states to be able to move forward with single-payer health care plans of their own.

It is time that we broke the chains, which the health insurance companies have on our political process. It's time that we have a government that we can call our own. And it's time that Congress respond to the needs of the American people first, and recognize that health care is a basic right in a democratic society.

Thank you.


If you are at all curious, I urge going to the website, exploring a bit, and if you'd like, watching the video. I am already supportive of the effort and need no further convincing. I hope that the Minnesota DFL delegation in both federal houses has the sense to support this express optional reform of pending federal proposals.

The Kucinich safeguard for states wanting to experiment with single payer is narrow in scope, whereas other opt-out seekers are overbroad in their intent to further weaken federal revisioning beyond the existing weak and flawed proposals that survived the ravages of the GOP, the health-industrial complex, and Blue Dogs.

It would be revenue neutral to the overall federal fiscal situation arising under pending proposals, since it would only allow state opt-out if single payer were adopted (obviating the need for federal funding for subsidized access to private plans in states moving to single payer) --- and would not allow opt-out simply to avoid inclusion in the federal provisions but without any alternative state safety net system or provisions to protect the multitude of current citizens lacking coverage.

It is not opt-out for nothing. Nor opt-out for the status quo. Nor opt-out to fiscally hurt a federal plan out of spite. If Minnesota were to opt out of new federal mandates to establish single payer it could be with Medicare for senior citizens qualifying for it, and with Medicare like provisions managed in-state for younger citizens, or it could be fashioned without some of the undesirable things in Medicare reimbursement schemes that do not sufficiently emphasize preventative medicine and cure vs. ongoing costly treatment protocols. Incentives could be put in place to curb inefficient cost inflation in ways suggested by Sixth District congressional candidate Maureen Reed and other expert and well intentioned healthcare insiders. Cost containment reform, and coverage extension reform are matters that can be separately addressed, better than the federal mess now pending where everything is mixed together in the way Kucinich describes, as welfare for the already highly profitable health insurance industry but with a cursory hat-tip to cost containment.

_______UPDATE________
For those interested in history of the "Kucinich Amendment," see Brad Blog, 7/19/2009; 10/30/2009; and 11/8/2009. It was at the time of the middle item that I came to view Pelosi as likely being part of a mere revision, rather than being truly committed to a reform. Indeed, when the entire thing started with nationwide single payer off the table, the planets could be seen as not aligned as well as they might have been. It was a downhill process into the muck and mire, from the start onward as time elapsed. Taking single payer off the table was the moral equivalent of the the religious doctrine of original sin. As yet, none of the key sinners has asked for or sought absolution.

Horner as an IP candidate vs. Repya as an IP candidate, for governor.

This Google search return links to items that describe Horner's ambition. In particular, his background has been mainstream GOP so that with Repya being a "conservative" GOP person in the past, a position since abandoned due to disagreement with GOP boss-persons, it looks as if the GOP is shifting people into the IP, or they are moving on their own. And it appears as if one hopeful calls himself "conservative" while the other calls himself "moderate."

Horner claims to not be hostile toward GOP insider bosses, but rather that he is vaguely alienated, (perhaps because there's a queue in the GOP in front of him and his political ambitions). Otherwise, it is unclear why in the world he wants now to be inside of and the endorsed candidate of a different party. Despite protestations, perhaps he has an ax to grind against some; see this link.

Crabgrass past posts mentioning Repya's candidacy to one degree or another, are here and here.

Horner appears to not be a registered lobbyist with the Minnesota Campaign Finance Board, but he is principal in PR firm, Himle Horner Inc; this screenshot suggesting the St. Paul Capitol Dome is integral to his business income:




I have criticized the "currency green" revolving door in the past with regard to Elwyn Tinklenberg and his income producing business Tinklenberg Group, and it appears to me Horner wants to revolve the door in a related fashion. To the best of my knowledge, Repya has no revolving door taint to his candidacy.

Again, see this link.

Any hint of a revolving door makes me quite uneasy, although I am far distanced from the IP. Bob Anderson, the IP candidate last cycle for the MN 6 congressional seat in email indicated he is uncommitted between either Horner or Repya, but he has not mentioned any other candidacy, so I infer it will be a two horse race in the party. Bob Anderson knows far more of IP matters than I could even guess at, and I trust his position as reflecting well on each of the two.

So, two Republicans want to become governor via IP orientation. My hope is that both Repya and Horner will go to a primary so that the IP voters, whom I trust more than IP insiders to be fair and balanced, will have a chance to say who carries the banner into the general election. I hold that view even while the IP has abandoned cross endorsement as a thing in its past but not a present factor, so that something like the Tinklenberg - Anderson situation last cycle will not recur. It was the insider IP bosses cross endorsing Tinklenberg, who I regarded as a revolving door lobbyist and not the best the DFL could have offered, (and who had been registered as lobbyist with the CFB), being unable to claim to be both DFL and IP candidate, because Bob Anderson filed and ran.

I applauded and continue to applaud Bob Anderson's 2008 choosing to run as THE candidate of the IP on the general election ballot. I think his step was good for the party, and for its abandoning the abuse-prone cross endorsement tactic.

My interest is in seeing what happens more than favoring either Horner or Repya, which I clearly as a progressive do not do. Yet, I wish citizens had a way of knowing, if the two go to a primary, what effect GOP crossover voting might have.

It is a scientific curiosity, a sociological and political science orientation, rather than ever wanting either of the two to be elected governor.

Four additional links on the very recent defective supreme court 5-man majority decision making.

In terms of what these right-wing activists did, they disdained the case litigants brought them, and sent all back to a question nobody, but they, suggested to be appropriate to litigate at this point in time after years of precedent in the U.S. Code:

The ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission radically reverses well-established law and erodes a wall that has stood for a century between corporations and electoral politics. (The ruling also frees up labor unions to spend, though they have far less money at their disposal.)

The founders of this nation warned about the dangers of corporate influence. The Constitution they wrote mentions many things and assigns them rights and protections — the people, militias, the press, religions. But it does not mention corporations.

In 1907, as corporations reached new heights of wealth and power, Congress made its views of the relationship between corporations and campaigning clear: It banned them from contributing to candidates. At midcentury, it enacted the broader ban on spending that was repeatedly reaffirmed over the decades until it was struck down on Thursday.

This issue should never have been before the court. The justices overreached and seized on a case involving a narrower, technical question involving the broadcast of a movie that attacked Hillary Rodham Clinton during the 2008 campaign. The court elevated that case to a forum for striking down the entire ban on corporate spending and then rushed the process of hearing the case at breakneck speed. It gave lawyers a month to prepare briefs on an issue of enormous complexity, and it scheduled arguments during its vacation.

[...]


Read it all, New York Times editorial, this link.

They lit a fire. It will burn until a Constitutional Amendment extinguishes it, and in the interim there will be effort at containment legislation. Expect the containment legislation to suffer the identical fate prior legislation suffered via this recent wrong decision. Legislation in the face of what was done seems to be a stop-gap alternative, at best.

Next, John Dean, at this link, wrote this excerpt:

Aside from the fact that the majority ruling reeks of conservative politics, what I find most striking about conservative judicial activism typified by this ruling is the fact that the justices involved are totally out of touch with reality. None of the men involved in this historic decision have been elected to anything, ever. They have no idea how difficult it is for elected officials to deal in the contemporary money-flooded milieu of Washington. The work experience of those who have further opened the floodgates for money in politics is restricted to the executive branch, high-priced law firms, or the chambers of the lower federal appellate courts. Not since the late Justice Hugo Black, a former U.S. senator who retired in 1971, has the court had a member of Congress on its bench, someone who can explain the real world to the other justices. These conservative justices live in a bubble, and they have little true understanding of what they have done, other than, of course, to know that they have taken care of conservatives, the so-called Citizens United who filed this lawsuit. (Yes, David N. Bossie, the president of Citizens United, is the same fellow who worked overtime to impeach President Bill Clinton.)

After I fully digest this decision and speak with friends in Washington who have long been concerned that the Bush/Cheney legacy that now controls the high court might do as they have in fact done, I will share further thoughts about the damage this ruling will bring, and what can and will be done. For this ruling has the potential of being even more pernicious than Bush v. Gore, since it reaches not merely the presidency but every elective office in the United States. Conservatives may not know how to govern when they are in power, but they sure know how to make certain that centrists, progressives and liberals are not given a sustained opportunity to work their will.


That sums up the real, actual citizen spectrum that got partly disenfranchised by five misguided individuals - with three of them at least, Roberts, Scalia, and Thomas each being a clear and ongoing embarrassment to jurisprudence.

How did Bush et al. find these disturbing hacks? How did John Danforth stumble across the path of Clarence Thomas? How does chance do such evil to human beings, actual people and not fictional ones, such as corporations?

Third item, Russ Feingold, at this link. Sen. Feingold's statement is short, but as many have, he writes as if entirely astounded that erstwhile jurists would think to issue such a thing. His post can also be reached from Sen. Feingold's Senate home page which lists in order of recency position statements of the Senator. It is interesting he ends his statement by being vague about what best steps are needed, and what steps might or might not be effective, in undoing or minimizing the mischief:

The American people will pay dearly for this decision when, more than ever, their voices are drowned out by corporate spending in our federal elections. In the coming weeks, I will work with my colleagues to pass legislation restoring as many of the critical restraints on corporate control of our elections as possible.


Final highlighted item, Dennis Kucinich, at his House website:

Kucinich Denounces Supreme Court Decision in Citizens United Case

Washington, Jan 21 -

Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) today released the following statement following the 5-4 Supreme Court ruling in the case Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission:

“Today’s decision will allow corporations to spend unlimited funds in support of political candidates. It will increase the stranglehold corporations now have over politics. There is no more effective way to concentrate even more money and power in the hands of the wealthy.

[...] Now, it is incumbent upon Congress to act. We must reclaim the democratic process and protect the voice of American citizens. If we allow corporations, many of whom are owned by foreign interests, to exert the kind of influence allowed by today’s ruling, we will have, finally and completely, abandoned Lincoln’s government ‘of the people, by the people, and for the people,’” said Kucinich.


Again, as with Feingold, we must act - a clear clarion there. How to act, what to do is left as open by Rep. Kucinich as it was by Sen. Feingold.

Currently, as of the date of this post, we await a senate website statement on the issue from Sen. Klobuchar, a lawyer, and we await also a similar statement from Sen. Franken. Presumably they are in agreement with Feingold and are withholding comment until each, with staff, considers the severity of the situation.

While the politicians say something must be done, and are not yet onto an agenda that might be felt universally doable and capable of being sustained against further right-wing judicial activism at the highest judiciary level; the consensus progressive grassroots sentiment seems to be, "Amend the thing so their evil is undone and so the five-man majority can not credibly justify doing any further such evil." And that is not to suggest evil done so far is at all really credible, just that the door needs to slammed shut and nailed tightly.

I trust the progressive grassroots on this one.

_______UPDATE________
I find it interesting that my two barometer GOP bloggers, at Residual Forces and Let Freedom Ring Blog, are dead silent on the decision beyond one initial post, Jan 21, at Gary's blog. Almost as if it never happened. And Gary accepted as a starting premise that spending money is "speech" and sees no distinction between human beings and corporations spending money. That is why I believe a Constitutional amendment to undo the decision must start by declaring clearly, "Money is not speech." Yet aside from one item, on those blogs it is as if it somehow is less news than the mundane things about which they post.

I think they are too ashamed of it to comment further. Or too happy with the implications of the results that will arise, per their GOP leanings, to be critical.

So they say little. Perhaps they see it as a marginal concern to local matters. Yet the GOP complained about Kelliher, the DFL, and money, so how should we read Citizens United to impact that?

I think the GOP "conservatives" are hard-pressed to find a word to say in defense of Citizens United, beyond rote acceptance.

I welcome any non-spam comment posting a link to any recognized online resource that likes the decision.

Starting the ball rolling that way, readers might look here, here and here, seeming more intent on trashing Rep. Alan Grayson than on defending judicial activism from the far right. I found only one strong statement favoring the change in law these right-wing activist judges have created.

Report on Sen. McCain's view, here.

What the decision, (premised as it is on the First Amendment which is applicable to and binding upon state action under the Fourteenth Amendment), means to state campaign finance law [e.g., the recent CFB fine of the DFL and gubernatorial candidate Kelliher] is the topic, here.

This Google News search result gives multiple links readers might explore.

[note the update was edited to clearly indicate and link to a blog post Gary Gross published at his blog - I was in error not recalling it on first writing]

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Making good news out of bad: "freespeechforpeople.org" and "movetoamend.org" now exist and need citizen support.

Bradblog states:

Activist U.S. Supreme Court Makes It Official, We're Now 'The Corporate States of America'
'We the People' lose, 'You the Corporations' Win...


"The court's ruling threatens to undermine the integrity of elected institutions across the nation," wrote Justice John Paul Stevens in his dissenting opinion on today's U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United v. the Federal Election Commission, which will overturn decades of established campaign finance law.

[...] This would be 'Game Over,' folks, for those who believe in "We the People," rather than "We the Corporations," unless a movement like the one launched today at MoveToAmend.org (on which we are an original signer) can gain traction. You can (and must) join the call by signing on at FreeSpeechForPeople.org as well.

Some key quotes from today's ruling, which pretty much encapsulate the entire horrifying story:

In the majority opinion of the court, Justice Kennedy writes: "The Court has recognized that First Amendment protection extends to corporations."

Concurring, Chief Justice Roberts wrote of his fear that if the decision had gone the other way, "First Amendment rights could be confined to individuals, subverting the vibrant public discourse that is at the foundation of our democracy."

...And Justice Scalia, equating corporate money with free speech wrote "We should celebrate rather than condemn the addition of this speech to the public debate."

In dissent, Justice Stevens wrote "While American democracy is imperfect, few outside the majority of this Court would have thought its flaws included a dearth of corporate money in politics."


Well, disagree with the earlier three of the quotes if you care to, but nobody can disagree with Stevens. The Bradblog post concluded:

In the meantime, we're sure the "grass roots" Tea Baggers, outraged by corporate money special interests, will be infuriated by this decision, light up new protests in every town in every state in the union, and demand that our country be returned to "We the People" as the founders envisioned.


While he was being sarcastic, Brad Friedman might be right.

If these obviously disgruntled and dissatisfied Tea Party people are aware of what it means to regular people to have this decision as law and to let it be unchanged, and they are sufficiently bright [the sticking point], so they are not falsely channeled away from awareness of that truth by GOP and corporate-press-propaganda miscreants; then they could put their disgruntled energies behind a reform that could be advanced and sustained by them and people of beliefs across the political spectrum (beyond the few but powerful cynics among us who believe, "Money talks and all else walks," and those more numerous among us within the corporate, Neocon and GOP embracing the version of the golden rule, "We got the gold, we rule," or those in that triumverate giving blessing to old J.P. Morgan himself saying, "Why should I care about the law, ain't I got the power?"


This could be grassroot and this could be precedent shattering.

The majority of our top court have pointed out an ambiguity in our Constitution with many contending the ambiguity and present judicial resolution of it is an impediment to ongoing freedom of real, actual and not fictional "corporate" people.

So, fix it. Wording of a proposed Constitutional Amendment would be easy:

Money is not speech, and human beings, not corporations, are persons entitled to constitutional rights.


Amend the thing so the dunderheads in black robes will have no leeway to screw any more with the overarching rights of We the People. Corporations are fictional creations of law, and although judges cannot opine unicorns into existence and give them votes and human rights, they have done it with a different fictional creation.

The five GOP appointees who created this awful hoax of law should be ashamed of themselves for what they did.

To be a part of fixing that, go to the websites Brad Friedman linked to:

http://freespeechforpeople.org/

http://movetoamend.org/


________UPDATE_________
The sentiment that alteration of the Constitution itself to be unambiguous is being seen on several fronts, a friend sending this link, at this comment, stating:

Any argument that corporations spending money to get officials elected will be immediately discarded by the courts. Money is speech. That was clearly stated by the SCOTUS this week.

The only recourse we have is to amend the US Constitution and clearly state that rights belong to individuals and nothing else:

"Rights, as enumerated in the Constitution and retained by The People, are reserved to individual, living human beings."


That is one prong of the suggested language given in the post itself. My belief is it is important to insert the limitation by negative definition, "Money is not speech."

While only an ass would argue otherwise, five did.

NOTE: Who sponsors these newer websites, and what affiliations and backgrounds underlie them is not clear, but Brad Friedman seems allied with at least one and his progressive credentials are well established.

________FURTHER UPDATE________
More language, less terse but showing there's more than a single way to skin five rats. HufPo, this link. Also, this Google, and this Bing.

Many in diverse places are appearing to believe that amending, or attempting to amend the Constitution is the best direction to take rather than lesser more timid strategies.

_________FURTHER UPDATE_________
Ralph Nader's Public Citizen reaction, here, is clear from this exended excerpt:

Because today’s decision is made on First Amendment constitutional grounds, the impact will be felt not only at the federal level, but in the states and localities, including in state judicial elections.

In one sense, today’s decision was a long time in coming. Over the past 30 years, the Supreme Court has created and steadily expanded the First Amendment protections that it has afforded for-profit corporations.

But in another sense, the decision is a startling break from Supreme Court tradition. Even as it has mistakenly equated money with speech in the political context, the court has long upheld regulations on corporate spending in the electoral context. The Citizens United decision is also an astonishing overreach by the court. No one thought the issue of corporations’ purported right to spend money to influence election outcomes was at stake in this case until the Supreme Court so decreed. The case had been argued in lower courts, and was originally argued before the Supreme Court, on narrow grounds related to application of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law.

The court has invented the idea that corporations have First Amendment rights to influence election outcomes out of whole cloth. There is surely no originalist interpretation to support this outcome, since the court created the rights only in recent decades. Nor can the outcome be justified in light of the underlying purpose and spirit of the First Amendment. Corporations are state-created entities, not real people. They do not have expressive interests like humans; and, unlike humans, they are uniquely motivated by a singular focus on their economic bottom line. Corporate spending on elections defeats rather than advances the democratic thrust of the First Amendment.

We, the People cannot allow this decision to go unchallenged. We, the People cannot allow corporations to take control of our democracy.

Public Citizen is going to do everything we can to mitigate the damage from today’s decision, and to overturn this misguided ruling.

First, we must have public financing of elections. Public financing will give independent candidates a base from which they may be able to compete against candidates benefiting from corporate expenditures. We will intensify our efforts to win rapid passage of the Fair Elections Now Act, which would provide congressional candidates with an alternative to corporate-funded campaigns before fundraising for the 2010 election is in full swing. Sponsored by Sen. Richard Durbin (D.-Ill.) and Rep. John Larson (D.-Conn.), the bill would encourage unlimited small-dollar donations from individuals and provide candidates with public funding in exchange for refusing corporate contributions or private contributions in amounts of more than $100. The proposal has broad support, including more than 110 co-sponsors in the House.

In the wake of the court’s decision, it is also essential that the presidential public financing system be made viable again. Cities and states will also need to enact public financing of elections.

Second, we will urge Congress to ensure that corporate CEOs do not use corporate funds for political purposes, against the wishes of shareholders. We will support legislation requiring an absolute majority of shares to be voted in favor, before any corporate political expenditure is permitted.

These mitigating measures will not be enough to offset today’s decision, however. The decision itself must be overturned.

Public Citizen will aggressively work in support of a constitutional amendment specifying that for-profit corporations are not entitled to First Amendment protections, except for freedom of the press. We do not lightly call for a constitutional amendment. But today’s decision so imperils our democratic well-being, and so severely distorts the rightful purpose of the First Amendment, that a constitutional corrective is demanded.

We are formulating language for possible amendments, asking members of the public to sign a petition to affirm their support for the idea of constitutional change, and planning to convene leading thinkers in the areas of constitutional law and corporate accountability to begin a series of in-depth conversations about winning a constitutional amendment.

The Supreme Court has lost its way today. Democracy is rule of the people – real, live humans, not artificial entity corporations. Now it’s time for the people to reassert their rights.


Public Citizen also has an "action.citizen.org" site adding more fuel to their fire, attempting to generate a petition drive groundswell, here.

A weak suggestion out of Iowa, reported here, proposes a congressional "joint resolution" arguably only splitting hairs rather than strongly reversing the bad decision making in a way that is decisive and unequivocal.

Interim measures can be tried, but it is a band-aid effort and the same five Justices stand ready to review whatever legislation ensues. For the time between now and election day, a new bill should be passed to curb excesses while time might favor it's judicial review being stalled until after election day.

However, stalling is offensive, even though it worked for the GOP and complicit Dems on healthcare. Going for a fast, rapid, and strongly decisive amendment would better energize the bulk of the electorate in opposition to the corporate purchase of elections as well as against any politicians daring to say the decision should stand and the Constitution, ripped asunder by activist judges from the far right wing, should be anything but promptly and unequivocally repaired by amending it to directly say what all decent men and women should want it to have been interpreted to say.

This judicial assault on the Constitution simply must be turned back. An organized effort must be started and sustained toward that end.

Final thought - where will Ron Paul as a strict Constitutionalist stand, about this decision and amendment efforts, and how will that ripple through the GOP? That will be answered only over time. I have seen no online indication of Rep. Paul being eager to define his Constitutionalism in the sense that people are human beings and corporations are a legal fiction.

My belief is no sane and sensible man or woman would say human rights apply to non-human inventions.

I expect a sagacious and non-evasive response from Ron Paul. I hope I am not disappointed. His opposition to the Fed is a populist thing, contending central banking via a bank coalition in power over fiat money and credit was not being Constitutionally envisioned at the Union's founding nor justified as being good economics for the people of the nation. How that squares with more lax rules in buying influence, in the mind of Ron Paul, will be interesting to see.

Sometimes, when Ron Paul speaks, in your heart you know he is right. Yet regarding the SCOTUS decision, all I have seen online is Ron Paul's name used in a hypothetical at FireDogLake, as one in a rather sobering string of hypotheticals:

Despite our high-minded ideals about the process, elections are decided on television. The candidate who spends the most on advertisements is usually the candidate who wins. With this ruling, corporations can now easily buy members of Congress by pouring millions of dollars into election campaigns. They can fund the ads of their chosen candidates and directly buy ads themselves to attack their opponents. Any candidate who plans to work for the people, rather than the corporatocracy, can expect to lose as their opponents are flush with cash, and countless expensive attack ads are aired against them. Imagine a Goldman Sachs or Citigroup sponsored smear campaign against Ron Paul. It could even be paid for with bailout money!

The most disturbing part of this ruling is in the understanding that corporations are not citizens of any given country, but businesses with offices in different places. What is to stop Russia’s Gazprom or a Chinese lead mining/toy manufacturing conglomerate from buying a P.O. Box in Delaware, and then showering an obscure candidate from a small state with millions of dollars for their election campaign?

Friday, January 22, 2010

Massachusetts Republican Exposed.



This link.

Not that I am changing politics, or a regular MDE reader; just this ... something misleading has a simple answer, see below.



That screenshot, if you click and enlarge the image, shows a "Siefert" endorsement in a prominent location - but appearances are deceiving. Especially to the occasional site visitor - me, as the example.

For it is not an endorement, not yet.

It is a paid-for political advertisement [these days a corporation could pay] and not any indication MDE is yet, offically, committed to one of the several GOP guv hopefuls.

This link explains things, and I hope Luke at MDE will appreciate my helping get this message out that, although the site is no longer run by Brodkorb as Brodkorb ran it, (we know that for we have been told that), there has not been any policy change to endorsing any individual, on the site, this early in things.

Now one confusing thing remains, or it is confusing to me because I see it having no explanation. The fact that Joe Repya is running for governor on the IP ticket, or seeking that endorsement, which is big-time news, gets this inattention on GOP blogs - see the "Repya" Googles for MDE and Let Freedom Ring. There are hits, the Googles show that, but nothing recent, about the candidacy for Governor. I would have thought Repya still had substantial grassroots support and credibility among Republicans, particularly those initially liking Pat Anderson and now Tom Emmer and whose orientation can only be guessed at should their favorites end up short of endorsement. It seems it would be noteworthy news that Repya is a candidate, to at least parts of the GOP.

But not a peep.

Yet in the past, there was this positive on Repya's service, while negative on Kerry.

This, singing praises.

Now it's time to bury Ceaser, not to praise him?

Old soldiers never die, might they just fade away?

I am confused.

Could anyone explain this to me. I have exchanged email with Gary Gross, (not Luke Hellier), but that's nothing public. From the email I think it is fair to say Gary discounts Repya's candidacy as inconsequential. By implication it appears MDE as policy or opinion, does too.

I kind of like the guy for having been willing to not blindly follow a beaten path.

Clearly Joe Repya is not within my range of politics, not a progressive - barely arguably a moderate as I see it - but he is a maverick military man, like GOP regular, John McCain.

Maybe, now this is my thought alone, I've not discussed it with anyone, but maybe to get his name and, indeed, his ongoing existence recognized on MDE these days, he should run a prominently featured paid advertisement.

_________UPDATE_________
Here's a screenshot of the Repya website opening page. Like the Rybak site it has an opening "Join the team" page, with a toggle to get into the detail of the website.



Somebody should give the guy attention. I expect the IP will. I expect he will be their endorsed choice. There's a Minnesota nice look to it. But get inside and look around - especially if an independent unsure of whether GOP or DFL two party choices would appeal.

What do you figure it would cost the Repya campaign, to get that same page as the opening page to access MDE? As a paid advertisement, which they're accepting.