consultants are sandburs

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Tom Steward, on Record.

- knowing best -
The John K. Anoka County Record website now is carrying Tom Steward stuff, along with its every-issue Tax Payer League Chairman's "paid advertisement" woofing.

Toadying as right-wing as ever, so when will we again see Katherine Kerstin's byline on a regular galling basis - this time, on Record?

Cred' to you, or same old brand of astroturf? Opinions can differ. Do you buy into the blueprint?

UPDATE: In my view of the history and intent of public education, I distrust vouchers (This link, see top of its p.4).  Check out that item, it touts standardized testing expenses as justified. A favorite sentence (again, top of p.4)

Recommendation 1: Implement a strong voucher program. The Minnesota legislature should pass, and the governor should sign, a strong voucher bill, based on the successful Wisconsin and Milwaukee model described above.

I find that impressive because the online item currently has no description of any particular voucher plan "above;" a mistake unlikely to be made even by a non-vouchered middle school student of ordinary capability.

photo credit:

RAMSEY: Shared wall housing in Town Center.

The real, actual, in-fact newspaper - reporting here.

Eating the seed corn.

This link.

What about hiking ticket prices at Camp Randall?

A good VP pick, philosophically, or for more of a geographic balance, Wyden or Inslee.

Strib highlights O'Malley, here.

Not a likely one to displace Hillary from the top of the Dem ticket, but given her disturbing status as too near the moderate GOP, he'd add a bit of balance.

He has no major nationwide track record/baggage. He could campaign about Jeb and Common Core; Jeb and Terri Schiavo, Jeb as clone of big brother, Jeb as unspectacular in any real way.

Sen. Wyden of Oregon; Gov. Inslee of Washington are each sufficiently lesser known that they also would not detract publicity from the ticket top, while each might be a philosophical balance. Wyden likely would wish to stay with his Senate seniority, as would Sherrod Brown, so Inslee is a nice choice.

Given Washington state having two senators who have attained seniority, it would be a boost for Microsoft and Boeing were Inslee picked.

Obviously, this is guessing and based on nothing but guessing.

You want better guesses?

Try here. You may have to scout the site to get VP guessing since that link for now is focused on presidential outcome potentials. It is early but you can "go by the book." It is a form of collective consensus testing, consolidating a series of guesses by a segment of the population not necessarily representative of a cross section of registered voters. However, it is data. Like a poll result, but with respondents having cash on the line. And it is before the GOP masses get their show:

Jeb is the pony.

As far as O'Malley's own character and policy for the White House, he has an aura of sincere believability, and you have to like what he is saying:

Former Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley blasted social injustice and Wall Street excesses as he launched a White House bid on Saturday, casting himself as a younger, more liberal alternative to Democratic Party frontrunner Hillary Clinton.

"Powerful, wealthy special interests here at home have used our government to create, in our own country, an economy that is leaving a majority of our people behind," said O'Malley, opening his 2016 presidential campaign with a rally at a waterfront park in downtown Baltimore.

O'Malley, who has aggressively courted his party's liberal wing, began his political career in Baltimore, first as a member of city council and then as mayor.

Decrying big banks as having been behind the financial crisis of 2008, O'Malley singled out Goldman Sachs for particular criticism. He said Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein recently told his employees that "he'd be just fine" with either Republican Jeb Bush or Hillary Clinton as president after the November 2016 election.

"Well, I've got news for the bullies of Wall Street," O'Malley said. "The presidency is not a crown to be passed back and forth by you between two royal families."

Running against Wall Street, if sincere, will not fill the campaign coffers and in a Jeb vs. O'Malley hypothetical general election, Jeb money and outside money would really be trying to clobber O'Malley. As a potential Vice Presidential candidate, the "two royal families" statement might be a hindrance. For now it plays well.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Terri Schiavo's skeleton is rattling in Jeb's closet.

Politico Magazine, in something the remaining mainstream media have yet to pick up and run with:

Sitting recently on his brick back patio here, Michael Schiavo called Jeb Bush a vindictive, untrustworthy coward.

For years, the self-described “average Joe” felt harassed, targeted and tormented by the most important person in the state.

“It was a living hell,” he said, “and I blame him.”

Michael Schiavo was the husband of Terri Schiavo, the brain-dead woman from the Tampa Bay area who ended up at the center of one of the most contentious, drawn-out conflicts in the history of America’s culture wars. The fight over her death lasted almost a decade. It started as a private legal back-and-forth between her husband and her parents. Before it ended, it moved from circuit courts to district courts to state courts to federal courts, to the U.S. Supreme Court, from the state legislature in Tallahassee to Congress in Washington. The president got involved. So did the pope.

But it never would have become what it became if not for the dogged intervention of the governor of Florida at the time, the second son of the 41st president, the younger brother of the 43rd, the man who sits near the top of the extended early list of likely 2016 Republican presidential candidates. On sustained, concentrated display, seen in thousands of pages of court records and hundreds of emails he sent, was Jeb the converted Catholic, Jeb the pro-life conservative, Jeb the hands-on workaholic, Jeb the all-hours emailer—confident, competitive, powerful, obstinate Jeb. Longtime watchers of John Ellis Bush say what he did throughout the Terri Schiavo case demonstrates how he would operate in the Oval Office. They say it’s the Jebbest thing Jeb’s ever done.

The case showed he “will pursue whatever he thinks is right, virtually forever,” said Aubrey Jewett, a political science professor at the University of Central Florida. “It’s a theme of Jeb’s governorship: He really pushed executive power to the limits.”

[...] Michael Schiavo woke up when he heard her fall. She was facedown, feet in the bathroom, head in the hall. He called 911. Police noted in their report “no signs of trauma to her head or face.” The ambulance raced to the closest hospital, but her heart had stopped, robbing her brain of oxygen, and the damage was catastrophic. A court named her husband her guardian that June. Her parents didn’t object. All of this was before Bush was elected. And after years of rehabilitation, of waiting for any sign of improvement and seeing none, Michael Schiavo decided to remove the feeding tube that kept his wife alive, saying she had told him and others she never would’ve wanted to be this way.

To this, Terri Schiavo’s parents objected. Bob and Mary Schindler, Catholics, argued that their daughter, also Catholic, would want to live, even so debilitated.

She had left no will. No written instructions. She was 26. To try to determine what she would have wanted, there was a trial, in the Pinellas County courtroom of circuit judge George Greer, in which Michael Schiavo relayed what she had told him in passing about what her wishes would be in this sort of scenario. Others did, too. She also had next to no chance of recovery, according to doctors’ testimony. Greer cited “overwhelming credible evidence” that Terri Schiavo was “totally unresponsive” with “severe structural brain damage” and that “to a large extent her brain has been replaced by spinal fluid.” His judgment was that she would not have wanted to live in her “persistent vegetative state” and that Michael Schiavo, her husband and her legal guardian, was allowed to remove her feeding tube.

“DONE AND ORDERED,” he wrote on February 11, 2000.

The St. Petersburg Times had covered the trial. Bush, a year and a month into his first term, started hearing about it almost immediately. Staffers replied at first with a variety of form responses.

“The Florida Constitution prohibits the Governor’s intervention in matters that should be resolved through the court system,” read one. But here’s what else it said: “As a concerned citizen, you have the opportunity to influence legislation pertaining to guardianship matters in cases similar to Terri’s. By contacting your local legislative delegation, such as your senator or representative, new legislation can be introduced. If such a bill ever comes before the Governor for signature, he will certainly remember your views.”

Bush couldn’t do anything. Laws didn’t let him. But that didn’t mean he didn’t want to. He did.

The Politico item goes on for six pages, that excerpt being from the first page. Leaving the lion's share of the content to the publisher, one further excerpt, at Politico's p.4

The words at the top of the docket of the country’s highest court were black-and-white blunt about what this had become: JEB BUSH, Governor of the State of Florida, v. MICHAEL SCHIAVO, Guardian: Theresa Schiavo.

The U.S. Supreme Court refused to review it.

“It means that the governor’s interference in this case has ended,” said Felos, Michael Schiavo’s attorney.

“This matter is now at an end for the governor,” said Ken Connor, another one of Bush’s attorneys.

It did not. It was not.

That week, Connor, the Bush attorney, sent an email to two of Bush’s staff attorneys. “Here is an op-ed I drafted for Dan Webster,” Connor wrote. Connor was active in social conservative causes and organizations. Webster was a Florida state senator, and this Dan Webster, not the lawyer and senator from the 1800s, had beliefs that couldn’t have been more different than those of his namesake.

The op-ed Connor had written ran under Webster’s name on Page 10A of USA Today on January 27, 2005. “By any definition, Terri Schiavo is alive,” the op-ed said. “She has now been issued a death sentence by the courts.” Serial killers, like Ted Bundy, it said, had more rights on death row than Terri Schiavo did at her hospice.

The truth about Jeb is that he'd abuse the presidency just as he abused the governorship, and sane people should not let him anywhere near to the White House, now that he no longer would be dad's or big brother's guest. The man is a clear and present danger to liberty of individuals, and should be known as such by every person intending to cast a ballot in Nobember 2016.

Juan Cole picked up the thread of the report, his item here being how I discovered the Politico item. Cole reprinted from an item he'd posted contemporaneous with the Jeberwocky's invasion of the privacy of Schiavo:

The cynical use by the US Republican Party of the Terri Schiavo case repeats, whether deliberately or accidentally, the tactics of Muslim fundamentalists and theocrats in places like Egypt and Pakistan. These tactics involve a disturbing tendency to make private, intimate decisions matters of public interest and then to bring the courts and the legislature to bear on them. President George W. Bush and Republican congressional leaders like Tom Delay have taken us one step closer to theocracy on the Muslim Brotherhood model.

The Muslim fundamentalists use a provision of Islamic law called “bringing to account” (hisba). As Al-Ahram weekly notes, “Hisba signifies a case filed by an individual on behalf of society when the plaintiff feels that great harm has been done to religion.” Hisba is a medieval idea that had all but lapsed when the fundamentalists brought it back in the 1970s and 1980s.

In this practice, any individual can use the courts to intervene in the private lives of others.

The analogy fits. Evasiveness on that point is surely possible. Not credible. But possible.

Any politician or political operative can obfuscate anything, so wait for Jeb to lay it on with a trowel. He will.

The opening image is from the Politico report.

Hillary the Movie. Who's effort was that, where did it lead, and where will it?

It is a tapestry fit to be woven in Hollywood. First, in case you have forgotten:

Yes, it is still around. And if diligent and interested, you can obtain the DVD. From whom? Enlarge the thumbnail and see.

Now there is this; NY Times, news fit to print, "Today in Politics: Hillary Clinton Says Citizens United Would Guide Supreme Court Picks":

Most presidential candidates go out of their way to avoid appearances of having a litmus test for Supreme Court appointees. So it was unusual when Mrs. Clinton on Monday said publicly that she did have such a metric: overturning the Citizens United decision of 2010.

“I will do everything I can to appoint Supreme Court justices who protect the right to vote and do not protect the right of billionaires to buy elections,” Mrs. Clinton said while on Day 1 of a two-day swing through Iowa.

The remark was praised by liberals and denounced by conservatives, who said it was at odds with the “super PAC” supporting her, made possible by the Citizens United decision.

Either way, it was a clear message from Mrs. Clinton, who so far, has laid out campaign planks but no overarching message.

Part of a story, here. HuffPo. Slate.

Opinions can differ, but to me it is both ironic and wise for the candidate to hand that slush bunch back their own brand, in spades. It's Robert's creation, so hand it back to him as the damaged goods it is and has been from his first signing the evil opinion. A classic "goes around, comes around" thing the stellar jurist surely earned.

Of course, Hillary has to get elected first ...

UPDATE: WaPo calls it a "litmus test." Right wing terminology? A threat to "pack the court" one outlet vents. If corporations are "people" as the exceptional 5 in the majority opined, what next, the clowns saying corporations can vote?

Hillary is spot on correct on that one. It is one of the dumbest and most pernicious things to come out of DC, and it never should have been decided as the five political hacks did. They should be hiding their heads in shame.

Quinnipiac University. Can you find it on a map? Would you want your child to attend QU? Yes, no, or undecided?

This link.

MinnPost reports on Carly Fiorina and hopes within a Minnesota GOP women's group that she makes the top ten cut.

Here, and it speaks for itself. No excerpt. If holding the opening GOP "debate" format to only the top ten in poll ranking will result in Kasich not making the cut, then Fiorina also not making the cut would be a quite small price to pay for such a compelling benefit. Present indications are there will be comedy enough.

WaPo has an embeddable tote board, but Crabgrass will not embed.

READERS: Ask Andy or Gary or to do it. It is their greyhound race, not mine.

UPDATE: Isn't it great to see how active Bachmann and Palin are in forwarding and fostering the hopes and chances of Fiorina; thereby helping advance the role and status of female GOP candidates in general. Sarah and Michele deserve due commendation for all the well-publicized help each has given Fiorina's candidacy. Mainstream media is awash in news of their role.

FURTHER UPDATE: The GOP is missing the boat. This "debate" multitude, and winnowing as they do based on polls is flawed.

Do it tournament style. Use polls to get a Sweet Sixteen. Then pair them up, win or go home. An Elite Eight, Final Four, etc.

It would get bigger ratings that way. March Madness is a proven commodity.

Is there a Snowden around, who can explain the circling aircraft saga?

This link.

Glen Taylor's Strib features George Pataki

Items dated May 28, here, here and here.

The second item, among more content, states:

He has been campaigning against President Barack Obama's health care law for several years, arguing it is government overreach into what should be a private sector market. Pataki also favors overhauling the federal tax system by eliminating most deductions and reducing tax rates. "My advice would be to start all over," Pataki said in Iowa. "It would put lobbyists out of business and believe me, I think that would be a very good thing for America."

[...] Pataki falls to the left of many in the GOP field. He supports abortion rights and pushed through legislation as governor supporting civil rights and prohibiting discrimination against gays and lesbians. [...] He signed tougher gun laws in 2000 after a mass shooting, but said that is also an issue for each state to settle. He considers Common Core standards a federal takeover of education.

[italics added] The third linked item briefly states:

[...] Since leaving public office in 2006, he has worked as a lawyer and is a founder of the Pataki-Cahill Group, which provides services to businesses.

Pataki, 69, was raised on his family's small vegetable farm about 40 miles north of New York City, in Peekskill. Pataki, like his brother and cousins, grew up plowing, picking and delivering produce to the farm stand. He attended Yale University on an academic scholarship and later graduated from Columbia Law School. [...]

[italics added]. If taken seriously by early-state voters presumably somebody would question and flesh out exactly what "services to businesses" the "Pataki-Cahill Group" has rendered, who the clients are, who Cahill is.

Beyond that, Pataki is no Scott Walker with those Hillary-like and Jeb-like ivy league credentials, nor a Texas Aggie like Rick Perry.

Thankfully not as phony as Rick Santorum or Huckabee. Closer to a GOP mainstream Dr. Paul, but without the Bachmann-Ron Paul-Sanderson highest-bidder Paul-family/campaign baggage from Iowa last cycle and nicely without any compromise or pandering to the worse fringes of the GOP. (Noteworthy here, Glen Taylor's Strib's latest (May 27) item on Rand Paul seeming to want things to be as written, whether they are, or not.)

A former governor of the state for which Nelson Rockefeller was a former governor.

He seems the Bush wing's bench player, to be put into play if Jeb cannot convince people that awfulness in history would not repeat itself. Somebody's VP, rock solid boring but without fringe-group difficulties and without the annoying Pawlenty smirk.

Glen Taylor's Strib seems to be telling you what you need to know, to be properly informed.

UPDATE: A thought experument; can you imagine gentle, caring Watchdog placidity with Pataki?

FURTHER UPDATE: Two additional G.T.S. items re Rand Paul, here and here. Studying the Rand Paul and Mitch McConnell relationship out of Kentucky is something readers might take time to do. Some have said compromise is the essence of our checks-and-balances Constitutional democracy model, in action.

FURTHER UPDATE: Given Chris Christie's Bridgegate difficulties with the New York - New Jersey Port Authority, what was the Pataki record when he served as Governor of the state across the river from Christie's New Jersey? Was he out of office before any Port Authority pork and retribution stories got above the nation's sleepy attention levels? Are there nonetheless skeletons that could be rattled against Pataki in that closet? Again, if Pataki gains traction some would likely investigate the question.

FURTHER UPDATE: While not numerically a front-runner, so far, Pataki is a more intriguing and complicated persona than say, Perry, Huckabee, Santorum or Walker. Slick video Pataki packaging; but for the incessantly overbearing awful background music reminiscent of the Doctor Zhivago film soundtrack; here. Pataki, himself, or some experienced senior adviser should have nixed that video's soundtrack as inconsistent with the message of Pataki as a more thoughtful and balanced person than most. Interestingly, nothing is in the video or in current press coverage about Sheldon Adelson and the evils of online gambling and its threat to the Las Vegas mega casino scene; hence, nothing here beyond that passing mention, for now. Ask Blanche Lincoln about it.

Wrapping up -- Upon reflection, Perry got crossed out of that above comparative sentence. Putting Perry and Pataki together as equally complex personas can be challenged, given wholly different manners and style; but each can be seen as suggestive of more behind the person than an empty suit stuffed with nothing but platitudes and yearning.

Surely that is a subjective observation where readers thinking Walker, Santorum, or Huckabee is bigger than empty-suitism can believe whatever they choose.

Again, Pataki might have traction if Jeb and all the tons of hard and soft and family money behind him cannot generate a strong New Hampshire turnout with momentum building after that.

BOTTOM LINE: Forget Iowa as a circus. Wait and see how New Hampshire turns out.

Pataki could surprise Jeb. But Pataki has to either raise cash or fall by the wayside.

Whose money is backing him at present?

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Reuters reports it so it must be true. Santorum is formally a 2016 candidate.

This excerpt from here:

Santorum promised to eliminate the Internal Revenue Service, back a flat tax and crack down on illegal immigration that he says has robbed jobs from American workers. He also vowed to cut federal spending and revoke "every executive order and regulation that costs Americans jobs."

If elected, the hope would be his personally going to Syria, to eliminate Islamic State using the jawbone of an ass.

UPDATE: Santorum mentioned, here. Big Tent discord, or normal MnGOP stuff?

For the Record ...


Somewhere, in amongst the dog droppings ...

Flaherty appears to have gained liquidity by selling the Flaherty thing in Ramsey Town Center

Ugly as ever. But now sold. Flaherty is out with a tidy profit. The City has been paid off and Ben Dover smiles. The free parking space subsidy continues. Still as ugly as ever.

ABC Newspapers, a real news outlet, reports details online: here (source of the above image).

From that item, closing paragraphs:

“This sounds like it’s a real win for the city that we have the developed apartment complex. It’s up and running and now the city is getting all of its money re-paid,” Council Member Chris Riley said.

Riley asked Bray: “Is there any downside? Is this exposing the city to any more risk than it had already agreed to several years ago?”

“No. There’s no risk. Getting repaid the $7.4 million … during this project, that was what was the risk. With the repayment of those funds, that risk is basically eliminated,” Bray responded.

Yes, Chris, there is a downside.

The thing is

an eyesore,

and it keeps Ben Dover in the shadow, unable to work on his tan when the winter sun takes a southern angle.

___________FURTHER UPDATE____________

This link.
It speaks for itself.

Actually, don't begrudge Flaherty making money and being successful at what he does. Only, all that Flaherty low-rise stuff looks alike and equally unappealing; with his tower projects in Indianapolis and in Cincinnati being exceptions. Clean, proportioned designs. It is not as if he can't ...

One hopes both towers succeed, giving the man and his firm positive reinforcement.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Where do YOU find news you regard as reliable?

Asia Times once was reliable, but now is Larouche.

And has NY Times, WaPo, HufPo, WSJ, Bloomberg or Forbes covered what some may consider interesting trade news; news that was reported by a tightly government-tied Asian outlet, here and here?

The first item reports:

The Chinese side will capitalize on the competitiveness of its industrial capacity and superior technologies in railway, ports, electricity and telecommunications to actively participate in such big infrastructure projects as the proposed transcontinental railway, facilitate technology transfers and experience sharing, and help improve Peru's equipment manufacturing capability and job creation, he said.

He called for closer financial cooperation between the two sides to explore suitable financing methods, trade settlement in local currencies, and a currency swap scheme.

China-Peru cooperation in industrial capacity and equipment manufacturing is open to any third party with a goal to seek win-win and all-win results, Li said.

He voiced the hope that the Peruvian side could offer more support and convenience to Chinese enterprises in Peru.

The Chinese government attaches great importance to the comprehensive strategic partnership with Peru and will push for breakthroughs in bilateral cooperation on the basis of traditional friendship, Li said.

China will strengthen coordination with Peru in international and regional affairs, enhance exchanges between their cultures and civilizations, promote the common prosperity of both countries as well as developing nations, and jointly enrich the diversity of world civilizations, he added.

Humala said Peru highly values its relationship with China and is willing to make joint efforts with China to push forward their comprehensive strategic partnership.

The transcontinental railway connecting the Peruvian Pacific coast with the Brazilian Atlantic coast will be significant to Peru, Brazil and China as well as the regional economy, and that China's participation is indispensable, he said.

Peru welcomes China's investment in mining and other industries and transfer technologies to Peru, which will benefit Peru's industrialization, Humala said, adding that both sides could deepen cooperation in agriculture, fishery, housing construction and renewable energy and strengthen exchanges in education, tourism and culture.

Is that interesting news to you? Do you remember when Peru news was mainstream here, Fujimori (not a Chinese name) and Shining Path being an insurgency based on Maoist doctrine? E.g., here and here.

For Minnesota, agricultural news is of interest, especially BigAg hedging its domestic bets internationally, yes/no?

Here and here, with more coverage of BigAg potentialities, speculative of course, but enlarging a spectrum for inquiry; here and here.

Not to suggest we lack news outlets in the US providing needed quality updates to happenings worldwide; e.g., here and here, with the latter site's most read today:

Is it people get what they want; what they need; or what is thought right for them by editors and other funneling mechanics?

Or what they deserve?

Locally, we have Anoka County Record and its unimpeachable "news." Many deserve that.

__________FURTHER UPDATE___________
Are we getting "news" here and here or just another warmed over retaste of been-there, done-that heartburn, from our last statewide ballot question experiences? Yesterday's fish here, today's fare still, down South?

__________FURTHER UPDATE___________
More diverse news, BigAg - it's rate of return, stupid. And where would you think Cargill is, in terms of preparedness for shifting norms? After all, it is a firm that likes economies of scale, and it has the scale to have that preference.

So, news about the big cash crop under the radar of many, paying cultivators big-time while demonized by troglodytes [a/k/a "Ingebrigtsens"], here, here, here, here and here. Yes, there is market regulatory policy at issue. The Economist, Globe and Mail, HuffPo and Sally Jo, all offer informative diverse views. Sheriff Bill should take up reading, as a hobby, once out of the legislature (which seems to take too much of his time for him to broaden and blossom).

It truly is a very narrow perspective on the hemp industry's revival displayed by people of the family narcs pray together, armed to the teeth outlook. Not that you'd blame them for wanting the family's cash cow to not be sent to rendering.

Bottom line as to having to ferret out news on the Internet: Republicans Awaken. There is more on the web than your chums setting up squatting on Facebook. And can you (without rotoring over to the link) name one Republican who has heeded the potential of agricultural diversity in Minnesota?

Indeed, under the adage "All politics is local," there nonetheless is more than good local news being posted by a recognized, legitimate local news outlets. However, under the same adage, we must be grateful for objectivity in local reporting - something being undermined in Anoka County and the fiction of a press without a real press; a newspaper without any newsprint.

2016 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION: Who against Hillary?

First, there is Bernie. Within the Wellstone - Warren end of the party, a great opportunity, but not viable against the juggernaut.

So, Republicans - Jeb represents his family's core values, consistent back to Prescott Bush, and might steal Florida as W did. But only if he is the one the Republican money puts forward. However, who else?

Huckabee is a joke, Scott Walker knows little but swinging an ax thoughtlessly, long term, and has surrounded himself with little Wisconsin people with limited worldviews.

Rubio is regional. Chris Christie has shown the quality of people he surrounds himself with and not only is he crony-prone, he picks inauspicious people.

Santorum will never have a major nationwide following and GOP money knows that.

The black neurosurgeon with a good demeanor nonetheless speaks, and makes himself the candidate from the Twilight Zone in doing so. Plus, where's the money?

Fiorina got sacked by the HP board, showing a history of talkiang the talk, but walking the plank. HP was a smaller pond than a global New World Order and she was not big enough a fish in that pond. Plus her political track record as a California Senate candidate did not go well for her or her party. Also, it seems uncertain who her allies are, if she has any.

That leaves Perry and Rand Paul. The best of the bunch. If you trust Ted Cruz, you might like him and spousal ties to Goldman Sachs suggests if he can do well early he'd be taken seriously by those financing the mega-propaganda costs in GOP circles (likely the same ones boosting Hillary because they know hedging transactions from their day-to-day investment lives - and what's paying into politics besides investing).

(Luckily, Fred Thompson is busy huckstering reverse mortgages on late night TV, where he always belonged, and not now monkeying around where he never belonged. Newt this go-round is quiescent, thus earning my gratitude. Bachmann and Pawlenty? In the Romney contest last time neither did as well as the guy who wrote off half the electorate from the get-go, and that's before AND after the Romney video went mainstream. Bachmann's main accomplishment during the 2012 cycle is winnowing Minnesotans down to one, in Iowa.)

Given Wall Street happiness with the known Clinton brand, and no strong candidate on the GOP side besides Jeb, so far, has any reader a comment to offer suggesting why it will not be another Clinton - Bush choice, November 2016?

If so, please leave a comment. In believing some like Scott Walker, for reasons I cannot understand, I'd particularly like to see his candidacy argued.

Ditto, if you disagree that Rand Paul and Perry represent the strongest contestants against the Bush family.

Overlooking Jindal in the above text was not deliberate. However, how many others in any such assessment might do the same? Does anyone outside of Louisiana take him seriously, with Perry having more style and panache as oil patch old boy of the South? Has Jindal made Louisiana prosper? If so, I missed reporting of such a capability.

Among the GOP options, Jeb IS the devil most of us know.

One last observation, among those seeming to have strong near-universal GOP love, Bibi is not a natural born citizen and already has a job.

That said -

There are other likely early exit primary contestants. Eric Ferguson here, noted two he viewed that way, and I can agree about one of them:

Ohio Gov. John Kasich had a fake Lincoln quote too good to check out. This sounded like mid-19th century English to Kasich? “You cannot build a little guy up by tearing a big guy down.” Maybe “guy” was used in the slang way we use it now and I just don’t know that, but I do know one thing: one of the signs of a fake quote is the use of anachronistic language. If a quote of a famous person sounds not merely convenient for a speaker’s point, but doesn’t quite sound like something they would have said back then, that doesn’t mean the quote is fake, but it sure screams for verification. Unless, you know, you’re John Kasich. Or as was said by Kasich back when he was just another microphone hog in the US House, “Someone willing to just make up crap is thinking of running for president, really?” Actually, he never said that, I’m reasonably sure, because I just made it up. But wouldn’t it be neat if he did say it? Therefore…

Rick Perry said unemployment statistics are “doctored”. Dave Wiegel didn’t mention the broader context of Perry’s remark, “It’s been massaged, it’s been doctored,” but what context could there be in which that remark doesn’t sound nuts other than “Only a grossly ignorant or delusional person could seriously say…”? Of course, this is hardly the first time Republicans have casually accused the BLS is faking the numbers to help Obama. So I guess Perry is just an echo rather than a full tin foil hat. Funny how they never release great numbers before an election when it might actually do Democrats some good. I’ll just add that if you think the BLS could somehow fake the unemployment numbers, and all of the many people who work on compiling them would go along with this without a slip up, you might just be ready to believe anything, such as “Rick Perry really knows what he’s talking about.”

[links in original] Kasich is a long shot, and it is Perry where I disagree. Yet he could be propped up straw man style early, by the press, as during Romney 2012 times.

If not suffering that this 2016 cycle, Perry might be viewed seriously, simply for being more alive and attractive a human than Jeb; i.e., more akin to "the W style" than Jeb. It might come down to who Perry's backers are and how they place among Republican movers and shakers.

For example: Has Perry friendships at Goldman Sachs the way Ted Cruz does? Both are Texans. In the who I'd rather sit next to at a bar evaluation, Perry or Cruz, who do you see having traction in that sense? I would say Perry. Throw in Jindal in that evaluation, and I still would say Perry. (At a guess either of the three would be friendly enough, while leaving you with the tab.)

Whether any such "bar-friendly litmus test" matters with those who have the capability and will to fund the GOP is questionable, especially given the clear lack of individual GOP grassroots willingness to cut a check that the Dems have going for them.

Dem grassroots people will even cut a check for Hillary of the immense Clinton fortune from being in politics history. When the time comes Dem grassroots contribute. Even those favoring Feingold, Sanders and Warren will get in line in November, and get out the cneckbooks before that.

Wall Street bets money both ways so that they buy a later seat at tables that matter, hence, their funding largely cancels out.

Readers, explain if I am wrong in thinking the GOP rank-and-file Tea Party people will only cut checks for the likes of Michele Bachmann as a token gesture against those unknown uber-wealthy slush-funders of Norm's Uber-PAC.

As with the money turning its back on Bills, and then the Bills people being lukewarm over Norm's folks trotting out McFadden. Etc.

It appears that many now in the GOP grassroot trenches are distrustful of Norm and what he represents. Or am I wrong? Is there universal liking across the GOP spectrum, for Norm, for Vin, or for Timmy, and their passage through the revolving door to the fiscal Nirvana of lobbying their former elective haunts, in exchange for money - while wanting to call the shots as surrogate public-faces for those paying to call the shots?

___________FURTHER UPDATE____________
An uncertainty is what after the Dem primary Sanders will do. He could run as an independent, he could endorse Hillary, or he could be supportive beyond formal endorsement. Hillary can quietly raise money during the GOP dust-up, not saying much beyond platitudes allowing wiggle room speeches from primary to election day, depending on what the Republicans say and do and how the polls suggest policy emphasis and underemphasis tactics.

We likely will see a vague pre-primary Hillary - always with "a vision and trust in the middle class." After the primaries there will be much spending, much mud slinging by PAC money outside of campaign direct ownership, and polling will set strategy. From primary to election day there will be summer activities and later televised football to avoid boredom.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Rand Paul filibusters for ten hours against Sect. 215 Patriot Act renewal.

Do the Google yourselves; = rand paul filibuster

The NSA has the whole thing captured, digitized, indexed, and stored in a server farm data base in Utah.

Not that fifteen hours would have strained NSA resources.

That capture, index, store sequence was done in real time, software directed, and fully automated (with the spook-shop system operators free at the time to be shopping eBay).

Because of a sidebar image I drew long ago and have used for some time, I could not pass on posting this.

Strib, this link

With Jeb's dancing with wolves over Iraq, knowing now, knowing then, true journalists should ask the guy, "Hank Paulson to run Treasury, right? A place for Cheney, for Rumsfeld, right? Condi Rice heading national security to be on top of terrorist possibilities, to be alert to the faintest signal and to nip threats big and small in the bud, right?"

Sack did not draw the rock large enough.

If this GREEN low-carbon-emission policy is not imposed on Connexus, there will be a sizable percentage of electricity consumers in Minnesota treated as second-class eco-friends - eco-citizens.

This link

Connexus needs to keep up with the fact we are in the 21st century and we are stewards of a planet with limited, finite resources subject to greenhouse gas threats to worldwide climate.

It probably is more a DFL concern, and something less important in Anoka County. The rate perk is, after all, irrelevant to big honking Dodge Ram trucks. 

Brian Lambert posts at MinnPost about the Watchdog's sidekick, and the shame the Republican fundies on the Anoka County Board brought upon themselves. Also, the comments to Lambert's item tell the disconcerting truth, as best as I understand things..

This link.

My guess, long term, the Watchdog is peeing on his paw by gaming this hummer upon the public.

And if the effort to torpedo the independent and credible ECM Publishing papers succeeds, you will be weeping too. Once YOU understand.

UPDATE: This link, if you want a Republican flak to hire. Here, too.

Sorensen's latest post about HF846, and reasons why a veto would be a good start to improving the legislation, special session.

This link.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Sorensen continues posting about HF846

The generic site link is given below the screen capture. The screen capture is from the latest Bluestem Prairie post this morning. Sorensen has an on-going thread about the Ag. bill, and readers are urged to check previous reporting there in addition to her latest item.

UPDATE: On another bill passed this session by the legislature, Dan Burns at MPP, this link.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

TPP, Elizabeth Warren, and a few links. [edited and updated]

Warren, (apparently her and not some grifter using her name), sponsors a simple online petition, which for Minnesotans might reach Klobuchar.

Interestingly, when you toggle to send the form it rotors over to a DONATE page. Politicians these days don't care to have time to read TPP because they are hither and yon shaking money trees; and likely in some cases incurring return obligations to TPP business champions, i.e., persons or trade associations or firms in international commerce.

Warren does not do so, and has to raise funds somehow so that rotoring a petition to a donate page makes sense. And is proper. If it takes money to run, you either get it small-donor, or from special interests. And successful business people do not buy tools upon which they cannot rely. That's unsound business.

If you don't care to help TPP opposition, the fight is lost. The small-donor policy contrarians are your hope to be actually represented and not in name only with special interests running the game. Reliance on citizen public participation creates no obligations, except to the public interest at large. The small-donor cadre has the freedom to actually criticize and suggest reform of the Main Street over Wall Street kind. And even knowing you cannot read TPP you know in your gut that international finance agreement, rigging money supplies and flows, is a big part of what the TPP pushers do not want you to know in your mind.

Not having a full schedule of speaking dates and glad handing money people gives Warren and other TPP opponents in Congress time to read TPP. They take the time. They are diligent, and do the Paul Revere corporatists-are-coming outcry after seeing what they read. Which again is something we are not permitted to read because citizens in the public are excluded from knowledge of how holders of power are rigging the game.

CommonDreams posts several items.

First, here, with this excerpt beginning itself with an excerpt of a statement issued by Warren:

"The Administration says I'm wrong – that there’s nothing to worry about," Warren wrote in a blog post addressed to constituents and the general public on Wednesday. "They say the deal is nearly done, and they are making a lot of promises about how the deal will affect workers, the environment, and human rights. Promises – but people like you can't see the actual deal."

Warren's statement came as members of the Senate Finance Committee on Wednesday evening — despite an attempt by Sen. Bernie Sanders to slam the brakes on the process — voted to pass trade promotion authority, or Fast Track, that would give President Obama and his administration the ability to negotiate the final terms of the TPP (as well as a similar deal with Europe), while relegating the congressional role to "all or nothing" up-or-down votes on the trade pacts.

Passed by a vote of 20-6, the Fast Track measure received support of seven Democrats on the committee and all but one Republican. In addition to Sen. Ron Wyden (Ore.), who co-sponsored the bill, the other Democrats who voted in favor of Fast Track were Sens. Maria Cantwell (Wash.), Ben Cardin (Md.), Bill Nelson (Fla.), Tom Carper (Del.), Mark Warner (Va.), and Michael Bennet (Colo.).

In his recent comments, Obama has called the TPP the "most progressive trade deal in history," but critics like Warren have responded by saying if that is true — if the deal is so great and wonderful — why won't the administration release the details so the American public can see for themselves? Though lawmakers have received numerous briefings and can see draft versions of the agreement, they are forbidden from disclosing the details of what it contains.

[links in original]

While polemics can be misleading, the term "Iron Curtain" nonetheless comes to mind. That CommonDreams item is fittingly headlined, "Sen. Warren to Those Promising TPP Would Be So Great: 'Prove It.'"

Money talks to both parties equally? It is hard to see it in other terms. Doing a nose count of Dems on committee as reported by CommonDreams; Wyden and Cantwell, well, you can say Nike for Wyden, and Microsoft and Boeing for Cantwell? Carper from Delaware, is from Dupont's home state. Other listed Dems favoring Fast Track in committee look to be from DC/beltway area, possibly championing arms merchandising interests (a/k/a the military-industrial complex, a/k/a the defense industry), and likely the Florida and Colorado Senators oppose in-state military base closures.

That is conclusory, without links to validate or disprove the guess. Yet, a clear key fact is that there is bipartisan support for TPP, i.e., GOP solidarity on committee with Obama's trade people. GOP love for giving Obama fast-track authority looks stronger in general than Dem love for the deal. There appears to be GOP trust for the people setting terms, and for Obama of the other party to back what the people setting the terms tell him to back.

Moving on -

Next link, same website, the title likely telling you enough, "Sen. Warren Calls on Hillary Clinton to 'Be Clearer' on TPP -- Senator says presidential candidate must 'weigh in on trade'". That's a point that is hard to dispute; except a proper amended title should pluralize "candidate." And that would cross party lines - any presidential contender should offer a policy position on TPP, as a litmus test of courage if nothing else.

Third, this link, which arguably is cumulative. It discloses Sen. Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin and the other Massachusetts Senator, Edward Markley, have authored a joint letter of concerns to the lead US trade negotiator, asserting among other things, ""We are concerned that the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) could make it harder for Congress and regulatory agencies to prevent future financial crises." Tell me this is not a legitimate consideration.

The above image is from Boston Globe coverage, here, with the Boston Globe also posting an item headlined, "The great deglobalizing -- Our interconnected world is shrinking back toward its national borders—and that’s a problem."

I have not found a fully cogent explanation for all the secrecy, beyond gentlemen with power exercising it behing closed doors because they like the doors closed. Surprise as a strategy - don't let them know what is going to hit them, until it hits.

That is an explanation. Not an excuse.

The above was edited. Posting a dreadfully written first draft was undone. Going beyond that, the CommonDreams excerpt above contained a link, here, in which The Hill reports:

The lone Republican to oppose was Sen. Richard Burr (N.C.).

In the most contentious vote of the day, Sens. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) lost their bid — on an 11-15 vote — to include an amendment in the legislation that would have required the White House to include enforceable currency manipulation provisions in international trade agreements.

Five Democrats — Cantwell, Nelson, Carper, Bennet and Warner — and 10 Republicans opposed the amendment.

Portman, a former U.S. trade representative, said the amendment was needed because the “playing field is tilted against us” and it would “allow our workers to compete.”

Stabenow argued the Obama administration’s process is “just not enough” to convince countries to make faster progress toward market-driven exchange rates.

After markup, Portman said he will make another attempt at passing the rule in floor debate.

The White House has argued that requiring the addition of currency provisions would derail negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and likely jeopardize its passage in Congress.

So unless the Chinese are permitted to undervalue their currency the Chinese are not interested in making a deal?

How else would you read that? Possibly also: The Treasury, Goldman Sachs, and the Fed don't want any international meddling with their own meddling; currency manipulation being an ancient sport of gentlemen in power, and a sport of gentlemen wanting to expand personal wealth by playing currency fluctuations, Soros being the poster child that way but Soros not being alone in gambling that zero-sum FX market game? The Hill further reports that, officially, the suggestion is along the lines of the Chinese wanting to be able to manipulate their currency and we do too with the dollar, as we have been doing, this being wording of the report:

“We have serious concerns about the inclusion of enforceable currency provisions in this or any trade agreement,” Treasury Secretary Jack Lew told the House Ways and Means Committee on Wednesday afternoon.

Lew has repeatedly asked Congress to tread lightly in pushing for provisions that could, in the end, do more to hurt U.S. workers than help.

“Enforceable currency disciplines would impair our already-successful efforts addressing currency practices through our bilateral and multilateral engagement and could grant other countries a legal basis to interfere with the flexibility of U.S. policymakers to take the steps necessary to protect jobs, support growth, and ensure continued price stability in the United States,” Lew said.

In a letter to senators Tuesday, Lew said other trading partners “have made clear that they will not support the introduction of enforceable currency provisions in the context of trade agreements, and specifically, the TPP.”

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) went as far as to say if the amendment passes, “you could kiss TPP goodbye.”

This Google.

Last, Ted Cruz's spouse is taking a present "unpaid leave" from being employed by Goldman, so who's got a guess of where Cruz stands on TPP?

Another Google.

Believe what Cruz reportedly says if that's your inclination. Yet if that is your inclination, (aside from somebody offering you the Brooklyn Bridge for sale), do you fault the Clinton Foundation and Bill and Hillary and their speaking fees; after their leaving office? An interim unpaid leave from Goldman while Ted runs is a big-time "So what - go figure." Senator from the oil patch.

RAMSEY - Him again.

Strib, here, on landlord bonanza out of renter heartache:

Minnesota is one of the least affordable Midwest states for renters, study finds -- In the Midwest, only Illinois is less affordable for renters.
By Jessie Van Berkel Star Tribune - May 20, 2015

Darren did a fine job ...
“It’s very sobering to think that a minimum wage worker would have to work something basically superhuman to be able to afford a one-bedroom apartment,” said Leigh Rosenberg, research and communications director at the Minnesota Housing Partnership.

The numbers in the report did not surprise local housing experts. Many advocates said they have long been concerned about wages not keeping up with housing costs, and how that impacts individuals.

“Unstable housing has a tremendous, well-documented effect on health and on school achievement and on job performance,” said Warren Hanson, president and CEO of the Greater Minnesota Housing Fund. “If you’re worried about your housing or it’s unsafe or unstable, that does affect how you live your life.”

Of 12 Midwestern states, only Illinois residents have less affordable housing than Minnesota. Someone making the minimum wage in Illinois would have to work 75 hours a week to stay in a one-bedroom place, according to the national report, titled “Out of Reach.”

Minnesotans previously fared the worst of any state in the Midwest, National Low Income Housing Coalition data shows.

In our Town Center: Let 'em soak their sorrow in the salt water pool. A spa. Granite table tops. What else would ingrates want? Affordable rent? Maybe Flaherty can build affordable housing at Town Center, tax credits and all. Redemption time.

Keep Minnesota Clean - a "please veto" rally at the Guv's residence.

Sorensen, at Bluestem Prairie, this link.

Be there or be square? Or at least hope for good weather, since citizens peaceably taking to the streets is a part of the political give and take. Also, there is that First Amendment Constitutional right to petition government over grievances.

It is called "public participation" in a statute.

UPDATE: Dan Burns, at MPP, this link.

Gary Gross posts his view, with quotes, re Bakk and Thissen separate perspectives at the close of session; about the session.

This link.

Anticipate a special session if veto promises are kept.

UPDATE: Special Sesson - Strib reporting.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

"We defunded Planned Parenthood." So, punch my ticket already, so I can move on ...

This link. Queue forms to Scotty's left?

Does any reader know: Has Walker publicly expresed any opinion, indeed any though, about TPP and its long term consequences, threats and promises?

One expects declared candidates for the top ticket would be accorded access to the secret situation; at least having an opportunity to read and think.

From my understanding of the limited nature of access to the TPP text, it would have to be Walker himself reading it, not able to take notes as was the case with Warren, (e.g., reporting here and here, and bill draft here) and sending an aide to do the scut work is not an option. It seems a failure to take that step is relevant to the quality of preparation and attention we might anticipate, were Walker elected. One expects each and every candidate, be it Perry, be it Santorum, or Fiorina, would read the thing in preparation for debates.

Jack Uldrich opines at Strib: Minnesota needs an iconic structure, pronto We’re competing globally for talent. It would help to put the “Star of the North” on the map, literally.

This link.

How about a massive Father of the Waters statue? It could have a plaque saying something like "Land of the pristine purity of nature, Boundary Waters, forever a Wilderness to Treasure." It could be made out of solid copper ore, and made to resemble Tom Bakk.

RAMSEY - Clearly to attract high class people to Ramsey Town Center a food franchise might help?

Yes, a Twin Peaks for Town Center; e.g., here, here, here, here, and here.

Class. Out of Dallas. And keep up the wholesome image or the franchise gets revoked. What could be a better assurance of quality dining? In a relaxed and friendly atmosphere.

Name calling, "socialist," or "communist," is easy and stupid. Look at the list and in a comment tell me which item(s) state policy ideals with which you'd disagree.

Residual Forces, Andy A. on his name-calling high horse, and gee, it is a surprise?

Policy listed items that are "socialist" and hence bad, bad, bad, to a superficial view; in a thumbnail: at the left margin (click it to enlarge and read).

I had to post the screen capture. I did not want any reader believing I am making up something. Andy actually posted that. Really. He did.

He must want wild-west laissez-faire (screw your neighbor - don't fence my range) stuff, or what? Is he against every one of the listed policy points, or would he agree with one, two, or more? When he does not indicate that, and bandies about name calling he thinks cute, what's to say? Is it a credible viewpoint, to you? To the CD6 and SD GOP leadership, who have made Andy a part of their leadership? One hopes more sober minds reject firebrand stuff.

How Minnesota Republicans are screwing rural voters Part 5

This link.

Tax breaks for family farmers? More likely of advantage to urban corporations, Cargill, farming equipment vendors, mega-size corporate farms, packing houses, Monsanto, ag-chem, and others usually akin to Republican legislator fixations.

If they do not pay their share, who does?

Monday, May 18, 2015

What I read on the Internet is sometimes confusing, and contradictory threads abound.

The above screen capture is from here, and if you click that thumbnail you can read what I now see as a puzzling part of the entire item.

Defense Attache Service
U.S. Embasy - Baku
Assume for the sake of argument, that "... to be called the Iraq State of Islam, something like that. And I'm sorry, I don't have the official name ..." was confusing to the person speaking because the official name might have been set as the IS, the ISIL, or the ISIS, each acronym being for the same intended operation. That statement is noted in the screen capture to have been made in 2007; well before Syrian engagement into chaotic war.

Then who would be "they" mentioned by Bachmann per the screenshot? Iranians, US Intelligence, others? ("... already an agreement made ..." requires more than Iran alone, to "agree.")

"They" gave her that shirt? My foggy recollection from back then, Bachmann had some near or distant kin in government service, possibly stationed then in Baku, or the shirt might have been from a Congressional visit. Who knows what to infer?

Next note that the Islamic State leader was released from detention in Iraq, while held in custody there by US forces, with the date uncertain, some saying 2009 [Obama time] with the weight of the evidence concluded to make it more likely 2004 [Bush time].

So, in 2007, Bachmann either channels nonsense or is talking beyond Intelligence Committee authority, as to possibly classified 2007 information. Again for the sake of argument, presume the IS leader was released as early as 2004 after US detention under US authories' belief he represented no harm to our nation's future -- or was possibly viewed in a shroud of secrecy to have a specific tasking or expectation, on release.

How do you read that other than a partition of Iraq was foreseen, and that an IS was planned by somebody, possibly the Saudis if not others, years before Syria fell into civil war, and now IS is claimed in news coverage to be generally regarded as a major regional threat with no benefit to the West - indeed a major regional target of US air strikes. If viewed as not a threat when released, than "not a threat" to what exactly; oil supply and demand, or more or less? To regional stability? The unfolding of a current civil war de facto partitioning of Iraq, along the lines Bachmann vaguely opined, is troublesome in terms of possible implications. Including that Bachmann's subsequent disavowal of her earlier comment might have been pressured as a secrecy matter, whatever the national security reach of Bachmann's comments actually were, given reliability evidenced by Bachmann's looseness with facts as elastic things to fit an occasion.

Where is Alex Jones when you need him? Forming an elaborated explanation for "biker mayhem," in Texas, during or overlapping the military's conducting its Operation Jade Helm 15? Jones should get into the what did Bachmann know and when did she know it speculation the above links entail.

And, again who would be the "they" Bachmann mentioned, given that Iran is on the eastern side of Iraq, not the western side, and that Iraqi Shia are in the east while the west is Sunni? However, she only named Iran. In the context of these confusing things, what is the soundest interpretation of the Shia military troops shedding uniforms and leaving Mosul in western Iraq at the opening appearance of IS forces; leaving without a fight; see, e.g., here, here and here. That last item in particular further confuses me, stating:

June 15, 2014

Some of the 30,000 Iraqi soldiers who retreated as a much smaller force of Sunni militants overran Iraq’s second largest city of Mosul last week told VICE News that they fled after being "abandoned" by their commanders.

Many sought refuge in the Iraqi Kurdistan capital of Erbil 50 miles east.

There, in a cheap hotel, which is now full of soldiers, Kamel, a corporal in his late 40s said that that senior officers at his station around 10 miles outside Mosul disappeared before the rank and file even knew the city was under attack.

As a result, when the troops in his company heard that key positions in Mosul had fallen to the militant force, which is headed by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), they fled along with thousands of civilians to Erbil.

Iraqi security forces personnel across the city did the same. It was not an orderly retreat.

Police and soldiers stripped out of their uniforms and abandoned their equipment on the road as they fled.

Evidence of this hurried disrobing is strewn around a checkpoint marking the beginning of Iraqi Kurdistan on the highway to Erbil. Camouflaged fatigues, body armor, berets, US-issue boots and even standard pattern underwear are piled in the dust around some breeze block ruins and a broken down truck.

Akram, a junior officer with the Kurdish Peshmerga militia, was on duty at the checkpoint when the retreating Iraqis arrived and told VICE News that the first of what ended up being around 180 Iraqi security forces vehicles appeared at around midnight on June 9.

Its occupants warned the Kurdish fighters that ISIS was coming, and suggested that they should run too.

“We could see in their faces that they were scared,” Akram said. Undeterred, he and the 12 others holding the Peshmerga position stayed put.

The Iraqis then handed the Kurds their guns, changed into civilian clothing and abandoned any and everything army-issue, he added: “They gave us their weapons too, they just wanted to go.”

The complete collapse of Iraqi forces in Mosul came as a shock to many observers, particularly as it was apparently at the hands of less than a thousand gunmen and they, along with the rest of the country's military had benefited from $25 billion worth of training and equipment provided by the US before it withdrew from Iraq at the end of 2011.

Colonel Mahmoud Ahmed Hussein, who heads the Kurdish fighters on the front between Erbil and Mosul, told VICE News that according to the information he had access to, the Sunni militant force numbered just 500 when it took the city.

“ISIS is not that powerful, the weakness is the Iraqi army… which couldn’t fight for more than an hour before they left and they even left their weapons,” he said, adding that it is likely stronger after local supporters joined up.

Retelling the story, the Kurds couldn’t hide their amusement at what they described as the Iraqi troops running without even having seen their enemy, despite such overwhelming odds in their favor.

But why did the Iraqi army retreat so easily?

External observers pointed to deep-seated discipline issues, low morale and poor training, despite the US investment.

Iraqi soldiers, however, said they were betrayed by some their commanders in the area, who they accused of abandoning their posts and leaving troops without proper support or leadership.

The Iraqi Ministry of Defense did not respond to request for comment from VICE News.

Ahmed Abdul Khadir, 34, a corporal with the formerly Mosul-based Second Division sporting a clipped moustache growing out into stubble, told VICE News that his company of around 200 men had battled ISIS for three days while the militants attempted to advance on the city.

There were 200 vehicles-worth of fighters, he said, and all were well equipped and fought hard.

Eventually, the Iraqi men ran low on supplies, and then, on bullets.

Nearby, Saad Ahmed Ali, 46, an officer also in the Second Division who had fought alongside Khadir but now exchanged his uniform for a suit and freshly pressed shirt, told VICE News that while they were battling ISIS, he and his comrades had requested airstrikes and logistical support from their superiors.

Commanders told them help was incoming, he said, but it never arrived.

The commanders themselves, he added, quickly went from barely present to completely absent.

“I don’t understand why, they didn’t even fight for an hour. It was only low ranking troops left at the end,” Ali said.

[...] Ali describes ISIS as a terrorist group and maintains that it was not lack of will to fight or discipline that caused the Iraqi army retreat, but treacherous leadership.

“We were well trained by the US and proud of it. But this wasn’t a problem of equipment or training, it was a problem of betrayal by leaders,” he said.

[...] Neither of the soldiers claim to know exactly why their commanders bolted, but they, and many others, suspect that it is because many are Baathists, remnants of the Hussein-era who remain in military command positions but oppose Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki’s government.

They have heard rumors that the Baathist officers sabotaged the defense of Mosul before joining up with anti-government militias.

The allegations correspond with a New York Times report which said Baathist elements had joined in a coalition of ISIS-led Sunni militant groups aiming to topple Maliki.

Many of the troops are bitter about this perceived double-cross.

"We believe we’ve been sold out, but we don’t know how... our leaders betrayed the army and betrayed us,” said Kamel, relaxing on a sofa in the corner of the Erbil hotel.

And were there Turkish hostages, or not? Was a hostage worry real, or a non-intervention excuse?

Most recently, the IS has taken Ramadi. So, you tell me, are we seeing an agreed pull-back with the press being fed and buying a line of disinformation, or is Islamic State so fearful a force that Shia areas need worry? And, who benefits from Iraqi oil production being war torn? Azerbaijan (can you say, Baku) and/or other former Soviet republics, the Saudis, who?

I hope, and would bet, the back of the Baku Embassy shirt Bachmann wears in the photo is blank fabric. Without any listing printed to it. I would give Bachmann that much credit, wouldn't you? Her beliefs and prior track record aside, she's more of a sense of style and appearances, than to be that crass.

__________FURTHER UPDATE___________
Another confusion I admit to is being uncertain whether anything documented here is a factor in viewing Iran as an evil to one-world New World Order stability and smoothness of function; see also, here. It is interesting that Obama talks of negotiation with Iran, mentioning nuclear dimensions, only; so that we are uncertain whether pricing oil in dollars is at all a factor. That Wikipedia item on the Iranian oil bourse notes:

The three current oil markers are all US dollar denominated: North America's West Texas Intermediate crude (WTI), North Sea Brent Crude, and the UAE Dubai Crude. The two major oil bourses are the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX) in New York City and the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) in London & Atlanta. As the Oil Bourse in Kish is developed through successive stages, the plan is to establish a Petrobourse as a fourth oil market, denominated by the Iranian rial, the euro and other major currencies.

Iran sits on some of the largest oil and gas reserves in the world. The bourse will offer 40 kinds of oil products. Iran produces over 25 percent of the total output of petrochemical products in the Middle East. At least 30 domestic companies and 20 foreign firms are active in the oil and petrochemical industries on Kish Island.

[omitting links and footnotes in the original item]

This Google? This? More confusion.

__________FURTHER UPDATE___________
As a thought experiment in anticipation of a host of GOP candidates for president debating one another, do you think any debate antics concerning Iran will involve mention of "oil," as a word, or only "sanctions," and "nuclear?"

Can you imagine sincere people such as Ted Cruz and Rick Santorum, or Carly Fiorina going that way, saying the "O-word" in discussions of Iran? Frequently? At all?

One bet I'd make, on the other side, the current Clinton in the race repeating, "It's the economy, stupid." Somewhere. Some how. Look for it. Altered to a new fit, not necessarily one size fits all same as last time, but with reference back to Sept. 2008.

___________ FINAL UPDATE__________
Wikileaks has posted purported TPP text: This Google.

Two caveats apply; first, have they obtained the actual true documents or have they found disinformation: Second, presuming drafting is in flux, are they posting most current versions?

Clearly, we do not have answers because it is a secret text.

I have not read any of the Wikileaks postings, largely because of the above stated doubts. However, a thought experiment and/or a research task some readers might like to pursue; in what Wikileaks has posted, what does it say about agreements as to currency in which signing nations will buy oil and refined petro products? Has TPP terms and clauses about which commodity bourses to use or to shun, and does it have ways and means for signing nation solidarity regarding criteria and methods for imposing and enforcing sanctions against a non-signing nation? (Such as Iran?) Indeed, would sanctions per TPP be something to be arbitrated in some super-national and secret proceeding, with the U.S. or any other nation surrendering to the collective TPP partnership national sovereign rights to impose and/or participate in sanctions?

Last, has any reader found any mainstream media asking and trying to find answers to such basic and fairly apparent questions? If not, another thought experiment,

Why Not?

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Flaherty news. Rough sledding in the firm's hometown. Luxury highrise apartment cost escalation and such.

This link.

HD 35A Rep Whelan votes yes on pollinator protective considerations and measures; HD 35B Rep Hackbarth votes No.

Whelan is a bit the brighter of the two; and on this vote it showed.

An image of the tallyboard, along with commentary; Sorensen at Bluestem Prairie, here. Sorensen has been following the pollinator preservation question; this Google.

It is a preliminary vote, yet, let us hope Whelan stays the course as the issue progresses.

I need help from a "birther" about what Constitution Art. II means about only "a natural born Citizen," can serve as President.

What about Ted Cruz? Born in Canada; ostensibly his mother was a citizen, but proof that far back, of her actual citizenship status at the time of birth is not clear to me. The birth certificate asserts her citizenship, but might that not at the time have been an uncaught misrepresentation?

His father was not a citizen when Cruz was born in Canada.

Help me, birthers, please. Submit a comment suggesting why Cruz is qualified, Constitutionally, to serve. That phrase, "natural born Citizen" has to refer to the common law in effect at the time the wording was chosen, doesn't it?

So, help me on that common law, 1789 question.

Oil slick.

This YouTube item, how many minutes can you stand?

TPM Livewire: "Russ Feingold Sides With Sen. Warren, Against Obama On Trade Deal"

This link.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Republican hopefuls, those with presidential runs in their anticipation, gain attention.

You want a fundie red litmus test. Here is that litmus test.

Eric Ferguson's recent item at MPP was linked to in the post UPDATE, below; and again, it is online here. It speaks for itself. Ferguson links to online reports of polling results; and unless I missed a link in his item, here is parallel content aside from Ferguson's links.

And to show Ferguson's reporting and commentary is not in any way some mere left-wing off-point local critique where criticism might not be due; read on.

First, some might say Fiorina is a target because she, as a woman, can be the attack-dog beat-up-on-Hillary GOP'er that would be able to do dirt, and not be accused of sexism. That's helpful to the rest of the pack, all male.

So, Fiorina might gain more attention than otherwise if attention were solely based on her likelihood of getting anywhere with ostensibly seeking the GOP ticket top spot. Check the litmus test link to see how, in turn, the GOP money spenders want Carly, for now, featured. Just standing in line taking her turn, in getting her fundie ticket punching taken care of along with all the others, but my she does get focused coverage.

In turn, a Bloomberg writer has twice written and published negative analyses about Fiorina, e.g., here with a great lead image; and here.

Next, most parallel to Ferguson's analysis, Bloomberg authorship again, a ChiTrib op-ed, "Republicans need to shut the door on this candidate clown car," this link.

Excerpting -

With Ben Carson, Carly Fiorina and Mike Huckabee tripping over one another’s announcements this week, we now have 15 declared presidential candidates, 10 who are exploring a run and five who could jump in, including the Harold Stassen of vanity candidates, Donald Trump.

This threatens a repeat of what Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus vowed he would never let happen again: presidential nomination debates that devolve into a circus.

[...] Still traumatized by the 2012 “dog-and-pony show,” which he called an “embarrassment and ridiculous,” Priebus has decreed that this time the circus can have only nine rings, I mean debates, compared with about two dozen in the 2012 cycle.

[...] Limiting the number of debates may or may not help. What Priebus really needs to do is limit the number of debaters. He publicly atoned for not doing it last time, but so far he hasn't come up with a way to prevent another melee. He’ll have to act fast to find a formula before the first debate in August in Ohio, sponsored by Fox.

Priebus saw the damage last time as the eventual winner, Mitt Romney, repeatedly found himself on stage with people who weren’t going to win anything but frequent-flier miles [...]

If Priebus doesn’t come up with something, the eventual winner this time will be sharing a stage with Carson comparing the U.S. under President Barack Obama to Nazi Germany or the Internal Revenue Service to the Gestapo. But Carson is the only black candidate, and that matters to a party that recognizes it has a likability deficit with minorities.

Similarly, eliminating Fiorina would reignite the War on Women meme. Fiorina isn’t as out there as Carson, but she has no hope of making a dent, given her credentials as a losing U.S. Senate candidate, who had previously been ousted as chief executive of Hewlett-Packard for a questionable merger and huge layoffs, a record that is likely to come up a lot.

[...] Let's say Priebus sets the bar at 3 percent, he would lose a few of the harmless former governors that voters couldn’t pick out of a lineup — George Pataki, Bob Ehrlich, Jim Gilmore — but he also would eliminate potentially serious candidates, Governors John Kasich (who won re-election in crucial Ohio with almost 64 percent of the vote), Chris Christie and Bobby Jindal.

As bad as the polling threshold would be, it is better than the alternative, a money threshold. That would only cement the Republicans’ image as the party of the wealthy, with a “pay-to-play” filter that leaves those who aren’t in the pocket of the Koch brothers with their noses pressed against the camera lens.

What the party elders need is a smoke-filled room. [...]

In the old days J. Edgar Hoover had files which could be used to winnow out contestants not favored in the smoke filled rooms, and even without that, when the bosses said "No," it meant "No, and don't even think about bucking us or you will learn the meaning of hurt."

And on the side of greater reason than that mess pack, and well the other side of Hillary, there is Sanders; making the Dem side of things something a little less of a coronation.


Wikipedia, here
If only Bernie could get traction. He'd be good for the nation in the White House, but expect a general election choice parallel to 1992 - a Clinton and a Bush with the likely victor a Clinton.

Jeez, those are sharp looking suits. And track down the original larger image, and look carefully at the ties. Like gangstas, but somewhat more discretely subdued, they each wear their colors.

This link. And lo and behold, that fundie front site having what actual agenda, saying Walker is soft on embryo love. What is the agenda, please; Bush anointment? Marginalize everyone else, that seems to be the game plan, so who is this Frank Cannon actually? Frank Cannon, President of American Principles in Action? Who pays the bills for that APA brand? You buy it, you own it. Ditto, Fox, where's Rupert's money bet?

Hey, a thought experiment - Google "Frank Cannon." All the first hits point to a fiction. Figure that one.

Oops, paranoia. Sorry about that ...

Democracy in action, media never at fault, and help me, what's the remainder of the mantra? You hear it from Rush, from Fox, it has to be true?

Why anyone would favor Scott Walker is a puzzle to me, but for those favoring him, please leave a comment about the puzzle I give you, per this update, and updating of this earlier post. It surely seems gaming the fundies and their gullibility is at play, but I might be wrongly reading tea leaves. (It might not be the first time a Bush gamed the fundies.)

So who bought the flag and podium, who rented the hall?
Another puzzle piece, you have to Google "frank cannon american principles project" to get the sleaze bucket. Individual and organization go hand in glove, so, who apart from that American Principles front is Frank Cannon? Learned and deliberative conservatives, help me understand. Answer the question.

A humble view from the left: You tube, here, and William Kristol is a gimme, and can you say: neocon? If so, can you say: Bush? AIPAC? Do you think Scott Walker just might be softer on Iran than Jeb? Where many might say "more sensible" instead of "softer?"

It sure looks as if an effort is afoot to paint Walker as somebody besides --- however it unfolds - how Walker, himself, sees Walker. Has Walker yet kissed the David Koch ring, having an audience with Koch, and would that even matter to Frank Cannon?

Does this look like grassroot to you, or astroturf?

_______________FURTHER UPDATE_______________
Astroturf is astroturf, regardless of which side of the fence it is installed.

Same question: Does this look like grassroot to you, or astroturf?

Hat tip to Andy, for posting a link to the latter operatives. It stinks, regardless of who's agenda is being propagandized by careerist political retreads delving into mud slinging. It cheapens the process.

I see Soros, the one NORML guy (the former "Director of Communications" no less) in there, and all, but my sight has age behind it and might not have the correct acuity to judge ...