consultants are sandburs

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Where is the Ramsey Reflector, if not Reflectioning in Ramsey?

County HRA dollars, a Ramsey set-aside, to benefit Crabgrass. The developer mentioned in the report; PSD LLC.

It's the Reflector's hobby-horse, not mine. So why the timid sleeping at the Reflections switch? Why no heavy lifting?

You Tell Me. Here's the Reflector's homepage link, highlighting the Reflector's image of perfect political correctness:

YAWN. Same old ...

Where is that intrepid activist of yesteryear? Watching Bowl games? Satisfied with his County's governance, in current hands, regardless? Busy lighting a row of candles at a Steve Bannon shrine, what?

On the eve of a New Year.

Taking on the UN on behalf of Trump and Prince Jarad.

Friday, December 29, 2017

As easily verifiable fact, what do Jeff Bezos and Tina Smith have in common - going back to the start of each?

Each was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico, six years apart. By seniority, Wikipedia, here and here. Also, each has had an elite university education.

An interesting aside, Bezos' news outlet, WaPo, "American land barons: 100 wealthy families now own nearly as much land as that of New England, By Christopher Ingraham December 21;" leading with this pie chart; biggest slice being no surprise yet the size of it is staggering:

tune time - click here

Privatization of federal lands is an expanding problem; it's not just Woodie Guthrie saying so. And Woodie's guitar label, it did not get nearly enough of 'em. (Right now, there's one named Zinke, another named Pence, and a Ryan.)

Why the Woodie item goes silent midway, don't know; so  bringing in reinforcements from 1986, (Mid-Gipper time), live and in concert, this.

This net was made for you and me.

“Starting with my friend Tina Smith.”

Headline is final sentence from this Strib item. Stay tuned for "Franken, the Sequel."

Where will he reside? Minnesota? Elsewhere? Doing what? A blank canvas.

Muddying the water, Strib again, 2010 version:

WASHINGTON - In mid-November, four months into his new job as a U.S. senator, Al Franken faced a testy spat between his chief of staff, Drew Littman, and his top legislative aide on farm issues, Mark Wilson.

The dispute ended with Capitol police ushering Wilson out of Franken's office [...] The Wilson incident does, however, highlight a newly minted politician's reliance on an inner circle of seasoned Washington hands led by Littman, a former Hillary Rodham Clinton aide [...].

"Al wanted to make sure Minnesotans weren't shortchanged because he wasn't a career politician," Littman said. "He needed senior aides with substantial Senate experience to ensure that he could be an effective legislator right off the bat."

Franken's senior management team includes legislative director Ben Olinsky, a former aide to the late U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy, and communications director Casey Aden-Wansbury, a former staffer for Sen. Joe Lieberman.

[...] "This is not a guy who has worked his way up from being on the city council to the state house, to running for Senate," said University of Minnesota political scientist Larry Jacobs. "This is a guy who basically left the state for decades, came back, and ran as a national figure."

[...] But given the frequent GOP critiques of Franken as a liberal attack dog for the Hollywood set, some analysts wonder why he has surrounded himself with a cadre of Capitol Hill veterans who have little connection to the state he represents.

[...] Wilson, who has worked closely with the Minnesota agriculture community, was upset to learn that a Franken speech on rural issues would be farmed out to Jeff Nussbaum, a Washington speechwriter for former Vice President Al Gore.

By some accounts, there was a heated exchange among Wilson, Olinsky and Aden-Wansbury. It led to Wilson's resignation, a decision he came to regret and tried to rescind.

"It would have been legislative malpractice to not voice my concerns over the lack of a Minnesota perspective," Wilson wrote Littman in a Nov. 15 e-mail.

Franken staffers say the concern was one Wilson had never voiced before. Final speech drafts, though based on the input of regional policy aides, often are crafted by professional writers.

By all accounts, Franken called Wilson to soothe his nerves and wish him well. But the next morning, with feelings raw, Wilson was escorted out the door.

[Italics added.]

Original sin? Standing by choice at the start neck deep in beltway insidership, should we mourn? It is a lesson for Tina Smith; who also can tap the Dayton experiences with DC, where the man was disgusted after a single term and the word "cesspool" became a part of the Dayton lexicon legacy. Al's "friend Tina," may we hope, talks to Ellison and Bernie, and keeps former Clintonians at a distance. Not hostile, but distanced.

In any event, with the 2010 Strib report silent of any explicit Wilson-Cargill tie-ins, it would be wrong to speculate what "Minnesota agricultural community" was contemplated when the report used such phrasing.

At a bet, "Tina Smith Goes to Washington," the movie, will not be with any blind eye toward feelings, needs and wishes of Cargill. That bet you can take to the bank.

___________FURTHER UPDATE____________
Will Collin Peterson miss having Franken as a voice in the other chamber in tune with Peterson's representation of "the Minnesota agricultural community?" Without any insider knowledge, none and guessing only -- just saying . . .

___________FURTHER UPDATE____________
More retrospect. That "c" word again, the one that's been so troubling for Democratic Party relevance. The "c" word that has had much of the established ones hoist on their own petard:

"So on this election I hope you will do all you can to make sure that Al Franken joins Amy Klobuchar and President Barack Obama to deliver the change that America is looking for," Clinton said.

[italics added] There is a propaganda variant called "The Big Lie."

Franken should be forever honored for reclaiming the Wellstone seat from the egregious interloper; recount and all. Never discount the value of that step. May Smith prove to be a Wellstone kindred spirit more so than a corporate placeholder. Franken seemed to fall between those continuum points, closer to being a Wellstone but with Hollywood in the resume. If Smith were to look to Warren as a senior senator aimed correctly, one to emulate and assist, much good could result.

Four Horsemen

A revelation.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Packaging it in a big sack. The nation needs leaders like me.

I am thinking of running for dogcatcher. With little thought or work. So, here is inspired text I could lift nearly verbatim for being as patriotic US of A flag worthy, and as apple pie American, as an auto dealership's lot decoration, or indoor plumbing fixture marketing:

Finally, this congressional seat [dogcatcher van] belongs to “you the people” and it is your right and responsibility every 2 years
to give custody of this seat [van] to someone you deem worthy. Before I ask for your vote I want to “earn” it. I want to earn your respect and trust as I meet you on the campaign trail. It will be a privilege to serve as your congressman [dogcatcher]. Let’s take the best that God has given to us, make the most of it, and know that there is not a thing we can’t do together. There is not a better country in which to raise a family, raise a flag, or raise expectations, than the United States of America. God Bless you all and God Bless America!

Yes, the original text needs context editing, but only on context. Otherwise the rhetoric soars, right?

Reader query: Whose words? What context? No link. No hint. It is the alpha and omega of empty-speak, surely, but for dogcatcher there is not a need to get fancy.

Superimpose it atop a pretty pristine environmentally pure image, to dress it up a bit with suggestions of yearning for somewhere nice.

ON THE ISSUES: I never met a dog I didn't like!

Monday, December 25, 2017

Tidings of comfort and joy?

This link.

Did the whistleblower get a tweet? One other than from his/her whistle.

Another document.

Stories: MJ, Newsweek, Newsweek again, Guardian - enough.

Another document.

Whose comfort? Whose joy?

A Christmas Tale, told in a trifecta of links.

In order of maturity of message: here, here and here.

May truth and happiness affect the entire earth; and may propaganda and false explanations cease.

The Clintons. Uranium One.

Where there is smoke, there is cause to investigate about fire:

As the Russians gradually assumed control of Uranium One in three separate transactions from 2009 to 2013, The New York Times reported, Uranium One's Canadian chairman, Ian Telfer, used his family foundation to make four donations totaling $2.35 million to the Clinton Foundation. Those contributions were not publicly disclosed by the foundation, the Times reported, despite a promise to publicly identify all donors. The foundation later said it made a mistake.

Others associated with Uranium One also donated to the Clinton Foundation, according to the Times.


Later, same item:

Stewart Baker, a former top lawyer in the George W. Bush administration and an expert in the CFIUS process, said he doubted that the Uranium One decision ever reached Clinton's desk.

About the donations, he said, "Is it possible that the Russians thought they needed to do this and that it would help them? Yeah, but that doesn't mean that it actually did."

Baker said it was disquieting that the Sessions Justice Department was re-examining a case that career officials already concluded warranted no charges.

"You'd like to think that that wouldn't happen often in a mature democracy," he said.

However, he pointed out that Eric Holder, President Obama's attorney general, ordered a new investigation into brutal CIA interrogations after career prosecutors had looked but filed no charges in the Bush administration. In the end, Holder's department didn't file charges, either.

Frank Giustra and Uranium One

Uranium One became a much bigger player in the uranium market after it absorbed a company run and co-owned by Frank Giustra, a Canadian businessman and Bill Clinton associate, in February 2007.

Giustra was the chairman of UrAsia, a company bidding for uranium rights in Kazakhstan. In 2005, after he had begun negotiating for the rights, he and Bill Clinton traveled to Kazakhstan on separate planes and attended a dinner with the country's president. UrAsia had soon closed deals for uranium mining rights in Kazakhstan. In 2006, Giustra donated $31.3 million to the Clinton Foundation.

The value of UrAsia shares increased seventyfold between 2005 and 2007. Uranium One merged with UrAsia in 2007, after which, says Giustra, he sold his shares and left the company — three years before the controversial sale of U.S. uranium mining facilities.

Giustra has donated more than $100 million to the Clinton Foundation and currently sits on the foundation's board.

[bolding in original - italics emphasis added]

Where there is smoke and mirrors, is underlying fire more likely? Sessions should have the Justice Department lift every rock.

Below, two possible witnesses with knowledge, as pictured in the cited report - do you expect any paper trail?

NY Times earlier reporting.

HuffPo reports on Saudi happenings.

This link.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

A package reportedly with little to no difference from its intended recipient.

"A package for Steven Mnuchin caused a bomb scare. It turned out to be filled with horse manure. By Amy B Wang December 24 at 11:23 AM." this link.

UPDATE: Crass. Vulgar. The package likely was left for both spouses.

FURTHER: A package earned, per HuffPo: "Bank Owned By Trump’s Top Treasury Pick Foreclosed On A 90-Year-Old Over 27 Cents. Salon: "Steven Mnuchin, foreclosure king of America -- Secretary of the Treasury for the .01%; CNN.

The Republican controlled Senate ratified the Treasury Department appointment arising out of the Trump transition team deliberations.

Jeremy Corbyn is the people's voice, not a corporate tool, and the Brits are smart enough to know the difference. [edited since original posting]

Unlike Trump voters who got handed an awful tax package, and still love the feeling he's their man despite his cabinet full of nasty spirited robber-baron billionaire pirates.

This link. Bless the Brits on this one. Trumpian voters are likely to again shrug and bend over. Unthinking habit being what it is; discernment being different.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

FBI impartiality on Clinton server matters, possibly Uranium One oversight: a sobering web search ALL readers are urged to try.

search = FBI agent Peter Strzok's texts with Lisa Page

First hint of something there; opposition research - Breitbart:

Given the source, second sourcing seemed wise, starting with the Big B item linking here.

Next, after looking at a few return list items, a further search is suggested:

search = Peter Strzok's texts with Lisa Page "insurance policy"

That seach led to items here and here. Each argues to minimize the range of implications that might be drawn.

However, it all is disquieting where the FBI in an ideal utopian world functions aside from politics. That texting stuff suggests a non-Utopian agency afoot, which means every citizen should reflect upon the news.

Breitbart making hay while the sun shines:

Whatever it all truly means, it is a highly placed FBI investigator and a lawyer being indiscreet about a bias in a way that hands critics a loaded pistol and says, "Shoot my foot."

Bad practice? Cause to fire both, not merely to demote? Readers can consider that. And should. Out the door yesterday would be suitable, as an opinion held by Crabgrass. Heads on pikes. That stuff should never have happened; however telling or innocent it can be spun.

It is flawed practice.

BOTTOM LINE: The Uranium One situation seems to now still be getting less attention than the public, arguably, deserves. With the texting thing, an unbiased Uranium One thorough investigation credibly happening might have gotten a boost. Bernie was robbed by DNC insiders. That's politics. This is FBI folks showing bias. It is extremely depressing.

A few related links:

CBS, setting out textings. I entirely agree with what the two exchanged; their assessments were spot on [except for dissing Bernie and others outside the Trump-Pence orbit]; but in their position they should maintain ideal impartiality while involved in an investigation with a target or targets.

Politico, a content based report of the texting between the pair.


CNN. Also CNN, here. That last item seems to show multi-party intent to put Humpty Dumpty together again.

Taking it tabloid; Daily Mail.

The order of the above listing is how links were opened in the browser; i.e, there is no intentional structuring of items. One bottom line conclusion readers may reach after some reading: the pair, Grinch-like, have hit Christmas without any actual kind word for anyone. One wonders whether there were withheld texting things about Mueller, trashing him too. Two pieces of work.

_____________FURTHER UPDATE_____________
This item, it is FOX, so it is over the top propaganda-wise, AND tweets do suck big time; but these closing paragraphs do spot a follow-the-money situation that should be considered objectively by readers:

[FBI person Andrew] McCabe’s wife, Jill, received roughly $675,000 from McAuliffe’s PAC Common Good VA and the Virginia Democratic Party, according to The group reported that McCabe was at the time running the FBI’s Washington, D.C., bureau that was assisting with the Clinton email probe and that he didn’t become deputy director until after his wife lost her bid.

The Justice Department’s Inspector General’s Office is reportedly probing McCabe’s role in the Clinton email investigation.

So Justice Dept. IG on that, as well as, again FOX sourced as a needed caveat:

EXCLUSIVE – Two senior Justice Department officials have confirmed to Fox News that the department's Office of Inspector General is reviewing the role played in the Hillary Clinton email investigation by Peter Strzok, a former deputy to the assistant director for counterintelligence at the FBI who was removed from the staff of Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III earlier this year, after Mueller learned that Strzok had exchanged anti-Trump texts with a colleague.

A source close to the matter said the OIG probe, which will examine Strzok's roles in a number of other politically sensitive cases, should be completed by "very early next year."

The task will be exceedingly complex, given Strzok's consequential portfolio. He participated in the FBI's fateful interview with Hillary Clinton on July 2, 2016 – just days before then-FBI Director James Comey announced he was declining to recommend prosecution of Mrs. Clinton in connection with her use, as secretary of state, of a private email server.

Early next year is the target date for the IG to report investigation results. It always seemed strange the FBI interviewed Clinton, rather than taking a statement under oath. Are the Clintons a continuing millstone around the Democratic Party's neck? Will the IG report be siginificant, politically if not as a matter of anyone going into the slammer? Wait and see.

Will the IG produce a "grossly negligent" finding in reporting, an "extremely careless" finding, or something exonerating FBI behavior, all or in part, one way or another?

Friday, December 22, 2017

Issues matter.

"Read all about it" is a lead-in to limited length articles that should be introduced - in a context - for example, as, "Read something about it; in Minnesota's CD 8 DFL contest."

DFL incumbent Congressman Rick Nolan is a generally well known entity in the district, so the focus of this post is upon DFL challenger Leah Phifer.

So -- Her campaign site, Issues page: Read all she posts about it.

As the lesser known candidate we all should make an effort to study her thinking as well as Nolan's.

In reaching the page, do not miss any of the "read more" links. Issues writing on the link is well organized and well thought out. Whether you like Nolan or not, Phifer merits attention.

It is early in the process, but being informed early and often has merit.

Gossip columns do not always have to be about Hollywood happenings.

This link.

“Kushner Companies has a proven track record that continually attracts institutional investors who want to align with us in our investments.”

The headline is from the final paragraph here; an item linking to here.

Aside from displayed real estate acumen, young, bright, handsome Jarad gets dad-in-law's Middle East foreign policy portfolio, or that's the official story which may be changing:

10 months after being given free rein to tackle everything from the federal government’s outdated technology to peace in the Middle East, the do-whatever-you-want stage of Mr. Kushner’s tenure is over.

Mr. Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, who had been in seemingly every meeting and every photograph, has lately disappeared from public view and, according to some colleagues, taken on a more limited role behind the scenes. He is still forging ahead on a plan to end the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, a goal that has eluded presidents and diplomats for generations, and he has been credited with focusing attention on the government’s technological needs. But he is no longer seen as the primary presidential consigliere with the limitless portfolio.

The new White House chief of staff, John F. Kelly, has proved less permissive than his predecessor. A retired four-star general who has imposed more order on a chaotic White House since taking over in July, Mr. Kelly has made clear that Mr. Kushner must fit within a chain of command. “Jared works for me,” he has told associates. According to three advisers to the president, Mr. Kelly has even discussed the possibility of Mr. Kushner and his wife, Ivanka Trump, departing the West Wing by the end of the year.

May there be departures; the more, the merrier. There's a fellow named Pence, . . . where what he knew when he said Flynn-related things still hangs in the balance; one thumb on the balance being Mueller's, with Flynn having taken a plea deal to tell all but with the telling only now being to Mueller team members and not to the pubic.

Not yet.

UPDATE: Putting together time lines for anything is onerous. Luckily, USA Today invested the labor of doing one re Flynn, etc.

At a guess, USA Today faked nothing, i.e., not one thing in that timeline is in error.

FURTHER: Email preserved in a sound chain of custody makes good evidence. Such emails do not misrecollect their content, with time or conveniences. Written words, well kept, can show if anyone lied or is lying.

FURTHER: An admittedly selectively presented time line, intriguing because of the editing,, online here. Folks at Inquisitr can post a great image, this from the cited item:

The governing value of a brand name in real estate?

Trump Soho scrubs:

On Thursday, the owners of Trump Soho ditched the President’s brand and renamed the property “the Dominick Hotel.”

The move comes after the hotel lost business over President Trump’s unpopularity among some former customers. Several NBA teams refused to stay at the property, The Hill reported. Los Angeles-based private equity firm CIM Group, which owns the hotel-condominium tower, previously signed a contract to drop its licensing deal with the Trump Organization.

CIM is paying the Trump Organization to walk away, the New York Times reported last month.

[italics emphasis added]

Blathering idiot: Some have "kissed the Blarny Stone." Others kiss up.


How dumb can a person get? Ask Pete. The man in his shaving mirror says, "Somebody else ...".

Churchill and Roosevelt are turning in their graves.

Not to mention who gave the land for the UN campus and building.

But, Petey knows better?

Almost forgot, this guy, who some believe has a sounder moral imperative, a more sagacious personality,  a simply better Gestalt, and a sharper understanding of centuries of history than a FOX talking head who cannot even throw an ax straight:

for the politically myopic, this educational link

Trump commutes the sentence of a convicted Iowa money-launderer.

This December 21, 2017, WaPo link.

The WaPo item links here.
Card not valid during Obama Presidency.

UPDATE: Dr. Spin rides again; a/k/a compare and contrast. Happy holidays for one family, from the first family.

FURTHER: The opening WaPo link also links to WaPo 2008 coverage of the Iowa situation.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

With a new Star Wars thing being marketed, watch for the Hegsethians.

Standing in front of their intergalactic battle cruiser which they disguise to look like a tiny house. Not Rasta, the dread is not in the locks. Full crew; here.

A candidacy annoncement on YouTube. GOP, but not as bad as if it were Limmer or Lucero.

Tina Smith now has at least one GOP challenger for the US Senate. This one has some virtues: not Tim Pawlenty, not Whelan nor Limmer nor Lucero nor Peggy Scott, with it hard to see this candidate having co-sponsored or promoted much of the divisive trash those legislators have fostered. But what issues do resonate with the person taking over two minutes to say, "I'm in?" Watch the video and then in a comment restate her key positions on key issues.

It is almost as if this candidate might say or believe medical research needs no impediments and living, breathing, actual humans, whatever their sexual preferences and identifications, are at least as important as embryos.

BOTTOM LINE: Seemingly less Middle Ages inquisitional than a GOP candidate might be. Hence, the bet is she does not get the endorsement and/or loses in a GOP primary. May there be GOP inner party voices and GOP voters in Minnesota proving me wrong.

All that having been said, an experienced former legislator has said sometimes compromise is needed to get things done, and if Ellison can defer to Tina Smith, others looking to nose count each of the two parties' federal Senators should heed Ellison's reasoning.

Neither party is perfect, with one less imperfect than the other.

UPDATE: Same person, 2013, a newbie entering the Minnesota Senate, interviewed.

Monday, December 18, 2017

It appears there is no substantial disagreement over the Tina Smith Senate appointment.

MinnPost, "Why Minnesota’s Democratic House delegation unanimously supports Tina Smith for Senate in 2018, By Sam Brodey - 12/14/17," online here, notes, in part:

Minnesota’s Democrats in Washington emphasized the importance of retaining Franken’s seat, which was not expected to be in play until 2020, as the party also takes on a laundry list of other tasks: defending the governor’s mansion, keeping Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s seat, holding on to three battleground U.S. House districts while trying to flip two others, and recapturing control of the state Legislature.

Fifth District Rep. Keith Ellison, also the No. 2 official at the Democratic National Committee, was the first Minnesota lawmaker to say that he will be supporting Smith in the 2018 election. (Ellison had been rumored as a potential candidate for this seat, a possibility he quickly ruled out with his statement.)

“The way we keep that seat blue and in our hands,” Ellison said on Wednesday, “is we gather around Tina and help get her in here to finish Al’s term.”

“Trump is in the White House, man. We cannot afford to not maintain this seat. It’s just too close, it’s too dangerous. The Senate has enough problems maintaining what it has. A lot of Democratic seats have to be protected.”

[...] When asked about heading off a challenge from Smith’s left, Ellison — one of two Minnesota congressmen to endorse Sanders in 2016 — said, “If anyone is looking to me, they need to listen to me when I say I’m supporting Tina, and they need to support Tina as well.”

“That’s what’s in the best interest of the people of the state. I’m just asking people to set their personal ambition aside for the good of us all.”

The MinnPost item makes it clear that Minnesota's less progressive Democrat U.S. House members, those aside from Ellison, each is in agreement.

Surely Minnesota Republicans in the U.S. House and otherwise may dislike Dayton's choice. That is why I used the word "substantial" in headlining this post.

ANOKA COUNTY - ROADKILL POLITICS? With all politics local, and the deerman having won an appeal; will some reader by comment help me understand an LTE mentioning Matt Look in its opening paragraph?

The deerman won; see, e.g., here and here. A breach of contract award of $420,000 damages to the deerman was upheld on appeal (see, e.g., here).

With that as background context, this LTE opened:

Dear Commissioner Look, as one of your constituents, please exclude anger or other emotional factors in any upcoming decision in the court case Ricky Johnson vs. Anoka County.

What has Matt Look to do with that litigation? Surely a $420,000 judgment is news; but how is Matt Look a factor? What might he be saying or be doing that would cause an LTE about the litigation to open with a focus upon Look? (Or what might he have said or done?)

In any event, one thing seems clear within normally accepted notions of the English language:

"All" in my life and studies has always meant "all," and not "some," "a fraction," "a majority," or "most." Certainly "all" does not mean "a diminishing fraction over time." On the surface of things, it appears only an idiot would contend "all" does not mean "all." Yet it did go to the Court of Appeals, so, should I modify the "only an idiot" thinking? Or, with the situation arising in Anoka County and possibly arising by some action of the county board, should I not? The online appellate opinion is sixteen pages long so it looks as if every conceivable assertion against the deerman's written contract saying "all," aside from mentioning the rule against perpetuities, was thrown against the wall to be at issue.

Any reader help via a comment to this post would be most appreciated. Was Matt Look in some unusual way involved in the instigation of the situation, or otherwise have cause to show anger over a judicial outcome?

A separate question: Is the deerman a Democrat?

Could the watchdog bark me some help? If watching.

(See top sidebar item.)

Friday, December 15, 2017

A newly reported candidacy for Minnesota Attorney General.

PiPress, here, noting, "St. Paul City Attorney Samuel Clark confirmed he is running."

A lot of names of attendees at the announcement event must mean something. The man seems well educated, (Harvard undergrad, Yale Law School), and if Harry Niska gets the GOP candidacy by endorsement or primary, there will be two bright candidates. Niska seems to pose churh-state possible difficulties, but would not be inept if winning in the 2018 general election. Political opinion here at Crabgrass is clearly in favor of the DFL when a good candidate exists (and then, there is Tom Baak/Bakk, whichever) so Samuel Clark is impressive, but so is the incumbent.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Getting one's news from the strangest of sources; a/k/a why would SD 35 GOP leadership be treating the rank-and-file base like mushrooms - in the dark, fed accordingly? [UPDATED - A GOP District 35 facebook page did sort-of disclose, barely, the Whelan step-down decision re HD 35A.]

The Google Alert set for Reflections in Ramsey rang in what's missing from other places. Why missing, dilatory predilection, or what?

First, the Reflection that resonated the alert:

click to read, or visit this link

News for certain, here in the hustings, Anoka and Ramsey, Anoka County, Minnesota HD 35A.

Single sourcing even with the most reliable online item is not as good as a confirmation; and under the Crabgrass radar and days before the day to be thankful, ABC Newspapers had published:

Whelan won’t run for re-election in 2018 - Nov 21, 2017

Rep. Abigail Whelan, R-Ramsey, announced that she will not seek re-election for the Minnesota House of Representatives in 2018.

Whelan, who represents District 35A, is currently serving her second term.

“As happens, sometimes life brings unexpected curveballs, and life brought me a fiancĂ© from England,” Whelan said in a statement Monday. “We have talked and prayed a long time about whether I should run for office again, and it is with some heaviness of what I am leaving behind, but also joy at what lies ahead, that I am saying goodbye for a season. I don’t know what the future holds, but I will not be seeking re-election in 2018.”

Never living up to my hopes for one holding an advanced degree from UM, Twin Cities campus, and instead joining with the likes of Warren Limmer in hateful thinking some could call bigotry; Whelan signed the infamous "bathroom bill" letter:

Readers can click the image to read it, and for context, this link.

Well, the overwhelming majority consensus has been that transgender people are human beings not deserving judgmental scorn - where a "first stone" got winged by Whelan and Limmer without any transgender provocation of the pair; and the mood of most in the "let 'em pee where/when they need to" majority stands in an image being the equivalent of a thousand words:

Demonizing any individual or sub-population is generally not believed to be a function of government, but with Whelan leaving the legislature and affianced as she's stated, she's done nothing so seriously wrongful to deny her forgiveness and charitable well wishes as to the couple's future; so,may they see a Golden Anniversary reached with healthy and bright children, each child a solid secular humanist.

Next, what about local GOP leadership's view of suitable notice to the locals, to the rank-and-file rote GOP voter?

Sources normally expected to give the GOP base notice of significant developments within the party which that base props up seem to collectively be wholly silent; presumably unless proven different, such silence is set to last until they've made a leadership successor trickle-down decision; or at least that seems to be the Reflections author's impression (that anonymous person presumably being some form of inner party GOP person, one who cares, more than I do).


with that last link showing up online this way:

Where that caption with its mean looking eagle saying "UNIFIED - INFORMED - MOTIVATED" is belied by the Whelan-related silence; as if wanting a unified, uninformed base, for whatever reasons official GOP site publishers are motivated.

Of course dilatory ineptitude may be used as an excuse, or indeed may be an explanation; but either way the GOP base may best conclude those three sites are a waste of rank-and-file time and that they may be thankful they have ECM Publishers - ABC Newspapers to tell them what their party big-wigs decline to mention, however the big-wigs are motivated.

__________UPDATE: WRONG! (in part)_________

The basis for error was seeing the Dec. 10 Reflections date, not seeing any December post on the three sites, and then neglecting to follow-up there per the ABC Newsapers report date. One of the three had this, (without the resonant huzzahs such news deserves):

That's a Facebook entry, so again, one out of three grabbed the brass ring.

______________FURTHER UPDATE________________
Regarding the infamous bathroom bill solidarity letter sent to North Carolina's Governor, and related matters, the letter is linked to in this CBS-Local report, see also: text (and embedded video) of the Whelan house-floor meandering response to a tax haven question here, Think Progress here, The Column here, and in all a deplorable anti-science damaging and obstructionist troglodyte record of divisiveness and a will to undercut separation of church and state - actively so with no hope of actually passing any such stuff into law, while on the nitty-gritty end of session two-party fencing match being an in-the-bag rote vote for Minnesota House GOP leadership. Foregiveness for all that on the way out is a big step, but forgive it, move on, and hope for better representation on real issues and not counterproductive divisiveness-mongering on the part of whoever wins that seat next election. Republicans like Jason Tossey do exist in Anoka County, thinking differently than I would in instances but not super keen to throw any Jesus-Evangelical related divisive snakes on the table; so we may hope . . .

Those grapes up there out of reach look sour anyway.

Yeah, and Luther Strange is a tall guy. He could have reached 'em.

Click the image to read, or for full post, this link.

On the web opinion.

The other thing that people aren’t factoring in is that his approval rating will improve when he signs the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act into law. The other message that the American people are sending is that they don’t have to get a chill running up their leg as long as they trust their president to keep his promises to improve their lives.

Closing paragraph, this link.

It is a while until November 20, 2018. We shall see.

Tina Smith. [UPDATED]

Tina Smith????? Huh????????????

Okay now, prove something.

Strib, "Tina Smith, a political insider, steps onto the national stage - Long known as a "velvet hammer" behind the scenes, she must craft her own public persona as Minnesota's next senator. - By Erin Golden and Jessie Van Berkel - Star Tribune - December 14, 2017 — 3:12am; mid-item notes:

Born in New Mexico, Smith, 59, moved to Minnesota in the 1980s to work in marketing for General Mills. By the ’90s, she’d parlayed that into regular work on political campaigns. She managed Ted Mondale’s campaign for governor in 1998, and in 2002 was a top adviser to Walter Mondale in his last-minute bid to hold onto Paul Wellstone’s Senate seat after Wellstone's death in a plane crash.

So prior to the stint at Planned Parenthood and the Rybak role, marketing cereal and over a subsequent career change, marketing politicians.

Three questions:

1. Who is spouse Archie and what is his career path and current status; what is the family net worth and annual income; and what spousal conflicts of interests may exist?

2. Elizabeth Warren needs a like-minded consumer advocacy champion as a Senate colleague. Is Smith it? (And again, what family conflicts of interest may come in the way of consumer advocacy and single payer advocacy?)

3. Is Smith on the record about any issue position, positively so, and not what might be inferred from Dayton's handling of Governorship policy, staff consultation, and ultimate Governor's office's decision making? (Planned Parenthood senior staff service in the resume suggests a pro-choice policy.)

Readers knowing of any good link to offer re those questions are encouraged to leave a link in a comment. Archie is pictured in a MinnPost report, and half-way pictured in a Pioneer Press photo. From MinnPost:

It is good for any reader wanting to research Archie Smith, since e.g. Linkedin has several and the man seems to keep a low profile. Certainly so, by politician standards.

Wednesday, the day after Microsoft's Update Tuesday, and the Minnesota Timberwolves at home against the Sixers did as well as Roy Moore.

But it took them overtime and none rode to the arena on a horse.

Also, they've got more game left in them, their season is far from over, and unlike Moore, they seem to no longer be a total joke.

UPDATE: Tyus Jones did not have as good an evening as Doug Jones.

FURTHER: Eleventh Commandment: Thou shalt not put two asses on one horse.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

For a placeholder Senate appointment, if Mark Dayton goes that way in appointing someone for the remainder of Franken's Senate term, what about Ken Martin?

Strib, in its own reporting and not carrying a press feed, published, "Gov. Mark Dayton won't talk U.S. Senate pick; possible choice Tina Smith keeps '18 run on table - Lt. Gov. Tina Smith still appears likeliest candidate. By Erin Golden - Star Tribune, December 8, 2017 — 9:59pm."

If, as reported there Tina Smith declines a Sherman statement as a "placeholder" in wanting to keep options open, what about getting a placeholder Sherman statement from Martin, and sending him to DC?

Yes, his party administrative post would require finding a replacement, but it would be a DFL opportunity to move progressively, away from the "same old" that saw both houses of the Minnesota legislature going decidely Republican during Martin's tenure atop the DFL inner-party tent.

Playing on an old saying, two rights do not make a wrong -

Ken Martin for interim (placeholder) Senator!

Or not. But at least it is an option Dayton, in objective candor, should consider. Also, presumably Martin would give a Sherman statement. Otherwise, he'd be Tina redux; with similar minuses and possible pluses.

Ken Martin's Wikipedia page link.

Housing in Ramsey: "Dougherty Provides $4.8M HUD Loan for Construction of Affordable Housing Property in Ramsey, Minnesota Posted on December 8, 2017 by Kristin Hiller in Loans, Midwest, Minnesota, Multifamily"

A short blurb, this link. Recent news, with it likely that readers' online research may provide additional information.

Stating a record on which to run:

This link:

Lori Swanson is the only state official in the country who kicked collection agencies out of hospital emergency rooms. She is the only state official in the country to stop a rigged arbitration system that was stacking the deck against people in favor of credit card companies. She was one of the first public officials in the country to crack down on fraud in the alternative energy sector. She repeatedly went to bat to protect the financial security of senior citizens. She stood up for rural critical access hospitals to help keep them open. And she shined a spotlight on the potential takeover and transfer of assets of Fairview Health Services to South Dakota-helping to ensure that the University of Minnesota Medical Center, and the related 40,000 private sector technology jobs, continue to incubate jobs in Minnesota.

Lori was named one of the "Top Ten Lawyers in America" by the national publication Lawyers USA. The national publication HealthLeaders named Lori as one of the top 20 Americans making a difference in health care. Lori received the Robert Drinan "Champion of Justice" award for her work to reform the credit arbitration industry. She received the Pro Patria award for her work on behalf of military personnel. And the Drum Major Institute of New York, an organization inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., designated Lori's predatory mortgage lending legislation as one of the top ten policies in America.

Lori Swanson is proof that it matters who holds public, more than ever.

Lori Swanson. Results. That Touch Lives.

Whatever the ultimate office being sought, a quality person with proven statewide voter appeal.

UPDATE: Again, whatever the ultimate office sought, a truth is: Elizabeth Warren needs a like-minded consumer advocacy champion as a Senate colleague.

One over-compensated obnoxious lobbyist, and several fog-a-mirror types mentioned as Republican possibles for the contest over the Wellstone seat vacated by Al Franken.

Strib publishing its own online content, not an AP or other news service feed. This link. First - Obnoxious lobbyist:

Pawlenty is now a banking lobbyist who shuttles between D.C. and Minnesota. The Financial Services Roundtable paid him $2.6 million in 2015, according to IRS documents. His lobbying work gives him access to the $15 million to $20 million that political operatives say would be needed in each of the 2018 and 2020 elections.

If a banking suck-up is the best to offer, there's little else:

Other Republicans who could be considered viable include U.S. Reps Jason Lewis and Erik Paulsen, state Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka and House Speaker Kurt Daudt, among others.

Mediocrity gets $2.6 million per year, and that means mediocrity stays at the trough.

Tom Emmer? Really Strib mentions Tom Emmer!

I like Pete Hegseth, giving up the FOX couch-talk thing, running and losing, then going back to FOX. There would be a Schadenfreude to that, Hegseth being Hegseth, with everything that entails.

Saturday, December 09, 2017

It is getting close to Christmas. Why not give yourself a 3% raise?

This link. Please do not call it "merit pay." Not with that bunch.

Sixty-seven and a half grand a year is nothing to sneeze at. With expense allowances on top of that. Print lawn and highway signs to boost income, and it can be comforting. More so than being homeless for holidays. Without any healthcare coverage.

Pete Hegseth - Is he aiming for the vacated Minnesota Senate Seat? The drumbeat suggests otherwise.

This video.

Moreover, is the mood surrounding the Franken resignation and the Roy Moore candidacy suggesting it's not Pete's optimum time to seek a Minnesota move.

Thursday, December 07, 2017

Lori Swanson has over the last half of the year been emailing policy-and-position items, not contribution solicitations, but pure issue statements.

The emails are sent with the footer:

Prepared and paid for by Swanson for Attorney General, P.O.Box 7066, St. Paul, MN 55107.

The Nov. 8 item, for example, begins:

People have been very kind to me as it relates to these communications, the purpose of which is to give you my thoughts concerning some of the challenges we face as a society. I don’t think a barrage of emails asking for money does the trick.

There has been a lot of commentary about the income gap and wealth gap in America. While many of the solutions need to be initiated at the federal level, we must roll up our sleeves at the state level to do what we can to build a stronger middle class. This paper—which is the first in a series—starts by defining the problem.

I should note that I was appointed as Chair of the Federal Reserve Board’s Consumer Advisory Council in 2006. I was appointed to the Council by Alan Greenspan. I quickly realized that we saw the economic problems of America through different lenses. Let me give you my perspective.

The Ownership Society and Economic Flotsam

The Income Gap. When I was a child in the 1960s, almost 55% of U.S. households fell into the category of “middle class,” earning in today’s dollars $35,000 to $100,000 per year.[1] Today, about 45% of all households do. The statistics do not show the real change, however, in large part because other members of the household have been added to or stayed in the workforce since the 1960s.

First, women in large numbers entered the workforce in the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s. Median household income rose even though the incomes of individuals did not. The climb ended in 1999. Since then, median household income has fallen.[2]

Second, a significant share of middle class households—approximately 20%—are now headed by people over age 65. Some have higher income than their children due to retirement savings and pensions. Many have not left the labor market. Middle class households in this age group have more than doubled since 2000. But older Americans are getting pinched due to rising pharmaceutical and health care costs, not to mention housing.

The Social Security Administration recently calculated the salaries of the median employee born in each year since 1932. A typical 27-year-old man’s annual salary in 2013 was 31% less than a typical 27-year-old man in 1969.[3]

The Wealth Gap. Income inequality is a major cause for erosion of the American middle class. But the wealth gap also undermines upward mobility.

Look at the statistics. According to the Federal Reserve, the wealthiest 5 percent of American households held 54 percent of all wealth in 1989.[4] Their share rose to 61 percent in 2010 and 63 percent in 2013. By contrast, the rest of those in the top one-half of the wealth distribution—families with a net worth between $81,000 and $1.9 million in 2013—held 43 percent of wealth in 1989 but 36 percent in 2013.[5]

The lower one-half of households held just 3% of wealth in 1989 but only 1% in 2013. These 62 million households had an average net worth of $11,000. One-quarter of these families reported zero wealth or even negative net worth.[6]

Put differently, the richest 1% own 40% of the nation’s wealth. The bottom 80% own just 7%.[7]

These matters are nationwide issues; not constrained to any single state.

From that perspective, this is a quick post in hope and anticipation of seeing sooner rather than later a footer about "for United States Senator."

There is that vacancy. More, later.

Litmus test: It's blue if it says "Single Payer."

click to enlarge and read "single payer," or go to this link

HD 35A. My district. Andy getting an early start. That above screen capture, to me, is worth 900 of these. However, with the nurses endorsing I have trust. The main complaint, I'd have capitalized Single Payer, but stylistically that might be wrong (even though emphatically 100% correct, lower case or not).

Andy has been consistently more of a moderate than me, but that likely puts him more in tune with the mood of the district. Unlike others, Andy seems not at all, in any way whatsoever, nor to any extent, joined to Eric Lucero at the reptilian brainstem.

(Does that characterization require naming names, or is it mainly generic in nature?)

Our Revolution has yet to touch CD6 or any major town or neighborhood in Congressional District Six. If an Our Revolution HD 35A candidate were to file it would merit attention, and a primary would not be overly harmful in product differentiation.

However, one bottom line - Andy as I've seen him, over a few election cycles, does not tout divisive issues having no chance of passage into law, (but put into the hopper nonetheless just to engender mischief and to gain rote attention and rabid approval among a distinct minority of Minnesota's population).

Andy is mature that way. Sagacious. Not an ineffective troglodyte.


UPDATE: Dead links. Andy emailed of his candidacy, with my copy of the apparently generic email having a website link (with tracking code included):

Absent tracking code, readers are urged to try:

At the time of the original post, the page had sub-pages, which may have been left over from the 2016 campaign, with a "dead link" error in posting resulting. The belief here is that before caucusing some of the 2016 endorsements would not apply unless and until after caucusing and/or primary selects for certain an HD 35A candidate for the 2018 contest.

The belief here is also that Andy, an experienced candidate, likely will emerge as the DFL's HD 35A candidate once things reach a point where each of the two parties has made its commitment going forward, (by some point in time, next year).

To any extent confusion accompanied posting above, readers have my apology.

Interesting developments on the GOP side regarding that party's incumbent in HD 35A (which have been made public by the date of this update - 12/12/2017) suggest HD 35A incumbency shall not be a 2018 factor. Hence, readers are strongly urged to keep Andy's site bookmarked so that as time passes his updating will be helpful to the voter decision-making process. Nonetheless, everyone should note - the headline placed on this post remains relevant and fully applicable, as policy here at Developers are Crabgrass.

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

The Republican Party's base addressed in earnest: Is it demagoguery against each other meriting Schadenfreude, or fear and loathing?

Readers should ask themselves: When saying demagoguery, about Republicans, who comes to mind?

Yes, a vast big tent there, but is there a lightning rod caricature above others, in the vastness of bad actors?

Yes and it is the Mercer Money Machine's darling, back at 'em in Alabama:

this link

What is masterful in all this stuff, the strange bedfellowing that results.

Utah must be a wasteland (besides around Anaconda) with folks there offered Republlcan Romney, or Republican Orin Hatch, you'd think there might be a Democrat in the state to offer something above blighted-swamp critters, but seemingly it is not so.

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Hegseth and truth.

This link. What is a decent retraction/correction, and what is just a twit tweet? Hyperbole from the ax thrower, is it that or simply inexcusable indifference to actual truth? Some might contend Hegseth should be fired over such slackness.

Alan Dershowitz seems to have an opinion about almost everything; but somehow he stays silent about Roy Moore.

You want the guy's opinion on Keith Ellison? Got one, which in no big surprise offends.

The Flynn plea deal; and he's got an opinion - nothing to see here, move along. Perhaps that op-ed is correct in part on the main theme of it, but wait, there's more, an added opinionated bias-bonus:

The first question is, why did Flynn lie? People who lie to the FBI generally do so because, if they told the truth, they would be admitting to a crime. But the two conversations that Flynn falsely denied having were not criminal. He may have believed they were criminal but, if he did, he was wrong.

Consider his request to Sergey Kislyak, the Russian ambassador to the U.S., to delay or oppose a United Nations Security Council vote on an anti-Israel resolution that the outgoing Obama administration refused to veto. Not only was that request not criminal, it was the right thing to do. President Obama’s unilateral decision to change decades-long American policy by not vetoing a perniciously one-sided anti-Israel resolution was opposed by Congress and by most Americans. It was not good for America, for Israel or for peace. It was done out of Obama’s personal pique against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rather than on principle.

Many Americans of both parties, including me, urged the lame-duck Obama not to tie the hands of the president-elect by allowing the passage of a resolution that would make it more difficult to achieve a negotiated peace in the Middle East.

As the president-elect, Donald Trump was constitutionally and politically entitled to try to protect his ability to broker a fair peace between the Israelis and Palestinians by urging all members of the Security Council to vote against or delay the enactment of the resolution. The fact that such efforts to do the right thing did not succeed does not diminish the correctness of the effort. I wish it had succeeded. We would be in a better place today.

[italics emphasis added] So an opinion on Trump, on Flynn, and as an added bonus a critique of Obama apart from where he was born, rather having the Alan Dershowitz memorial crying towel out over how could Obama have insufficient love for Bibi and Israel. Agree or disagree with the opinions, but please do not deny the man is opinionated with enjoyment coming from having his opinions prominent in the media of the nation.

What now, should we seek a Dershowitz opinion piece online opining about Roy Moore and the youngsters as a news item? Professor Dershowitz, have you any thoughts or slants or special insights into such allegations? Would you enlighten us as to impacts Moore faces and such?

Is silence golden, or merely prudent?

That question arises in light of Dershowitz's personal history, a story breaking a couple of years before it might have grown legs in today's mood over butt grabbing or not by Franken, etc., etc., ad nauseam.

Admittedly I lack a direct access channel to the inner workings of the Dershowitz mind over any things about which he chooses to remain silent. As always, circumstantial inferences can be drawn from facts where fact-based inferences might be correct or incorrect, but with likelihoods. Motive and intent underlying an act or declining to act, speaking on an issue or being silent, are shown in circumstances and contexts with a bottom line being that probabilities can be guessed from known past facts.

My inference is Dershowitz is smart enough to spot a "step onto a third rail and perish" opportunity and to avoid it where a history of contention and denial exist: e.g., reporting over the last couple of years, here, here, here, here, and most interestingly, Vivia Chen writing here and here; this screen capture from the second item:

Did he, or didn't he, what is the guess among readers?

A hat tip to Gary Gross for his LFR blog post linking to the above cited/quoted Dershowitz op-ed. Gary's online post titled "The Flynn Indictment" noted the thread of the argument that nothing really wrong happened until Flynn lied to FBI personnel about contacts, at which point an ancillary statute kicked in which applied independent of whether any lied about underlying facts were evidence of a crime, or not. His post caused a closer examination of Dershowitz's online opining, with websearch then uncovering earlier Dershowitz-related contentions, litigation, and settlement.

A websearch return list. One item listed there.

Presumably Mr. Dershowitz would cheerfully op-ed his heart out, contending that this stuff would advance a "fair peace" between sides in the promised land.

Monday, December 04, 2017

Flynn plea spin-off?

Empty Wheel here, " Next Stop: Jared, December 1, 2017."

Sooooo - If you talk to the FBI in an interview and lie; you have committed the crime of violating the federal law making it a crime to lie to an FBI interviewer. And that is why it is always wise to decline to talk to them in any way whatsoever about anything, or at least to want your lawyer present.

So then --- If you talk to Face the Nation, and say anything that's a lie, who is it you lie to? Merely the TV interviewer or to "the Nation"? And what might be a fit remedy, if lying to a TV talking head is not a crime?

Note that it is not yet clear whether anybody lied to Face The Nation. Innocence is presumed in a trial alleging a crime. Is it a proper presumption for a member of the populace of "the Nation" to have to embrace in any non-criminal instance; or can you infer whatever you want from what you may so far have learned?

There was an interview, certainly, and it's yours again if you missed it when broadcast, given the gift to all of us: YouTube as history. So, no claim either way here. Watch and form YOUR opinions.

As a passing note, creativity in turning a good phrase merits praise: One Empty Wheel commentator in the comment stream invented the term, "Indictment Advent Calendar."

UPDATE: At least one other Trumpster person spoke to Kislyak. That is worth remembering as the tale unfolds.

Did Obama attain a Nobel prize that ought to have gone to Putin?

The argument has been made:

Putin is the one who really deserves that Nobel Peace Prize, By K.T. McFarland, Published September 10, 2013, Fox News

In one of the most deft diplomatic maneuvers of all time, Russia’s President Putin has saved the world from near-certain disaster. He did so without the egoistical but incompetent American president, or his earnest but clueless Secretary of State, even realizing they had been offered a way out of the mess they’d created.

The eventful day started out Monday morning with the Obama administration making a full court press for an American attack on Syria: lobbying members of Congress, scheduling an historic series of presidential interviews with top news anchors, and sending Secretary Kerry to London to persuade our reluctant allies to scramble their jets, too.

Then Secretary Kerry made an off-hand comment that the only way an American attack would be called off is if the Syrians turn over all their chemical weapons to an international body. Then he added, “but that isn’t going to happen.”

[...] The fact is Obama seemed headed for an attack on Syria that no one wanted and few thought would succeed. Most thought it would only end in disaster, either with the U.S. drawn into an attack/retaliation cycle of escalation that could go on for years and spread into a regional war, or result in the overthrow of President Assad by an Al Qaeda affiliated rebels.

While the Russians may have toyed with the idea of letting American get bogged down in yet another losing Middle East war, they didn’t want to risk a war that might pull them in, or lose control of the Assad government to radical Sunni jihadists.

So Putin stepped in and threw Obama a lifeline.

For a few hours it seemed Obama might not grab at it. But he has, and will no doubt claim full credit for it being his idea all along.

[...] But the world knows that Vladimir Putin is the one who really deserves that Nobel Peace Prize.

It turns out that leading from behind left a big opening up front. Putin stepped right in. And Obama still hasn't figured it out.

An easy ploy, address the argument with "FOX is bullshit" and move on. Upon further examination are there nuances? FOX affectionate toward Russia and Putin, in fall of 2013, while arguably noteworthy in not being thought a FOX policy bias that is widespread, might mean the anomaly is siginificant. But is this aimed less as a love-in for Putin and more directed to the FOX contentions at the time that besides being a black man Obama was clueless and inept to need Russian largesse - a Russian, or somebody, to set him and his administration straight and to prevent a war quagmire in Syria?

While the evidence presented in the item is scant, another nuance might be consideration of the messenger beyond the message, and to consider intervening concerns. I.e., the "Where Are They Now" dimension of analysis. This link.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Boston Globe carries an op-ed, "The tax bill shouts, ‘Greed!’ - Associated Press - Jeffrey D. Sachs, November 28, 2017."

Here, beginning:

The nation faces a fiscal crisis (rising debt, large deficits, and major budget needs such as infrastructure), a social crisis (falling incomes for the bottom half), and a political crisis (a collapse of trust in public institutions). The public is against Donald Trump’s tax proposals. Yet the unstoppable mode of the Republican Party is to cut taxes for the rich. This is greed fueled by the arrogance of power.

The Senate version of the tax cut hasn’t yet been agreed on by key Republican senators, but Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell will try this week to move it almost instantaneously from its unveiling to a floor vote. The Congressional Budget Office has just shown that, under this bill, the poorest Americans actually pay for the richest. Yet if McConnell has his way, there will be no hearings and no expert debate on a piece of legislation that will affect trillions of dollars and all Americans. Authoritarian regimes are more transparent than Washington.

The United States has become a plutocracy, a government of the rich, by the rich, and for the rich. Every branch of government is dangerously affected.

President Donald Trump has an estimated net worth of $3.1 billion and a trail of corporate bankruptcies, swindles, money laundering, and defaults associated with his business dealings. He owes his net worth to his daddy. He now aims to secure the Trump family billions by eliminating the estate tax.

Meanwhile, Trump’s cabinet is a haven of multimillionaires and billionaires, and at least seven of the nine Supreme Court justices are millionaires. Roughly 300 members of Congress (out of 535) are millionaires. They don’t need the goading of lobbyists to vote for corporate tax cuts. They have their personal financial balances firmly in mind.

Then of course come the campaign donors of the Republican majority in Congress, led by billionaires David and Charles Koch, Robert Mercer, and Sheldon Adelson. The Koch Brothers have long peddled the noxious ideology of Ayn Rand, which holds that the rich owe nothing to society.

A few congressmen have made clear that the tax bill is about meeting the expectation of the Republican Party donors, not about the will or need of the public. If they don’t pass the tax cut, the donors won’t come back. Still worse, the big donors threaten to run ads and primary-election opponents against those who dare to speak the truth. Those Republican congressmen who aren’t operating for their personal wealth live in fear of the party’s mega-donors.

Ending -

[...] Wall Street, the health care industry, and other major sectors disproportionately influence the policies of both parties. Supported by advisors from Wall Street, Bill Clinton deregulated the banks, George W. Bush led us into the 2008 financial crisis, and Barack Obama bailed out and coddled the bankers. And now Trump seeks to reward them with a new round of tax cuts.

Plutocracies are self-feeding. Wealth feeds power and power feeds wealth. Yet eventually the runaway greed, unless checked early enough, will lead to a mega-crisis. [...] The timing is especially inopportune, since America is challenged as never before by the global shifts of economic, diplomatic, and military power.

The long-term hope for America is a new political movement by the poor and working class, as occurred in the populist-progressive era at the end of the 1800s, the union organizing of the 1930s, and the civil rights movement of the 1960s. If history is a guide, the plutocrats are overplaying their hand and will reap the consequences, albeit with the risk of a very serious national crisis. If we are fortunate, America may yet escape a grievous self-inflicted wound in the coming weeks, if just a few Republican Senators put country over greed and vote down the egregious tax-cut proposals.

Are there any legitimate grounds to disagree? Why then are the tweets and mainstream media aimed at diverting attention from the tax bonanza for the rich? Who cares about kneeling football players, and why bother me over supposed embryo plight? The obvious answer, they act brazenly because they believe the public is either too dumb to catch on or too fragmented by propaganda aimed at divide-and-conquer to have an outlook that matters.

Hello, Eric Lucero and Abigale Whelan. And to their cohorts, hawking divisiveness from lower political levels up.

They may be right, about "too dumb to be cohesive" over the many fiscal indecencies inflicted upon all segments of our less financially fortunate people, irrespective of race, creed, or national origin.

Riling people up over differences of the race, creed, or national origin of others seems to divert popular anger from its very best target - those taking gross advantage over their fellow citizens, and smugly enjoying doing it.

If a border wall is really needed, ... why ignore the Corps?

Why not delegate the border infrastructure to the Corps? Is there any really sound reason not to? Obviously need vs. want is a debatable policy factor in terms of any wall planning. Aside from that and presuming a wall will be designed and built, why use privateers instead of the Army Corps of Engineers?

The Corps does big-time water irrigation and flood control projects, maintains and enhances navigable waterway infrastructure, and has the size and expertise, given adequate funding, to do the wall job without marking up costs to inflate profiteering.

Give the Corps the jurisdiction, then stand aside as they'd do the job. Trump should have the legislative votes needed; the Republicans want the wall and many western Republicans are keen on their water projects. If the Corps is best for river commerce and massive crop and livestock irrigation spending, why not for border infrastructure?

Again, whether a wall is needed is a separate political question from how one would be most efficiently financed and built.

Use of the Corps would moot all trashy politics of who'd get to make big money off the adventure. Bechtel and Carlyle Group intentions and shenanigans are part of history in recent regimes (dating to pre-Watergate times), but big infrastructure profiteering need not be a perpetual handmaiden to government policies and services. Halliburton's excessive profiteering off Iraq discredits forever the notion of various well-placed politicized defense contractors having a hands-off entitlement to fleece the government. No such entitlement exists, and if a border wall is to be built, Halliburton-in-Iraq levels of ineffectiveness-for-profit are not needed, and would be undesirable on ethics grounds.

Just as government could better provide a close management of the nation's health services, the Corps like the VA gets the job done, thereby proving the private sector is but an option, and not necessarily the best one, while certainly not a necessity.

Instead of the Corps, who? That two-man venture out of Montana that got the Puerto Rico electric grid contract? Left to Zinke and the Republcan will, the two Whitefish Montana contractors would have a better shot at things than the Corps? Presently? Yes/no?

One last observation and readers can look it up. Effectiveness. Gen. Leslie Groves managed the military's building of the Pentagon and after that he was picked to run the Manhattan Project. With that in the military's resume, grounds to discredit government project management efficiency fail to exist.

There's a track record in those two mega-projects that the private sector cannot match. Moreover, when the TVA and Bonneville power projects happened, it was federal involvement at all levels of the rural electrification program that made it work as quickly as it did, pre-WW II.

BOTTOM LINE: Don't ignore the Corps.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Conventional beltway lobbyist, media, donor, consultancy, and career-politician wisdom: Moneycrats' consultancies "know how to win" and can Pontificate endlessly about it, often making a good living. At its worse terrible as well as stupid advice can be given. E.g. Mook/Podesta/handler overscripting Clinton moves and mannerisms, making the woman look even less genuine and more like a walking, talking ventriloquist's machine via overrehersing enough to kill any possible chance of pleasant spontaniety arising. Conventional beltway wisdom, conventionally practiced, can appear stupid to regular people, but do these inbred beltway types know or care if the paycheck pays the bills with something left over until next election's need for punditry arrives? Bad punditry, of all places, at Politico? You read. You decide: Is there heft to any beltway punditry summed up as, "Lie to the evangelicals or at least tone it down?"

Just because something has been done does not make it right. Lying to evangelical folks in order to entice their vote is a conventional corporatist GOP approach (standing analogous to the corporate Democrat candidates' lying every election to progressives).

Lying to the fundies is in fact the chute George W. Bush (with Billy Graham's blessing) exploited in his reaching the White House, but that by itself does not make it a good thing, or a sharp tactical step for every candidate, every contest, either party. Yet, the fundies have been used, every time there's been an election ever since the Gipper succeeded via that shallow route of ends and means.

Dominionists on both sides of the lie are the worse, giving prompt false witness and accepting it all too readily even when common sense cautions otherwise. Dominionists serve corporate voting aims (and corporatist/Doninionist candidates such as Greg Gianforte in Montana) via their herd instinct which arguably sacrifices good sense to working as a major "in the GOP bag" constituency for GOTV purposes despite neither party's top management, both parties, thinking the evangelicals are much besides brain-wearied kooks who if reasonable should expect nothing but near-election lying of the worse false-promising kind to move the grunting beast to do its seemingly perpetual task of showing up on election day in droves and voting Republican. Then to be ignored until needed again, next election, when they get promised to, same way, yet again.

opening of a Politico op-ed item which gives free advice

Given that things are as they are, some beltway punditry goes afoul of good, plain, common sense, if suggesting it believes itself. Is the message to be false and lie, or to tone down a message where you may not win any fundie votes, but you try not to incite greater droves of them being driven to vote? Is it necessary to say don't deliberately molest a hornets' nest if it can be quietly sidestepped? Is that actual punditry? From late in the item to its ending:

In 2015, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of a Muslim employee of an Abercrombie & Fitch store who was told her hijab did not align with the companies “aesthetic,” and she would have to remove it or be fired.

And therein lies a possible path forward for Jones. Moore promises to be a champion for evangelicals, but there are few things that would be deadlier to evangelicals’ politics than to be represented in the United States Senate by a bomb-thrower like Moore. The religious freedom of Christian employees to follow their faith, or of Christian institutions to organize around their beliefs, is inextricably tied to the right of Muslims, Sikhs, Jewish Americans and other faiths to do the same. At what point has Moore proven successful in defending religious freedom? He has cynically used the issue to advance his own career, and constantly undermines it with his attacks on non-Christians. Jones should tell Alabamians that he, unlike Moore, understands that religious freedom is either going to be protected for everyone or it will fail to exist for anyone, and he should commit to applying the same skill and passion to the issue he employed in prosecuting the KKK.

Moore looks like a prophet to some, because he’s warned all along that Washington would force its values on places like Alabama. In 2006, 81 percent of Alabama voters supported a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, and fewer than 10 years later their vote was overturned by the Supreme Court of the United States. Jones should be able to affirm that decision, while also making clear that he does not think it mandates the government to exert pressure to change the teachings of Alabama’s churches or faithful. This may sound obvious, and it is, but that is exactly why Jones should say it: Demogogues like Moore prey on the fears of evangelical voters, relying on Democrats’ unwillingness to even make basic attempts to speak their language or appeal for their votes.

None of this would require Jones to compromise his integrity, though national Democrats and some activists might get queasy if, say, he does promise to vote “present” on abortion. If that happens, they should remember: Jones would represent another key vote on protecting Obamacare, the social safety net, voting rights and criminal justice reform. It would also mean that Alabama would no longer be sending two pro-life votes to the Senate, which would be extraordinary in itself, and could play a deciding factor in key votes. And even more importantly, a morally repugnant candidate would be kept out of the world’s greatest deliberative body and denied a national platform to spread his noxious, divisive views.

In scripture, the phrase “stumbling block” refers to actions that might give reason for a Christian to not do what they ought to do anyways. Doug Jones appears to be a good man, with a sterling reputation and a history of fighting for justice. But to win, he’s going to have to remove obstacles that are preventing evangelical voters from embracing him. Being a better person than Roy Moore is not enough: He’s going to have to do everything he can, within the bounds of his own conscience, to reasssure Alabamians that he won’t be pushing an agenda on social issues that’s out of step with their values. We’re counting on him. As Jesus said in Luke 17:1, “Occasions for stumbling are bound to come, but woe to anyone by whom they come!”

Is this berating the obvious; is it anything beyond "Try to leave sleeping dogs lie;" or is it suggesting an upwind action more likely than not to get Doug Jones very wet, should he take it as good advice? Or should Jones honestly and boldly set out an agenda aimed at causing a progressive GOTV rather than trying to sneak away from what the Roy Moore supporters will be hammering on in their GOTV effort?

Ossoff in the Georgia special election played "avoid the questions," and lost. Rob Quist in the Montana special election differentiated himself, even inviting Bernie to help campaign, and lost. Each of those two special elections cost a ton of money on both sides, and this one likely will be similar.

Does that mean those consultancy answers of wheedle the rich bozo donor bloc for money are the only or best feasible ways and means of progressives' needs being recognized and met?