consultants are sandburs

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?

Sunday, November 19, 2017

"Sidelined by scandal, Sen. Al Franken faces questions about ability to do his job -- A once-bright political career now hangs in the balance. By Jennifer Brooks, Star Tribune, November 19, 2017 — 8:00am"

The headline above is from Strib, a local content item and not a news service feed, the item being online here.

Roy Moore losing in Alabama would be fine. Not because he chased teenagers while in his thirties and a prosecutor; but because he's a Dominionist and an ass. He should stay home with his Judaeo-Christian rock. It is his Rock-of-Gibraltar comfort toy in life so let his good times roll. Just not in DC.

As to Franken, his problem is not Leeann Tweeden and he should not stand aside over that.

Franken's problem is he's been in DC in the Wellstone seat for a few years and has not done jack for single payer healthcare as a right, nor for student debt relief, nor for income inequality reform, nor for campaign finance reform.

He's been there. He's not committed to a progressive agenda, and should stand aside over that, so somebody who cares can then occupy the Wellstone seat; somebody who would do right by it.

Were Al to have a "road to Damascus" sudden progressive epiphany, and then to get productive on things that matter; then Al, feel welcome to stay. You'd be earning it.

But if little substance emerges, Al still stands the better of Paulsen or Jason Lewis, indeed for that matter, the better of Timmy P. by any unbiased measure. The clear better of Norm Coleman even while needing a recount to oust Norm from DC. Better in the seat than any the GOP may advance, but in the way of a more progressive activist having a shot at doing good from holding the Wellstone seat.

And while Amy's not claimed to have harassed or pestered anybody, she surely could use a fine shot of progressivism to leaven her demeanor and worldview. Were Amy on policy the way Elizabeth Warren is, now that surely would upgrade the product. If you wait for that, fine, but don't expect it.

That said, is Al getting "the treatment" as payback over his opposition to this schmuck as Supreme Court material, fit to sit along with the able jurist for whom he clerked out of law school?

That Strass and Thomas belong in the same league is clear. Equally clear, it is not major league, neither being major leaguers in capability or worldview.
The days of Justice Douglas and Justice Brennen are being dishonored by the likes of John Roberts. Usually the dregs precipitate out while the cream rises, but current DC personalities and trends have turned that topsy-turvy.

Last, if you do not see that Strib headlining which was reposted verbatim to headline this blog post as being over the top sensationalism, then we disagree.

UPDATE: The question for Al Franken both before and after the Tweeden business hit the fan was and remains willingness to do the job, not ability, the job being commensurate with it being the Wellstone seat.

Willingness to be decent when in DC it seems indecency pays better, has Bernie and Warren as its poster children, and others as less willing; less able.

Friday, November 10, 2017

God, NO!

Neither in the image are Presidential. Yet one seems to think otherwise.

An early-item quote:

For the first time in what would be the sixth presidential campaign that he’s either seriously flirted with or launched, Biden sees an argument for a candidacy for which he is the only answer: An elder statesman who can help repair the damage and divisions in the country and around the world, unite the competing wings of the Democratic Party, and appeal to traditional Democratic voters who fled last year for Trump.

The man has drunk Clinton Balloon Drop koolaid and it's addled his head. He'd loose. Bernie would win, just as he would have . . .

Easy appeasers, line up. Biden wants you. No real and honest progressive, after Obama's two terms and the Perez/Ellison back stab at DNC would want Biden. Fatally flawed is as it is.

Thursday, November 09, 2017

A party hijacked by a pair of grifter spouses cannot do well without reform, pronto.

togetherness within a family Foundation,
with little relation to winning anything.

And Donna says Debbie mismanaged; this link.

This sorrow.





UPDATE: Rather than leave some people confused, this stuff is rehashed because of Donna disclosures, per the first cite above, source of the image used already and saying in part:

Right around the time of the convention, the leaked emails revealed Hillary’s campaign was grabbing money from the state parties for its own purposes, leaving the states with very little to support down-ballot races. A Politico story published on May 2, 2016, described the big fund-raising vehicle she had launched through the states the summer before, quoting a vow she had made to rebuild “the party from the ground up … when our state parties are strong, we win. That’s what will happen.”

Yet the states kept less than half of 1 percent of the $82 million they had amassed from the extravagant fund-raisers Hillary’s campaign was holding, just as Gary had described to me when he and I talked in August. When the Politico story described this arrangement as “essentially … money laundering” for the Clinton campaign, Hillary’s people were outraged at being accused of doing something shady. Bernie’s people were angry for their own reasons, saying this was part of a calculated strategy to throw the nomination to Hillary.

I wanted to believe Hillary, who made campaign finance reform part of her platform, but I had made this pledge to Bernie and did not want to disappoint him. I kept asking the party lawyers and the DNC staff to show me the agreements that the party had made for sharing the money they raised, but there was a lot of shuffling of feet and looking the other way.

When I got back from a vacation in Martha’s Vineyard, I at last found the document that described it all: the Joint Fund-Raising Agreement between the DNC, the Hillary Victory Fund, and Hillary for America.

The agreement—signed by Amy Dacey, the former CEO of the DNC, and Robby Mook with a copy to Marc Elias—specified that in exchange for raising money and investing in the DNC, Hillary would control the party’s finances, strategy, and all the money raised. Her campaign had the right of refusal of who would be the party communications director, and it would make final decisions on all the other staff. The DNC also was required to consult with the campaign about all other staffing, budgeting, data, analytics, and mailings.

I had been wondering why it was that I couldn’t write a press release without passing it by Brooklyn. Well, here was the answer.

When the party chooses the nominee, the custom is that the candidate’s team starts to exercise more control over the party. If the party has an incumbent candidate, as was the case with Clinton in 1996 or Obama in 2012, this kind of arrangement is seamless because the party already is under the control of the president. When you have an open contest without an incumbent and competitive primaries, the party comes under the candidate’s control only after the nominee is certain. When I was manager of Al Gore’s campaign in 2000, we started inserting our people into the DNC in June. This victory fund agreement, however, had been signed in August 2015, just four months after Hillary announced her candidacy and nearly a year before she officially had the nomination.

I had tried to search out any other evidence of internal corruption that would show that the DNC was rigging the system to throw the primary to Hillary, but I could not find any in party affairs or among the staff. I had gone department by department, investigating individual conduct for evidence of skewed decisions, and I was happy to see that I had found none. Then I found this agreement.

The funding arrangement with HFA and the victory fund agreement was not illegal, but it sure looked unethical. If the fight had been fair, one campaign would not have control of the party before the voters had decided which one they wanted to lead. This was not a criminal act, but as I saw it, it compromised the party’s integrity.

[link in original] That linked Politico item noted:

According to the agreements signed by the participating committees, which were obtained by POLITICO, the money is required to be distributed, at least initially, based on a formula set forth in joint fundraising agreements signed by the participants. The first $2,700 goes to the Clinton campaign, the next $33,400 goes to the DNC, and any remaining funds are to be distributed among the state parties.

But what happens to the cash after that initial distribution is left almost entirely to the discretion of the Clinton campaign. Its chief operating officer, Beth Jones, is the treasurer of the victory fund. And FEC filings show that within a day of most transfers from the victory fund to the state parties, identical sums were transferred from the state party accounts to the DNC, which Sanders’ supporters have accused of functioning as an adjunct of the Clinton campaign.

For example, the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party received $43,500 from the victory fund on Nov. 2, only to transfer the same amount to the DNC that same day. The pattern repeated itself after the Minnesota party received transfers from the victory fund of $20,600 on Dec. 1 (the party sent the same amount to the DNC the next day) and $150,000 on Jan. 4 (it transferred the same amount to the DNC that day).

That means that Minnesota’s net gain from its participation in the victory fund was precisely $0 through the end of March. Meanwhile, the DNC pocketed an extra $214,100 in cash routed through Minnesota — much of which the DNC wouldn’t have been able to accept directly, since it came from donors who had mostly had already maxed out to the national party committee.

Down ballot, that centralized greed hurt Minnesota Democrats; shamefully so. Donna and Debbie fail to impress. Misuse of money is vexing, and also unimpressive.

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Transgender election milestones; and 44 Minnesota troglodytes.

Election wins by transgender candidates is reported by WaPo, here and here.

That each of the two candidates was transgender, and won, is proof that issues and sound policies can trump hate in current US politics.

Thansgender haters idenfied here, are:

Minnesota Republican Reps. Glenn Gruenhagen of Glencoe, Tim Miller of Prinsburg, Abigail Whelan of Anoka, Cindy Pugh of Chanhassen, Peggy Scott of Andover, Kathy Lohmer of Stillwater, Bruce Vogel of Elko-New Market, Dennis Smith of Maple Grove, Jim Knoblach of St. Cloud, Bud Nornes of Fergus Falls, Mary Franson of Alexandria, Jeff Backer of Browns Valley, Mark Uglem of Champlin, Joe McDonald of Delano, Brian Daniels of Faribault, Matt Dean of Dellwood, Steve Drazkowski of Mazeppa, Josh Heintzman of Nisswa, Linda Runbeck of Circle Pines, Jim Newberger of Becker, Ron Kresha of Little Falls, Jim Nash of Waconia, Dave Baker of Willmar, Bob Barrett of Taylor’s Falls, Chris Swedzinski of Ghent, Eric Lucero of Dayton, Dave Hancock of Bemidji, Bob Dettmer of Forest Lake, Debra Keil of Crookston, Bob Gunther of Fairmont, Tony Albright of Prior Lake, Mark Anderson of Lake Shore, Tony Cornish of Vernon Center, Dan Fabian of Roseau, Jerry Hertaus of Greenfield, Jason Rarick of Pine City, Paul Anderson of Starbuck, Greg Davids of Preston, Joyce Peppin of Rogers, Kelly Fenton of Woodbury, Tim Sanders of Blaine, Jon Koznick of Lakeville, Sarah Anderson of Plymouth, and Jeff Howe of Rickville.

Why such hatreds exist is a dark psychological question; but clearly there are people judging others by bogus and biased standards. People wanting to stigmatize others on illogical bases; the mentality being close to what might be needed to burn a witch. And to do so in an ever most pious and self-satisfied manner.

There should be no tolerance of falsely grounded hateful attitudes toward others, and seeing two transgender persons overcome the odds this election cycle is reassuring.

The sooner, the better. Cleaning the Minnesota legislature of its divisive and intolerant blowhards,44 of them, is next at hand. This link. It is time the 21st century reached Anoka County where I live, and reached its HD 35A, the House district in which my home lies. Get those people out of there so that government might work better, on actual and not falsely trumpeted matters of importance.

UPDATE: There is coordination; this link.

Useful medical science has its haters too. And there is overlap; rigid personalities biting into their pattern of divisive positions with pitbull jaw locks. So far, it's worked for the troglodytes at the ballot box. Failure that way will be the most prompt way of sidetracking the misdirected individuals so that progress may happen. They start losing, they start finding reason and good sense are not beyond their skill sets. Demagoguery of any kind only grows when it works.

Friday, November 03, 2017

And are there Haim Saban fingerprints upon the DNC's and Clinton canmpaign's secret arrangement?

Coverage appears to be Strib carrying DC-based feeds; but here the reporting is about Trump suggesting the Clinton campaign should be target of an investigation. Then there is damning news, when viewed from the standpoint of disillusioned and disappointed progressives, re the question of DNC biases vs. trustworthiness; this, source of the below screencapture:

Debbie Wasserman Schultz flat-out lied to the world about the pre-installed Clintonian ownership of DNC. Interesting "for example" links, here and here. That DNC stable still needs to be mucked; yet Tom Perez apparently sees no such tasking on the job description he's defined for himself.

Remember the lesson of 2016.

UPDATE: Daily Caller suggests two years passed and owning up to the disgraced DNC - Clinton deal only happened in exchange for a cofmortable book deal where something new had to be expected to move copies off shelves and out of Amazon inventory. The suggestion is troubling; money ran the deal into existence; money caused disclosure of the deal to surface; but in each instance money motivated; patriotism and public trust having lesser roles.

The worse part of the shenanigans - it was a ton of money behind an individual who failed to defeat the most unpopular Presidential candidate in the nation's history, because of being equally unpopular, and a lazy and ineffective campaigner to boot. What were people doing and thinking. Bernie WOULD have won. Blowing a shot at the spoils that way was not only corrupt, but ineffectively corrupt in a context where corruption is a usual norm that usually works. Inept corruption, the nutshell description of DWS leeadership at DNC.

AND BERNIE WOULD HAVE WON. That is the sadness to all of the story. President Sanders, sidetracked for Trump/Pence, a victim of venal bad judgments by ones who would do the same damned thing over again, if holding onto that chance.

Remember the lesson of 2016. But go beyond remembering it. Show an upward sloping learning curve, and beyond that, move to relevance for encompassing mature long-term good judgment and willingness to sincerely and fundamentally restructure. Specifically, restructure Away from Clintonian-Gingrich outlooks of disregard toward fair needs of the disadvantaged majority of the people in the nation. Bernie clearly gained and held on to the mood and will of people. His crowds were not intolerant, except toward government tendencies to turn a deaf ear and a blind eye to actual majority thought among the people.

Vin Weber, Tony Podesta. The ugly underside of lobbying and why lobbyist should be scorned, shunned, and horse-whipped.

Vin Weber getting a possible comeuppance is not bad news. Real news. Real nice?

Excerpt, mid-item:

Representatives for Weber's firm and Podesta said they are cooperating with the special counsel's investigation. Podesta, whose brother was the chairman of Hillary Clinton's campaign, has resigned from his firm.

FBI agents working for Mueller are asking witnesses about meetings among Gates, Podesta and Weber to discuss the lobbying work in detail and any communication with representatives of a pro-Russian Ukrainian political party, according to two people familiar with the interviews who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the investigation.

"There were questions about how much Podesta and Vin Weber were involved. There was a lot of interest there," one of them said.

FBI agents also expressed interest in the law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, which produced a 2012 report used to justify the jailing of an opposition politician in Ukraine.

Both people said that investigators on Mueller's team have asked about what the lobbyists knew about the source of the funding and who was directing the work in 2012 - long before Manafort became Trump's campaign chairman in 2016.

Local Minnesota Strib coverage; a year and some months ago::

Vin Weber linked to ex-Trump strategist's Ukrainian lobbying effort -- The former Minnesota Republican faces uncertainty as to whether he will be part of any federal inquiry into the lobbying. By Allison Sherry Star Tribune - August 25, 2016 — 9:39pm

Between 2012 and 2014, Weber received almost $700,000 to lobby for the European Centre for a Modern Ukraine, an organization that advocated for the country to join the European Union. Weber, along with the Podesta Group, received the contract from Paul Manafort and another Trump strategist, Rick Gates.

Manafort could face a federal inquiry for his lobbying ties to the Russian government. At the same time, Ukrainian investigators are examining a corruption network allegedly used to influence elections during the administration of former President Viktor Yanukovych, one of Manafort’s main clients.

After the new Ukrainian revelations, Manafort abruptly resigned from the Trump campaign, and now Weber faces uncertainty as to whether he will be part of a federal inquiry.

“Our purpose was to keep [the Ukrainians] away from Moscow,” said Weber, a former Republican congressman who left office in 1993. “Our goal as Americans and Westerners was to bring Ukraine into the E.U. Our explicit work was anti-Russian.”

Controversy surrounding potentially illegal lobbying contracts with Ukraine emerged after the New York Times reported earlier in August about a secret ledger that detailed more than $12 million in alleged cash payments to Manafort from Yanukovych’s pro-Russian political party. Manafort has denied receiving any money.

In an interview, Weber said Manafort might have misled him about who was funding the Centre for a Modern Ukraine.

With the high eight-figure amounts mentiolned in press accounts as adventure proceeds which Manafort and Gates appear to have stashed multiple places for their tax-free luxurious benefit, it appears that at $700,000 Weber was bought cheap.

Vin Weber in a slammer might make some Minnesotans smile, but bet at best, a few days in a country-club federal facility with inmate treatment a few cuts better than Gitmo. Beyond hypotheticals, Strib carried the AP feed from days ago. What a possibility; Vin Weber and Tony Podesta as cell mates.

Yes, we can. But - will we?

UPDATE: The one thing missing so far; Ollie North with serious face on, testifying in his marine uniform. Do you suppose Flynn, when the time comes, goes into uniform to explain his money trail?

Thursday, November 02, 2017

The shame. The horror. The reverberating reprecussions throughout the press and leading electronic media: A Presidential candidate and his candidacy effort to have a visit and bonding with a foreign head of state with efforts afoot by that foreign power to have influence on a Presidential election outcome; during the year of those efforts. Surely a federal crime is at hand.

E.g., This link. Source of this image.
With AIPAC, is there doubt it is a foreign-influenced
operation aimed at impacting election outcomes?

The Logan Act, where should its reach be adjudged?

Gen. Flynn met an ambassador as a private citizen discussing matters of state in a Presidential election year and while attached to a candidacy campaign. Romney, the candidate himself flew to, visited with, and held private discussions with Bibi which were possibly related to international policy. In a Presidential year. On Bibi's turf.

And the press shows consistency in reporting emphasis, slant and judgments?


Wednesday, November 01, 2017

Sniping. Uranium. Podesta. Cease and desist?

Two items, sequentially, here, then here. That last item, in its closing something curious which, presumably, only a lawyer would think to include in a cease and desist letter:

That has to be a joke, right? Copyright assertion over a cease and desist letter seems downright dumb.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

"It is impossible to run a public affairs firm while you are under attack by Fox News and the right wing media,” [Tony] Podesta told employees at the Podesta Group offices on Monday, according to a person familiar with his remarks.

The headline is a mid-paragraph from WaPo, here.

Calling Podesta Brothers operation "a public affairs firm" is an extreme euphemism for what it really is. Both of the Podesta brothers should resign from DC, go somewhere else, and learn to earn a productive income via value added to the locale and nation.

At any rate, the WaPo item, in opening, explains:

Powerful lobbyist Tony Podesta steps down amid Mueller’s Russia probe
By Marc Fisher and Carol D. Leonnig October 30 at 9:54 PM

[...] On Monday, hours after the first indictments in the investigation into ties between President Trump’s campaign and the Russian government, Podesta abruptly quit his post atop the Podesta Group, the capital’s eighth-wealthiest lobbying firm.

Podesta’s departure came as the indictments of former Trump campaign chief Paul Manafort and his business partner, Rick Gates, raised questions about the work Podesta’s firm did with Manafort to buff the image of the Ukrainian government. Podesta, 74, said he was quitting because of the barrage of criticism he’s been getting as special counsel Robert S. Mueller III pursues the investigation.

Calling what Tony Podesta did against the public interest, for money, "a public affairs firm" is like calling a stinking gull-infested garbage dump "an environmental adaptation location."

And not just "for money." Most often, for lots of money. Obscene amounts of money. "For sale" does not mean for sale cheap.

So --- Is it, "Watch the doorknob, Tony;" or is there a golden parachute with a stay out of jail free card appended?

If sincere, he should disband the firm, burn his shares at the Lincoln Memorial, and then go into the wilderness to do grave penance.

Brother John being Tony's companion for that mea culpa and penance pilgrimage is a warming thought. A hypothetical, clearly, but it is the thought that counts.

What do you figure the guy who got the plea might have, to testify against Tony Podesta? And that is aside from the bigger question, what may be testimonial and documentary evidence against Donald Jr. and Jarad?

A separate WaPo item, this link, states in regard to a possible campaign-Kremlin get-together:

"Make the trip, if it is feasible,” Sam Clovis wrote in an August email to George Papadopoulos.

Papadopoulos was in contact with several senior Trump campaign aides about his efforts to broker a relationship between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin, the court papers show. In addition to Clovis, who now serves as senior White House adviser to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Papadopoulos wrote to campaign manager Corey Lewandowski and campaign chairman Paul Manafort, the newly released documents show.

The campaign officials are not identified in court documents, but [...]

In a statement, Papadopoulos’s attorneys Thomas Breen and Robert Stanley said they would refrain from commenting on the case.

“We will have the opportunity to comment on George’s involvement when called upon by the Court at a later date,” they said. “We look forward to telling all of the details of George’s story at that time.”

Can it touch Mike Pence, and if so, is he tefloned against any of it sticking? It appears much of the fan loading up as described in court papers happened after Pence was selected. That selection process might have been a real hoot to have observed as if the proverbial fly on the wall. Reporting much like The Wrap, here, was widespread enough to raise questions and to make that fly-on-the-wall hypothetical appealing in terms of knowing rather than conjecturing who said what to whom?.

Mike Pence seems to have shown a Chauncey Garderner career trajectory, out of Being There. But a narrow and ill-tempered one where his actual gardening skills would raise questions.

Two web searches, here and here, indicate Podesta Group and Mercury, of which Vin Weber is a principle, had substantial income from Ukraine government lobbying work without disclosure of such foreign government services as required by law. If the Mueller effort can bring down the Podesta brothers and Vin Weber in one big net of slime, much good may result from any such stable mucking. Example coverage, here, here, here and here, (noting that some pre-indictment coverage is included).

From The Hill; link in original:

In the wake of Podesta’s departure, a new firm will be formed without his name, CNN reported, citing an unnamed source. The Hill has confirmed that there will be a new entity, with a source familiar with the developments saying that the roll out will likely take place before the end of the week.

"They've been thinking about it and planning it for awhile; it'll be quick," the source told The Hill, asking for anonymity to discuss the events.

A source at the firm told The Hill that a small group is "now working to salvage as much of our current business as possible," saying that the response has been positive thus far. The person asked for anonymity in order to discuss the sensitive topic.

"There are a bunch of people here who just want to get back to doing what we do best," the person from Podesta Group told The Hill.

"... what we do best ..." is nothing to be proud of; but it pays well and somebody would do it, so why not Podesta Redux? A lot of DC inner-beltway types with knives and forks on the table, gotta eat something ...

_____________FURTHER UPDATE_____________
Politico ended an Oct. 30 report:

Podesta Group did not respond to a request for comment for this story.

Podesta has long been a larger than life figure on K Street, growing his business from a boutique firm into a massive lobbying and public relations operation. He is well known for his flashy dressing, vast art collection, generous campaign donations across all levels of Democratic politics and, of course, for his brother John Podesta, Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman.

Podesta Group has struggled in the wake of the Mueller investigation. More than a dozen of its lobbying clients have cut ties with the firm this year, according to lobbying filings. Revenues have also declined: The firm brought in an estimated $4.8 million in the third quarter of 2017, down from $5.2 million in the second quarter of 2017 and from $6.1 million in the third quarter of 2016.

Attitudes may differ but I find it hard to tear up over a lobbying megalith losing clients. The lobbyists, the clients, the influenced officials all could be cast adrift mid-Pacific in a dinghy with short rations, and tearing up over that might be equally difficult. Other lobbyists, when Podesta loses clients, would they tear up for Tony? Would the Clintons?

Monday, October 30, 2017

National Review, this month, publishes about Uranium One. Clintons are mentioned.

This link. A plea bargain is mentioned in the report. UPDATE: The report links to The Hill, here.

Not yet to the heart of the beast; two Mueller indictments revealed. Unfortunately, nothing yet touching Mike Pence.

WaPo, this Monday morning:

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his longtime business partner Rick Gates have been charged in a 12-count indictment with conspiracy against the United States, conspiracy to launder money and making false statements.

The indictment marked the first criminal allegations to come from Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation into possible coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia to influence the 2016 election.

The charges did not reference the Trump campaign but instead focused on Manafort’s and Gates’s work advising a Russia-friendly political party in Ukraine.

[...] Manafort joined the Trump campaign in March 2016, and Trump tapped him to serve as campaign chairman in May of that year. He left in August 2016, but Gates, his business partner and protege, continued to play an important role with the campaign even after Manafort’s departure. After the election Gates directed the inauguration plans, including fundraising, under Tom Barrack, Trump’s close friend and adviser.

Manafort's tenure on the Trump effort spanned the convention and the naming of Pence for the VP spot. Hopefully something, somewhere along the line sticks to Pence.

The other Mike: So far, it's two indictments independent of anything Mike Flynn did, so the question of what Flynn knew and when did he know it still remains publicly unanswered. There is no hint of any plea bargaining in reporting known to Dev Crabgrass.

Well, there was a plea bargain, and how it fits other Mueller musings is unclear, with a different WaPo item stating:

Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III on Monday revealed charges against three former Trump campaign officials — former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, his longtime business partner Rick Gates and former Trump foreign policy advisor George Papadopoulos — marking the first criminal allegations to come from probes into possible Russian influence in U.S. political affairs.

Papadopoulos pleaded guilty earlier this month to making a false statement to FBI investigators who asked about his contacts with a foreigner connected to Russian officials, and the agreement was unsealed Monday. The foreigner was described as a London-based professor and Papadopoulos claimed the professor introduced him to Putin’s niece and the Russian ambassador in London, according to the indictment.

The reporting makes no link between Gates and Manafort and this third perp, which does not mean a connection may or may not exist, only that reporting is as it is. Thus far. That being said absent a reading of court filings, which reader search can find online.

NY Times, here.