consultants are sandburs



Sunday, February 19, 2017

Twin Cities Apartment boom - does it spell doom for the Flaherty Ramsey-by-the-rails adventure, or for Jim Deal's new thing?

Strib reports in a locally authored item, not a wire feed, this opening:

Twin Cities apartment construction accelerates to highest level since 1980s --In the boom, only 1 in 10 new units will be for low-income renters.
By Jim Buchta Star Tribune - February 18, 2017 — 6:16pm


After tapping the brakes in 2016, apartment developers in the Twin Cities are shifting into overdrive.

Apartment building is expected to rise by more than 30 percent this year and reach the highest number of new units — 5,600 — in at least 30 years, a new market study says.

Nearly all of it will be in upscale buildings in the suburbs, where there’s been little new apartment construction since the 1980s. Only 1 in 10 will be for low-income renters.

“I would like to see stronger production in the middle-market and affordable price categories, but it’s harder to make these projects financially feasible,” said Thomas O’Neil, who wrote the market study and is a vice president at Dougherty Mortgage in Minneapolis.

“We can really never build too much affordable housing and a variety of forces are pinching production this year,” he said.

The construction boom comes at a time of growing concern that the rental market is saturated.

For the entire story follow the Strib link. It is a detailed report, talking neighborhoods, and more.

As far as Ramsey; it's had its latest Town Center apartment building frenzy, with the watchword "up scale."

There has been, next to the Flarherty eye-sore, a more modestly sized and more attractive building, for affordable housing.

Jim Deal's work seems completed on the one apartment unit. He declined to build a parking ramp, opting for ground level parking rows as approved by city government. Whether taxpayers will be saddled with another ramp, the one Flaherty's building is hung onto having been built with taxpayer money, much of it funneled back into town from other governmental coffers. Still, taxes are taxes at any level, and if there is another ramp to benefit private for-profit speculators, it should be paid for entirely by private for profit speculators; but don't hold your breath for that to happen. It's Ramsey, after all. TIF-haven.

One must remember, those newer Town Center apartment buildings will have a life of decades, and it is older buildings that can be transitional headaches after early as-built success. What will not change, landlords will be landlords, so optimal for-profit cash flows will be pursued, whether it be high per-unit middling occupancy, or price concession to boost occupancy, there are few other adjustments that can apply. Fifteen years down the line, ask about the success of the Flaherty project, and don't even bother asking if Flaherty would then care. It seems he's already arranged a cashout sale to other landlord interests; moving on, may he prosper.

Logan Act.

The Logan Act is the federal criminal statute some have alleged Flynn's contact with the Russian Ambassador violated. Here is the text of the statute online. Passed in 1948; apparently amended, 1994, it reads:

18 U.S. Code § 953 - Private correspondence with foreign governments

Any citizen of the United States, wherever he may be, who, without authority of the United States, directly or indirectly commences or carries on any correspondence or intercourse with any foreign government or any officer or agent thereof, with intent to influence the measures or conduct of any foreign government or of any officer or agent thereof, in relation to any disputes or controversies with the United States, or to defeat the measures of the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.

This section shall not abridge the right of a citizen to apply, himself or his agent, to any foreign government or the agents thereof for redress of any injury which he may have sustained from such government or any of its agents or subjects.

(June 25, 1948, ch. 645, 62 Stat. 744; Pub. L. 103–322, title XXXIII, § 330016(1)(K), Sept. 13, 1994, 108 Stat. 2147.)

Here is the one online case found construing the Logan Act, well after 1948 passage; concerning an issue that arose before the CIA coup against the Mossadegh government of Iran; but likely related at least in part to the motivation at play in our government having wanted and engineered a coup; oil being at issue. A U.S. citizen, cognizant of nationalization by Iran of British Petroleum oil rights, had attained a written State Department policy statement:

"In the Department's opinion the British-Iranian oil controversy is basically a matter for negotiation between the two Governments directly concerned. Because of our vital interest in this matter the United States Government continues to use its influence toward finding a solution of this difficult problem. In line therewith, we welcome the initiative of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development which is currently trying to work out a plan for settlement of the controversy and are extending every appropriate assistance in such efforts as the Bank is making in this regard.

"The Department is of the opinion that the injection of any non-official individual, group or organization into this dispute might prejudice the ability of the parties concerned in reaching a satisfactory solution. Accordingly, the Department believes that non-official entities should refrain from getting involved in the dispute."

231 F. Supp. 72, at 76-77 (1964).

In stating facts of the case, the court, Id. at 77, stated:

From this point forward and continuing until the time that the contract was actually negotiated, the Waldron group and Raphael engaged in a correspondence that contained patent misrepresentations and none-too-subtle hints of bribery.

There were flights to Iran by parties in furtherance of attaining an oil deal, which resulted; but the deal fell through with one party to it suing another. Readers are encouraged to study the case in more detail, if interested. The defendants moved for dismissal; and the Court in its legal analysis re the Logan Act opined; Id. at 88-89 [formatting and footnotes in original omitted]:

Does Plaintiff's Alleged Illegal and Similar Misconduct Preclude His Standing To Sue?

Defendants attack plaintiff's standing to sue, arguing that the uncontroverted evidence establishes that plaintiff procured his NIOC contract by means of conduct grossly violative of and repugnant to public policy.

While there are variations in defendants' verbalization of this argument, the theme is the same: the NIOC contract, the predicate of plaintiff's Section 4 "property," is the fruit of plaintiff's illegal, immoral and corrupt acts and, therefore, the Court should deny judicial recognition to plaintiff's status derived from that tainted contract.

One line of attack is that plaintiff procured the NIOC contract through the commission of federal criminal offenses. He is specifically charged by defendants with having violated five criminal statutes: the Logan Act (18 U.S.C. § 953), the mail fraud statute (18 U.S.C. § 1341), the false statement to government agency statute (18 U.S.C. § 1001), the conspiracy statute (18 U.S.C. § 371) and the false passport application statute (18 U.S.C. § 1542).

However, the record discloses the existence of genuine issues of material fact requiring resolution before it could be fairly determined that plaintiff had committed crimes in the process of securing the NIOC contract.

The Logan Act makes it a crime for any citizen of the United States directly or indirectly to commence or carry on correspondence or intercourse with any foreign government or any officer or agent thereof "with intent * * * to defeat the measures of the United States."

Such evidence as there may be in this record of a violation of the Logan Act places in issue plaintiff's specific intent. That subjective circumstance would alone be sufficient to defeat this summary judgment motion, were the motion grounded only on a transgression of that statute.

Moreover, in considering proof of the "measures" of the United States required to spell out a violation of the Logan Act, the Court finds that there is substantiality to plaintiff's factual argument that the expressed United States policy with respect to the importation of Iranian oil was neither definitive nor clear at the time of plaintiff's alleged violation.

The State Department's letter of February 4, 1952 (SONJ Ex. 3 for id.) to Senator Johnson (who forwarded it to plaintiff) would, at first reading, indicate that the State Department felt that Waldron should not in any way become involved in Iranian oil. A closer reading discloses that the letter expresses the State Department's "opinion," "attitude" and "belief," without incisively declaring or promulgating a defined policy.

While the State Department's choice of words may, according to diplomatic convention, be regarded as an expression of policy, it is doubtful whether this opinion-letter and its pronouncement rise to the status of "measures" for the penal purpose of the Logan Act.

That the State Department's attitude was not clearly and unequivocally delineated is suggested by its own subsequent language in a press release, dated December 6, 1952, expressing a less stringent view—a view that the movement of "small quantities of oil or oil products" seemed to the State Department as of relatively "minor importance" and "that the decision whether or not such purchases of oil from Iran should be made must be left to such individuals or firms as may be considering them, and to be determined upon their own judgment." State Dept. Bull., Dec. 15, 1952, p. 946.

The record thus poses an issue of material fact as to the existence and identity of "the measures of the United States" during the material period of time in 1952.

Another infirmity in defendants' claim that plaintiff violated the Logan Act is the existence of a doubtful question with regard to the constitutionality of that statute under the Sixth Amendment. That doubt is engendered by the statute's use of the vague and indefinite terms, "defeat" and "measures." See United States v. Shackney, 333 F.2d 475, (2d Cir. 1964); Note, The Void-For-Vagueness Doctrine in the Supreme Court, 109 U.Pa.L.Rev. 67 (1960); E. Freund, The Use of Indefinite Terms in Statutes, 30 Yale L.J. 437 (1921). Neither of these words is an abstraction of common certainty or possesses a definite statutory or judicial definition.

Since, however, there are other grounds for disposing of this motion, it is not necessary to decide the constitutional question.[30] Furthermore, any "ambiguity should be resolved in favor of lenity." Bell v. United States, 349 U.S. 81, 83, 75 S.Ct. 620, 622, 99 L.Ed. 905 (1955), quoted in United States v. Shackney, supra, 333 F.2d at 475.

Defendants' contention that plaintiff was part of a conspiracy (18 U.S.C. § 371) to violate the Logan Act is subject to the same infirmities as the defendants' claim based on a substantive violation of the Logan Act.

Again, readers are urged to read the online item, itself. The suggestion here is that nothing in that opinion strengthens any assertion against, Flynn. The court analyzed intent, and in dicta noted concern over statutory vagueness. Not strong points of authority for purging Flynn. If any reader knows of other judicial opinion construing the Logan Act, such reader is urged to give a citation/link via a comment.

In the noted case the court early in its Logan Act analysis siezed on language, "with intent * * * to defeat the measures of the United States."

If as Flynn contends and his vaguely stated memory serves him right, his discussion was basically that all relations between two nations would be under review once the soon-to-be presidential transition was to happen; it appears an intent to give notice, without any promise, was at issue and as Flynn has stated, no hard and fast line was crossed. Transcripts of phone conversations remain non-public; so for now taking Flynn at his word seems proper.

Two other federal cases online mentioning the Logan Act were found. This link and here. Both were dismissive of private plaintiff assertion of rights to sue premised upon the Logan Act; the latter case citing the former for that principle:

Insofar as plaintiff brings a claim under the Logan Act, the Court concludes that he lacks standing to do so. Only the United States Department of State is aggrieved by a violation of the Logan Act, see ITT World Comm`cns, Inc. v. Fed. Comm'cns Comm`n, 699 F.2d 1219, 1231 (D.C. Cir. 1983), rev'd on other grounds, 466 U.S. 463 (1984), and plaintiff cannot demonstrate an injury suffered due to defendants' Logan Act violation that affects him "in a personal and individual way." Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife, 504 U.S. at 560 n.l.

Nor does plaintiff have standing to bring a claim that defendants' actions deprive him of a republican form of government. The Supreme Court has "consistently held that a plaintiff raising only a generally available grievance about government — claiming only harm to his and every citizen's interest in proper application of the Constitution and laws, and seeking relief that no more directly and tangibly benefits him than it does the public at large — does not state an Article III case or controversy."

The issue was standing to sue premised on the Logan Act in each of those cases; not the reach or meaning of any wording or part of the Logan Act itself.

This clearly is obscure federal law; trotted out for whatever motives apply, in hostility toward Gen. Flynn. A Time magazine online passing reference to 1947 "gabbiness" of a former vice president during a trip abroad, here, as motivation for passage of the Logan Act, suggests a fit to Romney as much or more than to Flynn; but it appears only the federal government has standing to sue. The Trump-Exxon State Department and the Trump-Sessions Justice Department are unlikely to sue. It is a dead issue. The intelligence community has Flynn's scalp on its tentpole, for whatever consequences may further arise.

Are you comfortable knowing the Logan Act exists, if you conduct foreign business, or give mid-six-figure paid speeches arguably ancillary to foreign mineral deals, or would you feel better if the statute had never been passed? Are we over-lawed, and over-lawyered, as a nation, or not?

UPDATE: A bigger further, related question, are the size and tentacles of the intelligence community, and its ability to hide its tracks in secrecy, a creature of a swamp needing some major degree of draining? And, should we anticipate that draining, hope for it, or fear it under a belief that the good and fine dedicated civil servants and outside consultants with security clearanaces have our citizenry's best interest in mind at all times, to protect us from threat, of whatever nature, foreign or domestic? Related: What is the full cost of "the intelligence community" in annual budget terms; and are taxpayers getting any good measure whatsoever of bang for their bucks? Or is a big morass of money sink holes replete with cronyism at issue; perhaps analogous to a swamp; perhaps worse?

MONEY. A quick further thought on the "intelligence" community. Perhaps why Flynn was considered a threat to a status quo; who had to go.

Wikipedia:

The Washington Post reported in 2010 that there were 1,271 government organizations and 1,931 private companies in 10,000 locations in the United States that are working on counterterrorism, homeland security, and intelligence, and that the intelligence community as a whole includes 854,000 people holding top-secret clearances.[3] According to a 2008 study by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, private contractors make up 29% of the workforce in the U.S. intelligence community and account for 49% of their personnel budgets.[4]

Get that down. Not climbing up the security ladder, but sitting atop "top secret" totem pole status. For a perspective, over twice the population of Cleveland. Put them all in Cleveland at once, there'd be a housing crisis. A lot of homelessness.

Next, 854,000 households means "a lot of knives and forks on the table, gotta eat something."

That quote is as a recent Nobel Laureate has written/sung. Didn't he have another song, "The Mighty Flynn?" Something like that? "When Flynn the Eskimo gets here, pigeons all will crap on him?" Something like that I vaguely recall, so YouTube research is needed. For sure, ya betcha.

UPDATE: With 854,000 of 'em atop the totem pole, consultancies included, and given the way bureaucracies work, we need a new term of national discourse:

CRONY CLEARANCES

They know what we do not. We are insufficient humans, as voters, to be among the anointed; the blessed; the savants. Get that down.

FURTHER: Great story. Big question, going into his election, did he have a CRONY CLEARNACE? Has he one now?

Did not check the word count on that Politico story, but did a word search "clearance." Not mentioned. Wow. Long story, about who he is and how he got to be where he is, . . .

FURTHER: Same story, mid-item quote:

In fact, of the seven countries listed included in Trump’s attempted ban, most of them boast influential officials that spent time in the United States, usually to attend school. Former prime ministers in Yemen and Libya attended American universities. One of them, Shukri Ghanem, was a reformer who worked, with some success, to push Muammar Gaddafi toward reconciliation with the west. Javad Zarif, the Iranian foreign minister who oversaw negotiations of the Iran nuclear deal, went to a private high school in San Francisco, received a B.A. and M.A. from San Francisco State University and a Ph.D. from the University of Denver. An influential rebel leader from Sudan who was a key player in the country’s 2005 peace agreement, John Garang, attended Grinnell College in an Iowan town of 9,000, surrounded by corn fields.

Foreign leaders who’ve spent time in the United States can frequently, if not every time, give the United States government a leg-up when conducting diplomacy. Joel Giambra argues that will definitely be the case with Mohamed: “I believe he would love the opportunity to collaborate with the United States,” he said. “He always said to me that the most effective way to eradicate terrorism in the United States is to stop it in Somalia.”

[italics emphasis added] A thought, would any such "leg up" advantage be in the public domain? Or classified, so that we voters would not know whose leg's up?

FURTHER: Same Wikipedia entry as already cited [quote omits embedded links]:

Among their varied responsibilities, the members of the Community collect and produce foreign and domestic intelligence, contribute to military planning, and perform espionage. The IC was established by Executive Order 12333, signed on December 4, 1981, by U.S. President Ronald Reagan.[2]

[...] Executive Order 12333 charged the IC with six primary objectives:[7]

-- Collection of information needed by the President, the National Security Council, the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense, and other executive branch officials for the performance of their duties and responsibilities;

-- Production and dissemination of intelligence;

-- Collection of information concerning, and the conduct of activities to protect against, intelligence activities directed against the U.S., international terrorist and/or narcotics activities, and other hostile activities directed against the U.S. by foreign powers, organizations, persons and their agents;

-- Special activities (defined as activities conducted in support of U.S. foreign policy objectives abroad which are planned and executed so that the "role of the United States Government is not apparent or acknowledged publicly", and functions in support of such activities, but which are not intended to influence United States political processes, public opinion, policies, or media and do not include diplomatic activities or the collection and production of intelligence or related support functions);

-- Administrative and support activities within the United States and abroad necessary for the performance of authorized activities and

-- Such other intelligence activities as the President may direct from time to time.

This Wikipedia link, on Executive Order 12333, including a sidebar pic of the ol' Gipper himself; whether the order text is online or not is not known, but the above points of inclusion as listed show it elastic enough to be stretched wide enough to drive a Kenworth full logging truck through with much clearance top-bottom, side-to-side. Last bulleted item; what about a president elect; would that not be included by implication? That Logan Act stuff sure seems to be a smoke screen for "Get Flynn." As such, individual political proclivities aside, it's bogus and improper, whether you voted Trump, Clinton, Jill Stein, or otherwise; or just stayed home liking Bernie. Just bogus. Hard to see it differently.

What Romney did visiting Bibi is far, far more suspect - a candidate hunkering with a foreign head of state with an election pending - than Flynn, whose status was a to-be-appointed intelligence official designated as such by a president elect. Election over, in Flynn's case. No hunkering. No head of state. Not on foreign soil. What's your reader judgment? Romney deserves a keelhaul? Or keelhauling Flynn was improper? Is there any "Clintonian" third way?

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Scrubbing bubbles. An S.C. Johnson trademark, but who else conceptualizes a good scrub? [SEE: final UPDATE]


After reposting an earlier crabgrass item showing a Dorsey law firm's scrub of Ramsey Town Center from its capability tout page (see: 2-page image capture, here and here), the thought was web scrub would not be a subject again, for a while.

Well, tracing steps, this link was one in the post directly below this post [highlighting added to screencapture, but an interesting excerpt, in toto]:


Screencaptures show links, but they are not live links; the highlighted one linking here, but don't bother, it gives a 404 document not found error. That report authored by Flynn and others is cited several places on the web, each giving the same broken link; including CFR here, and here and here.

Internet Archive did not produce archived records when accessed for

https://www.cnas.org/

which may be a generic request from the site to not be archived, or an error just now, in the search attempt, this browser, etc.

In any event, if a reader knows of an online copy of that item, please in a comment give the link.

There is this Aspen item authored by Flynn, a 40 page pdf item, archived here in case it too gets scrubbed, but there is enough to get the mood, if not the detail, of the Flynn critique of the intelligence community's orientation/capability - so that knowing that means you know the gist of their having grounds for a grudge exists, and is crystal clear (even despite the detailed report having suffered a present apparent online demise).

The scrub is most unfortunate, given how the man's position on issues may be relevant evidence of his position as a key Trump security advisor might have been impacted; one position axed over somebody besides Trump disliking the other position. Curious, and not encouraging trust in internet decency being a respected rule, among some.

NOW, YOU TELL ME, WHAT ELSE IS AT PLAY BUT A BALD-FACED SCRUB WITHOUT APOLOGY, BUT WITH INDECENT INTENT SEEMING TO BE ALL OVER IT? SILENCE MAY BE GOLDEN, BUT TO WHOM IN THIS INSTANCE, AND WHY?

__________________________________________________
UPDATE: In giving you a "Meet the Bubbles" link, don't expect some intelligence agency link. Plain old S.C. Johnson promo stuff, where the firm fails to identify its best product for internet page scrubs, but reader web search might find that too. Perhaps the same place that Flynn report might be located as still on the web?



______________APOLOGETIC FURTHER UPDATE______________
It sometimes amazes even the elderly, how the best of theories fall under the sunshine of truth.

NOT A SCRUB. FUN POSTING, BUT A RELOCATION, ON THE ACTUAL WEBSITE WHERE ALL THE DEAD LINKS POINTED.

The Flynn et al. item is online, at a different CNAS link; per the homepage; linking to the actual full Flynn item; here.

There is wisdom to read/search fully, first; write later. Doing that means less frequently making an ass of oneself.

AFTER ALL THAT EFFORT, SOUND AND FURY, YOU HAVE THE LINK SO READ THE REPORT, PLEASE. AND CUT SOME SLACK, DEAD LINKS CAN REALLY ENRAGE.

A national shame? A University of Minnesota - Morris prof. makes news; stating beliefs about immigrants which are First Amendment protected speech and should not be punished, because a breach of academic freedom would be entailed; and what really should be the first thing said against the man's viewpoint?

The question is deceptively simple in its statement, but each person likely has a personal, differing "first thing" answer.

Starting with links about the prof/commentary, for background; here, here, here, and this websearch. From web searching the situation has not grown internet legs to any great extent, yet, with most attention focused in Minnesota, per the websearch. Whether the matter grows legs or not is independent of this post.

This thumbnail image, cut from the City Pages reporting, presents the Facebook post - click it to enlarge and read:


One of the sites already noted as commenting on the Facebook post, this one, has a sidebar item, linking here. READ IT.

With that read, as context, this screencapture from here:


So, Kurt G. had a postulate, and do you suppose, put aside John Roberts as a person and his Citizen United opinion as evidence of the Goedel hypothesis, and consider only this: SEVENTEEN FUCKING INTELLIGENCE AGENCIES IS MORE THAN EVEN STALIN HAD. EVER. BELIEVE ME OR RESEARCH IT YOURSELF.

That said, each of the magnificent seventeen has a payroll and a pretty badge.

Doubt that badge comment, then view the evidence by looking here (admittedly, several badges published there are for the parent bureau, e.g., the Coast Guard or State Department, with it possible that intelligence sub-bureaus have secret, perhaps top secret badges, for themselves as a special privilege and distinction; but don't doubt the payroll part since spooks never work for free). Of the stand-alone badges, the NSA is a Snowden favorite, so it's reproduced below in honor of patriotic whistleblowing:


The questions of which is prettiest stand-alone badge involves subjective judgment, but my suggestion of prettiest:


I like the asymmetry, and the imaginative rendering of the national bird, while the font and color choices rock. Only two more, this one, most familiarity (this is like a beauty contest, Miss Cordiality, . . .)


And only one more, in honor of our news media's current favorite veteran currently being yanked around by his security clearance:


It's also neat, how each of those stand-alone badges represent agencies who can identify and differentiate with only a three letter acronym; but if having only seventeen, that might not be too difficult a task. Still, neat, slick, special.

Now back to the MN-Morris prof; starting an argument with an arguable postulate is questionable practice; and so, what of his "rule of law" gig?

Is "rule of law" necessarily a postulated good; or might it be examined? The rich make the laws, to serve themselves, and to protect the sanctity of capital as the preeminent value - beyond family, religion, and individual rights. There is a bill of ten rights; but how many laws are there protecting capital - it's only taxed on an uber-valued multimillion dollar estate upon transfer because some rich fart croaked, not otherwise; but what's all of contract law and central banking next to that sole exception?

More of the argument against the man's opening postulate can be formulated; and readers are capable of such detail.

BOTTOM LINE: Ain't those intelligence agency badges really pretty; and isn't it heartwarming to the citizenry to know taxes are so expended? Who could argue against that? Spook paychecks; seventeen varieties each likely printed with proper badging, it almost brings tears of joy to know a nation that values a high soaring predator bird also has seventeen separate spook payrolls. Do your suppose anybody sees a payroll check threatened by the mood, worldview and orientation of Gen. Flynn? Doubt of dogma should have consequences, a general should know that from moving up the ranks.

A few more links: here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and if you think you've seen the last of badges, think again:

Wikipedia

If Flynn truly wanted the beast more trim and agile, more fat-free, what's to be made of his demonization? Business should be done as it's been done? Paycheck mania? What? Get them out of the office and forward deployed seems to entail safety consequences; and Trump giving a speech to insiders standing in front of the CIA's wall of stars might have resonated wrong with a building full of desk jobbers.

Who knows? I don't. Without getting any security briefings I only have opinions. Bless free speech. Is a hatchet job being planned for the MN-Morris prof? That would be an unfortunate consequence of arguable issues vs. trending insider dogma. Doubt of dogma after all has consequences; Luther's nailing theses on a door being but one example. It's a shame Goedel did not publish his "proof." The narrative of its genesis is hoot enough, but the proof; that would be golden.

Last: YouTube.

_____________UPDATE____________
The RT version. Not hanging together entirely, either. Likely correct on the intelligence powers, their term "the deep state" wanting its narrative and not Flynn's; but they fail to explain where Trump is in all of this - who he listens to and what decisions can be anticipated - next time, new issue. Loose cannon, vs. their assertion of a weakness and insecurity. The RT interpretation of "drain the swamp" sees the intelligence community's positioning of policy narratives as "The Swamp." Is it a swamp, but not "The Swamp?" The Swamp seems to be the stranglehold money has over political decision-making in DC, and it seems the intelligence community either likes it as is; or has no skin in that game - domestic policy setting, vs international positioning. Time to call Ghost Busters.

_________FURHTER UPDATE__________
Most readers would agree double standards suck. Where was mention of the Logan Act, with this? And, that's written prior to research of the Logan Act, itself. Just, what Flynn did, a few phone calls; and Romney going to Israel and getting in cahoots with Netanyahu; was it monitored, and if so, why was it NOT leaked?

Things don't seem justly congruent, and distinctive criteria need to be pointed out to me, in my naive state of thinking consistency somehow should matter. Reader help is requested on why Flynn was keelhauled, and Romney was reported as "an old Bibi pal" with no implications to that being problematic, U.S. private citizen conferring with a head of state via an extended personal visit.

Simple questions, for which the President can and should demand intelligence subordinates provide a comprehensive answer:

Was the Romney Bibi spiel monitored, and if not why not? What was said about policy - and potential policy revisions, should Romney win the White House?

This is the candidate, himself in the flesh on an extended visit to a foreign power. Not a phone call. Or two. With an election pending - in the balance, not between a victory and an inauguration, briefly by phone involving a subordinate of the victor - not an extended stay confering while a private citizen with a foreign head of state and not a subordinate.

Wha's happening? Bibi special, Putin evil? Get real. That's phony. Does the Logan Act have a statute of limitations; and would Romney still be on the hook?

Okay - make it the Russians again, and be bipartisan. This, as Logan Act material? Have to study the Logan Act, to see its reach here or here.

BOTTOM LINE: Flynn was removed. Trump had that option and made that choice. Done is done and will not be undone. So?

What remains for study: Why did the intelligence community have it in for Flynn; what policy of his did they dislike, and were they right in using a sneak attack via a little used, virtually unknown Act? Also, this Logan Act - what does it say, what is its history, and would it be a good snare for sleazy business deals involving foreign government officials? There has been a claim that the new Secretary of State's corporate person, EXXON, was a "Citizens United" person with a half a trillion oil deal in play with the Russians; so could it at that level have all been private sector? What of Guilani and Qatar, et al.?

The beat goes on. Unless that Logan Act is to be read narrowly, there could be a very crowded gallows.

For readers wanting to do a bit of research; Google Scholar, Federal Courts, search = "Logan Act." The first of the blurbs the search returns says "a natural person" so it would have to be EXXON officials, not the inanimate corporate "person" on the hook there. Study is needed.

___________FURTHER UPDATE___________
Badge design must be a well-paying cottage industry; if farmed out to crony consultants, or a time sink, if done in house. A bet: bang for the buck, cost of badge vs. quality of badge is bad use of cash.

That last one shown, sixteen stars around the center design, complete with a bastardized Latin banner. "COLLABORATUS VIRTUS FIDES" if you read the enlarged archived Wikipedia image. And looking at that, why the five hot dogs drawn around the central eagle? What are they for?

At least it's a badge costing less than an F 35, at going rates; that can be said in its favor. Why not banner the badge as "virtuous, loyal collaboration," with five swords instead of hot dogs, or is bastardized Latin a requirement to be "official?"

Friday, February 17, 2017

The what if game.

What if it was Pence that green-lighted Flynn to talk to the Russians; and Flynn, unlike John Dean in earlier times, willingly became the fall guy?

The universal din from mainstream press is Flynn's error was lack of candor with Pence; and not whether Pence knew he was being untruthful when he said "Flynn's okay."

Why is that, as a possibility, not being discussed?

Some might rather trust a general than a politician. A general, used to chain of command, likely was green-lighted by somebody. Bannon perhaps. The Mercers? Was Pence in Flynn's chain of command, i.e., who did Flynn report to? Trump directly?

Who had prior knowledge of Flynn talking by phone with Russians; and why did they think the spooks would not be listening and/or not happily leaking what they'd heard? They had to know the spools felt a cause to hold a grudge. The spook nation had an invested ongoing "Russian perspective" that being diplomatically engaged with the Russians had to be from a set of fixed premises, which Flynn did not hold in concert with spook nation. At least apparently so. Trump stating that the leaking process, its motivations, is worth inquiry is not an unreasonable thing to add to deliberations. Not to deflect from, "Who authorized Flynn," but as an ancillary point of interest.

What did Pence really know, and when did he know it?

Sound familiar?

Only an idiot or a shyster would not own up to a simple question when asked one.

This link. Two answers, neither rocket science. Yes, being one. No, being the other.

Candor will lead the lost children to the promised land. Perez could not do that even if handed a road map. He'd have to check with the Clintons about any road map handed him.

Beltway man, why are you doing this?

Now, readers: If you want to see unaldurated caviling and servility, then read this.

Diogenes weeps. Snuffs out his lamp and walks away.

Can this individual be trusted with actual responsibility? Will he inspire young blood into a moribund machine? Does he even care to?

Three "no" questions in a row. Simple questions, clear answers. Three strikes and out used to be the rule. The sole problem is the 447 who have a vote, and whether they'd rather circle the wagons and lose more but their way, or open up to of all things, popular needs and ideas instead of slanted money interests buying future favors; with those interests already currently having each of the two parties to service that inclination and to be played off one against the other, Trump flavor, Clinton flavor. No flavor.

The people, they have no party; but there is promise one may HONESTLY turn to them, and they in turn, young especially who are less easily deluded and less easily compromised, as well as long-time party workers, including union special interests who need to widen greatly their interest in and solidarity with all labor; not just their bargaining unit's leadership; their contract; their pension fund.

Will the beast change? We'll see. In the meantime, MinnPost has an interesting item on chasing sound DNC leadership; while in parallel MinnPost has another one of Curly, Larry, and Moe; the alternative to change.

CHANGE beyond cynical sloganeering. The real deal. We need it.

Last, Curly, Larry and Moe, left to right:

Moe is the mean and nasty bossy one. The others,sub-stooges.
Curly sells steaks, ties;  Larry loves Jesus; Moe even lies about his marathon time.
Reuters image, posted at this MinnPost link.


_____________UPDATE____________
More MinnPost; re Curly's tax returns; and Erik Paulsen's studied disinterest in same.

What's in it for Tomassoni?

Who'd expect him to have laudable motives? The inexperienced. But who else?

And where Tomassoni is; Bakk is not far removed. Or that's been a pattern a betting man might trust.

This link.

UPDATE: Some may find it interesting that Aaron Brown reported Nolan as a possible Gov candidate; January 11, 2017. Has any reader an earlier hint of a candidacy? Given Aaron's insight a month ago; this new letter to draft the man already a month ago noted as interested, seems to not need too much of a push to convince the man to move. It looks more like a trial balloon than a "Let's draft" out of the blue by a band of loose thinkers.

The one thing strongly in Nolan's favor; Brown reported he was a Bernie supporter. If he runs as a Justice Democrat, endorsed by Our Revolution that makes it a different story than running as somebody Tomassoni touts. A difference between night and day. Bernie being day. But how can you reconcile the two? The gulf between Tiomassoni and Bernie is so great that Nolan cannot handle that straddle. Pick a side, sir. Darkness or light. They don't mix.

There is Becky Otto, who's not on Tomassoni's short love list. Otto is on his other list; which cuts strongly in her favor.

Stadium "parking lot" cleared - Mondale and Kelm-Helgen resign. What about Mondale cohort, Lindgren? Will that shoe drop with a public thud?

image source, see, also, this resignation report


PARKING LOT: Said then, not needing repeating, read it from 2015. Crony board seats? Think of the airport board too (Metropolitan Airport Commission). Lindgren and Mondale ties can be traced to their Gov. Jesse early 2000's Met Council days where Ted talked "smart growth;" back when Ramsey Town Center was spawned as one of six "Twin Cities Opportunity Sites" - Met Council grants and all - it WAS/IS/WILL BE growth, yes; but smart? You decide. Growth can be real dumb; especially when politicians and planners get their hands on things, appointees and all (see, this 2009 crabgrass post).

Lindgren and Mondale ties can be further traced, as interlaced. You want an example? Try this, e.g., p.12-13 (click an image to enlarge and read):



That was 2010, and they looked younger then. More recently, 2012, here, a first page screencapture:


Reader help request: Are there Mondale fingerprints on this - public funds, Hiawatha line; Lindgren played a role in a stop being placed at old Control Data building in Bloomington, MN, and incorporating renovation of that building into Hiawatha light rail planning. (2011 crabgrass link)

Reader help request: Are there Lindgren fingerprints on this April 2013 report of ties to Petters mischief; where Mondale faced a bankruptcy action clawback, and settled? Re same Strib reported:

Last week Ted Mondale struck a deal with the receiver in the Tom Petters Ponzi scheme to pay back $50,000 of a $150,000 personal loan Petters gave him in 2005. The “clawback” was based on the notion that people shouldn’t profit from a crime, whether they knew about it at the time or not.

According to court documents, a motion by receiver Doug Kelley to accept that payment will be heard by U.S. District Judge Ann Montgomery Tuesday morning.

Mondale, the son of former Vice President Walter Mondale, did not respond to requests for comment.

The $50,000 payment was negotiated between Kelley’s office and Mondale and included a review of Mondale’s financial situation by former federal agents working for Kelley.

“He [Mondale] submitted a financial statement. My former FBI and IRS agents dissected it and we are convinced this is the most Mr. Mondale can pay,” Kelley said in an interview Monday.

The settlement with Mondale is one of several that Kelley has negotiated with former Petters business associates; the recovered funds go into a pool for eventual payment to victims of Petters’ $3.65 billion Ponzi scheme, which collapsed in 2008. The settlements are part of a so-called “clawback” process in which Kelley attempts to recover transactions made by Petters using ill-gotten proceeds.

Kelley’s clawback efforts have ranged from nonprofits including St. John’s University to lenders BMO Harris Bank and General Electric Capital Corp. to former Petters executives. Several clawback requests have resulted in lawsuits that remain unsettled, including those involving early investors who made money during the Ponzi scheme’s heyday.

In addition to Mondale, Kelley will also ask the judge Tuesday to approve settlements of $16,400 from Richard Wolbert, a former Petters business associate from Milaca who received $600,000 in 2005 from Petters, and Stephen Ratliff, a former executive with Polaroid, a firm Petters owned. Ratliff and his insurer will pay $108,400 from a total of $565,000 transferred to his Twin Cities company, Integrity Marketing & Sales, between 2002 and 2008.

Mondale, 55, has spent much of his adult life in the public spotlight. After two terms in the Minnesota Senate, he was appointed chairman of the Metropolitan Council in 1999. In his current position, he is responsible for overseeing the construction of a new stadium for the Minnesota Vikings.

Mondale joined the Petters operation as a senior vice president in 1999 to look for Asian manufacturers of consumer electronic goods. Petters testified at his own trial that the Mondale name “opened up incredible doors” in Asia, where Walter Mondale once served as U.S. ambassador to Japan.

Mondale held a series of positions with Petters until he resigned in 2003 to run Nazca, a start-up software company that developed programs to trace land records more easily. One of Mondale’s early investors was Petters, who invested $750,000 in the company.

Petters made the $150,000 personal loan to Mondale in 2005 instead of increasing his stake in Nazca directly, according to Kelley. The loan carried a 10 percent interest rate and was due in December of 2006, one year after it was made. The loan was not repaid; the software company was sold in 2010 for an undisclosed amount.

Petters is serving a 50-year sentence in the Leavenworth federal prison for his role in masterminding the decade-long fraud that persuaded investors that their funds were being used to purchase consumer electronic goods for sale to big-box retailers when the new investments actually were used to pay off earlier investors and finance Petters’ other business interests.

33-1/3 cents on the dollar is not bad. Art of the Deal? Did Mondale do his own negotiation, or was it through counsel?

Strib doubled on its reporting; see here, also, stating in part:

Mondale has not responded to reporters’ questions on the loan.

Mondale, sadly, is one of many former Petters employees who only paid a fraction of “loans” and “bonuses” back. The fact is, almost no one pays back all the money in a clawback. In the Petters case, some charities couldn’t pay back a dime. Others forked over millions that Petters had given them because they thought it was the right thing to do.

It is the right thing to do. Mondale didn’t do it until forced to. So, just as electronic bingo is being touted as a new solution to the shortfall, and just before stadium plans are unveiled, we are reminded of the fuzzy math of the stadium deal by Mondale’s personal financial situation.

I asked Sen. John Marty, a fellow DFLer who disagrees with how the stadium is funded, if Mondale’s unpaid loan bothered him.

Given his high profile, “you’d think it’s something you’d get settled pretty quickly,” Marty said. “He makes a lot of money and he made a lot of money before. But I don’t know anything about his finances.”

A tax accountant I talked to said Mondale is likely on the hook for taxes on the $100,000 of forgiven debt, now that the deal is settled.

During the negotiations last year between the state and the Vikings, Mondale was frequently dubbed “the point man.” He, like the governor and enough legislators on both sides, pushed e-tabs as a financial solution. Either they were gullible beyond belief or they trusted in the maxim that it’s better to ask for forgiveness than for permission. They went with the numbers that made the stadium work for them, and now find themselves rummaging through the cushions to scrape up enough money to build it.

The business Petters helped fund and Mondale ran, Nazca, promoted itself as a software company that could track real estate transactions for clients. Mondale promised it would be working in six months, but three years later he hadn’t delivered. By 2008, the company has losses of $5.7 million.

Mondale surely has skills that have gotten him many prominent jobs. He also has one undeniable currency to trade on: his name.

Petters acknowledged as much. During testimony in his trial, Petters said that he used the Mondale name to solidify his company’s reputation. Mondale held several positions at Redtag, which did business in Asia. His father, former Vice President Walter Mondale, had served as ambassador to Japan, and Petters said in court that the affiliation “opened up incredible doors.”

A good door man is a valuable asset, I admit. I just wish a little more of that hefty public salary could go back to people scammed by Petters.

When Mondale was trying to explain how he could hold both the part-time position as chairman of the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission and his full-time job for Greater MSP back in 2011, Mondale told a reporter that “a stadium deal is not complicated.”

The Mondale family ties to Petters promotion are not news; (see this 2011 crabgrass post).

There is that old saying, "Birds of a feather prosper together." Lindgren and his firm, apparently still with the stadium management legal affairs account in tow, appear to still be prospering. We live in interesting times; where Justice Democrats advocate redefining the Democratic Party.

Last, an online law review item; local to Minnesota, but generic in emphasizing good sense is a precious commodity.

______________________________
[worth noting, those older referenced crabgrass posts suffer a common worldwide web affliction; dead links; but isn't that scrubbed Dorsey tout of Ramsey Town Center a real hoot; good there was a google capture (or was it Internet Archive)]


_______________UPDATE_______________
MPR, stadium players;

http://blogs.mprnews.org/stadium-watch/stadium-players/

this screencapture; top two stadium board staff players:


Is there a difference between those two? Should one of them be wearing sunglasses, drum-beating? Still Going?

Thursday, February 16, 2017

With the Puzder nomination history, the new Trump Labor Secretary should be a robot.

Why? Well, it's been said of robots, "They're always polite, they always upsell, they never take a vacation, they never show up late, there's never a slip-and-fall, or an age, sex or race discrimination case."

Guess who said that of robots, and win a free Hardee's meal - if you wear a bikini. Wash a car.

Don't like that three headed dog showing up. If Flynn talked to the Russians, who was talking to Netanyahu? More: What might, pre-inauguration, have been said?

Cordiality, and you too can salute. Another foursome, yesterday. Spouses showing up, must be important.

With Flynn out, Pence saying - all in concert saying - Pence was kept out of the loop, then presumably Trump was in the loop, and was accessory to a citizen/non-official negotiating with a Russian with the Spooks listening in and with somebody leaking info. Now, if Flynn's conduct was unlawful, what's that make an accessory's culpability; and if Trump needs to be replaced over it - THINK - a Pence/Ryan white house pair; neither really elected as white house occupants except one quietly appended to Trump's bombast. What an outright awful thought reminiscent of Ford/Rockefeller, with the big not-a-crook ousted and gone. Vomit time.

Now: Strib in an NYT feed reports:

By James Risen and Matthew Rosenberg New York Times --
February 15, 2017 — 9:19pm

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump plans to assign a New York billionaire to lead a broad review of U.S. intelligence agencies, according to administration officials, an effort that members of the intelligence community fear could curtail their independence and reduce the flow of information that contradicts the president's worldview.

The possible role for Stephen Feinberg, a co-founder of Cerberus Capital Management, has met fierce resistance among intelligence officials already on edge because of the criticism the intelligence community has received from Trump during the campaign and since he became president. On Wednesday, Trump blamed leaks from the intelligence community for the departure of Michael Flynn, his national security adviser, whose resignation he had requested.

There has been no announcement of Feinberg's job, which would be based in the White House, but he recently told his company's shareholders that he was in discussions to join the Trump administration.

Feinberg, who has close ties to Steve Bannon, who is Trump's chief strategist, and Jared Kushner, the president's son-in-law, declined to comment on his possible position. The White House, which is still working out the details of the intelligence review, also would not comment.

Bringing Feinberg into the administration to conduct the review is seen as a way of injecting a Trump loyalist into a world the White House views with suspicion. But top intelligence officials fear that Feinberg is being groomed for a high position in one of the intelligence agencies.

Yup, three dog heads, so reported. So who in this will be Heracles, and if this is the twelfth labor, what were the first eleven? The spooks would have been listening into stuff, and if they've the goods on Pence, will they not leak that; and if not leaked, why Flynn, but no leak for now for others than Monafort, so far?

Wha's Happening?

[bolding and image added, not in original]

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

A gentleman and a sculler.

Strib, here.

If the Republicans forced Betsy DeVos upon us; and did not make her wear a clown suit to her hearings; will they push in Puzder as aggressively, despite all?

Seattle Times:

On the eve of Puzder’s long-delayed confirmation hearing, some Republicans said Wednesday they’re concerned over his failure to pay taxes for five years on a former housekeeper who wasn’t authorized to work in the U.S.

One Republican senator said more than six GOP senators asked the White House to not go through with Puzder’s hearing Thursday because they don’t see themselves voting to confirm him. That would put the nomination in jeopardy, since Senate Republicans have a 52-48 majority and Democrats are solidly opposed.

Guardian:

Minnesota congressman Keith Ellison said Puzder was not to be trusted. “How can we expect Puzder to do his job and protect workers when his own employees are having their wages stolen?” said Ellison. “Good jobs and fair wages aren’t in Puzder’s vocabulary.”

Both the congressman and Hernandez, the fast food cook, pointed out the gulf between Puzder’s salary and Hernandez’s own wages. “Puzder is paid more in one day than we each make in one year working at his restaurant chains, and that’s the way he wants to keep it,” Hernandez said.

Ellison concurred: “While he takes home a multimillion-dollar salary, many of his own employees are barely getting by.”

Puzder opposes an increased minimum wage and a lower threshold for overtime pay, both of which would raise costs at the restaurant company’s main businesses: hamburger chains Hardees and Carl’s Jr. Earlier this year the executive made headlines when he moved the company headquarters from Carpinteria, California, to Nashville, Tennessee, where there is no state tax on personal income. In 2012, Puzder’s compensation from CKE was $4.4m.

Puzder also drew controversy last year with Carl’s Jr Super Bowl ads starring scantily clad models devouring hamburgers, which he characterized as patriotic at the time.

this link
“I like beautiful women eating burgers in bikinis,” he told Entrepreneur magazine. “I think it’s very American,” he said. “I used to hear, brands take on the personality of the CEO. And I rarely thought that was true, but I think this one, in this case, it kind of did take on my personality.”

CKE is a privately held company. In 2013 the company was acquired by Roark Capital Group, an Atlanta-based private equity firm named for Howard Roark, the leading protagonist in Ayn Rand’s novel The Fountainhead. Rand and her books remain significant influences on American libertarians and conservatives.

This Andrew Putzder, his nomination cheapens the "Trump brand" and that's with the bar set as low as it was before his name surfaced.

It is unclear how the wife-beating part of the Guardian's coverage arose, if in fact it happened, Putzder denies it. Perhaps the ex-wife suggested he pay his workers a living wage; and he lost it on hearing apostasy in his family.

UPDATE: The "I Love Texas" YouTube, here. There appears to be no online video of the wife-beating. Nor of the illegal housekeeper; how she dressed while keeping the man's house; washing his automobile; doing very American chores for the boss. For all we know, she may have had an Ayn Rand haircut.

_______________FURTHER UPDATE______________


Strib, source of image; story here. Hell, no fight in that dog. He's got his sure-fire DeVos-trained tie-breaker skulking around in the background; so where's his chutzpah?

DeVos is the one who should have withdrawn. Putzder at least is no fumbling ignoramus; just a flat-out mean SOB. Unfit for the job. But wasn't that the nub of the entire DeVos situation?

Putzder must wish he'd contributed more to GOP campaigns; that clearly being the touchstone. Not quality. Nor experience. Nor sagacity.

The Minnesota DFL, two YouTube quick items, about Minnesota Healthcare.

Here and here, for YouTube.

Down with the privateers. Up with the Minnesota Health Plan (Senate File 219 - Sen. John Marty, DFL, Chief author).

In an email to his subscribers list, Sen. Marty wrote:

Legislative Update & Town Hall Meeting - Saturday, February 18

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

The 2017 legislative session is now well underway and there is much to discuss.

You are invited to a town hall meeting that I am hosting along with Rep. Alice Hausman and Rep. John Lesch. We look forward to discussing legislation we are working on and hearing your opinions on issues of concern to you.

Town Hall Forum with Sen. Marty, Rep. Hausman, & Rep. Lesch

10:00am-11:30am, Saturday, February 18th

Falcon Heights City Hall, 2077 W Larpenteur, Falcon Heights, MN (8/10ths of a mile west of Snelling on Larpenteur)

Session Update

Numerous legislative proposals are moving through the legislative process and I look forward to discussing them at the Town Hall Meeting.

This year, I am the ranking minority member of the Senate Energy Committee, and I also serve on the Health & Human Services Committee and the Senate Finance Committee, which deals with all aspects of the state budget.

My new legislative assistant is Elspeth Cavert. We are located at Room 2401 of the Minnesota Senate Building. You can reach us at:
2401 Minnesota Senate Building
St Paul, MN 55155
651/296-5645

My email is jmarty@senate.mn. Or you can contact Elspeth Cavert at elspeth.cavert@senate.mn

Please check out the brief summary of some of my legislative projects below. Again, I look forward to discussing these and other issues with you at the town hall meeting on February 18th.

Warm regards,

John Marty

-------------------------------------

Health Care Reform

As we have already seen this year, our current health care system is broken, and recent Republican proposals in both Washington and St. Paul would likely reduce access for many Minnesotans. Our health care system is already far too expensive and difficult to access, and I am concerned that those proposals will only make it worse.

I support Governor Dayton’s proposal to allow people to buy into MinnesotaCare, and believe it will reduce the problems in the individual insurance market. However, it is not a solution to the broader problems in the insurance system.

We need a health care system that covers all Minnesotans for all their health care needs. That’s why we have re-introduced the Minnesota Health Plan (Senate File 219), a doctor and patient-centered system that would return medical decision-making to patients and their medical providers, not insurance companies. I am pleased that two-thirds of DFL legislators have co-authored my legislation and recognize it is the positive and affordable solution to our health care crisis.

Last week, I joined with the Minnesota Nurses Association, Physicians for a National Health Plan, Land Stewardship Project and Take Action Minnesota for a press conference to announce the Minnesota Health Plan bill and explain how Minnesotans from all walks of life would benefit from this affordable option. Video of the press conference is available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rpnc0oEQfKw.

Although this legislation is not likely to move forward this year, I plan to make sure that it is at the table when we are discussing health care reform, because it is the only proposal at the Capitol that will cover all Minnesotans, and the only one that will save money. None of the other proposals introduced so far would fix the health care crisis.

As an interim step, I will also be introducing a bill that would reduce costs for the Medical Assistance and MinnesotaCare programs by replacing them with a Primary Care Case Management (PCCM) system, in which primary care providers work directly with patients to coordinate their health care. The PCCM system would ensure better health outcomes, more patient focused care, and save state money by eliminating the insurance middleman that adds unnecessary costs to the system.

Economic Justice

More than one in ten Minnesotans lives in poverty, and three in ten struggle to meet basic needs. Some workers cannot afford housing and go from their jobs to a homeless shelter at night. No one should face a situation where they are working hard yet still living in poverty and unable to pay for necessities.

I am introducing a bold economic justice proposal that will improve the lives of tens of thousands of Minnesotans and move them out of poverty by providing phased-in increases in the minimum wage and more than doubling the working family tax credit. High childcare costs continue to be a problem for many working families, so the bill would also increase affordable childcare and boost reimbursements so childcare providers get decent wages and parents can receive high quality childcare. In addition, welfare benefits have not had a single increase in over thirty years, so this legislation would finally increase the payments to assist families living in poverty.

It has been over eight years since I served on the Commission to End Poverty in Minnesota by 2020. Unfortunately, very few steps have been taken to implement recommendations of the commission, and we need bold action to address the economic challenges facing so many Minnesota families.

Government Ethics & Campaign Finance Reform

Our democracy is being corrupted by the massive amounts of special interest money that heavily influences both federal and state governments. I will reintroduce my government ethics legislation that would close loopholes in our disclosure laws and work to end the conflicts of interest in government.

Among other provisions, it would: stop the revolving door between public officials and lobbyists, expand the open meeting law to cover legislative conference committee and budget negotiations, disclose all campaign contributions from lobbyists and interest groups, and require disclosure of who is funding the independent expenditures that are dominating our campaigns with attack ads and huge media buys.

We will never have a fair democratic process until we can stop the flow of big money in politics and government. Once again, I will be introducing legislation petitioning the US Congress to amend the constitution to overturn the Citizens United ruling and clarify that corporations are not people and money is not speech.

Energy & Climate Change

As the ranking minority member of the Senate Energy Committee, I am troubled by efforts to slow down the transition to energy efficiency and renewable energy. Minnesota laws that were making Minnesota a leader in addressing climate change are at risk of being repealed and reversed. I am fighting efforts by legislators to take the Renewable Development Fund (that Xcel Energy was required to create when they were allowed to story high-level radioactive waste on the banks of the Mississippi River) and turn it over to legislative control, where legislators can choose to fund their pet projects.


I am working hard on these and other issues this year, and hope you can join us at the town hall meeting on February 18th.

[image added, not in original] To place yourself on John Marty's subscribers list, use either of the two emails, for Sen. Marty or for Ms. Elspeth Cavert, the Senator's legislative aide:

jmarty@senate.mn
elspeth.cavert@senate.mn

In the email footer Sen. Marty noted Facebook and Twitter following info, and for phone or snail mail:

Minnesota Senate Bldg. 2401
St. Paul, MN 55155
651/296-5645

Readers are urged to get onto Sen. Marty's email subscription list. It's free. It's informative. He's one of the real good guys.

One can only hope -

- that Betsy DeVos talked pre-inauguration to the Russians, and will have to resign. It appears the high level Russians do not talk to ignoramuses so the hope is remote, but still there. Exchanging information on Russian charter schools and whether they use performance criteria applied in judging Russian public schools, something like that.

Yesterday's Microsoft TechNet Blog post looked a bit different. It could have started, "Today we did not . . ."

This link or click image to read

So, update Tuesday's wait-a-bit notice, for all Windows OS versions, 7 to 10, raises a question: Was it security inadequatly addressed, or functionality unintentionally blottoed? A few at the MS campus in Redmond, WA, said "How come this update install gives a blue screen . . ."?

As of Wednesday 1 pm, Central Time, still no update online for downloading/installation? Clearly, they need Balmer back.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Cosmetic change, from Microsoft? Because Windows 10 has to justify itself, and because smaller screens without many separate open windows suggests the cosmetology?

This screen capture within this Ars Technica article. Busy background desktop images, no desktop icons, with busy images not showing whether a display monitor has uneven single color integrity, brighter corners, dimmer corners, or any other unevenness? When Win-7 support is shut down, if I live that long; there has been that urge all along to try Linux. Whatever Linux might look like and offer, pick your distribution if not Ubuntu or Mint, at that time.

Microsoft has gone beyond the home workstation OS on every desktop, to enterprise and cloud as key revenue generating cash cows; phones, not too hot, for Microsoft. Apple got there first and Android costs less for the equipment vendors. And have you yet bought your smart watch and VR headset? Why not? What is wrong with your lemming urge, when advertising stokes and strokes it?

UPDATE: Stoke and stroke, in Ars content, beyond advertising:

Windows 10 presently uses a design language known as MDL2 (Microsoft Design Language 2), which is an evolved version of the Metro design first introduced with Windows Phone 7. Both Metro and MDL2 put an emphasis on clean lines, simple geometric shapes, attractive typography, photographic imagery, and minimal use of ornamentation. Both heavily borrow from responsive Web design concepts. Google's Material design language builds on similar themes, adding transitions and animations to better show how pieces of information are related.

The new Microsoft look is named Neon. It continues the evolution of Metro—it retains the emphasis on clean text and a generally flat appearance but adds certain elements of translucency (which the company is calling "acrylic") and greater use of animation and movement. Additional new elements are "Conscious UI," wherein an acrylic element might change depending on what's behind the current app, and "Connected Animations."

A fashion statement some at Microsoft design headquarters might envy, not for outdoors grizzly country.

Whoever Jennifer Brooks is, she's writing as short-sighted as the folks she writes at Strib about.

This link, and this mid-item quote:

Like other Rangers, the Hibbing resident is fiercely proud of her home in the North Woods. Generations of families have gutted it out here through recessions, steel busts, long stretches of bitter cold and the lure of job offers in distant cities.

“We Support Mining,” read signs in the shop windows. “Mining Supports Us.”

That loyalty to the land extends to their neighbors, their unions and the industry that drew their great-grandparents to this region 200 miles north of the Twin Cities.

Loyalty to the land? Where's any kind of "loyalty" in an attitude of fuck it if we can find a buck in it?

That's their attitude to the land; and it is selfish as much as Trump billionaires are selfish; just with less money but with an equal measure of attitude. Tom Bakk, poster child; David Tommasoni, fellow-traveler. The mine owners mirror the attitude. As a relative noted, during the last taconite boom a lot of widows were forced out of their rentals. More was charged incoming wage seekers than the widows could afford. That being loyalty to one another.

Gee isn't that home something. And priced to sell. Strib publishes a gallery of knock-you-out-of-your-socks photos.

Strib, here, a North Oaks Minnesota McMansion. For sale. Yours for only one and a quarter million bucks, asking price.

Before writing that check, Wikipedia on North Oaks, opening two paragraphs:

North Oaks is an affluent suburb 10 miles (16 km) north of Saint Paul in Ramsey County in the U.S. state of Minnesota. The population was 4,469 at the 2010 census.[6]

Formerly a gated community that now posts private access signage, all land is owned by homeowners with the North Oaks Home Owners Association maintaining all roads, plowing, parks, facilities, and recreation trails. Each homeowner's property extends halfway into the street. There is also a city government with a Mayor and City Council that administers basic services such as fire, police, planning, and licensing. The city owns no property. The Metropolitan Council has jurisdiction over the city's comprehensive plan within Minneapolis-Saint Paul, the sixteenth largest metropolitan area in the United States.[7]

Yes, cutting that check buys you into covenants, conditions and restrictions, CCR's, which any potential buyer might wish to read before handing the full payment into escrow. Met Council jurisdiction? What exactly does that mean?

All land is owned by homeowners with the North Oaks Home Owners Association" doing civic upkeep; for what annual cost, each home, that one? It is not merely a question of looking at City Hall tax records; although they count too. But that Association, it constrains, it costs.

Looking at the homeowners' association books and records might be a wise step for any potential purchaser, and earnest money contracts can be conditioned upon buyer's subjective approval of CCRs and association fee structure and amounts - the books and records. That golf course, what's its annual cost to that homesite, past, present, likely future? Conditioning a purchase and sale agreement that way only makes sense. Doing the research before having a discernible interest might be viewed as foolhardy. While doing duly diligent investigation, putting in the time, paying the lawyer(s), some other family might buy the place and you've burned investigative investment; so you might, if a potential purchaser, want a string to things before that expense.

Don't those images in Strib look appealing, and only one and a quarter million bucks, asking price. Who could say no?

Who would ever be so impudent as to ask in advance: What's the buy-in get you in terms of headaches as well as amenities; and is the balance appealing to you? If you had the cash to buy-in, that financial power, but only that, and plunged; there might be a surprise. But, only those who are like-minded in owning and enjoying the privacy and good cheer would want in, and would govern their collective accordingly, Wikipedia noting mid-item:

Louis Hill later owned North Oaks Farm until death in 1950. Ownership passed to Louis' children who decided to develop the land into a model residential community. They incorporated the North Oaks Company with a mission to build with respect for the natural environment, having witnessed metropolitan sprawl during this time. To ensure their mission would be fulfilled, land was subdivided and sold with a warranty deed that created the North Oaks Home Owners’ Association (NOHOA) to be responsible for roads and recreation. Each deed placed each home's property line halfway into the street, placing all roads into private ownership.

Remaining land in the city is owned by the North Oaks Company. The original farm buildings have been restored and are viewable to the public along with informational displays; tours are also available. Two of the remaining structures, the Blacksmith Shop and Machine Shop and Dairy Building, are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

In May 2008, NOHOA sent a letter to internet search company Google, stating that its Street View software contained images that violated their trespassing ordinance, and requested their removal.[8]

Whatever might anyone have to object to, in that? Is Wikipedia correct, a home owners association having their own ordinances? Or is it a municipal ordinance, inspired by the NOHOA? North Oaks Company, LLC? Original filing; spring of 1996; Louis Hill's death, 1950. There is time there for a history to have evolved; and from 1996 to today's home purchase opportunity, more history. An opportunity to buy a home in a distinct community. Under Met Council jurisdiction; so a prudent buyer has another investigative notice - are homes on private well and septic, for good; or in line for metro sewer and water hook-ups in the future and consequent fees? Or might that transition have already happened, which homeowner association records might reveal?

____________UPDATE_____________
Isn't the story of life, always more questions than easily found online answers? Zillow:

http://www.zillow.com/north-oaks-mn/

Two web pages of for sale listings? Prices vary. You can research the list by price, lot size, when built, so this one is not the highest ticket item per Zillow. Is this an inordinate amount of listing action, for that kind of community? If so, is there cause, or coincidence?

With that home not being the highest priced, per Zillow, one might ask, Glen Taylor's Strib, are they running an advertisement as if news; not captioning it as advertisement even if the listing agent/brokerage paid a fee? Strib and the brokerage know, but it's not clear to readers of the online item. The item is categorized by Strib, "Variety." How was that one opportunity picked to feature, and with it alone featured, where is the "variety?" Is this a view home; or a secluded wooded property? The Strib gallery shows no grounds/gardening, nor view.

High end North Oaks prices do vary, per Zillow:

http://www.zillow.com/discovery/north-oaks-mn/largest-homes/

More Zillow, here, for bottom feeders in a top tier community. This:

http://www.zillow.com/discovery/north-oaks-mn/recently-built/

Enough, if not already too much.

__________FURTHER UPDATE_____________
"Enough" said too soon.

198 pages of LAND USE ordinances of the City; apart from the NOHOA's documents. Latest City online minutes (a 12/8/16 meeting); sewer/water and storm water were topics. Easement question noted between NOHOA and the Company; Mail thefts(Huh?); and that's but one recent meeting.

Community organizations. Local Restaurants. More organizations than restaurants.

A screen capture, from City of North Oaks website, "HELPFUL LINKS"

click image to enlarge and read

FURTHER: City of North Oaks, 2008 Met Council mandated Comprehensive Plan [no-maps]. No more recent comp plan for that town was located from the City website's site map page. If a more current plan, or a draft of one is in existence, inquiry of city planning officials should yield the info; along with planning maps. If a consultant is being retained for comp plan purposes, ditto; vs combing through town online minutes. It's unfortunately a cottage industry in the Twin Cities metro area; comp plan consulting; and those practicing it are of a quality that can be judged from the plans submitted to Met Council; with the online 2008 North Oaks plan [no-maps] being 96 pages; shorter than the LAND USE ordinances. Planners and planning consultants are who they are.

A ten-year old plan noting a single PUD as "development" per these screen captures of the final two pages of the linked item begs a host of questions. The older homes on well/septic; are they being channeled to Met Council - municipal services, with SAC and WAC charges looming; or is Met Council not that bloodthirsty with this locale? Interesting questions; and why a ten year old plan is all that is in town records aside from meeting agendas and minutes is one such interesting hummer. Caveat emptor? Buyer diligence seems due; if popping a million plus for a property. (click a thumbnail to enlarge and read)



Back to Wikipedia, noting early (as is also written in the 2008 Comp Plan [no maps], with parallel wording under a "HISTORY" segment):

Structured around Pleasant Lake, the area began as a water source for the Saint Paul municipal water system, which still maintains water access rights today. The land was later purchased by Saint Paul magnate James J. Hill in 1883 and expanded into a 5,000-acre (20 km2) breeding and hobby farm.

With others in Ramsey County having Pleasant Lake as their domestic water reservoir, populous areas, water quality considerations for the lake would affect questions of remaining homes on private septic systems with any adjacency to the reservoir, as well as lawn and garden chemical runoff considerations where algal blooms would not add to tap water taste or quality; and with a host of different homeowner associations identified, as of 2008; having a lawyer skilled in land use law and the reading of a title policy would seem a first step for any duly diligent potential purchaser of a million dollar plus home. There is an old saying about penny wise, pound foolish, which would apply to choosing and funding legal help.

_______________FURTHER UPDATE______________
The opening page of the most recent [Sept. 2016] 2-page North Oaks Planning Commisison online minutes notes Comp Plan updating is a pending consideration; per this screen capture.

click to enlarge and read