consultants are sandburs

Monday, October 21, 2013

The need to keep up the Mark Ritchie legacy of competence and quality. No more Kiffmeyer or clones, please.

MN Progressive Project - a helpful online published item. This opening excerpt:

Debra Hilstrom for Minnesota Secretary of State
by The Big E on October 18, 2013

Lives in Brooklyn Center, MN
University of Minnesota (BA in Sociology)
William Mitchell College of Law (JD)
Husband, 2 kids
Legislator since 2000
Chair of House Judiciary Committee
Deputy Minority Leader during 2011-12 sessions

“I’m running for Minnesota Secretary of State because every election matters,” Debra Hilstrom explained. “Our elections need to be run in a fair, open and honest way.”

“I’ve stood up to the corporations throughout my legislative career,” Hilstrom continued. “I’ve been a strong voice for campaign finance reform and I firmly believe that the state shouldn’t buy stock in corporations that try to buy elections.”

“The Secretary of State’s job isn’t just about elections,” she said. “Two-thirds of the job is about helping small businesses and investing the state’s money. The Secretary of State sits on the Board of Investment. The state’s investments are worth $62 billion.”

I asked her about what’s going on in North Carolina and protecting the vote nationally.

“The Supreme Court decided that states could change voting laws without approval of the federal government,” she explained. “And several states passed very restrictive laws. It’s absolutely critical that voting rights are protected. I believe the federal government should continue to play an active role in protecting voting rights.”

I asked Hilstrom about electronic voting machines.

“We must be able to verify that every vote cast was counted correctly in a recount,” she replied. “Our elections must be honest, open and fair. I believe in paper first. We must have a paper trail to prove that each voter in each precinct was counted correctly.”

[links in original] Being unfamiliar with the Hilstrom candidacy or background, I found the MPP item helpful.

Again, this link.


Here for the Hilstrom campaign website. Throwing down the gauntlet against profligate hidden undisclosed money in elections:

Citizen's United threatens to drown out the voices of regular people in elections. I was one of only 16 House Democrats who voted "no" this year to letting corporations spend unlimited amounts of money to throw parties for legislators and their staffs. As Secretary of State, I will do everything possible to challenge Citizen's United and limit the role of corporations and special interests in our elections.

Again, from the campaign site's homepage. What's not to like?


Do not expect the Republican [Taxpayer League] candidates to have a LIMITING INFLUENCE IN ELECTIONS issue highlight on their sites.

They hate "sunshine" as much as vampires seeking out daylight respite, (as legend and literature explains). Barking in the dark is their thing? Trailing like pets to Mr. Bopp, because open transparency and election-influence disclosure is NOT to their liking. Minnesota Taxpayer League, Bopp, and a pack of Minnesota reproductive choice haters, criticizing others, doing this.

New York Times has reported/editorialized:

It is probably true that the more important issue is not which laws have been upheld, but rather which bills were never passed. But it is also true that the Supreme Court is likely to sustain aggressive disclosure laws if they are enacted. The part of Citizens United that everyone remembers was its main ruling, allowing unlimited campaign spending by corporations and unions. The court decided that part by a 5-to-4 vote, split along the classic ideological fault line. People forget the second aspect of the decision, this one favoring disclosure and decided by a lopsided vote. Only Justice Clarence Thomas dissented.

Bopp, the dog, and the abortion haters have Clarence Thomas on their side. Against disclosure of money spent to influence election voting, as if such disclosure is somehow wrong. Or, never mind right or wrong. They don't like it and will go to great litigation expense to fight against it.

This, from page 127 of 271 pages, here:

The Watchdog is committed to giving our readers the information they need to make an informed choice not only at the polls but right now, so they can commit their time and talents to candidates who will govern as champions of limited government.

From p.192 of 271:

But this is precisely why the Watchdog exists. We shine the light of truth on a murky political process.

Yet how the Chairman of the Minnesota Taxpayer League regards that league's money matters, as if they didn't matter or should not matter to voters, of if voters care that's too bad since the Iron Curtain is best when it comes to money and elections, or what? It seems those platitude quotes and that lawsuit against transparency means "the light of truth" is subjective, and if you'd follow the money, well, nothing to see here folks, move along.

Having no need to follow the money, make some other kind of "informed choice" info your basis for analysis, bozo, but I respect you and your vote. Compare the above cited New York Times item:

The two parts of Citizens United are not hard to harmonize. Citizens United takes the libertarian view that people may be trusted to evaluate the messages they hear and need not be sheltered from the responsibility of critical thinking. The theory is as applicable to the marketing of soda and cigarettes as it is to that of political candidates.

Citizens United itself concerned a slashing polemical documentary about Hillary Rodham Clinton paid for by a conservative advocacy corporation that wanted to distribute the film on a video-on-demand service during the Democratic presidential primaries in 2008, when Mrs. Clinton was seeking the party’s nomination.

The five-justice majority in Citizens United said that speech about politics is at the core of what the First Amendment protects, that more speech is better than less and that the government has no business deciding who can speak or how much.

It is a small step from that reasoning to saying, as eight justices did, that it helps to know who is advancing the ideas you are evaluating. You probably trust some sources of information more than others, for instance, and you may examine an argument more skeptically if it happens to align with the speaker’s self-interest.

[italics added] Readers, the bottom line is yours to choose. Do you feel you are better equipped to make an "informed choice" if you have a mandate in place that those propagandizing you need to disclose who pays for the message, or do you prefer a vacuum? Is naming names and amounts and more helpful than harmful? What are the harms, if any, of voters having such information? Some criticized a fully open and disclosed PAC effort last election cycle, "Citizens for Responsible Government," where the money matters were open and public - names and amounts. Nobody there litigated to suppress disclosure. If you oppose sunshine, transparency and disclosure, Bopp it? Bopp 'til you drop? Knowing who ALEC members are and the way their model bills get ginned up; to me that is simply useful information that should not be Bopped. Make up your mind, but never forget the players in that Bopp-litigated lawsuit and what they went to court to achieve. Like it or not, remember it.


Back to the start of the post, paper ballot trails are what allow meaningful recounts, and without the paper ballots to turn to there would have been more of Norm Coleman in the Senate than when the recount was over. No matter which party wins the next Secretary of State election, that is one part of things both parties should agree to - a paper trail is needed even where ballots are machine-processed. So far, one candidate for Secretary of State is unequivocally saying so, and my hope would be all others would join in that thinking to remove it as a partisan issue. That said, Hilstrom is impressive to me. I would hope the Republicans seeking that office and other DFL candidates turn out to be equally impressive. No more Kiffmeyers, no more ALEC, please, please, please. The job is too important for that level of mediocre politics of partisanship and a will to undermine separation of church and state. Surely the Republicans have something better to offer, next election.


Anonymous said...

Abortion haters? Really? How about Abortion bullys?..You have the IQ of a two year old!

Jim Bendtsen said...

Mark Ritchie's legacy of deliberate partisan interference will haunt and hobble this state and our country for decades to come. He put his finger on the scale of election justice on the side of the left like no one ever has in MN.

Jim Bendtsen said...

Blocking corporations from donating to PACs might be considered when blocking unions from donating to PACs is considered. At least pretend you're fair and have ethics.

eric zaetsch said...

Jim - The last two holding that office have been criticized and praised. It likely will be a hotly contested race in 2014.

eric zaetsch said...

Jim - Bopp 'til you drop.

That said, fair and having ethics - that would be the "school" folks who schooled your guys McGlone and Bob Ramsey, on how to posture and not deliver on promises?

Aside from that, unions are not fictional persons. They are labor providers who band together to not be trodden under by the greater wealth of those they normally deal with as employers with the deep pockets. Now, I know several small business people who do not have deep pockets and have generally not been unionized, but I am talking Koch brothers, ALEC, Target, Goldman Sachs.

I concede Obama has been a generous to Wall Street as Bush-Cheney, to a fault.

Bottom line Jim, single payer is long overdue and we both know the level of ethical fairness your folks at UnitedHealthcare have been in resisting true reform; writing the current package; and then lying about it's Romney origin and how they want to stop it. They make money off of forced healthcare, and then there's Paul Ryan wanting to screw old folks like you and me. GET REAL.

If you are one to contend UnitedHealthcare is fair and ethical, well whistle the tune.

eric zaetsch said...

Apologies for the grammatical errors in the earlier comment. I wrote in a hurry. Unions - they have their problems. Their myopia is toward organized labor and its advancement, not labor and its advancement, and they lose much support in drawing that distinction. Obama - since Clinton co-opting Eisenhower Republicanism, and the unfortunate extremists such as Bachmann, Emmer, Tea/Tax Partiers/Payers Leagues, taking over the GOP with their mess and thinking it bright to precipitate forced shutdowns of Minnesota's government and the national government; since all that has come to pass the GOP has marginalized itself from within calling RINO at the drop of a tea bag. The fact most people realize is the corporate agenda has been relocated to the Clinton-Obama Democrats who are happy with that and there is no "left" left. That is why aside from Stanley Hubbard and easily deluded little old ladies giving money to Michele Bachmann, nobody is funding the current Republicans. Jim Bentsen is unhappy, I am unhappy. We both dislike the state of things in DC, and I expect he dislikes the bipartisan dimension of free money for Zygi as much as I do. But having access to decent minimal healthcare is a right of being a citizen of this nation; and it has been denied and people have been fleeced bare by the medical-industrial-HMO-big insurer-Big Pharma pack of exploiters in their dying days, then allowed to die once they've run out of cash and assets. Things have not been truly and decently reformed by the current package. Max Baucus assured that along with a host of others, and that pack wrote the current package to continue to be exploitative of the general population for the benefit of the entrenched medical establishment; and they laugh when their henchmen posture about how unfair it is. How unethical it is, (to apply fair and ethical measurement dimensions others mouth).