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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World


Posted: 05/30/05 16:50, Edited: 05/26/13 11:25

by Dave Mindeman

Senator Becky Lourey lost her son this week. It won't matter how or why. It will only hurt... deeply. Although we can never fully know the anguish in her heart, we stand with her -- all of us. There aren't any political statements to make, arguments to get into, or wartime legalities to debate... no, one of our young soldiers has fallen. And we salute him for his bravery, his courage, his honor, and his dedication to duty.

Minnesota has lost 22 young heroes. Debate over the reasons or the causes don't matter for them or for their families. They didn't ask for a war, but they fulfilled their duty. They had a job to do and they did it. Matt Lourey, like many fellow soldiers, signed up for a 2nd tour in Iraq. As we go into Memorial Day, it is time to pause a moment and honor their sacrifice. They serve both Red and Blue states and while we can disagree on the politics of it, we stand united in our appreciation and admiration of their devotion to their country and their comrades, and their dedication to service.

On Memorial Day, I always reflect back on two vacation moments that are, for me, frozen in time. The first occurred in Washington, D.C. One of the most moving sites in our national capital is Arlington National Cemetery. As one strolls the manicured rolling hills and absorbs the reality of row after row of white crosses in perfect order, one must pause and become deliberately aware of the personal story that lies behind each burial plot. As we strolled the grounds, deep in thought, a caisson with stately horses and perfectly choreographed soldiers moved in procession toward a final resting place for another soldier. The dignity of the moment impressed me and the special care and attention to detail made me feel proud.

The other moment occurred in Normandy, France. It was an anniversary date of the D-Day invasion - probably about the 45th - and we were just returning from a visit to the American cemetery at Omaha Beach. As we walked the beach and explored the bunkers that still stand ominously guarding the cliffs, I saw an old man seated near a precipice, his fixed gaze on the open sea. He was motionless. He wore a red beret and was leaning rather heavily on his cane. The ocean and the echo of gulls were the only sounds. But I wondered what else this old soldier heard in his private world. He could have been French, English, or American -- it didn't matter. For every soldier, war, once experienced must be a perpetual companion.

I would hope that all of our service people know that this country stands behind them 100%. We believe in them, and they constantly inhabit our thoughts and prayers. Too often, they hear the political rhetoric and misunderstand, thinking opposition to war is, somehow, a disrespect of them. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

We all stand with them, all of us. Some of us will continue to question the political machinery that put them all at risk. That, in reality, is our gift of support for them. We want them safe; we want them supported with the best American technology, and, most of all, we want them home..soon!
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Mr. Kline, You are NO Coleen Rowley!

Category: Minnesota Politics
Posted: 05/27/05 11:46

by Paul Bartlett, Eagan

I am just giddy at the prospects of Coleen Rowley challenging John Kline for the 2nd congressional district seat in 2006.

Rowley is the real deal; she is thoughtful, bright, articulate and honest. I have never met anyone less pretentious than Coleen; she is firmly anchored to our Minnesota and MidWest values. We could not hope for better representation.

And, did I mention, she also happens to be a legitimate national hero. Rowley had the guts to stand alone, to expose FBI foot-dragging surrounding our 2001 national tragedy. This is the sort of independent courage that is sorely lacking in Kline. Kline has demonstrated a total inability to separate from the administration, and stake out his own positions. Norm Coleman has been rightfully accused of being a toady. Well, Kline is toady extraordinaire.

To paraphrase Lloyd Bentson's response to Dan Quayle during the 1988 vice presidential debate: I know Coleen Rowley. Congressman Kline, you're no Coleen Rowley!

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Howard Dean was Right. Delay is a Crook!

Category: US Politics
Posted: 05/26/05 17:29

by Dave Mindeman

Howard Dean must enjoy his little sparring matches with his critics. A while back Gov. Dean called Tom Delay a crook and the talking heads went crazy. How dare he use that language! He's talking about the majority leader in the House..... he'll have to retract that. A few days ago, he reiterated the same statement declaring he would not modify the truth.

Well the headline in the NY Times today seems to favor the Dean position: JUDGE RULES GROUP TIED TO DELAY VIOLATED ELECTION LAW. Granted, this doesn't indict Delay directly but a lot of people who have followed this believe it is only a matter of time before Delay finds himself in court.

Why is this important? Looking back prior to the 2004 elections, we can see the master plan. Some time before the Congressional elections Delay put together a PAC called TRMPAC (Texans for a Republican Majority). The plan was to funnel money through the Pac to win seats in the Texas Legislature that would be used for redistricting the State's Congressional seats. Something that is normally done at the start of a 10 year cycle (2000 was the last one). The plan worked perfectly. A huge stash of cash generated by TRMPAC put the Republicans in control of both state houses and the governor's office. They immediately worked to change the maps of the Congressional Districts to put 5 Democratic seats in jeopardy. (You may remember the state house Democrats flying to Oklahoma to delay the tactics.) The end result was crucial for the Congressional Republicans. The Texas delegation going into the election was 16 Dems and 16 Republicans. After the 2004 election, the make-up was 21 Republicans and 11 Democrats. What makes all this even more intriguing is that the current majority for the GOP in Congress is 229-206... if Texas had not changed, the gap closes to 219-216. Stunning numbers.

The problem was that TRMPAC got a huge amount of its money from corporations -- a clear violation of Texas Law. Delay argued that the money was used for a variety of things and that it was impossible to tie the corporate contributions directly to Legislative contributions. The judge (a Republican) disagreed and declared a clear election law violation has occurred.

Now, the reality is, Tom Delay may steer clear of an indictment himself. Only the people directly in charge of the PAC are facing criminal prosecution; but it is certainly obvious to the casual observor that this was Delay's baby and whatever happened in that committee didn't happen without the Hammer nailin' it.

Howard Dean had it right all along. When will the media figure that out?
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