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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

CBO Report - Debunktion Junction and Asking Kline To Read

Category: GOP Politics
Posted: 02/06/14 14:05, Edited: 02/06/14 14:14

by Dave Mindeman

Look like we have to debunk more Republican junk. This time it is their interpretation of the CBO report. Here is the quote that started a big controversy....

The reduction in CBO's projections of hours worked represents a decline in the number of full-time-equivalent workers of about 2.0 million in 2017, rising to about 2.5 million in 2024.

Carefully notice the wording. It does not say jobs are lost. It does not say lay-offs. It does not say unemployment.

What it is saying is that workers can choose to leave the labor force and many will.

I know that this premise is true because I am one of them.

Obamacare releases workers from having to continue working simply because they require health care. Now, continuing to work is a choice for them. It gives them an option they did not have and many of us are making that choice.

Leaving the labor force is not a bad thing. It allows the individual to stop staying in the healthcare trap if they have the resources to do so. It opens up a job for a new worker. It gives workers a bit more leverage to negotiate with their employer in regards to their value.

But Republicans did not read this report in real terms. They read it to get new talking points. They extrapolated it to jobs. Lost workers for employers is really a jobs issue. Obamacare was messing with employment. It's a disaster. They want repeal - and political points.

The political rhetoric becomes so difficult when you can't just accept information at face value. Now we have to explain the information in ways that Republicans can understand, without jumping to the conclusions they want.

When you hear any Republican analyst say Obamacare is going to cost the country 2.5 million jobs - debunk it!

Note: Already have to debunk John Kline. Here is a quote:

"The President's health care law is destroying full-time jobs," said Rep. John Kline (R-Minn.), chairman of the House education and workforce committee. "This fatally flawed health care scheme is wreaking havoc on working families."

Congressman Kline - Do you read anything yourself or do you just wait for the GOP memo? Facts are real, John Kline, and you are NOT using them.
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Tuesday Night in January, In A Bowling Alley, With The Tea Party

Category: GOP Politics
Posted: 01/30/14 12:49

by Dave Mindeman

A bowling alley.

I walked into Bogarts in Apple Valley...down the long hallway next to the lanes. The noises of pins dropping and drinks being served in the background...and found the community room off to the right.

I walked into a fairly sizable room and found a table in the back. The large room had people scattered around and there at the front with the microphone was Sen. Julianne Ortmann making her caucus case.

This was the South Metro Tea Party. The meeting was being held on the same night as the State of the Union. No problem here because none of these people wanted to listen to Barack Obama spout his socialist rendition of America.

Although the room was large, there were only about 45 people in attendance and from the sleepy reactions, Ortmann wasn't stirring any great zeal in the membership.

She talked for about 20-25 minutes....mostly touting her budget balancing principles. Her US budget ideas are summed up with...

a) Use it or lose it budgeting
b) Announce a strong agenda and then have a strategy to pass the agenda
c) Budget for more than 1 year at a time
d) Moratorium on rules and regulations

After her talk, she had a few minutes of questions. During a question on the Middle East, she may have waded into the weeds...She said, "Not our role to protect international norms -- that's the UN's job...let the UN carry out their agenda."

From what I know about the Tea Party - UN references aren't too popular.

Ortmann's reception was attentive but pretty lukewarm. No applause lines and her own somewhat desperate plea for support at the caucuses were the standard for the appearance.

She tried to win them over with some tough EPA talk....said EPA standards using the 1990 Clean Air Act as their authority was highly questionable. Went back to her moratorium on all rules and regs. A few heads nodding - no big reaction.

She was quickly shuffled off the stage at about 7:35, so they could get on with their self promotions. Ortmann left right away....without even working the room. I thought she was popular with these characters?

After that, the nuts and bolts of the organization was discussed. This group is one of 7 local organizations....

South Metro Tea Party (Apple Valley)
North Metro (Mounds View)
East Metro (Lake Elmo)
West Metro (Plymouth)
SE Metro (Cottage Grove)
Lone Oak (Eagan)
Red Wing

They went through a power point on what the organization needed them to do on caucus night. The basic premise? Go to the GOP caucus - get yourself on the BPOU delegate list. Wait for further instructions.

Then they had a short video of an interview with Michael Hayden, former NSA director. The video was meant to show Hayden's "erroneous" ideas on the 4th Amendment....with Hayden pointing out that probable cause is not part of the amendment. A few boos could be heard. What I thought funny about that particular part was that just as they were shutting down the video, you got a glimpse of where the tape came from - it was a picture of Keith Olbermann when he was with MSNBC. Touch of irony...

Jake Duesenberg was the guy orchestrating the agenda. He is pretty much the organizer of most of the metro Tea Party organizations. The local "hosts" of the event took the stage once in awhile to make a local announcement or draw for the raffle (prize is a Bogart's gift certificate). Note: Took 3 tries to get a winning number.

But Duesenberg keeps things moving and keeps control. He had some trouble keeping everybody engaged -- althought the obligatory "how many NRA members are here tonight?" --managed to get half the group raising their hands.

One of the main agenda items was passing out the Tea Party Magazine. It was a freebie tonight with a post card inside exhorting you to a $35 membership...entitling you to 4 more magazines during this election cycle.

I left after that...wanted to catch the last part of the SOTU. But I would say the jury is still out on whether the Minnesota Tea Party is a real force to be reckoned with. They have a foothold and they do have leadership that is motivated. But without that direct Ron Paul fervor, I'm not sure they can be as strong as they were in 2012. They have not latched onto a particular Senate or Governor candidate. Julianne Ortmann is counting on them for her support to the MN convention - but it doesn't look real enthusiastic at this point. State Sen Dave Thompson is counting on their support in the Governor's race -- but that clearly hasn't been evident in his fundraising totals.

I guess it is one thing to gauge the movement on a sleepy, cold Tuesday night in January...in a bowling alley. Its another to watch it in the middle of primary season. So watch this space.
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Let's Talk MN Campaign Finance - Into The Weeds

Category: GOP Politics
Posted: 01/29/14 11:05

by Dave Mindeman

Which is worse - sharing portrait pictures or misrepresenting campaign contributions?

Forgive me...because I am going to wade into the weeds of campaign finance for a few minutes.

The Senate caucus was recently fined $100,000 for a campaign violation that amounted to doing photo shoots with some of their candidates. Yes, that kind of classifies as coordination - but photos? really?

But the Senate caucus has returned fire with a complaint against the State Republican Party which lends a lot to an explanation of why the MN GOP has so many financial issues and a cavalier attitude towards campaign finance in general.

Here is a quote from the DFL complaint to Campaign Finance:

Prior to the 2012 general election, the Republican Party of Minnesota made numerous independent expenditures attacking MN DFL candidates as part of the Republican Party's failed effort to retain control of the Minnesota Senate. No fewer than 22 different pieces of literature, and likely many more, were mailed to thousands of homes across the State. However, the Republican Party failed to disclose a single independent expenditure against any DFL Senate candidate on its 2012 Year End Report-- hiding thousands of dollars of electioneering activities from the public. This failure to disclose even a single independent expenditure attacking a DFL Senate candidate cannot be explained by mere inadvertence and is a blatant disregard of the Campaign Finance Disclosure Act.

If you look at their report you can find that the money was reported - at least as far as any one can tell - by expenses for "printing and postage for political mail". This amounted to $144,100.

The spending happened but the MN GOP didn't want to disclose what it was for - a campaign finance violation.

These political mailings are independent expenditures. They are done for local campaigns without the local campaigns having to finance them or count them on their own reports. And locals can say that they had no control over what is said.

Recently, the MN GOP sent an e-mail distribution railing against the flagrant campaign finance practices of the MN Senate caucus - over pictures.

New MN GOP Chair Keith Downey (who was a Senate candidate in 2012) says..until the CFB acknowledges it is investigating the complaint "it would be impossible to comment." Still Downey says that the Party stands ready to "fix" any problems on their reports.

Might have to fix a lot.

But as long as we are on the campaign finance front, let me go a little further into the weeds and talk about some other problems.

After all, the Campaign Finance Board has books that do not balance.....

Jeremy Schroeder, executive director and lobbyist for Common Cause Minnesota, called the current website "woefully inadequate.".....Improving the electronic data is "key to transparency," said Sherri Knuth, policy and outreach manager for the League of Women Voters Minnesota.....

And what is the problem?

.....a Star Tribune analysis that found that one in seven electronic records of donations tracked by the Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board is incorrect. The errors stem from one group reporting having given donations that the recipient did not report getting or the reverse. The faulty records mean that groups may have donated as much as $143 million or as little as $122 million, depending on which side of the ledger is to be believed.

That is $21 million in discrepancies.

A lot of this is careless reporting. Some of it is arcane rules from the Board itself. But there is a lot of vague expenditures that do not get the scrutiny they deserve.

For instance:

Pat Hall of Rosemount ran against Sen. Greg Clausen in District 57 in 2012. Hall lost and his final report had this entry...

11/13/212 Automobile Expense...........$4,000
Mileage owed to candidate

Notice the date is after the election. And also note that the $4,000 left his campaign with a final balance of $79.79. Drained the remainder.

Now it is not unusual to have reimbursed mileage expense, but did Hall have a Log Book? And why is this the ONLY entry for mileage expense on his entire report? And why did it just happen to be the amount left in his campaign account?

Maybe Pat gets his ideas from his brother...Sen. Dan Hall who has a similar entry on his finance report....

12/12/12 $1500.00
Reimburse Dan for Mileage and other Misc

And here is another side note.

Campaign Finance requires that all political entities utilize the Campaign Finance Software to make out their reports. Since the Board is short staffed, it allows them to do data base searches and find errors quickly.

You even have to fill out a waiver form if you want to do the reports by hand. And the form requires you to give them a legitimate reason.

Yet, Rep. Tara Mack of Apple Valley, who first won election in 2010 has NEVER filed an electronic report. All of her reports are done in writing. That prevents the board from including her numbers in searches unless they take each of her reports and enter the data manually....which is probably not happening.

Why does a sitting legislator - who obviously uses electronic media on the floor and certainly has access to people who can figure out the campaign finance software....how does that legislator get a waiver on electronic reporting?

So again, the MN GOP has made that DFL Senate caucus fine a "big deal". They are the bad guys. While the MN GOP - with the million dollar plus treasury deficit.....the guys who hide independent expenditures....the people who list unexplained expenses....yes, the MN GOP doesn't want you to notice the hypocrisy of what they do.

Again....photos or deceptive practices. Which is worse?
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