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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

GOP Wants Government To Leave You Alone, Except....

Category: GOP Politics
Posted: 04/18/16 13:50

by Dave Mindeman

For a Party that wants to limit government overreach, the GOP has some explaining to do....

--on why they refuse to protect LGBT citizens from discrimination.

--on why women's reproductive health is their's to decide on.

--on why they are so concerned about how you use the bathroom.

--on why they get to decide who you should marry.

--on why they can decide if Latino families should stay together.

--on how you should be able to cast your ballot.

--about how you practice religion if you are not Christian.

--about who is allowed to adopt children.

--about why your bedroom is not your own business.

Of course, outside of that, the GOP wants government to leave you alone.

Damn all that government interference.

comments (1) permalink

"Batsh*t Crazy"

Category: GOP Politics
Posted: 02/28/16 17:57

by Dave Mindeman

This is all pretty nuts.

On the Republican side of things this has become a debacle. It is hard to imagine that it can go any lower than we are right now. A schoolyard filled with 3 year olds has more dignity and decorum than this.

Trump has pulled the entire field of candidates right into the gutter and there is little reason to believe that this is not the path (or should I say trough) to victory.

The Republican establishment is shocked by all this, but they have been laying the ground work for years. They let the birther movement grow. They didn't correct people on Obama's religion. They looked the other way on race baiting and xenophobia. They developed language signals that didn't openly or publicly condone these things, but quietly let it be known that it was still acceptable.

And all of this resulted in Donald Trump. Someone who knows how to game the system. He did it in business. He did it in entertainment. And now he is doing it in politics. I think that what has surprised even him, is how easy it has all really been.

Dazed and confused, Marco Rubio has decided that he needs to react in kind. Ted Cruz is willing to cheat. John Kasich has run out of ways to say that we need more sanity. And Lindsay Graham finally put it in terms we can all understand when he said, "My party has gone batsh*t crazy."

What is truly disturbing about all this is that Trump's antics are working and his following is growing. We are now living in a real life reality show. And nobody knows how to deal with it.

I have assumed from the beginning that at some point everybody would come to their senses - but so far that simply has not happened. The Democrats have at least been talking about policy issues, but even they seem tempted at times to join the fray.

I still hold out the hope that this election will not be defined by Trump. That truth and decorum will rise to the top. And that we will have an election that is worthy of this great country.

I hold out that hope - but I have to tell you, I am not confident of it.
comments (3) permalink

For Entertainment: Read Sen. Dan Hall's Campaign Finance Report

Category: GOP Politics
Posted: 02/15/16 01:56

by Dave Mindeman

The Star Tribune put together a look at the legislative campaign finance reports and found some interesting expenses being paid with campaign funds. My own legislator, Tara Mack, reimbursed her husband for child care expenses during the last session for over $2,000. The payments ended in May and the "document exchange" incident happened in late summer.

Democrats and Republicans have a lot of airfare paid for via conferences and supposedly legislative related business. And Rep. Leidiger used campaign funds to pay for a speeding ticket - I guess he was on his way to work? And of course, there is lots and lots of golf.

But I always find State Senator Dan Hall's reports the most interesting. Let me give you a few items....


1. In December, Hall's airfare was reimbursed by the "Foundation For Excellence in Education". This is a Florida based group that is big into school choice - public and private. Big into Jeb Bush, Florida style education, including common core. They promote an end to teacher tenure and are big into alternative licensure.

2. Meeting fees in September for a conference with ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council). You probably know these guys. They push pro-GOP policies via state legislation. Hall signed up for 2 year membership; paying for it with campaign funds.

3. Paid for a Lakeville Chamber golf tournament ($150) entry fee. I guess it pertains to the 3 Lakeville precincts in his district.


1. He paid $349 for convention and meeting fees for AIPAC (The American Israel Public Affairs Committee). You have to ask the question - what would a state legislator be involved with... for that organization?

2. Another $400 in fees for ALEC.

3. Reimbursed himself $3,360 for mileage. Candidates do this, but not usually in figures that high. He also reimbursed himself $2100 for other miscellaneous expenses.


1. Reimbursement expenses - mostly mileage = $2,100

2. His wife Valerie Hall, reimbursed expense = $1,665


1. Reimbursement expenses = $1,665
I guess Dan decided to itemize during this year and the items are pretty interesting.....

Clock at Walmart = $9.88
Hand Sanitizer at Costco = $5.00
Parking Fees (May) = $2.00
Picture Frames at Walmart = $33.27
Political Spirit = $7.50
----The Political Spirit is an apocalyptic book written by a former Muslin.
A .69 reimbursment via Super America for coffee meeting (just weird)

2. He also bought a $499 cell phone. Does he only use it only for campaign purposes? Maybe he does.


1. Reimbursement expense = $5,243
Most prominently $2,950 in automobile expense.

2. And within that reimbursement, there are 76 items listed for lunch expense of $8.00 or less. Kind of a fanatic. There is even an entry for .75 for a newspaper.

Dan Hall has some of the stranger reports. I can't say there is anything illegal about any of this, but it is certainly a little disturbing that Dan Hall has such close ties to ALEC. And it is hard to discern how much personal expense is being mixed into campaign funds -- especially when transportation expenses are involved. And the AIPAC conference also raises questions as to relevance for a state legislator.

His early reports had extraordinary details...almost to the point of obsession. But later reports have been more generalized.

Dan Hall has various references to Christian groups. He pays dues to their organizations and he advertises in their publications. Again, nothing inherently wrong with that, but relevance gets strained.

Yes, Dan Hall provides some entertaining reports. Can't wait for the next one.
comments (0) permalink
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