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Cooked Books

Actual flag of the United States: note the size and position of the blue square relative to the stripes; note the number of rows of stars and the pattern of stars in alternating rows; note the number and width of the stripes.

Conservatives are angry all the time.  The further to the extreme right, the higher the sustained anger level.


Fact and reason have nothing to do with this anger level.  The anger is real; the causes are not.


The condition of perpetual free-floating rage on the right is the result of careful and deliberate priming – read LYING – by the right wing propaganda machine.  They tell their gullible little stooges that things are BAD BAD BAD, and without a thought to fact checking a word of it, the right wingers fall into line and foam at the mouth on command.


You tend not to see these stories in the mainstream media, because they don’t survive the fact checking process.  Tell the truth about these ginned up incidents, no one gets angry.   It takes lies to anger the base.  It takes lies to unite the base in support of bad candidates as well.  There is so much of this propaganda, that the right cannot fully identify why they are so angry –  they just know they ARE.


To move on to the latest of these manipulated anger political dramas, specifically about the flag (there are entire separate persistent right wing propaganda themes, memes, or genres, although they do sometimes overlap – black people are thugs, homophobia, Islamophobia, etc.), here are a couple of the more recent ones.  The flag propaganda series posts illustrate qualities common to all of the different propaganda themes.


Nothing says patriotism like cars made in Korea……..or not.  Hey, I’m all for trade, so long as we have an even playing field to compete, but it is an issue in the TPP that we are suffering from some bad provisions of past trade agreements with South Korea, and Kia is just one of the imports that contribute to those problems of lost jobs and trade imbalance.


So in that larger world economics context, I was equal parts angry and amused at the latest two examples of right wing propaganda that usurps legitimate patriotism and hijacks the flag for purposes of propaganda.  Both take place in Florida, one in Sunrise, one in West Palm Beach.


Note that there is no upper  (viewers) left hand corner of blue (technically a canton) with 50 stars representing 50 states, but rather the blue takes up slightly less than half of the flag.   The number of stars in each row, and the arrangement of stars in each row also appear to be incorrect.


photo of the so-called ‘American Flags’ being flown at the Kia dealership in West Palm Beach.

Moving on to the ‘stripes’ of the flag, they are the wrong width, and there are more than the 13, representing the original colonies, that appear on our American flag.




This is a form of bunting, which is prohibited by local ordinance, apparently intended to keep dealerships from unduly junking up the municipality.


David Hann says DFL is corrupt

by Eric Ferguson on March 9, 2015 · 1 comment

Facepalm 42Hann

Sen. David Hann wants you to believe the DFL is riddled with corruption. Hann said, “Every week there is a new story showing DFL politicians’ self-interest triumphing over the concerns of the people they represent:”. What a scary colon to end that clause. Every week! Well, he must then have a whole slough of examples while digging back just a couple months. A few examples anyway. And Hann had to back over several years to find them. But those few are real doozies of corruption. Some are. Well, one. But David Hann says that amounts to a culture of corruption, and he’s such an honest fellow!
So what did Hann actually cite as an example of corruption? He gave the most column-inches to the size of the last budget. He thought it was too much. That’s his main example. I suppose if anyone is wondering why it has become so hard for the two parties to talk to each other, there’s a good place to start: the leader of the Republicans in the State Senate thinks disagreeing with Republicans, in and of itself, constitutes corruption. Well, David Hann says the DFL has a culture of corruption, so it must be so.
Hann reaches back to 2012 after saying there’s a new story every week, and brings up that the Senate DFL caucus was fines for coordinating with its candidates by taking their pictures for campaign literature. I admit I’m still lost as to how it’s illegal for candidates to coordinate with their own campaign arm, but they did it, and only DFLers get in trouble with the campaign finance board. Well, except for when the miscreants are Republicans. You might think that’s a big deal, creating a non-existent party entity to let the state Republican Party run up debts and then pretend they weren’t theirs, and try to pass off falsified treasurer reports as real, creating so much debt the Republicans are still being sued by creditors who didn’t get paid. That might seem like a big mess, but surely it’s nothing compared to taking some photographs for campaign lit! And oh yeah, Hann had his own campaign finance problem a little while back. But David Hann says the DFL is the corrupt party, so it surely must be so.

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The boy carved out of wood, Pinocchio;
when he lies, his nose grows
but business doesn’t

On the Sunday Morning June 1st edition of WCCO Sunday Morning, in an interview with Esme Murphy, Jeff Johnson, MN GOP endorsed candidate for Governor of Minnesota made the statement that Minnesota came in last – in 51st place, behind the District of Columbia in economic growth.  He then qualified that, when challenged  by Murphy, to last in small business creation.


I cannot find ANY source which factually supports such a statement, and Johnson did not give one in the interview.  We are NOT last in any form of business creation, including small business.  Jeff Johnson appears to have told a lie to advance his candidacy for governor, one that is easily checked.


I have long contended that conservatives believe things which are not true, which are factually false, and asserted that this is particularly true in the area of economics.  Republican economics do not work.  Republican math does not reflect accurate or functional numerical values.
What I DID find in the course of my fact checking was a surprising figure for where Minnesota stands, in comparison to other states, from a very right wing source,one funded by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a far right source, and their subsidiary organization, Free, which measures some 30 different economic factors.


Is Jeff Johnson, MN GOP endorsed candidate for governor, the model for the figure of a lying Pinocchio?

In business creation performance, Minnesota ranked 15th
; in both the areas of infrastructure and what they term the ‘talent pipeline’ which compares the levels of education of our workforce – a key business component, Minnesota ranked 6th.

Minnesota is ranked 6th in this year’s report for its solid talent pipeline and workforce education system. The Land of 10,000 Lakes has the 2nd most educated young workforce, and its higher education system is the 4th most productive in degrees per 18- to 24-year-old.

And here is what the site said about our infrastructure – another component essential to business, including small business start ups:

While it may be known for the tragic Interstate 35 bridge collapse in 2007, Minnesota has the lowest share of structurally deficient or functionally obsolete bridges. The Governor’s Task Force on Broadband recently released a set of policy recommendations to improve deployment across the state, including targeted tax credits, expanded public access, more coordination efforts, and allowing broadband conduit to be installed in concert with highway projects.

Minnesota’s Transportation Economic Development Program offers grants to communities, covering up to 70% of the cost of transportation infrastructure installation or improvements for business expansion in targeted industries, including manufacturing and biosciences. Governor Mark Dayton has proposed continued funding for the program, citing its ability to leverage private investment, increase the tax base, and create new jobs.

Looks to me like Governor Dayton is doing things right – but not right wing – to keep Minnesota performing well in job creation and business start ups, of all sizes. But for comparison, let’s take a look at the same rankings for Wisconsin, since our MN GOP has no new ideas for keeping Minnesota competitive, and because the MN GOP wishes to emulate many of the policies of our next door neighbor, Wisconsin, under Republican Governor Scott Walker, and his Republican controlled legislature.



In overall performance, which includes these metrics / areas of measurement, Wisconsin ranked 44th out of 50:

Ten-year job growth (3 points)
Two-year job growth (3 points)
Overall expansion of gross state product (1 point)
Productivity: state output per job (1 point)
Productivity growth: growth in output per job (1 point)
Income growth: growth in per capita personal income (3 points)
Livability: median income of four-person household adjusted for state cost of living (2 points)

And Wisconsin ranked 41st in Innovation and Entrepreneurship (lower than MN), and well behind Minnesota in 6th place, in ‘Talent Pipeline’ and ‘Infrastructure’. Republicans have no new ideas; their ideas for Minnesota are the same old stale and failed ones that they push in every state, a one size fits all recipe for economic stagnation and decline, for becoming economically not competitive. But because the facts are not their friends, the only alternative they have is to lie.



Liars are losers; for the sake of Minnesota, we must hope that Jeff Johnson loses the race for the office of Governor. Governor Dayton and his Democrativ majority legislature seem to be doing a great job, and we should let them continue to do so. Send the liars home. The last time they were in power, they caused the state credit rating to be downgraded, and they bankrupted their own party, putting it in over $1 million in debt, while lying to us about how they were the party of fiscal responsibility. We can’t afford more of the MN GOP’s lies.


Lazard global offices from Lazard web site

Lazard global offices from Lazard web site

MNGOP senate candidate Mike McFadden, challenging DFL incumbent Sen. Al Franken, is running on his business background as co-CEO of Lazard Middle Market. Since McFadden won’t even answer policy questions, I wonder if he’ll talk about how his parent company ripped off British taxpayers. When the British Conservative Party decided to privatize the Royal Mail, Lazard managed to sneak a huge chunk of the proceeds into its own pocket.

Conservatives of all western nations seem determined to privatize their postal services, not that it ever works, but there’s a chance to pillage for private gain, so can’t pass that up, and maybe Britain’s Conservative Party was feeling left out. So they decided to sell shares in the Royal Mail on the stock market, and they hired Lazard to advise on the pricing of the shares. They also asked some hedge funds to buy up a big bunch of shares and promise to hold them, thereby providing some price stability. One of those hedge funds was another branch of Lazard. Lazard promised not to flip the shares in exchange for buying at the initial price, but the shares nearly doubled in the first couple days (which means they were grossly underpriced)*, and if you can’t guess what happened next, you really need to work on your cynicism regarding big financial firms. Lazard flipped the shares, selling everything in the first couple days, not merely after promising not to, but after doing its best to get the government to underprice the shares.

Margaret Hodge, chair of the parliamentary public accounts committee (PAC), said Lazard “made a killing at the expense of the ordinary taxpayer that lost £750m on day one” of Royal Mail’s London Stock Exchange debut. [That’s roughly $1.5 billion]
An official report by the National Audit Office last month found that the government decided against increasing the flotation price of Royal Mail beyond 330p-a-share because of warnings from Lazard’s corporate advisory arm, Lazard & Co, that City funds would be put off.
On the day of the flotation, on 11 October, the shares rocketed 38% due to phenomenal demand from the City and public. They gained £750m in value in the biggest one-day rise in a privatisation since British Airways in 1987. The shares, which continued to rise to a peak of 615p, are now trading at 530p.



Nienow decides responding to lawsuit is optional

by Eric Ferguson on April 3, 2014 · 3 comments

32NienowSome people respond to personally difficult situations by avoiding the other party to the situation. Due dates get ignored, messages get ignored, and sometimes even subpoenas get ignored. That last one is pretty bad. Thus why the Small Business Administration (SBA) is seeking default judgment against state Sen. Sean Nienow, R-Cambridge.
The local media have been reporting that the federal government, in the form of the SBA, is seeking default judgement against Nienow for failing to repay about $750,000 in principle, interest, and fees on a loan the SBA gave him in 2009. However, they haven’t really explained “default judgement” to readers (unless I missed it, which is possible), and I get a feeling no one has explained it to Sen. Nienow, else he surely would have shown up in court. It doesn’t mean a judgement that he defaulted on a loan, though that’s pretty much the point of the lawsuit against him. A default judgement is something the plaintiff asks for from the judge when the defendant doesn’t show up to court, hasn’t been negotiating, and apparently hasn’t been answering the phone or the e-mail, whatever means the SBA has been trying. Plaintiffs request default judgement when it’s able to show the defendants aren’t trying to settle and are showing contempt for the judicial process, such as by not showing up in court.
Apparently Nienow isn’t just avoiding the SBA and the plaintiff in an earlier lawsuit, but he’s avoiding the press too. Though not entirely. KSTP TV managed to find him and get him to stand still a short time somehow, and kudos to KSTP for not softballing the interview. They have Nienow dodging the questions, including a rather obvious one. What happened to the money he borrowed? He’s paid back almost none of it, so where is it?


Tony Sutton’s plummet from the pinnacle continues

by The Big E on September 3, 2013 · 1 comment

Jmd 042 GOP PRESSERTony Sutton was in charge of the Minnesota Republican party’s finances from 2005 until 2011. First as Treasurer and beginning in 2009 as party chair. TwoPuttTommy documented what a disaster this was in his Cooked Books series.

Sutton was also lousy as a CEO. He oversaw the decline of Baja Sol Restaurant Group. During his tenure, around half of the Baja Sol restaurants closed. Republican activist, mega-donor and TCF Bank president Bill Cooper fired him in 2011.

And it gets worse for Taco Tony:

A tipster brought out attention to this tidbit buried in Sunday’s edition of the Star Tribune’s “Recent bankruptcy filings in Minneapolis and St. Paul” (emphasis ours):

Anthony Gerard Sutton and Bridget Mary Cronin Sutton, as surety for JC Food Systems and Sutton Enterprises, doing business as Baja Sol, as surety for IGH Cantina, doing business as Baja Sol Tortilla Grill, 8540 Bechtel Av., Inver Grove Heights; filed Aug. 23, 13-34121; Chap. 7; assets, $296,404; liabilities, $2,134,346.

I postulated back in 2012 that Sutton was actually a DFL secret agent. I guess I was wrong as he screwed up his own finances just as bad.

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Short on honour, among thieves

by Dog Gone on May 8, 2013 · 0 comments

The STrib has noted some of the same old ‘crooks’ connected to the bad old MN GOP and their cooked books, (profiled here at MN clowncarPP) are flocking to join the gravy train of gubernatorial candidate Scott Honour.


Here are the latest additions to the roster of Honour’s ‘band of thieves’, announced today in the STrib:

In addition to lead strategist Pat Shortridge and finance director Shanna Woodbury, Honour announced he had hired Valentina Weis as his deputy campaign manager and Scott Howell as his media consultant.

Weis worked with U.S. Rep. Allen West of Florida as well as the Republican National Convention and Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign; Howell, of Scott Howell and Company, has worked with dozens of high profile national political campaigns.

Linda DiVall, of American Viewpoint, will do polling for Honour and Wesley Donehue, of Push Digital, will coordinate Honour’s digital campaign. Other hires include:  Brady Dube, as campaign coordinator, Sheldon Anderson, as field manager; Priscilla Pesci, in marketing; former state Sen. Ted Daley is his treasurer, Erik Johnson will be his controller and Honour’s “lifelong friend” Brian Clark will be his campaign chairman.

As noted last April, Honour’s getting the concealer-in-chief as his strategist, and the cooked-books-keeper “oh dear god, NOT an actual audit'” adviser as well:

According to a source familiar with Honour’s campaign, Pat Shortridge, who finished his term as Minnesota Republican Party chair this month, will be Honour’s lead strategist and consultant. Shortridge has worked with Republican campaigns across the country as a consultant and ran Mark Kennedy’s 2006 U.S. Senate campaign.

Shanna Woodbury, who was the GOP Party’s finance consultant, will be in charge of Honour’s fundraising effort. She has worked with many high-profile Republican campaigns including Tim Pawlenty’s and Mitt Romney’s Minnesota campaign. She worked in fundraising for Kennedy’s 2006 Senate campaign.


I’m guessing those other candidates for the job from the far right, who have less moola to play with, will have to avail themselves of the more badly disgraced party hacks. Look for the same old tire, greedy, and unsuccessful faces to line up soon.  I wonder if Big Tony can still fit in the clown car, or if his disgrace with the party has made him MN GOPersona non grata among the big shoes/red nose/ squirting boutonniere set? Because so far, the right wing nuts appear to be doubling down on their same old tired failures, both people and policies.  It’s shaping up to be another three ring circus for the elephant lovers.


The Natives Are Restless! Or…

by TwoPuttTommy on February 8, 2013 · 1 comment

…”Money Down The Rathole!”

OK, deeply in debt, The Party Of Cooked Books sent out a tweet:  “The MN DFL Chairman bragged that “never before has our party been more powerful.” Fight back! #mngop #mnleg #stribpol”.  That link in that tweet?  Takes folks to the MnGOP’s website (screenshot is to the right), where they’re asking folks for some dough.  Except, some folks are not really happy with the MnGOP!

Here’s my favorite comment (so far), by “Larry” —

“Until the conservatives grow some balls, I will not give any more money to put down the rathole!”

Say, Larry?  It’s not the lack o’ ‘nads that’s the real problem with today’s MnGOP that makes donating to it a “rathole” – it’s their Cooked Books that makes it a rathole; it’s things like this!

And, that’s just one of many the MnGOP cut to the Feds to pay for their past misdeeds.

That’s just the past; there’s mighty good reason to think that future donations from The Party Faithful will go to paying for past misdeeds yet again!

Today’s MnGOP is indeed a rathole, and it’s for the old-fashioned reason:  they EARNED it.

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In Part 15 of this continuing Cooked Books series, we looked at former candidate for GOP State Chair Joe Repya’s acceptance of current State GOP Party Finance Chair Bill Guidera’s challenge:  to pay for a forensic audit of the State GOP Party’s cooked books.

Repya set up a website to collect donations to pay for the audit, but:  Repya also set a deadline for the State GOP to accept his offer to finance the audit.

Which brings us to a press release just received:

August 16, 2012



On July 23, 2012, Minnesota Republicans for Financial Accountability and Justice, LLC made a legitimate, legal and generous offer to conduct a forensic audit of the Republican Party of Minnesota’s (RPM) financial books at no expense to the RPM. The sole objective of the Minnesota Republicans for Financial Accountability and Justice, LLC was to restore fiscal honesty and transparency to the RPM and hold those who had fiduciary responsibility for party finances accountable. Unfortunately the RPM has refused to discuss our offer or provide their financials for an audit.

Effective immediately, Minnesota Republicans for Financial Accountability and Justice, LLC has withdrawn its offer to audit the RPM financial books.

We regret the action of the Republican Party of Minnesota. We have been told by confidential sources in the RPM that a small number of major donors were afraid that a forensic audit would possibly uncover additional misappropriations of party funds and thus cause additional embarrassment to the party image prior to the November 2012 elections. One must conclude that the RPM believes it has more scandals to hide from the public. We fear their actions will result in the voters of Minnesota holding all Republican candidates accountable in November.

All donations to Minnesota Republicans for Financial Accountability and Justice, LLC will be returned to the appropriate donors. As a result of the overwhelming volume of donations by Minnesota voters we anticipate it will take three to four weeks to return those funds. We thank the voters of Minnesota for their kind support.

Joe Repya

Pretty much says it all, yes?

Books will stay cooked, cover up continues, and:

It’s today’s example of:

You Couldn’t Trust The GOP Then, You Still Can’t Now, And Tomorrow Won’t Be Any Different.  


In Part 14 of this continuing Cooked Books series, we looked at the first 16 pages of the Minnesota Campaign Finance Board’s “Findings and Order in the Matter of the Complaint of Common Cause Minnesota regarding the Republican Party of Minnesota and others” dated 13 July 2012; ending where the CFB concluded:

To summarize, in 2010 the RPM had a finance director, who was recently promoted from telemarketing and who testified that he knew next to nothing about Campaign Finance Board reports and professed that it was not his job to review the reports in preparation for the treasurer’s signing them. The RPM had a chair who was busy with fundraising and his own business and believed that the finance director and the party unit’s compliance company were responsible for preparation of the reports. The RPM had a compliance company that disavows any responsibility for campaign finance reports other than to put data into a system and print out the reports. And finally, the RPM had a treasurer who placed all of his reliance on these three individuals. Given that situation, it is no surprise that the RPM reports were inaccurate.

“…it is no surprise…”

Yep!  No surprise there!

And the Mn GOP’s Party “Leadership”  is just fined fine with that.  

In Part 14 of this continuing Cooked Books series, we noted, from page 6:

During the course of this investigation, the Board requested and received various records from the RPM, including accounts payable aging reports and invoices. However, the RPM is not able to produce records or worksheets that would allow the Board to reconcile amounts from the payables aging reports to the federal and state reports of unpaid obligations. As a result, the Board is not confident that even the RPM’s amended reports are accurate.

“…the Board is not confident that even the RPM’s amended reports are accurate.”

And the MnGOP is adamant that they are NOT going to pay for a forensic adudit to get to accurate reports.

Enter former candidate for MnGOP Chair Joe Repya, in an OpEd in today’s Strib; let’s look!

Let’s audit those state GOP finances

Article by: JOE REPYA

The Republican Party of Minnesota seems to have adopted its own policy of “don’t ask, don’t tell” when it comes to investigating its multimillion-dollar financial mismanagement scandal.

A number of weeks ago, the party’s finance chairman, Bill Guidera, challenged me, stating: “If you want a forensic audit of the RPM financial books, why don’t you pay for it?”
People who have nothing to hide do not object to a thorough investigation.

Mr. Guidera, it is time we clean and sanitize our GOP house and drain the swamp. So I take up your challenge.

A group of concerned Republicans will personally raise the money necessary to conduct a thorough and transparent forensic audit of the Republican Party of Minnesota financial books dating back to 2007.

We have established Minnesota Republicans for Financial Accountability and Justice LLC to solicit funds for that purpose. Anyone is welcome to donate, be they Republicans, Democrats or independents. You can donate either via P.O. Box 22306, Eagan, MN 55122-0306, or on our website,, using PayPal.

That, Gentle Readers, is Joe Repya tossin’ down the gauntlet!

But, that’s just one o’ the gloves; here’s the other!

If you have contributed to the Minnesota Republican Party during the period of 2007 through 2011 and wish to be part of a class action suit against the RPM for their mismanagement of your donations, please send your contact information (name, address, phone number & e-mail address) to joerepya(at)yahoo(dot)com and our attorney will be in contact with you!

That’s from the website Repya set up to fund the forensic audit o’ the MnGOP’s Cooked Books!!!

Not only is Repya and other like-minded Republicans willing to get to the bottom of the mess, there is the possibility of a class action lawsuit by folks whose donations were, well, used for who knows what rather than the intended purpose?

Can’t wait to see how the Cooked Books chefs try to get around these gauntlets!!!

Stay tuned!