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Memorial Day ~ A True ‘Theft of Valor’

by Invenium Viam on May 24, 2015 · 0 comments

grief_arlington

For some, the grief is forever.

Call him drunken Ira Hayes,
He won’t answer any more.
Not the whiskey-drinking Indian,
Nor the Marine who went to war.

The Ballad of Ira Hayes — recorded by Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan
& others; written by Peter La Farge

 

Speaking as a veteran on Memorial Day, you might indulge me as I voice a couple of gripes about this day and the absurdity it has become.

 

First, I hate the commercialization. Everywhere you look, there’s a Memorial Day Sale. Every fast food joint is trying to cash-in on the long holiday weekend while insinuating some kind of quasi-patriotism by “free” offers to active military and veterans including free “Freedom” Fries at Wendy’s, free boneless chicken wings at Hooters, and a free “All American Burger” at Shoney’s.

 

I hate the fact that to take advantage of the free stuff on offer vets have to show a military ID or discharge papers, because others who never served a day in uniform have taken advantage. I hate the thought that a homeless vet who might actually need a square meal, but who doesn’t have his sh*t together enough to lay hands on his discharge papers, could be denied a hot dinner because the fraudulent among us have kept him from it.

 

Hooters Tribute

For others, it’s a way to turn a quick buck.

I hate the thought that the rank commercialism I see all around me is a means for businesses, from profit motives, to cynically exploit America’s honored dead. If the offers were really meant out of a sense of patriotic gratitude, as opposed to exploiting a commercial opportunity, why not simply provide meal coupons to the VA clinics and hospitals, and/or the veteran’s support and social services organizations, where they can be distributed to needy veterans whose needs are known to the staff, as opposed to putting the onus on the vet to prove that he’s a vet?

 

Or is the real purpose simply to put butts in seats over the long Memorial Day weekend that serves as a kind of Kick-off to Summer? I hope that’s not the case, because someone would have to be a real low-life — I mean like a low-life maggot child molester — to do something as inherently wicked and insensitive as that. And allow me to include the advertising agencies who take part.

 

I hate the fact that free stuff is offered to living veterans on Memorial Day at all. Veteran’s Day is different. On Veteran’s Day we honor living veterans. So honor the vets on Veteran’s Day with as much free stuff as you like. But on Memorial Day, we honor our dead. And dead veterans don’t need your free stuff. They don’t even need your gratitude. They just need your respect. It would be far better to give free stuff to the surviving spouses and children of dead veterans, who are no longer there to protect and support the families they once loved — because they gave their lives for the country they once loved.

 

It seems to me far more patriotic for a restaurant owner to offer a free meal on Memorial Day to 10 dead veteran’s families, as opposed to 100 living veterans, or to provide a $10,000 scholarship fund for a veteran’s children, as opposed to spending $10,000 in loss leaders and advertising to promote a business. It would be far more patriotic for a hotel owner to offer a surviving wife or husband with young children a 3-day vacation in a poolside room with free room service and cable movies. The surviving spouse probably needs a vacation with his or her spouse dead and gone. That, to me, would be honoring the dead veteran, by supporting his or her living kin. I doubt anything of the kind will ever happen, though. Because that would actually be charitable, as opposed to being exploitive of our service dead like some kind of shameless moral degenerate.

 

I hate the fact that veterans themselves have been suckered by all the quasi-patriotic media frenzy into ostentatious displays of having served. There was a time when veterans served their terms of enlistment and then went home to get on with their lives, to raise families, and to help build their communities with quiet dignity. There was a tradition of maintaining a reserved demeanor about having served. Nobody made a lot of noise about it. There was no such thing as the modern crime of ‘Theft of Valor’ (punishable under statute, as if such a thing were even possible), because no one would consider parading themselves around falsely as war heroes. On every block in my neighborhood growing up, there were a half-dozen war heroes. Most were untouched by combat. Some bore the scars of burned flesh, a disfigured face, missing fingers, or shattered limbs.

 

ih1

Lance-Cpl. Ira Hayes

Others bore scars unseen, whose suffering was less apparent, the men like Ira Hayes who live amongst us. They suffered the horrors of war in silence, unable to pour out of their heads the sights, sounds and smells of combat that had once poured in. Those veterans, whose sense-memories had been etched forever by the high-octane adrenalin of combat, could forget nothing and suffered a private inner hell replete with private demons. They tried to kill those demons with whiskey and pain pills. They might have wished they themselves had died in combat. Instead, they met less prosaic ends: frozen dead to their porch steps, impaled on the steering column of the family car in a head-on collision with a bridge abuttment, or with their brains hanging from a dank basement ceiling. We do not judge them because we cannot judge them. We can only include them among our honored dead.

 

I hate the fact that politicians have politicized military service, have attempted to colonize the political “moral highground” by showy and noisy displays of support for the military services and for veterans. I hate their loud, obnoxious, breast-beating condemnations over the sins of those less pretentious, less classless, and less overwrought than themselves in their supposed “gratitude” towards those who have served. I hate the fact that political leaders attempt to equate the sacrifice of our veterans, and in particular our honored dead, with support for their political ideology, religious values, world view, foreign policy, domestic policy, and racial or tribal identities. The typical condition of a combat infantry soldier is cold, tired, hungry, wet and scared. At other times, he’s hot, thirsty, hungry, tired and scared. Whatever his current condition, I can guarantee that the only thing on his mind is when he’ll next be dry, warm, rested, well-fed and safe. No one who stands a watch in the dark of night ever thinks about the merits of this or that political ideology. And it seems a safe bet to me that not one among our honored dead ever felt his sacrifice was only for white people, or only for black people, only for Christians or Jews, only for Republicans or Democrats, only for Protestants, or only for Catholics.

 

The sacrifice of those honored dead we Americans memorialize was a sacrifice for the rights, the freedoms and the dignity of all Americans. Flag-draping politicians who attempt to pervert the meaning of their sacrifice to the service of political expediency should be shouted down and vilified in the public arena as the low-life maggots they truly are. And while I think it’s fine to make money in business, to exploit the sacrifice of those we memorialize, to seek competitive advantage and gain by capitalizing on the day we’ve set aside in remembrance, that’s what I would call a true ‘Theft of Valor.’ Those who engage in such behavior need to be denounced.

 

We need to recover our sense of national identity and national purpose. The more that demagogues use military service and veterans in attempting to claim a distinctive class of patriotism, and to meanwhile drive divisions between us, the more loudly we should object. We need to call attention to those who exploit the sacrifice of America’s honored dead for political gain, or for profit. The sacrifice of those who gave their “last full measure of devotion” should be regarded, as Lincoln declared at Gettysburg, as a sacred secular act — one consecrated “far above our poor power to add or detract” and one that should be protected by law from exploitation for commercial purposes.

 

We could begin by reminding the nation that our honored dead represent all of America: all colors, all religions, all regions, all economic backgrounds, all ethnic backgrounds, every state and every territory. Just once, I’d like to see a President in office issue a call to the American Indian first nations to send their representatives to Washington in a great Memorial Day convocation, to bring with them their service banners bearing the symbols of their nations and the names of their honored dead, our American honored dead among the Indian peoples. It would be an object lesson in the truth of our motto E Pluribus Unum for those who think their skin color or heritage accords them a special place in American life.

 

Some might call that a special consideration shown a minority group at the expense of the white majority. But I would call it an overdue recognition of the service and sacrifice of some of our fellow Americans, whose contribution in the nation’s defense over many generations — in fact, from the very foundations of this Republic — isn’t well known and for some Americans isn’t known at all. It would also serve as a move toward reconciliation of past grievances and injury among brothers at arms and a recognition of our shared history and shared love for the nation.

 

I have but little hope that anything of the kind will ever happen. Instead, I have real fear that this day will continue to devolve into an orgy of commercialism and politics and it’s true meaning and purpose will be smothered by unending greed and ambition.

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sanders-warren

A left-wing insurgency could spell trouble for Hillary.

We come on a ship they called the Mayflower,

We come on a ship that sailed the Moon.
We come in the age’s most uncertain hours
And sing an American tune …

                American Tune, Simon & Garfunkle

 

 

Lots of people think Senator Bernie Sanders (I, Vt.) is a Democrat. Even some political talking heads seem to think so. He is not.

 

Bernie Sanders is a socialist (or, as he calls himself, a “democratic-socialist”), who associates with the Vermont Progressive Party but who campaigns as an Independent and caucuses with the Democrats on legislation. In the Senate, he is counted as a Democrat for purposes of committee assignments. He chairs the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs and is the ranking virtual-Democrat on the Senate Budget Committee.

 

In announcing his campaign for the presidency in 2016, Sanders stated that he will be running as a Democrat for the democratic nomination — even though he is not currently a Democrat. But in fact, he has no plans to register in his home state as a Democrat for the very good reason that he can’t. Vermont has no party registration and, like Minnesota, has an open primary system.

 

Consequently, it is unclear whether Senator Sanders will even be able to change his party affiliation and declare himself a Democrat later this year, come October, in preparation for the all-important New Hampshire primary. Obviously, a strong showing in New Hampshire is crucial for his campaign to gather sufficient momentum and money to attract delegates and offer a serious challenge to the Clintonites at the Democratic National Convention next year.

 

The problem for Sanders is that, although he ran in the Vermont democratic primary for the Senate in 2006 and 2012 (legal under Vermont election laws) and won each time, he then rejected the endorsement of Vermont Democrats for the general election and filed his campaign papers as an Independent. So he has established a clear history of rejecting the Democrat brand. In fact, Sanders has never run in any general election as a Democrat and has never called himself a Democrat until now.

 

Hence, it is equally unclear whether Senator Sanders is even eligible to run for the Democratic nomination, or for that matter, whether he is eligible to participate in the Democratic debates. Everyone seems to assume so, but everyone could be wrong. All I know as a Democrat myself is that the party has rules about who gets to call themselves a Democrat and who doesn’t for purposes of seeking party endorsement, a system that becomes increasinly stringent the higher you go. And I know that there are well-defined rules for issuing challenges to those individuals who haven’t established proper credentials.

 

At the same time, Sanders is the Dear Darling of the political left, a group known to get a bit peevish when they don’t get their way, which makes them peevish a lot. Imagine what will happen if Hillary’s campaign moves to block Sanders from appearing in the Democratic debates, which they may have every right to do given his history of rejecting any formal association with the party. Imagine if Hillary’s supporters in New Hampshire move to block Sanders from appearing on the Democratic primary ballot, which again they may have every right to do. Imagine what will happen if the Clintonites in other primary states do the same. Imagine what will happen if her campaign moves to block any national delegates that Sanders manages to cobble together during the primary season from being seated at the national convention, which under convention rules they might have every right to do.

 

The result would be a left-wing insurgency. And, far from anointing an heir-apparent, far unlike the outcome of a floor fight at a nominating convention, a left-wing insurgency would put a Hillary presidency in grave doubt.

 

A left-wing insurgency could happen, regardless of whether the Clintonites decide to play hardball. Sanders is not stupid. It won’t take him long to see the writing on the wall. A party nomination just isn’t in the cards, Boyo; you haven’t paid the bridge troll his pint of blood. At the same time, Sanders is a passionate and committed Champion of the Little Guy. He is a working-class mensch who remembers fondly the folks who raised him up and fondly the places he once called home. And he is that most difficult of all men to control: a poet-warrior, a gentleman-brawler, a man of honor whose word is his bond and who puts integrity before money or friendship.

 

Sanders believes — and he is quite correct — that the Great American Experiment in Self-government stands now at it’s eleventh hour. The government we have today already embodies an unholy union of corporatocracy and oligarchy, each supporting and defending the interests of the other. Only a vestige of what was once a true democratic-republic remains, since the mostly ineffectual election laws we created to preserve it were skinned and gutted by the Supreme Tort (a.k.a., Citizens United — may Scalia and his ilk burn in Hell). Sanders sees himself as a dragon-slayer and a true patriot. He will not go down without a fight, god bless him. So when the machine Democrats supporting Hillary start to throw knee-breakers in his path, and they will, because they must, Sanders will look for another route to his goal. Mark my words.

 

At that juncture, Sanders will withdraw his bid for the Democratic nomination and announce a run as an Independent. He is comfortable as an Independent. In so doing, he’s certain to fracture the vote for Hillary in the general election, but he’ll also divide the money taps into her campaign reservoirs long before then. Then we’ll be looking at a 3-way race and one entirely winnable by a fierce independent in the mold of Teddy Roosevelt. It’s perhaps telling that the logo of the Vermont Progressive Party is a Bull Moose. Imagine a coalition of disaffected progressive Democrats, Greens, Socialists and independents supporting a Sanders campaign under the independent banner of a New Bull Moose Coalition. It could happen, y’know.

 

Gallup-poll

In September of last year, a Gallup poll showed that nearly 60% of Americans believe a third political party is needed because the Democrats and Republicans do such a poor job of representing the American people. Those views have been pretty consistent since 2007. So there’s a lot of sentiment out there that neither party is quite cutting the mustard. Furthermore, about 66% of the electorate currently holds the view that the country is moving in the wrong direction (http://www.pollingreport.com/right.htm). And polls consistently show Congress at historic lows in approval ratings.

 

Would that sentiment translate into support for an insurgent, independent progressive campaign? Dare we believe that an independent campaign might be a dose of Viagra for an impotent political system and a flaccid government?

 

Yes, we do.  It would just take a tiny pinch of Pixie Dust to make it happen. That “Pixie” goes by the name of Elizabeth Warren.

 

More Below the Fold

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2mw7bz6

One area of elections that political pundits and media commentators regularly avoid until just prior to election day is any in-depth discussion of the mood of the electorate.

 

The reason is simple: the voters’ mood can change instantly. What you predict today about how the voters will vote based on their mood can be easily turned on its head by tomorrow’s news story.

 

Nobody wants to waste time listening to premature, wrong ideas and opinions about how voters are likely to vote, so pundits and experts need to be mostly right and seldom wrong in order to keep their jobs — or at least be seen that way — and since mood as a component of election science is so ephemeral and unpredictable, it’s best for career-minded opinion-makers to avoid the subject altogether.

 

Notwithstanding, the mood of the voters counts among the most important elements in who wins elections from the very beginning of a campaign. It affects media interest, poll results, campaign donations, big contributor support, primary election challenges, platform development, positioning at national conventions, brokering of delegates, etc. In short, mood can make or break a candidate.

 

And since we at Minnesota Progressive Project stand to lose nothing — not salary, not access to campaigns, not even respect — by being wrong once in a while, there is no barrier for us to prognosticate with utter impunity how a campaign season is likely to shape-up based on the voters’ current mood. Lucky you.

 

So, to Hillary. Mrs. Clinton’s demeanor so far has been a certain detachment or aloofness as might befit an heir-apparent to the party nomination. The idea seems to be: “If I act as if this is all a done deal, that attitude will radiate out to the electorate and perception will become reality. Then all I have to do is recruit Sherrod Brown for my VP, which will cinch Ohio, and I can slow-walk the campaign into the White House.” If that’s the thinking, maybe she’s right — she has the Clinton machine and her husband’s legendary political acumen to draw from in terms of strategy — but from what I’ve seen so far, I think she’s probably making a huge mistake in how she appears to be positioning her campaign.

 

The history of a couple of recent presidential campaigns might be instructive here.

 

In 2008, after eight years of Bush&Co.’s lies, duplicity and incompetence, and after nearly as many years of Clinton scandals before that (whether manufactured or not), the national mood of the electorate was wide open for someone fresh, young, vigorous and confident. In my view, it was that mood more than any other factor that caused the voters to reject the campaign of John McCain — a national hero and proven statesman — and propel Barack Obama — an untested  candidate with a startling lack of real bona fides — into the White House. Of course, the national mood only represents a preponderance of feeling among the citizenry. Without Obama’s cool confidence, erudition and amazing charisma, the vote could as easily have gone McCain’s way.  While the choice of Sarah Palin might have been a sea anchor on McCain’s campaign, the outcome of the election was still largely in doubt. The 2008 economic meltdown was the final nail in McCain’s campaign coffin.

 

Mood is not monolithic. There is a national mood that affects how campaigns are reported, which stories get air-time or ink, which opinions by which pundits and opinion-makers are given credence. There is a component economic mood that affects how voters regard candidates and their management skills, or lack thereof, and hence their ability to effect economic growth and opportunity — often called pocketbook issues. There is a component tribal mood that affects how voters who identify themselves by association with different social groups (c.f., religious, urban vs. rural, etc.) will by extension view candidates, their campaigns and their credentials. There are numerous other component moods that lend to and influence the national mood.

 

But it’s the national mood that produces the emotional energy that drives the national narrative. All of our social systems and civic institutions are inherently leader-driven. Consequently, that national mood, that national narrative, is preoccupied with a single underlying theme as relates to a presidential election: ‘Who will make the best leader and does my opinion or belief accord with what the majority of others seem to think?’

 

That’s where Hillary Clinton’s problems begin.

 

More Below the Fold

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On the Monday, April 6, broadcast of Hardball With Chris Matthews, in a segment called “Get the Message,” Mr. Matthews suggested that many past successful presidential campaigns have had an inspired campaign theme. He cited presidential campaigns going all the way back to JFK.

 

  • Kennedy 1960: “Get the Country Moving Again.”
  • Nixon 1968: “Vote Like Your Whole World Depended On It.”
  • Carter 1976: “Leaders, For A Change.”
  • Bush 1988: “A Kinder, Gentler America.”
  • Bush 2000: “Compassionate Conservatism.”
  • Obama 2008: “Change We Can Believe In.”

Matthews then asked his panel which candidates would have the best campaign themes in 2016. I found their answers, for the most part, unimaginative and unedifying. So, remembering that we writers and bloggers at Minnesota Progressive Project do indulge from time-to-time in satire and satirical commentary — not to mention supporting fellow journalists in the innovative pursuit of new knowledge — here’s my offering of what will be the Top 10 Campaign Themes of 2016, presented as graphic renderings in alphabetical order.

 

 

Bush 2016 Campaign Theme
Click to enlarge.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Christie 2016 Campaign Theme
Click to enlarge.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cruz 2016 Campaign Theme
Click to enlarge.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Huckabee 2016 Campaign Theme
Click to enlarge.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Paul 2016 Campaign Theme
Click to enlarge.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pence 2016 Campaign Theme
Click to enlarge.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Perry 2016 Campaign Theme
Click to enlarge.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rubio 2016 Campaign Theme
Click to enlarge.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Santorum 2016 Campaign Theme
Click to enlarge.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Walker 2016 Campaign Theme
Click to enlarge.

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mccain-ODS

Early Symptoms of ODS

In a heartbreaking confession of mental incompetence, Senator John “Country First” McCain broke down on the floor of the Senate chamber today and admitted he’s been suffering from a long-term mental illness.

 

“For anyone who still questions whether Obama Derangement Syndrome, or ODS, is real,” a sobbing McCain told fellow senators in a querulous voice today, “you need to look no further than me for living proof. Fortunately, my psychiatrist tells me that with a long rest and various medications I can expect to make a full recovery. As long as there are no black people around to upset me.”

 

Apparently realizing that his last remark was somewhat incendiary, McCain attempted to clarify what he meant. “It’s just … it’s just … I still can’t believe I got beat in a presidential election by that skinny black kid from Chicago!” he moaned.

 

The unspoken motivation behind McCain’s admission is the recent letter to Iran’s leadership by 47 Republican senators now universally reviled as the infamous ‘Gang of 47.’  “I used to say ‘Politics ends at the water’s edge’ and I meant it,” McCain continued. “Then that know-nothing dipsh*t Tom Cotton stuck that godd*mn Iran letter under my nose. My political instincts just evaporated and something inside me couldn’t resist. I was too confused to see the danger and I signed it. The need to lash out against Obama is just so … overwhelming. It’s all because of Obama Derangement Syndrome and, my friends, it’s real. A lot of my fellow Republicans have it. Forty-seven of us, in fact. We joke about getting cotton-mouth from gnawing at the bedsheets while we sleep.”

 

With that, Senator Lindsey Graham rushed to the podium to help his distressed friend. Draping his arm over McCain’s shoulders and whispering quietly in his ear, he was able to coax the aging senator back to his seat where other Republican senators quickly surrounded him to prevent CSPAN cameras from recording what appeared to observers present there to be a series of petit mal seizures with incontinence.

 

“It’s sad, really” Senator Graham told reporters afterward. “My friend John McCain was once a revered national hero and a prominent statesman. Because of this terrible disease, ODS, he’s degenerated into an embittered, emotionally fragile old man who no longer has a dependable grip on reality. ”

 

Reporters then asked whether Senator Graham’s recent remark that he would, as president, ‘… literally use the military… ” to prevent Congress from leaving town, should it fail to vote on various spending bills, might also indicate a break with reality. Senator Graham responded, “I’ll leave that to the voters of Virginia to decide. We don’t all of us 47 traitors suffer from ODS, regardless  of what John just told you.”

 

When a reporter pointed out that Senator Graham represents South Carolina, not Virginia, and that he had just referred to himself as a traitor, he evaded the question by quickly dodging into a nearby elevator.

#30#

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isil-300x162‘There are roads which must not be followed,
armies which must not be attacked,
towns which must not be besieged,
positions which must not be contested,
commands of the sovereign which must not be obeyed.’
Sun Tzu ~ On the Art of War

 

‘Don’t do anything stupid.’
President Barack Obama

 

War hysteria is a fascinating and horrifying thing to watch. I’ve seen it several times now in my life and it is always beyond ugly, like watching scorpions mate.

 

Aside from the verminous lies that tumble over each other like a swarm of filthy rats to electrify public opinion with fear and frenzy, our national leaders — grown men and women whose strength of character and deliberative judgment we rely on — daily prove susceptible themselves to the most transparent mendacity and appear spineless in the face of true moral challenge.

 

Until a few short months ago, the American public had never heard of ISIL and didn’t know a thing about them, even though ISIL has been fighting an insurgency in Syria against the Assad regime for years, and for years it has committed unspeakable atrocities against the Syrian people. The brutal murders of two American journalists notwithstanding, why now the sudden sense of urgency and demand for action in the public discourse and among our leadership?

 

The answer lies in war hysteria.

 

As the New York Times put it:

 

“… as President Obama prepares to send the United States on what could be a years-long military campaign against the militant group, American intelligence agencies have concluded that it poses no immediate threat to the United States. Some officials and terrorism experts believe that the actual danger posed by ISIS has been distorted in hours of television punditry and alarmist statements by politicians, and that there has been little substantive public debate about the unintended consequences of expanding American military action in the Middle East.”

 

…READ MORE

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Mike McFadden

 

In his latest television ad, Mike “Nutshot” McFadden attempts to heap scorn on Senator Franken for “missing the mark.” It looks to me like yet more evidence that McFadden’s campaign is Not Ready for Prime Time.

 

The ad portrays a Franken look-a-like replete in suit and tie attempting to back the family boat into the water, failing repeatedly, knocking over garbage cans, while others are waiting impatiently and shaking their heads. The subtext reads contempt: Pity the Fool. Of course, Mighty Mike gets it on the first try. ‘Cuz he’s no fool.

 

Or.Is.He? If the ad’s intended audience is boat-owners, he may be on to something. Minnesota has more boat-owners per capita than any other state in the union. But to my knowledge boat-ownership has never been identified as a persuade-able voter demographic. Maybe I’m wrong …

 

No, I think he actually missed the mark himself. It appears that the ad is appealing to those viewers who dislike Coppertone®-tan Presidents, dislike Obamacare, dislike votes on higher taxes (never mind that the House GOP majority makes those votes moot), and dislike bespectacled Jews in suits trying to back boats.

 

If that’s the demographic he’s appealing to, I’ve got a newsflash for Team McFadden. Those guys are already voting your way. You’re wasting the old man’s money. Why not give the money to me and I’ll pass it on to a worthwhile charity — it’s better spent.

 

Also, I thought McFadden was supposed to be a smart business guy. The smartest move he could make right now would be to six his ad agency and find someone who knows what the hell they’re doing.

 

Mike, you need to widen your message, starting right now, and begin appealing to moderates, or your campaign is DOA on Election Day. Time is short: early voting begins in five weeks.

 

As the ad says, “Here in Min-ne-SO-ta, there’s a right way and a wrong way.” Looks to me like you picked the wrong way. Pity the fool.

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Rep. Michele Bachmann’s (R-MN) presidential hopes peaked in the fall of 2011 after she won the Iowa Straw Poll in August. But campaign soon fell apart once the media spotlight was upon her. She withdrew in January of 2012.

In October 2011, her New Hampshire staff quit en masse protesting they hadn’t been paid and were treated poorly by national staffers.

Not paying her campaign staff seems to be a pattern for Bachmann. The folks who helped her nab the Iowa Straw Poll win haven’t been paid because the staffers haven’t signed a non-disclosure agreement.

Her top Iowa staffer Peter Waldron has decided to have a public hissy fit over Bachmann’s negligence:

Waldron said the staffers are owed a mere $5,000, and that Bachmann has more than $2 million in her campaign account, but has refused to pay unless the staffers sign the agreement. Negotiations over payment with Bachmann Finance Chairman James Pollack eventually broke down and Waldron decided to go public with the news, posting a press release on Christian Newswire this evening.

“I feel a moral obligation to see that my Christian brothers and sisters are paid for worked performed in good faith. I’ve continually communicated by telephone and email with Mr. Pollack for 1 year but he broke every promise made to me to pay the staff. I appealed to Dr. [Marcus] Bachmann for help. I appealed to Representative Bachmann’s Chief of Staff Robert Boland to intercede with Mrs. Bachmann on behalf of her loyal Iowa staff – all of whom are married, all have children,” Waldron said in the press release.

“It is sobering to think that a Christian member of Congress would betray her testimony to the Lord and the public by withholding earned wages from deserving staff,” Waldron added.
(Salon)

In October 2011, Bachmann staffers simply denied the reality that her NH staffers quit. Her staff is doing the same thing with this controversy.

James Pollack, cited by Waldron above, categorically denies Waldron’s charges and accuses Waldron of lying.

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Klobuchar for President?

by The Big E on November 20, 2012 · 3 comments

The rumors have begun that Sen. Amy Klobuchar (DFL-MN) is aiming for a 2016 Presidential run. Klobuchar first ran for Hennepin County Attorney in 1998 and was reelected in 2002. Soon after her reelection victory she began touring Minnesota relentlessly. Nobody was surprised when she ran for US Senate in 2006.

She walloped rising MNGOP star Mark Kennedy in the 2006 MN-SEN race and her popularity has always remained high. In her 2012 reelection bid, she klobbered Ron Paul minion Kurt Bills who barely even campaigned after winning the MNGOP nomination.

I’ve spoken with plenty of political insiders and hacks who are convinced Klobuchar will run for President. Personally, I always thought she’s angling for a Supreme Court nomination. It wouldn’t be the first time I’ve been wrong. Either way, these rumors are rampant.

Now we have a well-connected woman urging her Facebook followers to tell Klobuchar to run.

So what is the deal? Does she have a chance? What are her strengths/advantages? What are her weaknesses?

Chances?

Her chances hinge entirely upon one and only one name: Hillary. If Hillary Clinton does not run, she is well-positioned to vie for the nomination.

Klobuchar the Moderate

Sen. Klobuchar has positioned herself as a moderate. Despite the clear and obvious dysfunction of the US Senate in that the minority (concerned only about political posturing) virtually controls the Senate via the threat of filibuster, she always talks up bi-partisanship and explains how she works across the aisle.

She has a liberal voting record on all the important issues and she’s reliably voted the right way on the big issues. Democrats can trust her to do the right thing.

On the other hand, she rarely takes a stand on the issues of the day.

She’s vote correctly, but she won’t lead. For example, she was absent during the health care reform debate. When pressed she offered non-commital statements about how important the issue is.

Her triangulation toward the middle is probably an advantage nationally, but progressives in MN consider it a weakness. We want a leader and this is something Klobuchar hasn’t done.

She is quick-witted and funny

Klobuchar is great at the unscripted moments. She is really calm under pressure and this is a huge advantage over the stodgy, over-scripted alpha males she’ll face if she runs.

Furthermore, she’s often quite funny.

There is no better way to make voters comfortable with you than making them laugh. She’ll never get herself in trouble, either, as her humor is self-effacing. Her jokes are about herself and her family or about her interactions with the press or other politicians.

Don’t discount the ability to make non-offensive jokes that make people laugh. It’s a rare ability. I think she has the ability cut through to the heart of issue in a memorable way.

Conclusion

Klobuchar will likely join Michele Bachmann and make it two Minnesotans (and 2 MN women) to vie for their party’s presidential nomination. One representing the wackiest far right and the other a confirmed moderate.

Unlike Bachmann, Klobuchar will not embarrass us if Hillary decides not to run. It will be nice to have a Minnesotan on the national stage who isn’t crazy.

So … who has Hillary’s cell and can ask her what she’s planning to do?

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Dear Media: Fox News Blames You!

by TwoPuttTommy on November 7, 2012 · 1 comment

To Be Clear: Locally, Fox9News does a pretty good job.  This is a quick post about some of the nastiest Republicans in the state of Minnesota – the GOP SD48 – and the National Faux “Fox” News.  

It’s the morning after a historic election; locally the ethically challenged Kirk Stensrud got knocked off by Yvonne Selcer in 48-A.  Knowing how “classy” the local GOPers are (not), I went to their website – let’s look!

OK, see that on the bottom, middle?  “• BIAS ALERT — Five ways the mainstream media tipped the scales in favor of Obama.

That’s “right” – blame the media.  That’s the local GOPers excuse for possibly the worst candidate a party has ever put up for President, the “fiercely conservative” – until he got the GOP’s endorsement – “Multiple Positions” Mitt Romney (who even the Salt Lake Tribune couldn’t endorse).

“Blame the media” from the local Party of Personal Responsibility (from OTHERS).  Forget Etch-A-Sketch; forget Romney Shambles; forget the non-existent tax returns; forget…  well EVERYTHING – it’s the media’s fault.

These local GOPers are the ones that rallied behind disgraced former Mayor Phil Young.  The ones that two years later; still vilify former DFL State Representative Maria Ruud.  The ones that…  well, I could go on and On and ON. The local “leaders” of the Mn GOP SD48 simply are NOT nice nor classy people.

And their very first post on their website, on the day after an election rejecting their candidate for president, saw the DFL take over the House and Senate in St. Paul (including the defeat of their endorsed candidate in SD48-A, Kirk Stensrud), saw the defeat of two State Constitutional Amendment proposals is a link to the National Fox News, whose message is:  “blame the media.”

Message to GOP SD48:  take some responsibility.  

You know, like you’re always demanding, from everybody else.

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