Thursday, September 27, 2012

We Waited 26 Days for This?

If you’ve been following the farcical saga* that is the CD5 Republican Committee, you know that the CD5 “leaders” chose to allow their website to go dark a few months before the election.  They did this by failing to pay the bill.  The entire thing could have been resolved for around a hundred bucks, but it wasn’t.

The site was dark for 26 days.  It came back up today, sort of.  (If you go to the old url you get an error.  If you add the “www” you get the site.)

So what did we get after 26 days of darkness?  A free google blog.  And what’s posted on that google blog?

A 1700+ word harangue that touches on Federalist #10, the difference between a Democracy and a Republic, and, of course, the RNC Rules change. 

In fairness, we also get a whopping 37 words encouraging people to support CD5’s endorsed Republican candidate, Chris Fields.

CD5 is almost exclusively run by Destroyers.  In fact, they added a few more to their Executive Committee last Thursday.  Take a good look at CD5, because it is also the future of our State Party, if the Builders do nothing.

Along with many others, I have been confused at the effort of the Destroyers to take leadership positions, and then do nothing with them.  Why get elected to be in CD leadership if you don’t believe there is a role for the CD organization to play in the election?

The answer, I believe, is in this key paragraph from CD5 Deputy Chair, and SD61 Chair Mark Johnson:

Serious questions need to be answered: Does the CD5 organization continue to host caucuses, conduct conventions, and elect delegates? Do we really spend all that time and effort just to send stooges bound to the results of a purely democratic popular vote?

And there it is.  It’s all about Tampa.  Or more specifically, the National Delegate process.

Builders naively think that a CD-level organization exists to support a Congressional Candidate, and to coordinate the BPOUs in an area, so that Republicans, all Republicans, can win more races.  But for the Destroyers, it’s all about the national delegates.  Because, Ron Paul.

I encourage you to go read Mark’s whole post, because it is very enlightening to gain the Destroyer perspective.  (I especially like the part where he calls for revolution!)

On another note, I have heard that some of the Destroyers are not too happy with the term “Destroyer” being used to describe them.  I’ll concede it may not be the best term. 

But we have seen a group abdicate their duty to fundraise, organize, support candidates, and even hold meetings.  They leave money in the bank for post-election parties, liberty festivals, or mythical FEC fines instead of investing in victory.  So we’re left with two options.  1) They are incredibly incompetent, or 2) they are taking deliberate action to harm the Party.

Either way, the result is the same. 

I suppose if they’d rather be called “The Incompetents” I’d oblige.

We’re less than 1000 hours from Election Day.  It’s past “all hands on deck” time.  Action wins elections.  Talk wins arguments.

Work as hard as you can for your candidates, because you are also picking up the slack for AWOL leadership.  No, it’s not fair, but it’s reality. 

While you’re working, take note of who is with you.  Those are the Builders.  Remember who they are, because we’ll need them starting November 7.

*If you haven’t been following along, get your background here, here, and here.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Keith Ellison Apparently Knows What I'm All About

Being a resident of the Fifth District, I follow my Congressman, Keith Ellison, on Twitter.  Or at least I did, until he blocked me today.

Ellison has been a vocal critic of Minnesota’s proposed Voter ID amendment.  He’s also been one of the leading disseminators of false information about the amendment.  The latest lie Keith and his staff have been peddling is that Voter ID will mean that members of the military won’t be able to vote.

I figured that today was apparently “Lie About Voter ID Day” on Twitter, since my timeline began to fill up this morning with all sorts of lies about the amendment- that it would end same day registration, that it would end absentee voting, that Republicans want to restrict the franchise to rich white landowners and put y’all back in chains, etc., etc…

So I wasn’t surprised when Keith started in with the chanting points.  (I’ve captured the whole exchange at Storify.)

It all started pretty mildly:

To which I replied:

Then it started to get weird:

I wasn’t sure exactly what the big lie was.  (I was, however, sure it was big. I could tell by the use of all caps.)

But was Keith saying it was a lie that he didn’t care about voter fraud?  Or was he saying it was a lie that voter fraud cancels out legitimate votes?  I asked him to clarify.

Turns out the lie is that there is any voter fraud at all.

So there you have it. Claims of vote fraud are false. Photo ID advocates are lying about “all this fraud stuff.”  And I know it.

After that, I asked Keith why he and his staff were lying about the Voter ID amendment ending military voting.  That’s when he told me:

And then, the conversation was over.  I was blocked.  I never got to find out what I was all about.  :-(

Hey, but at least he called me sir.

I Know What Keith Ellison is All About

Yesterday, I covered Keith Ellison’s bizarre claim that he “knows what I’m all about”. Today, I thought we could take a look at what Keith Ellison is all about

Although there is plenty of source material out there, I’m going to stick to the 4-Part Series that was published in the City Pages last week.  I will note before we start that Keith’s words had to be paraphrased by City Pages reporter Aaron Rupar, in order to, you know, make his “logical flow” clearer to the readers.

So right away, we can tell that Keith is not all about a clear logical flow.  But luckily he has the media to cover for him on that one.  (If you follow Keith closely, you already knew that Keith has some logical flow issues, as documented here by Brett Stevens)

Now, back to the articles.

Part one focuses on Keith’s thoughts about Chris Fields.  And Cheerios.

Keith starts by claiming that he doesn’t think his seat is safe. 

I believe it’s disrespectful to the electorate to act as though you’ve got it in the bag.

That’s what Keith says to the media.  However, when his staff is unaware they are being recorded, they tell a different story.

Keith Ellison is all about telling people what they want to hear.

Next we move on to North Minneapolis, where Keith claims to live.

I started my political career representing north Minneapolis in the state Legislature. I’ve dedicated my life to north Minneapolis, but north Minneapolis had deep systemic problems in 1930.

Have you looked at a zoning map [from then]? It identifies north Minneapolis as a ‘negro slum.’

OK.  North Minneapolis had deep systemic problems in 1930.  It also has deep systemic problems now, like nation-leading gaps in education and unemployment.  But Keith never mentions these issues.  Instead he talks about maps from 1930.

Keith Ellison is all about living in the past- not finding solutions for the future.

Part 1 ends with the claim that “nothing Chris Fields says” bothers Keith, which is then contradicted in the next breath.

I have to admit, nothing Chris Fields says bothers me, but it does get under my skin when he starts saying I haven’t done anything for the North Side.

Keith then goes on to explain, for several paragraphs, how not bothered he is by Chris Fields.

Keith Ellison is all about having thin skin.

Part 2 starts off by asking Keith to respond to Chris Field’s criticism that he isn’t focused on the problems in North Minneapolis. 

In response, Keith talks about transit.

One thing, we need to invest in transit, so we can help job seekers get to places where there are jobs. I’m a big-time supporter of Bottineau Commuter Rail, the Southwest Line, Northstar Commuter Rail — I’ve funded and worked hard to get Central Corridor, which should be up by 2014, and of course the Hiawatha Line happened while I was still in the legislature. Transit is big —[it] puts people to work, gives minority vendors jobs to work on, and after it’s built, helps people get jobs.

Hear that North Side?  That’s the sound of the train that will solve all of your problems.  Choo-choo!

On education- the solution is all day schooling.

About the achievement gap — well, what if we had universal all-day pre-K and kindergarten and made sure every kid was reading by 3rd grade.

Yes, our schools are failing.  It’s probably because we don’t spend enough.

Keith Ellison is all about tired old ideas and spending more money.

Now, on to Part 3

This portion of the interview focuses on Keith’s role as an “Islam spokesman of sorts.” It’s also where Rupar’s efforts to channel Keith’s logical flow run off the rails, because the first few paragraphs are pure gibberish.  The rest doesn’t get much better.

I think Keith says that Don Imus, Nazis in Skokie, burning Korans, and YouTube videos are all the same, or something.  He ends with this bit of wisdom:

The thing about it, freedom of speech, it’s a good and bad thing. It applies to everybody.

Keith Ellison is all about… actually, I’m not really sure.

Part 4 and we’re thankfully almost done.  This one’s called “Keith Ellison on his vision for America”.

He starts with one if his favorite topics- evil rich people:

I’d like to see progressive ideals have a more prominent role in our society, and what I mean by that is I’d like to see millionaires take the attitude that, ‘Hey, this is my country. I’m going to give back to my country through taxes and other ways, charitable giving.’ I’d like to see us invest in the public wealth of our nation.

Anyone know what “investing in the public wealth of our nation” means?

On his “governing philosophy”:

We have a governing philosophy — the politics of generosity and inclusion. Everybody counts, everybody matters. You won’t see ‘Vote for Ellison’ on any of my bumper stickers.

And the whole thing ends with Keith’s four priorities:

  1. Don’t get messed up in “crazy wars”

  2. Invest in trains

  3. Live in harmony with the world

  4. Do all of the above for the following groups: “black, white, Latino, Asian, gay, straight, born here or abroad, Muslim, Jew, Christian or no faith at all”

Keith Ellison is all about embracing everyone! 

Unless you disagree with him.  That gets you blocked on Twitter.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

A Note on Unspent Money and Strategy

I’ve really enjoyed the last two posts by David Faith here at True North.  The first was exposing the voting record of Terri Bonoff, the incumbent DFL Senator in Faith’s district.  The second was about Mark Stefan, a GOP candidate who is running for the MN House.  In each, Faith, a SD44 Vice Chair, makes a thoughtful and reasoned case for his local candidates.  I’d encourage you to read them both.

But there was a part of the second post that really caught my eye. Emphasis mine.

Many, indeed, most House races this year will not be close. Most districts are solidly in the bag for one party or another. That means that Republicans’ ability to maintain control in the legislature and provide a counter-balance to Mark Dayton will come down to an astonishingly small number of key races in swing districts. 44B is one of those districts. Depending on which index you look at, 44B is somewhere between DFL +3 and dead even, which means it is within the margin of error under even the most pessimistic assumptions. Republicans can win here, and they’ve won here before. Mark Stefan can win this race, but he needs support. If you’re in 44B, or if you’re in a district that will not be close, one of the best things you can do this election to advance economic liberty is to support Mark Stefan in any way you can.

Faith is correct.  Many house races will not be close.  But many will.

For instance, we have two very winnable races here in SD45- first time candidate Jeff Pauley vs. 40 year incumbent Lyndon Carlson in 45A, and Reid Johnson vs. Mike Freiberg for an open seat in 45B.  The dynamics of redistricting in SD45 worked in our favor this year, and it’s conceivable we could win either seat, or, with some luck and hard work, both.  Neither is a slam dunk, but neither is a lost cause.

So here’s the pitch- if you live in a district that won’t be close (like say, if you live in Nate “Honey Badger” Atkins’ district) adopt a candidate from a few towns over and pitch in to help them out.  It’s time to be strategic.

If you’re an executive in a Senate District or Congressional District, and your committee is sitting on unspent funds, give some serious thought to where that money should go.  Then spend it.  Now.

Money in the bank doesn’t win elections.  Money spent on frivolous gatherings or next year’s Liberty Fest doesn’t win elections.  If you hold any position within the GOP (from Delegate to Deputy Chair) you need to ask how much money your local committee has, and how it will be spent.  If your committee isn’t planning a meeting, demand one.  I’ve heard some really dumb plans for spending money lately. Is your district one of them?

It’s imperative that we keep our legislative majorities. We have a governor who thinks resistance to tax increases is destroying our country.  The only thing standing in his way is the GOP legislature.

We only keep the legislature if we win elections. We only win elections if we think and act strategically.

Monday, September 10, 2012

The Builders vs. The Destroyers and how They Relate to Ron Paul

As the fight about the future of the Republican Party goes on, it’s important to clearly identify the sides.  Some people, including myself at times, have been guilty of using “Ron Paul Supporter” (or derisive variants) as shorthand for the cancerous and destructive element within our party.

That’s not entirely accurate.  The battle, as Nancy LaRoche so eloquently put it the other day, is between the Builders and the Destroyers.  The confusion comes in because there is significant overlap between Ron Paul supporters and Destroyers.  But not all Ron Paul people are Destroyers.  And not all Destroyers are Ron Paul people.

A Builder is a Republican who believes in building and strengthening the party. We believe in a “big tent”, varied ideas, and a place at the table for anyone who wants to work.  And mostly, we believe in winning elections, not arguments, because losing on principle is still losing. I work with Builders who happen to be Ron Paul supporters every day.

A Destroyer is the type that allows a district’s website to go dark while they are off at Paul-Fest.  A Destroyer repeatedly trashes their party’s presidential nominee on TV or through press releases.  A Destroyer will say stupid things like “There’s no difference between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, I’m voting for Gary Johnson”.

When you’re 60 days out from an election, you’ll find Destroyers at bars droning on about Austrian Economics and RNC rule changes.  That’s when they aren’t playing the part of the Media’s new favorite Republican.

You’ll find Builders in offices making phone calls or on the streets doing lit drops and door knocking.  Builders don’t care about titles.  They understand that the same work needs to be done whether they have a title or not.

Early next year we’ll gather to elect new Leadership for many levels of the Republican Party.  Right now the Destroyers are working on the next phase of their destruction and getting organized.  They are unencumbered by any sense of responsibility, and are taking advantage of the fact that the Builders are distracted by winning elections.

If you are a Republican delegate you need to look around you right now and start identifying Builders and Destroyers. Come November 7, we have a lot more work to do.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Expanding on Chairman Shortridge's Suggestion

Minnesota Republican Party Chairman Pat Shortridge posted a great suggestion on Twitter today:

I’d like to add a few more suggestions to MNGOP Party Officials along the same line:

  • If you let your group’s website go dark 60 days before the election, Resign.

  • If you are more concerned with an RNC rules change than getting Republicans elected in the next 60 days, Resign.

  • If you honestly believe there is no difference between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama, Resign.

We have work to do.  If you’re not going to do the job you were elected to do, Resign.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Dishonesty, Deception and Sign Shenanigans From Crystal Mayor ReNae Bowman

If you went to the website, where would you expect to go?  The city’s official website?  Me too.  So would most reasonable people.

But we’d be wrong.

That website address gets you to the campaign site (such as it is) of incumbent DFL Crystal Mayor ReNae Bowman.

I think that most people would agree that this is a dishonest and deceitful campaign practice- to tie your campaign to an official sounding website address.

And we have some indication that Bowman herself, or at least some of her supporters, agree.

Here is a photo, taken on September 3, of a Bowman for Mayor yard sign located at Hampshire Ave and around 40th Ave N.  Note the website address, clearly visible.

Here is another, also taken on September 3, at around 43rd Ave N and Douglas Drive. Note the duct tape covering up the deceptive website address.

So what’s going on here?  Why is the website address covered up on some signs and not on the others?  Clearly, someone knows that the use of that address is wrong.  The question is, who?

Sadly, this type of deception is what we’ve come to expect from Bowman.

Fortunately, Crystal residents have a viable alternative this year in Jim Adams. More to come.

Update (9/5/12): Hmmm, and now the sign at Hampshire and 40th (the one with the visible address) is gone. Interesting.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Keith and RT's Excellent Charlotte Adventure

Two of Minneapolis’ most prominent “leaders,” Congressman Keith Ellison and Minneapolis Mayor RT Rybak, are out of town this week, hanging in Charlotte for the Democratic National Convention.

Rybak got some love from the Legacy Media this weekend, with a nice write up in Politico about the rise of the Democrat Mayor:

Part of that engagement, according to Rybak, comes from a sense that mayors represent “the last functioning form of government in the country” — a world apart from Washington gridlock — where Democratic politicians can showcase their party’s values by protecting social welfare and economic growth programs even in a climate of austerity.

“We have achievement gaps, we have bridges and other pieces of infrastructure collapsing, we [are] trying to move forward increasingly diverse communities. We have to put police and firemen on the streets. All this in the midst of having dramatically less money,” said Rybak, who is also president of the National Conference of Democratic Mayors. “What’s really happened is, this is part of an ongoing, four-year effort that’s now really paying off. Mayors are finally prominent.”

What an interesting statement. You certainly have an achievement gap Mr. Mayor.  In fact, it’s among the worst in the country.  You also have an unemployment gap.  On that measurement, you rank the worst.

So while the citizens of Minneapolis are dealing with the reality of an undereducated and underemployed population, and living in the 10th most dangerous city in America, Rybak is the President of the National Conference of Democratic Mayors, and jetting off to enjoy the national spotlight.

And he loves the national spotlight:

Right now, Mayor Rybak is extremely busy with his full-time job, and then he spends a lot of time stumping for President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign. Rybak is the first Minneapolis Mayor to be named Vice-Chair of the Democratic National Committee. He has spent a lot of time volunteering at that job criss-crossing the country and the national television airwaves. Mayor Rybak tells 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS “some people hunt and fish for hobbies, my hobby is campaigning.”

Keith Ellison is another Minneapolis “leader” who is addicted to the national spotlight.  While some of his peers are skipping the DNC this year, Ellison went early.

Just three of the six DFL members of Congress are expected to be in Charlotte this week. Rep. Keith Ellison is already in town hobnobbing with delegates and others. He has a full speaking schedule over the course of the week.

Ellison’s excuse for being in Charlotte- going to the convention will help him with voter outreach, or something.

Ellison added that his campaign has been working to identify DFL voters to turn out on Election Day. He said going to the convention will help with that grassroots work.

The problems in Minneapolis, which is the heart of Ellison’s district, are huge.  To actually begin to solve them would take hard work, dedication and focus.  National speaking slots and fancy sounding titles won’t fix the unemployment gap in Minneapolis.

Both Ellison and Rybak claim to care about Minneapolis, and both would tell you their number one focus is jobs.

But if you judge them by their actions instead of their rhetoric, it’s clear that the only jobs that Keith Ellison and RT Rybak really care about are their own.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Was MPR’s Tom Scheck’s Twitter Account Hacked? Unlikely.

Following on the heels of Keith Ellison’s latest Twitter mishap, MPR’s political reporter Tom Scheck got in on the action with a Twitter controversy of his own.

At about 7:47 PM last night, the following message was sent from Scheck’s Twitter account:

.Clint Eastwood’s degrading remarks of a sitting president. A total embarassment

John Gilmore beat me to the RT punch:

A few minutes later (by 7:50 PM) the tweet was deleted.

At 7:56, Scheck himself jumps into the conversation, and starts with the “That wasn’t me” explanation.  He was golfing, you see, and claimed ignorance of Eastwood’s performance.

The back and forth went on for a while between Gilmore, Sheila Kihne, and Scheck.  I’ve got the conversation archived here, at Storify.

The bottom line is that Scheck claims that he was “hacked” and didn’t send the offending tweet.

There’s been a lot of legitimate Twitter “hacking” going around lately. (Actually, most are the result of careless users putting their user name and password somewhere where it shouldn’t be, but the end result is the same- a compromised account.)  Most “hacks” end up with the compromised account sending out spam messages like “Hey what are you doing in this picture” or “I saw you check out my profile”. Stuff like that.

“Hackers” don’t typically tweet something controversial about topical news of the day, and then delete it a few minutes later.  That’s usually a real person who has access to multiple Twitter accounts and hits the wrong button.  Case in point - that’s the “official explanation” of the Keith Ellison incident from a few days ago.

Or, it’s a real person who does something stupid and then hides behind a “hack” excuse.  Let’s remember that Anthony Weiner went with the “hack” story until the alternative media, led by the late Andrew Breitbart, proved otherwise.

MPR’s response to Sheila Kihne today seems to indicate that MPR has “social media editors” who “work with” Tom.

My theory: one of these social media editors is the real culprit, and responsible for the tweet.

Whether or not we’ll ever find out, I’m not sure.  Rachel Stassen-Berger from the Star Tribune got to the bottom of the Ellison incident.

However, it will be curious to see how the Legacy Media handles the Scheck affair, seeing as he is one of their own.

Do I believe Tom Scheck that he didn’t send the tweet in question?  He says he didn’t and I don’t have any real reason not to believe him.

Do I believe that Scheck was “hacked”? Nope.  That leaves an unnamed person with access to Tom’s account as the only viable option.

I’m willing to take Tom’s word on this.

But do I believe I’m giving Tom Scheck more leeway than he would give to me if the shoe were on the other foot?

You better believe it.