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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

Rep. Tara Mack - Will She or Won't She?

Category: GOP 2014
Posted: 04/01/16 11:57

by Dave Mindeman

Tomorrow is the state Senate District 57 conventions for both the Republicans and Democrats. The Democrats convention probably doesn't have much drama to it...but there is a bit of intrigue regarding the GOP part of the equation.

The local GOP needs to make their endorsements...and when it comes to Rep. Tara Mack, there are question marks. First, she has been very vague about whether or not she will run for re-election. A yes or no has not been the answer so far. So, tomorrow requires that decision.

Mack still has that late summer scandal hanging over her head. Her public appearances have decreased. She has had one twitter post in the last 6 months. Her facebook page has no new postings. And her campaign web page has not been updated in at least a year.

Her husband, Justin, has a mission outreach position with their local church - River Valley. It looks like the Macks were in Turkey during January - both of them. Other mission projects are in the works - so does he leave alone or do they go together? Just a question.

Tara Mack resigned from the Ethics Committee...well, more like forced to resign...but she is still chair of one of the Health and Human Services Committees. She comes late. Avoids the press. Her legislative site has no updates. She is chief author of 3 bills for the current session. The activity level is much lower than you would expect.

So, is she going to run again? Hard to understand why she would wait this long to decide. Unless the idea is to put some hand picked person forward to replace her? Possible, I guess.

Tomorrow is their convention.

Just curious.
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The Battle Flag Of The Army Of Northern Virginia

Category: GOP 2014
Posted: 07/06/15 14:57

by Dave Mindeman

By itself, the Stars and Bars flag is a pretty innocent piece of cloth, but as with every historic symbol, it is what it comes to represent that gives it meaning.

The flag we are talking about was never the "Confederate" flag; it was the battle flag of the Army of Northern Virginia.....General Robert E. Lee's army, the army that fought in the eastern theatre of the Civil War. In the beginning, it was a very proud symbol. The Army of Northern Virginia was a proud fighting force and were successful against a superior force.

The vast majority of the fighting men in that army never owned slaves and had little in common with the landowners that did. Yet, they somehow ended up fighting for a cause that was wrong. What they thought they were fighting for on a daily basis was for their Commander, General Lee, and for their comrades in arms - much the way any soldier in today's army would fight.

Being a student of Civil War history, I had some respect for the Stars and Bars - from a military history standpoint. It was a rallying point in some major battles in some obscure battlefields for southern soldiers who for the most part felt like they were defending their homeland.

That respect is justified up to a point....and that point was gone when the Civil War ended.

Respect for the Stars and Bars ended when it became not just a battle flag but a rallying cry for racist ideas that never seem to die.

Respect for the Stars and Bars changed when....

--the Ku Klux Klan claimed it for their rallies.

--the Skinheads and Neo-Nazi's adopted it to replace the banned Swastika flag.

--it was displayed proudly at lynchings and anti-civil rights rallies.

--when the black community linked it forever to slavery.

The Stars and Bars is now a relic of the past and it needs to be buried with that past. The only appearance it should make is in museums and historic discussions of a different time.

It should not be in parades. Not at courthouses. Not at rallies. Not at any official government site.

It is over and done. The Confederacy is an historic relic, not a cause. And slavery is not something to be rationalized about or revised in some way for historic purposes. It was an ugly, centuries long mistake in a country that supposedly values freedom for everyone.

And the fact that we have to have these discussions in 2015 shows that we still have a ways to go to get to that post-racial utopia we think is out there somewhere.

The South feels the need to justify their past somehow...and that is fine as long as they examine it in real terms. The years of slavery are not some mint julip nostalgic time to remember hoop dresses and white cotton suits. It was a time of whips and beatings and murders and ugly, demeaning human ownership. The South can look back on all of that as "heritage" or as a dark time that needed to be changed. Yes, only a small minority of landowners actually owned slaves, but as the Civil War would later prove, the rest of the South were the enablers....the reason it could continue.

I don't quite understand why Conservative Republicans feel the need to support southerners who want to keep the flag. Looking back on South Carolina's states "right" to display that flag on government grounds as some kind of Presidential primary rallying cry seems almost comical now. But the Republican need to maintain this southern deference at the cost of open tent diversity is not a long term winning strategy.

The "flag" is not just a flag anymore. It is now the focus point of what racial relations will be in the south. The symbol has now become the measure of how we feel about race in America.

It is no longer "run it up the flagpole" and see what happens. It needs to be treated as the symbolic measure of who we are, and where we stand, as a people.

What kind of future the South wants to have will, in large part, be dictated by how many Stars and Bars battle flags will appear in the public domain.

Really, simplistic as it might sound, it has come to tha
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MN GOP Financial Structure - A House Of Cards

Category: GOP 2014
Posted: 03/02/15 23:22

by Dave Mindeman

The MN GOP has this condescending attitude about the Democratic approach to fiscal responsibility. They want everyone to believe that they have this high moral ground when it comes to spending, debt, and fiscal restraint.

But then, every once in awhile you get a look at how they operate their own financial sphere.

And it gets pretty ugly.

Oh, I'm not just talking about the occasional individual hypocrisy like Senator Sean Nienow and his discharge of $800,000 in personal debt via bankruptcy. No, I mean the even clearer picture of fiscal irresponsibility coming from the state party.

When Tony Sutton left his trail of unpaid bills a few years ago, the Party told us that we had seen the worst. That story would end and they would right the ship. Pat Shortridge took a stab at it and seemed to be making progress and now Chairman Keith Downy assures everyone that the trail of progress continues.

Or does it?

Two Republican-owned national political consulting firms are demanding the Minnesota Republican Party settle hundreds of thousands of dollars in unpaid bills from the 2014 campaign, a sign the party's long-running financial struggles may not be totally resolved.

It is not often that vending firms that deal with various state party and individual campaigns will go public with unpaid debt. It has to be particularly egrigious for them to come out of the shadows and make a public comment. But in this case, it happened....

In e-mails to state GOP Chairman Keith Downey, top executives at Salt Lake City-based Arena Communications and the Kansas-based Singularis Group blasted the Minnesota Republican Party in unusually frank language. They said the party has failed to pay its bills for direct mail and other political communications on behalf of federal and state GOP candidates running for office in Minnesota last fall.

This wasn't ongoing debt from the Sutton years. This was debt taken on intentionally for the 2014 campaign. They spent money they did not have and have made little attempt to pay it back.

Downey tries to put his "spin" on it...

"We feel confident about the financial footing of the party," he said. Asked how much the party still owed vendors, Downey put the figure at about $300,000. That's owed strictly to vendors and is not part of the party's $1.5 million in ongoing debt from past obligations.

That would total, even by Downey's count, $1.8 million debt. At the height of the Sutton fiasco, the MN GOP debt was $2 million. That's progress?

The manager of Arena Communications put it a little more bluntly...

"I was dismayed to read your claim in the MN GOP Annual Report that 'We were able to support our endorsed candidates through the primary and with a statewide victory program, while simultaneously meeting our financial obligations and paying down debt, " Valcarce wrote to Downey. "I can attest this is a total falsehood."

Debt. Lies. More debt. In January of this year, the MN GOP was hit with another campaign finance fine from the FEC for failing to disclose another $250,000 in receipts, payments and debts. More lies. More debt.

And somehow on the backs of "deficit spending" and financial lies, the MN GOP took back the Minnesota House in 2014 - and then immediately launched into their obstruction of the Democratic plan for continuing a fiscal path that has led our state to a $1.9 billion surplus.

Why should we listen to them? I mean seriously, why?

The finances of the MN GOP is just a house of cards.
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