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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

Instead Of More Mining Controversy......

Category: Minnesota Politics
Posted: 08/30/16 17:09

by Dave Mindeman

I am sure that most of you, at one time or another, have seen the North Dakota tourism ads (Legendary). North Dakota invested a pretty sizable chunk of money to bring in some tourism dollars.

Here is a summary of a 2014 report on that campaign....

The campaign generated 1.1 million incremental trips that would not otherwise have taken place, which brought $211.1 million in incremental visitor spending and $15.9 million in state and local taxes.

It cost $1.80 in advertising to generate each incremental trip.

Every $1 invested in the North Dakota ad campaign generated $107 in visitor spending and $8 in state/local tax revenue for the benefit of North Dakota residents.

By almost any standard that was a pretty good return. And the additional value of that is that the ad spending can implant the idea that ND is a tourist destination for future trips as well.

The reason I bring this up is that we have, at least I feel, an underutilized tourist destination in this state....I'm talking about the boundary waters.

The Iron Range gets some tourism dollars, but I believe they could be getting a whole lot more as millenials get into more of the rugged outdoor vacations.

Instead of the controversy of mining development that could actually be a detriment to this potential industry, why doesn't the state invest in national advertising in the way North Dakota has done.

I know there is the "Explore Minnesota" campaign and that has provided some benefits, but with the need for jobs in northern Minnesota, why not take the opportunity to greatly expand our tourism outreach.

Before we get into another heated debate about sulfide mining and the controversies that develop with that, how about an extended discussion of what we can do to make the Boundary Waters a national destination?

Hey, what have we got to lose by the conversation?
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The Clintons Are Not The Real Problem With Money In Politics

Category: Society
Posted: 08/30/16 11:51

by Dave Mindeman

I do not get this constant obsession the press has about money in politics and access. Every day we get a new story about a large donor and the insinuation that there is "play for pay" or buying access.

Of course there is. Don't be obtuse. That is the system we have. That is the way it is done. I don't like it. Nobody likes it. But don't insult our intelligence with stories that make it sound unusual.

The Clinton Foundation reporting borders on ridiculous. Wealthy people donate a lot of money to a charity and then ask for attention? Wow, there is a shocking development.

Do you think that Sheldon Adelson gives millions to Republican causes just because he is a loyal guy? NO, he expects every political candidate to come running to his side the moment he requests it. It is how it is done. And the complaints about it are useless until we act to stop it with a Constitutional amendment or a court case that can work to overturn Citizen's United.

Picking on the Clintons or the Adelsons or the secret cabal of donors that are out there is kind of pointless. Democrats and Republicans are never going to unilaterally disarm when it comes to large contributions. Neither side can properly be expected to until we make a legal framework that makes sense.

Bernie showed us that it can work under the right circumstance, but even his small donor base was running out of gas at the end. Money in politics has become too hard to keep up with. Bernie supporters were getting tapped out. And frankly, the level of contributions of that magnitude cannot be sustained. And it should not have to be.

Money is not speech. There I said it - strike me down. It is not. Paying for words is not the same as speaking them with your own voice. Buying a commercial is not the same as thousands of people speaking on their own. A million dollar donor should not have the same power as a million $1 donors. It just does not make sense.

Money has been elevated into a virtual false deity. A political candidate with the power of ideas is drowned out by the candidate with millionaire backers.

Clinton is villified by the left and the right for the rich donor base they have built up for decades. But they are the counter balance to the right that has a larger and better funded network. The Clintons have allowed Democrats to compete with this Republican base of influential donors and lobbyists that control the House of Representatives, talk radio, many newspapers, and several media corporations.

All of this has to stop - and quite frankly it will probably take a Hillary Clinton presidency to have that chance. She has campaigned on an end to Citizens United. She wants to change this system. We often forget that it was a right wing attack on Hillary herself from the Citizens United group that started this whole Supreme Court mess in the first place.

It is going to take someone with a full understanding of the pros and cons to make a system that is fair and accountable.

Sure, you can find plenty of fodder about money in politics to complain about it for the rest of your life. Won't do you any good, but if it makes you feel better, please continue.

But until we get this system changed, we have to deal with it. And I would rather have the Clintons attempting to use that system for good purposes in the world rather than Republican donors simply buying out everything else.

If you think Donald Trump is going to stop wealthy people buying access, you have not paid attention to how he does business. It has always been how he operates. He knows nothing else - and even if he mouths the phrases that criticize it, he only does that because it is what he knows and he believes that it should simplified and more direct.

Money is a corrupting influence in American politics. I absolutely agree. But making the Clintons the prime example of this system is a naive surface grasp of the reality. The dark money is the real culprit and that pervades the Republican base - that is something you never see because there is no transparency.

We need Hillary Clinton in the White House and then we need to force some action on this issue.
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NRCC Tries A Desperately Weak Attack On Angie Craig

Category: Congressional Races
Posted: 08/29/16 14:14

by Dave Mindeman

The 2nd District Congressional race is going to be a tight one. Jason Lewis has the name recognition (although whether that's good or bad remains to be seen), while Angie Craig is relatively unknown but with a good resume.

Recently, the NRCC tried to attack Craig in an unusual way. Here is the quote:

"It is an astonishing display of hypocrisy for Angie Craig to run a campaign ad on her company's record on veterans, when that same company was forced to pay a multi-million dollar settlement for overcharging our nation's veterans for medical devices. Instead of misleading voters about her company's record on veterans, Angie Craig should apologize to Minnesota's veterans community for her company's history of ripping them off by overcharging them for their medical treatment."

First of all, Republicans have been coddling the medical device companies for years. They have been working to cut the Medical Device Tax (especially Paulsen) for several years and have managed to put a moratorium on it for now. I doubt the NRCC would be concerned about a medical device company paying a fine, except for the fact that there is the Angie Craig connection to St. Jude. She worked there.

In human resources.

Now anybody who works for a corporation knows that the human resources department has pretty much nothing to do with pricing product. Outside of attending general meetings about broad company related issues, I doubt that Angie Craig ever knew about or cared about what the company's pricing structure entailed.

But the NRCC is a little desperate since they have to try and defend Mr. Mini-Trump and anything, even a speck of dirt, on his opponent will have to be magnified as far as it can be done.

Jason Lewis has a wider array of fodder on which to work based on his talk show career. And instead of trying to run away from it, Lewis has decided to embrace it all and explain his reasoning.

As I always say, if you are explaining, you are losing.

And if the NRCC wants to go with this weak ass attack on Angie Craig...well, good luck with that.
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