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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

Howard Dean was Right. Delay is a Crook!

Category: US Politics
Posted: 05/26/05 17:29

by Dave Mindeman

Howard Dean must enjoy his little sparring matches with his critics. A while back Gov. Dean called Tom Delay a crook and the talking heads went crazy. How dare he use that language! He's talking about the majority leader in the House..... he'll have to retract that. A few days ago, he reiterated the same statement declaring he would not modify the truth.

Well the headline in the NY Times today seems to favor the Dean position: JUDGE RULES GROUP TIED TO DELAY VIOLATED ELECTION LAW. Granted, this doesn't indict Delay directly but a lot of people who have followed this believe it is only a matter of time before Delay finds himself in court.

Why is this important? Looking back prior to the 2004 elections, we can see the master plan. Some time before the Congressional elections Delay put together a PAC called TRMPAC (Texans for a Republican Majority). The plan was to funnel money through the Pac to win seats in the Texas Legislature that would be used for redistricting the State's Congressional seats. Something that is normally done at the start of a 10 year cycle (2000 was the last one). The plan worked perfectly. A huge stash of cash generated by TRMPAC put the Republicans in control of both state houses and the governor's office. They immediately worked to change the maps of the Congressional Districts to put 5 Democratic seats in jeopardy. (You may remember the state house Democrats flying to Oklahoma to delay the tactics.) The end result was crucial for the Congressional Republicans. The Texas delegation going into the election was 16 Dems and 16 Republicans. After the 2004 election, the make-up was 21 Republicans and 11 Democrats. What makes all this even more intriguing is that the current majority for the GOP in Congress is 229-206... if Texas had not changed, the gap closes to 219-216. Stunning numbers.

The problem was that TRMPAC got a huge amount of its money from corporations -- a clear violation of Texas Law. Delay argued that the money was used for a variety of things and that it was impossible to tie the corporate contributions directly to Legislative contributions. The judge (a Republican) disagreed and declared a clear election law violation has occurred.

Now, the reality is, Tom Delay may steer clear of an indictment himself. Only the people directly in charge of the PAC are facing criminal prosecution; but it is certainly obvious to the casual observor that this was Delay's baby and whatever happened in that committee didn't happen without the Hammer nailin' it.

Howard Dean had it right all along. When will the media figure that out?
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The Never Ending Election

Category: US Politics
Posted: 05/25/05 16:00, Edited: 05/26/05 20:26

by Dave Mindeman

Let me take you back a moment to November 4, 2004. Our location is Washington State and we are watching the closest gubernatorial election in history. Christine Gregoire (D) and Dino Rossi (R) are deadlocked and no one knows the outcome.

We still don't.

Here we are heading into June 2005 and the Republicans are still fighting a declared win for the Democrat. The 129 vote margin of victory does not sit well with the Republicans especially since the recount margins came from heavily Democratic King County. The GOP pulled out every avenue of appeal unsuccessfully. Not satisfied with that however, they have now taken election officials to court on charges of fraud.

This is all coming from the same people who chided Gregoire to bow out "gracefully" when Dino Rossi had a less than 100 vote lead after the first tabulation.

During the Republican lawyer's opening statement there was some interesting hyperbole. In the midst of the usual statements like "This is a case of election fraud" or "they handed it to the canvassing board knowing it was a lie".... there also appeared this statement:

"This election was stolen from the legal voters of the state by a bizarre combination of illegal voters and bumbling bureaucrats."

I had flashbacks to 2000. Palm Beach County. Katherine Harris. Felony voter lists. Butterfly ballots. Bumbling Bureaucrats. The legal voters in Florida also had their election stolen and because it was stolen from them, the country was deprived of an administration that would not have us in Iraq and would not be systematically destroying the social contract we have had with the citizens of this country since FDR.

Judging by the Republican reaction in Washington State, the biggest mistake the Democrats made in 2000 was to concede. It is clear from recent history that Democrats concede too easily while Republicans never, ever do.

After the first returns were counted with Rossi slightly ahead, the early communication to the Democrats from the Washington Republicans was familiar. Gregoire should concede for the good of the state. Stop any recount. Vote totals are never perfect. Yada, Yada, Yada.... Apparently that's the line when the Republicans are ahead. But when the tables are turned and the Democrats have a slight lead, you get what we have in Washington State. An endless and relentless (not to mention costly) maneuver to overturn a legal and much scrutinized election.

The evidence that we need election reform in this country is overwhelming. Legal avenues to question the validity of any close election are there. Democrats understand (apparently at their own peril) that endless arguments on election outcomes are an albatross around the neck of our electoral system. Republicans have demonstrated in Washington State that they consider those same avenues as a viable alternative to an election loss. Only one thing is certain, the issue cannot last beyond 2008......

We need to fix our electoral system... we should be an example that emerging democracies around the world can emulate -- not point to as an object of ridicule. Why don't we have standardized voting machines? Why is the Secretary of State a partisan position? Why do we constantly have problems with voter registration?

The hypocrisy shown by the Washington Republicans is all the more reason to pursue election reform with renewed vigor. We can't keep burying our heads in the sand until the next "problem" election occurs.
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Out of Iraq NOW!

Posted: 05/24/05 13:51

by Jim Dooley (published in NetLets, Star Tribune 5/23)
Jim is a mnpACT! member from Apple Valley

Why are we not talking about withdrawing our forces from Iraq? The United States never belonged there. The administration's sources of information were all wrong.

We have forgotten the lesson of Vietnam, that the occupied country will crumble 10 minutes after we leave, whether we leave tomorrow, or in 10 years.

If we leave tomorrow, more of our troops will come home in one piece. If we leave tomorrow, we can use the billions we are spending there on something more productive.

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