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  Progressive Political Blog

Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

Massive Cover Up

Category: Congressional Races
Posted: 01/05/18 22:29

by Dave Mindeman

For nearly a year the Senate Judiciary Committee under Senator Chuck Grassley, has been, at least in theory, been investigating the Russian interference in our election. At least we think that is what they are doing.

But most of Grassley's attention has been taken up with Fusion GPS and the Christopher Steele dossier. It would seem that Grassley has been assigned the task of discrediting that part of the Russian evidence.

His method of this is to stonewall any release of the Fusion GPS testimony (even though they have asked that it be released) and today, they decided (Grassley and Graham) to recommend charges be investigated or brought, by the FBI, against Christopher Steele - for theoretically getting some facts or dates wrong in his testimony.

A year of this and that is your best effort?

Grassley tells us that he cannot release the Fusion GPS testimony because making it public would interfere with Mueller's investigation. At the same time, Grassley says that he would be happy to have Fusion GPS testify again in an open session if they wish. So why would a public hearing NOT interfere with the investigation? Would Grassley be limiting the questions? I would assume the Democrats inquiries would follow the same pattern. Why would that be so different?

These Congressional (clearly partisan) hearings are producing nothing. The only things of relevance we find out about the Russian caper come from leaks and from the reactions of Trump. Whatever the Republican committees are doing is interfering more than helping.

When this all began nearly a year ago, the Republicans seemed genuinely troubled by Russian interference. They actually seemed concerned enough that they wanted to get the "facts". But as revelations came forward that implicated the Trump administration in several avenues of wrongdoing, suddenly the Republican investigation has been trying to look for alternate paths to relevance. So it is back to Hillary and the Clinton foundation and other Democratic plots in waiting.

This is one party government, America. This is what you get. You get lies, deceit, cover up, and tricks. No where do you get truth and discovery.

I once believed that eventually we would get to the bottom of all this. I thought there was a path to truth. But with all the Republican attempts to discredit the facts and individuals involved in finding that truth, it is clear that we are being obstructed in that path.

We have the entire government of the United States sent into massive dysfunction and dishonest manipulation of the facts. This is much, much worse than Watergate. At least at that time, there were people who believed in the truth.

Right now, we do not have anyone in power who cares one pebble about it.
comments (1) permalink

CD2 Candidate Forum: Erdmann and Craig

Category: Congressional Races
Posted: 12/19/17 11:22

by Dave Mindeman

I was at the CD2 Congressional Forum last night for Jeff Erdmann and Angie Craig. It had a little different format, so we should explain that.

Apparently, this was only meant as a "get to know the candidates" event. So all the questions were given to the candidates in advance. The only thing they did not know was which ones would actually be used.

So, it was not a debate....and the answers given were not meant for comparisons but for learning the positions of the respective candidates. OK - that is fine.

So, here are my observations and I talk about these things because this Congressional District will be competitive and we need to assess these candidates honestly and with the perspective of who can best confront Jason Lewis and who has the best chance to win. Politics isn't about being nice, it is about winning a seat at the policy table. And Democrats need that seat badly right now.

So here goes.

I had hoped that Jeff Erdmann would have improved a little more by this time. But, the reality is, he did not. This was a very easy format. It was an opportunity for him to be forceful in his policy and show some real passion.
But he "played it safe".

I have to bring up the "binder". Because the candidates got the questions far in advance, Erdmann put all of his answers into a binder separated by color coding. And when a question was asked, he would flip through his pages looking for the question and his researched response. It was awkward. A couple of times, when he was first for the question, he would hold things up by flipping through the binder because he had difficulty finding the right page.

OK. This is a Federal Congressional race. This is not high school debate. It is not a school board race. It is not a MN legislative race. It is a position that sits in Washington representing 1/8 of Minnesota directly.

The person who wins this endorsement (and by the way, both candidates say they will abide by the endorsement), will face Jason Lewis. Lewis is a very experienced media guy. He is articulate. He is polished. And if you are not prepared, he can make you look foolish in a debate. His policies are horrendous, but he knows how to play the game.

Last night, I was trying to picture Jeff Erdmann going up against Lewis in a debate format. Granted, Erdmann would prepare differently and probably have a different approach, but I swear, Lewis would eat him up.

Policy wise, Erdmann is great. He has progressive ideas and a big heart. But that is not enough in this environment. If we are going to change Citizens United and income equality, we have to start winning these political races. And at this moment, Jeff Erdmann, as the candidate, cannot win.

Yes, he can improve. But it has to start right now. He has to learn from last night. He has to change his approach. And I do mean now.

OK - you can look at the above observations and say, man, that is kind of brutal. Sorry. Maybe it is. But we have to look at political contests more realistically and find the problems that can be fixed....now.

Now you probably think that Erdmann was the only one there last night from what I pointed out so far.

Angie Craig was there, too. And her experience was evident and on full display. She looked polished and ready. She didn't challenge Erdmann but stuck to her message.

I am sure single payer fans are unsure about Craig's stance on Universal Health Care...but Craig is trying to be open to the various avenues to get there and not lock herself into one difficult path. If Single Payer became viable enough to pass the House, I feel confident that Craig would be on board. But if an opportunity came along to really fix Obamacare - or a full public option was available....those are things she would champion as well.

But on just about every subject, the policy differences between the two was minimal. Maybe Jeff emphasizes the idea of too much money in politics stalls our government process. But outside of repealing Citizens United, Jeff offers no other policy change to help.

I know this is one sided in its presentation, but I quite frankly could think of no other way to evaluate last night. It was painfully obvious that Jeff Erdmann is not ready for a Congressional campaign.

I do not say that to be mean - I say that to be truthful. Like I have said before, when it comes to 2018, I am going to be brutally honest about what I think. So, you are warned.

The final analysis of last night was simply this. Angie Craig is a great candidate for Congress. Jeff Erdmann is a great football coach.
comments (1) permalink

Trickle Down Jason

Category: Congressional Races
Posted: 12/10/17 16:24

by Alan Anderson

Jason Lewis, our representative from CD 2, has received a lot of praise and criticism these last weeks. Looks like a rocky road ahead. Some of the concern has been the way he has been voting......not quite the independent voice he ran on. And now with the Trump administration under fire with the Russia investigation, looks like his vote to shield Mr. Trump from exposing his taxes will be a controversial stand. Seems like he doesn't really want the truth to come out. Many suspect Trump is trying to hide something horrible by refusing to share his tax return (which every other presidential candidate has done for the past 50 years). But Mr. Lewis seems afraid of the truth...with good reason and refuses to share it with the American public.

Now Mr. Lewis is supporting the new Republican effort at tax reform. It includes huge tax breaks for wealthy individuals (like eliminating the estate tax....which would save Mr. Trump billions and provide the wealthiest 1% with a giant benefit) and a potential gift to corporations with more great deductions and lower tax rates.

We've seen this Republican ploy before. President Reagan did it in the 1980s and President Bush did it in the early 2000s. It's the old trickle-down economics....give big breaks to the top earners and they will spend their savings to create more jobs and stimulate the economy. All the funds lost through the tax breaks will be made up by the expanding, growing economy. Except, in those two instances of big cuts to the wealthy, the economy grew at a sluggish rate, there wasn't great job growth, and there were great additions to the national debt. Hardly a strong recommendation, but Mr. Lewis and his colleagues want it again.

So, here we go again. Give huge benefits to the wealthy and screw the middle and poor classes. Wasn't fair then and isn't fair now. And our income gap keeps growing, with the top 5% getting the bulk of the benefits from our recent economic improvement. So, thanks Mr. Lewis. Hope your votes trickles down, as well, next time.
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