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Wednesday's Bus Tour Rally
Written by Chet   

I attended last night's Team North Dakota bus tour rally in Bismarck.  I watched the Republican Party's operative move around the room and take lots of photos with his wide-angle lens, shooting photos away from the crowd so it looked like nobody was there.  Or snapping off wide-angle photos before the crowd had all come through the door.  I see North Dakota's trusty right-wing crack-pot blogger is estimating the crowd size -- based upon those photos -- at "two dozen" even though if you do a count from the photos he's posted, there are at least 65 people visible in the grainy photo.  I suppose technically a thousand or a million would be "dozens," so let them call it "dozens," but whatever.

I asked the Elks Lodge building manager what he thought the crowd size was, and he said "a hundred fifty or so."  It's his room and his building, so I'll take him at his word.  That's not a great crowd size, but we're also talking about an event that only had about a couple days of planning and notice.

I just have a few things I want to say about the rally.  First, right after the rally I had to go to a different room in the building (yes, it was the bar) for a meeting.  The meeting probably lasted a half hour or 45 minutes.  After the meeting, I went back into the ball room.  I was pleasantly surprised to find that Congressman Pomeroy was still in the room, working his way around to every table and was spending time talking to every person there.  I had heard some grumbling from some teabaggers that showed up that there wouldn't be a "question and answer" time.  This was a public rally; not a press conference.  But, having said that, if those clowns had wanted face time with Congressman Pomeroy, they could have done so during that extra hour or 90 minutes he spent after the rally, just talking to North Dakotans. 

Second, Congressman Pomeroy said something that really surprised me:  Fargo's corporate slumlord state legislator Rick Berg has skipped most of the Red River flood control meetings.  He's only attended one (1) flood control meeting and skipped all the rest.  Berg obviously doesn't care much about Fargo or dealing with the flooding problems.  He probably thinks government funded flood control just moves us one step closer to socialism.  "Send the taxpayer-funded National Guard home; it's every man for himself," the corporate slumlord would say.

Third, and speaking of teabaggers (above), there was this guy:


I don't know his full name, but I think he's "Ron."  Early in the rally the emcee asked that everyone please rise to respectfully listen as a Native American drum circle did a song.  Everyone in the room stood except this guy.  Here's what he did while everyone else respectfully stood:


I'm not sure what message he was trying to send.  I had watched him walk in and mill about for a while.  With his pro-corporate slumlord Rick Berg shirt, he kind of stood out in the crowd.  He had no outwardly obvious disabilities (aside from the intellectual disabilities apparent from his fashion sense).  I can only guess that he sat through the song because he is a racist and wanted to make sure everyone knew he was being disrespectful to the Native American drum circle.  Maybe this Ron guy has some other explanation.  I don't know.  To me his conduct just seemed racist and disrespectful.

And I don't say that lightly.  I've seen this guy before.  For example, I was at one of the many health care town hall meetings members of the delegation did last summer during the August recess and I snapped this photo.


Why did he have tape over his mouth?!?  I don't know.  What was written on the tape?  I don't know.

I just recall that he seemed to me to be trying to be disruptive and disrespectful there too.  Maybe that's just the modus operandi of a typical corporate slumlord Rick Berg supporter: disrespectful, disruptive and racist.  Or maybe it's much less nefarious.  Maybe Berg's supporters are at the developmental level of an attention-starved 8-year old.  I don't know.

Anyway, I thought the rally was just fine, as rallies go.  And I'm not a big rally person.

But the Elks Lodge's chili was good.  And I like chili.

Even A Broken Clock Is Right Twice A Day
Written by Chet   

MockToday the Bismarck Tribune endorsed Corey Mock as he is clearly the more qualified candidate to serve as North Dakota Secretary of State.

Corey Mock would bring a fresh look at how the secretary of state’s office might be managed. A first-term Democratic legislator serving on the political subdivisions committee, Mock has had a look at the challenges of bringing the office’s software programming up to the standard necessary for business filings. A relatively recent graduate of the University of North Dakota, he works as an executive director of a free clinic based in Grand Forks.

[ ]

As the campaign heated up, the state’s residents learned of significant overtime hours accumulated by Jaeger’s upper level staff, raising questions about his use of resources and his working relationship with the Legislature over funding.

And work at the secretary of state’s office has been backed up at times. If the office doesn’t have the staff to get the job done properly, it’s an issue Jaeger should have taken up with the Legislature.

Taken together, these issues suggest a certain lack of attention to detail and focus.

[ ]

The Tribune endorses Corey Mock for secretary of state on the Nov. 2 General Election ballot.


You can tell how it pains the editors of the Tribune to endorse a Democratic-NPLer.  They can't just write an accurate, glowing endorsement of Mock -- who deserves an accurate, glowing endorsement -- while unapologetically outlining the many Al Jaeger screw-ups brought to the Tribune's attention by other people (since the Trib doesn't have any investigative journalists on staff).  You almost have to feel sorry for the Bismarck Tribune's corporation as its right-wing clowns found themselves writing their first endorsement that actually contained a rational, fact-based, intellectually defensible explanation for the endorsement.  Too bad they couldn't have been rational when endorsing a PSC candidate or the best candidate for Agriculture Commissioner.  

The Tribune's editors have suffered through the most painful part (for them) of election season; giving a token Democrat an endorsement.  Now they can get back to the big corporate, bought-and-paid-for business of writing illogical, fiction-based editorials endorsing only Republicans. 

Doug Goehring: Less Transparency, No Vision, Bigger Government
Written by Chet   

North Dakota's Socialist RepublicansYou probably think the title of this blog post isn't fair.  Well, you'd be wrong. 

Doug Goehring is trying to win an election.  He's tried before, but his campaigns have always been failures.  He has been the boss at the Farm Bureau, where they're advocating for the elimination of school lunch programs, crop insurance and every other farm program.  His organization wants to turn America's food production over to China.  (Click here for more on that.)  Those of you who've been around a couple years might also recall Goehring was at the center of a huge scandal involving Nodak Mutual Insurance just four years ago.

So now he's on the campaign trail, again, advocating the Farm Bureau's plan to destroy North Dakota's agricultural future.  Here are excerpts from today's story in the Dickinson Press:

Do I have a vision for it? No,” Goehring said. “I think anyone who comes in and says they do is foolish because they can’t think about all the different situations that exist out here.”

Lauth asked what Goehring’s position on “fracking” fluid disclosure.

“We are on information overload in this society,” Goehring said. “I’m not in favor of doing that because when that information’s out, people just take it and run. And sometimes you have those that, maybe even through good intentions, end up taking something and doing a lot of damage.”

[ ]

“I think the toughest thing for this legislature has been we don’t want to grow government, but in response to being responsible and providing service, I think the legislature now sees that we have to do that,” Goehring said.

Dickinson Pres

See?  Goehring is advocating for less transparency, he's insisting he has no vision, and he wants bigger government.

Next thing you know he'll want to be a bureaucrat who governs a socialist mill and elevator and a socialist bank. 

Oh wait!!!  He already is a socialist bureaucrat!

Gotta love North Dakota's Republican socialist hypocrites and their plans for less transparency, no vision and bigger government.

Kevin Cramer's Website Shows How Unqualified He Is
Written by Chet   

You should go check out Kevin Cramer's website for his Public Service Commission campaign.  Keep in mind, Kevin Cramer is running for a seat on the Public Service Commission.  He essentially wants you to vote for him to be a judge on the board that regulates public utilities.  So what sorts of things would you expect to read about when you go to look at his website?  You might want to know how he'll approach a rate increase case, generally.  You might want to know whether he has any innovative ideas about what should be done with the regulation of public utilities.  You might want to know whether he thinks he can find a balance between the interests of the utilities, and the interests of utility consumers. 

Sounds okay, right?

Go to his website (click here) and here are some of the things you will -- instead -- have to wade through:

  1. Cramer seems to have forgotten he isn't running against Earl Pomeroy for a seat on the U.S. House of Representatives.  He has a rant going after Congressman Pomeroy for voting for "universal health care"; something Pomeroy hasn't done.  (Note to Kevin: There's a big difference between "universal health care" and the bill Pomeroy voted for.  Huge difference.  Look it up.]
  1. Here's a snippet from Cramer's "Values" section, under "Policy": 
    1. Pro-Life - Life begins at conception.

      Traditional Marriage - Same sex marriage does not sustain humanity or demonstrate responsibility and is therefore an act against humanity.

I'd be interested to hear Cramer explain how these "values" have anything to do with a utility rate case, or request for approval of a pipeline plan.
  1. On his campaign website, you'll find elligies or eulogies Cramer apparently wrote or gave.  Again, I can see putting that on your Facebook page, but this is his campaign website for his run for the North Dakota Public Service Commission.  How does his eulogy for anybody have anything to do with his qualifications to be a public utility regulator?
  1. Then there is this photo from Cramer's campaign website photo gallery:
What is this?

What is this photo?  There's no caption on the website.  Is it a PSC meeting?  Is it a campaign event?  Whatever this photo is, how does it relate to Kevin Cramer's qualifications to serve on the North Dakota Public Service Commission?
Compare Cramer's campaign website to Democratic-NPL candidate Brad Crabtree's website.  (Click here)  The first difference that stood out for me is that Crabtree has biographical information on his website.  (I couldn't find a bio for Cramer on his website.  I wonder why that is?)  But the main difference seems to be that Crabtree has detailed policy statements on things that relate to the position of public service commissioner.  

It appears Cramer's only qualification to hold office is that he knows a bunch of political insiders.

It's an intersting contrast, to say the least. 
Question For The Day: October 13, 2010
Written by Chet   
QuestionWhy is it that national journalists take more interest in the hard work we do here at NorthDecoder.com, than local "journalists"?
Is John Hoeven Directing Tax Dollars To His US Senate Campaign?
Written by Chet   

Good question.  Here's what it says on the OpenSecrets.org website:


OpenSecrets.org (highlighting added by me)

We all know John Hoeven is using state resources to promote his campaign.  That's what he's doing every time he shows up with a gold-plated shovel or giant scissors at some ground-breaking or ribbon-cutting ceremony.  That's what he's doing every time he sends out some ridiculous, pointless press release that the local media types all clamor to publish, verbatim.

OpenSecrets.org is usually a pretty reliable resource for this kind of information.  But did Governor John Hoeven really direct the State of North Dakota to give his U.S. Senate political campaign $13,500?!?

Wouldn't surprise me.

Team North Dakota Bus Tour
Written by Chet   

Team ND

You may have heard that Senators Dorgan and Conrad will be making a multiple-stop tour over the next couple days, celebrating the candidacy of Congressman Pomeroy, who, among other things, serves as chairman of the Social Security subcommittee on the House Appropriations Committee.  Congressman Pomery will also, obviously, be on the tour.

Here's info from the press thing that's been going around:

(BISMARCK, N.D.) — Senators Kent Conrad and Byron Dorgan announced today that they are enthusiastically endorsing Earl Pomeroy for Congress saying he is the one candidate with the intellect, passion and commitment to tackle the challenges facing North Dakota.

The Senators also announced they are kicking off a statewide endorsement tour on Wednesday, October 13 and encouraged all North Dakotans to come out and show support for Earl Pomeroy. 

The following is the schedule for the statewide endorsement tour:

Wednesday, October 13                      

West Fargo: 10:00 a.m. at the VFW, 308 Sheyenne

Valley City: 1:00 p.m. at VFW Park     

Jamestown: 3:30 p.m. at Gladstone Inn, 111 2nd Street NE

Bismarck: 6:30 p.m. at the Elks Club, 900 South Washington

Thursday, October 14

Minot: 11:30 a.m. at the Minot State University, Beaver Dam, 500 University Ave W

Grand Forks: 5:30 p.m. at the Guesthouse, 710 1st Ave N

Bring a friend.

Laffen At You; Not With You
Written by Chet   

Box o' RocksThere was a candidate forum yesterday/Monday for North Dakota state legislative candidates from the Grand Forks-area, District 43.  One of the Republicans got to show off his intellectual depth by discussing federal "cap and trade" legislation.

Present on the Republican side were Don Dietrich, a former state representative; Curt Kreun, a City Council member; and Lonnie Laffen. On the Democratic side were Sen. Jonell Bakke and Don Vangsnes. Rep. Lois Delmore, an English teacher, was not present at the early afternoon session.

[ ]

Better paying jobs would “solve almost all the issues” the state faces, said Laffen, an architect.  What stands in his way as a business owner is the uncertain regulatory environment, he said, and gave as an example of so-called “cap and trade” regulations.

He said this would mean capping oil and other energy production in this country and importing from others.

Generally, cap and trade means capping carbon dioxide emissions and trading emission rights as credits.

Grand Forks Herald (emphasis added)

A few things:  First, why -- at a state legislative candidate forum -- are the candidates talking about federal legislation at all?  Is it because a questioner didn't understand the difference between the federal government and state government?  Or does this candidate not understand the difference?  These forums are typically limited in length.  They only get, for example, an hour or 90 minutes.  Sometimes they're only a half hour.  And they were, no doubt, dividing that time amongst all three candidates.  In that limited amount of time, the voters should be given an opportunity to learn where the candidates stand on STATE issues without having their time wasted on discussions about issues over which state legislators have no control.  Where do the candidates stand on addressing the $120 million deferred maintenance problem in higher education?  Where do they stand on infrastructure development in the western North Dakota oil fields?  Where do they stand on all the state government hand-outs to big business at, for example, Workers Comp?  What about health insurance for kids living in poverty?  These Republicans don't want to talk about those things.  Instead they want to talk about things over which they will never have any control as state legislators?!?  What's next?  Questions about what the candidates think about the European monetary system? Perhaps they'll talk about their position on disease vaccination efforts in Africa?!?  Or maybe they'll talk about Mars exploration!  It's stupid.

Speaking of stupid...  kudos to the Herald writer for pointing out a FACT when faced with an uninformed, fact-challenged Republican's talking point.  This candidate -- like most Republican candidates -- doesn't understand the first thing about cap-and-trade (an issue they shouldn't have been talking about in the first place) but knows a right-wing talking point when he sees it.  Cap-and-trade is about "capping oil" and "importing from other countries?!?"  At the Bismarck Tribune, when a political writer finds him/herself faced with something like this, the story ends up being a "he-said-she-said," presenting "both sides" of the issue where one side is fact-based and the other the uninformed Republican talking point.   "Republicans say the sun comes up in the West and sets in the East.  Democrats disagree and say it comes up in the east, setting in the West.  The Tribune takes no position on this, though Rasmussen Polling says the the Republican position is leading by 4 points."

Third, this story describes Laffen as "an architect."  What can be gleened from this story is that he has a four-year college degree and he has an interest in politics.  Apparently Laffen actually has "two degrees" from North Dakota State University.   When I was a student at UND, I sometimes thought NDSU sucked, but I had no idea someone could walk away from that school so completely malinformed.  What are they teaching Bison people?!?  They teach you folks that "cap and trade" is about capping oil wells?!? 


That's a sad commentary on this country's higher education system, and specifically on NDSU.

Lastly, cap-and-trade is getting in the way of his business as a North Dakota architect?!?   No, Lonnie. Your business is not hurting because of cap-and-trade legislation that hasn't even been enacted.  It's hurting because it takes longer than 18 months to recover from 8 years of disasterous Republican economic policy.  Like it or lump it.

This Laffen character isn't qualified to run for dog catcher.  He might be a fine architect.  He might be a good parent.  He might be a nice person, or a "great guy to have a beer with."  But he ought to stay out of politics.

Have You Ever Noticed...
Written by Chet   

Republican HeadquartersHave you noticed all of the abandoned/vacant buildings, undeveloped lots and the slummiest rental properties in every town and city all have Republican political signs in the yard or banners/posters in the window?

What's that about?

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