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It’s been funny watching DC pundits discuss Beto O’Rourke’s political gifts. Democrats, of course, are giddy, with some saying he’s “Kennedyesque.” Seriously, Beto isn’t at all like JFK or RFK. He’s an intellectual lightweight who hasn’t figured out what he stands for.

One thing that’s immediately apparent is that Robert Francis O’Rourke isn’t a marketing genius. That’s apparent in a brief trip to O’Rourke’s campaign website. O’Rourke’s slogan of “We’re all in this together” sounds too much like Hillary’s “Better together” slogan.

Seriously, if Robert Francis O’Rourke is apologizing to the press for making improper comments about his wife and his white privilege, imagine how he’d melt during negotiations with Putin or Kim Jung Un.

Last week, Rep. Omar tweeted out another tweet questioning politicians allegiance to the United States. Later last week, the House passed a watered-down resolution condemning hate. This week, Democrats tried pretending that Rep. Omar’s statement wasn’t anti-Semitic:

Speaker Pelosi must think that we’re totally gullible if she thinks we’ll believe that crap. Pelosi is also trying to get people to believe that Rep. Omar’s statement about allegiance to foreign governments was just a comment about special interest groups.

Rep. Omar sent a letter to a judge asking for leniency for men trying to become ISIS terrorists. If Rep. Omar is questioning the allegiance of Americans who also support Israel, it’s only fitting that we can question her allegiance to the US while she supports leniency for ISIS.

Northstar Departing for Insanity
John W. Palmer, Ph.D.

Last Friday I waited three hours to have 3 minutes to address the Minnesota House of Representative’s Committee on Transportation Finance about the possible extension by rail the NorthStar Commuter Rail line. During my three hour wait, I heard many people express their opinions and desires to spend other peoples money on a project they want.

When my chance to speak came I focused on the economics of commuter rail (nowhere in the USA do the fares cover the cost of operation and the average public subsidy is 47% of operating costs). Then I reminded the committee of the widely known definition of insanity (Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and again and expecting a different outcome).

A brief review using a case study approach covering the last 100 years of commuter rail in the USA helps explain why spending taxpayer dollars on an extension of the NorthStar Commuter Rail fits the definition of insanity. The interurban, early commuter rail, was of great importance to the eastern half of the United States from about 1890 to 1925. Interurbans provided passengers service between cities and towns. Interurbans were a cross between a tram and a conventional train. In 1915, there were 15,500 miles of interurban rail in the US. http://chicagocityofbigshoulders.blogspot.com/2013/05/electricinterurbans.html

My home town (Kenosha, WI) was served by one of these rail lines. The Chicago, North Shore & Milwaukee Railroad (The North Shore Line) is representative of commuter rail’s history. The North Shore Line was one of the most successful interurban systems ever put together. The history of the company dates to the 1890s and in terms of the passenger traffic it carried during its peak years of operations was the second busiest interurban in history. Unfortunately, the company’s downfall was the plight of nearly all interurbans, the heavy reliance of passenger traffic could not sustain it forever and bankruptcy finally came after a long legal battle in the late 1950s and early 1960s.

The North Shore once stretched from downtown Chicago to Milwaukee. Today only one segment, the Skokie Swift, remains in use for Chicago commuter service. Given the fact that the company operated high-speed service and was located in a highly populated region it weathered the 1920s downfall of the interurban and initially did fine after the Great Depression hit.

World War II brought back traffic level comparable to that of the great years of the 1920s. Total passenger traffic climbed from barely ten million revenue passengers in 1940 to almost twenty-eight million by 1945. By November of 1946 after nearly fourteen years of bankruptcy, the North Shore came back. But, trouble and crisis returned swiftly at the War’s end.

Passenger traffic dropped and kept on declining. In 1948, a prolonged strike lasting more than three months, shut down the system; only a better than 40 percent commuter fare increase enabled the company to meet the resultant wage increases and resume operations. In June, 1958, the North Shore asked for permission to abandon all operations. Five years later (1963) The North Shore ended service thus leaving only one passenger provider (the Chicago and Northwestern) serving Chicago’s north shore communities. http://www.tmer.org/Section/History/ Chicago_North_Shore_and_Milwaukee/index.html

Prior to 1970 most railroads providing commuter service to Chicago were financially stable due to the benefits of increased traffic during the war years, expansion of suburbia and modernization of their fleets. By 1970 costs were rising and revenues were declining and in1974 the Chicago Regional Transit Authority (RTA) was formed and commuter rail service became publicly funded and government operated. By 1983 after recurring financial difficulties RTA was reorganized shifting commuter rail to a subdivision called METRA.

Today the old Chicago and Northwestern commuter rail service along the north shore of Lake Michigan is operated by METRA. The similarities of METRA’s service from
Chicago to Kenosha, WI and the NorthStar are striking. METRA’s service to Kenosha covers 51 miles and the current rail based Northstar is 40 miles. Both services us main line rails of private railroads. The similarity ends when covering cost with fares is examined. Fares collected on METRA cover 55% of the cost of operation. Northstar’s fares covered only 20%. METRA’s service had about 1.8 million riders in 2017 compared to 737,000 on the Northstar service.

The difference in population density along the two routes probably accounts for the large difference in cost recovery since ridership and population density are highly correlated. The rail line from Kenosha to Chicago traverses some of the USA’s most densely populated corridors. The Northstar corridor has many miles of undeveloped land.

With commuter rail’s long history of decline that lead to unprofitability and now government subsidy to cover shortfalls in revenue and with clear evidence that ridership and fares are not going to cover the cost of operation, investing money in commuter rail clearly meets the definition of insanity. With the brief history of Northstar showing an inability to even come close to covering operating cost at the fare box, spending more money on the failing experiment with Minnesota commuter rail is crazy.

Amy Klobuchar loves portraying herself as a moderate. That façade disappeared when she voted against the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act. She’s so extreme that she didn’t even want to debate the bill.

Politico’s ‘article, if it can be called that, said that “The Senate on Monday rejected a bill making it a felony for a doctor to harm or neglect an infant who survives an “attempted abortion,” part of a Republican effort to squeeze Democrats ahead of the 2020 campaign.”

If a baby survives an abortion, that live, breathing human is a human. Therefore, that baby has the same rights as you or me. This isn’t about abortion. It’s about infanticide. Yesterday, Democrats voted to become the ‘Infanticide Party’.

In a speech just before the vote, bill author Sen. Ben Sasse quoted campaign stump speeches by Democratic Sens. Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, Elizabeth Warren, Kirsten Gillibrand and independent Bernie Sanders vowing to look out for society’s “voiceless and vulnerable” and accused them of hypocrisy for opposing his bill’s regulations for the care of newborns.

“Was that all just clap track for the campaign trail and for soundbites? Or do people mean the stuff that they say around here?” he said of his colleagues with White House aspirations.

Amy Klobuchar isn’t a moderate. Neither is Tina Smith. They’re proud to be members of the Party of Infanticide.

Based on the massive tax increases in Tim Walz’s budget, he intends to continue Gov. Dayton’s work of turning Minnesota into a cold California. Walz’s budget calls for a couple massive tax increases and a massive spending increase. It does nothing to make Minnesota a pro-growth state. The biggest ‘accomplishment’ of Gov. Walz’s budget is that it makes Minnesota less competitive.

Gov. Walz won’t admit it but he’s a dipstick. Look what he said about education:

The first priority of my budget is education. As a former teacher, I’ve seen firsthand the power of education to change a life. But as I travel around the state, I see how the quality of a student’s education is too often dependent on their race or ZIP code.

That’s BS. The biggest determinant is whether a student comes from a 2-parent family. If they don’t, their chances of getting a great education drop significantly.

Here’s another thing Gov. Walz said:

The third priority of my budget is community prosperity. Right now, whether from the urban North Side of Minneapolis or the rural town of Hallock, many families struggle to find child care for their kids, secure housing that’s affordable or even just make ends meet.

Our budget tackles these challenges head on. It expands access to the Child Care Assistance Program and increases the supply of quality child care in shortage areas. It increases rates of homeownership for households of color, expands workforce housing in greater Minnesota, and provides loans to help seniors stay in their homes. It reinstates state aid to cities and counties across Minnesota to help local governments in greater Minnesota improve public safety, streets, libraries, parks and housing.

I don’t doubt that it’s difficult finding affordable child care. However, the Walz-Flanagan budget does nothing to increase prosperity. Taking money out of people’s wallets to pay for other things isn’t the right way to build wealth. Imposing regulations is another way to prevent the creation of wealth.

In the first 2 months of the Walz-Flanagan administration, they’ve filed a lawsuit and proposed major tax increases. That’s how to prevent prosperity.

Crisis: a dramatic emotional or circumstantial upheaval in a person’s life.

Saying that Democrats have too many drama queens is understatement. This afternoon, Judith Miller employed the Democrats’ favorite phrase while talking about President Trump’s declaration of a national emergency when she said this created a “constitutional crisis.” Judith Miller is a Pulitzer-prize-winning journalist so she should know the definition of the word crisis.

Honestly, Ms. Miller should know that a crisis only happens when there’s a life-or history-changing event. Even if the Supreme Court rules against President Trump’s declaration, it’s difficult to picture how their ruling changes the course of history.

My definition of a constitutional crisis is when the Supreme Court makes a ruling but the president refuses to obey the ruling. Pushing the envelope over a policy difference isn’t a constitutional crisis. That’s what I’d define as a constitutional question.

Democrats love throwing the constitutional crisis term around because it makes President Trump sound like a certifiable villain. When President Trump is re-elected, the American people will send the verdict that they’re tired of the Democrats’ drama queen antics.

PS- The Democrats’ other ‘drama queens are Mazie Hirono, Chuck Schumer, AOC and Speaker Pelosi.

After President Trump announced that he was declaring a national emergency, CNN and MSNBC went into full spin mode. Virtually immediately, we were told by pundits that most drugs came through ports of entry. Ditto with teenage girls that eventually get sold into child pornography, though they don’t talk much about that. The ‘pundit experts’ (I’m using that term very sarcastically) insist that the coyotes and cartels go through well-equipped ports of entry rather than through unprotected areas that aren’t fenced.

That’s insulting to our intelligence. Why should people think that these cartels and coyotes try smuggling drugs through well-protected ports of entry rather than through the porous parts of the border? Do these reporters think that the cartels want to get caught and their drugs confiscated?

These are the stories of some of the people whose lives have been forever changed by illegal aliens:

MaryAnn Mendoza tried meeting with Speaker Pelosi just a couple weeks ago. Pelosi’s staffer told Mrs. Mendoza that she wasn’t in the office. In fact, Ms. Pelosi consistently refuses to meet with Angel families. Suffice it to say that Ms. Pelosi is one of the coldest hearted bitches ever to serve in Congress. Even Jim Acosta met with Angel moms after yesterday’s presidential press conference:

The woman that Jim Acosta interviewed is Agnes Gibboney. I’ve interviewed her, too. She’s a legal immigrant who came here from Europe via South America. Acosta’s interview didn’t last long but at least he didn’t entirely avoid her like Ms. Pelosi always does.

What’s most aggravating is the fact that Ms. Pelosi totally ignores these Angel moms and that Democrats and their allies in the Agenda Media insist that there isn’t a crisis. (Yesterday, Ms. Pelosi called it a “challenge.”)

What I’m predicting is that President Trump will prevail. I’m basing that mostly off of this information:

This Vanity Fair article asks if Republicans can turn AOC into 2020 Kryptonite. It’s a fair question but it’s short-sighted. AOC is the brightest star in the Democrat galaxy at the moment but she’s far from being the only bright star that Republicans can weaponize.

Anyone that thinks that Republicans won’t weaponize Ilhan Omar is kidding themselves. And trust me, once they put together a ‘greatest hits clip of Rep. Omar, including this one, the nation will know that Democrats aren’t the moderates that they claimed to be:

That’s before Republicans weaponize Sen. Schumer and Nancy Pelosi. Trust me when I say that Democrats won’t understand what hit them. Right now, they’re confident that their ideas are winning the day. The media is siding with them virtually all the time, too. Pelosi has played a couple issues to her favor. What she didn’t do is side with the American people on important things. She’ll be exposed on that soon enough.

What Democrats haven’t figured out is that the nation actually wants to be safe. Democrats aren’t providing that. When Pelosi and Schumer file the lawsuits against President Trump’s wall, everyone will know that Democrats don’t give a damn about border security. Anyone thinking that Democrats care about anything other than replacing blue collar workers is dumber than AOC.

This afternoon, I had a conversation with a long-time reader of LFR on the definition of a DFL moderate. What’s clear to me is that the only DFL moderates, outside of perhaps Collin Peterson, are Democrats running for office. Once they’re into office, they immediately turn into leftists.

A perfect example is Tim Walz. This article highlights Gov. Walz’s leftward turn:

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz said Tuesday that his administration will keep pursuing an appeal of an independent regulatory commission’s approval of Enbridge Energy’s plan to replace its aging Line 3 crude oil pipeline across northern Minnesota, siding with environmental and tribal groups in his biggest decision since becoming governor last month.

The state Public Utilities Commission approved the project last summer. Then-Gov. Mark Dayton’s Department of Commerce appealed that decision in December, as did several groups opposed to the project. The Minnesota Court of Appeals last week dismissed those appeals as premature and sent the dispute back to the commission for further proceedings. That move forced the Walz administration to take a stand by Tuesday after weeks of studying whether to continue to appeal or let the matter drop.

It’s time to stop pretending that Gov. Walz isn’t bought by the environmentalists. He’s clearly owned by them:

“When it comes to any project that impacts our environment and our economy, we must follow the process, the law, and the science,” Walz said in a statement. “The Dayton administration’s appeal of the PUC’s decision is now a part of this process. By continuing that process, our administration will raise the Department of Commerce’s concerns to the court in hopes of gaining further clarity for all involved.”

Enbridge followed the process that the legislature put in place. Then the environmental activists didn’t get the outcome they wanted. Enter Gov. Bought And Paid For, aka Gov. Walz.

Gov. Walz threw out existing law and went a different direction, though it must be pointed out Gov. Walz’s decision was utterly predictable. The DFL got exactly what it wanted when Walz was elected — a trustworthy leftist in moderate’s clothing.

It isn’t surprising that Gov. Tim Walz has caved to environmental activists. In fact, it’s entirely predictable.

Gov. Tim Walz says his administration will continue to appeal regulatory approval of the Enbridge Energy Line 3 pipeline project in northern Minnesota. State utility regulators last summer approved Enbridge Energy’s plans to build a new $2.6 billion pipeline to replace the aging and corroding Line 3. But, former Gov. Mark Dayton’s Department of Commerce appealed that decision. Walz on Tuesday said his administration will continue that effort.

Gee, I wonder what could’ve caused that cave. Perhaps this?

Last month, more than 50 people, including scientists from the liberal activist group Science for the People, gathered in the governor’s reception room to say the science is clear the Line 3 upgrade will aggravate climate change by facilitating further use of fossil fuels.

Gov. Walz is just as owned by the lefty environmentalists as Gov. Dayton was. No wonder our economy isn’t what it could be.