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It’s pretty clear that St. Cloud Mayor Dave Kleis will say or do anything to avoid having an honest discussion about the costs that Somali refugees cause that St. Cloud taxpayers pay for.

According to the Times article, Kleis “calls the proposed moratorium unconstitutional and said that the city’s budget doesn’t fund refugee resettlement.” What Kleis omits in his statement is that refugees cost the city money in terms of law enforcement costs, city health inspections and other services.

Kleis has also argued that money spent on education isn’t part of the city budget so it shouldn’t count towards the city budget. While it’s technically true to say that the School Board budget is separate, it’s equally true to say that the taxpayers don’t notice that distinction because it’s part of their property tax bill. It’s a distinction without a difference to taxpayers.

Kleis is also quoted as saying that “cities clearly don’t have a role in immigration. This is a federal issue.” That’s another slippery answer. I’m not disputing the fact that the federal government sets immigration policy. What I’m disputing, however, is the fact that cities have specific responsibilities.

For instance, the Refugee Act of 1980 “states in 8 U.S.C. 1522(2)(A): ‘The Director and the Federal agency administering subsection (b)(1), shall consult regularly (not less often than quarterly) with State and local governments and private nonprofit voluntary agencies concerning the sponsorship process and the intended distribution of refugees among the States and localities before their placement in those States and localities.'” That’s a specific responsibility given by the federal government to “local governments.” They didn’t suggest that the federal government work with local governments. They instructed the federal government to work with local governments.

If Mayor Kleis isn’t willing to do the things that he’s required to do by statute, then it’s time for him to retire. St. Cloud requires a full-time mayor, not a career politician who picks and chooses which important responsibilities he’ll do and which responsibilities he’ll ignore.

Mark Jaede has been a DFL activist for years. I remember covering an event he planned during Gov. Dayton’s government shutdown in July, 2011. Jaede’s activism hasn’t waned since then. In fact, Dr. Jaede is using government resources to promote his political activism. Last night, I got an email from a loyal reader of LFR. Included in the email is the email Dr. Jaede sent to St. Cloud State’s Announce listserv.

From what I’ve been told, Announce is only supposed to be used to announce University events. If people want to discuss community-related events, they’re supposed to use the Discuss listserv. This isn’t the first time Dr. Jaede has misused this government resource.

Dr. Jaede opened his activist announcement by saying “Colleagues, St. Cloud City Council Member Jeff Johnson reportedly plans to submit a resolution calling for a temporary ban on resettlement of refugees in St. Cloud. This is an action associated with the anti-Muslim speakers who have been touring Minnesota and recently held an anti-Muslim session at Granite City Baptist Church. You can learn more here: http://www.unitecloud.org/supportcentralmnrefugees/ If you wish to share your views on the resolution, you can find councilmembers’ email addresses here: http://ci.stcloud.mn.us/Directory.aspx?DID=35

This isn’t related to the University. That’s political activism. There’s more to Jaede’s email:

The Mission – St. Cloud, MN – Official Website
ci.stcloud.mn.us
The mission of the City of St. Cloud is to provide high quality public services for our residents in a cost effective, responsive, innovative and professional manner …

Or you can attend the upcoming City Council meeting on the evening of Monday, October 23. If you are a St. Cloud resident you may address the council.

As always, any responses to this announcement should be sent to Discuss or to me personally, not to Announce.

Best,

Mark

If Jaede wants to be a DFL activist, that’s his choice. Being a DFL activist on the taxpayers’ dime isn’t ok, though.

According to his University webpage, Jaede is the “Director of Latin American Studies” at “St. Cloud State University.” Further, the webpage for St. Cloud State’s Latin-American Studies program states “When you choose the Latin American Studies program, you will learn about the people, lands and cultures of Latin America and their interactions with the rest of the world. You’ll study their language and their history as well as the social, economic, environmental and international issues facing the countries of that region. You will complete a year of coursework in Spanish or Portuguese and be encouraged to travel to view situations first-hand. Through service-learning projects and internships, you’ll have opportunities to work alongside those hoping to improve their corner of the world.”

I’m 100% positive that Somalia isn’t part of Latin America.

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Apparently, Dave Kleis doesn’t understand the Constitution. According to this article, Mayor Kleis said “Cities clearly do not have a role in immigration. This is a federal issue. We should be focusing on city issues.” Later, Kleis said “I believe a moratorium violates the U.S. Constitution, particularly the equal protection clause. We strive very hard to be a welcoming community. We work very hard to encourage people to come to the community. We should be focusing our efforts on making sure everyone succeeds.”

Simply put, Kleis is wrong about whether cities have a role in refugee resettlement. While it’s indisputable that the federal government sets immigration policy, it’s equally true that local communities have a role in other aspects of refugee resettlement. For instance, “the Refugee Act of 1980 states in 8 U.S.C. 1522(2)(A): ‘The Director and the Federal agency administering subsection (b)(1), shall consult regularly (not less often than quarterly) with State and local governments and private nonprofit voluntary agencies concerning the sponsorship process and the intended distribution of refugees among the States and localities before their placement in those States and localities.'”

The last I looked, nobody has challenged the constitutionality of the Refugee Act of 1980. The Supreme Court certainly hasn’t declared it unconstitutional. My question for Mayor Kleis is simple. What’s the foundation for your belief that the Refugee Act of 1980 is unconstitutional?

It’s indisputable that the Refugee Act of 1980 requires consultation with local governments. Since that law hasn’t been declared unconstitutional, there’s no chance the law violates the Fourteenth Amendment. The definition of moratorium is “a suspension of activity.” How is a temporary suspension of refugee resettlement a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment?

What’s most aggravating is Mayor Kleis’s statement that St. Cloud is “a welcoming community.”

Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

This paragraph brings new questions:

Johnson’s resolution would only temporarily halt “primary refugees” — those who come directly from overseas and settle in Minnesota. It could not ban secondary migration; refugees are free to move around the country like anyone else, and they often do to join family and relatives, or to find employment.

What does this, or any other part of Johnson’s proposed moratorium, have to do with the Fourteenth Amendment? That’s the polite way of asking whether Kleis knows what he’s talking about. This statement is insulting:

Our budget is transparent. That budget, in detail, is on our city’s website. We don’t have any funding that goes to refugee resettlement.

Mayor Kleis, how much money is spent on law enforcement policing the primary locations where refugees live? It isn’t a separate line-item in the budget so how would we know how much resettled refugees cost city taxpayers? How much money from the city budget goes towards inspecting restaurants run by refugees? I’ve heard multiple reports that city health inspectors have a list of Somali restaurants where they won’t inspect because they’re that unsanitary.

Mayor Kleis, it’s insultingly dishonest to insist that the city doesn’t spend money providing services to refugees. You used to be a decent mayor. That’s changed, thanks to your unwillingness to confront St. Cloud’s challenges. While you bury your head in the sand, the citizens of St. Cloud suffer.

It’s time for you to retire so a responsive mayor can get elected.

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Notch another foreign policy victory for President Trump. This morning, Raqqa was liberated from ISIS. It seems like forever ago that people were being told that we couldn’t affect regime change in Syria without the threat of ISIS taking over the government. Overthrow, Democrats told us, meant deposing Assad, then watching while ISIS took over. Apparently, President Trump and Gen. Mattis didn’t get that memo.

According to the article, “The Syrian city of Raqqa was liberated from ISIS fighters Tuesday, a commander with U.S.-backed Syrian forces said. The loss deprived the terror group of the capital of its so-called caliphate, which has dwindled from a land mass spanning two countries to a sliver of space in Syria. The last group of Islamic State militants had been holed up Tuesday in a stadium in the Syrian city of Raqqa, their last stand in the fight over what was the terror group’s de facto capital as U.S. backed, Kurdish-led forces close in around them.”

It’s fun hearing that “the last black ISIS flag raised in the city had been taken down.”

This article summarizes things nicely:

The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), an alliance of Kurdish and Arab militias backed by a US-led international alliance, has been fighting ISIS inside Raqqa since June. SOHR said 3,250 people were killed in the five-month battle, including 1,130 civilians.

A witness said fighting appeared to be almost at an end with only sporadic bursts of gunfire. Militia fighters celebrated in the streets, chanted slogans from their vehicles and raised a flag inside Raqqa stadium. An SDF spokesman said the alliance would capture the last ISIS areas in the city within hours.

Notice that the SDF started their offensive in June of this year. President Trump’s strategy to empower generals on the ground paid dividends because they weren’t micromanaged from the Oval Office like they were during the Obama administration.

President Trump’s goal was defeating ISIS. President Obama’s goal was to do as little as possible because he wanted his legacy to be of an anti-war president. That meant sacrificing military victories to pay for political victories.

Thankfully, we’ve got a real commander-in-chief now.

Monday, President Trump held a joint press conference with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. (Click this link to read the transcript.) One of the things President Trump highlighted during the Q and A portion of the presser was how the Democrats’ obstructionism hurt with getting things done for the American people.

Specifically, President Trump said “Just so you understand, the Republican Party is very, very unified. When we get things approved, we have to go through hell because we have no Democrat support, we have nobody. We don’t have a vote from the Democrats. As an example: massive tax cuts — we may not get any Democrat votes. Now, we also may get three of four, but we may get no — for massive tax cuts. We’re the highest-taxed country in the world, and yet we may get no Democrat support. And that’s because they’re obstructionists and they just basically want us to do badly, but that’s not going to happen.”

This can’t get emphasized too much. Think about it this way. Even during the Obama administration, Democrats didn’t pass any reforms that made life better for Americans. Democrats passed the omnibus budget bill that funded the government. Democrats also passed the annual debt ceiling increase. After that, crickets.

That isn’t to say that Republicans shouldn’t get criticized. Susan Collins, John McCain, Lisa Murkowski and Rand Paul certainly deserve criticism. They’ve lied to their constituents. They’ve let the American people down. McCain and Paul both deserve the highest criticism, though, because I didn’t expect much from Sen. Collins or Sen. Murkowski.

Democrats haven’t offered constructive, substantive policies. They’ve insisted on maintaining the status quo that’s failed the American people the past 8 years. When 2018 comes around, Democrats will have to defend that record of obstruction and advocating for the status quo. Forgive me if I don’t think that’s a winning message.

Jonathan Turley’s op-ed highlights the Democrats’ illogical health care hissy fit. In his op-ed, Turley wrote “There appears no end to the villainy of President Trump. This week, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra denounced Trump as nothing short of a saboteur while members have lined up before cameras to denounce his latest executive order as tantamount to murder. His offense? He rescinded an unconstitutional order by President Obama and restored the authority of Congress over the ‘power of the purse.’ The response to what Becerra called “sabotage” has been a call for a rather curious challenge where Democrats want the judicial branch to enjoin the executive branch from recognizing the inherent authority of the legislative branch. It is an institutional act that would have baffled the Framers.”

He continued, writing “I had the honor of serving as lead counsel, with an exceptionally talented team from Capitol Hill, for the U.S. House of Representatives in its challenge to unilateral actions taken by the Obama administration under the Affordable Care Act. In a historic ruling, U.S. District Judge Rosemary Collyer ruled in favor of the House of Representatives and found that President Obama violated the Constitution in committing billions of dollars from the U.S. Treasury without the approval of Congress.”

If I had to bet, I’d bet that Gen. Becerra knew he was grandstanding when he did this interview:

In the interview, Becerra said that President Trump either made illegal payments during his first few months in office or he’s breaking the law now. That’s the truest statement he made in the interview. Prior to this decision, President Trump made unlawful payments. Now that that’s ending, Democrats have 2 options. They can either engage in some good-faith negotiations to fix all that’s broken with the ACA or they can get rejected in court, which will certainly happen.

These Democrat attorneys general might win in the 9th Circuit. There’s no doubt that they’ll get stopped in the Supreme Court, though.

This article perfectly illustrates the foolishness of progressive foreign policy. As if we hadn’t gotten too much of that during the Obama administration, we’re getting another shot of it in this article.

In the article, it says “The move is also likely to isolate the U.S., cause confusion about its intentions, permit Iran to claim the high ground in any push to renegotiate, and provide both allies and adversaries with more evidence that the United States can’t be trusted.” Let’s start with that last statement about the US not being able to be trusted. What’s true is that the US can be trusted to correct its mistakes that left allies in the Middle East threatened by the developing Iranian hegemon.

There’s a reason why the nations refused to attend President Obama’s summit on the Middle East. Those nations flocked to President Trump’s summit, though. That leads to the refutation that not certifying the Iran deal again will “likely isolate the US.” Here’s a question the author might want to ask himself: how can a man who gets 50+ Middle East and southwest Asia and north African nations to attend his summit on Iran and its proxies be isolated? Does this look isolated?

This isn’t reassuring:

The 2015 deal lifted sanctions against Iran in exchange for limits on its nuclear program. Iran’s compliance is being monitored by the United Nations, which has declared that the Islamic Republic is sticking by the letter of its obligations.

Getting the UN’s word that Iran is living up to any agreement is like getting an arsonist’s word that he won’t play with matches anymore. In other words, it’s worthless. As for the limits, they’re temporary. President Trump is attempting to renegotiate more permanent limits, something the Obama administration didn’t even attempt to do.

Iran still is developing a missile program and actively opposing U.S. policy in Syria, Iraq and plenty of other places. Trump, who has called the agreement “embarrassing” and much worse, can’t really declare that Iran is violating its terms. Instead, he’s likely to say Iran is not following its spirit, or that the deal is no longer in the U.S. national interest. The idea seems to be that decertifying will increase pressure on Iran to behave.

The point the Trump administration made last week is that the agreement was so limited in scope as to make it worthless. Getting Iran to limit some of its terrorist-supporting actions isn’t securing our nation or our allies.

The Obama-Kerry foreign policy was built on the premise that appeasement works. It doesn’t. That’s why it’s important for the US to reassert its leadership in the Middle East.

Darin Broton is a prominent DFL spinner and lobbyist. The last I heard, he was working for Move Minnesota, working hard to raise a ton of taxes to pay for roads and bridges but also to sneakily pay for light rail projects. Thankfully, that effort failed because Minnesotans utterly rejected increased taxes. But I digress.

During this Sunday morning’s At Issue, Broton did his best to spin President Trump’s eliminating President Obama’s illegal insurance company bailout. Broton said that President Trump now “owns health care.” That’s BS. It’s still called Obamacare. Last year at this time, long before Trump shocked the world in defeating the inevitable Hillary Clinton, Gov. Dayton admitted that “Ultimately … the reality is the Affordable Care Act is no longer affordable for an increasing number of people. We’re going to need both state and federal governments to step in and do what they need to do to remedy these problems.”

I can’t wait hearing Mr. Broton explain how that’s President Trump’s fault. Whatever argument he makes, I can pin the blame for health care back on President Obama and the Democrats. For instance, it’s indisputable that the ACA’s required coverages drove up health insurance premiums.

President Trump made insurance more affordable by letting people buy policies that aren’t as loaded with government-required coverages. Broton’s argument essentially is that government bureaucrats and DFL politicians know what’s best for families. Forgive me if I don’t agree.

Later in the segment, Broton characterized the 2017 session as unproductive. He even said that legislators running for governor would have a difficult time explaining away their part in the session. That’s BS. Sandy Layman’s op-ed refutes Broton’s spin:

In the first month of session, we passed the 2017 Health Care Emergency Aid and Access bill.

Then there’s this:

Through many hours of negotiations, the House, Senate, and governor’s office came to an agreement to provide $650 million of tax relief targeted toward middle class Minnesotans.

After that, there’s this:

We passed a bipartisan transportation bill that included a multi-billion investment in roads and bridges without raising taxes.

Jeremy Miller summed things up in this op-ed:

Things got going quickly with some huge accomplishments early in session, and the progress didn’t slow down. Some of the major accomplishments include emergency health care relief, the stabilization of the individual health insurance market, Sunday liquor sales, and the passage of Real ID so Minnesotans can use their driver’s licenses to travel domestically or enter federal buildings and military bases.

What planet does Broton inhabit? I’m not certain it’s the one we’re living on.

Broton isn’t alone in peddling these myths. Other DFL activists/strategists have spread the myth that this was an unproductive session, too. Unfortunately for the DFL, the proof tells a different story.

It seems like everything that Democrats criticize Republicans about is because the Republicans’ actions are unconstitutional. At least, that’s the Democrats’ dishonest accusation. Janet Napolitano’s op-ed is similarly dishonest. The op-ed starts innocently enough. The second paragraph states “Under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, the Obama Administration urged young undocumented immigrants brought to this country as children to voluntarily undergo rigorous background and security checks in exchange for the renewable option to legally live, work, and study in the country they know as home.”

It doesn’t take long, though, to turn ugly. The fourth paragraph says “Now the future of DACA is in jeopardy. The Trump administration’s plan to end the program is illegal, unconstitutional, and anathema to our national ethos. It also defies common sense. I believed in the importance of DACA five years ago, and I will fight for it now.”

First off, President Trump’s plan is to have Congress pass legislation that protects recipients of DACA. Not only isn’t that unconstitutional, it’s the essence of following the Constitution. Democrats don’t like that President Trump isn’t the negotiating pushover they’d prefer. He’s actually insisting that Democrats fund the building of the wall in exchange for making DACA protections permanent.

This is why the University of California Board of Regents and I have filed suit in federal court against the Department of Homeland Security. On behalf of the university and our DACA students, we have asked the court to overturn the rescission of this program I helped create.

There’s little doubt that Napolitano will win when the 9th Circuit hears the case. There’s less doubt that she’ll lose when it gets to the Supreme Court. This paragraph is utterly laughable:

No court has found DACA to be invalid, and indeed, the Department of Justice reaffirmed its validity in 2014.

Having Loretta Lynch or Eric Holder certify anything is laughable beyond belief. They both helped politicize pretty much everything the DOJ got their hands on. This paragraph is utterly laughable:

In the interim, and until Congress passes comprehensive immigration reform with a path to citizenship, we must fight this shortsighted and unlawful move. These young people are, in every sense but one, as American as those whose relatives arrived in this country on the Mayflower.

That’s like saying that arsonists are law-abiding citizens except one. That difference is the major determining factor. That difference is that these illegal immigrants broke the laws of this nation. There isn’t any dispute that Congress writes the immigration laws of this land:

Article 1 – The Legislative Branch Section 8 – Powers of Congress

To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization

After ISIS’s rise, President Obama was forced to take action against his will. He really didn’t want to send troops back into Iraq. Initially, the Obama administration announced airstrikes. Predictably, they didn’t have much of an effect. Now that President Trump has increased pressure on ISIS, ISIS is getting exposed as being terrible fighters. This article highlights how ISIS has crumbled.

The article starts by saying “The Islamic State group once drew recruits from near and far with promises of paradise but now bodies of jihadists lie in mass graves or at the mercy of wild dogs as its “caliphate” collapses. Flies buzz around human remains poking through the dusty earth in the Iraqi town of Dhuluiyah, 90 kilometres (55 miles) north of Baghdad, at a hastily-dug pit containing the bodies of dozens of IS fighters killed in 2015. They should have ended up in the stomachs of stray dogs,” local police officer Mohammed al-Juburi told AFP. ‘We buried them here not out of love but because we wanted to avoid diseases.'”

Farmer Shalan al-Juburi is quoted as saying “We buried them with bulldozers. Even in the ground they are still mired in their own filth. They said that they would go to paradise to enjoy the gardens of delights, but this is how they ended up.”

But as Iraqi forces in Anbar now look to oust the jihadists from their final footholds, operation commander Mahmoud al-Fellahi insisted any jihadists killed will end up in mass graves. A similar fate befell IS members in the city of Mosul, the group’s largest urban stronghold in Iraq that it lost in July. There, a senior Iraqi commander told AFP, authorities used earthmoving equipment “to bury the jihadists after we collected information on their identities and nationalities”.

During President Bush’s surge, he benefitted from the Anbar Awakening. Once the people saw that they had a reliable military partner, the people started helping al-Qa’ida strongholds. It didn’t take long to defeat al-Qa’ida.

Unfortunately, thanks to President Obama’s politicization of US foreign policy, the US quickly lost the ground it had gained during the Bush administration. Now that we’ve got a legitimate commander-in-chief again, the tide quickly turned. This video offers a nice summarization: