Archive for the ‘Special Interests’ Category

Warren Bradbury’s LTE highlights the fact that the DFL thinks voters are stupid. Bradbury said that “There was no stalemate on funding vital transportation programs.” That’s technically true because the DFL legislature totally ignored transportation issues when they controlled the legislature.

The DFL ignored transportation issues because they were too busy passing a bill to build a $90,000,000 office building for fat-cat politicians. The DFL ignored transportation issues because they were too busy imposing tax increases on farmers and businesses with warehouse operations. The DFL ignored transportation issues because they were too busy shoving unionization down the throats of in-home child care providers.

Then-Rep. Dorholt voted for each of those things in his first year. In his second year, after getting blistered by his constituents for his votes on raising taxes, he voted to repeal the tax increases he voted for in his first year.

This LTE says “As state representative from 2013-2014, Zachary Dorholt balanced the budget, got all our district bonding bills passed and reduced local school tax burdens through increasing state funding.” Actually, then-Rep. Dorholt didn’t reduce “local school tax burdens.” I know because I wrote this post to highlight how Dorholt failed to lower property taxes:

St. Cloud school district has imposed its largest tax levy increase in six years for 2015. The district’s property-tax levy will increase by $3.3 million, or 14.75 percent, to nearly $26 million. The school board voted unanimously Thursday night to approve the 2015 levy. District officials say the increase is needed to pay for a spate of improvements to facilities.

This LTE is dishonest, too:

Zach has worked diligently for the people of this legislative district, and, with your help, we can return him to finish this good work, and continue to move our state forward.

This is what that paragraph looks like if written truthfully:

Zach has worked diligently for the union special interests. He ignored in-home child care providers who opposed forced unionization, instead siding with the unions that contribute thousands of dollars to his campaigns.

The forced unionization bill passed on a straight party-line vote, with Dorholt voting with AFSCME. This past March, in-home child care providers told the DFL that they thoroughly rejected the DFL’s forced unionization:

In the end, in-home child care providers rejected AFSCME’s forced unionization plan. In fact, the vote wasn’t that close. According to this article, the ‘vote was 1,014-392 in a Tuesday count by the state Bureau of Mediation Services from ballots mailed to providers last month.”

The truth is that Dorholt is a special interest magnet. He wouldn’t have gotten elected if not for his campaigns being funded and run by the DFL’s special interest allies. A quick glance at Dorholt’s campaign finance report highlights the fact that Mr. Dorholt is bought and paid for by the unions:

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Much is being said about Donald Trump’s raunchy comments from a decade ago. That’s a perfectly legitimate article. Trump’s comments were disgusting and should be consistently criticized. Let’s not pretend, though, that Hillary is pure as the driven snow. Trump is right in saying that “Bill Clinton has actually abused women, and Hillary has bullied, attacked, shamed and intimidated his victims.”

Hillary led the Clinton campaign’s ‘Bimbo Eruptions’ team in the 1990s. She didn’t hesitate in threatening Paula Jones, Jennifer Flowers and Kathleen Willey. During an interview with Matt Lauer, Mrs. Clinton said “If all that were proven true, that would be a very serious offense. That is not going to be proven true. We’re going to find some other things and I think that when all of this is put into context and we read about other people’s motivations, look at their backgrounds, look at their past behavior, some folks are going to have a lot to answer for.”

It’s indisputable that Hillary Clinton is a disgusting individual. She hasn’t hesitated in threatening anyone who might derail her presidential ambitions. If that person is a woman, Mrs. Clinton hasn’t hesitated in utterly demolishing that woman.

That being said, that’s only part of Mrs. Clinton’s problems. Potentially, this might be a bigger problem than Mrs. Clinton’s Bimbo Eruptions problem:

Hillary Clinton Said Her Dream Is A Hemispheric Common Market, With Open Trade And Open Markets.

“My dream is a hemispheric common market, with open trade and open borders, some time in the future with energy that is as green and sustainable as we can get it, powering growth and opportunity for every person in the hemisphere.” [05162013 Remarks to Banco Itau.doc, p. 28]

This is manna from Heaven for the Trump campaign. We already knew that he wasn’t a moral person. Trump’s disgusting remarks just remind us of that. This transcript, however, shows that Mrs. Clinton will work towards a new world order with open borders and globalization.

Now that their worries have been confirmed, Bernie’s voters are justified in not voting. Mrs. Clinton is the embodiment of the rigged establishment that’s out of touch with reality.

Donald Trump wasted a valuable commodity this week — time. The week started right, with him winning the first third of the debate. Then he forgot his purpose and started chasing ghosts. The lesson that his advisors need to teach him is that he needs to focus on things that will help him connect with blue collar workers. The other thing that Mr. Trump must highlight is the Clinton Foundation’s pay-to-play scandal and the FBI’s faux investigation.

By highlighting the FBI’s faux investigation, Mr. Trump would connect with Bernie Sanders’ voters that think that the system is rigged. The FBI’s faux investigation would play well with suburban voters who think Mrs. Clinton isn’t trustworthy. It’d be great if he could flip those voters. At this point, Mr. Trump’s campaign would probably be satisfied if it drove Mrs. Clinton’s turnout with suburban voters down.

The Clintons are disgusting, immoral people who’ve lived in the mud their entire lives. Spending 5 more weeks there to win the presidency means nothing to them. Trump’s path to victory is to highlight the things that matter most to people. When in Ohio and Pennsylvania, Mr. Trump should highlight Mrs. Clinton’s statement that she’s going to put coal companies out of business. Wherever he goes, he needs to highlight his plan for energy independence, then contrast that with Mrs. Clinton’s green energy policies.

Part of Mr. Trump’s presentation on green energy should highlight the rigged game that Solyndra tapped into. Mostly, though, Trump should highlight the fact that coal-mining and fracking jobs are just waiting to be filled. Ask people if they want to subsidize Mrs. Clinton’s and President Obama’s special interest allies or whether they’d like to keep doing what’s worked for the last half-century.

If Trump gets back on message, he’ll put pressure on Mrs. Clinton because people want change. They don’t want Mrs. Clinton’s more-of-the-same policies.

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It’s indisputable that Gov. Dayton fights harder for golden parachutes for his political appointees than he’s fought for tax relief for farmers, veterans, students with student loan debt and small business owners. In fact, it’s indisputable that Gov. Dayton and the DFL have fought hard to increase commissioners’ pay.

Think about this: Gov. Dayton and the DFL passed legislation that gave Gov. Dayton’s commissioners pay raises that sometimes exceeded $30,000 a year. Then Gov. Dayton illegally gave 3 of his political appointees more than $75,000 in severance packages. Katie Clark-Sieben’s pay raises increased her salary by $60,000, then she received a $33,750 golden parachute when she left government to pursue other interests. Meanwhile, the DFL legislative leadership has been quiet as a mouse about the severance packages.

Thankfully, Republicans Speaker Daudt and Rep. Sarah Anderson aren’t letting go of this. Speaker Daudt released this statement, saying “Once again, Governor Dayton has disrespected taxpayers and used their money to inappropriately reward his top officials who are already making six-figure salaries. Today’s report highlights the importance of House Republicans’ role as a check and balance on Democrats’ wasteful spending.” Speaker Daudt’s statement also included this:

House Republicans are calling on Governor Dayton to explain unauthorized taxpayer-funded severance payments after a report emerged Tuesday that his administration awarded nearly $80,000 to state employees who voluntarily departed. The most generous severance agreement, awarded to a former Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, came on the heels of massive taxpayer-funded pay increases authorized by Governor Dayton. This commissioner was previously a top staffer on Dayton’s campaign for governor in 2010.

The DFL’s actions are insulting on multiple levels. First, the DFL’s priorities aren’t Minnesota’s priorities. The last time the DFL ran St. Paul, they passed a bill that paid for the $90,000,000 Senate Office Building. They passed another bill that gave $30,000 pay raises to high-profile political appointees. Those aren’t priorities for many Minnesotans.

This year, Gov. Dayton apparently decided that the $30,000/yr. pay raises weren’t enough for his cronies. This year, Gov. Dayton threw his cronies a $75,000 bone in the form of golden parachutes. This year, Gov. Dayton pocket vetoed a tax bill that would’ve provided $550,000,000 worth of tax relief for veterans, farmers, students and small businesses.

What’s stunning is that the DFL won’t answer questions about this:

A spokeswoman for the DFL Senate Majority said Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk and Senate State Governments and Veterans Budget Division Chair Tom Saxhaug, DFL-Grand Rapids, said the two legislators would not comment on Dayton’s decision to offer severance to political appointees.

Then there’s this:

It isn’t clear why Sieben, Phillips and Wright were given a severance. Eight other commissioners who also left voluntarily during Dayton’s time in office didn’t receive severance pay.

Apparently, the trick to getting ahead in Minnesota is to make campaign contributions to Gov. Dayton’s campaign, then cash in when he appoints you to a cushy job in his administration. If you’re a blue collar worker, though, you’re SOL with the Dayton administration. They’ll only fight for certain types of white collar workers.

Keep this in mind when you go to the polls: The DFL won’t fight for you if you’re a blue collar worker. They’ll only fight for white collar government workers and the special interests.

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According to Zach Dorholt’s latest mailer, which is actually paid for by Dorholt’s campaign, “Zach shares our priorities.” It isn’t surprising that he’s making this claim. It’s surprising what he thinks are “our priorities.”

Listed first on Dorholt’s priorities is that he’ll “invest in our schools in Central Minnesota from pre-K to college and bring back the tuition freeze at SCSU.” Next on Dorholt’s list of priorities is to work “with both sides of the aisle to deliver on transportation funding for highways, roads and the Northstar Line.” Last but not least, Dorholt promises to “stand up to special interests in both parties trying to buy our elections by putting a stop to secret campaign contributions from lobbyists and corporations.”

Let’s look at Dorholt’s priorities. The tuition freeze might sound appealing but it’s a PR game. Tuition is frozen but the taxpayers pay for the increased cost of college. If you want to stabilize the cost of college, you have to question the expenses. The first thing that should disappear to make college less costly are things like Senior-to-Sophomore, which gives high school students college credits for classes taught frequently by high school teachers.

That’s terrible for multiple reasons. First, high school teachers aren’t qualified to teach college-level classes in STEM-related subjects. The students get cheated because they’re essentially told that they’re prepared for college after they’ve taken glorified high school classes. Next, S2S classes steal tuition revenue from universities. Top that off with universities with additional expenses but a tuition ‘freeze’.

Tell me how that math works budget-wise for the universities. Tell me how S2S helps prepare high school students for college-level classes.

Next on Dorholt’s priorities is to raise the gas tax. That isn’t what DFL legislators do. It’s who DFL legislators are. Dorholt would also vote to raise the Metro sales tax to pay for Southwest Light Rail. Mr. Dorholt, how will raising the Metro sales tax fix a single pothole in St. Cloud? Why should we raise the gas tax when Republicans already have a plan that will fix Minnesota’s roads and bridges that doesn’t require raising anyone’s taxes?

Finally, Dorholt insists that he’ll fight the evil special interests that are trying to buy our elections. The bad news for Mr. Dorholt is that he’s got a record he’ll have to defend. He’s already voted against in-home child care providers and in favor of the public employee unions, which are bigtime allies of the DFL. When it came time to choose between the people and the special interests that time, Mr. Dorholt chose the special interests.

When the Tax Bill was being debated, local businesses lobbied against the DFL’s tax increases. Mr. Dorholt voted with the DFL and against his constituents. Then he returned home and got read the riot act by his constituents. In 2014, Dorholt voted to repeal part of the tax increases he voted to create in 2013.

If you’re getting the impression that Dorholt isn’t who his mailers say he is, don’t fight that feeling. This is the only candidate in that race who does what his constituents want:

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Just like Speaker Daudt predicted, the Met Council has announced that they’ll “come up with the final piece of the state and local funding” for the SWLRT project. That’s the mini-bombshell about the SWLRT project.

The major bombshell this week happened “when House Speaker Kurt Daudt revealed the existence of an email from Met Council Chairman Adam Duininck to Governor Dayton stating that the federal government has no plans to execute a funding agreement until sometime in 2017 because of ongoing litigation regarding the project. He’s (Dayton) hid that from the public and from the Legislature and from the press since January of this year. We know the federal government is not going to fund it for a year and a half. There is no deadline. There is no reason that we have to take action now on Southwest light rail,” said Daudt.”

It’s connect-the-dots time. First, the Senate DFL bonding bill that was defeated was the biggest bonding bill proposed in state history by orders of magnitude. It was for $1,800,000,000. Next, every DFL senator voted for that bill. Third, that $1,800,000,000 bonding bill didn’t contain a penny of funding for SWLRT. The state’s share would have been $135,000,000. In a pork-filled bill of almost $2,000,000,000, the DFL didn’t include $135,000,000 on a project that they insist today is Minnesota’s highest bonding priority? What idiot DFL senator omitted that funding from a monster bill like that?

Fourth, Gov. Dayton vetoed a major tax relief bill, then insisted that he wouldn’t call a special session unless Republicans added funding for a project that the DFL refused to fund in a $2,000,000,000 bonding bill.

Connecting these dots tells this indisputable story: Hundreds of thousands of Minnesotans won’t receive tax relief because the DFL refused to fund SWLRT initially, then insisted on funding it as a condition of holding a special session.

It’s time to throw these DFL legislators out of office. It can’t happen soon enough. What type of person would omit funding for a project, then deny farmers, veterans, students with student loan debt and small businesses tax relief? The DFL’s position is that it’ll fight for funding a light rail project but it won’t fight for tax relief for students, veterans and farmers.

Minnesota, you’ll have a choice this November. Will you vote for politicians that won’t fight for students, parents, farmers, veterans and small businesses? Shouldn’t you vote for the party that’s fought the good fight for students, farmers and veterans? The choice is clear. The DFL needs to get run out of St. Paul ASAP.

They deserve it because they’ve fought for the special interests, not the people. That’s grounds for immediate dismissal.

After reading this article, the first thing I thought was ‘can we get that in writing’? Specifically, I’m referring to this statement, which reads “About 20 rail transit projects in development across the country are in a queue for Federal Transit Administration grants through the agency’s New Starts program, and a delay in securing local funding commitments could cause SWLRT to lose its place in line, the Met Council has repeatedly warned.”

Starting from scratch on SWLRT would be a dream come true. It’s a project whose time will never come, at least not in Minnesota. What can SWLRT do that multiple bus lines can’t do better? Bus lines can adapt to changing transportation needs. Bus lines aren’t expensive, either. Installing new bus lines wouldn’t require settling ongoing litigation that SWLRT is tied up with, either. Then there’s the overall cost of SWLRT, which is orders of magnitude more expensive than buses.

Why does the DFL think this project is such a high priority? Is it because it’ll improve the lives of the masses? Not likely. Is it because it’ll play well with the special interests and big government types? BINGO! We’ve got a winner.

The statement noted about 45 staffers would be laid-off if the project office shut down. The project office runs out of cash to continue operations Sept. 30, and the cost of delays beyond that date is estimated at $1 million per week.

If the project is scrapped, I don’t care if costs pile up. The government shouldn’t have made such a foolish decision. Further, I don’t care if companies lose money because they trusted crooked politicians. That’s their fault. Let them pay the price for their decision-making. Nobody put a gun to their head and said ‘build the SWLRT.’

Capitalism isn’t about guaranteeing profits. Capitalism is about guaranteeing opportunities to make profits. Guaranteeing profits has a different name — public-private partnerships, aka socialism, aka crony capitalism.

The upshot of this article is that the DFL has finally admitted what I’ve said from the start. The DFL is finally admitting that they don’t care about veterans, students with student loan debt, parents trying to save for their kids’ college education or farmers.

By insisting that Republicans agree to funding SWLRT, the DFL is insisting that the GOP fund a low-priority item. It ain’t happening. Light rail is a terrible investment. It doesn’t take hundreds of cars off the street, as the Met Council insists. It doesn’t increase flexibility for people. It’s extremely expensive. Bus lines are much more efficient and flexible.

Essentially, the DFL wants SWLRT funding because they want their pork.

Gov. Dayton admitted he doesn’t give a shit about the middle class when he said “I’ve concluded … I am not going to call a special session.” What a shock. The spoiled rich brat threw another hissy fit because he didn’t get everything he wanted. While he threw that hissy fit, he vetoed $800,000,000 worth of middle class tax relief. Gov. Dayton did that after promising that he wouldn’t use the tax cuts as leverage for getting everything he wanted in the bonding bill. Specifically, Gov. Dayton said no to $800,000,000 of tax relief for farmers and other blue collar workers because the GOP wouldn’t cave on hundreds of millions of dollars worth of spending on a light rail system that shouldn’t be a priority to anyone.

The DFL apparently doesn’t want these tax cuts either. If they did, they’d stand up to the spoiled rich brat in St. Paul, something that they haven’t done. Rep. Thissen and Sen. Bakk haven’t challenged Gov. Dayton on this. Locally, Dan Wolgamott and Zach Dorholt haven’t insisted that Gov. Dayton call a special session. Neither has fought for middle class tax relief. Wolgamott’s about Dan page says this:

Dan understand how to build relationships to pass tough legislation to support students, fix our roads and bridges, and reform state government.

That’s BS. Wolgamott hasn’t lifted a finger for any of these things. He’s sided with Gov. Dayton 100% of the time. This is BS, too:

Dan is innovative and forward-thinking and will create opportunities to grow an economy that works for everyone that works for everyone by supporting policies that help our local businesses, workers, students, and families.

Wolgamott has done nothing to show he’s anything except a cookie-cutter career politician. He’s done what he’s been told to do. He hasn’t been innovative. He hasn’t been forward-thinking. He’s done what the DFL told him to do.

That’s what puppets do.

Bakk’s puppet

This editorial isn’t worth the bandwidth it’s printed on. If it was printed on paper, it would be best suited for outhouses of 50-75 years ago. But I digress. Let’s dissect this worthless collection of words and determine their value to improving life in Minnesota.

Let’s start where the editorialist (s?) insist that “Every time a three-car light rail train is loaded, 600 cars are taken off the highways, according to the Metropolitan Council research.” Let’s question the veracity of that statement. Let’s question it because I don’t know the seating capacity of a “three-car light rail train.” Let’s question it because it isn’t known how many of these trains are filled to capacity.

This is a red herring argument anyway. If you build a light rail line, it’s fixed in place no matter what developments happen a mile or two from the rail. That LRT line simply isn’t flexible. It’s good at staying right where it was built. Bus lines, however, can move and adjust to emerging traffic patterns. This paragraph is telling:

Even the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, a longtime supporter of GOP ideas, has said there needs to be a transit solution in the metro area, whether that be light rail or more fast track buses.

First, the thought that the Minnesota CoC is a staunch supporter of Republicans is BS. They’re an equal opportunity political body. It’s fair to say that they support some GOP initiatives but it’s equally true that they support DFL initiatives, too. Further, it’s irrelevant whether this or that group supports an initiative. What’s important is whether that initiative will make life better for the people it’s supposed to support. If it doesn’t meet that criteria, then it’s worth scrapping.

Most important, though, is the part where the Minnesota Chamber supports transit, including “fast track buses.” Question: isn’t it important that our transportation system have the greatest combination of flexibility and capacity? What good is capacity if it isn’t where the people want it to go?

We urge Speaker Daudt to drop his party’s objections to the metro funding of the southwest light rail line and get on to providing tax relief and bonding and road funding to the rest of Minnesota that his party represents.

I urge Gov. Dayton to stop insisting on getting everything he wants before calling a special session. It’s time to provide tax relief to Minnesotans, tax relief Gov. Dayton vetoed. Gov. Dayton’s temper tantrums are fun copy but they’re counterproductive.

If Rep. Thissen’s destructive attitude wasn’t enough to disqualify him from a leadership position, then Rep. Thissen’s persistent whining should tip the scales against him.

Rep. Thissen’s latest diatribe is essentially his whining that Democrats didn’t get everything they wanted in the last session, mixed with a healthy dose of bragging that essentially says that the DFL would’ve done better.

For instance, when Rep. Thissen said “After nearly 3 months of indecision, this week is crunch time for a special session decision”, what Rep. Thissen doesn’t want to say is that Kurt Daudt has done a fantastic job of saying no to the DFL’s insistence on funding the SWLRT, a project that the citizens don’t want but that the special interests want in the worst way. Here’s what the GOP should say loudly to the DFL on this issue: “Shut up, go away or we’ll use this issue against you in the upcoming election.”

“Behind closed doors negotiations have produced little progress and all of the political obstacles to compromise, including Speaker Daudt’s primary, are behind us,” said Thissen. “After nearly 3 months of indecision, this week is crunch time for a special session decision. Once we hit the State Fair, it’s too late and we need some time for the promised public hearings. I continue to believe we should finish our job, but if agreement is not reached, I pledge that under a House DFL Majority we will bring a robust bonding bill to the House floor for a vote in the first 30 days of the next legislative session.”

It’s the DFL’s fault that a bonding bill wasn’t passed. An agreement was reached between the House and Senate. Rep. Thissen didn’t like the compromise so he worked with DFL senators to blow the agreement up. Now the saboteur is promising to fix the bill he helped demolish.

That’s rich.

Notice that Rep. Thissen doesn’t mention any of his sabotage in his statement. Why would he? Rep. Thissen isn’t a leader. He couldn’t care less about the average person. That’s indisputable. While he was Speaker in 2013, Thissen worked with the unions on the forced unionization of in-home child care providers. The in-home child care providers fought against it. Thissen didn’t care. He had his marching orders from AFSCME and SEIU. The bill was passed. Gov. Dayton signed it into law.

This spring, the in-home child care providers had the final say, telling Rep. Thissen, AFSCME and the SEIU to shove it:

In the end, in-home child care providers rejected AFSCME’s forced unionization plan. In fact, the vote wasn’t that close. According to this article, the “vote was 1,014-392 in a Tuesday count by the state Bureau of Mediation Services from ballots mailed to providers last month.”

Voters would do well to remember that the DFL did exactly what the special interests wanted while ignoring the in-home child care providers. To Thissen and the DFL, you’re a nobody if you aren’t a special interest group aligned with the DFL.