Archive for the ‘Special Interests’ Category

This morning, Donald Trump picked Gov. Nikki Haley, (R-SC), to be the US Ambassador to the UN. This afternoon, President-Elect Trump picked Betsy DeVos to be his Education Secretary. The Washington Post describes Mrs. DeVos as a “billionaire and conservative activist” who “has quietly helped change the education landscape in many states, spending millions of dollars in a successful push to expand voucher programs that give families taxpayer dollars to pay for private and religious schools.”

Of course, the article wouldn’t be complete without quoting Randi Weingarten. Ms. Weingarten is quoted as saying “Trump’s pick makes it loud and clear that his education policy will focus on privatizing, defunding and destroying public education in America.”

In picking DeVos, President-Elect Trump is telling conservatives that he will push their school choice agenda. This pick, more than any other pick besides Jeff Sessions as Trump’s AG, signals that Trump’s education agenda aligns with Republicans’ education agenda.

After accepting the nomination to be the US ambassador to the US, Mrs. Haley said “When the President believes you have a major contribution to make to the welfare of our nation, and to our nation’s standing in the world, that is a calling that is important to heed,” Haley said, adding that she will “remain as governor until the U.S. Senate acts affirmatively on my nomination.”

DeVos will likely get the most criticism from Democrats because school choice represents an existential threat to the Democrats’ teacher union special interest allies. I’d think that Haley will sail through for confirmation.

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Stephen Dinan’s article highlights how little leverage Democrats have in the immigration reform debate. Without writing a single new law, Sen. Sessions will be able to pressure mayors of sanctuary cities. As a result, Sen. Sessions’ opponents are coming unhinged.

For instance, Brent Wilkes, the executive director of the League of United Latin American Citizens, said “the agency would become the dispenser of terror and racial intolerance should Jeff Sessions be confirmed.” That’s mild compared with what Charles Chamberlain, head of Democracy for America, said. Chamberlain said “The handful of people who might be even less equipped than Jeff Sessions to dispense justice on behalf of the American people typically spend their weekends wearing pointy hats and burning crosses.”

Democrats are preparing to fight a losing fight against Sen. Sessions’ confirmation as the next US Attorney General. Sen. Sessions will be confirmed. The only question still undetermined is whether Democrats will do as La Raza and other special interests demand or whether they’ll vote to protect their constituents. At this point, I’m betting that they’ll follow these special interest organizations over a political cliff.

Byron York’s article lists some of the things that Sen. Sessions could do the minute he’s sworn in as the next US Attorney General.

There are laws providing for the deportation of people who entered the U.S. illegally. Laws providing for the deportation of people who entered the U.S. illegally and later committed crimes. Laws for enforcing immigration compliance at the worksite. Laws for immigrants who have illegally overstayed their visas for coming to the United States. Laws requiring local governments to comply with federal immigration law. And more.

Many of those laws have been loosened or, in some cases, completely ignored by the Obama administration. A Trump administration would not need to ask Congress to pass any new laws to deal with illegal immigration. If there was a presidential order involved in Obama’s non-enforcement, Trump could undo it, and if there were Justice Department directives involved, Sessions could undo them, and if there are Department of Homeland Security directives involved, the still-to-be-nominated secretary could undo them.

Once those laws are enforced, illegal immigration will slow to a trickle.

This would definitely change behavior:

End the embargo on worksite enforcement. “Experience has shown that employers respond very quickly and voluntarily implement compliance measures when there is an uptick in enforcement,” Vaughan notes, “because they see the potential damage to their operations and public image for being caught and prosecuted.”

Once cheap labor becomes expensive, corporate policies change quickly. That’s because companies prefer making profits rather than not making profits.

It isn’t a secret why the Democrats’ special interest groups are fighting Sen. Sessions’ confirmation. They’re right in seeing him as an existential threat to their policies. Here’s hoping that the American people punish Democrats for not fixing this crisis.

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The thieves wearing SEIU union uniforms, along with their DFL political allies, have stolen money from families. This article highlights how the theft happened.

According to the article, “Recently, the union’s stooges in the capital declared some 27,000 of the state’s personal-care assistants (PCAs) ‘public employees’ – but only for purposes of collective bargaining, i.e., so they can be unionized. As a result, the SEIU is siphoning 3% of its members’ very modest Medicaid supplement.”

Kim Crockett’s op-ed explains SEIU’s racket, saying “Minnesota’s Choice PCA program was created in the 1970s when the Legislature wisely decided it was more humane and more cost-effective to care for persons with disabilities in their own homes rather than in a state institution. The Legislature funds a Medicaid benefit, given to a person with a disability, to pay for PCA care at home. Most often, PCAs are family members or close friends.”

First, let’s hear SEIU explain how family members taking care of loved ones with disabilities are government employees. Next, let’s hear SEIU explain why they deserve a penny of these families’ Medicaid benefits. Third, let’s hear Gov. Dayton and the DFL legislature of 2013 explain why they sided with the SEIU rather than with families caring for loved ones with disabilities.

PCAs are people who have chosen to be the primary caregiver of a disabled person; in the vast majority of cases, a family member (usually a spouse or child). Some of the disabilities are so severe that the caregiver is unable to work outside the home. And so Minnesota established a PCA program which allows them to receive some Medicaid support.

In the old days, many of the disabled would have been institutionalized in a government-run facility, a system that was costly and scary. The current PCA Medicaid program allows these people to stay at home and be cared for by someone who loves them.

The heartless SEIU thinks it deserves a portion of these families’ Medicaid support. Gov. Dayton and the DFL legislators from 2013 agree with the SEIU. What isn’t known is why Gov. Dayton and the DFL agree with the SEIU from a policy standpoint. It isn’t difficult to figure out why Gov. Dayton and the DFL agree with the heartless bastards in the SEIU from a political standpoint.

When it comes to standing up to heartless special interests, Gov. Dayton and the DFL aren’t profiles in courage.

SEIU Healthcare insists that it’s helping these PCAs:

Key victories in the contract include workers receiving a paid time off benefit for the first time (five days of paid time off for full-time workers), raising the pay floor from $9 to $11 by 2016, a grievance and arbitration procedure to address wage theft, and a training fund to improve the quality of care they provide to people with disabilities and seniors.

How many parents can take time off when caring for a child with a severe disability? The ‘benefit’ is mostly a mirage.

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It’s more than a little disheartening to find out that the US Army Corps of Engineers is getting politicized. This statement is proof that that’s what’s happening.

The opening paragraph reads “Today, the Army informed the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, Energy Transfer Partners, and Dakota Access, LLC, that it has completed the review that it launched on September 9, 2016.  The Army has determined that additional discussion and analysis are warranted in light of the history of the Great Sioux Nation’s dispossessions of lands, the importance of Lake Oahe to the Tribe, our government-to-government relationship, and the statute governing easements through government property.”

Predictably, the Great Sioux Nation is delighted, saying “We are encouraged and know that the peaceful prayer and demonstration at Standing Rock have powerfully brought to light the unjust narrative suffered by tribal nations and Native Americans across the country. Millions of people have literally and spiritually stood with us at Standing Rock. And for this, you have our deepest thanks and gratitude.”

This sham protest will come to a screeching halt the minute President Obama leaves office:

The companies behind the pipeline — Partners of Dakota Access Pipeline, Energy Transfer Partners and Sunoco Logistics — called the Army’s announcement “unjust,” saying it reinforced the idea that the Obama administration has been acting outside the law. “This action is motivated purely by politics at the expense of a company that has done nothing but play by the rules it was given,” said Kelcy Warren, CEO of Energy Transfer Partners, in a statement to NewsHour. “To propose, as the Corps now does, to further delay this pipeline and to engage in what can only be described as a sham process sends a frightening message about the rule of law.”

Legal action is being taken:

Energy Transfer and its subsidiary, Sunoco Logistics Partners, filed papers in U.S. district court in Washington, D.C., seeking to “end the Administration’s political interference in the Dakota Access Pipeline review process.” Energy Transfer asked the court to declare that the project had the legal right to proceed and needed no further government approvals.

They have the right because they’ve applied for and received all the required permits. The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe can protest all they want but they’re standing on shaking ground politically. President Trump’s first Monday in office (he’s sworn in on Friday) is the day that the protests are shut down. The Trump administration is putting a high priority on building America’s infrastructure. That includes pipelines. They’re putting a high priority on energy independence, too. One of the first things that Trump’s Secretary of State will do is approve the Keystone XL Pipeline project.

The only question left is how much Tom Steyer and George Soros are paying these protesters.

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This past Sunday, Chris Wallace’s panel broke things down beautifully why Hillary Clinton lost. One of the eye-popping exchanges came when Chris Wallace asked “You know, George, one of the things that, and we’ve been around too long probably, we shouldn’t tell people that, but one of the things I’m always amused by is at the end of a campaign, the winning campaign, they were all geniuses. The losing campaign, they were all dopes. The winning party, they’re on the course to building a permanent majority in the country. The losing campaign is in tatters. How much of that is actually true?”

Will’s response was “Well, the losing party here is in tatters. The Republican Party is as strong as it’s been since the 1920s and probably more. Broad and deep. Sixty-nine of 99 state legislative chambers are now controlled by the Republicans. Twenty-four states, they have the Republican governor and the entire control of the legislature. Only six states have Democratic governors and Democratic legislatures. Thirty-four Republican governors. That means if you’re looking for a deeper bench for presidential candidates for the Democratic Party, you have to start with 16 governors is all they’ve got. Furthermore, one-third of the House caucus of the Democratic Party are from three states, Massachusetts, New York and California.”

Think about that set of statistics in terms of its implications to the Democratic Party and its ability to regain control of the US House of Representatives. A total of 24 states with 185 congressional districts are controlled by Republican governors working with GOP majorities in their legislatures. With Republicans totally controlling the redistricting process in those 24 states, the odds of Democrats regaining control of the US House in the next 3-4 election cycles are slim at best.

Then there’s this:

WILL: They were united by Barack Obama. They were united by an agenda. Chuck said people felt forgotten by — no, I think they felt condescended to. And there’s something about progressivism that just is condescension. We know what your healthcare ought to be, be quiet and take your medicine. We know how much water should come through your shower head. We know what kind of toilets you ought to have. We’re going to change your light bulbs, be quiet and take our direction, and people are tired of it.
LANE: Yes. Well, I — I have to say, I’ll take that as a friendly amendment, George. And I also think, just when we’re talking about factors here, I think environmentalism in a usual way worked against the Democratic Party this year. I did a little back of the envelope coalition about the most coal dependent states in terms of electricity generation in this country. There are 25 most dependent, 20 of them Trump carried. He carried Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin, which are the three most coal dependent states in terms of electricity generation. That power plan to focus on global warming and stuff that he pushed with a relatively thin legal basis might have provided the small — a part, at least, of the small margin that contributed to his defeat.

Think about what Charles Lane hinted at. He essentially said that the Democrats’ siding with the environmental activist wing of their party finally caught up with them. Trump identified these blue collar voters as swing voters, then courted them, telling them that he’d be their voice in DC. Mr. Trump promised to take on the EPA if elected. He promised to be their champion.

Unlike Mrs. Clinton, he didn’t promise to retrain coal miners who lost their jobs due to her eliminating their jobs in favor of green energy jobs. That’s when Pennsylvania and Ohio knew that they’d have a champion in the White House.

The Democratic Party is so indebted to the environmental activist wing of their party that it’s almost inconceivable that they’ll be a majority party in the House in the foreseeable future.

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I wrote this post to highlight what the SEIU and Gov. Dayton did to rig a unionization vote. Saying that what they did is unethical is understatement. What they did was unethical on steroids.

First, it’s worth highlighting the fact that Gov. Dayton’s Department of Human Services and Gov. Dayton’s Bureau of Mediation Services didn’t provide the Minnesota Personal Care Attendants association, aka the MNPCA, with an up-to-date list of PCAs in the state. (A judge just ruled that Gov. Dayton’s Department of Human Services has to give the MNPCA an accurate list of the PCAs in Minnesota.)

Next, SEIU Healthcare Minnesota worked with the Dayton administration to make sure that only a tiny percentage of PCAs voted in the unionization vote. Approximately 3,500 voted out of 27,000 PCAs. These PCAs didn’t vote because they were apathetic to the issue. They didn’t vote because they didn’t know how to get a ballot to vote in the election.

At this point, it’s worth asking why the Dayton administration, the DFL and the SEIU didn’t want everyone to vote. I’m betting that they only wanted the people that they’d identified as friendlies voting. This video offers an inside look:

This is how PCAs feel:

Minnesota PCAs don’t need a union. The SEIU is taking a cut of a public subsidy — and then taking credit for benefits the legislature provides anyway. That’s just wrong!

This FAQ offers some insight into Gov. Dayton’s and SEIU’s tactics:

Did the SEIU win a representation election?

In 2014, under this new law, the SEIU won an election that allowed them to claim exclusive representation of all 27,000 PCAs across the state. However, of those 27,000, only 3,500 PCAs voted in favor of unionization. That’s just 13%. Many PCAs were not aware of the vote or its ramifications and feel they were unwittingly trapped in a union they do not want.

That’s what corruption looks like. Gov. Dayton and the SEIU know that they can’t win that election if it’s fought on a level playing field. Don’t let DFL legislators off the hook, either. They passed the bill on the final weekend of the 2013 session.

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According to this article, a judge has ordered SEIU HealthCare Minnesota “to turn over a list of names of personal care attendants to a union decertification campaign.” Further, the article states “the Dayton administration admitted they have not been complying with a 2013 law that requires an accurate list of PCAs in the SEIU bargaining unit to be kept. This is a law which Governor Mark Dayton personally pushed for.”

Meanwhile, the MNPCA is “working to force a new election in an attempt to decertify the SEIU which won a low turnout victory in 2014 with only 13 percent of caregivers voting for unionization. MNPCA sued three state agencies in order to get up to date contact information in order to notify caregivers about the campaign, and won.”

The vast majority of PCAs “are women caring for a family member.” They “were unionized as ‘state employees’ in 2014” in what was essentially a rigged election. (See the previous paragraph on that.) It’s impossible to win a fight if you don’t have a list of people eligible to vote. Thankfully, Judge “Robert A. Awsumb ordered the Department of Human Services to turn over to MNPCA a list of all the names of all home care workers who have been active in the program in the last six months.”

This is additional proof that Gov. Dayton and the DFL are a wholly-owned subsidiary of the PEUs. Gov. Dayton apparently didn’t hesitate in tipping the scales in SEIU’s favor. That begs this important question: if SEIU is providing that good of a service, why did they need Gov. Dayton to tip the scales in their favor? The dirty little secret (and it’s definitely dirty) is that SEIU’s forced unionization play is the union’s latest attempt to take money away from people caring for loved ones.

That’s the opposite of compassion. That’s taking money away from families that need government assistance to care for their relatives. That’s the definition of legalized theft. The SEIU, combined with Gov. Dayton, are the poster children of weaponized government. This paragraph shouts corruption:

If a new contract agreement for PCAs is reached by the SEIU before being decertified, MNPCA would have to wait at least two years before trying to hold such an election again. The SEIU and the State of Minnesota announced they were working on a new contract after MNPCA started their election campaign. The current contract does not expire until June 30, 2017 and the new negotiations are well in advance of typical timeframes for such deals.

There’s nothing honest or trustworthy about this:

The Dayton administration had promised to inform the committee of any PCA contract negotiations, but only did so after the committee’s co-chair, Rep. Steve Drazkowski (R-21B) complained about the lack of notice.

Thankfully, we still have a judiciary that isn’t as corrupt as the Dayton administration or SEIU.

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The real reason behind Gov. Dayton’s guest column doesn’t get mentioned until deep in his article. That’s when Gov. Dayton starts pining for ‘the good old days’ of all-DFL rule. That’s when Gov. Dayton and the DFL destroyed Minnesota’s health care system. That’s when Gov. Dayton and the DFL raised taxes on small businesses and farmers one year, then repealed those taxes the next year after they’d gotten an earful from constituents.

In his article, Gov. Dayton wrote “A divided House and Senate could not agree on a bonding bill, which left unfunded very important improvements in state colleges and universities, parks and trails, and water quality all over Minnesota. There was also no agreement on the urgently needed transportation investments to repair and improve our state’s highways, roads, bridges and public transit.”

Actually, DFL senators killed the bonding bill because they insisted on funding for the Southwest Light Rail project. I wrote frequently that the SWLRT project doesn’t have a change of getting built for at least 5 more years. In other words, the DFL killed massive investments in Minnesota’s highways because they didn’t get the funding for a project they refused to fund in their $1,800,000,000 bonding bill. The problem wasn’t the House GOP. It was the Senate DFL.

If Minnesotans want things done right, throw out the DFL majority in the Senate and watch positive things happen. Watch them tackle the MNsure/ACA crisis. They won’t just apply a temporary Band-Aid to the problem. They’ll actually fix the things that are broken within the ACA.

Giving Gov. Dayton a blank check in the legislature gave us major tax increases, the MNsure disaster, the $90,000,000 Senate Office Building for fat-cat DFL politicians and obscene pay raises for incompetent commissioners. If that isn’t enough, the all-DFL legislature passed legislation that would allow for the organizing of in-home child care providers in the AFSCME union over the objections of in-home child care providers.

That organizing vote showed that the DFL didn’t listen to the people. That organizing vote showed that they listened to their special interest masters. In-home child care providers rejected unionization by a vote of 1,014-392.

I’ve laid out the proof that the DFL doesn’t listen to the people. I’ve laid out proof that they do what their special interest puppetmasters tell them to do. Going back to DFL rule would bring more disasters to Minnesotans.

No thanks!

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Kirsti Marohn’s article offers insight into how Zach Dorholt is trying to defeat Jim Knoblach. One thing he’s doing is he’s overinflating his professional resume while de-emphasizing his partisan resume.

When he said “I get to see how the system, the health care system, the social system, the economic system, helps them get up and out or keeps them down. I would dare to say that that is the most unique and also most needed insight within government today”, he’s intentionally de-emphasizing the fact that, as a partisan DFLer, Dorholt supports single-payer health care. He admitted he supports it during the St. Cloud Times’ SD-14 candidate forum, which I wrote about in this post.

Dorholt’s also trying to de-emphasize the fact that he’s partially responsible for the MNsure/ACA crisis that Minnesota families are fighting through. Dorholt voted to create MNsure. Thanks to his support for the ACA, farmers and other small businesspeople will pay sky-high health insurance premiums, have fewer choices when picking insurers and will have to deal with unaffordable deductibles. That isn’t the type of voting record I’m looking for.

Further, Dorholt is trying to hide the fact that he’s bought and paid for by the DFL’s special interests. It isn’t that he’s dedicated to serving his constituents. It’s that he’s committed to doing whatever the DFL’s special interest puppetmasters tell him to do.

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I’ve said repeatedly that the DFL’s tethering to the truth is loose at best. This pro-Dorholt LTE proves that the DFL, collectively, is incapable of logic, too.

I know that because the LTE says “Zach will fight for health care that’s affordable and works for all of us. He works in the mental health field. He knows and understands mental health and will fight for health care that meets the needs of those living with a mental health disorder. There is much work to be done in our current health care system, but Zach is ready for the challenge.” Perhaps this person isn’t in frequent touch with events in St. Paul. Perhaps this person is just dishonest. Perhaps this person isn’t capable of connecting the dots.

Whatever the reason for her not reaching the right conclusion, the truth is that Dorholt voted for MNsure, which is giving farmers and other small businesses huge health insurance premium increases, narrow networks, fewer choices of insurers and unaffordable deductibles. Dorholt is the person who’s given us this crisis.

What part of that suggests that Dorholt “is ready for the challenge” of fixing what he and the DFL broke?

This LTE suffers from the same disappointing detachment from reality as the first LTE. Check this paragraph out:

He has said “I am running because I have always had a passion for those left behind, for those purposefully or unintentionally left out, for those who live in the “shadows” of life, because ever since I was a kid I could identify with and empathize with them. I could understand them. I knew if their voice could be heard, understood and represented… we would all do better.”

Where was this compassion for people when the DFL debated the forced unionization of in-home child care providers? They lobbied the legislature for almost 24 hours, telling the DFL that they didn’t want to be represented by AFSCME. These businesspeople repeatedly told DFL legislators, Dorholt included, that they opposed the bill.

Dorholt voted for the forced unionization of these businesspeople anyway. He didn’t hesitate when he plunged the button and told these women that he knew better. That was the last weekend of the 2013 session. Also that session, Dorholt voted for major tax increases on farmers and warehousing operations. He did that despite their constant lobbying against the tax increases. Then he got criticized by several businesspeople after the session. The next February, Dorholt voted to repeal the tax increases he’d just voted to create.

That November, his constituents fired Dorholt for not representing them. That November, his constituents fired him because Dorholt represented the DFL leadership and the DFL’s special interest puppetmasters, not them.

This November, let’s remind Mr. Dorholt that we still reject his representation of the DFL leadership and their special interest allies. I’ll be voting for the man with the lengthy list of bipartisan accomplishments, a man who’s done the things that Dorholt only talks about. I’ll be voting for Jim Knoblach.