Archive for the ‘Special Interests’ Category

One thing that I didn’t mention when I wrote this post is the importance of constitutional republics. Without that system of government, what you’d really have is mob rule.

Let’s refresh your memory on what happened Monday night at the St. Cloud City Council meeting. BTW, why is so much happening at city council meetings this week? We’ll return to that later. At Monday night’s St. Cloud City Council meeting, members of various DFL front groups showed up with an anti-election agenda. Some of the DFL partisans asked for Paul Brandmire and Mike Conway to resign from their council positions. Others from these DFL front groups petitioned the Council to kick Mssrs. Brandmire and Conway off the Council.

The reason for those actions wasn’t specifically stated but it’s pretty clear why these DFL front groups want Brandmire and Conway gone. Both of these gentlemen have done their job by asking questions about the refugee resettlement program.

The crowd included members from the East Central Area Labor Council, TakeAction Minnesota and #UniteCloud, according to Jane Conrad, field representative for East Central Labor Council. Conrad called out council members Brandmire, who was quoted in the New York Times story, and Conway for being publicly sympathetic to the C-Cubed group that she calls “anti-refugee and anti-Muslim.”

It’s worth noting that C-Cubed isn’t funded by special interests. It isn’t an AstroTurf organization. It’s a legitimate grass roots organization. By comparison, TakeAction Minnesota, #UniteCloud and the East Central Area Labor Council are DFL front groups.

It’s worth noting that Jane Conrad is a longtime DFL activist/operative.

Owen Saucedo, a St. Cloud resident, spoke on behalf of the labor council. He asked both Brandmire and Conway to resign and if not, for the city council to censure them to show “it rejects bigotry in all its forms.”

That’s pretty drastic. There’s nothing bigoted about Brandmire or Conway. I’ve known both men a fair amount of time. I wouldn’t hesitate a split-second to state under oath that these men are men of integrity and not men with hostile animus.

Conrad and Saucedo both talked of Islamophobia and racism. How shameful. That’s the language of desperate people. It’s unsubstantiated. Worst of all, it’s the language of people who aren’t interested in winning a debate. Conrad especially just wants to win fights.

Winning a debate requires the ability to listen, persuasive logic and an understanding of what principles are most essential for the health of a society. Winning a fight just means being the biggest, baddest bad-ass in the fight. Right now, these DFL front groups aren’t equipped to win debates. They’re built to win fights. Winning fights is for juveniles. Winning debates is for adults.

In the meantime, I’ll just thank our Founding Fathers for giving us a constitutional republic, not mob rule.

Anyone that thinks that Democrats don’t have a border security crisis isn’t paying attention. They definitely haven’t read Paul Bedard’s article about the crisis that Democrats refuse to fix.

Bedard’s article starts by saying “Calling the surprising May surge in illegal immigrant arrests on the border the “worst case scenario,” a top immigration analyst has boosted the expected level of crossings 10%, to over 1 million. U.S. Customs and Border Protection on Wednesday revealed that May apprehensions topped 144,000. This year has seen 676,315 apprehensions so far, up 99% over this time last year. That shocked immigration officials who had hoped it would drop in part due to the Trump administration’s get tough efforts on the border and the potentially deadly heat migrants encounter traveling through northern Mexico.”

Thus far, House Democrats haven’t lifted a finger to fix the immigration crisis. They’ve passed an immigration bill that will invite more illegal aliens to our borders but they haven’t passed a bill that’d fix the asylum crisis or the humanitarian crisis or the exploitation of young girl crisis.

Further, Democrat members of the Problem Solvers Caucus haven’t written a single piece of legislation that addresses these crises. If Democrat members of the Problem Solvers Caucus wont fix problems, then they’re worthless! They should be thrown out in large numbers in November, 2020.

By contrast, Sen. Lindsey Graham is working with President Trump to fix the problem. He’s written actual legislation that’d fix many of the problems. The chances that Democrats will work with Sen. Graham is virtually nonexistent. As long as the Resist Movement exists, then Democrats will be Democrats first, patriots only as a last resort.

Steven Kopits, the president of Princeton Policy Advisors which has predicted that immigrant apprehensions would reach 931,000 this year, expressed concern about the May numbers and boosted his prediction to 1,072,000. “This is the highest for the month of May since 2000 and the highest for any calendar month since March 2006,” he said in a report provided to Secrets. “We had expected a major surge heading into the summer months, but this is above our worst case scenario,” he added.

Today on Outnumbered, Harry Reid’s former spin-meister said that it’s finally time to have a conversation about this subject. Fuck that noise. (Pardon my French but this subject pisses me off on multiple levels.) The time for a leisurely conversation was a year ago. This time, it’s time for action:

Sen. Graham’s legislation will fix most, if not all, of the incentives that’ve precipitated this crisis. I’m betting that Democrat support for Sen. Graham’s legislation will be minimal, if that. Democrats are too obedient to the Resist activists to support Sen. Graham’s legislation. That’s because today’s Democrats are politicians first, patriots only rarely. What a sickening bunch.

For the past month, Democrats have talked the Trump/GOP economy down, saying that it’s only helping the richest 1%. That’s been debunked thoroughly but now we have proof thanks to Brian Bakst’s article on Minnesota’s oversized surplus.

In his article, Mr. Bakst reports “Minnesota tax collections soared well past expectations for April, according to a tally released Friday. The Department of Minnesota Management and Budget reported revenue that was $489 million above what had been projected to come in. The excess is 17 percent above expectations for the month. April is when most income tax payments are made, so this update is more pivotal than others.”

This is vitally important for several reasons. First, it’s proof that President Trump’s policies are working. Exceeding expectations by 17% in the biggest collection month of the year is a big deal. Next, it’s a death blow to Gov. Walz’s and the DFL’s tax increases. With the economy growing in spite of Gov. Dayton’s and the DFL’s policies, it’s safe to say that we don’t need another $12,000,000,000 in tax increases.

We’re already running a $1,000,000,000+ surplus. Minnesota’s Rainy Day Fund has $2,500,000,000 in it. With the economy roaring, why should Minnesota plan on a downturn or recession? That’s as stupid as moving to Hawaii and bringing your winter parka from Minnesota.

The question for Gov. Walz and the DFL now is whether they want to spend Minnesota into oblivion or whether they’re willing to act like adults for a change. At this point, I’m not sure whether the DFL’s special interests will win out or whether the people of Minnesota will win out.

What I’m certain of, though, is that the GOP is consistently aligning with the people of Minnesota. That’s a stark contrast with Gov. Walz and the DFL.

Friday, I received Dan Wolgamott’s weekly e-letter update. The subject of this week’s e-letter update was the budget. Wolgamott and the DFL are touting their ‘investment’ in education rather than talking about the DFL’s $12,000,000,000 tax increase over the next 4 years:

For more on the House’s Minnesota Values Budget, you can read about the innovations and investments we’re making in health care, education, transportation, and taxes here. These aren’t gimmicks or quick fixes to complicated issues. We’ve made smart, steady investments that are backed up by the values Minnesotans hold dear, and I hope you’ll join me in urging my Senate colleagues to work with us in a way that moves Minnesota forward, not back.

I’m sure it’s purely accidental (not!) that this is the only informational graphic in the e-letter update:

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that Wolgamott doesn’t want to be known for the huge tax increases he’s voted for. Zach Dorholt became famous for voting for the DFL’s huge tax increases in 2013. He was defeated in 2014. Wolgamott is a career politician wannabe serving his first term. He wants to last longer than Dorholt. That’s why he’s downplaying the tax hikes that would make Minnesota unattractive to businesses if they went into effect.

Then there’s this:

This highlights just one of several areas where the unsatisfactory investments made in the Senate don’t even come close closing the education funding gap that hurts our schools and students. Our education proposal in the House is the product of input from students, parents, teachers, and administrators. We’re funding our schools based on conversations we’ve had at Town Halls like the ones I’ve held in St. Cloud. This is your budget, and I’ll continue to fight for the investments that you deserve.

Unfortunately for his constituents, he’ll fight hardest for the biggest tax increases in state history. What’s worst is that the DFL’s tax increases hit the lowest 25% of income earners the hardest of all income groups:

The tax plan proposed by Gov. Tim Walz would hit lower income Minnesotans harder than wealthier earners. That’s the outcome of analysis by the Democratic governor’s own Department of Revenue, which carried out a tax incidence analysis of Walz’s plan, which includes, among other things, a reduction in state income taxes but increases in business, estate, gas and vehicle sales tax, among other changes.

According to the revenue department, the overall tax burden on Minnesotans would increase from 11.63 percent currently to 12.39 percent under Walz’s plan, an increase of 0.76 percent. However it’s the lowest earners who would see a bigger increase in their taxes.

That’s what Dan Wolgamott and the DFL are fighting for. They aren’t fighting for students. They’re fighting for Education Minnesota and other DFL special interest groups. Tim Walz’s and the DFL’s profligate spending aren’t investing in the future. They’re pushing productive Minnesotans to other states.

Finally, Rep. Wolgamott and the DFL are making Minnesota more uncompetitive. The DFL couldn’t do much more to push businesses away except putting a sign on each entrance to the state saying ‘Businesses aren’t welcome here.’

This year, it’s been fashionable for the Democrats’ presidential candidates to talk about paying reparations. This was especially true when they paid homage to Al Sharpton last week:

At the end of many of their speeches, Sharpton asked them point-blank if they supported Texas Democrat Sheila Jackson Lee’s legislation in the House that, according to its press release, “seeks to establish a commission to also examine the moral and social implications of slavery.”

Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, who began with a longer response to Sharpton’s question about the bill, offered a playfully curt “yes, I’m gonna pass it!” when pushed by a shout from the audience to simply tell the crowd: “Yes or no?”

While these Democrats willingly worshipped at Al Sharpton’s altar, their inactions speak louder than their words.

This article highlights the Democrats’ collective depravity on the issue of modern day slavery:

Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas) said the sheer number of people crossing the southwest border illegally—most of whom are families and children hoping to seek asylum—constitute a humanitarian crisis. In fiscal 2018, almost 400,000 people were apprehended by Border Patrol after illegally crossing the border. “So it [asylum] has created a draw. And so when that happens, you have dead bodies all throughout the southern border. It’s really sad to see this. Not only that, but you have a third of the women being sexually assaulted,” Crenshaw told The Epoch Times.

Two-thirds of migrants traveling through Mexico report experiencing violence during their journey, including abduction, theft, extortion, torture, and rape, according to Doctors Without Borders (MSF), which has been providing medical and mental health care for migrants and refugees in Mexico since 2012.

The article continues:

Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin Mcaleenan said last year that his agency’s intelligence and interviews put the numbers even higher. “That scale represents a humanitarian crisis, in my humble opinion,” Crenshaw said. “But whether you call it humanitarian crisis or not … it’s just completely unsustainable.”

Democrats that have time to grandstand on the issue of reparations but wouldn’t co-sponsor legislation that would shut down modern-day slavery happening at our southern border.

These Democrats’ priorities are totally screwed up. They’ll pander to a former con artist for a handful of votes but they won’t lift a finger to stop modern-day slavery. The next time Democrats start lecturing Republicans, Republicans should simply question why they haven’t lifted a finger to stop modern-day slavery. I’m betting that’ll shut Democrats up.

To hear “Al Otro Lado, a binational advocacy group that provides legal assistance to migrants seeking asylum” talk about yesterday’s incident at the border, women and children refugees “were peacefully demonstrating in Mexico” when they were “injured by tear gas launched by US authorities.” To read this article, though, you’d get a different picture.

According to the article, “some have organized protests to pressure U.S. officials to devote more resources to speed up the process. On Sunday, one of those protests, peaceful at first, turned chaotic when several hundred migrants broke away, overwhelming Mexican federal police officers before rushing a border fence and attempting to illegally enter the U.S. In response, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers shut down both south and northbound traffic at the San Ysidro border crossing south of San Diego for nearly six hours.”

If you read Daniel Chaitin’s article, you get the real story:

The Mexican government announced Sunday evening that it will deport nearly 500 migrants who rushed the U.S. border between Tijuana and San Diego, Calif. In a statement, Mexico’s interior department said these migrants were captured with the help of local authorities of the government from the state of Baja California and will be deported after attempting to cross the border “violently” and “illegally.”

Here’s the important information:

Videos and photos of the migrants, including children, crossing a footbridge over a canal in Tijuana as they headed to the border were posted to social media. The incident prompted both the U.S. and Mexico to shut down the port of entry on their respective sides.

It’s obvious that Al Otro Lado isn’t telling the truth.

As we look back at Gov. Dayton’s time in office, it’s difficult to identify his signature legislative accomplishment. His first year in office, he shut down state government. It was the longest shutdown of state government in US history. When it ended, Gov. Dayton signed the budget deal he could’ve signed without the shutdown.

In 2013, with DFL majorities in the House and Senate, Gov. Dayton finally passed his massive tax increases. In addition to those tax increases, Gov. Dayton promised that he’d stop property tax increases as a result of the increased LGA payments and “historic investments in education.” I wrote this post in December, 2014 to highlight the major property tax increase that Princeton levied on taxpayers. They originally sought a 33.87% tax increase but ‘settled’ for a 25.16% increase.

In this post, I quoted then-Speaker Paul Thissen. Here’s what he said in a statement:

The House DFL Education Budget invests in what works: fully funding all-day, every day kindergarten and investing $50 million in early learning childhood scholarships. All-day K and early childhood education are proven tools to improve test scores, close the achievement gap, and prepare students for future academic success. The House DFL Education Budget also increases the basic funding formula for K-12 schools by four percent over the biennium, an increase of over $315 million, or $209 per pupil. The school shift payback will be included in the House Taxes bill.

In other words, the Dayton tax increase to buy down property taxes failed terribly.

What’s worse is that, in 2014, the DFL legislature repealed several of the tax increases it passed the final weekend of the session the year before. That led to the Republicans retaking the House majority in the 2014 election. Apparently, Minnesotans didn’t think much of Gov. Dayton’s tax increases.

In 2015, Gov. Dayton met with Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk, DFL- Cook, and Speaker of the House Kurt Daudt every day of the final week of session to negotiate a budget. On the Friday of the session, they were no closer to an agreement than they were when they started. Sen. Bakk and Speaker Daudt sat down and promptly negotiated a bipartisan budget deal in less than an hour. When they made the announcement, Gov. Dayton criticized the budget and vetoed the bill.

That led to another cave-in by Gov. Dayton during yet another special session. BTW, special sessions might be Gov. Dayton’s legacy, though I can’t call them an accomplishment.

Aside from these negative legislative ‘accomplishments’, Gov. Dayton ignored the Somali day care fraud scandal and the elder care abuse scandal. That’s the one where people actually died and nobody from the Dayton administration bothered to investigate.

The other thing that Gov. Dayton was famous for was temper tantrums:

Finally, there’s the MNLARS fiasco, which Gov. Dayton created but didn’t fix and the child care unionization legislation. The unionization legislation went nowhere because child care providers defeated the measure 1,014-392. That’s what happens when you’re stubborn and you don’t listen to people. Gov. Dayton earned those epic slap downs.

Saying that Gov. Dayton failed deputy registrars is extreme understatement. Nonetheless, he’s already started blaming Republican politicians for his failures. Dave Orrick’s reporting lays things out nicely by saying “It’s all the result of the faulty launch of MNLARS, a new computer system launched over the summer to handle vehicle title and tab transactions. It was a mess and largely still is, say deputy registrars, as well as car dealers, insurance agents and untold numbers of regular folks who waited in long lines or ran up against any number of roadblocks in their attempts to transfer a title or some other previously routine transaction.”

Don Davis’s article highlighted how the DFL abandoned the registrars:

The Minnesota House has failed to override Gov. Mark Dayton’s veto of funding to reimburse local offices who struggled with the state’s new driver registration system.

It’s just the second attempted override in Dayton’s tenure. With just 79 House members voting to override Dayton on Sunday, it fell short of the required 90-vote margin. Most Democrats voted against overriding Dayton’s veto.
Dayton struck down the bill Saturday, saying lawmakers should have paired it with funding to fix MNLARS. That money is in a separate bill passed by the Legislature. MNLARS was plagued by problems since its summer launch. GOP Rep. Dave Baker says lawmakers owe it to deputy registrars to reimburse them for their extra costs due to problems with the system.

DFL members who voted for the bill initially voted to sustain Gov. Dayton’s veto. That means that they put Gov. Dayton’s vanity ahead of the registrar’s financial needs. Saying that Speaker Daudt was upset with Gov. Dayton is understatement. Watch Speaker Daudt’s body language during this press availability:

About 12:25 into the press availability, Speaker Daudt spoke to the registrars bill, saying “Well, the deputy registrar bill, we are extremely disappointed that the Governor vetoed that bill. Even in his veto letter, he said that “I support this money for the deputy registrars. Confusing. Again, he keeps saying ‘send me a bill — an individual bill all by itself — a standalone bill’ and he vetoes it anyway. In reality, this bill had 101 votes going out of the House. I think we’re going to find out tonight if Democrats stand behind making these deputy registrars whole for the losses that have been incurred by the disaster called MNLARS and I hope that Democrats will stand with Republicans tonight behind these deputy registrars instead of standing behind this governor who has literally gone back on his word to these people.”

In his own press availability, Gov. Dayton said that he’d only sign the deputy registrars’ bill if it included ‘the other $33,000,000’ needed to fix MNLARS. Republicans told him consistently that they weren’t willing to write him a blank check, then hope that his IT team would fix MNLARS over the summer. Writing this incompetent governor a blank check with the belief that he’d fix that system isn’t just insane. It’s stupid. Why trust a governor with Gov. Dayton’s legacy of mishaps and mistakes and who can’t be held accountable now that he’s officially a lame duck?

When some of these deputy registrars go out of business or lose their homes, I hope they remember who stood with them and who abandoned them. Gov. Dayton vetoed the bill but DFL legislators abandoned them. DFL legislators supported their governor rather than supporting their constituents.

I hope these deputy registrars and their families remember that the DFL preached that they’re for the little guy — until their governor needs their votes. When they walk into the voting booth, I hope they feel like this:

Then I hope they vote for the people who will support them when it matters. They’re known as Republicans.

According to this Strib editorial, the Met Council is just terrific. Apparently, they don’t think the same about Jason Lewis. The editorial’s opening paragraph states “Second District Republican U.S. Rep. Jason Lewis is attempting to apply the heavy thumb of the federal government to tip the scales in a long-running debate over the composition of the Metropolitan Council. We think Lewis and the feds should keep their hands off. This is a matter Minnesotans can and should decide for themselves.”

Actually, it isn’t just a local matter. That’s because many bodies like the Met Council exist across the nation. Further, since the Met Council has taxation authority and the authority to usurp local jurisdictions, it’s insane to think that they shouldn’t be accountable to the people.

The editorial also says this:

We’ve also been skeptical about creating a “council of governments.” Its members would be politically beholden to the local constituencies that elected them, rather than the region as a whole. Instead, we favor instituting staggered terms for council members and employing a panel of local officials as a screening committee to recommend council candidates to the governor.

What’s so virtuous about a panel that’s accountable only to the governor? I don’t see anything worthwhile about that. Let’s further ask the question at the heart of this argument: why do these bureaucrats, plus the Star Tribune, fear the people? Governments are supposed to be of, by and for the people. This nation was started in part by the belief that there should be no taxation without representation. Who does the Met Council represent? The Governor?

That doesn’t sound like a governing body that governs with the consent of the people. That sounds like a dictatorial body.

The Met Council is filled with special interests. For instance, Jennifer Munt ‘represents’ District 3, “which includes the Hennepin County cities of Chanhassen, Deephaven, Eden Prairie, Excelsior, Greenwood, Long Lake, Minnetonka, Minnetonka Beach, Mound, Orono, Shorewood, Spring Park, Tonka Bay, Wayzata, and Woodland. Munt is the Public Affairs Director for AFSCME Council 5, where she leads marketing, communications and media relations.”

This isn’t about representing the people. It’s about representing the special interests:

Previously [Munt] was the Communications Director for the Hiawatha LRT project (2000-2005) and an Outreach Coordinator for the Metropolitan Council (1999-2002).

Munt hasn’t represented people in the past. She’s represented governments and special interests.

Here’s Jason Lewis’s statement on what his amendment actually does:

“Currently, and in contrast to federal law, all 17 members of the Met Council are appointed by the Governor of the State of Minnesota. MPOs nationwide are created with the intent to improve infrastructure planning and, especially, transit investments on behalf of constituencies across a given region. In 2012, Congress rightly determined that locally elected officials are best suited to represent those same groups. In our region, the failure of the Met Council to include locally elected officials as part of their governing board has undermined this key aspect of accountability to the people they represent.”

Background:

MAP-21 required that federally recognized MPOs that participate in transit improvement program planning, long-range capital plans, coordination of transit services, and that carry out other state activities, all of which rely on federal funding and grants, meet certain requirements. These requirements include a board makeup of locally elected officials, public transportation officials, and appropriate state officials.
The Metropolitan Council (Met Council) currently has a Transportation Advisory Board (TAB) that consists of local elected officials, but in August of 2015, the Federal Highway Administration and the Federal Transit Administration ruled that the TAB lacked any voting authority and therefore the Met Council did not meet the threshold of MPO compliance.

Unfortunately, the Obama administration used a separate clause in federal law to “grandfather” the Met Council into compliance.

Our amendment does not seek to change the operations or scope of the Met Council. It does not attempt to change the activities of the board. It simply requires that for a board to be in compliance they need to have locally elected official representation consistent with every other MPO in the country.

In other words, the Strib appears to be running interference for the Met Council. Rep. Lewis’s amendment doesn’t change the Met Council’s responsibilities. It simply requires the Met Council into compliance with existing federal law. That isn’t “tipping the scales” in one direction or another, as the Strib implies. It simply forces the Met Council to comply with existing federal law.

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KARE11’s Boyd Huppert traveled to Somerset, WI, to see if Justin Rivard’s invention would save lives. While DC-based politicians and special interests retreat to their predictable positions, Justin applied a little American ingenuity to the school shooting crisis situation to see if he could make a difference. What he created in shop class might impact more students’ lives than anything that the politicians and special interests come up with.

The article opens by saying “The flag at Somerset High School flies at half-staff in honor lives lost in Florida. Inside, Somerset senior Justin Rivard was inspired in his shop class to try to save lives here. “I call this the JustinKase,” Justin says of his invention. “You don’t want to use it, but just in case you need it, it’ll be there. Made of steel plates and connecting rods, Justin’s device slips beneath a classroom door and latches to the door’s jam. With his device in place, Justin has yet to find a person who can push a classroom door open, including linemen from his high school football team. “You can lock a door with a lock, it can get shot out,” Justin says. “You can lock a door with this, it can’t get shot out. You can’t get around it.”

It’s time for politicians and special interests to step aside. It looks like Justin Rivard just built a better mouse trap:

What’s not to love about this invention? It doesn’t violate a person’s civil rights. Politicians can sit on the sideline and applaud old-fashioned ingenuity. Gangbangers can’t get past it.

When a shooter is stalking the hallways, the police are 5 minutes away. Justin’s device helps protects students and teachers until the first responders and law enforcement get there. Isn’t it time the politicians and the special interests got out of the American people’s way so they can fix this problem?

When a shop teacher challenged his students to build a device which could increase school safety, Justin Rivard rose to the occasion. Only 15 at the time, he researched current products and then sought to learn their strengths and weaknesses. After months of refinements, JustinKase was engineered, built, refined, and is now helping protect hundreds of students with orders meaning thousands of students in Wisconsin & Minnesota will soon be made safer due to his innovation.

Justin Rivard should get an award from the White House, Congress and others. Everyone knows there’s a problem with school safety. Justin Rivard didn’t complain that politicians weren’t protecting him or his classmates. He just started innovating until he fixed a big problem. I won’t pretend that this is the only thing that’s needed to stop mass shootings. It isn’t. The JustinKase will protect students until police arrive, though, which is a huge deal.

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