Archive for the ‘DFL’ Category

Sunday on At Issue, Ember Reichgott-Junge had a meltdown moment when discussing President Trump’s impeachment acquittal. In a mini-rant, Reichgott-Junge said “My biggest concern about what is happening now after the State of the Union is that we have Trump unleashed and now, he is emboldened to do whatever he wants to do for the next 9 months — start investigations that have no basis, hold aid back in the districts of the legislators that worked to impeach him. I mean this man has no mores and no sense of justice at all. So my concern is what we’re going to see in the future.”

Wow. That’s as paranoid of a rant as I’ve seen in years. Let’s put what she said under the microscope, starting with “start investigations that have no basis.” That’s what the Obama administration, through Jim Comey’s FBI and the FISC, did against Carter Page. That’s what Lois Lerner did against TEA Party organizations when the IRS delayed tax-exempt status applications.

Next, where did Reichgott-Junge come up with the thought of withholding aid to districts represented by impeachment managers? Is this another paranoid fantasy of Ms. Reichgott-Junge’s?

Finally, Ms. Reichgott-Junge admits that these are her concerns. She didn’t say where her concerns came from. Were they the product of an over-active imagination? I can’t eliminate that as a possibility? Perhaps, it’s something that Democrats have done in the past? That’s definitely possible.

What’s worst about Ms. Reichgott-Junge’s rant was that Tom Hauser didn’t interrupt her. He sat there like a potted plant. He didn’t say a thing. Mr. Truth Test sat there like he didn’t disagree with her. That’s a worse performance than Ms. Reichgott-Junge’s paranoid rantings.

I expect delusional rantings from DFL politicians. Prior to this winter, I’d expected more from Hauser. This winter, though, Hauser’s bias-proofing has slipped.

Now that he’s been dumped by the DFL, people must wonder what’s next for Sen. Tom Bakk. I’ve thought about that subject myself and I’ve reached the conclusion that Sen. Bakk would look fantastic with MNGOP after his name. What’s left within the DFL that fits Sen. Bakk?

It can’t be disputed that:

  1. today’s DFL has decided that Iron Rangers aren’t welcome within the DFL;
  2. today’s DFL is the metrocentric party;
  3. today’s DFL hates pipelines, mining and blue collar workers;
  4. today’s DFL is the gun grabber caucus;
  5. today’s DFL is the party of socialists.

Sen. Bakk, I haven’t always agreed with you but you’ve worked to make PolyMet and Twin Metals a reality. Susan Kent and John Marty won’t help make those things a reality. Paul Gazelka, Kurt Daudt and other Republicans would enthusiastically team with you on those initiatives.

It’s clear that today’s DFL isn’t interested in rural Minnesota. Sen. Bakk, you know this is BS:

“What I know about the DFL Party is that whether in the Senate or in the House or statewide offices, we’re the only party that represents Minnesotans from the Canadian border to Iowa and from the Dakotas to Wisconsin,” Hortman said.

That’s BS on steroids. When’s the last time a metro DFL politician voted for building a pipeline? That’s right, Sen Bakk. It’s been a decade+. Sen Bakk, when’s the last time a metro DFL politician enthusiastically supported precious metals mining? That’s right, Sen Bakk. They’ve never supported precious metal mining. They haven’t even half-heartedly supported precious metal mining.

Sen. Bakk, you have a chance to establish a different legacy for yourself. There’s an opportunity for you to send a signal that you’re an Iron Ranger first, last and always. Think of the message of statesmanship first that fighting for the people, not a political party, would send. That legacy is a powerful thing, something that would permit you to say that people, not party, matter most to you.

Sen. Bakk, it’s time for you to put your constituents, not the DFL, first. Your constituents want to build things, work hard and be rewarded for doing the right thing. Sen. Bakk, you have the opportunity to send a message to metro DFL politicians that the Range fights for Rangers.

Sen. Bakk, carpe diem. Carpe diem.

Faye Bernstein is a compliance officer within the Minnesota Department of Human Services. According to this article, Bernstein “said she has been excluded from the work she did before speaking out, told by superiors that her opinion ‘is no longer needed,’ and encouraged to take time off or seek therapy when she objected to the retaliation she continues to face. And Bernstein said some employees have even started ‘wild and hurtful rumors’ to discredit her.”

The article continues, saying “Bernstein, a 14-year veteran of the department, raised concerns in July about ‘substandard and noncompliant’ state contracts that were being approved by leaders in the agency’s behavioral health division, which pays out millions of dollars in contracts and grants for programs that include battling addiction and the opioid epidemic.”

This can’t continue. DHS needs to initiate an investigation into this immediately. Last night, I wrote this post to question Jodi Harpstead’s qualifications for the job of being the commissioner of Minnesota’s Department of Human Services. According to State Senator Michelle Benson, Commissioner Harpstead “said that DHS is ‘not in free fall, in crisis, in total chaos.'”

That’s BS. A department that taunts, intimidates and smears whistleblowers is in free fall and is in total chaos. Instead, Commissioner Harpstead is focused on building morale. Seriously, that’s her highest priority. It all got started with this introduction:

You can’t fix a problem until you admit that you have a problem. Thus far, Gov. Walz hasn’t admitted that he’s created a problem. In general, the DFL has pretended that DHS only needs a few minor fixes around the edges. That isn’t supported by the facts. The facts are that whistleblowers are getting harassed and tens of millions of dollars have gotten improperly shipped out the door.

The fact that Gov. Walz, the latest DFL protector of the DHS, has proposed hiring an outside consultant to make recommendations on how to break up DHS should say that DHS is in chaos. The fact that Ms. Bernstein continues to get intimidated for doing the job she was hired to do is proof that DHS is still in free fall and not improving.

The Senate, in its advise and consent role, should reject Harpstead. The Senate should tell Gov. Walz and the DFL that it’s time to find a leader who will fix the DHS within a year or less.

DHS is too important to too many people to let it flounder under substandard leadership. What’s required is a leader from the private sector who knows how to instill integrity and enforce the laws. Commissioner Harpstead isn’t that person.

That’s why it’s time for her to go.

Michelle Benson, the chairwoman of the Senate Health and Human Services Finance and Policy Committee, issued this statement on the crisis at the Department of Human Services:

When the legislature reconvenes in about one month, health and human services will once again be at the forefront. Two of the issues that will be on our agenda are the dysfunction at the Department of Human Services and the rising cost of prescription drugs.

90-day review of DHS: On December 10, I convened a meeting of the Health and Human Services Committee for the purpose of reviewing new DHS Commissioner Jodi Harpstead’s first 90 days on the job.

Commissioner Harpstead has a difficult task in front of her, but her appearance did little to reassure me that she grasps the severity of the problems at her agency. Instead, she said that DHS is “not in free fall, in crisis, in total chaos.”

Evidence does not support that tone, nor am I convinced that changes are imminent. There have been more than a dozen reports of mismanagement and corruption since session ended. Most recently, we learned an assistant commissioner approved $1 million in payments to a nonprofit while serving on that nonprofit’s board. These payments doubled the group’s revenue.

The nonpartisan think tank Center of the American Experiment is tracking government abuses and mismanagement, so you can keep tabs on state government easier. You can view it their scandal tracker at bit.ly/MNScandalTracker.

We did get some good news on the DHS front. Gov. Walz announced he is hiring an independent consultant to look at breaking up DHS. It’s good to see the governor finally engaging this issue, and it is encouraging that it appears he is taking a small step toward reforms that Republicans have proposed for a while now. But we have to remember this is only a start, and conducting a review is not a substitute for action on the Governor’s part.

It is my sincere hope that Gov. Walz won’t try to reshape the agency alone. The only way this overhaul will be successful is if Republicans and Democrats, the Senate and House have a seat at the table. The “go it alone” approach brought us the failure of MNsure. Let’s not make that mistake again. Together we can figure out an approach that will benefit the entire state.

It’s been my contention that Commissioner Harpstead was a terrible pick to lead DHS. From the start, I thought that she was too prone to being secretive with information. Nothing in this update suggests that she’s changed her ways.

Denying that DHS isn’t in crisis is likely done to rebuild morale within the department. That’s the wrong goal. The first order of business should be restoring competence within DHS. If that means ruffling some feathers, then that’s what has to happen. Morale can be rebuilt after expectations are raised.

As the CEO of a major non-profit, cash-flow for Lutheran Social Services, aka LSS, wasn’t a problem. Money kept flowing in from the federal government. The minute President Trump clamped down on the Refugee Resettlement program, the cash-flow for LSS tightened exponentially. It didn’t take long for Ms. Harpstead to get this job as Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Human Services. She even talked about how she had led them to being in great shape for the foreseeable future.

In that initial testimony, Harpstead talked about being trustworthy in her opening statement. Denying that DHS has a problem won’t build trust. I’ve said this before but it’s worth repeating. The Senate should vote to reject her as the nominee to be the Commissioner of DHS. It’s time to find someone who will run DHS properly. People that think DHS isn’t embroiled in a crisis don’t have a grasp of reality. While that might fit the profile of a typical government bureaucrat, that isn’t the portrait of a trustworthy public servant.

Aric Putnam’s LTE in the St. Cloud Times is totally unimpressive as a political document. I’d say it’s worthless but I don’t want to be divisive. In Putnam’s LTE, we’re told that we “all see great local business leaders who know that you can build business and community at the same time” and that we “see people of great faith driven by moral example and desire for right.” Next, we’re told that we “see people who work hard and believe that their efforts can make tomorrow better than yesterday.”

What a bunch of BS. Despite the strong urge not to subject myself to pain, I visited Putnam’s campaign website to find out what his vision is. Here’s what I found:

We need to develop a business climate that builds on our strengths. We need jobs that supply a paycheck, but we also need jobs that allow people to improve their standard of living, jobs that create hope for promotion and social mobility. Quality of life is as important as quantity of profit. We can’t have one without the other. To accomplish this, we must build and maintain good roads, bridges, and transit to help grow jobs and a sense of community, incentivize entrepreneurship, and provide broadband to all of us. We need jobs that grow the middle class and allow our children to find opportunity here.

That isn’t the vision of a capitalist. That’s the vision of a crony capitalist. First and foremost, we need politicians who want to make Minnesota’s tax system competitive again. We need a regulatory system that doesn’t give special interests the opportunity to fight job creators in the courts for 10-15 years. Will Aric fight the environmentalist wing of the DFL? I wouldn’t hold my breath on that.

Aric promises to clean up corruption, too:

When I am in office, I won’t do that. I will work to pass legislation that increases transparency in government. I will advocate to eliminate some of the perks legislators get. I will work for more accountability in campaign finances so that we know who is paying for all those mailers, and I will lower campaign spending limits so legislators can work on creating good policy instead of raising money.

That’s a different way of saying that Aric is pro-censorship. That’s cookie-cutter DFL gibberish. Which perks that legislators get would Putnam eliminate?

Hold Government Accountable
Elected officials should be public servants. They need to be reliable and accessible to all their constituents. But public service isn’t passive; it is active. An elected official should be a leader, should reach out to the community, and have a vision and the skill and will to communicate it.

It’s not the job of government to solve all our problems — but a healthy democracy can foster vigorous dialogue and discussion. Elected officials must provide leadership and foster connections between elements of a community, stand up for each of us, and make all of us stronger.

When I am elected, I will hold regular town hall meetings and write columns for our local media. I can’t say you’ll always agree with me. But you’ll always know what I believe, where to find me, and how to get in touch. And you can trust me to always call you back. We deserve representatives who don’t take us for granted. We deserve a Senator who works hard to listen to and be heard by all of us.

What will Putnam do to push for reforming the Department of Human Services? Will Putnam ignore the corruption like other DFL politicians have ignored corruption? Will the DFL continue to pass the buck on opioid addiction program corruption? Thus far, there’s no indication that the DFL is interested in fixing those problems. Republicans have introduced legislation that will require accountability.

Gov. Walz hasn’t paid attention to the problem. Speaker Hortman didn’t take the crisis seriously. Sen. Bakk hasn’t taken this seriously, either. Why should I think that Mr. Putnam will fight the DFL leadership to fix this crisis?

This video is frightening to capitalists:

In the video, Putnam talks about planning the economy. Stop immediately! Lowering taxes, eliminating regulations and getting government out of the way as much as possible is the way to unleashing the economy’s animal spirits. Government meddling in the economy is as welcome as a back-seat driver constantly instructing the driver.

If you didn’t watch tonight’s Almanac Roundtable discussion, you’re in luck. I watched it so you didn’t have to. Predictably, impeachment was the main topic discussed by former DFL State Senator Ember Reichgott-Junge and former GOP Lt. Gov. Candidate Annette Meeks. My first impression of the discussion is that it’s painful to watch Ember Reichgott-Junge mix the Democrats’ political talking points with the Constitution.

At one point in the discussion, Junge trotted out the latest Democrat talking point. Junge said that “It isn’t just President Trump that is on trial. The US Senate is on trial, too.” She then posed a hypothetical question, saying “What happens if new information comes out 6 months from now?” Here’s what I’d say had I been debating her Friday night:

Ember, you’ve got it backwards. It isn’t the US Senate that’s on trial. It’s the US House that’s on trial. Specifically, it’s Speaker Pelosi, Chairman Schiff and Chairman Nadler that are on trial. They’re the people who were tasked with the responsibility of conducting a thorough impeachment investigation. If this was truly about patriotism, Speaker Pelosi would have stopped the investigation once she learned that Chairman Schiff’s committee didn’t unearth proof that President Trump committed high crimes or misdemeanors.

She didn’t stop the investigation because she wanted to use impeachment as a partisan weapon. Democrats have wanted to impeach President Trump since the morning after he won the election. This wasn’t an investigation. It was a search-and-destroy mission. That isn’t about finding the truth. That’s about crippling the President of the United States for purely partisan purposes.

Democrats who voted for impeachment aren’t as guilty as Pelosi, Nadler and Schiff but they’re guilty, too. They’re guilty of impeaching a president who didn’t commit a crime. House Democrats voted to impeach a president without investigators identifying a single piece of direct proof that verifies the crime President Trump committed.

Prof. Jonathan Turley’s ‘indictment’ of the House Democrats still stings. In his testimony, Prof. Turley said “If you impeach a president, if you make a high crime and misdemeanor out of going to the courts, it is an abuse of power. It’s your abuse of power. You’re doing precisely what you’re criticizing the president for doing.”

Honestly, it’s exceptionally dishonest to blame the US Senate for US House Democrats not finishing their investigation. The Constitution states that the House of Representatives has the sole responsibility for impeachment. If House Democrats don’t properly finish their investigation, then that’s their fault. Honest historians won’t criticize the US Senate for conducting a sloppy impeachment investigation.

Senate Democrats better think this through thoroughly. If Senate Democrats want to call witnesses, they’d best be prepared to get buried with fact witnesses by the defense attorneys. That means the trial lasts until well after Super Tuesday. By then, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar will have been forced to suspend their campaigns.

By the time an extended trial ends, President Trump will be well on his way to winning re-election, Republicans will be well on their way to regaining their House majority and well on their way to solidifying their majority in the Senate. That’s the Democrats’ worst nightmare.

Back in June, 2013, Rep. Ryan Winkler stepped in it when he criticized Republican-appointed Supreme Court Justices for ruling against the Voting Rights Act, which I wrote about here. At the time, Winkler tweeted “#SCOTUS VRA majority is four accomplices to race discrimination and one Uncle Thomas.” He obviously was referring to Justice Clarence Thomas with his Uncle Thomas quip.

Despite that exercise in racism, the DFL didn’t see anything wrong with making him the House Majority Leader after the 2018 midterm elections. He still isn’t bright enough to stay out of trouble. This past week, counties across Minnesota voted on whether they were willing to accept primary refugees. This week, Beltrami County voted 3-2 to not accept additional primary refugees. After the vote, Leader Winkler threatened counties that voted not to accept refugees with funding cut in this tweet:


Talk about strong-arm tactics. Considering his past racist comments, this shouldn’t surprise people. Still, it’s something that shouldn’t be tolerated. State Sen. Justin Eichorn published this statement criticizing Rep. Winkler:

I am deeply disturbed by DFL House Majority Leader Winkler’s threat to cut off funding to Beltrami County simply because the county did not vote the way he wanted. This hostile behavior from the Majority Leader has no place in government, and we should not move towards a society that requires quid pro quo or else. Rather than engaging in this destructive behavior, I encourage the Majority Leader to visit Beltrami to learn the importance of state aid for the area and why continued support will be critical in the future.

Ultimately, local control is one of the most important principles in our country. When President Trump empowered counties to have a voice in the decision-making process for the federal refugee resettlement program to empower them to make choices that are best for their area, that is the choice that the Beltrami County Commissioners made last night.

I’d add that President Trump’s executive action is simply enforcing federal law.

Specifically, the Refugee Act of 1980 requires consultation “with representatives of voluntary agencies and State and local governments.” That’s found in 8 U.S. Code §?1522 Clause B. Here’s the exact text of that part of the bill:

The Director shall develop and implement, in consultation with representatives of voluntary agencies and State and local governments, policies and strategies for the placement and resettlement of refugees within the United States.

It doesn’t say should, may or has the option of. It says that the federal government “shall develop and implement … policies and strategies for the placement and resettlement of refugees within the United States.”

I don’t doubt that Rep. Winkler doesn’t like Beltrami County’s decision. Elections have consequences, though, so if he doesn’t like the vote, he can run against one of the people who didn’t vote the way he wanted them to vote. Otherwise, he should shut his pie-hole. At minimum, he should deliver a speech saying that he’s retracting his threat.

The DFL governor has let the Minnesota Department of Human Services operate a slush fund within various programs, starting with the Child Care Access Program, aka CCAP, and programs for opioid addiction. The fraud in those programs literally run into the tens of millions of dollars. Now, the DFL House Majority Leader is threatening independent units of government because they didn’t do what he expected them to do.

This is gangster government at its worst. It should be utterly rejected this November.

Saying that Jason Rarick’s statement on the state of Minnesota’s Department of Human Services isn’t filled with compliments is understatement. Sen. Rarick opens the statement by saying “It’s time to break up the Minnesota Department of Human Services. This was the recommendation of Acting Commissioner Pam Wheelock this past August. It is not a brand new idea, but it is the only reasonable option. I can no longer see an alternative path that gets the agency turned around and functioning at the level Minnesotans demand.”

While there’s no doubt that DHS needs to be broken up, that’s only part of the problem. Another part of the problem is the corruption. There must be a way to get rid of corrupt employees.

In the heart of Sen. Rarick’s statement is this paragraph:

In just November, we have learned that the agency has habitually been violating state contract law to award more than 1800 illegal contracts last year alone. We have learned that DHS illegally instructed counties and Indian tribes to claw back $727,000 in overpayments to poor people, which must now be returned. We have learned a DHS screw up led to $624,000 in improper county payments to foster homes that didn’t meet federal background check requirements. And we have learned of an additional $22 million in illegal payments that must be repaid to the federal government, including $13 million that occurred even after the mistake was discovered. Again, that’s just from November. [emphasis added]

A department filled with waste, fraud and lawlessness needs transformation. Leadership is required to accomplish that. That doesn’t exist:

The Senate has held several hearings to get answers straight from those in charge. Unfortunately, those answers were mixed at best. For the most part, the officials we asked to testify evaded questions, stalled, or merely offered vague promises about being engaged and committed to comprehensive changes. The administration has also delayed for as long as possible responding to data requests we have made.

In fact, rather than address these problems head on, Gov. Walz seems disinterested. We’ve asked him to engage and help us fix the department, but instead he has placed his priorities elsewhere – like his newly-formed sub-cabinet to fight climate change.

It’s apparent that the DFL isn’t interested in fixing DHS. When it comes to Human Services, the DFL is interested in the status quo. Gov. Walz’s formation of a cabinet department on climate change is proof that he’s disinterested.

It’s also proof that Gov. Walz’s priorities aren’t Minnesota’s priorities. If you polled Minnesotans about what’s more important, it’s a safe bet that they’d say eliminating waste, fraud and lawlessness at DHS rates far higher than forming a new bureaucracy dealing with climate change.

This DFL administration is tone-deaf. This DFL administration is oblivious to the need for transformation. Watch Commissioner Harpstead’s testimony and you’ll see what obliviousness looks like:

She couldn’t care less if DHS is transformed. It isn’t clear whether she cares about the department she’s been charged with leading. Her opening statement was 100% incomprehensible word salad.

There’s an age-old principle about presidential candidates. It says that a presidential candidate’s vice presidential pick says much about the presidential candidate. That’s transferrable to this situation. When Gov. Walz picked Jodi Harpstead, it said that fixing DHS wasn’t a high priority. Further, the DFL House has followed Gov. Walz’s lead. They offer the same word salad as Gov. Walz. If the DFL won’t help fix the problem, then they’re part of the problem. Next November, it’s time to fix that problem.

According to this article, the DFL’s leadership might become further metrocentric. To those that think that wasn’t possible, that’s understandable. Of the 7-person DFL Senate leadership team, 1 person is from northwest Minnesota (Kent Eken) and another person (Tom Bakk) is from northeast Minnesota. The other 5 people (Susan Kent, who is challenging Bakk for Minority Leader, Jeffrey Hayden, Carolyn Laine, John Hoffman and Ann Rest) are from the Twin Cities. By comparison, the 9-person GOP leadership team represents the entire state.

In particular, Bakk’s positions on northeastern Minnesota mining issues have run afoul of environmentalists who are an important part of the DFL coalition. Kent’s challenge came to light days after Bakk came under fire from environmentalists for telling a group of business and political leaders in Ely that the controversial Twin Metals copper-nickel mine proposal on the Iron Range will not be stopped by a state environmental review. “Now it might take a decade or more,” Bakk said, “but the process isn’t intended to stop projects.”

Bakk’s opposition to stronger gun laws also put him at odds with colleagues from Minneapolis, St. Paul and their suburbs, deepening a long-simmering intraparty rift. Bakk has long been a fixture in the politics of northern Minnesota, a region that was once a DFL stronghold and which has drifted increasingly toward the Republican Party in recent elections.

In other words, Sen. Bakk is too moderate for DFL Metrocrats. DFL Metrocrats passionately hate mining. In fact, the only thing that DFL Metrocrats hate more than mining is the Second Amendment. Apparently, Tom Bakk isn’t leftist enough for the DFL Metrocrats’ liking.

The brewing leadership fight has played out largely out of public view, with several DFL senators declining to comment publicly for this story. It comes as Senate Democrats prepare for a 2020 election cycle in which they will attempt to overturn Republicans’ current 35-32 majority.

With the DFL’s divisions, the DFL should be worried in 2020. DFL turnout in 2018 was almost as high as it is for a presidential election. In 2020, Republican turnout will be higher than it was in 2018. It’ll be difficult for the DFL turnout to be much higher.

This begs the question of whether the DFL can gain seats in either the House or Senate. I wouldn’t bet on it, especially if the DFL essentially tells the Iron Range that they aren’t welcome in the DFL anymore.

Bit-by-bit, people are putting a higher priority on teaching old-fashioned civics. About five years ago, “a coalition of prominent leaders assembled by the Arizona-based Joe Foss Institute launched a Civics Education Initiative.” They started with the premise that students shouldn’t graduate unless they pass the same test that immigrants must pass when they apply for citizenship.

This movement started after it was discovered that “fewer than half knew that John Roberts is the current chief justice of the United States. More than one-quarter thought Brett Kavanaugh was.” When students were asked the term length for U.S. senators and representatives, “fewer than half of college graduates could give the correct numbers.”

While this is disturbing information, there’s more frightening news lurking on the horizon:

As Education Week has reported, the very idea of schools using the citizenship test elicits a “torrent of criticism from leaders who favor the new, broader conception of civics education.” Jessica Marshall, former social studies director for Chicago schools, put it this way: “[The citizenship tests] don’t tell us if young people know how to mobilize their communities to get resources or pass laws they care about.”

It isn’t the job of schools to teach students how to be progressive activists. Back in September, I wrote about Rep. Dean Urdahl’s op-ed (Part I and Part II). In that op-ed, Rep. Urdahl wrote this:

Next session, the MSBA [Minnesota School Board Association] plans to double down on its campaign against civic education. MSBA officials want to no longer have to offer the civics test. This crosses the line from passivity to enmity regarding civics. Testing conveys a message; we care about what we test. Eliminating the test implies MSBA doesn’t think civics is important. In Minnesota, it should not be about the number of tests, but rather, are we testing the right things.

Rep. Urdahl also wrote this:

The failure is measurable. The National Assessment of Educational Progress, the highly respected “Nation’s Report Card,” reports that 75% of our graduates leave high school not proficient in civics. They are failing. A nationwide poll found that two-thirds of Americans can name an American Idol judge, but only 15% can name the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. One-third of our graduates can’t name a single branch of our government. The Annenberg Study revealed that 37% cannot name one right guaranteed in the First Amendment. There are students who think Judge Judy is on the Supreme Court.

Rep. Urdahl also wrote that MSBA wants school boards, not voters, to have the final say on operating levies:

Over 332 school boards are elected by their communities. These members are trusted and charged with the governance of school property, budget, curriculum, technology, taxes, student achievement and teacher quality – ensuring excellence and equity in all public schools. Therefore, MSBA asks that you honor and trust the work of these local officials by allowing school boards to renew an existing operating referendum, by reducing the current number of mandates, and provide flexibility to meet the unique needs of their schools and communities.

TRANSLATION: Those pesky citizens shouldn’t have a say on their property taxes. We know what’s best. That’s what progressive arrogance sounds like.

Since the DFL controls the House in 2020, it isn’t likely that they’ll say no to MSBA. That means we’ll need the GOP Senate to stop this unaccountability initiative dead in its tracks. Trusting school boards to do the right thing is like giving matches to an arsonist, then expecting him to not set something on fire. That isn’t insanity. It’s stupidity.

It’s also imperative that we elect a GOP majority in the House and maintain the GOP majority in the Senate in 2020. We can’t afford unified DFL state government. We saw what a disaster that was in 2013-14.

These things should be taught until students understand why we adopted this Constitution and why the US is the greatest nation on earth. We should make it illegal to teach political activism in schools. That’s the job of political parties and outside groups. Taxpayers shouldn’t be paying for that stuff.

In addition to emphasizing teaching civics, it’s essential to emphasize teaching history, math and science, too. It’s important to de-emphasize the victimology classes, too. Civics classes unite us as a nation. Victimology classes divide us. Let’s work to unite, not divide, this great nation.