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If this article is accurate, then the DFL is flirting with another MNsure disaster. Here’s what I’m talking about:

Is your baby married? It’s a ridiculous question. But if you just had a baby and went to MNsure to update your family status, the health exchange website may ask you anyway.

Agents wouldn’t ask this question because they know better. Thanks to the MNsure world of assinine questions and unreliable manual workarounds, parents will get annoyed when they’re asked this question. If only that was MNsure’s only problem. But I digress. Back to MNsure’s failures:

One example: It used to take five minutes to add a baby to a plan under Medical Assistance, Minnesota’s version of Medicaid, but now that Medical Assistance runs through MNsure it takes about 45 minutes and “you have to say whether or not a baby is married,” said Dakota County director of employment and economic assistance Marti Fischbach, who helps clients sign up for plans.

This isn’t gossip. It’s a quote from someone who works with MNsure on a daily basis. Based on this quote, it sounds like the question gets asked of each parent changing their status. This is understatement:

MNsure Chief Operating Officer Katie Burns on Wednesday admitted there are still major problems with entering life event changes. Much of the work is not automated and data must be entered manually, she told the MNsure board. “It’s much more cumbersome right now than ideally it needs to be over the longer term,” she said.

That’s world class spin. In the real world, Ms. Burns would’ve said that the process sucks. Technorati: , , , , , , ,

This morning’s startling news that PreferredOne dropped out of MNsure is the latest in a lengthy litany of problems MNsure has dealt with since its rollout. First, there were the mismanagement issues that State Sen. Michelle Benson highlighted. Then there was Jim Nobles’ announcement that the Office of Legislative Auditor would audit MNsure. After that, WCCO’s Pat Kessler reported that MNsure executives lied to him.

Like I said, it’s a lengthy list of problems. Unfortunately for Minnesotans, that lengthy list isn’t even close to being a comprehensive list. I could double that list and still not have a comprehensive list of MNsure’s problems. It’s that big of a disaster.

This afternoon, the St. Cloud Chamber of Commerce held a candidate forum. Zach Dorholt put his foot in his mouth when he said “This is a huge change. You can’t have change without anxiety.”

Rep. Dorholt, these aren’t growing pains. They’re ongoing problems that can’t be fixed in the next couple years. This isn’t a bump in the road. They’re a Humvee-sized pothole. In fact, they’re a Humvee-sized pothole that you voted to create.

Thanks to the misadministration of MNsure, PreferredOne is pulling out of MNsure. Since PreferredOne had the lowest premiums in MNsure, that likely means the price increase in health insurance premiums will likely go up much higher than before PreferredOne’s announcement.

Gov. Dayton and the DFL, Rep. Dorholt included, owns this disaster. Every vote for final passage of the bill creating MNsure came from Democrats. Republicans refused to vote for it because they knew it’d be an unmitigated disaster.

The website still isn’t working. Health insurance premiums are going up. Provider networks are getting smaller. Things that once took minutes now take months to do. That’s what an unmitigated disaster looks like.

Finally, now that one health insurance provider has dropped out of MNsure, it’s more likely that another provider will follow PreferredOne’s path. PreferredOne essentially said that they can’t make money through MNsure. Why wouldn’t others follow PreferredOne’s lead?

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This Mike McFadden ad hits Al Franken right between his eyes:

Here’s the transcript of the ad:

I’m Mike McFadden and we need an honest debate about our future. [Graphic: Al Franken voted with President Obama 97% of the time, the most partisan senator in America.] I won’t vote 97% with any president or party. [Graphic: Al Franken is rarely seen in Minnesota.] I’ll work for Minnesota, not Washington, not Hollywood. I’m Mike McFadden and I approve this message. Minnesota just can’t afford an invisible senator with invisible results.

That’s a great ad because it turns Sen. Franken’s strategy against him. Thus far, Sen. Franken has worked hard to look like the no nonsense senator who gets things done.

McFadden turns Franken’s carefully crafted image against Franken by rightly characterizing Sen. Franken as an “invisible senator with invisible results.” Franken can’t point to anything where he’s worked with a Republican to bring people together. That’s why he’s the most partisan senator in the US Senate, which is quite a feat considering the fact that Elizabeth Warren is in the same Senate.

Perhaps Franken has kept his head down because of embarassing things like this:

After talking with a Supreme Court nominee about Perry Mason during a confirmation hearing, you only have 2 choices. Either you keep talking about frivolous things like that, which will lead even ardent supporters to stop taking you seriously, or you put your head down and not say anything to anyone until you’ve been re-elected.

Franken chose the latter option. He’s still keeping his head down, avoiding debates with the hope that he won’t embarass himself during a primetime debate that’s televised statewide.

There’s no disputing the fact that Franken has kept his head down. There’s no dispute, either, that Sen. Franken isn’t the brightest bulb in the DFL’s chandelier. He’s kept his head down because it’s the only way he’s avoided damaging himself politically.

If the real Al Franken appeared, Franken’s charade would be over. He isn’t a serious politician. He’s a lightweight who isn’t qualified to solve the biggest problems facing Minnesota and the United States.

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This ad, paid for by the House DFL Caucus, says that Zach Dorholt is “delivering for St. Cloud and the middle class”:

Like I said in this post, the DFL dances to the tune that Education Minnesota tells them to dance to. Zach Dorholt is no different. Like the rest of his DFL colleagues in the House of Representatives, Zach voted against teacher accountability because that’s what Education Minnesota told them to do. Rather than doing what’s right for Minnesota’s students and parents, Zach Dorholt and the DFL decided they couldn’t risk Education Minnesota pulling their campaign contributions or their Get Out The Vote (GOTV) operations.

When it’s a fight between doing what’s right for parents and students or doing what’s right for Education Minnesota, Zach Dorholt and the DFL will always fight for Education Minnesota.

The best way I can illustrate who the DFL fights for is to ask everyone when the last time was that the DFL picked the people instead of picking one of their special interest allies. Take your time. Do your research. Go through all of the DFL’s votes. That includes Zach Dorholt’s votes. Check out their votes in committee. Check out their votes on the GOP’s amendments to bills.

I’d bet that the DFL sided with the people less than 5% of the time when it was a fight between the people and one of the DFL’s special interest allies.

Let’s take this from the theoretical to the concrete. At their State Convention, did the DFL side with the blue collar workers of the Iron Range or the Twin Cities plutocrats and trust fund babies on mining? Did Dorholt and the DFL side with the women who ran in-home child care businesses or did they side with their friends in the SEIU and AFSCME instead?

The simple answer is that the DFL didn’t side with blue collar miners or the women who run in-home child care businesses. The DFL took the side of their special interest allies. Not once but twice. Unfortunately, those weren’t the only times that Zach Dorholt and the DFL didn’t take the people’s side.

In the spring of 2013, convenience stores lobbied the DFL legislature not to raise the cigarette tax, saying that raising the cigarette tax would hurt convenience stores on the Minnesota borders with North Dakota or Wisconsin. Zach Dorholt and the DFL couldn’t resist the ideological pull. They raised the cigarette tax, which led to Minnesotans driving to North Dakota or Wisconsin to buy their cigarettes.

Thanks to Zach Dorholt’s and the DFL’s decisions, middle class Minnesotans are getting squeezed. Despite significant increases in LGA and school funding, people’s property tax bills are going up. The jobs created during the time when the DFL controlled the entire state government are mostly part-time jobs or they’re low-paying jobs.

The unemployment rate on the Iron Range is 64.3% higher than the statewide average, thanks mostly to policies advocated for by environmental activists.

Zach Dorholt and the DFL are delivering. Unfortunately, they’re delivering for Education Minnesota and their other special interest allies, not for the middle class.

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This DFL ad attacks Jeff Johnson because the DFL doesn’t want parents to know that Gov. Dayton supports Education Minnesota more than he supports students:

Here’s the transcript from the DFL’s mean-spirited ad:

I think a lot of Minnesotans don’t know what Jeff Johnson stands for. It seems like schools are not Jeff Johnson’s priority. Jeff Johnson cut early childhood spending. That really bothers me. Any cuts to that would be devastating for our family. Our kids are our future so how could you do that? I would hate to see Minnesota take a step backwards in education. Students in the state of Minnesota deserve far better than that. I trust Mark Dayton. We think Gov. Dayton is the right choice for moving Minnesota’s schools forward.

That’s what I’d expect from the DFL and Education Minnesota. Everything in the DFL’s ad is about spending. There’s nothing in it about teacher quality.

That’s because Education Minnesota won’t let the DFL talk about teacher quality. In 2011, the Republican legislature passed a bill that required high school math teachers to pass a basic skills test. A year later, 4 high school math teachers for the Sauk Rapids-Rice school district got waivers from the Dayton administration’s Education Department because they couldn’t pass the basic skills test.

The DFL and Education Minnesota have always been about spending. They’ve never focused on teacher quality. There’s proof of that in what the all-DFL government (House, Senate and Gov. Dayton) did the minute they took control. At the request of Education Minnesota, the all-DFL government repealed the Dayton-signed basic skills test for teachers. That required Gov. Dayton’s signature.

That’s proof that Gov. Dayton was for teacher accountability before Education Minnesota told him he was against teacher accountability. This isn’t news. I first highlighted Education Minnesota’s domination of the DFL in this post from 2010.

The DFL’s ad could’ve been written by Education Minnesota. The DFL is the puppet. EdMinn is the DFL’s puppetmaster. That the DFL would regurgitate EdMinn’s chanting points is both predictable and disgusting.

Finally, the DFL’s ad is BS. Jeff Johnson didn’t cut K-12 spending. He just didn’t increase it as much as EdMinn wanted it increased. Jeff Johnson is committed to shrinking Minnesota’s achievement gap, something that Gov. Dayton and EdMinn have utterly failed at.

Parents want improving results. EdMinn wants more money. Thus far, EdMinn has gotten their money. Thanks to EdMinn’s efforts to stop teacher accountability, parents haven’t seen improving results.

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The highest profile pipeline project in the nation is the Keystone XL Pipeline project. While Republicans have fought for the building of the Keystone XL Pipeline, that isn’t the only pipeline project being delayed by environmental activists. This article highlights the impact the anti-pipelines activists are having in outstate Minnesota:

Railroads will be the key to winter heat as propane becomes a dicier commodity to secure. Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton recommended pre-paying for propane supplies to eliminate the uncertainty of rising prices later this winter.

But that’s not an option for some people in Park Rapids.

“I can’t afford to take the chance,” said Steve Olafson, who owns the Skelgas service in Park Rapids and ended his “pre-buy” program this year. Last year he found his business trying to fill pre-paid orders for $1.54 per gallon at $5 per gallon.

First, this shows how little thought went into Gov. Dayton’s recommendation. Gov. Dayton automatically thought that businesses wouldn’t react to higher prices and losing money. Mr. Olafson, the businessman who would get hurt by price increases, decided he isn’t willing to lose money on the pre-paid plan. That’s why he eliminated that as an option for customers.

Gov. Dayton’s ‘plan’ was more of a gimmick aimed at hiding a problem create by his political allies in the environmental movement. Environmental activists have waged war on building pipelines, whether it’s the Keystone XL Pipeline or the proposed pipeline from the Bakken to refineries in Superior, WI.

The solution is to build the pipelines. The minute that those pipelines are built, railcar availability will improve dramatically. Those things won’t happen, though, if Gov. Dayton is Minnesota’s governor. The environmental activist wing of the DFL won’t tolerate it.

The railroad capacity issue won’t change until Minnesota has a governor who will stand up to the environmental activists. That will trigger hardships for tons of Minnesotans, including farmers who can’t get their crops to market, homeowners who will get hit with paying way too much for propane and Iron Rangers who can’t get their ore to the steelmakers in a timely fashion.

The DFL insists that they’re fighting for the little guy. That’s BS. I’ve just highlighted how they’re shafting farmers and laborers, the F and L in DFL. The truth is that the DFL is fighting tirelessly for the environmental activist wing of their party.

The DFL is fighting tirelessly for the environmental activists because that’s the dominant wing of their party. Most of the leaders of that wing of the party are plutocrats and trust fund babies who don’t give a damn about Iron Rangers and farmers.

But I digress.

The DFL created this rail capacity crisis. Now they’re pretending to look for the solution, with pretending being the key word. If the DFL was truly interested in solving this crisis, they’d start building pipelines.

Unfortunately, the DFL won’t do that because they won’t stand up to the environmental activist wing of their party.

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This article shows how the environmental left uses the regulation process to kill good-paying construction jobs:

“We don’t see where anyone’s actually said, ‘yes, you have the need to go forward. We want you to go forward, and now let’s find a place to go forward,'” said attorney Frank Bibeau, representing Honor the Earth.

Bibeau argued that a certificate of need should be requested.

“If you do the certificate of need, then we at least know we have to do a project,” said Bibeau. “Right now we’ve got everybody alarmed, and we’re worried about who else we might alarm just because we’re not sure what we’re going to do.”

Ultimately, the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission sided with Bibeau and Honor the Earth, killing high-paying construction jobs. Thanks to Honor the Earth’s stunt, railroad capacity will continue to be limited, meaning farmers’ crops won’t get to market in a timely fashion:

Supporters were also quick to point to the problems caused by oil tankers dominating the railway system, and choking out agricultural shipments like grain.

Earlier this week, Gov. Dayton held discussions about how to get those grain shipments moving and to improve railroad safety. The simple solution is building pipelines.

Environmental activists apparently don’t care that farmers and construction workers are getting hurt by their scorched earth tactics. Environmental activists are the dominant part of the DFL in Minnesota and Democrats nationwide. They’ve figured out a way to shaft the F and the L in the DFL, aka farmers and laborers.

It’s time those parts of the DFL to notice that they’re getting shafted by the DFL. Why should farmers continue to support the DFL? Environmentalists continually lobby to heap regulation upon regulation on family farmers. Those same environmental activists continually shut down major construction projects.

The DFL continually talks about how important farmers and laborers are to the DFL. Unfortunately, their actions show how they’re dominated by the environmental activists’ agenda. That’s why farmers and laborers should question the DFL this election season.

Specifically, they should ask the DFL ‘what’ve you done for me lately’? It’s an especially legitimate question after the stunt that Honor the Earth and the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission pulled Thursday.

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Yesterday, Martin launched a hissy fit yesterday that would make a 5-year-old proud. Here’s the heart of Martin’s histrionics:

On Tuesday, Martin also accused Johnson of being disingenuous about his connection to the Tea Party.

“This is a question of character,” said Martin. Martin said Johnson was trying to “reinvent” himself post-primary. “It’s the hypocrisy. It’s the lying. It’s the misleading,” Martin said.

As proof, Martin shared a video of Johnson saying on Tuesday that he had not asked for the Tea Party’s endorsement and questioning whether the Tea Party even endorses. The DFL compared that to a video of Johnson at an April Tea Party meeting in which he says, “I would be truly honored to earn your support and endorsement in this race.”

It’s utterly disgusting to hear Martin and the DFL to lecture anyone on character. They’re the party that stole 11 Senate elections by breaking well-established campaign finance laws:

The Minnesota campaign finance agency on Tuesday slapped the Minnesota DFL Senate campaign with a $100,000 fine improperly coordinating 2012 campaign mailings with candidates.

The result of investigation and settlement talks that lasted more than a year, the fine is one of the largest ever levied in Minnesota for campaign violations. The penalty stems from candidates and the party committee violating rules that ban coordination between independent spending and what is controlled by a candidate.

How dare Martin now question Jeff Johnson’s character after turning a blind eye toward his party’s candidates breaking the law. In fact, Chairman Martin’s statement in the aftermath of this fine shouts that he isn’t a man of integrity:

“Ultimately, it is best to set this distraction aside and allow our members to focus on governing,” Martin said.

Chairman Martin dares challenge Jeff Johnson’s character after saying that intentionally breaking well-established campaign finance to steal elections is a “distraction”? That won’t cut it with me, Chairman Martin. Shame on you for saying that the stealing of 11 state senat elections is a “distraction.”

Ken Martin’s job this election is to distract attention away from the disastrous Dayton-DFL jobs creation statistics, the impending Dayton-DFL deficit, the DFL’s insistance on stopping mining and the continuing MNsure disaster. Thus far, he’s doing a terrible job of distracting attention away from those things.

These accusations are the just the latest attempt to pull attention away from Gov. Dayton’s inability to pay attention long enough to govern. That’s something Tom Horner highlighted in his endorsing statement:

Time and again, Mark Dayton has bucked responsibility for unpopular decisions or failures—how many times, for instance, have we heard Dayton say he didn’t know a provision was in a bill?

Gov. Dayton lost track of tons of things over the last 4 years. He forgot that he negotiated a sales tax on farm equipment repairs into the tax bill he signed into law. He forgot that he negotiated a personal seat license provision into the Vikings stadium bill that he signed. Gov. Dayton forgot that kids who mowed lawns on a weekly basis would have to pay sales tax on their earnings.

Finally, before he became DFL Chairman Martin, Ken Martin was part of the biggest smear campaign in Minnesota gubernatorial history. How dare he now accuse others of not being men of integrity.

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This LTE takes DFL dishonesty to a new low. About 2 weeks ago, Jim Knoblach wrote an op-ed that a recent mailer he sent out was justified in including past endorsements because he identified them as past endorsements. This LTE attempts to make the case that the mailer is misleading:

Former Rep. Jim Knoblach wrote Aug. 25 ( “Endorsement note was reasonable”) saying he felt he was reasonable in listing prior endorsements on a campaign mailing.

I feel he was being deceptive. Upon looking at this mailing, Knoblach also listed receiving the Minnesota Police & Peace Officers Association and the Minnesota Association of Professional Employees endorsements. Those are both associations that have already endorsed our Rep. Zach Dorholt for this election.

While the brochure is correct in saying that they are “past endorsements,” it comes off that these are endorsements he expects to receive again, not endorsements that he is not even going to try and attain this election.

What this DFL hatchetman is talking about is anyone’s guess. First, he says that Jim Knoblach’s LTE is “deceptive.” I’d love hearing that explanation, especially considering the fact that Knoblach identified them as “past endorsements.” Apparently, this DFL activist/hatchetman was confused by Jim Knoblach’s honesty. Perhaps, Jim was too honest for this DFL hatchetman to understand.

If a candidate tells the truth, it isn’t the candidate’s fault that the DFL activist reading the LTE didn’t comprehend what was said. That’s the reader’s fault.

If this is the type of deceptive campaigning Knoblach is going to run this fall, it is not one that I want to represent me in St. Paul. I wholeheartedly hope all of you will vote for Zach Dorholt, as he has been nothing but honest in his campaign and in St. Paul.

First, the writer can’t figure out what the phrase “past endorsements” means. Then he accuses Jim Knoblach of running a deceptive campaign. This DFL activist should be criticized for lying through his teeth. I don’t believe for a split-second that this DFL activist is that stupid.

I’ve known Jim Knoblach for years. He’s one of the most honest people I’ve ever met. Accusing Jim of running a “deceptive campaign” is taking it too far. As I said earlier, Jim communicated clearly that he’d gotten endorsed by the MPPOA and MAPE in the past. If this DFL activist wants to push this as deceptive campaigning, then he’d better have a better argument than this because this is feeble. I’m definitely not ok with people dishonestly accusing an honest man with running a “deceptive campaign.”

In fact, I’d argue that Mike Lawson, the guy who wrote the LTE, is the dishonest person in all this.

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Over the weekend, Gov. Dayton’s apologists twisted themselves into virtual pretzels in their attempt to justify Gov. Dayton’s not doing any high profile debates. Chief amongst those apologists was Ember Reichgott-Junge, who virtually twisted herself into a pretzel while attempting to justify Gov. Dayton’s unwillingness to agree to any high profile debates.

The following are the five debates Johnson and Dayton have agreed to participate in:

Coalition of Greater MN Cities/Rochester Post-Bulletin/Rochester Chamber of Commerce, Wednesday, October 1, 3:30-4:30 p.m., Rochester
Forum News Service/WDAY TV Wednesday, October 8, 7:00-8:30 p.m., Moorhead
Duluth News Tribune/Duluth Chamber of Commerce Tuesday, October 14, Duluth, 8:00 a.m., Duluth
KMSP/FOX 9, Hamline University Sunday, October 19, 9:00-10:00 a.m., St. Paul
TPT/Almanac Friday, October 31, 7:00-8:00 p.m., St. Paul

There isn’t a high profile debate in the bunch. Normally, the Duluth debate would grab the biggest audience. It won’t this time because it’s scheduled for 8am on a Tuesday morning.

KSTP, KMSP, KARE11 and WCCO should announce that they’re taping these debates, then replaying them that evening. We The People should demand that candidates that want our vote participate in high profile debates that are a) broadcast statewide and b) held in the evening to attract the biggest audiences possible.

Further, we should demand that journalists who aren’t afraid to ask the candidates tough questions be the panelists. That eliminates DFL apologists like Esme Murphy, Cathy Wurzer and Eric Eskola. (I’m sure Mitch can think of others that fit that description.) I’d also recommend that thoughtful bloggers like Ed Morrissey, Scott Johnson and John Hinderaker be panelists. Throw in traditional journalists like Bill Hanna, Don Davis and Tom Hauser and we’d have some fine debates.

Minnesotans have always prided themselves on the level of civic participation by its citizens. When career politicians refuse to answer tough questions from serious journalists, We The People don’t just have the right to question what that politician is afraid of. We The People have the obligation to question what that politician is afraid of.

I strongly suspect that Gov. Dayton will have a difficult time answering questions about his economic policies, the MNsure disaster and how incompetent his Department of Human Services have been in administering the MinnesotaCare program and manually changing health insurance policies to “life events” like having children, changes of addresses or marital status and others.

Gov. Dayton’s handlers/apologists want to limit Gov. Dayton’s exposure. They want to limit the damage that would come from high profile scrutiny versus an intelligent adversary. It’s easy to picture Jeff Johnson questioning Gov. Dayton’s statements on the health of Minnesota’s economy or what a great thing MNsure is. It’s easy picturing Jeff Johnson’s sharp pictures of how Minnesota’s economy isn’t nearly as good as Gov. Dayton and his apologists claim.

It’s natural for Gov. Dayton’s apologists to do everything to hide his weaknesses. That’s their job. It’s the people’s job, though, to demand a series of high profile debates.

Finally, it’s time to tell Gov. Dayton’s apologists that watching Gov. Dayton give a scripted speech to a group limited to top partisans isn’t the same as seeing 2 candidates go toe-to-toe, challenging each other. A scripted speech requires a speechwriter and a teleprompter. To win a lively debate between adversaries requires a candidate with a strong grasp of the issues and the ability to think on their feet.

Gov. Dayton is missing both of those attributes.

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