Archive for the ‘DFL’ Category

Gov. Dayton, Sen. Bakk and the DFL in general are upset that Republicans want to include long-term relief for the Iron Range in a special session. The DFL insists that the time to deal with that is during a regular session. Their problem is that Sen. Bakk wants to use the special session to address challenges facing the black community in Minnesota.

Gov. Dayton agrees with Sen. Bakk on that, saying “Sen. Bakk rightly expressed the urgency of the challenges facing communities of color in Minnesota. I thank Sen. Bakk and his caucus for their leadership. I agree that any special session concerning the economic hardships of steelworkers on the Iron Range should also begin to address the serious economic disparities facing black Minnesotans.”

The article says that “Jeffrey Hayden, who is one of three black state lawmakers, says the Legislature could provide job training grants for minority workers or start-up money for black entrepreneurs. The AP says it could also provide incentives to encourage businesses to hire minority employees.”

By definition, that means the DFL’s plans for addressing “challenges facing communities of color” is old-fashioned throwing money at a valued special interest group without fixing the underlying problem. It’s the DFL’s version of saying ‘here’s some money. Vote for us, then go away.’

Gov. Dayton and the DFL say that special sessions shouldn’t be about working out long-term solutions for economically-depressed parts of the state. Republicans should say that special sessions shouldn’t include spending money on the DFL’s special interest allies.

Prof. Mark Jaede has a lengthy history of being a DFL activist/operative. I first came face-to-face with it during the state government shutdown in 2011 but I’d heard of Jaede’s activism before that. This year, Prof. Jaede has taken his activism to a new level when Prof. Jaede complained publicly about this LTE. Specifically, Prof. Jaede complained that the St. Cloud Times editorial started by asking “Why are Muslim leaders silent?” in the aftermath of the Paris terrorist attacks. Later in the editorial, the writer got more specific, saying that there “has been no such response from Muslim leaders around the world to express their condemnation of terrorism and to let the global community know the difference between the religion of Islam and extremism.”

Yesterday, Prof. Jaede posted something to SCSU’s discuss listserv. In his post to the discuss listserv, Prof. Jaede admitted that he’d done “something I have never done before. I wrote to a newspaper asking them to take down a letter to the editor.” Here’s Prof. Jaede’s letter to the St. Cloud Times:

I am writing in regard to the above-referenced letter that appeared today in the online edition of the Times.

The letter is not merely an opinion piece. It makes a claim of fact that is patently false. Muslims all over the world have denounced the terrorism of ISIS. Muslim leaders here in St. Cloud have denounced it, and the Times has printed their statements. Why would you print this letter when you know it to be both false and likely to further anti-Muslim bigotry in our area? And why have the comments been turned off? Responsible readers can’t even point out the falsehoods.

Much as I have disagreed with many opinion pieces in the Times, I have never before been moved to write to object to the publication of a piece. This letter crosses the line. It goes beyond free speech to libel against an entire religious community.

Please take it down, or at least publish a disclaimer pointing out the falsehood of its central claim.

Mark Jaede
St. Cloud

It’s one thing to ask a newspaper to “at least publish a disclaimer” highlighting the inaccuracies of the LTE. It’s another to ask a newspaper to unpublish an article that’s been posted on their website. That’s called censorship, which is prohibited by the First Amendment. Prof. Jaede said that “this letter crosses the line” by going “beyond free speech to libel against an entire religious community.” The remedy for crossing that line isn’t to censor the writer. It’s to impeach them with your own LTE.

Methinks it’s time for Prof. Jaede to refresh his understanding of the First Amendment.

According to this KSTP article, the Republican Party of Minnesota is terminating a “social media manager” is being fired for referring to a “Negro problem” on Twitter. Predictably, DFL Party Chair Ken Martin called the comments “racist and bigoted”. Martin expressed outrage even though the person who published the tweet is getting terminated.

Rather than defending that offensive comment, I’ll simply highlight the fact that the DFL doesn’t have the right to take the moral high ground on this issue. I wrote this post after the Supreme Court’s ruling on the Voting Rights Act. It’s helpful to highlight the fact that the DFL has racists, too. That’s because Rep. Ryan Winkler was a rising star in the DFL up until that morning. Prior to the morning that the Supreme Court issued its ruling, Rep. Winkler was a leading candidate for Secretary of State. After that ruling, Winkler thought he’d get a little cute with his tweets. That’s why he published this tweet:

Winkler thought that it was clever to call Clarence Thomas an “Uncle Thomas.” When Winkler graduated from college, his degree was in history. That’s noteworthy because Winkler’s non-apology apology said that he didn’t “did not understand ‘Uncle Tom’ as a racist term, and there seems to be some debate about it.” Nobody with common sense believes that Winkler didn’t know that Uncle Tom was a pejorative.

Shortly after posting that tweet, Rep. Winkler issued a statement saying that he was withdrawing his name from consideration to be the DFL-endorsed candidate for Secretary of State. Since then, Rep. Winkler resigned from the legislature.

The point is that the DFL is just as capable of being a bigot as the Republicans are.

Lots of people, including some journalists, think that Sen. Bakk is pro-mining. He might be but there’s a respectable case that can be made that he’s a tepid supporter of mining. Brian Bakst’s article says that “Bakk is a leading legislative proponent of the PolyMet copper-nickel mine.” Look at what he’s done to push for making PolyMet a reality. Better yet, let’s see what Sen. Bakk hasn’t done to make PolyMet a reality.

Let’s start by determining which side Sen. Bakk is on. Bakk said “I just want to take as long as it systematically takes in order to get those permits awarded. And I should want it expedited more than anybody else.” That’s a weasel-word quote. Let’s be clear. Sen. Bakk hasn’t lifted a finger to streamline the permitting process. Likewise, Sen. Bakk hasn’t criticized Gov. Dayton for proposing another review of PolyMet, this time by the Minnesota Department of Health. Thus far, the MPCA and the DNR have required environmental impact studies. Then special interests have requested a programmatic environmental impact statement. Now, they’re pushing for the MDH to do another EIS, supposedly to determine whether PolyMet would cause any health issues.

What’s really happening is that environmental activists are using the current regulatory system to delay the building of PolyMet. Then there’s this insane statement:

[Bakk] said any actual or perceived shortcuts “could potentially weaken the state’s position in a lawsuit.” Environmental groups, who are wary of the new kind of mining, have signaled they’ll explore litigation if permits are granted.

That strains credibility. Environmental activists have their lawsuits ready to file. This isn’t a case of them waiting to see how things go before determining whether to file a lawsuit. It’s a matter of waiting for the most opportune time to file their lawsuit. I’d be surprised if they don’t have the lawsuits written. Likewise, I’d be surprised if other like-minded organizations don’t already have their friend of the court briefs written.

Why isn’t regulatory reform a priority for the DFL? This isn’t about whether these projects will get reviewed. It’s a matter of whether they’ll get reviewed into oblivion. Reviewing PolyMet for 10 years isn’t justice. It isn’t being thorough. It’s attrition through regulation and litigation. Sen. Bakk has essentially defended an unjust status quo system.

Defending a system that favors the special interests over hard-working blue collar workers isn’t justice. It’s the epitome of injustice.

Saying that Sen. Bakk is a pro-mining advocate is questionable. His inactions say otherwise.

Tonight, I was stunned and disgusted when Sen. Bakk told the Almanac Roundtable panel what he hoped would come from the possible special session. I was especially startled when Sen. Bakk said “I lived through the 1981 downturn on the Range when waves and waves and waves of Iron Rangers moved to the northern suburbs and had to settle there when most of the mines had to shut down. We’re on the cusp of this again this time and I think that the state coming to their aid and giving them extended unemployment benefits, to give those families some time to make some decisions and maybe get a little closer to see if our federal government will act as some of this unfairly traded steel is coming into this country just to build a bridge for those families because once they run out of unemployment, they’re in a situation of probably having to relocate their families.”

There wasn’t anything in his statement that talked about rebuilding the Iron Range economy. There wasn’t anything in his statement that talked about turning the Iron Range’s economic slide around. His sole focus was on giving families more time to relocate out of his district and Sen. Tomassoni’s district.

The Republican panelists tonight were Sen. David Hann and House Majority Leader Joyce Peppin. The DFL panelists were Sen. Bakk and Rep. Thissen. When Majority Leader Peppin talked about finding a long-term solution to the Iron Range’s economic problems, House Minority Leader Thissen said that that isn’t what special sessions should be about, that that’s what regular sessions should be about.

It’s beyond ironic that Rep. Thissen, Sen. Bakk, Gov. Dayton and the DFL legislature didn’t lift a finger to provide a long-term solution for the Iron Range when there were DFL majorities in the House and Senate and a DFL governor. It’s almost as if the Iron Range was an afterthought, something to worry about only during election years.

When Majority Leader Peppin talked about Gov. Dayton ordering another environmental review, this time involving the Minnesota Department of Health, and cutting through the red tape, Sen. Bakk criticized her, saying that taking a “shortcut” would hurt them when the inevitable lawsuits came. Sen. Bakk didn’t consider the possibility of transforming Minnesota’s environmental review process so that the review is thorough but that it doesn’t last 10-15 years to complete.

This is proof that the DFL’s top priorities are appeasing the environmental activist obstructionists, growing government and appeasing the Metro DFL. They haven’t proven that they care about Iron Range families. Sen. Bakk admitted as much.

I wrote here that the poverty rate is 18% in Hibbing and 24.1% in Virginia. To have Sen. Bakk essentially give up on a once-prosperous region is beyond sad. It’s disgusting.

Tim Pugmire’s article is an attempt to make it sound like Republicans oppose a special session. Nothing is further from the truth. When Pugmire wrote “Minnesota House Republicans threw cold water on a proposed special session Thursday, saying DFL Gov. Mark Dayton’s plan to help laid-off steelworkers doesn’t go far enough,” the intention was to suggest that Republicans oppose a special session. The opposite is true. First, Speaker Daudt “did not rule out the possibility of a special session.” It’s just that Daudt thinks “an extension of unemployment benefits is only a ‘short-term band aid,'” which it is.

Speaker Daudt is right in saying “We want to make sure that the jobs on the Range are long-term and sustainable, and frankly what these folks really want isn’t extended unemployment benefits. They want their job back. So, we want to figure out how to do that.”

It’s clear that the DFL isn’t serious about fixing the Iron Range’s economic structural deficiencies. They’ve had 30 years to fix the Range economy. They’ve failed miserably. That’s indisputable. According to the latest census information for Hibbing, which was for 2009-2013, their median household income was $38,077 and their poverty rate was 18%. Think about that last statistic. Almost one in five people in Hibbing lives below the federal poverty line. The statewide poverty rate is 11.5%, which is virtually half of what it is in Hibbing.

The sad truth is that Hibbing is prosperous compared with Virginia. Virginia’s median household income for 2009-2013 was $32,850. Virginia’s poverty rate was a whopping 24.1%. Accepting a poverty rate of one in four is downright immoral.

The difference between Speaker Daudt and the GOP and Gov. Dayton and the DFL is that the DFL wants to spend money on a short-term fix without fixing the underlying problem. Republicans actually want to fix the problem. If Mr. Pugmire thinks that fixing a problem is a poison pill that the DFL won’t accept, he should say that directly.

Personally, I’d argue that Speaker Daudt and the GOP have exposed the DFL as being the party that doesn’t want to solve big problems.

When it comes to spending money without producing solutions, Sen. Bakk is an expert. He’s even got Gov. Dayton on his side in his fight to spend taxpayers’ money on his latest agenda item. Sen. Bakk thinks that it’s important to “also address Minnesota’s persistent racial inequities” during a potential special session.

Apparently, Sen. Bakk thinks it’s important to extend unemployment benefits “for miners experiencing long-term unemployment” and to “address Minnesota’s persistent racial inequities” without insisting that the Public Utilities Commission approve the building of the Sandpiper pipeline. Building the Sandpiper Pipeline project would actually employ people but that apparently isn’t a priority for Sen. Bakk.

Building Bakk’s Palace was a priority but getting PolyMet’s permits wasn’t Sen. Bakk’s priority. Has he lifted a finger to tell the Minnesota Department of Health to butt out of the PolyMet process? Of course he hasn’t and he won’t because the environmental activist wing of the DFL, which is the dominant wing of the DFL, won’t let him win that fight.

Everyone on the Range knows that the Department of Health study is just latest tactic the environmental activists have employed in their attempt to prevent the creation of good-paying Iron Range jobs. When’s the last time Sen. Bakk fought the environmental activists and won anything longlasting for the mining industry? If you guessed that dinosaurs walked the earth the last time Sen. Bakk fought the environmental activists and won anything longlasting for the mining industry, you wouldn’t be wrong.

The hard-working people of the Iron Range don’t need someone that fights for them. That just takes a temper. What they need is a political party that’ll fight and win for them. Thus far, they’ve resisted that. Hopefully, they’ll get smart and change their voting habits soon. Their families’ financial well-being is at stake.

Sen. Bakk is a typical DFL politician. First, he either creates a problem with terrible policies or he just sits idly by while things deteriorate, then comes rushing in to fix the problem that he created or that he didn’t give a shit about until it was a crisis.

What the Iron Range needs is a legislative delegation that put the Range’s prosperity at the top of their priority list. They don’t have that right now.

There was never any doubt that Gov. Dayton, (DFL-MN), would accept Syrian refugees. That hasn’t prevented state legislators from raising legitimate concerns about President Obama’s Syrian refugee plan. Gov. Dayton quickly said that he’d accept Syrian refugees. In making that announcement, he regurgitated the administration’s chanting points, saying “I have been assured by the White House that all refugees are subject to the highest level of security checks of any category of traveler to the United States.”

That’s actually a telling quote. A security check for a person flying into the United States only requires checking for a weapon, then cross-checking the terrorist watch lists. A security check for someone who’s coming here to live is quite a bit more extensive than that.

After announcing that he’d accept Syrian refugees, Gov. Dayton said “the calls from state governors to ban Syrian refugees were ‘ludicrous’ and political posturing.” That’s administration spin. The truth is that Republican governors are raising a legitimate question about whether some of the people claiming to be refugees are ISIS terrorists.

Right now, the plan is for 10,000 Syrian refugees to be admitted into the US. Let’s say that the State Department verifies that they’re all legitimate refugees but then we learn that 3% of them are actually ISIS terrorists. That’s 300 potential terrorists that President Obama admitted into the United States in the name of humanitarianism. That’s almost 40 terrorist teams potentially.

Next, it’s important that we know 8 terrorists killed 129 people in Paris last Friday night. Next after that, it’s unlikely that the error rate will only be 3%. It’s been verified that 75% of the potential refugees are young men of the age that normally go into the military. Gov. Dayton and the Obama administration should consider the possibility that a high percentage of those ‘refugees’ are terrorists.

Rep. Jim Newberger got it exactly right when he said “The safety of our citizens is the first priority of any government body. In light of the tragic events in Paris I believe we need (to) join many of the other states in the union and stop of the flow of refugees until we can absolutely assure the safety of our own citizens.”

I won’t be polite. If there’s a terrorist attack in Minnesota, the blood will be on Gov. Dayton’s and President Obama’s hands.

Dan Kimmel, I didn’t even get the chance to know and harass you. Now you’re gone for saying something similar to what Palestinians say all the time. Palestinians have said that one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter. It’s a ridiculous statement that isn’t rooted in the truth but it’s something that Palestinian leaders have said the last twenty years.

What Kimmel said that got him run out of the race is that “ISIS isn’t necessarily evil. It is made up of people who are doing what they think is best for their community. Violence is not the answer, though.”

DFL Party Chair Ken Martin issued this statement, saying “Earlier tonight a candidate for the Minnesota House made comments that do not reflect the views of the Minnesota DFL and have no place in our party. On behalf of the Minnesota DFL, I strongly condemn his comments. I ask Dan Kimmel to apologize to all the families who have been torn apart by the terrorist organization and their senseless violence. In this time of enormous grief, we shouldn’t be making excuses for this barbaric behavior.”

Make up your mind, Chairman Martin. Is ISIS more evil than Iran? If you think they are, explain how ISIS is more evil than Iran. Iran has staged terrorist attacks against Lebanese Christians and Israeli Jews. Israel deals with terrorist attacks virtually every day, thanks in large part to one Iran proxy (Hezbollah) or another (Hamas/Palestinians).

This can’t be emphasized enough. ISIS is evil. Its reach has just extended to Paris, where the city and the nation are grieving. Still, are the tears of France more sincere than the tears shed daily in Israel?

The DFL did the right thing from a PR standpoint but that’s it. They still have a terrorist sympathizer problem that they haven’t substantively dealt with. This isn’t nearly enough:

Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk isn’t having fun, thanks in large part to Senate Republicans and Senate Minority Leader David Hann. Sen. Bakk is insisting that Republicans move into Bakk’s Palace, the building Sen. Bakk shoved down taxpayers’ throats in the 2013 Tax Bill in the dead of night the last weekend of session without going through the committee process. It didn’t go through the committee process intentionally because Bakk didn’t want it to be scrutinized by anyone.

Now, Sen. Bakk is attempting to play hardball, insisting that “other state entities need Republicans’ current quarters in the State Office Building.” Senate Minority Leader Hann isn’t buying, saying “if that’s the case, Bakk should say who is it and when they’re going to move, ‘because that’s all news to us.'”

What’s especially laughable is that Bakk calls their refusal to move “short-term political gamesmanship.” The truth is that Sen. Bakk doesn’t like it when GOP legislators shine the spotlight on Bakk’s Palace, my nickname for the new Senate Building. Bakk doesn’t like the attention because he’s trying to maintain his majority through the 2016 election. When House Republicans highlighted the House DFL’s support for Bakk’s Palace, they lost their majority.

When people take a look at Bakk’s Palace, Republicans will remind them that Democrats voted to raise taxes on citizens, which paid for the $90,000,000 building. They’ll also remind citizens that the DFL also voted to dramatically raise the pay of Gov. Dayton’s commissioners.

Sen. Bakk should stop worrying about political gamesmanship. He should start worrying about the DFL’s legislative history since the last election. Then he should kiss his majority status goodbye.