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Al Franken’s fundraising e-letters are getting more dishonest by the day. This is Franken’s latest dishonest e-letter fundraising appeal:

Dear Cindy,

There are tell-tale signs when a race is heating up. And all the signs in Minnesota point in that direction.

Polls have been getting closer and closer, prompting the Rothenberg Political Report to take Minnesota off its “safe Democrat” list. Outside money is funding attacks against Al. His opponent’s ads distort Al’s record of fighting for Minnesota families.

By themselves, each of these facts is alarming. Taken together, they can only mean one thing: the GOP is coming after Al big time, and he’ll need our help to fight back.

Team Franken needs to reach $200,000 in the next 3 days, and they’re about $15,000 off the mark right now. Help me help Al by contributing $5, or whatever you can, today.

Al is a middle class champion in the Senate. Which means he’s a special interest nightmare. That’s why a super PAC was formed with just one purpose: attack Al.

And in today’s post-Citizens United politics, where there is one super PAC spending money, there will probably be more.

There’s only one way to successfully beat back outside spending in today’s politics — solid grassroots support. That’s what Al needs right now.

And that’s why I’m writing today, to help Al get the grassroots support he needs and deserves. Give $5 or more to make sure Team Franken reaches $200,000 in the next 3 days.

Reading the signs is easy when you’ve been at it long enough. Fighting back against the special interests is hard.

Thanks for doing your part today.

Donna Brazile

Unles Ms. Brazile is talking about internal Franken polling, she’s lying. I’ve watched this race as closely as anyone who isn’t working for the Franken or McFadden campaigns. I’ve only seen a couple of polls on the race. I wrote this post about the KSTP-SurveyUSA poll, which was done in early June. We’re almost to the end of July. There hasn’t been another public poll since the KSTP-SurveyUSA poll.

For the record, I don’t doubt that it’s still a tight race.

Here’s another blast of dishonesty in this fundraising e-letter:

His opponent’s ads distort Al’s record of fighting for Minnesota families.

Thus far, Mike McFadden’s ads have focused on either policies or his biography. I might’ve missed something but I haven’t even seen any of Team McFadden’s ads mention Franken by name.

More importantly, though, Sen. Franken has fought for middle class families if they live in the Twin Cities. He hasn’t fought for middle class families on the Iron Range. In fact, Sen. Franken ignored the Iron Range on his campaign website and in his acceptance speech at the DFL State Convention in Duluth.

That isn’t the definition of fighting for the middle class on the Iron Range.

Based on what I’ve noticed, I’d say that Franken’s frantic fundraising e-letters specialize in dishonesty and paranoia. I don’t expect that to change anytime soon.

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If there’s a message we should take from this article, it’s that Rick Nolan is an environmentalist first and foremost:

BRAINERD, Minn. — U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan voiced opposition Thursday to Enbridge Energy’s proposed Sandpiper oil pipeline route, which would cut across northern Minnesota.

Citing environmental and economic concerns, the Minnesota Democrat issued a statement in which he spoke of potential threats to environmentally sensitive areas such as wetlands, porous sandy soil, drinking water sources and what he termed some of the cleanest lakes in the state.

Rick Nolan will say anything to not upset environmental activists. Chloe Rockow, Stewart Mills’ communications director, highlighted that in this statement:

“It looks like once again, Rick Nolan wants to have his cake and eat it too,” she said. “We’ve seen too many instances where Rick claims to support projects like Keystone, Polymet, or Twin Metals but then turns around and supports the very regulations that stop them from moving forward. This is just another example of Rick’s extremism stopping a project that could really benefit the 8th Congressional District.”

I’d put things differently. Here’s what I would’ve said: Rick Nolan likes most of these big projects in the theoretical sense. It’s just that Nolan, like most Democrats, won’t pull the trigger so they’d become reality. It’s just that Nolan, like other Metrocrats, aren’t interested in improving people’s lives. They’re more worried about talking a good game.

The truth is that this project would bring lots of jobs to the Eighth District. Another truth is that Nolan, like other Democrats, wants to talk like he supports these projects without supporting these projects. That leads to an important question of great import.

Nolan supposedly supports PolyMet, which, according to environmentalist organizations like Conservation, might pollute entire watershed districts. How can Nolan support the PolyMet mining project but oppose the pipeline project? Further, why would Nolan support rerouting the Enbridge pipeline through important, productive agricultural properties? Is it that he doesn’t put a high priority on agricultural properties?

If the truth was told, it would be that Nolan’s taking his position on Enbridge and his position on PolyMet for purely political reasons. It doesn’t have anything to do with setting solid public policy. That’s why a vote for Rick Nolan is a vote for politics-as-usual in DC.

Minnesotans deserve better than that.

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Jeff Johnson’s interview with Bill Hanna, the editor of the Mesabi Daily News, provided Johnson’s sharpest attack on Gov. Dayton yet. Here’s the heart of Johnson’s criticism:

“I believe strongly that if Dayton wins, PolyMet will not happen. He is getting and responding to great, great pressure from environmentalists. Saw it at the DFL Convention when they got a resolution on copper/nickel tabled,” Johnson said.

I think that’s accurate. Gov. Dayton’s silence is deafening, especially considering the fact that he’s called himself the “jobs governor.” It’s more like he’s the jobs governor as long as it doesn’t interfere with the environmental activists’ anti-mining agenda.

Ken Martin breathed a big sigh of relief when a watered-down pro-mining resolution to the DFL Party Platform was tabled before it came up for debate. Martin was happy because he kept the lid on the major differences between Range Democrats and the Twin Cities ‘Metrocrats’.

In siding with Twin Cities Metrocrats, Gov. Dayton sided with people whose median household income is $63,559. What’s Gov. Dayton’s justification for siding with the Metrocrats rather than siding with people whose median household income is $46,231? There was a time when Democrats stood up for the less fortunate. In this instance, Republicans are fighting for lower income people and the Democrats are fighting for Twin Cities elitists.

Those thinking that that’s just a political cheap shot should notice who serve as Conservation Minnesota’s strategic advisors. There’s no more anti-mining organization than Conservation Minnesota. Most of the people on that list are Twin Cities elitists. That’s who Gov. Dayton has fought for.

“I will do everything I can to get PolyMet and other copper/nickel projects open up here. This has been delayed far too long and the governor helping those delays by being silent. A governor’s silence on a major project like this with so many jobs is deadly.

Gov. Dayton’s leadership on this issue hasn’t existed. He’s hidden in his little cubicle and said nothing about PolyMet. Meanwhile, Gov. Dayton has fought hard for projects like Rochester’s Destination Medical Center and the Vikings stadium in Minneapolis.

Gov. Dayton didn’t hesitate about pushing for those projects. Why hasn’t he shown the same enthusiasm in fighting for the PolyMet project? Is it because the Vikings stadium and DMC were high priorities but PolyMet isn’t one of his priorities? If that’s the case, Gov. Dayton should just admit that jobs in northern Minnesota just aren’t the high priority for him that Twin Cities jobs are.

That’s political suicide but it’s the honest thing to do. Unfortunately, doing the right thing isn’t a priority with Gov. Dayton or the DFL. They’re worried about doing what will keep them in office. Doing what’s right for all of Minnesota isn’t a priority with Gov. Dayton or the DFL.

This was Jeff Johnson’s stiffest attack on Gov. Dayton yet. He’s been the candidate who’s put together a statewide organization. He’s leveled the sharpest criticism against Gov. Dayton. That’s why he was the GOP candidate who did the best against Gov. Dayton in the latest KSTP-SurveyUSA poll.

In this interview, Jeff Johnson didn’t shy from criticizing Gov. Dayton on an important issue. Republicans are looking for a candidate that will take the fight to Gov. Dayton. Jeff Johnson certainly fits that requirement. If miners are paying attention, they’ll know that he’s fighting for them. If they’ve paid attention, they know that Gov. Dayton hasn’t fought for them.

The evidence is clear. Gov. Dayton has been silent on PolyMet. He’s shown that he’ll fight for Twin Cities projects but he won’t fight for the biggest jobs project on the Range. If the Range wants 4 more years of getting ignored, they should vote for Gov. Dayton. If they want high paying jobs, their only choice is Jeff Johnson.

It’s that simple.

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This article isn’t the first time the environmental activist wing of the DFL has criticized Rick Nolan for flip-flopping on mining. I wrote this article in December to highlight the environmental left’s disgust with Nolan. Here’s the noteworthy quote from that December article:

Northern Minnesota is known for its great fishing, so perhaps it’s fitting that tracking 8th District Congressman Rick Nolan’s position on a bill that deregulates the mining industry and fast tracks the permitting process for PolyMet is a bit like watching a fish flopping around on a dock: first he’s against it, then he’s for it and now he once again opposes it, this time promising to vote against the legislation if it “comes anywhere near close to becoming law.”

That’s Rick Nolan’s impersonation of John Kerry’s “I actually voted for it before I voted against it” moment. The environmentalists apparently feel betrayed because they aren’t letting go of the issue:

In last week’s Timberjay, Congressman Rick Nolan tells us that he is in favor of mining, “as long as it’s done right…with good, strong strict rules.” And unlike some other Range politicians, he reassured that he is not in favor of weaker environmental laws.

If only it were so.

Rep. Nolan apparently forgot, or thinks we forgot, about his vote less than a year ago in favor of HR761, the “National Strategic and Critical Minerals Production Act,” which is a fancy name for speeding up the permitting of new mines by taking environmental review, and citizen participation in that review, down a few notches. The bill allows federal agencies to exempt mining projects from review under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). NEPA ensures that everyday citizens can take part in the development and oversight of projects that affect our social, economic, and environmental health. The bill also restricts the ability of individuals and communities to bring suit when government agencies fail to follow the laws intended to protect the environment.

How extreme is this bill? The highly partisan vote in the House of Representatives tells the story. Only 15 Democrats of the 193 that voted were in favor of the bill, while all 291 Republicans that voted were in favor of it. Fifty-six of 58 cosponsors were Republicans, and included environmental luminaries like Michele Bachmann.

Regardless of where you sit on mining issues, everyone should be able to agree that we want a Congressman we can trust. And you can’t do that when they say one thing and do the opposite, as Rep. Nolan appears to be doing on mining issues. We deserve better.

Steve Wilson
Tower, Minn.

Clearly, Mr. Wilson isn’t alone in saying Nolan can’t be trusted. Here’s what Jesse Peterson said at a climate change event at UMD:

The reaction of the those who gathered in Bohannon Hall on that Saturday afternoon is perhaps best summed up by 32-year-old Jesse Peterson, who characterized Nolan’s responses and actions with respect to HR 761 as “incredibly deceptive and reflecting a willingness to be phony.”

While it’s true Nolan has gotten dragged kicking and screaming to a pro-mining view, that isn’t the same as saying he’s unconditionally pro-mining. Nolan is pro-mining until the next time he needs to raise money from environmentalists or until Nancy Pelosi tell him she needs his vote to block the construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline. That’s hardly what a steadfast pro-mining congresscritter does. That’s what a political chameleon does to get past the next election.

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Jay Kolls’ article highlights the Department of Human Services’ incompetence:

The Minnesota Department of Human Services sent 3,000 letters to homes of MinnesotaCare recipients who may have received incorrect monthly billing statements after they applied for health coverage through MNsure, the state’s new health care exchange. The letter tells those recipients the bills may have been wrong for several months, but they encouraged those clients to keep paying the bills anyway.

It’s ironic (and infuriating) that the Department of Human Services quickly sent out letters to MinnesotaCare applicant to keep paying their insurance premiums but they’re still working on sending out the letters to people who applied for MinnesotaCare but didn’t submit all of the paperwork that’s required for application approval.

Put a little differently, Dayton’s Department of Human Services wants its money ASAP but it isn’t that interested in getting MinnesotaCare applicants insured.

That’s a terrible priority to set.

State Sen. Michelle Benson, (R) Ham Lake, sits on the MNsure Legislative Oversight Committee. She says the MNsure vendors still play a role in this problem even though the billing is handled by DHS.

“If a private company told its clients to keep paying monthly health insurance premiums even if they might be incorrect, the Minnesota Department of Commerce would come in and clean house,” Benson said.

In addition to the Department of Commerce getting involved, it isn’t a stretch to think that Lori Swanson, Minnesota’s Attorney General, might start an investigation if a private company did this.

MNsure representatives did not want to do an on-camera interview with us because DHS handles all of its billing practices.

DHS officials also declined to comment on-camera but issued a statement that says, in part, “We are working with our IT staff and MNsure vendors to correct these issues, and MinnesotaCare coverage for those households remains in place.”

It isn’t surprising that the Dayton administration didn’t want to answer KSTP’s questions. They’re probably thinking that the last thing they want is to subject themselves to tough questions about a difficult situation.

With MNsure certain to not work again when this year’s open enrollment period begins and with the Dayton administration’s incompetence still manifesting itself, it’s a matter of whether Minnesotans will accept this level of incompetence. If they don’t, this won’t be a good year for Democrats.

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Last week, I wrote this post highlighting DFL Chairman Ken Martin’s PolyMet temper tantrum. Clearly, he didn’t want to talk about that thorny issue. This editorial highlights how ridiculous Chairman Martin’s arguments sounded:

State Sen. Karin Housley, who is the lieutenant governor candidate pick of Scott Honour who is seeking the Republican nomination in the Aug. 12 primary, said her failure to file was an honest mistake and she had nothing to hide. In fact, the filing she made after the deadline was the same as the last one she had done as required as a state senator.

So she was clearly wrong in not filing on time. And Martin did the political party partisan-thing that would have also been done by his Republican counterpart if the late filer had been, say, Gov. Mark Dayton.

But what’s really interesting and also quite telling about the release was not the usual DFL-GOP banter. It was the mention of PolyMet as an investment held by Housley — all $300 of an investment.

Yep, that was the lone investment of Housley singled out in Martin’s news release, based on her state Senate financial disclosure. No other investment or investments. Just one, PolyMet, the copper/nickel/precious metals project near Hoyt Lakes that is in a far-too long environmental review phase.

Aside from the tit-for-tat chatter that both parties feel obligated to spewing, the lesson from Chairman Martin’s tantrum is that PolyMet is a poisonous topic for him. The only time that issue isn’t a a negative for Martin is when he’s talking to the environmental activists in the DFL.

That’s a big problem for him because, though that part of his party is the dominant part of the party, environmenal activists are just a small portion of his party numerically. If he alienates the construction and trade unions by catering to the environmental activists too much, that’ll hurt his party this November.

But hey, let’s zero in a $300 investment in PolyMet by a running mate of one of four possible GOP gubernatorial candidates.

“…. this has nothing to do with PolyMet,” Martin said in a telephone interview with the Mesabi Daily News for last Sunday’s story. It’s all about a candidate’s transparency, he stressed.

That, of course, leap-frogged the question as to why PolyMet was targeted in the news release.

Martin said PolyMet “just popped out” from Housley,’s Senate financial statement to DFL Party researchers in advance of Martin’s news release on the issue. But, of course, no other investment of Housley “just popped out.”

I wonder if the researchers who scoured Sen. Housley’s financial statement are environmental activists. It’s certainly a legitimate question. Why would a $300 investment catch the researchers’ attention? Sen. Housley’s committee assignments aren’t related to PolyMet.

Chairman Martin doesn’t owe Sen. Housley an explanation. She should’ve filed the report on time. However, Chairman Martin owes mining activists an explanation why he’s singling out their industry in his statement. Will Chairman Martin show a spine for once? Will the DFL stand unconditionally with the miners? Will Chairman Martin finally tell the environmental activist wing of his party that, this time, he’s siding with Iron Range families?

If he won’t stand unconditionally with the miners, the miners should vote for the pro-mining party. This year, that’s the GOP. This year, that isn’t the DFL.

It’s impossible to serve 2 masters. That’s what Chairman Martin is attempting to do. The miners should demand more than token expressions of loyalty from the DFL. It’s difficult seeing that happen in the near future.

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This video shows that Gov. Dayton and the DFL don’t want Minnesotans to know that they’re getting hit with a big spike in their health insurance premium until after the election:

Here’s Alycia Reidl’s testimony to the MNsure Board of Directors. Ms. Reidl is the president of the Minnesota Association of Health Underwriters in Minnesota:

I have a very simple message and a very simple request, which is that agents within Minnesota think it is imperative, very important, that the rates be released as early as possible to allow consumers to make decisions about what’s best for themselves and their families coming into 2015. We also believe that it affects small employers in a very significant way. We’re seeing average increases in the 30% range for small employers. I’ve seen some as much as 100% and they’re trying to make a decision about what’s the best coverages for their employees should they continue to offer group coverage going into 2015.

Now we don’t want that to happen. Let me assure you that it’s not any agent’s goal to have a small employer drop its coverage but with the rates and the disparity between small group and individual, it’s a real conversation that’s happening. And without knowing what the rates are going to be for 2015, and a significant number of small employers renewing on December 1st, they are in a position of not being able to make educated decisions for themselves and their employees.

The difference in cost for an employee, if they stay on their group plan, could be 50%, maybe 60% higher and so we ask MNsure to support that rates be released as soon as possible and certainly not waiting until November 15.

If rates are going to be that much higher, it’s understandable why Gov. Dayton and the DFL don’t want the rates released until after the election. Gov. Dayton and the DFL know that they’ll be swept out of office in November if people realize that the plan that the DFL legislature passed and that Gov. Dayton signed is ripping them off.

Two or three weeks back, Sarah Walker was part of the Almanac roundtable discussion. During that appearance, Ms. Walker lied through her teeth, saying that people were “getting better insurance at a cheaper price” than prior to MNsure. Ms. Reidl’s testimony verifies as fact that rates are already skyrocketing.

I broke this story on June 30. I’ve followed up on the story since then, including with this article.

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The Democrats must think that they have to push their fake War on Women meme. This week, it’s TakeAction Minnesota’ Dan McGrath’s turn to push that dishonest meme:

The Hobby Lobby and Harris v. Quinn rulings handed down by the Supreme Court’s conservative and male majority lay bare exactly what they value. And it’s not caring for each other. Nor is it a woman’s right to make her own decisions. Instead, these justices value ever-expanding corporate power at the expense of working people and believe that women, and the professions they lead, are worth less than others. In ruling as they did on two very disparate topics, these five men have launched an assault on women in the workplace. But it’s workers and their families who should be concerned.

In the Hobby Lobby ruling, the conservative majority took the absurd notion that corporations are people one step further. In its earlier Citizens’ United ruling, these justices granted corporations the right of free speech, and thus the ability to spend limitless amounts of money in elections. Now, these same justices have established corporate religious freedom, and the right to refuse women contraception. As the power of corporations expands, a woman’s ability to decide what is in her own best interest is diminished. That this ruling applies to “closely held” corporations means that as much as 52 percent of the American workforce may be affected.

First, I’d love hearing where the First Amendment only pertains to individuals. I still haven’t heard a Democrat point to the part of this text that says the First Amendment’s protections only pertain to individuals:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

The First Amendment talks about “the right of people peaceably to assemble.” Otherwise, there’s no hint on whether they thought the First Amendment should apply only to individuals.

What compelling case can Democrats make that the political speech of corporations is less legitimate than the political speech of individuals? Should LLCs with 3 owners be allowed to express their political beliefs but corporations with 50 stockholders be prohibited from expressing their political beliefs? If Democrats think that, why do they think that?

Hobby Lobby simply said that they’d offer insurance that covered 16 forms of contraceptives, not 20. Am I to think that women are incapable of making the right decision in that situation? Further, should I think that women working at Hobby Lobby can’t afford to pay for the other types of contraceptives? After all, they make twice the rate of minimum wage.

What right do women have to have their contraceptives paid for? If I received $10 for each time I’ve heard the left talk about reproductive rights are a woman’s private decision, I’d be wealthy and then some. If it’s that private, then women should bear some of that responsibility.

Finally, why should government tell people that they can’t practice their faith? The First Amendment certainly promises people that government can’t tell them how to practice their faith. That’s one of the biggest reasons why people left Europe.

In Harris v. Quinn the same five justices ruled that workers who provide care to children, the elderly and disabled are only partial government workers and, therefore, can opt out of paying union dues, even if they benefit from workplace protections obtained by a union. While public employee unions are already finding ways to adapt, this is a serious blow to their strength. But it’s an even bigger blow to care providers, 90 percent of whom in Minnesota are women, many of whom are women of color.

In Harris v. Quinn, the Supreme Court said that small business owners have the right to determine who represents them in petitioning the legislature. In fact, the National Labor Relations Act prohibits business owners from belonging to a union. The high court decided that small business owners aren’t public employees, at least in the sense that a PR person for a public agency is a public employee.

This is pure BS:

Homecare is one of the fastest growing sectors of the economy. But the wages these workers earn are paltry. The average wage of non-union caregivers is $9-11 per hour. In Illinois, whose homecare union was the subject of the court case, wages are $13 per hour. By limiting the power of these workers to bargain for better wages and set higher professional standards workers and those they serve lose out. While anyone who depends on a caregiver knows their work is priceless, these five justices are saying that work in the home is less valuable than other male dominated professions.

That’s a non sequitur argument. Child care provider establish their rates independent of government. If they want to negotiate a raise for themeselves, they negotiate with the parents who get the check. They don’t negotiate with the commissioner of Human Services.

If they think that government should spend more money on this assistance, then they petition for higher assistance rates. When they do that, they’re the ones who determine whether they should hire a lobbyist, a trade organization, join a union or just lobby the legislature themselves. That’s their decision alone.

The unions are dishonest in saying the Supreme Court is anti-women. That’s insulting. They aren’t anti-women. They’re just pro-Constitution. The dirty little secret is that unions don’t care about women. They see unionizing them as their best opportunity to gain more political clout.

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David Schultz’s post about the Hobby Lobby ruling is stunningly dishonest, especially considering he’s a lawyer. Here’s Dr. Schultz’s dishonesty:

Five votes. Five Catholics. Five men. One decision. Potentially millions of American women denied contraceptive coverage.

Dr. Schultz should be ashamed of himself for making that dishonest statememt. The Hobby Lobby ruling didn’t say closely held companies like Hobby Lobby could deny all types of contraceptive coverage. It said that the ACA couldn’t force Hobby Lobby to provide coverage for 4 types of contraceptives known as abortifacients. Megyn Kelly explained in this video:

Here’s Kelly’s explanation of the Hobby Lobby ruling:

MEGYN KELLY: Nancy Pelosi either doesn’t know what she is talking about or is intentionally misleading you. First of all the gender of the justices in the Hobby Lobby majority is irrelevant. Mrs. Pelosi’s reference to it is obviously an attempt to stoke resentment. When Roe vs. Wade was decided it was all men in the majority. Does she think those justices were ill-equipped to fairly decide that case? Or is it only when a judge disagrees with Mrs. Pelosi that his gender is an issue. If Speaker john Boehner made a similar comment about the female Supreme Court justices, Nancy Pelosi would be crying sexism and that’s what she is guilty of here.

Moreover, the five men in the Hobby Lobby majority did not, I repeat, did not “determine what contraceptions are legal” nor they did get down to the specifics of “whether a woman should use a diaphragm.” What a gross misrepresentation. News flash, all birth control that was legal before this decision remains legal today. The high court simply found that a religious freedom law which was cosponsored by none other than, wait for it, Nancy Pelosi, sometimes protects corporations from being forced to violate their religious beliefs. She cosponsored the law that gave them the right!

Neither the high court or Hobby Lobby took issue with Kathleen Sebelius’s minions over at HHS mandating behind closed doors after Obamacare was passed, that companies cover birth control. Sixteen forms of it in fact. But the majority did say Hobby Lobby still had the right to object to covering four terms of birth control that happen to terminate a fertilized egg, which some believe is abortion. No one ruled those contraceptives were illegal and the diaphragm was never even discussed. It wasn’t one of the birth control forms at issue, which she should know since she famously promised us that after Obamacare was passed at some point, we’d know what was in it.

Either Dr. Schultz didn’t read the ruling or he’s intentionally being dishonest. Based on what he said later in the post, I’m betting that he’s being intentionally dishonest. Here’s what he said later in the post:

So think first about the sexism of the decision. Five male Justices rule that it is ok for an employer to deny women contraceptive coverage.

Again, that statement is dishonest. In fact, if Dr. Schultz had done his research, which he obviously didn’t, he’d know that Hobby Lobby’s insurance plan has covered contraceptives long before the ACA was passed. They just didn’t cover abortifacients.

At this point, I don’t know whether Dr. Schultz is an ill-informed scholar or if he’s a political hatchetman spewing the DFL’s chanting points. At this point, both are definite possibilities. Later, Dr. Schultz said this:

When the First Amendment was written it declared that “Congress shall make no law establishing a religion.”

Like most liberals, Dr. Schultz didn’t include the full text. Here’s that text:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

In other words, the First Amendment proposed a balance on religion. First, it said that the government couldn’t declare a denomination as the national religion. Their intent was to prevent the government from telling religious institutions what their beliefs should be.

The next clause in the First Amendment says that government can’t prohibit people from living their faith. Dr. Schultz says that “RFRA and the five Justice majority appear to have” established a religion. I’d pose a contrarian question. Didn’t the HHS essentially tell people that they didn’t have the right to practice their religious faith? How is it ok for government bureaucrats to tell people of faith that they can’t live out their faith but it’s wrong for the Supreme Court to protect a company’s First Amendment rights?

Dr. Schultz’s hypocrisy is disappointing. He’s substituted his political beliefs when he should be rendering a constitutional opinion. By doing that, he’s lost credibility.

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Bill Hanna’s article apparently touched a nerve with Ken Martin, the chair of the DFL. Check out Martin’s testiness:

Martin, in a telephone interview on Saturday that got testy at times, said the issue has nothing to do with PolyMet or investments.

“It’s about transparency in politics and government. And I don’t begrudge anyone for investments. I don’t care if it would be a DFLer, a Republican or someone with the Green Party … she was late in filing her disclosure statement and should not have been,” Martin said.

Of the 42 candidates who have filed for the state’s constitutional offices, only Housley and Sharon Anderson, who is seeking the GOP nomination for attorney general, missed the filing deadline.

Housley has since made her disclosure filing and said missing the deadline was just an honest oversight. “It was in my outbox and never went out. It’s there now,” she said in the PIM story. Housley said her stake in PolyMet is only about $300.

But Martin said emphatically the amount is not the issue. “It doesn’t matter how much. What matters is she didn’t have full disclosure as required on time,” he said in the MDN interview.

So why was PolyMet the only business Martin mentioned in the news release regarding Housley? “Again, this has nothing to do with PolyMet,” he said emphatically.

Then why was PolyMet cited in his news release? “I don’t care what company it was or what industry. What matters is the company is regulated by the State of Minnesota and she had not disclosed her investments.”

But why PolyMet? What about other companies? “I don’t know if she has investments in any other companies regulated by Minnesota. Researchers went through her last statement (filed as a state senator) and PolyMet popped out to them,” Martin said.

Martin’s diatribe was triggered by his getting trapped talking about a subject he wishes would disappear entirely. Further, this isn’t about transparency. If transparency mattered to the DFL, DFL legislators wouldn’t have coordinated campaign expenditures with the DFL in 2012:

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.

Apparently, Chairman Martin didn’t think transparency was important then:

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

Karin Housley omitting a $300 invenstment got Martin’s attention but the DFL getting hammered with one of the biggest campaign fines in Minnesota history is “a distraction”? But I digress.

Notice Martin’s evasiveness when Hanna asked why he singled out PolyMet. Here’s a revealing insight into Martin’s behavior:

Martin made it clear in the MDN interview he has grown increasingly “fed up” with both sides of the issue.

Martin’s wish is that he didn’t have to ever deal with this issue because it’s a can’t-win issue for the DFL. It’s something Hanna notes in his article:

PolyMet is a controversial and touchy subject politically for the DFL Party on the Range, which has been a traditional bastion of Democratic support in elections. But there is a widening political chasm on the issue this election year.

The extreme environmental wing of the party both on the Range and in the Twin Cities, which has great influence among activists, is strongly against PolyMet and other copper/nickel/precious metals venture in the works, such as Twin Metals Minnesota near Ely and Babbitt. And some are against all mining or even exploration drilling.

Martin knows that Rick Nolan will likely lose his congressional seat if the Iron Range doesn’t overwhelmingly and enthusiastically support Nolan. Further, he knows that Gov. Dayton and Sen. Franken will be in the fight of their political lives if they aren’ enthusiastically supported by the Iron Range.

The truth is that this issue might split the DFL into tiny pieces. That’s the best explanation of what triggered Chairman Martin’s diatribe. He got testy with Bill Hanna because he’s seeing a brewing crisis for the DFL on the Range. The other explanation for Martin’s diatribe is because he isn’t used to reporters questioning the DFL. He’s gotten used to getting the red carpet treatment.

That won’t work this time because people on the Range are tired with the DFL’s ‘lip service support’ of the Range. They’re demanding authentic support, not just lip service support.

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