Archive for the ‘Activism’ Category

Recently, a memo was sent out talking about the need for SCSU to embrace “diversity and encourage the celebration of multicultural traditions.” The email says that “two Meditation and Prayer Rooms are available on campus to students, faculty, staff and visitors for reflection, prayer and meditation. The rooms, located in Atwood Memorial Center and the Miller Center, are open to all and cannot be reserved.”

While that sounds fine, what LFR has learned is that Semya Hakim, a Human Relations and Multicultural Education professor and adviser to the Muslim Student Association, pushed this initiative. LFR has also learned that SCSU has spent over $11,000 thus far on the prayer and meditation room in Miller Center and that that price will definitely go higher. Prior to Prof. Hakim’s intervention, SCSU showed no signs of caring about religious diversity.

Considering Prof. Hakim’s background as an adviser to the Muslim Student Association and their ties to CAIR, it isn’t exactly a stretch to think that Prof. Hakim wasn’t that worried about the civil rights of people of other faiths.

In this article about CAIR, Hakim said that the definition of Islamophobia is the “extremely strong dislike or fear of Islam and the people who practice it.” Prof. Hakim then said that Jaylani Hussein’s talk would “likely talk about definitions of Islamophobia, incidents that have displayed it and what people can do in response.”

SCSU is running another deficit this year, especially since headcount enrollment dropped another 2.4% this semester. The fact that budgets were cut while this project was approved is disturbing. It’s disturbing that SCSU put a higher priority on displaying their diversity than they put on getting the University’s finances in order. Unfortunately, it isn’t surprising.

It’s unfortunate that the special interests run SCSU. Until it changes, its struggles will continue.

Thus far in this series, I’ve highlighted the fact that the ISD742 School Board hasn’t talked about St. Cloud’s high school enrollment forecasts for the short-, medium- and long-term. They didn’t tell voters that they’ve already purchased the land for a new Tech HS. That wasn’t announced on the District’s website. It was announced this past week on Dan Ochsner’s radio program when a current school board member called into Ox’s show and blurted that information out.

Last year, voters found out in the newspaper that there wasn’t a finalized set of blueprints for people to look at because, according to Barclay Carriar, “with the cost of designing a building, 80 percent of it isn’t going to be designed until after the referendum. And the plans we’ve got now are still tentative.”

Last year, taxpayers didn’t know that the plans were “still tentative.” This year, we didn’t know that the District had already purchased the land where the new Tech HS is supposed to be built at. The next logical question that taxpayers should demand answers to is what other information the School Board hasn’t disclosed. At this point, taxpayers don’t know where the money came from to pay for the Tech HS land. That’s certainly something that we should know. Did the District have enough money tucked away to pay for the land? At this point, taxpayers don’t know.

The thing that taxpayers know, though, is that they aren’t writing any blank checks this year. This isn’t the time when people are trusting politicians. The School Board is asking taxpayers to approve the biggest property tax increase in St. Cloud history without telling taxpayers that they’ve already bought the land for the new high school. That’s terrible because the taxpayers haven’t approved the bonds yet. That tells taxpayers that the School Board is taking them for granted.

Just because the School Board is a rubberstamp doesn’t mean that taxpayers are a rubberstamp. Taxpayers don’t want a canned presentation. They want input from start to finish. That’s something that the School Board isn’t willing to relinquish.

In my estimation, the ISD742 School Board has transitioned from being public servants to being arrogant taskmasters. That’s why the bonding referendum must be defeated. That’s why we need new School Board members elected ASAP.

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Let there be no mistake about what the DFL wants to do. Their goal is to run St. Paul … again. The last time the DFL held the majority in the Minnesota House and the Minnesota Senate and there was a DFL governor, taxes were raised on small businesses, then partially repealed and property taxes skyrocketed. We were told by Rep. Thissen that the DFL’s House Education Omnibus Finance bill “calls for historic investment in education.” The DFL made that boast before the Princeton School Board raised property taxes by 25.16%. The DFL made that boast before the St. Cloud School Board raised their levy by 14.75%.

Gone is any pretense about finding middle ground. The DFL wants to shove another item from their ideological wish list down Minnesotan’s throats. The DFL isn’t interested in serving the people. The DFL is interested in winning one ideological victory after another. TakeAction Minnesota, an arm of the DFL, stated things quite clearly how they anticipate passing their ideological checklist in this fundraising appeal:

Notice that TakeAction Minnesota named 4 politicians, essentially telling us that they are hard left ideologues, aka true believers. The names of those true believers include the ethically challenged Ilhan Omar, Alberder Gillespie (who wants to be “a powerful, progressive voice for her community on education funding, paid sick leave and other issues”, Zach Dorholt (who voted for forced unionization of in-home child care providers, the tax increases mentioned earlier and for the $90,000,000 Senate Office Building when he was part of the 2013 DFL legislature) and Lindsey Port. Mrs. Port thinks that government should tell businesses what they should do.

The candidates mentioned in TakeAction Minnesota’s fundraising appeal are as hard left and as anti-jobs as they get. They aren’t capitalists, either. This quartet thinks that the government solutions are the best solutions and that private citizens, acting in their own self-interests, are a danger to their social engineering plans.

Minnesotans need to ask themselves this question: do they want legislators that a) ignore the will of the people and b) think that people making their own decisions are a threat to the DFL’s social engineering agenda? If they’d rather make their own decisions, they need to vote for Republicans. It’s that simple.

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If people paid attention, they weren’t surprised that Senate Democrats voted to continue the violence in sanctuary cities. The Democratic Party is quickly becoming known as the political party that doesn’t protect its citizens. It’s quickly becoming the political party that thinks that laws are for other people.

Certainly, Hillary doesn’t think that this nation’s laws pertain to her. After making the case to indict Hillary on multiple counts of violating the Espionage Act, FBI Director Jim Comey essentially said that Hillary Clinton and her senior advisors weren’t subject to this nation’s laws.

Wednesday, Senate Democrats voted to preserve funding for sanctuary cities. According to the article, “The Republican-controlled Senate failed Wednesday to advance efforts to change federal immigration law — including one to cut funding to so-called sanctuary cities” by a vote of 53-44.

Democrats better not say that they’re the party of the little guy. That’s BS. They’re the party that’s a wholly owned subsidiary of La Raza, aka NCLR.

Senate Republicans also failed to get enough votes to advance their proposed Kate’s Law, named after Kate Steinle, who was fatally shot in July 2015, allegedly by an illegal immigrant who had multiple felony convictions and was deported several times prior to the incident.

Afterward, Harry Reid spoke:

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid said they put presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump’s “ant-immigration rhetoric into action. These bills follow Trump’s lead in demonizing, criminalizing immigrant, Latino families,” the Nevada Democrat said before the votes.

The White House also issued this statement:

The bill fails to offer the comprehensive reforms needed to fix the Nation’s broken immigration laws and would impose severe and unprecedented mandatory minimum sentences that would undermine the discretion of federal judges to make sure the punishment fits the crime in each case.

That’s insulting. Kate’s Law imposes mandatory minimum sentences because liberal judges frequently let violent illegal aliens off with a slap on the wrist, if they appear at all.

If the Democratic Party wants the reputation of being unwilling to protect its citizens, then it deserves to get blown out of the water this November. I don’t know what will happen this far out but, from a policy standpoint, Democrats deserve to be trounced. Thus far, they’ve failed to protect Americans. That’s true with terrorists. It’s true with illegal aliens, too.

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Last week, I wrote this post about this St. Cloud Times editorial.

The Times owes the citizens of this community, especially Granite City Baptist Church, an apology for their vile, hate-filled editorial. Throughout their editorial, the Times used words that agitated. It started in the opening paragraph of their editorial when they said “And so it continues — this tour of anti-Islam, anti-immigrant, fear-mongering speakers who parachute in to St. Cloud, spread their messages of hate and misinformation and then (convenient only for them) leave.” It continued, saying that Usama Dakdok’s presentation has “become well-known for his evil schtick about how Islam is a “savage cult” and that Muslims will soon dominate this country.”

The Times instructed people to listen “to local faith leaders, not Dakdok.”

The Times covered the Friday night presentation relatively fairly in their news section. I wrote this article to highlight the vandalism visited upon Granite City Baptist Church prior to Friday night’s presentation. What’s missing is the Times’ editorial telling people to stand with Granite City Baptist Church in denouncing this vandalism.

Perhaps, that’s because the Times’ editorial included this:

Based on news reports, it’s a classic example of Dakdok’s strategy: Pick smaller cities and rural communities where Muslims are new and few (if any) in number and deliver his toxic message. Plus, of course, collect the obligatory free-will offering. Then pack up and leave — quick, before the waves of hate he’s fostered can crest across the community. (And before people can research for themselves his message.)

Faced with such a despicable dump-and-run tactic, this board urges faith leaders across St. Cloud and all of Central Minnesota to speak up again. Use their influential voices, their powerful sermons, their compassionate followers and even the Times Opinion section to refute Dakdok’s divisive message.

The Times spent a bunch of bandwidth talking about Dakdok’s hateful schtick. Now that the protesters have committed an act of vandalism, it’s possible that the Times might want to get this episode behind them. This isn’t a proud moment for the St. Cloud Times or for Mark Jaede. Jaede issued this press release through the SCSU Announce listserv:

The next day, the Times published its hate-filled editorial.

What a surprise.

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When I wrote this article, I included an email sent out to the SCSU community through their Announce listserv. The email was sent by SCSU History Professor Mark Jaede. The email that Prof. Jaede sent out raised awareness of the fact that “Granite City Baptist Church in St. Cloud is sponsoring a presentation by a speaker who tours the country denouncing Islam and warning that Muslims are conspiring to take over America” and that “#unitecloud, an organization that seeks to support immigrants and bring together people from the St. Cloud area of different religious perspectives, is holding a counterdemonstration Friday at 5 pm.”

Then Prof. Jaede added this:

“This announcement is posted consistent with the guidelines for SCSU-Announce which can be found here:

and say in part:

“Examples of acceptable use:

  • Event announcements
  • Items that have been lost or found
  • Awards and recognitions
  • Community opportunities related to the university

As always, any comments, responses, or denunciations should not go to Announce, but should go either to Discuss or to me personally.”Interestingly, Prof. Jaede highlighted “event announcements” and “community opportunities related to the university.” What I’d be interested in hearing is Prof. Jaede’s explanation how a religious event at a church is related to St. Cloud State University. (BTW, the University’s spelling sucks. It shouldn’t be spelled “related to the university” because it’s talking about St. Cloud State University, which makes it a proper noun, which requires a capital letter. But I digress.)

Further, I can’t wait to hear Prof. Jaede’s justification for using government resources to talk about a counterprotest put on by a progressive political organization named #unitecloud. If you visit their missions page, it says “Who is your neighbor?

LGBT, Muslims, Christians, Immigrants, Disabled, Homeless, Poor, Women, Whites, Blacks, and on and on. We all have biases. They influence how we treat each other. You don’t have to agree with your neighbor’s lifestyle to promote a culture of respect. You don’t have to agree on anything to be kind. Our commonality is based in our humanness. Take time to look them in the eye, learn their story, and see how much we all hold in common.”

If that doesn’t sound like a DFL front group, then DFL front groups don’t exist. And I know DFL front groups exist because I’ve exposed more than a few dozen DFL front groups.

I’d love hearing President Potter’s or Prof. Jaede’s justification for using government resources to announce a political protest at a church on the opposite side of town from the University. I’m betting that they’d fumble their way through a justification if I asked them that question without notice.

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I knew that the DFL and ABM would start spinning things after they created a mess but this is ridiculous. While the legislature was still in session, Susie Merthans started spinning things. She quoted Paul Thissen as saying “Modest victories are due to Gov Dayton & DFL Senate dragging GOP kicking and screaming across the finish line.” Then, as though that wasn’t enough, she added “Paul Thissen: GOP beholden to corporate special interests, it’s time for a change.”

First, it’s frightening that Ms. Merthans admits in her profile that she’s the “Communications Director for @ABetterMN by way of @mnhouseDFL.” Why should ABM’s communications director get paid by Minnesota taxpayers? That’s the definition of corruption. ABM doesn’t change when the session ends. It’s the same dishonest messaging as they used during the legislative session. The only difference is that ABM will spend more money on mailers and ads during the campaign. The dishonest themes remain pretty much intact.

That’s before talking about the dishonesty of Thissen’s statements. The DFL is the party that does whatever the environmentalists tell them to do. Actually, they don’t do what the environmental activists tell them not to do. Think about the DFL’s opposition to the Sandpiper Pipeline project. Think about the DFL’s opposition to a resolution at their State Convention in 2014 that said the DFL supported mining. At the DFL’s State Convention in Duluth in 2014, that timid resolution was pulled by Ken Martin said it was too controversial. Seriously.

Another example is how the DFL rammed through forced unionization on in-home child care providers at the end of the 2013 session. Despite a massive lobbying effort organized by in-home child care providers, the DFL ignored the in-home child care providers and sided with public employee unions. Again, the DFL didn’t care about the people. The DFL sided with their special interest allies. It isn’t surprising. That’s their habit.

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If this LTE doesn’t put Sartell’s bonding referendum in perspective, nothing will. The LTE’s second paragraph contains the first red flag. That paragraph says “It’s just one meal out at a restaurant a month, right? It will only lengthen your mortgage payments for up to six months on the average home. No big deal; what’s six months? Most residents won’t live in their home for 25 years, which is the length of this bond.”

While the writer didn’t say that she got the “one meal at a restaurant a month” figure from the school board, it isn’t a stretch to think that that’s where she got it from. It’s an old sales technique that’s used to make something sound inexpensive. It’s like the TV sales pitch for leasing a vehicle. Rather than saying what the cost of a vehicle is, these types of ads usually say something like ‘you can lease a brand new Mercedes for only $295 a month’ right before they tell you that they require $5,000 down at signing.

What they don’t tell you is how much money you’d spend during the cost of the lease only to have to lease another vehicle. That isn’t the case in this LTE. Instead of glossing over that statistic, Tammy Hagerty puts it into perspective by saying “But say you are a farmer owning 140 acres and rent another 400 acres from other landowners in this district. (Landowners rent their land to cover their taxes.) Taxes on that farmer’s homestead and acreage are $2,319.39 a year. With the projected increase of $948 a year, the family farm that you’ve owned for over 35 years will cost you an additional $81,610.75 over the next 25 years.”

It’s one thing to hear that a property tax increase would only cost “one meal at a restaurant a month.” That’s pretty reasonable sounding. It’s another when the taxpayers hear that that bonding initiative alone will cost a farmer $81,610.75 over the course of 25 years.

Taxpayers, it’s time to stop accepting sales pitch figures that politicians use. It’s time to demand that they use dollars and cents figures. Further, we should insist that school board members that don’t tell the truth should be immediately thrown off he board. I wrote this post about Colleen Donovan’s LTE because of this information:

“The Dec. 19 Times report “St. Cloud schools hike tax levy 14.75%” reported the district stating an owner of a home valued at $150,000, if their home value did not increase, would pay $49 more in taxes due to the 2015 levy increase. My 2015 tax statement showed that levy increased my taxes by 54.5 percent, or an increase of $79.59. And my house is valued under $100,000. This is far from the $49 on a $150,000 the district reported in December. The district did not need voter approval to do this.”

In short, these school board members don’t automatically tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Unfortunately, it sometimes requires citizen pressure.

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This article from AFSCME Minnesota’s website highlights how spoiled their workers are. For instance, Roberta Suski said “We had to have a lot of hard conversations about whether we could afford for me to be out the entire 12 weeks, knowing six weeks would be unpaid. We are barely scraping by right now.”

When I worked at Fingerhut, they were known for having one of the best benefit packages in Minnesota. FYI- I worked there until April, 1997. Parents of newborn children or parents who adopted children were given 6 weeks off. Their time off wasn’t paid. In the 20 years I worked there, nobody complained about not getting paid time off for having children.

Fast forward to today. Specifically focus on the tax increases envisioned in this article. Envision a “payroll tax of $1.70 per week on both employers and employees would fund the leave benefit.”

Politicians complain all the time about unfunded mandates handed down by the federal government. I’ve never heard a politician whine about passing legislation that essentially passes an unfunded mandate onto businesses. The argument that ‘everyone benefits’ is BS. What AFSCME doesn’t want to admit is that businesses don’t benefit from being forced into paying employees not to work for extended periods of time.

If they were being honest, what AFSCME would admit is that ‘everyone that matters to us benefits’. The truth is that the DFL is attempting to put another stifling burden on business. The truth is that the DFL and AFSCME, if they got their way, wouldn’t improve people’s lives. They’d just chase more businesses from Minnesota.

A little over a month ago, I held my annual fundraising week. To say that I appreciate those people who contributed is understatement. Due to some unusual circumstances, I’m holding a supplemental fundraising drive.

Last night, I wrote my first post on a series about ‘creeping Shariah’. I’ve written about many important issues in the 11 years I’ve operated LFR. None of those issues is as big as this issue. In fact, none are even close in importance.

I’m a strong believer in the old Biblical admonition that “a worker is worthy of his wages.” With most issues, I don’t press my case on this. Most issues, though, are transient. The issue of creeping Shariah isn’t transient. It’s the opposite. It’s existential. The harm that Shariah law can do to western civilization is immense, though CAIR will attempt to minimize Shariah’s impact. I will attempt, through this series, to highlight the potential impact of Shariah.

If you want to contribute to getting this information to the public with a check, leave a comment to this post and I will contact you on how we can make this happen. Otherwise, feel free to contribute by clicking on the Donate button in the upper right hand corner of the page.

As always, thanks for your contributions. Know that they’re definitely appreciated.