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Michelle Brane of the Women’s Refugee Commission was on Tucker Carlson Tonight last night. During the interview, Ms. Brane said a couple things that were either spin or were dishonest. My first impression is that Ms. Brane’s statements were proof of her ignorance.

Carlson started the conversation by saying “I’m looking at the polling on refugee resettlement and the public cannot be described as supporting it, now or in the past, strikingly low support for resettling refugees in this country. And if you ask people ‘do you want them resettled where you live, in your neighborhood’, it’s even lower and I’m wondering why that is. I’m wondering why people don’t support it.”

Ms. Brane replied “Well, first of all, I’m not sure people don’t support it and some polls show that they don’t support it and I know that support for the programs varies. It varies over time. It varies geographically.”

Later, Ms. Brane stumbled onto something when she said “At least the Americans that I engage with, and I try and be diverse in my encounters with people, I do think that people do support it.” That’s important because it’s apparent that Ms. Brane hasn’t visited the cities with high refugee populations. People don’t support refugee resettlement because they’re a definite economic hardship on local communities.

The way that the program is set up, from what I’ve seen up close, it’s destined to fail. NPOs love the money that the State Department pays them to resettle refugees. Once they’re settled, though, the NPOs’ job is essentially finished. Because many of these refugees don’t have the skills to be employed, they either start applying for local government benefits or they’re perfect targets for radicalization.

Refugee resettlement programs are lucrative for organizations like Lutheran Social Services or Catholic Charities. The State Department pays these charities quite handsomely to find refugees a place to live. Once that’s over, however, the communities, not the charities, pick up the rest of the refugees’ tab.

Those of us that’ve dealt with the resettlement programs’ expenses know that the NPOs get the money but that the communities get the bills.

This article by Katherine Kersten is another outstanding article from her on the subject of how the Met Council intends to govern cities.

Kersten starts by informing readers that the “council’s vision to transform how the people of the Twin Cities region live and get around has two prongs. First, the Thrive plan will promote compact, high-density housing and ‘transit-oriented development’ (TOD).”

Prior to that, Ms. Kersten explained that mission “creep has been escalating for some time, but under Dayton, the overreach has reached a crisis point. The Thrive plan is a power grab that will impose intrusive, top-down controls on 186 municipalities, neutering the power of local elected officials. The plan, wrapped in vague and noble-sounding goals, imposes a host of new, ideologically driven criteria for municipal development that will give the council the raw power, unchecked by elected representatives, to dramatically remake our region.”

That’s a fancy way of talking about top-down, unelected government dictating the terms of how urban life will work under their vision. The DFL, BTW, is all in on this anti-democratic form of governing. Apparently, the DFL supports any type of government that silences dissent and We The People.

People shouldn’t trust appointed politicians. That’s why Minnesota needs to dramatically overhaul the Met Council. Unaccountable people who weren’t elected (they’re appointed) with the ability to raise taxes, which the Met Council has the authority to do, are anti-democratic. They shouldn’t be respected or tolerated.

Finally, in a just world, they shouldn’t exist.

UPDATE: A loyal reader of LFR sent this video to me:

It’s a great (and frightening) picture of the Met Council’s mission creep and its misguided ‘mission’.

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This article highlights the disjointedness of the unhinged left. It also highlights universities’ political leanings. It isn’t surprising that the protest is being organized by a bunch of unhinged lefties.

According to the article, “St. Cloud State University and the College of St. Benedict are exploring options to send students, staff, faculty and the public to the Jan. 21 event.” When asked what they’ll be protesting, Jane Olsen, the director of the Women’s Center at St. Cloud State, said “Probably every single person you would ask would have a different response, as we’re taking our personal histories and experiences with us to the march. I think one, the importance and the belief in democracy is honored by being public and raising our voices about equity, respect, democracy, human rights and, really, a challenge to the behavior of Donald Trump and his associates during the campaign.”

TRANSLATION: We’re upset that Hillary lost. We’re upset that Trump won. We’re upset that a bunch of hicks from flyover country didn’t listen to their betters.

There’s really 2 issues in play here. The local issue is that large parts of SCSU are inhabited by unhinged, bitter progressives. Jane Olsen never tried organizing anti-Obama protests during President Obama’s inaugurations. This isn’t surprising. It’s just disappointing.

Olsen is getting paid handsomely for a job that shouldn’t exist. Taxpayers shouldn’t be footing the bill for collegiate activists. If private citizens want to pay for collegiate activists, that’s their right. Olsen’s job isn’t essential, especially while SCSU is running a deficit. Here’s Olsen’s SCSU bio:

Jane Olsen has been the Director of the SCSU Women’s Center since its founding in 1989. She has more than 31 years of administrative, programmatic, activist and advocacy experience in women’s organizations in both Minnesota and Illinois. Olsen holds a master’s degree and B.A. in Psychology from the University of Illinois-Springfield (formerly Sangamon State University). Her position includes responsibility for the overall program and administration, as well as budgeting, staffing, services and programming functions at the Women’s Center. Olsen is a member of the National Women’s Studies Association, including active participation in the national Women’s Center Committee. She was a member of the Board of Directors of the Minnesota Women’s Consortium from 2007 to 2013, and continues to support the Consortium through service on the Governance Committee. The Minnesota Women’s Consortium is a statewide coalition of 150 member organizations that support equality and justice for women and girls in Minnesota. (http://www.mnwomen.org/)

After reading that, it isn’t surprising that SCSU is running a deficit.

This morning, Donald Trump picked Gov. Nikki Haley, (R-SC), to be the US Ambassador to the UN. This afternoon, President-Elect Trump picked Betsy DeVos to be his Education Secretary. The Washington Post describes Mrs. DeVos as a “billionaire and conservative activist” who “has quietly helped change the education landscape in many states, spending millions of dollars in a successful push to expand voucher programs that give families taxpayer dollars to pay for private and religious schools.”

Of course, the article wouldn’t be complete without quoting Randi Weingarten. Ms. Weingarten is quoted as saying “Trump’s pick makes it loud and clear that his education policy will focus on privatizing, defunding and destroying public education in America.”

In picking DeVos, President-Elect Trump is telling conservatives that he will push their school choice agenda. This pick, more than any other pick besides Jeff Sessions as Trump’s AG, signals that Trump’s education agenda aligns with Republicans’ education agenda.

After accepting the nomination to be the US ambassador to the US, Mrs. Haley said “When the President believes you have a major contribution to make to the welfare of our nation, and to our nation’s standing in the world, that is a calling that is important to heed,” Haley said, adding that she will “remain as governor until the U.S. Senate acts affirmatively on my nomination.”

DeVos will likely get the most criticism from Democrats because school choice represents an existential threat to the Democrats’ teacher union special interest allies. I’d think that Haley will sail through for confirmation.

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Briana Bierschbach’s article exposes the DFL’s electoral dilemma going forward. She quotes Ken Martin, the DFL State Party Chairman, as saying “Clearly there were a lot of white, non-college-educated, working-class voters who were frustrated and anxious about their future and they wanted change. We have to figure out how to speak to white, working-class voters in a better way.”

Actually, the DFL’s problem isn’t messaging. The DFL’s problems revolve around geography and policies. Specifically, the DFL is dominated by the Twin Cities environmental activists that can’t relate to outstate Minnesota. What’s worse for the DFL is that these environmental activists don’t want to relate to blue collar workers.

This isn’t just a problem for the DFL. The Democratic Party nationally got routed because they ignored these blue collar workers. Democrats nationally and the DFL locally both have sided with environmental activists on issue after issue. Whether it’s on the Keystone XL Pipeline or the Dakota Access Pipeline nationally or the Sandpiper Pipeline here in Minnesota, the environmental activists always win the fight with the Democrats.

If that pattern doesn’t change, the DFL will continue to get hurt electorally. They won’t admit this in public but the truth is that Donald Trump has changed the political landscape. I’m not calling this a permanent realignment. It’s a significant shift, though, because there’s now a new option available to blue collar Democrats.

This past year, Rep. Thissen told us that the DFL would make up ground in outstate Minnesota with broadband and transit. I wrote that those things wouldn’t help them in outstate Minnesota because they weren’t important to outstate voters. The DFL didn’t identify health care accessibility or health insurance premiums as battleground issues.

Think of it this way: outstate voters that normally vote DFL are drifting away from the DFL because of health care and environmental issues. Suburban voters are drifting, too, because health care prices are expensive. The DFL’s messaging won’t change those realities.

The St. Cloud Times just published my LTE on Minnesota’s MNsure crisis. Check it out and leave a comment if so inspired.

WCCO-TV is reporting that organized protests stopped traffic on I-94 for almost an hour Thursday night. According to WCCO, “more than 3,600 people were expected for the march Thursday night from the University of Minnesota’s West Bank campus through the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood.” Later in the article, WCCO-TV reported that Robin Wonsley was one of the protest organizers.

Ms. Wonsley is quoted as saying “For 18 months this man has ignited bigotry and racism, Islamophobia, sexism … saying he’s going to implement and bring forth policies that are going to reflect those values and that rhetoric. That is what Americans are afraid of right now.”

This video shows how disruptive these protesters are:

According to this article, Wonsley is a far left lefty:

“We are not defeated right now,” said Robin Wonsley, an organizer with the Socialist Alternative MN group, which helped to set up the protest and spread word about it on Facebook.

Here’s more on Socialist Alternative:

Socialist Alternative is a national organization fighting in our workplaces, communities, and campuses against the exploitation and injustices people face every day. We are community activists fighting against budget cuts in public services; we are activists campaigning for a $15 an hour minimum wage and fighting, democratic unions; we are people of all colors speaking out against racism and attacks on immigrants, students organizing against tuition hikes and war, women and men fighting sexism and homophobia.

We believe the Republicans and Democrats are both parties of big business, and we are campaigning to build an independent, alternative party of workers and young people to fight for the interests of the millions, not the millionaires.

We see the global capitalist system as the root cause of the economic crisis, poverty, discrimination, war, and environmental destruction. As capitalism moves deeper into crisis, a new generation of workers and youth must join together to take the top 500 corporations into public ownership under democratic control to end the ruling elites’ global competition for profits and power.
We believe the dictatorships that existed in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe were perversions of what socialism is really about. We are for democratic socialism where ordinary people will have control over our daily lives.

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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