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One thing that’s undeniable is that Ben Rodgers, a St. Cloud Times reporter, parroted the DFL’s chanting points in his article. In Rodgers’ article, he said that a “group of St. Cloud-area residents” met at the Stearns County Courthouse to “protest an anti-immigration speaker who visited St. Cloud earlier this week.” Jane Conrad, the event organizer, said that Bob Enos spoke “out against refugees and Sharia, the Islamic law.” Ben Rodgers accepted that as Gospel fact without checking with Mr. Enos to verify if Ms. Conrad’s statement was accurate.

What’s startling is that, at no point in the article did Rodgers quote Mr. Enos. I know that I’m a lowly blogger but I’m pretty certain that Reporting 101 requires that, if you’re going to quote a person making an accusation against another person, you should quote the accused, too. That way, it’s a she said, he said thing, not a she said thing.

Further, the Times reporter didn’t report about one of the worst-kept stories in St. Cloud. Mr. Rodgers didn’t write about Prof. Mark Jaede’s use of St. Cloud State’s email system to announce this political event. There was little written about who attended the event in terms of protesting Mr. Enos. Did a substantial number of SCSU professors attend the AFL-CIO protest? What labor unions attended the protest? What did they say? Did they criticize Mr. Enos?

I won’t mince words. This was a pathetic attempt at reporting.

This past Saturday, the DFL and Zach Dorholt staged a protest against racism. This St. Cloud Times article didn’t even get the basics right. To reporter Ben Rodgers’ credit, he was right in saying that this fake protest was held at “the Stearns County Courthouse.” After that, facts weren’t part of Mr. Rodgers neighborhood.

Rodgers wrote that Dorholt, the DFL and the AFL-CIO gathered “to protest an anti-immigration speaker who visited St. Cloud.” They identified that “anti-immigration speaker” as Bob Enos. It’s fiction to call Mr. Enos anti-immigration. I wrote about Mr. Enos in this post. I included a video of his presentation to the Willmar City Council in the post. Mr. Enos’ presentation was solely about the federal refugee resettlement program. Specifically, he was worried that this ‘federal’ program was stretching the budgets of state and local agencies. It’s a legitimate thing to worry about.

Here’s the video of Mr. Enos’ presentation:

Jane Conrad admitted that Mr. Enos isn’t anti-immigration:

Jane Conrad, a field representative for the East Central Area Labor Council, planned the rally after Bob Enos, of Willmar, appeared at an event booked at the Veterans of Foreign Wars speaking out against refugees and Sharia, the Islamic law.

Here’s part of Enos’ presentation to the Willmar City Council:

We’ve been working on an issue that’s become pretty important to us which has to do with the subject of the resettlement of political refugees around the world and how that affects our counties particularly. I don’t know if you’ve had any briefings on this matter but back in November, the coordinator for the refugee resettlement program for the state of Minnesota in St. Paul requested the director of Family Services here at the County to organize a meeting that took place over a couple of days. Twenty people attended from 3 county agencies, the Willmar School District as well as city hall. The Mayor-elect was there. A couple of vice presidents from Jenny O were there. The subject of the meeting had to do with migration of refugees to Kandiyohi County. We’re used to thinking of the refugee issue in terms of those that are leaving the refugee camps in east Africa and winding up on our shores and going out to the cities and the counties.

The big issue lately that we can’t seem to get a handle on very easily, particularly from a financial planning standpoint, and that has to do with the secondary relocation of refugees from other states around the country. The most recent data that we’re seeing now from the State of Minnesota, specifically from the Department of Health, now tells us that of every city and town, the city that is attracting the most refugees is Minneapolis. The city that’s attracting the second-most refugees is Willmar, not St. Paul, not Bloomington, not St. Cloud, Mankato, Worthington. Willmar.

We suspect that, for the most part, most of this has to do with family re-unification but, best guess, there’s a number of factors contributing to this. What we’re seeing is the Somali community, in particular, is such a size and critical mass, that that critical mass is, in and of itself, the primary magnet for refugees coming here from Atlanta, California and Texas. The last time we knew, we were looking at a number roughly of 2,000 or roughly 10% of our population. We know that’s quite conservative.

I’ve been to 2 other meetings subsequent to the meeting held in November. One was held out in St. Cloud and was sponsored by Lutheran Social Services organization, which in Minnesota, is called the # 1 volunteer agency or VOLAG, which is a private contractor with the State Department and the Department of Health and Human Services from the federal government to aid in that relocation within the first 6 months that they’re here. That meeting, interestingly enough, had about 35 stakeholders, people that have some part, some incentive, some exposure to the program. There was not a single elected official there from the City of St. Cloud or the county. There were no representatives of the School District and these are the places where we’re seeing the most impact, and, of course, the schools.

The federal contracts that the VOLAGs have, though they’re hardly volunteers, requires that they quarterly have meetings with stakeholders. Those stakeholders are supposed to include members of the community. I would take that a member of the community to be an elected representative and I have not been to a meeting where I’ve seen a city councilman, a county commissioner or anyone of an elected status.

Nowhere in Enos’ presentation did he mention Sharia law. Zach Dorholt said this in continuing the DFL’s façade:

“When people come to St. Cloud with the intent to divide us and spread hate and anger we here in St. Cloud are simply going to ask for peace, love and happiness,” Zach Dorholt said. “St. Cloud is always going to stand for peace, love and understanding over the fear and hate that those who don’t live here are trying to incite.”

In other words, Dorholt thinks that worrying about city and county finances is “spreading hate and anger.” Enos has talked about doing a moratorium on the refugee resettlement program until an audit is done to determine the local impact of the program.

If that’s Dorholt’s definition of racism, then it isn’t surprising that he sees racism everywhere. Speaking about things that aren’t surprising, it isn’t surprising that the Times got the lede information wrong.

It’s indisputable that Mark Jaede, a professor at St. Cloud State and a long-time DFL activist, used government property to help plan a political rally that was organized by Jane Conrad, a staffer at the Minnesota AFL-CIO. Apparently, Prof. Jaede doesn’t think that the rules apply to him.

Specifically, he must think this rule doesn’t apply to him:

Subpart D. Use of state property. All system property is also state property. With limited exceptions, state property is not to be used for personal or private use except as specifically authorized, such as limited personal use of computers as provided in System Procedure 5.22.1 and incidental use of system cell phones, as provided in System Procedure 5.22.1.

Earlier this week, Prof. Jaede posted this political announcement on St. Cloud State’s listserv system:

This message is from Jane Conrad, who can be reached at 320-267-0899:

A rally was planned to counter racist speaker Ron Branstner who was speaking at the VFW at 9 18th Ave N in St Cloud. Two hours after I let the police know about our action and after the police talked with management at the VFW the speaker was canceled. So I canceled the rally. However, I did find out that the VFW did allow the event to go forward with a racist speaker from Willmar, Bob Enos. To counter this we are planning a rally this Saturday at 1:00 in front of the VFW. Please join us a peaceful collective community action. We are all in this together.

When Prof. Jaede used his SCSU email address to highlight an AFL-CIO political rally, he used state property “for personal or private use.” He wasn’t conducting University business when he posted this event information. He seems to admit that in signing off:

Mark (writing as an individual faculty member who is concerned about having a community that welcomes all)

Considering the fact that Jaede’s been a DFL activist for years and considering the fact that he was using state resources to highlight an AFL-CIO political rally, does anyone take Prof. Jaede seriously when he insists that he’s doing this “as an individual faculty member who is concerned about having a community that welcomes all” and not as a DFL activist?

This morning, I got a copy of an email that Mark Jaede, a faculty member at St. Cloud State, published on SCSU’s Announce listserv. Here’s what Prof. Jaede published:

According to Jane Conrad’s email, Ron Branstner’s presentation was cancelled. According to Prof. Jaede’s second email, Bob Enos stepped in and made a speech. Here’s Prof. Jaede’s email about the Enos speech:

In both of Prof. Jaede’s emails, he referred to Jane Conrad. For those who aren’t familiar with her, here’s more information about Ms. Conrad:

This isn’t insignificant because Prof. Jaede is using a taxpayer-funded resource (SCSU’s email system) to highlight a political rally organized by Jane Conrad, a self-described AFL-CIO staffer, at the St. Cloud VFW.

Greg Jarrett is a private citizen who is interested in the State Department’s refugee resettlement program. Mssrs. Branstner and Enos have dealt with and researched this program. Here’s part of what Jarrett wrote when contacted by LFR:

The time has come for the Mayor and associated City Staff, President of SCSU, MNSCU Chancellor, St Cloud City Council and State Representatives to STOP an escalating and explosive situation that is in itself going to embarrass SCSU and the City of St Cloud again.

Here we have an AFL-CIO union-affiliated representative, Ms. Jane Conrad working in concert with a SCSU professor who was on the University time clock and is on SCSU’s payroll using internal taxpayer-funded email communications for purposes not associated with SCSU, not on SCSU property, NON SCSU Business for the purpose of agitation and SELF labeling of a public event for the second time. They have turned this into a “racial event”.

There is nothing “racial” about the economic impact of out of control Refugee Resettlement. Allowing these 2 radical militants to spin the topic and manipulate the Constitutional rights of others for personal beliefs and reasons is beyond insulting, irrational and borderline criminal in its direct purpose and intent.

Ms Jane Conrad and Professor Mark Jaede have taken upon themselves to self label and describe speaker Mr. Ron Branstner as “racist” and target the event for the sole purpose of starting an uprising of outrage. The St Cloud Police Department has also been made a pawn in this matter by Ms Conrad and Mr. Jaede by the now known threats prior to Mr. Branstner’s scheduled engagement. Ms Conrad was successful in her misguided mission to strong arm the Police Department and the VFW management to cancel the event.

Using taxpayer-funded resources to advance a political agenda is wrong, to say the least. Another thing that’s at stake here is SCSU’s reputation. If President Potter doesn’t immediately act to prevent Prof. Jaede’s improper use of SCSU’s email system, then he’s sending the signal that he’s ok with SCSU’s employees using SCSU’s taxpayer-funded email system for political use.

I’m not a lawyer but I’m still 100% certain that’s improper, if not illegal.

The MPCA’s Special Interests’ Citizens Board held its final meeting Tuesday. It was a bittersweet day, depending on your political persuasion. For environmental activists, it was a bitter ending. For people that believe in holding government accountable, it was a beautiful sight. First, let’s listen to the special interests’ whining:

“Dissolving the Citizens’ Board is bad for rural and metro Minnesota,” said Kathy DeBuhr at a protest before the board’s final meeting Tuesday morning. “This legislature has taken away the voice of the common person. The little guy.”

DeBuhr was among those who protested a proposed 9,000-cow “mega-dairy feedlot” in western Minnesota in 2014. In a controversial move, the Citizens’ Board ordered the dairy operation to seek an expensive and time-consuming environmental impact statement even though MPCA staff had not ordered one. The dairy ultimately decided not to go forward with the project.

Ms. DeBuhr’s whining is annoying at best. This wasn’t a panel of ordinary citizens. It was an activist board. The fact that they ran off a major dairy operation after the operation had gotten its permits from the MPCA speaks to their activism.

Further, what type of citizens panel reserves a spot for a union member? The Board had a member of Duluth’s Transit Authority and an “agriculture representative”, too. I still haven’t heard anyone explain why there’s a need for a citizens panel. Isn’t the MPCA doing its job properly? If it isn’t, shouldn’t the MPCA be overhauled or outright abolished?

The Citizens’ Board was established to guard against undue political influence of the agency and to create a public and transparent decision making process on controversial issues. Supporters of the board say its abolishment will remove the final public process for environmental review and permitting actions for industry and factory farms.

The notion that the Citizens Board was impartial is absurd. It wasn’t. It was filled with activists. As for the statement that this removes “the final public process for environmental review and permitting,” that’s a bit melodramatic. Why is it necessary for limitless environmental reviews?

If there is a thing called progressive logic, this Times Writers Group article fits the definition perfectly:

Rep. Phyllis Kahn, DFL-Minneapolis, introduced an amendment titled “Northstar Commuter Rail Extension Study,” key to getting the line from Big Lake to St. Cloud. The study would estimate ridership, identify funding sources and include a timeline for implementation.

Ironically, it was Central Minnesota lawmakers who put the kibosh on this perfectly reasonable, much-needed effort. Rep. Jim Newberger, R-Becker, took the lead, characterizing Northstar commuter rail as only a shuttle to the St. Cloud prison. “Boy, wouldn’t that be convenient,” he said on the House floor, “to have that rail line going from the prison to North Minneapolis.” He continued that in his “neck of the woods” in Becker, “we don’t call it Northstar, we call it the black hole because that’s where all the money goes.”

Where to begin?

By Newberger’s logic, apparently no one from the Twin Cities would want to visit St. Cloud for any reason other than to stop at the prison — not to go to St. Cloud State University, Munsinger and Clemens Gardens, the Paramount Arts District or to see the 100,000-plus people living in our metro area. By his logic, we should take out U.S. Highway 10, so people could not visit the 242 prisoners from Hennepin County behind the granite walls. Egad!

We don’t need to spend money on more studies. Ridership of the Northstar is tiny. As for where to begin, let’s start with the reality that only transportation lobbyists and pork-tasting politicians like the Northstar project. Thoughtful people prefer the liberty that comes with driving. Environmentalists have been trying to force transit down our throats for decades. People have overwhelmingly rejected these options.

Rather than listening to the people, these progressives keep pushing these unwanted options. When will they accept that we aren’t interested?

Hillary’s panderfest on the Charleston shootings was a portrait of the type of ‘leadership’ she’d bring to the White House. Here’s what she said that’s dangerous:

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton challenged the nation Thursday to take new actions to curb gun violence in her first reactions to the shooting inside a historically black Charleston, S.C., church that left nine dead.

“How many people do we need to see cut down before we act?” she asked, during a summit of elected and appointed Latino politicians meeting in Las Vegas. She began by saying that her thoughts and prayers were with the victims and their families in the shooting, before turning to a broader discussion of police. “So as we mourn and as our hearts break a little more, and as we send this message of solidarity that we will not forsake those who have been victimized by gun violence, this time we have to find answers together,” Clinton said.

That thinking is straight from the progressives’ surely-we-must-do-something chapter of their strategy handbook. It’s filled with emotion, which is understandable. Unfortunately, it’s equally devoid of constructive ideas, much less solutions.

This is essentially Hillary’s “I feel your pain” moment. That’s nice but saying that we have to curb gun violence, then not offering a solution is cruel.

Let’s unwind this a bit. The alleged murderer was a bigot who’d been in trouble with the law relatively frequently. That’s indisputable, verified fact. He’d gotten kicked out of a Charleston shopping mall and told never to return. Instead of never returning, he tried returning, only to get thrown out again.

His punishment for these actions? His father bought him a handgun for his birthday. There are laws already on the books that prohibit criminals from owning guns. Would another law covering the same thing matter? I’m betting it wouldn’t. BTW, I’d prosecute the father for supplying the weapon to his obviously deranged son.

Remember that the alleged murderer was a bigot. He read skinhead literature, too. One of his friends said that he’d planned this “for 6 months.” There’s another human failure. If this friend knew this, why didn’t he contact authorities?

Finally, what gun control legislation would’ve prevented this heinous crime? We know that gun control laws that’ve been proposed in the last 5 years wouldn’t have stopped Sandy Hook or Aurora or the shooting of Gabby Giffords.

The first step to solving these violence issues is for Democrats to stop blaming the guns. The people who’ve done these killings are violent individuals. Until you change people’s hearts, no laws will matter.

Kirsten Powers’ latest column is, being charitable, misguided:

Pope Francis will release a teaching letter, known as an encyclical, on Thursday that’s thought to be the first in the church’s history to focus on the environment. A leaked version of the document endorses the notion that human activity contributes to climate change and that this menace disproportionately harms the poor.

Many U.S. conservatives are not pleased, believing that that the Vatican is blindly bending to elite opinion and stepping out of its lane. Leave the climate change issue to the politicians, they argue. Some conservative Catholics have expressed concern to me that Pope Francis is pulling a “reverse Galileo” by endorsing science that could turn out to be wrong, thus harming the credibility of the Catholic Church.

Perhaps there should be more concern in the alternative. If the science is correct, then how would the church’s silence in obeisance to conservative climate skepticism enhance its credibility? After all, the American Association for the Advancement of Science announced in 2014 that the scientific consensus that “climate change is happening, and human activity is the cause” is as airtight as the “science linking smoking to lung and cardiovascular diseases.”

Climate change isn’t science. It’s conjecture built on models that don’t use accurate temperature data. The process itself is flawed, too. They don’t use the double blind procedure. That’s the gold standard in scientific testing because it ensures that the person who does the data analysis doesn’t do the data collection or inputting the data.

As for this consensus, it’s overrated when the scientists are corrupt. This is the Hockey Stick graph used in the IPCC’s report:

Here’s the modified hockey stick graph used in a later release of the IPCC report after scientists objected to the first Hockey Stick graph:

Those graphs don’t look like each other. At all. So much for consensus and the airtight nature of the science.

The Catholic Church’s credibility won’t crumble because of Pope Francis’ encyclical. Pope Francis’ credibility, though, is already struggling. Thus far, he seems more like a far left activist than a pontiff.

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Now that the Special Session is history, it’s time to reflect on what happened. The best way I know how to do that is by identifying the Sessions winners and losers. This post will deal with the winners.

  1. Kurt Daudt — He was simply masterful throughout. He proved to be a master negotiator, which nobody predicted going against Sen. Bakk. Late in last night’s special session, after the Senate had stripped out the House Republicans’ reforms and the DFL passed the amended bill, the decision was made in Caucus to restore the original bill, pass it and send it back to the Senate. House Environment Chairman Denny MacNamara offered an amendment to essentially restore the bill. After that, the outcome of the session was virtually sealed. Speaker Daudt gets credit for having the spine to insist on the bill’s original language.
  2. David Hann — Sen. Hann played a key role in getting the Ag/Environment bill passed. After the bill was originally defeated, Sen. Hann spoke with Sen. Bakk about winning some GOP votes this session by promising to pass tax relief. That was the right elixir. The first time the Senate voted on the Ag/Environment Bill, it failed by a 33-32 margin. When it returned from the House, several procedural votes happened first. Sen. Marty made a motion to not concur with the bill. Had that passed, the bill would’ve gone into conference committee. It was defeated 38-29. Next, Sen. Tomassoni, a DFL senator from the Range, made a motion to concur. That passed 40-26. That passed with 7 more votes than it got the first time. Sen. Hann got those extra votes by negotiating a tax relief bill for the 2016 session. After that, it was all over except the special interests’ whining. The vote on final passage was 38-29. The whining went into full whine at that point.
  3. Denny MacNamara — his amendment on the Ag/Environment Bill was the straw that broke the environmental activists’ back. I was following the session through Twitter. The minute the bill got to the Senate, environmental activist organizations like the Minnesota Environmental Partnership and the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy, aka MEP and MCEA respectively, started whining. The bloggers at MNPact started whining, too.
  4. Jennifer Loon — She shepherded the K-12 bill throughout and brought it home without a hitch.

The entire GOP Caucus, both in the House and Senate, deserve an honorable mention. They didn’t back down. They fought for reforms that took power out of the hands of special interests and won. They even won on education spending and policy. When’s the last time that could be said?

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If you’re looking for a heaping helping of in-your-face Second Amendment activism, you’ve come to the right place. Enjoy: