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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:

Frank Hornstein represents a Twin Cities district. That’s why it isn’t surprising that he opposes the Sandpiper Pipeline project in northern Minnesota. What’s odd is his reason for opposing it:

Rep. Frank Hornstein, DFL-Minneapolis, said many frame pipelines as a safer alternative to oil-carrying trains but that it shouldn’t be a choice between the two.

“Pipelines leak and explode and so do trains. The choice is: Are we going to continue our dependence on oil or get serious about conserving?” said Hornstein, who called the debate a symptom of “America’s gluttonous appetite for oil. The science is in, the data is screaming at us. And what goes on inside here,” he said pointing to the Capitol, “is unfortunately not helping.”

Bulletin for Hornstein: The vote is in. People love their oil-loving ways. They don’t care that we’re using lots of oil.

Americans processed all of the data that’s “screaming at us.” The perspective that Rep. Hornstein prefers lost. Actually, it got its butt kicked. It isn’t surprising, though, that Rep. Hornstein isn’t paying attention to what the American people want. He’ a hardline progressive who knows what’s best for Americans. Because knows what’s best for Americans, his policies should be implemented ASAP.

That sounds like a certain pen-wielding president who hates Congress and the courts, doesn’t it?

With all due respect to Rep. Hornstein, the American people don’t care that he thinks he knows what’s best for them. Though he’ll probably continue getting re-elected for as long as he wants, Minnesotans will reject his attitude.

Protesters carried makeshift signs and banners and chanted, “We don’t want your tar sands oil, we won’t let you kill our soil,” and “Pipelines spill, tar sands kill.”

I’d love to see the autopsy report that states that tar sands were the cause of death. These environmental activists are from the outer fringes of the outer fringe of the DFL.

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Predictably, environmental activists protested the PUC’s approval of the Sandpiper Pipeline project:

Hundreds gathered Saturday to protest Minnesota’s proposed Sandpiper pipeline. The rally in St. Paul came one day after Minnesota regulators endorsed the $2.6 billion Sandpiper pipeline that would carry crude oil from North Dakota’s Bakken oil fields to Superior, Wisconsin, according to the Star Tribune. That’s where pipeline owner Enbridge Energy operates an oil terminal tied to other pipelines supplying refineries in the East and Midwest.

Anti-pipeline activists said they expected as many as several thousand people. Activists who led the battle against the giant Keystone pipeline say they hope to turn Minnesota’s pipeline into the next national organizing symbol against tar sands and climate change.

These professional protesters show up wherever a fossil fuel project has been approved. If someone wants to build a pipeline, these professional protesters will protest there. What’s more, they’ll be insisting that the project being built shouldn’t be built if there’s the slightest chance of any sort of accident.

That’s an impossible standard. It can’t be met, which is why these activists insist on that standard.

Richard Smith, who heads the group Friends of the Headwaters, told Minnesota Public Radio News the Enbridge project could put sensitive water resources at risk. “They shouldn’t have the right to exploit our water resources, our headwaters of the Mississippi, our lakes and streams, our wild rice and our drinking water,” he said.

Sharon Day, with the Indigenous People’s Task Force, fears expanding oil production in Canada and moving more oil through the state will hurt the environment. “If you want your grandchildren’s grandchildren to have life, to have clean water, then we must all do what we can,” Day said.

Richard Smith says that Enbridge “shouldn’t have the right to exploit our water resources, our headwaters of the Mississippi, our lakes and streams, our wild rice and our drinking water.” I’d state it differently. Friends of the Headwaters shouldn’t have the right to tell Minnesotans that they have to pay higher prices for energy, whether it’s gas prices or higher home heating bills, just to meet their impossible goals.

I stated earlier that FoH and other environmental activist organizations insist that projects meet their ‘no accidents ever policy’. It’s time to insist that building Minnesota’s energy infrastructure is just as important as protecting Minnesota’s natural resources. Thus far, DFL politicians have said that that’s possible. Then they’ve nitpicked every single project to death. The environmental activist wing of the DFL, led by the MCEA, has literally litigated these energy projects into oblivion.

It’s time the DFL’s actions matched their words.

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This LTE highlights just how ill-informed voters are. It’s also proof that the DFL’s propaganda machine operates 24/7. Check out this paranoid rant:

There is no longer any doubt; the Republican Party has now embraced “alchemy” as its economic and intellectual reason for being. Daudt, Petersen and Green seem to believe “gold comes from lead.” They are now using four and five year old children to pay for their tax cuts; so too with our infrastructure. This requires a minimum of intellectual honesty and logic.

The citizen who wrote this LTE obviously didn’t do any research into the matter. It’s apparent that he simply regurgitated the DFL’s chanting points without questioning the DFL’s propaganda.

Just once, I’d love reading a well-researched LTE from the Totalitarian Left that’s filled with logical arguments and indisputable facts. I won’t hold my breath while I’m waiting for that to happen.

Our children, the four and five year olds, will become this nation’s future job creators. The Republicans can get a jump start on tax cuts today by using the backs of children in pursuit of alchemy — oops — economic prosperity.

The DFL’s chief argument for their programs is fairness. It isn’t that the DFL is insisting that their programs are efficient or effective. That would give Republicans too easy of a target to take out.

Check this out:

Then too, we have the religious right’s alchemy of gay conversion therapy nonsense (government funded.) Some of these “righties” just can’t stand seeing people they don’t know pursuing the right of happiness. Some of them use the Bible and God (literally) as a cop-out to justify fear, angst and hate — “alchemy.”

The tide is turning. Many among us have finally realized the pandering of political quacks and peeping Toms are losing ground to the 21st Century, YouTube, Facebook and reality.

I frequently say that a little paranoia goes a long way. I don’t think that’s applicable here because this activist appears to have tons of paranoia. What’s frightening is that this activist is the face of the DFL.

At the end of each legislative session, each chamber’s leaders issue statements on what did or didn’t get accomplished. Predictably, there’s quite a difference of opinion. Check Rep. Thissen’s statement out:

House DFL Leader Paul Thissen released the following statement:

“I would grade this session an ‘F.’ House Republicans failed to pass a transportation bill when this was supposed to be the transportation session. They failed to freeze tuition for Minnesota’s students despite our $2 billion budget surplus. They failed Greater Minnesota, ignoring broadband, oil train safety, and local property tax relief. They failed to get their job done on time, chaotically passing a jobs bill with no public input or debate. And they refused to negotiate with Governor Dayton, forcing a special session over their insistence on underfunding Minnesota’s earliest learners.

What makes this session’s failures so disappointing is the golden opportunity that Republicans have wasted- all to protect corporate special interests. With a growing economy and $2 billion surplus, we had the opportunity this session to provide greater economic security to hardworking families, fix our state’s roads and bridges, make college more affordable for students, and take needed strides to ensure all of Minnesota’s earliest learners have the chance to get ahead.

We should have done much better for hardworking Minnesotans, but Republican failed to deliver results.”

Compare that with Sen. Bakk’s statement:

Saint Paul, Minn.—Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk (DFL-Cook) released the following statement regarding the end of the 2015 legislative session.

“Tonight the legislature passed the final components of a two-year budget to keep Minnesota moving forward. Protecting MinnesotaCare from elimination, $138 million for nursing homes, and important new investments in education were significant accomplishments for the DFL Senate.

The last five months, we have seen what divided government looks like. Many bills this session passed the Senate with strong bipartisan support. However, the challenge presented by divided government immobilized many promising, critical initiatives.

I, and many Minnesotans, am particularly disappointed we were unable pass a comprehensive transportation bill this session. I will work tirelessly to pass a comprehensive transportation bill with stable funding during the 2016 legislative session. I will also work to dedicate portions of the projected budget surplus to investment in education and property tax relief for all Minnesotans,” Bakk said.

Last Friday night on Almanac, Sen. Bakk’s positive tone spoke volumes about how he felt about the budget he’d just negotiated with Speaker Daudt. He said “We didn’t get everything we wanted but we got everything we need to keep Minnesota moving forward.”

Thissen’s statement sounds like the type of political statement that an out-of-touch Twin Cities Metrocrat would write, which is what it is.

Expanded broadband isn’t a high priority for Greater Minnesota. Fixing Greater Minnesota’s pothole-filed roads are their highest priority, followed by building the Sandpiper Pipeline project to free up railcar space. Greater Minnesota understands that oil train safety, as defined by the DFL, isn’t the solution. Building pipelines is the solution, plus it kills 2 birds with one stone. First, pipelines are the safest way to get oil from Point A to Point B. Second, pipelines free up rail space for agricultural products.

Metrocrats like Thissen, though, don’t approve of that because the environmental activist wing of the DFL don’t approve of fossil fuels. The DFL’s record proves that they do exactly what their special interest masters tell them to do.

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