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Jane Conrad’s LTE is an exercise in partisan dishonesty. In Ms. Conrad’s opening paragraph, she said “In 2014, state politicians like Reps. Jim Knoblach, Tama Theis, Jeff Howe and Tim O’Driscoll ran and were elected on a promise to improve the quality of lives for citizens in Greater Minnesota. We were promised that our roads and bridges would be repaired and broadband technology would be expanded.”

What’s happening is unfortunate. This isn’t part of the DFL’s campaign. This is the DFL’s campaign. They’ve been whining about Republicans not spending as much on broadband as they are since the 2014 election. The truth is that Republicans are willing to expand broadband in Minnesota. They just aren’t willing to spend as much on it as the DFL.

Second, I’m tired of hearing that Republicans haven’t delivered on fixing Minnesota’s roads and bridges. The DFL, starting with Gov. Dayton and including Transportation Forward, is insisting on a major middle class tax increase to pay for roads and bridges. Additionally, they’re insisting that Republicans raise fees to pay for transit projects. In short, the DFL is insisting on listening to their lobbyist allies rather than to the people. I wrote this post in April, 2015 about a KSTP/SurveyUSA poll on transportation. Here is the poll question and the result:

House Republicans propose spending $750-million on highways and bridges over four years by using some of the state’s budget surplus and other existing funds without raising taxes. Do you approve or disapprove? Asked of 525 registered voters. Margin of sampling error for this question = ± 3.8%
75% Approve, 17% Disapprove, 8% Not Sure

It’s pretty clear that Minnesotans don’t approve of a major middle class tax increase, especially when there’s a less expensive way of solving the problem.

This year’s legislative session has been shortened due to construction at the Capitol, so one would assume our representatives would try to make the most of what little time they have, and get done what is most important. Instead, they waste time and taxpayer money trying to pass laws that will not pass in the Senate, would be vetoed by Gov. Mark Dayton and would do nothing to help their constituents in Greater Minnesota.

Shame on Ms. Conrad. She’s forgotten that last year’s session went rather well. She’s forgotten, perhaps intentionally, that Speaker Kurt Daudt and Sen. Tom Bakk worked out a bipartisan budget agreement that Gov. Dayton eventually signed right before a partial government shutdown would’ve happened.

To hear Ms. Conrad tell it, Republicans don’t get anything done because they hate central Minnesota and other parts of the state, too. Ms. Conrad is a DFL operative who supports labor unions’ goals. It isn’t a stretch to say that she’s critical of anything Republicans do. That’s who she is.

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Lou Dobbs isn’t usually prone to being a bonehead. Still, there’s no disputing the fact that this retweet isn’t one of Dobbs’s finer examples of thinking clearly. The original tweet said “Via @NPR: Trump Gains Support From Teamsters, Who Normally Vote For Democrats http://n.pr/1p1CyTC #Wisconsin #PA” It was posted by someone with a screen name of Tahquamenon. Dobbs’s baffling reply was “Lou Dobbs Retweeted Tahquamenon Great News for @realDonaldTrump supporters in Wisconsin. It’s #Trump2016 against Wisconsin GOP Establishment.”

First, it’s worth noting that Dobb’s tweet came minutes after Scott Walker announced on the Charlie Sykes Show that he’d endorsed Ted Cruz. Clearly, this was intended to compete with the positive news that Gov. Walker, one of the best reform governors in the United States, had endorsed Sen. Cruz. Next, it’s worth noting that the Teamsters leadership aren’t Republicans. Trump is clearly making a play for Democrats to vote in the GOP primary, which is an open primary. The Teamsters hate Gov. Walker with a passion. He’s hoping this will attract union voters to his campaign.

Let’s understand something important here. Lou Dobbs is either foolish or he’s totally in the tank for Trump. I’m betting the latter. Calling Scott Walker part of the GOP Establishment is a bit like saying that Bill Clinton is as liberal as Bill Ayers. Put bluntly, it’s absurd to think of Scott Walker as establishment. Couple that with Ted Cruz’s reputation of fighting “the Washington Cartel” in both parties and it’s utterly absurd to call Cruz and Walker the GOP Establishment.

It’s stunning to see how stupid otherwise intelligent people have become after they’ve interviewed Trump.

This is the chief takeaway from today’s announcements: Ted Cruz was endorsed by Scott Walker, a man who dealt with death threats against himself and his wife to pass union reforms. Donald Trump announced that he’s being supported by the people who protested against Gov. Walker’s reforms. Walker is a conservative’s conservative with a lengthy list of conservative accomplishments. The Teamsters are part of the Democrats’ base that tried to destroy Gov. Walker.

By those facts, there’s no question who the conservative in this race is and who the liberal is. Lou Dobbs should be ashamed of himself.

In the end, in-home child care providers rejected AFSCME’s forced unionization plan. In fact, the vote wasn’t that close. According to this article, the “vote was 1,014-392 in a Tuesday count by the state Bureau of Mediation Services from ballots mailed to providers last month.”
Don Davis, who wrote this article, is right in saying that the “election was a defeat for Gov. Mark Dayton and other Democrats who promoted the unionization effort. Republicans declared the results show that childcare providers do not want state interference.”

When the DFL pushed the forced unionization vote down the child care providers’ throats, LFR reported on the fight between the child care providers and the DFL’s special interest allies. Though I wasn’t there at the Capitol, I watched until 6:00 am via the House’s livestream. That’s how I gathered the information that went into this post.

The DFL loves to talk about how they’re the party of the little guy. That’s BS. Child care providers rejected AFSCME unionization by a 72%-28% margin. The only time they side with the little guy is when the little guy agrees with the DFL’s special interest allies. Period.

Senate Minority Leader David Hann, R-Eden Prairie, said Dayton administration “did not follow the law” when it set up the election, ruling that many providers did not qualify for ballots.

“This vote should be the final word on Dayton’s shameful effort to pay back the AFSCME union for their early support of his campaign for governor,” Hann said. “Senate Republicans will now push to have the law repealed in the face of such strong opposition from providers and parents.”

House Speaker Kurt Daudt, R-Crown, joined Hann in delivering harsh reaction. “Gov. Dayton tried and failed to rig an election that would have increased childcare costs for hardworking parents and caused headaches for independent providers.”

Sen. Bakk will block the GOP’s attempt to repeal the law because he can’t afford to piss off AFSCME in an election year. It’s that simple. Sen. Bakk isn’t about to fight the special interests that contribute to DFL campaigns and comprise the DFL’s GOTV operation.

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The DFL used to represent ‘the little guy’. Now it’s utterly beholden to Big Labor. Because the DFL is that beholden to the unions, they passed a bill in 2013 that a majority of in-home child care providers opposed. That’s why the DFL made sure to rig the election. That’s why in-home child care providers are suing Gov. Dayton, “Josh Tilsen, commissioner of the Bureau of Mediation Services (BMS), and Emily Johnson Piper, commissioner of the Department of Human Services.”

First, “According to the suit: Only child care providers who were actively registered with the Minnesota Child Care Assistance Programs in the past 12 months and who received subsidies from the program in December 2015 can vote to determine whether AFSCME should represent child care providers. That means only 2,348 providers can vote in an election that was announced by the BMS in January.”

BMS should be sued for rigging an election. AFSCME’s unionization push doesn’t just affect in-home child care providers that care for children whose parents receive assistance. AFSCME wants to be the exclusive negotiator with government on a wide range of issues. Despite that fact, BMS is insisting that the unionization vote be limited to a tiny portion of the child care providers. NOTE: There are over 11,000 in-home child care providers.

AFSCME knows that they’ll get defeated if all 11,000 providers get to vote. In fact, AFSCME knows they’ll get trounced if all child care providers vote.

The legislation and unionization efforts will interfere with other child care providers’ abilities to negotiate contracts directly with their clients, the suit said.

Since these are independent small businesses, they should have the right to pick the people they want representing them before oppressive governments. They should be able to change their mind on that decision a case-by-case basis.

Isn’t it absurd that government is telling these entrepreneurs who can represent them in negotiating with that oppressive government? Distilled to its finest form, that’s what this rigged election is about.

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Last year, Gov. Dayton signed a bill into law that expands “the options counties have for their audits to save local governments and taxpayers money, as well as expedite the audit process.” This afternoon, the AP is reporting that Gov. Dayton “supports his state auditor’s lawsuit” challenging the law he just signed, saying that “the measure passed last year was an unwise breach into Otto’s constitutional duties.”

I can’t wait to hear Gov. Dayton explain which part of the state Constitution the new law violates. There are 14 articles in Minnesota’s Constitution. The articles relating to the different branches of government are Article IV, which deals with the Legislative department, Article V, which deals with the Executive department and Article VI, which deals with the Judiciary. Article V is the article that deals with the Office of State Auditor. There are 7 sections in Article V. Section 1 deals with “Executive officers.” Article V, Sec. 1 states “The executive department consists of a governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, auditor, and attorney general, who shall be chosen by the electors of the state. The governor and lieutenant governor shall be chosen jointly by a single vote applying to both offices in a manner prescribed by law. [Amended, November 3, 1998]”

Section 2 deals with “term of governor and lieutenant governor; qualifications”. Section 3 deals with the “powers and duties of governor”. Section 4 deals with the “terms and salaries of executive officers”. Nowhere in Article V, Section 1 does it say how often audits have to be done, who is authorized to audit local units of government or whether the state auditor must be a CPA. Each of those specifics is defined by Minnesota state statutes.

As I said earlier, Otto’s audit doesn’t rise to the level of frivolous. Otto’s lawsuit is likely based on the fact that she’s fighting to preserve public employee union (PEU) jobs. The minute that counties and other local units of government can get their audits done faster and cheaper, the PEUs will be tossed aside like scrap metal. I don’t have documentation that AFSCME or MAPE or whichever union represents the people working in the Office of State Auditor, aka OSA, is pressuring Gov. Dayton and Ms. Otto but it’s the only explanation that makes sense.

Why else would Otto care whether she’s doing the audit or whether a private CPA is auditing a city or school district?

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When unions signed onto liberalism’s entire agenda, they signed onto some things that are hurting them now. That’s what this article is about. Unions have been among the most trustworthy parts of the DFL’s coalition. Their reward is getting frequently shafted.

The DFL has steadfastly defended the refugee resettlement program despite the national security risks it presents. The State Department’s refugee resettlement program doesn’t just give terrorists a free pass to move into the United States. It also hurts workers.

Last week, the St. Cloud City Council voted to rezone a former convent so it could be turned into an apartment unit that will house “seasonal workers from Ukraine, the Philippines and Mexico” who will work for GNP, formerly known as Gold’n Plump.

Now that it’s their ox that’s getting gored, the AFL-CIO is expressing its disgust with the program. Implicit in their complaint is their disgust with the DFL:

Jane Conrad, a union organizer with the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations, said GNP’s program will have a ripple effect in St. Cloud.

“It’s kind of opening a Pandora’s box that we really shouldn’t be going down,” she said. “When you have guest workers coming in from out of the area, they’re not staying here, they’re not invested in the community, the way those that live here are. And when we have the poverty rate that we have currently right now, we need everything we can get in this community.”

Ms. Conrad can thank the DFL for those refugees taking the place of her union workers. Then again, it’s fair to say that the AFL-CIO can blame themselves for empowering the DFL locally and the Democratic Party nationally.

The AFL-CIO and other major unions have gotten shafted by other Democratic Party agenda items. Think Keystone XL transcontinental pipeline and the Sandpiper Pipeline from the Bakken to Superior, WI. The unions got shafted on those good-paying jobs because today’s Democratic Party will always side with the environmentalists over the unions. Think, too, of the ACA demolishing the unions’ Cadillac health insurance plans, too.

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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 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 Bible says that a house divided cannot stand. I’ve never known that to be wrong, which means the DFL is heading for a collapse. The DFL, or more specifically Tina Smith, has declared war on Tom Bakk and the state of Minnesota. Whenever there’s a press conference, Tina’s right there, acting as Dayton’s keeper. Here’s proof of the Metro DFL’s turning on Sen. Bakk:

Tina Smith clearly controls the Metro DFL. It isn’t surprising, then, that the Metro DFL has put its stake in the ground over half-day universal pre-K even though studies show it isn’t great policy. Customized pre-K plans are cheaper and they produce better results. Look at all of the requirements the Smith-Dayton-DFL plan imposes on program operators:

  1. the elimination of the school readiness program;
  2. requiring that 4-year-olds be in school longer than other students;
  3. limited facility resources;
  4. mandatory class size and staff-to-student ratios;
  5. parent participation requirements;
  6. requiring that early childhood teachers be paid comparable to K-12 teachers;
  7. coordinated professional development with community-based early learning providers;
  8. requiring school districts to recruit, contract and monitor early childhood programs for fiscal and program quality.

That reads like a union contract, not education legislation. How much money would be saved if “early childhood teachers” weren’t “paid comparable to K-12 teachers”? Why does the Smith-Dayton-Metro DFL legislation mandate “class size and staff-to-student ratios”?

What’s happening here is that Education Minnesota is pushing for a mandatory program that a) all parents have to use, b) requires teachers to be paid union scale wages and c) requires new schools to be built. That isn’t a program built for “the kids.” It’s a program that’s “for Education Minnesota.”

If I had $10 for each tweet I’ve seen this weekend that talks about this program being for the children, I’d be wealthy. Tina Smith, Paul Thissen and most Metro DFLers are machine politicians. Their agenda is focused on satisfying their special interest allies. They aren’t focused on solutions. They’re about doing whatever they need to do to gain and maintain power.

When Sen. Bakk pulled his stunt about Gov. Dayton’s pay raise for department commissioners, he started a civil war within the DFL. Tina Smith and the Metro DFL haven’t forgiven him for that. Gov. Dayton certainly hasn’t. He’d rather bury the hatchet and leave the handle sticking out than forgive Bakk.

During his first term, speculation spread throughout the Capitol that Dayton’s chief of staff ran things, not Gov. Dayton. Tina Smith was Gov. Dayton’s chief of staff.

Smith worked in marketing for General Mills, ran her own marketing firm, and served as a Vice President of Planned Parenthood of Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota.[3] She served as Chief of Staff for Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak, and as senior advisor and Transition co-chair for Dayton’s 2010 gubernatorial campaign. Dayton appointed Smith as chief of staff when he took office in 2011.

When Dayton’s running mate from 2010, Lt. Gov. Yvonne Prettner Solon, announced she would not seek re-election, Dayton passed over better-known political officeholders, citing Smith’s work on shepherding the new Minnesota Vikings Stadium through the legislature, as well as her work on supporting the Destination Medical Center Project with the Mayo Clinic and the City of Rochester, MN.

Smith and Thissen were the people who talked Gov. Dayton out of accepting a deal that would’ve prevented the state government shutdown. Sixteen days later, Gov. Dayton signed the budget that Tina Smith and Rep. Thissen told him not to sign in June.

If there’s another shutdown, it’ll be because Smith and Thissen will have gotten to Gov. Dayton and given him terrible advice…again. In 2011, the Republican negotiators were different (Amy Koch and Kurt Zellers) but the DFL negotiators were the same (Gov. Dayton, Tina Smith, Sen. Bakk and Rep. Thissen). This time, Sen. Bakk negotiated a bipartisan deal with Speaker Kurt Daudt. Gov. Dayton, Lt. Gov. Smith and Rep. Thissen are still pushing policies that appear to be driving us into another shutdown.

That isn’t surprising. It’s just disappointing.

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It isn’t surprising that AFSCME is singing Gov. Dayton’s praises. It’s as surprising as finding out that the Clinton Foundation isn’t a charity.

Facing a deep natural recession and a $6 billion budget deficit, Minnesotans voted in progressive Gov. Mark Dayton, who ran on a tax-the-rich platform that included investment in people and infrastructure.

Dayton pushed a sharp increase on taxes for the top 2 percent to pay for his plan. And soon he and legislators passed laws that expanded unionization, froze college tuition, increased the minimum wage, required equal pay for women, legalized same-sex marriage, eased voter restrictions, boosted primary education spending and established all-day kindergarten.

AFSCME is right. Minnesota’s economy took right off after they legalized same-sex marriage and required equal pay for women. It’s established fact that entrepreneurs insisted that they wouldn’t hire another worker until government implemented those policies.

Legalizing same-sex marriage and requiring equal pay for women had as much to do with Minnesota’s economic growth as raising taxes on small businesses.

In Minnesota, Dayton turned that $6 billion budget deficit into a more than $2 billion surplus in just one term. Minnesota added 172,000 jobs and its 3.6 percent unemployment rate is among the lowest in the country.

Let’s compare that with this information:

Since February 2011, Wisconsin’s employable population has grown by about 100,000 people, but the number of people employed increased by about 135,000. That means employment outpaced population growth significantly.

But how does it compare with national employment growth? One important measure is the percentage of the employable population that is actually employed, what the Bureau of Labor Statistics calls the employment-population ratio. The U.S. employment-population ratio has grown 1.5% since Mr. Walker took charge. Yet Wisconsin’s employment-population ratio has jumped 2.5%—significantly more than the national improvement rate. Wisconsin is also gaining ground against other states. In February 2011 Wisconsin ranked 12th in employment-population ratio. It now ranks ninth.

First, creating 172,000 jobs vs. creating 135,000 jobs is good news for the additional 37,000 people. Still, that isn’t a huge difference. Furthermore, Wisconsin’s LFPR is impressive:

Wisconsin’s current 68.4% labor-force participation rate is particularly noteworthy because it represents an uptick over the past year from a low of 68.1%. Nationally, the average labor-force participation rate has declined to lows last seen during the Carter administration.

The national LFPR is currently 62.7%. If that was the same as it was when President Obama was inaugurated, the national unemployment rate would be over 9%.

Wisconsin’s economy is creating jobs while cutting deeply into Wisconsin’s long-term unemployment rate. Minnesota should be that lucky.