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If this article is accurate, and the swelling crowds seem to verify its accuracy, German Chancellor Angela Merkel doesn’t stand much of a change in the next election. The tip-off, which isn’t much of a secret, is the opening paragraph of this article, which says “According to a poll performed by YouGov market research firm, at least 66% of the respondents said they do not agree with the chancellor’s policy towards refugees, with only 27% support.”

With France getting frequently hit with terrorist attacks and with some terrorist attacks happening in Germany, it won’t be long before German voters fire Merkel and replace her with a pro-border control alternative. It’s virtually inevitable.

Merkel incited this uprising when she said “[Germany] Will give asylum to those who are politically persecuted and we will give protection to those who flee war and expulsion according to the Geneva Refugee Convention,” adding “We can make it.” Never has a politician misread her constituents or failed to do what’s right in recent history more than Ms. Merkel.

These leaders’ statements offer differing perspectives:

Frauke Petry, leader of the Alternative for Germany (AfD), which strongly rejects the refugee inflow into Germany, also criticized Merkel’s policy towards migrants. “…Stop repeating ‘we’ll manage it’ and finally admit your mistake,” she said. The head of the Green Party Cem Ozdemir said that he feels “ashamed” due to “the failure of the world community, of Europe and above all of Germany” to resolve the refugee crisis.

Mr. Ozdemir sounds like a politician. Petry sounds like a patriot who would do what’s right. If the election were held today, I’d bet that Petry would win handily. I’m betting that Germans would pick the true believer in German sovereignty over the politician.

This doesn’t bode well for Ms. Merkel:

Bavaria’s state premier took aim at Chancellor Angela Merkel’s open-door refugee policy on Saturday, rejecting her “we can do this” mantra just two days after she defended the message following Islamist attacks in Germany.

The comments from Horst Seehofer, whose Christian Social Union is the Bavarian sister party of Merkel’s conservatives, exacerbate the chancellor’s difficulty in standing by a policy that her critics have blamed for the attacks and which risks undermining her popularity ahead of federal elections next year.

Five attacks in Germany since July 18 have left 15 people dead, including four assailants, and dozens injured. Two of the attackers had links to Islamist militancy, officials say. “‘We can do this’ – I cannot, with the best will, adopt this phrase as my own,” Seehofer told reporters after a meeting of his party.

The German people aren’t stupid. They’ve noticed that terrorist attacks are increasing. That won’t stop until a new leader is elected.

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This article highlights how special interests acquire political influence. It starts innocently enough, with volunteers gathering “the 2,000 signatures from registered Republican voters that the senator needs to get on the Republican primary ballot.” Because it’s part of Utah’s state statutes, the law has the same requirements for Democrats.

Getting volunteers to knock on doors to collect signatures isn’t corrupt by itself. In fact, if that’s all that was involved, that would be a great way to test citizens’ enthusiasm. Unfortunately, that isn’t what this is about. Far from it, actually.

Knocking on doors is so much easier if you have the address of people who are likely to support you. Why knock on every door in the neighborhood when a friendly special interest group has put together and maintained a list of people who will support you? Apparently, that’s what the Utah Association of Realtors has put together. What’s more, they’re offering incumbents a special introductory price for that list:

Chris Kyler, executive director of the Utah Association of Realtors, said the app his group offers tracks the voter registration file and lets a candidate keep track of which doors have been knocked on and who has signed the petitions.

The idea is that candidates can send out volunteers, or Boy Scout troops or cheerleader squads looking for a fundraising opportunity, with the app to round up the signatures they need.

The Realtors, among the most politically influential groups at Utah’s Capitol, are letting incumbents use the app free of charge. Kyler said they have not decided whether to give the same privilege to challengers or candidates for open seats.

It isn’t surprising that the Utah Association of Realtors is a politically powerful special interest group in Utah. Incumbents can’t afford to get them upset.

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It’s telling that 27% of Democrats think that ‘deniers’ should be prosecuted. It’s frightening, though, that New York State has taken it a step further by investigating Exxon Mobil for refusing to play ball with the popular scientific theory.

According to the NY Times, the “New York attorney general has begun an investigation of Exxon Mobil to determine whether the company lied to the public about the risks of climate change or to investors about how such risks might hurt the oil business. According to people with knowledge of the investigation, Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman issued a subpoena Wednesday evening to Exxon Mobil, demanding extensive financial records, emails and other documents.”

This is a serious investigation only in the sense that state attorneys general have subpoena power and the resources to make life miserable for the companies they ‘investigate’. Otherwise, this isn’t a serious investigation. The accurate terminology for what the NY State Attorney General is doing is ‘leading a fishing expedition’. Another term that might be used is that Gen. Schneiderman’s hunting for someone’s scalp, a trophy to brag about during his re-election campaign.

I seriously doubt that Schneiderman can prove anything about the science. If he can’t prove that climate change exists to a judge, then he should lose the entire case because, according to the NY Times, the investigation intends to prove how much climate change “might hurt the oil business.”

The fact that people think the government should prosecute ‘climate change deniers’ should be sufficient motivation to vote out Democrats in 2016 and beyond. These people are nuts and vindictive.

It isn’t a surprise that the Strib endorsed Steve Simon. It’s just sad that they said this about him:

This is the issue that should matter most when those Minnesotans who do exercise their civic privilege vote for a new secretary of state on Nov. 4. And once this key consideration is taken into account, it’s clear that Steve Simon, who represents portions of St. Louis Park and Hopkins in the Legislature, is uniquely well suited to succeed Secretary of State Mark Ritchie, who is not seeking a third term.

Simon, like Ritchie, is a DFLer. But he has built bipartisan consensus to increase voter participation. As chair of the House Elections Committee, Simon was instrumental in passing the “no excuses” absentee voter law, which starting this election makes it easier for Minnesota voters to cast a ballot, as well as the bill allowing online voter registration. And he carried the bill to switch Minnesota’s primary election from September to August to better accommodate state voters living abroad.

That’s BS. Simon didn’t build bipartisan consensus “to increase voter participation.” The only time Republicans and Democrats have disagreed about election policies, they were discussing Photo ID. Other than that, they’ve largely agreed.

Lately, though, Rep. Simon has shown a particularly nasty, race-hustling side:

STEVE SIMON: I really don’t support this idea of a sort of Lexus lane for voting or the so-called “Express Lane Voting. First of all, it seems intended to be a separate but equal system. All I have to go on are Dan’s own words when he characterized on a TEA Party TV show in the spring when he said “If you don’t want to show an ID, be my guest. You can go over to the side and wait 2 hours in the cold. That’s fine.”

It isn’t accidental that Rep. Simon used that disgusting term. Rep. Simon intended to frighten minorities, especially African-Americans, into turning out and voting. That type of partisanship indicates that Steve Simon isn’t the nonpartisan, consensus-seeking public servant that the Strib wants us to believe. It’s apparent that he’s a politician who won’t hesitate in saying anything to get elected. Further, that tells me that he isn’t the man of integrity that’s required to do this job.

What’s most disheartening is that nobody in the DFL or in the Twin Cities media have said a thing about Rep. Simon’s racism. Nobody’s called him out for his racist fearmongering. That’s both disgusting and disheartening. What’s worst is that Steve Simon has repeatedly resorted to this inflammatory racist rhetoric. Why would anyone think that he’s an impartial, nonpartisan arbiter of administering elections?

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After watching this video from this morning’s Secretary of State debate, it’s difficult to determine whether Steve Simon is dishonest or unqualified for the job:

Here’s part of what was said that makes me think that Rep. Simon is a Sharpton-like race-baiter:

STEVE SIMON: I really don’t support this idea of a sort of Lexus lane for voting or the so-called “Express Lane Voting. First of all, it seems intended to be a separate but equal system. All I have to go on are Dan’s own words when he characterized on a TEA Party TV show in the spring when he said “If you don’t want to show an ID, be my guest. You can go over to the side and wait 2 hours in the cold. That’s fine.”

Rep. Simon’s reciting the separate but equal line was an intentional race-baiting statement. It’s intent was to frighten African-Americans. That’s partisanship at its disgusting worst. Politicians that play on people’s fears aren’t public servants; they’re politicians.

People that play hardball politics do it to win political fights. They aren’t particularly cunning. They just push hard to win. Politicians that play on people’s fears, fears that were created by decades of oppression prey on the vulnerable.

That’s what fascists do.

Next, Rep. Simon was reading from his script the entire time. If he’s upset with Rep. Severson’s remarks, he shouldn’t need to bury his head in a script for 10 seconds. FYI- 10 seconds is long enough to say 45 words. It’s apparent that Rep. Simon’s hissy fit is 75% schtick meant to frighten minorities into voting, 25% Rep. Simon being a less-than-impressive candidate. A top tier candidate, at this late stage of the campaign, would rattle facts off without hesitation and with confidence that he knows his facts.

Though it’s clear Rep. Simon isn’t a top tier candidate, that doesn’t mean Republicans shouldn’t work hard right through the last minute of Election Day. Candidates that get the most votes, whether they’re qualified or not qualified, still win.

At this point in the campaign, the right attitude is to outwork the DFL every minute through the closing of the polls.

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I’m hoping that Dan Severson will defeat Steve Simon next Tuesday and become Minnesota’s next Secretary of State. To help in that effort, Dan’s running this ad:

Here’s the transcript from the ad:

NICOLE PELZER: I’m Nicole Pelzer and I support Dan Severson for Secretary of State. As Secretary of State, his job would be to oversee elections, work with businesses and administer the Safe At Home program. As a Navy commander and Top Gun fighter pilot and former state legislator, Dan has the leadership, integrity and discipline to succeed in all that he does. He isn’t just a great candidate. I’m also proud to call him my dad.
DAN SEVERSON: I’m Dan Severson and I would be honored to have your vote on November 4th.

I’ve known Dan for almost a decade. I can verify that he’s a leader and man of integrity. This isn’t just about personal character, though Dan’s got that in abundance. It’s also that Dan’s a man of ideas. It’s also that his opponent is Mark Ritchie in a more expensive suit.

Dan’ proposing a pair of initiatives if he’s elected. The first initiative would make it easier for Minnesotans serving overseas in the military to vote. Ken Martin’s biggest criticism at the time was that Dan hadn’t introduced that legislation when he was a legislator. (Of course, the technology that’s used wasn’t reliable then as it is now but why let important points like that get in the way of a DFL hissy fit, right?)

The other initiative that Dan’s proposed is something that’s called Express Lane Voting. People that are already registered and who have a valid photo ID would be able to hop in the voting equivalent of an express lane at a grocery story. People using EDR, aka Election Day Registration, would use the other lane. Dan’s opponent already is throwing a hissy fit over that:

To me, and all I have to go on are his words, it’s a way to marginalize and ostracize and exclude people who don’t have the type of ID that he and others like him think they should have. I think this is a warmed over version of the Voter ID proposal that Minnesotans have rejected.

Minnesotans don’t need a politically correct Metrocrat from the perpetually offended wing of the DFL. They need a man with a lengthy leadership history. They need a man of integrity.

Minnesotans need Dan Severson as their next Secretary of State.

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Under DFL domination, the percentage of active military personnel serving overseas has dropped from 15% to a pathetic 5%. Despite the DFL’s claims that their policies increase voter turnout, America’s patriots don’t seem to benefit from the DFL’s policies.

Less than 3 weeks from now, Minnesotans have the opportunity to rectify that by electing Dan Severson. Severson has a plan to make it easier for military personnel serving overseas to vote:

Dan Severson says delays in mailing ballots and lack of awareness has brought military voter participation to as low as 5%. Severson proposes creating a secure online voting network for soldiers. A similar system has been used in Arizona.

Steve Simon, Severson’s opponent for Secretary of State, has a less efficient plan:

Simon says military members benefit from the new, no-excuse absentee voting law he shepherded through the Legislature last session. He says Severson’s online voting proposal is worth exploring.

Simon isn’t accurate. No-excuse voting isn’t that big of a benefit because it still takes tons of time to get ballots from war zones back to Minnesota. The online system that Severson is proposing eliminates the mailing of ballots. Ballots wouldn’t have to be mailed to our service personnel. Our service personnel wouldn’t have to worry that the military’s post office would get the ballots back before the deadline, either.

Fill out the ballot. Hit enter.

That’s about as simple a procedure as you’ll find.

Steve Simon didn’t insist on making voting easier for our military, which indicates it isn’t a priority for him. That’s unacceptable. Severson’s commitment to service personnel guarantees that military turnout would be taken seriously. Our heroes deserve nothing less.

As long as we don’t hire the people who designed MNsure or HealthCare.gov, we should be fine.

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I know it isn’t the highest hurdle ever constructed but it’s apparent that some citizens are smarter than Sen. Franken when it comes to the Bill of Rights. Here’s proof:

“Congress and the states may regulate and set reasonable limits on the raising and spending of money by candidates and others to influence elections.” This is a proposed constitutional amendment Sen. Al Franken supports along with 47 other Democratic senators. Hopefully in one of his remaining debates he will explain his reasoning for supporting this amendment and why incumbent congressmen like himself should be entrusted to set “reasonable limits.” Perhaps Democrats think we shouldn’t be exposed to too many ideas. It’s ironic his party supports such an amendment since the Democratic Party is far outspending the GOP in this year’s mid-term election.

This LTE hits the nail on the head in highlighting the silliness of thinking anyone in Washington, DC is capable of setting “reasonable limits” on fundraising spending during campaigns. To quote the great economist and philosopher Milton Friedman during his interview with Phil Donahue, “Just where do you suppose we’re going to find these angels who are going to organize society for us? I don’t even trust you to do that.”

The notion that government bureaucrats always care about families or individuals rights is myth. The sooner that myth is demolished, the better. The thought that an incumbent will set up election rules that don’t favor the incumbent is foolhardy. Thinking that Al Franken, Harry Reid and Chuck Schumer are interested in playing fair is intellectually insulting.

Yes, raising and spending money can be used to influence opinions and elections. That is what free speech is supposed to do.

It’s a beautiful thing. Shouldn’t “the rich” have the right to express their political opinions? If not, why not?

Actually, that’s just a trap. Who made any of us the impartial arbiter of what’s acceptable political speech? Is any of us so virtuous that we’d trust ourselves with never showing partiality? If you think that of yourself, then you’re either lying through your teeth or you’ve got a higher opinion of yourself than you should have.

Al that aside, the fact is that Sen. Franken has shown he isn’t the impartial arbiter of what’s acceptable political speech and what isn’t. He’s signed his name to a letter telling the IRS to crank up their investigation against conservative organizations by saying that they were involved in something suspicious. What that suspicious thing was wasn’t identified in Sen. Schumer’s letter.

What’s interesting is that Sen. Franken wants to give politicians the right to tell people that think differently than him that the First Amendment doesn’t protect them like it protects people that think like him. After that, he’s essentially saying that we should trust him with the authority to unlevel the political playing field.

No thanks.

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Al Franken and Sherrod Brown are just 2 of the Democratic senators that want to limit political speech. Truthfully, all 55 senators that caucus with the Democrats think that political speech should be regulated by the Senate. Here’s Sen. Brown’s latest attack on the First Amendment:

Dear ,

Where to start with Citizens United?

It’s brought unprecedented outside spending into our elections. It’s undercut the public’s faith in their elected officials. And it’s cowed Congress by putting a target on the back of any member who tries to stand up to special interests — like they did with me, when special interests spent $40 million against me in 2012.

Corporations are not people. The Declaration of Independence doesn’t say that “all corporations are created equal.” And there’s no good reason to pretend that corporations have the same rights as real, flesh-and-blood people.

But that’s exactly what Citizens United does, and in the process, it allows corporate cash to flood our elections and distract voters from issues that really matter.

Citizens United has done major damage to our democracy. Today, we start undoing that damage. Add your name to mine and demand an end to Citizens United.

Thank you.

Sherrod

First, I’d love hearing Sen. Brown, or Sen. Franken for that matter, explain where in the text of the First Amendment it says that corporations don’t have the right of political speech. Here’s the text of the First Amendment:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

The Founding Fathers meant for there to be robust debate of the issues. Notice, too, that they mentioned that “people”, not individuals, should have the right to peaceably assemble or petition their government “for a redress of grievances.”

Further, I’d love hearing Sens. Franken and Brown explain how a union is a group of individuals but a corporation isn’t a group of individuals.

The truth is that the Democrats’ attempt to amend the Constitution is all about election year politicking. The Democrats should be forced to explain why pro-Democrat political organizations should have the right to participate in the political process but pro-Republican organizations shouldn’t be allowed to participate in the political process. Finally, I’d love hearing Sens. Franken and Brown explain why incumbents should have the right to regulate anti-incumbent political speech. Why should I think incumbents are honest arbiters of what is and isn’t acceptable political speech?

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Yesterday, I got an email alert about a lawsuit filed by the Center for Competitive Politics challenging the constitutionality of another provision of McCain-Feingold. Here’s the heart of the matter:

The Independence Institute wishes to run two ads: one asking Colorado Senators Mark Udall and Michael Bennett to support a federal sentencing reform bill, and one asking citizens to contact Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper and urge him to initiate an audit of the Colorado Health Benefit Exchange. The McCain-Feingold law, along with a similar state statute, effectively prevents the group from raising money for the ads.

“This situation shows the damage to free speech caused by carelessly written campaign finance laws,” said David Keating, president of CCP. “Instead of advocacy on an important public issue, there will be silence. That’s unacceptable under the First Amendment, and is the reason why we filed this lawsuit.”

Prior to the passage of Obamacare, McCain-Feingold was the worst legislation in the last half century. I can’t even say that the intent behind McCain-Feingold was good. Its effect was to protect incumbents while limiting political speech.

There’s nothing honorable about either thing.

Here’s what McCain-Feingold does to issue advocacy:

Colorado and federal law treat speech about public issues as campaign speech whenever a candidate is mentioned in a broadcast ad within 60 days of the general election. Groups must either file public reports with personal details about donors who have provided funds for the ads, or refrain from speaking. The result is what First Amendment advocates call a “chilling” effect on advocacy, depriving the public of important speech about issues of public importance.

Here’s why disclosure in these instances is frightening:

Donors and speakers have many reasons to protect their privacy. Some fear retaliation from government officials who disagree with them. Others fear physical harm or threats to themselves and their families, vandalism to their property, loss of jobs, or boycotts of their business if they support unpopular views.

Over half a century ago, the Supreme Court ruled in NAACP v. Alabama that not disclosing donors to issue advocacy groups was constitutionally protected. Imagine the fury that the KKK would’ve visited upon the people supporting the NAACP.

While the threats are different today, the threats are just as real. Instead of fearing the KKK, these days, issue advocacy groups have to worry about the Justice Department, the IRS and other agents representing weaponized government.

It’s time to eliminate another disgusting part of McCain-Feingold. The sooner it’s eliminated, the better.

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