Archive for the ‘Mark Dayton’ Category

Anyone that thinks that the Minnesota Department of Human Services isn’t suffering through a crisis hasn’t been reading LFR lately and they certainly haven’t read this article, either. After reading the article, LFR reached out to Rep. Nick Zerwas of Elk River, who consented to an interview.

Q: What has bothered you the most about this scandal thus far?
A: Obviously the total lack of accountability is disappointing (but predictable).
Q: You say that it’s predictable that there was a lack of accountability. Why is that predictable?
A: In all of the scandals at DHS over the last 7 years I’ve been in the legislature, I can’t recall anyone ever being held accountable.

If you visit Rep. Zerwas’ legislative website, you’ll see a lengthy list of statements on the DHS crisis. Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear that DHS management has responded to the crisis.

Rep. Zerwas issued this statement yesterday:

Rep. Nick Zerwas, R-Elk River, who serves on the House Health and Human Services Finance Division and has called for a full forensic audit of all state and federal spending at the embattled agency, is calling on Ramsey County Attorney John Choi to examine the latest report, and determine whether the Ramsey County Attorney’s Office should step in to prosecute the repeated violations of law.

“While I appreciate the good-faith efforts Commissioner Harpstead is making to clean up the agency and restore public trust, at some point we must determine whether there are consequences for violating the laws we have in place,” Zerwas said. “If the agency is unwilling to hold employees accountable, then it may be time for law enforcement to step in.”

At this point, actions and consequences are more important than words. If the Ramsey County Attorney won’t prosecute lawbreakers, then it’ll be apparent that their office isn’t taking this seriously. There were other questions asked of Rep. Zerwas. This one stood out:

Q: One final question: Should the legislature break up DHS? Or is just changing the culture required?
A: I think the agency is too large, and I would support breaking it up. However, a restructure of DHS alone will not fix anything. If the employees don’t believe there will be consequences for their illegal actions, then I guarantee you nothing will change.

That’s the growing consensus about DHS. There’s no question that the culture must change. The Department must change, too.

The records obtained by the newspaper show employees sometimes allowed vendors and grantees to perform work or services without finalized and signed contracts, while in other cases employees bought products such as software without the required permission. Department officials said the agency has safeguards in place that prevent spending in such situations. But legislators said the violations put the agency at risk for misusing taxpayer dollars.

Thank God for those departmental safeguards. Where would we be without them? Apparently, DHS management doesn’t pay much attention to those ‘safeguards’. Question: Can they be considered safeguards if nobody pays attention to them?

It’s incredibly clear why Jason Lewis is running for Paul Wellstone’s former seat. According to his announcement address, we are at an inflection point in US history.

In his announcement, Lewis stated quite correctly that “Today we are at a crossroads in Minnesota and across this country not seen since the chaos and turmoil of the 1960s. Private property, religious liberty, due process, the pride of citizenship, the national anthem, the Pledge of Allegiance, even Betsy Ross’s flag, are now seen as dispensable relics to a radical political movement that appears to be gaining steam in the corridors of power.”

In his announcement statement, Jason Lewis essentially said that he’s running do-nothing Senate Democrats, the Squad and against the entire Resist Movement. People who’ve assumed that today’s Democrats are just wrong on the issues but have debated the issues in good faith are kidding themselves. This isn’t to say that people who believe that are evil or something. It’s that that’s what Democrats like Daniel Patrick Moynihan, John Breaux and Hubert Humphrey did.

Today’s Democrats are centuries different than those Democrats. Al Franken wrote a book titled “Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them.” It’s categorized as satire. There isn’t anything in the book that proves that. Barack Obama had a phone and a pen. He didn’t give a rip about making deals with Republicans. Harry Reid was President Obama’s chief henchman. Reid prevented any bill that was passed by the Republican House from even getting a committee hearing.

Tina Smith is cut from the same cloth as Al Franken. I’ll stipulate that she doesn’t have Franken’s gruff mannerisms. Still, she’s just as close-minded and hyper-partisan as Franken. She voted against Justice Kavanaugh. She even announced that she wouldn’t vote for whoever President Trump picked before the pick was made.

Congressman Lewis isn’t afraid to debate issues. He thrives on those debates. Jason Lewis has an independent streak, too. He’s willing to break from Republicans on issues. Every newspaper in the state has pined for politicians who break from their parties on the pages of their newspapers. Now that Jason Lewis has announced his candidacy for the Senate, what are the odds that these two-faced newspapers will endorse Jason Lewis? I’d put it at almost zero percent.

Earlier, I spoke about the Resist Movement. More than AOC + 3, Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi, the Resist Movement is the biggest impediment to getting things done in Washington, DC. Jason Lewis and President Trump are the perfect tag-team to trounce the Swamp, aka the Resist Movement. If we want to end gridlock in DC, a vote for Tina Smith is a wasted voted. She’s proven that she’ll do whatever Chuck Schumer tells her to do.

Tina Smith a typical Democrat. Tina’s got an independent streak that’s a quarter of an inch wide and a millimeter deep. Smith is the political equivalent of a Rambler. That isn’t what Minnesotans need. Minnesotans, especially blue collar Minnesotans and entrepreneurs, need a fighter who will fight smart fights. That describes Jason Lewis perfectly. He’s the political equivalent of a championship debater. That’s what Minnesotans need.

Finally, check out this announcement video:

The first thing that’s apparent is that Jason Lewis isn’t a cookie cutter politician. He’s a policymaker who isn’t afraid to challenge the status quo or expose the flimsiness of a politician’s argument.

That’s what Minnesota needs in the US Senate. God knows we’ve sent too many buffoons to DC since 2000. The list of Democrat buffoons include Al Franken, Mark Dayton and Tina Smith.

Anyone that thinks that the Minnesota Department of Human Services crisis will soon be a thing of the past is either delusional or they didn’t see Jodi Harpstead’s opening interview on Almanac Friday night. Fortunately for those that want to be well-informed but were otherwise detained, I DVRed the interview. This is that interview:

The first thing that Ms. Harpstead said is “Well, what I know first is that the people at the Department of Human Services are the same sort of caring and competent people that I work with at Lutheran Social Services.” When I think of Lutheran Social Services, aka LSS, caring and competent aren’t part of the list of nouns and adjectives I’d use to describe LSS. Unless there’s divine intervention at LSS and HHS, those words won’t become part of my list of nouns and adjectives describing those organizations.

When Eric Eskola asked Ms. Harpstead where the problem areas existed, Ms. Harpstead replied “Yeah, well, this year, there’s been a lot of change, a lot of public change, there’s been some morale issues and we need to get to work on all of that. When asked what was the first things she’d dive into, Ms. Harpstead replied “Well, the very first thing that I hope to bring is calm and healing and rebuilding teamwork among the people in the Department. They’ve been through a lot this year and they need to have a lot of that settle down so they can get back to their good and effective work.”

Notice that Ms. Harpstead didn’t mention a word about eliminating the corruption or fraud that Legislative Auditor Jim Nobles found. With Ms. Harpstead, it’s all about restoring morale to the workers. Up to this point in the interview, she hasn’t mentioned a word about eliminating the fraud and corruption identified within HHS. Pay attention to Ms. Harpstead’s underlying message. Hint: It doesn’t have anything to do with eliminating fraud or corruption.

Further, insisting that HHS has done “good and effective work” is like insisting that the Titanic didn’t sink that fast. Here’s more from the interview:

They’ve been through a lot this year. They’ve been through a lot of public scrutiny. There’s been all kinds of comments made about their work and we need to get past that and get back to the good work that they do. When asked about how she’ll deal with the “pretty low threshold” in terms of credibility, Ms. Harpstead replied “Well, first of all, I’d say that low credibility — I appreciate what you’re saying — has not been my experience working with the Department of Human Services and so I think we need to get in there and settle things down, get back to work and do the good work that the Department has always done and yet we still have to solve some of the problems that are there, move on from there and have the Department get back to the work it does.”

Later, Ms. Harpstead said that “The Department needs some space, though, to regroup and rebuild its teamwork to get back to its good work.” Please, someone on the Senate Health and Human Services Finance and Policy Committee that she isn’t walking into a smooth-running department with a reputation for integrity and excellence. She’s walking into a department in turmoil that’s known for “rampant fraud”, corruption and arrogance. They haven’t gotten this reputation by accident. They’ve earned this reputation.

Based on Ms. Harpstead’s statements, she seems oblivious to the things that need fixing. If she maintains that attitude, this crisis will get worse.

I don’t have a problem with the SCTimes publishing this LTE. What I’ve got a problem with is the liberal stupidity in this LTE.

Liberal stupidity, aka DFL stupidity, is on full display when the author says the “problem with Jerry Relph and his Republican colleagues in the Minnesota Senate is that they completely ignore what income and wealth Minnesotans are creating and simply assume that none of us can afford to pay anything more in taxes.”

That’s BS. I wrote several articles over the weekend stating that it’s difficult, if not impossible, to raise taxes when there’s a surplus well in excess of $1,600,000,000 and there’s $2,523,000,000 in Minnesota’s Rainy Day Fund. Further, revenues are rapidly increasing. Further still, the DFL hasn’t lifted a finger to look into the money that fraudsters have ripped off out of the CCAP program or that the idiots at MnDOT have pissed away on rest stops.

While it is true that many Minnesotans have not had a real increase [inflation-adjusted] in wages in many years, there are some that are reaping huge rewards from our collective efforts.

Some blatantly argue “tax the rich.” I’m not saying that. I’m saying don’t assume that no one has made money from our state when some have made a lot. Look at who is making money and make them pay their fair share in light of what they are making. When Republicans like Jerry Relph refuse to make wealthier Minnesotans pay their fair share, it unfairly burdens everyone else.

Clearly, this idiot was taught economics by Bernie Sanders or one of his stooges. Ronald Reagan’s economy created tons of jobs, 22,000,000 to be precise. In Oct. of 1983, the economy created 1,100,000 jobs. Wage growth exploded. GDP that quarter jumped. President Reagan famously said that you can’t be pro-jobs if you have employers. The DFL hates employers.

The DFL hates employers by imposing high taxes and unreasonable levels of regulations while suing pipeline companies that play by the rules. No wonder wages are stagnant. No wonder why manufacturers have left Minnesota. What idiot would put his/her capital at risk with such policies in place? The guy who wrote this idiotic LTE should’ve watched this video first:

If he’d watched this video first, he might’ve prevented himself from making such a fool of himself. Then again, the odds of preventing DFL socialists from looking like DFL socialists are exceptionally high. DFL socialists are extraordinary economic illiterates.

Friday night on Almanac and today on @ Issue With Tom Hauser, Ryan Winkler insisted that we needed to raise taxes, stating emphatically that “there’s no such thing as a free lunch.” By now, that chanting point is getting rather tiresome. When we spent $100,000,000 on MNLARS (with another $85,000,000 needed to fix Gov. Dayton’s mess), we knew that there wasn’t anything like a free lunch, at least not when the DFL ran things. Republicans knew that things were exceptionally expensive with the DFL in charge.

Further, when Fox9 News reported on the millions of dollars of fraud that went undetected in CCAP funding, we knew that there isn’t anything called a free lunch in government. When we found out about the fraud committed by DFL activists and DFL legislators through Community Action of Minneapolis, we knew there wasn’t such a thing as a free lunch (unless you were well-connected to the DFL in downtown Minneapolis.)

When we heard about the $7,200,000 renovation of the Goose Creek Rest Stop on I-35 near Harris, Minnesota, we knew that the lunches weren’t just not free but downright expensive. I would’ve balked at a $2,000,000 bill for building a new rest stop. Remodeling an existing rest stop should’ve cost $500,000 or less. Further, it’s been closed for 2+ years.

Minnesotans have seen enough of DFL administrations throwing money away or ignoring corruption, not to mention the fact that there’ve been too many examples of money foolishly spent. Now the DFL, aka the party of big government, wants more money to spend foolishly? I don’t think so. They’ll have to earn our trust. We’ve seen the DFL spend too much money recklessly to be trusted automatically again. First, WCCO-TV aired this report:

Later last week, WCCO aired this follow-up report:

Why should anyone trust the DFL to handle our money efficiently? I only know what I can prove. Right now, I can’t prove that the DFL spends much time on oversight or ensuring product quality. I can prove that the DFL spent $7,200,000 on a facility so it complied with their environmentalist activist friends’ wishes.

In Part II of this series, I wrote about a mailer that the DFL sent out a mailer claiming that Republicans voted to give themselves a 45% pay raise. I wrote that KSTP gave the mailer an F rating, meaning that it was “demonstrably false.” That’s the KSTP equivalent of the Washington Post’s 4 Pinocchios rating.

Despite that awful rating, Melissa Hortman insists that the mailer is accurate. Apparently, it doesn’t matter whether you’re a woman or man in the DFL. If you’re part of the DFL, apparently, you’re expected to tell whoppers whether you’re male or female. Hortman insists “that Republicans prioritized the funding measure while failing to complete other important work, including bills related to elder abuse and opioid addiction. She says the campaign material simply highlights those points.”

First, Gov. Dayton line-item vetoed the funding for the legislature, which includes the funding for the Office of Legislative Auditor. It also meant that legislative staffers didn’t get paid. That meant Gov. Dayton vetoed the funding for some important audits into his administration that cast his administration is a bad light. Isn’t it amazing how Rep. Hortman omitted that from her statement?

Hortman contends that Republicans prioritized the funding measure while failing to complete other important work, including bills related to elder abuse and opioid addiction. She says the campaign material simply highlights those points. “That’s entirely fair game, the Republicans priorities, what they chose to do and the order they chose to do things in and the fact that they never got the rest of the work done,” she said.

Actually, Sen. Karin Housley took the lead on the elder abuse so the House knew that that issue was getting taken care of. Next, members of the House got after the opioid addiction crisis virtually immediately. It’s impossible to argue with House Republicans’ priorities.

Finally, the DFL voted overwhelmingly to sustain Gov. Dayton’s veto of the MNLARS bill after they initially voted overwhelmingly for the bill. Thanks to the DFL’s vote to sustain Gov. Dayton’s veto, companies went out of business and families lost their homes.

What about those priorities, Rep. Hortman? Is it that lying and playing politics is more important to the DFL than saving families’ homes from foreclosure? That’s the definition of a dirtbag politician. It’s time to throw the DFL out.

Tim Pawlenty has started running an ad that takes a shot at Gov. Dayton’s incompetence in administering government assistance programs. Before we watch the ad, though, it’s important to note that Pawlenty has listed this issue as a high priority on his campaign’s issues page.

He wrote “Whether it is a driver’s license renewal system that doesn’t work, broken healthcare websites, or childcare providers allegedly defrauding the state of a massive amount of money and sending some of that money to terrorists overseas, state government needs to be held more accountable. Too often, state government is not held accountable and taxpayers are left to pay the price. As just one example, a recent audit from the Office of the Legislative Auditor found the state is paying hundreds of millions in benefits to people not even eligible because state government fails to verify income eligibility. We will properly verify eligibility and use the hundreds of millions currently being wasted to lower health care costs and provide better care to Minnesotans in need. It’s time to hold state government more accountable and put hardworking Minnesotans first.”

Here’s Pawlenty’s ad:

Rating this ad

I consider this ad to be effective. First, Pawlenty ‘narrates’ the ad, in essence telling people what he thinks is important while highlighting what’s wrong with government. Next, he closes by saying that he’d use those savings to lower health care costs for Minnesotans who work hard and obey the law.

Next up is Karin Housley’s first ad:

Rating this ad

I rate this ad effective, too. First, Sen. Housley speaks for herself, which is always the most effective way of getting the message across. Next, she explains her governing philosophy. Simply put, she wants to ‘drain the swamp’ and get government out of the average citizen’s way. She wants government “working for you, not against you.” Finally, she tells voters that she understands “that the best place for your hard-earned money is in your pocket.”

In both cases, the ads were short, concise and about things that Minnesotans care about.

UPDATE: I saw Jeff Johnson’s first ad tonight:

Rating this ad

Johnson’s ad definitely goes after Tim Pawlenty, which is what I’d expect since Johnson first has to win the primary. I thought it was gratuitous for Johnson to say that Gov. Pawlenty “gave us higher spending.” When Gov. Pawlenty started in office, Jim Knoblach chaired the House Ways and Means Committee. It’s foolish to think that there was a massive spending increase at that time because Gov. Pawlenty inherited a $4.2 billion projected deficit from Jesse Ventura. Pawlenty and Knoblach eliminated that deficit without raising taxes. It’s fair, however, to mention the fee increases.

The ad is a bit misleading in that Pawlenty had to battle DFL supermajorities in the 2007 and 2009 budget sessions. That’s when Republicans relied on Gov. Pawlenty to be our goalie.

Overall, the ad is somewhat effective because it’s somewhat misleading.

It’s apparent that Erin Murphy hasn’t thought about crime from a police officer’s perspective. That’s totally apparent after reading this article. First, Jeff Johnson said “I watched the body camera footage from the Thurman Blevins shooting today. It shows clearly that Blevins was carrying a gun and that the Minneapolis officer involved did everything he could to convince Blevins to surrender before firing his weapon. Serving our communities as a police officer is one of the hardest jobs in America today and we shouldn’t second-guess the very difficult decisions they make until we have all of the facts.”

Gov. Pawlenty issued a statement, saying “The actions of the Minneapolis police officers involved in the shooting of Thurman Blevins were clearly appropriate. Police officers protect our communities at extreme risk to themselves every day. We support and appreciate them. Those who claimed Blevins did not have a weapon or that officers acted improperly owe the officers an apology.”

Next, compare those statements with what Erin Murphy said:

As I watched the body camera footage of Thurman Blevins death, I was struck not only by the end of his life and the hard questions it raises, but by the beginning of the video. From the first moment officers are on scene they are loudly swearing, and threatening a man who appears to be sitting on a curb with a woman and child. From the first moment the police are shouting, scaring him, pushing him, and engaging in a way that led to the awful ending of his life.

He ran, yes. He was armed, yes. He reportedly was drunk and had fired shots, yes. All of those things might have led to his death, but none of them had to. I don’t understand why calmly starting a conversation wasn’t an option or wouldn’t have been a better course.

I don’t know much about Thurman Blevins. Had the officers approached the situation differently he might be in jail right now for firing his weapon into the sky and ground, or could be sitting on that curb with his family enjoying a morning off. I don’t know.

When a man (or woman) wields a gun, that officer has a responsibility to protect himself/herself and their partner. That isn’t a situation where the officers have a ton of options. It’s literally a kill-or-be-killed situation.

Notice how Rep. Murphy blames the officers, not Mr. Blevins. Rep. Murphy, if you were faced with this life-or-death situation, would you take a pacifist’s approach? Would you let a person who has a gun wave it around? If that’s truly what you’d do, there’s a high probability that you’d be shot. Further, by taking the pacifist’s approach, you’d put your partner’s life in jeopardy, too.

This story is troubling:

More protests are expected in Minneapolis over the decision not to charge officers involved in the June 23 deadly shooting of Thurman Blevins. The two Minneapolis officers involved say he pointed a gun at them during a short chase. CBS News’ Dean Reynolds spoke to Blevins’ sister and cousin who dispute the officers’ version of events. Blevins’ sister Darlynn and cousin Sydnee Brown admitted he had a gun on him but say he was scared for his life when he ran from police.

“It was the way that they approached him when they came out of the vehicle,” Darlynn said. “I mean, who else is not going to run if somebody is behind me telling me ‘I’m going to shoot you. I’m going to kill you.'”

First, here’s the police body cam video:

Then there’s this interview of Blevins’ family:

Let’s state something here emphatically. Gov. Dayton’s reckless statements after the Philando Castile shooting contribute each day to the tension between minority communities and police officers. Gov. Dayton said that “Would this have happened if those passengers, the driver were white? I don’t think it would have.” Since that day, tensions have escalated. Rep. Murphy’s statements just further escalate the tensions.

That’s inexcusable.

As we look back at Gov. Dayton’s time in office, it’s difficult to identify his signature legislative accomplishment. His first year in office, he shut down state government. It was the longest shutdown of state government in US history. When it ended, Gov. Dayton signed the budget deal he could’ve signed without the shutdown.

In 2013, with DFL majorities in the House and Senate, Gov. Dayton finally passed his massive tax increases. In addition to those tax increases, Gov. Dayton promised that he’d stop property tax increases as a result of the increased LGA payments and “historic investments in education.” I wrote this post in December, 2014 to highlight the major property tax increase that Princeton levied on taxpayers. They originally sought a 33.87% tax increase but ‘settled’ for a 25.16% increase.

In this post, I quoted then-Speaker Paul Thissen. Here’s what he said in a statement:

The House DFL Education Budget invests in what works: fully funding all-day, every day kindergarten and investing $50 million in early learning childhood scholarships. All-day K and early childhood education are proven tools to improve test scores, close the achievement gap, and prepare students for future academic success. The House DFL Education Budget also increases the basic funding formula for K-12 schools by four percent over the biennium, an increase of over $315 million, or $209 per pupil. The school shift payback will be included in the House Taxes bill.

In other words, the Dayton tax increase to buy down property taxes failed terribly.

What’s worse is that, in 2014, the DFL legislature repealed several of the tax increases it passed the final weekend of the session the year before. That led to the Republicans retaking the House majority in the 2014 election. Apparently, Minnesotans didn’t think much of Gov. Dayton’s tax increases.

In 2015, Gov. Dayton met with Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk, DFL- Cook, and Speaker of the House Kurt Daudt every day of the final week of session to negotiate a budget. On the Friday of the session, they were no closer to an agreement than they were when they started. Sen. Bakk and Speaker Daudt sat down and promptly negotiated a bipartisan budget deal in less than an hour. When they made the announcement, Gov. Dayton criticized the budget and vetoed the bill.

That led to another cave-in by Gov. Dayton during yet another special session. BTW, special sessions might be Gov. Dayton’s legacy, though I can’t call them an accomplishment.

Aside from these negative legislative ‘accomplishments’, Gov. Dayton ignored the Somali day care fraud scandal and the elder care abuse scandal. That’s the one where people actually died and nobody from the Dayton administration bothered to investigate.

The other thing that Gov. Dayton was famous for was temper tantrums:

Finally, there’s the MNLARS fiasco, which Gov. Dayton created but didn’t fix and the child care unionization legislation. The unionization legislation went nowhere because child care providers defeated the measure 1,014-392. That’s what happens when you’re stubborn and you don’t listen to people. Gov. Dayton earned those epic slap downs.

After reading this article about the great GDP growth published by the Bureau of Economic Analysis and the Center for the American Experiment’s article about that report, it’s pretty clear that Gov. Dayton and Tim Walz have something in common — with Wrong Way Feldman. First, for those who don’t know who Wrong Way Feldman is, he’s a character from an episode of Gilligan’s Island who had a penchant for flying the wrong way. On one trip, he was supposed to fly from the Bronx to Minneapolis, only to wind up in New Orleans.

It’s pretty clear that Wrong Way was to pilots what Gov. Dayton is to Minnesota economics. Andrew Scattergood’s article states “A large factor in our strong economy is the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which cut taxes and simplified the tax system. Low taxes, especially low income taxes, stimulate the economy by attracting investment and increasing incentives to work and produce. While Minnesota will benefit from the national tax bill, the economic gains could have been even bigger. In the previous legislative session, legislators passed a bill that would have lowered taxes for 82 percent of filers including most low and middle-income families.”

Meanwhile, Gov. Dayton wasn’t bright enough to figure out that cutting taxes increases economic growth and job creation:

Unfortunately, this bill was vetoed by Governor Dayton, forcing Minnesotans to pay higher taxes in an outdated system for at least one more year. He claimed the bill was a cake to the rich and big corporations, but as we mentioned previously, corporations would have been expected to pay more taxes than previous years under the new law.

After witnessing the impact the national bill has had on working families, maybe Dayton will regret not signing a similar bill into law. No matter what he thinks, it will not be his decision next year as the election in November will decide who replaces Dayton in the governor’s mansion. Hopefully tax reform is a top campaign issue and next year’s legislature can make a deal that works for everyone.

Gov. Dayton vetoed the Republicans’ tax conformity and tax reform bill because, in Gov. Dayton’s words, it didn’t punish corporations enough.

If you want to not compete with other states, set marginal tax rates too high. That’ll scare off tons of companies from moving here while telling existing companies not to expand here. This week, Tim Walz followed right in Gov. Dayton’s footsteps when he said he’d likely propose a bunch of tax increases, starting with a gas tax increase but then “being open” to other tax increases “to fund other priorities.” In other words, he doesn’t want to get too specific about which taxes he’ll raise if elected.

I’ll b blunt. When it comes to managing the economy, the DFL gubernatorial candidates are the political equivalent of Wrong Way Feldman:

Editor’s note: Watch the video to the end for maximum viewing pleasure.