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If Rep. Thissen’s destructive attitude wasn’t enough to disqualify him from a leadership position, then Rep. Thissen’s persistent whining should tip the scales against him.

Rep. Thissen’s latest diatribe is essentially his whining that Democrats didn’t get everything they wanted in the last session, mixed with a healthy dose of bragging that essentially says that the DFL would’ve done better.

For instance, when Rep. Thissen said “After nearly 3 months of indecision, this week is crunch time for a special session decision”, what Rep. Thissen doesn’t want to say is that Kurt Daudt has done a fantastic job of saying no to the DFL’s insistence on funding the SWLRT, a project that the citizens don’t want but that the special interests want in the worst way. Here’s what the GOP should say loudly to the DFL on this issue: “Shut up, go away or we’ll use this issue against you in the upcoming election.”

“Behind closed doors negotiations have produced little progress and all of the political obstacles to compromise, including Speaker Daudt’s primary, are behind us,” said Thissen. “After nearly 3 months of indecision, this week is crunch time for a special session decision. Once we hit the State Fair, it’s too late and we need some time for the promised public hearings. I continue to believe we should finish our job, but if agreement is not reached, I pledge that under a House DFL Majority we will bring a robust bonding bill to the House floor for a vote in the first 30 days of the next legislative session.”

It’s the DFL’s fault that a bonding bill wasn’t passed. An agreement was reached between the House and Senate. Rep. Thissen didn’t like the compromise so he worked with DFL senators to blow the agreement up. Now the saboteur is promising to fix the bill he helped demolish.

That’s rich.

Notice that Rep. Thissen doesn’t mention any of his sabotage in his statement. Why would he? Rep. Thissen isn’t a leader. He couldn’t care less about the average person. That’s indisputable. While he was Speaker in 2013, Thissen worked with the unions on the forced unionization of in-home child care providers. The in-home child care providers fought against it. Thissen didn’t care. He had his marching orders from AFSCME and SEIU. The bill was passed. Gov. Dayton signed it into law.

This spring, the in-home child care providers had the final say, telling Rep. Thissen, AFSCME and the SEIU to shove it:

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.”

Voters would do well to remember that the DFL did exactly what the special interests wanted while ignoring the in-home child care providers. To Thissen and the DFL, you’re a nobody if you aren’t a special interest group aligned with the DFL.

Polite people are saying that Tim Kaine is a perfect running mate for Hillary, then adding that he’s definitely qualified to be president if, God forbid, anything happened to Hillary. After reading this article, it’s painfully obvious that he’s nothing more than a mouthpiece who reads spin-script well but couldn’t think his way out of a wet paper bag.

Friday morning, Mike Pence appeared on Hugh Hewitt’s show. During the interview, Pence said “The speech last night was nothing new. It was just more of the same, more government, more of the same failed foreign policy” before adding “I mean, you’ve got to hand it to Hillary Clinton last night. She doubled down on their big government, liberal agenda, on a weak foreign policy on the world stage.”

Tim Kaine wouldn’t hear any of that, saying “The thing I thought was great is it set such a contrast with what we saw in Cleveland last week. The Cleveland convention was dark and depressing, and she said it was kind of midnight in America. And her speech was morning in America. It was about the everyday struggles that people have, but the fact that we don’t have a single issue in this country that our people can’t tackle, because we have the greatest pool of just human resources, human capital, human talent that any nation has ever had.”

First, to hear a Democrat say that “we don’t have a single issue in this country that our people can’t tackle” is more than a little bizarre after what we heard 4 years ago in Virginia:

Second, saying that Hillary’s speech was “morning in America” is proof that Democrats haven’t told the truth. ISIS is killing people in France, California and Orlando. Sen. Kaine, does that sound like “morning in America”? Police officers are getting shot in Dallas and Baton Rouge. Does that sound like morning in America, Sen. Kaine? The governor of Minnesota, who addressed the Convention, accused police officers of racism, saying that Philando Castile would probably still be alive if he was white. Sen. Kaine, is it morning in America when governors accuse Hispanic police officers of racism?

Terrorist attacks are happening in western Europe at a faster rate than ever before. Ditto within the United States, though not at as fast a rate as in western Europe. What part of that sounds like morning in America, Sen. Kaine?

Democrats might settle for that, saying that it’s the new normal. Conservatives reject that foolishness because we can do dramatically better with the right leadership. Stephen Miller nailed it with this statement:

Hillary Clinton says America is stronger together. But in Hillary Clinton’s America, millions of people are left out in the cold. She only stands together with the donors and special interests who’ve bankrolled her entire life. Excluded from Hillary Clinton’s America are the suffering people living in our inner cities, or the victims of open borders and drug cartels, or the people who’ve lost their jobs because of the Clintons’ trade deals, or any hardworking person who doesn’t have enough money to get a seat at Hillary Clinton’s table.

Simply put, Hillary Clinton is an elitist and a snob. Imagine the thinking that went into her statement on national TV that she and Bill left the White House “dead broke”:

I get it that Hillary thinks it’s morning in America. I get it that Sen. Kaine does, too. They’re both living around the Capitol, where everything is going beautifully. Living near DC, which hasn’t experienced the Obama economy, it’s easy to believe that life is fine. Beyond the Potomac, something that Mrs. Clinton and Sen. Kaine aren’t familiar with, things aren’t going nearly that well. Living near the White House explains why they think it’s morning in America. We don’t need a president that’s unfamiliar with flyover country’s hardships. We need someone who understands what people living in the Heartland are dealing with.

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When Gov. Dayton spoke at the Democratic National Convention, he issued a threat. He essentially said that, under Hillary Clinton, the government would seize control of insurance companies, saying “It’s time we decided once and for all that the purpose of health insurance is to give Americans the health care they need at prices they can afford, not to pad the profits of corporate America. If they won’t do it, we will, and Hillary Clinton will lead the charge.”

First, the thought that the ACA, aka Obamacare, is making health care more affordable is BS. Tell that to the people who have fewer options, higher premiums and skyrocketing deductibles. In Minnesota, Obamacare actually ruined a good system.’

Further, it’s worrisome that government, not people, should have the right to tell companies how much is the right amount of profit for their companies. This is what happens when elitists and collectivists run government. They think that they know best so they should set prices, not the people.

Third, Gov. Dayton talked out of both sides of his mouth when he said “Thanks to President Obama and the Affordable Care Act, we’ve made a lot of progress getting people covered. But for too many families, out-of-pocket costs are still too high.” Which is it, Gov. Dayton? You can’t say that we’re making progress when “out-of-pocket costs” are skyrocketing out of control.

When insurance companies are opting out of the ACA’s individual markets because their costs are high, that isn’t making progress. That’s going backwards. Going backwards, though, is something that Gov. Dayton is used to. Watch Gov. Dayton’s speech here:

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Monday, I wrote this post to highlight Gov. Dayton’s statement on the Baton Rouge assassinations. Gov. Dayton said “The terrible murder of three law enforcement officers in Baton Rouge shocks the conscience of every decent-minded American. I renew my plea for all Minnesotans to engage only in peaceful and lawful ways to exercise their First Amendment rights. This is our opportunity to help lead the nation away from this wanton, mass violence and toward a reconciliation and healing.”

While it’s true that Gov. Dayton’s tone in this statement was conciliatory, let’s not forget that Gov. Dayton also accused a Hispanic police officer of racism by saying “Would this have happened if driver and the passenger have been white? I don’t think so.”

Don’t let Gov. Dayton’s latest public statements fool you. Gov. Dayton accused a Hispanic police officer of being a racist. In her speech to the NAACP Convention, Hillary Clinton said “Americans need to do a better job of listening when African-Americans talk about the seen and unseen barriers you face every day. We need to recognize our privilege and practice humility rather than assume that our experiences are everyone’s experiences. We all need to try, as best we can, to walk in one another’s shoes, to imagine what it would be like to our son or daughter down and have the talk.”

Whether it’s Gov. Dayton accusing police officers of being racists or whether it’s Mrs. Clinton talking about white privilege, Democrats talk the language of victimization to minorities, especially African-Americans.

Gov. Dayton’s political allies at TakeAction Minnesota hinted that white people are racists in this letter:

Last week, we shared our reflections on the tragic death of Philando Castile, Alton Sterling and countless other black people, as well as other people of color, at the hands of the police. We were amazed by the overwhelming amount of people like you who recognize this injustice and are ready to act.

You know more than anyone that the time to show up, to be in solidarity, to act for the movement of black lives is NOW. We must take action against the structural racism plaguing our state and entire country. A racism that shows up in our policing as systemic violence, in the public education system that fail students of color, and in every other facet of our communities.

Here are a couple immediate ways you can join the fight right away:

In the Twin Cities tomorrow? We’re joining the educators from the Saint Paul Federation of Teachers, the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers, Neighborhoods Organizing for Change & other black leaders hitting the streets to demand justice for #PhilandoCastile and for Black lives across the country.

Can’t make the march, but still want to act? Sign this petition to call on St. Paul County Attorney Choi to turn over the investigation on the murder of Philando Castile into the hands of an independent special prosecutor.

Police violence and structural racism are literally costing the lives of people of color and ultimately, both of these forces impact all of us in varying ways, but they do and will take all of us to create change. As a white father, whose children are in the St. Paul Public Schools, the tragic death of Philando Castile is a terrifying reminder that the educators who care so much for my children are not safe themselves – and that’s unacceptable. We can’t stress this enough. That’s why we’ll be there tomorrow, and we want to see you.

It isn’t difficult to understand what’s happening. In public, Gov. Dayton and Mrs. Clinton sound like us. The minute they’re with their special interest friends, though, they start accusing people of being racists. Personally, I can’t trust someone who changes what they say depending on which audience they’re speaking to.

Mrs. Clinton’s divisiveness is off-putting and unattractive. Couple that with her lack of trustworthiness and you have a legitimate reason not to trust her with the keys to the Oval Office.

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It’s difficult to take Gov. Dayton’s statements about law enforcement seriously these days. Hours after Philando Castile was shot and killed by a St. Anthony police officer and while the investigation was just getting started, Gov. Dayton threw white gas on the fire by saying he thought Castile wouldn’t have gotten shot if he’d been white.

Law enforcement officials across the nation and in the Twin Cities took Gov. Dayton to task for making such a reckless statement. They were justified in extracting the proverbial pound of political flesh from Gov. Dayton’s hide.

I can’t take Gov. Dayton’s statement about the Baton Rouge assassinations seriously after Gov. Dayton’s statements about Philando Castile. In his statement about Baton Rouge, Gov. Dayton said “The terrible murder of three law enforcement officers in Baton Rouge shocks the conscience of every decent-minded American. I renew my plea for all Minnesotans to engage only in peaceful and lawful ways to exercise their First Amendment rights. This is our opportunity to help lead the nation away from this wanton, mass violence and toward a reconciliation and healing.”

Lt. Gov. Smith issued this statement:

I join all Minnesotans in mourning the tragic shooting deaths of two Baton Rouge police officers and an East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office deputy. Our prayers are with their families, friends, and communities. Law enforcement officers in Baton Rouge and across our country bravely serve to keep us safe with little consideration for their own well-being. This makes their murders particularly horrifying. We must stop this terrible violence.

Notice what’s missing from their statements. Notice that they didn’t criticize Black Lives Matter. Neither criticized Al Sharpton or President Obama for the outright lie that is “Hands up, don’t shoot.” That would require them to exhibit courage, something that neither has.

If we want healing, which is desperately needed, we need politicians who will call out race pimps like Sharpton and gutless civic ‘leaders’ like Marilyn Mosby and Stephanie Rawlings-Blake. Right now, the Democratic Party doesn’t have anyone that fits that description.

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ABM Executive Director Joey Davis just sent me an email that’s essentially pure propaganda. The email starts with “Funding our schools so our children have a great start in life. Closing corporate loopholes so small businesses have a level playing field. Making the economy work for all of us, not just the wealthy. These are the priorities that Democrats in the Minnesota legislature have focused on, while conservative Republicans continue to try and divide us and keep the deck stacked against working families.”

Nothing tells voters that the DFL wants to level the playing field for small businesses and working families than Gov. Dayton’s veto of a tax bill that would’ve provided substantial property tax relief for small businesses and farmers.

ABM and the DFL (pardon the repetition) want Minnesotans to forget that Gov. Dayton, like he’s done each year, vetoed popular legislation that had strong bipartisan support. This year, he vetoed the Tax Bill that garnered 178 out of a possible 200 votes in the House and Senate. Last year, Gov. Dayton vetoed most of the budget bills that passed. Those bills were the product of bipartisan negotiations between Sen. Bakk and Speaker Daudt.

Later in the email, we find this gem:

Republicans want us divided and focused on who we should be scared of, but we know that to build a better Minnesota we need to go a different way.

In 2015, Speaker Daudt met with Sen. Bakk and hammered out a solid bipartisan budget. It’s difficult to say that Republicans want Minnesotans divided when the top-ranking Republican in the state negotiates a solid bipartisan budget. Considering the fact that Gov. Dayton said that he couldn’t trust Sen. Bakk in 2015, it’s impossible to believe that Republicans are the dividers. It’s important to remember this:

Gov. Mark Dayton erupted in anger Thursday in a dispute with the DFL Senate leader over a weeks-long controversy surrounding pay raises the governor gave to his cabinet. “To have a majority leader of the Senate come in and stab me in the back and blindside me is absolutely unacceptable,” Dayton said.

Dayton’s ire came after Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk led the Senate in voting to suspend the salary increases for state commissioners. All but two members of the DFL-controlled Senate voted with Bakk in favor of the proposal. The friction between the Capitol’s two most powerful DFLers threatens to cast a cloud over the rest of the 2015 legislative session. The two have tussled before, but Dayton indicated Thursday that their relations now were beyond repair.

Dayton said Bakk, a former ally, has proved himself untrustworthy because he brought forth the salary smackdown without any warning. “I’m confronted with two hostile bodies of the Legislature, one with a leader I believe I can trust (Republican House Speaker Kurt Daudt) and one I know I can’t trust,” Dayton said. “I certainly learned a brutal lesson today that I can’t trust (Bakk.) I can’t believe what he says to me and connives behind my back.”

ABM wants to paint the picture that they’re unified and that their agenda is popular. Last year’s fight between Sen. Bakk and Gov. Dayton indicates that ABM isn’t tethered to reality.

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This weekend, I wrote that I was skeptical of reports that a special session would be called this August. After reading Don Davis’ article, I’m hoping that a special session only happens if Republicans stand steadfast against SWLRT.

In the article, Sen. Bakk thinks that, with regards to SWLRT, “there appear to be some alternatives available.” Here’s hoping that Speaker Daudt shoots that down immediately and harshly. Anything that gets SWLRT built is unacceptable. Any Bakk-favored alternative should be shown the door in as hostile a manner as possible.

LRT projects are a disaster. If communities want to build them, let them build them with their tax revenues. Then let them subsidize their operations with their property taxes or their sales taxes. Talk that the business community wants them isn’t justification for building SWLRT. If businesses think LRT is so fantastic, let them pay for building them.

The dirty little secret is that LRT isn’t worthwhile except if taxpayers build it and subsidize its operations. Even then, these projects benefit the few while hurting others. Ask the displaced businesses in St. Paul if they’re fans of LRT. Hint: when asking that question, wear a bullet-proof vest.

There is some good news in the negotiations:

Dayton said he is more optimistic than ever that there will be a special session. “Where there is a will, there is a way.” The governor said he gave up all spending he earlier wanted to come up in a special session other than work needed on sex offender facilities and at the state hospital in St. Peter.

That’s the benefit of steadfastly saying no to unreasonable spending demands. Give Speaker Daudt and Sen. Hann and their caucuses credit for that. It wouldn’t have been possible if members of their caucus had left their reservation.

That’s why Speaker Daudt needs to return to that position and why Sen. Hann needs to be given the title of majority leader. Conservatives would applaud them shutting down Gov. Dayton’s reckless spending demands. Minnesota’s economy would improve by not having the legislature and the governor pile tons of new regulation on small businesses, too.

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According to this article, Sen. Bakk, Speaker Daudt and Gov. Dayton are close to an agreement on a special session. I question the accuracy of that statement.

The article opens by saying “A special Minnesota legislative session to approve tax cuts, transportation projects and public works construction could happen in a month, but the governor and key legislators are not quite ready to promise that.” Notice the hint that all is not well? Saying that “the governor and key legislators are not quite ready to promise that” set off red flags with me. Several paragraphs later, my suspicions were vindicated.

The vindication came when the article said a “major unresolved issue continues to be whether to approve a light rail line from downtown Minneapolis to the southwestern suburbs.” That’s indisputable. That’s the line Republicans shouldn’t cross under any circumstances. It’s the Minnesota equivalent to the infamous Bridge to Nowhere.

Speaker Daudt needs to realize that he’s sitting in the power position. I’m betting that DFL candidates aren’t popular because Gov. Dayton vetoed a major tax cut bill. Bakk and Dayton aren’t striking a more conciliatory tone because they’re altruistic. They’re striking a more conciliatory tone because they aren’t getting the response they’d hoped for.

Speaker Daudt, Sen. Hann and all Republicans should stand steadfast against the SWLRT project. If metro DFL legislators object, fine. Republicans don’t need to flip urban seats to flip the Senate. They need to flip seats in rural Minnesota. That’s where the tax cut bill is popular. If DFL candidates and incumbents want to defend Gov. Dayton’s veto of the Tax Bill, Republicans should rejoice that the DFL is giving them that gift.

Further, I’d encourage Republican House and Senate candidates to highlight the fact that the DFL put broadband and SWLRT at the top of their priority list and that Republicans put gutting taxes on farmers, the middle class, the military and small businesses at the top of their priority list.

Let’s fight that fight on our side of the battlefield. Let’s see if the DFL is capable of fighting that fight. I’m betting they’ll lose that fight by a significant margin.

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Thanks to his attorney’s statements, Officer Jeronimo Yanez’s side of the story is getting out. Tom Kelly, Officer Yanez’s attorney, is getting word out that there’s much more to the story than what’s been told thus far, saying “The shooting had nothing to do with race and everything to do with the presence of that gun”, adding that Mr. Castile “was not following the directions of the police officer.”

This investigation is just getting started, meaning that they’re just starting to connect the dots. Still, it’s clear that a significant portion of the early reporting didn’t tell the whole truth. I suspect that we still aren’t getting everything but the pieces of the puzzle are starting to fit together a bit better.

One thing, though, that’s clear is that Gov. Dayton’s initial statements on the Philando Castile were ill-advised. That’s when he said “Would this have happened if those passengers would have been white? I don’t think it would have. I’m forced to confront — and I think all of us in Minnesota are forced to confront — this kind of racism exists, and that it’s incumbent upon all of us to vow that we’re going to do whatever we can to see that it doesn’t continue to happen.”

It was always known that Diamond Reynolds’ account wasn’t the final word. It was dramatic. It showed part of the story. It was never going to be the final word on what happened. It’s been known that Gov. Dayton’s statements would quickly proven as ill-advised.

Gov. Dayton should’ve waited. Had he done so, he might’ve learned this:

An audio clip purporting to capture the moments just before Castile was stopped by Yanez seems to indicate that the officer believed he and Reynolds ‘looked’ like suspects in a robbery.

“I’m going to stop a car, I’m going to check ID’s,” the officer can be heard saying in the recording, obtained by KARE 11. “I have reason to pull it over. The two occupants just look like people that were involved in a robbery.”

The officer then tells dispatch he believes the driver looks like one of the suspects because of his ‘wide set nose’. Less than two minutes later an officer screams that shots have been fired and that it’s a ‘code 3’. The license plate mentioned by police in the recording matches the plate of the car Castile was driving, and the location the officers give to dispatch matches where the traffic stop took place.

It is not yet clear what alleged robbery the officer in the recording was referring to.

In light of the fact that there is audio indicating that the stop was happening because the officer thought the car was used in a robbery, it isn’t difficult to think that Officer Yanez was worried for his safety. Couple that with the claim that Officer Yanez told Castile not to move. If it’s proven that Officer Yanez issued that command and that Castile didn’t obey Officer Yanez’s order, that’s a potentially explosive situation.

It’s time to consider the possibility that this tragedy wasn’t about racism but that it might’ve been about a potentially dangerous situation and a motorist who didn’t obey a police officer’s commands.

With tomorrow being Independence Day, it’s worthwhile to see which people care about our founding documents. The comments in this editorial indicate that the DFL either don’t understand the Constitution or they’re dismissive of it.

About 2 weeks ago, a district court ruled that the Next Generation Energy Act, aka the NGEA, violated the Interstate Commerce Clause of the US Constitution. Despite the unanimous ruling, Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton is appealing the ruling. In his statement, Gov. Dayton said “I will continue to do everything in my power to defend the State of Minnesota’s right to protect the quality of the air our citizens breathe.”

The thing is that telling other states what they can’t do is something that’s beyond Gov. Dayton’s authority. That principle escaped one commenter who said “Of course, these same people oppose any clean energy preferring the spewing of pollution into our environment…even to the point of ignoring how some of our waters are polluted. I don’t want lead in my water. I don’t want my health endangered by pollution.”

First, the statement is BS. Conservatives love nuclear power, which is exceptionally clean:

The low-carbon electricity produced by such reactors provides 20 percent of the nation’s power and, by the estimates of climate scientist James Hansen of Columbia University, avoided 64 billion metric tons of greenhouse gas pollution. They also avoided spewing soot and other air pollution like coal-fired power plants do and thus have saved some 1.8 million lives.

And that’s why Hansen, among others, such as former Secretary of Energy Steven Chu, thinks that nuclear power is a key energy technology to fend off catastrophic climate change. “We can’t burn all these fossil fuels,” Hansen told a group of reporters on December 3, noting that as long as fossil fuels are the cheapest energy source they will continue to be burned. “Coal is almost half the [global] emissions. If you replace these power plants with modern, safe nuclear reactors you could do a lot of [pollution reduction] quickly.”

Indeed, he has evidence: the speediest drop in greenhouse gas pollution on record occurred in France in the 1970s and ‘80s, when that country transitioned from burning fossil fuels to nuclear fission for electricity, lowering its greenhouse emissions by roughly 2 percent per year.

Another commenter who is an attorney said “Congress has no authority to determine whether any state attorney general abused their discretion.” In most cases, that’s true. When a state AG is dealing with an issue of state law that affects only their state, the federal government should keep its nose out of that state’s business. The minute that AG’s decision affects multiple states or the AG potentially violates part of the US Constitution, Congress certainly has oversight authority.

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