Archive for the ‘Cronyism’ Category
If I was advising Steven Rosenstone, the ‘retiring’ MnSCU chancellor, about communications, I’d quickly teach him the first rule of holes. The first rule of holes is simple. If you’re in one, stop digging. I’d add that, if you ignore the first rule of holes, the second rule is similar but more urgent. The second rule of holes is that if you’re in one and you’ve refused to stop digging, stop digging ASAP.
While explaining why MnSCU has spent $617,000 on rebranding MnSCU, Chancellor Rosenstone recently said that “brand research has found the MnSCU name to be confusing. He said the system must be able to communicate the benefits of attending one of its schools.”
This is consultant-driven thinking. Another term for consultant-driven thinking is stupidity. If MnSCU stopped spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on consultants, administrators and rebranding efforts, they could direct more money towards great professors. That, in turn, would trigger better student outcomes and higher placement rates after graduation.
Academic reputation and high placement rates after graduation is more effective in turning MnSCU around. Students and parents don’t spend much time sitting at the kitchen table wondering whether the student will be able to transfer from Metropolitan State to Moorhead. They spend their time figuring out which university will give them the skills they need to get a high-paying job. Brandon Johnson and Gloria Kaul-Kennedy have figured it out. They’re both students. Here’s what Johnson said:
It cost $272,000 for someone to come up with a name they got from a ‘Coach’ rerun?
Here’s what Ms. Kaul-Kennedy said:
The money could be well spent on many other things. The name change will mean nothing to 99.99 percent of the people. Don’t the administrators have other things to spend their expensive time on?
Ms. Kaul-Kennedy’s statement and question instantly put a smile on my face because she’s figured out what’s a priority to her and what’s foolishness. Here’s hoping that the consultants and administrators don’t negatively influence her thinking.
Last night, during Special Report’s first segment of the All Star Panel, Bret Baier spoke to the complexities of the delegate selection process. While some states’ rules are complex, most are exceptionally straightforward.
Moe Lane’s post explain the true complexities of West Virginia’s delegate election system. With few exceptions, though, the delegate election process is pretty straightforward. To people who’ve participated in the process, in fact, it’s pretty routine. Honestly, it doesn’t require years of study to figure it out.
What’s upsetting to me is the dishonesty Trump is using in portraying the system as being run by DC insiders and Wall Street fat cats. Recently, he’s hinted that that’s who runs the delegate selection process. It’s time to tell that filthy liar to either tell the truth or to shut up. He’s even had the audacity to ask people how that’s worked out for them.
The truth is that Donald Trump has been part of the problem for a very long time. During the first GOP presidential debate, Trump bragged that he’d bought politicians with campaign contributions so that they’d do whatever he told them to do:
In 2006, Donald Trump contributed to the DCCC and the DSCC. In 2010, thanks in part to Trump’s campaign contributions, Democrats that Trump supported passed universal health care. Prior to his becoming a candidate for the GOP presidential nomination, Trump enthusiastically supported universal health care.
To the people who got kicked off the policies that they were satisfied with but weren’t allowed to keep, how’s that working out? The next time you hear Donald Trump, think of how much better your life would be if he hadn’t contributed to Democrats.
Donald Trump isn’t part of the solution. He’s been part of the problem for 20+ years. For him to now put himself forward as the solution to Washington cronyism is beyond laughable. I can’t wait until after the California primary. If Trump hasn’t secured the nomination, expect the super PACs to hit Trump hard on this subject.
Finally, expect a bloodbath this November if Trump is the nominee. The #NeverTrump movement might not be as potent as the TEA Party was in 2009-10 but it’s still awfully potent. Voting for a northeast liberal who contributed to Democrats isn’t something that principled conservatives will do.
Anyone who’s read LFR knows that I’m not a fan of the IRRRB. Likewise, if you’ve read my Examiner article knows that I’ve pulled lots of information together that verifies that the IRRRB has failed. This afternoon, a loyal reader of LFR sent me this article about the IRRRB’s outright corruption. Saying that this friend of LFR isn’t a conservative is understatement. He’s a Bernie Sanders guy.
The thing that jumps out at me from the article is how the Iron Range delegation have used their positions on the IRRRB board to torment cities who don’t cheerfully submit to the will of the IRRRB board. For instance, the article says that former State Rep. Tommie Rukavina “has been outspoken in dealing with township officials opposed to [new sulfide] mining, again using the threat of IRRRB funding.”
I get it that Commissioner Rukavina is one of the strongest mining advocates in Minnesota. I’ve written about Commissioner Rukavina’s fight for mining in this article.
It’s one thing to be a mining advocate. That’s justifiable. What isn’t justifiable is threatening to withhold IRRRB funding if you don’t toe the pro-mining line. That’s a slippery way of doing things but it’s still corruption.
Here’s what “the late Rep. David Dill” said about withholding IRRRB funding:
There are times when Senator Bakk and myself [sic] have to fight and answer questions from core Iron Range legislators as to why Cook County should get taconite tax dollars when they hear anti-mining rhetoric from some citizens in Cook County.
Legislators are listening to the mining debate [about sulfide mining] going on in Cook County and elections have consequences. The rail harbor has been shut down for years. The power plant is reducing its output and with generator No. 3 scheduled to be closed in the future there will be more questions. The loss of millions of production tax dollars a year would be devastating to businesses, Grand Marais, the school and the county. The local boards would have very tough decisions to make.
Other counties have stayed in the service area after mining has left their communities. Those communities have realized the benefit it is to be a part of a “mining region” and likewise have supported mining.
It’s pretty clear that these legislators that have comprised the IRRRB board are playing hardball with Iron Range and Arrowhead communities. One wonders if there’s a correlation between the IRRRB playing hardball and the poverty rates on the Range and in Minnesota’s Arrowhead.
According to this article, the OLA report mentioned the loans the IRRRB made to Meyer and Associates. I’m not surprised. I wrote about Meyer in this post, which I titled “Crony capitalism & the IRRRB” and in this post, which I titled “Will the DFL repay taxpayers”?
In Crony capitalism & the IRRRB, I quoted an article that said “Meyer Teleservices in Progress Park has closed its doors on the Iron Range, leaving 104 people unemployed. The St. Cloud-based company also leaves behind a debt of about $250,000 to the Iron Range Resources & Rehabilitation Board, which had issued two loans totaling $650,000 to the business for its Eveleth facility.” Later in the article, it noted that “Meyer Teleservices also on Monday shuttered its other Minnesota offices in St. Cloud and Little Falls.”
In “Will the DFL repay taxpayers”, I quoted Kevin Allenspach’s article that said “It was a company with direct ties and allegiance to the Democratic Party. After Republican President Richard Nixon’s resignation over the Watergate scandal the business created an ‘…innovative small donor fundraising program called the Dollars for Democrats program,’ according to the Meyer Teleservices website.” The IRRRB was foolish in granting those loans. Then again, they didn’t care because this company was helping Democrats raise money and because they weren’t loaning their money. They likely wouldn’t have made the loan if they had ‘skin in the game’.
That’s the problem with this situation. You don’t need to have a PhD in Business Finance to understand that the number of reckless loans increases when it isn’t your money. This paragraph should highlight how foolish the IRRRB was with other people’s money:
But the business model proved too outdated in recent years for today’s mobile phone society. Land lines are decreasing eight to twelve percent per year.
According to the article, Meyer Teleservices “launched on the Range in Eveleth in 2007.” It isn’t like we couldn’t see the end of the line for telemarketing companies. In 2003-04, Howard Dean used the internet to raise tens of millions of dollars for his presidential campaigns. In 2007-08, then-candidate Obama was using the internet to raise hundreds of millions of dollars for his presidential campaign.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure it out that these loans were made because they benefited Democrats. The motivation for these loans was to keep the company going through the 2014 election cycle.
The IRRRB has failed the people of the Iron Range. They’ve done nothing to diversify or strengthen the Iron Range’s economy. I wrote here that the statewide MHI (Median Household Income) is $60,828 and the statewide poverty rate is 11.5%. Compare that with the MHI for Hibbing, which is $38,112, and the MHI for Virginia, which is $33,143.The poverty rate in Hibbing is 20.6% while the poverty rate in Virginia is a disgusting 26.5%.
It’s time to make the IRRRB as extinct as the Passenger Pigeon. It’s failed its mission to the hard-working people of the Iron Range.
One of the eye-popping things in the OLA’s report on the IRRRB, aka the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board, is that “State statutes on IRRRB’s governance structure are vulnerable to a constitutional challenge.”
Before answering that question, let’s gather some history of the IRRRB. According to the OLA’s report, the IRRRB “is a state agency that has focused on economic development of the Iron Range in northeast Minnesota since 1941.” Further, the OLA’s report states that the ” term ‘IRRRB’ refers to both the agency and the board overseeing it.” The next part starts explaining why the IRRRB likely is unconstitutional. The OLA’s report states that the “IRRRB is an agency in the executive branch led by a commissioner appointed by the governor. Yet, state law requires members of the agency’s board to be legislators and grants the board substantial power over the agency’s spending decisions.”
The OLA’s report then states that “This arrangement is vulnerable to a challenge under the Minnesota Constitution’s separation of powers clause and its prohibition against legislators holding another public office. We base our conclusion on our review of the plain language of the Minnesota Constitution, historical context from the state constitutional conventions, and opinions from the Minnesota Supreme Court and Attorney General.”
The fact that the OLA’s conclusion is based on Minnesota’s constitution, the Minnesota Supreme Court precedents and Minnesota’s Attorney General means this isn’t a partisan shot at the IRRRB. I might dismiss the conclusion if Republicans brought the subject up. Jim Nobles, who has been serving Minnesota as the Legislative Auditor since 1983, is considered one of the few nonpartisan people in government.
Not surprisingly, that’s just part of the IRRRB’s problems. Check back later today for more of the IRRRB’s troubles.
These days, the people still left at Breitbart, and that number is shrinking, aren’t living up to Andrew Breitbart’s high standards. Their latest shenanigans aren’t likely to salvage their reputation, either.
Breitbart apparently published, then deleted, this article with the hope of humiliating Ben Shapiro. Joel Pollak has admitted that he wrote the article under the pseudonym used by Shapiro’s father. Unfortunately, Mr. Pollak just couldn’t be honest, saying that “the article was written in jest.”
Apparently, Mr. Pollak doesn’t use a dictionary. The definition of jest is “a piece of good-natured ridicule.” What Mr. Pollak said doesn’t fit that description. Pollak wrote “Former Breitbart News editor-at-large Ben Shapiro announced Sunday evening via left-wing Buzzfeed that he is abandoning Andrew Breitbart’s lifelong best friend, widow, hand-picked management team and friends in pursuit of an elusive contributorship at the Fox News Channel. It was business as usual for the ambitious conservative gadfly, who is known to live on the edge, courting and then leaving a series of companies over the past several years.”
That doesn’t sound like “good-natured” ridiculing. Later, Pollak wrote this:
The article was written by me as part of an effort to make light of a significant company event, and was published as a result of a misunderstanding without going through the normal editorial channels. I apologize to Michelle Fields, my friend Ben Shapiro, and to everyone concerned.
Here’s the opening of Pollak’s article:
Former Breitbart News editor-at-large Ben Shapiro announced Sunday evening via left-wing Buzzfeed that he is abandoning Andrew Breitbart’s lifelong best friend, widow, hand-picked management team and friends in pursuit of an elusive contributorship at the Fox News Channel.
Friends of Hamas could not be found for comment.
Shapiro, a Harvard lawyer and member of the State Bar of California, apparently violated virtually every clause in his employment contract during an appearance on The Kelly File last Thursday evening.
Based on Shapiro’s standing up for Fields, I’d argue that it’s Breitbart News that’s abandoning Andrew Breitbart’s principles. The bigger the bully, the more fiercely Andrew fought. He loved kicking bullies’ backsides. That’s who Andrew was. He didn’t hesitate in fighting the left or, for that matter, Republicans.
I had the privilege of attending his keynote speech at the 2011 RightOnline conference in Minneapolis. Andrew brought the house down when he said that “anyone that can’t defend the concepts of freedom and liberty sucks“:
To Andrew’s staunchest supporters, the current mismanagement team at Breitbart are a disgrace to Andrew’s principles. They, not Ben Shapiro, Michelle Fields and Dana Loesch, should be the ones leaving.
According to this NY Times article, Laura Ingraham wants the GOP to head in a populist direction. That isn’t leadership. That’s capitulation. That’s handing the nomination to Donald Trump. What’s worst is that it means our courts will be packed with activists whether Trump wins or Hillary wins.
Ms. Ingraham is famous for lecturing the DC insiders for their failures. It’s time to lecture her for her foolishness. Populism is what got this nation into this situation. Populism is liberalism with a different name. Populism isn’t rooted in constitutional principles. Populism is prone to mob rule, which is just a step away from anarchy. Does Ms. Ingraham really want to deal with a system of government where the mob rules? Does Ms. Ingraham prefer government of and by judicial fiat? That’s what populism will give us. In fact, populism will give us that sooner rather than later.
If she doesn’t, then she’d better stop being Trump’s apologist. It isn’t just Ms. Ingraham that’s making this tragic mistake, either. Andrea Tantaros, Eric Bolling and Sean Hannity are making the same mistake. That trio has bent over backwards rationalizing away Mr. Trump’s contradictory statements. This weekend, Hannity went so far as to tell Steve Hayes that Trump didn’t say that he’s in favor of the Obamacare mandate even though there’s video of Trump making that statement during Thursday night’s town hall meeting on CNN:
“The establishment G.O.P. is lying to itself. This election at its core is a rejection of their globalist economic agenda and failed immigration policies — and of rule by the donor class,” said Laura Ingraham, the conservative talk-radio host and political activist. “Millions want the party to go in a more populist direction.”
Ms. Ingraham isn’t really that stupid. You can’t be that stupid and be a Supreme Court law clerk. It’s possible, however, to misdiagnose the root cause of the problem. The economy isn’t failing because of globalism. It’s failing because our taxes are outrageous, the compliance costs of our regulations are crushing businesses and our regulations are designed to crush competition.
When Mr. Trump argues that companies are leaving the United States, he’s right. It’s just that his plan to fix that won’t fix anything. The type of tariffs that Mr. Trump is advocating for kill jobs. President Reagan and President Clinton are the 2 greatest job creators of my lifetime. They both thought that the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act caused the Great Depression. Most economists agree with that.
Trump’s economic plans aren’t rooted in capitalism. They’re rooted in corporatism. Trump hasn’t talked a single sentence during the debates about helping small businesses create jobs. Trump certainly hasn’t said anything about regulatory reform.
William F. Buckley once famously said that “A Conservative is a fellow who is standing athwart history yelling ’Stop!’” It’s time this generation of conservatives stood athwart history yelling ‘Stop’! It’s imperative because American exceptionalism is what’s on trial.
Technorati: Donald Trump, Laura Ingraham, Populism, Liberalism, Anarchy, Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act, Great Depression, Ronald Reagan, William F. Buckley, Free Trade, Capitalism, Conservatism, Supreme Court, Election 2016
The legitimate question that the conservative blogosphere and the Twitterverse is asking is whether Trump will be hurt by skipping the GOP debate on Fox. While that’s a totally legitimate question, it isn’t the right question this time. The right question is why we’re putting up with this adolescent’s snotty attitude. Why would anyone think that Mr. Trump would listen to anyone? Further, how is Mr. Trump different on health care than the narcissist currently living in the White House?
It’s clear that Mr. Trump isn’t a conservative. At this point, that isn’t debatable so let’s move past that. I wrote this article Tuesday afternoon to highlight Mr. Trump’s recent statement to CBS News that he favors universal health care and that “the government” would pay for it. Here is Mr. Trump’s statement on why he won’t participate in Thursday night’s debate:
That’s his official statement. Here’s why he jumped ship:
- Mr. Trump isn’t a good debater. He’s much better on the stump when he can talk about how great he is or the YUGE leads he has in the latest gazillion polls.
- Mr. Trump will be pursued by the other networks.
- Mr. Trump prefers playing the victim card rather than answering tough questions.
The truth is that Mr. Trump’s temperament disqualifies him from getting serious consideration to be the next president of the United States. Frankly, it isn’t a stretch to watch Mr. Trump’s behavior and question whether he’s mentally stable enough to handle the pressures of being the leader of the free world.
Personally, the question for me isn’t whether his supporters will continue supporting him. My question is whether Mr. Trump’s supporters are as unstable as he is. At this point, I’m betting that the answer to that question is yes. They are as nutty as Mr. Trump is.
Sen. Ben Sasse’s sassy questions for Donald Trump deserve an answer. Whether Mr. Trump will answer them or whether he’ll start criticizing Sen. Sasse, (R-NE), is anyone’s guess. Still, it’s worthwhile to find out the answers to Sen. Sasse’s questions.
Sen. Sasse’s first question for Mr. Trump was “Questn1. You said you want single-payer “gov’t pays4everyone” HCare. If that isn’t your position now when did it change? Why?” Next, Sen. Sasse asked “You’ve said you “hate the concept of guns.” Why the change? When did it happen? What’s the 2nd Amendment mean to you?” After that, Sen. Sasse asked “A few years ago, you proposed a $6 trillion tax hike. Still want to do that? Agree w/ Biden that higher taxes=more patriotism?”
I suspect that Sen. Sasse’s next question will earn him heaping helpings of criticism from Trumpsters. Sen. Sasse asked “You[‘ve] brag[ged] ab[ou]t many affairs w/ married women. Have you repented? To harmed children & spouses? Do you think it matters?” Sen. Sasse’s final question isn’t one that Trump’s supporters will like. Sen. Sasse asked:
Q5: I believe 1 of the most damaging things POTUS Obama did is ignore Constitution, act on his own,& bypass Congress Next GOP POTUS must roll this back & reaffirm a Constitutional system b4 we lose this special inheritance forever. Do you agree that exec unilateralism is very bad? Because you talk A LOT about “running the country” as though … as though 1 man should “run America.” Questn5: Will you commit to rolling back Exec power & undoing Obama unilateral habit?
Trump is a fascist who loves making deals. Principles aren’t part of his mindset. As long as critics say he got the better of the deal, Trump’s a happy camper. It doesn’t matter whether the ‘it’ is in keeping with the virtues laid out by the Founding Fathers.
Remember, this is the narcissist who wrote The Art of the Deal. Finally, it’s frightening to read this article about the things Mr. Trump has recently supported. Suffice it to say that the Founding Fathers would have a profound disagreement with Mr. Trump.
If anyone needs to learn what’s important to Jesse Watters, this article offers insight into just unprincipled he is. During his appearance on The Five, Watters made it clear what was important to him by saying “Everyone’s now saying, Oh he doesn’t check this box, he doesn’t check this box. Do you know what box is important to check? Filling up 40,000-people stadiums on a Tuesday night. That’s the box that counts on Election Day. I don’t think principles matter if you can’t get elected and institute those principles. And I think a lot people now are putting pure conservatism over the country.”
That’s a straw-man argument that President Obama would be proud of. Currently, each of the top-tier GOP presidential candidates defeat Hillary in head-to-head match-ups. More importantly, Trump does the worst in those match-ups. It isn’t surprising to find out that Trump would get crushed in the general election.
In 2 of Quinnipiac’s polls, Trump’s favorable-unfavorable rating with Hispanics is orders of magnitude worse than pathetic. In one poll of all voters, not just Republican primary voters, Trump’s favorable-unfavorable rating was 15% approve, 82% disapprove. In the other poll, Trump’s favorable-unfavorable rating with Hispanics was 9% favorable, 84% unfavorable. Trump is under water with women, too, with a 29% favorable, 63% unfavorable rating.
Hint to Mr. Watters:
- It’s mathematically impossible to win an election if you lose the biggest voting block (women) by 34 points.
- It’s quite possible to lose in a landslide when you lose the women vote by 34 points and Hispanics by a bigger margin than Mitt Romney lost Hispanics by.
Conservatives don’t need dimwits like Watters telling us what to believe. Watters’ join the crowd or get lost mentality is the opposite of what the Founding Fathers wanted when they wrote the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. They wrote the Constitution to prevent mob rule, otherwise known as ‘the tyranny of the majority.’
They understood that unprincipled democracies were as big of enemies of virtuous self-governance as dictators were. They knew that because unprincipled majorities could shove things down their throats almost as easily as a dictator could dictate the uppity peasants’ behavior. The Founding Fathers understood that principled representatives making principled arguments produced the most accountable form of government.
Mr. Trump’s media lapdogs don’t demand accountability. They demand mindless adherence. That isn’t principled self-governance. That’s fascism.