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Apparently, Charlie Weaver’s principles are negotiable. His statements, which I wrote about here, indicate that Mr. Weaver isn’t prone to taking principled stands on important issues. If he’s going to continue undercutting Jeff Johnson’s campaign, he should announce that he’s stabbing Jeff Johnson’s campaign in the back.

When Weaver said that “the economy is pretty strong” and that Gov. Dayton’s GOP opponent “will be forced to find other issues as contrasts with Democrats”, Weaver ignored the truth about the Dayton/DFL economy. The question is why Weaver didn’t pay attention to this year’s jobs reports.

The truth is that the Dayton/DFL economy stinks. This year, Minnesota’s economy has created 2,900 jobs in the first 7 months. That’s pathetic. Weaver’s ‘pretty strong economy’ statement was made before the July jobs report showed that Minnesota’s economy shed 4,200 jobs in July.

That’s anything but strong.

The disgusting part is that, with Weaver’s help, Gov. Dayton and the DFL pundits that litter the Twin Cities political landscape will be able to quote Weaver as ‘proof’ that the Dayton/DFL economyy is working.

The truth, though, is that the Dayton/DFL economy stinks. In addition to Minnesota’s economy losing 4,200 jobs in July, revenues for July fell 6.6% short of projections. That’s proof that the Dayton/DFL economy is a disaster.

In the last 12 months, Minnesota’s economy created 68,344 jobs. What’s sad is that 21,523 of those jobs are government jobs. Almost one-third of the jobs created by the Dayton/DFL economy are government jobs.

Does Mr. Weaver think that creating tens of thousands of goverment jobs in 2013 and creating dozens of private sector jobs in 2014 is proof of a “pretty strong economy”? Or is he just peddling a pile of manure about the Dayton/DFL economy because his job requires it?

It’s time for Charlie Weaver to exit stage left and collect his thirty pieces of silver from the Dayton campaign. It’s only appropriate that Weaver exit to the left since he’s selling Republicans out for personal gain.

Here’s hoping that contributors to Republican campaigns ostracize Weaver for his dishonesty and stabbing Jeff Johnson’s campaign in the back. Better yet, Weaver should host a major fundraiser that raises several hundred thousand dollars for Jeff’s campaign.

It won’t make Weaver more trustworthy. It’ll just make up a little bit for his stabbing the GOP in the back.

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It’s amazing that Charlie Weaver has any Republican friends left. I wouldn’t show my face for a month if I’d said this BS about the Dayton/DFL economy:

“The economy is pretty strong,” said Charlie Weaver, a veteran of state Republican politics and executive director of the Minnesota Business Partnership, which represents the state’s largest corporations. “We have a low unemployment rate — one of the lowest in the country,” he said.

A former top aide under Gov. Tim Pawlenty, Weaver predicted that Republican candidates, particularly Dayton’s challenger, will be forced to find other issues as contrasts with Democrats.

Far too often, this is what happens when a Republican gives up his principles to become a lobbyist. What happened here is Charlie Weaver, lobbyist, said something Charlie Weaver, conservative, wouldn’t get caught dead saying.

Weaver’s statement is a combination of fiction and professional self-preservation. It’s impossible for an honest person to look at the July jobs report and conclude the economy is strong. July’s jobs report just confirmed the fact that Minnesota’s economy sucks:

Minnesota lost 4,200 jobs in July, disappointing news in a year so far of tepid job growth for the state. The unemployment rate remained at 4.5 percent, according to figures released Thursday by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development. The U.S. unemployment rate in July was 6.2 percent.

June’s job gains were also revised downward by 3,600, driving home the point that over the first seven months of the year Minnesota’s job market has been stuck in neutral. After adding 41,900 positions from August to December 2013, the state has added only 2,900 jobs since January. Some 133,000 Minnesotans are officially unemployed, and thousands more are working part-time jobs when they would rather work full time.

Isn’t Mr. Weaver troubled by the fact that one-third of the jobs created in the past year are government jobs? If he isn’t, why isn’t he? Certainly, Mr. Weaver is smart enough to know that government confiscates people’s money. Certainly, he knows that government doesn’t create wealth.

Over the last 6 months, revenues have fallen significantly short of projections. In July, it fell short of projections by 6.6%. This constitutes a trend. That isn’t a one-time blip.

What’s particularly disgusting is that Charlie Weaver is hurting Jeff Johnson’s campaign whenever he lies about the strength of the Dayton/DFL economy. Months of terrible jobs reports, combined with revenues consistently falling short of projections, aren’t the statistics that you get from a booming economy. Yes, 2,900 jobs created in 7 months is pathetic. By comparison, St. Cloud created 2,894 jobs in 12 months.

Over the past 12 months, 68,344 jobs were created in Minnesota. A total of 46,339 jobs were created in Minneapolis-St. Paul, followed by St. Cloud with 2,894, Mankato with 1,236, Duluth-Superior with 1,145 jobs followed by Rochester with 1,054 jobs. That’s a total of 52,668 jobs created in those cities.

Noticeably missing from the list are Moorhead, Brainerd, Monticello, Hutchinson, Willmar and any Iron Range cities. Mr. Weaver, isn’t it important to creat jobs in those cities, too? Apparently, Gov. Dayton doesn’t think so. Apparently, Gov. Dayton and Mr. Weaver think it isn’t important to create jobs in northern Minnesota cities not named Duluth.

I’m pretty certain that people in Forest Lake, Grand Rapids, Alexandria, Pierz and Little Falls think it’s important to create jobs in their towns. I’m pretty certain that they’d love seeing new businesses starting up in their cities.

Here’s the dirty little secret Charlie Weaver doesn’t want anyone to know. He isn’t looking out for Main Street Minnesota. He’s looking out for big corporations. This isn’t a criticism of big corporations. I appreciate any company that employs lots of people. It’s merely highlighting the fact that big corporations have the resources to comply with Gov. Dayton’s and the DFL’s regulations and tax code.

Small businesses, the kind found throughout the 6th, 7th and 8th districts, find it difficult to create wealth and expand their companies. If you only care about the Twin Cities, which Mr. Weaver apparently does, then Minnesota’s economy might look ok.

If you care about statewide prosperity, though, which Jeff Johnson does, then Minnesota’s economy isn’t doing well.

If Mr. Weaver wants to peddle Gov. Dayton’s BS that Minnesota’s economy is “pretty strong”, then he’d better expect me to highlight the truth about Minnesota’s job creation statistics. He’d better be prepared to be called out for his BS.

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Ken Martin, the chairman of the DFL, is getting good at projection. Check out his quote in this article:

“They will forget about the Range when the election is over,” DFL Party Chairman Ken Martin said in an interview prior to Tuesday’s primary.

Those are words from an expert on forgetting about the Range the day after an election. The DFL has asked for the Range’s votes, which they’ve given enthusiastically year after year. The minute that the election is over, though, the Metrocrat wing of the DFL, which is the dominant wing of the DFL, shuts things down.

It’s important that Rangers ask themselves if they’re better off now than they were when Gov. Dayton took office. Based on the high percentage of families on the Range living below the poverty line, the answer must be straightforward. These families aren’t better off now than when Gov. Dayton took office.

Let’s remember that Gov. Dayton’s first appointee to be the commissioner of the MPCA was Paul Aasen. Aasen is now a special advisor to Conservation Minnesota. He’s a passionate environmental activist who once bragged about killing the Big Stone II power plant:

Along with our allies at the Izaak Walton League of America, the Union of Concerned Scientists and Wind on the Wires, the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy and Fresh Energy argued, first in South Dakota, then before the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC), that the new plant was a bad idea. Our message was simple: The utilities had not proven the need for the energy, and what energy they did need could be acquired less expensively through energy efficiency and wind.

We kept losing, but a funny thing happened. With each passing year, it became clearer that we were right. In 2007, two of the Minnesota utilities dropped out, citing some of the same points we had been making. The remaining utilities had to go through the process again with a scaled-down 580-megawatt plant.

The heart of the DFL’s message apparently is that they don’t care about the Range but Republicans don’t either.

The DFL’s actions shows that the DFL doesn’t care about mining. A pro-mining political party doesn’t appoint an anti-mining activist to regulate mining.

It’s possible that the Range voters will ignore the DFL’s anti-mining activism. I hope it doesn’t but it’s possible. If the Range gives their votes to the DFL, they’ll deserve the stagnating incomes that they’ve lived with the last 20 years.

If the Range wants prosperity rather than the DFL’s stagnating incomes, the GOP is their only real choice.

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AFSCME Council 5 didn’t waste time to start their smear campaign against Jeff Johnson. Tuesday night, they issued this statement. Wednesday, they took to Twitter to smear Johnson:

In their Tuesday statement, AFSCME Council 5 called Jeff Johnson “a right wing extremist.” That’s likely because Jeff Johnson has specialized in highlighting the times when government has spent the taxpayers’ money foolishly.

That’s something that AFSCME Council 5 can’t tolerate. In fact, the DFL can’t tolerate a politician, whether he’s at the top of the executive branch or a member of the legislative branch, who spends the taxpayers’ money wisely. A politician who highlights the legislature’s spending of $90,000,000 on an office building that’s used 3 months a year might make life uncomfortable for a union like AFSCME.

AFSCME supported creating MNsure, which still isn’t working after the Dayton administration spent $160,000,000 on creating that website. AFSCME was the union that insisted that child care small businesses be unionized, too. If there’s a politician that AFSCME would fight for, it’s Gov. Dayton.

Most Minnesota families vehemently oppose spending $90,000,000 on a palace for part-time politicians. Jeff Johnson opposed the building, too. Gov. Dayton supported it. Most Minnesota families think that health care decisions should be made by physicians and families. Jeff Johnson agrees with them. Gov. Dayton thinks government should tell families what types of coverage they have to buy.

Gov. Dayton will spend this campaign telling people he helped the middle class. If he was honest, though, he’d tell them that he strengthened special interest organizations like AFSCME.

Minnesota needs a governor that sides with them. Minnesota doesn’t need a governor that agrees with Eliot Seide all the time.

The AFL-CIO of Minnesota should simply change its name. They aren’t a union representing “working families.” Based on their announcement, they’re just another DFL front group. Look at their endorsement list:

Governor & Lieutenant Governor
Governor Mark Dayton & Tina Smith (DFL)

United States Senate
Senator Al Franken (DFL)

Secretary of State
Steve Simon (DFL)

United States House of Representatives
District 1 – Congressman Tim Walz (DFL)
District 2 – Mike Obermueller (DFL)
District 3 – Sharon Sund (DFL)
District 4 – Congresswoman Betty McCollum (DFL)
District 5 – Congressman Keith Ellison (DFL)
District 6 – Joe Perske (DFL)
District 7 – Congressman Colin Peterson (DFL)
District 8 – Congressman Rick Nolan (DFL)

Minnesota House of Representatives
1A Bruce Patterson (DFL); 1B Eric Bergeson (DFL);
2A Rep. Roger Erickson (DFL); 2B David Sobieski (DFL);
3A Rep. David Dill (DFL);3B Rep. Mary Murphy (DFL)
4A Rep. Ben Lien (DFL);
5A Rep. John Persell (DFL),5B Rep. Tom Anzelc (DFL)
6A Rep. Carly Melin (DFL); 6B Rep. Jason Metsa (DFL)
7A Jennifer Schultz (DFL); 7B Rep. Erik Simonson (DFL)
8A Jim Miltich (DFL); 8B Jay Sieling (DFL)
9A Dan Bye (DFL); 9B Al Doty (DFL)
10A Rep. John Ward (DFL); 10B Rep. Joe Radinovich (DFL)
11A Rep. Mike Sundin (DFL)
12B Gordon Wagner (DFL)
13A Emily Jensen (DFL)
14A Dan Wolgamott (DFL); 14B Rep. Zach Dorholt (DFL)
15A Dale James Rittenour Jr. (DFL); 15B Brian Johnson (DFL)
16A Laurie Driessen (DFL); 16B James Kanne (DFL)
17A Rep. Andrew Falk (DFL); 17B Rep. Mary Sawatzky (DFL)
19B Jack Considine (DFL)
20B Rep. David Bly (DFL)
21A Lynn Schoen (DFL); 21B Mark Schneider (DFL)
22A Diana Slyter (DFL); 22B Cheryl Avenel-Navara (DFL)
23A Pat Bacon (DFL)
24A Beverly Cashman (DFL); 24B Rep. Patti Fritz (DFL)
27B Rep. Jeanne Poppe (DFL)
31B J. D. Holmquist (DFL)
32A Paul Gammel (DFL); 32B Laurie Warner (DFL)
33A Todd Mikkelson (DFL)
34B David Hoden (DFL)
35A Peter Perovich (DFL)
36A Jefferson Fietek (DFL)
37B Susan Witt (DFL)
38A Pat Davern (DFL); 38B Greg Pariseau (DFL)
39A Tim Stender (DFL); 39B Tom DeGree (DFL)
40A Rep. Mike Nelson (DFL); 40B Rep. Debra Hilstrom (DFL)
41A Rep. Connie Bernardy (DFL); 41B Rep. Carolyn Laine (DFL)
42A Rep. Barb Yarusso (DFL); 42B Rep. Jason Isaacson (DFL)
43A Rep. Peter Fischer (DFL); 43B Rep. Leon Lillie (DFL)
44A Audrey Britton (DFL)
45A Rep. Lyndon Carlson (DFL); 45B Rep. Mike Freiberg (DFL)
46B Cheryl Youakim (DFL)
47A Matt Gieseke (DFL)
48A Rep. Yvonne Selcer (DFL); 48B Joan Howe-Pullis (DFL)
49A Rep. Ron Erhardt (DFL); 49B Rep. Paul Rosenthal (DFL)
50A Rep. Linda Slocum (DFL); 50B Rep. Ann Lenczewski (DFL)
51A Rep. Sandra Masin (DFL); 51B Rep. Laurie Halverson (DFL)
52A Rep. Rick Hansen (DFL); 52B Rep. Joe Atkins (DFL)
53A Rep. JoAnn Ward (DFL); 53B Kay Hendrikson (DFL)
54A Rep. Dan Schoen (DFL); 54B Don Slaten (DFL)
55A Jay Whiting (DFL)
56B Rep. Will Morgan (DFL)
57B Denise Packard (DFL)
58A Amy Willingham (DFL); 58B Marla Vagts (DFL)
59A Rep. Joe Mullery (DFL); 59B Rep. Ray Dehn (DFL)
60A Rep. Diane Loefffler (DFL); 60B Rep. Phyllis Kahn (DFL)
61A Rep. Frank Hornstein (DFL); 61B Rep. Paul Thissen (DFL)
62A Rep. Karen Clark (DFL); 62B Rep. Susan Allen (DFL)
63A Rep. Jim Davnie (DFL)
64A Rep. Erin Murphy (DFL); 64B Dave Pinto (DFL)
65A Rep. Rena Moran (DFL); 65B Rep. Carlos Mariani (DFL)
66A Rep. Alice Hausman (DFL); 66B Rep. John Lesch (DFL)
67A Rep. Tim Mahoney (DFL); 67B Rep. Sheldon Johnson (DFL)

I wouldn’t have been shocked if 90% of the politicians that the AFL-CIO endorsed were Democrats. It’s stunning, though, to see that every candidate that they endorsed is a Democrat. Shar Knutson’s statement is utter fantasy:

“The 2013 and 2014 legislative sessions were some of the most productive sessions for working people in a generation.” said Minnesota AFL-CIO President Shar Knutson. “Their focus on middle class values like investing in education and job creation is working as Minnesota’s economy continues to strengthen.”

This legislature didn’t “invest in education.” They spent money on Education, which is the teacher’s union. There’s a big difference between the two things.

In fact, lower income families in the inner city are running from schools where these ‘investments’ were supposedly made. Further, the DFL legislature tried imposing a total moratorium on frack-sand mining, which would create hundreds of middle class jobs.

The AFL-CIO should stop pretending that it isn’t a DFL front organization. They should change their name to the DFL-CIO.

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This afternoon, I received an email from the Johnson for Governor campaign saying that Jennifer Parrish endorsed Jeff. Here’s the highlight of the email:

“Mark Dayton has thrown me and hundreds of my fellow childcare providers under the bus to pay back his campaign contributors,” Parrish said. “And when we fought back, he belittled us and said we were just ‘throwing little fits.’ Minnesota small businesswomen need a champion in the governor’s office, not someone who views us and our livelihoods as nothing more than collateral to be used to pay back the union bosses who own his administration.

“Jeff Johnson is the champion small businesswomen need as the governor of our state. Like my fellow child care providers, Jeff is a fighter; he can take a punch, and then hit back twice as hard. That’s what it’s going to take to defeat Mark Dayton and his union boss friends. I wholeheartedly endorse Jeff for governor.”

“As governor, I will never, ever treat any Minnesotans the way Mark Dayton treated Jennifer and her fellow small businesswomen. It’s appalling how he has used these women’s livelihoods to pay back his campaign contributors, and then had the gall to belittle them for fighting back. As governor, I will listen to ALL Minnesotans. I am honored to be endorsed by Jennifer, and I am looking forward to undoing the damage Mark Dayton has inflicted on Minnesota child care providers,” said Johnson.

Jennifer Parrish is right. Gov. Dayton threw an entire group of independent businesswomen under the bus to appease Gov. Dayton’s special interest allies. Gov. Dayton and the legislature didn’t care about these independent businesswomen. They cared only that this was the highest priority on the public employee unions’ wish list. Gov. Dayton couldn’t afford to say no to their GOTV machine, aka the public employees union.

That would’ve been political suicide.

The fact that Gov. Dayton accused these independent businesswomen of “throwing little fits” is exceptionally sexist and demeaning. That’s something Jeff Johnson would never think, much less say.

Jeff Johnson has fought hard against entitled government. He’s been the taxpayers’ staunchest watchdog. The best thing about Jeff is that, wherever you’re talking to him, it’s like you’re talking to your favorite neighbor. Jeff isn’t into politicspeak. He’s into neighborspeak. That’s why he connects with people.

It’s time to close the final chapter of Gov. Dayton’s political career. He was a terrible senator. He’s been worse as governor. He’s thrown Main Street Minnesota under the bus while shoveling the taxpayers’ money to his special interest allies. That’ just plain un-Minnesotan.

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Now that people are questisoning some of Chancellor Rosenstone’s decisions, like his decision to pay a consulting firm $2,000,000 or the Trustees’ decision to extend Chancellor Rosenstone’s contract before giving him a performance review, perhaps it’s time to ask what his qualifications were. This chart shows that Rosenstone wasn’t as qualified as the other finalist:

It’s too late to void Chancellor Rosenstone’s sweetheart deal but it isn’t too late to question whether the Trustees serve a useful purpose. Based on this side-by-side comparison and their decision to hire a less qualified candidate, I’d argue that their decisionmaking abilitie are questionable at best.

Further, it’s time to admit that Gene Pelowski, Bud Nornes, Michelle Fischbach and Terry Bonoff haven’t done the job Minnesotans needed them to do. Their refusal to conduct oversight hearings is an indictment against their chairmanships.
What Minnesota needs is for the Trustees to disappear and for the legislature to play a more hands-on role in MnSCU, especially with regards to hiring chancellors and negotiating the chancellor’s contracts. I don’t want people who can’t be held accountable to make these important decisions. I expect people who can be held accountable at election time to make these decisions.

The best way to produce terrible results is to look the other way and not demand explanations for important decisions. Part of why Chancellor Rosenstone is making questionable decisions is because he wasn’t qualified. Another reason why he’s making questionable decisions is because he isn’t disciplined when he makes decisions like hiring a do-nothing consulting firm for $2,000,000.

I can’t say that Minnesota’s higher ed system is worthless. I can say, however, that MnSCU has made lots of foolish spending decisions that shouldn’t have gotten made.

That’s why MnSCU reform should be a high priority for the next legislature.

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It’s bad enough that AFSCME is intent on forcing a unionization vote down child care providers’ throats. What’s worse is that the person overseeing the election is owned by AFSCME:

Governor Dayton appointed Josh Tilsen to be commissioner of the Bureau of Mediation Services (BMS) in Feburary 2011. As BMS commissioner, Tilsen administers union elections, resolves collective bargaining disputes, and oversees labor mediation and arbitration activities. He is paid more than $95,000 per year by the State of Minnesota for this full-time role.

In addition to Tilsen’s full-time work as BMS commissioner, he also maintains an outside consulting business, acting as an arbitrator for the Iowa Public Employment Relations Board (PERB). According to the official Iowa PERB website (updated March 25, 2013), Tilsen’s per diem is $1,200. Notably, the office phone and fax number they list are Tilsen’s official BMS numbers in Minnesota. In addition, under “Current Employment/Associations that could cause a conflict,” it lists “None.”

That’s just part of it. There’s more:

Tilsen’s case in particular, though, seems riddled with real or potential conflicts of interest. While Tilsen technically consults for the State of Iowa, he is paid in part by labor unions, as both parties to arbitration cases share the cost of the arbitrator. To that point, according to U.S. Department of Labor records, Tilsen was paid $7,451 last year by AFSCME Council 61. Meanwhile, as Minnesota’s BMS commissioner, Tilsen oversees union elections and helps resolve union disputes involving AFSCME affiliates. As such, one has to ask: How can a fulltime, government official who collects income directly from a labor union be expected to act as an impartial referee of labor disputes?

While this isn’t illegal, it’s more than suspect. Jeff Johnson, the MNGOP-endorsed candidate for governor, made this statement on the matter:

“Mark Dayton uses his office to pay back his union campaign contributors, and apparently his Commissioner in charge of dealing with unions is in their pocket as well,” said Jeff Johnson.

“This is a gross conflict of interest. Commissioners have a full time job and are paid a handsome full-time salary by the taxpayers. They shouldn’t be doing outside work in any case, and certainly shouldn’t be taking paychecks from the people they are supposed to regulate,” Johnson said.

“This is just another example of Dayton’s sacrificing the interests of Minnesotans to those of his campaign contributors,” Johnson concluded.

It isn’t a stretch to think that Democrats side with their special interest allies more frequently than they side with Minnesota’s families. In fact, that’s their identity.

At this point, it’s reasonable to question the upcoming election’s integrity.

First, Tilsen needs to recuse himself. Second, Gov. Dayton needs to put back in place Gov. Pawlenty’s policy of prohibiting commissioners from having a side job. Third, the legislature should look into whether other commissioners in the Dayton administration are consultants. If other commissioners are consulting, they need to quit ASAP.

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President Obama is getting eaten alive by an avalanche of crises simultaneously. I’ve never seen a president getting eaten alive by this many crises. Richard Nixon had Watergate. Reagan had Iran-Contra. Bill Clinton had Monicagate. George Bush had Katrina.

President Obama’s crises are crises of his own creation. The IRS scandal happened because he used the IRS as a weapon against his political adversaries. The border crisis happened because he told the world that he wouldn’t enforce the borders. The Iraq/ISIS crisis happened because he told the terrorists that he was giving them the heart of the Middle East. Benghazi happened becausse he campaigned on the foolishness that al-Qa’ida was dead or dying, therefore, they didn’t need to beef up security at the Benghazi compound. The VA crisis happened because he ignored the administrative corruption and the cooking of the books.

It’s getting to the point that the American people, including some DC reporters, have noticed that President Obama isn’t into governing or solving problems. When President Obama meets with Gov. Perry this week, it won’t be good enough to show he cares. (That’s a phrase Rep. Cuellar, D-TX, kept using in his interview with Megyn Kelly tonight.) President Obama needs to reach a solution by working with Republicans. If he doesn’t solve that crisis, he’ll be exposed as just another cheap politician who isn’t interested in solving problems.

Further, if he continues to get slapped by the courts for his extremist unconstitutional agenda, he’ll be seen as the biggest scofflaw in presidential history. If the Justice Department doesn’t start prosecuting criminals like Lois Lerner, President Obama and Eric Holder will become known as the most lawless president/AG duo since Nixon and Mitchell. I didn’t think that that was possible.

President Obama’s crises are policy-driven crises. He’s made one policy mistake after another. Those policy mistakes have caused crisis after crisis. They’re proof that President Obama is the worst president in US history. This isn’t about the color of President Obama’s skin. It’s about his ideology.

The border crisis is turning the American people off to immigration reform. While they like the thought of immigration reform in the abstract, they’re against the lawlessness that’s led to this crisis. The American people won’t sign onto a policy reform until they’re the administration is serious about enforcing the new laws.

At this point, people from across the political spectrum don’t believe President Obama will enforce law. What’s worse is that they’ve seen that Democrats in Congress and the Senate will protect him even when he’s been exposed. The IRS scandal and Benghazi are proof of that.

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On the bright side, the St. Cloud Times is attempting to commit journalism, albeit after the facts are known. This editorial is, at best, after-the-fact journalism. A week after this story broke, the Times’ Editorial Board weighed in:

When the state’s top public official, the governor, names you one of 15 public trustees to oversee the state’s $1.9 billion public Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system, it should be understood you must operate with the public’s interests top of mind.

When newspapers and legislators don’t pay attention to low-profile institutions like MnSCU, they quickly turn into fiefdoms. The Times is now covering this story because what was just exposed is so outrageous that even the Times can’t ignore it. Here’s what just happened:

Sadly, as recent news reports have noted, the MnSCU board of trustees failed to come anywhere close to that when it allowed just one trustee, Chair Clarence Hightower, to set up a new three-year contract with Chancellor Steven Rosenstone eight months ago!

I’ll be brief. Hightower shouldn’t have had the responsibility of negotiating a new contract with Chancellor Rosenstone. Chancellor Rosenstone should’ve been told that his contract wouldn’t be extended. Two MnSCU university presidents are ‘retiring’ rather than getting fired. Another president just cost his university hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees and $100,000 in back pay for wrongfully terminating their head football coach.

Still, the Times is right that the MnSCU Board of Trustees disgraced themselves. Consider what they said in their evaluation of Chancellor Rosenstone:

In the public summary of the evaluation, Renier said Rosenstone excelled at focusing on the key question of what’s best for MnSCU students.

Renier also commended Rosenstone’s handling of a new strategic plan for MnSCU, “Charting the Future,” which calls for the system’s colleges and universities to work more collaboratively.

“We are extraordinarily enthusiastic about the new and powerful ways in which our colleges and universities have begun to work together under Chancellor Rosenstone’s leadership,” Renier said.

That’s astonishing. Chairman-Elect Renier is acting like Charting the Future has been implemented and that it’s producing incredible results. That isn’t close to the truth. Charting the Future is a document that hasn’t been implemented yet. What, exactly, is Chairman-Elect Renier gushing about?

The Board of Trustees’ performance review of Chancellor Rosenstone came months after they’d negotiated a contract extension. Given the difficulties within MnSCU, they should’ve written Chancellor Rosenstone’s performance review before authorizing Chairman Hightower to negotiate a new contract.

This recommendation isn’t satisfactory:

Gov. Mark Dayton and legislators should follow the dismay and disgust they expressed about the new contract with a new protocol for such contracts.

First, the legislature and the next governor should pay attention to what’s happening at MnSCU. That would be a major improvement from what they’ve done the last 4-8 years. Further, the DFL shouldn’t just throw more money at MnSCU. They’ve done that the last 2 year, then patted themselves on the back for what they did.

Meanwhile, they didn’t hold hearings on whether Chancellor Rosenstone deserved a contract extension. Obviously, the MnSCU Board of Trustees has the final say on that because they’re the part of the executive branch that deals with that. Still, holding hearings would’ve allowed public input on whether Rosenstone deserved another contract.

The Times’ brand of journalism is an indictment against institutional journalism. It’s just a matter of time before the Times is history.

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