Archive for the ‘Accountability’ Category

People that thought that Keith Ellison wouldn’t drag his corruption into the Minnesota AG’s Office should’ve gotten their heads examined. This article highlights how Keith Ellison hasn’t hesitated in hooking up with ultra-rich progressive special interests.

In this instance, Michael Bloomberg has loaned staff to help Keith Ellison push Bloomberg’s green agenda. Why wouldn’t he? He knows that Ellison will hide Bloomberg’s employees, even if that requires subterfuge. First, the article states that “It came to light last year that a handful of rich left-wing donors led by Michael Bloomberg have collaborated with New York University Law School to recruit, place and pay for lawyers in attorney generals’ offices around the United States. These lawyers, compensated outside the executive structure of state government, are embedded in state governments to pursue lawsuits that fit Bloomberg’s liberal agenda.”

From there, the plot thickens:

A group called Energy Policy Advocates requested documents relating to this scheme from the office of Minnesota’s Attorney General, Keith Ellison. EPA’s requests were made pursuant to Minnesota’s broad Government Data Practices Act. The requests were narrowly tailored to ask for documents relating to 1) correspondence between the AG’s office and a plaintiffs’ law firm, and 2) correspondence between the AG’s Office and a specific individual in another state who was recruiting attorneys general to join Bloomberg’s scheme. The Minnesota Attorney General replied that there are no such documents, or, if there are, they are privileged and will not be produced.

Here’s where things get interesting:

Several news outlets have reported on the lawsuit. The Star Tribune’s story is here. The Strib’s story, mediocre at best, is most notable because it flushes out Keith Ellison’s admission that Minnesota is indeed participating in the Bloomberg scam. Ellison didn’t have much choice: there is a Linked In page by a lawyer who wrote:

I am off on a new adventure as a Fellow with the NYU School of Law’s State Impact Center. I will be embedded with the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office as an Environmental Litigator and Special Assistant Attorney General.

That’s certainly evidence. I wonder how Ellison will try weaseling his way out of that.

In some states, privately funded and agenda-driven “special assistant attorneys general” might only be unethical. Here in Minnesota, they are quite clearly illegal under Minn. Stat. Sec. 8.06, which says:

Except as herein stated, no additional counsel shall be employed and the legal business of the state shall be performed exclusively by the attorney general and the attorney general’s assistants.

In other words, what Ellison is allegedly doing is illegal in Minnesota. Unfortunately, that isn’t surprising. It isn’t surprising because Ellison has praised cop-killers like Assata Shakur. He’s just a low-life.

To say that Michelle Benson is on a mission to fix the graft and corruption within the Minnesota Department of Health and Human Services (DHS) is understatement. Sen. Benson hasn’t let up in her pursuit of answers into why Democrats ignored the corruption within the Department. According to this official statement, Sen. Benson sent out questions to key figures in the recent crisis.

According to the statement, “During the HHS hearing on August 13, Senator Michelle Benson told DHS officials she would provide written questions for the department to answer. Questions were sent on August 19 to Carolyn Ham, Acting Commissioner Pam Wheelock, and Deputy Commissioners Chuck Johnson and Claire Wilson. Benson did receive acknowledgment the questions were received by Acting Commissioner Wheelock. However, with another hearing scheduled for September 4, Benson has not received substantial responses to the requests, nor has she received responses the data practices requests made in July.”

In other words, political appointees within DHS have refused to cooperate with the legislature’s legitimate oversight responsibilities. I wrote here that Jodi Harpstead, Gov. Walz’s appointee to replace Commissioner Lourey, has a history of specializing in hiding important details from authorities.

Ms. Harpstead hasn’t assumed her position as Commissioner but the Department has already started with hiding things from the legislature. Imagine how tight-lipped they’ll be when Ms. Harpstead, aka the silence-meister, takes over as Commissioner.

Check out these questions to these people:

View the written questions:
Questions to Acting Commissioner Pam Wheelock
Questions to Carolyn Ham
Questions to Chuck Johnson
Questions to Claire Wilson

It’s pretty obvious that these employees specialize in hiding information from taxpayers. It’s equally obvious that these employees think that they don’t answer to anyone.

Sen. Benson realizes that that’s a problem. That’s why she’s on a mission.

This election will come down to who the people think is best suited to make decisions. This isn’t just about whether President Trump is the best decider or whether it’s Bumbling Joe Biden, though that’s certainly part of it.

It’s also about governing philosophies. Nowhere is that more evident than in the fight between motorists and various transit authorities across the nation. In LA, they’re going through such a fight. This is a good depiction of what’s happening in LA:

Since 2013, public transportation in LA has seen a 24% decline, as commuters migrate to either their own cars to ride shares like Uber and Lyft. The reason is quite clear: mass transit is slower, less direct, and often entails sharing a bus with people who range from annoying to dangerous.

There’s more:

This is all very frustrating, of course, to the erudite bureaucrats who have been charged with getting the hoi polloi out of cars on to busses. This is especially true since the city is in the midst of a 40-year, $120 billion Maoist “master plan” to create a mass transit utopia.

Basically, there are two ways to influence consumer choice. You can either provide a superior product or service and entice change, or you can coerce people through the explicit or implicit threat of negative government sanction. In the eyes of the bureaucrat, there is only one way.

Providing a superior product is capitalism at its finest. It’s what’s produced the finest products in their categories. When the government tells a car company they must sell a certain type of car, sales of that type of car usually aren’t very good. If there was a demand for that type of vehicle, companies would’ve already started manufacturing it.

Compare that with the health insurance policies required by the ACA. They were such inferior policies that they couldn’t be sold except if they were forced down people’s throats with the individual mandate. Even with the penalty hanging over their heads, Democrats still couldn’t sell the ACA QHP (Qualified Health Plan) policies. Nothing says something’s a great product as the product that can’t be sold except at gunpoint.

This election is about electing a person that trusts people to make their own decisions vs. electing a person who thinks like this:

As Phil Washington, the bureaucrat in charge will lecture us, “Sometimes you have to tell people what’s good for them.”

Bernie Sanders certainly thinks that excessive government knows best. Joe Biden certainly thinks that forcing people to buy things is right. Does anyone think that Elizabeth Warren wouldn’t try shoving some form of Medicare-For-All down our throats?

It’s time for Republicans to come up with a single plan that lowers premiums and out-of-pocket expenses while increasing choices and returning decision-making to the people. The only way we come up with that plan, though, is if the politicians swallow their egos for the good of the team.

There’s no question the average family is best equipped to make decisions for their families. It’s time to tell Democrats that we want them out of the business of making our decisions.

This Our View Editorial highlights the short-sightedness of the St. Cloud Times. The subject of the Our View editorial is the new Tech HS that will officially open Tuesday. One of the lessons we supposedly learned is that “If Central Minnesotans have learned anything in the past decade, it’s that investments in school facilities are rarely quickly decided. It can take several years and several rounds of proposals to find out the will of the people.”

Actually, what I’d learn from that statement is that the school board could get things done faster if they listened to their constituents instead of making a proposal, then putting the school board’s proposal up for a vote. I know it’s a revolutionary concept but I’m betting that listening to the people who will be asked to foot the bill for projects might improve the ideas the board votes on.

That concept is rooted in William F. Buckley’s that he’d rather be governed by people randomly picked out of a phone book than by a bunch of elitists. I’m wholeheartedly with Mr. Buckley on that.

For all intents and purposes, I was the No Vote organizer on the first Tech building referendum that got defeated. The St. Cloud Times ruined the ISD 742 strategy when it wrote that they were “disappointed” that they hadn’t seen more yard signs promoting the Tech building referendum. The minute I read that, I knew that Willie Jett and the ISD 742 school board were trying to silently pass the referendum without telling the community at large.

In other words, the education elitists didn’t want the hoi polloi finding out about the referendum. The school board knew that their proposal was, at minimum, controversial. They wanted to keep turnout down. As the Vote No coordinator, I wanted to whip voters into a frenzied mob. On November 3, 2015, the referendum lost by a wide margin. (I guess I did my job pretty well.)

My next goal is to get people to understand why it’s important to flush the establishment critters off the school board ASAP. People hear about universities being centers of indoctrination. It’s indisputable that they tilt heavily to the left but it’s equally indisputable that indoctrination doesn’t start on university campuses. It starts in Kindergarten, grade schools and high schools.

If people don’t start asserting themselves, we’ll have students who are heavily indoctrinated before they’re junior high students. As an activist/leader, LFR will publish something on this topic soon.

It’s great to hear that Becky Otto’s final appeal fell on deaf ears at the Minnesota State Supreme Court in April. When the defeat was handed down, Otto tried her best to spin it as a partial victory, saying “Since the 2015 law change, certain counties have actively rejected the state auditor’s authority to review county finances once a private CPA conducted an audit. The Supreme Court has now made clear that the state auditor has authority and responsibility over county finances, including the authority to conduct additional examinations of a county following a private CPA firm audit, and that the counties are responsible for the costs.”

Rep. Eric Lucero and State Sen. Mary Kiffmeyer had the final say on that:

Rep. Eric Lucero (R-Dayton) and Sen. Mary Kiffmeyer (R-Big Lake) authored a bill to reimburse Wright County for the costs it incurred to defend the Otto case. That bill passed, and Wright received its money back. “The lawsuit brought by former State Auditor Rebecca Otto was arbitrary and frivolous from the beginning and this was confirmed with former Auditor Otto losing her lawsuit at every level including a unanimous ruling against her by the Minnesota Supreme Court,” Lucero said.

If Otto continues her political vendetta, Republicans should highlight her vindictiveness. Doing an additional audit after there’s already been an audit is an exercise in vindictiveness. It costs the counties extra money without much of a change in audit results. That’s the definition of vindictiveness.

Further, it isn’t the definition when the Supreme Court repeats what I said about the case in the first place. I first said that the Constitution established each of the constitutional offices but that legislation established the constitutional offices’ responsibilities. That’s almost verbatim what Chief Justice Lorie Gildea said in her opinion.

Attention Lindsey Graham: you’ve got to beat your Democrat friends over the head with the information from this article. You know who I’m talking about. You told us that you couldn’t find a single Democrat in the Senate willing to co-sponsor your legislation that fixes our asylum laws, fixes the Flores Agreement and closes the gaping loopholes in our immigration laws. We believed you, too.

Sen. Graham, what’s in that article is disgusting. It’s the type of stuff that Democrats should be forced to defend. Daily. When the crew at Fox & Friends asked you what it would take to pass your legislation, you were right in saying that we need fewer Democrats and more Republicans. I couldn’t agree more. Especially after reading this:

Border Patrol agents at the FOB were contacted by Mexican government officials in July regarding two subjects wanted on kidnapping and homicide charges. One of the men was apprehended by the U.S. Border Patrol in November 2018 near Eagle Pass, while the other surrendered to Customs and Border Protection Officers at the Eagle Pass Port of Entry in December 2018. Both men made credible fear claims, and were ordered removed by an immigration judge after those claims were denied.

Had those criminals not been rejected for asylum, they would’ve gotten released into the US, where they likely would’ve preyed on immigrant populations. That’s totally unacceptable. Those asylum laws must be fixed. If Democrats won’t participate in fixing them, then their decisions need to become the subject of negative ads against them the next time they run for re-election.

If Democrats think that security moms want these types of predators meandering through their streets, Democrats should think again. If Democrats don’t get serious about fixing the border, they should expect a thumping next November. It won’t be pretty.

The people know that the porous US border is where tons of illegal drugs that kill US citizens come from. They know that the porous US border is also where criminals enter the US. Anyone thinking that we’re ok with this broken system must be a thick-headed Democrat.

If I hear another Democrat insist that “this isn’t who we are” if we don’t enforce the laws that Congress has passed and that the president has signed, I’ll punch that Democrat. Ignoring laws that we don’t like isn’t who we are. Further, telling me that we don’t have the resources to prosecute criminals tells me that those offices aren’t run efficiently or that those people are lying to us.

Thankfully, President Trump’s wall is getting built. That isn’t the total answer but it’s sure to help CBP. There’s already reporting out there that the new wall is a force multiplier. That’s because walls help funnel coyotes, drug smugglers and human traffickers into chokepoints, which increase agents’ efficiency.

If the Democrats don’t do anything to fix our immigration and asylum laws, they’ll pay the price in states like Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. Democrats are salivating at the possibility of flipping the Senate seat that Martha McSally currently holds in Arizona. Rest assured that a broken immigration system helps Sen. McSally.

Ilhan Omar isn’t a nice person. As a Democrat legislator, she’s virtually worthless. As a bombthrower, she’s a high profile bombthrower. In terms of thinking she’s accountable to anyone, she’s disgusting.

Ilhan Omar is the portrait of Democrat hubris. This Fox9 article provides proof of Omar’s hubris. Doing his worst impression of Esme Murphy, Fox9’s Theo Keith tried questioning Omar about her alleged affair. When he tried asking those questions, Omar’s bodyguard pinned him to the wall to prevent him from getting close to Omar. When Rep. Omar, a Democrat who represents Minnesota’s 5th Congressional District, was asked by Keith about the alleged affair, Omar replied “They’re stupid questions. Do you understand what ‘no comment’ means?”

That’s the ultimate in hubris. Rep. Omar isn’t just a headache to Democrats in DC. She isn’t just the worst anti-Semite in Congress. She’s a nasty person who apparently thinks that she can do whatever she wants without having to explaining herself. Check this out:

It’s shameful that Omar thinks that it’s ok to have her staffers intimidate reporters. Democrats complain that President Trump bullies the press with his statements. Why won’t Democrats call out their legislators who physically intimidate reporters?

This is a black eye for WCCO and Esme Murphy, too. She interviewed Omar but she didn’t attempt to push Omar on the subject of the alleged affair. Keith pushed the subject so far that it took a staffer getting physical with him to stop him from holding Omar accountable. Keith did what a real journalist does. He demanded accountability.

At this point, it isn’t difficult to see Murphy just mailing it in while she glides into retirement. It wouldn’t surprise me if that’s what she’s doing. Then, too, she’s always been known as a traditional interviewer. She interviewed me once in 2008 in the closing days of the campaign. She was ok then but she asked me very basic questions. She didn’t go beyond one question per subject. I can’t imagine doing an interview without asking a follow-up.

If WCCO and the rest of the high profile Twin Cities media want to be taken seriously, they need to ask hard-hitting questions, then ask hard-hitting follow-up questions, too. They need to follow this procedure consistently for Republicans and Democrats alike. That’s what’s required of real journalists. Then again, the chance of them doing that isn’t high but it’s a worthwhile goal to push them towards.

The chances of pushing the Twin Cities media into being actual news reporters isn’t high. I’d say it’s about the same as the chances of the DFL politicians getting rid of their hubris or of the DFL politicians thinking that they’re accountable to anyone.

Monday night on Hannity, Hannity interviewed Lawrence Jones and Allie Beth Stuckey about why young people aren’t as patriotic as they used to be. Lawrence immediately and without hesitation said that it’s the result of indoctrination on college campuses:

There’s little doubt that college professors push their political beliefs onto students on a daily basis. Still, I’d like to see Republicans master the art of pushing the Democrats’ buttons in communications.

Indoctrination is too soft of a word for what happens altogether too often in college classrooms. What happens altogether too often there is Democrat activists bully their students, then threaten those students into giving the answers that their professors instruct them to give — even if it’s the wrong answer. Further, the other thing that happens in those classrooms is full-throated intimidation.

There’s a simple way of stopping these threats, intimidation and bullying. Some of these students need to capture on film forever their professors in the act, then use that video to threaten lawsuits against these hostile, partisan professors. The best part is that these students don’t need to win their lawsuits, though that’d be fantastic.

From an administrator’s standpoint, just the thought of a lawsuit is enough to inject fear in these universities’ administrators hearts, if they still have hearts. The thought of word getting out that their university is intimidating students is enough to tell prospective students’ parents that their son or daughter can find a better university.

Nothing pushes positive change as quickly as the possibility of a major lawsuit hanging over a university’s head and ruining that university’s reputation. Universities understand that lawsuits push enrollment down. They also ruin universities’ credibility. Once those universities lose their credibility, it’s virtually impossible to get it back.

Indoctrination is too gentle of a word to use in these situations. Using edgier words like bullying, intimidation and threats are the right words to effect positive change in campuses’ environment.

Finally, when dealing with bullies, the best weapons are sharp words and threats of lawsuits. Bullies back down when they understand that they’ve got skin in the game.

Our View editorials like this one offer a disservice to the community. Rather than being SCSU’s chief cheerleader, the St. Cloud Times should ask SCSU President Robbyn Wacker tough questions about what she’s doing to improve SCSU’s image academically. They should also ask how much longer it’ll take to reorganize SCSU.

How many people in St. Cloud know that SCSU is going through another reorganization? Do people realize that SCSU’s revenues haven’t kept up with SCSU’s expenses? If they don’t know that, why hasn’t the Times reported on that? The key to understanding SCSU’s plight is found in this paragraph:

“It’s time to stop doing things the same way we always have and expecting different results,” Wacker concluded in her annual address to faculty and staff to start the 2019-20 school year. “It’s time to push ourselves to think differently to meet today’s learners where they are at and continue to provide them with the world-class education that St. Cloud State has been known for.”

It’s impossible to right the ship if you think the ship is still doing ok. When President Wacker says that SCSU should “continue to provide [students] with the world-class education that St. Cloud State has been known for”, I view that as a world-class case of denial. SCSU has been known for a couple of generations (at minimum) as a party school. While the University has worked hard to shed itself of that image, that’s still its image.

While many 4-year universities still struggle, a number of 4-year universities have turned things around. Purdue University has transformed itself into a popular destination, thanks in large part to University President Mitch Daniels’ leadership.

When President Daniels took over, he immediately implemented a plan to fit the University’s budget to families’ budgets, not vice versa. Then he contacted Amazon to see if they’d be willing to partner with Purdue in offering books at a reduced price. He found out they were interested. As a result of those 2 decisions alone, tuition hasn’t risen in almost a decade. The same is true of book prices.

If SCSU started shooting for goals like that, I’m betting that they’d see a near-immediate resurgence in enrollment. With increased enrollment comes increased tuition and dorm revenues. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure it out that increased enrollment and revenues lead to shrinking deficits. Who knows? If SCSU accomplishes that and maintains that for 5+ years, they might even start running surpluses while training the workforces that we need.

Who’s interested in that?

It’s getting pretty disgusting within Minnesota’s Department of Human Services. A whistleblower was allegedly threatened by “a DHS employee then telephoned her last week to warn against testifying, even though she had taken a vacation day to speak to senators who are looking into wrongdoing at Minnesota’s biggest state agency. ‘The way that information was presented to me wasn’t threatening,’ Bernstein said. ‘However, the content, the words — saying that I could be discharged for this — that is threatening.'”

Things aren’t getting fixed, either, according to this article. According to the Pi-Press article, “the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said DHS used federal money to pay for treatment services at “institutions for mental diseases.” These institutions include hospitals, nursing homes or other facilities that have more than 16 beds and treat people with mental illness or chemical dependency. Federal Medicaid money generally cannot be used to cover treatment in these institutions.”

Then there’s this:

Minnesota will be on the hook for this amount plus another $25.3 million that DHS overpaid to two Native American tribes for substance abuse treatment covered under Medicaid. DHS wants the Indian bands to pay back the $25 million even though tribal leaders have produced emails in which the agency appeared to tell them to bill at a rate that caused the overpayments.

Do these people do anything right? The documented incompetence is stunning. Unfortunately, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Jim Nobles, Minnesota’s Legislative Auditor, “has launched an investigation of the overpayment issue. He told senators Tuesday that it would be a lengthy process.”

Nobles told legislators that “We cannot audit our way to good government.” Knowing Nobles’ well-documented habit for understatement, that’s a major slap in the face for DHS. That’s Nobles’ way of saying there’s a need for competence that isn’t there currently.

Still, threatening a whistleblower isn’t the type of thing that DHS should be doing. That’s far outside the lines of what’s allowed.

What could possibly go wrong?

Wheelock, who took charge of the agency in July after several top officials resigned, said an investigation against former Inspector General Carolyn Ham could wrap up soon. But she could not name the outside law firm conducting the investigation, how much the contract was worth, or why Ham was under investigation.

How is the public supposed to have confidence in an investigation that’s confidential? Further, why should the public trust an investigation that’s conducted by a law firm that’s being kept confidential? Finally, why should anyone trust an investigation whose cost isn’t made public? DHS hasn’t banked much in the way of trust lately, with lately being defined in this instance as ‘anytime within the last 5-7 years of DFL control’.

I’d argue that these DFL employees are a rerun of the Keystone Cops if it wasn’t such an insult to the Keystone Cops.