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When it comes to the issue of refugee resettlement, Mayor Dave Kleis couldn’t be more wrong. Mayor Kleis has said that it’s unconstitutional for the City Council to get involved in resettlement matters. This LTE repeats that belief when it says “Kleis went so far as to call this unconstitutional when former council member Jeff Johnson pushed a similar line. City councils have no business or right to police the free movement of people within the United States, nor do cities set federal immigration policy.”

This mush is misguided at best. Let’s set some things straight. First, the federal government sets immigration and asylum policy. The “United States Refugee Act of 1980” still sets the policy. What Mayor Kleis gets wrong is thinking that city councils and states aren’t allowed any input into how migrant policy is implemented. Over the weekend, someone sent me information of a court case that deals with this. I wrote about that information in this post. Here’s the important part:

According to the press release announcing the lawsuit, Judicial Watch said “In October 2016, Judicial Watch made public 128 pages of documents it obtained from the mayor of Rutland, Vermont, showing a concerted effort by the mayor and a number of private organizations to conceal from the public their plans to resettle 100 Syrian refugees into the small southern Vermont town. The mayor and resettlement organizations shrouded the plan in such secrecy that not even the town’s aldermen were informed of what was taking place behind closed doors.”

Here’s what happened when the mayor and the State Department tried hiding information from that city council:

The aldermen eventually wrote to the U.S. Department of State protesting the plan and opened an investigation into the mayor’s actions.

Looking into refugee resettlement isn’t unconstitutional, especially when Sen. Ted Kennedy wrote into the bill that required the State Department to talk with local units of government before the fact.

That’s called collaboration. That’s the opposite of unconstitutional. It doesn’t require the federal government to relinquish its authority of setting immigration policy. It doesn’t require city councils to be silent ‘victims’ of federal overreach. Instead, it requires both levels of government to work together. I’d love hearing Mayor Kleis explain how that’s unconstitutional.

Finally, what Councilman Johnson proposed was a resolution that proposed a moratorium. He didn’t propose an ordinance requiring a moratorium on the refugee resettlement program. Since when is it unconstitutional for city councilmembers to state their opinions on federal policies?

When it comes to “listening to both sides,” it is quite clear that Brandmire is the one not listening. I suggest he go back and read Kleis’s comments for reference, and review the statements made by council members about previous attempts to limit refugees moving to St. Cloud. There have also been local events that specifically addressed the costs, though it’s clear from his column that cost is not the real issue – culture is.

Councilman Johnson’s resolution dealt strictly with primary resettlement. It didn’t (and couldn’t) deal with secondary resettlement. It would be wise if this person actually paid attention to what was actually discussed instead of worrying about straw-man arguments that were never made.

Friday night, Tim Walz tried being the ‘I’m all things to all people’ candidate during his debate with Jeff Johnson on Almanac. On one of the first questions, Walz talked about single-payer health care being where most people finally arrive at. Then Walz went into a long-winded spiel about how preventive care drives down health insurance premiums, which is why we need single-payer.

That’s BS. What drives up premiums is aging. As we get older, we reach our high-use years. Preventive care is a worthwhile thing to do because, theoretically, it keeps us healthier longer. Still, it doesn’t drive down health insurance premiums. Then Walz totally stepped in it, saying “everyone knows that there’s no plan to protect people with pre-existing conditions unless you have the ACA in place.”

Johnson jumped in at that point, saying “That’s utterly ridiculous. We did it for 30 years in Minnesota before the ACA and we did it better before the ACA. But let’s be honest about what single-payer is. Single-payer means that everybody loses their insurance. There is no private insurance and we’re all forced onto one government plan.”

That’s true. I wrote about the DFL’s single-payer bill in this post. That bill has 31 coverage requirements for each policy. Think of it this way. It’s the ACA except that it’s totally run by bureaucrats. After the rollout disaster of the ACA, that can’t sound appealing.

Next subject up was immigration. Mr. Walz went first, saying this:

I spent 24 years on national security and numerous trips to the border to actually witness how we do security in-depth and how we do it electronically and with surveillance. Every sovereign nation has the right and the need to control its borders but the issue is about stoking fear and telling us we’re not stronger because of immigration. It doesn’t matter what your plans are. The next governor of Minnesota must have the capacity to bring people together to solve problems. Immigration has always been an issue that has bound us together and what we see is this fear of telling people that they are in danger instead of coming up with real solid plans like comprehensive immigration reform that passed in the Senate but was never heard in the House.

Notice that Walz criticized President Trump, criticized House Republicans, tossed out the Democrats’ favorite go-to phrase on immigration but didn’t actually tell the moderators whether he’d advocate for turning Minnesota into a sanctuary state. Eventually, Walz admitted that he’s for turning Minnesota into a sanctuary state before lying about what a sanctuary state or city is.

Jeff Johnson immediately highlighted the fact that “there are only — what — 5-6 states in the nation that are sanctuary states in the country. We’d be the only one in the upper Midwest and what that means is that we would prohibit our law enforcement officers from cooperating with law enforcement from the federal government in any way.”

Walz denied that description, insisting that violent felons would go to prison. That isn’t at question. What’s at question is what state law enforcement officials would be allowed to do when these violent felons are released from prison.

After hearing Walz insist that Republicans have been stoking fear amongst citizens on immigration, I’d love hearing how Tim Walz would “bring people together to solve problems.”

At other points in the debate, Walz’s answers were more word salad than serious policy prescription. At one point, I hit pause on the DVR and told my roommate that “this guy is ‘The Babbler’.”

I highly recommend you watch the entire debate. Tim Walz was all over the place. Jeff Johnson’s answers were short, concise and actually fixed problems.

WJON’s debate featuring incumbent John Libert and challenger Paul Brandmire was quite instructive. It exposed Libert as being mean-spirited and willing to attack people who weren’t there to defend themselves. Here’s what happened.

During the debate, Mr. Brandmire said that he didn’t like how the Council treated Jeff Johnson when he proposed his moratorium resolution. Mr. Libert replied by saying that Councilman Johnson’s resolution was a PR stunt. Attacking someone who isn’t there to defend themselves is just mean-spirited. Further, Mr. Libert isn’t even close to the truth.

I’ll stipulate that Councilman Johnson wanted to highlight the fact that the governmental agencies involved in the refugee resettlement program were about as transparent as a piece of granite. At the local level, I’d hope that people would put a high priority in transparency. Lutheran Social Services, aka LSS, the school district and the county haven’t told us what the resettlement program is costing us in increased taxes. Here’s Part I of the Libert-Brandmire debate:

Libert actually said “The moratorium was actually a publicity stunt by Mr. Johnson, plain and simple, because we’ve had 12 attorneys look at what he was trying to do and it was illegal and unconstitutional and all it would do is give the city of St. Cloud a reputation of being a hatred, racist community and it didn’t make any sense to do it.”

First, calling a resolution illegal and unconstitutional is BS. I’d love hearing Mr. Libert’s explanation telling me what part of the Constitution Councilman Johnson’s resolution violates. Further, Councilman Johnson notified the Council that he’d bring up the resolution at a future City Council meeting as new business. There’s nothing improper about that. Third, Councilman Goerger’s resolution was brought up for the first time the night it was voted on. It was an ambush. Period. People weren’t given the opportunity to read Councilman Goerger’s resolution.

Thanks to Councilman Masters calling the question, discussion of Councilman Goerger’s resolution was extremely limited. Clearly, the Council didn’t want to discuss the issue. That’s proof that Councilman Johnson’s criticism that this wasn’t a transparent process was accurate.

Frankly, Libert is a spineless politician who doesn’t have an ounce of integrity. It’s time to fire him next Tuesday.

Reading through this article, the thing that’s most apparent is that Tim Walz is the ultimate empty suit. One of the questions asked of both candidates was “Do you support the creation of a non-partisan panel to handle redistricting?”

Walz replied “We need a redistricting policy that is transparent, accountable, and based on sound research and policy. I support a redistricting process that involves communities and ensures that it empowers people and their votes.” What type of mumbo-jumbo gobbledygook answer is that? I have no idea what that means.

By comparison, Jeff Johnson’s reply is straightforward:

Article IV Section 3 of the Minnesota Constitution says “the Legislature shall have the power to prescribe the bounds of congressional and legislative districts” so I would have a hard time handing over this power to an unelected commission or panel. In other states where this has been tried, the redistricting panels sometimes ended up more partisan and political than the Legislature. I believe the legislative process can work if we stick to redistricting principles such as equal population, compactness and preserving communities of interest.

In other words, Jeff Johnson believes in a process that requires accountability and eliminates as much partisanship as possible. Who knows what Tim Walz wants?

Empty Suit vs. Jeff Johnson
Here’s another question and the candidates’ replies:

Do you support gun reform, such as red flag laws? Why or why not?

JOHNSON: People deserve to feel safe in their homes, their schools and on the streets. Red flag laws can be a part of the solution to reducing gun violence perpetrated by troubled people as long as there is due process for these individuals in place.

More broadly, however, I don’t believe the answer to violence in our society is further restricting Minnesotans’ Second Amendment rights but rather to start addressing the difficult issues that are leading to this violence, such as family breakdown, mental illness, a pop culture drenched in violence and even school policies that ignore disruptive and violent behavior.

WALZ: As a sportsman, veteran and Moms Demand Action Gun Sense Candidate, I believe I am uniquely positioned to build the coalitions necessary to finally get something done on this critical issue. As governor, I would fight for common-sense gun reforms, including criminal background checks, an assault weapons ban, red flag laws and funding for gun violence research. We can do these things while protecting responsible gun ownership.

Walz once had credibility on Second Amendment issues. Then he chose to run for statewide office. In so doing, he abandoned law-abiding gun owners. Meanwhile, it’s totally apparent that Jeff Johnson wants to go after the root causes of gun violence rather than passing do-nothing bills that won’t have any effect on actual gun violence.

In short, Tim Walz isn’t a solutions-oriented candidate. He’s the empty suit candidate. Jeff Johnson is the solutions-oriented candidate. That’s who I’m voting for.

It’s pathetic that the St. Cloud City Council incumbents are using their supporters to spread fear to defeat their challengers. A perfect example of the incumbents’ fearmongering is this LTE that the St. Cloud Times published.

In it, the writer writes “In St. Cloud, most of us seek to treat others the way we’d like to be treated. That cuts across race, religion and what’s in your wallet. But a handful of candidates running for St. Cloud City Council are trying to divide us against each other. They hope that if we fear our neighbor, believe conspiracy theories about Sharia law and the United Nations, or buy into inflated crime statistics and rhetoric, we might look the other way while they fail to address the issues affecting all of us in our community. I appreciate our current council members Dave Masters, Steve Laraway and John Libert for refusing to accept the rhetoric of those who are targeting certain members in the community to build political power.”

What a pile of BS. First off, saying that these candidates are trying to divide citizens by getting them to “buy into inflated crime statistics” is reprehensible. Those statistics came from the FBI. Does this writer want me to believe that I shouldn’t trust the FBI?

Next, I don’t remember any LTEs written after Jeff Goerger teamed with #UniteCloud in pushing his ‘welcoming community’ resolution without advance notice. That resolution was written to belittle the resolution that Councilman Jeff Johnson’s resolution. Masters, Laraway and Libert each voted to undercut Councilman Johnson. There wasn’t any advance notice given by Goerger. Councilman Johnson gave the Council 2 weeks advance notice.

I’d call Laraway, Libert, Goerger and Masters predators but that’s too good for them. There’s only 2 members of the City Council that actually listen to their constituents: Jeff Johnson and George Hontos. The rest of them only listen to the special interests like the Chamber of Commerce, UniteCloud and Lutheran Social Services. It’s rich that people that only listen to the special interests are considered uniters but those that actually listen to their would-be constituents are considered dividers.

BTW, John Palmer, Liz Baklaich, Paul Brandmire and Mike Conway are each running on an agenda of economic development and law and order. Finally, this LTE has the tone of a typical UniteCloud smear job written all over it. UniteCloud specializes in smearing people rather than debating them on a substantive basis.

Traditionally speaking, Tim Walz’s running mate is Peggy Flanagan. From an agenda standpoint, though, Tim Walz’s running mate is Keith Ellison. If either of them or, God forbid, both are elected, Minnesota will become one of the worst states in terms of crime and illegal immigration.

According to a recent Reality Check by Pat Kessler, Tim Walz proudly states that he’d push for turning Minnesota into a sanctuary state:

Read between the lines of Keith Ellison’s issues page and it’s clear that Ellison supports sanctuary state status:

Minnesota has a proud immigrant tradition, from those seeking economic opportunity to those fleeing violence abroad. As Attorney General, I will fight efforts by the Trump Administration to remove protections from DREAMers who contribute so much to our economy and society. I will ensure that our immigration detention system is humane, and free from mistreatment, and will prioritize efforts to reunite families who were heartlessly separated at the border. I will stand up to the un-American, discriminatory Muslim Travel Ban. Our country is at its best when we welcome those fleeing horrendous conditions, not when we fan the flames of bigotry and division.

If Tim Walz and Keith Ellison are elected, it’s certain that Minnesota’s crime rate will head in the wrong direction. Kessler rightly highlights the fact that immigration is a hot issue for the GOP base. That’s why I expect Jeff Johnson and Doug Wardlow to highlight this issue as much as possible through Election Day. Follow this link to contribute to Jeff’s campaign. If you want a safe Minnesota, follow this link to contribute to Doug Wardlow’s campaign so he can protect Minnesota while finishing Keith Ellison’s political career.

I’m more than a little suspicious of this article. I’m suspicious partly because I’ve never heard of this politician before. I’m partially suspicious because Randy Johnson said “I still have the same fiscally conservative values, the same beliefs in limited government. The Republican party is kind of out in Never Never Land right now”, then writes in the Star Tribune that “for the first time in his life, he’s voting Democrat.”

If you’re a fiscal conservative, it’s impossible to vote for DFL politicians. DFL politicians are the opposite of fiscally conservative. According to the 2017 Taxpayers League Scorecard, the worst scores House Republicans got were 60s. The best score that a House DFL politician got was a 67 by Jeanne Poppe. That 67 is an outlier, though, because Poppe’s lifetime score from the TPL is 16.
If Johnson wants to vote for the party of rioters, that’s his option. Randy, welcome to your new party:

If Johnson wants to vote DFL this year, that’s his right and privilege. That being said, he’s kidding himself if he thinks he’s a fiscal conservative. I’d put him in the Arne Carlson/Dave Durenberger wing of the Republican Party. In other words, Johnson appears to be a perfect fit into the RINO wing of the MNGOP.

It’s apparent that Johnson enjoys the attention that this interview gives him. This is a dead giveaway:

President Trump is popular among Minnesota Republicans, but Johnson says he can’t support what the President stands for. He won’t vote for his former Hennepin County Board colleague Jeff Johnson for governor, or his friend Erik Paulsen for Congress. He says he cannot trust they will ever stand up to President Trump. “I think it’s time for Republicans, mainstream, real Republicans, to stand up and say ‘enough is enough,'” Johnson said.

Let’s compare Trump’s agenda with President Reagan’s agenda. Both cut and reformed taxes. Both cut regulations significantly. Economic growth exploded during their administration. Both rebuilt the military. Johnson approved of President Reagan’s agenda. Why doesn’t he approve of President Trump’s agenda?

In the interview, Johnson says that he didn’t leave the Republican Party. That’s BS. If he’s voting for a straight DFL ticket this fall, that’s proof he left the MNGOP. He can spin it whichever way he wants. The truth is that he isn’t a fiscal conservative. However, he might be a ‘Never Trumper’.

According to polling from a company called Change Research, which is described as a Democratic polling company, Minnesota’s top statewide races are tightening:


Jeff Johnson trails Tim Walz 47%-44% and Karin Housley trails Tina Smith by a 46%-43% margin. I can’t say that I’m surprised with those results. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if the DFL loses both of those seats. I’m not ready to predict GOP victories in those races — yet. That’s similar to my position on the MN AG race, where I think Keith Ellison keeps sinking each week.

Newt Gingrich is one of the best predicters of races in my lifetime. Here’s what he said this morning:

If Democrats don’t retake the House or the Senate, that will be a crushing blow going into the 2020 cycle. At this point, it’s safe to scrap the ‘blue wave’ myth. It doesn’t exist.

Tom Hauser has put several DFL ads through the Truth Test this election. The DFL’s ratings haven’t been kind to them. This time, Hauser put an anti-Jeff Johnson ad through the Truth Test.

The narrator starts the ad by saying “The list of pre-existing conditions seems endless. Cancer, diabetes, asthma – even pregnancy. Under Jeff Johnson’s health care plan, insurance companies could deny coverage for every single one.” Of course, this isn’t close to the truth. The supposed source of this information “cites Johnson’s own website.”

That’s where That’s where “the ad from the Minnesota Victory Fund PAC” falls apart. Hauser continues, saying “However, his website says just the opposite. In his ‘action plan’ for health care, Johnson calls for ‘a new approach that drives down costs and still takes care of our most vulnerable Minnesotans and those with pre-existing conditions.'”

That isn’t a minor mistake. That’s a major, intentional, statement. Then there’s this:

His plan calls for returning Minnesota to a “high-risk” insurance pool it used to have that was eliminated by the Affordable Care Act. His website says: “I will advocate for reinstating a MCHA-style pool for those with pre-existing conditions, guaranteeing competitively-priced coverage for everyone in Minnesotan.”

It isn’t surprising to find out that this ad graded out poorly:

This ad includes a mix of false, inconclusive and dated information, some of which is based on information from when Johnson ran for governor in 2014. It gets a D-minus on the 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS “Truth Test.”

Here’s the explanation for Truth Test grading:

– A “D” is the result of at least half the information being false or misleading to the point of leaving a false impression.

Here’s the video of the ad:

This isn’t insignificant because health care is a major issue in Minnesota this year, perhaps even the top issue. By lying about Jeff Johnson’s policy, the Minnesota Victory Fund PAC is intentionally attempting to tilt the election in Tim Walz’s favor with a major lie. That’s the definition of dirty politics. I can’t say that I’m surprised since the DFL has, at best, a passing familiarity with the truth.

This Duluth News Tribune editorial endorses Tim Pawlenty as the Republicans’ best shot at retaking the governorship. Normally, endorsements don’t mean that much but I think this one matters. It isn’t because I think the endorsement itself is that impactful. I think it’s impactful because Tim Pawlenty was given the time and space to explain why he’s running. In my estimation, he made the most of that opportunity.

In the editorial, Gov. Pawlenty said “People criticize me for, ‘You held the line on this’ or, ‘You cut that.’ You bet I did. When you’re in a near depression and government’s budgets have contracted, the answer isn’t to go out to the taxpayers and say, ‘We need to raise your taxes.’ We had to tighten the government’s belt, just like every family did, just like every house did.”

In my estimation, that response was what you’d expect from the adult in the room. It didn’t stop there, though. After that, Gov. Pawlenty stated “I’m 57 years old, I have no other political ambitions. I’m not running for any national office. I’m coming back to try to run for governor not because I need the title; I already have it. And I don’t need to go to sit in the office; I’ve already done that for eight years,” said Pawlenty, governor from 2003 to 2011 and a Republican presidential candidate in 2012. “I’m coming back for one reason, which is to get things done for my state and for the state that I love. And I think that at this point we need somebody who is strong enough and experienced enough and, frankly, willing to embrace enough risk to bridge the (political) divides. I am in the best position in this race to do that.”

The difference between Gov. Pawlenty then and the conditions he’d walk into now are dramatic. When he first won the office, he inherited a $4.2 billion projected deficit from Jesse Ventura and a terrible economy. This time around, he’ll walk in at a time when the US economy is hitting on all cylinders. Thanks to that robust economy, Gov. Pawlenty will have the chance to reform the tax system that Gov. Dayton created.

What does Pawlenty want to do if elected again? He wants to slow down health insurance premium increases and maybe even reduce them. He wants to provide tax relief to middle- and modest-income Minnesotans, including by getting rid of Minnesota’s rare tax on Social Security benefits. And he wants to modernize and improve Minnesota schools and the state’s educational system to finally close the achievement gap and to help meet growing workforce needs.

Tim Pawlenty is the best choice to lead the Republican Party of Minnesota. He’s got universal name recognition. He’s got the funding network that’ll be needed to fight off the DFL candidate. Most importantly, he’s got a reform-minded substantive agenda that conservatives can rally around.

Jeff Johnson is touting the issues he wants to run on. That’s admirable. He’d be a fine governor if he got elected. The thing is, though, that he’d have a difficult time getting elected. You can’t govern if you don’t get elected.

Republicans have a fantastic opportunity to reform Minnesota’s economy. To do that, though, we need unified Republican control of St. Paul. We can’t get there with Jeff Johnson. He’s already lost 2 statewide races. I’m not willing to bet that the third time is the charm. There’s too much at stake to entrust to a 2-time loser.

Tim Pawlenty wants to focus on accomplishing sensible things. That’s been out of style the past 8 years in St. Paul. Here’s what I’m talking about: