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Written by Rambling Rose

Even on the Left Coast of the USA, justice wins occasionally. On Tuesday, July 24, 2018, Addison Barnes prevailed in his lawsuit against Liberty High School, where his liberty or expression was not tolerated in January because he wore a T-shirt that supported the construction of the wall along the southern border of this country and also included a quote from President Donald J. Trump.

The topic in class that morning was immigration. So much for tolerance when he was forced to cover his shirt, which he did for a short time, and then removed the jacket to exercise his First Amendment Right of freedom of expression. He was then escorted from the school grounds and suspended, even though the year before he had attended a class where a pro-sanctuary city poster hung all year long.

This valiant young man was awarded $25,000.00 and an apology from the school. Actually, the apology is lame—it expresses regret but does not admit culpability for nullifying his rights when he, and probably others, have been offended by the liberal stance of the school.

For the full story, please read this article posted on May 28, 2018.

Editor’s note: This is beyond insulting:

“I had a teacher who had a pro-sanctuary city poster in her room which was up all year,” Barnes told NBC News-affiliate KGW. “Yet as I wear a pro-border wall shirt I get silenced and suspended for wearing that.”

The term double standard isn’t strong enough for this situation. The school should apologize to the community for holding such obvious double standards. I’ve read the First Amendment many times. I’ve never recalled it suggesting that it protects liberal speech but not conservative speech.

It’s ironic that Addison was suspended from Liberty HS.

This article is proof that Keith Ellison hates the Constitution, especially the First Amendment. It’s also proof that he’s unfit to be Minnesota’s chief law enforcement officer, aka state Attorney General.

The article notes that Ellison is “demanding that Amazon censor books and other materials produced by organizations listed by the Southern Poverty Law Center as hate groups.” That’s a frightening insight into Ellison’s thinking on multiple levels. First, it’s disturbing that the man who wants to be Minnesota’s attorney general thinks that censorship is a foundational constitutional principle. Hate speech is protected by the First Amendment except if it incites violence. It doesn’t make much sense to have an attorney general who hates constitutionally protected civil rights.

Next. it’s disturbing, though not surprising, that Ellison thinks that the SPLC is a reputable arbiter of right and wrong. Here’s a couple snippets from Ellison’s censorship letter:

Click to enlarge.

Later in the letter is something that’s definitely chilling:

As stated earlier, Amazon has a strict policy against hateful and racist products on its platform. The availability of all the material listed in the aforementioned report indicates to me that either Amazon is willfully refusing to enforce its own policies against the sale of racist products or its sheer size make it impossible for the company to police itself. In either event, Amazon must immediately cease doing business with groups that promote racist violence.

It’s apparent that Ellison hasn’t hesitated in using his official capabilities to intimidate companies into outright censorship.

Any legal eagle that’s anti-civil rights is disqualified to be Minnesota’s attorney general.

Mayor Kleis and the City Council are putting together the 2019 City budget so they want to hear from its citizens. Of course, that doesn’t mean they want to hear from everyone. They definitely don’t want to hear from the citizens who are collecting signatures to put a petition on the ballot.

A “group of St. Cloud residents is gathering signatures for a petition that would put a refugee resettlement resolution on the November ballot.” According to Matt Staehling, the city administrator, the “initiative petition does not meet the legal criteria of an initiative pursuant to our city charter, state statute and long established case law in the state of Minnesota.” That’s too bad for Mr. Staehling because the Minnesota State Supreme Court disagrees with him.

A citizen watchdog group just handed the city of Bloomington an embarrassing loss at the Minnesota Supreme Court. The case started over the rights of residents of the Twin Cities suburb to choose their own garbage hauler. But more broadly the unanimous 6-0 ruling upholds the standing of citizens in home rule charter cities to bring petitions and place legislation on the ballot apart from and in opposition to the city council.

Staehling’s argument is that resolutions aren’t legislation, therefore, they can’t be put on the ballot.

Greg Joseph, the citizens’ attorney, said “What the ruling today says is that cities can adopt a home rule charter and that governs what happens in that city, period. And voters can go around the city, they’re not subservient to it.”

The taxpayers are getting hurt financially by the federal government not picking up the full tab for the Refugee Resettlement Program as required by the Refugee Act of 1980. The City Council acted irrationally last November by passing Jeff Goerger’s ‘Welcoming Community’ resolution. A significant number of St. Cloud residents were prevented from speaking against Goerger’s resolution that night. Why shouldn’t they have the right to put their petition on the ballot? (Notice that the ruling didn’t limit the petition to just legislation.)

Further, it’s rather hypocritical for Mayor Kleis to sit silent on this. In my past conversations, Kleis identified himself as welcoming hearing from the citizens, whether it’s in the form of ballot referenda or whether it’s in the form of town hall meetings. Kleis loves townhall meetings so much, in fact, that he’s got his own bus so he can get around and talk to people in their neighborhoods:

Mayor Kleis, since you love hearing from the people, it’s time to exhibit some leadership and get the petition on the ballot if they collect the required number of signatures. The citizens are tired of being ignored by this City Council. They’re tired, too, that jackasses like Dave Masters object to hearing from his constituents and that Carol Lewis makes rulings that violate prior Minnesota State Supreme Court rulings.

If people like Masters and Lewis think that they don’t have to listen to their constituents and that they’re above the Constitution, it’s time to fire them so they don’t have constituents.

Finally, it’s important to show up Monday night and tell Mayor Kleis and the 5 ostriches how you want your money spent.

If anyone thinks that the St. Cloud City Council isn’t hostile to the First Amendment, they need only view the video for the June 4th City Council meeting starting approximately 65 minutes into the meeting. During a discussion of City Council Rule No. 16, George Hontos defended the rule, saying that “Without objection, any council member could object to it. I mean, I object all the time but the point is that said recognition shall terminate upon motion passed by majority vote of the Council. So, in other words, one person can object but it takes a majority vote…”

With this Council, that’s meaningless. Laraway, Lewis, Libert, Masters and Goerger vote in lockstep. It isn’t that they’re incapable of independent thought. It’s that they frequently choose not to think independently. Further, the First Amendment didn’t appoint someone to be the arbiter of who gets to speak. The government doesn’t have the right to silence citizens during a public meeting.

Later in the same explanation, Councilman Hontos tried selling the virtue of having a recognized speaker being rejected by a majority of the Council instead of a single councilmember shooting down the previously recognized speaker. That’s a flawed argument. First, most of the people that objected to recognizing Dr. Palmer have a personal animus against Dr. Palmer because — gasp! — he’s held them accountable multiple times. He’s highlighted their mistakes. FYI- Being rejected by a majority doesn’t mean that the majority is right. It simply means that 4 or more people agree.

In essence, Dr. Palmer was rejected for less than honorable reasons. I’m not ok with that.

Later in the discussion, Dr. Palmer stepped to the microphone to defend himself and debate the rule. Council President Lewis told him he had to sit down, that he hadn’t been recognized to speak. Dr. Palmer refused, thanks in large part to something I wrote about in this post:

“I feel like justice was finally served,” said Robin Hensel, whose refusal to move her chair at a 2013 Little Falls City Council meeting was at the heart of the court’s decision. Hensel, a grandmother and peace activist who frequently protests at Camp Ripley, said she never thought she would actually get charged when she moved a folding chair to the open space between the public galley and the City Council’s dais.

In its ruling Wednesday, the Supreme Court sided with Hensel, saying: “The statute is broad and ambiguous, prohibiting any conduct or speech that ‘disturbs an assembly or meeting,’ whether expressive or not. An individual could violate the statute by, for example, wearing an offensive t-shirt, using harsh words in addressing another person, or even raising one’s voice in a speech.”

The Minnesota Supreme Court ruled that Ms. Hensel had the right to be disruptive during a meeting. Repeatedly telling Dr. Palmer to sit down is a violation of that Minnesota Supreme Court ruling.

This Council don’t want public input. The exception seems to be when a businessman is asked to explain why he’s asking for a variance or applying for some sort of license or whatever. I don’t have a problem with those people getting recognized. I’m just establishing the council’s inconsistency.

Later in the discussion on Rule 16, Councilman Masters said “Personally, I take offense with Dr. Palmer not following the rules and standing before the Council after being asked numerous times to sit down please. You have your time when you can speak during the Open Forum.”

According to the Minnesota Supreme Court, asking Dr. Palmer to sit down is against their ruling. Further, one of the rules of Open Forum is that speakers can’t speak about agenda items. This discussion was an agenda item. In other words, Councilman Masters was incorrect in saying that Dr. Palmer could address the Council on this later.

What’s delicious about that confrontation is that Dr. Palmer filed to run against Councilman Masters earlier in the day. Further, who is Councilman Masters to complain about following the rules when he’s violating a Minnesota Supreme Court ruling? That’s doing more than violating a Council rule. That’s violating a Supreme Court ruling.

Finally, Elizabeth Baklaich, Dr. Palmer and I spoke during the final part of the meeting. It’s known as Open Forum. Each of us spoke to what we see as the Council’s unwillingness to listen to We The People. Our speeches start at 1:20:00.

Written by Rambling Rose

The Left calls foul and proves how intolerant they are when the person they attack is not silenced and does not cower in their presence. Last January, senior Addison Barnes at Liberty High School in Hillsboro, OR, entered his first-period “People and Politics” class wearing a T-shirt. The only problem was that his T-shirt was not PC. He displayed a statement from President Trump’s campaign. He knew that he was “making a statement” but assumed that it was covered by the school’s policies on the right of students’ free speech and the First Amendment of the US Constitution.

“Specifically, the words on the shirt read: ‘Donald J. Trump Border Wall Construction Co.,’ with ‘The Wall Just Got 10 Feet Taller’ in quotes.”

He was wrong. During the class, Assistant Principal Amanda Ryan-Fear removed him from class and ordered him to cover his shirt. She stated that the teacher and at least one other student had been offended by his shirt during a discussion on immigration. He complied and returned to class. However, he realized that he had a right, protected by the First Amendment and his own school’s policies, to state his own opinion so he uncovered his shirt.

Later that same hour, the assistant principal returned to his class and saw his shirt. She ordered a security guard to remove Barnes. She reminded him that his shirt offended others and gave him the choice to cover the shirt or to go home for the day. Barnes went home. [Editor’s note: I would have said ‘None of the above’, then asked the assistant principal if she’d prefer I be allowed to wear the shirt or fight a civil rights lawsuit that she’d lose badly.]

The following Monday, Addison Barnes and his father met with Principal Greg Timmons. They learned that his absence had become a suspension and that the teacher and student had also changed their claim—they felt “threatened.” The suspension was rescinded, but Barnes was told that he would be suspended again if he ever wore that shirt in the school.

He obeyed the directive until April when he was interviewed by another student for a documentary on the First Amendment. That student was ordered to obscure or blur the shirt before uploading the segment to the school’s online learning platform.

Mr. Barnes sued the school, the district and Principal Timmons for denying him his First Amendment right. His actions were silent and passive, reflected the theme of the day’s discussion in January and the topic of the interview in April. No violence or disturbance were caused by Barnes; only the teacher, a fellow student and the administrators were disruptive in protesting his rights. The charge also addresses the “selective” discrimination by allowing other offensive statements reflecting the favored stance of the welcoming Sanctuary City to be displaced in posters in classrooms for the entire school year. Mr. Barnes and others found those posters offensive but recognized that they were protected by the First Amendment and said nothing.

“The suit seeks a declaratory judgment stating that the school violated Barnes First Amendment rights and a permanent injunction against the school enforcing its guidelines in a similar manner, so the teen can again wear the shirt to school. Unspecified damages, court costs and attorney fees are also sought.” It was filed on May 18, 2018.

In the words of one of his lawyers, “The high school, ironically named Liberty High School, had violated his free-speech rights. He was told he offended them but that’s a far cry from being disruptive, and it is certainly a far cry from violating school policy, let alone what is clearly First Amendment free-speech law.”

Even the ACLU had to defend Barnes’ right to free speech, although they did so reluctantly. “It is disappointing that Liberty High School decided to censor the student instead of inviting the student body to discuss immigration, the freedom of speech, and the impacts of xenophobic rhetoric. Schools have a responsibility to teach our youth how to engage in thoughtful conversations about difficult and potentially offensive subject matters. Censorship doesn’t work and often just elevates the subject the government is trying to silence.”

While the Liberty High School’s Parent-Student Handbook does not address political clothing directly, the Standards of Student Conduct do prohibit “illustration, words or phrases” that are or could be disruptive and/or that promote one group over another. There was no disruption in the class or the interview and the T-shirt reflected the topics under discussion—immigration and the First Amendment. It does not appear that Mr. Barnes committed any violation. [Editor’s note, part II: If possible, the judge should prohibit Liberty HS from posting rules that infringe upon a person’s right to speak their mind. Final note: The First Amendment guarantees the right of people to say offensive things. It doesn’t, however, give people the right to say things that cause people to injure people.]

One can only hope that justice will be served, but that is not always the case when judges make law from the bench rather than interpret the laws of the land.

Thanks and stay strong, Addison Barnes.

It looks like John McCain’s final fight will finish in defeat. His final fight apparently is against President Trump. Based on this article, McCain finishes looking like a bitter loser.

John McCain always said he’d go down fighting, and so he has, dickering from his deathbed over CIA nominee Gina Haspel and pre-emptively disinviting President Donald Trump from his funeral, then leaving as a legacy some fierce final words for the leader of his party, who is now a political enemy. All Trump displays is “a reality-show facsimile of toughness,” the six-term Arizona senator and former GOP presidential candidate, who for a generation of Washington politicians has defined genuine toughness, writes in his forthcoming memoir.

There’s no questioning that John McCain, POW, was tougher than nails. What he did in the Hanoi Hilton took fortitude and then some. John McCain, the politician, however, is an entirely different story.

Sen. McCain, the politician, was a wimp. Further, he wasn’t that bright when it came to policy. As a senator, Sen. McCain swore to uphold the Constitution. That’s odd because Sen. McCain’s signature piece of legislation, McCain-Feingold, was thrown out because it violated the most sacred of our rights, the right to speak freely about our political opinions. The bill wasn’t just taken apart a little bit. It was totally uprooted.

Sen. McCain tried preventing Gina Haspel from becoming the CIA Director. He failed in his misguided attempt. Haspel’s sin? Doing what was legal at the time she did it while trying to protect the country from a terrorist attack.

The irony of McCain’s curtain-closing contretemps with the president is that it is clearly Trump himself who has inherited McCain’s mantle as the leading Republican maverick in Washington. Both men have often taken on the party orthodoxy across an array of big issues, with Trump running as the ultimate populist outsider in 2016 and spouting apostasies on trade, immigration and foreign policy; and McCain doing so on just about everything at one point or another during his long career. Both are known for being irascible and often bad-tempered, and unsparing toward enemies and rivals, even in their own party. Indeed, during McCain’s first run for president in 2000 he managed to enlist only a handful of his 53 Senate Republican colleagues to support him over George W. Bush, and some cited his volcanic anger and congenital impatience (traits that McCain insists he has since reined in) as reasons. As one GOP senator told me back then, “I didn’t want this guy anywhere near a trigger.” The two politicians even share some views on the proper use of American force in the world and the perils of palliative diplomacy—McCain opposed the Iran nuclear deal as fiercely as Trump, for one.

The difference between McCain and Trump is that we always know where Trump is on the important issues of the day. Sen. McCain was totally unpredictable in that respect.

It’s become a cliché to label McCain a “maverick” for his dramatic, and increasingly frequent, breaks with the Republican Party line. But it’s a cliché because the label fits: Over nearly four decades in Washington, McCain has given a master class in maverickism, and it is for this he will be most remembered.

Sen. McCain was all over the place because he rarely thought things through. He’s been short-tempered and not that bright.

Truthfully, the Senate will be a better place when Sen. McCain is no longer part of it. Hotheads that don’t respect the Constitution shouldn’t be part of the greatest deliberative body in the world.

Last night, the St. Cloud City Council disgraced itself by silencing a citizen. Specifically, Councilman John Libert, who is up for re-election this year, objected to Councilman Jeff Johnson recognizing a speaker. If you read my article last night, you know that the speaker Councilman Johnson wanted to recognize is John Palmer, a retired professor at St. Cloud State. Dr. Palmer holds the title of Professor Emeritus.

Last night, a faithful reader of LFR sent me a copy of the changing rules of order for the City Council. Saying that they reflect an autocratic mindset sounds over-the-top. The history and the detailed rules say something else. For instance, Rule No. 16 of the City Council Rules of Order “through August 2017” said “Recognition of Speakers a) Any member may recognize any person for the purpose of addressing the Council. Said recognition shall terminate upon motion passed by a majority vote of members present.”

By the Dec. 11, 2017 Study Session, Rule 16 had morphed into “Recognition of Speakers: a) Any member, at a regular council meeting, may recognize any person for the purpose of providing testimony or addressing the Council on a specific agenda item being considered by Council. Said recognition shall terminate upon motion passed by a majority vote of members present. Such recognition may also be extended at council study sessions with the consent of the majority of members present.”

Last night, a different rule was in place:

Recognition of Speakers: a) Any member, at a regular council meeting, including study sessions, may recognize any person, without objection, for the purpose of providing testimony or addressing the Council on a specific agenda item being considered by Council. Said recognition shall terminate upon motion passed by a majority vote of members present.

The First Amendment guarantees citizens the right to “peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

Dr. Palmer had the right to “petition the Government” and address their grievances. Had this happened in August, Dr. Palmer would have had the right to address the Council, though I suspect that Council President Lewis still would have improperly shut him down. She, along with the other ostriches, haven’t hesitated in restricting citizens’ speech rights if it’s speech they don’t agree with. What’s most infuriating is the fact that the rules that were in place last night weren’t approved by the City Council nor were they voted on in this form.

Think about that. Dr. Palmer was silenced by the city council president after she agreed with one of the city councilmembers who cited a rule that wasn’t voted on and that’s likely unconstitutional. Such reckless regard for the rules lead to anarchy like we saw last night. This is what that looked like last night:

Compare the St. Cloud City Council’s behavior with the behavior in this article:

“I feel like justice was finally served,” said Robin Hensel, whose refusal to move her chair at a 2013 Little Falls City Council meeting was at the heart of the court’s decision. Hensel, a grandmother and peace activist who frequently protests at Camp Ripley, said she never thought she would actually get charged when she moved a folding chair to the open space between the public galley and the City Council’s dais.

This is the major takeaway from that incident:

In its ruling Wednesday, the Supreme Court sided with Hensel, saying: “The statute is broad and ambiguous, prohibiting any conduct or speech that ‘disturbs an assembly or meeting,’ whether expressive or not. An individual could violate the statute by, for example, wearing an offensive t-shirt, using harsh words in addressing another person, or even raising one’s voice in a speech.”

The Founding Fathers, aka the men who wrote the Constitution, wanted more speech, not less. They didn’t want speech being oppressed. They rebelled against that in their Declaration of Independence.

When Carol Lewis and John Libert silenced a retired professor, they trampled on a citizen’s right to free speech. What’s most alarming is that they silenced a man even though they didn’t know what he was about to say. It’s time to fire these autocrats the next time they’re up for re-election. It’s time to fire them because they’re autocrats, not constitutionalists.

Finally, Mayor Kleis bears some responsibility, too. As Dr. Palmer highlighted in the comments last night, Mayor Kleis didn’t fight against the constitutional missteps that happened last night. That can’t happen again. There’s never a time when the Constitution shouldn’t be defended. Last night, Mayor Kleis missed an opportunity to defend the Constitution.

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During the Open Discussion & Announcements section of tonight’s St. Cloud City Council meeting, Councilman Johnson rose to speak about the petition I wrote about in this post. After a few introductory comments, Councilman Johnson recognized Dr. Palmer for the purposes of letting him speak on the petition. Before Dr. Palmer was allowed to speak, Councilman Libert objected.

What happened next was nothing short of befuddling. First, the rule cited by Council President Lewis and Councilman Libert is unconstitutional on its face. Government can’t make rules that silence citizens. Period. That’s what this means:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

By objecting, Libert prohibited a citizen from speaking. The Supreme Court has held that political speech is the most protected speech of all. This isn’t the first time that the City Council has silenced Dr. Palmer. But I digress.

After Libert’s objection, Councilman Johnson reasserted his right to recognize a citizen to speak. Matt Staehling then ruled that Libert was within his rights in preventing Dr. Palmer from speaking. Johnson and Palmer both immediately demanded that the specific Council rule be posted on the overhead screen rather than accepting Staehling’s ruling. How stupid is a rule that lets a councilman recognize a citizen but another councilman can essentially exercise a one-person veto that prohibits that citizen from speaking?

Putting things impolitely, these liberals on the Council aren’t intellectual giants. I’ve met kids in high school that have more intellectual heft than some of these councilmembers.

While that was going on, Council President Lewis announced that she was going to look for the rule on her brand new iPad. Councilman Johnson predicted that she wouldn’t find it. Dr. Palmer quipped that his older iPad must be defective because that rule wasn’t on his iPad. Watch this all play out in this video:
After much arguing, Council President Lewis moved onto the final portion of the meeting. Once again, the St. Cloud City Council attempted to silence Dr. Palmer. The question must be asked why the City Council is intimidated by Dr. Palmer. Further, what gives them the right to stifle the speech of its citizens? Let’s remember that if this petition is put on the ballot, it isn’t binding. Dr. Palmer simply wants to bring up the subject because the City Council has attempted to silence discussion on the issue.

Meanwhile, the citizens are infuriated that their representatives on the City Council won’t talk about what’s important to their constituents. In St. Cloud, we don’t have a government of, by and for the people. Instead, we have a government of people who see themselves as imperialists. They aren’t there to serve the people. To people like Laraway, Lewis, Libert, Masters and Goerger, citizens are essentially a nuisance.

The city of Cambridge, MA, has a fight on its hands, thanks to their attempt to silence one of Elizabeth Warren’s opponents. Shiva Ayyadurai is suing the city because “Ayyadurai called the city’s order to remove the signs ‘a political vendetta by city officials who are supporters of Elizabeth Warren.'”

The lawsuit comes after Cambridge’s building inspector said there were a ‘series of anonymous complaints’ about the signs. Branden Vigneault, the inspector, said the signs were posted without permits and violated a zoning ordinance. Ayyadurai faces $300 for each day the signs don’t come down as well as potential legal action. But Ayyadurai said the signs are not going anywhere and tried to make it a matter of free speech.

First and foremost, the fines are likely unenforceable because they violate the First Amendment. Cities, counties and townships have been attempting to silence political speech through ordinances like this for years. The Supreme Court has consistently ruled these impediments unconstitutional because they’re thinly-veiled attempts at censorship.

What touched off this firestorm is this advertising:

Elizabeth Warren frequently complains about how life is rigged against the common man. How isn’t this rigging the system against her opponent? Then again, doesn’t Warren really mean that life isn’t rigged enough to her preference?

This is an attempt at censorship to save Sen. Warren some embarrassment for making dishonest statements. Pocahontas shouldn’t be protected against prior foolish decisions.

I wish I could say I was surprised by David Fitzsimmons’ campaign finance reporting tactics. Unfortunately, I’m anything but surprised. While some might criticize John Kern’s LTE highlighting the Emmer campaign’s tactics, I won’t follow suit. This isn’t that dissimilar to how big corporations use a plethora of regulations against small business competitors to reduce competition as much as possible.

John Kern opened the LTE, writing “In July 2016, Congressman Tom Emmer’s chief of staff David Fitzsimmons and GOP delegate Matt Stevens filed multiple Federal Election Commission complaints against me, the AJ Kern for Congress campaign and a private citizen. These frivolous complaints accused me of filing quarterly reports late and apparently attempting to gain undue influence with my wife by exceeding personal campaign contribution limits from our shared assets. Eighteen months later, presidentially appointed FEC commissioners voted 5-0 to dismiss.”

That’s the predictable outcome of these FEC complaints. Rep. Emmer knew he was underperforming at the time. According to Minnesota’s Secretary of State’s website, Emmer, the incumbent, won the primary with a pathetic 68% of the vote. That’s pathetic considering the fact that Emmer “out-fundraised AJ Kern’s 2016 campaign” by a 61-1 margin.

Emmer won’t win by overwhelming margins because he’s ignored his constituents on key issues. Specifically, he’s agreed with the Obama administration lock, stock and barrel on the Refugee Resettlement Program. When questioned by constituents if he’d push for a moratorium of the program, Emmer replied “That isn’t happening.” (I know because I attended that townhall at the Ace Bar on July 1, 2015. That’s also the night Kate Steinle was murdered.) After that meeting, AJ Kern told attendees that she was thinking about challenging Emmer. Here’s the explanation for why Emmer didn’t support his constituents:

President Trump has frequently criticized “the Swamp.” Regulations implemented by the Swamp have a chilling effect on both speech and competition. The truth is that Emmer is part of DC’s Swamp. Bradley Smith, the former Commissioner of the FEC, is one of the fiercest champions of free speech. Here’s what he’s stated on the record:

Charges and litigation are used to harass opposing candidates and make political hay with the press… used most effectively by ‘incumbents’. Many, if not most, of these cases end up being dismissed, but not without distracting the campaigns and using up their resources. …The problem in campaign finance is that unethical politicians are threatening private actors, rather than that unethical special interests are threatening government.

When John McCain and Russ Feingold wrote the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act, aka McCain-Feingold, grassroots activists criticized it by nicknaming it the ‘Incumbents’ Protection Act’. That’s exactly right. BCRA didn’t eliminate corruption. It codified corruption by burying challengers under mountains of paperwork. That’s what its intent was.

While career politicians might want to fight the hordes of uppity peasants insisting on being heard, those career politicians won’t silence the activists’ voices.

Emmer can take that to the bank.