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Every 4 years, the same people argue that we have to unite around the GOP presidential standard bearer. They’re doing it again this year. In the past, I’ve been guilty of uniting around the GOP standard bearer. I won’t be guilty of that this time.

Mitch Berg wrote this thoughtful piece explaining why he will support Trump. I’ve known Mitch to be a thoughtful, principled conservative with a strong libertarian streak in him for over a decade. That’s why this discussion deserves to be done in a respectful, point-counterpoint fashion.

I can relate to Mitch when he started with saying “I’m sick of holding my nose and voting for the lesser of two evils.” We’ve all heard that too often lately. We’ve been there, done that, especially in 2008. Mitch made a legitimate point when he self-replied “And I’m sick of people wishing things would get better on their own. They don’t. They won’t. They never will. Sack up. This is life. The best thing that happens is the conservative ‘movement’ will grow up and realize that it can’t win by speaking to the echo chamber any more than the Paulbots could.”

Honestly, I’m not into talking only to the echochamber. While I write posts for LFR, LFR isn’t the only tool I use to influence people. I write articles for Examiner. I frequently write LTEs and op-eds for the St. Cloud Times, the Duluth News Tribune and the Mesabi Daily News. Further, I don’t just pontificate on the latest political happenings. I write about important reports that highlight the things that happen when progressive/socialist policies are implemented.

Most importantly, I won’t vote for Trump because he’s a pathological liar who’s questioned John McCain’s patriotism, who’s accused Ted Cruz’s father of being part of the team that assassinated JFK and who’s bragged that a convicted rapist (Mike Tyson) had endorsed him. I won’t vote for someone that’s quite possibly the most immoral presidential candidate in my lifetime. And remember, I followed Nixon’s fall in Watergate and I watched Bill Clinton try explaining away a stained blue dress.

The difference between a leader and a bully is about the same as the difference between a bank robber and a police officer. They both carry guns but that’s where the similarities end. Trump’s bullying of the press is frightening for any First Amendment- and Constitution-loving person. Overlooking a person’s squishiness is one thing. Ignoring a tyrant’s actions are unforgivable. It’s the line I won’t cross. Period.

I’m not interested in being a loyal Republican if all I get from it is aggravation. If the GOP machine isn’t interested in my ideas, then it doesn’t get my vote or activism, either. As for the bad things that will happen if Hillary’s elected, I’ll simply say that that’s what needs to happen. An addict doesn’t turn their life around if they don’t hit rock bottom. A call to unity is a call to not let the GOP hit rock bottom.

Finally, Trump has bought into more conspiracy theories than Ron Paul. Remember that Dr. Paul once said during a debate that he didn’t want a wall built on the Tex-Mex border because he was afraid it would be used to keep people in the United States. Based on the things that Trump has said about Sen. Cruz’s father, Dr. Paul looks virtually sane compared with Trump.

What won’t change is that I’ll work hard to keep Republicans in control of the Minnesota House, the U.S. House and the U.S. Senate. I’ll work tirelessly to flip the Minnesota Senate, too.

As for my presidential vote, I’m wholeheartedly opposed to Hillary and Trump. It’s that simple. They can both go to hell.

Last night, #UniteCloud sent an email to St. Cloud City Councilman Jeff Johnson. It said “Shame on you. You were voted into office to represent all of Saint Cloud. Not just the ones who look like you. I will call you out every time I see you in the future. I will also be ready to inform all not to vote for you or your ignorance. I want my city to be nice and you are not helping at all. Shame on you. Sincerely,”

Apparently, #UniteCloud didn’t like the fact that Councilman Johnson testified in support of the resolution to direct the Office of Legislative Auditor, aka OLA, to audit the multitude of programs that support the refugee resettlement program. Councilman Johnson was quoted in the St. Cloud Times as saying the “taxpayers have a right to have a good and fair audit.” Johnson also said that he’s been concerned about the lack of transparency with the refugee resettlement program.

It’s stunning that any civic organization would criticize transparency in government but that’s what #UniteCloud apparently supports. Councilman Johnson replied to the email, saying “Call me out on what? Asking for an audit as to how much money is being spent on refugee resettlement? The taxpayers are paying for this program and we have a right to full transparency.”

Telling the #UniteCloud person that he supports transparency didn’t sit well with #UniteCloud:

Wasting time where you could do some good for all and spreading hatred and ignorance. This email will be shared. SHAME ON YOU!

To his credit, Councilman Johnson didn’t reciprocate. He didn’t start calling the #UniteCloud person derogatory names. Instead, he finished the email exchange with this:

I don’t see how asking for an audit of a taxpayer funded program and spreading hated and ignorance is connected. Yes, you are free to send this email to whom ever you like.

It’s baffling how #UniteCloud can equate conducting an audit with “spreading hatred and ignorance.” According to this blog post, there’s an “Anti-Refugee Bill in MN House and Senate.” I’d love hearing Natalie Ringsmuth’s explanation for that. Rep. Steve Drazkowski’s legislation (HF3034) would direct the Legislative Auditor to “conduct financial audits of spending related to refugee resettlement costs, and money transferred.”

Here’s the text of Rep. Drazkowski’s bill:

Section 1. DIRECTION TO LEGISLATIVE AUDITOR; REFUGEE RESETTLEMENT COSTS.
(a) The legislative auditor shall conduct or contract with vendors to conduct independent third-party financial audits of federal, state, local, and nonprofit spending related to refugee resettlement costs and other services provided to refugees in Minnesota. The audits by the vendors shall be conducted as vendor resources permit and in accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards issued by the United States Government Accountability Office.

(b) For purposes of this section, “independent third-party” means a vendor that is independent in accordance with government auditing standards issued by the United States Government Accountability Office.

(c) The legislative auditor shall report the results of the financial audits required under paragraph (a) to the chairs and ranking minority members of the legislative committees and divisions with jurisdiction over health and human services finance and policy by February 1, 2017.

(d) The commissioner of human services shall, in fiscal year 2017, transfer to the Office of the Legislative Auditor the amount necessary to conduct the financial audits under paragraph (a). The central office appropriation under Laws 2015, chapter 71, article 14, section 2, subdivision 3, is reduced accordingly.

#UniteCloud’s misleading headlines calls into question what their mission is. If their goal is to unite St. Cloud, then they’re failing. That’s because they’ve accused people who support transparency of “spreading hatred and ignorance.”

UPDATE: I was just contacted by Councilman Johnson. He said that he doesn’t know whether it was #UniteCloud that emailed him. Consider this a retraction of my statement that #UniteCloud threatened Councilman Johnson. That being said, whoever it was that sent the email used the same tone as was used in many of #UniteCloud’s public statements. There’s no need to retract my statement that #UniteCloud’s statement about “anti-refugee” legislation. #UniteCloud’s statement is highly deceptive, if not outright dishonest.

Further, I stand by my statement that #UniteCloud isn’t uniting St. Cloud behind their agenda. If anything, Natalie Ringsmuth’s statement have united St. Cloud against their agenda.