Archive for the ‘Corruption’ Category
After Saturday night’s GOP debate, everyone is harping on the need to elect experienced leaders who have a steady hand in times of crisis. That’s essentially the pitch being made by the Establishment candidates. Earlier tonight, I wrote this article to highlight how insignificant experience is if you don’t share the right principles. Why would a constitutional conservative think about voting for Jeb Bush hours after he told CNN’s Dana Bash that he’d like to undo the Citizens United v. the FEC ruling?
The simple answer is they wouldn’t. That’s enough to disqualify Jeb from becoming the GOP nominee. That isn’t the only boneheaded thing he’s done lately, though. Rather than running the joyous campaign he promised when he got in, instead, he attacked almost everyone in the race. The only candidate he didn’t disparage is Gov. Christie.
Gov. Bush asked “We have the front-running candidate, it’s all about him,” Mr. Bush said. “And the two other gifted candidates, they’ve never had a chance to lead. Maybe they can do it, but why would we risk it?” The answer is simple. I don’t put much value on experienced people who think the Bill of Rights is antiquated. Freedom of speech isn’t granted by the government, Gov. Bush. It’s a right given to us by “Nature’s God.” In short, get your grubby progressive mitts off my right to criticize politicians.
Apparently, Gov. Bush didn’t learn that constitutional republics are messy things. They’re that way intentionally. The Founding Fathers didn’t want ‘efficient government’. Dictatorships are efficient but they don’t exactly listen to the people. Mob rule democracies aren’t significantly better. Mobs have a habit of not listening to thoughtful people in the minority. For examples of this, check out Pelosi’s iron-fisted rule of the House in 2009-2010 when shoving Obamacare down our throats.
One of the reasons why Constitution-loving conservatives have rejected the Establishment candidates is because the Establishment candidates don’t properly respect the Constitution. Jeb Bush just reminded us that he doesn’t respect the Constitution.
Let’s hope our friends in South Carolina give him the beating he deserves for abandoning the Constitution.
The legitimate question that the conservative blogosphere and the Twitterverse is asking is whether Trump will be hurt by skipping the GOP debate on Fox. While that’s a totally legitimate question, it isn’t the right question this time. The right question is why we’re putting up with this adolescent’s snotty attitude. Why would anyone think that Mr. Trump would listen to anyone? Further, how is Mr. Trump different on health care than the narcissist currently living in the White House?
It’s clear that Mr. Trump isn’t a conservative. At this point, that isn’t debatable so let’s move past that. I wrote this article Tuesday afternoon to highlight Mr. Trump’s recent statement to CBS News that he favors universal health care and that “the government” would pay for it. Here is Mr. Trump’s statement on why he won’t participate in Thursday night’s debate:
That’s his official statement. Here’s why he jumped ship:
- Mr. Trump isn’t a good debater. He’s much better on the stump when he can talk about how great he is or the YUGE leads he has in the latest gazillion polls.
- Mr. Trump will be pursued by the other networks.
- Mr. Trump prefers playing the victim card rather than answering tough questions.
The truth is that Mr. Trump’s temperament disqualifies him from getting serious consideration to be the next president of the United States. Frankly, it isn’t a stretch to watch Mr. Trump’s behavior and question whether he’s mentally stable enough to handle the pressures of being the leader of the free world.
Personally, the question for me isn’t whether his supporters will continue supporting him. My question is whether Mr. Trump’s supporters are as unstable as he is. At this point, I’m betting that the answer to that question is yes. They are as nutty as Mr. Trump is.
Sen. Ben Sasse’s sassy questions for Donald Trump deserve an answer. Whether Mr. Trump will answer them or whether he’ll start criticizing Sen. Sasse, (R-NE), is anyone’s guess. Still, it’s worthwhile to find out the answers to Sen. Sasse’s questions.
Sen. Sasse’s first question for Mr. Trump was “Questn1. You said you want single-payer “gov’t pays4everyone” HCare. If that isn’t your position now when did it change? Why?” Next, Sen. Sasse asked “You’ve said you “hate the concept of guns.” Why the change? When did it happen? What’s the 2nd Amendment mean to you?” After that, Sen. Sasse asked “A few years ago, you proposed a $6 trillion tax hike. Still want to do that? Agree w/ Biden that higher taxes=more patriotism?”
I suspect that Sen. Sasse’s next question will earn him heaping helpings of criticism from Trumpsters. Sen. Sasse asked “You[‘ve] brag[ged] ab[ou]t many affairs w/ married women. Have you repented? To harmed children & spouses? Do you think it matters?” Sen. Sasse’s final question isn’t one that Trump’s supporters will like. Sen. Sasse asked:
Q5: I believe 1 of the most damaging things POTUS Obama did is ignore Constitution, act on his own,& bypass Congress Next GOP POTUS must roll this back & reaffirm a Constitutional system b4 we lose this special inheritance forever. Do you agree that exec unilateralism is very bad? Because you talk A LOT about “running the country” as though … as though 1 man should “run America.” Questn5: Will you commit to rolling back Exec power & undoing Obama unilateral habit?
Trump is a fascist who loves making deals. Principles aren’t part of his mindset. As long as critics say he got the better of the deal, Trump’s a happy camper. It doesn’t matter whether the ‘it’ is in keeping with the virtues laid out by the Founding Fathers.
Remember, this is the narcissist who wrote The Art of the Deal. Finally, it’s frightening to read this article about the things Mr. Trump has recently supported. Suffice it to say that the Founding Fathers would have a profound disagreement with Mr. Trump.
If anyone needs to learn what’s important to Jesse Watters, this article offers insight into just unprincipled he is. During his appearance on The Five, Watters made it clear what was important to him by saying “Everyone’s now saying, Oh he doesn’t check this box, he doesn’t check this box. Do you know what box is important to check? Filling up 40,000-people stadiums on a Tuesday night. That’s the box that counts on Election Day. I don’t think principles matter if you can’t get elected and institute those principles. And I think a lot people now are putting pure conservatism over the country.”
That’s a straw-man argument that President Obama would be proud of. Currently, each of the top-tier GOP presidential candidates defeat Hillary in head-to-head match-ups. More importantly, Trump does the worst in those match-ups. It isn’t surprising to find out that Trump would get crushed in the general election.
In 2 of Quinnipiac’s polls, Trump’s favorable-unfavorable rating with Hispanics is orders of magnitude worse than pathetic. In one poll of all voters, not just Republican primary voters, Trump’s favorable-unfavorable rating was 15% approve, 82% disapprove. In the other poll, Trump’s favorable-unfavorable rating with Hispanics was 9% favorable, 84% unfavorable. Trump is under water with women, too, with a 29% favorable, 63% unfavorable rating.
Hint to Mr. Watters:
- It’s mathematically impossible to win an election if you lose the biggest voting block (women) by 34 points.
- It’s quite possible to lose in a landslide when you lose the women vote by 34 points and Hispanics by a bigger margin than Mitt Romney lost Hispanics by.
Conservatives don’t need dimwits like Watters telling us what to believe. Watters’ join the crowd or get lost mentality is the opposite of what the Founding Fathers wanted when they wrote the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. They wrote the Constitution to prevent mob rule, otherwise known as ‘the tyranny of the majority.’
They understood that unprincipled democracies were as big of enemies of virtuous self-governance as dictators were. They knew that because unprincipled majorities could shove things down their throats almost as easily as a dictator could dictate the uppity peasants’ behavior. The Founding Fathers understood that principled representatives making principled arguments produced the most accountable form of government.
Mr. Trump’s media lapdogs don’t demand accountability. They demand mindless adherence. That isn’t principled self-governance. That’s fascism.
After I wrote this post, I was invited onto Dan Ochsner’s Ox in the Afternoon radio program to discuss the alarming disparity between the ISD 742 estimates and the bid that was put together for Sarah Murphy and Claire VanderEyk.
During the campaign to pass the Tech bonding referendum, the ISD 742 school board said it would cost between $85,800,000 and $96,800,000 to temporarily fix Tech for 5-10 years. When Ms. Murphy and Ms. VanderEyk toured the facility, they took notes on what was in disrepair and needed fixing. Since they’re both architects, they’re qualified to determine what’s in need of repair, what’s structurally deficient and what’s in good repair.
Ms. Murphy and Ms. VanderEyk are both Tech alums so they’d like to preserve the building if that’s possible. That’s why they took their notes to a contractor to see how much it would actually cost to repair the existing Tech campus. Saying that their estimate came in at less than $97,000,000 is understatement. It came in at $15,696,000, which is approximately $100,000,000 less than the School Board said it would cost to build a brand new Tech High School.
It’s worth noting that the new Tech High School would be able to hold 1,800 students, which is significantly more than it needs. It’s also worth noting that the School Board wanted $46,500,000 in bonding authority to fix Apollo High School, which is less than 50 years old. (Tech is over 100 years old.)
Considering the fact that the bid put together for Ms. Murphy and Ms. VanderEyk to refurbish and repair a 100-year-old building was less than $16,000,000, it isn’t a stretch to think that it wouldn’t cost $46,500,000 to repair Apollo. In fact, it isn’t a stretch to think that both projects combined could be done for less than what the Apollo renovation would’ve cost.
As I said in the earlier post, I’m not arguing to do nothing. That ship has sailed. It isn’t returning to port. What I’m arguing for is to rethink the entire project and see if we shouldn’t adopt a more taxpayer-friendly option that still helps students attend a high school where they can prepare for a college education and a productive working career.
Simply put, I’m arguing to kill last fall’s plan once and for all. It isn’t needed and it can’t be afforded. It’s that simple.
When I wrote this post about the ISD 742 School Board’s numbers on how much it would cost to fix Tech High School, I unintentionally omitted the enrollment figures for the district. The point of the article was to highlight the fallibility of the School Board’s numbers. Specifically, I quoted Sarah Murphy’s criticism of the repair cost figures.
Kevin Allenspach’s article quotes Ms. Murphy as saying “Those numbers are really round, so it’s hard to take them seriously.” Rather than just criticizing the figures, Ms. Murphy and Claire VanderEyk, both Tech alumni and architects, got a bid on how much it would cost to fix Tech.
The ISD 742 School Board estimated the cost at between $85,750,000 and $96,750,000. The estimate put together for Ms. Murphy and Ms. VanderEyk was $15,696,000. That’s a difference of more than $70,000,000. As terrible as those numbers are, that isn’t the whole story. This St. Cloud Times article on open enrollment is just another nail in the School Board’s bonding project coffin.
According to the School Board, the new Tech High School and the renovated Apollo High would have had an enrollment capacity of 1,800 students each. Here’s what the Times’ open enrollment article says:
The Sauk Rapids-Rice school district has seen a steady increase in the number of students open-enrolling from other districts. This fall, the district gained more than 500 students more than it lost to other districts. Almost a quarter of Sauk Rapids-Rice students aren’t residents of the school district. On the flip side, the St. Cloud school district lost about 1,660 more students this year to other public school districts than it gained through open enrollment.
The combined enrollment at Tech and Apollo was 2,700+ students last year. The trend is declining enrollment. Taxpayers aren’t out of line in questioning the School Board’s decision to build a new school that’s bigger than they need at a price nobody can afford.
It’s important to remember that the School Board’s price tag on a new Tech High School was $113.8 million. Compare that with Ms. Murphy’s and Ms. VanderEyk’s estimate to fix the existing Tech High School is $16,000,000. Additionally, the School Board’s estimate of fixing Apollo was $46.5 million.
Why would anyone trust the School Board’s figures for either project, especially given their proclivity for wild exaggerations? It’s time to scrap the School Board’s plan entirely. That doesn’t mean we can afford to do nothing. That isn’t an option. It just means we should fix what needs fixing at a price that’s taxpayer friendly.
I haven’t kept it a secret that I don’t respect NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. I’ve written negatively about him frequently, mostly with regards to his mishandling of the Adrian Peterson case. It’s time for NFL owners to fire Goodell. If they don’t fire him, they’ll lose their credibility. It’s time for them to put their big boy pants on.
Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com is reporting about Goodell’s inaction earlier this season turning into a bigger deal now. Florio reported “During the Week Eight contest in Pittsburgh, Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict applied a hit to Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell that resulted in a season-ending knee injury. After the game, Steelers linebacker Vince Williams posted a tweet that Burfict and other Bengals players regarded as a death threat: ‘I catch Vontaze on south beach im painting that boi on sight.'”
According to Florio, “It’s possible the league didn’t do anything about the threats because the league didn’t want to turn a fairly small story into a big story.” Florio is wrong in calling the initial story “a fairly small story.” Physically threatening a player isn’t insignificant, especially when the offending player refuses to apologize:
Williams later deleted the tweet and issued a statement in which he refused to apologize for his words but also said he “shouldn’t have taken these feelings to Twitter.”
Taking the threat to Twitter isn’t the problem. Issuing death threats is the problem. Even if Williams wasn’t serious, it’s a serious matter. More importantly, Williams threat violates Goodell’s Personal Conduct Policy:
Williams’ behavior seems to constitute a violation of the plain terms of Personal Conduct Policy, which prohibits “[a]ctual or threatened physical violence against another person.”
Goodell hasn’t hesitated in talking about “protecting the shield” on matters of personal and professional integrity. The fact that Goodell applies this policy arbitrarily and inconsistently speaks volumes about Goodell’s penchant for situational integrity.
Last night, Donald Trump got into a Twitter fight with Carly Fiorina, which was chronicled in this CNN article. Mrs. Fiorina got under Mr. Trump’s thin skin by saying “Donald, sorry, I’ve got to interrupt again. You would know something about pathological,” Fiorina said in a Facebook post. “How was that meeting with Putin?” It didn’t take long for Trump to say “I only said I was on @60Minutes four weeks ago with Putin—never said I was in Green Room. Separate pieces—great ratings!”
According to the transcript from the Fox Business GOP Debate, Trump isn’t telling the whole truth about what he said. The transcript clearly shows that Mr. Trump said “I got to know him very well because we were both on 60 Minutes, we were stable mates, and we did very well that night.”
That’s an interesting way of talking about things. Charlie Rose flew to Moscow earlier in the week to interview Putin. It’d be interesting to hear Mr. Trump explain how he got to know Mr. Putin without meeting him. Better yet, I’d love hearing Mr. Trump explain how he and Mr. Putin were stable mates while Putin was being interviewed in Moscow and Trump was sitting in Trump Towers.
To be fair, Trump is right that they both did well that night in terms of TV ratings. In fact, I’ll stipulate that that fact is indisputable.
Yesterday, the ISD School Board put its best happy face on during their interviews. Whether they believed that they were going to win or whether they knew a defeat was in the cards, the indisputable truth from Tuesday night was that taxpayers rejected the School Board’s proposal by a pretty significant margin.
Tuesday afternoon, School Board Chairman Dennis Whipple told KNSI’s Dan Ochsner that most referenda and special elections attract approximately 4,000-6,000 voters in St. Cloud. When all the ballots were counted, ISD742 residents cast 15,853 votes; 7,393 (46.6%) were yes votes while 8,460 (53.4%) were no votes.
It’s one thing to lose a tight race. It’s another to lose by 1,000+ votes.
Tuesday afternoon, I told Dan Ochsner that we would look at the Times’ Our View Editorial as the turning point if this bonding referendum lost. At the time, I wrote in this post that it’s “foolish to think that this group of “experienced leaders” is running an under-the-radar campaign because this is a terrific deal for St. Cloud. If this deal was that important and that well thought out, these “experienced leaders” would’ve canvassed St. Cloud at least 3-4 times.”
The fact that only 3 mailers were sent out and that few Vote Yes signs were put up around town indicates that the School Board didn’t put much effort into this campaign. In hindsight, I never saw anyone from EdMinn dropping lit or knocking on doors.
Whipple said that the School Board would “return to” listening to the people. Hint for Chairman Whipple: it’s time for the School Board to start listening rather than talking amongst the education community, then telling the taxpayers what their bill will be for the School Board’s plans.
Here in St. Cloud, the ISD742 School Board is attempting to lift money from taxpayers’ wallets by writing a bonding proposal so that the taxpayers either accept a massive tax increase or they reject school renovations. I thought that the ISD742 School Board was corrupt. (I still do, actually.) That was until I heard about the outright theft and vandalism campaign being conducted by the Vote Yes people in the north metro. Mitch Berg’s post highlights the DFL’s depravity, including this link to the Washington County Watchdog’s Facebook page. You’ll want to check out the screen grab of a Vote Yes activist (thief?)admitting (actually, bragging is more accurate) that she stole Vote No lawn signs. Mitch further quoted that the “Watchdog confirmed that one of the women is affiliated with/employed by the “Vote Yes” campaign.” Actually, that person was uninhibited enough to say that she “might make a day” of stealing the Vote No signs.
What’s particularly disturbing is Nicole _____’s total disinterest in obeying the law. At one point, she said “Logan and I may go to jail today but at least we have coffee!” Check this screen grab out:
The woman who admitted that she’s stolen Vote No lawn signs isn’t a Republican or an independent. She’s a hardline progressive who thinks whatever she does is justified because it’s done to achieve her goal of raising people’s taxes to pay for a huge bonding referendum.
Theft is a crime. Because she’s already admitted to committing the crime on Facebook, the police should arrest her ASAP. She should then be prosecuted at the earliest possible time without violating any of this activist’s constitutional rights. Then she should be given the maximum sentence/fine allowed by law. It shouldn’t matter if she’s never been arrested before. It shouldn’t matter if she’s been nominated for any civic award.
Clearly, this woman cheerfully violated other people’s constitutional rights (the First Amendment, specifically) without hesitation. She did it to prevent people with whom she disagrees from exercising the same rights the Vote Yes campaign is using.
Further, the legislature should write a law that makes the theft or vandalism of lawn signs a felony. This punishment should be 5 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. Keeping this a misdemeanor with a slap-on-the-wrist fine keeps in place the plan that gives the Nicoles and Logans an incentive to continue vandalizing campaigns. It has to stop ASAP.