Archive for the ‘Corruption’ Category
This post is proof that progressives aren’t interested in having an honest conversation about policy. First, Sen. Stumpf saying that “we have a responsibility in the state of Minnesota to take care of property, the things that the public owns, to make our economy keep moving along” is intellectually dishonest.
It isn’t that Republicans don’t think that government shouldn’t maintain essential infrastructure. It’s that Republicans think that projects, like bridges, are multi-generational and shouldn’t be paid for with tax increases that are paid for by this generation. Republicans think bonding makes sense because multiple generations pay for a multi-generational piece of infrastructure.
Ms. Bierschbach wasn’t being honest when she said that “But that’s not how House Republicans see things. Many of them consider borrowing for infrastructure just more government spending, akin to credit card debt.” That’s false. The best way to illustrate the absurdity of that statement is by applying certain principles from home life. It’s one thing for a couple with a good credit rating and money in the bank to take out a mortgage to buy a home. It’s quite another to make frequent use of a high-interest credit card to pay for day-to-day things.
State bonding for things like museums, civic centers and hockey arenas isn’t wise. State bonding for things like highways and other critical infrastructure should be prioritized. It’s that simple.
Further, it doesn’t make sense to raise taxes to pay for building multi-generational pieces of infrastructure. Similarly, taking on long-term debt to pay for things like civic centers, museums, etc. is foolish, too.
Finally, it’s time to rethink the criteria we use for bonding projects.
It’s long been known that Sartell residents would be asked to approve a bonding referendum that would increase school capacity. This was known since before ISD 742 voters rejected their referendum last November. This morning’s St. Cloud Times Our View Editorial has some important information in it that Sartell residents should discuss.
Specifically, the Times editorial says that Sartell-St. Stephen school district residents “will be asked May 24 to cast ballots on a $105.8 million bond referendum” and that “enrollment is projected to grow 8 percent between now and 2026.” There’s little doubt that Sartell’s population is growing and that that population growth will necessitate increasing school capacity. What isn’t known is whether they need to spend $105,800,000 on the initiative.
After the ISD 742 bonding referendum was defeated, Kevin Allenspach wrote this article, which I quoted from in this post. The important information from Allenspach’s article came when Sarah Murphy and Claire VanderEyk, who are both Tech graduates and architects, said that Tech could be renovated for less than $20,000,000. At the time, the school board said repairing the building would cost $85,000,000 to fix the building up for a decade.
Something tells me that Sartell’s $105,800,000 price tag is inflated.
If I was advising Steven Rosenstone, the ‘retiring’ MnSCU chancellor, about communications, I’d quickly teach him the first rule of holes. The first rule of holes is simple. If you’re in one, stop digging. I’d add that, if you ignore the first rule of holes, the second rule is similar but more urgent. The second rule of holes is that if you’re in one and you’ve refused to stop digging, stop digging ASAP.
While explaining why MnSCU has spent $617,000 on rebranding MnSCU, Chancellor Rosenstone recently said that “brand research has found the MnSCU name to be confusing. He said the system must be able to communicate the benefits of attending one of its schools.”
This is consultant-driven thinking. Another term for consultant-driven thinking is stupidity. If MnSCU stopped spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on consultants, administrators and rebranding efforts, they could direct more money towards great professors. That, in turn, would trigger better student outcomes and higher placement rates after graduation.
Academic reputation and high placement rates after graduation is more effective in turning MnSCU around. Students and parents don’t spend much time sitting at the kitchen table wondering whether the student will be able to transfer from Metropolitan State to Moorhead. They spend their time figuring out which university will give them the skills they need to get a high-paying job. Brandon Johnson and Gloria Kaul-Kennedy have figured it out. They’re both students. Here’s what Johnson said:
It cost $272,000 for someone to come up with a name they got from a ‘Coach’ rerun?
Here’s what Ms. Kaul-Kennedy said:
The money could be well spent on many other things. The name change will mean nothing to 99.99 percent of the people. Don’t the administrators have other things to spend their expensive time on?
Ms. Kaul-Kennedy’s statement and question instantly put a smile on my face because she’s figured out what’s a priority to her and what’s foolishness. Here’s hoping that the consultants and administrators don’t negatively influence her thinking.
Last night, during Special Report’s first segment of the All Star Panel, Bret Baier spoke to the complexities of the delegate selection process. While some states’ rules are complex, most are exceptionally straightforward.
Moe Lane’s post explain the true complexities of West Virginia’s delegate election system. With few exceptions, though, the delegate election process is pretty straightforward. To people who’ve participated in the process, in fact, it’s pretty routine. Honestly, it doesn’t require years of study to figure it out.
What’s upsetting to me is the dishonesty Trump is using in portraying the system as being run by DC insiders and Wall Street fat cats. Recently, he’s hinted that that’s who runs the delegate selection process. It’s time to tell that filthy liar to either tell the truth or to shut up. He’s even had the audacity to ask people how that’s worked out for them.
The truth is that Donald Trump has been part of the problem for a very long time. During the first GOP presidential debate, Trump bragged that he’d bought politicians with campaign contributions so that they’d do whatever he told them to do:
In 2006, Donald Trump contributed to the DCCC and the DSCC. In 2010, thanks in part to Trump’s campaign contributions, Democrats that Trump supported passed universal health care. Prior to his becoming a candidate for the GOP presidential nomination, Trump enthusiastically supported universal health care.
To the people who got kicked off the policies that they were satisfied with but weren’t allowed to keep, how’s that working out? The next time you hear Donald Trump, think of how much better your life would be if he hadn’t contributed to Democrats.
Donald Trump isn’t part of the solution. He’s been part of the problem for 20+ years. For him to now put himself forward as the solution to Washington cronyism is beyond laughable. I can’t wait until after the California primary. If Trump hasn’t secured the nomination, expect the super PACs to hit Trump hard on this subject.
Finally, expect a bloodbath this November if Trump is the nominee. The #NeverTrump movement might not be as potent as the TEA Party was in 2009-10 but it’s still awfully potent. Voting for a northeast liberal who contributed to Democrats isn’t something that principled conservatives will do.
When I saw Donald Trump’s op-ed in this morning’s Wall Street Journal, aka WSJ, I wrote this 500-word article to respond to Trump’s deceptions.
I won’t rehash all of the arguments I made in the article. Instead, I’ll focus this post on some of the most intentionally dishonest statements in Mr. Trump’s op-ed, starting with the statement where he said “We must leave no doubt that voters, not donors, choose the nominee.”
That’s breathtakingly and intentionally deceptive. Apparently, Trump’s goal is to prey on the gullibility of his supporters. Trump’s tactic is to insinuate that the RNC, DC lobbyists and Wall Street fat cats picked Colorado’s delegates, which they didn’t. They were picked by people that did things differently than Trump.
Unlike Trump, the people that picked the delegates participated in the political process. Mr. Trump didn’t complain about the rules in Nevada or Iowa. Both states are caucus states. In fact, the rules at the Iowa Caucuses are infinitely more complicated than they are in Colorado.
We know that Trump won the Nevada Caucuses and finished second in the Iowa Caucuses. Further, we know that he didn’t complain about the rules in those states. He did well in those states because he actually campaigned there. That’s the key difference between what happened in Colorado and what happened in Iowa and Nevada.
It’s important that we turn Trump’s complaint against himself. Colorado shouldn’t award him any delegates because he wasn’t interested enough in Colorado to even campaign there. Sen. Cruz, by contrast, worked hard in the state. Instead of campaigning in Colorado, Trump apparently is intent on complaining about Colorado.
This statement is disgusting, too:
A planned vote had been canceled. And one million Republicans in Colorado were sidelined.
In 2012, the GOP ticket won 1,185,000 votes in the general election. Activists know that turnout for primaries and caucuses never come close to the turnout in general elections. Saying that “one million Republicans in Colorado were sidelined” is dishonest in the extreme. Further, the vote Trump is referring to was a straw poll, which wouldn’t have effected who got picked as delegates. The rules didn’t change.
People started the process by attending precinct caucuses. Those participants picked people who participated in the congressional district conventions and the state convention. Minnesota’s caucus system is somewhat different in that the delegates to the Republican National Convention get picked at the state convention. The difference is that Minnesota doesn’t award delegates by congressional districts.
I, for one, am not interested in defending a system that for decades has served the interest of political parties at the expense of the people. Members of the club—the consultants, the pollsters, the politicians, the pundits and the special interests—grow rich and powerful while the American people grow poorer and more isolated.
It’s disgusting that Trump’s argument isn’t hinged to anything resembling reality. Then again, Trump is unhinged in more ways than one. The Colorado legislature, which was elected by the people, passed legislation that created their state’s caucus system. Next, Colorado’s governor signed that bill into law.
At no point do “the consultants, the pollsters, the politicians, the pundits and the special interests” get involved in voting on delegates. Trump knows that. It’s that he can’t resist dividing people. In fact, if there weren’t a zillion candidates this year, he’d have about half of the delegates he has now.
The dirty little secret that Mr. Trump wants to distract people’s attention from is the fact that he’s had a terrible time since the finalists became Trump, Cruz and Kasich. Mr. Trump wants the rules to benefit him. When he fails to campaign places, then he starts whining about how unfair everything is. The GOP nominee shouldn’t be a narcissist that’s constantly whining.
The GOP presidential nominee should be the candidate that put together a campaign organization and who’s campaigned hard to find every voter out there.
Technorati: Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Republican National Convention, Delegates, Colorado State Convention, Activists, DC Insiders, Wall Street Fat Cats, Iowa Caucuses, Nevada Caucuses, Campaign Organization, We The People, Republicans, Election 2016
I wrote this article to highlight how untalented Donald Trump’s spokespeople are. The article also highlighted how dishonest Trump’s allies are. As deceptive as Barry Bennett, Katrina Pierson, David Wohl and Ed Brookover are, though, they’re amateurs compared with Roger Stone.
If you’ve been hiding under a rock, Stone is Trump’s thug. He’s Trump’s chief intimidator. (I initially wrote about Stone’s thuggishness in this article.)
Apparently, Stone realizes that he’s in big trouble if something happens to the delegates for the Republican National Convention. Appearing on Stefan Molyneux’s program, Stone issued a threat, saying ” I have warned the public, I have warned Trump supporters, of what I believe is ‘The Big Steal’. One of two things will happen here, Stefan. Either Trump will have 1,237 votes, in which case the Party will try to throw out some of those delegates in a naked attempt to steal this from Donald Trump or he will be just short of 1,237, in which case many of his own delegates, or I should say people in his delegates’ seats, will abandon him on the second ballot. So the fix is in.”
That’s definitely intended to tell Trump’s supporters that the Republican National Committee, aka the RNC, working in concert with the “GOP Establishment,” will attempt to “steal” Trump’s nomination away from him. Then Stone added this:
Join us in the Forest City. We’re going to have protests, demonstrations. We will disclose the hotels and the room numbers of those delegates who are directly involved in the steal. If you’re from Pennsylvania, we’ll tell you who the culprits are. We urge you to visit their hotel and find them.
It’s pretty apparent that Stone wrote this article to insist that his statements weren’t advocating violence. In fact, he’s blaming CNN for deceptively editing out something exculpatory. I’d love hearing the podcast for Mr. Molyneux’s show that day. I want to know whether that would exonerate Stone or whether it would show that he’s trying to weasel out of threatening delegates. I’m betting it’s the latter.
Less than a month ago, Mr. Trump was talking trash, saying that he’d pay the legal fees for his supporters who laid a beating on protesters at his events. It was clear that Trump was a full-fledged thug, albeit a rich thug. Stone was his consigliere for the better part of twenty years. I won’t buy it that Trump kept that parasite around for his charming personality. Trump kept him on Trump’s payroll to have him do his dirty work.
Trump’s schtick is getting old. Trump’s thuggishness is preventing him from closing the deal with the American people. That’s why Trump won’t be the GOP presidential nominee.
Technorati: Donald Trump, Roger Stone, Consigliere, Republican National Convention, Delegates, The Big Steal, GOP Establishment, Barry Bennett, Katrina Pierson, Dave Wohl, Stefan Molyneux, GOP Presidential Nominee, GOP Establishment, GOP Establishment, Election 2016
Contrary to statements in this article, the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce isn’t the consistent friend of the GOP. David Montgomery wrote “the GOP’s traditional allies in the business community are joining DFLers in the push to include transit in a transportation funding package.” The Minnesota Chamber is, at best, an on-again, off-again ally to the GOP.
Let’s check out the Chamber’s history. In past years, they’ve pushed for lots of bonding projects like civic centers and downtown renovations. That’s proof that they aren’t limited government conservatives. That isn’t surprising.
In 2008, the Chamber provided the DFL with the political cover they needed to raise Minnesota’s gas tax. That transportation bill also included lots of fees that went towards increasing transit funding. Eight years later, the Chamber is pushing another round of middle class tax increases to pay for transit projects. Apparently, the other fee increases didn’t work. (At the time the 2008 tax increase plan passed, I predicted that they’d be back sooner rather than later for more tax and fee increases. I was right. Hint: it didn’t require Nostradamus to get that prediction right.)
House Speaker Kurt Daudt routinely expresses a similar sentiment: that the Legislature should focus on new road and bridge spending and not on buses and trains.
Speaker Daudt is right. Minnesotans can’t afford another DFL middle class tax increase. Taxpayers aren’t ATMs. It’s time to start prioritizing rather than putting together oversized wish lists that can only be funded with major tax and fee increases.
When Gov. Dayton pushed B2B tax increases, the Chamber fought him on it because it was their ox getting gored. Now that the tax increase is hitting someone else, they’re pushing for it. Apparently, the Chamber is ok with tax increases … as long it doesn’t hit them.
Anyone that thinks Roger Stone doesn’t still work for Donald Trump is kidding themselves. More importantly, anyone that thinks that they aren’t cut from the same immoral cloth is delusional. Media Matters has posted a video of an interview Stone did with Stefan Molyneux. During the interview, Stone lays out his plan to threaten and intimidate “anti-Trump delegates.”
Nobody questions whether Stone is an expert in exaggeration. What people need to know about Stone is that he’s one of the most ruthless people in recent American political history. During his interview with Molyneux, Stone said “You may have seen recently that, although Trump handily won the Louisiana Primary, the Party mechanism sat non-Trump delegates in those seats. Trump initially threatened to sue only to learn that the Republican National Convention isn’t governed by state or national law. It’s governed only by its own rules. The court has no jurisdiction in party matters. Only the temporary convention rules committee, and the full convention itself, in a vote of ratification, can determine who will and who won’t be allowed to vote in Cleveland. So I have warned the public, I have warned Trump supporters, of what I believe is ‘The Big Steal’. One of two things will happen here, Stefan. Either Trump will have 1,237 votes, in which case the Party will try to throw out some of those delegates in a naked attempt to steal this from Donald Trump or he will be just short of 1,237, in which case many of his own delegates, or I should say people in his delegates’ seats, will abandon him on the second ballot. So the fix is in.”
That’s breathtakingly dishonest. First, let’s deal with the notion of “Trump’s delegates.” Delegates to the National Convention are state party delegates. They don’t belong to anyone except that state. By RNC rules, those delegates are apportioned to candidates based on how they finished in that state’s caucuses or primary. For instance, in Wisconsin, the candidate that wins the most votes statewide wins 18 delegates. The candidate who receives the most votes in each of Wisconsin’s congressional districts gets 3 delegates per congressional district. They are required to vote for that district’s winner on the first ballot. Nothing more, nothing less.
Here’s the video of the interview:
Next, Stone’s statement that “the Republican National Convention isn’t governed by state or national law” is misleading. The Democratic National Committee isn’t governed by state or national law, either. Ditto with the Libertarian Party. It’s been that way since the founding of the Republic.
Third, saying that Trump won Louisiana handily is subjective at best. Trump won with 41.4% of the vote, compared with Cruz’s 37.8% of the vote. While that isn’t a squeaker, it certainly isn’t a landslide, either.
Fourth, Stone intentionally tried inflaming Trump’s supporters when he said that “the Party will try to throw out some of those delegates in a naked attempt to steal this from Donald Trump” if Trump has 1,237 or more delegates. Stone knows that’s BS because it’s irrelevant who’s sitting as delegates on the first ballot. Those delegates are bound to Trump on the first ballot. Period. Simply put, if Trump gets to 1,237 delegates, he’s the GOP presidential nominee.
Stone is inflaming Trump’s supporters as part of his plan to intimidate delegates into supporting Trump:
If Trump does not run the table on the rest of the primaries and the caucuses, we’re looking at a very, very narrow path in which the kingmakers go all out to cheat, to steal, and to snatch this nomination from the candidate who is overwhelmingly selected by the voters, which is why I have urged Trump supporters: come to Cleveland. March on Cleveland. Join us in the Forest City. We’re going to have protests, demonstrations. We will disclose the hotels and the room numbers of those delegates who are directly involved in the steal. If you’re from Pennsylvania, we’ll tell you who the culprits are. We urge you to visit their hotel and find them. You have a right to discuss this if you voted in the Pennsylvania primary, for example, and your votes are being disallowed.
Notice the slippery language. Let’s hear Stone explain what he means by people voting in the Pennsylvania primary having their votes be “disallowed.” Is Stone implying that the votes cast in their primary can be ignored? If that’s what he’s saying, he’s lying outright. Coming from a caucus state, I know that endorsing conventions aren’t binding unless all of the candidates agree to abide by the endorsement. The only thing that’s legally enforceable are primaries because they’re governed by state statutes. The Secretary of State certifies that state’s primary results.
Clearly, Stone is attempting to intimidate people into supporting Trump. Anyone who is a delegate to the Republican National Convention should immediately contact law enforcement if they’re visited by one of Stone’s goon squads.
Finally, Stone’s Gestapo-like tactics don’t have a place in American politics. If he organizes non-peaceful protests, he should shoulder the responsibility for the property damage done and for the torment inflicted on delegates.
This op-ed reminds us that Ronald Reagan’s Republican Party didn’t start smoothly. In fact, it’s true that the Republican Party initially rejected Ronald Reagan’s reforms. Then as now, the GOP preferred policies that maintained the status quo. Then as now, there was a rebel wing to the GOP. Back then, Ronald Reagan was that rebel. That rebel wing of the GOP was idea-driven and idealistic.
Today, the GOP Establishment, in its truest definition, prefers policies that maintain the status quo and that took care of big corporations through corporate welfare, aka crony capitalism. Today, the GOP’s rebel wing has a formal name. It’s called the TEA Party. At its best, the TEA Party is bustling with ideas that would solve America’s biggest problems. At its worst, the GOP has been the party of crony capitalism and corporate welfare.
These days, both parties are guilty of supporting crony capitalism and using the governments’ regulatory authority to limit competition.
In 1981, the late Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, (D-NY), called the Republican Party the party of ideas. When Republicans got crushed in the 2006 midterms, Mara Liasson said that that election was “the ideology-free election.” It was a referendum on GOP corruption. It was about Democrats running on criticism alone. They opposed the Iraq War for the wrong reasons but at the right time.
It’s obvious that Donald Trump isn’t an ideas guy. Ted Cruz isn’t the Republicans’ top idea man but he’s a good candidate with a very good campaign organization. That’s why I think Sen. Cruz translates into being the Republicans’ best hope of recapturing the White House.
Sen. Cruz isn’t just comfortable with Gov. Walker’s reform agenda. It’s that he gets the importance of getting government off the people’s backs so they can innovate and prosper. While a well-trained work force is essential, it’s indisputable that a good education is wasted if people aren’t willing to put their capital at risk.
I’m not advocating for a return to the glory years of the Reagan administration. I’m advocating for rejecting Donald Trump so the GOP can return to being the party of ideas.
This article suggests that the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce is preparing to sell out the Republican Party on transportation … again.
It’s telling that the reporter says that the “GOP’s traditional allies in the business community are joining DFLers in the push to include transit in a transportation funding package.” It’s as if the Chamber thinks that transit isn’t getting properly funded and that additional transit funding deserves a higher priority.
The Chamber is wrong on both counts. Frankly, since the Minnesota Chamber consistently insists on playing footsie with the DFL, rank-and-file Republicans should start calling the Chamber something different. I suggest that they be called ‘The Crony Capitalist Chamber. The Chamber isn’t about limited government. They aren’t opposed to tax increases. They’re just opposed to when the DFL wants to raise their taxes.
That isn’t speculation. There’s sufficient proof for that statement. In 2008, the Chamber provided the political cover to pass a major gas tax and transit tax and fee increase. That led to them overriding Gov. Pawlenty’s veto of that major middle class tax increase. There wasn’t a hint of regret that they pushed that bill.
In 2013, when the DFL wanted to raise taxes on businesses, though, they raised a stink about it. They criticized the business-to-business sales taxes. They opposed the Tax Bill proposed by Gov. Dayton and supported by the DFL. To hear the Chamber talk about it, you would’ve thought the end of the world was approaching.
Now the Crony Capitalist Chamber are siding with the DFL again. They’re lifting the middle finger against a middle class that’s getting squeezed. They’re lifting that middle finger because it’s someone else that’s getting hit with a tax increase.
Most importantly, let’s call this tax increase for what it is: a failure. In 2008, we were told that we had to raise the gas tax to meet Minnesota’s then-future transportation needs. Eight years later, the same people have returned to tell us that this tax increase will help fix Minnesota’s transportation needs.
The Chamber was wrong then. It’s likely that they’ll be wrong this time. Most importantly, the GOP has a plan that will work. It’s time to tell the Crony Capitalist Chamber that the Republican Party isn’t interested in part-time allies that don’t have Main Street’s interests at heart. The GOP needs to tell the Crony Capitalist Chamber that they’re siding with their neighbors, co-workers and friends instead of siding with their part-time allies in the Crony Capitalist Chamber.