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This is a breaking news report, an exclusive to LFR:

Furloughed Moose Stream Back Into National Park After Government Re-opens
International Falls, MN
January 23, 2018
All 46 moose have returned safely to Voyageurs National Park after being evacuated at midnight Friday, January 19 when congressional negotiations broke down, closing the federal government.

Since partisan politics began triggering government shutdowns in 1976, the moose in Voyageurs have been asked to vacate 19 times. The standard protocol is for the moose to make their way to Duluth where cargo aircraft fly them to China for care and feeding until the government re-opens.

In an agreement facilitated by the Congressman Hon. James Oberstar, China won a competitive bid for the occasional hosting of the park ruminates during shut-downs. China cares for the moose in Sichuan province at the giant panda reserve. According to China’s Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying, “the moose eat neither bamboo nor pandas so the two unlikely occupants of the reserve get along well.” She added that, “the lack of wolves in the panda preserve seem to give the moose a relaxing environment—sort of a vacation.” Even though the shutdown ended before the moose actually arrived in China this time, many environmentalists feel assured by the arrangement to care for the moose.

Each step of the moose herd’s progress was monitored by satellite using the radio collar that fashions each unit of flora and fauna in the park. No moose were harmed in the evacuation exercise.

Since receiving this breaking news story, LFR has confirmed that this is the shortest stay in China for the moose. LFR hasn’t confirmed whether the moose suffer jet lag from their trip.

When the American Mining Rights Association, aka AMRA, tried planning an event near Barstow, Calif., the BLM posted Route Closed signs on the trail event participants were scheduled to take. When “AMRA President Shannon Poe caught wind of the BLM scheme”, he called “the BLM office in Barstow and spoke to a guy by the name of Jeff Childers. And Childers, while he presented himself as the manager of the BLM office, was not … but he told me that they put the signs in the roads there and that the roads were now closed as part of the WEMO Plan.”

Unfortunately for Mr. Childers, a multitude of laws were against him. For instance, “the Mining Law of 1872 as amended” makes “blocking access to an active mining claim … illegal.” That isn’t the only statute that the BLM ignored. When Poe spoke with Childers, Poe “explained to Mr. Childers in a rather lengthy—probably a 45-minute call—that they cannot lock and block mining claim owners for a variety of reasons, the first being the Americans with Disabilities Act. Making a 70-year-old man with a fake knee and a fake hip pack in and walk two miles through the Mojave Desert to access his mining claim isn’t just immoral; it is illegal under the ADA as well as under the RS 2477 or Revised Statue 2477 law which states that all roads prior to 1976 must remain open.”

The night before the event, Katrina Symons, the “field manager of the Barstow District Office” of the BLM, met with Mr. Poe:

Symons agreed to meet Poe at his campsite at the Slash X Ranch on Friday, Oct. 13, preceding the outing. When Symons arrived about 5:30 p.m., she met with Poe and two senior members of the AMRA board of directors, Jere and Connie Clements, at a picnic table. “She had Jeff Childers with her and we talked for about 15 minutes about the desert tortoise and how we could protect them — just common sense stuff, and she had a big stack of pamphlets,” Poe said. According to Poe, Symons said the BLM would go a step further and check the roads the miners planned to use for tortoises on the Saturday morning of the outing. “I said, ‘Great. We’ll be out there at 9 o’clock. That’s fantastic! We’ll wait until you guys clear the road, and then we’ll go in.’”

Problem solved. Or, so he thought.

Then, in a shocking turn of events according to Poe, Symons threatened Poe with criminal prosecution, adding she would take photos of his vehicle and license plate once he had driven past the BLM road closure signs.
Poe then asked Symons to explain her sudden about-face change in position, he said. “She said: ‘I’m going to take picture of your truck, fill out an affidavit and send it to our law enforcement division for criminal prosecution,'” Poe said. “So, I said: ‘Last night, Katrina, you told me on the phone—and I have a witness—that you were going to give us unrestricted access,'” Poe said.

Predictably, Symons insists that there’s been a misunderstanding:

Federal misdirection?

“Well, I believe that Mr. Poe misunderstood,” said Symons. “Because, as I understand it, Mr. Poe had sent Mr. Childers a Utah Supreme Court ruling. Mr. Childers had informed him that it was basically a state ruling; it’s not federal—and that BLM will and does comply with the 1872 Mining Law and the associated mining regulations. So, I think that was more of a miscommunication or misunderstanding.” In a follow-up interview Dec. 1, Poe responded that the Utah case involving RS 2477 laws on rights-of-way and the Hicks case are two separate cases, and that the United States v. Steve A. Hicks case is obviously federal.

AMRA appears to know its rights based on federal law. It’s difficult to believe that they’d highlight a tangential state court ruling as the centerpiece of their argument. A state court case might or might not be applicable. The U.S. v. Steve Hicks isn’t just important. It’s on point, too.

Based on AMRA’s detailed understanding of the laws applicable to their mining claims, it’s difficult to believe the BLM’s statements. I’m inclined to believe AMRA’s statements because the BLM’s statements seem to be federal misdirection.

Late in 2016, President Obama officially created the Bears Ears National Monument on December 28, 2016. One of the first executive orders President Trump signed was to instruct the Interior Secretary to look into recently created national monuments. Last week, Secretary Zinke sent a report to President that included his findings and recommendations.

In this article published by the Navajo Times, it reports that “Pro-monument advocates are ‘deeply disappointed and aggrieved’ over reports that Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has recommended to President Donald Trump to redraw the Bears Ears National Monument in southeastern Utah. ‘(Native American) grass roots in Utah and beyond are deeply disappointed,’ leaders of Utah Diné Bikéyah – a grassroots tribal group that began developing the Bears Ears conservation initiative in 2010 – wrote in a statement, ‘and aggrieved that (Zinke) appears to have recommended reducing Bears Ears National Monument.'”

The key part of the article comes when it says “Leaders of the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition – composed of members from Diné, Kiis’áanii, Ute, Ute Mountain and Zuni, also expressed “outrage,” criticizing Zinke’s reported recommendation that Trump shrink the size of the 1.35-million acre Bears Ears (Shash Jaa’) monument declared late last year by President Barack Obama.”

That part is important because it says President Obama created the monument through executive order. Had he created it through an act of Congress, then Interior Secretary couldn’t reduce the size of it through executive recommendation. Instead, President Obama decided he’d do whatever he wanted to do. He created Bears Ears National Monument with the stroke of his pen.

It’s one thing to create a national monument. It’s quite another to set aside 1,350,000 acres. (FYI- that’s 2,100+ square miles.) I like what President Trump is doing because it’s relatively respectful of President Obama. After all, President Trump could’ve gotten rid of that designation. Instead, he’s simply reducing its footprint.

In a session that saw tons of weird things happen, finding out that Sen. John Marty and other Twin Cities DFL senators tried ousting Sen. Bakk as majority leader ranks right up there:

ST. PAUL — How successful of a job did Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk of Cook do for the Iron Range while also being a key player in making split government in Minnesota work? Well, some disgruntled DFL liberal legislators from the Twin Cities area tried to unseat him in caucus as leader of the majority party in the Senate.

Their attempted DFL coup in the early morning hours of the Saturday finale of the 2015 legislative special session fizzled like a bad fuse on an unexploded firecracker. Bakk’s support within the caucus was unwavering.

The Senate majority leader told the Mesabi Daily News Saturday afternoon that while he preferred not to comment directly about the caucus dust-up, he was pleased with the intra-Senate DFL backing he received and also his role in a session that relied for success on bipartisan partnerships with the GOP House majority.

By now, saying that the DFL is fractured isn’t news. That’s been established for at least a month. In fact, we’ve known that the split is essentially a geographic split.

It isn’t hyperbole to say that the Metro DFL, in their minds, have put up with Range DFLers on environmental views because they needed the Range delegation’s votes on their economic policies. This feud was obvious during the DFL’s 2014 State Convention. That’s when the Twin Cities activists, led by DFL State Chairman Ken Martin, fought off a resolution saying that the DFL supports mining. When that was deemed too controversial, it was clear that a fight was brewing.

It looks like the special session was when the fuse reached the explosive.

This should make for an interesting session in 2016. Sen. Bakk doesn’t strike me as someone who forgets these things quickly.

UPDATE: Briana Bierschbach’s post says that the DFL caucus discussion about whether Sen. Bakk should continue happened after the special session had adjourned:

ST. PAUL — The Minnesota House and Senate had adjourned their one-day special session to finish passing the state budget and most lawmakers had gone home, but at 3 a.m. Saturday Senate Democrats were just getting started.

I was originally told that it happened after the Agriculture/Environment Bill had been defeated. This explanation makes more sense. Consider this my correction to my original post.

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This special session wouldn’t play out true to form if there wasn’t a major fight on the Ag/Environment bill. This session hasn’t run smoothly since Sen. Bakk ambushed Gov. Dayton on the commissioners’ pay raise. Since then, the signs of a slow-motion DFL meltdown have been quite visible. Don’t expect that to change.

First, the Metrocrats defeated the Ag/Environment bill. There was much rejoicing amongst the Metrocrats. Now they’re getting worried because the arm-twisting has started to get one of the 32 senators who voted against the bill to a) call for reconsideration of the bill and b) to switch his/her vote against the bill initially to being for the bill this time.

This tweet says it all:


Apparently, DFL legislators and special interests don’t like having to deal with people who don’t agree with them. They think that opposition needs to be squashed immediately and permanently. This is their way of saying that it isn’t fun when they don’t get their way because uppity peasants (that’s us) highlight the foolishness of their policies.

Time after time this session, the DFL fought for policies that the people rejected. First, a plethora of organizations fought against Gov. Dayton’s universal pre-K initiative because it was expensive, filled with unfunded mandate and was unsustainable. Other than that, people liked it. Next, it was Gov. Dayton fighting to repeal a bill he’d already signed. That’s becoming a trend with him. (See repealing B2B sales taxes, though this time, he called for it sooner. LOL)

This year’s biggest difference is that the fighting has been DFL vs. DFL for the most part. Rural DFL is getting more and more upset with Metrocrats by the day. This Ag/Environment bill is just the highest profile example of this fight.

Whatever the outcome today, things won’t end up well for the DFL in November, 2016.

If stupidity was worth its weight in gold, St. Paul, MN would be the richest city in the world today. Here’s what’s happening:

ST. PAUL – A shaky coalition that put together a package of environmental and agricultural programs may not hold up in a coming special session, putting a final piece of the state budget in question.

Just 10 Senate Democrats, a quarter of the majority caucus, voted for that bill, requiring all but one GOP senator to get behind the budget to pass it in late May. Gov. Mark Dayton’s veto gave environmental advocates and urban Democrats a second chance to address concerns that range from eliminating a citizen oversight board at the state’s pollution agency to cracking open funds dedicated for landfill cleanup.

But several Senate Democrats say the changes in the final product don’t go far enough to win their votes. And the Senate’s top Republican said the 25 votes his caucus put up in May could dwindle to just 10 in June as GOP members take issue with the growing size of the state’s total budget.

Republicans are on the verge of eliminating one of the most obstructionist, counterproductive agencies in state government. That, apparently, isn’t enough for these perfectionists. They’re on the verge of voting against a good bill that eliminates the Citizens Review Board. If the bill is defeated, that will give the DFL another opportunity to pass a bill that’s far less friendly. That’s the definition of stupidity.

Let’s hope that these DFL senators are bluffing. If they aren’t, they should be ridiculed mercilessly.

The DFL, meanwhile, is acting almost as foolishly. They’re willing to torpedo a bill that would prevent a government shutdown. If it fails, the DFL will be to blame for a government shutdown. Period. Gov. Dayton vetoed the environment bill initially. Then he agreed to a bill that’s virtually identical only to have the DFL legislature cut his legs out from under him. Republicans will have voted for the bill twice.

On second thought, it’s clear that the DFL is thinking just as foolishly as this handful of GOP senators.

Thanks to this article, I’ve learned something new today. I didn’t know this:

Though the makeup of the group is largely affiliated with the DFL, the Rangers don’t consider their party alignment the most important aspect of their political goals. It all comes down to the Range, whether you’re Democrat or Republican.

I like to make my own decisions and exercise my own independent thinking,” said Anzelc.

The reason I didn’t know that is because Rep. Anzelc’s statement isn’t true. Rep. Anzelc votes like a Metrocrat about 95% of the time. The Range delegation puts up token opposition to the Metrocrats’ environmental regulations, then get bought off by not fighting for the things that would actually improve Rangers’ lives. That isn’t independence. That’s tokenism.

If the Range delegation wanted to be a potent political force, they’d join forces with Republicans each year and insist on a list of high priority items that would create mining jobs. Instead, they keep doing what the Metrocrats want them to do. That isn’t fighting for improving Rangers’ lives. That’s putting party loyalty ahead of loyalty to their constituents.

Common goals are one of the central political strategies of the Rangers, who often face legislative opposition from other parts of the state. While the Range and the metro area are both DFL political strongholds, their lawmakers have different ideas about issues ranging from gun legislation to the environment. Meanwhile, Republicans from other parts of the state have largely had an unsympathetic voting record.

I don’t doubt that Republicans haven’t always voted with the Range delegation. There’s no question, however, that the Metrocrats always vote against the Range delegation on mining issues. In fact, Metrocrats have bragged in fundraising emails that they stood up to the Range delegation.

The thought that Range delegation Democrats are independent is laughable from the standpoint that they haven’t insisted on legislation that opens up mining. Rep. Anzelc rightly states that the Range economy is a natural resource-based economy. The Metrocrats stand vehemently opposed to natural resource-based economies. That won’t change anytime soon.

Rep. Anzelc can spin it that the Range delegation is independent thinking but the truth is that they’re puppets controlled by the Metrocrats.

According to the St. Cloud Downtown Council’s latest newsletter, the lofts that I highlighted in this post are a “game changer.” Here’s what the newsletter said:

We’re hoping that this proposed loft-style market rate condominium will soon be built on the corner of 523 W. St. Germain St.

Today, Downtown is fast becoming the economic, cultural and social center of a dynamic region. Additional housing assures round-the-clock activity and the businesses to support it. According to the latest studies, the trend is going back to “downtown living” because it is more sustainable and simply more enjoyable. St. Cloud’s size, location, and history make it an ideal community to capitalize on these new trends and help pave the way for the future of this city.

We are in a rare position to re-brand our self and capitalize on these emerging trends. The timing is now and together we can continue to create a community that people will be drawn to, not only to visit, but to live. Thank you to all that have been involved in this project along the way for your vision, assistance and support.

The DTC has their fingers crossed; this is a game changer!

That’s some interesting spin. Talking about sustainability in terms of economic development sets off tons of red flags. Economic development and the environmental movement don’t fit together. Further, what studies show downtown St. Cloud turning into “the economic, cultural and social center of a dynamic region”?

If these studies are legitimate, which I’d doubt, why should I accept as fact that these condominiums are the key to revitalizing downtown St. Cloud? If these condominiums are the key to rebranding downtown St. Cloud, what’s the DTC’s Plan B if this doesn’t work?

Better yet, is revitalization of downtown St. Cloud a higher priority than keeping stores from leaving? That’s already happening but we don’t have an answer for why it’s happening. Lots of projects have been tried in downtown St. Cloud over the last 5 years. Most have failed. The ones that haven’t succeeded failed because they tried turning St. Cloud into something it isn’t or because they were totally out of character with St. Cloud.

The condo projects that’ve worked were built in neighborhood settings, not in downtown St. Cloud. Perhaps the Downtown Council should scrap their studies and study that model before supporting this project. (I suspect most of the studies the DTC are more wishful thinking than scholarly studies.)

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Yestedray, I wrote this post to highlight Gov. Dayton’s juvenile jab at North Dakota. Here’s what he said that caught my attention:

“Every night I dream before I go to sleep of mobilizing the National Guard and annexing North Dakota.” He then quickly followed that statement by saying he’d just been interested in annexing the part of the state will oil, “They can have the rest of it.”

Apparently, North Dakotans don’t care about Gov. Dayton’s juvenile statement. This Gallup poll is telling. This graphic is exceptionally telling:

Gov. Dayton and the DFL should study this graphic before making another childish statement:

North Dakotans are not just satisfied with their economy, however. Across the 50 states, North Dakotans are the most likely to rate their K-12 education as excellent or good, to agree that their schools prepare students to get a good job, and to be satisfied with the education system or schools overall.

I can hear Gov. Dayton, the DFL and the Alliance for a Better Minnesota screaming that this can’t be. In Gov. Dayton’s and the DFL’s minds, Minnesota is the education state in the Upper Midwest.

What’s most telling, though, is that Dakotans think their air quality is great. The percentage of people that said they were satisfied with their air quality was the highest in the nation. The percentage of people who said that they were satisfied with their water quality was above average nationally.

Gov. Dayton and the metrocentric DFL should take a look at this:

“Oil is a very thick frosting on a very nicely baked cake,” Peterson says. Oil had been found in North Dakota before, but Dalrymple, Peterson, and Al Anderson, North Dakota state commerce commissioner, agree that the volume and velocity of the boom was unexpected. Dalrymple says there were 200,000 barrels a day in 2009, compared with 1 million barrels a day now.

“The rapid evolution of the oil industry was not foreseen,” says Anderson. “We had seen oil booms come and go but now the technology has changed,” Peterson says. “We didn’t realize how much oil was in the ground. We found ways to extract oil that we could never expect.”

In addition to oil, success in agriculture, manufacturing, and tourism are contributing factors to North Dakota’s having the lowest unemployment in the U.S. for the past four years. The state has added 116,000 jobs since 2000, a job-growth increase of 35.6%. Net migration in the state is up 12.7% since 2000. This onrush of new jobs and workers has strained the housing market. North Dakota residents are fully aware of this, as 61% say they are satisfied with the availability of affordable housing in their state, one of the lowest in the nation.

Gov. Dayton and the DFL insist that North Dakota’s economic boom is tied to the Bakken boom. There’s no denying that it’s a huge factor in North Dakota’s economic success. Still, there’s no denying the fact that manufacturing and agriculture play a big role in North Dakota’s economic boom time.

At a time when Gov. Dayton and the DFL are trying to make Minnesota’s economy more metrocentric, they should be looking at the success our neighbors to the west are experiencing.

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Charles Koch’s op-ed in Thursday’s WSJ is a fantastic fact-filled defense of himself and his corporation.

Koch companies employ 60,000 Americans, who make many thousands of products that Americans want and need. According to government figures, our employees and the 143,000 additional American jobs they support generate nearly $11.7 billion in compensation and benefits. About one-third of our U.S.-based employees are union members.

Koch employees have earned well over 700 awards for environmental, health and safety excellence since 2009, many of them from the Environmental Protection Agency and Occupational Safety and Health Administration. EPA officials have commended us for our “commitment to a cleaner environment” and called us “a model for other companies.”

Harry Reid said Charles Koch was “un-American.” If winning awards from the EPA for environmental excellence is un-American, then we need more of that type of un-Americanism. If winning awards for safety from OSHA is Sen. Reid’s definition of being un-American, then let’s have a new wave of that type of un-Americanism.

Let’s be blunt, though. This won’t stop Sen. Reid from criticizing the Koch Brothers. This op-ed won’t stop Al Franken from using the Koch Brothers as villains in his fundraising emails. That’s because they don’t care about facts. That’s because facts are irrelevant to dishonest people like Sen. Reid and Sen. Franken. This information isn’t relevant to Sen. Reid either:

Far from trying to rig the system, I have spent decades opposing cronyism and all political favors, including mandates, subsidies and protective tariffs—even when we benefit from them. I believe that cronyism is nothing more than welfare for the rich and powerful, and should be abolished.

It’s indisputable that Koch Industries are good corporate citizens. The top Obama fundraisers got guaranteed loans for green energy initiatives, then went bankrupt. Koch Industries asked for corporate welfare to stop. That comparison proves that Koch Industries’ priorities are the American people’s priorities.

It’s instructive that the Democrats villainize a corporation that’s a great corporate citizens. It’s instructive that Democrats sat silent when corporations that raised millions of dollars for Presiden Obama gets a guaranteed loan from the taxpayers, then files for bankruptcy.

It’s time for this nation to turn the page on this chapter in American history. It’s time to chart a new direction. It’s time to trust in the American people again. It’s time to stop listening to dishonest politicians like Sen. Reid and Sen. Franken. Finally, it’s time to start praising good corporate citizens like Koch Industries.

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