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At his press conference yesterday, President Obama declared that the debate over Obamacare, aka the Affordable Care Act, was over:

President Obama is a skilled whopper-teller, probably because he tells so many whoppers. He said that “Republicans said nobody would sign up” even though Republicans never said that people wouldn’t sign up. He said that Republicans “don’t have an alternative” for replacing Obamacare even though they’ve submitted a bill in the Senate called the Patient CARE Act.

President Obama’s wildest statement was that the debate over Obamacare “is and should be over.” There’s a simple question I would’ve asked President Obama if I was attending his press conference: Mr. President, how can the debate over the ACA be over when you’ve ordered that major provisions in the bill not be implemented?

The truth is that the ACA isn’t “the law of the land.” The bill that President Obama signed into law on March 23, 2010 isn’t what’s been implemented. Democrats whine consistently about House Republicans voting 40-something times to repeal Obamacare. I’ve yet to hear a single Democrat complain that President Obama has unilaterally changed the ACA more than 30 times.

Robert Gibbs, President Obama’s first press secretary, admitted that “the employer mandate will be one of the first things to go“:

“I don’t think the employer mandate will go into effect. It’s a small part of the law. I think it will be one of the first things to go,” Gibbs said…

When Obama’s apologists say that major parts of the ACA won’t be implemented, it’s natural for people to ask if other parts of the bill will be scrapped forever. That’s the next logical question.

President Obama obviously wants this debate to be over because Republicans are using it like a sledgehammer on vulnerable
Senate Democrats. That’s too bad for him. As George Will recently said, “when someone declares that the debate is over, you can be sure of two things: that the debate is raging and he’s losing.”

Amen to that, Brother Will. So it is with this case.

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According to the Hill’s Bob Kusack, Democrats think Sen. Reid is “curmudgeonly.”

They like the fact that he says things they wish they could say. That’s proof that Democrats are totally out of touch with America. This article highlights just how evil Sen. Reid and the Democrats are:

While many have condemned the strong-arming and pseudo-military tactics of the Bureau of Labor Management in its standoff with Cliven Bundy, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat, reserved his criticism for the Bundy family and their many supporters — which he labelled domestic terrorists.

That’s despicable. Sen. Reid should be thrown out of the Senate on a unanimous vote. The fact that Democrats think Sen. Reid is “effective” shows that they don’t treat character as an essential trait for leadership positions. What’s interesting about Andy McCarthy’s article is that Democrats don’t think highly about the rule of law, either:

The underlying assumption of our belief in the rule of law is that we are talking about law in the American tradition: provisions that obligate everyone equally and that are enforced dispassionately by a chief executive who takes seriously the constitutional duty to execute the laws faithfully. The rule of law is not the whim of a man who himself serially violates the laws he finds inconvenient and who, under a distortion of the “prosecutorial discretion” doctrine, gives a pass to his favored constituencies while punishing his opposition. The rule of law is the orderly foundation of our free society; when it devolves into a vexatious process by which ideologues wielding power undertake to tame those whose activities they disfavor, it is not the rule of law anymore.

The Obama administration doesn’t believe in the rule of law being applied equally and dispassionately. The Obama administration believes in looking the other way when their friends violate the law. This administration only believes in enforcing laws if it punishes their political enemies;

The legitimacy of law and our commitment to uphold it hinge on our sense that the law and its execution are just. As John Hinderaker points out, concerns about the desert tortoise—the predicate for taking lawful action against Nevada ranchers under the Endangered Species Act (ESA)—turn out to be pretextual. The ideologues who run the government only want to enforce the ESA against a disfavored class, the ranchers. If you’re a well-connected Democrat who needs similar land for a solar project, the Obama administration will not only refrain from enforcing the ESA against you; it will transport the tortoises to the ranchers’ location in order to manufacture a better pretext for using the law to harass the ranchers.

Sen. Reid thinks it’s right to use his overly-exalted position to hurt the Bundys and to help his parasite of a son, Rory, make a quick buck. That’s what parasites do.

When law becomes a politicized weapon rather than a reflection of society’s shared principles, one can no longer expect it to be revered in a manner befitting “political religion.” And when the officials trusted to execute law faithfully violate laws regularly, they lose their presumption of legitimacy. Much of the public is not going to see the Feds versus Bundy as the Law versus the Outlaw; we are more apt to see it as the Bully versus the Small Fry.

We’re most likely to see Sen. Reid as lacking the character to be a leader. Even if Democrats are ok with him as a leader, the American people shouldn’t accept him as a leader.

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Recently, I’ve written about a corrupt government agency that’s titled the IRRRB, aka the Iron Range Resources & Rehabilitation Board. In this post, I wrote about something that the IRRRB funded:

It was a company with direct ties and allegiance to the Democratic Party. After Republican President Richard Nixon’s resignation over the Watergate scandal the business created an “innovative small donor fundraising program called the Dollars for Democrats program,” according to the Meyer Teleservices website.

This afternoon, I wrote this post to talk about how the IRRRB resurrected that program with a little twist:

EVELETH, Minn.— Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board (IRRRB) Commissioner Tony Sertich today announced that New Partners Consultants, Inc. will operate a call center for its customers at Progress Park in Eveleth. The company is finalizing plans to lease the space that formerly housed Meyer Associates, Inc. New Partners will utilize some equipment from the Meyer operation, which is currently under IRRRB’s ownership.

The Minnesota offices of Dollars for Democrats went bankrupt a few weeks ago, leaving Minnesota taxpayers on the hook for $650,000 in unpaid loans from the IRRRB. What’s disgusting beyond the stupidity of making $650,000 worth of loans to a company on the verge of bankruptcy is that taxpayers were paying for a political operation.

That shouldn’t happen. Ever. Still, it’s happened twice in the past couple months. Government, whether it’s state or federal government, shouldn’t make loans or give grants to political operations. Period. If a political party wants to open a call center or coordination center, they should do it with their own money. Taxpayers shouldn’t finance political operations.

Here’s the IRRRB’s mission statement:

Iron Range Resources & Rehabilitation Board (IRRRB) is a State of Minnesota development agency located in Eveleth, Minnesota. IRRRB’s mission is to promote and invest in business, community and workforce development for the betterment of northeastern Minnesota.

IRRRB provides vital funding, including low or no interest loans, grants and loan guarantees for businesses relocating or expanding in the region. Additionally, a variety of grants are available to local units of government, education institutions, and nonprofits that promote workforce development and sustainable communities.

How can the IRRRB or New Partners say that getting equipment from a bankrupt company is investing businesses, communities or workforce development?

Another thing that’s disgusting is New Partners is an operation for national Democrats. Here’s part of New Partners’ leadership team:

Paul Tewes
In 2007, Paul began the Obama for America campaign as State Director for the Iowa caucuses. For nearly a year, Paul and his team built the largest grassroots organization in caucus history. The year culminated with an Obama win in January 2008, a win that launched his historical campaign. Paul was also instrumental in putting together the blueprint for President Obama’s organizational efforts in the General Election.

Tom McMahon
From 2005-2009, McMahon served as Executive Director of the Democratic National Committee (DNC). There he was one of the principal architects of the ground-breaking “50 state strategy” that transformed and modernized the Democratic Party resulting in historic electoral gains in both 2006 and 2008 at the state, local and federal levels and laying the groundwork for President Obama’s historic win in 2008.

Cara Morris Stern
From 2000-2004, Cara served as a spokesperson for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. During her tenure at the DSCC, Cara worked with national political reporters to help frame the nation’s most visible and competitive Senate campaigns as well as develop message for donor communications.

The IRRRB, led by former DFL House Majority Leader Tony Sertich, just provided seed money and equipment to a political organization whose goal is to elect Democrats. Minnesota taxpayers shouldn’t have to pay for any political operation from any political party. Period.

That’s before talking about whether the business model makes sense. (It doesn’t.) This is what politically motivated crony capitalism looks like. Inevitably, crony capitalism is corrupt, which this operation certainly is.

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The Iron Range branch office of the DFL, aka the IRRRB, just announced that it’s spending taxpayers’ money on a bankrupt business venture:

EVELETH, Minn.— Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board (IRRRB) Commissioner Tony Sertich today announced that New Partners Consultants, Inc. will operate a call center for its customers at Progress Park in Eveleth. The company is finalizing plans to lease the space that formerly housed Meyer Associates, Inc. New Partners will utilize some equipment from the Meyer operation, which is currently under IRRRB’s ownership. Staffing will begin as soon as all agreements are in place, possibly as early as next week.

“We are pleased to have played a role in facilitating the reopening of the center,” said Sertich. “This project will result in new job opportunities, particularly for those displaced by the Meyer closing.”

Sertich recognized Gilbert native Jerry Samargia of New Partners, stating, “I am thankful to Jerry for investing in the center and the people of the Iron Range.”

He also praised Virginia Eveleth Economic Development Authority representatives and Gary Owen, former owner of Meyer, for putting a deal together in such a short time.

New Partners isn’t well-known. I think it’s time it got some notoriety. Here’s what New Partners is in their own words:

New Partners is more than just a new firm with new people and new ideas. We also represent a new way of doing business. Whether the goal is to win an election, affect reputation, organize an advocacy campaign, raise money, or build a movement, our extensive expertise and groundbreaking strategies will get results.

We are all operating in a new environment based on a fundamental shift in how we organize, how we communicate and how we advocate. From the campaign that defeated President Bush’s plan to privatize Social Security, and implementing Governor Howard Dean’s landmark 50 State Strategy, to spearheading an innovative and successful development effort for the One Campaign, and the unprecedented Iowa caucus campaign that led to President Obama’s breakthrough victory, the team at New Partners has been at the epicenter of that shift.

What we have learned from our experience is that no two issues, organizations or campaigns are the same. Each requires a unique approach based on new ideas and new strategies that will lead to new results.

That means that the IRRRB is spending taxpayers’ money on a company committed to electing Democrats. The list of New Partners’ leadership reads like a who’s who from the Obama campaign.

If the Democratic Party want to put an organization together, that’s their right. It’s just that this type of operation shouldn’t be paid for by taxpayers. And there’s no question it’s being funded by taxpayers. That’s the IRRRB’s way. The IRRRB hasn’t met a project benefitting the Democratic Party that they didn’t like.

The DNC should finance this operation. Minnesota taxpayers shouldn’t finance it. Having taxpayers finance the DNC’s operations is the definition of crony capitalism meeting single party government. That’s the definition of corruption.

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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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Saying that Bruce Braley has had a tough stretch on the campaign trail is like saying HealthCare.gov didn’t have a smooth rollout. First, Braley criticized an Iowa hog farmer while running for the Senate in Iowa:

“If you help me win this race, you may have someone with your background, your experience, your voice — someone who’s been literally fighting tort reform for 30 years in a visible and public way on the Senate Judiciary” Committee, said Braley. “Or you might have a farmer from Iowa who never went to law school, never practiced law, serving as the next chair of the Senate Judiciary. Because if Democrats lose the majority, Chuck Grassley will be the next chair of the Senate Judiciary.”

Crtiticizing a hog farmer while running for political office in Iowa is as foolish as a candidate for office in Oklahoma to talk about how much he loves Texas football. That’s as big a mistake as Todd Akin made in 2012, which takes some doing. Correct that. Which takes a Herculean effort.

Unfortunately for Braley, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Then, in his attempt to stop the bleeding from the first disaster, he compounded it:

Then Braley sent out a press release touting his farmer credentials and the Des Moines Register found that it misspelled several basic farming terms like “detasseling” and “baling.”

A photo he posted to Facebook is actually a farm in England, NOT Iowa.

Here’s the photo:

Here’s what Buzzfeed wrote about Braley’s brouhaha:

TripAdvisor lists the farm as a fruit farm in England and an employee of the farm named Sonya confirmed to BuzzFeed the photo was of Cammas Fruit Farm.

The first tip Braley should learn from this is that he’s got extremely incompetent people working for his campaign. That type of incompetence is downright frightening. They certainly don’t know that the first rule of holes is to stop digging.

The next lesson Braley should’ve learned in this is that it’s exceptionally stupid to criticize a major voting block in the state you’re running in. That’s because it’ll just piss off the people you need to win elections. Pissing off a huge voting block isn’t the path to victory very often. In Iowa, pissing off hog farmers is foolishness on steroids.

The other lesson Braley should learn is that saying provocative things at fundraisers often return to bite the candidate in the arse.

The biggest question that isn’t settled yet is whether this is a fatal mistake. It might be but it’s too early to tell. It isn’t too early to tell, however, whether it was foolish for Braley to incompetently pander to this huge voting block.

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I wrote this post to highlight with statistics just how badly MNsure, aka Obamacare in Minnesota, is failing. Here are some of the things I highlighted in that post:

For individuals, MNsure has an open enrollment goal of 69,904 but so far only has 35,610. For small businesses, MNsure wants 8,925 people signed up by March 31 but right now only has 790 people enrolled.

These aren’t my statistics. They’re statistics included in KSTP’s article on MNsure. KSTP got their numbers from MNsure itself. It’s worth noting that the 69,904 figure is trimmed way down from the legislature’s initial projection, which I wrote about in this article:

According to [the fistcal note for HF5], their low-end enrollment in QHPs was supposed to hit 164,000, their mid-range enrollment in QHPs was supposed to hit 217,000 and their high-end enrollment in QHPs was supposed to hit 270,000.

Based on those projections, MNsure is only 13% of the way to hitting the high-end projection, 16.4% of the way to hitting the mid-range projection and only 21.7% of the way to hitting the lowest projection.

This graphic from the Minnesota Jobs Coalition ties the tale together nicely:

A few minutes ago, the Strib published this article with this headline:

MNsure call center bogs down as midnight deadline looms for enrolling in health coverage

Here’s the text of the article:

ST. PAUL, Minn. — The call center for Minnesota’s health insurance marketplace is reaching capacity and some callers aren’t getting through to agents as the midnight open enrollment deadline approaches.

MNsure officials say the call center logged more than 9,600 calls by noon Monday. MNsure says that’s putting a strain on the phone system. The average wait time as of about 1 p.m. was 18 minutes, and the time on hold is expected to increase throughout the day.

Exchange officials say people who can’t get through or have difficulty enrolling online should fill out an enrollment attempt form on MNsure’s home page. MNsure will contact them later to complete the enrollment process.

Those who miss the deadline but make a good-faith effort to enroll will get more time and escape a financial penalty.

There’s one inescapable truth to these statistics. People have stayed away from the policies offered through MNsure because the policies suck. If MNsure was selling appealing policies from the start, we would’ve read stories months ago that complained about how MNsure didn’t have enough servers to handle the volume of people signing up in huge numbers.

Those articles didn’t happen because people found out that the policies offered through MNsure were expensive, had high deductibles or were totally unaffordable.

That’s what failure looks like.

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The DFL must see the Bill of Rights, specifically the First Amendment, as utterly annoying. What other reason would the DFL have for pushing that’s already been ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court? This language from HF1944 looks familiar:

Subdivision 1. Electioneering communication. (a) “Electioneering communication” means a communication distributed by television, radio, satellite, or cable broadcasting system; by means of printed material, signs, or billboards; or through the use of telephone communications that:
(1) refers to a clearly identified candidate;
(2) is made within:
(i) 30 days before a primary election or special primary election for the office sought by the candidate; or (ii) 60 days before a general election or special election for the office sought by the candidate; (3) is targeted to the relevant electorate; and (4) is made without the express or implied consent, authorization, or cooperation of, and not in concert with or at the request or suggestion of, a candidate or a candidate’s principal campaign committee or agent.
(b) If an electioneering communication clearly directs recipients to another communication, including a Web site, on-demand or streaming video, or similar communications, the electioneering communication consists of both the original electioneering communication and the communication to which recipients are directed and the cost of both must be included when determining if disclosure is required under this section.

McCain-Feingold, aka the BCRA, prohibited certain types of speech 30 days before a primary election and/or 60 days before the general election. Here’s the relevant part of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling:

The statute is underinclusive; it only protects a dissenting shareholder’s interests in certain media for 30 or 60 days before an election when such interests would be implicated in any media at any time.

Here’s another important part of the Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United v. the FEC:

Because speech is an essential mechanism of democracy—it is the means to hold officials ac-countable to the people—political speech must prevail against lawsthat would suppress it by design or inadvertence. Laws burdening such speech are subject to strict scrutiny, which requires the Government to prove that the restriction “furthers a compelling interest and is narrowly tailored to achieve that interest.”

Despite that clear ruling, the DFL insists on pushing a bill that includes provisions that the U.S. Supreme Court has already ruled unconstitutional. It isn’t just that they’ve ruled these provisions unconstitutional, either. It’s that they said future legislation had to pass strict scrutiny, which is described like this:

subject to strict scrutiny, which requires the Government to prove that the restriction “furthers a compelling interest and is narrowly tailored to achieve that interest.”

The DFL knows that this is an extra-high hurdle that they likely can’t overcome. What’s disturbing is that the DFL isn’t hesitating in writing legislation that violates people’s rights to participate in the political process.

This is the definition of shameful, too:

Question: Why do Democrats hate certain types of political speech?

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If this video doesn’t frighten policymakers, then they’re comatose:

Here’s the heart of Jay Koll’s article on the MNsure crisis:

Lawmakers who supported passage of MNsure legislation indicated, at the time, that private health insurance plans would be the key to making MNsure self-sustaining.

MNsure issued a news release touting enrollment numbers. It says MNsure has nearly reached its goal of 135,000 people enrolled for 2014, needing only 5,000 more people to sign up to reach that goal. But lawmakers who supported MNsure told taxpayers private health care plans were the key to sustaining MNsure financially.

KSTP looked at those two important categories and found troubling numbers. For individuals, MNsure has an open enrollment goal of 69,904 but so far only has 35,610. For small businesses, MNsure wants 8,925 people signed up by March 31 but right now only has 790 people enrolled.

Simply put, MNsure is just barely 50% of the way to their individual market goal. They’re less than 10% of the way towards their small businesses goal. Earlier this week, I wrote this article highlighting MNsure’s failure with young invincibles. Here’s the key statistic from that article:

Estimates are that 40 percent of enrollees need to be in that demographic to provide baseline ACA funding. As of Wednesday, only about 20,400 (16 percent) were ages 26-34, well short of the ideal goal of 54,000.

Let’s summarize the MNsure disaster. Enrollments in qualified health plans, aka QHPs, are falling far short of expectations. Enrollments for small businesses are falling incredibly short of expectations (less than 10% of expectations.) The young invincibles, ages 26-34, are staying away in disturbing numbers.

Recently, the DFL has criticized Republicans for highlighting MNsure’s shortcomings, saying that Republicans haven’t offered a solution. That’s a hollow criticism because Democrats haven’t admitted that the ACA is failing this miserably. Thus far, their statements have focused on the functionality of the website. The Democrats’ statements haven’t focused on the enrollment facts, which are falling far short of the Democrats’ readjusted (downward) goals.

This isn’t complicated. It’s obvious that families don’t like the product that’s being offered. The quickest solution is to offer families products that they like. That’s impossible because the ACA, aka Obamacare, dictates what’s in the QHP’s policies.

First, government shouldn’t tell people that they have to buy something they don’t want. It’s one thing to require car insurance because that protects other motorists. Health insurance protects families. Period. Second, government shouldn’t tell families what coverages they have to have in their health insurance policies.

Based on all the information that’s out there, it’s pretty clear that families are saying no to Obamacare/MNsure. They’re saying no because, in their estimation, the product they’re getting isn’t worth the price they’d pay. Until Democrats fix that part of the equation, the numbers will continue to tank.

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Lots of conservatives have ridiculed Al Franken about not being funny. They’ve criticized him for being a temperamental hard left lefty, too. While those are accurate, that isn’t Franken’s biggest problem. In fact, they’re far from it. This WashPo article works overtime to make Franken sound like a serious legislator:

“He stays home and studies for the next day,” a staffer says. Franken is known for actually reading committee witness testimony and even digging into the footnotes, looking for holes or contradictions.

Wow. Al Franken has finally started taking his job seriously. Let’s remember that he didn’t attempt to read the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, aka the ACA. He just voted for that destructive bill because that’s what Harry Reid and President Obama wanted him to do.

So like a good little puppet, Al Franken voted for a bill that’s raised families’ health insurance premiums and deductibles while shrinking families’ networks. Sen. Franken abandoned families when they needed him the most.

While that’s Al Franken’s biggest mistake, that isn’t the only time he’s abandoned families. He’s done nothing to help the hard-working people of the Iron Range because he’s refused to lift a finger to make PolyMet a reality. That’s because Franken is more worried about raking in max donations from his friends in Hollywood and other militant environmental activists.

These hard-line environmental activists don’t take kindly to politicians they support voting for the Iron Range’s blue collar workers. That’s because they’re most worried about their ideology. Worrying about hard-working families is well down their list of priorities, if it’s there at all.

As for whether Al Franken is a serious legislator, I’ll just post this video of Sen. Franken making a fool of himself while questioning Sonia Sotomayor during her confirmation hearings:

I’d submit that Sen. Franken isn’t the serious man he’s trying to portray himself as.

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