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Archive for January, 2007

By now, that’s the worst kept secret in Minnesota political history. Still, I loved reading the Strib’s article, which can be termed a semi-official announcement.

Comedian and radio talk show host Al Franken has begun calling Democratic members of Congress and prominent DFLers to tell them he will definitely challenge Republican Sen. Norm Coleman in 2008, the Star Tribune learned Wednesday.

On Monday, Franken announced that he is quitting his radio show on Feb. 14, and he told his audience that they’d be the first to know of his decision. But Franken has been working the phones, telling his political friends he’s ready to declare his candidacy.

Franken made calls to at least two members of the Minnesota congressional delegation in Washington and one member of the Legislature to break the news. The sources spoke on the condition of anonymity, not wanting to be identified as pre-empting Franken’s announcement.

It’s difficult not to call Franken the frontrunner at this point. He’s got instant name recognition & lots of campaign cash. He doesn’t have a message other than “I hate Bush; I hate Republicans” but then again, neither does any other Democrat these days. One thing that MOBsters will be watching is Franken’s temper.

He lost it bigtime at the 2004 Republican National Convention, picking a fight with Laura Ingraham’s producer (shown here):

He even lost his temper with Michael Medved, who is about as mild-mannered a person as you’ll ever meet. I’ll guarantee that that temper won’t play well in Minnesota where the name of the game has an official name: Minnesota Nice.

This should be one of the most publicized races in the country, though I agree with
Captain Ed’s statement:

The DFL will run a hard-left Franken against the centrist Coleman, and the sources of his contributions will reinforce his extremist tendencies in a state that dislikes lock-step thinkers.

Let’s hope that Franken is still as shrill then as he was during his time with Air America. That won’t play well. All the proof you need is how repulsed Minnesotans were with the Wellstone memorial. That’s the only time that Walter Mondale lost a Minnesota election.

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I just got this week’s e-letter from Tarryl Clark, my state senator. Here’s a section of the report that jumped out at me:

Senate passes bill to return honesty into budget forecast process
Inflation has not been included in budget forecasts for expenditures since 2002, when the Legislature passed a bill banning its inclusion. The Governor’s budget creates the misimpression that the state is swimming in surplus dollars. Many economists have questioned the exclusion of inflation in Minnesota’s budget forecasts.
Paul Anton, a member of Minnesota’s Council of Economic Advisers and the chief economist for the research unit of St. Paul’s Wilder Foundation, testified before the Senate Finance Committee that he believed that if the Legislature did not pass this bill legislators would be “making a conscious and deliberate choice to mislead the public about the true financial condition of the State of Minnesota.”
If approved by the Governor, the new law could be put into place in time for the February Forecast next month.

I decided to check into the Wilder Foundation to see if it had a political leaning. Here’s what they say about their mission:

To promote the social welfare of persons resident or located in the greater Saint Paul metropolitan area by all appropriate means, including:

  • relief of the poor
  • care of the sick and aged
  • care and nurture of children
  • aid of the disadvantaged and otherwise needy
  • promotion of physical and mental health
  • support of rehabilitation and corrections
  • provision of needed housing and social services
  • operation of residences and facilities for the aged, the infirm and those requiring special care

and in general the conservation of human resources by the provision of human services responsive to the welfare needs of the community, all without regard to, or discrimination on account of, nationality, sex, color, religious scruples or prejudices.

In other words, they sound like a left-leaning organization. There’s nothing illegal or sinister about that but I think it’s worth noting if we’re going to understand which groups are testifying in committee hearings. Knowing that Mr. Anton holds a liberal perspective tells me to view his testimony in light of his desire for more social spending.

The truth is that Democrats are trying to sell Minnesotans that the surplus isn’t nearly as big as it was reported. That’s their right but I don’t think it’ll fly. Here’s what King said about the current system:

The bill should be rejected — the current system actually works quite well, protecting almost all of government spending while allowing gradual adjustment of the budget to shifting priorities.

That’s close enough for me. Common sense tells you that we should have a substantial surplus because we’re in the midst of a longlasting recovery. Unemployment is low, too, which can’t help but add to Minnesota’s financial health. The truth is that Democrats want to get this passed and signed into law so that their tax increases don’t look laughable.

One thing that’s definitely missing from the DFL’s agenda is cutting out wasteful spending. Nothing I’ve seen indicates that Democrats are looking for wasteful spending. Likewise, I’ve seen nothing that indicates that Democrats are thinking in terms of saying no to anything on the transportation or education wish list. It’s fair to say that they’re taking an attitude that whatever is on their list is what they’ll get.

It’s my opinion that Democrats have a long ways to go to live up to Margaret Anderson-Kelliher’s claim of being a fiscally moderate bunch.

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Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay has his doubts about that based on this post:

Remember the ethics and transparency issues? Oh, come on. You know — they were going to be the most ethical and transparent Congress ever and they would get rid of earmarks, cure global warming, and re-solve the Pythagorean theorem in a more holistic, Montessori style approach — all for the children. Remember?

Well, sorry.

Today the House Democrats are pushing their omnibus appropriations continuing resolution and spending more than Republicans ever dreamt of spending. Oh, and with a 137 page bill that only came out yesterday in an unsearchable PDF format, the Dems only want 1 hour of debate in the House (just remember last week they did the same thing and were forced to write amendments on paper napkins on the House floor).

Here’s the curious part. The Senate requested, and the House agreed, to not really touch the Department of Energy’s budget. Why? There aren’t any major new energy initiatives needing funding. Well, if we dig into this continuing resolution that the Democrats are trying to push through in a hurry we might just find the answer, which might just go something like this (stay with me on this):

The Senate wanted the Department of Energy largely protected in the bill. After that was done, the Department of Energy said it would fund a bunch of earmarks with the money.

Want to wager on which state a lot of those earmarks are allocated to? Take a gamble? How about Nevada? You know, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s home state. Why, what do you know. There are tens of millions of dollars worth of earmarks designated for various institutions and universities in Nevada.

In other words, Democrats are all hat and no cattle to borrow a Texas cliche. The truth is that Democrats are addicted to earmarks. If you need any proof of that, look at West Virginia, where there are more public highways, buildings, etc., named after him that it feels like there’s a state law saying you can’t go more than a couple blocks without being reminded of Byrd’s bringing home the bacon.

That’s why red flags went up when Byrd came out in favor of earmark reform. Byrd’s the poster child for earmark addiction. He’s been literally addicted to them for decades. You don’t change overnight after an addiction like that.

Democrats tidying up a cluster of unfinished spending bills dumped on them by departing Republican leaders in Congress will start by removing billions of dollars in lawmakers’ pet projects next month.

The move, orchestrated by the incoming chairmen of the House and Senate Appropriations committees, could prove politically savvy even as it proves unpopular with other members of Congress, who as a group will lose thousands of so-called earmarks.

“There will be no congressional earmarks,” Rep. David Obey, (D-WI), and Sen. Robert Byrd, (D-WVA), said Monday in a statement announcing their plans, which were quickly endorsed by incoming Speaker Nancy Pelosi, (D-CA), and soon-to-be Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, (D-NV).

When I read that the first time, I wondered if anyone had been injured by Byrd’s and Obey’s rapidly expanding noses. Pelosi, Reid, Obey and Byrd wouldn’t be fiscally restrained if their lives depended on it. Don’t expect to find that out from the Agenda Media, though. They aren’t reporters anymore. They’re propagandists. It’s just that simple. Democrats lie and the Agenda Media turns a blind eye.

This Congress doesn’t have a long ways to go to become the most ethical Congress in history. In fact, it’s already impossible for them to be the most ethical Congress in history.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

Thus far, all of the witnesses that I’ve read about have had memory problems of varying degrees. Patrick Fitzgerald saying that “it’s implausible” that former Cheney Chief of Staff Scooter Libby would forget several conversations he had with officials about Plame is looking shaky at best. And that’s with his witnesses testifying. If you were a moonbat who waited breathlessly for Fitzmas, you’d have to ask if Fitzgerald’s trying to make the defense’s case for them.

Former Time magazine reporter Matthew Cooper testified Wednesday that a key conversation with White House aide I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby in the CIA leak case was off the record, a description that appeared to be at odds with his written account of the interview.

Why didn’t Fitzgerald indict Cooper? After all, he indicted Libby because of conflicting statements. For that matter, why didn’t Fitzgerald indict Armitage friend Marc Grossman? Grossman was the prosecution’s first witness. Grossman testified that he told a different story in two FBI interviews. In those interviews, he described telephone conversations but no face-to-face meeting.

The first journalist to testify in the case, New York Times reporter Judith Miller, acknowledged Wednesday that she had conversations with other government officials and could not be “absolutely, absolutely certain” that she first heard about Plame from Libby.

Miller is a crucial witness in the case. She says she had two conversations about Plame in mid-2003 with Libby, who was Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff. Those conversations are at the heart of the trial because they allegedly occurred well before Libby says he learned Plame’s identity from another reporter.

It’ll be interesting to see if Judge Walton rules that the prosecution has met its burden so that the defense has to present a case. Regardless of that ruling, it’s obvious that Fitzgerald’s case is built on flimsy witnesses. I’m not surprised. I’ve never been impressed with Fitzgerald’s prosecutorial, investigative or analytical abilities.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

GDP growth for the the 4th quarter of 2006 has been revised upward to 3.5 percent. The Dow was trading in the plus side before the Fed released its monthly report but it jumped on the Fed’s assessment that the economy remains strong. Also factoring into the jump was the Fed not changing the Fed interest rate.

Stocks shot higher Wednesday, sending the Dow Jones industrials up by triple digits after the Federal Reserve answered two of Wall Street’s major concerns, indicating that the economy remains healthy and that inflation pressures are easing. In midafternoon trading, the Dow was up 116.08, or 0.93 percent, at 12,639.39.

I’m not an economist but I’d have to think that this likely means that tax receipts will continue pouring into state and federal coffers in healthy amounts. That should translate into a smaller federal budget deficit and larger state surpluses. The exceptions to the larger state surpluses would be Michigan and California, states that haven’t heard of fiscal sanity. This article seems to support that opinion:

Budget estimates released Wednesday showed some improvement in the deficit but gave little solace to Democrats struggling to match President Bush’s promise to balance the budget. The new forecast from the CBO put the deficit for the current budget year reaching about $200 billion after factoring in Iraq war costs. Last year’s deficit was $248 billion. Both the White House and the top Democratic budget writers welcomed the improved outlook, but difficult disagreements remain over how to close the gap.

If the economy keeps growing at this rate, we should a sizable reduction in the federal deficit for FY 2007. In fact, I’d say that a case can be made that the Bush economy is more impressive than the Clinton economy because the surpluses during Clinton’s term happened while he ignored terrorism during a time of supposed peace. Bush’s deficits are now dropping significantly while fighting a multi-faceted, multi-front war against the Islamofascists.

If the CBO is right, the deficit would drop by $50+ billion dollars this year. History tells us, though, that the CBO is almost always wrong. Expect further deficit projections to show even more reductions in the deficit. Don’t be surprised if they revise the deficit downward another $25 billion.

The Fed, which issued its economic assessment as it decided to leave short-term interest rates unchanged at 5.25 percent, said recent indicators “suggested somewhat firmer economic growth” and tentative signs of stabilization in the housing market. Investors also appeared pleased by the central bank’s comments that readings on core inflation have “improved modestly” in recent months.

In other words, the Fed thinks that the Bush Recovery is on solid footings and should continue on its pace.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

Yesterday I wrote about the Constitutional showdown looming over the Iraq War. Now, I’d like to examine some other things that the NY Times article brings up. The most important thing to be examined is who’s hands the blood would be on if Congress cut off funds for Iraq.

Prof. Robert Turner of the University of Virginia suggested that Congress had made itself responsible for the deaths of the 1.7 million Cambodians estimated to have been slaughtered by the Khmer Rouge, by denying funds for President Nixon to wage war inside Cambodia. Similarly, he said Congress bore responsibility for the deaths of 241 marines killed by a suicide bomber in Lebanon in 1983 because it raised the question of forcing a withdrawal there.

The wisdom of the Founding Fathers is proven by their insisting that the Commander-in-Chief sets and executes war policy. A Democrat congress made the major mistake to cut off funding for the South Vietnamese and Cambodia, with 1.7 million Cambodians getting killed as a direct result. If this Democrat congress cuts off funding for Iraq, there will be a bloodbath both in Iraq and here.

When we left Vietnam, we were certain that the Soviets wouldn’t follow us home. If we leave Iraq in defeat, the terrorists will know that they can wear down Democrats simply by surviving. They’ll know that we are a paper tiger. When that becomes proven fact, they’ll become emboldened just like when Clinton pulled the troops out of Mogadishu.

One common denominator in Beirut and Mogadishu is the loudest anti-war critic today: John Murtha. He talked Reagan out of Beirut and Clinton out of Somalia. Now he’s trying to run President Bush out of Iraq. You’d think that he’d feel guilty about Beirut and Somalia but you’d be wrong:

MURTHA: But the thing that disturbs me and worries me about this whole thing, we can’t get them to change direction. And I said over and over in debate, if you listen to any of it. In Beirut President Reagan changed direction, in Somalia, President Clinton changed direction, and yet here with the troops out there every day, suffering from these explosive devices, and looked at as occupiers. Eighty percent of the people want us out of there, and yet they continue to say we’re fighting this thing.

Simply put, John Murtha’s hands are bloody. They’re bloody because his foolish advice, especially about Somalia, led bin Laden to conclude that America is a paper tiger. Now he’s working hard to prove bin Laden right.

There are a few senators who were around when Congress cut off funding for Vietnam, namely Kennedy and Byrd. I don’t know if they voted for cutting off funding but I wouldn’t be surprised. If they did, the blood of the Cambodians and Vietnamese is on their hands.

Other experts testifying at the hearing said that Congress had the power not only to declare war, but to make major strategic and policy decisions about its conduct. Louis Fisher, a specialist in constitutional law for the Library of Congress, said, “I don’t know of any ground for a belief that the president has any more special expertise in whether to continue a war than do the members of Congress.”

It isn’t a matter of expertise; it’s a matter of whether the military can function with 436 commanders-in-chief. It clearly can’t. That’s why the Founding Fathers assigned the role of Commander-in-Chief to the executive branch.

He said that the title of “commander in chief” was meant by the framers to emphasize unity of command and civilian control over the military. “The same duty commanders have to the president, the president has to the elected representatives.”

The Constitution demands that there be checks and balances to everything. The checks and balances in this instance is the power of the purse and the power to declare war. While I’m certain that Sen. Feingold is serious about cutting off funding for the war, I suspect that he knows his own leadership won’t agree with him. I’d be surprised if they cut funding off.

Then again, these are irrational Democrats we’re talking about.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

If you don’t believe it, read the quotes from this NY Times article and tell my why I shouldn’t expect it.

Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee began laying the constitutional groundwork today for an effort to block President Bush’s plan to send more troops to Iraq and place new limits on the conduct of the war there, perhaps forcing a withdrawal of American forces from Iraq.

They were joined by Senator Arlen Specter, the Pennsylvania Republican who led the panel for the last two years, in asserting that Mr. Bush cannot simply ignore Congressional opposition to his plan to send 21,500 additional troops to Iraq.

“I would respectfully suggest to the president that he is not the sole decider,” Mr. Specter said. “The decider is a joint and shared responsibility.” Mr. Specter said he considered a clash over constitutional powers to be “imminent.” The Senate next week will take up competing proposals that would express disapproval of Mr. Bush’s plan.

Specter is right in the sense that Congress has a role in going to war. They are the ones to formally declare war. They also can decide not to fund that war. Other than that, they aren’t co-deciders. The Constitution is quite clear that there is one Commander-in-Chief, not 436.

As you might expect, Russ Feingold is in the middle of this imaginary brouhaha:

Senator Russell Feingold, a Wisconsin Democrat who acted as chairman for the hearing, said he would soon introduce a resolution that would go much further. It would end all financing for the deployment of American military forces in Iraq after six months, other than a limited number working on counterterrorism operations or training the Iraqi army and police. In effect, it would call for all other American forces to be withdrawn by the six-month deadline. “Since the President is adamant about pursuing his failed policy in Iraq, Congress has a duty to stand up and prevent him,” Mr. Feingold said.

Sen. Feingold, bring it on. Please, please, please force the fence-straddling gutless wimps in your party to say that they’re defeatists. Please force the fence-straddling gutless wimps in your party to say that their vote to go to war was purely political. Please tell the nation that Democrats are a spineless lot who don’t give a damn about national security or defeating the terrorists. Please tell the nation that you can’t be trusted with the nation’s highest office. Please turn this nation against your party with a single piece of legislation. Please tell the nation that you’re the Disgrace of Vietnam Party.

Mr. Feingold was joined by only two other Democrats at the hearing, Senators Richard Durbin of Illinois and Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts, perhaps reflecting the wariness in the party’s caucus about any direct attempt to thwart the president’s strategy. Some Republicans, including Vice President Dick Cheney, have all but dared the war’s opponents to try cutting off financing, a move they believe would be seen as undermining the nation’s troops.

It’s obvious that Democrats want to raise a stink about this but they’re too gutless to actually defund the war. They know that defunding the war is political suicide. If America really was vehemently opposed to the war, Democrats would be coming out of the woodwork with legislation cutting off funding of the war. It’s that simple.

If history has taught us nothing else, it should’ve told us that Democrats are the party that votes for only those things that are inevitable. They aren’t the bold party. They’re the ultra-cautious party. That’s why this is about “sound and fury, signifying nothing.” To borrow an old cliche, when everything is said and done, more will be said than done.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

That’s the thrust of this article. Rep. Waxman is planning a hearing into whether the Bush administration misled them about global warming.

The Democratic chairman of a House panel examining the government’s response to climate change said Tuesday there is evidence that senior Bush administration officials sought repeatedly “to mislead the public by injecting doubt into the science of global warming.”

I’m wondering how Rep. Waxman will prove that the science surrounding global warming. Look at all of the headlines on global warming today:

10 Years to Save the Planet

U.N. agency pressures Ban on climate crisis summit

Climate change means hunger and thirst for billions: report

Rep. Waxman wants people to think that global warming is Gospel fact. The bad news for Rep. Waxman is that intelligent people are shooting holes in the global warming theory, chief among them Michael Crichton. The truth is that most people accept that Earth’s climate is changing but they’re skeptical of global warming claims. Reports like this don’t help sell global warming:

Billions of people will suffer water shortages and the number of hungry will grow by hundreds of millions by 2080 as global temperatures rise, scientists warn in a new report.

The report estimates that between 1.1 billion and 3.2 billion people will be suffering from water scarcity problems by 2080 and between 200 million and 600 million more people will be going hungry.

We heard the same thing in the 70’s. We’ve been told that Earth was speeding towards ecological disaster if we didn’t dramatically change our ways. We’ve been told that the polar ice caps would melt, flooding the United States. We’ve been told that we’d see wide scale water shortages. We’ve heard Ted Turner say that the internal combustible engine was a greater danger than was terrorism. We’ve heard Ted Danson say in the 1980’s that we had 10 years to save the planet.

Simply put, the environmental extremists have predicted the end of the world as we know it so many times that it isn’t credible anymore. The sad part is that this lunacy isn’t confined to the celebrity moonbats. It’s rampant in the ‘scientific community’, too. Here’s part of Michael Crichton’s congressional testimony:

To summarize it briefly: in 1998-99 the American climate researcher Michael Mann and his co-workers published an estimate of global temperatures from the year 1000 to 1980. Mann’s results appeared to show a spike in recent temperatures that was unprecedented in the last thousand years. His alarming report formed the centerpiece of the U.N.’s Third Assessment Report, in 2001.

Mann’s work was immediately criticized because it didn’t show the well-known Medieval Warm Period, when temperatures were warmer than they are today, or the Little Ice Age that began around 1500, when the climate was colder than today. But real fireworks began when two Canadian researchers, McIntyre and McKitrick, attempted to replicate Mann’s study. They found grave errors in the work, which they detailed in 2003: calculation errors, data used twice, data filled in, and a computer program that generated a hockeystick out of any data fed to it-even random data. Mann’s work has since been dismissed by scientists around the world who subscribe to global warning.

Why did the UN accept Mann’s report so uncritically? Why didn’t they catch the errors? Because the IPCC doesn’t do independent verification. And perhaps because Mann himself was in charge of the section of the report that included his work.

In other words, reports predicting doom and gloom have been with us for ages because whatever study ‘reports’ global warming as fact isn’t examined with a critical eye; it’s simply accepted as Gospel fact. Crichton’s testimony is powerful proof that global warming can’t be supported with verified facts.

It’s time that we reached consensus that we should ignore the environmental extremists that produce such reports. Here’s a last set of dire predictions on global warming:

The assessment is contained in a draft of a major international report by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to be released later this year, Australia’s The Age newspaper said.

Rising sea levels could flood seven million more homes, while Australia’s famed Great Barrier Reef, treasured as the world’s largest living organism, could be dead within decades, the scientists warn, the newspaper said.

The Age said it had obtained a copy of the report, believed to be one of three prepared for release by the IPCC, which is highly regarded for its neutrality and caution.

Either The Age magazine is lying or Michael Crichton is. The IPCC can’t be neutral or cautious on the one hand while refusing to do “independent verification” of its own reports. Given their track records, I’ll trust Mr. Crichton.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

The Strib quoted Margaret Anderson-Kelliher as saying that the DFL was “fiscally moderate” during this session’s first week. I’m still searching for proof of that ‘moderation’ since reading that quote. I’m not holding my breath during my examination of the DFL’s ‘fiscal moderation’, either. Here’s Ms. Anderson-Kelliher’s quote:

“We’re a fiscally moderate caucus,” Kelliher said of the sprawling 85-member majority that now includes significant numbers of moderates from the suburbs, exurbs and rural areas.

If Ms. Kelliher truly was a fiscal moderate, whatever that is, why would she rule that Assistant Minority Leader Laura Brod’s series of tax cut proposals weren’t “germane” to the tax bill they were debating? For that matter, why hasn’t Ms. Anderson-Kelliher promoted a legislature that debates important fiscal matters? Why didn’t she let the House pay raise get debated?

Going back on a promise to Minnesotans that they would legislate in a “fiscally responsible” manner, House Democrats, with some support from a handful of Republican legislators, recently pushed through a healthy pay raise. What’s equally concerning, according to State Representative Laura Brod (R-New Prague) is that the move was made just less than two weeks into the 2007 session and was made without a vote of the entire House of Representatives.

“If this is the type of fiscal responsibility we’re going to see in January, just imagine what’s coming down the pike in May,” Brod said. “Hold on to your wallets.”

Brod noted that the action allows House lawmakers to receive $77 dollars each day for per diem, or a meal allowance, whether they spend it or not. They can also receive $1,200 per month to find a place to live. They can also receive this funding for the entire year. The Minnesota House is only in session for five months.

The move was approved by the DFL-controlled House Rules Committee, and does not require a full House floor vote.

“This is nothing more than a back door pay increase without open and honest debate,” Brod said. “I have taken dozens of calls on this issue. People are outraged, and they have every right to be.”

Thus far, Ms. Anderson-Kelliher has avoided debate on GOP tax cuts and the House’s pay raise. There is a motive behind this & it isn’t good. Ms. Anderson-Kelliher doesn’t want to have her vulnerable freshman class vote against the tax cuts or for the pay raise. She knows that that would be a major political millstone around their necks in 2008.

By ruling tax cut legislation not germane to tax legislation, she prevented debate on those cuts while protecting her freshmen. By having a the Rules Committee pass the pay raise, she spent taxpayers’ money without a full floor debate and without exposing her freshmen to cries of cronyism.

These processes couldn’t be more secretive. The results of this secretiveness tell us everything we need to know about the DFL’s spendaholic ways. It’s clear that this Speaker is comfortable with stifling debate, whether it’s on tax policy or House pay raises. This begs another question: What other issues will Anderson-Kelliher’s House deal with secretively?

If Anderson-Kelliher wants to live up to her “fiscally moderate” claim, she’ll have to have a dramatic change of heart. She hasn’t proven anything other than the fact that she’s a ‘secretive’ spendaholic.

“This is an awful message to our citizens and I strongly oppose it. Personally, I will not be accepting this per diem increase or the housing allowance,” Brod concluded.

Congratulations, Rep. Brod, for not compromising your principles. Let’s hope that more politicians follow your lead. The GOP’s fighting for tax cuts, coupled with the DFL’s spendaholic ways, should motivate GOP activists to work hard & get Republican candidates elected.

These gimmicks simply prove that Democrats are really fiscal liberals trying to hide behind focus-grouped catch phrases.

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Not if this Reuters article is right. They’re saying it will be operational within a year:

Within a year, the U.S. missile defense system should be able to guard against enemy attacks, while testing new technologies, the deputy director of the U.S. Missile Defense Agency said on Monday.

The United States activated the ground-based system last summer when North Korea launched one long-range and six short-range missiles.

North Korea’s intercontinental Taepodong 2 missile fell into the Sea of Japan shortly after launch but the short-range tests appeared successful, said Brig. Gen. Patrick O’Reilly, deputy director of the Pentagon’s Missile Defense Agency.

This will be a great day for the United States. I suspect that other countries, especially North Korea, have taken notice. This also means that they’ll soon be refining existing technologies that will make this even more effective.

O’Reilly said work by North Korea and Iran on long-range ballistic missiles underscored the need for a viable U.S. missile defense system.

The war between Israel and Lebanon’s Hezbollah militants last summer also highlighted the dangers of ballistic missiles and their use by non-state actors, he said. “We know we must be prepared for all contingencies.”

I wonder if Reuters intentionally misquoted O’Reilly when they quote him using the term “Hezbollah militants.” I find it odd that a military commander wouldn’t call Hezbollah terrorists. Maybe O’Reilly said that. I just think that it sounds odd.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative