Archive for July, 2010

Since ABM, aka Dayton Family Inc., started their smear campaign, the lies and the accusations have flied fast. KSTP reporter Tom Hauser is the subject this post. They don’t say flattering things about him:

It’s no surprise that when Republican leaning reporter Tom Hauser looked at our recent ad highlighing Tom Emmer’s legislative record that he repeated the same accusations of the Minnesota Republican Party.

What is surprising, though,is that he did so even after these claims had been proven false, and that a simple glance at the ad’s accompanying fact-check would reveal a simple typo, not some grand conspiracy.

Here’s the transcript from ABM’s attack against Tom Hauser:

Ordinary Minnesotans are facing tough times. We need a leader who will fight for us. But Tom Emmer has sided with Gov. Tim Pawlenty and opposed a plan that would have forced CEOs and corporations to pay their fair share of taxes. The Emmer-Pawlenty plan created a huge deficit and cut things that Minnesotans rely on. They cut funding on education, job training and health care, making it harder to get our economy back on track again. Minnesotans can’t afford another 4 years of Tim Pawlenty’s and Tom Emmer’s failed agenda.

Here’s what KSTP posted explaining why they gave ABM’s ad an F, their lowest grade possible:

The ad tries to link Emmer by tying him to Governor Tim Pawlenty. It claims Emmer sided with Pawlenty and opposed a plan that would force CEOs and corporations to pay their fair share of taxes.

This claim is false, at least according to the date of a house vote cited in the ad. On May 10th, Emmer did vote against a bill that would have increased income taxes by $443 million through the creation of one of the highest tax rates in the nation. But it makes no mention of CEO or corporate taxes. Every house Republican voted against it, along with 16 Democrats.

It’s accurate to say that the tax bill Tom Emmer voted against had bipartisan support for defeating the bill. According to the legislative log, John Benson, Julie Bunn, Denise Dittrich, Gail Kulick-Jackson, Kory Kath, Sandy Masin, Will Morgan, Kim Norton, Mike Obermueller, Gene Pelowski, Paul Rosenthal, Maria Ruud, Bev Scalze, Philip Sterner, Marsha Swails and Andy Welti were DFL legislators that voted against the bill.

As to the assertion that Gov. Pawlenty and Tom Emmer “cut funding for items such as health care, education, and job training”, that’s nonsense. Here’s KSTP’s explanation for why that statement isn’t true:

The ad also claims the two supported a plan that created a huge deficit and cut funding for items such as health care, education, and job training. This claim is also false. It’s a reference to the Supreme Court ruling that overturned Pawlenty’s 2009 unallotment plan the legislature did not vote on. The ruling did have the effect of reinstating nearly $3 billion from the previous year’s deficit, but it didn’t create a new deficit.

ABM hates being called out on their smear campaign. I’m sure they didn’t like it when Mitch and I posted about the propagandist blog site UpTake filming gay rights activist Randi Reitan while she returned $226.32 worth of products that she purchased at Target.

Clearly, ABM’s goal was to make it look like the start of a groundswell of anger from ordinary folks against Target. In fact, it was a planned production aimed at creating a false image of consumer outrage.

Finally, it says that education funding was cut during the Pawlenty administration. The per student funding was $4,601 in 2004. It’s $5,124 per student in 2010.

We know that businesses are leaving Minnesota. We know that the 5 most likely landing spots for those businesses are Texas, North and South Dakota, Utah and Arizona. Those states have one thing in common: They have lower tax rates than Minnesota.

Further, we know that the DFL has tried raising taxes multiple times while Minnesota was in recession. We know that they ignored the GOP’s warning in 2007 that we shouldn’t raise spending because the economy was slowing. I remember talking with Laura Brod about the worst hidden thing that most Minnesotans didn’t know about as a result of that year’s legislation.

Laura’s response was that few Minnesotans understood the ramifications of the tails on the omnibus spending bills, that the spending increases called for in the out years were outrageous. She said in May, 2007 that the tails to the DFL’s bills would create monstrous structural deficits. She was right. Which leads to my final point of contention to ABM’s deceitful video.

ABM says that the fiscal sanity approved of by Tom Emmer and Tim Pawlenty caused the huge deficits. That’s utter nonsense. The DFL’s reckless spending caused it. The DFL’s unwillingness to adopt any of the House GOP’s reforms, especially on MinnesotaCare, caused the huge deficits. The DFL’s overall hostility towards capitalism and entrepreneurship caused the historic deficits.

The simple fact is that ABM’s mission this election cycle is to say outrageous things in the hope that Minnesotans forget about the DFL’s distressing record of governing the past 4 years and their anti-capitalist, anti-growth policies. They know that their candidates can’t win without smearing Tom Emmer with lie after lie after lie.

The real question facing Minnesotans is whether the DFL should be given the keys to the kingdom, especially given the fact that their record as the legislative majority is riddled with foolish spending priorities and tax increase proposals that would’ve driven businesses to other states.

Had Mike Hatch defeated Tim Pawlenty (I shudder just thinking about that) in 2006, he would’ve signed the tax increases that the DFL-dominated legislature passed. He would’ve also signed the 17+ percent spending increase they passed in 2007. Had that happened, Minnesota’s economy would’ve resembled California’s or Michigan’s.

The DFL’s thirst for spending beyond Minnesota’s means and their thirst for higher taxes hasn’t diminished one iota since 2007. That’s why they need ABM. The DFL knows that if their election hinges on defending their policies, they’re sunk. Their only hope for election success is by running a smear campaign that hides their terrible financial record and their unwillingness to deviate from what’s failed the past 4 years.

Noteworthy commitments: The DFL is committed to funding an outdated form of government. The MNGOP is the party committed to reforming government and creating a 21st Century economy. ABM is committed to doing whatever it takes to see that the DFL gets to shove their radical agenda down our throats.

If that means smearing Tom Emmer, then that’s what ABM will do.

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Yesterday, I wrote this post about how the UpTake just happened to be at the right Target outlet store with their camera at the exact right time to film an aggrieved mother making a purchase costing $226.32, then returning the goods and getting a refund for her purchas.

This morning, a commenter said that the woman described in my post sounds alot like a gay rights activist named Randy Reitan. When I googled her name and clicked on the images tab, it was clear to me that my commenter had the right insight.

Let me be clear about this: I don’t have a quarrel with someone being an activist for a cause, even if it’s a cause I don’t totally agree with. The First Amendment gives each of us the right to make statements of this nature.

This post is dedicated to putting yesterday’s chance meeting in the proper context. It’s equally important that UpTake’s and Mrs. Reitan’s actions are totally transparent and seen from the right perspective.

When I googled Randi Reitan’s name, it said that there were “About 210,000 results (0.16 seconds)” for the web for her name. Here’s a telling link about Randi Reitan:

Randi Reitan, Minnesota’s favorite, and I must say sweetest, PFLAG mom has a great editorial in the Star Tribune about the struggles her family have gone through with religion and love. Here’s a great excerpt:

“To leave this church, which was at the core of our family, is one of the most painful things we have done. But we can no longer worship in a church that treats God’s beloved gay children as sick and sinful based on their sexual orientation. We can no longer sing songs of justice on Sunday morning, knowing the injustice this church lives each and every day with its policies against God’s beloved gay community. We can no longer hear pastors preach of God’s love for all people when the church policy treats its beloved gay members as lesser children of God. We can no longer hear words of love and concern spoken to us in private but never hear them spoken from the pulpit or never see the hierarchy of the church lead with justice.”

If you ever get the chance to meet her, or see her speak, please go. You won’t be disappointed.

Let me repeat this: I don’t have a problem with Mrs. Reitan being an advocate on issues she feels strongly about. I’m writing this post because I want everyone to know, to borrow an old Paul Harvey phrase, the rest of the story.

Yesterday, this is what I said about UpTake’s filming of the shopping spree:

What I question is whether customers are leaving Target en masse. I’m betting they aren’t. I’m betting that UpTake was there to film this to give the impression that people are boycotting Target en masse.

Given this information and the fact that UpTake cameras were in exactly the right spot at exactly the right time to film this tells me that my initial instincts were right.

Readers of this blog are free to draw whichever conclusions they want. I’m just doing the best I can to put the video in the proper context.

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The first reaction I had after reading this post was Does Tarryl really expect us to believe this”? My second reaction was Obamacare collapses without an individual mandate.

While meeting liberal activists at this year’s Netroots Nation conference in Las Vegas, Tarryl Clark said she opposes individual health care mandates like those included in the federal health care legislation.

“I’m against individual mandates,” she told Talking Points Memo while discussing the health care bill. “Minnesota’s been a leader in health care. We’ve shown that you can get just about everybody covered without having mandates.”

Clark also said the bill did not do enough “on cost containment.”

Clark spokeswoman Carrie Lucking said the state senator still would have voted for the health care bill had she been in Congress.

“Just because you have concerns about parts of the bill doesn’t mean that overall you don’t think it’s a step in the right direction,” Lucking said, noting that Clark is particularly supportive of the provision barring discrimination based on pre-existing conditions.

TRANSLATION: Tarryl knows that the individual mandate isn’t popular so saying that she’s against it is her best hope of earning her some brownie points.

Tarryl hasn’t figured it out that people don’t care whether you oppose the individual mandate if you’d vote for legislation that includes the individual mandate. People pay attention to a person’s actions, not their words.

Let’s look at the totality of Tarryl’s statement. First, Obamacare crumples without the individual and corporate mandates. PERIOD. END OF DISCUSSION.

Second, according to her spokester, Tarryl didn’t like the individual mandate but she would’ve voted for the bill anyway. Tarryl didn’t think the legislation did enough to control costs but she would’ve voted for the bill anyway.

Given the fact that it wouldn’t have controlled costs and given the fact that health care legislation would’ve fined people if they didn’t buy a health insurance policy that wouldn’t help control cost, what’s the reason for voting for it? Voting for it because Speaker Pelosi tells her to vote for something isn’t a legitimate reason.

Tarryl is a rubberstamp, pure and simple. She isn’t a policy wonk she doesn’t think in terms of doing what’s right for her constituents. Her votes are paybacks to the special interests that support her.

I’d take Tarryl seriously if she’d consistently said that she wouldn’t have voted for Obamacare because it didn’t do enough to lower health care costs or health insurance premiums. That would’ve should’ve proven that she’s got a spine. Because she didn’t show a spine, it’s appropriate to call her just another spineless politician.

That’s why I won’t take her statements seriously.

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If anything’s clear about this election, it’s that ABM won’t hesitate to use every tool at their disposal to tell businesses that corporations contributing to candidate ABM doesn’t like that there will be financial consequences. A perfect illustration of that message plays out in this post:

After hearing about Target’s decision to back one of the most anti-LGBT candidates in the country (not only does Tom Emmer consistently back gay marriage bans, but he’s a constant voice of opposition to laws to protect LGBT youth from bullying in schools), one Eden Prairie mom and grandmother went to her local Target store to get some answers.

What follows was a video showing this “Eden Prairie mom and grandmother” using a Target gift card to purchase $226 worth of products, then turning right around and getting a refund on her purchase. Here’s a partial transcript of what she said:

Rondy Raiton: Last week when I heard that Target decided to give $150,000 to Tom Emmer for his political race for governor, I was just shocked. The Target I knew was the Target that embraced its gay employees. It was the Target that showed up at Pride.

After footage showing her taking the merchandise to the checkout counter and a brief discussion with a Target employee, the conversation resumes outside Target:

Ronda Raiton: I didn’t want to return the items until she [the store manager] was there to show her what I had purchased. I shared with her why I had purchased each item and who they were for and why that person wouldn’t want me to purchase them at a Target store.

A number of the items were for my grandchildren and they love their Uncle Jake so much and Jake is gay and they wouldn’t want things coming from a store that contributes to a campaign…that would have a governor candidate with the anti-gay views that Tom Emmer has.

With 3 seconds left in the video, this message appears at the bottom of the screen:

Produced for the UpTake By Bill Sorem

I won’t question whether the woman in the video feels strongly about these issues. It certainly appears as though she’s passionate about this set of issues. What I question is whether customers are leaving Target en masse. I’m betting they aren’t. I’m betting that UpTake was there to film this to give the image that people are boycotting Target en masse. Frankly, I don’t know if the average John Q. Public type has heard of ABM or MN Forward, much less what they stand for.

In fact, let’s question why UpTake was there. It isn’t like this Target store was the only Target stor in the Twin cities. What are the odds thta UpTake just happened to be at that particular Target at exactly the right time to film this woman giving Target a piece of her mind?

Would I be reasonable in guessing that the odds of all these things lining perfectly would roughly the same as getting struck by lightning twice while holding 2 winning lottery tickets?

The notion that this woman’s grandchildren “wouldn’t want things coming from a store that contributes” to a candidate like Tom Emmer is preposterous. I’m betting that, barring the total indoctrination of this woman’s grandchildren, the kids would like getting just about anything from just about anywhere.

Thanks to this preposterous video, ABM and UpTake have been exposed as propagandists of the highest magnitude. The UpTake isn’t a serious news organization like they told House and Senate leadership in getting credentialed. They’re another appendage on the progressives’ propaganda arm.

ABM isn’t just a grassroots organization that believes in the same things as any number of other progressive groups, whether the issue is health care, immigration, taxation, regulation or transportation.

They’re like Rush talking about catching the news: If you miss the CBS Evening news, then watch ABC. If you miss ABC, then tune in MSNBC. If you miss MSNBC, read the NY Times or the Washington Post. They’re interchangeable because they’re skilled in repeating their talking points fluently.

It isn’t a stretch to think that ABM and the UpTake get paid based on their willingness to put the most positive spin on the DFL’s agenda. I say spin because I’ve watched how people react to individual components of the DFL’s agenda. It isn’t pretty. There’s a reason why I’ve said that the DFL majorities in the State Legislature are obstructionist majorities.

It’s no secret that Linda Berglin’s committee is where promising health care reforms go to die. The merits matter not. If it’s a GOP proposal, it’s going nowhere as long as Linda Berglin holds the gavel.

It’s time that we rid ourselves of obstructionists like ABM, the UpTake and Linda Berglin. We need fresh ideas, something that the DFL, the UpTake and ABM are sorely lacking in.

Finally, it’s time that people started openly questioning the things that ABM has said. I’ve been doing that on this blog all summer. Mitch Berg has written alot about it, too, including the definitive piece on ABM’s funding.

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This article tells us everything we need to know why Democrats, starting with President Obama and Chuck Schumer, hate the Citizens United ruling. This is absolutely rich with irony:

When the Citizens United Supreme Court decision came down earlier this year, holding that corporations could spend an unlimited amount of money in trying to influence elections, it was criticized by scores of people, including President Barack Obama himself, who worried that the decision would lead to a corporate takeover of American elections.

“They can buy millions of dollars worth of TV ads, and worst of all, they don’t even have to reveal who’s actually paying for the ads,” President Obama said in his 2010 State of the Union address. “Instead, a group can hide behind a name like ‘Citizens for a Better Future,’ even if a more accurate name would be ‘Companies for Weaker Oversight.’ These shadow groups are already forming and building war chests of tens of millions of dollars to influence the fall elections.”

You got that right. And if you needed proof, look no further than retail giant Target Corporation, which has stepped into a mess the size of Lake Superior by being caught giving $150,000 to a political action committee (PAC) in Minnesota known as Minnesota Forward. That PAC, in turn, funneled money to support a conservative candidate for governor, Tom Emmer. And Tom Emmer not only opposes same-sex marriage, but he has financially supported and pals around with a religious ministry that has been quoted as advocating for violence against gays and lesbians, wanting to overturn Minnesota laws in order to criminalize homosexuality, and calling all gay people pedophiles.

Oh, Target. The wicked things your money now touches. Perhaps you were hoping your $150,000 would advance “Minnesota Forward.” A more apt name may be Minnesota Backward.

Mitch Berg did a great job of exposing the funding sources for ABM in this post. What’s most disgusting to me is that ABM got most of their funding from people who used to own Dayton and Target:

So far in 2010, “Win Minnesota” lists the following donors to “Win Minnesota”’s current warchest (currently worth $1,173,500), again with emphasis added by me:

» Andrew Dayton $1,000
» David Dayton $50,000
» John Cowles $25,000 [Remember him from 2006?]
» MaryLee Dayton $250,000
» Emily Tuttle (MN) $5,000
» Ronald Sternal (MN) $5,000
» Alida Messinger (NY) $500,000
» James Deal (MN) $50,000
» Roger Hale (MN) $10,000 [Remember him from above?]
» Barbara Forster (MN) $25,000
» Democratic Governors Association $250,000;
So of the $1.1 and change million warchest, $851,000 came from Daytons, and Alida Messinger.

Mitch notes later in the post that Alida Messinger is the “ex-wife of candidate Mark Dayton.” Let’s see if I’ve got this straight: It’s evil when Target contributes $150,000 to a PAC that promotes pro-growth economic policies but it’s just fine if the people that made tens of millions of dollars while they owned Daytons to establish a shadowy organization whose main purpose is to criticize the GOP’s candidate, the only pro-growth candidate in the race?

I’m betting that ABM is upset with the Citizens United ruling because they could spew the most vile, the most wildly inaccurate statements imaginable with impugnity until Minnesota Forward was formed. Here’s one of the first things I quoted ABM as saying about Tom Emmer:

We’ve become accustomed to some extreme Tea Party characters from conservatives in this state (you know who I mean, I don’t need to link), but Tom Emmer’s vision for “prosperity” using his “principles” for this state rank right up there with even the most caffeinated of Tea Partiers. What do I mean? I mean drastic cuts to school budgets, essentials services like road plowing in the winter, and Minnesotans having to hold out their tin cup begging for a charity check-up from their doctor.

ABM’s statements have nothing to do with reality. ABM’s statements have everything to do with smearing a political opponent. If they need to make things up, that’s what they’ve done.

Just a few minutes ago, Republican party Chairman Tony Sutton issued this statement on ABM:

St. Paul- Republican Party of Minnesota Chairman Tony Sutton today called on Democrat gubernatorial candidate Mark Dayton to denounce his family’s funding of the pro-Dayton front groups Win Minnesota and the 2010 Fund. In this election cycle, Dayton family members have already donated $851,000 to Win Minnesota and the 2010 Fund, which in turn, have funneled over $1.6 million to the Alliance for a Better Minnesota.

“With the family of Mark Dayton flooding the campaign coffers of WIN Minnesota and the 2010 Fund to run the Alliance for a Better Minnesota’s negative attack ads against Tom Emmer, it’s time Dayton himself stood up and denounced this obvious effort to buy the election. Dayton likes to rail against the ‘rich,’ but it’s precisely his rich family members who are funding this unprecedented onslaught of negative personal attacks. While Dayton gives his family a wink and a nod, Minnesotans will see right through his cynical attempt to hide behind these front groups.”

I think that Dayton and his family have alot of explaining to do, not because they’re major funders of this group, but because that organization has said some of the most outrageous things imaginable.

I’ll go a step further and say that ABM isn’t just Dayton Family Politics, Inc. It’s that the other DFL gubernatorial candidates have used the misinformation from ABM’s website. For example, during her interview with Tom Hauser on last Sunday’s @Issue, Speaker Kelliher said something very similar to this ABM golden oldie:

I mean drastic cuts to school budgets, essentials services like road plowing in the winter.

Instead of using the phrase drastic cuts to school budgets, Speaker Kelliher said that class sizes would increase dramatically.

ABM can’t get away with their smear campaign against Tom Emmer thanks to Minnesota Forward. ABM doesn’t like it that it’s more difficult, though not impossible, to define Tom Emmer on their terms.

Thankfully, the Roberts Court respected the First Amendment and made the proper ruling. The other thing that’s needed is transparency, though not the type found in the DISCLOSE Act.

Because of the Citizens United ruling, Minnesota Forward can tell Minnesotans about Tom Emmer’s pro-growth policies. In the end, that’s a very positive thing for Minnesota.

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Former Secretary of State Mary Kiffmeyer deserves special thanks for writing this op-ed because it gives the felons who voted illegally in the 2008 election an identity. Here’s the identity of a few of the felons who voted illegally:

  • Theresa Marie Barslou (known to police by this name and six others): priors for multiple check forgeries, multiple instances of giving a peace officer a false name, and malicious punishment of a child.
  • Karen Louise Burrell McKinney (known by this name and five others): multiple priors for check forgery, wrongfully obtaining assistance, and malicious punishment of a child.
  • Antoinette Davida Molinar (known by this name and four others): priors for drug possession, giving a peace officer a false name, wrongfully obtaining assistance, aiding and abetting theft, and fifth-degree assault.
  • Donald James Diamond: multiple priors for issuing dishonored checks and theft.
  • Dustin James Norring: multiple priors for disorderly conduct, aiding and abetting theft, and third-degree assault.

Minnesota Majority has identified other felons but that should suffice in proving that felons voting.

What’s shameful is that it was Minnesota Majority that investigated the story, not soon-to-be-former Secretary of State Mark Ritchie. Ritchie has said on more than one occasion that voter fraud didn’t exist in Minnesota. This group of felons, uncovered in Minnesota Majority’s investigation, says that Mr. Ritchie is wrong.

What’s notable is the prevalence of identity theft-related offenses. Anti-reform special interests like Common Cause, the League of Women Voters and the misnamed Citizens for Election Integrity in Minnesota will say there has never been an instance of a voter impersonating someone else prosecuted in Minnesota. But there is no system even to detect that activity.

I’ve said it before but I’ll repeat it again: it’s impossible to find what you refuse to look for. Mark Ritchie isn’t interested in making sure the voter rolls are kept updated. Based on what I’ve seen, election integrity isn’t a priority with him.

Though Mr. Ritchie’s efforts are disgraceful, what’s worse is that political hacks like Nick Coleman are providing cover for Mr. Ritchie:

Nick has…made up “facts” (for example, in his July 19 column, saying that I started the nonprofit public policy organization Minnesota Majority. I did not, though I did help as a consultant).

Looking back at the 2008 U.S. Senate recount, in his usual sarcastic and sophomoric way, Nick takes about 800 words to belittle the people at Minnesota Majority who painstakingly did due diligence where Secretary of State Mark Ritchie did not, discovering problems with our election system, specifically, that felons were allowed to vote in 2008.

Nick Coleman hasn’t payed attention to details in ages. Let’s not forget his anti-Pawlenty diatribe following the collapse of the I-35 bridge in which he declared as settled fact that Gov. Pawlenty’s no new taxes pledge had caused the bridge collapse. Months later, the NTSB said that the gusset plates were defective.

Coleman stated authoritatively that the I-35 bridge collapse was caused by Gov. Pawlenty’s no new taxes pledge, an absurd accusation that Sarah Janacek called him out on in this article. First, here’s Coleman’s accusation:

For half a dozen years, the motto of state government and particularly that of Gov. Tim Pawlenty has been No New Taxes. It’s been popular with a lot of voters and it has mostly prevailed. So much so that Pawlenty vetoed a 5-cent gas tax increase, the first in 20 years, last spring and millions were lost that might have gone to road repair. And yes, it would have fallen even if the gas tax had gone through, because we are years behind a dangerous curve when it comes to the replacement of infrastructure that everyone but wingnuts in coonskin caps agree is one of the basic duties of government.

Here’s Sarah’s rebuke of Coleman:

The $3.3 million price tag was being paid mostly by the federal government ($2.97 million) and not the state ($330,000).

The National Bridge Inventory conducted by the federal government in 2003 reported that the bridge had a “sufficiency” rating of 50% on a scale of 120. That’s not great, but that’s where about 80,000 of the country’s bridges stand. The significant finding of that Inventory, however, was that structurally, the bridge “meets minimum tolerable limits to be left in place as-is.”

The federal government didn’t flag structural issues; neither did MnDOT.

Pawlenty could have raised the gas tax $50 a gallon and nothing would have happened. The structural condition of the bridge was not on anyone’s radar screen. At this point, that appears to be the real issue: All levels of government may have failed us.

The point is this: if liberals are whining about an issue, Nick’s reliably there to amplify their whining whether the facts support them or not. (FYI- more often than not, Coleman’s whining hasn’t been supported by the facts.) Here’s Coleman’s logic-free column on the felons voting issue:

I believe that felons voted illegally in the last governor’s election, helping Tim Pawlenty defeat his crime-busting DFL foe, Attorney General Mike Hatch, by less than 1 percent of the votes in the 2006 contest, the closest Minnesota governor’s race in years.

I have not one jot or tittle of evidence to support my suspicions. But a lack of credible evidence did not stop Pawlenty when he used one of his frequent national TV appearances, where he is seldom pestered by journalists with actual knowledge of events on the ground back here in Flyover Land, to renew the stench of uncertainty over the Al Franken-Norm Coleman U.S. Senate recount.

Mary Kiffmeyer wrote a response after reading Coleman’s column. Unlike the professional columnist Nick Coleman, though, Mary Kiffmeyer’s op-ed included real information, including the names of felons who voted illegally.

I’d call for Coleman to resign but that’s just a waste of good bandwidth. I’d call for Coleman to do a little research before writing his latest diatribe but that’s another waste of good bandwidth. He is who he is: a loudmouthed jerk who can’t be bothered by factchecking and doing his due diligence.

Mark Ritchie is much the same way. Obviously, he isn’t interested in doing his due diligence. Obviously, he can’t be bothered by doing even the minimum amount of research and investigation required to do his job.

The bad news is that I can’t do anything to get Nick Coleman fired. That’s beyond my control. The good news is that I can play a vital role in getting Mark Ritchie fired this November. That’s my intent. Mr. Ritchie willfully ignoring of one of his most important responsibilities is all the reason I need to vote the bum out of office.

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Almost 20 months ago, a friend told me that Paul Ryan was “the smartest man in DC on policy.” I took my friend at his word and looked for opportunities to see whether he’d showcase his policymaking abilities. It didn’t take long to get proof of his brilliance. I got that proof when I interviewed him about health care. Monday night, I watched Chris Matthews get schooled by Congressman Ryan about eliminating deficits while creating a prosperous economy.

Newsbusters’ Noel Sheppard transcribed the econ lesson in this post. I agree with Noel when he said that Matthews was asking gotcha questions in hopes of getting Congressman Ryan to say something to hang around Republicans’ necks this fall. That didn’t happen. Instead, Congressman Ryan schooled Matthews on how to reduce the deficit. Here’s the key exchange in the interview:

MATTHEWS: Name a major piece of the 1.4 trillion to 1.7 trillion. No, just take —


MATTHEWS: — just take a chunk out that 1.4 trillion by getting rid of a big program or good expenditure that people now watching can understand.

RYAN: I would rescind the unspent stimulus funds. I would rescind all the TARP funds that aren’t spent. I would do a federal hiring freeze and pay freeze for the rest of the year. And I would go back and cut discretionary spending back to ’08 levels and freeze that spending going forward.

Now, you and I can get into a debate about Keynesian economics, whether it worked or didn’t. I don’t think it did. We increased domestic discretionary last year by 84 percent. I don’t think we should continue to build that kind of a base. Let`s go back and cut discretionary spending back to `08 levels.


RYAN: Rescind stimulus, rescind TARP and do a federal hiring and pay freeze. Those are just a few ideas that add up to $1.3 trillion right there.

Prior to this exchange, Matthews tried saying that Republicans just talked smart about reducing the deficit, implying that they weren’t serious about it. Here’s that exchange:

MATTHEWS: So, in other words, all this bitching about the deficit doesn’t mean squat, because you won’t do either, raise taxes or reduce spending.

RYAN: Let me answer it, then.

MATTHEWS: Neither one.

RYAN: This year, Congress isn’t even doing a budget, but, last year, when we did a budget, I brought a budget to the floor that specifically cut $4.8 trillion of spending out of the budget and paid for all of these tax cuts and debt reduction. Two months ago, we put out $1.3 trillion in very specifically listed and enumerated spending cuts. So, I can go on with you on cuts. I can show you all the kinds of cuts.

MATTHEWS: But that’s one-three hundredth (ph) of the deficit. That’s 0.3 of 1 percent you’ve talked about.

Matthews, like usual, is talking without engaging his brain. He couldn’t have been listening if he thinks that a 1-year spending cut of $1.3 trillion (that’s just $170 billion less than this year’s projected deficit.) equals a tiny fraction of this year’s deficit. It’s just short of 90 percent of the FY2010 deficit.

Based on the scowl on Chris Matthews’ face both before and after he asked Congressman Ryan, it’s clear that he didn’t like it that Congressman Ryan had essentially made him look like the blowhard he is.

Had Rep. Ryan’s econ lesson stopped there, I would’ve been happy. Unfortunately for Matthews, Ryan continued the econ lesson in this exchange:

RYAN: No, no. You have to understand, Chris, 75 percent of those people who pay that tax rate are small businesses who file as individuals, not corporations. That’s the problem with this economic argument, Chris, is when you think you’re just taxing rich people like Bill Gates, what you’re end up doing is you`re hitting successful small businesses. When we tax our employers more than our foreign competitors tax theirs, they get our jobs and we lose in global competition.

So, we ought to be keeping our eye in economic growth and job creation, what`s necessary to do, and that means low tax rates on businesses and small businesses in certainty. We have a whole new tax on certainty that’s hurting economic growth. We need to give taxpayers certainty that they’re not going to have a huge wave of tax increases in 2011 and then another in 2013.

This observation is what Chris Matthews didn’t want to hear:

When we tax our employers more than our foreign competitors tax theirs, they get our jobs and we lose in global competition.

The same principle applies to interstate competition, too. If businesses can get a better deal, whether it’s in another state or another country, they’ll accept it. They’re in business to make money. PERIOD. If the cost of manufacturing is higher in the United States than it is in South Korea, the jobs get shipped overseas. If the cost of manufacturing is higher in Minnesota than it is in South Dakota, the jobs get moved to South Dakota.

That’s why it’s important to extend the Bush tax cuts and repeal Obamacare. Those things alone drive the cost of doing business through the roof. If I owned a business, I certainly wouldn’t be expanding my business right now.

Chris Matthews isn’t interested in that, though. He’s only interested in playing partisan gotcha journalism. For all his talk about wanting a better America, Chris Matthews is acting like he’s only interested in a better America if it’s his version of America.

Thankfully, Paul Ryan kept his composure, answered the questions specifically, fully and calmly. Better yet, he didn’t just answer directly, he taught Matthews an econ lesson on TV by perhaps thousands of people.

This exchange is pure fiction:

MATTHEWS: Congressman Crowley, let me ask you. What are the Democrats going to do about the deficit? Anything?

REP. JOSEPH CROWLEY (D-NY), WAYS AND MEANS CMTE.: Well, I did notice there, though, Chris, was he didn’t mention at all his plan to privatize Social Security. Again, going back to the same old Bush agenda, the failed Bush agenda, the American people rejected in the election of Barack Obama and the Democratic majority in the House and the Senate.

(INAUDIBLE) as it may, I think Democrats have really taken steps to be more responsible. We’re working under a PAYGO system, pay as you go. And albeit there are some items that are cut off from that portion of it, we are attempting to get back a system that was proven to get our budgets in order to really, under the Clinton administration —


CROWLEY: really just, really bring back more fiscally responsible Congress, more responsible government. It has worked in the past. Chris, I think it will work in the future. The president has said he wants to cut this deficit in half and I want to help him do that.

The Democrats’ PAYGO system is a joke. Last week, when Republicans insisted on paying for extending unemployment benefits, Democrats said no. That wasn’t the first time they’d ignored the law they passed this spring. It’s insulting to hear Crowley and Matthews talk about President Obama in terms of fiscal responsibility as though he’d shown as much fiscal responsibility as President Clinton.

This is a big reason why people are rejecting Democrats. They’re tired of Democrats insulting their intelligence. They’re tired of being treated like second class citizens who need the government to take care of them.

I doubt that Democrats will learn anything from Paul Ryan’s econ lesson because, with them, it isn’t about the economy. It’s about their ideology-driven world vision. They’ve spent the past 18 months pushing through their ideology wish list. This November, the American people will vote to put that to a screeching stop.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

Thanks to this video, voters in Minnesota’s Sixth District will get to see Tarryl Clark expose herself as a far left lefty:

Thanks to Tarryl’s press release, we get a glimpse into Tarryl’s courtship of hate-filled progressives:

I’m Tarryl Clark, and I’m the candidate who will defeat Michele Bachmann on November 2! I’m looking forward to seeing you at Netroots Nation.

Across the country, you, the Netroots, have rallied to send a message that Congresswoman Michele Bachmann’s unique brand of divisive rhetoric would not be tolerated. You’ve kept vigilant watch as Congresswoman Bachmann has gone under the white-hot spotlights of the cable talk show circuit again and again. And you’ve called her out: when she called on a conservative crowd to “slit our wrists” and “become blood brothers” in the efforts to defeat health care reform. When she called net neutrality an Obama plot to censor the Internet. When she said the American people needed to be “weaned off” Social Security and Medicare. Her comments aren’t just outrageous or headline grabbing; they’re part of her agenda for America. They tell whose side she’s on, and it’s not ours.

We’re holding her accountable. But our work won’t be done until we bring an end to Congresswoman Bachmann’s agenda by winning this election.

Washington isn’t working for the people of my district, and neither is Michele Bachmann. They deserve better. They deserve a representative to will always be on their side. And that’s exactly where I’ll be.

As the Senator from Central Minnesota, I’ve stood with the people I represent, not the special interests. When insurance companies refused to give consumers the coverage they paid for, I wrote a law to hold them accountable. The insurance companies spent nearly a million dollars to defeat the bill but we fought back. And we won. When banks targeted seniors offering risky reverse mortgages, we empowered seniors to get the facts and take action. When predatory lenders put families at risk, we helped them stay in their homes through the Subprime Borrower Relief Act.

And when Congresswoman Bachmann has flat-out refused to help our area, to rebuild an unsafe bridge, to bring new forms of transit like the Northstar commuter rail, or to invest in our colleges and universities, we stepped up and got it done without her.

I’ve never shied away from the tough fights. And this is the fight of our life. For the past four years, the people of the 6th have had a representative who fights every day for a personal agenda that benefits the special interests, who has left them behind as she travels the country speaking at Tea Party rallies. And they’ve had enough. They’re ready for new leadership who will fight for them.

But to get the job done, I need you. You have been able to shine the spotlight on Congresswoman Bachmann’s controversial, misleading, and flat-out-wrong pronouncements. You have been the voice for what is right: calling on Washington to do more to create jobs, to hold Wall Street accountable, and to make health care work for real Americans.

I want you to be a part of this campaign. I’m looking forward to meeting you at Netroots Nation. I’ll be speaking as part of the closing program on Saturday night; my campaign will be at Booth #303 in the Exhibit Hall; and we’re hosting a party with Lizz Winstead on Saturday night. I hope to see you all there.

This post on the DailyKos shows the roster of radicals that Tarryl wants help from. Check out the guest list:

Saturday night keynote speaker Sen. Al Franken, you’ll hear from…Ed Schultz…Rep. Alan Grayson, Rep. Raul Grijalva…Van Jones, Rich Trumka…Markos Moulitsas, Tarryl Clark [and] Gerald McEntee.

Al Franken isn’t a centrist though I could make a plausible argument that he’s a centrist compared to Rep. Grijalva, Van Jones and Alan Grayson.

Rep. Grijalva represents Arizona’s 7th District. Despite representing a district in Arizona, Rep. Grijalva has also called for a boycott of Arizona.

Rep. Alan Grayson is the whack job who accused Republicans of having a health care plan that calls on people who get ill to “die quickly.” Van Jones is a self-described communist.

Tarryl wants these people to support her. Tarryl wants radical extremists to help her get elected.

People didn’t want to believe that President Obama was a radical based on his radical associations with Bill Ayers, Bernadine Dohrn, Father Pfleger and Jeremiah Wright. Now that they know he’s a radical, the coalition is crumbling because they’ve got buyer’s remorse.

The good news in MN-06 is that Tarryl is trailing by 9 points with only 5% of likely voters undecided. I’ve said all along that Tarryl faced an uphill fight. I’m more certain of that now than when the campaign started. That’s before talking about the massive warchest that Michele has put together. While Tarryl has started going negative in July, never a good sign, Michele is building a warchest that will overwhelm Tarryl. (The really bad news for Tarryl is that Michele hasn’t really started using that money.)

Rest assured that when Michele starts flooding the airwaves with ads telling the 6th District’s businesses that Tarryl voted repeatedly to raise their taxes and that Tarryl supports the huge new tax increases hidden in the Obamacare bill, Tarryl’s goose will be cooked.

The dirty little secret in St. Cloud is that Tarryl was facing an uphill re-election fight for her senate seat, mostly because she convinced business owners that she was a centrist. By the time John Pederson announced his candidacy, those business owners had lined up solidly behind John.

For all of Tarryl’s happy talk, like her interview with UpTake, it isn’t based in reality. Tarryl’s fighting a good fight but it’s an uphill fight nonetheless.

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It’s now been confirmed that a Mexican drug cartel has seized control of 2 ranches in Laredo, TX. Law enforcement officials are saying that they consider this an act of war:

In what could be deemed an act of war against the sovereign borders of the United States, Mexican drug cartels have seized control of at least two American ranches inside the U.S. territory near Laredo, Texas.

Two sources inside the Laredo Police Department confirmed the incident is unfolding and they would continue to coordinate with U.S. Border Patrol today. “We consider this an act of war,” said one police officer on the ground near the scene. There is a news blackout of this incident at this time and the sources inside Laredo PD spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Word broke late last night that Laredo police have requested help from the federal government regarding the incursion by the Los Zetas. It appears that the ranch owners have escaped without incident but their ranches remain in the hands of the blood thirsty cartels.

The situation in Laredo is both intense and fluid. It’s times like this when a real commander-in-chief is missed the most.

President Obama’s passive stance towards border security has emboldened the drug cartel’s terrorists/mercenaries. Had he taken this issue seriously rather than just playing amnesty politics with it, he might’ve sent a serious National Guard/DEA presence to the region to not just prevent their violent attacks but to go on the offensive against the cartels.

Obama’s border security policy is summed up in 1 word: A-P-P-E-A-S-E-M-E-N-T. He’s done nothing to tell the drug cartels that are terrorizing the Tuscon Corridor or downtown Phoenix that they’ll pay a heavy price in blood, armaments and territory for each of their attacks.

If we had a real commander-in-chief who’s primary interest was protecting U.S. citizens instead of playing election politics, things might not have even escalated to this level. If the cartels suffered substantial damage because the DEA and other U.S. security assets were on the offensive against them, the cartel’s capabilities likely would’ve been seriously degraded.

This is President Obama’s first national security crisis. If he doesn’t pass this test with high marks, he can kiss a second term good bye. The American aren’t going to re-elect a president whose economic policies have led to a spike in unemployment and whose national security policies are best described as appeasement. To oldtimers like me, President Obama’s and DHS Secretary Napolitano’s national security policies are looking too much like the disastrous policies of Jimmy Carter and Zbigniew Brzezinski.

That’s almost as scary a thought as dealing with a Mexican drug and human traffickers.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

Yesterday, Scott Rasmussen’s polling showed that there really are two Americas, though not the same ones as John Edwards once talked about. Here’s what Rasmussen’s polling found:

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 75% of Likely Voters prefer free markets over a government managed economy. Just 14% think a government managed economy is better while 11% are not sure. These figures have changed little since December.

Polling released earlier this week showed that Americans overwhelmingly believe that more competition and less regulation is better for the economy than more regulation and less competition.

Not surprisingly, America’s Political Class is far less enamored with the virtues of a free market. In fact, Political Class voters narrowly prefer a government managed economy over free markets by a 44% to 37% margin. However, among Mainstream voters, 90% prefer the free market.

There’s a simple reason for that: people see their decisionmaking as a personal matter. More often than not, they trust their decisionmaking over Washington’s decisionmaking.

What elitists haven’t figured out is that they aren’t liked because their arrogance is offputting. It’s easy for elitists to ‘accept’ a top-down control economy because they’re the ones that get to make the decisions. In their format, they retain their freedom to make decisions.

Likewise, in a liberty-oriented system, the people the elitists look down might make a great decision, thereby making the elitists look bad. Elitists can’t stand the thought of that.

The ‘ruling class’ is fighting a losing fight. They’re telling people who want to make their own decisions that they know better. Good luck winning that fight.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative