Archive for November, 2014
This article shows that progressives’ definition of justice isn’t predicated on verifiable facts. It’s proof that Democrats’ definition of justice is mostly about perceptions and allegations.
The trouble is that the United States, for far longer than it has been a “nation of laws”, has been a nation of injustice. And in the absence of basic justice such laws can amount to little more than codified tyranny. When a white cop, Darren Wilson, shoots an unarmed black teenager, Michael Brown, dead and then is not indicted, the contradiction is glaring. For a world where it is not only legal for people to shoot you dead while you walk down the street, but where they can do so in the name of the law, is one in which some feel they have nothing to lose.
It’s offensive that this liberal idiot would attempt to portray Brown as “walk[ing] down the street.” Forensic evidence shows that Brown a) robbed a convenience store, b) beat up the store manager and c) attacked Officer Wilson in Wilson’s patrol car.
Saying that that’s the equivalent of walking down the street is insulting in its dishonesty.
It is through this chasm, between the official claim to an impartial legal system and the reality of endemic racial injustice, that Wilson made his escape, with the flames of Ferguson in hot pursuit. For Wilson was not exonerated. The grand jury decided there was not even “probable cause” to put him on trial. As the website FiveThirtyEight points out, this is very rare. The Bureau of Justice reveals that in 2010 US attorneys prosecuted 162,000 federal cases, and grand juries declined to return an indictment in just 11.
What isn’t said is that these types of cases rarely get to a grand jury. In most instances, the officer would’ve been cleared because Michael Brown attacked Officer Wilson. Forensic evidence showed Brown’s fingerprints and DNA on Officer Wilson’s gun. The only time that could’ve happened was when Brown attempted to attack Officer Wilson in Officer Wilson’s patrol car.
It’s time for progressives to stop throwing accusations around so recklessly.
This article highlights why Mary Landrieu’s political career is all but officially over:
In the last six years, Landrieu lost ground to Republicans in every Louisiana parish. In 2008, she defeated Republican John Kennedy by 121,111 votes statewide. This time, Cassidy and third-place finisher Rob Maness, a tea-party favorite who has since endorsed the congressman, combined to lead Landrieu by 186,207 votes, a net swing of 307,318.
Get out the marmalade. Sen. Landrieu is toast. Seriously, I’d be surprised if this election isn’t called within half an hour of the polls closing. This isn’t a nailbiter. It’s a blowout.
President Barack Obama may not be on Louisiana’s Senate runoff ballot, but it’s clear his widespread unpopularity in the state stands as Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu’s biggest hurdle to a fourth term.
There’s no question that President Obama has buried a ton of Democrats this cycle. Still, it isn’t fair to say it’s all his fault. If Mary Landrieu or Mark Pryor or Mark Udall or Mark Begich had shown a spine in voting against Obamacare and the Obama-Reid-Pelosi agenda, they might’ve had a better shot at winning. When they didn’t stand up for the voters, the voters punished them.
President Obama’s agenda has set the Democratic Party back mightily. When President Obama was sworn in, there were 257 Democrats in the House and 60 Democrats in the Senate. When this congress is sworn into office, there will be 186 Democrats in the House, 46 in the Senate.
President Obama was the pied piper but Senate Democrats followed his tune into this electoral grave.
In 2012, the Republican Party of Minnesota (RPM) accused the DFL of ignoring Minnesota state campaign finance laws when it filed a complaint with the Campaign Finance Disclosure Board. Here’s part of the Board’s Findings of Fact:
Lit Happens is a political media consulting company based in Minneapolis, MN operating as a sole proprietorship of Vic Thorstenson. Lit Happens was retained by the Senate Caucus Party Unit to design, produce, and distribute communications advocating the elections of Vicki Jensen, Alan Oberloh, and Tom Saxhaug.
The Pivot Group, Inc. (Pivot) is a political media consulting company based in Arlington, VA. Pivot was retained by the Senate Caucus Party Unit to design, produce, and distribute communications advocating for the elections of Jim Carlson, Kevin Dahle, Kent Eken, Melisa Franzen, Laurie McKendry, and Matt Schmit.
Compass Media Group, Inc. (Compass) is a political media consulting company based in Chicago, IL. Compass was retained by the Senate Caucus Party Unit to design, produce, and distribute communications advocating for the election of Greg Clausen, Alice Johnson, Susan Kent, and Lyle Koenen or the defeat of their opponents.
The reason why this is important is because these expenditures weren’t attributed to the “Senate Caucus Party Unit.” The disclaimer on the mailers said that they were paid for by “the DFL Central Committee Party Unit.” Here’s what happened:
Lit Happens either took photos during the candidate’s door knocking event with the Senate Caucus Party Unit or when the candidate was in St. Paul on other business. In each case, someone acting on behalf of the Senate Caucus Party Unit contacted the candidate or a representative of the candidate to arrange for the candidate to be at a location where Vic Thorstenson would take the photographs. The candidates followed all direction, if any, provided by the photographer.
In other words, DFL Senate candidates worked with the Senate Caucus Party Unit on mailers sent out by the “DFL Central Committee Party Unit” and paid for by the “Senate Caucus Party Unit.” This information is important, too:
In the cases of those candidates about whom literature pieces were prepared by Compass and Pivot, Senate Caucus Party Unit campaign staff contacted the candidates or the candidates’ campaign managers or other representatives to arrange schedules for the photo shoots with the photographers. Each candidate agreed to a schedule involving multiple locations for the photo shoots and arrived at the specified starting location at the scheduled time.
In connection with the photo shoots taken by Compass and Pivot, the candidates were asked to bring wardrobe changes so that different looks could be obtained in different settings. Each candidate who was asked to bring wardrobe changes did so. All candidates followed the photographers’ directions regarding wardrobe changes and other matters relating to the photo shoots and fully participated in the photo shoots.
That’s what’s known as coordination and it’s illegal under state and federal election laws. Coordination between candidates and state party units or independent expenditure groups is prohibited. Of the 13 candidates that coordinated their activities with the DFL Central Committee Party Unit and/or the Senate Caucus Party Unit, 11 were elected. That gave the DFL a majority in the Senate.
In short, the DFL paid a $100,000 fine in exchange for their Senate majority. I’m betting that Alida Messinger, Mark Dayton and Tom Bakk think that that was a wise investment. Thanks to the DFL’s lawlessness, they passed a horrific budget that benefitted the DFL’s special interest allies in the Twin Cities but did little or nothing to help the regular folks in outstate Minnesota.
I’m betting that the DFL’s ends-justify-the-means attitude towards elections won’t play well in 2016. The DFL’s willingness to do whatever it takes to acquire and maintain power isn’t an attractive attribute.
It was inevitable that the Democrats’ divide would deepen after their trouncing in this year’s midterms. This article highlights some of the infighting within the Democratic Party:
Tensions within the Democratic Party over policy and strategy have begun to surface after a midterm defeat that saw the party lose control of the Senate after eight years and cede more seats to Republicans in the House of Representatives.
The most glaring example came Tuesday, when Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-NY, criticized President Barack Obama over the 2010 health care overhaul. Schumer said the party should have focused on helping more of the middle class than the uninsured, whom he called “a small percentage of the electorate.” Schumer added that Obamacare was just one of a “cascade of issues” that the White House had bungled, a list that included the scandal over wait times at VA hospitals and responding to the threat of the Ebola virus.
Does this mean that the Democratic circular firing squad will report to the range ASAP? I’d argue that the signs indicate that they’re already at the range. I’d argue that they’re in the ‘target acquisition’ phase of the operation. This year’s exit polling showed rampant dissatisfaction with Democrats:
If Republicans win 35-40% of the Hispanic vote and win a majority of the Asian-American vote, Democrats will find 2016 to be difficult terrain. If that happens, the infighting that’s happening right now will only intensify.
This graphic shows another Democratic vulnerability:
This graphic is proof that demographics aren’t destiny. Actually, both graphics send the same message. What this exit polling shows is that candidate quality and issues matter. In 2016, especially with presidential candidates, Democrats have a virtually nonexistent bench.
While it’s undeniable that Hillary has 100% name recognition for people who haven’t spent the last 20 years living under a rock, that hardly proves she’s a quality. She’s famous because Bill Clinton is a popular ex-president. She’s famous for being one of the worst secretaries of state in the last century. She isn’t famous for being a competent secretary of state. Political junkies saw how untalented she is during her book tour. The number of deer-in-the-headlights moments easily outdistanced her ‘Hillary looks competent’ moments.
Hillary will lose if Republicans pick a talented governor who doesn’t come with a ton of baggage. That eliminates Jeb Bush, Chris Christie and Mitt Romney. If Republicans pick either Scott Walker, John Kasich, Mike Pence or Bobby Jindal, Republicans will defeat Hillary and send the Democratic Party into a tailspin.
It’s time people started highlighting just how often progressives lie. They lie about people. They lie about events. If their lips are moving, especially during campaigns, it’s likely that they’re lying. This video provides proof of progressives’ propensity for lying:
Here’s what Robert Reich said during the campaign:
ROBERT REICH: First, you can forget about the minimum wage. They (Republicans) refuse to raise it even though most minimum wage earners are adults, breadwinners for their families and they need a raise.
It’s verifiably false that most people earning the minimum wage are “breadwinners for their families.” That’s an outright lie. Reich wasn’t done lying. Later, he said this:
Here’s the transcript:
REICH: Third, you can forget our crumbling roads and bridges and pipelines. Republicans won’t invest in what it takes to repair them, even though it would put millions back to work. And letting our infrastructure costs jobs.
The only legislation that the House took up was Bill Cassidy’s bill to force President Obama to build the Keystone XL Pipeline. That was 2 weeks ago today. It passed with overwhelming bipartisan support. The identical bill was submitted by Sen. Landrieu, the woman Cassidy will replace in January. Every Republican senator voted for Sen. Landrieu’s bill. Unfortunately, the vote failed because three-fourths of Democrat senators voted against the bill.
Further, Republicans support building roads and bridges. It’s just that they’re opposed to pouring billions of dollars into light rail boondoggles. Democrats support light rail in sparsely populated parts of the nation, preferring them to upgrading roads and bridges.
The rest of the video is filled with lies, too, but I’ll just recommend you watch the full video rather than transcribing each lie individually:
This Our View editorial in the St. Cloud Times proves how intellectually dishonest the Times’ editorial page is. Here’s exhibit A:
Even if the bill had passed, President Obama doesn’t support the bill. He prefers to have the State Department work through the approval process for the project.
It isn’t that President Obama prefers having “the State Department work through the approval process.” It’s that he’s using the State Department to delay the project because he’s a true believer in climate change. This isn’t about process. It’s about President Obama’s ideology.
Further, President Obama has consistently and repeatedly sided with environmental activists rather than occasionally siding with construction unions. Thus far, President Obama hasn’t shown an interest in helping farmers or siding with the unions.
That isn’t the only spin in the Times’ editorial. Here’s another part:
Closer to home, Gov. Mark Dayton said he thinks the best way to untangle the glut of oil trains on Minnesota rail lines is to transport more oil by pipeline. The large increase in the number of trains carrying oil from North Dakota to Midwest refineries has caused delays for grain, propane and coal shipments by rail.
Gov. Dayton is as enthusiastic about building pipelines as President Obama. Gov. Dayton’s appointees to the Public Utilities Commission voted to delay the building of the Sandpiper Pipeline by asking “for a review of six alternative routes proposed by opponents of the project.”
The net effect of that is to effectively delay construction of the Sandpiper Pipeline project until after he leaves office. It’s possible the Sandpiper Pipeline will eventually get built but it isn’t likely to happen with Gov. Dayton’s time in office.
Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel resigned this morning:
Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel will resign on Monday after just under two years on the job. According to a report by Helene Cooper at The New York Times, President Obama has decided to replace Hagel after coming to the conclusion over the last several weeks that the current Defense chief was not the right person to lead the fight against ISIS.
According to the article, there was an ongoing fight between Hagel and some of President Obama’s staff:
Others reportedly questioned his overall leadership of the department, saying he “struggled to inspire confidence” and “had problems articulating his thoughts, or administration policy, in an effective manner.” Sources close to Hagel, however, blame those articulation problems on the White House’s heavy-handed message control. They also told Bloomberg News that the relationship with the White House had soured so much that Hagel no longer spoke in meetings because “White House aides with less experience in military affairs than the wounded Vietnam War veteran often ignored what he said.”
Imagine that. This administration took a dim view of senior administration officials speaking without reciting the administration’s talking points. Who could’ve seen that?
That’s what happens when the administration doesn’t trust its senior officials. That’s what happens when the top figure in the administration, President Obama, is a paranoid, narcissistic control freak. That being said, Hagel was a terrible defense secretary. His first day of testimony at his confirmation hearings were the worst performance I’ve ever seen in a confirmation hearing. Here’s what got Hagel in trouble at his confirmation hearing:
It was the troop surge in Iraq that became a flashpoint between McCain and Hagel during Thursday’s hearing. McCain repeatedly tried to get Hagel to answer whether he was “right or wrong” when he once called the troop surge a “dangerous foreign policy blunder.”
“I’m not going to give you a yes or no; I think it’s far more complicated than that…I’ll defer that judgment to history,” Hagel said, adding that he was referring to both the overall Iraq war, as well as the surge, in that comment
McCain fired back: “I think history has already made a judgment about the surge, sir, and you’re on the wrong side of it.”
Hagel shouldn’t have been confirmed. It’s only fair that his time at the Pentagon is brief.
Mary Lahammer interviewed Ryan Winkler for last night’s Almanac. During that brief interview, Rep. Winkler gave us the DFL’s mantra for the next 2 years:
REP. WINKLER: Divided government and gridlock and the type of divisiveness that we’re already starting to see is not the way we move ahead and they’re going to send Democrats back in to get things done.
That’s stunning. The new legislature hasn’t even been sworn in and Rep. Winkler thinks he’s Carnac. Before the first bill is submitted, Rep. Winkler thinks that Republicans are being divisive and sowing the seeds of gridlock. That’s world class chutzpah.
A couple themes are developing already. First, Paul Thissen is questioning whether Republicans will stand up to their big corporate special interests:
Will Republicans be willing to stand up to their big Twin Cities corporate donors and make sure to continue DFL investments in education that are closing the funding gap between rural and suburban school districts rather than handing out corporate tax breaks?
As I wrote here, that’s what chutzpah looks like. First, Republicans didn’t propose any tax breaks for corporations. Thissen knows that. Thissen doesn’t care because the DFL’s communications aren’t based in honesty. The DFL specializes in repeating outright lies. Second, Thissen and the DFL didn’t fight for Main Street.
When it was time to fight for miners on the Iron Range, the DFL didn’t.
When it was time to fight for women operating in-home child care businesses, Thissen & the DFL sided with AFSCME instead.
When it was time to fight for small businesses in outstate Minnesota, Thissen and the DFL raised their taxes instead.
Rep. Winkler, I’ve had enough of your dishonesty and chutzpah. I’m especially disgusted with your reckless assumptions. It’s reckless and dishonest to accuse Republicans of being divisive a month before the 2015 legislative session has even started. Further, it’s dishonest to say that Republicans having honest policy disagreements with the DFL is automatically considered gridlock.
That’s a clever Alinskyite tactic but it’s deceitful. Before the DFL started employing Alinskyite tactics, expressing honest policy disagreements on the House floor or in committee were what’s known as debates.
Further, it’s dishonest and deceitful to think that all DFL ideas are great solutions to Minnesota’s problems or that Republicans’ ideas are automatically doomed to failure. If Rep. Winkler honestly thinks that, then he’s a narcissist who thinks of himself as intellectually superior.
Considering the fact that he once called a black man an “Uncle Thomas”, then insisted that he didn’t know that that was a pejorative term, there’s reason to think that he’s just a lefty bomb thrower who’s prone to shooting his mouth off.
During the 2013 session, the DFL voted to hurt some small businesses with major tax increases and hurt other small businesses with forced unionization. Repeatedly, the DFL showed their hostility with small businesses. Many of the businesses hurt with the DFL’s tax increases were in outstate Minnesota.
Despite those indisputable facts, the DFL is insisting that disagreeing with them leads to gridlock that hurts Minnesotans. The DFL’s policies are what hurt Minnesotans. No catchy, dishonest mantra will change that truth.
Paul Thissen’s op-ed, which was also published in the Rochester Post-Bulletin, had so spin that I couldn’t fit it into one post. Here’s more of Thissen’s spin:
They voted against the Homestead Credit Refund that provided $120 million in direct property tax relief to 450,000 homeowners, helping reduce statewide property taxes for the first time in 12 years.
Bill Salisbury’s article quickly discredits Thissen’s spin:
Overall, cities have proposed a 4.6 percent property-tax levy increase, counties’ levies would go up 3 percent, townships would levy an additional 2 percent and special taxing districts proposed a 3 percent boost.
Thissen and the DFL initially raised taxes and fees by $2,500,000,000. After getting blasted for raising taxes on B2B transactions, Thissen and the DFL returned to St. Paul a repentant bunch. They quickly repealed the tax increases they’d passed just months earlier. Thissen and the DFL frequently justified that gigantic tax increase by promising property tax relief to the middle class. Apparently, the DFL failed. Property taxes didn’t drop. They’re still going up.
They failed to support our farmers, voting against grants to help family farms start up and expand, against livestock disease research and against the new Farm-to-Foodshelf program.
Republicans voted against the DFL’s attempt to use taxpayers’ money to buy votes with massive spending increases directed at their special interest allies. The Dayton-Thissen-DFL budget wasn’t a budget as it was the DFL checking off as many of the items on the DFL special interests’ wish list as possible.
The DFL’s tax bill didn’t reform the tax code to make Minnesota competitive with its neighboring states. It’s amazing that the DFL’s hostility to businesses didn’t result in them losing more seats.
More importantly, I hope to hear the Republicans move on to governing and discuss how the entire state can prosper together as one.
That’s a clever trick on Thissen’s part. You’d almost think that there was a Republican governor setting the agenda. It’s the governor that proposes. The legislature’s role is to debate Gov. Dayton’s budget, then offer amendments to the things he got wrong. Unfortunately for Minnesota businesses, there’s be so much uncertainty caused by Gov. Dayton’s budgets that businesses didn’t create as many jobs as they could have.
Will Thissen and the DFL support opening PolyMet? Will they support building the Sandpiper Pipeline project? Will they insist on a silica sand-mining moratorium? Those projects alone would spread prosperity throughout more of Minnesota.
When Gov. Dayton, Sen. Bakk and Rep. Thissen attended the DFL State Convention, their devotion to Iron Range jobs was so tepid they wouldn’t even permit a debate on whether the DFL’s platform should include a simple statement saying that they support mining.
I’d love hearing Speaker Thissen explain how stifling debate on a major economic development issue helps “the entire state can prosper together as one.” That explanation would likely be more twisted than a pretzel.
Then again, I could say that about most DFL economic policies.
Paul Thissen’s op-ed in Friday night’s St. Cloud Times is breathtakingly dishonest. Here’s a prime example of Thissen’s dishonesty:
On the campaign trail, Republicans like Daudt attacked these accomplishments as inadequate, attacks ironically financed by enormous contributions from big Twin Cities corporate special interests. So it seems fair to ask:
Will Republicans be willing to stand up to their big Twin Cities corporate donors and make sure to continue DFL investments in education that are closing the funding gap between rural and suburban school districts rather than handing out corporate tax breaks?
I frequently wrote about the Democrats’ dishonest claims that Republicans supported “handing out corporate tax breaks.” To be fair, most of those claims were made against Torrey Westrom’s and Stewart Mills’ congressional campaigns but Thissen’s claims are dishonest just the same. One of the DCCC’s ads accused Torrey Westrom of shutting down the government “to give tax breaks to his wealthy friends.”
First, Republicans haven’t written any legislation that would “hand out corporate tax breaks. Thissen knows that’s verifiable fact but he doesn’t care because he’s utterly dishonest. Soon-to-be Minority Leader Thissen can clear this all up by citing which legislation the Republicans authored would’ve given corporations tax breaks.
Most importantly, though, let’s focus on who funded the DFL’s legislative campaign. In St. Cloud, the DFL paid for most of the campaign mailers. I don’t recall getting any mailers from Dorholt’s campaign proper. I also got mailers from a pro-union group called Working America Minnesota Political Fund. This is one of their mailers:
Will Minority Leader Thissen “be willing to stand up to [his] big Twin Cities” special interest allies in the next legislative session? Will he stand up to the environmental activist wing of the DFL? Will he tell Alida Messinger that he’ll steadfastly support mining on the Iron Range?
History shows he won’t. When AFSCME and SEIU insisted that the DFL impose forced unionization on small businesses, then-Speaker Thissen didn’t think twice. Rather than siding with the hard-working ladies who run in-home child care facilities, Thissen and the DFL voted with Eliot Seide and Javier Morillo-Alicea instead.
When convenience stores told him not to raise the cigarette tax because that’d hurt their businesses, Thissen didn’t just ignore them. He raised the cigarette tax $1.50 a pack. Thanks to Thissen and the DFL, convenience stores in Greater Minnesota got hurt.
Will a Republican legislature respond to the unique economic challenges that have made it harder for our economic recovery to be felt from border-to-border?
Unlike the DFL of the last 2 years, the GOP House will respond to Greater Minnesota’s economic needs. The GOP didn’t ignore small businesses’ calls to not start applying the sales tax on business-to-business transactions. In the House, the DFL voted for raising those taxes. After they got an earful from businesses after the session, the DFL knew that they’d overreached.
Sensing that their majority status in the House was in jeopardy, the DFL quickly moved to repeal the B2B sales taxes that they’d passed just months before.
Paul Thissen wasn’t the only DFL legislator who displayed hostility to businesses. That’s why he’ll soon be the House Minority Leader rather than getting another term as Speaker.