Archive for December, 2016

Over the past few days, liberals have repeatedly quoted the phrase “that the office of President will never fall to the lot of any man who is not in an eminent degree endowed with the requisite qualifications.” Early in John Conyers’ op-ed, the aging Democrat, cites that quote, too.

What hasn’t gotten discussed is who determines what defines those “requisite qualifications” are. In this instance, Democrats insist that Donald Trump is lacking in those amorphous qualifications. That’s a rather risky proposition. Democrats literally insisted that Hillary was the most overqualified presidential candidate in history. Forgive me if I don’t trust their opinion, especially after watching Mrs. Clinton get a US ambassador killed by reducing the security forces in the country.

Forgive me if I think that Mrs. Clinton was the ultimate corrupt politician. As Secretary of State, Mrs. Clinton operated a pay-for-play scheme with her family’s foundation. I’m fairly certain that Alexander Hamilton didn’t think being corrupt was a “requisite qualification” for being commander-in-chief.

Since his election victory, President-Elect Trump has put together one of the most impressive cabinets in US history:

That suggests that he’s more than qualified to be this nation’s chief executive.

What’s interesting is that Democrats have only proposed eliminating the Electoral College. They haven’t talked about reforming the way states award their delegates. It isn’t surprising why. If electoral votes were awarded proportionally instead of on a winner-take-all basis, Trump would’ve won decisively.

Wouldn’t you love hearing Democrats explain why they’re opposed to such a reform? Recently and temporarily, Democrats have praised the principles of federalism. Those appeals are dishonest. Democrats’ love of federalism is as authentic as an atheist’s appreciation of Jesus.

It’s time for Democrats to stop whining and accept the fact that their nominee was a corrupt, cold woman who ran one of the worst campaigns in history. That’s why she got trounced in the vast majority of battleground states.

This article highlights the disjointedness of the unhinged left. It also highlights universities’ political leanings. It isn’t surprising that the protest is being organized by a bunch of unhinged lefties.

According to the article, “St. Cloud State University and the College of St. Benedict are exploring options to send students, staff, faculty and the public to the Jan. 21 event.” When asked what they’ll be protesting, Jane Olsen, the director of the Women’s Center at St. Cloud State, said “Probably every single person you would ask would have a different response, as we’re taking our personal histories and experiences with us to the march. I think one, the importance and the belief in democracy is honored by being public and raising our voices about equity, respect, democracy, human rights and, really, a challenge to the behavior of Donald Trump and his associates during the campaign.”

TRANSLATION: We’re upset that Hillary lost. We’re upset that Trump won. We’re upset that a bunch of hicks from flyover country didn’t listen to their betters.

There’s really 2 issues in play here. The local issue is that large parts of SCSU are inhabited by unhinged, bitter progressives. Jane Olsen never tried organizing anti-Obama protests during President Obama’s inaugurations. This isn’t surprising. It’s just disappointing.

Olsen is getting paid handsomely for a job that shouldn’t exist. Taxpayers shouldn’t be footing the bill for collegiate activists. If private citizens want to pay for collegiate activists, that’s their right. Olsen’s job isn’t essential, especially while SCSU is running a deficit. Here’s Olsen’s SCSU bio:

Jane Olsen has been the Director of the SCSU Women’s Center since its founding in 1989. She has more than 31 years of administrative, programmatic, activist and advocacy experience in women’s organizations in both Minnesota and Illinois. Olsen holds a master’s degree and B.A. in Psychology from the University of Illinois-Springfield (formerly Sangamon State University). Her position includes responsibility for the overall program and administration, as well as budgeting, staffing, services and programming functions at the Women’s Center. Olsen is a member of the National Women’s Studies Association, including active participation in the national Women’s Center Committee. She was a member of the Board of Directors of the Minnesota Women’s Consortium from 2007 to 2013, and continues to support the Consortium through service on the Governance Committee. The Minnesota Women’s Consortium is a statewide coalition of 150 member organizations that support equality and justice for women and girls in Minnesota. (http://www.mnwomen.org/)

After reading that, it isn’t surprising that SCSU is running a deficit.

This morning, KSTP’s Tom Hauser interviewed incoming Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka and incoming House Minority Leader Melisa Hortman. One of the first topics they discussed was MNsure. Sen. Gazelka quickly made the point that Minnesota’s system prior to the ACA was significantly superior to the system we’re currently dealing with. To her credit, Rep. Hortman quickly agreed with Sen. Gazelka. Later in the show, former DFL State Party Chair Brian Melendez complimented Sen. Gazelka and Rep. Hortman before stating his optimism that their exchange showed that a deal might be reached this session.

I’d like to think that there’s hope but I’m not optimistic about it. IMO, there are 2 people standing in the way of getting something positive done. One of the people that will likely try jamming things up is Paul Thissen. I’m certain that he’s running for governor. If he runs, I’m confident that he’ll run a scorched earth campaign, criticizing Republicans for not getting anything done.

While I’m confident that Rep. Thissen will play the obstructionist card frequently, I’m certain that Gov. Dayton will continue with his hissy fits. The opening paragraphs of David Montgomery’s article say it all:

There was so little trust left between DFL Gov. Mark Dayton and Republican House Speaker Kurt Daudt by Friday that the two leaders wouldn’t agree to meet in private as they tried to salvage a package of bills to cut taxes, build roads and water projects and help people struggling with health insurance premiums.

Instead, the two sat down in front of television cameras to try to salvage a deal they’d been fighting over in various forms since May. The cameras didn’t help. After just 17 minutes of accusations and arguments, both Dayton and Daudt walked out of the room, unable to agree.

It’s obviously a very disappointing outcome,” Dayton said afterwards.

Gov. Dayton’s quote is a lie, at least from his perspective. Gov. Dayton hasn’t wanted to work in good faith with Republicans. He stated it matter-of-factly in multiple op-eds by asking voters to give him DFL majorities in the Minnesota House and Senate. (Instead, Minnesotans gave him GOP majorities in the House and Senate.)

Let’s be clear about this. Gov. Dayton is an obstructionist at heart. He’s shut down state government twice. The first time, it’s possible to argue it was the Republicans’ fault. It isn’t a strong argument but it’s an argument. The other time, though, it’s all on Gov. Dayton. Gov. Dayton vetoed bills from a bipartisan budget agreement negotiated by Speaker Daudt and then-Senate Majority Leader Bakk. (It’s worth noting that Rep. Thissen sabotaged both negotiated agreements.) It wouldn’t be surprising if Gov. Dayton shut down the government again this summer. He’s done it before. He apparently thinks that it’s the only way he’s relevant in the budget process. This is Gov. Dayton’s definition of good faith negotiating:

Daudt accused Dayton of breaking the early-December deal earlier this week, when he unveiled proposed language for all three potential special session bills. The proposed infrastructure bill, Daudt said, took away Republican priorities without harming any of Dayton’s own.

It’s time, after 6 long years of the Dayton administration, to call him what he is. Gov. Dayton is Minnesota’s Obstructionist-in-Chief.

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It isn’t surprising that Steny Hoyer is pro-Obamacare. That’s expected. Still, it’s disappointing that he’d write this dishonest op-ed on the subject.

One of the claims Hoyer makes is “Lost in the ongoing and divisive political rhetoric about Obamacare during this election season has been its record of success. Since its full implementation in 2014, the law has made it possible for 20 million more Americans to gain health coverage.” Actually, the ACA had little impact on Americans getting health coverage.

I know because I wrote about it in this post. I quoted this article, which said “MIT economist Jonathan Gruber, one of Obamacare’s chief architects, reported in the New England Journal of Medicine that 63 percent of the coverage gains owed to increased Medicaid enrollment. Nearly 70 percent of that Medicaid coverage increase (44 percent of the overall coverage increase) came from people who were already eligible for Medicaid coverage before ACA passage. This had nothing to do with the ACA’s Medicaid eligibility expansion. Previously eligible people enrolled in states that did and didn’t expand Medicaid. Gruber claimed that they signed up due to ‘the ACA’s streamlining of the application process for Medicaid, removal of onerous asset tests for determining eligibility for most applicants and increased public awareness about insurance coverage options.'”

Here’s the opening paragraph of Hoyer’s op-ed:

Many Americans, from every walk of life and across the political divide, have their own stories of how Obamacare kept them from losing their homes when they got sick, how it eliminated out-of-pocket costs for preventive screenings that saved their lives, and how it made the difference in caring for their children with pre-existing conditions like asthma or epilepsy.

It’s indisputable that the ACA did some things right. Eliminating out-of-pocket screenings might be one of those things. Still, I wouldn’t be praising the ACA for eliminating out-of-pocket expenses if I were writing that op-ed, especially considering the sky-high deductibles people are experiencing.

This paragraph is downright disgusting:

This shift exposes the Republican plan for what it is: a charade. They know they don’t have an alternative, and they also know that voters will be angry with them for taking away the benefits they enjoy. That’s why they will pretend to repeal the Affordable Care Act but delay implementation until after the next election. However, nothing would delay the chaotic effects of repeal that would start from day one.

Hoyer’s right if he meant that Republicans don’t have a big-government-one-size-fits-all alternative. If he meant that Republicans don’t have a plan with lots of options that offer families and individuals lots of options, including HSAs, then he’s lying through his teeth.

If Hoyer meant that health insurance wouldn’t be affordable with the Republicans’ plan, I’d simply tell him to contact farmers in southeastern Minnesota. A family of 3 will pay $3,300 a month in premiums, then have to pay $13,900 in out-of-pocket expenses, aka their deductible, before the insurance company pays out a penny in benefits.

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Speaker Kurt Daudt’s letter to Gov. Dayton calls out Gov. Dayton for shifting the goalposts after months of negotiations. In his letter to Gov. Dayton, Speaker Daudt wrote “At our December 2 meeting, we agreed to empower our members and your commissioners who know these subject matters best. Per that framework, our issue area experts have been meeting almost daily with either members of your administration or legislators from the other three caucuses. I am thankful for their continued effort towards reaching consensus. Your letter Tuesday outlining new additions to the bonding bill and drastic changes to the tax bill showed a significant departure from the progress I thought we had made.”

Speaker Daudt didn’t stop there. Later, he said “This week you took a step backward, undoing months of work by all parties. Projects that were set aside long ago have reemerged in your new proposal. For example, six months ago we agreed to not pursue MSOP Phase 2, but you are now demanding that project along with items never before included in your requests or discussions like Gateway Corridor BRT. You also wrote your intention is to use Appropriation Bonds for your requests which have much higher interest rates than General Obligation Bonds and therefore a greater cost to Minnesota taxpayers. Lastly, in your new proposal for the transportation portion of the bonding bill you preserve earmarks for your projects while stripping out our priorities that are immediately awaiting funding.”

Gov. Dayton’s bad-faith negotiating shows his true character. Actually, it’s proof of Gov. Dayton’s lack of character. Why did Gov. Dayton change things this dramatically this late in the process? Is this another of Gov. Dayton’s childish hissy fits? Is it proof that he’s a spoiled brat that thinks he can do whatever he wants without consequences? If it’s the latter, I’d suggest he look at the results of the 2016 election. His actions definitely had negative consequences for the DFL.

Minnesotans hoping for health insurance premium relief or property tax relief won’t take kindly to Gov. Dayton withdrawing support for negotiated proposals, then replacing those negotiated provisions with last-minute provisions. That’s the definition of bad faith negotiating.

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Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp has asked the incoming Trump administration to look into a series of hack attacks that happened over the last year. Secretary Kemp is asking for the investigation to be done by the Trump administration because Kemp thinks the cyberattacks were conducted by the Obama administration.

According to the article, “Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp said DHS has made multiple attempts to ‘infiltrate our network,’ including a ‘large attack’ on Nov. 15, which DHS disputes, that prompted him to send a letter to Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson.”

Kemp thinks that DHS attempted these attacks because “Georgia has been pushing back for months against DHS deliberations over whether to classify electoral infrastructure as ‘critical infrastructure'”, adding that these “scans correspond to key election dates and times when I was speaking out against DHS’ plans.”

If Kemp is right that DHS tried strong-arming Georgia to accept DHS ‘protection’, which is what Kemp is accusing them of, then there needs to be an investigation into who performed the scans and who authorized them. It’s apparent that the Obama administration wanted to strong-arm Georgia, which is disrespectful of the Constitution itself. The Founding Fathers wanted most decisions made close to the voters.

Further, let’s study this. Hackers have accessed federal employees’ personal information, including their social security numbers. Compare that with DHS attempting to penetrate and failing. I love the fact that the feds are incompetent but that the state is competent and prepared. I’m shocked, shocked I tell you:

This MinnPost article poses the hypothetical question of whether Sen. Klobuchar will run for governor in 2018 rather than run for re-election to the US Senate. That’s a good question.

The article describes Sen. Klobuchar as “a political heavyweight”, which is fair considering the fact that she’s won her Senate races fairly handily. I don’t know, though, that she’s unbeatable. In the Senate, she’s co-sponsored lots of meaningless bills with Republicans. So what? She hasn’t distinguished herself as a leader on the biggest issues of the day. In fact, she’s avoided the toughest issues of the day.

There’s another consideration that Democrats haven’t talked about, which is that 2018 promises to be a difficult year for Democrats. There’s a definite possibility that Republicans could win enough seats in 2018 to have a filibuster-proof majority in 2019. If that happens, Sen. Klobuchar’s presidential ambitions immediately disappear forever. I can’t picture Sen. Schumer not pressuring Sen. Klobuchar to run for re-election to prevent that filibuster-proof GOP majority.

I don’t doubt that DFL readers of LFR are questioning my implication that a Republican would win that seat if Sen. Klobuchar ran for governor. That’s fair. Still, if Klobuchar ran for governor, I’d bet big money that a Republican like Pete Hegseth would jump in and defeat the DFL-endorsed candidate fairly handily.

Klobuchar could bridge Minnesota’s rural-urban divide: One of the loudest messages of the 2016 election is that many rural residents don’t feel understood or heard by the political establishments in Washington and St. Paul. In particular, many rural residents were upset by the costs of health care.

Sen. Klobuchar voted for the ACA, which means she’s partially to blame for Minnesota’s skyrocketing premiums and expensive premiums. It’s impossible to vote for that disaster, then insist that you’re blameless in the matter.

The only way she’d have credibility is if she voted with Republicans to repeal and replace the ACA. If she did that, the DFL base would treat her like she’d just proposed building a coal-fired power plant in Minneapolis.

Sen. Klobuchar is a formidable opponent. Still, I don’t want Republicans to think that she’s unstoppable. When she ran in 2006 and 2012, she ran in very pro-Democrat elections. That won’t be the situation in 2018. Further, she was protected by the media from scrutiny. While it’s true that the Twin Cities media will still protect ‘St. Amy of Hennepin County’, Sen. Klobuchar’s nickname, Minnesotans are in a totally different mindset.

I still find it difficult to believe she’ll give up her cushy Senate seat to run for governor.

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It’s nice to throw in a healthy dose of sarcasm when talking about MNsure. Without it, people might get frustrated. This LTE highlights how dysfunctional MNsure is.

The Dayton administration insists that MNsure is working just fine. For instance, “MNsure CEO Allison O’Toole said the exchange ‘has improved significantly every year’ and predicted that ‘trend will continue again this year.'”

That’s news to Olmsted County. They’ve had “to hire five people to handle eligibility processing manually because the automated system is so profoundly broken.” MNsure is dysfunctional. Premiums are skyrocketing. Deductibles are sky-high. Thoughtful people looking at those realities shake their heads and think that people defending MNsure/Obamacare are political hacks.

That’s before factoring in the fact that a month’s insurance premium costs more than the annual penalty. That’s before factoring in the $13,000 deductible that many families’ policies come with. Given those details, why would healthy people purchase health insurance? They’re literally thousands of dollars better off taking their chances.

Seriously, there’s virtually nothing to like about MNsure or the ACA. To borrow an old cribbage phrase, the best way to throw that hand is away. MNsure is crap, which is why it needs to be shit-canned.

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Josh Kraushaar’s article for the National Journal contains some early observations on the 2018 elections for the House and Senate. I agree with Kraushaar when he said “If Trump struggles in of­fice and Demo­crats be­ne­fit as the op­pos­i­tion party, their odds of win­ning a Sen­ate ma­jor­ity would still be nearly im­possible. A mere eight Sen­ate Re­pub­lic­ans are fa­cing reelec­tion in 2018, and six of them are run­ning in the most con­ser­vat­ive states in the coun­try. Sen­ate Demo­crats need to pick up three seats to re­take the ma­jor­ity, which would re­quire de­fend­ing all 11 of their vul­ner­able mem­bers while de­feat­ing someone like Ted Cruz in Texas or Bob Cork­er in Ten­ness­ee. Don’t bet on it.”

It’s pretty obvious that Democrats have no chance of winning back the US Senate. The only chance Ted Cruz has of not being the junior senator from Texas is if he’s confirmed as a Supreme Court justice. I sorta agree with Kraushaar when he says “House Demo­crats would be well-po­si­tioned to take ad­vant­age—if they re­cruit ef­fect­ively and of­fer a more mod­er­ate im­age than they’ve presen­ted in re­cent years. They need to pick up 24 seats to re­gain the ma­jor­ity, around the same num­ber of Re­pub­lic­ans who are rep­res­ent­ing con­gres­sion­al seats that Clin­ton car­ried.”

Let’s be clear about something. The chances of Nancy Pelosi recruiting moderates is virtually nonexistent. The odds of House Democrats putting together an appealing message for America’s Heartland is significantly less than the odds Nancy Pelosi will recruit moderates. The Keith Ellison/Bernie Sanders/Elizabeth Warren wing of the Democratic Party would throw a hissy fit.

Demo­crats, however, are learn­ing all the wrong les­sons from the elec­tion res­ults. They just reelec­ted Pelosi as their lead­er even though she’s one of the party’s most un­pop­u­lar fig­ures—and has served as a mas­cot to rally Re­pub­lic­an voters over the last six years. In­stead of treat­ing the House like a win­nable goal, they’re com­plain­ing about ger­ry­mandered dis­tricts and fo­cus­ing more on the 2022 elec­tions (the first elec­tion, post-re­dis­trict­ing) than the pro­spect of win­ning a ma­jor­ity in two years. They’re lean­ing more on Bernie Sanders and Eliza­beth War­ren for their mes­saging, even though the sen­at­ors’ so­cial­ist rhet­or­ic is tox­ic in the very dis­tricts that House Demo­crats need to flip.

Under Ms. Pelosi’s leadership, Democrats never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity. Under Ms. Pelosi’s leadership, Democrats couldn’t find the mainstream of American politics with a year’s supply of gas and a GPS. Thanks to Under Ms. Pelosi’s leadership, Democrats view Rust Belt voters as aliens from a strange planet.

Finally, there’s this:

Demo­crats have been so ob­sessed with dis­trict lines be­ing their biggest obstacle to vic­tory that they’ve neg­lected to real­ize their mes­sage is badly out of sync with the very voters they need to win.

It’s impossible to learn from a professor you refuse to attend. Democrats think it’s an enthusiasm problem. It’s actually a credibility/integrity problem.

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If this article is right, then it’s right to call Harvard law professor Larry Lessig a liberal anarchist. According to the article, Prof. Lessig “is claiming 20 Republican members of the Electoral College are considering voting against President-elect Donald Trump.” Specifically, Prof. Lessig “announced earlier this month he would offer free legal assistance to electors who want to vote against Trump but live in states where it’s illegal to do so.”

According to Wikipedia, Prof. Lessig “is an American academic, attorney, and political activist. He is the Roy L. Furman Professor of Law at Harvard Law School and the former director of the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University. Lessig was a candidate for the Democratic Party’s nomination for President of the United States in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, but withdrew before the primaries.”

Hillary Clinton threw a hissy fit during the final presidential debate when Donald Trump refused “to say whether he’d accept the election results.” That was Trump’s response to a hypothetical question. What Lessig is doing is implementing a plan to knowingly break the law. More importantly, if successful, it would thwart the will of the people.

When George W. Bush defeated Al Gore, Democrats attempted to persuade some Republican electors to vote for then-Vice President Gore. This time, they’re doing the same thing. I don’t doubt that the DNC and the Clinton campaign will deny any involvement in this attempted theft of the election. If the DNC and the Clinton campaign deny participating in this evil scheme, ignore their statements.

Thanks to Wikileaks, we know that the DNC rigged the Democratic primary so that Hillary Clinton would win. Further, we know that Donna Brazile, the current acting chair of the DNC, emailed specific CNN debate questions to Hillary Clinton and that the Clinton campaign was totally happy to skirt the rules.

It’s important to remember that Hillary Clinton once said that she had a public position and a private position:

Hillary Clinton told top banking executives that she has “both a public and a private position” on Wall Street reform and is reliant on wealthy donors to fund her campaign, leaked excerpts of the former first lady’s speeches seem to show, fueling claims of hypocrisy on the part of Mrs. Clinton at a crucial moment in the presidential campaign.

The point is that Mrs. Clinton isn’t an honest person. She’s publicly implied that thwarting the will of the people was anarchy. Connecting the dots, people have a right to question if this is one of those times when Mrs. Clinton’s private policy is significantly different than her public position.

After passing a budget and repealing and replacing Obamacare, Congress should pass a federal law that prohibits electors from voting for anyone other than the winner of that state’s presidential election. It’s time we eliminated this electoral chaos once and for all.

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