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Archive for May, 2017

Especially when it comes to health care, Democrats can’t help but wildly distort the truth. First, the basics: the CBO scoring of the House bill says that approximately 22,000,000-24,000,000 fewer people will have health care if the American Health Care Act is signed into law.

Simply put, that’s BS.

According to the Democrats, the people most affected by the AHCA will be people with pre-existing conditions and the elderly. Again, that’s an outright lie. The elderly won’t lose coverage if the AHCA is signed into law because Medicare is still the law of the land. People with pre-existing conditions won’t lose coverage because of high risk pools.

Minnesota had a high risk pool prior to the ACA. In 2007, the Kaiser Health Foundation reported that 92.8% of Minnesotans were insured. With nearly everyone insured, it isn’t a stretch to think that the majority of seniors and the majority of people with pre-existing conditions were insured. In fact, it’s a pretty safe assumption that high percentages of those demographics were covered.

In short, whenever people hear Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi or Hillary Clinton complain that millions of people will get thrown off of their health insurance, let’s remember that these are the same people that said that “if you like your plan, you can keep your plan.”

Those of us who are old enough will remember this everlasting moment:

Whichever memory you choose, the results are the same. The Democrats’ primary tactic is to fabricate answers in the hopes of frightening people. It’s always been that way.

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If this article is telling the truth, some Obama administration officials likely will be facing substantial jail time.

Circa News is reporting that “More than 5 percent, or one out of every 20 searches seeking upstream Internet data on Americans inside the NSA’s so-called Section 702 database violated the safeguards Obama and his intelligence chiefs vowed to follow in 2011, according to one classified internal report reviewed by Circa.”

Further, Circa quotes a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court document that said “Since 2011, NSA’s minimization procedures have prohibited use of U.S.-person identifiers to query the results of upstream Internet collections under Section 702,” the unsealed court ruling declared. “The Oct. 26, 2016 notice informed the court that NSA analysts had been conducting such queries in violation of that prohibition, with much greater frequency than had been previously disclosed to the Court.”

This video is stunning:

Eventually, the FISA Court got so frustrated with the Obama administration that it rebuked them. It’s clear that Obama administration officials should be worried about their legal exposure. This time, Susan Rice’s testimony won’t be off-the-record. This time, it’ll be under penalty of perjury.

Let’s just say I’m thankful I’m not facing Ms. Rice’s situation.

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Early this morning, House Majority Leader Joyce Peppin went toe-to-toe with House Minority Leader Melissa Hortman over whether the DFL would support the GOP Tax Bill. To pass the bill, the House suspended the rules, which requires 90 votes to pass a bill in the House.

Initially, Peppin asked whether Hortman would supply the additional 13 votes to pass the bill. Hortman replied that she’d vote for the bill but that she couldn’t speak for her members. Peppin pounced at that answer, saying that she’d signed a document that said she’d help pass the GOP Tax Bill. Hortman argued that she couldn’t tell others how to vote, causing Peppin to say that that logic essentially voided the agreement between Gov. Dayton, Speaker Daudt, Senate Majority Leader Gazelka, Senate Minority Leader Bakk and Hortman.

The DFL offered numerous class-warfare amendments to the bill, each of which were defeated. The bill was tabled before final passage, at which time the DFL caucused for half an hour. When they returned, Hortman had ‘found’ the 13 votes (and then some) to pass the bill 102-31.

Joyce Peppin stared down the House DFL leader and beat her. Congratulations, Mrs. Peppin!

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Last night, Gov. Dayton blinked. Last night, Gov. Dayton agreed to most of the Republicans’ demands. During each of the last 2 budget sessions, Gov. Dayton’s top 3 priorities were raising the gas tax, universal pre-K and funding SWLRT. In each of those sessions, he’s fallen short on all 3 items. Last night, Gov. Dayton caved on all of those items plus agreed to the Republicans’ $660,000,000 middle class tax cut.

In short, the GOP accomplished a clean sweep on their major priorities.

While it’s true that the GOP increased spending a bit, Republicans kept the spending increases to a minimum. On their policy initiatives, they succeeded gloriously. There’s no other way to express it. This SC Times article got the details badly wrong when it said “11:45 p.m.: Minnesota legislative leaders said they’ll call a special session to finish the state budget after they miss Monday’s midnight deadline to finalize a new spending package.”

The budget deal would’ve been passed with days to spare if Gov. Dayton hadn’t insisted on full funding for the SWLRT boondoggle, the universal pre-K disaster and the gas tax increase. Further, the legislature can’t call a special session. Only Minnesota’s governor can. Period. This year, unfortunately, that means this guy:

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Gen. Braxton Bragg was the subject of Harold Hamilton’s weekly commentary last week. Yesterday, Hamilton wrote “There is a famous anecdote, perhaps apocryphal, about Bragg’s early years as a military officer. The story goes that Bragg was both a company commander and the quartermaster of a frontier post early in his career. Bragg as commander submitted a requisition for supplies for his company, then as quartermaster declined to fill it. As company commander, he resubmitted the requisition, giving additional reasons for his requirements, but as the quartermaster he denied the request again. Realizing that he was at a personal impasse, he referred the matter to the post commandant, who exclaimed, ‘My God, Mr. Bragg, you have quarreled with every officer in the army, and now you are quarreling with yourself!'”

Next, Hamilton wrote “Governor Dayton has indeed quarreled with himself both this session and every session since he assumed office in 2011. For example, Dayton has argued with himself regarding spending targets, which has resulted in a moving target for the most fundamental issue of the session, how much to spend. Dayton has argued with himself over transportation. He has publicly stated he would sign the transportation bill sent to him and then turned around and vetoed the bills sent to him, describing it as ‘deplorable.'”

In short, Gov. Dayton’s arguments with himself have left Minnesotans wondering when (or if) he’ll put a priority on negotiating. At this point, it isn’t certain that Gov. Dayton is capable of that. Frankly, I’m not certain he ever was.

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True to form, Gov. Dayton inexplicably vetoed middle class tax relief that Republicans supported and that the DFL rejected.

In rejecting the Republicans’ bill, Dayton said that the bill’s cuts are “irresponsibly large” and focus “tax relief to some of the most fortunate.” Responding to Gov. Dayton’s veto letter, the Center for the American Experiment replied “The House and Senate agreed to over $1 billion dollars in tax cuts last week, much of it focused on the middle class. The largest chunk—nearly $220 million—went to cut taxes on social security income. The bill also included substantial increases in subtractions and credits for expenses related to child care, education, scholarship program contributions, and student loans.”

The truth is that Gov. Dayton won’t sign a tax bill that demolishes his tax increases from 2013. For all their talk about loving the middle class, the truth is that the DFL loves tax increases exponentially more than they love the middle class. The DFL’s last centrists have either died or switched parties. Gov. Dayton and President Obama are leading the way in making them politically irrelevant.

UPDATE: All 89 DFL legislators (57 in the House & 32 in the Senate) voted against the GOP tax cuts.

Tom Herger should be ashamed of himself for his recent letter that the St. Cloud Times published. In his letter, Herger wrote “A decade of declining state investment in the state’s colleges and universities has led to deep cuts across the system, and we need Sen. Jerry Relph, Rep. Jim Knoblach and legislative Republican majorities to work with the governor to increase funding for state colleges and universities back to historical levels.”

Later, Herger wrote “Up to 13 years ago, the Legislature continually funded two-thirds of the cost of instruction at public universities and colleges. Students and their families were responsible for the remaining third. This provided an accessible stepping-stone to the middle class for all Minnesotans. But as funding for public higher education was cut continually from 2002-2013, that important step became out of reach for too many middle-class families. By 2013, students in Minnesota were responsible for two-thirds of the cost of their education.”

While it’s true higher education funding has decreased in some years, it isn’t accurate to say that funding was cut. It’s that spending by virtually unaccountable administrators increased exponentially. It’s that enrollment revenues have shrunk mightily, too. (At SCSU, this includes shrinking dorm rent revenues, too, and expensive outlays for Coborn’s Plaza.)

Finally, there’s this:

A state’s budget is a real-world reflection of a state’s priorities, it’s as simple as that. We need the budget to reflect the priority that we, as a state, have always placed on higher education.

A university’s budget reflects its priorities, too. SCSU wants to spend more money on rebranding. The last time they did that was 5 years ago. They spent north of $400,000 on that. After rebranding, enrollment kept declining.

The truth is that SCSU and MnSCU have been badly mismanaged. Nowhere in Herger’s letter does he talk about improving leadership. He just talked about throwing more money at failing institutions. If you don’t fix the root cause, the problem will never get solved.

Since news broke of Jim Comey’s firing yesterday, Democrats have acted like drama queens. They’ve pretended that Comey’s firing is surprising even though many of them have called for his head (or worse).

Some in the DC media wing of the Democratic Party have gone crazy:

That matches the Senate wing of the Democratic Party:

That matches the print wing of the Democratic Party:

President Donald Trump’s astonishing firing of FBI director James Comey on Tuesday afternoon raised throughout Washington the inevitable question: Is this Watergate? While Watergate was sui generis and is likely to remain so, Trump’s metastasizing crisis, and Washington’s reaction to it, make for a discomfiting reminder of that period. And suddenly it seems increasingly possible it could end the same way.

Seriously? Do Democrats realize how idiotic they sound? This isn’t a scandal. It certainly isn’t Watergate.

When Nixon fired Archibald Cox, Cox had identified a crime (the break-in of DNC headquarters in the Watergate Hotel) and had accumulated lots of incriminating evidence against President Nixon.

This nothing-burger is missing a crime and evidence. Further, the FBI has admitted that their investigation isn’t a criminal investigation. In other words, Comeygate is missing everything that Cox had when he was fired.

Other than those things, Comeygate is eerily reminiscent of Watergate.

Last Thursday, House Democrats threw a hissy fit. They followed their leader, Nancy Pelosi, over a cliff. They refused to offer any amendments during the debate of the American Health Care Act. Then, at the end of the vote, they did this:

Let’s get serious here. Democrats in the House and Senate have resisted any changes to the ACA. These days, they talk about how “the bill isn’t perfect” or how it needs to be tweaked. They don’t admit, though, how the ACA is broken and unfixable.

They won’t admit that people are already losing coverage:

Medica, which offers exchange plans for 12,645 members in Iowa, has a relatively small presence in the market but the recent exits of other big insurers — Aetna and Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield — makes Medica just one of two insurers selling plans on the exchanges for 2018.

Democrats won’t admit the ACA is broken:

Giant insurer Aetna on Wednesday continued an ongoing retreat from the Obamacare business, announcing it will not sell such health plans in Virginia next year because of expected financial losses.

Instead, Democrats keep sitting on the sidelines without offering substantive alternatives. That isn’t leadership. That’s political gamesmanship.

The only question left at this point is whether Democrats are digging their 2018 grave. I suspect they are.

It’s time to tell Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and the rest of the Democratic “Resistance” movement that their economic policies don’t work. It’s time they took a class I’d call “Economics for Dummies.”

The first principle of Economics for dummies is that companies making big profits spread that wealth around in the form of pay raises, promotions and expanding their companies. By comparison, companies operating in a stagnant economy, like what we had during the last administration, tend to be tight-fisted with their money.

Punishing companies with high taxes and excessive regulations doesn’t eliminate wealth creation. Instead, it incentivizes companies to hoard or hide their wealth. That leads directly to less upward mobility for those lower on the organization chart.

Until socialists like Sanders and Warren stop pushing their economic ‘gospel’, Democrats will keep underperforming in elections, including 2018.