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Archive for September, 2017

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones was a hero for a day. Unfortunately for him, he tried being too clever by half. First, Jones said “I just feel so strongly that the act of recognizing the flag is a salute to our country and all of the people that have sacrificed so that we can have the liberties we have. I feel very strongly that everyone should save that moment for the recognition of the flag in a positive way, so I like the way the Cowboys do it.” Later, Jones said “I do not think the place to express yourself in society is as we recognize the American flag and all the people that have made this great country—the very opportunity for us to be there in front of the nation. So that’s not the place to do anything but honor the flag and everybody that’s given up a little for it.”

People on Twitter were praising him for standing up to Commissioner Goodell and the NFL. Those praises disappeared the instant Jerry Jones tried being too clever by half. Apparently, Jones thinks football fans aren’t smart. That’s because he “joined his team’s players in kneeling before the national anthem prior to their game Monday night at Arizona. Jones, Coach Jason Garrett and other Cowboys coaches and front office executives locked arms while standing on the field. Prior to the anthem, Jones and the players and coaches took a knee. They stood, with arms still interlocked, for the anthem.”

Prior to that stunt, Jones made this comment:

To quote Paul Mirengoff’s posts about Steve Kerr and Steph Curry, Jerry Jones wants to have it both ways. The NFL won’t have to commission a poll to find out what fans are thinking. Here’s why:

Some in the crowd at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz., where the Cowboys were taking on the host Cardinals, booed at the display.

I was thinking I’d return to watching my Vikings’ games this weekend. After tonight’s stunt, I’m reconsidering that decision.

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Leftist activist organization Indivisible has published this op-ed criticizing President Trump’s strategy towards North Korea.

In the op-ed, Elizabeth Beavers wrote “On September 19, Donald Trump spoke for the first time at the United Nations General Assembly. If you didn’t see it, spoiler alert: it was a national embarrassment. Trump escalated his usual ‘America First’ theme into a vision of foreign policy in which human rights are nonexistent and war is always the answer.” Suffice it to say that nuance isn’t Indivisible’s strength. Truth isn’t Indivisible’s strength, either.

Implied in Indivisible’s op-ed is that North Korea is a model citizen on human rights. That’s foolishness on steroids. Indivisible is also dishonest in saying directly that President Trump is pushing war. In his UN speech, President Trump said that “The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea.” President Trump didn’t say that he’d launch a pre-emptive strike against Kim Jung Un. Instead, he said that he’d “defend itself or its allies” if it’s attacked.

What’s worth noting is that North Korea has shot missiles over Japan and in Guam’s direction. According to Indivisible’s op-ed, the US should let North Korea shoot missiles over US territories and allies. I won’t stand with Indivisible if they won’t protect US allies. While I don’t support pre-emptive strikes against North Korea, I certainly agree with the UN charter, which says that each nation has the inherent right to self-defense.

This paragraph is stunning in its stupidity:

Even though we’ve heard that ‘all is fair in love and war,’ it’s not. There are clear laws and norms restricting the use of military force, and they don’t allow for many of the things Trump has said he wants to do, some of which amount to war crimes. It’s on progressives to urge accountability and rule of law in the face of reckless militarism.

I’d love hearing from Indivisible what war crimes the US would commit if it defended itself from a missile attack. I’m betting that Indivisible is making that up, that the US wouldn’t commit any war crimes if it responded to a missile attack on Guam.

I’d love forgetting that Indivisible existed. Unfortunately, they’re an important part of the Democrats’ Resistance movement.

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Last Friday, Gov. Dayton made a point of repeatedly saying that he’d been lied to, saying “in my 40 years dealing with Minnesota government I have never ever been lied to”, adding that “the people of Minnesota have been lied to and the Supreme Court has been lied to about the predicament that my vetoes supposedly put the Legislature in.”

First, it’s undisputed fact that Gov. Dayton’s veto will cause the legislature to run out of money. Gov. Dayton vetoed the appropriation for the biennium, not just until the 2018 session. Next, it’s worth noting that Gov. Dayton said that he’d “never been lied to” in his 40 years of government. That might be but he’s lied to us. Remember this golden oldie? It’s the article about then-Sen. Dayton “closed his Capitol Hill office Tuesday until after the November 2 election, fearing a possible terrorist attack that could harm his staff or visitors.” The thing is that then-Sen. Dayton closed the office despite the fact that the Capitol Police and the Department of Homeland Security denied there being a terrorist threat.

Sgt. Contricia Ford of the U.S. Capitol Police said “There’s no new threat or information pertaining to a threat that’s come in. We continue to advise (people) to take caution … but there’s no new information that we’ve put out.” Further, “Brian Roehrkasse, a spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security, added: ‘We have not made a recommendation for any members of Congress to close their offices, and we do not have any specific threat reporting indicating that Washington, D.C., and the Capitol is a target.'”

This happened in October, 2004, right before the presidential election in which terrorism and homeland security were the biggest issues. Let’s remember that then-Sen. Dayton was the only person on Capitol Hill to shut his office. It’s worth noting that he’s the only member of the Senate who claims he got briefed by then-Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist about this terrorist attack.

I remember that election well. It was right before I started blogging. What I remember clearly is that CBS ran a fake story telling the nation that then-President Bush had gone AWOL while he was serving in the Texas Air National Guard. Powerline blew that story to smithereens the night CBS aired the segment.

For those too young to have experienced the onslaught, the Media wing of the Democratic Party, working in concert with congressional Democrats, tried destroying President Bush’s national security credentials with CBS’s fake story. While it wasn’t proven, people suspected that then-Sen. Dayton tried undermining President Bush’s credibility with his own fake national security story.

The fact that jumps out at me is that everyone on Capitol Hill, whether left, right or in between, denies having received the briefing. Either then-Sen. Dayton has an over-active imagination or he’s a pathetic liar. Either option is a possibility.

The point to the trip down memory lane is to remind people that then-Sen. Dayton was heading for defeat until he retired after a single term. Then-Sen. Dayton wasn’t a trustworthy person. For him now to accuse Republicans of lying to him is utterly laughable.

As it consistently does, the NFL players and owners are missing what the fans are telling them. To steal a phrase from history, the NFL has a penchant of never missing an opportunity to miss an opportunity. While players, coaches and a few owners stand in defiance to … who knows what, fans are sending the NFL a clear message that the NFL seems too dense to understand. Yesterday was an historic day in the history of the NFL. This article totally misses the point.

In saying that “Donald Trump has demonstrated himself to be perhaps the one human capable of making the NFL look like a sympathetic character in our national story”, Jack Holmes displays that he hasn’t noticed that the fans are siding with President Trump. Apparently, Holmes hasn’t noticed that NFL TV ratings have suffered while the players displayed their lack of patriotism.

Later, Holmes wrote “The president set out to demonize a group of primarily black athletes exercising their First Amendment rights to protest, silently, during a ceremony celebrating American values because they do not think America is living up to those values. It seems his attempt to isolate and marginalize them has only grown their movement.” First, characterizing this as mostly being about race is dishonest. Players of all races participated in dishonoring the American flag and the National Anthem. Next, this isn’t about the First Amendment because the Supreme Court has ruled that businesses can dictate employees’ conduct while they’re in the workplace. Third, if the players and owners want to further damage their product, they should keep doing what they’re doing.

I wonder how long before it sinks in that fans don’t appreciate the NFL’s unpatriotic behavior. Perhaps this will help the NFL recognize that the fans aren’t with them:

The NFL’s ratings are dropping. Fans are speaking out. The players continue to act like spoiled brats. In other words, the NFL is acting like Democratic activists while the fans stay rooted in reality. The question now is how long it will take for the NFL to figure things out. Based on past history, there isn’t much reason to be hopeful that they’ll figure things out.

UPDATE: I don’t think it will take long for Commissioner Goodell to get the message that this isn’t working for them. The NFL’s ratings are tanking:

Last night’s SNF peaked with a 12.5/20 during the second quarter at 9 – 9:30 PM ET. Not that such a number can feel good to the NFL with ratings down double-digits this season so far after taking a similar tackle last year.

The NFL’s activism is killing the proverbial golden goose. If the players persist in insulting fans in the name of activism, the NFL should prepare for significantly smaller TV revenue.

UPDATE II: If the NFL ratings aren’t enough to get the NFL’s attention, perhaps this will:

Alejandro Villanueva jersey sales are skyrocketing after he was the lone member of the Pittsburgh Steelers to stand for the national anthem before Sunday’s game against the Chicago Bears.

Nothing verifies the fact that Sen. Franken is owned by leftist special interest organizations than a letter from 27 special interest organizations praising him for blocking David Stras’s confirmation.

Until recently, PFAW, aka People for the American Way, has been significantly to the left of the Democratic Party for years. When Ralph Neas was PFAW’s president, he was known for hyperbole. For instance, Neas once said “that if the views of Scalia and Thomas were to become the majority on the Court, ‘the result on issue after issue would be a radical, reactionary shift in U.S. law.’ Specifically: ‘religious liberty would suffer’; ‘church-state separation’ would be compromised; ‘the right to strike and bargain collectively’ would be weakened; ‘laws that protect workers from sexual harassment’ would be overturned; ‘the federal government would be barred from stopping the destruction of endangered species on private land’; ‘local governments’ power to protect the environment would be restricted’; and ‘sensible gun-control legislation would be struck down.'”

Since then, PFAW has moved left. It’s worth noting that PFAW is one of the 27 organizations that is praising Sen. Franken. Here’s the opening paragraph of the special interests’ letter to Sen. Franken:

We, the undersigned civil rights, labor, and other public interest organizations, write to thank you for your commitment to preserving a fair-minded and independent judiciary. Now more than ever, our courts must serve as a check on the president, whose executive actions repeatedly disregard the law and the Constitution, and your recent, principled decision not to return your blue slip on the nomination of Justice David Stras to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit helps ensure that our courts can fulfill this essential role.

When they write that the “courts must serve as a check on the president”, they’re admitting that they’re worried about President Trump. Remember that the left sees Scalia as evil. He actually ruled according to the Constitution. They want a jurist who will implement their policy preferences without questioning.

As former Vice President Mondale has pointed out, in supporting your decision on Justice Stras, the blue slip tradition also has been vital in helping to promote bipartisan cooperation and prevent “overt partisanship” in judicial nominations. Indeed, it is a manifestation of the Constitution’s Advice and Consent process. The blue slip practice is one of the constitutional checks and balances that helps maintain equilibrium among the branches of government. When the Senate majority places partisan loyalty to the president over the Senate’s institutional interests in independently carrying out its constitutional responsibilities, the blue slip serves as a vital corrective.

Under normal circumstances, “the blue slip tradition” is vital to building bipartisan consensus. Democrats have shown, though, that they aren’t even slightly interested in building bipartisan consensus. This website sums up what Sen. Franken and the Democrats are about:

Our mission is to fuel a progressive grassroots network of local groups to resist the Trump agenda.

Thus far this session, Democrats have used every tool to prevent the installation of President Trump’s government. They’ve repeatedly used arcane rules to delay committee hearings on cabinet appointees. They’ve voted in lockstep with Sen. Schumer virtually all the time. Sen. Franken isn’t representing Minnesota. He’s representing Sen. Schumer and the Democrats’ special interest allies.

This is laughable:

You could have followed the examples of Senators McConnell, Sessions, Shelby, and Coats and not reviewed Justice Stras’ record, withholding your blue slip based solely on the lack of meaningful consultation. However, you went beyond process to evaluate extensively his record. Those of us who wrote the Committee on August 31 very much agree with your conclusion that rather than demonstrating fairness and open-mindedness, his record demonstrates that he would reliably rule in favor of powerful corporate interests over working people, and that he would place a high bar before plaintiffs seeking justice at work, at school, and at the ballot box.

That could’ve been written by Ralph Neas. It sounds that paranoid. What’s obvious is that Sen. Franken won’t vote for anyone who doesn’t get PFAW’s stamp of approval.

Sen. Franken isn’t a patriot. Apparently, Sen. Franken doesn’t know that it’s unconstitutional to demand that a nominee pass a ‘religious test’. Watch this video, then tell me that this is a patriot, an honorable man:

Frankly, I’d love to see Sen. Franken, Sen. Feinstein and Sen. Durbin get censured for questioning a judicial nominee’s religious beliefs. It’s immoral. More importantly, it’s unconstitutional. Finally, here’s the list of special interest organizations that signed the letter to Sen. Franken:

African American Ministers In Action
Alliance for Justice
American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Unions
American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees
Center for American Progress
Committee for a Fair Judiciary
Courage Campaign
Every Voice
Family Equality Council
Human Rights Campaign
Lambda Legal
Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights
NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, Inc.
NARAL Pro-Choice America
National Black Justice Coalition
National Center for Lesbian Rights
National Council of Jewish Women
National Education Association
National Employment Lawyers Association
National Women’s Law Center
People For the American Way
Planned Parenthood Federation of America
Service Employees International Union (SEIU)
Voting Rights Forward

These are the organizations that Sen. Franken represents. He doesn’t represent all Minnesotans. He’s a disgrace.

The environmentalists’ newest dog-and-pony show, aka the Enbridge Line 3 Pipeline Project, hearings start this week. It’s guaranteed that environmental activists will turn out in big numbers, thanks to the Dayton-Rothman Commerce Department’s gift.

When the Commerce Department provided testimony to the Public Utilities Commission, they said that “the project isn’t needed and won’t benefit Minnesota.” I question the validity of that testimony since it closely resembles the statements made by Steve Morse, the executive director of the Minnesota Environmental Partnership, about the Pipeline project. That’s basis enough to question whether the Dayton-Rothman Commerce Department is essentially being run by special interest organizations opposed ideologically, not scientifically, to the project.

In their testimony, the Dayton-Rothman Commerce Department states that refineries are running near capacity, which, in their opinion, is proof that another pipeline isn’t needed. Why doesn’t the Commerce Department and the Minnesota Environmental Partnership think that that’s proof that we need to increase refining capacity, not reduce pipeline capacity?

The testimony is short-sighted in another way. Does anyone think that this oil won’t get shipped via a different pipeline if this pipeline project is rejected? If the PUC rejects this pipeline project, will the oil company simply shut down their operations in Alberta? Or will they simply start working with a different state to build a different pipeline? I’d submit that the latter scenario is most likely.

If that’s the case, why would the DFL shortchange construction unions and Minnesota’s small towns in northern Minnesota? Should this man essentially have a 1-man veto over infrastructure projects?

The DFL frequently accuses Republicans of ignoring science. Isn’t that what the DFL is doing in opposing this project? After all, Republicans aren’t foolish enough that fossil fuel usage has leveled off and will start declining. That’s what Gov. Dayton’s Commerce Department and the MEP argue. The chances of that happening are remote. The chances of the MEP’s predictions being accurate are even more unlikely.

After NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and DeMaurice Smith, the executive director of the NFLPA, criticized, NFL owners tried limiting the PR hit the NFL will take for taking a knee rather than standing at attention for the National Anthem by releasing statements. Zygi and Mark Wilf issued this statement.

The statement says “Professional sports offer a platform unlike any other, a platform that can bring people from a variety of backgrounds together to impact positive change in our society. As owners, it is our job to foster an environment that recognizes and appreciates diversity of thought and encourages using this platform in a constructive manner. Rather than make divisive statements, we believe in promoting thoughtful, inspiring conversation that unifies our communities. We are proud of our players, coaches and staff for the important role they play in our community, and we fully support their constitutional right to respectfully and peacefully express their beliefs.”

With all due respect to the Vikings, that statement is spin. For instance, saying that “we believe in promoting thoughtful, inspiring conversation that unifies our communities” is BS. When the St. Louis Rams’ wide receivers came out of the tunnel and did the ‘hands up, don’t shoot’ gesture, was that the Wilfs’ idea of promoting thoughtful, inspiring conversation that unifies our communities”?

Steve Bisciotti, the owner of the Baltimore Ravens, took a different approach:

“We respect their demonstration and support them 100 percent. All voices need to be heard. That’s democracy in its highest form.”

I wonder if Mr. Bisciotti would feel the same way if one of his employees spoke out of turn for one of his other companies, especially if that employee’s statement hurt Mr. Bisciotti’s business. I’m betting that Mr. Bisciotti wouldn’t have the same attitude with his less famous employees who hurt his business. And make no mistake about this. Mr. Bisciotti’s NFL ’employees’ are hurting his business.

Like Zygi Wilf, Commissioner Goodell is an East Coast progressive. They live inside the East Coast progressive echochamber. Witness the surprise that Commissioner Goodell had when the public criticized him for his Ray Rice suspension. He didn’t have a clue that the penalty was inadequate. It wasn’t until he realized that the NFL was experiencing a PR nightmare that he revised the penalties.

The NFL ratings will continue to take a hit. There might be some fluctuations but the trend will be unmistakable. Until the NFL and the Vikings start understanding what people expect, their PR problems and their product will suffer.

Throughout this weekend, NFL players criticized President Trump for saying what most of the nation thinks: that they wish these prima donnas would get out of the business of politics. This morning, a couple dozen players took a knee during the playing of the national anthem before the Baltimore Ravens-Jacksonville Jaguars football game in London.

I don’t know when I’ll watch another NFL football game. It might not be this year. These spoiled brats are protesting who-knows-what. I’m not certain they know why. What’s certain is that many have bought the Black Lives Matter BS in its entirety. Last year, when players for the then-St. Louis Rams ran out of the tunnel with the ‘Hands up, don’t shoot’ gesture, they got criticized by St. Louis police officers. At the time, the police officers issued a statement, saying in part “The St. Louis Police Officers Association is profoundly disappointed with the members of the St. Louis Rams football team who chose to ignore the mountains of evidence released from the St. Louis County Grand Jury this week and engage in a display that police officers around the nation found tasteless, offensive, and inflammatory. Five members of the Rams entered the field today exhibiting the “hands-up-don’t-shoot” pose that has been adopted by protestors who accused Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson of murdering Michael Brown. The gesture has become synonymous with assertions that Michael Brown was innocent of any wrongdoing and attempting to surrender peacefully when Wilson, according to some now-discredited witnesses, gunned him down in cold blood.”

This morning, the NFL stopped being a sports league. They became a full-time political organization associated with the Democratic Party. That description fits the NBA, too. I won’t waste my time on either political organization. When the NFL sits on its hands while 5 marginal-at-best football players disrespect men and women who risk their lives trying to protect society, they’ve stopped being football players. They’ve become ill-informed progressive activists. At that point, they’ve become sheep in Al Sharpton’s ‘congregation’.

Here’s hoping that people who normally watch the NFL find something else to do this afternoon. Here’s hoping, too, that TV ratings continue dropping and that stadiums have lots of empty seats today. Instead of watching the NFL today, I’ll spend a good portion of the afternoon watching my Minnesota Twins move closer to clinching their first playoff spot since 2010. After that, I’ll watch the Minnesota Lynx try to recapture their WNBA championship that they win every other year.

Will I miss the NFL? Most likely, I’ll miss it a little. Hopefully, missing the games will be cathartic.

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When Gov. Dayton whined about being lied to about the House’s and Senate’s reserves being enough to allow them to operate until the 2018 session starts, he said that the legislature could then attempt to override his veto. That’s a rather duplicitous statement made during a speech when he accused Republicans of lying to him, “to Minnesotans and to the Supreme Court.” It’s duplicitous because he knows the chances of a single DFL legislator voting against him is virtually non-existent if not actually non-existent.

Further, Gov. Dayton knows that his line-item veto didn’t just zero out the legislature’s budget for 3 months or 6 months. Gov. Dayton’s line-item veto eliminated funding for the entire biennium. Saying that the legislature has the option of overriding his veto is duplicitous because, while technically available, the reality is that it isn’t a realistic option. It’s worth noting that legal theories don’t exist in a vacuum. It isn’t honest to say that the legislature can override his veto when everyone knows that the DFL won’t supply a single vote to override.

During his press conference, Gov. Dayton said that the “2017 Tax Bill will seriously jeopardize Minnesota government’s future and financial stability.” Notice that he didn’t say anything about the Tax Bill’s benefits to families, hard-working small businesses and farmers. That’s a pretty clear insight into Gov. Dayton’s governing philosophy. It’s the DFL’s governing philosophy, too.

By comparison, when Speaker Daudt spoke about the impasse, he said that “we consider ourselves to be in survival mode. The Governor has literally eliminated our funding. The Court has given us funding through October 1st. We do have some funds that we can use beyond that. We will look at any other option to make sure that people have a voice here at the Capitol in their elected representatives. We feel very strongly about upholding Minnesotans’ constitutional right to 3 branches of government.”

The difference in tone between Gov. Dayton and Speaker Daudt was sharp. Gov. Dayton sounded like a petulant child throwing a hissy fit. Speaker Daudt sounded like an adult.

When Paul Gazelka stepped to the podium at Friday’s press conference, one of the first things Sen. Gazelka said was “both mediation and why we sued was because the governor can’t defund the House and the Senate. That’s the issue. The issue isn’t how far we can run. We have a 2-year budget that we have to fund that we have to fund all the way to July, 2019.” I hadn’t seen this press conference but I’m happy that I’m on the same wavelength as Sen. Gazelka. I wrote about that identical principle earlier this week.

Another thing that caught my attention happened when Sen. Gazelka said “We went back in our notes and found that the governor absolutely said that he’d support the tax bill as is on the Saturday before the end. It would have been a shock had he not signed that bill.” Let’s examine that a minute.

In 2011, GOP legislative leaders met with Gov. Dayton on June 30 to make a final attempt at reaching a budget deal before the midnight end of the biennium. When Gov. Dayton agreed to a budget deal that didn’t include tax increases, legislative leaders went back to their caucuses to tell them that they’d hammered out a deal that didn’t include tax increases. When Speaker Zellers and Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch returned to Gov. Dayton’s office, Gov. Dayton told GOP leadership that he’d rejected the deal that he’d initially signed off on.

After a 2-week shutdown, Gov. Dayton agreed to the budget that the GOP leadership had proposed on June 30. When he finally accepted the deal, Gov. Dayton admitted that he didn’t realize Republicans had stripped out the controversial language from their proposal.

This year, Gov. Dayton signed off on the GOP Tax Relief Bill. Now he wants the GOP to renegotiate their tax relief bill in exchange for him signing a bill funding legislative operations. Sound familiar? If you answered yes, it’s because Gov. Dayton has shown a habit of reneging on deals that he’s initially signed off on.

Here’s the GOP press conference from last Friday:

I’d recommend watching Gov. Dayton’s’ press conference, too. Watch the difference between Gov. Dayton’s attitude and GOP leadership’s attitude. Gov. Dayton looked peevish and petulant. Speaker Daudt and Sen. Gazelka looked like adults.

Like in other years, GOP leadership will be waiting to pass a bill to restore funding for the legislature when the legislature opens in February. It’s still debatable whether Gov. Dayton will sign that bill. If Gov. Dayton vetoes it, Speaker Daudt should immediately schedule an override vote. Let’s see if DFL legislators would vote to not fund themselves. If they stick with Gov. Dayton, rural DFL legislators should expect to be tied to Gov. Dayton. They should also start writing their concession speeches or their retirement speeches.

If the DFL sides with Gov. Dayton, it will be proof that they’re Democrats first and that representing their constituents ranks way down their list of priorities.