Archive for October, 2017

Headline of the day? This headline might get unanimous support from the Fraters crew:

Wisconsin Man Locked in Beer Cooler Cited for Drinking

The headline is great. The article is pretty good too.

The unmistakable commonality running through this article is that most of the DFL gubernatorial candidates are distancing themselves from Gov. Dayton while singing Gov. Dayton’s praises.

For instance, Rebecca Otto said “Every leader is different. Every leader brings strengths and every leader has challenges.” Tina Liebling replied “I’m certainly not running to be a clone of Gov. Dayton, although I think he’s done a lot of good things. My campaign is not one of, let’s just continue on the road we’re on, because I think we need to make some change.” Paul Thissen isn’t running from Gov. Dayton, saying “I don’t think it would be bad to have another four years of Mark Dayton. Mark Dayton has been authentic and he’s been true to his word and I think he’s been a very good governor.”

What’s apparent is that they’re all distancing themselves from Gov. Dayton, which isn’t surprising. It’s understatement to say that Minnesota is changing and not in the DFL’s direction. The biggest problem with the DFL’s candidates is that they’re moving in the opposite direction of the state.

Minnesota is getting more red each cycle. The DFL is heading further left each cycle. It isn’t surprising that each of these DFL candidates is working hard to win over Bernie Sanders’ delegates. The DFL candidates are fighting for the ‘true believer’ vote.

The candidate that wins most of the Sanders delegates likely will win the DFL endorsement. Which one of these candidates accomplishes that is anyone’s guess:

If this election cycle is like the 2016 election, then this will be a change election. It’s my opinion that leftward change isn’t the type of change Minnesotans are looking for.

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Of all the idiotic things I’ve heard Rep. Adam Schiff, (D-Calif.), say this takes the cake. According to the article, “Rep. Adam Schiff, the top Democrat in the House Intelligence Committee, floated the possibility of a new investigation in response to news that President Trump actively pursued lifting a gag order on an undercover FBI informant so he could testify to Congress about the Russian nuclear industry’s bribery and money laundering during the time of the Obama administration.”

Schiff is the worst salesman of conspiracy theories I’ve ever witnessed. This morning, Schiff tweeted “If President personally intervened with DOJ to advance case against political opponent it’s beyond disturbing; I intend to pursue in new probe.” WOW! It’s absurdity on steroids to think that insisting on transparency would create howls of partisanship.

Yes, Congressman Schiff, it’s ok to investigate a political opponent if that’s where the evidence takes you. It’s only wrong if there’s nothing pointing to a person’s political opponents. In this case, the political opponent is Hillary Clinton, the personification of political corruption. She’s a corruption magnet.

Is. Rep Schiff suggesting that people engaging in corrupt acts be spared if they’re someone’s political opponent? That’s what it appears he’s suggesting in this interview:

What’s frightening is that Congressman Schiff hasn’t hesitated in engaging in a baseless witch hunt against President Trump while trying his best to discourage the testimony of a whistleblower who can provide information on the Russians’ operations:

On Wednesday, it was revealed the FBI informant can now testify to Congress after being released from a confidentiality agreement by the Justice Department. The informant’s identity has not been publicly disclosed because he was undercover for almost five years. During that time, he provided agents information about Russia’s atomic energy business in the U.S.

A report from The Hill last week said the FBI has evidence dating as far back as 2009 that nuclear industry officials from Russia had been involved in bribery, kickbacks, extortion, and money laundering that benefited Russian President Vladimir Putin’s atomic energy project expansion with the U.S.

As long as the administration isn’t engaging in a fishing expedition, I don’t see what the problem is. The minute it becomes a fishing expedition, though, that’s a problem.

President Trump’s hands are clean on this because he’s insisting on more information and transparency rather than secrecy. If Congressman Schiff has a problem with transparency, then he’s got a problem with the American people. I can’t imagine that’s a battlefield Schiff wants to fight on because it’s all downside for him.

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Forgive me if I’m more than a little skeptical that Gov. Dayton’s sudden support of PolyMet is sincere. First, Gov. Dayton said “Nothing of that magnitude is risk free but I think it’s a risk worth taking and I support the project. But they still have to meet the environmental permitting requirements.” Nothing has changed in the sense that PolyMet always would have to meet the standards set out in Minnesota law.

Further, I’m suspicious of his statement because it comes so close to Bill Hanna’s statement that “the days of blind Range voting allegiance to the DFL Party are history. Consider this: State Sen. David Tomassoni’s district is in the heart of DFL country. Yet, it was carried by Republican Donald Trump not Democrat Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election. That reflects a troubling trend for the DFL and rural Minnesota, according to Tomassoni. There were 21 rural DFL senators in the Legislature in 2009. Now there are seven, he said.”

The true test of whether Gov. Dayton has changed is whether he’ll support the Line 3 Pipeline project. It, too, would have to meet stringent environmental requirements. If Gov. Dayton doesn’t support the Line 3 Pipeline project, we’ll know that his support for PolyMet isn’t sincere.

This is utterly laughable:

The project has been studied for more than a decade and is still undergoing scrutiny. Dayton’s declaration that he supports the project does not negate or short-circuit that ongoing permitting examination. Several state agencies are currently examining the proposed mine.

“I don’t interfere with those determinations,” Dayton said.

Gov. Dayton, you don’t have to “interfere” in the process because you’ve stacked the regulating agencies with hard-core environmental activists who will do your dirty work. That’s if it gets that far. This chart explains the permitting process:

The next step in the process is to have Native Americans review the process. Let’s just say that I’m not betting they’ll approve the project. If they can’t get past that, the project suffers another expensive, time-wasting major setback.

Forgive me if I think that the DFL politician who negotiated this year’s budget deal in bad faith isn’t acting in good faith now. This is telling:

And the two sides are further and further apart on that project and on the proposed Enbridge oil pipeline, creating a tinderbox of emotion. “If I had a magic wand I would bring folks together,” he said. “I don’t see the middle ground on either one.”

Gov. Dayton, often, there isn’t middle ground. Often, it just requires a leader to make a decision. It’s apparent that you aren’t that leader.

Anyone that watched Tucker Carlson interrogate Rep. Brad Sherman, (D- Calif.), last night probably thinks that Sherman is insane. That’s missing Sherman’s objective. Sherman wasn’t on to debate the issues of the day. His mission was to act like an idiot, which he accomplished, without talking about the Democrats’ Russian collusion problem. Sherman initially talked about the Republicans’ tax reform bill, which doesn’t exist yet, saying that it will kill millions of jobs while exploding the deficit. That’s more than a little strange since Tucker asked him about Hillary’s campaign and the DNC paying for the Russian dossier.

Next, Sherman insisted that Tucker didn’t “have a defense for a Trump impeachment.” When Tucker pointed out that there’s no proof of Trump colluding with the Russians but that there’s proof that the Hillary campaign hired a British spy to compile the fake Trump dossier, Sherman said that he wasn’t interested in impeaching a private citizen.

Sherman is hoping that he’s the topic everyone’s talking about Friday morning around the water cooler. Admittedly, Sherman looked like a pompous jackass who might appear insane. Still, the important thing to remember about the interview is that Tucker queried Sherman about why the Clinton campaign and the DNC hired Fusion GPS to put together a fake dossier against President Trump. On that topic, Sherman didn’t engage, instead insisting on telling Tucker which topics were important and which topics were “nonsense.”

I couldn’t watch the entire interview. Thank God for DVRs, which allowed me to speed through the parts that were unbearable to watch. I’m betting you won’t be able to watch the entire interview, either:

Again, the thing to take from the interview is that Democrats don’t want to talk about the DNC’s increasing PR problem. The other thing you’re allowed to think after watching the interview is this famous movie scene:

This Washington Free Beacon article brings good news to TEA Party organizations and other conservative organizations that the Obama administration IRS targeted. According to the article, “The Department of Justice announced Thursday that it has entered into settlements with conservative groups that were “improperly targeted” by the IRS over their applications for tax-exempt status. The settlements, which are pending approval by federal district courts, pertain to two cases. One case, Linchpins of Liberty v. United States, contains claims brought by 41 plaintiffs in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The other case, NorCal Tea Party Patriots v. Internal Revenue Service, was a class action suit that included 428 plaintiffs in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio.”

Later, it said “The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration [aka TIGTA] released a report in 2013 finding that, during the Obama administration, the IRS had subjected conservative groups’ applications for tax-exempt status to extra scrutiny and delays. Former IRS official Lois Lerner said that same year that the agency improperly delayed some groups from obtaining non-profit status because their ‘applications had [Tea Party or Patriots] in the title.'”

In his speech to the Heritage Foundation, Gen. Sessions said “And today we announced that we settled two cases brought by groups whose tax-exempt status was significantly delayed by the Internal Revenue Service based on inappropriate criteria. It should also be without question that our First Amendment prohibits the federal government from treating taxpayers differently based solely on their viewpoint or ideology. There is no excuse for this conduct. Hundreds of organizations were affected by these actions, and they deserve an apology from the IRS. We hope that today’s settlement makes clear that this abuse of power will not be tolerated. These cases against the IRS shouldn’t have happened in the first place. They never would have been necessary if government had acted properly.”

Here’s the video of Gen. Sessions’ speech to Heritage:

That’s great news for the rule of law. More importantly, it’s fantastic news for the First Amendment. Most importantly, it’s a not-so-subtle refutation of the Obama-Holder-Lynch Justice Department and the Obama-Lerner IRS. It’s important to never elect another president who doesn’t put his/her highest priority on maintaining the rule of law. If we don’t have order, if we don’t respect the importance of our great institutions and principles that make the US the greatest nation on earth, then we become ordinary.

That’s unacceptable. We’ve been blessed to be the world’s beacon. During the Obama administration, we stumbled. Fortunately, people like Gen. Sessions is restoring those important principles.

Hillary Clinton should leave the national stage for her own good. After reading this article, I question whether Hillary deals with reality anymore. According to the article, “Democrat Hillary Clinton claimed Wednesday that the Republican Party was ‘imploding.'” It isn’t that I think she’s losing her mind. It’s that I think she isn’t that interested in the truth.

This article suggests that Hillary isn’t telling the truth, saying “The Republican National Committee broke a fundraising record and raised more than $100 million during the first nine months of 2017, fueled by small-dollar donors at the center of a grassroots movement. In a statement released by RNC Chairman Ronna McDaniel, the “record-breaking fundraising has been fueled by grassroots enthusiasm for President Trump and the Republican Party,” McClatchy reported.” Meanwhile, “The Democratic National Committee, meanwhile, had raised $46.3 million through the end of August, the Free Beacon reported.”

Not to be outdone, MSNBC jumped on the theme:

Reporter Kasie Hunt agreed with Joe Scarborough that Jeff Flake’s speech “will be remembered years from now”, saying “I think that’s right, Joe. I mean, I think this was — I think this was a day — my head was spinning by the end of the day.” Later, she said that Sen. Flake’s “words were incredibly serious.” She also threw in the opinion that Sen. Flake “was extremely well-liked.” At that point, Scarborough said that “This shows the insanity that has overtaken the Republican Party.”

Actually, Joe, what’s exposed is how little you’ve listened to the American people. Small-dollar donations to the RNC are pouring in. Republicans control both ends of Pennsylvania Ave and tons of governorships. Further, the GOP completely controls both houses of state legislatures in 30+ states. If that’s the definition of insanity, then the American people are voting for insanity all across the nation. HINT: That’s what elitism looks like.

This morning’s article highlights how difficult 2018 will be for Senate Democrats. Everyone knows that Claire McCaskill, Jon Tester, Joe Manchin, Sherrod Brown and Joe Donnelly are vulnerable in 2018. They’ll be fighting a difficult, uphill fight this time.

There’s another tier of Democrats that are vulnerable, though they aren’t considered to be as vulnerable. That list includes Heidi Heitkamp, Bill Nelson, Tammy Baldwin and Debbie Stabenow. That might be shifting. First, Bill Nelson is in for a dog fight:

Term-limited Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) is expected to challenge incumbent Democrat Bill Nelson in next year’s Senate race. A new poll from the Public Opinion Research Lab at the University of North Florida shows Scott trailing Nelson by just a single point, 37 percent to 36 percent, with one in five voters undecided.

Scott holds a much higher job approval rating than does Nelson among voters in the state, 59 percent to 35 percent, which may be attributed to his recent response to Hurricane Irma. A separate poll out this week from Mason-Dixon showed that two-thirds of Floridians gave Scott a rating of “excellent” or “good” for his handling of the hurricane.

Florida isn’t the only state where Democrats might be in a difficult spot. Salena Zito’s article highlights the possibility of Michigan being more competitive than expected:

DETROIT — John James emerges with confidence from a former Detroit elementary school that has been transformed into a charter high school in the northwest side of the city. It is a stride any parent would hope to see in a son or daughter graduating from this school, founded by Jalen Rose, a former NBA player and member of the University of Michigan’s legendary “Fab 5” squad.

Outside the leafy campus of Jalen Rose Leadership Academy High School, parents wait for their children to emerge as a handful of students play on the school’s clay basketball court. James, a member of the school’s board, has just finished a board meeting, to discuss his decision to run for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate.

That isn’t all:

James is young, accomplished, black, determined, devout, and the kind of new conservative that the Grand Old Party needs in order to shake up next year’s midterm election cycle. He is at once full of energy, grace, command, and passion. When he tells you he is running on conviction, everything about this young man tells you he is not a poser. “I am called to a life of service. I want to serve my country and my community and my state. When I would come back from Iraq on leave during the great recession, the economic and societal devastation I saw here in my own state floored me,” he said.

To be fair, James is competing against other GOP candidates. Still, he’s the type of candidate that seems straight from Central Casting. If James wins the GOP primary, he’ll have a better-than-expected shot at defeating Debbie Stabenow.

Anyone that thinks rural Minnesota isn’t changing its voting habits needs to read Bill Hanna’s article in the Mesabi Daily News. Included in the article is this information:

But the days of blind Range voting allegiance to the DFL Party are history. Consider this: State Sen. David Tomassoni’s district is in the heart of DFL country. Yet, it was carried by Republican Donald Trump not Democrat Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election.

That reflects a troubling trend for the DFL and rural Minnesota, according to Tomassoni. There were 21 rural DFL senators in the Legislature in 2009. Now there are seven, he said. “The map is going ‘Red’ (Republican) and keeps creeping towards us,” Tomassoni said. “Meanwhile, rural Minnesota keeps losing ground.”

It gets worse for the DFL:

Rep. Erin Murphy of St. Paul responded to a request for comment with a general statement that we can have both clean water and mining jobs. “When it comes to questions that pit water and jobs against each other, we must ensure that we have clear science-based processes that include strong financial assurances.” State and federal processes already do that.

The Range is changing annually. They’re fed up with the Metro DFL’s answers:

They often give a standard, “Yes, I support copper/nickel, if it can be done safely” answer, even though the projects continue to meet and exceed state and federal rules and regulations for permitting and operation.

There’s less wiggle room for the DFL than there was a decade ago. In 2014, I wrote this post about the difficulties then facing DFL Chairman Ken Martin:

Ken Martin got what he had hoped for at the DFL State Convention last weekend regarding the copper/nickel/precious metals mining issue on the Range: Nothing — no resolution for or against debated on the floor. The state DFL Party chairman had said for a couple months in interviews and conversations with the Mesabi Daily News that his goal was to not have the controversial issue turn into a convention firefight. He succeeded, despite passionate feelings on both sides.

He got away with that in 2014. That won’t fly at the 2018 DFL State Convention. Sen. Tomassoni summarizes things pretty succinctly with this statement:

But the state senator said the gubernatorial election is a critical one for the region. “People are really fed up with those in the Twin Cities area lecturing us and telling us how to live our lives. We have the cleanest water in the state and we’ve been mining for more than 130 years. Yet we are told ‘do this and don’t do that’ when it comes to mining that built this great state and country. Iron Rangers are pi_ _ _ _ off. They’ve had enough,” Tomassoni said.

They should be upset. The environmental activist wing of the DFL is still the dominant wing of the DFL. They aren’t a tolerant bunch. Proof of that is how DFL environmental activists shut down a hearing on a pipeline project in Duluth last week, then threatened to disrupt another hearing on the pipeline project in St. Cloud. As a result of that threat, authorities canceled the hearing.

It’s difficult finding comment from other DFL candidates on the issue or copper/nickel mining in general. But not so Otto. As a member of the state’s Executive Council, comprised of the governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, secretary of state, and auditor, Otto voted against awarding leases for copper/nickel exploration in the region in 2013. The leases only allow companies to drill holes in the ground to extract mineral samples to judge the value of certain deposits.

She immediately used her vote against copper/nickel mining as a fundraising tool, especially in the Twin Cities area, and continues to tout her decision, which she has said was to protect Minnesotans’ welfare. She also contends she is not anti-mining.

The DFL’s credibility on mining issues is damaged. There used to be a blind allegiance to the DFL. Bit-by-bit, that’s being replaced with a ‘prove it’ attitude.

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After last week’s fiasco in Duluth, in which protestors shut down public testimony on the Enbridge Line 3 Pipeline project, St. Cloud officials exercised caution for Thursday’s planned testimony for the Public Utilities Commission. In the end, Mayor Kleis opted to not hold the hearing. That means the anti-pipeline protestors have won a victory just by threatening a hearing.

St. Cloud Mayor Kleis explained his thinking for shutting down the event, saying “Based on the size of the event and some of the challenges at previous meetings, there’s a cost. The costs have to be met and a plan needs to be in place that meets the public safety needs based on the assessment that our police give us. For Thursday night, based on the crowd (expected) and other use of the facility, the venue would be problematic unless they can meet those demands. It’s their choice to make, but we need to make sure the public and taxpayers are safe.”

Minnesota Petroleum Council Executive Director Erin Roth issued a statement Wednesday night, saying “There’s no doubt that today’s decision to cancel the public meeting on Line 3 is disappointing. What’s worse is that communities are put in this position by highly coordinated protest activities that actively obstruct civil discourse, stifle free speech, and disrespect those in attendance who are there to respectfully voice their opinion. Minnesotans deserve an open and transparent process that examines this important infrastructure project and the benefits that would come from it.”

Last week, anti-pipeline thugs stopped a public hearing in Duluth’s Entertainment & Convention Center, aka the DECC. (I wrote about that event here.) These thugs’ intent is to silence anyone who doesn’t agree with them. This paragraph sums everything up perfectly:

Proponents say the line is an essential piece of infrastructure for petroleum shippers and refineries in the region. Opponents say the pipeline won’t benefit Minnesota, and that it threatens Minnesota’s watershed and the Mississippi River headwaters.

I’ve heard the environmental terrorists’ predictions for 40+ years. They’ve been off by incredible amounts each time they’ve made a prediction. When the Sierra Club opposed the Alaskan Pipeline, the Sierra Club said that North Slope and Prudhoe Bay would pump oil for 4-5 years. The pipeline opened in 1977. It’s still transporting oil in 2017.

Here’s what the approval process has looked like for Enbridge:

Everything is wrong with that picture.