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Archive for January, 2018

All doubt has been removed as to who’s to blame for the upcoming government shutdown. Democrats aren’t hiding the fact that they’ll do what their special interests want. NBC is reporting that Democrats aren’t hiding the fact that they’re shutting down the government.

In an exchange with Chuck Todd, Kasie Hunt said “But, Chuck, the big problem for this bill is in the Senate. And Chuck Schumer and Democrats appear to have the votes and are broadcasting that pretty openly. Their base — progressives want them to do this, they want them to take a public stand against President Trump. They are united. There is only a handful of red state Democrats, their party certainly not as strong as it used to be in rural areas, and instead, winning the day are the progressives, who say, ‘We don’t care. We want you to shut this down.'”

Now that the mystery has been removed, it’s time to question the Democrats’ motives for sabotaging the military. This article offers the explanation:

Republicans don’t have a great track record with government shutdowns. In the past, no matter whose fault it is, the GOP gets blamed by the opposition Democrats and their allies in the mainstream media for any budget shutdown. This time will be no different.

The GOP is once again engaged in a game of chicken with the Democrats over the budget. They have until Friday to either extend their budget deadline, or to solve an impasse over the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, also known as the “Dreamers” bill. If not, Democrats have threatened to shut down the government.

What’s obvious is that a shutdown looms not because of Republican intransigence or “obstruction,” but because Democrats know they can always pin the blame on their opponents.

If I was advising the Republicans, I’d circulate this video far and wide:

This article proves that the vast majority of Democrats oppose keeping the government open. It’s still possible that the MSM will blame Republicans for shutting down the government despite the Democrats’ announcement that they’re shutting government down because that’s what their special interest allies want.

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It’s safe to say that, from a statistical standpoint, St. Cloud State has been in decline since the 2010 academic year. At the end of AY2010 FYE enrollment was 15,096. Without a change of direction, it won’t take more than 3 additional years before FYE enrollment will dip below 10,000. Community leaders and politicians that aren’t working to fix this crisis are part of the problem.

While they’re part of the problem, they aren’t the heart of the problem. They’re merely enablers. The decision-makers are the heart of the problem. What’s required is leadership and commitment to a rebuilding plan. The past 2 administrations, including the soon-to-be former administration, have managed St. Cloud State’s decline. Too much time was spent on rebranding. Not enough time was spent rebuilding. The University needs a culture change. This post is about identifying the leader that will bring about that change and his plan.

The leader’s name is John Palmer and this is part of his plan:

Place the top priority on teaching by having all Minnesota State Administrators and Minnesota State University Administrative & Academic Support Faculty teach at least one three credit class during the academic year, thus reducing the use of overload assignments and adjunct faculty. Minimize the use of reassignment for IFO Faculty to reflect teaching as the top priority of the University. Use the salary and fringe benefit savings from the two previous actions to close the gap between revenue and expense.

Closing the gap between revenue and expense is an important action but more import to the reversal of declining enrollment is the visible and promoted top priority effort on teaching and course availability. Actions will speak louder than words but it will be important to let prospective students know that SCSU has changed course and that teaching and learning is the University’s highest priority.

Use the occasion of the 150th anniversary of SCSU’s founding as the launch of the next decade of service and grow for the Normal School (emphasis on teaching) that grew up to be a University. Show the Red and Black at every High School and Community College within a 90 mile radius of St. Cloud by having the President and Provost visit each school and college twice a year. These visits will include interaction with students, teachers, staff and administrators. The visits will be in addition to regular recruiting activities of the office of Admissions staff.

Reduce international travel by faculty, staff and administrators. Reduce in and out of state travel by faculty, staff and administrators, too. Substitute electronic communication and smaller delegations for international travel. This should be done consistent with the priority given to teaching. This is another example where actions will speak louder than words.

Finally and most importantly, the new president deserves the opportunity to put their team in place. They shouldn’t have to worry about a collection of people who may not have primary allegiance to the University. To operationalize the creation of a team of leaders with primary allegiance to the future of the University, each at will employee will tender their resignation effective the day the new president begins employment thus allowing the new president the opportunity to pick their team.

This is what leadership looks like. Dr. Palmer isn’t interested in managing St. Cloud State’s financial and educational decline. Instead, he’s interested in rebuilding the University he invested 39 years of his life to.

In the past, administrations spent too much money on rebranding the University. That’s just putting lipstick on the same ugly pig. Rebuilding the University is required so students and parents know that St. Cloud State places a higher priority on teaching and educating than it puts on diversity.

It isn’t that diversity is a bad thing. It’s that touting the University’s diversity while enrollment declines is a bad thing.

The search committee can shut down. That’s partially because it isn’t likely that they’ll find anyone qualified that’s interested in this job. Dr. Palmer isn’t just qualified. He’s interested, too.

It’s time to turn this ship around.

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The DFL hasn’t hidden their support for public employee unions like AFSCME, SEIU and MAPE. That means they’ve supported the things described in this article. What’s outlined in this article, though, seems more like highway robbery than representation.

For instance, “Labor unions in a handful of states have been able to take a portion of [Medicaid payments paid to PCAs] by organizing all the personal caregivers as one bargaining unit. Lawmakers in those states have allowed the practice by implementing policies that classify the caregivers as public employees – but only for the purpose of collective bargaining.”

The previous paragraph describes who these PCAs are, saying “Medicaid funds can be provided to personal caregivers who care for an elderly and disabled individual. The caregiver in most cases is related to their client. It’s a system that allows for personalized treatment and oftentimes it allows families to care for loved ones. But it’s also a system that has enriched unions.”

The unions have enriched themselves to the tune of “$200 million annually from Medicaid funds through personal caregivers.” These aren’t public employees. They’re relatives. The union collects their dues but the relatives don’t get the benefits that the unions bargain for. What part of that sounds justifiable?

Here’s what happened in Minnesota:

The union practice exists in states like California, Washington, Oregon, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Vermont, and Connecticut Minnesota lawmakers, for instance, allowed a state union to organize Personal Care Providers (PCA) as a single bargaining unit by passing a law dictating they are state employees simply because they collect Medicaid funds. Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton tried to do the same in 2011 through an executive order, but it failed in the courts.

The same bill that allowed unionization of in-home child care providers also authorized the unionization of family-based PCAs. Here’s part of the committee debate on that legislation:

Rep. Mahoney didn’t tell the truth. The union dues get taken out of money paid by government to in-home child care providers and PCAs. With PCAs, that money comes from Medicaid. These aren’t wages. They’re support payments paid to help families provide care for family members who otherwise might be housed in nursing homes or mental institutions. The state is actually saving money as a direct result of this program.

The family member is subsidized to care for family members because they’ve given up their jobs. That’s essentially a reimbursement paid in exchange for helping the state save money. That isn’t a wage.

“Medicaid will pay for homecare services for the elderly and disabled,” Nelsen told InsideSources. “The SEIU and AFSCME, back in the late 90s, when union membership was generally declining saw these workers, and this pool of Medicaid dollars, as a potential organizing opportunity.”

The U.S. Supreme Court addressed the issue to an extent during the 2014 case, Harris v. Quinn. The justices ruled that Illinois home care providers couldn’t be forced to pay dues because they weren’t technically state employees. Nelsen argues that unions and state leaders have found ways around those restrictions. “The states and unions have worked hand and glove to design a series of workarounds to the Harris v. Quinn decision, and to keep people paying dues whether they want to or not,” Nelsen said. “There are literally hundreds and thousands of these care providers around the country paying union dues to the SEIU and AFSCME against their will.”

In Minnesota, PCAs have petitioned the government to hold a decertification vote. If it’s held, the largest unionized bargaining unit will be decertified. The vote won’t be close.

When the unionization vote happened for in-home child care providers, it was rejected by a 1,014-392 margin. There’s no reason to think this vote won’t be similarly lopsided.

Saying that Jeff Flake is a legislative lightweight is to demean lightweights. It’s insulting that Sen. Flake compared President Trump with Soviet dictator Josef Stalin. What’s worse is that he made the comparison on the Senate floor.

Sen. Flake is a wimp and an airhead. Anyone that thinks that a combative president should be compared with a brutal dictator who killed millions of people isn’t intellectually qualified to be a U.S. senator. Further, Sen. Flake essentially capitulated to the Democrats on border enforcement. Thankfully, that’ll make it easier for Arizonans who worry about border security and preventing cartel-related human trafficking to elect a serious senator who won’t cave like Sen. Flake just did.

Sen. McCain wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post (naturally) that criticized President Trump. In that op-ed, “Mr. McCain joined his fellow Arizonan in calling for the president to stop attacking the news media.” In the op-ed, Sen. McCain said “We cannot afford to abdicate America’s longstanding role as the defender of human rights and democratic principles throughout the world. Without strong leadership in the White House, Congress must commit to protecting independent journalism, preserving an open and free media environment, and defending the fundamental right to freedom of opinion and expression.”

Coming from the man who wanted to gut the First Amendment, that’s rich. Further, Sen. McCain should know that the U.S. form of government isn’t a democracy. The Founding Fathers created a constitutional republic that said our rights come from “Nature’s God”, not from government. The difference between the 2 types of government is gigantic.

As President Reagan said in his farewell address, “‘We the People’ tell the government what to do; it doesn’t tell us. ‘We the People’ are the driver; the government is the car. And we decide where it should go, and by what route, and how fast. Almost all the world’s constitutions are documents in which governments tell the people what their privileges are. Our Constitution is a document in which ‘We the People’ tell the government what it is allowed to do.”

When Sen. McCain collaborated with Russ Feingold to write their campaign finance law, they wrote a law that told citizens involved in the political process when they could criticize politicians and what times were off-limits. Anyone who didn’t hesitate in telling ‘We The People’ how they can react is someone who isn’t morally fit to instruct presidents about right and wrong.

Anyone who’s seen Gov. Dayton’s proposed bonding bill know it’s filled with pork. Fortunately, passing it is an uphill fight. The legislature should scrutinize Gov. Dayton’s proposal for the pork that’s in it. A perfect example of this pork is that Gov. Dayton “recommends $19.901 million in general obligation bonds to make mechanical, architectural, and electrical improvements to correct safety, energy, and operational efficiency issues at the joint Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) and Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) Laboratory.” The question should be asked why the building needs $20,000,000 to correct safety issues and improve energy and operational efficiencies. That’s a ton of money on something that frivolous.

Another part of Gov. Dayton’s proposal is to spend “$2.5 million to demolish and reconstruct a maintenance building at the National Sports Center in Blaine” and to spend an additional $1,500,000 “for asset preservation for projects at the National Sports Center (NSC) in Blaine. These projects are intended to ensure the safety and health of participants and staff using the stadium and indoor ice arena.”

These are just a couple examples of the pork thrown into the DFL’s pork bill.

Rep. Dean Urdahl, the House Capital Investment Committee chairman, issued a statement Tuesday, saying “(The governor’s) proposal (calls for spending) $600 million more than we have planned for in the budget forecast. Last session, the Legislature passed a $1 billion, geographically balanced bonding bill which focused heavily on infrastructure and transportation needs. Any bill that takes shape this year will need to follow that same blueprint.”

In other words, Republicans are insisting on tilting the Bonding Bill as much towards transportation infrastructure that will help improve Minnesota’s economy. Gov. Dayton and the DFL want to borrow money for government buildings. There’s money in the Dayton/DFL bill for fixing Como Park, university campuses and bike trails.

Here’s the question the DFL needs to be asked: Why isn’t your proposal focused on Minnesota’s priorities instead of on feel-good pork projects? Republicans are serious about what Minnesota spends money on. The DFL isn’t.

The biggest problem that the Democrats have is that they can’t tell the truth about the Graham-Durbin disgrace. White House Chief of Staff John Kelly explained that the Graham-Durbin legislation was bipartisan. That’s the only criteria President Trump established that the legislation met, according to Kelly, who said “According to Kelly, while the bill was bipartisan in the sense it was crafted by lawmakers of both parties in the Senate, members of the House and Republican Sens. David Perdue of Georgia, Tom Cotton of Arkansas and Thom Tillis of North Carolina should have been included in the discussions. ‘It did not include all of the senators that had been involved in the discussions about DACA, and certainly did not involve the House,’ he said. ‘And the president has said from the beginning, this has got to be bipartisan, and unless it involves the House as well as the Senate, it’s going to go down as a bill that is not going to pass into law.'”

Sen. Graham knew that including Sen. Cotton in the negotiations would produce a different outcome, either in the form of Sen. Cotton rejecting Sen. Graham’s and Sen. Durbin’s proposal or in the form of Sen. Durbin rejecting Sen. Cotton’s demands. Knowing this, Sen. Graham knew that he had to exclude any immigration hawks.

Kelly laid things out perfectly in this article:

The President that I work for wants 700,000 or so DACA recipients, the vast majority of whom are now adults, to have a way to stay in the United States legally. He wants that. That’s a given. But what we cannot have is a unprotected, unsecured southwest border that five, six, seven years from now, we have another group of 600 or 700,000 DACA people.

The Graham-Durbin bill contains $1,500,000,000 of funding for the wall, whereas President Trump requested $21,600,000,000 for funding the wall. The Graham-Durbin travesty fell 90+ percent short of the amount President Trump requested. No wonder President Trump was upset. It isn’t surprising that President Trump has lost all trust in Sen. Durbin.

The deal would have been ‘horrible’ for security, Trump said, according to the wire service, and would not have allowed enough funding for construction of a U.S.-Mexico border wall. Trump also said the Durbin-Graham proposal would have been weak in terms of curbing visas for immigrants’ extended family members and did not end a lottery program, both things he wanted to see in an immigration deal.

After watching this video, I understand why President Trump wouldn’t trust Sen. Durbin:

Less than 30 seconds into the press conference, Sen. Durbin said that Republicans hadn’t put together a proposal dealing with DACA. That’s a lie. In the House, Bob Goodlatte, Martha McSally, Michael McCaul and Raul Labrador introduced a bill that meets all 4 of President Trump’s criteria. When they submitted the bill, they issued this statement.

I’d expect that Sen. Durbin wouldn’t agree with much in the bill. That’s different, though, than saying a Republican proposal doesn’t exist. Rep. McSally said this about the bill:

Our unsecure border and broken immigration system threaten our country’s safety and prosperity; no one knows this better than Arizona. As if the most recent terrorist attacks don’t stand as reason enough, sophisticated drug cartels, human traffickers, and an opioid crisis all point to the need for action. Now is the time.

Our legislation finally strengthens America’s borders. It moves us towards a merit-based immigration system. It includes funds for necessary infrastructure, interior law enforcement, a biometric exit-entry system, and an e-verify system for employers so that our immigration laws are enforced. It cracks down on sanctuary cities and focuses on public safety of our citizens like Kate Steinle who was killed by a man deported 5 times. And it also puts more boots on the border and supports our Border Patrol Agents and CBP officers on the frontlines. America is the most generous and welcoming nation in the world, and that will continue. But we won’t be taken advantage of any longer. This bill delivers on what the American people want and what our President has requested, and I urge my colleagues to join us and support it.

Democrats won’t support this bill because they aren’t serious about enforcing the Tex-Mex border.

What’s needed to pass this bill are about 5-6 more Republicans in the Senate and a significant Republican majority in the House.

After reading this article, I thought that this was another instance of regulators running wild. First, let’s establish what happened.

According to the article, it “started in February with some bicycle wheels under a slide, right where they were supposed to be. “They were tucked underneath the slide in my front yard so the kids could access them, because they do things like experiment with physics and roll them down the hill,” Giuliani said. It ended with the first correction orders she had received in 17 years of providing family child care. On top of the 55-hour weeks, the need to pursue training and do paperwork outside of that window and the emotional heft of helping children grow, there’s now a green letter posted at the entrance to Giuliani’s home, where it will echo her faults until 2019.”

Seriously? This is proof that regulators either have too much time on their hands or they have a God complex. The other possibility is that this regulator is trying to pay in-home child care providers for humiliating the union by rejecting union representation. Whatever the regulator’s motivation, this isn’t acceptable. Here’s the ‘scene of the crime’:

That certainly looks dangerous. It’s a good thing that regulators wrote Giuliani up for being a threat to the children she takes care of.

Seriously, what’s required is a culture change amongst regulators. There’s no doubt that Minnesota is overregulated. That’s why companies have either left Minnesota or they’ve expanded elsewhere. That’s why Minnesota will lose a congressional district in the next round of reapportionment in 2021. It’s that simple.

“Guilty until proven innocent,” testified Julie Seidel, membership director of the Minnesota Association of Child Care Professionals, who added the regulatory environment is “burdensome and often unattainable … and is discouraging providers from continuing child care.”

It isn’t just that laws need to be rewritten. It’s that a total culture change is required. Common sense rules have been replaced by God-like declarations. Rather than just writing Ms. Giuliani a fix-it ticket, the regulator insisted on making an example of her.

County licensors also will be required to get additional training on licensing standards, with the goal of shifting from punitive to more constructive and educational licensing inspections. Giuliani countered that’s like “sending a bully at school to sensitivity training and expecting that because they have 90 minutes of training they’re not going to go back and do what they did before.”

It’d be better to just throw out the people who’ve abused their power.

If there is a government shutdown, it should be known as the Democrats’ Shutdown’. It should be called the Democrats’ Shutdown because they aren’t hiding the fact that they’re putting a higher priority on protecting adult illegal immigrants than they put on funding the military.

Democrats might be spared because “there may be enough moderate Democrats in the Senate who are not eager to shut down the government over the issue.” Then again, the thought of Democrat moderates is quaint but it’s living in the past.

Steny Hoyer, the House Minority Whip, is sounding a hardline note, saying “Time’s up. We want to keep the government open. But I will repeat, we’re not going to be held hostage to do things that we think are contrary to the best interests of the American people because we will do the right thing and [Republicans] don’t care.”

Actually, I’m betting against a government shutdown because Democrats know that they’re in an impossible position. They’re fighting for DACA illegal immigrants. Republicans are fighting to rebuild the military. That’s a fight Democrats can’t win. In a fight between sympathetic figures and legitimate American heroes, heroes win every time in a rout. This is rather telling:

Democratic leaders and centrists fear they’ll be blamed for shuttering federal agencies — and that President Donald Trump’s accusation that they’re doing so to protect undocumented immigrants will backfire.

Democrats are in God’s little acre — east of the rock, west of the hard place. Good luck with that.

Anyone thinking that environmental organizations care about public opinion or common sense should read this article.

I took notice when it said “The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals announced Tuesday it will hear an oral argument in March over the lawsuit, brought by the Western Organization of Resource Councils and Friends of the Earth against Interior Department Secretary Ryan Zinke. The suit challenges that the federal government is underplaying the impact of mining coal on the land it leases.”

I was especially stunned when Interior replied “In a response to the request for appeal, the defendant said, “Although the Plaintiffs’ brief, in this case, goes into great detail about the science of global climate change, plaintiffs do not challenge any substantive agency action or allege a failure to carry out.”

This lawsuit shouldn’t get taken seriously. Here’s why:

Interior added: “This case, therefore, is like any other in which a plaintiff claims to identify a new environmental impact that the agency must take into account in its decision making.”

The lawsuit against the Interior Department was initially dismissed by a federal court in 2015.

In other words, organizations like the Western Organization of Resource Councils and Friends of the Earth apparently exist to file trivial lawsuits. This video explains Friends of the Earth International’s mission:

Thank God that Lindsey Graham isn’t doing the negotiating on DACA for the Republicans. Thank God that President Trump is the negotiator, instead. First, according to Ed Henry, “the White House is planning on taking a hard line” on DACA negotiations. Henry also reported that ICE is stepping up enforcement activities at businesses like 7-11s in an attempt to put greater pressure on Democrats to negotiate a better deal for the White House. But I digress. Back to Sen. Graham.

Sen. Graham is stuck in a Gang of Eight rut. Tuesday, Sen. Graham implored President Trump to “close this deal.” Next, Sen. Graham explains his plan, saying “So here’s what I would suggest to you. Phase one: To expect my friends on the other side to go comprehensive for us, and DACA for them, is not going to happen. I’m telling my friends on the other side, DACA and nothing else is not going to happen. The sweet spot is DACA-plus, more than the DACA kids. And making down payments on border security. Moving slowly but surely towards a merit-based immigration system, to be followed by Phase Two.”

With all due respect to Sen. Graham, in this instance, slow and steady lets too many illegal immigrants into the U.S. It doesn’t win a race. With this administration putting pressure on Democrats and with the Democrats’ special interests freaking out, don’t be surprised if President Trump’s pressure isn’t a game-changer.

Last week, Rep. Martha McSally, (R-AZ), made things exceptionally clear that the Democrats’ clean DACA bill was essentially dead and buried:

This wasn’t communicated in gentle speak. Rep. McSally laid down the law on immigration. Don’t be surprised if McSally’s star doesn’t rise during the DACA negotiations. Footnote: If that happens, the likelihood that she replaces Jeff Flake as Arizona’s junior senator would increase significantly.

The Democrats are facing tons of pressure from immigration special interest groups, though they’ve been pressuring Democrats to hold to a hard line on DACA. Now that ICE is stepping up raids, don’t be surprised if these special interest organizations don’t experience a change of heart.