Archive for March, 2018

This amendment puts the DFL in a bind this election season. Right now, I’m betting that they’ll vote to put the constitutional amendment in front of voters.

Here’s what’s happening. For 3 years, Republicans have pushed for additional funding for roads and bridges. Then-House Transportation Chair Tim Kelly proposed dedicating “a portion of existing tax revenue to transportation. Those taxes may include the sales tax on auto parts as well as taxes on leased vehicles and rental cars.” Initially, the DFL balked, saying that the money wasn’t dedicated, then arguing that taking that money from the general fund would take money from health care and education.

This week, “Scott Newman finally got his bill in front of lawmakers for the first time.” His constitutional amendment would dedicate “sales tax dollars from vehicle leases and rentals toward transportation projects” to the building of roads and bridges.

It isn’t amazing that the GOP is attempting to put this question on the ballot. What’s astonishing is that it’s garnered the wide-ranging support that it’s gotten:

The coalition supporting the bill includes business groups like the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, contractors and some labor unions, including the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 49 and the Northern States Regional Council of Carpenters. “This is the biggest job creating bill you can pass this year,” said Jason George, the legislative and special projects director for Local 49, noting that the total spending would amount to dedicating less than 1 percent of the state budget toward transportation.

It isn’t surprising that the DFL opposes this constitutional amendment:

“There are two things we should be treating with the utmost caution, and it’s our general fund and our Constitution,” said Bradley Peterson with Greater Minnesota Cities. “Putting a constitutional amendment on the ballot for potentially $300 million per year is premature.” School groups and other labor unions, including SEIU Healthcare Minnesota, testified that the bill would limit the pool of funds available for education and health programs across the state, which don’t currently have any dedicated funding streams.

“We shouldn’t be pitting students against roads, and we shouldn’t be pitting healthcare against the trades,” said Sen. Matt Little, DFL-Lakeville.

The question now is whether the DFL actively opposes this proposed constitutional amendment or if they’ll support the construction unions. At this point, they’re in a can’t-win situation. Thanks to Sen. Newman, Minnesota’s roads will likely have dedicated funding for roads and bridges.

Apparently, progressives aren’t as altruistic as they pretend while getting interviewed. Recently, the “Orange County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to scrap its plan to move hundreds of homeless people from alongside the Santa Ana River to temporary shelters in three cities.”

According to the article, “ahead of the meeting, a caravan of 22 chartered buses arrived at Santa Ana’s Hall of Administration carrying more than 1,200 Irvine residents who urged the Orange County Board of Supervisors to scrap the controversial plan to create emergency homeless shelters in their community and others.”

The activists must’ve prohibited altruistic people from boarding their buses. It was stunning to hear that the “meeting was packed with residents who oppose putting emergency shelters in their neighborhoods.” People like Angela Liu, of Irvine, who owns a legal services company, who said “I don’t know. They need to put them somewhere, maybe somewhere else in California. I really don’t know where they can go, but Irvine is beautiful and we don’t want to get destroyed.”

“Who cares?” added Abby Moore, a retiree from Laguna Niguel. “This is not our responsibility; we are not elected to handle this crisis. I just don’t want to be near the homeless.”

Meanwhile, the crisis keeps getting worse:

When Tucker interviewed Fabio, Democrats ridiculed both men. That’s why I’m expecting to get ridiculed, too. That’s fine. The homeless crisis in California isn’t getting better. It’s getting worse without an end in sight. Fabio explained why it isn’t getting better when he stated that “5,700 people paid 37% of California’s state income tax.” Further, Fabio stated that the movie industry has left California for all intents and purposes and the middle class is leaving the state thanks to Jerry Brown’s economic ‘leadership’.

Supervisor Lisa A. Bartlett apologized to the affected cities during the meeting. “There has been a lack of clear information and that has caused unnecessary panic,” Bartlett said. “Nothing was approved or built and no homeless were ever relocated to any of the cities.”

That’s what happens when the progressive checklist is followed to a T. California taxes the middle class while protecting criminal aliens. Jerry Brown came close to ruining California during his first time in office as governor. This time, he’s returned, along with supermajorities of Democrats, to finish the job he started when he was nicknamed Gov. Moonbeam and while he dated Linda Ronstadt.

More than anything, California needs another Reagan to save it from the Brown family. Back in 1966, Reagan defeated Pat Brown, Jerry’s father. Unfortunately, California’s insanity returned with a vengeance.

Xavier Becerra once thought he could push Sheriff Hutchens around. When he found out he couldn’t push Sheriff Hutchens around, he quickly backed down. Thursday afternoon, he issued this guidance letter, otherwise recognized as a white flag of surrender. In the letter, he states “The Values Act does the following: 1. Sets the parameters under which California state and local law enforcement agencies may engage in ‘immigration enforcement,’ as defined, and requires certain information about joint law enforcement task forces and transfers of individuals to immigration authorities to be reported to the California Department of Justice.”

Actually, SB 54, aka the California Values Act, states “This bill would, among other things and subject to exceptions, prohibit state and local law enforcement agencies, including school police and security departments, from using money or personnel to investigate, interrogate, detain, detect, or arrest persons for immigration enforcement purposes, as specified, and would, subject to exceptions, proscribe other activities or conduct in connection with immigration enforcement by law enforcement agencies. The bill would apply those provisions to the circumstances in which a law enforcement official has discretion to cooperate with immigration authorities. The bill would require, by October 1, 2018, the Attorney General, in consultation with the appropriate stakeholders, to publish model policies limiting assistance with immigration enforcement to the fullest extent possible for use by public schools, public libraries, health facilities operated by the state or a political subdivision of the state, and courthouses, among others.”

Wednesday, when Becerra was full of himself, hinted that he might arrest Sheriff Hutchens. Thursday, after Orange County voted to join US Attorney General Sessions’ lawsuit, Becerra backed down quicker than Barack Obama backed away from his Syrian red lines.

Becerra is a lightweight who tried fighting someone in a higher weight class in terms of gravitas. This shows who’s the heavyweight in terms of gravitas:

Wednesday night, immigration attorney Raul Reyes did the unthinkable. He agreed with Tucker Carlson that Sandra Hutchens, the Orange County Sheriff, isn’t breaking the law and shouldn’t be arrested by California Attorney General Xavier Becerra.

In fact, “Raul Reyes said he agreed with Carlson when it came to the case of one county official who is planning to post names of inmates-to-be-released so that ICE can take proper action. The official has been warned that their actions may defy the new state law. Reyes said it complies with the law because it doesn’t “single out” Latino names or names of illegal immigrants.” Later in the interview, though, Reyes said that most Californians agree with Becerra.

From the judicial system’s perspective, it’s irrelevant if it’s popular politically. In this instance, the only thing that’s relevant is whether Sheriff Hutchens obeyed the language found in SB 54. SB 54 prohibits California law enforcement officials from contacting ICE and telling them when illegal immigrants who’ve broken California’s laws when the prisoners are getting released from jail. Sheriff Hutchens hasn’t contacted ICE. Instead, she’s simply posted the release dates for all prisoners. That’s what happens when legislation is sloppily written.

Mr. Reyes might be right in saying that Becerra might be supported by Californians if he arrested Sheriff Hutchens. That’s what happens in the court of public opinion. In a court of law, though, that’s irrelevant. In court, what’s important is whether the state can produce evidence that proves beyond a reasonable doubt whether that Sheriff Hutchens broke the law.

Since there isn’t proof that Sheriff Hutchens contacted the federal government, California can’t convict Hutchens of violating any criminal statute. In fact, depending on California state law, it’s possible the sheriff might be able to file a lawsuit of malicious prosecution against Mr. Becerra.

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According to the Cook Political Report, MN-3 is a toss-up race. People are free to believe what they want but I won’t join in with that opinion. I won’t buy that BS because Congressman Paulsen defeated State Sen. Terri Bonoff by almost 14 points. Congressman Paulsen garnered 57% of the vote while Ms. Bonoff only mustered 43%. At the time, the ‘experts’ were touting as fact what a top-tier candidate Bonoff was. I actually thought that she was a decent candidate, though I stopped short of calling her a top-tier candidate.

This time, Congressman Paulsen will likely be paired against Dean Phillips. Phillips’ grandmother through adoption was Abigail van Buren, aka Dear Abby. Other than that, Phillips is a nondescript cookie-cutter Democrat. For instance, one of his issues is Campaign Finance Reform. Phillips wrote “No matter what issue is most important to you, I believe the corrupting influence of money in politics is at the very core of congressional dysfunction. It is beyond time to reform our campaign finance system and take steps to repair our government. And while we ultimately may need a constitutional amendment to completely undo the damage done by the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, there are steps we can take now that have broad support from the public and would make a meaningful difference.”

Isn’t it interesting that Phillips’ fix for political corruption is taking law-abiding citizens’ constitutional rights away? Would Phillips use the same approach to gun safety? Apparently:

I will do everything possible to reduce gun violence, ensure safe streets and address international threats? through a well-resourced State Department, which would? ensure that? diplomacy is our first line of defense.

In other words, being an international wimp is Phillips’ path to international peace and being a gun grabber is the Phillips path to domestic tranquility. Ask the 14 students and 3 teachers from Parkland how well that approach works.

Of course, the DFL regurgitated the same chanting points:

Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party Chairman Ken Martin called the GOP’s tax bill “Robin Hood in reverse. It takes from hardworking Minnesotans to give massive tax breaks to the wealthy,” he said in a statement. “Minnesotans know a scam when they see one, and the Republican tax bill is a bad deal for our state. Mike Pence should return to Washington and join Democrats in fighting for a tax plan that puts everyday families first.”

The DFL isn’t in touch with families. If they were, they’d admit that millions of employees have gotten billions of dollars in bonuses, higher wages, better benefits or all of the above since the Trump/GOP tax cuts were enacted.

The DFL would do well to actually start listening to the people, something they don’t do currently. The DFL should listen more to the blue collar workers. They’re the ones that delivered the White House to President Trump. The DFL should ignore environmental activists more, too. They’re part of the reason why the DFL lost the Minnesota State Senate.

I’ll state this emphatically. Erik Paulsen and Jason Lewis will win re-election. It’s likely, IMHO, that the MNGOP will flip MN-1, too. The MNGOP is competitive in MN-8, too. In fact, there’s a strong chance that Minnesota Republicans will have a strong night this November.

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CNN just announced that they’ll air a townhall meeting featuring Jim Comey, the former FBI Director. According to CNN’s press release, “The one-hour primetime Town Hall, moderated by CNN anchor Anderson Cooper, will be live from Phi Beta Kappa Memorial Hall at Comey’s alma mater, William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, and will be co-hosted by the Student Assembly at William & Mary. Following the release of Comey’s book, A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies & Leadership, Cooper will moderate a conversation between Comey and a live audience as they discuss his FBI career, his public firing and the high profile cases he oversaw including the bureau’s handling of the Hillary Clinton e-mail investigation and potential ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.”

Director Comey isn’t being shy with his feelings about President Trump, saying “Mr. President, the American people will hear my story very soon. And they can judge for themselves who is honorable and who is not.” Realistically speaking, there won’t be much middle ground in public opinion. Comey’s apologists will defend his questionable half-hearted investigation of Hillary. President Trump’s supporters won’t flinch in their support of President Trump.

Though public opinion isn’t likely to sway much during his book tour, the best chance for a significant shift will happen when Bret Baier interviews Comey. Jake Tapper, Baier and ABC’s George Stephanopoulos will be the highest profile anchors to interview Comey. Of that trio, only Baier has a reputation of consistently asking difficult questions.

The potential for ruining Comey’s book tour is high because IG Michael Horowitz’s report will likely be published after the initial wave of book tour interviews. Saying that Horowitz’s report likely won’t flatter Comey is understatement.

Alan Dershowitz highlights the importance of being able to trust major institutions in this interview:

Dershowitz reminds us that either Comey is lying or that McCabe is lying about leaking. When the Horowitz report comes out, it’s possible that there’s evidence that both have lied. That’s why the Horowitz report is a potential powder keg.

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Xavier Becerra, California’s law-breaking Attorney General, has gone on the record as saying that he’ll arrest law enforcement officers if they communicate with ICE. Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens said “SB 54 makes local law enforcement’s job more difficult and requires bureaucratic processes that could allow dangerous individuals to fall through the cracks of our justice system. My department, however, remains committed to cooperating fully with federal authorities in all areas where I have discretion to remove serious criminals from our community.”

Part of that cooperation involves publishing the release dates of inmates’ release dates. “The release date information applies to all inmates, not just illegal immigrants.”

Becerra isn’t stupid. He’s unprincipled. Becerra said that he’d arrest law enforcement officials who didn’t obey California’s SB 54, California’s ‘sanctuary state law’. In a public appearance, Becerra said “State law is state law. It’s my job to enforce state law and I will do so. We want to make sure that every jurisdiction, including Orange County, understands what state law requires of the people and the subdivisions of the state of California.”

Apparently, Becerra thinks that it isn’t proper for local law enforcement to ignore state law but that it’s proper for states to ignore federal law. In the end, the federal government will win this fight because the federal Constitution gives the federal government authority to write immigration laws and enforce those laws. It prohibits states from writing their own immigration laws. This was recently reinforced in June, 2012, when the Supreme Court ruled against SB 1070.

Sheriff Hutchens isn’t backing down:

She said that she sees this as a public safety issue, adding that she’s certain she’s on firm constitutional footing. If Becerra wants to arrest, then prosecute, Sheriff Hutchens, he’ll lose that fight. When that happens, the floodgates will open and other counties and municipalities will start ignoring California’s sanctuary state law.

At that point, Becerra, Gov. Jerry Brown and other Democrats will become laughingstocks.

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California once was called the Golden State. Since the influx of illegal immigrants started, California’s image has suffered mightily. Homelessness has risen dramatically. The middle class have started leaving the state. Income inequality has risen despite Gov. Moonbeam’s sticking to the progressives’ script to a T. It’s gotten so bad that the LATimes is writing about California’s homeless crisis.

It’s stunning to read that “next year, the state expects to spend $700 million on homelessness.” The more California follows the progressive checklist, the more they’ll experience income inequality, the more they’ll trigger the middle class flight that they’re experiencing and, eventually, the more that they’ll increase homelessness.

The only way to fix California’s multiple crises is to return to capitalism and the rule of law. Right now, California’s calling card is a chaotic society. That won’t attract people. It’ll repel them. Reports like this won’t attract people:

It’ll just tell them that California’s economy is rigged in favor of Silicon Valley and Hollywood. It says that the American Dream is only alive for the well-connected. You won’t attract people with that image.

I love it when uppity peasants tell a rogue government to obey the laws of the land. That’s what’s happening in California with regards to their unconstitutional sanctuary state law. The people are telling Gov. Moonbeam, aka Jerry Brown, and Xavier Becerra, his smug little State Attorney General, that they won’t obey the dictates of SB 54.

Orange County Supervisor Shawn Nelson said “These state laws are preempted by federal law. Our officers actually face penalties under state law if they so much as talk to federal agents for the wrong thing. That’s just unacceptable and it’s contrary to federal law.”

Nelson jumped onboard of a resolution initially brought on by Orange County Supervisor Michelle Steel that would condemn the state’s sanctuary laws. She later added wording that would direct the county’s public counsel to take legal action. “We cannot allow this to happen in Orange County and we need to protect our families and our homes here in Orange County,” she said. “And that means bolstering our cooperation with federal immigration enforcement and stopping our county from becoming a sanctuary for criminal illegal immigrants.”

That’s just the start. Here’s more insurrection:

Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens, along with other California sheriffs, spoke out in opposition to the law, SB 54. On Monday, Hutchens made inmate release dates — including for those in the country illegally — public in response to the state law.

“We have an obligation to safeguard our community and we will use every tool available to help hold criminals accountable,” said Orange County Undersheriff Don Barnes. “Our inability to relinquish these individuals to the custody of ICE causes them to be returned to the communities which they prey upon.”

Saying that things are getting tense is understatement:

I’m not on the ground in California but, if I had to guess, I’d guess that things will get more heated. Brown and Becerra overplayed their hands. Soon, they’ll pay the price for their arrogance.

This evening, a pair of loyal readers of LFR sent me an email chain with a list of questions from an area resident who is worried about some things in his community. The question that caught my attention asked “What individuals have made determinations on what, when and how many refugees would be resettled to the greater St. Cloud area? What organizations do these individuals represent?” Karin Blythe replied “These two questions both strike at the federal role and responsibility in administering the Refugee Reception & Placement (Resettlement) Program. The State Department overseas the program through the Bureau of Population, Refugees & Migration, and they determine the location in which refugees are resettled. The State Department develops a Cooperative Agreement with affiliates, such as Lutheran Social Service of MN, that stipulates the services we must provide in order to maintain our contract with them. In that Cooperative Agreement, we are instructed to develop relationships with seven designated stakeholders in the community and provide information from our meetings with those stakeholders back to the State Department. They clearly detail the agenda for that meeting and then require that we provide notes and quarterly reports of the meeting. They use that information in their assessments for resettlement placement. The stakeholders required in that Cooperative Agreement are 1. State Refugee Coordinator, 2. State Refugee Health Coordinator, 3. Rep from Local Governance, 4. Rep from Local Public Health, 5. Rep from Social Services, 6. Rep from Public Safety, and 7. Rep from Education. You attended our most recent convening of that gathering.”

I’m betting that Ms. Blythe doesn’t realize that she just admitted that the State Department didn’t obey the Refugee Act of 1980. I’m betting that Ms. Blythe doesn’t know that 8 U.S. Code 1522(b) states that ‘The director shall develop and implement in consultation with representatives of voluntary agencies and state and local governments policies and strategies for the placement and resettlement of refugees within the United States.”

8 U.S. Code 1522(c)(2) states “The director of the Office of Refugee Resettlement will provide for a mechanism whereby representatives of local affiliates of voluntary agencies regularly, not less than quarterly, meet with representatives of state and local governments to plan and coordinate in advance of their arrival the appropriate placement of refugees amongst various states and localities.”

First, the director being talked about in 8 U.S. Code 1522(b) is the director of the office of “the Minnesota Office of Refugee Resettlement.” Next, it’s worth noting that Ms. Blythe states unambiguously that the State Department “develops a Cooperative Agreement with affiliates, such as Lutheran Social Service of MN” and that this Cooperative Agreement “stipulates the services” Volags like LSS of Minnesota “must provide” to maintain their contract with the State Department.

In other words, Ms. Blythe thinks that the State Department dictates to the Volag what they must do and that the local government is just to be informed. She clearly isn’t informed. Other things that can be learned from Ms. Blythe’s reply are that she anticipates refugees needing to use lots of health care and that they’ll use lots of things from Social Services.

In Councilman Jeff Goerger’s resolution, Goerger insinuated that there wasn’t much of a cost to city taxpayers. Based on the stakeholders list, I’m betting that there’s a substantial cost to taxpayers.