Archive for May, 2018

Right before Mike Pompeo’s confirmation vote to be Secretary of State, I wrote a letter to my senator, Tina Smith. This afternoon, Sen. Smith’s letter finally arrived. Let’s remember that Secretary Pompeo was confirmed on April 26. Tina Smith’s arrived on May 30.

In addition to being tardy, it was filled with a bunch of BS. For instance, Sen. Smith wrote “The State Department shapes American foreign policy through diplomacy, advocacy, and engagement with the world. This work is essential to ensuring our national security, solving tough diplomatic issues, and maintaining relationships not just with our allies but also with those with whom we disagree. The Secretary of State is a different kind of job from any other position and it is crucially important that the person who holds this job represent America’s values to the world and know how to use diplomacy to build consensus. Mike Pompeo is not this person. He is a man who has a record of anti-Muslim statements, some of which he’s read from the House floor in Congress. He’s a man who referred to people who conducted waterboarding not as torturers but as ‘patriots.’ These are not the values that represent America and these are not the values our top diplomat should be espousing. In holding these beliefs, Mr. Pompeo will aggravate the damage being done to the United States around the world. And the risks to peace and stability in the world will increase dramatically.”

Here’s the full letter for your examination:

I highlighted a pair of sentences to illustrate the nonsense in Sen. Smith’s reply. First, Sen. Smith replied that “He’s a man who referred to people who conducted waterboarding not as torturers but as ‘patriots.'” I’d call them patriots, too. At the time the waterboarding happened, it was perfectly legal. It wasn’t until years later that Congress outlawed those tactics. Next, Sen. Smith stated “Mr. Pompeo will aggravate the damage being done to the United States around the world.”

Which damage is that? Bringing North Korea to the negotiating table to discuss the potential denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula? Perhaps, Sen. Smith is referring to the moving of the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem? Is Sen. Smith referring to the 3 American hostages brought home from North Korea after Secretary Pompeo’s second meeting with Kim Jung-Un? Pay particular attention to the former hostages’ reaction when they rejoin Secretary Pompeo:

It’s about 1:15 into the video.

How will U.S. foreign policy ever recover from such behavior? Seriously, this question must be asked. What the hell is Tina Smith yapping about? What she said is utter rubbish. Let’s speak plainly about this. Tina Smith is a partisan hack who isn’t qualified to be a U.S. senator. What type of competent U.S. senator thinks that doing everything legal to prevent a terrorist attack isn’t a patriot? What type of honest politician thinks that U.S. foreign policy is heading in the wrong direction?

Only a partisan hack thinks that President Trump and Mike Pompeo haven’t already done more to make the U.S. safe in 18 months and less than 2 months than President Obama, Hillary Clinton and John Kerry did in 8 years. ISIS has been defeated. The ‘new normal’ terrorist attacks have dropped precipitously. North Korea is begging to get us to the bargaining table. Iran is experiencing unrest unlike it’s seen recently:

Again, I ask Sen. Smith this simple question: what the hell are you talking about? Rather than wait for another letter from her, I have a better idea. Let’s fire her and elect someone who’s actually qualified.

Paul Waldman’s article is an attempt to characterize Republicans as heartless people who don’t care about brown-skinned people. In his article, Waldman says “This week at a rally in Nashville, President Trump did a little call-and-response with the crowd. ‘They’re not human beings,’ he said. ‘And this is why we call the bloodthirsty MS-13 gang members exactly the name that I used last week. What was the name?’ ‘ANIMALS!’ the crowd shouted lustily in response. Everyone was having a great time, which is not exactly the mood you’re usually in when expressing your genuine dismay at terrible crimes that have been committed.”

Waldman continued, saying “But ‘animals’ has become the latest conservative shibboleth, a marker of identity for which there is extra enthusiasm since it can be used to Trigger the Libs. It all started when in a White House meeting the president rambled on about undocumented immigrants being animals, and depending on whom you believe he might or might not have been talking specifically about MS-13. Liberals pointed out that dehumanizing language like that has many times through history been deployed as a prelude to campaigns of mass murder, and furthermore Trump is doing what he has done many times: used an individual crime to stir up fear and hatred of an entire class of people.”

I’ll let you judge whether President Trump was responding directly to the sheriff’s statement about MS-13:

Hint: The response in question is about 2:20 into the tape.

As for Waldman’s statement that “dehumanizing language like that has many times through history been deployed as a prelude to campaigns of mass murder”, it’s difficult to picture that scenario playing out. This sounds too much like Bill Clinton blaming the Murrah Building bombing in Oklahoma City on talk radio. It sounds too much like the fever swamp lefties accusing the Gabby Giffords shooting on conservatives. Their initial assumptions were wrong, then. Jared Loughner was mentally ill.

It’s time to stop blaming things on conservatives. That doesn’t work anymore.

Dave Kleis’s argument in this article is particularly flimsy. First, let’s start with what started the fight. It starts in the opening paragraph by saying a “group of St. Cloud residents is gathering signatures for a petition that would put a refugee resettlement resolution on the November ballot. But some city officials say that would be illegal.”

Later, the article states “Furthermore, the resolution itself troubles Kleis because it’s similar to a resolution proposed by City Council member Jeff Johnson last fall to pause refugee resettlement here until a study determined the costs associated with it. Last fall, Kleis said immigration and refugee resettlement are not city issues. He shared the same sentiment Wednesday.”

Actually, this initiative is the direct result of the city council’s mishandling of Councilman Johnson’s resolution and the disrespect shown to the people by Councilman Goerger. The night that Councilman Goerger presented his resolution, the City Council intended to ambush Councilman Johnson and the people. Councilman Goerger’s resolution was given to the Council literally minutes before the vote. Discussion was limited at best. Later, Councilman Laraway called the question in an attempt to stop debate. The vote was taken on whether to end debate.

In her confusion, Council President Lewis adjourned the meeting without voting on the resolution. Councilman Johnson’s resolution wasn’t seriously debated. Further, people supporting Councilman Johnson’s resolution never got the chance to testify.

It was the most disgusting, chaotic City Council meeting I’ve ever watched. Council President Lewis looked as confused as Speaker Kelliher did on the final night of the 2007 legislative session. That night, Kelliher looked dazed and confused. But I digress.

Finally, Kleis’s argument is flimsy. Here’s what he said:

“To me, the U.S. Constitution is very clear. It gives only Congress that authority. It’s not the state. It’s certainly not the county or the city,” he said.

What Mayor Kleis is ignoring is 8 U.S. Code 1522(b), which states quite clearly 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.”

Without question, the Constitution gives Congress the authority to work with local units of government. In fact, without that ability, it’d be impossible to smoothly administer the laws Congress enacts. Mayor Kleis knows this.

Then there’s this:

Furthermore, the resolution itself troubles Kleis because it’s similar to a resolution proposed by City Council member Jeff Johnson last fall to pause refugee resettlement here until a study determined the costs associated with it. Last fall, Kleis said immigration and refugee resettlement are not city issues. He shared the same sentiment Wednesday.

What a pile of BS. Shame on Mayor Kleis for making that flimsy argument. First, I won’t dispute the fact that immigration and refugee resettlement policy is set by the federal government. What I’ll passionately dispute is Mayor Kleis’s statement that this isn’t a city issue. It’s costing city taxpayers money. If Mayor Kleis wants to argue that there isn’t a cost to the city budget, I’ll passionately dispute that, too. Does he really want to argue that there isn’t a cost to the City for health inspections of refugee-owned restaurants? Will he argue that there aren’t any law enforcement costs related to refugees?

Just because there isn’t a line item that’s titled ‘Health Inspections — Refugees’ doesn’t mean there isn’t a cost associated with it.

Further, saying that there isn’t a cost with educating refugees, while not officially on the City’s operating budget, is foolish. How much property taxes do city residents pay to ISD 742 to pay for translators and English learning for refugees?

Mayor Kleis, why shouldn’t citizens have a say in such matters? It isn’t like you’re opposed to taking federal money for other things. Why are you opposed to telling the federal government that it has to pay for the people it dumps in our laps? It’s that or they reform the law so that it requires Volags to pick up the entire cost associated with resettled refugees.

If taxpayers pay taxes that support refugees, then we damn well better have the right to air our grievances. In fact, the Constitution gives us that exact right. It’s called the First Amendment, which says “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

Mayor Kleis, you should ask one of your legal eagles whether it’s legal to restrict the people’s ability to address the city government in terms of their grievances. If they’re honest with you, they’ll tell you that restricting the petition process to only ordinances is unenforceable because it violates the First Amendment.

We The People retain that right. That right isn’t given to us by the government. It’s given to us by “Nature’s God.”

This afternoon, the world got a lesson in the difference between #TheResistance and how real people react. For 18+ months, the left has objected to everything that President Trump has said. If he said up, #TheResistance had to say down out of spite. If President Trump said East-West, #TheResistance reflexively said North-South.

Being part of #TheResistance is simple. It doesn’t require thinking. It just requires saying the opposite of what President Trump says. It only requires a vocabulary and a thesaurus. Today, the world caught a glimpse into how thinking people operate when Kim Kardashian met with President Trump to talk about something substantive — prison reform.

I don’t know whether this meeting will create momentum for legislation. What I’m certain of, though, is that Kardashian saw that President Trump isn’t like the person that the media portrays him to be. Unlike #TheResistance, President Trump is willing to listen to ideas that aren’t on his ideological checklist. (That’s mostly because he isn’t an ideology-driven politician.)

As President Trump sounds more reasonable and he demonstrates a willingness to listen, the more difficulty #TheResistance will have portraying him as evil or uncaring. The equation is simple. The more strident that #TheResistance becomes, the more reasonable President Trump looks. Another benefit to that dynamic is the sight of steam billowing off the Democrats’ foreheads whenever President Trump beats them by being reasonable.

To the Democrats’ dismay, Republicans look positively reasonable and willing to listen. All of Sen. Schumer’s diatribes and Adam Schiff’s mindless rants haven’t done a thing to prevent President Trump from keeping his campaign promises.

A loyal reader of LFR just forwarded the following information to me:

First, most people don’t know who Jim Grabowska is. He’s the former head of the IFO, the union that represents professors in negotiations with the 7 universities in the MnSCU system.

Next, the district sounded familiar but I couldn’t put my finger on who represents that district so I went to the 2016 election results page for HD-23B. HD-23B is Tony Cornish’s former seat. Jeremy Munson won the special election to replace Cornish, winning with 60% of the vote. I’d be surprised if this is a close race if Munson works hard.

The same reader sent me Michael Willemsen’s campaign website. Apparently, Willemsen plans on running against Jeff Howe. The opening paragraphs of the website say everything I need to know:

Together we will stand up for all Minnesotans! Together we will tax the rich and protect our environment! Together we will co-create a just community for future generations through education and secular ethics! Volunteer, donate and vote Michael Willemsen for State Senate in the upcoming special election. Together we are the political revolution.

If he’s the only candidate, Jeff Howe will crush him. It’d also tell me that the DFL’s bench is essentially nonexistent in SD-13.

Nothing I’ve seen in these filings indicates that the DFL is capable of mounting a serious challenge in flipping the House or Senate.

After Gov. Dayton vetoed the Republicans’ tax conformity bill and the Republicans’ spending bill, Gov. Dayton had little choice but to sign the bonding bill. Despite having reservations, Gov. Dayton signed the bill this morning. While signing the bill, Gov. Dayton said “I am signing this bill, despite my objections, because areas throughout Minnesota need the projects and the jobs which it will provide. However, the GOP majorities set an arbitrary, ill-founded and woefully inadequate limit to the total size of the bill.”

Gov. Dayton is the worst governor in Minnesota history. He’s negotiated in bad faith. He’s been asleep at the switch while he’s supposed to have been running the government. In this post, Kristine Sunberg testified “In my case, my father’s body laid in his room for seven days without the facility doing a wellness check.” Gov. Dayton’s investigation ruled that this was the caregivers’ fault. Gov. Dayton’s investigators weren’t blamed for not investigating this abuse. The chief of staff for Gov. Dayton’s Commissioner of Human Service was notified in 2017 about rampant fraud in the child care system:

According to Stillman, he alerted a number of people in DHS, including the Commissioner’s Chief of Staff, with the following message: “Significant amount of these defrauded dollars are being sent overseas to countries and organizations connected to entities known to fund terrorists and terrorism.”

Gov. Asleep at the Switch, aka Gov. Dayton, is the last person I’d accept analysis from. He’s repeatedly proven himself to be willing to negotiate in bad faith, the most recent time being the last weekend of the 2018 session. BTW, the first time Gov. Dayton negotiated in bad faith was when he shut down the government in July of 2011.

That means that Gov. Dayton’s legacy includes the fact that he started his career by reneging on a promise and that he finished it by negotiating in bad faith. In between, Gov. Dayton’s career is filled with incompetence. If that doesn’t describe the worst governor in Minnesota history, nothing does.

I first wrote about Dan Wolgamott’s LTE in this post. I noted at the time that Wolgamott whined that “our current elected officials aren’t making our kids a priority. We’ve seen the same story play out too many times in our schools: budget deficits that lead to increased class sizes, fewer opportunities for our kids than we had, and when budget deficits get too large, a referendum for a higher local levy. Lily and all of her classmates deserve an outstanding education and a chance to succeed! If we want Minnesota to continue to be a leader, we have to do better, and the Republican-led Legislature needs to step up and adequately fund our schools.”

The problem with that statement is that it’s rubbish. It was a prediction based on Wolgamott’s partisan bias. The truth is that Republicans stepped up and funded education. The bill they passed and sent to Gov. Dayton’s desk would’ve spent $90,000,000 more than Gov. Dayton requested.

The problem? In another of Gov. Dayton’s infamous temper tantrums, Gov. Dayton vetoed the bill. In his LTE, Wolgamott said that if “we want Minnesota to continue to be a leader, we have to do better, and the Republican-led Legislature needs to step up and adequately fund our schools.” Actually, what’s needed is to elect a Republican as governor and never let another spoiled brat DFL politician in as governor. Gov. Dayton was a 2-term failure. He fought with the DFL Senate Leader in 2014. He shut down government in 2011 because he didn’t get everything he wanted. That sounds familiar:

In 2015, Speaker Daudt and Sen. Bakk tried negotiating a bipartisan budget bill. After a week of negotiating, they still hadn’t reached an agreement with Gov. Dayton so they decided to negotiate between themselves. An hour later, they’d reached an agreement. Once again, Gov. Dayton was the impediment.

During his watch, Gov. Dayton watched the MNLARS project fail repeatedly. Further, Gov. Dayton didn’t catch the child care fraud even though a whistleblower told them about it in 2014. Finally, Gov. Dayton didn’t notice the elder abuse scandal. That didn’t get his attention until Republican Sen. Karin Housley started investigating.

In summation, Wolgamott is a blowhard. He accused Republicans of not stepping up for ‘the children’, only to watch Gov. Dayton not step up for the children. We don’t need partisans like Wolgamott in the legislature. We need solutions-oriented men like Jim Knoblach in there. Chairman Knoblach has a history of putting solid, bipartisan budgets together.

The thing that comes through loud and clear in Jim Knoblach’s LTE isn’t that Gov. Dayton didn’t negotiate in good faith. Nobody that’s paid attention to him the past 8 years honestly expected him to do that. It’s that he moved the negotiating goalposts 4 times in the final 61 hours of the session.

Chairman Knoblach wrote “When you are given a list of 117 objections 61 hours before the Legislature ends, one naturally wonders if Dayton actually wanted a deal at all. Or was he just trying to set us up to look bad for political purposes? I still don’t know that answer to that question. However, I worked very hard with other legislators in the following hours to delete or otherwise satisfy 71 of Dayton’s 117 objections (but not any of those mentioned above). We thus went 61 percent of the way (71/117) to the governor. Dayton gave us six more objections the following day, and we agreed on four of those. The response of his staff was to demand we meet every single one of his objections. On Saturday evening, they added even more.”

Chairman Knoblach is right in saying “This is not compromise or negotiation by the governor.” What makes it utterly disgusting is that Gov. Dayton has the audacity to call the conference committee process a scam:

What a disgusting person. The thing that proves that Gov. Dayton is the problem is the 2015 budget session. Speaker Daudt and Sen. Bakk met each day of the final week of session with Gov. Dayton to negotiate a bipartisan compromise. After their fifth negotiating session with Gov. Dayton and with nothing to show for it, Speaker Daudt and Sen. Bakk went off to the side to work out the details of a bipartisan compromise. Within an hour, they’d reached an agreement, which they took back to their caucuses.

Of course, Gov. Dayton and then-Rep. Thissen did their best to sabotage it. The bills got passed but Gov. Dayton vetoed a number of them. Is there any doubt that Gov. Dayton is the problem? Why hasn’t the Twin Cities media mentioned the fact that 3 of the 4 budget sessions in Gov. Dayton’s time in office ended during a special session? Are they trying to protect him? Why haven’t they questioned Gov. Dayton’s intentions? It isn’t like he hasn’t questionable things. It isn’t like he hasn’t had a ton of crises that he’s totally to blame for.

Gov. Dayton should resign so the important things that he didn’t get finished get finished. The reason these things didn’t get finished is because Gov. Dayton a) kept moving the goalposts and b) vetoed the bills. To the DFL-friendly media who isn’t explaining this, shame on you for not being honest about this. The people have the right to know.

Thanks to Chairman Knoblach’s LTE, we now have the truth.

This LTE highlights what I think is a Range war. It starts by saying “I got a big chuckle out of comments by Governor Mark Dayton (MDN 5/13) ‘Everyone on the Range should know: the state government is on your side.’ In fact, I still can’t stop laughing! His comments remind me of the old adage ‘The Three Biggest Lies: the check is in the mail, of course I’ll still respect you in the morning and I’m from the government…I’m here to help you.'”

One thing comes through clearly in that opening: Rangers don’t trust Gov. Dayton. That should frighten whoever becomes the DFL gubernatorial candidate. Tim Walz’s Lt. Gov. pick is a wild-eyed environmentalist. That’s before considering the fact that Walz was a longtime NRA member who just threw that record overboard to win the endorsement. While she was part of the Executive Council, Rebecca Otto voted against approving a series of exploratory mining leases, then sent out a fundraising letter bragging that she’d stood up to big mining corporations. Finally, Erin Murphy is an unknown quantity in terms of mining policy but who is the most progressive of the 3 DFL finalists. Why would a Ranger trust her on mining issues?

Mark Dayton is a poor little rich kid from Minneapolis whose fortune is invested in trust in South Dakota to escape Minnesota taxes. He is personally and ideologically aligned with the environmental wacko movement and his heart and soul is not with us on the Range.

Dayton will do what he thinks the Range needs, not what the Range knows it needs.

The DFL has literally run the Range into the ground for decades. That isn’t hyperbole. When confronted with the Range’s high unemployment years ago, IRRRB Chairman Tony Sertich said (sorry, I’m paraphrasing here) that that’s been that way for years. The statistics verify that.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: The Republican Party is the new home for construction workers, farmers and miners. The DFL doesn’t understand blue collar workers any more. The DFL has fought and is fighting against new pipeline construction (Sandpiper) or old pipeline (Line 3) replacement.

The DFL has shut its doors to blue collar workers. Their policies haven’t helped the Range in decades. Literally.

After reading Scott Johnson’s post, a contrarian thought popped into my head. In his post, Scott quoted Andrew McCarthy as saying that the “Obama administration decided to use its counterintelligence powers to spy on the Trump campaign, using at least one covert informant, electronic monitoring of communications, and other intelligence-gathering tactics.” He then quoted McCarthy as saying “It ignored the norm against deploying such tactics against political opponents, not based on evidence of a Trump-Russia criminal conspiracy, but on speculation about the Trump campaign’s Russia contacts and Russia sympathies. Speculation by a government, an administration, and a Democratic-party nominee with their own abysmal histories of Russia contacts and Russia sympathies.”

Anyone that’s paid a minute of attention to this case knows that the Clinton Slush Fund, aka the Clinton Foundation, had ties to some nasty Russian companies and oligarchs. My question for the legal eagles and people from the intelligence community is whether it’s plausible to think that the Obama administration used its intelligence capabilities to find out if Trump had discovered a connection between the Clinton Foundation and the Russian government or Russian oligarchs close to the Kremlin.