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Archive for July, 2018

Between Stephen Ross and Roger Goodell, the NFL have candidates to play idiots covered. First, Stephen Ross was stupid enough to tell the world that he’d suspend any player for 4 games if they didn’t stand for the National Anthem. By doing that, he made the matter a collective bargaining situation. That’s per the NFLPA-NFL Collective Bargaining Agreement.

Next, Roger Goodell, the NFL’s spineless commissioner, decided that he’d make a difficult situation worse. He started by being spineless. Colin Kaepernick decided he wouldn’t stand during the National Anthem because he disagreed with this nation’s racial policies. Had Commissioner Goodell done the right thing right then, he would’ve implemented a new rule saying that all players would stand ruing the National Anthem. That would’ve ended things right there.

Instead, he let the problem fester, which led to the NFL’s TV ratings cratering and increased numbers of empty seats in stadiums. Commissioner Goodell should’ve sent the message that what players do away from the stadium is their business but what they do prior to the game is the NFL’s business. Commissioner Goodell gets paid almost $50,000,000 a year. The owners have a right to expect him to make intelligent business decisions. He hasn’t. He’s a disaster. He’s the most overpaid disaster in NFL history.

By now, NFL fans know that the Commissioner caved to the NFLPA, aka the NFL players’ union, over the issue of standing/kneeling for the National Anthem right before the start of each game. This joint statement summarizes things quite nicely:

It opens by saying “The NFL and the NFLPA, through recent discussions, have been working on a resolution to the anthem issue. In order to allow this constructive dialogue to continue, we have come to a standstill agreement on the NFLPA’s grievance and the NFL’s anthem policy. No new rules will be issued or enforced for the next several weeks while these confidential discussions are ongoing.”

This wouldn’t have gotten to this point if Spineless Roger had laid down the law with the owners, then the players. First, he should’ve told Ross that there wouldn’t be suspensions of players if they didn’t stand. Then he could’ve said that deactivating players for games was acceptable. Next, with that situation fixed, Goodell could’ve told the NFLPA to pound sand because there weren’t any CBA issues to discuss.

Instead, Commissioner Goodell caved because he doesn’t understand what’s bothering the fans. This isn’t about disrespecting the military. This isn’t about the flag or the Anthem. It’s the American people collectively saying that they just want to watch a football game. They’re saying that they’d tune in FNC, CNN or MSNBC if they wanted the latest in political activism.

Just once, wouldn’t it be nice if the NFL got a simple PR matter right?

This article highlights a couple of important things. First, it’s indisputable that getting President Trump’s is a huge advantage. Next, though it doesn’t talk much about it, DeSantis’ trouncing of Putnam at the Fox News debate has given DeSantis’ campaign much-welcomed momentum going into the final month of the primary campaign.

According to the article, “With just over a month ahead of primary day, Putnam is in the fight of his political life against primary foe DeSantis, a Jacksonville-area congressman pulling ahead in public polling in large part due to the support of President Donald Trump. The race has narrowed, and the momentum, a less concrete, but very important political metric, is decidedly at DeSantis’ back.”

It’s important to differentiate between GOP candidates this year and losing candidates in past wave elections. In 1994, 2006 and 2010, losing incumbents and candidates distanced themselves from presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama like they were toxic waste. This year, Republicans can’t wait to get President Trump’s full-throated, enthusiastic endorsement.

It’s worth noting, too, that this year, unlike past wave elections, the majority party isn’t defending something terribly unpopular. In 1994, Democrats were caught defending the House banking scandal and the House post office scandal. In 2006, Republicans got stuck in the impossible position of defending the Bob Ney scandal, the Mark Foley scandal and the terribly unpopular Iraq War. In 2010, Democrats didn’t have a chance after ramming the ACA down our throats against our will.

This election, Republicans ‘have to’ defend the extremely popular Trump/GOP tax cuts. Democrats will lose seats in the U.S. Senate, too. Wave elections happen when Americans develop a throw the bums out mentality about the Republicans or Democrats. That’s definitely missing this year.

At this point, things are looking good for Ron DeSantis. Based on his performance at the FNC debate, that isn’t surprising. At that debate, I thought DeSantis got in some shots that utterly knocked the pins out from under Commissioner Putnam. This is an example of such an exchange:

Game. Set. Match. It isn’t championship yet but it was definitely a momentum-changer.

This article is proof that Keith Ellison hates the Constitution, especially the First Amendment. It’s also proof that he’s unfit to be Minnesota’s chief law enforcement officer, aka state Attorney General.

The article notes that Ellison is “demanding that Amazon censor books and other materials produced by organizations listed by the Southern Poverty Law Center as hate groups.” That’s a frightening insight into Ellison’s thinking on multiple levels. First, it’s disturbing that the man who wants to be Minnesota’s attorney general thinks that censorship is a foundational constitutional principle. Hate speech is protected by the First Amendment except if it incites violence. It doesn’t make much sense to have an attorney general who hates constitutionally protected civil rights.

Next. it’s disturbing, though not surprising, that Ellison thinks that the SPLC is a reputable arbiter of right and wrong. Here’s a couple snippets from Ellison’s censorship letter:

Click to enlarge.

Later in the letter is something that’s definitely chilling:

As stated earlier, Amazon has a strict policy against hateful and racist products on its platform. The availability of all the material listed in the aforementioned report indicates to me that either Amazon is willfully refusing to enforce its own policies against the sale of racist products or its sheer size make it impossible for the company to police itself. In either event, Amazon must immediately cease doing business with groups that promote racist violence.

It’s apparent that Ellison hasn’t hesitated in using his official capabilities to intimidate companies into outright censorship.

Any legal eagle that’s anti-civil rights is disqualified to be Minnesota’s attorney general.

Let’s be clear about the Mueller ‘investigation’. I’m with President Trump when he says that it’s a witch hunt. (Personally, I prefer calling it a fishing expedition but I’m ok with a witch hunt.) Day after day, we hear that Mueller is squeezing Paul Manafort, Michael Cohen or Gen. Flynn. I’m not a lawyer but I’m thinking that this proves that Mueller doesn’t have anything on President Trump. If you have the goods on President Trump, why wouldn’t he put that proof into the report and turn it over to the Congress?

After all, there won’t be an indictment of President Trump while he’s in office. The Constitution is quite clear on that. They saw the mischief that a political opponent might cause by charging a sitting president with trumped up accusations. That president would then be distracted from his official duties because he’d be defending himself against deceitful criminal accusations. But I digress.

The truth is that Mueller doesn’t have anything because he’d want to get the dirt to Congress so Republicans would either be forced to impeach a sitting Republican president or pay a political price this November if they did nothing. Further, it isn’t believable to think that Mueller wouldn’t want to extract revenge for President Trump’s firing of his friend Jim Comey. It simply isn’t believable to think that Mueller doesn’t want a great historical legacy. What better way to gain a legacy than by getting a president impeached and convicted?

I get it that some Republicans are saying that Mueller should be given the time:

Then again, Mueller’s had time. He’s had tons of time to investigate. Biased people who hate President Trump have said that there’s no there there in this case. In the interview, it’s mentioned that the Benghazi investigation took 2+ years.

That’s entirely different because Hillary tried hiding everything from investigators. She was the opposite of transparent. With President Trump, he turned over all requested documents virtually immediately. How are the Mueller investigation and the Benghazi investigation remotely similar? That’s like arguing that a kayak race and a speed boat race are the same because they’re both races and they’re both watercraft.

It’s time to wrap this up even if it requires listening to Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell whine about obstruction of justice and collusion for the next 6 months.

Saying that Keith Ellison’s brain isn’t wired like real people is understatement. This article quotes Keith Ellison saying some of the wackiest things about borders imaginable.

In an interview with progressive activist Rabbi Michael Lerner, Ellison said “prosperity is based on the want that is experienced in other parts of the world” and complained that “people, regular people, cannot go back and forth across the border seeking out the highest wages. We just have to say that the 12 million undocumented people in the United States are here because somebody wants them to be. But they want them here to do the work, but they don’t want them to get any rights. They don’t want to pay them fairly. They don’t want them to be able to bargain collectively. They don’t want them to be able to get occupational safety and standards. And that is what’s really going on.”

This isn’t some nobody saying this. This is the Deputy Chairman of the Democratic National Committee. He’s also running to become the next State Attorney General for Minnesota. The frightening thing is that his views on open borders aren’t out-of-step with large swaths of the Democratic Party. Wednesday, the House of Representatives voted on a resolution “supporting the officers and personnel who carry out the important mission of the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement.” 133 Democrats, including Keith Ellison, voted against the resolution by voting present. What a bunch of cowards. If these Democrats think that we shouldn’t enforce our borders, and they don’t, they should just be honest.

“And these trade agreements, you know, they allow capital to travel other borders, and all capital is, is people who happen to own something we call a corporation, which is a legal arrangement which gives them special rights. And labor, which is a regular person, cannot travel back and forth across the border,” he continued. “And so corporations, certain people who get certain rights, can go back and forth across the border seeking out the lowest wages, but people, regular people, cannot go back and forth across the border seeking out the highest wages. So what it creates is an imbalance. It creates an injustice.”

The key that Ellison missed is that there’s a procedure that corporations follow to conform with the laws of the different nations. If the corporations got caught not following the rules, they’d get fined. Similarly, illegal aliens are subject to fines or deportations when they attempt to enter the U.S. without obeying the rules.

This is likely a foreign concept to Ellison but imposing penalties of fines, prison time or deportation is standard procedure for nations. This picture is worth … something:

Bernie claims that his socialist ideas are now mainstream. That’s BS, though they’ve certainly gained in popularity within the Democratic Party. Open borders have gained in popularity, too, within the Democratic Party but that doesn’t mean that they’re mainstream with voters.

Saying that Tina Smith doesn’t understand the Constitution speaks to another of her qualities that disqualify her as a serious Senate candidate. It’s almost as embarrassing as Amy Klobuchar saying during the 2006 election that the Senate would write a law ordering either the Joint Chiefs of Staff or the Pentagon to draw up plans to remove troops from Iraq.

This time, Smith tweeted about this NYTimes article about how Judge Kavanaugh “could reshape environmental law from the Supreme Court.”

The second paragraph states “During his 12 years on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, often regarded as the nation’s second-most powerful court, Judge Kavanaugh voted in a number of high-profile cases to limit Environmental Protection Agency rules involving issues like climate change and air pollution. In two key instances, his arguments were later embraced by the Supreme Court.”

There’s nothing radical about that position. It didn’t say that the EPA didn’t have the right to create regulations. Judge Kavanaugh simply opined that the EPA didn’t have the authority to implement “far-reaching regulations.” In other words, Judge Kavanaugh thinks that far-reaching regulations are essentially unpassed environmental legislation. Another way of looking at that is that Judge Kavanaugh thinks that the legislative and executive branches should pass legislation that addresses these issues.

His legal philosophy was clear: In the absence of explicit instructions from Congress, any far-reaching effort by the E.P.A. to tackle environmental problems should be met with deep skepticism by the courts. That philosophy often put him sharply at odds with the Obama administration, which sought to harness older environmental laws to deal with newer challenges like global warming.

This frightens Democrats because most of their major policy ‘victories’ have come through the courts, not through passing legislation.

In Tina Smith’s mind, that makes Judge Kavanaugh an existential threat to liberal activism. The last thing she wants is a judge interested just in ruling on a bill’s constitutionality. I’ll propose something radical that Tina Smith has never thought of. If the law doesn’t offer the proper solution to a problem, why not (Gasp!) write a new bill, get it passed, then signed into law?

Here’s something Tina Smith also likely doesn’t know. There’s no limit on the Senate’s authority to write and propose new legislation.

Tonight, Tucker Carlson played his interview of President Trump. During the interview, Tucker sounded like a Rand Paul pacifist/idiot. About 3 minutes into the interview, Tucker said “So NATO — NATO was chiefly created to prevent the Russians from invading Western Europe. I think you don’t believe that Western Europe is in danger of being invaded by Russia right now so what is the purpose of NATO right now?”

Before getting into President Trump’s reply, my first question is whether Tucker Carlson has ever read a history book about Soviet expansionism. Whether we’re talking about Cuba in the 1950s, Viet Nam in the 1960s and 70s, Afghanistan in 1980, Central America in the 1980s, former Soviet satellites in the 1990s or annexing Crimea in 2014, the Soviet/Russian foreign policy is nothing without expansionism at the heart of its foreign policy.

I usually like Tucker’s shows but Tuesday night’s interview was pathetic. It’s one thing to criticize NATO. A high percentage of those countries are leaches deserving to be called out, with Germany at the top of the list. It’s another when you don’t know basic, easily-researched things like whether the Soviet Union had an expansionist foreign policy. That’s downright sloppy or unprofessional.

During the interview, Tucker criticized the supposed foreign policy establishment whom Tucker described as just being a step short of being interventionists and warmongers. If President Reagan had met with Putin right after Putin had meddled in our elections, he wouldn’t have played the moral equivalency card. Had that question come up during the post-summit press conference, rest assured that President Reagan would’ve shined a white-hot spotlight on Putin.

He might not have made Putin his prison bitch but he would’ve let Putin know that such shenanigans wouldn’t be tolerated anymore. If you’re going to criticize NATO, which I don’t have a problem with, you’ve got to hammer Putin too.

That doesn’t mean that President Trump had a terrible trip. It’s just aggravating for supporters like me to watch him dominate at the NATO meetings, then have him fall flat on his face during the Putin Summit. Trump’s friends insist that we have to deal with Russia because of the nukes. You can’t be dismissive of them but you can remind Putin that we’re the big dog in the room. Yesterday, I saw the stat that compared the size of the U.S. economy with the Russian economy. The U.S. economy is almost $21,000,000,000,000. Russia’s economy just topped $1,469,000,000,000.

Economically speaking, we’re almost 15 times bigger than Russia’s economy. They’d have to be stupid to get into a fight, military or otherwise, with the U.S.

Finally, there’s no way to make nice with the Russians. Their worldview is that of a dictator’s. I’ve said it before but I’ll repeat it again: The Reagan Doctrine is simple. The best time to negotiate with someone is after you’ve scared the bejesus out of them.

Tucker has his moments. Unfortunately, those moments are mixed in with periods of foolishness.

After reading Bernie Sanders’ op-ed, it’s impossible to take him seriously. The op-ed starts by saying “Over and over again, President Donald Trump tells us the U.S. economy is ‘absolutely booming,’ the ‘strongest we’ve ever had’ and ‘the greatest in the history of America’ thanks to his leadership and his leadership alone. Unfortunately, like virtually everything that comes out of his mouth, Trump is not being truthful with the American people.”

Actually, it’s Bernie who isn’t being truthful. If the middle class is doing so awful, why is consumer confidence as high as it’s ever been? If things are so bad for the middle class, why is black unemployment and Hispanic unemployment the lowest in history? If things are so tough on the middle class, why is the unemployment rate for women the lowest it’s been in 60+ years? Either Bernie things that there’s tons of African-American, Hispanic and female millionaires or the middle class is doing exceptionally well right now.

There’s no other explanation. Period.

The low unemployment rate is the good news. The bad news is that poverty in our country remains unacceptably high and tens of millions of Americans are struggling to keep their heads above water. Despite Trump’s $1.5 trillion tax giveaway to the wealthy and large corporations, wages for average workers have actually gone down, not up, by five cents an hour since June of last year after adjusting for inflation.

The good news about Bernie’s bad news is that poverty has dropped since President Trump took office. That’s an indisputable fact.

I wrote this post in March, 2016. According to the Minnesota State Demographer’s office, the poverty rate for Hibbing then was 20.6%. Today, the poverty rate for Hibbing is 18.2%. Further, the Median Household Income in 2016 was $38,112. Today, the MHI in Hibbing is $42,004. That’s a 10% increase in MHI in that city.

In addition, as the American middle class continues to collapse, the Federal Reserve reported that 40 percent of Americans lack $400 in disposable income to pay for an unexpected expense like a medical emergency or a car repair. The truth is that in America today, 43 percent of households live paycheck to paycheck and can’t afford to pay for their housing, food, child care, health care, transportation and their cell phone without going into debt.

What an idiot. The socialist policies of the Obama administration have led to a huge increase in the income gap. It always does wherever it’s tried. During the Obama administration, wages were stagnant. Under the Trump economic policies, wages are finally rising. They aren’t rising as much as we’d like to see but they are heading in the right direction.

Bernie Sanders’ op-ed is based on political ambition, not economic statistics. He can’t stand to admit that he’s just wrong. That’d destroy his (perceived) shot at the presidency. The truth is that he’s never had a legitimate shot at that office because he’s a whack job. In this rambling rant, Bernie Sanders displays just how ignorant he is:

This is embarrassing. I don’t want the Supreme Court involved in writing policy. I want them determining whether legislation conforms to the Constitution.

The Constitution, in its separation of powers clause, essentially said that the federal government can’t tell states what they have to spend money on. The principle is called commandeering. Sovereign states get to determine what things they want to spend their money on and how much money they want to spend on each line item.

In Bernie’s mind, the federal government should have the authority to tell states how the states should spend their money. In other words, Bernie thinks that the federal government should be able to tell independently elected individuals how to best represent people Bernie’s never met.

This morning, the White House put out this statement to highlight the praise Judge Kavanaugh has received. Simply put, this will make the Democrats’ demonization scheme seem like bitter partisan politics, which is precisely what it is (in addition to a desperate attempt to stop the confirmation).

For instance, during his speech, Judge Kavanaugh said “I look for the best.’ We are proud that so many of those hires have been talented women.” To prove that this isn’t just a PR statement, the White House noted that Judge Kavanaugh “has sent 21 of those 25 women clerks—an impressive 84 percent—on to clerkships at the Supreme Court.”

Definitely, Judge Kavanaugh has something to be proud of. Still, it isn’t a PR stunt when it’s a pattern of behavior. At some point, thoughtful people will have to admit that it’s part of who he is. Here’s the official letter of support from Judge Kavanaugh’s female clerks. I thought that this paragraph was particularly noteworthy:

But the Judge’s record of supporting women is as much qualitative as it is quantitative. Mentorship is critical to advancement in the legal profession, and the Judge is a dedicated mentor to all of his clerks, men and women alike. He has counseled us on our career options, provided honest and highly valued recommendations to prospective employers, and sometimes given a much-needed nudge to those of us who doubted whether we were qualified to chase our ambitions. It is not an exaggeration to say that we would not be the professors, prosecutors, public officials, and appellate advocates we are today without his enthusiastic encouragement and unwavering support.

I triple-dog dare the Democrats to accuse Judge Kavanaugh of being unworthy of their support. If Democrats vote unanimously against confirming Judge Kavanaugh, they’ll pay a heavy electoral price for it. Here’s something from the letter from Yale alumnus supporting Judge Kavanaugh that I found noteworthy:

Judge Kavanaugh is eminently qualified to serve as a Supreme Court justice. Judge Kavanaugh, a graduate of Yale College and Yale Law School, is one of our nation’s most distinguished jurists. In his twelve years of service on the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in DC, he has demonstrated a principled approach to interpreting the law. He has reached legal conclusions free of political partisanship. Judge Kavanaugh has devoted his life to upholding the rule of law and our Constitution.

Here’s President Trump’s speech nominating Judge Kavanaugh to replace Justice Kennedy:

Deep inside this article are 2 paragraphs that makes me wonder about Commissioner Jeff Johnson.

In them, he says “Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson, also running for the Republican nomination for governor in the Aug. 14 primary, said Pawlenty’s immigration emphasis is a poll-tested play for the GOP electorate. ‘If [Pawlenty] is talking about it, that means it’s polling well,’ Johnson said, citing $96,000 the Pawlenty campaign spent on polls in recent months, according to state campaign filings. Johnson said in a news conference last week that one of his first actions as governor would be to fly to Washington to tell the Trump administration that Minnesota is no longer accepting refugees.”

One of the first official communications, if not the first, from the Pawlenty campaign was a criticism of Tim Walz, who wants to turn Minnesota into a sanctuary state. This statement was published on May 2. It’s difficult to think that Gov. Pawlenty is simply pandering to primary voters.

I don’t make much of Commissioner Johnson finally addressing the issue until 2 months later. I don’t think Johnson is weak on immigration. What I think is that Johnson is employing a double standard. Apparently, when Jeff Johnson talks about refugee resettlement or immigration, it’s done for the purest of reasons. Apparently, he thinks that when Tim Pawlenty talks about immigration, it’s because it’s polling well, nothing more.

This might be news to Commissioner Johnson:

But in response to e-mailed questions from the Star Tribune, Pawlenty said it’s not a new issue for him. “I have traveled around Minnesota and addressed many issues and immigration is one of those issues,” wrote Pawlenty, who declined an interview request for this story. “This is not a change in focus. In fact, cracking down on illegal immigration was a key priority when I ran in 2002, 2006 and during my time as governor. Illegal immigration is a big problem and it needs to be strongly addressed.”

I don’t recall immigration being a top priority while Pawlenty was governor but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a priority for him. Whatever the case, it’s clearly a problem this time. One thing that’s always been true of Gov. Pawlenty is that he’s a pragmatic, problem-solving politician.

It’s apparent that he’s recognized immigration/refugee resettlement as top issues this cycle. There’s little doubt that he’ll address those issues. Of course, Gov. Pawlenty’s enemies are critical:

DFL critics say Pawlenty’s focus on immigration, then and now, are attempts to distract voters from his record on issues like education, health care and the $6 billion budget deficit that existed when he left office. “This is the Pawlenty playbook,” said Javier Morillo, the president of Service Employees International Union Local 26. Morillo supports U.S. Rep. Tim Walz in the DFL race for governor. “Whenever his poll numbers would go down, he would come up with something divisive,” Morillo said. In the Trump era, Morillo said, Pawlenty is using the same approach “on steroids.”

One thing about Javier is that you’ll never hear him say that a Republican has done anything right, except if it’s to make another Republican look terrible. It’s part of his playbook. With the DFL as with the SEIU, enforcing the law is a divisive topic. (This is also the case with Keith Ellison, who is now running to be Minnesota’s top law enforcement officer.)

At the end of the day, Jeff Johnson’s complaining comes across as whining. It diminishes him. That’s a shame because he’s actually a pretty good guy.