When it comes to spending money without producing solutions, Sen. Bakk is an expert. He’s even got Gov. Dayton on his side in his fight to spend taxpayers’ money on his latest agenda item. Sen. Bakk thinks that it’s important to “also address Minnesota’s persistent racial inequities” during a potential special session.

Apparently, Sen. Bakk thinks it’s important to extend unemployment benefits “for miners experiencing long-term unemployment” and to “address Minnesota’s persistent racial inequities” without insisting that the Public Utilities Commission approve the building of the Sandpiper pipeline. Building the Sandpiper Pipeline project would actually employ people but that apparently isn’t a priority for Sen. Bakk.

Building Bakk’s Palace was a priority but getting PolyMet’s permits wasn’t Sen. Bakk’s priority. Has he lifted a finger to tell the Minnesota Department of Health to butt out of the PolyMet process? Of course he hasn’t and he won’t because the environmental activist wing of the DFL, which is the dominant wing of the DFL, won’t let him win that fight.

Everyone on the Range knows that the Department of Health study is just latest tactic the environmental activists have employed in their attempt to prevent the creation of good-paying Iron Range jobs. When’s the last time Sen. Bakk fought the environmental activists and won anything longlasting for the mining industry? If you guessed that dinosaurs walked the earth the last time Sen. Bakk fought the environmental activists and won anything longlasting for the mining industry, you wouldn’t be wrong.

The hard-working people of the Iron Range don’t need someone that fights for them. That just takes a temper. What they need is a political party that’ll fight and win for them. Thus far, they’ve resisted that. Hopefully, they’ll get smart and change their voting habits soon. Their families’ financial well-being is at stake.

Sen. Bakk is a typical DFL politician. First, he either creates a problem with terrible policies or he just sits idly by while things deteriorate, then comes rushing in to fix the problem that he created or that he didn’t give a shit about until it was a crisis.

What the Iron Range needs is a legislative delegation that put the Range’s prosperity at the top of their priority list. They don’t have that right now.

LFR’s ‘early years’ were spent mostly offering opinions on international events. That abruptly changed when John Murtha accused the Haditha Marines of murdering Iraqi civilians in cold blood. That weekend, I spoke with Leo Pusateri about the lies that Murtha was told. Later that weekend, Leo started the Murtha Must Go blog on Blogger. (Actually, the first couple of years of LFR were on Blogger, not on this website.)

Thanks to some committed retired Marines and that website, the Haditha Marines weren’t railroaded by John Murtha. Murtha was the quintessential corrupt politician. I kidded at one time that they should rename his office after he died to the ‘Office of Corporate Welfare’. After he died, Nancy Pelosi didn’t take my advice. The good news is that the Haditha Marines either had their charges dropped or they were acquitted.

The next thing LFR dealt with extensively was the anti-war movement, which started with John Murtha and Amy Klobuchar, who I nicknamed St. Amy of Hennepin County. When she ran for the Senate, St. Amy of Hennepin County said “America needs a change of course in Iraq,” Klobuchar said. The measure “continued an open-ended commitment with no clear transition to Iraqi authority,” she said. “My priority is to transition to Iraq authority by beginning to bring our troops home in a responsible way.” I noted at the time that St. Amy didn’t express an interest in winning the war. Her interest was in bringing “our troops home in a responsible way.” It isn’t surprising that St. Amy has been an enthusiastic supporter of President Obama’s lose-at-all-costs strategy in Iraq.

We’re still paying the price for the 2006 and 2008 elections.

At one point, LFR was hacked, which kept the website down for almost a month. Thankfully, I wasn’t silence thanks to Click on this link to subscribe to my articles. They’re entirely different than the things I publish on LFR.

One of the things that I’m most proud of is the role I played in defeating the School Board bonding referendum here in St. Cloud. The ISD 742 School Board tried passing the $167,000,000 referendum without giving people the opportunity to give input into the project. When the ballots were tallied, 7,393 people voted to approve the bonding while 8,460 people voted to reject the School Board’s proposal.

For a little perspective, most School Board elections and special elections in the St. Cloud area have a turnout rate of 18%. This vote produced a 31% turnout rate. After the measure was defeated, I got an email from a frequent reader of LFR which said in part “They had a turnout strategy and tons of money. You had common sense and the ability to motivate 8400 people to vote. (31% turnout in an odd-year election? with reduced polling places? Just amazing.)”

While it’s nice getting credit for producing those results, the reality is that the ISD 742 School Board was its own worst enemy. LFR was just the amplifier that highlighted their corruption. They tried keeping the vote below the citizens’ radar. They tried making voting as inconvenient as possible. When pressed why people couldn’t see the blueprints for the future Tech High School, the leader of the Vote Yes campaign explained “What a lot of them don’t recognize is, with the cost of designing a building, 80 percent of it isn’t going to be designed until after the referendum. And the plans we’ve got now are still tentative.”

Imagine that. The School Board wanted the citizens, since nicknamed “The Uppity Peasants Brigade”, to give the school board a blank $167,000,000, $115,000,000 of which is for a building that wouldn’t be designed until after the bonds had been approved.

Eleven years ago, I published my first post. Back then, I didn’t think about whether I’d blog another year, whether blogging would be a passing fad. I certainly didn’t think of blogging as a way to contribute to the political dialog even though that’s what I wrote about.

The first year of LFR, I wrote about the Orange Revolution in Ukraine. That’s how I got introduced to the MOB, aka the Minnesota Organization of Bloggers. Back then, I was fascinated by the various liberation revolutions, including the Cedar Revolution in Lebanon, which started in the aftermath of the Purple Thumb Revolution in Iraq. That revolution intensified with the assassination of Rafiq Hariri, the former prime minister of Lebanon.

I remember writing about the first election in Afghanistan after the fall of the Taliban. As I recall, the first person to cast a vote in that election was an elderly woman. I remember thinking that Mullah Omar must’ve been pulling his beard off. One of the Taliban’s specialties was treating women like chattel. Another of their specialties was to ostracize women from open society. In a single page of history, both of those Taliban ‘specialties’ were vanquished in the minds of the Afghan people. It didn’t mean that the war was over. It was just a symbolic point in history.

It’s amazing the lessons I’ve learned through this writing. One blog that I got a kick out of was called Give War a Chance. It isn’t that I want the United States military to be constantly at war. It’s that I’ll admit that Islamic Jihadists have been at war with the United States since the overthrow of Teheran. I recall Rudy Giuliani’s response to whether 9/11 was the jihadists’ declaring war on the United States. He said that it wasn’t, that they’d been waging war with us since 1979. Then he said that 9/11 was the first day that the US joined the war.

I’ve learned that presidential leadership makes a difference. President Bush wasn’t a great president but he was infinitely better than President Obama in the one category that matters. He put policies in place that actually put the terrorists on the run. People got bored with hearing him say that he’d deployed our intelligence assets to gather information that led to entire terrorist networks getting rolled up. He said he did that because he’d rather take them down where they lived rather than clean up the messes from terrorist attacks where we live.

That program led to the capture of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, aka KSM, the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks. After capturing KSM, the Bush administration kept his capture quiet. They studied the laptops in an attempt to study the networks KSM was in charge of. That helped them capture entire networks of terrorists. When President Obama took over, he replaced those policies with drone strikes. Killing terrorists in drone strikes made for a nice headline every couple of months but it didn’t help us gather intelligence that kept us a step ahead of the terrorists.

That’s how the Obama administration was surprised by the rise of ISIS. They didn’t know much about that group of terrorists. They certainly didn’t know ISIS was as lethal as they are. As a result of not gathering intelligence in Iraq, the administration let ISIS establish a caliphate that’s let ISIS conduct lethal terrorist attacks in Paris.

Think of this post as LFR’s highlights of international events. Throughout the years, I’ve stuck my fingers into more than a few other things. I’ll write about some of them in Part II.

Quinnipiac’s latest swing-state polling shows Hillary getting crushed by pretty much every top GOP presidential candidate. Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll, said “As winter moves into the Rockies, Coloradans say the Democratic front-runner would get bruised and beaten by all the top GOP opponents, and absolutely crushed by Sen. Marco Rubio and Dr. Ben Carson,” adding that a “chilly if not frigid reception for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in her second quest for the White House.”

The terrible news for Hillary is that “Colorado voters back any leading Republican contender over Clinton by wide margins.” Rubio leads Clinton 52–36 percent. Carson leads Clinton 52–38 percent. Cruz tops Clinton 51–38 percent. Trump beats Clinton 48–37 percent.

In other bad news for Hillary, “Clinton has the lowest favorability rating of any top candidate in Colorado, a negative 33–61 percent.” The news for Trump is better but Trump “gets a negative 34–58 percent favorability rating.”

Other important findings:

  1. Rubio has the best score for honesty, 58–28 percent, with Sanders at 56–30 percent, Carson at 57–33 percent and Cruz at 50–35 percent.
  2. Carson has the lowest grades for having strong leadership qualities, a divided 45-44 percent, with Sanders at 45–43 percent. Trump leads on leadership, with 58–39 percent, followed by Rubio at 56–30 percent, Cruz at 52–35 percent and Clinton at 51–47 percent.

It’s time people started noticing that Hillary isn’t a top tier candidate like her husband was. She’s just the least objectionable option that the Democrats have this cycle. Voters don’t trust Mrs. Clinton. Voters don’t like her, either. If Mrs. Clinton can’t be competitive in Colorado, which Democrats worked hard for a decade to turn blue, then she’s in serious trouble in the general election.

Donald Trump’s anti-constitutional bias is showing. While it’s likely that his supporters will love Trump’s brashness, it’s almost certain that Constitution-loving people will reject Mr. Trump’s foolishness. What type of idiot would say it’s ok to shut down mosques, then not expect a future president to shut down a Christian church or Jewish synagogue while citing the Trump precedent?

If the Constitution doesn’t protect everyone’s constitutionally-protected rights, it doesn’t protect anyone’s constitutionally-protected rights.

What type of thinking goes into making a statement that a President Trump would shut down a mosque? Shutting down any church, synagogue or mosque would clearly be an impeachable offense since it’d violate one of the most important parts of the Constitution, which presidents swear an oath to protect. Appearing on Sean Hannity’s show last night, Trump said things are “happening a lot faster than anybody understands. There’s absolutely no choice. Some really bad things are happening and they’re happening fast.”

Is Mr. Trump getting intelligence briefings that tell him that entire mosques are getting taken over by ISIS jihadists? Or is he just playing into people’s fears of terrorists? It’s a reactionary reaction that doesn’t deal with a specific problem. Most worrisome is that Mr. Trump insists that things are “happening a lot faster than anybody understands.” What’s Mr. Trump’s proof? Is he just venting? How would shutting down a series of mosques solve our terrorist problem? Would shutting down a series of mosques be a gift to the jihadists?

If things are “happening a lot faster than anybody understands”, then it’s imperative that multiple mosques be shut. This isn’t a crisis if only one mosque is radicalized.

Here’s some questions to Mr. Trump’s supporters:

  1. Would you support a candidate that wanted to shut down churches or synagogues?
  2. Is it ok for a presidential candidate to make statements without proof to support their radical proposals
  3. Does Mr. Trump’s diatribe solve any problems or does it just make you feel good that someone’s making outrageous statements?

If you’re just tickled pink because Trump’s diatribes make you feel good, then you’re settling for things. That’s what liberals do. Conservatives strive for something higher. We strive for constitutionally-supported solutions, especially to this nation’s biggest problems.

Any idiot can throw a hissy fit. Gov. Dayton and Mr. Trump are proof of that. It requires intelligence, temperament and discipline to solve complex problems like ISIS. Thus far, Trump hasn’t shown he has any of those qualities.

Finally, it’s painfully obvious that he never will have the qualities required of presidents.

There was never any doubt that Gov. Dayton, (DFL-MN), would accept Syrian refugees. That hasn’t prevented state legislators from raising legitimate concerns about President Obama’s Syrian refugee plan. Gov. Dayton quickly said that he’d accept Syrian refugees. In making that announcement, he regurgitated the administration’s chanting points, saying “I have been assured by the White House that all refugees are subject to the highest level of security checks of any category of traveler to the United States.”

That’s actually a telling quote. A security check for a person flying into the United States only requires checking for a weapon, then cross-checking the terrorist watch lists. A security check for someone who’s coming here to live is quite a bit more extensive than that.

After announcing that he’d accept Syrian refugees, Gov. Dayton said “the calls from state governors to ban Syrian refugees were ‘ludicrous’ and political posturing.” That’s administration spin. The truth is that Republican governors are raising a legitimate question about whether some of the people claiming to be refugees are ISIS terrorists.

Right now, the plan is for 10,000 Syrian refugees to be admitted into the US. Let’s say that the State Department verifies that they’re all legitimate refugees but then we learn that 3% of them are actually ISIS terrorists. That’s 300 potential terrorists that President Obama admitted into the United States in the name of humanitarianism. That’s almost 40 terrorist teams potentially.

Next, it’s important that we know 8 terrorists killed 129 people in Paris last Friday night. Next after that, it’s unlikely that the error rate will only be 3%. It’s been verified that 75% of the potential refugees are young men of the age that normally go into the military. Gov. Dayton and the Obama administration should consider the possibility that a high percentage of those ‘refugees’ are terrorists.

Rep. Jim Newberger got it exactly right when he said “The safety of our citizens is the first priority of any government body. In light of the tragic events in Paris I believe we need (to) join many of the other states in the union and stop of the flow of refugees until we can absolutely assure the safety of our own citizens.”

I won’t be polite. If there’s a terrorist attack in Minnesota, the blood will be on Gov. Dayton’s and President Obama’s hands.

Anyone who’s been a Vikings fan the last 20+ years knows that Adrian Peterson’s performance in 2012 is a performance for the ages. That’s the year Adrian rushed for 2,097 yards, the second-most rushing yards in an NFL season. The reason why that’s part of AP’s mystique is because he did that less than a year after tearing his ACL in the fifteenth game of the 2011 season. When Adrian announced that he’d start Game One of the 2012 season a week after he had surgery to repair his knee, the experts laughed.

According to the splits for his 2012 season, Adrian is 4 rushing yards ahead of that year’s pace this year. Here’s the game-by-game split of Adrian’s 2012 season:

According to these NFL-certified stats, Adrian Peterson had 957 yards rushing after 9 games in 2012. This year, Adrian Peterson has 961 yards rushing after 9 games. This year, the Vikings finish with a home-and-home series against the Packers, road games at Atlanta and Arizona and home games against Seattle, Chicago and the Giants.

Right now, Adrian is on pace to reach 1,708 yards rushing. In my estimation, that gives Adrian at least an outside shot at breaking Eric Dickerson’s single season rushing record. If AP rushes for 2,000 yards, which I think is, at worst, a 50-50 proposition, that’d mean he’d become the only runner to twice top 2,000 rushing yards in a single season. To reach 2,000 yards, it’s likely that Adrian would need at least one more 200 yard rushing game.

Right now, Adrian is tied with O.J. Simpson for most games with 200 yards rushing in a single game. They’re tied at 6 games with 200 yards rushing. The next time Adrian tops 200, which might be this Sunday against the Packers, he’d break Simpson’s record.

Suffice it to say that it’s going to be a fun year watching the Vikings, especially with Adrian Peterson having a shot at so many rushing records.

Daniel Stavrum’s LTE in the St. Cloud Times efficiently rebuts Sarah Starling’s diatribe on who voted against the St. Cloud Tech bonding referendum. One of Ms. Starling’s first accusations was that “about 8,000 of you went into our schools, many of you looked our children in the eyes, and told them they did not deserve a higher quality of education because you don’t want your property taxes to increase.” That’s shredded by one of Mr. Stavrum’s first points.

It’s the point Mr. Stavrum made when he said “Let’s be clear. I favored the school levy approval. But I voted no for several reasons. First, we were not given enough detailed information on the new school nor what improvements Apollo needed, nor the plans for old Tech.”

Later, Ms. Starling said “We have failed our children and our entire area’s future. People refuse to live in the St. Cloud area because our schools are horrendous – yet we refuse to improve them. To the people who voted no, why don’t you care about our community?” I wonder how she’d respond to Mr. Stavrum’s saying “Finally, I was amazed by the reduction of polling places from 65 to 13. The Times Editorial Board called this a “mistake.” No, it was a deliberate strategy to disenfranchise rural and elderly voters who might tend to vote no. For example, I live in a rural township, my normal polling place about 1 mile away. The levy plan, however, had me and my neighbors driving nearly 14 miles to vote. Area voters aren’t stupid. School district officials shouldn’t treat them like they are.”

I wrote this post on Sept. 13. I wrote then that “For instance, the school district combined the 2 projects (refurbishing Apollo, building a new Tech HS). The way it’s worded, you can’t vote down the Tech proposal and vote for the Apollo refurbishing. That’s a sly way of forcing people who want to refurbish Apollo to vote for the Tech project, too. That’s a sly way of forcing people who want to build a new Tech HS into voting for the Apollo refurbishing.

It’s pretty obvious why it’s set up this way. That isn’t the same as saying the school district should get away with forcing taxpayers to vote for both projects if they only support one of the projects. This is a scam propagated by the school board. This isn’t a mistake. It’s a feature! It’s intentional.”

I’d like to personally thank all of the Daniel Stavrums of the world for voting against the $167,000,000 bonding referendum. It’s the only way we’ll get the ISD 742 School Board to interact with St. Cloud taxpayers.

When President Obama told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos that ISIS was contained hours before ISIS’ sophisticated terrorist attacks in Paris, it was done in response to people’s concerns that President Obama’s strategy wasn’t working. What it revealed, however, is how dishonest the administration is.

When Ben Rhodes, President Obama’s Deputy National Security Adviser, was interviewed by CNN’s Jake Tapper, Rhodes said “What we’ve been able to do is stop that advance and reclaim territory, going on offense with our partners on the ground, most recently retaking the strategic town of Sindjar, which cuts off the supply line between Raqqa, Syria and Mosul in Iraq.”

Let’s be clear about this. While the US military has performed valiantly, this administration has tied their hands with counterproductive restrictive rules of engagement. Further, it’s dishonest to hear Deputy Rhodes distract attention away from the important consideration of whether ISIS terrorists have the capability of conducting sophisticated terrorist attacks anywhere in the world. It’s nice to hear that ISIS is contained geographically. It’s important that we know that ISIS can’t inflict mass casualty terrorist attacks in Paris or Washington, DC.

Finally, the truth is that President Obama hasn’t contained ISIS geographically. ISIS has temporarily chosen not to expand geographically, devoting more of its resources to killing western infidels than on expanding its geographic footprint.

That isn’t a soothing final thought.

Dan Kimmel, I didn’t even get the chance to know and harass you. Now you’re gone for saying something similar to what Palestinians say all the time. Palestinians have said that one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter. It’s a ridiculous statement that isn’t rooted in the truth but it’s something that Palestinian leaders have said the last twenty years.

What Kimmel said that got him run out of the race is that “ISIS isn’t necessarily evil. It is made up of people who are doing what they think is best for their community. Violence is not the answer, though.”

DFL Party Chair Ken Martin issued this statement, saying “Earlier tonight a candidate for the Minnesota House made comments that do not reflect the views of the Minnesota DFL and have no place in our party. On behalf of the Minnesota DFL, I strongly condemn his comments. I ask Dan Kimmel to apologize to all the families who have been torn apart by the terrorist organization and their senseless violence. In this time of enormous grief, we shouldn’t be making excuses for this barbaric behavior.”

Make up your mind, Chairman Martin. Is ISIS more evil than Iran? If you think they are, explain how ISIS is more evil than Iran. Iran has staged terrorist attacks against Lebanese Christians and Israeli Jews. Israel deals with terrorist attacks virtually every day, thanks in large part to one Iran proxy (Hezbollah) or another (Hamas/Palestinians).

This can’t be emphasized enough. ISIS is evil. Its reach has just extended to Paris, where the city and the nation are grieving. Still, are the tears of France more sincere than the tears shed daily in Israel?

The DFL did the right thing from a PR standpoint but that’s it. They still have a terrorist sympathizer problem that they haven’t substantively dealt with. This isn’t nearly enough: