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Last week, Minnesota’s job creation suffered, losing 6,600 jobs. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, “6,600 Minnesotans lost their jobs in August as the state’s unemployment rate increased to 3.8 percent.”

Think of how much better those numbers would look if the Dayton administration hadn’t killed the Sandpiper Pipeline project. Then again, think how those numbers would look if Gov. Dayton’s administration would approve the permits for rebuilding Enbridge’s Line 3 Pipeline.

For years, Gov. Dayton and the DFL have bragged about how great the Dayton/DFL economy is. They went out of their way to insist that their way was superior to the economies in the red states that surrounded Minnesota. Those chickens are coming home to roost. According to the article, “Iowa’s unemployment rate dropped 0.4 percent in the last year, settling at 3.3 percent, a full half point ahead of Minnesota. Wisconsin and South Dakota have done twice as well as Iowa, dropping 0.8 percent in the last year. Their unemployment rates have settled at 3.4 percent and an astounding 2.3 percent respectively. In Wisconsin’s case, this showing, four times better than Minnesota’s, saw the Badger state overtake the Land of Ten Thousand Lakes. In August 2016, Wisconsin’s unemployment rate was higher than Minnesota’s, now it is 0.4 percent lower.”

The DFL’s cheap shots at Scott Walker and at North Dakota ring hollow now that their economic policies are working. Meanwhile, Minnesota’s economy is topping off but it’s after Gov. Dayton has missed great opportunities because he’s listened too often to the environmental activists in his party.

Check this out:

Peter Nelson of the Center for the American Experiment explains in this article:

The chart below shows Wisconsin total employment minus Minnesota total employment, which shows employment has been growing far faster in Wisconsin for over four years.  Since February 2013, Wisconsin’s employment lead over Minnesota nearly doubled, growing from 70,108 jobs to 138,383 jobs in June 2017.

It isn’t just Gov. Dayton’s Commerce Department that’s anti-commerce. Apparently, Gov. Dayton is anti-commerce, too. This statement from Rep. Deb Kiel and Rep. Dan Fabian provides documented proof that Gov. Dayton is anti-commerce. In their statement, Kiel and Fabian mention that “Governor Dayton and the PUC need to allow the Line 3 Replacement project to move forward and stop drawing out the regulatory permitting process. This important project will have a positive impact on our economy here in Northwest Minnesota, including the creation of more good-paying jobs and tax revenue for our communities.”

If Gov. Dayton was pro-commerce, the permitting process would have gotten finished by now. In a letter signed by 45 representatives, it states “There is simply no disputing the fact the L3R will improve safety and environmental protection by replacing the current aging pipeline infrastructure. Delay would not offer any environmental benefit. Instead, it would do the opposite by keeping crude oil in aging pipeline infrastructure that has been identified as in need of replacement for integrity reasons. Economic security and environmental safety should not be held hostage by a proxy war against petroleum us, which is not directly relevant to this project. L3R in no way hinders the use or development of alternative fuels. It simply facilitates the safe transportation of the petroleum our economy currently needs.”

Here’s page 1 of the letter:

Page 2:

Page 3:

It’s obvious that the Minnesota Department of Commerce is run by environmental activists who don’t have rural Minnesotans’ best interests at heart. This project, like the Sandpiper Pipeline would have provided a major economic boost. Instead, environmental activists destroyed the Sandpiper Pipeline project. That company opted instead to transport that oil through the Dakota Access Pipeline, aka DAPL. Minnesotans lost out on all those jobs because the DFL is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Twin Cities environmental activists.

Rather than growing Minnesota’s economy, Gov. Dayton and the DFL opted to raise tax rates. Gov. Dayton and the DFL could’ve opted for letting Minnesota’s economy grow. Instead, Gov. Dayton and the DFL let it idle. It isn’t that Minnesota’s economy is tanking. It’s that Gov. Dayton and the DFL are satisfied even though Minnesota’s economy could help fuel a robust US economic recovery.

Thanks to environmental activist special interests, our economy isn’t operating at peak efficiency. Mediocre economic growth is Gov. Dayton’s true legacy. He isn’t the great leader that the Twin Cities media have portrayed him to be.

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When the Minnesota Department of Commerce testified that Enbridge hadn’t shown a need for replacing their Line 3 Pipeline, people scratched their heads. That project is a $7,500,000,000 infrastructure project. It’s difficult to picture a pro-commerce Commerce Department rejecting that type of project. There’s an old saying that I learned during the Watergate investigation. It’s called ‘follow the money’.

According to Mike Rothman’s official bio, “Rothman’s top priorities include consumer protection, a clean energy future, and strong financial and energy sectors for Minnesota’s economy.” In an interview with the Clean Energy Resource Team, Rothman made clear that he wasn’t a disinterested bystander in terms of the government financing clean energy projects. CERT started the interview by asking Rothman “Have the tax credits been important for getting Minnesota to where we are today with wind and solar?” Commissioner Rothman replied “From the vantage point of the Commerce Department, we believe these tax credits have really been central pillars supporting wind and solar development in our state. The ITC enabled solar manufacturers to produce at scale and dramatically cut the costs of modules and other components. It also encouraged a growing base of Minnesota solar installation companies to invest in training and certification while expanding their businesses and creating new jobs.”

In other words, without crony capitalism, wind and solar wouldn’t offer competitive prices. The question I’d ask Commissioner Rothman is whether his prioritizing clean energy had anything to do with his department’s heavy-handed testimony against Enbridge. It isn’t a stretch to think that a person that supports tax credits for wind and solar certainly might support eliminating fossil fuels, too.

This is part of the Commerce Department’s website:

Solar Industry Resources

The state of Minnesota is interested in helping Minnesota-based solar businesses expand and attracting new solar businesses to the state.

From solar manufacturers and system developers and installers to the agencies that help finance solar projects, the Minnesota Department of Commerce is here to help build a strong clean energy economy. The solar industry is booming in Minnesota, and it is positioned for continued growth. With solar policies such as the solar electricity standard and programs like the $15 million a year Made in Minnesota Solar incentive Program, Minnesota is committed to the solar industry.

Based on the Commerce Department’s pro-clean energy statements and their hostility towards fossil fuels, I think it’s entirely reasonable to think that Gov. Dayton’s Commerce Department isn’t a neutral arbiter in this fight.

In Part I of this series, I quoted Kate O’Connell, manager of the Energy Regulation and Planning Unit of the Department of Commerce, as saying “In light of the serious risks and effects on the natural and socioeconomic environments of the existing Line 3 and the limited benefit that the existing Line 3 provides to Minnesota refineries, it is reasonable to conclude that Minnesota would be better off if Enbridge proposed to cease operations of the existing Line 3, without any new pipeline being built,’ the agency wrote in testimony submitted to the Public Utilities Commission on Monday, Sept. 11.”

It isn’t a stretch to think that environmental activists had a special place in Gov. Dayton’s Commerce Department. The Department’s testimony to the PUC was tilted. The Commerce Department’s personnel indicate a strong pro-clean energy preference. Thanks to the Commerce Department’s anti-pipeline bias, Minnesota is missing out on a major infrastructure project.

Shouldn’t we insist that these types of infrastructure projects get a higher priority? This project would’ve created thousands of jobs. The negative economic impact this rejection will have is disgusting. Stop back Tuesday for more on that aspect of the pipeline.

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If people needed a better example of how hostile the Dayton administration is to robust economic growth, they needn’t look further than Gov. Dayton’s Commerce Department. When Gov. Dayton’s Commerce Department testified that the Enbridge Line 3 Pipeline wasn’t needed, they testified that they were anti-commerce. When the Commerce Department testified to that, the DFL quietly applauded. They knew that it essentially killed approval of that pipeline’s replacement at least through the end of Gov. Dayton’s administration.

Listen to the certainty of the Commerce Department statement. They said “‘In light of the serious risks and effects on the natural and socioeconomic environments of the existing Line 3 and the limited benefit that the existing Line 3 provides to Minnesota refineries, it is reasonable to conclude that Minnesota would be better off if Enbridge proposed to cease operations of the existing Line 3, without any new pipeline being built,’ the agency wrote in testimony submitted to the Public Utilities Commission on Monday, Sept. 11.”

In the next paragraph of the article, it states “The testimony, written by Kate O’Connell, manager of the Energy Regulation and Planning Unit of the Department of Commerce, comes ahead of evidentiary hearings on the oil pipeline replacement that will see the project debated in a trial-like setting in November. A new round of public hearings across the state will kick off at the end of the month.”

It’s time to ask a foundational question. Shouldn’t Minnesotans to expect the state government’s Commerce Department to be pro-commerce? There’s no question that the Dayton/DFL Commerce Department isn’t pro-commerce. Ms. O’Connell’s testimony settled that matter.

Here’s another foundational question Minnesotans should ask: who should have the final say on multi-billion dollar projects? Why should the Public Utilities Commission and the Commerce Department have the final say on whether projects should be approved? Further, what makes the Commerce Department and the PUC experts on things like public safety and transportation?

Those are the only things that government should be involved in. When Gov. Dayton’s Commerce Department testified that there wasn’t a need, they didn’t testify as to whether their testimony hurt public safety. It does from the standpoint of forcing more oil onto oil trains. More oil on more oil trains is already causing cities through which these railroad tracks run to come up with evacuation plans. That costs each of those cities tons of money in their annual operating budget. That, in turn, leads to higher property or sales taxes.

This is a multi-part series. This is a subject that’s too important not to examine in depth.

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Jazz Shaw’s post is today’s must reading for immigration hawks. In his post, Jazz cites this article. The highlight of the article comes when it starts citing statistics. Without further adieu, let’s get to those statistics.

The article’s opening paragraph says “Speaking on the second anniversary of the government’s move to seal Hungary’s border with Serbia — which is also an external border for the European Union — Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s Chief Security Advisor, György Bakondi, announced that the fences have caused illegal immigration to collapse from 391,000 in 2015, to 18,236 in 2016, to just 1,184 in 2017.” According to Jazz, that’s a 99% drop in illegal immigration. Actually, it’s a 99.7% drop in illegal immigration but what’s seven-tenths of a point amongst friends?

Jazz sums things up perfectly, saying “The math here should be a bit too much for any but the most willfully blind to ignore. In 2015 there were an estimated 390,000 illegal border crossings. Thus far this year the number is barely over one thousand. That’s not just impressive… it’s staggering.

The next time a wobbly Republican or a weak-on-law-and-order-Democrat start whining about the cost of building the wall or how walls don’t work or other BS, point them to this article, then ask them if a 99.7% decrease in illegal immigration is worth paying for. I’m betting that we’ll find that border security isn’t a priority with these politicians. It’s time to let them know that they’re in the minority. Yes, a majority of people want DACA-protected illegal immigrants to stay but it’s also true that they want the border wall built.

This information proves that walls work in keeping out drug cartels while stifling human trafficking in addition to stopping illegal immigration. Democrats and GOP fluffs like John McCain and Jeff Flake don’t support the wall. Is it because they want a deal so badly that they’re willing to ignore the other national security threats posed by lax border enforcement?

Here’s hoping that President Trump plays hardball with Democrats. This isn’t just another issue. To those living along the southern border, it’s a matter of life and death. Literally. Things have improved since President Trump took over, thanks mostly to Jeff Sessions’ work in taking border security seriously. What’s important, though, is noting that, without a wall, Democrats can stop taking border security seriously … again. and we’d be right back with floods of illegal immigrants again.

The wall will stop that flood forever. That’s the last thing that Democrats want, though minds are changing about that. As they settle into this country, lots of Hispanic immigrants start thinking of themselves as white. If that’s the case, then the political advantage for Democrats is overstated, which is a game-changer. At that point, enforcement becomes the most important issue. Once the fight moves onto that turf, Democrats, McCain and Flake lose.

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In 2009, Joe Mauer won the AL MVP award, the Gold Glove for defensive excellence and the AL batting title, he was considered one of baseball’s brightest stars. Just as quickly as he gained notoriety, though, his career went downhill after he suffered a series of concussions. Those concussions quickly led to reduced offensive productivity and defensive reliability.

This year, that’s changed. Joe is back with a vengeance. And then some. Joe’s health (and swing) are back. He’s the Twins’ most consistent hitter. He’s become the American League’s best defensive first baseman. This past weekend, the Twins’ opponent was the Toronto Blue Jays. Toronto’s first baseman, Justin Smoak, has had a good year, hitting 38 home runs. He’s considered one of the best defensive first basemen in all of baseball. What I saw this weekend in that matchup was the difference between a highlight reel guy (Smoak) and a consistent professional (Mauer).

In Sunday’s game, Smoak didn’t make the defensive play on a Jason Castro base hit. Dick Bremer, the Twins TV voice for a generation, called it a 7-hop bleeder. It was a ball that should have been caught. Castro likely would’ve beaten out the infield hit. Instead, the ball got through and the Twins runner, Eduardo Escobar, went from first to third on the hit.

Prior to this year, Kent Hrbek was the Twins’ best defensive first baseman of my lifetime. He spoke once about his mindset defensively. He said that his first instinct was to be like a hockey goalie by not letting the ball get past him. After that, his goal was simple. Save the extra base. Save runs. Sometimes, it meant he stole outs and rallies from the other team. Before that, though, he didn’t let the ball get past him.

This year, Joe Mauer has used his 6’5″ frame and his athleticism to not let balls get past him. His range (statistically) isn’t that impressive. Ask his infielders whether Joe’s range has saved their bacon and they’ll tell you that he’s saved them lots of throwing errors. Ask Joe’s pitchers whether he’s saved them outs. They’ll tell you that he’s been the glue that’s held the infield together. Whether he’s making a diving backhanded stop or picking a short-hopped throw, his teammates, pitchers and coaches will tell you that he’s the most consistent defensive first baseman in the league. In fact, this year, Joe Mauer has committed 1 error all season. His fielding percentage over 937 chances is .999.

The Joe Mauer of early in his career is back. The elite-level defensive play has returned. His offensive productivity is back. Perhaps the most overlooked statistic is Joe’s batting average with runners in scoring position, aka RISP, is .321, one of the highest batting averages in the league. Consistently, he puts together great at-bats.

Minnesota has some impressive young 2-way talent. It’s impossible to not think of Eddie Rosario and Byron Buxton when that’s the subject. Still, Joe Mauer’s quiet leadership and productivity have been instrumental in making the Twins a highly competitive team with a very good shot at making the playoffs.

Apparently, Julian Zelizer thinks that single-payer health care could be the thing that stops the Democrats’ losing streak. That’s foolishness. According to Zelizer, “Critics within the Democratic Party are warning that this is a move in the wrong direction. The party would be latching onto an idea that is far too radical. It would alienate moderate voters who don’t want bigger government and stimulate fierce opposition that would make the tea party look like kid’s play. But the critics are wrong. Medicare for All could be a winning political issue for the party. It does not need to turn out like the Republican’s failed attempts at repeal and replace.”

Dr. Zelizer is right. Single-payer wouldn’t “need to turn out like the Republican’s failed attempts at repeal and replace.” With single-payer estimated to cost almost as much per year as the entire federal budget, a failure the size of the Republicans’ repeal and replace fiasco would be insignificant. When the Speaker of California’s House of Representatives has to be pressured by California’s Nurses’ Union into giving their single-payer bill a single hearing, you know it’s a Titanic-sized disaster.

According to estimates, California’s single-payer plan would cost their state $400,000,000,000. Per year. Scale that out to paying for everyone in the United States and the total cost skyrockets to $3.000,000,000,000. Per year. Then there’s this:

The most important contribution that Sanders’ plan would make is to offer Democrats a clear and compelling idea to fight for at a time that the party has seemed aimless — other than in its hatred of President Donald Trump. After too many years of small ball, Sanders’s proposal would offer Democratic officials and candidates the opportunity to think big and to show that they have a concrete vision for making the lives of working-class Americans better.

There’s no disputing that people could accuse Democrats of playing small ball after that. People would be able to accuse Democrats of being insane but that isn’t anything new.

The thing that voters care about is whether ideas provide solutions. It isn’t just that single-payer isn’t a solution. It’s that it creates another set of problems to be saved from. There’s no way to pay for it!

Dr. Zelizer talked frequently about the Republicans’ repeal and replace efforts. He insisted that Obamacare couldn’t be replaced because too many people like it. That’s foolishness. Here in Minnesota, the legislature didn’t just let Obamacare ruin the individual market. They reformed it by implementing a reinsurance option. If HHS approves the program, health insurance premiums will stabilize.

The lesson to be learned is that people are open to change. It’s just that people demand that it be positive change.

Keith Downey made a mistake taking on Matt Dean on health care. While Keith Downey was the chair of the Republican Party of Minnesota, Matt Dean was fighting important health care battles on the front lines in Minnesota. Matt Dean wasn’t sitting on the sidelines. He was fighting and winning health care battles. Let’s remember that this happened when the DFL held overwhelming majorities in the House and Senate. Yes, Tim Pawlenty was still governor but the DFL were only 3 votes short in the House to override Gov. Pawlenty’s veto at any time.

When Downey first attacked Rep. Dean, Dean replied immediately and forcefully. The Strib noticed, writing “In a sign of Dean’s emergence as a potential front-runner, his rival Keith Downey launched the first major attack of the Republican contest last week by hitting Dean on health care, a signature issue of his campaign and time in the Legislature. Downey described Dean as a “typical politician” in one Facebook post and challenged him to a one-on-one debate. Dean responded with a bit of passive-aggressive venom familiar to many Minnesotans: “I’m confident Republicans will endorse a candidate who has the care, credibility and integrity to know his facts before blindly launching into a political attack to grab a cheap headline,” he wrote.”

The one-on-one debate challenge is an old trick. With a full field like this, it isn’t effective to criticize an opponent. Hitting an opponent with half a dozen other candidates might hurt him but not help yourself. Also, a one-on-one debate gives the appearance of slimming the field. Downey certainly hasn’t cleared the field. For that matter, nobody has cleared the field. The stunt that Downey is playing is that a one-on-one match-up gives the illusion that he’s the frontrunner. That’s a pretty nifty trick for a guy who just accused Matt Dean of being a “typical politician.”

This isn’t an endorsement of Matt Dean, though I’d feel pretty comfortable if he was the GOP’s endorsed candidate. I’d feel pretty comfortable with a couple other candidates, too. The purpose of this post is to highlight Matt Dean’s conservative policy accomplishments on health care. You know that you’re on the right track when Joe Davis of ABM insists that “Dean and Republicans have been paying lip service to health care while working to take away Minnesotans’ ability to care for themselves and their families.”

Right. It’s instinctive for Republicans to take ABM’s statements as Gospel fact. It isn’t like we’ve ever caught them lying, right? Oh wait. I’m certain we’ve caught them being dishonest. The truth is that trusting ABM’s or the DFL’s statements, especially on health care, is like trusting an arsonist to put out fires.

Apparently, people across America are getting sick of what I’ve called the “NFL’s patriotism problem.” (Part I is here. Part II is here.)

The ratings are in and they aren’t a pretty sight for the NFL. If NFL executives aren’t worried, they aren’t doing their jobs. According to this article, “These days, however, the most popular U.S. professional sport isn’t such a sure bet. According to Pivotal Research analyst Brian Wieser, viewership for the NFL was down 14 percent on a year-over-year basis during the first week of the 2017-18 season. That’s the lowest level of same-week viewing since 2009.”

This isn’t just a regular TV show being off a little bit. The NFL has been a major profit center for the networks. If ratings are off by 14%, the networks’ profits dip precipitously. If that isn’t cause for concern, nothing is. This paragraph should cause NFL executives and TV executives to worry:

Fox, CBS and Comcast signed a $27 billion deal with the NFL for the right to broadcast games through 2022. ESPN reportedly pays $1.9 billion per year for the rights to “Monday Night Football,” a 73 percent increase over the previous contract. NBC and CBS signed a $900 million deal in 2016 for the rights to broadcast Thursday night games.

The money is insane. With those out-sized contracts, the networks can’t afford a major decrease in viewership. This probably explains 90% of the drop in ratings:

Taking a knee during the national anthem is a sign of disrespect. That’s the fastest path from great ratings to poor ratings.

Others have pointed to the controversy around former San Francisco 49er quarterback Colin Kaepernick as a fan turn-off. Injuries to stars such as wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. of the New York Giants haven’t helped, either, nor do the retirements of fan favorites such as Peyton Manning.

I can’t say that I’m surprised that Keith Ellison has blocked me on Twitter. He talks trash but he doesn’t back it up. This evening, Rep. Ellison tweeted “Rep. Keith Ellison If you want to raise wages, then you must rebuild the Labor Movement. No two ways about it.” Of course, he didn’t explain how he’d rebuild the labor movement without actually building things.

Rep. Ellison, why doesn’t the DFL support replacing the Enbridge Line 3 Pipeline? Nationally, Democrats talk all the time about infrastructure projects. In Minnesota, the DFL constantly talks about the Bonding Bill as their jobs bill. The DFL is fantastic at building museums, arenas and civic centers. Their record is awful at building (or replacing) critical infrastructure that makes farmers’ lives easier.

The biggest point of this is to highlight the fact that Democrats, both locally and nationally, aren’t interested in rebuilding our nation’s (and our state’s) infrastructure if it has anything to do with improving people’s lives. When’s the last time we heard main street say that a new museum or civic center made their life better or had a multiplier effect on the economy? When’s the last time a new hockey arena created hundreds of long-term jobs that paid middle class wages? Sure, the cronies running those arenas make money but does anyone else get paid solid middle class wages?

This is the Democrats’ infrastructure plan:

The plan would provide billions of dollars in funding for road, bridge and sewer improvements, expanded broadband internet access in rural areas, railroad repair, public school construction and expanded port and waterway infrastructure. It includes a $200 billion “vital infrastructure fund” that would finance major projects such as rail lines and tunnels connecting New York City and New Jersey.

Noticeably missing are pipelines and refineries.