You Have Two Seconds

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

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Democrats are running a television ad against Jason Lewis, candidate for John Kline’s congressional seat, featuring this quote: “People have no idea what a great deal the American foreclosure system is.”

 Lewis is entirely correct, of course, but explaining it takes longer than a 2-second sound bite so Liberals can’t be bothered to understand.  They hear “foreclosure” which in their minds is “bad” and that’s enough to cement the mental link “Lewis = bad.”

 Look, if you want to buy a house that costs $180,000 – go buy it.  Oh, you don’t have that much saved up in the bank?  So take a loan to buy it.  Of course, the lender will want collateral for the loan, that’s only prudent.  Do you have gold, jewels, furs, bonds you can pledge?  No?  For most of history, and in many countries around the world today, that’s the end of the story.  No collateral, no loan, no house.

 America’s system of mortgage-backed lending lets you pledge the house itself as collateral for the loan you are taking to buy the house.  If you can’t repay the loan, the bank sells the house at auction and applies the sale proceeds toward your loan balance, leaving you with a much smaller loan balance to repay.  Minnesota’s optional foreclosure by advertisement process is even better – the lender takes the house and writes off the rest of the loan balance: you owe nothing.  No debt, no judgment, no garnishment, no debtor’s prison; you walk away and in a few years, when your credit is rebuilt, you buy a different house.

 The mortgage foreclosure system is what gives America one of the highest home-ownership rates in the world.  Jason Lewis is entirely correct and Democrats attacking him are entirely wrong. 

 But I’m over my 2-second limit. 

 Joe Doakes

We’ve known for years; Democrats are going for the voters that only need two seconds of chanting points to be convinced.

And don’t laugh; their votes count just as much as yours do.

A Sincere Question

I have left-of-center friends who say, with a completely straight face, that Hillary Clinton is “the most qualified person in history”.

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Qualified?  Perhaps.  Let’s leave her marriage and serial covering for a sexual predator out of it; her resume includes quite a number of punched political tickets.

But “most qualified in history?”   Someone please explain.  Because “history” is a very long time (although I’m pretty convinced liberals understand it as poorly as they do economics).

Because she’s a former Secretary of State?  Leaving aside the fact that she was a terrible SecState who may have bested (worsted?) Madeline Albright for the title of “Worst SecState of my lifetime” (and possibly all time), what was her big accomplishment, other than racking up a lot of miles in VIP jets?   And leaving that aside – there’ve been six Secretaries of State who became President, many of them with records much better than Clinton’s.  Even James Buchanan, who went on to become one of the worst presidents of all time, left a more positive legacy as our nation’s top diplomat than Clinton did.

In the Senate?   She was thoroughly undistinguished.   But for her name and PR presence, she was a mediocre senator at best.

If she were a man, and not the (ahem) “spouse” of a former president, she’d be waaaay back in the pack.  A nobody.  An also-ran – assuming that analogous male could have gotten elected to anything anyway.

Seriously – what is her “qualification?”

 (I’ll acknowledge all the usual “she has ovaries” responses in advance.  I’m actually trying to figure out why libs think what they do.  I have my suspicions).

Do What They Say…

…while ignoring what they actually do.

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That’s what the Minnesota DFL would have people do on most “ethical” issues.

Government employees with cadillac health plans pushing Minnesotans onto MNSure?  No problem.

DFL legislators with guns in the house pushing anti-2nd-amendment legislation?  Par for the course.

Decry racism and preach “diversity” and “inclusion” out of one side of your mouth, but prey on the ignorant racism of too many DFLers out the other side and several other orifices? You expected what?

And now –  Minnesota DFL Caucus is sending out mailers promising to regulate “dark money” campaign spending…

 

…paid for with “dark money”.

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So let’s let this sink in:  while jabbering at the ignorant about “dark money”, DFL-affilated groups have spent 3.3 million (not counting the half-million from the MN Chamber of Commerce, which is often falsely called pro-GOP; its policies have largely been moderate-DFL for the past six years) in “dark money” out of the over nine million they’ve spent so far.   The DFL-affiliated groups have spent over double in “dark money” what all of the GOP affilated PACs in the top ten have spent all together.

Pass the word to your less curious friends.  And your DFL-leaning friends.

But I repeat myself.

Chanting Points Memo: Minnesota’s Wondrous Economy

For the past six years, the standard response among Minnesota “progressives” when conservatives point to the success of Scott Walker (Milwaukee notwithstanding) is “Oh, yeah? Well, Minnesota’s doing better!”

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And there has been a grain of truth to that; while much of Wisconsin’s economy is tied to dying rust-belt manufacturing centered in the southeastern part of the state, largely concentrated in cities that have been addled by half a century of “progressive” rule, Minnesota’s is heavily based on industries that are heavily subsizied (healthcare), beneficiaries of government stimuli  (financial services), or just plain hot (medical devices).

But you can only subsiidize a boom for so long.

John Hinderaker – my former NARN colleague and new president of the Center of the American Experiment – has the story; the Minnesota economy isn’t nearly as solid as the DFL’s noise machine would have you believe:

This is the conclusion of a groundbreaking paper by Joseph Kennedy, former chief economist for the U.S. Department of Commerce, which Center of the American Experiment is releasing on Monday. Kennedy’s research indicates that over the last 15 years, Minnesota has been average with regard to economic growth; below average with respect to private-sector productivity; 30th among the states in per-capita income growth, and 28th in the rate of job creation.
Similarly, the Twin Cities metropolitan area ranks average or below average among the nation’s 15 major metropolitan areas in rates of economic growth and job creation.

Why does this matter?  Because it means live in Minnesota is going to start to suck even worse than a La Nina winter:

But that isn’t the worst news. Kennedy also finds that, with respect to an alarming number of leading indicators, Minnesota’s current performance points toward below-average prosperity in the future.
Minnesota is experiencing a growing concentration of employment in industries and occupations that produce less economic output per job. Consistent with that trend, there are fewer Minnesotans working in high-tech jobs today than there were 15 years ago, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Minnesota’s economy is increasingly wrapped around financial services and health insurance – industries with fabulously wealthy executive classes, minimal and utterly non-innovative technical classes, and lots of service workers with stagnant wages.

Minnesota also is suffering from a decline in venture capital, a falling rate of new company formation and a decline in entrepreneurship.

Minnesota – a great place to be the CEO (of a Fortune 1000 corporation – not so much elsewhere).

Read the whole thing.  Or tune in on Saturday; Hinderaker is at least tentatively scheduled to appear on the NARN.

Amy Klobuchar: On The Bandwagon

I got an email from Senator Klobuchar the other day.

Dear Rudolph,

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So apparently Senator Klobuchar is buying mailing lists from “MoveOn.org” – “Rudolph” is my sock puppet ID there.

Anyway:

My parents raised me to know that with hard work and determination, I could become anything I wanted to be. It’s a lesson I’ve worked to pass on to every young woman I meet.

Senator Klobuchar:  hard work helps.

Having a father who was one of the most famous men in Minnesota probably helped a lot too.

Just saying:  can the Horatio Alger.  You ain’t it.

But I digress:

But here’s the catch: They might not be paid equally for it.

Today is Equal Pay Day, the symbolic day when American women finally earn as much as men doing the same job earned the year before. It’s hard to believe that in 2016, women on average still only earn 79 cents for every dollar men make.

It’s hard to believe, because it’s not true.

If you read this blog, you’re probably already too smart to fall for that particular line; it’s just wrong.

  • If you compare two 35 year old lawyers, and one of them has worked as a lawyer for ten uninterrupted years, and one has combined five years of law with five years of child-rearing, who do you think should get paid more – to be a lawyer?   As in, for their expertise and experience representing clients?
  • If you compare 1000 average male college grads and 1000 average female college grads, the odds are pretty decent that more men have majored in things like engineering, computer science, hard science, pre-med, management – things that pay pretty well – and more women will have majored in social work, education, arts, humanities, and other disciplines that just plain pay less.  And – this is important – they did it voluntarily. 

If you compare men and women in the same job with the same experience and credentials, and all other things – merit, skill, connections – are equal, differences in pay fall inside the margin of error.   In fact, given that young men are being pushed out of getting higher educations, younger women are actually out-earning young men, according to some studies.

Klobuchar knows this, of course.  But the American left is currently in a bout of working its way toward a grievancegasm.

And by golly, Amy’s not one to be left behind.

I have been proud to cosponsor the Paycheck Fairness Act every Congress that I’ve been a senator, and I will keep fighting until we get this done.

Of course she will.  She owes a chit to the Trial Lawyers Association (as do all Democrats), who will be the only ones to benefit from the “Paycheck Fairness Act”, which is nothing but a full-employment bill for lawyers.

Senator Klobuchar’s audience is no less the gullible and uninformed than that of of any other Democrat.

A Pet Peeve

I was listening to a segment on MPR with Tom Weber, interviewing Bryan Strawser of the MN Gun Owners Political Action Committee about President Obama’s big gun speech.

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But one of the callers reminded me of a pet peeve that’s developed over the years of listening to gun control activists.  It was a woman from Sioux Falls, who said…

…well, we’ll come back to that.

But First:  If a thunderstorm springs up, do you have a right to take your family out for a walk without being hit by lightning?

Of course not.  You have…:

  • responsibility to not endanger your family
  • The free will to decide if you’re going to take a walk in the rain (and lightning, and maybe hail)
  • The means to avoid the rain, hail and lightning by staying inside.

But what if humans are involved?

Do you have a right to drive your kids to the mall and not get struck by another car?

No.   What you have is…

  • responsibility as a driver and as a parent to assess the risks inherent in driving your family in a car.  At 2PM on a Saturday afternoon, those are probably pretty low.  At bar closing time on Saint Patrick’s Day, probably less low.
  • moral imperative as a citizen and moral being not to endanger other people via your own behavior on the road.
  • An obligation to use all prudent means to keep your family, passengers and the rest of the driving public safe; wear seatbelts, put your small children in car seats, carry insurance, maintain your vehicle, drive defensively, prudently and without distractions.
  • You have legal recourse if someone breaks the law and violates the principles above, and damages your vehicle or harms you or your passengers.  Law enforcement may also have something to say about it.

You have a right to try to drive your kids to the mall.   It is your responsibility to see to it that you get there and back safely.

Anyway:  The woman from Sioux Falls referred to something I hear from a lot of less-informed people on the issue – most of whom, I suspect, are repeating a chanting point that neither they nor the person they heard it from understands all that well.

“My kids have a right not to get shot”.

No, ma’am.  They do not.

Nobody has a right to shoot them, it’s true (let’s assume “self-defense” is off the table).

But there is no “right not to get shot” .

You have…:

  • Moral imperatives to:
    • Not kill innocent people yourself
    • Avoid being in a position where “violent death” is a significant likelihood.  As much publicity as rampage and spree killings get, you are still vastly more likely to be a homicide statistic if you’re involved in a life of crime
    • Keep your children out of danger – whether it’s not hanging out among drug dealers, or being observant of the situation around you as you go about your law-abiding business.
  • common sense imperative to avoid places where lethal trouble might break out, and be observant about the situation around you.
  • responsibility to see to your own safety by whatever means you deem (as a responsible, law-abiding adult) necessary and your worldview finds acceptable.  That can mean anything from pure pacifism (being OK with giving up your stuff, and maybe your life, rather than resorting to violence) to avoidance, to prudent preparations for self-defense.   For some, that means developing the ability to deter or counterattack against violent attack.
  • responsibility to see to your family’s safety.   What does that mean?  Oh, boy, is that complicated.  Do your kids go to a school full of kids in black trench coats who listen to Slipknot?  You might wanna look into their environment.  Do your kids to go a school where the official response to the possibility (remote!) of a spree shooter is to hand out suspensions for talking about spree shooters?  You may need to have a talk with your principal, as fraught as that can be.  (I had a conversation with my kids’ principal after 9/11 – and it was depressing indeed).

Too picky about semantics?  Probably.

But even if there is a “right not to get shot”?   Like all other rights, it’s your responsibility to know how to practice it, and your imperative to protect it.  Because nobody is obliged to do it for you.

Anatomy Of A Chanting Point

Some years ago, an anti-gun group published a “study” showing that the rate of gun deaths was higher in red, square, stereotypically conservative flyover states where guns were plentiful and available to the law-abiding.

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Of course, it’s a misleading point – in keeping with the gun control dictum to “Lie First, Lie Last, Lie Always”.  The vast majority of gun deaths are suicides – and this is especially true in the rural west, as a disproportionate number of people, usually older, male, depressed, often very ill, decide to check out via the most reliable means they have available, their firearms.  It’s tragic; it’s also not the same as murder, robbery, kidnapping, rape, aggravated assault or other violent crimes committed against others.   And it doesn’t take many suicides in a thinly-populated rural western county to send that per capita death rate soaring.

But no mind; fake as it is, this particular narrative made the usual rounds:

  • Through the various far-left blogs that pretty much exist to recite the left’s chanting points
  • To the various gun grabber groups, whose only real source of “information” is the chanting points they’re fed by their superiors in the “progressive” food chain
  • And finally, mainstream “news” organizations.

And so – barely a decade after having been chastened to a fine sheen for using fraudulent sources, CBS News is still in the business of mindlessly parroting fake chanting points.

Evolved

For years, I’ve been listening to my various liberal friends grunt and shriek in horror as various school boards around the country adopt policies that call for their various school districts to recognize, in one curricular form or another, the existence of creationism.

To which I’ve responded with two questions:

“First – if someone who’s refinishing your driveway, or checking out your groceries, or working on the app that you use to calculate your heart rate, is a young earth creationist [because the type of liberals who always huff and puff about creationism tend to own fitbits, naturally, believe everyone who isn’t like them is in the service class], what difference does it make to you?”

The answer, generally, is something with pretensions to altruism with overtones of intellectual thuggery; “we want everyone in our society to start with the same basis of actual knowledge,” or some such.

Which leads to my second question: “So – let’s say that you go to the hospital with a life-threatening aneurysm in your brain.  And as you’re getting ready for surgery to stent a weak spot in a cranial artery to prevent it blowing like a water balloon, killing you in less time than it takes me to say this, you find out that your brain surgeon – a person who spent four years in a hypercompetitive hard-science-based pre-med program vying for a seat in a medical school, and then four more in a medical program designed to weed out the non-hackers, and not only surviving the cut but doing it brilliantly enough to get accepted to post-doctorate training and residency as a brain surgeon, and then years of experience operating on peoples’ brains – is a creationist?  Do you get up off the operating table, loudly proclaim “you, madame, have no respect for science!” and walk away, looking for a non-creationism brain surgeon?”

There was a time when it was a hypothetical question.  Ben Carson, the media is jumping up and down to remind us, is an old-earth creationist (who abjures ruling out a very old earth).  And – as the Clinton’s praetorian guard is reminding us these days, he believes a few other oddball things.

Now, Carson isn’t my guy at this point, although he’d be a better President than anyone on the Democrat ticket.

But let’s acknowledge a few things; he’s a very smart guy.  Literally, a brain surgeon.  To quote a less brilliant candidate, “that’s f****ng huge!”    But he believes in creationism, and that pyramids were used as granaries.

Hmm.

But I have a quesiton: is that any wackier than believing you can offer free college tuition without blowing up the deficit and distorting the higher education market out of recognition?  Or in believing that storing classified emails in a bathroom and telling the American people that the Benghazi attack was caused by an anti-Muslim video were good ideas?

The Endless Drip, Drip, Drip Of Heather Martens

Just because Michael Bloomberg and all his money have decided to put Heather Martens on the sidelines in Minnesota’s Second Amendment “debate” doesn’t mean that the Twin Cities media isn’t dutifully lining up to give her a smooch on the hindquarters; she had an op-ed in the Strib on Sunday, in reply to an editorial by the Strib’s DJ Tice – one of few voices of relative reason on the Strib’s board.

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Before we start, let’s remember the central fact about Heather Martens:

Heather’s Law:  It’s almost up to the level of a Berg’s Law, although Berg’s laws relate to universal behavior; perhaps Martens’ behavior is universal among gun-grabbers. The Berg’s Law committee will consider this during its next meeting.

At any rate; the central thing to remember about Heather Martens is this:


Heather Martens has never, not once, uttered or written a substantial, true, original statement about guns, gun rights, gun owners or gun law.


She may have said some true things about guns – but nothing she thought of herself (things like “8,000 people were killed by firearms” are true, but they’re other peoples’ stats).  She may have some some substantial or true things in her life – but not about guns or gun laws or even “gun safety”.

Her defenders – and there are no doubt a few people among the couple dozen who know she exists who aren’t Human Rights supporters who routinely eat her lunch – may try to dispute this – but I have yet to meet anyone up to the challenge of contesting it with me, least of all Ms. Martens.

But while most journalists would steer forever clear of a “source” that routinely, constantly, forever provides them with false, even risible, information, the Twin Cities media still beats a path to her door – often with comical results.

Lie #1:  Anyway, Martens writes in the Strib:

For two decades, the gun lobby has controlled the national policy of weakening U.S. gun laws. Its solutions haven’t worked. In the U.S., we have 88 gun deaths a day, most of them suicides.

Now, Martens is a perfectly fine human being, but when it comes to Second Amendment policy, she is a vapid trifle – which wouldn’t matter if she ever told the truth, or were even accurate.

But even Martens knows that over the two decades she mentions, gun crime has dropped by half – faster still in places with more “liberal” gun laws.

What makes this troubling is that the Gun Grabber movement seems to have switched to a “Lie About Everything And Hope The Low-Info Voter Buys It” strategy.

Lie #2:  Next, Martens writes:

Guns are poised to surpass car crashes as a cause of death.

Well, no.   They’re not, except if you read the stats in the most ludicrously tortured way possible.

Not Quite A Lie; Just Dumb:  Martens continues:

Yet Tice holds proposed gun violence prevention policies to a ridiculously high standard: Will they stop all gun deaths?

Given that the right to keep and bear arms is on par with freedom of speech, religion, press, assembly, security in your home, trial by jury and all the rest, the standard isn’t ridiculously high.

But since Martens wants to romp and play in the world of ethics:

A public-health-based standard asks instead: Does the policy measurably reduce gun death and injury?

Well, now we’re onto something.  Voilá – the policies pushed by gun rights supporters have helped reduce the gun death and injury rate by almost half, and they’re still dropping (outside certain cities paralyzed by pathologies of Democrat party governance).

If Martens is interested in “public health”, that would seem to be important, right?

Lies 3 and 4:  Onward:

Leading public-health expert Daniel Webster of Johns Hopkins University provides careful analysis based on research.

Well, no; as a generation of Second Amendment activists have shown, he crudely hammers public health fact into a form that fits a political agenda.

But let’s focus, here:

In a TEDMED talk, he aptly compares effective gun polices to the public-health-based campaign that dramatically reduced drunken-driving deaths in America without banning cars.

Webster notes three basic principles common to preventing both types of deaths:

1) Limiting access for inappropriate users: Just as a history of drunken driving can keep alcohol abusers off the road, effective gun policies prohibit access to guns by those with a history of violent or reckless behavior. Requiring a background check on every gun purchase stops prohibited buyers at the point of sale. Since the passage of the Brady Background Check law, 2.4 million sales to prohibited buyers have been stopped.

Some prohibited buyers – most notably Adam Lanza – have been stopped.  Many more perfectly legitimate buyers have come up with false positives.  But the beef comes next:

But gun-show loopholes and unregulated Internet sales let too many people legally avoid a background check.

And there are two lies.

First;  go to a gun show.  Try to buy a gun.  You’ll be asked for your carry permit, or (in Minnesota) your “permit to purchase”, or run through the NICS database that Martens mentions approvingly above.  You don’t buy guns at gun shows without a background check anymore without something indicating you’re clean.

Second?  “Internet Sales” – the legal ones – go through a federally licensed firearms dealer.  Where you take – taa daaaaa! – a NICS check!

Lie #5:    She continues:

2) Holding users and sellers accountable: Accountability for drunken drivers and those who sell alcohol to prohibited buyers has been a key to success. Gun dealers, too, should be held accountable for unsafe practices…The gun lobby, for all its disingenuous bluster about “enforcing existing laws,” has induced Congress to protect reckless gun dealers from lawsuits,

Well, no.  Congress has protected legitimate businesses from frivolous lawsuits designed to drive the firearms industry out of business through endless frivolous litigation. And it’s worked.  Much to Heather Martens’ disingenuous chagrin.

Not Technically A Lie – But Just Plain Wrong:  Martens decides to wax technical – or, more likely, copy and paste a Violence Policy Center chanting point:

3) Incorporating new technologies: For cars, it was air bags and seat belts. For guns, it is smart-gun technology (guns that can recognize their authorized user and operate only for them) and microstamping of bullets to identify crime guns.

Tell you what:  I’ll use a “smart gun” when the cops and military use them.

Or to put it in terms Martens might understand?  I’ll use a “smart gun” when she allows her daughter to be operated on using a procedure that is both highly experimental that that absolutely no reputable surgeons support.

Lies #6-9 – And They’re Dumb Ones: Martens turns the corner for what passes for her big finish:

Change is coming. Since Sandy Hook, community support for gun violence prevention has grown exponentially.

No, it hasn’t.

A recent Quinnipiac poll found a 93 percent national support rate for background checks before all gun sales.

It was a vague question that not only ignores the fact that something like 98% of all legal gun sales already have background checks, but counts on the survey-taker not knowing it.

It reminds me of the survey question gun-grabbers used to throw about; “85% of Americans favor gun control”.  But when you got into suggesting specific types of gun control, that “support” fell like a greased brick.  In the early eighties, at the height of the gun control movement.  Like all such questions, when you get into specifics, and start relying on actual information, that “Support” drops fast.

The historically underfunded gun violence prevention movement has attracted millions of dollars in new resources and thousands of newly engaged activists.

The gun control movement has always had liberals with deep pockets – including Michael Bloomberg, who could buy the NRA with pocket change.

What it doesn’t have is small donors.

Per-household gun ownership is declining,

(Blink blink blink)

driving the gun lobby to increasingly extremist positions.

Like, apparently, simultaneously noting the drop in violent crime rates and electing an extreme gun-grabber president who has brought more people into the shooting sports than any previous President has.

We have begun winning at the state level — most recently in Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Washington, New York and Oregon, where background check laws have been strengthened without banning guns.

And crime has done…what?

But Wait:  There has been a disburbance in the force.

Heather Martens not only said something true and factual – but she had a good idea!

Coming at noon today.

“When Did You Stop Beating Your Wife?”

I’m not a Donald Trump fan.  I disliked Trump even before it was cool – going back to the ’80s, even, when I thought his “if you’re not a billionaire, you’re a loser” schtick was too stupid to take seriously.

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I still do.

But today, in USA Today, we see Trump being blamed for…

…a question asked at a Trump rally?

“We got a problem in this country. It’s called Muslims. We know our current president is one. We know he’s not even an American. (Trump: We need the question.) But anyway. We have training camps brewing where they want to kill us. That’s my question. When can we get rid of them?”

Trump didn’t directly address what the man said about the president — nor did he correct him — and replied:

“We’re going to be looking at a lot of different things. A lot of people are saying that. A lot of people are saying that bad things are happening out there. We’re going to be looking into that and plenty of other things.”

Let’s leave aside, for a moment, the likelihood that the “questioner” was a plant; our experience during the Tea Party, when lefty provocateurs were busted red-handed posing as Tea Partiers, bringing signs, is still fresh in my mind.  Back then, there’d be an occasional ring of fringies around the edges of the protest, who’d gravitate toward the cameras – unless the rally made a point of publicizing that its security people would be taking pictures of provocative signs to crowdsource; they tended not to show up.  Candid shots of “racist tea partiers” tended to turn out to be slumming lefties.

No, we’ll leave that aside for now.

It’s a Republican event – and no Republican, least of all Trump, is immune to what seems to the great truth of American politics and media in the 21st century

  1. Nothing any Democrat says, or does, up to and including violating federal law and national security, will ever be held against them
  2. Anything untoward done, said, hinted at, or speculated to have been done, said or hinted at by any Republican officeholder (no matter how obscure or inconsequential), candidate, party official, contributor, voter, supporter, rally attendee, or putative supporter, contributor or rally attendee, or anyone claiming or reputed to be or to have at any time been a Republican party member, supporter or sympathizer, will not only be treated like it’s evidence in a federal trial, but imputed to every conservative, anywhere, regardless of its context, accuracy or even truthfulness.

Oh, yeah – and the story will focus exclusively on violations of political correctness, and studiously ignore any actual issues that may have been addressed.

This behavior is so pervasive and predictable, I have canonized it as “Berg’s Seventeenth Law“.

Rent-Seekers Seeking Rent

SCENE:  Mitch BERG is sitting on his porch, working on his next book project.  

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Avery LIBRELLE walks through the gate from his back yard and toward the sidewalk.

BERG:  Um, hello, Avery?  Hanging out in my back yard, were we?

LIBRELLE:  Oh, I was sorting your trash.

BERG:  Looking for recyclables?

LIBRELLE:  No.  Evidence of thoughtcrime.

BERG:  Huh. I burn all of that.

LIBRELLE:  Hah!  There’s some evidence of thoughtcrime!

BERG:  Of course.

LIBRELLE:  Hey – speaking of thoughtcrime – Ben Carson is a hypocrite.  He speaks out against welfare – but he and his mother used it!

BERG:  Yeah, I just saw the photomeme your side has been passing around:

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LIBRELLE:  Yeah!  Hypocrite!  His entire success was rooted in the welfare system!  Hypocrite!

BERG:  Well, if his entire success was rooted in the system, then every child growing up on welfare would be a doctor or a lawyer, wouldn’t they?

LIBRELLE:  He’s still a hypocrite!

BERG:  OK, let’s just for get for a moment that the whole “argument” is a logical fallacy…

LIBRELLE:  That’s a stereotype!  Trigger warning!  Trigger warning!

BERG:  No, fallacy.  It’s a Tu Quoque Ad Hominem – saying that because someone has ever said, or done, or believed something that’s at odds with their argument, their argument is invalid.  It’s like saying because someone was once in the Klan, they could never speak out against the Klan.

LIBRELLE:  But he’s not a former Klan member!  His mom was on welfare!  He grew up in the system!  It made him what he is today!

BERG:  So you’re claiming credit for Ben Carson’s success on behalf of the welfare system?  Fair enough.  Will you claim “credit” for all the people of all races who’ve become multi-generational dependents of the system?

LIBRELLE:  There is no such thing!  The science is settled!

BERG:  Of course it is.  Look – what you are saying is this; if someone’s ancestors went on welfare, to which they are entitled – because welfare is, for better or worse, an entitlement in this country – and that person not only uses the system exactly the way it was intended to be used, but goes on to succeed far above and beyond any rational expectations, that person isn’t allowed to point out what an exception to the rule he is, and how the welfare system as it is today *harms* the upward mobility that he experienced?

In other words, if you’re born into the system, don’t care speak out against the system, because the system owns you and everything you are, think and believe, forever?

Doesn’t that pretty much prove Carson correct?  That you, the system’s supporter, are using it as a form of intellectual indentured servitude?

LIBRELLE:  Steven Colbert!  John Oliver!  Rachel Maddow!  Neil DeGrasse Tyson!

BERG:  Of course.

(And SCENE)

Editing

I got this email last week from MoveOn.org.

chanting_points_200px

Interesting thing about it? There’s an odd…synchronicity in the chanting points that pop up in this email, the entire leftymedia’s coverage of the subject of last weeks bombshell videos of the Planned Parenthood ghouls selling baby parts.

Why, it’s almost as if the entire left, from Scott Pelley down to the lowliest, loneliest liberal blogger, is reading off the same script:

Dear MoveOn member,

Two weeks ago, a heavily edited, blatantly misleading video was released attacking Planned Parenthood.

Let’s stop right there.

The lefty chantingpointbots seem to think that “heavy editing” is unique to sting videos that gore their sacred cows.

News coverage generally shoots between 6 to 10 minutes of footage for every minute that appears on the air. With documentaries – think Michael Moore, who made hundreds of millions of dollars producing exactly the sort of footage that liberals love unless it’s James O’Keefe and the Center for Medical Progress – and “reality” shows it’s much, much much more; documentaries often shoot 30-60 minutes of footage for every minute of the final product.

Now be honest – do you think that those damning, eight minute videos of the Planned Parenthood ghouls talking about their Lamborghinis and the “crunchy” methods they use to kill prenatal children started out as 50-minute-to-eight-hour long conversations?

In the great scheme of video production, I’m going to suggest to you that these Planned Parenthood stings were edited vastly more lightly than most of what you see on television.

And this week, another deceiving, doctored video was released, continuing the smear campaign against the largest reproductive health care provider in America.

Did the ghouls actually say they were selling infant body parts?  Then the “doctoring” was irrelevant.

It’s clear we’re facing a highly coordinated attack on reproductive rights.

No.  You’re facing an attack on late-term abortion – the killing of “fetuses” that are in many cases perfectly viable.

“Highly Coordinated?”

Well, that’d be about time.   There’s no reason only “progressives” can be “highly coordinated.”

Never Let A Crisis Go To Waste

Call me a cynic…

chanting_points_200px

…no.  Call Barack Obama a Cynic.

Our Ghoulish President:  The bodies were literally not cold from the Charleston shooting when the President started trying to politicize the incident:

“I’ve had to make statements like this too many times. Communities have had to endure tragedies like this too many times,” he continued. “Once again, innocent people were killed in part because someone who wanted to inflict harm had no trouble getting their hands on a gun. … We as a country will have to reckon with the fact that this type of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries.”

Tell it to Charlie Hebdo.

Sure it happens in other countries.  A sickening amount of it.  The US doesn’t even top the list on most categories of “rampage killing”. Not even the “religious or hate crimes” category, where the US isn’t even in the top five (Roof is tied for seventh).  And who’da thunk it; car-crazy Americans barely make the top ten in vehicular spree-killings.   [1]

The US is not uniquely violent – indeed, the left’s constant claim that we’re the most violent country in the world is  wishful thinking.  While the rate is a fraction of what it was 20 years ago, it is higher than European countries – whose populations tend to be small, homogenous and very orderly.  Among large, populous, heterogenous industrial states, Russia and Argentina and Brazil, among others, all have much higher murder rates.

The President is not talking fact.

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“World Ends: Blacks And Women Most Affected”

Back in 2008, I went without a car for ten months, opting to save gas money and walk, bike, or (as a last resort) use transit to get around.

After ten months, I was in the best shape I’d been since college (thanks, biking!) – and agog at the amount of time I’d wasted waiting for late/absent buses, and sitting on buses clanking their stately, sluggish way down backstreets.

Transit – unless one is lucky enough to live, work, socialize, go to a doctor and churches that are all within a quarter-mile of train stops – is slooooooooow,  Wanting to get places fast on transit is like trying to shoot the weather along.

And it doesn’t matter if you’re black or white; the bus is slow, unreliable and annoying for everyone.

But don’t tell the Strib.  They’re on a roll.

What’s In A Headline?  The headline in of this Strib story, unlike the hed of this posting, is not intended to be satire:

Report says transit times extra long for commuters of color

I saw the headline, and thought “What?  Does Metro Transit sandbag black and Latino commuters?  Do lines from North Minneapolis and the West Side and Frogtown run slower than white people buses?  Doesn’t #BlackTimeMatter?

So I read further (and added emphasis):

Twin Cities transit users of color spend almost 160 additional hours a year commuting when compared to whites who drive to work solo. That’s according to a report out Tuesday from four advocacy groups opposing cuts to public transportation funding. 

The report “It’s About Time: The Transit Time Penalty and Its Racial Implications” cited infrequent service, indirect routes, delays, overcrowded vehicles, and insufficient shelter at bus stops as factors that contribute to a transit time penalty that adds time and stress to each commute. For Blacks and Asians who used public transit, that totaled an extra 3.5 weeks a year and for Latinos it was 4 hours a year of additional time required to travel between two points by public transportation, compared with going by car.

That’s the lede.

You have to get to the final graf of the story to also see that “5 percent of whites and Minnesotans of Asian descent commute by public transit, 8 percent of Latinos, 10 percent of Blacks, and 29 percent of American Indians” use transit as their primary means of getting to work.

So why doesn’t the Strib report lead with “A Transit-Centered Life Wastes A Lot Of Time?” or “Cars Are More Time-Efficient?”  Do they think a white person who commutes doesn’t waste the same exact amount of time?  Because I’m here to testify.

It’s too much to expect the Strib to note that the report was gurgitated by Neighborhoods Organizing for Change, TakeAction Minnesota, ISAIAH and the Center for Popular Democracy – four groups that have been working for decades to make sure that poor people are warehoused in the inner city and forced to be even more dependent on the arrogant vagaries of transit than the rest of us – and the report seeks funding to provide cars to black families.

Just kidding.  They want more funding to spread more slow, unreliable transit to everyone else.

Chanting Points Memo: Our Collective Burden

I got a brief shot at listening to the Jack Tomczak show this morning, on the lesser talk station.

They were talking about Minnesota’s “budget surplus”.

And they played an audio clip of Gov. Dayton, which pretty completely summed up the disconnect the DFL has on this issue.

In the audio clip, the governor referred to the surplus as “our collective good fortune”.

And this highlights a yawning golf of cognitive dissonance between DFLers (and others they’ve fooled) and the rest of Minnesota.

To a DFLer, budget surpluses are borne down from heaven in velvet-lined ivory chests on the wings of unicorns.

To the rest of us? The government’s “surplus” is our deficit. Every penny of that surplus came from what could’ve been a more productive use. Small business’ payroll; a manufacturers capital budget; your household budget and mine.

It’s not a “collective good fortune”; it’s a burden. It’s money taken out of the productive economy to run government, in excess of what government demanded in the first place; if the DFL has its way, it will be turned into permanent spending, to be wrenched from your wallets, your budgets, your bottom lines in perpetuity.

Surpluses are a bad thing. Deficits – provided they lead to spending cuts, rather than tax hikes – are a good thing.

Except for the permanent government class, of course.

Joe Persell: Context Goes Both Ways

The big DFL strategy in this election, so far, seems to be to scare to death the voters who they haven’t bored to death.

There was a debate on Wednesday in Bemidji.  Since a couple of districts – 2A and 5A – are in play in the Bemidji area, candidate from both were apparently in the ring.

The topic turned to gun control:

In response to a question on gun control, [HD2A GOP challenger Dave] Hancock said shooting incidents usually occur in places where guns are banned.

“If we look we look at the areas where tragedy has occurred with guns, they are usually in gun-free zone(s),” he said. “Where you have people armed and carrying concealed weaponry, the criminal in use of a gun thinks twice.”

That’s pretty much the fact.  Hancock got it right.  No surprise there.

Here’s where it gets interesting – and when I say “interesting”, I mean “A DFLer starts saying things that misinform the uninformed”.  The DFL’s Joe Persell responded to the question; I’m going to add emphasis:

Persell disagreed, saying carrying weapons can exacerbate tense situations.

“Folks that are out there carrying, playing cop … I don’t think we want them to be doing that,” he said. “There’s more instances of people being killed because they are carrying, and they think somebody said something nasty, and they felt threatened, and so they shot them.”

Really, Rep. Persell?

I wanted to ask Rep. Persell to name one example of either of a Minnesotan…:

  • being killed because they were “playing cop”
  • killing someone who “said something nasty” to them.

Conversation:  I sent Rep. Persell an email asking for clarification.  He contacted me, saying he’d been taken out of context in the Bemidji Pioneer.  We wound up having a conversation last night.   I pointed out that there has never been such a case involving a legal post 2003 carry permit holder in the state of Minnesota (although there were a few incidents with pre-2003 permits – the ones issued by sheriffs).

Rep. Persell told me that the conversation referred to the Second Amendment as a general, nationwide issue, and that he was referring to cases like those of Michael Dunn, the Florida man who shot a teenager over, the court case said, “loud music”.

Those cases certainly grab the headlines – the media, being left-of-center and largely anti-gun, makes sure they do.

But even those lavishly-publicized incidents are exceedingly rare.  I ran the numbers, nationwide, a few years ago; in a typical year, a carry permittee is two orders of magnitude less likely to commit any kind of crime than the general public.

So while Persell wasn’t “lying”, per se, he was focusing attention on a type of incident that is exceedingly rare in real life.   While his original quote in the Bemidji Pioneer may have been out of context, the context of his remark is misleading and inflammatory.

The problem with guns, statistically, nationwide, isn’t a guy with a carry permit killing someone unjustifiably.  It’s the thousands of criminals without permits who kill people without regard to the law at all.

Hope that word gets out…

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Chanting Points Memo: Democrat Fakery Labor Party

 Bill Glahn notes that the Dayton campaign’s latest TV ad – featuring a “beleaguered middle class family” – continues a long DFL tradition:

The Ports are in no sense “middle class.” Steve Port owns his own businessin Burnsville, employing several staff. In true, “What’s the Matter with Kansas” fashion, I’m not sure the Ports—by supporting Democrats—are operating in their own self-interest as small-business owners in Minnesota.

But they do support the Democrats. Besides the sizable campaign donations, Lindsey Port recently wrote a letter to the editor supportive of the Democratic cause.

And we do mean large contributions; the Ports gave $1,000 to Roz Peterson’s undistinguished lump of a DFL opponent. 

This is, of course, a DFL pattern.  Four years ago, the DFL and the “Alliance for a Better Minnesota” and its media allies at “The Uptake”, produced a piece featuring a mother who was “boycotting Target” because of their pro-business campaign donation to the putatively “anti-gay” Tom Emmer.  Of course, the woman was an upper-middle-class DFL donor from the southwest suburbs

The DFL.  Fake outrage.  Fake numbers.  Fake people.

Chanting Points Memo: “Only 4.5%!”

A friend of mine on Facebook (who admits he based it on a statement by Senator Michelle Benson, on the Dave Thompson show) notes the wierdness of the state’s math in arriving at the “4.5% increase in MNSure Premiums” number that the media is trumpeting.

He put it this way:  If a fast food restaurant serves 500 customers and has $5,000 in the till at the end of the day, that’s an average of $10 per person. 

If a coffee shop next door has 5 customers and makes a grand total of $25, they averaged $5 per sale. 

So what was the average amount spent by customers to those two stores?

  1. $7.50 – the average of $10 and $5?  Or…
  2. $9.95 – $5,025 in total receipts divided by 505 customers?

If you’re a Democrat, you picked “1” – which is the average price of two items, but is not the average amount spent by the customers  If you undestand economics, you picked “2”. 

What the state has done – and the media has reported more or less uncritically – is tell us the average price of the plans (that are still on the market).  Not the average amount customers will have to spend to stay in the exchange – which includes nearly 2/3 of all MNSure customers who lost their lower-priced Preferred One plans, and who will be paying at least 20% more. 

The state’s spin is dishonest.  The media uncritically running the spin is an abdication of their purported job of keeping government honest.

Chanting Points Memo: The Dayton Economy Just Keeps Getting Better And Better!

Just keep repeating it to yourself, DFLers; the Dayton economy is awesome!

The Dayton economy is awesome!

The Dayton economy is awesome!

Housing starts are off 15 percent in August (the full story appeared on MPR last night – but naturally isn’t available online today):

Confidence in the local homebuilding market took a hit in August, as permits for new single-family houses declined 15 percent from a year ago and permits for new multifamily units were down 78 percent. 

And the price of farm land – one of the key indicators and drivers of the farm economy – is slipping in Minnesota.  But hey, at least they’ll be getting taxed more for it…

 

Chanting Points Memo: Our Slammin’ Economy!*

The left is jumping up and down proclaming that Minnesota’s economy is lighting up the charts. 

And it is – in the same sense that I’ve got the best chance of being the best pitcher in my division (if the other teams started Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder and Andrea Bocelli). 

But as Bill Glahn points out, it’s less about “economic strength”, and more about the comparisons that the Democrats are highlighting:

Most of the recent bragging around Minnesota’s economy centers on a single fact: that Minnesota’s unemployment rate (4.5%) is below that of Wisconsin’s (5.7%). But Minnesota’s unemployment rate has been lower than Wisconsin’s since February 1997.

Wisconsin’s economy has always been focused more heavily on manufacturing – and manufacturing has been on a slow decline for decades.  Minnesota’s economy focuses on financial services and healthcare (insurance and devices), both of which are hot tickets these days, and parts of which have been getting lavish government subsidies.  Of course they’re doing well

The two states’ relative positions not only predate Walker, they’re the same as when Wisconsin was dominated by idiot liberals. 

As to the purported “job growth” (with emphasis added):

It’s worth noting that Minnesota’s job growth during the past year has merely kept pace with the job growth in the rest of the country…Iowa (4.4%), South Dakota (3.8%), Nebraska (3.5%), and North Dakota (2.7%, the nation’s lowest) all enjoy lower unemployment rates than Minnesota. We may be beating Wisconsin, but we are losing badly to those states with which we compete for new residents and businesses.

And I’d be very interested in seeing how the states compare if you leave out manufacturing in Wisconsin. 

And the claim that the Twin Cities have the lowest unemployment rate of any major metro area in the country?”   Perhaps – but the smaller metropoli around us, Fargo and Des Moines and the like, are smoking the Twin Cities:

The “nation’s lowest” claim only comes by comparing MSP to the biggest American cities. If you are a sprinter, you’ll be happy to edge ahead of the fattest guy in the race, but you need to notice that all the other runners have already crossed the finish line.

Rather than comparing Minnesota’s economic performance to the relevant benchmarks, it seems we are determined to find someone, somewhere we can brag over. Yes, we are doing better than Detroit, but does that really mean we are doing well?

And don’t look now, but downtown Detroit is a lot more vibrant than downtown Saint Paul on a non-hockey night.

Read the whole thing.

Chanting Points Memo: The Straw War

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Did you know Minnesota women only make 80 percent of what men make?

 

 Thankfully, on Mother’s Day, Governor Mark Dayton took bold, decisive action to end this discrimination against women.

Dayton says the new law is intended to create equality, opportunities and protections for women. I confidently predict that one year from today, it will have accomplished none of them.

What it actually will accomplish is Good Feelings for having Done Something with Noble Intentions unlike those Hateful Republicans who wage War on Womyn just in time for Election. That, with the help of willing accomplices in the media such as the CBS story above, the new law will accomplish in spades.

Joe Doakes

It’s the very definition of a “Chanting Point”.

Chanting Points Memo: The New Gulag

Last January, I pointed out that the left’s newfound demand for “transparency” – in the form of making sure every (conservative) causes’ donors were made publicly available – was the prelude to an attempt to purge conservatives from business, academia and any other place the Big Left could get them purged from.

And the purging has started; Brandon Eich – inventor of Javascript (a frequently-misused tool that is also one of the most important factors of the past decade and change for making the web usable to non-geeks) and a long-time browser engineer, one of the foremost experts on how the web actually works – was cashiered from Mozilla (maker Netscape) for donating to California’s Proposition 8, which headed off gay marriage for a few years:

When this fact first came to light, Eich, who was then CTO of Mozilla, published a post on his personal blog stating that his donation was not motivated by any sort of animosity towards gays or lesbians, and challenging those who did not believe this to cite any “incident where I displayed hatred, or ever treated someone less than respectfully because of group affinity or individual identity.”

There were no examples.  There never are.  “Thoughtcrime” – like most offenses in the “progressive” legal canon, like “sexual harassment” and their definition of “racism” – requires no actions, or even intent.

Conservatives think liberals are wrong; liberals think conservatives are evil.  The Eich incident is only the latest and largest example of “progressives” trying to purge dissenters from private as well as public life.  Even at the lowest and most meaningless level; one of every conservative blogger’s nightmares is when a pack of liberal droogs starts snooping through your private life, trying to get you fired or at least make your political beliefs an issue with your employers or clients.  I’ve been there and done that, and it’s one reason I never mention where I work on any social media, and never talk about politics in the office (even in offices where people know my politics and extracurricular activities.

At any rate, it’s time for choosing for “progressives”; either:

  • Choose America:  Recognize that “democracy” needs a rational, reasoned dissent, and a consensus that comes from a rational debate – and, more importantly, that people have the right to disagree civilly without having to fear for their livelihoods (or lives).  Elizabeth “The Anchoress” Scalia puts it well – it’s “Time for a gay CEO with balls to hire Eich and halt this crap“.  Or…:
  • Choose Maoism:  Live and act as if your ends really do justify your means.  Crush all intellectual opposition (or, given that most of America outside the coastal enclaves is relatively conservative whatever its political party, try to, and face the inevitable consequences, of which more later this week).

My hunch:  progressivism is well on its way toward making “the American experiment” as we know it today unviable.

More on this – much, much more – tomorrow and in coming weeks.

Chanting Points Memo: The Head Fake

Joe Soucheray got fooled.

The entire Twin Cities media has either been fooled, or is playing along.   I vote “playing along”.

Governor Messinger Dayton and Senate Majority Leader Bakk aren’t “fighting”, or “at odds”, or “in a conflict” over the DFL’s so-called “tax cuts” (which, let’s not forget, “cut” less than 10% of the four billion dollars worth of tax hikes the DFL jammed down back in 2013).

This is all theater.   And it’s about as spontaneous as a porn shoot.

Signs the DFL planned this from the ground up?   Ask yourself this; why is Governor Messinger Dayton, who is up for re-election this year, “in conflict” with Tom Bakk – who is not up for re-election this year – and not Paul Thissen, who is?

The entire “story” is a carefully-manicured charade designed to make Mark Dayton – who signed four billion dollars worth of tax hikes last year with little more thought (and perhaps little more knowledge) than he’d use signing a credit card receipt at the Oceanaire – look like a “tax cutting moderate” compared with the Senate (who are utterly safe for the next two years, and for whom the media will help engineer something in two years anyway), but heaven forbid not the House, who are, mirabile dictu, not involved in this particular fracas.

Chanting Points Memo: Koch Fiends

How much reporting could conservatives save by simply referring to Berg’s Seventh Law – “When a Liberal issues a group defamation or assault on conservatives’ ethics, character, humanity or respect for liberty or the truth, they are at best projecting, and at worst drawing attention away from their own misdeeds” – to explain “progressive” efforts to slander/”attack” conservatives, their organizations, and their supporters? 

Hard to say.  Lots.

That said, it’s good to get the details.

James Taranto chronicles the left’s current assault on  the Koch Brothers – who, along with the tiny think tank “ALEC” and the NRA are the the repository of most lefty boogeyman-mongering – and finds it a troubling variant on a standard “progressive” tactic…:

We’re torn between finding this effort sinister and ridiculous, and the truth is it’s both. Alinskyite tactics were meant to be applied against the powerful by the powerless. When applied by powerful men, like Reid, who are supposed to be public servants, they take on the character of tyranny rather than rebellion.

…as well as a classic case of Berg’s Seventh Law in action (

No doubt the Kochs can take it, but note that his attack aimed not only at them but also at ordinary Americans who have been victimized by ObamaCare and spoken out about it. The aim is clearly to intimidate others and thereby suppress information about ObamaCare’s failures.

Not to mention make dissenting from the “progressive” narrative too painful for non-billionaires to carry on.  See also “Joe the Plumber”.

Strib: “Look At All That Money!”

You know me.

You know I believe that the Strib is – and at the highest level, sees itself – as a PR arm for the DFL.

I don’t think I’ve left a whole lot of you wondering about my beliefs about Minnesota’s Newspaper of Record.

But I never figured the business section’s Neal Saint Anthony would turn into a stenographoer for Alida Messinger, too.

But one of my last little outposts of pollyannaism about theStrib’ssense of detachment has been the business section, especially Neal Saint Anthony.

I was wrong, of course:

Nearly half of the tax cuts Gov. Mark Dayton proposed Thursday are for businesses and their owners, a move that may reduce the anti-business criticism that has dogged him.

 Dayton proposed — and the House almost immediately passed — eliminating three business-sales taxes that accounted for $232 million in his overall $616 million in tax cuts.

 He also asked lawmakers to simplify and raise the estate tax deduction to $2 million from $1 million and to eliminate the gift tax, a 10 percent levy on any personal gift above $1 million. Those moves would cut $43 million in taxes, bringing the combined cut on businesses and the wealthy to $275 million, or 44 percent of the total.

So let’s get this straight:

  • In 2013, the DFL went on a taxing orgy, jacking up taxes by a net $2 Billion.  With the economy still moving forward after a decade of Republican control, revenues actually went up $3 Billion.  That’s an extra $600 taken out of the productive economy for every man, woman and child in Minneosta.   This orgy of larceny was treated with kid gloves by the Minnesota media. 
  • In 2014, the DFL proposes “giving” a few hundred million of those three billion dollars “back”.    This “gift” is being greeted with saturation media coverage, in a key election year in which – mirabile dictu – the DFL is in dire need of a PR win. 

Why, it’s almost as if a cynic might expect to dig back into the “hypothetical” Minnesota version of Journo-List and find a conversation between key DFL operatives and the major Twin Cities media figures saying “we’ll grab all the taxes we can first; keep mum about it.  We’ll give some back next year; make a huge deal about it.  And for God’s sake, never talk about MNSure!”. 

But that’d be cynical, wouldn’t it?