Chanting Points Memo: The Non-Cut Cut

Last week, Tom Emmer released his education plan.

The left’s been sputtering ever since.

We’ll come back to that.


Education in Minnesota, like most entitlement programs, is a “baseline” program.  It doesn’t start from zero every year; it starts with the previous years’ budget, and adds to it.  What what you add is where the political fun and games start.

P.J. O’Rourke, in his classic exposition of American government Parliament of Whores, explained baseline spending.  I’ll paraphrase.  Say there’s a state Human Service program to help provide treatment to deranged leftybloggers.  It gets $10,000,000 a year in 2010.  For the 2012 biennium, the DFL will claim that there will be a 10% hike in utilization, and the program will thus required$11 million dollars.  The Republicans can say that trying to make leftybloggers sane has diminishing returns, but raise appropriations for the program $500,000.  Both sides can say they’re raising program’s budget; the Dems can say the GOP is cutting the program; both are telling the truth, and both are lying.


So too with the education budget.

Mark Dayton’s eduation budget, in his four-page “plan”, calls for a $15.6 billion educatino budget.

Emmer’s proposed  budget $13.8B – identical to the current budget (and actually a slight hike, since the 2008 budget inluded half a billion in federal stimulus money that, trust is, is wasted, gone forever, never coming back.

So that means $1.8 billion in new spending going to the classroom, right?


Dayton proposes to pay back “the shift” – money deferred to subsequent years in previous budget solutions – next year.  Minnesota’s education budget usually pays 90% of the annual allotment in the current year and defers 10% to the subsequent year; under the budget compromise, the deferral rose to 27%.   That means that Minnesota schools are floating 1.8 billion in various borrowing against future state payments.

Dayton wants to pay that back next year.

No, wait.  Let’s be accurate.

Dayton wants to crank your taxes up by $1.8 Billion dollars next year – $300 for every man, woman and child in Minnesota – to cover the shift.

Now, in normal times, with the economy ticking along and revenue coming in in surplus lots, that’d make some sense – but in those kinds of times, there’d have been no need for a shift in the first place.

Tom Emmer proposes to wait on paying the shift back to 2014, when, with a little luck, the economy will be doing better (which will itself be more likely if Emmer is in office), rather than saddling the taxpayer with it right now, at the depths of the Obama Recession.

Here’s where the DFL is trying to fool the people; the DFL’s spinbloggers are portraying he difference as a “$1.8 Billion Dollar Cut to education!”.

It’s a lie, of course.

The Emmer budget will keep the actual money to the classroom the same as in the current budget; the main difference is the shift.

“But what about inflation?”, the left countercaterwauls.  Simple; the biggest element in education’s inflation is union labor costs.

I think they can tighten the ol’ belt for a year or two like the rest of us.

What do you think?

Chanting Points Memo: Emmer’s “Big Lie”

Did Tom Emmer lie?


But we’ll come back to that.  We’ve got a bit of business to take care of first.


It’s time to inaugurate a new Berg’s Law.  These laws of human and political behavior are based on decades of observing people and their behavior, and, as “laws”, have passed beyond mere theory.

Anyway – there were nine.  Now there are ten.  Here’s the new one:

Berg’s Tenth Law of Quantum Context: When a liberal says a conservative is “lying”, the odds of the “lie” being merely an ambiguity triggerging some form of cognitive dissonance increases in geometric proportion with the volume and stridency of the liberal’s declaration.

That law will rear its head shortly.


If there’s one thing I like about Tom Emmer, it’s that he’s a real guy.

When Emmer talks, you know you’re getting Tom Emmer, and not some slickee-boy focus-group-polished polibot facade.   That’s played against the part of his public image his opponents and the Twin Cities media (they are, at an institutional level, one and the same) have chosen to spotlight; “he has a temper”, intones a Twin Cities media that spent a couple of decades covering for congenital martinet Mike Hatch’s Queeg-like administration at the Attorney General’s office and his legendary temper.

He’s a big, beefy guy with an iron handshake and a sense of dynamic magnetism that wins people over when they actually meet him – which is why the DFL and media (pardon the redundancy) are playing such eager ball on “Alliance For A Better Minnesota”‘s smear campaign.

Which shows off, by the way, some of the media’ s hypocrisy; their editorials will bemoan, for three years at a shot, the impossibility of “real people”, with families and warts and skeletons and real-life jobs and careers and stories, getting into politics, and how opposition research will eventually limit the political gene pool to people who’ve bred themselves for campaigning from childhood – people who can not possibly related to regular voters.  And then we get exactly such a regular guy – and the media spends two months misrepresenting his civil court records and his 20-and-30-year-old reckless driving convictions.

Anyway: like most people, Emmer’s great strength is also a weakness.  His passion for his cause and his campaign, and everything it stands for, makes every room he’s in positively throb with energy.  That’s a huge strength;  watching Emmer on a stage with with his opponents is a study in contrasts; Tom Horner is like a human MP3 player loaded with message lines stuck on “shuffle”; Mark Dayton looks like he’s about to demand to go watch Wapner.  Emmer, on the other hand, is sharp, engaged, and thinks on his feet as well as anyone in Minnesota politics.

As opposed to “consistently repeats a rehearsed, focus-grouped, finely-tuned message vetted by his message cops”.

And that’s the downside of Emmer’s big strength; he occasionally ad-libs; often it’s a home run; sometimes he fans; once in a while – the tip flap – he bats into a double play.

I give Emmer – or anyone who speaks exemporaneously but genuinely, including the likes of Paul Wellstone, who was a spotty public speaker but nothing if not geuine, warts and all – a lot of slack.  Because that’s how real people who are passionate about what they think and believe speak; straight from the gut, damn the torpedoes.

I like that quality in Emmer, because that’s how I speak.  I’m usually dead-on; I occasionally muff one.  I pick myself up, dust myself off, and go forth to kick more ass.


So the other day, Emmer released the first installment of his budget plan.  It is, for the moment, a high-level set of goals and principles, as befits a guy from the party not in power (yeah, Pawenty’s the goverrnor, but his power, brilliantly as he’s exercised it, has been entirely defensive).

And as part of presenting that installment, Emmer said that the  proposal had been vetted by the Department of Revenue.

Someone from DoR, asked later that day, said that “Emmer’s plan” had not been vetted.

“Lie!”, screamed the usual assortment of DFL chanting-point bots in the blogs and on Twitter.

That’s where Berg’s Tenth Law comes in.

I talked with two different sources close to the episode.  Both said that Emmer – speaking extemporaneously and on a bit of a roll – wrote a rhetorical check that the bank needed to run through two times; he mis-spoke just a tad.  Because “the plan” had not, in its entirety, been vetted by the DoR.

But every single part of it, individually, has been.

Because there is, in fact, nothing new in Emmer’s plan.  All of it has come out in one proposal in the house or another over the past few years, from the conservative bloc led by Emmer and Mark Buesgens and Laura Brod and Keith Downey and a few other notable fiscalcons.   And each of those proposals has, in turn, been vetted by DoR when they were going through the legislative process, according to the same two sources with intimate knowledge of the gestation of Emmer’s budget proposal.

So while nobody has walked Emmer’s entire budget proposal into the DoR and gotten the entire document signed off, there is nothing new in the proposal as far as the DoR is concerned.

More on that later.

So Emmer turned many small approvals, in the heat of the moment and on a stage at a moment when his campaign was making a great leap forward, into one big one that happened not to exist.

Is it a “lie?”

Depends on what the definition of the word “is” is, doesn’t it?


So does a conflation of many approvals into one for purposes of giving a speech – an infinitesimal rhetorical bobble under any normal circumstances – make Tom Emmer a bad candidate?

Hell no.  The underlying facts are worthy of debate (which is why the media and the DFL chanting point bots are focusing so hard on everything but the underlying facts).  So what if Tom Emmer bobbles the occasional I or T?  I will take a real, genuine person with passion for his principles every single time, all other things being equal, over a focus-grouped talking-point-bot.

Every single time.

So, I think, would most Minnesotans, if they thought about it.

Which is why the Twin Cities media and the DFL’s noise machine is trying to keep people from thinking about it.

Chanting Points Memo: Bachmann And The Friendly Media

They never learn.

It’s been a little over two years since Andy Birkey of the Minnesota “Independent” first sniffed that Rep. Michele Bachmann “only does sympathetic media”.

Of course, it makes perfect sense for Bachmann; she represents a conservative district; talking with hostile media (and when it comes to the Twin Cities media, “hostile” is not just a rhetorical term) makes as much sense as a frontrunner looking at a comfortable 30-40 point margin agreeing to debate a non-entity opponent.

Still, let’s accept at face value the proposition that candidates talking with media that oppose them is a good thing.

Two years ago, after Birkey wrote his grand attack on Bachmann, I figured I’d see if the pancake was brown on both sides.  I contacted RT Rybak, Chris Coleman, Dave Thune, Keith Ellison, Betty McCollum, Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken, and asked them to come on the Northern Alliance with Ed and I – and wrote about the experience.

Summary:  Except for Rybak – with whom Ed and I had an excellent, civil, respectful, serious-yet-fun discussion focusing on actual issues rather than the “ambush the bad guy” crap that Bachmann can usually expect – none of them did us the courtesy of so much as a brusque brush-off.

The Clark campaign must be getting desperate to make something stick, or at least to get donors in the Twin Cities to pony up; the story’s baaaaaack.  According to Paul Schmelzer at the Mindy, Bachmann snubbed CNN:

“She says God called her to run for Congress, so rushing to the media outlets that transmit her views without question is a priority, but for members of the press who might have some harder questions? Different treatment — because Bachmann thinks some in the media are out to get her,” says Tuchman.

“Speed-walking in heels through political mud,” Bachmann is shown rushing between interviews with conservative media including KTLK’s Jason Lewis, Christian radio station KKMS and The Patriot.

So they got completely shunned?

CNN is shooed away by Bachmann’s handlers, but later she agrees to an interview, but only two questions.

Ah.  So Bachmann, who leads Taxin’ Tarryl Clark by nine points and will likely win by at least ten, didn’t shut CNN out; she merely didn’t treat them with the deference to which they’re accustomed.

But in the interest of getting the whole story out there: during the run-up to the Minnesota State Fair and our long string of extra weekday broadcasts, I contacted the DFL about getting Mike Hatch Mark Dayton, Yvette Prettner-Solon, Mark Ritchie, Mike Hatch Lorie Swanson, Rebecca Otto, Keith Ellison and Betty McCollum on the show, for the same, exact, respectful-but-pointed interview we gave RT Rybak.

The DFL roundly turned us down at every turn.

So let me get this straight; the GOP is wrong for not facing hostile media, but Democrats are…

…well, still universally just as gutless as the Mindy and CNN want people to think Bachmann is.

Chanting Points Memo: DFL Busted Lying

As Tom Emmer was setting up at Permac Industries in Burnsville to announce the first part of its budget plan, the Minnesota DFL party’s Twitter account announced…:

Spoiler Alert: Tom Emmer to Hold Press Conference at Company Saved by the Recovery Act Funding He Opposes #goDFL

This prompted other DFLers to crow that Permac had been “saved” by the stimulus, or “expanded” because of it.  They harped, naturally, on the irony; Emmer opposes the measures that, they said, kept Permac in business.

Wow.  That woulda been a fumble.

Except it’s not true.

Permac has received not one nickel of cash from the stimulus.

Two sources with knowledge of the situation confirmed that Permac hired a worker who’d gone through a Dakota County training program that had received stimulus money to help train the unempoyed.  The hiree was an unemployed worker.

Permac also got a tax break from the Bush Administration stimulus.  Which, if you’ve been paying attention, is exactly the sort of “stimulus” Emmer proposed at the press conference fifteen minutes later.

Why is the DFL lying to the people?

UPDATE:  It wasn’t just leftyblogger Sally Jo Sorenson who claimed the tax break and the county-trained worker “saved” Permac.  The DFL’s press release said so.

I’m working on contacting a Permac source to address this gross DFL distortion.

Chanting Points Memo: The DFL Morale Booster!

The New York Times publishes a morale booster for the DFL, a week after the MPR/Humphrey Institute poll showed the Minnesota Gubernatorial race a dead heat.

The analsysis – from “Five Thirty Eight”, a left-leaning statistics blog run amok (without mentioning anything about “Lies” and “Damned Lies”, for some reason) says Mark Dayton has a 78% chance of winning the gubernatorial election; they claim the current stats point toward a 46-41 Dayton win on November 2.

The DFL Chanting Point Bots are duly repeating that “78%” figure as if it is the be-all and end-all of the story.

They’re ignoring the part where the sausage gets made.

Look at the polls they select for their sampling.

The sample gives full weight (“.99”) to an August 2 Survey USA poll that came out about a week before the DFL primary.  When the DFL was outspending Emmer 16:1, and flogging their astroturf campaign against Target to maximum effect.

It gives 2/3 weight (“.66″) to last week’s MPR/Humphrey Institute poll, which showed the race a dead heat.

It gives .4 credit to the un-creditable Strib/”Minnesota” Poll, which showed a ten point Dayton lead, and a tiny little fringe of weight to Rasmussen and Survey USA polls from earlier this summer that showed Emmer inside the margin of error and long before Dayton started his orgy of spending on his slime campaign.

In other words, the stats that the DFL and media are  jumping up and down and caterwauling about could hardly be better cherrypicked to show Dayton in a commanding lead; they are, to say the least, a misleading sample given a questionable weighting.

Take this number seriously at your own risk.

Chanting Points Memo: Baer Facts And Hog Wild Tales

A few weeks ago, “Politics in Minnesota” (PIM) made a splash by moving all of its content behind the “paywall” – pay for read – decided that yesterday’s piece by Paul Demko on the farm family Tom Emmer uses as an example of state overregulation from the stump deserved to be a freebie.

Why do you suppose that is?

Amos and Amon Baer are unlikely figures to find themselves at the center of the governor’s race. But in recent weeks the names of the Clay County farmers have been mentioned repeatedly by Republican nominee Tom Emmer at campaign events.

During this month’s gubernatorial debate on TPT’s Almanac program, for instance, Emmer brought up the plight of the Baer brothers as a prime example of the state’s overly burdensome regulatory framework. The GOP challenger bemoaned that it would take $40,000 and two years of bureaucratic wrangling to expand their hog operations in Minnesota. Instead the Baer brothers simply went across the border to North Dakota and were up and running within six months.

Demko’s point?

But the Baer brothers are hardly your standard, struggling family farmers. They are part of a renowned, multi-million dollar farming operation that started, literally, from scratch some five decades ago.

The Baers are a large business now.

I’ve heard a number of lefties crowing that “they’re not a typical farm family!”

I suspect that when DFLers think of “typical farm families” they think of Amish people with tractors; bucolic stereotypes that may have been perfectly valid when the “Democratic Farmer Labor” party put “farmer” into their name.

The Baers may be a very large farm operation – but farms, especially on the Plains – have had to get much bigger and more diversified to survive.  The Baers got much much bigger, and survived pretty well.

The nerve of them.

A problem with authority

Allen and Edna Baer arrived in Minnesota with 13 kids in tow after being kicked out of a Hutterite community in North Dakota for insubordination. (Allen, according to one account, “wondered a bit too loudly why Heinie, the leader of the community, never helped to wash dishes, and he was told to leave.”)

I’m picturing Paul Demko being sent to North Dakota,trying to research Hutterite history.

But no matter.  Demko’s piece blows the lid off the big story; business people put a lot of time and effort into succeeding, and don’t like it when government gets in the way:

“It’s the permitting scheme that has been set up in Minnesota that is the problem,” [Amon] Baer told Capitol Report. “It’s not specific to chickens; it’s not specific to dairy; it’s not specific to hogs. I really hope that by him using that story, somebody someplace will sit up and take notice and say, ‘Gee, maybe we have been a little too tough on the livestock industry.’”

…But not everyone agrees that Minnesota’s regulatory mandates are putting an undue burden on farmers.

Not everyone has to agree for it to be a fact…

…but I digress.  Demko goes on to show that you can have a whole slew of facts and still miss the truth.

Because Minnesota does have a thriving ag sector:

There’s also little evidence that Minnesota’s livestock industry – and hog production in particular – has suffered in comparison to other states in recent years. The state has the third-largest hog market in the country, accounting for roughly 11 percent of the total swine production, ranking only behind Iowa and North Carolina, according to statistics maintained by the United States Department of Agriculture.

“We continue to crank out a lot of hogs,” said Wayne Martin, who works with hog farmers through the University of Minnesota Extension program. “It’s not like we’re shutting down hog production here by any means.”

Other sectors of Minnesota’s livestock economy are equally robust. The state is the top turkey producer in the country and ranks tenth in cattle and calves. Overall the state has the eighth-largest livestock market in the country.

Right.  There are a lot of Americans.  They gotta eat.  So the people who produce food are certainly able to sell it.

And yet…:

But farming, and the hog market in particular, have undergone seismic changes over the last three decades. In 1984 there were more than 400,000 hog farms in the United States; last year there were fewer than 65,000. Those operations that have survived have either gone into niche markets or grown exponentially larger. In 1994, hog operations with more than 5,000 animals constituted less than 30 percent of the market; by 2008 that figure had risen to nearly 90 percent.

In other words:  while the Baers are supposedly “not a typical farm family” because they are getting bigger and more diversified to stay in business, the reason for this is that the ‘typical farm family” is now running a gas station or selling insurance  these days; the people who stay in agriculture, especially on the Plains, are growing, and – like Target and Best Buy and WalMart – finding that they have to keep growing to survive.

But this, according to Politics in Minnesota, deserves to be available for free?

Chanting Points Memo: Watching The Detectives

Pat Kessler is one of the small pack of “deans of Minnesota political journalism”.

And he’s done some good work during the campaign so far.

But his “Reality Check” piece yesterday deserves a look.

First, Immigration:

Tom Emmer, the Republican Candidate for Governor, said he supports Arizona’s tough new immigration crackdown. However, on Sunday, he toned down previous comments about how “wonderful” it is.

“What I said was … I was asked one question: ‘what do you think about the Arizona law?’ I said ‘it’s a good start when you talk about Arizona,'” said Emmer on WCCO Sunday Morning.

But, IN FACT, that’s not what he said.

On Minnesota Public Radio, Emmer described Arizona’s law as “wonderful,” said it does not target minorities and that it’s appropriate for police to ask for papers.

“I think what Arizona did is a wonderful first step,” said Emmer. “I’m very disappointed at the federal government.”

That’s the big “reality” check? Emmer went from a “Wonderful” start to a “Good” start?

So we’re parsing adjectives, here?  Is there some hidden difference in weight between “Good” and “Wonderful” starts?   Especially since both adjectives describe precisely the same approach?

Given how illegal immigration polls, I’d say either adjective works just fine with the voter.

Emmer was also noncommittal about whether he supports allowing Minnesota to opt out of federal laws, like President Obama’s new health care plan.

“You said I proposed that once,” he said. “What I have always proposed is that you gotta go based on the constitution.”

IN FACT, Emmer is a sponsor of a constitutional amendment to exempt Minnesota from all federal laws that are not enumerated in the Constitution. Under his plan, no law could go into effect unless two-thirds of the Minnesota legislature votes to approve it.

I wonder if Kessler is confused; rejecting federal laws not enumerated in the Constitution is the precise definition of “going back to the Constitution”.

Chanting Points Memo: Faint Damnation

After I wrote my piece on Friday – the left and media’s current chant about “investors targeting Target”, which showed that the three firms that the Strib was crowing about amount to .0015, or fifteen ten-thousandths, of Target’s market capitalization – I wondered; how do the various “Socially Responsible Investment” (SRI) firms stack up against a company like Target?  Which, let us not forget, is Minnesota’s second-largest corporate donor to charity and one of the most PC-friendly companies in the business, but can afford to be, because they kick market ass?

I figured it’d be interesting to compare Target’s market performance to that of the three SRI funds mentioned in the Strib piece.

But I can only do two.  Because try as I may, I can’t find a ticker symbol for Trillium.

Here’s the comparative performance so far this year.  Target (TGT) is blue, Walden (WSEFX) red, Calvert (CAAAX) yellow:

Walden’s about even on this dismal year; Calvert is off about four (after being down nearly ten a month ago). Target is up a couple, after being up fifteen this spring, before the consumer confidence numbers tanked much of the retail market (which the press also spun as anti-Emmer news!)

So – so far in 2010, both of the SRI funds are dogs, and Target is at least holding its own.  Indeed, the earnings of all three firms seem to follow a similar curve – with the SRIs just a point or two below Target.

So how about over the past couple of years?

Wow.  That’s pretty amazing.  Since the beginning of 2008, when the recession really sank in, all three companies took a dive…after Obama’s election.  All three dropped by 40-50%.  Target is back up 5% over the period; Walden and Calvert are both 20-30% off.

Seems like Target stock – with or without contributions to MNForward – may be the only solid performer in Walden or Calvert’s portfolios.

Whose advice are you going to take?

Chanting Points Memo: “Investors Angry At Target!”

It was in all the headlines today:  “Target feeling investor backlash”, screamed the Strib.

Emphasis added:

The backlash from gay-rights supporters against Target Corp.’s recent political donation now includes some institutional shareholders.

Three management firms that collectively hold $57.5 million of Target stock — Walden Asset Management, Calvert Asset Management and Trillium Asset Management — filed a proposal asking Target’s independent board members to undertake a “comprehensive review of Target’s political contributions and spending processes including the criteria used for such contributions,” according to a statement released Thursday night

Sounds pretty serious, huh?

There are two problems with this “story”:

Small Potatoes:  57.5 million dollars in Target stock equals about 0.0015 of Target Corp’s $38,190,000,000 (that’s thirty eight billion dollar and change) market capitalization; fifteen dollars out of every ten thousand worth of Target market capitalization.

That’s like taking fifteen cents out of a hundred dollars.

The amount of Target Corp stock owned by the three firms named in the story would have to move the decimal point a couple notches to even qualify as “pissing in the wind”.

This is not a serious challenge to Target.

But the Star Tribune didn’t figure the Minnesota voter needed to know that.

Who Are Those “Investment Firms”? The Star Tribune, and the rest of the media covering this story, don’t feel it important to elaborate on who the three “institutional shareholders” involved in this “resolution” are.

All three are firms involved in “socially responsible investing”.  Walden is one of a group of investment companies demanding that President Obama create an office of Corporate Social Resopnsibility.

The purpose of the office would be to enhance and coordinate corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities across the government, at home and abroad, and to pursue policies and initiatives to strengthen the CSR commitments of the private sector.

A joint letter from the groups, released today, was organized by the 500-member Social Investment Forum (SIF), the U.S. membership association for socially and environmentally responsible investment professionals and institutions.

Calvert Asset Management also pursues left-friendly policies.

The organizations are asking the SEC to require companies to report annually on sustainability indicators in accordance with the most up-to-date reporting framework of the Global Reporting Initiative and on other material ESG matters as they come to light.

In a letter to SEC Chairman Mary Schapiro that accompanied the proposal, the investors said: “The present global economic crisis has made it readily apparent that our existing system for corporate reporting has failed shareholders. We believe that robust sustainability reporting could have mitigated some of the impacts of the financial crisis. These types of disclosures would have promoted longer-term thinking by investors and corporations, and earlier detection of predatory lending and other destructive business practices. There is a tremendous opportunity to learn from these gaps and to construct a system of safeguards to protect investors. We are confident that mandatory sustainability reporting will contribute significantly to rebuilding public trust in corporations as well as the agencies regulating them in the wake of the present crisis.”

Trillium?  Yep – they’re an investment house that focuses on “Environtmental, Social and Governmental” “investment” – a “movement” focused on bypassing politics to affect policy by jiggering the capital market.

Their performance in the market is a matter of debate, perhaps.

But it’s not debateable that these three investment firms are not random firms purely focused on the non-political, fiduciary interests of the shareholder.  And it’s not up for debate that the three companies all together aren’t even a vaporous fraction of Target’s total worth.

So why does the Strib feel the need to omit all this from their coverage?

Misreporting and incomplete reporting is a pattern.  Two weeks ago, I busted the Saint Paul Pioneer Press claiming that Target’s share values were hurt by the controversy, on a week when the entire mid-to-high-level consumer retail market suffered a setback due to eroding consumer confidence numbers.

Now, this.

Is the Twin Cities’ business press also in the bag for Mark Dayton?  What does this say about the rest of their “journalism?”

Chanting Points Memo: Repeat A Big Lie Often Enough

I am hosting a debate in five minutes.

I’m calling Mark Dayton’s office to invite him.

HAH! He declined!

What is he hiding?

Nothing, of course; I threw a debate with five minutes’ warning, on a day when Mr. Dayton is likely out preening for his donors campaigning somewhere.

Pretty stupid, huh?

Not much different than the tempest in a Kombucha-bottle the local Sorosphere ginned up over yesterday’s “Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities” “debate” in Winona.

“Why does Emmer hate ‘Greater Minnesota'”, chanted any number of leftyblogs earlier in the week.

A source close to the campaign scoffed at their mock victorian vapours.  “We told them we had a prior conflict”, he said.  The fundraiser has been on the calendar for quite some time, and “since we’re not funded by independent expenditures, we have to raise the money”.

Which doesn’t prevent the Strib and the sorosphere’s chatbots from acting like the absence was a suprise.

Just like they did at the “Green Issue Forum” debate the day after the GOP conventi0n last May.  Even though Emmer had declined the invitation out of hand – it concided with his youngest son’s first communion – the leftymedia and Strib (ptr) feigned Captain Reneault-like shock, shock that Emmer didn’t make it to the debate.

Like Emmer’s “absences”, the “DWI convictions” and the “push to lower DWI penalties”, it’s not just a lie; it’s a Big Lie, an out-of-context factoid that the DFL and media (ptr) is repeating endlessly for the benefit of those too incurious to dig beneath the headlines, but whose vote counts the same as yours anyway.

More next week.

Much more.

Chanting Points Memo: Sixgun Mark

In  a debate at “Game Fair” over the weekend – a firearm-friendly venue if there ever was one – Tom Emmer pressed Mark Dayton on his record on gun issues.

And perhaps it’s a good thing that we’ve come to the point that Mark Dayton, as extreme a liberal as exists in Minnesota, someone so far to the left that Margaret Anderson Kelliher felt the need to triangulate to his right during the primary, felt the need to go all tactical on the audience:

“I have two loaded .357 Magnum pistols in my home right now in a lock box,” DFL candidate Mark Dayton told a crowd gathered Saturday at Game Fair, a hunting and fishing expo in Anoka. “I have a 9mm pistol at home. I have a twelve-gauge shotgun at home.”

Battle won, right?

Gary Gross at LFR says “not so fast“; I’ll add emphasis:

Here’s Sen. Dayton’s response:

Mark Dayton: Well, I had a D rating from the NRA in 1982 when I ran for the Senate. I had a two- an A rating in 2000. There were two principal votes you can look em up when I was a Senator. One was banning Cop Killer bullets. And one reason that I have the endorsement of the Minneapolis Police and Peace Officers Association, Representative, is because I respect the law enforcement men and women. I was on a ride-along last week to, as I’ve been several times with a police officer in St. Paul. And those guys wear bulletproof vests every time they go out there. Men and women. And anybody who wants to go out there and see them put their lives on the line to protect us.

What, you want to kill cops?

Except – as Gary found – the “Cop Killer Bullet” bill was anything but (I’ll add emphasis):


(a) EXPANSION OF DEFINITION OF ARMOR PIERCING AMMUNITION.–Section 921(a)(17)(B) of title 18, United States Code, is amended–

(1) in clause (i), by striking “or” at the end;

(2) in clause (ii), by striking the period at the end and inserting a semicolon; and

(3) by adding at the end the following:

“(iii) a projectile that may be used in a handgun and that the Attorney General determines, under section 926(d), to be capable of penetrating body armor; or

“(iv) a projectile for a center-fire rifle, designed or marketed as having armor piercing capability, that the Attorney General determines, under section 926(d), to be more likely to penetrate body armor than standard ammunition of the same caliber.”.

So the “Cop Killer Bullet” bill – written by Ted Kennedy – would have given the Attorney General the power to determine, more or less by fiat, exactly what constituted a “cop-killer” bullet.

Which means they start with the boogeymen rounds – the so-called “Teflon” bullets – and the next day  they’ll be noting, correctly, that metal-jacketed hardball rounds penetrate more than plain unjacketed lead or wadcutters.

It also means that the Attorney General – or more likely his employees in the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives – could make sweeping rulings about ammunition availability and legality by whim and fiat, creating new classes of criminals at will with a stroke of the pen.

Mark Dayton – for a more bureaucratic world.

Chanting Points Memo: Blowing Sunshine Up Minnesota’s Skirt

It’s the keystone of Mark Dayton’s entire plan, if he’s elected governor, for trying to close the DFL’s budget deficit.

It’s “Tax the Rich”.

On Esme Murphy’s WCCO TV show this morning (the program should be called “DFL Puff Piece”, but we’ll come back to that later), Dayton said “the rich” start at $150,000 a year – $173,000 if filing jointly.  (The exchange starts at 3:28 of the linked video, with the actual statement around 3:50 or so)

Courtesy of Gary Gross at Let Freedom Ring, here’s the transcript:

MURPHY: You do have a specific plan in which you have called for tax increases for the top 10 percent of Minnesotans. People have pointed out that the top 10 percent includes people that might be in that $136,000 income bracket for single people. You’ve changed that a little bit & said that it’s perhaps people making $150,000. Which is it?

SEN. DAYTON: I’ll send you the news reports going back months now that reference taxable income that has, I guess, confused some people so now I’m going to say total income. But that’s over $150,000 for an individual, over $173,000 for a couple filing jointly. Rep. Emmer says that that’s middle income…middle class. Those are people that work hard for a living but the fact is that that makes them wealthier than 90 percent of the rest of Minnesotans.

And it really obscures the issue. I’m really talking about the rich and the super-rich, the wealthiest 1 percent who make over $1,000,000 a year, over 25,000 households. According to the Minnesota Department of Revenue, pay only two-thirds of the percent of their incomes to state and local taxes as the rest of Minnesotans.

And Rep. Emmer & Mr. Horner don’t want to raise taxes on them by even one penny. And that’s the difference & that’s the issue here.

Here’s another amusing portion of the interview:

MURPHY: Going back to this issue of taxing people making $200,000. What percentage would a couple making $175,000. What percentage would their taxes go up under your plan? What percentage would people making $1,000,000..what percentage would their taxes go up?

DAYTON: Now that I’ve been endorsed, I can enlist the cooperation….the only 3 entities that have the computer capabilities are the Department of Revenue…and the Senate Tax Committee & the House Tax Committee. And now that I’ve won the DFL primary, I will enlist their support.

I don’t have a supercomputer or a large computer capability to do that simulation. What I’ve been saying is that people making $175,000 a year will pay a little bit more in income taxes and someone making $1,000,000 a year will pay more and somebody making $10,000,000 to $100,000,000 a year will pay significantly more. And again, my two opponents are saying that someone who’s making $10,000,000 or $100,000,000 a year should not pay one penny more in income taxes. And meanwhile, everyone else will pay more in higher property taxes or higher sales taxes under their proposals.

Now, that’s pretty ludicrous already; it’s two moderately successful middle managers; a computer programmer married to a contract nurse; a mid-level state administrator and a tenured college professor.

Pretty crazy definition of “the rich”.

But here’s the interesting part:  Dayton is lying.

Here’s his position paper on taxes, from his campaign website.

Click to view full-size

Check it out. “The Rich”, according to the website, start at $130K – $150 for a couple.

That’s a cop and a nurse.  A car mechanic and a project manager.  A couple of mid level teachers.

You feeling rich, Minnesota?

Chanting Points Memo: “Maaaaaah! Tom’s Smearing Me!”

In the DFL “Unity” rally yesterday, Mark Dayton – who has funded, along with his family, the most expensive orgy of attack advertising in Minnesota history, unprecedented in both its cost and its fallaciousness –  complained:

“I expected the smears to start right away, and they have.”

He was complaining, of course, because after a month of carping on Emmer’s 20 and 30 year old careless driving arrests (and lying about his legislative record), the GOP – not the Emmer campaign – took out an ad highlighting Dayton’s genuine and recent erratic behavior.

Leaving aside that the MNGOP’s ad buy will be a tiny fraction of what “Alliance for a Better Minnesota” spent smearing Tom Emmer (on the Dayton family dime), one must ask; is reporting facts – something A4aBM never tried in re Emmer’s record – a “smear”?  How does Dayton feel about the “smearing” that his family-funded PAC has been funding for the past month?

This is the beginning of the latest chanting point from the left.  On Tuesday night, Jeff Rosenberg of the leftyblog MNPublius – a good guy, but as reliable a barometer of the direction of DFL spin as exists in the Twin Cities lefty “alternative” media since Dusty Trice exited the blogging stage in a welter of snark-splat – tweeted his vision of the upcoming discourse:

Dayton/DFL: “We should really solve the budget problem.” Emmer/GOP: “MARK DAYTON IS A POOHEAD.:

Which is an interesting take, given that while Dayton, his family and cronies have funded more attack ads in the past month than ran in the entire 2006 campaign against Pawlenty.

So let me ask you this, Jeff Rosenberg and, by the way, every single other lefty commentator: name and document one single attack that has come from Tom Emmer in this cycle, against anyone; against any of his convention opponents, or Kelliher, Entenza, Horner or Dayton.

You can not, of course.  Emmer has taken an utterly scrupulous high road – as has his main political action committee, MNForward, funded by Minnesota businesses.

But expect this narrative over the next week or two; that Dayton is a victim!

Indeed, I’m going to go out on a thick, strong limb and say Dayton will issue nothing substantial for the next week; he’ll whing about being “Targetboated”, and he’ll redouble the efforts of  his goons at A4aBM.

Enjoy this, Minnesota.  This is your 2010 model DFL in action.

Chanting Points Memo: I Accuse

Conservative have been claiming for decades that the press is biased toward the left.

It’s hard to look at the Twin Cities’ media’s record of mangled context, selective reporting and generalized ennui this past three months and reach any conclusion other than this; the Twin Cities media has an agenda.

Let’s go over the past few months’ campaign events and the coverage – or lack of it – from the regional mainstream media.

Lies?  What Lies?: determined that Alliance for a Better Minnesota’s entire ad campaign is essentially untrue.

Not a word in the Twin Cities media.

Bad For Business: Last week, the Sorosphere began claiming that Target was suffering financially due to its support for Emmer’s campaign.

A simple check of the Dow Jones for that week showed that all mid-to-upper-range retailers had trouble that week, contemporaneously with a bad consumer confidence report.

No Lie Left Challenged: the Entenza campaign tried to make hay over Emmer’s “support for No Child Left Behind”.

Emmer was opposing NCLB before it was cool – not that you’d know it from our media.

The “DUI”s:  The media dutifully reported twice that Tom Emmer had two “DWI” convictions – once in close conjunction with a smear ad from Alliance for a Better Minnesota.  They also ran with ABM’s claims that this was directly connected to Emmer “sponsoring legislation to reduce punishment for drunk drivers”, at the alleged behest of “DWI Defense Attorneys”.

The media couldn’t be bothered to fact-check the story.  The facts are:

  • Emmer was never convicted of DUI.  It was “Careless Driving” in both cases.  Emmer openly admits that both cases were alcohol-related; he’s quite publicly taken responsibility for his mistakes which were, let’s recall, 20 and 30 years ago, when Emmer was in his teens and late twenties.
  • Emmer’s main piece of legislation was to eliminate prior consent hearings – the civil procedure by which accused drunk drivers get their licenses returned while going through the criminal system on the DWI charge.  These cases add a huge burden to the legal system, especially in the metro area; former Minnesota Supreme Court Chief Judge Magnuson supported the bill, as did groups within the Attorney General’s office.
  • Emmer’s other piece would have allowed convicted DWIs to get some of their rights back after ten years of good behavior.  Neither bill would have “lessened punishments” in any way.
  • The “DWI Defense attorneys” were also prosecutors, who also did personal injury and wrongful death litigation against convicted drunk drivers.  Nobody in the Twin Cities media could be bothered to note that the claim was absurd; a DWI defense attorney should want stricter penalties, which would generate more markets for their services!

“The Corrosive Effect of Money in Politics”: In mid-July, I posted some findings from research into campaign finance records that showed that the Alliance for a Better Minnesota was largely funded by a PAC called “Win Minnesota” – which, in turn, was largely funded by contributions from the Dayton family, and especially Dayton’s ex-wife Alida Messinger, an heir to the Rockefeller fortune.

This happened about a week before the Target flap – at which point the narrative turned to hand-wringing about the corrosive effect of (corporate) money in politics.

Although MPR’s Tom Scheck noted the findings obliquely at the time, and WCCO’s Pat Kessler ran a story on the subject this past week, the mainstream media in the Twin Cities has been largely uninterested.

Perhaps they’re too busy reporting on Target to note that Alida Messinger alone has given three times more money than Target, and almost as much as the entire MNForward PAC.

ABM’s Lies: By early July, the Alliance for a Better Minnesota was kicking its epic ad buy into high gear.  Their first rounds of ads was found to be almost completely devoid of fact – although that apparently never rated a mention in the regional media.

Emmer’s Legal Record – Or At Least The Parts Of It That Make Good Smear Material:  On June 28, the Strib’s Pat Doyle ran a piece about a few episodes from Tom Emmer’s legal past; an office manager what swindled Emmer’s law firm, a suit over a disputed car crash (which Emmer won), another in which Emmer had been injured, and a suit against a landscaper.

Doyle’s “reporting” was notable for the meticulousness with which it omitted any shred of information from the record that might have portrayed Emmer as anything but a heartless pushy bully.   Nobody in the Twin Cities’ media reported that…:

  • ….the office manager, who took a plea deal that involved an apology and restitution to Emmer in exchange for not being prosecuted for much more serious charges, violated the terms of her plea bargain by talking to Doyle.
  • That the legal wrangling in Emmer’s accident litigation was the norm rather than the exception
  • That the landscaper who sued Emmer only did so because he had no case against Jacquie Emmer, and tried to sue Tom Emmer under a novel and ultimately specious theory that Emmer had “unjustly enriched” himself – in a suit that was thrown out with prejudice, with the judge requiring the landscaper to pay Emmer’s legal bills; the case had no merit whatsoever, although neither the Strib nor any other Twin Cities media outlet apparently felt the need to set the story straight.

The Detailed Plan – For a brief few weeks in June, the media and chattering classes asked almost as one “where is Emmer’s plan?” This, of course, without asking the same of any of the Democrats, whose primary race was just starting to (ahem) “heat up”.

Oddly, this would have been right during the planning phase for Alliance for a Better Minnesota’s biggest-in-history smear campaign against Emmer;  I’ll speculate that someone was trolling for material.

“He Wants To Cut How Much?”:  Much of the Twin Cities media and the leftyblog chatterbots beneath them ran with the “story” that Emmer said he’d cut the state budget by 30%.

This was, of course, based on a brief “mis-speak” during a live radio interview, which Emmer corrected immediately. This, however, remained largely unreported.

Nonetheless, radio spots for Matt Entenza after last week were still claiming that “Emmer would cut the budget a devastating 30%!”.  Perhaps nobody cares because Entenza was DOA from week one – but one needs to ask “do facts matter at all?”

“Emmer Hates Gays”:  The crux of the meme that the Dayton campaign has used to nationalize the governor’s race is the fallacy that “Emmer is rabidly anti-gay” – based on his support for a gay marriage amendment supported by a majority of Minnesotans, and I suspect a majority of legislators on both sides of the aisle – and his alleged “support” of punkdamentalist preacher Bradlee Dean and his controversial “You Can Run But You Can Not Hide” street ministry.

Nobody in the Twin Cities media bothered to fact-check the claim at the root of this meme – a story by Andy Birkey at the Soros-bankrolled Minnesota “Independent” that, a cursory examination by an amateur hobby hack showed, was built on clumsily-mangled context and some circumstantial gossip fodder.

“Local Government Aid Cuts Are Destroying Minnesota!”:  When Alliance for a Better Minnesota launched a campaign claiming that Governor Pawlenty’s cuts to Local Government Aid had caused huge problems, nobody in the Twin Cities media seemed to have the time to fact-check the claims.  It took a lowly blogger not one, not two, not three, not four, but five articles to do the sort of fact-checking that we ostensibly have a regional media that gets paid to do fulltime.

“Uncertified Teachers“:  One of the “Alliance for a Better Minnesota’s first claims was that Tom Emmer favors “uncertified teachers”.

A fairly detemined search didn’t show that any regional media fact-checked this story which,  of course, was a lie – Emmer favors alternative licensing, so that we can actually get enough teachers in fields like science and math where our humanities-glutted Educational-Industrial Complex isn’t producing enough candidates.

“Extreme“:  The left’s chanting point from the very beginning was that “Emmer is Extreme”.

To Rachel Stassen-Berger’s credit, she did report that Emmer’s record, at least on a range of key selected issues, is a virtual mirror of that of Margaret Anderson-Kelliher – who, Kelliher reminded us in the debate, is more centrist than Dayton.

The Big Green Stiff: Right after the convention, the DFL candidates gathered to hold a “Green Issues Summit”.  Dayton and Entenza gamboled about the fact that Emmer never showed up at the event-  which the media duly carried.

Unreported:  That Emmer had quite publicly declined to attend because it was his youngest child’s first communion.

Chanting Points Memo: Donating To Emmer Is Bad For Business

Somebody on Twitter pointed me to this PiPress  story claiming that Target’s stock value is suffering because of its donation to MNForward, which is supporting Tom Emmer in this fall’s Minnesota Gubernatorial race.

“Shares in the Minneapolis-based discount retailer have declined 3.5 percent since the morning of July 27, when Target Chief Executive Gregg Steinhafel first defended the donation, prompting critics to call for a consumer boycott,” Tom Webb writes for the Pioneer Press.

Perhaps things are finally sinking in at Target headquarters. Last week, Target execs issued a statement amidst all the public scrutiny, saying that they’re brainstorming ways to make amends.

“At Target, we listen to our guests, our team members and our communities — and we have heard them on this issue. We are committed to doing better and regret that we have let down our team members and guests. We are evaluating ways to make sure they know the high value we place on our relationships with them,” Target folks said in a statement.

Interesting claim.  Could it be that Target’s stock price took a hit precisely because of the news of its donation to a PAC supporting Tom Emmer?

That would be very bad indeed.

So I took the liberty of checking the stock prices for four leading consumer big-box stores for the past month or so.  I compared:

  • WalMart – in red, on the chart below.
  • Target – the slightly lighter blue line (Google quotes didn’t let me change colors…).
  • The Dow Jones Industrial Average – the darker blue line.

If you look at the chart, it certainly looks like Target stock did take a dip starting on the 27th of July when, as “” noted, the flap over the Emmer donation first surfaced.

Of course, the red line for famously orientation-blind and non-fabulous “WalMart” is flat to very slightly improved in that period, too – and seemed to take a slight dip on or around the 27th, as well – not nearly as pronounced, but a dip nonetheless.

So I figured I’d broaden things just a bit.  I picked some more big-box retailers:

  • WalMart – in red, on the chart below.
  • Costco – in orange below.
  • Family Dollar – in dark green, on the chart below.
  • Target – Finally, the blue line.

Note the longer scale of the chart below; it’s a month, so July 27 is about a quarter of the way in from the right;

All of the retailers are soft-to-wobbly on and after the 27th – and especially the 23rd through the 27 – with one exception; the dark-green “Family Dollar” chain, whose attitudes about gay marriage are unknown but whose market is downscale and distinctly recession-friendly.

And I thought – “Downmarket Family Dollar doing well, mid-to-low market WalMart and Costco flat to down, mid-to-uppish Target just a tad down…”

So I checked to see if there was a correlation, bringing some higher-end stores into the mix.I added:

Wow.  On or about July 27, all of the upmarket retailers started taking a dive, more  or less in parallel with Target!  Abercrombie bounced back, of course; Macy’s is down, just a tad more than Target is.

Apparently the market is punishing many companies, regardless of their donations to Tom Emmer!

Or maybe – juuuuust maybe – there was a major announcement about consumer confidence released on or about the 27th that showed bad results for consumer spending or something – a trend that miiiiiight just favor lower-budget stores like Family Dollar, WalMart and Costco, while being a little harsher on slightly higher-concept operations like Macy’s, Abercrombie and Fitch, and Target.

Regardless of their political donations.

Oh, yeah – and while Target is off a bit since July 27, it’s still up over the month.

Chanting Points Memo: Emmer And No Child Left Behind

While we’ve been focusing a lot on the “Alliance for a Better Minnesota” and their serial lies about Tom Emmer (currently accuracy rate climbing up toward 0%), the other DFL candidates haven’t done a whole lot better in the accuracy department.

Matt Entenza has been running a very dirty campaign…against Tom Emmer.  Not against Mark Dayton or Margaret Anderson-Kelliher, of course, behind whom he’s running a wan third place in the DFL primary race.

But that hasn’t kept him from spending nearly $4 million on ads so far this cycle – more than Tim Pawlenty spent in his entire winning campaign in 2006, and more than Tom Emmer might spend in this entire cycle, too.

And for that money, he’s gotten ads that aren’t any more accurate about Emmer than A4aBM’s dreck.

When I first saw  Entenza’s “Education” ad – which makes the very “tenther”-y claim that Entenza will withdraw from No Child Left Behind (NCLB) – I thought that the ad’s claim that Emmer supported NCLB didn’t pass the stench test.  I have spent the past two weeks trying to get confirmation from the Emmer camp (which should hush those of you who’ve been yapping that I am “with the Emmer campaign”, capisce?), so MPR’s Catherine Richert, at MPR’s Polinaut “Poligraph”, got the story first.

I thought, like so many of these scabrous “vote” claims you see in Dems’ ads, that it was a report about an out-of-context vote that was muddied by some sort of procedural or parliamentary foible or another.  I was right:

Entenza’s campaign says Emmer voted against a plan to drop No Child Left Behind in 2008. And at first blush, it would seem that way.

But parliamentary maneuvering on the House floor muddied the intent of the amendment Emmer voted against. It didn’t just end the program; it contained other unrelated provisions.

It’s a tenet of conservatism unto the point of dogma that we want education pushed to the state and, preferably, local level; we take unjustified flak for wanting to abolish the Department of Education.  Emmer is – so we’re told! – nothing if not a thoroughgoing conservative, and Richert’s got the records to prove it.  I’ll add emphasis as appropriate:

In early 2009, Emmer co-sponsored a bill that would have prevented implementation of No Child Left Behind.

Later that year, Emmer told Minnesota Public Radio that he opposes No Child Left Behind.

“I object to the federal government having any law that tells the state of Minnesota, more importantly parents of children in the state of Minnesota, this is how your schools are going to be run,” he said on Dec. 11, 2009.

Emmer supports holding teachers accountable, spokesman Bill Walsh said. He just doesn’t think the federal government should tell the state how to do it.

That’s more like it.

In a radio ad that’s part of the same series, Entenza claims that Emmer proposes “devastating thirty-percent budget cuts”.  That’s another ancient, ripe, stinky rhetorical turd that we thought we’d dispensed with almost two months ago.  Alas, like all DFL propagandists, Entenza’s people apparently believe they can trust to some kind of diminished capacity and short attention span on the voters’ part.

And with Ventura and Franken on our collective electoral conscience, they may have a point.  But we can try to shoot for better, can’t we?

Chanting Points Memo: Emmer And Drunk Driving, Part II

Earlier this morning, we busted Jeff Rosenberg at the DFL-congruent MNPublius carrying the Alliance for a “Better” Minnesota’s water in a piece riddled with factual errors.

And when you catch someone carrying foul, deceptive water, it’s best to go back to the well.

Here’s what A4aBM had to say about the legislation in question:

In fact, records show that the Minnesota County Attorneys Association opposed the bill Emmer introduced, as well as Mothers Against Drunk Driving and the Office of Public Safety.

At least A4aBM got that part right – as far as I can tell, anyway.  But that should not be a shock; the County Attorney’s Association will always oppose any law that takes away discretion and power from county prosecutors, or inconveniences them in anyway.  Emmer’s laws would have…:

  • allowed drunk drives to be considered innocent until proven guilty, and…
  • …allowed those convicted of DUI to get some of their rights and privacy back after ten years of good behavior.

That is all!  Of course, it would mean that county prosecutors would have to prove people guilty to the standard of reasonable doubt rather than have the accused considered guilty until proven innocent. And Mothers against Drunk Driving would, it is safe to say, repeal the Bill of Rights if it meant they could lower the blood alcohol content to .06%.

But that lone bit of factiness is lonely in this press release:

The attorneys testifying in favor of the law were private attorneys who, according to their web sites, defend those arrested for drunk driving.

Yes, attorneys Weidner and Stokes defended drunk drivers.  And, as I showed in this morning’s piece, they also did family, child custody, criminal defense, prosecution, personal injury and product liability and – in the interest of completeness – litigation against drunk drivers.

A4aBM either is too sloppy and stupid to check this out, or they are actively trying to deceive the public.  I’m voting for “b”.

“Emmer is trying to run from the fact that he introduced a bill that lessened penalties against drunk driving,” said Denise Cardinal, Executive Director of Alliance for a Better Minnesota Action Fund.

I see no evidence that Emmer’s “running from” anything.

Because do you know who else supported Emmer’s “implied consent” bill?  The one that would have treated accused drunk drivers as innocent until proven guilty – exactly the same as Democrats want terrorists in US custody treated?

Former Minnesota Supreme Court Chief Judge Eric Magnuson. And DFL attorney general Lori Swanson. [EDITOR’s NOTE:  While I’m told the Attorney General’s office did in fact support the bills because the Implied Consent hearings are an immense cash and time suck, I am still looking for the actual cite.  When I find it, I”ll un-strike it – Ed]

A source close to the story emailed me:

Weidner told me last night that the AG actually supported this bill. He is going to find the letter they sent…He also told me Chief Judge Magnuson supported it and threatened to end implied consent hearings b/c they cost so much.

Perhaps A4aBM has evidence that Magnuson (and, so my source says, the Attorney General’s office) are also “soft on drunk driving?”

I’ll be interested in seeing if A4aBM or Jeff Rosenberg at MNPublius, who’ve led the way in trafficking the “alternate realities” about this story, plan on accounting for those facts.

As re A4aBM, I’m going to suggest they’re just going to keep lying – down to the simplest of facts:

Republican Gubernatorial Candidate Tom Emmer’s campaign made false claims on Wednesday when it stated that prosecutors asked Emmer to sponsor a bill that lessened penalties for drunk

In other words, “Emmer lied about talking with prosecutors”.  It’s quite an accusation.

But even the Dayton-friendly Star/Tribune debunks that claim:

Emmer referred most questions on the bill to Stillwater attorney Tom Weidner, who works for a law firm that handles prosecution for 10 municipalities in Washington County and also does criminal defense, including DWI cases.

So why does the A4aBM, and sites like MNPublius who serve mainly as DFL press release vehicles, so brazenly repeat such bald-faced lies?

Because they assume the voter is stupid, and they still think in the pre-blog paradigm that assumes that absent any dissenting opinion they’ll stay that way.

Let’s see what we can do about that, shall we?

Chanting Points Memo: Emmer On Drunk Driving

When it comes to politics this year, you need to remember the following rule of thumb; when the DFL or one of their affiliated blogs writes about Tom Emmer, you need to distrust, and then verify.  Because the ratio of BS to truth is the worst I’ve ever seen.  Ever.

When I was a kid, growing up in small-town North Dakota, one of my dad’s best friends was a lawyer.  The guy took all sorts of cases; wills, divorces, probate and wills, criminal defense, criminal prosecution, civil litigation, commercial litigation, contracts, and pretty much anything else that came through his office door.  He was also in the rotation for public defender duty, and for helping out the prosecution, and he did a stretch as municipal judge (carefully watching for conflicts of interest).

So if I were to write this lawyer “was a defense attorney”, someone could read the above and bellow “HAH, Berg,  you are teh lier!  He is a civil litigator!”  And you’d be right.  And you’d also be proving you need a reality check.

The law, especially small-market law, is full of such things; small-town prosecutors contract with general practice lawyers to help with caseloads without adding headcount; small-town public defenders offices may not even have a lawyer, but get lawyers from the local bar (legal, not liquid)  to help out; it’s not unknown for an indigent accused murderer to be represented by someone whose “specialty”, if you can call it that, is probate.

And let’s not forget those lawyers have to keep their fields straight, as a matter of professional ethics, while avoiding conflicts of interest.

We’ll come back to that.


Last week, Jeff Rosenberg at MNPublius figured he’d “caught the Emmer campaign lying”.

Emmer’s opponents have been carping for months about the fact that Emmer:

  1. Got drunk driving-related convictions in 1981 and 1991 – twenty and thirty years ago.  When he was 19 and 29.
  2. He paid his debt to society, decades ago, exactly as he was supposed to.
  3. During the 2008 session, he pushed two bills:  one that would have given convicted drunk drivers some of their rights back after ten years of good behavior, and one that would have upheld the radical notion of considering drunk drivers innocent until proven guilty.We’ve talked about this before.

The left has spent the past week or so spending a half a million dollars of Alita Messinger’s money talking about the DWI “issue”; the offenses, and Emmer’s supposed “soft on DUI” policies.

That’s all bad enough.   But as we’ve learned this past few weeks, “Alliance for a Better Minnesota” is a reliable liar.  More on that at noon today.

I’m less used to calling Twin Cities’ DFLbot-blog MNPublius on basic integrity.

But this piece at by Rosenberg, entitled “Emmer’s DWI bill written at the request of DWI attorneys,” walks up to the line between ambiguity and deception, piddles on it, walks back, jumps into a monster truck, spins cookies on the line, and drives across past the “FLAMING FIB-VILLE, 2 MILES” sign at 80 miles an hour.

Here’s “the scoop”:

I already wrote about this a bit below, but I buried the lede. The more I think about this, the more I think it’s a major story that Tom Emmer’s DWI bill was written at the request of DWI defense attorneys, especially because he’s obviously trying to mislead the public about that:

On his campaign website, Emmer said: “At the request of local prosecutors, Rep. Emmer agreed to author their bill to reform the court system and how DWIs are handled. The legislation prepared by the prosecutors and other interested parties with the assistance of nonpartisan House research staff would have provided incentives for early and immediate prosecution of first-time offenders.”

The Emmer campaign identified the “local prosecutors” as Tom Weidner and Sean Stokes, and said they are based in Stillwater, Washington County. Stokes and Weidner are attorneys specializing in DWI defense, according to the website of their law firm Eckberg, Lammers, Briggs, Wolff & Vierling. [Emphasis mine]

Local prosecutors? Excuse me? Once again, Emmer may not technically be lying, but he’s also definitely not being straight with us. He’s trying to make it sound like this bill was written to help local law enforcement officials, when in fact it was written at the request of DWI defense attorneys.

“Emmer may not technically be lying”?  No.  He is in fact telling the truth.  Knowing that Stokes and Weidner worked both as contract prosecutors and “DWI Defense Attorneys”, I asked a source familiar with the case in which capacity the two lawyers operated while discussing this bill:

The only thing I know about that is that Weidner said no cities asked them to ask for bill & Stokes id’ed self as [prosecutor] during testimony.  Probably fair to say Weidner and Stokes argued for bill based on their prosecutor experience, but not b/c of any city’s request.

Now, if Jeff Rosenberg would like to suggest that Tom Weidner and Sean Stokes – who are, let’s remember, officers of the court – blurred the ethical boundaries of their field while giving testimony to the Legislature on these bills, I’m sure the Bar Association would be interested in hearing about it.  Bring actual evidence, of course.

However, if you believe WCCO, in a story they ran when this “issue” first came up before the MNGOP convention, that’s just not true; Weidner and Stokes do prosecution work.

But OK – so maybe Rosenberg doesn’t know how the practice of downmarket law works.  That’s hardly a grave offense, is it?

Well, no.  But a misleading presentation of facts is.

Using the facts above, Rosenberg writes that Emmer wrote the bill  “…at the request of DWI defense attorneys”, and that Weidner “…must have been acting in his capacity as a defense attorney” and declares “Stokes and Weidner are attorneys specializing in DWI defense, according to the website of their law firm Eckberg, Lammers, Briggs, Wolff & Vierling….You can see that these are clearly not the people who should be responsible for crafting our DWI laws”.

He accompanies this claim with a screenshot from the law firm’s website that shows Weidner and Stokes “specialize” in DUI law.  This has, in fact, been the chanting point among local leftybloggers and twitterbuildup; “Emmer operated on behalf of DWI defense specialists”

So I checked the website.

Turns out Kevin Weidner also “specializes” in Personal Injury and Wrongful Death, Auto Accidents (including, ironically, sueing people who kill or injure people in DUIs!), and  general Criminal Defense (of everything from juvenile crimes to murder).  And there’s more; check out his page at the firm.  And that doesn’t include the contract prosecution work.

And in addition to DUI, Sean Stokes “specializes” in Family Law, Divorce, Child Custody, and general Criminal Law.   Here’s his bio page.

So the left’s defamatory meme notwithstanding, Weidner and Stokes are not “DWI  Defense specialists”; indeed, as we’ve seen above, they litigate for both the plaintiff and defendant in DWI cases for their practice, in addition to prosecution work for whom the client, the plaintiff, is Washington County.

(Is it even possible to “specialize” in a firms’ entire criminal and family area?)

So, to use Rosenberg’s term, MNPublius and the rest of the Minnesota Sorosphere that is spreading the “Emmer works for DWI defense lawyers” meme aren’t “Technically” lying; they are just presenting a set of facts that is so cherrypicked and misleading that nobody reading their account stands a snowball’s chance in hell of learning the truth.

So – why does the local left feel the need to spread such a defamatory lie?  Because  lies are  the only weapon they have against Tom Emmer?

And Jeff Rosenberg – why is MNPublius, once a leftyblog with integrity (Aaron Landry notwithstanding) participating in such a transparent wad of buncombe?

At the very least, shouldn’t your piece have been titled “Emmer’s DWI bill written at the request of after consulting attorneys who defend and sue DWIs, among pretty much every other area of criminal and family law, as well as DWI prosecution”?

It doesn’ troll off the tongue, but it’s more accurate.


Do the state a favor, Minnesota Left; put a fork in this stupid meme.  Move on to your next lie.

We’ll be waiting.

Chanting Points Memo: Fake But Accurate

I saw this bit on CBS News yesterday – entitled “Target Boycott Movement Grows Following Donation to Support “Antigay” Candidate” – and I thought “Wow.  Sounds like there’s a wave of spontaneous anti-Target fervor out there!”

Then I – or “we”, actually – looked a little deeper.

The piece – featuring someone named “Roadie Roaring” or “Rudy Rattan” or something’; the woman’s diction is less-than-ideal – shows her walking into a Target, exchanging a bunch of goods, and demanding that her Target card be cut up.

It’s presented as if it were a spontaneous bit of reportage.  Look at it, you be the judge.

We’ll come back to Ronnie Roller in a bit.

With about three seconds to go in the piece, it notes that it was “Produced for the Uptake by Bill Sorem”.  I got an email from someone who follows these things:

Bill Sorem has records on Mn Campaign finance of giving a couple hundred bucks to the SD42 DFL (which includes Eden Prairie, the city where the faux boycott took place), and a $2300 contribution to The Obamanation.  So…a known DFL supporter just accidentally has his video camera and tapes this bit of faux news that is designed to threaten businesses into not contributing to causes that might benefit GOP candidates, helping his DFL party.
But of course, Bill has no unclean motives….NOOOOOOOOOO!

So – Bill Sorem just may not have  been a random passerby with a camera. 

The Uptake, by the way, is a left-leaning “citizen journalism” videoblog that spent the last year trying to convince the Legislature that they were a “news” organization worthy of credentials to cover the Legislature.  Now, they are participating in an attack ad run by “Alliance for a Better Minnesota”. 

So who is “Roofie Raygun?”

Gary Gross at Let Freedom Ring emails me:

Phil said that Rondy Raiton “sounds strangely similar to Randi Reitan, a gay activist mother who frequently is on the op ed page of the Strib.”
I googled Randy Reitan & clicked on her images page. BINGO!!! So much for this being a chance happening. Rest assured that I’ll be posting about this this afternoon.

So when you google Randi Reitan, you get – voila!  The picture of someone who is not only not just some random Target customer, but in fact is someone who is relishing her fifteen minutes in the spotlight.

A skim through the Federal Electi0ns Commission database shows that Mrs. Reitan has given over $10,000 to various Democratic candidates over the past decade or so (Patty Wetterling in ’04 and 05, Tim Walz, Elwin “E-Tink” Tinklenberg, several to the DFL, a bundle to America Coming Together, a grand to Al Franken, a thou for Paul Wellstone, and much, much more.  Plus another $300 to Mark Ritchie and $200 to the House DFL Caucus, according to the MN Campaign Finance board.

And her husband Phil?   Around $4,000 more.  Son, Jacob?  Another thou and change.

At the beginning, where Mrs. Reitan introduces herself, perhaps it would have been helpful and honest if she’d called herself “a mother, grandmother, and DFL uber-activist“.  Just saying.

So to summarize:  Alliance for a Better Minnesota (and CBS News) want us to swallow the following:

That Bill Sorem Just Happened To Videotape A Random Outraged Customer:  It’s hard to say if the producer wanted this event to look like a candid camera incident; it certainly looks staged.  But it was presented by the Uptake, by A4aBM, and by CBS as an organic, grassroots, random protest against Tom Emmer and against Target’s donation to the “MNForward” PAC, which supports Emmer in the gubernatorial election.  This is bad journalism.

That The Uptake Is Anything But An Arm Of The DFL: After participating in an ABM attack campaign – which, as we noted two weeks ago, is funded by unions and, mostly, Mark Dayton and his relatiives – future protestations of being “journalists” should be taken with a large block of salt.

Long story short; the Uptake is staging the news for the ABM’s, and the DFL’s, benefit.

This is not journalism.

UPDATE:  Gary Gross at Let Freedom Ring does some more checking on Randi “Random Customer” Reitan.

UPDATE 2: An emailer writes:

Let’s see if I have this straight (pardon the pun):
Some little old granny, after seeing Target giving money to a group that supports Tom Emmer, who might not support gay marriage, goes down to her local Target store, where she just happens to run into an Uptake ‘reporter’, who just happened to have his video equipment on hand to witness the events that transpired.
Of course, there is no “CONTEXT” to the event.  What you don’t see:
#1  “Granny”, her husband, and her gay son have given well over $10,000 to DFL causes over the years.  $0 to GOP
#2   The gay son founded “Equality Ride”  which spreads the message:  “to empower young activists and challenge the unfair school policies that discriminate against gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender students.” [We’ve covered SoulForce’s odd mission here]
#3   The husband of “Granny” is on the Board of “Soulforce”  whose Vision Statement is:  “We seek freedom from religious and political oppression for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning people.”
Nope. “Granny” has no bias…no vested interest…no hidden motives.  She just happened to bump into the guy with the camera at Target.

It would have been different, to an extent, had Reitan not gone to such pains to set herself up as just another woman off the street – “a mother and grandmother” – in the setup.  But she did!


And why would “journalists” like the Uptake misrepresent a staged shoot as “news?”

Chanting Points Memo: Ancient History

Sign number 30 that the DFL is so scared of Tom Emmer that they don’t even bother washing their underwear anymore; they’re bringing up “the DUI issue again”.

It popped up last spring during the endorsing convention – and, rumor has it, one of the big PACs is going to run a big ad buy on the “subject”.

I saw the ad just now. I’m not going to link to it – Alida Messinger can pay me a couple thousand dollars.  If you want to see it, it’s out there.

But it’s an incredibly gutless, misleading ad.

It’s Ancient History: Emmer had two DUIs – 19 and 29 years ago.    He paid his debt to society about the time Bill Clinton was being elected to office.

Facts are Pesky Things: The laws he proposed – in the 2006 session, decades after his episodes – would have treated drunk drivers as innocent until proven guilty and allowed them some rights back after ten years of good behavior!  That is all!

The ad itself – a woman talking about her son, killed by a drunk driver who, I’m told, wasn’t Tom Emmer – is the most shameless bit of fact-free, context-raping emotional manipulation I’ve seen on the TV yet.

Apparently all of Alida Messinger’s money can’t buy a sense of shame.

Chanting Points Memo: Buying Minnesota With Daddy’s Money

So far in this campaign, as the DFL hammers its way toward its primary next month, most of the attacks against Tom Emmer have come from a shadowy group, “Alliance for a Better Minnesota”.

I’ve busted them repeatedly stretching the truth and/or lying; Channel Five followed suit earlier this week.

But who are these people?  And where did they get the money to run all these slick (if utterly truth-free) ads, and all these posh (but amateurishly-designed) websites?

Because they run through a lot of money!

2006 Campaign – We first heard of “Alliance For A Better Minnesota” (A4aBM) during the 2006 campaign.  During that outing, A4aBM spent $2,545,162 – about $2.3 million of it in ads against Governor Tim Pawlenty.

Where did that money come from?

Their donor list is as follows:

  • CWA COPE $5,000
  • MAPE $5,000
  • Midwest Values PAC (Franken) $5,000
  • MN AFL-CIO $5,000
  • United Food Comml Workers $7,500
  • Ma Mah Wi No Min Fund1 (Mille Lacs Tribe) $7,000

Unions and Native American gambling interests so far; no big surprises.

  • Tom Kayser (MN) $7,500  [One of Mike Ciresi’s cronies]
  • Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux $15,000
  • MN Nurses $15,000
  • United Steelworkers $22,000
  • Afscme Council 5 – $25,000
  • Lks and Plains Carpenters $25,000
  • IBEW MN State Council $25,000
  • Intl Union of Operating Engineers $25,000
  • America Votes MN $30,040 [aka “ACORN 2.0“]
  • Coalition for Progress $50,000 (Mich)
  • Laborers Dist Cncl $60,000
  • Pat Stryker (CO) $100,000
  • SEIU MN State Cncl $100,000
  • Educ. MN $135,000
  • Tim Gill (CO) $300,000
  • Alida Messinger (NY) $746,000
  • Win Minnesota $778,500;

So – out of two and a half million dollars spent, about 20% – about $449,000 – came from those whom I thought were the most likely suspects, the unions.

And nearly 2/3 came from two sources – “Alida Messinger”, and a group called “Win Minnesota”.

We’ll come back to both of them.

2010 Campaign So Far – To date in the gubernatorial campaign, A4aBM has raised $93,386 (as of this past Tuesday).  They’d spent $72,383 of it as of Tuesday (on ads that were, as we ascertained earlier this week, wall to wall bullcrap).   Of that $93,386, 79.636 of it came from the “Win Minnesota PAC”.

So that’s two election cycles in a row (so far) where “Win Minnesota” has been the leading funder of scabrous hit pieces against Republican candidates.

Win Minnesota?  Seems pretty innocuous, doesn’t it?

Who is “Win Minnesota”, And Who Funds Them? – Here’s the list of major contributors to “Win Minnesota” during the 2006 campaign.  I’ll be adding the emphasis for reasons that’ll become fairly obvious:

  • Anne Bartley (San Fran) $25,000 [Linked via the Rockefeller foundation to Alida Messinger – whose maiden name was “Rockefeller” and who…well, we’ll get back to that.  She’s also linked to Hillary Clinton’s “Women’s Leadership Council” and former Clinton administration figure]
  • Shayna Berkowitz (Mpls) $100,000; ]
  • John Cowles (Mpls) $20,000; [Why yes, the former Strib publisher!  But don’t you dare say the Strib is biased!]
  • Andrew Dayton (Mpls) $1,000;
  • David Dayton (Mpls) $5,000;
  • Eric Dayton (Mpls) $1,000;
  • Mark Dayton (Mpls) $25,000;
  • Mary Lee Dayon (Mpls) $100,000;
  • Vanessa Dayton $1,000;
  • Sandra Ferry (NY) $50,000; [Yet another Rockefeller – sister of Alida Messinger]
  • Barbara Forster (Mpls) $25,000; [generic liberal with deep pockets]
  • Roger Hale (Mpls) $100,000; [Former Daytons’ executive]
  • John Harris (PA)$20,000;
  • Myron Kunin $5,000; [Hair care tycoon]
  • Kim Lund (Mpls) $25,000
  • Darlene Luther 47A Committee $10,000 ;
  • alida Messinger (NY) $165,000;
  • Midwest Values PAC (Franken) $20,000;
  • Linda Pritzker (TX) $30,000; [Scionette of the Hyatt fortune, big-time liberal with deep pockets; major donor to]
  • Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux $10,000;
  • Tina Smith (Mpls) $10,000;
  • Linde Uihlein (WI)$100,000; [Schlitz heiress, long-time political plutocrat]
  • Julie Zelle (MN) $5,000

That was a lot of Daytons, and people linked with the Daytons…wasn’t it?

So how about this year?

So far in 2010, “Win Minnesota” lists the following donors to “Win Minnesota”‘s current warchest (currently worth $1,173,500), again with emphasis added by me:

  • Andrew Dayton $1,000
  • David Dayton $50,000
  • John cowles $25,000 [Remember him from 2006?]
  • MaryLee Dayton $250,000
  • Emily Tuttle (MN) $5,000
  • Ronald Sternal (MN) $5,000
  • Alida Messinger (NY) $500,000
  • James Deal (MN) $50,000
  • Roger Hale (MN) $10,000 [Remember him from above?]
  • Barbara forster (MN) $25,000
  • Democratic Governors Association $250,000;

So of the $1.1 and change million warchest, $851,000 came from Daytons, and Alida Messinger.

But wait!  There is another fund registered with the state, with a different account number but with the same email and street addresses, that has $850,000 socked away but has spent no money.

And where did that $850,000 come from?

  • Alida Messinger (Mpls) $50,000
  • Win Minnesota $50,000
  • Education MN $250,000
  • Laborers District Council $100,000
  • MAPE $50,000
  • IBEW MN State Council $50,000
  • MN Nurses Assc $50,000
  • Local 49 Engineers $25,000
  • Vance Opperman $50,000
  • Afscme Council 5 $50,000
  • MN AFL-CIO $25,000
  • SEIU MN State Council $50,000
  • AFSCME (Wash DC) $50,000;

And who is this Alida Messinger who has contributed so mightily – over $1.46 million over the past four years! – to the cause of disinforming Minnesotans about Republicans?  Other than the youngest daughter of John D. Rockefeller III?

The ex-wife of candidate Mark Dayton.

So “Alliance for a Better Minnesota” is essentially a front for a group of unions and, to the tune of millions over the past four years, Mark Dayton’s family, friends and ex-wife.

They are paying millions of dollars to advertise – and hiding it from casual view behind two layers of astroturf.

Mark Dayton is trying to buy the election, but he’s taking great pains to make sure you don’t know about it.

Chanting Points Memo: Cue Captain Renault

There’s still a month until the primaries.  Tom Emmer’s been crisscrossing Minnesota, doing what he does best – meeting people.  In his bio with Bill Salisbury in the PiPress, he estimates he’s met 100,000 Minnesotans.  I’d imagine that translates to 80,000 votes.

And the DFL still has a solid month before they have their coronation for Mark Dayton.  They are mired in an epic passion deficit, and (this has to be the most depressing part of all for the DFL rank and file) at the end of it all they have a Mark Dayton candidacy to look forward to.

And so the DFL has their minions pecking away at Emmer, trying to make electoral mountains out of molehills (which explains the heavily-contrived furor over Emmer’s off-handed remarks about wages for tipped workers); without Tom Emmer to kick around, all Dayton, Margaret Anderson-Kelliher, Matt Entenza and Tom Horner (remember him?) have for material is each other.

A few weeks ago, we talked about (and conclusively shredded) the DFL’s other contrived controversy – the Dems’ harping on Emmer to release his plan for fixing the deficit (before they do it themselves, naturally).

And like an old pair of birkenstocks, it’s baaack.  Mark Dayton wants Emmer to cough up his plan.

Dave Mindeman at mnpACT shocks the world with a candid admission:

I have to say that I am with Mark Dayton on this one.

Someone check the space-time continuum.

The 2010 election for governor is too important to not start laying the cards on the table. We should be demanding some detailed options for balancing the next budget.

Demand away!

But Emmer, being the underdog in this race, is smart enough to know that he gets one shot at getting through to the mass of Minnesota voters.  It”ll be after the reality of a Mark Dayton candidacy has sunk in.  It’ll be when people outside the wonk class start thinking about this election.

Dayton’s tax plan is certainly open to criticism. That’s fair. But to me, the criticism is never going to ring true unless alternatives are put out to the public.

The problem is that nobody cares if Emmer’s plan “rings true” right now, because it’ll be released to a roomful of pundits and party hacks.

No – coughing up details right now is what those who are running behind do.  Entenza – stuck in third and on electoral life support – came up with some “details” a few weeks ago – something about green jobs and unicorns.  It seems not to have lit his campaign on fire.

And in perhaps the best symptom yet that the DFL endorsement remains the kiss of death, Kelliher is dipping a toe in:

Margaret Anderson Kelliher is getting closer to some specifics. She laid out an outline in a presser today:

“As Governor I will make those earning more than $250,000 to pay their fair share. I will demand an end to sweetheart deals that shelter tax dollars overseas, and close foreign corporate tax loopholes. “As Governor I will fight waste, fraud and abuse against state government. I will make necessary budget reductions while protecting students from cuts in the classroom, senior citizens in nursing homes, and basic essential services for Minnesota’s most vulnerable. “And as Governor I will use temporary budget tools to transition our state to long-term economic stability.

(Bonus question:  Find any item in that list that pertains to anything but the government and its institutions.  Jobs?  Tax Burden?  Regulation?  Stick a fork in it, Kelliher.  It’s over).

Emmer is doing what  he needs to do to have any hope of prevailing against the voters that matter – the ones that don’ t write for newspapers or blogs – against a full-court DFL and media press in less than four months.

The demand for “details”, today as a month ago, has nothing to do with informing the public, and everything  to do with tactics in a race where the DFL knows it’s going to need a lot of public relations hocus pocus to cover a deadly drought of ideas.

Chanting Points Memo: The Alliance For A Deceitful, Sloppy, Not Very Bright Minnesota

The “Alliance For A Better Minnesota” – an astroturf group sponsored by a consortium of DFL-linked pressure groups – has been behind much of the smear-mongering against Tom Emmer so far this campaign. They’ve occupied themselves with a klutzy false-flag website, a couple of twitter accounts (one of baldfaced propaganda, and one, “StuffEmmerSays”, that tried to mock Emmer statements but actually made him sound like Ronald Reagan to the point I spent the last month mocking it as a pro-GOP site; it seems to have worked, and the account seems to have demised).

And if that’s the best the DFL can do, this election’s not going to be nearly as hard as I’d worried.

“A4aBM” ran the first anti-Emmer ad of the campaign this week; and the Republican Twitterverse has been redounding with bits and pieces of the information A4aBM got wrong.

Long story short; the ad is warm runny bulls**t.

Claim #1: Audio: “Tom Emmer sided with Governor Pawlenty and opposed a plan that would force corporations and CEOs to pay their fair share of taxes”  ABMBackup: “On May 18, 2009, Emmer voted against the second attempt at a DFL- written FY2010-2011 revenue bill…

Sounds pretty gnarly, huh?

The Truth: Tom Emmer did not cast a vote on this roll call.

Oh, my.  You mean, A4aBM got a fact wrong?

Well, the ad is 0-1 so far.

Claim #2: Audio: “They cut funding for education” ABM Backup: “On April 18, 2007, Emmer voted against HF 6, the K-12 funding bill, which passed the House with a huge bipartisan majority of 119-13. On May 8, 2007, Emmer again voted against the bill as it was re-passed on a similar 119-14 vote…

Voted against it twice?  Emphasis added:

The Truth: After April 18, 2007, there were no additional votes taken on this bill that year.  During the 2008 session, this bill was used as a “vehicle” and a delete-all amendment was added completely changing the bill.  The vote they reference on May 8, 2007 was actually a vote on May 8, 2008 and it wasn’t a vote on the bill but, rather, a procedural vote on whether the bill should be taken from the table.  Emmer voted against taking the bill from the table.

You’re trying to say A4aBM lied about the real intent of voting on a picayune procedural technicality in the life of a background-noise bill to try to smear Tom Emmer?  Say it isn’t so!

0-2 so far.

Claim #3: Audio: “[Tom Emmer and Tim Pawlenty] cut funding for education.”

The Truth: There is nothing in the bill cited that included a cut to education.  In addition, KSTP’s Tom Hauser recently had this to say about the claim that Governor Pawlenty cut education funding: “As for Pawlenty cutting education funding, that’s not true.  According to the education department, per pupil funding has gone up since 2004.”

0-3 – well, more like 0-4, really.

Claim #4: Audio: “[Emmer voted to cut] job training.”

The Truth: Nowhere in ABM’s backup is there any support for this claim.  “Training” is mentioned only once in the legislation, and that is in reference to home ownership education.  This bill had nothing to do with job training.

Zero for five.

Claim #5: Audio: “[Emmer and Pawlenty cut] job training and health care”.  On screen: “Source: Minnesota House Journal, 4/25/2005”

The Truth: According to the Minnesota House of Representatives Journal, the House was not in session on 4/25/2005, meaning there could be no Journal of the House for that day.  The Alliance’s citation, therefore, does not even exist.

So the lesson for today is, whenever “Alliance For A Better Minnesota” speaks, distrust and then verity.

Because the DFL asssumes that you, the people, are too stupid to know any better.