They Know What Matters

Twin Cities’ media all atwitter over over a candidate – GOP, naturally – allegedly hanky-pankying with a realtor.

It’s NEWS, dammit!

Unlike Governor Dayton’s mental health, Rep. Ryan Winkler’s racism, Senator Sandy Pappas’ support for terrorists, Rep. Phyllis Kahn’s attempts at voter suppression (no, not in DFL terms, the real one), the extremely cozy relationship between Governor Dayton and his ex-wife’s attack-PR firm, to say nothing of complicated stuff like the effect DFL tax and wage policy is having on business and jobs around Minnesota.

Nothing to see there.  Move along, peasants.

The Client Is Obviously My Client

Last week, I lit up MPR’s “Poligraph” feature for checking the “accuracy” of an utterly subjective bit of political smack-talk by GOP Gubernatorial candidate Jeff Johnson. 

Last Friday?  Poligraph used subjectivity to “fact-check” GOP 8th CD candidate Stewart Mills. 

To be fair, Catherine Richert did smack down one of the Democrat Congressional Campaign Committee’s more risible claims, that Mills opposes Obamacare because he is floating on a raft of insurance industry money:

To support part of its claim, the DCCC points to information collected by OpenSecrets.com, a website that tracks campaign money. The website shows Mills has taken $7,100 from the insurance industry. But that’s the entire insurance industry, not just health insurance companies.

 According to Mills’ campaign finance records, he’s gotten $1,000 from the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association PAC, and that’s it.

OK.  So far so good.

But this next part?

Popularity!:  I suspect that if you passed a law that compelled the government to send out a $10,000 check to every citizen at Christmastime, it’d be “Popular”.  (Or perhaps a law allowing people from small radio stations to take their pick of equipment at public radio stations). 

But would “popularity” make it a good idea?  More to the point – would opposing it be wrong because it’s “popular?”

We return to Richert’s piece; as we read it, look for any objective evidence that Mills’ position is wrong: 

The DCCC also claims that Mills wants to scrap popular parts of the Affordable Care Act, including a provision that prevents insurance companies from rejecting patients with pre-existing conditions and another provision that allows children to stay on their parents’ plans until they turn 26.

Here, the DCCC is on stronger footing.

How so?

Campaign spokeswoman Chloe Rockow says Mills isn’t opposed to making sure young adults and those with pre-existing conditions have access to health insurance – he just thinks there are better ways of doing it.

 For instance, Mills wants to strengthen privacy rules for people with pre-existing conditions and to reinstate the Minnesota Comprehensive Health Association, which is a special health insurance program for people with pre-existing conditions who can’t get insurance elsewhere. That program is being phased out, because those people are now get insurance through the Affordable Care Act.

Richert’s conclusion (with emphasis added)?:

 The Verdict

 … the group is correct that Mills isn’t keen on Obamacare, including two provisions that are relatively popular with the public.

Let’s be clear, here:  Richert is checking the DCCC’s statement.  She finds half of it questionable (the insurance money), and half of it accurate (like every single Republican I can think of, Mills opposes Obamacare and thinks we can do the same job much more efficiently by tweaking existing programs). 

In other words, the DCCC says that Mills supports GOP policy?

That’s not even dog bites man.  That’s “dog sniffs dog”. 

Which is fine, if journalistically a little pointless. 

But Richert points out in several places that the programs that Mills would scrap are “popular”. 

Why? 

What earthly journalistic difference do the programs’ “popularity” have?

While Richert is correct in pointing out that the DCCC’s money claims are wrong, she’s essentially pointing out in her second point that the DCCC is, indeed, pointing out correctly that Mills is campaigning as a Republican, with what looks like a little gratuitous reassurance to MPR’s DFL-leaning audience thrown in for good measure.

So I give this episode of “Poligraph” a grade of “Huh?” 

With all due respect to MPR’s News department (and, stereotypes aside, I’ve tried to pay it where it’s been due, as with the exception of everything Keri Miller touches it often has been), it seems that “Poligraph” is explaining the obvious. 

UPDATE:  Gary Gross at Let Freedom Ring also covered this bit earlier in the week, and has unsurprisingly similar conclusions.

Coincidence?

This was the first year since the passage of shall issue firearm carry that the Minnesota State Fairgrounds loudly, visibly posted itself as a “gun free zone”.

The Fair’s spokesperson Brooke Blakey was even just a little bit obnoxious about it before the fair started. Near as I could tell, it was the first time anyone associated with the state fair has ever gotten really aggressive about alienating fairgoers with legal carry permits.

You hardly need me to tell you what happened next, do you?

According to State Fair Police Public Information Officer Brooke Blakey, at least two suspects took more than $10,000…The suspects struck when the building was closed to the public, restraining at least one person who had been working in the booth, and a beer supplier.

Police say this is the first robbery of its kind at the Minnesota State Fair.

The fair has it’s first armed robbery in 150-odd use the the month that a fair officer gets snotty about law-abiding gun owners?

Pure coincidence, I’m sure.

CORRECTION:  Flawed as her (and, mostly, the Fair Board’s) reasoning may be, I misread the piece in which Ms. Blakey was quoted.  The obnoxious bit (“She also had talks with gun-rights supporters who – contrary to fair policy – wanted to strap on their sidearms and walk down the middle of Dan Patch Avenue“) was written by Delma Francis, in the Minnesota Womens Press, reprinted in the Twin Cities Daily Planet – both of them shrill leftist outlets supported by liberals with deep pockets. 

I apologize for the error.

The “Fact-Check” I’ll Wait Patiently For MPR’s “Poligraph” Feature To Get Around To Doing, Part II

The Claim:  Every weekend for the past forty years, Garrison Keillor has closed his “News from Lake Wobegone” segment by claiming all the men are strong, all the women are good-looking, and all the children are above-average”.

But we wanted to know – is it true? 

The Evidence: In Keillor’s favor, we note that not only is his claim – like Jeff Johnson’s statement that Governor Dayton is “in trouble” – subjective, but it is in fact dramatic license, a tag line to a series of fictional essays. 

However, the winner of the 2014 World’s Strongest Man competition is Žydrūnas Savickas, of Lithuania. 

The world’s foremost empirical test of female beauty is the Miss Universe pageant – and the most recent winner, in 2013, was María Gabriela de Jesús Isler Morales of Venezuela. 

And since Minnesota stopped requiring graduation testing in 2013, it’s impossible to empirically say what “average” is, or whether Lake Wobegone’s children – fictional though they may be – are above it.

The Verdict – So since neither the world’s strongest man nor most beautiful woman resides in Lake Wobegone, and there is no means to measure the children, we give this claim a rating of “Misleading”.

The “Fact-Check” I’ll Wait Patiently For MPR’s “Poligraph” Feature To Get Around To Doing

That a man’s reach exceed his grasp, etc, etc.

“The Alliance for a Better Minnesota – which, as most MPR listeners are unaware, is essentially a political PR firm funded by wealthy Democrats, government employee unions, and Governor Dayton’s ex-wife Alita Messinger, has been running a well-funded advertising and social-media campaign for the past few electoral cycles labeling their Republican opposition, jointly and severally, as “Wrong for Minnesota”

“What does this mean?  And is the claim accurate?”

“The Evidence:  While one can expect any politician and their supporters to reflexively label their opposition as “wrong” – moreso in today’s polarized climate than ever – the terms “right” and “wrong” are themselves terms with deeply subjective meanings.  The meanings of the terms are, in fact, more tied to philosophy than politics”

“Poligraph consulted leading philosophers from all major worldviews – from structuralists to neo-Dadaists, and even a few with tendencies toward nihilism – and while there was no agreement on an absolute definition of “right” or “wrong”, much less one applicable to Minnesota, and Minnesota politics specifically, the general consensus was that the term “wrong” is intrinsically tied to the perception of both the “speaker” and the “listener” or consumer of the statement.”

“However, ‘the idea that one speaker could judge something ‘wrong’ for an entire state of 5.5 million independent agents, just on their say-so, is just plain bizarre”, according to a consensus statement signed by every single philosopher we consulted.”

“The Verdict:  The Alliance for a Better Minnesota’s claim that any individual politician is “Wrong for Minnesota” is Misleading. ”

“It’s also deeply pretentious, illogical, philosophically vacant, and to some points of view just a little bit morally repugnant.” 

 

 

MPR: Everything Is Juuuuust Fine

Mark Twain once observed that there are three types of media “fact-check” efforts:  Democrat PR puff-pieces, Bald-Faced Democrat PR puff-pieces, and legit ones.

A good fact-checker will note that Twain said no such thing.  My first paragraph was really a bit of hyperbole.

As such, it wasn’t intended to be a “factual” statement, per se, as one intended to express a subjective opinion and win people over to my side of an argument (or at least mock those who oppose me).  It’s a form of rhetoric; using language to try to persuade and convince. 

So while it’s not strictly “factual”, it is two things:

  1. It makes what I believe to be a legitimate point; from the smugly left-centric “Politifact” all the way down to most local efforts, the “Fact-Check” industry is for the most part intended to aid Democrats.  My statement isn’t intended to be a “fact” so much as a rhetorical device to open my case to the reader. 
  2. It sets off my personal opinion (based on years of reading and studying media fact-check organizations) that they are in the bag for Big Left. 

Hyperbole is but one tool the rhetorician uses to state his case.

OK.  I have a question:  Of the three choices I gave in the first graf, what is the latest edition of MPR’s “Poligraph” – a DFL PR Effort, a Bald-Faced PR effort, or legit? 

Read reporter Catherine Richert’s latest effort, and you be the judge.

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Their Master’s Voice

The latest poll numbers must be scaring the DFL; the Strib has officially switched into full-time shill mode.

In a paper full of “reporters” whose prime directive seems to be “fawn on the DFL”, Ricardo Lopez seems to be aiming for Columnist’s Row with yesterday’s paeon to the wonders of the Minnesota economy:

With business on the upswing and a state unemployment rate that’s among the lowest in the nation, Republicans lack a key issue voters often gravitate to during election season.

Four years ago, when the unemployment rate topped 7 percent and the state faced a projected $6.2 billion deficit, then-gubernatorial candidates Republican Tom Emmer and DFLer Mark Dayton presented voters with starkly different plans to stem the hemorrhaging of jobs and balance the state budget.

Since Dayton took office, the economic picture has brightened considerably. Minnesota employers have added more than 150,000 jobs, helping the state recover all the jobs lost during the recession. The real estate market has rebounded, and state finances are also strong. The most recent report available showed a projected state budget surplus of more than $1.2 billion, generated in part by the higher tax rates Dayton pushed through in 2013.

“There’s no question it would be easier for me as a challenger if everything appeared to be in shambles, that’s clear. But it’s not.” said Jeff Johnson, the Republican nominee hoping to unseat Dayton this fall. “I actually rise to that challenge of sharing a message that aspires to something much better than we have right now.”

Except that as we’ve pointed out, the economy is only “good” when you cherrypick the numbers pretty carefully

  • State Revenues are falling shorter and shorter of forecasts every month.  The deficit – which the GOP Legislature, not Governor Dayton, erased – is going to be back by the end of the current budget cycle. 
  • Underworked:  While the state unemployment rate looks good at 4.5%, the share of working Minnesotans that are underemployed is shockingly high - well behind not only both Dakotas, but Iowa as well – and wage growth has stalled (while government spending has not). 

But it’s the cherrypicking, not checking and balancing, that the people of Minnesota are going to get from the media. 

Expect a “Minnesota Poll” showing Dayton 80 points ahead sometime soon, here. 

 

Our Douchebag Opposition

Anti-NRA “Daily Beast” writer wonders why the NRA – which famously rails against domestic overreach – isn’t defending black people in Ferguson Missouri (with the not-so-muted conclusion that it’s all in the racism).

The real answer:  for the same reason the National Organization of Women isn’t protesting against whaling.

The NRA focuses like a laser beam on the Second Amendment.

You’ll note – although the “Daily Beast” writer does not – that the NRA supported to the hilt the action by Otis McDonald, which led to the Supreme Court incorporating the Second Amendment as a “right of the people”.

Odd how that got forgotten.

There’s Gambling Going On In This Establishment…

I’m not “Minnesota Nice”.

Partly it’s because I’m not from Minnesota.  I’m “North Dakota Dour and Taciturn”.   Minnesota is a South Beach conga line dance compared to North Dakota. 

And when I hear “Minnesota Nice”, what I think is “Minnesota Passive-Aggressive”. 

Bill Salisbury – one of the deans of Minnesota political reporting – and Don Davis, who fills the same bill with the Forum News Service, noted over the weekend that the ”Governor race could be ‘Minnesota nice’”. 

And my impression is proven correct.

That, and my belief that too many journos either think Minnesotans are stupid, or are actively trying to make them that way, as in this featurette on our two major gubernatorial candidates.

You can read the whole thing – but here’s the part that got my attention:

The Hennepin County commissioner and former legislator from Plymouth [endorsed GOP candidate Jeff Johnson] is an affable guy who shuns angry attacks on political opponents. That description also fits Dayton.

Sounds hunky-dory! 

Except that Governor Dayton doesn’t have to attack anyone.  He’s got his boss’s ex-wife’s group, “Alliance for a “Better” Minnesota”, to do that for him. 

You know – the group that ran the epic, toxic sleaze campaign against Tom Emmer in 2010; the one that called Jeff Johnson “evil” over Christmas last year. 

The Democrats could run Shirley Temple against a Republican Beaver Cleaver; we’d soon hear see a commercial with Eddie Haskell complaining that Beaver bullied him as a child.

Junk Science, Junkier “Journalism”

In recent years, this blog has made great sport of criticizing the MinnPost‘s coverage of Second Amendment issues, noting that much of their coverage has been both anti-gun and comically poor, and pointing out they are sponsored by the Joyce Foundation, which actively sponsors many anti-gun groups (including Protect MN here in Minnesota, and the national-scoped “Violence Policy Center”, or “VPC”). 

On the other hand, Joyce has sponsored the work of reporter Mike Cronin, who is three parts into a series on America’s gun culture (check out his installments so far on his introduction to shooting, attending a permit training class with Andrew Rothman, and his conversations with violence victims).   The series, thus far, is genuinely fair and balanced; I’ve talked with Cronin, and he seems interested in keeping it that way.  That’s all to the good. 

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A Watchdog That Only Barks At Mailmen

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

They completely missed the real scandal, which is President Obama’s imperial disregard for the law, but at least this is a step in the right direction. Sorry about the annoying survey pop-up, no wonder nobody reads that newspaper.

Gun-running to Mexico and refusing to enforce the borders don’t bother the editors. Closing the ocean is no problem. Targeting Americans for drone strikes is fine. But sneak a peek at a journalist’s email and they turn on you like savages.

Better late than never.

Joe Doakes

it’s hard to come up with even a short list of things that’ve disgusted me about this administration, and about this country during this administration, but on the very short list would have to be the fact that the media only act like watchdogs when the media, itself, is affected.

There needs to be in accounting for that, someday.

Rose Colored Glasses

You can’t escape it on Twitter or in the Media – the DFL and its various spokespeople, and the media (pardon the redundancy) crowing about Minnesota’s job numbers.

Because raising taxes creates jobs, dammit!

Except, as Bill Glahn notes, the numbers just don’t add up.

The state and its minions have been crowing that the state gained 8.500 jobs in June, and a total of 10,700 jobs so far this year.

Doing the arithmetic, that total means Minnesota gained 8,500 jobs in June, but a mere 2,200 jobs in the five months of January through May, combined.

And it the numbers get more interestinger:

 Each month DEED also reports on the jobs created in the previous 12 months, for a rolling look at the number of jobs created for a year-long period. For the 12 months ending June 2014, DEED reports Minnesota created almost 53,800 jobs. That figure would mean that we’d created 43,100 jobs in the six month of July through December 2013, but a mere 10,700 jobs in the most recent six months. Rather than suggesting an economic boom, those numbers indicate a real weakness in our state’s economy.

Bad, politically-driven reporting from the state?  Casual illiterate reporting from the media? 

Glahn’s not done:

 But consider this anomaly:
 
Reporting
 
Jobs Gained
 
Month
Month
YTD
Last 12 Mo.
June
8,500
10,700
53,779
May
10,300
45,617
April
(4,200)
41,934
March
2,600
41,582
February
(100)
44,714
January
600
52,160
Total
17,700
 
 
 
Adding together the number of jobs created each month in 2014, as reported by DEED, produces a total of 17,700 jobs for the year so far. So that means that sometime during the last few months, 7,000 jobs have vanished from the official state rolls.

“Unexpectedly” vanished, of course.

Glahn predicts the state’s rosy “8,500″ number for June will be gradually revised out of existence.

To be replaced – this is my prediction – by more inflated, misleading predictions intended to lull the incurious.

And the news consumers they report to.

Hell: Freezing?

The Star/Tribune Editorial Board, perhaps shockingly, called for a special prosecutor in the IRS Scandal:

That’s a necessary step, and the request should be expediently heeded by the Obama administration. Although there are two investigations underway in the Republican-controlled House, a nonpartisan review by an investigator with bipartisan respect and technological expertise is sorely needed. The public needs reassurance that the nation’s tax-collection agency is run with integrity and that anyone who may have abused its formidable authority has been held accountable.

So far, so good.

But then we swerve into the weeds:

The decision on whether to appoint a special prosecutor, officially called a special counsel, lies with the Department of Justice.

That’s long for Eric Holder.  The guy who’s been stonewalling several other investigations of Obama administration corruption, Fast and Furious chief among them.

IRS officials have insisted that the lost e-mails were just an unfortunate computer meltdown and that the extra scrutiny of groups with “Tea Party” and “Patriots” in their names was a regrettable mistake. If this is trumped-up, as Democrats often and sometimes accurately deride other House investigations, there’s nothing to fear by appointing a special prosecutor to put this long-simmering scandal to bed.

Or – as Holder will do – whitewash it. 

Still – while the Strib’s editorial board exhibits its inner pollyanna about the DOJ’s inner gestalt, at least it’s heart is in the right place, kind of:

It’s foolish to think this is going to blow over — or that it should. A May 2013 report by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration unequivocally concluded that the agency used “inappropriate criteria that identified for review Tea Party and other organizations applying for tax-exempt status based upon their names or policy positions.’’…a thorough reading of the report underscores that conservative groups were targeted.

The real question is:  can we, The People, trust an Obama Administration appointee to police his boss? 

There was a time we could count on the media to ensure someone like Holder’s behavior would be above board. 

Perhaps we need a special investigator into that

Doakes Sunday: Transsubstantiation

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

The headline is the story.  Priest killed with colleague’s gun.  Guns go off by themselves, you see, which is why owning a gun is bad.  It will get you killed when it goes off by itself. 

No mention in the headline of the homeless, mentally ill ex-convict who robbed and beat the priests before taking the gun and killing one of them.  Yes, the facts are in the story, but the eye-grabbing headline, the part half the population reads but no further, that’s where the media’s ingrained bias shows. 

Joe Doakes

The homeless guy who animated a firearm must be a miracle worker…

PRSure

I work in the software business. 

And among people who work in the business, the word was going around well over a year ago; “MNSure” was going to be a Bulgarian Goat Rodeo.  At the very least.

The word was more than right; in fact, according to Deloitte Consulting, it sailed past Bulgarian Goat Rodeo, and is more of a Hungarian Cluster Cuddle

This is the point of the blog post where I’d find one or more excerpts from the report that summed up what a complete FUBAR the whole project has been. 

But there is just too much in the report.   If I quoted everything damning in Deloitte’s report, I’d be driving a tank over the “Fair Use” laws. 

So I urge you to read it. 

(Remembring, of course, that Deloitte was one of the firms that was beaten out by “Maximus”, the firm that actually “built” MNSure.  Now, a smart state government IT operation would have engaged Deloitte as a disinterested third party to serve as a reviewer on the condition that they not bid for re-development work, to avoid conflict of interest.  I don’t actually know if the state was that smart.  Any bets?)

But in any case, read it.  And then take a look at the Strib’s piece on the subject, which carries nothing but the Messinger Dayton administration’s spin on the top-level issues.

Deal With The Devil

One the one hand, the MinnPost is running sponsored news again.

And yet again, the subject is guns, and the sponsor is the Joyce Foundation, which is (aside from Michael Bloomberg) the biggest funder of anti-gun groups in the United States.  Before Bloomberg bought the local rights for “Protect MN” and “Moms Want Action”, they were the major funder of gun control groups in Minnesota.

And part of that funding went toward buying favorable media, mostly in the form of risibly bald-faced propaganda.

Of course, Joyce has taken a whack at funding respectable journalism as well.

Investigative reporter Mike Cronin has embarked on a Joyce-sponsored multi-part series on the gun culture.  And like not a few previous such efforts, it starts out as a “gorillas in the mist”-style exploration into what is clearly for Cronin a foreign culture, as he takes his Carry Permit training class from Andrew Rothman (a long-time friend of this blog, president of the Gun Owners Civil Rights Alliance, and the guy who, if I had a carry permit, would have  taught me my carry permit class two hypothetical years ago).  Which is as good an intro as there is to the “gun culture” as a newbie can have.

Cronin is going through the class, intends to get his permit, and to purchase a gun as part of his investigation into the “gun culture>

And by all accounts, it’s a fair account, so far, although you be the judge.

No doubt Cronin will be looking at the “other side” of the debate; I’ll be watching.

It’ll be interesting to see what Joyce is paying for, this season.

Rangers: They Hate You. They Really Really Hate You.

Why were the DFL’s array of sock-puppets out in such force writing about the GOP convention?

To draw attention away from their own, up in Duluth.

First came reports that the DFL were denying media credentials to reporters from newspapers that had criticized Dayton.

Which is one way of silencing dissent.

Another way to silence dissent?  Agree not to talk about the inconvenient truth – that the DFL is intensely split on  mining.

That’s what the DFL did at their convention in Duluth over the weekend; looked at the upcoming bloodletting between their ultra-liberal, metro-area base – which is as dogmatic a pack of environmentalists as you will find in Democrat politics – and the Iron Range.

The Range, of course, is Minnesota’s red-headed economic stepchild; an area of the state whose economy has been draggy since the demise of the US steel industry forty years ago.

Of course, there is an immense wealth of minerals under the ground in Northern Minnesota, putting thousands of underemployed miners back to work, and creating jobs for many, many thousands more in the many areas that support mining – everything from mine equipment maintenance to truck driving to convenience stores catering to people going to and from work.

But currently – thanks to DFL-authored environmental rules and business regulations – it is literally better business to load ore-rich rock into trains and ship it to North Dakota than to build a processing plant in Minnesota.

So while the DFL had only one significant endorsement battle – to pick a Secretary of State candidate – the battle lines were in fact forming to duke out the battle between blue-collar Rangers and the businesses what want to hire them on the one side, and plutocrat Metro-area environmentalists (including Alita Messinger, who bankrolls Minnesota’s environmentalist messaging as completely as she controls the DFL’s).

And the DFL responded the same way Brave Sir Robin did:

In the end, activists on both sides came to the microphones to urge hundreds of feisty dele­gates to delay the vote indefinitely, a remarkable showing for a party that has seen conventions erupt into damaging fights with political scars that can last decades.

“I think people on both sides understand that we can have respectful differences, but we need to make sure we don’t do anything that is going to take away from our candidates’ ability to win this fall,” said Ken Martin, DFL Party chairman. “So there was a lot of discipline here. People understand the ramifications of the issue.”

Well, we certainly hope they do.

Because those ramifications were:

  • To shut everyone up so that…
  • …the same pack of Metro-DFL hamsters that have been working to keep Rangers unemployed and on the dole can get re-elected in what should be a tough year for them.

In other words, “Just two more years, Rangers, and we’ll think about it.  Or four.  Or eight.  We’ll get back to you…”

And hopefully it’ll get tougher for the DFL.  Stewart Mills has a genuine shot at sending Rick Nolan packing over this very issue.  More than that?

Think about it, Iron Range.  This isn’t your grandfather’s DFL.  The DFL is controlled by Metro-area poshes who haven’t dug for anything but grad-school grants in their lives.  They hate your guns and hunting and outdoor life.  They hate your largely pro-life beliefs.  And above all, they hate what you and the generations before you try to do for a living.  You, Ranger, are to the Metro DFL what the black or Latino family, or women, are; reliable votes in exchange for cheap lip service.

Money – jobs, in this case – talks.

Iron Rangers should know what walks.

Lucking: “So Stupid You’re Not Acting Stupid…”

Carrie Lucking may be the second most powerful person in Minnesota.

She’s the “Executive Director” of “Alliance for a Better Minnesota” – meaning that when Alida Messinger says “jump”, Lucking tells “Governor” Dayton how high, and off what, he’s to leap. 

She is, in effect, the real “Lieutenant Governor” of Minnesota.

But beyond that, she is in charge of ABM’s endless campaign to disinform (or as they used to say, “lie to”) the people of Minnesota – or, more accurately, to the low-information voters that are the DFL’s most important constituency. 

And she unleashed a howler yesterday:

State Senator Dave Thompson portrays himself as an unabashed conservative: a vocal, passionate defender of liberty at all costs.

Given this image, it’s notable that the former conservative talk radio host hasn’t published a blog or posted his legislative newsletter online since 2013. Whatever happened in 2013 that would make Thompson go mum in 2014? Hmmmm….

Could it be politics?

Well, duh.  Of course it’s politics. Specifically, the politics of making yourself “opposition-researcher proof”.  If you’re considering running for office, you take down your blog; you stop Tweeting; you hide your Facebook page.  All of your messaging goes through your campaign; it’s all vetted, measured and slept on before it’s put out in front of the public and the media, to avoid ”ready-fire-aim” moments like Judi Dutcher’s “Ethanol” flub, or any of Michele Bachmann’s history of PR botches – because the media is always looking for a good political flub, and ABM will be there to make sure the media don’t miss any such flubs. 

Or even non-flubs. 

So when Lucking breathlessly purrs…:

Thompson announced his campaign for Governor in the summer of 2013, a few months after he stopped publishing his From the Senate Floor blog and Senate newsletter

Thompson has gone mum

online.

Posting snafu? New legislative aide who forgot to put the newsletter online?

…she’s being disingenuous.  She knows as well as anyone that every candidate, GOP or DFL - at least every smart one – locks down their commentary when they’re getting ready to go on the trail. 

One thing is certain, though. Dave Thompson the radio host sure had a lot more to say than Dave Thompson the politician running for Governor.

Well, duh. 

Now, Carrie Lucking is a terrible writer and a breathless apparatchik – but she knows her audience; people who don’t know any better.  People who don’t have the time, inclination, or resources to check the story behind the “stories” ABM shovels to them.  People who only follow politics for the day, or days, or week or two before elections, people who make up their minds about elections over gut reactions and visceral responses to chanting points and sound bites, as well as the self-lobotomized droogs that wouldn’t know how not to vote DFL. 

Behind everyone who doesn’t really know the facts and doesn’t want to or know how to find them out for themselves, is a potential DFL voter. 

But that’s what Lucking gets paid to write.

The real question; will Rachel Stassen-Berger at the Strib, or Tom Scheck at MPR, ever point out to the less-informed in the audience what a facile bit of rhetoric this is?  Will MPR’s “Poligraph” give this statement the “Oh, Hell No” it deserves?   Will anyone in the Minnesota mainstream media ever tackle the Alliance’s endless, cynical campaign of disinformation, not to mention probe their deeply incestuous relationship with the Governor’s office and the DFL?

Place your bets.

Can Anyone Imagine…

…how the media would treat a Republican lawmaker who’d accomplished less in 14 years than Betty McCollum?

“Empty Suit”?  ”Waste of a Chair?”  I mean, just think of all the things they said about Rod Grams, who accomplished more in eight years than Saint Paul Wellstone did in 12.

But it’s Betty McCollum whose toenails the Strib’s Allison Sherry has been given the job to paint.  And so McCollum’s decades of indolence are described thus:

McCollum, an understated lawmaker who got her political start on the North St. Paul City Council,

She’s “understated”.

Hm.

After 14 years in office, her signature accomplishment?  Attacking National Guards advertisements at NASCAR events that cost less per year than building a block and a half of the Central Corridor train line and money pit that she tirelessly championed.  Less than an eighth of the money she helped dragoon the government into spending on the Union Depot.  Less than the proverbial fart in the wind compared with the Obamacare debacle she saddled us with (but can’t defend to save her life, without lying)?

Understated.

If a Democrat pushed someone off the High Bridge to their death, the media would describe the victim as “damp”.

Sack Of Garbage

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Excellent job of capturing what the DFL thinks about Ambassador Stevens’ dead body being dragged through the streets of Benghazi as a result of the failure of Hillary Clinton and Barak Obama’s Middle East policy.

Courtesy Star Tribune

Joe Doakes

Two points:

  • Editorial cartoonists trend left – but I’m at a loss to think of a major-market editorial cartoonist who is a more baldfaced Democrat lapdog than Steve Sack.
  • This city is full of crappy cartoonists.
  • I think this qualifies as a Berg’s Seventh Law citation.

Obama Scandalrama: Just Part Of The Pack

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

You don’t need to see our appointment logs to check VA wait times; we’ve carefully checked our records and confirmed we were right all along.   So that’s settled.

 

This is the level of investigative journalism that meets the standards of the MSM.  The VA said they don’t have secret lists, so they don’t.  Because if the VA had secret stuff they would say so.  You know, like secret surveillance of citizens, secret monitoring of phone calls of world leaders and Joe the Plumber.  Secret targeting of undesirable political opposition by the IRS, the INS, the EPA, the Dept of the Interior, etc.

 

If they had a secret, the responsible people in the government would fess up at once, without doubt.  Since they haven’t, there’s nothing to see here: move along.

Takes me back to the days when Obama ordered the oceans closed.  Yeah, remember, what, a year ago, he closed the ocean off Florida to punish the voters for the shut-down?  He does so much outrageous, blatantly illegal and stupid crap that you forgot about that one, didn’t you?

 

This is what Fernandez means by “dense pack.”  Obama has so many scandals occurring so quickly that we never get a chance to investigate one before it’s old news and we must move on to the next.  Thus, no scandal ever sticks to him.

It’s the equivalent of a lawyer answering a discovery motion by dumping triplicate copies of every piece of paper in their client’s office on the petitioner, in hopes that anything incriminating gets lost in the blizzard of paper.

Of Convenience, Part II

First things first.  I’ve got nothing against Hannah Nicollet.  If you go by what little she’s said in public about her political beliefs – she supported Ron Paul in 2012 – I probably agree with her 90-odd percent of the time.  Indeed, now that she’s been endorsed to run for Governor, my biggest dream is that she selects a Lieutenant Governor candidate named Lyndale, Hennepin, Franklin or Lake. 

So no – nothing against Hannah Nicollet.

IndyParty Gubernatorial candidate Hannah Nicollet

But I do have something against the Independence Party.

The party – which started as the Minnesota unit of Ross Perot’s “Reform Party”, and gained major party status with Minnesota’s great collective self-prank, the election of Jesse Ventura, and has held onto it by the skin of its teeth ever since – has been the traditional refuge of people who like their government big, but “good”.  Moderate Democrats like Tim Penny, liberal Republicans like Tom Horner, and lots of well-meaning moderates who like thinking big thoughts and playing responsibly with the gears and levers of government have flocked to the IP, if only briefly. 

It’s always been the party of the moderate wonk class. 

I – like most actual libertarians – have very little in common with the moderate wonk class. 

And since 2002, the party has been accused of existing primarily as a spoiler.  In the 2002 governor’s race, there’s a legitimate case to be made that the presence of former moderate Democrat Tim Penny siphoned center-left votes away from Roger Moe.  There’s an even better case to be made that left-of-center-left education policy wonk Peter Hutchinson may have cinched Tim Pawlenty’s razor-thin re-election over Mike Hatch in 2006.

Of course, the strongest case of all is that Tom Horner slurped up the traditional “Indepedent Republican” voter, all nostalgic for Arne Carlson and Dave Durenberger and pre-conversion Judi Dutcher, just enough to tip the scales for Governor Messinger Dayton.

And now, in 2014, when the headlines are jiggling with tales of fractiousness between the Ron Paul faction (not to mention the Tea Party) and the “establishment” of the GOP, into the midst of a race against a vulnerable DFL governor, comes Hannah Nicollet - who makes libertarian-sounding noises, and is being marketed directly at the “Ron Paul” libertarian faction in the GOP. 

Do I believe there’s some Democrat monkey-wrenching money from the likes of the unions or Alita Messinger involved?  Absolutely.  I can’t prove it, but I wouldn’t be in the least  surprised if it comes out at some point.  There’s a precedent for it.  It worked. 

But that’s not really the point of this post.  Not yet.

No – I’d actually like to ask (or have someone ask) Ms. Nicollet what she, personally and as a candidate being marketed to Libertarian Republicans, thinks of these bits and pieces of the “Independence Party of Minnesota” platform.

From the “Elections” section, the IP platform says…:

We support Instant Runoff Voting or another runoff process that allows us to vote our conscience and ensure that winners are supported by a majority.

So does Ms. Nicollet support a voting process that leaves ballots uncounted and, worse still for a “Ron Paul supporter”, makes the vote-counting process utterly opaque to regular voters? 

Or this:

We support partial public funding of elections to reduce candidate dependence on fundraising, thereby making politicians more independent and responsible to voters.

So the “Ron Paul supporter” would force taxpayers to pay for elections with the implicit threat of violence? 

We support the establishment of an independent nonpartisan commission to implement legislative redistricting.

Hiding more of government in more committee rooms promotes “liberty” exactly how?

And here’s the big kahuna:

Resolved that the IP support an amendment to the Minnesota State Constitution stipulating that candidates for public office can only receive financial donations from eligible voters who reside within the jurisdiction of the office they seek.

This violates the First Amendment in so many ways it’s hard to count them all.  Minneapolis gun owners and Benton county pro-marijuana activists would be cut off from campaigning with support from groups from out of district?  (While any government or trade union can filter money anywhere they want via any variety of subterfuges)? 

Not only does this not support liberty, it is actively hostile to it. 

In the “Prosperity and Quality of Life” section, the IP says…:

We are dedicated to fiscal responsibility and insist that our tax dollars be spent with restraint and care, but our goal is also for a bright future, and so we are committed to: supporting economic growth, excellence in education, access for all to quality and affordable health care, investing in an efficient transportation infrastructure, protecting the environment, and providing efficient energy resources.

The IP, in other words, sees a vital role for government in economic intervention, education, healthcare, transit, environmentalism and green energy. 

Which was a big part of of the “don’t”s section on any Libertarian policy checklist. 

Along the same vein, under the “Supporting Economic Growth” section:

An important role of government should be to support commerce and invite corporate investment in the state by assuring reasonable taxes, a well-educated and productive workforce, good transportation infrastructure, and an excellent health care system.

OK, that one is open to interpretation; hypothetically, that could be interpreted as “by getting out of the free market’s way”. 

Anyone wanna place bets on that? 

Or this one here:

We believe that many rural economies are challenged by a lack of access to the highest quality telecommunications, technology and transportation. We support policies that will allow rural businesses to compete effectively in the global economy and we also support government initiatives to assure that affordable and state-of-the-art internet connections are readily available to all citizens.

Government intervention in the telecom industry is, at the very least, a matter of picking winners and losers (anathema to the liberty-minded), and a big boondoggle waiting to happen. 

Not to mention the nanny-statish subsidies inherent in this…

We believe in funding the research, development, and promotion of new value-added products and processes using Minnesota farm products.

Next, we move to “Education”:

We support government funding, standards and incentives that also reward advanced achievement, improving the education of our “average” students, and realizing the full potential of all students..

So not only is the IP – the banner under which “Libertarian” Hannah Nicollet is campaigning – a full supporter of the current, one-size-fits-all, nanny-state factory education model, but it supports starting the indoctrination bright and early:

We believe early childhood programs will generate excellent returns on investment by reducing future, more expensive educational needs and developing better-educated and more productive citizens.

Even the GOP “Establishment” is smarter than that. 

Onward to “Transportation”:

We support further development of a fully integrated, multimodal transportation system that could include automobiles, light and high speed rail, personal rapid transit (PRT), and High Occupancy Vehicle, high-speed bus lanes.

Even given the context of a state that has not only embraced but french-kissed Big Government for the past seventy years, Transportation policy may be the issue where Minnesota has gone to third base with complete nannystatism.  The Met Council has near-dictatorial authority over local jurisdictions, and is, and has been, run by a bipartisan assortment of people utterly friendly to the idea of using transportation to take “urban planning” out of the hands of the market and give it to the bureaucrat. 

And the IP – Hannah Nicollet’s party – enshrines this noxious statist ideal in its platform. 

In the “Environment” section, the platform is vague enough…

We support strong enforcement of environmental protection laws.

…to mean anything to anyone; it covers everything from preventing oil spills to stifling mining in perpetuity. 

What would “Doctor Paul” think?

And finally – the “Liberty, Justice and Security” section of the IndyParty platform says…

…well, stuff about legalizing pot (whatever), separation of church and state (natch) and…

…nothing.

Silence on government’s recent attacks on the First, Second, Fourth, Fifth and Tenth Amendments. 

Why?

Because while constitutional Libertarians live and breathe these issues, they’re issues on which the IndyParty as a vested interest in strategic silence. 

So the question is, Ms. Hannah Nicollet (or anyone who deighns to answer for her, the endorsed candidate of a major Minnesota political party), how does she square her endorsing party’s positions on these platform issues with her erstwhile Libertarian beliefs, and with the fact that she is being marketed to Libertarians? 

And to you Libertarian-leaning GOP (and Libertarian) voters at whom Ms. Nicollet is currently targeted; you folks gotta admit, you’re long on talk about “principles”.  So do your “principles” tell you that having a “libertarian” candidate marketed to you by a rankly statist party might be ever-so-slightly…

…cynical?  Unprincipled? 

Calculated?

More to come.

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Many

Gregg Steinhafel resigned earlier this week as CEO at Target corporation.

Many observers – many!  – thought that was only a matter of time before the Minnesota-based retail giant melted down because their grocery sections carried, and continue to carry, no tabouli mix.

Did a complete lack of tabouli at Target groceries seal Gregg Steinhafel’s corporate doom? Some communities think so. Why does Gregg Steinhafel hate tabouli lovers?

You can scour the grocery section of any Target store, anywhere in the country, and find not a single box of tabouli mix.  On Steinhafel’s watch, the chain not only gave away the entire bulgur/vegetable salad market, but told the nation’s millions of tabouli lovers that Target hated them and watned them to die.

Many observers – many, many, many of them – believe this was the turning point in Steinhafel’s doomed regime.

Gregg Steinhafel – the executive who came up one box of tabouli short at the end of the day.

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