Status Quo Ante

While this blog has repeatedly referred to Sally Jo Sorenson of Bluestem Prairie as “one of about five Minnesota liberal bloggers that don’t deserve police surveillance” – not the highest compliment I can give, but the highest warranted under the circumstances – one should not presume that I agree that Ms. Sorenson will go out of her way to tell a story that the DFL doesn’t want, or  pay to have, told.

So with yesterday’s post about the Minnesota Senate “tightening” media credentialing rules, which was signal for including just the bits that fit the DFL’s narrative about media and communications:

Via David Montgomery’s post at the Pioneer Press’s Political Animal blog, MN Senate tightens rules for press credentials and The Uptake’s MN Senate Tightens Media Credential Rule, we learn that ““individuals affiliated with a political organization” can no longer be credentialled as journalists or keep their press pass at the Minnesota Senate.

Now, the mainstream press is noplace to get information about this issue, since they’ve been blissfully above it all from the beginning.  And the Uptake has a bit of a conflict of interest, as it was the DFL’s favoritism toward them (they gave credentials to the stridently partisan Uptake, but denied them to conservatives) in 2010 that led to the whole “Senate Media Rules” fracas in the first place.

Back when the GOP took over the Senate in 2011, then-Senate-GOP-comms guy Michael Brodkorb convened a working group to come up with new rules for media credentialing.  I was part of the group, along with David Brauer.  And we did a really good job; they were among the best, fairest rules in the country, balancing the investment the big mainstream media outlets had made in coverage with the access for alternative media sources.

And to prevent the system from being hijacked by the parties, the rules barred people who were on party payrolls from getting credendialed.  Period.

In 2013, the DFL took control of the Senate:

Montgomery reports:

That’s a pretty broad definition, but the background appears to be related to a blogger named Shawn Towle, who received a Senate press pass while also being paid by the Senate DFL.

Republican senators made a stink about Towle in April of 2014, putting out a press release accusing DFL leader Tom Bakk of “secret payments” to Towle.

Introducing the proposed change today, Bakk described it as “something the rules committee had considerable conversation about near the end of the session last year.”

In other words, Bakk is reiterating the process that we came up with in 2011.  With a great deal of noise, he returned the Senate to the rules it had before.

Thank goodness.

One presumes that the DFL will find some way to sneak Towle, their favorite hit-piece writer, into the room – but it’ll be the traditional Democrat way; rules be damned!

And that is the rest of the story.  

Marching Orders

As we get ready for tomorrow’s beginning of the 2015 Legislative session, Senator Dave Hann gave the state a pretty fair look at conservative GOP priorities in an open letter to Governor Flint-Smith…er, Dayton in the PiPress over the weekend.

The whole thing is worth a read.  I’m going to pullquote the bit on education, which sounds like a little Scott Walker might just at long last be leaking across the border, thank God:>

Republicans will also be ready to consider bolder ideas and reforms such as breaking up our large urban school districts into smaller and more nimble organizations, able to better focus on solving our persistent achievement gap. Empowering parents and local school boards through public-employee-union rules reform and expanded school choice options are tools other states are using effectively. Every year there is talk about closing the achievement gap. But the policy of the DFL is always the same: increase spending. Every year we get the same results: flat or declining achievement. It borders on criminal to tell half the parents in Minneapolis we’ve improved education by providing more expensive schools from which their children will not graduate.

The whole letter is music to my ears – provided the GOP delivers on it (and prevails over the DFL majorities in the Senate and Governor Flint-Smith’s…er, Dayton’s partisan obstruction.

Hann was silent about the elephant in the room (for conservatives, at least), and perhaps justifiably so, from his perspective; the need for the GOP majority in the House to hold, or at least work hard to try to hold, the line on spending – especially the mindless pork-mongering that marred the GOP’s generally decent performance in the majority in the 2011 and 2012 sessions.

Wanna fire up the base?  Get the House caucus to chug a down some of whatever Scott Walker has for breakfast, sack up, and tell Governor Flint-Smith…er, Dayton where to put those proposed spending increases; show the “targeted tax breaks” (aka, swag to DFL constituencies) off to a place where the sun rarely shines.

Be, in short, what you were elected to be.  You were sent to office over the peoples’ revulsion over tax hikes, spending orgies, losing our doctors and our clinics and spending days signing up for MNSure, union money-grubbing from childcare and home care providers, and building useless trains while our roads flake away into impassability.

Remember that. Seriously.

 

Targeted

H2O –  two atoms of hydrogen and one of oxygen – makes water.  You drink a lot of it daily.

H2O2 is Hydrogen Peroxide.  It just adds an extra oxygen atom – but if you drink it, you’ll get sick; it’s toxic.

They lookalmost the same – but they are very different, just with the addition of that one little Oxygen atom.

Little changes mean a lot.

Like Crack Whores With A Stolen Credit Card: Minnesota has a “billion dollar surplus” – meaning that the state is on track to take in about a billion dollars more than even the DFL planned to take in after jacking taxes up by two billion dollars in the last two sessions.

Now, back in the nineties, we had surplus after surplus after surplus.  And the largely DFL-controlled legislature, aided and abetted by Governor Arne Carlson (who was an old-school “moderate” Republican, who’d probably be a “moderate” DFLer today, if any such thing existed), turned every single one of them into permanent spending – which is a little like finding a $50 bill on the street, and adding $50 to your monthly entertainment budget as a result.

But it’s a new year, and another decade.

Notwithstanding the fact that the GOP wave largely skipped Minnesota (except for the House races in Greater Minnesota), the aftereffects are still being felt in Saint Paul.  There’s less of the triumphalistic talk about equalizing society through taxation that the DFL gave us in the last two sessions.

It’s Such An Innocent Little Word: But make no mistake; the DFL wants to turn the surplus into spending.

They’ll call it “targeted tax relief”.

The phrase is a clever one; it includes the phrase “tax relief”, so the average Minnesotan will see “tax relief”,and assume that their taxes are going to be, y’know, relieved.

But “targeted” is to “tax relief” as “extra Oxygen atom” is to “water”:  it turns it from an unalloyed good into a cudgel of DFL social engineering.

Governor Flint-Smith Dayton has her his fingerprints on some of it:

DFL Gov. Mark Dayton’s already made it clear that child care tax credits are on his list.

Currently, about 38,000 families receive the credit. Dayton said he wants to lift the income eligibility to include 137,000 more families. He said the cost would be $175 million over two years.

“The state program is capped very low and phases out very quickly,” Dayton said. “It really doesn’t reach working middle-income, one- and two-parent families. Talk about tax reduction that benefits the middle class — that to me is probably one of the most significant things we can do.”

And isn’t that just like the state of Minnesota – spend two years trying to force daycare providers into AFSCME, and then making taxpayers pay for it again?

Just Hand It Over: In the meantime, Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk has different ideas:

Bakk said tax reductions will compete with other spending proposals during the budget-writing session, and he said the final product won’t satisfy everyone. He said he favors tax relief targeted to economic development in struggling areas of the state.

And by “struggling areas of the state”, he means the Iron Range, which after 50 years of being put out of business by DFL policy still votes DFL, and wants the rest of the state to pay for it.

Anyway – “targeted tax cuts” are to “tax cuts” as “H202″ is to “H20″; they are another term for “payoff for DFL constituencies”.

How Can You Tell “Moms Want Action” Is Lying?

Oh, please.  Like I even need to finish the punch line.

But some of you have been under rocks for a while (vide Governor Messinger’s Flint Smith’s Dayton’s re-election).  So for your benefit:

“Their lips are moving, and/or their fingers are typing something”. 

To wit:  Moms Want Action sent out a post-election thank-you to their supporters (and quite a few Real Americans who get their updates as well):

Many thanks to those of you who made hundreds of phone calls in support of Sen Al Franken. His re-election means that both of our US senators are lawmakers who support gun-sense legislation. Gun violence prevention was not a major campaign theme for any federal candidate, [And why do you suppose that is? – Ed.] although a few did mention it. Notably, US. Rep. Betty McCollum’s campaign materials called it out, and state attorney general candidate Andy Dawkins of the Green Party did, too (McCollum won re-election; Dawkins failed to unseat Lori Swanson)

Side note:  Betty McCollum runs in a district that would elect a wheelbarrow full of manure to Congress, if the DFL endorsed it. 

And what Moms Want Action failed to tell you is that while Lori Swanson may be an interventionist, activist who’s continued her predecessor and mentor Mike Hatch’s policies on nattering away at private business, she is one of the better state AGs in the country on gun rights.  So the Moms would be more honest to say that the pro-gun candidate utterly destroyed the only AG candidate who explicitly mentioned support for gun control and the Bloomberg Oompa-Loompas. 

But here’s the big one.  I’m bolding it for emphasis:

All of Everytown’s endorsed candidates in Minnesota won re-election. Yay!

Oh, did they? 

Follow the link to Everytown’s extraordinarily badly-designed site.  Look for “Filter by State”, and select “Minnesota”. 

Scroll down. 

Do you see Will Morgan?   “Moms Want Action”/”Everytown” offered him endorsement; the then-incumbent was arrogant enough to figure he didn’t need the votes of pro-2nd-Amendment Real Americans to win in District 56B. 

And Roz Peterson absolutely brutalized him with an eight point upset win.

So what is it we say, again?

“If a gun-grabber group says it, it’s probably a lie”. 

Pass the word.

An Idea Whose Time Is Long Overdue

This is from a piece of constituent mail, reprinted on a Minnesota legislator’s facebook page:

What do you think about replacing the word “free” to read “Taxpayer Funded” in all goverment paper and documents?  Like instead of schools “Free” lunch program, it would read “Schools Taxpayer Funded Lunch Program”.  It would be more truthful. 

I say submit the bill and run with it, hard.

Giving Them Ideas

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Modern cars have computers that act like a Black Box data recorder and the data can be used as evidence against you in court. The Minnesota Court of Appeals recently upheld the conviction of a woman charged with Reckless Driving, based on data the State Patrol downloaded from the computer inside her wrecked car after the accident.

I’m seeing a market for a Black Box Eraser device. Involved in an accident? Afraid it might be your fault? Push a button and ZAP, the Black Box memory is wiped and can’t be used against you. Order before midnight tonight. Don’t leave home without it.

Joe Doakes

I bet Alice Hausman reads this and submits a bill regulating such devices in the Transportation Committee before the next session.

The Sweetest Win

One of the brighter spots in Tuesday’s proceedings was the crushing victory of Peggy Bennett over Shannon Savick in Albert Lea. 

It was an old-fashioned whooping – 53-40.  Not even close.  And that was with an Indyparty candidate who took 6% out of the race, likely mostly from Bennett. 

I’m still doing the end-zone happy dance in my head. 

Shannon Savick was one of the DFLers from Greater Minnesota who supported Michael Paymar and Alice “The Phantom” Hausman’s gun grab bills in the 2013 legislature. 

And she was one of the DFLers who joined Hausman and Paymar in getting up and theatrically walking out of the hearing room when the Real Americans of the Second Amendment movement started their testimony against their proposals.  Indeed, the DFL made a shameful spetacle of ignoring their opponents’ testimony.

Watching their bills – and all of their support from Michael Bloomberg – go down to whining, piddling defeat – was sweet.  And it was what mattered most.

But seeing Shannon Savick tossed out of office with all the ceremony of a day old egg salad sandwich is right up there.

OK, Ms. Savick.  NOW you may get up and leave the room.

UPDATE:  It wasn’t just Savick – and it wasn’t just in Minnesota.  Gun grabbers were crushed nationwide.  It was lopsided in the Senate, of course – but the most astounding progress was among governors.

To sum it all up?  The NRA-endorsed candidate won in Maryland

Perhaps bigger, but definitely more subtle?  The flip of the Senate will at least slow down President Obama’s ongoing campaign to pack the Federal Appelate courts with gun-grabbing activists. 

It was a good Tuesday for Pro-Second-Amendment Real Americans from coast to coast.

Joe Persell: Context Goes Both Ways

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

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

The topic turned to gun control:

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

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

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

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

Persell disagreed, saying carrying weapons can exacerbate tense situations.

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

Really, Rep. Persell?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hope that word gets out…

Continue reading

The DFL’s Edina Brahmins

Why does the DFL hate the First Amendment?

Trackers – interns for various campaigns and groups filming footage of politicians giving speeches and doing other public appearances – have been a fixture of Minnesota political life for at least a decade now. Most politicians – and by “most” I mean “everyone I’ve encountered, from every party, so far” – accepts that with good grace, and tries not to say something stupid.

Apparently “good grace” is beyond DFL Rep. Paul Rosethal, from District 49B in Edina:

“You’re in the Edina City Hall. You’re not allowed to be here without their permission to film. So I’d appreciate your leaving,” Rosenthal said in an exchange posted on YouTube.

“It doesn’t matter. It’s a public building” replied [photographer Ethan] Hellier.
“Thank you, thank you, thank you,” said Rosenthal, moving in front of the camera.

Clever, Mr. Rosenthal.

At least, compared to representative Ron Erhardt, from District 498, who seems to be going more and more Tony Soprano as he gets older (With emphasis gleefully added):

Rep. Ron Erhardt, a Democrat, took a different approach.
Do you know what would happen to that thing if we dropped it? Probably wouldn’t work very well. Now would you back off please?” Erhardt said.

At least he isn’t threatening to blow Mr. Helier’s head off.

Dear Edina – these are the thugs you sent to StPaul in 2012. Let’s shoot for better this time, okay?

The Really Good Guys

Since we’re talking endorsements, the Minnesota Gun Owners Political Action Committee has issued its endorsements for this round of elections:

• Tony Cornish – House District 23B, Republican Party of Minnesota
• David Dill – House District 3A, Democrat-Farmer-Labor Party
• Steve Drazkowski – House District 21B, Republican Party of Minnesota
“Each of these three representatives has a long track record of strong and vocal leadership in support of the constitutional rights of Minnesota’s gun owners,“ said Mark Okern, Chairman, Minnesota Gun Owners PAC. “Tony, David, and Steve are power brokers, “ Okern said. “When they talk gun rights, their caucuses listen.”
“We are confident that Representatives Cornish, Dill, and Drazkowski will easily win re- election and continue to be steadfast supporters of the civil rights of gun owners in Saint Paul during the next legislative session, “ said Bryan Strawser, Executive Director.

More, I’m told, to come.

Rep. Ron Erhardt: “I’ll Blow Your Head Off”

The Minnesota Gun Owners Civil Rights Alliance has spent the past few weeks compiling its biennial legislative report card.

As, for that matter, have a lot of Minnesota activist groups. It’s election season, after all.

But I’m going to guess not very many got a response like a GOCRA volunteer got from Minnesota state representative Ron Erhardt (DFL, HD 49A) of Edina:
20140803-132016-48016012.jpg

“No more surveys! You come near me, I’ll blow your head off” was Erhardt’s  response, according to GOCRA.  I have sent Rep. Erhardt an email asking for elaboration.

I’m trying to imagine what’d happen if a pro-life Representative had said that to a volunteer from Emily’s List?  If a fundamentalist Christian rep had said something like that to a gay marriage advocate?

I’m not saying that only Democrats have this sense of depraved entitlement.

Just that only Democrats can get away with it in this state.

Note to Aaron Rupar, Rachel Stassen-Berger and Tom Scheck:  Boy, wouldn’t this be a big, juicy story to report on!

(Note to the Dario Anselmo campaign:  Merry Christmas)

Doakes Sunday: Killed

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Another feel-good law passed by Minnesota Democrat-controlled legislature.  If your cell phone is stolen, the cell phone company must do something to switch it off so thieves can’t use it.

Private industry already offers that service – you call the cell phone provider to report your phone stolen and they shut it off.

There are two ways to kill a phone: the Hard Kill that turns the phone into a brick permanently, and the Soft Kill that shuts it off temporarily, but we have no control over which option your cell phone company takes so if the phone is lost but recovered, it still may be unusable.

Worse, industry experts don’t think it’ll solve the problem because thieves can work around the shut-off with SIM cards and computer program.

Providing a mandatory service costs the cell phone provider money.  The state isn’t funding this service.  So your cell phone rates will go up to pay for other people’s carelessness.

The U of M Police Chief who claims guns are often used to steal cell phones on campus is LYING.  He must be, the U of M is a “gun-free” zone.

Joe Doakes

It’s amazing how little the DFL accomplished this past session that wasn’t entirely “feel-good”.

Of Those With Cow, And Those With Moo

This session, Senate File 2639 (and its house companion, HF3238) have been the subject of a lot of misunderstanding (including on this very blog).   The bills would define how local authorities enforce federal law regarding dealing with firearms in the hands of those accused of domestic abuse.

The bills have also been the subject of an amazing amount of grandstanding rhetoric.

We’ll talk rhetoric first.  Then we’ll talk about the bill.

Aiming Low:  Representative Tony Cornish has, for a long, long time now, been the prime mover for Minnesota’s Second Amendment movement in the Legislature (after the retirement of Pat Pariseau).  Nobody has ever, ever called him “soft” on Second Amendment issues and escaped without being laughed out of the conversation.

But Cornish isn’t stupid.

After the debacle of the 2013 session – where the DFL marched into the legislature with reams of gun-regulation and confiscation bills copied and pasted from California, New York and Pennsylvania, and got publicly humiliated by the “Army of Davids” that the Minnesota gun rights movement mobilized, and a bipartisan assortment of pro-Human-Rights legislators – the anti-rights crowd, led by a more capable batch of professional politicial consultants and armed with shopping carts full of Michael Bloomberg’s cash, came to the Capitol with a brand new plan.  Their goal; find an emotional, red-meat issue that crossed party lines and would involve ratcheting up some sort of gun regulation, to eke out a win and help take the stench of death off of gun-control political efforts.

And there has been no better year since the seventies for the DFL to try to jam something down.  Remember – the DFL controls both chambers of the Legislature, and the Governor’s office.

All they’d have to do to pass any law – magazine restrictions and backdoor registration, to say nothing of taking guns from those accused of domestic abuse – is close ranks.

The fact that any such move would be political suicide is the result of two decades of organizing by the Minnesota 2nd Amendment movement – GOCRA, the MN-GOPAC, the NRA, the Twin Cities Gun Owners, and more. 

But politics is a two way street.  Both sides can play it – and Michael Bloomberg and the Joyce Foundation bought themselves some consultants who know how to play.

Remember – Tony Cornish, and all the other pro-human-rights legislators, are facing a DFL majority.   To avoid getting steamrolled, one of two things is needed:

  • Being OK with being steamrollered, or
  • canny negotiation.

Cornish and the rest of the pro-human-rights lobby chose negotiation. 

We’ll come back to that.

We Interrupt This Story For Some Law  – Domestic abuse is no laughing matter.  The law provides victims of domestic abuse some remedies under the law.  It also provides those accused of domestic abuse with the the right to due process.

Here, more or less, is now the process works (and every situation is different, so curb your inner lawyer.  Or outer lawyer, if you went to law school):

  1. Joe alleges his spouse, Jane, is beating him.  He goes to get a restraining order
  2. A judge signs off on an ex parte order (which means “one party”) “order for protection” (OFP).  The OFP prohibits contact (to say nothing of abuse) between Jane and Joe.  Firearms are, however, not an issue – yet.  It’s a temporary order, until the hearing (aka “due process”)
  3. Joe has Jane served a copy of the OFP.
  4. Jane has the option to request a hearing to review and contest the order.   She can (and probably should) bring a lawyer – it’s serious business (this, by the way, is the part many accused of domestic abuse skip, which screws things up for them badly).
  5. If  the judge believes, after the hearing that Jane is a significant threat to Joe’s safety, the judge may make the order “permanent” (which really means generally three years or so).
  6. If the order finds that the threat is really serious, the federal “Wellstone Amendment” may prohibit Jane from possessing firearms.

And it’s here that the contention slips in.

SF 2639 and HF 3238 were originally given to the DFL by Michael Bloomberg’s organization.   I’m not sure that Alice Hausman would have been arrogant enough to submit the bills in their original form,  which did not allow those accused any due proces at all, with guns required to be stored elsewhere as soon as the complaint was filed, before any hearing took place. 

Power Changes Everything – Like its namesake, the “Wellstone Amendment” is big on pronouncements and short on details.  It says those accused of a certain level of domestic abuse shouldn’t have firearms.  It leaves the details to the states.

And the original versions of the two bills, as sent from Michael Bloomberg’s organization, did terrible things with those details;  they would have invoked the Wellstone Amendment when the initial, temporary order was invoked (i.e. before any hearing), required the accused to store their guns with the police (for a “reasonable” fee that would be anything but in real life) and served as de facto gun registration.

And in a state like New York or Connecticut, with a weak or nascent gun rights movement, that’s exactly what would have passed.

But Minnesota’s Real Americans have spent the past two decades organizing one of the most potent grass roots movements in the state.  It’s a movement that has swayed entire elections in the past (the 2002 House race).  And after the humiliations the DFL suffered in 2013, they figured they weren’t going to get away with the “loud and stupid” strategy favored by the likes of “Moms Demand Action” and the like.

So the DFL came to the gun rights movement, looking for a solution that would give them a “win” on domestic violence, but not stir up the hornet’s nest needlessly.  And the movement – GOCRA, the NRA and the like – gave them the solution.  To return to our example above, Jane will need to store any guns she owns with friends, the police, or a licensed dealer, but only after the hearing for the permanent order.  The new bill will require Jane to transact this within three days, and for the police to notify the judge two days after that.

No guns move before “due process” – a hearing, with counsel – has taken place. 

Ever. 

Let’s make sure we’re clear on what just happened – and I’m going to put this in loud blue text to make sure everyone catches it; even though the DFL controls both chambers and the governor’s office, they had to come to the Gun Rights movement to get some form of their bill passed.   And the bill got turned from Michael Bloomberg’s fascist nightmare into something that can exist in a free society. 

It wasn’t perfect.  But when you’re outnumbered two chambers to none, and have a DFL governor who will follow whatever way Big Left pulls his leash, “perfect” isn’t an option.

Everyone’s A Kamikaze With Someone Else’s Plane – When you walk into a restaurant, and see two items on the menu – peanut butter sandwich, and lard sandwich – you can try to order a Porterhouse with a baked potato.  You can order it, and order it, and order it again.  All it’ll do is give you a pissed-off waitress, and no food at all.

And that’s the strategy that some “gun rights” groups, including Iowa-based “Minnesota Gun Rights”, took.   They spent the session demanding that the pro-Second-Amendment minority impale itself on demands to completely reject the legislation – which was the “porterhouse steak” option in a restaurant full of peanut butter and lard.

Their “plan”:  pretend that fuming and spluttering and making grand pronouncements and handing the DFL a cheap chanting point for the fall would be anything other than an invitation to a catastrophe for liberty. 

This, of course, gives us not only the prospect of watching a Michael Bloomberg-penned bill get signed into law and the wholesale violations of rights that would follow, but to the Democrats going into the fall elections with reams of Alita-Messinger-paid ads saying that GOP legislators “voted to give guns to wife beaters”.  It’s a message that only the stupid would believe – but as the 2010 election showed us, there are 8,000 more stupid Minnesotans than smart ones.  And that’s all they need to maintain control of the House – giving the DFL even more time and power to jam down even worse gun laws.

And worse, in its way?  These astroturf groups engaged in “blue-on-blue” campaign that was either deeply stupid or intensely cynical, trying to brand not only the GOCRA but Tony Cornish as weak-kneed on gun rights.

Over a bill that was going to pass in some form no matter what anyone did, but which the DFL had to come to the Gun Rights movement for anyway.

Representative Cornish, writing on Facebook, gave us perhaps the best quote there is on the subject:

When the train is coming down the track, it’s admirable to stand and raise the middle finger, but…sometimes it’s better to do the damned best you can to change it’s route and avoid a much less desirable fate.

And those were the only two choices;  throw a finger at Bloomberg, get run over by the train, and have a law that would allow people’s Second Amendment rights to get run over as well – which isn’t even a symbolic victory, since it would make taking back the House that much harder – or enact a bill that basically gave a framework to federal law that protected due process.

When you get a choice between peanut butter and lard, take the peanut butter.  And this fall, find a better restaurant.  One with some cooks that know how to cook a porterhouse.

Correction

A spokesman from the Gun Owners Civil Rights Alliance responds to Joe Doakes’ piece this morning.

The letter from GOCRA follows, with added text bolded by me:

———-

Doakes is referring to the modifications to 518B.01 on page 4.

At 4.16, you can see the existing language:

4.16 Subd. 6. Relief by court. (a) Upon notice and hearing, the court may provide
4.17 relief as follows:

and at 6.16, in the same subdivision, here’s where the new language starts:

6.16 (g) An order granting relief shall prohibit the abusing party from possessing firearms
6.17 for the length the order is in effect if the order (1) restrains the abusing party from

Due process is preserved.

———-

In the chaos of this past few weeks, I’d missed the final version of the bill. 

It’s not perfect – but as the spokesperson says, due process is preserved.  And in a session where the only thing that separates “good” laws from “bans on magazines over seven rounds” is canny and tenacious negotiation rather than slogineering in pursuit of prinicple, it’s really the better of many possible endings.

UPDATE:  More on this story tomorrow.

The Harsh Reality

NOTE:  As noted in a subsequent post, Mr. Doakes is in rare error about the effect of the bills he refers to.  Please see the linked post for the response from GOCRA – which includes comments from Joe Doakes indicating that he misread the law.

Unlike some bloggers, I never remove posts – but I will make sure the context is clear. 

———-

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Amending the statute relating to loss of firearms rights.

Allegation of child abuse – must have actual notice of the hearing so you can attend to contest issuance of the order.

Conviction for domestic abuse, stalking – you lost your case at trial, so you had notice and could contest the verdict.

Standard ex parte 518B.01 domestic abuse restraining order – no such requirement. Your domestic partner complains and you instantly lose your right to possess any firearms, for self-defense or hunting or anything. You don’t even have to turn in the firearms – the court must order the cops to go to your house and seize them, without a warrant.

It already passed the House so it should become law this session. Ripe for abuse and unlikely to save lives. But who will stand up against it?

Joe Doakes

“Standing against” it is the easy part.  Derailing a DFL political train, not so much.

The state is full of gun groups (some of them actually based in Iowa) that “stand against” this bill, loudly and with impeccable principle.

The problem, of course, is getting the votes to force changes to the bill.  Some of the most noxious provisions did get stripped out early (back in March), but the DFL is waiting with the “What you support wife-beaters?” line at a moment’s notice.  Count on it.

And remember – they have the votes, and leadership that owes Michael Bloomberg a victory, even a small one, after all the money they poured into this state in the past couple of years.

So some version of this bill is going to pass.

And if you’re a gun owner, the only solution is taking back the legislature with actual pro-Second-Amendment legislators.

Not posturing.  Not bellowing about principle, or demanding a “constitutional carry” bill in a DFL-controlled legislature where we barely avoided a seven round magazine restriction last year.

UPDATE: More on this story tomorrow.

Be Thankful, Peasants

Two billion in new taxes.

A 1.2 billion dollar surplus (thanks, GOP majority from 2011-2012!), which means “unexpected” money collected in taxes, and is money that is lost from the economy.

That’s a total of $3.2 billion extra dollars sucked out of the Minnesota economy – about $600 for every man, woman and child in the state, or close to $1,000 for every taxpayer.

And we’re supposed to be thankful that the DFL majority deigns to “give” us $550 million “back”.

That’s about 17 cents on the dollar.

If you gave your cashier a $20 bill for a $15 meal, and you got 85 cents in change, I’m going to guess you wouldn’t be “thankful”…

Compare And Contrast

Governor Messinger Dayton signed an increase in the state’s minimum wage today. 

What Governor Messinger Dayton Said:  “People who work hard should be paid enough to achieve the American Dream”. 

What Governor Messinger Dayton Actually Meant:  “I have now found a way to force the private sector to buy votes for the DFL”. 

Personal note:  One of my kids is working for more than the current minimum wage, but less than the new one.  I hope it’s the children of the sitting DFL legislators who lose their jobs when the wage rises, and not my kid. 

But I’m going to guess there’s not much chance of that.

Oceania Has Never Bullied Eastasia, Winston

The bill that the Metrocrats chose to call the “Safe and Supportive Minnesota Schools Act” passed the Senate. 

Let’s look at what’s in a name.  Because the name “Safe and Supportive Minnesota Schools Act” is intensely misleading – almost to a geometric fault.

There are so many names for this bill that are more appropriate:

The Redundant Feel-Good Act:  Every school district already has a bullying policy.  It’s the law. 

The PC Payoff Act:  This bill – probably soon to be a law – is a chit being paid back to the DFL’s supporters by the party currently in power, creating not only a protected class of students, but a super-di-duper protected class. 

The Full Employment For Bureaucrats Act:  This bill – which creates a huge unfunded mandate on top of all the others foisted on our school systems, to the point where many districts are nothing but mandate delivery systems with occasional spurts of “education” – will create a whole new class of administrators.  And they’ll belong to unions, who donate their dues money to the DFL. 

The Full Employment For Trial Lawyers Act:  The bill makes the entire process of dealing with “bullying” even more legalistic than it already is.  Legalistic means “designed to be controlled, and especially litigated (at an exquisitely expensive hourly rate) by lawyers”. 

The Type-Cast Your Child For Life Act:  Everything related to everything that can be defined as “bullying”, no matter how torturously, will become part of a child’s permanent academic record.  Which will affect childrens’ future chances at higher education, jobs, the military, jobs requiring security clearances and the like, long after the child has grown out of whatever phase they were in when they were bullies (and that’s assume they were rightly and justly accused of “bullying”, since the bill is also…)

“Stasi Had The Right Idea!” Act:   Anonymous informants?  Giving those who accuse others of bullying complete immunity from consequences if it turns out that the accusations were fabricated? 

The “Further Proof That North Dakotans Are Smarter Than Minnesotans” Act:  Other states – including our grown-up neighbor, my home state of North Dakota – address bullying by addressing bullying, passing laws that address actual behavior rather than creating the infrastructure for a network of secret denunciations and…

The Ideology Police Act:  …making all beliefs that don’t toe the PC line, especially personal religious beliefs, however manifested or stated, a form of behavior that needs to be watched and suppressed, overtly or subtly, “for the good of the children”.       

The “Let’s Have More Bullying, Not Less!” Act:  Bullying tends to go up, rather than down, in places with bullying bills.   

The Metrocrat Power Grab Of 2014 Act:  The bill – which does nothing to address bullying of children that isn’t already covered by existing policies – does coalesce more power to indoctrinate, to punish dissent from the state-sanctioned social views, and to extort more from the taxpayer in the bargain.  And it does it during the last session during which the DFL is guaranteed absolute power.                 

Could someone in the legislature please see to this?

Progress

I’m a big fan of every Minnesotan who turns out to protect the Second Amendment.  While I quibble about some peoples’ motivations, let’s face it; the more people the DFL see arrayed against them, the better.

But while some Minnesota Second Amendment groups bellow about “no compromise!”, the Gun Owners Civil Rights Alliance shows the benefit of working across the aisle at a time when the DFL and its gun-grabber allies are in complete control of Minnesota’s state government.

As we noted last week, Senator Ron Latz introduced an utterly intolerable bill that would have utterly gang-raped due process. 

Minnesota’s Second Amendment groups responded.  Despite Latz’s making the Real Americans wait six hours for the hearing, representatives from the Civil Rights community stuck it out, and stuck it to the gun-grabbers in the hearings. 

And then, since talk is cheap and easy,  they got down to the real work:

Following GOCRA attorney David Gross’s testimony, and after discussion with the committee’s legal counsel, Sen. Latz inserted clarifying language that limited the order for transfer to parties who had received due process of law, not just an accusation.

As a result of our discussions, Sen. Latz also testified to the committee that he intended to support House amendments allowing for “third parties,” such as friends or family, to take physical possession of the guns ordered removed from the accused, providing an alternative to the forced confiscation and imposition of “reasonable” fees that would quickly exceed the value of the guns.

While we’re not a big fan of “we had to pass it to see what’s (going to be) in it,” Sen. Latz’s comments on the record were a good sign that there would actually be material improvements to the bill. Because lawmakers rarely make promises like this, on the record, without following through, we expect that Sen. Latz will keep the promises he made to the committee.

Of course, forcing them to keep their promises is part of the deal:

There’s another hearing Wednesday at 2:15 in Room 10 of the State Office Building, and if you can come to show your support for civil rights, we’d love to see you there.

I can’t make it this time – mid-days during the week are just not do-able.  But if you can, please do; the DFL Metrocrats need to know that Real America is out there watching.

Imagine

The worst enemy that fabian statism has is generalized prosperity.

It’s always been a theory – ’til now.

The North Dakota Democrat Party can muster not a single Democrat to run for office anywhere in Bakken country, according to Rob Port:

Democrats have managed to recruit exactly zero candidates in legislative districts representing the state’s oil patch with all local district conventions completed and less than two weeks to go before their statewide convention…If we count the urban districts in Minot and Bismarck as being “oil patch” districts, we add five more: Districts 3, 5, 7, 47 and 35. Of those, all have a full slate of Republican candidates, and just one has Democrat candidates.

And the North Dakota Democrat Party is fielding candidates for only about 1/3 of the state’s legislative races overall, almost exclusively in the eastern part of the state:

That speaks volumes, doesn’t it? Democrats will talk a lot about oil and energy policy this year, but the lack of Democrat candidates in the oil patch tells us their arguments aren’t getting much traction where that policy has the most impact.

What a glorious time to be alive.

Our Passive-Aggressive Overlords

I went down to the Capitol last night for a 6PM hearing on SF2639 – Senator Ron Latz’s bill to punish people accused but not convicted of domestic abuse by confiscating their guns and keeping them confiscated, innocence notwithstanding. 

We started out on a high note; Michael Paymar’s attempt to create a felony trap for law-abiding gun owners in Capitol-complex buildings got turned into a fairly innocuous tweak to the existing notification law.  The law, by the way, dates to 1994, and is utterly obsolete, a relic of a time when law enforcement still kept records on paper files.  The notification law is obsolete and needs to be gutted and tossed entirely – but for now, it’s no big deal.

So I showed up at the Capitol.   As usual, I was among plenty of friends:

The nose count, last I checked, was 70-75 civil rights supporters to about a dozen civil rights opponents.

I did a nose-count; Real Americans outnumbered people there for “Protect MN”, as usual, by a lopsided margin.  

So we waited.  

Strategizing got done…:

GOCRA leaders churning on strategy.

…but for the most part, everyone waited.  And waited some more.

There were several updates from security; they were busy with other bills; they were going to get through a few more and then take a half hour break before getting to 2639.

So we waited some more. 

A few cases of water bottles, courtest of GOCRA, made the rounds. It was warm in there.

GOCRA brought water and granola bars, which theypassed out up and down the line (including to the anti-rights people; I had the singular pleasure of giving water and a granola bar to Rep. Martens).

They took the half-hour break – which ran more like an hour.  And then they re-convened – and addressed the Fetal DNA bill.  For an hour.

I had to leave; I was fighting a cold, and had to work this morning.

Latz didn’t bring up his gun-grab bill until nearly 11 – after he’d let Heather Martens and her friends in through the back door, essentially packing the hearing room with his supporters.  Latz has set himself apart, along with Reps. Paymar, Hausman and Martens, as one of the most virulently anti-civil-rights people in the Legislature; he quite clearly passive-aggressively used his power as committee chair to make the hearing as difficult as possible for the unruly peasants who had the affrontery to oppose him. 

Rob Doar, the VP of Government of Affairs for the Gun Owners Civil Rights Alliance, summed it up about the same way: “Senator Ron Latz is wll established as one of the most anti-rigths legislators in Minnesota.  Under his leladership of the Jundiciary Committee, we’ve come to expect he’ll use every tool at his disposal to make hearings as difficult as possible for anyone who opposes his agenda”. 

At the end of the evening, the bill passed from the Judiciary Committee. 

Which is no surprise; the bill was going to pass Senate Judiciary no matter what; Michael Bloomberg invested a LOT of money in this session, and there needed to be something to keep the metrocrat troops rallied, for all that investment; the Metrocrats control the Judiciary Committee.  When Bloomberg says “speak”, Latz will bark on command. 

Now, reality sets in.  There needs to be a companion bill in the House; the House DFL caucus is panic-stricken about their chances this fall, and getting saddled with one of Latz’s gun-grab bills would be poison for a couple of outstate DFLers that are already fighting for their lives.  And Tom Bakk – who is an Iron-Range union guy who loves his big-game hunting – knows what long memories us civil rights advocates have.    If I had to bet, I’d say this bill dies in committee without getting to the floor, or at the very worst, in conference. 

Which is not another way of saying “relax for the rest of the session”.  There will be more hearings, more amendments, more attempts to weasel legislation through the system.

You need to call your legislators.  Thank the good guys.  Politely urge the ones who are wrong to reconsider.  Urge the fence-sitters to throw a vote for freedom. 

We can win this round.  Indeed, we can humiliate the bad guys, just like last year.

Nope, No Media Bias At All

The DFL controls both chambers of the legislature, as well as the Governor’s office.

They passed four billion dollars in total tax hikes last session, for a net two billion dollars in increases, without a single Republican vote.

But now the DFL needs GOP support to change tax policy? 

That’s what this piece – “GOP senators refuse to be rushed on sweeping tax-relief measure” – would have you believe.

No, really:

Dayton and DFL leaders have rushed to pass the measure to ensure the largest number of Minnesotans can take advantage of more than $50 million in retroactive tax relief by April 15. Senate DFLers used a rare procedure to try to speed passage by a day, but Republicans in the minority used their limited muscle to delay the vote until Friday.

Earlier in the week, Dayton chastised Senate DFLers for not passing the measure swiftly enough. On Thursday, Dayton and Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook, joined together to direct their wrath at Republicans.

Look – this bill was never intended as anything but an election-year bandaid for the DFL – allowing them to say “We cut taxes! (to some favored classes of Minnesotans, for a total of a tiny fraction of the tax hike we unilaterally jammed down two years ago)” in an election year when the MNSure flop and the 2013 tax and spend and gun grab orgy looks certain to cost the DFL dearly. 

Baird Helgeson is, in short, carrying the DFL’s narrative water:

“There is no good reason for Senate Republicans to block the bill’s passage,” Dayton said. If Republican legislators force any further delays, “they will be solely responsible for denying income tax cuts to thousands of Minnesotans.”

The measure is nearly certain to pass Friday because Republicans are out of options to block it.

Ahem:  the DFL doesn’t need one single Republican vote to pass the “tax cuts”.  Not One. 

Why is Baird Helgeson and the Strib carrying the DFL’s water? 

Will Rachel Stassen-Berger, Tom Scheck and Bill Salisbury catch the Strib on this fairly egregious bit of journalistic partisan narrative-fluffing?

Put On Your Demonstrating Shoes

So…what are you doing Thursday?

The DFL is back at it again.  Two gun control bills have been introduced so far this session – and they’re both bad ones.

As bad as last years’ avalanche of stupid?  Perhaps not.  But noxious in their own way.  And both of them are the camel’s nose under the tent.

The Gun Owners Civil Rights Alliance sends:

Civil rights opponent Ron Latz, chairman of the powerful Senate Judiciary Committee, introduced SF2639, a bill that would create de facto confiscation of firearms from persons accused of domestic violence. THE BILL WILL BE HEARD THURSDAY EVENING, March 20, at 6 p.m. in Room 15 of the Capitol.

While GOCRA has no love for wife-beaters, this bill goes far beyond protecting victims, and would impose a back-door theft of personal property through exorbitant fees.

The DFL is going to spin opposition to this bill as “supporting wife-beaters”, of course; the orcs are fluent liars. It’s the one form of language they’re good at.

And someone who’s legitimately convicted of domestic violence should give up their guns.  But this is on accusation – and as many has half of all accusations of domestic violence, at least during divorces, are false.

Capitol Carry Traps

Based on the flawed recommendations of lame duck Lieutenant Governor Prettner Solon’s capitol safety advisory committee, and steamrolled by lame duck Representative Michael Paymar, SF2690 would impose additional red tape hoops to jump through, and “gotcha” felonies for permit holders visiting the State Capitol Complex. THE BILL WILL BE HEARD THURSDAY, March 20, at noon in Room 15 of the Capitol.

Bad information leads to bad policy, and the information presented by the Department of Public Safety at those committee meetings this summer was terrible: the DPS spokesman had no idea that the DPS managed the permit holder database!

This bill would create a trap for harmless permit holders whose meaningless, duplicative, unused notifications “expired.” A visit to any capitol-area building — even the Minnesota History Center — after this false “expiration” would turn a permit holder into a felon.

This is one of the approaches gun-grabbers just love; make laws that create confusing restrictions that are bound, indeed designed, to entrap people.  Then, complain to the media about all the “gun felonies at the Capitol!”, and demand more gun control!

Anyway – GOCRA would love to see people at the Capitol this Thursday, as noted in bold above.   Needless to say, calling your representatives about these bills is going to be important.

Last year, the avalanche of real citizens showing up at the capitol shut the lavishly-funded gun-grab effort down.  Shot it down in flames.  Humiliated it.

It’s a new year, and a new session.  Time to beat the orcs back again.

DFL: “Peasants! Continue Rendering Tribute!”

This is the photo that “Alliance for a Better Minnesota” posted on Twitter just now, in the wake of the announcement that Minnesota has a billion dollar budget surplus:

That’s right, Governor Dayton. Thanks for putting $1.2 Billion in the state coffers. Those must have been some righteous Renoirs you sold.

Oh, wait. What’s that? The surplus is revenue above and beyond the $2 Billion in tax hikes that is forecast to be taken in by the state in the coming year.

From us. The taxpayer.

And yep, the DFL is already trying to think of ways to spend it – to give a little of it back to you, the people who  paid it in in the first place, and spend the rest on, largely, graft for the DFL’s owners supporters. 

Oh, yeah – notwithstanding the fact that the surplus exists solely because of the GOP’s restraint in spending and holding back the budget (imperfect as they were at that) over the past four years, the DFL is claiming credit…

…along with every dime they can from this surplus.

So yes.  Thanks, Governor Dayton, for taking more of my money – about $250 for every man, woman and child in Minnesota – out of the economy than even the DFL’s spendthrift budget could. 

Thank you so very much.

The Bakk Mahal

The DFL is trying to push through a new Senate office building, to house 44 Sentors and their staffs, for a price of around $90 Million. 

That amounts to $2,045,454.55 per Senator. 

Two million and change, to house a part-time employee.

For $2,045,454.55 per part-time employee, the state could afford:

  • A Winnebago Voyage ($150,000) for touring their district in style, and avoiding those pesky DUIs while in the Cities.
  • A Beechcraft Bonanza ($690,000) capable of getting them to and from their district, anywhere in Minnesota, quickly and in modest style. 
  • Office space in downtown Saint Paul – whose vacancy rate is around 20% even with massive numbers of state offices – for bargain-basement prices.  For the portion of the $2million left after buying the Winnebago and the airplane, each senator could rent 500 square feet of Saint Paul office space for 48 years (in the First Bank building, the one with the big red “1” on the roof), 114 years (in the Degree of Honor building, a nice building not far from the Capitol), or 212 years (in the Empire building, a classic turn of the century building way downtown).  Or, alternately, rent 500 square feet of space for the year, and the Winnebago mobile office, and the Beechcraft, and leave a little over a million dollars left over that the state can…um, not spend. 

Or, y’know, just rent some cheap space and give the rest of the money back to the taxpayer.