Adios

Michael Paymar is leaving the House:

State Rep. Michael Paymar announced Wednesday he will leave the Legislature after his current term expires.

 

The St. Paul Democrat is the chairman of the House Public Safety Committee; his district is considered safe Democratic territory.

No.  New York under Boss Tweed was “safe Democrat territory”.  Michael Paymar’s Highland Park, a part of Saint Paul that ponied up seven figures in donations for Kathleen Soliah’s defense fund, is a whole level beyond that.  The DFL could endorse a bag of dog food and get 60% of the vote, and most of the voters would say the bag of dog food made perfectly good sense in the debates.

Paymar collided this year with his party’s leadership over whether to change Minnesota’s gun laws. His bill to expand background checks and restrict gun purchases stalled when House leaders declined to call a vote.

Well, no.  It stalled when Paymar’s (and Hausman’s, and Rep. Martens’) copy-and-paste gun-grab bills served their purpose to the people who paid for their offices.

Best of luck, Representative Paymar.

Turd-Polishing

Desperate to keep the stadium finance “plan”…er, afloat, the state is making another big push to try to sell “E-Pulltabs”:

In Duluth on Tuesday night, about 35 charities and bar owners showed up for a chance to test-drive all the electronic pulltab and bingo games now available in Minnesota. They got tips from charitable gambling leaders and bars along the North Shore who use them. They received the latest data from state officials on Minnesota’s most popular e-gambling counties, the effect on charity collections and more.

“I’ve seen the machines before, but I’ve never tried them,” said Duluth bar owner Mike Ronning, checking out the electronic pulltabs. “It’s fun. I just don’t know if it’s right for my place.”

The upshot:  people are still keeping them at arms length.

One wonders if we might have saved a whole lot of trouble doing thisbeforethey made them the key revenue-generator in the state’s Viking stadium jamdown.

The Left Hand Doesn’t Know What The Further-Left Hand Is Doing

Depending on who you believe, the DFL apparently traded away a minimum wage bill for money to restore the building they see as their clubhouse the State Capitol.

I stress the “depending on who you believe” bit, since I’m not entirely sure they even know themselves.

Or maybe it’s just me.  Anyway – I read the story in the Joyce-Foundation-supported © MinnPost, and it seems a little confusing.

The piece, by James Nord, starts out by noting (I’ll add emphasis) that…:

DFL Rep. Ryan Winkler and two Republican legislators who declined to speak on the record say Senate leaders came to a deal that secured a bonding bill for Capitol repairs and ensured an orderly end to the session in exchange for no action on those two policy provisions.

Winkler, the chief House sponsor of the minimum wage legislation, said Republican lawmakers told him of the deal. He described his understanding of it to the Star Tribune just after the session ended May 20.

No, you need not link to the Strib; I’ve done it for you. Here’s Winkler’s quote:

 Rep. Ryan Winkler, DFL-Golden Valley said leaders in his own party ditched a proposed minimum wage increase to accomplish other priorities.

Senator Bakk agreed with the Senate Republicans not to pass a minimum wage bill and not to pass the bullying bill, in order for them to agree to support a bonding bill to restore the State Capitol building,” said Winkler, who heard the same story of the deal from House Republicans.

But – back to the Joyce-Foundation-supported © MinnPost, now – later in the Nord piece, Winkler says:

Winkler told MinnPost that he was standing next to House Speaker Paul Thissen at the speaker’s rostrum when Minority Leader Kurt Daudt told Winkler about the agreement…Thissen said in an interview that he had heard about a supposed deal but didn’t have any specific knowledge of it. He hadn’t discussed the issue with Bakk or Hann.

When asked about the diverging stories, Winkler responded, “Well, that may not have been a deal, but all the Republicans believe it was a deal. One way or another, somebody’s misinformed.”

This past session was replete with stories of how the various factions in the DFL were disjointed, how the left hand didn’t know what the farther-left hand was doing.    Especially amusing were the stories about how very, very badly Paul Thissen and Tom Bakk hate each other, and what a hard time they had working together.

But a legislator appearing to disagree with himself?  That’s a new one even for me.

MinnPost: Heather Martens’ PR Firm

The MInnPost is an organization I’d very much like to respect. It includes a raft of people I’ve considered good reporters.

But over the course of Minnesota’s gun debate over this past session – brought on by Minnesota DFL legislators launching a raft of authoritarian gun bills, including at least one that called for confiscation of certain firearms – the MInnPost has shown a very crafty bias toward the anti-Second-Amendment crowd. From Erik Black’s series suggesting that the Second Amendment was just too complicated for modern people, to the fawning coverage the entire publication gives Heather Martens (“Executive Director” and one of very, very few actual members of “Protect Minnesota”), down to Doug Grow’s apparently pre-written slime job on Representative Hilstrom’s compromise “good gun bill” during the past session, the MinnPost has supported the orthodox anti-gun line to a fault.

Why is that?

It might be this:

I’m not sure, but a $50,000 grant from the rabidly anti-gun Joyce Foundation might have something to do with it.

No, correlation doesn’t equal causation. The fact that the MinnPost threw all sense of objectivity and journalistic detachment to the wind this past session on the gun issue and getting a nice-sized grant from a group that has bankrolled anti-gun groups around the country for over a decade could be purely a coincidence.  And it’s not like opposing the Second Amendment doesn’t come along with the left-of-center beliefs most of the staff hold. 

But when I read Doug Grow’s “coverage” of a post-session wrapup party for “Protect Minnesota“, the piece had the faint whiff of “PR” to it.

Given the outcome of the legislative session, the tone of Tuesday night’s meeting sponsored by Protect Minnesota was surprising.

Heather Martens, who leads the organization that long has been a force for advocating for stricter gun-control laws, urged the 23 people who attended the North Minneapolis meeting to think about the “successes” that came out of the session.

On first blush, that may seem like a hard thing to do, given that gun-rights organizations got all they wanted: No universal background checks, no limits on magazine capacities, no assault rifle bans.

It’s simple. There were no successes. Heather Martens – who has never, not once, uttered or written an original, non-numeric statement about firearm policy that wasn’t a lie – and her “group” were, er, shot down at every turn.

But “Protect Minnesota” doesn’t exist to convince people. It exists to manipulate the media – and, via them, the people.

 

Confederates! With Guns! Defending Slavery!  

Which may be what led to this next statement by Grow (with emphasis added):

And by the end of session, cowed legislators refused to even have a floor vote on anything resembling major gun-law change.

That’s just wrong.

The legislators weren’t so much “cowed” as organizing behind Deb Hilstrom’s Good Gun Bill (Ortmann’s in the Senate). Half of the House, comprising reps on both sides of the aisle, co-authored her compromise bill.  And when the backroom “negotiations” between the metro DFLers (who were carrying Heather Martens’ water to the point that one, Rep. Alice Hausman, let Heather Martens do her job for her) broke down, the bills were scuppered from the floor by a bipartisan coalition of Republicans and responsible outstate DFLers.

But that doesn’t fit the “big bad NRA!” narrative, does it?

History Is Written By Those With The Printing Presses

Grow carries on his stenography for Martens (emphasis added):

Martens told the group there was victory in the bipartisan support for $1 million to fund a law that requires the state to file data with the feds on those who should be prohibited from owning firearms.

The law requiring the state to file the data was passed in 2009 but was never funded, essentially making it useless.

Will Grow mention that it was a DFL legislature that scuppered that funding? The metrocrat Democrats didn’t want a bipartisan-backed background check to give the impression that it worked better than actual harassment of the law-abiding citizen.

“But Other Than That, Mrs. Lincoln…”

Grow feels obliged to list the outcome of the tiny group’s self-therapy session:

The successes:

Phone-banking (more than 1,000 calls to legislators sitting on the fence).

Legislators reported that constituent calls ran at least 50:1 against the DFL’s bills.

Media coverage was complete.

Yeah, the suspense was killing us on that one.

That’s what Heather Martens does – get friendly media coverage. She’s the Larry Jacobs of the gun issue – the one, single, sole person that every Twin Cities “journalist” calls for the left’s take on guns in Minnesota.

We’ll come back to that.

“Wait – That Was Your “Intellectual” Argument?”

One of the other “Successes”, according to Grow:

Finding a “visceral” message, one that appeals to the emotions as well as the intellect.

I got a laugh there.

Emotion is the only message Heather Martens’ group has! Talk with any of her group’s “members”, I dare you. You’ll get a broadside of anger and grief over Sandy Hook (but never, ever Chicago, or any other crime scene where the kids don’t look like the children of NPR executives) – and not even the faintest whiff of an “intellectual” message.

Although, as always, I do invite Heather Martens on the NARN to make that “intellectual” case. I’ve been asking for nine years, now.

You Don’t Do Business Against The Family

As Martens via Grow noted above, one of their “successes” was “complete” media coverage.

Now, there’s no surprise there. Most of the media editors and producers in the Twin Cities support gun control. Other reporters, I suspect, haven’t the depth of knowledge on the issue to know that pretty much everything Heather Martens has ever said on the issue is a lie.

But Doug Grow’s piece – really, his entire history covering Martens for the MinnPost – has been at a level of obsequious fawning that outstrips the rest of the media.

Why?

Well, I’ve got a theory.  And remember – it’s just a theory.  I’ve got nothing but circumstantial evidence to back it up. 

But do you remember way up above, where we pointed out that the MInnPost gets big bucks from the anti-gun Joyce Foundation?

Guess who else is bankrolled – to the tune of “most all of its budget” – by Joyce?

This might not be “conflict of interest” for Grow, in any actionable sense of the term. But I’d think that identifying the fact that both Doug Grow’s and Rep. Martens’ jobs are paid for, in whole or part, by a non-profit supported by liberal plutocrats that is the single major funder of anti-gun organizations might have been worth a mention. 

Again, correlation doesn’t equal causation.

But given the complete abandonment of any sense of balance or concern for fact on the part of the MinnPost in covering the Second Amendment issue – not to mention Grow’s obsequious. fawning, toenail-painting coverage of Martens and her “group” this session -  ”causation” doesn’t seem like a big stretch.

Dialogue

Who coulda seen this coming?

Representative Michael Paymar got an op-ed placed in the PiPress last week.  He used the space to complain about the way the session turned out for his gun control agenda.

Now, as I noted a few weeks back, Paymar has settled into the legacy of Wes Skogland – who I once nicknamed “Lying Sack of Garbage” for his facility and fluency at lying about guns, gun laws, and the law-abiding gun owner.

And this op-ed is no exception.

The legislative session concluded, sadly, with very little progress on preventing gun violence.

Well, no.

The murder rate in Minnesota – with and without guns – has plunged over the past 20 years, and especially the past ten, as Minnesota’s gun laws “liberalized”.  Minnesota is a much safer place today than it was in 1993.

That’s progress!

But that’s not the kind of progress Skoglund…um, Paymar – wants.

So what did Paymar want?  And what was the purpose of this Op Ed?

It’s simple:  to deceive the people – especially the low-information voters the DFL depends on.

The Magic Disappearing Months:   His first complaint is that his raft of bills just didn’t get enough time:

I’m disappointed that legislators didn’t have an opportunity to vote, or even debate, sensible gun control measures like background checks.

Well, yes.  They did.

 

The DFL-controlled legislature spent endless weeks debating gun control bills in committee.  They started in late January, and ran into April.  The DFL launched nearly a dozen gun bills – everything from background checks to re-jiggering the concealed carry law to confiscating guns with magazines larger than seven rounds.  There were many hearings.

Paymar just didn’t like what he heard.  Minnesotans turned out in force against his agenda.

It was a show of resolution even the DFL couldn’t ignore.

The real debate – the one in Minnesota’s homes, streets, businesses, VFWs – has been held, and resolved.  The DFL lost.

“Look At My Bloody Shirt!”:  Paymar next tries to turn to numbers – and, again, lies about ‘em:

It is not surprising the public is cynical about politicians and political parties. Every year, 12,000 people die from firearm homicides and 18,000 more from firearm suicides, and yet, our elected officials continue to abdicate their responsibilities.

Again – according to what?

The firearm murder rate, nationwide and in Minnesota, is a fraction of what it was when Michael Paymar’s talking points were written in the eighties.

Paymar: 

After the unimaginable massacre of 20 children at Sandy Hook and the shootings at Accent Signage in Minneapolis, a Sikh temple in Wisconsin, a movie theatre in Aurora Colorado, a political gathering in Arizona, a college campus in Virginia, a high school in Colorado, and the random shooting in Oakdale — not to mention the thousands of gun deaths in our cities — I thought we had reached a tipping point.

And we did reach that tipping point.  It was over a decade ago, when a majority of  Americans realized that none of the DFL’s gun bills would have prevented Sandy Hook, Accent, or any of the other shootings that the DFL waved about like bloody shirts in the hearing rooms.  None of them would have saved a single life in any of those atrocities.

And most Americans – not the low-information NPR-listening hamsters that vote for Paymar, but the real ones – know this.

And that was the tipping point.

Follow The Money:   Paymar notes that:

The hearings were informative, demonstrating that preventing mass shootings and reducing gun violence in our communities are both challenging and complex... We can’t ignore the conditions that give rise to gang activity and violent crime. We can’t ignore the glorification of violence as a means to settle conflicts.

Although ignore them we did.  Why?  It’d be easy to say “because the key stakeholders in creating each of those problems – our disastrous urban education system, an urban culture that glorifies violence, and a Hollywood that rakes in billions from glorifying mayhem, are respectively key Democrat power blocs, constituencies and donors”.

But just because it’s easy, is it necessarily wrong?

Details, Details:  Paymar moves on to his final attempt at legislation:

I authored the Gun Violence Prevention Act. This legislation would have given law enforcement the ability to deny a permit to purchase handguns or semi-automatic military-style assault weapons if the applicant was determined to be a danger to self or others. The bill would have tightened up laws on “straw purchases” of firearms that often end up in the commission of crimes. The centerpiece of the bill was universal background checks — extending checks to gun-shows, Internet sales and private sales. Sales to relatives and hunting rifles were excluded.

The bill also removed due process by denying appeals to those wrongly denied, by giving law enforcement sweeping power to act like shrinks, and adding a level of bureaucracy to handing down firearms to ones next of kin and, above all, required all firearms transfers to go through federally licensed dealers – requiring a payment of a fee to both the police and the dealer, a system that’ll add a minimum of $50 to the price of every firearm, and likely more, as a substantially similar law did in California.

While criminals found other black-market means of getting firearms, avoiding the background check system completely – because criminals don’t work within laws, much less obey them - the poor were even further priced out of the market.

Reductio Ad Paymar  Paymar continues:

The NRA and its affiliate organizations claim that background checks are an infringement on Second Amendment rights. They claim that background checks won’t prevent crime or mass shootings — that only law-abiding citizens will be inconvenienced. If that’s the case, then perhaps we shouldn’t require background checks on any purchase of a firearm…But in 1999, after the mass shooting at Columbine High School, the NRA’s leader, Wayne La Pierre, told Congress, “It’s reasonable to provide mandatory instant background checks for every sale at every gun show. No loopholes for anyone.” What has changed?

Here’s what’s changed; the Democrats.

Twenty years ago, it was possible for gun rights supporters to find common cause with the likes of, for crying out loud, Paul Freaking Wellstone.  In the nineties, the NICS system was set up via the bipartisan efforts of people who actually wanted to deal with crime, rather than disarm society.  The NICS system – supported by the NRA as well as liberals – actually made an impact in crime.

The Democrats – especially Paymar and the DFL, wasted months of legislative time this session pursuing bills that would never have had any effect on crime.

“All My Friends Say I’m Right!”:    Paymar reels off an unsurprising list of supporters:

The Supreme Court has been clear: Reasonable gun restrictions do not infringe on the Second Amendment. Polls show that 70 percent to 80 percent of Minnesotans support background checks — Democrats, Republicans, metro and rural. The Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association, Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association, neighborhood groups ravaged by gun violence and Gov. Dayton all support background checks.

The poll was an absurd push poll; of course people support background checks – in the abstract.  I support background checks, in the abstract.

The devil is in the details.  The bill Paymar offered was rife with opportunities for abuse, and one that even the dumbest SEIU member could see would have no meaningful effect on crime.

“Why Don’t All You Child-Killing Scumbags Want To Have A Meaningful Dialogue With Me?”:    Paymar closes with a call to dialogue:

Also, upon reflection, I wonder if there is room for dialogue and common ground between both sides on this volatile issue. I was vilified by some for my advocacy for gun control. But, when I had chance to talk to gun-rights folks face to face and with my legislative colleagues (especially from rural districts), we found areas of commonality. We all care about our children’s wellbeing. We all want to keep firearms out of the hands out of people who shouldn’t possess them. We all want our communities to be safe places. Is it possible to end the demonization of each other? Is it possible to listen to different perspectives? We can and must find solutions to prevent gun violence.

As one of the people who vilified Michael Paymar with remorseless accuracy, I’ll answer that.

You want dialogue, Representative Paymar?  Excellent.  I’m more than up for it.  Let’s talk. Perhaps we’ll both learn something.

Your interest in “dialogue” might seem more sincere might seem more authentic if you hadn’t just supported Representative Alice Hausman’s HF241, which called for the confiscation of firearms with magazines of more than seven rounds.  Not background checks; confiscation.

It might seem a little more sincere if your own efforts at “Dialogue” reached out to people other than fellow legislators and people inside the clubby little anti-gun clique that you surround yourself with:

Jane Kay, Heather Martens and Rep. Paymar after a gun bill hearing.

That’s Heather Martensleader and (it’s reasonable to suspect) sole member of “Protect Minnesota”, a woman who’s yet to make a single true, non-numeric statement about firearms.  Ever.

And next to her, Jane Kay, who tweeted during a hearing:

You want “dialogue?” Talk with the real people involved in this issue. Not satirical cartoons like Heather Martens. Not hate-choked extremists like Kay. The real people.

Until you do, all your talk of “dialogue” is just vapor.

In fact, I’ll meet you halfway.  Please come on the Northern Alliance Radio Network one of these next Saturdays.  It’ll be a real dialogue – complete with an articulate opponent.

Compare And Contrast

Did your salary rise 8% last year?

Why, no – I’ll bet it held even if you were lucky and dropped if you weren’t.

Did the state or national economygrow 8%?

You’re joking, right?

Minnesota is spending, and taxing, 8% more next year than last.

Are the roads going to be 8% better?

Are your kids going to learn 8% more?

Will the Achievement Gap dip 8%?  (Given that the MNDFL aboachieve graduation testing, probably the opposite).

Will the unions that bought and paid for this Legislature hire 8% more dues-payinggovernment workers?

Now you’re getting warm.

BONUS QUESTION to everyone who sat out that last election, or voted third-party, because of some GOP transgression or another; was it worth it?

“Let ‘em Cheer. They Own The Place”

Not sure what MNGOP representative said that [UPDATE: it was Pat Garofalo] but it may be the iconic statement about this past session. It was a five month union pork orgy.

Here’s the moment when the vote passed on Monday, 68-66, after the DFL waited on the vote until the crowd of daycare providers who’d stood vigil all weekend had to go back to work, and the galleries were packed with union droogs:

Of course, the rule is you gotta keep quiet in the gallery. Respect the people’s institution and all that.

If you or I or the Gun owners Civil Rights Alliance or Ducks Unlimited had done that, they’d have been ejected.

But the jabbering baboons in purple shirts have the run of the place.  And they’ll be doing their cheering in your wallet soon.

Shakedown

SCENE: MITCH Berg is walking away from the Capitol building.  He runs into Avery LIBRELLE, who is dressed in a green AFSCME tshirt.

LIBRELLE:  Well, that was a great session!

BERG: The DFL’s union benefactors made out like bandits.

LIBRELLE:  We sure did!

BERG: And with a two-chamber majority, you spent months working on gun grabs that’ll never affect crime, a bullying bill that’ll stop no bullying, a gay marriage bill that is a huge priority for a small part of maybe 2% of the population, and what? Half a day on a budget?

LIBRELLE: You’re just mad because you lost.  

BERG: No, I’m mad because you’re screwing up the state.  Three more yearsof  this and Minnesota will be a cold California.  

LIBRELLE: Sweet!

BERG: And the big daddy of them all – the Daycare Union Jamdown.  

LIBRELLE: What “jamdown?”  All we’re asking for is a chance to vote to organize.  It’s democracy!   Don’t you conservatives like democracy?

BERG:    Don’t get cute.  This isn’t democracy – its democracy Mark Ritchie-style. The unions are packing the vote with unlicensed providers that the union knows will vote for them, many of whom haven’t worked in daycare or personal care in years. Look – providers could already join unions.  Out of 11,000 licensed providers, less than 100 ever did.  86% of licensed providers oppose the union.  

LIBRELLE: That’s a lot of numbers.  My head is spinning.  

BERG: Now – do you think the DFL, AFSCME and the SEIU wold have wasted a year or two of organizing, and five months of legislative arm-twisting, with several million a year in union dues and DFL money at stake, if they didn’t know they had enought ringers to jam the vote down?  Anyone who answers “no” probably also thinks Minnesota has the country’s best election system. 

LIBRELLE: But why shouldn’t daycare workers and PCAs have the right to organize for better pay and working conditions?

BERG: Organize against whom?   To get better pay from whom? 

LIBRELLE: Management!  The bosses!

BERG: They’re their own bosses.  They manage their own businesses!   Many of them went into the field because they wanted to be their own boss, be their own management. And they get paid from their clients – parents and patients. 

LIBRELLE:  Wait. Back up.  What’s this “their own boss” bit?

BERG: They’re independent businesspeople.  

LIBRELLE: (stares blankly)

BERG: They run their own business.  

LIBRELLE: (Stares; lips move, but no sound comes out)

BERG: They’re their own bosses.  They work for themselves.  

LIBRELLE:  But…everyone has a boss.  

BERG: They have clients. Parents.   Patients.  Te people who pay them. 

LIBRELLE: But…no.  Everyone has a boss!

BERG: Ummm…

LIBRELLE: EVERYONE HAS A BOSS!

BERG: Medic!   I think I broke Avery…

The Mulligan Session, Part II

The same DFL employees who gave us “E-Pulltabs” as a means of supplying “the state’s share” of an extorted payoff to an out-of-state billionaire for his real-estate upgrade (which fell 95% short of predictions, as predicted by certain right-wing bloggers) are going to try to take a mulligan and get it right on the second try, says this piece from the MinnPost’s James Nord:

The governor’s proposal would increase the cigarette tax from $1.23 per pack to $2.52 per pack – a larger jump than the 94-cent target he’d earlier proposed — and would require retailers and wholesalers to make a one-time payment on existing inventory that would funnel $24.5 million into the stadium reserve account, solving the shortfall there.

Where have we seen this before?

Oh, yeah – cigarette taxes never, ever raise the money they’re supposed to.  They rarely get 2/3 of the way to their goals.  Ever.

And a “one-time tax on existing inventory?”  Look for a fire sale on smokes the week before the tax goes into effect, and for chain convenience stores to shuffle inventory out of state pronto.

Then, if electronic pulltabs or linked bingo games fail to produce the revenue necessary to fund the state’s appropriation bonds for the stadium ["if" - heh.  Ed], the commissioner of Minnesota Management and Budget would have the authority to direct revenue from a closed corporate income tax loophole toward the stadium.

Frans said that closing the “tax avoidance loophole” would prohibit the current legal practice of some Minnesota companies that avoid paying full corporate income taxes on sales they make by shielding themselves through a subsidiary in a different state. He said more than 20 states have similar regulations in effect.

Dear Mr. Nord:  Not that I’m going to tell you how to do your job, but did you happen to ask Mr. Frans what states those were?  And how they’re doing in terms of business climate?  How well “closing” that particular “loophole” worked?

Remember – these are the same people who said “E-Pulltabs” would…y’know…work.

That measure is projected to bring in $26 million in the first year and roughly $20 million annually after that, although those totals could change as the conference committee works out the specifics of their compromise.

Frans said with the new contingency plan, which would also be backed up by current taxes on suites and memorabilia if for some reason it doesn’t perform, officials are ready to close the book on the shaky stadium funding issue.

“We believe it’s reliable, it’s consistent,” he said.

The Messinger Dayton Administration ”believed” a lot of things that didn’t turn out to be true.

If only we had an institution, with printing presses and transmitters and websites, staffed by people who see themselves as part of a truth-seeking monastic order, whose job it was to tell the public about these things.

The Way The Racket Works

Joe Doakes notes the MNGOP’s big problem.  I’ll add emphasis:

The DFL Governor and DFL Legislators have cut a deal to give more money to children and unions and have it all done by Tuesday. If only those pesky Republicans would agree.

Which they won’t of course, since this is the same pie-in-the-sky nonsense the DFL has been spouting all along, when not devoting the session to social issues such as gun control, gay marriage and bullying in schools.

And when Republicans don’t blindly sign on to the DFL program, why then the shut-down and special session and laying-off-of-cops will all be Republicans fault. Because Democrats had it all worked out, you see, and the Republicans ruined it.

We need better PR people, so WE can get ahead of the news cycle, for once.

Joe Doakes

I wonder if the MNGOP and the caucuses will ever figure that out.  The way they’re doing it just isn’t working.

Failure To Launch

Senator Dave Osmek (R, SD33) emailed (with emphasis added):

You will note some GOP opposition to[this past week's] Latz gun bill. While I asked some pointed questions in debate of the bill, I came to the same conclusion as many GOP senators: Even though it’s a bill we can support, we do not feel any need for a gun bill this year, particularly in light of the fact that we do NOT have even ONE omnibus budget bill to keep the State running. We need priorities, not distractions.

The bill didn’t pass.   And we still have no actual budget.

Just a bunch of crib notes the DFL is claiming are close enough for government work.

Accept No Substitutes

Gun rights people, listen up and pass the word.

There’s an email going around from a “gun rights” group from out of state, soliciting donations and stirring the pot against legislators, including several who were invaluable in the session’s real big news - no gun control bills passed the legislature this session.

Here are some excerpts from the email:

After House Speaker Paul Thissen (DFL – Minneapolis) declared that there would be no gun bill a couple weeks ago, suddenly one anti-gun bill was rushed through the Senate Finance Committee…this anti-gun bill passed the State Senate with the blessing of key Senate REPUBLICANS.

It’s SF-235 by anti-gun State Senator Ron Latz (DFL – St. Louis Park)…some supposedly “pro-gun” Minnesota lawmakers, including State Senator Julianne Ortman (R – Chanhassen) have already called for much more draconian anti-gun laws.

Ortman, herself was even an original co-author of this DFL led bill until mid-February…Now, we’re hearing cries for “fixing” this bill in Conference Committee. That’s code for tacking on as much gun control as they can get away with in the waning days of session.

And thanks to a few compromise-loving Senate Republicans, they have every reason to believe they can do it…worse yet, Ortman, along with other committed “moderates” like Sen. Julie Rosen (R – Fairmont) led A STAMPEDE of RINOS in the Senate who voted for this anti-gun bill yesterday…if the gun-grabbers have already corrupted even supposedly “pro-gun” Republican Senators into PROPOSING and VOTING for this nonsense, mark my words, virtually no Minnesota House member’s vote is off the table.

For Freedom,

Dudley Brown

Executive Vice President

National Association of Gun Rights

If you’ve never heard of the NAGR – join the club.  I’m not aware that they have any actual membership, had anyone at the Capitol, or mobilized any of the avalanche of Real Americans’ phone calls that stalled the orcs’ gun-grabs this session.

And it’s for sure that “Dudley Brown” hasn’t a clue what actually happened; the attacks on Representative Hilstrom and Senator Ortman alone show you they don’t know what they’re talking about.

The Gun Owners Civil Rights Alliance – who actually did put boots in the Capitol, organize cataracts of public feedback, and negotiated with real legislators for real policy improvements – sent out this email in response, listed below in its entirety:

There is an inflammatory email being sent to Minnesotans by an out-of-state individual who has never actually accomplished anything for Minnesota gun rights (or those of any other state that we can see).

The real purpose of this email is the same as all the rest of the emails this individual sends: to solicit donations.

GOCRA and its friends in both the House and the Senate, including long-time gun rights champions Sen. Warren Limmer and Rep. Tony Cornish, as well as gun rights bill sponsors Sen. Julianne Ortman and Rep. Debra Hilstrom, spent hours in good faith negotiations with SF235′s author, Sen. Ron Latz.

The result was a delete-all amendment that completely replaced the original bill, substituting a very different bill that was deserving of GOCRA support.

SF235 has no gun control. It does not send “mental health” data or gun owner fingerprints to the Feds. To say that it does, one must be dangerously ignorant, or a liar.

GOCRA, the group that brought Shall-Issue carry to Minnesota, has been protecting and extending gun rights in Minnesota for a quarter century.

We were at the Capitol for the whole session, and our lawyers (with a combined 70+ years of proven gun rights advocacy in MInnesota) carefully scrutinized every word of this legislation, as well as the more than a dozen bills we sent to defeat this session.

These Second Amendment supporters — DFLers Hilstrom and Saxhaug, as well as Republicans Ortman, Limmer, and Cornish — deserve your support. They’ve earned it with their actions.

Who you gonna believe?  The real thing, or a donation-sucking carpetbagger?

A Tale Of Two Bills

The MNDFL, as part of their languid dawdling in social issues this past session, introduced two deeply controversial sets of bills.

One was the raft of gun grab legislation that came out at the top of the session – everything from magazine restrictions and confiscations to background checks.  As we chronicled in this space, the bills spawned an epic turnout of opponents, and the re-mobilization of the Gun Owners Civil Rights Alliance.  Notwithstanding this, and overwhelming disapproval in public feedback, the DFL kept on pressing to try to squeedge one form of stupid, crime-non-affecting gun grab or another through the legislature, until the effort finally petered out (with a bill that expanded the state’s data reporting, which the NRA and GOCRA favored all along, and which may actually have a useful effect on crime, and which the local leftymedia is treating as a non-event, since they wanted confiscations, dammit).

Another?  The daycare/Personal Care Assistant (PCA) union jamdown.  Even though opposition among the public and especially among the subjects of the forced unionization opposed the bill by cataclysmic margins, the DFL jammed the bills through, and the jamdown looks likely to become law – raising daycare costs and crimping availability in a market that’s already among the tightest and most expensive in the country.

Both of the bills were deeply stupid.  Both encountered massive public resistance.

One ended in a humiliating defeat for the Metro DFL.  The other was an embarassment, but looks likely, barring a miracle, to become law.

What’s the difference?

No major DFL donors are going to be getting millions and millions of dollars from gun grabs.

Docked

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Reasons Why the Legislature Does Not Deserve a Raise, Continued:

Wasting time on a school bullying bill when we can’t even figure out how to fund the schools at all.

Joe Doakes

Teenage slackers called and left a message to the DFL; stop being so dissipated and unfocused.

This Is What Democracy Looks Like

The Gun Owners Civil Rights Alliance sent out a press release yesterday:

Senator Ron Latz (DFL-St. Louis Park) announced last night that he intended to resurrect a gun bill this morning, after the leadership had announced that there would be no gun bills heard this year..

We were able to mobilize a quick reaction from our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/gocra), and we worked this morning with Latz and other legislators to ensure that only good language got through the House finance committee.

We are at the Capitol this afternoon, keeping an eye on things and making sure nothing bad gets added in conference committee.

I’m going to interrupt here.

Know how all those idiot liberals say “You gunneez don’t want ANNY gun laws?”   Of course, you know it’s BS; we support laws that punish criminals, or prevent them from getting guns.  I’m at a loss to think of a single “gun law” anywhere in the country that works (defined as “reduces violent crime”) that wasn’t supported the the Second Amendment movement.

No exception here:

 The streamlined bill contains some genuinely positive improvements to the NICS system, which should help ensure that prohibited people are actually entered into the national system — and removed when their prohibitions are over.

The fact that the Sen. Latz and the committee voted only for a bill that met with GOCRA approval is a testament to the influence that YOU have at the legislature. Your voices, emails, calls (and maroon shirts!) reminded our civil servants who they work for!

I want to give this extreme emphasis:

In a session where the DFL has complete control, and the Metro DFL had the power to steamroll anything they want if people just stayed asleep, the Gun Owners Civil Rights Alliance was among very few groups to stop the orcs cold.

As a result, Minnesota’s gun laws improved in spite of the efforts of the Metro DFL, the astroturf “gun safety” lobby, and Rep. Heather Martens.  (Presuming, of course, the Latz bill is passed and signed).  All of the “gun safety” lobby’s stupid, fascist gun-grab noodling was defeated.  Humiliated.

This is what grassroots politics is all about; regular schnooks beating back the plutocrats, the Kenwood condo pinks, the Washington special interests.

It was done with a staggering amount of work, and a whole lot of commitment by a whole lot of people.  And they need more.  If you can, join the Gun Owners Civil Rights Alliance.

Because while the earth opened up to swallow the orcs in Lord of the Rings, here we’ve gotta beat them the old fashioned way.

Rear Guard Action

The GOP minority in the Senate managed to filibuster the daycare union jamdown last night – as in “up until 7AM”.

It wasn’t a “filibuster”, per se – the GOP added over 80 amendments to the jamdown, and debated them vigorously.  As of sixish AM, they’d gotten through a couple dozen, with dozens to go, and Tom Bakk tabled the  bill.  There are other things to get done.

Like maybe a budget.

The jamdown may come back.  But so will the amendments.

Cross your fingers, and stay tuned.  The good guys may pull this one off.

Strib: “2+2=38 Billion, Winston!”

The Star Tribune Editorial board, in a piece that reads like Lori Sturdevant, holds forth on the DFL budget proposal, such as it is - and illustrates the Strib’s deep institutional hypocrisy along the way.

The editorial is stupid, hypocritical, and awash in institutional self-interest disguised – like all of Sturdevant’s work – as populist dooo-goodism:

No sales tax on clothing or haircuts. No alcohol tax hike. No income tax increase for 98 percent of filers. On Sunday, after four months of launching a flotilla of tax ideas, the Legislature’s DFL majorities and Gov. Mark Dayton unveiled a final 2014-15 state budget outline that, on the revenue side of the ledger, is more notable for its omissions than its contents.

Well, no.  It’s notable for about two billion of its contents.  Nowhere in the Strib’s editorial does the number “$38,000,000,000″ occur.

The Strib doesn’t want to give its few readers who actually follow numbers a nasty sticker shock.

There’s plenty to like on the spending side of their balance sheet. The DFL plan pumps an additional $725 million into public education from preschool through graduate school. That’s enough to reverse the deep higher-education cuts of the past two years; ease the squeeze that has some of the state’s public schools operating only four days a week; pay for all-day kindergarten, and offer preschool scholarships to low-income families.

Read:  It’s a big kickback to Education Minnesota; they paid good money for that Governor and Legislature, it’s time for them to get their piece of the action.  

The plan also includes measures to close a nagging $627 million budget gap, the residue not only of the Great Recession but also of a dozen years of legislative failure to balance the budget in a lasting way.

Further proof that  Lori Sturdevant wrote this.  Remember 2010?

Six Billion Dollar Deficit?  

The Strib editorial board is rewriting history for the benefit of the smug and the stupid.

But remember – they have their own self-interest at heart:

But the plan’s tax features are a disappointment. They raise revenue in a way that puts Minnesota’s economic competitiveness at risk.

Particularly worrisome is a new marginal tax bracket that will apply to the state’s top 2 percent of incomes. The rate attached to that bracket remains to be set by a House-Senate conference committee, but it is almost certain to be among the nation’s highest, especially after an anticipated temporary surcharge for top earners “blinks on” to get state aid payments to schools back to their normal schedule…While that decision is true to Dayton’s 2010 campaign promises, it comes at an economic price. Making Minnesota an income tax outlier among the states won’t be helpful in attracting and sustaining private-sector investment.

Especially the next round of investors the Strib will need to stave off bankruptcy.

Right?

It gets worse:

In addition, like a bad penny, a bad tax policy idea that disappeared two months ago turned up again Sunday. Applying the state sales tax to some currently untaxed business-to-business purchases will be part of the plan, Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk announced. He was not specific about which items or services would become taxable, nor about how the revenue thus raised would be used, other than for “significant economic development.”

Oh, well, then.  Good enough for me!

The Strib is worried that taxing business to business purchases – which could include advertising, as well as pretty much anything in the supply chain – is going to hit their bottom line.  It’s a legitimate worry; businesses of all size, from the Strib all the way down to lil’ ol’ me, are going to see some arbitrary percentage come out of our revenues; we can pass it along and hope that our goods and services continue to get purchased, or we can eat a percentage – 5.5%?  6%? – lopped out of our revenues and try to ride it out.

Or move.

Regardless of how the money would be used, taxing business inputs is not sound policy. It layers hidden taxes into the cost of goods and services and takes a toll on wages and job creation in the affected industries. Those costs will affect low- and middle-class Minnesotans as surely as a clothing sales tax would. But the spurned clothing tax would have had the virtue of transparency, and could have been offset for low-income earners by a refundable tax credit, as the Senate tax bill provided.

Waaaah.

In for a bad penny, in for a poo-streaked pound, Strib.  This is the government that you wanted.  You did whatever it took to get this government; you served as an adjunct PR firm for the DFL, you covered up their transgressions, you whinged about “ALEC” while laughing over cocktails with “Alliance for a Better Minnesota”, you did whatever it took to get them into power, and you do your best to cover up the train wreck that is Mark Dayton.

To be sure, businesses will benefit from some of the property tax relief measures that total a hefty $400 million over two years in the DFL plan. But low- and middle-income homeowners and renters ought to be favored as the tax conference committee allocates that sizable sum.

This is Minnesota’s source of information.  Good lord.

Where does the Strib think that “relief” comes from?

It’s money that’s redistributed from the parts of the state whose votes the DFL doesn’t need, to the parts whose votes they need to protect.

Who do you suppose that is, Strib?

Republicans have offered no alternative budget plan this session, evidently preferring to stand aside and criticize DFL decisions.

Further proof it’s Sturdevant.

The DFL offered no alternative budget in 2011.  The Strib editorial board had not a word to say about it.

They should know that if they scuttle a bonding bill, they will deserve to be seen by this session’s critics as part of the problem.

And the Strib will do its’ level best to make sure they do.

I can not wait for the Strib to go bankrupt again.

Problem Solved

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Perhaps guided by the Obama Administration’s experience with the Sequester, it seems Minnesota Democrats don’t want to face another shut-down so they’re inserted a clever provision in their budget proposal to dodge it.

“Shutdown provisions: No one wants to raise the specter of government shutdowns in the current Legislature, so DFL lawmakers took a quieter route to assure government continues to work even if lawmakers don’t approve a budget in time. Tucked into the House omnibus state government and veterans bill, which passed off the floor on the first Saturday session of the year, DFL lawmakers included a proposal that would continue all budget appropriations for one year even if lawmakers fail to approve a budget by July 1. Just two years ago, parts of state government were shut down for more than three weeks when the governor and the Legislature couldn’t agree on a way to balance a more than $5 billion budget deficit.”

You know, maybe Republicans should take them up on it.  Fail to pass a budget, continue all spending at current levels.  Basically, it’s a freeze.  Just leave spending frozen for, say, 10 years or so, until the economy catches up.  No cuts, just no increases, a complete freeze at 2013 levels.

That would give Legislatures some time off, too, so they wouldn’t have to work so hard and wouldn’t need a raise. Hey, a win-win all around!

Joe Doakes

It’d give the GOP time to refocus on its actual message, too.

We Don’t Have Popularity Contests For Civil Rights!

As yesterday’s vote in the House showed, Minnesotans don’t tolerate putting civil rights through popularity contests.

The message was loud and clear – if you oppose civil liberty (even for something that’s not a civil liberty, but a private contract that society has over the years turned into an entitlement), you are a bigot, and will be called a bigot until you shut up and go away.

Excellent!

Now that all you newly-minted libertarian absolutists have won your battle, you’ll need something to occupy all that energy; you’ll need new targets for they keen-eyed intellectual nimbleness you’ve developed over the past 18 months of shouting over your opponents that they are bigots.

There is a small minority of Minnesotans who, operating from a racist, sexist, paternalistic, authoritarian notion of the social order, have been working to systematically working to deny Minnesotans of a vital civil right that is not only enshrined in the constitution but one that we were all born with an instinct to practice, one every bit as powerful as the instinct to procreate, and much stronger than the urge to mate – self-defense.

These bigots – whose intellectual lineage traces back to the slave-owners’ desire to neutralize his property – want to force you to deny how you’re born.

So I urge you to join my new group, “Minnesotans United For All Liberties”, and help drive bigotry from our state.

Will you join?

Or are you a bigot?

(Written with a nod to Dave Thul, whose wisecrack sent me off to write this…)

Keep Hacking At It Until Your Score Drops Below 100

The DFL’s mulligan on the Care Provider Union Jamdown bill worked this time.

This story is from Demko at the MinnPost:

The vote came just two days after the bill, sponsored by Sen. Sandy Pappas, DFL-St. Paul, stalled in the finance committee on an 11-11 vote. Two Senate DFLers — Terri Bonoff of Minnetonka, and Barb Goodwin of Columbia Heights — joined all Republicans in voting against the controversial measure, which could affect upwards of 20,000 workers.

On the second vote, Bonoff joined her fellow DFLers in voting in favor of sending it to the floor. Goodwin again voted against the proposal.

Bonoff’s explanation was an early-morning chuckle:

Bonoff made it clear that her vote was not an indication that she supports the unionization proposal. “Make no mistake, I’m not changing where I stand on this bill,” she said.

But Republicans argued that a vote to move the bill to the floor — even without any recommendation — was no different than voting in favor of it. “Don’t fool yourself,” said Sen. Michelle Fischbach, R- Paynesville. “This is just like voting yes.”

The DFL are in a jam, of course; if the unions don’t get thousands of new dues-paying members, stat, the DFL’s major non-Alida-Messinger, non-plutocrat funding stream dries up solid pretty quick here.

If it stalls anywhere else, look for DFL legislators to go on hunger strikes, and then start taking hostages.

I almost wrote “more hostages”, but that’d be a little dramatic.

Wouldn’t it?

Priorities

I got this yesterday from a source at the Capitol:

 “People are beginning to whisper the words:  Special session.  As of late yesterday afternoon, the final Finance bill (Transportation/Public Safety) was finally released, which included a 7.5 cent gas tax increase.  With not a single omnibus bill back from conference committee and [Transportation/Public Safety] still in the Tax committee (and you can’t take up any bill until 3 days of notification), there is no way we will have a complete budget prior to 5/15, at the earliest.

Also, wasn’t it Tom Bakk that said we won’t take that up until we have a budget?  

With not ONE omnibus bill to run the State government on the Governor’s desk, we don’t have a budget.”

Let that rattle around your noggin for a bit; the DFL that ran by telling the people (wrongly) that the MNGOP was focused on social issues has just spent nearly the entire session trying to unionize daycares, grab guns and legislate gay marriage – and stands a chance of needing a special session because the DFL Senate, House and Governor can’t agree with each other. 

This is what happens when you put the arrested adolescents in charge.

The DFL: More Mulligans Than In All Of Galway

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Heather Martens wants a do-over on gun control. Sandy Pappas wants a do-over on daycare unions. What, we just keep voting until the plebes get it right? Is that how this “democracy” thingy works? I never quite understood that.

Joe Doakes

Think of the DFL as diners at a four-star restaurant.

They paid good money for that coq au vin, or office; for what they paid, they’ll keep sending it back until everything’s perfect.

A Small Victory

The Daycare Union Jamdown bill – sponsored by “my” Senator, the foul-mouthed Soliah-supporting Sandy Pappas – hit an unexpected speed bump in the Senate Finance Committee yesterday; DFL Senators Terri Bonoff and Barb Goodwin broke with the caucus and voted against the jamdown:

The sponsor, Sen. Sandy Pappas, DFL-St. Paul, called the defeat a disappointing setback. But she said she hopes she can resurrect the bill yet this week and have the committee re-vote and move it out to the Senate floor, perhaps without a recommendation that it be passed.

But she mentioned the bill remains challenging to pass, because it represents a major change in the idea of what a union is. Goodwin said she believes there are not enough votes on the Senate floor to pass the bill this year.

It “remains challenging to pass” because most providers hate it, and have done a great job of telling parents what’s wrong with it; it’ll raise costs (daycare is already terribly expensive in Minnesota) without affecting quality of service, and will alter the meaning of “union”, pitting small businesspeople against their customers.  The only purpose it would serve, if passed, would be to provide dues and headlines (“membership is up!”) to the big state unions.

It’s still alive in the House, and Senator Pappas has vowed to find a way to bring it back for a re-vote in the Senate.  Here’s how you can help hold this bill’s head underwater until it stops bubbling.

Open Letter To Speaker Thissen

To:  Speaker of the House Thissen
From:  Mitch Berg, Uppity Peasant
Re:  Vote NOW!  For the Children!

Speaker Thissen,

You’re taking a lot of flak for pulling Rep. Paymar’s gun grab bill from the agenda.

Representative Paymar

You’re getting the flak from the usual crowd; astroturf checkbook advocacy groups whose executives are also their entire membership; “faith” groups of the type PJ O’Rourke once described as “having faith the same way some people have halitosis”, the smug preening “faith” of the church that has adopted government as a sort of Executive Assistant to God.

A group of anti-gun zealots.  They’re frowning because someone – I bet it was the second guy from the right, in the glasses – forgot to invite anyone that wasn’t a white, Volvo-diving, NPR-listening, alpaca-wearing pre-1970 Saint Olaf graduate.  Courtesy of the Joyce-Foundation-supported MinnPost.

And while I wouldn’t ordinarily dignify any of these people with considered ridicule – because in this case, they’re people using their invincible ignorance in service of a lie – I think they have a point.  I’ll take this quote from this story, from MinnPost (which is funded in part by a grant by the Joyce Foundation, an anti-gun zealot group):

The Minnesota Gun Violence Prevention Coalition, which encompasses the main people and organizations working for firearm regulation in Minnesota, staged a rally/press conference on Friday to demand Thissen allow the measure to come up for a vote.

 “It seems to me that Speaker Thissen is trying to protect the caucus,” said Sami Rahamim, whose father, Reuven Rahamim, was killed in the Accent Signage shooting last year.

Rahamim posed a tough question for Thissen and the rural Democrats who tanked the gun-control bill: Does the DFL House caucus need protecting, or “hardworking citizens like my father?”

I know – the Accent Signage shooting both takes attention away from the fact that violent crime (outside North Minneapolis) has been in free fall for 20 years.  And the anti-gunners are using Rahamim and the searing images of that horrible shooting to distract from the fact that nothing in any of the bills that the DFL has been pushing would have prevented the Accent shooting in any way whatsoever – that, indeed, the only thing that might have would have been a guy in the plant with a gun and the will to resist, whether a guard or just a regular schnook with a carry permit.

But never mind that, Speaker Thissen; the real point is coming up:

Advocates for more regulations stressed that polling shows the public supports such measures as universal background checks, which would regulate the private sale of firearms at gun shows and over the Internet, among other avenues.

That’s right, Speaker Thissen.  Ignore your lying eyes, which showed you Greater Minnesota hates your bill.  Ignore the polls that show support for your bills was an uninformed mile wide and an inch deep (gun control is a vital issue to 4% of the voters); never mind the historical fact that the last time the MNDFL crusaded against the law-abiding citizen’s right to keep and bear arms, you lost the House.

But no.  The people who carried the water

 “With the will of the majority behind us, we believed our state would pass a universal background check bill” this session, said Jane Kay, of Moms Demand Action [heh heh] for Gun Sense in America. “That has all been swept aside.”

Heather Martens [DFL Rep. HD 66A], executive director of Protect Minnesota, which lobbied lawmakers extensively on the issue, said Thissen should bring the measure up for a vote, even if it is doomed to fail.

“I think he has a responsibility to reconsider that decision,” she said.

And for once, notwithstanding the fact that she has not uttered one substantive word of truth in her public life, I agree with Representative Martens.

You need to bring this to a floor vote, Speaker Thissen.  And you need to do it immediately.    Because it’s the right thing to do.  Do it for the children.  You owe it to them.

And you need to bust some knuckles in your caucus to make sure they vote the party line too.   Get everyone in the DFL caucus to vote the Metrocrat conscience, and do it this week.  None of this “voting their constituency” BS;  make sure Joe Radinovich and Zac Dorhold and Steve Howe vote the most enthusiastic “yea” they can manage.

And smile for the cameras when you do.  Thanks.

That is all.

The Not-Serious Party

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

The Governor was savagely taunted for telling taxpayers their Legislators need a raise.  Could that have been:

No, Governor Dayton, the Legislators don’t need a pay raise.

Now go away, or we shall taunt you a second time!

Joe Doakes

It’s not just that it’s been a do-nothing legislature – although it has.  Seriously – there is serious talk that the Legislature, which is fully controlled by the DFL, will have to go into special session anyway.

No, it’s that everything they’ve done this session has been extreme, divisive and destructive.