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.

The Bigger NARN

Today, the Northern Alliance Radio Network – America’s first grass-roots talkradio show – brings you the best in Minnesota conservatism, as the Twin Cities media’s sole source of honesty!

  • I’ll be in from 1-3PM.   It’ll be a big show:  Hollee Saville will be talking about how you can help with the daycare unionization hearings (which are still going on).  Then, Dan Schwarz of Lift Bridge Brewing will talk about the beer tax.  Finally, Hugh Hewitt will join us to talk about our event on April 28!
  • Brad Carlson is  on “The Closer” from 1-3 tomorrow. Tune on in!

(All times Central)

So tune in to all four hours of the Northern Alliance Radio Network, the Twin Cities’ media’s sole guardians of honest news. You have so many options:

  • AM1280 in the Metro
  • Streaming at AM1280’s Website
  • Streaming on IHeartRadio
  • On Twitter (the Volume 2 show will use hashtag #narn2)
  • Via UStream video and chat
  • Send us an SMS text message – 651-243-0390
  • Good ol’ telephone – 651-289-4488
  • Podcasts are now available; for my show and for Brad’s
  • And make sure you fan us on our new Facebook page!

Join us!

Cue The Violins

Now that Speaker Thissen has made the eminently sensible move of getting his party out of an issue that is vital to 4% of the voters and deeply unpopular outside the 494/694 beltway – an issue that scuppered the DFL in 2002, indeed – Rep. Michael Paymar has the vapors:

Rep. Michael Paymar, a Democrat from St. Paul who authored the “Gun Violence Prevention Act,” said he was “very disappointed and very angry” that the proposal was no longer moving toward a vote on the House floor. “I think this is the kind of thing that really makes the public cynical about politicians and about the political process,” he said.

That’s right, Rep. Paymar.  You copied and pasted bills from other states, tried to ram them through after doing your damnedest to stifle public feedback, let a paid lobbyist introduce “Rep” Hausman’s bill, tried to jam your bill down on a wave of paid lies…

…in support of a bill that is considered absolutely vital by about 4% of the population, a bill that wouldn’t affect crime at all (which has been dropping faster as more people buy guns), with the aid of your buddies in the media that are perfectly happy to carry your lies without question:

Paymar painting the toenails of Jane Kay of “Moms Demand Action” (heh heh) and Representative Martens immediately after a hearing.

Why would anyone get cynical about that?

Try again next year, Mike.  We’ll be waiting for you.

Victory For Now

DFL Speaker of the House Thissen has pulled whatever was left of the Metrocrat gun grab agenda off the table.

Several Democrats, mostly in the metropolitan area, were pushing for increased background checks for gun purchases but that legislation faced opposition from gun rights groups and rural Democrats.

Thissen says he decided to shelve the bill because neither side was willing to budge.

“Both sides of the issue are still not willing to come to a reasonable middle ground so I don’t think there’s a bill that can pass the Minnesota House of Representatives this year.,” Thissen said.

Senate Majority Leader Bakk also pulled the remaining odds and ends out of the Senate agenda – and in so doing, perhaps unwittingly showed the problem the DFL has on this issue:

DFL Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk says the Senate won’t vote on a bill now that the House has decided not to act. He says the NRA and other gun rights groups were effective in their lobbying efforts.

“Public opinion would seem to support doing something on background checks,” Bakk said. “But I think when you measure the e-mail that many members receive, that public opinion didn’t weigh out in what their constituent contacts were. It was quite the contrary.”

So let’s get this straight; while official big-institutional polling showed “support” (in terms of numbers of people who said “yes” to “should we do more background checks”), in terms of actual feedback from the public it wasn’t even close?

Huh.

Chalk one up for the good guys.  The Gun Grab Agenda is dead in Saint Paul for this year. Kudos to GOCRA and, after years and years of sitting more or less on the sidelines on this debate in Minnesota, the NRA for resurrecting one of the great grassroots political organizations in the history of this state.

Take a break (to the extent Federal efforts will let you).  Rest up a little.  I have a hunch we’ll need everyone back on deck next January.

Living Wage

A bill in the Senate would pay your Senators more for the privilege of jacking up your taxes and grabbing your guns – but at least relieve them of the burden of having to tell you about it.

SF 1534, by Senator Sandy Pappas (what else, DFL – St. Paul) would make Legislative pay equal to a third of the governor’s salary…:

The Minnesota Senate on Tuesday is set to approve salary increases for legislators and the governor, who have had their pay frozen since 1999.

…and peg pay increases to the Governor’s salary, which…well, I’ll add emphasis below to explain that bit:

Under the plan crafted and approved by the nonpartisan Minnesota Compensation Council, the governor would get a 3 percent pay increase in 2015 and another in 2016. The governor’s salary would be reviewed yearly after that, with increases tied to the Consumer Price Index. Gubernatorial pay has not risen in Minnesota since 1998 and ranks 32nd among the 50 states.

…meaning that the Legislature would no longer have to go through the politically-fraught process of having to vote themselves pay raises; it’s simply rise along with the CPI.  No questions asked.  No debate needed.  No friction from the fractious peasants, whose own wages, let us remember, aren’t necessarily pegged to the CPI.

TANGENT:  I’d almost place a bet that some Minneapolis DFLer will now say “if we can afford to raise legislative pay, we can certainly afford to raise the minimum wage 33%!”

Snip

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails in re my piece yesterday in which Sally Jo Sorenson snarked that there was no way, no how, never ever, that a Gay Marriage bill would oppress people who still exercised belief in traditional marriage:

The proposed statute says there will be no problem, so that ends it, right? Not so fast. The Courts are a separate but equal branch of government. They can snip out bits of the statute, leaving the rest operational, ignoring what the Legislature promised.

For example:

145.412 CRIMINAL ACTS.

Subd. 2.Unconsciousness; lifesaving.

It shall be unlawful to perform an abortion upon a woman who is unconscious except if the woman has been rendered unconscious for the purpose of having an abortion or if the abortion is necessary to save the life of the woman.

[See Note.]

Subd. 3.Viability.

It shall be unlawful to perform an abortion when the fetus is potentially viable unless:

(1) the abortion is performed in a hospital;

(2) the attending physician certifies in writing that in the physician’s best medical judgment the abortion is necessary to preserve the life or health of the pregnant woman; and

(3) to the extent consistent with sound medical practice the abortion is performed under circumstances which will reasonably assure the live birth and survival of the fetus.

[See Note.]

NOTE: Subdivisions 2 and 3, clauses (2) and (3), were found unconstitutional in Hodgson v. Lawson, 542 F.2d 1350 (8th Cir. 1976).

The Legislature passed a law but the Court snipped out parts, leaving the rest.

Just as the Court could decide the mother’s right to be free from government interference in her reproductive freedom outweighed the unborn child’s right to life, the

Court could decide the gay couple’s right to equal protection of the laws outweighs the minister’s right to practice his own religion.

The Court may decide the portion of the proposed same-sex marriage statute that protects a minister’s right to refuse to marry gay people is really an attempt to authorize discrimination against gays, which is an unconstitutional violation of the gay couple’s right to equal protection of the laws. The insulating portion of the statute could be struck down by the Court, leaving gay marriage intact and the minister on the hook for violating the Human Rights Act. And with Liberal Governor Dayton appointing Liberal David Lillehaug to the Supreme Court, Senator Osmek is right to be concerned.

The point is this; thinking the way a law is written when it’s in the legislature protects one, in and of itself, is simply delusional.

Although it does provide good snarking material.

Not that the two are mutually exclusive.

The Little Person Who Cried “There Is No Wolf!”

SCENE:  Mitch BERG is running his snowblower down his sidewalk.  Avery LIBRELLE walks by, eating a granola bar.

LIBRELLE:  Why do you hate gay people?

BERG: (shuts off snow blower):  Huh?

LIBRELLE: (dribbling granola crumbs onto sidewalk) Why do you oppose gay marriage?  You’re a bigot!

BERG: Er, no.  As we’ve discussed over and over again, I favor civil unions on libertarian grounds.

LIBRELLE:  Hah.  Two people who love each other should be able to marry.

BERG: Right, but marriage isn’t about love.  Not entirely, anyway.  It’s pretty utilitarian, actually.  It’s about raising kids – and the notion of gay marriage devalues gender, which I think is a huge mistake, since gender is so hugely important in raising kids.  In our society, it’s also about taxes.  Personally, I think government should get out of the business of granting favors through the institution of marriage, but I think gay people should be able to sign contracts with each other.

LIBRELLE:  Pfft.  What are you afraid of?

BERG:  Er, yeah.  On the one hand, that question is an abusive strawman.  I’m not “afraid” of the notion of same sex marriage.  But I’m definitely worried about some of the potential consequences.

LIBRELLE:  (Spit-takes, blasting granola flakes all over the place) Huh?  What are you talking about?

BERG:  It is inevitable than once you legalize gay marriage, government will oppress any person, business or institution that disagrees with it.

LIBRELLE:  Hah!  People who support marriage equality are very sensitive to diversity of opinion, you paranoid teabagger!   And the First Amendment protects your observance of religion absolutely!

BERG:  Right, just like First Amendment absolutely protects my right to hold government accountable, or free association, or choice for my children, or the Second Amendment absolutely protects my right to keep and bear arms, the Fourth absolutely protects me from unreasonable searches and seizures, the Fifth absolutely grants me due process and the right to face my accuser in court, and the Tenth guarantees the enumeration of powers absolutely.

LIBRELLE:  What are you, a lawyer?  That’s just paranoid!

BERG:  So it’s your position that the full weight and power and budget of government isn’t going to descend upon anyone who doesn’t embrace gay marriage?

LIBRELLE:  Yep.  Paranoid paranoid paranoid.  Cray cray.

BERG:   Huh.  Good to know it’s just paranoia:

 Attorney General Bob Ferguson has filed a consumer protection lawsuit against a florist who refused to provide wedding flowers to a same-sex couple.

The complaint was filed in Benton County on Tuesday against Barronelle Stutzman, owner of Arlene’s Flowers and Gifts in Richland.

The lawsuit is in response to a March 1 incident where she refused service to longtime customer Robert Ingersoll. Stutzman did not return a call Tuesday night seeking comment. Ferguson had sent a letter on March 28 asking her to comply with the law, but said Stutzman’s attorneys responded Monday saying she would challenge any state action to enforce the law.

Washington state voters upheld a same-sex marriage law in November, and the lawtook effect in December. The state’s anti-discrimination laws were expanded in 2006 to include sexual orientation.

Ferguson seeks a permanent injunction requiring the store to comply with the state’s consumer protection laws and seeks at least $2,000 in fines.

LIBRELLE:  You’re a racist and you hate womyn!

BERG:  Right, I got that.  But the point is, the precendent is there; government squats on opponents of social policy!

LIBRELLE:  That’s Canada!

BERG:  Right.  But it’s the pattern all governments follow when they want to impose social policy.

LIBRELLE:  (throws granola wrapper on  BERG’s snow-covered lawn)  Why do you dance on the graves of the children of Newtown?

And SCENE

When Making Your Weekend Plans…

…don’t get far from a radio.

Or a computer, or a mobile device.  You get the idea.

Big Northern Alliance Radio Network broadcast tomorrow.  We’ll have Cam Winton on to talk about the Minneapolis mayor’s race, and Senator Sean Nienow will be with us to talk about his call for an investigation into the Vikings Stadium funding fiasco.

That’ 1-3PM tomorrow, on AM1280 The Patriot!

Separate But Freaquel

(SCENE:  MITCH is at the grocery store.  He meets Avery LIBRELLE, who is also out shopping)

LIBRELLE:  I’m so upset that the GOP in the Legislature has muddied the waters with their “Civil Union” proposal.

MITCH: Why’s that?

LIBRELLE:  Civil unions are nothing but separate but equal.

MITCH:  Yeah, that’s the cliché du jour for gay marriage supporters.  The idea that having an identical civil contract that confers exactly the same rights – in the eyes of the government, which is what we’re talking about here – is somehow like Plessy v. Ferguson Jim Crow-era absurdities is completely nuts.  From the perspective of government, it’s more like “Equal but Equal”.

LIBRELLE:  But the word “marriage” has a status to it that “civil unions” doesn’t.

MITCH:  And that remark shows what “gay marriage” proponents are really about.  It has little to do with “rights”, and lots to do, I suspect, with forcing society into accepting something that it, on its own, just does not.   The “status” of the word “marriage” is a matter of individual perspective and belief; is it government’s job to change that, for its own good?

LIBRELLE:  Sure!

MITCH:  Huh.  Anyway, we’re getting ahead of ourselves.

LIBRELLE:  No kidding.  The GOP is wasting the legislature’s time with this bill, bringing it up after the deadline for policy bills.

MITCH:  Right.  No different than Representatives Paymar and Martens still flogging their gun grab legislation.  They can’t get committee hearings, but they can still bring up their bill as an amendment to another bill during floor debate.

LIBRELLE:  Well, that’s different.

MITCH:  Why?

LIBRELLE:  I don’t know. (takes a bunch of grapes from the produce stand, picks a few, starts eating) It just is.

MITCH:  OK.  Well, anyway – I think this means the GOP minority sees that there’s a fracture in the DFL caucus.  We know that outstate DFLers are feeling really nervous about this bill – that support for gay marriage, like gun grabs, is entirely focused in the Metro.  It’d be dumb for them, as a minority, not to propose the compromise; it shows the people that, contrary to the DFL and media’s narrative, there is a compromise.

LIBRELLE:  That’s so wrong.  We should not play games with civil rights.

MITCH:  Like Paymar and Martens and Latz are doing?

LIBRELLE:  Oh, that’s different.  That’s about the children.

MITCH:  So is marriage.

LIBRELLE (eating more grapes)  Well, the courts have ruled on this already.

MITCH:  Right – the courts ruled that civil unions interactions with existing laws, and the federal DOMA law, were a problem.  So the law needs to be written right, and adjustments need to be made to other laws, state and federal.  That’s what legislatures do; try to pass laws that pass legal muster.

LIBRELLE:  But eventually gay marriage is going to happen.  Young people all support it.

MITCH:  Maybe they do.  Young people also made Justin Bieber and Nicky Minaj stars.  More to the point?  Most “young people” have no idea what marriage really is.  But whatever, fine; maybe gay marriage is inevitable in the great scheme of things.  And truth be told, but for one thing, I don’t really care.

LIBRELLE:  (3/4 done with bunch of grapes) And that one thing is that you’re a bigot.

MITCH:  Er, no.  In fact, I guarantee I’ve put more on the line against genuine hatred of gays than you have or ever will.  But no, the one thing is that gay marriage is one more attack on the importance of gender – the idea that the sexes are different, and different for a reason, and that reason is that each gender has a vital role in raising the next generation of children.

LIBRELLE:  Gays can raise children just as well as breeders.  Sometimes better!

MITCH:  Right.  This isn’t a dig at gays’ motivations as adoptive parents; I think gay adoptive parents are a better idea than, say, single parents if that’s the choice, which it very rarely is.  And at the moment, I don’t doubt that gay parents are better parents than straight parents, as an average across all of society, if only because you have to be so superhuman-ly above average to qualify to adopt, whatever your affectional orientation.  In fact, that is one of the reasons I would like to see gay marriage – so that we can drop this absurd stereotype of the Magic Gay Couple, all superhuman in their loving wisdom.  I joke that Gays will have truly arrived as equals when you see a gay married couple on Cops, with a lady in a wife-beater T-shirt being dragged out to a squad car as her wife screams “I’ll be waitin’ for ya, Evangeline!  Ah love yewwww!”.

LIBRELLE:  That’s just weird (almost done with grapes)

MITCH:  Whatever – the point is, when society grows beyond the narrative it’s been fed this past few years, the idea that gay couples are actually better than straight couples, then maybe we can talk about equality.

LIBRELLE:  Oh, whatever.  Hey, didn’t you predict gay marriage would die in committee?

MITCH:  Yep.  I win some, I boot some.  I think gay marriage is worth more to the DFL as a wedge than as a few thousand married couples with nothing to be pissed off about other than…property taxes and business taxes and regulations that restrict entrepreneurship.

LIBRELLE:  Huh?  Well, you were wrong.

MITCH:  Really?  When did Governor Messinger Dayton sign the gay marriage bill into law?

LIBRELLE:  He hasn’t yet.

MITCH:  Huh.  OK.

LIBRELLE:  But they will pass it!  They have to!

MITCH: OK!  We’ll see!

LIBRELLE:  (finishes grapes, tosses stem into trash bucket)

MITCH:  Um – were you going to pay for those?

LIBRELLE:  Oh, it’s not shoplifting. It’s an undocumented meal.  The AP says so.

(And SCENE)