DFL: “Peasants! Continue Rendering Tribute!”

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

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

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

From us. The taxpayer.

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

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

…along with every dime they can from this surplus.

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

Thank you so very much.

The Bakk Mahal

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Ringer

The relationship between the Democrats and the  media occasionally usually seems intimate to the point of unseemly.

But it rarely seems like the media are directly employed by the Democrat party (Keri Miller and Lori Sturdevant notwithstanding).

But that’s changed.

Perhaps you recall; a few years ago, I was part of a small group – along with left-leaning reporter David Brauer and several Senate staffers – that rewrote the Senate’s media credentialing rules.  The changes opened up the Senate to all manner of alternative media, including bloggers.

That was a good thing.

But one of the rules read like this: “Organizations owned or controlled by registered lobbyists, political parties or other party organizations (defined as organizations registered with the Campaign Finance Board or the Federal Election Commission) shall not be granted credentials.”

Bill Glahn noticed something:

It turns out that in 2012 and 2013, the senate Democrats paid a total of $30,250 for “research” to a company listed as “Enlighten Enterprise” of 254 Wheeler Street in St. Paul.

Records on file at the Minnesota State Secretary of State’s Office show that a company called “Enlightened Enterprises” was registered at that address on July 25, 2012 by a Shawn Towle. The first payment from senate Democrats to Enlighten Enterprise occurred on July 26, 2012.

As pure coincidence would have it, a Shawn Towle is listed in both the 2012 and 2013 editions of Capitol News Coverage Directory as an accredited member of the senate press corps, representing Checks & Balances. That Shawn Towle is also listed in the current 2014 edition.

Sources in the Senate tell me Towle is at press conferences, pressing Republicans and back-slapping Democrats…

…which is fine, and not much different than the rest of the Capitol press corps.

But none of them are paid by the Senate DFL Caucus.

Is the Senate DFL paying for “media” presence, and violating its own rules in the process?

Someone should ask Tom Bakk…

More later.

No Retreat. No Surrender.

While much of conservative Minnesota is having a hard time with “messaging”, the Real Americans of Minnesota’s Second Amendment human rights movement have a clear, resounding one.

This from the Gun Owners Civil Rights Alliance (GOCRA), in their session-eve email blast; it’s as crystal-clear a statement of principles and positions to the Legislature as you could ask for:

  • Minnesota’s law-abiding gun owners will not take the blame for the actions of criminals
    We refuse to be treated like those criminals
  • You don’t work for Michael Bloomberg and his billions: you work for your Minnesota constituents!
  • We know what [Bloomberg's] “universal background check” proposal really is: universal registration. And we will not sit still for it.
  • You have a perfectly good criminal control bill, HF1325, co-authored by 99 senators and representatives, waiting for your action

As always, the gun rights movement – GOCRA, MN-GOPAC, the TC Gun Owners and Carry Forum, the NRA and the like – will be working hard to hold back the Metrocrat orcs’ assault on Real Americans’ freedom. 

And they need you. 

Look – whatever group you prefer, there’s one to fit your style, temperament and philosophy. 

  • Dying to bite off a bite-sized piece of activism?  Sign up for GOCRA, and be alerted when action – phone calls, emails, hearings at the Capitol – is needed (send ‘em a few bucks; they will put ‘em to good use). 
  •  Wanna put your money to direct political use, endorsing and influencing elections?  Send MNGOPAC a buck or two, or a few hundred.    
  • Wanna fight the fight on main street – and University Avenue, for that matter?  Shelley and the crew at TC Gun Owners and Carry Forum have been spreading the gospel in the wilderness. 

Hell, help out all three.  It’s not like the Orcs are going away any time soon.

As much rhetoric as the Democrats have expended in the past eighty years about class warfare, this is the true class war in America; our would-be “elites” want Real America disarmed; the plebeians, the underdogs, the people are the Real Americans. 

Never let the Legislature forget it.

That Sucking Sound

The 2014 Legislative Session kicks off today. 

The DFL controls both chambers of the Legislature, and the Governor’s office.  It’s a little tiny bit less monolithic than all that sounds – Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk and Speaker of the House Paul Thissen hate each other with a throbbing passion, and Mark Dayton is madly triangulating between both in preparation for his re-election bid (appeasing Bakk on some issues, like gun control, while throwing bones to Thissen, like his Lieutenant Governor selectee, Frau Blücher).

But here’s really all you need to know; the DFL’s priorities for this election:

  1. Pay Off Their Sharks:  This being an even-numbered year, the session will deal with bonding, not the budget.  Look for an avalanche of “infrastructure” “investment” that may or may not be actual investments in infrastructure, but will send lots of fiscal love to the DFL’s most important constituencies – the state employee unions.  It will be a fiscal orgy.
  2. MNSquirrel!:  Look for anything – anything – to distract the low-information “independents” from the complete debacle that is MNSure.  Minimum Wage hikes?  Vikings Stadium hearings?  Medical Marijuana?  Puppy Mill legislation, complete with tear-jerker footage on KARE11 delivered just in the nick of time?   Hell, all that and more.  The sky’s the limit.  Look for Tom Bakk to dance naked on the Capitol steps to divert attention from MNSure, if necessary.  The media will do its level best to ensure it’s not necessary, of course. 

The MNGOP’s mission?  Same as last session; focus on fighting a rear-guard action while trying to gin up a message that resonates with the higher-information voters that actually pay attention, all the while focusing the tensions in the GOP in a creative rather than destructive direction, leaving the good guys with the electoral ammo they need to retake the House, and God willing the Governor’s mansion, this fall.

Simple, huh?

Weeds Of Our Discontent

The worst kind of political errors are ones where conservatives give liberals an unearned moral victory in a grab for the high ground. 

Carly Melin – who was a 25 year old HamLaw graduate who was airlifted to northern Minnesota precisely in time to meet residency requirements to run for the seat for which the DFL had hand-picked her, when she was elected in 2010 – is taking on Big Law Enforcment on their opposition to the proposed Medical Marijuana bill, in this case in an interview in a Northern Minnesota newspaper (emphasis added):

[INTERVIEWER]: Gov. Dayton has said he will not sign the medical marijuana bill this legislative session if it does not have support of law enforcement. In fact, he made a campaign promise to that effect. The Minnesota Law Enforcement Coalition has made it clear they will not endorse the bill. Where does that leave you?

[MELIN]: We never expected the bill to be passed as written. We expected to use it as a starting point to discuss legislation going forward. Unfortunately, the Law Enforcement Coalition will not discuss specific provisions of the bill with us, and have instead stated that they are opposed to the legalization of medical marijuana for any purpose. In other words, they have a blanket opposition. This makes it very difficult to have a conversation on how to shape the bill.

 Q: Why do you believe MN’s law enforcement agencies are so adamantly opposed to medicinal marijuana?

A: There are many individual members of law enforcement who are supportive of medical marijuana. In fact, one of them is a co-author of the bill, Rep. Dan Schoen, state representative and police office from Cottage Grove, MN. Law enforcement in northeast Minnesota have discussed some flexibility, which is a lot further than we got with the statewide leaders. It is the head honchos and lobbyists down in St. Paul who are the problem. Marijuana being illegal is big business for law enforcement. The forfeiture of property relating to marijuana crimes brings in big revenue to law enforcement agencies. They are worried that legalizing medical marijuana is a step toward the decriminalization of marijuana, which in turn would impact their budgets. I hope that isn’t the basis of their opposition to medical marijuana because there are sick Minnesotans in need of this medicine, but in my experience carrying this legislation they primarily express concerns that this will lead to the recreational use of marijuana.

Leave aside the potential benefits of legalizing recreational marijuana use (I’m not a weed kinda guy, but it’s cut out one of the foundations of the Drug War that’s made parts of Minneapolis, Saint Paul, Richfield and the Brooklyns such lovely places); this is pot for sick people.  Nothing more. 

Melin’s right – and it’s galling for a libertarian-conservative.  Allowing cops, district attorneys and the like set medical policy is just as stupid as letting letting health insurance companies write a national healthcare law.  The entire reason for the opposition is the protection of their own little fiscal fiefdom. 

As Craig Westover points out on Facebook (I won’t link to it, since not all of you are Facebook members), this is a fundamentally conservative stance, getting government out of the relationship between doctors and patients. 

This is an issue where conservatives – especially those who care about liberty in its many forms – should be out front.  Not cowering before a law-enforcement group that is largely beholden to “progressivism”.

MN-GOPAC Endorses Ortman

The gun-grabber movement is going to make a particularly insidious push to attack your second-amendment rights in the upcoming session.

The Minnesota Gun Owners PAC is launching an opening salvo, getting on the endorsement board for the upcoming Senate race and backing Senator Julianne Ortman:

 “Throughout her time in the Minnesota Senate, Julianne Ortman has been an energetic and consistent advocate for Minnesota’s gun owners, “ said Mark Okern, Chairman, Minnesota Gun Owners PAC.  “She has demonstrated a strong commitment to policies that protect the rights of Minnesotans to hunt, enjoy the shooting sports, and protect their families from violent criminals.”

The gun-grabbers are going to be doing a lot of talk about “common sense”. Ortman gets it – there is no “common sense” to the idea of the gun-show background check:

As a Minnesota State Senator, Julianne Ortman consistently opposed gun control measures that would have impacted the rights of law-abiding Minnesotans while having no impact on violent criminals.  Senator Ortman supported the Minnesota Citizen’s Personal Protection Act in 2003 and 2005.  She also supported Stand Your Ground legislation in 2012 that was later vetoed by Governor Mark Dayton.  Most recently, she was a strong and vocal advocate for gun owners as a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee during several days of hearings.

 “As United States Senator, we are confident Julianne Ortman will continue her strong support for Minnesota’s gun owners and be a leader on this issue not only for Minnesota but also for the nation, “ said Okern.

Ortman has gotten a mixed rap – but, I maintain, has done a good job of earning conservatives’ support, especially that of the communities that support the Second Amendment. She was vital in pushing the “Good Gun Bill” last session – a finger in the eye of the “Let’s Just Ban Something!” crowd.

I think it’s a good call .

Tramps Like Us, Baby We Were Born To NARN

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

  • I’m in the studio today from 1-3.  I’ll be talking with former House minority leader and gubernatorial candidate Marty Seifert about the race for the GOP nomination.  Then, former Representative Jim Knoblauch will join me to talk about his lawsuit against the new Senate Palace Office Building.
  • Don’t forget the King Banaian Radio Show, on AM1570 “The Businessman” from 9-11AM this morning!
  • Tomorrow,  Brad Carlson is  back!  Brad’ll have Marty Seifert on the show.  “The Closer” airs from 1-3 Sundays!

(All times Central)

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

Join us!

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.