Keith Ellison And That Famous DFL Civility

Here’s a blast from the past:  Keith Ellison, in an interview on KFAI (a little community station that serves as the drum-pounding id of the loony liberal West Bank, and for which I was a news guy for a while in the early ’90s) exhibits that reach-across-the-aisle comity that Lori Sturdevant is always demanding (from Republicans), repeatedly calls MNGOP Deputy Chair (at the time, Secretary) Chris Fields a…

…well, let’s take a look (with some emphasis added):

Ellison: “You’re real stupid for bringing up your domestic violence allegations. I wasn’t gonna say a thing about it. I wasn’t gonna mention it.”

Fields: “You know, if you want to talk about divorce —”

Ellison: “I don’t want to talk about it.”

Fields: “—talk about your own. Talk about the fact—”

Ellison: “You are a scumbag.”

Fields: “—that you only pay $500 for child support. Talk about that. You used that money to hurt my ex-wife, who I still love.”

Ellison: “You are a low-life scumbag. You are a low-life scumbag.”

Fields: “I did not spend money to look into my divorce. You did.”

Ellison: “You are a gutter-dweller, and you’re an idiot for bringing up your domestic violence charges.”

Fields: “There was never any.”

This is the DFL in action.

Hear the whole thing here.  And if you live in CD5, bring a friend to vote for Doug Daggett.

CORRECTION:  I thought it seemed familiar.  The story is two years old.  Blah.  I think I may have even written about it back then – to try to get people to vote for Chris Fields, who was running against the peevish Ellison back then.

The story is old.  The sentiment – get rid of Ellison – is timeless.

Throwback Thursday

Governor Dayton says “the buck stops” with him in re MNSure:

— Gov. Mark Dayton [said] that he ultimately feels responsible for the success or failure of [MNSure].

Dayton apologized for problems Minnesotans are having on the state’s health care exchange. The governor is promising to fix multiple website problems, as soon as possible.

“I apologize to those Minnesotans who have been seriously inconvenienced or are distraught by the failures of MNsure. It’s unacceptable,” Dayton said Thursday.“Did I cause? I don’t think I caused the problems at MNsure and I did everything I could to prevent them,” he said. “Ultimately the buck stops here.”

Oh, yeah – you read that right; the story came out last December

Before MNSure’s current woes – the cratering of the code, and Preferred One’s bailing out of the whole debacle. 

So – when Governor Dayton says “the buck stops here”, does he mean it like he did…:

  • during the Vikings Stadium fiasco, where he committed the state’s taxpayers to hundreds of millions of dollars, then told the Legislature to “deal with it”, a la Michael Scott?
  • during the Minimum Wage fiasco, when signed a deeply flawed bill, and then publicly wavered a few months later when his spawn told him they were having trouble making ends meet at their posh Minneapolis restaurant?
  • during the last Budget session, when he served as an untrained mouthpiece for the public employee unions that put him in power?

Because none of those, nor his behavior in re MNSure, involve actually stopping any bucks.

Lowballed

SCENE:  At the Mississippi Market co-op in Saint Paul.  Mitch BERG is shopping for steel-cut oatmeal.  He notices Avery LIBRELLE turning into his aisle, looking for free-range humane tofu.  He tries to turn and leave, but it’s already too late. 

LIBRELLE:  Hey, Merg!  The Free Market is collapsing!

BERG:  Er, OK – how do you figure?

LIBRELLE:  Preferred One left the MNSure network!

BERG: Um, that’s not a failure of the free market.

LIBRELLE: Sure it is!  They came into the plan with a low-ball proposal.  It didn’t work, so it’s a failure of the free market! 

BERG: Well, no.  It’s not.  The plans they’re pulling from MNSure are basically the same thing they’ve been selling to employers for decades, although more expensive, to cover all the extra Obamacare requirements, and a little extra to cover the fact that they’d only get paid after the money filtered through the MNSure system, which just isn’t working.  It’s the kind of plan they can sell by themselves just fine, and keep themselves in business. 

LIBRELLE:  Well, businesses shouldn’t profit from healthcare!

BERG:  Preferred One is a non-profit under Minnesota law.   And even so, they couldn’t financially justify the overhead that the MNSure system brought into the equation. 

LIBRELLE:  They should have come to the market with a plan that asked for more money!  Government subsidies would cover it anyway!

BERG:  And you have just explained why government subsidies promote inflation. 

LIBRELLE:  No I didn’t.

BERG:  Yes you did.  Businesses should raise their prices to smooth out dealing with the government’s incompetent bureaucracy, because another part of government is going to subsidize the transaction – which prices the business’s service out of reach of the unsubsidized.  It’s done for health insurance exactly what it’s done for higher education. 

LIBRELLE:  That just means we need single payer healthcare.

BERG:  Right.  So the same government that can’t produce a health care exchange on time and on budget, and get payments to providers efficiently enough to make the service worth providing, will now be directly in charge of every facet of your healthcare. 

LIBRELLE:  Well, at least it’ll promote transparency. 

BERG:  How so? 

LIBRELLE:  See the social justice that the IRS brought to political campaigning by denying teabagger groups their tax-exempt status?  Imagine the transparency we’ll get when The People can start denying them healthcare!

(LIBRELLE turns, starts walking away, but walks into shelf full of jars of organic peanut butter.  LIBRELLE falls as shelves of jars fall to the floor)

(And SCENE)

Call It A 2016 Election Dress Rehearsal…

DFL Representative Steve Simon is running for Secretary of State against GOP endorsed candidate Dan Severson. 

He’s had kind of a rough race so far; during the primaries, he came in with barely over 40% of the DFL vote, against a perennial candidate (Dick Fransen, who’s sort of a downmarket Ole Savior) and an unknown.  He’s got no name recognition to speak of (as compared to Dan Severson, who is a former state rep, SOS and Senate candidate). 

So he’s gotta get some name recognition – “popularity” – somehow, between now and November.

Now, as of last summer, Simon had a set of Twitter followers that, quite frankly, would befit a candidate who could only eke out 42% in his own party’s primary; around about a thousand or so.

Then, suddenly, BOOM: he was over 70,000 followers.

A case of Steve-mentum?

Probably not. It would seem the Simon campaign has chosen to try to buy some popularity – at least on Twitter:

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A “TwitterAudit” shows that at least 55,000 of Simon’s 70,000 followers are probably fakes.  An email from a GOP analyst explains:

This typically indicates that someone has purchased a list of fake subscribers.

Some of the earmarks of “list buyers” are:

  • Twitter accounts that are in a foreign language (paging thru his followers, it’s remarkable how many are in Russian, Asian and Arabic (yes, Arabic)
  • Twitter accounts that have no image of a real person next to them, but instead just have what is called the “Twitter egg” – again, paging thru Steve’s followers, it’s clear that a majority of his followers are “eggs”.

Check out the Twitteraudit yourself.

If this is how he runs his Twitter account, imagine what he’ll do for the voter rolls!

“But wait, Merg!  Lots of people, yourself included, have lots of spam followers on Twitter!  I mean, look at how popular you seem to be with 18 year old Filipinas!”.  Spam followers are certainly an issue on Twitter – everyone’s got ‘em – but having one’s number of overall followers multiply by almost two orders of magnitude in less time than it’s taking me to type about it is not just the sign of some staff intern getting happy fingers on the “Follow!” buttons. 

“But Merg!  Maybe Simon’s account was hacked!”.  Maybe.  Show us the evidence that a “malicious” “hack” just happened to inflate a less-than-popular candidate’s numbers into Twitterverse regional A-lister levels, and we can talk. 

I’ll wait. 

But I’m not going to hold my breath, if it’s all right with you. 

Continue reading

A Better Japan

To:  MN DFLers
From:  Mitch Berg, Uppity Peasant
Re:  The Inevitable End Result Of Keynesianism

DFLers,

I know – most of you don’t know what “Keynesianism” is.  It’s the economic theory that using government tax and monetary policy to “stimulate” the economy is the most effective way to ensure the economy grows steadily and doesn’t have ugly cyclical downturns.

Unfortunately – as we’ve seen in Japan – it doesn’t work.   Hiking taxes, and turning (some of) them into “stimuli”, makes things worse, not better.

Yep, the Democrat party – and the DFL with it – is built on Keynesianism (too much of the GOP has reached an accomodation with it as well, but that’s something for us to root out and kill on our own).

Keynesianism’s inevitable end results gave us the malaise of the ’70′s.  And it’s Keynesianism – delivered by its greatest, worst advocate in US history, Barack Obama, as well as locally by is oompa-loompas in the DFL – that are dragging the American economy down – and, if you’ve noticed by the fact that Minnesota’s tax revenues haven’t kept up with forecasts yet this year, Minnesota’s as well.

Just warning you.

That is all.

The Peasants $trike Back

In 2003, and again in 2005, when Minnesota passed its “shall issue” firearm permit law, a slew of businesses “posted” themselves; they put signs on their front doors indicating they didn’t want firearms on their premises.

Two things happened – or, rather, didn’t happen:

  1. There were no crimes in public related to legal post-2003-permitted firearm carriers.  None.  Zero. 
  2. While few anti-gun-rights people made a point of shopping posted stores, pro-Second-Amendment people made a very serious point of steering clear of posted establishments.  Many of us quietly and politely engaged with owners of posted stores, telling them that while we respected their decisions, our consciences would not allow us to shop at stores that disarmed the law-abiding and thus became victimization zones. 

Most “posted” stores quietly dispensed with their signs in the year or two after the Minnesota Personal Protection Act was re-enacted in 2005.  Things stayed pretty well put, Minnesota-wise – except, of course, the number of law-abiding citizens with carry permits, which was well over 160,000 177,000 the last I checked (far eclipsing pre-2003 legislative research estimates of 50,000-90,000 permittees). 

But the Obama Administration has been eagerly working to roll back gun rights, especially in the past two years.  And with Michael Bloomberg bankrolling his efforts, there is a concerted effort to turn law-abiding gun owners into the New Lepers – to try to re-stigmatize gun owners, the way the media were able to do in the 1960′s and 1970s. 

All are, of course, attacking the problem of violent crime by going after those who dont’, won’t, and never have committed any (and by their existence indeed deter it) – but no matter.  It’s not about crime – if it were, Washington DC and Chicago would be crime-free paradises. 

But if you read this blog, you’re probably smarter than that.

Unfortunately, a lot of uninformed and incurious people vote.  And Michael Bloomberg’s money is aimed largely at them.  And so the re-stigmatization effort is in full swing.  We’ve seen this with a small but vocal number of stores dusting off their posting signs – and, this summer, with the Minnesota State Fair posting its “no guns” signs, very possibly illegally.

It’s time for Real Americans – the ones that believe in all ten Amendments in the Bill of Rights – to come forward again and put their money where their mouths are.  Or perhaps to be more accurate, to not put their money where their mouths aren’t. 

It’s time to stop spending money at places that are posted. 

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So take note, local merchants; if you’re posted, I won’t spend a dime at your establishment.  If I see you or your ownership siding with the anti-gunners in the media, I’ll also cut you off, and do my best to keep you cut off until you recognize the civil rights of law-abiding Americans.   

That includes you, Minnesota State Fair.  While I broadcast from the Fair annually, and am happy to do it, I will no longer patronize any vendors at the Fair as long as the Fairgrounds are posted.

As much as it pains me to think of ten days of broadcasting at the Fair without Sausages by Cynthia’s Italian Dog, or a London Broil, or the Swiss Crepe from the Crepe stand, or a beer at O’Gara’s on a hot day, I’m not going to spend another dime at any Fair vendor, until the State Fair tears down the “Only Criminals May Be Armed!” signs. 

Be advised, Twin Cities merchants.  You have your rights to run your business any way you want.  But you’re not going far without customers. 

Can you afford to piss off 120,000 of us?   Especially since we’re the ones that tip, clean up after ourselves, and pass word of mouth along?

UPDATE:  I do need to credit the “No Guns = No Money” Facebook page for the image, and the whole “getting a movement rolling” thing.   Check out the page, and support them and, most importantly, the goal.

ABM: Wrong About Minnesota

I haven’t had the time to do as much in the way of digging into the DFL ad machine this cycle as in some past cycles.  It’s been a crazy summer.

Fortunately, Bill Glahn is on patrol

Glahn takes apart one of the latest flight of anti-Johnson ads from the Alliance for a Better Minnesota – the attack PR firm funded by liberal plutocrats that has run toxic sleaze campaigns against every Republican to run for office in Minnesota in the past eight years or so. 

ABM’s ads have been punctilious about punching up the phrase “Tea Party” in their ads, especially about Johnson, this cycle – even though Johnson is not especially identified with the Tea Party.  Glahn reaches one of the same observations I do:

Apparently the pejorative “Tea Party Republican” must test particularly well with low information voters. Or, perhaps its use in the ad is a sign the Democrats are concerned about turning out their base in an off-year election.

The Democrats have spent millions this past five years, trying to turn “Tea Party” into a pejorative.  If you go by what you hear in the media, it’s worked. If you go by election and polling results in red and reddish-purple states, it hasn’t.   Minnesota?  Well, the 2010 gubernatorial election showed Minnesota has 8,000 more low-information voters (along with Duplicate-Americans, Fictional-Americans and Deceased-Americans) than smart ones.  It might be a winning strategy. 

It might also show that that’s the best they can do; sputtering “Tea Partier” may be the “lowest blow” they think they can come up with. 

Anyway – the ad.  Like everything ABM puts out, it’s got an assortment of outright lies, and factoids stretched so far out of context as to be devoid of truth: 

Ms. Livermore [a "classroom teacher"] makes the dubious claim that Johnson “cut education by over $500 million” back in 2003, and then gave that money to corporations in 2005. Keep in mind that a similar ABM ad was judged “Misleading” by Minnesota Public Radio (of all places) for making those exact same claims. [The bill Johnson voted for in 2003 actually increased (rather than cut) public school spending.]

As always with ABM, though, there’s a level of stuff they don’t tell the voter (emphasis added):

No, the real lie in the ad comes from the “appeal to authority” of having an ordinary “classroom teacher” attack Johnson’s education policy. According to her LinkedIn profile, Ms. Livermore served on the governing board of the teachers’ union Education Minnesota from 2004 to 2007. [By the way, she spells the word “education” incorrectly on her profile.]

Although her service to the state teachers’ union may have given her some familiarity with decade-ago state legislation, it doesn’t exactly qualify her as a garden-variety “classroom teacher.” “Former union official attacks Republican,” just doesn’t have the same ring. Funny thing, the viewer is never informed of Livermore’s connection to the union, who happens to be the largest donor to Democrat campaigns in the state.  

And to be fair to ABM, why should the viewer be informed of this?  The campaign isn’t about informing voters.  It’s about framing the opposition, just like Saul Alinksky taught them to.

Chanting Points Memo: The Dayton Economy Just Keeps Getting Better And Better!

Just keep repeating it to yourself, DFLers; the Dayton economy is awesome!

The Dayton economy is awesome!

The Dayton economy is awesome!

Housing starts are off 15 percent in August (the full story appeared on MPR last night – but naturally isn’t available online today):

Confidence in the local homebuilding market took a hit in August, as permits for new single-family houses declined 15 percent from a year ago and permits for new multifamily units were down 78 percent. 

And the price of farm land – one of the key indicators and drivers of the farm economy – is slipping in Minnesota.  But hey, at least they’ll be getting taxed more for it…

 

Their Master’s Voice

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

All That DFL Happy Talk About The Economy…

is baked wind.

 Minnesota lost 4,200 jobs in July, and is adding them at an anemic pace year-to-date:

State officials said Thursday that Minnesota employers shed a seasonally adjusted 4,200 jobs in July. Meanwhile, they also revised June’s numbers downward by 3,600 jobs.

That means that, year-to-date, Minnesota has added a meager 2,900 jobs, or about 400 per month, on an adjusted basis.

During July, the education and health services sector lost 5,300 jobs. Information shed 1,000; construction, 700; financial activities, 200; and government, 100.

The sectors that added jobs: trade, transportation, and utilities (up 1,600); manufacturing (700); leisure and hospitality (600); and other services (200). Logging and mining, and professional and business services held steady.

Look for the Alliance for a Better Minnesota’s lie machine to fabricate a lot of phony economic happytalk in the next ten weeks; as we discussed earlier, they’re off to a running start.

No – a lot.

Six Of One…

Turnout was low at Tuesday’s primaries.  Was a bad omen for the GOP, or just another data point with some interesting context?

Bad Omen:  Michael Brodkorb at Politics.mn throws up a warning sign:

Back in February, in my pre-precinct caucus primer, I encouraged people to compare the number of total attendees at precinct caucuses for the DFL and GOP. If the numbers were close, I wrote this could be a sign of malaise amongst Republican activists. Even with multiple candidates not abiding by the Republican Party of Minnesota’s endorsement for statewide offices, Republicans should have more attendees at their precinct caucuses. But they didn’t.

At the time of precinct caucuses, the Minnesota DFL has only one contested statewide race, as Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie is not seeking re-election. Governor Mark Dayton and U.S. Senator Al Franken faced no opposition within the DFL Party. There were also 12 Republican statewide campaigns – six for governor and six for the U.S. Senate. Republicans also had contested endorsement races in the 6th, 2nd, and 1st Congressional Districts of Minnesota. The battles between the Republicans candidates for congress and statewide office should have encouraged more participation by Republicans on the night of precinct caucuses than Democrats. But the Minnesota DFL won the night. This should be a warning sign for Republicans.

Michael’s knows his politics.  I’d be hard-pressed to argue, much.  But to play devil’s advocate – what percentage of the state’s total population is “the GOP base” that turns out for primaries? 

And among those who are the “soft-core” base – the ones that’ll do primaries, but not usually caucuses?  Does a fractious, contentious primary make them more or less likely to come to the polls for a primary?

Finally – there were some crowded races (and at the legislative level, some interesting ones).  But one might be forgiven for thinking…:

  • the Senate race was a foregone conclusion, and didn’t need any given person’s vote
  • in August as in January (at the AM1280/Northeast Metro GOP debate), we had a four-way race among governor candidates who just weren’t all that different.  Wonks like Michael and (to some extent) me could tell the difference between Scott Honour and Kurt Zellers.   Outside the GOP wonk class?

Again, I’m just devils’ advocatin’.

Interesting Context:  On the other hand, Andy Aplikowski at ResFor – a person from whom I’ve learned more about political number-crunching than any single person in the MNGOP – writes:

All the focus on failure is on Republican turnout.

2010 GOP

Candidate Totals

OLE’ SAVIOR AND TODD “ELVIS” ANDERSON 4396

LESLIE DAVIS AND GREGORY K. SODERBERG 8598

BOB CARNEY JR AND WILLIAM MCGAUGHEY 9856

TOM EMMER AND ANNETTE T. MEEKS 107558

Total 130408

2014 GOP

Candidate Totals

MARTY SEIFERT AND PAM MYHRA 38798

KURT ZELLERS AND DEAN SIMPSON 43991

MERRILL ANDERSON AND MARK ANDERSON 7008

JEFF JOHNSON AND BILL KUISLE 55813

SCOTT HONOUR AND KARIN HOUSLEY 38331

Total 183941

Wait, the GOP turned out 53,000 more voters than in 2010.

I think why you see some people trying to paint the narrative of GOP voter apathy is because DFL apathy has reached toxic levels.

 

2010 DFL

Candidate Totals

MARGARET ANDERSON KELLIHER AND JOHN GUNYOU 175767

PETER IDUSOGIE AND LADY JAYNE FONTAINE 3123

MATT ENTENZA AND ROBYNE ROBINSON 80509

MARK DAYTON AND YVONNE PRETTNER SOLON 182738

Total 442137

2014 DFL Totals

BILL DAHN AND JAMES VIGLIOTTI 4896

LESLIE DAVIS AND GREGORY K. SODERBERG 8529

MARK DAYTON AND TINA SMITH 177737

Total 191162

The DFL saw a 251,000 drop off in voter turnout and barely drew more voters than the GOP in 2014.

To go back to devil’s advocate mode:  you can expect a drop-off; in 2010 there was a highly contentious governor’s race on the DFL side.  The only real competitive races on the DFL side this time were the State Auditor and the Secretary of State (which we discussed yesterday, and don’t look like good news to the DFL candidate to me). 

A drop-off of over half?   

My Admittedly Wishful Take:  I’m going to hope – and I am admittedly basing this on hope – that the numbers are sign of diminished enthusiasm on the Democrats’ part, and hope that the GOP candidates can appeal to the non-primary-going public this fall. 

Which is the big challenge.

Slump

Amid all the DFL’s bragging about the economy – which Bill Glahn dispensed with earlier this week – let’s note that for the fifth straight month, tax receipts are off.

And not by just a little bit (emphasis added):

Minnesota’s tax collections for July have come in $69 million below expectations.

The Department of Minnesota Management and Budget released its monthly revenue Monday. It shows the state took in 6.6 percent less than was forecast.

And in the wake of the DFL’s bragging about the state’s ostensible unemployment rate?

The shortage was most acute in the area of individual income taxes, which were off by $36 million. Officials say some could be attributed to timing of tax payments or refunds.

Sure.  Some of it could.

But most of it is attributed to the fact that under DFL rule, the state’s economy is slumping.  Slowly – it’s a gradual thing, as economic trends always are – but definite.

And all the DFL’s happy talk is fermented BS.

Breaking Some Eggs

I had a great pleasure of meeting seven or eight of my closest friends at the River Oasis Café in Stillwater Saturday morning.

We talked about the cafe last week; they aroused the ire of the entire Minnesota Left – few of whom would ever seem to have been at the River Oasis – by putting their “minimum wage fee” on their receipts:

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First things first: It’s a classic American diner – like Mickey’s on West Seventh, or Keys, and not a whole lot of others out there anymore. The food was excellent.

I had the pleasure of talking with Craig Beemer, the owner, on my show on Saturday afternoon (and his wife on Saturday morning). And we learned a couple of things about the place, and the “controversy”.

Money:  One of the left’s main whining points about the public “minimum wage fee” is that it’s “disrespectful to the employees”.  

Of course, it’s a stupid point.  Unlike most restaurants, the Beemers already pay the back of the house staff – the line cooks, dishwashers and the like – better than minimum wage, and (according to Beemer) very competitively with the similar places in Stillwater.  That’s the kind of “respect” I actually cared about when I was a low-wage employee.

The only people making minimum wage are the waitstaff – and when you add on tips, they’re making closer to $25 an hour, often more, and the minimum wage is not an issue. 

Except for the Beemers, for whom the wage hike was a $10,000/year hit on the bottom line.   Remember – restaurants across the river in Wisconsin have a minimum wage of $3-and-change per hour.

Because they have a tip credit.

Power:  Which is what Governor Dayton’s sons asked for earlier this summer.  Andrew and Eric Dayton, owners of “The Bachelor Farmer”, a chi-chi restaurant in Minneapolis, complained to Dadders because the new, higher minimum wage hike was harshing their fiscal mellow.  They asked for…

…a tip credit.

Bonus Explanation For Leftybloggers, none of whom apparently have ever worked for tips:  you don’t work for minimum wage.  Even when there’s a “tip credit” in effect and your “wage” is $3-and-change/hour, like in most surrounding states, you’re still making more.  How much more?  If you work at a crummy place with lousy food, maybe not enough more.  If you work at Manny’s Steakhouse and tend to tables  that rack up $400-$1000 for a meal, you can make well into six digits.  In between?  It’s a complex set of dependencies; waiting skill, clientele, season, even the weather. 

But for all the crap that Tom Emmer took for his “waitstaff making over $100,000″ “gaffe” four years ago, you might be amazed at the number of waitstaff that take home solid middle-class “living wages”; $50,000, $75,000 and more. 

Which isn’t bad for a trade that requires no education, licensing or anything but talent and hard work.

Which may be what bothers liberals about all of this.

“If Ifs, Ands And Buts Were Candy And Nuts, We’d All Have A Wonderful Unbedankfest”:  Here’s another note for ignorant leftybloggers; a “tip credit” acknowledges the fact that for a good waiter at a good establishment with a good clientele, the minimum wage is the fringe of their income; the owner can apply some of the waitstaff’s tips to the wage, in effect. 

“I think tipping is just wrong”, whined a massive clot of liberals last week, “and I think we should do away with it; it’s unfair.  They should all just be paid”, they say, reflecting the “progressive” desire to oversimplify the free market (and working for tips is the ultimate meritocracy). 

Of course, it’s been tried.  Not a few restaurants have tried to abolish tipping – paying their waitstaff more, and jacking up the prices accordingly, to a brief flurry of adoring media attention. 

Then they quietly vanish.  And a few years later, the cycle repeats. 

“It’s So Tacky!”:  Tackier than jamming down a minimum wage increase with the barest possible minimum of debate, and then reconsidering when the governor’s kids get into a jam? 

“Why don’t they publicize all the costs that hit their bottom line?”:   Because if they use too much electricity, they can unscrew the lightbulbs in the bathrooms.  If the price of tomatoes goes up, they can use fewer of them in their recipes.  If Ecolab cleaning products are too expensive, they can switch to Servicemaster.   In other words – as with everything in the free market (including restaurant choices), they, the consumer, can say “no” and pick a better option. 

But they can’t switch states.  Tempting as it is for many businesspeople.  Government is the one thing you can’t say “no” to, without having men in uniforms with guns busting down your door eventually. 

And the hypocrisy of a “progressive” movement that twisted itself into knots to try to legitimize the “Occupy” movement turning around and attacking an actual working business for using its right to free speech is enough to put me off my breakfast, were it less delicious.  

“What are you going to do, Berg?  Hang out there all the time?”:  It’s not really about me.  But when in Stillwater – a place I may get to annually – sure why not? 

The “point” they’re shooting for is that conservatives won’t be going there forever, and the liberals among the Oasis’ clientele will stay gone. 

I’m going to guess that most of the people doing the “protesting” have never been there, and would never have gone - and if they did, they were, like most liberals, lousy tippers anyway. 

Anyway - kudos to the Beemers.  And thanks for a fantastic breakfast, a great discussion, and for fighting a battle that a lot more people need to fight.

The Really Good Guys

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

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

More, I’m told, to come.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Note to the Dario Anselmo campaign:  Merry Christmas)

When Seconds Count

When Michael Bloomberg (and all of that money of his) entered the anti-gun market, some of us worried that all of those Jacksons would bring a new air of professionalism to the anti-human-rights movement. 

And in some ways it has.

But in others?

Just saying – this video by “Everytown for Grabbing Guns” pretty much underscores exactly the points we shooters have been making all along:

When seconds count, the police are minutes away. 

If the improbably cute mom had had the means to deal with the inevitably evil ex, the police would just need to clean up the mess.

Slouching Towards St. Paul

The Invisible Primary heads for it’s exciting dramatic interesting necessary conclusion.

There have been no polling updates.  No shocking endorsements.  No conflicts.  A candidate ended up in the hospital…due to an ulcer.

The slouch towards the Minnesota GOP choosing a candidate to go up against Gov. Mark Dayton will end in the next two weeks, and perhaps finally usher in some interest in what has proven to be a deadly dull campaign cycle thus far.  So how can the four major contenders to be the GOP nominee win on August 12th?

Businessman Scott Honour

Why He’ll Win: In the words of Jimmy Buffett, Honour has spending money – money to burn.  Having raised more money than any other candidate running for governor, including Mark Dayton, Honour has the highest cash on hand of the GOP field in the primary’s closing weeks.  While those figures are highly inflated by his self-contributions totaling over $900,000, Honour has demonstrated the ability and willingness to spend freely – a desirable quality when third party interest groups have raised $11 million (most of it for Democrats) for the cycle…

Why He’ll Lose: …but have you seen how he’s spending it?

 

Zzz…huh?  Oh, it’s over?

Honour may be playing on his “outsider” credentials, but he’s running the most “insider” looking campaign of the four major Republicans in the race.  His advertising hasn’t been unique, either in terms of style or substance, nor particularly plentiful for a man whose raised $1.7 million.  Even a sympathetic profile of his candidacy suggest he “hasn’t run a highly visible campaign.”  That’s not surprising given Honour’s massive payments to consultants.  Long-time GOP consultants Pat Shortridge and Shanna Woodbury have combined to cost Honour’s campaign almost $270,000.  Considering the last polls on the race showed him in 4th place, Honour may wonder what exactly he paid them for.

Former Speaker Kurt Zellers

Why He’ll Win: Give the former Minnesota House Speaker credit – he’s taken what should be a huge vulnerability (his uneven performance as Speaker) and leveraged it about as well as he could into a narrative of his opposition to Mark Dayton.  Granted, Zellers’ narrative ends in 2011, when the legislature forced Dayton to end the government shutdown on their terms, and leaves out the messy details such as the controversial constitutional amendments or the Vikings’ stadium debate debacle.

 

Much like his TV ad, Zellers is doing nothing wrong, even if he’s not excelling at doing anything right.  His branding isn’t unique, but it’s on message.  His no new tax pledge may be an albatross in the general election, but he’s running to win the primary.  He doesn’t have the greatest amount of cash on hand or legislative endorsements, but he’s second in both those categories.  Plus, he’s been either in the lead or tied for it in most polling (what little has been done).

Why He’ll Lose: A low turnout election, which this race is shaping up to be, isn’t great news for a man whose reasonably high name ID comes from a poor performance as Speaker.  Zellers has never been adored by the GOP rank and file, and his advertising isn’t abundant enough to necessarily undo memories of 2012 and a lost House majority.  The real question may be if Zellers has invested his limited resources into a get-out-the-vote (GOTV) organization or not – a likely better use of money than TV or radio advertising.  Zellers may win in a divided field where just enough Republicans vaguely remember his name without his political baggage, but that’s not a great winning strategy.

Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson

Why He’ll Win: The nearly 20 Minnesota GOP Victory Centers.  Neither Johnson nor the State GOP may have bountiful resources to contribute to the primary, but the endorsement process still has some value in the form of thousands of dutiful volunteers making GOTV phone calls.  And while that sort of internal support hasn’t been as consistent as it once would have been for an endorsed candidate (see the 8th Congressional District’s pushback, for example), it’s been more the exception than the rule thus far.

 

Despite being the endorsed candidate, Johnson’s advertising (what little there is of it) has leaned more on quirk than his endorsement (Scott Honour could have learned something here).  Given the state’s penchant for electing candidates with memorable advertising (Paul Wellstone/Jesse Ventura), the tactic is likely a wise one.  And with an independent expenditure group also running TV ads on his behalf, Johnson looks less likely to get buried in a last minute blizzard of ad revenue.

Why He’ll Lose: Johnson’s week off the campaign trail to deal with surgery for an ulcer is the least of his concerns; especially as his campaign took kudos for their handling of the situation.  The problem is that Johnson’s health was the most campaign coverage he’s received since the endorsement battle.

Nor has Johnson exactly leveraged his endorsement well.  Only 44 current and former legislators have endorsed his candidacy.  Rep. Erik Paulsen throw his support behind Johnson, but there’s little sense that the GOP powers-that-be are overly willing to spend political capital to ensure Johnson wins in August.  Even Johnson himself acknowledged a “wait and see” approach from at least the donor class.  If that attitude exists with the average activist, Johnson could certainly lose.

Former Rep. Marty Seifert

Why He’ll Win: He’s a “maverick.”  He’s courting voters in the rural regions of the State.  He’s completely unapologetic about his parliamentary maneuver at the State GOP Convention…wait, I’m writing about why he’ll win.

The former House Minority Leader certainly has some name ID with GOP activists, having won both the 2010 and 2014 caucus straw polls.  And despite all the attention being paid to the endorsement tiff, relatively few primary voters will have really heard about it, and even fewer will understand what the angst is about.  What voters in outstate Minnesota will hear is a consistent message targeted to rural issues, as Seifert has furiously toured the non-metro sections of the state.  The result should likely be Seifert dominating in districts like the 1st, 7th and 8th Congressional…

Why He’ll Lose: …but those districts don’t comprise nearly enough voters to win, especially if Seifert under-performs in the Metro.  Despite being the first GOP candidate to air a TV ad, the buy was small and not really focused on the Metro.

 

Nor does he have the resources to likely compete.  Seifert has raised the least amount of money of the four major candidates and has the smallest amount of cash still on hand – $71,000.  His totals aren’t massively different than Jeff Johnson’s, but Johnson has the party apparatus and an independent expenditure group to provide support.  Seifert’s ground game is totally up to him to fund.

While the resentment from Seifert’s endorsement exit may be hard for non-politicos to fully understand (or care about), it doesn’t help that in a race that’s been defined by the lack of conflict, Seifert’s candidacy is the only one having any significant anger directed towards it.  Under the old, “where there’s smoke, there’s fire” rule, some primary voters – even those who may not understand the anger – may simply steer clear of Seifert based on the reaction his candidacy causes among others.  If Seifert had a well-funded ad campaign, it’s highly doubtful such anger among a small, but vocal, minority would impact the race.  In the absence of a strong counter-message (in particular in the media-heavy metro), Seifert’s candidacy looks like an outlier with segments of the base.

Rose Colored Glasses

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

Because raising taxes creates jobs, dammit!

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

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

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

And it the numbers get more interestinger:

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

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

Glahn’s not done:

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

“Unexpectedly” vanished, of course.

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

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

And the news consumers they report to.

My Apologies To Heather Martens

To: Heather Martens
From: Mitch Berg, Your Longtime Nemesis
Re:  Apology

Ms. Martens,

For most of the past decade and change, I’ve been running down your accuracy, your knowledge of Second Amendment issues, and the extent to which you confused “purchased lobbying power” with “fact”.  Whenever you’ve opened your mouth about anything gun-related, I’ve snickered, comparing  your command of logic and fact with, say, Jessica Simpson or Jeanne Kasem.

But Rolling Stone’s Krystyn Gwynne has certainly qualified for a job on “Protect MN”‘s executive committee. 

That is all.

The Invisible Primary

The electorate hits the snooze button on the Minnesota Republican gubernatorial primary.

It’s been 20 years since the Minnesota GOP had a competitive primary for, well, anything.  And with just over a month to go before voters chose Gov. Mark Dayton’s general election opponent, that rust is showing.

Whether it’s the airwaves, newspapers, or even political blogs, interest/coverage in the GOP primary has been as invigorating as an Ambien with a warm milk chaser.  What little polling on the race has been done bares out that fact, with 22% having no opinion of the four main candidates running, and 33% either undecided or choosing none of the above.

The result isn’t surprising.  Of the four major candidates, only businessman Scott Honour is running any sort of campaign advertising – a modest radio ad buy hitting Dayton on his handling of MnSure.  But having blown through the better part of $1 million on infrastructure and staff, Honour has been reduced to recycling his material.  The nearly exact same ad ran in May.

The rest of the field isn’t exactly making news, either.  Kurt Zellers’ campaign seems to exist solely by press release, with few direct campaign actions.  Marty Seifert’s endorsement by former Governor Al Quie is the campaign’s biggest story to date, as Seifert seems intent on winning the primary by eschewing the state’s major media markets to focus on outstate voters.  Jeff Johnson’s endorsement by Rep. Erik Paulsen carries some weight, but largely seems to reinforce that most of the state’s Republican endorsers are staying out of the fight.

If you can call this primary a ‘fight.’  Despite the ill-will following the Republican Convention in May, the interactions between the campaigns have been downright Marquess of Queensbury:

Last Friday, TPT’s Almanac hosted the first debate between the Republican candidates for governor since the Republican Party of Minnesota’s state convention in Rochester…I watched it three times this week, looking for some spark of energy, some sign of life in the Republican race for governor. I found none, as it was a non-event.

I reviewed Twitter, expecting to see a flury of public jockeying by the campaigns or their supporters. Nothing.

No press releases were sent out by the campaigns after the debate, boasting about the performance of their candidate. Nobody claimed victory, nobody really said anything. There were no debate parties, where supporters of a candidate gather to watch the event.It is almost like the debate didn’t happen.

Avoiding the traditional circular firing squad may be the prudent choice, but against the backdrop of such a vanilla campaign, one has to wonder how any of the four candidates expect to even reach November.

Most assuredly, August 2014 will not resemble the August of 2010 as Mark Dayton and Matt Entenza spent wildly, with Margaret Anderson Kelliher doing her best to keep up via her organization.  Indeed, the question of 2014 may be what candidate (if any) can create the organization necessary to match the GOP’s GOTV efforts on behalf of Jeff Johnson.  The endorsement may no longer carry the same monetary value, but the organizational value of numerous BPOUs making phone calls definitely has a price-tag for those seeking to replicate the effort.  In a low-intensity, likely low-turnout field, the GOP’s GOTV efforts will likely prevail.

The GOP’s greater challenge may be to have a nominee that’s prepared to contend after August.  A GOP candidate having won by a minimal amount, and armed with a poor campaign account – as would likely be the case for three out of the four candidates – isn’t in the best position to challenge Mark Dayton.

ADDENDUM:  Marty Seifert may slightly regret getting former Gov. Al Quie’s backing, given Quie’s decision to now also support US Senate long-shot Jim Abeler.  Nor does it likely help that the Star Tribune is reminding readers that Quie also backed Tom Horner four years ago.

Dear “Progressives”

We warned you. Oh, yes we did.

“When you raise the taxes on the parts of our society that produce wealth, the wealth moves”

That’s especially true when the taxes you’re raising make the producers of wealth – companies, in this case – less competitive in a global marketplace with other companies that produce wealth and get less of a tax hit.

Two weeks ago, it was Medtronic packing up its corporate plantation moving to Ireland for a much, much, much better tax rate.

This week? Word that Walgreens is planning a similar inversion with a company in Switzerland.

And after news that Nash Finch and Advance Auto Parts are leaving Minnesota largely because of the DFL’s tax orgy, and Red Wing Shoes and Laurence Transportation shelving major expansions because of that same tax policy, i’m wondering how much longer the DFL can hide behind the the headlines about Minnesota’s phantom, low unemployment rate.

(Which translates to “low unemployment in the metro, where all the Fortune 1000 companies are, with the market a little less reassuring outstate…)

Best Voting System In America!

They warned me that if I voted Republican, there’d be a wave of claims of voter fraud when ethnic minorities tried to vote.

And they were right!

GOP operative Heather Linville put it well on Twitter:

@H_Linville: Oh…. OK. So now voter fraud exists, because a democrat might lose her seat. Got it! http://t.co/CwKIYpMm3j #stribpol

From the Strib:

The attorney for Phyllis Kahn says he got word Thursday night; there might be hundreds of people who are registering and voting using an address that’s not their home.
Absentee voting kicked-off Friday morning in a hotly contested democratic primary race for the state house between incumbent Phyllis Kahn and Mohamud Noor.

Republican operator Heather Linville put it best on Twitter

@H_Linville: Oh…. OK. So now voter fraud exists, because a democrat might lose her seat. Got it! http://t.co/CwKIYpMm3j #stribpol

Stop me if you’ve heard this before (emphasis added):

Brian Rice, attorney for the Phyllis Kahn Volunteer Committee, claims there’s voter fraud.
“I think there is a coordinated effort to use this address to bring voters into the DFL primary election on August 12, that’s what I think is going on,” Rice said. “It’s wrong, it violates Minnesota Law, it’s a crime.”
According to voter registration records from the Secretary of State’s office and the DFL Voter Activation Network more than 140 people used 419 Cedar Avenue South in Minneapolis as their home address, when they registered to vote.
The address is for what’s called Cedar Mailbox Center. The building manager and mail center’s employees weren’t comfortable speaking on camera, but they said they were surprised by the allegations.

Of course, during the 2010 elections the Minnesota Majority noted scads of such irregularities – including nine people listing a laundromat as their “home” address.  The response?

“It can’t be!”

Why?

“We have the best election system in the country”. 

Until it’s Phyllis Kahn being defrauded, of course.

TANGENT:  Remember when the only reason to claim voter fraud was racism?  Why do Rep. Kahn and the DFL hate Somalis, anyway?