It Works In So Many Ways

While it’s not statutorily legal, even under the French legal system, I love this idea on so many levels.

The caption, “Oui On Peut”, is French for “Sure, what the hell, it’s not the dumbest idea to come out of the French left in the past sixty years”. Seriously.

American liberals would reflexively attack anyone who claimed He wasn’t actually born in France as a racist.

And John F. Kerry, stricken with jealousy, would no doubt leave the country to run against him.

It’s A Start

Ted Mondale and Michelle Kelm-Helgen resigned from the Metro Sports Utilities Commission yesterday, after the corruption in the MSFC’s use of luxury skyboxes as a spiff for the Twin Cities’ DFL became to great for even the Metro old-boy-and-girl network to hush up.

Mondale and Kelm-Helgen faced cascading criticism and scrutiny since the Star Tribune reported in November that they and other MSFA commissioners hosted friends, family and well-connected DFLers at two 18-person luxury suites at the stadium during Vikings games and at several concerts. The two said the state-owned suites were needed to market the building, but an investigation by Legislative Auditor James Nobles revealed the suites were used mostly for entertainment by the MSFA commissioners and staff.

The Legislative Auditors report sounds like it’s good reading:

[Legislative Auditor James Nobles’] 100-page report faulted Kelm-Helgen and Mondale’s leadership of the MSFA, saying they had violated a core ethical principle by using public office for personal gain, by handing out free tickets, VIP parking, food and drink to friends and allies.

Combined, the two made nearly $300,000 in taxpayer-funded salaries. They oversaw construction of the $1.1 billion stadium, which was funded in part with a $498 million public subsidy.

And the saga of Michelle Kelm-Helgen, DFL grandée extraordinaire,  sounds like a “how-to” for any political glad-hander in a one-party city;

Even before the suite usage blew up, an unclear division of duties between Mondale and Kelm-Helgen became an issue. Former authority members Duane Benson and John Griffith had questioned the need for two taxpayer-funded executives in similar roles. They also raised concerns about Kelm-Helgen’s lack of collaboration.

“We were on a board that had an inability to get information,” Benson said, adding that Kelm-Helgen also refused to let the board participate in her job reviews.

Remember way back when Zygi Wilf was yanking the DFL-led Legislature and Governor Flint-Smith Dayton around, threatening to move the team if the state didn’t pony up to improve his investment for him at public expense?  And we asked – what could possibly go wrong when you entrust half a billion dollars to an bunch of unaccountable bureaucrats whose sole qualification was their DFL political connection?

Because you should remember it.

The Right Women

One of my favorite sociopolitical tales is that of Alan Dershowitz, the not-remotely-conservative legal scholar who once castigated the faculty of Harvard Law School for seeing diversity as “someone with different color skin, than you, or wearing a skirt, who thinks exactly the same as you do”.

As predicted, the “Womens March” over the weekend, in DC and Saint Paul, was precisely that.

Continue reading

All Roads Lead To George

The more politics I watch, the more I realize Berg’s Seventh Law – which started as a flippant observation of casual hypocrisy…:

“When a Liberal issues a group defamation or assault on conservatives’ ethics, character, humanity or respect for liberty or the truth, they are at best projecting, and at worst drawing attention away from their own misdeeds”

…truly does pretty much explain the entire American left.

To wit:  the left is barbering about the suffocating control an Eastern European kleptocrat has over the American right?  Look for an Eastern European kleptocrat pulling the strings behind the American left.

Ding ding di freaking ding:

By my draft research, which I’m opening up for crowd-sourcing on GoogleDocs, Soros has funded, or has close relationships with, at least 56 of the march’s “partners,” including “key partners” Planned Parenthood, which opposes Trump’s anti-abortion policy, and the National Resource Defense Council, which opposes Trump’s environmental policies. The other Soros ties with “Women’s March” organizations include the partisan MoveOn.org (which was fiercely pro-Clinton), the National Action Network (which has a former executive director lauded by Obama senior advisor Valerie Jarrett as “a leader of tomorrow” as a march co-chair and another official as “the head of logistics”). Other Soros grantees who are “partners” in the march are the American Civil Liberties Union, Center for Constitutional Rights, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. March organizers and the organizations identified here haven’t yet returned queries for comment.   

Presumably because they’re jetting off to Riyadh to protest treatment of women in the Middle East.

Oh, I slay me.

Artisanal Bread And Cirques De Soleil

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

I enjoy live theater.  Well, some of it.  I go for entertainment, not consciousness-raising (I get enough of that from the newspapers, television, internet, Bar Association, Academy awards . . . I’m inundated with people wanting to raise my consciousness to the point where all I want is a couple of hours of escape).

So what does the Guthrie offer this season? A Winter Sale, buy 4 plays for as little as $80, choose from among:

The Royal Family, a comedic valentine to the theater, loosely based on the Barrymore family.

King Lear, Shakespeare’s epic tragedy

The Bluest Eye, a moving adaptation of Toni Morrison’s novel exploring the destructive power of racist society

Refugia, a relevant and evocative world premiere exploring exile, borders and displacement of people.

Sunday in the Park with George, Sondheim’s artistic masterpiece featuring songs I’ve never heard of.

Native Gardens, a hilarious hot button comedy exposing notions of race, taste and privilege.

So that’s one classic, two musicals that may be okay, and three consciousness-raisers.   Leaving aside the fact that $80 gets me a seat in Area 4 (worst seats in the house) on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings (slowest days of the week), I know I’m not willing to pay that kind of money to be harangued about racism, refugees or privilege.  So who is?

Behold, the Guthrie’s list of corporate sponsors.  And notice who’s number one, giving over $250,000 per year to fund this dreck?  That’s right – you, the taxpayer.  

Joe Doakes

Some animals are more equal.

Of Fish And Water

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Got this message from the Real Property Section of the Minnesota State Bar Association, sent to all members:

“The MSBA Real Property Law Section seeks feedback on what our members find valuable about the Section. To streamline the process, we put together a short survey for members, and in return, five members who complete the survey will be rewarded with a gift card to Target worth $50 in stores or online. The information gathered from the survey will be used to evaluate the Section’s current and future initiatives and keep us focused on the things that matter most to our members.”

Sent this message in return:


Dear MSBA:  I won’t be completing the survey. I thought I’d let you know why not.

I pay dues to support the section out of my pocket, not reimbursed by my employer.  The section will use my dues as a reward for contributing to the survey.  But not in cash which members could spend on anything they like; the section will only allow winners to spend the reward at a particular vendor.

The reason that matters is this particular vendor has chosen to embrace controversial corporate values which are not shared by everybody in the state, such as the recent bathroom controversy or even stocking policies under which customers cannot buy ordinary items sold at other discount retailers such as spark plugs.  Target management makes these decisions to make a political statement of its corporate values, the better to market its brand to its selected customer base. 

Fine, Target can make marketing decisions as it sees fit.  But by specifically choosing that particular vendor over Walmart or Fleet Farm or a Visa gift card spendable anywhere, the Real Property Section signals to members that it shares Target’s value system and wishes to contribute to its bottom line profitability with my dues.  What does that action say to members of the section – or to the public at large – who do not share those values? 

It doesn’t matter whether I, personally, share Target’s values.  I don’t think MSBA should be in the business of rewarding businesses on the basis of which political positions they embrace.  I think MSBA and all its sections should be neutral.  I don’t wish to participate in an activity that makes it appear that I, as an attorney and officer of the court, have chosen to promote one set of controversial values over the values held by other citizens of this state.   Therefore, I will not complete the survey.


This is the sort of unconscious Liberalism that blindsided Hillary supporters.  They literally don’t think anybody disagrees with them, never even occurs to them to wonder about it. I doubt my note will do any good – I suspect they write it off as “another cis-gendered White male curmudgeon” – but somebody ought to say it.

Joe Doakes

Someday, the concept “Urban Liberal Privilege” will need to be officially codified.

This is certainly a case study.

The Plan

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

My boss is a liberal.  “Trump tweeted that he’s breaking his promise, Mexico won’t pay for the wall, we will.”

My response: you’re being distracted from important things by irrelevancies.  Social Security runs out of money in three years. Then what?

His idea: make the federal government repay the money they stole from it.

Seriously?  The reason the federal budget is only short $500 billion each year is that we’re borrowing money from the Social Security fund to cover it.  Where will we get the money to close that gap PLUS repay the IOUs to Social Security?

Simple: the government will just have to come up with the money. And if they don’t have it, then we can’t build the wall. And besides, it’s only temporary, until enough undocumented immigrants arrive to pay into the system again, then it’ll all work out.

Yes.  The liberal plan is to bail out Social Security with [illegal immigants], which is why we must not build the wall, so they can get in, to save us.

Joe Doakes   

Which is, of course, also why we need to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour; if people make more, they pay more social security taxes.  Hence solvency…

Self-Inflicted

Hillary is pondering running for mayor of NYC.

To be fair, she couldn’t be any worse than DiBlasio.

Could she?

On the other hand…:

Hank Sheinkopf, a New York Democratic consultant, told Newsmax, “She is wildly popular among New Yorkers — so much so that were she to file, [Mayor Bill] de Blasio would have to file his retirement papers on the same day.”

I’m going to guess Mr. Sheinkopf was saying the same thing this time the last year about the Presidency…

 

Parting Shot

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Obama promises to send 1,200 Special Forces troops to Lithuania, to counter Russian military aggression.

This is a transparently political move directed at low-information domestic audience, the people who get their news from headlines alone.  Obama won’t be President this Spring so he won’t be the one keeping the promise when it comes to sending Greet Berets against Russian tanks.  But if Trump doesn’t keep Obama’s promise, then Democrats will claim Trump is abandoning our allies because he’s in bed with the Russians who stole our election.

Trump should declare today that he has no intention of letting Obama start a war with Russia and then walk away leaving him holding the bag, that Trump will make his own decisions after he is inaugurated.

I expect Obama will continue to sabotage the incoming administration, not in Bill Clinton’s juvenile method of removing the “W” from all the White House keyboards, but in true tin-pot dictator style, by emptying the prisons and pardoning his henchmen.

Joe Doakes

I expect Sasha, Malia and Michelle to get a “fact-finding trip” to Monaco out of the deal in the next two weeks…

To The Extreme

Gallup reports the percentage of Americans who describe themselves as politically conservative is the highest it’s been in twenty years.

Which doesn’t surprise me much; while Americans may have any number of political orientations, real life is conservative for most Americans.

But the real takeaway?  Those describing themselves as Democrats are becoming more extreme toward the left:

Most of the long-term change in Americans’ political views occurred after 2000 and can be explained by one overarching factor — an increasing likelihood of Democrats (including independents who lean Democratic) to self-identify as liberal. Democratic liberal identification has increased by about one percentage point each year, from 30% in 2001 to 44% in 2016. As a result, liberalism now ranks as the top ideological group among Democrats.

Meanwhile, there has been an eight-point decline since 2001 in the percentage of Democrats identifying as conservative and a six-point decline in the percentage of Democrats who are moderate.

My two cents?  That’s good news.

Win-Win

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Ramsey County Sheriff Bostrom is retiring to move to England to study whether it would improve law enforcement if they hired persons of good character as police officers. 

The fact he’s having to go all the way to Oxford to find anybody willing to seriously consider the question shows just how far American academic and law enforcement standards have fallen.

 Meanwhile, St. Paul has decided the less people know about law enforcement practices, the better police oversight will be.  So when civil rights activists complained the Internal Affairs Review Commission was biased, the City ordered a report of interviews with 25 people conducted by the U of M Center for Restorative Justice and now the Council has decided to adopt the recommendations of the “study.”  Kick the cops off, pack it with activists, move it out of the police department, hold meetings out in the neighborhoods and give its recommendation to the Chief of Police.

 My question is: when the Commission finds that a St. Paul cop acted wrongly but the Chief of Police declines to accept that decision on the grounds the reviewers don’t know what they’re talking about, will there be more peace in the community, or less?

 Joe Doakes

Either way, the needs of both the bureaucracy and the “activist” communities – both fully-owned subsidiaries of the DFL – are served.

And that’s called a win-win!

Those Who Can’t Possibly Learn From History Are Doomed To…

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Remember yellowcake? 

 The story was that intelligence agencies had learned Saddam Hussein was trying to buy yellowcake uranium to build nuclear weapons to use against the United States, which would have posed a threat to our national security, so we had to go to war against him to prevent him from using weapons of mass destruction on us.

 The entire international coalition shared the intelligence evidence as did select members of Congress including John Kerry and Hillary Clinton, both of whom supported the war based on that intelligence assessment.

 Except – no yellowcake.  Turns out the intelligence was faulty.  Nobody should have relied on it, much less gone to war over it.  Bush lied, people died.

 Fast forward a decade.  Portions of the intelligence community believe Russia hacked into the DNC computers but portions of it do not, the evidence is unclear, the motive is unknown, the result on the election is impossible to prove.  But some idiots in Congress are ready to start a war over this?  And not just war with some two-bit tin pot dictator, war with a nuclear nation whose conventional military forces dwarf ours? 

Insane.  Literally, not sane.  Should be locked up as a danger to themselves and all the rest of us.

 Joe Doakes

Knowing some of this might come from reading military history.

But you can count liberals who read military history on one hand.

Get The Sad Trombone

Gun-control melodrama Miss Sloane has bombed at the box office.

Well, no.  That understates it.  Howard the Duck and Ishtar bombed.  Miss Sloane was dropped from a single B-29, and like that iconic single bomb, has a decent shot at helping to bring a war to an end.

After lavish television advertising – Miss Sloane had a bigger TV budget than the inescapable Rogue One – and fawning reviews from liberal critics and media, the movie earned $3.2 million dollars.  Which, divided by the number of screens and a $10 ticket price, meant an average of around ten people attending each showing.

And it wasn’t for lack of trying to get people to show up. Out of the 200 highest-grossing movies of 2016, only ten exceeded the $15.9 million television advertising budget of Miss Sloane, and seven of those did so by very small amounts. Miss Sloane spent more than the Star Wars spinoff Rogue One, Star Trek, Pete’s Dragon, Arrival, Doctor Strange, and Hacksaw Ridge. It had twice the advertising budget of such hits as Sully, The Girl on the Train, and The Secret Life of Pets. For every dollar spent on advertising, Miss Sloane brought in just 21 cents in ticket sales. By this measure, it came in dead last out of the 200 top-grossing movies in 2016. No one else was even close. Coming in second-to-last was Collateral Beauty, which made 53 cents per advertising dollar. The average movie made almost $2 for each dollar spent on advertising.

Of course, the movie’s core conceit – that gun grabbers are a bunch of plucky, underfunded underdogs, duking it out with a “gun lobby” that is floating in money – is a preposterous fiction.  Michael Bloomberg and other anti-gun plutocrats fund the “safe criminal” movement lavishly.

For example, here in Minnesota during the 2016 campaign, groups affiliated with the safe criminal lobby spent well over a million dollars – easily ten times as much as the Human Rights movement did – and employed at least four full-time paid staffers.   Not a single person in Minnesota is paid to lobby the legislature or organize the community; the movement is entirely volunteers, working on their own time out of pure devotion to the Bill of Rights.   In other states – Nevada, Washington, Maine – the spending ratio was closer to 30 to 1.

I suspect most Americans can tell the movie doesn’t pass the stink test;  Sloane’s premise reeks like a full pea-soup diaper on a dog day in the bayou.

And its failure is of a piece with the collapse, over the past fifteen years, of nearly every single Hollywood anti-war movie.

When I saw the trailer – during one of my ever-so-brief episodes of watching broadcast TV – I heard the trailer in the background.  I think it was the normally-excellent Sam Waterson, playing one of the “gun lobby” bad guys.  I think I envisioned a character wearing a black cape and top hat, twisting a painstakingly-maintained handlebar mustache as he tied Ms. Chastain…er, Sloane to the tracks.  I actually laughed out loud.

But hey, Hollywood; keep ’em coming.

What Might Have Been

Nate Cohn notes why Hillary couldn’t reassemble the Obama Coalition:

It is entirely possible, as many have argued, that Hillary Clinton would be the president-elect of the United States if the F.B.I. director, James Comey, had not sent a letter to Congress about her emails in the last weeks of the campaign.

But the electoral trends that put Donald J. Trump within striking distance of victory were clear long before Mr. Comey sent his letter. They were clear before WikiLeaks published hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee. They were even clear back in early July, before Mr. Comey excoriated Mrs. Clinton for using a private email server.

It was clear from the start that Mrs. Clinton was struggling to reassemble the Obama coalition.

At every point of the race, Mr. Trump was doing better among white voters without a college degree than Mitt Romney did in 2012 — by a wide margin. Mrs. Clinton was also not matching Mr. Obama’s support among black voters.

The one “down side” – I”m exaggerating – to Clinton’s loss as far as I’m concerned?

We won’t be able to test my theory that, had Clinton won, all the liberal money and media love lavished on Black Lives Matter would have dried up before Hillary Clinton left the inauguration stage, because the reason George Soros was pouring megabucks into BLM was to get black voters, who’d turned out in cataclysmic numbers for Obama, to take any interest in a geriatric white patrician.

Membership Has Its Benefits

The DFL controlled Department of Employment and Economic Development is granting “Dislocated Worker” benefits – designed for large groups of private-sector workers who’ve been laid off – to DFL legislative staffers whose jobs disappeared with their majority and, in many cases, their representatives:

Republicans Say Losing DFLers Shouldn’t Be Getting Job Loss Benefits

As Kelly Fenton notes, this is a first; political work (and work for a legislator or a caucus is political work, and much of it disappears when a party loses a majority) is unstable.  Lose an election?  Lose your staff.  Lose the majority?  Lose more staff.

And word has it some of the workers getting benefits were, in fact, campaign workers.

I say the DFL should defend this action loudly, proudly and stridently.  Preferably by calling their critics “deplorable”.

Come For The MNSure; Stay For The Corruption

As the MNGOP rode back into a legislative majority on the collapse of MNSure, Donald Trump rode to office in DC promising to “drain the swamp”.

I’m not sure if the next GOP candidate for governor will make a similar promise.

But they sure could.  As Jeff Johnson points out in an op-ed in the Strib, the swamp – the cronyism, the incestuous DFL racket – is no less present.

In 2015, Dayton appointed the husband of his chief of staff to be the new chairman of the Metropolitan Council. Previously, the Met Council chairman position was part time and paid just over $61,000 per year. With this new appointment, however, the position was made full time and the annual salary was increased to $145,000.

Later in 2015, Dayton provided significant pay increases to his entire cabinet, most in the range of 25 percent to 30 percent. A salary increase from $120,000 to $155,000 per year was the most common increase granted by the governor. When both Republican and DFL leaders complained of these increases, Dayton called such concerns “beyond the theater of the absurd.”

Earlier this year, we learned that Dayton had quietly provided taxpayer-funded severance payments to several of his commissioners when they resigned from his cabinet. He provided more than $33,000 in severance to one commissioner when she resigned to pursue “a new opportunity,” $27,000 to another (whom Dayton appointed a couple of years later to another executive government position) and more than $18,000 to a third who had served in her position for only eight months before resigning.

Most recently, Dayton removed from the U.S. Bank Stadium board a member who has been critical of the chairwoman of that board (a Dayton appointee and his former deputy chief of staff) and the executive director of that board (a longtime DFL operative) both being paid by the taxpayers to do essentially the same job. Together, the two make nearly $300,000 per year.

The DFL has turned state government into a jobs program for useless apparatchiks.

Don’t Let The Door Hit You

Barbara Boxer is leaving Congress.

Unfortunately, that departure is a result of being feted at a retirement party, rather than frog-walked out of her office by the FBI.

But gone is gone – not that it matters much given California’s delegation.    It remains blinkered far-left, and is still home to some of the our worst Congresspeople, even absent Boxer.

Boxer moved to the Senate a generation ago as female candidates rode a burst of popularity, she noted in her official farewell address Wednesday. She departs just after the defeat of the first female presidential nominee.
She entered public life when it was considered a “noble” profession, she reminded listeners, and will leave just before the inauguration of a man who succeeded in large part by denouncing politicians.

The sooner that idea is mocked out of existence, the better we all will be.

Representing the people isn’t dishonorable.  Turning government into a cash cow for one’s self and one’s special interests is no more “honorable” than being a pimp.