What Government Really Does

When Matt Järlström got snagged by one of Oregon’s red light cams in 2013, he began researching the effectivness and side-effects of these red-light cameras – and the jiggering of yellow lights cycle times that allowed then to earn extra money for their jurisdictions.

Since then, his research into red light cameras has earned him attention in local and national media—in 2014, he presented his evidence on an episode of “60 Minutes”—and an invitation to present at last year’s annual meeting of the Institute of Transportation Engineers.

It also got him a $500 fine from the Oregon State Board of Examiners for Engineering and Land Surveying.

Math and logic are apparently so powerful, you need a state license to use them (emphasis added):

Apparently the threats weren’t enough, because the board follow-up in January of this year by officially fining Järlström $500 for the supposed crime of “practicing engineering without being registered.”

Järlström is now suing the state board over that fine, arguing that it’s unconstitutional to prevent someone from doing math without the government’s permission. He’s getting support from the Institute for Justice, a national libertarian law firm.

Don’t think there aren’t “journalists” who’d love to run with that whole “sue the competition out of exisence” schtick.

“Criticizing the government’s engineering isn’t a crime; it’s a constitutional right,” said Sam Gedge, an attorney at the Institute for Justice, in a statement.

Some would call it a duty.

Oh, wait – I just got a letter from the Minnesota Moral Philosophy Standards and Licensing Board…

Rebooted Morality!

Remember when questioning the provenance of immigrant voters was a baaaad thing?

Either does Alondra “The Brain” Cano, the “third world feminist” and Minneapolis City Council ward heeler:

Minneapolis City Council candidate Mohamed Farah is accusing Council Member Alondra Cano of “Jim Crow tactics” after she questioned the credentials of many of the Somali-American delegates chosen in the Ninth Ward caucus earlier this month.

Cano’s campaign filed challenges with the Minneapolis DFL saying 101 delegates elected in the near south Minneapolis caucus did not sign in to participate in the April 4 event at South High School. At least 27 delegates and alternates did not write down their addresses when they registered, Cano’s campaign said, and “we have identified at least three delegates who do not live in the precinct they were elected in.”

I love watching tyrants eating each other.

Verdict

Kevin Williamson’s conclusion on the Democrats’ seeming compulsion to inflict more Clintons on us, and themsellves, via Chelsea:

…for Pete’s sake, stop it. Have a little self-respect, Democrats. Build Bill Clinton a statue or . . . whatever. Send him your daughters like a bunch of bone-in-the-nose primitives paying tribute to the tribal chieftain. But stop trying to inflict this empty-headed, grasping, sanctimonious, risible, simpering, saccharine little twerp on American public life. It’s stupid enough out there.

What led to the conclusion?

Oh, just read the whole thing.

Today’s News, Ten Years Ago

Bill Kling, the godfather of Minnesota Public Radio as we know it today, was a radio visionary or a skilled political operative who was an expert at marshaling political clout to his ends.

Well, forget the “or”.  He was both.

Kling was much of the reason MPR is what it is today – in terms of creative vision and, especially, “business development” via both conventional fundraising and endowment-mongering, and use of the political system to meet his ends.  He built a huge, successful merchandising arm (based on the success of Garrison Keillor and “Prairie Home Companion”, the lighting in a bottle that made MPR not only big, but phenomenally wealthy); he also led the charge against community low-power FM radio stations – which could have cut into Big Public Radio’s funding and audience – until the Internet rendered the battle moot.  And any time any conservative got any ideas about cutting public funding for MPR, Kling called in enough favors on Capitol Hill to make a Chicago ward heeler dizzy with envy.

And to this radio geek, who spent his formative years working at dusty little small-town stations tucked in above drugstores or behind hardware stores, or places like the old KSTP-AM, wedged into an old transmitter shed, a tour through MPR’s studios on 7th and Robert in Saint Paul – even in their “old” facility – made you feel a little like Jethro Clampett walking through that Beverly Hills mansion for the first time (as did hearing what MPR people got paid; people doing the exact same job I did at KSTP-AM made 50% more than I got).  And when they upgraded it in the mid-aughts, with a huge indoor auditorium and capacious new offices and, best of all, state of the state of the art studios?  Not just exactly at the radio high-tech fashion curve – oh no.  That, plus they had not one but two state of the art on-air studios, mirror images of each other, so that the staff (!) of one show didn’t have to rush and trip over each other to get out of the way of the next show coming in; they’d just alternate studios.

The Taj Ma Kling. Or the “Kling Public Media Center”. Tomayto, Tomahto.

So opulent (to my commercial radio tastes) was it, that ten years ago this past Tuesday, I christened their facility the “Taj Ma Kling“.

And ten years and one day after I named the facility, Minnesota Public Radio in effect agreed with me:

Minnesota Public Radio will rename its St. Paul headquarters and broadcast facilities the Kling Public Media Center on April 19. The decision to do so was actually made back in 2011, the year Kling retired from his post as CEO of both MPR and American Public Media, but the actual change was held off until now so that it coincided with MPR’s 50th anniversary.

““Our 50th anniversary is the perfect time to honor what Bill created and built. His entrepreneurial spirit and passion for public service continue to inspire us as we begin our next 50 years,” said Jon McTaggart, the current president and CEO of American Public Media Group. “What Bill has done – not just for Minnesota and MPR, but for public media audiences across the country – is unique and lasting. The creativity and innovation within the walls of the Kling Public Media Center will always be a living testament to what Bill began a half century ago.”

“Taj Ma Kling” / “Kling Public Media Center”.

Different words,  Same idea.

Deep Blue World

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

A woman in Britain spoke an unpleasant truth: feminism has made women worse off.  It’s another example of Berg’s Law: Liberal Policies Destroy Liberal Values.

 She concentrates on the economic effect of women entering the labor force but that’s only the half of it.  Cutting everyone’s wages is bad, of course, but looking around various government offices, I don’t think that’s the worst thing.

 The worst thing is productivity dropped by half, as well.  More people doing less work for less money means work-produced-per-dollar remains constant which looks good on paper but is a massive disaster for management.   

 Focusing performance on time-on-task or units-per-hour is oppressive, patriarchal, and just plain no fun, especially with your co-worker said something that hurt your feelings so you simply can’t bear to work right now; or your kid is sick so you can’t come in today; or you’ll get to my project as soon as you finish texting your friend, or you are certain you have medical reasons why you can’t work even if the doctors are too stupid to figure it out.

 Throw in public sector unions and civil service rules making it impossible to fire slackers and you have a workforce that is hostile to the point of being unmanageable.

 Welcome to the Deep State.

 Joe Doakes

Orwell wasn’t wrong, and he wasn’t even all that far off time-wise.  He just got the degree a little off.

The Club

On Saturday, a rally at the state capitol asked Saint Paul and Ramco authorities to actually enforce the law against the spoiled children of their golf buddies.

Many people at the rally said they were concerned that not prosecuting the protesters would send the message that it’s acceptable to interrupt a peaceful event with noise and violence.

“It disturbs the heck out of me to see we’ve descended into lawlessness,” said James Brunsgaard of Hastings, who said he was sworn at and called a racist during the March 4 rally. “It disturbs me beyond belief.”

Several of the speakers expressed frustration that their event was disrupted, while recent Democratic or liberal-leaning events, like the Jan. 21 Women’s March, were not significantly disturbed.

No, let’s be honest:  we’re frustrated because while we, the good guys, will take a out permits that spell out the rules for where and when we can protest, and still get routinely shouted down and often attacked [1], groups in sync with the DFL’s agenda seem to have carte blanche to do whatever they feel like doing [2] with, as we saw on March 4 (and other instances [1]) no consequences whatsoever.

Why, it’s almost like:

  1. there’s a two-tiered system of “free speech” and “justice” in the Twin Cities, and
  2. they – not just the protesters, but the DFL on the official level – are trying to provoke frustration that breaks out into a fight, which will in turn confirm, finally, the left’s long-standing claim that there’s a frothing undercurrent of violence on the right just dying to erupt.  Any day now.  Honest.  Seriously.

And there’s not a damn thing anyone can do about it!

Here’s the problem:  on the one hand, “democracy” can only survive while people trust government and the “justice” system to be impartial.

On the other hand, the people with the upper hand in the Twin Cities – the DFL establishment – have no interest in democracy.


[1] Attacks on conservatives that I can recall off the top of my head:

  • Protesters shouted down Jeanne Kirkpatrick at the U of M in 1987.
  • The shutting down of conservative speakers at Saint Thomas in the mid-2000s
  • The selective enforcement of rules against protesting, ,applied with strict caprice against pro-life protesters and protesters at the Mexican Consulate, largely ignored against leftist protesters
  • The riots at the RNC in 2008
  • The repeated attacks on Trump supporters in Minneapolis in 2016 and, of course, this past March 4 in Saint Paul.

[2] Protesters on the left, on the other hand, got away with:

  • Closing down I-35 – without a permit.
  • Closing down I94 3-4 times – without a demonstration permit.
  • Closing down Snelling Avenue on the closing Saturday of the MN State Fair in 2015 – without a permit
  • Closing down the Green Line on the opening Sunday of the 2015 football season – without a permit.
  • Staging an un-permitted protest on March 4 for precisely the reason that they issue demonstration permits in the first place – to prevent violent confrontations – without any consequences.

TIme For Some Petty Partisanship

Kevin Williamson in National Review comes perilously close to my riff on people who think being “Moderate” is, itself, a good thing:

Bipartisanship is desirable not because the best course is likely to be found at the midpoint between two extremes: The man who drinks to excess every day is a drunk, and so is the man who does so every other day. There is no compromise between fidelity and infidelity. When presented with a good idea and a bad one, there is no point in being a little bit stupid for the sake of compromise.

Which is a lot like my saying: “Moderation for its own sake is like getting a choice between ‘being beaten to death with a baseball bat, and living a long happy life’, and compromising on a traumatic brain injury”.

But he actually has a serious point.   It is high time the GOP descended into some petty partisanship by stopping the petty graft gravy trail that funds the institutional left.

Congress should also target grants and other federal funding directed to political organizations. For example: La Raza, through its banking operations (of course it has banking operations!) has received millions of dollars in federal subsidies…the comptroller general has found routine violations of existing laws against using federal funds for political advocacy and lobbying activities. There is in fact a federal criminal law against using federal appropriations to underwrite lobbying. You will not be surprised to learn that this law — which has been on the books for nearly a century — apparently never has been enforced. “The exact parameters of this law, adopted in 1919, are not precisely known,” writes the Congressional Research Service, “as there appears never to have been an enforcement action or indictment returned based on the provision.” Time to tighten that up. Congress should also adopt a general prohibition on distributing federal settlement funds to nonprofit organizations. Billions of dollars in federal settlements have been directed to “non-victim entities” such as the Urban League and La Raza, which are fundamentally political organizations. If Republicans cannot bring themselves to act out of prudence and principle, then they at least ought to have a sense of self-preservation sufficient to stop funding campaigns against themselves.

It’s time for Republicans to stop letting our sense of fair play be used against us.

Anyway – it verges on a Berg’s Seventh Law reference; for all the left barbers about tax dollars going to support any institution of faith, an insane amount of our money goes to support the left’s religion – leftist power politics (emphasis added):

The Left has a weakness: It is dependent upon government money. It has long accepted that arrangement complacently, on the theory that its friends will generally control the government, if not always at the elected level then at the administrative and bureaucratic level. (The Left has not been wrong about that.) According to the Congressional Budget Office, about 17 percent of all federal outlays take the form of assistance to state and local governments — funds that in turn account for about a quarter of all state and local government spending. A fair portion of that money ends up simply passing through to nonprofits and politically connected contractors who provide dubious “outreach” and “development” services.

The correct term for that is “Graft”.

Leftist Justice – Saint Paul Style

Last weekend, a group of “anarchists” attacked a pro-Trump rally at the Minnesota State Capitol.    Thugs wearing helmets and masks sucker-punched and kicked unsuspecting peaceful demonstrators, and in one case sprayed mace into a crowd of people.

It was not a spontaneous event; they were quite obviously organized, equipped, and had planned for the event.

They sprayed what was described as “Bear Mace” into a crowd of unsuspecting people – which can easily be a lethal weapon for people with respiratory conditions.   There were six arrests.

The entire fracas was caught on film, in front of dozens of witnesses.  There is not problem showing the violence, brutality and intent of the event.

No matter.  They are aligned with the left against the right.  And in Saint Paul, that’s license to block streets, clog freeways…

…and now, to physically attack people with potentially lethal force.   Ramsey County has declined to charge the arrested protesters – four boys and two girls – with anything.

Monday, the Ramsey County Attorney’s Office said there were insufficient facts to prove felony-level riot. The attorney’s office said State Patrol has presented the case to the St. Paul City Attorney’s Office for consideration of misdemeanor charges.

That is bullshit, stacked high and deep.

If it were a bunch of rednecks from Isanti County who’d maced the “Womens’ March” a couple weeks ago, they’d still be in jail.

Look at the boys and girls who were arrested.  Check out the names:  Anton.  Isabell.  Linwood.  Those are upper-middle-class white kid names.  Breck School names.  Names that drive Subarus until they get a Volvo.  Names like the children of John Choi’s law school classmates and Chris Coleman’s Crocus Hill and Kenwood cronies have.

It’s the special, deluxe, “for progressives only” justice, part of the “progressives only” school, university, public sector union and non-profit parallel universe of power and privilege that the Big Left in Minnesota gets.

UPDATE:  I’ve seen reports that Linwood Kaine is the son of Hillary Clinton’s VP candidate.

Well, I’m gonna guess there were some lawyers involved, huh?

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.

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…

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!

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.

So Let Me See If I Got This Straight

Democrat operatives, November 7, 2016:  “Our electoral system is rock solid, there is no election fraud, the results we get are impeccable, and failing to accept its results is paranoia and maybe treason.

Democrat operatives, November 26, 2016:  “We can not accept the results of the election in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, because our election system is rife with fraud and easily hacked by…Russians”.

Make no mistake, this isn’t about trying to get Hillary into the White House; it’s about trying to delay three large states’ electoral vote totals long enough to throw the election to the Congress, thereby giving Democrats leverage to try to illegitimize President-Elect Trump, give the demented Democrat chanting classes a bloody shirt to wave at the ignorant for the next 4-8 years, and set up a narrative in which Hillary – among the wealthiest, most powerful people in the world – is a victim.

Liberal Logic

Near as I can figure, it’s:

Step 1:  Run around waving signs, chanting chants, burning things and looting things and attacking people and vandalizing dissenters’ property (actually property dissenters rent…):

Anti-Trumpkins vandalized the GOP headquarters... ...no. They vandalized the building where the GOP rents space for its headquarters. The property owners will now have to remove the vandalism or get a ticket from the city. Not the GOP. The vandals.

Anti-Trumpkins vandalized the GOP headquarters…
…no. They vandalized the building where the GOP rents space for its headquarters.
The property owners will now have to remove the vandalism or get a ticket from the city.
Not the GOP. The property’s owners.

…and block highways.

Step 2:  Trump resigns.

Dear protesters:  please keep it up.  The GOP will gain seats in the mid-terms.

Why I’m Voting For Hillary Clinton

This has been a tough election season.  It’s hard to make a choice, honestly.   As I’ve noted in this space, I don’t much care for Donald Trump, for reasons that go back three decades.

But after thinking a long, long time, I’ve come to the realization that there really is only one valid choice for President:  Hillary Rodham Clinton.

This may come as a surprise to those of you who’ve been reading my blog this past fifteen years.  I’m not just a Republican – I’m a conservative.

And yet, here I am.

Why?

For The Girls:  Donald Trump’s on-camera japes about women ten years ago were nauseating.

I want America’s women to learn the right lessons:  that any little girl who goes to an “elite” university, marries up, and spends decades ignoring her husband’s abuses, and slandering hubby’s accusers, can make it big in this country.

And when women are victimized by sexual predators, we need to take them seriously.  They are, indeed, a serious threat to your gravy train.   Women need to get out there, call those tramps out for the crazies, stalkers and publicity whores they really are, and get back to business, for everyone’s best interests!

Opening Up The US!  The US is not an island.  We are part of a global community.

And as such, like any other business in a community, we need to separate the serious discussion from the background noise.

And nobody has more experience than Hillary at filtering the serious conversations – those backed by enough money to matter – out from the background noise.

Laws Are For Little People:  Running a democracy is a big job.  Big  jobs have big responsibilities.  The people with those responsibilities need to be able to pick and choose the laws they follow to do their work For The People.

Priorities!:  Relax, shooters.  Hillary’s not coming for your guns!

She’s going to appoint Supreme Court justices who will, on command, overturn Heller and McDonald, throwing control over gun laws back to the states and cities, subjecting tens of millions of Americans to having their rights sodomized by some of our most repugnant politicians.

But Hillary won’t be leading the SWAT team into your house personally, herself, so she will bear no responsibility for this, and you don’t dare hold it against her.  Sexist pig.

And finally…:  I realized that the only reason not to vote for her was that she was a woman, rather than a man with a mediocre record as a back-bench Senator, and a Secretary of State whose sole achievement (deposing a second-rate Libyan dictator, with the unintended consequence of creating a vacuum into which all manner of radicals have flowed) would make him a deservedly obscure figure in public life, and whose “foundation” would make Al Capone look like Fulton Sheen.

Nope.  The only reason anyone could possibly oppose her is her gender.   And I’m just better than that.

Of course, I hasten to remind you that  after 9/11, while in the Senate, she did a lot of work helping out victims and first responders.  AKA, “her job”, just like the rest of Congress.

Conclusions:  This country needs someone who can both give The People the platitudes they need, while making the light rail run on time.

I think the choice is clear and obvious.

UPDATE:  One more reason I’ll be voting for Hillary:  if she’s President, I won’t have to write pieces like this anymore.  When she engineers the reversal of Citizens United, all political criticism will be considered “in-kind political spending” and regulated by the Federal Elections Commission.  So I won’t have to do it, because the professionals will take care of it!

POSTSCRIPT:  If you’re a Hillary supporter, feel free to sound off.

Unless you’re a commenter who’s made a habit of leaving long, fact-challenged comments and not reading the response.  I’ve given you homework; until you do it, your posts are being moderated.

Somewhere In Virginia

SCENE:  FBI Director James COMEY drives up to his house, in a cozy northern Virginia suburb of DC.

As he gets out of his car, he notes Huma ABEDIN, sitting on his porch.  

He takes his briefcase and walks toward her.

ABEDIN:  Good day, Mr. Comey.

COMEY:  Ms. Abedin, you know I can’t communicate with you during an investigation,

ABEDIN:   You can’t talk about the investigation.  This is a social call.

COMEY:  Do tell.

ABEDIN:  Purely social.

(ABEDIN pulls out a manila envelope)

COMEY:  Social?

ABEDIN:  Sure.  I wanted to talk family.

(She pulls out an 8×10 photo and a sheet of paper from the envelope and hands it to COMEY)

COMEY:  What the…?

ABEDIN:   Nice looking grandkids, there.  Aaron, age six, who attends Holy Cross Elementary school, takes the 4 bus, gets to school at 8:30 and leaves at 2:30, plays soccer with the Hippo team at Wartford Rec Center, and…Emiliy age four, attends the Rutherford Crossing pre-school from 9AM to noon.  Children of your daughter, if I’m not mistaken.

COMEY:  So you want…

ABEDIN:  You know what I want.

(ABEDIN rises, leaves)

COMEY:  (Sighs, resignedly dials number on cell phone)

And SCENE

Be Careful Out There

I suspect that Hillary Clinton has enough states with enough electoral votes to win the election – at that the vote-generation systems in her blue-city base of operations will generates any votes needed to give her the win.  1

And while any given liberal is no more likely to be violent than any given conservative, the fact is that when liberals get scared – and they are always terrified about something – some of them get violent.

In late July an unidentified 60-year-old man was shot in the leg at Winston’s Bar on Cleveland’s East Side. His assailant, Darnell Hall, 45, shot him after their discussion of presidential politics grew heated. The attacker “was enraged that anyone in the overwhelmingly African-American bar would support the GOP nominee,” the Plain Dealer reports. Hall later surrendered to police and was charged with felonious assault.
Two UCLA students told Sean Hannity on Oct. 25 they’ve seen a lot of anti-Trump violence on campus. Haley Nieves said protesters crashed one of their pro-Trump rallies. “They were stomping on the American flag during the event and even attempting to burn it afterward.” Dominique Blair said, “You face crazy leftist mobs that are not tolerant of your views whatsoever, and it turns into a lot of bad debates. Sometimes violent, sometimes hitting and fights. I’ve been all around it.” Blair added, “I am treated very poorly on my campus and other campuses. It’s very hard to be a conservative activist in Los Angeles.”

Given the amount of ink the left’s media has expended fretting about largely nonexistent violence on the right, you can expect the left to act out badly over the next couple days.

And if Hillary somehow loses?

Let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

1 – If you’re a regular commenter prone to claiming nobody can see, hear or say anything about vote fraud, do not bother leaving a comment until you have resonded tothis question it in detail.  I’m done playing games.