Layers And Layers Of Fact-Checkers

While I’ve assumed most mainstream media is filtered through a statist lens for decades, now, there was a time I assumed that news organizations – made up of reporters like the ones I used to work with and, occasionally, was – would, if they bothered to cover a story at all (because who needs coverage of the IRS scandal, or Mark Dayton’s mental state, after all?) at least endeavor to get the basic facts right. 

Not even the whole “are the facts of a highly-charged story about a contentious issue correct”, like Rolling Stone’s rapidly-unravelling UVA rape story. 

No, little things – like “does the story actually exist“?

MPR: Pounding That Wedge For All It’s Worth

For the record, I’m a fan of MPR’s Bob Collins – if for no other reason than few people write about aviation issues as well as he does (and there are other reasons).

Which is not to say that I agree with him all the time.  We’ve had our disagreements

The Minority Case:  And this Collins blog post is one of them; it quotes a story from Tim Pugmire about an incoming state representative John Heintzeman of Nisswa, who scored a big upset win earlier this month.   Pugmire quoted Heintzeman as saying:

“People of faith need to be able to know that they can practice their faith in the way, in the tradition that their family has over many, many years, without being afraid of somehow violating the law,”

 Collins follows:

“Rural values” and “traditional values” are fairly vague terms, which are often left to the rest of us — city slickers — to figure out what they define exactly. They often are intertwined with religion or “faith,” as Heintzeman said.

 And that usually leads to the obvious question: whose religion and whose faith?

For the benefit of the audience that Collins is writing to – the Volvo-with-a-reproduction-”Wellstone”-sticker driving, free-range-alpaca wearing, straight-ticket-DFL-voting Macalester alumni set that is the “must win” demographic for MPR, I’ll explain it.

It’s about Islam. 

It’s so the young Somali woman working at the Midway WalMart need not worry about feeling racist, faith-ist repercussions when she politely asks an infidel like yours truly to please move the pork chops across the scanner, since her observance of her faith doesn’t allow her to handle them. 

Oh, it probably also covers cases like the photographers and bakers and florists who, for religious reasons not a lot different than the young Somali, tried to beg off participating in gay weddings, even trying in some cases to refer the “customers” to gay-wedding-friendly competition, leading to test cases (since that was what the “customers” were looking for in the first place).   And, yes, sometimes those concerns aren’t purely individual in scope.

It could even – hard as this may be to believe – cover religious freedom for people whose beliefs are more in line with the MPR audiences’

Really, it’s about protecting the minority from the majority – which is supposed to be what a representative republic (as opposed to a democracy) does. 

In other words – everyone’s religion and faith.  Or even their complete lack of either. 

Rights are rights. 

Oh, there’s more to it than that.  There’s a wedge to be pounded:

Pick Your Herbicide:  Perhaps you’ve heard the story; a GOP district chair in Big Stone County, whose day job is was working at a Hardware Hank, did a no-no; he said really stupid things about Muslims.  Of course, this is red vegan meat for the DFL establishment – at least in part because it’s more fun for them than some other stories that wecouldbe talking about. 

Collins finds a greater significance in it, though (emphasis added):

In Big Stone County, the chairman of the Republican Party is defining those values, at least for his neck of the woods.

Jack Whitley posted this yesterday on his Facebook page.

Let’s make this clear: a guy who was elected chairman of the GOP in the fifth-smallest county in Minnesota, a county with fewer registered voters than MPR has assistant producers, is “defining” “rural values”?

Would that be in the same way that Paris Hilton or Plukey Duke “define” “urban values?”

No?

Naturally, everyone from Ken Martin to CAIR jumped on the statement… 

“It’s very disturbing to see a Republican Party leader engage in outright bigotry and hate,” the Council for American-Islamic Relations said in a statement calling on Republicans to disavow Whitley’s values. “Without a clear rejection of these inaccurate and intolerant remarks, the party’s silence will appear to be agreement.”…

 …““How such a violently bigoted person can hold a position of leadership in the Minnesota Republican Party is confounding and absolutely unacceptable,” DFL Chair Ken Martin said in a statement which called on Downey to demand Whitley quit his party position.

…using it to impugn all Republicans and, as Collins seems to be flirting with, the whole idea of “rural” values themselves.

Naturally (as Collins notes), MNGOP chair Keith Downey did condemn the statements.  Some of Ken Martin’s oompa-loompas have wondered publicly and in the media why Downey doesn’t just fire Mr. Whitley; perhaps that’d work in the DFL, but chairs of GOP house, senate or county districts are elected by their members, and need to be removed by them (as readers of this blog have learned over the years).

But this isn’t about inside-the-GOP party mechanics:

Too-Free Association:  In 2008, Barack Obama referred to Americans with “rural” values as bitter, gun-clinging Jeebus freaks.   The Obama coalition relied on creating a big, sharp, thick wedge between “mainstream” America – in the stereotypes, the part that is white and mainstream-Christian and straight and usually male – and anyone else. 

And the Minnesota DFL is no better; Minnesota’s political map is the results of decades of wedging city vs. suburbs, metro vs. outstate, white vs. black, and in the case of MPR, us vs. them.

And there sure could be more wedges:  if the Minnesota media ever held the DFL to account for, say, Keith Ellison (who openly supports Hamas, whose charter calls for the extermination of Jews), or Phyllis Kahn (who bent party rules, and party dogma about election fraud, to the breaking point in keeping a Muslim insurgency from ousting her at her district convention) I’m sure that could create some wedges, too. 

But nobody wants those wedges, apparently.

I Am Just A Caveman:  I’m still trying to figure out what Mr. Heintzeman’s statement – about protecting freedom of religious conscience from majority coercion, which is a right most people support unless it transgresses Big Gay – has to do with Mr. Whitley’s outburst. 

And I imagine I will be for some time.

The Real Crime Last Night…

…was the media’s performance. 

Not only did the CNN “legal analysts”, Jeffrey Toobin and the loathsome Mark Garagos and some fashionably ethnic female talking-head-ette whose name eluded me but whose shrill tone and clotted inarticulateness unfortunately did not, all but begged the protesters to start throwing things (as one of the carefuly-placed cameras caught it all) practically beg people to start rioting (Garagos calling the justice system a “parody”, to talking-head-ette claiming that “all the grand jury needed was probable cause” (which is crap; they needed to tell the prosectutor there was enough evidence to get a conviction), to giving lavish coverage to mobs of people sacking stores (most of them owned by minorities), CNN in particular seemed to actively fan the flames. 

That’s the American mainstream media: utterly useless for keeping government in check, but perfectly happy to use its power to burn cities to the ground.

Time To Secede…

…from the mainstream media. 

Big Media have almost completely blacked out coverage of the Johnathan Gruber scandal.  Of course, that’s the part that you see on the evening newscasts (if you still watch them; it’s been close to ten years since I’ve watched any). 

Behind the scenes?  The national media has the same approach the local media takes on issues that redound to Democrat disadvantage (emphasis added):

On the web, name reporters from [NBC and ABC] have chosen a blackout or ridicule approach. NBC News’ crack team of political reporters led by Mark Murray and Chuck Todd have covered their eyes and ears. ABC political director Rick Klein can’t be bothered either. However, John Harwood took a more direct approach:

I listened to/get what Gruber said, & get why it makes people mad about ACA madder. but that is only significance @ron_fournier @JohnEkdahl

— John Harwood (@JohnJHarwood) November 18, 2014

Six million healthcare plans lost on an admitted and oft-repeated lie, and this isn’t news to them. Enough is enough.

They have chosen, like most scandals involving the Obama Administration, to report on the Republican reaction and “overreach” instead of on the story of itself.

It’s significant – and not in a good way – that the only Obama scandal the media has come close to taking seriously is the allegations that the Administration spied on, lied to and has been opaque with the media. 

Because lying about your doctor and Benghazi is one thing; being forthcoming to ones’ media benefactors is serious business:

Gruber, to whom the administration deferred on dozens of occasions to speak for them, admitted the only way ACA could be passed was to lie to stupid American voters. American voters have figured out the lie, as demonstrated by the results of the 2014 midterm elections. But the only group left defending the Obamacare catastrophe is the media by now ignoring Gruber.

This isn’t bias. This is malfeasance and corruption.

It is long past time for the GOP to stop bothering with the mainstream media.  No more GOP primary debates on ABC; no more agreeing to Democrat ticket-punchers like Candy Crowley in presidential debates, and if possible no more presidential debates on the Big Three or CNN. 

Starve the beast now!

Just Say Any Crap At All

I’m starting to develop this theory that the Democrats’ “messaging” strategy is developing into something like this:

  1. Tell voters pretty much whatever you think they want to hear.
  2. Assume the voters are too incurious to check up on it.
  3. There is no point 3.

Submitted as evidence:  Barbara Boxer’s speech against the Keystone Pipeline; I’ll emphasize the real howlers:

Not only would the construction of Keystone put no negative pressure on gasoline prices, an argument President Barack Obama has also made, but the California senator claimed it would have the precise opposite effect. “We’re going to see higher gas prices because of this,” Boxer insisted.

These and other comments delivered by Boxer over the course of her hours on the floor on Tuesday were equally confounding, but her most mystifying pronouncements were those in which she touted the bustling green economy of her home state.

“Ask yourself the question, is it worth exposing our people to these risks who I stood with shoulder to shoulder, and is it worth exposing the planet to these risks when we can create millions of jobs in a clean energy economy like we’re doing in my state,” she said. “And we’re going gangbusters!”

“I come from a state that is booming with hundreds of thousands of jobs with balanced budgets — clean energy future — and I come from a state that embraced cleaning up the environment and building the economy and jobs,” Boxer later added. “And they go hand in hand.”

Repeat after us:  Scarcity leads to lower prices; plenty leads to higher prices.  California is going gangbusters.  The budget – “balanced” via tax hikes – is sustainable; the California pension bubble isn’t going to burst.  Green energy is a goldmine for workers! 

It sounds good on camera.  It plays well with people who still think government still tells the truth, and that media will tell them if anything’s amiss.   It plays well with Gruber’s America. 

The question isn’t “has the Democrat party switched to an all-lie messaging strategy”.  The queston is “given their assumptions, why would they not go to an all-lie messaging strategy?”

Lying, Criminal Or Both?

There’s an old saying; “success has a thousand fathers; failure is an orphan”. 

In the wake of the Democrat party’s nationwide electoral humiliation, the left is looking for things to hang their hopes on. 

It’s human nature; the good guys were doing it two years ago, too.

So here’s what the Democrats are hanging their hats on; in a blue state, a 67 year old governor who gets mistaken for his entrepreneur anscestors, a superannuated standup comic, and a couple of congressmen dragged out of mothballs at the Museum of Pettifogging eked out wins in a state where…they were expected to eke out wins. 

But remember – whatever success there is has a thousand fathers.  Er, parents.  And the local left is stepping all over itself to claim their piece of the success less-failure. 

“In These Times” is the sort of “progressive” publication you can imagine a room full of Grace Kellys producing.  I don’t read it much, because it’s just not a challenge. 

But in their post mortem of the MN elections, they made an interesting and, dare I say, surprising claim.

No, it’s not the callow reference to stereotypes.  That’s no surprise from any “progressive” publication:

Mike McIntee, who lives in Eagan and is executive producer [Hah!  - Ed] of The UpTake, a citizen journalism-driven, online video streaming website, has seen his first-ring suburb change politically. The residents of Eagan’s cul-de-sacs no longer exclusively resemble an episode of The Brady Bunch, but include different ethnicities and low-income housing.

“White People” = “Brady Bunch”. 

Huh. 

Anyway – here’s the interesting part (emphasis added by me):

McIntee also credits the work of Protect Minnesota, which works to end gun violence by turning it into a political issue in urban and suburban areas. Protect Minnesota sent out mailers this election season attacking candidates who opposed gun control. Its gun-safety champions who won on Tuesday include Ron Erhardt, who represents the suburb of Edina. Meanwhile, the National Rifle Association’s influence may be waning in Minnesota. Three rural DFLers who were endorsed by the NRA all lost.

Protect Minnesota?

The gun grabber group led by Heather Martens known mainly for its comic ineptitude, has done more harm than “good” for the gun grabber movement in the past…couple of decades.  They mobilize no significant people (a couple of dozen might turn out for a vital hearing, as opposed to hundreds of Real Americans. 

But what of their claims? 

  • McIntee claims “Protect” Minnesota sent out “mailings attacking candidates“:  Now, the Minnesota Human Rights community is pretty good at keeping tabs on what the orcs are doing.  And nobody seems to have seen a “Protect Minnesota” mailer.  None.  Michael Bloomberg and the DFL both hit on guns – but both groups carefully excised the hapless “Protect Minnesota” from their strategy.
  • What “Gun Safety Champions?”  Protect MN is a lobbying group, not a PAC.  Did they endorse candidates?  If so ,they broke the law; lobbying groups can’t endorse candidates.
  • They’re claiming credit for Ron Erhardt?  If Mike McIntee or Heather Martens wants to make the claim that guns were behind Ron Erhardt’s razor-thin win in Edina, feel perfectly free.  But be ready to be slapped down hard.   It’s an absurd claim. 
  • They’re Claiming They Have The Momentum?:  “Three rural DFLers endorsed by the NRA” lost – but then, most rural DFLers lost, whatever their NRA and MNGOPAC endorsement. The election wasn’t about guns! But even so, over 3/4 of MNGOPAC’s endorsed candidates, GOP and DFL, won on election night – and many of the ones that lost in Greater Minnesota lost to other candidates with high GOCRA and MNGOPAC ratings.  Either way, gun owners won.  To claim the Gun Rights movement lost last Tuesday is a Baghdad-Bob-level bit of delusion. 

But delusion is Heather Martens’ stock in trade.  From the “Protect” MN website:

From the “P”M website. Click on the link to actually see it.

Look, “Progressives”; if it makes you sleep easier at night thinking that…:

  • Mark Dayton, who has spent the past two cycles trying to defuse Real American opposition by claiming he has a couple of .357 Magnums at home for self-defense, and
  • Al Franken, who touches on guns as obliquely as his caucus will allow him to, and
  • Rick Nolan, who ran away from the anti-gun movement (ineptly), and
  • Colin Peterson, with an NRA “A” rating, along with…
  • 11 new Republicans, all of them pro-gun, mostly MNGOPAC endorsed, all of them Second-Amendment-friendly, and
  • a solidly pro-Human Rights MN House, with Michael Paymar’s Metrocrat caucus demoted to the cheap seats…

…are a “victory” for “gun safety?”  Go for it!

It’s Heather Martens’ take, and it’s delusional…

…but I repeat myself. 

Note to Mike McIntee and the rest of the “progressive” feed trough; if that’s the best source you can pick, no wonder you guys are getting your asses kicked on Second Amendment issues.

A Campaign Ad, Courtesy MPR

So I was listening to Minnesota Public Radio news yesterday as I was driving home from some errands.

The newscaster introduced a story, saying that politicians were jumping into their final days of their campaigns around Minnesota. She then threw to a story by MPR’s Brett McNealy.

It starts with a bit of the day of the campaigning life of Keith Ellison, extreme ultraliberal and darling of the Kenwood brie and chablis set, hoofing it about North Minneapolis, doing his last minute get out the vote efforts.

And it ended there, too.

No word from the Doug Daggett campaign – Ellisons opponent. No word from Margaret Martin, a Republican running in North Minneapolis (and longtime friend of this blog). 

Any word from anyone but Keith Ellison?

Nope. Just a little radio kissyface for Keith Ellison, with a plaintive reminder mixed in the Republicans are expected to do well.

I wonder – does this piece have to be counted as a campaign contribution?

Things You’ll Never See Or Hear On The Twin Cities Mainstream Media

Governor Dayton is, by all accounts, a decent enough person.

My next-door neighbor, coincidentally, is a decent enough person too.  She’s also got terrible eyesight as she approaches her eighties, and doesn’t belong behind the wheel, by her own admission.  Nice lady; no car.

One need not attack Governor Dayton’s personality to note that something’s just a tad…off.  In 2005, he shut down his Senate office after an unattributed terror threat, leaving Washington to be run by just the other 534 other Congresspeople, prompting left-slanted Time to call him the worst Senator in America.

He left the Senate in 2006, amid rumors he’d had an alcoholic relapse.

It took the DFL and Alita Messinger four years to rehabilitate him.   They managed this with a complete blackout on any facts about Governor Dayton’s health or mental state.  I pointed it out during the 2010 campaign; the Strib wrote precisely one piece about Dayton’s mental health – a piece by Rachel Stassen-Berger and reliable DFL shill Baird Helgeson.

That appeared in December of 2009.  Roughly 10 months before most Minnesota voters started caring about the governor race; the very definition of “punching the ticket early”.

And today?  Almost five years after that single, solitary report about the Governor’s state of health?

John Gilmore at Minnesota Conservatives has covered this issue more than most:

Dayton hasn’t released his medical records so we don’t know for sure which medications he is being administered. It defies firsthand experience and common sense, however, to pretend that he is not frequently heavily medicated in public.

Can anyone imagine an engaged Mark Dayton on a full time basis, in public view most of the day for a solid week? Of course not. He’s carefully handled to appear for only limited amounts of time in public. Even then, most people cringe out of compassion given his performance…

Media know how impaired Dayton has become but don’t particularly care: they’re on the same team and none of them would do anything to harm the progressive agenda. If a republican governor, however, were this manifestly troubled, Minnesota media would cloak themselves in the phony “the public has a right to know” rubric and have at it.

The Minnesota media that herniated itself to get to a story about Rod Grams’s son (of whom Grams had not had custody in some time), to a long litany of would-be (but never-were) scandals about Norm Coleman, about Tom Emmer’s 20 year old driving records, about…anything with the  eternally teflon-coated Tim Pawlenty, can’t be bothered to cover actual news about a sitting governor with a past that would make any potential employer sit up and go “er…let’s talk about…”

It’s campaign ad fodder, of course:

And then there’s this – a compendium of Mark Dayton video appearances.  And tell me – is this someone who’s “leading the polls by nine points”, or whatever, by grace of his merits as a leader?

Or listen to this speech – the infamous speech at the Humphrey Institute in September, 2012; the one whose video the Humphrey Institute had the balls to claim it couldn’t release because “videotape is too expensive”, and whose video no TV station will release.  Read John Gilmore’s account for the mental visuals whose literal visuals the powers that be don’t think you, Citizen, need to see.

And then ask yourself not just “should this man be governor”.

Ask yourself “is our media incompetent, or in the bag”.

Or both, of course.

Profile In Courage

The DFL Legislature raises business taxes.  Governor Dayton scuttled away from his party.

The DFL legislature’s idea for plundering taxpayers to pay for Zygi Wilf’s real estate improvements – “E-pulltabs” – raised roughly 1/1000% as much money as it was supposed to.  Governor Dayton huffed and puffed and blamed it all on other people. 

The DFL raised the minimum wage, without adding a tip credit for restaurant workers who frequently make many times more than a “living wage” from tips.  Governor Dayton quietly tossed the idea partly under the bus when his sons pointed out it was hurting their restaurant. 

When people started talking about legalizing marijuana, Governor Dayton was for it before against it before he was for it before he was whatever he is today. 

Dayton favored releasing sex offenders, before he opposed it, before…oh, hell, I don’t know.

And Dayton took great pride in MNSure before he washed his hands of it.

Oh yeah – and although the administration he largely appointed and which reports to him was busted trying to jockey MNSure’s premium rates, Governor Dayton apparently pleads complete ignorance

It’d be great if someone in the Minnesota media would press the Governor on this – but of course, he isn’t talking with the press this week.  Not that anyone in the press would ask him if he were talking to the press. 

The GOP has been railing – correctly – on Dayton’s competence. 

The competence of MInnesota’s press may be the bigger issue.

Mills: Didn’t See That Coming

The Strib endorses…

Stewart Mills in CD8.

I must confess, I didn’t see it coming – and reading the Strib ‘s piece, I’m going to guess they didn’t either:

Among the district’s immediate challenges is a choice between two imperfect candidates for Congress. On balance, we conclude that this changing district would be best served by a fresh voice, and we give the endorsement edge to retail executive Stewart Mills.

One wonders how often the Star Tribune specifically notes candidates are “imperfect”. I imagine it’s less of a surprise to most readers than the Star Tribune may believe.

One charge relentlessly leveled at Mills is that he is the beneficiary of inherited wealth through his family’s Fleet Farm empire. But we doubt that many Minnesotans really consider such a background a disqualification from public office.

While it would be a bit much to expect the Star Tribune to attack the DFL for making Mills’s wealth – for which he worked – an issue while endorsing a trust fund baby for governor, one could always hope.

Still, the endorsement does go on to tell Mills’ story fairly:

Having begun his Fleet Farm career scrubbing toilets and emptying trash, Mills today is vice president in charge of the chain’s health care plan, covering 6,000 employees and their dependents. He has developed a hands-on understanding of the intricacies of the health care marketplace, coming to see wellness and prevention as keys to controlling costs.

Mills says his objections to the Affordable Care Act are central to inspiring his run for Congress. His candidacy follows what he calls the “Hunting Camp Rule”: If you complain about something, you get the job of fixing it. His condemnation of the ACA is too sweeping, given that he backs the law’s key goals. But the market-based approaches he prefers — including more price transparency and tort reform — could contribute to needed improvements in the law.

I know, I know – I shouldn’t complain too hard; the Star Tribune just endorsed a relatively free-market conservative.

But would a little honesty, or at least economic literacy, kill the “newspaper of record”? (Emphasis added):

Mills is challenging Rep. Rick Nolan, who returned to Congress in 2012 after a 32-year hiatus. Nolan lists several accomplishments, including working with Minnesota Sens. Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar in securing $10 million in federal funds for improvements for the Port of Duluth-Superior.

Nolan has been a leader in efforts to clamp down on foreign-made steel dumping in this country. He has also worked to expand invasive species protection in the Great Lakes. And he says he’s committed to campaign finance reform and efforts to improve the legislative process.

Nolan’s “accomplishments”, in other words, involve coughing up taxpayer. goodies for the special interests in his district.

Speaking of special interests:

We differ with Mills on a number of issues — not least on his unyielding stance against firearm regulation.

Running in the Eighth Congressional District? That’s a feature, not a bug.  So, by the way, is supporting the Constitution.

But here’s how we know it’s really, really a Star Tribune endorsement (emphasis added):

But we’re also persuaded that Mills has the intelligence and pragmatic instincts to learn, grow and adapt in office.

Mr. Mills – I hope you get elected. And that you then resist “growing in office” with every fiber of your being.

If elected, Mills will face a learning curve in Washington. But he has the energy, the zest for ideas and the deep commitment to northern Minnesota to make a success of it.

Yeah, it’ll take a lot of learning to get up to the level of a Nancy Pelosi or a Sheila Jackson Lee.

But those are the marginalia. It’s an endorsement. It’s only a newspaper endorsement, but it’s the last thing I ever expected.

A Simple Request…

…for everyone in the mainstream media, alternative media, and talk radio – even conservative talk radio:

Unless you work at a Red Wing outlet store and are changing your shelving, could you never, Ever, EVER use the term “Boots on the Ground” again?  It’s gone so far beyond cliché, light leaving “cliché” right now won’t reach us until our great-grandchildren are getting AARP cards.

“Troops in the field” actually works.

Thank you all in advance for seeing to this.

That is all.

Evidence In The Affirmative

Last week, we reported that a KSTP/Survey USA poll shows Stewart Mills leading Rick Nolan by eight points.

As we’ve noted for years and years, polls are deeply imperfect (sorry, Nate Silver), and there’s only one poll that matters, and it’s coming up two weeks from tomorrow.

But if there were any evidence needed that Rick Nolan is nervous about his prospects, it’s yesterday’s interview with Esme Murphy on WCCO

…which he spent sniveling like a four-year-old who didn’t get ice cream about outside money’s effect on politics.

Apparently he’s feeling cut out of the DCCC’s flood of Franken money…

(Courtesty @JohnHockey on Twitter)

Our Incoherent Newspaper Of Record

On “Up and At ‘Em”, on the lesser talk station this morning, Ben Kruse said (I’ll paraphrase) if you left out the parts about Governor Dayton, this past weekend’s endorsement of the incumbent governor actually reads a little like an endorsement of Jeff Johnson. 

And Ben had a point:

Johnson, 47, is gubernatorial material…Voters who want a state government that’s leaner and more trusting of the marketplace to solve public problems can opt for Johnson without concern that he is unprepared, excessively doctrinaire or temperamentally ill-suited to the office….Unlike Dayton, Johnson is unfettered to Education Minnesota, the teachers’ union.

[Remember the emphasized bit.  I'll be making a return appearance]

 He’s eager to pursue changes in teacher licensure and tenure rules that might strengthen the state’s teaching corps — versions of which Dayton vetoed…Johnson is also more open to changing the state’s tax code in ways that would better align Minnesota competitively with other states, by broadening the sales tax to more consumer purchases while reducing its rate.

All of that’s true.  

But they went with Governor Messinger Mark Dayton anyway. 

Minnesota is back where it belongs. It has resumed its strong position among Midwestern states in employment, incomes, educational attainment and quality of life. Gov. Mark Dayton can’t take sole credit for the rebound from recession — nor does this modest leader make that claim. But the DFLer’s stewardship since 2011 has made a positive contribution to recovery, and his aims for a second term would continue that course.

That is, of course, the narrative that the Alliance for a Better Minnesota has spent millions to establish in this state.

The truth, of course, is that most of the “positive contributions” happened in the first two years of Messinger’s Dayton’s term.  Since the DFL took unfettered control of state government, unemployment has dropped mostly due to people taking crummy jobs or leaving the workforce. 

But we digress.

Like An Ink-Stained Nadia Comaneci:  I originally entitled this piece “Our Senile Newspaper of Record” – but I changed my mind; it takes some mental chops to do the logical gymnastics the Strib goes through to get to painting Dayton’s term as a positive and Dayton as a capable leader:

State government stability is itself a competitive asset, one Minnesotans should not want to jeopardize again.

What the hell does that even mean?

The answer:  whatever the narrator wants it to mean.  

For example, the Strib would have you believe that before Mark Dayton, Minnesota was a cold Bolivia, apparently:

Dayton deserves credit for the fiscal stability that has returned on his watch. His push to correct the oversized income tax cuts enacted in 1999 and 2000 was important to that change, as was the discipline to enlarge the state’s reserves and repay more than $2 billion owed to school districts.

Dayton “paid back” the shift entirely because he delayed the GOP’s attempt to “pay it back” until the DFL could claim credit

The Special Interest Drinking Game:  Now – with a reminder from Jack and Ben’s show this morning – let’s read this next graf and go back to the Strib’s muted praise for Johnson:

The state’s stronger balance sheet leads a long list of first-term accomplishments justifying Dayton’s re-election. Also there: All-day kindergarten. Beefed-up funding for preschool for needy families. Same-sex marriage. Human services funding reform, saving Minnesota taxpayers an estimated $1 billion a year. A higher minimum wage. An end to a decade of disinvestment in higher education. Support for the Rochester infrastructure that’s crucial to Mayo Clinic expansion. A renewed partnership with local governments, slowing the increase in property taxes. Alternative teacher licensure and teacher performance evaluation.

If this were a drinking game – “Special Interest Shots”, where you took a drink every time the paper mentioned a bit of DFL special interest pork – you’d be dead of alcohol poisoning now. 

Making History Out Of Nothing At All:  Now – Minnesota’s Obamacare exchange is a disaster.  Perhaps you’ve heard.  It was in all the papers – for a while, anyway. 

Heeeere’s whitewash!

Dayton’s credits also include extending the benefits of health insurance to more than 250,000 previously uninsured Minnesotans, by embracing the federal Affordable Care Act.

This is simply false.

92% of Minnesotans were insured before MNSure - and every single Minnesotan that was involuntarily uninsured before 2012 could have been covered through one existing program or another. 

The “250,000 previously uninsured” are insured today – at exquisite cost to the taxpayer – are there mostly because the law says they have to be. 

Not because Mark Dayton did such a helluvva job.   

I’ll give the Strib points for consistency.  While their praise for his first term was a checklist of special interest sops, their outlook for the second term is…:

The second-term agenda Dayton outlines befits him. It’s substantial but not slick, and focused on jobs. He wants state government to be an ally of Minnesota’s high-tech industries by better meeting their need for highly skilled workers, and of the health care and medical technology industries by shoring up the University of Minnesota Medical School. He wants a literacy push to boost chances that children read proficiently by grade three, and he seeks more funding for early ed.

He also wants clean energy and robust infrastructure investments, including expansion of light-rail transit, to continue.

…more of the same. 

Alliance?  What Alliance?:  Finally?  The Strib editorial team apparently did their internships writing for Fidel Castro (emphasis added):

Dayton, 67, is making his sixth and what he says will be his last bid for statewide office. After a lifetime of public service, he’s a well-known quantity who is offering Minnesota something rare — a governorship unbound by calculations about how to win the next election.

Dayton’s governorship has never been bound by anything but the fact that he is controlled, no less than a marionette, puppet or organ-grinder monkey – by the special interests that floated his candidacy and call, via the “Alliance for a Better MN”, all the shots in his office. 

 We expect that will look a lot like what Minnesotans saw in Dayton’s first term. If it does, this state will be well served.

If Dayton is re-elected, Minnesota will deserve what it gets.

UPDATE:  Fixed the link to the Strib piece.

For Whom The Shill Polls

As part of a campaign to portray his election inevitable, because the economy is juuuuust hunky dory, Governor Messinger Dayton and his praetorian guard, the Twin Cities media, is pushing hard the notion that unemployment is down. 

Jeff Johnson rightly responds that underemployment – people working for less than they’re qualified for, because they’re taking any job they can get – is endemic and growing - a claim supported by the fact that tax revenues have not only fallen short of forecasts every month since the DFL budget took hold, but that the revenues are falling farther and farther behind. 

The media, especially the Strib, is in full cover mode, doing its best to downplay the underemployment statistics while cheerleading the top-line unemployment figures.

The interesting part?  The Strib itself, in the form of Lori Sturdevant – hardly a GOP sympathizer – last spring

So which is it, Strib?  A huge problem, or no problem at all (until December)?

Go ahead.  Tell me the media isn’t actively working to get Governor Messinger Flint-Smith Dayton re-elected.

Doug Grow, Narrative Policeman

Surgeons do surgery.

Baseball players?  They play baseball.

And Doug Grow?

For four decades and change, generations of Minnesota voters know that Doug Grow is synonymous for flogging and fluffing the DFL narrative.

Yesterday’s MinnPost piece on the Severson press conference (which I wrote about yesterday) is one for the record books.

The DFL and media (ptr) narrative this year, by the way, is “DFL Victory is Inevitable”; keep that in mind as you read Grow’s description of the presser:

Finding the current election cycle a little boring?

The DFL sure hopes to keep it that way!

Unexpected:  Doug Grow leads off with one of those “too good to fact-check” claims:

As it turned out, the back-to-back pressers were actually back to back to back. First Severson. Then Martin. Then Severson again.

Unbeknownst to each other, Republican secretary of state candidate Dan Severson had scheduled a 10 a.m. news conference, while DFL party chair Ken Martin had scheduled his own 11 a.m. newser to talk about the secretary of state race. In the same room.

As it turned out, the back-to-back pressers were actually back to back to back. First Severson. Then Martin. Then Severson again.

It’s about as “unbeknownst” and unpredictable as, say, the MinnPost hiring a staff full of DFL shills.

Sources in the Severson campaign tell me that Severson had the conference room – where both pressers were held – booked from 10AM ’til noon.  When the DFL got wind of the presser, they swooped in and got the 11AM booking.

Initially, Severson had planned to devote his news event to the subject of voter participation among members of the military. Among other things, Severson contends that President Barack Obama’s administration, current secretary of state Mark Ritchie and DFL secretary of state candidate Rep. Steve Simon have all participated in efforts to suppress voting by members of the military.

And this, as I described yesterday, he did.  Mark Richie’s office sent county election officials a “how to” on finding ways to reject military absentee ballots; it’s there, in black and white.  The media was given a copy at the press conference – as they were given a copy of the absentee ballot reform bill co-authored by Simon that specifically exempted the military (who vote overwhelmingly conservative) from the reforms.

Amazingly enough, outside of the ofay mockery in the piece’s title (“Fraud! Suppression! Aspersions! Dueling press conferences wake up a sleepy secretary of state race”), the actual facts Severson brought up, the paper trail he presented supporting both Severson’s key allegations, never got mentioned.

“My Opponent Has Been Caught Masticating!”:  After Severson’s presser – whose actual subject you’d never know from reading Grow’s piece – Ken Martin took the stage.

I’ll say it again; “Ken Martin took the stage”.  We’ll come back to that.

But at 11 a.m., Severson moved to the back of the room in the state office building in St. Paul as the DFL’s Martin moved to the front…Martin said that at a Tea Party event in June, Severson claimed that Sen. Al Franken had won his 2008 election as a result of voter fraud. At that same meeting, Martin said, Severson claimed the DFL had re-captured control of the Legislature also because of fraudulent votes.

“The last thing we need is a conspiracy theorist as secretary of state,’’ Martin said. “I call on [GOP gubernatorial candidate] Jeff Johnson and [Republican Party Chair] Keith Downey to refute Severson’s unfounded and irresponsible allegations. I question Severson’s ability to be secretary of state when he makes dangerous allegations of crimes that don’t exist.’’

It was cheap theatrics.   And Severson answered them with the kind of burst of full metal rhetorical jacket that I wish a lot more Republicans were throwing back at the Media-Progressive Complex this year:

“I’m not casting aspersions,’’ Severson said. “I’m saying let’s solve the problem.’’

Now that’s a novel approach.

Cast This:  Of course, mentioning the problem is the problem, to the DFL and the media that works for it:  

But suggesting that DFLers win races because they cheat sounds a bit like an aspersion…But Severson said it’s not just his observations at campaign rallies that cause him to have doubts about the integrity of the system. He cited the “study” of an organization called Minnesota Majority that claimed there were more than 6,000 fraudulent voters in the 2008 Senate race in which, after a recount, Al Franken defeated incumbent Sen. Norm Coleman by just over 300 votes…Martin pointed out that in the recounts of the Coleman-Franken race and the Tom Emmer-Mark Dayton race of 2010, both parties “spent millions of dollars” as ballots across the state were recounted.

“Not a single instance of voter fraud was found,’’ Martin said.

Martin is lying, and Grow is just fine with that.

Doug Explains It All:  Anyway – charge met countercharge.  But here’s the interesting part; Grow elects to speculate:

Did Severson schedule his as a desperate bid to tie himself to the military and to inflame those in his GOP base convinced DFLers only win because they cheat?

The base is pretty inflamed already.

No – here’s the interesting part.  Here’s the part that undercuts Grow’s entire, snarky, dismissive premise:

Did Martin schedule his because the DFL is concerned that Simon needs to raise the profile of a down-ticket race?

Did who schedule it?

Steve Simon?

No.  Ken Martin, chair of the DFL.

Not Steve Simon, SOS candidate.

In fact, Steve Simon wasn’t present for the press conference.  About his own race. 

Martinized: Ken Martin did the whole thing.  Steve Simon was nowhere to be found.

Ken Martin, State DFL Chair, apparently feels the need to intervene directly in what is, in a normal election cycle, a boring, humdrum race that tracks, or sometimes lags, the top of the ticket.

Why would he do that?

I can think of a couple of reasons, by no means mutually exclusive:

  • Martin knows where Richie buried the bodies.  Corruption is as rampant in the SOS office as the GOP claims, and they need to do their best to keep a lid on the pot.
  • It’s Not A Humdrum, Sleepy Race At All:  I’ve heard two rumors from well-placed sources; first, that GOP internal polling shows Severson ahead.  Second, that Martin’s behavior in the past week shows that the DFL knows it.
  • That Air Of Inevitability?  Check It:  If Severson’s race is defying the “DFL is Inevitable” narrative, maybe other races are, too?  And if word gets out that the GOP has in fact defied the DFL’s “inevitable” victory, all electoral hell could break loose next month for the DFL.

Where was Steve Simon?

Why is Ken Martin intervening personally in this race, rather than sending some 22 year old communications minion, the way he normally would for the SOS race?

Stay tuned.

What Conservatism Needs In Minnesota

In the middle of a year that promises to be a good, if not great, year for Republicans nationwide, Minnesota Republicans are hoping to flip the House, so as to at least contest control for the state, and praying for an upset in the Senate and a come-from-behind miracle for Governor.

It was ten years ago that the conventional wisdom was that Minnesota was purple, flirting with red.

Today, it’s a bluish-purple state – some bright-red points, some dingy blue swamps. 

In 2002, after the death of Paul Wellstone, the DFL was in disarray;  they lost the state House, the Governor’s office and Wellstone’s Senate seat.   The grownups controlled all of the state offices except the Attorney General; the DFL held the State Senate by a hair, and was well behind in the House. 

Inside six years, they turned that into nearly-complete domination of Minnesota.  They held Mark Dayton’s old and barely-used Senate seat, they took Coleman’s they took both chambers of the Legislature in 2008, lost them in 2010, and took them back in 2012, and have controlled all of the state Constitutional offices – Attorney General, Secretary of State, State Auditor – for eight years now. 

How did they do this?

The 24 Month Campaign:  Ben Kruse got it mostly right Monday morning on the morning show on the lesser talk station; Republicans need to learn something from the Democrats.  For them, their 2016 campaign will start in earnest on November 5.  The Republicans, in the meantime, will meander about until State Fair time, 2016. 

I know – to be fair, Jeff Johnson and Dave Thompson started their governor’s races back in 2012 in all but name; Mike McFadden was aggressively moving his Senate candidacy at the State Fair in 2013. 

In contrast, the DFL’s attack PR firm “Alliance for a “Better” Minnesota” never stopped campaigning.  The group – financed by unions and liberal plutocrats with deep pockets, including Mark Dayton’s ex-wife Alita Messinger – does something that goes beyond campaigning. 

It bombards Minnesotans with Democrat propaganda, 24 months every campaign cycle.

The Communications Gap:  The Minnesota GOP has plenty of strikes against it; while it’s made up a lot of financial ground since its nadir two years ago, it’s still in debt, and still scrambling to get back to even.

But even when it’s in the black, it only does so much communicating – and then, it only does it in the run-ups to elections and, maybe occasionally, during legislative sessions (and that’s mostly the jobs of the GOP legislative caucuses). 

In the meantime, the Democrats (with the connivance of regional media whose reporters may not overtly carry the water for the DFL, but whose management largely most definitely does) shower the Minnesota voter with a constant drizzle of the Democrat version of “the truth”. 

Which means the low-information voter – the one that might start thinking about next month’s election any day now – is kept on a constant drip, drip, drip of the DFL’s point of view.  It means the baseline of thought for those who don’t have any strong political affiliation of their own leans left of center; they assume that raising taxes helps schools, that Republicans are rich tax evaders who hide their wealth out of state, that there is a “war on women”, and on and on.

There’s No-one To Fly The Flag – Nobody Seems to Know It Ever Went Down: So how was the situation different when the GOP was contending to take MInnesota away from the left? 

Other than the DFL having an endless parade of checks from plutocrats to cash? 

For starters, back then Minnesota had a number of overt conservative voices on the media, statewide, day in, day out.  It was when Jason Lewis was at his rabble-rousing peak; I call him the Father of Modern Minnesota Conservatism, and I’ll stand by it.  With Lewis on the air, a lot of people who didn’t know they were conservatives, figured it out – and a lot of conservatives who figured they were alone in the big blue swamp realized there were others out there. 

And Joe Soucheray was on the air three hours a day talking, not so much directly about politics, but about the absurdities that the left was inflicting on the culture.  It may have been a decade before Andrew Breitbart noted that Politics springs from Culture, but Soucheray knew it, and made it a constant topic for a long, long time. 

Lewis and Soucheray had record audiences – not just in the Metro, but outstate, where both had syndication in Greater Minnesota. 

And between the two, the media’s left-leaning chinese water torture had competition.

And for a few years, MInnesota had a couple of voices that did for conservatism in the state what Rush Limbaugh helped do nationwide; dragged it out of the basement, aired it out, made it relevant to the challenges Minnesotans faced then and today, and made being conservative, unapologetic and smart a thing to be proud of. 

And this happened at a time when Minnesota conservatism…came out of the basement, aired out, and started grabbing Minnesota mindshare. 

Coincidence?

Feed The Cat:  Of course, this doesn’t happen on its own.  While conservative talk radio is still, along with sports, the only radio format that’s paying its bills, the format has atrophied – largely because it’s become, for money reasons, a national rather than regional format.  Syndicated network programming – Limbaugh, Hannity, Prager, Hewitt, Michael Savage, what-have-you – delivers ratings on the relative cheap.  And they deliver political engagement, nationwide.  

But they don’t have a local political effect like a solid, firebrand local lineup does. 

But radio stations pay for very little in the way of “local lineup” anymore; KSTP has turned Soucheray into just another sports talking head; AM1280 has the NARN; AM1130 has Jack and Ben and, temporarily, Dave Thompson. 

Minnesota business – at least, the part of it that realizes that a conservative outcome benefits everyone, themselves included – needs to pony up and sponsor the next generation of rabble-rousing Conservative media with a cause; the fact that it’s actually a good ad investment is a collateral benefit, compared to flushing money down ABM’s drain. 

And yes, I’m focusing on radio – but this rabble-rousing presence would need to cover all of the social and alternative media, not just the traditional AM band.  Still – there is no (affordable) medium that reaches, or can reach, more Minnesotans.

And through that, maybe, we start turning the intellectual tide in this state. 

It’s happened once.  It can happen again.

Needs to happen again, really.

Crocodile Airtime

Tom Scheck notes that this year’s gubernatorial race isn’t a “visionary” contest:

The race stands in mark contrast to the contest four years ago, when two bold candidates for governor – Dayton and Republican nominee Tom Emmer – offered vastly different choices for Minnesota voters.

Um, yeah.

And what does the Minnesota media do when a conservative Republican offers a vision – a real, stark choice – and offers it with uncompromising gusto?

They sniff and label him “extreme” and basically help the DFL do its branding work.

I Think We Broke Their Brains

Last week, Sally Jo Sorenson of Bluestem Prairie - one of the small minority of Minnesota progblogs that don’t deserve police surveillance or restraining orders – was jumping up and down over this article in the Minnesota Daily, the U of M newspaper.

It’s an interview with a couple of design and communications professors, going over the symbology of various campaign signs.

On the one hand, I do a lot of that sort of thing as part of my day job.  It’s more than an academic subject to me.

On the other hand?

Sorenson quotes the piece in the Daily by Kevin Karner, in re the two professors’ comparisons of the signs in the Secretary of State Race between Steve “Couldn’t Get To 45% in the Primary” Simon and Dan Severson:

Severson also tries to indicate his party affiliation through color, but the placement of the blue ribbon with white stars over a red backdrop almost evokes the Confederate Flag — an odd choice for Minnesota.

Here’s the Confederate Flag – the “Stars and Bars”, which sounds a little like an uptown hipster tavern.

Yep – red field, blue bars, white stars.   Modeled after the Union Jack.  Maybe the regional left needs to get on the Scots and Brits for their racist microaggressions.

Here’s Severson’s:

Red “Republican” background. Blue stripe – unlike the Rebel flat, there’s one, not two of them, and not only is it wavy, but it and its white stars seem to vanish into the distance. Almost like something zipping across the sky.  Leaving contrails behind it, even.

Now, I’m not a college professor or a progblogger, so I have no idea what one might associate with Dan Severson…

…that would involve something with a star on it flashing across the sky into the distance?

Being neither an  associate design professor nor a progblogger with numerous elite academic credentials, I’m obviously too stupid to figure it out.

Heck, we all are!  It just has to be a Confederate flag reference!  Sometimes I just feel so stupid.

Hm.  What could that slashing, star-clad blue ribbon mean?

DUURRR! DAAAAAAAR!  Stupid conservative blogger!  Must smash things!

Oh, yeah; Sorenson:

Given the side Minnesota’s soldiers fought on in the Civil War, it’s odd indeed.

Given the side Ms. Sorenson’s Democrat party forebears fought on in the Civil War, I suppose it’s just high time for incongruity.

Just Stupid

The lefty media has been giggling like schoolgirls over this story – a Texas waitress, who got not one but two $2000 tips from Rush Limbaugh – and gave the money to a pro-infanticide group:

“That was like blood money to me,’ Tierce told The Dallas Morning News.

Tierce was the former executive director at the Texas Equal Access Fund, which provides money to women who can’t afford to get abortions.

She was the “executive director” of a nonprofit that provided infanticide to poor women, AND a waitress?

Anyway…;

Tierce said it felt right to her to give the money to the TEA Fund.

‘It felt like laundering the money in a good way,’ she told the newspaper.

‘He’s such an obvious target for any feminist or sane person.

Yeah, Ms. Tierce seems pretty sane to me.

The part that I get the chuckle over? Ms. Tierce, and the media bobbleheads who’ve been reporting the story, keep saying that Ms. Tierce “gave Limbaugh’s money” to the infanticide charity.

No!

When Limbaugh left the tip – of his own free will, mind you, not as part of some “living wage” wealth transfer – it became her money.

She gave her own money to her own group.

This story isn’t “Man bites dog”. It isn’t even “dog sniffs dog”. It’s “Deeply morally ugly woman gives her own money to a group she used to run, while taking a snotty, stupid swipe at someone who has the temerity to “share the wealth” of his own free will, rather than at government gunpoint”.

One Of These Things Is Not Like The Other

The Star/Tribune is covering what appears to be an escalating war between a number of Minneapolis street gangs.  Yesterday’s piece, bylined Libor Jany, breaks things down

…well, almost.  I’ll add emphasis:

The three people shot Tuesday were believed to have had some involvement in the Soundbar shooting, community leaders said.

But those were only the most recent.

Others include:

• Eulalio Gonzalez-Sanchez, 36, of Minneapolis, was gunned down about 6:25 a.m. Sunday at the corner of 22nd Avenue NE. and 7th Street as he walked home from the bus stop. No one has been arrested in the case.

Earl Lee Malone, 18, of Edina, was fatally shot and left in front of a house on the 2600 block of Knox Avenue about 11 p.m. Saturday. Police later arrested a 21-year-old man in connection with the shooting, but it’s unclear when charges will be brought.

• Jemario Langston, 17, of Minneapolis, was shot and killed Sept. 16 by assailants who chased him to his aunt’s house. After hearing gunshots, the aunt opened her back door to find his sprawled body. No one has been arrested.

The Bogus Boys have been locked in a long-simmering struggle with several other South Side gangs, including the Bloods, “10s” and “20s,” said Ferome Brown, an activist who attended Tuesday’s meeting and works to steer young people away from gangs.

Many of the gang members he works with, Brown says, grew up in the same neighborhoods.

That’s a good run-down of a neighborhood in crisis…

…but wait.  See the empasized stuff?  Earl Malone?   We talked about him earlier today.   He was shot in self-defense.   The media knows this – as in this WCCO-TV piece filed a day earlier than the Strib’s piece.

Now, it’s entirely possible that the carjacking that Mr. Malone apparently attempted may have been gang-related.   

But lumping a self-defense shooting – one in which a community member defended themselves against an immediate threat to their life and health – is not the same as gang bangers carrying on an endless blood feud.  It’s just not.

Does the Strib know the difference?

They Know What Matters

Twin Cities’ media all atwitter over over a candidate – GOP, naturally – allegedly hanky-pankying with a realtor.

It’s NEWS, dammit!

Unlike Governor Dayton’s mental health, Rep. Ryan Winkler’s racism, Senator Sandy Pappas’ support for terrorists, Rep. Phyllis Kahn’s attempts at voter suppression (no, not in DFL terms, the real one), the extremely cozy relationship between Governor Dayton and his ex-wife’s attack-PR firm, to say nothing of complicated stuff like the effect DFL tax and wage policy is having on business and jobs around Minnesota.

Nothing to see there.  Move along, peasants.