Priorities

David “Iowahawk” Burge writes a rare, “not funny” tweet:

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And he’s spent more time and effort fighting domestic dissent in the US – via the IRS’ gundecking conservative groups’ free speech via tax and campaign law and attacking dissenters, via “net neutrality”, and via his eternal campaign’s patrolling masses of droogs (in and out of the media), than he spent bringing free speech to the people of Iran, Venezuela, Cuba or anyplace else.

Political Muzak

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

The Obama Administration says banning ammunition protects the right to keep and bear arms.

It’s as if their speech-writer is a computerized buzz-word generator.  Doesn’t make any sense, doesn’t have to, won’t fool anybody and isn’t intended to.  It’s just soothing white noise.

Joe Doakes

I’ve been observing this for the past few years – mostly from Obama, but the Minnesota DFL as adopted it as well:

  1. Say whatever rhetorically fits the narrative
  2. Don’t worry about your voter base – low-information, gullible people, many of them with advanced degrees – prodding into it too deeply.
  3. Worry even less about the media bothering you with it.

It’s brilliant, really, if sliding into petty dictatorship is what you’re after.

Deigning

Kevin Williamson came out with an excellent piece this past week, comparing transit policy to “progressive” policy on education (and, for that matter, firearms, although Williamson doesn’t connect the Second Amendment to his thesis.  Which is fine – that’s what I’m here for).  Our current school and transit systems are largely designed by the “haves” – people with power as much as money – to foist upon the “have nots”.  That’s why superhighways and transit lines always run through lower-income, usually ethnic neighborhoods – and why schools in minority areas are disproportionally awful.

Transit – like education – is sort of a “powerful person’s burden”.

Along those same lines, a neighbor emailed me some observations about some of our local potentates rolling up their sleeves (and pant cuffs) to take to the frozen streets by bus to…well, hit the taxpayer up to fill in the money pit a little more:

I happened to see on Twitter that some legislators are using transit this week. Said one, “transit users are less stressed.” He’s not interacting with the same transit passengers that I interact with!

On their tweets, they all look a bit too happy to be real transit riders, too. They definitely aren’t interacting with the people on the bus at all, or they wouldn’t be smiling. Like the Pulp song “Common People” that I learned about after William Shatner covered it- “I said pretend you’ve got no money, She just laughed and said, “Oh you’re so funny.” I said “Yeah? Well I can’t see anyone else smiling in here.”

For fun and games, see tweets with hashtag howweroll.

It reminds me of those pix of Senators Franken and Klobuchar, and Congresspeople McCollum and Ellison, and Representative Martens, riding the train…

…back on that long, slow opening day last June, looking all Jane Goodall “Peasants in the Mist”, smiling like they’re worried Kim Jong Il (or Greta Bergstrom, pardon the redundancy) are going to feed them to hungry dogs if they don’t smile hard enough.

Orwell Would Puke…

,,,at this proposal, from the usual assortment of Metrocrat hamsters.  It may be the worst anti-gun bill, and the most toxic attack on civil liberty, in recent years.

It would essentially allow any cop or domestic violence victim to claim you brandished a firearm and have the authorities remove all firearms from your house and person.

Without even a hint of due process.

I say again; without even a plaintive whiff of due process.

Now, this bill is DOA in the House; Tony Cornish, a legislator who makes Ted Nugent look like Oprah Winfrey on Second Amendment issues, is chair of the Public Safety Committee; the DFL may as well deliver the bill directly to the paper shredder.

So why do it at all?

Politics:  Because Ron “Did You Know I Went To Harvard?” Latz is running the show in the Senate public safety committee, so it’s pretty much guaranteed a floor vote.  Which means a bunch of GOP senators will be on the record with “no” votes, which will be dutifully relayed during the 2016 campaign as “Senator X voted to give firearms to domestic abusers and people who threatened cops!” by the Alliance for a “Better” Minnesota.

That’s my two cents worth, of course; I have no doubt that Ron Latz would love to send SWAT teams to the home of every law-abiding gun owner on principle, but the political realities don’t support it right now.

We’ll keep you posted.

UPDATE: GOCRA is taking this bill very seriously, and so should you:

Everyone has moments in life where things seem hopeless. A death in the family, a job loss, PTSD from military service, a divorce… Responsible gun owners know that a doctor or psychologist can help. But this bill would encourage doctors to trick you into signing away your rights!

Imagine: there you are. You’re hurting. You go see a professional. He listens, then says he can help. He gives you a pile of forms to sign. Buried among them is a form created by this bill — one that puts you on the NICS no-buy list. “Voluntarily.”

Call your legislator. Tell them this bill needs to be killed with fire.

Chanting Points Memo: Our Collective Burden

I got a brief shot at listening to the Jack Tomczak show this morning, on the lesser talk station.

They were talking about Minnesota’s “budget surplus”.

And they played an audio clip of Gov. Dayton, which pretty completely summed up the disconnect the DFL has on this issue.

In the audio clip, the governor referred to the surplus as “our collective good fortune”.

And this highlights a yawning golf of cognitive dissonance between DFLers (and others they’ve fooled) and the rest of Minnesota.

To a DFLer, budget surpluses are borne down from heaven in velvet-lined ivory chests on the wings of unicorns.

To the rest of us? The government’s “surplus” is our deficit. Every penny of that surplus came from what could’ve been a more productive use. Small business’ payroll; a manufacturers capital budget; your household budget and mine.

It’s not a “collective good fortune”; it’s a burden. It’s money taken out of the productive economy to run government, in excess of what government demanded in the first place; if the DFL has its way, it will be turned into permanent spending, to be wrenched from your wallets, your budgets, your bottom lines in perpetuity.

Surpluses are a bad thing. Deficits – provided they lead to spending cuts, rather than tax hikes – are a good thing.

Except for the permanent government class, of course.

Trial Balloon

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Obama Administration wants to ban popular rifle ammunition on the grounds it could be used in handguns.

We saw this under Clinton, too, with the “cop killer” bullet craze and fear of Thompson Center pistols. Then, as now, it was all cover for a ban they wanted all along.

I saw this ammo at Cabellas a while back and thought “I should stock up, for when case they ban it.” But of course, I didn’t own a .223 so I didn’t buy any. Crap, another million dollar investment opportunity, wasted.

Joe Doakes

On the other hand, if you are, or know, a lawyer, litigating the inevitable test cases will no doubt put some peoples kids through Ivy League schools…

The Cell Phone Neutrality Act Of 1987

Where would we be today if the federal government had enacted a “Cell Phone Neutrality” act in 1987?  A policy saying that nobody could pay a premium for a snazzy, newfangled, small cell phone until everyone had a big, clunky, expensive one?

How about a “Car Safety Neutrality” act in 1971, saying that no one could pay a premium for a car with airbags until everyone had a car with airbags?

What if we passed us a law saying that nobody could pay a few bucks extra for good healthcare until everyone had crappy healthcare… Oh, wait.

The United States government: giving the most successful piece of infrastructure of the 21st-century regulation that didn’t work in the 1930s.

Note to liberals/”progressives”:  when companies release “premium” products, other companies notice that less-”premium” people want them too – and they find ways to make those “premium” products more affordable.  And everyone wins.

Which is why poor people have cell phones, consumer electronics and cars of higher quality than the rich had 30 years ago – but their healthcare, education and mass transit keep getting worse.

Fashionable Bigotry

Conservatives and Christians have been saying it for years; there really is only one acceptable form of bigotry to our political class these days.

And as Maggie Gallagher at NRO shows, it‘s not just an idle complaint.  A disturbing number of the “educated” upper middle class hold some fairly intense bigotry against people of faith Christians.

“Restrict their ability to become judges, senators, representatives, member of Cabinet, military chief of staff and other powerful members of government,” said a man over 75 with a bachelor’s degree. “Should not be able to make decisions regarding the law, they should somehow have to be supervised if they are working with other people (drastic, I know),” said a woman under 45 with a master’s degree. “We should put in place mandatory extreme prison sentences for anyone or any group that attempts to take away civil liberties guaranteed by our constitution,” said a middle-aged man with a master’s degree. “Churches should not be allowed to provide orphanages and adoption programs,” said one elderly man with a doctorate. “I think we should restrict the indoctrination of children in religious dogma and ritual” said a middle-aged man with a master’s degree. Conservative Christians should “not be allowed to hold political office, be police etc., serve in the armed forces,” said another middle aged man with a doctorate.

Gallagher’s piece is actually a response to the movie “Kingsman”, which indulges in some pretty lurid eliminationist anti-Christianism.  And while Gallagher takes great (and probably correct) pains to note that it’s a minority opinion, nobody knows how minor the minority is:

“No academic inquiry has investigated how individuals from a highly educated and politically powerful subculture may express attitudes that dehumanize out-groups,” reports Yancey and Williamson. Until now. So I am concerned when Hollywood begins to gratify the kind of hatred on display by the minority of progressives, and for the same reasons Yancey and Williamson are concerned about the minority of socially empowered progressives who express open hatred, dehumanization, and even murderous fantasies about Christians. The fact that such views are openly expressed by even a minority of educated elites likely means that they are acceptable expressions in powerful subcultures.

There’s the rub; bigotry on the part of conservatives likely comes from its underclass; on the left, it’s from (at least parts of) its self-appointed “elite”.

Don’t believe me?  Ask President Obama to point you to a bigger, gun-clinging, snake-handling Jeebus freak.

Liberals Warned Us…

…that if we voted for Mitt Romney, we’d have a government beholden to plutocrats, that trampled on the people and the law itself to get its wishes, while marinating in luxurious unaccoutability.

And they were right.  Even parts of the Left are smart enough to see it, albeit possibly too late.

Note To John Kline, Erik Paulsen, Tom Emmer and (if you’re smart) Colin Peterson:  Oppose this.  Seriously.

The American Gulag

So according to the UK Guardian, the City of Chicago runs its own private Lyubyanka:

The facility, a nondescript warehouse on Chicago’s west side known as Homan Square, has long been the scene of secretive work by special police units. Interviews with local attorneys and one protester who spent the better part of a day shackled in Homan Square describe operations that deny access to basic constitutional rights.

Alleged police practices at Homan Square, according to those familiar with the facility who spoke out to the Guardian after its investigation into Chicago police abuse, include:

  • Keeping arrestees out of official booking databases.
  • Beating by police, resulting in head wounds.
  • Shackling for prolonged periods.
  • Denying attorneys access to the “secure” facility.
  • Holding people without legal counsel for between 12 and 24 hours, including people as young as 15.

At least one man was found unresponsive in a Homan Square “interview room” and later pronounced dead.

If it’s confirmed that the Chicago Police have been pelting the Fourth Amendment with rocks and offal – then :

  • It’s time to send US troops to liberate Chicago, and
  • it makes perfect sense that it’s in a Democrat-controlled city.

Much as I love Chicago, I won’t spend another tourist dollar there until those responsible for Homan Square are frog-walked out of their offices and put into Federal custody.

And it’ll be interesting to see what other such places pop up around the country.

Continue reading

A Bargain At Half The Price!

I was listening to Jack Tomczak talking with AFSCME’s Javier Morillo on the lesser talk station yesterday, about the Dayton pay raises.

Morillo said, out of one corner of his mouth, that there is no way you could find people in the private sector who deal with headcounts and budgets like these administrators do, at the same pay, even with the raises.

And there may be something to that.  Most people who can hold their own in the private sector and look for more out of a career than a pension (outside of law enforcement and fire, the military, teachers and a few other fields) look at government work as a purgatory of eternal frustration and career stagnation.

But out of the other side of his mouth, he said that the salaries still aren’t competitive with the private sector.

So if the salaries are not competitive, the “talent” still isn’t going to get attracted from the private sector (or, apparently, local government). So why have the raises?

It doesn’t make sense as a “talent acquisition” measure; Morillo admitted as much.

But as an expanded payoff to the political class?

There, it makes perfect sense.

Europe’s Misbegotten Cousin

Greece appears to be on the brink of electing a far-left government which is promising its voters and end to the “austerity” that the incumbent center-right (by Greek standards; it’d still be to the left of the DFL) government imposed after the Greek economy, driven by decades of suffocating goverment spending that drove the government into crippling debt, crashed.

Greece currently has nearly 30% unemployment; it’s nearly 50% among younger people. And it was rescued from “worse” only by a massive bailout from the parts of Europe that work – mainly center-right Germany.

And now, their response seems to be to tell the Germans “screw you, give us more money”.

Here’s the piece from NPR’s “Marketplace”:

Listen to the Greek government “economic advisor”, Janos Milios (at around 4:42 on the audio):

Europe is a continent of democracy.  When the people of one country decide to change course, change policy, this is something that has to be respected by all parties”.

Respected?  If they’re paying their own bills and not surviving by pilfering the the wallets of the responsible countries, maybe.

This pretty much embodied the old criticism of democracy; “it can only survive until 51% of the people discover they can live off the other 49%”.

But the worst, most noxious quote is yet to come.  Among the left’s most bilious conceits is that society is a “family” – with, naturally, government serving as a gender-neutral parent to keep all the unruly kids in line.

That was the line taken by Dimitrius Papadimitriotis, an Athens psychiatrist (at around  3:30):

We believe it has to be shared among our European partners.  Being part of the “European Family” means taking care of each other, being there for each other.  And this is what “family” is all about.

Government – least of all extranational associations of governments – is not a “family”.

And if it were, then it’d be time to take the snotty spendthrift teenager to the garage and have a word with her about nagging mom and dad to pay off her credit card debts.

If I were a German taxpayer, I’d be demanding my government cut the Greeks off completely.

Petition

Senate File 32, as proposed by Senator Branden Petersen in the current session, would basically reiterate the Fourth Amendment…

…which is good, because the last couple of Presidents, going back to Clinton, have put the Fourth Amendment on life support.

The bill would require law enforcement and prosecutors to show legitimate probably cause before doing any electronic eavesdropping.

Senator Ron Latz, of course, controls the Senate Judiciary Committee.  And he apparently believes that if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear.

Please sign this petition urging Senator Latz to bring the bill up in committee for an up or down vote.

Because it would be good to know where our Senators stand on privacy and, y’know, freedom.

 

How To Get Ahead In Minnesota Politics

So late last week, Governor Dayton appointed 34 year old Adam Duininck to head the Met Council – the unelected, unaccountable body that has dictatorial control over metro-area land, transit and growth policy.

Duininck is taking the job as the Legislature prepares to increase its scrutiny of the Met Council, which in 2015 has an operating budget is $936 million.

But he said his top priority will be to define the role of the Met Council to local government officials.

Over the next few weeks, Duininck intends to visit with citizens and local elected officials across the metro area aiming to allay their concerns that the Met Council isn’t listening to them.

Actually, I suspect the best way to do this would be to actually listen to citizens and local elected officials.

But this post isn’t about the Met Council, per se.  It’s about the workings of the DFL machine.  Emphasis added:

Duininck 34, has represented Minneapolis on the 17-member Met Council since 2011, and largely focused transportation issues. He also has a career in DFL politics, serving as executive director for Win Minnesota, which raises money to help elect Democrats.

Let’s be clear:  ”Win Minnesota” is the fundraising arm of the MNDFL’s noise machine; it collects money from the usual DFL suspects – public employee unions, plutocrats and the like – and distributes it to the likes of the “Alliance for a Better Minnesota”, the DFL’s attack-PR wing.

Oh, yeah:

Duininck also is married to Jaime Tincher, Dayton’s Chief of Staff.

Which is, of course, becoming a bit of a Dayton Administration tradition; one of Dayton’s previous chiefs of staff was married to the boss of the Alliance for a Better Minnesota.

This bit made me laugh:

Dayton said he considered Duininck’s political and family ties before making the appointment.

Oh, I just bet he did.

And to make it even worse? 

But the governor said Duininck was endorsed by plenty of people — including current Met Council members, Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges, several state lawmakers and U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison, who represents Minnesota’s 5th District…He was the overwhelming recommendation,” Dayton said. “So he got selected by me despite some other issues that I knew would be raised and are going to be raised — because he’s the best person for the job.”

Of course he was.

When the DFL says “jump”, he’ll say “off what?”

Sense And Insensibility

Barack Obama is highly unpopular in the military.

And yet many of his policies are going over just fine among the troops:

The long-term effects of Obama’s social policies on the military remain unknown. But one thing is clear: He is a deeper unpopular commander in chief among the troops.

According to a Military Times survey of almost 2,300 active-duty service members, Obama’s popularity — never high to begin with — has crumbled, falling from 35 percent in 2009 to just 15 percent this year, while his disapproval ratings have increased to 55 percent from 40 percent over that time.

And before someone chimes in “it’s just anti-gay bigotry in the military, angry over the lifting of the sanction against gay troops”…:

A Military Times poll in 2009 found 35 percent of troops felt that gays and lesbians should be allowed to serve in uniform. Five years later, that figure has jumped to 60 percent.

Similarly, open opposition to homosexuality in the military has collapsed. In 2009, 49 percent of troops felt gays, lesbians and bisexuals should not be allowed to serve. In 2014, such disapproval fell to just 19 percent. 

Or against women in combat?

From 2011 to 2014, the percentage of survey respondents who felt that all jobs in combat arms units should be opened to women remained unchanged at 24 percent.

But the percentage of troops who felt some combat-arms jobs should be opened up to women — while allowing the military to continue to place some jobs off-limits — increased from 34 percent to 41 percent, while the percentage of respondents who felt the military should not change its policies excluding women from combat arms units fell from 43 percent in 2011 to 28 percent in 2014.

I’m going to suggest that while his policies may not be unpopular among the military, the fact that he’s a terrible leader is.

Lynced

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

My work now has Microsoft Lync, an instant messaging system intended for internal communications. It’s an alternative to inter-office mail, e-mail, fax, telephone or walking down the hall to talk to somebody at their desk.

Why do we need it another form of internal communication? E-mail is retained on servers which costs money, and retained e-mails are discoverable in lawsuits. Instant messages won’t tie up storage space on servers (which will save money) and won’t be discoverable in litigation.

Except . . . we’re government. EVERYTHING we do should be discoverable, that’s the point of Sunshine Laws. And if we don’t want to pay to store e-mail, then don’t store it – establish a retention policy and delete everything after a short time.

Joe Doakes

At my most recent employer, every Lync session started with a notice that *everything*  you wrote and presented was being recorded.

But it wouldn’t astound me if Ramco used Lync to skirt the rules…

Mission Nearly Accomplished

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails to urge us to “pretend”:

Pretend for a minute that President Obama doesn’t believe the United States ought to be a superpower, that it ought to be equal with other nations (not a big stretch – that belief motivated the Atom Spies to give nuclear secrets to the Russians and no doubt is shared by billions of people worldwide, today). How would he go about bringing America down to second or even third-world levels following the model of, say, Argentina?

  • Alienate traditional allies. Check.
  • Weaken military power, numbers and morale. Check.
  • Nationalize major industry. Check.
  • Weaken domestic energy independence, increase foreign dependence. Check.
  • Widen wealth gap. Check.
  • Reduce earners, increase idlers. Check.
  • Use government employees to intimidate political opponents. Check.
  • Crush middle class with regulations and taxes. In progress.
  • Debase the currency by printing money. In progress.
  • Debase the citizenry by flinging open borders. In progress.

So what’s next on the agenda? What will it take to bring the USA down to the economic, military, social and political level of, say, Spain?

Joe Doakes

About the only thing he hasn’t done is enlist Visigoths and Vandals into the military as auxiliaries.

Priorities

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Six months ago, as South Korea exported steel to the US at prices below what union steelworkers could produce it here, Liberals decried “dumping” and imposed import taxes to level the playing field, thereby protecting American jobs and prosperity.

Now that the Saudis are actively trying to kill the North Dakota oil industry by dumping crude oil at below-cost-of-production prices, Liberals are conspicuously silent.

It’s almost as if Liberals WANT to destroy America’s energy industry, to KEEP us dependent on foreign oil, to RAISE gas prices to $5 per gallon.

Joe Doakes

to the left, and economically crippled US is the right US.

Top Ten Other Nork Demands Of Hollywood

In addition to gundecking the premiere of The Interview, my sources at the FBI tell me the North Koreans have demanded the following:

10.  Also remove “Knocked Up” from circulation.

9. Bring back Life In Rehab

8. Digitally insert Kim Jong Un into all of Rogan’s parts in Freaks and Geeks. 

7. Digitally insert Kim Jong Un at the head of the conquering Humans in Return of the King.

6. Green-light Kim Jong Un’s screenplay for “Indiana Jones and the Kimchi Hangover”.

5. A talk show on “Twin Cities News Talk”.

4. Digitally substitute Kim Jong Un for Jeff Daniels in The Big Lebowski

3. Go back and rewrite/reshoot/re-release Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith.  And get them right this time.

2. More nude scenes involving Jennifer Lawrence.

1. No South Park parody of the entire hacking/cancelling The Interview fiasco.

I’m Not Going To Say…

…”when Obama’s lost SNL, he’s truly lost” – I mean, nobody really thinks about SNL much any more, do they?

And yet…:

And the “funny” thing is, this is better “Journalism” than most of the mainstream media has done on the subject of Barack Rex’s overreach.

John Fund:

It’s no wonder that the White House and its allies aren’t citing the recent elections or polls in defending their actions. An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll taken ahead of Obama’s move found that voters opposed him taking executive action without approval from Congress by 48 to 38 percent. Even among Hispanics, only 43 percent favored the action versus 37 percent who opposed it.

Look for this to be as far as the media (AKA “The Praetorian Guard”) to go in criticizing Barack Rex.

Bliss

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

The nation’s problems have been solved. They must be, if the Feds have nothing left to investigate besides painkiller use in the NFL to make sure million-dollar superstars aren’t taking drugs to help them win by playing while hurt.

I notice they didn’t investigate the Vikings. Nobody playing there, hurt or not.

Joe Doakes

It’s the fans that need the painkillers.