Chanting Points Memo: Democrat Fakery Labor Party

 Bill Glahn notes that the Dayton campaign’s latest TV ad – featuring a “beleaguered middle class family” – continues a long DFL tradition:

The Ports are in no sense “middle class.” Steve Port owns his own businessin Burnsville, employing several staff. In true, “What’s the Matter with Kansas” fashion, I’m not sure the Ports—by supporting Democrats—are operating in their own self-interest as small-business owners in Minnesota.

But they do support the Democrats. Besides the sizable campaign donations, Lindsey Port recently wrote a letter to the editor supportive of the Democratic cause.

And we do mean large contributions; the Ports gave $1,000 to Roz Peterson’s undistinguished lump of a DFL opponent. 

This is, of course, a DFL pattern.  Four years ago, the DFL and the “Alliance for a Better Minnesota” and its media allies at “The Uptake”, produced a piece featuring a mother who was “boycotting Target” because of their pro-business campaign donation to the putatively “anti-gay” Tom Emmer.  Of course, the woman was an upper-middle-class DFL donor from the southwest suburbs

The DFL.  Fake outrage.  Fake numbers.  Fake people.

ABM Flies Above That Circling Fin

SCENE:  In the office of “Governor” Mark Dayton, at the Minnesota State Capital.  Carrie LUCKING, Executive Director of “Alliance For A Better Minnesota”, is sitting at a large, mahogany desk.  She is leaning back, feet up on the desk, looking idly upward at the paintings and carvings that decorate the ornate office in the classical romanesque structure. 

Across from her is a larger, more ornate mahogany desk.  The nameplate says “Alida Messinger”; it shows signs of being only intermittently occupied. 

A knock is heard on a door leading to a small closet (off right).  LUCKING barely stirs. 

LUCKING:  What?

GOVERNOR MARK DAYTON (dimly heard through door):  Can I go to the bathroom?

LUCKING:  Go.

(DAYTON opens closet door, walked quickly, shoulders hunched through the door to the left, as Hannah UNDERLING, a staff assistant, walks in)

UNDERLING:  Er, Miss Lucking?  House Minority Leader Daudt is calling for hearings on MNSure.

LUCKING:  Put out a press release calling him “extreme”.

(UNDERLING makes a note). 

That’ll be all. 

(UNDERLING leaves). 

(Time passes.  LUCKING indolently pecks a message into her cell phone, until T. Giles HUMID, a highly trained puppeteer and member of the Governor’s staff, enters the room).

HUMID:  Er, Carrie…

(LUCKING clears her throat)

HUMID:  …er, Miss Lucking?  A group of of Saint Paul school parents are demanding better results from the public schools for their children.

LUCKING (staring idly at the ceiling, twisting her hair):  Put out a call to Keri Miller saying they’re…extreme. 

(HUMID takes a  note, leaves the room).

(There is a knock on the door).

LUCKING:  What?

GOVERNOR DAYTON (voice muffled outside the door):  Can I come in?

LUCKING (Bored):  Yes. 

(DAYTON walks past, stops at LUCKING’s desk)

DAYTON:  Say, uh…

LUCKING:  I’m busy.

DAYTON:  Ok.  (He walks through the closet door again)

(LUCKING, bored, starts folding an origami swan.  It quickly starts resembling a badly-formed paper airplane.  She wads it up and throws it in a trash can that is overflowing with wadded-up pieces of paper)

(Tina FLINT-SMITH, the Governor’s chief of staff and Lieutenant-Governor candidate, enters the room)

FLINT-SMITH:  Carrie, I’m going to be out at a town hall meeting in Cambridge, and I need a term to use to refer to the GOP’s criticism of our budget.

LUCKING:  I’d run with “extreme”.

FLINT-SMITH:  Um…OK.  Do we use that a lot?

LUCKING:  No.

FLINT-SMITH:  Um…OK.  (Leaves the room). 

(More idle time).

(Finally, UNDERLING enters).

UNDERLING:  Ms. Lucking, I got a request from some DFLers from Greater Minnesota.  They need some talking points during upcoming debates.

LUCKING (sounding bored):  DFLers from where?

UNDERLING:  Um, Greater Minnesota?  (LUCKING stares, not compreheding.)  The part outside the Twin Cities Metro.

LUCKING:  Huh.

UNDERLING:  They want to know – what do we call Sheila Kihne?

LUCKING:  Er…hm.  Let me think.  I’d say “too extreme!”

UNDERLING: OK.  How about Jennifer Loon?  The rep whom Kihne is primarying? 

LUCKING:  I think we should call her…too extreme!

UNDERLING (sotto voce while writing): …too extreme.  OK – how about Dave Senjem, from Rochester, the leader of the “moderate” faction of the GOP in the House?

LUCKING (absent-mindedly twirling a piece of thread):  Oh, he’s “too extreme”. 

UNDERLING:  Hmm.  OK.  How about Julie Rosen?   Republicans are constantly complaining she’s too moderate.  What is the message about here?

LUCKING (staring into space):  Too extreme. 

UNDERLING:  And how about Tom Bakk.

LUCKING (visibly bored):  Too extreme. 

UNDERLING:  But he’s actually the DFL’s Senate Majority Leader.

LUCKING:  Oh.

(Ryan WINKLER walks in)

WINKLER: Hey, I was talking with Colin Peterson. He’s getting a run for his money from Torrey Westrom. How’s about we call him “shortsighted”?

UNDERLING: Really?

WINKLER: What?  You’re gonna say that’s racist, too? 

UNDERLING:  You don’t know…?

WINKLER:  What?  He’s a black lawyer, too? 

UNDERLING:  He’s blind. 

WINKLER:  I don’t get it. 

LUCKING:  He’s too extreme.

UNDERLING:  Right…

LUCKING:  But we must counter him as well.  (Turns toward DAYTON’s closet)  Hey!   Find some Ray Charles glasses and a long white cane!

(Silence from behind DAYTON’s door)

LUCKING:  HEY!

DAYTON:  Ok. 

(And SCENE)

Lucking: “So Stupid You’re Not Acting Stupid…”

Carrie Lucking may be the second most powerful person in Minnesota.

She’s the “Executive Director” of “Alliance for a Better Minnesota” – meaning that when Alida Messinger says “jump”, Lucking tells “Governor” Dayton how high, and off what, he’s to leap. 

She is, in effect, the real “Lieutenant Governor” of Minnesota.

But beyond that, she is in charge of ABM’s endless campaign to disinform (or as they used to say, “lie to”) the people of Minnesota – or, more accurately, to the low-information voters that are the DFL’s most important constituency. 

And she unleashed a howler yesterday:

State Senator Dave Thompson portrays himself as an unabashed conservative: a vocal, passionate defender of liberty at all costs.

Given this image, it’s notable that the former conservative talk radio host hasn’t published a blog or posted his legislative newsletter online since 2013. Whatever happened in 2013 that would make Thompson go mum in 2014? Hmmmm….

Could it be politics?

Well, duh.  Of course it’s politics. Specifically, the politics of making yourself “opposition-researcher proof”.  If you’re considering running for office, you take down your blog; you stop Tweeting; you hide your Facebook page.  All of your messaging goes through your campaign; it’s all vetted, measured and slept on before it’s put out in front of the public and the media, to avoid ”ready-fire-aim” moments like Judi Dutcher’s “Ethanol” flub, or any of Michele Bachmann’s history of PR botches – because the media is always looking for a good political flub, and ABM will be there to make sure the media don’t miss any such flubs. 

Or even non-flubs. 

So when Lucking breathlessly purrs…:

Thompson announced his campaign for Governor in the summer of 2013, a few months after he stopped publishing his From the Senate Floor blog and Senate newsletter

Thompson has gone mum

online.

Posting snafu? New legislative aide who forgot to put the newsletter online?

…she’s being disingenuous.  She knows as well as anyone that every candidate, GOP or DFL - at least every smart one – locks down their commentary when they’re getting ready to go on the trail. 

One thing is certain, though. Dave Thompson the radio host sure had a lot more to say than Dave Thompson the politician running for Governor.

Well, duh. 

Now, Carrie Lucking is a terrible writer and a breathless apparatchik – but she knows her audience; people who don’t know any better.  People who don’t have the time, inclination, or resources to check the story behind the “stories” ABM shovels to them.  People who only follow politics for the day, or days, or week or two before elections, people who make up their minds about elections over gut reactions and visceral responses to chanting points and sound bites, as well as the self-lobotomized droogs that wouldn’t know how not to vote DFL. 

Behind everyone who doesn’t really know the facts and doesn’t want to or know how to find them out for themselves, is a potential DFL voter. 

But that’s what Lucking gets paid to write.

The real question; will Rachel Stassen-Berger at the Strib, or Tom Scheck at MPR, ever point out to the less-informed in the audience what a facile bit of rhetoric this is?  Will MPR’s “Poligraph” give this statement the “Oh, Hell No” it deserves?   Will anyone in the Minnesota mainstream media ever tackle the Alliance’s endless, cynical campaign of disinformation, not to mention probe their deeply incestuous relationship with the Governor’s office and the DFL?

Place your bets.

Open Letter To Alliance For A “Better” Minnesota”

To:  Carrie Lucking, “Executive Director”, Alliance for a Better Minnesota
From: Mitch Berg, uppity peasant
Re:  Chain Of Command

Ms. Lucking,

The “Special Session” to deal with disaster relief teed up a few hours ago.

Just a hint; it might behoove you to copy your audioanimatronic marionette “Governor” Dayton on any legislation that gets proposed, or especially passed.  The vision of your audioanimatronic marionette our “Governor” proclaiming shock at legislation that the DFL has jammed through embarasses this state makes your chain of command look “not ready for prime time”. 

It’s pretty simple; route things from Governor Ms. Messinger, to you, to handler “Chief of Staff” Bob Hume, to Mr. Dayton.  And spend some time making sure he really knows what’s getting written into law. 

You’re welcome.

That is all.

Democrat Lies: Taking Stock, Looking Ahead

The DFL ran in 2012 on a series of issues that – you heard in on the blogs first – were entirely buncombe. 

So let’s take stock of the things the DFL Alliance for a Better Minnesota said for which they need to be held accountable over the next 17 months or so:

“Property Taxes Will Drop”:  For the past six years, the DFL has been yapping that cuts in Local Government Aid forced property taxes to rise.  It’s a lie, of course; the “cuts” forced city and county governments to make tough choices about their spending, and made them justify their spending to their own taxpayers, rather than passing the bill off to the rest of the state with few if any questions asked.  And as I showed back in 2010, cities and counties jacked up property taxes by vastly more than the amount cut from LGA.  In the meantime, many cities learned to live without LGA entirely; it is they that are subsidizing everyone else’s spending. 

Prediction: the “extra” money from the state will almost entirely be consumed with extra spending (in fact, every single penny of “new” LGA sent to Minneapolis and Saint Paul will go to new spending).  Cities and counties will almost universally raise their property taxes, or at best hold steady.  Any exceptions?  They’ll prove the rule. 

That Economic Outlook:  The Minnesota left has been jumping up and down and beaming like toddlers that made good pantses about a “study” put out by the Philadelphia Fed a few weeks ago that showed Minnesota was clobbering Wisconsin in economic growth.

The “study” also showed that Minnesota was clobbering North Dakota.   Indeed, the “study” showed North Dakota in the bottom 10%, along with Wisconsin. You’ve heard what a wasteland North Dakota is, right? 

Oh, yeah – along with Minnesota in the “yay” column were fiscal and employment basket cases Illinois and California.  Economic powerhouses like North Dakota, Texas and Florida?  In the “Meh” column. 

Do with that information what you will.

But beyond that?  It was a short term analysis of growth, based on exceedingly transient indicators.  And to the extent that it had any value, remember: Wisconsin is still digging out from under decades of wastrel Democrat regimes.  And except for smokers, Minnesota is in the last couple of weeks of the result of over a decade of policy largely controlled by responsible GOP governors and legislatures.  The GOP never got everything they wanted – the shared the legislature from 2002-2008, had only the governorship in ’09-10, and both sides of the legislature but no governor in ’11 and ’12 – but at worst, Governor Pawlenty ran his veto pen red-hot and staved off the worst DFL-predations; at best, they were able to impose some restraint on things. 

But on August 1 – less than three weeks from now – that all changes.  Warehouse taxes, business taxes, wealth achievement taxes (make no mistake, income taxes don’t tax the “wealthy”, they merely penalize people who work for high incomes, leaving trust fund babies like Mark Dayton and Alida Messinger blissfully alone) and a raft of new regulations go into effect, penalizing businesses and – slowly – making Minnesota a lousy place to do business.

It’s already having an effect; Minnesota has sunk to the lowest ranking for new business creation in the nation.  More will surely follow.  And the raft of new regulations is going to brutalize the already somnolent mining industry; it’s literally cheaper and easier to build a tailing-recycling smelting plant in North Dakota and ship the ore – rock! – there than it is to build it where the actual ore is, here in Minnesota. 

Feeling good about that DFL vote, all you Iron Rangers?  This is your livelihood, being exported to a state that already has more jobs than it can fill

So over the next year, people have to ask themselves; outside of state government union jobs, who’s really benefited?

Prediction:  Other than “liberal plutocrats”, the answer will be “nobody”.

The Deficit:  The DFL and its toadies in the mainstream media did their by-the-numbers prancing last week over the news that the state’s economy generated $400M more revenue than expected. 

That, of course, was the last quarter of GOP-driven rules. 

In fact, as House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt noted on Twitter, we raised more money with the budget the Democrats called “the All Cuts budget” than Governor Messinger Dayton did with his All-Tax budget

What’ll happen this time next  year?

Place your bets.

“We Did It For The Children”:  After a couple of years of efforts to pay off the “Education Funding Shift” – a DFL-spawned accounting gimmick that the GOP adopted to compromise with rapacious DFL minorities and governors in years past – the GOP had most of the “shift” paid down.  The growth in the economy – not the Democrat tax hikes – paid that “shift” down.  The DFL will want to claim credit – and the media won’t challenge him on it in the least.

Over the next two years, education will get more expensive, and the achievement gap…

…will go unmeasured, since the DFL worked overtime to remove accounability from its biggest, most influential bloc of government-union supporters.

But we’ll know.

Who’s Watching The Kids?: The DFL promised that unionization of daycares would improve childcare. 

Easy prediction: the price of childcare will rise, as its availability drops.  More poor Minnesotans will be squeezed out of the market.  The Democrats will need to add a new subsidy program to try to lower the prices whose hikes were their fault to begin with. 

There’ll be more.

I Would Have Gone With Scheiβgewitter

I’m a language geek.  I also minored in German in college,und weil ich noch mehr Übung brauche, spreche ich’s noch gern.

So I’m rosenkitzelt to report that Germany’s latest official word (according to their equivelent of the Oxford English Dictionary) is…

“S***storm”.

 The word appears to have caught on in Germany during a scandal involving Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg .

The word appears to have caught on in Germany during the financial crisis and a plagiarism scandal which claimed the job of Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, the then defence minister.

In Germany, the phrase is used to denote a public outcry, especially one that gathers pace on the internet.

…but that words can apparently officially enter the German language through the most delightful back channel:

The phrase won ‘Anglicism of the Year’ in February last year, with a jury saying: “S—storm fills a gap in the German vocabulary that has become apparent through changes in the culture of debate.”

It added that established German words, including ‘Kritik’, meaning criticism, were not descriptive enough.

We can learn from the Germans.  I propose the following noun:

Schitzkrieg:  the Alliance for a Better Minnesota’s patented smear campaign.

Pass it on.

Alles Klar?

Agents Of Decay

I’m of several minds about MNGOP Chair Keith Downey’s broadside at the MNDFL and the “Alliance for a Better Minnesota” in the Pioneer Press last Thursday. 

On the one hand, acknowledging it is a sign that the Minnesota Left’s campaign – relying as it does on relentless name-calling and smearing – works. 

On the other hand – it does work.  You don’t need to be a pollster to know that the “Emmer Had Two DUIs” jape likely cost Tom Emmer the 2010 gubernatorial election all by itself. 

And on the third hand, not acknowledging it won’t make it go away. 

And there’s a fourth hand.  We’ll come back to that. 

Downey:

Demonizing personal insults flow far too easily from Minnesota Democrats these days. The latest: Rep. Ryan Winkler calling Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas “Uncle Thomas.” Offensive enough on its own, worse, Winkler’s attack is but a symptom.

DFL Party Chair Ken Martin and Alliance for a Better Minnesota’s Executive Director Carrie Lucking have perfected a systematic program in Minnesota that takes political name calling to a new level.

This strategy is straight out of Saul Alinsky’s “Rules for Radicals.” Alinsky’s Rule #5 states: “Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.” Rule #12 says: “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.”

Ken Martin at a meeting with Alida Messinger

 

And the two – Martin, who’s spent a career as Alida Messinger’s cringing lapdog and bag man, and Lucking, a woman who gives off that “my life peaked in high school” vibe, a former junioir high social studies teacher who was a spectacular two-time failure as a campaign manager (oh, crapt, now I’m doing it.  I’m sorry) – have certainly raised name-calling to a low, profane art.

The Democrats’ implementation in Minnesota is intentional and well-developed:

Step one: Attach a negative personal label to an opponent that appeals to emotion and has nothing to do with governing.

Step two: Spend a few million dollars to make the label stick.

Step three: Have your candidates pretend to take the high road.

Although Ryan Winkler never got that memo.

Representative Winkler

DAMMIT!  I’m doing it again!  The slope of civility sure is slippery!

Of course, neither Lucking nor Martin can do anything else; Conservatives on Twitter know that neither of them has the brains or the information to debate at a level higher than name-calling…

…sorry.  I slipped again. 

Downey:

Unfortunately, this formula has proven effective for Democrats. It is now a rapid-response machine. As any Republican candidate steps forward to run for public office in 2014, within hours, usually minutes, Martin and Lucking flood the online and traditional media. Here is a recent sampling: “just another rich guy who likes to fire people”; “just another hypocritical, Gingrich politician”; “vulture capitalist and Minnesota Romney wannabe #2″; “anti-government government official”; “isn’t quite ready for the bright lights”; “failed businessman, failed gubernatorial candidate and right-wing talker”; “a voice for the hard-core right-wing, not hard-working families”; “an extreme choice for Minnesota.”

As I noted a few weeks back, it’s having a noxious effect on politics in Minnesota; I know personally of one potential candidate for significant office for which the specter of the ABM smear machine is a serious consideration; they seriously wonder if it’s worth the damage their families will take at the hands of the droogs that take ABM’s lies seriously. 

Minnesota voters deserve better, and even in politics the truth matters. Public officials and candidates put their lives and careers on hold to step forward and serve the people of Minnesota. Attack their ideas, fair enough; but build a messaging machine to insult them personally?

Now, let’s depart for a moment from Lucking and Martin who, let’s be honest, are just sled dogs pulling the way their musher tells them to. 

Who lets them get away with it?

The media brahmins in the editorial suites at 425 Porland, 5th and Cedar and 7th and Cedar like to wax rhapsodic about the need for civility, an informed electorate, and a better brand of politics – usually intoned while looking down their aquiline noses at (conservative) talk radio. 

And conservatives – most of talk radio and their alternative media included – almost invariably take the high road.  And the closer you get to the seats of conservative power, the less likely you are to see anyone getting their hands dirty. 

Ken Martin, Carrie Lucking and “Governor” Dayton getting ready for a meeting with Alida Messinger.

But ABM’s toxic sleaze campaign is paid for by Mark Dayton’s ex-wife and the group lavishly funded by his biggest supporters –  the unions and liberal plutocrats – and run by the significant other (girlfriend or wife – Lucking is cagey on her domestic specifics) of “Governor” Dayton’s Chief of Staff. 

And you will find not a f****ng word about it in the Twin Cities media

Not one word.

Rachel Stassen-Berger at the Strib, Bill Salisbury at the PiPress, the entire “Capitol Stenography Press Corps”, everyone is hands-off ABM.  TheMinnPost?  Hell, that’s turned into another DFL PR firm.

Nobody prodded the coziness of the relationship – one might call it “chain of command” – between Dayton’s office and the attack-PR firm his ex-wife pays his chief of staff’s girlfriend/wife/whatever to run. 

It’s another example of the media abdicating what some used to call its “responsibility”.

One Day At DFL Headquarters

SCENE:  At the DFL headquarters, on Plato Boulevard in Saint Paul.  Chairman Ken MARTIN is sitting in his office.

(Carrie LUCKING of the Alliance for a Better Minnesota walks in.  MARTIN springs to attention, salutes).

LUCKING:  As you were.    (MARTIN sits as LUCKING settles into an overstuffed leather recliner)

LUCKING:  So what’s going on?

MARTIN:  Well, we’re hitting the GOP over their War on Womym, we’re telling Minnesotans that taxing the 1% will make them taller and smarter, and…

LUCKING:  That’s not what I mean, and you know it.

MARTIN: Beg pardon?

LUCKING:  Beavis is at it again.

MARTIN:  Beavis?  You mean Represntative Winkler?

LUCKING:  Yes.  His tweet yesterday embarassed the party.  Summon Bakk and Thissen.

MARTIN:  Summon Bakk and Thissen!

(Tom BAKK and Paul THISSEN enter the room.  They stand attention and salute LUCKING, who returns the salute.  They remain standing).

LUCKING:  Explain!

(BAKK smirks at THISSEN with a look of badly-concealed contempt).

THISSEN:  I don’t know, your highness.

LUCKING:  Doesn’t he know he must clear all utterances with me before making them?

THISSEN:  Yes, your highness.  Normally calling black conservatives racist names is perfectly acceptable.

LUCKING:  Right.  But not this time.  How about the media?

BAKK:  Only Rupar has written about it so far.

LUCKING:  Who gave him permission?

THISSEN:  Nobody that I know of.  But it’s mostly been damage control so far, so it should be OK.

BAKK:  And Michelle Malkin and Dana Loesch.

LUCKING: Who?

BAKK:  The Filipina Pole-Dancer and some chick who probably boffed Grover Norquist to get a job.

LUCKING:  Ah.

(Through the window, we see Ryan WINKLER walking toward the door.  He’s singing Justin Timberlake’s “Sexy Back”).

LUCKING:  Let’s get his explanation.

(WINKLER walks into room, salutes LUCKING – who doesn’t return salute. He awkwardly releases salute…)

WINKLER:  Your highness?

LUCKING:  Explain yourself.   You tweeted this yesterday:

WINKLER:  Well, in my defense, I didn’t know “Uncle Tom” was racist.

BAKK:  What?  It’s up there with the “N”-bomb! A white guy using a term to refer to a black guy as a cringing, servile piece of chattel?

WINKLER:  Well, there’s some debate about that.

BAKK:  Not in like 150 years.

WINKLER:  Well, my bad.  And since when is it bad to bag on oreos who vote Republican?

LUCKING:  That’s immaterial.  What the hell else have you been writing? (Takes out pearl-encrusted iPhone, starts flipping through WINKLER’s twitter account) Oh, what the hell…:

WINKLER: What?

LUCKING: The Civil War’s been over for nearly fifty years.

THISSEN:  At least!  And the ACLU won!

LUCKING:  Look – give me your Blackberry.  I need to see what else you’ve got in your Drafts.  (WINKLER hands over phone).

LUCKING (Flips through phone):  Wait – calling Representative Hillstrom “Screechy McMenstrual?”

WINKLER:  Is that bad?

LUCKING:  Yes!

WINKLER: But she was derailing Representative Martens’ gun bill!

LUCKING:  Thanks be to Alida that never went out.

THISSEN (quietly):  Still, you save that sort of thing for Republican lawmakers.  Like Tara Mack or Mary Franson.

WINKLER:  Ah.  Point taken.

LUCKING:  Didn’t you learn anything at Harvard Law School?   I mean, the school that great minds like Laurence Tribe and Alan Dershowitz teach at?

WINKLER:  Dershowitz?  Ah!  Good ol’ Schlomo the Money-Grubbing Skinflint!

(LUCKING, BAKK and THISSEN glare at WINKLER)

WINKLER:  What?   Wait – that, too?  You gotta be kidding…

(And SCENE)

Our Racist Alternative Media

A comment I got off-line from a neighbor got me thinking a little more about (I puke a little in my mouth to say it) last week’s bizarre little Nick Coleman blog post.

I focused on his fabrication of facts in re the cancellation of an open carry event scheduled in conjunction with the “Open Streets” event in Minneapolis this past weekend.  Coleman – the current “Executive Editor” of lefty videoblog “The Uptake” – essentially created a story from pure vapor; in the original latin, I believe the term was “de anus“. 

But there was another aspect to the story that should draw even more brickbats – including from “Uptake” readers and putative “progressives” that actually think about what their “movement” says and how they say it.

Here’s Coleman from his piece last week – starting with his ofay classist jape:

Imagine how reassured you would feel when hundreds of bearded guys from Andover and Elko show up in North Minneapolis or the Summit-University area of St Paul (“Open Streets” events will take place in both of those communities later this summer) with Bushmasters and Brownings slung over their shoulders or Glocks and Rugers hanging from their paunches.

That Minneapolis and Saint Paul are full of vapid Prius-driving government-employed Saint Olaf grads with infinite senses of social entitlement and who’ve never had to confront the notion that there are people out there who disagree with and live life differently than you, in ways other than skin color and sexual orientation isn’t up for debate. 

But here’s the interesting bit:

Here’s a neat mental exercise: Try to imagine hundreds of inner-city residents carrying weapons at the Andover Family Fun Fest, July 13. Just because they can.

Now, as I noted last week, to Coleman – as dork-fingered and inarticulate a Studs Terkel-wannabe as has ever occupied space in a newsroom – “inner city” means “black, Latino and Asian”.  And maybe not Asian. 

And so I’d love to know what Coleman had in mind when he imagined “hundreds of inner city residents” with guns out in the suburbs. 

Is he envisioning an apples-to-apples comparison – hundreds of black, latino and asian citizens over the age of 21 with carry permits and clean criminal records and passed training classes on their resumes?  People among the 140,000 Minnesotans with valid carry permits (the application doesn’t collect ethnic data) who are several orders of magnitude less likely to commit any crime than the general public? 

People like the ones I ran into at Gander Mountain at their Carry event over the winter?   Responsible, adult citizens exercising their legal right to own and carry firearms (once deemed suitably responsible under this state’s legal code) who happened to be black, Latino or Asian?  People that I – who have lived in the Midway for 25 years, but am apparently too Anglo-Scandinavian to qualify as “inner city” – would have no qualms mingling with, armed or not, because they’re just like me – a rigorously law-abiding citizen?

Or is Coleman – grandée and resident-for-life of leafy, lily-whiter-than-Lakeville neighborhoods like Tangletown and Crocus Hill – picturing do-rag-clad teenage thug wannabees, Los Reyes with face tattoos and Hmong tough guys in “rice rocket” Honda Civics – the cliche du jour “inner city” caricature among our media’s pallid chanting classes?

If it’s the former, then I have to ask Coleman; do you think a carry permittee who happens to be black or latino is a better, more reliable citizen than your “paunchy, bearded” honky walking cliches?  Do you have any statistics to bear that out?  (Because the real stats show they’re exactly identical).

If it’s the latter, I have to ask The Uptake; do you accept this form of racism from your staff?  Especially when you layer it atop the giggly homophobia that’s been Coleman’s stock in trade for his entire career?

Because if Bradlee Dean or Jason Lewis or Michelle Fishbach had made a jape about “inner city” residents, or about how living on a submarine can turn people gay because “You have the hot cot thing going on there”, you’d be baying at the moon. 

I know, I know.  If moral consistency were a “progressive” value, “MoveOn” and Sandra Fluke would never exist as media figures, and the “Alliance for a Better Minnesota” would be utterly silent.  Asking is a purely academic exercise.

Fail

Kurt Zellers announced his candidacy for Governor yesterday, entering an increasingly crowded field.

And seconds after his announcement, the “Alliance For A Better Minnesota” – Alida Messinger’s union-and-plutocrat-funded attack-PR firm, henceforth “ABM”  - was out with the party line on Twitter:

@ABetterMN: Failed Speaker Kurt Zellers led a historic era of partisan politics. WATCH: http://bit.ly/16ukH99 #wrong4mn #mn2014 #mnleg #stribpol

(I wonder how “forcing daycare providers and personal care attendants into a union against their will so the DFL can get another $2M a year in “donations” will be spun as “non-partisan” by ABM and the media that parrots their chanting points without question?)

ABM, of course, is run by “Executive Director” Carrie Lucking.  She’s a former junior high social studies teacher who now runs Messinger’s little message shop; she ran the epic, toxic sleaze campaign that barely squeedged Mark Dayton over the top against Tom Emmer’s flawed campaign in 2010, and packed the polls with the uninformed in 2012. 

But what about in between?

Dave Thul was the first with the story:

@davethul: The irony of @ABetterMN’s ‘failed candidate’ mantra? Their Exec @CarrieLucking left teaching to become a Failed Campaign Manager. #stribpol

She was a “failed” campaign manager, working for a woman who had a failed marriage to a failed Senator. 

Oh, the video about Zellers that Lucking links to?

You be the judge.  But I’d call it an epic failure.

Carrie Lucking:   Remember – the greatest president of either of our lifetimes, Ronald Reagan, was a “failure” running for president.  Once.

Sturdevant And “Battered State Syndrome”

Lori Sturdevant has a mission.

The DFL – and the PR machine that includes bodies as inseparably-”diverse” as the “Alliance for a Better Minnesota”, the Joyce-Foundation-funded MinnPost and theStribeditorial board (which has close links to all three of the above) worked tirelessly to try to make Minnesota “Happy to Pay for a Better” state. 

The dim and querulous gave them the Legislature and Governor they dreamed about and paid for. 

But the parts of this state that actually produce the wealth that Our Better Government needs to siphon (and siphon, and siphon some more) are showing signs that they’ve had enough.  That the snapping sound that the fat, lazy, over-entitled riders upon the camel of state enterprise have been hearing is the sound of camel vertebrae giving up the ghost.

And Sturdevant’s apparent mission is to try to shame the camel for all that wobbling.

Our Innumerate Overlords – Sturdevant’s old club-mate Nick Coleman once famously declared that journos were better than bloggers because they “know stuff”, by dint of having written about “stuff” down the long, lonely, ink-smeared decades. 

Sturdevant, like Coleman, continuously show what a low bar “stuff” turns out to be, when it comes to the realities of business and economics:

The numbers always seemed screwy to me. If congressional action allowing all states to apply their sales taxes to online purchases would net Minnesota a cool $400 million a year, as the state Revenue Department keeps saying, why was the new “Amazon tax” only slated to bring in about $5 million per year?

Because – as anyone who followed the Vikings Stadium funding fiasco, or the course of any sort of cigarette or sin tax in history, can tell you – the figures that bureaucrats give when they’re trying to sell a tax are always higher than what you actually get.  Because people and companies modify their behavior, their purchasing, their lives if need be to try, try, try to keep more of their hard-earned income and profits. 

Oh, of course Sturdevant won’t report it that way:

The answer became obvious last week. Amazon unkindly cut off its Minnesota-based advertising affiliates with a bare two weeks’ notice to avoid collecting sales tax on Minnesota purchases starting July 1.

Right. 

And why would they do that?

Two possible reasons:

  1. Because acting as an unpaid tax collector, in addition to shaving money off their own top line, hits their bottom line as well; it involves building systems and hiring people to not only do the collecting, but to handle dealing with the inevitable squabbles over collections with the state governments involved.  As only a small minority of states tax revenues on online sales, it’s just not worth it.
  2. They’re big nasty ugly meanies.

Sturdevant wants the Strib’s readers – which is a synomym for “low information voters”, these days – to pick “2″.  Emphasis added:

The state’s tax collectors allowed that they were not surprised. They’d been expecting as much from Amazon, said Revenue Commissioner Myron Frans. It’s what the tax dodger, er, online retailer has done in at least seven other states. Hence the measly forecast for tax collections from online sellers with Minnesota affiliates.

And there you go; the left’s most noxious conceit; that productivty and its consequences – profit – belongs to government first and foremost; that trying to keep more of it for yourself, having done all the actual work to produce it and all, is a thoughtcrime. 

To avoid having to deal with the administrative and fiscal overburden, not to mention lending legitimacy to a tax that may well be unconstitutional, isn’t good business; it’s a moral offense.  Or so Sturdevant will keep chanting.

And chanting:

(The official name for the new sales tax provision is “affiliate nexis.” It’s not a new tax, but a new requirement that when an online seller has a Minnesota affiliate, the tax on its Minnesota sales must be collected by the seller at the time of purchase, rather than being reported and paid later by the consumer — as all consumers faithfully and fully do every year, right?)

Dunno, Lori.  Do you?

“Atlas!  Knock Off All That Damn Shrugging!” – Up next, an irony that provokes a chuckle every time I see it, which is every time Sturdevant writes about the relationship between government and the people who pay for it, which is every other column; she rails against choice – when it’s The People doing the chosing:

The Revenue Department had been urging enactment of the Amazon tax since DFLer Mark Dayton became governor, even though it was known to be tricky to forecast and fairly easy to dodge.

Truth be told, much the same can be said of most of the $1 billion or so in annual tax increases enacted by the 2013 Legislature.

And after thirty-odd years, Sturdevant still hasn’t figured it out; when you build a spending plan based on making other people - “the rich”, entrepreneurs, businesspeople, the “haves” – pay for your stuff, those other people might just get other ideas. 

Ms. Sturdevant?  Your Institutional Hypocrisy Is Showing – Sturdevant avers that there might be some PR issues with the DFL’s / Alida Messinger’s (pardon the redundancy) “Happy To Make Other People Pay For Our Minnesota” plan: 

For example, the howl that went up from the warehouse industry about a sales tax that will start applying next April to its business-to-business transactions was accompanied by credible threats that warehouses would move to Hudson, Wis.

Right.

Even before the session ended, tax planning seminars popped up offering to coach well-heeled Minnesotans about ducking the new 9.85 percent income tax rate…Then there’s the $1.60-per-pack boost in the cigarette tax [which] might be the easiest to dodge of all. Cigarette sellers just across the Minnesota state lines — and on Minnesota’s Native American lands — can prepare for land-office business after July 1, when Minnesota smokes will become the most expensive in the region…The kind that involves spending six months and a day in no-income-tax Florida? That’s evidently tolerated.

And yep.

Was there another tax “for a better Minnesota” that elicited a howl of protest from a Minnesota institution?  One that threatened to put a 5.5%-to-6.75+% ding in an industrly that’s already shrinking by several points a year? 

One that pays Sturdevant’s paycheck, maybe?

You’ll search Sturdevant’s column in vain for any sign that she’s called her bosses “tax evaders” for having acted in their own enlightened fiscal self-interest.  

Guess the Strib – whose editorial board and occasionally newsroom shilled tirelessly for DFL candidates – doesn’t want A Better Minnesota, unless someone else is paying for it either. 

Keep that in mind in the next section.

She’s Head-Slappingly Ignorant Of Economics And Business – But I’ll Bet She’s Got History Down Cold! – Sturdevant next wraps herself in the flag.

I don’t think she knows it’s the Soviet flag:

…I’ve observed that in the rest of Minnesota, tax avoidance within “perfectly legal” parameters is socially acceptable behavior — so much so that people brag about it to their friends. Those who engage in it count themselves as patriots, and by today’s lights, they may well be. But they don’t think like the fellows in 1776 who pledged to their new venture “our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.”

Further proof – were any needed – that the Strib not only caters to low-information voters; they’re trying to create more of them.

The American Revolution was about much more than taxes! It was about defining a new relationship between the Individual and Government – one where the Individual and the fruits of their labor had worth, merit and standing every bit as important as that of government’s; one where government was afree association of equals, not a petty noble demanding tribute of cringing vassals. 

And that whole “STOP FUSSING WITH YOUR SELF-INTEREST, KNAVE!” thing is something you yell at someone you want to have acting like a cringing vassal.

(Speaking of history, Sturdevant adds “In 1933, Farmer-Labor Gov. Floyd B. Olson [Oh, Lord, here we go again - Ed.] made Minnesota a tax outlier. He pushed through a Depression-shocked Legislature the state’s first income tax, one of the few in the country. It was based on ability to pay and dedicated to education, which was struggling just then”.  Does Sturdevant wonder why Minnesota continued to lag the national economy for the next thirty years, until the “Minnesota Miracle?”  No?)

This Batter Doesn’t Go On Fish – No, Sturdevant casts her lot with George III, and the generations of petty self-appointed nobles that have spent the past five decades trying to roll back the relationship our founders fought to create:

They don’t even think about taxes in the way that their parents and grandparents did, economist Stinson noted.

“People who lived through the Depression knew that bad things could happen to good people. They knew that government is necessary when that happens,” he said recently.

Cry us a river.

The state had the whole “help people when times are tough” thing licked by the mid-seventies.  Everything government could do that it should be doing was being paid for, with plenty left over, before Ronald Reagan took office. 

No, the current growth in Minnesota’s spending – and the DFL’s tax and spend orgy – has nothing to do cushioning good people from Bad Things.  

  • It’s about making sure government employee union members can retire at 55 – even if the rest of us have to work ’til we’re 70 to pay for it.
  • It’s about giving billions of dollars to billionaires, to pay for other peoples’ entertainment.
  • It’s about making the parts of this state that work hard, save their money, and pay their bills pay for the parts of this state that don’t. 
  • It’s about paying for an “education” system that educates less, abjectly fails vast swathes of our state society (although it mostly fails black and brown kids who don’t look like the editorial board’s kids, so that gets politely ignored), indoctrinates more, and more and more seems to act as a money-laundering mechanism for the teachers union and Big Administration.
  • It’s about paying chits back to the people who paid for the DFL takeover in Saint Paul. 
  • It’s about enabling the continuing abuse of the state’s productive class.  Battered Spouse Syndrome depends on the victim knuckling under not only to abuse, but to the emotional manipulation that make it possible and keep going on.

In a state where the media is arrogantly and completely in the bag for the Tax and Spend party, where the big institutions are all in bed with and get paid by the Taxers and the Spenders, where elections themselves look to any intelligent person to be rigged to keep the Taxers and Spenders in power, how else are those who actually produce supposed to register their opposition?

With our feet – figuratively, and sometimes literally.

Like any other battered spouse, the only way to end the abuse is for the victims to realize that they have to break it off, and keep it broken off, no matter how hard they berate, belittle and attack you. 

No means no, Lori.

We’ll Get The Government Saul Alinsky Says We Deserve

It was one of those “Mission Accomplished” moments.  But not in a good way.

A week or so I was talking with someone who was considering running for a fairly important political office. 

This person would be anidealcandidate for this office – by which I mean both “as a candidate” and “as a conservative policymaker”.  I’m not going to go into specifics – I don’t want to give anyone the faintest whiff of a thread by which to identify them. 

So what’s holding them back? 

Nope – not the fundraising. 

It’s the trashing they’d expect to get from the Alliance for a Better Minnesota (with the willing connivance of a media that carries ABM’s water). 

And I have to think; that has got to be one of Alida Messinger’s goals – to make running for office as a conservative such an intimately-brutal, self-abnegating torture test that good people can’t justify putting themselves and their families through it. 

Mission Accomplished.

MNGOP: Relax And Let The Experts Do Your Thinking For You!

MPR’s Daily Current – whose Keri Miller is as reliable a PR flak as the DFL has – talked about the upcoming Governor’s race – with a panel of media libs:

After the Friday Roundtable taping wrapped up, Kerri threw one more question to our guests off the air: “Who is emerging as a GOP candidate to challenge Dayton?”

Patricia Lopez: “I don’t even know if that name is out there yet.”

Steve Perry: “The name I keep hearing in sort of an ‘if only’ vein from Republicans is Julie Rosen.”

Lopez: “She has not said ‘no’ and [I heard her give] what sure sounded like a stump speech. She just dropped by the office and I thought, ‘That sure sounded like a stump speech.’”

Brian Bakst: “She would be headed for a primary no matter what, though, because that stadium legislation that she co-sponsored would be a non-sale within the convention.”

Rosen’s generally good, with a few unfortunate traits, most notably her penchant for being among the first to work “across the aisle” – an inevitable last resort when you’re in the minority…

…which she was not, back in 2012, she led a small group of Republicans to ingratiate themselves with Helga Braid Nation without bothering to get any spending concessions from the Governor.

Of course, working with the DFL sans quid pro quo is one of the key criteria on getting the media to accept you…

…temporarily.

I direct you to Berg’s Eleventh Law (“The conservative liberals “respect” for their “conservative principles” will the the one that has the least chance of ever getting elected.”) and its various corollaries, especially the McCain Corollary (“If that respected conservative ever develops a chance of getting elected, that “respect” will turn to blind unreasoning hatred overnight”). You may be certain that if Keri Miller and Patricia Lopez are talking up Julie Rosen, that the Alliance for a Better Minnesota has a campaign in the pocket against her, all ready to go.

Perhaps “Julie Rosen: Stadiums for the 1%”.

Lopez – the editor of that notable bellwether for conservatives, the Strib - notes:

Lopez: “Think about how hard it would be for Dayton to run against a moderate, Republican woman. Yikes.”

I’m not saying Rosen might not be an excellent candidate. I’m willing to be persuaded. Seriously.

But the fact that a round table of de facto DFL apparatchiks – Steve Perry, for Stu’s sake – are mutedly humming her praises can’t be a good thing, right off the bat.

The Assault

The left is using the regulatory system to try to shut conservatives up.

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

The IRS denied or delayed 501(c)(4) applications for conservative groups. So what, tax law is too confusing to understand anyway.

It’s not a tax law matter. It’s a free speech matter. The IRS denied conservatives their free speech, which helped Obama get re-elected. Here’s how it works:

Candidate Joe needs money to buy advertising to convince ordinary voters to Vote For Joe. Candidate Joe raises money by asking for donations. The implied promise is the more you give, the more likely Joe will take your call telling him how bad HR 123 will be for the people he represents.

Ordinary voters can’t afford to buy access so Congress imposed individual contribution limits. But clever people work around those laws through bundling donations or establishing political action committees or educational non-profit groups to amplify donors message loud enough to be heard by voters and politicians. The tax code section that governs these groups is 501(c)(4). Both sides use it to get their message out.

If one political party can use IRS to delay approval of the other political party’s tax status until after the election, then people won’t donate and the message won’t get out to the voters to Vote For Joe. Joe will lose because the IRS delay has the effect of denying Joe’s donors their freedom to pool their money to buy political speech.

This isn’t about hazy guidelines or bumbling management. Democrats used the power of government to silence Republicans. This is a direct attack on our First Amendment rights. That’s why it matters.

Joe Doakes

The IRS is just the national incarnation of this issue.

The DFL has been doing the same thing for years here in Minnesota.  Scarcely a single conservative or Republican active in Minnesota politics avoids having some DFL apparatchik file a Campaign Finance Board complaint against them at some point – or many points – in their political career.  These filings usually come with a flurry of breathless media coverage – designed, naturally, to give the likes of “Alliance for a Better Minnesota” a chanting point to use against the candidate.

The accusations usually fall flat, after the race, with no media coverage.

We saw this writ small and dim a few years back, during the 2010 campaign, when a couple of DFL bloggers with deep pockets and lots of extra time on their hands filed a CFB complaint against the King Banaian campaign.  As we pointed out in this space, there was no there there, and the CFB agreed – but, I suspect, it wasn’t about any actual complaint.  It was about getting the low-information voters who are the mainstay of the DFL effort to chant something on cue – and, mostly, about trying to use the bureaucracy to shut conservatives up.

Look for more of this at all levels.

 

Strib: “2+2=38 Billion, Winston!”

The Star Tribune Editorial board, in a piece that reads like Lori Sturdevant, holds forth on the DFL budget proposal, such as it is - and illustrates the Strib’s deep institutional hypocrisy along the way.

The editorial is stupid, hypocritical, and awash in institutional self-interest disguised – like all of Sturdevant’s work – as populist dooo-goodism:

No sales tax on clothing or haircuts. No alcohol tax hike. No income tax increase for 98 percent of filers. On Sunday, after four months of launching a flotilla of tax ideas, the Legislature’s DFL majorities and Gov. Mark Dayton unveiled a final 2014-15 state budget outline that, on the revenue side of the ledger, is more notable for its omissions than its contents.

Well, no.  It’s notable for about two billion of its contents.  Nowhere in the Strib’s editorial does the number “$38,000,000,000″ occur.

The Strib doesn’t want to give its few readers who actually follow numbers a nasty sticker shock.

There’s plenty to like on the spending side of their balance sheet. The DFL plan pumps an additional $725 million into public education from preschool through graduate school. That’s enough to reverse the deep higher-education cuts of the past two years; ease the squeeze that has some of the state’s public schools operating only four days a week; pay for all-day kindergarten, and offer preschool scholarships to low-income families.

Read:  It’s a big kickback to Education Minnesota; they paid good money for that Governor and Legislature, it’s time for them to get their piece of the action.  

The plan also includes measures to close a nagging $627 million budget gap, the residue not only of the Great Recession but also of a dozen years of legislative failure to balance the budget in a lasting way.

Further proof that  Lori Sturdevant wrote this.  Remember 2010?

Six Billion Dollar Deficit?  

The Strib editorial board is rewriting history for the benefit of the smug and the stupid.

But remember – they have their own self-interest at heart:

But the plan’s tax features are a disappointment. They raise revenue in a way that puts Minnesota’s economic competitiveness at risk.

Particularly worrisome is a new marginal tax bracket that will apply to the state’s top 2 percent of incomes. The rate attached to that bracket remains to be set by a House-Senate conference committee, but it is almost certain to be among the nation’s highest, especially after an anticipated temporary surcharge for top earners “blinks on” to get state aid payments to schools back to their normal schedule…While that decision is true to Dayton’s 2010 campaign promises, it comes at an economic price. Making Minnesota an income tax outlier among the states won’t be helpful in attracting and sustaining private-sector investment.

Especially the next round of investors the Strib will need to stave off bankruptcy.

Right?

It gets worse:

In addition, like a bad penny, a bad tax policy idea that disappeared two months ago turned up again Sunday. Applying the state sales tax to some currently untaxed business-to-business purchases will be part of the plan, Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk announced. He was not specific about which items or services would become taxable, nor about how the revenue thus raised would be used, other than for “significant economic development.”

Oh, well, then.  Good enough for me!

The Strib is worried that taxing business to business purchases – which could include advertising, as well as pretty much anything in the supply chain – is going to hit their bottom line.  It’s a legitimate worry; businesses of all size, from the Strib all the way down to lil’ ol’ me, are going to see some arbitrary percentage come out of our revenues; we can pass it along and hope that our goods and services continue to get purchased, or we can eat a percentage – 5.5%?  6%? – lopped out of our revenues and try to ride it out.

Or move.

Regardless of how the money would be used, taxing business inputs is not sound policy. It layers hidden taxes into the cost of goods and services and takes a toll on wages and job creation in the affected industries. Those costs will affect low- and middle-class Minnesotans as surely as a clothing sales tax would. But the spurned clothing tax would have had the virtue of transparency, and could have been offset for low-income earners by a refundable tax credit, as the Senate tax bill provided.

Waaaah.

In for a bad penny, in for a poo-streaked pound, Strib.  This is the government that you wanted.  You did whatever it took to get this government; you served as an adjunct PR firm for the DFL, you covered up their transgressions, you whinged about “ALEC” while laughing over cocktails with “Alliance for a Better Minnesota”, you did whatever it took to get them into power, and you do your best to cover up the train wreck that is Mark Dayton.

To be sure, businesses will benefit from some of the property tax relief measures that total a hefty $400 million over two years in the DFL plan. But low- and middle-income homeowners and renters ought to be favored as the tax conference committee allocates that sizable sum.

This is Minnesota’s source of information.  Good lord.

Where does the Strib think that “relief” comes from?

It’s money that’s redistributed from the parts of the state whose votes the DFL doesn’t need, to the parts whose votes they need to protect.

Who do you suppose that is, Strib?

Republicans have offered no alternative budget plan this session, evidently preferring to stand aside and criticize DFL decisions.

Further proof it’s Sturdevant.

The DFL offered no alternative budget in 2011.  The Strib editorial board had not a word to say about it.

They should know that if they scuttle a bonding bill, they will deserve to be seen by this session’s critics as part of the problem.

And the Strib will do its’ level best to make sure they do.

I can not wait for the Strib to go bankrupt again.

As The Ironic Tsunami Rolls In

Businessman Scott Honour threw his hat into the ring for governor yesterday.

“I love Minnesota. But I fear that our state is headed in the wrong direction, and under the wrong leadership. I know that the same people with the same political resumes are not going to solve our problems,” Honour said in a mass email. Honour has not run for any major political office before in Minnesota and several Republicans have said they may be interesting in challenging Dayton as well.

As soon as Honour made the announcement, Carrie Lucking tweeted:

and…

and…

Lucking, of course, is Executive Assistant Director of “Alliance for a Better Minnesota”, an organization largely bankrolled by a Rockefeller heiress, largely launched to aid the career of a feckless trust-fund baby; the organization is attacking a guy who actually earned his money, unlike any of Lucking’s benefactors.

And so it’s on to another campaign battling for the low-information voter.

No More Pencils, No More Books

SCENE:  MITCH is out for drinks with his old friends Inge “Lucky” CARROLL, meme-buffer for the Alliance for a Better Minnesota, and Moonbeam BIRKENSTOCK, spokesbeing for Citizens4Luv, a left-leaning non-profit, and Avery LIBRELLE, progressive activist without opr.

CARROLL: (With three empty Mojito glasses and a full one in front of her) We need to do something about school massacres.

BIRKENSTOCK:  Yes (he says, fanning face with a folded piece of campaign literature), we have to dooooooooooooooo something.

LIBRELLE:  Doooooooooooooooooooooooooooo something!

MITCH: Well, yeah, but “we have to do something” has been the motivation for an endless cavalcade of stupidity leading to a boundless trove of misery over the years.  And let’s be honest; violent crime has been plummeting, and law-abiding gun owners are vastly less likely to commit any kind of crime than the general public.

LIBRELLE: Don’t bother us with details.  We have to ban large AR15 clip bullets and assault handguns!

BIRKENSTOCK: Yes!

MITCH:  Right, right, got that.  So – what do you think about teachers?

BIRKENSTOCK: They are the absolute salt of the earth.

MITCH: Elaborate please?

BIRKENSTOCK: They are not mere professionals.  They are like clergy, drawn to a higher calling, imparting knowledge and skills and good citizenship to our next generation.

CARROLL: That’s right. Teachers are a noble lot, a breed apart, drawn to an often thankless calling, working for 30 year careers at mere middle-class wages before retiring in their mid-fifties, doing one of the most put-upon jobs there is; trying to turn the illiterate children of Minnesota’s stupid and ignorant parents – who are the real problem with our education system – into good citizens.

LIBRELLE:  Hear hear.

MITCH: So all those stories about teachers who diddle their students…

CARROLL:  Oh, for crying out loud. That’s a teeeensy, tiny minority…

BIRKENSTOCK: …an almost insignificantly tiny one at that…

CARROLL: …of people in the profession.

MITCH: Right. So we shouldn’t tar and feather a larger, generally responsible group because of the misdeeds of a relatively small group of miscreants?

CARROLL: That would be the depth of stupidity.

LIBRELLE:  No kidding.  Bigot.

MITCH: Gotcha.  So – just to sum up; teachers are, statistically, good people, utterly trustworthy to be watching over your children?

CARROLL: Absolutely.

LIBRELLE: Unimpeachable.

BIRKENSTOCK: Beyond a doubt.

MITCH:   Good.  So – what do you think about South Dakota’s decision to allow teachers with carry permits, who’ve passed background checks and skills tests and are, thus, statistically 2-3 orders of magnitude safer than the general public, to carry their concealed firearms at school, in the interest of defending their charges from unforeseen violent crime?

CARROLL:  That’s just crazy!

BIRKENSTOCK: Teachers aren’t competent to do that.

LIBRELLE:  If you let teachers carry guns, someday a teacher will shoot a classroom full of their kids!

CARROLL: Teachers just can’t be trusted with that kind of power.

MITCH: I see.

(And SCENE)

Chanting Points Memo: The Potemkin Push

With much fanfare, a few DFL figureheads are introducing a gay marriage bill:

“Minnesotans spoke so loudly during this last election refusing to adopt that proposed constitutional amendment. It was a very clear statement, and I think we’re now ready to take the next step, and it means everything to our families.”

Surrounded by supporters, Clark and Sen. Scott Dibble, who was instrumental in the anti-amendment campaign, said their side is prepared to combat the flood of national money that’s been promised against the proposal.

I’ve been saying since the opening day of the session that the DFL was going to stall on gay marriage – and they have.

And they’ll continue to; even the DFL’s house PR organs (including the MinnPost, from which I quote) note that the DFL leadership is going very slow:

Although DFL leaders have said they personally support same-sex marriage, they haven’t been overly enthusiastic in discussing legislative action with the press.

This is echoed in fundraising letters being sent to gay marriage supporters; outstate DFLers, already alarmed by the DFL’s gun grabs and a DFL tax bill that is going over outstate like a Lindsay Lohan one-woman show in Branson, are queasy about the bill; they remember (even if the media doesn’t) that the Marriage Amendment passed, often convincingly, in most of Minnesota; it was stopped by cataclysmic turnout in the Metro.

Where, unlike greater Minnesota, the issue is a winner for the DFL.

My fearless prediction:  the DFL will introduce the bill with much fanfare (ok, that’s not a prediction, that’s what happened).  It’ll quietly die in committee.  And the Alliance for a Better Minnesota will send its flying monkeys out next year to spin the death as perfidy by a GOP caucus that, in fact, controls nothing.

Final scorecard:  those who prosper from low-information voters: 1.  Gays who wish to marry:  0.

And so it shall stay.

Shift? What Shift?

Bill Glahn – who’s been blogging for a couple of years, but has really jumped out as a go-to blog since the election – notices a huge change in the DFL’s tone, starting the second week in November:

For some reason, Dayton is given credit for proposing a “no-gimmick” budget, but he continues the biggest gimmick from the last budget for another four years.

More troubling, the new Democrat majority in the state legislature ran on ending the school shift as one of their top issues.

And “ending the shift” was one of the DFL’s biggest – and most dishonest – rhetorical cudgels:

Freshperson state Senator Melisa Franzen used the school shift as one of her top issues. Senator Franzen was elected from Senate District 49–covering Edina and parts of three other SW metro suburbs–in what was recognized as the most expensive race for the Minnesota state legislature in 2012. Some $600,000 was spend by various entities for a job that pays $31,140 per year.

In her campaign literature, Franzen listed education as her top issue area, and the school shift as her top education issue. “Paying schools back will be a top priority for me,” she writes on her campaign website. Her campaign piece No. 1 (p. 3) mentions “the accounting shifts and gimmicks used to balance the budget.” Piece No. 2, (page 2) has as bullet 2 of her vision, “pay back the $2.4 billion borrowed from schools.” Her piece No. 5 focuses on education and (page 2) has as her first education priority “pay our schools back.” Her piece No. 8 touts her “bipartisan” endorsements and (page 2) lists “pay back our schools” as her first agenda item. She writes, “Melisa Franzen will balance the budget honestly without gimmicks.” Likewise, this Franzen piece shows an adorable toddler and implores the voter to support Franzen’s efforts to “pay back our schools.”

You may also recall – and recollection is all you have, since the media will never mention it – that the GOP passed a bill, with bipartisan support, that would have had the “shift” paid back by now.

Governor Messinger Dayton vetoed it, at the apex of a whisper campaign by the “Alliance for a Better Minnesota” (the attack-PR group run by his ex-wife, who also holds his pedigree papers) that the GOP’s plan was “a gimmick”, although not a single DFLer, when pressed, could say what the “gimmick” was.  Messinger Dayton vetoed it entirely to give the DFL a campaign issue.

Glahn notes the results:

What a difference an election makes. During the campaign, ending the school shift was the No. 1 issue, now…we’ll get to it in 2017. Senator Franzen now faces the prospect of running for re-election in 2016, not having achieved her top priority, unless her colleagues reject Gov. Dayton’s budget and do the right thing by our children.

And Alida Rockefeller Messinger will never give them permission to do that.

DFL Legislators: Remote Control Toys

The Strib “Hot Dish” notes that Rep. Alice “The Phantom” Hausman is taking some flak over her “bump and run” act last week; as we noted last week, Hausman introduced several gun grab bills, but didn’t stick around to hear the testimony:

Hausman excused herself Wednesday morning after introducing the assault weapons bill, saying she had another appointment, and did not attend Thursday’s session focusing on her bill to ban larger ammunition magazines.

Hausman said she had other commitments as a committee chair and was told her bills would not be voted on. Rather, Rep. Michael Paymar, DFL-St. Paul, chairman of the House Public Safety Finance and Policy Committee, said ideas contained in many of the bills would be included in a larger, gun-violence measure that will be assembled and voted on later this month.

Now, this brings up one surprise and two issues.

The surprise:  Rachel Stassen-Berger is flirting with reporting something that might conceivably not advance the DFL’s interest.  I thought I saw a flying pig along 394 this morning.  Kudos, Rachel!

The first issue:  while Second Amendment supporters were piqued at Hausman for fleeing any questioning of her gun grab bills, the big problem was that she turned that job over to a registered lobbyist.  If a Republican – any Republican – did this on any issue, the assembled media elite, the Schecks and Cronans and Stassen-Bergers that prowl the Capitol, would be asking some very probing questions.

The other issue?  I’ll add emphasis:

That meant that Hausman, who is not on the public safety committee, was “not a decision-maker,” she said, and was presenting bills that were put together by Protect Minnesota. She said she meant no disrespect to the testifiers.

Remember last year, when Alida Messinger’s “Alliance For A Better Minnesota” paid for a chanting campaign against the “American Legislative Exchange Committee” (ALEC) for submitting model legislation for legislators’ consideration?  Why, you’d have thought democracy itself was at risk.

But there it is in plain black and white; the DFL majority is cribbing legislation from an extremist gun-grabber group that has among the worst records for truthfulness and veracity anywhere in politics - only the Ku Klux Klan and the “Joe Isuzu PAC” do worse – and, apparently (judging by the petulance and illiteracy of the DFL’s responses to the testimony against their gun grabs) without having read them themselves.

Not So Happy To Pay For A Better Minnesota

Minnesota newspapers, largely, supported Governor Messinger Dayton and the DFL.  They largely not only bought the “Alliance For A Better Minnesota’s” bill of goods hook line and sinker, but most of them worked tirelessly to propagate it, and to squelch dissent from it.

They studiously avoided, almost completely, any reporting that would have impeded the DFL’s rise to power.

The Minnesota media, at large, were among the DFL’s most valuable players this past two electoral cycles.  At the highest levels - the Strib, the PiPress, and at least the programming arm of MPR – they serve as the DFL’s Praetorian Guard.

But now?  Now that the governor is tacking 5.5% sales taxes (for starters) onto print services, advertising and retail newspaper sales?

Not so much:

Business groups and retailers complain that the proposal would cost jobs. As he spoke to the Minnesota Newspaper Association, several editors and newspaper owners complained that a sales tax on newspapers would hurt their industry.

Tom West, the managing editor of the Morrison County Record in Little Falls, spoke about his concerns during a question and answer session.

“We are the ones who cover local government and state government, and we are wondering why you would think it would be a good idea to have less information about government and what government is up to,” West said.

(Cynical answer: “Because you’ve served your purpose”.  See also The Minnesota Independent).

(Slightly less cynical answer: “While your contributions to DFL hegemony were vital, you don’t have the same political clout as AFSCME, the SEIU or MPR).

(Cynical and partisan but realistic answer: “How about not just “covering local government”, but turnin a critical eye on the DFL?  For once?”)

Others said that expanding the sales tax to newspaper ink, paper and advertising would result in job losses. Dayton said he understood the concern but did not back away from his plan.

Job losses only matter if they’re union.

Small papers aren’t union.

Big papers are – and we’ll see what happens there.

As to the rest of you newspapers?  You got the government you mostly worked for, largely shilled for, and for the most part operated as in-the-bag PR agents for.  Most of your editorial stances praised Dayton and the DFL’s return to power.

So now you’re saying you’re not Happy To Pay For A Better Minnesota?

Suck it.

BONUS QUESTION FOR DFLers: What do you think happens when you tack 5.5% onto the price of something?

All other things being equal, people buy 5.5% less of it.

Ponder losing 5.5% of your business overnight.  Ponder hard.

One Big Happy Club!

Governor Dayton released his list of payoffs to his key contributors budget yesterday.

Is it a coincidence that the budget was called “Budget For A Better Minnesota?”

Maybe.

But the Governor released the budget at an 11AM press conference yesterday.

At 11:13, Carrie Lucking – the “Executive Director” of the “Alliance for a Better Minnesota”, one of the huddle of lefty non-profits via which liberal plutocrats and the unions launder millions of dollars and run the DFL’s entire messaging operation – tweeted:

Thirteen minutes.

Maybe Carrie Lucking is an incredibly fast reader.

Of course, she’s also romantically involved with Dayton’s deputy chief of staff Bob Hume.

A flurry of conservatives on Twitter wondered last night – is that how Lucking got enough detail about the budget, 13 minutes after it was announced, to call a critic a “liar?”

I thought that showed too much faith in Governor Dayton.  I think it’s more likely ABM gave the budget to the Administration.

Either way – I need your help here.

Back in the 2000s, the media spun up a tempest in a teapot over Governor Pawlenty’s involvement with an outside group, and the potential impact that had on the Pawlenty Administration’s message and policies.   It passed quickly, because there was no there there.  But the media gave it its’ 15 minutes.

Does anyone remember the parties involved in that?  I only remember the dimmest possible outlines of the episode.

But compared with the collegial clubbiness between the Twin Cities media – especially the Strib and the MinnPost  - and the various political non-profits and advocacy groups, I think it’d be useful for comparison’s sake.

UPDATE:  I need to point out that the heavy lifting on Twitter was done by Dave Thul and Sheila Kihne.  They smelled the rat.  I just wrote about it.

Every Single Day Of My Blogging Life

SCENE:  MITCH is walking down Constitution Avenue, near the state capitol.  It’s a bright, bright, sunshiny day.  Detached-looking figures wander, aimlessly and slightly out of focus, in the distance.

(Aaron ROSTON, DFL activist, pro-bullying-activist and blogger from Fungus Flats, MN, is standing in the middle of the sidewalk).

MITCH (stepping around ROSTON):  Excuse me.

ROSTON (with supercharged sarcasm):  Oh, yeah, right.  You’re so excused.

MITCH:  Huh?

ROSTON:  Oh, right.  I just  bet you don’t understand me.

MITCH:  O…K…

(Walks onward)

Professor William G. KRIEPPI staggers into the frame as MITCH walks down the street.

MITCH: Hey, Professor.

(KRIEPPI abruptly lurches off the street, walks into a light pole, and falls, insensible, onto the grass, unconscious).

MITCH:  Damn.  Hey… (turns to passing figure, who turns out to be Dark MAYTON, billionaire playboy political consultant), er, can you help this guy?

MAYTON:  The moon is made of olives and I am pulsating.

MITCH (watches as MAYTON walks down the sidewalk.  KRIEPPI snores loudly on the grass).  What a very strange place.

ROSTON:  Oh, yeah. So strange…

MITCH:  Good lord, you’re a wierd little person.

(MITCH walks toward the Capitol,  He is presently accosted by a shadowy figure – that of PLARF BINGNERT, chief project manager in the Rhetorical Engineering department at  the Alliance for a Better Minnesota).

BINGNERT:  Mister Berg, why do you do these curious dialogues?  It’s almost as if you are trying to say something.

MITCH:  Well, usually, yes – but I feel as if this one has gotten out of control.  It’s like…

BINGNERT: WOOOOT WOOOOOOOOT WOOOOOOOT WOOOOOOOOP WOOOP WOOOOP WOOOOOP!

MITCH (sotto voce): What the hell?

ROSTON (in distance, walking in tight circle):  Oh, yeah – Mr. Family Values, using swears.  That’s so “family”. 

(BINGNERT wanders aimlessly away).  Po di po di po di po!

(MITCH wanders to the base of the capitol steps, sits on the base of the plinth of one of the statues of the Heroes of Minnesota Social Democracy).  

(Inge “Lucky” CARROLL, narrative-buffer for “Alliance for a Better Minnesota”, dressed in Lederhosen and Doc Martens boots, rappels down from a bright orange helicopter). 

CARROLL (yelling shrilly through a megaphone):  HEY!  The GOP wants to sell your children!

MITCH:  No, they don’t. 

CARROLL (still yelling):  The GOP wants to run Minnesota from Mississippi!

MITCH: That’s just bizarre.

CARROLL (still yelling): They want to feed your children assault rifles!

MITCH: That just makes no sense.

ROSTON (yelling from middle of lawn):  Oh, yeah – Democrats never make sense, do they, Merg?

MITCH (sotto voce):  If I say “that’s a fascinating point”, will you go away?

(CARROLL wanders into the distance, shouting random accusations into the bullhorn.  As she and her din recede into the distance, a man dressed in a large purple rabbit costume hops laboriously up the sidewalk and stops in front of MITCH). 

RABBIT:  Hi.  I’m Wyatt RINKLER.  You only do these fantasy dialogues because you are afraid.  And having a melt-down.  

MITCH:  Well, no.  

RINKLER:  I’m too stupid to understand what you just said. 

ROSTON (suddenly up close):  Oh, we’re all too stupid, says Merg.  

MITCH:  (shakes head, as if to shake off a sucker punch)  Beg pardon?

RINKLER:  Yarby yarby yarby.

(RINKLER hops away into the distance, disappears over the horizon).  (Yes, a hoppable horizon is unaccountably visible from the Capitol.  Go figure). 

MITCH (walks up steps to Capitol doors.  ROSTON follows at a distance, making sarcastic-sounding noises that never quite resolve into words).  

MITCH (looking out over city):  Wow.  It must have been the burrito.

(From the Capitol comes an ephemeral shape, that of Cat SCAT, factoid bookkeeper for Take Action MN).

MITCH:  Hey.  Nice day, huh?

SCAT:  I’ll check to see what Daily Kos says.

ROSTON (muted in the distance): Oh, yeah - so nice!

MITCH (past caring):  So does Kos confirm?

SCAT:  Can you confirm that this dialog actually happened?

MITCH:  I can confirm that it did not actually happen.  It’s entirely a figment of my imagination.

SCAT:  So it’s a lie!

MITCH:  No.  It’s fiction.  Fiction illustrates, via storytelling, symbolism, metaphor, satire, humor and other devices, things that non-fiction writing can’t.  

(Senator Tom BAKK and speaker of the House Paul THISSEN walk out Capitol doors)

SCAT:  So you admit it’s false?

ROSTON (on sidewalk, dousing self in strawberry milkshakes): Oh, Merg is never false!

(BAKK and THISSEN pick MITCH’s pocket, replace wallet with a “Happy To Pay For A Better Minnesota” leaflet)

MITCH (ignoring ROSTON):  Irrelevant.  It’s neither “True” nor “False”.  It’s fictional, so it’s made up – but it can show what I reasonably believe to be larger truths.  Or not.  Sometimes satire is parody, sometimes caricature.  Sometimes it’s just plain absurdist, with the perceived truths buried beneath a heaping pile of misdirection. Sometimes it’s just mockery.  

SCAT:  That’s just wrong.

MITCH:  Wrong?  You mean, like a liberal TV star pretending to be an over the top caricature of a conservative TV star to satirize conservatives and our alt-media? 

SCAT (looks at at “Crooks and Liars” on IPad, is silent)

MITCH:  Er…Steven Colbert?

SCAT (Dissolves into the ether)

ROSTON (yells at passing teenage girl): Hey!  My sister had capris like that – until my dad got a job!  Who does your hair – Stevie Wonder?

MITCH:  Wow.  Imagine if they’d lost the election.  

(Walks to parking lot.  Gives leaflet to attendant.  Drives off into sunset).

Wedges 101: Let’s Review Some History

Let’s take a run back to 2008  The DFL controlled the legislature and everything else but the govenorship.

ME: “So, DFL – if you’re so hot for gay marriage, why don’t you pass a gay marriage bill?”

DFLers: “Because the Governor will veto it?

ME: “So?  Principle is principle!  If your voter base is so hot for gay marriage, why not put your stake in the sand, and make the GOP plant theirs?”

DFL:  ”It’d be a waste of time”.

Fast forward to 2010:

ME:  ”So, DFLers – see how the GOP pushes bills they believe in – everything from budget reforms to “Stand Your Ground” – so that the electorate knows who’s on what side of what issue, even though Governor Dayton is going to veto it?”

DFLers:  ”Clearly you are a racist”.

Fast even further forward to Wednesday, when I pointed out to Minnesota Progressive Project ‘s Jeff Rosenberg that there was no chance on earth that the DFL was going to push gay marriage.  Partly because it’s worth more to them as a wedge.  Partly because they’ll take less electoral flak letting the courts do it.

Today?  I don’t wanna say “I told you so”.

No, I’ll let Jeff tell himself:

For those of us who want to see DFLers move decisively to approve equal marriage, there was disappointing news at a press conference held on Wednesday:

“Many Democrats, led by Gov. Mark Dayton, opposed the amendment. But on Wednesday they would not commit to overturning the law.

Senate DFL leader Tom Bakk of Cook said the state’s budget situation is so serious that he thinks any such policy decisions should be delayed. House DFL leader Paul Thissen of Minneapolis would not go that far, but agreed budget work must come first.

In a radio interview, even the most outspoken same-sex marriage opponent, openly gay Sen. Scott Dibble of Minneapolis, said he did not know if it was time to move forward with changing the law.”

Sorry, but saying that the budget must come first is a cop-out. The legislature can — and does — consider dozens of issues at one time. There will be over 110 DFLers in the legislature. Surely two or three of them can take some time to write the bill without taking away from work on the budget. Ater all, a bill to legalize same-sex marriage would probably only need to be a page or two long. It could be written, debated, and signed before the February economic forecast is available.

It could be six words long – “Son, you may kiss the groom” – and the DFL still won’t touch it.

Because gay marriage is worth a lot more to the DFL as a wedge issue than as a bunch of married gays.

The DFL – or, more realistically, the “Alliance for a Better Minnesota”, which does all the DFL’s thinking for it these days – needs to have lots of wedges to wave in front of the low-information, emotionally-manipulable audience that is its main source of voters.  And they’re going to need to conserve the ones they have, as the reality – “we just elected a high-tax, high-regulation bunch of government-worker-union stooges in the middle of a crap economy” – sinks in with Minnesotans.

Hey, Minnesotans!  Stop the hate!

Note To Whatever GOP Leadership Remains In The Legislature

To: The GOP Leadership In The Legislature, Whoever You End Up Being
From: Mitch Berg, Schnook Peasant
Re:  Upcoming Session

All,

It’s two months ’til what is going to be a couple of very grueling sessions.

Now, Governor Dayton is an addled bobblehead who is nothing but a marionette for Alida Messinger and the unions that bought the office for him.  Tom Bakk and Paul Thissen are not much but capos for two bodies that are, let’s be honest, more of the same.  Our entire legislature will be owned and operated by Messinger, the “Alliance For A Better Minnesota”, the unions, the non-profits, and the media that serves as their PR wing.

The calls will go out; “time to be “bi-partisan”".

Don’t do it.

The DFL will be trying their best to give an air of “bipartisan” legitimacy to what is going to be an orgy of tax-hiking and spending.

Resist the temptation to try to go for the Lori Sturdevant seal of approval.

They are going to plunge this state into an orgy of spending, an taxation to support it.  Major Minnesota business are going to ship jobs outstate or overseas as fast as FedEx can jam them onto the plane.  Minnesota’s medical device industry is already evacuating; there will be more to follow.

You need to keep your fingerprints away from the scene of the crime.

If the Minnesota GOP has proven one thing, it sucks at messaging.  You’ll need to learn it, and pronto – because the media will try to portray the upcoming disaster as “a result of GOP intransigence”, notwithstanding their complete control over government for the next (sigh) two years.

Stand astride history and yell “we told you so”, and for chrissake, get ready for 2014.  The approval of the left’s pundits and the media (pardon the redundancy) will get you nothing.  
That is all.