Privacy

Esme “Rabid Bulldog” Murphy, the dowager dean of Minnesota political reporters and tenacious, utterly impartial reporter on all things political in the state of Minnesota, who has never, ever been fairly or accurately accused of softballing DFLers, twote in re Rep. John “Burn Hugo Down” Thompson and allegations that he snuck out of a not-generally accessible back stairway from Minneapolis City Hall to avoid reporters who, to my amazement, seem curious about his verbal claims of racism and written but unacknowledge claims of multiple residences:

Well, that settles that.

If there’s one thing no DFL pol ever needs to worry about, it’s Esme Murphy violating their privacy. Or asking them anything more involved than their favorite flavor of ice cream.

But let’s pump the brakes – I’m all for respecting peoples’ privacy.

With that in mind, all I really want to know is, which of Thompson’s residences should I plan on not protesting at – the one on the East Side of Saint Paul, the one in Superior, some other residence not yet publicly discussed, or any or all of the above?

Thanks.

This Is What Screwed Looks Like

Governor Walz yesterday morning, as he got ready to head into the studio for his ritual toenail-painting with Esme Murphy:

Ever notice how the press never cares about civil rights being trashed until its their civil rights being trashed?

He’s wrong, of course. A press that holds power accountable is “foundational to democracy”. So we’re screwed.

By the way – not holding “emergency power” long after the emergency has passed is also “foundational to democracy”.

Hometown Boy Makes Good Idiot Of Self

The good news: After hearing Ben Shapiro roasting Rupar last week on his radio show, I have to say it’s been amazing seeing that more people nationwide are learning what we in the Twin Cities have known for most of a decade: that City Pages alum and Vox “writer” Aaron Rupar is a really terrible “journalist” and not an especially bright man (read the whole thread):

The bad news: these days, competence and discernment are less important than ideological purity and loyalty.

And, Rupar being simultaneously a definer and beneficiary of Urban Progressive Privilege, he’ll never be held to account for it any more than Jim Acosta or Esme Murphy.

Imbalance

Bob Collins’s descent into madness notwithstanding, Minnesota Public Radio is in general the best, least systematically biased newsrooms in the Twin CIties. It’s a low bar, but they get over it by a hair or two. On a good day or the right issue, Tom Hauser at Channel 5 might join ’em above the bar – but I digress.

(And we’re referring to the newsroom, here – not their programming, which is largely Democrat PR).

So one of the greater injustices of this whole epidemic is that MPR and American Public Media (APM) are buying out a slew of long-time staffers, including some fairly decent reporters…

…but Keri Miller – who may be an even more sycophantic DFL toady than Esme Murphy – just keeps jabbering on.

Will Esme Murphy Call It A “Hate Crime?”

And it started as such a big day for A-Klo, who shocked the world by winning the endorsement of the Star Tribune’s editorial board, a group composed of people who used to get blackout drunk with her father. There are no words to describe our amazement that the Strib – a paper that’s served not only as Klobuchar’s PR firm, but the controller of all information about her, thoughout her career, would make such a bold, brave…

…Oh, I can’t keep a straight face any more.

Anyway – the day didn’t end nearly as well, as protesters affiliated with Black Lives Matter, irate over the Myon Burrell case, derailed one of her love-fests in Saint Louis Park last night, bum-rushing the stage and occupying it until the campaign cried uncle:

“The campaign offered a meeting with the senator if they would leave the stage after being onstage for more than an hour,” the spokesperson said. “After the group initially agreed, they backed out of the agreement and we are canceling the event.”

Questions over Klobuchar’s prosecutorial record, namely her handling of the Burrell case when she was the top attorney in Hennepin County, Minn., have dogged the senator since she announced her presidential bid last year. Klobuchar has also faced criticism for declining to prosecute cases involving police accused of using excessive force against black suspects, The Washington Post’s Elise Viebeck and Michelle Ye Hee Lee reported.

How bad was it?

This bad (Twitter link here, in case the tweet below doesn’t display properly)

Bad enough that even the Twin CIties media didn’t try to cover it up.

Yet.

I wouldn’t want to be any of those protesters when A-Klo catches them alone, though.

Cafeteria American

I had the rare treat of listening to the utterly ironically named “MPR News with Keri Miller” earlier this week.  And by “treat” I meant “update of the notion that Keri Miller is the one “journalist” in the Twin Cities that’d be ill-advised to tell Esme Murphy “dial back the shilling for the DFL and Big Left, you Big Left Shill, you””.  

Anyway – she had a show on Tuesday featuring a Hindi woman talking the co-option of Yoga by non-Hindi.  Not “decrying” it, per se – just urging people to be aware of, and perhaps learn something of, its Hindi roots.  

Pull quote:  the woman, Suhag Shukla, describing the various non-Hindi permutations of Yoga, including…:

SHUKLA: “…even Christian Yoga!”

MILLER: (In the background) (Disgusted, mocking snork)

Now, Ms. Shukla has a point – part of her culture has been appropriated. Like solstice trees and Chow Mein and polyrhythm and virtually everything else about every culture in the world that hasn’t been isolated from every other culture in the world, “appropriation” is a two-way street.

As someone who’s lost eighty pounds and wants to gain some flexibility and joint resiliency, I’m interested in yoga (although I haven’t done it yet). As a Christian, I have only intellectual interest in Hinduism. You wanna talk, Ms. Shukla? We’ll talk.

But since Keri Miller – and by association, the modern progressivism for which she shills – is the venue that brought me and Ms. Shukla together, let’s talk appropriation.

Big Left, like a suburban housewife going to an agnostic Hot Yoga class in a strip mall in Minnetonka, appropriates the convenient parts of the American experiment – the fun parts, like free speech and privacy. Like that housewife, or the Cafeteria Catholic, or the Allah-carte Muslim (actor, comedian, and observant but not fundie muslim Rami Yusef’s term, and I love it), they leave out the inconvenient parts – the citizen as self-sufficient atomic political unit, with the same rights, powers and responsibilities in microcosm of actual states are. The whole “government by consent of the governed” and “Free Association of Equals” bit.

If you want to practice the fun parts of the American experiment – immigrating to a country with freedom and opportunity, getting paid to be on the radio, free speech and waving signs about? Then pay some thought to the complex stuff – the tension between order and liberty, the moral right of the free market versus the stifling moral decay of socialism.

It’s a fine day for that, isn’t it?

Why We Need Money In Politics

If you can’t get the media to do anything but paint Democrats’ toenails on the air,  you have to get your own media to do it for you.

Of course, the conservative media that does exist – talk radio – largely reaches an echo chamber.  A smart, superlative echo chamber, but the proverbial choir nonetheless.

Doug Wardlow did something I’ve been dying for a Republican to do for years; put out an ad that tells the actual truth about Keith Ellison…

…that the likes of Esme Murphy or John Cronin will never, ever allow to cross their lips.

And it took money  – filthy lucre! – to get it on the air, to do the job the Twin Cities media will not.

And that’s why Democrats want campaign finance “reform”.

Evidence In The Affirmative

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

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

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

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

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

(Courtesty @JohnHockey on Twitter)

Media Lip Prints on Mark Dayton’s Butt, Part III

Yesterday and Monday, we went over the chronology of the last-minute negotiations and back-and-forth leading up to the State Government shutdown, which started seventeen months ago last night.  The abbreviated time-line:

  1. On June 29, the GOP made an offer.  It traded giving some ground on revenue for some movement on social issues.
  2. On the morning of June 30, the DFL leadership – Dayton, Senate minority leader Bakk and House minority leader Thissen – demanded $1.4 billion in new revenues.
  3. Much discussion ensued.  It ensued under the “cone of silence”; the participants really didn’t let on much about what was going on.
  4. At noonish on the 30th, Dayton – without Bakk and Thissen – made an offer that dropped most of the revenue demands, and was pretty close – almost dead-on – with the GOP’s letter.  The letter mentioned no social issues – because they were off the table at this time.
  5. More discussion.  More cone.
  6. Mid-afternoon, the Legislature sent its counteroffer, including revenue from the “school funding shift” and the tobacco bond money.  This should have settled it – and indeed, was substantially the same as the offer that Dayton finally accepted to end the shutdown.
  7. Late-afternoon, the DFL ratcheted back to their morning demands.
  8. More cone.
  9. At 10PM, the Governor essentially claimed that he was shutting down the government because the GOP had rejected the offer in 7, above, and was unwilling to compromise.

And that was that.

———-

In the hour or so after the shutdown, the GOP Caucus released the contents of the letters that had transpired on the 29th and 30th.  The release included pages 2-4 of this document here:

All Offers

No mention of social policy in there.  it was not an issue.

So the government shut down.  DFL and media narratives aside, it was a disaster for the governor.  Government actually saved money; hardly anyone outside of government missed it; the people largely were apathetic, as the Governor learned on a tour of the state to attempt to rally support that drew nothing but dispirited SEIU goons.   He returned to the  Capitol, and returned to the GOP’s last offer.

And not long after, he gave this talk in WCCO-TV with Esme Murphy – which we’ve featured a time or two:

Dayton lied:

I was unaware on June 30, in fact I was clearly aware to the contrary, that all these social policy issues, from banning stem cell research and everything else, and just really reactionary social policy, was taken off the table.

Esme Murphy let that line pass without comment – as, in fact, she always does, as her mission seems to be to make sure DFL pols get a nice massage on the air.

But nobody else noted the contradiction; of course he was aware.

  • The GOP mentioned no policy issues in its June 30 proposal!  As we noted above, it was nearly identical to the governor’s previous offer, differing on a few fiscal tweaks!
  • His rejection of that offer mentioned no social policy issues.  Because they were off the table.
  • Read the speech he gave as the shutdown started.  Nary a peep about social issues.
No, “social issues” only came up well  the shutdown was settled.

Mark Dayton was shot down completely on the shutdown.  And yet the media have allowed him to carry on with the “social policy” canard.

Why?

If I were a cynic, you’d think it was because the media was in the bag for Dayton, and wanted to give him cover.  You’d also think the media were even more in the bag for the DFL – and chanting the governor’s version of the shutodwn is a key part of the DFL’s attempt to retake the legislature, which a good chunk of the media (at least at the management and editorial-board level) clearly wants.

And I am a cynic.

Because the alternate explanation is that the media just isn’t as smart and attentive to details as I am.

And that just beggars the imagination.

So when will the media start “fact-checking” Dayton’s story?  Or their own, for that matter?

Media Lip-Prints On Mark Dayton’s Butt, Part II

Seventeen months ago yesterday, in the midst of negotiations about the budget, the GOP-led Legislature sent Governor Dayton a proposed budget.  It offered some concessions on revenue, and asked for some ground on social issues.

First thing the next morning, June 30 – 17 months ago today – the DFL came out with a counter-offer.

Labeled the “Dayton-Bakk-Thissen Compromise Budget Proposal”, it demanded $1.4 billion in new revenues.  It was a further negotiation, just like the Legislature’s letter the day before.

And – this is important – it had all three DFL leaders on board.  Governor Dayton, Senate minority leader Bakk and House minority leader Thissen all signed off on this proposal.

We’ll refer to this as “The Morning Letter” from now on.

And as the government coursed toward the midnight shutdown, that apparently was where things stayed.

The rest of this article uses this Scribd file, originally from Dayton’s chief of staff Bob Hume, as its source.

All Offers

It’s been popping up around the Twin Cities media off and on ever since the shutdown.

The Morning Letter

Now, much of what went on over the next 6-7 hours is shrouded in mystery; it took place in off-the-record conversations and phone calls and communications that aren’t available to the general public if they’re recorded at all.

Noon: Dayton’s Offer

But the upshot of those conversations – whatever they were – was that at 3PM on the 30th of June, the Governor – alone, without Thissen or Bakk – released a proposal that dropped all tax increases.

There were three significant things about this letter, which we’ll call “Dayton’s Offer”.

One was that Dayton dropped demands for tax increases, in return, Dayton proposed a 50% shift in school funding to the following biennium – the “borrowing from the children” that the DFL and media have worked so hard to pin on the GOP this past year.   It was a major concession by the Governor.  According to sources on Capitol Hill familiar with the negotiations, this was seen by the GOP majority in the Legislature as a key step toward reaching a “lights-on” agreement to prevent the shutdown.

But the other two significant things were actually things missing from the proposal:

  1. Bakk and Thissen:  Their names had been on the Morning Letter – but were absent at 3PM.   Sources at the Capitol indicate that that’s because – well, Bakk and Thissen didn’t support it!
  2. Any mention of GOP policy proposals:  The Dayton Offer includes no reference to GOP “Social Policy” proposals – because Dayton knew at noon on the 30th that the GOP had taken them off the table.  This is an inference, both by my sources and myself.  It’s also the only logical conclusion.

So as of a little after lunch on 6/30, the Legislature and the Governor – but not Bakk and Thissen – were in basic agreement; no tax hikes, no social policy concessions.

The 3PM Letter

A couple of hours later, at 3PM, the GOP sent a counter-offer.  It involved two tweaks to Dayton’s proposal:

  • Cutting the size of the education shift (at the recommendation of Dayton’s Education Commissioner)
  • Making up the difference with tobacco bonding

This letter – we’ll call it “The 3PM Letter” – involved accepting the concessions in The Dayton Offer with a few on the GOP’s part.  Otherwise, the two offers were just about identical.

As of 3PM, then, it looked as if the Governor and the Legislature were in agreement, and the shutdown could be averted.

The 4:06PM Letter

Dayton responded about an hour later, at 4:06PM.  Dayton accepted the changes to the education shift – it was his administration’s idea, after all – but tossed the tobacco bonding proposal and renewed the demand for new taxes…

…that he himself had taken off the table earlier in the afternoon!

The GOP’s response expressed dismay at the sudden – I believe the term of art in the Age of Obama is “unexpected” – flip-flop on Dayton’s part – and proposed a “lights-on” bill.

So To Recap…

Just to make sure we’re clear, here:

  1. The DFL – Dayton, Bakk and Thissen – demanded $1.4B.
  2. Negotiation ensued under the “cone of silence”.
  3. Dayton offered to drop the tax demands, and by omission showed that the GOP had dropped their social policy demands.
  4. The GOP accepted this proposal, with a few fine tweaks, including one from Dayton’s own administration.
  5. Dayton spun on his heels and rejected that offer – ignored it, really – and countered with a flip-flop on taxes.

The “cone of silence” remained in effect for the next five or six hours.  Nobody exactly knows what transpired on the way to Dayton’s big speech at 10PM.

Dayton’s Presser at 10PM

Just in time for the 10PM news, Dayton called a press conference.  Here’s the transcript.

It’s full of prevarications, and one outright lie:

  • Therefore, a $1.4 billion gap remains between our last respective offers.”  But the GOP’s proposal on the 29th offered to compromise with the DFL on revenue.  The conservative base – myself included – would have howled at this, but the GOP was clearly looking to keep the government open.
  • Republicans have offered only to forego their $200 million tax cut and add that amount of spending. While welcomed, $200 million is only a small step toward resolving a $5 billion deficit.”  The 3PM Letter shows that the GOP was willing to go along with some sort of revenue hikes.
  • Today, Representative Thissen, Senator Bakk, and I made two proposals which contained revenues to be raised by increasing taxes only on people who make more than $1 million per year. The Department of Revenue reports that there are only 7,700 of them, less than 0.3% of all Minnesota tax filers.”   Well, no.  Dayton made two offers; Bakk and Thissen only participated in the first one.

The Administration started out demanding tax hikes; the GOP expressed a willingness to compromise.  The Administration then flip-flopped and went back to their first set of demands, ignoring the GOP concessions (for purposes of presenting the media a narrative), with Dayton contradicting himself in the process.

And Here’s Where The Media Tush-Smooching Comes In

The Governor contradicted himself and rejected a proposal that was one minor tweak removed from his own, Bakk-And-Thissen-less offer (“Dayton’s Offer”), leading directly to the government shutdown.

And yet today, 17 months later, the DFL’s PACs and pressure groups refer to it as “the Republican shutdown”.  It’s a Big Lie.  But nobody’s countering it.

I’ve often wondered; what if our society had an institution, maybe even an industry, with printing presses and transmitters, staffed with people whose job and training involves checking up on things that government officials say – and maybe even holding them accountable for the things they say and do?  Heck, even allow this institution to see itself as an aescetic elite who “comfort the comfortable and afflict the afflicted”, in exchange for, you know, actually comforting and afflicting.

We could use this in Minnesota.

Remember where we started yesterday – with Esme Murphy giving Mark Dayton her usual deep-tongue-kiss on her Sunday Morning Show:

Notwithstanding the contradictions in Dayton’s own proposals that are part of the public record timeline of the negotiations on June 29-30, Dayton runs with the “Social Issues” canard.

The Strib also served, then as now, as Dayton’s de facto stenographer in their “coverage” of the chain of events.

The Star-Tribune also bought Dayton’s line – that the “requested concessions” brought on the shutdown – completely uncritically, without noting the evolution, and then abrupt de-evolution, on Dayton’s position.  The Strib mentioned not a word about the “flip-flop”.

Tomorrow – appropriately, Halloween – the way the shutdown went down, and conclusions about “journalism” and Governor Dayton.

Media Lip-Prints On Mark Dayton’s Butt, Part I

The DFL – and, more accurately, its’ big-money PR operation “Alliance for a Better Minnesota” – have been trying to repeat a couple of Big Lies often enough that, over the course of the next two years, a plurality of Minnesotans agree with them.

Again.

One of them is the myth of the “do-nothing legislature”.  But I think even the least-informed Minnesotans are starting to figure out that over the past two years, the talk, even from the DFL’s noise machine, has turned from “We have a $6.6 Billion Dollar Deficit!” to “the surplus isn’t really all that surplus-y”.

Another?  The idea that the GOP is “extreme” and “focused on social issues” – as if the party can’t fiscally walk and chew social gum at the same time.   Please, people; we’re not DFLers.

But today?  We’ll be talking about the other Big Lie; that the GOP “shut down the government”.

———-

Next week’s election is going to have a lot to do with setting the stage for the state’s next budget battle. It’ll be a fork in the road; the GOP path, leading to prosperity, and the Mark Dayton/Tom Bakk/Paul Thissen path, leading to California, Spain and Greece.

Today and tomorrow are also the vital seventeen-month anniversaries of the key dates in the final negotiations leading to the shutdown [1].  I’m going to walk through the events leading up to the shutdown.

The inevitable conclusion is that the DFL’s line is a complete fabrication, designed only to leave the uninformed with a sound-bite to take to the polls with them.  Even Alida Messinger knows that she’ll need more than 43% in 2014.  

We’ll start the whole thing out with a Mark Dayton quote from Esme Murphy’s show. Murphy was doing her usual job – painting the toenails of DFLers on the air – when she asked the governor if he had any regrets about the shutdown:

MURPHY:  The proposal that you ended up agreeing to was basically the one that was offered up on June 30, before the shutdown.  Do you have any regrets now about not taking that proposal and trying to work that out on June 30th that would have prevented the shutdown?

DAYTON:   Well, very significant difference, I was unaware on June 30, in fact I was clearly aware to the contrary, that all these social policy issues, from banning stem cell research and everything else, and just really reactionary social policy, was taken off the table.  That just was not part of my understanding on June 30th it was a very important part of the consideration after the shutdown…

The Governor is lying.  (The governer is also borderline incoherent).

On June 29, 2011, the GOP- controlled Legislature sent Mark Dayton an offer.  Sources on Capitol Hill tell me that this proposal did involve some give and take on policy issues both fiscal and social; in exchange for compromise on revenue, the governor would give some ground on some social policy issues.

It was a negotiation.  That’s where both sides bargain their various chips with each other, to try to get the end result they want.  This, the GOP did.

In other words, the GOP Legislature did what they had been elected to do.  And given that there were some sort of tax hikes – even indirect ones – in the proposal, it was politically risky for a bunch of Republicans who’d been sent to office promising to hold the line on taxes and spending.

And so the proposals went to the governor on June 29.

The next day?

We’ll talk about that that tomorrow.

Continue reading

The 2011 Shootie Awards!

It’s time once again for that grand tradition in Twin Cities blogging; it’s the sixth-annual, 2011 edition of the Shootie Awards.  These awards commend the worst – and, ever-so-rarely, the best – in Twin Cities (usually-but-not-always alternative) media.

And we’ll kick off the awards with the first statuette:

The Walter Winchell Award For Cool, Dispassionate Reportage – For 2011, it wasn’t hard to pick out the story that’d lead to someone getting the award; the Darren Evanovich shooting in Minneapolis last October, in which a Mr. Evanovich  was shot by a legally-armed citizen in self-defense, was tailor made to bring out the prejudices and provincialism – dare I say, “rant and slant” – in the Twin Cities media.  And as the Henco Attorney’s office investigated and kept the official story close to its institutional vest (turns out Evanovich and his sisters had allegedly done several such capers), and as the Twin Cities Second Amendment movement – the sole source of legitimate, unbiased information on gun-related news, I’m more convinced every day – waved its arms and yelled “Hey, there’s some facts that need reporting here!”, the Twin Cities media took ever-increasing liberties with un-released facts, including a touching portrait of Mr. Evanovich’s family from Channel 5’s Tim Cherno, and a high-level (and grossly-premature) second-guessing of the wisdom of Minnesota’s concealed-carry law from MPR’s generally-excellent Bob Collins.

But at the end of the day, the award was an easy one; it goes to the Strib’s Matt McKinney, who took the sparse info from the Minneapolis Police Department’s news release on the case, interspersed a lot of humanzing detail about Mr. Evanovich, and keystoned his report with the line of the year; that the shooter – still anonymous – had…:

…a state permit to carry a pistol, and he had one with him. He chased the robber behind a restaurant and shot him dead.

As Mr. D famously added, we could be grateful he didn’t add “…just to watch him die”, but really, would it have been necessary?

Two days after the story ran, Henco attorney Mike Freeman declared the shooter a hero, while tut-tutting that his actions should only be untertaken in the extreme – which drew a response of “d’ya think?” from every Twin Cities shooter.

The Gordon Jump “As God Is My Witness, I Thought Turkeys Could Fly” Award:  The living will at the Minnesota Independent finally ground on down to its “do not resuscitate” clause.  Three years after being shaved down to a skeleton crew, and after two years of doing not much but providing commentary on “Uptake” videos and writing about Bradlee Dean, the crew of “liberals with deep pockets” that kept the Mindy in the chips – and on salary – from its “Hey, Gang, let’s do a show (on George Soros’ dime!)” origins, through its Steve Perry/Erik Black/Paul Demko-sporting salad days, to its lonely and oblivious end, finally decided to call in the fire and pee on the dogs.

The Just Plain Too-Dumb-To-Fisk Award – In all my years of blogging, I’ve seen a lot of pretentious, entitled, stupid writing.

Only once have I seen something so completely bereft of insight and intelligence, yet so utterly clogged with smug entitlement, that I had literally nothing to say.

Hinda Mandell’s Strib op-ed last September, in which she found racism in coffee labelling, reset the counter on smug, entitled and parochial.  It was really too weird to be “so bad it’s funny”.  And if you followed that, you are probably too smart to read Hinda Mandell.  Or something.

The “When Did You Stop Beating Your Husband” Award for Innuendo-Based-Journalism – It’s one of the Twin Cities’ leftysphere’s favorite “journalistic” techniques; “cover” a “story” by “asking” loaded “questions” about the “subject” of one’s “reporting”, so as to imply there’s “substance” to the “reporting” beyond the “question” itself;.   And while it’s hard to filter through all the entries in this category – do Twin Cities leftybloggers have any other technique for reporting on stories that they don’t actually have the facts to close the deal on? (Doh!  Now I’m doing it!), it’s foremost practitioner is in no doubt whatsoever.  Award-winning jouralist Karl Bremer wins the award (!) and spikes the ball in the endzone with two “winning” entries in this elite category; his innuendo-laden mischaracterization of the status of Michele Bachmann’s law license last summer, distinguished by being nearly devoid of actual fact, and his breathless questions about Bradlee Dean’s association with a financial planner who was in trouble with the law (whom Bremer apparently wasn’t curious enough to find out was also in trouble with Dean – Dean had sued the subject of the story).

The Billy Graham “Blinding Flash Of Epiphany” Award For Renewed Interest In Absolute Moral Rectitude In Politicians – goes to every Twin Cities leftyblogger who, in 1997, bleated “It’s only sex!  Mooooove on!  Just mooooooooooove on!  Peoples’ personal lives aren’t of any political importance” in re the Clinton/Lewinski flap, but suddenly re-discovered their inner tittering moralistic junior high nerd when news of the Amy Koch fiasco blew up.

The Phoenix Woman Award For Excellence In Rhetoric – For this year, this award goes to AM950 host Matt McNeil for – I’ll try to be tactful, here – face-palmingly inappropriate response to the Breivik shootings in Norway on Twitter.  Further proving that if there was a “Fairness Doctrine” for doy, AM950 would be off the air.

The Mister O’Brien 2+2=5 Award For Analysis – This one goes to Minnesota Progressive Project’s Eric Pusey who, in the middle of complaining that nobody was covering the dreary, addled “Netroots Nation” and all the media were over at the companian, interesting, hospitable, babe-packed “Right Online” conference, noted for his blog’s brief national audience that the Strib is really a conservative tool.

The Tina Brown Award For Turning A Prestigious News Organization Into A Showy, Shallow, Shrill Joke – Goes this year, as every year, to Tina Brown for the job she’s done turning “Newsweek” into something no self-respecting grocery-store will stock next to the National Enquirer.  In this case, for out-doing Dump Bachmann at picking the least-flattering possible portrait of Michele Bachmann to further their ‘Journalism”, and doing it with such bald-faced aplomb that the National Organization of Women, which normally wouldn’t pee on Rep. Bachmann if she were on fire, objected.

The Quickster Award For Excellence In Blog-Product Launch Marketing – is almost as easy to judge this year.  What better time to put a capstone on a decade of frothy, often fact-challenged obsession with former activist, former State Senator, current Representative and Presidential candidate Michele Bachmann than when she’s riding high in the polls!  None!

But the crew at Wiley and Sons waited to publish The Madness Of Michele Bachmann,  a Hugh-Hewitt-like assemblage of eight years of blog posts by Eva Young, Ken “Avidor” Weiner and the award-winning Karl Bremer until Bachmann’s star had risen, set, and was calmly fermenting in the middle-to-bottom of the GOP presidential pack, and probably generating less interest (outside the rage-y bsessives that frequent The Dump) than Tim Pawenty.

The Cicero Demosthenes Award For Excellence In Political Rhetoric – This one is always a tough one.  Which Twin Cities leftyblogger has brought the most to the expansion of the glory of written English rhetoric?

The nominations were compelling indeed:

  • “Two-Putt” Tommy Johnson, who raised “I know you are, but what am I?” to something of a low art form
  • Karl Bremer and the “Did you stop beating your wife?” school of reporting (which see above)
  • University of Minnesota professor Bill Gleason, who brought spam sites into their rightful place as news sources.

But as to the winner?  The choice wasn’t so much “who” as “why”.   “Robert Erickson”, the nom de douche of Nick Espinosa, achieved the simulacrum of “progressive” rhetoric on two different levels in the past year.  His mastery of the “Call and chant” form of speech, which he perfected at weeks and weeks of “Occupy MN” protests (he’s actually “Dieter” in this video here) was surpassed only by his pioneering of what is, truly, the dominant form of progressive rhetorical articulation; meeting ones’s opponents with a cloud of glitter.

You hear that?  It’s the ghost of Demosthenes.  He’s crying.  I’m sure it’s joy.  Really.

And finally, the award di tutti awardi of the Shooties lo these many years…:

The Charles Townsend Award, the keystone award of these entire festivities.  Charles Townsend was a British Parliamentarian in the 1770′s, whose response to the growing “Tea Party” in the colonies was a marvel of patrician contempt…

“And now will these Americans, Children planted by our Care, nourished up by our Indulgence until they are grown to a Degree of Strength & Opulence, and protected by our Arms, will they grudge to contribute their mite to relieve us from the heavy weight of that burden which we lie under?”

…was worthy of Larry Pogemiller or Nick Coleman.  Or Ryan Winkler.

On the Sunday, July 3 edition of the Esme Murphy show, Elliot Seid  – the capo for the Twin Cities Service Employees International Union (SEIU) said in re the state’s budget squabble, and the legislative majority’s unwillingness to accede to a 22% state spending increase, and tax hikes to match, in the middle of a recession, said “We don’t have a spending problem. We have a revenue problem!”.

And that’s it for this year!  Bus your own tables on the way out – we had to lay off most of the union kitchen staff to make our budget – and we’ll see you for next year’s Shooties!

A Good Question In Dire Need Of An Answer

I’ve asked myself – when I’m not busy lampooning the demonstrations and their overkill media coverage – why are the Twin Cities media covering “Occupy Twin Cities” as lavishly as they are?

FInally, Jason DeRusha from WCCO asks the same question:

Reg Chapman and I were talking in the newsroom last night about how the coverage of the protest itself probably should stop fairly soon. Frankly, the fact that crowds haven’t really mushroomed tells us something about Minnesotans. Perhaps we’re not really the protesting type; perhaps this crowd of protestors doesn’t resonate with the middle class working people who are upset about Wall Street, mortgages, bank fees, etc [Ding ding ding – Ed]; perhaps it’s getting cold.

I think we oughtta run with the “Doesn’t Resonate” bit.

On the NARN show over the weekend, “Swiftee”, my old friend and conservative gadfly to the stars, made a great point when he called in; the Flea Party could have been a mass phenomenon, had it stuck with being for corporate perfidy what the Tea Party was to big government.  Let’s face it; the Tea Party’s roots are in revulsion at the government picking winners and losers and deciding which private enterprises are “too big to fail”.

The Flea Party blew it, of course; what could have been a outlet for a lot of legitimate outrage and concern on the part of Middle America either turned into a “progressive” platform or was never intended to be anything but.  And by “progressive”, I mean the worst side of “progressive”-ism; the groupthink, the chanting, the nods back to the miasma of the early seventies that still make a lot of Americans above the age of 45 queasy.

And from a newsman’s perspective – as I noted in my video from “People’s Plaza” on Saturday – there’s really no there there, if you leave either your barely-covered ideology or the news guy’s natural desire to be there with a camera when the molotov cocktails start flying and the hats and bats come out, or at least something qualifying as news happens. Which, it seems clear, isn’t likely to happen.

But the bigger issue is that the crowd is smallish, and there just isn’t news happening.

Face it – retreaded hippies and SEIU members and college activists chanting and making demands isn’t even dog bites man; it’s dog licks dog.

And in fact, that’s where I’m inspired by [a bit of viewer email he’d gotten]. Because we stop covering the protests or protestors doesn’t mean we stop covering the issue that motivated the original Occupy Wall Street protests in New York City.

What are the economic questions you want answered?

Question – and I’m not trying to be snarky, but I largely stopped watching most mainstream TV news years ago: what economic questions have you (WCCO and the larger media, not DeRusha personally, although the question is aimed at him) covered?

The role of the government intervention in creating the housing bubble?

The role of Obamacare and the administration’s mania for regulation in stalling hiring?

The real effect of three years of people chanting “tax the rich”, with a nudge and a wink and a “this is change you can believe in!” from sitting administrations in DC and Saint Paul, has had on entrepreneurship and expansion?

They’d all be great starts.

If you want that kind of coverage, you need to make your voice heard.

Well, there you go!

That, and tell Esme Murphy to stop painting the toenails of DFL politicians on the air.

Dear Chris Cilizza: All Is Forgiven

To:  Chris Cilizza
From: Mitch Berg
Re: Durr.

Mr. Cilizza:

In the past, I have criticized your “best blogs” lists for being myopic assortments of blogs driven mostly by fanboy response.

Then I saw “CBS Minnesota”‘s – that’d be WCCO’s – assortment of blogs in their “Most Valuable Blogger” awards.

Now, I don’t much care about the Dining, Sports, Entertainment, Heath or “Everything Else” sections – because I don’t read any of those categories, ever – I gotta say the “Local Affairs” selection is…

…well,  you be the judge).

In a state full of heavyweight blogs that actually make a difference, WCCO provides this list of blogs ranging from the unknown to “Cantina Band” who have only their liberalism in common…

…ah, gotcha.

Anyway, Mr. Cilizza, all is forgiven.

That is all.

MBerg

Continue reading

Another For The Hall Of Fame

Minnesota politicans – DFLers all – have blessed the rest of us with three quotes that sum up the difference between conservative and “progressive” politics – and, indeed, the evil of progressivism – more concisely and starkly than all of the Poli Sci PhDs in the world have done through all of history.

Back in 2007, it was Saint Paul DFL Senator Cy Thao, who said “When you guys win, you get to keep your money.  When we win, we take your money!”.

In 2009?  Larry Pogemiller, who said “I think it’s silly to assume people can spend their own money better than government can”.

Both of these statements can be read as “politicians slipping up and telling the truth”; they’r funny, as far as that goes.

But both statements also point out what is so profoundly wrong with “progressive” politics; it exists by not only sponging off the labor of others, but by trying to convince them that being sponged is in and of itself noble.

And now we have a third.  Last Sunday, on the Esme Murphy show, Elliot Seid  – the capo for the Twin Cities Service Employees International Union (SEIU) said “We don’t have a spending problem. We have a revenue problem!”.

In other words, everything that everyone earns in this state should be suject to being appropriated, until government’s appetites are met. Maybe exceeded just a bit, just to be sure.

The quote has an inside shot of winning this year’s Charles Townsend award.

And it, along with Thao and Pogemiller’s quotes, should be printed up on T-shirts by the GOP and handed out at the fair this summer.

Fearless Predictions

I have a couple of predictions for you.

Prediction 1:  Polled To Death Take this to the bank:  sometime before July 1, the Strib will run another “Minnesota Poll” in re the shutdown.

The poll’s headlines will be within one rhetorical standard deviation of  “65% of Minnesotans Favor Compromise On Budget Impasse”.

The crosstabs, carefully buried, will show that DFLers are oversampled by 50%; those trying to investigate the faint whiff of metrocentrism in the polling will be frustrated by the absolute lack of crosstabs showing geography.

Prediction 2: Dead Silence – Despite the avalanche of evidence coming out of the state bureaucracy that Dayton is not only pushing for the shutdown, but actively trying to make it “hurt” as much as possible, there will be not one word on the subject from the Strib, WCCO, the PiPress, the KARE Bears (whose John Cronan is rapidly shaping up to be an Esme Murphy-grade stealth-DFL  propagandist), or MPR.

Place your bets.

Or make your own predictions, in the comment section.

J’Accuse, 2011

Yet again, as we watch the political contortions of Anthony Weiner, we see the great political truism; it’s not the act, it’s the cover-up.

And as we’ve seen over and over and over again, there’s nothing the media likes more than unravelling a coverup.  Of a Republican (or a Democrat who, like Weiner, has been deemed a liability).

So let’s talk cover up.

While the GOP presented a balanced budget in May – long before the DFL had done in the previous couple of biennia – Mark Dayton, who never presented a balanced budget and thus in effect never presented a budget at all, vetoed it after weeks of stonewalling.

Evidence is emerging from various Human Services and Department of Transportation sources that Dayton planned this shutdown all along.  The fact that the Administration and the Legislature were eight tenths of a percent apart shows that Dayton has no interest in negotiation.  In the meantime, he – his surrogates at “Alliance For A Better Minnesota”, the attack-PAC funded by the unions, Dayton’s ex-wife Alita Messinger, the Dayton family and Mark Dayton himself – are running ads, constantly, trying to blame Republican intranigence for the shutdown.

And you only hear about it on the blogs.

On Channel Four, where Esme Murphy spends her every Sunday morning painting the toenails of DFL politicians?

Nothing.

On Minnesota Public Radio, which just finished a huge lobbying campaign to defend their federal and state subsidies because their “no rant, no slant” news coverage is just too vital to allow to allow any cuts?

Where are Mike Mulcahy, Tom Scheck and Tim Pugmire?

The Strib?  It’s no secret we don’t expect much of the newspaper of the “Minnesota Poll“; the paper that ran its sole story about Mark Dayton’s history of alcoholism and mental illness in January of 2010; half a year before the DFL primary, and a good nine months before 90% of the voters even knew there was an election coming up.  Still, one might think someone at 425 Portland would figure there was some utility in, y’know, covering the news.

Rachel Stassen-Berger?

The PiPress?  Does Bill Salisbury actually transgress the DFL?

Channel 5? Paging Tom Hauser; there’s a there, there.

Where is the media?

Chanting Points Memo: “Compromise”

Dutifully, the Strib carries the short version of the DFL’s current party line; it’s the governor who’s being the “moderate”:

“Here I am in the middle, and they haven’t moved,” Dayton said of Republican lawmakers.

It’s BS, of course; the GOP started the session committed to holding the line at 2010-2011 budget levels; as projected revenues rose, they increased the spending to match – keeping us “within our means”, against the wishes of some conservatives who pushed to cut services back to 2009 levels.

That – when you’re dealing with a legislature with a decisive mandate, as opposed to a governor who backed into office with the tiniest plurality since Jesse Ventura – is more than enough.

So what we have here is…:

  • A legislature that’s done exactly what they were sent, and sent in overwhelming numbers, to Saint Paul to do, up against…
  • A Governor who is willing to risk a government shutdown to support the only policy initiatives he has; stick it to the state’s most productive citizens, and force us non-government employees to work ’til we’re 70 so his union supporters can retire at 55.  He can do this, because he can count on…
  • …the media.  Part of which is actively carrying water for the DFL (I”m looking at you, Esme Murphy and John Cronan), and the rest of which worships at the Cult of Process, believing that negotiation and compomise themselves are the overriding goals of all legislative government, worthy of frittering away all manner of princple and, for that matter, fiscal common sense.

Let the spinning begin!

Let The Interference-Running Begin

Session ends and, if you believe the the media, the MNGOP spent the entire time sightseeing:

All that and more must now await a special session this summer, as the Republican majority and DFL Gov. Mark Dayton ended an acrimonious five-month session with very little business done and a $5 billion projected shortfall mostly untouched.

There’s no sign more time in St. Paul would spark a deal to avoid a bruising government shutdown. A long season of legislating only hardened and widened the deep, bitter divide between Dayton and the new legislative leadership.

Read: The Governor used the only tactic he has: stalling, and counting on the media to shape public opinion for him.

Expect a “Minnesota Poll” showing Minnesotans favor “compromise” 60-40, with a 3:2 oversample of DFLers.

And probably a “Humphrey Institute” poll showing it’s more like eleventy-teen to one.

Here you go, Star Tribune and KARE11 and Esme Murphy; it’s your moment to shine.

Chanting Points Memo: The “Chanting Points” Drinking Game!

Nothing in state government is so sacred that you can’t link it to a drinking game.

Although we urge our actual state legislators not to be doing the game-drinking while working.

At any rate – since the DFL has a legislative minority and an incredibly weak governor, their best shot at eking a victory out of this session is to convince The People that 2+2=”Blue”.  And so the DFL has unleashed a wave of DFL propagandabots in the media, the alt-media, the press and in government itself, repeating the same series of lines, and lies, over and over and over – not so much repeating the Godwin-fodder “Big Lie” often enough as repeating a wide swathe of little lies – along the lines of “Tom Emmer tried to lower penalties for drunk drivers” – until the dim-witted and not-very-savvy (aka “The DFL’s swing voters”) start to think they’re true.

And we might as well have fun with ’em!

So it’s time to turn all the bile, the ire, the vitrol and the waterboarded context into…

The Chanting Points Drinking Game!

You need the following to play:

  • Three or more people – the more, the merrier!
  • Alcohol
  • One drinking glass for each contestant, suitable for the alcohol (beer glasses for beer, shot glasses for booze, wine glasses for whine).  Alternate: empty jars will suffice.
  • A Mark Dayton bobblehead doll.
  • A TV or computer  tuned to any political discussion – the session, TPT Almanac, “At Issue”, Esme Murphy’s show, whatever.  If no suitable TV program is on, someone can read from MNPublius, Minnesota “Progressive” Project, mnpACT!, MN2020, Alliance For A Better Minnesota, Bluestem Prairie or any other combination of Twin Cities leftyblogs.

Here’s how you play:

1. Before viewing, give the bobblehead to a random particpant.
2. Turn on the TV.
3. Whenever anyone says any variation of the following, everyone take a hit from your glass

  • “We have a $6.2 Billion deficit!”
  • “The only choices we have are tax hikes or layoffs!”‘
  • “The GOP wants to force cities to raise property taxes!”
  • “Minnesotans won’t stand for this departure from our government tradition”
  • “The GOP needs to reach across the aisle” / “Mark Dayton has done an admirable job of reaching across the aisle”
  • Any reference to Orville Freeman, Arne Carlson, or any former governnor named Anderson
  • Any use of the term “tipping point”
  • “Where is the GOP’s no-cuts plan?” (If accompanied by a knowing smirk, make that two hits)
  • “Government spending is essential for a healthy economy!”
  • “We inherited this from Tim Pawlenty” (Take an extra sip if the word “disastrous” is used)
  • “If the GOP says they want jobs, then why are they laying off state workers?”
  • “The [GOP/Tea Party/any opponent of the DFL]’s plan is ‘extreme’ and/or ‘wrong for Minnesota'”

4. After each drink line, the holder of the Dayton Bobblehead passes it to the next person in the circle.

5. If anyone says “The GOP plan will [throw Grandma into the street/freeze the children/etc]”, the holder of the Dayton Bobblehead must drain his/her glass immediately before passing it on to the next person.

Feel free to add “house rules” for other Chanting Points – mentions of “Wall Street”, “Koch Brothers”,  variations on the term “Neocon” or “Mubarak”, or whatever works for you!

Your entire party will be passed out in puddles of vomit within the hour.

Just like the Senate DFL caucus on the last night of the session, come to think of it.

Dateline: March 26, 2011

The following scene presumes – heaven forfend – that Mark Dayton wins the election.

SCENE:  Office of Governor Mark Dayton.  Dayton is sitting in his chair, idly twirling a nut back and forth on a bolt.

DAYTON: (Continues to twirl bolt for about five minutes, back and forth and back and forth…)

(Esme Murphy – the Governor’s communications director – bursts into the room)

MURPHY – Sir, we have a problem.

DAYTON:  Is it time for you to paint my toenails again?

MURPHY: No, sir, that was only during interviews during the campaign.  We have a serious problem here.

DAYTON: (stares into distance, idly spinning nut on bolt) Oh.

MURPHY: The House Republicans have blocked your budget proposal.

DAYTON: (looks up from nut and bolt, looks wordlessly toward Murphy without really focusing)

MURPHY: Sir, this is a bit of a political emergency.

DAYTON: (Focuses, just a bit)

MURPHY: Shall I summon your advisers, sir?

DAYTON: (Nods.  Maybe.  Kinda.)

MURPHY (leaves room)

DAYTON: (goes back to idly spinning nut on bolt)

Three minutes pass.  Then Murphy re-enters, with Secretary of State Ritchie, House Minority Leader Rukavina, Senate Minority Leader Marty, Budget Director Denise Cardinal, and Representative Phyllis Kahn.  Chief of Staff Mike Hatch enters last, as Murphy starts to speak.

MURPHY: The rest will be here shortly; Rachel Stassen-Berger is working with a photographer on making them better-looking on camera.

(Group assembles in front of DAYTON’s desk)

MURPHY: So the situation is this; the House Republicans have blocked…

HATCH: Shut up.  (Murphy falls instantly silent) The House Republicans have blocked your budget proposal, “Governor” (HATCH coughs theatrically as he makes the scare quotes with his fingers in the air; a little glob of spittle flies through the air and lands on…) Dayton.  First things first; the Republicans should never have taken the House or Senate back.  We know whose fault that is, don’t we?

(Hatch turns to Ritchie, who visibly flinches)

HATCH: Assume the position.

(Richie falls limply to his knees)

HATCH: Lori!

(Swanson places a ball gag in Richie’s mouth, ties it securely around Richie’s face, and pushes him, face down, to the ground.  Swanson then stands on Richie’s back)

HATCH: With that out of the way – this is an emergency, “Governor”.  Even the DFLers that survived last November are rebelling, calling your tax bill “suicide”, and still we are six billion dollars short…

TOM DOOHER: (the head of the Minnesota Teachers’ Union enters, speaking) That’s Nine Billion, Governor (he says, looking at Hatch).

HATCH: Right, nine billion dollars short.

JAVIER MORILLO: (representative of SEIU enters, speaking) ELEVEN billion, Governor

HATCH: Right, eleven billion dollars short… (Hatch, Murphy and the rest stare at the door for a moment before continuing)  …for now.  We need to come up with a plan, and we need it NOW.  (He gestures at Swanson, who grinds a stiletto heel in the small of Richie’s back, as Richie squirms in pain)

DAYTON: We shall…

(twirls nut)

MURPHY: Sir?

DAYTON: …sell another Renoir.

HATCH: Good idea, sir, but a Renoir is worth a few million; we would need about a thousand of them…

CARDINAL: Actually, five thousand five hundred of them at current sale prices

HATCH: (spins on heels, pulling a dagger from under his jacket, screams hysterically) SHUT UP! IF I WANT YOUR OPINION I WILL GRANT YOU THE RIGHT TO HAVE ONE!.   (Cardinal flinches)  I WILL RIP OFF YOUR HEAD AND CRAP DOWN YOUR THROAT.  DO YOU READ ME?  (Cardinal nods, meekly)

HATCH: Yes, sir, five thousand-odd Renoirs to close the budget gap…

DOOHER: Er, that’s gonna be six thousand.

HATCH: Six thousand Renoirs to close the gap.

DAYTON: (Nods, twirling the nut on the bolt)

HATCH: Sooooo, we need a political solution.  Marty! (John Marty snaps to attention) Throw a party for the GOP caucuses in both chambers.  Open bar!  And then have the Highway Patrol waiting for them!  We’ll catch ’em all driving drunk!  Hah!

SWANSON: Already tried that, sir.  Didn’t work.

DAYTON: (idly spins nut on the bolt as head bobbles idly back and forth)

HATCH: (pounds hand on Dayton’s desk) DAMMIT! Maybe we should get photoshopped pictures of all of them in a bathroom stall at the airport.

KAHN: Seems a bit implausible, sir.

DAYTON: (puts bare right foot up on the desk)  My toenail needs painting.  Esme?

MURPHY: No, sir, not now…

DAYTON: Oooh.  Then I’ll get Keri Miller to do it.

MURPHY: (sighs). I’ll put in a call, sir. But we have to figure out this eleven-billion dollar gap…

DOOHER: Thirteen billion dollars.

MURPHY: …this thirteen billion dollar gap first, sir.

DAYTON: (nut falls off bolt).

(Room falls silent)

DAYTON: Close the office.  I’m going to Vail.

HATCH: “Governor” (makes scare quotes with fingers), we can’t “close the office” (makes scare quotes with fingers).  You have to “Make a decision” (makes scare quotes with fingers).

DAYTON:  (Puts head down on desk)

HATCH:  Oh, christ.  OK, get him outta here.  (Marty and Kahn carry Dayton from room as Hatch continues with scarcely a pause). OK, Murphy?  Start the new ad campaign; “Minnesota – where everybody’s rich!”  Bill it to Alita. Again.  And Tom? (Rukavina snaps to attention)  Submit a bill that’ll increase taxes on “the rich” to 15%.   Lori?  Put out a release saying we’re investigating – er, you’re investigating Majority Leader Zellers for witchcraft.  Let’s move, people!

(Group exits, leaving Richie face-down on the floor, whimpering)

AUTHOR’S NOTE:  Now, I believe, as I have since May, that Tom Emmer is going to win by three.  But just in case people are undecided, the above qualifies as “fiction” only because it hasn’t happened yet.

Media: AWOL Redux – Nothing Personal; Just Business

Rachel Stassen-Berger, writing in the Strib yesterday:

Republican candidate for governor Tom Emmer is all over the new Republican theme — Democratic candidate Mark Dayton doesn’t have a complete budget plan.

Emmer hammered the point, made by supportive Republicans repeatedly during the past few days, on a Tuesday spot on Minnesota Public Radio.

“Let’s start talking about the elephant in the room that nobody wants to acknowledge. Sen. Dayton has proposed a plan that is billions of dollars short,” Emmer said. He went on to suggest that Dayton will have to increase taxes more folks than he’s specified — couples making taxable income of $150,000 and singles earning $130,000. “How far are you willing to go?”

Let’s extend that thought for a moment:  Mark Dayton is not a dumb guy.  And he’s got people on his campaign staff who are even smarter.  They don’t own a supercomputer – but they don’t need one to put together the broad outlines of a budget.  Their campaign isn’t short of staff or funding, obviously.

So if you think the only budget that the Dayton campaign has is the one that’s on the website – the one that grins a big dumb grin and says “we’re $890 million short” with the same seriousness of a junior high kid saying the dog ate his homework – then I have to say with all due respect that you’re beggaring reason.   Either the campaign is incompetent, or they know where that extra $890 million is coming from, and would rather the electorate not know.

And if you assume Democrats and Dayton aren’t just plain stupid, that leaves you with only “b”

“Put it on paper, Sen. Dayton,” Emmer said. (Republicans on Twitter and on blogs have taken to accusing individual reporters of negligence for not following suit.)

Stassen-Berger links to my Twitter account, as well as my “AWOL Media” piece yesterday.  I wouldn’t use the phrase “accusing of negligence”, really – it’s got a legalistic tinge to it that’s a little unseemly for free speech.

It just seems that the media, which six weeks ago were hot to get all the details of the Emmer budget, has suddenly gotten incredibly incurious.  And yet now that Dayton’s budget has a large, suspicious hole – and there really is no solution but to jack up taxes on the middle class – suddenly it seems that the people don’t have a “right to know”, accorinding to our regional political media.

I mean, did you see Esme Murphy?

She might as well have been giving the Senator a massage.  “Do you have any plans?”  Er, nope.  And it ended there!

Did you hear Keri Miller’s interview with Tom Emmer?  Back before Emmer released his budget?  She went after him like a barracuda after Charlie the Tuna.

Does the public – especially us middle-class schnook taxpayers – still have a right to know now that it’s the favorite son of Minnesota’s political “elite?”

I mean…:

Dayton has acknowledged that his budget plan comes up nearly $1 billion short. That’s in part because his income tax plan won’t bring in as much money as he had hoped. He has specified how he would make the cuts he’s found, although some are estimates and others have been deemedunrealistic. But he admits a “gap,” which leads opponents to believe he’ll raise more in taxes.

…I’m a complete schlemiel as a “reporter”, and even I see that these are some huge, valid questions!

So David Brauer – who’s never covered up his lefty sympathies, but seems to try to do a decent job anyway – asked via Twitter:

@mitchpberg regarding @Rachelsb & @MinnPost, does thishttp://bit.ly/c4f26t and thishttp://t.co/jj16mXx get them off your bad list?

He links to a this Rachel Stassen-Berger story in the Strib, and a Doug Grow piece in the MinnPost.  Stassen-Berger did, indeed, note that Dayton’s budget comes up short – but there’s no evidence that I’ve seen (I’m willing to be corrected!) that she’s gotten up at a Dayton presser and said “OK, Chauncey Fauntelroy, if you don’t have to hit the middle class, who do you have to get the $890 million?  We’ve got all day, Yale boy” (Those might be my words rather than Stassen-Berger’s).

Grow makes the valid point that…:

…no governor, no matter how popular, will be able to zip a budget package through the Legislature without major changes. In this case, whoever is governor likely will not be elected with a majority of the vote, meaning there will be little chance to claim any mandate, so you can expect nasty legislative fights.

…while basically claiming a pox on all their fiscal houses.

And, most importantly, both of these pieces were two weeks ago.  Juuuuust about the time that the non-wonk class – all those actual voters – started thinking about the election.

Which was why I took exception to Brauer’s followup tweet:

@mitchpberg Fair question. Would venture Dayton’s gap is well-known, covered and acknowledged. For many weeks, Emmer seemed to be ducking.

Well-known to whom?  Political reporters and political junkies and fire-breathing political bloggers?  Sure!

The average voter – especially the ones who start paying attention to politics sometime between the first and fifteenth of October?

Hell – I’ve talked with candidates for the State House who haven’t read anything about this yet.

So while I’m not going to say that our assembled mass of journalists are “negligent” for not asking, I’m still curious; when the public has a right to know, does it imply they’re supposed to exercise that right by developing a jones for research?

Look, journos; if your line is “all three of the candidates’ budgets leave questions”, then ask them.  That’s what you get the big bucks for.  Hell, I’d do it, if any of them (but Emmer) returned my calls!  And since neither of them do, I – and, more importantly, we, the entire body politic – have to depend on y’all, Tim Pugmire and Tom Scheck and Bill Salisbury and Rachel Stassen-Berger and Pat Kessler to do it.

Thing is, so far in the race, it’s Emmer that’s been getting the questioning; Dayton seems to be the only one who can get away with saying “I’ll get back to you on November 3”.

Am I wrong?

What say you, Tim and Rachel and Tom and Bill and Pat?

The Dayton Dustbowl: Living In A World Of Pure Imagination

Remember last June?

According to the DFL and their buildup of minimum wage leftyblog minions, the fact that Tom Emmer hadn’t released a detailed budget plan was a finger in the eye of The People.  They had a right to knoooooooooow!, after all.  And they had to knooooooooooow it right then and there, dagnabbit!

Then Emmer released a budget plan – one that balanced the budget without raising taxes, lowered taxes on job-creating activities, and left K12 education untouched.

And then it turned out that Mark Dayton’s first attempt at a budget plan fell three billion dollars short on balancing the budget.

And then his second attempt fell 890 million dollars short (or maybe more!).

And now, suddenly, having a budget plan in place just isn’t that big a deal!
He even said on WCCO on Sunday morning, amid Esme Murphy painting his toenails…

Can you imagine what Esme Murphy would have done had Tom Emmer ever called his plan a “work in progress?”

Now, Mark Dayton’s a smart guy.  And he’s got a lot of smart people working for him.  And while they don’t have access to a “supercomputer” to figure out budget numbers, they don’t need one.  A fairly complex Excel spreadsheet will get you the big-picture numbers; some not-cheap software (certianly avaiable to the compaign) can work out the fine details.  Just like Emmer did.

And yet they didn’t.

Wait.  Do you really believe that, after two go-arounds, that the Dayton camp doesn’t have a budget?

Rubbish.

They do.  They just don’t want you to see it.

Because the real Dayton Budget Plan – the one they don’t want you to see yet – socks it to the Middle Class. There is no other way.  To think that Dayton doesn’t know this beggars credulity.  To think that there is any other politically-palatable answer is pollyannaish and just plain stupid.

There are huge questions to be asked about the nonexistant “Dayton Budget Plan”.

So when will the media ask?

Anyone?

Is that an echo I hear?

The Dayton Dustbowl: The Media’s Code Of Silence

Gary Gross at Let Freedom Ring does the job the Twin Cities media juuuuust can’t seem to get around to (emphasis added by me):

During his mini-infomercial with Esme Murphy, Mark Dayton admitted that the highest income tax rate he’d propose would be less than 11 percent.

Based on Minnesota Department of Revenue guidelines, which I wrote about here, that means Dayton’s budget wouldn’t come close to balancing. Here’s what the guidelines say about revenue projections:

So how much money would boosting income tax rates actually deliver? According to the revenue department, each tenth-of-a-percent increase would currently bring in an additional $27 million annually, or $54 million each biennium.

Dayton said that he wouldn’t raise taxes more than 3 percentage points, meaning his tax the rich scheme would generate approximately $1,600,000,000 in additional revenue. Dayton also said that he’d raise property taxes on homes valued at more than $1,000,000.

Based on that information, and assuming that Dayton would essentially approve of the spending increases from last session’s budget bills, Dayton’s ‘detailed budget’ would fall at least $3,000,000,000 short of balancing.

It’s time that Minnesotans realized that Dayton’s supposed detailed budget isn’t a budget blueprint. It’s a tax increase. PERIOD. END OF DISCUSSION.

It is, literally, nothing more than throwing money at the deficit.

The Dayton “plan”…:

  • Does not solve the deficit: As Gary notes – but Esme Murphy for some reason won’t – Dayton’s budget comes up way short on its promise to “solve the deficit”.
  • Shifts the burden to the legislature, which could barely pass a $400 million tax hike in the 2008 session, will not be passing any huge tax increases in the next session, with the likely blood-letting among tax-and-spend DFLers
  • Will required Dayton to push the definition of “the rich” well down into the middle class:  if jacking up taxes on couples whose adjusged gross income is $150,000 a year leaves Dayton’s “plan” billions short, how far down will the definition of “rich” have to get pushed?

Here’s the biggest question of all:  Gary Gross asks some excellent questions.

Why the hell didn’t Esme Murphy ask any of this?

The simple fact is this – the media isn’t going to ask Mark Dayton any of the tough questions.

Chanting Points Memo: Blowing Sunshine Up Minnesota’s Skirt

It’s the keystone of Mark Dayton’s entire plan, if he’s elected governor, for trying to close the DFL’s budget deficit.

It’s “Tax the Rich”.

On Esme Murphy’s WCCO TV show this morning (the program should be called “DFL Puff Piece”, but we’ll come back to that later), Dayton said “the rich” start at $150,000 a year – $173,000 if filing jointly.  (The exchange starts at 3:28 of the linked video, with the actual statement around 3:50 or so)

Courtesy of Gary Gross at Let Freedom Ring, here’s the transcript:

MURPHY: You do have a specific plan in which you have called for tax increases for the top 10 percent of Minnesotans. People have pointed out that the top 10 percent includes people that might be in that $136,000 income bracket for single people. You’ve changed that a little bit & said that it’s perhaps people making $150,000. Which is it?

SEN. DAYTON: I’ll send you the news reports going back months now that reference taxable income that has, I guess, confused some people so now I’m going to say total income. But that’s over $150,000 for an individual, over $173,000 for a couple filing jointly. Rep. Emmer says that that’s middle income…middle class. Those are people that work hard for a living but the fact is that that makes them wealthier than 90 percent of the rest of Minnesotans.

And it really obscures the issue. I’m really talking about the rich and the super-rich, the wealthiest 1 percent who make over $1,000,000 a year, over 25,000 households. According to the Minnesota Department of Revenue, pay only two-thirds of the percent of their incomes to state and local taxes as the rest of Minnesotans.

And Rep. Emmer & Mr. Horner don’t want to raise taxes on them by even one penny. And that’s the difference & that’s the issue here.

Here’s another amusing portion of the interview:

MURPHY: Going back to this issue of taxing people making $200,000. What percentage would a couple making $175,000. What percentage would their taxes go up under your plan? What percentage would people making $1,000,000..what percentage would their taxes go up?

DAYTON: Now that I’ve been endorsed, I can enlist the cooperation….the only 3 entities that have the computer capabilities are the Department of Revenue…and the Senate Tax Committee & the House Tax Committee. And now that I’ve won the DFL primary, I will enlist their support.

I don’t have a supercomputer or a large computer capability to do that simulation. What I’ve been saying is that people making $175,000 a year will pay a little bit more in income taxes and someone making $1,000,000 a year will pay more and somebody making $10,000,000 to $100,000,000 a year will pay significantly more. And again, my two opponents are saying that someone who’s making $10,000,000 or $100,000,000 a year should not pay one penny more in income taxes. And meanwhile, everyone else will pay more in higher property taxes or higher sales taxes under their proposals.

Now, that’s pretty ludicrous already; it’s two moderately successful middle managers; a computer programmer married to a contract nurse; a mid-level state administrator and a tenured college professor.

Pretty crazy definition of “the rich”.

But here’s the interesting part:  Dayton is lying.

Here’s his position paper on taxes, from his campaign website.

Click to view full-size

Check it out. “The Rich”, according to the website, start at $130K – $150 for a couple.

That’s a cop and a nurse.  A car mechanic and a project manager.  A couple of mid level teachers.

You feeling rich, Minnesota?