Do You Remember…

…last winter?  After Congresswoman Giffords was shot, and the entire American Left was wetting its pants about the most oblique possible references to “violent rhetoric” and “the degredation in tone?”

Ryan Lyk of the Minnesota College Republicans snapped this shot – of someone in a Minnesota Association of Professional Employees T-shirt – at the demonstrations around the Minnesota State Capitol last night.

Ryan Lyk has his account of the evening over at the MNCR’s blog.

A little later, a group of individuals in wheelchairs started yelling at us and telling us that we were “killing” disabled, homeless, and sick people. The police shut them down, but it just got worse from there. A little while later, a man came up to us and said “history will repeat itself and all of your heads will be cut off.”

The unions are pretty classy, aren’t they?

This was really just the tip of the iceberg. We had people poking our eyes with umbrellas, having their 8 year old children trying to cover up our signs, trying to push us and stifle our free speech, flicking us off, cussing at us, antagonizing us, harassing us… the list goes on and on.

What is truly important, though, is that throughout the entire night, we stood strong and stayed above the fray. We never worked to stifle the oppositions free speech, we never threatened them, and we were never disrespectful.

Of course, to plenty on the left, conservatives’ existence is taken as a sign of “disrespect”.  That was certainly the vibe out at the Capitol last night.

The Capitol Steps

I went down to the Capitol last night to see what was going on.

I walked up John Ireland past the State Office Building, and saw people – many if not most of them wearing identical T-shirts from the Minnesota Association of Professional Employees – gathering in knots and clots around the Mall, many carrying pre-printed signs (“Tax the top 2%!” and the like).   It was as clear as it ever is; it takes a lot of money to show what a bunch of working stiffs they are.

I found a group of College Republicans gathered near the top, stage left (to the audience’s right).  They assembled with their handmade signs fairly early in the evening.  One of them – Ryan Lyk, one of their leaders and a long-time Twitter correspondent of mine – related a story; one of the “protesters” had walked up to them just before I arrived, and said (in and among a rambling discourse) that he’d “cut the heads off” the College Republicans.  Then he’d apparently scampered away; they always, always do, I noted.  The CRs reported the “man” to the police, but nothing more came of it.

As I was discussing that incident, I noticed a guy – short, mid-forty-something, in a sleeveless “Everlast” T-shirt – standing in front of the CRs, talking aggressively, ostentatiously taking cell phone calls and talking loudly about “We’re about to start it up with these people”.  Then, he took his cell cam, turned around, and snapped a picture of one of the College Republicans’ women’s butts as she was facing up the stairs.  From very close range.

Let’s get this straight; he walked up behind a teenage girl and snapped a close-up of her ass.

About this time, I flipped on my camera’s video function – catching him just as he checked out his work, slouching down the steps toward the rest of the crowd.   Then he turned and noticed me taping him.  He flipped me two middle fingers.  “Did you get that?”, he gurgled, laughing an addled-sounding laugh.  I kept on taping; he walked up the steps, trying to look intimidating; he got directly in my face put his cell phone maybe two inches from my face, and snapped a cell shot.  He reeked of alcohol.   He walked away, looking like every loudmouth aggressive drunk looks when they’re prancing about the pool tables at the bar, puffed up and aggressive and daring someone to cross ’em, bellowing about the picture he’d taken.

Suffice to say, we reported him to the cops too.

There was another guy – mid-forties, with that “academic” look about him, who wandered up to the CRs and started trying to pick an argument.   He brought up tuition costs – and while I went there intending mostly to be a fly on the wall, photographing and videotaping, I had to join in.  “Why do you think tuition is so high?”

He stared into my camera.

I explained a little basic economics; how if you pour money into the market for a good or service that is in limited supply – like seats at the U – the prices will rise.

He stared some more.

“What do you think about that?”

“Don’t photograph me.  My face is copyrighted”.

I hadn’t heard that one before.  “You’re in a public place…”, I responded.

“Could you please not photograph me?”

And that was the best argument I heard from any of them all night – or, truth be told, from almost any liberal, on any subject, ever.  But I digress.

At any rate – before long, dozens of people in MAPE T-shirts crowded around the dozen or so CRs.

A young woman with a guitar was meandering about the place; while I placed her (correctly) as a “progressive”, she actually spent nearly as much time arguing with the union members who were, by this time, crowding around the CRs, alternately trying to obscure the view of their signs and, occasionally, to heckle them.

Photo courtesy Kate Paul

She actually wanted to know what it was that made people be Republicans.  I gently corrected her – I’m a conservative – but in all my years of being a hate-choked agitator, I can’t say as I’ve ever been asked to explain that, impromptu.  I told her I’d grown up very liberal; that Reagan’s prosperity was huge, and that his ending of the cold war was bigger still, and since I’ve been working in the real world I’ve found absolutely nothing about “progressive” ideology that makes any sense.

The conversation got harder and harder to have – the chanting around us was getting pretty intense.  The T-Shirt Crowd were chanting loudly.  And some of them seemed genuinely offended by the presence of the CRs on the Capitol steps.   One guy – doughy, fiftysomething, with long, stringy, frizzy gray hair in dire need of a comb – kept bellowing “why don’t you all get jobs!”.  I did at one point append “…so you can work ’til you’re 75 so he can retire at 55”.  But I think it got lost in the din.

I had to leave around 10:30.  It was getting dark out, and I had to be up at 5AM.  Laura Gatz from Princess Politics showed up a little later, and snapped this photo of the Capitol lights shutting off:

Photo courtesy Laura Gatz

Which, if you’re not from St. Paul, you should know never happens; the Capitol is always lit.

I’ll upload photos and video when I get some free time here…

To Make Things Easier

To: State Employees (who find themselves on-camera with one of the local TV stations that are devoting slavering coverage to the (DFL side of the) shutdown.

From: Mitch Berg, schnook taxpayer.

Re: Priorities

Dear state employees:

Sorry about the whole shutdown situation. You do realize that Governor Dayton could end this whole thing at any moment by accepting the balanced GOP budget that’s been on the table for almost two months.

But I’d like to talk with those of you that’ve been on camera with Channels 4, 5, 9 and 11 on every single newscast for the past couple of weeks, asking how you plan on getting by without a state paycheck.

“Prioritize!”, some of you say. “Gotta pay the rent and the mortgage”, you intone.

“It’s tough out there”, one of you actually said.

Just  a quick question, asked with all due respect; what do you think all of us in the private sector have been doing?

That is all.

Logical End Result

Joe Doakes of Como Park writes:

It’s actually getting comical, reading the breathless scare stories about the shut-down. As if there were no way to handle these calamities:

No State Troopers! Oh, gee, that would suck. Those guys don’t do any real law enforcement anyway, Sheriff’s Deputies do. I recall a judge once aptly described the State Patrol as the grown-up version of high school hall monitors handing out notes saying “No Running!” Lay-off Hell, abolish ‘em completely.

A cop friend of mine calls them “collection agents for the insurance industry”.

No Zoo! Nobody to feed the animals at the zoo! We have a perfectly good zoo, at Como Park. Give away the animals to other zoos out of state, lay off all the zookeepers, shutter the facility, sell it to a developer for large lot hobby farms.

Tired of seeing all those stupid TV “news” segments full of people whinging about not being able to go jogging at Afton?

No camping at State Parks! So? Since when is your vacation choice my responsibility? Nobody paid for my motel room, when I was on vacation. Go to the KOA campground, if you must camp.

For that matter, screw the gates.  I paid for that state park. I’m going there, closure or not.

Have to let all the Prisoners go! Ship ‘em elsewhere, promise to pay later. Everybody knows there eventually will be money and if there isn’t, then yeah, let ‘em go. What do you think happens when the government falls, as during the Civil War? We’re not to that stage just yet; but if the governor continues to play chicken, holding everyone hostage until he gets his tax increases, then maybe we see how bad things will get.

If the governor can’t run the government, then why have one?

The “people” voted (sometimes two and three times) for a guy that we warned you could not possibly run a viable government.  We were right.

No city or county internet! Apparently, they’re on a contract to buy services from the state. Might want to shop around for an alternate provider, huh?

These problems can be solved. All it takes is gumption.

So let’s have gumption.

Dayton: Rejected

Ramco Judge Kathleen Gearin has ruled on “critical services” for a potential upcoming government shutdown:

Ramsey County Judge Kathleen Gearin’s ruling came Wednesday, just two days before a state government shutdown would begin. DFL Gov. Mark Dayton and the Republican-controlled Legislature would have to agree on a budget before Friday to avoid the scenario.

Dayton and top lawmakers were sequestered in the governor’s office on their sixth straight day of budget negotiations. They have yet to report a breakthrough in a drawn-out dispute over the level of spending in the next two-year budget and how to pay for it. The state faces a projected $5 billion deficit in the two-year budget cycle, which begins on Friday.

Dayton wants to raise income taxes on high earners, while Republicans insist on no new revenue.

One wonders if MPR’s reporter – Elizabeth Dunbar – is aware of the distinction between “no new taxes” and “no new revenue”.  New revenue happens when people become more prosperous and pay more in taxes.

I’ll chalk it up to carelessness, and continue.

Gearin said state payments to school districts and local governments should continue even if there’s no budget by Friday. She said the state must also fulfill its obligations to the federal government and continue to administer those programs, including food stamps, welfare payments and Medicaid.

“The failure to properly fund critical core functions of the executive and legislative branches will violate the constitutional rights of the citizens of Minnesota,” Gearin wrote in a 19-page written order.

But Gearin emphasized that state payments during a shutdown should be limited “only the most critical functions of government involving the security, benefit, and protection of the people.”

What a radical notion; limiting government to what it’s actually needed for.

I need to read the order (and so do you, so go and do it) more completely, but it’s hard to read what I’ve seen so far as anything but at least a qualified victory for the MNGOP.  Mark Dayton’s attempt to push all the pain of this shutdown onto this state’s most vulnerable residents – which we’ve been documenting for weeks, although the mainstream media can’t seem to be bothered – has been rebuffed for now.

With government doing the things it actually needs to be (or should be) doing, I think Governor Dayton just got chopped off at the knees.

A Pre-Shutdown Note To The GOP Legislative Majority

I’ve said this to some of you before.  As Mark Dayton’s little game of chicken careens toward its intended denouement, I’ll say it again.

Come back with your shield, or on it.

You hold the high ground.  Use it.  We didn’t send you there to cave.

And I don’t believe, in your collective heart of hearts, that you intend to.

But just in case you had any doubt where we, the people who sent you there, stand?

Make Dayton – or, more accurately, his union and special interest owners – squirm.

Elections Count, Part MCMCCLXXIII

Joe Doakes of Como Park writes:

When the state government shuts down, it won’t be spending tax money, right? So why should I pay state taxes for the portion of the government that’s shut down?

I’m willing to pay for what I get, but fair is fair – if they’re not providing the service, I shouldn’t have to pay for it. I propose we only pay for what’s deemed “essential.” If that’s 10% of the budget, we pay 10% of the taxes; the rest, we keep. Even Cy Thao should agree with that.

That’d be Cy Thao, the former St. Paul state senator who famously said:

When you guys win, you get to keep your money.

When we win, we take your money

And when you’re not working, we should keep our money.

Because while we, the taxpayer, may not have “won”, it’s for sure that by floating Mark Dayton into office on a wave of toxic sleaze, all you state workers lost.

The Top Five Things You Need To Know About A Shutdown

I didnt’ write it, but I wish I had:

Top 5 Things

Pass it along.

There may be a Thing #6 to keep in mind as well; although “we” – or the 43% of our neighbors who really aren’t concerned enough about this state’s future to realize what an eternal road to Palookaville “progressivism” is – elected Governor Dayton, he’s not really running the executive branch.

More on Monday.

Dayton: “Let’s Waste More Money”

I got an email from a friend of mine who works in Information Technology:

I was riding in a van last night with a state worker (going to our sons’ soccer game). He said that the state workers are being “laid off” this time rather than furloughed like in 2005. Furlough means that they basically take time off without pay, which many businesses have done to prevent layoffs.

It makes sense, in many cases; give out unpaid “vacation” so that workers

Dayton wants layoffs so the state workers can immediately apply for unemployment benefits (benefiting the unions).

Not to mention pumping up the utilization of that state service, to plump up future budget requests.

It also means that from an IT perspective, they have to shutdown workers computer/system access, return their computers. Essentially follow all the normal steps if someone was laid off without the prospect of returning or if they had turned in their notice of resignation. Incredibly wasteful, given that it isn’t the intent to permanently get rid of the state workers.

The DFL wants to show the people  of Minnesota who’s boss.

The Imperial Court

Joe Doakes from Como Park writes:

The media is fond of trotting out Political Science teachers to opine on political topics. Here’s one I’d like to see them asked:

In a system with three co-equal branches, what is the legal basis for the Court to run the state if the Legislature and Governor won’t? Where was that specific power granted by the people to the Courts in the State or Federal Constitution, or in state law?

For those of you for whom “what is actually in the law?” is an important point, it’s a worthwhile question.

My guess is there is no such specific grant of authority, the courts simply step in. Why? Because somebody has to? Not so, governments can and do shut down, sometimes for a week (last Minnesota shut-down), sometimes longer (Belgium hasn’t had a government for a year, Somalia, ever).

Because there will be terrible consequences? True, the blame for which will fall on the Legislature and the Governor. But how does that give the Ramsey County District Court power to act as Dictator-In-Reserve?

My guess:  “Progressives” abhor a power vacuum, provided they can be the ones to fill it.

Dumping this problem on the courts is too easy. It relieves the pressure on both the Legislature and the Governor to alleviate the problems that a true shut-down would cause. Imagine the public pressure if the prison gates really were thrown open, road construction projects abandoned incomplete, the courthouses shuttered.

Wisconsin’s Supreme Court last week took the right approach regarding the collective bargaining law, telling the district court “It might be a stupid law but by substituting your opinion for theirs, you’re pooping in the Legislature’s pool; stop it.”

That would involve  having some respect for the idea of separation of power.

I think Minnesota’s court should similarly decline to act. It should tell the Governor and Legislature: “This is not our problem. We interpret the law in light of the specific facts of the case. Failure to agree on a budget is not a case for us because there is no law in dispute, no facts to decide. This is a political problem which, under state and federal law, is uniquely your problem. Get to it.”

But hey, I’m just a schmuck from Como Park. What do I know? That’s what experts are for. Somebody get Larry Jacobs on the phone.

Joe Doakes

And rest assured – someone will.  Him and Dave Shultz.

Dayton’s Mission Accomplished

The Mission:

Step 1: Induce a government shutdown specifically to cause pain among those dependent on government.

Step 2:  Get a compliant media to fix blame on the legislature;

Sylvia Hernandez Cruz holds her 5-year-old daughter on her lap and practices letters, as she sits on a couch in the small rambler she rents on the edge of Moorhead.

Cruz says she’s trying to plan for a possible state government shutdown. She’s trying to stock up on basic grocery items, and making sure her son’s asthma prescription is filled before the end of the month. She’s not sure if she will be able to afford those things next month.

“I’m pretty much making it month to month. That’s the situation I’m in,” said Cruz.

Cruz is among the thousands of Minnesotans who receive food assistance and medical assistance. She’s most worried about medical costs. She doesn’t know where she would come up with the $200 a month to pay for her son’s asthma medication.

Cruz says she’s e-mailed her local legislator, Republican Rep. Morrie Lanning. But she feels helpless following the budget standoff in the news.

…notwithstanding that the legislature submitted a balanced budget, and Governor Dayton’s latest attempt is a solid billion dollars off.

Step 3: Lather, rinse, repeat until the DFL tells them to stop.

I’m Confused…

…by the latest round of “Alliance for a Better Minnesota” ads, the “state workers” castigating the legislature for the shutdown (being planned by and for Governor Dayton’s political benefit).

Are road crews actually going to go out and remove all the guard rails from the highways before the shutdown happens?

That seems just a little…bitchy?  I mean, we paid for ’em once, right?

Behind The Kombucha Curtain

I had a conversation last night with an acquaintance in the healthcare industry – someone who works in finance for a Twin Cities healthcare provider, and who has been attending “a ton of meetings” lately with officials from the State of Minnesota about the upcoming shutdown.  My source wants to remain anonymous for reasons that’ll be obvious to anyone who knows the Minnesota bureaucracy.

The memo I and several other conservative bloggers ran earlier this week is fairly common knowledge among upper management in regional healthcare; it’s fairly well known that the Administration’s goal is to create, as the memo said, “angst” which will impel people to pressure their legislators to demand passage of Governor Dayton’s budget.

“[The government healthcare administrators and bureaurcrats]  understand what we’re supposed to be doing; we’re supposed to be parading sick children and dying people, getting folks whipped up”, my souce observed.   “[The state wants]  to create pandemonium out there; they want to cut everything cut to the bone; saying that starting July 1, create the impression that nothing (in terms of state payments) will get paid for”.

He added “One of my lefty friends, who hasn’t really been involved in all the legislative stuff, said “the Governor can’t do that…” I don’t think he’d gotten the message!”

But my source related that his source went on to say “I gotta talk to people in the department (Health and Human Services); there’s all sort federal laws; this is crazy!”  In other words, not everyone in the regional healthcare industry believes Dayton’s move to defund health and human services for political leverage is legal at all.  My source notes that while different states handle Medicare payments in different ways, Minnesota splits its payments 50/50 with the Feds.   “If the State of Minnesota took its money up front, there’s no way Dayton can [unilaterally withhold the payments].

“One of our lawyers in DC said the same thing – the Governor can’t do that!”

Beyond the legalities, my source says we should take all “impact” numbers from the administration with big block of salt.

“I [was talking with] the to unions today – we  have no plans to shut down.  But I had to give admin a number of employees affected; all us finance people had to do this. We don’t knowwhat to do – I suspect we’ll see people talking about a big number of layoffs; it’s all bullshit”.  He noted, as an example, that the shut down could affect up to [a very large number of full time equivalent employees] at his clinic. ” I suspect [the administration] will list these as people who will be laid off by the cuts, but it’s just not true…we’re staying open during the shutdown.  If we do, we’ll recoup 95% of the money eventually; if we shut down, we’ll never see any of it”.  But he adds “Every clinic I personally know is going to stay open – we figure we’ll get paid eventually”.

He works at a larger clinic, of course; smaller ones, he allows, will likely face some serious cash flow problems; “they don’t know what to do now”.

The county governments seem, according to my source, to be joining in the stonewalling.  “”I was telling [my source’s county government] to get lawyered up.  we better have lawsuits going on July 1.  I copied county on seeing outside counsel; I was politely told to back off.  Powers that be are going to hype this.  Liberals in [my source’s] County want to strike fear into peoples’ hearts”.   The goal, said a highly-placed source to my own source, is to ” peel off a couple of moderate Republicans” to get them to support the Governor’s all-tax-hike budget.

The most frustrating part, according to my source? “Trying to get some traction”.  He’s frustrated; “why isn’t the media covering this?”

We’re all asking that.

The Duality Of Existence: Twin Cities Media Edition

At its very, very best, watching the Twin Cities mainstream media covering inter-party politics between the DFL and MNGOP is a zen-like experience; you hope, in the best of all possible worlds, for some rudimentary balance.

To wit: Bob Von Sternberg over at The DFL Casserole The Strib’s “Hot Dish Politics” blog tips his hand as re his editorial sympathies, just a tad (with emphasis added):

Members of a legislative budget commission met for the fourth time Wednesday, for the first time moving past their shopworn soundbites as they picked through the details of Gov. Mark Dayton’s just-released plan to shut down state government if a budget deal isn’t reached by July 1.

Hm.  Wonder if any of Dayton spokesbot Bob Hume’s “soundbites” – which, on Twitter, read exactly like a chron job executing a Perl script – qualify as “shopworn soundbites” to Mr. Von Sternberg?

And in something of a role reversal, Republicans — whose budget-balancing strategy relies entirely on spending cuts

Nope.  No bias there.

On the other hand:

…accused the Democratic governor of proposing the shuttering of government services that will deprive Minnesotans of essential services. They cited his plans to shut off the flow of aid to public schools and halt payments to health and human services providers.

“Whose budget is more draconian,” demanded Sen. Julianne Ortman, R-Chanhassen, using the word Dayton has often employed to describe the GOP’s spending cuts [albeit not, apparently, a “shopworn soundbite” – Ed.]; she called his shutdown plan “complete hypocracy. [sic – Ed.]”

On the one hand, it’s the first coverage I’ve seen in the regional mainstream media of the accusations that Dayton has been staging the shutdown, and seeking to amp up the “pain”, at all.  That’s good.

On the other hand, I have this strong sense that it’ll be the only coverage the Strib spends on it – tucked safely away in a blog that only wonks read.

After the commission meeting House Minority Leader Paul Thissen returned Dean’s fire. “I am stunned about the Republicans’ concern about the delay in the delivery of certain government services as a result of the shutdown, but have shown absolutely no concern about permanently and devastatingly cutting those same services,” he said. The GOP’s health and human services cuts “are what I would call breathtaking,” Thissen said,

Note to Rep. Thissen; then perhaps you and your party should have advanced a budget of your own…

Republicans also used the hearing to resume their drumbeat of criticism [Let me guess – a “shopworn” drumbeat? – Ed.] of Dayton’s negotiating style, complaining that he has remained aloof from the process.

“We had a meeting a week ago, I guess, and the governor didn’t attend that,” said Rep. Keith Downey, R-Edina. “I’m just curious in the last week, the last couple days, do you have any information you can provide to us[about] how many meetings the governor has actually been in on the shutdown versus how many meetings the governor has been in on the detailed grunt work of negotiating a budget agreement versus how many meetings the governor has been in on the Vikings stadium?

“That might be telling to us [to show] where the governor’s priorities are, based on where he’s spending his time.”

Yes.  It does, doesn’t it?

Preponderance Of Evidence

Dayton planned the shutdown all along.

As that great observer of Minnesota political nature Nick Coleman used to say (and say, and say, and say, and say…), “connect the dots, people”.

The MNGOP will help you connect them.

Evidence of Dayton Administration’s Efforts To “Create Chaos” & “Greatest Possible Pain” During Shutdown

Spread the word.


As the Attorney General files to get the courts to determine what workers are “essential”…:

In her petition, Swanson asked the court to fund a broad expanse of state services and appoint a “special master” — essentially a shutdown referee, to sort the details.

…Governor Dayton goes back to his old dodge:

Dayton offered a different solution in his petition.

“Order the parties to mediate,” Dayton asked the court. He suggested former Supreme Court Chief Justice Kathleen Blatz or former Associate Justice James Gilbert to act as court-appointed mediators. Swanson had asked that Gilbert be appointed special master.

Only if mediation fails, Dayton’s brief said, should the court infringe “on the constitutional powers of the legislative and executive departments.”

For starters – ask any lawyer:   Mediation only works when both sides are entering into the discussion in good faith.  As Gary Gross, Janet Beihoffer and I have all shown this week,  Dayton is not.  He has been staging the shutdown from the word go.

(Leftybloggers will chime in around this point: “But the GOP was talking about a shutdown right after the election!”.  Yep.  Many of us expected that Dayton, facing an overwhelming legislative deficit with a real mandate, unlike his near-record weak plurality and feckless Legislative contingent, would head straight for the shutdown, and let his buddies in the DFL-allied media do the hard work for him – a prediction that is, as always, correct.  The GOP said “bring on the shutdown”; Dayton actively sought, planned for, and ensured it would happen).

Dayton, Liar

Mark Dayton, in a letter to state contractors, Governor Daytons…well, lies through his teeth:

Dayton Administration Distributes False Information

Dayton, of course, vetoed a perfectly fine balanced budget – several of them, in fact, many of them so close together that there can be no reason other than Dayton having planned for a shutdown at any cost if he didn’t get his way on his curious fixation on hiking taxes at all costs.

You Know Who You Are

You depend on government.

You are a government worker.  You’re looking at the budget negotiations, and noticing that at the Department of Transportation, even though the Governor and the Legislature were eight tenths of a percent apart on their budgets – something even the Hatfields could have negotiated with the McCoys – Dayton vetoed the Transportation budget.

Dayton is holding you hostage.

You depend on government.  You are a walking, talking country western song, only it’s just not funny; you’ve been laid off, your significant other bailed leaving you with three kids to feed and clothe and try to insure.  One of them has chronic, serious health problems – and in your current state, you have no choice but to try to get help from the state.  But Mark Dayton has opted to stop all payments via Health and Human Services to health-care providers during the shutdown – indeed, he has specifically engineered that result from the budget battle.

Governor Dayton is holding you hostage.

The Republicans offered a budget that, by any rational measure, is a useful compromise; a 6% raise.  Too much for conservatives, but certainly more than enough to run the government at a time when none of the rest of us are getting 6% raises.   If a solution was what he wanted – for your benefit, Mr State Worker, and you, Ms. State Insurance customer – he’d have signed the Legislature’s budget.

Governor Dayton, on the other hand, has offered a budget that is still a billion dollars from balanced; he’s lying about not taxing 98% of Minnesotans, and he wants to commit us to endless autopilot increases; the bureaucracy will ask for $40 Billion next biennium, $46 B the budget after that.

He cares not one iota about compromise.

He doesn’t care about your job.

He doesn’t care about your kid.

He cares about raising taxes, and no more.

To protect a tax hike, he is shutting the government down.

Which doesn’t harm most of us; the vast majority of GOP voters only notice the state government on payday, or when we see a Highway Patrol car out on the road.  We may or may not notice at all if the government shuts down.

But you will, Mr Employee and Ms. Client.

And it’s you he’s holding hostage.

It’s you he’s warning; “dont’ break ranks with the unions and your DFL, or this will hurt you baaaad”.

Dayton’s Smoking Guns – Gun #2

Yesterday, we discussed the email in the Department of Human Services that indicated that it’s common knowledge among higher ups in the DHS that Governor Dayton is actively promoting the government shutdown to cause all the misery it can, to try to turn it toward the Legislative majority.

But that’s just the beginning.

A highly-placed source with intimate knowledge of Minnesota’s public heath system contacted me over the weekend. (A similar source contacted Janet Beihoffer; she ran the email at Freedom Dogs).   My source an assortment of high-ranking officials in state public-health agencies and non-profits received the email last week from one Michael Scandrett, a lawyer with the firm of Halleland and Habicht, a term that works in health-care policy consulting.

Accoring to my source, Scandrett’s email said that – I’m paraphrasing, here, so feel free to read the whole thing over at the Dogs – Governor Dayton’s shutdown plan will involve terminating payments to health care providers working with all government programs, as of July 1.

Also according to my source, the email said that the intent of this action appears to be – my source quoted the email – “to create create the greatest possible pain and resulting pressure on the Legislature to resolve the dispute“.

In other words, the Governor is using the executive branch to ratchet up the pain of the shutdown on the state’s workers and those dependent on the state – his supporters – to feed his mania with raising taxes at all costs.

I’ll be seeking comment from Mr. Scandrett, as well as other top DHS officials on this email.

The upshot, though?  If you depend on the state of Minnesota – as an employee or as a client – Governor Dayton is holding you hostage.

Dayton’s Smoking Guns – Gun #1

This email – purportedly from a State Department of Human Services employee – surfaced over the weekend, and has been making the rounds of the conservative blogs in Minnesota:

Click to expand.

In other words, if the leak is accurate, Dayton has been inducing the government shutdown for the DFL’s political gain.  He’s sandbagged the budget process to try to beat on the GOP.

Dayton, if this checks out, is holding state goverment workers, schools, the U and our state university system, those that depend on government for health care, and the entire state government hostage…

…to pursue his curious mania for raising taxes on the not-very-“rich”, to try to whip up the forces of class envy to his, and his cronies’, benefit, and to defend a an unsustainable status quo.

And you know what else?

I think I may have happened upon an even bigger, more damning smoking gun.

Tomorrow morning at 7AM on Shot In The Dark.

Wanted: Horse Traders

Setting a single, no-haggle price was a great publicity point for the late, great Saturn marque of cars.

Of course, they are a late, great marque of cars.

I’m not sure if no-haggle pricing was the issue; GM’s bad management had a lot more to do with it.

But whatever no-haggle pricing had or had not to do with Saturn’s demise, it may have been a mistake in this past legislative session.

John “Shabbosgoy” Gilmore at Minnesota Conservatives would have preferred some smash-mouth haggling; I”m inclined to agree:

…[R]epublicans find themselves boxed into a budget corner of their own making. Having won both the House and Senate, the latter for the first time since the 1970’s, they should have been able to advance their core principles in a manner that consistently gave them the upper hand, despite the executive branch being controlled by the opposition. Instead, republicans find themselves on the defensive and playing a poor hand largely dealt to them by themselves.

The shortest analysis is that the republicans erred badly in sending only one “this is it we really mean it!” budget to the Governor and expecting him to roll over.

I’m also not a bit puzzled by the fact that the GOP jumped immediately to the “spend the available revenue/live within our means” budgets, expecting to put it out there and then hold on through the gale of union-and-Dayton-family-funded astroturf advertising and pro-DFL, biased media coverage.   The current proposal – the $34 billion budget that uses new revenue from the February forecast – would have been an acceptable ending point, the place the DFL would fall back to to compromise.

Even that truncated analysis, however, obscures other problems with the manner in which the republican majority has performed. For example, running uniformly on a platform of bringing down government spending while not increasing taxes, one might plausibly have expected them to produce a budget that actually cut spending. Not a budget that was signed into law by the Governor, mind you. No, one that actually required of the majority some intestinal fortitude and made cuts to the bloated mess that is Minnesota state government. The idea that there isn’t largess is laughable. The fact that the Minnesota government is the state’s single largest employer is shameful.

We need more freshmen in the GOP caucus.


There are some in Minnesota – think the Independence Party and the wonky class who love tinkering with the machinery of government (pardon the redundancy) who believe in “compromise” because to them, the process of goverment is the goal of government.  Principle be damned – Process is the golden idol.

There are others in Minnesota who believe that compromise is just what parties in Minnesota tradtionally do. It’s BS, of course.  The traditional Minnesota political “compromise” involves seettling on some version of DFL/”progressive” policy or another.

And there are others who pimp for compromise because otherwise, they lose.

But they all have one thing in common; anyone who says the MNGOP hasn’t compromisedon the budget…

Comparison Budget Offers In General Spending

…is lying.

Or – let’s be charitable – parroting DFL chanting points.

Not that compromise with the DFL is in and of itself a good thing, much less a worthy goal.  But facts are facts.

The Incredible Shrinking Governor: Through The Years

Let’s go back in time:

2005: Confronted with a nonspecific threat of terrorism, then-Senator Mark Dayton shuts down his Senate office in DC, leaving the job of doing the nation’s business to the 534 other Congresspeople who, for whatever reason, didn’t.

His idea of leadership – to lead the run away from doing his job.

2011: Confronted by a GOP majority that outpolled him in the 2010 elections, and propped up only by a series of meaningless, potemkin polls, Governor Dayton does…

…well, more or less the same thing, asking for a “mediator” to work toward a compromise give him political cover for the fact that he holds absolutely no cards.

Remember – he’s been calling the GOP “obstructionist” (I’ve added emphasis):

At a press conference, Dayton said he has asked key cabinet members not to appear before the Legislative Commission on Planning and Fiscal Policy. The joint legislative panel is scheduled to meet at 2 p.m. today to seek details on the governor’s latest budget proposal.

Dayton said his administration was not given adequate notice of the meeting, and would not participate. He said there is no point in discussing the details of a budget agreement until Republicans agree to compromise on some kind of revenue increase to help balance the budget.

“We’re not at the beck and call of the Legislature. They’re not in session. They had their five months,” he said.

They had five months dealing with a Governor whose only concept of “compromise” is “I get everything I asked for even though I’m in the weaker position”.

By the way – ask your lawyer (or any lawyer) about the wisdom of “getting a mediator” when your opponent is dealing in bad faith.  There is none.

And fortunately, at least this time the MNGOP knows it.