Trulbert! Part IX – Freedom

 - 9AM, October 24, 2015 – Second Federal Bank, Minnepolis, MN

Paul Hendrickson walked out of the bank feeling half his weight.  His little house in South Minneapolis was all his.

It’d been a matter of timing.  With the collapse of the Dollar, Second Federal’s stock in trade was suddenly worthless.  And whatever economy had sprung up in the Twin Cities in the previous seven weeks had largely bypassed banks – at least, traditional ones, like Second Federal.

More complicated still? 

Continue reading

Yet Another Reason To Loathe Tim Walz, Tim Nolan And Betty McCollum

HR 1962 is a proposal for a press shield law. 

The beef of the bill says that…

In any matter arising under Federal law, a Federal entity may not compel a covered person to provide testimony or produce any document related to information obtained or created by such covered person as part of engaging in journalism, unless a court determines by a preponderance of the evidence, after providing notice and an opportunity to be heard to such covered person…

…is closely involved in an imminent crime or act of terrorism.

OK, so far so good. 

Except that the bill serves only to protect the mainstream media – the ones that largely kiss Democrat ass:

The term covered person means a person who, for financial gain or livelihood, is engaged in journalism and includes a supervisor, employer, parent, subsidiary, or affiliate of such covered person.

In other words, institutional media – and, likely, the institutionally-paid alt-media that have been Walz and Nolan’s BFFs, ermuhgerd, I’m writing like Sally Jo Sorenson, oh noes – are covered.

All the rest of us – the ones that actually try to hold government accountable?  We’re on our own. 

Why do representatives Walz, Nolan and McCollum hate freedom of the (non-Democrat-aligned) press?

I’m Trying. I Really Am.

To be a nicer, more civil person.  I truly am.

Here’s the deal.  I left the Libertarian Party in 1998 largely over the LP’s complete illiteracy on foreign policy and defense.

Now, many “Libertarians” are drawn to the belief, and the party, by the reductionistic magical thinking that all of the world’s questions break down into binary, black-or-white answers.  The right answer to everything lies in unbending, unyielding adherence to “principles”, any deviance from which for any reason is an unforgiveable impurity.

Which is a fine and dandy thing, if your “principles” are so well-thought-out as to account for all of the myriad gray areas life, human nature and history throw into one’s path.  For example, the idea that some “libertarians” have that one is either an isolationist peacenik…or a “warmonger”, with nothing in between.  Too stupid to mock.

Anyway.

What I’m trying to do is figure out a way to write “if everything you know about history and foreign policy is stuff you read from the inside of Ron Paul’s anterior colon, you probably are not going to be a partner in a serious debate”.

And I got nothing.

I’m open to suggestions.

The “Fact-Check” I’ll Wait Patiently For MPR’s “Poligraph” Feature To Get Around To Doing, Part II

The Claim:  Every weekend for the past forty years, Garrison Keillor has closed his “News from Lake Wobegone” segment by claiming all the men are strong, all the women are good-looking, and all the children are above-average”.

But we wanted to know – is it true? 

The Evidence: In Keillor’s favor, we note that not only is his claim – like Jeff Johnson’s statement that Governor Dayton is “in trouble” – subjective, but it is in fact dramatic license, a tag line to a series of fictional essays. 

However, the winner of the 2014 World’s Strongest Man competition is Žydrūnas Savickas, of Lithuania. 

The world’s foremost empirical test of female beauty is the Miss Universe pageant – and the most recent winner, in 2013, was María Gabriela de Jesús Isler Morales of Venezuela. 

And since Minnesota stopped requiring graduation testing in 2013, it’s impossible to empirically say what “average” is, or whether Lake Wobegone’s children – fictional though they may be – are above it.

The Verdict – So since neither the world’s strongest man nor most beautiful woman resides in Lake Wobegone, and there is no means to measure the children, we give this claim a rating of “Misleading”.

Comparing Butchers Bills

In five months of testing an operation, the “green line” has racked up five train versus auto accidents, one injured pedestrian

… And now, a fatality - a woman wearing headphones apparently walked in front of a train near the U of M. 

For comparison sake, light rail has been operating in the Twin Cities (counting the “blue line”) for about 10 years, now – almost as long as we’ve had uninterrupted handgun carry permitting.

The butchers bill for trains? It’s now up to six dead – and the “Green Line” is just getting started. In that time we’ve had one carry permittee involved in an unjustifiable homicide – and the killing itself had nothing to do with her permit.

If we can save just one life…

Of Warriors And Pals

Throughout history, the art and craft of war – of using violence in the interest of one’s family, village, clan, tribe, city-state, state, barony, duchy, kingdom or country, has taken one of three, sometimes-interleaving paths.

In some states – mostly smaller ones with little demographic freeboard for such things as specialized militaries, but also nations ranging from Athens, Switzerland, Israel and, in theory and through about 1900 practice in the United States – “defense” was considered part of the freight, along with taxation and jury duty, of belonging to society.  The theory was that the citizen militia, fighting to defend home and hearth, would prevail over any invaders – and shouldn’t be called upon to invade.

Yep, they’re Americans. A Philadelphia “Zouave” regiment, patterned after French North African troops that were all the rage in 1861, musters at the beginning of the Civil War, in the American style – muster locally, and then serve the federal government.

In still others – from many a feudal fiefdom through Napoleon’s legions through war machines as diverse as the USA and USSR in World War 2 – the common non-warrior, be he a knave, serf, peasant or citizen – could be expected to  be impressed into some form of service as some degree of cannon-fodder or another when the duke, king or Country needed cannon-fodder, on the theory that the citizen/fyrd/serf owes some form of service, up to and including their life, to the state, and the additional theory that having as many people under arms as possible was the best way to ensure victory.

A cartoon lampooning Napoleon’s conscript military. Bonaparte introduced mass conscription, teaching his peasant soldiers the bare rudiments in a tactical doctrine that emphasized speed and brute force, and so conquering most of Europe.

Finally – in some states that developed enough size and wealth to support the specialization, and the philosophy that war was best fought by the professionals, came the idea of the professional caste of warrior elites.   These elites stated in legendary antiquity – the Spartan soldier and the Roman Legionary were both long-service elites – and carries forth in the idea of the “volunteer military” that the US, UK and most NATO countries have adopted since the end of the Vietnam and Cold Wars.  In between the two extremes, the “armies” of most European monarchies were, to one degree or another, long-serving professional military elites (fear of the repressive power of which led the United States to adopt the “citizen militia” noted above, at least in its early years).

A French infantryman, 1914. By the end of the year, the red was gone – but the blue remained, on the theory that it was a difficult color to see in action. Maybe it worked, maybe it didn’t; the French army retained “horizon bleu” as its standard battledress color until 1940.

The three systems – especially the mass levy and professional military systems – have collided many times over the centuries.  But it was 100 years ago this past week that they collided in a way that is still shaking the respective societies involved to this day.

The Industrial Disease:  As Europe slid into world war 100 years ago this summer, the Continental powers – in whom the memory of Napoleon was still vivid and only 100 years in the past, and the two largest of which (France and Germany) had fought a mass, industrial war in the living memory of its political class (the Franco-Prussian war of 1871) – had all adopted large, mass armies; French, Austrian and German youth (outside the university class) were inducted for military training and decades of service in the reserves; each nation at the beginning of World War I could mobilize massive armies of reservists; 1.5 million Frenchmen were in uniform when the war kicked off; there were more Germans still.  The Russian military was larger still, formed from long-service conscripts (an institution dreaded by the peasantry of the day).

German cavalry on a training exercise, 1912.

The Warriors:  Against them, the British Army was a relatively tiny force of seven divisions each of about 15,000 men.  With cavalry and support troops, the British Expeditionary Force numbered less than 175,000 men.

BEF troops, lining up for inspection as they land in France, 100 years ago last July

The British Army of 1914 reflected centuries of British hesitancy over large militaries – Parliament still smelled the gunsmoke from the War of the Roses – and more centuries of colonial practice.  Britain’s empire was built as much through diplomatic craft, technology and exploitation of human nature as through raw force of arms.  It defeated Napoleon as much through its domination of the seas and the enlistment of continental allies as by British infantry’s guts and skill at Waterloo.  It conquered India and much of the rest of the world as much by playing coalitions of lesser tribes against larger tribes, neutralizing each other and providing loyal allies to assist the tiny numbers of British troops in maintaining control of places like India, South Africa and, for a time, the United States.  When open battle was joined, British technology – the breech-loading rifle and Gatling Gun against the Zulus, the steam frigate against the Algerian pirates – frequently multiplied the meager British forces.

The Few, The Proud:  Beyond that?  British units had something that’s foreign to most Americans, outside of those who follow the US Marines.

British infantry and cavalry, on enlisting in the military, would join a (usually) local “regiment” – which in the case of the infantry was less a fighting unit than a training depot and a repository of traditions and customs set off, usually, by some distinctive flashes in the unit uniform.  A  young man joining the infantry in the lowlands east of Glasgow, for example, would join the “Black Watch (42nd Infantry)”, a Scots regiment with several hundred years of history, dozens of battle honors, and a mythology every bit as long and exemplary as that of the US Marine Corps…

…and for exactly the same reason; to imbue in those soldiers an esprit de corps based on a standard of skill and behavior that would guide and inspire them in action.

The Royal Munster Fusiliers. The regiment was recruited in what is now the Irish Republic, and after WWI the unit became part of the Army of the Irish Republic – although the Irish disbanded the regiment by 1920. The Munster Fusiliers were heroes at the the Marne, and were reduced to a shadow of their former strength at Ypres and the Somme.

And just as it does with the USMC, it did (and to this day does) the same for the British soldier.

And at no time was that esprit de corps more firmly entrenched than with the British Army in 1914.

The Army was tiny by later standards – but every man among them was a volunteer, a long-service “regular” (backed by a “Territorial Army” of part-time soldiers that was a bit like our modern Army Reserve) who took immense pride in his skill at arms.

The Scots Guards leaving the Tower of London en route to France

 

And in none of those units did the Corps have more De Esprit than the Guards Regiments.  These men were screened not only for physical aptitude as infantrymen, but were all over six feet tall (so as to make the most imposing appearance on guard duty) and other martial virtues.  And in a day and age when ammunition was dirt cheap, they spent time on the rifle range that would dazzle even modern American soldiers, honing their marksmanship to a sheen not seen in any mass military before or since.

100 years ago last week, the cream of the Army – the BEF – had been held as a reserve as the French and German armies duked it out across Belgium and northern France, waiting for the situation to develop as the two belligerents met on August 22 in the Battle of the Frontier, the bloodiest single day of the war (yes, bloodier than any single day at the Somme, Verdun or Ypres).  The Frontiers battle ended in the French Army being stretched to breaking point (and the Belgians beyond theirs), with the Germans closing in in Paris.  And so the high command committed the BEF to the line at the First Battle of Mons.

BEF machine gunners at the Oise River, in the opening weeks of the war.

And at Mons the mass German force ran – over open terrain, toward shallow foxholes and ditches dug by the Brits – smack into all of that highly-trained rifle fire.  The British regulars scourged the German attacks, brutalizing them with rapid, accurate rifle fire so heavy that the German infantry thought they faced massed machine guns.  Far from it – the British issued two machine guns per battalion of 700 men, in the first year of the war.  It was British “tommies”, their skill with their bolt-action Lee Enfields such that they could work the bolts on their well-worn pieces with their thumbs without taking their fingers from their triggers, achieving rates of fire almost equal to the semi-automatic rifles the British infantryman wouldn’t get until the late 1950s, and accuracy that’d make a Navy SEAL cock an eyebrow from respect.

And the German Army – the mass of over a million draftees, recalled from the farms and factories and given rifles – battered itself half to death against the BEF’s line.  It was a scene of carnage that may have partially inspired Tolkein’s depiction of Elf fighting Orc at Helm’s Deep…

…including in its denouement.   Mons led to the First Battle of the Marne, the German high-water mark.  Then Le Cateau, and the Battle of the Aisne, where for the first time the side started digging trenches.  And then the First Battle of Ypres, in Belgium.  All between the third week of August and the beginning of October.

British and Belgian “walking wounded” at Mons.

And the constant attacks, and endless fighting, wore the BEF, perhaps the most elite mass army ever sent to war, down to a shadow of its former self.

The British Army had to resort to casting ever-wider nets for volunteers – eventually recruiting the “New Model Army” in time for the Somme in 1916, by which time the last of the veterans of the BEF were salted away as senior NCOs, a thin film of survivors leading a mass army of newbies and, after the bloodbath of the Somme and Second Ypres, the unthinkable; draftees.

It was the wearing down of the elite of the BEF that led, eventually, to the draft – an immense leap forward in government power over the individual that, in many ways, opened the way (in Britain as it would in the US) for further government intervention in the life of the individual even as the Great War was eating away at the barriers between the public and private sectors in the UK.

And 25 years later, when British troops went to war again, they jumped immediately to the draft, and to the mass levies that characterized, for the first time in human history, modern industrial warfare.

Just as would the US.

And You May Ask Yourself – Whose NARN Is This?

Today, the Northern Alliance Radio Network – America’s first grass-roots talk radio show – finishes our annual engagement at the Minnesota State Fair!

I will be on from 1-3PM today, live from the Minnesota State Fair!

I’ll be talking with:

  • MNGOP chair Keith Downey
  • GOP-endorsed Secretary of State candidate Dan Severson and State Auditor candidate Randy Gilbert.
  • Sharna Wahlgren, GOP candidate for US House in the Fourth Congressional District!.
  • Twila Brase!

Don’t forget – King Banaian is on from 9-11AM on AM1570, and Brad Carlson has “The Closer” edition of the NARN Sundays from 1-3PM.

So tune in the Northern Alliance! You have so many options:

Join us!

Chanting Points Memo: The Dayton Economy Just Keeps Getting Better And Better!

Just keep repeating it to yourself, DFLers; the Dayton economy is awesome!

The Dayton economy is awesome!

The Dayton economy is awesome!

Housing starts are off 15 percent in August (the full story appeared on MPR last night – but naturally isn’t available online today):

Confidence in the local homebuilding market took a hit in August, as permits for new single-family houses declined 15 percent from a year ago and permits for new multifamily units were down 78 percent. 

And the price of farm land – one of the key indicators and drivers of the farm economy – is slipping in Minnesota.  But hey, at least they’ll be getting taxed more for it…

 

Return To Mockery

It’s been a while since we’ve heard from Heather Martens.  She got swept away from the spotlight by the wave of Michael Bloomberg money that came into the state this past legislative session, enriched a bunch of lobbyists…

…accomlished bupkes, and swept on, leaving Heather.  Until the next session starts.

I digress.  She was out of the spotlight most of this past session, but during the off-season, she’s still keeping busy.

She sent out this email blast earlier in the week, to try to gin up attendance at a rally yesterday morning:

Dear [redacted],

It’s been a difficult few weeks, watching the events in Ferguson, Missouri. The killing of Michael Brown, the unarmed teenager who was remembered Monday at a funeral service, and the protests that followed, have rightly raised many questions for all of us.

The reality is that the tensions in Ferguson are the same ones that people of color experience daily here in Minnesota. These tensions are symptoms of deep, unresolved issues around race in America. The gun industry and its lobbyists have long exploited America’s issues around race to divide us and block meaningful gun violence prevention.

[Scraaaaaaaaaaatch]

Wait a moment.

Did you catch that?

Chew on that ’til we get to the bottom of the post.

But we can be part of changing that.

Tomorrow (Thursday), a large rally is being planned in Minneapolis,

(A “large rally” may have been “planned”, but it certainly never took place.  The local media used to dutifully troop to Heather Martens rallies with a half a dozen attendees; a search today doesn’t show any coverage of a gun-grabber rally yesterday.  I digress)

…as over a thousand Minnesotans are expected to speak out for Michael Brown and other victims of police violence. Whether you want to rally, register voters, or invite your friends into the gun violence prevention movement, there is something you can do tomorrow to help Minnesota face these serious issues and redouble our efforts to stop gun violence:

1) You can go to the rally Thursday, Aug. 28 at 6 p.m. at the Hennepin County Government Center, 300 S. Sixth Street, Minneapolis.  [But you probably didn't - Ed.]

2) You can encourage voting bla bla bla.

3) You can invite your friends to be part of a broad-based, inclusive bla bla bla.

Do what makes sense for you – and know that you can be a bla bla bla.

Thank you for all you do,

Heather Martens
Executive Director
Protect Minnesota: Working to End Gun Violence

So let’s go over this one more time:

Gun controllers believe only the cops should have guns.

A cop shoots Michael Ferguson.

Heather Martens lumps this, and other police shootings, in with “gun violence?”

If she isn’t lumping in ISIS and HAMAS casualties by the time the session starts, I’ll be amazed.

The “Fact-Check” I’ll Wait Patiently For MPR’s “Poligraph” Feature To Get Around To Doing

That a man’s reach exceed his grasp, etc, etc.

“The Alliance for a Better Minnesota – which, as most MPR listeners are unaware, is essentially a political PR firm funded by wealthy Democrats, government employee unions, and Governor Dayton’s ex-wife Alita Messinger, has been running a well-funded advertising and social-media campaign for the past few electoral cycles labeling their Republican opposition, jointly and severally, as “Wrong for Minnesota”

“What does this mean?  And is the claim accurate?”

“The Evidence:  While one can expect any politician and their supporters to reflexively label their opposition as “wrong” – moreso in today’s polarized climate than ever – the terms “right” and “wrong” are themselves terms with deeply subjective meanings.  The meanings of the terms are, in fact, more tied to philosophy than politics”

“Poligraph consulted leading philosophers from all major worldviews – from structuralists to neo-Dadaists, and even a few with tendencies toward nihilism – and while there was no agreement on an absolute definition of “right” or “wrong”, much less one applicable to Minnesota, and Minnesota politics specifically, the general consensus was that the term “wrong” is intrinsically tied to the perception of both the “speaker” and the “listener” or consumer of the statement.”

“However, ‘the idea that one speaker could judge something ‘wrong’ for an entire state of 5.5 million independent agents, just on their say-so, is just plain bizarre”, according to a consensus statement signed by every single philosopher we consulted.”

“The Verdict:  The Alliance for a Better Minnesota’s claim that any individual politician is “Wrong for Minnesota” is Misleading. ”

“It’s also deeply pretentious, illogical, philosophically vacant, and to some points of view just a little bit morally repugnant.” 

 

 

Future History, Part III

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails the third installment of his future history series, entitled “Future History”:

May 2015 President Sessions claims illegal aliens living off-book “in the shadows” create a habitat where domestic terrorists could hide and plot, declares national security requires all illegal aliens be held in detention centers until they are no longer a threat, cites President Obama’s refusal to close Gitmo as precedent. Thousands of La Raza supporters marching in demonstration arrested, transported to federal detention center in Arizona desert half a mile from Mexican border. Sheriff Joe Arpaio appointed Director. Baloney sales soar. Meat packing plants raise wages to attract Americans to do the jobs illegal aliens no longer do. Unemployment rate lowest in recorded history as illegals self-deport rather than face arrest and detention.

June 2015 Thousands of illegal aliens “escape” from Arizona detention center when gates inadvertently left open, flee to Mexico following well-marked trail thoughtfully stocked with Fanta soda. President Sessions closes detention center, thanks staff, “Heckuva job, Joey.”

July 2015 Minn. Stat. 290.06, Subd. 23, allows Minnesotans who contributed to a political campaign to seek reimbursement from the state by filing Form PCR with the Department of Revenue. The name and address of every person who sought a refund for contributing to Democrats appeared on the Department of Revenue website for a period of 24 hours, during which time several hundred copies of the list were downloaded, distributed and names of major donors pasted on bus shelters. Revenue Commissioner claimed department computers had been hacked. Democrat heavy donors reported dead fish wrapped in Star Tribune newspapers left on hoods of Volvos. Democrat party officials reported donations sharply reduced.

August 2015 European nations protest US border policies as hateful and racist. President Sessions orders all US troops in Europe to abandon equipment in place and return to the continental United States by sundown. Cites President Obama’s withdrawal from Iraq as precedent. Copies all European heads of state on email sent to Russian President Putin saying “The keys are under the mat.”

continuing . . . .

MPR: Everything Is Juuuuust Fine

Mark Twain once observed that there are three types of media “fact-check” efforts:  Democrat PR puff-pieces, Bald-Faced Democrat PR puff-pieces, and legit ones.

A good fact-checker will note that Twain said no such thing.  My first paragraph was really a bit of hyperbole.

As such, it wasn’t intended to be a “factual” statement, per se, as one intended to express a subjective opinion and win people over to my side of an argument (or at least mock those who oppose me).  It’s a form of rhetoric; using language to try to persuade and convince. 

So while it’s not strictly “factual”, it is two things:

  1. It makes what I believe to be a legitimate point; from the smugly left-centric “Politifact” all the way down to most local efforts, the “Fact-Check” industry is for the most part intended to aid Democrats.  My statement isn’t intended to be a “fact” so much as a rhetorical device to open my case to the reader. 
  2. It sets off my personal opinion (based on years of reading and studying media fact-check organizations) that they are in the bag for Big Left. 

Hyperbole is but one tool the rhetorician uses to state his case.

OK.  I have a question:  Of the three choices I gave in the first graf, what is the latest edition of MPR’s “Poligraph” – a DFL PR Effort, a Bald-Faced PR effort, or legit? 

Read reporter Catherine Richert’s latest effort, and you be the judge.

Continue reading

Jeffersonianism By Omission

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

The US has become so impotent in the Middle East that Egypt and United Arab Emirates have stepped up to fight Muslim terrorists, without bothering to mention it to us. The Obama Administration was taken by surprise.

This might be a good thing, in the long run. Washington and Jefferson warned against entangling alliances. Classical Liberals argue it’s not the federal government’s job to be the world’s policeman; we should let other nations sort out their own problems.

President Obama might end up implementing the most libertarian foreign policy since the founding.

Or he might be a clean, bright, good-looking, articulate Black man who has been promoted above his level of competence.

Hard to say at this point what his legacy will be.

Joe Doakes

It is indeed.

But I have a hunch both Jimmy Carter and the Neville Chamberlain estates are deeply thankful for it.

The larger point?  Obama may do for our foreign policy what his economic policy will inevitably do for the economy at this rate; bring them back to their Jeffersonian origins through the sheer unsustainability of their Obamian reality.

Pondering The Imponderable

I was at a comedy club a few weeks back.

A very angry – and not especially funny, while we’re on the subject – woman who, I kid you not, identified herself as having been a political science major, told a joke (I’ll be generous) about “science”.  She ended with something like “That’s called ‘science’.  Take that, creationists!”

But it started me thinking about the contempt that the left feels for creationists. 

Now, I’m not one of them – if you read the biblical creation story as allegory, there is no conflict between the Bible and the record that is captured in the physical science of the world around us. 

And I wanted to stand up and ask the “comedian” something.

“So if we have to choose between…

Someone who believes the Earth is 6,000 years old, and lives their life accordingly – whatever that means?  A belief for which there may be little empirical basis, and even less empirical impact outside the faith community?  Or…

Someone who believes that:

  • raising taxes during a recession helps the economy,
  • banning firearms for the law-abiding lowers violent crime
  • jacking up regulation on market economies will stop the climate from changing like it’s been doing for between 6,000 and 20,000,000,000 years
  • Unionizing daycare providers will alleviate the scarcity of daycare
  • Raising the minimum wage will alleviate poverty
  • Pouring a bottomless bucket of money into Public Education will ever give us a better-educated populace
  • Mandating increased healthcare services without increasing the supply of caregivers won’t raise the price of healthcare
  • “Racism” is harming black Americans more than the Public Education system, a toxic “urban culture”, fatherless families and voting for Democrats who want to keep them that way are
  • Giving terrorists a “save the date” card for leaving one of their homelands isn’t going to result in an epic surge of bloodshed
  • “Anti-Poverty” programs have alleviated poverty over the past fifty years
  • Barack Obama deserved that Nobel Peace Prize,

…which does more actual harm to the world?”

It wouldn’t have made a great “heckle”, unfortunately.

A Fool And Her Money

A friend of this blog emailed with a little blast from the past:

I read this FB post today:

“Money is incredibly tight right now but on the way home from working a double after 12 shifts straight I swung by the co-op because the kid has got to eat. After glancing over the $80 receipt from the 2 small bags of groceries I bought I see that I spent $12 on those 4 apples. WTF??? How is that even sane? Why is nonpoisonous food set to be available only for the elite? I will definitely be keeping a far closer eye on what I pick up at the Wedge. I’m still behind on my own rent and I had no intention of contributing to that yuppie store’s pretentious remodel. Pissed.”

from

https://www.facebook.com/[Redacted]

She spends $12 buying 4 apples at the CoOp and then pisses and moans because she’s broke.

Lynette Foxen was one of the faces/voices in this commercial from 2010

Minnesotans Respond to Tom Emmer’s Plan to Cut Wages

That’s why we have Aldi, ma’am.  It was good enough for me and my two kids when i was scraping for change under bus seats; it’s good enough for you.

Future History, Part II

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails the second installment of his future history series:

March 2014 President Sessions notifies United Nations of US withdrawal. Secretary of State warns diplomatic credentials will be canceled. New York City Police seek 11,000 arrest warrants for unpaid parking tickets. Airlines jammed with overseas bookings.
President Sessions orders Secretary of Interior Sally Jewell to issue permits for oil drilling on leased federal lands within a week. Week passes. President Sessions fires Secretary Jewell, nominates oilman David Koch, Republican Senate confirms on 51-member vote citing Harry Reid “nuclear option” precedent, permits issued, drilling rush and land boom ensues.

President Sessions announces US troops will no longer act as World Policeman for free. Proposes $1 billion daily “security fee” for Saudi Arabia saying “That’s a nice country you have there, Your Majesty, be a shame if anything happened to it.” Sliding fee scale suggested for other US protectorates.

April 2014 Customs agents seize all newsprint owned by New York Times and Washington Post claiming the wood pulp may contain rosewood protected under the laws of other nations, cite Gibson Guitar case as precedent.

Democrat members of Wisconsin legislature chain doors to prevent Republicans from entering. Republicans chain doors to prevent Democrats from leaving. Governor deploys state police “to keep the peace by maintaining status quo” won’t let anyone in or out, disconnects land lines, turns off electricity and water, cell phone signals blocked. 10 days later, stench from inside moves police line back 10 more yards.

Continuing . . .

Twenty Years Ago On The East Side

Hard to believe it’s been twenty years since Guy Harvey Baker – a Gulf War Marine veteran with, clearly, mental illness issues – killed officers Ron Ryan, Tim Jones, and a police dog named Laser

The PiPress has a fairly good retrospective of the events – with one crucial omission:   

Ryan, 26, was checking on a man — Guy Harvey Baker — who was sleeping in a car in a parking lot at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in the Dayton’s Bluff neighborhood about 7 a.

He picked up a .38-caliber revolver from his lap and shot Ryan.

Scores of officers joined the search for Ryan’s killer. Jones had the day off, but he came in to help.

Laser picked up Baker’s trail about 10 a.m. on Conway Street, not far from Johnson Parkway.

Mara Gottfried’s story is excellent.  But she leaves out how the police actually found Baker’s “trail” on Conway later that morning – and, in a way, the story of a man who is both the story’s unsung hero and third (human) victim.

Lyle Granlund - 48 years old, at the time – was having breakfast with his kids on the upper level of a three-plex he owned across from the parking lot.  One of his sons yelled that there’d been a shooting.  Granlund grabbed a handgun and loaded three rounds – all he could grab at the moment – and went to his window.  He saw officer Ryan on the ground, and saw Baker driving toward another woman, standing in the doorway of a nearby apartment building, apparently getting ready to rub out the only known witness to the shooting. 

Granlund - an expert marksman – pondered taking out Baker.  But he held up, worried that the Ramsey County attorney, the infamously anti-gun Tom Foley, would prosecute him.  So he opted to fire two shots through Baker’s back window, shattering it and leaving the rounds (intentionally) in Baker’s dashboard, to hopefully scare Baker off and mark the car for the police.  He saved his third round, in case Baker decided to come for him.  But no – Baker accelerated away from the scene of the Ryan shooting…

…and it was by the shattered window that the SPPD found Baker’s trail, a couple hours later, nearby on Conway Street.

I interviewed Granlund later that year, for the old Gun Owners Action League (a predecessor of GOCRA) newsletter.  Granlund told me that while the SPPD remained officially mum about his contribution to that day’s search, more than one senior Saint Paul cop had come to his door in the following days, paying their respects to his effort to save their fellow officer.  A lieutenant left him his SPPD tie pin – a gesture that Granlund, in our interview, still found deeply touching.

I wrote about Granlund again, almost ten years ago, in a piece that includes a lot of useful background and  a link to a now-disappeared column by Ruben Rosario. 

 Granlund was right, of course; Foley did try to prosecute him.  Their attempt to get him for “reckless discharge” foundered when the police lab found Granlund’s two rounds exactly where he said they’d be in Baker’s car.  The Ramsey County Attorney’s office dropped its  attempt to prosecute Granlund only when the SPPD told Foley he’d get no cooperation from the police.  Someone listing himself as a retired SPPD cop tells the story in this thread

Oh yeah – and Granlund was denied a Minnesota carry permit; the SPPD that (quietly) regarded him as a hero also didn’t think he had any reason to need one. 

Gottfried picks up the story from 20 years ago today.

Baker heard the dog whining outside a fish house where he was hiding, saw Jones through the window and, through the side of the shack, shot the 36-year-old officer with the gun had stolen from Ryan. When Laser bit his leg, he shot the dog, too.

No prosecutor will ever issue an indictment, and no jury will ever hear the case – but in a very real if indirect way, Officer Jones was killed by official gun-control hysteria. 

The tragedy didn’t end that day.  When I spoke with Granlund, probably in September or October, he was clearly upset that he’d not been able to save Jones by killing Baker.  It went much deeper than that; Granlund spent the next ten years depressed about the episode.  He died in 2004 of a heart attack, at age 58, and is buried in the same cemetery as Officer Ryan. 

The lesson?  Let nobody tell you that an armed citizen can’t do immense good; one, and God only knows how many more, people are alive today because of Granlund’s action. 

And let no weasel government official get away with terrorizing the law-abiding citizen without a fight – preferably ending with a prosecutor sent to the unemployment line at the polls.

The families of the slain officers are the main focus of Gottfried’s story, of course.  I’ll urge prayers – or whatever your worldview does – for the families on what has to be a miserable anniversary.

The Skewed Market

Childcare is hard to find in Minnesota – a state where daycare costs are already among the highest in the nation, per-capita.

And it’s even harder in Greater Minnesota.

Eight months before her due date, Angie Steinbach started calling day cares to reserve a spot for her baby.

Nobody had an opening as far as Marshall or Willmar — both a 45-minute drive away. Steinbach got on waiting lists “behind people who hadn’t even conceived yet,” she said.

When Steinbach’s boy was born, her husband — who had just earned a degree in computers — planned to stay home with their son. The couple didn’t find a way for them both to work until a relative tipped them to an opening at a child care in Granite Falls.

“You just don’t realize until you actually experience it firsthand just how bad the shortage is,” said Steinbach, community development director for the city of Montevideo.

Large parts of rural Minnesota don’t have enough child care for working families. Finding a place for newborns is especially difficult.

The piece does a fairly useful job of citing the economic problems that the shortage is causing.

What it doesn’t do is explain how the DFL’s strategy of raising the cost and crimping the supply of childcare with its daycare union jamdown is going to help anything.

Garbo

It was a solemn march to the Hôtel Meurice in Paris for German General Dietrich von Choltitz on August 25, 1944.  The German Army in Normandy had been smashed.  The encircled Falasie pocket, containing 50,000 German troops – the last of the men who had defended Normandy – had given up.  American General George S. Patton’s Third Army was running wild through the disoriented German lines.

As for Paris, the Meurice had become, just hours before, the advance headquarters of Free French General Philippe François Marie Leclerc de Hauteclocque, better known simply as Leclerc – de Gaulle’s de facto right-hand man.  Despite explicit orders from the Führer himself to destroy Paris, von Choltitz chose instead to surrender the city without a fight (whether this was out of a desire of self-preservation or the preservation of Paris became the subject of great debate after the war).

The City of Lights was back in the hands of Allied forces.  While history credited so many famous names with Paris’ eventual liberation, perhaps the greatest credit is due to a man few would ever know - Juan Pujol Garcia, better known as the double-agent “Garbo.”

Juan Pujol Garcia – his intelligence work as the double-agent “Garbo” convinced the Axis that the Normandy invasion would come at the Pas de Calais – so much so that the Germans never truly left their positions

Continue reading

Attention, Minimum Wage Activists

The free market is providing small business with all sorts of alternatives to “being forced to pay more for something” – in this case, minimum marketable skill – “than they would normally pay”.  In this case, a coffee shop that operates entirely on the honor system

Would it work in, say, Minneapolis?  Of course not.

But could the idea put some people out of work – people who haven’t yet developed a skill worth $8-9 an hour – in places like Watertown?  Mazeppa?  Albert Lea?

Say “Thanks, Uncle Ryan Winkler!”

Their Master’s Voice

The latest poll numbers must be scaring the DFL; the Strib has officially switched into full-time shill mode.

In a paper full of “reporters” whose prime directive seems to be “fawn on the DFL”, Ricardo Lopez seems to be aiming for Columnist’s Row with yesterday’s paeon to the wonders of the Minnesota economy:

With business on the upswing and a state unemployment rate that’s among the lowest in the nation, Republicans lack a key issue voters often gravitate to during election season.

Four years ago, when the unemployment rate topped 7 percent and the state faced a projected $6.2 billion deficit, then-gubernatorial candidates Republican Tom Emmer and DFLer Mark Dayton presented voters with starkly different plans to stem the hemorrhaging of jobs and balance the state budget.

Since Dayton took office, the economic picture has brightened considerably. Minnesota employers have added more than 150,000 jobs, helping the state recover all the jobs lost during the recession. The real estate market has rebounded, and state finances are also strong. The most recent report available showed a projected state budget surplus of more than $1.2 billion, generated in part by the higher tax rates Dayton pushed through in 2013.

“There’s no question it would be easier for me as a challenger if everything appeared to be in shambles, that’s clear. But it’s not.” said Jeff Johnson, the Republican nominee hoping to unseat Dayton this fall. “I actually rise to that challenge of sharing a message that aspires to something much better than we have right now.”

Except that as we’ve pointed out, the economy is only “good” when you cherrypick the numbers pretty carefully

  • State Revenues are falling shorter and shorter of forecasts every month.  The deficit – which the GOP Legislature, not Governor Dayton, erased – is going to be back by the end of the current budget cycle. 
  • Underworked:  While the state unemployment rate looks good at 4.5%, the share of working Minnesotans that are underemployed is shockingly high - well behind not only both Dakotas, but Iowa as well – and wage growth has stalled (while government spending has not). 

But it’s the cherrypicking, not checking and balancing, that the people of Minnesota are going to get from the media. 

Expect a “Minnesota Poll” showing Dayton 80 points ahead sometime soon, here. 

 

Future History

Joe Doakes from Como Park has apparently caught the same “history, past and future” bug that has infected the rest of the shot in the dark staff:

In the spirit of 1984, I’m considering writing a novel about the horrible future that could come to pass if just a couple of things go wrong . . . .
November 2014 Republicans retake the Senate, Jeff Sessions (R-Ala) elected Speaker Pro Tem in recognition of anti-immigrant stance

December 2014 Barack Obama struck in head by stray golf ball at Martha’s Vineyard, dies instantly. Elderly White man on nearby fairway cut down by fusillade of Secret Service bullets. Simultaneously, Joe Biden on peacemaking trip to Middle East, plane explodes in mid-air, shot down by missile stolen by Al Qaeda from Benghazi Consulate. Jeff Sessions sworn in as President.

January 2015 President Sessions issues Executive Order closing the border and redeploys troops from Iraq to Texas for “national security.” Order includes provision confirming President Obama’s practice of unilaterally designating as “terrorist” anyone the President feels is, might be, or may be associated with, terrorists.

Jesse Ventura goes on Oprah to claim deaths were CIA assassination conspiracy in retaliation for abandoning foreign service officers to die at Benghazi. President Sessions orders drone strike on the studio, issues press release regretting loss of innocent civilian lives but noting those who shelter terrorists share the penalty.

February 2014 Federal judge issues restraining order to stop troops from shooting border crossers on sight. Judge indicted by US Attorney for conspiracy to commit theft of government property, arrested, held without bail in secret location. Prosecutor explains that ordering troops not to shoot border crossers allows illegal immigrants to enter the country and obtain government benefits in violation of law, which makes judge co-conspirators to commit theft. Cites Rick Perry prosecution as precedent.

To be continued . . .