All About Paul

Every once in a while, someone asks me “why doesn’t True North write more nice things about Ron Paul?”

I wrote their answer over at True North.  Go check it out if you’ve a mind to, as all those people in the Appalachian hollers to whom I’m not at all related would say.

For my part?  I’m a libertarian-conservative, and a former Libertarian conservative.  But Paul has always bothered me, for a variety of reasons; I’ve wished, fervently, for Libertarianism to have a better spokesman that Rep. Paul.  Still, he’s the farthest they’ve gotten; if Paul had happened when I was in my four-year stint as a Libertarian, I’d have no doubt been an enthusiastic supporter.

To a point.

Anyway – check the whole thing out at True North.


Four Years Of Truth

Let’s take a trip back to early 2007.

While Minnesota’s conservative blog scene had been been dominating the local alternative media scene since the “Blog” became a household word, it was a series of scattershot phenomena – you had a bunch of huge megabloggers like Powerline and Ed Morrissey, and on the other hand a whoooole lot of people who tried blogging for a few weeks or months, maybe drew a little attention,and then got frustrated at the difficulty involved in actually getting read.

In the meantime, the Big Left blogs had two big advantages; a hive-like reader community that pretty much read what they were told to read, and liberals with deep pockets who were willing to pay bloggers to write the stuff.

We wondereed – what was the way forward?

It was in the summer of ’07 that Andy Aplikowski hatched the idea of a center-right conservative group blog, aggregating material from the full range of center-right bloggers in Minnesota.  He and Derek Brigham and Nancy LaRoche ran with the idea, along with Brian Mason, Matt Abe, Kevin Ecker, the Lady Logician and, eventually, me.

That idea became True North.

The idea?  Give regional center-right bloggers an outlet, and a soapbox, and if all went well, a megaphone – a way for they, their blogs, and especially their writing and reporting,to be seen by a wider audence than they could get all by themselves, an outlet that would be greater than the sum of all our individual parts.

And so it was four years ago today that True North launched.  Then as now, we were based on one simple set of principles – and the mission to get writers who supported those principles out and in front of the public.

Some leftybloggers didn’t know what to make of us. But we’ve had a blast.

Nobody’s ever made a dime from True North – I don’t think we’ve ever accepted advertising – but we’ve had an effect far beyond anything anyone could have expected.  Litlte birds tell me we’re daily reading at the Capitol, on both sides of the aisle.  Beyond that?  One of our former contribs is in the Legislature (King Banaian, 15B); another, Michele Bachmann, is a presidential candidate.

It’s been a great four years – and the best is yet to come!

So thanks, Andy and Derek and Nancy, and Brian, Cindy, Kevin and Matt, and especially everyone that’s written for True North over the past four years!

Insert Miracle Here

Gary Gross notes that the polls are starting to relent a little for the GOP nationally. He quotes a Rasmussen Poll:

For just the second time in more than five years of daily or weekly tracking, Republicans now lead Democrats in the latest edition of the Generic Congressional Ballot.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey found that 41% would vote for their district’s Republican candidate while 38% would choose the Democrat. Thirty-one percent (31%) of conservative Democrats said they would vote for their district’s Republican candidate.


I don’t doubt that that last sentence is giving Democratic strategists gray hair. Though there’s no doubt that we’ll see fluctuations between now and Election Day 2010, there’s also no doubt that the Democrats have misread the electorate. The Democrats’ misreading the election results has helped put the GOP in better shape than we’ve been in a long time.

Yes, but there’s an asterisk there.  We’ll come back to that.

I credit the change in the generic ballot to three things: President Obama’s radical agenda, President Obama’s arrogance and the House Republicans’ principled stand against Obama’s radical agenda. Obama’s radical agenda has given conservatives something to fight against while the House Republicans’ principled stance against that agenda is giving conservatives something to fight for.

Obama’s agenda is a factor.  Congress adds the arrogance and the agenda, one that I think is going to turn out to be a drag on Obama.  And the House GOP’s battle has been a blessing.

But so far all that gives us is something to campaign against.  Until the GOP has something to campaign for – a positive message – the good news cup is only half full.

On the positive side – it can’t be that hard to craft a positive message when the executive branch is so amateurish and naive (Obama’s tongue-kiss of Hugo Chavez did not play well in middle America) and Congress is so gigantistic and arrogant.

On the negative side: I don’t know that we have anything close to a standard-bearer for that message yet.

Only seventeen months ’til the next elections!

Apropos Not Much

Just a couple of random points, given without any real reason.


  1. I don’t control who writes at True North.  I am part of the eight-member ruling Junta that makes those calls.  I have never made a unilateral decision of any kind – over content, design, direction, naming – at True North, much less one over removing a post or a writer.  Not once.  Ever.
  2. If there’s a person anywhere who has less power at True North, it’s my friend and former NARN colleague Michael Brodkorb from Minnesota Democrats Exposed.  Michael has never been involved with the inner workings at True North. Never.

So anyone who says that “Michael Brodkorb and Mitch Berg teamed up…” to do anything at True North is – I’ll be diplomatic, since that’s what I do – mistaken the first time they say it.  I’m willing to set ’em straight.

A second time?  That’s just making stuff up.

Again, I’m just speaking hypothetically.  It came to me in a dream.

That’s is all.

UPDATE:  Since Politics In Minnesota opted to feature the post that I’m answering with this article, I might as well say it; I’m responding to an inaccurate contention by Col. Joe Repya over at Eagle’s Nest.  It’s related to a flap that happened last winter, which I fully and accurately explained in this posting on True North.

I’m also disappointed that Col. Repya felt the need to resort to name-calling – especially inasmuch as calling me an apologist for the MNGOP establishment is just plain absurd.

Michael Brodkorb’s a friend of mine; but it’s also a matter of record that we’ve disagreed strenuously over quite a few things. But facts are facts; Brodkorb makes no editorial decisions at True North, and never has.

One is entitled to his own opinion, not one’s own facts. 

The Eternal Game of Telephone

One of the reasons I always liked being a solo blogger (until Johnny Roosh joined the staff last summer) was that miscommunications among contributors were pretty rare.

Of course, with bigger blogs, it’s not always quite so easy.

Over at True North, I comment on a flap between two of my favorite regional bloggers; my friend and NARN colleague (for the rest of the week, anyway) Michael Brodkorb, and Col. Joe Repya.  The flap grew into a few questions about how True North does business – partly with the prodding of some Twin Cities leftybloggers who, like addled kittens who see a shiny bit of foil, are trying to romp and cavort about the “story”.

I try to answer them.

What I Did All Day: 5PM

Kevin and I had no idea which way the crowd was going to turn; all I knew was I didn’t want to get cut off from the Excel and have to dash halfway around the metro to get on the air at 8PM.

The crowd turned right onto the frontage road, as Kevin and I raced up to John Ireland Boulevard.  We moved across the bridge as the protest turned left, led by a group of about 20 bike cops and a dozen or so mounted officers.

They strolled out onto the bridge…

…and then things changed.  The bike and horse cops formed a line.  A squad of motorcycle cops raced down from the Cathedral to join them.  They pulled out their Hats ‘n Bats and stopped the march in the middle of the bridge over I94.

Kevin and I stayed as close to the action as we could – but after a few minutes, a couple of Bureau of Criminal Apprehension cops in military battledress pointed us back to the north approach.   We grabbed some space on the fence overlooking the bridge, and waited.

A few moments later, I heard a footsteps.  I turned – and saw over 100 cops in riot gear moving down from the History Center, donning gas masks and moving to the front rank.  It almost looked like a medieval battlefield shaping up; several ranks of infantry with sticks and armor, backed up by the cavalry…

…with artillery – half a dozen cops with 37mm tear gas grenade launchers moved up behind the whole lot.

And we waited.

And waited.

And waited.

And wondered where they were going.

Until I saw more riot cops at the north end of the bridge. They had the entire march bottled up on the John Ireland bridge; no  way to go to the east or west (they were 20 feet above the freeway), or forward or back.

So we waited.

And waited.

And waited.

Someone quipped “I think they’re trying to bore them to death”.  The cop I was talking with didn’t disagree.

Eventually, after over an hour of standing around on the bridge, it appeared they were starting to disperse to the north.

Nothing happened, but it was fascinating to watch it happen.

I hiked down Kellogg to the Xcel, walking through a checkpoint and past a long row of National Guard to get to Five Corners and the X.

True North!

It was a year ago today that True North launched.

The original idea came from Derek “Chief” Brigham, Andy “Teh Mayer” Applikowski, Lassie,  Doctor Jonz, Kevin Ecker and a small group of other center-right regional bloggers; provide a clearinghouse for not only the best center-right alt-media in the region, but a place to coordinate activism.

It’s a big job, and – unlike most of the big institutional leftyblogs like the Minnesoros “Independent” , the MNPost and the late, unlamented Daily Mold, it’s a labor of love; there’s no money going in or coming out.

But we were, as Elwood Blues memorably put it, “on a mission from God”.  And we still are; one of our big original reasons to exist was to provide alt-media coverage not only of the convention, but of the convention’s protesters.  Oh, yeah – and the election, too.

The first year’s been a great run!  Congrats, all!

Watching The Defectives

The convention is almost here.

For four days, this is where most of this nation’s news is going to be.

And if you read this blog, you know that the mainstream media isn’t going to be covering the real news. They’ll be in the XCel center, or hitting the odd reception, or trotting around to where one protest group or another has told them to be in their press releases, filming pretty much what they’re expected to film.

We don’t expect them to film the real news; everything from “fops blocking freeway ramps” to “Code Pinkos leaving lousy tips”.

Some of us are working to fix all that.

One of True North‘s stated missions, when it started almost a year ago, was to provide real coverage of what happens at and around the convention.

True North is going to be soliciting your input during the convention. If you’re going about your business – not just at the convention, but anywhere around the metro – and see something – we’ll be setting up a “Tipline” for stories, pictures and video.

So if you see…:

  • “Street theater” breaking out
  • “Code Pink” wackjobs screaming their heads off at recalcitrant waiters…
  • “Demonstrators” shrieking their nonsense
  • People blocking freeway ramps
  • …and, especially, anything illegal, stupid, or (let’s face it) embarassing…

…or pretty much anything else – take a picture. Shoot some cell phone video. And then contact us. We’d love to post what you have (with credit, if you want it).
And if you’re a convention volunteer – well, we’ll be asking you more of the same!

More details in the coming week.

Stay tuned.

Four Days’ Hate

 One of the things I’m most looking forward to at the convention is going to be mocking the living bejeebers out of “True Blue Minnesota”‘s “huge” jumbotron, “overlooking” downtown Saint Paul.

Tom Swift writing at True North  engages “True Blue Minnesota”:

Taking a cue from the cautionary work of George Orwell, Hine and Ballou have succeeded in assembling an authentic representation of a key piece of Orwell’s magnum opus; 1984….no, they are not providing Victory Gin.


Through a front group known as “TrueBlueMinnesota” Hine and Ballou, with help from Ministry of Love perennial favorite Dave Thune, will be whipping up leftist fervor with everyone’s favorite brainwashing technique, yes….”The two minutes hate” is in da house, and in your synapse.

Technology has progressed since 1984.

Today’s leftist pinheads no longer have to endure tedious eye strain while intently peering into a fuzzy image of Goldstein…no indeed. Today’s moonbat demands the finest high quality digital images of the objects of their hatred, flashed before them at the recommended 50 images a second, mind you…and with True Blue’s Jumbotrons, they’ll get what they came for.

Preview of “True Blue’s” activity starts at :25 seconds into this bit here.

I’ve talked with people who’ve seen some of the videos they plan to show.  Lame, amateurish, so bad it’s good – all terms I’ve heard so far.  We’ll add  more at the convention, I’m sure.

I’m so looking forward to going all MST3K on them.

Fate Is A Fiction Writer

I don’t believe in Karma – but I do believe what goes around comes around.

Maybe it’s my Scandinavian roots, but I’ve always tried to shy away from “overconfidence” – especially the great proto-American injunction against “counting your chickens before they’re hatched”.

So – while I’ve come to regard John McCain as a better option for the GOP nomination than, say, Mike Huckabee or Ron Paul (I’ll get behind him. anyway), I gotta confess; I heard Mac’s statement that he assumes he’ll get the nomination, and thought “this is the sort of thing that people unwittingly say that gets ’em into the history books”.

So Zogby shows Mitt up by eight in California, now. We can’t call it a “turnaround”, since a smallish fraction of the delegates have actually been allocated (that’s what tomorrow’s all about!).  And Mac may well be right, and it might not be the worst thing in the world.

But it reinforces the lesson; if you’re a Republican and you’re reading this, you need to show up at your caucus or primary tomorrow if you’re in one the the Super Di Duper Tuesay states (and Minnesota is one of them) and get your two cents into the works.

Find your precinct caucus, and hire a sitter, and be there.

True North has the best wrapup of Minnesota Caucus information anywhere, plus a caucus finder.   Read ’em, use ’em, be there.

Teaching Them A Lesson

I don’t quote Glen Reynolds much – everyone reads him anyway – but on reading and hearing from all the Republicans who want to “teach the party a lesson” if the nominate the wrong guy, this bit struck home:

Some people think it’s time to teach the party a lesson. Fine, but I thought 2006 was supposed to do that. Did they learn anything? Seems to me that things are about what they were when I put up my pre-mortem post that had Limbaugh exercised. (For that matter, did losing in 2000 and 2004 improve the Democrats? What, exactly, have they learned that led to the Hillary/Edwards/Obama offering? Are political parties capable of really learning?)

A couple of points here:

  1. Parties don’t learn “lessons”.  Minnesota’s GOP should be a great lesson for all of you who think that abstaining from voting is going to do you, the party or the country any good at all; the reverses in ’04 and ’06 caused the MNGOP to panic and revert (in many quarters) to the “moderate”, Sturdevant-approved  party of the bad old days.  Remember – parties have long memories, as long as those of the people who show up and do all the work.  And conservatism is still, in many ways, an insurgency in the GOP, especially in Minnesota.  Staying home from the election because, say, Mark Kennedy voted for ethanol subsidies, or because Mitt Romney flip-flopped (even in the right direction!) on abortion, teaches one lesson; conservatives are flighty and unreliable when it comes to election time.
  2. And don’t get started about third parties.  I say this as someone who left the GOP in 1994, outraged at the party’s sellout on the ’94 Crime Bill.  I joined the big-L Libertarians for four years.  It was great.  I got to hang out with a lot of people who believed all the right things!  Of course, they – we – had the luxury of ideological purity precisely because we never had to govern anything; we never had to put our ideas into the scrum of actually having to run anything or represent a district that had elected us via a plurality.  Just a convention that had endorsed us unanimously.  You think starting a third party “sends a message?”  Remember Pat Buchanan?  Remember the effect he had in 2000?  Me either.

So is the lesson “fall in line behind the party?”  Hell no.  Get pissed.  Get angry as hell.  Do something radical, and show up at the Caucuses, two weeks from tonight.  Find your precinct – here or here – and stand up for your guy or gal.  I’ll be there, and I’ll fighting like hell to do a bunch of things:

  • get my guy endorsed.  (I’m close to deciding, but I ain’t saying yet).
  • try to do my little bit to get some sort of grass-roots GOP movement going in the city
  • try to show certain parties at various levels in the GOP that some of us in the city aren’t satisfied with the way things are.

The catch, of course, is that you have to show up at caucuses.  And, if it works that way, your BPOU, District and State conventions.  And try to find the time to help out in between, phone-banking and lit-dropping and getting the vote out.  Because changing anything is way, way more than just writing a resolution and making a speech.  It takes work, and tons of it.

One of the most instructive lessons of my political life was watching (and, in an infinitesimal way, participating in) the movement to reform Minnesota’s concealed carry laws.  When all was said and done, Concealed Carry Reform Now of Minnesota spent nine years and thousands of hours…:

  • building a mailing list
  • getting people to show up at gun shows to pass out literature and make people aware of the issues
  • buttonholing legislators, one at a time, to state the case
  • doing the same for voters, until eventually – by 2000 and 2002 – outstate voters were removing DFLers (and a few recalcitrant Republicans) who opposed carry reform from office.  That got the legislature’s attention; after 2002, the DFL legislators, motivated by political self-preservation, allied themselves with the good guys.

It took good people getting involved.  Some of them got very involved; a few of CCRN’s majordomos made it nearly a full-time job, on top of their real jobs and families and lives – but the real triumph was that they got tens of thousands of Minnesotans to care about reforming a sexist, racist, paternalistic law – one voter at a time.  And eventually one lawmaker at a time.  And finally one state at a time.

That’s how you change parties.  A voter at a time.  A precinct at a time.  A ward, a legislative district, a congressional district, a state at a time.

Notice that “staying home and teaching the bastards a lesson” doesn’t pop up in there at all?

A Blade of Grass Grows in Saint Paul (and Minneapolis), Part III

So we’ve determined a few things so far in this series:

  1. It can be frustrating, being a conservative in the city.
  2. Tossing “warm body” candidates out there to take their shots at Congress, State Legislative and city/county offices can feel pretty futile.
  3. It’s largely because the Democraticicicicic party has spent several generations and four decades patiently insinuating itself into every facet of urban life.  The entire infrastructure of the city is tied up in the DFL; many of the inhabitants of both cities are either government employees or – after several generations of using the city as a warehouse for the poor or an unloading point for immigrants – beholden to the government.  (It’s not entirely a bad, or at least malicious, thing; Bruce Vento was instrumental in bringing the H’mong from refugee camps in Thailand to Saint Paul.  Did the late congressman do it to earn the loyalty of thousands of future voters?  It was Bruce Vento, for crying out loud; he didn’t scratch his nose if it didn’t benefit the party.  But no sane person begrudges the H’mong their place in America; they earned it, and, if you leave out the whole “patronage” thing, it was perhaps Vento’s greatest achievement). 

So how do we – Republicans who live in the city, and/or Republicans who know this state’ll never be a “red” state until we can at least contest Saint Paul and Minneapolis – start to put the city in play?

There are a couple of options:

  1. Wait for a Ronald Reagan or a Brett Schundler.  You might be waiting a long time.
  2. Keep throwing candidates at offices they’ll never win, barring a visit from a Democraticicicic-seeking virus that leaves the entire DFL electorate flat on its back on election day.
  3. Start building some real grass roots in the cities.

We’ll talk about #3 on Monday.

A Blade of Grass Grows in Saint Paul (and Minneapolis), Part II

I’ve been going to GOP precinct cauci and district conventions in Saint Paul for nigh on 20 years now. The ritual is always the same. There are only small variations.

In good years for Republicans – say, 1994, 1998 or 2002 – the GOP “Basic Political Organizational Unit” (BPOU – the lowest level of GOP organization) and City party conventions will whip up some enthusiasm for candidates for the House, Senate and City Council; money will be raised; impassioned speeches will be given; “this could be the year!”. Delegates will be elected that will go to the Congressional District (MN4, in this case) convention, who will in turn endorse a candidate for US House.

And on the first Tuesday in November, the candidates will all lose by 20 points.

On the other hand, during bad years for Republicans – 1996, 2006 – the City, BPOU and CD conventions will start with somber speeches about how the inner-city districts have to try to at least make a showing, to draw away some spending from the safer GOP districts out in the ‘burbs; to fight the good, futile fight, in other words. And the candidates – usually long-time party functionaries – will be endorsed, to put a warm body in a place on the ballot. And they’ll campaign, either with great enthusiasm (Obi Sium, the CD4 US House candidate last year, or Alan Fine over in CD5), or they’ll put in a dilatory showing of the flag.

They’ll lose by 30 or 40 points.

And yet, as I’ve said over and over again, the inner city is positively clogged with people who should be conservatives:

  • African-American parents, for whom the failure of the inner-city schools to help make their kids competitive is a finger in the eye, an insult added to the injury of 400 years of slavery and racism in this nation, and who should know that the DFL stands foursquare behind the foetid status quo.
  • Asian residents, whose commitment to free enterprise did what two generations of government programs couldn’t; saved inner-city Saint Paul.
  • Legal immigrants, who are – according to polls – increasingly opposed to coddling illegal immigration.
  • Hispanic residents who see that the DFL piddles on their Catholic/Evangelical social conservatism.
  • Anyone who can see that three generations of “city as DFL social laboratory” have made parts of Minneapolis among the poorest, most dangerous inner-city enclaves in America.
  • Oh, yeah – and all of us Republicans. And you might never know it, but we’re one of the biggest minorities in Saint Paul; 28% of the city registers GOP – and if the party could ever field a serious candidate, a fair chunk of the DFLers who are growing tired of the Tax ‘n Spend claque that has City Hall under its boot might be convinceable, too.

This, indeed, has worked for Republicans; Brett Shundler spent years as mayor of Jersey City, New Jersey, running on a platform of security, fiscal discipline, low taxes and common sense – in a city that’s even more hamstrung with Democrat tradition than the Twin Cities (6% registered GOP), and with a state Republican party that’s worth even less than Minnesota’s for supporting conservatives anywhere, much less in the inner city.

So why not here?

Why, indeed, is “inner city Minnesota GOP” almost as big a synonym for frustration as “Vikings in the Super Bowl?”

Chalk it up to infrastructure.

No, not bridges and roads…well, actually, yes – the political equivalent of bridges and roads and fixing potholes.

Bear with me, here.

The DFL has spent three generations or more in complete, unquestioned power in inner Minneapolis and Saint Paul. Over those decades, the DFL has insinuated itself into every aspect of life; it runs the schools; it controls the city councils (shut up about the Greens, already – they are indistinguishable on the streeet); they control the planning, zoning and spending apparatuses; they control the public employees unions that run the schools, the administrations, the civil service, the public works departments, even the police and fire deparments and libraries. DFL is a de facto synonym for civic life and, in many ways, day to day non-political life as well. You can literally not not make contact with the DFL or a DFL-controlled organization in some part of your day to day life in the inner city.

You can literally count the elected Republicans in Saint Paul on one hand – School Board member Tom Conlon – and get four fingers’ change.

This complete control of all political and civic life in the city has several effects which stunt the city as well as the opposition:

  • The city’s residents are disproportionately employed by DFL-linked unions; AFSCME, MAPE, Education Minnesota and the various Teamsters and AFL/CIO bodies are very disproportionately represented among residenets and voters – and those unions are all but subsidiaries of the DFL.
  • Even non-political residents are in constant contact with the apparatus of DFL power and control. This is important both for showing people what “the norm” is, as well as giving the DFL an audience that doesn’t know better than to question the DFL’s claims as to what’ll happen to government “services” if they ever lose power.
  • The DFL controls the entire revenue stream; the government that levies the taxes, the administration that collects them, the council that budgets the money, the district councils and schools and departments that do the spending, all are controlled by DFL sinecures.

Every aspect of life in Minneapolis and Saint Paul – family and personal as well as civic and political life – has contact with the DFL.

And so, every couple of years when the GOP throws “warm bodies” and “sacrificial lambs” at the entrenched DFL bureaucracies, it’s not unlike the British and French marching across No Man’s land into the teeth of machine guns entrenched in bomb-and-bullet-proof concrete pillboxes; it’s a slaughter, and everyone knows it will be even before they climb out of the trench or leave the BPOU/CD meeting.

So how is that going to change?

More tomorrow.

A Blade of Grass Grows in Saint Paul (and Minneapolis) – Part I

The inner cities have their issues. If you’re in Minnesota and reading this, you know about them; you’ve either fled them, are paying for them via your taxes, or are – like me – living among them.

Minneapolis and Saint Paul are taxed half to death; Minneapolis’ crime rate has fallen from brutally-high to merely ridiculously-high, with a murder rate higher than New York, Boston, LA, San Francisco.  Higher, indeed, – ironically, given how Minneapolis’ political, academic and media elites sniff at them – than Mobile, Omaha (twice as high!), Tampa, Jacksonville, higher in fact than all of the major cities in Texas but one (and only slightly off Houston’s pace).  Only marginally lower than Chicago. (Saint Paul’s is quite low by major-city standards – 60% lower than Minneapolis – a testament to Saint Paul’s excellent police department, strong neighborhoods, and at least a couple of relatively sane administrations).

The cities are addicts; their drug is money. Nearly four decades ago, the “Minnesota Miracle” enacted the idea of “Local Government Aid”, which as the DFL’s stranglehold on the inner cities accelerated turned into an eternal subsidy of DFL inner-city policy by the parts of the state that actually pay their way. Governor Pawlenty’s cuts in LGA acted the same way as cutting off the heroin acts on a jonesing junkie; the addict went crazy. The body couldn’t get along without the drug; the drug had incorporated itself into the body’s chemistry. City governments had been providing “services” far beyond what their eroding tax based could provide, even as their left-leftward-moving policies drove more and more of the tax base out of the cities themselves. When LGA cuts forced cities to pass the “service” costs directly to their own tax bases, and the cities were forced to pay their own bills – well, you’ve read the headlines and the op-ed pages, right?

And yet, election after election, the DFL stranglehold over the inner city not only deepens, but gets more and more radical; Greens now have a solid foothold in Minneapolis; Saint Paul’s “Gang of Four” ultra-liberal councilpeople is now a Gang of Five. Policies that were madness thirty years ago are commonplaces today.

How did it get this way?

90% of politics is local. And the DFL understood this from the very beginning, and over the past fifty years has extended its reach into every corner of life in the Cities.

Is there hope?

More tomorrow.

Code of Ethics

Andy “AAA” Aplikowski writes over at True North:

We have just been informed that one of our Contributors has been lifting content from other blogs.

The Seventh Son is a guy I know, and I did vouch for him to be here at True North. I just talked to him and informed him of the matter. It sounds like he is guilty of laziness and not knowing blog etiquette, but I will let him defend himself. I have no tolerance for people who take credit for others’ hard work, whether through stupidity or laziness. And together with the Nucleus here at True North we came to a decision.

We’ve removed The Seventh Son as a Contributor, and pulled down all of his posts.

We can’t tolerate that sort of thing.  And while Andy may be right – there might be extenuating issues of misunderstanding – ignorance of the rules is really no excuse.

Conservative bloggers; we don’t publish “codes of ethics”, but we follow ’em anyway.

UDPATE: Seventh Son fesses up and leaves the ring:

That being said, I have gone to posts, linked to articles from those posts, and cut and pasted some of these articles to my blog. My fault here is not properly acknowledging the original post as I should have.

Some of my blogger friends made me aware of this controversy today, for which I sincerely apologize. So I have asked them to remove links to my blog and I will let this be my final post.

It’s sad, of course.  Sorry it came to this.

But right is right.

The Lady’s Not For Triangulating

Sue Jeffers is not amused by T-Paw’s slip to the left:

OK Governor Pawlenty, we know you have jumped on the green band wagon. We got it.


We knew it with E-85, we knew it at the Governor’s Convention, we knew it with the Renewable Energy Bill, and we knew it with the Global Warming Mitigation Act. We heard you say loud and clear that global warming is “a huge and defining issue of our time.” We got it.

And it’s not just idle political chatter:

The cost to anyone who uses energy will be staggering.Conveniently ignoring the fact that there is nothing Minnesota could reasonably do which would noticeably impact the climate. In fact there is no proof that these proposals will affect global warming, positive or negative, even if every state in the nation, and every country in the world, adopted them.

I acknowledge that perfect is the enemy of good enough.  As a conservative, I’m keenly aware that politics is about crafting the most advantageous compromise you can manage.  Stomping ones’ feet and threatening to take your toys and go home if you can’t get a perfectly-conservative-enough candidate is a sign of immaturity, at least when it comes to making your politics matter in the real world. 

Still, our role is to push the conversation to the right.  And there’s a fair case to be made that TPaw needs that push. 

And Sue is pushing.

So Governor, hear this Conservative loud and clear: the defining moment will be when you find your backbone and lead and govern using conservative principles instead of supporting yet another invented liberal crisis. It would be much more effective if on your trip to the Arctic you would scope out the terrain and figure out the best spot to put the drilling rigs.

Strommie’s not thrilled either.

Roar of Leo

Leo Pusatieri – whose son recently got back from Iraq – has been on top of the Army’s attempt to short the returning “Red Bulls” on educational benefits.

And he’s got an update:

After raising a stink with Minnesota Representative Dettmer, Congressman Bachmann’s office, Senator Norm Coleman’s office, the Minnesota Department of Veteran’s Affairs, and the United States Department of Veteran’s Affairs, I believe that the ball is truly starting to roll

Read the whole thing.

He Who Controls The Goalposts

Mark Gisleson of Norwegianity, apparently bummed about finishing way out of the big money in the Unintentionally Funny Leftyblog contest (despite years of dedicated striving from colleague MNob, would would definitely be a contender in the Individual category, if I had the bandwidth to present such a contest) apparently didn’t like this line, from a post last week about conservatives and protesting…:

 Conservatives are like sharks; any one of us is a match for dozens of liberals, and our very presence at marches or school board meetings or community council elections provokes unreasoning fear, panic, irrationality and an “end justifies the means” mentality.

He responded:

The first graf is the award-winner [for some hypothetical “unintentionally funny conservative blogger” contest – of which more below], the latter is the clip and save for next year to see if he’s still using this excuse for the pitiful wingnut counterprotester presence at the RNC.

He was talking about this quote from me:

 So I have neither the illusion of nor the desire to try to get thousands of conservatives out into the street next year for the Republican National Convention in Saint Paul. But I do want to get dozens out on the street, and spotted around the city’s various choke points, with cameras and video and laptops and wireless cards, to make sure that the “demonstrators” are held accountable to the world for the actions of their, er, less-restrained fellows.

 Of course, Gisleson misses the point; if he could see the point, he’d be a conservative.

Nobody – least of all me – is under any impression that conservatives will ever clog the streets of Saint Paul, waving signs and carring papier-mache puppets and chanting like a bunch of lobotomized droogs.  That’s the left’s monopoly, and y’all are welcome to it.  We cannot “fail” to spark a mass movement “in the street” at the convention, because there is not the faintest intention to try to create one.

Never has been!

Never will be!

The real intentions?  They’re hidden (apparently) in plain sight, in one post or another here and on True North, for whatever it may be worth to you.

So read again.  And focus.  Belay your dreams of bobbing down Kellogg Boulevard inside a giant Cheney head puppet for a few moments. 

Leave the goalposts alone.



Buck Up

Gary Miller at TvM is a little down in the dumps over the Ramstad retirement:

Jim Ramstad is the embodiment of everything I loathe about RINOs.  He is an SOB but he’s OUR SOB and losing Ramstad would almost certainly mean losing this “first ring” seat. 

I’m not quite as down on Ramstad as Gary; day in and day out, he did usually vote with the good guys; the American Conservative Union rated him a feeble but not-catastrophic 68% (equal to Norm Coleman, better than John McCain), while at least one lefty source isn’t exactly scattering palm fronds in his path.  Of course, he screwed the conservative pooch on many vital issues; he first earned my ire by voting for Clinton’s 1994 “Crime Bill”, a greater impingement on civil liberty than anything the Bush Adminstration has even suggested in the left’s most paranoid delusions.  In balance, he’s generally on the right side (compared to Minnesota’s DFLers), but frustratingly unreliable.

Of course, we’d like to shoot for better than “sucks less”:

Congressional majorities are comprised of true believers and heretics.  Congressman Ramstad is a card-carrying member of the latter but his departure would make it that much more difficult to regain the Speaker’s gavel in the next few election cycles. 

The obvious answer, of course, is to win the Third District for a conservative.

Gary’s stablemate First Ringer is on the case with the best wrapup of potential candidates I’ve seen yet.

Look for more – much more – on TrueNorth, where this race is going to be one of the big priorities for the next year.

And someone tell Gary to cheer up.  This is an opportunity.

Useless Idiots

So if you counterprotest a “peace” rally, that must naturally mean you’re “pro-war” or “anti-peace”, right?

Nobody could be that juvenile or stupid.  Right?

Bear in mind, I’m an inherently civil guy.  While I don’t mind mixing it up with people (hence, I blog and host a talk show), I don’t especially relish conflict. 

But Ken Avidor is not a very bright person.  He may be the one person on earth who makes Eric Zaetsch look coherent.    The only person who seems actually too dumb to post on the Dump Bachmann site (note to Eva Young:  You got me.  When a site that draws 2,500 visitors a day mentions a site that draws maybe 100, it’s a sign that I’m desperate for traffic.  Good call).

It’s a shame, really, that Chuck Olson – who is an unapologetic lefty, but seems to be a relatively reasonable guy, and who interviewed me for the “Uptake” site, the  left-leaning videoblogger site that carries Avidor’s little peal of self indulgence, before the demonstration yesterday – has to be associated with such a hamster.

On the other hand – if the other side has to dig THAT far down to respond, it’s probably a sign of intellectual bankruptcy.  Redundant as the phrase is when Avidor is involved.

Note to lefty videobloggers:  If you want to get footage of me, just ask.  It’s not like I’m camera-shy.  You have only your argument to lose.  He says with a half-smile.

UPDATE: Mike McIntee and Chuck Olson note that Uptake has changed Avidor’s original headline.  I thank them for this. 

As to what to call us?  Good question.  Anti-pullout?  I gotta think about that.

And for those among you (Flash?  I’m talkin’ to you!) who will point out my occasional lapses into ire, referring to “peace” protesters as “pro-genocide”; enh.  Half of it’s a fair cop.  I’m human.  But the fact is, when the Vietnam protesters got their way, millions died.  Had the anti-Cold War protesters gotten theirs, hundreds of millions would still be beholden to Communism, languishing in the Gulag (and that the Russians seem to be headed back toward that state doesn’t take away from the magnificence of the freedoms that Poles, Latvians, Lithuanians, Estonians, Hungarians, Czechs, Slovaks, Bulgarians, Slovenians and former East Germans now enjoy).  How are today’s protesters any different?

You answer that – and for my part, I’ll try to do as well as Mike and Chuck did, rhetoric-wise.

Out In The Street

20 to 1?

Seems like a fair battle.

I had to take off before the actual fun started at the Cathedral and long John Ireland Boulevard in Saint Paul this morning – I had to get to the station to do the NARN show – but I’m told it was a great time.  Most of the lefties behaved (all of the counterprotesters, naturally, behaved impeccably), and our presence – for a bunch of people who are just not wired to stand around on a gorgeous Saturday waving signs and yelling – was way stronger than I expected.  I had hoped to draw 15-18 counterprotesters – by all accounts we doubled that. 

I’ll be linking to some of the other bloggers who were there – but this was a great start.

More later!

Counterprotest Tomorrow

Tomorrow’s the big day!

Join us at a counterprotest tomorrow, to join with fellow anti-terror, pro-troops Americans to counterprotest the “peace” rally in Saint Paul.

The counterprotesters will gather and demonstrate at Triangle Park in Saint Paul (the triangle-shaped block east of the linked map) at the corner of Marshall Avenue and John Ireland Boulevard.   (For an aerial view, click here)

The park is located a block north of the Cathedral of Saint Paul and east of John Ireland Boulevard (the road that connects the Cathedral and the Capitol) across from Saint Paul College.  It is Saint Paul Parks property, and is reserved for the use of counterprotesters during the time of the march.

Interested in attending?  Drop us a line at the email address “demonstrationwatch”, at 

The Sparrow I’m Keeping My Eye On

Someone – a relatively irritating person, actually – asked me a few weeks ago, “why are you a Republican?”

And it took me until after I actually responded to actually realize that there are two answers:

  1. Because national security, limited government, prosperity, individual responsibilty and merit are my big issues – and since long before I became politically active, the Democrats have been systematically, aggressively wrong on every single one of those issues.
  2. I’m not. 

And by that, I mean that “I’m not a member of the Minnesota Republican Party”. 

Except for a brief stretch where I was a co-chair of House District 66B, I never really have been. 

Partly it’s because of time.  People who are real serious party animals devote a lot of time to the party that I just don’t have. 

But part of it is that, while I’ve voted for maybe three non-Republicans in partisan elections in the past 20 years (and Jesse Ventura wasn’t one of them), I’ve gotten actually less involved with the party proper over the years.  It’s seemed like the party – at least, in my part of the state, the Fourth Congressional District – is more an obstacle to success than a vehicle to it.

In the Fourth, even though most of the voters are in Saint Paul and the northern subs like Roseville are hardly GOP strongholds.  It’s a situation that calls for some creativity, to say the least, given that St. Paul is saved from the distinction of being the most DFL-sodden city in Minnesota only by the existence of Minneapolis and Duluth. 

In election after election, the CD4 GOP pours its resources into the districts north of Highway 36, a “strategy” that leaves the party notoriously subject to the fickle sways of the mood in a bunch of purple districts (to Phil Krinkie’s chagrin last fall), while conceding the city in perpetuity to the Mongols DFL.  And whatever happens outstate or in the ‘burbs, this state will never really be a stable Red state until the GOP learns how to actually contend for the city itself. 

And it can be done!  Bret Schundler spent nine years as mayor of Jersey City, New Jersey (80% registered Democrats; 6% Republicans) in the nineties.  How is this done?  How did Schundler, in particular, do it?

Not by preaching GOP – but by preaching the first principles of the conservative movement; security; liberty; growth and prosperity; family; culture; limited government; how each of those affected the Jersey Citian’s property values, kids’ education, and odds of getting mugged or burgled.

So what does the Minnesota GOP not understand about this?

This is what attracted me to True North in the first place; to the best of my knowledge, it’s the only group blog around that’s dedicated – obsessive, indeed – about applying America’s first principles to government in Minnesota, as opposed to merely reiterating the GOP’s line, and doing for that idea what blogs in general do to things like the mainstream media; outflank them, obviate the need for gatekeepers, democratize things.  

And the Minnesota GOP desperately needs democratization. 

Not that most of us aren’t committed Republicans, or at least committed Republican voters – but the party is not the fount of all wisdom. 

That, of course, is why I so loudly applaud the various independent bloggers who write about affairs in their various GOP districts – SD63, SD35, SD44, SD45, the Chisago and Carver County GOP blog, some of them official party sites but most of them individual pundits who are working to change things from the ground up, starting at the GOP’s grassiest roots.

If I can accomplish one thing with True North, it’ll be to convince someone in every GOP district in the whole state to start up a blog – completely independent of the party – and start tackling their district’s issues, one by one, one on one.