Saturday, May 30, 2015

The Case for a Dayton Shutdown Blame Game

During the 2011 shutdown, Governor Dayton made certain that the most egregious shutdown actions possible were conducted. Essential services were cut and pain was exacted so that he could have good talking points for later use.

Is the DFL Senate majority and Governor Mark Dayton trying to force another shutdown on Minnesota? There is significant evidence to indicate that they may be working towards that. Here are the reasons.

After the 2011 shutdown in an interview Governor Dayton was asked about it:
Dayton:  And this was not apparent to me or other of our negotiators at that time of June 30, but the Republicans said subsequently [it was stated in a letter PRIOR to the shutdown] publicly that they would take all these policy items everything from banning stem cell research to abolishing teacher tenure to abrogating contractual bargaining rights to uh of employees, all that was going to be taken off of the negotiating tables so we would be able to focus just on the budget. That was not at all clear to us at all on the night of June 30th and so it really put it in a different context, and it also uh they have agreed to my $500 million bonding bill which would go a long way to putting more people to work in Minnesota [not borne out in results subsequently] .

Interviewer: Its sounds like governor, without putting words in your mouth, that it sounds like this could have been worked out on June 30th without a shutdown, except for miscommunication.

Dayton: Well uh, eh, ya, you know we were in constant communication [except for reading negotiating letters], but uh I don't know whether there was miscommunication or subsequent revision [misdirection?], I don't know, but anyway you know what's done is done and the important thing now is to get an agreement very quickly where you have our groups working very quickly on that today, we've got 10 o'clock today deadlines…

Sounds similar to Hillary's "what difference does it make" comment about the dead in Benghazi and blaming it on a youtube video no one had seen?

The 2011 interview is at 91 seconds...

So this year there were some rather banal leading questions by the media, at a Governor Mark Dayton press conference in March (full conference where Mark Dayton decried the 2011 shutdown and said he hopes other people remember it, he certainly does. See the shutdown questions from the beginning of the link above
Dayton: Compromise means you agree to things you don't agree with, obviously I'm going to have to compromise if we are going to get a resolution and avoid the serious consequences of 2011
But what he appears to remember, is how to set up the conditions for a shutdown.  In 2011 he vetoed all the bills

And he is repeating that strategy again this year!

Rather than actually working through it, he simply vetoes clearly bi-partisan compromise bills, since they had to pass both a DFL controlled Senate and GOP majority house.

Where Mark Dayton demands concession and compromise, he is far from inclined to offer any such on his part to avoid a shutdown.

While GOP House leader Daudt said:
“With his vetoes, he is rejecting bipartisan efforts to put more than $17 billion toward students in every classroom, provide resources to help farmers devastated by avian flu, send relief to miners facing unemployment on the Iron Range,” Daudt’s statement said. Daudt added while the legislature, including the DFL-majority Senate, finished its work, “the governor wants more time. We will continue to work with him for Minnesotans.”
Dayton has used inflammatory rhetoric to vilify the GOP and further draw back from any potential compromise.
They hate the public schools, some of the Republican legislators," the governor said. "They're loathe to provide any additional money for public schools and for public school teachers because all of the good programs I've seen around this state for pre-K and all-day kindergarten..
Dayton said his previous budget offers are now off the table and he intends to push for even more school funding. But he wouldn't say if he'll insist universal pre-K be a part of the final deal

And then there is the question of the blame game, because of course the DFL and Mark Dayton must ultimately be seen as blameless in the failure to negotiate and compromise

By J. Patrick Coolican MAY 12, 2015 — 1:25PM
[Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook] said he'd seen seeing polling data that would place blame for a shutdown on Republicans, but said it's not his intention.
On Mitch Berg's radio show it was revealed that no one in the Republican caucus has seen or heard of such a poll. Which means its almost certain that early during the Legislative session the DFL has had a poll taken that gives them both comfort that they will not be blamed if they bring about a shutdown, and the clear freedom to go beyond brinksmanship. All punishment for their actions will be meted out to their political opponents. That is smoking gun evidence of underhanded dealing and negotiating in poor faith by the DFL.

Sen. Tom Bakk has stated that he is not going to negotiate with House Republicans. As Senate Majority Leader, doesn't he have an inherent responsibility to make sure that the Senate has a seat at the table? Of course we know that by deferring the responsibility, he's essentially siding with Dayton in the negotiations. So with Senator Bakk abrogating his responsibilities and Dayton's radical brinksmanship approach, the evidence suggests are they simply pushing us into a shutdown deliberately?

Hopefully voters and state workers threatened with layoff notices will remember next year what transpired, and who really caused the pain that the state will go through. It was not the media's favorite piƱata, it was the Democrat Party!

Monday, March 2, 2015

Betty McCollums Dangerous Naivety

In an article written by Betty McCollum, she states her rationale for not going to the speech by Benjamin Netanyahu
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is in the midst of a heated re-election campaign. Yet he is traveling 5,900 miles to give a speech before a joint meeting of Congress on Tuesday--just two weeks before Israelis go to the polls.

In her analysis, the only motivation is political gain in an election.

There  are just too many holes in such naive, and very dangerous, logic. It ignores the main issue of a nuclear Iran poised to destroy the tiny nation of Israel, our best ally in a very dangerous region, with a looming acceptance of its nuclear ambitions coming from a treaty in the immediate works with Barack Obama. With Betty McCollum's almost certain support.
But some US administration allies are puzzled that what they consider a soft deadline for a framework agreement for a final Iran nuclear deal has seemingly become the de facto deadline, rather than the June 30 deadline that Iran and the six world powers agreed to in November.

The US administration has “bought two months, but sold three,” a Western diplomat, speaking not for attribution, told Al-Monitor.

Some Democratic Senators who have signed onto a letter from Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., to President Barack Obama have told interlocutors that the Obama administration asked them to give it until the end of March to see if a framework deal could be reached, before voting on new Iran sanctions legislation.

Read more:

Lest anyone think that this is not an issue of immediate importance to all the people of Israel, and our own National security, not merely a "political stunt" as she prefers to think of it, one needs go no further than today's article of the Jerusalem Post
JPOST.COM STAFF \ 03/03/2015 04:50
US Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and US Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY), the Committee’s Ranking Member, released a bipartisan letter on Monday, to be sent to President Barack Obama, highlighting concerns over ongoing nuclear negotiations with Iran.
Royce and Engel circulated the letter to other House members, in hopes of garnering support and signatures.
With a looming deadline for a comprehensive nuclear agreement with Iran, the letter outlines a series of "difficult issues" which have surfaced during negotiations and have yet to be resolved. These “grave and urgent issues" pertain to the size of Iran’s uranium enrichment program, its lack of cooperation with international inspectors, and the need for an intrusive inspection regime.

And in case there is any question about "one ups man ship", this all comes on the heels of Barack Obama telling Congress to get lost on attempting to weigh in on the treaty
(Reuters) - President Barack Obama would veto a bill recently introduced in the U.S. Senate allowing Congress to weigh in on any deal the United States and other negotiating countries reach with Iran on its nuclear capabilities, the White House said on Saturday.

"The president has been clear that now is not the time for Congress to pass additional legislation on Iran.  If this bill is sent to the president, he will veto it," said Bernadette Meehan, a spokeswoman for the White House's National Security Council.
more here and here

So in terms of rude treatment, I think the prize goes to President Obama and his ardent supporter Betty McCollum.

Regardless of the outcome of the upcoming elections, March 17, there will be a significant delay in furthering the case for change to the proposed treaty. A new government will have to form and begin negations with Barack Obama. Negotiations that have met with pointed resistance and dismissal in the past.  So the time is now for presenting any message that has a hope of making an impact in the thinking behind this treaty. Since President Obama seems dedicated to making the decision this March, almost during the Israeli elections, rather than even the agreed upon June deadline. It would be difficult for the Israeli elections to be able to do anything but prevent their voice being heard.

Thus I believe it is very evident that Betty McCollum's arguments are wholly specious!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Betty McCollum and Irreconcilable Statistics

Betty McCollum shows us once again the perils of naive thinking and use of poorly handled statistics.

Arguably she does not do the analysis herself, she simply reports what her favorite organizations (agenda driven, not truth driven groups) put out, without adequate investigation. This is an excellent example of the use of "happenstance data".  In this case from the:

Women’s Foundation of Minnesota.
Below is a sampling of data from the Status of Women & Girls in Minnesota, an ongoing collaborative research project of the Women’s Foundation of Minnesota and the University of MN Humphrey School’s Center on Women & Public Policy. Annually, data specific to Minnesota women and girls is gathered and analyzed in economics, safety, health, and leadership.
As is standard for these egregious studies in the misuse of statistical data, it is an "apples to anvils" comparison taken simply by naively saying "compare all men to all women", irrespective of life choices that put them in completely different economic paths and positions. It is a statistical strategy guaranteeing flawed results that will never give a picture other than what they want, not a search for "truth". They are simply looking for "victimization" rubrics. It is a way to continue to demagogue issues, that they feel promotes their political agenda.  It is an "issue" that can never be "solved" if the data is viewed naively. Thus providing perpetual outrage and growth of pet programs.

When the data is more correctly handled, the analysis gives a much different picture. These results were published at the Huffington Post. It is a very thoughtful article with this take-away:
That's not a comparison between people who do the same work." With more realistic categories and definitions, the remaining 6.6 gap [Note: they had explained away most of the purported difference earlier in the text] would certainly narrow to just a few cents at most.
Could the gender wage gap turn out to be zero? Probably not. The AAUW correctly notes that there is still evidence of residual bias against women in the workplace. However, with the gap approaching a few cents, there is not a lot of room for discrimination. And as economists frequently remind us, if it were really true that an employer could get away with paying Jill less than Jack for the same work, clever entrepreneurs would fire all their male employees, replace them with females, and enjoy a huge market advantage.

Read the original, statistically honest/well handled, study here.

Illogical analyses like this study must never be used for determining public policy. That is how we get so many truly bad policy laws. Thoughtful analysis and prudent probative evaluation is required to have the information to make good policy decisions. Decisions that benefit our country, not undermine it.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Betty McCollum and Politics of "The Big Lie"

As I was out dropping lit for a candidate, I was engaged in a discussion with a gentleman who wanted to talk about the lack of accomplishment of Congress in this session.  While he tried to portray himself as a moderate/Republican, he continued to point toward the shortcomings of "tea partiers" as the source of the divisiveness in Washington.  His speech sounded very much like the continual referencing (with disrespect intended) of "tea-party Republicans" by Congresswoman Betty McCollum. The name calling approach is a standard tactic of those who want to dismiss and marginalize others, rather than engage in dialog and really accomplish a task. He had been swayed by the "politics of disrespect".

As I told this gentleman, the original intent of our Constitutional Republic was to create a system with "tension" (like a spring) that would make passage of poor legislation difficult.  In other words - gridlock was a decidedly good thing in the minds of the founders, because it prevented the loss of liberty for the minority.

When the Constitution was up for ratification, there was an ongoing debate, for and against, recoded in the writings of the Federalist and Anti-Federalists papers. The fears of the people for a government that disregarded the rights of the minority had to be allayed before ratification. From Federalist 10:
[Madison] thinks that "the most common and durable source of factions has been the various and unequal distribution of property. Those who hold and those who are without property have ever formed distinct interests in society". He saw direct democracy as a danger to individual rights and advocated a representative democracy in order to protect what he viewed as individual liberty from majority rule, or from the effects of such inequality within society. He says, "A pure democracy can admit no cure for the mischiefs of faction. A common passion or interest will be felt by a majority, and there is nothing to check the inducements to sacrifice the weaker party. Hence it is, that democracies have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have, in general, been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths".
Disrespect and incivility are standards of the Saul Alinsky Rules for Radicals:
5. "Ridicule is man's most potent weapon. It is almost impossible to counteract ridicule. Also it infuriates the opposition, which then reacts to your advantage."
13. Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.  In conflict tactics there are certain rules that [should be regarded] as universalities. One is that the opposition must be singled out as the target and 'frozen.'...
     "...any target can always say, 'Why do you center on me when there are others to blame as well?' When your 'freeze the target,' you disregard these [rational but distracting] arguments.... Then, as you zero in and freeze your target and carry out your attack, all the 'others' come out of the woodwork very soon. They become visible by their support of the target...'
So here is the most recent example provided by Congresswoman McCollum:

What this "politics of disrespect" accomplishes is to "poison the well" and attempt to shift the blame for a perceived "lack of progress".  Never forget that the "progress" that some may want may be a direct violation of the rights and property of others. That will get lost in the din of the ensuing flurry of accusations.  Follow the tactics of the "Big Lie"
never concede that there may be some good in your enemy; never leave room for alternatives; never accept blame; concentrate on one enemy at a time and blame him for everything that goes wrong; people will believe a big lie sooner than a little one; and if you repeat it frequently enough people will sooner or later believe it.
The demagogic use the "victim" politics appears to be the plan of the Democrat Party this year. The empty argument should not be believed, but history has demonstrated the effectiveness of the "Big Lie". If you want a real change in tone in Washington, those who practice the "Big Lie" are not who you should support.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

MNCD4 GOP Endorsement - Sharna Wahlgren

Minnesota Congressional District 4 (MNCD4) Republicans held their 2014 Convention April 26. They endorsed, by acclamation, an exciting first time candidate -- Sharna Wahlgren.

Sharna Wahlgren is a lifelong resident of Minnesota Congressional District 4. Attending Harding High School, graduating from the University of Minnesota with a degree in Economics, worked with Senator Rudy Boschwitz in Washington, and spent 20 years working in the private sector with hard working, energetic, entrepreneurs.

Sharna realized that more is required if we are going to change the course our country is now set upon. Who represents our diverse communities priorities in congress? She contrasts her middle class priorities against the far left priorities of Betty McCollum (who receives a significantly divisive 93% progressive rating) in her nomination speech at MNCD4. Watch her speech to see her describe her views and plans for winning the hearts and minds of people in CD4. Responding to the demagogic claims of Betty McCollum that Republicans engage in a "War on Women", Sharna states: "We know a strong economy is the best friend any woman has. Single or married, we know that women don't want government dependency but want to live their lives free from the grasping claws of those in government who claim to know better -- they do not know better!"

Sharna's 2014 MNCD4 Convention Speech

Sharna Wahlgren is an attorney focusing in Patent, Trademark & Franchise Matters.  The processes, tools and requirements for innovative new products, businesses, and jobs are the heart of her work for 20 years.  Her experiences have been in a very diverse range "including gemstone enhancement, chemical compounds, computer software, medical devices, commercial refrigeration systems, snowmobile equipment, automotive maintenance equipment, adhesives, consumer products, and a variety of other consumer products and mechanical devices." Sharna has also worked in real estate, including condemnation and tax appeal. Giving Sharna a base and breadth of experience that will greatly benefit constituents of CD4.

Sharna has a broad depth of understanding of business, regulation, and government policy that affect you, your job, and improving the environment affecting job creation for you and your children.  Here in Congressional District 4 we have watched as businesses have diminished and jobs have left the area and the state.  Much of the reason for this is an environment of intrusive governmental regulation and obstructiveness. Current policy and policy makers are dedicated to a path that continues to disadvantage business growth and stifles job creation.  Sharna will bring enthusiasm, knowledge, and proven ability to changing that path in Congress.

Follow Sharna's plans and efforts at: (@sharna4us)

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Harry Reid on "What right do they have"

Harry Reid often says some outlandish things, sometimes bordering on libelous, but none more so than his recent response to a question from a CNN media journalist.  It was outlandish on multiple levels and points. However these two stand out as cruel, heartless, and arrogantly incorrect.  His only intent is political gain, apparently at the risk of throwing children under the bus.

Here is the video of the question and Harry Reid's scurrilous response
Her main question was "but if you could help one child with cancer, why wouldn't you want to do that".  His response: "why would we want to do that!"

To be fair, though not sure why, that response may be less about being in context to her question, than his dismissing the real questions about financing the government.  I doubt such fairness would be afforded were it a Republican who had made such a statement

The main issue in his statements for him as a constitutional officer of the U.S. Senate is his comment
"what right do they have to pick and choose what part of government is going to be funded"

Perhaps Harry Reid should review the basic document of government, the US Constitution
Article 1 Section 7 of the Constitution!
All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with Amendments as on other Bills.

While he tries to shift the blame and call Republicans "reckless and irresponsible" it is obvious that this is no more than a game to he and President Obama.  Their stated position and strategy of absolutely no compromise is reckless.  Their strategy of closing open air parks and staffing them with more officers than Benghazi to keep closed than existed when "open" is truly irresponsible.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Playing the Debt Blame Game

From the floor of the Senate:
The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the U.S. Government can’t pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government’s reckless fiscal policies. … Increasing America’s debt weakens us domestically and internationally. Leadership means that “the buck stops here.” Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better.
Is this another "horrible idea" floated by, as Betty McCollum has described, those "Tea Party Republicans" who simply want to drive the American Economy into recession and destroy the "full faith and credit" of the United States?
From Rep Betty McCollum's web site:
"Tonight's vote was nothing less than Republican game playing with our government's debt obligations. This is a dangerous game that puts our national security, the U.S. economy, and millions of jobs in jeopardy. Congress had an opportunity tonight to ensure there are funds for our troops in harm's way and to protect America's fragile economic recovery as Congress and the President work to address the long-term fiscal crisis facing our nation. Instead the House Republican majority is signaling to global markets that it is willing to gamble with the full faith and credit of the United States."
Does this meme sound familiar?  Heard it from the left, or far left ( example MSNBC) leaning mainstream media enough to make it a mantra you could recite in your sleep?  The Republicans are to blame for shutting down Government, blocking the ability to pay Government's Bills.  Perhaps this will come as news, news I am sure you might initially reject if you are of such a mind.  Clearly those of a mind with Rep Betty McCollum reject this notion, when its convenient, and would blame Rand Paul or Ted Cruz for, in her words, "National Security, U.S. Economy, and Millions of Jobs in Jeopardy".

But the initial statement above was from then Sen. Barack Obama’s Floor Speech, March 20, 2006, providing a screed against President George W Bush's request for a debt increase. However now he is on the opposite side of the debate, speaking with equal disdain in his recent speech Sep 15, 2013
“If we continue to set a precedent in which a president … is in a situation in which each time the United States is called upon to pay its bills, the other party can simply sit there and say, ‘Well, we’re not going to put — pay the bills unless you give us … what we want,’ that changes the constitutional structure of this government entirely,” Obama said.
House Republicans, seeking to defund and delay implementation of the president’s signature health care law, have sought to use the upcoming debt ceiling and government funding fights to extract concessions from the White House.
Obama says he is drawing a line in the sand.
“What has never happened in the past was the notion that in exchange for fulfilling the full faith and credit of the United States, that we are wiping away let’s say major legislation like the health care bill,” he told Stephanopoulos.
“Never in history have we used just making sure that the U.S. government is paying its bills as a lever to radically cut government at the kind of scale that they’re talking about,” he added.
At that time, 2006, our National Debt was moving to $9 Trillion, now it currently is $16.7 Trillion, nearing double.  Each citizen owed roughly $45K, now its $52,864.93.  For a family of four, that's essentially the lifetime savings for the average American.

Every Democratic Senator in 2006 voted against the debt increase.  And in the house Betty McCollum has similarly been chameleon in her voting record:
McCollum, for example, voted against raising the debt limit every time it came up for a vote between 2002 and 2005. Since the Democrats won the House in the 2006 elections, though, she’s been a supporter of half-a-dozen measures with debt ceiling increases attached to them, including some straight increases, budget resolutions and three major economic recovery packages in 2008 and 2009 (the Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac takeover, TARP, and the stimulus package).
Were his initial statements about George W Bush hyperbole, social gaffe, lack of of leadership, or is it as as Guy Benson stated entirely self interest:
Blowing through Obama ‘red lines’ isn't typically that big of a deal if you’re a foreign butcher.  This president usually gets more animated about defeating his domestic political adversaries, so don’t worry too much about the Hitler comparisons, Bashar; the administration has likened Republicans to terrorists and segregationists, so you only rank slightly above Mitch McConnell on the rhetorical hierarchy of evil.  In any case, Obama’s definition of preserving the “constitutional structure” tends to vary, and by pure coincidence, his conclusions often align with his immediate political interests.
That was $8 trillion ago.  Obama’s decision wasn't just throw-away symbolism, either.  Democrats fell just three votes shy of defeating a debt ceiling increase to “make a point” about Bush’s (comparatively modest) spending and borrowing.  Now, 2006 Barack Obama’s actions are being lambasted by 2013 Barack Obama as reckless threats to the republic.
Under President Barack Obama and Democrat Betty McCollum we now have a much more severe threat to our Country, one might say near double the threat under their "lack of leadership". A threat fed by the continual profligate spending of those who simply denigrate opposition rather than attempt to really work on the problems.   That's "lack of leadership".

And is it not reasonable to consider the crippling impact of the unpopular Obamacare in any discussion of debt?  Even Obama's favorite go to billionaire guy Warren Buffet has said, in an article released by Money Morning;
"What we have now is untenable over time," said Buffett, an early supporter of President Obama. "That kind of a cost compared to the rest of the world is really like a tapeworm eating, you know, at our economic body."
Buffet does not believe that providing insurance for everyone is the first step to take in correcting our nation's healthcare system.
"Attack the costs first, and then worry about expanding coverage," he said.
Democrats, like Barack Obama and Betty McCollum, have never been serious about the debt.  To them it is simply a hammer to use to bludgeon opposition into following their desires, or get punished!  Yes we can do better.