A Preview Of A GOP 2014 Lit Piece

On April 24, 2013, in Gov. Dayton, Veterans, by tommy

I wrote a Community Voices story over at Twin Cities Daily Planet – “Governor’s Office, Legislature at odds over funding for Veterans Home” – because I’m a recipient of a Media Skills Fellowship and I’ll be covering veterans issues. From it:

Long story short: the Minnesota Veterans Home in Minneapolis used to be a pit. Among the Home’s campus were old buildings that had not been well maintained along with others that even had they been properly maintained were obsolete anyway. And, a dangerous one. In addition to the deferred maintenance there were problems with care to the point that patients had died. So a plan was put in place, and the turn around began.

Bottom line? There’s a 3 phase plan; phase 1 has been completed. Phase 2 has been funded, but cannot commence until Phase 3 has been funded. So this project to fix a major problem is on hold, because for some reason, the leadership hasn’t figured out what Governor Dayton’s office has: not only is it the right thing to do, it’s political suicide to do the wrong thing and NOT fund it. Right now, in the veteran community, Dayton is a hero. House and Senate leadership? Not so much, to put it mildly….

Here’s a quote from a GOPer on this very subject:

“We started renovation of the Minneapolis home back in 2009,” said Rep. Bob Dettmer (R-Forest Lake). “Are we really doing what we should be doing for our men and women who have served our country? I really feel that the perception out there that we’re not. We’re putting money into museums, state trails, sculpture gardens, nature centers and so forth. I think our men and women that have served our country over the years really deserve better. … I think we should be looking at finishing that project in Minneapolis and then going forward with some of these other concepts.”

Does anyone really think that if the DFL-led House and Senate pass a bonding bill without funding a project that’s already started that Democrats across the state won’t be seeing lit pieces based on that above quote hitting mail boxes in their districts?

This is an unforced error. And that’s becoming a pattern; just last week The Big E wrote about this one: “First raise the minimum wage”.

Any bets the GOP 2014 Lit Piece on not funding the veterans home will include that one, too?

The House and the Senate need to step up their games, and fast. Funding the veterans home, which includes a large chunk of federal money, is a good start.

(cross posted at MnProgressiveProject.com)

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Long story short: the Minnesota Veterans Home in Minneapolis used to be a pit. Among the Home’s campus were old buildings that had not been well maintained along with others that even had they been properly maintained were obsolete anyway. And, a dangerous one. In addition to the deferred maintenance there were problems with care to the point that patients had died. So a plan was put in place, and the turn around began. From an October 14, 2010 Strib story:

Outside, earth movers were starting work on a new nursing home that in two years will replace a Depression-era building condemned after steel supports began rusting away.

Last Friday a group of veterans representing nine major veterans groups called The Commanders Task Force held a press conference at the State Capitol concerning this. From their press release:

“The state veterans community is alarmed that funding for the project is in limbo at this time in both the House and Senate.”

The plan called for three phases. The first, referenced in that Strib story, was fully funded and completed. Phase II, the demolition of the north half of a building that veterans groups contend is far short of minimal standards for a quality nursing home, is funded. But, Phase II is on hold, because Phase III is the demolition of the south half of the same building. Quite simply, Phase II can’t move forward as planned if Phase III isn’t funded and scheduled.

Last Saturday, at the Minnesota 7th District VFW (“Veterans of Foreign Wars”) Convention, the Legislative Committee gave their report: DFL Leadership in neither the House nor the Senate seem to consider finishing this project a priority; in fact, House Leadership announced appointment of the Speaker’s Select Committee On Veterans Housing minutes before the Commanders Task Force’s press conference on Friday. This Committee, appointed by Speaker of the House Paul Thissen (DFL-61B) , was charged with “examin(ing) housing issues facing Minnesota veterans, including veterans with long-term care needs and homeless veterans. The committee will issue a report with their recommendations by February 1, 2014.”

To put it quite mildly, the Legislative Update report was not warmly received by the veterans in attendance. For many, far from it.

The House and the Senate’s priorities differ with Governor Dayton’s as Governor Dayton has called for fully funding Phase III. This puts the Governor’s Office squarely at odds with the Legislature on an issue that American Legion Commander Don Pankake called the number one legislative priority for the nine veterans organizations holding last Friday’s press conference. Governor Dayton’s proposed Capital Bonding bill includes funding for Phase 3 for the Minneapolis veterans Home. “Governor Dayton has committed to funding the next phase of the Minneapolis Veterans Home in his last two bonding proposals,” said Dayton spokesperson Katharine Tinucci in an email statement today. “For the benefit of our veterans, who have given so much, the Governor will continue advocating for that position throughout this legislative session.”

The State House of Representatives bonding proposal does not. A request for comment to the DFL House Caucus regarding Speaker Thissen’s thoughts about including Phase III funding this session was not returned at time of publication. With the Legislature Constitutionally required to finish its work by Monday, May 20th, Veterans groups will be watching closely to see if Legislators follow Governor Dayton’s lead by including funding for a project underway.

(cross posted from Twin Cities Daily Planet)

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The language on the ballot on November 6th is quite simple, voter supression proponents would have you believe. And they are going ballistic because Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie (among others) has stated that if this voter suppression amendment passes, the photo ID used to vote must contain the voter’s current address.

Does the voter suppression ballot measure, in it’s entirety and linked to above and here state that a current address on the ID is required to vote? No. So, where did MnSOS Mark Ritchie get the idea that passage of this odious amendment will require a current address? Let’s look!

First, let’s look at what the website of a leading voter suppression proponent states:

The Voter ID amendment simply requires a government-issued identification for voting — this could include a Minnesota driver’s license, state ID, a passport, a military ID, a tribal ID or even an out-of-state driver’s license. The amendment does not require an ID with the individual’s current address; it is only used to verify identity. The Voter ID amendment is silent on residence verification, leaving that to existing statutes. A voter may verify identity with photo ID, and if the address on the ID is not current, statutes allow verification of residence in the precinct with a utility bill, among other options. (emphasis added)

The Voter ID amendment is silent…” Well, yes, it is. But, the bill proposed by the GOP that wound it’s way through the legislature – eventually vetoed by Governor Dayton – certainly wasn’t!

You can link here to Senate File 509, otherwise known as the Voter Suppression Amendment; this link follows the “progress” of this odious bill (and it’s companion in the House, HF 210) from introduction through Governor Dayton’s veto.

And you can link here to read the entire bill.

I’m going to highlight a few key items to highlight that while that odious amendment on the ballot doesn’t require an address, that’s exactly what the proponents proposed to do, and given time and power, that’s exactly what they WILL do. Let’s look at a screenshot from the Journal Of The Senate on May 18th, 2011:

OK, see that part highlighted, to the right? It reads: “(1) a Minnesota driver’s license, state identification card, or voter identification card issued under section 171.07 that contains the voter’s current address of residence in the precinct;” (emphasis added). It’s quite clear of the intent of the authors of this odious amendment that the Photo ID had to have a current address on it.

Let’s take a closer look at some more of this section:

“Subd. 2. Photo identification….” Here’s the cut ‘n pastes from this subdivision: “(1)…that contains the voter’s current address of residence …” & “(2)(i)…that contains the voter’s current address of residence …” & (3)…the voter’s current address of residence…”

It’s clear; the authors intend that Minnesota Law require a photo id to have the voter’s current address on it – if they get their way.

Governor Dayton is trying his best, to make sure they don’t. Let’s look at his veto message the the GOP-controlled legislature:

“Dear President Fischbach:
With this letter, I am vetoing and returning Chapter 69, Senate File 509, a bill requiring voters to provide photo identification with their current address before receiving a ballot, establishing a new provisional voting system, and making other changes to election administration. (emphasis added).”

Everybody at the Capitol knew EXACTLY what the GOP Majority in the House and Senate was trying to do – require a current address on a photo ID for it to be “acceptable” – with very few exceptions and military ID wasn’t one of them.

It is quite disingenuous for the voter suppression proponents to claim now, anything else.

My only quibble with what MnSOS Mark Ritchie said, that passage of this odious amendment would require an ID with current address, is it didn’t qualify it with a “sooner or later” after it.

Because clearly, that’s what these right wing extremists want to do. Passage of this amendment will be bad enough (adding an unfunded mandate to local governments is only the start), sooner or later these right wing extremists will make it worse.

More on this odious voter suppression amendment, later – including it’s affects on voting by active duty military stationed outside of Minnesota. Stay tuned!

And in the meantime, remember: You Couldn’t Trust The GOP Then, You Still Can’t Now, And Tomorrow Won’t Be Any Different.

(cross posted at MnProgressiveProject; comments welcome there)

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…”compromise is the DFL doing it OUR way.”

Rather than taking the time on the last day of the Easter Break to pay their overdue bills, Minnesota’s GOP “Leaders” took off on a fly around to eight cities yesterday – the “Cooked Books Tour.”

The goal was to sell their budget bills. Here’s how Big E, a couple o’ weeks ago, described the GOPer bills:

They have broken precedent and are using numbers created by business lobbyists and other states. The MMB and Dept of Revenue question the validity of their numbers.

Personally, I like the Twitter hashtag – #EnronAccounting – to describe the GOPer’s make (stuff) up numbers, but hey – that’s just me. So, while flying around the great state, did the GOPers leave any room for compromise between them and DFL Governor Mark Dayton? Let’s look!

First stop, Rochester. From the Post Bulletin, here’s the lede:

With less than a month until the legislative session deadline, GOP legislative leaders on Monday reiterated they will not consider tax increases as part of a final budget deal.

“There is a lot of room to compromise and we will compromise and we will cooperate with the governor. We’re just not going to compromise our principles and we’re not raising taxes. Minnesotans can’t afford it,” said Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch, R-Buffalo.

To recap: GOPers ran on not raising taxes, DFL Governor Mark Dayton ran on raising taxes on those paying less than their fair-share: the rich. It’s a matter of principle for both, and the GOP’s solution?

“Compromise is the DFL doing it OUR way.”

Next stop, Mankato. From The Free Press, here’s the lede:

MANKATO — During a stop in Mankato Monday, Republican leaders of the Minnesota House and Senate again vowed to oppose any of the state tax increases Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton is insisting be part of budget compromise.
The legislative leaders were asked about a Minneapolis Star Tribune report on Sunday that backroom discussions at the Capitol showed some GOP willingness to consider possible revenue increases as part of a compromise budget, including closing tax loopholes that mostly benefit high-income Minnesotans. Dayton’s budget proposal focuses tax hikes on higher income tax brackets, based on the argument that wealthier Minnesotans are paying a lower percentage of their income in state and local taxes than middle-class residents.

“Don’t believe them,” Deputy Senate Majority Leader Geoff Michel said. “Don’t believe the Star Tribune.”

Message from GOPers, at Mankato? Well, there’s TWO messages:

1 – “Compromise is the DFL doing it OUR way.”, and

2 – “Don’t believe the Star Tribune.”

Way to work the refs Geoff!

The fly around included Bemidji; from The Pioneer:

(GOPer Senator Amy) Koch said the business climate can’t improve until the state government gets the budget under control. With that accomplished, the economy will grow, she said.

“This is about so much more than making the books balance,” she said.

“…so much more than making the books balance.”??!?

Yeah, “right.” For the GOP, it’s about cookin’ the books, too.

From the St. Cloud Times:

Less than a month remains before May 23, the scheduled end to the 2011 legislative session that’s prescribed in Minnesota’s Constitution. Yet Republican legislators and Gov. Mark Dayton appear to be miles apart on how to dispatch the state’s deficit.

Republicans would balance the $5 billion deficit primarily with spending cuts, and by delaying repayment of a funding shift to school districts.

Dayton’s budget proposal also would delay repayment of the school-district shift, and would cut projected spending by an additional $300 million in the next two years.

But the Dayton plan also would generate about $3.3 billion in new state revenues, by hiking income taxes on the state’s highest earners and imposing new fees and surcharges on health care providers and individuals.

In an interview after Monday’s event, (St Cloud GOP State Senator John) Pederson expressed optimism that legislators and Dayton can find common ground.

“There probably is some room for compromise, if we can stay away from the tax increases,” Pederson said.

Once again, the GOP position is clear: “compromise is the DFL doing it OUR way.”

From the Alexandria Echo Press:

Published April 22, 2011, 12:00 AM

GOP leaders to stop in Alexandria Monday
Minnesota Senate and House GOP leaders will be doing a statewide fly-around on Monday, April 25. They will be arriving at the Alexandria Airport around 4:40 p.m.

Oops! The GOPer’s Cooked Books Tour couldn’t even get coverage; it seems one paper had the good sense to ignore the BS the GOP is spewing.

Here’s what the Duluth News Tribune had to say:

Published April 25, 2011, 08:57 AM
Minnesota GOP legislative leaders to tour Duluth, state
Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch and House Speaker Kurt Zellers start this morning in St. Paul before making stops in Rochester, Mankato, St. Cloud, Moorhead, Bemidji, Alexandria and Duluth.”

Oops, AGAIN!!!

From Fargo-Moorhead Forum:

MOORHEAD – Minnesota Re publican legislative leaders made a stop here Monday to promote their party’s plan for battling the state’s budget deficit.

“We say: ‘What’s in our checkbook is what we have to spend,’ ’’ said Sen. Majority Leader Amy Koch of Buffalo.

Three points – as noted here, GOPers were quite comfortable ordering recount copying services when they didn’t have the “money in the checkbook” to pay for it, and “what’s in the checkbook is what there is to spend” is obviously a concept unfamiliar to squawk-talker and reliable GOPer bootlicker Mitch Berg; and once again, GOPer Senator Amy Koch paints her party into a corner with no negotiating room, unless:

“compromise is the DFL doing it OUR way.”

Get ready for the GOPers to shut this state down, folks – in GOPer world, there is no compromise.

(cross posted at MnProgressiveProject.com; comments welcome there)

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On October 16th, I asked several fellow veterans about a comment the Republican Candidate for Governor in Minnesota – Tom Emmer – said to the Marshall Independent newspaper on 9/26/09. That quote by Emmer – “I don’t believe you can be a freedom-loving American and be a Democrat” was not widely reported in the allegedly “liberal” mainstream media.

This video documents a few Veterans responses to Emmer saying, essentially, that Democrats, even military veterans, can’t be real patriots.

I’d like to remind everyone that on 07 April 1775, Samuel Johnson said that “Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.”

On 26 September 2009, Republican Candidate for Governor Tom Emmer demonstrated that he indeed is a scoundrel.

I paid for this with my dime. It’s not not approved by any candidate nor is any candidate responsible for it. It’s my deal and my deal only. Let’s look!

(YouTube direct link here)

(cross posted from MnProgressiveProject.com, please post comments there)

I read the story in MinnPost, and when I got to this:

“This gets to a core issue. You can’t hold yourself to a different standard than you hold everyone else.” — MN GOP Chair Tony Sutton


Tony “Deficit Spending” Sutton said THAT??!?

But, that’s a tangent, which was dealt with yesterday in a post titled “Republicans Believe In Fiscal Responsibility (Except When They Don’t).

Today’s post is about todays example of GOPer hypocrisy and the rule of law.

Boiled down, Dayton’s Senate Office (way back) was sued by a former employee; the case dragged on and On and ON. It was finally settled, and the terms of the settlement included standard legal mumbo-jumbo that basically both sides – defendant Dayton and plaintiff (deleted – who cares?) had to keep their mouths shut and not – NOT – talk about it under the force of law.

But, along comes ol’ Double-Standard Sutton, holding a presser demanding Dayton answer questions about the lawsuit Double-Standard Sutton knows damned well Dayton can’t answer.

At this point, the Gentle Reader might wonder how the ol’ TwoPutter knows that Sutton knows that Dayton can’t answer. Well, I’ll tell ya:

It’s because I got the court paperwork telling both sides to keep their mouths shut – get this – from the State GOP’s website!!!!

The State GOP posted the legal paperwork that shows Dayton can’t talk about the settled lawsuit, and then demands that Dayton talk about the settled lawsuit! They’re insisting Dayton violate court orders that they posted!!!

This stuff simply cannot be made up.

(cross posted from MnProgressiveProject.com; please comment there)

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…”Houston, we have a problem.”

Yes, that’s correct: subtract MAK’s 39.93 from 100 (with 98% reporting), and the vaunted DFL Endorsement Process got spanked. Badly. Deservedly? I think so. And while that’s not likely to win me many friends over at Plato Avenue, it’s not like I have a lot over there anyway. So, I’ll go ahead and say it – even though as a rule, I don’t rip those in the DFL tent. Why should I? MudSlingerMike And His Minions do it all the time (even though they’re usually just makin’ sh*t up). But, real journalists (I make no claims to be ‘journalist’ – I’m a ‘pundit’ and there’s a BIG difference) like Bob Collins over on Minnesota Public Radio are calling it like they see it, so in this post I will too. Back to Bob over at MPR:

People who vote on Primary Day in August are more likely to be the most engaged, often activist party members. That’s what makes Sen. Mark Dayton’s win over DFL-endorsed Margaret Anderson Kelliher more shocking. There are plenty of campaigns and political careers in tatters today, but the value of a DFL endorsement is — at least for now — on the trash heap of history. And someone’s going to pay.

Indeed. Because someone (actually, a bunch) SHOULD pay; whether that actually happens remains to be seen. And that’s just in MN-GOV; for instance, there’s probably plenty of quotes – with language unprintable here at your family-friendly MPP – about the “value” of a DFL Endorsement from Team Powers down in CD-02, but: that’s a tangent with different dynamics. I’m going to focus on MN-GOV (for now). Before that, I highly recommend MPP’s dedicated readers go read this. Now. Bob Collins is writing nothing there that a lot of insiders have been muttering about for quite a while. My take? There should be resignations in a pile over at Plato Avenue – with Andy O’Leary’s at the top.

Remember, Andy was “in charge” when the infamous “Grandma Learning English” YouTube was imbedded in an email blast to the DFL’s media list.

Oops!!! In the subsequent search for the guilty, there was an attempted punishment of an innocent….

And while some may have forgotten ’bout that “oops!” (or, wish they could), I’m sure MudSlingerMike And His Minions haven’t; that’s one they won’t have to make up.

So, what’s transpired since then? Oh, a couple of Sample Ballot SNAFU’s and other “minor” mistakes…

But, rather than dwell on that, let’s go back to Duluth, in April.

And before we get to the top of the problem, let’s consider that while the powers that be refused to let a guy that’s won state-wide for the DFL twice – Mark Dayton – was refused permission to address the party faithful, Ole Savior was. (Note: that’s not a real blog. Yes, it LOOKS real, and COULD be real, but: it isn’t).

Here’s what Ole told the party faithful at the Duluth DFL Convention:

“I’ll probably get eliminated on the first ballot, but that’s OK. I’ll be in the primary,” Ole Savior promises.

And, guess what? Ole was in the primary: for the GOP.

Ole gets to address the DFL State Convention; former Senator Dayton doesn’t.

I’m tellin’ ya, they got real geniuses over at Plato Avenue…

And, how ’bout the brain-trust’s decision to P.O. The Teamsters in Duluth? How’d THAT one work out for ya, Andy?

Of course, Andy is only Executive Director; let’s look at what Andy’s boss – Brian Melendez – told the crowd in Duluth (it’s at about the 54:00 minute mark):

Rick (Nelson) was a political activist. Now I mention that Rick and I shared some obscure passions and of course political activism isn’t an obscure passion – activists are a dime a dozen. But Rick was one of a kind. His long time dedication to our party was unmatched. Especially his …
(emphasis added)

“…activists are a dime a dozen.”

“Did I really just hear that??!?” was asked by more than just the ol’ TwoPutter…

OK, ok – I realize Brian was eulogizing a friend. But, this wasn’t an emotional “heat of the moment” trashing of “dime a dozen” activists; this was Brian reading from prepared remarks to a State Convention. BIG difference. And clearly, clearly how Brian feels about activists.

Such as Teamsters, AFSCME, yada yada yada.

There’s a problem on Plato, and it starts at the top.

As regular readers know, I’m a veteran. And in the military, after every – EVERY – mission, there’s something called (well, it was back in the day, when the ol’ TwoPutter wore a uniform) an After Action Report. And after – EVERY – mission, a hard look was taken at what just happened, to learn what went right and what went wrong. To learn what worked and what didn’t. To make changes to make sure mistakes weren’t repeated.

Now, I know that some folk are gonna be mighty unhappy for me writing this, but: most of ‘em are probably those that made mistakes, and the last thing they want is the light o’ day shined on what went wrong.

Not shining a light; not having an honest and dispassionate discussion of what has happened, gentle readers, is how mistakes get repeated: over and Over and OVER.

It’s time for a cold, clear, and hard look at the endorsement process – AFTER the election. Prior to that, there’s a desperate need to look at who performed and who didn’t; what worked and what didn’t; and make changes. FAST.

Or, before you know it, it’ll be Gov. Tom “I don’t believe you can be a patriotic American and be a Democrat” Emmer takin’ TBag’s place in the corner office.

(cross posted from MnProgressiveProject.com; comments welcome there)

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