June 7, 2019
Editor’s Note: The Watchdog solemnly observes this week the 75th anniversary of Operation Overlord, a pivotal moment in American history. May we never forget the brave men who stormed the beaches, landed in drop zones behind enemy lines, and the others who supported them by air, land, and sea to defeat tyranny.
Quote of the Week: “We're here to mark that day in history when the Allied armies joined in battle to reclaim this continent to liberty. For 4 long years, much of Europe had been under a terrible shadow. Free nations had fallen, Jews cried out in the camps, millions cried out for liberation. Europe was enslaved, and the world prayed for its rescue. Here in Normandy the rescue began. Here the Allies stood and fought against tyranny in a giant undertaking unparalleled in human history.”
In This Issue:
While the legislature has gone home until 2020 (probably), there is always news to report, for better or worse.
This week, House Speaker Melissa Hortman said she was open to a September special session to tackle an insulin price regulation bill as well as a “modest” capital investment bill, otherwise known as a “bonding” bill.
This sentiment on the part of the speaker is a bit strange.
One, if the insulin issue is truly a health care emergency as it’s been described, why wait three months to do something?
Either it needs to happen now or it can wait until February.
That’s some bizarre messaging. “This is an emergency we will tackle once we get back from the cabin and wolf down some cheese curds at the State Fair.”
Moreover, a bonding bill certainly isn’t needed in special session.
One reason is that there are plenty of bonding projects still in the pipeline that have been authorized in previous bonding bills but have yet to come to fruition.
According to Minnesota Management and Budget, the state has over $103 million in authorized yet unspent bonding that is in danger of cancellation because they were authorized in 2014 or earlier and will cancel under state law unless given further dispensation.
So, when you have $103 million in aged money about to cancel, a $500 million bill isn’t any kind of priority.
Speaking of bonding, Rep. Patrick Garofalo (R – Farmington) this week released a proposal that would increase transparency and result in better projects by breaking the bonding bill into five separate bills, allocated by subject area.
Instead of one, all-or-nothing bonding bill, there would instead by five: higher education, transportation, infrastructure, asset preservation, and a “miscellaneous” category.
This process would hopefully reintroduce a meaningful role for the committees of competent jurisdiction to exercise authority, lending their subject matter expertise.
It would good public policy to have the transportation committee have a role in deciding which bonding projects to fund.
The break-up would also reduce the practice of jamming meritless projects into one large bill, forcing legislators to swallow bad projects (e.g. snow making machines) in order to secure core function funding (e.g. building prisons).
Finally, such reforms would hopefully put an end to the bi-partisan practice of assembling bonding bills behind closed doors and then simply producing one, much in the same way Athena was born.
Over in the executive branch, it’s worth noting that Governor Walz issued not a single veto this session, something that hasn’t happened since 1978.
While this publication doesn’t share the governor’s world view, it is nonetheless a pleasant surprise to see a chief executive properly assume the role, giving respect to the legislature and the legislative process.
This is a marked contract to Mark B. Dayton, who conducted himself as a petulant, spoiled child for eight years.
It’s almost as if Mr. Dayton was some sort of trust fund rich kid.
Finally, the Minnesota Court of Appeals this week upheld the Walz administration appeal, begun under Mark Dayton, of the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) granted to the Line 3 pipeline replacement project.
Apparently, the 13,500-page FEIS was lacking in the mind of the three-judge panel (2-1 decision) that overruled the judgement of the Public Utilities Commission, which deemed the FEIS adequate.
The most studied pipeline in world history will now undergo further revision and review to better assess the impact of an oil spill in the Lake Superior Watershed.
As Attorney General William Barr conducts his investigation into the domestic spying operation against the Trump Campaign, it’s helpful to take in various aspects of this appalling and pervasive hoax that cost taxpayers $35 million and failed to prove its raison d’etre, collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
Start with the fact that over a dozen of Special Counsel Mueller’s prosecutors are registered Democrats, including Jeannie Rhee, who served in the Obama Administration.
Also consider what happened to various targets of the witch hunt, er, investigation.
Jerome Corsi. Corsi, 72, endured more than 40 hours of interrogation in a windowless room and racked up over $100,000 in legal fees.
Corsi’s friends and family were subjected to unannounced FBI visits and Corsi himself suffered heart troubles.
In the end, he was never indicted and is no longer the subject of active investigation.
Jason Fishbein. Fishbein, an attorney, had once done legal work for WikiLeaks.
The FBI grilled him for over 6 hours and gathered more than 500 pages of documents from him.
He was asked about his foreign travels and a poker friend with a “Russian-sounding” name.
Fishbein was never charged.
Carter Page. In many ways a central figure in the spying scandal, Page was put under surveillance during the campaign and subsequently interrogated before a grand jury.
Now nearly bankrupt because of legal fees, Page was never charged with a crime.
Joseph Schmitz. A Trump campaign staffer, Schmitz was never implicated by Mueller, yet was the subject of leaks and media pursuit.
In particular, CNN came after him, staking out his home and confronting him on camera with questions about the now-debunked bogus dossier.
CNN then ran a story insinuating Mueller might be investigation Schmitz.
This publicity tarnished Schmitz’s reputation.
He was never charged.
Freedom loving people everywhere are eagerly anticipating the Barr investigation.
Watchdog sources in Washington tell the publication that the attorney general’s investigation will soon bear fruit and news will be forthcoming “soon.”
The Watchdog is considering creating a trivia game entitled, “Medieval Times or 2019 California?”
Consider that Los Angeles is currently facing a typhus outbreak, a disease carried by infected fleas and transmitted by rats.
Over 1,000 people in the area have been sickened by Hepatitis A, a disease spread through fecal matter.
Piles of trash and garbage openly fester on the streets.
Instead of hosting a “Skid Row”, the entire town has become one, save for the bucolic lands of the rich, hidden behind iron gates and security guards.
Up in San Francisco, the situation is similar, except that the city has benefited from the immense talents of tech industry wunderkinds, who have developed apps that show where piles of human feces have been laid down, kind of like a traffic app for poop.
“Avoid Main Street at Fourth. Stinky mess. Use Maple Street.”
No wonder people are fleeing the state like the plague has come.
Give it time.
Welcome to my web site!
I created this website in response to governmental waste and abuse in Anoka County.
Many taxpayers don’t know that our local governments spend millions of tax dollars every year on things like public relations teams, lobbyists, and junkets to places like Hawaii.
Since there seemed to be no place to turn for the “other side” of these issues, I created the Anoka County Watchdog. My intent is to create a one-stop-shop where concerned taxpayers can find fact-supported information and other resources to counter the governmental machine. Many people want to confront their elected officials regarding waste and abuse but feel they don’t have the information they need to make an effective argument. This web site offers that information.
Some of our elected officials in Anoka County have become arrogant and unresponsive, forgetting that they work for the very people who put them in office. It’s high time to hold them accountable for their decisions.
Harold E. Hamilton
US Mail: Anoka County Watchdog
7956 Main Street NE
Minneapolis, MN 55432
(Anonymous submissions accepted!)