August 16, 2019
Quote of the Week: “Poor kids are just as bright and just as talented as white kids.”
In This Issue:
THE LEVIATHAN COMETH
Finding and documenting waste, fraud and abuse in Minnesota government is like shooting fish in a barrel.
It may be easy, but it’s very important.
The state will spend this biennium over $45 billion of your hard-earned money.
Of that amount, over $13 billion will be spent on health and human services by the Department of Human Services (DHS).
DHS has been in the news quite a bit lately, as scandal after scandal has engulfed the beleaguered agency.
It seems as if the story of Minnesota government is simply a revolving door of agencies trading places and rotating the title of “worst agency.”
The busiest man in government has to be Jim Nobles, who runs the Office of Legislative Auditor (OLA), which is responsible for investigating and auditing state government.
He is now in the process of firing up an investigation into how HHS overpaid two Indian tribes over $25 over the course of about 5 years, according to initial estimates.
It’s nothing short of appalling to consider the turmoil and scandal emanating from HHS in the recent past:
October 2013: MnSURE (Obamacare) web site launch failure. Ultimately, the web site would cost $190 million to get up and running.
January 2016: A failure to properly determine eligibility for various programs results in at least $271 million in improper benefits being paid.
July 2017: $7.7 million in fraudulent Medicaid payments discovered.
April 2018: DHS writes off over $30 million in Minnesota Care premiums because of software problems.
May 2018: The OLA reports significant problems with oversight of the DHS Childcare Assistance Program (CCAP). OLA noted, “DHS did not implement sufficient program integrity controls for licensing childcare providers and lacked some key controls to identify errors and to inhibit, track, and recover improper payments.”
July 2018: Data breach at DHS exposes the personal data of 21,000 citizens.
September 2018: Data breach at DHS exposes the personal data of 3,000 citizens.
April 2019: Data breach at DHS exposes the personal data of 11,000 citizens.
June 2019: Medical director at DHS demands more agency accountability measures – gets fired.
July 2019: After placing the DHS Inspector General on investigatory leave, it’s revealed that the investigation has yet to even begin.
July 2019: Top deputies resign.
July 2019: DHS commissioner resigns after only months on the job.
August 2019: DHS overpays two Indian tribes over $25 million, OLA starts investigation.
It’s hard to believe that so many taxpayers want to give the DFL total control, resulting in more unaccountable money being spent, along with no real desire to exercise the legislature’s oversight obligations.
GREEN’S DIRTY SECRET
The “renewable” energy crowd has long gotten away with propagating an image of the industry as pristine, clean, and nothing but beneficial for the environment.
Take the wind industry, which is dominated by massive, and growing, wind turbines that dot America’s prairie’s and coast lines.
To start, the turbines are an eyesore, which is why so many liberal NIMBY’s don’t want them in their own backyards.
The vista from the veranda of summer homes on Martha’s Vineyard surely can’t be sullied, even if in the name of saving the planet from the ravages of global cooling, er, global warming, er, climate “disruption.”
Moreover, the turbines every year kill and maim increasing numbers of federally protected birds, including the Bald Eagle.
Most importantly, these turbines are filled with a great deal of metals, much of it mined from jurisdictions with appalling environmental records.
While different models require different amounts of these metals, the “ballpark” estimate of one 3 mega-watt turbine is as follows:
335 tons of steel;
4.7 tons of copper;
1,200 tons of concrete;
3 tons of aluminum;
2 tons of rare earth elements, including neodymium and dysprosium.
Much of these elements and their constituent parts must be mined, which is normally anathema to eco-nut crowd, who spend a lot of time opposing mining.
More troubling, the necessary rare earth metals are mined and processed in China, a country both hostile to American national security and a country sporting a reprehensible environmental record.
It is estimated that China controls over 95% of the world’s rare earth deposits, and has the market cornered in large part because most first world countries won’t issue permits for such mining.
The U.S. wind industry requires between 5 and 6 million pounds of rare earth metals each year.
Note that the mining of neodymium and dysprosium produces radioactive waste on a one to one basis.
For every ton of the mineral mined, it produces a ton of radioactive waste, according to the Bulletin of Atomic Science.
As one can appreciate, China doesn’t have disposal safeguards in place that even come close to protecting people and the environment. Horror stories of Chinese citizens near these mines becoming sick and dying are legion.
Compare that to America, where radioactive waste storage is so thick with standards and safeguards, we can’t even get a permanent storage site in desolate Nevada approved.
Solar panels aren’t a whole lot better.
These panels contain materials like cadmium telluride, copper indium selenide, cadmium gallium (di)selenide, copper indium gallium (di)selenide, hexafluoroethane, lead, and polyvinyl fluoride. Additionally, silicon tetrachloride, a byproduct of producing crystalline silicon, is highly toxic.
There are increasing concerns that these chemicals can be washed out of panels by rainwater. Moreover, they certainly get washed into the ground when panels are broken during severe weather outbreaks like thunderstorms and hurricanes.
In any case, despite the presence of these chemicals, solar panels are currently disposed of by chucking them in landfills.
It is estimated that in 2016, 250,000 metric tons of solar panel waste was produced world-wide.
Moreover, the economics of recycling solar panels don’t turn a profit, meaning that there is no market incentive to recycle the panels in the absence of subsidies.
The bottom line is that “clean” energy isn’t so clean and comes with its own trade-offs.
It isn’t just coal, nuclear, and natural gas that comes with a downside.
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
C/O K Solutions LLC
3083 Victoria Street
Roseville, MN 55113
(Anonymous submissions accepted!)