On Wisconsin

Minnesota and Wisconsin Report

It’s usually hard for someone from Minnesota to say anything good about Wisconsin, but this year the electoral results of the Badger State are very significant. If Donald J Trump  loses in the state to our east, he will likely lose the election in many other quarters and as we believe will have the poorest showing for reelection of any other Presidential Candidate.

In this instance we will be cheering for the  Red and White to out perform their 2016 result where Donald J Trump won by 22,748 votes. Show Progress!

It’s Good Biden Comes to MN, But He Needs To Go To Tougher Areas in the 1st, 7th & 8th

National and Minnesota Report

When former President Joe Biden (D) lands in Duluth later today he will be in friendly territory, but if he is going to have any impact, he needs to go elsewhere in the state. In Duluth, Hillary Clinton (D) carried the city handily over Donald J Trump (R) looking at the House Districts there 03B Clinton 49.68% to Trump 42.21%, 07A, Clinton 61.42% to Trump 27.96% 07B Clinton 58.38% to Trump 32.31% and also did so in St Louis County 51.39% to 39,70%, but Trump won the 8th Congressional District 53.76% to Clinton 38.27% and it is a far different picture in the neighboring counties. Carelton Clinton 46.46% to Trump 44.81%. Koochiching Clinton 36.24% Trump 56.09%. Aitken Clinton 59.76%Trump 33.95%.

Remember the entire 7th Congressional District voted for Trump 61.37% to Clinton 30.82% and in the 1st Congressional District it was Trump 52.85% to Clinton 38.06%.

Granted, Duluth has the television stations that cover the area including northern Wisconsin, but impact could be felt more if he also went to Bemidji, Moorehead and Rochester.

While Siberia Burns Putin Fiddles Around

Minneasota and National Report

Yesterday, FBI Director Charles Wray, testified before the House Homeland Security Committee and confirmed the Russian is playing an active role in trying to influence our elections. The Russian Trolls and spoofed websites are continuing at full tilt and since this is a form of espionage, we expect Vladimir Putin is fully apprised and likely authorized the activity.

Russia, like the United States is experiencing vast wild fires. In 2019 6.4 million acres burned and currently 27 million have been scorched. This produces significant carbon release into the atmosphere, but also the permafrost is now compromised and the loss is further expressed.

The lack of rain and winter snow, which is a direct result of climate change is affecting land on the other side of the globe and the entire planet during this global pandemic, which was reducing the amount of carbon release prior to the onset of summer.

We wonder if Putin told Donald J Trump (R) that climate change is real, would he believe it?

Feehan Should Push Hagedorn on COVID, Hard

Minnesota and National Report

In this election, every race is not about the actual competitors, it’s about Donald J Trump (R) .Since the 1st Congressional District is home to the prestigious Mayo Clinic, and because of the significance of it in the region both health-wise and economically, candidate Dan Feehan (DFL-MN01) should hammer Congressman Jim Hagedorn (R-MN01) on the issue of the COVID-19 pandemic and show his true colors as a Trump loyalist. As we have stated before Hagedorn’s PAC is named Magadorn PAC.

The more hard-pressed Hagedorn is, to defend Trump and his misrepresentations, overstatements, falsities, and abject lies and fall equally on any candidate for office that is of the same party. Again, the GOP is now the party of Trump and the R no longer stands for Republican, but now stands for Racist. Every spoken word from Trump should be attributed to every candidate on the other side of the aisle as if they said it themselves.

In turn, Feehan should get regular reports from physicians at Mayo on what should be done to protect our citizenry in direct opposition to Trump and his cronies.

Hey, Dan Feehan support the science!

If the Kelley Rejection was About Jobs, Why Wasn’t Their Votes Traded for a Vote on the Bonding Bill by Bakk and Tomassoni?

Minnesota Report

Since, former Majority Leader Tom Bakk (DFL-03, Cook) and Sen David Tomassoni (DFL-06, Chisholm) were the two DFL votes against the confirmation of Commerce Commissioner Steve Kelley, which resulted in a 33-31 vote, because as we inferred, Sen Jim Abeler (R-35-Anoka) abstained and Sen David Senjem (R-25, Rochester) voted in favor. We thought some history and political intrigue was worth noting.

Bakk, Tomassoni and Kelley all served in the House and the Senate at the same time and the northern Senators held no love for the Hopkins native. Kelley began his legislative career in the House 1993-96 then the Senate 1997-2006, while Bakk served in the House 1995-2002 and Senate 2003-present and Tomassoni came to the House 1993-2000 and moved to the Senate 2000-present. Iron Rangers fully understand the concept of horse-trading and if Governor Tim Walz (DFL-MN) wanted to protect his appointments he should have called Bakk and Tomassoni and made sure they stated on the One Minnesota team.

We have heard there are talks underway with Sen Paul Gazelka (R-09, Nisswa) continuing on a 1.3 billion Bonding Bill, but he is not the obstruction House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt (R-31A, Crown) is.

So, even had Bakk and Tomassoni traded their votes in this fashion it likely won’t matter unless Bakk can get his fishing buddy Daudt to move. Maybe Walz should call Bakk and ask him to do so. At least, if he had Republicans could make the claim the rejection was bipartisan.

Ramsey County Has Stealth SUV’s

Minnesota Report

On Monday, we were passed by a Ramsey County Sheriff’s SUV painted black, but without the white side panels clearly displaying what it was. Instead the entire vehicle was painted black and the identification was in a slightly lighter variation or matted.

This is a technique that has been in use elsewhere in the nation, but it’s our first sighting of the paint job.

We have an inquiry into the Ramsey County Sheriff’s office to learn how many of these vehicles on the road, but haven’t as yet learned the number. This hiding in plain sight is not the type of deterrent a more highly visible law enforcement presence affords, but Sheriff’s rarely pull people over for traffic stops, they leave that to the local police and the state patrol.

A Worthy Slimy Addition to Animal Feed

Minnesota Report

The impact of climate change is felt broadly throughout our society and the animal industry is a large contributor to methane gas. This significant in our state because of the poultry, bovine, swine, equine, and other ruminants, but there maybe a solution at-hand. We have recently learned that the introduction of seaweed into the dietary stream of these animals could eliminate as much as 60% of the methane produced. https://www.technologyreview.com/2018/11/23/1826/how-seaweed-could-shrink-livestocks-global-carbon-hoofprint/

We think this is an idea worth pursuing by the poultry, cattle, horse and pig industries.

Walz Announces 4th Special Session

Minnesota Report

This information was taken from a press release. Yesterday, Governor Tim Walz (DFL-MN) announced that he will convene the 4th special legislative session on September 11, 2020. He intends to extend the COVID-19 peacetime emergency by another 30 days, claiming it will ensure the state can continue to quickly and effectively respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“While Minnesota has taken life-saving action, the threat of COVID-19 remains,” said Walz. “It’s imperative that we have the tools necessary to respond to this rapidly-evolving virus quickly and decisively in order to safeguard the health and wellbeing of each and every Minnesotan.”

“COVID-19 is unpredictable, and there is still so much that we do not know,” said Lt. Governor Flanagan. “This pandemic is not over. With the fall and winter months fast approaching, we know the next stages of this virus will continue to present a challenge, especially to underserved communities. We must be prepared to respond quickly and efficiently in order to keep all Minnesotans healthy, safe, and informed.”

Minnesota’s peacetime emergency is consistent with the ongoing national emergency declared by the President and the emergencies declared in every state in the U.S. These states of emergency allow governors and other officials to quickly respond to rapidly evolving threats stemming from COVID-19.

Since the Governor declared a peacetime emergency, Minnesota has taken strong steps to respond to and provide relief for COVID-19, including enhancing protections for veterans in our veterans homes, activating the National Guard to assist in relief efforts, partnering with Mayo Clinic and the University of Minnesota to launch a statewide testing strategy to test all symptomatic people, and providing economic relief and stability to those impacted by the pandemic.

Senate Confirmations and Rejections

Minnesota Report

There is trouble brewing in River City, or in this case, St Paul regarding various Commissioners appointments by Governor Tim Walz (DFL-MN). We have had direct conversations with members of the Senate Republican Caucus, and believe Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka (R-09, Nisswa) has better keep a close eye on his members. The question is, will the MNSCR, operation more like Henry VIII who chopped of his wife’s heads one at a time of more like the Reign of Terror during the French Revolution where many heads fell via the guillotine?

The crass tweet sent out by House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt (R-31A, Crown) saying, “Looks like the senate is executing a prisoner today,” shares sentiments with some of the more extreme members of the Senate majority caucus, who would like to reject all of Walz’ appointments and hamstring the government. We have learned certain members of the MNSRC feel Gazelka is not completed honest or transparent with his fellow Republicans and has been characterized as providing the best information to the last person he talks to before taking any action.

The tactic of rejecting appointment is a Flintstone club maneuver rather than a surgical approach, and may have damaged the caucus. The MNSRC voted on party lines to reject Labor and Industry Commissioner Peggy Leppink, and they did so on a 34-32 vote, with Sen Jim Abeler (R-35, Anoka) abstaining. Interesting note, the Senate Journal only records votes cast and Abeler’s abstention is not list in the record.

Because the Senate Republicans hold a three vote majority, Gazelka can afford to lose one or two votes, but our conversations lead us to believe there may not be a unanimous position of all members on the appointments of former state Senator, and colleague of some Commerce Commissioner Steve Kelley, Commissioner of Pollution Control and Public Utilities Commissioner Joe Sullivan.

As we understand, the Republicans took their wrath out on Leppink because she was not responsive the Greater Minnesota Republicans desire to restructure Worker’s Compensation during the pandemic. In the case of Kelley, we understand he was considered to be quite arrogant when he met with Sen Eric Pratt (R-55, Prior Lake) and this has been communicated broadly throughout the caucus. He also is the target regarding the Enbridge Line 3 issue and we see him to be the most vulnerable.

We understand Bishop is getting similar criticism to Leppink because of her advancement of higher energy standards, inline Walz’ position, which is ironic when a Commission carries water for the Administration and is considered out of step because they are supporting the Governor. That is their job.

During the Energy and Utilities Finance and Policy Committee hearing on these appointments, Sen David Senjem (R-25, Rochester) spoke strongly in favor of Sullivan’s selection to the PUC recognizing his environmental credentials. Although, in a recent vote on the Enbridge Line 3 expansion he may have put a dent is his greenery, but cultivated Republican support, by advancing the expansion.

We see a couple of scenarios, based on head counts. Gazelka will likely only put up Commissioners to reject where he has firm numbers. Abeler appears to be a wild card, and this means he is not completely reliable to Gazelka. We don’t believe all of the Republican Senators have bought into the Gazelka strategy and some have received pushback after the Leppink vote in their districts.

Remember, these are not the only Commissioners yet to be confirmed and there might be some others the Republicans seek to consider. The aftermath of the George Floyd murder and riots puts the focus on Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington and the state’s response to the civil unrest.

The question we have is what will be Gazelka’s message to Walz this special session, we think it will be a split decision and if the reject they will also approve someone in order to give mixed message, and merely muddy the waters. Of course, there is always next month and also if they lose the Majority in November, they can be vindictive and do recess rejections in November and December if Walz continues to extend his emergency powers.

If Walz were only to cede some authority to the various county governments he would probably be able to resolve this issue altogether.  

Trump Becomes Worse than Nixon Again

National and Minnesota Report

Bob Woodward may once again have taken down a President with his book Rage. In the early news accounts, he has also released some taped interviews with Donald J Trump (R) which clearly show he had full knowledge of the impact of the virus, including how it was spread, and its mortality rate at 5%. Although, these revelations were withheld by Woodward for eight months until the publishing of his book. This situation fills in the gaps to the question first raised by Sen Howard Baker (R-TN) during the Watergate Hearings and is just as valid now, “What did the President know, and when did he know it?”


The words of Trump are telling, he knew what we were facing in late January and communicated the information to Woodward on February 7, 2020. The inactivity and the counter programming Trump started is unconscionable and a direct affront to the American people. As an excuse he says he was trying to prevent a panic, which would have caused a run on banks and stores and a collapse in the stock market as his excuse.  This means Trump is personally responsible for the 190,000+ deaths which have plagued our nation. This is just another example of Trump’s treasonous acts against the United States of America.

We believe, this coupled with his comments about fallen hero’s as being “suckers and losers,” has assured his defeat on November 3rd. He also may lose in historic fashion. In modern day Presidential elections, no incumbent has ever been defeated by a 2-to-1 margin, and we believe this is not only plausible, but more than likely.

We will again remind our readers of our claim. Donald J Trump votes in 2020 will not exceed his votes in 2016. His base has been dying off, specifically those on congregate care, there isn’t a viable third-party candidate to syphon off votes, no Kanye isn’t a true threat, and a increase in voter turnout will likely only produce a pittance for Trump and not overcome the deficit already present. We spelled this out in a previous article.https://checksandbalances.com/trump-polling-numbers-in-key-states-falter/

Finally, Minnesota is not in play, but the fact people are conveying this fallacy is good, because if you’re not running like your behind you can lose. In 2000, when current DFL Party Chair Ken Martin ran the Al Gore campaign here in Minnesota Gore beat George W Bush (R) 2.41%. In 2016, Hillary Clinton (D) beat Trump by 1.52%. and third-party candidates accounted for 9% of the vote.

Trump Polling Numbers in Key States Falter

National and Minnesota Report Yesterday, articles in the New York Times and the Washington Post spelled good news for the former Vice-President Joe Biden’s campaign (D). https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/25/upshot/poll-2020-biden-battlegrounds.html...

Senate Bonding Then and Now (2018 v 2020)

Minnesota Report Two years ago, the Republican controlled State Senate brought forward it’s Capitol Investment Bill, which failed to pass on a party line vote of 34-33, seven votes short of the 2/3rds majority of 41 votes. What is interesting I what the Republicans...

Mayo Clinic Challenging Trump’s Push of Malaria Drugs

Minnesota Report The Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN has released a medical advisory in direct response to Donald J Trump's (R) call of the use of hydroxychloroquine and erythromycin.Guidance on patients at risk of drug-induced sudden cardiac death from off-label...

Minnesota Department of Health COVID-19 Page

Minnesota Report On Friday, Governor Tim Walz (DFL-MN) along with Commissioner Jan Malcolm released the State of Minnesota’s comprehensive COVID-19 page on the Department of Health’s Website. Additionally, the MN House also has a page which provides more and...

Trump’s Continued Call for Hydroxychloroquine

National Report In spite of not having scientific support for his position Donald J Trump (R) continues to put forward his contention that the use of Hydroxychloroquine a drug for Malaria and Lupus and Erythromycin a drug for bacterial infections as a panacea to the...

Walz Executive Orders During Pandemic

Minnesota Report As we are in the midst of the second week of the Stay at Home Executive Order 20-20 more orders are coming from Governor Tim Walz (DFL-MN) to stipulate what options are available to our state’s citizens. Today, Executive Order 20-25 Authorizing Peace...

The Coming of the Four Horsemen

If you want to be memorable in Minnesota State Capitol politics it is good if you are referred to as something other than your name. It is often helpful when a term or a phrase can be applied to your, group, issue or initiative. If you want to be known as something...

NPR Censors Opposition Comments on RCV

The NPR show 1A ran a program on Ranked Choice Voting today, and Checks & Balances Publisher Shawn Towle sought a spot on the panel. When called back by producer Andi McDaniel he was informed the panel was full but could submit a comment through the voicemail...

Legislative Return/Special Session 2020

Minnesota Report We are hearing the legislature will likely be recalled for Special Session June 12th, which is just before Governor Tim Walz’ (DFL-MN) last peacetime emergency declaration is set to expire. In order to declare another one, he will need to receive...

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Alcohol From Restaurant to You

Minnesota Report  The House and the Senate have agreed to allow alcohol sales to be purchased from restaurants, during the COVID-19 crisis, but only beer and wine. The problem with this is with liquor stores still open the cost will be higher without an added benefit,...

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Caution is the Best Medicine

Minnesota Report As Donald J Trump (R) continues to discuss his preparation and planning, combined with his pressure to open up the United States for business again on May 1st, he does so in a potential conflict with the state’s governors. Here in Minnesota, he will...

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What to Expect from the Legislature Today?

Minnesota Report The agenda for the legislature is limited and focused on issues surrounding the COVID-19 Virus and there are a number of ways it is adversely affecting our state. A view of the times for consideration by the House Rules and Legislative Administration...

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