Earlier today a profoundly misguided effort to monitor Minnesotans as so many serfs suffered what is likely to be a fatal reversal in the House of Representatives. DFL Rep. Alice Hausman had introduced legislation that would have allowed cities to install cameras at intersections in order to catch drivers who run red lights. This Big Brother legislation was proffered in the name of all the usual good causes: safety, law and order, the children. Yes, it included the requisite sad parents who lost a child to a red light runner. This treacly sentimentalism has to stop; has to be called out. Mocked. Your loss doesn't trump my rights.
A sentimental society is a sick society.
The front group for this reduction in freedom was the adroitly named Traffic Safety Coalition. Who is against traffic safety?
The bill was tabled after relentlessly negative testimony that followed supportive testimony which had any effect but that. These proceedings were well described on Twitter by Tom Scheck of MPR (@tomscheck) & Megan Boldt (@meganboldt) of the Pioneer Press, among others.
The Hausman horror bill could still be resurrected but the smart money is that it will not. There is a senate companion bill that may or may not get a hearing. Disturbingly to me and other republicans, two GOP senators have authored that bill: Sen. Julie Rosen & her poodle Sen. John Pedersen. We have met the enemy and, not for the first time, it is us. I can cut Sen. Rosen some slack on the Vikings stadium give away of taxpayer dollars to millionaires. I can. But this craven, Stalinist imposition of cameras upon us makes her and Pedersen unfit for office.
Clearly many democrats were against this legislation as well. It's enough to give one hope that all is not lost in this nanny state. Battle by battle; issue by issue. Why do the usual forces have to align in the usual manner? The short answer is that they do not.
What struck me, however, in the reporting, is how superficial it was. I received an email from a member of the House trumpeting the merits of this Orwellian legislation. It was signed by a number of people from the Mayo Clinic. How were they bought? What interests of theirs were aligned with this specious legislation? You won't find any mention of it in the local press, of course. You can read that email by clicking here.
Worse, the Traffic Safety Coalition is lazily termed by the Star Tribune as "a national non-profit."
A non-profit! Lars Leafbladism™ strikes again. If it is a non-profit, only pure motives can obtain. A front group for a thug PR guy of Rahm Emanuel's Chicago? Why, who would suggest such a thing?
I would; the facts as we know them would. Shortly after I received the cheerleading email for this legislation, I sent it to a number of extremely competent republican activists. Suffice it to say that we tweeted the results of what we found simply by using The Google.
Could not, you know, alleged reporters do the same? Work backwards from the front group Traffic Safety Coalition to Redflex, the Australian company who bought four lobbyists (and apparently at least two GOP senators) to push the legislation, to Resolute Consulting, who "manages" the Traffic Safety Coalition non-profit! Who owns Resolute Consulting? Greg Goldner, a thug who has greased the skids for the loathsome, greasy Rahm Emanuel.
Oh: Redflex got into a lot of trouble in Chicago, too. If you're too corrupt for Chicago, you set some kind of record. Redflex actually stopped trading its stock recently because of investigations into its affairs.
All of this was put out on Twitter by me @shabbosgoy, Rich Neumeister @richneumeister, Sheila Kihne @sheilakihne and Jeff Kolb @jpkolb, amongst others. Subscribe to Neumeister's blog here: http://tinyurl.com/86ln55m
Neumeister is not, to my knowledge, a republican. He is, I would say, our state's leading expert on or proponent of privacy in a digital age. Working with him was a watershed for me; perhaps my other fellow republicans as well. Put aside party labels, look at matters issue by issue. I have a feeling that this will not be the last time we will join forces with him in order to keep Minnesota from falling into the CCTV nightmare that has become the United Kingdom.
To that extent, I would welcome support as they see fit from our friends on the DFL side of the aisle.
Other privacy matters are, unfortunately, still in the legislative hopper. I promise to keep readers informed of them as far in advance as possible (Rich will always beat me to the punch so read him first!). In the meantime, you should follow those whom I have listed above in order to stay informed.
That means you, too, Minnesota media. Then "report" on what you learned. We won't even ask you to give us credit.