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It isn’t likely that Sen. Ortman wants delegates to the GOP State Convention to hear this audio:
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Here’s the transcript from that brief exchange:

Sen. Tom Bakk: “Senator Ortman.”
Sen. Ortman: “Good morning Mr. Chair and members. Thank you for hearing this bill. This bill proposes a new tax. It’s the first time I’ve ever proposed a new tax, and so-“
Sen. Bakk: “How’s it feel?”
[LAUGHTER]
Sen. Ortman: “I definitely feel like I’m in the hot seat, but that’s alright. I’ve been a lightening rod before and I probably will be again. I’m back in a zone of comfort.”

The first post I wrote about Sen. Ortman highlighted how she isn’t a full repeal person with regards to Obamacare, aka the Affordable Care Act. In her attempt to curry favor with unprincipled moderates, Sen. Ortman essentially sounded like Al Franken. I wrote this post to highlight Sen. Ortman’s ‘flexibility’ on raising taxes. This post isn’t about highlighting Sen. Ortman’s flexibility on raising taxes. It’s to highlight the fact that she’s got a history of proposing tax increases.

I don’t want a senator in DC that I have to worry about raising taxes because she’s ‘flexible’ on the issue. For some reason, the thought of GOP lawmakers being ‘flexible’ on raising taxes reminds me of this nightmare:
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Here’s my ‘read my lips’ statement to Sen. Ortman: Sen. Ortman, read my lips. I say no to Republicans who want to raise taxes.

We’re taxed enough already. The federal government spends money recklessly. The last thing we need is a senator who’s flexible on raising taxes. We already have 2 senators that support raising taxes. We don’t need to replace one tax-raising senator with another tax-raising senator.

In fact, that’s the last thing we need. We already have 2 too many tax-raising senators. If Sen. Ortman stands before the delegates at this year’s State Convention and explain why she’s been flexible on raising taxes, the endorsement fight won’t last long.

Sen. Ortman’s policy positions keep raising questions about how conservative she is. At this point, I’d argue that she isn’t that conservative. I’d argue that because raising taxes and not wanting to repeal the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, sounds kinda liberal to me. I suspect lots of delegates agree with me.

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Saturday night, a faithful reader of LFR tried logging onto the MnSure website. This is the message this reader got:

Seriously? I just tried to login to the site to view and apply for plans at 10:33 pm on Saturday, Nov 9, 2013 and I got this message:

the system is available monday through saturday, 6 am to 10 pm

please visit us during those hours to apply and enroll

Thank you for your interest in MNsure

Gov. Dayton, Sen. Klobuchar, Sen. Franken and other prominent Democrats have touted how fantastic the MnSure portal is. This information is proof that MnSure’s website isn’t like Kayak’s or Amazon’s websites. In fact, I’d argue that MnSure’s motto is ‘close enough for government work’. Further, I’d argue that the government version of customer service is nothing like the customer service at Amazon or Target.

All kidding aside, MnSure isn’t meeting people’s needs. This can’t be viewed in isolation. It must be viewed from the perspective that people who’ve had their policies canceled are depending on MnSure being operational at their convenience, not at the government’s convenience.

That MnSure isn’t open 24/7 is additional proof that government customer service stinks because it lacks a profit motive. Whether the job is done poorly or whether it’s done exceptionally, the pay is the same. There’s virtually no chance that the people staffing MnSure will get fired or take a pay cut.

That’s the biggest fallacy exposed by the Affordable Care Act. Government shouldn’t be in the business of telling clinics, doctors or hospitals how to care for patients. Having government telling doctors, hospitals and clinics how to care for patients is like having Bernie Sanders explain capitalism to Art Laffer.

The disgraceful part of this is that Gov. Dayton, Sen. Franken and Sen. Klobuchar have pretended like the MnSure website is running perfectly. Clearly, that isn’t the case. In fact, it’s clear that the website’s approach to customer service is mostly about doing what the government wants, not fulfilling the customers’ needs.

Gov. Dayton, Sen. Franken, Sen. Klobuchar and the DFL legislature should be ashamed of themselves for constructing this disaster.

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According to this Weekly Standard article, Amy Klobuchar had a deer-in-the-headlights moment when asked about people losing the health insurance that they liked. Here’s what Ms. Klobuchar said:

Others blamed the insurance companies.

“Insurance companies cancel insurance policies. That’s what they do,” said Reid.

“You should talk to the insurance companies if they’re dropping people,” said Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota. “The idea here is to have affordable insurance to people that don’t have it.”

Sen. Klobuchar’s statement is pathetic. She’s pretending that the Affordable Care Act’s regulations didn’t force insurance companies to drop people’s policies because the ACA made the policies illegal.

Sen. Klobuchar, Why don’t you and your Democratic colleagues admit that the Affordable Care Act, the bill you voted for, forced insurance companies to drop plans? Why can’t you admit that the insurance companies aren’t the villains here? Why don’t you admit that the villains are the politicians that voted for the Affordable Care Act (that includes you) and the bureaucrats that gutted the provision that grandfathered in policies (that’s Kathleen Sebelius)?

The regulations signed off on by Secretary Sebelius made the vast majority of grandfathered-in policies illegal. The insurance companies didn’t have a choice in the matter of whether they’d continue offering the policies that are getting canceled. That’s because Sebelius’ rule made them illegal. If the insurance companies tried to continue selling the product, they would’ve opened themselves up to a lawsuit by HHS and possibly the Justice Department.

The fact that Sen. Klobuchar attempted to blame insurance companies shows that she understands that the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, is a disaster far beyond a website that’s constantly crashing.

Insurance premiums are going up for hundreds of thousands of people across the country. They’re increasing for people who had the policy they liked canceled. That’s happening as a direct result of politicians like Sen. Klobuchar passing a God-awful bill. It’s happening because bureaucrats like Secretary Sebelius have made a terrible bill worse with God-awful regulations designed to push people into the health insurance exchanges.

UPDATE: Paul Mirengoff live-blogged this morning’s hearing. Here’s the key part of this morning’s hearing:

11:39: But wait! Rep. Lance (R.NJ) asks a very telling question on the issue of what changes in policies will negate “grandfathering” of old plans. He asks about a report that a $5 change in a co-pay would cause a plan to lose its protection and cause someone to lose that plan. Sebelius can’t deny this. Instead, she bobs and weaves.

11:42: Rep. Cassidy (R.La.) follows up on Lance’s line of questioning. He says that a $1 dollar change in co-insurance would negate grandfathering. Sebelius now admits that Rep. Lance’s $5 increase in co-pay is accurate.

This isn’t the type of news the administration wanted. Conservative websites will highlight this as proof the administration wrote the regulations to push people onto the exchanges.

That means President Obama did nothing to make sure his administration did nothing to keep his promise that “If you like your plan, you can keep your plan. Period.” By pushing people into the exchanges, this administration guaranteed health insurance prices would increase significantly, thus breaking the administration’s promise that families’ health care costs would drop by $2,500 a year.

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In his most recent e-letter update, Keith Ellison suggested that the United States is just as bigoted now as it was in the 1960s:

Senator Klobuchar and I called on Congress to protect voting rights after the Supreme Court struck down Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act that protected voters in states with a history of voter suppression. The action of the Court was a step back for voting rights in the country.

With people like Sen. Klobuchar and Rep. Ellison, bigotry never disappears. The Supreme Court sees things differently:

(3) Nearly 50 years later, things have changed dramatically.Largely because of the Voting Rights Act, “[v]oter turnout and registration rates” in covered jurisdictions “now approach parity. Blatantly discriminatory evasions of federal decrees are rare. And minority candidates hold office at unprecedented levels.” Northwest Austin, supra, at 202. The tests and devices that blocked ballot access have been forbidden nationwide for over 40 years. Yet the Act has not eased §5’s restrictions or narrowed the scope of §4’s coverage formula along the way. Instead those extraordinary and unprecedented features have been reauthorized as if nothing has changed, and they have grown even stronger. Because §5 applies only to those jurisdictions singled out by §4, the Court turns to consider that provision.Pp. 13–17.

Sen. Klobuchar and Rep. Ellison insist that the extraordinary circumstances that temporarily justified the federal government’s intervention in state-run elections in 1965 still exist. Moreover, they insist that the remedies implemented in 1965 haven’t worked.

They’re entitled to their partisan opinions but the facts don’t support their opinions.

Though he’s an attorney, it’s apparent that Rep. Ellison doesn’t respect the Constitution much:

The right to vote should be guaranteed and that’s why I’ve introduced a constitutional amendment with Rep. Mark Pocan to do just that. The Pocan-Ellison Right to Vote Amendment would amend the Constitution to provide all Americans the affirmative right to vote and empower Congress to protect this right.

First, this proposed constitutional amendment won’t get a hearing because it’s at odds with the Ninth and Tenth amendments. States administer elections through counties. The federal government isn’t equipped to enforce election laws. That means Ellison’s talk about empowering “Congress to protect this right” is just that — talk.

Second, this is political grandstanding meant to fire up minority voters. This doesn’t have anything to do with good governance. It has everything to do with Ellison and other Democrats playing the race card right before the 2014 election.

Third, this is the Democrats’ war on election integrity. Klobuchar’s and Ellison’s proposal has everything to do with preventing Photo ID from becoming more popular. In Minnesota, Democrats know how to undermine election integrity. They’ve undermined election integrity by refusing to promptly updating the Statewide Voter Registration System, aka SVRS, which HAVA, the Help America Vote Act, requires.

We know this because hundreds of felons, both those still in prison and those who haven’t had their rights restored, are still on Minnesota’s SVRS. We know this because registrations that were submitted in 2008 had addresses that turned into empty lots. Six years after the fact, those ‘empty lot voters’ are still on the SVRS.

How likely is it that the federal government would be even slightly interested in maintaining the integrity of the SVRS’s for 50 states, especially considering how disinterested they’ve been in this since 2003?

Ellison is a race hustler on a par with Sharpton, Jackson and Michael-Eric Dyson. His agenda is focused mostly on stirring up racial hostilities where they don’t exist.

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In a stunning, disappointing development, Sen. Franken and Sen. Klobuchar voted against restarting the White House tours:

Democrats objected, saying it was a show vote that was not going to accomplish what Mr. Coburn said it would. They also said canceling park service heritage money would hurt their home states.

They defeated Mr. Coburn’s amendment on a 54-45 vote, with nearly every Republican voting to reopen the White House and with almost all Democrats voting to back Mr. Obama’s decision.

It’s appalling that Sen. Franken and Sen. Klobuchar voted against opening the People’s House (that’s Michelle Obama’s term for the White House) to public tours. It’s disgusting that Sen. Franken and Sen. Klobuchar hid behind their ‘leadership’ in saying that Sen. Coburn’s amendment was a gimmick.

If anyone in the Senate has shown themselves to having solutions to DC’s spending addiction, it’s been Sen. Coburn. He’s literally found hundreds of billions of dollars of wasteful spending in the last 6 months. He’s put together charts showing duplicative federal programs worth $364.5 billion of spending. Some of the spending is justified. Most of it isn’t.

This is just another vote that shows Sen. Klobuchar is Ms. Bipartisanship. She’s a popular political partisan hack. People didn’t think that Sen. Franken was Mr. Bipartisanship. Still, Minnesotans had the right to expect him to protect them against this arrogant administration’s mishandling of sequestration.

This video shows how partisan Sen. Franken and Sen. Klobuchar are:

Rather than fighting for saving hundreds of millions of dollars, Sen. Franken and Sen. Klobuchar fought to keep White House tours closed. Why would they do that if they genuinely cared about the middle class? Some of these families that aren’t being permitted to take a White House tour might be on their first trip to DC. Perhaps some of them won’t have another opportunity to tour the White House.

That’s what Sen. Franken and Sen. Klobuchar voted against. They voted with the elitists in the White House. They voted against the working families who wanted to take a once-in-a-lifetime tour of the White House.

Based on Wednesday’s vote and their votes for the middle class tax increases in the PPACA, why shouldn’t people think that these senators don’t care about the middle class the way they say they do?

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In less than a week, the federal government will start cutting defense spending across the board rather than setting intelligent priorities.

Sequestration is the Obama administration’s faux solution to the Obama administration’s reckless spending. Cutting the Pentagon’s budget is a major part of sequestration. Senate Democrats have helped paint the administration into this corner.

On top of the $500 billion Defense Department that’s already been cut, sequestration would cut another $500 billion from the Pentagon’s budget. The F-35 program offers the perfect illustration of the foolishness of sequestration. Under sequestration, the Defense Department budget would be automatically cut across the board by 10% every year for 10 years. That’s on top of the $487 billion that’s already been cut from the Defense Department budget.

If the full sequestration were to take effect, “we’re going to have to look completely at the [F-35] programme,” US Air Force chief of staff Gen Mark Welsh told the Senate Armed Services Committee on February 12. “It’s going to be impossible to modernize.” Under sequestration, it’s likely that our young pilots will fly fighters older than they are while our potential enemies continued to build their 5th generation capabilities.

The bottom line is simple. Sequestration will hurt the military. If sequestration is implemented, the US Air Force will be more vulnerable than it should be.

Sen. Franken and Sen. Klobuchar have been invisible in this fight. Similarly, the US Senate has been completely absent in the budget debate. Real people are about to get hurt by these indiscriminate cuts. True American patriots will needlessly be put in harms way if these are fully implemented.

Cutting the F-35 program would cost Minnesota high paying jobs at a time when creating high paying jobs should be Sen. Franken’s and Sen. Klobuchar’s highest priority. Minnesota suppliers would be directly affected. Suppliers aren’t the only Minnesota companies that would be affected, either.

It’s important that people remember that these cuts come on top of other cuts to the military. Those cuts affect both jobs and the military’s ability to protect our nation.

It’s time for Sen. Franken and Sen. Klobuchar to fight for Minnesota jobs. It’s time for Sen. Franken and Sen. Klobuchar to demand the Senate do its job and put together budget cuts that don’t kill Minnesota jobs or weaken military readiness. It’s time that Sen. Franken and Sen. Klobuchar actually made decisions based on doing what’s right for America.

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When Alida Messinger Speaker-in-Waiting Thissen picked Melissa Hortman to chair the House Energy Committee, he picked someone that marches in lockstep with the militant environmentalists. When Rick Nolan defeated Chip Cravaack, militant environmentalists got another mindless environmentalist. Nolan doesn’t care about school funding. If he did, he wouldn’ve have sabotaged the Mark Dayton/Tommie Ruckavina/Chip Cravaack BWCA land swap legislation:

Onions: To Rick Nolan for his comments at the Associated Press interview in Minneapolis on Nov. 18 when he said the BWCA Land Swap bill would not advance before the end of the congressional session because it lacks bipartisan support. If he wanted to tell the truth he would have said that the BWCA Land Swap bill lacks Democrat support as the bill was already passed by the Republican House of Representatives. Democrats hold a strong majority in the Senate and both Minnesota Senators Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken are Democrat, so what could stop a Senate companion bill from being passed? Only their allegiance to the Sierra Club rather than to the voters of Northeastern Minnesota.

By playing partisan politics with this legislation, he’s sabotaged any hopes the land swap could occur and the revenue for K-12 education it would’ve created.

When Nolan said that the BWCA Land Swap bill didn’t have bipartisan support, he lied. Any bill that’s supported by Tom Ruckavina, Chip Cravaack and Mark Dayton has bipartisan support. Had Nolan been interested in telling the truth, which he isn’t, he would’ve said the bill didn’t stand a chance because Harry Reid and Senate Democrats are obstructionists who don’t care about Minnesota.

This leads to another question, specifically, why didn’t the supposedly bipartisan Am Klobuchar support this bill? Might it be that she’s another unfailing ally of the militant environmentalists?

It’s time to defeat liberals that talk bipartisanship in public, then sabotage school funding while their media allies look the other way.

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When I first read TheDC’s article about Sen. Klobuchar, I was curious to find out what they’d found. After reading the Klobuchar campaign’s explanation in this article, though, it’s apparent that they’re trying to shovel this past the election. This non-explanation explanation is finely parsed messaging:

“Senator Klobuchar did not ask her county attorney staff or law enforcement to refrain from investigating or prosecuting Tom Petters,” Klobuchar campaign spokesman Linden Zakula said in a prepared statement. “She was not presented with evidence for prosecution of charges against him.”

I don’t doubt that this statement is accurate. I’m equally certain that it’s exceptionally evasive. It’s quite possible Sen. Klobuchar didn’t tell her staff to not investigate or prosecute. That isn’t what I’m questioning. What I’m questioning, though, is why Sen. Klobuchar didn’t direct her staff to investigate Petters.

Sen. Klobuchar saw the evidence against Mr. Hettler and Ms. Kahn. Sen. Klobuchar went above and beyond her authority:

The documents also show that Klobuchar exceeded the bounds of her jurisdiction as County Attorney to intervene in federal bankruptcy and other legal proceedings whose results helped Petters erase the earliest indications of his criminal activity.

Why did Sen. Klobuchar take these extraordinary steps? It’s unthinkable to have a county attorney assist in erasing Petters’ previous criminal activities. At minimum, this shows she knew about Petters’ past criminal tendencies. At minimum, shouldn’t that be enough to start an investigation?

It’s one thing to investigate and find nothing for find out that potential crimes committed didn’t fall into local jurisdiction. If Klobuchar’s office investigated but found evidence of a federal crime, she could’ve referred it to the U.S. Attorney’s office.

Sen. Klobuchar has often touted herself as a consumer watchdog. It appears as though she failed in that capacity at a critical time when she could’ve protected others from having their life savings stolen. One wonders whether she ignored the biggest case because of political considerations.

It’s beginning to look like that.

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This article by TheDC’s Matthew Boyle strongly suggests that Sen. Klobuchar, when she was the Hennepin County Attorney, took prosecutorial discretion to the extreme. Here’s what I’m talking about:

In January 1999, evidence of what the St. Paul Pioneer Press called “early signs” of Petters’ Ponzi scheme crossed Klobuchar’s desk when officers from her Hennepin County Attorney’s Office raided the home Richard Hettler shared with Ruth Kahn, another Petters investor.

Documents retrieved in that raid, including those TheDC is publishing with this report, showed Hettler, Kahn and Petters engaged in a mutually beneficial and highly illegal financial scheme.

Klobuchar would ultimately prosecute Kahn and Hettler on the basis of this evidence, but not Petters.

Why didn’t Ms. Klobuchar prosecute Tom Petters at that point? Did she investigate his finances? If she investigated Petters, how could she not have found out about his improprieties? At minimum, shouldn’t she have found evidence that could’ve been referred to a federal prosecutor?

A promissory note obtained by TheDC, dated Nov. 19, 1997, shows Hettler loaned Petters $600,000 and promised to pay him $60,000 profit after just two months — a 120 percent annual interest rate that would have been a red flag for any financial crimes investigator.

In a second document TheDC obtained, Hettler legally assigned that promised $60,000 interest payment to Kahn on Jan. 5, 1998. Kahn then used that assigned interest as collateral for a $1.2 million loan from Premier Bank.

These days, Sen. Klobuchar is one of the Senate’s leading advocates for consumer protection legislation. Based on this information, it looks like she’s a better advocate than she was a prosecutor. It also looks like she cut her share of corners for the politically well-connected:

Documents obtained by The Daily Caller show that U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar helped keep a multibillion-dollar Ponzi schemer out of prison in the late 1990s when she was the County Attorney in Hennepin County, Minnesota.

That financial criminal, Tom Petters, presided over companies whose employees gave Klobuchar $8,500 for her re-election campaign, and would later contribute more than $120,000 toward her U.S. Senate run.

One of those companies’ vice presidents was Ted Mondale, a former state senator and son of former U.S. Vice President Walter Mondale. Before taking office as Hennepin County Attorney, Klobuchar was a partner at the Minneapolis law firm of Dorsey & Whitney, where Walter Mondale has practiced law since 1987.

When asked about this article, Sen. Klobuchar’s sole response was “No comment.” That response speaks volumes.

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Wednesday afternoon, the House voted to approve Chip Cravaack’s land swap bill that had solid bipartisan support in the Minnesota legislature. The Mesabi Daily News is reporting that, despite the fact that this bill has the support of political opposites like Chip Cravaack and Tommie Ruckavina, the DFL members of the Minnesota delegation voted against it.

Rep. McCollum took a particularly harsh beating during the debate:

When McCollum said it was “completely unnecessary” because the state law had already set the process in motion, Republican Rep. Rob Bishop of Utah said: “The state wants to do it quickly, the federal Forest Service does not. It helps the kids of Minnesota to take it away from an agency that moves at glacial speed.”

After that specious argument failed, Ms. McCollum tried a different argument, only to be shot down again:

When Rep. McCollum said repeatedly that there was not a map related to the issue, Rep. Cravaack responded with a map of the area in question alongside him. “Well, here’s the map,” he said, pointing out the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Forest Service have the map and it’s also available to the public online.

It’s pretty obvious that Rep. McCollum either doesn’t know what she’s talking about or she’s willing to shaft students to prevent Chip’s bill from passing.

What’s disgusting is that DFL Reps. Ellison, McCollum, Peterson and Walz voted against a significant funding source for K-12 students. So much for the DFL being the party that’s “for the children.”

That isn’t the only disgraceful behavior on behalf of the DFL members of the Minnesota delegation:

Minnesota Democratic U.S. Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken would not answer directly a question of whether they support the House measure passed on Wednesday, but did endorse a land swap in some form yet to be spelled out. And, they said, they are collaborating on legislation.

“I understand how important this is for our schools and local economies in northern Minnesota, and that’s why I continue to support a land exchange and am working with similar legislation with Senator Franken to get it done,” Sen. Klobuchar said in an e-mailed statement to the Mesabi Daily News following a call to her Washington office.

A statement from Sen. Franken mirrored Klobuchar’s.

Minnesota Democratic U.S. Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken would not answer directly a question of whether they support the House measure passed on Wednesday, but did endorse a land swap in some form yet to be spelled out. And, they said, they are collaborating on legislation.

That’s code for saying they’re killing Chip’s bill. Sen. Franken and Sen. Klobuchar know that their “similar legislation” would require a conference committee, which wastes valuable time during a lame duck session.

That’s a best case scenario with Harry Reid running the Senate and Sens. Franken and Klobuchar doing their best to sabotage the bill that Chip, Mark Dayton and Tommie Ruckavina support.

This vote proves that Tim Walz and Collin Peterson aren’t moderates. Voting with Raul Grijalva, Betty McCollum, Emanuel Cleaver, John Conyers, Dennis Kucinich, Jim McDermott and Keith Ellison won’t improve Peterson’s or Walz’s moderate ratings.

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