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When it comes to national security, Sen. Franken is a lightweight. This article provides additional proof of that:

Franken said Obama doesn’t have authority to bypass Congress, but he has long backed closing the military prison and handling suspects through the American judicial system. Franken said he worries Guantanamo’s continued existence has only boosted terrorist recruitment efforts, and said there are plenty of high-security prisons in the United States to house the dozens of terrorism suspects at Guantanamo.

Sen. Franken isn’t serious about fighting terrorists. Check out this statement about taking on ISIL:

There are no good options on Syria. But as I’ve said, the use of chemical weapons to kill over a thousand people and injure many more is a horrendous act, and there have to be consequences for that. Whatever action the United States takes, it has to be limited action. This can’t be an open-ended commitment, and it definitely should not lead to American boots on the ground. Congress now has an important role to play, and I look forward to participating in a vigorous debate about the use of force and the best interests of our country.

Destroying ISIL isn’t possible without putting American boots on the ground. If you’re opposed to putting American troops into harms way, Sen. Franken, then just say that you aren’t really interested in doing what it takes to destroy ISIL.

There’s no doubt that Sen. Franken thinks that that’s the best poll-tested statement he could issue. Similarly, there’s no question that half-hearted airstrikes without boots on the ground is a political action. It isn’t a serious attempt to destroy ISIL. The Democratic Party, led by pacifists like President Obama and Sen. Franken and Sen. Klobuchar, is going soft on national security again. Closing Gitmo, not taking the airstrikes on ISIL seriously and ruling out putting boots on the ground in Anbar Province and in Syria says one thing unmistakably clear.

It says that Obama, Franken and Klobuchar aren’t serious about national security.

Why wouldn’t you keep Gitmo open? Why give these terrorists the opportunity to radicalize American prisoners? Back in 2006, Amy Klobuchar said that it was important to get out of the war responsibly. In 2008, Franken campaigned on the same message. Then-Sen. Obama campaigned on getting us out of Iraq. Franken, Klobuchar and Obama didn’t talk about winning wars. I wrote about that multiple times in 2006-2008.

As George Will and Charles Krauthammer highlight, the fastest way to end a war is to lose that war. That’s what Franken, Klobuchar and Obama are about. If they aren’t about losing winnable wars, then they’re doing the same things that people who want to lose wars would do.

Politicians that aren’t interested in killing terrorists and winning wars are anti-American. Sen. Franken and President Obama, it’s sad to see that that shoe fits.

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The highest profile pipeline project in the nation is the Keystone XL Pipeline project. While Republicans have fought for the building of the Keystone XL Pipeline, that isn’t the only pipeline project being delayed by environmental activists. This article highlights the impact the anti-pipelines activists are having in outstate Minnesota:

Railroads will be the key to winter heat as propane becomes a dicier commodity to secure. Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton recommended pre-paying for propane supplies to eliminate the uncertainty of rising prices later this winter.

But that’s not an option for some people in Park Rapids.

“I can’t afford to take the chance,” said Steve Olafson, who owns the Skelgas service in Park Rapids and ended his “pre-buy” program this year. Last year he found his business trying to fill pre-paid orders for $1.54 per gallon at $5 per gallon.

First, this shows how little thought went into Gov. Dayton’s recommendation. Gov. Dayton automatically thought that businesses wouldn’t react to higher prices and losing money. Mr. Olafson, the businessman who would get hurt by price increases, decided he isn’t willing to lose money on the pre-paid plan. That’s why he eliminated that as an option for customers.

Gov. Dayton’s ‘plan’ was more of a gimmick aimed at hiding a problem create by his political allies in the environmental movement. Environmental activists have waged war on building pipelines, whether it’s the Keystone XL Pipeline or the proposed pipeline from the Bakken to refineries in Superior, WI.

The solution is to build the pipelines. The minute that those pipelines are built, railcar availability will improve dramatically. Those things won’t happen, though, if Gov. Dayton is Minnesota’s governor. The environmental activist wing of the DFL won’t tolerate it.

The railroad capacity issue won’t change until Minnesota has a governor who will stand up to the environmental activists. That will trigger hardships for tons of Minnesotans, including farmers who can’t get their crops to market, homeowners who will get hit with paying way too much for propane and Iron Rangers who can’t get their ore to the steelmakers in a timely fashion.

The DFL insists that they’re fighting for the little guy. That’s BS. I’ve just highlighted how they’re shafting farmers and laborers, the F and L in DFL. The truth is that the DFL is fighting tirelessly for the environmental activist wing of their party.

The DFL is fighting tirelessly for the environmental activists because that’s the dominant wing of their party. Most of the leaders of that wing of the party are plutocrats and trust fund babies who don’t give a damn about Iron Rangers and farmers.

But I digress.

The DFL created this rail capacity crisis. Now they’re pretending to look for the solution, with pretending being the key word. If the DFL was truly interested in solving this crisis, they’d start building pipelines.

Unfortunately, the DFL won’t do that because they won’t stand up to the environmental activist wing of their party.

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Create a crisis, then criticize others when the crisis you created hurts a key constituency. That’s a trusty tactic frequently employed by the DFL. It’s the tactic of choice Amy Klobuchar used during her testimony about railroad delays hurting the Iron Range:

“Cliffs Natural Resources’ mines in Minnesota are among a number of industrial facilities that have been significantly impacted by the national logjam of rail services in the United States.

“These conditions create substantial and irreversible negative consequences for iron ore operations because there is a finite shipping season on the Great Lakes and our operations seek to time shipments as to ensure that our steelmaking customers’ blast furnaces at the lower end of the lakes have adequate iron stocks to continue operation during the closure of the locks at Sault St. Marie,” a company statement said.

Klobuchar spoke on the issue to the Senate Conference Committee.

“Rail service disruptions are forcing mines on the Iron Range to stockpile significant quantities of iron ore,” Klobuchar said. “These disruptions hurt business and threaten jobs not only at these operations, but also at the steel mills that rely on taconite pellets to feed the furnaces.”

St. Amy of Hennepin County would have more credibility on this issue if she didn’t keep voting against the building of additional pipelines, especially the Keystone XL Pipeline. Starting with President Obama’s rejection of building the Keystone XL Pipeline, which should’ve been approved years ago, oil companies were forced to find alternative ways of getting their product to market.

When Republicans took control of the House of Representatives in 2010, they voted to force President Obama to approve construction of the pipeline. Sen. Klobuchar and Sen. Franken voted against it. In fact, it’s been put to a vote multiple times, with Sens. Franken and Klobuchar voting against the pipeline’s construction each time.

Now that trains are filled with oil cars, rail capacity is limited. Mining isn’t the only industry getting hurt by the railroad capacity shortage. Agriculture is getting hurt, too. Meanwhile, Democrats keep voting against building the Keystone XL Pipeline while complaining about the shortage they’ve created with their votes.

It’s time people started voting against these Democrats. They’ve done everything possible to prevent the building of the infrastructure needed to take advantage of the oil and natural gas boom. The Democrats’ unwillingness to do what’s right is based on their unwillingness to tell their environmental activist allies to take a hike.

The Democrats’ position is clear. Sen. Klobuchar’s position is clear. Sen. Franken’s position is clear. They’ve sided with the obstructionist in the environmental movement. They’ve refused to build the infrastructure that’s needed to move minerals and grains to market.

Building more pipelines would give us the infrastructure that’s required to take advantage of this great opportunity. Environmental activists and their allies in the Democratic Party are causing these problems. If the American people want to see prosperity again, they’ll have to flush this type of thinking from the political system.

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Bill Hanna’s article highlights what’s wrong with today’s DFL:

Gov. Mark Dayton says a far-reaching Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement for Superior National Forest regarding potential copper/nickel/precious metals ventures is totally unnecessary. So, too, do Minnesota U.S. Sens. Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar and 8th District U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan.

It would be a waste of time and money and energy, say those Democratic office holders, because it would duplicate what is already being done as far as environmental review for both the PolyMet and Twin Metals projects. And Congressman Nolan goes further to say the issue was already settled with the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Act in 1978 that allowed mining in the Superior National Forest.

But it’s not that clear, according to a U.S. Forest Service official. There is not even a timeline set up to decide whether the USFS will drop the PEIS request by environmentalists or move ahead with it. In a telephone interview with the Mesabi Daily News on Thursday, USFS Public Affairs Officer Kris Reichenbach in Duluth said there “is no immediate reason to push this” one way or another.

“This is not something to rush into. We are still evaluating our options. We are not at a point of making a decision. I am not aware of a timeline,” Reichenbach said.

What’s wrong with today’s DFL is that Democrat politicians’ voices aren’t as powerful, apparently, as the environmental activists’ voices.

It’s time for Dayton, Franken, Klobuchar and Nolan to hold a press conference on the mining issue. It’s time they told the environmental activist wing of the DFL that they’re putting a higher priority on creating high-paying jobs than they’re putting on preserving supposedly pristine wilderness like this:

These environmental activists aren’t fighting to save pristine wilderness. They’re fighting to control people’s lives.

Apparently, these Democrat politicians won’t stand up to them and tell them to take a hike. Apparently, these Democrat politicians think it’s more important to not ruffle the environmental activists’ feathers than it is to create jobs on the Iron Range. (Might that be because they want the environmental activists’ campaign contributions?)

In the end, it’s my opinion that these sorry excuses for politicians will flap their gums for a little while. They won’t ruffle the environmental activists’ feathers. Then they’ll exit stage left (where else?) once people stop paying attention.

They should all be astronomy majors because they’re only good at taking up space. If families want DFL politicians to fight for them, they’re out of luck. These DFL politicians won’t fight for people if they aren’t part of a special interest group.

It’s sad that these DFL politicians will fight for special interest groups but they won’t fight for families. This isn’t Hubert Humphrey’s DFL.

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Bill Hanna, the editor for the Mesabi Daily News, is one of the most fair-minded people I’ve found in media these days. The thing that sets him apart is that he consistently sides with the people who read his newspaper. That sets him apart, in my opinion.

Each week, the MDN awards verbal orchids to people who did the right thing and onions to those who didn’t. This week, Hanna ‘awarded’ some onions to Sen. Franken for voting against the Keystone XL Pipeline project:

Onions: To Al Franken for voting “NO” to approving the Keystone XL Pipeline. The vote came in the Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee meeting. The measure passed 12-10 with Franken voting against. It just goes to show how out of touch Franken is with people in his state, especially those in rural areas and small towns where the cost of gasoline and fuel oil are killing people in the pocketbook.

Sen. Franken is doing everything possible to not say anything to upset Iron Rangers on the PolyMet mining project issue. In his acceptance speech at the DFL State Convention in Duluth, Sen. Franken spoke for 26:39. He didn’t mention mining or the environment a single time during that speech.

Speaking in the shadow of the Iron Range, Sen. Franken didn’t utter a peep about mining. That’s just the tip of the proverbial iceberg, though. The issues page for Sen. Franken’s campaign website doesn’t talk about the environment or mining.

Clearly, though, Sen. Franken still supports the environmental activists. Sen. Franken’s vote against the Keystone XL Pipeline project is proof of that. Approving the Keystone XL Pipeline has bipartisan support. Sen. Franken sided with the environmental activists.

That’s disgusting because Sen. Franken’s vote hurts people in rural Minnesota through higher gas prices. With the median household income, aka MHI, in Eveleth being a paltry $35,500, every dollar counts. Minnesota’s MHI is $59,126. That’s a difference of $23,626. That’s a difference of 40%.

Theoretically, US senators serve the entire state. In Minnesota, that isn’t reality. Sen. Franken and Sen. Klobuchar essentially represent the Twin Cities and Duluth while periodically representing St. Cloud and Rochester. Based on their actions, the rest of Minnesota might as well be located in North Dakota.

For someone who supposedly supports “working families” throughout the state, Sen. Franken doesn’t have much proof of supporting the industries that employ union workers. That isn’t surprising because Sen. Franken’s support of actual miners is theoretical. It isn’t actual. That’s because Sen. Franken supports the environmental activists’ agenda, not the miners’ agenda.

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Sen. Franken finally responded to the VA scandal:

Here’s what Sens. Franken and Klobuchar are really thinking:

Franken hasn’t yet called for Shinseki’s resignation, but he is among those pressing for more information. “It’s outrageous and disgraceful if there has been a cover up of that, and a secret list. I think we need to get to the bottom of this, and people need to be held accountable,” Franken told KARE.

Similarly, Klobuchar wants to know more about what actually happened before passing judgment on Shinseki. “I’m a prosecutor. I like to see the evidence. And as much as we love the news, we can’t base everything on news reports. We actually have to look at the facts on the ground,” she explained.

Ms. Prosecutor, here’s some evidence to consider. The VA has the authority to send veterans to private hospitals if VA hospitals can’t treat patients quickly enough. Under Gen. Shinseki’s administration, that wasn’t done. That’s proof he didn’t use the options available to him.

That’s reason enough to terminate Gen. Shinseki.

As for Sen. Klobuchar’s statement that “we can’t base everything on news reports”, I’d tell her to pass that word along to President Obama and Jay Carney. Apparently, President Obama hasn’t gotten briefed by the Treasury Secretary about the IRS scanda. Apparently, he didn’t get briefed by Hillary Clinton about the Benghazi cover-up. Now, he apparently didn’t get briefed by Gen. Shinseki about the VA crisis.

After all, Jay Carney said that President Obama learned about those things through the news.

Sen. Franken, if you don’t know what happened, how can you say that what happened is “outrageous and disgraceful”? Also, Sen. Franken, you say “if this happened” as though we don’t have proof. Dr. Foote is a whistleblower who came forward and told Congress that they’re cooking the books. Since then, more people have stepped forward with their stories. How much more eyewitness testimony is required before we admit that these are verified facts?

The truth is that Sen. Franken is trying to play this both ways. He’s expressing outrage while pretending that the allegations might not check out. Sen. Franken knows that the allegations have checked out. More than a dozen whistleblowers have stepped forward attesting to the VA’s practices.

It’s time for Sen. Franken and Sen. Klobuchar to admit that the federal government is terrible at providing health care. It’s time to change directions. It’s time to privatize the VA system.

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Based on Sen. Klobuchar’s and Sen. Franken’s statements in this MinnPost article, it’s safe to say that Minnesota’s DFL US senators just flipped the Iron Range’s DFL legislative delegation the proverbial finger. When pushed about mining, here’s Sen. Klobuchar’s statement:

“While every project must undergo a thorough environmental evaluation, I am concerned about adding this additional impact statement when there is already a process in place,” she said. “I will continue to work with the Forest Service on this issue.”

It sounds like Sen. Klobuchar’s statement was written in coordination with Sen. Franken’s statement:

“Mining is a great Minnesota tradition, and so is protection of our environment and natural resources,” he said. “There’s no question that we need to take into account the environmental impact of any proposed project, but Minnesota and the federal government already have rigorous processes in place to make sure that happens. There’s no reason to have an overly burdensome process. I’ve been talking with the Forest Service about this issue and I will continue to engage them.”

Apparently, these DFL senators don’t give a rip about miners or their families. If they did, they’d raise holy hell with the EPA and the Wildlife Service.

If Sens. Franken and Klobuchar cared about miners, they would’ve introduced legislation to push the approval process. They would’ve made the fight public. Instead, they’re keeping the issue on the back burner. Frankly, they sound like annoyed politicians who’d rather ignore the issue.

That’s important because this is isn’t just any issue. The prosperity of the Iron Range for the next 30 years hinges on whether precious metal mining is approved. If it isn’t, Iron Range families will drop further behind the rest of the state in terms of median household income and percentage of people living in poverty.

The time for urgency on precious metals mining is now. All public signs, though, indicate that the DFL isn’t treating this issue with the urgency it deserves. In the past, if an issue was important to the DFL leadership, they’d start a high-profile media campaign to highlight their cause du jour. Within a week, everyone would know about the DFL’s cause du jour because they’d fire up their media operations.

During the push for higher taxes in 2009, the DFL pushed their misery tour. Within a month, the DFL held high profile meetings in every part of the state. Each meeting was held in the city with that region’s biggest newspaper and biggest city.

When Friends of the Boundary Waters and Conservation first opposed the PolyMet and Twin Metals projects, they launched a high profile website to trash precious metal mining. By comparison, Sen. Franken and Sen. Klobuchar responded to the Iron Range legislative delegation with a document that essentially said ‘Whatever.’

That certainly doesn’t tell Iron Rangers that this is a priority with Sens. Franken and Klobuchar. Apparently, Sens. Franken and Klobuchar only believe in the “fierce urgency of now” when it pertains to Obamacare. Apparently, that isn’t their mindset on trivial things like Iron Rangers making a good living for their families.

It’s time for the Iron Range to flip the DFL the bird. The DFL, especially the Metrocrats, have been flipping the blue collar workers of the Iron Range the bird for 10 years on precious metal mining. It’s time the hardworking people of the Iron Range got their mines, not the shaft from the Metrocrat DFL.

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During an interview with KSNV-TV, Harry Reid made specific accusations that are unfounded. Here’s the video:

One of the accusations Sen. Reid made was that Cliven Bundy has “decimated the land.” Here’s another thing Sen. Reid said:

SEN. REID: Bundy doesn’t believe that the American government is valid. He believes that the American government is a foreign government. He doesn’t pay his taxes. He doesn’t follow the law. He doesn’t pay his fees. And if anyone things by a figment of their imagination that what happened up there last week was just people rallying to someone who was oppressed, 600 people came in, armed. They had practiced. They had maneuvered. They knew what they were doing. They set up snipers in strategic locations with sniper rifles. They had assault weapons. They had automatic weapons.

Sen. Reid made 12 accusations in that short paragraph, most of them totally false. Unfortunately, that isn’t surprising for Sen. Reid. Lying through his teeth has become Sen. Reid’s habit. It’s what’s expected from him.

Another thing that’s expected is Senate Democrats to either say nothing about Sen. Reid’s despicable, dishonest rants or to defend him as being “effective.” This is proof of the moral bankruptcy of the Democratic Party. It’s proof that they’re more worried about maintaining political power than they’re worried about the integrity of what once was the greatest deliberative body in the world.

Sen. Reid’s diastribes aren’t about winning an argument over which policy offers the best solution for our nation’s ills. They’re about what’s the best way to dishonestly smear people Sen. Reid, President Obama and the Senate Democrats disagree with.

There was a time when being right was the only thing that mattered. Senate Democrats don’t care about being right. Their chief concern is about maintaining their majority. If that means supporting a despicable, immoral man as their majority leader, then that’s what they’ll do.

Here in Minnesota, Sens. Franken and Klobuchar haven’t said a thing about Sen. Reid’s dishonest diatribes. That’s because it’s impossible to find a Democrat with the spine to criticize Sen. Reid. The Democrats’ silence is proof that they won’t do the right thing. They’re only interested in things that’ll give them a political advantage.

That isn’t the type of leadership America needs. Democrats have shown themselves to be utterly corrupt and untrustworthy. That’s why the American people don’t trust anyone in DC. With despots like Harry Reid making dishonest accusations on an almost daily basis, why would the American people trust DC?

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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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