Archive for the ‘Al Franken’ Category
The editors of the Mesabi Daily News didn’t pull their punches with Al Franken in this editorial. First, a little background is in order. After the terrorists murdered 14 people in San Bernardino, MDN sent emails to Sen. Franken, Sen. Klobuchar and Rep. Nolan.
Apparently, Sen. Franken’s letter was the only letter that caught their attention. That’s because Sen. Franken said “As the FBI and other law enforcement officials continue to investigate a crime where 14 innocent people lost their lives only days ago, there are still a lot of questions that need answers. There are now reports that one of the suspects pledged allegiance to ISIS, and I believe that this, and all other investigative leads, must be vigorously and fully pursued.”
The editors didn’t treat Sen. Franken gently, saying “Suspects? They were mass murderers who died in a shootout with law enforcement; and they had a pipe bomb factory in their garage. Crime? This was no Bonnie and Clyde bank robbery couple. Franken’s response was so off base from the question, that another email was sent to his staff providing an opportunity to give a direct answer or at least call it terrorism.”
Sen. Franken’s response is predictable. He’s trying to spin things so people won’t notice that President Obama’s policies failed to protect those employees from ISIS-inspired terrorists. You remember ISIS, right? They’re the JV team. Wait. That’s so 2014. They’re “contained.” That won’t work. That’s too Novemberish. They’re the terrorists that didn’t pose an “imminent threat” to the homeland.
Seriously, as upset as the editors have a right to be about Sen. Franken’s response, it’s important to maintain perspective. Sen. Franken is just the politician who’s getting sent out to spin a mess. It’s President Obama that created the mess by pretending that ISIS wasn’t really a threat. The question now is whether ISIS will carry out another successful attack or not.
There’s a situation that’s approaching crisis status here in central Minnesota. The federal refugee resettlement program is out of control because local governments are saying that it’s beyond their control because it’s funded by appropriations from the U.S. State Department. Meanwhile, the State Department is able to say that their funding of the program is limited to 6 months, which means that cities and counties have their budgets exhausted faster by what essentially is a massive unfunded mandate from the federal government.
Bob Enos has taken quite an interest in this program. He’s done tons of research into the subject. He’s attended meetings. He’s spoken out about how cities, counties and school districts have been negatively affected by this State Department program. His ‘thanks’ for that time and leg-work has been criticism.
Enos has focused like a laser on the financial impact these refugees have had on cities, counties and school districts. Recently he addressed the Willmar City Council. This videotape is of his presentation:
Here’s part of what Mr. Enos said:
We’ve been working on an issue that’s become pretty important to us which has to do with the subject of the resettlement of political refugees around the world and how that affects our counties particularly. I don’t know if you’ve had any briefings on this matter but back in November, the coordinator for the refugee resettlement program for the state of Minnesota in St. Paul requested the director of Family Services here at the County to organize a meeting that took place over a couple of days. Twenty people attended from 3 county agencies, the Willmar School District as well as city hall. The Mayor-elect was there. A couple of vice presidents from Jenny O were there. The subject of the meeting had to do with migration of refugees to Kandiyohi County. We’re used to thinking of the refugee issue in terms of those that are leaving the refugee camps in east Africa and winding up on our shores and going out to the cities and the counties.
The big issue lately that we can’t seem to get a handle on very easily, particularly from a financial planning standpoint, and that has to do with the secondary relocation of refugees from other states around the country. The most recent data that we’re seeing now from the State of Minnesota, specifically from the Department of Health, now tells us that of every city and town, the city that is attracting the most refugees is Minneapolis. The city that’s attracting the second-most refugees is Willmar, not St. Paul, not Bloomington, not St. Cloud, Mankato, Worthington. Willmar.
We suspect that, for the most part, most of this has to do with family re-unification but, best guess, there’s a number of factors contributing to this. What we’re seeing is the Somali community, in particular, is such a size and critical mass, that that critical mass is, in and of itself, the primary magnet for refugees coming here from Atlanta, California and Texas. The last time we knew, we were looking at a number roughly of 2,000 or roughly 10% of our population. We know that’s quite conservative.
I’ve been to 2 other meetings subsequent to the meeting held in November. One was held out in St. Cloud and was sponsored by Lutheran Social Services organization, which in Minnesota, is called the # 1 volunteer agency or VOLAG, which is a private contractor with the State Department and the Department of Health and Human Services from the federal government to aid in that relocation within the first 6 months that they’re here. That meeting, interestingly enough, had about 35 stakeholders, people that have some part, some incentive, some exposure to the program. There was not a single elected official there from the City of St. Cloud or the county. There were no representatives of the School District and these are the places where we’re seeing the most impact, and, of course, the schools.
The federal contracts that the VOLAGs have, though they’re hardly volunteers, requires that they quarterly have meetings with stakeholders. Those stakeholders are supposed to include members of the community. I would take that a member of the community to be an elected representative and I have not been to a meeting where I’ve seen a city councilman, a county commissioner or anyone of an elected status.
What’s particularly disturbing is that nobody from the St. Cloud City Council, the school district or the Stearns County commissioners attended the meeting hosted by the St. Cloud chapter of Lutheran Social Services. Were they unaware of the meeting? Were they simply disinterested in the meeting? Or didn’t they attend it for a different reason?
That’s just what’s happening now. Minnesota’s U.S. senators Klobuchar and Franken “are advocating that the U.S. participate, along with the UN High Commissioner of Refugees in the relocation next year of 130,000 Syrian Muslim refugees.” Enos then said that “the director of the intelligence division of the FBI testified 2 months ago before Congress that the problem with bringing in refugees from failed states like Somalia and Syria is that there’s no infrastructure for our government to vet those people coming from overseas. There’s no record. There’s no office. There’s no way of knowing what we’re getting when they show up other than the good word and the good faith of the U.N.”
This is unprecedented. It isn’t that the U.S. hasn’t accepted refugees before. It’s that the U.S. hasn’t accepted political refugees from failed nations with substantial populations of terrorists before. This isn’t something to be taken lightly. If ever there was a situation when additional caution is required, this is that situation.
What’s required is a slowdown for multiple reasons. It’s totally justifiable for taxpayers to know the financial impact this ‘federal’ program is having on their property taxes and state government programs. It’s also justified for the federal government to put in place a verification system that doesn’t bring ISIS terrorists to the United States on our dime.
Until these issues are satisfactorily resolved, skepticism will be justified.
Now that the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, aka PUC, has issued a certificate of need for the Sandpiper Pipeline project, it’s time to ask an important question. First, here’s what happened:
ST. PAUL – The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission has approved a certificate of need for the proposed Sandpiper pipeline from North Dakota’s Bakken oil fields to Superior, Wisconsin. While the PUC agreed 5-0 Friday that the $2.6 billion, 610-mile pipeline is necessary, they didn’t foreclose the possibility of rerouting it away from environmentally sensitive lakes, streams and wetlands in northern Minnesota. Enbridge Energy will still have to go through a lengthy review of its proposed route and a proposed alternative.
It’s great that they approved the project but I’m just a little worried about why they’re involved. Their primary responsibility is monitoring public utilities. There’s no doubt that politicians create ‘innovative’ definitions for words but that doesn’t mean a pipeline is a public utility.
There’s no justification for adding the PUC into the regulatory process — except if the goal is to create another hoop for companies to jump through. Then it makes perfect sense. If creating multiple hoops is the goal, then having the PUC review pipeline projects is imperative.
There are multiple agencies that review these types of proposals. Why? Shouldn’t Minnesota create a one-stop shopping center for reviews? Shouldn’t there be a time limit placed on both parties to speed up the review process? That way, companies can’t run out the clock by withholding important information and regulators can’t string companies along with endless amounts of questions.
Streamlining the review process gets important projects approved quickly while still asking the important questions.
There’s a throng of anti-corporation organizations filled with environmental activists attempting to kill the Sandpiper Pipeline project. They thrive off of multiple bites at the apple during the regulatory process. They’re assisted by politicians like Sen. Klobuchar and Sen. Franken, not to mention Gov. Dayton, Lt. Gov. Smith and legislators like Rep. Thissen and Sen. Marty.
These environmentalists will stand in the way of this type of reform. They’ll insist that the process isn’t broken and that it doesn’t need fixing. That’s a fantasy. Any system that requires years to get a project approved isn’t just fractured. It’s broken. Companies should be held accountable but they shouldn’t be required to spend tens of millions of dollars on each step of the regulatory process.
A strong national economy relies on cheap energy. If that’s our goal, which it should be, then it’s time we stepped into the 21st Century.
Sen. Franken’s solution to high home heating prices isn’t a serious proposal:
The Democratic senator’s measure would put in place a coordinated response to growing coal supply emergencies that affect power plants across the country, including in Minnesota. “In Minnesota, we know that our utilities need dependable fuel supplies so they can provide heat to homes and businesses, and prevent rising energy costs for consumers,” Franken said.
The proposed Severe Fuel Supply Emergency Response Act of 2015 would direct the Secretary of Energy to lead the response to coal fuel supply emergencies by:
- Promptly investigating the cause of the fuel shortage and informing the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the Surface Transportation Board.
- Convening a meeting with stakeholders involved.
- Making written publicly available recommendations for actions that would help alleviate the problems.
If Sen. Franken won’t propose a serious solution that doesn’t create a different crisis, he shouldn’t be a U.S. senator. This isn’t a serious proposal because Sen. Franken is still owned by environmental activists. These environmental activists, along with the Putin administration, don’t want the Sandpiper Pipeline project built. Before progressives start questioning the logic, here’s why the Pipeline is at the heart of the coal shortage problem. Because the Sandpiper Pipeline hasn’t been built, oil from the Bakken is getting shipped via rail to refineries in Superior, WI, and elsewhere. The last I heard there were either 6 or 7 trains dedicated to transporting oil from the Bakken to the refineries in Superior.
That’s led to a railcar shortage that’s affecting the shipping of iron to steel mills in the Rust Belt, the shipping of agricultural products to the Twin Cities in addition to the shipping of home heating products to anywhere in Minnesota.
Sen. Franken knows this. He doesn’t care about creating rail space to transport agricultural products to market or taconite to steel mills. Sen. Franken’s highest priority is to appease the environmental activists. Instead of appeasing theses special interests, he should attempt to represent his constituents. I know that’s a revolutionary concept with Democrats but it’s a worthwhile endeavor.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he won’t bring up any other business until the Senate passes the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act:
When Democrats prevented debate on the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act, they objected to the inclusion of the Hyde Amendment in the bill. Here’s a little history on the Hyde Amendment:
In U.S. politics, the Hyde Amendment is a legislative provision barring the use of certain federal funds to pay for abortions except if a pregnancy arises from incest or rape. It is not a permanent law, rather it is a “rider” that, in various forms, has been routinely attached to annual appropriations bills since 1976. The Hyde Amendment applies only to funds allocated by the annual appropriations bill for the Department of Health and Human Services and primarily affects Medicaid.
The original Hyde Amendment was passed on September 30, 1976 by the House of Representatives, by a 207-167 vote. It was named for its chief sponsor, Republican Congressman Henry Hyde of Illinois. The measure was the first major legislative success by the United States pro-life movement after the striking down of anti-abortion laws following the 1973 Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade. Congress subsequently altered the Hyde Amendment several times. The version in force from 1981 until 1993 prohibited the use of federal funds for abortions “except where the life of the mother would be endangered if the fetus were carried to term.
Fast forward to the day when the Senate was supposed to pass the bill. Suddenly, Democrats blocked the bill, saying that they were blindsided by the Hyde Amendment being in this 68-page bill. The Hyde Amendment had been part of the bill from Day One.
WASHINGTON – A staffer in Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s office was aware of a controversial abortion-related provision in a sex trafficking bill that has ground the Senate to a halt and stalled the nomination of the next U.S. Attorney General. Klobuchar is the primary Democratic cosponsor on the bipartisan bill that would establish a restitution fund for victims of human trafficking with money seized from convicted sex traffickers.
The bill was set to sail through the Senate after a brief debate last week until it suddenly stalled when Democrats announced that it contained what’s known as “Hyde Amendment” language they had been unaware of. The language prevents the use of the seized money to pay for abortions.
Up until now Democrats,
, claimed they were blindsided by the language that was included by Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas.
It’s time for Democrats to give a little. In previous negotiations, they’ve insisted on Republicans caving. I’m happy that Mitch McConnell has locked up the Senate. If the Democrats won’t give on this, why should he give Ms. Lynch an up or down vote?
After getting elected in 2008, President Obama told Eric Cantor that elections have consequences right before President Obama jammed his stimulus bill down our throats. Now that President Obama got his ass handed to him in the 2014 election, President Obama has insisted that elections don’t have consequences. He’s about to find out that they do have consequences.
Technorati: Amy Klobuchar, Al Franken, Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act, Filibuster, Loretta Lynch, Democrats, Mitch McConnell, John Cornyn, Senate Judiciary Committee, Hyde Amendment, Republicans
This week’s Orchids and Onions contains this complaint:
Onions: Of, “I told you so,” to all the Democrat supporters of Obama and his veto of the Keystone Pipeline. Now we have more than 400 union Steelworkers losing their jobs at Keetac because of the lack of demand for steel products. Democrat Sens. Klobuchar and Franken, along with the biggest Democrat of all, President Barack Obama, have once again thrown union workers to the wolves in order to keep their radical environmental buddies happy. Why, please tell us why, aren’t our steelworker union heads not yelling their guts out about this lack of support for union jobs by Obama, Klobuchar, and Franken?
It’s frustrating to see valuable blue collar workers thrown under the Obama/Klobuchar/Franken/environmentalist bus. These people don’t like fossil fuels. They don’t care about the infrastructure that’s needed to safely transport that oil to refineries.
Worst of all, they don’t really support these industrial unions. Admittedly, they’re great at paying lip service to them come election time. Unfortunately for these unions, that stops the day after the election.
Until industrial unions stop supporting Democrats financially, they’ll get shafted by Democrats.
Whether it’s mining unions in northern Minnesota or construction unions across the nation, their financial support of Democrats keeps putting their jobs at risk. Those contributions help Democrats elect more environmental activists to the legislature, Congress and the White House. It won’t change anytime soon if these unions keep supporting these hardline environmentalists.
It isn’t surprising that President Obama hasn’t done a thing to help build the Keystone XL Pipeline. He never will. That’s because he’s a hardline environmentalist.
When St. Amy of Hennepin County, aka Sen. Amy Klobuchar, runs for re-election in 2018, it’s imperative that these industrial unions question why she hasn’t supported them. The union rank-and-file can’t hesitate in telling her that she has a choice. She can either support their agenda or support the environmentalists’ agenda. They need to tell Sen. Klobuchar that their support hinges solely on whose agenda she votes for.
It’s time the industrial unions held the Democrats’ feet to the fire. In fact, it’s time for them to abandon the Democratic Party until the Democratic Party starts supporting their agenda.
Al Franken issued a statement in advance of Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech that read like it was written by the administration:
In a statement earlier Monday, (Sen. Al) Franken (D-MN) described the speech as a “partisan spectacle.”
“This has unfortunately become a partisan spectacle, both because of the impending Israeli election and because it was done without consulting the administration,” Franken said. “I’d be uncomfortable being part of an event that I don’t believe should be happening. I’m confident that, once this episode is over, we can reaffirm our strong tradition of bipartisan support for Israel.”
Franken is just one hyperpartisan Democrat who professes undying loyalty to Israel, then essentially calls Prime Minister Netanyahu a partisan. Doesn’t it sound like Franken’s support of Israel is conditional? In any case, the “partisan debacle” Sen. Franken worried about didn’t happen.
Alexis Simendinger’s fantastic article highlights how Prime Minister Netanyahu’s substantive speech changed the parameters through which politicians view the issue. Here’s one thing Ms. Simendinger highlighted from the “partisan debacle”:
Netanyahu denounced the contours of the deal being negotiated in Switzerland as playing into Iran’s hands. He warned the outcome could accelerate a path toward nuclear war in the Middle East because he believes the parameters would strengthen Iran’s capabilities within a decade to create a nuclear weapon with such speed, the world could not intervene.
“Why would anyone make this deal?” Netanyahu asked. “This is a question that everyone asks in our region.” He let the clear rebuke of the president hang in the air. “Because they hope that Iran will change for the better in the coming years, or they believe that the alternative to this deal is worse?” he continued. “Well, I disagree. I don’t believe that Iran’s radical regime will change for the better after this deal.”
There’s no question that Sen. Franken recited the Democrats’ script perfectly. Similarly, there’s no question that Prime Minister Netanyahu changed the terms of the debate going forward.
The only “partisan debacle” from yesterday’s speech came from the Democrats. John Yarmuth’s diatribe and Nancy Pelosi’s turning her back on Prime Minister Netanyahu set the Democrats’ highly political tone for the event.
Sen. Franken didn’t attend yesterday’s speech because he’s a partisan hack. He didn’t know that Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech would be a “partisan spectacle.” That’s what he initially said but that’s only because that’s what the administration told him. The speech turned into a dissertation on the things Iran’s leaders have engaged in, including sponsoring terrorist organizations like Hezbollah to attacking US soldiers in Iraq with Iranian-manufactured IEDs.
Had Sen. Franken attended the speech, he might’ve learned something. It’s a shame he took the administration’s word that Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech would be a partisan speech.
According to this article, freshman Rep. Tom Emmer will attend Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to Congress:
“With the Iranian nuclear deal approaching, U.S. allied Yemen falling to terrorists, the horrific violence by ISIL threatening regional security and Israeli and US interests, it’s absolutely necessary for Prime Minister Netanyahu to address Congress on the dire situation in the Middle East. It is imperative for Members of Congress to have open ears and an open mind for us to properly address these threats and their global impact. We must be able to listen to a world leader address the grave circumstances facing an ally in such trying times, regardless of political differences.”
A quick visit to newly re-elected US Sen. Al Franken’s website tells a totally detached view of the world. For instance, here’s Sen. Franken’s view of Iraq:
Senator Franken supports President Obama’s plan to bring our role in the Iraq war to a responsible end. He supports the President’s timetable, which led to the withdrawal of all combat troops from Iraq in August of last year.
Senator Franken believes that when President George W. Bush started the war in Iraq, he lost focus on Afghanistan, the real base that Al Qaeda terrorists used to attack us. Because of this, the United States was drawn into a long and costly war, based on misinformation, that didn’t serve our nation’s interests.
Our courageous military finally started turning things around in 2007 with a new aggressive counterinsurgency strategy. In 2008, President Bush joined then-Senator Obama’s proposal for setting a timetable for withdrawing our forces, which improved our political leverage with the Iraqi government.
With the end of the U.S. combat mission on August 31, 2010 Senator Franken believes that America’s main job now to make sure that those who return get what they need, and that it’s now the job of the Iraqi people to build a functioning society for themselves.
As for whether Sen. Franken will attend Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech, that’s anyone’s guess:
Several other members of Minnesota’s delegation were noncommittal. A spokeswoman for DFL U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson said Netanyahu’s speech is on the schedule but it hasn’t been confirmed whether he’ll attend the event. A spokesman for Sen. Al Franken said he didn’t have an answer on whether Franken is going.
It’s virtually irrelevant whether Sen. Franken attends the speech. It isn’t like he’ll have original thoughts on the subject. If the Democrats’ leadership wants Sen. Franken offering his opinion, they’ll tell him what it is.
It isn’t like he’s paid attention to national security issues thus far. It’s been such a low priority for Sen. Franken that he hasn’t updated his Iraq webpage since 2010. ISIL has taken over Fallujah, Mosul, Ramadi and about one-third of Iraq. AQAP (al-Qa’ida of the Arabian Peninsula) has taken over the US embassy in Sana’a, Yemen. ISIL controls half of Syria. In addition to that, ISIL has expanded into Egypt and Libya.
These are major existential threats to Israel, our most trusted ally in the region. Sen. Franken’s response to these proliferating crises has been nonexistent.
There’s an unmistakable trend in the McConnell-Grimes race, a trend best illustrated by this morning’s RCP average of polls:
That’s what a consistently growing lead looks like. None of these polls show Lundergan-Grimes leading. In fact, none of these polls shows Sen. McConnell’s lead inside the polls’ margin of error. There’s nothing in this graphic that suggests any of these are outliers.
This weekend’s developments don’t hint that Sen. McConnell will become the next Senate Majority Leader. This weekend’s polls strongly suggest that Sen. McConnell will be the Senate Majority Leader sooner rather than later.
For instance, Joni Ernst got great news last night. This isn’t good news for Mark Udall:
The trend isn’t Mark Pryor’s friend in Arkansas:
That’s before talking about Montana, South Dakota or West Virginia, which are certainties. That’s before talking about Alaska or Louisiana, where Democrat incumbents appear to be living on borrowed time. To make matters worse for Democrats, that isn’t the full extent of their potential losses. Scott Brown has run a fantastic campaign in New Hampshire. Defeating Sen. Shaheen would be a mild upset but it wouldn’t stun people like his defeat of Martha Coakley in the 2010 special election. Mike McFadden’s run a solid campaign in Minnesota. While defeating Sen. Franken would be a major upset, it’s worth noting that momentum appears to be on McFadden’s side.
Monday, I’ll publish a post about a wave election’s definition. Yes, this year’s election fits that description.
Technorati: Mitch McConnell, Joni Ernst, Tom Cotton, Dan Sullivan, Cory Gardner, Bill Cassidy, GOP, Alison Lundergan-Grimes, Mark Pryor, Mark Udall, Mark Begich, Jeanne Shaheen, Al Franken, , Democrats, Election 2014
Britta Arendt’s article tells the story of a fantastic candidate making an impressive closing argument:
With his signature spark of energy, McFadden lit up the room during his stop at the Sawmill Inn as he raced in for a brief visit. “I love to be here in Grand Rapids where there’s the convergence of mining and timber,” said McFadden.
A vote for Mike McFadden is a vote for building pipelines and opening mines. A vote for Al Franken is a vote for more IRS investigations and being the environmental activists’ friend.
It’s a vote against mining and logging jobs. It’s a vote against farmers getting their crops to market.
Most importantly, a vote for Mike McFadden is a vote for the most qualified candidate in the race. Al Franken knows government’s nooks and crannies. Mike McFadden understands health care policy, energy policy, regulatory policy and foreign policy.
It isn’t just that we can do better. It’s that we can’t afford 6 more years of Sen. Franken’s partisanship and not getting important things done. Sen. Franken hasn’t done anything constructive to make PolyMet a reality. He’s done nothing to grow Minnesota’s companies.
That’s because he’s spent too much time doing what he’s told by President Obama, Harry Reid and Chuck Schumer. That trio don’t have Minnesota’s best interests at heart. They definitely don’t have the Iron Range’s best interests at heart.
If he’s elected, Mike McFadden will hit the ground running in DC. It’s apparent that he’ll find natural allies in the Senate in Ron Johnson, Tom Cotton, Joni Ernst and Cory Gardner.
When asked of his thoughts regarding the proposed federal listing of the long-eared bat as an endangered species because of the threat of the white-nose syndrome which could potentially shut down summer logging and timber operations, McFadden said “It’s a false choice, environment or jobs. I reject that.”
Continuing on the environment topic, McFadden addressed the proposed PolyMet mining project and said, “Science needs to be based on facts not emotions. Extreme environmentalists can cause decisions to be caught up for years in regulatory review and, in the meantime, people lose hundreds of jobs. I am running against someone who has done nothing to expedite the PolyMet project.”
Al Franken is one of the Environmental Left’s best allies. He’s repeatedly gone to bat for them, albeit quietly so he can pretend to be the miners’ friend.
Al Franken won’t fight against environmental extremists because he’s one of them. Mike McFadden will fight against the environmental extremist base of the DFL because he doesn’t owe them anything and because he he’d rather see all Minnesotans prosper than pander for special interest contributions for his next campaign.