Archive for the ‘Al Franken’ Category

This past Friday, I received an email from the McFadden campaign in which he announced an initiative to reduce spending. Here’s the heart of that email:

There’s a culture among our nation’s professional political class that accepts the fact that our government wastes over $200 billion every year – that’s nearly one-third of last year’s deficit!

Some senators like Al Franken don’t seem to think it’s a big deal. I couldn’t disagree more.

That’s why I announced yesterday that I will release an annual report on wasteful spending as your senator. I’ll go through the budget line-by-line and expose the wasteful projects that are eating up your tax dollars and adding to our deficit. Some say this report will make Washington uncomfortable, and that’s fine with me because I want to get rid of the culture of waste in our Capitol.

I’ve written articles about Sen. Tom Coborn’s Sequester This video series. Follow this link to the first article. This link will take you to the second article. It sounds like Mr. McFadden would fit into the Coborn wing of the Senate quickly. This video explains why Mr. McFadden wants to get spending under control:

While it’s imperative that we eliminate deficits for financial reasons, it’s morally imperative to get the economy growing robustly so families don’t have to live paycheck to paycheck like they’ve been doing the last 5+ years. It’s time to reject the Obama-Franken economic policies. It’s time to embrace pro-growth economic policies that return the U.S. economy to being the envy of the world.

That won’t happen if Sen. Franken is re-elected. He’s proven that he doesn’t know how to get America’s economy growing. Mike McFadden knows how to grow the economy because that’s what he’s done the last 25 years. If you want to grow the economy, hire a businessman. Hiring a comedian to grow the economy is a joke. At least it would be if it wasn’t such a serious matter. But I digress.

The McFadden campaign is highlighting the ways in which he’ll eliminate wasteful spending and how he’ll reduce the scope of the federal government through regulatory relief.

Charles Koch’s op-ed in Thursday’s WSJ is a fantastic fact-filled defense of himself and his corporation.

Koch companies employ 60,000 Americans, who make many thousands of products that Americans want and need. According to government figures, our employees and the 143,000 additional American jobs they support generate nearly $11.7 billion in compensation and benefits. About one-third of our U.S.-based employees are union members.

Koch employees have earned well over 700 awards for environmental, health and safety excellence since 2009, many of them from the Environmental Protection Agency and Occupational Safety and Health Administration. EPA officials have commended us for our “commitment to a cleaner environment” and called us “a model for other companies.”

Harry Reid said Charles Koch was “un-American.” If winning awards from the EPA for environmental excellence is un-American, then we need more of that type of un-Americanism. If winning awards for safety from OSHA is Sen. Reid’s definition of being un-American, then let’s have a new wave of that type of un-Americanism.

Let’s be blunt, though. This won’t stop Sen. Reid from criticizing the Koch Brothers. This op-ed won’t stop Al Franken from using the Koch Brothers as villains in his fundraising emails. That’s because they don’t care about facts. That’s because facts are irrelevant to dishonest people like Sen. Reid and Sen. Franken. This information isn’t relevant to Sen. Reid either:

Far from trying to rig the system, I have spent decades opposing cronyism and all political favors, including mandates, subsidies and protective tariffs—even when we benefit from them. I believe that cronyism is nothing more than welfare for the rich and powerful, and should be abolished.

It’s indisputable that Koch Industries are good corporate citizens. The top Obama fundraisers got guaranteed loans for green energy initiatives, then went bankrupt. Koch Industries asked for corporate welfare to stop. That comparison proves that Koch Industries’ priorities are the American people’s priorities.

It’s instructive that the Democrats villainize a corporation that’s a great corporate citizens. It’s instructive that Democrats sat silent when corporations that raised millions of dollars for Presiden Obama gets a guaranteed loan from the taxpayers, then files for bankruptcy.

It’s time for this nation to turn the page on this chapter in American history. It’s time to chart a new direction. It’s time to trust in the American people again. It’s time to stop listening to dishonest politicians like Sen. Reid and Sen. Franken. Finally, it’s time to start praising good corporate citizens like Koch Industries.

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Last night, John Gilmore made a feeble attempt to defend Sen. Ortman’s indefensible position of not favoring full repeal of Obamacare. Here’s the text of Gilmore’s tweet:

Julianne Ortman very strong on full repeal of Obamacare. Gary Gross hardest hit.

If Mr. Gilmore wants to destroy his credility, that’s his right. It isn’t his right, though, to make things up. When I wrote this post, I included this direct quote from Sen. Ortman:

“I’m not a full repeal person. I think the House of Representatives has voted 40 times to repeal it. The Senate is not going to repeal it. So if plan A is ‘Let’s do a repeal,’ we better start talking about Plan B. Because plan A got nowhere,” she said. Ortman said she would like to see Congress go “piece-by-piece through that new law and figure out what works and what doesn’t.”

If Gilmore insists that that’s what being “very strong on full repeal of Obamacare” sounds like, it’s his right to make a fool of himself. I’ll just continue providing verifiable proof that Sen. Ortman isn’t “strong on the full repeal of Obamacare.” For instance, I’ll include videos like this:

Sen. Ortman can tapdance on this issue from now until the State Convention but it won’t change the fact that she’s doing a fine impersonation of John Kerry. Remember Kerry’s “I actually voted for it before I voted against it” moment? Here’s a refresher on that infamous moment:

Apparently, Sen. Ortman is for full repeal of Obamacare now that she paid a political price for opposing full repeal of Obamacare.

Mr. Gilmore can take cheapshots at me if he likes. My skin is thick enough to withstand his petty little shots. If Gilmore wants to argue against that video, that’s fine. It’s just that he’s fighting against verified truth. That isn’t the way to increase one’s credibility.

At the end of the day, State Convention delegates need to decide whether they’re comfortable endorsing someone who shifts positions on the biggest issues of the campaign, who proposed raising taxes and voted for a cap and trade system. If they’re looking to endorse a candidate who won’t fight for replacing the worst bill in U.S. history, then Sen. Ortman is a perfect fit for them.

If they’re looking for a principled conservative with lots of private sector experience, then Mike McFadden is their only choice.

Sen. Ortman is a flawed candidate. There isn’t any doubt that Sen. Franken will use Ms. Ortman’s statements about Obamacare against her in his ad campaigns and in their debates. Likewise, there’s no question that Sen. Franken will use Sen. Ortman’s flip-flops against her in his ads and in the debates.

That’s just the harsh reality of politics. At the end of the day, Republicans can’t support a candidate who’s vulnerable to attacks of flip-flopping and who can’t raise the money it’ll take to defeat a well-funded incumbent.

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The DFL must see the Bill of Rights, specifically the First Amendment, as utterly annoying. What other reason would the DFL have for pushing that’s already been ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court? This language from HF1944 looks familiar:

Subdivision 1. Electioneering communication. (a) “Electioneering communication” means a communication distributed by television, radio, satellite, or cable broadcasting system; by means of printed material, signs, or billboards; or through the use of telephone communications that:
(1) refers to a clearly identified candidate;
(2) is made within:
(i) 30 days before a primary election or special primary election for the office sought by the candidate; or (ii) 60 days before a general election or special election for the office sought by the candidate; (3) is targeted to the relevant electorate; and (4) is made without the express or implied consent, authorization, or cooperation of, and not in concert with or at the request or suggestion of, a candidate or a candidate’s principal campaign committee or agent.
(b) If an electioneering communication clearly directs recipients to another communication, including a Web site, on-demand or streaming video, or similar communications, the electioneering communication consists of both the original electioneering communication and the communication to which recipients are directed and the cost of both must be included when determining if disclosure is required under this section.

McCain-Feingold, aka the BCRA, prohibited certain types of speech 30 days before a primary election and/or 60 days before the general election. Here’s the relevant part of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling:

The statute is underinclusive; it only protects a dissenting shareholder’s interests in certain media for 30 or 60 days before an election when such interests would be implicated in any media at any time.

Here’s another important part of the Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United v. the FEC:

Because speech is an essential mechanism of democracy—it is the means to hold officials ac-countable to the people—political speech must prevail against lawsthat would suppress it by design or inadvertence. Laws burdening such speech are subject to strict scrutiny, which requires the Government to prove that the restriction “furthers a compelling interest and is narrowly tailored to achieve that interest.”

Despite that clear ruling, the DFL insists on pushing a bill that includes provisions that the U.S. Supreme Court has already ruled unconstitutional. It isn’t just that they’ve ruled these provisions unconstitutional, either. It’s that they said future legislation had to pass strict scrutiny, which is described like this:

subject to strict scrutiny, which requires the Government to prove that the restriction “furthers a compelling interest and is narrowly tailored to achieve that interest.”

The DFL knows that this is an extra-high hurdle that they likely can’t overcome. What’s disturbing is that the DFL isn’t hesitating in writing legislation that violates people’s rights to participate in the political process.

This is the definition of shameful, too:

Question: Why do Democrats hate certain types of political speech?

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Lots of conservatives have ridiculed Al Franken about not being funny. They’ve criticized him for being a temperamental hard left lefty, too. While those are accurate, that isn’t Franken’s biggest problem. In fact, they’re far from it. This WashPo article works overtime to make Franken sound like a serious legislator:

“He stays home and studies for the next day,” a staffer says. Franken is known for actually reading committee witness testimony and even digging into the footnotes, looking for holes or contradictions.

Wow. Al Franken has finally started taking his job seriously. Let’s remember that he didn’t attempt to read the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, aka the ACA. He just voted for that destructive bill because that’s what Harry Reid and President Obama wanted him to do.

So like a good little puppet, Al Franken voted for a bill that’s raised families’ health insurance premiums and deductibles while shrinking families’ networks. Sen. Franken abandoned families when they needed him the most.

While that’s Al Franken’s biggest mistake, that isn’t the only time he’s abandoned families. He’s done nothing to help the hard-working people of the Iron Range because he’s refused to lift a finger to make PolyMet a reality. That’s because Franken is more worried about raking in max donations from his friends in Hollywood and other militant environmental activists.

These hard-line environmental activists don’t take kindly to politicians they support voting for the Iron Range’s blue collar workers. That’s because they’re most worried about their ideology. Worrying about hard-working families is well down their list of priorities, if it’s there at all.

As for whether Al Franken is a serious legislator, I’ll just post this video of Sen. Franken making a fool of himself while questioning Sonia Sotomayor during her confirmation hearings:

I’d submit that Sen. Franken isn’t the serious man he’s trying to portray himself as.

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Since the disastrous rollout of the ACA, aka Obamacare, Al Franken has talked about how he’s holding the Obama administration’s feet to the fire over the website. Wind Al up. Listen to Al chant that mantra. Notice that Al hasn’t talked about Obamacare’s real problem, which is the bill itself. Thankfully, Elise Viebeck is writing about the problems that people will face this fall. Here’s what she wrote in her post this morning:

Health industry officials say ObamaCare-related premiums will double in some parts of the country, countering claims recently made by the administration.

The expected rate hikes will be announced in the coming months amid an intense election year, when control of the Senate is up for grabs. The sticker shock would likely bolster the GOP’s prospects in November and hamper ObamaCare insurance enrollment efforts in 2015.

The industry complaints come less than a week after Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius sought to downplay concerns about rising premiums in the healthcare sector. She told lawmakers rates would increase in 2015 but grow more slowly than in the past.

“The increases are far less significant than what they were prior to the Affordable Care Act,” the secretary said in testimony before the House Ways and Means Committee.

Her comment baffled insurance officials, who said it runs counter to the industry’s consensus about next year. “It’s pretty shortsighted because I think everybody knows that the way the exchange has rolled out…is going to lead to higher costs,” said one senior insurance executive who requested anonymity.

Thanks to people staying away in droves, especially young people, insurance companies won’t have a choice but to hike health insurance premiums. The Obama administration will blame the insurance industry for these rate spikes but they’ll be lying when they claim that. The culprit behind the insurance premiums spiking will be the Obama administration and the Democrats in Congress. They’re the politicians that passed a bill that virtually guaranteed people not buying insurance. When they wrote in the Essential Health Benefits provision, they mandated lots of foolish, counterproductive coverages that just raised premiums.

Sticking with his script, Franken won’t talk about how premiums and deductibles are becoming unaffordable. Franken can talk all he wants about premium supports, aka subsidies, but those subsidies don’t cover deductibles.

Another thing Franken won’t talk about is his solution to this government-manufactured health care crisis. That’s because he’s hoping people don’t notice that he doesn’t have a solution for this government-manufactured crisis.

Perhaps most important, insurers have been disappointed that young people only make up about one-quarter of the enrollees in plans through the insurance exchanges, according to public figures that were released earlier this year. That ratio might change in the weeks ahead because the administration anticipates many more people in their 20s and 30s will sign up close to the March 31 enrollment deadline. Many insurers, however, don’t share that optimism.

These factors will have the unintended consequence of raising rates, sources said. “We’re exasperated,” said the senior insurance official. “All of these major delays on very significant portions of the law are going to change what it’s going to cost.”

Sen. Franken’s chanting points won’t mean much when these premium spikes get announced. Minnesota’s enrollment is better than most states but it isn’t meeting expectations. In fact, that’s understatement. This graphic shows how far off expectations MNsure is:

MNsure set its expectations at 69,904 people enrolled in QHPs, aka Qualified Health Plans. As of Feb. 8, 2014, 29,439 enrollments were “in process.” That isn’t enrolled and made the first payment. That’s the number of people who’ve started the process. They might’ve sent in that first payment. They might not have. Even after artificially inflating the numbers, Minnesota still isn’t half ways to meeting their initial expectation.

Sen. Franken, why aren’t you focusing on the health care problem that’s worrying most Minnesotans? In other words, why aren’t you worried about fixing the problem of outrageous health insurance premium increases? Is it because that’d require repealing the ACA?

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It isn’t likely that Sen. Ortman wants delegates to the GOP State Convention to hear this audio:
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?”
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:
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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When it comes to being productive in the U.S. Senate, Al Franken is all about hot air:

WASHINGTON (KMSP) – 28 Democratic U.S. senators hit the floor Monday night, leading off a dusk-to-dawn climate change talk-a-thon that wrapped up early Tuesday morning.

Democratic leaders have no intention of bringing a climate bill to the floor this year, so the move is all about bringing attention to the issue. Senate Republicans criticized the “stunt,” saying the legislation would force the elimination of jobs.

According to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, there were 7 weather and climate disasters with losses exceeding $1 billion each in the U.S. last year.

Minnesota senators Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken both participated in the all-night session. “A number of my colleagues in Congress don’t believe that human activities contribute to climate change,” Franken said.

The good news for Minnesotans is that Sen. Franken wasn’t doing serious damage while talking. The bad news for Minnesota taxpayers is that Franken is mostly about hot air, as in spewing lots of it while currying favor with anti-business environmentalists.

While Sen. Franken was preaching to the environmentalists, Candidate Franken was criticizing private industrialists:

Dear XXXX,

What has four legs, a ton of money, and big plans for Minnesota?

If you answered “the Koch brothers,” you’re good at riddles. Or maybe you’ve just been paying attention. (If you answered “a wealthy giraffe going canoeing in the Boundary Waters,” then points for imagination!)

The Kochs — and their friends in the right-wing attack-o-sphere — are on the attack all across the country. And Minnesota tops the list of places they want to strike next.

Since joining the U.S. Senate, Franken hasn’t hesitated in supporting anti-mining environmentalists. Since joining the U.S. Senate, Franken hasn’t hesitated in criticizing capitalists who create jobs and make life better for Americans.

It isn’t surprising, then, that the economy still hasn’t recovered. When you’re pro-jobs but hate job creators, the outcome is predictable. Minnesota doesn’t need a hot air specialist in the U.S. Senate. (Just to be clear, Minnesota needs more HotAir specialists like Ed Morrissey.) Minnesota needs a proven job creator instead.

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First, I’ll stipulate that Newt Gingrich is a flawed man who’s paid a hefty price for his mistakes. Next, I’ll state what I emphatically believe: that Newt Gingrich the visionary isn’t just the right tonic for what’s ailing the GOP. He’s the perfect strategist to lead Republicans to victory. Newt’s speech at CPAC this year is a perfect illustration of what I’m talking about:

The reason why Newt’s got the right strategy is because his speeches aren’t about politics. They’re about improving life with a political twist. Check out this part of Newt’s speech:

NEWT: We must stop being the opposition movement. We must become the alternative government movement that will help make the life of every American better so that they would understand what we would do that we would do right, not just what the left is doing wrong.

The biggest thing that conservatives can do to guarantee the best shot at victories this fall is telling the American people that a) we’re the solutions party and b) we trust families and small businesses to make great decisions.

That necessarily means trusting people with lots of options. If we trust families, we should be the party whose health care reform legislation gives families tons of options to fit their families’ needs. By doing that, Republicans will highlight the difference between Harry Reid’s and Al Franken’s one-size-fits-all plan, aka the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, and Republicans’ legislation that trusts families.

That’s a perfect segue into another major point in Newt’s speech:

The smartphone will be the leading public health device of the 21st Century. It’ll be the leading learing device. It’ll be the leading management tool. Congressman Dr. Michael Burgess has a smartphone that has 8 medical applications on it. He can do an electrocardiogram with his smartphone. Now the Food and Drug Administration, seeing the dramatic rise in applications that improve your health, now wants to take over approving applications for smartphones.

Now if you want to see a fight where we can be on the side of young Americans and the left is hopeless, you just go out to any college campus and you say ‘how would you like Washington bureaucrats slowing down the number of new applications you can get, most of them, by the way, are free’?

The party of excessive government can’t control its appetite for controlling people’s lives. Young people naturally love lots of options. In that fight, Democrats lose bigtime.

If Republicans become the party that trusts small businesses to innovate and make families’ lives better, they’ll win decisively because people of all demographic backgrounds will want what we’re selling.

If conservatives return to Reagan’s and Kemp’s and Thatcher’s belief that great ideas that make families’ lives better also makes for great politics, then conservatives will win decisively.

The point isn’t about sounding more conservative or more moderate. It’s about who has great ideas. I’m not advocating for moderation. I’m advocating that makes families’ lives better through entrepreneurship and innovation. Conservatives will jump all over that because it’s from the private sector. Apolitical people will jump all over it because their lives will be improved by the innovations that’s only possible through entrepreneurship.

Watch Newt’s entire speech if you want to see how to win the future. You’ll want to hear Newt’s connecting the dots between the Bakken and defeating Putin. Newt’s speech isn’t getting the buzz like others’ speeches. It’s just the blueprint that’ll make the GOP the dominant party again.

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Over the past week, I’ve highlighted the fact that Julianne Ortman said she didn’t favor repealing Obamacare, aka the Affordable Care Act. Since one of the quotes was from the Star and Sickle, aka the Star Tribune, it’s fitting that conservatives question whether the Strib got the quote wrong. This video should dispel any worries that they misquoted Ms. Ortman:

If that doesn’t satisfy people that Julianne Ortman doesn’t favor repealing Obamacare, nothing will. Defeating Franken is one of Minnesotans’ top priorities this November. We won’t have a chance to fire Franken this November if our candidate sounds like Al Franken.

We know this because Mitt Romney couldn’t carry the attack to President Obama on Obamacare, aka the Affordable Care Act, because Obama would hit him on Romneycare each time Romney brought up the ACA. Does anyone think that Franken and his allies won’t highlight these statements if she’s the candidate? Of course they will.

If we want to deal with this from a position of strength, we can’t have a compromised candidate. It’s that simple.

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