Archive for the ‘Al Franken’ Category

If Bill Hanna’s op-ed makes anything clear, it’s that Tina Smith likely will replace Al Franken as a shill for anti-mining environmentalists. Hanna wrote “Prettner-Solon was a strong advocate for issues so vital to the Range. Smith was a great big question mark. And Smith did little to allay my concerns during that initial meeting. She admitted to not knowing much about the proposed PolyMet and Twin Metals copper/nickel mining projects and had yet to even talk or meet with officials of those two companies. But she would be doing so, she assured. Not exactly a vote of confidence for a new era of mining on the Range. Smith has since been the dutiful lieutenant governor in line with Dayton on issues, while doing what she does best, raising political funds. So on mining, Smith was in step with Dayton, eventually supporting PolyMet in the footprint of the former LTV Mining plant near Aurora and Hoyt Lakes while giving a thumbs-down to the desired Twin Metals underground copper/nickel/strategic metals venture near Ely and Babbitt.”

It’s clear that Gov. Dayton’s intention in picking Smith was to stay away from picking a Range DFLer like Tony Sertich. Sertich would’ve been qualified (from a DFL policy standpoint) with the exception that he might’ve been too pro-mining for the Metrocrats’ liking.

But the Range needs a modern-day mining/logging/land use promoter in the Senate, not a reluctant follower or, worse yet, a reliable “no” vote. Smith connects well with Twin Cities Progressives who show off their penmanship when writing checks for liberal causes. She will definitely do the same on a national level.

But Progressives don’t like mining, even though they relish their computers, vehicles, medical devices and cell phones that are only made possible by minerals extracted from below the ground. It’s all so odd; don’t you dare mine, but do make sure we’ve got plenty of tools to connect with the Internet. And you better not mess with my Facebook Page abilities. It’s like believing milk just magically appears in stores in cartons, without the aid of cows.

Come Election Day, 2018, the Iron Range, as well as the rest of the Eighth District, Sixth District and Second District, better turn out in huge numbers. Further, they’d better vote for Karin Housley. Unlike Smith, Housley will represent the entire state.

She won’t pay lip service to the Range. She’s already speaking out in favor of the Range:

Compare that with this blather from Tina Smith:

It’s clear that Smith isn’t interested in the Iron Range or the construction industries. Smith is for these unions except when they want to mine ore, precious metals or want to build pipelines. When they want that, Smith is a less-than-enthusiastic supporter of those unions.

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Minnesota’s story of the year isn’t difficult to find. It’s Al Franken’s resignation from the Senate. Pervy Al, as Harold Hamilton likes to call him, finally showed that he’s a total jerk. Thanks to Leeann Tweeden’s bravery, Franken’s career crashed as part of this year’s #MeToo movement.

The initial reaction was typified by Amy Klobuchar and Chuck Schumer. They both said that Sen. Franken should subject himself to a toothless investigation from the Senate Ethics Committee. The rules of the Ethics Committee are toothless because they’re written by the politicians they’re meant to protect. They do just enough to whitewash the situation without actually holding the corrupt politician accountable for his/her actions. Those rules also make sure that politicians can’t be punished for things they did before they were elected.

How convenient. Pervy Al groped Ms. Tweeden before getting elected:

What type of pervert does that to a woman? Better yet, what woman not named Hillary Clinton, lets her husband do something like that without divorcing him? The next stage of the Franken saga happened when other women stepped forward and spoke about Franken’s disgusting behavior. One of them, Lindsay Menz, accused him of grabbing her buttocks at the Minnesota State Fair.

Yet another stage in the Franken saga came when Democrats criticized Ms. Tweeden, essentially deploying the ‘she asked for it’ defense:

In response to the compromising photo of U.S. Sen. Al Franken, internet-aware readers can become a bit more informed about Franken’s ‘victim’ by Googling her and clicking on ‘images.’

At times, Democrats tried telling Americans that they were virtuous because they maintained a zero-tolerance policy towards perverts. Somewhere far outside the spotlight, Bill Clinton was heard laughing. Of course, Democrats called for Franken’s resignation after the eighth woman stepped forward. (Nothing says zero tolerance like waiting until the eighth victim steps forward.) People understood what was happening. Franken was forced to resign.

Good riddance.

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In his farewell speech to the US Senate, Sen. Franken said that as “I leave the Senate, I have to admit that it feels like we’re losing the war for truth. Maybe it’s already lost. If that’s what happens, then we have lost the ability to have the kinds of arguments that help build consensus.”

Later in that speech, Sen. Franken said “Often, the ‘debate’ here in Washington can sometimes seem arcane and tough to understand. Other times—especially in recent years—it can be so bitter that it doesn’t even feel like we’re trying to resolve anything, just venting our spleens at each other. I get that. I get why people want us to stop arguing and start, well, doing stuff. But since I am leaving the Senate, I thought I would take a big risk and say a few words in favor of arguments.”

What BS. Literally the day after all Democrats in the House and Senate voted against the Tax Cut and Jobs Act, Sen. Franken is attempting to justify the Democrats’ refusal to cooperate with Republicans in cutting people’s taxes. This is a Democrat difficulty. It isn’t just Sen. Franken who has difficulty working with Republicans. So-called moderate Democrats like Joe Manchin, Joe Donnelly, Heidi Heitkamp and Jon Tester made initial ‘friendly noises’ before voting like Elizabeth Warren.

It used to be said that the US Senate was the “greatest deliberative body in the world.” It isn’t that anymore. The definition of argument is “an oral disagreement; verbal opposition; contention; altercation.” Meanwhile, the definition of deliberation is “careful consideration before decision.”

With the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, Democrats immediately opposed the legislation before the first page was written. That’s the opposite of deliberation. There’s nothing deliberative about that. That fits the definition of argument more than it fits the definition of deliberation.

Here’s Sen. Franken’s final speech on the Senate floor:

There isn’t any proof that Sen. Franken tried identifying the truth. That’s why it’s one of the first casualties upon entering Washington, DC. Rather than lamenting the death of the truth, Democrats should try employing it more consistently.

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This morning, I received an email from Karin Housley announcing that she’s running for the seat that Sen. Franken currently occupies. Ms. Housley’s email says “Today I am writing to you to announce I am running for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Al Franken, and I am looking for your endorsement. Growing up in a working class neighborhood in South St. Paul, I met my husband Phil, and we got married after high school. We’ve been so lucky to have four fun kids, a son-in-law and two grandsons. It has been an honor to serve in the Minnesota State Senate since 2012. I’ve fought hard for our senior citizens, our kids’ education and the unborn. I worked tirelessly writing, supporting and passing bills to help our small businesses. I fought to keep your hard-earned dollars in your own pocket. And, I’ve called on government to be transparent and accountable. Please visit my website housleyforsenate.com to learn more, join the team or contribute. I would love to represent you and be a New Voice for Minnesota in the United States Senate. I’ll bring this same Minnesota work ethic to DC and I’ll work hard, play fair, and do the right thing.”

Mrs. Housley’s opening campaign ad is impressive because it’s positive:

When elder care facilities whistleblowers reported that complaints of abuse were getting thrown in the trash, Karin Housley called attention to the problem:

Last week Sen. Karin Housley, chairwoman of the Senate Aging and Long-Term Care Policy Committee, and two other lawmakers called for an investigation into management practices at the Health Department after receiving reports of bullying at the agency.

Tina Smith was part of the administration that turned a blind eye towards the abuse happening at elder care facilities. Now she’s pretending to care about this issue? Give me a break. Here’s what Smith ignored:

In interviews with the Star Tribune, employees described an office so overwhelmed by backlogged cases that workers dumped dozens of maltreatment complaints into recycling bins without reading them. Others said unread complaint forms piled up into stacks 2 feet high and went unexamined for months.

At one point, employees said, they were ordered to stop making phone calls to elderly victims and other individuals who reported nursing home abuse because it was too time-consuming. But that only angered families, hindered investigations and subverted office morale, they said.

It’s safe to say that Gov. Dayton wouldn’t pay attention to this sort of thing. He’s had a history of not knowing what’s happening within his government. He didn’t know the tax bill he and Tina negotiated had a sales tax on repairing farm equipment. Gov. Dayton and Tina didn’t know that the Vikings Stadium bill had a provision in it for personal seat licenses.

Why would we now think that Tina Smith paid attention to utter dysfunction at elder care facilities? We don’t need a career politician in DC. We’ve already got too many of those parasites there now. That’s why DC is so dysfunctional. We need someone who has a history of accomplishment in the private sector. That’s Karin Housley, not Tina Smith.

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Lately, Sen. Schumer has made a habit of saying that Republicans will rue the day the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act passes. It isn’t that he actually believes this. It’s that he’s trying to spin a major loss for Senate Democrats into a smaller loss. Seriously, only Bernie Sanders is stupid enough to think that the bill won’t create jobs and get the economy running better.

Sen. Schumer issued a statement that said “Under this bill, the working class, middle class and upper middle class get skewered, while the rich and wealthy corporations make out like bandits. It is just the opposite of what America needs — and Republicans will rue the day they pass this.”

It’s important to remember that that’s coming from a man who tried protecting Sen. Franken by recommending a do-nothing ethics committee investigation. Anyone that’s willing to protect a pervert like Franken isn’t a person whose opinion I’d value. Marco Rubio, a person whose political instincts I value, though not always his policies, has changed his vote from no to yes on the bill.

Implicit in Schumer’s statement is Sen. Schumer’s admission that the bill will pass. That’s a victory for Republicans and the American people. Since President Trump was elected, the economy has surged. GDP is higher. Consumer confidence is soaring. Unemployment is at a 17-year low. Regulations that’ve been cut by this Congress and this administration have taken government’s boot off the economy’s throat. People’s 401(k)s are getting richer.

For all of Sen. Schumer’s whining, people are better off now than they were a year ago. Despite President Obama’s BS, the economy isn’t stronger because the Trump built off the blueprint that President Obama put in place. It’s flourishing because President Trump tore President Obama’s blueprint down, then rebuilt it from scratch. GDP for Q1 2017 was 1.7%. Q3 of 2017 is dramatically different, with GDP up at 3.3% with an asterisk. (That asterisk is that it would’ve been higher if not for 5 major hurricanes hitting the Gulf Coast in a single month.)

This is fantastic news:

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California said Friday that the chamber would vote on the plan Tuesday, with the Senate vote to follow shortly thereafter.

Expect there to be a lavish bill signing ceremony at the White House either Wednesday or Thursday. Sen. Schumer’s spin won’t change the fact that the middle class will see more in their paychecks after the start of the new year.

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Now that Gov. Dayton has officially picked Lt. Gov. Tina Flint-Smith to replace Sen. Franken in the U.S. Senate, it’s time to introduce Ms. Flint-Smith to Minnesotans. That’s the purpose behind Briana Bierschbach’s article attempts to do. Ms. Bierschbach’s article describes Ms. Flint-Smith as “a behind-the-scenes operator in DFL political circles who rose to the lieutenant governor job”, adding that “Smith said she’d decided against running for governor. But now, she plans to serve out Franken’s abbreviated term and run next fall to take his place in the United State’s Senate.”

TRANSLATION: Sen. Schumer essentially ordered Gov. Dayton to pick someone who was willing to do more than serve as a placeholder until this November’s special election. Simply put, Sen. Schumer gave Lt. Gov. Smith a set of marching orders and she complied.

The article continues, saying she “quickly rose within DFL circles and moved on to work on several statewide races, including Walter Mondale’s last-minute bid for the U.S. Senate in 2002 after the death of Paul Wellstone. Shortly after that race, she was recruited to be the vice president of external affairs at Planned Parenthood of Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota, leaving that job in 2006 to serve as Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak’s chief of staff and eventually run his campaign for governor in 2010.”

The truth is that she’s just as hard left as Al Franken. She’s anti-mining and anti-blue collar worker. She hasn’t shown any interest in completing the Enbridge Pipeline. Smith hasn’t lifted a finger to get PolyMet operational. Further, she’s done pretty much what Alida Messenger has told the Dayton administration to do. This video essentially tells Minnesotans that DFL policies have failed Minnesotans:

Listen to this litany of paradoxes:

“I’ve heard stories from families who are working 2 full-time jobs and are still struggling to find a good place to live. Minnesota has some of the best schools but I have talked to moms who are faced with driving 60 miles every day to get their children to a good pre-school. Minnesota has more people with health insurance than almost any other state, yet I have talked with farmers who have lost access to their long-time doctors and can’t afford the health insurance premiums. Minnesota iron ore built this country yet I have talked with Rangers who are worried about the future of their small towns. Minnesota is often named as one of the best states for women yet even here, women still earn less than men and women of color and Native American women have even fewer opportunities. (sigh) We have so much opportunity in this state and in this country but we have so much work to do to make sure that that opportunity is broadly shared.

Let’s go through that list. First, DFL taxes and regulations have killed capital investments, thereby killing jobs. The DFL doesn’t trust in capitalism, which is why there’s an outmigration of people from Minnesota to Iowa, North Dakota, Texas, Utah and Georgia. According to the state demographer, this trend isn’t all retirees. It’s prevalent through all age groups.

Next, the DFL’s metro-centric policies have hurt people living in rural Minnesota. Don’t blame this on Republicans. Republicans have fought with Gov. Dayton and Lt. Gov. Smith for rural Minnesota’s priorities. Next, Lt. Gov. Smith hasn’t lifted a finger to make PolyMet operational. If she gave a damn about the Iron Range, she would’ve fought for the Iron Range. Smith hasn’t fought for the Range because she’s a close friend of Alida Messenger, the most anti-mining DFL activist imaginable. I hope Rangers aren’t fooled by Smith’s faux empathy. Smith doesn’t empathize with Rangers. She’s visited the Range but that was a strictly a photo-op.

Another thing that Smith shouldn’t get away with is her criticism of the ACA/MNsure. She was an integral part of getting that enacted into law as Gov. Dayton’s Chief-of-Staff. It’s indisputable that Smith’s policies have hurt Minnesotans. Finally, Smith was Gov. Dayton’s trusted ally long before he was elected. She isn’t just a trusted ally. She’s the architect of Gov. Dayton’s campaign.

I don’t doubt that Lt. Gov. Smith will try to project an image similar to Sen. Klobuchar’s. That’s smart politics. It’s also exceptionally dishonest. Smith is more of a centrist than them pervert she’s replacing.

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Let’s be clear about something. When Doug Jones won the Alabama special election Tuesday night, he won because Steve Bannon’s candidate did what Bannon’s candidates always do. Bannon’s candidate lost a race that mainstream Republicans couldn’t lose in a million lifetimes. Predictably, Democrats are misreading what tonight’s results mean.

Tuesday night’s victory is the result of a terrible, far-outside-the-mainstream, candidate who thought he had a mandate from God misunderstanding how toxic he’d become. If Democrats think they’ll get to run against a lengthy list of candidates that share the same qualities as tonight’s loser has, they’ll quickly be disabused of that foolish notion.

Martha McSally isn’t a clone of tonight’s loser. Republicans have already recruited top-tier candidates to run against vulnerable incumbents in Missouri, Florida, Indiana, North Dakota, Wisconsin, Montana and West Virginia. Any thought that this will turn out well for Democrats in 2018 will quickly be dispatched.

The Democrats’ seismic victory Tuesday in the unlikely political battleground of Alabama brought jubilation, and a sudden a rush of confidence, to a party that has been struggling to gain its footing since Donald Trump won the presidency 13 months ago. Democrat Doug Jones’s triumph, the result of a vigorous turnout of the party’s traditional voters and of Republican splintering in a deeply conservative state, sent a thunder clap across the national political landscape that Democrats hope will signify an emerging comeback at the start of the 2018 midterm election campaign.

There’s no disputing that Democrats are feeling exhilarated after tonight’s victory. That thrill of victory won’t last long, though. Republicans will pass the tax reform bill before Jones is seated as Alabama’s junior senator for the next 3 years.

Tonight’s loser refused to admit that he’d lost:

Most likely, tonight’s winner is thrilled. MSNBC certainly is:

The best news of the night for Republicans is up for debate. Arguments could be made that the best thing is that Republicans don’t have to run with Bannon’s loser strapped to their neck. That’s certainly a positive. Another argument that could be made is that mainstream Republicans can now emphasize tonight’s defeat as proof that Bannon’s candidates are losers in primaries, thereby giving top-tier candidates a better shot at winning primaries. Still another argument could be made that the best news is that Republicans rejected sexist pigs even though it hurt their party.

Democrats tried claiming the moral high ground when Al Franken and John Conyers resigned amidst allegations of sexual harassment. It didn’t take long for Republicans, President Trump especially, to highlight that a special election in Michigan would replace Conyers with either his son or his nephew and that Minnesota’s DFL governor would pick a DFL legislator to replace a DFL senator. In other words, Democrats didn’t stand to lose a thing.

Republicans voted their values despite the fact that they lost an important Senate seat. Finally, it’s worth noting that ‘moderate’ Democrats will have to defend their voting in lockstep with Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren on judges and on cutting taxes. They also have to explain why they threatened to shut down the government.

Sen. Durbin would have us believe that the call for Sen. Franken’s resignation wasn’t a political calculation. Durbin said “I can tell you it was a painful process because of our personal friendships and relationships with Al and his family. There was no political calculation in here. It was just a painful moment when we made a decision, moved forward on the Democratic side.”

Spare me. The next time that Democrats make a decision where partisan advantage isn’t the primary consideration will be the first time. The biggest reason why people have rejected Democrats is because they’re seen as caring most about partisanship. They aren’t seen as caring about people first. At a time when populism dominates, it isn’t surprising that partisanship is devalued.

Here’s the transcript of John Dickerson’s discussion with Sen. Durbin:

DICKERSON: Let’s — a final question on this, Senator. There’s a criticism that Al Franken was pressured, not because of the specific facts of the case, but Democrats wanted to look good in comparison to Republicans. What is your response?

DURBIN: I can tell you, it was a painful process because of our personal friendships and relationships with Al and his family. There was no political calculation in here. It was just a painful moment when we made a decision, moved forward on the Democratic side. I hope the Republicans will face that reality as well.

Here’s the video of that exchange:

Salena Zito’s column picks apart Sen. Franken while exposing the Democrats’ weakness. First, it can’t help Sen. Franken’s ego if he read Ms. Zito say “His prominence in the Senate was pretty reflective of his previous life. There was a lot of noise, but according to research done by the Twin Cities Pioneer Press, his home state newspaper, his legislative career was weak. Of Franken’s 141 pieces of legislation (85 bills, 47 amendments, and nine resolutions) none became law.”

For all of the things written by the Twin Cities media about Franken rolling up his sleeves and going to work, his legacy will be that he was a pervert without any consequential legislative accomplishments. It’ll be interesting to see how Franken’s protectorate will spin that. Later in the article, Ms. Zito wrote “Americans don’t just want members of Congress to be decent people, they also want them to actually do things that benefit them, their communities, and the country; what they don’t want is someone who solely uses their elected offices as a springboard to more power (it was the worst kept secret in Democratic circles that Franken was considering a run for president in 2020). In short, voters want their members of Congress to do something.”

When Democratic senators finally abandoned him this past Wednesday, they established a dangerous double-edged sword that they’ll be judged by. Matt Lewis’ article highlights the Democrats’ predicament:

Sen. Al Franken’s ouster Thursday was a necessary step in order to brand the Democratic Party as the “good” party, and to cast sexual abuse as a Republican problem. We know this because… they admit it. “This is a requirement to be able to look at [women] with a straight face and say we’re the party that cares about them,” Guy Cecil, who heads the liberal Priorities USA and previously served as executive director of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, told Politico. “As long as Republicans don’t do that, there’s a very sharp contrast to be drawn.”

The thing is that this strategy won’t work if Democrats don’t live up to their lofty rhetoric. Frankly, it’s impossible for the Democrats to live up to their words.

Friday night on Almanac, DFL Party Chair Ken Martin said “you can say whatever you want about the Democratic Party but we’re taking these things head-on because we believe we have to rise to a higher standard so that everyone else has to rise to a higher standard” before setting the bar too high when he said that the DFL “has a very zero-tolerance policy.” Perhaps, that’s why they immediately insisted on Franken’s resignation … after the eighth accuser came forward.

With all due respect, Chairman Martin, that’s spin, not truth. Let’s see the DFL live up to those standards before lecturing Republicans.

This AP article all-but-officially says that U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer will pick Al Franken’s replacement. If Gov. Dayton’s pick is approved by Sen. Schumer, then it’s a safe bet that candidate will be Sen. Schumer’s shill for the duration of their Senate career.

The article states that “Dayton’s initial inclination was to pick Smith, a longtime aide and his second-in-command since 2015, to serve as a placeholder until next year’s election, a Democratic official told The Associated Press. The official requested anonymity because the official was not authorized to discuss private deliberations surrounding the appointment before Dayton’s announcement. The official said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer has reached out to Dayton and pressured him to instead appoint someone who can use the opportunity as a running start for a 2018 campaign.”

Suddenly, Lt. Gov. Smith is interested in running for re-election if appointed. It essentially cuts Minnesotans out of the process. Shouldn’t Minnesotans, not a partisan New Yorker, pick Sen. Franken’s replacement? The people should have a say. Franken’s replacement shouldn’t be picked by Minnesota’s royal family, then rubberstamped by the people. Picking Lt. Gov. Flint-Smith, or anyone that will run for re-election, hints that we’re just rubberstamps.

This Strib article contains this wishful thinking:

Joe Davis, the executive director of the DFL-aligned Alliance for a Better Minnesota, said a second Senate race will further nationalize the Minnesota election, which can only help the DFL chain Republican candidates to a historically unpopular president. “It’s a chance to put not just one but two checks on Trump’s Washington,” Davis said, referring to the special election as well as DFL Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s re-election. DFLers hope that anti-Trump fervor will trickle down the ballot to the governor’s race and legislative contests.

There’s a better chance that blue collar voters will get out to vote to nullify Gov. Dayton’s rubberstamp appointment. Then there’s this:

State Sen. Karin Housley, R-St. Mary’s Point, said she is mulling the race and will make a decision early this week. Sen. Julie Rosen, R-Vernon Center, said she remains focused on a potential run for governor and has no interest in the U.S. Senate. State Sen. Michelle Benson, R-Ham Lake, said she is talking it over with family this weekend.

This isn’t a statement of preference. It’s just a statement that Karin Housley would be a fantastic candidate. She’s a skilled legislator. It doesn’t hurt that she’s married to NHL Hall of Famer Phil Housley. Her fundraising ability would be a positive, too. Michelle Benson would be an attractive candidate, too. She knows health care inside and out. She’s a reliable conservative, as is Sen. Housley.

We deserve better than Franken, who is described by Salena Zito as being prominent because “of his previous life.” Ms. Zito added that “there was a lot of noise, but according to research done by the Twin Cities Pioneer Press, his home state newspaper, his legislative career was weak. Of Franken’s 141 pieces of legislation (85 bills, 47 amendments, and nine resolutions) none became law.” Finally, there’s this truth:

Americans don’t just want members of Congress to be decent people, they also want them to actually do things that benefit them, their communities, and the country; what they don’t want is someone who solely uses their elected offices as a springboard to more power (it was the worst kept secret in Democratic circles that Franken was considering a run for president in 2020).

Parting question: is Tina Flint-Smith another reliable vote and political nobody? I remember when Minnesota’s senators were difference-makers.

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