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Right before Mike Pompeo’s confirmation vote to be Secretary of State, I wrote a letter to my senator, Tina Smith. This afternoon, Sen. Smith’s letter finally arrived. Let’s remember that Secretary Pompeo was confirmed on April 26. Tina Smith’s arrived on May 30.

In addition to being tardy, it was filled with a bunch of BS. For instance, Sen. Smith wrote “The State Department shapes American foreign policy through diplomacy, advocacy, and engagement with the world. This work is essential to ensuring our national security, solving tough diplomatic issues, and maintaining relationships not just with our allies but also with those with whom we disagree. The Secretary of State is a different kind of job from any other position and it is crucially important that the person who holds this job represent America’s values to the world and know how to use diplomacy to build consensus. Mike Pompeo is not this person. He is a man who has a record of anti-Muslim statements, some of which he’s read from the House floor in Congress. He’s a man who referred to people who conducted waterboarding not as torturers but as ‘patriots.’ These are not the values that represent America and these are not the values our top diplomat should be espousing. In holding these beliefs, Mr. Pompeo will aggravate the damage being done to the United States around the world. And the risks to peace and stability in the world will increase dramatically.”

Here’s the full letter for your examination:

I highlighted a pair of sentences to illustrate the nonsense in Sen. Smith’s reply. First, Sen. Smith replied that “He’s a man who referred to people who conducted waterboarding not as torturers but as ‘patriots.'” I’d call them patriots, too. At the time the waterboarding happened, it was perfectly legal. It wasn’t until years later that Congress outlawed those tactics. Next, Sen. Smith stated “Mr. Pompeo will aggravate the damage being done to the United States around the world.”

Which damage is that? Bringing North Korea to the negotiating table to discuss the potential denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula? Perhaps, Sen. Smith is referring to the moving of the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem? Is Sen. Smith referring to the 3 American hostages brought home from North Korea after Secretary Pompeo’s second meeting with Kim Jung-Un? Pay particular attention to the former hostages’ reaction when they rejoin Secretary Pompeo:

It’s about 1:15 into the video.

How will U.S. foreign policy ever recover from such behavior? Seriously, this question must be asked. What the hell is Tina Smith yapping about? What she said is utter rubbish. Let’s speak plainly about this. Tina Smith is a partisan hack who isn’t qualified to be a U.S. senator. What type of competent U.S. senator thinks that doing everything legal to prevent a terrorist attack isn’t a patriot? What type of honest politician thinks that U.S. foreign policy is heading in the wrong direction?

Only a partisan hack thinks that President Trump and Mike Pompeo haven’t already done more to make the U.S. safe in 18 months and less than 2 months than President Obama, Hillary Clinton and John Kerry did in 8 years. ISIS has been defeated. The ‘new normal’ terrorist attacks have dropped precipitously. North Korea is begging to get us to the bargaining table. Iran is experiencing unrest unlike it’s seen recently:

Again, I ask Sen. Smith this simple question: what the hell are you talking about? Rather than wait for another letter from her, I have a better idea. Let’s fire her and elect someone who’s actually qualified.

Just minutes ago, Tina Smith announced via this tweet that she won’t vote to confirm Gina Haspel as the next CIA Director. In the tweet, Smith said “I’ve been clear since the start. I will vote NO on Gina Haspel. We cannot have someone lead the CIA who has involvement with torture on her resume. That Bush-era legacy is not something to be proud of.”

Sen. Smith’s after-the-fact quarterbacking is insulting. After 9/11, everyone was certain there’d be another terrorist attack. There wasn’t another terrorist attack because the Bush 43 CIA discovered the intelligence that took out entire terrorist networks. That happened only because of the enhanced interrogation techniques employed right after 9/11.

Smith’s faux moral preening is sickening. If she wants to argue whether ‘torture’ is effective, that’s one thing. Arguing that it’s immoral to torture a terrorist to gain information that disrupts an entire network of terrorists tells me that Smith puts a higher priority on moral preening than on doing whatever is necessary to prevent terrorist attacks. People with that attitude are foolish. They shouldn’t be U.S. senators.


At the time that these techniques were used, they were perfectly legal. The ‘torture law’ didn’t get enacted until years later. Apparently, Tina Smith thinks it’s ok to punish a person for doing things that were perfectly legal at the time they were done.

Further, Smith apparently hasn’t considered whether Gina Haspel is qualified for the job. Unlike Smith, Haspel was on the front lines taking out terrorist networks and keeping America safe. After helping Walter Mondale lose to Norm Coleman in 2002, Tina Smith went to work for “Planned Parenthood of Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota.” Wow. Talk about fighting on the front lines in the war on terror. Simply put, Tina Smith isn’t qualified to render an opinion on fighting terrorists. She’s a community activist. She isn’t a policy wonk by any stretch of the imagination. She’s a policy lightweight.

On the other hand, she’s perfectly suited to do what Chuck Schumer orders her to do. That seems to be the only thing she’s skilled at.

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A liberal front group specializing in gun control bought a full page ad in the Star Tribune. Then the Strib published this article to make sure the organization got extra mileage for their ad buy.

In the article, the Strib wrote “A mysterious group operating under the name ‘Listen to the Children’ called out four members of Minnesota’s congressional delegation Monday on their positions on gun control measures and donations from the National Rifle Association. In a full-page ad in the Star Tribune a week ago, the group asked the entire Washington delegation if they would introduce, cosponsor or vote for legislation to ban the manufacture and sale of high-capacity magazines for firearms, and if they would return any donation from the NRA and its affiliates and refuse to accept future NRA donations.”

Later, Listen to the Children “the nonprofit placed another full-page ad, saying it received ‘yes’ responses from Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Sen. Tina Smith, Rep. Tim Walz, Rep. Betty McCollum and Rep. Keith Ellison, all Democrats. The ad said that Rep. Erik Paulsen, a Republican, was the only one to respond ‘no’ to both of the group’s questions, but a spokesman for Paulsen’s office said their organization never responded to the ad. Rep. Jason Lewis and Rep. Tom Emmer, both Republicans, and Rep. Collin Peterson, a Democrat, also didn’t respond to the group, which stated in the ad that it considered a lack of response as “no” answers.”

Tim Walz and Tina Smith both essentially said that they don’t think that people should have the right to defend themselves. They also said that they’d reject any contributions from the NRA. With a significant portion of NRA members being blue collar people living in rural areas, Walz and Smith are essentially turning their backs on rural blue collar voters.

I hope rural blue collar voters remember that this November.

The DFL’s condescension for people came gushing through this week thanks to Vice President Pence’s visit to Minnesota. In advance of Vice President Pence’s visit, DFL State Party Chair Ken Martin issue this statement. In part, it said “While corporations will see their taxes cut by 40 percent, the plan increases taxes on hundreds of thousands of Minnesotans. And thanks to the bill, more than 700,000 Minnesotans are now limited in their ability to use the state and local tax deductions. Minnesotans know a scam when they see one, and the Republican tax bill is a bad deal for our state.”

First, saying that the Trump/GOP tax cuts raises taxes “on hundreds of thousands of Minnesotans” is an extreme exaggeration. Everyone’s marginal tax rates dropped. The standard deduction increased dramatically. The per-child tax credit increased significantly.

It’s impossible for those things to be verifiably true at the same time Chairman Martin’s statement is true. Martin isn’t the only ‘extreme exaggerator’ in the DFL. This morning, Ember Reichgott-Junge said that Republicans were caught flat=footed with their messaging and that they’re now playing catch-up. Reichgott-Junge then said that all the chaos in the administration is getting in the way of people knowing that they got a tax cut.

This is typical DFL thinking. The DFL insists that people can’t recognize their bigger paychecks if the government doesn’t tell them that their checks are bigger. This is typical DFL condescension. What’s also typical of the DFL is voting against middle class tax cuts. DFL state legislators voted against state tax cuts before Tim Walz, Betty McCollum, Keith Ellison, Collin Peterson, Rick Nolan, Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken voted against the Trump/GOP tax cuts.

Chairman Martin said that “Mike Pence should return to Washington and join Democrats in fighting for a tax plan that puts everyday families first.” I’ve got a better idea. Chairman Martin should tell DFL legislators in DC and St. Paul to start voting for tax cuts rather than hoarding it for questionable DFL spending priorities and a multi-billion dollar rainy day fund. Chairman Martin should be honest for once and admit that the Trump/GOP tax cuts have triggered billions of dollars in bonuses, higher wages and better benefits for literally millions of people across the nation.

In this post, I asked this question:

How long will this list get?

Since I asked that question, the list has gotten significantly longer.

While DFL activists think they’ve got the upper hand in the tax fight, the truth is that they’re playing catch-up and don’t know it. That’s because they’re willing to believe their press clippings.

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Saturday, Sen. Klobuchar, Sen. Tina Smith and Rep. Emmer brought their dog and pony show to St. Cloud to talk with Electrolux employees. This isn’t a criticism of Electrolux employees. It isn’t even a criticism of the federal government, though I’m not thrilled with the fact that Sen. Klobuchar and Sen. Smith voted against the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

It’s mostly a criticism of the Dayton administration and the DFL. The DFL are the idiots who’ve created a hostile environment for companies. The DFL raised taxes. The DFL implemented unreasonable regulations. The DFL put in place systems that give special interests multiple bites at the same apple in terms of granting permits.

I can blame Sen. Klobuchar for wanting to accept more refugees than Minnesota can handle. That matters because of this information:

There’s also a segment of Somali workers, about one-quarter of the Electrolux workforce, Klobuchar said. One of the workers who spoke in the meetings is part of that community. Many of them don’t have a high school degree or came here for this job. “This is their whole life, the life they’ve known,” she said “Losing that community of the people you’ve worked with forever, you’re not going to be able to replace that and that was really heartbreaking.”

It was utterly predictable. Why would a company stay in a place and accept workers who weren’t considered part of a well-trained workforce? South Carolina has a better tax environment, a more skilled workforce and it’s a right-to-work state. Why would Electrolux choose to deal with union negotiations when it doesn’t have to?

Companies (and wealth) have been fleeing Minnesota for a couple decades. The DFL keeps pretending that everything’s just fine when things aren’t fine. It’s time for the DFL to finally admit that their policies aren’t pro-growth policies.

Today, Tina Smith will be in St. Cloud for the latest stop in her grandstanding tour. Nothing says grandstanding like hearing that “U.S. Sen. Tina Smith and U.S. Rep. Tom Emmer will meet Saturday in St. Cloud with local leaders, economic development officials, and some Electrolux employees and union representatives to discuss the company’s plans to close its St. Cloud manufacturing facility. The meeting, which will be closed to the public, is set for 1:45 p.m. at St. Cloud City Hall. Smith, Emmer and others are expected to be available for questions from the media after the meeting.”

It isn’t that Electrolux employees don’t have questions. It’s that those questions are best answered by the people who deal with this every day. (Unfortunately, Minnesota is getting too good at this.) What’s stunning is that the meeting is closed to the public. What’s being told to these workers that can’t be discussed in public?

One thing that might’ve hurt Minnesota is the skilled workforce issue. Years ago, a study was commissioned that said this:

Robert Ady was a longtime executive of Deloitte & Touche/Fantus Consulting, a leading site location firm. He is said to have assisted more site locations than any living person. He concludes that it is the quality of the work force, not low wages, that is decisive in the site location decision: “The single most important factor in site selection today is the quality of the available work force. Companies locate and expand in communities that can demonstrate that the indigenous work force has the necessary skills required by the company or that have the training facilities to develop those skills for the company.” (Ady, 1997, p. 81).
– A report from the Higgins Labor Studies Program, University of Notre Dame, March 2011

The truth is that many of the workers didn’t have the required skills. That required Electrolux to hire extra workers, which drove up labor costs.

Tina Smith’s empathy is situational. She hasn’t lifted a finger to help create mining jobs at Twin Metals or PolyMet but she’s willing to secretly meet with employees in St. Cloud. What a farce.

Electrolux, St. Cloud’s fifth biggest employer, just announced that it’s leaving Minnesota, saying in a statement that “Electrolux announced Tuesday they are planning to close their plant here in St. Cloud. The freezer maker says production is expected to continue through the end of 2019. Electrolux spokeswoman Eloise Hale says they have about 900 employees in St. Cloud. She says all impacted employees will be eligible for jobs elsewhere in the company.”

King Banaian commented that “The unemployment rate is quite low. A 17-year low is correct. So there’s a very tight labor market. Our employers keep saying to us in our surveys that finding qualified workers is one of the most serious issues.” That’s the good news. The bad news is that Minnesota keeps losing high-quality employers and employees each year. The outmigration of wealth from Minnesota is devastating. It isn’t just retirees fleeing for warmer climates, either.

According to Minnesota’s State Demographer, people of all age groups are leaving. It’s the chief reason why Minnesota will lose a congressional district after the next census.

Under Gov. Dayton’s ‘leadership’, the Twin Cities have done well while the rest of the state has regressed. Gov. Dayton’s anti-wealth policies, coupled with Minnesota’s oppressive regulations, are driving businesses away while making Minnesota less competitive with other states.

St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce President Teresa Bohnen says it’s good news that the community has two years to prepare for the job losses. And, she says the local Workforce Center will start working with those workers that are affected as soon as possible.

We have the jobs in St. Cloud, that’s the great news. And, we’ve already been approached by Senator Smith’s office this afternoon to talk about what they can do to help us. So we’re hoping for grant money, workforce grants, those kinds of things to get us help to get these people retrained and into new jobs as soon as possible.

Sen. Smith’s former boss, Gov. Dayton, is part of the problem. The DFL’s economic policies aren’t pro-growth. The regulations strangle investment.

There’s no doubt that Sen. Karin Housley is a strong advocate for seniors, especially those living in elder care facilities. Last week’s hearing on elder care abuse proved how passionate Sen. Housley is about the issue. Rather than speak like a politician spewing policy, Sen. Housley sounded like a relative looking for justice for a parent who’d gotten abused. She also sounded like a skilled litigator trying to get to the bottom of this crisis.

During the hearing, Sen. Housley said “How long did the Minnesota Department of Health know this was going on and cover it up? I have to say it’s been disappointing to learn what’s been happening for the last I don’t know how many years.”

Daniel Pollock, the acting commissioner of the state Department of Health, replied “We openly acknowledge that in recent years the Office of Health Facility Complaints really has not met the reasonable and appropriate expectations of Minnesotans when it comes to investigating maltreatment complaints in a timely way.”

TRANSLATION: I admit that we didn’t give a damn because our pay isn’t tied to our performance.

This weekend, Sen. Housley stopped past WCCO studios to be interviewed by Esme Murphy:

The part that stung Esme was when she said “The economy though — U.S. News and World Report named us the third best state in the country — 2017 the blistering pace of construction in the Twin Cities in recent years is one sign of an economy firing on all cylinders. Don’t they deserve credit for that?” Sen. Housley replied “There’s still a lot of room for improvement. You know, you go up to the Iron Range and those people are suffering up there. They need jobs up there and they really need to have their voices heard.”

Sen. Housley is an impressive candidate and an impressive legislator. She isn’t the type of legislator that’ll let bureaucrats off the hook. When they come before her committee, they’d better be prepared and they’d better tell the truth from start to finish.

By comparison, I can’t see Tina Smith being much more than Sen. Schumer’s shill. That isn’t to say that Smith isn’t smart. I’m just saying that she’s like most Democrats in that they do what they’re told.

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Saturday, I wrote this post about Tina Smith’s misguided attention towards the Special Counsel. I wrote that post right after writing this post about Thad McCotter’s delightful tongue-in-cheek article about the Special Counsel.

In my post about Tina Smith’s attention to the special counsel, I highlighted something that Sen. Karin Housley said during a hearing on abuse at elder care facilities. Sen. Housley said “It snowballed over the Dayton administration and was completely ignored and was brushed completely under the table so I think there needs to be some apologies made and some accountability taken.” This crisis was serious business. At least 1 person died. Other elderly people were sexually assaulted or ignored.

For 7+ years, Tina Smith was nowhere to be found to deal with this crisis.

While Tina Smith plays politics with the special counsel issue, a serious senator who initially dealt with the issue is abandoning his push for legislation that would’ve tried to protect the special counsel because Daniel Keylin, Tillis spokesman, said that the “chatter that the administration is considering removing Special Counsel Mueller has completely come to a halt. In fact, the president and his administration have spoken favorably of Special Counsel Mueller’s professionalism and integrity, and recent reports indicate the investigation may soon come to an end.”

Tina Smith isn’t a serious legislator. While it’s too soon to call her a political hack, it isn’t too soon to question whether she’s more than Sen. Schumer’s shill.

On Friday of the Schumer Shutdown weekend, Smith voted to shut government down. On Monday, Smith voted to re-open the government by voting for the exact same bill that she voted against to start the shutdown. By comparison, Thom Tillis voted twice to keep government open and to extend the CHIP program.

Apparently, Tina Smith thinks that she can win her special election by peddling the latest DFL BS about the Trump-Russia nothing burger. She might be able to gin up enthusiasm with the DFL’s far-left base with that but I’d doubt that thoughtful people care a whit about the investigation. I’m betting that people will be more interested in interrogating Ms. Smith over why she voted for shutting down the government on Friday night, then voting to reopen the government on Monday, especially considering that the votes were literally on the identical bill.

Further, I’m betting that voters will want to know whether she supports President Trump’s immigration framework that would give 1,800,000 illegal immigrants a pathway to citizenship in exchange for the appropriation of money to built President Trump’s border wall and ending chain migration. Will Ms. Smith represent the DACA recipients she claims to care about or will she vote to keep the issue alive for this year’s campaign? In other words, will she represent her constituents? Or the special interests that fund her campaign?

“The report that President Trump sought to fire Robert Mueller—the man leading the Trump-Russia investigation—is profoundly disturbing, to say the least,” Smith’s statement continued. “I plan to support measures that would help protect this investigation from further political interference.”

First, the firing didn’t happen. Why be worried about something that didn’t happen? It isn’t like Smith doesn’t have truly important things to do. She’s got immigration reform to think through. She’s got to decide whether she’ll support lifting the spending caps on the military. BTW, the military got hollowed out thanks to Sen. Franken’s votes. Will she fix what he broke?

The New York Times reported Thursday night that Trump had ordered a White House lawyer to fire Mueller, but backed down after the attorney, Don McGahn, threatened to resign. If carried out, the firing would likely have created an extraordinary political crisis.

A significantly different version of the story is now making the rounds. In that newer article, it’s being reported that President Trump asked McGahn what would happen if he fired Mueller. McGahn replied that it would create more headaches for the President. McGahn then recommended that President Trump drop the idea, which apparently happened.

It isn’t a big deal for the President to have expressed frustration with the Mueller investigation. Mueller’s team is filled with biased ‘investigators’ who wanted Hillary Clinton to be president. It’d be a miracle if a person wasn’t upset with the team Mueller picked.

Here’s a point worth considering: Smith is more upset with something that didn’t happen than she’s been about the abuse of residents in Minnesota’s elder care facilities. Forgive me but why isn’t Smith upset about something that’s actually happened? Why isn’t she upset about that crisis? When you watch this video, I want you to think about the questions you’d ask if your parents were subject to this abuse:

Ponder what Sen. Housley said:

It snowballed over the Dayton administration and was completely ignored and was brushed completely under the table so I think there needs to be some apologies made and some accountability taken.

I’ll be clear. Much of this happened while Tina Smith was Lieutenant Governor, a time when she paraded around the state doing ribbon cuttings, etc. Why didn’t Smith dig into this crisis rather than be Gov. Dayton’s PR person? Is it because Smith prefers the role of PR spokesperson over the responsibility of fixing things?

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