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Marco Rubio’s op-ed utterly demolishes President Obama’s decision to normalize relations with Cuba. In his op-ed, Sen. Rubio correctly states that President Obama’s decision will have long-lasting, negative consequences — for us and the oppressed Cuban people:

The opportunity for Cuba to normalize relations with the U.S. has always been there, but the Castro regime has never been interested in changing its ways. Now, thanks to President Obama’s concessions, the regime in Cuba won’t have to change.

The entire policy shift is based on the illusion—in fact, on the lie—that more commerce and access to money and goods will translate to political freedom for the Cuban people. Cuba already enjoys access to commerce, money and goods from other nations, and yet the Cuban people are still not free. They are not free because the regime—just as it does with every aspect of life—manipulates and controls to its own advantage all currency that flows into the island. More economic engagement with the U.S. means that the regime’s grip on power will be strengthened for decades to come—dashing the Cuban people’s hopes for freedom and democracy.

Cuba’s economy has been circling the drain for 2-3 years. Venezuela and Russia, its 2 biggest supporters, have hit tough times, too, thanks to rapidly dropping oil prices. At exactly the time when Cuba is collapsing from within, President Obama threw them a lifeline with this initiative.

Already, a Minnesota representative is planning a trip to Cuba:

ST. PAUL, Minn. – A Minnesota congressman who has long advocated for changes to the United States’ Cuba policy says a decision to normalize relations with the island country is a “monumental step” in the right direction. Democratic Rep. Rick Nolan praised Wednesday’s announcement that the U.S. would re-establish diplomatic ties to Cuba. Nolan traveled to Cuba in 1977 during his first stint in Congress and was involved in a past deal to release U.S. prisoners held there.

Nolan says he hopes to travel to Cuba next year to meet with officials there.

Another Democratic member of the Minnesota delegation, Betty McCollum, described the announcement as “a new beginning.” She says she would continue working to end a U.S. trade embargo with Cuba. McCollum spent time in Cuba last summer.

Apparently, Nolan and McCollum, like President Obama, are willing to ignore Cuba’s disgusting human rights abuses. Apparently, they haven’t thought things through nor have they put a high priority on human rights. Sen. Rubio has:

While my personal ties to Cuba and its people are well known, this is not just a personal issue. American foreign policy affects every aspect of American life, and our people cannot realize their full promise if the world becomes more dangerous because America retreats from its role in the world. Moreover, the Cuban people have the same rights that God bestowed on every other man, woman and child that has ever lived. All of those who are oppressed around the world look to America to stand up for their rights and to raise its voice when tyrants like the Castros are trying to crush their spirits.

It’s amazing that the ‘party of the little guy’ supports the dictators who trample the little guys for criticizing the Castros’ oppressive dictatorship. What isn’t surprising, though, is that Rick Nolan is ignoring the Castros’ reign of terror. He’s always been soft on human rights and friendly towards oppressive dictators.

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Don Davis’s article is the perfect starting point for highlighting the upcoming fight between Minnesota’s farmers and Twin Cities environmentalists:

From Gov. Mark Dayton on down, it is common to hear them wishing that Minnesota had a resource worth as much as that being pumped from the Bakken oil field in western North Dakota. Then, almost without pause, a politician can pivot and complain that North Dakota’s oil makes Minnesota a more dangerous state.

So it was no surprise the other day when the Minnesota Legislative Energy Commission slipped, as if on an oil puddle, from talking about rail congestion slowing the delay of coal to power plants to the dangers of railroads transporting oil across the state. Rail safety is not in the commission’s portfolio, but over the past couple of years, the nine or 10 oil trains a day that pass through Minnesota has become an explosive issue in the Capitol.

Six or seven trains, each with at least 100 cars of oil, travel from Moorhead through the Twin Cities and on southeast each day, headed to Midwest and East Coast refineries. Fewer go from North Dakota, then south through Willmar and Marshall to Oklahoma and the Gulf Coast. So when Dave Christianson of the Minnesota Department of Transportation was telling the commissioner about rail congestion that many blame on North Dakota crude oil, questions arose about rail oil safety.

Last fall, Gov. Dayton sidestepped why the commissioners he appointed to the Public Utilities Commission voted to stall building the Sandpiper Pipeline by 3-5 years. Minnesota is at a tipping point, a crisis:

Christianson said that if every pipeline proposed through 2025 is built, “we could empty all the oil trains being moved today.” However, he quickly added, Bakken production is growing so fast that its output would be so big that pipelines could not handle it all and the same number of oil trains would be needed as are on the tracks today.

In other words, Minnesota needs to throw environmentalists under the bus. It’s indisputable that pipelines are the safest way of transporting oil from the oil fields to refineries. It’s equally indisputable that they aren’t 100% safe. What’s sad is that environmentalists insist that they be perfectly safe.

They insist on that knowing that that isn’t possible.

Meanwhile, farmers can’t get their grains to market and iron ore can’t get their ore to steel mills. Environmentalists have consistently won those fights during the Obama administration. Now we’re facing a crisis. We’re experiencing a fracking boom but we don’t have the infrastructure to transport the oil & natural gas fracking is producing.

This year, the DFL will have to decide if they’re pro-farmer or pro-environmentalist. Gas prices are dropping. Home heating bills are less expensive. Families are liking the fact that they’ve got more money in their pockets when they finish paying their bills. That trend isn’t likely to stop anytime soon:

When he served in the legislature, Mike Beard was my go-to guy on energy and environmental issues. Two things impressed me about Mike. First, his understanding of energy and environmental issues is outstanding. The only thing more impressive than Mike’s understanding of energy and environmental issues was the fact that Mike Beard’s integrity was unassailable. This morning, Mike teamed with Roger Moe to write this op-ed on energy issues for the St. Cloud Times. Here’s the chief point Beard and Moe drove home:

To help ensure we continue to have a reliable source of electricity in Minnesota and throughout our region, we recently signed on as the honorary co-chairs of the Coalition for a Secure Energy Future, an organization that advocates for preserving a balanced, all-of-the-above approach to electricity that includes traditional sources like coal-based power plants in both Minnesota and North Dakota.

Lignite is a grade of coal that might not sound familiar, but the electricity North Dakota lignite generates is regularly transmitted to us in Minnesota.

Lignite is different from the coal found in the Appalachian regions of the eastern United States, or other coals that must be shipped long distances by train. Because it is mined at the surface, rather than underground, lignite coal mining is safer than other heavy industries such as construction and manufacturing. It is also consumed at power plants adjacent to the mines, which virtually eliminates costly transportation charges and the need to burn diesel to transport coal.

The regional coal industry takes great pride in its ability to generate this low-cost source of electricity while simultaneously reducing emissions. In fact, North Dakota, with its eight coal plants and Minnesota, with its 11 coal plants, enjoy great marks from the American Lung Association. This prime ALA rating should serve as a reminder that electricity from coal can be economically beneficial and environmentally sound.

Mike’s goal, whenever I spoke with him, was to educate people about Minnesota’s energy needs within the context of keeping Minnesota’s lakes, rivers, streams and air as clean as possible. That’s what this paragraph is about:

But when looking to the future, we can’t forget about the present. The diverse set of energy resources we use includes intermittent resources like wind and solar, as well as sources of always on, reliable power such as coal, nuclear, biomass and hydropower.

While it’s important to keep Minnesota’s air and water as clean as possible, it’s imperative that we don’t reach past the tipping point of clean air and affordable electric bills for families. This op-ed highlights how lignite coal gets good grades from the American Lung Association while providing reliable energy at a cheap price.

The first dirty little secret is that solar and wind power can’t replace coal because you can’t run factories on wind or solar power. The other dirty little secret is that the federal government wants to expand its regulatory reach beyond where the CWA is authorized to reach:

The EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers recently released a draft rule to significantly broaden the scope of their authority under the Clean Water Act by expanding the definition of “waters of the United States.” The guidance would reverse U.S. Supreme Court decisions setting limits on the federal government’s authority to regulate waters without Congressional action.

The CWA is one of the most abused laws in the federal government. The Obama administration hopes to use it to increase its regulatory authority into areas currently governed by state and local jurisdictions. It’s imperative that this overreach is stopped before it hurts the U.S. economy.

After watching this video, it’s clear that Jeb Bush doesn’t have a clue about conservatism:

This post shows that Paige Lavender, a reporter/commentator for Huffington Post, is utterly clueless. Before we get into Jeb Bush’s statements, here’s what Ms. Lavender said:

PAIGE LAVENDER: We’ve seen in the last 2 election cycles that the Republican primary tends to favor the more conservative candidate.

In 2008, there weren’t any conservatives in the race. Of the liberals, John McCain was the most liberal. He got the nomination. In 2012, the GOP candidates were marginally more conservative. Mitt Romney wasn’t as liberal as McCain but he wasn’t a conservative, either. He was simply the least liberal of the liberals running.

The good news is that Republicans will have a handful of conservatives to pick from in 2016, starting with Scott Walker, then adding John Kasich and possibly Mike Pence. GOP activists won’t have to hold their noses when supporting one of these candidates. Conservatives will be able to enthusiastically support one of these three candidates.

The last 20 seconds of this video will hurt Gov. Bush:

Here’s what Gov. Bush said:

GOV. BUSH: I kinda know how a Republican can win, whether it’s me or somebody else and it has to be much more uplifting, much more positive, much more willing to, you know, to be practical now in the Washington world, to be willing to lose the primary to win the general without violating your principles.

Jeb Bush, like Mike Huckabee before him, doesn’t have a clue about conservatism. True conservatism has a healthy libertarian streak to it, mixed with a healthy skepticism of Washington, DC-run programs. We prefer smallish programs administered at the local level because that’s the best way to ensure accountability. Gov. Bush enthusiastically supports Common Core, which is federalizing education curriculum and standardizing tests nationwide. It’s even telling school boards which text books fit with Common Core’s curriculum.

Conservatism is about giving people lots of positive options, whether we’re talking about families’ health care decisions or telling parents that they can send their children to schools that aren’t failing students.

For the last 6-8 years, Republicans had to play defense because Democrats controlled the agenda. The next Republican president will work with GOP majorities in the House and Senate. That means they’ll be setting the agenda. Their first assignment must be to fix the messes created by President Obama, Sen. Reid and Nancy Pelosi. That means finally getting the fed to shut off the QE2 spigot. That’ll require the GOP to starting over with health care reform. This time, it’s imperative to get it right. Getting America’s economy requires siding with construction unions while ignoring environmental activists on pipeline projects.

There’s no shortage of things that need fixing. When a Republican governor is elected to become the 45th president of the United States, he’ll have lots of things to fix or to get started on. Hopefully, the 45th president won’t be Jeb Bush.

It’s time people started highlighting just how often progressives lie. They lie about people. They lie about events. If their lips are moving, especially during campaigns, it’s likely that they’re lying. This video provides proof of progressives’ propensity for lying:

Here’s what Robert Reich said during the campaign:

ROBERT REICH: First, you can forget about the minimum wage. They (Republicans) refuse to raise it even though most minimum wage earners are adults, breadwinners for their families and they need a raise.

It’s verifiably false that most people earning the minimum wage are “breadwinners for their families.” That’s an outright lie. Reich wasn’t done lying. Later, he said this:

Here’s the transcript:

REICH: Third, you can forget our crumbling roads and bridges and pipelines. Republicans won’t invest in what it takes to repair them, even though it would put millions back to work. And letting our infrastructure costs jobs.

The only legislation that the House took up was Bill Cassidy’s bill to force President Obama to build the Keystone XL Pipeline. That was 2 weeks ago today. It passed with overwhelming bipartisan support. The identical bill was submitted by Sen. Landrieu, the woman Cassidy will replace in January. Every Republican senator voted for Sen. Landrieu’s bill. Unfortunately, the vote failed because three-fourths of Democrat senators voted against the bill.

Further, Republicans support building roads and bridges. It’s just that they’re opposed to pouring billions of dollars into light rail boondoggles. Democrats support light rail in sparsely populated parts of the nation, preferring them to upgrading roads and bridges.

The rest of the video is filled with lies, too, but I’ll just recommend you watch the full video rather than transcribing each lie individually:

This Our View editorial in the St. Cloud Times proves how intellectually dishonest the Times’ editorial page is. Here’s exhibit A:

Even if the bill had passed, President Obama doesn’t support the bill. He prefers to have the State Department work through the approval process for the project.

It isn’t that President Obama prefers having “the State Department work through the approval process.” It’s that he’s using the State Department to delay the project because he’s a true believer in climate change. This isn’t about process. It’s about President Obama’s ideology.

Further, President Obama has consistently and repeatedly sided with environmental activists rather than occasionally siding with construction unions. Thus far, President Obama hasn’t shown an interest in helping farmers or siding with the unions.

That isn’t the only spin in the Times’ editorial. Here’s another part:

Closer to home, Gov. Mark Dayton said he thinks the best way to untangle the glut of oil trains on Minnesota rail lines is to transport more oil by pipeline. The large increase in the number of trains carrying oil from North Dakota to Midwest refineries has caused delays for grain, propane and coal shipments by rail.

Gov. Dayton is as enthusiastic about building pipelines as President Obama. Gov. Dayton’s appointees to the Public Utilities Commission voted to delay the building of the Sandpiper Pipeline by asking “for a review of six alternative routes proposed by opponents of the project.”

The net effect of that is to effectively delay construction of the Sandpiper Pipeline project until after he leaves office. It’s possible the Sandpiper Pipeline will eventually get built but it isn’t likely to happen with Gov. Dayton’s time in office.

Elizabeth Warren, the hardline progressive who took Ted Kennedy’s seat, won’t be the Democrats’ presidential nominee. If she ran, however, she’d be pounded mercilessly for statements like this:

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) went straight after Republicans, blasting the GOP on deregulation and trickle down economics during a Center for American Progress event on Wednesday.

“The Republicans have a pretty simple philosophy: they say if those at the top have more, more power for Wall Street players to do whatever they want and more money for tax cuts than somehow they can be counted on to build the economy for everyone else,” Warren said. “Well, we tried it for 30 years and it didn’t work. In fact the consequences were nearly catastrophic.”

That’s rich considering the fact that the economy created more full-time jobs in 6 months under President Reagan than have been created during President Obama’s administration. If high taxes, overregulation and big spending were the right elixir, the Obama economy would be creating 2,000,000 high-paying full-time jobs each year.

The truth is that Obamanomics’ cornerstone policies don’t work. They’ve never worked in creating robust economic growth that helps everyone. In President Obama’s America, the well-connected get special breaks, Wall Street gets monthly bailouts and the middle class, what’s left of it anyway, takes it in the shorts. If Sen. Warren wants to fight for President Obama’s policies, be my guest.

Sen. Warren’s policies are tired:

“We tested the Republican ideas and they failed, they failed spectacularly. There’s no denying that fact,” Warren said. “We know the importance of accountability on Wall Street, the benefits of having a better educated work force. The advantages that come from investments of high speed rail and medical research.”

‘Investing’ in high speed rail is a boondoggle. As for a well-educated workforce, the American people have been getting ripped off by government schools, aka public schools. Unions have hurt public education. Charter schools, while not being the sole elixir to the problem, are definitely a positive step.

This is positively rich:

“People across this country get it. Sure, there’s a lot of work to be done and there’s a long way to go before Democrats can reclaim the right to say that we’re fighting for America’s working people, that we’re fighting to build a future not just for some of our children but for all of our children,” Warren said. “No, we’re not there yet but don’t forget the good news. Our agenda is America’s agenda.”

The masses aren’t clamoring for a green economy. They’re shouting for a robust expansion of fossil fuel exploration. They’re insisting on limiting regulations on sources of energy that heat homes and power factories.

If Democrats want to run on Obama’s policies, which they’ll be forced to do, they’ll get soundly defeated in 2016. Moving further to the left won’t grow their party. It’ll set the Democratic Party back a decade or more.

Tuesday evening, Senate Democrats voted to reject Mary Landrieu’s bill that would’ve forced the federal government into issuing the permits to build the Keystone XL Pipeline. The All Star Panel discussed it on this video:

My favorite part of the segment is the final part of the discussion. Here’s that transcript:

BRET BAIER: George, do you expect a lot of stories on the civil war within the Democratic Party?
(Laughter from George Will and Steve Hayes)
GEORGE WILL: I don’t think so. It is interesting to note that maybe they couldn’t have saved Mary Landrieu but they could’ve at least tried. And they didn’t even try.

The experts knew on Election Night that Mary Landrieu was history. That isn’t surprising to people who’ve followed that race. The Democrats’ circular firing squad hasn’t officially convened in public but it’s certainly started outside the public’s eye. I can’t picture it stopping until there’s political blood on the floor and the Democratic Party is damaged going into 2016.

While this was Sen. Landrieu’s last stand, we’ll have to wait until 2016 for Hillary’s last stand. Behind every ebb and flow in presidential polling is a steady current just beneath the surface. Right now, that current is running against the Democratic Party. They’re no longer the party of hope and change. They’re the party of Washington, DC. They’re the party of obstruction. They’re the party that’s stopped listening to the American people.

Hillary is the poster child for people who stayed too long in DC. Just like Mary Landrieu’s magic has evaporated, so has Hillary’s. Hillary first set foot in DC 24 years ago. She hasn’t left since. While Bill finished his time in office, she established a residence in New York, then immediately ran for Pat Moynihan’s seat. After winning re-election, she launched her first presidential campaign. After getting beaten by Barack Obama, she got picked to be his first Secretary of State.

Just like Sen. Landrieu tried getting her Washington friends to help her win a fourth term, Hillary is counting on her Washington friends to help her win her presidential election. It’s a schtick that Louisiana voters didn’t buy with Sen. Landrieu. It’s a schtick that Americans aren’t likely to buy in 2016.

As for Sen. Landrieu and the Democrats, 2014 was a difficult year, mostly because they ran a bunch of retreads that cast their votes for Obamacare. Isn’t it ironic that the ACA is sinking as fast as Sen. Landrieu’s political career is sinking? Isn’t it ironic that the Democratic Party’s favorability ratings are dropping as fast as the ACA’s favorability ratings are dropping? It couldn’t happen to a more deserving bunch.

I’ll risk saying this but the professional political punditry needs to get start seeing things through a policy impact perspective, not through a ‘will it play politically’ perspective. During this morning’s gubernatorial debate, Gov. Dayton said that he’s long advocated for a single-payer health care system.

What was the collective reaction from the professional political punditry? Crickets. No big deal. Keep moving.

The government, whether we’re talking about the Obama administration or the Dayton administration, is incapable of handling anything that complex. In too many instances, it’s incapable of handling fundamental responsibilities.

That professional political pundits think it isn’t a big deal to advocate for a system that’s never worked anywhere because that’s been his standard answer is shameful. Style points seem to matter more than character, policy impacts and what’s best for Minnesota.

It’s time to tune out the professional political pundits because they’re too interested in election outcomes. Unfortunately, they aren’t interested enough in policy outcomes. Jeff Johnson’s policies will make life better in Minnesota. Unlike Gov. Dayton, Jeff Johnson will fight to build the Sandpiper Pipeline because that’ll free up railcar space so farmers can get their crops to market. That makes life better for hard-working Minnesota farmers. Unlike Gov. Dayton, Jeff Johnson will fight to open PolyMet because that’ll create hundreds of good-paying jobs. That’d make life significantly better for miners and mining communities.

Apparently, these things don’t matter to the professional political punditry from both sides of the aisle. Their tweets didn’t speak to what’s best for Minnesota. They just spoke to who won or lost based on game-changing moments and style points. That isn’t responsible journalism. That’s the type of partisanship that’s rotted our institutions and corrupted the political process.

If Republicans retake the House of Representatives and Gov. Dayton gets re-elected, Republicans will have a mandate because they spoke about issues. Gov. Dayton will have retained his title but he won’t have a mandate because he hasn’t spoken about what he’d do in his second term.

The DFL isn’t the party of no. They’re the party that won’t say no to their special interests that are driving Minnesota’s economy into the ground. Ask an Iron Ranger if they’re better off now than when Gov. Dayton took office. If they’re honest, they’ll say they aren’t. Their median household income has increased marginally. The percentage of people living below the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) grew by roughly 50%.

Health insurance premiums have skyrocketed. It’s virtually impossible to get changes made to policies to include or drop people from coverage. Still, Gov. Dayton insists that “it isn’t perfect” but that it’s getting better. Once a month, if not more often, we hear of another MNsure-related disaster.

Meanwhile, the professional political punditry insist that Gov. Dayton is winning because Jeff Johnson didn’t have that big game-changing moment. With all due respect, these political junkies are missing the point. Jeff Johnson has been solid. He’s provided sensible solutions to Minnesota’s biggest problems. Gov. Dayton has been dismissive, arrogant and utterly incompetent. He’s Minnesota’s version of Jimmy Carter.

It’s time to ignore the political junkies because they’re worried more about gamesmanship than doing what’s right for Minnesota. While we’re at it, it’d be great to get rid of the incompetent in the Governor’s Mansion, too.

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This editorial, from the Mesabi Daily News Editorial Board, insists on getting the Sandpiper Pipeline project built:

Symbolic meetings by elected officials being held on the rail delays that are severely affecting transportation of products and goods to market, including iron ore pellet deliveries from the Range to the Duluth-Superior Port, are feel-good nice and make for good photo opportunities.

Yes, it’s good to push for improvement of the U.S. rail system, even though the politicians are coming late to the issue, not dealing with it until it has reached a crisis level.

But what is really needed is a bipartisan meeting of all Minnesota office-holders along with business and labor leaders to endorse more urgency in getting oil pipelines up and running. Pipelines are the proven safest and most expedient way to get the liquid gold of our domestic self-sufficiency boom from the oil fields to refineries. And, pipelines also mean jobs.

Yet, it’s delay and delay and delay and a lot of political posturing when it comes to allowing and constructing pipelines. Meanwhile, some politicians put out news release after news release on the all sides of the issue, except, of course, advocating for getting pipelines built and operational.

Whether it’s the XL Keystone pipeline that would go from Canada’s western slope to Gulf states or the $2.6 billion Sandpiper pipeline through northern Minnesota to carry North Dakota oil to a terminal in Superior, Wis., that feeds refineries across the Midwest, both are hung up in unnecessary regulatory delay.

Enough of the political rhetoric. Let’s get at the core of the issue.

Enough’s enough is right. Environmental activists are doing everything to prevent the Sandpiper Pipeline and the Keystone XL Pipeline projects from getting built. It’s time they grew up. It’s time for DFL politicians in Minnesota and Democrats nationwide to reject the consequences of these extremists’ policies.

Their goal isn’t to put in place technologies that make fossil fuels safe. These environmental activists want to eliminate the use of fossil fuels:

Sierra Club Programs
Priority Campaigns

Beyond Coal
Beyond Oil
Beyond Natural Gas
Our Wild America

The DFL agrees with the Sierra Club the vast majority of the time. Gov. Dayton’s appointees to the Public Utilities Commission, aka the PUC, apparently agree with the Sierra Club. They took the unprecedented step of proposing a different route for the Sandpiper Pipeline. That step means a delay of years, not months.

That’s time farmers and miners don’t have. Farmers already have difficulty getting their crops to market. Miner have difficulty getting iron ore pellets shipped to the ports of Duluth-Superior.

Here’s how serious the Sierra Club is about ending mining, fracking and drilling:

It’s time for Minnesotans to reject the environmental extremists’ agenda. Their agenda is about stopping the fracking revolution that’s lowering gas prices and increasing the supply of natural gas, which lowers Minnesotans’ heating bills.

If the DFL wants to stand with the Sierra Club, let them explain to Minnesotans why it’s better to pay high prices to heat their homes while not creating good paying jobs on the Iron Range.

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