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Anyone who’s seen Gov. Dayton’s proposed bonding bill know it’s filled with pork. Fortunately, passing it is an uphill fight. The legislature should scrutinize Gov. Dayton’s proposal for the pork that’s in it. A perfect example of this pork is that Gov. Dayton “recommends $19.901 million in general obligation bonds to make mechanical, architectural, and electrical improvements to correct safety, energy, and operational efficiency issues at the joint Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) and Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) Laboratory.” The question should be asked why the building needs $20,000,000 to correct safety issues and improve energy and operational efficiencies. That’s a ton of money on something that frivolous.

Another part of Gov. Dayton’s proposal is to spend “$2.5 million to demolish and reconstruct a maintenance building at the National Sports Center in Blaine” and to spend an additional $1,500,000 “for asset preservation for projects at the National Sports Center (NSC) in Blaine. These projects are intended to ensure the safety and health of participants and staff using the stadium and indoor ice arena.”

These are just a couple examples of the pork thrown into the DFL’s pork bill.

Rep. Dean Urdahl, the House Capital Investment Committee chairman, issued a statement Tuesday, saying “(The governor’s) proposal (calls for spending) $600 million more than we have planned for in the budget forecast. Last session, the Legislature passed a $1 billion, geographically balanced bonding bill which focused heavily on infrastructure and transportation needs. Any bill that takes shape this year will need to follow that same blueprint.”

In other words, Republicans are insisting on tilting the Bonding Bill as much towards transportation infrastructure that will help improve Minnesota’s economy. Gov. Dayton and the DFL want to borrow money for government buildings. There’s money in the Dayton/DFL bill for fixing Como Park, university campuses and bike trails.

Here’s the question the DFL needs to be asked: Why isn’t your proposal focused on Minnesota’s priorities instead of on feel-good pork projects? Republicans are serious about what Minnesota spends money on. The DFL isn’t.

Thank God that Lindsey Graham isn’t doing the negotiating on DACA for the Republicans. Thank God that President Trump is the negotiator, instead. First, according to Ed Henry, “the White House is planning on taking a hard line” on DACA negotiations. Henry also reported that ICE is stepping up enforcement activities at businesses like 7-11s in an attempt to put greater pressure on Democrats to negotiate a better deal for the White House. But I digress. Back to Sen. Graham.

Sen. Graham is stuck in a Gang of Eight rut. Tuesday, Sen. Graham implored President Trump to “close this deal.” Next, Sen. Graham explains his plan, saying “So here’s what I would suggest to you. Phase one: To expect my friends on the other side to go comprehensive for us, and DACA for them, is not going to happen. I’m telling my friends on the other side, DACA and nothing else is not going to happen. The sweet spot is DACA-plus, more than the DACA kids. And making down payments on border security. Moving slowly but surely towards a merit-based immigration system, to be followed by Phase Two.”

With all due respect to Sen. Graham, in this instance, slow and steady lets too many illegal immigrants into the U.S. It doesn’t win a race. With this administration putting pressure on Democrats and with the Democrats’ special interests freaking out, don’t be surprised if President Trump’s pressure isn’t a game-changer.

Last week, Rep. Martha McSally, (R-AZ), made things exceptionally clear that the Democrats’ clean DACA bill was essentially dead and buried:

This wasn’t communicated in gentle speak. Rep. McSally laid down the law on immigration. Don’t be surprised if McSally’s star doesn’t rise during the DACA negotiations. Footnote: If that happens, the likelihood that she replaces Jeff Flake as Arizona’s junior senator would increase significantly.

The Democrats are facing tons of pressure from immigration special interest groups, though they’ve been pressuring Democrats to hold to a hard line on DACA. Now that ICE is stepping up raids, don’t be surprised if these special interest organizations don’t experience a change of heart.

Appearing on Fox News’ Outnumbered, David Asman started off the show by saying that he thinks Democrats don’t want a DACA deal because they don’t want to give President Trump a political victory. That’s an opinion I hold because the Democrats’ Resistance Movement has been their strategy since President Trump’s inauguration. The proof is plentiful that Democrats have deployed obstructionism since President Trump’s inauguration. They’ve used every Senate rule to slow the confirmations of President Trump’s Cabinet secretaries.

Further, Democrats unanimously voted against the Trump/GOP tax cuts even though many so-called moderates said there were parts of the tax cuts that they really liked. Despite liking major parts of the Trump/GOP tax cuts, every Democrat in the House and Senate voted against helping their constituents in the hopes of retaking the House of Representatives.

Multiple Senate Democrats oppose the building of Trump’s wall, saying that it doesn’t work. There’s tons of proof that it does. It’s in ICE’s official reports. It’s in FBI reports, too. The statistics speak for themselves. It isn’t that the Wall doesn’t work. It’s that the special interests that fund the Democrats’ campaigns insist that Democrats not vote for anything that would improve border security.

Here’s the dirty truth: Democrats would much rather do what their special interest allies instruct them to do rather than make life better for DACA recipients. Here’s another dirty little truth: Democrats don’t want a merit-based immigration system. Asman explains why we need to implement a merit-based immigration system immediately in this video:

Nothing that Asman said in describing his sister-in-law interests the Democrats. Why would they want self-sufficient immigrants with a history of creating small businesses to move to the United State? Democrats have shown that they prefer people who can’t stand on their own or that need government programs. If you don’t think that’s the truth, explain why Democrats insist on increasing the number of refugees entering from terrorist-infested nations.

Finally, Democrats want to create the storyline that Republicans shut down the government. Democrats are playing with fire this time. They’re saying no to increasing military spending, something that won’t play well this November. Think about this: Democrats don’t want to secure the Tex-Mex border. Democrats don’t want to rebuild the military, either. Democrats oppose stopping drug cartel-related crime, too.

Perhaps Democrats would like to explain something that they’re for that the American people want. And when I say that they should explain what they’re for, I’m talking about actually voting for it, not just saying that they’re for it. Words don’t mean much without actions.

Spoken like a true cookie cutter Democrat, last Friday night, newly minted U.S. Senator Tina Smith said that she’s opposed to building the wall, saying that “the wall is just a dumb idea”, adding that “most people don’t think it’s a good idea.” It’s good to know that Democrats think it’s smart to set national security policy based on public opinion rather than on what works.

I’d love hearing Democrats explain why they’re opposed to the wall after people read this article about El Paso. In the article, it says “Tell that to the residents of El Paso, Texas. Federal data show a far-less imposing wall than the one Trump envisions — a two-story corrugated metal fence first erected under the Bush administration — already has dramatically curtailed both illegal border crossings and crime in Texas’ sixth-largest city, which borders the high-crime Mexican city of Juarez. In fact, the number of deportable illegal immigrants located by the US Border Patrol plummeted by more than 89 percent over the five-year period during which the controversial new fence was built, according to Homeland Security data reviewed by me. When the project first started in 2006, illegal crossings totaled 122,261, but by 2010, when the 131-mile fence was completed from one end of El Paso out into the New Mexico desert, immigrant crossings shrank to just 12,251.”

In other words, a wall has already significantly reduced illegal border crossings in El Paso. That isn’t the only benefit of building the wall:

And crime abated with the reduced human traffic from Juarez, considered one of the most dangerous places in the world due to drug-cartel violence, helping El Paso become one of the safest large cities in America.

Let’s summarize. The wall in El Paso dramatically reduced illegal border crossings and it helped reduce drug-related crime, too. Let’s hear Democrats explain their opposition to something that dramatically reduces illegal border crossings and drug-related crimes.

Before 2010, federal data show the border city was mired in violent crime and drug smuggling, thanks in large part to illicit activities spilling over from the Mexican side. Once the fence went up, however, things changed almost overnight. El Paso since then has consistently topped rankings for cities of 500,000 residents or more with low crime rates, based on FBI-collected statistics.

Democrats opposed to the wall need to explain why they’re opposed to stopping violent crime and drug smuggling.

Another core promise made by Trump to justify constructing a massive wall spanning from Texas to California is that it will slow the flow of drugs coming across the border from Mexico. “We need the wall for security. We need the wall for safety,” Trump said last week while answering questions about the sweeping new GOP immigration bill. “We need the wall for stopping the drugs from pouring in.”
On that score, El Paso already has exceeded expectations.

Drug smuggling along that border entry point has also fallen dramatically. In fact, since the fence was completed, the volume of marijuana and cocaine coming through El Paso and seized by Border Patrol agents has been cut in half. The year before the wall was fully built in 2010, the volume of illegal drugs confiscated by the feds along the El Paso border hit 87,725 pounds. The year after, the amount of drug seizures plummeted to 43,783 pounds. Last year, they dropped even further to a total of 34,329, according to Border Patrol reports obtained by The Post.

Obama, Schumer and Feinstein all voted for building a wall in 2006:

I don’t doubt that Democrats will insist that things have changed since 2006. That’s true. Since then, large portions of the wall have been built. The FBI and ICE have had time to accumulate crime data. Since those sections of walls were built, illegal crossings have dropped, illegal drug confiscation has significantly increased and crime has dropped.

In other words, we now have proof that walls work. This isn’t theory anymore.

Ladies and gentlemen, Tina Smith gave us proof that she’s a typical Metrocrat when she was interviewed by Almanac’s Eric Eskola and Cathy Wurzer. During the interview, Cathy Wurzer asked Smith if she thought the Senate was close to a DACA deal. Sen. Smith replied that she thought there was a good chance of senators coming together on a deal on DACA. Then Eskola essentially asked why Democrats weren’t willing to trade funding for President Trump’s wall for protection of DACA-protected illegals.

That’s when Sen. Smith said “Well, you know the wall is just a dumb idea. To try to pay for a big wall is just — most people don’t think it’s a good idea. At the same time, we have to have really strong border security and so I hope that a compromise can be reached that makes sense so that we can have strong border security.” Eskola jumped in, saying “That’s a compromise — wall- DACA”. Sen. Smith then countered, saying “I don’t think a wall is — I think a wall is — what? $18,000,000,000? I think we need to focus on border security and not the idea of tons and tons of cement, which doesn’t really work.”

There’s reason to question Sen. Smith’s commitment to border security. She recently participated in a DACA rally that featured her and Keith Ellison.

At the rally, Smith told the crowd of about 200 people “Minnesota Dreamers are American in every way except their immigration status. They work hard to improve our communities and to make our state better, not just for themselves and their families but for all of us. So the notion that we would turn our backs on Dreamers now … it’s just disgraceful.”

In other words, Sen. Smith thinks that there’s no problem admitting lots of illegal immigrants into Minnesota. On Almanac, Smith talked repeatedly about needing to secure the border. At this rally, Smith talked about how DREAMers were “American in every way except their immigration status.”

Which is it, Sen. Smith? If DREAMers are “American in every way except their immigration status”, why do we need tight security at the border? If we need tight security on the border, how can DREAMers be “American in every way except their immigration status”? It’s apparent that Sen. Smith is already adept at talking out of both sides of her mouth.

Smith’s interview is the first segment of Friday night’s show:

It’s understatement to say that it didn’t help improve her trustworthy rating.

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One of my favorite things to read each week is Harold Hamilton’s Friday commentary. Suffice it to say that Hamilton isn’t into repeating conventional wisdom mumbo jumbo. This week, Hamilton devoted a portion of this week’s commentary to a section titled “The DFL crack up.” The important point that Hamilton highlighted was a quote from Ann Manning, identified as “the director of Women’s Congress for Future Generations and associate director of the Science & Environmental Health Network.” Manning is quoted as saying “The workers have no connection to the community, get paid large sums of money and have little to do in their free time. Some will bring trouble, attracting the drug trade, sex trafficking or both. They will pollute the land by day, and women and children by night.”

Right before that, Hamilton wrote “The second example comes from the pen of Ann Manning, who wrote a scathing hit piece on construction trade workers this week, warning that pipeline work inevitable invites violent crime, as she believes these workers to be violent criminals inclined to engage in drug use and sexual assault.”

It isn’t just Hillary Clinton that thinks blue collar workers are deplorables. It’s painfully obvious that Ms. Manning thinks blue collar workers are deplorables, too. The DFL, like the Democratic Party nationally, is turning into an elitist party.

One of the things blue collar workers should learn from my previous post about refugee resettlement is that the Democrats’ policies are making income inequality worse because the Democrats’ policies are hurting the middle class. The DFL hasn’t implemented pro-growth tax and regulatory policies that help the middle class thrive. Instead, the DFL has been the anti-mining, anti-pipeline political party. With policies that eliminate high-paying blue collar jobs or, at minimum, make them virtually impossible to find, Democrats have made life difficult for the middle class and the blue collar workers.

This year, when people see that their paychecks are bigger as a result of the Trump/GOP tax cuts and that the DFL is still the anti-mining political party, it won’t take a genius to figure out that Republicans will fight for blue collar construction jobs, mining jobs and middle class tax cuts. It won’t take a genius because Republicans have been fighting for those things the last 5+ years. Check out this video, then ask yourself if Ms. Manning sounds like a mainstream type of person:

If that’s your definition of mainstream, I suspect that you think Howard Dean is a little too moderate for your liking.

The DFL has sold out to the environmental activists. It’s taken awhile but the DFL’s anti-mining policies have turned miners off. The most underreported story in Minnesota politics is that the DFL split on mining/the environment isn’t subsiding. It’s getting bigger.

These days, Democrats are using the term border security as their new euphemism for comprehensive immigration reform. To Democrats, border security means not building the wall or ending chain migration. Democrats insist that the wall is a poison pill, that linking DACA to building the wall is a deal-breaker.

I’m upset with Republicans for not fighting that by questioning Democrats why they think that building a border wall is a poison pill. For that matter, I’d love seeing Chairman Goodlatte invite someone from the Israeli Defense Forces, aka the IDF, or Mossad, the Israeli intelligence agency, to testify in front of the House Judiciary Committee on whether their wall has protected Israel from terrorist attacks.

The Israelis are the gold standard at keeping their people safe. They’re surrounded by water and terrorists. The terrorists have a virtual unlimited supply of short- and medium-range rockets. They also have the determination to kill Israelis. During the “Second Intifada”, which started in 2000, Israelis built the border wall. From 2000 to 2003, there were 73 terrorist attacks. After the wall was built, from 2003 through 2006, terrorist attacks dropped to 12.

Let’s hear Democrats insist that a border wall doesn’t work or that it’s a poison pill after hearing that type of testimony. The Democrats insist that the wall is a poison pill because special interest organizations that fund their campaigns want to keep the stream of illegal aliens flowing. Period. That’s why it’s imperative Republicans hold onto the U.S. House. Everyone knows that there’s enough Senate Republicans who will cave on the wall. We need to keep our majority in the House to shut down any bill that doesn’t include funding for President Trump’s wall.

Let’s be exceptionally clear about this. Conservative hardliners should stop debate of any immigration bill that doesn’t end chain migration, doesn’t end the visa lottery and doesn’t fund the building of President Trump’s wall. That’s our poison pill because, without all of those things, the border isn’t secure.

No amount of happy talk will make it so. Finally, Republicans should insist that Democrats eliminate any euphemisms that make it sound like they’re serious about securing the border when they aren’t serious about securing the border. If Chuck Schumer wants to throw a hissy fit on the Senate floor after getting called out on this, that’s fine. Let him look like a jackass. After Sen. Schumer finishes his diatribe, the Republicans should then reiterate how the border wall between Israel and the West Bank has kept Israel safe for a decade.

This past fall, I wrote a ton of articles about the importance of building or replacing the Enbridge Line 3 Pipeline. I wish I’d had this information when I wrote those articles.

First, in the interest of full disclosure, I’ve been good friends with Terry Stone for quite some time. He’s a top researcher and writer. When it comes to energy and transportation issues, Terry’s on a par with Mike Beard and other expert former legislators. Simply put, when Terry talks about transportation or energy, I listen.

One of the first things that caught my attention was when Terry wrote “Moving oil by train can have consequences to human life that are almost never seen in pipelines. A 2013 crash of 72 oil cars in Quebec left 47 dead.
Moving oil by barge or tanker ship can be costly to clean up if something goes wrong and is environmentally unattractive. The total cleanup of the Exxon Valdez oil spill ended up costing $630 per gallon. The average cost of an oil-spill cleanup in the U.S. is $18.11 per gallon. Pipeline spills cost even less because they are not typically driven miles by wind, and they don’t kill clusters of riparian marine life. Pipeline leaks are small, fast to find, and seldom involve a risk to human life.”

Here’s a question for the environmentalists that sit on the board of the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission that they won’t like: why are you opposed to efficiently transporting oil from the well to the refinery? Anything other than ratifying the Line 3 replacement is unacceptable. We don’t need to figure out whether the additional crude oil is needed. It is, especially with a growing economy. These statistics definitely caught my attention:

We have been hearing a lot about oil-train derailments, crashes, and fires since 2013. This is because from 2009 to 2012 the volume of oil shipped by rail increased from 11,000 to 230,000 railcars — up 2,200 percent. According to Forbes, more crude was spilled from rail cars in 2013 than in all the 37 previous years combined.

That’s astonishing. What’s the environmentalists’ argument for saying no to replacing the Line 3 pipeline? It certainly can’t be to protect the environment. That ‘ship’ sailed with these statistics. These statistics, too:

According to Enbridge, the replaced pipeline will be able to take 10,000 rail cars off the tracks or 24,000 tanker trucks off the highways — daily. Enbridge is a bit generous with its figures. Actually, since both the trains of railcars and the trucks hauling oil need to drive back across the country empty, burning diesel, the Enbridge Line 3 Replacement Project would equal a total of 20,000 rail cars off the road daily or 48,000 tanker trucks daily. That should sound like Christmas every day to every environmentalist.

Do environmentalists think that we’ll replace fossil fuels sometime soon? If they’re thinking that, they’d better find better researchers. Further, with technology improving virtually monthly, there’s no reason to think that fossil fuels won’t become cleaner, more efficient and more reliable.

We won’t stop using fossil fuels anytime soon so the environmentalists should just deal with that fact. Next, the environmentalists should accept the fact that pipelines will be a necessity for at least the next 20-30 years. Hating fossil fuels won’t make the pipelines disappear. It’s time to put an end to this stupidity:

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Liz Mair’s article strongly hints that the DFL would hold Sen. Franken’s seat if Sen. Franken resigned as a result of this ethics scandal. In her article, Mair wrote “It just so happens that Minnesota has a lot of Democratic women who could make for viable Franken replacements; at least six, depending on who you ask. One is Minnesota Lt. Gov. Tina Smith. Another is Attorney General Lori Swanson. A third is State Auditor Rebecca Otto. A fourth is state House Minority Leader Melissa Hortman. A fifth is Rep. Betty McCollum. And a sixth is former state House Majority Leader Erin Murphy.”

Mair isn’t wrong that each of these women would be viable candidates in the eyes of DFL activists. The thing that Ms. Mair is missing is the fact that these candidates have in common is that they’re from the Metro. In the eyes of rural Minnesota, especially the Iron Range, these women would be rejected like Hillary was rejected. In fact, I’d posit that they’d get rejected worse than Hillary was in 2016.

Trump won the Eighth District with 53.76% of the vote to Hillary’s 38.27%. None of these candidates would do that well on the Range. Further, most of these candidates favor single-payer health care.

Meanwhile, Republicans have 2 candidates that would be able to run well in the suburbs, the exurbs & rural Minnesota. If Stewart Mills or Kurt Daudt were to run, they’d be favored because they both support the Iron Range, they both support the construction unions and they’re both seen as sensible policymakers.

The DFL’s biggest problem is that they’re the urban party, which helped them win statewide races in the past. That’s coming to an end because farmers and unions are abandoning the DFL because of the DFL’s hostility towards building pipelines, approving mining projects and Gov. Dayton’s hostility towards farmers. The sad part for the DFL is that Gov. Dayton is sensible compared with the 6 ladies mentioned earlier.

If Sen. Franken resigns, which looks more possible each week, Gov. Dayton will have a difficult decision. It’ll take quite a bit to wash the bitter taste of Sen. Franken out of people’s mouth:

At the end of the day, I’d put the DFL’s chances of holding Sen. Franken’s seat as a toss-up.

Dan Fabian’s LTE highlights the difference between the DFL and the GOP. Rep. Fabian stated “Too many members of the DFL Party, nearly all of whom reside hundreds of miles from the Line 3 project, are opposed to the project, even if it meets all regulatory requirements.” Later in the LTE, Rep. Fabian said “Republicans are unified in support of replacing this aging oil pipeline.” That’s indisputable. Republicans overwhelmingly support these types of infrastructure projects because it strengthens the economy. The DFL, meanwhile, love ‘infrastructure’ projects that further their social engineering agenda. Think SWLRT.

Possibly the best paragraph of Rep. Fabian’s LTE is where he wrote “In addition to decisive support for the project, Republicans recently delivered common-sense reforms for the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board, clarified the appeals process for permits to mine, developed the ATV trail system for outdoor enthusiasts and tourism, and provided significant tax relief to middle-class families and workers.”

Hooray! Republicans everywhere need to adopt this model ASAP. Rep. Fabian told voters what he’s for. Rep. Fabian listed the Republican Party’s accomplishments, too. Rep. Fabian told people that his focus was on making their lives better. Reforming the IRRRB is a positive step that’s long overdue.

Republicans have demonstrated strong support for policies that will help grow the economy, boost good-paying jobs, and ensure the long-term sustainability of communities in northern Minnesota.

This is something for Republicans to be fired up about. If Republicans highlight their positive agenda and a strong pro-growth gubernatorial candidate, they can accomplish something that wasn’t believed possible 10 years ago: unified Republican governance in Minnesota.

It’s time to stop settling for watered-down Bernie Sanders policies. It’s time to sell full-throated Kemp-Reagan optimistic capitalism. We didn’t worry about income inequality during the Reagan years because people were prospering. The BS that Bernie Sanders and Rebecca Otto are peddling is essentially ‘life-isn’t-fair-economics’.

Rep. Fabian did Republicans a great service by writing this LTE. It’s what Republicans should run on in 2018.