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Anyone that thinks that the DFL is capable of running government hasn’t read this audit report. The opening paragraph of the report is a damning indictment of the Dayton administration. The opening 2 paragraphs of the report state “Minnesota did no t comply with Federal waiver and State requirements in overseeing centers that serve vulnerable adults who receive services through the program. To protect the health and safety of vulnerable adults, Minnesota, as the licensing agency for centers, must ensure that centers follow licensing requirements in State statutes established in its application for waiver services. These licensing requirements include health and safety and administrative requirements.

“We determined that all 20 of the centers we reviewed did not comply with State licensing requirements. In total, we found 200 instances of noncompliance with health and safety and administrative requirements.”

I wrote this post right before Christmas of 2017. This part was particularly heartbreaking:

Ehlinger’s resignation comes after media reports, including a five-part series in the Minneapolis-based Star Tribune, found residents of senior care facilities statewide were neglected, abused and robbed, but the perpetrators were often never punished and in most instances complaints were never properly investigated. The state Department of Health is responsible for licensing and oversight of senior care centers.

Putting this HHS OIG together with the Star Tribune reporting, the inescapable truth is that the Dayton administration either wasn’t aware of what was happening in the state’s elder care facilities. Either that or they didn’t care what was happening in those facilities. One person who cares is State Sen. Karin Housley:

Think about what Sen. Housley said. Gov. Dayton first heard about this issue in 2012. Despite that, “they got absolutely nothing done.” Gov. Dayton played political games rather than doing the right thing. That’s unconscionable. It’s time to throw these bums out. If the DFL won’t protect these vulnerable citizens, they shouldn’t have control of any part of state government.

Think about this: the people in charge of the Office of Health Facilities Complaints are staffed by public employee union personnel. That explains why Gov. Dayton and the DFL did nothing to fix this situation. Lives were ruined because Gov. Dayton and the DFL protected their special interest allies. That’s pretty sick.

This paragraph is particularly indicting to the Dayton administration:

The State agency did not comply with Federal waiver and State requirements in overseeing centers that serve vulnerable adults who receive services through the program. We determined that all 20 of the centers we reviewed did not comply with State licensing requirements. The 20 centers we reviewed had from 3 to 25 instances of noncompliance. In total, we found 200 instances of noncompliance with health and safety and administrative requirements.

Think about that. The bureaucrats charged with overseeing “centers that serve vulnerable adults” didn’t pay attention to what was happening in these facilities. It’s frustrating to think that the party of big government, aka the DFL, didn’t give a damn about the most vulnerable people.

From this point forward, the DFL should be called ‘the party of big, broken government’. At this point, I haven’t seen proof that the DFL gives a tinker’s damn about these vulnerable citizens. Further, how many things must the DFL royally screw up before people decide that they can’t be trusted to run anything beyond a lemonade stand?

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.

By vetoing the GOP tax conformity bill, Gov. Dayton has just given corporations a major tax increase. Gov. Dayton didn’t like the bill because, in his words, “the bill didn’t penalize companies who move foreign profits back to Minnesota harshly enough.”

This shows just how incompetent Gov. Dayton is and how little he understands economics. If you punish corporations for bringing their profits back to the USA, they’ll keep their profits in other countries. These corporations don’t have an incentive to repatriate their funds if Gov. Dayton’s policy is to punish them. Gov. Dayton’s shortsighted and ideology-driven policies have led him to veto the legislature’s tax conformity bill.

That’s foolish both economically and politically. Thanks to Gov. Dayton’s veto of the bill, lots of businesses will get hit with significant tax increases. Further, those businesses getting hit with significant tax increases now have a motive to vote for Republicans this fall. Thanks to Gov. Dayton’s veto of the tax conformity bill, entrepreneurs have additional incentives to vote against DFL legislators and the DFL gubernatorial candidate. Of course, Gov. Dayton had to make a foolish statement after vetoing the bill:

“They wanted a bill that was going to fail,” Dayton said at a morning news conference. He accused House Republicans of cozying up to “special interests.”

Take that statement with a block of salt. Forget about a grain of salt. You’d need one of these:

About 2:30 into this video, Speaker Daudt said something profound. When asked by Pat Kessler why they didn’t separate out the bills, Speaker Daudt said “You know, even when we did separate things out — I’ll bring your attention to the deputy registrar money — we sent that by itself. The Governor vetoed that and then put in his veto letter that he vetoed it because it wasn’t part of a bigger bill. I’m just — I don’t even have anything to say. I can’t answer for how illogical this governor has been the last 2 weeks — and beyond that.”

There’s no question that Gov. Dayton has been erratic the last 2+ weeks. There’s little question that he’s no longer mentally fit to serve as governor anymore. Just look at the things that’ve happened recently. MNLARS is a major administration failure that’s hurting deputy registrars. It’s putting some of them out of business. Others are losing their homes. Fox9 reported about massive amounts of fraud in the child care welfare system. Gov. Dayton’s response was that he found out about it via the station that broke the story. Earlier, it was reported that seniors living in elder care facilities had died because the people abused them or neglected them altogether.

Sen. Karin Housley put a bill together to insist on accountability. Naturally, Gov. Dayton vetoed that, too. Gov. Dayton accused Republicans of cozying up to “the special interests.” What does Gov. Dayton have to say about his protecting SEIU with his veto of the senior care accountability bill? Did he do that because it was the right thing? Did he do it because he’s protected his political allies all the while he’s been in office? (I suspect it’s the latter.)

Perhaps Speaker Daudt’s most stinging shot came when he said “I’ve worked with this governor as the leader of my caucus the last 6 years, the last 4 years as Speaker and every opportunity, this governor will choose politics over people every time.” In fact, throughout the 24+ minute video, Speaker Daudt cited example after example of Gov. Dayton not being engaged in negotiating bills.

In fact, it wasn’t just Speaker Daudt that criticized Gov. Dayton. Check out Roger Chamberlain’s statement on Gov. Dayton’s behavior:

The governor behaved like a toddler – emotional, impulsive, and unreasonable. Vetoing everything and bringing the session to a crashing halt because he couldn’t get exactly what he wanted is just another temper tantrum. It has become a recurring theme with this governor; it is a legacy of chaos and failure.

The truly sad thing is the governor’s selfishness will have a devastating impact on Minnesotans. His vetoes tell us he doesn’t care about protecting students from the next school shooting. That he doesn’t care about saving the next victims of opioid abuse. That he doesn’t care about people struggling with mental health emergencies. That he doesn’t care about victims of elder abuse. The list goes on and on and on. These people don’t care about the governor’s political games. They just want to live their lives and the governor turned his back on them today.

Senate Republicans cited specific reasons why Gov. Dayton shouldn’t have vetoed these bill. Here’s part of Sen. Karin Housley’s statement:

The governor’s veto of the supplemental budget is disappointing and irresponsible. The bill included new, needed protections for elderly and vulnerable Minnesotans, and his veto puts thousands at risk. Instead of standing with the people of our state, the governor chose to cement his legacy as a chief executive whose administration has been marred by scandal and obstruction.

The elder care provisions included in the bill represented a bipartisan compromise that would have allowed the use of electronic monitoring, strengthened resident protections, better prevented retaliation, prohibited deceptive marketing, and enhanced provider accountability.

Sen. Chamberlain is right. Gov. Dayton acted like a spoiled brat. I wrote about Gov. Dayton’s behavior many times during this session and the budget session. This isn’t something that wasn’t totally visible. It was there in plain sight the entire time. That being said, the Twin Cities media did their best to not cover it. Even in today’s press conference with Speaker Daudt, the questions were veiled attempts to defend Gov. Dayton. It didn’t work. Speaker Daudt was prepared and loaded with specifics.

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Unlike the DFL governor, Republicans haven’t turned a blind eye towards the nursing home crisis. For 7 years, DFL Gov. Dayton hasn’t paid attention to the nursing home crisis. After the Strib published a multi-part series on nursing home abuse, in which some people literally died of neglect, Gov. Dayton appointed a task force to look into the abuse.

Before that panel was appointed, the Strib examined state records. One of the appalling pieces of information was that there were “25,226 allegations of neglect, physical abuse, unexplained serious injuries and thefts last year in state-licensed senior facilities” and that “97 percent were never investigated.” When I wrote this post, I noted something in State Sen. Karin Housley’s statement. In her statement, she said “Instead of taking responsibility for the shortcomings and negligence of his own state agencies, one of the main drivers of this issue, the governor placed the blame wholly on the care providers. Despite a well-documented culture of intimidation and neglect that prevented the governor’s Office of Health Facility Complaints (OHFC) from serving its function, the governor refuses to accept accountability for the failings of the executive branch.”

Despite the DFL owning this crisis, the House DFL campaign committee, tasked with getting DFL legislators elected, issued this propaganda:

The bill fixing this DFL crisis was chief authored by Sen. Housley. The DFL knows that it’s being run through the Senate first. (PS- the bill # is SF3437.) The bill will be passed in the Senate first, then sent to the House, where it will be passed, then sent to Gov. Dayton.

This BS fundraising appeal reveals the DFL’s (lack of) character. The DFL knows that their governor ignored the problem. The DFL knows that Republicans are cleaning up the DFL’s mess. Still, the DFL is pretending like it’s the Republicans’ fault if the DFL’s problems aren’t fixed. Fortunately, Republicans are in the habit of doing the right thing. They’re fixing the DFL’s problem.

This is entirely on Gov. Dayton:

When investigations did happen, often they were essentially botched, with evidence destroyed or tampered with, interviews not conducted, and sometimes police or prosecutors not contacted as required by state law. Sometimes investigations were done by public employees or nursing home employees not trained in criminal investigations.

The legislative branch has nothing to do with the actual investigations. That’s exclusively the executive branch’s responsibility. Period.

This highlights the fact that the Dayton administration, aka Minnesota’s executive branch the past 7+ years, was incompetent. The DFL’s investigations were botched, which placed additional seniors in harm’s way. Now the DFL is attempting to blame Republicans for the DFL’s incompetence!

Finally, it’s important to remember this November that the DFL was both dishonest and incompetent in dealing with this crisis. The DFL will campaign on creating a “Better Minnesota.” That’s BS. If the DFL thinks that this is a picture of “a Better Minnesota”, then it’s obvious that the DFL sees things through rose-colored glasses.

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One thing that’s obvious from Gov. Dayton’s proposal to prevent elder care abuse is that he isn’t willing to admit that his administration didn’t do its job.

Included in Gov. Dayton’s proposal are “streamlin[ing] reports of abuse, increase licensing requirements for long-term care facilities and strengthen penalties for those who hurt seniors and vulnerable adults.” Nowhere is it mentioned that the Dayton administration failed its oversight responsibilities. State Sen. Karin Housley noticed:

“Nearly all the governor’s recommendations come from his handpicked working group, which I believe only reflect one side of an extremely emotional, complex situation,” said Housley, who chairs the Senate long-term care committee and has her own legislative proposals. “While many of the working group recommendations are incorporated into my legislation, it will not ignore the critical oversight role played by the state.”

Later, Sen. Housley issued this statement:

While the governor and I share the same goal of making sure elderly and vulnerable Minnesotans are cared for with dignity and respect, I believe his proposal falls well short and ignores many of the realities of the problem. Nearly all the governor’s recommendations come from his handpicked working group, which I believe only reflect one side of an extremely emotional, complex situation. In fact, the governor’s proposal does not consider any of the recommendations of the senior care facilities, which were almost entirely left out of the conversation.

Instead of taking responsibility for the shortcomings and negligence of his own state agencies – one of the main drivers of this issue – the governor placed the blame wholly on the care providers. Despite a well-documented culture of intimidation and neglect that prevented the governor’s Office of Health Facility Complaints (OHFC) from serving its function, the governor refuses to accept accountability for the failings of the executive branch. The many hardworking care providers across Minnesota depend on the OHFC for oversight, but it did not live up to its end of the bargain.

I will be introducing legislation tomorrow that I believe moves us in the right direction and brings all stakeholders to the table. While many of the working group recommendations are incorporated into my legislation, it will not ignore the critical oversight role played by the state. I have been working on this issue for over a year, bringing all stakeholders to the table and searching for a solution that works for all – and those conversations have virtually all pointed toward an urgent need to fix the OHFC.

I look forward to working with the governor’s office, my colleagues, and stakeholders in passing substantive change this session.

Here’s the tape of Housley’s press conference on her new bill:

Follow this link to read the Elder Care and Vulnerable Adult Protection Act. The first question from the press asked what disappointed Sen. Housley about Gov. Dayton’s proposal. Here’s her reply:

SEN. HOUSLEY: I felt it was a one-sided — he appointed his working group. I admire and I’ve listened to everyone in that working group from AARP to Elder Justice to Elder Voices. It was just one side and you also have the huge problem within the OHFC and that wasn’t addressed and that is his administration and that is where he failed. I know that Sheila van Pelt has been emailing the government since 2013, the governor and his administration trying to get answers on why she wasn’t getting answers so to not look in the mirror is disappointing.

Gov. Dayton’s administration failed to investigate these abuses. According to the OLA report, they didn’t even put a plan in place to investigate. After the crisis was exposed, Gov. Dayton’s proposal didn’t include anything to hold his administration accountable.

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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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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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When I first heard about the abuse happening in elder care facilities, it was heart-wrenching. Follow this link to read my first post about this crisis. This is the link to my next post. Earlier this week, Sen. Karin Housley issued this statement after conducting a hearing on the crisis, saying “On November 30, 2017, Gov. Dayton requested a ‘time-limited work group to provide guidance on steps the state should take to improve the health and safety of Minnesota seniors…’, with the recommendations due on January 26, 2018. It is now January 26 and I am disappointed to learn the work group’s recommendations have been delayed. It is my expectation that the governor’s office will release the unedited report, in full, on Monday morning. I expect to hold a committee hearing shortly to review the recommendations and chart our course forward. Elderly and vulnerable Minnesotans, and their families, have suffered for too long due to bureaucratic backlogs and inaction. Minnesotans should expect nothing less than full accountability and action from their state government.”

The Dayton administration has already taken too much time to fix this crisis. Some of the testimony in this video is heartbreaking:

Some of the testimony from the commissioners is infuriating. They’re so far out of touch that it’s maddening. What’s more maddening is this statement from Gov. Dayton:

While the health department takes heat for poor oversight, Governor Dayton blamed providers. “First and foremost, they are the ones to blame for these egregious abuses,” he said Wednesday.

Why do I think that Gov. Dayton won’t hold investigators and other bureaucrats accountable for not conducting investigations? Obviously, the ‘caregivers’ (I use that term loosely in this instance) have the primary responsibility but it’s equally true that the Dayton administration had an affirmative responsibility to investigate these situations. That’s what supervisors are supposed to do.

This testimony is disgusting:

“In my case, my father’s body laid in his room for seven days without the facility doing a wellness check,” said Kristine Sunberg with Elder Voices Family Advocates.

That’s inexcusable and unjustifiable. Period. How can something like that happen? A law needs to be written that the people like the ones who ignored Ms. Sunberg’s father are punished, prosecuted and sent to prison for a long time. What they did was sub-human.

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Americans should view the negotiations between the Trump administration and the Democrats like a hostage negotiation. After all, Sen. Schumer is holding the U.S. military, the border patrol and the CHIP program hostage. By filibustering the CR Friday night, Sen. Schumer and his shills have held hostage the paychecks for our military, border patrol and first responders. With their actions, Democrats have earned the wrath of patriots from across the political spectrum. In addition to holding these paychecks hostage, the Democrats’ filibuster has left 9,000,000 vulnerable children more vulnerable by not voting to reauthorize CHIP for the next 6 years.

If you add the 2,000,000+ people serving in the military to the 9,000,000 vulnerable children, that’s quite the hostage taking.

If Democrats think this isn’t firing up the GOP base, they’re kidding themselves. If Democrats think that their filibuster isn’t turning off independents, they’re kidding themselves. Ronna Romney-McDaniel, the chair of the RNC, said essentially the same thing in this op-ed:

Last night, Senate Democrats shut down the United States government. They recklessly chose to jeopardize paychecks for our troops and border patrolmen to appease their far-left base. In triggering a totally unnecessary, easily avoidable shutdown, they put at stake the health insurance of nine million vulnerable children and a number of other critical programs, including veteran services and opioid treatment programs.

Part of the Democrats’ talking points is to say that Republicans control the White House, the House and the Senate. it’s true that they control the White House and the House of Representatives. They don’t control the Senate.

Republicans did their job and offered a solution to keep the government running, but they couldn’t stop the shutdown from happening on their own. Appropriations bills require 60 Senate votes to pass. With only 51 Republican senators, this means Democratic votes are necessary to secure funding.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and his Democratic colleagues own this shutdown. The American people are very well aware that the Schumer shutdown rests squarely on his party’s shoulders. Their hypocrisy is on full display, as the same Democrats who once warned of the consequences of a shutdown eagerly embraced it this go around.

It’s worth noting that Republicans hold a majority in the Senate, which is useful in determining which bills get committee hearings. That simple majority is meaningless, though, when attempting to pass simple funding bills.

Democrats have used the filibuster to insist that President Trump sign a bill that includes amnesty for 700,000 illegal immigrants and millions of their relatives through chain migration. Fighting to protect illegal immigrants while not protecting vulnerable children is what despots do. The Democrats’ actions don’t rise to the level of what third-world dictators do but the Democrats’ actions are disgusting.

Many constituents of the Democrats rely on the government-funded programs that are being handicapped by the shutdown. Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) put nearly 83,000 children’s health care at risk with her vote. Sen. Bob Casey (D-Penn.) did the same for more than 342,000 children, Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) for nearly 45,000 children, and Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) for 66,000 children. Their constituents are going to demand answers.

Good luck explaining that away.

Sen. Mitch McConnell took to the Senate floor last night:

This paragraph especially jumped out at me:

None of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle can point to a single thing in it that they oppose. That is why a bipartisan majority voted for it last night. It would have passed smoothly and been sent on for the president’s signature. Except that the Democratic Leader took the extraordinary step of filibustering this bipartisan bill and initiating his very own government shutdown.

If Democrats want to continue filibustering this funding bill, they have that right. Senate rules permit it. Just because it’s legal doesn’t mean it’s smart, though. Democrats shouldn’t think that this isn’t turning off independents. Democrats shouldn’t think that this isn’t firing up the GOP base.

The Democrats’ foolish decision is doing both those things. Hell hath no fury like a bunch of voters who’ve gotten ignored by elitist Democrats who protect lawbreakers but don’t protect our troops and our most vulnerable.

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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