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Amy Klobuchar

DFL state convention live blog

by Eric Ferguson on June 1, 2014 · 8 comments

I’m at the DFL state convention, and I’ll be live blogging it, which means I’ll be posting updates below. The video above is an introduction similar to this, just for kicks. Feel free to subscribe to my channel. I may post video updates if opportunity arises, but I’ll generally be where people are trying to talk or people are trying to hear, so no promises, but I’ll see if I can show some of what goes on at a convention. Otherwise I’ll be posting what’s happening, maybe with an opinion since I’m allowed to do that. It’s a blog you know, and I’m not pretending to be a reporter or to be without biases. Jump to a preview of what’s going to happen.
 
Late Saturday update: The Saturday portion of this live blog got very long and made the front page a long scroll, and there are other posts worth reading. So I’m putting the “read more” below this paragraph, and the time stamped updates start on the jump. As expected, life required my presence at home, but I plan to live blog Sunday too, if I can get The Uptake’s stream working for me (quickie update: it worked). I suppose it depends on traffic, but I should have a better connection anyway. The mining resolution is expected to be the controversial part of the platform debates. Guess we’ll watch and see. Some things, like the constitution changes, might be inside baseball, but leave a question in the comments and I’ll try to answer.
 
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Memorial Day in Light of Citizens United

by Invenium Viam on May 23, 2014 · 3 comments

ft snelling gravemarkersOn April 30, 2013, in a bi-partisan vote in both houses, Maine became the thirteenth state to pass a resolution calling for a federal constitutional amendment to overturn CITIZENS UNITED, noting that “… the current legal landscape severely constrains the range of options available to citizens, frustrating efforts to reduce the influence of moneyed interest(s) in elections and in government.” In other words, the Maine legislature acknowledged that big money buys influence and thereby unduly influences the composition of our elective bodies.

 

Geez, who knew?

 

Apparently, not the Roberts Court.

 

To date, sixteen states have passed resolutions memorializing the US Congress to, in the words of the 77th Oregon State Assembly “… respectfully urge the Congress of the United States of America to propose and send to the states for ratification an amendment to the United States Constitution consistent with the findings of this memorial, clarifying the distinction between the rights of natural persons and the rights of corporations and other legal entities …” [http://tinyurl.com/oyhsv8l]. Another 22 states have similar legislation pending, including Minnesota. So, as of this writing, 38 states have passed, or have in process, legislation that seeks to overturn CITIZENS UNITED through a Constitutional amendment.

 

Regardless of any other bad decisions the Supreme Court has made, including Dred Scott, I have to believe that Citizen’s United ranks among the very worst because it quite simply undermines the very foundations of our Republic by perverting our elections and our elective bodies. And while I am not a lawyer or legal scholar, and can’t claim to have any deep understanding of the law, still I continue to wonder how it is possible for five well-educated, reasonable individuals to come to such a hare-brained decision. It defies common sense … unless, of course, common sense was mostly absent.

 

Justice Stevens made that very point in his minority dissent: “At bottom,” Justice Stevens said, “the Court’s opinion is thus a rejection of the common sense of the American people, who have recognized a need to prevent corporations from undermining self-government since the Founding, and who have fought against the distinctive corrupting potential of corporate electioneering since the days of Theodore Roosevelt. It is a strange time to repudiate that common sense. While American democracy is imperfect, few outside the majority of this Court would have thought its flaws included a dearth of corporate money in politics.”

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Minnesota Congresspeople on the environment

by Dan Burns on March 4, 2014 · 2 comments

Grasslands-mengguThe League of Conservation Voters released its annual scorecard some weeks ago.
 

Despite this reality, the U.S. House of Representatives continued its unprecedented assault on the environment and public health that began during the 112th Congress. Although Congress started 2013 with votes to provide disaster relief in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, it’s painfully clear that far too many members failed to heed the lessons offered by that tragic storm. Indeed, this Scorecard is a disturbing reflection of the extent to which the Republican leadership of the U.S. House of Representatives continues to be controlled by Tea Party climate change deniers with an insatiable appetite for attacks on the environment and public health.
 
For the third year in a row, there is an unusually high number of House votes included in the Scorecard, due to the breadth and depth of anti-environmental legislation brought to the House floor in 2013. The 2013 Scorecard includes 28 House votes, which is second only to the record 35 votes included in both 2011 and 2012, the most anti-environmental U.S. House of Representatives in history. Many other votes warranted inclusion and would have been included in a typical year.

 
Sen. Al Franken (D) 100%
Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D) 100%
Rep. Keith Ellison (D) 96%
Rep. Betty McCollum (D) 93%
Rep. Tim Walz (D) 86%
Rep. Rick Nolan (D) 86%
 
Good stuff. I don’t freak out when someone doesn’t have a perfect score, because this is reality, not terminally embittered purity-martyr fantasyland.
 
Rep. Collin Peterson (“D”) 14%
 
That’s our Collin. His lifetime score is 38%. Just going with the flow, I guess. By the way, it very much looks like he is running again.
 

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R) 11%
Rep. Erik Paulsen (R) 7%
Rep. John Kline (R) 0%
 
Complete, groveling surrender to far-right orthodoxy? Really that messed up in their heads? Both? Does it matter?
 

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Klobuchar for President?

by The Big E on August 19, 2013 · 3 comments

amy-klobuchar-iowaSen. Amy Klobuchar (DFL-MN) got tongues wagging last Friday by appearing at an event in Iowa. Any politician who goes to Iowa for any reason whatsoever gets everyone inside the DC Bubble all excited. But I wouldn’t be surprised if A-Klo is at least pondering running.
 
Of course, all things 2016 and Presidential orbit around whether or not Hillary Clinton will be running.
 

Cerro Gordo County vice chairman Dean Genth dished before the event that the organizers had hoped to lure Clinton to attend the event, but never heard back from her. So, they invited Klobuchar in hopes they could entice her to drive two hours over the border. None of that is particularly ego-boosting, especially to someone mentioned as a potential 2016 contender.
 
But Klobuchar was gracious, adding her own praise of Clinton and even more effusive kudos for Iowa Congressman Bruce Braley, who is running for the Senate. She delivered a crowd-pleasing, if not roof-raising, speech peppered with Iowa references and some buckshot for some Republicans who have been dropping by the first-in-the-nation caucus state.
 
Klobuchar, speaking to about 400 Democrats at the Surf Ballroom, joked that Iowa picks presidents and Minnesota supplies the country with vice presidents. But she took on the role of countering statements made by national Republicans such as Sen. Ted Cruz, who was in Iowa last weekend.
(Des Moines Register)

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amy_klobucharThese revelations that our government is collecting all our communications didn’t shock me. Piss me off? For sure. We lost all pretense to privacy in 2007 when FISA was revamped to allow for warrantless wiretapping. In conjunction with the Patriot Act, we began living in the United Police States of America.
 
All of Minnesota’s media seems to be talking about Sen. Al Franken’s role in oversight of the United Police States of America’s ever-growing and intrusive surveillance of everybody and everything. But Sen. Amy Klobuchar has been around longer and has a track record of not caring the least about our civil liberties. She voted poorly on FISA every time it’s come before the Senate since she joined it in 2007.
 
In 2007, the Republican-controlled Senate rammed through changes to FISA the night before everyone left town for the August recess. This bill allowed for warrantless wiretapping without any oversight. Klobuchar did what she was told and rubber-stamped it.
 
When I confronted her in October of 2007 about her unwillingness to protect our civil liberties and our privacy, here’s how she responded:
 

I was really angry with Amy for voting for the FISA legislation that was forced through the Senate the evening before everyone left for the August recess. I felt that she had abandoned our rights and her campaign claim to hold the Bush Administration accountable. She clarified her position and provided a little more insight into the process. I am less angry with her now and feel more confident that she will not allow unsupervised wiretapping of Americans in the future. I’ll begin by recapping the issue.
 

 
However, she admitted that she wouldn’t vote for legislation like this again. She claimed that she wasn’t part of the negotiations over this bill and realizes that this is a vote she’d like to have back. [I got an email clarification. She does not regret her vote. Her Aide says "She did say it is not something she will vote for in the long term, and that the version she did vote for could have been better."] Also, this bill didn’t go through the Judiciary Committee and was forced through quickly all on that Friday night. She claims that she and the rest of the Committee will carefully examine the upcoming legislation and make sure that American’s rights are not ignored again.
(mnblue.com, my old blog)

In December of 2007, Klobuchar voted against retroactive immunity for the telecom’s who coughed up all of our phone calls, emails and etc. Without immunity, citizens could have sued over their breach of our privacy rights. She did so again in January of 2008 and I mistakenly thought all was well.
 
These changes to FISA enacted in 2007 were only temporary and the Senate had to reconsider it in 2008. Sadly, in June of 2008 Klobuchar went back on her promise to protect our privacy and civil rights.
 
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Leahy may or may not protect email privacy

by The Big E on November 27, 2012 · 0 comments

Last week I noted that Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) may have been trying to sneak an anti-privacy bill through the US Senate. Initially, CNET reported that he had altered a email privacy bill to allow federal law enforcement the ability to read our emails without getting a warrant.

Changing the bill just before a holiday and scheduling the vote right after the holiday is pretty underhanded. But a Leahy staffer then denied the claim and alleged that CNET got it wrong.

The proof will be this Thursday when the Judiciary Committee votes on the bill. There will be no hearings. At this point nobody is sure what is in the bill.

Minnesota’s Senators both sit on Judiciary. Please call them and ask them to make sure our privacy is protected.

Sen. Franken at (202) 224-5641

Sen. Klobuchar at (202) 224-3244

Here’s the latest details:

When McCullah’s article went live last Tuesday morning, Senator Leahy was faced with a deluge of criticism, including the American Civil Liberties Union saying that warrants should be required, and the conservative group FreedomWorks launching a petition to Congress – with more than 2,300 messages sent so far – titled: “Tell Congress: Stay Out of My Email!”

Since the publication on CNet, Senator Leahy has backpedaled to his original stance on ECPA.  His official twitter account was updated last week with the comment, “Technology has created vacuum in privacy protection. Sen. Leahy believes that needs to be fixed, and #ECPA needs privacy updates.”

The Senate Judiciary Committee is set to vote on the bill this Thursday, but as of the moment, there is a measure of doubt as to how much of our privacy will really be protected and how much latitude the government will still have when it comes to gaining access to our electronic communications.
[my emphasis]


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Yesterday I wrote about a sneaky move by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) pulled to try and pass a bill which would allow a wide variety of federal agencies to read our email without a warrant. Changing the bill just before the Thanksgiving holiday and then holding a hearing and trying to pass it immediately after the holiday is particularly sneaky because it doesn’t allow opponents much time to organize.

Now a staffer for Leahy denies the Senator changed the bill and claims CNET has it all wrong.

“CNET has it wrong,” an aide tweeted from Leahy’s account. “Sen. Leahy does NOT support an #ECPA exception to search warrant requirement [for] civil enforcement [for agencies] like FTC, SEC.”

A Judiciary Committee aide confirmed to The Hill that Leahy “does not support broad carve-outs for warrantless email searches.”
(The Hill)

Regardless, please call Senators Franken and Klobuchar and ask them to vote against the bill.

Sen. Franken at (202) 224-5641

Sen. Klobuchar at (202) 224-3244

Many Democrats, including Klobuchar, voted to weaken FISA despite claiming they wanted to protect American citizens from warrantless wiretapping. Many Democrats, including Franken, supported SOPA/PIPA. Unlike FISA, a netroots uprising killed the bill.

If CNET is wrong, then we can relax. But if Leahy is trying to sneak this bill through, I wouldn’t be surprised … it wouldn’t be the first time.

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Klobuchar for President?

by The Big E on November 20, 2012 · 3 comments

The rumors have begun that Sen. Amy Klobuchar (DFL-MN) is aiming for a 2016 Presidential run. Klobuchar first ran for Hennepin County Attorney in 1998 and was reelected in 2002. Soon after her reelection victory she began touring Minnesota relentlessly. Nobody was surprised when she ran for US Senate in 2006.

She walloped rising MNGOP star Mark Kennedy in the 2006 MN-SEN race and her popularity has always remained high. In her 2012 reelection bid, she klobbered Ron Paul minion Kurt Bills who barely even campaigned after winning the MNGOP nomination.

I’ve spoken with plenty of political insiders and hacks who are convinced Klobuchar will run for President. Personally, I always thought she’s angling for a Supreme Court nomination. It wouldn’t be the first time I’ve been wrong. Either way, these rumors are rampant.

Now we have a well-connected woman urging her Facebook followers to tell Klobuchar to run.

So what is the deal? Does she have a chance? What are her strengths/advantages? What are her weaknesses?

Chances?

Her chances hinge entirely upon one and only one name: Hillary. If Hillary Clinton does not run, she is well-positioned to vie for the nomination.

Klobuchar the Moderate

Sen. Klobuchar has positioned herself as a moderate. Despite the clear and obvious dysfunction of the US Senate in that the minority (concerned only about political posturing) virtually controls the Senate via the threat of filibuster, she always talks up bi-partisanship and explains how she works across the aisle.

She has a liberal voting record on all the important issues and she’s reliably voted the right way on the big issues. Democrats can trust her to do the right thing.

On the other hand, she rarely takes a stand on the issues of the day.

She’s vote correctly, but she won’t lead. For example, she was absent during the health care reform debate. When pressed she offered non-commital statements about how important the issue is.

Her triangulation toward the middle is probably an advantage nationally, but progressives in MN consider it a weakness. We want a leader and this is something Klobuchar hasn’t done.

She is quick-witted and funny

Klobuchar is great at the unscripted moments. She is really calm under pressure and this is a huge advantage over the stodgy, over-scripted alpha males she’ll face if she runs.

Furthermore, she’s often quite funny.

There is no better way to make voters comfortable with you than making them laugh. She’ll never get herself in trouble, either, as her humor is self-effacing. Her jokes are about herself and her family or about her interactions with the press or other politicians.

Don’t discount the ability to make non-offensive jokes that make people laugh. It’s a rare ability. I think she has the ability cut through to the heart of issue in a memorable way.

Conclusion

Klobuchar will likely join Michele Bachmann and make it two Minnesotans (and 2 MN women) to vie for their party’s presidential nomination. One representing the wackiest far right and the other a confirmed moderate.

Unlike Bachmann, Klobuchar will not embarrass us if Hillary decides not to run. It will be nice to have a Minnesotan on the national stage who isn’t crazy.

So … who has Hillary’s cell and can ask her what she’s planning to do?

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Kurt Bills will now pass quietly off the political scene. He lost badly to Sen. Amy Klobuchar and will return to inflicting his disturbed worldview on the students of Rosemount Senior High. He was a one-term, back-bench Republican legislator who dreamed of joining his idol, Ron Paul, in Congress.

Like the clay character that graced SNL back in its heyday, Kurt Bills is a sad clown who just can’t catch a break. This photo epitomizes the Bills campaign:

Yes, that’s Mister Bills bus broken down on the southbound entrance ramp to I-35 just south of Forest Lake.

Mister Bills rode a wave as Ron Paul supporters took over the Republican Party of Minnesota. The Paulbots organized at the caucus level and ended up sending all Ron Paul supporters (with the exception of Michele Bachmann) to the 2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa, FL.

Mister Bills seemed like he was counting on Ron Paul to help him raise tons of money and help his campaign gain traction. Apparently, he forgot that a primary tenet of libertarianism is you’re all on your own.

Mister Bills immediately began work on an edgy, non-conformist ad to define himself and his campaign. That was the intention but, while it certainly defined him, it didn’t define him in the way he intended.

WORST CAMPAIGN VIDEO OF 2012

Seriously, this is worse than Carly Fiorina’s Demon Sheep ad or Mike Gravel’s ad in which he just stares into the camera for a minute before walking away.

Mister Bills lurched from failure to flop.  
It appears that the people who helped win him the endorsement weren’t about to work hard to get him elected.

Mister Bill frittered away the summer. Two candidates challenged him in the primary. He barely broke 50% in the MNGOP primary. That’s embarrassing.

In September we learned that Mister Bills hadn’t quit his day job. Instead of campaigning full-time, he’d been teaching and then campaigning in the evening and on weekends. And he wondered why the media didn’t take him seriously?

When the Minneapolis Star Tribune released a poll showing the inevitable. Mister Bills fought back. First he claimed that the Strib was lying and he was only losing by 15% not 28%. Then he had his surly and rude campaign manager, Mike Osskopp, complain that the Strib was only helping the daughter of their former correspondent. Her Dad hadn’t worked for the Strib in 20 years (at least).

Then Mister Bills decided that attacking Sen. Klobucher for saving jobs in Minnesota was a good idea and a surefire way to garner his campaign a little attention.

Kurt Bills told MPR he would have opposed saving the auto industry, which would have been absolutely disastrous for our economy. Trying to turn his foolish stand to his advantage, Bills claimed Klobuchar supported saving the auto industry so she could get Walser’s donation:
“I don’t know why you do an ad like that,” Bills said. “It’s showing you’re a crony capitalist. You’re going to side with the people who can fill your campaign coffers up.”

Sigh. No, Mr. Bills. It shows that people value results over abstract ideology. Nobody cares about your ideological basis for saying you’d have let the American auto industry collapse; they’re simply going to vote for the person who saved a million jobs, including their own.

When September job numbers were released, they were bad news for Republicans. Unemployment drop below 8% for the first time in a long time. This didn’t fit the Republican narrative, so Mister Bills joined the chorus of crazies claiming the unemployment numbers were faked.

In mid October I noticed that polling guru Nate Silver had given Sen. Klobuchar a 100% chance of reelection. That had to hurt. But Mister Bills is a happy kind of clown. He suggested the following:

With polls showing little hope for his bid to upset Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Republican Kurt Bills found what he thought was a silver lining courtesy of Google.

Somebody told him that if you typed the Democratic incumbent’s name, one of the first results the search engine guessed was: “Amy Klobuchar’s opponent.”

That, the GOP longshot reasoned, must mean that voters are searching — quite literally — for an alternative, even if they don’t know his name.

Mister Bills next brilliant strategic maneuver was to attack Klobuchar based upon a conspiracy theory concocted by a guy Klobuchar jailed while she was Hennepin County Attorney.

But the final two scenes in Mister Bills sad journey into irrelevance epitomize his campaign:

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DFL Monday Night Madness

by Eric Ferguson on November 7, 2012 · 0 comments

UPDATE: It’s 2:30 PM on election day, so if the speakers moved you to get fired up and ready to go, get going RIGHT NOW! Go to barackobama.com and plug in your zip code to search for the nearest location. GOTV will be going until the polls close.

This is video from the 2012 Monday Night Madness (in other years called Midnight Madness), which is a DFL election eve tradition. It’s rally of state and local elected officials and candidates with a large number of volunteers ready for a nighttime lit drop. Speakers included DFL state chair Ken Martin, St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman, Minneapolis Mayor RT Rybak, State Sen. Scott Dibble, State House Minority Leader Paul Thissen, Rep. Keith Ellison, Sen. Al Franken, and Sen. Amy Klobuchar. This took place at the Minneapolis United Labor Centre.


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