Where’s Erik Paulsen?

Our Representative in Congress hasn’t held a public town hall since September 6, 2011. There’ve been last minute meetings announced on social media shortly before they happen, tele-town halls where questions can be vetted before being forwarded, appearances at local businesses and school, robocalls that come to you saying he’s sorry you weren’t there to take his invitation to the tele-townhalls — but no traditional town hall.

It’s been 2,295 days since Rep. Paulsen’s last public town hall.

January CD3 DFL Gubernatorial Candidate Forum

Please mark your calendars and plan to join us for our next candidate forum:

What:  DFL Gubernatorial Candidate Forum

When:  Saturday, January 13, 2017, registration Starts at 8:30 AM, forum begins at 9:00 AM

Where:  Hennepin Technical College Auditorium, 13100 Collegeview Dr, Eden Prairie, MN 55347

Please submit your questions in advance here.  Deadline for submissions midnight, Sunday, January 7, 2018.

Action Alerts

Concerned about the outcome of the last election?  Want to get involved and help defend progressive values? We will be making periodic postings of ways you can get involved in a range of projects with various non-DFL organizations.  (DFL events are listed on our DFL In the Know posts.)

 Here are some upcoming events:

  • Today through January 14 — Minnesota Open Enrollment, visit MNSure.org to check out insurance plans if you need coverage for new options. (Minnesota’s enrollment period is longer than states using the ACA exchange.)
  • December 20, 5:00 PM — Debra Hilstrom for Attorney General holiday party, at the home of Paul and Alicia Buchel, Party Room, 2320 Lexington Ave S, Mendota Heights, MN 55210. More information at debrahilstrommn@gmail.com.
  • December 21, 5:00 PM — Drinking Liberally, Hazellewood Grill and Tap Room, 5636 Manitou Rd, Excelsior, MN 55331. More information as it becomes available.
  • December 27, 6:30 PM — Monthly meeting of the Anoka-Hennepin area chapter of Sandy Hook Promise, Crooked Lake Library, 11440 Crooked Lake Blvd NW, Coon Rapids, MN. More information and RSVP here or email shpahregion@gmail.com.
  • January 4, 9:30 AM — DFL Women Meeting, 12800 Marion Ln W, Minnetonka, MN 55305.  Candidates for the State Auditor position will be joining them along with Brittany Edwards, who is running to fill the seat currently held for Lt. Gov. candidate Peggy Flanagan.
  • January 13, 8:30 AM — Stone Arch Discussion Group:  Health Care with Rep. Diane Loeffler, Wilde Café & Spirits, 65 SE Main St, Minneapolis, MN 55414
  • January 13, 9:30 AM — League of Women Voter’s MEPH:  Redistricting for Fairness and Voter Participation presented by Secretary of State Steve Simon, Council Chambers, Minnetonka Community Center, 14600 Minnetonka Blvd, Minnetonka, MN 55345.

NOTE:  Candidates for the CD3 DFL and Senate District endorsements should send event information to info@dfl3cd.org for posting on this listing and the CD3 DFL calendar.

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Why I’m opposed to the ‘Tax Cuts and Jobs Act’

To the Editor:

I recently called Rep. Erik Paulsen’s office, regarding H.R.1 — the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act,” urging him to vote against this act.  I would have preferred to present my views in a town hall meeting, but since Rep. Paulsen does not hold open public meetings where constituents can publicly express their views on legislation, I’ll share them here.

They jobs act that Rep. Paulsen supports and voted for creates no jobs but will transfer US treasury dollars to the top 1-percent earners by increasing taxes on the middle class.  If signed into law, it will basically re-distribute wealth from the middle class to the super rich. Read More

What happened to Erik Paulsen, deficit hawk?

To the Editor:

On April 15, 2011, Congressman Erik Paulsen issued a press release with the headline, “Paulsen Votes to Reduce Deficits, Pay Down the Debt.”  In the release, he touted his votes in favor of the federal government living within its means and the importance of fiscal responsibility.

Fast forward to 2017 and now we observe that Paulsen is a strong advocate for the GOP tax bill that is about to become law.  He used his powerful position on the Ways and Means Committee to help craft it; he tweets about it daily; and he speaks passionately in favor of it in local and national interviews. Read More

The Ghost of Richard Nixon

The following article by Kenneth T. Walsh was posted on the U.S. News and World Report website Deember 15, 2017:

President Donald Trump is behaving like the disgraced ex-president.

Cedit: Jae C. Hong/AP

The comparisons between Donald Trump and the disgraced Richard Nixon are getting more salient, and a big reason is that Trump is behaving like Nixon did in fundamental and troubling ways.

Echoing President Nixon’s arguments in the early and mid-1970s, Trump says many of the nation’s leaders and institutions, including prominent Democrats, some establishment Republicans, and major news organizations, are biased against him and are attempting to orchestrate his downfall. This is the same approach that Nixon took, seeing enemies everywhere and creating a fortress mentality at the White House. A lengthy New York Times story last weekend showed the depth of Trump’s preoccupation with what his adversaries say about him and with how he can get back at them using Twitter, his favorite weapon, and the overall power of the presidential bully pulpit. “For other presidents,” the Times reported, “every day is a test of how to lead a country, not just a faction, balancing competing interests. For Mr. Trump, every day is an hour-by-hour battle for self-preservation.” Read More

The Memo: Omarosa’s exit is headache for White House

The following article by Niall Stanage was posted on the Hill website December 15, 2017:

Omarosa Manigault isn’t popular in D.C., but President Trump appears to have her back — for now. (TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/GETTY IMAGES)

Team Trump is bracing for negative revelations from Omarosa Manigault Newman after she resigned from the White House in disputed circumstances on Wednesday.

“She is a total press hog, so we will certainly see her say horrible things about the team she was a member of until yesterday,” said one former Trump staffer on Thursday. The source requested anonymity to speak candidly.

The dynamics regarding Manigault Newman are complicated, however.  Read More

The Fraying of the Trump Brand

The following article by Susan Milligan was posted on the U.S. News and World Report website December 15, 2017:

Experts say President Trump is damaging his party and its candidates’ election prospects.

Credit: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post/Getty Images)

Ronald Reagan offered a sunny vision for the nation, with a “Morning in America” message that built a GOP brand of optimism and fiscal conservatism. Bill Clinton’s “Third Way” helped modernize the Democratic Party brand, casting the party as one that balanced government obligations to needy people with personal responsibility. George H. W. Bush talked about a “kinder, gentler nation,” softening any hard edges around the GOP image. And Barack Obama’s “Hope and Change” slogan energized young voters wanting something new out of an old political party.

Donald Trump, meanwhile, has been the Republican Party’s New Coke, branding experts say. And as with the failed effort to expand the cola’s market share, the president is damaging the GOP brand not only to his own political detriment, but to the fortunes of other Republicans nervously eyeing their 2018 re-election campaigns. Read More

Has Support for Moore Stained Evangelicals? Some Are Worried

The following article by Laurie Goodstein was posted on the New York Times website December 14, 2017:

Some evangelicals have expressed concern about their movement being publicly associated with politicians like Roy Moore who have been dogged by scandal. Credit Kevin D. Liles for The New York Times

The editor in chief of Christianity Today did not have to wait for the votes to be counted to publish his essay on Tuesday bemoaning what the Alabama Senate race had wrought.

Whoever wins, “there is already one loser: Christian faith,” wrote Mark Galli, whose publication, the flagship of American evangelicalism, was founded 61 years ago by the Rev. Billy Graham. “No one will believe a word we say, perhaps for a generation. Christianity’s integrity is severely tarnished.”

The sight of white evangelical voters in Alabama giving their overwhelming support to Roy S. Moore, the Republican candidate, despite accusations of racial and religious bigotry, misogyny and assaults on teenage girls, has deeply troubled many conservative Christians, who fear that association with the likes of Mr. Moore is giving their faith a bad name. The angst has grown so deep, Mr. Galli said, that he knows of “many card-carrying evangelicals” who are ready to disavow the label.

The evangelical brand “is definitely tarnished” by politicization from whatever side, Mr. Galli said on Wednesday. “No question about it.”

He said that his readers seemed to agree with the thrust of his essay. The main criticism he received, he said, was one he agreed with: that he should have made it clearer that he was referring not to all Christians, but to evangelicals in particular.

The bloc that has marched under the banner of the “Moral Majority” and “values voters” has now been tagged as the most reliable base of support for both Mr. Moore and President Trump, two politicians who are known for fanning racial and religious prejudices and who stand accused of sexual harassment by numerous women — accusations that each man denies. White evangelicals across the country delivered 81 percent of their votes to Mr. Trump last year, according to exit poll data, and backed Mr. Moore in Alabama by the same proportion on Tuesday.

Read More

Zinke reprimanded park head after climate tweets

The following article by Timothy Cama was posted on the Hill website December 15, 2017:

© Getty Images

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke brought the leader of a California park to his office last month to reprimand him for climate change-related tweets the park had sent via Twitter, two sources close to the situation said.

Zinke did not take any formal disciplinary action against David Smith, superintendent of Joshua Tree National Park. And the tweets at issue weren’t deleted, because they didn’t violate National Park Service or Interior Department policies. Read More

Music promoter dangled possible Putin meeting for Trump during campaign

The following article by Rosalind S. Helderman and Tom Hamburger was posted on the Washington Post website December 14, 2017:

British music promoter Rob Goldstone in 2015 suggested a meeting between Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin. (Bastien Inzaurralde/The Washington Post)

About a month after Donald Trump launched his presidential bid, a British music promoter suggested his Russian pop-star client could arrange for the new candidate to meet with Russian President Vladi­mir Putin, according to an email obtained by The Washington Post.

The July 2015 offer by publicist Rob Goldstone came about a year before he set up a meeting for Trump’s eldest son with a Russian lawyer who he said had incriminating information about Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.

Goldstone’s overture came as he unsuccessfully urged Trump to travel to Moscow later that year to attend a birthday celebration for his client’s father.

“Maybe he would welcome a meeting with President Putin,” Goldstone wrote in a July 24, 2015, email to Trump’s longtime personal assistant, Rhona Graff. There is no indication Trump or his assistant followed up on Goldstone’s offer.

The invitation is the latest example to emerge of efforts to broker a meeting between the Kremlin and Trump Tower during the campaign. The timing of Goldstone’s offer served as a reminder of the high-level contacts that Trump had in Russia as he ramped up his White House run.

The email exchange is among thousands of pages of internal Trump documents that have been turned over to investigators examining Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Scott Balber, an attorney for the pop star Emin Agalarov, said Agalarov asked Goldstone to invite Trump to his father’s party but was not aware that the publicist dangled the possibility of meeting with Putin.

“It is certainly not the case that Emin Agalarov can arrange a meeting with Vladi­mir Putin for anybody,” Balber said.

Goldstone’s attorney, Robert Gage, declined to comment, as did Alan Futerfas, an attorney for Graff.

But Futerfas expressed concern that material provided to investigators has been shared with the media.

“We are disappointed that documents continue to be selectively leaked from confidential investigations,” said Futerfas, who last week called for an investigation into the leaking of information provided to the House Intelligence Committee.

Trump’s relationship with Emin Agalarov and his father, Aras, a wealthy Moscow developer, dated to 2013, when they licensed the Trump-owned Miss Universe pageant and brought it to Moscow. During Trump’s visit to Moscow for the event, he appeared in a music video for an Emin Agalarov song that was filmed at the Ritz-Carlton hotel. Following the pageant, Aras Agalarov discussed a possible real estate development deal with Trump in Moscow, but the project never materialized.

Emin Agalarov is an Azerbaijani singer who moved to Moscow and is at the center of the latest controversy to hit the Trump administration. (Victoria Walker/The Washington Post)

Goldstone, a publicist for Emin Agalarov, reached out several times to Trump’s inner circle during the presidential race. In early 2016, he sent an email to Donald Trump Jr. to discuss the idea of setting up a page for Trump’s campaign on VK, the Russian equivalent of Facebook. Later in the year, he brokered a meeting between Trump Jr. and Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya.

Congressional investigators have sought more information about his interactions with the Trump Organization. Goldstone was interviewed Thursday, according to people familiar with the session. Read More