6/16 Erik Paulsen Correspondence Corner : Say NO to Shark Fin Soup

Erik Paulsen regularly issues a video Correspondence Corner in which he responds to constituent questions.
It is a great ploy — Congressman Paulsen determines what question is to be answered … thus, providing him an opportunity to portray himself as effectively responding to issues that he wishes to address as if they are the most critical issues that voters want addressed.
The MN Political Roundtable will be evaluating Congressman Paulsen’s responses and encouraging readers to offer their own assessments.

Today’s topic, H.R.1456 – Shark Fin Sales Elimination Act of 2017.
Tomorrow’s topic – Trump’s plan “A New Foundation For American Greatness” and the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

This week’s Correspondence Corner covers three subject matters :
A shooting as Republicans prepared for the annual Congressional Baseball Contest;
H.R.1456 – Shark Fin Sales Elimination Act;
And the Trump budget proposal to open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for oil and gas exploration.

The tragic shooting obviously deserved attention … violence has no place in political discourse. Congressman Paulsen was also moved when Arizona Congresswoman Gabby Giffords was shot … yet, has he offered any legislation to address gun violence ?
Heck, did he even join other Republicans who denounced New Hampshire state Rep. Al Baldasaro who said Hillary Clinton should be “put in the firing line and shot for treason” over the 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya.
Or, did Congressman Paulsen speak out when Alex Jones publicly threatening Representative Adam Schiff (D-CA-28) ?

“I’m not against gay people. OK. I love them, they’re great folks. But Schiff looks like the archetypal cocksucker with those little deer-in-the-headlight eyes and all his stuff. And there’s something about this fairy, hopping around, bossing everybody around, trying to intimidate people like me and you, I want to tell Congressman Schiff and all the rest of them, ‘Hey, listen, asshole, quit saying Roger and I’—and I’ve never used cussing in 22 years, but the gloves are off—‘listen, you son of a bitch, what the fuck’s your problem? You want to sit here and say that I’m a goddamn, fucking Russian. You get in my face with that, I’ll beat your goddamn ass, you son of a bitch. You piece of shit. You fucking goddamn fucker. Listen, fuckhead, you have fucking crossed a line. Get that through your goddamn fucking head. Stop pushing your shit. You’re the people that have fucked this country over and gangraped the shit out of it and lost an election. So stop shooting your mouth off claiming I’m the enemy. You got that you goddamn son of a bitch? Fill your hand.’ I’m sorry, but I’m done. You start calling me a foreign agent, those are fucking fighting words. Excuse me.”

BTW : “Fill your hand” is an old West call to draw your gun … as movie fans know from ‘True Grit’ Rooster Cogburn calling out ‘Fill your hands you son of bitch!’

Let’s leave that discussion and move on to Michelle from Bloomington who contacted Congressman Paulsen about shark finning.

Shark finning is the practice of cutting off a shark’s fins, often while the shark is still alive, and discarding the mutilated animal into the ocean to die of suffocation or be attacked by predators since the animal is unable to swim. The fin is then used to make braised shark fin soup … while a bowl of wonton or egg drop soup may cost $2.50, a bowl of braised shark fin soup is listed at $32.00.

Although eleven states and three US territories have already prohibited the sale of shark fins, some Members of Congress want federal action. So last session, H.R.5584 – Shark Fin Trade Elimination Act of 2016 was offered in June but was not acted on by Congressman Paulsen’s Ways and Means Committee.

But this session, it is back, as H.R.1456 – Shark Fin Sales Elimination Act of 2017 and has already picked up 122 sponsors including Alex Jones nemeses, Adam Schift and Minnesota’s Fifth District Congressman Keith Ellison. Congressman Paulsen added his name to the legislation on June 7th.

OK … I will leave it to others to debate whether this should be handled by the states and if Congress should dictate what soups restaurants can sell, and instead ask the question :
Is this just another example of Congressman Paulsen spin — trying to find issues that make him appear to be responding to constituents concerns and issues that need to be addressed ?

Minnesota’s Third District have heard the Paulsen mantra for years — Job Creation and Promoting Prosperity combined with challenging “Washington must do more with less” — does the Shark Fin Sales Elimination Act fit that objective ?
Or is it a recognition that the Republican-controlled Congress has done nothing ?
Will preventing people from buying $32 a bowl Braised Shark Fin soup cost Congressman Paulsen any votes … or will he ensure Michelle’s vote ?

Michelle is not alone … notice in the video, that Congressman Paulsen has a dog with him — Arbor.

This was not Arbor’s first appearance … in 2013, Arbor was there to be part of the #PhotoOpErik response when a constituent urged support of H.R. 847, the Puppy Uniform Protection and Safety (PUPS) Act, to crack down on abusive puppy mills.
Joined by his special guest, Arbor, Congressman Paulsen took the opportunity to answer that he had co-sponsored the puppy mill legislation, but also his co-sponsorship of H.R. 366, the Animal Fighting Spectator Prohibition Act, to make it a crime to attend or bring a child to a dogfight or cockfight.

Funny thing is that neither HR 366 nor HR 847 received any committee hearings or votes.
Now, may be the legislative proposals were incorporated into some omnibus bill … but maybe not.

How fortunate that Congressman Paulsen received a letter from someone advocating for something that he already has done … well, let’s hope that in the spirit of Father’s Day, that Congressman Paulsen will realize that Fathers do not exist without Mothers … and that he needs to sponsor
H. R. 1318 Preventing Maternal Deaths Act of 2017
H. R. 2417 Pregnant Workers Fairness Act

Those bipartisan bills deserve a Correspondence Corner discussion.

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