Republicans the leading force behind nonsensical cuts

The following commentary by Rep. Linda Slocum was posted on the Sun-Current website May 20, 2017:

To the Editor:

In response to a recent letter by Metropolitan Council Member Steve Elkins (“Legislature’s transit cuts would be dangerous”), I write to provide a critically important clarification.

Mr. Elkins is right that the transportation budget that passed out of the House would cause draconian cuts to transit, amounting to a 40 percent reduction in basic bus service and thrusting thousands more cars onto our traffic-jammed streets. (more…)

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Who is the Republican-Controlled Legislature Working For?

Is that Republican agenda working for you, fellow citizens?

Call me a slow learner. It was finally after reading about another rollback of current policy by the Legislature that I figured it out. The notion has been rolling around in my head for an embarrassingly long time without the words to define it, but now I have the words. Those in power at the Legislature this year are not promoting a Minnesota agenda. It’s a Republican agenda. Good for the state? Who cares? Good for Republicans? Pass it any way you can.

I’m furious at the attempts to roll back environmental rules, reduce clean air and water protections, remove voter-protection policies, refuse to protect internet privacy — the list could go on and on. I wasn’t born in Minnesota, but I have lived here since 1966. I value the quality of life that Minnesotans — old and new — value and are proud of. I love our lakes, clean air (I came from California, where in 1966 you really could see the air you had to breathe at the end of the block), our clean election system and campaign-finance rules, and our desire to care for the least among us. I love a lot of other things as well. But I don’t love the Republican agenda. Going back to the days of robber barons and “Father Knows Best” doesn’t work for me. I want progress, advancement, a rising tide lifting all boats. Nope. The Republican agenda doesn’t work for me, and it doesn’t work for Minnesota.

Judy Finger, Apple Valley
Minneapolis Star Tribune, May 6, 2017

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AHCA Limits Access for Sick, Gives Tax Break to Wealthy

With all the talk of “protecting” the preexisting conditions in the AHCA, I’m not convinced the GOP definition of protection means anything but allowing the free market to reign over the misfortune of their constituents.

So, what is protection anyway? The online resources I see all include it in a financial sense. For example (of an insurance policy), a promise to pay someone an agreed amount in the event of loss, injury, fire, theft or other misfortune, or “in the event of your death, your family will be protected against any financial problems that may arise.” So I am at first comforted in knowing I will be protected from financial ruin should the unthinkable happen.

But wait: Noticeably absent is a framework for my protection. Without that, we have just blind faith in the free market for the healthy, and risk pools for the rest. Without essential protections that define our rights as purchasers of lifesaving access to health care, without protection from financial demise, why call it insurance?

We need to call it what it is: a plan to fix health care and limit spending by limiting access for the sick, while offering a tax break to the wealthy for health savings account contributions.

Tracie Wollman, Plymouth
Star Tribune, May 5, 2017

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Erik Paulsen Voted To Hurt My Mom: Rep. Peggy Flanagan

The following article by William Bornhoff of the Patch Staff posted the following on the St. Louis Park Patch website May 4, 2017:

St. Louis Park’s state representative took to Twitter Thursday to criticize Congressman Erik Paulsen’s vote for American Health Care Act.

ST. LOUIS PARK, MN — Republicans in the House of Representatives, including Minnesota Third District’s Erik Paulsen, voted to pass the American Health Care Act Thursday by the slim margin of 217-213 with no Democratic votes. GOP leadership has partially recovered its wounded pride after its embarrassing first attempt to pass the bill ended in abject failure in March.

In response, St. Louis Park state Rep. Peggy Flanagan, who represents an area within Paulsen’s district, issued a series of critical tweets at the Republican: (more…)

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Jimmy Kimmel Reveals Details of His Son’s Birth & Heart Disease

Well, the Republicans in the U.S. House have passed the destructive AHCA bill.  So, let’s look at Jimmy Kimmel’s monologue about his son’s birth and heart disease again:

So, these people have:

  • Voted for a bill without a CBO scoring, so they had no clue of it’s impact on the people of this country
  • Giving the top earners in this country a massive tax cut
  • Exempted themselves from coverage by this plan

And, that’s what we know so far.  So, so, sad.

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GOP Establishment Shrugs As Democracy Crumbles Under Trump

The following article by Steven Rosenfeld was posted on the Alternet website April 28, 2017:

Many of Trump’s working-class supporters actually believe he’s got their backs. Really?

Credit: www.whitehouse.gov

It’s become the new abnormal: Trump’s decrees, accusations and posturing; his transparent lies, threats and reversals. Then comes the cleanup crew, the White House propagandists, pretending he’s serious.

Half the media plays it straight, according Trump a gravitas unsupported by facts or details. Others, from TV comedians to seasoned political columnists, cannot keep a straight face. Whatever being presidential or serious governing is, they know that’s not Trump. (more…)

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Do members of Congress pay for 100 percent of their health insurance?

The following article by Michelle Ye Hee Lee was posted on the Washington Post website April 17, 2017:

Question: “Who pays your salary?”
Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.): “I am self-employed, I’ve been self-employed, and I pay more taxes inside my own company personally than I’ll ever receive from being in Congress. I pay my own, and I pay my own insurance. … So don’t mislead and think that you’re paying mine. I do. Also, every member of Congress, they pay for their own insurance, too. We are put into the exchange. We’re not a federal employee. We go into the D.C. exchange and we personally have to pay for 100 percent of it. Not a percentage, all of it.”
— Exchange during a town hall, April 10, 2017

Question: “Where do you get your insurance?”
Rep. Glenn Grothman (R-Wis.): “I will say, just because there’s a lot of misinformation on it: I am on Obamacare. So that’s what Congress does.”
— Exchange during a town hall, April 10, 2017 (more…)

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Trump’s pledge to allow churches to support candidates may be part of tax bill

The following article by John Wagner was posted on the Washington Post website April 14, 2017:

As Republicans struggle to craft a sweeping tax package — a process already rife with political land mines — they are preparing to add another volatile element to the mix: a provision that would end a six-decade-old ban on churches and other tax-exempt organizations supporting political candidates.

The repeal of the “Johnson amendment” is being written into tax legislation developed in the House of Representatives, according to aides. President Trump has vowed to “totally destroy” the provision at the behest of evangelical Christians who helped elect him. (more…)

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‘One word says it all. Asian’: Airbnb host reportedly leaves guest stranded because of her race

The following article by Amy B. Wang was posted on the Washington Post website April 7, 2017:

An Airbnb host in California has been banned after an Asian American guest claimed her reservation was canceled at the last minute because of her race.

Airbnb spokesman Nick Papas told The Washington Post in an email that the host’s behavior was “abhorrent and unacceptable.” The company has in recent years faced growing complaints of racial discrimination by its hosts. (more…)

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Mitch McConnell, the man who broke America

The following column by Dana Milbank was posted on the Washington Post website April 7, 2017:

“No majority leader wants written on his tombstone that he presided over the end of the Senate,” the minority leader said.

He continued: “Breaking the rules to change the rules is un-American. I just hope the majority leader thinks about his legacy, the future of his party, and, most importantly, the future of our country before he acts.” (more…)

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