Mitch McConnell on the health-care legislative process, 2010 vs. 2017

The following fact check article by Glenn Kessler was posted on the Washington Post website June 19, 2017:

While Obamacare was under consideration, McConnell had strong words for the Democratic majority’s tactics, criticizing them for going ‘the partisan route.’ Now, he seems to be using them. (Video: Meg Kelly/Photo: Oliver Contreras for The Washington Post/The Washington Post)

“Unfortunately, it will have to be a Republicans-only exercise. But we’re working hard to get there.”
— Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), in remarks to reporters June 13

It has become a regular feature of the U.S. political system that the politicians in the minority accuse the politicians in power of cutting deals behind closed doors to advance controversial legislation — only to engage in similar tactics once they regain power. (more…)

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A Republican contractor’s database of nearly every voter was left exposed on the Internet for 12 days, researcher says

The following article by Brian Fung, Craig Timberg and Matea Gold was posted on the Washington Post website June 19, 2017:

Credit: imelenchon via Morguefile.com

A Republican analytics firm’s database of nearly every registered American voter was left vulnerable to theft on a public server for 12 days this month, according to a cybersecurity researcher who found and downloaded the trove of data.

The lapse in security was striking for putting at risk the identities, voting histories and views of voters across the political spectrum, with data drawn from a wide range of sources including social media, public government records and proprietary polling by political groups. (more…)

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Conservatives need to cut the bullshit and stop exploiting a tragedy to blame the left

The following article by Cristina Lopez G. was posted on the Media Matters website June 15, 2017:

Right-wing media show no self-awareness of their role in influencing violent incidents

Credit: AP

James T. Hodgkinson, a man with a record of domestic violence, a legally purchased assault rifle, and a valid concealed carry permit, on June 14 opened fire on Republican congressmen and staffers practicing for the congressional baseball game.

The FBI is still investigating the incident, but one thing is already clear about this latest example of unhinged gun violence. The overwhelming evidence of conservative media’s influence on a significant number of deadly incidents makes their attempt to deflect attention from their role in creating a toxic political culture both cynical and exploitative. (more…)

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Kansas Republicans Finally Admit the Experiment Has Failed

The following article by Cynthia Tucker Yanes of the Andrew McMeel Syndication was posted on the National Memo website June 10, 2017:

Source: PoliticusUSA

Earlier this week, Dorothy and Toto returned to Kansas. Or reality returned, anyway.

The Republican-controlled state legislature revolted against the preposterous, alternative-reality dogma espoused by the ultra-conservative governor, Sam Brownback, who is a follower of the doctrine that claims cutting taxes will increase government revenue. On June 6, the legislature overturned Brownback’s veto, keeping in place a law that will undo the governor’s long-standing tax cuts and increase taxes by $1.2 billion over the next two years.

That amounted to a repudiation of a reckless philosophy with which Brownback is now completely identified. And it ought to serve as a warning to President Donald Trump, whose budget is modeled on the same magical thinking. The president has proposed whopping tax cuts that will overwhelmingly benefit the rich, claiming that those tax cuts will prompt businesses to hire more people, thereby creating a bounty of new jobs. (more…)

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Koch Convention to Rewrite Constitution Runs Into Roadblocks

The following article by Arn Pearson was posted on the ExposedbyCMD.org website June 12, 2017:

This year’s legislative season saw a strong push in the states from right-wing groups, bankrolled by the Koch brothers and other ultra-conservative billionaires, hoping to convene a national constitutional convention in order to inject rigid fiscal constraints into our country’s founding document. Advocates of a federal “balanced budget amendment” (BBA) picked up two more states, Wyoming and Arizona, in their drive to win the 34 resolutions needed to bypass Congress and convene a convention to propose changes to the U.S. Constitution.

That momentum, however, was blunted by surprisingly successful campaigns to rescind convention calls in three states, New Mexico, Maryland, and Nevada. As a result, BBA proponents now claim 27 states in their column, down from 28 at the beginning of the year. (more…)

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When Violence Against The Press Becomes Acceptable

The following article by Matt Gertz was posted on the Media Matters website May 26, 2017:

Sarah Wasko / Media Matters

On Wednesday night, as news broke that Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs had been physically attacked by Montana congressional candidate Greg Gianforte after Jacobs asked him his position on the Republican health care bill, the conservative movement’s pro-Trump voices rallied to Gianforte’s rescue. This moral cowardice has become commonplace for commentators who have spent so much time immersed in the battle to defend the president and vilify the press at all costs that they are apparently incapable of ethical seriousness.

On Wednesday night, as news broke that Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs had been physically attacked by Montana congressional candidate Greg Gianforte after Jacobs asked him his position on the Republican health care bill, the conservative movement’s pro-Trump voices rallied to Gianforte’s rescue. This moral cowardice has become commonplace for commentators who have spent so much time immersed in the battle to defend the president and vilify the press at all costs that they are apparently incapable of ethical seriousness. (more…)

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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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