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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

DFL Needs To Be The Party That Delivers Broadband To Rural MN

Category: GOP House Republicans
Posted: 12/21/16 23:21, Edited: 12/22/16 10:15

by Dave Mindeman

We hear a lot about Democrats needing to reach out to rural Minnesota. The Republicans have co-opted the voters outside of the metro. And yes, the rural areas did turn many legislative seats into GOP hands.

But why they did that is not fully explained.

Democrats have been championing a rural issue that is extremely important to Greater Minnesota....

Broadband.

To a lot of people, broadband is the key to rural business development. And the Republican Party of Minnesota has never supported it to the extent that is really needed. Democrats have....

In April of the last legislative session, this is where the two party's stood:

Gov. Mark Dayton asked lawmakers for $100 million to expand broadband access in rural Minnesota. The Senate is pledging $85 million and the House of Representatives passed a bill Wednesday for $40 million over two years.

The Senate's $85 million would go to the border-to-border fund to partner with internet companies to extend high-speed internet lines to rural areas.


It is important to note that in February (2 months prior), a task force presented a report on rural broadband with the following recommendation:

The report said that, while the infusion into the state's broadband grant program would help Minnesota achieve its goal, it would cost $900 million to $3.2 billion to fully expand high-speed Internet statewide.

That is a lot of money, but if rural Minnesota is to meet the needs of necessary development, broadband MUST be in place. Lt. Governor Tina Smith traveled the state to get rural opinions on the matter and she came to the same conclusion....

"Broadband Internet isn't just nice," Smith said in a statement. "We need the bandwidth for Minnesota's regional centers and rural economies to support innovation and entrepreneurship. If we don't do this, 244,000 Minnesotans and hundreds of communities will lack the basic infrastructure to connect to the 21st-century economy, and that's not fair."

The Broadband issue has come up time and time again at the legislature and every time the Democrats place a significant funding source into their budget - while the House GOP gives lip service with an insulting allotment that would get nothing started.

Somehow, this fact seems to have escaped the voters in rural Minnesota. They listen to the GOP rhetoric and think that "words" will get the job done. They get told by the Republicans that the Democratic Party is a "Metro Only" party, and that Democrats will continue to neglect them.

And yet, the House GOP gives rural Minnesota no broadband, no transportation bill, and has sliced LGA to the point that rural city budgets are needing to raise property taxes.

Democrats need to sound off on this. They need to fight the House GOP on their false promises.

Democrats need to become the party of delivering broadband.

It can be as simple as that.
comments (13) permalink

CBO Will Not Whitewash HealthCare Replacement

Category: Congressional Races
Posted: 12/20/16 18:49

by Dave Mindeman

I don't know how much of this is going to be paid attention to; after all, the Republicans can pretty much bury anything they want to now, but the Congressional Budget Office has taken a stand on the Obamacare repeal:

The CBO adds a new wrinkle to the debate, by making clear that lawmakers won't be able to claim that they will protect the millions of people that stand to lose insurance with an Obamacare repeal if the coverage that comes with their ACA replacement is significantly less generous or wide-ranging.

The CBO is going to compare coverages and tell us when the replacement coverage does not meet the same standard.

This is important - because the Republican Congress is counting on simple catastrophic insurance coverage to count as actual coverage. They do not have any kind of plan that can give the same guarantees without higher costs.

I am making some assumptions about where this is going, because I doubt that the GOP Congress can repeal the ACA fully. There are several provisions that are much too popular and frankly, are expected to continue. The guarantee of coverage for a pre-existing condition and staying on parents insurance to age 26 ...are the most prominent.

But as other things disappear from the way it was before, there will be more and more rumblings about what is going on.

You see, there are a lot of people who can no longer figure out what the difference will be between having Obamacare and not having it. There are a number of assumptions already ingrained into people's heads about what they expect. The demonizing of the ACA will run into a problem when the law is gone, because the good parts will now be absent.

And the Republicans are somewhat fearful of this. They plan to repeal the law and then keep everything in place for a period of time - maybe 2 to 4 years (which will give them enough time to prepare a soothing message for new elections). But, as yet, the GOP is not even close to a consensus as to what to actually do about replacement.

This is such blatant hypocrisy that my blood boils. The Republicans refused to cooperate on anything involving health care. They only look for details they could criticize and without offering any kind of solution.

Well, the CBO reports will be interesting to watch. There will be a distinct difference to what the Republicans say will happen with there changes and what the data reveals as reality via the CBO analysts.
comments (0) permalink

MN Electoral College Ceremony - I Was Embarrassed

Category: Donald Trump
Posted: 12/19/16 17:02, Edited: 12/19/16 17:04

by Dave Mindeman

I was at the Minnesota's Electoral College ceremony in St. Paul today (my wife was an alternate elector for the 2nd Congressional District) and frankly, as a Democrat, I was embarrassed.

Minnesota voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016. She earned Minnesota's 10 electoral votes. It is bad enough that we will have to endure Donald Trump over the next four years, but the Minnesota ceremony was certainly not the time and place to protest that election.

First of all, we had several protesters in the room who interrupted the ceremony repeatedly with calls for the electors to refuse to vote. It was kind of strange as they were making calls to delay the vote for an intelligence briefing or to just not vote at all in protest of the election.

Trump lost Minnesota. He was not a part of this ceremony at all. There were very few people in the room who even supported him. Yet, the protestors decided to disrupt the proceedings anyway. They wished to deny Clinton the 10 votes she would receive from this ceremony.

Stopping those 10 Clinton votes would change nothing. Trump would still get his 270 needed to win. He would still get to be President. And all that would be accomplished here would be a further embarrassment to Hillary Clinton and the DFL Party.

No thanks.

And we also had a second, even worse, embarrassment. The 5th District elector, Muhammad Abdurrahman, decided to cast a ballot with names other than Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine (He says he voted for Bernie Sanders and for Tulsi Gabbard).

Apparently his goal was to seek publicity in this regard because it accomplished absolutely nothing else. It did not protest the Trump election. It did not benefit the Democratic Party. All it did was get him a number of press interviews and the title of Faithless Elector.

According to Minnesota Law his ballot had to be thrown out and he, himself, had to be removed as an elector and replaced with his alternate. She fulfilled her duty and cast the vote correctly.

In my personal opinion, Muhammad Abdurrahman should never be allowed to hold any office in the DFL Party ever again. But that is just me. I am sure that others with more say will disagree.

But it was embarrassing and wrong.

I don't like the electoral college. My wife (an alternate elector) and I both feel that it should be done away with. But I doubt that will happen. Small states feel that it gives them a voice. Fine. So be it.

But for all the talk about denying Donald Trump his 270 in the electoral college, the only "faithless electors" so far have been Democrats. The protests are supposedly about Trump as the incoming President, but it is the Democratic ceremonies that are disrupted. People are upset that the popular vote was rendered meaningless by the electoral college, but it is the Democratic Party that gets all the embarrassment and negative press.

Trump will probably have a larger margin in the electoral college than he deserves. He will still get to be President. He will still take over the reigns of power.

And what does the Democratic Party get? Disruption, embarrassment, and a public display of weakness and futility.

Yes, I was embarrassed by these events. Misdirected protests are not productive. Publicity stunts only benefit the person that does them.

The Democratic Party needs to take a harder look at its future because only more embarrassment appears on the horizon.
comments (0) permalink

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