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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

Sen. Al Franken: Just Getting The Job Done

Category: Al Franken
Posted: 04/25/15 09:47

by Dave Mindeman

I went to MinnRoast last night - and if you have never gone to this annual event, get there next time - it is a great evening of fun....but like I say, I went to MinnRoast and got to hear from a lot of Minnesota Democrats plus a little Tom Emmer.

Al Franken was the finale speaker and I expected to hear some much deserved chest thumping about the announcement yesterday that Comcast was cancelling its proposed merger with Time Warner.

But in his usual self-deprecating way, Franken just gave a one sentence mention without talking much about the major role he played in stopping this potential corporate dagger in the heart of consumerism.

Franken was a lonely voice of caution when Comcast made its announcement. Wall Street was happy, the Fed regulators were asleep, and Congress was keeping busy with their usual list of partisan issues. But Al said, 'wait a minute' - is this really a good deal for the American people?

It wasn't. And Al embarked on a one Senator campaign to raise enough questions about the deal that eventually educated enough people and garnered enough attention that Comcast felt it had to withdraw its bid.

If this deal had gone through, the influence of the company would have been enormous....

Combined Comcast and Time Warner Cable would have given control of more than 50% of the home broadband market -- and dominance in 19 of the 20 largest media markets, says Todd O'Boyle, program director at Common Cause, a government watchdog group. "That is anti-competitive by anybody's definition," he said.

Once regulators finally took a hard look at the deal, the questions got louder....and the debate on net neutrality, (for which Franken also led the charge) gave more scrutiny to this mega-merger.

Franken's early involvement in questioning the merger was not one of those 'red meat' liberal issues, but it is one of those things that affects just about everybody in their daily lives.

Al Franken has become an extraordinary Senator...and extremely funny.

You'll have to hear the story about Al and Amy's Delta flight some day - especially when told by Al Franken.

In the meantime, let's thank Al Franken for doing a great job representing all of us.
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Elect McFadden & Westrom? You Lose Your Health Care

Category: Al Franken
Posted: 10/23/14 01:54, Edited: 10/23/14 06:47

by Dave Mindeman

So Mike McFadden's health care ideas don't hold up.

Huh - there's a shocker.

In advocating for a replacement for the federal health care law, McFadden opposes a national solution. He would leave most of the decisions up to states, including whether to require people to buy health insurance.

But McFadden would force states to keep some of the most popular benefits of the heath care law. Their plans would be prohibited from placing lifetime caps on insurance payouts and they would have to allow parents to keep adult children on their insurance up to age 26.

Republicans are caught in their own fiscal trap. They don't PAY FOR IT. Sure these aspects of Obamacare are universally appealing; the public has asked for them for years. But that is why Obamacare has to be taken as a whole - not some of its parts. Obamacare needed an intricate mechanism of fiscal balance to find a way to PAY FOR THESE BENEFITS.

You know, being fiscally responsible. Remember GOP? Remember that?

And it's not just McFadden. Torrey Westrom in the 7th District uttered the same nonsense on At Issue with Tom Hauser. He wanted to keep the "good" parts but repeal the rest.

Absolute foolishness.

Same goes for Mitch McConnell. He's stuck with a promise to repeal Obamacare, while the Kentucky Obamacare exchange KYNECT is wildly popular. He even put forward the crazy idea of repealing Obamacare but letting Kentucky keep its exchange.

You would think the Minority Leader of the US Senate would at least know that without Obamacare, Kentucky can't keep kids on their parents insurance up to 26, that pre-existing conditions would still disqualify people from insurance, that lifetime caps won't go away, and that Medicaid expansion has no monetary support.

The Federal dollars go away and Kentucky has to pay for it - all by themselves - which, as McConnell full well knows, is impossible.

Republicans are simply lying about health care. There is no other way to characterize it. They have to know that Obamacare is never going away, so they believe that, at least for now, they can say any tin foil hat thing they want and no one will ever remember it once the election is over.

Experts .... say much of what McFadden proposes has been tried before and left millions of Americans without health insurance.

There it is my friends - elect the Republicans that espouse this fantasy and you lose your healthcare.

It's that simple.
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How Can "Businessman" McFadden Call That A Contract?

Category: Al Franken
Posted: 10/08/14 19:52

by Dave Mindeman

As I think most people are aware, the real essence of a contract is the details, the fine print, the fulfillment clauses.

Mike McFadden is apparently giving Minnesota a contract with none of the above.

Excuse me, Mr. McFadden, as a business man you should be aware that none of us are going to sign that contract without seeing the fine print.

So, here are some questions:

If you are visiting all 87 counties every year, does that mean you will meet with at least one constituent in every county? or just do a drive by.

Will your quarterly town meetings mean EACH actual quarter, or maybe 1 four day open to the public office presence?

Sure, you can post your vote and reasoning, but how about we get to forward OUR reasoning BEFORE you vote.

If you promise not to seek re-election if you vote with your party 97% of the time, how about you tell us which "unbiased" group determines that. And do cloture votes count as part of this voting process?

And as for your "action" bills.....

--Balanced Budget Amendment? So 90's...
--No Budget - No Pay? Your Senate salary is chump change for you anyway and GOP uses budget as a tool for ideology. Why don't you address that instead?
--Legislation for Keystone and other pipelines? If this is a binding contract, I think you better tell us what "other" projects you mean. And as long as we are putting this in writing, will you guarantee American steel?
--A repeal of the Medical Device Tax? A contract requires that you tell us what your revenue offset will be.
--Legislation to streamline our regulatory process? Does that mean bank regulation as well? Remember what happened with lax rules on that.

And about those additional pledges...

I am uncomfortable with redirecting public school money into charters. Why not fully fund them all? Details, McFadden, details.

On health care. Contracts need details on this. You can't take away health care from people without telling us what the alternative is. That is NOT a contract worth signing. Details, McFadden, details.

Energy plans for energy independence. So unlimited fracking? Tar sands oil? No exports? Details, McFadden, details.

Simplify tax code? For whom? Will you simplify it for corporations and actually make them PAY taxes? Details, McFadden, details.

If you may think that your signature on that piece of junk constitutes a contract, you aren't much of a businessman after all.

Minnesota won't be signing that contract.... not a chance.
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