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meals on wheels

trump14Something directly stating or at least very strongly implying that the Trump budget proposal, if passed, would end the Meals on Wheels program for seniors was a common sight on the Internet, yesterday. Per Snopes and others, that’s not accurate. Only a small amount of the program’s funding, it varies from place to place but apparently always less than 5%, comes from the Community Development Block Grant program that the Trump budget would eliminate. With need rising, this is certainly not the time to be considering any cuts from any source; quite the contrary. But most of the extraordinarily righteous work that Meals on Wheels does is not at immediate risk.
 

This brings us to the wide and fuzzy line between political hyperbole and outright falsehood. I suppose that headlines like “Trump would end funding for Meals on Wheels” or “Trump wants to starve seniors,” are on that line, at best. (Those aren’t real-world examples, just generalizations of what I’ve seen. They‘re not outright false. Federal funding for Meals on Wheels from CDBG would end, and the sociopathic Trump doesn‘t care if people are malnourished, except insofar as it might hurt him politically.) But the Trump proposal is, on the whole, indeed a savage assault, especially on the vulnerable.
 

Given the critical need to stop Pr*sident Trump and his vile minions, this is not the time to get hung up on prim niceties when making important points. I generally try to be a little more careful in my own blogging. But that doesn’t mean that that’s always the way to go. I don’t see a need to leave useful attention-drawing tactics aside, given what’s at stake. The other side certainly doesn’t. Quite the contrary.
 
Here’s a pretty detailed, yet relatively concise, article from the Washington Post that lays out what’s really in the thing.
 
Comments below fold.
 
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This one surprises me; David Hann is NOT known for throwing bombs/calling names.  He is known for being a conservative extremist, and highly fundamentalist when it comes to religion – which is not a surprise; Hann served in the Chaplain Corp in the Army back in the day’s of ‘Nam.

And apparently, his theological pedigree trumps the local Catholic Archbishop’s:  

Now, let’s take a look at an opinion on Hann’s opinion in the National Catholic Reporter:

A “socialist” Archbishop?
by Michael Sean Winters

In Minnesota, like many states, the Catholic Church has asked state governments not to balance their budgets on the backs of the poor. The scriptural source for this stance is, well the whole message of the Gospels speaks of compassion for the poor, but most specifically, the 25th Chapter of teh Gospel of St. Matthew: Whatever you do for these the least of your brethren, you do for me.”

But, David Hann, a Republican State Senator who is the assistant majority leader of the Minnesota State Senate has discerned a socialist agenda at work in the Church’s position. In a letter to Archbishop John Nienstedt of St. Paul, Hann accused the archbishop of endorsing a “socialist fiction.”

I am guessing that Archbishop Nienstedt does not, in fact, have a well-thumbed copy of Das Kapital on his bookshelves.

Just when you think you’ve seen crazy, you discover something even crazier.

I don’t know how “crazy” calling a Catholic Archbishop a “socialist” is, but I do know that it’s typical for an elected Republican to call people that disagree with them socialists and communists and worse.

For instance, GOP CD-04 Deputy Chair Nathan Hansen called Army LTC Joe Repya a commie – and was rewarded by GOP Party Leadership.

No surprise there; GOP Party Chair Tony Sutton called 13 distinguished and long-time republicans “quislings” – and said there’s “a special place in hell” for them.

And just last Thursday, GOP State Senator Hackbarth compared unions with communists, Hitler and Castro.

There’s more – plenty of it – and here’s the point:  there’s a pattern here, and GOP Senate Assistant Majority Leader Hann is playing along.  “Disagree with us – party leaders –  and you’re obviously liberal/leftist/socialist/pinko/commie/(fill in the blank).”

Hey, that’s what the local GOP leadership did last election, to Eden Prairie Nancy Lukens – label her as a “big spending liberal” when nothing could be farther from the truth.

Just to be clear, Senator Hann isn’t big on government spending on social issues; just this spring, he introduced legislation to slash spending for Meals On Wheels.  Senator Hann only withdrew that legislation because he HAD to; NOT because he wanted to.

So I’m going to go out on a limb here, and suggest that if – IF – Senator Hann apologizes to the Archbishop, that to will be because he HAS to; NOT because he wants to.

Because Senator Hann’s record clearly indicates his theology trumps everyone else’s.  Even the Archbishop’s.

 

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The 2011 legislative session was supposed to be strictly about the budget.  Republicans did nearly anything but work on the budget.  As the last day of the session ground to a halt and GOP legislators sat idly by, I reflected upon what they tried to pass this session instead of the budget.

Obviously, the marriage discrimination constitutional amendment comes to mind.  So does the Voter ID constitutional amendment as well as the new stadium for billionaire Vikings owner Zygi Wilf.

But that barely scratches the surface and much of it was totally insane:

  1. Repeal the smoking ban
  2. Eliminate background checks for gun purchases
  3. Designate English as the official language
  4. Bike tax
  5. remove the ban on increasing carbon dioxide emissions by utilities
  6. Ban state funding of abortions
  7. Eliminate 8 state agencies including Depts of Employment & Econ Dev, Health, Human Rights, Labor & Industry, Revenue, MNDOT, Vet Affairs and the Office of Mgmt & Budget
  8. Further weaken a woman’s right to choose with yet another abortion bill
  9. Repeal the Next Generation Energy Act which was signed by Pawlenty
  10. Prevent welfare recipients from having more than $20 cash in their pockets
  11. Prohibit anyone from suing a company if you get fat from their food
  12. Drug testing for welfare recipients
  13. Racist immigration laws
  14. End pay equity for women
  15. A second bill to end pay equity for women
  16. Bail-outs for schools in Republican areas as well as small budget increases yet they dramatically slash budgets for the large cities
  17. Yet another abortion bill, require parental consent for teens to get healthcare
  18. Logging in our state parks
  19. Ban federal funding of family planning
  20. Eliminate Meals on Wheels
  21. Ban human cloning and end life-saving and job creating research in MN
  22. An amendment to Health & Human Services bill to exempt MN from health care reform
  23. Prevent animal welfare activists from filming animal cruelty at factory farms
  24. Ban state payments to nonprofits
  25. Amendment to the HHS bill to use baby monitors instead of nurses
  26. Another abortion bill, this one a gag rule which prevents any organization that receive state funds to council about abortion services
  27. Shoot first, show Get-Out-Of-Jail-Free card later bill
  28. MN should print its own money
  29. Make it easier to violate licensing laws

Did I miss anything?

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DFL Party Chair Ken Martin held a press conference to explain the effects of the Republican’s draconian all-cuts budget.  Rep. Thomas Huntley (DFL-Duluth), Patrick Rown (Exec Dir of Metro Meals on Wheels) and members of the DFL Senior Caucus joined Martin.

“Today, the full Senate is set to vote on the [Omnibus spending] bill, and we’re here to talk about the real consequences of what these cuts would mean for Minnesotans,” Martin said. “They’re alarming.”

“As it stands the bill would cut $2.68 million from senior nutrition program grants,” Martin continued. “That’s a 50% reduction in state funds.  Here’s the numbers breakdown on the GOP’s draconian cuts:  57,000 seniors benefit from meals served in group dining facilities.  14,000 people benefit from the meals on wheels programs.  With the budget cuts in this bill, the Republican Party wants to take meals away from 3,700 of those meals-on-wheels seniors each year.

“In other words: the Republican cuts would literally take the food out of the mouths of seniors in need.”

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Back in 2007, the Republican-controlled Eden Prairie City Council (led by the disgraced former Mayor, Phil Young) wanted to slash City funding to Meals On Wheels (along with other Social Services) – not because there was a budget crisis, but because (to GOPers) funding of Social Services isn’t a “core mission” of government.  The “I got mine, Jack” GOPers lost that fight in Eden Prairie – but as usual, they continue the war on the middle class and those in need.  The GOP – as a party – is doing everything it possibly can to protect their Boardroom Base at the expense of everyone else.  Today, they bring their battle to the state level, and are using GOPer State Senator David Hann to lead the charge.

As noted yesterday on MnProgressiveProject – “David Hann wants to cut Gramma’s Meals On Wheels so millionaires get off easy” – Senator Hann has introduced a bill in the state legislature that not only would slash state spending on Meals On Wheels, the cuts are so severe Minnesota would lose matching Federal funding.  Coverage of Hann’s draconian bill is receiving statewide attention.  From WinonaRadio.com:

A minor spending cut in a sprawling Senate health and welfare bill threatens home-delivered meals for thousands of poor senior citizens and could result in lost federal dollars.

The proposal from Republican Sen. David Hann of Eden Prairie would cut $2.68 million from senior nutrition program grants, costing Minnesota another $1.9 million in federal funds.  The grants help feed 70,000 seniors through Meals on Wheels programs and group dining in large senior housing facilities.

From the Marshall Independent newspaper:

Are wheels about to come off Meals on Wheels?
GOP bill would cut projected state spending on senior nutrition program grants in half

March 30, 2011 – By Per Peterson

MARSHALL – Monica Douglas, senior nutrition program director for Lutheran Social Services of Minnesota, sums up the prospect of a cut to home-delivered meals in Minnesota with two words: sad and devastating.

The health and welfare bill designed to cut state spending by $1.6 billion over two years is expected to get a vote in the Senate this week as GOP majorities work to pass a plan to erase the $5 billion deficit. The St. Paul Pioneer Press reported Tuesday the bill would cut in half projected state spending on senior nutrition program grants to save $2.68 million.

Douglas said it would be a devastating blow to seniors across Minnesota.

“It affects a lot of people,” she said. “If they ended up cutting 50 percent of our state funding we would lose $232,731 and we would have to cut 35,805 meals out of our budget in more than just one location like Marshall.”

“Sad and devastating” indeed.

And not surprising; Eden Prairie Republican Leadership has wanted to whack Meals On Wheels for years.  David Hann is simply their current waterboy. They are cold-hearted conservatives; David Hann is simply delivering the hit.

And Hann is making a name for himself across the state.  For instance, consider the following Letter To The Editor in the Albert Lea Tribune:

Family metaphor just doesn’t fly
Published 9:24am Monday, March 28, 2011

I am sick and tired of Republicans such as Legislator David Hann of Eden Prairie (Eden Prairie!) claiming that the proposed cuts to Health and Human Services is what any family would do when adjusting their budgets.

Really? Not the families I know.

The families I know would not have Dad go on his annual trip to the Bahamas while his son, little Johnny, is told he will have to do without lunch for a year. Or if Johnny has an ear infection or is suffering from a fall, are we then to believe that the family decides no doctor care for Johnny? (more, here)

That letter starkly represents what today’s Republican Party’s Leadership is all about; why GOP today stands for Greed Over Principles: it’s because the GOP is asking for sacrifices from everybody but their Boardroom Base.

GOP Leaders – such as David Hann – believe in protecting the Boardroom at the expense of everyone else.

Especially little old Grannies, depending on one simple nutritious meal once a day.

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Minnesota Republicans are proposing to cut the Meals on Wheels program as a way to balance the budget.  In contrast, they refuse to raise taxes on the wealthiest 5% of Minnesotans so that they pay the same percent the rest of us do.  The wealthy make no sacrifices to fix our state deficit and Gramma loses her Meals on Wheels.

“We’re looking to reduce state spending in the largest area of state spending, which is growing out of control,” said state Sen. David Hann (R-Eden Prairie) Chair of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee and one of the bill’s lead sponsors. “None of these are going to be easy.”

Let’s be clear.  The Republican budget will go easy on the millionaires.

How short-sighted, cruel and stupid is Hann’s proposal?

“At a time when we’re working to prepare for a doubling of the senior population in the next 20 years, this is the wrong direction to be going,” said Patrick Rowan, executive director of Metro Meals on Wheels, an association that represents the numerous nonprofits that deliver hot meals to Twin Cities seniors.

A proposed $2.68 million cut to “senior nutrition program grants” over the next two years – a halving of state spending from projected levels – would result in an additional $1.9 million in federal funds being withheld, creating a 25 percent cut in overall funding, according to Jean Wood, director of the Aging and Adult Services Division for the Minnesota Department of Human Services, which administers the program. If state funding falls below certain levels, the federal government reduces the amount it pays to states in accordance with the federal Older Americans Act, which was first passed in 1965 and governs many social services for older Americans.

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