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Franken: Republicans “Might as Well Be Tearing Stars Off Our Flag” [VIDEO]

Franken: Republicans “Might as Well Be Tearing Stars Off Our Flag” [VIDEO]

As a local writer, as well as a constituent, I’m lucky enough to usually get a few minutes with Minnesota Senator Al Franken whenever he is in town.  Yesterday, he and I had a chance to discuss a wide range of topics ranging from the great Hotdish showdown the Minnesota congressional delegation held earlier this year (which he was grateful he did not win, as he was afraid it would look bad since he was hosting it), or his recent bipartisan effort with Sen. Olympia Snowe to ensure that emergency contraception is available on all military bases for victims of sexual assault, especially for bases located in countries where an abortion would be difficult if not all together impossible for a woman to obtain.

But it’s the Republican mission to gut the social safety net that has become the biggest concern of both the Senator and those of us who cover progressive politics.  For a large majority of Republicans who claim to be of the Christian, and even evangelical faith, making ending aid to the poor a priority is a puzzling move to Senator Franken.  “I don’t understand it,” said Franken.  “Especially with people who call themselves evangelicals. As a Jew, what I do know of the New Testament is Jesus saying ‘What you do for the least among you, you do for me.’  How do you get from there to here?  Do they think that Jesus was right until Adam Smith and Wealth of Nations, then Jesus doesn’t apply anymore?”

Still, Franken was willing to give Republicans the benefit of the doubt that they just couldn’t see the disconnect between their ideas of getting government out of assisting the poor and the numerous ways that the government has always provided for them.  He told me a story of the days following the 2010 election, where he called every new officeholder, regardless of party, and congratulated him or her on the win.  One new colleague, who was adamant that government should never be involved in assisting the poor, bemoaned the lack of reliance on charity to assist the poor instead.  “After all, my mother used to volunteer for ‘Meals on Wheels,’”

“Ok, now, that’s a federal program,” Franken told him.

“It is?”

“Yeah, it was part of the Johnson Administration, the Older Americans Act.  It was a way to save costs by helping keep the elderly in their houses rather than nursing homes which are much more expensive.  Your mom was a part of a Great Society Federal program,” Franken laughed, remembering the conversation.

But it was a much more passionate, fired up senator who spoke in the opening keynote of Saturday morning’s Netroots Nation conference.  This senator decried the GOP plan to rip apart the social safety net, and to ignore the millions of Americans suffering and asking for help.  “Republicans are talking about changing our country so radically they might as well be tearing stars off our flag.”

Watch Senator Franken’s powerful speech below.

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Cindy Samuels

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4:00PM PDT on Aug 11, 2011

I LOVE Al Franken. When he was running for office, and I was listening to his speeches, I was mightily impressed that he understood what is important in a legislator's role. Repubs made fun of him because he was a comedian, yet laud Reagan who was an (bad) actor. Franken is intelligent, bones up on the issues, and in the end, will be seen as a statesman, not a politician. The peoples' interests are his interests -- he knows what government is for: the peoples' conduit to their common welfare.

8:55PM PDT on Jun 27, 2011

Well Gene, Looks like Franken has some splainin to do

2:33PM PDT on Jun 26, 2011

Gene W., I can see Meals on Wheels is a 501(c)(3) charity but where did you get the other figures? MOWA hasn't returned my email for this information request. Do you have a link to these figures?

4:44AM PDT on Jun 24, 2011

Robin, why don't you vet your stories before you put them on Care2? Big Al is wrong, Meals on Wheels is a 501(c)(3) charity and only receives about 10% from Federal grants (2009) The majority of what they receive is from donations. Out of their budget of $4.8M they received $485,000 from the Fed.
He owes and apology to MOWA and to the Senator that he told this tale.

6:01PM PDT on Jun 23, 2011

Right on, Big Al. Just don't give them any ideas though. They tried it in 1861.

2:23PM PDT on Jun 23, 2011

What do you think BHO is doing to it?

Original Message:

Teresa left a comment on the following article:

Franken: Republicans "Might as Well Be Tearing Stars Off Our Flag" [VIDEO]
And yes, Nixon was a crook in spite of what he claimed. He urinated on the US Constitution as did Bush.

2:21PM PDT on Jun 23, 2011

Could not be hijacked by the SCOTUS. Someone has to petition the SCOTUS for a ruling.

Some unbiased info on the subject.

Original Message:

Teresa left a comment on the following article:

Franken: Republicans "Might as Well Be Tearing Stars Off Our Flag" [VIDEO]
The recount in the capitol was hi-jacked by the us Supreme Court that chose Bush with a 5 to 4 vote. The recount in the capitol didn't happen.

1:44PM PDT on Jun 23, 2011

We're all in big trouble. It's going to take a miracle or another enormous disaster for us to get our act together.

11:05AM PDT on Jun 23, 2011

Ya, it got posted 3 but not by me, obviously you've never seen this glitch happen here. I am sure you have, just another poor excuse to take a shot at if someone corrected your spelling... but that would be "rediculous" now wouldn't it Don?

2:29AM PDT on Jun 23, 2011

@ Patrick F,
Pretty rediculous comments for you to have to be making a triple post of it. Almost three years in office is NOT overnight. If Obama had a workable plan to fix our countries financial and economic woes, and he really wanted to, he could have done it during his first two years in office when he had a SUPER majority in Congress. Obama could have pushed through any legislation he wanted to that could have realistically helped the nation, ... yet he didn't, The economy and loss of jobs has continued to worsen at an even faster rate after he took office. His claim to have created over 2.5 million new private sector jobs is a blatant lie. About the only jobs he's managed to create, are gorernment jobs. Adding more jobs to an already highly bloated government work force does nothing to help our countries economy. It just creates a bigger drain of our tax dollars.

Didn't Obama claim he was going to cure all of our countries problems and guaranty that under his leadership, unemployment would never go higher than 8%? Well, his record for solving our countries problems is obismal, and under his leadership, unemployment has soared as high as 10%+ (at least that's as high as his administration has admitted it to be)-(in reality, unemployment is more like 16-18% now), and it continues to be over 9.1% even now. Guess his guarantee should have been that the rate of unemployment wouldn't DROP below 8% instead.

And NO, ... I don't expect Obama to pull rabbits ou

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Remarkable stuff in the blog I love the topic as well thanks.

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