Every state has at least one organization, often calling itself a think tank, that is funded by large corporations to advance their narrow interests, often at the expense of local businesses and the larger public.
Many call these "coin operated" think tanks because they take whatever positions their funders want them to take. Or, a more charitable explanation is that some massive corporations are simply channeling money to those few people who honestly believe that we would all be better off if BP or Comcast or Goldman Sachs had no regulations to worry about.
In Minnesota, one of these is called the "Freedom Foundation" of Minnesota. I tend to ignore them for a variety of reasons.
- There just isn't enough time.
- They are really, really ignorant. Their papers and posts are so filled with errors in basic fact, it would take a LOT of time to correct them - which brings me back to point 1. (Nonetheless, they are influential because the lobbyists of the companies that fund them distribute their propaganda throughout the capitol that they appear to actually live in.)
- Mentioning them can legitimize them.
So here I am, mentioning this group because I just noted a curious example of their utter lack of integrity.
For a few years, the "Freedom Foundation" has worked on telecommunications issues, mostly writing nasty, slanted articles twisting the words of public officials to discredit projects. Given the problems faced by Monticello (as we have covered), they have had a field day there - even tracking down a bondholder that is losing part of his investment.
The fallout from Monticello FiberNet will cost bondholders something like $19 million or about 65 percent of their investment. And the City will likely spend millions in public dollars on the network when it was originally to be paid for entirely by the revenue bonds. This is certainly disappointing. But in Monticello, FiberNet is not the only difficulty - Monticello happens to host one of Xcel Energy's nuclear power plants.
Cost overruns there are taking a $320 million project and turning it into a $640 million project, which will be paid for by ratepayers across Minnesota, including myself.
Yikes, right? I mean if the "Freedom Foundation" is incensed at how unjust it is for... Read more