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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

MN Legislative GOP Trying To Kill Off Transit

Category: GOP House Republicans
Posted: 03/22/17 09:12, Edited: 03/22/17 09:12

by Dave Mindeman

The Minnesota Legislative Republicans seem to be all in on the Metro - Greater MN divide. They have fired a mortar shell into the heart of our transit system by sending a letter to the current administration to withdraw the Federal funds pending for Southwest Light Rail.

Daudt's fear of trains raises its ugly head again.

Funny, this doesn't have anything to do with the State budget. It doesn't save any state money - we are already invested. All this does is kill a project that has taken years to set up.

I guess it doesn't matter that former Republican minority leader David Hann lost his job over opposition to SWLRT. It doesn't matter that the metro area is essentially paying for the project. It doesn't matter that at some point in the future we are going to have revisit all of this (if the project is cancelled).

None of that seems to matter because Minnesota Republicans hate trains.

This action, if successful, will hurt the Minnesota economy. Not only will it kill the construction jobs that go along with a project of this magnitude, but it will kill the development that has been lining up along the corridor. It will stop the ability of workers from other areas to help fill needed jobs for business. It will continue the traffic congestion that road construction cannot keep up with.

Minnesota Republicans are lousy stewards of state progress - and it is time we face the fact that they need to be thrown out of state government.

If Daudt thinks he can run for governor on pissing off the central population center of the state, then he is more than welcome to try.

I, for one, am tired of these constant costly battles and delays. SWLRT has been a costly project, but if it dies now and we waste our investments, only to have to come back and try again at twice the cost, then it is on the Minnesota GOP.

Daudt is bad at his job. He would be worse at being governor.
comments (1) permalink

A Supreme Court That Will Be Under A Cloud

Category: GOP Politics
Posted: 03/21/17 23:00

by Dave Mindeman

Judge Gorsuch will probably get confirmed. I'm not naive enough to think otherwise.

But one thing I do know...Gorsuch will forever have an asterisk by his name. Whenever he makes a decision that swings the court, there will be this lingering question - what if he hadn't stolen that seat?

In addition, we have this cloud that will hang over this. We have an illegitimate President nominating a judge to an illegitimate seat. It is always going to be that way. It will linger in the air. It will cause an eternity of speculation. It will taint his participation forever.

Judge Gorsuch is not a bad person. He is certainly a qualified judge. But he will never belong on the Supreme Court. Never. We will never be able to look past what the Republican Senate did to Merrick Garland. Never. Mitch McConnell, the traditionalist...the defender of Senate protocol...broke all the rules...all of them, to allow a Republican President to appoint a nominee for a seat that should have already been filled.

There is no defense of that. There is no justification for it. It is wrong and it will always be wrong.

That, most certainly, is not the fault of Neal Gorsuch. It does not reflect on his ability or his character. It is not about him.

It is all about the fairness of this particular situation. All about this particular moment in history. And the Republicans in the Senate failed that fairness test miserably. And they have forever established a cloud over any Supreme Court decision that includes Neil Gorsuch.

That is the crux of the matter and that is why Democrats should vote no on his confirmation. Not as a reflection on Gorsuch personally - but as a reflection on justice itself.
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Fix Immigration

Category: Immigration
Posted: 03/19/17 15:35

by Dave Mindeman

We are getting immigration all wrong. Completely wrong. And unfortunately, with this administration there is little chance to get it right.

There are some key points to consider....

1) Undocumented immigrants have American citizens in their family.

Many came here during hard economic times and established their family in America. One Texas family has the mother and father undocumented, while they have 4 children born here in America. You can argue about whether that was right or wrong - but the Constitution stands behind those children. And to break up that family because we don't have the political will to fix immigration is the bigger wrong.

2) Most immigrants who came illegally are paying their own way.

This argument that undocumenteds are "draining" the system is simply untrue. In fact, many of them have established businesses that are hiring other Americans and giving them a living. There is an example in a small Illinois town where a Mexican restaurant in town has become a popular business. Everyone in town calls the owners friends. They are neighbors. Now, it has been discovered that they entered the US illegally. Again, they have American born children. And even though the town voted Republican, they want to find a way to help them stay. There are many more like this couple. They pay taxes. They contribute to the economy. They pay Social Security that they can never collect. How is this right?

3) They are not taking away American jobs.

As stated above, undocumented immigrants are creating jobs. They work extra hard... establishing businesses, and some take several menial labor jobs at a time, knowing they do not have the safety net that comes from American citizenship. Our labor force is changing. And right now, business is finding that they have a labor shortage. The college level degrees are not matching up well with what business needs. Businesses often go overseas to get the technical trained people they need. And that creates its own set of immigration problems.

4) It is an economically driven cycle.

Over the last few years...and now, the net migration from Mexico (which seems to be Trump's focus) is zero. In fact, more Americans are moving to Mexico than the other way around. But when Mexico's economy takes a downturn, the vibrancy of our economy is an attraction. People still look to the US as a land of opportunity. They come here for jobs, to escape oppression, or to reunite with family. These are not sinister goals. If you are looking to fight terrorism, you are looking at the wrong place. Terrorists will find more covert ways to enter this country. Taking a chance at the southern border is just not one of them. And we should be happy that America is such an attractive place to build a new life. Immigrants built this country. Immigrants brought innovation and new ideas. Immigrants have empathy with the plight of others and strive for that better world. The ebb and flow of economics will always affect immigration cycles. We need to prepare and address that rather than use the baton of law enforcement in a heavy handed way.

5) Undocumented immigrants are not a danger.

Donald Trump has distorted the description of undocumenteds as if they are a burden of crime. This is not even remotely true. Sure you have some that commit violent crimes. But statistically, that part of the population commits less than the rest of us. It is a categorical fact. We all know by now, that Donald Trump makes up his own statistics - so he would never agree. But for the rest of us, we can know this. We cannot take isolated horrible anecdotal incidents and extrapolate that as a common thing across an entire class of people. That is the type of thing done by repressive regimes all around the world. And it is the type of tactic that many of these immigrants have fled from within their original country.

******************************************************

Here is the bottom line. Our immigration system is the problem...along with a dysfunctional Congress. We need to examine this without fearmongering and discriminatory attitudes. We have come close in the past to legislating a solution. We still can, but with Donald Trump as President, it will be very difficult.

The truth is we need more immigrants. We need more innovation. New ideas. Dedicated workers. Business needs them. Our economy needs them. We are moving into a new technological economy that is needing unique skills and new education standards. And a workforce willing to change and innovate.

We need new language skills. More science skills. More computer technology skills. More out of the box thinking. And yes, a desire to dream.

Americans can do this - but we need more diversity to make it move into the future. And we need a complete overhaul of how we do immigration.

There is a framework. It is in the Senate...but even that is now outdated and needs more critical thinking.

This culture of hate is holding us back. We are going to fall behind other established democracies....or, potentially, we are going to drag them down with us and allow China and Russia to surpass us.

We are better than this. WE ARE MUCH BETTER THAN THIS.

Fix immigration. Then move forward to a better future.
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