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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

Immigrants Just Looking For a Chance

Category: US Politics
Posted: 04/10/06 13:15, Edited: 04/10/06 13:16

by Dave Mindeman

The State Capitol had a stunning display of what the immigration issue means to so many in Minnesota. Most of the debate in Washington looks at border security as if our entire National Security hinges on closing borders, especially with Mexico. But not one of the 19 hijackers that perpetrated the September 11th travesty came through Mexico. Not one of them had to scrape out a living working in the fields and the kitchens of this country.

The immigrants that risk life and limb to get into this country aren't looking for hand outs; they just want a chance. A chance that has been America's gift to the world - an opportunity to make your own destiny for yourself and your children.

Some of us who are born here and take these advantages for granted seem to think that no one else deserves that chance. But just because the previous generations of our families took the risks to make sure we wouldn't have to, is no reason to forget that the cycle of opportunity still calls out to those who need hope.

The US House majority doesn't want to "reward" illegal behavior. But have they forgotten the price these people have already paid? Many paid with a lonely death in the desert. Others have worked long hours in back breaking jobs for wages that they have no control over because their employers can simply turn them in. Many have had to live lives of constant hiding -- leaving homes and family behind to live in the shadows of America.

The idea of deporting this many people is ludicrous. We have never confronted this problem as a national security issue before. And America's corporations have been as much to blame as the people who cross... after all, they need these positions to be filled and they have exploited these people to work for substandard wages. Without those jobs, they could not stay -- corporate America is just as culpable.

So fix the borders and give amnesty to those already here. It is pointless to punish them. Give them a real chance to add to this nation's productivity. Give them a clear path to citizenship and open up the immigration quotas so that more who wish to come can. And finally but most importantly, help Mexico fix its broken economy. If American corporations are going to make investments in Mexico, then let it be with livable wages. It is time to take a hard look at the cost of globalization. Fixing borders can't fix the cycle of poverty and despair that corporate exploitation promotes.

We are a nation of immigrants. We will always be a nation of immigrants. We should never have a border that says, "hard working people seeking a chance need not apply".
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Declassification Power: Legal, Yes, but Ethical?

Category: US Politics
Posted: 04/09/06 14:06, Edited: 04/09/06 14:08

by Dave Mindeman

Classic case of declassification. That's what our Commander in Chief has been trying to confuse the press with this time. And I am not going to get into an argument about legalities. The President can declassify material..period. No argument here. The problem lies in the surrounding circumstances.

If President Bush meant to declassify this information, then why not use a standard press release? Why did he choose to utilize a secret process through a selected reporter outlet that required a grand jury to make public?

The answer lies in the intention. This was political pay back pure and simple. Ambassador Wilson's assertions had to be refuted in order for the administration to continue making its case. But releasing the entire National Intelligence Estimate would have brought in more debate than the President wanted. So, it was necessary to release (or leak) selected parts that would counter Wilson and keep the bulk of the document classified and unavailable.

What makes all of this suspect is the orchestration of hiding how this information got out and the purported internal investigation that would "root" out the sources. We still don't know the full story on the Valerie Plame outing, but it doesn't take a genius to see a connection here.

For a President to use his declassification power purely to attempt to discredit a critic is an astounding abuse of power. The President may be legally correct, but the ethics of the matter are deeply questionable.

Again, this was the President who was going to restore honor and dignity to the White House. Yet here we are, back to deciding what the definition of "is", is..... but with far darker implications.

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Knee Jerk Reactions on Eminent Domain

Category: Minnesota Politics
Posted: 04/07/06 11:54

by PDW58

Eminent domain is one of those issues that requires layers of understanding. The Minnesota House passed a sweeping change in eminent domain requirements yesterday -- something that is sure to cost Minnesota taxpayers a bundle.

On the surface, eminent domain seems like a big brother provision that pits government against the little guy.... and sometimes it does, but rarely. The new legislation sweeping through the state legislature is tying the hands of city and county officials and in many cases will hurt local budgets.

City and county governments have to keep a watchful eye on development that is beneficial to their communities and also try to keep the infrastructure of roads and utilities usable and convenient to its residents. Without a reasonable eminent domain procedure, they cannot do their jobs.

Too often, you only hear about the individual holding out against the big government project or rich local developer -- and you understand the anger that individual can feel. But municipalities are responsible to a large group of citizens who live in close proximity to each other. Someone has to make tough decisions that are necessary to benefit the whole community. If individuals affected are fairly compensated, a reasonable solution can usually be found.

What is disconcerting about all this is that this legislation was not prompted by any abuse in Minnesota. It was a knee jerk reaction to a Supreme Court decision regarding an extreme eminent domain decision in another state.

The new legislation will pile on more red tape and more expense. Even the projects that have full community consensus will cost more because of the new regulations.

It is too bad that a legislature so concerned with saving taxpayer money, continues to slap more expenses on the normal business of government.
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