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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

Hold the Line! No More! No Further!

Category: DFL 2014
Posted: 10/20/13 18:14, Edited: 10/20/13 18:16

by Dave Mindeman

A number of progressive voices are applauding E.J. Dionne's comments on Meet the Press this morning when David Gregory called into question the President's ability to lead moving forward. Dionne said:

"A lot of times, though, when people say the president should lead, what they want him to do is adopt Republican positions and then push for those," Dionne explained. "That's not leadership, that's capitulation."

That has been a big problem in public perception of the Democratic position. Republicans complain that Obama doesn't negotiate, which is a euphemism for not agreeing to what they want. They also push this idea that the President will not compromise....when it is the reverse that is true.

Republicans even complain when Obama takes their own position and uses it to promote a program....after all, Obamacare is a national version of the 2012 Republican nominee, Mitt Romney's, Massachusetts plan for health care. Which Romney, himself, ran against.

The assumption seems to be that when negotiating with an immobile obstructionism of the current GOP, that the other side, we, are required to move...and to get an agreement that would mean moving all the way over to the obstructionist position. That would be compromise? No. As Dionne said, that would be capitulation.

Democrats have done their compromising. Enough!

In regards to health care: We gave on single payer. We gave on a public option. We allowed Republican governors to opt out of Medicaid expansion. We allowed the burden of enrollment to be put on a Federal website for States refusing to make their own....and which we can now see, state run sites are more efficient.

In regards to immigration: We have spent billions on more boots on the ground (never enough). We have allowed a ridiculous fence...that wastes more money. We have shunned amnesty and allowed for growing burdens on application for citizenship. We have gone along with a half hearted commitment to children of the undocumented...which stonewalls them from rights as citizens and full education rights.

In budget matters: We have compromised by accepting budget cuts that are maintained in current Continuing Resolutions. We are compromising on not allowing new revenues. We have come dangerously close to letting the other side dictate Social Security and Medicare changes. We have already let the sequester continue to work its will.

WE HAVE COMPROMISED. It is time that we hold our ground. No more capitulation. The President has reduced the deficit and gets no credit from the GOP because they refuse to acknowledge it exists. Make them tell the truth.

If the Tea Party wants to continue this extortion type politics, then the country needs to just stop playing the game. We have deluded ourselves into thinking that this is a negotiation. It is not. It has been a take it or leave it strategy and it is time to just leave it and let them accept the consequences of their actions.

We are standing at the line we must hold - NO FURTHER!
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Rep. Nolan Caves To Mining Pressure

Category: DFL 2014
Posted: 09/19/13 01:21

by Dave Mindeman

It looks like Rep. Rick Nolan has caved to pressure from the mining industry and decided to vote with the Republicans on speeding up the permitting process.

What that means is hard to tell. Obviously the PolyMet mine is one of the major focal points in regards to Rep. Nolan's thinking. Polymet has been working on the permitting process for 3 1/2 years. A lot of people think this is overkill.

I don't.

This is a big project...a groundbreaking project...and it will set precedents for other operations in the area. If this is not done right and by the book, we could put the BWCA in jeopardy.

This is a list of environmental concerns that have been and are being addressed during this process:

A. Long-term acid and toxic metal water pollution -- for instance, PolyMet's draft Environmental Impact Statement predicts 2,000 years of contaminated water leaching.

B. Mercury contamination in fish and wildlife

C. Expensive clean-up operations often fall to taxpayers

D. Mining and associated pollution, noise, and other serious impacts in areas near the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness that are important tourism and recreation areas.

Environmentally, the only time that we can focus on preventive concerns is during the permitting process. We have to get it right before the mining process begins because damage can be permanent and irreparable.

Another point that pertains to this is that Polymet has dragged the process out themselves with inadequate testing and information. The EPA has had to force Polymet to go back and do it right at times....which, of course, gives Polymet the opportunity to blame "regulations" for these delays.

They have made progress in a cleaner process and protection for the groundwater. More testing is needed but interference from Congress is not helpful and emboldens Polymet to cut more corners and confront regulators.

I realize Rep. Nolan is in a tough spot with his re-election challenge when you push back against Iron Range mining. But the BWCA is a precious Minnesota resource. If we do this right, the jobs created can not only be long term and safe but also compatible with a sensitive ecosystem.

Careful scrutiny may be an agonizing process but it is the prudent one for everyone's future.
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