Colorado Wilderness Act of 2019

H.R. 2546 — Colorado Wilderness Act of 2019

CRS Summary:

This bill designates specified lands in Colorado managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) or the Forest Service as wilderness and as components of the National Wilderness Preservation System.

The bill designates specified lands in Colorado administered by the BLM, the National Park Service, and Bureau of Reclamation as wilderness and as components of the National Wilderness Preservation System. Such lands shall be incorporated into the West Elk Wilderness.

The Department of the Interior may continue authorizing competitive running events currently permitted in the Redcloud Peak Wilderness and Handies Peak Wilderness Areas.

The Colorado Army National Guard, through the High-Altitude Army National Guard Aviation Training Site, may conduct aerial navigation training maneuver exercises over the wilderness areas designated by this bill.

The bill designates specified lands managed by the BLM as (1) potential wilderness areas, and (2) as the Pisgah East Wilderness and the Pisgah West Wilderness upon publication by Interior of a notice in the Federal Register that all nonconforming uses of such lands authorized by this bill have ceased.

The bill provides for the securing, adjudication, and use of U.S. water rights for certain of the wilderness areas designated by this bill.

Amendments offered:

Amendment House Reed’s vote      Issue

DeGette (D)              YES         NO    Additional Areas

McClintock (R)         NO          YES   Require local approval

McClintock (R)        NO          YES   Exclude areas

Panetta (D)               YES          YES Manage fire, insects *

Brown (D)                YES           Voice Vote Consider veterans

Westerman (R)      NO            YES Exempt areas

Westerman (R)       NO            YES Strike all areas

Cunningham (D)  YES            YES Allow military overflights *

Tipton (R)               NO             YES   Study effect on military

Tipton (R)               YES             voice vote Study military aviation training

Kilmer (R)              YES             voice vote Respect states rights

Schrer (D)              YES             voice vote Study flooding

A motion to recommit failed. On passage, the bill was approved 231-183. Rep. Reed voted NO. This bill is likely doomed in the Senate.

*Except in two cases where approval was nearly unanimous, bipartisan Tom Reed was out of step with the majority.





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Richard Nixon Wants a Retrial

thumbs-upThis letter by Rev. Gary McCaslin appeared in the Corning Leader on Sunday February 2, 2020. It is posted here with permission of the author.

Richard Nixon Wants a Retrial

We have heard the essence of Trump’s defense from Alan Dershowitz: “The President can do whatever he wants as long as he is doing it in the best interest of the country and the American people. Even if he gets caught in the process, our President hasn’t done anything wrong. Nothing actually happened that could be called impeachable because the defense money was delivered to Ukraine, Zelensky got his meeting and all is well.”

Now imagine Richard Nixon in heaven. Upon waking from a celestial nap, he hears the news of Trump’s dismissal and his first words are: “Wait a minute! I want a retrial! I never imagined such a creative defense! Please remember: ‘I am not a crook.’”

Nixon continues, “Yes there was a Watergate break-in and the burglars had money in their pockets from the Committee to Re-Elect the President, but the plan was foiled and nothing really happened. In addition, every effort to discover dirt about the Democrats to help my re-election was all done in the best interest of the American people.”

As we come back to reality, we recognize this as a preposterous scenario. However, the Dershowitz defense now protects the President more than the Constitution. In addition, with a unified Republican Congress, it is unlikely the two parties will ever be able to work together again. Any possible collaboration is met with a barrage of presidential tweets that demean, ridicule and reveal a President whose communication skills simply mirror those of a schoolyard bully.

We can do better America ~ we must elect a new President and a Congress who will restore our land to one that is ruled by the Constitution and not by a power-hungry dictator.

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Trump at Dana


Trump’s visit to the former tank plant north of Detroit came a day after he signed into law the so-called United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), a replacement for the much-maligned North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) signed by then-President Bill Clinton in the early 1990s. — Detroit Free Press


The White House writes:

President Trump flew to Michigan today (January 30, 2020), where he joined workers to celebrate the signing of his new U.S.–Mexico–Canada Agreement (USMCA) and the end of NAFTA.
Dana Incorporated, where the President spoke, perfectly captures America’s blue-collar spirit. Based near Detroit, the company employs more than 1,500 workers that help assemble some of the toughest vehicles in the world. Dana Inc., for example, helped invent the iconic U.S. Army Jeep in 1941.
This factory is the site of “116 years of brilliant American craftsmanship,” President Trump said. It’s businesses like Dana Inc. that will benefit tremendously from USMCA.
“We just ended a nightmare known as NAFTA. They took our jobs for a long time,” the President said. USMCA is the fairest, most balanced, and beneficial trade agreement we have ever signed into law, he added.
All told, some 60,000 U.S. plants and factories closed up shop in the 16 years before President Trump’s election. For years, politician after politician promised to fix NAFTA—only to reverse course once they got into office. While they did nothing, an astonishing one-quarter of our country’s manufacturing jobs moved elsewhere.
Michigan knows that story all too well. Once the global hub for the auto industry, the state lost nearly half those jobs under NAFTA, and roughly 200,000 manufacturing jobs in total. With USMCA, old loopholes that pushed car-part manufacturing overseas are gone: Now, at least 75 percent of every vehicle must be made in North America.  
Over the next five years alone, USMCA is projected to boost purchases of U.S.-made auto parts by $23 billion annually while supporting $34 billion in new automotive manufacturing investments. That will help create 100,000 new jobs in this industry alone.
The bottom line, says President Trump: “We are bringing your jobs back home to America—and back home to Michigan.”

Dana Corp. is based in Maumee, Ohio. Dana has factories in Michigan, but none in Detroit. 

From Dana’s history page:


  • Dana extends its leadership position in the commercial vehicle driveline market with a 50-percent stake in Dongfeng Dana Axle Co., Ltd., its joint venture in China
  • Completes strategic agreement with SIFCO S.A., making Dana the leading supplier of complete drivelines in South America


  • The Dana China Technical Center, a 129,000-square-foot facility in Wuxi, Jiangsu Provence, China, opens.


  • Dana opens its 16th technology center in Cedar Park, Texas and the Dana Spicer Thailand gear manufacturing facility


  • Completed acquisition of Brevini Group, S.p.A. power transmission and fluid power businesses for off-highway applications
  • Dana Breaks Ground on New Gear Manufacturing Facility in Europe


  • Dana opens its 16th Chinese facility in Yancheng, producing thermal-management and new-energy solutions

Mitt Romney reportedly made a fortune moving auto parts manufacturing overseas. Donald Trump now suggests he can undo that. Can he turn back the clock?


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“As a candidate, Donald Trump called NAFTA the ‘worst trade deal ever’ and vowed its replacement. On Wednesday, he fulfilled that promise, signing the new USMCA trade pact covering North America. The deal is Trump’s biggest yet—in fact the biggest in history,” 

“The deal is an unequivocal win for America and will help Canada and Mexico over the long run. It puts an end to unfair Canadian tariffs that amounted to nearly 300 percent in some cases, thus creating a level playing field for American farmers and ranchers.” — Christian Whiton for Fox Business.

What promises one may wonder. Here is what the White House claims:

USMCA’s improvements over NAFTA are significant. The new agreement “is the largest, fairest, most balanced, and modern trade agreement ever achieved,” President Trump says. Here is just a sampling of the biggest changes:

  • Broad economic benefits. USMCA is estimated to create nearly 600,000 American jobs—and generate up to $235 billion in economic activity.
  • Better protection for workersIt has the strongest, most advanced, and most comprehensive labor protections of any American trade agreement in history.
  • Support for our farmers. The agreement is a massive win for American farmers and ranchers, vastly improving access to Canadian and Mexican markets. U.S. agricultural exports are expected to increase by $2.2 billion under the deal.
  • A boost for American manufacturers. The U.S. auto industry alone expects to create up to 76,000 new jobs and spur $34 billion in new investments.
  • Modernized terms. Unlike NAFTA, USMCA has protections for American intellectual property, a first-of-its-kind chapter on digital trade, and provisions to crack down on unfair currency practices.

Source: White House e-mail Jan. 29-30, 2020


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False arguments

topThe spin is dizzying:

  • Unemployment is down, so Trump did no wrong.
  • Trump gave Ukraine more aid than Obama, so he did no wrong.
  • Trump is popular, so he did no wrong.
  • Ukraine eventually got the aid, so there was no quid pro quo.
  • Trump eventually met with Zelensky, so there was no quid pro quo.
  • Impeachment is only legitimate when the articles allege a specific crime.
  • Impeachment is only legitimate when both parties agree on the facts.
  • Removal of a president isn’t  legitimate in the year (or during some other period of time) before an election.
  • Removal of a president for cause negates the will of the voters.
  • Trumps actions can be explained in other ways, so the plain, clear, simple explanation can be ignored.
  • Removal would be divisive, blithe dismissal of the articles would not be.
  • Bolton and Trump disagree, so Bolton must be mistaken.
  • Bolton is writing a book, so there is no need to hear his testimony.
  • Concern over corruption is reasonable, so Trump’s concern over Biden’s alleged corruption was reasonable.
  • Ukrainian officials, eager not to offend the administration, deny they were bullied, so they weren’t.
  • Some officials say they saw nothing wrong, so those with the opposite opinion are wrong.
  • Trump was elected, so everything he has done is what the voters wanted.
  • Some Democrats disapprove of President Trump so all concerns are illegitimate.
  • Some Democrats have wanted Trump impeached since he was first elected, so he has done nothing to warrant impeachment.
  • Requests for information and testimony were flawed, so Trump has nothing to hide.
  • Trump hid relevant documents and blocked testimony in the public interest. He has nothing to hide.
  • The administration’s account of the perfect call was the transcript. The transcript is still hidden in the top secret vault.

Sherlock Holmes maintained that when every other alternative had been examined and discarded, what remained, however bizarre and incredible, must be the answer. Trump’s defenders have turned this on its head, arguing that we ought to discard the obvious and accept  what is bizarre, incredible, and convoluted as truth.


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NPR interview with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo

All Things Considered co-host Mary Louise Kelly interviews Secretary of State Mike Pompeo about U.S. policy in Iran and about the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch.



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A Singular Opportunity: Let’s Not Blow It

Whenever I switch cars, I have this odd experience; maybe you can relate. You’re driving around in your new vehicle, and suddenly you see your same make and model EVERYWHERE! “I didn’t know there were so many of these on the road!” you think. It’s a weird little consumer-based “empathy,” so odd, because we don’t usually think of empathy as having component parts, in this case recognition sans emotion or outreach.

Empathy, in each of us, has its dimensions, and they increase with aging, as we experience struggle, triumph, love, and especially loss. As an example, if you have lost a loved one to cancer, and later one of your friends announces that someone s/he loves has been diagnosed, you feel for your friend. You remember every moment of your family’s agony, from the medical appointments and the hospital smells to faint glimmers of hope you leapt at, to the day you sat down with yourself and said, “This is happening.” Then the aftermath, what that loss did to your family. Life goes on, but that loss stands like a stone arch between you and the person you were before. You know the dimensions of your empathy around cancer.

Imagine an unspeakable family trauma that lasts a lifetime. What would be the dimensions of grief and of empathy resulting from that? I have a friend whose brother suffered traumatic brain injury at birth, such that he has been institutionalized his entire life. Not only does he require constant professional care, but he is, for all intents and purposes, unresponsive. She loves him.

For a young girl in a lively Irish/Italian family, it must have been hard to accept or even comprehend how this boy could be so set apart from his own loved ones, missing the events, the personalities, the memories. As she grew older, she must have begun to calculate all that he was missing against the various opportunities that came her way. I believe that early on she dedicated herself to living a bigger, more aspirational and generous life, as if to live for the two of them, herself and her beloved brother. She knew that a life dedicated to accumulating wealth would not be a worthy choice for the two of them. Having never not known profound grief and its counterpart, selfless, helpless love, she chose a life that matched the dimensions of her empathy.

Her name is Tracy Mitrano. A long life of service as a sister, a mother, a teacher, and a leader has brought her to this time when she offers her hard-earned education and experience, her (desperately needed) expertise in cyber security policy, her insight as an historian, and most of all, her profound empathy as a fellow traveler to us, the voters of NY Congressional District 23. Mitrano wants to represent the Southern Tier, Finger Lakes, and Western NY in Congress so she can speak for us in the place where systemic change becomes possible according to our system: the U.S. House of Representatives.

I can hear the backlash already. She’s strumming on our heart strings! Using her brother as a tool in her campaign. She is not. If you believe that you have to be a scoundrel to want to work in government, I’m sorry for you. Tracy does not know I am writing about this, and I hope she will forgive the intrusion into her privacy. But I’ve been watching her for a few years now, trying to understand what it is about this person that is so magnetic. I have often encouraged her by saying “when people meet you, they will vote for you.” I believe this, and here’s why: yes, her intelligence is striking; yes, her resume is formidable; but it’s her empathy that pulls you in. Not that she’s a “bleeding heart,” whatever that is. She’s a determined, talented woman who sees and feels the suffering of others and believes she can make things better. This is the fire in her belly. If you’ve paid attention to her dizzying schedule and her exhaustive understanding of issue after issue, you know there’s a fire there. If you haven’t, do yourself a favor. Get out to an event near you and meet Tracy Mitrano. You may end up feeling as if you’ve known her all along. Empathy works that way.

This article was written by Lee Marcus is a writer, artist, and activist who lives in Steuben County.

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