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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

FISA Court Make Up Is Controlled By One Person

Category: Presidential Politics
Posted: 07/26/13 17:21

by Dave Mindeman

There is a lot of airtime given to the fate of Edward Snowden. The whereabouts and final fate get a lot of attention.

But what Mr. Snowden revealed to the world still doesn't get the scrutiny it deserves. This idea that we can be safer by letting our privacy be invaded borders on ridiculous.

One of the aspects of all this that truly angers me is the lack of due process in the makeup of the FISA Court. This court has been around for some time, but the events of 9/11 have opened up its power while relegating its activities into the shadows.

This court has enormous latitude and very little accountability.

And the make-up of this court is in the hands of one person. The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, which is currently Justice John Roberts.

Roberts is demonstrating the danger of this process. He is stacking this court with ideologic jurists that can wield unilateral power over far too many areas of our lives.

In making assignments to the court, Chief Justice Roberts, more than his predecessors, has chosen judges with conservative and executive branch backgrounds that critics say make the court more likely to defer to government arguments that domestic spying programs are necessary.

Roberts gets no outside recommendations. There is no Senate confirmation for the new position. One person controls the entire process.

Since the chief justice began making assignments in 2005, 86 percent of his choices have been Republican appointees, and 50 percent have been former executive branch officials.

And let me remind you once more....this is all done in secret. The court proces is not done out in the open....no transparency....and decisions are final.

We are losing our system of checks and balances. And we may be setting ourselves up for a loss of government by the people.
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Hillary Presidency Would Be Historic In Other Ways, Too

Category: Presidential Politics
Posted: 06/22/13 11:41

by Dave Mindeman

Hillary Clinton keeps the speculation going....

"Let me say this, hypothetically speaking, I really do hope that we have a woman president in my lifetime," Clinton said in Tornonto, before a women-centered event Thursday. "And whether it's next time or the time after that, it really depends on women stepping up and subjecting themselves to the political process, which is very difficult."

If Hillary Clinton would like to see a woman in the White House during her lifetime, then it will have to be her sitting in the Oval Office.

Clinton is currently the strongest candidate at this moment - Republican or Democrat. But since 2016 is a political lifetime away yet, she is wise to stand on the bank without dipping her toes in the water.

Yet, the Republicans fear her. In regards to the seemingly endless investigations into Benghazi....there can be no other reason than to try to damage Clinton's reputation. They have exhausted all avenues in this regard and the incident, although tragic and worthy of state department changes, is not a scandal.

But let me go furthur in regards to Hillary and the presidency.

It is not just the historic implications she would bring as the first woman President. Hillary Clinton, because of her strength as a candidate, has the potential to really change how Washington works.

I know a lot of candidates talk of doing that, but Clinton could make it a reality simply by running for President.

The main reason is that we have not had a candidate in a long time that can appeal across the normal Red/Blue lines. Barack Obama won his elections with strong electoral majorities, but he didn't move very far away from the normal blue state coalition. Virginia was an exception....while Indiana and North Carolina came across during his first election, they quickly went back to the Red fold in the second.

The obstructionist coalition of Red states in the South, Plains, and Mountain states continues.

What is unique about a Hillary Clinton candidacy is that she can probably hold that blue state coalition and seriously extend the electoral reach.

Public Policy Polling has been fueling that speculation with a number of polling inquiries in regards to Clinton. Some of the results (although early speculation) are astonishing.

Hillary beats both Rubio and Bush in Florida.

Hillary beats both Walker and Ryan in Wisconsin.

Hillary is only 1 point down to the main GOPers in ALASKA.

Hillary runs even with GOP contenders in Louisiana.

Hillary is even or winning in TEXAS.

Hillary is even with Rand Paul in Kentucky.

Clinton could carve up the Southern block and create a problem for any of the Republican leading candidates.

To me, Marco Rubio would probably present the most problems on a national basis....however, he looks to have the biggest problem getting base support because of immigration.

Hillary dominates Rubio regardless.

But assuming this speculation is true going into 2016, what would it mean for governing?

I think obstruction would end.

A dominant, overwhelming victory by Hillary Cliniton would have deep coattails. The Democrats could very well lose the Senate in 2014. The electoral map is not favorable. But in 2016, if Hillary can run - she could bring back the Senate and reverse the House. Senate Republicans would also have to hesitate to keep up their filibuster ways in the wake of a very popular, across the board President.

Hillary Clinton is not only a historic woman candidate - she could also be an historic President -- period.
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Democrats: Afraid to Even Talk of War Dollars

Category: Presidential Politics
Posted: 04/09/11 13:05

by Dave Mindeman

OK, the pragmatist in me has taken a vacation, so I'm letting her rip today.

Let's talk war. Afghan, Iraq, Libya, etc.....

The Democrats are caught up in these ridiculous budget talks and are ignoring the 600 pound gorilla that is in the budget room.'

Paying for the wars.

I have never figured out how we can undertake massive military undertakings and then hide them off budget or just ignore the cost. Democrats should be all over this.

But the problem is that Obama has embraced the military situation he has inherited. What promise about the Pentagon has Obama kept? Gitmo is still open. We are still heavily involved in Iraq. Afghanistan has no end game. And now Libya has dubious goals at best.

Hey, I want to see Obama re-elected next year as much as anybody, but do we have to agree with everything he does? Absolutely not.

If deficits are truly such a danger to America, then why are the cost of these wars not part of the debate? Instead of Planned Parenthood being the focus, why isn't the billions of dollars in Iraq part of it as well?

The spigot of dollars for the Defense Department is not even measured. It is sacred cow material. But a defense dollar is just as costly as a health care dollar. And its more wasteful.

Why are Democrats afraid to speak?
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