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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

Clinton vs Sanders: On Health Care

Category: Presidential Politics
Posted: 01/15/16 20:06, Edited: 01/15/16 20:10

by Dave Mindeman

The campaigns of Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton have been having contentious exchanges on the health care issue. And the negative talk seems to be accelerating. But it would be more constructive if both sides would stop distorting the positions held by the other.

I, personally, have been a single payer advocate for a long time. On this, I agree with Bernie. The ACA has problems because the public option was blocked from being part of the bill. That has been a flaw from the very beginning.

And I do not believe that Sanders is out to dismantle all the health care programs that have been working and helping poor people across the nation. I am sure that there will be a method of working all these program advantages into his overall plan.

But Hillary Clinton has some legitimate policy concerns to be addressed here and the Sanders campaign should not dismiss them as political attacks. The Sanders campaign did promise to get the details of his health care plan out to the public....and I, along with others, would like to see and examine it.

I also would like Sanders to address concerns that if we open up the health care debate in Congress again with new legislation, how can the Sanders campaign promise that we won't come out worse than where we are now?

The ACA passed with an all Democratic Congress. The likelihood that Sanders will have the same if he is elected are virtually nil.

Hillary's contention that we should work to improve the ACA and make it closer to a universal system is pragmatically the more viable option. We could revisit a public option and possibly allow the states to opt out for a single payer system of their own.

Both campaigns are essentially advocating for the same end result. Universal health care. Progressives have long felt that the single payer method of Medicare for All, as Bernie proposes, is the best and most cost effective means to do so. And in a more progressive political majority world, that is the avenue that we could pursue. But we still have not reached that point.

The Clinton campaign is wrong to make this about taxes - because paying for Bernie's plan will be offset by lower insurance premiums and out of pocket costs. However, if the Sanders campaign won't divulge the nature of how this is paid for, it leaves the campaign open for legitimate criticism....and if isn't Hillary, the Republicans will gladly oblige.

This Democratic health care discussion is necessary, but it doesn't need to be contentious. Both sides have the American people's best interests at heart.

Which is more than we can currently say for the GOP.
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The Iran Treaty: Another Consideration

Category: Presidential Politics
Posted: 07/15/15 17:09

by Dave Mindeman

This Iran treaty is very important to the United States and Republicans are not even considering the strategic ramifications. It used to be said that politics ended at our country's shores and foreign policy, especially international treaties, was off limits to the petty vagaries of partisan politics.

Our Republican friends have ground that theory into dust.

What I don't understand about the instant criticism from Republicans is a failure to look at the bigger picture.

Yes, Iran wants sanctions lifted and yes, the money could be used for more interventions across the Mideast. But the goal has been to stop Iran from developing a nuclear weapon and this treaty puts an indefinite hold on that acquisition.

But even beyond that, no treaty would be signed unless both parties have broader goals to meet and it sure looks like both parties have ISIS in mind.

Iran is a Shiite dominated country. ISIS is a Sunni organization. Iran has already been involved in Iraq with ground forces against this group. Doesn't it feel like Iran has a more immediate problem with ISIS than a longer term goal of a nuclear weapon? Is it possible that the more immediate threat has become the more important threat to deal with.....and a treaty to remove some of the sanctions and get the US off their back might be, in broader terms, a means to let them gear up for an ISIS fight?

The US not only gets to stop Iran from moving toward nuclear weapons, but they open up a possible "ally" in the fight with ISIS. The enemy of my enemy is my friend.

Chances are good that if Iran uses new sanction free money to obtain conventional weapons and strengthening their economy, their target will not be Israel, not the United States, but the Sunni dominated ISIS group.

Something to consider.
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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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