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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

ACA: NY State AG Gives Us Facts In Answer To Trump

Category: Donald Trump
Posted: 06/13/17 18:49

by Dave Mindeman

Donald Trump has a lousy understanding of public policy and how things work. The NY State Attorney General took down a Trump tweet on the ACA, masterfully....

Trump Tweet:

2 million more people just dropped out of ObamaCare. It is in a death spiral. Obstructionist Democrats gave up, have no answer = resist!

Answers from Eric Schneiderman...

1: This obscene distortion is part and parcel of @realDonaldTrump's deliberate campaign to undermine our health care. Here are the facts:

2: FACT: Since the #ACA's inception, the number of New Yorkers without health insurance has fallen from 10% to 5% in 2016--a historic low.

3: FACT: Trump is talking about people who signed up for policies but didn't pay for coverage. That's normal--the same # did this last year.

4: FACT: The #ACA is not in a death spiral. It continues to insure and protect millions, despite @POTUS's attempts to sabotage.

5: FACT: Where costs are rising, @POTUS bears responsibility. His threat to end critical subsidies could increase premiums by up to 21%.

6: I'm using every legal tool at my disposal to protect NYers. If @POTUS signs the House's #Trumpcare bill, I'll sue.

Yes, our President continues to get everything wrong.

Thank you Eric Schneiderman for your truth.

The Emoluments Clause

Category: Donald Trump
Posted: 06/12/17 17:27

by Dave Mindeman

I sometimes wonder...are we serious about the Constitution or not? In the partisan divide, both sides rate themselves as the true protectors of the Constitution; but I have to ask you, why is the Constitution ignored in the current political climate?

I get all the arguments about free speech and states rights and division of powers - but there are serious questions about the power of the President going on right now, and the topic is either avoided or outright ignored.

Not exactly instilling confidence in our democracy.

My current problem is the emoluments clause.

"No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any king, prince, or foreign state."

The generally accepted explanation of this is as follows:

It was inserted into the Constitution as a way to prevent sitting leaders from accepting foreign gifts or payments in order to ensure complete neutrality from outside influence and to prevent -- even the appearance -- of corruption.

The Clause applies to "all officials holding appointed positions in the Judicial and Executive Branches of the national government," according to the National Constitution Center.

And the Heritage Foundation (NOT a liberal think tank) took it further:

Similarly, the Framers intended the Emoluments Clause to protect the republican character of American political institutions. "One of the weak sides of republics, among their numerous advantages, is that they afford too easy an inlet to foreign corruption." The Federalist No. 22 (Alexander Hamilton). The delegates at the Constitutional Convention specifically designed the clause as an antidote to potentially corrupting foreign practices of a kind that the Framers had observed during the period of the Confederation.

"Inlet to foreign corruption." "Even the appearance of corruption." That is a pretty high bar. And all of our Presidents have followed that bar - at that level - by putting their personal and business assets into a blind trust. When they negotiated or talk to foreign heads of state, they have no idea what kind of an effect anything they do or say will have on their personal wealth.

But that is different today. Trump does NOT have a blind trust. His family operates the business-- in public. His assets in foreign countries are well endowed with the Trump name so it is pretty hard to miss.

When Trump talks to foreign leaders, you don't think they are briefed by their own people as to the assets owned by Trump in their countries? Can you seriously believe that does not happen?

The Attorneys General of DC and Maryland have filed suit:

In a new legal challenge to President Trump, the Democratic attorneys general of Maryland and the District of Columbia filed a lawsuit Monday claiming that the president's failure to shed his businesses has undermined public trust and violated constitutional bans against self-dealing.

As with everything they do these days, Republicans will dismiss this action as a partisan ploy. But if reality would hold, they should be joining this suit. This is a Constitutional test. A test we must not fail.

This isn't about Donald Trump - a Republican President. This is about President Donald Trump violating the Constitution. No President - Republican or Democrat - should be allowed to trample over and violate a Constitutional clause meant to protect America from foreign interference and influence.

And this particular President has thumbed his nose at this clause. He directly violates it (not even bothering to avoid "appearances" ) every day he sits in the Oval Office.

And his relationships with our allies - Germany, France, UK, Canada, Australia, and Mexico) - have all been strained for reasons we do not really understand. While foreign autocrats - Russia, Egypt, Phillipines - have gotten favorable treatment. These are unanswered questions and the appearance of self dealing is strong. And as stated before, appearances are part of the issue.

Republicans used to think of themselves as particular watchdogs of Constitutional principle. Well it is their watch, and they have failed.

Failed miserably and the American people need to hold them accountable.

Disagree On Process - But We Must Unite For The Election

Category: Donald Trump
Posted: 06/09/17 23:15

by Dave Mindeman

I am going to attempt something here. Something that seems to be dismissed by people who arguably want to do the right thing. People that want to stand on principle, but get bogged down in the weeds.

What I wish to do is to try and explain a theory. A theory of why Democrats are prone to losing. Why Democrats have an advantage in the electorate but still manage to find a way to negate that advantage.

I will try to do this by looking at the mechanics of the 2016 election and why the Democratic Party needs to stop trying to litigate the past and focus on the way forward.

#1. Bernie - The rehashing of last election seems to focus on the idea that if we had only nominated Bernie Sanders, we would not be in this position and everything would be fine. Although we cannot account for every aspect of that fateful election day, we can examine what lead up to it. Bernie lost the nomination. People contend to this day that it was stolen from him by the DNC. Knowing the Democratic Party apparatus as I do, I can tell you with relative certainty that the DNC is incapable of rigging any system -and the fact that their e-mails got hacked only re-enforces that thought. The proof of that is in the caucus process. Caucuses are the only procedure that a state party apparatus has any control over. And the national DNC has one role in that process. They must approve the procedures that each state comes up with on their own. If this system was rigged against Bernie, why would he win virtually every caucus state and lose nearly every primary state. If the DNC had been rigging anything, they failed miserably in the only thing they could control.

#2. Russia - The other aspect of the election is that no matter which candidate was put forward by the Democrats, Hillary or Bernie, the Russians were still involved in working to interfere. There is this mistaken idea that if Bernie was the nominee, this would not have been a problem. Why would that be assumed? Fake news stories could have been manufactured against Bernie as well. Fake mistrust between Bernie and Hillary supporters could have kept Hillary supporters from voting for Bernie. Divisive rhetoric could have caused Hillary voters to head for third parties, the same way Bernie people seemed to do in the actual election. The Russians attacked the US democratic process, not just the Hillary election or the Bernie election. It was an attack on us as a nation. And we still don't yet know the extent that American individuals were helping.

#3. DNC - People have a legitimate beef with the DNC. But new people to the Party do not seem to realize that the National Committee has always been flawed. It puts too much emphasis on process and much less effort on outreach and message. And to some extent, a national organization can only do so much to nationalize a campaign. Races are won and lost on the local level - with good or bad candidates and good or bad support. That is why it is important that organizing each legislative district is crucial. If you are well organized locally, the state and national can do the enhancement without interfering with what is in place. It is easy to blame the National Party. They are a good and reliable target. But the fault lines begin with our neighborhoods and each individual represents the whole. And another point is that this is not a one cycle event. In the 20 years I have worked in the South Metro of the Twin Cities, my wife and I have been working to build a real party. Build an ongoing infrastructure - not a brief period of excited frenzy over a particular candidate, but something that can make that frenzy work to our advantage and also build something in other places that builds toward more successful elections.

#4. Rehashing - Like I indicated earlier, Democrats are always rehashing the last cycle. We have to find blame if we lose and think that a win can just continue on into the next election. Neither is productive. Each cycle is unique to itself. The message is different. The electorate is different. The support will be different. Finding blame should be replaced by finding a better process. Improve what we got right and fix what we got wrong. But we also cannot rest if we get a win. We look back fondly at the 1990's when Bill Clinton was our President. But I would suggest that Bill would not be popular in today's environment. He didn't support gay rights. He had a different view of trade. And his welfare to work ideas may have appeased Republicans, but it would infuriate progressives today. But that is the nature of time and social change. Looking back doesn't help. We have to look at where the voters and our party is right now. Blame only leads to division - complacency only leads to irrelevance.

#5. The Real Opponent - The election of Donald Trump was the worst thing that could happen in 2016. We did not assess the real issue. We seemed to be too busy purifying our own side of the ledger, forgetting that the worst of the worst was developing on the other side. We allowed that ugly little idea of "how bad could it be" or this even worse idea that "maybe the Party needs to be punished to get better". Let me be clear - both of those ideas are immensely foolish. Presidential elections only come every 4 years. And once we have decided on a nominee, then we have to work like hell to make that candidate our President. And even more importantly, we need to broaden our view to include all candidates up and down the ballot. We are in this precarious situation for many reasons, but it can be argued that it started several years ago when we allowed the GOP to gain a stranglehold on state legislatures. They made the lines; they set the rules; and they got to make decisions on Congressional and Senate races. While we worry about health and human services, they cement the actual policies in place with state legislative majorities. We need to fight the mechanics of elections as well as the policy of elections. Voter suppression. Census line drawing. Financing elections. These decisions have power. We need to get that power back.

Alright. Enough of that. I only talk about that because I see too much time devoted to past problems on social media. For the next election, the Green Party, the Reform Party, the Socialist Party all have to take a back seat for the time being. We need to to elect Democrats. Even if they are imperfect or if there is one issue you cannot tolerate. If they have enough support to be our nominee, then they must win in November.

Only then can we have proper influence on policy decisions. Only then can we set the agenda. Only then will internal disagreements have any real meaning.

We always need Party reform. Always. It is an ongoing perpetual process. But the big picture issue is to elect Democrats while we argue about the structure. There is a big difference between the parties. And voting for third parties doesn't change anything - you have to participate in the party that can actually have that chance to sit at the table.

I know that this will not convince everybody. I only ask that you think about it. We are at a crisis point in our democratic process. Trump is the worst President we could ever imagine. And we need to work to stop this foolishness, now. All of us. With one purpose.

Remember that. Disagree on the process - but unite for the election.
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