Thursday, May 22, 2014

American Exceptualism

American Exceptionalism

America is great, but it is also a country with about the most guns, most gun killings, and most incarcerated citizens. It is shameful that we can't find a way to limit numbers and types of guns and also better laws ensuring that only qualified people can own guns.

And, it is even more shameful that, as one of the world's oldest and leading democracies, America is undergoing a widespread concerted attack on the voting rights of citizens. Methods to curtail voting have included voter IDs and limits on registrations and early voting. Some courts and in some cases the Justice Department have acted to stop or delay these tactics. But there needs to be a sweeping investigation using subpoena and other powers to show the motivation and nationwide conspiracy of the GOP.

I contend that the case against these laws and tactics should not be difficult. I believe that states have an inherent duty to enhance voting, just as it has a duty to care for the safety of its citizens. A state could not build a road and fail to provide RR crossing signs. Nor could it
unreasonably reduce the size of those signs.

Similarly, a state should not be able to fail to provide for easy registration and voting, including reasonable early voting. Particularly egregious would be failure to provide polling places and machines adequate for the voting district. And, as for voter IDs, given the lack of need for them, one could argue that literacy tests made more sense.

Add to this a system that, for the most part has allowed states to restrict women's constitutional right to have an abortion. Requiring waiting periods, ultra sounds, high clinic building standards , admitting privileges  for doctors, etc. These are clearly not medically necessary and are designed to restrict women's rights. Such laws should not be allowed to stand.

Other flaws in our political system prevent meaningful action on tax reform and, most important, climate change.

Finally, by eviscerating campaign finance laws, our conservative Supreme Court has allowed a system that almost assures the purchase of legislators by donors with big money.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014


But Pence, after intensive negotiations with the Obama administration, just announced his intent to take the money Obamacare provides for Medicaid expansion and to use it on his own terms to broaden health-care coverage for the working poor.

This is a good thing for his state and could be for a few other states. However, accepting Medicaid would be much better. It is a system in place whereas if many states adopted alternative, the job of assuring the efficacy of each would be a daunting and time consuming task.