The Silver Lining of the Supreme Court

With the Supreme Court reviewing President Obama’s Health Care law to determine whether the individual mandate to buy insurance is Constitutionally allowable, many progressives and liberals fear a defeat of the program. While a defeat would certainly be a major setback for Barack Obama and threaten his reelection campaign, the death of his plan would not be the worst thing for progressive proponents of health care reform in the United States.

Though they run and hide from any such suggestion now, the principle of an individual mandate to purchase health insurance originated with the Republican Party. They argued its merits vigorously during the mid-90s while President Clinton was in office and Hillary Clinton worked to achieve a national universal health care plan. Republicans insisted at the time that an individual mandate was the preferred alternative to the Clintons’ plan, which the GOP claimed would be too expensive and overly-bureaucratic. Always friends to big business, Republican lawmakers worked to deliver profits to insurance companies more than they worked in the interest of the citizenry.

If the Court finds Obama’s conciliatory appeasement of the insurance industry unconstitutional, Americans may be better positioned to someday achieve the universal health care other, more progressive leaders have worked to deliver. A single-payer health care system similar to those enjoyed by every other modernized nation on the planet could be made real by the expansion of Medicare and Medicaid. The Supreme Court reviewed those systems already (fortunately, not the present Justices) and ruled them well within the powers available to our federal government.

Republicans got the health care mandate they always wanted, but their imbecilic insistence to tear down any victory Obama could claim could very well cost them a future case against single-payer.

 

The opinions expressed in this post and throughout RedBrownandBlue.com are intended to encourage civil discussion and invite well-reasoned alternatives. You can participate in the conversation by finding us on Facebook or Twitter. We also encourage you to drop us a line by writing to the Editorial Director at jake@redbrownandblue.com. 

Jake Negovan drives Red Brown and Blue to be an outlet for progressive political opinion that leads to the betterment of life for the real, multicultural population of the U.S. and the rest of the world. His columns address the issues faced by our country as we continue growing toward a society of equality. More about Jake can be found on the web at jakejots.com or on Twitter@jakenegovan.



Shared Knowledge May Not Be Much

Today, large groups of people form opinions based on slanted and limited knowledge which they cull from social networks, television clips, and headlines sans story. These snippets tell less than half the tale, but spread like a disease of dumb. Rather than finding one’s knowledge insufficient to discuss opinions among reasoned adults, people are finding themselves surrounded by others who hold the same limited information, and thus wind up believing their knowledge on a particular subject is complete. The circuit of reports in recent weeks concerning the Kony 2012 viral video produced by Invisible Children, Inc. emphasizes a need for individuals to carefully educate themselves on political matters and other news.

The intentions, motivations, and activities of the Invisible Children group have been scrutinized and called into question. So have the realities of the video’s subject, Joseph Kony. So have the actions of the United States in relation to the political situation in Uganda and neighboring nations. Trouble is, most of the scrutiny didn’t come until after millions of people viewed and shared the video, pledging support for its stated cause. Now confusion reigns among the general public, wondering if the whole thing was a con, a lie, an exaggeration, or a misunderstanding. Even worse, the public waits for the next snippet to arrive and give them the answers.

This abridgment of attention the public gives to matters of national or global concern fosters apathy. Accepting and passing on limited information poisons the mind against processing nuanced, complex political problems requiring nuanced, complex solutions.

We need to learn to seek facts before we share stories.

 

The opinions expressed in this post and throughout RedBrownandBlue.com are intended to encourage civil discussion and invite well-reasoned alternatives. You can participate in the conversation by finding us on Facebook or Twitter. We also encourage you to drop us a line by writing to the Editorial Director at jake@redbrownandblue.com. 

Jake Negovan drives Red Brown and Blue to be an outlet for progressive political opinion that leads to the betterment of life for the real, multicultural population of the U.S. and the rest of the world. His columns address the issues faced by our country as we continue growing toward a society of equality. More about Jake can be found on the web at jakejots.com or on Twitter@jakenegovan.



Killing in Afghanistan

One of the first stories coming across the news on Sunday morning told of a murderous spree during the night by a U.S. soldier in Afghanistan. The reports claimed a single soldier, acting on his own, broke into the homes of civilians in the Afghan village of Zangabad and murdered sixteen people, including nine children.

The press reports, built largely from details released by NATO and the U.S. government, urgently point out  that the murderer acted alone and “outside his chain of command.” He left his post, noticed by Afghan soldiers who then reported his departure to the American forces, and the Americans went looking for him. At least one local witness, though, claimed to have seen several soldiers involved in the killings and reported that they were acting loud and intoxicated. Afghan officials question the reality of a U.S. soldier being able to stray from his post with such tight security enforced around the military base. Indications that the gunman suffered a “breakdown” arose in some stories while others specified that he had no prior record of mental or emotional difficulties during his time in the military. The bottom line is that we don’t know exactly what happened, and we probably won’t know the truth for a long time, if ever.

What we do know is that Americans have occupied Afghanistan for more than a decade. Many of the soldiers over there now were young children when the conflict began, and know no other condition for the country than as one of America’s remote battle grounds. In a fight that never had clearly defined goals, parameters, or even sides, the purpose of our continued presence blurs more with every passing day. The sanity of it all, sparse to begin with, is eroding, twisting the moral compass of men who expected to be heroes, turning them into monsters.

 

The opinions expressed in this post and throughout RedBrownandBlue.com are intended to encourage civil discussion and invite well-reasoned alternatives. You can participate in the conversation by finding us on Facebook or Twitter. We also encourage you to drop us a line by writing to the Editorial Director at jake@redbrownandblue.com. 

Jake Negovan drives Red Brown and Blue to be an outlet for progressive political opinion that leads to the betterment of life for the real, multicultural population of the U.S. and the rest of the world. His columns address the issues faced by our country as we continue growing toward a society of equality. More about Jake can be found on the web at jakejots.com or on Twitter@jakenegovan.