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Appealing for Healthcare Consensus--From Patchogue to Pasadena

I grew up in a town called Patchogue, and although I haven't lived there for forty years it will always be my hometown.  Patchogue is about 60 miles from Manhattan, and so it was and continues to be bit too far from the city to be a commuting town.  

Much of Patchogue is Trump country, and I often find myself with some, but few like-minded thinkers when it comes to the fitness of the president to serve.  And, until the election, after repeated admonishments from my more rational spouse, I was basically silent -- with Patchoguians -- about my firm views on Donald Trump and what he represents.  I do get a chuckle out the talking heads, however, when they speak of separate bubbles of Americans.  I have no doubt I am far from the only Clinton voter whose life-long acquaintances believe in Donald Trump. 

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Anticipating the Revised Executive Order Restricting Entry Into the United States--Updated

President Trump is expected to issue a revised immigration order today that will supersede the initial order that was enjoined last month by a temporary restraining order issued by a district court in Washington. We will know more about the actual contents of the order and that of course will generate additional discussion.  At this point, it appears that the revised order will eliminate Iraq as one of the seven countries that was specifically referred in the original order, and in fact may be replaced by a a worldwide temporary ban on incoming refugees to the United States--without reference to any nation expressly. It also appears that the revised order will clarify that it is not meant to apply to non-citizen but lawful permanent residents of the United States. [See Update below.] 

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The President's State of the Union Address and What to Expect

Below is a checklist of what I am looking for in tonight’s State of the Union address.  In addition to what is written below, I confess to feeling a certain relief—however temporary—in having the opportunity to focus on substantive policy choices and our "normal" divisions on the left and the right . So with this mind, here is what I’m looking for tonight:

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Iran Negotiations -- The Final Phase

The completion last week of the framework phase of the P5+1 coalition's nuclear negotiations with Iran  presents an opportunity to take stock of where the parties are and what to expect over the next few months leading up to the deadline for the final phase of negotiations now set for June 30th.  This analysis looks forward to the extent possible and amounts to my humble attempt to focus on what we might anticipate to see in negotiations and my even more humble recommendations to those who know far more about the substance of these talks than I would ever claim to have.  Much of what I discuss below is addressed in some of my previous posts addressing these negotiations.

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IRAN NEGOTIATIONS AND THE IMPORTANCE OF A WRITTEN FRAMEWORK

The deadline for the framework agreement in the P5+1 nuclear negotiations with Iran is this coming Tuesday, March 31st.  That is when the parties are supposed to have a political agreement setting forth the parameters for negotiations on "technical" issues in the final phase of negotiations (scheduled to be completed in the early part of this coming summer).  

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Just What Did Bibi Netanyahu Say About Two States?

I had expressed my opinion in a comment thread relating to the Israeli election that the prime ministers's alleged disavowal of the two-state solution was incorrect.  I subsequently came across this editorial in today's New York Daily News supporting what I also believed and had perceived to be a lonely argument.

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Iran Negotiations and a Path Forward

I have written and commented quite a bit about my reservations about the Iran negotiations, and I just want to shift gears here and offer what I hope are taken as good faith observations and recommendations for moving forward.  I address what I believe are the three principal issues that must be resolved: (1) whether any deal negotiated is a good deal; (2) what the president should show in order to establish whether the deal is good; and (3) the role of the Congress.   Obviously, framing the issues, while helpful in my view, does not mask the complexity of that which is found beneath each of them.

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The Iran Negotiations -- Non-Binding Except When They Are?

The debate over the appropriate role for Congress in the P5+1 nuclear negotiations with Iran continues as the month-end deadline for a so-called "framework agreement" approaches.  A bipartisan group of senate co-sponsors led by Senator Corker  announced that on or shortly after March 24th they intend to begin deliberations over a bill (S. 615), which would require that any agreement t reached be submitted for review by the Senate, and which would also provide for a Senate vote on whether to approve the agreement.  The president has threatened to veto that bill and continues to insist that the advice and consent of the Congress is not required because any agreement that is negotiated will be "non-binding".  Last night, White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough warned Senator Corker not to proceed with the vote, and claimed that such a vote would unduly interfere with the ongoing negotiations.  Corker has indicated that the bill will likely come to Senate floor in mid-April at the earliest. [Note this paragraph was edited to correct my erroneous description of the procedural aspects of S. 615. My apologies.]

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President Obama's Address to the Nation

Tomorrow evening This evening at 9 a.m. eastern time,  President Obama will address the nation and is expected to focus on ISIS, the threat he believes ISIS poses, and the the outlines of a strategy going forward to deal with any threat he identifies.  It is a difficult speech, both for political reasons, but more importantly because he will be speaking to a number of very different domestic and international constituencies in this one address.  Notably, many of the president's base supporters, people who have stayed with him from the beginning, have done so in large measure because they have trusted him to avoid the urge to solve the world's problems through the barrel of a gun. As to the president, whatever one thinks of him overall, I think it is fair to say that he does not look to involve the nation's military unless he determines that there really are no other viable options. 

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