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Nancy is Back (Published in the Urban News)

I wrote this for the Urban News in January 2019

Image result for nancy pelosi

We progressives can be a quirky, funny type of people. I am not sure why we do not treat Nancy Pelosi with the same reverence that we show Ruth Bader Ginsburg or Barack Obama. Yet when the dust settled, and it was clear that the Republicans took a shellacking in November, there was a lot of handwringing over Nancy becoming Speaker of the House again.

I guess that is understandable. We, progressives, tend to question everything. On one hand, that trait can be somewhat annoying; on the other hand, asking questions can keep you out of trouble (See Iraq War, in which no thoughtful questions were asked in the Bush administration).

Nancy Pelosi has a long record of supporting progressive causes. During the George W. Bush presidency, Nancy opposed the Iraq war. (She asked the right questions.) She opposed illegal wiretaps, which seemed to be routine during the Bush administration. Bush thought he had a mandate when he started his second term in office and proposed privatization of Social Security. Nancy Pelosi led the charge against that cockamamie idea. She did get sideways with progressive movement when she decided it was not in the country’s best interest to pursue impeachment hearings against George W. Bush. To Nancy, it was more important to fix what was broken than to punish the people who broke it. As she always does, she wanted to look forward, not back.

When she was Speaker during the first two years of Barack Obama’s administration, so much progressive legislation got passed it was dizzying. Remember, we were in the midst of the Great Recession. She helped pass the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which saved our economy. No, she did not go after the bankers; she did help put America on track for recovery that has lasted almost 10 years. The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. The Credit Card Act which forced credit card companies to explain all of their fees in plain, simple language. She helped extend unemployment benefits to 20 weeks in states with high unemployment.

And, of course, there was the patient protection and affordability healthcare act also known as ObamaCare, which gave 20 million Americans who did not have health insurance, health insurance. This is exactly what we want a progressive leader to do.

Our government has been shut down since December 22 because Donald Trump wants funding for his border wall. According to his latest pronouncements, the president is willing to keep the government shut down indefinitely. One of Speaker Pelosi’s first acts was shepherding two bills through the House to fund the government.

One funds the Department of Homeland Security through Feb. 8, to give legislators and the administration time to negotiate border security. The other funds the departments of Agriculture, Interior, Housing and Urban Development and others affected by the shutdown through the end of the fiscal year, Sept. 30. The Republican Senate and House (under former Speaker Paul Ryan) couldn’t manage to do even that much last year.

Both bills passed the House and now they’re waiting for Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell, (Donald Trump’s lapdog), to bring them to the Senate floor for debate and a vote. That is not going to happen.

Nancy Pelosi will use all of her skill and power to try to reopen the government as quickly as possible. She understands the problem. Look for her also to begin to pass comprehensive border security legislation that does not include any funding for the wall. This will prove that progressives are interested in border security, because we are.

The very first legislation Pelosi’s House Democrats passed was HR 1, aimed at decreasing the influence of money in politics and expanding voting rights. This is solid progressive legislation. It places a little bit more pressure on Mitch McConnell and the Senate, who again will try to ignore the bill.

Like “The Notorious RBG” (Ruth Bader Ginsberg), Nancy Pelosi doesn’t give great speeches. She will not star in a rap video. She will not vindictively go after opponents—but she will hold malefactors’ feet to the fire. She doesn’t use the coolest lingo, but she will show up every day for work in heels and pearls. She will protect children, women, minorities, the GLBTQ community, and the underserved. She will protect Social Security and Medicare against renewed assaults. She will stand up for health care, education, and our environment.

Most of all, she will stand up to Trump and his nonsense every day. That’s what we need in a House Speaker. Go Nancy Go!

By |2019-07-27T15:15:36-04:00July 27th, 2019|Obama administration, Party Politics|Comments Off on Nancy is Back (Published in the Urban News)

Donald Trump’s Muslim Ban – Update

In my opinion, the best lie is the one that is just a little bit tainted with truth. Those lies are the best lies. About two weeks ago, President Donald Trump (yeah, it still does not sound right) signed an executive order which asked for increased scrutiny of persons wanting to immigrate to this country from several lands. I say “several lands,” because if you actually read his executive order; first of all, it is kind of a headache, as it is long and nonspecific. The order does not actually specify Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen. So, let us actually read what the order says I hereby proclaim that the immigrant and nonimmigrant entry into the United States of aliens from countries referred to in section 217(a)(12) of the INA, 8 U.S.C. 1187(a)(12), would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, and I hereby suspend entry into the United States, as immigrants and nonimmigrants, of such persons for 90 days from the date of this order (excluding those foreign nationals traveling on diplomatic visas, North Atlantic Treaty Organization visas, C-2 visas for travel to the United Nations, and G-1, G-2, G-3, and G-4 visas).

Now, this whole thing quickly gets complicated. It appears that President Trump’s executive order refers to the “Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act of 2015.” This bill was tacked onto the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2016. So, it is kinda hard to say that this was an Obama administration initiative. The bill was actually written by former Congresswoman Candice Miller, a Republican. To make matters even more confusing, this bill, HR 158, simply canceled the Visa Waiver Program. So, essentially, what this did was force travelers from Syria and Iraq to get visas the old-fashioned way, through interviews at the American consulate. So, President Obama had the choice of signing this huge, omnibus spending bill into law, allowing our government to continue to operate (or to veto it), because of this bill’s being tacked on by Congresswoman Miller. You tell me, does this sound like an Obama program?

So, because this is not confusing enough, Donald Trump said, “My policy is similar to what President Obama did in 2011 when he banned visas for refugees from Iraq for six months.” Um, this is not exactly true either. So, in response to the May 2011 arrest of two Iraqi refugees on terrorism charges in Bowling Green, Kentucky, the Obama Administration decided that immigrants from Iraq warranted increased scrutiny. This was not a ban. It was increased scrutiny. So, on one hand, Donald Trump was right. President Obama did do something in 2011, and his policy was relatively similar… kind of, but not really.

This is not the kind of thing you should NOT be arguing over at the water cooler. It is simply not worth it. There are tons of details. For the most part, when you are arguing over at the office water cooler, nobody knows the details. The reason I bring this up is that I heard the argument in the emergency room. Two doctors were going at it. One was accusing the other of hypocrisy because “Obama did the same thing.” No, Obama did not. Go back and read. While it is important to engage our fellow Americans, it is not important to discuss the details of a ban that is an actual ban; verses Obama’s ban, which was not, in reality, a ban. Got it.

Finally, I think that the President has the power to control who is coming into this country. I think that’s in the Constitution. I don’t think we can argue that. Instead, the argument is what kind of convoluted nonsense Trump put in his executive order.  Oops. I just got an email from my (our) constitutional scholar Linda Monk. I was wrong!!! Article I gives the power of immigration to Congress and NOT the president.  Article I, Section 8 – The Congress shall have Power to establish as uniform Rule of Naturalization. There it is in black and white.  Article II deals with the President. It says in Section 2 – The President shall be Commander in Chief of the  Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual service of the United States. The president’s powers, with regard to immigration, are implied. So, Congress needs to pass a law restricting immigration from those 7 countries. That would be lawful!

News Roundup – Cuba, Katie, New Jersey Water

President Obama is in Cuba. Yep, Cuba. I think that this is a good thing. Not talking with Cuba really has done nothing to destabilize its government in over 50 years. Let’s try to bring them into the 21st century.

Kate Couric bought a $12 million condo in New York. Look, I’m happy for her, but $12 million for 4000 sq ft? Couldn’t she have spent a million dollars and gotten something really nice in Virginia? Maybe fly back and forth? I’m just askin’.

What has happened in Flint, Michigan is a tragedy. This type of travesty should never happen in the United States. Ever. It looks as if other folks have water issues, like New Jersey. 80 carcinogens were found in New Jersey’s water supply. That’s not good.

A terror suspect has been found. Salah Abdeslam was captured in Belgium. He was wanted in the Paris attacks.

Clinton folks are going to paint Trump as unfit for the presidency. I think that this strategy is too weak. Trump needs to be painted as dangerous, undisciplined and crazy.

Another violent outburst at a Trump rally.

NCAA – Sweet 16!!!

Congratulations to Jason Day for winning the Arnold Palmer Invitational. Days sinks a putt on the 72nd hole for the win. It was a gutsy performance.

By |2016-03-21T22:34:17-04:00March 21st, 2016|Domestic Issues, Foreign Affairs, Obama administration, Party Politics, Sports, Terrorism|Comments Off on News Roundup – Cuba, Katie, New Jersey Water