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Nancy is Back (Published in the Urban News)

I wrote this for the Urban News in January 2019

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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)

Democratic Beauty Contest

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I did not watch the last democratic debate and will not watch this one. How candidates stand in a group of 10 or so has nothing to do with how they will govern. One liners are entertaining but have nothing to do with how one would develop progressive policies to improve America. The only people who benefit from these debates are the media. They get ratings. They get to say who won or lost. They get to sell papers.

In the first debate, Harris took on Biden over busing. What the heck? Not busing today but his stance 40 years ago. Who cares? I’m sorry if Biden hasn’t evolved over 40 years there is something wrong with him. As long as he wasn’t on the courthouse steps yelling, “Segregation today, segregation tomorrow and segregation forever,” I can forgive Biden for whatever he did or said. Why was Harris bringing up something that happened over 40 years ago? Because she wants a leg up. She wants to do better in the polls. This is the problem with these debates. They aren’t debates where we can discuss a topic.

I’m sorry but I don’t think that we can get any meaningful information from these debates.

By |2019-07-12T18:36:05-04:00July 12th, 2019|Domestic Issues, Party Politics|Comments Off on Democratic Beauty Contest

Brett Kavanaugh under Fire

Look, let us take a deep breath. Let us see what is happened over the last week with regards to the Supreme Court Justice nominee Brett Kavanaugh. As expected, Kavanaugh had a bruising and contentious hearing. He had stuck to a well-worn playbook in which you basically say nothing. This is the playbook that he helped develop over the last 20 to 30 years. Then, comes a story that kind of bubbles up from the background. Some lady, someone we have never heard of before, accuses Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault when he was a teenager. Does his behavior as a teenager reflect on the man that he is now? Maybe? Many of my friends that follow me on Facebook, or people that I have been friends with for over 40 years. They know that we did dumb and somewhat embarrassing stuff when we were kids. Yet, I think this is important, how you defend yourself now reflects on not who you were 30 years ago but what kind of man you are now. You are about to be appointed to the highest court in the land. This is the time when you can show us, Americans, exactly who you are. Is it possible that you are roundly accused? Of course it is. Stand up and face your accuser. Do not go on Fox News and hide behind the beautiful anchorwoman who is throwing softball questions. We all remember David Vitter who stated that he loved his wife and would never be associated with a DC Madam. We remember Larry Craig who, with his wife standing beside him, denied the allegations of propositioning a male police officer in an airport bathroom. Brett Kavanaugh had an opportunity to clear his name. He could have and would have been granted an opportunity in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee. All he had to do was ask Charles Grassley for a fair hearing. Not a kangaroo court but a fair hearing where witnesses from both sides could be heard. He is Brett Kavanaugh. He is not just a lawyer. He is one of the super lawyers in our country. He could have and should have presented a marvelous defense of his character. Instead, like a drunken sailor, he keeps swinging wildly at as a target. Well practiced phrases like “outrageous” and “twilight zone” roll off of his lips.

All of this should have been anticipated by the White House. We are currently living in the #MeToo movement. It was hard if not impossible not to anticipate that some female was not going to come out of Brett Kavanaugh’s past. The problem is, it appears that they have allowed the president to handle the media coordination and statements. Deny, deny and counter deny may work if you are a reality TV star. You cannot use the same media playbook if you are being nominated to the Supreme Court.

Here is the real problem, conservative Democrats now, cannot support Brett Kavanaugh in any way. Female Republican senators Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins have a real problem. In the past, they have spoken out in favor of women’s issues. Now, can they support Brett Kavanaugh? Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination is really in trouble. The math to confirm him is really turning against him. To me, the turning point was when a woman who supported Brett Kavanaugh and then found her own name being disparaged in his yearbook and she withdrew her support. That was the turning point.

Let me be clear, I believe that Brett Kavanaugh is a smart, gifted conservative lawyer. I believe that he is bad for our country. Yet, I do want him to have a fair hearing. I never, ever want to see anyone be publicly dismantled like this. It is sad. No man should be put through such scrutiny but this is the political process that we live with. This is what happens in a democracy. We now live in an environment of no holds barred democracy. This is the environment that help create Donald Trump. Changing our environment is going to be difficult. I pray for our democracy.

By |2018-09-26T21:39:36-04:00September 26th, 2018|Congress, Domestic Issues, Party Politics, Supreme court|Comments Off on Brett Kavanaugh under Fire