Category Archives: National News

Katie Hill, Bill Clinton, and the Hypocrisy of Sexual Politics

Morally speaking, we know that cheating on one’s spouse or significant other is wrong. We also know that having a sexual or romantic relationship with one who works for you is wrong. But that does not preclude us from doing either.

The latest news from Capitol Hill is that Representative Katie Hill (D-California) resigned because she was accused of sleeping with a congressional staffer and having a relationship with a congressional aide. If that was not enough to get the halls of power talking, nude pictures of her were released to the press.

A little more than twenty years ago, former President Bill Clinton (D-Arkansas) was at the height of his popularity. He was also dogged by accusations of sexual assault and whispers that he was cheating on his wife. Then he got involved with Monica Lewinsky, a young White House intern. Those of us who are above a certain age can easily recall the political hell that broke lose during that time.

The disgusting hypocrisy is that while the former Representative’s political career and reputation are in ruins, President Clinton is still held in high regard. This case also brings revenge porn once more into the spotlight, an issue that desperately needs local and state and national legislation to stop once and for all.

It’s time to make it clear that this conduct, regardless of who is accused of it, is wrong. Those who choose to act in this manner will be duly punished. But until that day comes when women are given their due and men get off scot-free, the hypocrisy will remain.

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Thoughts On the First Anniversary of the Pittsburgh Synagogue Shooting

In 2019, we hope that hate and prejudice is a thing of the past. But hope often springs eternal.

This coming Sunday is the first anniversary of the shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh. 11 people were murdered simply because they were Jews. It’s nearly a year later and it hurts as if it was yesterday.

I sometimes try to delude myself that because I lived in the United States, this won’t happen to me. I am seen as a complete human being, not just a member of a particular religious or cultural group. But I have to face reality. Antisemitism is on the rise in numbers that has not been seen in generations. I shouldn’t be afraid to wear an outward symbol of my faith out of fear of being abused or attacked. But this is the reality that we all live in.

The shooting was the subject of this week’s Unorthodox episode. It made me feel less alone and less scared. But it also reminded me that I live in a world in which entering a house of worship requires passing by security and police. I wish that this was not the case, but it is.

May the memory of those 11 innocent people killed on that day forever be a blessing and may their blood be avenged.

Z”l.

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Was There a Clear Winner in last Week’s Democratic Debate?

Last week, the leading 12 Democratic candidates met to debate the issues and to sell themselves as the potential Democratic nominee.

In a packed field of twelve candidates, it takes requires skill and a series of well though out policies to stand out. The question is, was there a clear winner? The answer is no.

Though former Vice President Joe Biden (D-Delaware) is the current front rummer, his lead is not what it was. Between the scandal (if there is one) surrounding his son Hunter and Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) nipping at his heels, he may not be the Democratic savior that many have claimed him to be.

I honestly like Senator Warren. This administration’s view of policy is nothing more than throwing caution to the wind and see what happens. I appreciate a candidate who is comes to the American people with not just ideas, but logistics to back up their ideas. However, Senator Warren’s answer to the question of Medicare for All seemed a little vague to me. Regardless of who is taxed to pay for this program, I need to know who is going to pay and how they are going to pay.

Though there were ten other candidates on the stage, I think that Vice President Biden and Senator Warren have a fight on their hands. We are little more than a year away from the election. The American people have a huge decision to make. Regardless of whomever goes up against you know who next year, it is a fight, that in my mind, will change the course of American history.

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RIP Elijah Cummings

It has been said that true courage comes not from the absence of fear, but rising above the fear.

Rep Elijah Cummings (D-Maryland) passed away yesterday. He was 68. The chair of the House Oversight Committee, he was born in Baltimore in 1951 to former sharecroppers.

Coming of age during the Civil Rights era, he is an icon of the movement and a time when African-Americans were fighting for their most basic rights. As an adult, he first became a lawyer and then went into politics. Recently, he was known for going up against you know who and defending the reputation of his hometown.

It’s hard to find a politician who is as principled, honorable and respectful of this country as Rep Cummings. He set a standard not just for our era, but for the future of what American politics should look like.

May his memory be a blessing.

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Ellen DeGeneres and George W. Bush Are Friends: What is the Big Deal?

It’s one thing to disagree with someone over a political or cultural issue. It’s another thing to completely disassociate yourself with anyone who does not see the world in the same way that you do.

The most recent kerfuffle is that talk show host/actress/comic Ellen DeGeneres hung out with former President George W. Bush (R-Texas). Some have criticized the talk show host for choosing to spend her free time with the 43rd President.

Honestly, I don’t get what the big deal is. If Ellen wants to spend her free time with George Bush, that is her prerogative. Yes, she is a celebrity, but that does not mean that she must listen to the crowd when it comes to who her friends are.

And frankly, this friendship is a very good thing from my perspective. If a gay liberal performer and a straight conservative former President can kick back and relax together, why can’t the rest of the country do the same?

It’s obvious that our country is divided among several political and cultural fault lines. The problem is that we are unwilling to step over those lines and try to see the human being under the label of liberal and conservative. Until we do so, this country will remain as it is today.

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The Proof is in the Whistleblower Transcript

Every President has distinguished themselves and their administration over the last 200+ years. Our current President has distinguished himself and his administration by openly and repeatedly flouting respected political norms and laws, using his office for personal gain and leading America away from democracy.

But developments over the last few days may be the event that gets America back on track.

The complete transcript from the whistleblower was released today. The following lines stood out to me.

“There’s a lot of talk about Biden’s son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do with the Attorney General would be great,” Mr. Trump is summarized as saying. “Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you can look into it… It sounds horrible to me.”

Here it is in, in black and white. The President of the United States of America is asking the leader of a foreign country to help him win the next Presidential election. Instead of being an adult and attempting to win the election by reaching out to American voters, he is cross legal and moral boundaries to get what he wants.

If this is not a reason to get him out of office, either by impeachment or by voting him out of office, I don’t know what is.

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Will the Phone Call With the Ukrainian President Be the Straw That Breaks the Camel’s Back?

For nearly three years, many Americans (myself included), have been angered, stressed and generally not happy with the actions of the man we unfortunately refer to as the President of the United States.

At every turn, we ask is this enough? When will we reach the breaking point to finally get this man out of office?

That breaking point may have arrived. During a phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, you know who may have threatened to pull back promised financial assistance if Mr. Zelensky did not investigate the business interests of Presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden.

It appears that the this phone call may be the straw that finally breaks the camel’s back.

As of earlier this afternoon, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) announced that a formal inquiry has been launched. If the results of the inquiry go in a certain direction, impeachment becomes a serious possibility.

While impeachment does not mean that he will be forced out of office, it is certainly a step in the right direction (at least from my perspective). It says that no one, not even the President is above the law.

Perhaps being impeached will finally teach him that.

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Why I am Not Surprised About You Know Who’s Response to Cokie Roberts’s Passing?

When someone dies, the proper response is to share one’s condolences and be sympathetic to the family of the newly deceased. It is not about the person giving the condolences, it is about the person receiving the condolences.

Legendary journalist Cokie Roberts passed away this week. She was 75. Ms. Roberts was a journalist among journalists. She broke down barriers for female journalists and was the face of the news for millions of Americans.

An appropriate response to her passing is something like the statement released by former President Obama:

“Michelle and I are sad to hear about the passing of Cokie Roberts. She was a trailblazing figure; a role model to young women at a time when the profession was still dominated by men; a constant over forty years of a shifting media landscape and changing world, informing voters about the issues of our time and mentoring young journalists every step of the way. She will be missed – and we send our condolences to her family.”

Instead, the man whom we unfortunately call President, released the following statement:

“She never treated me nicely. But I would like to wish her family well. She was a professional, and I respect professionals. I respect you guys a lot, you people a lot. She was a real professional. Never treated me well, but I certainly respect her as a professional.”

Not everything is about him. Sometimes, we have to yield the spotlight to someone else. But he does not understand that. Nor does he understand or respect that the press is an integral part of a democratic country.

Just another reason to vote him out of office next fall.

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Thoughts On the New Brett Kavanaugh Accusations: Where There is Smoke, There is Fire

When Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed last year, his confirmation was far from smooth.

This week, new sexual assault allegations have surfaced against Justice Kavanaugh. If that was not enough, there are some who are questioning if the FBI did a thorough investigation and are calling for his impeachment.

Where there is smoke, there is fire.

From my perspective, the fact that he was still confirmed in spite of the evidence speaks to the act that powerful men can still get away with sexual assault. Women are still there just to be sexual objects.

Where there is smoke, there is fire. I have a feeling that this will not be the last time that we will be hearing about the sexual misconduct of Justice Kavanaugh.

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Of Course, He Changes His Mind About Vaping

We all know that smoking kills.

With this in mind, the tobacco companies had to find a new revenue stream and new customers. Enter vaping and the more dangerous counterfeit vaping products. Especially those with flavors that are marketed to young people.

As of last week, six people died from vaping. In my mind, this is a health crisis that must be addressed by those in the corridor of power ASAP before more lives are lost.

On Friday, you know who tweeted the following:

“While I like the Vaping alternative to Cigarettes, we need to make sure this alternative is SAFE for ALL!” the President tweeted. “Let’s get counterfeits off the market, and keep young children from Vaping!”

In a move that is not a surprise to anyone, this comment is a complete 180 compared to a previous statement from Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar.

“It’ll take several weeks for us to put out the final guidance that will announce all the parameters around the enforcement policy, and then there will likely be about a 30-day delay to effective date, as is customary,” Azar said. But “at that point all flavored e-cigarettes other than tobacco flavor would have to be removed from the market.”

Last week, a very wise talking head perfectly explained the reason for the chaos coming out of Washington. They stated that the chaos is because you know who will say one thing and then turn around and say another thing completely. How does Congress get anything done with a President who cannot make up his mind?

The fact is that we need a President who is a leader. We need someone who listens to the experts, reads the facts and makes a logical decision based on both. We need a President who does not think that they are always right. We need a President who sticks to their guns, but also understands that there are moments in which they will have to apologize for something they did or said. We need a President who is not in the back pocket of the lobbyists and the ultra wealthy corporations.

This current President is none of that. For this reason, he must be voted out of office next year.

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