Category Archives: Politics

Shame on You, Rand Paul

When the volunteers and first responders ran toward the still smoldering rubble that was the Twin Towers on September 11th, 2001, they were not thinking of the compensation they would later be receiving from the government or the diseases that they would be dying from. They only though of finding survivors and recovering the remains of those who did not survive.

This year is the 18th anniversary of the attack. Approximately 90,000 Americans put their lives on hold to help with the rescue and recovery effort. Nearly half of these people, numbering around 40,000 have been diagnosed with cancers that could have only come from the toxic air that was expelled from the remains of the towers.

It should, therefore be a no-brainer that these men and women (and their families by extension) are financially compensated, especially given the expensive medical bills that come with cancer.

But Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) believes otherwise. He and fellow Republican Mike Lee (R-Utah) voted against the funding. Senator Paul’s reasons for not voting for the compensation fund is as follows:

“It has long been my feeling that we need to address our massive debt in the country,” he said. “And therefore any new spending …  should be offset by cutting spending that’s less valuable. We need to, at the very least, have this debate.”

There is nothing to debate. More than our thanks or our verbal support, these men and women need our financial support. While they battle cancer, they should not be worrying about being able to pay their mortgage or put food on their tables. They should only be worrying about their health and their loved ones.

From my perspective, this is just another sign that the Republicans, as a party, have forgotten who hired them and who they are responsible to. I am not saying that the Democrats are perfect, but at least I know that they are doing the jobs that the average American voter hired them to do.

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Mitch McConnell Could Not Defend His Wife, I Doubt That He Can Defend This Country

If you can, please imagine the following scenario. You are one half of an interracial or inter-religious couple. Someone whom you work with and are in frequent company with makes what can only be described as a racist comment. Do you let the comment slide and make excuses for this person? Or do you stand up for your spouse/significant other and your relationship?

It is my opinion that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) has sold his soul to you know who in order to retain his position. After the blatantly racist comments that you know who made via twitter over the weekend, Senator McConnell made the following statement to the press:

“The president’s not a racist,” McConnell said. “And I think the tone of all of this is not good for the country. But it’s coming from all ideological points of view. To single out any segment of this I think is a mistake.”

The sad irony of his statement is that his wife, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao was born in China and immigrated to the United States as a child. She became a United States citizen at the age of 19. She is an example of the immigrant that you know who would, if he had his way, prevent from entering this country.

Politics aside, I would hope that Senator McConnell would defend his wife and his marriage. He may have done so in private, but these days, that conversation is worth nothing. It is the public statement condemning racism in all it’s forms that matters. But given his vague and slap on the wrist comment, I doubt that the Senator would actually defend this country if it came to it.

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What If the Average Citizen Had Spoken Up?

The question of “what if” is heavy question to ask, especially when it comes to certain historical events.

We know that we live in an imperfect world. We know that we live in a world in which one’s opportunities are often dependent on and defined by factors such as race, family background, religion, etc. We know know that we live in a world where many have been persecuted and massacred simply because of who they are.

Given what is happening in our country and in our world today, the what if questions in regards to the Holocaust and the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II seem particularly potent.

What if the average citizen had spoken up? What if they had publicly protested, contacted their representative and voiced their concerns about the treatment of their fellow citizens? Would the world as we know it to be today different and perhaps a better place?

As I walked out of work this afternoon in midtown Manhattan, traffic ground to a halt. All four lanes of traffic were stopped, for what I think is a necessary reason.

The average citizen spoke up. They made it loud and clear that what our government is doing to the South American migrants who are only seeking asylum and a new life in the United States is wrong.

We cannot go back and undo the Holocaust or the internment of the Japanese-Americans during World War II. But this protest today and the hundreds of others gives me hope that humanity is working towards a future in which all of us are treated equal.

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The Following Statement was Made by the President of the United States: “Go Back to Where You Came From”

There are some people in this country who still believe that the United States is a white, Christian nation. According to these people, anyone who does not fit into both of those categories is either ineligible to be an American or is only fit to be labeled as a second class citizen.

Among these people is the President of the United States.

Over the weekend, he tweeted the following statement about four Democratic Congresswomen: go back to where you came from. The targets of this tweet were Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) and Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.). All four of them are freshman members of Congress and women of color. The incorrect irony of his tweet is that three of the four targeted Congresswomen are natural born American citizens. Ilhan Omar is the only one who was actually born in another country and immigrated as a child. She has been a citizen for nearly twenty years.

The truth of America’s history is that we have always been a multi-cultural nation. Unfortunately, that truth has been hidden to ensure that only a small minority have access to the American dream. Due to decades of hard work and soul searching, we have finally started to open the door to those who have been systematically disenfranchised and make amends for our collective sins.

The question now is, where do we, as a nation go from here? Do we let this racist used car salesman drag us back into the past? Or do we continue to walk the high road and work toward the ideal society that our founding fathers created when they broke from the British over 200 years ago?

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Let Me Finish: Trump, the Kushners, Bannon, New Jersey, and the Power of In-Your-Face Politics Book Review

Sometimes, it takes an insider to tell the truth and reveal the facts that the public may or may not be aware of.

At the end of 2016, it appeared that former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (R-NJ) might join the new Presidential administration. He was wrong.

Governor Christie’s new memoir is entitled Let Me Finish: Trump, the Kushners, Bannon, New Jersey, and the Power of In-Your-Face Politics. In the book, Governor Christie tells his story as only he can. He takes the reader through his life. Starting with his early years, to his career in the legal field which led to his career in government, his marriage and his children and finally to his interactions over the years with you know who.

I really liked this book. Governor Christie pulls no punches, telling the truth from his perspective and revealing what it was like to work with you know who. He also talks about how hard it is to be in a position of political power, and the endless work it takes to ensure that the government is running smoothly.

I recommend it.

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The Enemy of the People: A Dangerous Time to Tell the Truth in America Book Review

When a President or any political leader refers to someone or something as “enemy of the people”, one probably thinks that this person is not democratically elected. They probably think that this person is a dictator or autocrat, ruling a country in which human rights and the rights of the average citizen barely exist or don’t exist at all.

This phrase was uttered by you know who, who somehow was elected as President of the United States in 2016.

Journalist Jim Acosta‘s new memoir, The Enemy of the People: A Dangerous Time to Tell the Truth in America, is his memoir of his years as a White House correspondent. In the book, he details how you know who is a threat to our democracy and our First Amendment rights due to his lies, half truths and not so secret war on the press.

The thing that struck about Mr. Acosta’s story is that it is eerily reminiscent of the early years of a dictatorship. My hope is that this book inspires the reader to think for themselves and make a decision about their political future. Do they want to live in a thriving and growing democracy? Or do they want to continue to let you know who take us to h*ll in a handbasket?

I absolutely recommend it.

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Reckoning: The Epic Battle Against Sexual Abuse and Harassment Book Review

Since the beginning of human history, men have used sex to gain power over women. But thanks the hard work of generations of women, the power imbalance is starting to even out.

In the new book, Reckoning: The Epic Battle Against Sexual Abuse and Harassment, by Linda Hirshman, explores how women have fought back against sexual harassment and have slowly began to win the war.

Ms. Hirshman starts her book in the 1970’s, when women began to talk to each other and organize against men who took advantage of their female subordinates. She then moves forward in time highlighting a number of accusations of rape and/or sexual harassment against prominent men and the women who were brave enough to go public with the accusations. The list includes the 1991 Clarence Thomas Hearings and the accusations by Anita Hill, the Monica Lewinsky/Bill Clinton Scandal, and the multiple women claimed that Harvey Weinstein took advantage of them sexually.

Reckoning is a perfect title for this book. While telling the story of these brave and bold women, Ms. Hirshman inspires the reader to stand up for those who cannot stand up for themselves. She also pulls no punches, calling out politicians on both sides of the aisle, women who stay silent and men who continue to perpetuate this heinous act.

I absolutely recommend it.

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It Does Not Say “Tell Them Not To Come” on the Statue of Liberty

For generations, millions of new immigrants passed by the State of Liberty as the United States came into view. Carved into the statue are the words of Emma Lazarus‘s immortal poem, The New Colossus.

Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

It does not say anywhere within the poem, “tell them not to come”.

Those are the words of the man who Americans elected to lead us in 2016.

What are these migrants supposed to do? Stay in a country in which violence, destruction and hunger is the norm? Watch as their children starve or die from gang violence? Just hand over their sons to the gangs to fill their ranks? Give their daughters to the gangs to become sexual playthings?

What would you do if you were in their shoes? Would you just stay or make the dangerous trek to America, hoping that the United States provides the safety and freedom that does not exist in your home country?

Past generations have left their homelands for America for the same reason that these people are leaving for America. It’s time to tell the administration to stop this persecution of Central American immigrants and treat them as human beings.

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The Matriarch: Barbara Bush and the Making of an American Dynasty Book Review

When I was growing up in the 1980s and 1990s, the late former First Lady Barbara Bush looked like a grandmother straight out of Hollywood central casting. Her white hair was cut short, she was known for her pearls and matronly clothing and she was the matriarch of a large family. But there is so much more to her than the image.

Susan Page’s new biography, The Matriarch: Barbara Bush and the Making of an American Dynasty, tells the story of Mrs. Bush from her perspective. Born in 1925 to a wealthy family whose roots went back to the founding of America, she was the third of four children. Equally belittled and ignored by her mother about her weight, the future First Lady never got over the comments she received as a child.

In her late teens, she married the future President George H.W. Bush. Married for seven decades, she brought six children into the world. Her oldest son, George W. Bush, followed in his father’s footsteps. Her oldest daughter, Robin, died of Leukemia at age three, leaving her mother with an emotional scar that never healed. Later as an adult, she battled depression and aided both her husband and son during their time in the White House.

Containing interviews with Mrs. Bush, President Bush, her family, political aides, press clippings, diary entries and other details, this books is the complete story of one of America’s most respected First Ladies.

One of the things that I was surprised about was how emotionally strong and outspoken Mrs. Bush was. Like many women of her generation, her adult life focused on her home and her family. But unlike the Donna Reed-like ideal of the 1950’s and 1960’s, Mrs. Bush was not the yes-woman to her husband nor was she the picture of motherly perfection. She was bold, she was outspoken and not above providing unsolicited advice. She may not have been a traditional feminist, but she is the definition of a strong, intelligent and capable woman.

This book is a must read, especially if one is a political junkie. It sheds light not just on the public side of Mrs. Bush, but also the private that only a few were privileged to see.

I recommend it.

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The Birther Movement Cannot Hide From it’s Racist Ideals

In the United States, we like to believe that race is an issue of the past. We like to believe that we judge others based on who they are, not by their skin color or family background. But the reality is that race is a potent and highly emotional issue that is far from being resolved.

Back in 2008, when Barack Obama was running for his first Presidential term, the Birther movement claimed that he was ineligible to run because he was not born in this country. They claimed that he was born in his father‘s home country of Kenya, not in Hawaii as is stated on his birth certificate. It surprised no one that these claims are simply based on the fact that he is the first African-American President in American history.

The latest target of these claims is 2020 Presidential nominee Senator Kamala Harris (D-California). After her surge following last week’s Democratic debate, there are some who claim that because of her Jamaican and Indian heritage, she is not an “American black”. Of course, you know who’s idiot son retweeted the lie, just as his father spread the lie about his predecessor a decade ago.

This claim is nothing but bullsh*t racism. Up to this point, Senator Harris has proven herself to be up to the challenge of possibly running this country. She is not being denigrated because a voter disagrees with her beliefs and potential policies, she is being denigrated because of where her parents came from.

Elections are messy, complicated and full of potholes. The last thing we need coming into this next Presidential election cycle are lies based on something as superficial as race.

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