Thoughts On Liz Truss’s Downfall

Thirty years ago, during Bill Clinton‘s first Presidential election, a particular catchphrase became an integral part of the campaign:

“It’s the economy, stupid”

Last week, former British Prime Minister Liz Truss resigned after six weeks in office. She has the unfortunate status of having the shortest time in the position in British history.

I am the first to admit that my knowledge of the British political system is limited. If nothing else, it proves that a female politician has as much capacity to succeed or fail as a male politician does.

That aside, two things come to mind. The first is that it proves (hopefully once and for all), that trickle-down economics does not work and will never work. The second is that instead of continuing to endorse Truss and this disaster of an economic policy, her party saw the writing on the wall. They understood that if they continued to support her, the public might not support them.

If only the Republicans in this country might have done the same to a certain former President.

Obviously, we do not know at this point who Truss’s replacement will be. But I do know that the members of the Conservative Party have more balls than their American counterparts do.

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Profiles in Ignorance: How America’s Politicians Got Dumb and Dumber Book Review

No one expects a politician to be perfect. But we do expect that they will have the emotional and intellectual intelligence to govern as the voters need them to. Unfortunately, those expectations are not always met.

Profiles in Ignorance: How America’s Politicians Got Dumb and Dumber, by Andy Borowitz, was published last month. Examining American politics and politicians over the last five decades, Borowitz exposes how some politicians are not what they seem to be. He starts the book with Ronald Reagan‘s 1966 Gubenationatorial election in California and ends with you know who. As the decades pass, it becomes clear that the lights are on, but no one is home.

Calling out well-known political figures such as Bill Clinton, Sarah Palin, and Dan Quayle, he reveals how their egos, stupidity, and mistakes have caused Americans to see politicians in a not-so-positive light.

In pointing out the imperfections of the subjects, Borowitz provides the reader with the release we all need. While making us laugh and cry, he is sending the message that we don’t have to take it lying down. We can use our voices and our votes to enact the change that we want and need to see.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

Profiles in Ignorance: How America’s Politicians Got Dumb and Dumber is available wherever books are sold.

This Week in American Women: Ketanji Brown Jackson, Karen Berg, and Madeleine Albright

Despite what history (and some men) may say, women are resourceful, intelligent, and more than capable. We just need the opportunity to prove ourselves.

Last week, America lost one of her giants in both history and politics. Madeleine Albright passed away at the age of 84. Appointed to the role of Secretary of State by former President Bill Clinton in 1997, she was the first woman to hold that position. Born to Holocaust survivors who fled Soviet-era Czechoslovakia in 1949, she did not learn that her family was Jewish until she was in her golden years. She will be remembered not just for the crack she left in the glass ceiling, but for her fight for peace and understanding between the nations.

May her memory be a blessing. Z”L

For the last week or so, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson has been grilled by members of Congress in regards to her potentially taking over the seat of Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer when he retires at the end of this term. Judge Jackson is more than qualified for the position. To say that some members of the Republican Party have been outrageous in their conduct towards her is an understatement. Instead of asking genuine questions about her work experience, they are once more appealing to their base by picking at literal straws.

Meanwhile, in Kentucky, the subject of abortion has come up again in the cruelest of manners. Standing up for women and other possibly pregnant persons is State Senator Karen Berg. As the only female and the only doctor on the committee, she pointed out how ridiculous and dangerous (starts at 40:51) the limits on abortion are.

It’s time that we listen not just to these women, but to all women. We have voices, we have opinions, and it’s about dam time we are given our due.

Impeachment: American Crime Story Review

Back in the late 1990’s, the impeachment trial of then President Bill Clinton was everywhere. His affair with Monica Lewinsky and the scandal that followed could not be ignored. One would have to be either living under a rock or under a certain age to at least not catch a whiff of what was coming from Washington DC.

The third season of the FX series, American Crime Story, focuses on the whirlwind that surrounded the Clinton administration following the rumor that he had an extramarital affair with Lewinsky, who was then an intern in her early 20’s. Clive Owen plays the former President. The four main female players are Lewinsky (Beanie Feldstein), Hillary Clinton (Edie Falco), Linda Tripp (Sarah Paulson), and Paula Jones (Annaleigh Ashford).

What I like about this series is that it takes the sexism that was part and parcel of this this entire affair and turns it on its head. Nowadays, Clinton has been politically lionized in some circles for what he did while in office. But it is easy to forget that his reputation was that of a hound dog who was not above forgetting his marriage vows. The focus is not on him, but the women around them. Depending on the sources, Lewinsky (who is one of the producers of this season), Clinton, Tripp, and Jones are either mocked, ignored, or vilified for their behavior during this period. Instead of being portrayed as 2D stereotypes, these women are fully rounded characters and finally allowed to tell this story from their perspective.

The cast is fantastic. Owens disappears under a prosthetic nose and a southern accent. Feldstein gives her character the breadth and depth that she finally deserves after being a punchline for twenty plus years. Paulson’s Tripp is sort of an anti-hero. The viewer may not agree with the decisions she made, but we learn more of her than the headlines portrayed back then. For their parts, Falco and Ashford are equally good, trying to hold their own in a world that does not do them justice.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

Impeachment: American Crime Story airs on FX on Tuesday night at 10PM.

Rodham Book Review

Life sometimes comes down to a series of choices. But the thing about these choices is that we never know where these choices will lead us.

Curtis Sittenfeld‘s new novel, Rodham, was released back in May. The book asks one basic question: what if Hillary Rodham has not married Bill Clinton? How would her life had turned out?

The book starts out when they are both students at Yale Law School in the 1970’s. Finding a nearly ideal partner in one another, their romantic relationship is on fire. After graduation, Hillary follows Bill back to Arkansas. But instead of marrying him, she ends the relationship.

Over the decades, Bill and Hillary will cross paths as she builds a career in politics and grapples with the same sexism that existed in her youth.

This book is brilliant. Balancing both the known facts and the what if question, Sittenfeld creates a narrative that feels completely organic. I was immediately sucked in and taken through an alternative history that could have happened, had things gone differently.

I absolutely recommend it.

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.

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.

Do Not Take Away Our Healthcare

The bedrock of American society is based on the following statement: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

I’d like to talk about the first word in that statement: life. That requires seeing a doctor, even if it is just for an annual checkup. The problem in this country is that for many citizens, their ability to see a doctor is dependent on if they can afford to see the doctor. Now that the Mueller Report is out, you know who has his sights set on destroying the ACA once and for all.

Unlike other first world countries (Canada and Britain come to mind) where the healthcare system is funded by the tax payers, Americans are generally in two categories when it comes to healthcare. They either have a medical plan via their employer or they receive benefits from one of the government-funded plans. This should not be the case, which is why the ACA was created. The problem is that you know who is so obsessed with erasing is predecessor’s legacy and fulfilling his promise to his base, that he is leaving millions of Americans behind.

Newsflash, politicians make promises on the campaign trail and end up breaking them after being elected. When the late President Bush was running for President in 1988, he infamously promised that there would be no new taxes. A couple of years into his Presidency, he made the difficult decision that additional taxes were needed. In 1992, that promise backfired on him when Bill Clinton was elected.

No healthcare system is perfect. I’m sure Canadian and British citizens have gripes about their healthcare system. But the point is, that it’s there for anyone who needs it, regardless of income or employment status.

We are just under a year and a half away from the 2020 Presidential election. I predict (though I could be wrong) that healthcare will be one of the top issues and will have a hand determining who ultimately wins the election. If you know who wants another term as President (G-d help us if he does win), I suggest that he puts his ego aside and remember the people who voted him into office.

P.S. Is anyone as disturbed as I am by Betsy DeVos removing Special Olympics from her budget and and Alabama Rep. Mo Brooks (R) quoting directly from Mein Kampf? The Democrats may have their issues, but at least I know that they aren’t screwing this country over to save their own skins.

 

Happy Birthday, Ruth Bader Ginsburg!

We often make assumptions based on another’s appearance. One of the factors that use to make those assumptions is the height of a person.

Today is Ruth Bader Ginsburg‘s 86th birthday. Born in Brooklyn in 1933, she was part of the first generation of women in the 1950’s who sought out a professional career while maintaining a marriage and raising children. Though she facing discrimination on multiple fronts, she knew that the fight for the rights of American women was paramount. In 1993, she became the second female Justice on the Supreme Court when President Bill Clinton appointed her as the then newest member of SCOTUS.

I think the best quote to sum up Justice Ginsburg comes from A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

“Though she be but little, she is fierce!”

Justice Ginsburg is one of the many women who paved the way for this generation of American woman. She fought for our rights and lit a fire under our collective bottoms that will never go out.

Happy Birthday Ruth Bader Ginsburg!

A Democratic Mob? Let’s Talk About The Bombs Mailed To CNN, The Clintons, Obama And George Soros

In an effort to encourage Republican voters to vote in two weeks, the current resident of The White House described Democrats as a mob.

History tells us that there is a correlation between words and deeds, especially in politics.

The major headline of the day is that bombs were mailed to the New York City office of CNN, to the suburban New York homes of the Clinton’s and George Soros, and to the Washington DC home of Barack Obama.

Thankfully, no one was hurt or killed. The authorities were able to intercept the bombs before they could do any real damage.

We have a tradition in this country that allows different points of view (especially when it comes to politics) to be heard and respected with equal measure. That being said, it’s fine to disagree with someone when it comes to politics, it’s not acceptable to kill or destroy because of those political beliefs. What happened today speaks volumes about the current state of American politics and more importantly, it points to the person who is encouraging such acts.

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