Category Archives: National Politics

This Conservative Defends Journalists

Over the weekend we had this:

I’m not a journalist.  Journalists go to universities to learn their trade, intern with publications, sometimes spend years working their way up through the ranks, and hone their craft in whatever arm of the media they work. Their study includes ethics along with checks-and-balances and accountability. We may not agree with them all the time, but they have standards to adhere to, and must answer for unethical actions.

My sister is a journalist with a master’s degree. I’ve seen her journey through the years. She is #NotTheEnemy.

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What Is Going On In D.C.?

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Today, Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez (D-IL) issued a statement in response to being excluded from a meeting in the U.S. Capitol with Acting Director Thomas Homan of ICE.  Rep. Gutiérrez was asked to leave the meeting by staffers for Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) at the request of Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) and Speaker Ryan.  Several other Members were excluded from the meeting with the ICE official, including Reps. Nanette Barragán (D-CA), Tony Cárdenas (D-CA), Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO), Lou Correa (D-CA), Ruben Kihuen (D-NV), Grace Napolitano (D-CA), Norma Torres (D-CA), and Juan Vargas (D-CA).

One common denominator for those excluded representatives appears to be that they are all Democrats.

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1939, and 2017

ship-2While in my 20s, I read the book, “Voyage of the Damned,” about the 1939 voyage of the MS St. Louis that carried just under 1,000 German Jews to Cuba in hopes of escaping Hitler’s murderous rampage against European Jews. When Cuba refused to accept them, they tried the U.S. but were also turned away. In the end, 600 of the 937 passengers lost their lives in Nazi concentration camps. America gave in to isolationism until we were attacked on December 7, 1941, at Pearl Harbor.

I have often wondered in the years since where I would have been in 1939, ideologically. Would I have agreed with banning the Jewish immigrants, or would I have been against the government’s decision? I wanted to believe I would have been more compassionate.

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Republicans Are From Mars, Democrats Are From Venus

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“I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend.” – Thomas Jefferson

We are a polarized country. The 2016 presidential campaign saw the popular vote go to the Democratic candidate while the electoral vote went to the Republican. Now, two weeks after Republican Donald Trump was inaugurated as president, the two sides seem further apart than ever with neither listening to the other. They are shouting past each other on a daily basis.

The lack of understanding from both sides reminds of the very popular 1990s novel, “Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus,” that explored the differences between men and women.

I was talking with a friend today about the state of current politics, noting that I had never seen the country so divided. And then I stopped, thought a moment, and said, “But when George W. Bush was elected, everyone was polarized, and then it continued into Barack Obama.” And she said, “I wrote a paper in college [for her political science class] on how polarized the country was at that time.”

That was in the 1980s.

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Letter to Donald Trump From Courageous Dr. Russell Moore

russell-moore-1Not only is there a split in the country during these polarizing days but there is a split within the evangelical community. We all know the Franklin Grahams and others very publicly supported Donald Trump and delivered their flocks for him. Less known are the men who stood up to their religious peers — Dr. Russell Moore who is president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, pastor and author Max Lucado, Matt BarberDr. Michael Brown, and others.

As a Southern Baptist, I was grateful when Dr. Moore held onto his faith and sound ethics as reasons for not getting behind Donald Trump. You can bet he is now in a battle to save his position because, in the religious world just as in the political world, sharks are waiting. Because he didn’t climb on the band wagon but instead stood by his faith, he has a target on his back.

Which makes me even more grateful for the letter he wrote today to The Donald concerning the botched immigration ban that was enacted Friday by executive order and has caused mass confusion and chaos since.

Dr. Moore begins his letter with a reminder that Southern Baptists are on the front line caring for refugees:

In June 2016, the Southern Baptist Convention reaffirmed its decades-long commitment to care for and minister to refugees. The resolution states, “Scripture calls for and expects God’s people to minister to the sojourner.” Southern Baptist churches throughout the United States lead the way in carrying out this calling.

When Vietnam fell in the 1970s, my church in Richmond took in Vietnamese families who lived in church housing and had help finding jobs, becoming acclimated to their new lives, and learning English.  It is what we are called to do:

” ‘For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?’ And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.’ ” –Matthew 25:35-40

And so with that in mind, Dr. Moore continued:

The church’s commitment to welcoming the stranger has long been reflected in our country’s policies toward those fleeing persecution in their home countries. A commitment given voice through the inscription on our Statue of Liberty, “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” Indeed, as our country recalled on Friday, one of our nation’s darkest chapters was our refusal to allow European Jews fleeing the Third Reich to find safe harbor on American soil.

Ah, yes, the Voyage of the Damned — the MS St. Louis — with 900 Jews who were turned back from America’s shores in 1939 and then rejected by every other county it applied to, leaving it no choice but to return to the beginning of its journey. Two-thirds of the passengers perished in concentration  camps. The last ship allowed in, just before the St. Louis, had a young boy on board now known to the world as Dr. Henry Kissinger. I read the book Voyage of the Damned in my 20s and was impacted by the tragic events of that World War II event.

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Obama 9, Trump 7, Executive Orders In First 10 Days

executive-orderOne reason the tea party rose up in 2009 was their alarm when Barack Obama signed numerous executive orders — nine in his first 10 days in office, 16 in January and February alone (see list here).

By March of 2009 tea party demonstrations were beginning to pop up nationwide, and in September of that year hundreds of thousands of anti-Obamacare protesters converged on the Capitol in what turned out to be the beginning of a movement that would lead to a Trump presidency.

As Donald Trump’s administration goes down that same path and the left rises up against the series of executive orders  streaming out of the White House — seven EOs in the first 10 days — there appears to be GOP amnesia about what happened eight years earlier. Déjà vu. The 2018 mid-terms are right around the corner.

Here is the list of Obama’s executive orders for 2009 from the National Archives.

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Commemorating Martin Luther King Jr.

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“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”

–Martin Luther King Jr.

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He’s back: Bob Beckel Returns Today To ‘The Five’

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Bob Beckel, one of my favorite Democrats, is returning to “The Five” at Fox News.

This is good news. Bob and Dana Perino, along with Greg Gutfeld, Eric Bolling, and Kimberly Guilfoyle, made for entertaining and lively discussion each afternoon at 5:00 until Bob left. The long-time Democratic strategist went to CNN but was missed for his frank, down-to-earth contribution to whatever issue was being discussed.

In 2012, as the panel picked their favorite presidents of all time, Bob chose George W. Bush as one of his two favorites along with Democrat Jimmy Carter, both for humanitarian reasons. At the time I wrote:

But the big surprise of the day was Democrat Bob Beckel. After noting that he had two choices because they never receive recognition, he went on to say that Israel was our closest ally in the Middle East and Jimmy Carter was responsible for the Camp David Accords.

His second choice, Beckel went on, was George W. Bush for the good work and help provided for Africa to fight AIDs. Beckel noted that history will probably recognize this down the road because it is believed Bush helped save millions of lives, something he never receives recognition for. Beckel said, “He’s going to be recognized by this Democrat.”

It will be good to have that bipartisan thinking returned to “The Five.” Welcome back, Bob Beckel.

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A look back: Democrat Bob Beckel picks George W. Bush as one of two favorite presidents

Originally published on February 22, 2012.

“The Five” celebrated Presidents Day by choosing their favorite presidents. (See video.) This Fox News Channel show, made up of five rotating panelists, has them sitting around a table discussing the day’s events or top issues. I’ve actually found it to be very interesting at that 5:00 hour of the afternoon.

On Monday, Bob Beckel took the reins to ask each of his fellow “Five” members who was their favorite American president. George W. Bush was chosen by former Bush staffer Dana Perino. Ronald Reagan was chosen by Eric Bolling and Greg Gutfeld. Kimberly Guilfoyle chose Thomas Jefferson.

But the big surprise of the day was Democrat Bob Beckel. After noting that he had two choices because they never receive recognition, he went on to say that Israel was our closest ally in the Middle East and Jimmy Carter was responsible for the Camp David Accords.

His second choice, Beckel went on, was George W. Bush for the good work and help provided for Africa to fight AIDs. Beckel noted that history will probably recognize this down the road because it is believed Bush helped save millions of lives, something he never receives recognition for. Beckel said, “He’s going to be recognized by this Democrat.”

Bravo.

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Civil Rights leader Rep. John Lewis speaks at Monticello, receives Jefferson Medal

By Lynn R. Mitchell
Originally published April 13, 2015

??????????Congressman John Lewis (D-Ga.) was keynote speaker at Monticello’s commemoration of Thomas Jefferson’s 272nd birthday. (Video of birthday ceremony including the congressman’s remarks here.)

Lewis received the 2015 recipient of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medal in Citizen Leadership that recognizes contributions in architecture, law, and citizen leadership, qualities that Mr. Jefferson held in high esteem. As a young man 50 years ago, Mr. Lewis was a civil rights activist with 600 other activists who took part in the Selma-to-Montgomery march that was recently commemorated in Selma with President Barack Obama and former President George W. Bush, both of whom he mentioned in his remarks.

From UVa President Teresa Sullivan: “The University of Virginia is proud to celebrate these leaders, who truly embody the ideals and spirit of Thomas Jefferson. These recipients not only exemplify premier talent in their fields, but also, like Jefferson, they provide essential leadership for our world in the areas of architecture, law and citizen leadership.”

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U.S. House Schedule for Friday, January 13, 2017

From Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy….

FRIDAY, JANUARY 13th

On Friday, the House will meet at 9:00 a.m. for legislative business. First votes expected: 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. Last votes expected: 2:45 p.m. – 3:45 p.m.

One Minute Speeches

S.Con.Res. 3 – Setting forth the congressional budget for the United States Government for fiscal year 2017 and setting forth the appropriate budgetary levels for fiscal years 2018 through 2026 (Structured Rule) (Sponsored by Sen. Michael B. Enzi / Budget Committee)

The Rule provides for ninety minutes of general debate controlled by the Budget Committee, thirty minutes of general debate controlled by the Joint Economic Committee, and makes in order the following amendment:

Rep. John Yarmuth Amendment in the Nature of a Substitute (20 minutes of debate)

S. 84 – To provide for an exception to a limitation against appointment of persons as Secretary of Defense within seven years of relief from active duty as a regular commissioned officer of the Armed Forces (Closed Rule, Ninety Minutes of Debate) (Sponsored by Sen. John McCain / Armed Services Committee)

Special Order Speeches

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U.S. House Schedule for Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2017

Capitol 1From Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s office….

TUESDAY, JANUARY 10th

On Tuesday, the House will meet at 10:00 a.m. for morning hour and 12:00 p.m. for legislative business. First votes expected: 1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. Last votes expected: 5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.

One Minute Speeches

H.R. 79 – HALOS Act (Structured Rule) (Sponsored by Rep. Steve Chabot / Financial Services Committee)

The Rule provides for one hour of general debate and makes in order the following amendments:

Rep. Nydia Velazquez Amendment (10 minutes of debate)
Rep. Maxine Waters Amendment (10 minutes of debate)

Legislation Considered Under Suspension of the Rules:

1) H.R. 306 – Energy Efficient Government Technology Act (Sponsored by Rep. Anna Eshoo / Energy and Commerce Committee)

2) H.R. 288 – Small Business Broadband Deployment Act (Sponsored by Rep. Greg Walden / Energy and Commerce Committee)

3) H.R. 321 – Inspiring the Next Space Pioneers, Innovators, Researchers, and Explorers (INSPIRE) Women Act (Sponsored by Rep. Barbara Comstock / Science, Space, and Technology Committee)

4) H.R. 255 – Promoting Women in Entrepreneurship Act (Sponsored by Rep. Elizabeth Esty / Science, Space, and Technology Committee)

5) H.R. 239 – Support for Rapid Innovation Act of 2017, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. John Ratcliffe / Homeland Security Committee)

6) H.R. 240 – Leveraging Emerging Technologies Act of 2017, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. John Ratcliffe / Homeland Security Committee)

7) H.R. 274 – Modernizing Government Travel Act, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Seth Moulton / Oversight and Government Reform Committee)

8) H.R. 39 – TALENT Act of 2017 (Sponsored by Rep. Kevin McCarthy / Oversight and Government Reform Committee)

Special Order Speeches

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Schedule for Senate Confirmation Hearings – Week of 1/9-1/13, 2017

Senator Charles T. Hagel answers a question at a confirmation hearing in the Senate Armed Service Committee at the Dirksen Senate Building in Washington D.C., Jan. 31, 2013. Hagel, if confirmed, will become the 24th Secretary of Defense. DoD Photo by Erin A. Kirk-Cuomo (Released)

Tuesday begins Senate confirmation hearings. Here is the schedule for this week.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017
9:30 a.m. Armed Services: Hearings to examine civilian control of the Armed Forces. SH-216

9:30 a.m. Judiciary: Hearings to examine the nomination of Jeff Sessions, of Alabama, to be Attorney General, Department of Justice. SR-325

10:00 a.m. Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs: Subcommittee on Investigations. Hearings to examine backpage.com’s facilitation of online sex trafficking. SD-342

1:00 p.m. Intelligence. Hearings to examine Russian intelligence activities. SD-106

2:30 p.m. Intelligence. Closed hearings to examine certain intelligence matters. SH-219

3:30 p.m. Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. Hearings to examine the nomination of General John F. Kelly, USMC (Ret.), to be Secretary of Homeland Security. SD-342

Wednesday, January 11, 2017
9:00 a.m. Foreign Relations. Business meeting to consider protocol to the North Atlantic Treaty of 1949 on the Accession of Montenegro (Treaty Doc. 114-12); to be immediately followed by a hearing to examine the nomination of Rex Wayne Tillerson, of Texas, to be Secretary of State. SD-106

9:30 a.m. Judiciary. Hearings to examine the nomination of Jeff Sessions, of Alabama, to be Attorney General, Department of Justice.  SR-325

10:00 a.m. Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions. Hearings to examine the nomination of Betsy DeVos, of Michigan, to be Secretary of Education. SD-430

10:00 a.m. Intelligence. Hearings to examine the nomination of Mike Pompeo, of Kansas, to be Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. SH-216

10:15 a.m. Commerce, Science, and Transportation. Hearings to examine the nomination of Elaine L. Chao, to be Secretary of Transportation. SR-253

1:00 p.m. Intelligence. Closed hearings to examine the nomination of Mike Pompeo, of Kansas, to be Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. SH-219

Thursday, January 12, 2017
9:30 a.m. Armed Services. Hearings to examine the nomination of James N. Mattis, to be Secretary of Defense; to be immediately followed by a business meeting to consider legislation to provide for an exception to a limitation against appointment of persons as Secretary of Defense within seven years of relief from active duty as a regular commissioned officer of the Armed Forces. SD-G50

10:00 a.m. Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. Hearings to examine the nomination of Benjamin Carson, of Michigan, to be Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. SD-538

10:00 a.m. Commerce, Science, and Transportation. Hearings to examine the nomination of Wilbur L. Ross, Jr., to be Secretary of Commerce. SR-253

10:00 a.m. Foreign Relations. Hearings to examine the nomination of Rex Wayne Tillerson, of Texas, to be Secretary of State. SD-106

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Counting Electoral Votes Dominates Day 4 of 115th Congress

When Friday’s U.S. House schedule was released from Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, it was brief: “On Friday, the House will meet at 12:00 p.m. for legislative business and recess immediately. The House will reconvene at 1:00 p.m. for the Joint Session of Congress to count the electoral ballots for the President and Vice-President of the United States.”

Today the House and Senate will verify certificates and count electoral college votes from each state for president and vice president of the United States. The process can be watched live or live-streamed from C-SPAN beginning at 1:00. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and Vice President Joe Biden will preside over the session.

Today’s formality represents the final and official confirmation that Donald Trump won the presidential election and clears the path for his inauguration on January 20.

U.S. House Schedule for Friday, Jan. 6, 2017

From Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s office….

FRIDAY, JANUARY 6TH

On Friday, the House will meet at 12:00 p.m. for legislative business and recess immediately. The House will reconvene at 1:00 p.m. for the Joint Session of Congress to count the electoral ballots for the President and Vice-President of the United States.

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