EbolaOn October 24, 2014, during a committee hearing, Darrell Issa, Republican Chairman of the House Oversight Committee, stated on the record that the new Ebola outbreak occurred in Guyana, South America. Issa also referred to Ebola as Eboli. In spite of his “expert Ebola knowledge,” Issa should have known that Guyana, South America, has nothing to do with Ebola because Ebola occurred in Guinea, Western Africa, a continent away. So much for artificial intelligence.


Issa also stated on the record during that hearing that the doctors at the Centers for Disease Control were lying when they said that you can’t catch Ebola on the subway since Dr. Craig Spencer, a recent Ebola patient, was riding on the subway (not sure which medical school Issa attended). While Issa’s comments were apparently made to instill fear in his Republican base in time for the November 2014 elections, it was a blatant lie–Ebola cannot be contracted on a subway. To debunk Issa’s lies and to counter some Ebola false statements, New York Mayor Bill DeBlasio and Governor Andrew Cuomo both decided to take a ride on the New York subways.


Issa is not the only Republican employing lies and scare tactics about Ebola – New York Republican Representative Peter King went on Long Island News Radio on October 16, 2014, and said the following:


“The doctors were absolutely certain that this [Ebola] was not airborne.” “it’s time for the doctors to realize that they were wrong.” “Maybe this is a mutated form of the virus.”


So Representative King’s theory is that the Ebola virus mutated and is in the air that we breath? Yet another Republican who knows more about Ebola than the doctors. I guess King gets most of his Ebola information from Isaa and Paul.


But still more – another Republican “Ebola expert,” Dr. Rand Paul, said that “you can get Ebola at a cocktail party.” Dr. Paul is a self-certified Ophthalmologist and nothing in his medical background suggests that he has any knowledge about Ebola, but facts don’t matter when it comes to some right-wing radical Republicans like Paul.


Ebola has not mutated and is not in the air that we breath, nor can it be contracted on the subway or even a cocktail party. Competent medical experts agree unanimously that the only way that Ebola can be contracted is through the passing of bodily fluids. Perhaps Issa, King, Paul and others should check out the facts before engaging their mouth.


Nurse Nina Pham was the first recorded US case of someone contracting Ebola. Nurse Pham was one of the medical professionals attending to Thomas Eric Duncan who died because of the disease. She tackled one of the toughest jobs any nurse could take on — treating a highly contagious Ebola patient. And somehow along the way, she contracted the deadly virus herself. Nurse Pham was transferred from Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas to the National Institutes of Health for treatment, and on Friday, October 25, 2014, she was publicly declared cured of the Ebola disease. To head-off any right-wing comments about whether or not she was “really cured,” the doctor that treated Nurse Pham deliberately gave her a public hug to further prove that she has been cured and is no longer contagious. That same day, Nurse Pham was invited to the Oval office at the White House and there was greeted by President Obama who also gave her a huge hug. Medical authorities also say that she is now immune from that disease.


Ebola is a terrible disease that has taken the life of thousands of African men, women and children. It is shameful and unfortunate that there is such a partisan divide in response to Ebola where some Republicans are attempting to gain cheap political points through the use of lies, fabrications and scare tactics to excite their base for the elections. In all likelihood, many Republicans who are fixated on Fox News and similar “so-called” news outlets will continue to buy-in to bogus theories about Ebola and will act accordingly, but that’s just my take.


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voting rights2I believe that the stakes in this election are as high as they ever have been when considering the vast differences between the parties and what they bring to the table. While neither party offers remedies to fit every situation or problem, as Americans, we have an obligation to choose the political party that best supports our view of how our nation should be governed. Therefore, I offer the following perspectives:


1. If you believe that every American should have access to quality healthcare, then that is what the Democratic Party has embraced by passing the Affordable Health Care Act (Obamacare). Over 9 million people now have affordable healthcare. The House Republicans voted fifty-one (51) times to repeal the Health Care law without offering any viable alternative. If Republicans control both legislative branches, there will be no hesitancy in a major attempt to repeal that law.


2. If you believe that the minimum wage should be raised from $7.25 to $10.10 an hour, then that is what the Democratic Party has embraced since it was mentioned in the President’s 2014 State of the Union Address. Raising the minimum wage nationwide would increase earnings for millions of workers, and boost the bottom lines of businesses across the country. Even though congressional Republicans continue to block the President’s proposal saying, among other things, that it would be a “job killer” for companies, a number of state legislatures and governors, mayors and city councils, and business owners have answered the President’s call and raised wages for their residents and employees. Thus far, none of these officials were Republicans.


3. If you don’t believe that the economy has significantly improved since President Obama took office in January 2009, here are the facts attributable to his economic policies: (a) businesses have created more than 9.7 million private sector jobs in the past 52 months; (b) after nearly collapsing, the US auto industry has added nearly 250,000 jobs-the fastest past of job growth in more than a decade; and (c) American manufacturers have added more than 500,000 jobs since January 2012, the strongest period of job growth since 1989. All of these actions occurred without any help from congressional Republicans.


4. If you believe that we should have a comprehensive immigration system, that has been embraced by Democrats and some Republicans. In fact, the Senate sent bi-partisan immigration legislation to the House, but Speaker Boehner refuses to bring it up for an up or down vote. Sadly, Boehner is being influenced by a small Tea Party faction and he is more concerned with alienating part of his caucus rather than doing the job that he was sent to congress to do.


5. If you believe that every women has the right to make her own medical decisions concerning her body, that has been embraced by Democrats. It seems that a majority of Conservative Republicans, especially men, are more interested in passing legislation requiring women to undergo unnecessary Transvaginal Ultrasounds and other invasive procedures when a woman is contemplating abortion rather than allowing women to make personal decisions about their body with their doctor. On one hand, Republicans complain about too much government intervention in the affairs of the people and yet, they are the party that continues to exploit women’s rights including shutting down state abortion clinics despite the fact that abortions are legal.


6. If you believe in a government that should be responsive to the needs of the people, the Democrats embrace that. Because of Republican actions over the past few years by targeting agencies like the Center for Disease Control (CDC), and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for catastrophic budget cuts, there is every possibility that a cure for Ebola could have been found. In addition to these drastic budget cuts, you may recall that the Republican Party shut down the entire government for about two-weeks costing taxpayers 25 billion dollars, and Boehner has recently initiated a frivolous law suit against the President for doing his job that will cost taxpayers millions of dollars.


7. If you believe in sensible gun control legislation, the Democrats embrace that. Although I am a firm believer of the 2nd Amendment, I do not understand why any US citizen would need an assault rifle. When the founding fathers adopted the 2nd Amendment, I do not believe that they had any idea that high-grade military weapons would be in the possession of citizens. Such weapons are designed for war, not for citizen protection. Law enforcement leaders who met with President Barack Obama in January urged him to focus on strengthening gun purchase background checks and mental health systems which is something that Republicans oppose.


8. If you believe that school teachers should be trained and armed and, according to the National Rifle Association (NRA), then able to intervene with fire power if situations occurred similar to Sandy Hook Elementary School or Oregon where a freshman student had an AR-15 type rifle, a semi-automatic handgun, nine loaded magazines capable of holding several hundred rounds, and a large knife, then you should vote Republican. I believe that teachers should teach and law enforcement personnel should deal with law enforcement issues.


The November 2014 elections are very important, and each of us should not hesitate to cast our vote for the candidates of our choice. I will enthusiastically cast my vote for Maryland Democrats because I believe they offer the best alternatives for our state, but that’s just my take.


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voting rightsOne of the founding principles of our voting system of government is “one man, one vote.” The implication is that every citizen gets one vote in each election and that each vote will have the same potential impact on the outcome of the election as any other person’s vote. The implication is also that, in a perfect world, no citizen will ever be denied his or her right to that vote and that all will be able to willingly engage in the privilege of voting for their elected officials freely, openly and eagerly.


When this thing that has been called “The Great American Experiment” got underway, our system of voting and the rule of the people were virtually untried on a national scale such as it was envisioned by the founding fathers. Much of the language that is so poetic in our cornerstone documents such as the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence read like philosophical treatises rather than documents grounded in a hard fought awareness of reality.


But in a way, that’s a good thing because the authors of these documents were philosophers of their time. And what they were describing in their vision of how this great new country would function was theoretical and based on political theory drawn from historical sources rather than immediate historical precedent. But we only have to look at the outcome to admire that it’s a good thing that the founding fathers were wiser than they were practical.


We as a people were not too small to live up to the high expectations of our founding fathers. Over the decades, amendments to the constitution were put in place, legal precedents were made and social attitudes changed so that more and more of the nation’s citizenry gained the same rights that all should have, to be able to vote in the elections of their country. Some of those landmark moments in history include:


*The fifteenth amendment which granted voting rights to African Americans.
*The fourteenth amendment which guaranteed equal protection of all citizens under the law.
*The nineteenth amendment which guaranteed voting rights for women.
*The civil rights act of 1964 which put further enforcement around these previous laws and amendments to assure equal treatment of all so access to the government is truly a right of all citizens.
*The Voting Rights Act of 1965 which outlawed the discriminatory voting practices adopted in many southern states after the Civil War, including literacy tests as a prerequisite to voting even though in a 5-to-4 vote, the US Supreme Court effectively struck down the heart of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, freeing nine states, mostly in the South, to change their election laws without advance federal approval claiming such provision was no longer necessary since we have an African American in the White House.


Since the improvements to the original founding documents were put in place, phenomenal changes have taken place that provide concrete proof that the vision of the founding fathers was indeed something that could be a reality and not just the philosophical musings of an educated few.


One of the most noticeable social changes that has come along with the legal recognition of the rights of minorities and women to participate in the election process is that the composition of the government has changed dramatically especially with the Tea Party movement. Unfortunately, over the past few years, more than 30 Republican controlled states have introduced legislation or enacted laws that would curb a voter’s access to voting. Some states, such as Florida and Ohio, had dramatically shortened early voting opportunities, including the weekend before Election Day when many minority voters choose to vote.


Florida and Texas both even passed legislation to make it harder for volunteer organizations like the League of Women Voters to register new voters. Since 2011, ten states have joined Indiana and Georgia to require voters to show a photo ID. Several others are considering photo ID legislation. Additionally, some states including Kansas, were requiring citizens to show proof of citizenship just to register to vote. Fortunately, the courts have recently declared these kinds of laws unconstitutional and have thrown them out in time for the upcoming November elections. As a direct result of the court’s actions, many African Americans, senior citizens, and young people in the affected states will be able to freely embrace the “one man, one vote” right on November 4, 2014.




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