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Fighting Back: “Republicans are trying to take away your health care”


The Weekly Democratic Party Address was delivered by Hawaii Senator Brian Schatz.

(Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI): “Republicans are trying to take away your health care”)

The Trump administration is fighting in federal court to take away protections for people with pre-existing conditions,” said Brian Schatz (D-HI). “If this Supreme Court nominee[, Brett Kavanaugh,] gets through the process, it will be harder than ever for Americans to access health care. It will be harder for women to access reproductive care. It will be harder for patients to keep the protections that they deserve and need. That’s why this fight is so important. There is too much at stake to do nothing. So please raise your voice and join us in the fight for health care.”

(CSPAN link to Weekly Democratic Address: here)

VNV Tuesday – History’s Wrenching Pain 7/31/18

Last week I mentioned that I was reading a book on the history of lynching, which resulted in more than a few folks expressing trepidation about my next post. Fear not! The post is here, and I should point out that technically, the book, On the Courthouse Lawn: Confronting the Legacy of Lynching in the Twenty-First Century by Sherrilyn Ifill is not a history as much as it is a call for restorative justice. In her 2007 book, she focuses on two lynchings and several averted lynchings which occurred on the Eastern Shore of Maryland during the 1930s, as well as numerous references to lynchings elsewhere in the country. Today’s post, using her book as a template, will focus on white silence and complicity then, the ongoing impact of that silence, and what reconciliation can look like.

Fighting Back: “Democrats believe that everyone should be able to retire with dignity”


The Weekly Democratic Party Address was delivered by Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy of Florida.

(Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy of Florida delivered the Weekly Democratic Address. In this week’s address, Murphy highlights the importance of Medicare for America’s seniors and discusses Democrats’ Better Deal to lower health care costs and prescription drug prices.)

This upcoming Monday, July 30th, marks 53 years since President Lyndon Johnson signed into law legislation that established Medicare, one of our nation’s most life-saving programs.

The idea behind Medicare was a simple but powerful one – that a nation as great as ours has a duty to ensure that all of its citizens, including its most vulnerable, can retire with dignity, financial security, and access to high-quality and affordable medical care.

At the time Medicare was established, millions of seniors across America lacked the means to see a doctor, to get medications, or to even meet their most basic health care needs. […]

Republican leaders in Congress continue trying to undermine America’s commitment to its seniors.

I, along with my colleagues in the House, remain strongly committed to defending these programs because these are not entitlements—they are benefits earned through a lifetime of hard work.

(CSPAN link to Weekly Democratic Address: here)

VNV Tuesday – …Doomed To Repeat It (Lochner v. New York 1905, Part Three) 7/24/18

Lochner’s Home Bakery, where it all started.

For the past two weeks, I’ve been discussing Lochner v. New York, the opinion, and the dissents. This week it’s time to take on the some analysis; both the once-prevalent view that, “Aside from Dred Scott itself, Lochner v. New York is now considered the most discredited decision in Supreme Court history” (A History of the Supreme Court by Bernard Schwartz, Oxford University Press, 1993. p. 190) and more recent efforts to “rehabilitate” Lochner.

Fighting Back: “Flint’s water crisis isn’t just about water, it’s about a failed Republican philosophy of government that puts money ahead of people.”


The Weekly Democratic Party Address was delivered by Congressman Dan Kildee (D-MI).

(In this week’s address, Representative Kildee discusses the Flint water crisis and Democrats’ Better Deal legislation to rebuild America’s infrastructure, with $1 trillion to rebuild crumbling roads, bridges and water systems across America.)

This week, House Democrats joined me in Flint to sit down with families and see the progress being made to replace lead pipes with the funds from Congress. While the Flint water crisis has faded from the national headlines, this visit is a reminder that the crisis is not over. […] “Cities and towns across America have been left behind by the Republican-led Congress. Just this week, House Republicans voted to cut $300 million for repairs to water systems. Republicans have failed to take up any meaningful legislation to rebuild America’s aging infrastructure.

“Americans drive on crumbling roads and bridges. Instead of having cutting-edge schools, millions of students are in buildings that are unsafe and outdated. In the twenty-first century, we still have American families without access to high speed internet. We have many communities that have unsafe drinking water, not getting help from the federal government to replace those dangerous water systems. […]

“We have a bold plan to rebuild America’s infrastructure, with $1 trillion to rebuild crumbling roads, bridges and water systems across America. Our plan puts Americans to work, creating 16 million good-paying jobs, that can support a family. Putting Americans back to work rebuilding our infrastructure, makes us more competitive in the global economy and unleashes opportunity all across this country.

(CSPAN link to Weekly Democratic Address: here)

Barack Obama: “Love comes more naturally to the human heart.”

President Barack Obama spoke in South Africa commemorating the 100th anniversary of Nelson Mandela’s birth at the 16th Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture.

His speech was uplifting even as it warned of the challenges to our world from strongmen and the hatred and division they embrace.

From Time videos:

President Obama with his message of hope (which was also Mandela’s):

Madiba reminds us that: “No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart.” Love comes more naturally to the human heart, let’s remember that truth. Let’s see it as our North Star, let’s be joyful in our struggle to make that truth manifest here on earth so that in 100 years from now, future generations will look back and say, ‘they kept the march going, that’s why we live under new banners of freedom.’

Full transcript below.

VNV Tuesday – …Doomed to Repeat It (Lochner v. New York, 1905; Part Two) 7/17/18

Lochner’s Home Bakery, where it all started.

Last week, the background leading to the Lochner v. New York lawsuit was discussed, as well as the decision of the majority which reversed the holdings of the county court, the New York Supreme Court, and the Court of Appeals. (Part One) Initially, the vote was 5-4 in favor of upholding the New York law, and Justice John Harlan wrote the draft opinion, while Justice Rufus Peckham wrote the draft dissent. Somewhere along the way, however, one justice changed their vote (most sources suggest it was Chief Justice Melville Fuller), and the opinion of Justice Harlan, with Justices Edward White and William Day concurring, became the dissent. Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote a separate dissent.

Fighting Back: “Only those already well off are better off under this Republican economy”


The Weekly Democratic Party Address was delivered by Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut.

(Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) on Kavanaugh nomination)

“From President Trump’s repeated campaign promises, we know that Judge Kavanaugh poses a grave threat to women’s health care and the weakening of Roe v. Wade. We know he will vote to effectively eliminate the Affordable Care Act and undermine protections for millions of Americans who suffer from pre-existing conditions, including more than 500,000 Connecticut residents,” said Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT). “My colleagues and I are often asked by constituents: what can we do? The answer is stand up and speak out. It’s a call to action. Mobilize your neighbors and galvanize the American public – just as we did during the health care debate, when they tried time and again to ram through Trumpcare. The risk to our healthcare system is just as great now as it was then.”

(CSPAN link to Weekly Democratic Address: here)

VNV Tuesday – …Doomed to Repeat It (Lochner v. New York, 1905) 7/10/18

Lochner’s Home Bakery, where it all started.

Like most non-lawyers, I struggle to understand the nuances of Supreme Court decisions, and I rely heavily on SCOTUSBlog (found here) to explain decisions in terms that I can understand. When the Janus v. AFSCME decision came down, followed by Justice Kennedy’s retirement announcement, I heard a lot of people talking about a return to the Lochner era. I had a vague recollection of the decision, but that mostly consisted of Lochner = bad. Today’s post is my IANAL attempt to provide an overview of the 1905 Lochner decision.

Celebrating Democratic Party History: The Civil Rights Act of 1964

On July 2, 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson, Democrat, signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

President Lyndon B. Johnson, 1964

The act outlawed discrimination based on race, color, religion or national origin and gave the federal courts jurisdiction over enforcement, taking it out of the state courts where justice was uneven at best.

The Civil Rights Act had political ramifications as well. Its adoption caused a mass exodus of angry racists from the Democratic Party in the old south to the Republican Party. And the politics born of hatred of The Other gave the not-so-Grand Old Party the presidency for 28 out of the next 40 years.