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Guest Commentary (56)

Suffocating the voice of the people

 

The 2014 election serves as the poster child for the impact that gerrymandering has on our elections. The 2014 election was, to say the least, a total disaster for Democrats as it resulted in Republicans taking over the Senate as well as pick up additional seats in the House. This occurred despite the fact that Democrats received more votes in total across the country than did Republicans.

Likewise, in the 2012 elections, although seven states voted for President Obama, they elected a majority Republican Congressional delegation. Virginia is one such state; Barack Obama won this state twice, yet eight of Virginia's 11 members of the House are Republicans while just three are Democrats. How is this possible? Simple. Gerrymandering of voting districts!

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Chest thumping isn't leadership

During President Obama's State of the Union speech he made some very specific claims. Two days later on the Republican debate stage those claims were categorically disputed and his actions, or inactions, thoroughly lambasted. I get that. That's politics, especially in a presidential election year.

The question is how would any of the candidates on that stage have handled any of the issues differently? Of particular concern to me is the issue of so called "leadership" and their role as Commander-in-Chief. What would they do differently in that role? Is it enough to simply say that they would be tougher and stronger as leaders? What does that really mean, anyway?

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Racism and political correctness

As a political observer, I am thoroughly convinced that a Donald Trump nomination as the 2016 Republican candidate for president will very likely result in both a landslide victory for Democrats in keeping the White House and a retaking of the Senate. It could even result in drawing enough Democrats to the polls to give them an outside chance of retaking the House of Representatives. From a Democrat standpoint, therefore, a Donald Trump candidacy would be a welcomed event; from an American standpoint, having a blatant racist at the top of the ticket of one of our two major parties, it would be an affront to every ideal for which this nation stands.

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The Donald and his cheap labor plans

   A recent controversy involving Donald Trump concerned whether or not he said that wages in

   America are too high and should be reduced. After Bernie Sanders took him to task for it, Trump

   denied that he ever said it. He did, indeed, say it. I myself heard him say it on more than one

   occasion during more than one interview. His saying it, however, is not of major concern; he says

   a lot of things since there apparently is no filter between his brain and his mouth. The real

   problem concerns the inability of some voters to take the time and effort to understand the true

   impact of what he is saying and why he is saying it. What is being missed is the importance of

   the context in which he says the things he says.

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Of caterpillars, loopholes and stump speeches

During this current campaign season we once again are hearing a great deal about closing the corporate tax loophole. What, however, is, exactly, this loophole? How does it work and how do we close it? A perfect place to start is with the all-American company, Caterpillar, who masterfully took advantage of the loophole to avoid paying, as Bernie Sanders would put it, their fair share of taxes.

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On Syrians, rationality trumps fear

Legitimate concerns should never serve as an excuse to abandon rational thinking. Certainly, when it comes to the Syrian refugee issue, there is a basis for some level of concern about a potential threat to our safety and security that a wave of Syrian refugees could potentially pose. However, having serious concerns and seeking legitimate ways to mitigate those concerns is vastly different from exploiting those fears for political gain.

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Fight for District 8 is on

The most important ingredient to a democracy is the people's right to vote. To exercise that right most effectively requires an informed electorate. On Tuesday, November 17th, I attended a forum of candidates that was designed to provide just such an opportunity for voters. The Women's Democratic Club of Montgomery County (WDC), in conjunction with the Montgomery County Democrats, hosted a forum of the seven Democratic candidates seeking to fill the 8th District Congressional seat that will soon be vacated by Congressman Chris Van Hollen as he seeks to win the Senate seat of retiring Senator Barbara Mikulski.

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Government regulates business for public good

Government regulation impedes the free market economy and stifles the growth of business, both small and large. At least that is what business would have you believe. When I think of government regulation, I can't help but remember my days serving on the New Jersey Grand Jury and listening to case after case of illegal dumping by "business" into our rivers and lakes and the Environmental Protection Agency regulations that were violated for the sake of profits. Rather than as a nuisance that serves only to impede the growth of business, having spent my entire career with the federal government, I recognize the need for government to regulate the excesses and abuses of capitalism to protect the public good.

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