Leslie Cook

Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

Time for Californians to Take a Stand!

In Healthcare, In My Opinion..., Politics, Trump Apocalypse on May 5, 2017 at 1:09 pm


As Californians, we always moan that we can’t effect change because we live in a blue state. Well, yesterday, the seven remaining Republican Representatives from the great state of California voted to accept a health care bill that will undermine the health and well-being of Californians. We CAN do something about that. Please consider voting these seven Republicans out of office the next time they come up for election (June and November 2018). They obviously are not serving their constituency. They were in such a hurry to pass their healthcare bill that they didn’t bother to find out what their proposed bill would cost to taxpayers. They don’t seem to care that their new bill will remove millions of needy people from the healthcare rolls. It’s time to fight back.

Here are the name and districts:

Jeff Denham – California 10th District

David Valadao – California 21st District

Steve Knight – California 25th District

Ed Royce – California 39th District

Mimi Walters – California 45th District

Dana Rohrbacher – California 48th District

Darrell Issa – California 49th District

If you are a Republican, you should be ashamed of your representatives. If you are a Democrat,  please get out and vote to remove these self-serving politicians out of office. We need representatives that care more about their constituents than they do about voting the party line.

Remember, these representatives are up for election in June and November 2018. Rise up and vote them out of office!


Week 4

In In My Opinion..., Politics, Random Thoughts, Trump Apocalypse on February 16, 2017 at 10:55 am


This is the 4th week of  45’s administration and here’s where we stand:

  • Andrew Puzder withdrew from his nomination as Secretary of Labor because of growing Republican concern over his past employment of an undocumented housekeeper. Also of concern are his business practices and personal problems including possible domestic abuse.
  • Michael Flynn, White House National Security Adviser resigns due to alleged conversations with the Russian ambassador in December about sanctions against Russia. 45 and his staff knew about this issue for 2 weeks. Pence learned about it a few days ago.
  • 45 conducted an impromptu national security meeting in the open air at Mar-a-Lago in front of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and a room full of diners.
  • 45 executed a raid on Yemen. The result? 1 American soldier dead, 26 civilians dead, target not obtained.
  • 45 sends the country into turmoil over his Executive Order concerning immigration. The consensus is that it was badly written and not well executed. Immigration was not briefed. Congress was not briefed. The reason? He didn’t want to give the bad guys a heads-up. The result? Chaos.
  • A Russian spy ship is sitting in international waters off of the coast of Connecticut.
  • Russia deploys a new cruise missile that American officials say violate a landmark arms control treaty. The response from 45’s administration? Silence.
  • North Korea test-fires a ballistic missile that travels 320 miles from North Pyongan Province to the Sea of Japan.
  • Leaks out of the White House and the executive branch of our government are at an all-time high.

I could go on. I suppose 45 is using a new business technique to manage his government. I suspect that he’s in over his head and doesn’t know what to do about it. It feels like we’re watching a slow-speed train heading for a brick wall and the conductor is looking down trying to figure out what wine goes with his nachos.

Republicans were worried that Hillary wouldn’t be able to handle the office of President without drama. I wonder how they’re feeling now?


…And So It Begins

In In My Opinion..., Politics, Trump Apocalypse on January 3, 2017 at 12:15 pm

Happy 2017 to everyone!  I’m sorry that it’s been such a long time since my last post but it was a hard few months for everyone and I personally needed to clear my mind and figure out where I stand in the world.

With that said, I’m back and ready to tackle the issues at hand, or at least write about them.

Today’s Congressional Watch:

  • As one of its first acts, Republicans met in a closed-door meeting and voted 119-74 in favor of placing the independent Office of Congressional Ethics under the control of the……wait for it…..Congress!  This means that the “independent” Congressional Ethics committee would report directly to the people they are mandated to oversee.  That makes sense right?  Nothing to worry about.
    Oddly enough, the future president agrees with me… at least for the next 16 seconds. The House Speaker, Paul Ryan, however, believes that it’s a great idea for an independent watchdog committee to report to the people they’re watching.If you’d like more details on this crazy idea, check out the New York Times article .
  • But wait….looks like the House Republications have caved under pressure. They seemed to have pulled their proposal to gut the independent Office of Congressional Ethics.  It kills me to say this but it appears that the future president stopped them from being stupid. Who knew that would happen!

Six Rules for Surviving an Autocrat

In Politics, Trump Apocalypse on November 15, 2016 at 10:25 am
au·to·crat | ˈôdəˌkrat | noun : a ruler who has absolute power.
I just read this really great article written by Masha Gessen about surviving an autocrat. I suspect that we now have a president-elect who aspires to be an autocrat in the mold of Vladimir Putin, so this list and the associated article could be useful. If nothing else, it’s very interesting.  You can read the whole article  at Autocracy: Rules for Survival
Here are her Six Rules for Surviving an Autocrat:
  1. Believe the autocrat. He means what he says. Whenever you find yourself thinking, or hear others claiming, that he is exaggerating, that is our innate tendency to reach for a rationalization.
  2. Do not be taken in by small signs of normality.
  3. Institutions will not save you. It took Putin a year to take over the Russian media and four years to dismantle its electoral system; the judiciary collapsed unnoticed.
  4. Be outraged. If you follow Rule #1 and believe what the autocrat-elect is saying, you will not be surprised. But in the face of the impulse to normalize, it is essential to maintain one’s capacity for shock.
  5. Don’t make compromises: Like Ted Cruz, who made the journey from calling Trump “utterly amoral” and a “pathological liar” to endorsing him in late September to praising his win as an “amazing victory for the American worker,” Republican politicians have fallen into line. Conservative pundits who broke ranks during the campaign will return to the fold. Democrats in Congress will begin to make the case for cooperation, for the sake of getting anything done—or at least, they will say, minimizing the damage. Nongovernmental organizations, many of which are reeling at the moment, faced with a transition period in which there is no opening for their input, will grasp at chances to work with the new administration. This will be fruitless—damage cannot be minimized, much less reversed, when mobilization is the goal—but worse, it will be soul-destroying.
  6. Remember the future. Nothing lasts forever.


The Trump Apocalypse – Day 6

In Politics, Trump Apocalypse on November 14, 2016 at 7:06 am


I am addicted to Sunday morning political talking head shows. This past week it has been very difficult for me to watch the news or hear anything related to the recent election. However, I’m slowly coming out of hibernation and have actually watched and listened to a few political shows this past weekend. I was immediately bombarded with the operatives from the Republican party telling me that I need to “cooperate” to “bring the country together.” I’ve been lectured by Democrats that tell me that I need to “accept the outcome of the election.” I’ve been told by comedians that the president-elect is “everyone’s president.”  To all of these official representatives of the government and spokespersons for the media, I say this: He’s not my president.

I make this statement after much thought and a lot of deliberation. I’ve voted in presidential elections since 1980 and I’ve always accepted the outcome of those elections, even though most of them didn’t go my way. I accepted the outcome because deep down I felt that the opposition was working for the good of the country, even if I didn’t necessary believe in the method they used to get there.

Over the years, I’ve noticed that our elected federal officials have moved further and further away from doing the public good. They’ve been more obstructionist and less willing to work with one another. The last few sessions of congress have been some of the least productive in their history. Our representatives spend their time raising money for reelection, which will allow them to come back to Washington D.C. and spend 2 to 6 more years doing nothing. They’ve been disrespectful to a legally elected president and have done everything they could possibly think of to obstruct legislation designed to help the American people and clean up the mess they made when they last held power.

And now we’ve elected a man that doesn’t respect women, minorities, or anyone that is “other.” A man who wants to put up a wall to keep people out of the U.S. and lock up people because they are the wrong religion. I cannot accept this person as my president because he doesn’t represent anything I’ve ever believed in. I cannot accept this person because he refuses to accept facts as truth and changes his own truths to suit his fancy. I cannot accept this person as president because I do not respect him.

So no matter what the pundits implore me to do, I refuse to accept this man as my president until he does something to prove that he actually has the wellbeing of the nation at heart. I will accept him as my president when he stops fanning the flames of racism and xenophobia within the country and does more than pay lip service to unifying us as a country. He will be my president if he doesn’t just hand the keys to the country over to corporate America. I suspect that this will never happen but we will see.






The Trump Apocalypse – Day 2

In Politics, Trump Apocalypse on November 11, 2016 at 6:13 am


Just a few random thoughts:

  • Why does the US insist on electing Republicans that bankrupt their companies? First George W., now Donald J. What’s up with that? Why do they think that they can manage a country when they can’t manage their bank accounts?
  • Is this how Dewey supporters felt when Truman won in 1948?
  • I’m getting reports that minorities are being verbally harassed in public. One Asian man was told to “Go back to China and eat dogs.” Another Indian woman was told that “We’re one god, one country now. You should go back to where you came from.” Does this election mean that random white men have the permission to verbalize their racism? Is this a good thing or a bad thing?  On the one hand, it’s nice to know what people really think and maybe we should all come up with witty rejoinders. On the other hand, it’s a nicer world when bigots keep their mouths shut.
  • If we want to know what to do next, let’s start with standing up and defending people against verbal abuse. It’s not that hard for me to turn to an idiot that’s telling someone to go “Back to where they came from” and say “Why don’t you stop being such a racist?” Please add a comment if you have a better response to these idiots.
  • Having a crisis of faith in my fellow Americans. I always thought that, despite everything, this country looked out for its citizens. I’m beginning to think that it only looks out for its white citizens. My mother would say “Duh” because she grew up in the Jim Crow south. My generation is mostly spoiled and shocked by this behavior.

On the news front, looks like there are anti-Trump rallies in New York, Portland, Oakland, and Los Angeles. Probably in more places than that, but the news tends to only report the bigger rallies in the bigger cities. To all the protesters, stay safe, keep within the laws, and know that at least 1/2 of the country is behind you.


The Trump Apocalypse – Day 1

In Politics, Trump Apocalypse on November 10, 2016 at 10:34 am

3908096210I’m still trying to come to terms with how I feel about this somehow inevitable election win by “He Who Must Not Be Named.”  I’m watching people blame everyone from millennials to Hispanics and Blacks for not showing up or voting 3rd party.

People are taking to the streets and declaring that he’s “Not My President.” They’ve shut down the 101 freeway and are marching on UC Campuses. People are angry, confused, and some are a little smug about the win.

This is my log of the happenings of the next few days and possibly years. I’m still trying to process what happened, why it happened and where we go from here. I suspect that we’re now on our own.


An Open Letter to Mitt Romney

In In My Opinion..., Politics on November 15, 2012 at 10:01 am

Hi Mitt,

I’ve been thinking a lot about you in the past week. I know how hard it is to lose. Most of us have had to do it at least once in our lives and it can be very hard to deal with. When we lose, we can question everything we believe in and wonder whether the paths we chose were the right ones. Or we can go a different way. We can walk the path that you seem to be walking, blaming the loss on the winner who obviously cheated in some way, duping the voters, that 47% who are always looking for a handout. This morning, I read that you told your donators that you think you lost because the winner provided “gifts” to minorities, young voters, and women. Basically, Mitt, you’re saying that your contender bought the election. That is an interesting theory, Mitt. Here are the reasons that I think you’re wrong.

  1. Blaming your loss on actions designed to help Americans seems to me to be a no-win argument. Yes, the President had the big advantage of being the President. That’s because he won an election 4 years ago against one of your colleagues, John McCain. Yes, I suppose you can blame the President for actually doing stuff during his time in office. Things like trying to provide healthcare for everyone in the country, something, I must add, that your side fought against. Yes, the President did help the auto industry, support gays in the military, help students with reduced interest rates, and support the dream act when it was blocked by your colleagues in the Congress. I suppose that if those are the gifts you’re talking about, you’re right. The President bribed the electorate by doing his job which is to help make this country a better place for everyone, not just the 53% that you thought you had on your side.
  2. I think your side underestimates the power of positive thinking. Mitt, we know we had a bad time the last 4 ½ years. We’ve been there. We’ve lived it. I’d like to thank you for reminding me over and over again what a mess we’ve been in. You did neglect to bring up how we got into this mess. I’m pretty sure it wasn’t because Americans chose Senator Obama for President. I think it had something to do with the misguided policies over the previous 20 years, culminating in a stock market crash and a real estate bust. That aside, the thing you didn’t point out was that things were looking up. Yes, unemployment isn’t where we wanted it to be, but it was better. Those corporations that you love so much are making profits. Yes, gas prices are higher than they were in 2008. Why? Because there are more people working and drawing on our gas supply. Bad for my wallet, but a good sign for the economy. Bottom line, we would have liked to hear you say that we will come back, that things are better for all of us. We don’t want you to tell us that the world will come to an end unless we elect you, Mitt. That just doesn’t fly with us.
  3. Your campaign seems to write off 50% of the American population. Despite what your side thinks, minorities, youth, and women do exist and apparently we do vote. So to write us off or, when you do talk to us, to treat us like 2nd class citizens is just plain stupid. Your party tends to speak to white males, which worked in the past, wasn’t as affective in this election and will probably not work in the future. Like it or not, the nation is much more diverse that you’d planned for. Republications will have to do a better job of addressing the issues of a wider group of voters and stop assuming that they won’t show up to vote. We do vote and, right now, we’re not voting for you.
  4. Your side lied a lot and we did notice. Ok, to be truthful, both sides lied. Both sides avoided answering direct questions by the voter and by reporters acting on our behalf. I know that you think that we won’t understand if you actually answer a question with words that aren’t sound bites, but we’re really not that stupid. Or maybe you can learn to use small words to explain your views.

Mitt, I know these are tough times for you. Your party is turning against you and blaming you for the loss. The fact is, the Republican party didn’t do itself any favors by supporting extremists, alienating working people, and being obstructionist for the past few years. You haven’t become the party of “No” without reason. I also know that most of the Republicans I know are good, decent people, as I’m sure you are. Some of them are a little fearful of change, and the country has changed a lot in the past few years. That can be scary. But to encourage scapegoating (as the Arizona immigration laws do), to try and limit access to the ballot box (see Pennsylvania, Florida, Ohio, etc), and to support or stand by and say nothing as the more extreme members of your party alienate 47% of the population isn’t the right response. Mitt, I’m hoping that you and your party learn from what the voting public is trying to tell you. I’m hoping that, instead of 4 more years of “No”, that we all learn to compromise and work together. That’s what the American people really want. Mitt, as a leader in your party, you can help to set a more positive tone for our country. I hope you take the high road and work with the opposition to make this a better country. After all, that is what you say you want. It’s what we all want…a better American.

Big Money Wins in California

In California Elections, In My Opinion..., Politics on June 9, 2010 at 6:47 am

I just heard excerpts from an acceptance speech given by Meg Whitman.  She said “It’s time for a different style of leadership. A new beginning. Not glitz, not glamor, not glibness, but guts. A governor with the guts to do the hard work required to turn California around!”

And what’s the way she shows California her “different style of leadership”? She spent 80 million dollars to buy a nomination, deluging the media with ads day and night.  I’m not sure that sounds all that different than any other politician.  I’m not saying that Meg wouldn’t have won without the 80 million dollar cash infusion into the state’s economy.  But I’m sure it help her a lot.  I know lots of local TV stations that are grateful to her for the extra income.  But just because you have tons of money doesn’t mean you know how to run a state that has an economy larger than most countries. To Meg, I have just one question.  How are you planning on running the state when you have no experience in government?

If her spending spree shows us how she’ll run our government, then I think we’d all better hold on to our wallets. Read the rest of this entry »