Hot Button Issues…

…and What Ed Believes Should be Done
1. Trump, Trumpism and a New Normal No One Should Accept
Defend truth and democracy by removing Donald Trump and Mark Amodei from office along with all elected officials who have supported or accommodated Trumpism. Replace them with honest, decent, responsible public servants (he says, raising his hand).

The 2020 elections will be a referendum on the most ignorant, irresponsible and dishonest major political figure in American history, Donald Trump. As a consequence of Trumpism, it will also be a referendum on a whole lot more.

Our congressman, Mark Amodei, led Donald Trump’s presidential campaign in Nevada in 2016 (which failed) and has asked to carry Trump’s banner in the Silver State again in 2020.

He has supported everything Donald Trump has said and done as president, including Trump’s lying to the public an unfathomable average of almost 15 times a day.

  • Habitual, unrepentant lying
  • Petulant, childish, vulgar name calling
  • Child caging
  • Woman groping (“When you’re a star, they let you do it”)
  • Contempt for the rule of law
  • Government by conspiracy theory
  • Mass rallies where worshippers chant their hatred of minorites and the free and accurate press

This is the new normal brought to you by Donald Trump and Mark Amodei and the triumph of partisan loyalty over integrity, morality and sanity.

If Donald Trump is re-elected, I will be relentless in calling on Congress to hold him accountable — something I’ve done nearly every day for more than 2 ½ years

Trump or no Trump, I’ll sponsor legislation to amend the oath of office to swear all future presidents to tell the truth, and I’ll found the House Honesty Caucus

2. Immigration
Implement fair-minded, humane and politically astute immigration reform

In his farewell address to the nation, President Ronald Reagan expanded on his vision of America as a “Shining City on a Hill”:

“[I]n my mind it was a tall, proud city built on rocks stronger than oceans, wind-swept, God-blessed, and teeming with people of all kinds living in harmony and peace; a city with free ports that hummed with commerce and creativity. And if there had to be city walls, the walls had doors, and the doors were open to anyone with the will and the heart to get here.”

Many conservatives reading that will, I hope, feel sick when they think about their support for our hateful, xenophobic, so-called Republican president and his sycophant Mark Amodei.

Our country has always been – and always will be – strengthened by immigrants of diverse origins who share our values.

We must also face a reality of human nature that unorganized mass migrations, such as Europe experienced with the flood of Syrian refugees, can lead to resentment, anger, virulent nationalism and the ascension of authoritarian governments.

I support a systematic and measured process to create legal pathways to immigration. I passionately believe in America as a beacon of hope and justice and a refuge for the victims of violent persecution.

3. Abortion
Keep it legal, safe and rare. Everywhere. Act on pro-life ideals by working to give unwanted children a better chance in life.

Were the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade and leave it to individual states to allow or disallow abortion, the result would be a nonsensical patchwork of statutes where an act that is legal in one jurisdiction could be prosecuted a few hundred feet away in a bordering state.

As with slavery in the 19th century, we need to come to a national consensus about abortion or divisions will continue to tear us apart.

In keeping with Ameican ideals of personal liberty and the right to privacy, women should retain control over their own bodies. Also, can we please end the war on Planned Parenthood? This is a valuable and responsible public health care organization that does a lot more than perform abortions, such as screen for cervial and testicular (yes, in men) cancer.

But the conversation shouldn’t end there.

At a time when couples spend tens of thousands of dollars on fertility treatments or travel thousands of miles to adopt a child from abroad, government and charities and all who deplore abortion should work together to facilitate safe domestic adoptions.

In a perfect world, all children would have safe, loving homes. That should be the goal. Unwanted children are unlikely to experience that.

4. Health care
Discover what works. Stop obsessing over how to discredit the other party’s proposals.

The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) was a responsible plan built on sound economic principles first implemented by a Republican governor, Mitt Romney, in a Democratic state, Massachusetts

Ever since then, Republicans have campaigned for Obamacare’s repeal and replacement because Democrats passed Obamacare and because it achieved some success. Republicans failed to repeal Obamacare because they failed to come up with a better alternative.

I support the Trump administration in ordering hospitals to disclose the price of services in advance and make it easier for consumers to shop for value in health care.

Medicare for all, single-payer, the public option, a national health service, hybrids – these are all alternatives worth exploring. But any plan must include metrics for success that all sides agree on in advance. If the plan implemented doesn’t meet those metrics, fix it or scrap it. Don’t gloat. Don’t blame. Move on to Plan B.

5. Guns and the Second Amendment
Drastically reduce mass shootings by changing attitudes about guns.

The Second Amendment reads, in full: “A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

Many people, myself included, read that sentence as, “You have the right to keep and carry a gun if you serve in the country’s militia.” However, the Supreme Court has ruled that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual the right to possess a firearm — unconnected with service in a militia — for any normally legal purpose.

America’s population of guns is now greater than its population of people. About 40 percent of all households have guns. So for at least the foreseeable future, we are going to be living among a lot of guns, some of which will be used to kill people without justification.

Like the vast majority of Americans, I am appalled by the continuing frequency of mass shootings, and I refuse to believe that nothing can be done to improve the situation. Which is what this Congress and this president have done — nothing.

Expanded background checks and a ban on assault rifles (the latter supported by two-thirds of the American public) can’t hurt. I support buy-back programs as well.

But background checks and similar measures that are always talked about will not prevent rampages by people who bought their guns in their previous state of being law-abiding citizens. Guns don’t disintegrate when gun possessors change from sane to insane.

So here’s what I propose:

Leave responsible gun owners, including often conservation-minded hunters, alone.

Gradually and significantly reduce gun violence the same way we gradually and significantly reduced smoking and littering in previous decades: by teaching people, starting when they’re young, that guns aren’t safe or sexy. This would be done through sustained public service campaigns.

Also, encourage supposedly liberal Hollywood to make fewer films and TV shows that portray guns and gun fights as the normal or rational way to resolve conflicts.

6. Climate change
The world can’t afford to leave science deniers in charge.

Free enterprise and market competition spur innovation and yield the best possible goods and services at the best possible prices – most of the time.

There are other times when government regulation is necessary to protect public safety and welfare. The fact of climate change is one example.
A purely free market economy would dictate continued reliance on the cheapest possible energy sources, fossil fuels, right up to global catastrophe.

We need a government that believes what nearly every climatologist — and nearly 70 percent of the public — believes: Global warming is real and irreversible. It requires our immediate attention and global cooperation.

7. Income and Wealth Inequality
Gear policies to regrow the middle class instead of insulating the super rich

The framers of the constitution sought to “insure domestic tranquility” by setting up a system that guaranteed (except to slaves) equal justice under the law and an equal opportunity to prosper. They knew that a system rigged to favor one group over another would inevitably lead to unrest.

We are living through an era when the prospect of unrest grows greater by the day because of widening income and wealth inequality.

According to the Federal Reserve, 30 years ago the top 1 percent owned nearly one-quarter of all U.S. household wealth. Today it’s nearly one-third. The share of wealth owned by the bottom 50 percent has shrunk from 3.7 percent in 1989 to 1.9 percent now.

Elizabeth Warren puts it this way: “The top 0.1 percent … own about the same wealth as 90 percent of America.”

In a column for The New York Times in 2019, Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman mentioned that top 25 hedge fund managers in America now make an average of $850 million a year. These and other super rich live in an entirely different world from the rest of the country, Krugman wrote.

“The very rich don’t need Medicare or Social Security; they don’t use public education or public transit; they may not even be that reliant on public roads (there are helicopters, after all). Meanwhile, they don’t want to pay taxes,” he wrote.

Many factors have contributed to the rise of super billionaires and the hollowing out of the middle class. They include the decline of high-paying, often union-represented, jobs in manufacturing that required no more than a high school education.

Also contributing have been trade and tax policies that favor wealthy people who make most of their money from investments, not wages.
We need to support the modern American workforce by making college and specialized technical training more affordable.

We need to rebalance policies, especially on taxes, to encourage the regrowth of the middle class. That includes asking for fair-share support for the common good from billionaires who are becoming America’s oligarchs.

More than anyone, they have benefitted from our country’s freedom-to-prosper infrastructure that includes safe roads and bridges, clean air and water, historically generous tax treatment of inherited wealth, secure markets, a strong defense and equal justice under the law.

8. Minimum wage
Raise it already.

In 2019, the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour set a record for remaining the same for the longest period in U.S. history without Congress raising it. The rate has remained the same for 10 years.

Over that span, the cost of living has increased 18 percent.

The best time to address this discrepancy is now, while unemployment is low and economic activity robust.

I support a $15 federal minimum wage phased in over a period of time to test the longstanding conservative theory that raising the minimum wage would actually reduce jobs. We’ll see, and we can adjust course if necessary.

9. Citizens United
Defeat big-money election influence by exposing the sources and exercising our power

The Supreme Court’s 2010 decision in Citizens United v. FEC struck down a campaign finance reform law intended to limit the ability of companies, unions and other organizations to influence elections through massive advertising campaigns. The ruling essentially said the ability to spend money to get one’s message out is the same as freedom of speech, and organizations are entitled to the same First Amendment rights as people.

It will likely take a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United, and those are almost impossible to ratify. That’s especially true now with our current political divisions and the fact that those organizations would likely wage a massive campaign to defeat such an amendment.

Corporations, unions and such may be people in the eyes of the 5-4 majority that decided Citizens United, but they still cannot vote. We have the power to decide every election. We need only tune out the nonsense often peddled in campaign ads, think critically and vote responsibly.

I favor legislation to prohibit so-called “dark money” campaigns in which the source of funding of the ads is hidden from the public. Let voters know who is paying to elect or defeat a person or proposal, and let them draw their own conclusions about their motivations.

10. Capitalism and the future of our economy
Artificial intelligence could take your job; teach and plan accordingly.

The job of a government in an economy based on free enterprise is to ensure equal opportunity, not equal outcomes. Wealth is distributed most fairly when it is earned through hard work, talent, and smart choices.

Two of the most important choices a person can make in life are whether to remain in school, and how to choose a bill-paying, sustainable career.

Emerging technologies have always affected employment opportunities. Today is no different. Automation may soon replace jobs as diverse as truck driver and radiologist. Presidential candidate Andrew Yang gets it.

Our education system needs to not only prepare people for the jobs of tomorrow — which will include the arts — it needs to encourage people to think long term.

Which, come to think of it, is nothing new.