THE PUBLIC EYE: Five Shutdown Lessons

Bob Burnett
Friday January 26, 2018 - 05:20:00 PM

On January 19th the federal government shut down. Two days later, Democratic leaders blinked and called off the shutdown. Even though Dems didn't get what they wanted, there were important lessons learned.

The brief shutdown accomplished two things. First, Democrats finally secured an extension to the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) that benefits 9 million children in low-income families. Second, the Senate effort to resolve the shutdown was led by a bipartisan group of 24 Senators; this suggests that, when the Senate votes on immigration, there may be enough moderate Republicans to ensure that the resulting bill is reasonable.

Nonetheless, on January 22nd Senate Democrats didn't get what they wanted and lost the first major DACA battle. There are five lessons to be earned from this experience. -more-

ECLECTIC RANT: Does Trump's threat to withhold aid from Palestinians doom any restart of peace negotiations?

Ralph E. Stone
Friday January 26, 2018 - 05:13:00 PM

On January 26, 2018, at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Trump threatened to withhold aid money from the Palestinians until they return to the peace talks with Israel. The U.S. has contributed over $6 billion in economic and security aid to the Palestinians since the mid-1990s, and around $500 million annually since 2008, mostly for development projects. Trump had already moved to withhold some -- $65 million of $125 million -- of scheduled aid to the UN agency that assists Palestinian refugees.

This threat to withhold money comes on the heels of Trump's December 6, 2017, recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital. The process began in 1995, with the passage of the Jerusalem Embassy Act, which required the U.S. to move the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem by a set deadline, but permitted the move to be put off for six months at a time as long as the President “determines and reports to Congress in advance that such suspension is necessary to protect the national security interests of the United States.” Trump refused to put off the move for another six months. -more-

ON MENTAL ILLNESS: Your Brain Can Help You

Jack Bragen
Friday January 26, 2018 - 05:12:00 PM

Although some mental health practitioners may ascribe to the belief that the brain of a mentally ill person is impaired and has useless output, you should not absorb this projection. Many persons with psychiatric disabilities have wonderful brains that can do wonderful things. The fact of being medicated, as many of us are, should not make us give up on our brains. -more-

ON MENTAL ILLNESS: Obsessive Gratification Systems and Ensuing Disasters

Jack Bragen
Sunday January 21, 2018 - 11:27:00 AM

Becoming symptomatic due to unfulfilled gratification systems is a scenario out of many in which persons with mental illness can become unstable. There are numerous paths to becoming acutely ill, and what I am about to describe is only one of them. -more-

THE PUBLIC EYE: The Politics of Sustainability

Bob Burnett
Sunday January 21, 2018 - 11:02:00 AM

As Democrats embark on a ten-month campaign to take back Congress, it's clear they need a unifying message. Because Republicans are defined by Trump, Dems could unite on the theme, "lock him up." While satisfying, this slogan doesn't capture the depravity of Trump's reign or the fact that Republicans have sold their souls uniting behind him. A better solution for Democrats would be to focus on sustainability. -more-

ECLECTIC RANT:U.S Government Shut Down — Dreamers Left Dangling

Ralph E. Stone
Sunday January 21, 2018 - 07:59:00 PM

At 11:59:59 on Friday, January 19, 2018, the U.S. government funding went dry and the government shut down. Today, Saturday, January 20, both the House and Senate are caucusing to try pass a continuing resolution to "kick the can down the road" until February or pass legislation to help the "Dreamers." The prospects for both are uncertain. -more-