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 Assuming in this strange day and age, we still have political conventions this year, no one at this stage is sure just how the process will work. The old process of picking national candidates in the proverbial smoke-filled room has gone by the wayside in favor of party primaries. In the old days, candidates would spend years wooing state party leaders, who would then select delegates and tell them whom to support.

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House Democrats in congress can now vote and participate in committee hearings remotely.  It was a good move that should have been adopted years ago. Is it necessary for members of Congress to spend most of their time in Washington?   In 2020, why can’t lawmakers use the new technology of telecommunications to create a “virtual Congress?”

Thursday, 21 May 2020 21:53

Once-feared GOP now JBE's cuddly lap dog

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The Republican Party has total control of the Louisiana Legislature, with a supermajority in the State Senate and an overwhelming margin in the House of Representatives. Unfortunately, these legislative Republicans, who were elected to enact policies in line with the party’s platform, are not standing up for their principles and opposing the liberal agenda of Governor John Bel Edwards.

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The coronavirus epidemic has raised a troubling apprehension in Louisiana and in many other states across the country. There seems to be a devaluation of older citizens. I’m in that number of older folks, and there appears to be ample evidence that older citizens are often the victims of an entrenched epidemic-the too often lack of concern for our older population.

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The coronavirus epidemic has raised a troubling apprehension in Louisiana and in many other states across the country. There seems to be a devaluation of older citizens. I’m in that number of older folks, and there appears to be ample evidence that older citizens are often the victims of an entrenched epidemic-the too often lack of concern for our older population.

Thursday, 14 May 2020 08:33

Face the "New Normal"! Covid-19 cares not

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Who could have ever imagined that our lives would so dramatically change by a virus that just a few months ago was dismissed by our leaders as a minor problem that really would not affect our lives that much?  A little social distancing and we will all be back to normal in no time.  How wrong they were.

I turned 80 years old this month.  It seemed like my life had peaked, but I was ready for the long and relaxing ride back down.  I looked forward to enjoying my later years and be on this side of troubled waters.  But now, I’m not so sure.

Most of us are aware that our democracy is not the perfect form of government.  But we still believe that few other countries come close to our freedoms, benefits, and opportunities.  Our country is special, and we take pride in being prepared for whatever difficulties we face.  America cannot and should not have to rely on any other country for help in the time of a major crisis.  Churchill said it well back in 1934.

“We cannot afford to confide the safety of our country

To the passions or the panic of any foreign nation which may

Be facing some desperate crisis.  We must be independent.

We must be free.  We must preserve our full latitude and

Discretion of choice.”

I don’t think the blame game helps, but the fact remains that our country needs better preparation for future epidemics.  But it often comes down to tax dollars.  Current financial needs often are given priority over long-range planning for future catastrophes.  I made the same arguments for a major federal response to a Katrina-like catastrophe when I proposed and testified in Congress for the immediate need of a National Disaster Relief program back in 1995.  A similar proposal was part of my detailed Brown Papers where I outlined such a need in my race for governor back in 1987.  Such suggestions were put on the back burner and never revived.

And what about all these food pantry lines?  Millions of people across the country wait for hours to get a box of canned goods.  Yet while so many Americans go hungry, farmers are plowing up ripe fruits and vegetables, and milk is being dumped in waste pits.  There are congressional proposals for a major distribution program through the Department of Agriculture.

Why not eliminate all the bureaucracy, help our grocery stores, and just enlarge the food stamp program that is built around a private business structure already set up to distribute food?  Let those in need just go to their local grocery stores.  Why not let those who qualify and need food use SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) to buy groceries even online if necessary.  Why abandon a workable program that makes use of the private sector?

This current pandemic is not going away soon.  I know that many people are fed up with what they feel are draconian stay-at-home restrictions.  But we are being naive if there is a feeling that life will return to the old normal in the not too distant future.  There could well be a second wave of the virus, and a vaccine is most likely many months away.

We need to balance such caution with the realization that our economy is stuck in an induced coma, and needs to rebound so people can get back to work. And our kids need an education. Finding the right balance is the single biggest challenge facing our political leaders in Washington. 

 There’s a new normal yet to be determined. Many folks might not like it, but guess what?  The coronavirus doesn’t give a darn.  We are just going to have to face this fact.

Peace and Justice

Jim Brown

Jim Brown’s syndicated column appears in numerous newspapers throughout the state and on websites worldwide.  You can read all his past columns and see continuing updates at http://www.jimbrownusa.com.  





louisiana my home

With the coronavirus spreading across the nation, all Americans are feeling vulnerable and nervous about the future. Incredible steps have been taken to shut down interaction among people and slow the spread of the killer disease. Hopefully, these measures will be successful, and life will soon return to normal in the country.

In the meantime, the crisis will get worse before it eventually gets better. One place that is being particularly hard hit is Louisiana. Our state is facing a crisis like nothing it has ever experienced. We are used to dealing with hurricanes and natural disasters, but this crisis is multi-faceted and will be long-lasting.

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It may have been a good idea when it was implemented in 1918; however, over one century later, it is time to end the craziness of changing the time every few months.

On Sunday morning, Americans will need to adjust to the reality of losing an hour of sleep because we will “spring forward” one hour and move back to Daylight Saving Time.

In November, it will be time to “fall back” an hour to Standard Time. All this clock changing leads to increased accidents, a higher incidence of heart attacks, a loss of productivity and a needless confusion for the American people.

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What a profound difference makes six years!

Back in February 2014, Louisiana was embroiled in a hotly-contested free-for-all for the U.S. Senate position. Retired, and unknown Air Force Colonel Rob Maness had just announced his candidacy to oust Senator Mary Landrieu, the powerful senior Democrat US Senator. Landrieu, generally had been hailed as the hero from the Hurricane Katrina wars fighting the emotional unending battles to save South Louisiana and New Orleans.  However, Landrieu faced one major obstacle--President Barack Obama who down in these parts was less popular than the BP Oil Spill (if that were possible). 

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Hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent over the past year pumped into two small states, Iowa and New Hampshire respectively as they formally opened up the presidential election season.  Ever since the first Democratic candidate entered the field, the number of competitors for president has winnowed down to a handful. Left standing are those men and women who hope to have the momentum and the staying power to become the Democratic nominee chosen at this summer's convention owning the right to go up against current White House occupant, Donald Trump.

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