Tag: Jerrold Nadler

Is Obama Dumping the Public Option?

Original article, by David Corn, via motherjones.com:

“It had better be wrong.”

That was the response of Representative Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) to Wednesday’s Politico story  that the Obama White House, as it retools its strategy for health care reform, has no intention of fighting for the inclusion of a public option that would offer government-run health insurance to companies and people who can’t obtain affordable coverage elsewhere. And Jacob Hacker, a health policy expert who can be called the godfather of the public option, says, “The White House…has to be told in no uncertain terms that dropping the public plan is stupid and premature.”

Uniting American Families Act update

On Monday afternoon, I posted a diary discussing the Uniting American Families Act. It also got Front Paged here (thanks, benign overlord administrators) I also received an excellent e-mail about the issue.

I titled the diary “The gay rights bill you don’t know about.” I should have checked some tags first. Heh.

At any rate, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a very informative hearing on the bill Wednesday morning.

To recap, UAFA does one simple thing. It would allow American citizens to sponsor same sex partners for immigration just like married couples. The Senate bill is sponsored by Patrick Leahy of Vermont while the House version is sponsored by Jerrold Nadler of New York. Follow me below for a recap of the hearing.

Our Experience Bird-dogging Rep. Jerrold Nadler on Sunday

There were two opportunities to “bird-dog” Rep. Nadler this past Sunday at events where he was scheduled to appear in support of Hillary Clinton.  In the early afternoon he was at Hudson Guild at a candidates forum sponsored by Chelsea Reform Democrats.  Later he was at a NOW-NYC forum on How Critical is the Women’s Vote? featuring Congressman Jerrold Nadler, former Congresswoman and Brooklyn D.A. & NYC Comptroller Elizabeth Holtzman, and Sheryl McCarthy, USA Today & Newsday Columnist and Distinguished Lecturer in Journalism at CUNY.  I attended and flyered at the NOW-NYC event with a fellow PDA member and another concerned constituent and want to share our report with you.  However, first a disclaimer:  I have been under the weather with the nasty upper respiratory thing that has been going around and it sorely diminished my note taking abilities.  Also, I should mention that the report will focus on our experience with regard to Rep. Nadler and impeachment as opposed to the event itself.

The NOW event was a full house: my estimate is about 150 attended and some latecomers even stood. On the dais were Sonia Ossorio, current president of NOW-NYC, Rep. Nadler, Liz Holtzman, and Sheryl McCarthy (USA Today & Newsday journalist). Sonia introduced them and each gave a somewhat brief statement re their support for Hillary Clinton or Obama. McCarthy opened and said she would support either as a nominee, that the most important thing was to put a Democrat in office. Holtzman agreed and remarked that the country could not survive another four more years under a Republican President. She went on to say she supported Hillary Clinton and that her support went very far back to the Nixon impeachment when Hillary Clinton was a Congressional staffer working for the House Judiciary Committee. She said some nice things about Hillary Clinton being a humanitarian and a person with values who chose to work in government rather than accept a high paying corporate position.  

Rep. Nadler then spoke at length.  He began by describing the upcoming election as the most important in recent history.  He launched into a list of all the wrongs done this country by the current administration.  He asserted that they had shredded the Constitution and listed all of the reasons which make impeachment an imperative – inroads on civil liberties, imbalance of separation of powers, Executive aggrandizement, destruction of checks and balances, signing statements, torture, habeas corpus suspension, and more.  However, not once did he mention the word impeachment or the need to hold this administration accountable or address the issue of precedent.  He then sang Hillary Clinton’s praises.  Ironically he began by relating how he had been on the House Judiciary Committee during the Clinton impeachment and how the research that he did in that capacity took him to the majority report that Hillary had co-written in 1974 and how he had been impressed then by her work.

Sonia Ossorio then asked if there were questions from the audience. The first question was from a man who turned out to be one of the writers on Democrats.com – thebluehighwayman.  I don’t remember what the question was nor the responses, but it was election related. The second question was from Elizabeth Sackler, who brought Judy Chicago’s “The Dinner Party” exhibit to The Brooklyn Museum.  Sackler is also founder of The American Indian Ritual Object Repatriation Foundation, http://www.repatriationfoundat…  I don’t recall her exact words – it was a long question – but the essence was that she questioned if we were paying attention to the right thing in our focus on elections – “if we had our eye on the ball” – and that instead we should be addressing accountability.  She started by saying that she was happy with some things (forget what exactly), but NOT happy that there has been no accountability for the administration and that she is not convinced they´re going to “give back the bone”, i.e. give up power and have elections, stating that she did not feel we had seen a true election since 1998.  For the first time that afternoon, the audience broke into applause.  I noticed that even the elderly woman sitting across from me who had appeared to be snoozing during the opening statements was enthusiastically clapping in agreement.  Holtzman jumped on this immediately, bringing up the “I word,” saying how she had written a book on impeachment and how she was convinced that impeachment was the only way we can make sure there is change. She turned to Rep. Nadler and said that she was certain that he was working on it as well. However, her comment about working on “it” was vague.  It could have been construed as in invitation to him to explain how he was also working on impeachment or it could have a diplomatic moment where she hoped he would step up to the plate.  My notes on this moment and Rep. Nadler’s response are less than perfect.  It was a convoluted response and I found myself asking the person next to me what he said.  Our conclusion is that he was saying that impeachment wasn’t the “right solution.”  He responded that it wasn’t the forum to get into impeachment, and that his solution was to enact legislation that would remove the Executive inroads into power and restore checks and balances, etc. under a Democratic President. He talked about state secrets legislation and his FISA telecom immunity bill (complaining how the liberal blogs have overlooked what the House has done with their preoccupation with the Senate).  Rep. Nadler did share that a little noticed paragraph the Dems inserted into a recent bill extended the statute of limitations from 5 to 10 years (or something similar) and that with a Democratic President they will prosecute Bush for wiretapping etc. in 2009 or 2010.  I am tempted to editorialize here about how likely this is given Congress’ current record, but will let you fill in the blanks.  Unfortunately, this wasn’t a forum where you could follow up on Sackler’s question and get into the issue deeply. The conversation moved on to a more election focused discussion comparing the strengths and weaknesses of Clinton, Obama, and at times Edwards.

I wasn’t able to ask the question I had in mind which was regarding Hillary Clinton’s lack of support for habeas corpus.  On a blazing hot July day this past summer I traveled before dawn with the ACLU to DC to lobby Congress on habeas corpus.  About 300 of us signed up to meet with Hillary Clinton.  Not only did she not make time to meet with 300 constituents who had traveled five hours by bus to meet with her, but the two representatives she sent –  her legislative aide and her deputy counsel – ducked our questions the same way that we have seen Bush’s various press representatives deal with the Washington press corps.  The one straight answer they gave to us is that she did not support Senator Dodd’s amendment Restoring the Constitution Act (S. 576).  Instead she supported the weaker version, Senator Spector and Leahy’s Habeas Corpus Restoration Act (S. 185) which was more limited in scope in addressing the problems the Military Commissions Act caused in undermining the Constitution and the rule of law.

Restoration of habeas corpus is  something that Rep. Nadler had been working very hard on in the House.  He too was on our list of Congressional reps to visit and I have written to him and about him relating how impressed I was with the level of respect he accorded us in the meeting we had with him.  I have wondered for a long time how he justified support of Hillary Clinton given his position as the Chair of the Judiciary Sub-Committee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties and his work on habeas corpus.  I would have preferred to ask him in a public forum, but settled for asking him privately as he was leaving, reminding him of the day when I was in his DC office with the ACLU.  He didn’t recognize me and asked who I was and when I told him my name, he stiffened and tried to brush me off – no doubt expecting to hear about impeachment. I told him about our experience with Hillary Clinton that day and her refusal to support full restoration and his response was that he didn’t know what happened in the Senate, but focused on his work in the House. I found it surprising that he wouldn’t be on top of what was happening in both Houses with regard to key legislation and issues.

I then asked Rep. Nadler to support the call for impeachment hearings in the House Judiciary Committee. He became visibly angry and told me “I thought I made my position clear an hour and a half ago.” I had no idea what he was talking about and told him so. He refused to believe me and then it occurred to me that he must have been referring to the earlier event and I said “oh you must mean in Chelsea.”  I told him I was not there and had decided to attend this event, but that it was clear that constituents in his district are not happy with the position he is taking on impeachment. He began to move away from me to get out of having to discuss it further and someone else came up and began speaking with him. The National Arts Guild is a nice place and NOW had a lovely spread of wine, cheeses, pates, crudites, etc. and I think he was trying to decide if he should stay.

However, not long after, I noticed he was speaking with the person who asked the first question of the afternoon, thebluehighwayman from democrats.com. They were talking about impeachment and thebluehighwayman had a copy of Holtzman’s book with him.  I began to pay attention when I heard him asking Rep. Nadler about the oath he swore to defend the Constitution. I didn’t hear Rep. Nadler’s reply but it looked like he blew him off too, mumbling, and then headed for the door. He was not happy.

I found out later that at the event in Chelsea, there were many questions about impeachment and the crowd was overwhelmingly in favor.  It seems that being bird-dogged does not sit well with Rep. Nadler.  He is clearly annoyed, even angry, yet he seems determined to ignore us and do what he pleases.  The folks with me watched me talking with him and saw him become angry and dismissive. They were aghast at his introduction where he spoke at length about civil rights, only to be followed by his evasive response to Elizabeth Sackler promising that a Democratic President would criminally prosecute, and then his intransigence with me.  After the Congressman left I stayed and “worked the crowd” and found many people in favor of impeachment and shocked that Rep. Nadler wasn’t doing more. I even spoke for a bit with a woman who is a self-proclaimed conservative who had attended with her sister at her sister’s urging to see “the other side.” She said that we would be surprised – they are saying the same things at the Republican events she attends – universal dislike for Bush and desire for change, and she and I were specifically discussing impeachment. I wish there had been another half hour to talk with more people but I got caught up with three feisty Latinas and suddenly the National Arts Guild was picking up glasses and making the hors d’oeuvres disappear. It was time to go.

I hope that someone who attended the Chelsea Decision ’08 forum writes up what happened earlier in the afternoon.  And I hope that thebluehighwayman publishes a report on Democrats.com about his impression of the NOW-NYC event.

It seems with primary season in full swing, it is likely that Rep. Nadler will be out stumping for Hillary Clinton in the district.  He refuses to meet with constituents to discuss impeachment – or in my opinion remember his oath of office to defend the Constitution – but chances are there will be additional opportunities to meet up with him at these events to reinforce that his constituents want him to support the call for hearings in the House Judiciary Committee.  I will keep you informed of additional opportunities to bird-dog Rep. Nadler and hope you will join me.  On Sunday afternoon, the applause that broke out after Elizabeth Sackler raised the issue of accountability clearly indicated the level of support for impeachment.  What will it take for our Congressman to listen to and acknowledge his responsibility to his constituents and support impeachment hearings?

Bird-Dog Jerry Nadler in NYC this Sunday

There are two key opportunities to bird-dog Rep. Nadler this coming weekend, but before I go into details, I would like to let you know that an open letter, written by a group of concerned citizens working under the banner AskNadler2Impeach.org to Rep. Nadler urging him to support Rep. Wexler’s call for impeachment hearings in the House Judiciary Committee was sent yesterday.  We wanted it to reach him this week while he is still in the city on recess and chose to send it yesterday with 133 signers although it is clear that there are many others who would still like to cosign.  AskNadler2Impeach.org is currently being constructed and as soon as it is up and running the site will host the letter and a petition to Rep. Nadler asking him to support impeachment.  You will be first to know when it is operational (hopefully next week).

And now on to bird-dogging…

For those who are not familiar with the term bird-dogging, the PDA website Progressive Challenge 2008 offers a link to What is “Bird-Dogging” and How to Do It.  Bird-dogging is defined as:

   bird-dog also bird·dog (bûrddôg, -dg)

   v. bird-dogged, bird-dog·ging, bird-dogs Informal  v.intr.

   To follow a subject of interest, such as a person or trend, with persistent attention.

Bird-dogging is one of PDA’s Progressive Challenge 2008 recommended courses of activism and a special blog page has been set up for PDAers across the country to share their experiences bird-dogging.  Back in November a group organized to bird-dog Rep. Nadler at a Citizens Action New York event.  Bob Fertik from Democrats.com joined us that evening on the “inside” while we flyered on the outside.  Bob wrote about his conversation with Congressman Nadler on impeachment in Jerrold Nadler Whistles Past the Impeachment Graveyard.

Bird-dogging is best practiced at a Town Hall meeting or other forum where an elected official will be appearing.  Specific tips and techniques from the PDA link are:

1. Do your homework.

a. Find out from the local office when and where your representative or senator will be speaking or holding a candidate forum.

2. Prepare questions ahead of time. Rehearse reading the question or comment.

a. Use the EPIC format (engage them, state the problem, illustrate the solution, call them to action) to craft your questions.

b. Be confident, considerate and persistent about getting an answer to your question.

3. Get familiar with your Congressman.

a. Here is where you can find info on current representatives and senators.

4. Work in teams.

a. Sit in different areas of the room to maximize your impact.

b. Designate a note taker to jot down all info and promises made by the Congressperson.

c. Designate a videographer, as You-Tube, Google video and other methods are an excellent way to amplify your message.

d. Seek out media after the meeting to talk about our issues if they were not covered.

e. Seek out the speakers after the meeting to introduce yourself and follow up on your question, or ask it if you were not able to ask the question during the meeting.

f. Leave the event with a clear plan to follow up with their staff.

5. Stay on message.

a. Don’t get distracted or angry if your question is blown over. Be forceful in repeating the question and asking for an appropriate response.

Item #5 is key:  Don’t get angry – it is critically important that we remain respectful if we are to be considered credible in our questions.

In this case, we have the answer to #1 – the venues where Rep. Nadler will be speaking –  however, in the future, if you know that the Congressman will be speaking at a Democratic Club meeting or elsewhere in the city, please pass on the info and we will help to organize it into a bird-dogging opportunity.  

This Sunday Rep. Nadler will be participating in two events.  The first is in Chelsea, a Presidential Candidates Forum hosted by the Chelsea Reform Democrats:

Decision 08:

The Hon Ronnie Eldridge,

The Hon Jerrold Nadler (for Hillary Clinton)

The Hon Bill Perkins (for Barack Obama)

Representatives of the campaigns of:

 John Edwards

 Dennis Kucinich

 Mike Gravel

Sunday, January 13, 2008, 1 – 3 pm

Hudson Guild Fulton Center

119 Ninth Avenue (btw 17th and 18th Streets)

Free Admission

Later in the day, he will participate in a NOW-NYC event on

How Critical is the Women’s Vote?


Jerrold Nadler, Congressman

Elizabeth Holtzman,

Former Congresswoman and Bklyn D.A.  & NYC Comptroller, and

Sheryl McCarthy,

USA Today & Newsday Columnist, Distinguished Lecturer in Journalism at CUNY

National Arts Club

15 Gramercy Park South

Sunday, January 13, 2008, 4 PM to 6 PM

Wine & Cheese Served   Sponsored by NOW-New York City Chapter

Space is limited. Please reserve with a $10 contribution/$5 for NOW-NYC members.

Charge to credit card by phone, 212.627.9895 or online at www.nownyc.org by clicking “Buy Ticket” or “Donate.”

You may also send check payable to: NOW-NYC, 150 W.28th St. #304, NYC 10001.

Both events look like excellent opportunities to become better informed and to bird-dog Rep. Nadler.  I haven’t decided which I will attend yet, but am leaning towards the NOW event if only because I am a great admirer of Elizabeth Holtzman, have deeply appreciated her advocacy of impeachment, and have long wondered what would happen if she and Rep. Nadler were asked together publicly about impeachment.  If you are interested in attending either as part of a team effort please email me and I will put you in touch with people who are planning to attend  – to both learn and to bird-dog.

A final and most important suggestion:  the groups sponsoring these events have gone to considerable trouble to make them happen.  Please respect their efforts and do not disrupt the events.  Our goal is to work together to ask questions and get answers not to disrupt or be disrespectful and interfere with the participation of others in these events.

Hope to see you this weekend.  If you can’t make it to either event, please

Call Rep. Nadler’s office

Ask/Urge/Demand that he support hearings on impeachment in the House Judiciary Committee

New York:  212-367-7350

Washington, DC:  202-225-5635

You might also tell Rep. Nadler what you think about him having four women arrested and put in jail overnight for engaging in a sit in at his Brooklyn office.  I heard from one of the women this week, Elaine Brower, and in her words: “we spent the entire night in jail, no food, no water, terrible conditions, just to make sure the Congressman and the media knew we meant business.”  Elaine was also part of the group that was arrested with Cindy Sheehan during the sit in at his office this summer.  In that case, the grassroots activists spent only five hours in jail.  Shame on Congressman Nadler for forcing four women to spend a full night in jail for engaging in a sit in at his office.

If you haven’t yet signed Rep. Wexler’s petition callling for impeachment hearings in the HJC, please sign it now and pass it on to colleagues, friends, and family.  Thanks for all you do.

Nadler on FISA

U.S. Representative Jerrold Nadler of New York’s 8th Congressional District published an interesting piece on FISA reformation today-

The RESTORE Act Does What is Needed to Protect America

Jerrold Nadler, Huffington Post

Posted December 3, 2007  07:17 PM (EST)

Nadler Follow Up

Love the concept of two diaries per day – rather than add this to the long essay I posted last night, I can now publish another.  Very cool, Buhdy and crew!

Anyway, just received this in an email from a friend and constituent of Nadler re the Gonzales resignation.  He received it from Nadler’s office today.  Hmmm, wonder if he knew we were talking about him?  😉

Check out his closing statement.

The Joy of Lobbying or Talking Impeachment With Jerry Nadler

The Joy of Lobbying or Talking Impeachment with Jerry Nadler

At the end of August Representative Jerry Nadler (Nadler) from New York City’s Congressional District 8 met with about twenty of his constituents to discuss impeachment.  This meeting was arranged in response to letters the Congressman received from his constituents indicating their concern about what is going on with our government and requesting that he support impeachment.  It says volumes that Nadler set aside the time to meet with us and gave us a full hour.  It was clear in how he addressed us and how he ran the meeting that he took our concerns and the issue of impeachment seriously.  What follows is what he and we had to say…