Department Of Health And Human Services

Trump Administration Refusal To Make Opioid Crisis A National Emergency An Unconscionable Declaration Of Democide, A Crime Against Humanity!

The Trump Administration has refused to declare the Opioid Crisis a National Emergency, saying it is not necessary.

This is one of the most criminal acts of the Trump Presidency, as about 1,000 people per week are dying from abuse of pain medication, which means we have a September 11 equivalent every three weeks, which also means over 50,000-60,000 people will die in the next year, more than in auto accidents, because of refusal to mobilize resources to fight this epidemic of overdoses and addiction, which is affecting all of the nation, and particularly high rates in New Hampshire, West Virginia, Ohio, Maine, Maryland, and Palm Beach County, Florida, where this blogger lives. High levels of addiction are found in rural areas, and among white working class people, many of whom voted for Donald Trump, but Trump just says one must teach one’s children not to abuse drugs as if a lecture will resolve it, and as more teenagers become victims every week.

Everyone is susceptible to this situation, and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has, commendably, brought attention to this crisis, from the time of his Presidential campaign when he spoke about a good friend who died from opioid addiction. It was the most human moment of his failed campaign, but he is still very much involved in trying to promote action on this crisis, which has become one of ethics, and morality.

For Trump to refuse, through his despicable Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, himself a doctor, to address this issue as a national emergency is an unconscionable declaration of democide, a crime against humanity, that should lead to prosecution and imprisonment for Trump, Price, and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who instead wants to promote more convictions and imprisonment as punishment for those who are unfortunately addicted to pain medication.

The problem is that opioids are available from overseas nations, including China, via the internet, so it is not just an issue of drugs being brought across the border from Mexico, as is often the assertion we hear from the Trump Administration.

One can wonder if the thought in the Trump Administration is that a good way to get rid of people considered “unproductive” and a burden on society is to let them die, offer no help or assets to deal with the crisis, other than punishment through imprisonment. This may sound crazy to many, but it is clear that Trump has no regard for poor people, elderly people, disabled people, and “unproductive” people, and it would save a large portion of the funding for the “social safety net”.

Republican Split Begins, As Several US Senators Indicate They Are Ready To Fight Trump Cabinet Appointments

It is now clear that Donald Trump will NOT work to avoid Republican party splits, but instead will do everything he can to stir division within the party, and within America, as shown with his horrendous Cabinet appointments.

Democrats MUST fight tooth and nail against many of the Cabinet appointments, including the nominees for Attorney General (Jeff Sessions); Health and Human Services (Tom Price); Labor (Andrew Puzder); Education (Betsy DeVos); and Environmental Protection Agency (Scott Pruitt).

But there are Republicans unhappy over issues of foreign policy, including close association between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Secretary of State nominee Rex Tillerson: and the proposed nomination of John Bolton to be Deputy Secretary of State, despite his continued belief that the Iraq War was justified, and the opposition of many top Republicans who despise the former United Nations Ambassador by recess appointment under George W. Bush, who could not be confirmed by the US Senate.

Republican Senators, including Marco Rubio, John McCain, Lindsey Graham, Jeff Flake, Rand Paul, Ben Sasse and Susan Collins, and possibly others, could prevent some of these appointees in committee or on the floor, and in league with Democrats, create more Cabinet turmoil and rejections than any modern President, reminding us of the battles some earlier Presidents, including John Tyler and Andrew Johnson, had with Congress over their choices for the Cabinet and the courts.

Also, even Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan are calling for a full investigation of Russian hacking of the Democratic Party campaign in the recent election, and many are alarmed by Donald Trump seemingly cozying up to Putin, and Trump’s denial that he believes the evidence of such hacking as concluded by the Central Intelligence Agency, undermining respect and support of the President Elect for the intelligence agencies. And Trump’s refusal to get intelligence briefings regularly and to show mistrust of the Intelligence community, which is so important for the national security of the nation, is very worrisome and alarms many in his own party, as well as the nation at large.

Two Prime Vice Presidential Contenders For Hillary Clinton: Julian Castro And Thomas Perez

IF Hillary Clinton is the Democratic Presidential candidate in 2016, a key factor in helping her to win over any Republican Presidential rival would be selecting a Vice Presidential running mate with good credentials and Latino ancestry.

There are two prime candidates working in President Barack Obama’s cabinet, and either of them would make a great running mate and possible Presidential successor.

The first is Julian Castro, Mexican American and former Mayor of San Antonio, the sixth largest city in America, who is now Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. Castro’s twin brother Joaquin is a Texas Congressman, who is often seen as prime material for the US Senate in a race against Senator Ted Cruz in 2018. But Julian Castro, who can speak Spanish, and would be only 42 on Election Day 2016, would be a great candidate to draw widespread Hispanic and Latino support, particularly if Jeb Bush, who can speak fluent Spanish, or Florida Senator Marco Rubio, is the Republican nominee for President.

The second possibility is Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez, who speaks fluent Spanish and is of Dominican ancestry, and was part of the administration of Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, and will be 55 on Election Day 2016. Perez worked in the offices of the Justice Department and Department of Health and Human Services for many years before being in the O’Malley government in that state’s Labor Department, and then becoming Obama’s Assistant Attorney General, and then chosen to be Secretary of Labor in 2013.

Either Castro or Perez would be able to appeal for an even larger Hispanic-Latino support of the Democratic Party, already over 70 percent for Barack Obama in 2012!

Complaints Against Government Bureaucracy Directly Related To Loss Of Government Funding As Public Demands Grow!

The American people are told constantly by Republicans and conservatives, and the media willing to report falsehoods rather than truth, that the government bureaucracy is a disgrace, that we are not being served well by those who work in the federal government agencies.

So we have complaints about the Internal Revenue Service, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Social Security Administration, Department of Housing and Urban Development, and really, every other government agency, declaring them incompetent, corrupt, tone deaf to public needs.

Are there government bureaucrats in many agencies who are incompetent, corrupt, tone deaf to the public? Absolutely, but that is endemic to “bureaucrats” in every corporation as well in this nation!

The people at the top of any government agency or private corporation are generally arrogant, cocky, only too willing to enrich themselves at the expense of their “bureaucracy”!

There is a need to clean up government agencies of those who have lost the purpose of their employment, to serve the American people with compassion and competence!

But that alone will not solve the problem of government services, as it is the Republicans and conservatives who are ultimately responsible for the problems created over time!

These groups hate government, except where they can benefit from it themselves, and are only too willing to cut government funding and personnel as the population of the nation, and the aging of the population, and the growing economic decline of the middle class and the poor due to the growing wealth of the top two percent, continues to escalate.

If one wants good government services, we must pay for it and expand bureaucracy, not cut it, as we only perpetuate the incompetence and lack of solution of major issues that arise.

Instead of attacking “bureaucracy”, let us recognize its significance and show respect for those, over 95 percent of “bureaucrats”, who do a competent, caring job every day, but never get credit for it, as the headlines dramatize the examples of incompetency and corruption that are exaggerated as being a statement on all “bureaucracy”!

Kathleen Sebelius A True Hero In Promotion Of ObamaCare: History Will Treat Her Well!

Former Kansas Governor and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has had, probably, the most difficult job of anyone working under President Obama, in trying to promote the Affordable Care Act.

She was vilified for the disastrous beginning of ObamaCare last October, but now, despite the rough start, 7.5 million Americans are covered, plus millions more on Medicaid. For this, she is a true hero!

Meanwhile, many Republican Governors have refused to expand Medicaid, and people are dying for lack of accessibility to health care. This is absolutely unconscionable, and one wonders how Rick Scott of Florida, Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, Rick Perry of Texas, and other despicable GOP Governors can sleep at night!

While treated roughly by Republicans, and elements of the national news media, Sebelius will, in the long run, be well remembered and honored in history, as she is the person most involved in bringing health care to millions, and in so doing, fulfilling the “American Dream.”

She is an honorable lady, who, hopefully, now leaving the cabinet after five years, will have another role to play in public serice!

Let every decent person salute Kathleen Sebelius for her dedication and commitment!

Conservative Republicans Want To Repeal Constitutional Amendments And 20th Century Reforms That Make America A Better Nation!

The Republican Party of the second decade of the 21st century, along with the conservative movement, in all of its ramifications, is out to repeal constitutional amendments and numerous 20th century reforms that make America a better, more modern nation, all in their quest to make the corporations ever more dominant and enrich the top one percent more than already is reality!

When one follows, reads, and watches right wing spokesmen, in and out of the party, they have called for the following repeals:

The 16th Amendment–Federal Income Tax
The 17th Amendment–Direct Popular Election Of US Senators
19th Amendment–Woman Suffrage
Antiquities Act–National Parks, Forests, and Monuments Protection
Food And Drug Administration
Clayton Anti Trust Act
Federal Trade Commission
Federal Reserve Act
Social Security Act
Fair Labor Standards Act
Civil Rights Act of 1964
Voting Rights Act of 1965
Department Of Education
Department Of Health And Human Services
Department Of Housing And Urban Development
Department Of Energy
Environmental Protection Agency
Consumer Product Safety Commission
Occupational Safety And Health Administration
US Post Office
Affirmative Action
Abortion Rights
Gay Rights and Gay Marriage
National Public Radio
Americans With Disabilities Act
Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan
ObamaCare–Affordable Care Act

These and other laws and amendments not mentioned here became law under Presidents of both parties, including

Theodore Roosevelt
William Howard Taft
Woodrow Wilson
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Harry Truman
Dwight D. Eisenhower
John F. Kennedy
Lyndon B. Johnson
Richard Nixon
Gerald Ford
Jimmy Carter
George H. W. Bush
Bill Clinton
George W. Bush
Barack Obama

Basically, these right wing groups and the dominant element in the Republican Party in Congress want to repeal everything that is good about America, and bring us back to the 19th century Gilded Age!

America’s Underappreciated Presidents—James K. Polk, Grover Cleveland, William Howard Taft, Jimmy Carter, George H. W. Bush

With Presidents Day celebrated on Monday, this is a good time to reflect on which Presidents are underappreciated for their contributions in the White House.

Five Presidents, four of them having only one term, and three of them soundly defeated for reelection, are often overlooked in an unfair manner.

These five underappreciated Presidents are as follows, chronologically:

James K. Polk (1845-1849), Democrat—-who did not wish a second term in office, died only three months after his term of office, but accomplished more than any President, regarding expansion of the nation, as he negotiated the gaining of the Pacific Northwest with Great Britain, and went to war with Mexico to gain the Southwestern United States. Because of Polk, highly controversial due to his manipulation of conditions setting up war with Mexico, and often criticized as an “imperialist”, we gained more land than any other President, including Thomas Jefferson with his Louisiana Purchase.

Grover Cleveland (1885-1889, 1893-1897), Democrat—-the only two term non consecutive terms President, although winning the popular vote three consecutive times, Cleveland accomplished the passage of the Interstate Commerce Act, promoted civil service reform, and became regarded as a man of strong principles, including refusing to take over Hawaii, after a treaty was negotiated by the previous President, Benjamin Harrison. A rare President on the concept of opposing the addition of territory to the United States, he refused to go to war with Spain over the issue of Cuba in his second term, and opposed the Spanish American War and the Filipino Insurrection intervention under William McKinley, standing out as a leading anti imperialist.

William Howard Taft (1909-1913), Republican—-was unfortunate in coming in between two very charismatic Presidents, Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson, both of whom would end up ranked in the top ten of all Presidents, in most polls of experts on the Presidency. Taft also was the worst defeated President running for reelection, competing against both TR and Wilson, and ended up third, rather than second in defeat, and winning only 23 percent of the vote, two states, and eight electoral votes. But he deserved better, and did have the distinction of becoming Chief Justice of the Supreme Court in the 1920s, where he was much happier. But Taft actually signed a highly successful regulation of the railroads, the Mann Elkins Act of 1910; won lawsuits causing the breakup of the monopolies of Standard Oil, United States Steel, and International Harvester; and supported two constitutional amendments, the 16th (Federal Income Tax) Amendment, and the 17th (Direct Election of United States Senators) Amendment.

Jimmy Carter (1977-1981), Democrat—served one divisive term, defeated for reelection by Ronald Reagan, due to the Iran Hostage Crisis, high inflation and unemployment, and the Soviet Union invasion of Afghanistan, and faced primary challenges from Ted Kennedy and Jerry Brown. But he accomplished the Camp David Accords between Israel and Egypt; the Panama Canal Treaty; the promotion of the principle of human rights in foreign policy; the advancement of the environment, making him the third best President on that issue; and creation of three cabinet agencies–Health and Human Services, Education, and Energy. And his post Presidency, now the longest in American history, has been a model for Bill Clinton’s post Presidency, and Carter continues to promote human rights and economic and social reform nationally and world wide, and is often considered the best former President of the United States in American history.

George H. W. Bush (1989-1993), Republican—the second worst defeated President in American history, despite having led the coalition which forced Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait, lessening a threat to the Middle East oil supply and the government of Saudi Arabia, in the Persian Gulf War of 1991; being the President under whom the Cold War came to an end in a stable manner in 1991; managing the unification of Germany between 1989 and 1990 in a skillful manner; and promoting the passage of civil rights law for the disabled population of America, a major reform in American history. Bush was always considered a master in the field of foreign policy, and for years after, had an impact on policy making through his significant staff members, who continued to have an impact.

All five Presidents deserve a better coverage and appreciation, despite the fact that each could be roundly criticized for events that would cause them to be overlooked as outstanding Presidents. Presidents Day is an appropriate time to do so!

The Catholic Church, Georgetown University, And Commencement Speaker Kathleen Sebelius

A controversy has arisen over the selection of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius as commencement speaker at the prestigious Catholic institution of higher learning, Georgetown University.

Sebelius, who is Catholic, has come out for abortion rights and the health care mandate, which calls for contraception coverage even for religiously based institutions, which challenges the hierarchy of the Catholic Church in America.

The local Church bishops were outraged at her selection, and demanded that the University rescind their invitation, which was promptly rejected by the University leadership, who decided to go ahead with the commencement arrangements.

This is not the first time that Catholic hierarchy has interfered, as they objected when Notre Dame University invited President Obama to give the commencement address three years ago, and Boston College has ignored protests in inviting the widow of Senator Ted Kennedy to its commencement this year.

It is good to see major Catholic universities, such as the above examples, ignore dictates and censorship, and instead promote discussion, debate, and alternative ideas to the rigid views of the Catholic hierarchy, who insist on uniformity, while they cannot control the behavior of their own church leadership, and have been shown to be practicing hypocrisy in their teachings, when compared to their inability to control immoral behavior!

If a Catholic university allows itself to be dictated to in this manner, it loses respect as an institution of higher learning which should be open to diverse views and attitudes, so let us all applaud Georgetown, Notre Dame and Boston College for their open mindedness and tolerance, something not noticed in the Catholic Church’s teachings!

The 87th Birthday of Jimmy Carter: A Look Back At His Much Maligned Presidency!

Today is the 87th birthday of former President Jimmy Carter, and it is proper to send good wishes to him!

By reaching the age of 87, and in good health, Carter becomes the seventh President to reach that advanced age, with former President George H. W. Bush having reached that pinnacle on June 12 of this year.

Other than the first Bush, only Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan (both 93), John Adams and Herbert Hoover (both 90) and Harry Truman (88) have lived longer.

Jimmy Carter has also had a longer retirement after his Presidency than anyone except Herbert Hoover, and will pass him in longevity in retirement in less than a year, on September 8, 2012.

Jimmy Carter has been much ridiculed, lambasted, and condemned by his critics, and this post is not an attempt to deny the weaknesses and mistakes of his Presidency. Carter has learned how to accept the reality that he is shown little respect for his virtues and accomplishments, with a lot of it due to his defeat for reelection in 1980 by the charismatic Ronald Reagan, who is often now seen as a deity in many circles. There is the reality that IF a President loses reelection, his reputation in history suffers dramatically, no matter what he had achieved in office.

But while there is much controversy over Carter’s Presidency, on his birthday, it is worth it to point out his major successes in office.

1. Carter was able to negotiate the impossible–an agreement between Egypt and Israel, the Camp David Accords, which brought peace, recognition, and security for Israel for the past third of a century.

2. Carter also negotiated the Panama Canal Treaty, much berated at the time, and causing loss of seats for the Democrats and assisting the conservative takeover, but in retrospect, one realizes that the treaty was not harmful and against our national security, but actually helped to improve relations with Latin America, and is now seen as non controversial a third of a century later.

3. Carter’s promotion of human rights as a major foreign policy goal was ridiculed by conservatives and Ronald Reagan, but later it turned out that future Presidents, all of them, utilized the concept in some form as part of their foreign policy goals.

4. Carter made us aware of the energy crisis, and the need to expand energy resources beyond oil, and while it has not been pursued as he emphasized by later Presidents, it is clear that Carter was correct in his emphasis on alternative sources of energy being essential for America’s future.

5. Jimmy Carter had the best one term environmental record of any President, greatly expanding national parks and forest land, and focusing on the environment as an issue in a very admirable manner.

6. Carter appointed more minorities to appointed positions than any President before him, and fully backed affirmative action, which became a controversy during his Presidency due to the Bakke case.

7. Three new cabinet agencies were started during his Presidency, although now under attack by conservatives in 2011–Department of Education, Department of Health and Human Services, and Department of Energy.

8. Carter presided over the smallest increase in the national debt during his administration, attempting to have very tightly negotiated budgets, although all were with deficits.

9. Carter issued an executive order on his first day in office, granting amnesty to Vietnam draft evaders, which however caused a rift with military supporters who opposed this courageous act.

10. Carter negotiated the SALT 2 (Strategic Arms Limitation) Treaty with Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev, which was never ratified by the US Senate because of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, but its details were obeyed by both sides despite the rejection of the agreement in the Senate.

It would be easy to list the faults and shortcomings of Jimmy Carter, and as the years go by, and eventually Carter passes from the scene, there will be much more research done on him and his Presidency. When that happens, it is likely that a reassessment of Carter in a much more sympathetic manner, will occur.

For now, Mr. President, Happy Birthday and many more!

The “Nanny State” Attacks Of Sarah Palin And Other Conservatives: Promoting Hatred And Suspicion Of Government! :(

Sarah Palin is on a tear, seemingly now attacking some prominent figure on a daily basis, or showing her total stupidity and lack of knowledge about what a candidate for President needs, to take on the burden of that office! 🙁

No sooner than attacking former First Lady Barbara Bush and being unable to distinguish North Korea from South Korea, the former half term Governor of Alaska and Vice Presidential nominee of the GOP in 2008 now is on the attack against our present First Lady, Michelle Obama, who has the highest approval rating of any public figure with 65 percent!

Why is this? It is because Michelle Obama is promoting an anti obesity campaign among the children of America, many of whom are overweight, make poor choices in what they consume, and are in danger of becoming diabetic in alarming numbers in the future! It is also a major problem among adults in this country who fail to consider that what you put in your mouth affects long term health!

This campaign comes after Nancy Reagan’s campaign against drugs in the 1980s and John F. Kennedy’s crusade for physical fitness in the 1960s!

Is it wrong of the national government to promote an anti obesity campaign, a war against drugs, and a physical fitness agenda? Any sane person would say, of course not, but not Sarah Palin, who accuses Michelle Obama of promoting a “nanny state”, a charge also leveled by conservative talk show hosts on radio and on Fox News Channel! 🙁

Under the same thought, it apparently is improper of state and local government officials, such as in California and New York City and elsewhere, to ban smoking in public places, and for the US government to be planning new, explicit pictures on cigarette packages of the damages of smoking! But is it such? NO, because it is obvious that human beings often make wrong choices which affect their health and well being, and the government is intervening to attempt to promote different behavior through the leadership of public figures who carry weight among our citizens!

Instead of applauding Michelle Obama, Nancy Reagan, John F. Kennedy, the California state government, the New York City government, and the Department of Health and Human Services for their promotion of good health, instead we are told that the “Know Nothings” who think parents always know what is best, should rule the day!

The answer is NO, as many adults make WRONG choices that affect the health and well being of their children for the rest of their lives! There is nothing wrong with promoting good health and good habits!

And, by the way, if Sarah Palin is such a good parent, then why is it she cannot teach the values in her children to avoid becoming pregnant when still teenagers and unmarried? And realize that if young women, less fortunate in their family assets than Bristol Palin, become pregnant, it often condemns them to a lifetime of poverty!

Should not the national government do everything it can through advocacy and example to avoid promoting poverty and bad health? Of course!

So what it comes down to is that Sarah Palin and other conservatives are simply promoting hatred and suspicion of government, as the Tea Party Movement has been doing! 🙁

That could be called libertarianism by many, or maybe it is actually anarchism in hiding? 🙁