health care legislation

Trump Goes Ballistic, Condemns Jeff Sessions, And Implies Threat Against Robert Mueller: A President Gone Nuts!

Donald Trump is certifiably nuts, as evidenced by his NY Times audio interview, in which he attacked his own Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and implied a threat to fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller, along with attacking the Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, and implying that the new FBI nominee, Christopher Wray, would be loyal to him. Trump seems not to understand that the FBI is NOT supposed to profess loyalty to any President, but to the rule of law!

This came after the luncheon with Republican Senators, in which Trump, with Nevada Senator Dean Heller sitting next to him, threatened him if he did not support the horrendous Health Care legislation that cannot get 50 Republican Senate supporters. Trump also attacked one Republican, Rand Paul of Kentucky, who had not attended the luncheon, and has come out against “TrumpCare”.

Heller just laughed, which was appropriate, and probably enraged Trump, and may have led to his tirade NY Times interview later in the day.

President Trump is coming apart at the seams, and he is more dangerous every day with his access to the nuclear codes, and his “Bromance” with Vladimir Putin, and his alienation of our NATO allies.

This is no longer tolerable, and there must be mobilization of masses of people in every state and in the nation’s capital, demanding his resignation.

The people must rise and demand action, and force the Republican Congress to put them ahead of their own agenda, or else suffer a massive defeat in 2018, which may happen in any case.

It is time for Republicans to stop party loyalty to a President who is very willing to “throw them under the bus”, and has no loyalty to anyone except his own family. It is time for them to move toward impeachment, which is a political act, not a legal act, and can be done as long as a majority of the House of Representatives wants it, and if 19 Republican Senators are willing to remove Trump, based on abuse of power, obstruction of justice, collusion with Russia which borders on treason, and violation of the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution.

We are in danger of a complete dissolution of civil order, as our civil liberties and national security are at stake with this madman in the White House!

Today is the six month mark of the Trump Presidency, and it has been a literal nightmare, and action must be taken to resolve this nightmare!

Hardworking Presidents Vs. Lazy Presidents, And Then There Is Donald Trump!

The Presidency is an all encompassing job, one that the occupant of the Oval Office, particularly in modern times, cannot escape, even when on so called “vacation”.

Some Presidents stand out as constantly on the job, very active, very committed and hard working.

These would include in modern times, since 1900, Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry Truman, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter, George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama. Note only three of these Presidents–TR, Nixon and the first Bush–are Republicans.

Indications are that James K. Polk and Abraham Lincoln, Democrat and Republican respectively, were also hard workers, dedicated, and committed, among pre1900 Presidents.

On the other hand, the following Presidents come across as far less committed, and in many cases, too laid back, and in some cases, purely lazy:

William Howard Taft, Warren G. Harding, Calvin Coolidge, Herbert Hoover, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, and George W. Bush, all Republicans. All of these Presidents took many vacations, and had short work days much of the time, and it undermined America in domestic and foreign policy on a regular basis.

Pre1900 examples would include Franklin Pierce, James Buchanan, and Ulysses S. Grant, the first two being Democrats and Grant being a Republican.

And then there is Donald Trump, whose work habits make clear that he is the LAZIEST President of the United States in all of American history, certainly since 1900 at the least!

He loves to sign executive orders, many which are symbolic, and to take a long time in signing in a flourishing manner at Presidential signing ceremonies, and then showing it to the gathered audience over and over, like a little child proud of his signature, absolutely unbelievable immaturity on the part of a President, who lowers the image of the Presidency every day.

He has taken no part in promoting Health Care legislation, and is simply ready to sign any bill that comes to his desk, as he told evangelist Pat Robertson in an interview before leaving for his trip to Paris, France for Bastille Day.

Trump knows no details on anything, and is not willing to do much reading or learning, and it is truly pitiful how he has degraded the Presidency daily!

Senate Republican Health Care Bill Will NOT Reach 50 Votes, As Now Stands!

The newly veiled Senate Republican Health Care legislation, created behind closed doors in great secrecy, is finally unveiled, and it is a total disaster for the poor, disabled, and elderly, and promotes the end of Medicaid, which 20 percent of the nation relies on, including 60 percent in nursing homes, and the millions of disabled people.

It undermines health care for the opioid crisis raging across America, and anyone with pre-existing conditions will no longer be protected.

It is a certainty that tens of thousands of Americans are being given a death warrant by the Republican Party, and its hard hearted, nasty, mean spirited membership, which is more concerned about giving massive tax cuts to the top one percent who do not need it, and have not asked for it, but will, of course, accept what is offered, as after all, does one reject candy offered?

But it is also important to note that this legislation will fall, as there is no way imaginable that 50 Senators out of 52 will support it.

Dean Heller of Nevada is the most endangered Republican Senator in 2018, and has said he cannot support it, and Nevada is one of the states that has more on Medicaid than many other states.

Susan Collins of Maine is, arguably, the most moderate Republican, and has made clear she cannot vote for legislation that decimates Medicaid.

The same can be said for Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, and Shelly Moore Capito of West Virginia, both states having loads of poor, struggling whites and others, who depend on Medicaid.

Both Collins and Murkowksi also defend Planned Parenthood, which is due to be cut from any government aid under the legislation.

Rob Portman of Ohio is also concerned about the opioid crisis hitting his state.

Jeff Flake of Arizona is the second most endangered Republican Senator coming up for re-election in 2018, so doubtful about his support for the legislation, as well.

Then, there are others who will not support the bill, as it is not harsh enough, imagine that–including Rand Paul of Kentucky, Ted Cruz of Texas, Mike Lee of Utah, and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin.

And one wonders whether John McCain of Arizona, who has long had a “moderate” image, can actually vote for this legislation.

Also, all major medical associations have condemned the legislation as unacceptable, having a disastrous effect on rural areas, and on the idea that health care should be available for all Americans.

So, as of now, it is highly unlikely that the Senate Health Care bill will reach 50 votes!

Paul Ryan, A Phony Christian (Catholic), With His Views On The Poor, Disabled, And Needy–Shame On Him And His Ilk In The GOP!

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan ran for Vice President as the running mate of Mitt Romney in 2012, and at that time, this blogger made clear just how despicable a person he was, and I received a lot of hate emails because of that.

But what I said was true, and it is showing through ever more now on the Health Care legislation, where Ryan seems gleeful and excited about knocking millions of people off health care, and tells us that Obama Care is a nightmare, when it is anything but that.

Obama Care is not perfect, but it has saved many lives and brought health care to more than 20 million people, with the majority being white Christians, who now will be knocked off, and this will cause the death of thousands of people who will be unable to gain necessary medical intervention.

Ryan and others in the Congress have town halls, and hear the desperate entreaties of poor, sick, elderly, and disabled of all races and ethnic backgrounds, who are begging for a health care plan that does not ignore them.

Instead, the plan is to destroy Medicaid, and eventually Medicare as well, with Ryan laughing at one point about how he had been dreaming about this, when he was in college, drinking kegs of beer.

Watching that scene made this blogger want to vomit, as Ryan claims to be a “good Catholic”, a “good Christian”, as all of these reprehensible Republicans, including Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, claim they are.

But with Ryan’s views on the poor and needy, it is clear he is a phony Catholic, a phony Christian.

He believes all fetuses should be protected until born, but then a poor child and its mother are on their own, and if disabled, well,that is no responsibility of government.

Shame on him and his ilk in the Republican Party, who if there is true justice, should be kicked out of office by the voters, and should pay in the next world for their horrific sins, as they are NOT following the teachings of Jesus Christ, who would be shocked at their lack of concern for those less fortunate.

Transformative Presidents In Domestic Affairs: Impact On American Democracy!

With Presidents Day coming up on Monday, it is a good time to reflect on which Presidents were transformative in domestic policy making.

The list of Presidents who made a real difference in domestic affairs would include the following, chronologically:

George Washington—under whom a National Bank and protective tariff, promoted by Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton, were adopted, having a long range effect on America’s growth.

Thomas Jefferson—under whom recognition of the wisdom of Alexander Hamilton’s economic policies was recognized.

Abraham Lincoln—under whom a promotion of the transcontinental railroad, adoption of the Homestead Act providing free land for settlers, revival of a centralized banking system, and the enactment of the 13th Amendment ending slavery, occurred.

Theodore Roosevelt—under whom conservation of natural resources became a major policy, the first regulation of meat, food and drugs took place, the first intervention in labor disputes without an anti labor attitude evolved, and first anti trust law suits succeeded in breaking up monopolies.

Woodrow Wilson—who accomplished the most domestic reforms until his time, including labor laws, agricultural credit legislation, the Federal Reserve being created, and the first regulatory commission for big business (the Federal Trade Commission) was created.

Franklin D. Roosevelt—under whom the New Deal transformed America domestically with a myriad of programs, including labor laws, Social Security, agricultural aid, and public works programs, with anti trust law suits being pursued.

Lyndon B. Johnson—under whom the Great Society programs, including ideas of Harry Truman and John F. Kennedy not accomplished in their terms in the Presidency, were passed into law, including civil rights, education, Medicare, the War on Poverty, and numerous other programs, including consumer and environmental legislation, the most change since the New Deal.

Richard Nixon—under whom the Environmental Protection Agency, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the Occupational Safety Health Administration, and Affirmative Action were passed into law.

Barack Obama—under whom a national health care law was passed, the most significant legislation since the 1960s.

Other Presidents who had an impact, to a lesser extent, include:

Grover Cleveland
William Howard Taft
Harry Truman
Dwight D. Eisenhower
John F. Kennedy
Jimmy Carter
George H. W. Bush
Bill Clinton
George W. Bush

The Ten Most Important Presidential Elections In American History

With Presidents Day coming on Monday, this is a good time to reflect on the 56 Presidential elections that this country has had, and to judge which ten are the most significant, path breaking elections.

Of course, there can be debate and disputes as to the judgment of this author and blogger, but here goes, in chronological order.

Presidential Election of 1789–the selection by the Electoral College of our first President, George Washington, the absolutely right choice for the beginning of our nation under the Constitution, as Washington set important precedents for the future, and had no ambition to grab power long term.

Presidential Election Of 1800–the first time we had an opposition party come to power with grace, and without violence, setting a standard for the future, as Thomas Jefferson defeated John Adams, and the dispute between him and Vice President Aaron Burr, who claimed a tie in the Electoral College, was settled peacefully as well, and caused a modifying of the Electoral College process.

The Presidential Election of 1828–the first one decided by popular vote synchronizing with the electoral vote, and giving the country a so called “Common Man” in the Presidency, Andrew Jackson, representing city workers and frontiersmen alike.

Presidential Election of 1860–leading to the election of Abraham Lincoln, who set out to preserve the Union at all costs, and wielded power in a controversial, but thoughtfully considered way, through four years of the Civil War.

Presidential Election Of 1912–the triumph of progressivism, the recognition that government’s role had been changed irrevocably in a country that had been transformed from an agricultural to an industrial nation, had tripled in population since the Civil War, had become a multi ethnic nation, and had recognized the need for the regulation of capitalism in the public good, as well as political reforms and social justice. And it was the most exciting election, as three Presidents, past (Teddy Roosevelt), present (William Howard Taft), and future (Woodrow Wilson) competed against each other.

Presidential Election Of 1932–the triumph of Franklin D. Roosevelt at the worst moments of the Great Depression, offering hope and action (the New Deal) to revive the spirits of the nation, and have the American people believe in the future. Without his victory, there might have been social revolution and bloodshed on a large scale.

Presidential Election of 1960–witnessing the first Catholic President elected (John F. Kennedy) and the promotion of idealism and a new beginning in the advancement of social justice and political reform.

Presidential Election Of 1964–the victory of liberalism with the election of Lyndon B. Johnson, and the defeat of Barry Goldwater and conservatism, therefore insuring the continuation of the New Deal, and the evolution of the Great Society.

Presidential Election Of 1980–seeing the triumph of conservatism under Ronald Reagan, with some modifications of the New Deal and Great Society, and great speeches, but not the conservative “heaven” that many imagine it was, but making Reagan a national icon like Washington, Lincoln and FDR.

Presidential Election Of 2008–witnessing the first African American President (Barack Obama), and his work to provide health care reform, preserve the New Deal and Great Society, and overcome the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression.

The author welcomes discussion and debate on this post!

An Acceptable Compromise: Contraceptive Services For Women Of Religiously Based Employers To Be Offered Gratis By Insurance Companies

President Barack Obama has announced that contraceptive services for women who work for religiously based employers, such as universities and hospitals, will not have to be paid by the religious group as part of their health care plan, but instead will be a requirement for insurance companies to cover without charge.

This takes away the issue of religious liberty, which has been promoted incessantly by supporters of the Catholic Church and other religious groups, and exploited by the Republican Party and its Presidential candidates. Our belief in freedom of religion made it necessary for the administration to reconsider its handling of this part of the Obama Health Care legislation, which itself will be considered as to its constitutionality in the next few months by the US Supreme Court.

One can be assured, however, that politics will be utilized, and that this controversy will not disappear from the Presidential campaign, but it seems a win for women’s rights, as well as religious liberty!

The Tea Party Movement Revealed: Radical Anarchists Of The Far Right!

The Tea Party Movement has now been revealed as what it is: radical anarchists of the FAR Right, a dangerous group that will brook no compromise, and now plans to challenge Speaker of the House John Boehner in the 2012 primaries, because he had the gall to make a compromise deal with Barack Obama and the Democrats to avoid a government shutdown at the last possible moment last evening!

Obama and the Democrats agreed to about $39 billion in budget cuts from the original budget sent by the President, a record amount, which Barack Obama claimed was a victory for common sense.

Actually, the Democrats and Obama gave in too much, but they held out for protection of the environment, the funding of the President’s Health Care law, and continuation of miniscule funding of Planned Parenthood.

Boehner has been in an impossible position having to deal with House freshmen who are totally irresponsible in their demands for massive budget cuts, and have been, unfortunately, assisted in their recklessness by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, who has been undermining Boehner all along, as he and Congressman Kevin McCarthy have been working to push Boehner into an untenable position as Speaker.

If one thinks Cantor and McCarthy are “friends” of Boehner, one has to be absolutely blind! We will now see a large negative vote on the permanent budget for the next six months, when it comes up for a vote next week, and Boehner is in great danger of a revolt led by Cantor and McCarthy, and he might wish he had not been elected Speaker! To imagine that John Boehner might be seen in a sympathetic light by some shows how far right the GOP is going!

And if there is a true “Rasputin” of the Far Right, it is Congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, who has recklessly and irresponsibly promoted a radical attack on Medicare and Medicaid in the fiscal year 2012 budget and beyond, in his role as Chairman of the House Budget Committee!

What Ryan proposes is to make Medicare a voucher system, and put Medicaid under block grants that state governors decide how to dispense, all of which means the total destruction of both programs for future generations of elderly, sick, and poor people, all this at the same time as the plan to defund the President’s Health Care program for all Americans not covered under either plan now!

All this while tax cuts down to 25 percent top rate from 35 percent for the ultra rich top two percent, and also cuts in corporate taxes further, which means an attack on the middle class and the poor, as America is transformed more than ever into a plutocracy, rather than the image of a democracy, in which we have government of, by, and for the people, not the elite rich!

With the concessions made by Obama and the Democrats this time, in the next round there can be NO concessions, as this is a battle for the future of the entire nation, and the plutocracy that has developed MUST be stopped dead in its tracks!

And realize finally that this is not just an economic struggle, but also a social struggle, as the Tea Party Movement has its ugly desire to intervene in people’s private lives, as related to abortion, gay rights, and women’s rights. This is a battle for economic and social justice, the battle fought by progressives and liberals for more than a century, and a constant struggle that one can never rest from, as the far right continues its determination to dictate the continued dominance of an evil, selfish, greedy plutocracy!

The Ideological Struggle Of American History: Laissez Faire Vs. Progressivism!

As we begin the year 2011, the old ideological struggle between laissez faire economics and the progressive tradition is again involved in a great struggle over the future of America.

Laizzez faire celebrates individuality and risk taking, while progressivism promotes the idea of a person’s right to a minimum standard of living and a safety net of protections for all citizens.

So we have the new constitutional debate over the health care law, whether everyone in the United States is entitled to health care coverage. Conservatives regard any expansion of government protections as a threat to capitalism and freedom of choice.

But this battle has raged for a century and more in different ways, such as the following:

1. The 16th Amendment, the federal income tax, which became part of the Constitution in 1913, was called an attack on individual freedom and a threat to the American experiment.

2. Social Security in 1935 was called a plan to make the United States a copy of the Soviet Union.

3. The minimum wage and mandated overtime pay in 1938 were considered steps toward Communism, Marxism, Fascism and Nazism.

4. After Brown V. Board of Education started the modern civil rights movement in 1954, many thought that it would destroy the nation, was an abuse of judicial power, and was unconstitutional.

5. When Medicare was passed in 1965, it was considered unAmerican and a socialist attack on the American economy.  It was denounced by Ronald Reagan as taking away the freedom of the American people.

So passionate opposition has always followed every expansion of the social safety net or promotion of civil rights, but when one looks back, it is obvious that the laissez faire and conservative attacks are just hysteria and promotion of fear by those who don’t wish to promote the ultimate “American dream”, that all of us are entitled to basic human rights, not just the rich and the privileged who just want to deny those rights because it might make it necessary that they part with some of their self centered view of what America is all about!

It is seen as likely that after many constitutional challenges over the next two years, the Supreme Court will uphold the Health Care legislation passed last year, by a 5-4 or 6-3 vote, and in future years, many will look back and wonder why such tumult developed over what will be seen as a basic human right, the right to medical care for everyone–rich, middle class or poor in this nation!

The Constitution And Health Care: “Necessary And Proper” Clause At Work!

Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution allows the Congress very broad authority to pass laws seen as “necessary and proper” for the “general welfare”.

Federal District Court Judge Henry Hudson of Virginia invalidated the “necessary and proper” clause in stating that the insurance mandate of the health care legislation is unconstitutional. At the same time, two other federal district court judges have upheld the insurance mandate.

The argument of the government is that failure to buy insurance passes the expenses on to the government, hospitals, and the privately insured, and that puts an unfair burden on others because of the irresponsibility of individual citizens. Also, the insurance mandate prevents discrimination by insurers against those with pre-existing medical conditions, an important part of the new legislation.

The whole controversy reverts back to the great Chief Justice John Marshall, who established the broad powers of Article 1, Section 8, in the famous McCulloch V. Maryland case of 1823, having to do with the constitutionality of the National Bank.

As Marshall wrote: “Let the end be legitimate, let it be within the scope of the Constitution, and all means which are appropriate, which are plainly adapted to that end, which are not prohibited, but consistent with the letter and spirit of the Constitution, are constitutional.”

The Health Care legislation will probably reach the Supreme Court in the year 2012, possibly in time for the Presidential Election of 2012, which, if won by President Obama, will surely institutionalize the Health care legislation with some fine tuning in the meantime.

Realize that the furious opposition to the Health Care legislation represents the similar reaction to the Social Security Act of 1935 and the Medicare Act of 1965, but which has been often forgotten because of the universal support of both laws over time, the basis of the safety net that makes America a more humane society, even if the opponents have worked to prevent such a situation!