Louisiana

The Next Speaker Of The House IF GOP Keeps Majority: Kevin McCarthy, Steve Scalise, Or Jim Jordan

If the Republican Party, somehow, holds on to majority control of the House of Representatives in the 116th Congress, they will need to select a new Speaker of the House, as Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan is leaving Congress at the end of this year.

At this point, there are three key contenders for the Speakership in the Republican Party:

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California

House Majority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana

House Freedom Caucus member Jim Jordan of Ohio

All three, honestly, make outgoing Speaker Paul Ryan look better by comparison, and yet, my readers know how much I dislike, and have denounced Paul Ryan, including when he was the Vice Presidential running mate of Mitt Romney in the Presidential Election of 2012, for which I was viciously attacked on several right wing websites at the time.

But seriously, Kevin McCarthy is practically the “lap dog” of Donald Trump, extremely loyal and obedient, and was seemingly aware of Russian Collusion in 2016, was talking about it at a Republican House conference meeting, until Paul Ryan told him to stop talking about it. He is a man without any principles other than the advancement of Donald Trump and his agenda, part of the Trump party, rather than the traditional Republican Party, and even more so than Paul Ryan, who has been unwilling to speak out against Trump’s disgraceful tweets and policies. McCarthy has refused to engage in Town Hall events in his Bakersfield, California district since 2010. He also promoted pursuit of Hillary Clinton for the Benghazi, Libya incident, where four diplomats were killed, gaining a reputation of promoting a “hit job” on her, when many more diplomats were killed at embassies during the Presidency of George W. Bush.

Steve Scalise, thankfully, recovered from being shot at the Congressional baseball game in June 2017, but it had no effect on his views on gun control, which is no regulation at all. Beyond that, Scalise used to be a friend of Ku Klux Klan Wizard and white supremacist David Duke, although now, of course, he denies it, and tries to claim it was not so. He would, in this author’s view, be a worse choice than McCarthy. However, for those who are uncomfortable with McCarthy, and might prefer a Southerner as the next Speaker, due to the strong GOP presence in the South, he might be seen as a potential favorite, and certainly less disgraceful by comparison, to the third choice, Jim Jordan of Ohio.

Jim Jordan, who is a co leader of the House Freedom Caucus, the most Far Right group in the Republican Party, has been accused of covering up abuse of athletes on the wrestling team at Ohio State University, when he was an assistant coach in the 1980s. He was one of the Republicans who promoted government shutdowns, and has done everything possible to block the House Judiciary Committee and the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee from pursuing investigation of the Donald Trump collusion with Russia in the 2016 campaign. He also pursed the Benghazi, Libya investigation of the deaths of four diplomats, targeting Hillary Clinton in a total of 11 investigations, which found no evidence of wrongdoing, and which featured 11 hours of testimony by Clinton, with no sign of weakness on her part, as compared to the performance of many others investigated by Congressional committees. Plain and simple, Jordan would be the absolute worst of the three choices being considered by the Republicans, although others might join the fray after the midterm elections.

It is indeed a very sad situation when we can look back on John Boehner as being far better than Paul Ryan, Kevin McCarthy, Steve Scalise, and Jim Jordan.

Let us hope that one of the latter three will be the Minority Leader, rather than the Speaker of the House in 2019-2020.

Key Democrats To Elect As State Governors: Andrew Gillum, Stacey Abrams, Ben Jealous, Gavin Newsom, Richard Cordray, J. D. Pritzker, Tony Evers, Gretchen Whitmer

It is urgent that Democrats, who at present, only have 16 state governorships, win a majority of the 36 gubernatorial races taking place this November.

Among the crucial races to win are the following:

Andrew Gillum in Florida

Stacey Abrams in Georgia

Ben Jealous in Maryland

Gavin Newsom in California

Richard Cordray in Ohio

J. D. Pritzker in Illinois

Tony Evers in Wisconsin

Gretchen Whitmer in Michigan

With other large states in Democratic hands and likely to remain so, including:

Andrew Cuomo in New York

Tom Wolff in Pennsylvania

it would mean that Democrats would control most of the larger states’ executive branches, crucial for reapportionment of seats in state legislatures and the US House of Representatives after the Census in 2020.

Only Texas of the top ten states in population would be likely to remain Republican, and with North Carolina (Roy Cooper) and New Jersey (Phil Murphy) and Virginia (Ralph Northam) and Washington State (Jay Inslee) all under Democratic Governors, it would mean 12 of the top 13 states with nearly two thirds of the nation’s population would be controlled by Democrats.

Add Democratic states likely to remain so, including Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Louisiana, Minnesota, Montana, Oregon, Rhode Island, and the possibility of winning in Maryland, Massachusetts, Maine, Vermont, and New Mexico, and you have a majority of Democratic run state governorships. Finally, Nevada and Arizona seem long shots, but could, in a “Blue Wave” be won by Democratic nominees for governor in those states.

But even if not a majority of states, if the large populated states are won, it will benefit the Democrats in the coming reapportionment of seats in the House of Representatives.

The Republican Party Of The Early 1990s And Now: David Duke, Bob Packwood, And Roy Moore

How far the Republican Party has come in the past generation, from a party that had some principle and dignity to a party that is afraid to stand up against hypocrisy and evil.

In 1991, David Duke, the former Imperial Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, was the Republican nominee for Governor of Louisiana, but many Republicans repudiated him, and President George H. W. Bush condemned him in a public statement, and refused to endorse and support him.

In 1995, Oregon Senator Bob Packwood, a mainstay of the chamber, who had been in the Senate for nearly 27 years, and actually had a decent record as a progressive oriented Republican, was shown to have engaged in sexual harassment for the previous two decades, and the Senate censured him, and he resigned from office in disgrace.

Now, in 2017, a despicable human being named Roy Moore, who has hatred and prejudice as part of his mantra, and is seen as a pariah by many Republican Senators, is accused of sexual harassment and more against teenage girls decades ago, and he refuses to leave the Senate race in Alabama, and while many Republicans have called for him to exit the race, only Senator John McCain has been forceful on the issue, and the only conservative intellectual who has clearly condemned him is Weekly Standard Editor Bill Kristol, who worked for Vice President Dan Quayle, but has been a Trump critic from Day One when Trump announced for President nearly two and a half years ago.

One would hope that many of the Senators who said Moore should withdraw show the courage of John McCain and Bill Kristol, and refuse to support, endorse, or finance his race for the Senate on December 12 in Alabama.

Alabama deserves a decent, hard working, principled US Senator, and forgetting party lines, they can get that in Doug Jones, who prosecuted two Ku Klux Klansmen in the infamous Birmingham Church bombing in 1963, which killed for young African American girls, a case pursued nearly forty years after the horrible events.

This is the kind of Senator all members of that body should welcome into their club.

If Alabama, a state with already corrupt leadership that puts the state in the top ten worst governed states, and with a horrible reputation of being ignorant, prejudiced, and backward, not all that different than in the era of civil rights and George Wallace in the 1960s, goes ahead and elects Roy Moore to the Senate, the Republicans should join with the Democrats, and refuse to seat him, which is within their rights as a legislative body. They forced Bob Packwood out on sexual misconduct in 1995, and further back Democratic Senator Thomas Dodd of Connecticut in 1982, and more recently Republican Senator John Ensign of Nevada in 2011, both on financial improprieties, so they can do the same to the infamous, despicable Roy Moore.

Since there was horror when Moore won the nomination to replace Attorney General Jeff Sessions over Senator Luther Strange, the Sessions replacement, on the part of Republicans in the Senate, it should not be hard to refuse to seat him, and to hell with Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and their ilk demonstrating no morality, no ethics, and supporting a so called “good Christian”, who is anything but that in his views on women, gays and lesbians, Muslims, and on separation of church and state, which he does not believe in.

Right now, Senator Ted Cruz of Texas is the most disliked member of the Senate by his own colleagues, but Roy Moore, if he wins and is seated, will far surpass Cruz, and will become an albatross around the neck of the GOP.

How far the Republican Party has fallen since the early to mid 1990s!

The Graham-Cassidy Last Ditch Attempt To Destroy ObamaCare: Proof That Republicans Do Not Care About Americans Having Health Care!

Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Senator Bill Cassidy of Louisiana are trying to ram through a last ditch attempt at destroying ObamaCare, and putting up to 32 million people off of affordable health care.

This proves that Republicans do not care about Americans having health care, and yet they are supposedly Pro-Life, but only until a fetus is born, and after that, if you are poor, tough on you!

Graham is outrageous enough to say that ObamaCare is “Socialism”, which most certainly is NOT so!

It is very similar to RomneyCare in Massachusetts and to the American Enterprise Institute–Bob Dole–Newt Gingrich plan of 1993-94 in opposition to HillaryCare, promoted by First Lady Hillary Clinton.

It keeps the health care system under private insurance companies, so how is it “Socialism”?

But Graham must think that Social Security and Medicare are “Socialism”, but vast majorities of the American people like both programs, but of course, the Republicans would love to destroy both, even though the middle class and the poor benefit from them.

The battle must be continued to keep ObamaCare, but work to IMPROVE it, as all government programs can certainly be improved over time.

It now seems that Senator John McCain of Arizona has come to the rescue once again, as he stated today that he could not, in good conscience, support the bill, even though it is sponsored by his closest friend in the Senate, Lindsey Graham. Now that is principle, a rare virtue in the Senate in recent years.

It is also believed that two women, Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, who joined with McCain a month ago on the earlier rejection of a similar bill, will do so again, and Rand Paul of Kentucky is a definite NO vote this time, but because he feels the bill keeps remnants of ObamaCare, which he wishes to reject completely. So he is NOT a hero, but then he and his dad, former Texas Congressman Ron Paul are both libertarian whackos!

The Democratic Presidential Rumor Mill Grows From 18 To 25! But Probably 10 “Serious” Possibilities!

Nine days ago, this blogger published an article, discussing 18 potential Democratic Presidential candidates for 2020.

My article was a bit ahead of the media in bringing up the issue, but now the rumor mill has come up with 7 more potential Democratic candidates, making for a total, in theory, of 25!

This is the silly season, right after the First Hundred Days of Donald Trump, and having a list this lengthy does seem a bit ridiculous.

However, for the record, the other 7 names being bandied about are:

Former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley from 2007 to 2015 and Baltimore Mayor before that from 1999-2007, age 57 in 2020, who this blogger should NOT have left off the original list. O’Malley was once thought of as the “new generation” of leadership, but could not compete against Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and the rumors that Joe Biden would run. Certainly, he belonged on the original list of 18, making it 19, and has a likely better chance in theory than some on that list.

Entrepreneur, businessman, and owner of the Dallas Mavericks basketball team, Mark Cuban, age 62 in 2020, who is very personable and appealing, and could be the “outsider”, equivalent of the Democrats’ Donald Trump, but personally, this blogger is not keen about outside businessmen with no government experience, and Donald Trump just adds to that feeling, that it is not a great idea.

Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, age 63 in 2020, who leaves office at the end of this year, but was formerly Democratic National Chairman from 2001-2005; Bill Clinton co chair in the 1996 Presidential campaign; and Hillary Clinton chair in the 2008 Presidential campaign, has the disadvantage of being connected to the Clintons, and has an image of being a bit sleazy and crooked throughout his political career, so would not seem a likely choice to get very far in the 2020 Presidential race. If anything, Senators Tim Kaine and Mark Warner seem more likely candidates from Virginia.

New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, age 60 in 2020, whose sister Mary was a long time US Senator from Louisiana fromJimmy 1997 to 2015, and whose father, Moon Landrieu, was Mayor of the city from 1970-1978, and Housing and Urban Development Secretary under Jimmy Carter from 1979 to 1981, has become recently controversial with his decision to remove Confederate monuments in the city, including those of Jefferson Davis and Robert E. Lee. Being a moderate Southern Democrat might make some think of Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, but it would seem highly unlikely that he would have much of a shot at the nomination for President.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, who would be 49 in 2020, and who is Jewish and also of Mexican heritage as well, and mayor of the second largest city in America in the largest state in America, might possibly be a more serious nominee on paper. Garcetti has long experience in city government, being a member of the LA City Council, and then its President, for nearly a total of 12 years on the Council, and Mayor since 2013. Being a person of urban and multiple ethnic and religious Los Angeles, the most diverse city possible in America, might just be a positive in the long run, and this is a person to watch, in the view of this blogger.

We also have two Massachusetts members of the House of Representatives, Seth Moulton, who would be 42 in 2020; and President John F. Kennedy’s grand nephew, Robert F. Kennedy’s grandson, and former Congressman Joe Kennedy II’s son, Joe Kennedy III, who would be only 40. Moulton has served since 2015 in the House, and Kennedy since 2013, and both have made names for themselves with their liberal views, and both are seen as ambitious rivals, but a bit young to be thinking of running, or be considered at all for the Presidency. Also, only James A. Garfield in 1880 went directly from the House to the Presidency, and then he was tragically killed within months. To believe a House member would be elected is highly unlikely.

In the view of this blogger, one could add O’Malley and Garcetti to the shorter list with Chris Murphy, Cory Booker, Amy Klobuchar, Andrew Cuomo, Gavin Newsom, Mark Warner, Sherrod Brown, and Elizabeth Warren as the most legitimate candidates.

So I am saying a total of 10 serious candidates is likely, which is certainly long enough—6 US Senators, 3 Governors (assuming Newsom is elected California Governor), and 1 Mayor, LA Mayor Garcetti. The list also includes 2 women, 1 African American, and 1 Jewish and Mexican combination (Garcetti). This is a pretty representative list.

Any commentary by my readers on this and the April 25 article is welcome!

How Slim Margins Decide So Many Presidential Elections And Affect American History And Government Policies!

The argument that many ill informed people have is that “voting does not matter”, when just the opposite is true.

As we begin 2017 and the reality of President Trump in 19 days, a look at history tells us clearly how small numbers of votes or percentages of votes make a dramatic difference, as demonstrated in the following elections in American history:

1844– a switch of a few thousand votes in New York would have given the election to Henry Clay, instead of James K. Polk, and the difference was the small third party, the Liberty Party.

1848–a switch of a few thousand votes, again in New York, would have given the election to Lewis Cass, instead of Zachary Taylor, but Free Soil Party nominee, Martin Van Buren, former Democratic President and from New York, won ten percent of the total national vote, and threw the election to Whig candidate Taylor in New York.

1876—the dispute over the contested votes of South Carolina, Louisiana, and Florida led to a special Electoral Commission set up, which rewarded all of those three states’ electoral votes to Rutherford B. Hayes, although Democrat Samuel Tilden led nationally by about 250,000 popular votes.

1880–James A. Garfield won the popular vote by the smallest margin ever, about 2,000 votes, and won the big state of New York by only 20,000 votes, in defeating his opponent Winfield Scott Hancock.

1884–Grover Cleveland won his home state of New York by about 1,000 votes, which decided the election, and nationally only by about 57,000 votes over James G. Blaine.

1888–Grover Cleveland won the national popular vote by about 90,000, but lost in close races in his home state of New York and opponent Benjamin Harrison’s home state of Indiana, so lost the Electoral College, as Harrison became President. The Harrison lead in New York was less than 14,000 votes and in Indiana, less than 2,000.

1916—Woodrow Wilson won California by less than 4,000 votes, but enough to elect him to the White House over Republican Charles Evans Hughes.

1948–Harry Truman won three states by less than one percent–Ohio, California and Illinois–over Thomas E. Dewey, and that decided the election.

1960–John F. Kennedy won Illinois by about 8,000 votes; Texas by about 46,000 votes; and Hawaii by under 200 votes, and only had a two tenths of one percentage point popular vote victory nationally, about 112,000 votes, over Richard Nixon.

1976–Jimmy Carter won over Gerald Ford by two percentage points, but a switch of 5,600 votes in Ohio and 3,700 votes in Hawaii would have given the election to Ford.

2000—Al Gore lost Florida by 537 votes, in the final judgment of the Supreme Court, which intervened in the election, and had he won Florida, he would have been elected President, even though he won the national popular vote by about 540,000. Bush also won New Hampshire by only about 7,000 votes, but won the Electoral College 271-266.

2016–Hillary Clinton won the national popular vote by about 2.85 million, but lost the crucial states of Michigan by about 10,000; Wisconsin by about 22,000; and Pennsylvania by about 46,000, to Donald Trump, so together about 79,000 votes decided the Electoral College.

So the idea that voting is not important, does not matter, is proved wrong so many times in American history! Every vote does indeed count, and has long range implications on who sits in the White House, and what policies are pursued, which affect all of us!

The Argument For A Vice President Who Has Been A Mayor Dealing With Urban Issues And Problems

After last week’s sad, tragic events in Louisiana, Minnesota, and Texas, it becomes more clear than ever that Hillary Clinton should seriously consider a city mayor to be her Vice Presidential running mate–either Cory Booker, formerly Mayor of Newark, New Jersey or Julian Castro, formerly Mayor of San Antonio, Texas.

Both understand urban life, and have dealt with the stresses of minorities, and the fact that they are minorities themselves–African American and Latino—is a plus, in a nation becoming more diverse as the years go by.

Both are young, and can be seen as rivals for the future of the Democratic Party in 2024, if Hillary Clinton was to serve two terms in the White House.

In any case, both should be utilized by a President Hillary Clinton in her administration, even if not in the Vice Presidency!

All Lives Matter: Both Victims Of Police Overreaction, And Law Enforcement Protecting All Of Us!

The tragedies of this week–two African American males shot and killed by police without just cause in Louisiana and Minnesota–and the murder of five law enforcement personnel and wounding of seven others in Dallas, Texas during a peaceful demonstration against those incidents—are a shock to the nation, and one thing MUST be made very clear!

All lives matter, not just black lives, but white lives, Latino lives, Asian American lives, Native American lives, and “Blue Lives”, that of the law enforcement professionals who dedicate their lives to protection of all of us, but in so doing, face possible bodily harm and death every day.

We can be angry at law enforcement when it abuses its power and takes the lives of people who are no threat to them, but realize that the number of such cases, while seemingly too many, is still a miniscule number of cases as compared to the total number of good law enforcement people who get very little recognition or appreciation for the important work they do every day.

This is a time of sober reflection, and the hope that we can work to unite the nation, and not allow race baiting villains of any race to further incite violence.

This also requires politicians to stop provoking, but already being shown to be occurring, as with former Illinois Congressman Joe Walsh, former New York City Mayor Rudy Guiliani, and many right wing talk show hosts, who should understand the impact of their words, but still are reckless and demagogic!

No Comparison Between David Duke And Robert Byrd! Or For That Matter, Hugo Black, George C. Wallace, Or Strom Thurmond!

A massive controversy has arisen over the initial refusal of Donald Trump to repudiate the support of former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke of Louisiana, who ran for Governor 25 years ago, and later for the US Senate as a Republican, losing both times, and being denounced by President George H. W. Bush and other reputable Republican leaders in the 1990s.

Those defending Trump’s hesitation are now comparing the despicable hate monger David Duke, who is not only a racist but also an anti Semite of a major order, to the late Democratic US Senator Robert Byrd, who served longer in the Senate than anyone in American history (from 1959 to his death in 2010).

No one is saying that Byrd cannot be criticized, as he was a youthful member of the Klan in West Virginia, and opposed the Civil Rights Acts of the 1960s.  But over time, he evolved, and repudiated his despicable past, and even supported Barack Obama in 2008 for the nomination and election as President, and helped to make ObamaCare make a successful journey through the legislative process, including being brought in a wheel chair to cast votes for the legislation, in his last months of life.

David Duke has never done anything to repudiate his past record, and is still defiant as a racist and anti Semite, unlike Byrd.

Also, former Alabama Senator Hugo Black sat on the Supreme Court for 34 years (1937-1971), repudiating by his words and actions the fact that he was a member of the Ku Klux Klan in his youth.

Also, Alabama Governor George C. Wallace, after running racist campaigns for President in 1968 and 1972, repudiated his past and apologized, although he was never, actually, a member of the Ku Klux Klan.

Even Strom Thurmond, who ran as  a racist for President in 1948, and served in the US Senate from South Carolina from 1954-2003,  later modified his views, even if not formally apologizing for his earlier behavior and statements.

No one is saying that we cannot criticize Byrd, Black, Wallace, and Thurmond, but none of them were on the level lifetime on racism and anti Semitism of David Duke, so the comparison is preposterous!

A Dozen Republican Governors Are The Most Horrendous In Memory!

It is amazing how so many people seem to believe that the federal government cannot be trusted, and that the true level of competence is state government–legislatures and governors, when the evidence is that, despite the many problems of the federal government, the state governments in many states is absolutely horrendous.

Both parties have their issues in state governments, but it is Republican governors which are particularly wretched as witness the following governors who have set records for the most incompetent and inhumane leadership:

Michigan–Rick Snyder, who has created a major health crisis in Flint, where the water system is totally lead polluted, and is responsible for the poisoning of many infants and young children, who will suffer effects for the rest of their lives.  For this, Snyder should be removed from office, and should be indicted and convicted and sentenced to life in prison, as effectively, he has destroyed thousands of young lives, through his decision to save money by forcing Flint to use polluted water systems.

Maine–Paul LePage, who has been totally off the wall in his rhetoric, and has displayed racism and other indications of insensitivity on a regular basis for the past five years, and faces a likely move toward impeachment and removal from office.

Kansas–Sam Brownback, who has totally bankrupted his state, and has cut education and health care coverage to dangerous levels  that undermine the state, all to cut taxes for the wealthy, and is a great example of a fake religiously devout leader.

Texas–Greg Abbott, who wants to take Texas back to the Civil War, calling for a constitutional amendment to forbid the federal government from having any influence or power over the states, arguing states rights will better protect the nation.

Florida—Rick Scott, who has refused to accept climate change as having an effect, even though his state is already seeing great evidence of the damage that the Sunshine state faces in the next 20-40 years, and also has done everything possible to undermine the lives of the poor in the state.

Wisconsin–Scott Walker, who has engaged in policies to undermine public workers and to destroy the reputation of the state as one of the most advanced states in the nation, and has also engaged in widespread political corruption on a massive scale.

North Carolina–Pat McCrory, who has managed to turn a progressive Southern state into one of the most backward, regressive states in America, one influenced by the corruption and move for dominance by the Koch Brothers in so many areas  of public policy.

Oklahoma–Mary Fallin, one of the most heartless and nasty state leaders, ignoring the growing number of earthquakes caused by the fracking industry, and totally committed to capital punishment even if there are no appropriate drugs to use for execution.

Louisiana–Bobby Jindal, who lost his Presidential ambitions, but set a record as a totally destructive and  heartless governor toward the poor of his state, and destroyed the public education system of New Orleans entirely.

Indiana–Mike Pence, who has caused a major health crisis over AIDS, by his refusal to address the issue of drug abuse, and has shown unwillingness to deal with the needs of those at the bottom of the economic system.

Arizona—Doug Ducey, who has shown total lack of competence or concern for the large number of Latinos in his state, and has shown evidence of corruption on a level that makes one wish former governor Jan Brewer was still in office, as bad as she actually was.

Kentucky—Matt Bevin, with no government experience, and a Tea Party activist, wishing to destroy the ObamaCare Medicaid system of his state, which was a model for the nation, but now is on the chopping block.