Maryland

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”.

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!

Potential To Add Seven Democratic Women Senators In November Races

The potential exists to add seven Democratic women to the US Senate, and replace one Democratic woman with another Democratic woman this November.

Senator Barbara Boxer of California is retiring, and Kamala Harris is running to replace her, although her opponent, also a Democrat, is Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez. So no matter what happens, a Democratic woman in the Senate from California is being replaced by a woman from the Democratic Party.

Maggie Hassan, Governor of New Hampshire, is trying to defeat another woman, Republican Kelly Ayotte, for her Senate seat, and has a good chance of winning

Also, Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada is running to replace Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, but is in a tough race, that may be the only Democratic seat in danger, against Republican nominee Joe Heck.

Tammy Duckworth is running for the Illinois Senate seat held by Republican Mark Kirk, and is favored to win.

Katie McGinty is running in Pennsylvania against Republican Pat Toomey, a race seen as very close.

Deborah Ross is running in North Carolina against Republican Richard Burr, another close race.

Ann Kirkpatrick is in a very competitive race in Arizona against well known Republican Senator John McCain.

Finally, Patty Judge is running in Iowa to replace Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, a tough fight.

There are 20 women in the US Senate now, 14 Democrats and 6 Republicans. One woman, Barbara Mikulski of Maryland, will be replaced by a man, Chris Van Hollen. And Kelly Ayotte could be the one Republican woman who leaves the Senate if she loses to Maggie Hassan.

So the end result could be 5 Republican women and a grand total of 20 Democrats if all the women listed above were to win.

That is certainly unlikely to happen, but if it did, we would have the highest number of women Senators in any Congress in American history—25!

After So Much Vice Presidential Speculation, New Names Show Up!

Both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are busy keeping us guessing as to who will be their Vice Presidential choices.

After so much speculation, it turns out, according to latest hints, that others not originally considered likely choices, are surging ahead.

So for the Republicans, Indiana Governor and former Congressman Mike Pence seems like the front runner, with Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions also becoming part of the discussion.

And for the Democrats, suddenly, Secretary of Agriculture and former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack seems like a possible choice, with Secretary of Labor Tom Perez of Maryland and Virginia Senator, former Governor, and former Mayor of Richmond Tim Kaine as other possible choices.

Compared to bigger names, such as Newt Gingrich or Chris Christie on the Republican side, or Elizabeth Warren or Julian Castro on the Democratic side, these potential choices seem less exciting and dramatic, but that does not mean that there is not an argument for them.

Pence is less controversial than other VP choices for the Republicans, although he signed a bill against the civil rights of gays and lesbians in public accommodations that had to be changed under protest, and with many businesses canceling plans to expand into Indiana, and with him concerned about a gubernatorial race that looks very difficult to win. He is a hard right wing conservative Republican who the Christian right loves, which makes him unable to expand the base of the Republican Party. But Pence does not have a big mouth, and is not considered a bully, as Gingrich and Christie are.

Sessions is the typical Southern conservative very similar to past Southern Democrats up to the 1960s, very hard line on immigration, but the first US Senator to endorse Trump. He is not appealing personally as Pence is.

Tom Vilsack was actually considered on the short list for VP for John Kerry in 2004 and for Hillary Clinton, had she won the nomination of the Democrats in 2008, and is a pleasant enough fellow, and is from a “swing” state.

Tom Perez is Hispanic, Dominican heritage, and also very well liked by Hillary Clinton, and a very effective Secretary of Labor for Barack Obama.

Both Vilsack and Perez as cabinet members do not endanger any Senate seats, which is a plus for both of them.

Kaine was on the short list for VP in 2008, and is well liked, and has been Mayor of Richmond, as well as Governor and Senator, and also Democratic National Chairman, and also well liked by Hillary Clinton. Fortunately, with a Democratic governor in Virginia, an appointment to replace him would be a Democrat. And to top it off, Kaine speaks perfect Spanish, as this blogger has seen on the news reports, a very impressive plus, considering that 55 million Americans, out of 320 million speak or are od Spanish origin.

Trying to guess the ultimate choices for Vice President has become more complex and difficult, so we shall have to wait and see, but it will be interesting to witness what transpires!

Republicans Unifying Around Donald Trump Are Self Destructing As A Result! Destroying Their Careers And Reputations In The Process!

Donald Trump is a total disaster for the Republican Party, and many office holders are backing away as rapidly as possible, but it may not be enough to save them and their careers and reputations in the process.

Many are still unifying around Trump, and will suffer ever more, including Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey and Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama as two examples, because they both have the ambition to be Vice President.

Many others clearly have no desire to run with Trump, and to serve under him would be a nightmare.

The only way to hold on to one’s career in the Republican Party is to repudiate Trump, and condemn his racism, nativism, xenophobia, and misogyny. Republicans in “Blue” states are showing signs of doing so, as for instance, Governor Larry Hogan of Maryland and Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker.

Many Republican Senators running for reelection are seeing their likelihood of reelection going down the drain, and are in crisis mode.

Of course, Republicans in solidly “Red” states, particularly in the South, probably do not need to worry as much, although there is no certainty that the “Red” states will all remain “Red”, as there are signs that North Carolina, Georgia, Indiana, Missouri, Arizona, and even Utah might abandon the Republican Presidential candidate.

British Betting Odds On Democratic Vice Presidential Nominees

If one goes by British betting odds, the list of potential Democratic Vice Presidential nominees is as follows:

In front is Julian Castro, former San Antonio Mayor, who is presently Secretary of Housing and Urban Development; followed by Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren; Virginia Senator Tim Kaine; Secretary of Labor Tom Perez (from Maryland); and former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley (who was in the Democratic Presidential race).

After those five, the odds on others, in their order, are New Jersey Senator Cory Booker; Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown; and then Minnesota Senators Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar.

Looking at the list, the “safest” choices to make are Castro, Perez, O’Malley, Franken, and Klobuchar, as the first two are cabinet members and not potentially giving up a Senate seat; O’Malley is out of office; and Franken and Klobucar come from a solidly “blue” state that has a Democratic Governor able to appoint a Democratic replacement were either to be elected Vice President.

Warren and Booker come from states with Republican Governors, who would be able to appoint a Republican temporarily as their replacement, while Kaine and Brown comes from “swing states” with a Republican governor in Ohio, and a Democratic Governor in Virginia now under federal investigation in a state which would be Republican if not for northern Virginia’s strong Democratic bent.

Millard Fillmore’s Third Party Candidacy in 1856: Unique In American History In Many Ways!

The 1856 Presidential Election is unique in many ways.

It was the first national campaign of a political party, the Republican Party, which had been founded two years earlier in opposition to slavery and to its expansion.

The Republican Party replaced the moribund Whig Party, and many of the latter’s members had joined the new party. John C. Fremont was its nominee for President, and lost by about 500,000 popular votes margin to Democratic nominee James Buchanan.

The Democratic Party, bitterly divided over slavery, was on its way to a victory in a divided country, but it would be the last Democratic Party victory until Grover Cleveland squeaked out a narrow victory three decades later in 1884. Its nominee was James Buchanan, who won the election with 174 electoral votes to 114 for Fremont.

It was also a time of a “comeback” by the last Whig President, Millard Fillmore, who had succeeded Zachary Taylor upon his death in 1850, and had signed the Compromise of 1850 and opened up relations with the Japanese Kingdom.

Fillmore would go on to win the 8 electoral votes of Maryland, the only electoral votes Fillmore ever won for the Presidency, as he was denied the nomination of his party for a full term in 1852, the last national campaign of the Whigs.

Fillmore became the first of two former Presidents to win electoral votes and states after being President, the other being Theodore Roosevelt on the Progressive (Bull Moose) party line in 1912, when he won six states and 88 electoral votes.

Former President Martin Van Buren had run on a third party, the Free Soil Party of 1848, won ten percent of the popular vote, but won no states or electoral votes.

But Fillmore actually won 21.5 percent of the total national popular vote in 1856, winning about 873,000 total votes, running on the American (Know Nothing) party line, campaigning against Catholic immigration from Germany and Ireland, which would not add to his stature, unfortunately! Ironically, Fillmore was not present at the convention that nominated him, and never actually joined the American Party, but he accepted the nomination, nevertheless, and he ran as a nativist, not good for his historical reputation!

Potential White Male Vice Presidential Nominees For Hillary Clinton’s Presidential Campaign In 2016

If Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton decides not to go “radical” and select a woman or a person of minority heritage as her Vice Presidential choice for the upcoming Presidential Election of 2016, she has a long list of potential white males to choose from.

She could go for a Senator from a “swing” state, including the following:

Virginia–Senator Mark Warner or Senator Tim Kaine

Ohio–Senator Sherrod Brown (who I projected on December 31 as the likely choice)

Florida–Senator Bill Nelson

But there are other potential nominees, including:

Incumbent Vice President Joe Biden of Delaware, which I recommended on this blog in February 2015, and was interviewed about it by John Hockenberry of THE TAKEAWAY on National Public Radio on January 21 of this year, which can be found under “Interviews” on the right side of the blog

Senator Al Franken of Minnesota

Former Governor Martin O’Malley of Maryland

Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut

Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon

Of these nine potential candidates, the most likely would seem to be Brown, Kaine, and Franken in that order.

Biden and Nelson will both be 74 this year, five years older than Hillary Clinton, while O’Malley opposed Hillary in the early primaries and Merkley is the only US Senator to have endorsed Bernie Sanders, making them less likely.

Warner seems less likely than Kaine from Virginia, due to his close race for reelection in 2014, one he almost lost, and Murphy, one of the brightest young liberals, is more of a “dark horse”, not mentioned by many, but a possible surprise choice.

The Likelihood Of An Historic Vice Presidential Nomination For The Democrats: A Woman Or A Person Of Minority Heritage

Speculation has begun about who Democrat Hillary Clinton’s potential choices for Vice President might be, but it seems more and more likely that it will be an historic choice, likely NOT to be a white male, but rather a woman or a leader of minority heritage.

It is true that Democrat Walter Mondale selected New York Congresswoman Geraldine Ferraro in 1984, and that Republican John McCain selected Alaska Governor Sarah Palin in 2008, but this time around, the possible candidates for a woman are much stronger choices.

If one is considering a woman, which some think is “radical” to do, Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts is seen as the most likely choice, but her fame and her age work against her, and it would make more sense to pick a woman who is substantially younger, and could be a potential successor eight years from now–such as Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota or Senator Maria Cantwell of Washington State.

If Hillary wants to select someone from a minority heritage, the best would be Latinos, such as former San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, presently Secretary of Housing and Urban Development; or Secretary of Labor Tom Perez of Maryland; and if African American, the best would be New Jersey Senator Cory Booker or former Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick.

In another blog entry forthcoming tomorrow, we will consider white males as potential Vice Presidential nominees, with quite a long list of such candidates!

Major Mystery: The Lack Of Traction Of Former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley’s Presidential Candidacy

As we await the beginning of actual voting next week and after that, a major mystery remains.

Why did former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley turn out to be a total dud as a candidate?

O’Malley was one of the best Governors in America during his eight years in that position, and he had the charisma, good looks, and youth, that one would have thought that he would be a serious challenger to Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, and others of the “older generation.”

After the experience of the “younger generation” backing John F. Kennedy in 1960; Jimmy Carter in 1976; Bill Clinton in 1992; and Barack Obama in 2008, one would have thought that O’Malley would have similar appeal, and without being the first Catholic nominee; the first Southerner since 1848; a flawed candidate with a sex scandal from a small Southern state; and a mixed race African American with little national experience to deal with!

And yet, it was a candidate even older than Hillary Clinton or Joe Biden–Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont—with his declaration that he was a Democratic Socialist; was an Independent who only became a party member when he announced for President; and with a New York Jewish background (not necessarily a plus across the nation), who became the favorite of newer voters, younger voters (under 45), and those who would be thought to prefer someone closer to their age and from a larger and more significant state (Maryland) than Vermont represents.

The lack of traction of O’Malley remains a deep mystery, and one wonders if his run this year will give him an upper hand, despite it being a total flop, if the Democrats lose the Presidency in 2016.

Could it be the beginning of the rise on top of the disaster, if it occurs, of a Democratic defeat this year?

Certainly, no one in their right mind who is a progressive, wishes for failure this year to lead to success later!

But sometimes, repudiation now leads to success later!