Poverty

Three Profiles In Courage: John McCain Of Arizona, Lisa Murkowski Of Alaska, Susan Collins Of Maine

It is appropriate to salute three Republican Senators who stopped the destruction of ObamaCare, due to their feeling that despite the shortcomings of the program, that to just repeal it and leave millions of Americans with no health coverage was intolerable.

Senator John McCain of Arizona, a true independent and maverick, has often exasperated many political observers, and this blogger was upset earlier last week when McCain voted to promote votes on various alternatives, including repeal without replacement, but then voted to kill the idea once there was the opportunity to do so.

We now learn that former Vice President Joe Biden, a good friend, and former Senator Joe Lieberman, the Vice Presidential running mate of Al Gore in 2000, contacted McCain and convinced him that this was the right thing to do.

This kind of bipartisanship is precisely what is needed, and is missing from today’s political scence.

The courage of the two women Senators, who could not have alone stopped the Republican plan to destroy ObamaCare, must also be acknowledged, and sadly, some misogyny was utilized against them by the right wing, but Senator Susan Collins of Maine and Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska showed how principled and decent they were, and deserve great credit.

Both Collins and Murkowksi are tough, and they are not intimidated, with Collins having always been independent oriented, and Murkowski losing the party primary in 2010, running as a write in Independent candidate, and winning over her Republican and Democratic opponents, and then winning in 2016.

The outrage that the Interior Secretary, Ryan Zinke, at Donald Trump’s orders, threatened Murkowski and Dan Sullivan, the other Alaska Senator, with cuts in funding for Alaska in the Department budget did not intimidate Murkowski, as she postponed committee hearings and votes in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, which she heads. She knows how to play Hardball, and Trump has met his match in her, as well as Collins.

Disappointing, however, was the third woman Senator thought united with them, Senator Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, but caving in to pressure from Senator Mitch McConnell, the Senate Majority Leader, quite shocking since West Virginia has more people on Medicaid and in poverty than almost all states in America.

The 4th Of July In The Trump Era: America Has Lost Its Way!

Today is the 241st anniversary of Independence Day, declared in 1776.

America was a great experiment in being a republic, and over the nearly two and a half centuries since, America ended slavery; opened its arms to scores of immigrants from all over the world; expanded the right to vote to all citizens over time, no matter what race, religion, nationality, or gender they were; promoted a social safety net; and expanded public education to all.

The Constitution was expanded to face modern realities; and both major political parties, the Democrats and the Republicans, contributed to the advancement of tolerance and justice and equal opportunity; and the Supreme Court became a body that dealt with expansion of civil liberties and civil rights.

There were many detours along the road to today, but overall, progress was made, and a sense of optimism reigned.

And then, September 11 occurred, and the nation’s politics veered from one viewpoint to another and then to what is now present, a dark view of our nation, its people, and the world.

We live in the Trump era, which is in process of delaying, deleting, and destroying so much progress that has been accomplished in the 20th and early 21st centuries.

We are seeing race, religion, ethnicity and gender being used in an abusive manner to take away basic civil liberties, civil rights, common decency, and a sense of civility.

We are seeing the wealthy becoming the most stratified group in American history, and the middle class, created in the 20th century, destroyed, and the poor being treated in a shabby fashion.

One political party, the Republicans, has become the party of negativism, hatred, prejudice, and pure nastiness, and we have seen the shift of the Supreme Court toward a hard right conservatism that brings back memories of the Gilded Age Supreme Court.

It is as if we are in a time warp, and have reverted to 140 years ago!

So while we celebrate our national holiday, we have a lot to mourn, and it MUST make all of us determined to fight and resist with all our abilities combined, to resolve this crisis in a constitutional manner, with the removal of Donald Trump from the Presidency, as a tyrant and authoritarian figure who has met his match with our Constitutional remedy!

Kentucky: Heavily Poor White State With Two Senators Who Wish To Gut Medicaid And Obamacare, Which Benefits Their Struggling Constituents!

Kentucky is an extremely poor state, especially in the eastern Appalachia counties, heavily poor whites, who have high levels of preexisting health problems, and depend on Medicaid and ObaamCare, and are now scared to death that they will lose their lifeline, and all because of the mean spirit, lack of empathy and compassion, and selfishness, of the Republican Party.

Kentucky has 60 percent of people in Appalachia on disability benefits, and overall one third of its people are dependent on government programs.

The Opioid crisis also affects Kentuckians at very high rates, due to depression over horrible job prospects, and high levels of unemployment, caused to be greater by the Great Recession, provoked by Republicans and their lack of concern about regulation of banks and Wall Street before 2008, and now ready again to make the same mistakes and repeal the Dodd-Frank Act of 2010 to prevent such future economic disasters.

And in the midst of this issue of struggling constituents, Kentucky has two Republican Senators who do not give a damn about their own population.

Rand Paul, with his crazy libertarian ideas, wants to destroy ObamaCare and gut Medicaid, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is even more the villain, as he undermines his own state, having utilized racism and misogyny to keep his Senate seat and the power of the Majority Leader, and to destroy everything Barack Obama did, which benefited Kentuckians and the nation.

How much more evil could two men be, but also, how ignorant a population, that they would be manipulated and tricked into supporting the reelection of, arguably, the worst two Senators combined in any state of the Union?

The Total Loss Of Humanity, Compassion, And Decency In The Republican Party Unprecedented In Modern American History!

So here we are, a few days away from a Senate vote on the most atrocious possible bill ever devised on health care!

22 million people will be knocked off health care over the next decade, the vast majority in 2018.

Medicaid will be decimated; the disabled will be repudiated, as if they do not have a right to exist; the elderly in nursing homes will lose Medicaid coverage; many rural hospitals will be shut down; millions upon millions of Americans with preexisting conditions will no longer have health care; prescription medications will no longer be covered at a reasonable rate; the poor in Appalachia, the Rust Belt, and in the cities of America will only have inadequate emergency room care, if the hospital near them stays open.

All the major medical associations have come out against the legislation, which it seems clear, will cause thousands upon thousands of premature deaths of people at all ages and racial and ethnic backgrounds.

And why? So that the top one percent can get a massive tax cut that they do not need, and in most cases, have not asked for!

This is greed and selfishness beyond redemption!

It is a total loss of humanity, compassion, and decency by the Republican Party, unprecedented in modern American history!

There is absolutely no justification for this outrage, and is an attack on life, by a so called “pro life” party, that insists that every fetus must be taken to term and born; but once born, if not healthy or if not wealthy, to hell with you, and you are on your own!

If there is karma, then one can say that every single Republican who votes in favor of this obscene legislation will pay a price in the future as one does not tolerate evil without retribution!

So Senators in the Republican Party, think twice and have a conscience before you sign onto such evil, disgraceful legislation, a true crime against humanity!

Republican Philosophy: Every Fetus Must Be Born, But No Right To Care For Preexisting Conditions, And No Basic Right To Health Care Itself!

The Republican Party is a total disgrace in 2017.

It has allowed itself to become the party of death, not the party of life.

While adopting the extreme right wing position of being totally anti abortion, and subjecting women to the whims of religious extremists, that every fetus must be born, now the GOP has fully adopted the concept that once a fetus is born, that there is no right to care for preexisting conditions, which nearly half of Americans have in their lifetime, and no basic right to health care itself.

The party that freed the slaves, promoted racial equality, and advocated protection of the environment, now has become the party of Christian extremists and hard line Southern Confederate views, repudiating the principles of Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt and many decent, principled office holders who were proud of the Republican traditions of the past 150 plus years.

Now, if you are not wealthy, to hell with your health, and if you die, such is life, and it most showed up when former one term Congressman Joe Walsh of Illinois, said he was not interested in having to pay more taxes to support the health care of an infant who had a need for heart surgery to survive.

What has happened to the concept of human decency, compassion, empathy, and concern for others?

What has happened to the idea that we all pay in through our taxes for the betterment of society, and if we do not end up getting back as much as we pay in, it means we have been fortunate enough not to need help from the government on the same scale as others?

What happened to the concept of religious values, whether Christian or Jewish or Muslim or Hindu or whatever, that we are our brother’s keeper?

The Republican Party will be condemned in history for the passage in the House of Representatives yesterday of this reprehensible “tax care for the wealthy” bill, and it will NOT make it through the US Senate.

It was disgusting to see the House Republicans, led by despicable Speaker Paul Ryan, rushing to the Trump White House to celebrate the loss of health care for 24 million Americans, which, were it to become law, would insure tens of thousands of Americans, at the least, will die because they are not wealthy!

The wealthy have more than enough advantages, and do NOT need another tax cut, as it was those under Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush which have obliterated much of the middle class, and accelerated the fall of millions into poverty since 1981.

The odds are heavy now that the Democrats will win at least the minimum number of seats, 24, to regain the House of Representatives majority, and even if the US Senate is not regained, it will change the playing field in 2019-2020, including the likelihood of the impeachment of demagogue Donald Trump!

For any decent human being to be a Republican in 2017, shame on you, and one can believe in karma, that you will be repaid appropriately in the next stage of your existence after your death on earth!

Donald Trump Is Not A “Miracle Man”: Disillusionment Among Followers Will Erupt Soon, Before End of 2017!

Donald Trump is guaranteed to alienate many of his followers, once they realize he is NOT a “Miracle Man”, that we are going to end up with many events that no one bargained for, including:

The most corrupt Presidency since Richard Nixon, and possibly surpassing the level and depth of Nixon scandals.

The strong likelihood of a major war, with major commitment of troops, and loss of life closer to Vietnam over a period of years, than to Iraq or Afghanistan.

Manufacturing and Mining jobs will NOT return, as it will be clear that Trump’s pledge to the white uneducated working class will not be fulfilled.

A massive cut is likely in Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and Food Stamps, and poverty will rise, and not just among minorities, but among poor whites, sick people, and the elderly.

Environmental damage that will harm the health of all Americans will be likely, the greatest since the disastrous environmental record of Ronald Reagan in the 1980s.

The conditions of labor will get worse, with no concern about minimum wage, sick leave, overtime pay, or basic benefits.

Racism will increase with backing of the Trump Presidency,

Mistreatment of women and of gays and lesbians is insured to multiply, with the support of extreme right wing social conservative Vice President Mike Pence.

The Supreme Court, unless both Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Justice Stephen Breyer stay healthy, will move dramatically to the extreme right, long term damage.

Basic civil liberties and civil rights will go by the wayside, with curbs on freedom of expression, as through speech, press, and assembly.

One can project that over time, a year or so, great disillusionment will set in, and possibly lead to open confrontations with law enforcement authorities, who try to quell public dissent with the approval of an authoritarian President and executive branch, and an unsympathetic Republican party controlled Congress.

Expect a strong reaction to occur, something such as happened under Richard Nixon during his continuation of the Vietnam War nearly 50 years ago.

Empathy Important Trait For Any Political Leader, Particularly A President Of The United States, Missing In The GOP And Donald Trump!

Empathy is one of the most important traits that any political leader needs to govern effectively.

Sadly, the Republican Party and most of its leadership totally lacks empathy, and instead is very harsh and judgmental toward those who are not fortunate enough to be born wealthy.

They fail to have concern for poverty stricken people, blaming them for their own plight.

They fail to have concern for those who are sick and or disabled, and wish to cut benefits, including ObamaCare, which has given millions of Americans their first health care.

They fail to care about the tragedy of veterans who often have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from their experiences fighting in America’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the basic stresses of being in the military.

They fail to care about discrimination, racism, nativism, and misogyny, and often encourage rhetoric and actions, which further alienate large sections of population within America.

They allow religion to be utilized in a way to promote hate and division, and look the other way as they endorse hypocrisy.

The candidacy of Donald Trump only emphasizes ever more these terrible traits, as Trump is totally clueless and uncaring about the American people, often insulting, denigrating, demeaning, ridiculing, bullying, and showing total disdain for anyone who dares to challenge his disgraceful behavior and rhetoric.

Instead of taking responsibility for his own shortcomings, Trump lashes out at the news media for exposing his actions and words, thereby attempting to turn the American people against the news media and the concept of Freedom of the Press.

The Republican Party has been complicit in this kind of attack, even before Donald Trump emerged as a significant political force, and they represent a threat to our Bill Of Rights.

The last time this happened, the Federalist Party attack on the Bill of Rights under John Adams, with the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798-1801, resulted in the demise of the party over the next generation.

150th Anniversary Of 13th Amendment, Ending Slavery: Abraham Lincoln’s Enduring Legacy!

Yesterday, December 9, was the 150th Anniversary of the ratification of the 13th Amendment, ending slavery, lobbied for and pushed through by the efforts of President Abraham Lincoln, his most enduring legacy!

The Republican Party and its first President were totally principled and decent in what was done 150 years ago, and yet slavery in a different form would continue, with a century of legal segregation of the races, until Lyndon B. Johnson engineered the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

And unjust imprisonment of African Americans. as well as people of other races and ethnic backgrounds and poor people of all races, due to inability to have proper legal representation and a biased legal system, including private prisons, means that slavery in a different form has always existed and still flourishes in 2015!

And the Republican Party and its conservative ideologues have completely destroyed the heritage of a party with great Presidents and a list of great members of Congress and governors who carried on the early tradition of the Republican Party a century and a half ago.

Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, and Dwight D. Eisenhower, if they came back to 21st century America, would be shocked at what has happened to their party!

So the fight against the mean spirit and lack of compassion and empathy of the modern GOP is a continuing one, as we celebrate the official end of slavery a century and a half ago!

Crazy And Disturbing Revelations About Republican Presidential Contenders Donald Trump And Dr. Benjamin Carson Emerge

This Republican battle for the Presidency is bringing out crazy and disturbing revelations about the two front runners for the nomination, based on present public opinion polls.

Donald Trump said this weekend that his life was not and never has been easy, and having tried to compare himself to average Americans, then he revealed that he had to ask his father for a small amount loan (One Million Dollars) to start his career by purchasing a building in Brooklyn, New York, and imagine this, that he had to pay back the loan with interest!  This is a crazy, disturbing statement, and shows he has no clue as to what kind of life average middle class and poor people live!

But even more crazy and disturbing is the statement of Dr. Benjamin Carson, who is getting more weird by the day, and seems so low key that one wonders what kind of medication he is on, as he makes his constant references to slavery and Nazi Germany.  But he now has revealed that he had a troubled childhood, that  he nearly stabbed a friend at age 14 with a knife while living in Detroit with a single mother and in poverty, and often utilized rocks, bricks, hammers and baseball bats as he went through a violent, volatile stage of adolescence.

One might say, “he was a kid”, and is “not responsible for what he did”, but sorry, kids might act out in unusual ways as part of growing up, but it is never acceptable to use knives, rocks, bricks, hammers and baseball bats to get out one’s aggression and instability.  That is beyond the pale, not equivalent of harassing a fellow student, as Mitt Romney did; or shooting frogs for fun, as George W. Bush did; or having a sexual tryst with someone; or smoking marijuana, all examples of what adolescents often do.  But these things are not on the level of what Carson admits to doing, and while someone can, in theory, overcome such volatile behavior, one still has to wonder about his mental stability.

And his refusal to recognize what poverty does to people, as it did to him, and to take a hard line on dealing with the poor and disadvantaged, as he does, is a sign that his character has not recovered from his teenage volatile nature, because he has now succeeded in life, and has no concern about those who are left behind, and have not been as fortunate as he has.

Both Trump and Carson, just this weekend, have revealed elements that should make any sane person recognize that they are not equipped and appropriate to be our Commander in Chief.

Hopefully, the Republican Party will regain its sanity, and its voters will not  destroy the reputation of the party of Lincoln, TR, Ike, and even Reagan!

Happy 107th Birthday, President Lyndon B. Johnson!

107 years ago today, President Lyndon B. Johnson was born, destined to have a career that would change the lives of more Americans than any other President, including Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Many will remind us of the disastrous Vietnam War, which LBJ waged, and which forced him out of office, giving up a chance to be only the second President to serve more than eight years, the only one doing so being FDR!

Many will point out that LBJ is accused of being involved in the assassination plot against John F. Kennedy, well spread by several authors, but still seen as highly speculative.

Many will tell us of the statements that LBJ was possibly the most corrupt President in American history, and the one who enriched his own fortune more than any other, without any positive proof of their allegations.

Many will look to find other chinks in the armor of the 36th President, and certainly, LBJ would be the first to declare his own imperfections, including his tendency to use racist Southern terms for African Americans, common in Dixie in his lifetime.

But even with whatever shortcomings there were, and whatever mostly unprovable accusations that are lodged against him, there is certainly another LBJ–the man who used the powers of his office to better the lives of more Americans—-the elderly, the sick, the poor, the uneducated, the ethnic minorities, deprived whites, women—-than any President before him, and unmatched by any President since his time.

The Great Society did so much good, much of it still with us 50 years later, a goal that LBJ had, to match and surpass his “idol”, FDR, and his New Deal programs of 30 years earlier.

Poverty was cut dramatically in the time of LBJ; more people had a chance to get an education than ever before; Medicare and Medicaid came into being, providing a “safety net” added to the Social Security programs of FDR; Civil Rights laws finally fulfilled the purpose of what Abraham Lincoln had promoted a century earlier; the environment, consumer protection, transportation and urban affairs improvement became the priority of the federal government; public radio and television offered enlightenment and still do; and we saw the beginnings of opportunity for top positions in the federal government for ethnic minorities who had never played a role in government affairs before.

So despite obvious faults and shortcomings, Happy 107th Birthday, Mr. President!