Social Safety Net

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 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!

The Plot Thickens As Mike Pence Hires An Attorney, And Jared Kushner Faces Business Dealings Investigation

So now the plot thickens, as Vice President Mike Pence has hired an attorney, and Trump son in law Jared Kushner is being investigated on his business dealings.

This makes the Trump scandal investigation even more complex, but occurring at a pace unmatched in the Watergate era of Richard Nixon.

The fact that Mike Pence feels a need to “lawyer up” is a danger sign for him, as it may mean that he has been compromised by being the Vice President for Donald Trump, and may have damaged his own reputation and credibility, meaning once again Donald Trump has done harm and may have destroyed the reputation of yet another person who is in his orbit throughout his life.

The possibility of Speaker of the House Paul Ryan being the beneficiary of the possible downfall of Mike Pence is chilling, as this author and blogger warned five years ago how horrible and disgraceful a person Ryan was, to put in line for the Presidency, when he ran for Vice President in the Presidential campaign of Mitt Romney. For that, I was bitterly criticized and attacked by right wing sources, including the BLAZE of Glenn Beck, and had nasty emails sent to me for expressing my right to freedom of speech.

One could argue that Ryan too has been compromised by working along with a man that he clearly has little personal regard for, all in his obsessive desire to take away the social safety net from the poor, and yet claiming to be a “good Catholic”, a true mockery of the teachings of the faith, as brilliantly expressed by Pope Francis in the Vatican.

Obama Care Survives: Massive Defeat For Donald Trump, Paul Ryan, And Republican Party, And Public Opinion Is Turning Negative!

Donald Trump, Paul Ryan and the Republican Party have suffered a massive defeat, in their failure, after 60 votes over the past six years to destroy Obama Care, and now being unable to control their own caucus and accomplish its demise yesterday in the House of Representatives.

The Health and Human Services Secretary, Tom Price, Can still undermine the enforcement of the law, and cause it to fail, but it will put the blame on Donald Trump for failure to enforce the law as it is, until and when it is repealed and replaced.

The irony of it all is that Obama Care is really the Bob Dole and Newt Gingrich Heritage Foundation program of 1993, offered as an alternative to Hillary Care, and is also based on Romney Care in Massachusetts, but once Obama was elected, the GOP decision was to refuse to accept any health care plan, and Mitt Romney ran against his own program in Massachusetts, when he opposed Obama in the 2012 Presidential election.

So both the Republican Party and Mitt Romney were engaged in total hypocrisy, when Obama settled for what has become law, due to the difficulties in gaining “a public option”, or promoting “Medicare For All”, a single payer system, when both would have taken control away from the health insurance companies.

The proposed bill that never came to a vote yesterday would have caused 24 million to lose all health care coverage, and would have given massive tax cuts to the wealthy yet a third time, after Ronald Reagan in the 1980s and George W. Bush in the 2000s, taking the needs of the wealthy who do not need a tax cut over the needs of millions of Americans.

Donald Trump has failed, and has discovered that his business methods do not work in politics, with him having believed like Ross Perot in the 1990s, that all you had to do was take the politicians into a room, and you could force them to do what you want, and both Perot in theory then, and now Trump in practice, is learning otherwise.

So we saw yesterday a rare moment of humility by Trump, who had claimed Obama Care would be gone on the first day of his Presidency.

We also saw yesterday the gleeful Paul Ryan, so anxious since college to destroy the social safety net while drinking kegs of beer and failing in love with lunatic Ayn Rand, finally getting his comeuppance.

The GOP is doomed as long as they allow the 30 or so members of the House Freedom Caucus to hold them hostage, a group which forced John Boehner out of the Speakership in 2015.

It is time for Ryan to start working for bipartisan government, and ask Democrats for help, as otherwise the GOP will fail to get anything done, since the anarchistic Freedom Caucus is out to destroy government itself, and must be repudiated totally, and told where they can go.

The Republican Party may be the majority right now, but public opinion has turned against them on health care, with only 17 percent supporting the failed Ryan health care plan.

So Ryan Care or Trump Care lies in ruins at this time, and it is well deserved.

The Wealthy And Corporations Love Trump, Most Pro Business Since Calvin Coolidge, But The Great Depression Came After Coolidge!

The stock market has surged since the election of Donald Trump, and has hit the 20,000 mark and now the 21,000 mark, a 15 percent increase.

And why not? This nation, and its clueless masses, worship wealth and opulence over principle and ethics, sorry to say!

The wealthy elite and the corporations love what Donald Trump represents—massive tax cuts for the top one percent promised, and the end of most regulations of corporations in all fields of the economy.

This is already the most conservative President, just in pledges and promises, that we have seen since Calvin Coolidge nearly a century ago.

Even Ronald Reagan was not able to do so much so quickly, or pledge to do, as Donald Trump has been pledging to the elite wealthy.

Meanwhile, for the average American, and the blue collar whites who voted for Trump, they are not yet aware of the scam being perpetrated, as they lose their health care, their protection from environmental calamity, and their social safety net that they receive in greater numbers than minorities often have.

No longer can they get a lower interest rate on mortgages, or a greater overtime pay at work, or protection from being victimized by those who advise them on retirement investments.

Public schools will be harmed; gays and transgender people will be discriminated against in an open fashion; civil rights violations will not be investigated; and civil liberties of all of us will be undermined by a lawless, corrupt administration which is taking advantage of gullible citizens who thought a narcissistic billionaire, who has always treated his workers, contractors, and tenants with disdain throughout his life, could be trusted.

While the wealthy and corporations celebrate Trump, expect that we will have the same result we had under Calvin Coolidge and Herbert Hoover–the coming of the Great Depression; and the same results we had under George W. Bush, the Great Recession.

Remember also we had great economic recessions under Dwight D. Eisenhower in the 1950s; under Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford in the 1970s; and under Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush in the 1980s and 1990s.

The way we get out of economic depressions and recessions is to elect Democrats—Franklin D. Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy. Lyndon B. Johnson, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama, with FDR and Obama being the most crucial Presidents in taking us out of the two greatest economic downturns of the past hundred years–1929 and 2008!

Barack Obama And The Debt Ceiling Crisis: A Moment Of Presidential Assertiveness Needed!

President Barack Obama has done his best to avoid antagonizing opponents with his use of Presidential powers.

He has shown willingness to negotiate and make deals, but the Republican House has refused to do anything, other than threaten to have the good faith and credit of the United States destroyed, a calamity that could lead to a Second Great Depression and harm to the world wide economy.

The Republican Party in the House refuses to help create jobs through federal funding, or to work on building an infrastructure repair and expansion.

The Republicans have made it clear that they are willing to hold all Americans hostage, as they promote their extreme right wing ideology, and work to take America back to the Gilded Age and the 1920s.

So therefore, it is time for action soon by President Obama, a moment of Presidential courage, to refuse to allow the destruction of our economy!

So he has two alternatives.

Invoke the 14th Amendment, which includes language on the payment of government debts.

Use the concept of a trillion dollar coin minted by the US Treasury to cover all debts already incurred and more in the future.

The point is that it was the Republican Congress which built up most of the massive debt we now face, and yet they are ready to refuse to pay the government bonds when due, unless they are able to destroy the social safety net of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.

This cannot be allowed, and although Obama is highly reluctant to take controversial action in either direction mentioned above, he owes it to the nation at large to do so if no alternative is available at that time, which seems likely to be the case!

What is the worst that would happen if Obama took unilateral action?

He would be bitterly condemned by the right wing, called every name in the book, so what else is new?

There might be greater death threats against him, but there are already more than ever before as it is.

The realization is that there would be the likelihood of the Republican House choosing to impeach President Obama for “high crimes and misdemeanors” in office.

But has Obama committed such crimes, or is about to do so?

No more than Abraham Lincoln and the Emancipation Proclamation, or Franklin D. Roosevelt arranging the Destroyers for Bases Deal with Great Britain, or thousands of executive orders utilized by many of our Presidents!

And even were he to be impeached, the odds of Obama being removed from office with a Senate of 55 Democrats is totally out of the question, since 67 Senators would be needed to remove him from office, and there are only 45 Republicans!

Would an impeachment besmirch the reputation of Barack Obama? It would certainly be part of his obituary, as with Bill Clinton, but Clinton has survived very well from the impeachment, and his popularity went up during the impeachment crisis, and the Republican reputation suffered great harm.

The Republican Party would only be putting nails in its own coffin, if it decided that our economy should be destroyed and the President impeached.

The nation and the President would be the winners in such a scenario, so it is soon time for Obama to show guts and courage and do what is necessary, knowing the consequences are something he can deal with, although regrettable that he has to go through those consequences!

Theodore Roosevelt’s 154th Birthday: He Would Mourn What His Republican Party Has Become!

Today is the 154th Anniversary of President Theodore Roosevelt’s birth.

TR is one of the most acclaimed Presidents, often listed as high as 4th all time, just below Abraham Lincoln, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and George Washington.

TR is certainly regarded as the second greatest Republican President of all time, behind only Lincoln, unless one chooses to believe the lunacy of conservative propagandist Glenn Beck, who constantly denounces TR, and would put Ronald Reagan higher than TR, and who also has reservations about Lincoln, because correspondence between Lincoln and Karl Marx has been uncovered, which makes some right wing nuts think Lincoln “might” have been a “Socialist”, or a “Communist”, or even the word “Progressive”, which is considered the same thing by Beck, Florida Congressman Allen West, and other right wing lunatics!

TR was a “Progressive” who promoted conservation and the environment; promoted the advance of labor rights; believed in regulation of big business; created the Food and Drug Administration to monitor safety of what Americans consume; and believed later in his life, when he ran as the Progressive Party nominee for President in 1912 that there was a need for health care and labor laws and other aspects of a social safety net. This made TR the forerunner of Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama in advocating more government, more regulation, more social safety net, and concern about the environment.

None of the above is now believed by the Republican Party of Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, who wish to repeal everything TR and his successors of both parties believed in!

So it is clear that TR, certainly not perfect but still exceptional in so many ways, would NOT be a Republican today!

But then Abraham Lincoln would not be a Republican today.

Neither would Dwight D. Eisenhower or even Richard Nixon or Gerald Ford, who were condemning the religious extremism of their party in their later years.

And right now, former Florida Governor Charlie Crist, former Secretary of State Colin Powell, former Rhode Island Senator Lincoln Chafee, and former South Dakota Senator Larry Pressler have endorsed President Barack Obama.

And under the surface, not willing to speak up, but clearly uncomfortable with the GOP of 2012, are many other former Republican Governors, Senators, and Congressmen who feel that their party has been “hijacked” by an evil, selfish, greedy, nasty group of weirdos who wish to take away rights from women, labor, minorities, the disabled, the poor, and the middle class, and are refusing to come out openly and endorse Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan.

The party of Theodore Roosevelt and his “progressivism” and reform is long gone, and sadly, may never return!

A New Type Of Republican: The “Drawbridge” Republicans (Wealthy And Wishing To Deny Others Becoming Wealthy)!

Columnist Matt Miller came up with a new term yesterday in the Washington Post for Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan—two wealthy men who wish to “raise the drawbridge” so that others have no chance to become wealthy and be successful as they have been!

Their goal is to help the wealthy, and do everything to impoverish the middle class and the poor, by withdrawing the social safety net, and even raising taxes on those classes below the wealthy while creating the greatest maldistribution of wealth in the entire history of the United States, and NOT be embarrassed or upset about that reality!

As Miller says, both Romney and Ryan lack empathy, and do not seem to care how badly they appear. So Romney defiantly refuses to release more information about his taxes, despite the tradition of multiple years being released by all other Presidential candidates. And Ryan “forgets’ to include a great inheritance in his vetting materials required under government rules about Congressional income, and for Romney, when considering him for Vice President. He acts as if being worth $7 million through inheritances is something to be kept secret, while calling for cuts in Pell Grants and Food Stamps for our children, whether of college age or of younger age and needing nutrition!

These “Drawbridge” Republicans are the most selfish, greedy, heartless Presidential team in living memory, as John McCain showed concern for illegal immigrants, and George W. Bush promoted a prescription drug plan for the elderly, and made attempts at improving education.

Romney and Ryan offer no such programs or concerns, except for themselves and their class, an absolutely disgraceful situation!

Oh, and by the way, the news is out: Paul Ryan provided NO BUMP for Romney after ten days, and even Sarah Palin four years ago provided a temporary bump for John McCain! So there is a disaster in the making for the Republican Presidential ticket in November!

A Day To Celebrate: 77th Anniversary Of Social Security Act Signed Into Law By Franklin D. Roosevelt!

Today is indeed a day to celebrate, the 77th anniversary of the signing of the Social Security Act into law, in 1935, by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, his signature domestic accomplishment among many of his New Deal programs.

Social Security gave dignity to the elderly, to widows, to children and orphans of a deceased worker, and to the disabled and handicapped!

It gave a sense of security to people at vulnerable times in their lives, and it came decades after similar actions in Germany, Great Britain, and France, the other major industrialized nations!

It has worked very well, and is only seen as in trouble because the Social Security fund has been raided constantly by reckless Congresses!

The future of Social Security long term could be guaranteed by raising the limit of $110,000 income being taxed to be what Medicare is, an unlimited income being taxed!

Also, if unearned income was taxed as earned income is, it would have no problems for an eternity of time.

But the Republican Party, most members opposed at the time to the legislation,; then having Barry Goldwater in the 1960s wanting to destroy it; and now Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan continuing the assault, makes this election a battle to preserve this key to the social safety net, and to promote common decency toward those who depend on it, and have contributed to it over their work lives!

Franklin D. Roosevelt should be saluted for his great leadership in guaranteeing a dignified life to those who, at different times and situations in their lives, need protection from government. This is not something that churches and synagogues and charities could possibly provide on an adequate level!

Odd And Interesting Points About Paul Ryan, And The Presidential Election Of 2012

There are many odd and interesting points about Vice Presidential nominee Paul Ryan that have been gathered, and here are some of them!

Paul Ryan, like Mitt Romney, is handsome, and they look good together photogenically.

Paul Ryan looks as if he could be one of Mitt Romney’s sons, and actually is only 12 days older than Romney’s oldest son, Tagg!

Paul Ryan has spent his whole adult life in government, with no experience in the private sector.

Paul Ryan was affected by the narrow minded, selfish teachings of Ayn Rand, and he was involved in work with former Congressman Jack Kemp, one of the authors of what became known as Reaganomics, which started tripling the national debt in the 1980s, due to the theory of Supply Side Economics. Now, Ryan wishes to multiply what Reaganomics in the 1980s and Bushonomics in the 2000s brought about, most of the increased national debt, $7 trillion of the total $10.5 trillion debt that existed when George W. Bush left the Presidency in January, 2009!

Paul Ryan’s dad died when he was in high school, and he was supported by the social safety net of Social Security with survivors benefits while in college.

Paul Ryan has lived off the American taxpayer his entire life, and will receive better health care and pension benefits as part of the federal payroll, that he wishes to cut for everyone else in the middle and lower classes!

Paul Ryan alienated Catholic nuns when he came out for cuts in food stamps and other benefits to poor children, and called for privatizing of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, while wanting greater tax cuts for the top two percent!

Paul Ryan was booed in his own congressional district for the Ryan plan which passed the House of Representatives earlier this year, but with no Democratic support and ten Republicans voting against, as well.

Paul Ryan comes across as articulate, handsome, and charming personally, the latter much more than Mitt Romney, but he also comes across to many as arrogant, nasty, mean spirited, uncaring, hypocritical , uncompromising, and loved by the Tea Party and the right wing media which have declared war on women, senior citizens, the middle class, minorities, and the poor!

Paul Ryan has no foreign policy experience, and being only a Congressman, can be seen as not qualified to be Commander in Chief on Day One!

This is the 5th time in the past half century that a member of the House of Representatives has been selected as a Vice Presidential running mate—William E. Miller of New York with Barry Goldwater in 1964; Geraldine Ferraro of New York with Walter Mondale in 1984; Jack Kemp of New York with Bob Dole in 1996; Dick Cheney of Wyoming with George W. Bush in 2000; and now Paul Ryan of Wisconsin with Mitt Romney in 2012. Notice all four of the earlier choices LOST the election that followed, with the exception of Cheney with Bush, but remember that Al Gore actually won the popular vote in 2000 by 540,000 votes, and the Supreme Court decided the election, intervening for the first time in American history!

And as said in an earlier post, finally, this marks the fourth time in the past 60 years that the Vice Presidential nominee has been more than 20 years younger than the Presidential nominee—Richard Nixon with Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1952; Dan Quayle with George H. W. Bush in 1988; Sarah Palin with John McCain in 2008; and now Paul Ryan with Mitt Romney in 2012.

Additionally, we have no one on either ticket for this upcoming election who is from the Sun Belt states, the growing part of the nation. Instead, we have a Midwesterner and an Easterner on each ticket–Barack Obama and Paul Ryan from the Midwest, and Joe Biden and Mitt Romney from the Northeast!

Also, there is no candidate with military experience on either Presidential ticket, the first time since the 1940s!

And we also have no mainline Protestant on the Republican ticket, a mainstay of the GOP, and instead have a Mormon and a Catholic.

If anything, the only true “Protestant” is Barack Obama, as Joe Biden is Catholic!

More oddities and trivia will probably arise as the campaign develops further!