US Senate

Republican Skeptics On Ryan Health Care Plan: John Kasich, Rand Paul, Tom Cotton, Darrell Issa, And Many Others

The Republican Party has an increasing number of skeptics about the Paul Ryan alternative bill to ObamaCare, which has now been scored on its effect on the budget by the Congressional Budget Office, and it is a total disaster.

All of the following are unhappy with the Affordable Care Act, or ObamaCare, as it is, but warn against the House sponsored plan:

Governor John Kasich of Ohio
Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky
Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas
Congressman Darrell Issa of California
Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska
Senator Rob Portman of Ohio
Senator Cory Gardner of Colorado
Senator Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia
Senator Susan Collins of Maine
Senator Dean Heller

But also there are the right wing extremists, the Freedom Caucus House Republicans who oppose the Ryan bill, as do the following groups:

Freedom Works
Club For Growth
Heritage Action

And the American Medical Association, the American Hospital Association, and the American Association Of Retired Persons, and many other groups are also totally against the legislation.

So in the midst of control of both Houses and the White House, the Republican Party is in a crisis as to how to appeal to their base, as they work to deny them health care–elderly, sick, disabled, and poor.

Could Republicans Be Running Scared At Reaction Of Trump Voters To Plan To Destroy ObamaCare?

The Republican Party, despite their majorities in both houses of Congress, are discovering that they have alarmed many Trump supporters–white Rust Belt voters–with their plan to destroy ObamaCare and leave millions of people uninsured.

The right wing does not care about health care, and Paul Ryan has come across as too gleeful at the thought of the destruction of the health care system.

This could be the beginning of a revolt which could upend the Republican majority in the House of Representatives, where a gain of 24 seats would make the Democrats the majority.

The Senate is more difficult for the Democrats to gain in 2018, as 25 D seats are up and only 8 R seats.

But the Senate seems much more cautious about destroying ObamaCare without considering the damage done to Trump supporters, who desperately need health care, and suddenly see the Affordable Care Act, also known as ObamaCare, as something they are not willing to give up for ideological fanaticism of the GOP.

The Health Care battle has just begun, and will reverberate throughout the nation, and Donald Trump is likely to see a massive reaction against him if the Trump voters become victims.

The Perplexity Over Jon Huntsman Accepting Russian Ambassadorship From Donald Trump

Former Utah Governor and Ambassador to Singapore and China Jon Huntsman surprised many when he accepted the Ambassadorship to Russia offered yesterday by President Donald Trump.

Huntsman was the best Republican Presidential candidate in the 2012 cycle, and even John Kasich, who this blogger thinks was the best Republican Presidential candidate in the 2016 cycle, does not match up to him in background, experience, and solid quality.

Huntsman has solid credentials for diplomacy, including knowledge of several foreign languages, including Mandarin Chinese, and did an excellent job for Barack Obama in that nation as our ambassador from 2009-2011.

While of course we need an excellent ambassador to Russia, why oh why, would Huntsman allow himself to be associated with our despicable President, particularly in the midst of the controversy over his Russian connections, which might force Trump out of office at some point?

Huntsman is 57 this month, and was rumored to be planning to challenge Senator Orrin Hatch, President Pro Tempore, and third in line for the Presidency, for his seat in 2018, when Hatch would be running for his 8th term at age 84. That would have made sense for Huntsman long term.

This blogger’s head is shaking in disbelief!

Donald Trump Refuses To Take Responsibility For Failed Yemen Raid, Death Of Ryan Owens: As Truman Said, “The Buck Stops Here!”

Donald Trump has demeaned the office of the Presidency by his refusal to take responsibility for the failed Yemen Raid that took place two days after his inauguration.

At dinner with son in law Jared Kushner and his White House Counselor Stephen Bannon, he decided to authorize a raid that the Obama Administration had been reluctant to do, because of lack of full intelligence information on the likelihood of its success.

Trump should have been in the Situation Room with top military and intelligence officials, but he decided to try to make himself a hero, and in so doing, caused the death of Navy SEAL Ryan Owens.

Instead of taking responsibility for this blunder and the death, Trump blamed the “Generals” for the failure, and lied that much intelligence information had been successfully gathered, which others, including Senator John McCain have challenged as untruthful.

And then, Trump paraded the sobbing widow of Navy SEAL Ryan Owens at the President’s Speech to Congress, and after a great salute to her by an applauding Congress, bragged that a record had been set for the longest applause ever at a Congressional session, an unseemly point to make at that point of time, and just to add to his narcissistic image. This is absolutely horrible behavior by a Commander in Chief.

Harry Truman had a sign on his desk, “The Buck Stops Here!”. Presidents do NOT blame others for their shortcomings and failures, and John F. Kennedy took the blame for the failed Bay Of Pigs invasion of Cuba in 1961, and Jimmy Carter took the blame for the failed attempt at a rescue of the Iranian Hostages in 1980.

It is time for Trump to stop passing the buck, and act like a President is supposed to act, stop blaming others for his failed actions!

Principled Conservatives Who Oppose Trump: Ben Sasse, Evan McMullin, Bill Kristol, Peggy Noonan, David Frum, George Will, David Brooks

Only two weeks and three days into the Trump Presidency, and many principled conservatives are clearly opposing Donald Trump, and speaking out against him.

This includes Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska; independent 2016 Presidential candidate Evan McMullin; Weekly Standard Publisher and Editor Bill Kristol; former Reagan speechwriter and columnist Peggy Noonan; former Bush II speechwriter and columnist David Frum; conservative columnist George Will; and NY Times columnist David Brooks.

And this is just the tip of the iceberg, so to speak, as these and others in the conservative movement and in the Republican Party in and out of Congress are horrified by his unconstitutional actions and rhetoric, and signs of a growing Fascism directed by White House aides Stephen Bannon, Stephen Miller, and National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.

There are hints that people working in the White House and in the Cabinet agencies are uneasy and disturbed, and it is possible we might have some prominent figures announce their split with their boss and his dangerous extremists who are taking charge and putting the nation in danger as a result, both in domestic and foreign policy.

With the immigration travel ban being contested now in the federal courts, we may be on the way to a quick movement to force Trump out of office for violating his Constitutional oath of office.

The nation and the world are standing by in trepidation as to how much damage Trump has wrought and will continue to do so.

Congressional Republicans Growing Unease About Donald Trump

Less than two weeks in office, Donald Trump is starting to see growing unease among some Congressional Republicans about his independent, go it alone, style of leadership.

Trump clearly feels he was elected without true party unity, and intends to govern in an authoritarian manner, but there are Republicans who are unhappy with his style and manner.

These include:

Arizona Senator John McCain
Arizona Senator Jeff Flake
South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham
Ohio Senator Rob Portman
Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse
Maine Senator Susan Collins

Also, some Congressmen are also speaking out, so Trump may be a President without a party, and to find that, one must go back to the 19th century, where two Presidents, who succeeded a President who died, had massive headaches trying to deal with the party that had accepted them, members of the opposition party, as their Vice President, due to the wishes of the Presidential nominee, but with no expectation that the President wold die in office.

I am referring to Democrat John Tyler, who ran on the Whig Party ticket with William Henry Harrison in 1840; and Democrat Andrew Johnson, who ran on the Republican “Union” Party line with Abraham Lincoln in 1864.

Both Tyler and Johnson would have never ending headaches with their adopted party, with major battles over Supreme Court and Cabinet appointments, and a threat to impeach John Tyler, and an actual impeachment trial for Andrew Johnson.

Could Donald Trump be on the way to similar resistance and possible impeachment? He is alienating Congress by being a “lone wolf”, showing his disdain for Congress and the party line he ran on.

One must recall that his victory for President was the worst ever in popular vote loss to his opponent, and seventh lowest percentage ever, but with all those Presidents with lower percentage of vote, having had two or three opponents who gained electoral votes, instead of just one opponent.

Syrian Refugees, International Holocaust Remembrance Day, The Statue Of Liberty, And Donald Trump: This Will Condemn Him In History!

We are commemorating International Holocaust Remembrance Day, a reminder of the massive tragedy of the Holocaust, the slaughter of 6 million Jews and 7 million others by Adolf Hitler and the Nazis in World War II.

Ironically, on that day yesterday, Donald Trump has issued an executive order for a total ban of Syrian refugees–women and children primarily–who have been victims of the Syrian Civil War and Holocaust, that has led to massive numbers of deaths and dislocation of nearly half of the Syrian people.

This reminds us of the immoral ban on Jewish and other refugees trying to escape Nazi control, and the uncaring attitude in America, the nation that sat by and allowed ships to be turned back, and public opinion polls demonstrating widespread antisemitism.

As Chuck Schumer said yesterday, the Statue of Liberty is shedding tears right now, and the image of Ellis Island being sullied by what Trump has done, demonstrating absolutely no morals, ethics, compassion, empathy, but then what is new about that?

Donald Trump’s whole life has been one of total selfishness, greed, and lack of concern for others, including his own wives, children, associates, contractors, and workers, and he has no decent bones in his body.

The man is a monster, elected with the help of Vladimir Putin and the Russians, and about to gut the penalties put on Russia for the takeover of the Crimean section of Ukraine in 2014.

The question is, with this ban of Syrian refugees and a pure anti Islamic ban from many countries, using religion in a discriminatory manner, and with the tension raised with Mexico about the proposed Wall that will not accomplish its goal in the long run, how long until the American people rise up in massive demonstrations on a regular basis and demand the removal of this dangerous demagogue from the Presidency?

48 Vice Presidents, 45 (44) Presidents?

With the inauguration of Donald Trump and Mike Pence, we now have our 45th (really 44th) President, and our 48th Vice President!

Some reading this are saying: “Huh?”

So let’s explain the difference in numbers.

Donald Trump is the 44th person to become President, but Grover Cleveland served two nonconsecutive terms from 1885-1889 and 1893-1897, although he also won the popular vote in 1888, but Benjamin Harrison won the Electoral College, the third time out of five (with 2000 and 2016 the 4th and 5th cases) where the popular vote loser won the Presidency.

Now, as to the Vice Presidency:

Several Presidents had two Vice Presidents, and one had three Vice Presidents, therefore making for four additional Vice Presidents more than Presidents.

Thomas Jefferson had Aaron Burr in his first term in the Presidency (1801-1805), and George Clinton in his second term (1805-1809).

James Madison had Clinton stay on as Vice President in his first term, but he died in office in 1812, so only served from 1809-1812, instead of to 1813. In his second term, Madison had Elbridge Gerry as his Vice President, but he served less than two years and died in 1814, so only serving 1813-1814.

Andrew Jackson had John C. Calhoun as Vice President in his first term, but he resigned with three months to go in the term, after being dumped from the ticket for the 1832 election, so served from 1829-1832. Martin Van Buren served in the Jackson second term (1833-1837), and became the last Vice President to succeed directly to the Presidency by election for 152 years, when George H. W. Bush succeeded President Ronald Reagan in the 1988 Presidential election.

Abraham Lincoln had two Vice Presidents–Hannibal Hamlin (1861-1865) who he decided to replace for his second election, and Andrew Johnson for six weeks in 1865 until Lincoln was assassinated, and Johnson became President.

Ulysses S. Grant had two Vice Presidents–Schuyler Colfax (1869-1873) who came under investigation for corruption and did not run for reelection; and Henry Wilson (1873-1875) who died in office.

William McKinley had two Vice Presidents–Garret Hobart (1897-1899), who died in office; and Theodore Roosevelt, for six and a half months in 1901, until McKinley was assassinated, and TR succeeded him to the Presidency, and then won a four year term of his own in 1904.

Franklin D. Roosevelt, being elected four times to the Presidency, and prevented from occurring again by the passage and adoption of the 22nd Amendment in 1951, had John Nance Garner (1933-1941) in his first two terms; Henry A. Wallace (1941-1945) in his third term; and Harry Truman for 82 days of his 4th term in 1945, before FDR died, and Truman succeeded him, and then won a full term in 1948.

Finally, Richard Nixon had two Vice Presidents–Spiro Agnew (1969-1973), his first full term and nine months of his shortened second term, until Agnew was forced to resign due to corruption charges, and being replaced two months later by Gerald Ford (1973-1974) under the 25th Amendment, allowing for an appointed Vice President subject to majority approval by both the House of Representatives and the US Senate, with Ford serving nine months before he succeeded to the Presidency upon the resignation of Nixon, due to the Watergate scandal.

Realize that George Clinton served under two Presidents (Jefferson and Madison), and the same for Calhoun, who had served as Vice President to John Quincy Adams (1825-1829), before serving as Vice President under Jackson for all but three months of that term. So as a result, Jefferson, Madison and Jackson only had one DIFFERENT Vice President to add to the total number!

Also, realize that Grover Cleveland, in his separate terms, had two different Vice Presidents, Thomas Hendricks for 8 months in 1885, and Adlai Stevenson I (1893-1897).

Also realize that John Tyler (1841), Millard Fillmore (1850), Andrew Johnson (1865), and Chester Alan Arthur (1881), all succeeded to the Presidency because of the deaths of William Henry Harrison, Zachary Taylor, Abraham Lincoln, and James A. Garfield, and never had a Vice President, since there was no 25th Amendment until passage in 1967, allowing Gerald Ford to pick Nelson Rockefeller as his Vice President in 1974. And the other four Presidents who had been Vice President, and succeeded due to the deaths of the Presidents in office (Theodore Roosevelt after William McKinley; Calvin Coolidge after Warren G. Harding; Harry Truman after Franklin D. Roosevelt; Lyndon B. Johnson after John F. Kennedy) all were elected in the next term and had a Vice President.

So only 40 men (plus Cleveland in two terms, so called the 22nd and 24th President) in the Presidency chose a Vice President, and only Lincoln, Grant, Cleveland, McKinley and Nixon had two Vice Presidents who were unique (not shared with another President), and FDR had three Vice Presidents with his four terms in office. So if you count 41 due to Cleveland’s unique situation, and add seven extra Vice Presidents, you get a total of 48 men who have served as Vice President of the United States!

The Positive Contributions Of The Joe Biden Vice Presidency

Joe Biden, the 47th Vice President of the United States, is leaving public life after 44 years in the federal government, 36 as a US Senator from Delaware, and 8 years as Vice President.

Joe Biden is a true national treasure, who if not for the death of his son, Beau Biden, in May 2015, might have run for the Democratic Presidential nomination in 2016, and might very well have defeated Hillary Clinton, and then won the election in the crucial states of Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Florida.

Although Biden will be 78 in 2020, he has the energy, the knowledge, the experience needed to defeat Donald Trump, and he just might return to the Senate in 2018, if Tom Carper follows through on his plans to retire.

So it is not yet time to say Biden’s career is over, although in elective office, it might be, but he will play a public role because it is in his blood to do so, and he will not stay silent when he sees wrongs being done by the Donald Trump Administration.

The alliance of Barack Obama and Joe Biden was the closest one in American history, possibly matched by Jimmy Carter and Walter Mondale, who in two days will have both survived the amazing total of 36 years since the Presidency and 40 years since their election in 1976!

Obama utilized Biden’s connections on Capitol Hill; and gave Biden an office in the White House, as Carter had done for Mondale; and had weekly lunches with Biden as Carter did with Mondale.

Joe Biden was a true Presidential Advisor, full time participant, and trouble shooter, and was not afraid to disagree with Obama, particularly on foreign policy, his expertise, but was always a loyal part of the team once a decision had been made by the President.

Biden’s warm, sincere personality was lovable, and he was able to work across the aisle on Capitol Hill with Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, Paul Ryan, and other influential Republicans, and the entire Senate honored him recently for his cordial and effective role in the Senate.

Biden took the lead on gay rights and gay marriage; protection of women against violence; immigration reform; environmental advancements; gun control legislation after the Sandy Hook Elementary School Massacre; and the War on Cancer after his son died of that horrendous disease. Foreign leaders also, totally, respected him.

Joe Biden could be regarded as the greatest Vice President in American history, and his lifelong contributions will mark him in history as a very special political leader!

Thank you for your service to the nation and to Barack Obama, Vice President Biden!

Marco Rubio And Rand Paul Leading Struggle Against Trumpian Foreign Policy In Senate Foreign Relations Committee

Marco Rubio of Florida and Rand Paul of Kentucky, both members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, are leading the struggle against Trumpian foreign policy, particularly in relation to Russia and Vladimir Putin.

Both were highly critical of Secretary of State nominee Rex TIllerson, who has zero foreign policy experience, and has spent his entire work career with Exxon Mobil, the largest corporation in the world.

Both put Tillerson’s “feet to the fire” today, and if both vote against him, he will be denied the chance to have a floor vote in the Senate, assuming that all Democrats oppose Tillerson as well.

Donald Trump is certainly on a collision course with his own party in Congress, and seems to relish it.

He reminds us most of Richard Nixon, but even Nixon did not set out to alienate his own party as Trump has.

So now we are nine days away from the official beginning of a nightmare, with a man determined to be as dictatorial as his party, the opposition party, the courts, and the news media will allow him.

It is going to be a tumultuous, confrontational four years, and the question is how much it will harm the American people, including those stupid and ignorant enough to have voted for the man often called the “Orange Trumpolini”.