Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price announced his resignation today. He had been embroiled in a controversy over chartering private aircraft.
It is unclear whether his resignation was voluntary. I believe there was no alternative. Chartering expensive aircraft sets a bad example and plays into Democratic charges that the Trump administration is just a bunch of fat cats. He offered to refund the cost difference for his seat but not the staff that rode with him. I can understand an outsider making this mistake but Price has been in Washington for twelve years. He should have known better.
It is unfortunate because he is quite knowledgeable on our health care system. He is a doctor and did a lot of work on health care when in Congress.
President Trump may have stumbled into the NFL controversy but is likely keeping it going on purpose. He has had a lot of setbacks and this week two more came his way. Since the media is focused on kneeling football players, these stories will not be as prominent.
First, the vote on the Graham-Cassidy healthcare was postponed when four senators came out against it. John McCain’s concerns are over the way the bill was handled while the other three objected to the bill itself. Repealing Obamacare was one of Trump’s main campaign promises and he has failed once again.
Last night former judge Roy Moore won the Alabama runoff election for the Senate. Trump had supported and campaigned for Moore’s opponent, Luther Strange. Many of his strongest supporters broke with him and supported Moore. Trump could always count on a vote from Strange. Moore is a loose cannon, having once defied the order of a federal judge.
Both setbacks further damage his relationship with elements of the Republican Party. If the party isn’t unified by the election, it could suffer some real damage.
Our country faces numerous challenges both home and abroad. It ought to be enough to keep President Trump occupied. However, he seems to have shifted his focus to a few football players who kneel during the Star-Spangled Banner. I believe it was done deliberately to appeal to his base and create a wedge issue.
I personally find it hard to sympathize with pampered, wealthy young men complaining about oppression. Their actions have been criticized as showing disrespect to veterans, the flag and the country. As odious as some find it, the First Amendment guarantees their right to do so.
The NFL correctly allows them to express their opinion. However, it and other sports leagues have penalized dozens of players for statements that were not politically correct. Like many on the left, they seem to believe that the First Amendment protection only applies to liberals.
Perhaps the President should focus on the economy, health care and North Korea. They have far more impact on us than the protests of a few athletes.
This is a time when Democrats need to regroup and look forward to next year’s midterm elections. Instead, Hillary Clinton has grabbed the spotlight with her book that rehashes last year’s debacle. To be fair, I haven’t read it. From what I have heard, it is a laundry list of excuses that pointed in every direction but her and her staff.
Donald Trump was the most unpopular person ever to run for president. I was (and still am) convinced that he was unelectable. The Democrats came through for him with a bad candidate and a worse campaign strategy. Of the main reasons she lost, the only thing out of their control was the rise of Bernie Sanders. Their missteps include:
1. An unattractive candidate – Bill Clinton is one of the best campaigners in the last quarter century and she is one of the worst. She made no attempt to really connect with the American people.
2. Lots of baggage – Hillary Clinton had to cope with a mountain of scandal. By the time the Russians got involved, people had already decided whether or not these scandals would keep them from voting for her.
3. Lack of purpose – Every successful candidate must offer a compelling reason why people should vote for them. It was clear that personal ambition was the reason she was running.
4. Politics of division – Like it or not, negative campaigning can work. However, the nonstop demonization of Trump and the Republicans got old in a hurry.
5. Taking states for granted – Losing Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania cost her the election. The campaign did very little in Wisconsin and not much more in Michigan.
6. Interest group focus – The campaign focused almost exclusively on attracting liberals and people that perceived themselves as victims of evil Republicans. The biggest mistake they made was to ignore the blue collar vote. This is the traditional base of the party.
Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton presided over the rapid decline of the party. Party leaders would be well advised not to listen to those that caused the problem in the first place.
Harvard is our oldest and most prestigious university. Its faculty boasts many world-class scholars. This week they decided to go in a different direction.
The John F. Kennedy School of Government announced a new visiting fellow. This person has had no formal education past high school and had served as a low level enlistee in the Army. Apparently the credentials that they felt entitled her to enter their hallowed halls are a conviction for espionage and being transgender.
Of course I am referring to Chelsea (formerly Bradley) Manning. She was convicted in 2013 for leaking hundreds of thousands of classified and sensitive documents. President Obama said she had suffered enough and commuted her sentence. Apparently he felt gender identity issues should be a consideration in sentencing.
Harvard justified hiring her by saying she “speaks on the social, technological and economic ramifications of Artificial Intelligence” in op-ed pieces and “advocates for queer and transgender rights” on Twitter. I fail to understand how that qualifies her to help educate our future leaders. Perhaps her hiring will give hope to other convicted felons that they might have a Harvard job waiting for them when they are released.
They announced that former Press Secretary Sean Spicer will also become a visiting fellow. Undoubtedly they considered committing treason and serving in the Trump administration as equal offenses.
I fail to understand how anyone in their right mind would think this is a good idea. However, as a person who never committed a crime and believes I am of the gender I was born with, I am undoubtedly unqualified to make a judgment.
During the campaign Donald Trump acted as a demagogue on immigration issues. At one point he proposed rounding up and deporting eleven million people. He referred to illegal immigrants as rapists and drug dealers. He kept pushing the wall and insisted that Mexico would pay for it. Naturally this makes people suspicious whenever he takes action on immigration.
Yesterday the Trump administration announced the end of the DACA program. It offered protection to those illegal immigrants who came here as children (also known as dreamers). He could have killed it immediately but gave Congress six months to enact legislation. Obviously his action has been harshly criticized.
Although I am certainly no fan of President Trump, I think he did the right thing. DACA was created by President Obama with no legal foundation at all. States are threatening to sue the federal government. If they win, the program is finished. His action gives Congress the chance to save it.
Protecting the dreamers has wide bipartisan public support. We do need to reform our immigration system but that won’t happen in six months. Congress should pass a “clean” bill and the President should sign it. I sincerely hope he doesn’t hold it hostage to get funding for his wall.
We are a country of laws, not men. President Obama seemed to be confused on that issue. Now we need to trust that Congress and the President will use the system as intended and do the right thing.
This week Texas has been devastated by a storm of historic proportions. Hurricane Harvey landed as a level 4 hurricane. It was the strongest one to hit the state since Carla in 1961. I was in Texas the following spring and the devastation was clearly visible. As if that wasn’t enough, the storm stayed put for several days dumping up to fifty inches of rain.
Rescue operations are still under way. Some are able to return to their homes and try to salvage what few possessions they can. Many have lost everything. Those homes outside of flood plains likely have no insurance.
This undoubtedly will be the most costly storm in our history. Insurance payments and charitable contributions will not begin to cover the loss. There is no alternative to the federal government allocating billions of dollars to make up the difference.
I would like to think that Congress will not play politics. Unfortunately that seems unlikely. After Hurricane Sandy, Democrats proposed $60 billion in spending with only a quarter going to relief efforts. Some Republicans insisted there could be no money until spending cuts were negotiated. I’m certainly in favor of fiscal restraint but the government must act in time of disaster. It’s clear that both sides were more concerned about political gamesmanship than helping those in need.
I sincerely hope that both parties get together and provide the necessary assistance. My fear is that, once again, politics will get in the way of what’s good for the country.