Author: Ronald

The End Of The Supreme Court Term: Any Retirements Coming?

This is the last week of the present Supreme Court session, and Court watchers are wondering if we are about to see a sharp swing to the Right, with the potential retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy, appointed by Republican President Ronald Reagan nearly 30 years ago, and a crucial swing vote ever since on the Court.

Kennedy has been on the conservative side about two thirds of the time, and on the liberal side one third of the time, and without him, for instance, there would have been no advancements on gay rights and gay marriage, as he was the crucial fifth vote.

His vote this week may decide whether the Muslim ban of Donald Trump is upheld, or prevented, as it has been by several circuit courts around the nation.

Kennedy has been the unpredictable vote all by himself in the past decade, since Sandra Day O’Connor left the court at the end of 2005.

For a decade before 2005, it was said the Court was the “O’Connor-Kennedy Court”, and now for the past 12 years, it has been the “Kennedy” Court, more than the Roberts Court, as traditionally, the Court is described by the name of its Chief Justice.

Since Kennedy will be turning 81 in one month, and is the second oldest member of the Court, after Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who is 84, but has made clear she is going nowhere, and hopes to stay on the Court until 2021, so that hopefully a future Democratic President in 2021 can choose her successor.

So if Kennedy does retire this week, it will mark a sharp move to the Right, which will undermine constitutional law for the next generation!

Senate Republican Health Care Bill Will NOT Reach 50 Votes, As Now Stands!

The newly veiled Senate Republican Health Care legislation, created behind closed doors in great secrecy, is finally unveiled, and it is a total disaster for the poor, disabled, and elderly, and promotes the end of Medicaid, which 20 percent of the nation relies on, including 60 percent in nursing homes, and the millions of disabled people.

It undermines health care for the opioid crisis raging across America, and anyone with pre-existing conditions will no longer be protected.

It is a certainty that tens of thousands of Americans are being given a death warrant by the Republican Party, and its hard hearted, nasty, mean spirited membership, which is more concerned about giving massive tax cuts to the top one percent who do not need it, and have not asked for it, but will, of course, accept what is offered, as after all, does one reject candy offered?

But it is also important to note that this legislation will fall, as there is no way imaginable that 50 Senators out of 52 will support it.

Dean Heller of Nevada is the most endangered Republican Senator in 2018, and has said he cannot support it, and Nevada is one of the states that has more on Medicaid than many other states.

Susan Collins of Maine is, arguably, the most moderate Republican, and has made clear she cannot vote for legislation that decimates Medicaid.

The same can be said for Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, and Shelly Moore Capito of West Virginia, both states having loads of poor, struggling whites and others, who depend on Medicaid.

Both Collins and Murkowksi also defend Planned Parenthood, which is due to be cut from any government aid under the legislation.

Rob Portman of Ohio is also concerned about the opioid crisis hitting his state.

Jeff Flake of Arizona is the second most endangered Republican Senator coming up for re-election in 2018, so doubtful about his support for the legislation, as well.

Then, there are others who will not support the bill, as it is not harsh enough, imagine that–including Rand Paul of Kentucky, Ted Cruz of Texas, Mike Lee of Utah, and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin.

And one wonders whether John McCain of Arizona, who has long had a “moderate” image, can actually vote for this legislation.

Also, all major medical associations have condemned the legislation as unacceptable, having a disastrous effect on rural areas, and on the idea that health care should be available for all Americans.

So, as of now, it is highly unlikely that the Senate Health Care bill will reach 50 votes!

Trump Tweet On Comey Meeting Taping: Now Trump Admits He Lied, But Tweet Led to Robert Mueller As Special Counsel To Investigate Obstruction Of Justice And Russian Ties

Donald Trump lied about having a taping system recording his meeting with James Comey, before he fired the former FBI head.

It took 41 days for Trump to admit yet another lie, but this time, it led to Robert Mueller being appointed Special Counsel to investigate charges of Obstruction Of Justice, and Russian Ties.

So, effectively, Donald Trump put himself into a legal quandary that likely will force him out office at some point in the next year.

And if he tries to fire Rod Rosenstein, the Deputy Attorney General who appointed Robert Mueller, or decides to fire Mueller directly, Donald Trump is a prime candidate for impeachment investigation!

So it could be that Trump has been “hoist by his own petard”, unwittingly undermining himself and effectively shooting himself in the foot, as the saying goes!

Nancy Pelosi, Steny Hoyer, And Jim Clyburn Need To Leave House Democratic Leadership: Fresh Blood Needed For 2018 Midterm Elections

As we enter the beginning of the 2018 midterm election battle, after the four special elections resulted in the Republicans keeping their seats, although by greatly reduced margins, the question arises whether it is time for a complete change in Democratic Congressional leadership in the House of Representatives.

The Democrats in the House chose to keep their long time leadership in January, at the beginning of the 115th Congress, so it would be unprecedented to change the leadership before the 116th Congress meets in January 2019.

But the question arises, are Nancy Pelosi, Steny Hoyer, and Jim Clyburn, who have been the top three leaders for more than a decade, and are in their late 70s, the way to the future of the Democratic Party?

The age issue arises too, as by 2020, all three Democratic leaders will have reached the age of 80!

Nancy Pelosi was a great Speaker of the House from 2007-2010, but it has been eight years since then by next year, and it is unprecedented in history for a Speaker who has lost his power and position to stay on as leader, and for now a total of eight years since losing the majority.

The only exception is Sam Rayburn who twice lost the Speakership in 1947-48 and 1953-54, but then came back to power after two years out of power each time.

Fresh blood is needed to help promote the change that is desperately needed, or else the Democrats will remain in the minority for a long time.

Jon Ossoff Loses Georgia Race, But All Four Special Elections Show GOP Edge Dramatically Cut From Elections In November 2016

All of the four Congressional special elections, due to sitting Republican Congressmen taking positions in the Trump Administration, were won by Republicans, but in all four districts, the margin of victory was much closer than the races for those seats in November 2016.

It is disappointing that Jon Ossoff lost the race in the Georgia Congressional District, but Karen Handel’s margin of victory is one fifth what it was for Tom Price last year.

The same for Ryan Zinke’s seat in Montana; Mike Pompeo’s seat in Kansas; and also Nick Mulvaney’s seat in South Carolina.

But one must realize all four districts are strong Red districts, so the massive narrowing of the margin of victory is a major story.

The reality is that 23 Congressional districts with Republican wins in 2016 were also Congressional districts won by Hillary Clinton, and none of these four special elections were among those 23 districts.

So it comes down to the reality that IF Democrats can win those Clinton districts, with all of the discontent and turmoil over Donald Trump and the Republican agenda, they would be on the way to a likely gain of the House of Representatives majority in 2018, whereby 24 seats need to be gained.

But to do so, the Democrats must be much more aggressive in their campaigning, and must vigorously work to recruit the best possible candidates, so that they can revive their fortunes before the Presidential Election of 2020.

This is NOT the time to be downcast over the Ossoff defeat, but to applaud how he cut down the Republican party edge in the district by about 19 points, and mobilized thousands of people to become engaged in politics, who had never done so before.

Confidence and optimism are the key words to be emphasized and pursued!

Fifty Years Of Corporation For Public Broadcasting, Public Broadcasting System, And National Public Radio, Due To Lyndon B. Johnson!

The Corporation For Public Broadcasting was signed into law fifty years ago, in 1967, by President Lyndon B. Johnson, with the purpose of providing funding for public television and public radio.

Out of the legislation came the Public Broadcasting System (PBS), and National Public Radio (NPR).

Educational programming, including cultural and entertainment offerings, and investigation of history, science, nature, and news events and analysis, have been offered for a half century.

Children’s shows, including Sesame Street among its offerings, has enlightened the lives of generations of young people.

The American Experience; Nova; Frontline; Charlie Rose; Independent Lens; PBS News Hour; and Washington Week are among the great offerings of PBS.

On NPR, such programming as All Things Considered; Morning Edition; Fresh Air; On Point; and many Music shows are regularly available.

PBS and NPR are a great national treasure, and yet, if it was left up to Donald Trump and the Republican Party, it would be wiped out completely as far as tax support, although the total cost per person is extremely low, presently $455 million out of a $4 trillion national budget.

Each citizen in the United States pays $1.35 toward public broadcasting, a measly amount now in danger from a President who devalues education in a massive manner!

NPR gains 37.4 million listeners, and PBS has 350 stations across the nation. Listeners and watchers contribute about 86 percent of all funding, with federal, state, and local government putting in the additional 14 percent.

Public Media is one of the many gifts that Lyndon B. Johnson gave us, and it is essential to keep this wonderful contribution to our national culture alive and prospering with some government support!

Republican Party History And Reputation Under Attack In Present Constitutional Crisis

The Republican Party was founded in 1854 in opposition to the expansion of slavery, and included many abolitionists within its midst.

The Republican Party became the Party of the Union, and under Abraham Lincoln, the first Republican President, the Civil War was fought, and the Confederate States of America was defeated, and slavery was abolished.

The Republican Party then promoted citizenship and the right to vote for African Americans.

Then, the party lost its way and became the party of Big Business in the Gilded Age, and was engaged in widespread corruption.

But in the Progressive Era of the early 20th century, under President Theodore Roosevelt, and Congressional leaders such as Robert La Follette Sr. of Wisconsin and George Norris of Nebraska and many others, the party became one of reform oriented ideas.

Then, in the 1920s and through the years of Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry Truman, the party became one of opposition to progressive ideas, with a few exceptions of leaders in Congress and in the states.

With the coming of Dwight D. Eisenhower, and the rise of the liberal wing of the modern GOP, under Nelson Rockefeller, William Scranton, and George Romney. and many US Senators, the battle was fought against a takeover of the party by the extreme right, headed by Senator Barry Goldwater, but despite his defeat for the Presidency in 1964, the coming of Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan ushered in conservative ideas, and the GOP became captive to the myth of Reagan.

The party became captive to a foreign policy of intervention in the Middle East, and promotion of massive tax cuts to the wealthy, and destruction of the Great Society of Lyndon B. Johnson and the New Deal of Franklin D. Roosevelt, but were stopped in their quest by Democratic Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.

Now, however, the Republican Party has become more extremist under the most corrupt President in American history, much more than Richard Nixon.

Donald Trump is for the wealthy elite, and that is why the Republicans in Congress are overlooking the disaster occurring before our eyes daily.

The Republican Party history and reputation are under attack in the present constitutional crisis, while at the time of the Nixon constitutional crisis, many Republicans spoke up and led the struggle against the illegalities of the Watergate Scandal.

The future of the Republican Party is at stake, and this could be the time that we will look back on and realize that it led to the demise of the Republican Party as we know it!

Trump Reversal Of Cuban Policy Of Obama A Massive Blunder And Sign Of Total Hypocrisy!

Donald Trump is continuing his mission of destroying the Obama legacy in every way possible.

So now, in Miami, and to appease Marco Rubio and the Diaz Balarts (one of whom is a Congressman), he has reversed Barack Obama’s policy of ending the embargo on Cuba, which failed for 57 years.

So now it will be more difficult for Americans to travel to Cuba, and business dealings designed to open up Cuban society after six decades of isolation will be curbed.

Ironically, this massive blunder and sign of total hypocrisy comes after the death of Fidel Castro, and the planned retirement of Raul Castro early in 2018.

This is precisely the time to work to open up Cuba, but the effect will be more Russian and Chinese intervention in economic terms in the island nation.

And to think we almost went to war in 1962 over Russian intervention in Cuba, and now we are promoting it by our narrow minded, outdated policy toward the Cuban regime.

Having isolated them for nearly six decades did NOT make Cuba a democracy, and doing that now will not help to democratize Cuba as much as interaction and influence.

We have people who condemn Cuba’s government because of violation of human rights, and in that, we all concur, BUT somehow, we have dealings and business with many nations that systematically violate human rights, including Russia, China, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Egypt, the Philippines, and innumerable others.

But an island 90 miles from the Florida Keys is too full of sin, apparently, that we spite ourselves, and deny Cuban Americans free access to their relatives and heritage in their home nation, all because of extremist right wing Cubans in America who have no concern about human rights, but only about their desire to take back property confiscated at the time of the Cuban Revolution.

Yes, that is an outrage, but after six decades, and looking at victims of despotic governments elsewhere, the only reason for such intransigence by our government toward Cuba is because of the political significance of Florida in the Congress and in Presidential elections.

Why, for instance, do we say nothing about violations of human rights on a much wider scale, and instead embrace such a brutal government as Saudi Arabia, from where the September 11 hijackers came from?

How does Cuba affect national security, when Russia and Saudi Arabia and China in particular do so, and yet we treat them as nations we are willing to work with?

Two Years Of Donald Trump, 148 Days Of Presidency: 60 Percent Disapproval, Higher Than Any President In Public Opinion Poll History This Early!

It has been two years since Donald Trump announced he was running for President. and it has been 148 days since he was sworn in as President.

And Donald Trump reached the age of 71 on June 14, two days before the two year anniversary of his campaign beginning.

And what does he have to show for it?

He has divided America like no one else, and has only gained a Supreme Court Justice, Neil Gorsuch, after the Republicans in the US Senate changed the filibuster rules to allow a nominee to be confirmed with only 51 votes.

Everything else is hot air, lies, and coverup of Russian collusion, and trying to get the intelligence agencies, Congress, and the news media to stop investigating the corruption of his Presidency and the campaign before the election. And Trump has helped to indict himself with his Twitter activity, and his teenage emotional IQ.

So therefore, it is not surprising that the latest polls show 60 percent of the American people disapprove of his record and performance, the earliest in a Presidency that such a high disapproval rating has occurred since polls began to be taken in the time of Franklin D. Roosevelt.

The following nine Presidents never reached a 60 percent disapproval rating–Roosevelt, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Clinton, and Obama.

Four Presidents did reach 60 percent disapproval, but at very late dates in their Presidencies.

Truman reached 60 percent after 2129 days; Nixon after 1736 days; H W Bush after 1290 days; and W Bush after 1758 days.

So Trump is a total failure, and even 25 percent of Republicans are totally disillusioned, while his approval rating is as low as 35-36 percent.

This insures that Trump will end up at the bottom of the heap in ranking of Presidents, except by totally delusional and ignorant people, who have no clue as to what good Presidential leadership is all about.

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.