Abortion Rights

January 22-23, 1973, An Historic 48 Hours: The Death Of Lyndon B. Johnson, End Of US Involvement In Vietnam War, Abortion Rights Approved By Supreme Court

Rarely in American history has there been a period of 24-48 hours with events occurring that have had such a massive impact on the nation, as January 22-23, 1973.

We saw the death of President Lyndon B. Johnson on January 22, 1973, at the age of 64, two days after he chose not to show up at the second inauguration of Richard Nixon, leaving no former President at those festivities. He died, depressed that the Vietnam War had not been ended, but 24 hours later, the Paris Accords were announced, ending US involvement in Vietnam, leading to withdrawal of all US military forces within two months, although later those Accords were violated by North Vietnam in April 1975, leading to the unification of North and South Vietnam.

Also, on the day that LBJ died, the Supreme Court came up with a decision that has more divided America to this moment, in a social sense, than any other, and that was Roe V Wade, allowing abortion rights to women in the first two trimesters, spurring a right wing “Pro Life” movement, and the promotion of Christian extremist movements in American politics, which helped to bring about the victory of Donald Trump and Mike Pence in 2016.

The Great Society programs of LBJ have been under attack since 1973, particularly under Ronald Reagan, and now Donald Trump, and the effects of the Vietnam War still permeate American society.

And if the right wing has its way, we will eventually see the reversal of the Roe V Wade decision, although the vast majority of Americans support abortion rights.

The Negative Side Of The Presidency Of George H. W. Bush

As George H. W. Bush lies in state before his funeral on Wednesday and his burial on Thursday, praise and plaudits have been visited on the 41st President.

But as with all Presidents and all government leaders worldwide and historically, there is a negative side.

Among the shortcomings of the 41st President are the following in no particular order:

Bush ignored the AIDS Epidemic crisis, much like his predecessor, Ronald Reagan, allowing the Religious Right Wing to set the agenda on a hate campaign against gays and lesbians.

Bush switched his pro choice views on abortion by picking up the Reagan viewpoint on women, and sacrificing his beliefs, while his own wife Barbara quietly continued to support abortion rights.

Bush ran a nasty, dirty, and despicable campaign for President in 1988 against the Democratic nominee, Michael Dukakis, allowing falsehoods and distortions to be promoted, without any consideration of the damage his campaign manager Lee Atwater was engaged in.

Bush pursued a Mideast policy that led to long term disaster, and placing troops on a permanent basis in the Middle East led to September 11 and the Iraq War and Afghanistan War.

Bush as CIA head backed dictatorships in Latin America, particularly in Chile and Argentina.

Bush promoted a tough war on drugs, as Ronald Reagan had done, and it victimized people of color much more than whites, and caused prison terms that are now seen as a failed policy, that did not really get to the issue of how to treat those addicted to drugs.

Bush was involved in the Iran Contra Scandal under President Reagan, never fully explored, and ended up giving pardons to many who were part of that scandal, right before he left office in 1993.

Bush made a horrible appointment to the Supreme Court when he nominated Clarence Thomas in 1991, and the nation has been burdened with his influence for the past 27 years, including many potential future Supreme Court nominees who worked for Thomas, and are now being put on the Circuit Courts under President Donald Trump, setting up a future Court with even greater Thomas impact than just himself.

Bush also gave us the most ill qualified, incompetent Vice President in modern history, Dan Quayle, and when Bush had medical issues in office, it made the nation worry at the thought of a President Quayle.

These nine points mentioned above make an assessment of the ultimate historical significance of George H. W. Bush much more complicated than the fulsome praise now being promoted at the time of his passing.

The Moment Has Come For Jeff Flake, Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, Ben Sasse: Put Up Or Shut Up, And Be Never Believed Again!

There are four Republican Senators who are drawing all the attention on the issue of Brett Kavanaugh:

Jeff Flake of Arizona

Susan Collins of Maine

Lisa Murkowski of Alaska

Ben Sasse of Nebraska

It is these four who will decide if Kavanaugh ends up on the Supreme Court, and besmirches the reputation of the Court.

Kavanaugh on the Court will never be accepted as legitimate by half the nation, particularly after he lost his temper and became partisan, worrying Court watchers that he would not recuse himself on cases involving left wing issues and Democrats, including anyone or anything that might show up in the Court regarding Bill and Hillary Clinton.

Kavanaugh lacks the judicial temperament, and self destructed in that rampage a week ago, and it is like an egg that has been broken, and it cannot be put back together again, even if he were to apologize.

It would paralyze the Court, or cause great controversy on many Supreme Court cases that will be divisive enough without his outburst.

So it is up to these four Senators to do what is right, even if it affects the long term career of Collins, Murkowski, and Sasse, with Flake retiring from the Senate.

The first and the third face election in 2020, and Murkowski in 2022.

Sasse may also plan to run for President, and it would be good if he demonstrated independence from Trump.

The two women want abortion to survive, but to believe Kavanaugh will not work to destroy Roe V. Wade, is to be naive.

So it is now that true “Profiles in Courage” are needed, as written about by John F. Kennedy in 1956.

The Record And Views Of Supreme Court Nominee Brett Kavanaugh Could Determine Constitutional Law To 2050!

Tomorrow, the contentious hearings on the nomination of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh will begin in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

These will be the most controversial set of hearings since 1987 and Robert Bork, and 1991, with Clarence Thomas.

On both of those occasions, the Democrats controlled the Senate, and Bork was rejected by a vote of 58-42, while Thomas was confirmed by a vote of 52-48.

The effect of Justice Clarence Thomas for the past 27 years has been profound, with many future potential Circuit Court or Supreme Court candidates having clerked for him.

Thomas has been trying to take us back to the Articles of Confederation in many ways, but also admiring Presidential power at the same time.

This is the danger of Brett Kavanaugh, that he would take America domestically back to the Gilded Age, wiping out the New Deal, Great Society, and everything Barack Obama changed.

He comes across on the surface as a pleasant, nice man, but it is all very misleading.

This is a man who worked for Ken Starr in the impeachment of Bill Clinton, and now Kavanaugh has changed his view of Presidential power 180 degrees.

This is a man who worked in the White House for George W. Bush, and helped to plan the idea of an anti gay marriage amendment, that was part of the campaign of Bush in 2004. And now, Donald Trump has used executive privilege to prevent 100,000 documents from Kavanaugh’s time in the Bush White House from being made available, which is another controversy now created, as why should the Senate be unable to examine all pertinent material about a nominee?

This is a man who worked to deny September 11 victims the ability to sue for damages, limiting unsuccessfully that intent.

This is a man who in his Circuit Court decisions has come out against abortion rights, against ObamaCare, against the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, against labor union rights, and willing to support limitations on voting rights.

This is a man who might be able to vote on whether Donald Trump can be indicted or prosecuted, and should recuse himself on any such matters as a conflict of interest, but likely will not do so. Justice William Rehnquist, when new on the Court as an Associate Justice, recused himself from the US Vs. Richard Nixon case in 1974 (after which Richard Nixon resigned), because Rehnquist had worked in the Justice Department under Nixon. So that famous and significant case was 8-0, not 9-0 or 8-1, and at the least, a Justice Kavanaugh should recuse himself from any case involving possible legal action against Donald Trump.

Kavanaugh could affect future decisions on campaign finance, climate change, election gerrymandering, and travel bans, and regulation of guns.

He would also create a right wing conservative Court, unlike any since 85 years ago.

And being only 53, he could be on the Supreme Court until 2050, when he would reach 85 years of age.

This would be the most long range effect of Donald Trump, no matter how much longer he remains in the Presidency, along with the 26 and more Circuit Court confirmations already accomplished by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, along with Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch.

The Democrats’ only hope would be IF all 49 Democrats hold fast (highly unlikely); Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowksi (both pro choice on abortion) abandoning the party ties on this vote (highly unlikely); and the person who replaces John McCain in the Senate (maybe Cindy McCain) joining the two women Republican Senators in voting against Kavanaugh (highly unlikely).

The Urgent Democratic Platform For 2020: 30 Goals For The Next Decade

What MUST be part of the Democratic Party platform in 2020, no matter who is the Democratic Presidential nominee?

In no special order, it MUST include:

Medicare for all Americans of all ages
$15 minimum wage by 2022 everywhere in America and Paid Family Leave
Free public university and college tuition for the first two years or 60 credits of higher education
Wiping out of college debt which prevents many young people from marrying, having children, buying a home, having a future
Repeal of Citizens United, which has allowed corporations to be called people, and destroy political campaigns with large donations, and instead promote public financing of campaigns
Responsible Gun Control legislation
Protection of Women’s Rights, including abortion rights
Enforcement of gay and lesbian and transgender rights
A responsible immigration reform program, reversing the damage done by Donald Trump, Jeff Sessions, John Kelly, Kirstjen Nielsen, Stephen Miller and Thomas Homan
Revival of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties that have been curbed by Donald Trump
Protection of the Social Safety Net of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid
Labor Rights promoted, including prevention of “right to work” laws
Environmental regulations revived and strengthened
Consumer Rights revived and strengthened
Investment in infrastructure across America
Condemnation of violations of human rights in other nations, including Russia, China, Turkey, Egypt, the Philippines and elsewhere
Revival of NATO alliance and other alliances that have been weakened in the Trump Presidency
The end of protectionist tariffs, which undermine the American economy
Strengthening of relations with Cuba, and attempts to overcome strains and tensions with Iran, and revive the Iran Nuclear Deal
Promoting total separation of church and state, with religion not being promoted by government
Reenactment of responsible corporation and Wall Street reforms
Protection of Native American lands and properties
Criminal Justice Reforms for those not involved in violent Crimes
National restoration of Voting Rights to former convicts who have paid their debt to society
Decriminalizing Drug Use and Sales, so as to overcome the Opioid Crisis, and allow Medicinal Marijuana without penalty
Promoting funding for the Arts and Culture across America
Dealing with poverty and homelessness in America
Hurricane Relief for Puerto Rico and move toward statehood as the 51st state
Tax Reform to require a fair and equitable tax system for all, not just the wealthy
Reviving respect for Freedom of Speech and Freedom of the Press

Would all of these 30 “planks” be successfully accomplished in the term of the next Democratic President from 2021-2025? Most certainly, highly unlikely, but these must be the goals of the next Democratic administration, as we attempt to recover from the disaster and tragedy of the Donald Trump nightmare!

Supreme Court Nominee Brett Kavanaugh A Very Political Choice, Reminding Us Of Past Political Wars

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh comes across as a very nice man on the surface, with a nice family, and a long history and record as a Judge on the Court of Appeals in Washington, DC.

He is smart enough and well spoken enough, but that is not enough for the Supreme Court.

Kavanaugh is a political “animal”, involved in the Ken Starr Impeachment investigation of Bill Clinton two decades ago, and also engaged in the fight to help George W. Bush stop the vote count in the state of Florida in the Presidential election of 2000.

He also has a clear record of opposition to abortion rights as a devout Catholic who wishes to impose his personal views on the nation, instead of promoting “Stare Decisis”.

He also has a record of opposition to the Affordable Care Act.

So both of these important issues are now in danger as a result of his nomination.

Kavanaugh also has stated that a President should not face indictment and prosecution in office, which makes him a likely ally of Donald Trump in any future possibility of pursuing the President for obstruction of justice, abuse of power, violation of the Emoluments clause, and Russian collusion.

It will be extremely difficult to stop Kavanaugh’s nomination, but the Democrats, if they stay united, and if Republicans Susan Collins and or Lisa Murkowski can be convinced to oppose, it can be stopped.

These are very difficult times for progressives, but it is not time to give up, not yet at least!

The Year Of The Woman 2018 Likely To Surpass The Earlier Year, 1992!

In 1992, we saw a major increase in women officeholders, a reaction against the Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas controversy of 1991, with the number of women in Congress and in state legislatures dramatically rising.

It now seems likely that 2018 will see a massive rise of women into both houses of Congress, the governorships, and state legislature, with Donald Trump”s misogyny, along with the Republican attack on women’s health, sexual harassment, and treatment in society motivating greater participation in running for office as Democrats, and the expected much increased plan of women to vote across the country.

107 women presently serve in the US Congress (78 Democrats, 29 Republicans), with 84 in the House of Representatives and 23 in the US Senate.

Over 1,900 women serve in state legislatures, and six women serve as state governors, four Republicans and two Democrats.

Over 1,200 Democratic women are in state legislatures, with about 700 Republican women serving.

Overall, about 20-25 percent in elected positions across the nation are women.

So many women, particularly Democrats, are winning nominations for legislative and congressional seats and for governor, so we should see an all time high in November, once the election results are in.

As many as 77 women, two thirds of them Democrats, are running for Governor in the 36 states that have gubernatorial elections in 2018. There could be more than 9 women governors, which is the all time record.

32 Democratic women and 22 Republican women are running for the US Senate in 2018, and we should see more than the all time high of 24.

Women have voted in greater numbers than men in recent years, and that should be continued, with the motivation of Donald Trump, and now with the likelihood of a move in the Supreme Court to outlaw abortion, a divisive issue which will draw women to the polls in growing numbers.

The Pressure To Be Brought On Senators Heidi Heitkamp, Joe Donnelly, Bob Casey Jr. And Joe Manchin On Supreme Court Nominee

With Donald Trump ready to announce his Supreme Court nominee on July 9, pressure is starting to be brought against four “Red State” Senators facing reelection, who might vote for Trump’s selection.

Three of them—Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Joe Donnelly of Indiana, and Joe Manchin of West Virginia—crossed the aisle and supported Trump’s nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court last year, and have visited the White House already, being lobbied by Trump.

They, and Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey, Jr, strongly anti abortion, but not supporting Gorsuch last year, are the four Democrats most worried about, with at least the first three feared likely to cross the aisle again.

The problem is that the Democrats cannot afford to repudiate these three or all four Senators, if they hope to have any chance of regaining control of the US Senate in November.

So while wishing to be critical and denouncing them if they abandon the Democratic Senate caucus on this matter, they are still needed for the future.

The Crucial Role Of Two Republican Pro Choice Women Senators: Susan Collins And Lisa Murkowski

It is going to be a major pressure point brought against two women Republican Senators—Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska—that will likely decide if Donald Trump gains the confirmation of his Supreme Court nominee before the midterm elections.

Both women are pro choice, and wanted to keep ObamaCare, and are considered moderates of the Republican brand.

Both come from small populated states, mainly rural and poor, and needing ObamaCare, with no alternative offered by the Republican majority in Congress or Donald Trump.

Both have, however often voted with their party under pressure, even on support of Neil Gorsuch for the Supreme Court last year.

Both have often disappointed observers who wanted to believe they had courage and guts.

Both are broad based social moderates, but they have been unwilling to defy party leadership, led by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

So the odds that they will do the right thing is a long shot.

Particularly in the case of Susan Collins, who disappointed many when she testified in favor of the confirmation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, because they were Senate colleagues, and “friends”, as if that is justification for supporting the most bigoted, racist Attorney General in American history!

Supreme Court Battle Most Contentious Since Robert Bork And Clarence Thomas Nominations In 1987 and 1991

It is already clear, just two days after Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement, that the battle to confirm a replacement will be the most contentious since Robert Bork was nominated by Ronald Reagan in 1987, and Clarence Thomas was nominated by George H. W. Bush in 1991.

Both times, the Democrats, however, controlled the Senate, and this time, they do not, which is a massive difference.

Bork was defeated in a roll call vote of 58-42, while Thomas was confirmed by a vote of 52-48.

The Democrats have limited ways to stop the confirmation of a replacement for Anthony Kennedy, as no longer can the filibuster tactic be used, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is unwilling to give an inch to the Democrats.

The only hope for the Democrats is to convince Republican Senators Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine to back up their strong support of abortion rights, but both voted for Neil Gorsuch last year, as the first Supreme Court choice of Donald Trump.

But it is certain that the fireworks over this nomination, whoever it might be, will make the 2018 midterm elections even more a reason for all Americans to pay attention and to vote, as clearly, voting can change the course of history, and non voting has consequences!