African Americans

24 Years Of Justice Thurgood Marshall; 24 Years Of Justice Clarence Thomas: The Contrast!

Hard to believe, but it has been 24 years since Clarence Thomas was nominated for the Supreme Court by President George H.W. Bush, with Thomas being chosen to replace the first African American on the Court, Thurgood Marshall, who had been selected 24 years earlier (1967), by President Lyndon B. Johnson.

Marshall had made it clear that he wanted to stay on the Court until a Democrat was elected President, but despite his desires, his poor health forced him to resign. Marshall stands out as having been a quality member of the Court, one of the top 15 Supreme Court Justices of the 20th century.

Thomas, the second African American in Court history, would face severe attacks on his competency and on charges by Anita Hill that he had sexually harassed her when she worked for him at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission during the 1980s.

The Thomas nomination became a major controversy, and led to the passage of sexual harassment laws affecting all employees in America, both in government and out of government.

It also led to a bitter and close nomination battle, with Thomas winning his seat on the Court by the closest margin in modern history, 52-48.

It caused Thomas to become embittered, and he has expressed this bitterness toward liberals ever since, and he has pledged he will not leave the Court until he is 86 years of age in 2034, doubling his age of 43 when he came to the Court.

Thomas has made his mission on the Court to oppose civil rights and civil liberties wherever he can, despite the fact that he benefited personally from Affirmative Action, and his race helped him to gain his job, even though his accomplishments were far less than Thurgood Marshall. Many well qualified African Americans were passed over for Thomas, because he was an outlier, a conservative, who did not care about what had happened to people of his race.

So Thomas has been an extreme right winger on the Supreme Court, along with Antonin Scalia and Samuel Alito, but in many ways more hard right than even them, without the intellectual brilliance of Scalia for much of the time he has been on the Court.

Thomas has almost never asked questions in oral arguments, and his history on the Court is just about the least impressive of all nine Justices.

But at the same time, he has had conflicts of interest that should disqualify his Court membership, and his wife has been a big power player with Right Wing groups that present many conflicts of interest, but no concern or explanation or apology from Justice Thomas, who has no concern as to how he is perceived or reported in the news media.

Thomas has come across as arrogant, but also dense about discrimination against African Americans, Hispanics and Latinos, women, gays and lesbians, organized labor, and the environment.

Thomas is seen as certain to work against Affirmative Action, as in several cases in the past, despite the advantages he has had in his own life.

When one compares him to Justice Thurgood Marshall, it is clear that the appointment of Thomas was just about the worst decision President George H. W. Bush made in his term of office.

And if in the afterlife, someone can look down on the world, it would be clear that Justice Marshall, who was known for being blunt, would be furious that Thomas replaced him as the African American member on the Court, with no likelihood of his early departure anytime soon!

That Was The Week That Was: June 19-26, 2015 Most Significant Single Week In Many Years For Positive Change!

Who would ever have imagined that in one week’s time, we would witness three events that would transform American society as the week from June 19 to June 26, 2015?

Two days before that transformational week, nine African American Bible Class men and women in a church were slaughtered by a young man who had so much hate and racism in his body and mind that human life meant nothing to him, a tremendous tragedy for Charleston, South Carolina; for the nation at large; and for the nine families who lost their loved ones.

Nothing much more negative could have been imagined to occur regarding race relations in America, which have been in crisis with recent killings by police of African American men in many different locations around the nation.

But the the miracle week began!

The relatives of the nine murdered Bible Class men and women confronted the mass murderer who had done the dirty deed, and they all expressed to him that they forgave him for his sin, unimaginable behavior witnessed on television, amazing the whole nation.

The fact that this young mass murderer had used the Confederate flag as a symbol of his hatred and racism spurred the call for removal of the Confederate flag from the monument at the Columbia, South Carolina state capital, as well as elsewhere in the South.

Governor Nikki Haley, a Republican, called for the legislature to consider removal, and State Senator Paul Thurmond, the son of racist former Senator, Governor and 1948 States Rights Party Presidential nominee Strom Thurmond, said the flag must come down. While it did not come down in time for the funerals of the nine victims, the movement was on to remove it, and we saw other Southern states remove the symbol, including Alabama, an unbelievable thought a few days earlier. It looked likely that the Confederate flag had met its doom on public property everywhere, although citizens would still have the freedom to wear and display the Confederate symbol openly.

Then, as the week went on, the Supreme Court, controlled by a conservative majority, which had moved to the right politically by recent decisions during the Obama years, including the Citizens United decision in 2010 and the Voting Rights limitation case of 2013, suddenly took a noticeable turn to the left, with Reagan appointed Justice Anthony Kennedy supporting ObamaCare and same sex marriage, and Chief Justice John Roberts, appointed by George W. Bush, siding for the second time on ObamaCare.

Suddenly, ObamaCare was finally established in a manner that would make it impossible to repeal, and it insured that Barack Obama’s signature achievement would last in the manner that Social Security came to be under Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Medicare came to be under Lyndon B. Johnson.

And suddenly, after a long, hard fought battle over gay rights and gay marriage, the civil and human right to marry became guaranteed for gays and lesbians, as much as interracial marriage was insured by Supreme Court decision 48 years ago in 1967 in Loving V Virginia.

And with all this, Barack Obama also had victory on the Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal, despite a major split with liberals in his own Democratic Party.

And then, even more inspiring was Barack Obama’s amazing eulogy of the pastor/state legislator killed by the young mass murderer. It reminded us of his great oratorical abilities, and the eulogy coursed through our beings and gave all decent people a chill up the spine, symbolically!

No President has had a week of such massive victories and achievements in many decades, and to have the Confederate flag being brought down was the icing on the cake!

So that was the week that was, which will be written about by scholars in future generations, as a miraculous week hard to match or surpass!

From Strom Thurmond To Paul Thurmond: Is The Civil War Finally Over In The South?

South Carolina, which started the Civil War at Fort Sumter on April 12, 1861, MAY have finally conceded defeat on June 23, 2015, with the courageous speech by State Senator Paul Thurmond, son of the notorious segregationist and racist Governor and Senator Strom Thurmond, who made his career on racial division.

A burden to the Democratic Party, when Lyndon B. Johnson was able to overcome Southern Democrats and conservative Republicans, and courageously get through Congress the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, Senator Strom Thurmond quickly switched to the Republican Party, and over the next generation, the Confederate South transferred its loyalties to the Republican Party, despite their hatred of the party because of Abraham Lincoln, the Civil War, and Reconstruction.

The Republicans welcomed and embraced the segregationists, and did whatever they could to appeal to the prejudices of many Southern whites, rather than elevate them to a level of tolerance and open mindedness.

And when the Supreme Court damaged the Voting Rights Act in a 2013 decision, it was Republican state legislatures and Governors who rushed to pass voter restriction laws, designed to harm African Americans and other minorities, as well as the poor, reminding us of what had happened after Reconstruction ended in the late 19th century. They were not afraid to show their purpose, to deny people the vote on flimsy grounds, and showed no conscience.

This sudden transformation after the Charleston Massacre is what finally brought out the truth, that the Republicans have been promoting racism, and even after the disaster, many Republican office holders and Presidential candidates were slow to react.

South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley was hesitant to call for removal of the Confederate Flag, but finally did so under duress, but it was state Senator Paul Thurmond, son of Strom Thurmond, who showed true courage and guts in denouncing what his father had stood for, and saying the flag must be removed.

There are still plenty of bigoted Southerners in South Carolina and elsewhere, who rushed to buy Confederate flags, shirts, and other paraphernalia, but thank goodness that Walmart, Ebay, Amazon and other retailers announced the end of such sales yesterday.

It is time for the Republican Party nationally to stop voting restriction laws, and truly compete for the African American vote and the Hispanic-Latino vote too, and also to stop the attack on women and on gays and lesbians, as they are now the party of so much hate. The white racist vote is rapidly declining, and the GOP is living in the past, reveling in its promotion of narrow mindedness and intolerance!

We are all in this together as a nation, and the Republican Party must change dramatically, and must repudiate the Tea Party Movement whackos, or it will expire in the near future!

The Clown Bus Group Of Republican Presidential Contenders, Part III: The US Senate

In two earlier entries, we have discussed five “losers”, who were or are Republican Governors, but are not to be seen seriously as qualified to be President for various reasons; and three non office holders who think their medical and business careers make them Presidential material, but only in their deluded minds.

In Part III today, we will look at four figures who have served in the US Senate, three still there, and one who left nearly a decade ago.

First, we have Texas Senator Ted Cruz, a look alike for Joseph McCarthy, the old Communist witch hunter of the 1950s. Cruz had no problem shutting down the government in 2013, and continues to call for every part of ObamaCare to be repealed, despite the fact that Texas has more people who have no health care, including Medicaid. Cruz is a very evil man; a very nasty man; a very dangerous man to give executive power to; a man who thinks he is extremely brilliant, simply based on his Princeton and Harvard Law School degrees; a Senator disliked by just about all of his Republican colleagues; a man who would divide America and the Republican Party with his destructive Tea Party extremism.

Then we have Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, who is the son of former Texas Congressman Ron Paul, the libertarian champion. The two Pauls have a lot of young people who seem to adore them, as they both hate government, and both are isolationists in foreign policy. Rand Paul is an optometrist, who set up his own association, rather than go through the national organization, and it makes one wonder as to his true skill as an eye doctor. He has blundered on so many issues, and does not come across as very bright; has shown lack of concern for the poor in his own state; has made statements against the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as being enforceable; has led filibusters in the Senate that have made one wonder about his ability to get along with others; but at the same time, has shown concern about privacy rights and the issue of minor drug offenses that has imprisoned so many young people, many of them African American. So despite his faults, he has some redeeming values, but he is not highly regarded by the Republican establishment, and to believe a libertarian will be nominated and elected President requires hallucinations by those who imagine such an event happening.

Then we have South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, who is the major “hawk” in the Senate, along with his good friend, Arizona Senator John McCain. There is not a war or country that Graham and McCain do not wish to intervene in, and both are diametrically the opposite of Rand Paul on foreign policy. While Graham has some more humane views on some issues domestically, he has no real support that could win him the nomination for the Presidency, and many hold it against him that when in the House of Representatives, he led the move toward impeachment of Bill Clinton in 1998.

And then we have former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, who lost his Senate seat in 2006 by a landslide; who won the Iowa Caucuses in 2012; but who is a right wing extremist on social issues, and is committed to disobey a Supreme Court decision on gay marriage, which is pending, if he becomes President. Santorum is infamous for outrageous, narrow minded views, as he is the favorite of the Religious Right, and his social views would take back America to many decades earlier. His chances of being the nominee are the lowest of these four Senators, all of whom are embarrassments to the historical traditions of the party of Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, and Dwight D. Eisenhower!

So we have covered now 12 of 16 potential Republican nominees, and further analysis of the four remaining candidates—one Senator, one former Governor, and two sitting Governors—will be forthcoming soon.

The Confederate Flag MUST Come Down In South Carolina And Anywhere It Is Displayed On Public Property!

The Confederate flag on South Carolina Capitol grounds in Columbia MUST come down and NOW! The Charleston Massacre at the African American Church is the last straw!

It is NOT a sign of the losses of white Southerners in the Civil War, 150 years ago, sorry!

It is a sign of racism and hatred, and NO public place anywhere in America should be allowed to display it!

Look at the Supreme Court stating in a decision the other day that Texas can ban use of the Confederate flag as a symbol on automobile license plates.

That should become the standard everywhere in America.

Of course, if a private person wishes to display the Confederate flag on his car or his private property, nothing can be done about it, but on public land and locations, it MUST be banned!

Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina claims it is part of “tradition”! Well, sorry, Lindsey Graham, NO MORE!

The Civil War is over, so get over it!

The Confederate flag will still be in museums, but it should not be permitted anywhere else in public places, clear and simple!

No symbol of hate and prejudice and racism should be legally allowed in public places in America, as this is NOT freedom of speech!

The Clown Bus Group Of Republican Presidential Contenders: Part II: Those Without Government Experience

A few days ago, we discussed five Republican Governors or former Governors, who are contending for the Republican Presidential nomination, and why they are horrible choices for the Presidency, and would demean the office.

Today, we will examine three Republican Presidential contenders, who have never held elected office or been a cabinet member or in the military:

Dr. Benjamin Carson, a pediatric neurosurgeon and African American, who has come across as totally loony in his statements and views, including saying ObamaCare is slavery, that Obama is like Adolf Hitler, and that Creationism is a scientific theory and Climate Change is not occurring. This is just the tip of the iceberg, and Carson is proving how ridiculous his candidacy is, and how he is simply running to gain attention for his tremendous ego, as he has zero chance of being the nominee of his party.

Former Chief Executive Officer of Hewlett Packard Carly Fiorina, the only Republican woman running for President, thinks she is more qualified than Hillary Clinton, but she was fired from HP, and lost a race for the Senate seat of Barbara Boxer in California in 2010 by a massive landslide. She is basing her campaign on attacking Hillary, but has no credentials to make her qualified for President, and has a reputation of being a nasty, privileged lady in her dealings with others. Her chances of being the GOP nominee are zero!

The inimitable egotist and braggart of all time, Donald Trump, is a disaster waiting to happen, having had four bankruptcies, three wives, and promoted controversial views on “Birtherism” of Barack Obama, and is a nativist, racist, misogynist, and homophobe. He is pure poison for the GOP, and has no chance of being the nominee, but wants attention all of the time.

Only two non government figures have ever run for President–Wendell Willkie, Republican nominee in 1940 against Franklin D. Roosevelt. Despite losing, he had more brains and talents than all three of these characters discussed above combined. Also, Ross Perot, ran as an Independent in 1992 and 1996, and helped elect Bill Clinton. He managed to win 19 percent of the popular vote, second best ever for a third party candidate, in 1992, and 8 percent in 1996.

Forget about any of these three being the GOP nominee, as it is NOT going to happen, and they just simply add to the Clown Bus of Republican Presidential contenders!

The Battle For America: The Past Vs. The Future, Old Vs. Young

It is becoming very clear that the crisis in America regarding its future is centered around age, the past vs. the future, the Old Vs. Young.

The past is an America of the 1950s, when most women, except for the poor, stayed at home; when African Americans were segregated and treated in a very discriminatory manner; when Jews and Catholics and Puerto Ricans were considered the only minorities other than African Americans in a nation dominated by white Anglo Saxon Protestants; when very few Americans had attended and graduated a college or university; when the military draft existed; when Americans believed that nuclear war was an imminent possibility; when young people had not yet rebelled against a society in which suburbia was developing, as whites escaped cities for the “better life”; when the total number of sports teams in the four major sports numbered only 42; when Americans knew little about the dangers of tobacco, liquor, and illegal drugs on their health; and where very few families took vacations, because the concept of vacation for most Americans was going to the beach or a local park.

The future was one of almost all women working, and many making greater incomes than their husbands or male family members if they remain single; an African American populations no longer willing to face police abuse and mistreatment or other denials of equal treatment under the law; where Asian Americans, Hispanic Americans, and Middle East immigrants have created a very mixed population, both racial and religious; where a majority of Americans have attended college and a third have graduated college; where there is no military draft but constantly growing threats to national security from international and domestic terrorism; where young people accept diversity of all kinds willingly and openly, including that of gays and lesbians being part of society and having the opportunity to marry; where more people are abandoning the suburbs and moving back to the cities; where the number of sports teams in the four major sports numbers more than 120 in number; where health knowledge is greater than every before, but marijuana is becoming legal in different areas across the country; and where many Americans do extensive travel and tourism as routine parts of their lives; but where poverty, homelessness and deprivation still exist, and the aim seems to be to punish those who are poor!

When one examines the changes, one realizes that, to a great extent, this is a battle of the past vs. the future, the Old Vs. the Young, and the way society is advancing is the elimination of the old ideas by the reality of the aging process, and the demise of the elderly generations over time and their 1950s image, which is so out of date, and counterproductive in the second, and soon to be third, decade of the 21st century! So the opposition to change is rapidly being eliminated by the passage of time.

It is therefore ironic that it is two old billionaires in their 70s (Charles and David Koch), and an old billionaire in his 80s (Sheldon Adelson)–all three of whom will be dead likely in the next decade to 15 years—who are distorting and corrupting our government and politics and being pursued by Republican Presidential wannabes, when they are so old fashioned and out of tune with changing times, which will erase their influence by 2030!

And it seems clear that it is the Democratic Party which is looking into the future with a progressive vision, which insures their ultimate triumph long term over the Republican Party, which so represents the ideals of the 1950s, which are rapidly in decline, taking with them the “Old” America and being replaced by the “New” America!

150 Years Since Final Confederate Surrender Of Robert E. Lee To Ulysses S. Grant At Appomattox Court House In Virginia, Ending Civil War!

Today, April 9, marks the 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War between the Union and the Confederacy, with General Robert E. Lee, the leading Confederate general, surrendering to Union General and future President Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Court House in Virginia.

This tragic war ended a four year conflict, just three days before its fourth anniversary, having killed an estimated 620,000 men, with the Union military losing about 360,000 and the Confederate military losing about 260,000 men.

The Civil War ended slavery forever, and upheld nationalism over states rights, and was an inspiration to many people in England and France, which saw it as a movement toward the evolution of democracy.

But sadly, the end of the war did not change the minds of many white Southerners, and over the generations, the Democrats of the South continued to promote Jim Crow segregation; brutal lynchings of African Americans and others, including Jews and Catholics; and fought toot and nail against civil liberties and civil rights, while parading the Confederate flag, which even today flies in South Carolina and some other Southern states.

And when civil rights laws were forced on the South fifty years ago under Lyndon B. Johnson, the Democrats lost their tight control of the South, and the Republicans, the party that had freed the slaves under Abraham Lincoln and promoted civil rights under Dwight D. Eisenhower, abandoned their principles and decency and became the new party of Southern resistance to justice and civil rights. Today, all of the Southern governors, with the exception of Virginia, and the Senate, with the exception of the two members from Virginia and one from Florida, are Republicans, working to undermine voting rights and promote racism and nativism at full speed, a total disgrace.

So while we celebrate the end of the Southern rebellion a century and a half ago, in many ways, the rebellion still lives on, poisoning the political atmosphere in many states, and in the national government, and particularly so with the very clear disrespect of Southern office holders for the African American President of the United States, who has been vilified in a manner unlike anyone since Abraham Lincoln!

Rand Paul: An Interesting, But Flawed Candidate For President Who Cannot Fulfill His Promises!

Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky became the second declared candidate for President yesterday, and he gave a fiery speech, surrounded by his admirers who are clearly very loyal and committed to him.

But to believe that Rand Paul can become the GOP nominee for President, and occupy the White House after January 20, 2017, requires a lot of illusion, and “smoke and mirrors”. It will, most certainly, NOT happen!

Rand Paul has appealing elements, no question about it. These include the need to protect our civil liberties from government encroachment by the National Security Agency; the need to rebuild our economy and help forgotten Americans to gain economic advancement, both middle class and poor; the need to stay out of foreign intervention unless essential, and avoid so many bases and expenses overseas, including no more increased spending on foreign aid; and changing the law enforcement system, including the unfair justice system that imprisons too many young African Americans for overly severe jail terms.

But at the same time, Rand Paul talks about balancing a budget, by cutting fundamental programs that are an entitlement for Americans through their payment of taxes (including Social Security and Medicare); has no solution for health care for millions on ObamaCare and those without ObamaCare and not able to gain Medicaid; talks about limiting federal intrusion in our privacy, a goal almost impossible to accomplish in an age of terrorism; has expressed doubts about the civil rights laws, including the basic one passed in 1964 under Lyndon B. Johnson; has to deal with the influence of his father, former Texas Congressman Ron Paul who is much more controversial with his public record of actions and utterances that many Paul supporters seem to be aware of; and has major opposition and criticism from the massive hawkish influence within his party in the Senate and from the neoconservatives, who seem to want war with Iran, and do not want to cut defense spending dramatically, if at all!

Additionally, Rand Paul is anti abortion and anti gay marriage, and while that will please the Republican Party, it will undermine his opportunity to attract a majority of women and young people, despite the fact that many young people claim to be libertarian, but mostly because they are truly ignorant of what the true nature of libertarianism is. Libertarianism will NOT gain power in America, and is a bankrupt philosophy not achievable in the real world!

Rand Paul will certainly make the Presidential race more interesting, but his connection to the Tea Party will also undermine him, and no scenario that is realistic puts him down as the 45th President of the United States!

Indiana Governor Mike Pence Allowing Religious Prejudice To Discriminate Against Gays And Lesbians: Violation Of Civil Rights!

Indiana Governor Mike Pence, a possible Republican Presidential candidate, has just demonstrated why he is not acceptable as the nominee of his party or as President of the United States!

America is not about to elect a man who allows the religious prejudice of right wing evangelical Christians toward gays and lesbians to become a law, one which violates the Civil Rights Act of 1964 in regards to public accommodations!

If a business can refuse to serve people because of their sexual orientation, the next step is to say that a business can refuse to serve African Americans, as has now happened in a South Carolina restaurant!

Or a business could use their right wing evangelical Christianity to justify not serving Jews, or Latinos, or disabled people, or senior citizens, or Muslims, or Asian Americans, or Native Americans!

This violation of human rights, using the excuse of religion to promote and advocate prejudice, needs an injunction to stop the enforcement, until it is reviewed by the judiciary in Indiana, and ultimately, the Supreme Court, as otherwise, it will lead to other states doing the same thing!

One must not forget that in the Christian faith, we have seen past discrimination against Jews and African Americans in the name of Jesus Christ, as if Jesus would have approved of the kind of bigotry so often practiced, including endorsement of antisemitism, slavery, and racial segregation!

All businesses must get a license to operate, and part of the requirements for any business should be legal agreements that ban any discrimination against anyone seeking to work in the business, or any customers of the business!