Alabama

Donald Trump Declares War On Chicago, California, Sanctuary Cities, Undocumented Immigrants, And Common Decency, Empathy And Compassion!

Donald Trump, in just three weeks in office, has declared war on Chicago, California, Sanctuary Cities, Undocumented Immigrants, and common decency, empathy, and compassion.

He has acted as if he can send troops to Chicago to deal with the crime problem there, forgetting that the Mayor of Chicago and the Illinois Governor have ultimate authority over problems in Chicago. The only time when Presidents have sent in the National Guard over the desires of the state Governor was in the South during the Civil Rights Era, when the Governor of Arkansas, Orval Faubus, refused to promote safety for black students at Little Rock Central High School in 1957 (Dwight D. Eisenhower), and when the Governors of Mississippi (Ross Barnett) and of Alabama (George Wallace) refused to obey integration orders for the state universities in 1962 and 1963 (John F. Kennedy).

He has shown signs of trying to cut off funds to California and its university system, because of a confrontational demonstration against a hate mongering right wing extremist troublemaker at the University of California, Berkeley.

He has said he will cut off all funding to Sanctuary Cities across the nation that are out to protect undocumented immigrants, who now are being arrested and deported at record rates, breaking up families, and threatening DREAM kids with the possibility of being deported to a nation they have no memory of, since they came to this nation when very young, and had no choice in where they migrated to.

There is no debate that any felon, any criminal element–drug dealers, gangs, those who have committed major crimes–should and must be deported, but the simple act of people coming here for a better life, escaping persecution and violence in many nations, and those who overstay their visas, should not be included in the deportation.

And many do not understand or realize that millions of undocumented immigrants are making real contributions to our economy, and are not breaking the law, and are not criminal elements, and the breaking up of families and deportation of children is, in itself, a horrible criminal act by the US government.

How about cracking down on native born Americans who are felons, commit the vast number of terrorist acts in this country, and use their Christian faith as a justification for their bloodshed and violence?

Donald Trump and his administration lacks any sense of common decency, empathy or compassion.

Most Crucial Trump Cabinet Member To Resist Is Jeff Sessions, Attorney General Nominee— A Danger To Civil Rights And Civil Liberties!

The Trump cabinet choices are overall horrific, but the most that might be expected is to stop maybe one or two of the nominees.

It is so hard to judge which are the worst of all of them, but clearly, after reflection, the record of Senator Jeff Sessions disqualifies him for the position of Attorney General.

This is a man who has displayed racism, misogyny, nativism, and homophobia, and was opposed to extension of the Voting Rights Act, and he was already rejected for a federal judgeship in 1986 by a Senate with a majority of his own Republican Party.

In an age when civil rights and civil liberties are in danger from Donald Trump and his mentality, to put Jeff Sessions into the Justice Department would set back the Bill of Rights tremendously, as Sessions is no different than if one were to select former Alabama Governor George Wallace, or former North Carolina Senator Jesse Helms, or former South Carolina Senator Strom Thurmond to be Attorney General.

These were the worst of all Southern politicians who undermined civil rights, and there is no evidence that Jeff Sessions is any different in 2017.

All that is needed is for a few Republican Senators to show courage, and vote against their own colleague, replicating the Republican Senate of 1986, as then Arlen Specter and Charles Mathias blocked Sessions from a federal district court judgeship, a very rare occurrence.

Pressure must be brought on Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Jeff Flake of Arizona to show the same kind of courage now, within the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Otherwise, it is essential that such Senators as Susan Collins of Maine, Rob Portman of Ohio, Lisa Murkowksi of Alaska, John McCain of Arizona, Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, and Dean Heller of Nevada be appealed to, to reject Sessions.

Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions: A Horrible Successor To The Position Of Attorney General

Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions may be very cordial and pleasant to his Senate colleagues, but he is clearly a horrible successor to the position of Attorney General of the Unites States.

The only Senator given a cabinet post, Sessions is, unfortunately, the totally wrong choice to enforce civil liberties and civil rights. He is rated one of the most conservative, hard right members of the US Senate.

He was rejected for a Circuit Court Judgeship thirty years ago by a Republican controlled Senate due to his insensitive statements on race, and has no record of tolerance on immigrants, Latinos, Muslims, gays and lesbians, and women.

Sessions would present a very different image of the Justice Department, to favor the powerful and elite over the powerless and middle class and poor in legal and constitutional matters.

He voted against use of medicinal marijuana, and is opposed to stem cell research. He also was highly critical and voted against Barack Obama’s two Supreme Court nominees, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.

Sessions is like bringing back the “Old South” image of George Wallace, Jesse Helms, and Strom Thurmond, with lack of concern about the growing number of cases of police behavior in controversial cases where people of minority status are often the victim of trigger happy cops, and end up deceased.

Will the Senate again reject one of its own, of the majority party as thirty years ago? That is the question that will be focused on next month when Sessions faces Senate Judiciary Committee hearings.

Prediction That Four States Will Decide Presidential Election—Pennsylvania, Ohio, North Carolina, Florida–Is That Legitimate?

Many political observers are saying that four states are the true battleground that will decide who is inaugurated President on January 20, 2017.

Those states are Pennsylvania, Ohio, North Carolina, and Florida.

The question is whether that belief is legitimate.

This blogger thinks it is much more complicated than those four states, and that two of them–Pennsylvania and Florida—are assured for the Democrats as it is.

Yes, it is true that Pennsylvania west of Philadelphia and east of Pittsburgh is often called “Alabama”, but Pennsylvania has been reliably “Blue” or Democratic for six straight elections from 1992 onward, and that is not likely to change. If “Alabama” really mattered as much as some think, then how did our African American President win the state both in 2008 and 2012? If anything, with the economy far better now than it was in 2008 and 2012, and with Barack Obama’s public opinion rating now at 58 percent, the highest since his first year in office (2009), Pennsylvania is assured to go “Blue” again. Remember, all that is needed is to win the most popular votes to win the electoral votes, not necessary to win a majority, but just a plurality.

Florida, despite being Republican in state elections, went for Barack Obama twice, and now there are many more Puerto Rican citizens who have moved from the island to central Florida in particular, due to the tough economic times in Puerto Rico. Puerto Ricans are citizens who just need to re-register at their new address, and the vast majority of them are Democrats, and therefore now lessen the Cuban influence on the state vote. And many younger Cubans are not automatically conservative or Republican as their elders are. With the I-4 corridor (Central Florida) becoming more likely Democratic, add much of South Florida to the equation (Broward and Palm Beach Counties), and the influence of North Florida and Miami-Dade County (where many immigrants turned citizens from Brazil, the Dominican Republic, and other nations in Latin America have migrated and not generally Republicans) are therefore outweighed, and with the better public opinion ratings of Obama added to the mix, the odds are that Florida will go “Blue” again.

Ohio is more difficult, and history tells us that every elected Republican President has won Ohio, so this is truly the crucial state but with Hillary Clinton having the edge in most polls. And one must remember Hillary has a built in edge in “Blue” States, and does not have to win Ohio, while Donald Trump must win it or have no chance to win the White House.

North Carolina went for Obama in 2008 but went “Red” for Mitt Romney in 2012, but polls now indicate that Hillary is favored, but again is not essential for Hillary to win the Presidency.

I would say beyond these four states, there are the states of Georgia and Arizona and Utah, all “Red” states, that indicate close races, with the possibility that they could go “Blue” for this election, and possibly beyond, particularly true for Georgia and Arizona, due to the increase in Hispanic and Latino population and voters.

So Hillary Clinton still has an overwhelming advantage, with eight weeks out from Election Day, to win the Presidency.

After So Much Vice Presidential Speculation, New Names Show Up!

Both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are busy keeping us guessing as to who will be their Vice Presidential choices.

After so much speculation, it turns out, according to latest hints, that others not originally considered likely choices, are surging ahead.

So for the Republicans, Indiana Governor and former Congressman Mike Pence seems like the front runner, with Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions also becoming part of the discussion.

And for the Democrats, suddenly, Secretary of Agriculture and former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack seems like a possible choice, with Secretary of Labor Tom Perez of Maryland and Virginia Senator, former Governor, and former Mayor of Richmond Tim Kaine as other possible choices.

Compared to bigger names, such as Newt Gingrich or Chris Christie on the Republican side, or Elizabeth Warren or Julian Castro on the Democratic side, these potential choices seem less exciting and dramatic, but that does not mean that there is not an argument for them.

Pence is less controversial than other VP choices for the Republicans, although he signed a bill against the civil rights of gays and lesbians in public accommodations that had to be changed under protest, and with many businesses canceling plans to expand into Indiana, and with him concerned about a gubernatorial race that looks very difficult to win. He is a hard right wing conservative Republican who the Christian right loves, which makes him unable to expand the base of the Republican Party. But Pence does not have a big mouth, and is not considered a bully, as Gingrich and Christie are.

Sessions is the typical Southern conservative very similar to past Southern Democrats up to the 1960s, very hard line on immigration, but the first US Senator to endorse Trump. He is not appealing personally as Pence is.

Tom Vilsack was actually considered on the short list for VP for John Kerry in 2004 and for Hillary Clinton, had she won the nomination of the Democrats in 2008, and is a pleasant enough fellow, and is from a “swing” state.

Tom Perez is Hispanic, Dominican heritage, and also very well liked by Hillary Clinton, and a very effective Secretary of Labor for Barack Obama.

Both Vilsack and Perez as cabinet members do not endanger any Senate seats, which is a plus for both of them.

Kaine was on the short list for VP in 2008, and is well liked, and has been Mayor of Richmond, as well as Governor and Senator, and also Democratic National Chairman, and also well liked by Hillary Clinton. Fortunately, with a Democratic governor in Virginia, an appointment to replace him would be a Democrat. And to top it off, Kaine speaks perfect Spanish, as this blogger has seen on the news reports, a very impressive plus, considering that 55 million Americans, out of 320 million speak or are od Spanish origin.

Trying to guess the ultimate choices for Vice President has become more complex and difficult, so we shall have to wait and see, but it will be interesting to witness what transpires!

Republicans Unifying Around Donald Trump Are Self Destructing As A Result! Destroying Their Careers And Reputations In The Process!

Donald Trump is a total disaster for the Republican Party, and many office holders are backing away as rapidly as possible, but it may not be enough to save them and their careers and reputations in the process.

Many are still unifying around Trump, and will suffer ever more, including Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey and Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama as two examples, because they both have the ambition to be Vice President.

Many others clearly have no desire to run with Trump, and to serve under him would be a nightmare.

The only way to hold on to one’s career in the Republican Party is to repudiate Trump, and condemn his racism, nativism, xenophobia, and misogyny. Republicans in “Blue” states are showing signs of doing so, as for instance, Governor Larry Hogan of Maryland and Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker.

Many Republican Senators running for reelection are seeing their likelihood of reelection going down the drain, and are in crisis mode.

Of course, Republicans in solidly “Red” states, particularly in the South, probably do not need to worry as much, although there is no certainty that the “Red” states will all remain “Red”, as there are signs that North Carolina, Georgia, Indiana, Missouri, Arizona, and even Utah might abandon the Republican Presidential candidate.

No Comparison Between David Duke And Robert Byrd! Or For That Matter, Hugo Black, George C. Wallace, Or Strom Thurmond!

A massive controversy has arisen over the initial refusal of Donald Trump to repudiate the support of former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke of Louisiana, who ran for Governor 25 years ago, and later for the US Senate as a Republican, losing both times, and being denounced by President George H. W. Bush and other reputable Republican leaders in the 1990s.

Those defending Trump’s hesitation are now comparing the despicable hate monger David Duke, who is not only a racist but also an anti Semite of a major order, to the late Democratic US Senator Robert Byrd, who served longer in the Senate than anyone in American history (from 1959 to his death in 2010).

No one is saying that Byrd cannot be criticized, as he was a youthful member of the Klan in West Virginia, and opposed the Civil Rights Acts of the 1960s.  But over time, he evolved, and repudiated his despicable past, and even supported Barack Obama in 2008 for the nomination and election as President, and helped to make ObamaCare make a successful journey through the legislative process, including being brought in a wheel chair to cast votes for the legislation, in his last months of life.

David Duke has never done anything to repudiate his past record, and is still defiant as a racist and anti Semite, unlike Byrd.

Also, former Alabama Senator Hugo Black sat on the Supreme Court for 34 years (1937-1971), repudiating by his words and actions the fact that he was a member of the Ku Klux Klan in his youth.

Also, Alabama Governor George C. Wallace, after running racist campaigns for President in 1968 and 1972, repudiated his past and apologized, although he was never, actually, a member of the Ku Klux Klan.

Even Strom Thurmond, who ran as  a racist for President in 1948, and served in the US Senate from South Carolina from 1954-2003,  later modified his views, even if not formally apologizing for his earlier behavior and statements.

No one is saying that we cannot criticize Byrd, Black, Wallace, and Thurmond, but none of them were on the level lifetime on racism and anti Semitism of David Duke, so the comparison is preposterous!

America’s Fascist Demagogues In History: Huey P. Long, Joseph McCarthy, George C. Wallace, Patrick Buchanan!

The United States has had its Fascist demagogues in the past nearly hundred years of our history, but luckily, they “burned out” very quickly.

We had Democratic Governor and Senator Huey P. Long, who condemned the New Deal of Franklin D. Roosevelt in the early 1930s era of the Great Depression.  He had a big following on radio; drew large public crowds; preached “Every Man A King” and “Share The Wealth” as he attacked Wall Street; had his own group of “storm troopers” to protect him;  and made clear that he hoped to come to power on a national level, having alienated his Senate colleagues and the President by his tactics and showmanship.

His potential threat disappeared, however, when he was assassinated in the Louisiana State Capitol in Baton Rouge in September 1935, a mystery that still exists today, as covered in Chapter 7 of my book, ASSASSINATIONS, THREATS, AND THE AMERICAN PRESIDENCY: FROM ANDREW JACKSON TO BARACK OBAMA (Rowman Littlefield Publishers, August 2015).  He reminded many of Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler, both of whom had not yet become as aggressive and warlike as they would become in the mid to late 1930s and early 1940s.

Then we had evil personified in Wisconsin Republican Senator Joseph R. McCarthy of Wisconsin, who stirred fear and insecurity in America in the early 1950s, when he accused Presidents Harry Truman and Dwight D. Eisenhower and many government and other public figures of being Communists, or “soft on Communism”.

He ruined thousands of people’s lives, caused their deaths or complete destruction of their lives, but it was all a ploy backed by right wing conservatives, who continue to honor him, even after his political downfall in December 1954 when the US Senate condemned him, and his early death of alcoholism in May 1957.  This despicable man was a true Fascist demagogue with too many people ready to back him, but his cockiness and arrogance and false charges finally brought him down.

Then we had Democratic Governor George C. Wallace of Alabama, who sowed racism in America as he stood in the door of the University of Alabama in 1963 to attempt to block integration of the state university, and allowed police brutality in Birmingham and elsewhere, leading to the bombing of a black church and the death of young girls in the explosion.

A true Fascist demagogue of the worst kind, he actually gained five states and 46 electoral votes as a third party candidate for President in 1968.  Then, while running in 1972 again, he was shot and paralyzed for life by an assassin, a tragic event for sure, but brought on by his notoriety and demagogic nature.  Wallace’s story is well covered in Chapter 11 of my new book mentioned above.

And then we had Patrick Buchanan, an aide to President Richard Nixon and President Ronald Reagan, who promoted nativism and racism and antisemitism, including Holocaust denial,   as he campaigned against President George H. W. Bush in the 1992 primaries; against Bob Dole in the 1996 primaries;  and then ran as a third party candidate of the Reform Party in 2000.

Due to confusion in Palm Beach County, Florida, Buchanan gained 4,000 votes that were intended by voters for Al Gore, but mistakenly, these elderly, mostly Jewish voters punched the wrong hole on the “butterfly” ballots, and by doing so, caused the election of George W. Bush statewide, officially by a total of 537 votes, sadly denying Al Gore the Presidency, despite his national popular vote lead of 540,000!

Buchanan clearly was and is a Fascist demagogue, who, however, has become someone ignored, and no longer has a major media presence in his later years, as he once did on cable television as a political commentator on MSNBC and CNN, although he still is on Fox News Channel and PBS.

And now we have, at the least, two Fascist demagogues, now considered the front runners in the Republican race for President—Donald Trump and Texas Senator Ted Cruz!  Again, the fight against right wing Fascism and its elements–racism, nativism, misogyny, antisemitism—remain a battle decent people must fight with every ounce of their energy!

Mike Huckabee The New Orval Faubus, Ross Barnett, And George Wallace!

Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee is rapidly becoming the new Orval Faubus, Ross Barnett, and George Wallace—a defiant Governor against the Supreme Court!

Faubus, Governor of Arkansas; Barnett, Governor Mississippi; and Wallace, Governor of Alabama—all vehemently opposed the Supreme Court decision on school integration of 1954 (Brown V. Board of Education), and refused to cooperate with integration, respectively, of the Little Rock, Arkansas high school; the University of Mississippi; and the University of Alabama—and mounted confrontations with the federal government, leading to Presidents Eisenhower and Kennedy to send the National Guard into those states to enforce the edicts of the federal courts.

None of those three Governors look well in American history, rather are seen as law breakers and demagogues, for opposing the Supreme Court decision.

Now Mike Huckabee stands out as a religious fanatic, a man who does not understand separation of church and state, and as a bigot in his attitude toward gays and lesbians.

His idea that the Supreme Court in Obergefell V Hodges is acting in a lawless manner is totally preposterous, but notice he does not oppose the Court when it comes up with a decision that he agrees with, which demonstrates his total hypocrisy, and his own phoniness about the teachings of Jesus, who never referred to gays and marriage in the Old or New Testament.

Huckabee has become a right wing theocratic demagogue, who seems to think taking such a stand will advance his Republican Presidential candidacy, but even Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who was against the majority opinion on gay marriage, says that no county clerk, such as Kim Davis, can use religious views to avoid her responsibility to do her job, as working for government is a civil job.

So either Kim Davis does  her job without discrimination, or she needs to be forced out of office, or thrown in prison until she agrees to obey the federal courts, which DO have the final say on all constitutional matters.

Marriage is not something to be voted on, but rather a basic human right, and prejudice and bias and homophobia must not be allowed to interfere with the right of two adults to marry!

Donald Trump: A Mix Of Wendell Willkie, George Wallace, And Ross Perot

Donald Trump’s Presidential candidacy has brought back memories of three other Presidential candidates.

First is Wendell Willkie, a corporate leader and Wall Street industrialist from Indiana who had never run for public office, who wowed the Republican convention in 1940 with his charisma, rhetoric, and attack on “career politicians”.  He was able to win the Republican Presidential nomination in 1940, and run a good but losing race against the master politician, Franklin D. Roosevelt, running for an unprecedented third term.

Next is George C. Wallace, Governor of Alabama, who formed the American Independent Party in 1968, rallying those opposed to the Civil Rights laws passed under Lyndon B. Johnson.  He attracted angry working class whites, and won 13.5 % of the popular vote, the fourth best percentage for a third party in American history.  He also won five Southern states and 46 electoral votes, making him the second best in total states and electoral votes in American history, only behind former President Theodore Roosevelt, who won six states and 88 electoral votes as the nominee of the third party known as the Progressive (Bull Moose) party, in 1912.  TR also is the only third party nominee to end up second, rather than third in the election results.  His campaign in 1912 decimated the Republican Party under President William Howard Taft, and helped to elect Democrat Woodrow Wilson.

And then we have Ross Perot, a billionaire businessman who had never run for public office, who ran an independent race twice, winning nearly 19 percent of the vote in 1992, and 8 percent of the vote in 1996, while winning no states in the Electoral College.  He appealed to those who were disgusted with the federal government, and worried about the growing national debt.  His candidacy undermined the Republican Party nominees, President George H. W. Bush in 1992 and Senator Bob Dole in 1996, and elected Democrat Bill Clinton twice.

Now we have Donald Trump, a billionaire, who has developed an appeal to those who are disillusioned with politics and the federal government, making him similar to Perot.  But Trump also appeals to the baser instincts in many people, those who dislike African Americans, Latinos, immigrants in general, in these ways having similar views  to Wallace.  These Trump supporters  also think women should not be treated equally, preferring the old image of women who should cook, clean, and be available for the sexual satisfaction of their men, but with no rights over their bodies and reproduction,  similar to the Tea Party Movement.  Also, there is a distaste for labor rights, and for the environment, and an orientation toward absolute belief in religion as the gospel, and a repudiation of science.

Can Trump “storm” the Republican Party, as Wendell Willkie did in 1940; or will he run on a third party, like Ross Perot, and make it impossible for the GOP to win the White House?  And will Trump continue to appeal to the George Wallace type voters, and promote a right wing populism as Wallace did?

This is what is yet to be evolving, but in many ways, Trump is a combination, right now, of Willkie, Wallace, and Perot!