American Civil Liberties Union

Trump Presidency Policy Of Separation Of Immigrant Children From Parents At US Border Reprehensible, A Violation Of Basic Human Rights!

The New York Times has revealed that the Trump Administration has pursued a policy of separation of immigrant children from their parents at the US Border with Mexico, a totally reprehensible act, and a massive violation of human rights.

At least 700 children, with more than 100 under the age of 4, have been taken from adults claiming to be their parents, authorized by the Department of Homeland Security, the Office of Refugee Resettlement in the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency.

There is possibly no action taken by the Trump Administration more outrageous and despicable than this, considering that those immigrants that arrive are primarily women and children, escaping gang violence and poverty, and wishing to find safe haven.

They are not terrorists, not criminals, but the experiences they have gone through and are now going through, due to US government policy, will scar the children for the rest of their lives wherever they end up living.

America is losing its reputation as the land of immigrants, where generation after generation, we have seen people escaping similar horrendous situations in their quest for freedom, security, and safety.

It is hard NOT to cry upon learning of this disgraceful action, which is being sued by the American Civil Liberties Union in federal court, hoping to end this clearly Nazi like, Fascist spurred attack on the humanity of vulnerable children and their parents.

For this, more than just about anything else, Donald Trump and his henchmen will be condemned in history, and it should be another of many reasons to remove Donald Trump from office, and hold him and others in his administration legally accountable in court, including indictment, conviction, and imprisonment for crimes against humanity!

Time For Supreme Court To Intervene, And Overturn Trump Executive Order On Travel Ban

A federal District Court judge has stopped the Trump executive order travel ban for the time being, but it is being appealed by the Trump Administration, meanwhile causing chaos, as the future of the order is uncertain.

It is time for the American Civil Liberties Union and other groups to appeal to the Supreme Court, and find at least one Justice willing to put his or her neck out to use their influence to stop the travel ban permanently, and have the entire Supreme Court consider the ban immediately.

I would propose that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the true hero of progressivism, do so, and force the issue.

We know that Trump hates Ginsburg, and has tried to bully her into retirement, but she is a tough lady, who will not be intimidated.

But it would be perfect for the 84 year old Justice, who is less than 5 feet tall, to challenge BULLY Trump, and give his executive order a “Punch in the Mouth”!

Of course, no one can be sure what the eight member Court would do, but it seems highly likely that besides Ginsburg, we would have Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elana Kagan join her, making for at least a tie vote.

And somehow, it seems also likely that the “swing vote” on the Court, Justice Anthony Kennedy, would also join these four Justices, making for a 5-3 vote.

So bring it on, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, intervene and make for a confrontation with Donald Trump!

The Need For Strong Backing Of Journalism To Hold Trump’s “Feet To The Fire”!

It is urgent that all Americans realize the overwhelming importance of strong backing of major newspapers and magazines, as well as PBS, NPR, CNN and MSNBC to hold government leaders’ “feet to the fire”, to hold them accountable on government policy.

Donald Trump’s attack on the news media is an alarm bell in the night.

Without a free press, specifically print media and electronic media, our democracy can be taken away from us, and no journalist or media source can allow themselves to be intimidated, and must pursue the truth about government leaders and policies without fear of retribution.

If we lose freedom of the press, then our basic civil liberties are threatened, and that is why such organizations as the American Civil Liberties Union and the Southern Poverty Law Center and others like them, must be fully supported in fighting in court to prevent the loss of freedom in any form.

There are cynics about the news media, but such publications as the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, and major journals of opinion, both in print and online, must be vigilant and not allow themselves to be threatened, as they are the first line of defense for all Americans.

At the same time, CNN and MSNBC must work at being more accurate and less motivated for profit, as many Americans who do not read news online regularly, rely on them to do the job that we used to expect automatically from such media luminaries in the past, such as Walter Cronkite, David Brinkley, Dan Rather, Tom Brokaw, Peter Jennings, Ted Koppel, and others, including Diane Rehm on NPR, who just retired, and will be greatly missed!

Women Will Decide Senate Control In 2014!

Women will decide Senate control in 2014, both in candidacies, and in voting!

With the GOP attack on women at work, women and reproductive freedom, women and the issue of rape, and the proper role of women in the family, it is hard to imagine that women will not rise up against the Republican Party, trying to take away its freedom in so many areas.

The religious control over the Republican Party is a danger to all women, even those stupid enough to vote Republican because the men in their lives tell them to vote Republican for Jesus Christ!

IF Michelle Nunn in Georgia, and Alison Lundergan Grimes in Kentucky can win their Senate bids, the Republican Party will not win control of the Senate!

And there is too much expectation that Shelley Moore Capito will defeat Natalie Tennant in West Virginia, when both Senators and the Governor have been Democrats, and Tennant winning a massive victory for Secretary of State in her last campaign, so there is a good chance that the Democrats may keep that seat, denying the GOP a switched seat!

And also, to assume that Susan Collins will keep her seat in Maine over Shanna Bellows, is to assume a lot, since Mainers are individualistic, and the Democrats have an edge in that state in voter registration! It is also an independent state to the extreme, and already has Angus King as an Independent in the Senate. When Collins refused to back a minimum wage increase, her reputation as a moderate, and the so called “best” Republican Senator from the viewpoint of a Democrat, suffered, and it would be better if Shanna Bellows, who has worked for the American Civil Liberties Union, were to win that seat!

So women will decide, both on the ballot, and in voting, what happens to the US Senate in 2015-2016!

Rand Paul Becomes A Potential Presidential Candidate, And That Is Good For Democrats!

Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky has become a celebrity, due to his 13 hour filibuster, postponing consideration of John Brennan, a twenty five year veteran of the Central Intelligence Agency, to become its head, The purpose of the filibuster was to gain a guarantee from the Obama Administration that drones would not be used on American soil against American non combatant citizens.

It has caused the American Civil Liberties Union to back Rand Paul, and some Democrats as well, including Oregon Senator Ron Wyden, as well as several progressive journals and web sites.

But the biggest manifestation has been the split developing in the Republican Party between the Tea Party Movement supporters (such as Mike Lee, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio) and the neocons (John McCain and Lindsey Graham, particularly), and this is great news for the Democratic Party!

Rand Paul is now being talked about more seriously as a potential Republican nominee for President, a thought that makes 2012 candidates for the nomination look as the beginning of a trend of continued disaster that will only become worse in 2016.

Bring on Rand Paul, and watch the GOP split asunder, and watch Rand Paul make Mitt Romney, John McCain, and Bob Dole, past GOP Presidential losers, appear brilliant by comparison! RIck Perry, Rick Santorum, Michele Bachmann, Ron Paul, Herman Cain were all embarrassing and disastrous, but Rand Paul would be the most disastrous nominee in history!

If Rand Paul is nominated, and even if he divides the Republican Party while losing the nomination, he will only insure a massive popular vote victory by any Democratic nominee for President, particularly Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden, but including others, such as Martin O’Malley, Andrew Cuomo, Elizabeth Warren, or Mark Warner!

Evaluating Woodrow Wilson A Century After His Election To The Presidency, And On His 156th Birthday Commemoration!

Woodrow Wilson, our 28th President, was born on this day in 1856, and was elected President in the four way race of 1912, running against Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and Eugene Debs, arguably the most exciting Presidential election in American History.

The President with the least government experience, only two years as Governor of New Jersey; the only earned PH. D. to become President; the first President elected who grew up in the South (Virginia) since the Civil War; the President to face the greatest war crisis since Abraham Lincoln; the President who emphasized the importance of international affairs and the need for an international organization to promote peace; the President who was the culmination of the Progressive reform movements of the early 20th century; and the President who promoted successfully his domestic agenda, and then took on Theodore Roosevelt’s even more advanced progressive ideas and made them his own—this President has also been bitterly attacked by many for his shortcomings in many areas, and particularly has been viciously attacked by right wing conservatives, including Glenn Beck and George Will, who have torn his image to shreds.

Well, the question is whether the attacks on Wilson are fair and just, so that requires a careful examination of the positive and negative aspects of his Presidency.

Let’s start with the negative points that can be made about Wilson, and they are plenty!

1. Wilson was a white supremacist, despite his stellar education, and failed to treat people of African, Asian, and Latin American heritage in a dignified way, whether in the nation or with foreign nations overseas. His treatment of China, Japan, Mexico, Haiti and governments of other nations outside of Europe were treated in an insensitive and unacceptable manner, and he issued an executive order mandating segregation of the races in Washington, DC, and failed to recognize the contributions of soldiers of other than the Caucasian race during World War I. He legitimized and set back mistreatment of African Americans for another thirty years, until progress was made by President Harry Truman after World War II.

2. Wilson, inexplicably, opposed the woman suffrage movement, and had suffragettes arrested for disturbing the peace in their marches on Pennsylvania Avenue near the White House. Theodore Roosevelt had proposed this constitutional change in his 1912 Progressive Party campaign, but Wilson never moved in that direction on his own. Despite his opposition, the 19th Amendment was added at the end of his term in 1920.

3. Wilson had a horrible record on civil liberties in wartime, promoting passage of the Espionage Act, Sedition Act, and numerous other laws violating freedom of speech and press. He displayed total intolerance toward critics, once America was at war, and is regarded as one of the absolutely worst Presidents on the subject of civil liberties overall for his eight years in office.

4. Wilson was intolerant of opposition in Congress, refusing to work with Republicans when events worked against him, and tended to see things in religious terms, with him having God behind him, and often invoking religion in his speeches and comments. So he was seen as manipulative and deceitful in his actions and words that took us to ultimate war in 1917, and refused to negotiate on the Versailles Treaty after the war.

5. Wilson had a supreme, and self righteous ego, and this made him blind to reality much of the time, as when he had a severe paralytic stroke, but refused, along with his second wife, to keep Vice President Thomas Marshall informed, or to consider resigning in 1919-1921 so that the nation would have a President capable of leading the nation in the difficult post war days, when Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer led the Red Scare or Palmer Raids, another massive violation of civil liberties, which helped to spur the creation of the Civil Liberties Union in 1920. The nation was basically leaderless for a period of 18 months, as Wilson slowly recovered and even thought of running for an unprecedented third term despite his poor health.

Now to the positive side of Woodrow Wilson!

1. Wilson was the most successful President in domestic policy achievements up to his time in office, and only surpassed later by Franklin D. Roosevelt in the 1930s and Lyndon B. Johnson in the 1960s. He accomplished all of his original domestic agenda, including legislation that has stood the test of time, despite criticism by conservatives and Republicans over the years, including the Federal Reserve Act, the Federal Trade Commission Act, and the Clayton Anti Trust Act, as well as the first attempt at so called “free trade”, the lowering of tariff walls on foreign goods.

2. Wilson also accomplished the passage of laws originally promoted by Theodore Roosevelt in 1912, including the temporary end of child labor, protection for some workers on hours, workers compensation, and the protection of the merchant marine workers who are employed on ships offshore. Also, the first real attempt at agricultural aid to farmers to encourage expansion of acreage and the buying of new equipment, was also an idea promoted by TR. Basically, Wilson adopted much of the Populist Party and Progressive Party agenda of earlier times, and brought Progressive reform to its peak in the period before the conservative 1920s.

3. Wilson dealt with a war that was the most massive for America in 50 years, and was skilled enough to keep America out of war for two years and eight months after World War I began in Europe, but his role in the eventual entrance of America is still highly disputed even today, seen by some as dishonest and deceptive, but praised by many others as the best one could have expected.

4. Wilson had a vision of a peaceful post war world, and saw an international organization, the League of Nations, as the most important accomplishment of the Treaty of Versailles, and was stunned by the rejection of the US Senate to any international commitment, with America going into isolation. But his vision came to fruition a generation after his passing, with the establishment of the United Nations, but with many conservatives and Republicans bitterly opposed today in the US involvement in that international organization.

5. Wilson comes across, despite his many faults and shortcomings as worthy, in the minds of most experts, to be rated in the top ten of all Presidents–number 6 in the C Span 2000 poll and number 9 in the 2009 C Span Followup poll, and this despite bitter condemnation by so many right wing sources who only emphasize the evil side of Wilson, and give him no credit for his accomplishments. There is no question, however, that he had an important impact on the growth of Presidential power, the exact reason why the right wing hates his guts.

This blogger and author understands the mixed legacy of Woodrow Wilson, but still sees him as an influential President, who still impacts America a century after his first election to the Presidency!

So Happy Birthday, President Wilson, a man we will hear a lot about as we commemorate the major events of his administration over the next eight years from March 4, 1913, to March 4, 1921!

The Dangers Of The National Defense Authorization Act Signing By President Obama

President Obama, on his way back from vacation in Hawaii, quietly signed the National Defense Authorization Act, bitterly opposed by the American Civil Liberties Union and other civil libertarians.

Without much fanfare, Obama signed the legislation on December 31, permitting the national government to have powers it has never had
before in peacetime. The 565 page bill includes provisions allowing for indefinite detention of people that the government suspects are involved in international terrorism. The legislation seems to allow arrests by the military in the US of American citizens, a very terrifying idea! President Obama issued a signing statement regarding this legislation, but that does not mean that a future President would not abuse the law and have American citizens arrested.

This is a violation of the 4th Amendment to the Constitution, and one can hope for a Supreme Court decision declaring it unconstitutional, but that is probably not likely when it comes to powers involving war and security of the nation.

This can be seen as an extension of the Patriot Act, which many concerned people also think. is a violation of our civil liberties. The fact that members of both parties in Congress passed this legislation is also very troubling.

The danger that is most obvious is that a future President could use this new legislation in a way that President Obama has made clear his administration will NOT use it. The precedent has been set, and will be hard to reverse.

One could say that as long as a person stays within the law, does not break the law, is a citizen who does nothing illegal, that he or she does not have to be concerned. But even with that thought, there is still the possibility of innocent victims who become embroiled in the growing security network of the nation, and become victims.

So we have a new concern to be worried about regarding the BIll Of Rights!

Alabama Surpasses Arizona With Hateful, Nativist Anti Immigration Law!

After the uproar over the Arizona illegal immigration law of 2010, now being appealed in the federal courts, one would have thought that no state could surpass them in narrow mindedness, hate, and nativism, but that has now become the case with the state of Alabama.

The state of some of the worst examples of “Jim Crow” segregation for many generations, and the state of infamous segregationist George C. Wallace, has now put into action an anti immigration law that is described by many as the cruelest imaginable!

Four Alabama church leaders–Episcopal, Methodist, and Roman Catholic–have led the fight against the law, which goes into effect two days from now!

They say it criminalizes acts of Christian compassion by making potential criminals of anyone who may work or live with them or show them consideration!

Undocumented immigrants may not work, rent a home, sign any contract, and can be stopped by the police to check their status if there is suspicion of any kind!

Anyone who knowingly “conceals, harbors, or shields” an illegal immigrant can be charged with a crime–including renting a place to live, driving that person to church, or taking them to a doctor!

Schools must check the status of all students, and businesses can lose licenses to operate if they hire illegal, undocumented immigrants!

Harassment and racial profiling are the result, and the Justice Department and the American Civil Liberties Union are suing to block enforcement!

This situation reminds one of the anti Jewish actions taken by Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany in the mid 1930s, with the Nuremburg Laws coming to mind. Of course, many will say that is ridiculous as a comparison, but is it really, when one looks at the past history of African Americans in Alabama during the near century of “Jim Crow” laws and racial violence by the Ku Klux Klan and other terrorist groups, and also the intimidation visited against Jews and Catholics?

The only people who can celebrate this law are the KKK, and other white supremacy groups! It puts Alabama to shame, and puts it back on the list of the ten worst states, a group that it might have been escaping with some racial progress in recent years, but now rapidly disappearing with this hateful, nativist, despicable legislation!

The New York Public Libraries And Pornography: Freedom Of Speech Gone Mad!

The debate over civil liberties rages on in American society and culture, but the concept of limits still intrudes itself.

The decision of the New York Public Library systems to allow patrons to log on to pornography websites on library computers in their areas subject to public access is causing a stir over the extent of freedom of speech limits.

Does a person who is over 18 years of age have the right to access pornography websites on his or her own computer? The answer clearly is YES!

Should any person have the right to access such websites on a public library computer within view and sound of other patrons? The answer clearly is NO!

Pornography is something that is a private matter and should remain that.

No one should be subjected to other people’s views or tastes on sexuality, as it is offensive to many people, and children under 18 could be easily exposed to such websites while in the library, with or without their parents being present.

It is a question of common decency and public behavior, not an issue of freedom of speech. No one is saying that there is any justification or method to eliminate all pornography websites, but it most definitely is a question of common sense and sensitivity to the rights of those who do not wish to witness such sites within their hearing or viewing.

This issue will not go away, and assuredly, the American Civil Liberties Union will fight this matter in court.

It would not be surprising if such a case reached the Supreme Court at some point, and one cannot be certain as to how the high Court would react.

But in the mind of the author, if he were on the Supreme Court, he would vote to ban such pornography in public libraries as unacceptable to the general public, and make clear that sexuality is a private matter, not to be displayed in such a venue as a public library, a place for all citizens and non citizens alike, to enlighten and educate the population and promote their advancement.

So again, no one is out to ban pornography, which would be impossible anyway, but to ban it in public libraries in sight or sound of the vast majority of people who would find it objectionable in that venue!