Citizens United Case

Can Michael Bloomberg Ignore Iowa And New Hampshire And Have A Chance To Be The Democratic Presidential Nominee?

The quick answer to the above question is YES, but it would be a tragedy for the nation if simply having billions of dollars fortune, and spending tens of millions of dollars to run commercials, was able to elect a President.

Michael Bloomberg was an effective NYC Mayor for three terms, but he was also controversial with some of his policies, including his dealings with racial minorities, and his trying to control the size of soda bottles and other sugary drinks.

On the other hand, he has promoted gun control, and fought against tobacco and oil interests, and is a big promoter of taking action on climate change.

And he is certainly an arrogant man, who thinks he can “own” his employees and control what his journalists at Bloomberg News report and investigate.

The fact that he has gained a few percent of the vote due to his spending $57 million on commercials, while Kamala Harris was forced out of the Presidential race for lack of funding, is totally infuriating.

This is the result of the disastrous Supreme Court decision in Citizens United in 2011, destroying and corrupting our political system in a despicable manner.

Bloomberg would be a vast improvement over Donald Trump, but seriously, it is hoped that the Democrats will not be manipulated by his commercials to nominate him. His ability to draw attention from voters, without participating in many caucuses and primaries, and avoiding engagement in debates, should NOT lead to his nomination!

Hillary Clinton 70 Today, And Theodore Roosevelt Born 159 Years Ago Tomorrow: From One Progressive President To Another “Should Have Been” Progressive President

Today is the 70th birthday of Hillary Clinton, who should have been the 45th President, and the first woman President.

Superbly qualified and experienced, she won a bigger popular vote victory than many Presidents, including recently, John F. Kennedy, Richard Nixon, and Jimmy Carter, along with others.

But the antiquated Electoral College system defeated her, and clearly, Russian collusion had an effect on vote totals in crucial states, and so, therefore, we were denied her right to be President, and instead have a crooked, corrupt President, who has accomplished nothing more than the division of the nation, and an extremely low public opinion poll rating, and faces removal from office soon, giving us right winger Mike Pence as the 46th President.

Tomorrow is the 159th anniversary of the birth of Theodore Roosevelt, a progressive Republican, who one can be assured, would be shocked and dismayed at the Trump Presidency for a multitude of reasons, but with the environment and conservation being probably the most infuriating issue of all for him. Another issue which would have upset him is changing the rule that controls on corporate campaign finance, limited since his time, are gone since the Citizens United Supreme Court case in 2010.

TR was the 26th President, and Hillary Clinton would have been number 45–so would have been the 20th from 1901 to the present.

They would have been great beginnings and ends of a period of growth of a progressive Presidency, with only a few reversals, under Warren G. Harding, Calvin Coolidge, and Herbert Hoover in the 1920s and early 1930s, and Ronald Reagan in the 1980s, but with all others, good and bad, bringing SOME Progressive changes, until now with Donald Trump, who is working to undermine all of the changes brought about in the past 116 years of American history.

Criminalization Of Christianity And Kim Davis? Hardly!

A federal court judge appointed by George W. Bush has ordered County Clerk Kim Davis of Rowan County, Kentucky to jail for failing to issue marriage licenses to anyone in her county, due to her “religious” beliefs that do not “allow” her to permit marriage licenses to gays and lesbians.

Kim Davis is a hypocrite, who has been married four times, divorced three times, and had twins with someone not her husband at the time, and then, suddenly, she became “religious”, and therefore, will not fulfill her job duties to which she was elected.

It is not as if she can be summarily fired, as she was elected by the voters last November, but she can be required to do her duties as a public official, or be told to resign, or else, someone else should fulfill her duties on marriage licenses in her stead.

If this is allowed to fester, other county clerks in Kentucky, Alabama, and Texas, and other states can use the excuse to disobey the Supreme Court decision on gay marriage,  or really, we can start having government officials refuse to obey federal law on other matters as well!

The Civil War is long over, and states must obey federal law, whether they like it or not, just as those opposed to Citizens United or the Voting Rights Act  or other conservative decisions have the option of trying for a constitutional amendment if they do not wish to accept the Court decision.

We are a nation of laws and the Constitution, and the Supreme Court, right or wrong, is the final arbiter, as we are not a nation governed by the beliefs of any religious group, and no such group should be allowed to dictate what they will obey when it comes to law.

The concept of criminalization of Christianity is totally baseless, and no one should take it seriously, as there is no persecution of Christians, although there is persecution of Muslims, in some areas Jews, and certainly of Atheists and Agnostics!

We are a nation of many different Christian groups with a variety of doctrines, but we are not a “Christian” nation, a theocracy, and no religion can be allowed to control public policy!

The 10 Worst, Most Disastrous Supreme Court Justices Since 1900

The Supreme Court has had 58 of its 112 members since 1900, with 9 of them being Chief Justices, and 4 of those also having earlier served as Associate Justices.

It is more fun to discuss the greatest Supreme Court Justices since 1900, as done in an earlier blog post, but here are the 10 worst, most disastrous Supreme Court Justices, listed chronologically,

Willis Van Devanter
James Clark McReynolds
George Sutherland
Pierce Butler
Fred M. Vinson
Tom C. Clark
Lewis F. Powell, Jr.
Antonin Scalia
Clarence Thomas
Samuel Alito

The first four are known as the “Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse”, united against the New Deal, and causing Franklin D. Roosevelt to become engaged in the controversial Court Packing Plan of 1937. Van Devanter was appointed by William Howard Taft; McReynolds by Woodrow Wilson; and Sutherland and Butler by Warren G. Harding.

Vinson and Clark were appointed by Harry Truman, with judicial appointments one area that Truman was rated as poor in selection, despite other areas of strength in his Presidency.

Powell was selected by Richard Nixon; Scalia by Ronald Reagan; Thomas by George H. W. Bush; and Alito by George W. Bush.

Powell wrote a memorandum that had a long range influence, promoting the development of right wing think tanks, and forecasting the eventual Citizens United Supreme Court decision of 2010, granting corporations and wealthy individuals the right to engage in politics without any financial limitations. He saw those who wished to regulate business as dangers to unregulated capitalism, and argued for aggressive actions against any regulatory power by governments at all levels. This memorandum was sent before Powell was appointed to the Supreme Court, and was not generally known about until recent years, after his death.

So 3 of the 10 worst Justices were selected by Democrats, and the other 7 by Republicans, a total of 8 Presidents involved in these terrible selections.

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!

Anthony Kennedy, The Third Choice Of Ronald Reagan For The Supreme Court In 1988!

President Ronald Reagan had the misfortune of having two Supreme Court nominees rejected near the end of his term, and forced to choose someone else for the Court.

His nomination of Robert Bork, and then, Douglas Ginsburg, and his selection of Anthony Kennedy in their place in 1988, was a moment of tremendous historical importance.

With either Bork or Ginsburg, it is almost certain, if not so, that gay rights and gay marriage would not have accomplishes the majority votes in 2003, 2013, and now 2015, granting gays and lesbians complete equality, including the right to marry!

The importance of one man and one vote is clear cut, as under our system, the Supreme Court, much more than we realize, has a majority of one vote on significant cases, and that one vote majority transforms America for good or for evil.

One vote on the Court decided Bush V Gore in 2000; one vote on the Court decided the Citizens United Case in 2010; one vote on the Supreme Court decided the dramatic weakening of the Voting Rights Act in 2013.

And the historic importance of Anthony Kennedy cannot be underestimated, as he has been the swing vote on the Court since Sandra Day O’Connor left the court ten years ago. Often, he has sided with the conservatives, but about one third of the time with progressives, as in these various gay rights cases.

Kennedy has had great courage, and he will suffer mightily with denunciations, death threats, and need for Secret Service protection, from right wing crazies who will wish him dead for his role in changing American society permanently.

Anthony Kennedy is truly a profile in courage and principle, and will play a positive role in the history of human rights, when this era we are living in, is written about in future generations!

Barack Obama After Six Years In The Presidency: On Way To Top Ten Of Our 43 Presidents!

As 2014 ends, Barack Obama is finishing his sixth year in the Presidency, and will officially mark that milestone on January 20, when he delivers the State of the Union Address to a joint session of Congress, controlled by the Republican Party, which has stood in his way, has been a constant barrier to anything Obama proposes, and hates the ground he walks on. Conservative talk radio and Fox News Channel, and conservative think tanks, would not be happy no matter what Barack Obama does or says. And there is a strong level of venal hate, very dangerous, that puts the President in the cross hairs of a potential threat to his life on a daily basis.

But despite all that, President Barack Obama has a record in office to be proud of, not perfect in any sense, but still outstanding enough to have a chance to end up in the top ten of our Presidents, if not immediately after leaving the White House, over a generation or more as time passes, and passions calm down, and particularly after Obama has passed away, an opportune time to reconsider the legacy of any President, particularly one so much maligned in his time!

The list of Obama accomplishments is endless, but key points include:

The adoption of ObamaCare, which will be seen as transformative over time, as much as Social Security and Medicare.

The successful tracking down and elimination of Osama Bin Laden, the perpetrator of September 11, 2001.

The ending of US military engagement in both Iraq and Afghanistan, two wars that were unwise to conduct in the first place.

The revival of the American economy, with 11 million jobs created; the unemployment rate below six percent; the greatest economic expansion since the Bill Clinton Presidency; the smallest increase in the deficit for the past decade; the 150 percent increase in the stock market; the lowest gas prices in five years; and the revival of the domestic auto industry.

The appointment of two Supreme Court Justices–Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, and some exceptional cabinet appointments, plus the best Vice President in American history, Joe Biden.

The promotion of gay rights and gay marriage, insuring the end of discrimination based upon sexual orientation.

The advancement of environmental concerns, including dealing with global warming and climate change.

The promotion of a tolerant attitude toward immigration reform.

The establishment of a new relationship with Cuba after 50 years of a failed policy.

The promotion of labor rights in a time when labor has been under attack.

The protection of women’s rights against right wing attempts to undermine the advancement of women in all spheres of American life.

The avoidance of engagement in new wars, which the right wing is always itching for.

The courage of Obama to go after terrorists in a way that limits US military involvement, but effectively has killed more terrorists than George W. Bush.

President Barack Obama was the the right person for his time, and will be seen as that in history. He has met racist attacks by refusing to show anger, but instead class and dignity! He has admitted failure, but also has confidence in the morality of his cause. Considering the extreme opposition he has faced, what he has accomplished is miraculous beyond belief.

Despite having presided over the rapid decline of Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress by vicious attacks and massive spending by right wing billionaires, he has made it clear that he will use executive orders to do what he feels must be done in the last two years of his Presidency. The right wing Supreme Court, with its Citizens United Case in 2010, and the lackadaisical attitude on voting of many Democratic constituent groups, has contributed to this decline in Democratic Party strength, but Obama has reacted by making clear that it will not deter his plans to make the nation a place better for the middle class and the poor.

President Barack Obama will NOT allow the prevention of further improvement of the New Deal and Great Society, and he is much to be admired, as a credit to the office he holds!

Barack Obama Should Veto Continuing Resolution, Forcing Congress To Stay In DC And Change $1.1 Trillion Budget!

One of the most important pieces of legislation to reach Barack Obama’s desk–the $1.1 trillion Continuing Resolution legislation that would cover the government budget through September 30, 2015, and allow Congress to leave, and would avoid a government shutdown—should be vetoed by President Obama!

This is a bold move, to ask Obama to veto the bill, but it has many problems, including allowing the big banks, led by Citigroup, to avoid responsibility for another collapse of the banking system, which seems more and more likely, and would have taxpayers save the banks once again, adding to the national debt! This would be possible by the repeal of the Dodd-Frank legislation that prevents future such disaster! Senator Elizabeth Warren has made national news by her denunciation of this action on the Senate floor.

Additionally, allowing wealthy people to give ten times what they can now contribute to political campaigns is a further extension of the Citizens United Case, in which the Supreme Court has allowed millionaires and billionaires to engage in the “buying” of elections, through unlimited spending!

Also, pension protection for public and private pensions would no longer be guaranteed, causing disaster for millions of workers who would no longer be assured of the protection of their hard earned pensions when they retire, or even for those who have retired.

Additionally, nutrition standards set by Michelle Obama would be relaxed; and DC would not be able to allow marijuana use, losing control over its own jurisdiction by interference of Congress, despite the vote of the population in November’s election.

24 Republicans and 16 Democrats voted against this bill, including most of the progressive wing of the Democratic Party, and it should be vetoed by Obama, on the basis of too much lost and too little gained.

It is time for Obama to show aggressiveness, as what does he have to lose now?

The Supreme Court At A Crossroads

With the news that Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg had heart surgery to have a stent implanted, progressives shudder at thought of her possible demise at age 81.

A true liberal and champion of the downtrodden, Ginsburg refused to leave this summer, and now the US Senate is Republican controlled, so if something happens to her, the GOP will have major input into any Obama appointment to replace her, insuring the likelihood of, at best, a moderate appointee, no way as progressive as Ginsburg has been for the past 22 years.

It is clear that the next Presidential election will determine the long future of the Supreme Court, with the likelihood of multiple replacements of up to four Justices by 2020, including Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Antonin Scalia, and Anthony Kennedy, with all four being in their eighties by the end of the decade.

Meanwhile, the Court has crucial decisions to make by this June, including another challenge to ObamaCare, and the issue of finally resolving the gay marriage issue, with 35 states now allowing it, but a court case trying to upend it and reverse it.

These two decisions, along with some others, will have a lot to do with the final level of success or failure of the Obama Presidency, and it all falls on the health of Ginsburg, along with the hoped for support of Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Kennedy, to join the four liberals on the Court to uphold both ObamaCare and gay marriage!

So the Supreme Court and its reputation is on the line in 2015, and after the Citizens United Case and the Voting Rights Case, the Court needs to redeem itself in some fashion, and this is the turning point for the long term for the image of the Supreme Court!

The Dangers Of The Supreme Court Run Amuck In Favor Of Wealthy And Corporations!

The Supreme Court is totally out of control, with its new decision on having no limits on campaign spending by wealthy donors, added on to the Citizens United Case of 2010, and the limitation of voting rights in a 2013 decision.

Chief Justice John Roberts has solidified a five member GOP majority to destroy all attempts to prevent corporate and wealthy people from controlling the political system, an effort pursued from the time of Theodore Roosevelt a century ago through Senator John McCain and Senator Russ Feingold in the 1990s and early 2000s.

That is all for naught now, and shows the dangers of a runaway, reckless, right wing radical Court!

This is what made Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Barack Obama criticize Court power, along with progressive reformers including Senator Robert La Follette of Wisconsin, Senator George Norris of Nebraska, Senator Russ Feingold of Wisconsin, Senator Paul Wellstone of Minnesota, and Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont!

This is the result of 13 Supreme Court nominees since 1960 by Republican Presidents, to only 8 by Democrats, and with two of those Democratic appointments (Arthur Goldberg by John F. Kennedy and Abe Fortas by Lyndon B. Johnson), only lasting three and four years respectively.

Of course, Republican appointments of Harry Blackmun by Richard Nixon; John Paul Stevens by Gerald Ford; Sandra Day O’Connor by Ronald Reagan; and David Souter by George H. W. Bush, turned out to be major surprises in their rulings, but we also ended up with some of the most reactionary and right wing radical appointments in all of American history with the appointments of William Rehnquist by Richard Nixon and the elevation of Rehnquist to Chief Justice by Ronald Reagan; Lewis Powell by Richard Nixon; Antonin Scalia by Ronald Reagan; Clarence Thomas by George H. W. Bush; and Samuel Alito by George W. Bush. The appointments of Chief Justice Warren Burger by Richard Nixon; Anthony Kennedy by Ronald Reagan; and Chief Justice John Roberts by George W. Bush, have been more of a mixed bag, sometimes good, and sometimes horrible in its effect on constitutional law!

Meanwhile, John F. Kennedy selected a mostly conservative Justice Byron White; Lyndon B Johnson selected Thurgood Marshall; Bill Clinton selected Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer; and Barack Obama selected Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, but sadly, their influence in the last four of the five names listed, has been mostly in being the opposition, sometimes vehement in nature!

The effect on the future of American democracy is massive, with this right wing Court majority, and the only hope is the eventual retirement of Scalia and Kennedy, and hopefully, continuation of a Democratic Senate and President for the rest of the decade, so that the Court changes direction in the future!