Civil Liberties

Brennan Center For Justice: 19 States With New Voting Restrictions Since 2016

The William Brennan Center For Justice, named after the great former Supreme Court Justice, tracks violations of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, and has exposed the reality that 19 states, since the Supreme Court backtracked on the Voting Rights Act of 1965 in a decision in 2013, have made the right to vote much more difficult, and affecting election results.

In 2016, 14 states had new voting restrictions in place for the first time in a presidential election, with these states including Alabama, Arizona, Indiana, Kansas, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Ohio, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and Wisconsin.

In 2017, Arkansas, North Dakota, Missouri, Georgia, and Iowa added new laws.

So 8 Southern states of the old Confederacy (Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas, Tennessee, Virginia) are back where they were before the Voting Rights Act of 1965, making it harder for blacks and other people of color, and poor people in general, to be able to have the chance to vote.

But also, the 8 Midwestern states of Ohio, Indiana, Iowa, Missouri, Wisconsin, North Dakota, Nebraska and Kansas have gown down the same road.

And Arizona in the West and New Hampshire and Rhode Island on the Atlantic Coast also have made it more difficult to vote.

Look at this list of states, and notice almost all of them, except Virginia, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island voted for Donald Trump.

So we have the possibility that despite public opinion polls that indicate a “Blue Wave”, the restrictions on voting rights could impact election result in November.

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

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

In no special order, it MUST include:

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

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

The Danger Of A Manufactured Or Real September 11 Equivalent Crisis Leading To Donald Trump Declaring Martial Law And Suspending The Constitution And Bill of Rights

After the debacle of yesterday, all Americans must be concerned about the danger of a manufactured or real September 11 equivalent crisis leading to Donald Trump declaring martial law, and suspending the Constitution and Bill of Rights.

The danger of a terrorist attack is still present, but also, no one can trust Donald Trump in planning a “Reichstag Fire” incident to allow him to become an authoritarian dictator, as occurred in Nazi Germany under Adolf Hitler in 1933.

The one third base would willingly give up their civil liberties and civil rights, with their blind and inane loyalty to Trump, and we could see a crackdown much greater than the two “Red Scares” that occurred in 1919-1920 under Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer after World War I, and under Senator Joseph McCarthy from 1950-1954, as well as the civil liberties violations under Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War.

It is urgent that more Republicans in Congress speak out and demand action against the abuses of power of Donald Trump, and his national security and intelligence officials need to work together to force Vice President Mike Pence and the cabinet to meet and take action under the 25th Amendment, Section 4, but it seems highly unlikely that any of this will happen.

So civil war is a terrifying possibility, not out of the realm of reality, and could make the Civil War of 150 years ago repeat itself, with the danger of widespread bloodshed, something that all government officials should work to avoid, by putting the nation over the loyalty to one man. Trump is a true demagogue who is the greatest danger to our nation in American history, as a lackey of a foreign power that wishes to weaken and divide us.

Why did Donald Trump insist on being alone with Vladimir Putin of Russia, and making decisions that no one else can be aware of, and his refusal to listen to top officials who warned him against what he was doing? What deep, dark secret is Donald Trump harboring that endangers our nation? Why is he giving aid and comfort to our enemies, a clear sign of treason?

This is not hyperbole, but real time alarm being expressed not just by this author, but by millions of patriotic Americans who treasure our Constitution and Bill of Rights, and all of the strides forward that have been made over two centuries to make the Founding Fathers’ experiment improve the lives and fortunes of our nation in both domestic and foreign policy.

Donald Trump, The “Manchurian Candidate”, And Vladimir Putin: The Downfall Of The Western Alliance System

The idea is finally sinking in that Donald Trump is similar to the main character in the 1962 film, “The Manchurian Candidate”, a candidate for President planted by the enemy of America.

His constant praise of Vladimir Putin of Russia, and his constant criticism of the leaders of Canada, Germany, France, Great Britain, and other allies in NATO makes one come to this conclusion as a rational thought, as the Western alliance system is in danger of disintegration.

His worship of the authoritarian leaders of China, North Korea, Turkey, Egypt and the Philippines among other dictators, is further proof that Donald Trump despises democracy, civil liberties, the Constitution and Bill of Rights, and the traditions of American history in both domestic and foreign policy.

So for someone to assert that Donald Trump is dangerous to America’s present and future, is not just political hyperbole.

We are in a situation where Russia clearly intervened in the 2016 Presidential election, and is attempting to influence the 2018 Midterm Elections for Congress and the state governments, and is looking ahead to the Presidential Election of 2020.

The thought that Donald Trump might just win a second term, and then challenge the 22nd Amendment, and wish to stay on as President for life, is not just an idle thought, and everyone must work together to insure that such does not happen.

The Muslim Ban Decision Of The Supreme Court (Trump V Hawaii) Will Go Down As One Of Worst Decisions In 229 Years Of Our National History!

The Supreme Court has just made one of the worst decisions in its 229 year history, and has besmirched its own reputation in the process.

It will match such decisions as the Dred Scott Case of 1857; Plessy V Ferguson 1896; and Korematsu V US 1944—all racist decisions justifying slavery, racial segregation, and the internment of Japanese Americans in internment camps during World War II.

All have been roundly condemned, as violations of basic human rights and civil liberties, and now, once again, the Supreme Court has proved how it has allowed itself to promote discrimination and racial prejudice, all in the name of “national security”.

Instead of labeling African Americans or Japanese Americans, now the whole Islamic religion has been judged as a threat to national security, based on the hysteria and racism of Donald Trump.

We have, therefore, allowed an authoritarian who threatens our whole system of government to win a case based purely on bias and religious hatred.

This is a slippery slope that can lead to victimization in the future of people from other nations and other religions.

Jews who were refused entrance in the late 1930s, and now people from Central America who want to escape similar violence and bloodshed and are being held in detention away from their children, are just further examples of how religious prejudice and racism are winning out.

The John Roberts Court has undermined its own reputation in the process, and will be condemned in history.

And the fact that Merrick Garland, appointed by President Obama, was denied a hearing for the Supreme Court vacancy in 2016, led to Neil Gorsuch, who predictably now and in the future will advocate an extreme right wing agenda, harming our constitutional liberties for the next thirty years.

The fact that three members of the Court would not be there if the popular vote had won out in 2000 and 2016 just adds to the tragedy, as George W. Bush would not have been able to appoint John Roberts and Samuel Alito, and Donald Trump would not have been able to appoint Neil Gorsuch.

Sonia Sotomayor registered her vehement dissent, along with Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and the opposition of Stephen Breyer and Elena Kagan. But it was all for naught!

America’s reputation has been permanently damaged, and we are no safer against those Muslims who are extremists, who are now emboldened to do harm more than ever, and at the same time, those Muslims in America who have served in our armed forces honorably, and those who have done good work in other fields, have been slapped in the face.

Our most ugly side as a nation has been displayed for all to see, and anyone who believes in justice and fair play is weeping today, and will for the long term of our history as a nation, as tolerance and open mindedness have been denied!

25 Years Of “RBG”, Ruth Bader Ginsburg In August, 85 Years Old And No Intention Of Retiring Before 2021 At Earliest!

Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, bless her heart, is finishing 25 years on the Court, and 38 years in total in the federal court system, having been appointed by President Jimmy Carter in 1980 to the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit, and then elevated to the Supreme Court by President Bill Clinton in 1993.

She has become a “rock star”, often called “the notorious RBG” in recent years, after the publication of a biography by a scholar in 2015.

She has survived bouts with colon cancer in 1999 and pancreatic cancer in 2009. and the death of her husband in 2010, days after their 56th wedding anniversary.

Through it all, she has stood up for the rights of minorities, women, gays and lesbians, the disabled, workers, consumers, environmentalists, and all other causes that fight against the enemies of civil rights, civil liberties, and social justice.

At age 85, she has had a stent put in her right coronary artery, and she has had a strict regimen of exercise for many years.

The question is whether Ginsburg can hang on and stay in office until 2021, when she would be 88 years old, and hopefully, a Democratic President could replace her after 28 years on the Court.

Ginsburg herself has said she plans to stay to the age of 90, the age that former Justice John Paul Stevens, now 98 and thriving, was when he left the Court in 2010.

Fifty Years Since Robert F. Kennedy’s Assassination: What Could Have Been

Impossible to believe, but it has been a half century since Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, right after winning the California primary in the 1968 Democratic Presidential race.

The course of history changed dramatically with that horrendous event.

It led to the Presidency of Richard Nixon.

It led to the rise of the Right in American politics, begun under Nixon, greatly expanding under Ronald Reagan, and reaching its most destructive stage under Donald Trump.

It seems highly likely that Robert F. Kennedy would have been elected President, and would have transformed the future of America in a very different direction than it took at the time.

The war in Vietnam would have ended sooner, and saved many lives on both sides of the war.

The Supreme Court would have been dramatically different if RFK had had four appointments, instead of Richard Nixon.

The reforms of his brother, John F. Kennedy, and his successor, Lyndon B. Johnson, would have continued, and led to a more equitable, fair minded government.

Instead of taking steps backward, civil rights and civil liberties would have been greatly enhanced.

No one is saying that Robert F. Kennedy would have been a perfect President, and he had his own demons, including his association with Senator Joseph McCarthy in the 1950s, and his often secretive and narrow minded views and personality shortcomings that every human being has.

But it can be believed that Robert F. Kennedy would have made America a greater nation than it turned out to be in the past half century!

This is the time for my readers and supporters to read Chapter 10 of my book, ASSASSINATIONS, THREATS, AND THE AMERICAN PRESIDENCY: FROM ANDREW JACKSON TO BARACK OBAMA (Rowman Littlefield Publishers, 2015, Paperback 2017), available from the publisher, and from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Books A Million.

A Doctor In Michigan, A College Professor In Kansas, An Afghanistan Army Veteran From Illinois: All Facing Deportation

Lukasz Niec (Poland)—-Syed Ahmed Jamal(Bangladesh)—Miguel Perez, Jr. (Mexico)–these are just three victims of Donald Trump’s nativism, accomplished through heartless policies of the Department of Homeland Security and the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency.

Nativists, including White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, White House Counselor Stephen Miller, and ICE’s Director Thomas Homan, are leading a Reign of Terror on all undocumented immigrants of all ages and longevity in America, and having a clean record without any crimes is not enough.

So we are having people here 30-40 years in many cases, who have no memory of the country they were born in, have no family connections, do not know the language of their native country, and in many cases will be endangered and possibly killed by returning to a strange land, facing deportation.

As the three mentioned above, a doctor in Michigan, a college professor in Kansas, and an Afghanistan Army veteran in Illinois–ripped apart from their homes, businesses, jobs, and family members–a despairing situation which will insure these monsters in government and the administration of Donald Trump, will be condemned in history, with Fortune Magazine already lowering the rating of the United States as a democracy which pursues human rights, to a lower category of a flawed democracy, similar to Poland, Mongolia, and Italy among other nations, for the first time in American history.

This violation of civil liberties, and the threats against sanctuary cities by the federal government, are a sign of Fascism and authoritarianism taking over, and it cannot be allowed to stand, by all decent Americans.

We have not learned from past violations of civil liberties and civil rights, and we are living through a dark period of American history.

A Year Of Donald Trump: A Horror And A Nightmare!

I published on Sunday a summary article on the first year of Donald Trump at History News Network–historynewsnetwork.org. I have published regularly on Donald Trump on History News Network, and some of those articles have been picked up also by Time Magazine and Newsweek Magazine, and all of those articles are on the right side of my blog.

A day before the anniversary of the inauguration, I will summarize here the points that I made in that article:

Donald Trump has been a nightmare, and his unpredictability, and the refusal of the Republican Party to come to grips with it, has created a constitutional crisis greater than the Watergate Scandal under Richard Nixon 45 years ago.

Donald Trump has demonstrated clear authoritarian leanings that endanger all Americans and their basic freedoms and national security.

Donald Trump has undermined the judicial branch of government. with his attacks on an independent judiciary, and his appointments of unqualified people to lifetime positions on the federal district courts and federal circuit courts.

Donald Trump has assaulted the Bill of Rights, and is a threat to the civil rights and civil liberties of African Americans, Latino Americans, Native Americans, women, gay and transgender Americans, and members of the news media who dare to investigate and question his white supremacist, nativist, racist, and misogynistic utterances and policies.

He has connected himself to dictators and authoritarians in nations like Russia, China, Turkey, Egypt, and the Philippines, and in the tradition of such past regimes as Nazi Germany , Fascist Italy, and the Soviet Union.

Donald Trump has pursued policies that threaten and undermine the domestic reforms of Presidents from both political parties from the time of Theodore Roosevelt onward, endangering the Social Safety Network of Social Security. Medicare, and Medicaid, and government regulation of industry and big business, and oversight of key problems involving the environment, consumer safety, labor protections, health care, and science and education.

Donald Trump has given us the most corrupt and incompetent cabinet and advisers , making the shortcomings of Ulysses S. Grant, Warren G. Harding, and Richard Nixon pale in comparison. There is no sense of ethics, commitment, scruples, or compassion on the part of Trump and his team, but only with the advancement of the top one percent, over the needs of millions of ordinary people.

Trump’s family has become in one year more controversial, and lacking in ethics and morals, than any Presidential family in history, with the aim seeming to be a family dynasty with no limit on their lust for money and power.

Donald Trump has undermined foreign policy and international relations, alienating our allies, and consorting with dictators all over the world. He has declared war on the diplomatic community, the national security apparatus, and the intelligence agencies that are out to protect American national security. He has been reckless in his dealings with North Korea, Iran, Pakistan, Cuba, Venezuela, Mexico, and with the Middle East cauldron. He has alienated our allies, including the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Canada, Australia, Japan, and South Korea with his weird, unpredictable behavior.

Donald Trump’s narcissism, ignorance of history and science, obnoxious behavior and incessant lying make him a terrible model for the future generation of Americans, who used to be able to look up the President of the United States as someone they could respect.

These reasons are justification for action to remove Donald Trump from the Presidency, whether by impeachment, use of the 25th Amendment, or forced resignation after indictments of family members and top advisers by Robert Mueller’s investigation.

Donald Trump And Libel Laws: Massive Number Of Lawsuits Could Be Lodged Against Him For His Constant Libeling Of Critics And Opponents

Yesterday, Donald Trump called for a massive overhaul of America’s libel laws, so that anyone who lies about someone else, says or publishes untruths, can be sued for libel and be forced to pay large financial damages.

This would be done to silence critics in their public statements, and news media, journalists, and authors from freedom of speech and freedom of the press.

Any person or entity, including this author and blogger, could be hauled into federal court, costing vast amounts of attorney expenses, to defend the truth and veracity of his or her statements or publications.

Is there anything more unconstitutional or more a violation of basic civil liberties and the Bill of Rights, than this utterance by an authoritarian, fascist oriented disgrace of a human being?

It would effectively silence any exposure, revelation, or accountability for an abusive government leader, the kind of treatment one finds in authoritarian nations, such as Russia, China, Turkey, Egypt, the Philippines, Iran, and other nations around the world, and historically in the Soviet Union, Nazi Germany, and Fascist Italy.

It would destroy our democracy and rule of law, and promote intolerance and suppression of differing views of government as it affects the American population.

Ironically, though, Donald Trump could face thousands of law suits for all of his unsubstantiated attacks on his critics in the Republican Party during the 2016 election campaign, as well as while he has been in the White House, as well as Democrats, and all the news media and other critics who have correctly called him out for his abuse of power and his divisive, hateful rants in public rallies, in the White House and on Twitter.

Donald Trump has lied incessantly, an average of five times a day, over 2,000 lies since he announced his candidacy on June 16, 2015.

He should be sued under his own definition of libel for every one of these two thousand plus lies, and his defamation of individuals and institutions, and it would leave him impoverished after financial payments were imposed on him.

He is the last person who should bring up the issue of libel, and he could be, as a result, “hoist with his own petard”!