Civil Rights Act Of 1964

Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch A Surprise On The Supreme Court

With the third term of Neil Gorsuch on the Supreme Court now complete, one must say that Gorsuch is quite a surprise in his decisions on the Court, startling many conservatives, and pleasing progressives.

It is clear that Gorsuch is, and will continue to be, unpredictable on the Court, and already, he joins Chief Justice John Roberts in siding with liberals on some cases before the Court.

He has already made observers compare him to former Justice Byron White, and even by some to former Justice David Souter.

This means that the idea that are five rigid conservatives on the Court now looks more like four liberals, three conservatives, and some of the time two “swing” Justices, mostly conservative but totally unpredictable, and therefore, not reliable all of the time for the conservative camp.

It was wonderful to see Gorsuch side with native Americans in declaring that eastern Oklahoma is native American territory, although it is not clear what that means in reality to Oklahoma’s future.

His backing of gays and lesbians having employment rights guaranteed under the Civil Rights Act of 1964, joined by Chief Justice Roberts, may be one of the most important cases in many years.

The at times unpredictability of both Gorsuch and Roberts makes following the Supreme Court much more fascinating, for sure!

Death Of Civil Rights Icon John Lewis, A True Inspiration For Nearly 60 Years

This blogger and author woke up today and was shocked to discover that Civil Rights Icon John Lewis, Georgia Congressman since 1987, had passed away at age 80 of pancreatic cancer.

Lewis was a great inspiration to all of us who believe in civil rights and progressive reforms, and he personally paid the price in the early to mid 1960s, leading to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

He was arrested multiple times and bloodied and injured by Ku Klux Klansman all over the South, but he remained committed to nonviolent civil disobedience and basic human rights.

Lewis was the last speaker to survive, among those who spoke at the March on Washington on August 28, 1963, and worked closely with the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, even though he was just a young man in his mid 20s.

There is a movement on to rename the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama after him, as he was injured on “Bloody Sunday” on March 7, 1965, when marching for voting rights at that site.

Pettus was a Confederate Army General in the Civil War, a Grand Dragon of the Ku Klux Klan, and a United States Senator from Alabama. It is time to remove his name from that bridge, and rename it after John Lewis.

Lewis will be remembered in the annals of history as a truly great man, and one of the most outstanding members historically of the House of Representatives.

Civil Rights Anniversaries In July And August Remind Us Of What Is Unfinished

On July 2, 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act, outlawing segregation in public places, employment, and education, based on race, color, religion, sex, and national origin.

On August 6, 1965, Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act, outlawing racial discrimination in voting.

On July 26, 1990, President George H. W. Bush signed the Americans With Disabilities Act, which outlawed discrimination against disabled people, including requiring reasonable accommodations to employees with disabilities, and imposing accessibility requirements on public accommodations.

These three laws are worthy of applause after 56, 55, and 30 years, but it does not mean that the fight for civil rights is over, not at all, considering that Donald Trump has done everything imaginable to undermine the civil rights of people of color, the disabled, and the poor in general, as well as working to undermine the civil rights of gays, lesbians, and transgender people!

With a more right wing trend on the courts, due to Donald Trump appointments, the battle for those basic civil rights will continue to have to be fought by the American Civil Liberties Union, the Southern Poverty Law Center, and People for the American Way, among other groups engaged in the fight for enforcement of these significant milestones.

Iowa Congressman Steve King Just The Tip Of The Iceberg, As Donald Trump Is The More Significant White Supremacist And White Nationalist

The decision of the House Republican leadership, led by Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, to condemn Iowa Congressman Steve King and strip him of his committee assignments, is a lame and belated acceptance of the Republican Party of how racist and nativist King has been for years, with the GOP tolerating him and his promotion of white supremacy and white nationalism.

He is not the only Republican who has shown evidence of racism and nativism, and many Republicans are now worried about the long range future of the party of Lincoln, TR, Ike, Reagan, and H W Bush.

The party has catered to white supremacists and white nationalists for years, taking over that role from the old former Southern segregationists who, thankfully, abandoned the Democratic Party after the passage of the Civil Rights Act under President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964.

There should be no place for such racism and nativism in any establishment political party in America, but Donald Trump paid homage to them after the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017, when he said both sides in the conflict had good people, which was a sign he was allied with David Duke, Richard Spencer, and the right wing radio talk show hosts that spew such hatred regularly.

Until and when the Republicans in Congress in the House of Representatives and Senate repudiate the ultimate racist, nativist, hate monger, and misogynist—DONALD TRUMP—which they refused to do to this moment, then the action taken against Steve King is pure hypocrisy, to save their own rear ends.

The Republican Party is dead in the water as a future force until they return to the progressive trends of Lincoln and TR, the true paragons of virtue in their party history.

Unwise For Republicans To Denounce Lisa Murkowski, And Democrats To Denounce Joe Manchin: They Could Switch Parties After Midterm Elections

Now that the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court has been accomplished, by the smallest margin since 1881, there is discussion in both political parties about retribution to be paid for the one Republican Senator, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, and the one Democratic Senator, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, who broke ranks in their parties and voted against the party line.

This is very unwise, and could reverberate after the midterm elections are completed.

What if the US Senate ends up with a 50-50 split, which would give Vice President Mike Pence the ability to organize the Senate for the Republicans?

If Lisa Murkowski is angry in November, she could decide to switch parties, becoming a Democrat, as long as the party promised, with her 16 years of Senate experience, to give her a committee chairmanship. That would make the Senate 51 Democrats and 49 Republicans, backfiring on the Republicans.

Or what if the Senate became 51-49 Democratic, and Joe Manchin decided to switch to the Republican Party, making a 50-50 tie, giving Mike Pence the ability to organize the Senate for the Republicans?

What it comes down to is that no political party should punish its members because they are not always in lockstep with their party.

There is no reason why all Democrats have to be to the left of center, and all Republicans have to be to the right of center.

In the past, there were a lot of people who “crossed the aisle” on a regular basis, and accomplished great goals, as for instance Lyndon B. Johnson gaining support of many Republicans for the Civil Rights Act of 1964 due to his ability to work with Republican Senate Minority Leader Everett Dirksen.

Another instance was a deal on Social Security reform in 1983 between Ronald Reagan and Democratic House Speaker Thomas “Tip” O’Neill.

The only way to move ahead is to overcome the confrontational, no holds barred rhetoric, that now has made Congress such an inept institution, and promote willingness of both parties to negotiate and compromise for the good of the nation and its future.

11 Democrats, Non-Southerners, Who Became Republicans Over The Past Half Century

It is a well known phenomenon that a massive number of Southern Democratic politicians switched to the Republican Party in the years and decades after the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 under the administration of President Lyndon B. Johnson.

But it would be instructive to trace those Democrats, in their younger days, who were not Southerners, who made the switch from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party.

Following is a list of the more prominent such examples, numbering eleven.

In the early 1960s, actor Ronald Reagan, who had been a liberal Democrat and union leader in his younger days, became a Republican, influenced by his wife Nancy’s father, and soon was recruited by Southern California businessmen to run for Governor, and that was the beginning of an amazing transformation in views.

Donald Trump originally was a Democrat, and contributed to New York City and State Democrats, became an Independent, then went back to the Democrats, and finally allied himself with the Republican Party in 2011 and after.

Rudy Giuliani, former Mayor of New York City, started off as a Democrat, and worked for the Robert F. Kennedy campaign in 1968, and voted for the 1972 Democratic Presidential nominee, Senator George McGovern, before becoming an Independent, and then a Republican.

Elizabeth Dole was a Democrat who worked for Lyndon B. Johnson, but later became a Republican in 1975, married Senator Bob Dole, and was a cabinet member twice, sought the Presidential nomination herself, and then was a Senator from North Carolina from 2003-2009 as a Republican.

Vice President Mike Pence left the Democratic Party in the early 1980s, after having supported Jimmy Carter in the 1980 Presidential election, and ran for the House of Representatives and Governorship of Indiana as a Republican.

Condoleezza Rice, left the Democratic party in 1982, and became the National Security Adviser and Secretary of State under Republican President George W. Bush.

Ben (Nighthorse) Campbell left the Democratic Party in 1995, while a US Senator from Colorado, and became a Republican.

Susana Martinez left the Democratic Party in 1995, and later served as Governor of New Mexico as a Republican.

Norm Coleman left the Democratic Party in 1996, while serving as Mayor of St. Paul, Minnesota, and later was a Senator from Minnesota for one term as a Republican.

Herman Badillo, former Bronx, New York Congressman, left the Democrats in 1996, and identified with the Republican Party.

Michael Bloomberg left the Democratic Party in 2001 before running for Mayor of New York City as a Republican, just as Rudy Giuliani had done before him.

The March On Washington 1963, Plus 54 Years: Backtracking On Civil Rights And Civil Liberties!

Fifty four years ago, The March on Washington occurred, with the most famous moment being the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr delivering his “I Have A Dream” speech before a crowd of whites and African Americans estimated at a quarter of a million people.

The march was impetus for the passage in the following two years of the Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights, with Lyndon B. Johnson picking up where John F. Kennedy left off.

Now, a half century later, the great progress on civil rights and civil liberties has suffered backtracking, partly by the right wing Supreme Court, and partly by the policies of President Donald Trump.

It is very disconcerting and even tormenting that the progress made has been reversed.

But that means the battle to restore and expand what makes America a democracy must not be abandoned because of setbacks, but rather pursued with renewed energy and commitment, in order to fulfill the dream of Martin Luther King, Jr.

The Attack On Transgenders In The Military A Major Step Backward On Human Rights, And Must Be Resisted In Any Way Possible!

The decision of Donald Trump to declare that transgender individuals are not to be allowed to serve in the military is a major step backwards on human rights.

Transgender men and women have served in the military heroically in Iraq and Afghanistan, and they serve in the military in Israel, the United Kingdom, France, Germany and other advanced democracies with no troubles or complications.

This is simply an appeal to the bigoted Religious Right of Franklin Graham, Pat Robertson, and other preachers who claim wrongly to speak for Jesus Christ, who would reject their prejudice and hypocrisy.

It is also an attempt to take attention off the failed Health Care attempts to destroy ObamaCare, and also to take people’s minds off the investigation of the Russian collusion of the Trump campaign and Presidency.

It undermines the great progress made on gay rights and gay marriage, and now, the Attorney General Jeff Sessions is arguing that gays and lesbians and transgenders should not be considered as covered under the Civil Rights Act of 1964, a total outrage!

Leave it to the right wing whackos, and we might see a future situation where women’s rights to an abortion, and even interracial marriages, might be reversed by a right wing Supreme Court majority.

It is good to see that the military is not, at least at this point, obeying a tweet of our unstable President, and hopefully, Secretary of Defense James Mattis, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff will fight against it, and convince Trump that this will undermine military discipline and morale, and endanger the declared Transgenders already out in the military.

One can sadly expect more prejudice and discrimination against transgenders now in society, and some will die as a result.

Ironically, this bigoted, ignorant, and prejudiced statement by Trump occurred on the 69th anniversary of Harry Truman integrating the military in 1948, and one can be certain that if Truman were alive, he would have appropriate salty language visited upon Trump, and would probably wish to give Trump a swift kick in his rear end and in his private area as well, something million of Americans would cheer!

July 2 An Historic Day In So Many Ways!

July 2 is an extremely historic day in American history in so many ways, more than typical.

July 2, 1776, the Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence, with the document being printed, and beginning to be signed on July 4.

July 2, 1862, President Abraham Lincoln signed Morrill Act, granting land for state agricultural colleges.

July 2, 1863, Second day of Battle of Gettysburg, turning point battle of Civil War.

July 2, 1881, President James A. Garfield was shot and mortally wounded by Charles Guiteau, died 79 days later on September 19, 1881, a tragedy I devote a chapter to in my Assassinations book, now out in paperback from Rowman Littlefield.

July 2, 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act, most path breaking and historic civil rights law in American history.

July 2, 1986, the Supreme Court upheld Affirmative Action in two cases.

23 Years Since Richard Nixon’s Death, Final Total Repudiation Of His Positive Legacy In Domestic Affairs

Richard Nixon died on Earth Day 1994, at the age of 81.

He died, knowing that the Watergate and related scandals under his Presidency, would damage his reputation forever.

But Nixon also left a positive legacy, which now, a generation later, is, finally, totally repudiating his time in office.

Nixon, for all his faults, was the most “liberal” or “progressive” Republican President since Theodore Roosevelt, and no Republican President since has been anywhere near as much so.

Nixon could have prevented a lot of reforms, with his veto, but instead went along with a Democratic controlled Congress, and signed into law the following:

The Environmental Protection Agency

The Consumer Product Safety Commission

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Large increases in Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, as well as the Food Stamp Program.

Enactment of the Supplemental Security Income program, providing a guaranteed income for elderly and disabled citizens.

Signed into law various environmental laws, and expanded national park land protection under the Department of the Interior.

Signed into law Title IX, guaranteeing equal access and opportunity to women in all educational and recreational activities in colleges and universities and public schools.

Signed into law the addition of Affirmative Action to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, for women, and ethnic minorities, in education and in employment–race, color, sex, religion, national origin.

Nixon also endorsed the proposed Equal Rights Amendment for women, also backed by his successor, Gerald ford, but opposed by Ronald Reagan, and failing of being added to the Constitution during the Reagan Presidency.

Finally, one of Nixon’s four Supreme Court appointments, Justice Harry Blackmun, turned out to be a very progressive member of the Court, and was the author of the majority opinion in Roe V. Wade, the abortion case, which has continued to divide Americans 44 years later, and which the Republican Party is attempting to bring about its reversal, with one step being the addition of Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch.

Now, in 2017, President Trump and the Republican controlled 115th Congress seem to be on the road to destruction of all of these major achievements under Richard Nixon, a true travesty of justice.

We are witnessing the most reactionary, right wing extremist Congress and Presidency in American history, and progressives must fight tooth and nail to prevent this destruction of the “good side” of Richard Nixon’s legacy.