Criminal Justice Reform

“Reconciliation” May Be Only Way To Gain Any Biden Agenda, But It Is Limited Tactic With Senate Realities

“Reconciliation”, a tactic permitted by the Senate parliamentarian, to allow some bills to pass if 51 votes are gained, has led to the passage of the COVID 19 relief legislation in March, and it may be that it will be utilized to gain the passage of the Infrastructure bill, which has been unable to gain Republican support over the past two months of negotiation.

This Congress is the 4th time we have had an evenly divided US Senate, after the 47th Congress (1881-1883); the 83rd Congress (1953-1955); and the 107th Congress (2001-2003).

The tactic can be used only sparingly, but whether it can be employed for a multitude of other Joe Biden initiatives, including on voting rights, criminal justice reform, and health care and education advancements is doubtful.

There is the possibility, sadly, that Joe Biden may be stopped in making massive changes, similar to what Barack Obama faced in 2011-2017, and that is so infuriating!

And the danger that the party in the White House almost always loses seats and or control in the midterm elections, presents a real challenge to Democrats in 2022, when with two thirds of the Senate seats up for election in that year being Republican held seats, and at least five incumbent Republicans not running for reelection.

Joe Biden Hits A Grand Slam Homerun, And Tim Scott Strikes Out!

President Joe Biden hit a grand slam homerun last night in his speech before a joint session of Congress, but with only 200 members present due to the COVID 19 Pandemic.

Anyone who watched and listened knows he gave a sensational speech, and this author is disgusted with those critics who claim Biden is demented, and has early Alzheimers, when he gave his speech with a great delivery, and has never in office shown any signs of such a condition, other than an occasional stutter, a problem that he had as a young man, and can revive as one gets older.

Biden has grand plans that will be difficult to accomplish as compared to Franklin D. Roosevelt and Lyndon B, Johnson, as both Presidents had massive Democratic margins when they were President, and promoting the New Deal and Great Society.

The belief is that Biden will accomplish more than any President in domestic affairs in the last half century, however, and vast margins of public opinion in the 60s range supports such efforts.

Meanwhile, the Republican party opposition thought they would do well with the only African American Republican Senator, Tim Scott, giving the response to the President’s address. But clearly, Tim Scott struck out, and came across as totally pitiful in his response, making us realize how mediocre a Senator and a political leader that he is.

Scott may be needed for any kind of criminal justice reform, but he is not to be regarded as a serious person for national leadership, although there are rumors that he might seek the Presidency in 2024.

Based on last night’s mediocre, at best, response to President Biden, any possible plans to run for President, on Scott’s part, likely have been derailed!

Victory In George Floyd Case, But The Basic Problem Remains: Police Violence Against People Of Color!

Minnesota had a triumph today in the George Floyd Case, with the conviction of Derek Chauvin.

But the basic problem remains, that there is too much police violence against people of color all over America.

If it was not for the body cameras and witnesses and their cell phone videos, Derek Chauvin would not have even been facing prosecution, let alone conviction.

So while this victory is sweet, there must be criminal justice and police reform, so that persons of color need not be concerned that he or she will be treated differently than white citizens.

No one should have to worry, in particular, about their sons being endangered and murdered by police who do not value their lives, as much as white lives.

Joe Biden Becomes Third President (After Ulysses S. Grant And Lyndon B. Johnson) To Emphasize Racial Equity In First Months Of His Presidency

President Joe Biden has made racial equity a landmark moment of his Presidency from the beginning, and already is perceived as being the third President to make civil rights a major goal immediately upon taking the oath.

The first President to do this was Ulysses S. Grant in 1869, promoting the concept of the 15th Amendment, granting the right to vote to African American men, and being added to the Constitution in 1870.

Also, Grant promoted better treatment of Native Americans in his Inaugural week, and is seen as the most tolerant and open minded on that issue of any President in the post Civil War years.

The second President to make civil rights a key issue immediately was Lyndon B. Johnson upon becoming President after the assassination of John F. Kennedy in November 1963. Johnson made the push for the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which had been floundering in Congress after it was introduced by Kennedy in the summer of 1963. And Johnson went on to promote also the Voting Rights Act of 1965, as the 15th Amendment had been denied for many decades in the Southern states, as Jim Crow segregation reigned.

And now, Joe Biden is pushing and promoting action, as a result of the well known discrimination in criminal justice; and in dealing with the endemic poverty in minority communities; the lack of adequate health care including in the COVID 19 Pandemic; problems of education and work opportunities and housing that persist; the need to clean the environment where often there is massive pollution in areas ignored before now; and also the difficulties faced by women, transgender citizens, the gay community, and the disabled. The purpose is to get rid of systemic discrimination against all the above groups.

One can hope that major progress on these areas of policy can be accomplished!

Time For Democrats To Play Hard Ball: Plan To Change Senate And Supreme Court If They Win White House And Congress

With the Republicans and Donald Trump moving ahead to fill the seat of Ruth Bader Ginsburg with so little time until the election, when it should be left to the winner of the Presidency on November 3, it is time for the Democrats to play hard ball IF they win the White House and both houses of Congress, which at this point seems likely.

What can the Democrats do?

Move to create two new states that are territories now, but should be made states—Washington, DC and Puerto Rico! That would add four new Democratic seats to the Senate and about one seat for DC and four seats for Puerto Rico to the House of Representatives, most likely all or mostly Democratic members.

Get rid of the Senate filibuster that requires 60 votes on major legislation, and make it 51 votes, as the House is based on majority rule.

A third idea is to increase the Supreme Court to 13 members if the present Court becomes 6-3 conservative.

While these are seen by many as “radical” ideas, it may be the only way to promote the saving of health care; women’s rights; labor rights; gay rights; climate change legislation; criminal justice reform; aid to Americans as the Covid-19 Pandemic continues; and many other progressive reforms!

Hillary Clinton Acceptance Speech The Culmination Of A Successful Convention

Hillary Clinton delivered a great acceptance speech yesterday, the culmination of a successful Democratic National Convention, making her officially the first woman ever nominated for President by a major political party.

She gave a speech which emphasized a progressive agenda, to continue the successes of Barack Obama, and to move to emphasize such issues as a $15 minimum wage; free tuition for public colleges for those whose families earn less than $125,00 income; working toward criminal justice reform; promoting a more aggressive climate change agenda; promotion of civil rights equality for groups that have been denied it under law; improvement of ObamaCare; investment in infrastructure; the belief in science; advocacy of strengthening our alliances with foreign nations including NATO; strong commitment to overcoming ISIL (ISIS) and other terrorist groups in the world, among other proposals.

Clinton came across as genuine, sincere, committed to taking on much of Bernie Sanders’s agenda, and while not the accomplished orator that her husband Bill Clinton and Barack Obama and Joe Biden are, was extremely effective.

The speech of Marine General John Allen denouncing Donald Trump, and the Muslim father, Khizr Khan, speaking about the sacrifice of his son in Iraq in 2004 and asking if Trump knew what the Constitution says, were other standout moments of the last night of the convention, and a strong case against the stability and qualifications and ethics of Trump was emphasized by all speakers.

This is a terrifying time, but to imagine that Donald Trump could be elected President should motivate everyone to register to vote; lobby their friends, family members and work colleagues to get out there to vote; and work to get people to the polls at election time.

For Trump to win the Presidency would be the biggest disaster in American history since September 11, and cannot be allowed to occur.

Inauguration Day Plus Seven Years: Imagine The Alternative Of President John McCain And Vice President Sarah Palin!

Seven years ago, Barack Obama became the 44th President, and history was transformed in a positive manner!

Not everything has worked out, and not everything he promised has occurred, but when one thinks about the alternative of President John McCain and Vice President Sarah Palin, one must thank God that he gave us Barack Obama!

McCain, even though he is less extreme than most Republicans, would most certainly have taken us into war more than we were under George W. Bush.

We would have massive involvement still in Iraq and in Afghanistan, and would have engaged in a major war against Iran.

Much of the social change that has occurred would not have had Presidential backing, including gay rights and gay marriage; climate change; criminal justice reform; attention to civil rights controversies; and a national health care system for more Americans.  We also would not have Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan on the Supreme Court!

We would have had Sarah Palin as Vice President, and have to be constantly thankful that John McCain is still alive and healthy.

 

The Likely “Best” Choice For The Republican Ticket In 2016: John Kasich And Marco Rubio

The first Republican debate is long over, and Donald Trump is monopolizing all of the oxygen in the room, but he is a calamity waiting to happen to the Republican Party.

It is clear already that the best ticket the GOP could offer the American people, in November 2016, would be to nominate Ohio Governor John Kasich for President and Florida Senator Marco Rubio for Vice President.

This would offer the American people a 64 year old Congressional veteran, with 18 years in the House of Representatives and 6 years as Ohio Governor—a man who is a clear cut conservative but centrist in nature, accepting Medicaid; accepting gay marriage as established and tolerant of gays and lesbians; having an element of compassion toward the poor working class, drug offenders, and mentally ill people; great experience in balancing budgets as head of the House Budget Committee; great communications ability, including six years as a talk show host on Fox News Channel; a very popular Governor of the crucial state for any Republican to win the White House; who has accepted that climate change exists; has supported gun regulation in the past; has supported criminal justice reform; is open minded on illegal immigration and eventual citizenship; and has an enlightened view of Christianity and its doctrines, so that recently he has been called a Pope Francis type personality.

However, others have said that Kasich has a “prickly” personality; that he has a “hair trigger” temper; that he is condescending, arrogant, and manipulative, which is, of course, quite disturbing. It also has been pointed out that he has weakened labor unions in Ohio, and has undermined public education in Ohio, in favor of charter schools. So, as with any candidate, he has definite shortcomings, but there is also the reality that, in comparison to his rivals, he stands out as having more potential as a candidate, and to have some, if not all, of the proper character traits, with no one having all, unfortunately.

So it is clear that Kasich is not preferable to a Democratic nominee, any of them in reality, but he comes across as the best person in the race on the Republican side at this writing.

At the same time, Marco Rubio, at age 45 in 2016, might be the best choice for Vice President. He has charisma; good looks; is Hispanic (Cuban American); represents another swing state like Ohio is, but Florida is the largest state to be a swing state; and while he is much more conservative than Kasich, he has potential for growth and maturity in his views over time. Rubio would not be thrilled to be Vice President, but it is a stepping stone to the Presidency when he is older and more seasoned. Besides, he has given up his chance to hold his Senate seat, so it would be more enticing for him to accept the Vice Presidency if he fails to win the Presidential nomination of his party.

This would be a team that would easily give the Republican Party their best shot at winning, but if they do not appeal to women, African Americans, Hispanics, the young, and to working class Americans, they have no chance of winning, so they need to moderate their image.

This team of Kasich and Rubio could accomplish what no other combination would be able to do–win the White House for the Republicans!  Having said that, the odds for the Democrats to keep the White House are excellent, and if Trump runs as an independent or third party candidate, it is guaranteed that the Democrats will win, and likely be certain to regain the Senate, and possibly,. even the House of Representative!