Death Penalty

The Tough Battle Ahead On Supreme Court Replacement For Justice Anthony Kennedy

The retirement of Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, a conservative but moderate on such issues as gay rights and gay marriage, abortion, affirmative action, flag burning, and the use of the death penalty, leaves the Senate in a tough battle for confirmation of whoever Donald Trump appoints as his replacement.

The fair thing to do would be to postpone the appointment and confirmation hearings until after the midterm elections of 2018, just as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell prevented hearings and a vote on Barack Obama’s choice of Merrick Garland to replace Justice Antonin Scalia in 2016, a Presidential election year. But it is clear McConnell has no such intentions to treat this situation in the same manner as he did two years ago.

So the question is whether there is any possibility of stopping a Trump appointment, and it seems pretty gloomy and very little chance to intervene and delay or prevent a confirmation of a new Supreme Court Justice.

With only 49 votes, the Democrats need one or two Republicans to join them in opposition, and for all Democrats, including more moderate and conservative members of the caucus, to stay loyal, even in an election year where 10 Senators who are running for reelection are from Trump carried states.

The saddest part of all this is that now we will have FOUR Supreme Court Justices–two by George W. Bush and two by Donald Trump–selected by Presidents who massively lost the popular vote in the elections in 2000 and 2016 when the Electoral College went to them.

Six of the last seven Presidential elections have seen the popular vote won by Democrats, all but 2004 since 1992, but the power over the future of the Supreme Court has been lost for the long term, for the next 30 years, beyond the theoretical lifetime of this author and blogger, and of many people who are 40 or over right now!

The Republican Party And The Promotion Of Death In So Many Forms

The Republican Party of 2018 and Donald Trump is clearly the Party of Death!

Of course, many reading this will protest that the Republican Party is the Party of Life, since they insist every fetus must be born, and that the pregnant woman has no say over her future, even if it is rape, incest, or drug addiction or alcoholism involved in the pregnancy.

But the point is that is the ONLY time the Republican Party is for life, and it has made perfectly clear that it is not concerned about any human being in America once such person is born!

The Republican Party believes in the death penalty, and would like to see it used on a large scale.

The Republican Party supports the National Rifle Association, which has no concern about the massacres that have taken place in schools, outdoor concerts, churches, nightclubs, work places, shopping malls and other public places. The vast majority of Americans want to ban all assault weapons, have background checks, prevent mentally ill people and terrorists from gaining access to weapons, and raise the age of ability to buy any firearm to 21, but the Republican Party has consistently done the bidding of the NRA, and shows no willingness to take action on guns, because they claim it is the “wrong time”, as they have consistently said after each of multiple massacres. So they are Pro Death and believe the right to firearms is more important than preservation of life.

The Republican Party believes no one is entitled to health care, and has no issue with millions of Americans having no or limited health care, as they believe health care is NOT a right. So they destroy ObamaCare without any alternative for those who have lost health care.

The Republican Party believes there is no need for protection of workers conditions, as through the Occupational Safety And Health Administration, and want to destroy what is left of the labor movement, and bring us back to the Gilded Age.

The Republican Party is working to loosen safety and pollution standards on automobile manufacturers, making for possible increased deaths caused by lack of regulation and health standards, and also wants to privatize airports and get the government out of railroad and truck transportation regulation, insuring more accidents and dangerous undermining of safety for passengers on all kinds of transportation.

The Republican Party believes that industry should have total control over the environment, and is out to destroy all environmental regulations of the Environmental Protection Agency, and promotion of healthful conditions in areas where there is coal mining, oil drilling, and natural gas exploration, including lack of concern about earthquakes caused by natural gas exploitation in Oklahoma, as an example.

The Republican Party is not concerned about consumer safety, and wishes to decimate the Consumer Product Safety Commission and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

The Republican Party is not concerned about the health and safety of the disabled and the elderly in our society, and wish to cut back massively on Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security Disability programs.

The Republican Party is not concerned about keeping the public up to date on weather conditions as it moves to cut back on the budget for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which will cause more deaths from hurricanes, tornadoes, Tsunamis, and other weather conditions, as without knowledge, it leads to demise of people who could be saved.

The Republican Party wishes to impoverish the masses, so that the wealthy gain massive tax cuts, in effect helping to undermine the health, safety, and lives of tens of millions of Americans.

The Republican Party is out to undermine science and health research, setting back the leadership position of America in previous generations, and instead promoting fake science and refusing to accept the reality of climate change and global warming, which will cause long term the deaths of millions of Americans who are endangered by the reality of changes in the environment worldwide.

And Donald Trump and most Republicans are ready to got to war against either North Korea or Iran, with no concern as to the mass loss of life of American soldiers, and of the people of Asia and the Middle East. It is all part of their macho to show they are men, and willing to sacrifice our youth for their wars to dominate in the name of evil, greedy capitalism. Having former generals in key positions–John Kelly, James Mattis, H. R. McMaster–and with a crazed President, who is clearly as mentally ill as the gunman in Parkland, Florida, clearly demonstrates their worship of death.

So a clear conclusion is that the Republican Party and Donald Trump are Pro Death, and have no regard for human life, other than fetuses, and worship the profit motive and wealth over anything else.

More Social Liberals Than Social Conservatives In America For First Time In Decades!

For the first time in many years, statistics indicate that there are more social “Liberals” than social “Conservatives” in America! The Gallup Organization has reported that 31 percent in polls consider themselves social “Liberals” and 30 percent consider themselves social “Conservatives”, with Democrats jumping from 47 percent to 53 percent social “Liberals”, and Republicans dropping from 60 percent to 53 percent social “Conservatives”.

Social Liberalism means such issues as:

Support of Gay Rights and Gay Marriage
Support of Abortion Rights for Women
Support of Immigration Reform with potential for eventual citizenship for undocumented immigrants
Support of Prison Reform, Abolition of the Death Penalty And Gun Control Legislation
Support of Legalization of Marijuana, or at least Medicinal Marijuana
Support of civil rights enforcement for minorities
Support of environmental and consumer reforms
Concern for the plight of the poor
Promotion of labor unions and reforms for workers
Opposition to the promotion of religious influence in government at all levels

Social Conservatism means such issues as:

Opposition to Gay Rights and Gay Marriage
Opposition to Abortion Rights for Women, even when Rape and incest
Opposition to Immigration Reform, and Desire to deport millions of undocumented immigrants
Hard line on crime, and enforcement of the Death Penalty, and No Gun Control legislation
Opposition to Medicinal Marijuana, and any Marijuana Legalization
Resistance to enforcement of Civil Rights Laws
Opposition to environmental and consumer reforms and enforcement of existing laws
Desire to cut benefits to the poor
Opposition to Labor Unions and Labor Reforms
Promotion of Religious influence in government and passage and enforcement of laws

Mario Cuomo, Progressive Warrior In Tradition Of Franklin D. Roosevelt, Hubert H. Humphrey, And Fiorello LaGuardia!

Mario Cuomo’s death on New Year’s Day took some attention away, momentarily, from the greatness of this man, a progressive warrior in the tradition of Franklin D. Roosevelt and Hubert H. Humphrey, in a later generation, and with an ethnic tinge as with Fiorello LaGuardia!

Cuomo, an Italian American, was the first prominent white ethnic politician since LaGuardia to promote the liberal-progressive cause, and to be considered a serious Presidential candidate, other than John F. Kennedy and his brother Robert F. Kennedy, both Irish Catholic ethnics.

Cuomo spoke up for change and reform, at the height of the ascendancy of Ronald Reagan, who worked to undermine the New Deal of FDR and the Great Society of Lyndon B. Johnson in the 1980s.

Cuomo worked to ban assault weapons and promote gun control; worked for legal abortion rights to be upheld; promoted the first mandatory seat belt law in cars nationally; vetoed the death penalty; and reformed the state courts to promote diversity. He served longer in office than any New York Governor, except Nelson Rockefeller.

Cuomo stood up for the middle class, working people, women, and minorities, a battle which continues decades later, but was the focus of Cuomo, who would have made a great Supreme Court Justice or President. He was, himself, from a struggling immigrant family, and understood the plight of those of similar background.

It seems clear that had Cuomo sought the Presidency in 1992, we would not have had Bill Clinton as President, and there would be no Hillary Clinton being considered today for the Presidency.

Tom Coburn Blocks Funding To Prevent Veteran Suicides, Now 22 Per Day, As He Leaves The US Senate

Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma is about to leave the US Senate after ten years, and six previous years in the US House of Representatives.

Coburn has been one of the absolutely worst members of Congress, known as MR. NO, constantly blocking action on numerous pieces of legislation by using “senatorial privilege” to use a personal block to prevent legislation he does not like. He has abused his position in the Senate, and will NOT be missed by anyone who believes in rational, decent behavior, which Coburn seems incapable of!

Coburn has opposed abortion, embryonic stem cell research, and gay rights, and has supported gun rights and the death penalty. He has also been against deficit spending and pork barrel projects to the extreme. He has also worked against environmentalists on a regular basis, in that joining his Oklahoma colleague, Senator James Inhofe, making Oklahoma the state with the combination of the two worst Senators of any state in the Union!

Coburn is a medical doctor, an obstetrician, who, however, has opposed Obama Care. His commitment to life is clearly, a mixed one, as he has now caused outrage in opposing a bill to promote veterans suicide prevention, which is at 22 veterans per day, complaining it would not work, and that its $22 million cost is too much. This is beyond belief, as $22 million is a literal drop in the bucket of the federal government budget, and is supported by a vast margin of the US Senate and House, as the least that can be done to stem the suicide epidemic facing former military personnel.

The whole concept of “Senatorial privilege” to use a personal block to stop a bill should be ended, as no member of Congress all by himself or herself, should be able to stop what a vast majority of the Congress wishes to do!

How can this Senator sleep at night, and we can all hope that he will drop his opposition to this bill before Congress adjourns, as there is no justification for his preventing what the vast majority of Congress supports! He can vote NO of course, but should not be able to block the legislation all on his own!

The Republican Party: The Party Against Life! Pro-Gun, Anti Medicaid, Pro Death Penalty!

The Republican Party and conservatives love to say they are the Pro Life Party, as they oppose abortion rights for any reason, including rape, incest, and life of the mother (for the most so called “religious”).

But at the same time, they are against any gun regulations to prevent future Sandy Hook Massacres or the reality that 12,000 people a year are killed by lack of regulation of firearms. So many cases of children killing siblings because of reckless parents who leave loaded firearms around, or killing of partners by wives, husbands, girlfriends, boyfriends, abound.

Also, about half of the states have refused to expand Medicaid, and are therefore responsible for the death of people within their states who cannot gain health care.

And for those states which have the death penalty, and allow the idea that a mix of drugs used to execute prisoners, without awareness of what they are, and their effect on the victim, can lead to the botched execution in Oklahoma last night, is an atrocity only fit for the Middle East or Russia or China, not the United States.

These Republican and conservative and “religious” promoters of death should be condemned, and it is clear that the states have run amuck in regards to basic human rights, including the right to live, free from gun violence, with access to health care, and the abolition of the death penalty, as it has not led to lower crime rates, but simply as a method to kill more people of minority status. The vast number who face execution in states that have a record of racial discrimination over the long period of years is testimony enough to this truth!

The North Carolina Nightmare: Republican Dominance For First Time In A Century!

North Carolina has long had the image of being a modern, forward looking state, one of the most advanced in the old Confederacy, despite the fact that Jesse Helms was one of its Senators for three decades.

It actually had signs of having escaped the Confederate mentality, and had pride for its Research Triangle—Chapel Hill, Raleigh and Durham, and its top rated universities, including, but not only the University of North Carolina, North Carolina State University, and Duke University.

But now North Carolina has been hijacked by a right wing Republican Party, and is being systematically destroyed as a state of change and positive images, looking more like Mississippi, Alabama, and South Carolina, all of which it had far surpassed in every way possible, but now all lost by the lack of understanding of its voters as to what they were doing in electing a Republican legislature and Governor.

So just in the year 2014, eight months so far, the North Carolina Republican government has done the following:

Massive tax cuts and cuts in business regulations, which will make the state poorer and more subject to corruption
Stricter regulation of abortion clinics
The end of teacher tenure
Refusal to expand Medicaid
Dramatic cut in unemployment benefits
Making the death penalty easier to apply
Allowing concealed guns in bar and restaurants
Strict Voter ID requirements, including prohibition of same day registration and cutting early voting

These are the results of the Republican Party gaining control of both houses of the state legislature for the first time in a century, along with electing a Republican governor, Pat McCrory.

So North Carolina goes to the Right, and those who are not upper class will suffer in the process, and North Carolina moves backward to the 19th century mentality of the Confederacy!

America And The Death Penalty: In The Company Of Iran, North Korea, China, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Syria!

American use of capital punishment puts this nation into company with other nations that are generally looked upon as disgraceful and anti democratic, including Iran, North Korea, China, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, and Syria.

In Europe, only one nation allows capital punishment–Belarus!

In Latin America, only Cuba allows capital punishment!

No democracy, except Japan in limited circumstances, allows executions.

This nation is allied with brutal dictatorships in allowing execution, most of it occurring in Southern states that historically have deprived people of their rights and taken their lives, while at the same time promoting “religious values”, a total hypocrisy!

America should be, and in many corners, is indeed in mourning, not just for Troy Davis, but for the many cases of injustice that we know have led to the deaths of innocent people, because of the mad blood lust for “law and order”, even if it victimizes mostly poor people, both white and minority!

The use of the death penalty in a nation that claims to have morals and ethics is a sign of how sick this nation is, and the thought that George W. Bush and Rick Perry could brag about the number of inmates killed in Texas is enough to make one want to vomit! Some achievement, rather than educating people and providing them with health care, so they can have long, enriched lives!

The Troy Davis Case: Capital Punishment On Trial, And The Supreme Court Disgraces Itself!

The decision of the US Supreme Court to allow the execution of Troy Davis by the state of Georgia tonight is a legal travesty, and makes the Supreme Court look more than ever what it is rapidly becoming–a total disgrace!

It is shocking to the author that the decision of the Court was unanimous! How could it be that Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan could sit by and allow themselves to be bullied by Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, and Samuel Alito, and that Chief Justice John Roberts and Anthony Kennedy could not see the virtue of allowing a lie detector test; would not consider that a number of prison wardens called for clemency because of doubts about the evidence, none of which was physical and with no gun found; would not take into account that seven out of nine witnesses in the trial recanted; would not listen to five jurors in the case who said they regret their decision to convict and give the death penalty; and would not listen to a witness who said one of the other witnesses confessed that he had been the murderer of the police officer in Savannah, Georgia, in 1989!

This execution puts capital punishment on trial, and it is barbaric that a country that prides itself on democratic virtues and values allows the death penalty when there is evidence so often that innocent people are being executed, many of them minorities in Southern states that have always been “excellent” in utilizing the death penalty against the racial minority that they exploited in slavery and segregation! This is an enhanced way to utilize racism and justify it!

One would like to believe that the “Old South” has passed into history, but actually it has NOT in any sense! Not only do Southern states use the death penalty very often, but also they seem to revel in the fact that seven of the “Old South” states–all but Virginia, Florida, Georgia and Texas–joined with border states Kentucky and West Virginia, to be nine of the ten poorest states, according to the US Census of 2010!

The “Old South” is great at executing people, and keeping them ignorant and in poverty, and by no coincidence, they tend to be RED states, those that tend to vote Republican!

Is this something the GOP should be proud of? And is it conscionable that Republican candidates tend to ignore poverty, never mentioning the disgrace of it in 21st century America, and this including millions of poor whites, as well as minorities?

This is a sad moment for America, but hopefully, it will start up the fight to end capital punishment as against American democracy, making us look terrible in the viewpoint of our friends, European countries, that do not allow the death penalty, and do just fine without it!