Gay Rights

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!

Trump-Putin Summit Meeting A Clear Sign That Putin Has Trump In His Grasp, Undermines Trump Legitimacy As President

The Trump-Putin Summit Meeting yesterday at the G-20 Summit is a clear sign that the Russian autocrat has our President in his grasp, and has undermined Trump’s legitimacy as our President.

All the intelligence agencies are absolutely certain that Russia intervened in our 2016 Presidential election, and helped Trump to win.

Trump has been unwilling to agree to the reality and the facts, calling it “fake news”.

Different versions of the meeting by the Russian Foreign Minister and our Secretary of State Rex Tillerson have emerged from the meeting, and the question is whether Trump really pressed the issue with Putin, and whether he will simply accept their version that they did NOT interfere in our election. A “robust” and “lengthy” discussion, as depicted by Tillerson, apparently was a distortion of the meeting, another lie of the Trump Presidency!

The idea that we had a summit meeting with only Tillerson as an observer, with his close past ties with Russia when he was head of Exxon Oil, is an outrage, when we should have had H. R. McMaster, the National Security Adviser, and or James Mattis, our Secretary of Defense, in the meeting. Between Trump and Tillerson, we had a grand total of 12 months experience in diplomacy, compared to many decades of experience by Putin and his Foreign Minister. This is an outrage that everyone should be alarmed about, and one can be sure many Republicans and conservatives in and out of Congress are truly alarmed!

IF Trump does not continue to challenge Putin and resist their propaganda, he will be permanently harmed, and we will have to worry that he is in league with them to help promote his fortunes, by their planned interference in our midterm elections in 2018 and the Presidential Election of 2020.

Can one even imagine the reaction if Barack Obama had colluded with Russia, or George W. Bush, or Bill Clinton?

Can one imagine how the far Right conservatives and the evangelical Christian Right, which have embraced Vladimir Put as a “Friend”, based on support of guns and opposition to gay rights, would have reacted if, in particular, Obama had done what Trump has done, promote a “bromance” with a man responsible for deaths of journalists and opponents, as revealed by Richard Engel in a one hour special on MSNBC last evening, part of a new series titled “On Assignment”?

The idea that men and women who profess religion could unite with a totalitarian dictator such as Putin only shows the corruption of right wing evangelicals, such as Franklin Graham, son of Billy Graham! The idea that right wing commentators, such as Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Mark Levin, among others, would just accept that Putin is no danger to America, is also a true example of how lacking in substance these characters are, only concerned about making as much profit as possible on their propaganda, and no concern about American national security!

The way things look now, Donald Trump is truly the “Manchurian Candidate”, and we are permitting the Russians to infiltrate and undermine our political system with equanimity, instead of with alarm!

The End Of The Supreme Court Term: Any Retirements Coming?

This is the last week of the present Supreme Court session, and Court watchers are wondering if we are about to see a sharp swing to the Right, with the potential retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy, appointed by Republican President Ronald Reagan nearly 30 years ago, and a crucial swing vote ever since on the Court.

Kennedy has been on the conservative side about two thirds of the time, and on the liberal side one third of the time, and without him, for instance, there would have been no advancements on gay rights and gay marriage, as he was the crucial fifth vote.

His vote this week may decide whether the Muslim ban of Donald Trump is upheld, or prevented, as it has been by several circuit courts around the nation.

Kennedy has been the unpredictable vote all by himself in the past decade, since Sandra Day O’Connor left the court at the end of 2005.

For a decade before 2005, it was said the Court was the “O’Connor-Kennedy Court”, and now for the past 12 years, it has been the “Kennedy” Court, more than the Roberts Court, as traditionally, the Court is described by the name of its Chief Justice.

Since Kennedy will be turning 81 in one month, and is the second oldest member of the Court, after Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who is 84, but has made clear she is going nowhere, and hopes to stay on the Court until 2021, so that hopefully a future Democratic President in 2021 can choose her successor.

So if Kennedy does retire this week, it will mark a sharp move to the Right, which will undermine constitutional law for the next generation!

The Positive Contributions Of The Barack Obama Presidency

So here we are on the last full day of the Barack Obama Presidency, which I have been writing about since August 2008, and just about daily since 2010.

Barack Obama has been an historic President, and will end up in the top ten of our 44 Presidents over time, if not immediately.

Barack Obama was the most pilloried President since Richard Nixon, but for no good reason, and a lot of it was based on pure racism, sorry to say, but the truth.

But Obama brought us a dignified, classy persona to the White House, as did his wife Michelle.

He gave us the biggest expansion of our health care system, and much of it will survive the Donald Trump and Republican onslaught in the end.

He gave us the concept of limited military involvement, after decades of too many interventions overseas, and ended our involvement in Iraq, and cut back dramatically on the unwinnable war in Afghanistan.

He gave us the possibility of ending the threat of Iran as a nuclear power, and opened up a new relationship with Cuba, after 55 years of ignoring reality.

He accomplished through the use of technology and drones the elimination of thousands of terrorists worldwide, and took the gamble to bring justice to Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

He started moving the focus of American foreign policy to Asia and the Pacific, and kept good relations with America’s NATO allies, and kept Russia’s Vladimir Putin on edge. about how America would react toward his aggressive stands.

He made climate change worldwide a crucial focus, and participated in international agreements, and accepted science over conspiracy theories, and made us realize global warming was a danger to American national security.

He took an economy that was the worst since the Great Depression, what is called the Great Recession, and turned it around, with the greatest job growth over eight years in American history, the greatest stock market growth, and the greatest drop in the unemployment rate that has occurred in any administration.

He accomplished in health care what Presidents since Theodore Roosevelt to Franklin D. Roosevelt to Harry Truman to John F. Kennedy to Lyndon B. Johnson to Richard Nixon to Bill Clinton to George W. Bush had been unable to do.

He brought about the revival of the American auto industry, and advanced the rights of workers to overtime pay and increased minimum wage, and the rights of consumers through the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

He advanced women’s rights, including to equal pay, and gave DREAM kids a reprieve from possible deportation, and promoted the idea of universal pre school and community college education, and worked to try to deal with the student loan crisis.

He advocated fair treatment of Muslims in America, and became the champion of gay equality in the military, gay rights in society, and gay marriage and transgender rights.

He became a great advocate of the environment, adding to our national parks and national forests and endangered sites, and continued the tradition of earlier exceptional environmental Presidents, including Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter, and Bill Clinton before him.

He utilized executive orders to expand the rights of the American people, and worked for legal and judicial reform, and appointed Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court.

He cared about the weak, the powerless, and the forgotten groups in American society, and set a good moral basis in his own life and that of his family, becoming a model for young people as to how a President should conduct himself.

He avoided lashing out at those who promoted bigotry, and also showed emotion after his failed attempts at immigration reform and gun safety legislation. He had real tears, emotions, and sincerity in the Oval Office, which has hardly ever seen that, and hard to think of any earlier President quite like Obama.

He also faced the greatest number of threats of any President since Abraham Lincoln, as delineated in my Assassinations book, and demonstrated great courage and equanimity in waking up every day, knowing he was a target for hate mongers who wished him and his family ill will.

And finally, he had two terms of office without any hint of a personal, or otherwise, major scandal!

So Barack Obama was a FINE MAN, a different spelling of this author’s and blogger’s last name, and he will rise in the Presidential rankings to the top ten, and likely higher in the middle of the top ten at some point in the future, as he was truly a transformational President!

Goodbye, President and Mrs Obama, we will miss you, and wish you many decades of good health, prosperity, and happiness, as you continue to contribute to American betterment! God bless you both!

The Positive Contributions Of The Joe Biden Vice Presidency

Joe Biden, the 47th Vice President of the United States, is leaving public life after 44 years in the federal government, 36 as a US Senator from Delaware, and 8 years as Vice President.

Joe Biden is a true national treasure, who if not for the death of his son, Beau Biden, in May 2015, might have run for the Democratic Presidential nomination in 2016, and might very well have defeated Hillary Clinton, and then won the election in the crucial states of Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Florida.

Although Biden will be 78 in 2020, he has the energy, the knowledge, the experience needed to defeat Donald Trump, and he just might return to the Senate in 2018, if Tom Carper follows through on his plans to retire.

So it is not yet time to say Biden’s career is over, although in elective office, it might be, but he will play a public role because it is in his blood to do so, and he will not stay silent when he sees wrongs being done by the Donald Trump Administration.

The alliance of Barack Obama and Joe Biden was the closest one in American history, possibly matched by Jimmy Carter and Walter Mondale, who in two days will have both survived the amazing total of 36 years since the Presidency and 40 years since their election in 1976!

Obama utilized Biden’s connections on Capitol Hill; and gave Biden an office in the White House, as Carter had done for Mondale; and had weekly lunches with Biden as Carter did with Mondale.

Joe Biden was a true Presidential Advisor, full time participant, and trouble shooter, and was not afraid to disagree with Obama, particularly on foreign policy, his expertise, but was always a loyal part of the team once a decision had been made by the President.

Biden’s warm, sincere personality was lovable, and he was able to work across the aisle on Capitol Hill with Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, Paul Ryan, and other influential Republicans, and the entire Senate honored him recently for his cordial and effective role in the Senate.

Biden took the lead on gay rights and gay marriage; protection of women against violence; immigration reform; environmental advancements; gun control legislation after the Sandy Hook Elementary School Massacre; and the War on Cancer after his son died of that horrendous disease. Foreign leaders also, totally, respected him.

Joe Biden could be regarded as the greatest Vice President in American history, and his lifelong contributions will mark him in history as a very special political leader!

Thank you for your service to the nation and to Barack Obama, Vice President Biden!

Vice President Mike Pence: Could Be Most Engaged And Active Vice President Yet!

It seems more likely by the day that Vice President Elect Mike Pence could be the most engaged and active Vice President yet!

The Vice Presidency began to grow under Richard Nixon under President Dwight D. Eisenhower, because Ike was willing to delegate authority, and Nixon was smart and ambitious.

Nixon was the first Vice President to play a major role in policy making.

Walter Mondale under Jimmy Carter; George H. W. Bush under Ronald Reagan; Al Gore under Bill Clinton; Dick Cheney under George W. Bush; and Joe Biden under Barack Obama all added to the office of Vice President, but now it seems as if Donald Trump, who does not have a clue on anything in government, may be leaning on Mike Pence, who served 12 years in the House of Representatives, before becoming Indiana Governor over the past four years.

The good thing about Pence is that he is smart, intelligent, experienced in government, fully qualified, if need be, to take over the Presidency.

He is not Dan Quayle under George H. W. Bush, or Sarah Palin, who was the VP running mate of John McCain.

But despite his abilities, we must realize that Pence is a theocrat, who always says that his evangelical Christian faith is the most important thing in his life, and utilizes his right wing Christian beliefs to oppose abortion rights and gay rights in a vehement fashion. He also does not believe in climate change and science generally, and also promoted the idea that tobacco does not cause lung cancer, a preposterous idea.

So one would not wish to see Pence end up in the Presidency by plan or by circumstance, but in the meanwhile, he could be the single most important player in the Donald Trump administration over the next four years.

Mike Pence And Donald Trump: A Horrible Partnership With No Future!

The team of Mike Pence and Donald Trump is a horrible partnership with no future.

Mike Pence will not be in government after 2016, as he was not running for reelection as Governor of Indiana, and was seen as likely to lose another term, being way behind in public opinion polls, after he signed a law limiting gay rights, which had to be changed due to business and public opposition.

Also, his anti abortion views were causing greater restrictions on a woman’s right to determine her own future in Indiana, more than in many other states.

Pence is a religious right wing freak, who puts his religion before anything else, and he fails to understand that we have separation of church and state ingrained in our political system by the Founding Fathers.

He also flirted with the Tea Party Movement in Congress in his last years in the House of Representatives before running for the Indiana Governorship in 2012.

Pence is seen by many as a potential Presidential candidate in 2020 in the wake of the Donald Trump disaster, but he is no shining star for the GOP future, and if he is, somehow, the nominee, the Republican Party would end up in a massive Electoral College defeat once again.

It is also clear that Mike Pence is uncomfortable in his role as Vice Presidential running mate, and probably thought of quitting several times, when Donald Trump contradicted him, including once in the Presidential debates, and also after the sexual abuse charges leveled against Trump by 10 women, and the Access Hollywood tape.

It seems he would have little impact on Donald Trump’s thinking or policies, were, God forbid, Trump to become President.

But Donald Trump has dug his own grave, and is taking Mike Pence and the Republican Party down with him!

The Death Of Phyllis Schlafly: The War On Women And Social Change By A Divisive Woman Of The Right Wing

The death of Phyllis Schlafly yesterday marked the end of the life of a hateful woman who opposed feminism and gay rights, and promoted the rise of Republican conservatism in a masterly, if overwhelmingly nasty, manner.

Schlafly became first noticed when she vigorously backed Republican Senator Barry Goldwater in 1964, when the Establishment Republicans repudiated him and led to his massive defeat.

She ended her life with an endorsement of Donald Trump a few weeks ago, again a candidate repudiated by much of the Establishment Republicans.

In between, she bitterly fought the Equal Rights Amendment and Gay Rights, and headed the Eagle Forum, an extreme right wing organization, which became engaged in promotion of right wing attitudes on all subjects, including immigration and attacks on the federal government in favor of states rights.

The woman was very intelligent and effective in promoting her beliefs, and became noticed when she debated the role of women in public life on numerous television programs back in the 1970s, infuriating those who could not stomach her extremist views.

Somehow, it seemed as if Phyllis Schlafly would never leave us, but now, finally, at age 92, she has, and her impact, as negative as it is, will still be felt for a long time.

Donald Trump And Mike Pence Are, Fundamentally, Extremely Different: An Ineffective Team Which Will Not Win White House!

Mike Pence is a good speaker and we can give him credit for that.

But he has had vastly different beliefs on so many issues with Donald Trump:

Trade Agreements
The Mexico Wall
Muslim Immigration
The Iraq War
Gay Rights
Abortion Rights

Pence is anti environment; anti women’s rights; anti labor rights; totally pro gun rights; more concerned about religious rights of Christians than basic civil rights for all Americans; and is much more socially conservative in general than Donald Trump ever was before he announced for President a year ago.

Mike Pence is NOT in the mainstream of the nation, and was an early Tea Party supporter.

Mike Pence would not be utilized as an active Vice President by Donald Trump, but it does not really matter in the end.

Mike Pence is NOT going to be the next Vice President of the United States!

Mike Pence Another Horrible Republican VP Pick, Following Spiro Agnew, Dan Quayle, And Sarah Palin

The Republican Party has had a horrible history regarding Vice Presidential running mates, and twice, the nation was saddled with the choices as Vice President, making us pray for the health of the sitting President.

First, Richard Nixon selected Spiro Agnew, Governor of Maryland, who turned out to be the most worrisome VP of the 20th century, a true demagogue going after the news media and liberal critics with a vengeance,and turning out to be involved in illegal money laundering and bribery, forcing him to resign in October 1973, but saving us from an Agnew Presidency, and instead giving us Gerald Ford as the next President when Richard Nixon resigned.

Then, George H. W. Bush selected Dan Quayle, Senator of Indiana, who turned out to be a not very bright and informed Vice President, and when Bush had an atrial fibrillation, we had to worry that “Danny Boy” might succeed him. Quayle proved to be lacking in intelligence or brains.

Finally, we had John McCain select Alaska Governor Sarah Palin,who was a total nightmare and still haunts us eight years later as a true pest, who has no brains and no character at all, and yet has millions of clueless people who love this new “reality star”.

Now we have Donald Trump selecting Indiana Governor Mike Pence, who was a major supporter of the rise of the Tea Party Movement; promoted an anti gay accommodations bill, which he had to backtrack on over protests from corporations who withdrew plans for expansion in the Hoosier state; has stated his lack of belief in evolution or climate change; has come across as a Christian right wing extremist of the worst order including opposition to a women’s right to choose on abortion and refusal to accept gay rights and gay marriage; has said tobacco is not a health risk; and this is just the tip of the iceberg, so to speak.

The Republican Party has added to its history of having horrible, scary Vice Presidential nominees, and this is just another reason to fight against Donald Trump in this year’s election.