Gay Rights

Gay Marriage Case Likely On Way To Supreme Court For Ruling One Year From Now!

The issue of gay marriage is likely on its way to the Supreme Court, and almost certainly will be decided a year from now, in the most blockbuster case of 2015!

The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals has declared gay marriage to be a basic right, and that means marriages can move ahead in the near future in Utah, which brought the case, along with Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, Wyoming and New Mexico!

There is a temporary hold, but it is a major step forward, and insures, almost certainly, that the case will go to the Supreme Court this fall.

And it is ALMOST certain that we will have a Loving V. Virginia (interracial marriage) case result next year, allowing gay marriage everywhere in America, whether religious right wingers like it or not! One must realize that no church or other religious establishment would have to promote it, but civil marriage would move forward.

The belief is that there are four certain supporters of gay marriage on the Court—Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan.

Additionally, Justice Anthony Kennedy was the one who decided the path breaking case of Lawrence V. Texas, which greatly expanded the gay rights movement in 2003!

And it is possible to believe that Chief Justice John Roberts could also add his vote, making the vote next June 6-3!

What The Right Wing Was Wrong About In History

The Right Wing has been proved once again to be wrong, this time on Cliven Bundy, the anarchist in Nevada who refuses to pay his taxes, disobeys the Bureau of Land Management, and says he does not recognize the authority of the federal government.

This is NOT the first time the Right Wing has been wrong!

Consider the following:

Wrong on the threat of Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany in the 1930s
Wrong in their opposition to Social Security in the 1930s
Wrong in their condemnation of federal spending during the New Deal
Wrong in their glorification of Chiang Kai Shek as Chinese Leader in the 1940s through 1970s
Wrong in their support of racial segregation in the era of civil rights
Wrong in their belief of the detrimental effect of the 1960s on America
Wrong in their opposition to Medicare in the 1960s
Wrong in their blaming of the Left for the loss in the Vietnam War
Wrong in their demonization of Jimmy Carter’s Presidency
Wrong in their opposition to the Panama Canal Treaty because of fear of danger to American security
Wrong in their glorification of Ronald Reagan’s Presidency
Wrong in their demonization of Bill Clinton’s Presidency
Wrong in their support of the Religious Right evangelical Christianity in American politics
Wrong in their promotion of racist politicians even in recent times
Wrong in their attack on the environmental movement and climate change
Wrong in their promotion of denial of human rights and equality to gay Americans
Wrong in their demonization of Barack Obama’s Presidency

Is this enough of a list?

The Disgraceful Franklin Graham And Ralph Reed

Franklin Graham is disgraceful as the supposed successor of his dad, the Reverend Billy Graham, who is now 95 years of age.

Franklin Graham is extremely anti Islamic, labeling everyone in the faith as a potential terrorist, and unwilling to work toward reconciliation with the vast number of Muslims who are NOT terrorists, millions of them living in the United States, and facing discrimination that is undeserved.

Additionally, Franklin Graham is extremely anti gay, and applauds Russian leader Vladamir Putin on his nation’s anti gay legislation, failing to understand that gays are being threatened and victimized in ways similar to what happened to them in Nazi Germany. He has absolutely no tolerance or willingness to give gays and lesbians the equal rights in law and social treatment that all Americans are supposed to be guaranteed under the Bill of Rights!

It was good to see ABC News journalist Cokie Roberts challenge Graham on THIS WEEK this past Sunday, and she also did a service by exposing the hypocrisy of Ralph Reed, formerly of the Christian Coalition of Pat Robertson, and now of the Faith And Freedom Coalition, who claimed that gays are not fit to be parents, and that they harm children by adoption, when there is absolutely no such evidence. Reed is a nasty man, a person of doubtful ethical character himself, having engaged in political finance scandals, and demonstrating very right wing views tinged with religious hypocrisy toward women, as well as gays and lesbians.

Graham and Reed are two religious activists worthy of condemnation by those who believe in fairness and justice!

Republican “Retreads” Emerge, Demonstrating The Sad State Of Their Presidential Race For 2016!

The Republican Party has a long list of potential Presidential candidates for 2016, many of them “new,” including Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Bobby Jindal, Chris Christie, and even Paul Ryan and Jeb Bush, who have never run before for President.

Then, they have the “retreads”, including Rick Perry, Mike Huckabee, and Rick Santorum, those three being a sorry lot as alternatives.

All three are way out of the mainstream of American politics, with Rick Perry making a total fool of himself in 2012; Mike Huckabee, once seen as fairly “moderate” in 2008, having converted into a right wing extremist due to his Fox News Channel weekly show; and Rick Santorum, well just a total embarrassment to himself and everyone around him!

The Republican Party is a sorry lot, with lots of candidates on the bench, but none having the slightest chance to become President!

Instead, the GOP looks completely past former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman (also former Ambassador to China and Singapore), the only solid, foreign policy experienced, sensible, mainstream candidate, who could attract support across the aisle, and make Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, or any other Democratic nominee squirm, as he did for awhile in the Barack Obama campaign in 2012, with them considering Huntsman a real threat.

Huntsman is sitting on the sidelines, and considering an independent run on a “No Labels” campaign, and reminding people that the Republican Party of the pre Ronald Reagan era is the only hope for a revival of GOP fortunes, as the country has passed by the anti immigrant, anti gay, anti women, anti labor, anti environment mentality of the Tea Party Movement, which may be able to win gerrymandered Congressional seats, but cannot win the US Senate majority or the White House anytime soon!

Widespread Sense Of Anger, Unhappiness, Discontent, Despondency In Electorate Favors Democrats!

Many political observers seem unaware of a widespread sense of anger, unhappiness, discontent, and despondency in the electorate, and fail to understand that this favors the Democrats, not the Republicans, in the midterm elections of 2014.

The Republican Party in the House of Representatives has produced the most horrible record of lack of achievement, lack of concern for the middle class and the poor, and has simply come across as a party of obstruction in the past four years.

While the Democrats have far from a perfect record, they have been the party to bring about a health care plan that is covering millions of people for the first time; have fought for an increase in the minimum wage; have argued for an extension of unemployment compensation for the long term unemployed; have battled to make sure that the food stamp program is not gutted for the poor, the elderly, the children, and the disabled; have promoted the need for infrastructure spending and education, including a solution for students heavily indebted; have defended the need for environmental protection; have backed the need for strong labor protections; have supported fair treatment for gays and lesbians, including marriage rights; and have worked for immigration reform in a fair and balanced way.

For those who are angry, unhappy, discontented, and despondent to sit on their hands and do nothing, and NOT vote in the midterm elections, both state and Congressional, would be the height of stupidity, as no change can come if people stay home.

So the job of Democrats is to come out of their shell, fight for what they believe in, be proud of what they have done and stood for, stand proud, and motivate those who usually do not vote, to do so this time, and give the Republicans a well deserved defeat in the House of Representatives, keep the Democrats in control of the US Senate, and work to defeat Republican “Bully” Governors elected in 2010, who have been a literal nightmare for the masses of people who are not wealthy, and not part of the one percent oligarchy which is taking over American politics in an alarming way, while the middle class and the poor sit on the sidelines, lacking motivation to react in their own self interest!

Two Different Directions: Wisconsin State Republican Party And Nevada State Republican Party

The internal battle over the future of the Republican Party is in full swing, as we come up to the 160th anniversary of the Republican Party in Ripon, Wisconsin, in 1854, which actually took place on March 20. with a formal organization in Jackson, Michigan, on July 6.

For a long time, the Ripon Society has existed as an organization for “liberal,” mainstream Republicans, but of course, there is no such thing anymore known as “liberal” Republicanism. Even those who might consider themselves “liberal,” avoid use of that term like a plague!

The Wisconsin GOP, which once included “Mr. Progressive” Robert La Follette, Sr., and his brilliant sons Robert La Follette, Jr. and Philip La Follette, now, however, has become an extremist group on the far right, under Governor Scott Walker and Senator Ron Johnson, and the proposal is to add to their state party documents the concept of the right of the state to promote “secession’ if felt necessary, a sign of the old, ugly language that led to the Civil War and the loss of two thirds of a million men in combat, the greatest single tragedy in the nation’s history!

At the same time, the Nevada State Republican Party has made the decision to remove from its platform for 2014 two issues that the Christian Right has been promoting since their rise in the party apparatus nationwide since the late 1970s—abortion and gay rights and marriage. No longer will the party promote government intervention in the lives of women and their personal decisions about their bodies and reproductive rights. And no longer will they get in the way of a person’s happiness, as to his or her basic human rights, including marriage, and the right to one’s sexual orientation without any discrimination by government!

In the long run, what Nevada Republicans are doing will, if pursued elsewhere, lead to a long term revival of the GOP, while if Wisconsin is followed, it is the death knell and demise of the party of Lincoln, TR, and Ike!

Conservative Republicans Want To Repeal Constitutional Amendments And 20th Century Reforms That Make America A Better Nation!

The Republican Party of the second decade of the 21st century, along with the conservative movement, in all of its ramifications, is out to repeal constitutional amendments and numerous 20th century reforms that make America a better, more modern nation, all in their quest to make the corporations ever more dominant and enrich the top one percent more than already is reality!

When one follows, reads, and watches right wing spokesmen, in and out of the party, they have called for the following repeals:

The 16th Amendment–Federal Income Tax
The 17th Amendment–Direct Popular Election Of US Senators
19th Amendment–Woman Suffrage
Antiquities Act–National Parks, Forests, and Monuments Protection
Food And Drug Administration
Clayton Anti Trust Act
Federal Trade Commission
Federal Reserve Act
Social Security Act
Fair Labor Standards Act
Medicare
Civil Rights Act of 1964
Voting Rights Act of 1965
Department Of Education
Department Of Health And Human Services
Department Of Housing And Urban Development
Department Of Energy
Environmental Protection Agency
Consumer Product Safety Commission
Occupational Safety And Health Administration
US Post Office
Affirmative Action
Abortion Rights
Gay Rights and Gay Marriage
National Public Radio
PBS
Americans With Disabilities Act
Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan
ObamaCare–Affordable Care Act

These and other laws and amendments not mentioned here became law under Presidents of both parties, including

Theodore Roosevelt
William Howard Taft
Woodrow Wilson
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Harry Truman
Dwight D. Eisenhower
John F. Kennedy
Lyndon B. Johnson
Richard Nixon
Gerald Ford
Jimmy Carter
George H. W. Bush
Bill Clinton
George W. Bush
Barack Obama

Basically, these right wing groups and the dominant element in the Republican Party in Congress want to repeal everything that is good about America, and bring us back to the 19th century Gilded Age!

CPAC Convention: The Lunatic Right Displays Itself!

Watching, listening, and reading about the Conservative Political Action Conference makes anyone with a stable mind roll his eyes in wonderment at what conservatism has become!

All the losers of the past were there and ranting and raving their insanity, including Rick Santorum, Rick Perry, Paul Ryan, and Mike Huckabee. The “newcomers”,” people not yet defeated but soon to be, including Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Bobby Jindal and Chris Christie, also appeared, and made fools of themselves. Of course, the ultimate lunatic and embarrassment, Donald Trump, also spewed his sick mind and constant need for attention. And to top it off, Sarah Palin is making an appearance, as if any sane, intelligent person cares! And Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, desperately trying to keep his seat, showed up brandishing a rifle, a horrible image for a Senate leader to display just a year after the Sandy Hook Massacre!

Jeb Bush and Scott Walker stayed away, for both a smart move, and Jon Huntsman was also not there, and at least for Bush and Huntsman, who are the most mainstream of this group of characters, it made sense NOT to be there!

Speaker of the House John Boehner was not invited, which should really be seen as a blessing, as he has upset right wingers by being exasperated with the Tea Party Movement, for making his job absolutely impossible in the lower chamber.

It is still reality that ONLY Jeb Bush and Jon Huntsman would have ANY chance to be elected over Hillary Clinton in the Presidential Election of 2016, but not very good odds for either of them. And again, let this author repeat, that the Electoral College strongly favors ANY Democrat to win the White House, and as long as the GOP alienates African Americans, Latinos, women, and many young voters, it will not win the White House. And as long as it fights the idea of national health care coverage for all; acceptance of gay rights and same sex marriage; opposition to immigration reforms; favors the energy industry over the environment; and continues to fight against a living wage for the poor and middle class, it will lose for the long term future! And if it continues to promote religion and theocracy, it will NEVER win the White House ever again, in a nation that believes in separation of church and state!

So those of us who care about our fellow Americans can sit and observe the CPAC Conference, and feel good that the potential candidates and the Republican party are sealing their doom for 2016 and beyond!

Suddenly, Joe Biden Makes It A Race With Hillary Clinton For 2016!

Here many thought that the Democratic Presidential race for 2016 was over, and that Hillary Clinton would saunter to the nomination without opposition.

True, that former Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer and Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley were hinting that they might challenge Hillary, but the thought was it could just be an attempt to gain some publicity, and hope that Hillary would not run, giving them the edge simply on intention to run.

Well, forget about that, as Vice President Joe Biden has made it clear that he does not wish to be ignored or overlooked, and that IF he decides to run, it will not be affected by what Hillary does. After all, even good friends compete in life, right? Biden does not want to be seen, certainly at this point, as a “lame duck”, still wanting to be seen as significant and in the game for the next three years as Vice President and beyond.

When one thinks about it, since Richard Nixon, it has been assumed, and often the fact, that a sitting Vice President was seen as a likely successor to the President he served, at least for the nomination. Richard Nixon, Hubert Humphrey, Gerald Ford, Walter Mondale, George H. W. Bush, and Al Gore all became Presidential nominees after serving under Dwight D. Eisenhower, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, and Bill Clinton. Nixon and Bush became President, while Humphrey, Ford, Mondale and Gore failed to win the Presidential elections after they were nominated by their party. Only Dick Cheney never considered running for the Presidency, after being Vice President under George W. Bush. Even Spiro Agnew, before he was forced to resign due to scandal, was perceived as the likely successor nominee to Richard Nixon, and the same for Dan Quayle under George H. W. Bush, who tried and failed to win the Presidential nomination in 1996.

So the idea of Biden wanting to run is not at all out of the norm, and when one looks seriously at Joe Biden’s record in public life, all one say is WOW!

The reality is that NO Vice President has EVER had the wealth of experience in public office of Joe Biden!

BIden served 36 years in the Senate, and will have had 8 years in the Vice Presidency, for a total of 44 years in public service by 2016.

Biden is a well liked, admired, gregarious, public figure, even if one does not agree with his viewpoints and record.

It is well known that Biden can build bridges with the Republican opposition, and that Speaker John Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell like him, work well with him, and that Joe Biden has helped to resolve differences on many issues for the Obama Administration. Biden has been a major player and influence over policy and strategy for President Obama, and has been a loyal soldier when his viewpoints have lost out in the cabinet and national security meetings.

Joe Biden has chaired the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and his expertise in foreign policy, and his knowledge of, and relationships with foreign leaders make him invaluable in dealing with national security and defense issues. He was often thought of as a possible Secretary of State and Secretary of Defense in the past, due to his brilliance in these areas of such great importance to America’s future.

Joe Biden has also chaired the Senate Judiciary Committee, and his knowledge and understanding of constitutional matters and the Supreme Court, make him invaluable on legal controversies, including his advocacy of gay rights and gay marriage ahead of most politicians who have served in Congress or the executive branch.

Joe Biden is a leader, who if he were President, would be able to get things done much more easily, and is a “wheeler dealer” in the mode of Lyndon B. Johnson, but with a more kind and caring edge than the former President, who could be quite brusque and crude at times.

Hillary Clinton has great background and experience, but on pure years and accomplishments, she cannot match Joe Biden, and in fact, NO ONE in public life can do so!

The major shortcomings of Joe Biden are:

His age, which will be 74 and two months if he took the oath of office in 2017, making him the oldest first term President, and in theory, the oldest President altogether, if he had two terms, and left office at age 82 and two months.

His health, the question whether it would hold up, as he had serious health issues in 1987, due to an aneurysm, which required brain surgery, and his son, Beau Biden, the Delaware Attorney General, suffered a similar health crisis a few years ago, also recovering, but making it seem to be a genetic problem, which could arise, although health issues could also arise for Hillary Clinton, and really, for any Presidential candidate or winner of either party at any age!

His tendency to say embarrassing, or sometimes, purely stupid comments, although one could argue all of us do that, but when in high office. it can have reverberations, and there are critics who keep lists of “Bidenisms”, but they do NOT match the moronic nature of comments made by Sarah Palin or Michele Bachmann or Louie Gohmert in the present, or Dan Quayle in the past!

One thing is certain: If Joe Biden were to become President, we would have one of the most lively, colorful, dynamic Presidencies, with Biden being very warm, genuine, sincere, caring, and yet hard nosed enough to get things done and read the “riot act” on his own party members to get things done!

It would be nice to see such a Presidency, which would be inspiring in so many ways.

Having said all of the above, it is clear that if Hillary Clinton runs, she is likely to be the Democratic nominee.

If she chooses not to run, then Joe Biden is the odds on favorite for the Democratic Presidential nomination.

However, if Hillary does not run, or even if she does, it is likely that a “younger generation”, an idea advocated by this blogger in entries before now, are likely to enter the race and make it interesting, including the already named Schweitzer and O’Malley, and if Hillary bows out of the race, possibly Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar, New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, and Virginia Senator Mark Warner.

Federal District Court Judges And Same Sex Marriage Bans Collapsing!

The move toward same sex marriage churns on, with federal judges having utilized the 14th Amendment in four “Red” states in the past two months now to end the discrimination against gays marrying.

So on Valentine’s Day, it now looks more evident than ever that a national Supreme Court decision is in the offing, with Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy, who wrote the majority decision in Lawrence V. Texas in 2003 igniting the gay civil rights movement, likely to be the fifth and decisive vote in any case that goes to the high Court!

Who would ever have thought that Utah, Oklahoma, Kentucky, and now, newly turned “Blue” Virginia (the state of the Loving V. Virginia interracial marriage case in 1967), would see such rapid action to defy the bigots and the haters?

The federal courts have been the herald of the future in so much of modern history, as with Brown V. Board of Education on racial integration, and Roe V. Wade on abortion rights, and Lawrence V. Texas on gay rights, and the courage of federal district judges across the nation to push the Supreme Court toward a final determination of same sex marriage is an indication that often we have to leave it to appointed judges to lead us to our better side of human nature, the ending of discrimination and injustice!

Sadly, we see right wing evangelicals, Catholics, and Mormons fighting a rear guard action, which only makes one realize the evils of these organized groups that have in the past been on the wrong side of many moral and ethical issues, overlooking slavery, segregation, women’s rights, and now gay rights. This is a losing battle long term, and these groups fighting against progress and human rights will pay the price in loss of membership by their willingness to fight a battle that is already lost!