Gays And Lesbians

The Senate Filibuster Designed For Obstruction, And Historic Denial Of Basic Civil Rights

The US Senate is the greatest deliberative legislative body in the world, but also condemned in history for promoting denial of civil rights for people of color, particularly, but not only for African Americans.

The filibuster was used to prevent federal anti lynching laws in the years after Reconstruction and through to the 1950s by Southern Democrats, and then it was used to prevent basic civil rights laws, until Lyndon B. Johnson showed great courage, and used various tactics to overcome the denial of civil rights, and accomplish the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Now, the Republicans have used it in the past decade to stop progress under President Barack Obama, and now are threatening the same under Joe Biden, and specifically in areas including voting rights, and inhumane treatment of various minorities, including people of color, women, gays and lesbians, disabled people, and immigrants from Latin America, Asia and Africa.

They claim the mantle of “minority rights”, but only for their narrowminded effort to promote white supremacy, and refuse to accept the reality of a multi ethnic and multi racial and diverse future America in the next 25 years.

The Senate has been an obstructionist legislative body, where Senators who represent far less than a majority of the population are able to prevent what a clear majority of the population wishes to see in the promotion of human rights and work against racism, nativism, misogyny, homophobia, antisemitism, and Islamophobia!

So a change, requiring a “spoken” filibuster, which used to be the norm, needs to be revived, and that will bring about the ability to overcome the filibuster in a short period, and allow for progress on so many important issues the Senate needs to address to advance American democracy!

One Month Anniversary Of The Biden Presidency: Tremendous Initiatives And Goals And Early Success!

It is today one month since Joe Biden became the 46th President of the United States, and there is a sense of great optimism.

The basic decency, compassion, empathy of Joe Biden is very evident, and he has staked out goals in foreign policy and domestic policy, canceling out most of the damage done by Donald Trump in his horrendous four years in office.

Biden has embraced NATO and our democratic allies in Asia;

has made clear that America will hold authoritarian governments around the world accountable for their outrageous violations of basic freedoms;

has selected an exceptional group of Cabinet and other advisors to deal with the myriad of issues he faces, greater than anyone since Franklin D. Roosevelt nine decades ago;

has committed himself to the fight against climate change;

has dedicated himself to the need for immigration reform, and to protect DACA recipients who have been living in uncertainty for the past five years;

has worked to promote the environment and conservation after the worst environmental record of any American President;

has been moving forward on a major economic relief bill;

has surpassed his goal of daily vaccinations against COVID 19 and made it a national commitment, not just left up to states alone;

has made the fight for civil liberties, civil rights, and the struggle against racism, nativism, misogyny a major commitment;

has endorsed full protection for the gay and lesbian community;

and above all, has restored the dignity and prestige of the American Presidency which was in rapid decline.

Joe Biden may not be able to accomplish everything he wishes, due to political realities, but his heart is in the right place, and he clearly is out to promote progressive goals and work against domestic terrorist groups which endanger American democracy.

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!

The Heroes Of 2020: Bright Lights In A Year The Worst In Most People’s Lifetimes

The year 2020 has been the worst year in most people’s lifetimes, but there have been heroes who deserve attention and appreciation from all decent Americans.

The ultimate hero is Dr. Anthony Fauci, who reached the age of 80 yesterday, and has been an inspiration to anyone who believes in science, and respects expertise over “junk science”, or science that is generations out of date.

Some of our greatest heroes of the year, sadly, have departed, including Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who left a legacy of promotion of equal rights for all groups in America, including women, people of color, the disabled, and equal justice for all.

Also departing this world was Congressman John Lewis of Georgia, who promoted the concept of “good trouble” to advance human rights in a world and nation that too often is not engaged in such efforts.

Another hero is former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who advanced equality of gays and lesbians, just by becoming the first known gay Presidential contender, and now will be the first openly gay Cabinet officer as Secretary of Transportation.

Another hero is Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi, who has done an amazing job pursuing justice, equality, and the interests of the American people, in a time of the massive threat presented by Donald Trump, and has not blinked at his threats, misogyny, and crazed insanity. She has had to deal with the unrelenting misogyny of many in the Republican Party opposition, and Trump supporters who show a total lack of respect for her that they would never utter against a man!

Another hero is California Congressman Adam Schiff, who was a key player in the impeachment investigation of Donald Trump, and is Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. He has suffered from threats and vicious attacks by Donald Trump and his minions, but has demonstrated courage and conviction in an admirable manner.

Another hero is South Carolina Congressman James Clyburn, the highest ranked African American in Congress as House Majority Whip, third ranking leadership role. If it were not for Clyburn, Joe Biden would not have been able to become the Democratic Presidential nominee this year, as Clyburn’s endorsement was a major factor in Biden winning the South Carolina Primary and moving forward to the top of the Democratic Presidential ticket.

Another such hero is the future First Lady, Dr. Jill Biden, who, with her elegance and intelligence, will raise the level of that position from the disgraceful low level it reached in the past four years.

California Senator Kamala Harris, soon to be Vice President of the United States, is another hero, who will be the first woman, and first woman of color with her Jamaican and Asian Indian heritage, to be a heartbeat away from the Presidency. She is a role model for women and racial minorities, and will be a very influential Vice President, more in the direction of Joe Biden, Al Gore, and Walter Mondale, than Mike Pence!

And last but not least, Joe Biden, who is a man of decency, compassion, ethics, and empathy, will be our 46th President on January 20, 2021. He will face the most daunting set of issues of any President since Abraham Lincoln in 1861, Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1933, and Barack Obama in 2009. His long career in Congress, and his outstanding Vice Presidency give America hope, that in a time of a “dark winter”, as Joe Biden calls the COVID 19 Pandemic and the Second Great Depression, that Biden will take leadership on the level of FDR’s New Deal to take us to brighter days and a recovery in 2021 and beyond!

Everyone needs to pray for his success, but all know that he will not waste a minute or a day in promoting himself on Twitter or playing golf, as our despicable 45th President, Donald Trump, has done more of in the past four years, than doing his job!

Chief Justice John Roberts Has Become The “Swing Vote” On The Supreme Court Since The Retirement Of Anthony Kennedy

Chief Justice John Roberts, appointed in 2005, has become a major surprise on the Supreme Court, and is seen by many as the new, often reliable “swing vote” on the Court, enraging hard line conservatives.

He has become unpredictable after years of being seen as a solid conservative, and is evolving into the most important Chief Justice since Earl Warren retired a half century ago.

Roberts is now perceived as the new “Anthony Kennedy”, going with the liberal side of the Court about one third of the time, and staying with the conservative side two thirds of the time.

This does not please right wingers, who want a Court that is back to the Gilded Age in mentality.

Roberts saved Obama Care in 2012; and just this year backed off on conservative attempts to end abortion; to end DACA (Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals; and backed the rights of gays and lesbians in employment, all path breaking moments.

He also prevented a citizenship question from being added to the census, and backed New York City’s strict gun control laws. And just this week, he upheld Nevada’s restriction on church attendance in the midst of the CoronaVirus Pandemic.

Roberts also was critical of President Donald Trump’s statement last year about Justices being loyal to who appointed them, when he said that there are no Bush Justices, no Obama Justices, no Clinton Justices. And of course, he presided over the Trump impeachment trial professionally, but one can see he is no fan of Donald Trump in any sense.

It seems clear that Roberts is thinking of his and the Court’s reputation and legacy, as the Court is awfully close to the point where it would seem regressive for the 21st century, were Roberts to go full right wing.

So despite strong criticism from the Right, John Roberts has been a savior on the Court at times.

Most important is that Roberts, writing for the Court majority of 7-2 on two cases has made it clear that Trump is subject to the law regarding no immunity from state criminal investigation of his taxes and also from congressional subpoenas, a stunning series of development at the beginning of July. So the President is not above the law!

Let us cheer on Chief Justice John Roberts for maintaining the reputation of the Supreme Court as NOT overly ideological, to the detriment of Americans!

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!

The Most Lasting And Destructive Impact Of Donald Trump: 157 Federal Judicial Confirmations For Life Term!

After nearly three years of President Donald Trump, the realization is that the most lasting and destructive impact he has had is the reality that he has seen 157 Federal Judicial confirmations to life terms on the federal courts, including two Supreme Court Justices.

This is due to the efforts of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who has made it his mission to make the federal courts as right wing extremist as possible for the next two generations.

That is about a little less than twenty percent of the total number of federal judges, now standing at 870.

Many of these confirmed judges are incompetent, inexperienced, and unqualified for lifetime appointments, but the nation is stuck with them.

These judges will promote the right wing agenda, including favoring corporations, the wealthy, and religious extremists, and working against women, racial and ethnic minorities, the disabled, the poor, and gays and lesbians.

They will also promote more Presidential powers, and undermine the environment, labor interests, and consumers.

This will become more and more a never ending constitutional crisis as the nation becomes a majority non white in 25 years, and as Democrats gain the edge in future elections with reapportionment of seats, likely winning the Presidency once Texas goes Democratic, but having a Supreme Court and other federal courts more conservative than ever since the Gilded Age and the 1920s, and holding back progress and reform.

This reality may lead to a move to add members to the Supreme Court once the Democrats gain control of the US Senate. It does not bode well for the future of constitutional government in the next 20-40 years.

A Different America In 2040: More Young Minorities, More Muslims Than Jews, Older Average Age Population

In just one more generation, America will be a very different nation than it was when I was born at the time of the Battle of the Bulge (December 1944) in World War II’s last few months.

This blogger was born in New York City as a minority, a Jew in a primarily Protestant white America, with large percentages of Italian and Irish Catholics as the so called “minority”, along with Jews.

Yes, there were some African Americans in my graduating class, along with a few Puerto Ricans and Asian Americans, and even one native American young man.

But the idea that a century or so after my birth, in the 2040s, that we would have a population of aging white people in a nation rapidly rising in average age, and with a majority of young people being Latinos, Asians and African American ethnicity, and with more Muslims than Jews in the population, is indeed astounding.

But this is not something to mourn over, but see it as a challenge, to make a nation truly international in origin, not just from Europe, prosper and move ahead toward future challenges with optimism.

So the future is NOT the racist, nativist, white supremacist, antisemitic, and Islamophobic message sent out by Trump supporters, who also wish to control women and gays and lesbians, but rather to embrace the diversity of our nation and lead the world in tolerance.

This is something I wish for as I am now part of the aging population that wants a great future for the nation he loves!

Wrong For Vice President Mike Pence And His Wife Karen Pence To Promote A Bigoted, Narrow Minded View Of Gays, Lesbians, And Transgenders, Not In The Tradition Of Jesus, Who Promoted Tolerance And Open Mindedness

It is extremely disturbing to see Vice President Mike Pence and his wife, the Second Lady, Karen Pence, to be promoting an anti gay, anti lesbian, and anti transgender agenda.

Karen Pence is teaching art at a right wing “Christian” school that bans gay, lesbian, transgender or bisexual teaching and other staff members, and also bans students of those descriptions or students who have parents of those groups.

They also promote an extreme right wing view of Christianity, including against premarital sex, adultery, and preach that women are to obey their husbands.

What century are we in? This is NOT a Christian nation, as we have always promoted, from the Founding Fathers onward, the principle of the separation of church and state.

We may have a majority of people in this nation who were born to a broad based Christian parentage, but of many different sects and beliefs, and that is not the same as saying we are a “Christian” nation, as we are a nation of all religions, with no favoritism or preference for any one religious belief. Jews,Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, other religious minorities, and even atheists and agnostics are all protected from any persecution, discrimination, or mistreatment by any institution.

For Karen Pence to have such a narrow minded view when she could be the next First Lady is a demonstration of a woman and her husband being so outrageously hateful, discriminatory, and prejudiced, and is unacceptable in a future President or First Lady.

We have never had this before, and if the Pences end up in the White House, and try to impose their theocratic views on the nation, they are in for a massive battle and struggle, as the vast number of Americans will not tolerate such bigotry.

The Political Year 2018 Reviewed, And Hopes For A Political Renaissance

The year 2018 saw the drastic blunders and mean spirited nature of the 45th President come to full fruition.

It was the year of diplomatic, economic, environmental, and social steps backward, wiping out a lot of the good that has been done by Presidents and Congresses of both parties in the past 70 plus years since World War II.

It was the year of the passing of political leaders who always had the motivation to do good, even when they sometimes went the wrong direction on specific issues—John McCain and George H. W. Bush.

It was a year when the Federal Judiciary stood up to Donald Trump most of the time, but also a year when extreme right wing judges were approved, and a Supreme Court Justice, Brett Kavanaugh, similar to Clarence Thomas in his mistreatment of women, was confirmed despite that reality.

It was also the year of more gun related deaths and opioid deaths than have died in war since the end of World War II.

It was the year when schools and religious institutions and public gathering places were subjected to mass death by people who desperately needed mental health intervention.

It was the year when racism, nativism, misogyny all had massive revival, assisted by the behavior of the Chief Executive in the Oval Office.

It was the year when the Republican Party lost all credibility as it refused to stand up and condemn the unstable behavior of Donald Trump, and allowed him to hijack the historical reputation of the party.

But in the midst of all this gloom, it was also the year of the rise of women, racial and religious minorities, gays and lesbians, and young people to more political power and influence than has ever been seen in American politics and society.

The Democratic Party became the bastion of future hopes of reform and change, and they have the backing of millions of Americans who desperately want a different direction for American politics and society.

2019 needs to be the year of movement against Donald Trump, and hold him accountable for his crimes and sins, and the likelihood of the Trump Presidency coming to an end by criminal indictments against family members, leading to the resignation of Trump, as occurred with Richard Nixon, seems likely.

The future of American democracy and constitutional government is at stake as we enter 2019, but the massive “Blue Wave” evokes hope and optimism.

Let us all hope for a better, more productive 2019 politically and socially.