Ku Klux Klan

Death Of Civil Rights Icon John Lewis, A True Inspiration For Nearly 60 Years

This blogger and author woke up today and was shocked to discover that Civil Rights Icon John Lewis, Georgia Congressman since 1987, had passed away at age 80 of pancreatic cancer.

Lewis was a great inspiration to all of us who believe in civil rights and progressive reforms, and he personally paid the price in the early to mid 1960s, leading to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

He was arrested multiple times and bloodied and injured by Ku Klux Klansman all over the South, but he remained committed to nonviolent civil disobedience and basic human rights.

Lewis was the last speaker to survive, among those who spoke at the March on Washington on August 28, 1963, and worked closely with the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, even though he was just a young man in his mid 20s.

There is a movement on to rename the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama after him, as he was injured on “Bloody Sunday” on March 7, 1965, when marching for voting rights at that site.

Pettus was a Confederate Army General in the Civil War, a Grand Dragon of the Ku Klux Klan, and a United States Senator from Alabama. It is time to remove his name from that bridge, and rename it after John Lewis.

Lewis will be remembered in the annals of history as a truly great man, and one of the most outstanding members historically of the House of Representatives.

Senator Doug Jones Of Alabama A True Asset Who Democrats Need to Keep Seat

Senator Doug Jones of Alabama is a rarity.

Other than Virginia’s two Senators, Tim Kaine and Mark Warner, there are no other Democrats in the Senate from the states that made up the Confederate States of America in the Civil War, except for Doug Jones.

Jones is a true asset, as when he was the US Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama under President Bill Clinton from 1997-2001, he successfully prosecuted two Ku Klux Klan members for the 1963 church bombing in Birmingham which killed four African American girls, a major accomplishment after nearly four decades of no justice in that case.

In the Senate, where he won over former Judge Roy Moore, a truly horrendous Republican nominee to replace former Senator Jeff Sessions, he has conducted himself as a moderate Democrat, who has demonstrated his willingness to work with opposition Republicans, and to split with his party on certain issues.

While he is not a liberal Democrat by any means, he offers a better alternative than Republican nominee Tommy Tuberville, the former Auburn University football coach.

Jones has supported some gun control legislation; backs gay marriage; endorses protection of DACA immigrants; is pro choice on abortion; opposes repeal of ObamaCare; and comes across as reasonable and decent.

There is no perfect choice in any Southern election, with such strong Republican and conservative dominance, but it is hoped that Jones will win a full term, as he deserves it, and is a step forward in a state where no Democrat had won state wide for a generation!

His hoped for victory would help to make the Democrats the majority in the US Senate, which is essential for the future advancement of the party agenda in the next four years!

The Second Debate Mix: What To Expect

The second Democratic Presidential debate will take place on Thursday, June 27 from 9-11 pm on NBC and MSNBC.

It includes the following ten candidates:

Joe Biden

Bernie Sanders

Pete Buttigieg

Kamala Harris

Kirsten Gillibrand

Michael Bennet

Marianne Williamson

Eric Swalwell

John Hickenlooper

Andrew Yang

The group includes the former Vice President and US Senator; four other US Senators; a member of the House of Representatives; a Mayor; a former Governor; and two independent, out of government candidates.

This debate has more of the so called “heavyweights”—Biden, Sanders, Buttigieg, Harris—with the other six candidates seen as much weaker in likelihood of long term survival.

Joe Biden must defend himself as the clear front runner, and avoid any more gaffes, after some controversial statements about his past ability to cross the aisle and work with past racial segregationists, as well as his continued habit of touching and hugging women and children, violating their personal space. He could be harmed by a poor performance, but one must remember how good he was in debates in 2008, and against Sarah Palin and Paul Ryan in Vice Presidential debates in 2008 and 2012.

Bernie Sanders will come across strongly, but has many concerned that he cannot carry the nation in the upcoming Presidential election, with the fact that he embraces the word “Socialist”, which can be abused by Trump and the Republicans against him. He will be engaged in major combat with Biden for sure, as Sanders attempts to overtake him in future polls and fundraising.

Pete Buttigieg has been involved in a major crisis as South Bend, Indiana Mayor, with the recent murder of a black man by city police, and he is under attack for the racial troubles involving the law enforcement community. He should do well in the debate, but can he overcome the massive lead of Biden and Sanders over the rest of the contenders, is the question.

Kamala Harris should come on strong as well, but will need to clarify her stand on the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), which she compared months ago to the Ku Klux Klan. The assumption is that she will continue to flourish and possibly grow in support.

Some people think Marianne Williamson and Andrew Yang, outsiders who clearly have great ideas and intellect, might shine, but somehow, this author and blogger does not see it succeeding.

Of the remaining four, it seems to this author and blogger that Eric Swalwell has the best shot of survival, just a gut feeling, but that Kirsten Gillibrand, Michael Bennet, and John Hickenlooper have little chance of lasting much beyond the first couple of months of the debate season.

My gut feeling is that out of this group that Biden, Sanders, Buttigieg, Harris, Swalwell, and possibly Williamson and Yang will survive to go on for another day.

This would make the 20 candidates diminish to 12—-and one can say only possibly Steve Bullock, Montana Governor, who was not allowed in the first set of debates, might still have a shot of those few who are not in this debate, leaving Seth Moulton, Congressman from Massachusetts, and the new announced candidate, former Pennsylvania Congressman Joe Sestak, out in the cold.

So expect out of 23 candidates, 13 will make it to the future debates.

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam Must Resign, And Gives America An African American Successor, Justin Fairfax

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam has been exposed as having participated in the posting of a photogragh in his medical school yearbook in 1984, in which he is posing with another student, one wearing black face, and the other in a Ku Klux Klan robe and mask, leading to demands for his resignation.

This whole situation is sad, as Northam was elected Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia in November 2017, after serving as Lieutenant Governor, being in the state legislature, having had a medical career, and given eight years to the Army Medical Corp.

Northam was seen as a moderate left Governor, and seemed to be a decent man who would serve the one term allowed Virginia Governors, with no ability to be reelected, due to constitutional bars for a second consecutive term.

But the situation requires immediate resignation, as Northam has lost the confidence of the Virginia voters, and cannot use the excuse of “a youthful indiscretion”, since he was 25 years old at the time of the yearbook photo in 1984.

Certainly, Northam has worked to promote racial reconciliation after the despicable Charlottesville riot in 2017, while he was running for the Governorship, and himself, attended a desegregated high school where the majority of students were African Americans.

No one is saying he is an open racist now, and yet we have an open racist in President Donald Trump, who said both sides in Charlottesville contained decent people, an outrage in trying to call Ku Klux Klan white supremacists as having equality with those protesting racial inequities.

Truthfully, while Ralph Northam needs to resign, Donald Trump, for his long and consistent racism, nativism, misogyny, and praise of white supremacists should also resign, but we cannot be that lucky, unfortunately.

When Republicans are accused of inappropriate behavior, they always manage to move past it and stay in office, while Democrats are always in a position to be forced out, as with Al Franken on the accusations, never fully investigated, of sexual harassment and inappropriate conduct with women.

The only good result of Northam’s eventual resignation is that Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax, an African American, who graduated Duke University and Columbia University Law School, and is seen as the future of the Democratic Party, as he will turn age 40 on February 17, would succeed Northam as Governor. He would be the second African American governor of the state, after Douglas Wilder, and the fourth African American governor in modern times.

He worked in several Democratic Presidential campaigns, and was a “body man” for Vice Presidential nominee John Edwards in the Presidential campaign of 2004. He also worked for the Senate Judiciary Committee and as a law clerk for a federal judge, and also as a prosecutor.

While Virginia only allows one term for Governor, a succession by Fairfax would not eliminate the possibility of an elected term in 2021, so Fairfax could be Governor of Virginia for nearly seven years. That would make him an historic figure, and give him the opportunity to become a national fiture, and potentially a future Democratic contender for the Presidency in 2024 or 2028.

Only one former Governor, Mills Godwin, was able to serve two nonconsecutive terms as Governor of Virginia, as a Democrat from 1966-1970 and as a Republican from 1974-1978.

The Next Speaker Of The House IF GOP Keeps Majority: Kevin McCarthy, Steve Scalise, Or Jim Jordan

If the Republican Party, somehow, holds on to majority control of the House of Representatives in the 116th Congress, they will need to select a new Speaker of the House, as Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan is leaving Congress at the end of this year.

At this point, there are three key contenders for the Speakership in the Republican Party:

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California

House Majority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana

House Freedom Caucus member Jim Jordan of Ohio

All three, honestly, make outgoing Speaker Paul Ryan look better by comparison, and yet, my readers know how much I dislike, and have denounced Paul Ryan, including when he was the Vice Presidential running mate of Mitt Romney in the Presidential Election of 2012, for which I was viciously attacked on several right wing websites at the time.

But seriously, Kevin McCarthy is practically the “lap dog” of Donald Trump, extremely loyal and obedient, and was seemingly aware of Russian Collusion in 2016, was talking about it at a Republican House conference meeting, until Paul Ryan told him to stop talking about it. He is a man without any principles other than the advancement of Donald Trump and his agenda, part of the Trump party, rather than the traditional Republican Party, and even more so than Paul Ryan, who has been unwilling to speak out against Trump’s disgraceful tweets and policies. McCarthy has refused to engage in Town Hall events in his Bakersfield, California district since 2010. He also promoted pursuit of Hillary Clinton for the Benghazi, Libya incident, where four diplomats were killed, gaining a reputation of promoting a “hit job” on her, when many more diplomats were killed at embassies during the Presidency of George W. Bush.

Steve Scalise, thankfully, recovered from being shot at the Congressional baseball game in June 2017, but it had no effect on his views on gun control, which is no regulation at all. Beyond that, Scalise used to be a friend of Ku Klux Klan Wizard and white supremacist David Duke, although now, of course, he denies it, and tries to claim it was not so. He would, in this author’s view, be a worse choice than McCarthy. However, for those who are uncomfortable with McCarthy, and might prefer a Southerner as the next Speaker, due to the strong GOP presence in the South, he might be seen as a potential favorite, and certainly less disgraceful by comparison, to the third choice, Jim Jordan of Ohio.

Jim Jordan, who is a co leader of the House Freedom Caucus, the most Far Right group in the Republican Party, has been accused of covering up abuse of athletes on the wrestling team at Ohio State University, when he was an assistant coach in the 1980s. He was one of the Republicans who promoted government shutdowns, and has done everything possible to block the House Judiciary Committee and the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee from pursuing investigation of the Donald Trump collusion with Russia in the 2016 campaign. He also pursed the Benghazi, Libya investigation of the deaths of four diplomats, targeting Hillary Clinton in a total of 11 investigations, which found no evidence of wrongdoing, and which featured 11 hours of testimony by Clinton, with no sign of weakness on her part, as compared to the performance of many others investigated by Congressional committees. Plain and simple, Jordan would be the absolute worst of the three choices being considered by the Republicans, although others might join the fray after the midterm elections.

It is indeed a very sad situation when we can look back on John Boehner as being far better than Paul Ryan, Kevin McCarthy, Steve Scalise, and Jim Jordan.

Let us hope that one of the latter three will be the Minority Leader, rather than the Speaker of the House in 2019-2020.

New Mississippi Civil Rights Museum Besmirched By Presence Of Donald Trump, And Absence, Therefore, Of John Lewis, Civil Rights Icon

Today, in Jackson, Mississippi, a new Civil Rights Museum opens, to commemorate the sufferings of African Americans in the history of Mississippi discrimination and violence.

Mississippi is the state of the lynching of Emmett Till in 1955; of James Meredith needing National Guard intervention ordered by President John F. Kennedy in 1962-1963 to be able, safely, to attend the University of Mississippi; and of the three civil rights workers (Andrew Goodman, Michael Schwerner, James Chaney) murdered in 1964 by Ku Klux Klansmen, simply for the act of trying to register black voters. Also, the murder of Civil Rights leader Medgar Evers in 1963 stands out as a deplorable moment in Mississippi history.

It is the state which has the worst image of all 50 states on racism, bloodshed, and violence in the Civil Rights Era, but also of its members of Congress historically, including Theodore Bilbo, John Stennis, and James Eastland, and Governor Ross Barnett, infamous for racism and advocating prejudice and denial of equal rights to African Americans.

The opening of this new museum is a wonderful event, but is besmirched by the presence of President Donald Trump, who has a long history of promoting discrimination, racism, prejudice, and hatred in his own life experience, and his promotion of setting back civil rights during his Presidency, including his appointment of former Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions to be his Attorney General, and setting back civil rights enforcement as a policy.

Just as Donald Trump is advocating Roy Moore for the Alabama Senate seat, with his long record of racism, along with the record of Moore involved in sexual abuse of young women, including girls under the age of 18, now he is coming to an event which is pure hypocrisy on his part, and only promotes racial division ever more.

Therefore, civil rights icon John Lewis, Georgia Congressman, who was involved in the major events of the civil rights movement, and is much respected and honored by all decent people, will not be attending the opening of this museum on principle, a regrettable but understandable reaction by this great man.

The Republican Party Of The Early 1990s And Now: David Duke, Bob Packwood, And Roy Moore

How far the Republican Party has come in the past generation, from a party that had some principle and dignity to a party that is afraid to stand up against hypocrisy and evil.

In 1991, David Duke, the former Imperial Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, was the Republican nominee for Governor of Louisiana, but many Republicans repudiated him, and President George H. W. Bush condemned him in a public statement, and refused to endorse and support him.

In 1995, Oregon Senator Bob Packwood, a mainstay of the chamber, who had been in the Senate for nearly 27 years, and actually had a decent record as a progressive oriented Republican, was shown to have engaged in sexual harassment for the previous two decades, and the Senate censured him, and he resigned from office in disgrace.

Now, in 2017, a despicable human being named Roy Moore, who has hatred and prejudice as part of his mantra, and is seen as a pariah by many Republican Senators, is accused of sexual harassment and more against teenage girls decades ago, and he refuses to leave the Senate race in Alabama, and while many Republicans have called for him to exit the race, only Senator John McCain has been forceful on the issue, and the only conservative intellectual who has clearly condemned him is Weekly Standard Editor Bill Kristol, who worked for Vice President Dan Quayle, but has been a Trump critic from Day One when Trump announced for President nearly two and a half years ago.

One would hope that many of the Senators who said Moore should withdraw show the courage of John McCain and Bill Kristol, and refuse to support, endorse, or finance his race for the Senate on December 12 in Alabama.

Alabama deserves a decent, hard working, principled US Senator, and forgetting party lines, they can get that in Doug Jones, who prosecuted two Ku Klux Klansmen in the infamous Birmingham Church bombing in 1963, which killed for young African American girls, a case pursued nearly forty years after the horrible events.

This is the kind of Senator all members of that body should welcome into their club.

If Alabama, a state with already corrupt leadership that puts the state in the top ten worst governed states, and with a horrible reputation of being ignorant, prejudiced, and backward, not all that different than in the era of civil rights and George Wallace in the 1960s, goes ahead and elects Roy Moore to the Senate, the Republicans should join with the Democrats, and refuse to seat him, which is within their rights as a legislative body. They forced Bob Packwood out on sexual misconduct in 1995, and further back Democratic Senator Thomas Dodd of Connecticut in 1982, and more recently Republican Senator John Ensign of Nevada in 2011, both on financial improprieties, so they can do the same to the infamous, despicable Roy Moore.

Since there was horror when Moore won the nomination to replace Attorney General Jeff Sessions over Senator Luther Strange, the Sessions replacement, on the part of Republicans in the Senate, it should not be hard to refuse to seat him, and to hell with Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and their ilk demonstrating no morality, no ethics, and supporting a so called “good Christian”, who is anything but that in his views on women, gays and lesbians, Muslims, and on separation of church and state, which he does not believe in.

Right now, Senator Ted Cruz of Texas is the most disliked member of the Senate by his own colleagues, but Roy Moore, if he wins and is seated, will far surpass Cruz, and will become an albatross around the neck of the GOP.

How far the Republican Party has fallen since the early to mid 1990s!

Doug Jones Vs. Roy Moore: A Chance For Democrats To Gain An Alabama Senate Seat In December

The special election to fill Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s Alabama Senate seat is set for December 12.

It could be a Christmas and New Year’s gift for the Democrats, if Doug Jones can win that seat from right wing extremist Roy Moore, former Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, who will cause nightmares, if elected, for the Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and would be more outrageous and irritating than Texas Senator Ted Cruz.

Moore is supported by the Alt Right and Breitbart News, headed by Stephen Bannon, and he has extremist views about women including anti abortion advocacy, anti gay rights for gays and lesbians including marriage, anti Muslims, pro firearms including wielding his gun at a campaign rally, nonbeliever in global warming and evolution, promoter of the Barack Obama Birther Conspiracy beliefs, advocate of nativist and racist beliefs, and calls America a “Christian nation” governed by God, not by the Constitution, and insisted on a Ten Commandments Monument at the Alabama Judicial Building while he served as Chief Justice, before his removal.

Doug Jones is a former US Attorney, who pursued and prosecuted two Ku Klux Klansmen involved in the infamous Birmingham, Alabama Black Church Bombing in 1963, which killed four young African American girls, including friends of Condoleezza Rice, who lived in Birmingham and was around the age of these young girls when they were killed. Jones was able to gain convictions and imprisonment for these two individuals in 2001 and 2002, nearly four decades after the murders, a major accomplishment.

Jones has gained awards for his civil rights and environmental commitment, and would add to the possibility of a Democratic party takeover of the US Senate in the midterm 2018 elections, as ordinarily, it would seem highly unlikely that the Democrats could gain this particular Senate seat, and will have a very difficult time to gain three seats, since there are so few Republicans seeking reelection in 2018.

But, hard to believe, as outrageous as Jeff Sessions was in this Senate seat, Roy Moore would be far worse and more despicable than Sessions, so Democrats need to do everything possible to promote Doug Jones to the US Senate over the next two months.

Roy Moore, The Most Extremist Right Wing Senator In The Republican Party, And Possible Sign Of Future Turmoil In Party, If He Wins In December

Alabama Republicans last night selected former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore as their nominee to replace Attorney General Jeff Sessions, overcoming temporary appointed Senator Luther Strange, by a margin of 10 percent.

Although Donald Trump supported Strange, he quickly switched to backing of Moore, who faces a contest with Doug Jones, the Democratic nominee, who as US Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama, by appointment of Bill Clinton, was able to gain convictions of the perpetrators of the Birmingham Church bombing in 1963 of four young African American girls in 2001 and 2002, making him a hero four decades later than the crimes, but with two Ku Klux Klan members finally being dealt justice for their crimes.

But Alabama, being Alabama, is likely to elect Roy Moore to finish the remainder of the Sessions term on December 12.

Moore would be, by his own record, the most extremist right wing Senator in decades, more so than even Ted Cruz is or Jeff Sessions was, and as dangerous as Jesse Helms was for decades.

This man wants a Christian run nation, not believing in separation of church and state, a very alarming situation.

He is homophobic, Islamophobic, and racist, in his references to minority groups as “red and yellow”, and wanting to check out all Hispanics on their being documented or undocumented immigrants.

He is a Birther, as Trump was, believing that Barack Obama was born in Kenya.

He was forced out twice from the Supreme Court of Alabama for installing a Ten Commandments statue, and for promoting refusal to accept the US Supreme Court decision on gay marriage, and wants homosexuality to be a crime worthy of prosecution.

He is a firebrand, who has the support of such right wing extremists as Sean Hannity, Ann Coulter, and Laura Ingraham.

He is anti Republican Establishment, and will create trouble for Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan on Capitol Hill, and will make many controversial statements.

To imagine that Sessions would have been preferable to remain as a US Senator instead of having Moore as his replacement shows just how extremist and whacko the Republican Party has become, and it encourages other Tea Party types like Moore to challenge Republican Senators for renomination in states such as Arizona, Nevada, and now Tennessee where Senator Bob Corker has decided not to run for reelection in 2018.

Constitution Day: 230 Years And In Danger From Donald Trump In 2017, But The Constitution Will Survive!

Tomorrow, September 17, is the 230th Anniversary of the signing of the Constitution by 39 delegates at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia.

The so called “Founding Fathers” brought about a document that was not perfect, but has survived through the crises of the Civil War; the Great Depression; the two World Wars; the Watergate Crisis; and now faces the challenge of the most dangerous Chief Executive in American history bar none!

By comparison to Donald Trump, Richard Nixon was a choirboy, dangerous in many ways, but also accomplished in many ways.

Nixon contributed some real positive developments in his five and a half years as President from January 20, 1969 to August 9, 1974, while Donald Trump has accomplished essentially nothing, other than the adding of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court.

Trump has threatened constitutional norms, with his attacks on civil rights, civil liberties, the news media, the judiciary, the intelligence community, and the basic institutions of government, including the government agencies themselves, which he is trying to decimate in their effectiveness and even in their numbers, when more is needed in a growing nation with 325 million people.

Trump has threatened the security and safety of millions of Americans of minority religious and racial groups, and he has had the support of white supremacists, Neo Nazis, Neo Confederates, and the Ku Klux Klan, which he tries to equate with those opposed to these groups.

Trump has undermined our relations with our allies in Europe and Asia, and the tensions with North Korea have been increased by his reckless tweets and rhetoric, and the same goes for Cuba, Iran, Venezuela, adding to the potential for military intervention everywhere.

Our relations with our direct neighbors, Mexico and Canada, are at the worst in many decades, and our closest ally, the United Kingdom (Great Britain), is becoming more exasperated by Trump’s utterances. The same situation exists with Germany, France, South Korea, and Japan, and our major rivals, China and Russia are perplexed with Trump as well.France

There is great concern that Trump might use nuclear weapons, which no official other than the Secretary of State can even discuss with him directly under present policy, and Trump has the final say on that.

There is also concern that Trump could attempt to declare martial law if there was another September 11 type of attack by terrorists, suspending the Constitution and Bill of Rights.

And to top it off, Trump seems to many to have a form of dementia, maybe Alzheimers, or just mental instability that is often a problem with aging seniors, but having him in a position which could provoke world wide war and disaster is an alarming circumstance of massive proportions.

Trump is a danger, but we must have confidence that the Constitution will survive his threat, but we must all be vigilant, and be ready to react if any threat seems evident as imminent.

The worst thing we could all do is trust Donald Trump, and sit back and just accept whatever he does, so thank goodness for the free, independent news media!