Separation Of Church And State

The Urgent Democratic Platform For 2020: 30 Goals For The Next Decade

What MUST be part of the Democratic Party platform in 2020, no matter who is the Democratic Presidential nominee?

In no special order, it MUST include:

Medicare for all Americans of all ages
$15 minimum wage by 2022 everywhere in America and Paid Family Leave
Free public university and college tuition for the first two years or 60 credits of higher education
Wiping out of college debt which prevents many young people from marrying, having children, buying a home, having a future
Repeal of Citizens United, which has allowed corporations to be called people, and destroy political campaigns with large donations, and instead promote public financing of campaigns
Responsible Gun Control legislation
Protection of Women’s Rights, including abortion rights
Enforcement of gay and lesbian and transgender rights
A responsible immigration reform program, reversing the damage done by Donald Trump, Jeff Sessions, John Kelly, Kirstjen Nielsen, Stephen Miller and Thomas Homan
Revival of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties that have been curbed by Donald Trump
Protection of the Social Safety Net of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid
Labor Rights promoted, including prevention of “right to work” laws
Environmental regulations revived and strengthened
Consumer Rights revived and strengthened
Investment in infrastructure across America
Condemnation of violations of human rights in other nations, including Russia, China, Turkey, Egypt, the Philippines and elsewhere
Revival of NATO alliance and other alliances that have been weakened in the Trump Presidency
The end of protectionist tariffs, which undermine the American economy
Strengthening of relations with Cuba, and attempts to overcome strains and tensions with Iran, and revive the Iran Nuclear Deal
Promoting total separation of church and state, with religion not being promoted by government
Reenactment of responsible corporation and Wall Street reforms
Protection of Native American lands and properties
Criminal Justice Reforms for those not involved in violent Crimes
National restoration of Voting Rights to former convicts who have paid their debt to society
Decriminalizing Drug Use and Sales, so as to overcome the Opioid Crisis, and allow Medicinal Marijuana without penalty
Promoting funding for the Arts and Culture across America
Dealing with poverty and homelessness in America
Hurricane Relief for Puerto Rico and move toward statehood as the 51st state
Tax Reform to require a fair and equitable tax system for all, not just the wealthy
Reviving respect for Freedom of Speech and Freedom of the Press

Would all of these 30 “planks” be successfully accomplished in the term of the next Democratic President from 2021-2025? Most certainly, highly unlikely, but these must be the goals of the next Democratic administration, as we attempt to recover from the disaster and tragedy of the Donald Trump nightmare!

18 Months Of Donald Trump Presidency, And Crisis Atmosphere Grows

Today marks 18 months of the Donald Trump Presidency.

It has been 18 months of horrors, nightmares, disgrace to the office of the Presidency.

It has seen more corruption and abuse of power than any President in the past, including Richard Nixon.

It has put America into a massive foreign policy crisis, now marked by Trump’s invitation to Vladimir Putin of Russia to come to the White House this fall.

It has put America into a massive domestic policy crisis, as the the New Deal, Great Society, and everything good that Barack Obama did in eight years in office, is being systematically destroyed.

It has created the conditions for a potential Great Depression, with the imposition of tariffs about to explode into inflation of prices, loss of jobs and income, and alienation of all of our major trade partners with his crazy economic policies.

It has created the end of the post World War II alliance system of NATO that won the Cold War, but now the Russian government has declared a cyber World War on America, with a President whose loyalty is clearly with our rivals and enemies.

It has caused disarray among the two major political parties that have been our system since 1854, and now are in danger of total destruction, at least with the Republican Party.

It has demonstrated that the people who are elected and those who are appointed put their own jobs and wealth ahead of the interests of the vast majority of the American people.

It has shown us that our system of government, which allows a Supreme Court for life. It is guaranteed to create social and economic turmoil that will insure the danger of civil war, as the younger generation rebels against the future right wing extremist judicial system, packed with justices and judges who want to take us back to the Gilded Age of the late 19th century, and wipe out the 20th century social safety network that has made us great.

It has divided Americans, with many, including this author and blogger no longer communicating with former associates and friends, when we have discovered how disgraceful these people are. This also includes family members, relatives, who make one realize the old saying, that you can pick your friends, but not your relatives.

Donald Trump is clearly out to destroy the United States as we know it, determined to keep his ethical and moral issues, and his violations of the law a secret that only Vladimir Putin knows, and holds over the head of the 45th President.

The danger of a violent civil war, as we had in the 1860s, is becoming more a reality unless somehow we can turn the tide and excise the cancer of Donald Trump. But sadly, Mike Pence is, in many ways, even worse, with his right wing religious crusade in a nation that was based on separation of church and state, precisely because of the religious extremism of Puritanism in our colonial history. The threat of racial and ethnic and even gender conflict is real, and the power of the National Rifle Association, now shown to be allied with the forces of Vladimir Putin, can bring about violence in the name of profits.

It is hard NOT to have despair as to how this nation survives long term, without major damage to the republic!

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!

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.

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!

Mike Huckabee The New Orval Faubus, Ross Barnett, And George Wallace!

Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee is rapidly becoming the new Orval Faubus, Ross Barnett, and George Wallace—a defiant Governor against the Supreme Court!

Faubus, Governor of Arkansas; Barnett, Governor Mississippi; and Wallace, Governor of Alabama—all vehemently opposed the Supreme Court decision on school integration of 1954 (Brown V. Board of Education), and refused to cooperate with integration, respectively, of the Little Rock, Arkansas high school; the University of Mississippi; and the University of Alabama—and mounted confrontations with the federal government, leading to Presidents Eisenhower and Kennedy to send the National Guard into those states to enforce the edicts of the federal courts.

None of those three Governors look well in American history, rather are seen as law breakers and demagogues, for opposing the Supreme Court decision.

Now Mike Huckabee stands out as a religious fanatic, a man who does not understand separation of church and state, and as a bigot in his attitude toward gays and lesbians.

His idea that the Supreme Court in Obergefell V Hodges is acting in a lawless manner is totally preposterous, but notice he does not oppose the Court when it comes up with a decision that he agrees with, which demonstrates his total hypocrisy, and his own phoniness about the teachings of Jesus, who never referred to gays and marriage in the Old or New Testament.

Huckabee has become a right wing theocratic demagogue, who seems to think taking such a stand will advance his Republican Presidential candidacy, but even Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who was against the majority opinion on gay marriage, says that no county clerk, such as Kim Davis, can use religious views to avoid her responsibility to do her job, as working for government is a civil job.

So either Kim Davis does  her job without discrimination, or she needs to be forced out of office, or thrown in prison until she agrees to obey the federal courts, which DO have the final say on all constitutional matters.

Marriage is not something to be voted on, but rather a basic human right, and prejudice and bias and homophobia must not be allowed to interfere with the right of two adults to marry!

Hate Mongering Republican Presidential Candidates Who Would Disgrace The Office Of The Presidency!

There are anywhere from 15 to nearly 20 potential Republican Presidential candidates, and one can find faults and shortcomings with most of them, but there are only a few who can be labeled, by their utterances, to be hate mongers, wishing to stir up fear and incite audiences with their rhetoric. One is held accountable for what one says and what he promotes, and therefore, disqualify themselves for the honor of residing in the White House!

Those who would qualify for this dubious “honor” include:

Dr. Benjamin Carson
Texas Senator Ted Cruz
Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee
Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal

All of these five have been reckless in their desire to divide the American people, and have advocated lawlessness and disobedience of the federal government, including the court system and the Supreme Court in particular.

They have promoted hate and fear of gays and lesbians; immigration; women’s rights; racial justice; and have shown no concern about the poor and the sick, particularly on the issue of health care.

Interestingly, all five constantly invoke Christianity in their political pitches, and specifically, hard line Christianity of the evangelical and right wing Catholic variety, a total repudiation of the teachings of Jesus Christ, and a defiance of the principle of separation of church and state under our political system! And they all criticize Pope Francis and his liberal, open minded view of the meaning of Jesus Christ and his teachings!

Any of these five would totally disgrace the office of the Presidency!

Fortunately, it is highly unlikely that any of these five will win the nomination of the Republican Party, but if so, the odds of such an individual winning the Presidency are very low!

The Misinterpreted Thomas Jefferson, By The Right Wing, On the 272nd Anniversary Of His Birth

Thomas Jefferson, our most brilliant President intellectually, one of the great Founding Fathers, has been so misinterpreted by the right wing conservatives and Republicans, who have no clue as to his beliefs and thoughts.

The right wing has worked to distort Jefferson, making him out to be many things he was not.

They tell us Jefferson believed in a national religion, when Jefferson was a skeptic about organized Christianity, and became Deist in his beliefs, and opposed the concept of theocracy.

They tell us that Jefferson believed church and state should be unified, when he was the promoter of the Virginia Statute For Religious Freedom.

They tell us that Jefferson believed in a strict interpretation of the Constitution and the goodness of state and local governments over national government, which was true to an extent during the 1790s debate of Jefferson Vs. Alexander Hamilton, which helped to create political parties in America. But once he was President, Jefferson was a believer in a broad interpretation of the Constitution and the power of the national government.

They tell us that Jefferson would have been a supporter of the Republican Party of 2015, when his belief in civil liberties would have made him appalled at that party’s abuse of civil liberties in the name of national security.

They tell us that Jefferson would have been supportive of foreign intervention against Muslim civilization, due to Jefferson’s intervention in the Mediterranean against the Barbary Pirates of North Africa during his Presidency, but Jefferson did not promote Islamophobia, as most Republicans and conservatives advocate in their rhetoric.

Of course, Thomas Jefferson was a complex man, with many contradictions and often hypocritical views, as on race and slavery, but Jefferson was a man who believed in the power of learning and the intellectual life, and he would have been totally shocked at the goal of the Republican Party to keep the population ignorant, and to promote fear, instead of an enlightened view of mankind and events.

Conservative Argument That America Is A “Christian Nation” NOT True!

The right wing loves to say that Americans are a “Christian nation”, but that assertion is NOT true!

It is true that a majority of Americans are born to the Christian faith, whether Catholic or any of the many Protestant sects, or Eastern Orthodox.

But our Founding Fathers, while born Christian, were in many cases skeptics about organized Christianity, and certainly had no mission to promote a church-state combination, a theocracy, as they knew of the turmoil and sufferings of such combinations in European history, including Great Britain, France, the German states, and Czarist Russia, along with the effects of Islam on the Middle East, Asia, and Africa.

Therefore, the Constitution of the United States made clear to keep separation of church and state separate, and there is no statement of America as a “Christian nation” by the Founding Fathers.

There are plenty of statements by many Founding Fathers, including Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, George Washington, John Adams and others that advocated separation of church and state, and a sense of skepticism about organized Christianity being part of government.

We also have evidence that conservative Christian pastors condemned the Constitution after its adoption because of the fact that it was a document which, clearly, was secular in nature, and some called the Constitution an atheistic document, which shows how hard the Founding Fathers had worked to undermine the creation of a theocracy, which would allow persecution of non Christians or non believers in religion itself.

After the Civil War, the right wing Christian pastors tried repeatedly to amend the Constitution to make America a Christian nation and make references to Jesus Christ, but those attempts failed, and the only religious reference that would become normal was to say “In God We Trust” on American coinage.

The deleterious effect of this movement among right wing Christian pastors, however, led to anti Catholic and anti Jewish practices and laws locally, discriminating against the immigration of so called “undesirable” groups.

Additionally, for a long period of time, commerce was limited by “Blue Laws”, which banned economic activities on Sundays, finally overcome about 50 years ago, as if someone does not wish to do shopping or other commerce on the Christian Sabbath, that is their choice, but should not be imposed on others, one of the examples of what happens when theocracy and its narrow mindedness is allowed to take hold.

So America is NOT a “Christian nation”, but rather a nation of a diverse number of religious groups, with a majority of Christian sects, including Catholicism, something the majority Protestants did not wish to acknowledge!

The Future Of The Republican Party: Rob Portman Vs. Mike Huckabee As A Symbol!

With Gay Marriage rapidly expanding, by refusal of the Supreme Court to stop it in eleven states, raising the total of states to 30 and counting, the Republican Party now faces its future!

With a majority of states and population now supporting or accepting gay marriage, and with a majority of people under 50, and even a majority of Catholics and even evangelical Christians in support, how long will the Republican Party hold out and be on the wrong side of history?

Do they wish to be recorded and remembered in the long run for their refusal to accept that marriage is NOT something to be voted on, to have a popular vote (which would not be lost in any case) on a basic human right, both in race in Loving V. Virginia and on sexual orientation now? Do they wish to be seen for what they are now, biased, prejudiced, hateful, narrow minded, and allowing religious beliefs of some people to dictate the lives of everyone else, when we have separation of church and state?

Conservatives were wrong on civil rights for African Americans, wrong on interracial marriage, wrong on women’s rights, wrong on immigration then and now, and wrong on gay rights and marriage, and for the Republicans to continue to follow their hateful, narrow minded views, will guarantee the demise of the party of Lincoln, TR, and Ike!

The Republican Party has a choice! It is time for MORE Republican Senators, Congressmen, and Governors and other office holders to come out in support of gay marriage NOW! So far, only four sitting US Senators and a few members of the House of Representatives have had the courage to speak up. The Senators are Liza Murkowski of Alaska, Mark Kirk of Illinois, Susan Collins of Maine, and Rob Portman of Ohio.

The GOP will have a massive problem being elected to the House and Senate majorities in 2016, as it is, and the suddenly emerging “dark horse” status of Rob Portman, the only one of the above four Senators, who MIGHT consider running for President, and have a shot at being the nominee, present the Republican Party with a choice!

Either demand that any GOP nominee accept the inevitable, OR nominate Senator Portman as the most legitimate candidate for 2016, bypassing all the other extremist, lunatic, whacky candidates in the field, picking a moderate mainstream conservative as the future of the party!

Republicans, reject Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Rick Santorum, Rick Perry, Bobby Jindal, Chris Christie, Jeb Bush, Mike Huckabee, and anyone else who refuses to accept gay marriage, and ONLY support a person such as Rob Portman, who has accepted it, and is from a key swing state, Ohio, which every winning President has won except in 1960 in modern times!

It is true that Portman supported gay rights and gay marriage due to his son coming out as gay, but he could have done what many so called “religious” people do, and repudiated his son, a most despicable act for any so called “religious” person to do, a mockery of the idea of religiosity!

If the GOP decides to follow the route of the above candidates who have made it clear that they will not accept gay marriage, the ideal candidate for them would be former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, a once seriously mainstream conservative candidate for President in 2008, who has gone off the deep end, become a lunatic, a bigoted man with crazy views, since he joined Fox News Channel, and now mirrors the lunatic right wing talk show hosts on radio, as well as Fox News Channel!

Huckabee has made clear that he will NOT accept what is happening on gay marriage, and if the GOP continues to give in to Supreme Court actions or lack of action on gay marriage, that he will leave the Republican Party!

The best thing the GOP could do is repudiate Huckabee, who has already destroyed his name in history, and have him leave the Republican Party, and let the swinging door hit him in his rear end, or in fact, kick him out the door, declaring to him and others like him, “good riddance!”

The best thing the GOP could do is nominate Rob Portman, or others who finally accept gay rights and gay marriage, and look to a future of NOT accepting prejudice, bias, and the power of the Religious Right, which should be escorted to the door, and told to go to Hell, where they belong!

A great ticket right now would be Portman of Ohio for President and Susan Collins of Maine for Vice President, and that would also overcome the misogyny of the Republican Party!