Supreme Court

Donald Trump Dealt Defeat On Muslim Immigration Ban: Victory For The Constitution And American Democracy!

Donald Trump has been dealt a stinging defeat by a three member 9th Circuit Appeals Court, with one judge appointed by George W. Bush, one by Jimmy Carter, and one by Barack Obama, and this after a district judge, appointed by George W. Bush, had put a hold on Trump’s Executive Order establishing a travel ban, which is really a Muslim ban from seven nations, none of which have sent terrorists to America, while Saudi Arabia, as an example, has sent the 9 11 terrorists, but was not on the list.

It is clear that any nation that is Muslim but which Trump has business dealings with will never be on the list. This has caused tremendous consternation, inconvenience, and personal torment for many decent people who have been blocked from entering the United States for no good reason, but Trump has no empathy or compassion, and is clearly making a grab for dictatorial power.

This is a dangerous attempt to acquire absolute power, and it must be stopped cold by the Supreme Court, which it seems, assuredly, will happen.

This judicial intervention is a victory for the Constitution and American democracy!

Trump is a Fascist, a danger to our Constitution and our civil rights and civil liberties, and massive marches are continuing, and Republicans are getting the Town Hall treatment that Tea Party people gave Democrats right after Barack Obama was inaugurated.

It now seems possible that the Republicans, who cannot come up with a solution to ObamaCare, and are endangering so many of our accomplishments in the years from FDR through LBJ and beyond, could lose seats, and maybe control, if this discontent with them and Trump continues to evolve.

The country needs to stop this far right extremism desperately!

US V Nixon; Clinton V Jones; And Now US V Trump?

In 1974, the Supreme Court, by 8-0 vote, told Richard Nixon that he had to hand over the Watergate tapes to the Special Prosecutor, which led to Nixon’s resignation a few weeks later.

In 1997. the Supreme Court, by 9-0 vote, told Bill Clinton that he could not avoid trial on sexual harassment charges brought by Paula Jones, simply because of his Presidential duties, which led to the impeachment and trial in 1998-1999.

The point of these two cases, US V Nixon, and Clinton V Jones, is that the President is not in total charge, and can be held to account by the Court system of America.

Donald Trump is about to get the same reality check, as the case involving the ban of all immigration from seven Muslim nations goes to the 9th Circuit Court, after a District Court Judge showed courage in stopping the enforcement of the President’s executive order. This is seen by most legal experts as unconstitutional, as a violation of the First and 14th Amendments, and being used against nations that have sent no terrorists to America, while other nations that have, are not included in the ban.

Donald Trump seems to think he is above the law, and his authoritarian, autocratic and tyrannical behavior must be nipped in the bud right now!

Time For Supreme Court To Intervene, And Overturn Trump Executive Order On Travel Ban

A federal District Court judge has stopped the Trump executive order travel ban for the time being, but it is being appealed by the Trump Administration, meanwhile causing chaos, as the future of the order is uncertain.

It is time for the American Civil Liberties Union and other groups to appeal to the Supreme Court, and find at least one Justice willing to put his or her neck out to use their influence to stop the travel ban permanently, and have the entire Supreme Court consider the ban immediately.

I would propose that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the true hero of progressivism, do so, and force the issue.

We know that Trump hates Ginsburg, and has tried to bully her into retirement, but she is a tough lady, who will not be intimidated.

But it would be perfect for the 84 year old Justice, who is less than 5 feet tall, to challenge BULLY Trump, and give his executive order a “Punch in the Mouth”!

Of course, no one can be sure what the eight member Court would do, but it seems highly likely that besides Ginsburg, we would have Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elana Kagan join her, making for at least a tie vote.

And somehow, it seems also likely that the “swing vote” on the Court, Justice Anthony Kennedy, would also join these four Justices, making for a 5-3 vote.

So bring it on, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, intervene and make for a confrontation with Donald Trump!

Congressional Republicans Growing Unease About Donald Trump

Less than two weeks in office, Donald Trump is starting to see growing unease among some Congressional Republicans about his independent, go it alone, style of leadership.

Trump clearly feels he was elected without true party unity, and intends to govern in an authoritarian manner, but there are Republicans who are unhappy with his style and manner.

These include:

Arizona Senator John McCain
Arizona Senator Jeff Flake
South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham
Ohio Senator Rob Portman
Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse
Maine Senator Susan Collins

Also, some Congressmen are also speaking out, so Trump may be a President without a party, and to find that, one must go back to the 19th century, where two Presidents, who succeeded a President who died, had massive headaches trying to deal with the party that had accepted them, members of the opposition party, as their Vice President, due to the wishes of the Presidential nominee, but with no expectation that the President wold die in office.

I am referring to Democrat John Tyler, who ran on the Whig Party ticket with William Henry Harrison in 1840; and Democrat Andrew Johnson, who ran on the Republican “Union” Party line with Abraham Lincoln in 1864.

Both Tyler and Johnson would have never ending headaches with their adopted party, with major battles over Supreme Court and Cabinet appointments, and a threat to impeach John Tyler, and an actual impeachment trial for Andrew Johnson.

Could Donald Trump be on the way to similar resistance and possible impeachment? He is alienating Congress by being a “lone wolf”, showing his disdain for Congress and the party line he ran on.

One must recall that his victory for President was the worst ever in popular vote loss to his opponent, and seventh lowest percentage ever, but with all those Presidents with lower percentage of vote, having had two or three opponents who gained electoral votes, instead of just one opponent.

44 Years Ago: Death Of Lyndon B. Johnson; Abortion Becomes Legal; End Of Engagement In Vietnam War–We Must Learn From These Events!

44 years ago, on January 22, former President Lyndon B. Johnson died at the age of 64, and the Supreme Court ruled 6-3 in the case of Roe V. Wade, that women had a right to abortion in the first two trimesters.

44 years ago on January 23, announcement of an agreement to end US involvement in the Vietnam War was announced in Paris, therefore denying LBJ the ability to know of the peace agreement before his death, in a war that had forced him out of the Presidential race in 1968.

Looking back 44 years and to today in 2017, we can reflect that the Great Society of LBJ is under attack in a massive way, as is the New Deal of FDR. We are going backwards in so many ways under President Donald Trump.

Also, abortion rights are being taken away in many areas and by government policy, and the danger is that Roe V Wade could be reversed in a future Supreme Court decision, once a Trump appointed Justice is added to the Court. So women’s rights to control their own bodies will now face new restrictions, and will lead to more deaths, and abuses.

And our engagement in Vietnam, a massive mistake, has not been learned from, as now there are hints that Donald Trump is ready to send troops to fight ISIL (ISIS), committing us to a massive war in the Middle East, and with Trump asserting yesterday that America might just seize the oil of Iraq for ourselves, which would be a war crime, and a continuation of US imperialism overseas.

This is why we have intervened so much since World War II in other nations in the Middle East and in Asia, as well as Latin America.

And do not be surprised by a move to engage in war with Iran, in support of the right wing government of Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel, and more warfare in the West Bank and Gaza Strip areas of the Palestinians.

This is not to endorse Iran, the Palestinians, or anyone else, but to point out, it looks as if we are on the way to another major military conflict, that will cost American lives and make tons of profit for the war industry. And we are likely to see a new generation of American military personnel who end up having Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and are unlikely to gain proper medical treatment for that condition.

In many ways, America has learned nothing from our historical experiences, and we are reverting to past mistakes in domestic and foreign policy.

The Positive Contributions Of The Barack Obama Presidency

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

115th Congress Begins Tomorrow: Joe Biden Could Have A Surprise (We Can Hope)!

Tuesday, January 3, is the opening of the 115th Congress, but Joe Biden is still Vice President for 17 days more, and could have a surprise up his sleeve, which is perfectly constitutional.

What is this potential surprise?

Joe Biden, in league with Democrats in the US Senate, can call for an immediate vote on the languishing Supreme Court appointment of Merrick Garland, made ten months ago, to replace Justice Antonin Scalia, who died in February of last year.

It is unheard of to deny the Supreme Court a full number of members for an entire year, but this is what the Republicans and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell did, and it borders on unconstitutionality, for which the Republicans have suffered no consequences.

Joe Biden, after 36 years in the US Senate, and eight as Vice President under Barack Obama, has continued to keep good relationships across the aisle, and was praised profusely recently by Republicans, as well as Democrats, in a near eulogy about his great Senate and public service.

But that does not mean that Joe Biden is, as nice and gracious and cordial and warm as he is, not willing to be a gutter fighter over principles he believes in, and he was vehement at the unfairness of not giving Merrick Garland a Senate hearing at the least, on his unquestioned qualifications to be a Supreme Court Justice.

Garland was “railroaded” in Biden’s mind, victimized for no good reason, and Joe feels Garland should not be pushed by the wayside, in his own heart and mind.

So the rumors were around, and then hushed, that Joe Biden might call for a vote of the 66 returning Senators who do not need to be sworn in by him after 12 noon tomorrow.

If he decides to call a vote, the balance of those 66 Senators is 34 Democrats, 2 Independents (Bernie Sanders and Angus King), and 30 Republicans, so on a straight party line vote, Garland would be confirmed 36-30, and Mitch McConnell and the Republicans could do NOTHING about it legally, as it is constitutional to call a vote, and there is no constitutional requirement to have hearings. Many Justices never had hearings, which only became customary and drawn out in the 1980s, when Joe Biden led the fight with Ted Kennedy against Robert Bork, and later in the 1990s and since, when Joe Biden led the fight against Clarence Thomas on the Court.

So the point is that Joe Biden knows now to play “hard ball”, and he just could surprise us tomorrow, which would lead to condemnation by the right wing and Republicans, but who really cares?

The GOP does not worry about being nasty and playing “hard ball”! In fact, they specialize and revel in it, so let them stew in their own juice!

Let us hope that Joe makes news and distinction for one of his last actions as Vice President and Presiding Officer of the US Senate.

Let him become the center of attention, and maybe, just maybe, if he stays in good health, he can break a new barrier in four years, becoming the oldest President of the United States at age 78, making Donald Trump and Ronald Reagan look like youngsters by comparison.

Certainly, Joe Biden, the common man with no fortune, running against the wealthiest and most arrogant man to ever hold the Presidency, Donald Trump, would look very tempting as an alternative in 2020, since so many think he could have won the difference in the vote in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania, had he run, and son Beau Biden had not tragically passed away in 2015.

And there are strong hints that Delaware Senator Tom Carper, with a long distinguished career with six years as State Treasurer, ten years as Congressman, eight years as Governor, and 18 years as US Senator by the end of 2018, may wish to retire, so imagine this!

Joe Biden could run for and win back a Senate seat and add to his 36 years in the Senate, and be a sitting Senator if he decides to run for President again, and if not, he can still serve his nation in the US Senate, and add to his distinguished record of public service!

How Slim Margins Decide So Many Presidential Elections And Affect American History And Government Policies!

The argument that many ill informed people have is that “voting does not matter”, when just the opposite is true.

As we begin 2017 and the reality of President Trump in 19 days, a look at history tells us clearly how small numbers of votes or percentages of votes make a dramatic difference, as demonstrated in the following elections in American history:

1844– a switch of a few thousand votes in New York would have given the election to Henry Clay, instead of James K. Polk, and the difference was the small third party, the Liberty Party.

1848–a switch of a few thousand votes, again in New York, would have given the election to Lewis Cass, instead of Zachary Taylor, but Free Soil Party nominee, Martin Van Buren, former Democratic President and from New York, won ten percent of the total national vote, and threw the election to Whig candidate Taylor in New York.

1876—the dispute over the contested votes of South Carolina, Louisiana, and Florida led to a special Electoral Commission set up, which rewarded all of those three states’ electoral votes to Rutherford B. Hayes, although Democrat Samuel Tilden led nationally by about 250,000 popular votes.

1880–James A. Garfield won the popular vote by the smallest margin ever, about 2,000 votes, and won the big state of New York by only 20,000 votes, in defeating his opponent Winfield Scott Hancock.

1884–Grover Cleveland won his home state of New York by about 1,000 votes, which decided the election, and nationally only by about 57,000 votes over James G. Blaine.

1888–Grover Cleveland won the national popular vote by about 90,000, but lost in close races in his home state of New York and opponent Benjamin Harrison’s home state of Indiana, so lost the Electoral College, as Harrison became President. The Harrison lead in New York was less than 14,000 votes and in Indiana, less than 2,000.

1916—Woodrow Wilson won California by less than 4,000 votes, but enough to elect him to the White House over Republican Charles Evans Hughes.

1948–Harry Truman won three states by less than one percent–Ohio, California and Illinois–over Thomas E. Dewey, and that decided the election.

1960–John F. Kennedy won Illinois by about 8,000 votes; Texas by about 46,000 votes; and Hawaii by under 200 votes, and only had a two tenths of one percentage point popular vote victory nationally, about 112,000 votes, over Richard Nixon.

1976–Jimmy Carter won over Gerald Ford by two percentage points, but a switch of 5,600 votes in Ohio and 3,700 votes in Hawaii would have given the election to Ford.

2000—Al Gore lost Florida by 537 votes, in the final judgment of the Supreme Court, which intervened in the election, and had he won Florida, he would have been elected President, even though he won the national popular vote by about 540,000. Bush also won New Hampshire by only about 7,000 votes, but won the Electoral College 271-266.

2016–Hillary Clinton won the national popular vote by about 2.85 million, but lost the crucial states of Michigan by about 10,000; Wisconsin by about 22,000; and Pennsylvania by about 46,000, to Donald Trump, so together about 79,000 votes decided the Electoral College.

So the idea that voting is not important, does not matter, is proved wrong so many times in American history! Every vote does indeed count, and has long range implications on who sits in the White House, and what policies are pursued, which affect all of us!

Donald Trump Is Not A “Miracle Man”: Disillusionment Among Followers Will Erupt Soon, Before End of 2017!

Donald Trump is guaranteed to alienate many of his followers, once they realize he is NOT a “Miracle Man”, that we are going to end up with many events that no one bargained for, including:

The most corrupt Presidency since Richard Nixon, and possibly surpassing the level and depth of Nixon scandals.

The strong likelihood of a major war, with major commitment of troops, and loss of life closer to Vietnam over a period of years, than to Iraq or Afghanistan.

Manufacturing and Mining jobs will NOT return, as it will be clear that Trump’s pledge to the white uneducated working class will not be fulfilled.

A massive cut is likely in Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and Food Stamps, and poverty will rise, and not just among minorities, but among poor whites, sick people, and the elderly.

Environmental damage that will harm the health of all Americans will be likely, the greatest since the disastrous environmental record of Ronald Reagan in the 1980s.

The conditions of labor will get worse, with no concern about minimum wage, sick leave, overtime pay, or basic benefits.

Racism will increase with backing of the Trump Presidency,

Mistreatment of women and of gays and lesbians is insured to multiply, with the support of extreme right wing social conservative Vice President Mike Pence.

The Supreme Court, unless both Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Justice Stephen Breyer stay healthy, will move dramatically to the extreme right, long term damage.

Basic civil liberties and civil rights will go by the wayside, with curbs on freedom of expression, as through speech, press, and assembly.

One can project that over time, a year or so, great disillusionment will set in, and possibly lead to open confrontations with law enforcement authorities, who try to quell public dissent with the approval of an authoritarian President and executive branch, and an unsympathetic Republican party controlled Congress.

Expect a strong reaction to occur, something such as happened under Richard Nixon during his continuation of the Vietnam War nearly 50 years ago.

Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions: A Horrible Successor To The Position Of Attorney General

Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions may be very cordial and pleasant to his Senate colleagues, but he is clearly a horrible successor to the position of Attorney General of the Unites States.

The only Senator given a cabinet post, Sessions is, unfortunately, the totally wrong choice to enforce civil liberties and civil rights. He is rated one of the most conservative, hard right members of the US Senate.

He was rejected for a Circuit Court Judgeship thirty years ago by a Republican controlled Senate due to his insensitive statements on race, and has no record of tolerance on immigrants, Latinos, Muslims, gays and lesbians, and women.

Sessions would present a very different image of the Justice Department, to favor the powerful and elite over the powerless and middle class and poor in legal and constitutional matters.

He voted against use of medicinal marijuana, and is opposed to stem cell research. He also was highly critical and voted against Barack Obama’s two Supreme Court nominees, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.

Sessions is like bringing back the “Old South” image of George Wallace, Jesse Helms, and Strom Thurmond, with lack of concern about the growing number of cases of police behavior in controversial cases where people of minority status are often the victim of trigger happy cops, and end up deceased.

Will the Senate again reject one of its own, of the majority party as thirty years ago? That is the question that will be focused on next month when Sessions faces Senate Judiciary Committee hearings.