Supreme Court

Barack Obama Should Veto Continuing Resolution, Forcing Congress To Stay In DC And Change $1.1 Trillion Budget!

One of the most important pieces of legislation to reach Barack Obama’s desk–the $1.1 trillion Continuing Resolution legislation that would cover the government budget through September 30, 2015, and allow Congress to leave, and would avoid a government shutdown—should be vetoed by President Obama!

This is a bold move, to ask Obama to veto the bill, but it has many problems, including allowing the big banks, led by Citigroup, to avoid responsibility for another collapse of the banking system, which seems more and more likely, and would have taxpayers save the banks once again, adding to the national debt! This would be possible by the repeal of the Dodd-Frank legislation that prevents future such disaster! Senator Elizabeth Warren has made national news by her denunciation of this action on the Senate floor.

Additionally, allowing wealthy people to give ten times what they can now contribute to political campaigns is a further extension of the Citizens United Case, in which the Supreme Court has allowed millionaires and billionaires to engage in the “buying” of elections, through unlimited spending!

Also, pension protection for public and private pensions would no longer be guaranteed, causing disaster for millions of workers who would no longer be assured of the protection of their hard earned pensions when they retire, or even for those who have retired.

Additionally, nutrition standards set by Michelle Obama would be relaxed; and DC would not be able to allow marijuana use, losing control over its own jurisdiction by interference of Congress, despite the vote of the population in November’s election.

24 Republicans and 16 Democrats voted against this bill, including most of the progressive wing of the Democratic Party, and it should be vetoed by Obama, on the basis of too much lost and too little gained.

It is time for Obama to show aggressiveness, as what does he have to lose now?

The Disgraceful Breaking Of International Law And Ethics And Morality Of The Bush-Cheney Administration!

Just about the most shocking event in many years is the revelation yesterday in the US Senate of the total lack of ethics, morality and decency, and the disgraceful breaking of international law by the George W. Bush-Dick Cheney Administration!

Torture is outlawed by all decent nations, and just because terrorists and some rogue regimes choose to torture is not a justification for such practices. The most obscene, reprehensible tactics authorized by the Bush-Cheney regime qualifies them for facing trial under international law as war criminals, plain and simple.

This crime is worse than ANYTHING ever done under any President of the United States, bar none, and should, rightfully, place George W. Bush in the very bottom of the rankings of Presidents for all time!

Dick Cheney will always stand out as the absolutely worst Vice President in history, with no conscience, ethics or morals, on top of being a war profiteer from the military involvement in Iraq, through his connections with Haliburton!

Bush and Cheney will escape judgment in an international court, but their names will be forever besmirched in history, and the fact that decent people in both political parties, such as Senator John McCain of Arizona (himself tortured in a North Vietnamese prison), Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Senator Diane Feinstein of California, and Senator Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia join in condemning their lawlessness is a sign that we have not lost all morality and ethics. In effect, the Presidential Election of 2000, where Al Gore won the biggest popular vote margin for a losing candidate (due to questionable Supreme Court intervention) led to this monstrosity in the name of the American people! And if John McCain, by far the preferable GOP candidate in 2000, had been able to overcome the reprehensible tactics of George W. Bush in the primaries, and ended up running against Al Gore, this nation would have been assured of having a lawful, moral, ethical President, instead of the trash we put into the White House and the Vice Presidency!

It will take a long time for the American reputation to be revived to what it has been, and we have to work very hard to insure that, in the future, we elect to the Presidency ONLY men or women who have a basic sense of the limits of power; a sense of ethics and morality; and a sense of common decency and belief in international standards of behavior!

And to think that these reprehensible tactics did nothing to protect America, and instead endangers our citizens and military long into the future, is the ultimate irony above all!

The Supreme Court At A Crossroads

With the news that Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg had heart surgery to have a stent implanted, progressives shudder at thought of her possible demise at age 81.

A true liberal and champion of the downtrodden, Ginsburg refused to leave this summer, and now the US Senate is Republican controlled, so if something happens to her, the GOP will have major input into any Obama appointment to replace her, insuring the likelihood of, at best, a moderate appointee, no way as progressive as Ginsburg has been for the past 22 years.

It is clear that the next Presidential election will determine the long future of the Supreme Court, with the likelihood of multiple replacements of up to four Justices by 2020, including Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Antonin Scalia, and Anthony Kennedy, with all four being in their eighties by the end of the decade.

Meanwhile, the Court has crucial decisions to make by this June, including another challenge to ObamaCare, and the issue of finally resolving the gay marriage issue, with 35 states now allowing it, but a court case trying to upend it and reverse it.

These two decisions, along with some others, will have a lot to do with the final level of success or failure of the Obama Presidency, and it all falls on the health of Ginsburg, along with the hoped for support of Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Kennedy, to join the four liberals on the Court to uphold both ObamaCare and gay marriage!

So the Supreme Court and its reputation is on the line in 2015, and after the Citizens United Case and the Voting Rights Case, the Court needs to redeem itself in some fashion, and this is the turning point for the long term for the image of the Supreme Court!

The Importance Of Maintaining A Democratic Senate Majority

Many people, who do not understand the importance of midterm elections, have wondered whether it makes any difference if we have a Democratic Senate or a Republican Senate.

There are many reasons why it is extremely crucial that the Democrats retain the Senate, since it is clear that the Republicans will keep control of the House of Representatives, and may gain more seats, and go from a 233-199 (with three vacancies) total to over 240, due to gerrymandering, and the power of incumbency.

A Democratic Senate gives Barack Obama the chance to gain a new Supreme Court Justice of his own choice, if Ruth Bader Ginsburg or any other Justice decides to retire in the next two years, or if any Justice should die while a member of the Court. Also, ability to have circuit and district court judges, and cabinet positions, and other appointments approved would be very difficult if the GOP controlled the Senate.

A Democratic Senate prevents any serious move toward a likely impeachment of Barack Obama, as the Republicans would see no point to doing it, if there was no chance of a conviction, which in reality would not happen in any case, as it would require a two thirds (67) vote to convict and remove. The Republicans might be fully aware that it would not succeed, but might wish to besmirch the historical record of Obama, much as they did with Bill Clinton in 1998-1999.

A Democratic Senate insures that in two years, with two thirds of the seats up for election being Republicans, that the Democrats would likely gain 6-8 seats, and might, in 2017, reach the magic number of 60 or more, preventing any possible use of the filibuster tactic.

A Democratic Senate would insure the survival of ObamaCare, and the inability of any further move to destroy this signature program. Additionally, attempts to reverse other changes and reforms that have occurred would be impossible, all to the good.

A Democratic Senate would make it unnecessary for President Obama to utilize the veto power, which he has used very sparingly in his time in office.

A Democratic Senate would mean that the Republican Party had lost its last opportunity to gain control of both Houses, and in 2016, with a strong Democratic nominee for President, and the likelihood of coattail effects in those states that are “blue” or “purple”, would likely lead to a flip in the House to Democratic control, and the GOP would never again, any time soon, gain control of either House of Congress, as they have shown no desire to deal with the important issues that face the nation in domestic policy, and refusal to support Barack Obama in foreign policy, having abandoned the long held view of a sense of bipartisanship when dealing with the world and its problems.

Justices Scalia, Thomas, Alito MUST Go!

Three members of the Supreme Court live in their own parallel world of the Founding Fathers and the Gilded Age and the 1920s, and refuse to consider modernization as a factor in their judicial judgments!

Antonin Scalia, appointed in 1986 by Ronald Reagan; Clarence Thomas, appointed in 1991 by George H. W. Bush; and Samuel Alito, appointed in 2006 by George W. Bush are a team of three, which has worked against gender equality,racial equality, fair treatment to immigrants, and gay rights, among other modern controversies.

Often, Chief Justice John Roberts joins them, and sometimes, but less often than Roberts, Justice Anthony Kennedy also joins to make a right wing five on the Court.

But Roberts and Kennedy have also taken stands with the four liberal justices on the Court lately–Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan.

It is time to demand that Justices Scalia, Thomas, and Alito adjust to modern times, or else leave the Court, and there is a dire need to have a constitutional amendment to limit the terms of all federal judges at all levels, to promote open mindedness and diversity, and allow for change after, at most 18-20 years!

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!

Supreme Court Expands Gay Marriage Rights To Five States, And Probably Six More, By Decision Not To Challenge Circuit Court Decisions!

The nation is moving much closer to the eventual reality of gay marriage being accepted by the Supreme Court, probably in 2016.

It is clear there are NOT five votes to stop it from happening, as Anthony Kennedy very clearly has joined the four “liberal” Justices on that issue, based on his vote in Lawrence V. Texas in 2003.

Therefore, the conservatives on the Court have decided to, at the least, delay a final decision by allowing what has been approved by different circuit courts to stand as legal.

So now, Oklahoma, Virginia, Wisconsin, Utah, and Indiana must allow gay marriage as a result, raising the number of states to 24, but with six more states likely to added in days, including Wyoming, Colorado, Kansas, West Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina, making a total of 30 states and 60 percent of the nation!

Additionally, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals could rule similarly very soon, adding Alaska, Arizona, Montana, Nevada, and Idaho, making it 35 states.

The Religious Right will continue to promote hate and division, but they and right wing conservatives and Republicans will be repudiated for their stand, and in the long run, suffer dramatic decline in support, as they richly deserve to have happen to them, as they have shown the hypocrisy and falsehood of their religious and political philosophies!

37 Days To The Extremely Important Midterm Elections Of 2014!

With the crisis of ISIL (ISIS) having emerged as the most dangerous threat to America since September 11, 2001, and with this being the greatest world crisis since World War II, it is now 37 days to the extremely important Midterm Elections of 2014, both in foreign and domestic policy!

We need cooperation on the foreign policy front between Congress and the President, but that is unlikely if the GOP wins control of the Senate, even if they are still able to hold on to control in the House of Representatives!

Such a scenario will undermine the war effort, and the need to deal with many domestic issues, that are desperately in need of attention!

The possible appointment of a Supreme Court Justice before the next Presidential election, and of a new Attorney General in the next few months is riding on the ability of the Democrats to keep control of the US Senate, which thankfully, seems highly likely right now!

The ability to bring about immigration reform; to protect the environment; to gain funding for infrastructure projects; to see further advancements in civil rights; to promote support for those who are in poverty to have a higher minimum wage, extension of unemployment compensation and expansion of Medicaid; to promote equal pay legislation for women; and so many other initiatives, is hanging in the balance!

It is urgent that those who believe in progressive reforms must get out the vote, and make people who are apathetic voters realize the importance of their voting, and not just for Congressional elections, but also for state governors and state legislatures, as we have seen much evidence of the damage done by Tea Party Republican Governors on so many issues!

Attorney General Eric Holder Leaving The Obama Cabinet: A Major Loss Of One Of the Greatest Attorneys General In American History!

One of the longest serving Attorneys General in America, Eric Holder, announced today that he was leaving the Obama cabinet as soon as a successor is confirmed, probably at the beginning of the 114th Congress in January!

By then, Eric Holder will have served six years, the third longest term as Attorney General, only trailing second place Janet Reno under Bill Clinton, and William Wirt, who served longer than anyone under James Monroe and John Quincy Adams in the early 19th century!

Holder has been bitterly attacked for his performance and his own character by right wing whackos of the Tea Party Movement, and joined by Republican leaders in both houses of Congress, who have stopped at nothing to degrade him, including citing him for contempt of Congress, and threatening impeachment.

Through it all, Holder has acted with dignity  and class, just like his boss, President Obama.  Both of them have refused to take the bait and get angry, and have made their critics look what they are—prejudiced, biased, racists, and not giving a damn about civil rights and civil liberties of all of the American people.

Holder has worked to try to restore the Voting Rights Act, after the shameful reversion on much of it by the Supreme Court in 2013.

Holder has worked to promote prison reform, and to lower the prison population by freeing people who were wrongfully convicted or kept in prison way beyond all reasonable sentences.

Holder also prosecuted hundreds of terrorism cases, tackled financial fraud, and worked against violent crime and corruption, as well as working to promote the environment.

Holder was the first African American Attorney General, and he should be succeeded by retiring Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, another African American.

That will be difficult if the Republican opposition wins control of the Senate, another reason for everyone to vote in the midterm elections.  We are bound to see open racism by many Republicans if Patrick is nominated to succeed Holder, even if the GOP does not win the Senate majority!

This nation was blessed to have a great man as our Attorney General, and Eric Holder will be ranked among the top Attorneys General in American history over time!

Georgia Congressman John Lewis, “Selma” Film, And The Effect Of The Voting Rights Act of 1965: Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, Barack Obama!

The new documentary, SELMA, about the March from Selma to Montgomery in March 1965, leading to “Bloody Sunday”, where state troopers and snipers fired on peaceful marchers demanding their right to vote, reminds us of a transitional stage in American history, when African Americans would regain the right to vote given to them in the 15th Amendment in 1870, and then denied in the South for about 75 years!

Alabama Governor George Wallace represented the worst of Southern racism, and Georgia Congressman John Lewis, a true hero then and now, had his head beaten and bloodied n the Selma March, but the horrible event led to the Voting Rights Act of 1965!

It is tragic that the Supreme Court allowed a reversion in enforcement of the Voting Rights Act two years ago, and that has led to new movements, and not only in the South, to make it harder for African Americans, Latinos, women, poor people, and college students to vote, and that could affect the Midterm elections of 2014!

But Lewis made the comment which is so TRUE: If it had not been for Voting Rights Act coming out of the Selma March, there likely would NEVER have been an open minded progressive Presidency of Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama!

That would have been a tremendous tragedy, as no Republican President , whether Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, or George W. Bush, made civil rights enforcement a key goal of their times in the Presidency!

So thank goodness for the fortune that the sacrifices of the Selma Marchers brought us the great progress  we gained under Carter, Clinton, and now Obama!