Voting Rights Act

Most Crucial Trump Cabinet Member To Resist Is Jeff Sessions, Attorney General Nominee— A Danger To Civil Rights And Civil Liberties!

The Trump cabinet choices are overall horrific, but the most that might be expected is to stop maybe one or two of the nominees.

It is so hard to judge which are the worst of all of them, but clearly, after reflection, the record of Senator Jeff Sessions disqualifies him for the position of Attorney General.

This is a man who has displayed racism, misogyny, nativism, and homophobia, and was opposed to extension of the Voting Rights Act, and he was already rejected for a federal judgeship in 1986 by a Senate with a majority of his own Republican Party.

In an age when civil rights and civil liberties are in danger from Donald Trump and his mentality, to put Jeff Sessions into the Justice Department would set back the Bill of Rights tremendously, as Sessions is no different than if one were to select former Alabama Governor George Wallace, or former North Carolina Senator Jesse Helms, or former South Carolina Senator Strom Thurmond to be Attorney General.

These were the worst of all Southern politicians who undermined civil rights, and there is no evidence that Jeff Sessions is any different in 2017.

All that is needed is for a few Republican Senators to show courage, and vote against their own colleague, replicating the Republican Senate of 1986, as then Arlen Specter and Charles Mathias blocked Sessions from a federal district court judgeship, a very rare occurrence.

Pressure must be brought on Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Jeff Flake of Arizona to show the same kind of courage now, within the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Otherwise, it is essential that such Senators as Susan Collins of Maine, Rob Portman of Ohio, Lisa Murkowksi of Alaska, John McCain of Arizona, Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, and Dean Heller of Nevada be appealed to, to reject Sessions.

Criminalization Of Christianity And Kim Davis? Hardly!

A federal court judge appointed by George W. Bush has ordered County Clerk Kim Davis of Rowan County, Kentucky to jail for failing to issue marriage licenses to anyone in her county, due to her “religious” beliefs that do not “allow” her to permit marriage licenses to gays and lesbians.

Kim Davis is a hypocrite, who has been married four times, divorced three times, and had twins with someone not her husband at the time, and then, suddenly, she became “religious”, and therefore, will not fulfill her job duties to which she was elected.

It is not as if she can be summarily fired, as she was elected by the voters last November, but she can be required to do her duties as a public official, or be told to resign, or else, someone else should fulfill her duties on marriage licenses in her stead.

If this is allowed to fester, other county clerks in Kentucky, Alabama, and Texas, and other states can use the excuse to disobey the Supreme Court decision on gay marriage,  or really, we can start having government officials refuse to obey federal law on other matters as well!

The Civil War is long over, and states must obey federal law, whether they like it or not, just as those opposed to Citizens United or the Voting Rights Act  or other conservative decisions have the option of trying for a constitutional amendment if they do not wish to accept the Court decision.

We are a nation of laws and the Constitution, and the Supreme Court, right or wrong, is the final arbiter, as we are not a nation governed by the beliefs of any religious group, and no such group should be allowed to dictate what they will obey when it comes to law.

The concept of criminalization of Christianity is totally baseless, and no one should take it seriously, as there is no persecution of Christians, although there is persecution of Muslims, in some areas Jews, and certainly of Atheists and Agnostics!

We are a nation of many different Christian groups with a variety of doctrines, but we are not a “Christian” nation, a theocracy, and no religion can be allowed to control public policy!

That Was The Week That Was: June 19-26, 2015 Most Significant Single Week In Many Years For Positive Change!

Who would ever have imagined that in one week’s time, we would witness three events that would transform American society as the week from June 19 to June 26, 2015?

Two days before that transformational week, nine African American Bible Class men and women in a church were slaughtered by a young man who had so much hate and racism in his body and mind that human life meant nothing to him, a tremendous tragedy for Charleston, South Carolina; for the nation at large; and for the nine families who lost their loved ones.

Nothing much more negative could have been imagined to occur regarding race relations in America, which have been in crisis with recent killings by police of African American men in many different locations around the nation.

But the the miracle week began!

The relatives of the nine murdered Bible Class men and women confronted the mass murderer who had done the dirty deed, and they all expressed to him that they forgave him for his sin, unimaginable behavior witnessed on television, amazing the whole nation.

The fact that this young mass murderer had used the Confederate flag as a symbol of his hatred and racism spurred the call for removal of the Confederate flag from the monument at the Columbia, South Carolina state capital, as well as elsewhere in the South.

Governor Nikki Haley, a Republican, called for the legislature to consider removal, and State Senator Paul Thurmond, the son of racist former Senator, Governor and 1948 States Rights Party Presidential nominee Strom Thurmond, said the flag must come down. While it did not come down in time for the funerals of the nine victims, the movement was on to remove it, and we saw other Southern states remove the symbol, including Alabama, an unbelievable thought a few days earlier. It looked likely that the Confederate flag had met its doom on public property everywhere, although citizens would still have the freedom to wear and display the Confederate symbol openly.

Then, as the week went on, the Supreme Court, controlled by a conservative majority, which had moved to the right politically by recent decisions during the Obama years, including the Citizens United decision in 2010 and the Voting Rights limitation case of 2013, suddenly took a noticeable turn to the left, with Reagan appointed Justice Anthony Kennedy supporting ObamaCare and same sex marriage, and Chief Justice John Roberts, appointed by George W. Bush, siding for the second time on ObamaCare.

Suddenly, ObamaCare was finally established in a manner that would make it impossible to repeal, and it insured that Barack Obama’s signature achievement would last in the manner that Social Security came to be under Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Medicare came to be under Lyndon B. Johnson.

And suddenly, after a long, hard fought battle over gay rights and gay marriage, the civil and human right to marry became guaranteed for gays and lesbians, as much as interracial marriage was insured by Supreme Court decision 48 years ago in 1967 in Loving V Virginia.

And with all this, Barack Obama also had victory on the Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal, despite a major split with liberals in his own Democratic Party.

And then, even more inspiring was Barack Obama’s amazing eulogy of the pastor/state legislator killed by the young mass murderer. It reminded us of his great oratorical abilities, and the eulogy coursed through our beings and gave all decent people a chill up the spine, symbolically!

No President has had a week of such massive victories and achievements in many decades, and to have the Confederate flag being brought down was the icing on the cake!

So that was the week that was, which will be written about by scholars in future generations, as a miraculous week hard to match or surpass!

Mike Huckabee, The Supreme Court, And The “Supreme Being”!

Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, a candidate for the Presidency, and a former preacher as well, is going off the deep end in his vehement opposition to gay marriage.

Apparently, Mike Huckabee believes that the American people do not need to obey judges and the federal courts, and the Supreme Court, if they do not like or agree with their decisions.

If Barack Obama were to say this, he would be pushed toward impeachment, but Mike Huckabee is promoting disobedience of the judiciary, and shows total ignorance of our legal history!

What he is advocating, taken to its extreme, would mean that the Citizens United case would be ignored, and that billionaires would not be able to distort our election process, something any sensible person would advocate, but the only way to overcome this is by constitutional amendment!

So if gay marriage is made legal in all of America at the end of June, the only way to overcome it is to bring about a similar constitutional amendment.

The same goes for those who are upset about interracial marriage, civil rights laws, the lax enforcement of the Voting Rights Act, racial integration, and a whole host of other “objectionable” decisions made by the courts and the Supreme Court over 226 years of our history!

Mike Huckabee demonstrates his ignorance of our history, and of the significance of Chief Justice John Marshall, and of “judicial review” and the famous Supreme Court case, Marbury V. Madison in 1803.

Presidents, including Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, and really ALL Presidents; and many other government figures over the years; and citizens of America throughout its history, have denounced Supreme Court decisions!

BUT the only alternative is a constitutional amendment, ladies and gentlemen, and for any Presidential candidate or President to call for defiance of the Supreme Court is grounds for impeachment and removal from office.

In America, the Supreme Court is the final arbiter, good or bad, and really, it is both, depending on the issue and how people perceive it!

We are NOT a theocracy, and the “Supreme Being”, that Mike Huckabee advocates, is NOT the final arbiter of constitutional cases, and never has been! Thank goodness for that, as it would take away the democracy that America has evolved into over more than two centuries of American history!

Pew Research Poll Shows Built-In Advantage Long Term For Democrats Over Republicans

It has been a tough time for Democrats in recent years with the loss of the House of Representatives in the 2010 Midterm Election and the loss of the US Senate in the 2014 Midterm Elections, plus the loss of so many state governorships in the last three two year cycles, along with many state legislatures.

A lot of the problem is due to the failure of the demographic groups that favor Democrats to come out to vote, particularly in the midterm elections.

But the long term advantage, at least on paper, is with the Democrats, according to a new Pew Research Poll of groups and which party they favor.

Blacks (69), Asians (42), religiously unaffiliated (36); postgraduate women (35), Jewish (30), Hispanics (30), and Millennials (16) all favor Democrats.

Mormons (48), Evangelical Christians (46), White Southerners (21), White Men with some or no college education (21), White Voters (9), and Voters 69-86 (4) all favor Republicans.

Overall, 48 percent of partisans favor Democrats, and 39 percent favor Republicans.

So the key issue is getting people out to vote and fighting Republican attempts in the states to make it more difficult for those who favor Democrats from registering to vote, a tactic that has been used particularly since the Supreme Court negated portions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 in 2013!

The Shame Of Alabama, The Republican Party And the Supreme Court On The 50th Anniversary Of The Selma To Montgomery March!

This weekend marks the 50th anniversary of the Selma to Montgomery March of 1965.

On this significant anniversary, three things are clear.

Alabama has NOT shed its image of bigotry!

The Republican Party, many of whose members supported the Voting Rights Act of 1965, is not sending anyone to commemorate this event. Late news reports indicate that former President George W. Bush and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy are to show up, but few other Republicans, and none other than McCarthy in the leadership of the GOP.

And the Supreme Court has contributed to the withering away of the Voting Rights Act by its 2013 decision permitting new voting rights restrictions!

Not only is racial discrimination still very obvious in Alabama and much of the South, but now Alabama is the center of a so called states rights struggle over gay marriage, with the state Supreme Court, headed by George Wallace like Chief Justice Roy Moore ordering that gay marriage be stopped, after a federal judge ordered it go forward, and with the Supreme Court poised to consider the case, which will be decided by June.

So prejudice, discrimination, and the false argument of states rights still reigns in the original home of the Confederate government!

And for the GOP to bypass major representation at this premier civil rights anniversary is to the shame of the party of Lincoln, TR, and Ike!

And for the Supreme Court and African American Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, Associate Justice Antonin Scalia, Associate Justice Samuel Alito, Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy, and Chief Justice John Roberts to promote a weakening of the Voting Rights Act two years ago, and see what it has wrought on voter suppression, is to the shame of the top Court of the land, which has not done its job to uphold the Constitution of the United States!

“Selma” Film Brings Back Memories Of Bloodshed And Deaths Over Voting Rights, As We Look At Crippled Law Due To Supreme Court!

Watching the “Selma” film, which has been nominated for Best Film in the Oscar Awards competition, one is reminded of the turmoil, bloodshed, and deaths that occurred over the issue of voting rights in the South a half century and more ago.

The Voting Rights Act, which became law exactly 50 years ago, was designed to prevent any more such denial of the right to vote, but the right wing Supreme Court, including African American Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, changed the effectiveness of the law two years ago, causing new voting restrictions in the past two years in Republican controlled states, and not just in the South, but also in the heartland of the nation, the Midwest and Great Plains States, and even some Western states.

Shelby County V. Holder made it possible once again to create barriers to voting, and the battle for voting rights has new challenges, which already has had an effect on voting in the midterm elections of 2014.

But seeing this film about the Selma to Montgomery march fifty years ago, motivates those who believe in fairness and democracy, to do whatever can be done to restore the purpose of what those people who died or were injured then did, a sacrifice that should not be forgotten!

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!

50 Years Ago Today, “Great Society” Speech Of Lyndon B. Johnson!

A half century ago, on this date, President Lyndon B. Johnson gave a commencement address at the University of Michigan, on the six month anniversary of his becoming President, due to the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

Instead of just stating that he would finish the work of John F. Kennedy that had been left undone, LBJ enunciated the greatest series of domestic reform goals ever formulated, more than the New Deal programs of Franklin D. Roosevelt thirty years earlier, particularly in the “Second New Deal” legislation of 1935-1936.

What followed in 1965-1966 was the most productive Congress in American history, the 89th Congress, with the FDR 74th Congress the second most productive ever in American history.

We saw the Voting Rights Act, Medicare, the War on Poverty, education legislation, consumer legislation, environmental legislation, immigration reform, and so much else that advanced the American domestic agenda!

While we celebrate that 50th anniversary, one must realize that we have taken many steps backward, and no worse than the present 113th Congress, the absolute worst ever in American history in taking care of the nation’s domestic agenda.

And this comes just four years after the end of the 111th Congress under Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, the most productive since the 89th Congress, during the first two years in office of Barack Obama.

The nation has been poorly served, and we have backtracked on so much that had been done under FDR and LBJ!

This is a tragedy, the extent of which we will not fully realize for many years, and it is a moment to commiserate and to mourn what mean spirit and lack of compassion can do to undermine the “American Dream.” Government activism has been rejected for a harsh, individualistic, libertarian mentality that favors leaving those less fortunate to the “wolves”.