Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Off To SLC...

See the source image


Leaving for the great state of Utah Thursday June 14th to visit our son, daughter-in-law, and our two beautiful grandchildren. Blogging will be next to non-existent as we focus on Family and Fun.

Enjoy the archives and feel free to leave comments. Comment moderation will be on, but I will release them (and maybe even reply) when I find time. :-)

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

What Is The PROPER Role Of the ACLU?...

We are not at all comfortable the ACLU is actively moving in the direction of supporting partisan political agenda's and becoming involved in the election process with the obvious goal of influencing outcomes. For the organizations 98 year history it has devoted itself to fighting for the protection of the civil liberties of all Americans. To become just another partisan political advocacy group is a disservice to the original reason for its existence.

Recent moves by the ACLU may very well be in response to the Bush and Trump era(s) and their apparent desires to concentrate power in the hands of a conservative government (agenda), the plutocrats, the military, and the religious right. However, the last thing we need is another special interest advocacy group. Especially when the ACLU often argues in court for everyone's civil liberties, presumably based on our Constitution and Bill of Rights. Taking partisan political positions and morphing into an advocacy group will compromise the ACLU's integrity. Something which is already suspect in the minds of more than just a few. Besides, both the right and the left has more than an ample amount of these.

Because the right is more focused, better at propaganda, and hugely more effective at marketing their propaganda is the fault of moderates and the liberal left which has done a poor job of marketing their alternative. Either that or the nation is, as this individual has often said, a center right nation.

Now on to some commentary by those more familiar than I with the ACLU.


The Hill - The director of the American Civil Liberties Union has now acknowledged what should have been obvious to everybody over the past several years: The ACLU is no longer a neutral defender of everyone’s civil liberties. It has morphed into a hyper-partisan, hard-left political advocacy group. The final nail in its coffin was the announcement that, for the first time in its history, the ACLU would become involved in partisan electoral politics, supporting candidates, referenda and other agenda-driven political goals.

The headline in the June 8 edition of the New Yorker tells it all: “The ACLU is getting involved in elections — and reinventing itself for the Trump era.” The article continues: “In this midterm year, however, as progressive groups have mushroomed and grown more active, and as liberal billionaires such as Howard Schultz and Tom Steyer have begun to imagine themselves as political heroes and eye presidential runs, the ACLU, itself newly flush, has begun to move in step with the times. For the first time in its history, the ACLU is taking an active role in elections. The group has plans to spend more than 25 million dollars on races and ballot initiatives by Election Day, in November.”

Since its establishment nearly 100 years ago, the ACLU has been, in the words of the New Yorker, “fastidiously nonpartisan, so prudish about any alliance with any political power that its leadership, in the 1980s and 90s, declined even to give awards to likeminded legislators for fear that it might give the wrong impression.” I know, because I served on its national board in the early days of my own career.

In those days, the board consisted of individuals who were deeply committed to core civil liberties, especially freedom of speech, opposition to prosecutorial overreach and political equality. Its board members included Republicans and Democrats, conservatives and liberals, right wingers and left wingers, all of whom supported neutral civil liberties. The key test in those days was what I have come to call “the shoe on the other foot” test: Would you vote the same way if the shoe were on the other foot, that is, if the party labels were switched?

Today, the ACLU wears only one shoe, and it is on its left foot. Its color is blue. The only dispute is whether it supports the progressive wing of the Democratic Party or its more centrist wing. There is little doubt that most board members today support the progressive wing, though some think that even that wing is not sufficiently left. There is no longer any room in the ACLU for true conservatives who are deeply committed to neutral civil liberties. The litmus test is support for hard-left policies.

To be sure, the ACLU will still occasionally take a high profile case involving a Nazi or Klan member who has been denied freedom of speech, though there are now some on the board who would oppose supporting such right-wing extremists. But the core mission of the ACLU — and its financial priority — is to promote its left-wing agenda in litigation, in public commentary and, now, in elections. ...

Continues HERE


THE NEW YORKER - Earlier this year, radio advertisements began airing in and around Charlotte, North Carolina, criticizing the elected sheriff of Mecklenburg County, a Democrat and retired firefighter named Irwin Carmichael. Normally, only the most politically extreme or publicity-hungry sheriffs attract much public notice, and Carmichael was not one of those. “People weren’t even aware of who the sheriff was,” Mark Mellman, a prominent Washington pollster who worked on the race, told me. Carmichael’s office had maintained an agreement with Immigration and Customs Enforcement that deputized his officers to identify undocumented prisoners and turn them over to federal agents, and the radio ads focussed on this issue. “Sheriff Carmichael works with Trump’s deportation force—detaining people for deportation, tearing families apart,” an announcer intoned. “Carmichael’s challengers? They’ve pledged to stop working with Trump’s deportation force.” The anti-Carmichael ads also carried an interesting concluding line—they had been paid for, an announcer said, by the American Civil Liberties Union. Carmichael had gone into his reĆ«lection year looking like a good bet to win. Before the Democratic primary, he had raised more than twice as much money as had his two challengers—a retired homicide detective, Garry McFadden, and a former suburban police chief, Antoine Ensley—combined. But the A.C.L.U. was spending money on the race, too: the radio ads alone matched half of Carmichael’s budget. On primary day, McFadden won, Ensley came in second, and Carmichael finished third. When he spoke to the press after the results came in, the defeated sheriff criticized the “outside forces” that he believed had contributed to his defeat.

For most of its ninety-eight years of existence, the A.C.L.U. has spent its resources largely on litigation, arguing for civil liberties, and against government excess, in the courts. Part of the organization’s DNA is a Bill of Rights purism—the group, always liberal, has famously defended the rights of neo-Nazis and Klansmen to protest—and it has been fastidiously nonpartisan, so prudish about any alliance with political power that its leadership, in the nineteen-eighties and nineties, declined even to give awards to like-minded legislators for fear that it might give the wrong impression. In this midterm year, however, as progressive groups have mushroomed and grown more active, and as liberal billionaires such as Howard Schultz and Tom Steyer have begun to imagine themselves as political heroes and eye Presidential runs, the A.C.L.U., itself newly flush, has begun to move in step with the times. For the first time in its history, the A.C.L.U. is taking an active role in elections. The group has plans to spend more than twenty-five million dollars on races and ballot initiatives by Election Day, in November. Anthony Romero, the group’s executive director, told me, “It used to be that, when I had a referendum I really cared about, I could spend fifty thousand dollars.”

Last year, as a kind of experiment, the A.C.L.U. made a small investment in the district attorney’s race in Philadelphia. The group had become interested in the race because one of the candidates, a former civil-rights lawyer named Larry Krasner, was campaigning on the promise to help end mass incarceration. The A.C.L.U. helped send ex-felons door to door, talking about the brutalities and injustices of prison, and Krasner won. The sheriff’s race in Mecklenburg County was the experiment’s second phase—an investment big enough to help tip a race, spent in an increasingly progressive city in a traditionally conservative state where, the hope was, people could be persuaded to see the mundane brutalities of the local jail anew. The day after the vote in Mecklenburg County, McFadden, who had just won the Democratic nomination, called the A.C.L.U.’s national political director, Faiz Shakir, to thank him. Shakir told me that he encouraged McFadden to make Mecklenburg into a national model for how a progressive sheriff might run his department.

Anthony Romero became the executive director of the A.C.L.U. in 2001, just before the September 11th attacks. The excesses of the Bush Administration’s war on terror, which followed, raised the group’s profile and improved fund-raising. But even that unusual period, Romero told me recently, was not so unusual as this one, because, during the Bush Administration, the civil-liberties cause was mostly a series of lawsuits and editorial arguments, not a movement. After 9/11, when the Bush Administration instituted a program that required visitors from two dozen Muslim-majority countries to register with the government, Romero said, “I don’t remember anyone waving signs that said ‘We are all Muslims.’ ” But last year, when President Trump’s first travel ban targeting Muslims was issued, protests spread at airports around the country, A.C.L.U. lawyers arrived on the scene, and that slogan—“We are all Muslims”—was seen everywhere. Romero had played a small role in helping to organize the Women’s March of 1996, when thirty thousand women and men marched in San Francisco in defense of reproductive rights. That event had required years of centralized planning. After Trump’s election, much larger women’s marches took place in cities around the country, organized in a matter of weeks. The defense of and concern for civil liberties has been central to the resistance to Trump, and the A.C.L.U.’s membership has quadrupled since the President was inaugurated. Romero said that the average age of his membership had dropped by twenty years as a result, and has become somewhat more diverse—“sixteen per cent people of color,” he said. “It’s no longer just college-educated liberals on the coasts.”

Even before this influx of new members, Romero had already begun to think about how the A.C.L.U. might adapt to its current-day political context. In 2013, during the comparative quiet of the late Obama years, Romero had commissioned a study of how the National Rifle Association—another organization built around a specific view of a section of the Bill of Rights—has managed to operate so effectively as a public-advocacy organization. “The big takeaway for me from that study was that they were able to talk about their work not in legalistic policy terms,” Romero said. “On their Web site you won’t find anything about the Second Amendment. It’s all about gun culture.” Romero thought that the A.C.L.U. might do something similar—moving out from the courtrooms and into the work of grassroots mobilization, of policy issues and campaigns. What he wanted, he said, was “to give people a real opportunity to be protagonists.” ...

Continues HERE

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Giving Trump Kudos When Kudos Are Due... Will He Stand By His Prediction?




I never thought I would be giving the orange haired individual now sitting the White House credit for rational thought and sensible decisions, but, I recently find myself re-thinking those thoughts. Of course that is predicated on the assumption that he actually means what he said regarding possible support for a legislative proposal to leave the decision to states about whether to legalize marijuana.

When asked about a legislative bill introduced by Senator Cory Gardner, Republican of Colorado, and Senator Elizabeth Warren, Democrat of Massachusetts his response was... “We’re looking at it. But I probably will end up supporting that, yes,”

The bill would leave the decision to states about whether to legalize marijuana, Something that any actual conservative/libertarian should support with enthusiasm and  all liberal/progressive ought to be solidly behind this.

As Trump is as unpredictable as the winds it is not certain that he will ultimately support and sign the legislation if it passes congress. We can only hope that he does. Bottom line, whether conservative/libertarian or liberal/progressive it is the right thing for Trump to do. Everyone with an understanding of the science that supports the benefits of marijuana ought to be giving the President Kudos on his apparent support for legislation that would essentially upend an archaic and foolish punitive federal law.

Marijuana does not belong on the federal controlled substance list. In fact it was not until 1970 that marijuana was federally banned for any purpose, including for medical purposes. The decision to outlaw marijuana use was a purely a political one without concern for science or the very real benefits associated with marijuana. And now, the other reason for the criminalization of cannabis.

Read the New York Times article HERE.

Friday, June 8, 2018

A Sincere and Respected Conservative Gives His Final Farewell... You Will Be Missed Charles Krauthammer

Lastly, I thank my colleagues, my readers, and my viewers, who have made my career possible and given consequence to my life’s work. I believe that the pursuit of truth and right ideas through honest debate and rigorous argument is a noble undertaking. I am grateful to have played a small role in the conversations that have helped guide this extraordinary nation’s destiny.

Charles Krauthammer as he bids farewell to his friends, associates, and this life that he gave his all. A truly interesting and sincere conservative whose voice will be missed. 

We hope Charles is spared pain and suffering in his final days and that the universe speeds him on his ultimate journey home.


Please find Charles final article HERE

ACA Now at Risk as the Trump Administration Fails to Defend the Law...

The Washington Post - The Trump administration said Thursday night that it will not defend the Affordable Care Act against the latest legal challenge to its constitutionality — a dramatic break from the executive branch’s tradition of arguing to uphold existing statutes and a land mine for health insurance changes the ACA brought about.

In a brief filed in a Texas federal court and an accompanying letter to the House and Senate leaders of both parties, the Justice Department agrees in large part with the 20 Republican-led states that brought the suit. They contend that the ACA provision requiring most Americans to carry health insurance soon will no longer be constitutional and that, as a result, consumer insurance protections under the law will not be valid, either.

The three-page letter from Attorney General Jeff Sessions begins by saying that Justice adopted its position “with the approval of the President of the United States.” The letter acknowledges that the decision not to defend an existing law deviates from history but contends that it is not unprecedented.

The bold swipe at the ACA, a Republican whipping post since its 2010 passage, does not immediately affect any of its provisions. But it puts the law on far more wobbly legal footing in the case, which is being heard by a GOP-appointed judge who has in other recent cases ruled against more minor aspects.

The administration does not go as far as the Texas attorney general and his counterparts. In their suit, lodged in February in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, they argue that the entire law is now invalid.

By contrast, the Justice brief and letter say many other aspects of the law can survive because they can be considered legally distinct from the insurance mandate and such consumer protections as a ban on charging more or refusing coverage to people with preexisting medical conditions.

A group of 17 Democratic-led states that have won standing in the case also filed a brief on Thursday night arguing for the ACA’s preservation.

While the case has to play out from here, the administration’s striking position raises the possibility that major parts of the law could be struck down — a year after the Republican Congress failed at attempts to repeal core provisions.

The Red Tide moving against its core constituents (and America's) best interests. Trump forewarned us of his plans and even as the majority shifted to pro ACA the Red Tide continues to try and identify ways to sweep the law out to sea. The caring compassionate party of plutocrats and liars at work for you, the average hard working American family. Yeah, right.



Article continues Below The Fold.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

I Love America, SO, Two Big Middles to Trump...

After cancelling the planned Super Bowl celebration with the Philadelphia Eagles pResident Trump hosted a "Patriotic Celebration". The pResident's remarks below.





Perhaps it's just this individualistic patriot of some 60+ years that believes Trump is full of it. However, our constitution guarantees the right to free political speech and expression. Which includes legitimate peaceful protest against inequities and injustice, perceived or real.

I love my country, even with its many flaws. I stand for the National Anthem out of choice, not compulsion. I do so in respect for, and in the spirit of,  what our Declaration of Independence and our Constitution stand for.

Unfortunately this nation of laws has not always lived up to the lofty words and values of our Declaration of Independence. Nor has it insured equal justice under the law to all it's citizens in all places and at al times. The institutionalized inequities and injustice in our legal system is well documented. Thus the justification for Taking a Knee.

If Trump understood our Constitution and the stated values enshrined in our Declaration of Independence he would know what it means to be a true Patriot who loves America. It does not mean parades, pomp and circumstance, standing with hand over heart, agreeing with "your" president at every turn, or accepting all that you are told to accept. It means fighting for the principles and vales that you believe are right. And that Mr. pResident means peaceful protest in solidarity against very real injustices that exist in our justice system.

The below should incense every true patriotic American, WHY? Because it is true.

“There is today one state in which at least weak beginnings toward a better conception [of immigration] are noticeable. Of course, it is not our model German Republic, but [the US], in which an effort is made to consult reason at least partially. By refusing immigrants on principle to elements in poor health, by simply excluding certain races from naturalisation, it professes in slow beginnings a view that is peculiar to the People’s State.”

Hitler connected this American “success” story to his ultimate goal, as he told a fellow Nazi:

“Now that we know the laws of heredity, it is possible to a large extent to prevent unhealthy and severely handicapped beings from coming into the world. I have studied with interest the laws of several American states concerning prevention of reproduction by people whose progeny would, in all probability, be of no value or be injurious to the racial stock.”

So if you want to know why NFL players feel the need to follow Colin Kaepernick’s lead, and protest during the national anthem, the fact that Hitler took inspiration from popular American policies like the Jim Crow South or the Immigration Act of 1924 should be instructive. Racially tinged fascism is as American as apple pie, and it’s on the rise yet again. And before we can understand the NFL protests, and the abysmal reaction from Roger Gooddell and the owners, we have to understand a little bit of American fascist history.

Trump is far from the first demagogue to successfully court this thick slice of Americans who identify more with the heritage-based vision of Nazi Germany than the idea-centric aim of our constitution. According to Gallup, Richard Nixon received 32% of votes from nonwhite Americans in his failed 1960 presidential bid. When he won in 1968, he only got 12% of the votes from this group. What happened in between was basically the Big Bang for the modern GOP.



SOURCE