Native American Heritage Day 2016

Native Alaskan head wareNative Hawaiian War HelmetNative American indian head ware

Native American Heritage Day is a civil holiday observed on the day after Thanksgiving in the United States.

The Native American Heritage Day Bill encourages Americans of all backgrounds to observe Friday, November 28, 2008, as Native American Heritage Day, through appropriate ceremonies and activities. It also encourages public elementary and secondary schools to enhance student understanding of Native Americans by providing classroom instructions focusing on their history, achievements, and contributions.

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Native_American_Heritage_Day

 

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November 25, 2016
Native American Heritage Day

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Gettysburg Address – 153rd Anniversary

Gettysburg Address

The Gettysburg Address

The Gettysburg Address is a speech by U.S. President Abraham Lincoln, one of the best-known in American history. It was delivered by Lincoln during the American Civil War, on the afternoon of Thursday, November 19, 1863, at the dedication of the Soldiers’ National Cemetery in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, four and a half months after the Union armies defeated those of the Confederacy at the Battle of Gettysburg.

Abraham Lincoln’s carefully crafted address, secondary to other presentations that day, came to be regarded as one of the greatest speeches in American history. In just over two minutes, Lincoln reiterated the principles of human equality espoused by the Declaration of Independence and proclaimed the Civil War as a struggle for the preservation of the Union sundered by the secession crisis, with “a new birth of freedom,” that would bring true equality to all of its citizens. Lincoln also redefined the Civil War as a struggle not just for the Union, but also for the principle of human equality.

For more: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gettysburg_address

 

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International Day of Tolerance 2016

International Day of Tolerance

Hands of Color
The International Day for Tolerance is an annual observance declared by UNESCO in 1995 to generate public awareness of the dangers of intolerance.

The United Nations is committed to strengthening tolerance by fostering mutual understanding among cultures and peoples. This imperative lies at the core of the United Nations Charter, as well as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and is more important than ever in this era of rising and violent extremism and widening conflicts that are characterized by a fundamental disregard for human life.

In 1996, the UN General Assembly (by resolution 51/95) invited UN Member States to observe the International Day for Tolerance on 16 November. This action followed up on the United Nations Year for Tolerance, 1995, proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in 1993 at the initiative of UNESCO, as outlined in the Declaration of Principles on Tolerance and Follow-up Plan of Action for the Year.

For more:  http://www.un.org/en/events/toleranceday/

President Barack Obama participates in a literacy lesson with students while visiting a pre-kindergarten classroom at Moravia Elementary School in Baltimore, Md., May 17, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
President Barack Obama participates in a literacy lesson with students while visiting a pre-kindergarten classroom at Moravia Elementary School in Baltimore, Md., May 17, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Primary school isn’t too soon to start breaking stereotypes. It’s the best time.

How do we break destructive stereotypes? Start early.

May 14, 2015 · 3:00 PM EDT By Marc Sollinger – pri.org

The key to challenging them may lie in early education, argues Claude Steele, the provost and executive vice chancellor at the University of California, Berkeley. He’s also the author of “Whistling Vivaldi: How Stereotypes Affect Us and What We Can Do,” and he studies stereotypes and the psychology behind them.

Steele recalls one study that had a group of adults watch a video of two children playing. The video stopped at different points, and observers had to record what they thought was happening: Were the boys were just horsing around? Were they being aggressive? Or violent?

“In the last frame, one boy shoves another boy, and the critical question is: How do you rate that behavior? When the boy who shoves is white, raters tend to rate that action as just fooling around. When the boy is African-American, they tend to rate that behavior as violent,” Steele says.

He points out that African-American raters are almost as likely to stereotype the boys as violent.

Steele’s research also touches on the huge role of stereotypes in education. Take feedback that a teacher might give to a student.

Steele says a white professor can give critical evaluations of an African-American student in way that doesn’t make the student think the critique is based on race — but the feedback must be offered in the right way. A study by Geoffrey Cohen of Stanford shows professors shouldn’t just deliver the criticism straight, nor should they simply give a positive bromide before launching into the feedback.

What works better, Steele argues, is a professor saying ‘”I’ve looked at your work, we really have high standards here. And though you need to improve those things, I really think you can meet those standards.’ That combination of using high standards signals you’re not just seeing them stereotypically.”

Because America has an extremely diverse student body, schools are melting pots where these sorts of issues have to be dealt with. But Steele actually sees this obligation as a source of hope.

For the entire article and audio interview: http://www.pri.org/stories/2015-05-14/primary-school-isnt-too-soon-start-breaking-stereotypes-its-best-time

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November 16, 2016
International Day of Tolerance

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Post 2016 Presidential Election

“It’s terrifying. We are seeing in America these terrible rallies occurring where the people are becoming violent. Now, democracy should be robust, but it certainly shouldn’t be violent. And I think the Donald Trump phenomenon is a real problem for the United States — it’s making their democracy look kind of weird.” — 3/17/16 Australian Government Minister Christopher Pyne

“Whether Donald Trump, Marine Le Pen or Geert Wilders — all these right-wing populists are not only a threat to peace and social cohesion, but also to economic development.” — 3/6/16 German Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel

 “Saying the U.S. will no longer engage in anything that is a burden in terms of its relationships with allies, it would be almost like abandoning those alliances … It will inevitably give rise to anti-American sentiment worldwide.” — 4/29/16 Former South Korean Vice Foreign Minister Kim Sung-han

“In the presidential elections, there are arguments whether the United States is going for the isolationist stance. I don’t want to see that kind of United States. I want to see the United States to be strong and come with a strong robust position, not really thinking of the United States only.” — 5/6/16 Kenichiro Sasae, Japan’s ambassador to the U.S.

“Today in the 21st century, here in the United States, a climate of intolerance is sending a similar message: Mexicans go home. Separate those who are different, blame the minorities, demonize the stranger.” — Claudia Ruiz Massieu, Mexico’s foreign minister, on June 6, in a speech that made reference to the struggles of the Jewish community

“His excesses end up giving a retching feeling, even in the US, especially when — as was Donald Trump’s case — he speaks ill of a soldier, of the memory of a soldier….” If Trump wins, “there will be consequences because the American election is a global election … Democracy is also a major issue considering the authoritarian temptation that we see arising.” — 8/2/16 French President Francois Hollande

“When America retrenches and retreats, it leaves behind a vacuum, and that vacuum is filled by bad guys.” — Former NATO Secretary-General 8/8/16 Anders Fogh Rasmussen

The consequences of Trump’s victory are coming into focus 

11/09/16 09:09AM By Steve Benen – maddowblog

David Axelrod, the former senior strategist for President Obama, has long espoused an interesting theory about national elections. As Axelrod explained in January, “Open-seat presidential elections are shaped by perceptions of the style and personality of the outgoing incumbent. Voters rarely seek the replica of what they have.”

By Axelrod’s reasoning, it’s expected that voters will choose a new president who is roughly the opposite of the departing executive — an assertion that looks quite sound this morning.

Some of this will be obvious immediately, because the shifts in presidential style will be jarring. President Obama is measured; Donald Trump is erratic. Obama is intellectual; Trump is incurious. Obama is honest; Trump is pathological. Obama is serious and committed to sound policymaking; Trump is clownish and dismissive of the details of public affairs.

But come next year, the stylistic differences will be an inconsequential afterthought by the time a Trump/Pence administration begins governing alongside a far-right, radicalized Republican majority in the House and Senate. The New Republic‘s Brian Beutler had a good piece on this overnight:

At a minimum, Republicans are going to do incredible violence to President Barack Obama’s accomplishments…. Trump will almost certainly abrogate Obama’s international climate agreement and the global powers agreement preventing Iran from creating their own nuclear arsenal. Republicans will send Trump legislation undermining Obama’s legacy everywhere they can find congressional majorities to do so, and Trump will sign those bills. Republicans don’t know how to repeal Obamacare, let alone replace it. But they will try.

The Supreme Court will return to conservative control, and over the next four years, it may very well become far more conservative. Voting rights will be further weakened; the constitutional right to abortion is vulnerable to abolition.

But things could get much, much worse.

There’s a temptation among some to try to look for comfort where available. We collectively hit an iceberg, but maybe we can cling to some floating debris for a while until help arrives. Americans are resilient, and we’ve been through rough times before.

I’d like to offer some kind of assurances along these lines, but I can’t do so with any honesty.

Read more: http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/the-consequences-trumps-victory-are-coming-focus#break

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Statement by the President

Rose Garden

12:20 P.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT:  Good afternoon, everybody.  Yesterday, before votes were tallied, I shot a video that some of you may have seen in which I said to the American people:  Regardless of which side you were on in the election, regardless of whether your candidate won or lost, the sun would come up in the morning.

And that is one bit of prognosticating that actually came true.  The sun is up.  And I know everybody had a long night.  I did, as well.  I had a chance to talk to President-elect Trump last night — about 3:30 in the morning, I think it was — to congratulate him on winning the election.  And I had a chance to invite him to come to the White House tomorrow to talk about making sure that there is a successful transition between our presidencies.

Now, it is no secret that the President-elect and I have some pretty significant differences.  But remember, eight years ago, President Bush and I had some pretty significant differences.  But President Bush’s team could not have been more professional or more gracious in making sure we had a smooth transition so that we could hit the ground running.  And one thing you realize quickly in this job is that the presidency, and the vice presidency, is bigger than any of us.

So I have instructed my team to follow the example that President Bush’s team set eight years ago, and work as hard as we can to make sure that this is a successful transition for the President-elect — because we are now all rooting for his success in uniting and leading the country.  The peaceful transition of power is one of the hallmarks of our democracy.  And over the next few months, we are going to show that to the world.

For more: https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2016/11/09/statement-president

Mourn. Then Organize.

At a time like this, many liberals and progressive will recall the words of labor activist Joe Hill: “Don’t mourn, organize.”

But let’s be honest. We’re in shock. We need time to mourn. To recover from the trauma of this election.

I feel awful for my 19-year-old twin daughters, who voted for the first time this year and now have to spend their college years with Trump as president. They’re upset. They talked about moving to Canada. They were half serious. We talked and texted all night, trying to console ourselves. It was tough.

I reminded them that we’ve been through periods like this before. The Civil War. The Gilded Age. The Great Depression.

I told them that in 1968, when I was 20, America elected Richard Nixon. At the time, we thought that this was the apocalypse. I had worked for Bobby Kennedy’s campaign. His murder in June of that year was traumatic. He certainly would have beaten Nixon, brought together the civil rights, union, and anti-war movements, and pushed to end the war in Vietnam, escalate and war on poverty, and expand workers rights.

After Nixon won, I considered moving to Canada myself, not just out of fear of Nixon’s agenda but also to avoid the draft and Vietnam. I even submitted an application to the University of Toronto.

But I stayed. I didn’t want to abandon my country. Like many others of my generation, I wanted to change it.

After Nixon beat Hubert Humphrey in November 1968, a massive resistance movement emerged to make it harder for Nixon to govern. In 1970, we started electing anti-war candidates to Congress. We started a backyard revolution of community organizing in urban communities. Then activists also built the women’s movement, the consumer movement, and the environmental movement.

Nixon did great damage (including the invasion of Cambodia, the killings at Jackson State and Kent State, the government infiltration and surveillance of dissenters), but the country survived.

Yes, Trump is worse than Nixon. He’s a demagogue, a white supremacist, a psychopath. But we’ll resist again.

I reminded my daughters that probably 35 percent of eligible voters didn’t vote this year. Most of them are poor, people of color, and/or young. Had they voted, Clinton would have won a big victory. Don’t judge the whole country by the election returns. The American people, overall, are better than the people who voted.

There will be many post mortems trying to explain how and why Trump won. Among the key factors:

James Comey: No major election analyst tonight (not even Rachel Maddow) mentioned the impact of FBI director Comey’s outrageous intervention on the outcome of this election. That, more than anything else, stopped Clinton’s momentum, diverted attention away from Trump’s sex and other scandals, and refocused public attention on Clinton’s emails. More than 20 million people voted between his letter to Congress 11 days ago, and his statement two days ago that the FBI found nothing damning in the new wave of Clinton emails. Much damage was done. Comey, the rogue FBI director, was more responsible for Trump’s victory than anyone else. A Republican under pressure from GOP lawmakers, Comey intentionally caused the damage.

Voter Suppression: The Republicans’ voter suppression campaign (including voter ID and felon disenfranchisement laws) in key battleground states—particularly in poor and minority areas—gave Trump the margin of victory. This was true in Milwaukee, Philadelphia, Charlotte, and other cities. Republicans engaged in such fraudulent election activities as sending phony robocalls to black households with misinformation about voting locations and times. Our arcane election laws also played a role. If Election Day were a national holiday (as it is in most democracies), or if most states had same-day voter registration, turnout among those groups would have been higher, and Clinton would have won in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and other swing states, and won the presidency.

Media Bias: The mainstream media gave Trump a free ride for most of the past year; treating him like a normal candidate rather than a racist demagogue. That allowed him to win the GOP nomination and to gain traction after the Republican convention. The media’s obsession with Clinton’s emails obscured the much-more-serious Trump scandals—his failure to pay taxes, his sexism, his bogus and self-serving foundation, his lies about his fortune, his fraudulent and abusive business practices, his total ignorance about public policy, Only in the past month did the media wake up and begin serious reporting on the real Trump. But it was too little, too late.

Right-Wing Money: The Koch brothers didn’t back Trump, but their political empire—including other right-wing billionaires who joined forces with them—may have spent close to a billion dollars helping Republican candidates for House and Senate. That increased GOP turnout in battleground states, and helped Trump.

Other factors—WikiLeaks, Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s stupid meeting with Bill Clinton on the airport tarmac, and the persistence of racism and sexism among a significant segment of the American population—all also played a role.

How did so many pollsters get it wrong?

How did so many pollsters get it wrong? Trump benefited from what political scientists call the “Bradley effect.” Just before Election Day in November 1982, polls showed that Tom Bradley, the African American mayor of Los Angeles, was going to beat Republican George Deukmejian in the race for California governor. But on Election Day, Deukmejian won. It appeared that many voters had lied to pollsters (or even to themselves). They didn’t want to appear racist, so they told pollsters they favored Bradley, but they voted for Deukmejian. Apparently, a significant number of people this year told pollsters they were voting for Clinton, or were undecided, but wound up voting for Trump. Perhaps they didn’t want to admit to pollsters, or to themselves, that they preferred Trump over Clinton.

The future looks better. Although turnout was low among the under-30 generation, those who went to the polls voted overwhelmingly for Hillary Clinton and liberal Democrats for Congress. Latinos—the fastest-growing part of the electorate—voted overwhelmingly for Clinton. Within a few years, their growing numbers will determine elections in Florida, Arizona, Nevada, even Texas.

There were even some silver linings on Tuesday. Voters in Maricopa County, Arizona, defeated the right-wing immigrant-bashing Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Voters in Arizona, Colorado, Maine and Washington state approved ballot initiatives on Tuesday to increase their states’ minimum wages. Voters in Arizona and Colorado approved measures to require businesses to provide employees with paid sick days. California voters approved statewide ballot measures to extend current income tax rates for the wealthy to pay for public education, to raise tobacco tax by $2 a pack, to repeal the ban on bilingual education, to strengthen gun control laws, and to legalize marijuana. And some might find solace knowing that even though Trump beat Clinton in the Electoral College, she won the popular vote.

Moreover, all polls show that large majorities of Americans support a progressive policy agenda that links economic prosperity with fairness. They want higher taxes on the super-rich, stronger regulations on Wall Street, and big business to protect consumers, workers, and the environment, a significant increase in the federal minimum wage, some version of universal health insurance, a large-scale job-creating infrastructure program, and more affordable colleges and universities.

But public opinion, on its own, doesn’t bring about change. That’s what movements do. Americans need to join forces to resist where Trump, Mitch McConnell, Paul Ryan, the Koch brothers, and Wall Street want to take the country. We need to build on the momentum of the Black Lives Matter and Fight for $15 campaigns, and the movements to protect immigrants, block the Keystone and Standing Rock pipelines, divest from fossil fuels, and defend Planned Parenthood and women’s right to choose.

We need new Democratic Party leadership. We need a progressive like Senators Elizabeth Warren or Dick Durbin, or Congressman John Lewis as the next head of the Democratic National Committee.

For more: http://prospect.org/article/mourn-then-organize

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World Freedom Day 2016

On November 9, 1989 the Berlin Wall came down in Berlin and both a country and a continent came together. After thousands of East Berliners flooded through checkpoints into West Berlin, border restrictions dissolved across Eastern Bloc countries. The Iron Curtain that divided Europe for decades finally fell, ushering in a new era of freedom and cooperation. On this anniversary, we are reminded that no challenge is too great for a world united in common purpose.

After the Berlin Wall fell, oppressive regimes across the globe gave way. From Kiev to Cape Town, prison camps closed and democracy’s doors were unlocked for millions who had known only tyranny. Markets opened too, spreading information and technology that empowered once-insolvent nations to achieve prosperity. Twenty years later, our world is more interconnected than at any time in human history, giving rise to new opportunities for shared progress.

Today, the barriers that challenge our world are not walls of cement and iron, but ones of fear, irresponsibility, and indifference. History reminds us that such walls can be torn down, but where they still exist we must work with all nations to strengthen civil societies, support democratic institutions and the rule of law, and promote free and fair electoral processes. Upholding these principles into the 21st century will require America’s enduring commitment and steady leadership.

For more: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Freedom_Day

 11/8/16 Presidential Proclamation — World Freedom Day, 2016

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VOTE SMART & VOTE DEMOCRAT 2016

Democrats Abroad pledge

Vote Every Election

Vote Every Election

Let’s be very clear, while we’re tuning out and staying home on Election Day, other folks are tuning in.  Other folks are taking politics very seriously.  And they’re engaged on every level.  They’re raising money.  They’re making their voices heard –- and their issues known –- from City Hall to Washington, DC.  And I know that in the face of all of that money and influence, it can start to feel like ordinary citizens just can’t get a seat at the table.  And that can make you feel helpless and hopeless.  It can make you feel or think that you’re powerless.

But I’m here today because that’s simply not true.  We are not helpless or hopeless.  Time and again, history has shown us that there is nothing –- nothing -– more powerful than ordinary citizens coming together for a just cause.”

” I’m talking about the tireless, the thankless, relentless work of making change — you know, the phone-calling, letter-writing, door-knocking, meeting-planning kind of work.  That is the real work of democracy –- what happens during those quiet moments between the marches. ”

“That is how we carry on that precious legacy we’ve inherited — by recommitting ourselves to that day-to-day, vitally important work that has always paved the way for change in this country.

What does that mean?  That means being informed.  It means following the news, and learning about who’s representing us, and how our governments work.  It means showing up to vote — and not just every four years, but every year in every election.  It means engaging with the folks we elect, following how they vote and how they spend our hard-earned tax dollars.  And if you don’t like what you see, then let them know, or better yet, run for a seat at the table yourself.  ”

June 28, 2012 First Lady Michelle Obama at the AME Church Conference

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“The vote is the most powerful instrument, the most powerful non-violent tool in a democratic society.”

U.S. Representative John Robert Lewis

 

VOTE SMART & VOTE DEMOCRAT 2016

التصويت 8 نوفمبر

投票11月8日

Vote sur Novembre 8

Abstimmen am 8. November

8 ההצבעה נובמבר

Vota il 8 novembre

11月8日投票

11월 8일 투표

Votação em 8 de novembro

Ψηφοφορία 8η του Νοεμβρίου

votar el 8 de noviembre

Bình chọn vào ngày 8 tháng 11

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2016 Election Decides If SCOTUS Goes Liberal OR Conservative

 

 

JusticeSCOTUS liberal vs conservatives 2014

Current Supreme Court Justices

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Ideological leanings of U.S. Supreme Court justices

The U.S. Supreme Court is entrusted with resolving disputes about how the United States Constitution and other federal laws should be applied to cases that have been appealed from lower courts. The justices base their decisions on their interpretation of both legal doctrine and the precedential application of laws in the past. In most cases, interpreting the law is relatively clear-cut and the justices decide unanimously without dissent. However, in more complicated or controversial cases, the Court is often divided.

It has long been commonly assumed that the votes of Supreme Court justices reflect their jurisprudential philosophies as well as their ideological leaningspersonal attitudesvaluespolitical philosophies, or policy preferences. A growing body of academic research has confirmed this understanding: scholars have found that the justices largely vote in consonance with their perceived values. Analysts have used a variety of methods to deduce the specific perspective of each justice over time.

For more: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ideological_leanings_of_U.S._Supreme_Court_justices

 

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Why the 2016 Election Will Be One of the Most Pivotal Moments of Our Time

Every four years the political parties describe the impending presidential election as a historic event – and every once in a while it’s true

December 3, 2015 By Sean Wilentz – RollingStone

More than 150 years ago, in 1858, as the national crisis over slavery heightened, Abraham Lincoln famously remarked that “a house divided against itself cannot stand,” and that the “crisis” would be “reached and passed” only when the house divided would “become all one thing or all the other.” Now, the long conflict over social equality, political democracy and American government that began during the Progressive era, followed by the New Deal and the Great Society, is reaching its inescapable conclusion. If the Republicans win the presidency in 2016, they will also almost inevitably control both the Senate and the House of Representatives, giving them virtually unfettered command over the entire federal government to go along with their domination of the great majority of the state governments. The Republican president could easily be in a position to appoint new justices to the Supreme Court for an unstoppable right-wing majority that would last for a generation to come. Bush v. Gore, Citizens United and Shelby County v. Holder (the 2013 ruling that greatly weakened the 1965 Voting Rights Act) would be merely the prelude to tilting political and social power. If, however, the Democrats win the presidency in 2016, they will almost certainly take back the Senate and make gains in the House – and the Democratic president will likely be able to appoint new justices to the Supreme Court that will eventually comprise a liberal majority. Between these two stark alternatives, there is no middle ground. In 2016, the country will become either one thing or the other.

How did we arrive at this decisive moment? Two powerful historic developments have driven American politics over the past half century. The Republican Party has been transformed by a conservative movement that has pushed it ever further to the right. The Democratic Party, stunned by the conservative counterrevolution, has struggled to reinvent itself and its politics, while facing the increasingly formidable resources of the right. These shifts are responsible for the polarization and dysfunction that have gripped American government since the 1990s. But they began in 1968.

Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/why-the-2016-election-will-be-one-of-the-most-pivotal-moments-of-our-time-20151203

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President Barack Obama shares his priorities for appointing the next Supreme Court Justice

President Barack Obama Guest

Posted Wed, February 24th, 2016 8:00 am SCOTUSblog

The Constitution vests in the President the power to appoint judges to the Supreme Court.  It’s a duty that I take seriously, and one that I will fulfill in the weeks ahead.

It’s also one of the most important decisions that a President will make.  Rulings handed down by the Supreme Court directly affect our economy, our security, our rights, and our daily lives.

Needless to say, this isn’t something I take lightly.  It’s a decision to which I devote considerable time, deep reflection, careful deliberation, and serious consultation with legal experts, members of both political parties, and people across the political spectrum.  And with thanks to SCOTUSblog for allowing me to guest post today, I thought I’d share some spoiler-free insights into what I think about before appointing the person who will be our next Supreme Court Justice.

First and foremost, the person I appoint will be eminently qualified.  He or she will have an independent mind, rigorous intellect, impeccable credentials, and a record of excellence and integrity.  I’m looking for a mastery of the law, with an ability to hone in on the key issues before the Court, and provide clear answers to complex legal questions.

Second, the person I appoint will be someone who recognizes the limits of the judiciary’s role; who understands that a judge’s job is to interpret the law, not make the law.  I seek judges who approach decisions without any particular ideology or agenda, but rather a commitment to impartial justice, a respect for precedent, and a determination to faithfully apply the law to the facts at hand.

But I’m also mindful that there will be cases that reach the Supreme Court in which the law is not clear.  There will be cases in which a judge’s analysis necessarily will be shaped by his or her own perspective, ethics, and judgment.  That’s why the third quality I seek in a judge is a keen understanding that justice is not about abstract legal theory, nor some footnote in a dusty casebook.  It’s the kind of life experience earned outside the classroom and the courtroom; experience that suggests he or she views the law not only as an intellectual exercise, but also grasps the way it affects the daily reality of people’s lives in a big, complicated democracy, and in rapidly changing times.  That, I believe, is an essential element for arriving at just decisions and fair outcomes.

For more: http://www.scotusblog.com/2016/02/a-responsibility-i-take-seriously/
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GOP Moves To Block Obama From Naming Scalia Successor

February 13, 2016 ByTIERNEY SNEED – tpm

Almost immediately after the first public confirmation that Justice Antonin Scalia had died, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell signaled that the GOP-controlled Senate would block President Obama from nominating Scalia’s successor.

“The American people‎ should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice,” McConnell said in a statement. “Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new President.”

McConnell’s statement came as a chorus of conservatives called for the confirmation process to be delayed until the next President takes office in January 2017. Not longer after, Sen. Chuck Grassley — the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, through which Supreme Court nominations come through — also issued a statement that said “it only makes sense” to wait until the next president is elected to replace Scalia.

Minority Leader Harry Reid countered in his own statement Saturday that said the “Senate has a responsibility to fill vacancies as soon as possible.”

“It would be unprecedented in recent history for the Supreme Court to go a year with a vacant seat,” Reid said. “Failing to fill this vacancy would be a shameful abdication of one of the Senate’s most essential Constitutional responsibilities.”

The move would deny President Obama the opportunity to name his third Supreme Court justice and potentially to change the court dramatically from a conservative to liberal majority.

The possibility of a Republican Senate thwarting a Supreme Court nomination for the remainder of Obama’s presidency sets the stage for a major political battle running parallel with the 2016 elections.

For more: http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/conservative-senate-block-noms

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Republicans Will Nominate a Candidate Who Would Violate the First, Fourth, Fifth and Eighth Amendments
If the GOP had any respect for the Bill of Rights, it would reject Trump.

7/17/16 By John Nichols – TheNation

Cleveland—As Republican Party “constitutionalists” prepare to nominate authoritarian billionaire Donald Trump for the presidency this week in Cleveland, the American Civil Liberties union has determined that the candidate’s proposals would violate the First, Fourth, Fifth, and Eighth Amendments of the Constitution.

It is not news that Trump has, during the course of his campaign for the GOP nomination, put himself at odds with basic premises of a Bill of Rights that defends a free press, guarantees freedom of religion, and guards against torture and abuses of privacy. But when his proposals are pulled together—as the ACLU has done in a new analysis of the Republican candidate’s public statements and policy positions—the extent to which Trump would shred the Constitution in general and the Bill of Rights in particular is breathtaking.

“Taken together, his policies and positions, if put into place, would violate the Constitution and federal and international law,” says Anthony Romero, the executive director of the ACLU, which reviewed the candidate’s agenda and determined that “Trump’s proposals would violate the First, Fourth, Fifth, and Eighth Amendments of the Constitution.”

Trump has from the start of his campaign sparked controversy with statements, actions, and proposals that disregard the First Amendment. He and his aides have created blacklists of journalists, and the candidate has expressed an interest in rewriting libel laws in order to intimidate, punish, and potentially silence critics of powerful individuals and interests. Trump has, as well, proposed schemes to discriminate against Muslims and to spy on mosques and neighborhoods where Muslims live—with steady disregard for the amendment’s guarantee of protection for America’s diverse religious communities.

But that’s just the beginning of Trump’s assaults on the Constitution. Trump has encouraged the use of torture and blatantly disregarded privacy protections that have been enshrined in the founding document since the 18th century. He has attacked the basic premises of a constitutionally defined separation of powers, with rhetorical assaults on individual jurists and the federal judiciary so extreme that House Speaker Paul Ryan described one such attack as “the textbook definition of a racist comment.” He has proposed instituting religious tests. He has shown open and consistent disregard for the promise that all Americans will receive equal protection under the law.

“If implemented, Donald Trump’s proposed policies will spark a constitutional and legal challenge that would require all hands on deck at the ACLU,” says Romero. “The ACLU and its more than 300 attorneys in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and Washington, D.C., stand ready to challenge and impede implementation of his unlawful proposals, should he attempt to see them through.”

It should never come to that.

For more: https://www.thenation.com/article/republicans-to-nominate-a-candidate-who-would-violate-the-first-fourth-fifth-and-eight-amendments/

Tom Toles editorial cartoon

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* FACT: Six Justices have been confirmed in a presidential election year since 1900.

For more than two centuries, it has been standard practice for Congress to confirm a president’s Supreme Court nominee, whether in a presidential election year or not. Of the six justices confirmed since 1900, three have been Republicans. The most recent Justice to be confirmed in an election year was Justice Kennedy — appointed by President Reagan — who was confirmed by a Democratic-controlled Congress in February of 1988.

* FACT: Every nominee has received a vote within 125 days of nomination.

Since 1975, the average time from nomination to confirmation is 67 days. In fact, since 1875, every nominee has received a hearing or a vote. The longest time before confirmation in the past three decades was 99 days, for Justice Thomas, and the last four Justices, spanning two Administrations, were confirmed in an average of 75 days.

The Senate has almost a full year — more than 300 days — to consider and confirm a nominee.

* FACT: It will be harmful and create unsustainable uncertainty if Congress fails to act on the President’s nominee.

The Supreme Court could go the better part of two Terms with a vacancy if the Senate rejects its Constitutional responsibility. It’d be unprecedented for the Court to go that long with an empty seat. Here’s why it’s harmful:

The Court’s 4-4 decisions have no value in establishing precedent on which future decisions can rely. They also cannot establish uniform nationwide rules. That means if multiple courts ruled differently on an issue before it arose at the Supreme Court, a 4-4 ruling would leave those different rules in place in different states. The result is an unsustainable uncertainty — for the law, for individual liberties, and for our economy.

Learn more and stay up to date at wh.gov/SCOTUS.

REASONS FOR NEVER TRUMP:

1980s Jessica Leeds’ Allegations of Unwanted Physical Contact by Donald Trump

1990s Kristin Anderson’s Allegations of Unwanted Physical Contact by Donald Trump

1991 Esquire Magazine interview that it “doesn’t really matter what (the media) write as long as you’ve got a young and beautiful piece of ass.”

10/13/94 In Primetime Live interview Donald Trump states “I tell friends who treat their wives magnificently, get treated like crap in return, ‘Be rougher and you’ll see a different relationship.

1997 Cathy Heller’s Allegations of Unwanted Physical Contact by Donald Trump

1997 Temple Taggart McDowell’s Allegations of Unwanted Physical Contact by Donald Trump

1997 Mariah Billado’s Allegations of Unwanted Physical Contact by Donald Trump

2000 Bridget Sullivan’s Allegations of Unwanted Physical Contact by Donald Trump

2001 Tasha Dixon’s Allegations of Unwanted Physical Contact by Donald Trump

2001 Unnamed Miss USA contestant’s Allegations of Unwanted Physical Contact by Donald Trump

2003 Mindy McGillivray’s Allegations of Unwanted Physical Contact by Donald Trump

Sept 2004 Donald Trump comments to Howards Stern on his daughter Ivanka’s body and, when asked, tells Stern that it is okay for him to call his daughter “a piece of ass”

9/16/05 Donald Trump recorded having extremely lewd conversation about women in 2005

2005 Rachel Crooks’ Allegations of Unwanted Physical Contact by Donald Trump

2005 Natasha Stoynoff’s Allegations of Unwanted Physical Contact by Donald Trump

2007 Summer Zervos’ Allegations of Unwanted Physical Contact by Donald Trump

2010 Unnamed friend of CNN anchor Erin Burnett’s Allegations of Unwanted Physical Contact by Donald Trump

2013 Cassandra Searles’ Allegations of Unwanted Physical Contact by Donald Trump

2/24/16 David Duke, a former Ku Klux Klan Grand Dragon, expressed vocal support for Trump’s campaign on his radio show

3/2/16 World considers a Trump presidency, and many shudder

3/2/16 Open Letter From 121 Members of the Republican National Security Community

3/30/16 Trump angst pours in from overseas

3/31/16 Analyst: Trump’s Isolationist Views Would Remove ‘Pillar of World Stability’

7/17/16 Republicans Will Nominate a Candidate Who Would Violate the First, Fourth, Fifth and Eighth Amendments

8/5/16 America’s Top Spies and Analyts Warn of Real Threat of a Trump Presidency – 5 Leaders Who Have Spoken out

9/22/16 75 retired senior diplomats sign letter opposing Trump for president

10/6/16 30 Former Republican lawmakers denounce Donald Trump: “Manifestly unqualified to be president”

10/6/16 Group of nearly 80 evangelical leaders publish letter condemning Trump
“We cannot ignore this bigotry.”

10/7/16 White Nationalist PAC Rolls Out Pro-Trump Radio Ad Targeting Swing States

11/1/16 Klu Klux Klan paper embraces Trump in front-page article

11/14/16 KKK, American Nazi Party praise Trump’s hiring of Bannon [as his chief strategist]

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