Not My Constitution


Many of my blog pieces are inspired by “Morning Joe.” Given enough time, someone on the panel, most often Joe Scarborough will say something so ridiculous I have to respond. In the past few days, he’s talked about the number of increased Republican seats in the House of Representatives since President Obama first took office. He presents it as if it were because of Republican ideas and policies as if that were the reason. Not once did he mention Gerrymandering and redistricting, often in Unconstitutional ways according to the courts. Not discussed was the impact of Republican pushed bills suppressing votes wherever they have control. Many introduced the day after the Supreme Court gutted enforcement of the Voter Rights Act. That’s typical Scarborough propaganda and because it’s what he always does. It didn’t stir me to write.

What did get my attention was his assertion that the Constitution of the United States was powerful enough to withstand a Trump Presidency as it has withstood Nixon, Bush and others. It was that assertion that spawned this piece because the Constitution has not now or ever been mine.

There is a misconception that the Constitution considered Black people as three-fifths of a person. The Constitution neither said or did anything to supercede existing State laws which universally didn’t consider Blacks any portion of a person. They had no rights whatsoever and were governed by Slave Codes. What the Constitution did was allot additional Congressional seats to States, primarily in the South where slaves were counted for that strict purpose as being worth three-fifths of a white person. The Constitution also didn’t recognize at all “Indians not taxed” which was all Indians on reservations or roaming free. It’s not their constitution either. Republicans have made a hero out of the late Justice Antonin Scalia who favored a strict interpretation of the Constitution as “originally intended.” The Constitution originally intended to codify by its silence, the horrors of slavery and the total lack of power for Blacks and Native Americans.

When the Constitution does speak of race, it does so indirectly. Apparently race was just as uncomfortable to talk about then as now. It refers to, “other persons” or let the individual states determine who counted with language like, “such persons as any of the states now existing think proper to admit.” Its mention of slavery was couched in terms like, “persons held to service or labor.” There are those who defend the Constitution by saying it did not specifically affirm slavery. They feel it was somehow better to wink and nod at slavery and let the states take responsibility for what the Federal government would not. At best the Constitution ignored the plight of Black people. That’s why I can say it’s not mine.

The Constitution set up three allegedly co-equal branches of Government. The Executive (President), Legislative (Congress), and the Supreme Court. When initially created. Every office in every branch was inhabited by a white male. While a great deal of diversity relatively speaking has taken place since then. Two branches have never ceded that control and the third only for eight years. During those eight years, it must be said that the Republicans in the Congress settled on a policy of obstruction and are now about the business of wiping out the legacy of the sole Black President.

You might ask, what of the court? The official arbiter of what is Constitutional and what is not. The Supreme Court is now and forever has been a hotbed of partisan politics. The Court gave us the Dred Scott Decision where Chief Justice Roger B Taney said, “The Founders Constitution regarded Blacks as so far inferior that they had no rights the white man was bound to respect, and that the Negro might justly and lawfully be reduced to slavery for his benefit.”

When no legal basis could be found to continue segregation in schools in Brown V Board of Education. They decided to desegregate schools but immediately muted their own decision calling for it to be implemented “with all deliberate speed” which set back desegregation for decades.

When the 1965 Voter Rights Act passed. The Supreme Court gutted the enforcement clause and as a result in the most recent election. Hundreds of thousands of voters were unable to vote that could have if not for their action. These are not the sole instances of the Constitution either being ignored or its meaning twisted on behalf of white people. One could make the case that every major piece of Civil or Voter Rights legislation was later weakened by the court. What good is the Constitution when it mostly serves one group? Not my constitution.

In America, the Constitution is revered. Elected officials and our military swear to uphold it. It was originally a compromise that protected the rights of slave states and the Electoral College is a remnant of those days. It acts eerily as it was intended when originally conceived. To provide an unnatural balance of power that serves rural and sparsely populated states and diminishing the power of the heavily populated centers. This is how we get a result where the popular vote doesn’t matter and white votes matter more than minorities.

Back to Morning Joe. The reason he can say the Constitution is strong enough to withstand even our worst Presidents. Is because he doesn’t stand to lose what some other Americans do. He will not be stopped and frisked or have his House of Worship surveilled. He will not see his community flooded with law enforcement, newly empowered to care even less about my life which matters even less than before. He will not lose his healthcare with no plan for replacement. His ability to vote is not at risk. No family member will be deported and hyper mass incarceration was never intended for him. His Constitution is doing for him what it always had. His Constitution… not mine.

John Roberts to Donald Trump, “You Will See Me Again!”


Donald Trump may have no idea who Mudbone is? One of the favorite characters created by the late comedian Richard Pryor. Mudbone told funny and fascinating tales that were the highlight of a Richard Pryor show. In one tale, Mudbone brought his friend to the voodoo woman, Miss Rudolph, to cure his friend whose girlfriend put a mojo on him causing his feet to swell along with other ailments. Mudbone explained he, “didn’t have any money.” Miss Rudolph agreed to help if Mudbone brought her a goose or a turkey for Christmas.” Mudbone agreed, thinking to himself it was June and he had no plans to see Miss Rudolph again in life. Just then a huge tarantula ran across him and disappeared when he tried to crush it. Mudbone said, “Miss Rudolph, what happened to the tarantula?” She said, “None of your business but if you don’t bring me a turkey… You will see him again.” Chief Justice John Roberts just reminded Donald Trump, he will see him again.

After Donald Trump publicly criticized a Federal Judge that struck down his order to refuse to process asylum requests coming from the Southern border. Trump blasted him as “an Obama judge.” In a rare public statement. Roberts said, “We do not have Obama judges or Trump judges, Bush judges or Clinton judges,” Roberts said in a statement. “What we have is an extraordinary group of dedicated judges doing their level best to do equal right to those appearing before them. That independent judiciary is something we should all be thankful for.”

Never one to give anyone else the last word. Trump then tweeted, “Sorry Chief Justice John Roberts, but you do indeed have ‘Obama judges,’ and they have a much different point of view than the people who are charged with the safety of our country.”

What Mudbone instantly grasped about the tarantula and Trump has yet to learn. Is that you don’t want some people (or tarantulas) on your bad side. In the foreseeable future, Roberts may have a say in deciding whether Trump can be forced to testify before Robert Mueller’s grand jury. He may have input on claims of Executive Privilege and its application. He may even preside over an Impeachment trial in the US Senate should we reach that point.

Unlike members of Congress who have buckled under, fearing the threat of Trump’s tweets and possible opposition. Roberts has no fear of Trump with his lifetime appointment to the highest court in the land. Whatever your opinion of Roberts, he has demonstrated concern for the legacy of the Supreme Court in particular and the judiciary in general. He is not amused by this President who is no respecter of Judges or civility. There is little doubt that Trump could win the war or words, as Roberts will remove himself from the fray. Not wishing to be drawn further into a political battle. What Roberts knows that Trump hasn’t realized, is that Roberts, like the tarantula, may see him again.

Donald Trump… Above The Law!

“When the President does it, that means it’s not illegal.” Richard Nixon


The New York Times has obtained a 20-page memo from the then Trump lawyers to Special Counsel Robert Mueller, indicating Trump “could not possibly” have committed Obstruction of Justice because he has unfettered authority over all federal investigations. His lawyers, Jay Sekulow and former attorney John Dowd, also asserted his ability to use Presidential pardon powers, even saying he has the power to “terminate the inquiry.” They also disputed the authority of the Special Counsel to subpoena records and to compel Trump to testify. In other words, the laws that apply to every other American, do not apply to Donald Trump. He has made the legal assertion that he is above the law!


Many of the points raised in the memo have already been decided by the Supreme Court. The United States v. Nixon decided a President can be compelled to turn over records. Clinton v. Jones showed a President can be forced to testify. Trump’s constant golf trips to Mar-a-Lago, show he’s just not that damn busy. The memo also verifies that Donald Trump himself dictated the famous Air Force One press release, lying about the Trump Tower meeting including Paul Manafort, Jared Kushner, and Donald Trump, Jr.

This President has acted as if he were above the law his entire term. He failed to divest himself of business interests, flaunting his conflict of interest by his constant use of Trump properties to conduct government business. He has ignored ethics laws, security clearances, and many long-standing protocols. His Cabinet reflects the ethics of the man himself as they feed at the public trough. It’s time Trump learns that he too is governed by the law, he may even need an introduction to our penal system.

Trump’s memo suggests that no other witness can testify to the President’s intent when considering whether or not he obstructed justice. All the reason to drag him to court and question him under oath. Of course, there’s no reason to believe he won’t commit perjury? That’s another law he should become acquainted with. All the steps Trump’s legal team are taking seem to be in anticipation of Impeachment. It couldn’t happen to a more deserving guy!

How Bill Cosby Became Willie Horton and O.J.


Yesterday I wrote an article about the Bill Cosby verdict where he was found guilty of three counts of Aggravated Indecent Assault and he faces up to 30 years in prison. Bill Cosby has been accused by 60 separate women of various forms of sexual assault, most involving Cosby giving the women drugs and taking advantage of them while incapacitated. I left no doubt that I believe Cosby to be guilty of much of what he has been charged with. If I didn’t accept the word of any of the women that have come forward against him, Cosby’s own words in a deposition taken between 2005–2006 where he admits to giving women Quaalude’s for the purpose of having sex, were enough for me.

Many people have responded to my article with comments ranging from refusal to believe in Cosby’s guilt to wondering why he is being singled out for prosecution to why did the women wait so long to relating it to Cosby’s attempt to purchase NBC. Many of the respondents feel the case had a lot to do about race and I happen to agree with them. It is possible both for Cosby to be guilty and some of the rationale for his persecution to be about race.

Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele, campaigned on the promise that he would prosecute Bill Cosby after his opponent, Bruce Castor, the District Attorney in 2005, refused to bring a case against Cosby at that time. Castor said in 2014, “I wanted to arrest Bill Cosby because I thought he was probably guilty, but being able to prove anything beyond a reasonable doubt and thinking he’s probably guilty are two different things.” Kevin Steele ran campaign ads indicating, “Castor didn’t look out for Cosby’s victims.” The “victims” Steele fought for were almost all white and the images in some of the ads featuring an unflattering image of Cosby, were reminiscent of Willie Horton. The Montgomery County election that Steele ultimately won, came five months after Donald Trump announced his campaign for President. Pennsylvania unexpectedly went for Trump, in no small part by playing up to the fears of white people. You can believe Cosby to be guilty yet understand that his race played a role in his prosecution

There are no small number of people who wonder why Bill Cosby was tried, then retried after a mistrial, when other men, not eighty years old and almost blind, are not being persecuted for similar charges? Nate Parker, a black man, was acquitted of rape charges in 2001. Fifteen years later, when his film, “Birth of a Nation” received critical acclaim and was gaining steam for the Academy Awards. A coordinated campaign to besmirch him was unleashed and his film suffered greatly. Casey Affleck, who settled 2010 civil suits claiming sexual harassment, won the Oscar, shortly after the allegations became widely-known. R. Kelly still is involved with young girls. Donald Trump has been accused by 19 different women and of rape by a then 13-year-old girl… he’s President. You can believe Cosby to be guilty and be aware of a double-standard. Harvey Weinstein has been accused by more than 70 women of sex related charges including rape, and has yet to be charged. It is alleged that New York City and Los Angeles County are “considering charges.” Perhaps, like O.J. Simpson, the race of the victims made the prosecution care more than they might have otherwise? If Cosby had been drugging and attacking black women, would he have faced a second trial?

There were moments in the trial that greatly increased the chances Cosby would be found guilty. His 2005–2006 deposition was allowed into evidence in which Bill Cosby described his behavior in several cases including Andrea Constand, his accuser in the Pennsylvania case where he was found guilty. The deposition was given conditionally, it could never be used against him… and yet it was. The judge also allowed five additional women to testify to bolster the prosecution’s case. You can believe Cosby to be guilty, and wonder if he got a fair trial.

The accusations of several women was not enough to jail Donald Trump, or Roy Moore, or many other rich and famous men. In a he said, she said scenario where the she is a white woman and he a black male. Did he ever have a chance? One can believe Cosby to be guilty. And wonder about the fairness of it all?

One last thing, the press coverage since the verdict has been one white woman after another taking a victory lap after the guilty verdict. I don’t begrudge his victims being able to salvage some small satisfaction at what will be as close to justice as many of them will ever get. Yet some of the coverage seems almost gleeful as the #MeToo movement settles on #JustHim. Charlie Rose is planning a television series, interviewing other men suffering inconvenience from having their abuse uncovered. Mark Halpern is planning a comeback. Harvey Weinstein is the poster boy for sexual abuse yet he is still rich, and free. The woman who accused Emmett Till, Carolyn Bryant Donham, admitted she lied and got the 14-year-old Till beaten and killed. She’s 82-years old, not much older than Cosby. No jail cells being prepared for her. There is no inconsistency in thinking that Bill Cosby is guilty, deserves to be sentenced and jailed, and yet having it leave a bad taste in your mouth.