A Scrapbook Of Life In America: Excerpts From The Pro-Gun Forums

Just over a week ago, I re-blogged a post by Greg, aka Ohio Realist, over at On the Fence Voters. It was the initial post of their new project on the issue of guns and the tragic gun culture in the U.S. Today, I share with you the second post in the project, a plethora of excuses for the fact that there is almost zero regulation on guns in this country. We have a problem … a huge problem … and the key to solving that problem is awareness. Please take a look at these pictures and read the words. The U.S. doesn’t lead the world in much these days, but we certainly do lead in gun fatalities, and once you see this post, you’ll understand why. Thank you, Greg and Jeff, for keeping this issue in the limelight … great work!

On The Fence Voters

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Justin Amash Speaks; The GOP Should Listen

While I was not familiar with Representative Justin Amash from Michigan until very recently when he, the lone GOP Congressman willing to stand for the nation instead of his own interests, called for the impeachment of Donald Trump.  Suddenly, all eyes were on Representative Amash.  He took flak from Trump & Co., and from his own fellow members of Congress on the right side of the partisan aisle, but he stood his ground, had the courage of his convictions.

The very first news story I saw today was an OpEd by Representative Amash … news that he is leaving the Republican Party, aka GOP.  Thumbs-up to Amash, and the GOP would do well to listen, for We the People are sick and damn tired of the republicans in Congress being naught more than a mouthpiece for the would-be dictator in the Oval Office.

Justin Amash: Our politics is in a partisan death spiral. That’s why I’m leaving the GOP.

Justin Amash

Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan listens as he is introduced during a town hall event in Grand Rapids on May 28. (Jeff Kowalsky/Bloomberg News)

By Justin Amash July 4 at 6:00 AM
Justin Amash, an independent, represents Michigan’s 3rd Congressional District in the House.

When my dad was 16, America welcomed him as a Palestinian refugee. It wasn’t easy moving to a new country, but it was the greatest blessing of his life.

Throughout my childhood, my dad would remind my brothers and me of the challenges he faced before coming here and how fortunate we were to be Americans. In this country, he told us, everyone has an opportunity to succeed regardless of background.

Growing up, I thought a lot about the brilliance of America. Our country’s founders established a constitutional republic uniquely dedicated to securing the rights of the people. In fact, they designed a political system so ordered around liberty that, in succeeding generations, the Constitution itself would strike back against the biases and blind spots of its authors.

My parents, both immigrants, were Republicans. I supported Republican candidates throughout my early adult life and then successfully ran for office as a Republican. The Republican Party, I believed, stood for limited government, economic freedom and individual liberty — principles that had made the American Dream possible for my family.

In recent years, though, I’ve become disenchanted with party politics and frightened by what I see from it. The two-party system has evolved into an existential threat to American principles and institutions.

George Washington was so concerned as he watched political parties take shape in America that he dedicated much of his farewell address to warning that partisanship, although “inseparable from our nature,” was the people’s “worst enemy.” He observed that it was “the interest and duty of a wise people to discourage and restrain it.”

Washington said of partisanship, in one of America’s most prescient addresses: “The disorders and miseries which result gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of public liberty. …

“It serves always to distract the public councils and enfeeble the public administration. It agitates the community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms, kindles the animosity of one part against another, foments occasionally riot and insurrection. It opens the door to foreign influence and corruption, which finds a facilitated access to the government itself through the channels of party passions. Thus the policy and the will of one country are subjected to the policy and will of another.”

True to Washington’s fears, Americans have allowed government officials, under assertions of expediency and party unity, to ignore the most basic tenets of our constitutional order: separation of powers, federalism and the rule of law. The result has been the consolidation of political power and the near disintegration of representative democracy.

These are consequences of a mind-set among the political class that loyalty to party is more important than serving the American people or protecting our governing institutions. The parties value winning for its own sake, and at whatever cost. Instead of acting as an independent branch of government and serving as a check on the executive branch, congressional leaders of both parties expect the House and Senate to act in obedience or opposition to the president and their colleagues on a partisan basis.

In this hyperpartisan environment, congressional leaders use every tool to compel party members to stick with the team, dangling chairmanships, committee assignments, bill sponsorships, endorsements and campaign resources. As donors recognize the growing power of party leaders, they supply these officials with ever-increasing funds, which, in turn, further tightens their grip on power.

The founders envisioned Congress as a deliberative body in which outcomes are discovered. We are fast approaching the point, however, where Congress exists as little more than a formality to legitimize outcomes dictated by the president, the speaker of the House and the Senate majority leader.

With little genuine debate on policy happening in Congress, party leaders distract and divide the public by exploiting wedge issues and waging pointless messaging wars. These strategies fuel mistrust and anger, leading millions of people to take to social media to express contempt for their political opponents, with the media magnifying the most extreme voices. This all combines to reinforce the us-vs.-them, party-first mind-set of government officials.

Modern politics is trapped in a partisan death spiral, but there is an escape.

Most Americans are not rigidly partisan and do not feel well represented by either of the two major parties. In fact, the parties have become more partisan in part because they are catering to fewer people, as Americans are rejecting party affiliation in record numbers.

These same independent-minded Americans, however, tend to be less politically engaged than Red Team and Blue Team activists. Many avoid politics to focus on their own lives, while others don’t want to get into the muck with the radical partisans.

But we owe it to future generations to stand up for our constitutional republic so that Americans may continue to live free for centuries to come. Preserving liberty means telling the Republican Party and the Democratic Party that we’ll no longer let them play their partisan game at our expense.

Today, I am declaring my independence and leaving the Republican Party. No matter your circumstance, I’m asking you to join me in rejecting the partisan loyalties and rhetoric that divide and dehumanize us. I’m asking you to believe that we can do better than this two-party system — and to work toward it. If we continue to take America for granted, we will lose it.

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Note to Readers:

Apparently WordPress has mucked up again, for the very minute that this post was published, it showed 24 ‘likes’, and I know that is impossible.  Sigh.  Just thought I’d better let you know so that if you see your picture in the row of ‘likes’, and don’t remember reading or liking it before, you’ll know you aren’t losing your mind … WordPress is!

July 4th? Just Another Day …

Once upon a time, in the ‘Land of milk and honey’, Independence Day, celebrated on the 4th of July each year across the United States, meant something.  It was a time of remembrance, a time when the independent spirit of the founders of this nation rose up and declared that this would be a nation in and of itself, that we would fight for the right to make our own laws and to form a nation based on humanitarian values.

That was then, and this is now.  Today, the United States has become a greedy, war-mongering nation rent by political differences, fueled by greed and lust for power.  Add to that, a government so corrupt that it enables a power-hungry dictator to shred the Constitution that has been the fabric of our nation for 232 years and has meekly handed over the keys to the castle in exchange for empty promises of great riches.

This nation once opened its doors to the “tired and poor” from other nations who sought asylum from evil dictatorships … today, we are the evil dictatorship.

The men and women who sought to make this a respectable and worthy nation would no doubt be horrified by what this country has become, as are many of us still living today.  It would be rather like seeing your child, a child who once had so much potential, fall victim to drugs and alcohol and throw away his opportunities.  This is exactly what has happened in the U.S.

Those who valued wealth over humanitarian causes, have given us a cruel and malevolent dictator who, by all appearances, plans to continue on the path to completely destroying all that was once good about this country, and we seem helpless to stop the madness.  Point in case … Trump’s plans for tomorrow.

Trump-circus

A circus by any other name … (notice the ‘crowd’ in the viewing stands)

The Fourth of July in Washington D.C. was once a fun family affair, with picnics, music, festivities, and at the end of the day, fireworks.  This year, all fun festivities have been cancelled in favour of a political rally by a madman whose already-bloated ego requires that the entire nation bow down and pay fealty to him.  He has turned the marking of a historical event into a celebration of … Trump.  Forgive me if I view this in rather the same vein as a celebration of the sinking of the Titanic.

Tomorrow’s events promise to be a disgusting display of hedonistic arrogance on the part of Trump and of some portion of this country at a cost to We the People of somewhere in the neighborhood of $100 million, though the cost estimates have not been forthcoming by Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt.  Congress, specifically the Senate Appropriations Committee, requested the cost estimates days ago.  A similar affair was considered for Veteran’s Day in 2018, but was cancelled in the face of cost estimates around $92 million.  What changed?  Why is it all of a sudden alright for Trump to stage this costly “tribute to self”?

The only thing that will, hopefully, put a damper in Trump’s illusion of grandeur is that there are multiple large protests being planned.  The baby Trump blimp that featured prominently in the UK’s “welcoming” of Trump has arrived on our shores and was planning to fly above the Lincoln Memorial all day, but now the government has said that it cannot be filled with helium and must be kept out of Trump’s field of vision.  Other protests are guaranteed, and while Trump will wear blinders to them, they will firmly show that We the People do not favour a display of military hardware and a political campaign speech by he-who-would-be-king.

I cannot find it in my heart to celebrate when children are being held in captivity without adequate food, clothing, or medical care, separated from their parents for literally no just cause.  I cannot find it in my heart to celebrate when we are treating asylum seekers as if they were hardened criminals.  I cannot find it in my heart to celebrate when the nation is in the grips of a madman who is teetering on the brink of taking us into a war that nobody wants, and for no reason whatsoever.  I cannot find it in my heart to celebrate when this nation is so divided that we now judge people by their political party, by the colour of their skin, by their religion or lack thereof.  I cannot find it in my heart to celebrate a nation that is taking away the rights of people … of women, of LGBT people, of Muslims, of Latinos and more.

The fourth of July is just another day … one where the trash will not be picked up and the mail will not be delivered, but still … it’s just like any other day.  There is no longer anything special to celebrate, for what once was, is no longer.

What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

Plenty.  Last month, Kay Ivey, Governor of Alabama, signed a bill into law giving a specific church the right to have their very own police force.  The church is Briarwood Presbyterian Church, one that has a history of racism and bigotry.  The law, in summary …

Relating to law enforcement; to amend Section 16-22-1, Code of Alabama 1975, to authorize the president or chief executive officer of Madison Academy and Briarwood Presbyterian Church and its integrated auxiliary Briarwood Christian School to appoint and employ one or more suitable persons to act as police officers to protect the property of the school or academy.

Did these people ever hear of the Establishment Clause of the United States Constitution?  I know it’s Alabama, and they are just nuts enough to like a doofus like Roy Moore, but still … last I looked, Alabama was still one of the 50 states comprising the United States.  Thus, they fall under the law as set forth by the Constitution and as upheld by the Courts.

The Establishment Clause begins quite simply …

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion …

What … WHAT is so hard to understand about that?  That the Alabama State Legislature AND the Governor of the State are all so uneducated about the law is simply astounding!

The law is scheduled to go into effect in the fall, but I’m thinking that if there are any judges in Alabama with more sense than the legislature has, it will never see the light of day.  What could possibly go wrong with racist white people toting guns and given a badge, told to protect those good white Christians, eh?  Remember George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin?  Need I say more?

I Can’t Seem To Stop The Snarky …

Will there ever come a day that I don’t have an excess of angst just bubbling over, demanding to put fingers to the keyboard and words to the page?  I have my doubts.


On Sunday morning, Trump posted the following tweet that was liked by 52 thousand mindless people:

“A poll should be done on which is the more dishonest and deceitful newspaper, the Failing New York Times or the Amazon (lobbyist) Washington Post! They are both a disgrace to our Country, the Enemy of the People, but I just can’t seem to figure out which is worse? The good news is that at the end of 6 years, after America has been made GREAT again and I leave the beautiful White House (do you think the people would demand that I stay longer? KEEP AMERICA GREAT), both of these horrible papers will quickly go out of business & be forever gone!”

There are multiple problems with these brief 103 words.

The first, of course, is that the New York Times is not failing, nor is The Washington Post, and that neither are necessarily dishonest, though they occasionally get it wrong.  Both have made mistakes, and to their credit, they have printed apologies and retractions when necessary.  Neither are “the enemy of the people”, and in fact they are #2 and #3 on my daily source list, preceded only by The Guardian.

The second problem with Trump’s tweet is that Trump is doing nothing that even has the remotest chance of making the United States ‘great’, and it is highly speculative that he will have another six years, at least, if we have such a thing as a fair and honest election in 2020.

And lastly, though perhaps most importantly, is his innuendo that perhaps “people would demand [he] stay longer”.  No.  Effing.  Way.  The United States Constitution which, albeit singed around the edges, remains in place today, is clear on just how long a president may serve, and it is not one single day over eight years.  Trump will be an exception ONLY IF he is, at the end of his term, a dictator rather than a president.  If that happens, I blame every single person who ever voted for him, who ever attended one of his rallies and chanted “lock her up”, or who ever wore a maga hat.


Arthur-Laffer

Arthur Laffer

On Wednesday, Trump will present the Presidential Medal of Freedom to a man named Arthur Laffer. Who, you might ask, is Arthur Laffer?  Laffer is best known for the Laffer curve, an illustration of the concept that there exists some tax rate between 0% and 100% that will result in maximum tax revenue for government.  More to the point, Laffer was an economic advisor to Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.  This, more than anything, is why he is receiving the Medal of Freedom.  Like Miriam Adelson, who received the medal last year for no reason other than her and her husband’s magnanimous donations to Trump’s election campaign in 2016. The medal no longer has any meaning for it is now being given as a reward to those who lick Trump’s boots.


Last week ABC News aired an interview on This Week between Donald Trump an ABC’s George Stephanopoulos.  There is quite a bit that was of interest in the interview, and the part where he said he would accept information from a foreign entity about his political opponent if it were offered has already been discussed at some length in the news and other blogs.  But, I want to share with you a bit of the dialogue they had concerning Robert Mueller’s report.  Remember, folks, don’t expect truth from the mouth of da trumpeter …

STEPHANOPOULOS:  What’s your pitch to the swing voter on the fence? 

TRUMP: Safety, security, great economy. I think I’ve done more than any other first-term president ever. I have a phony witch hunt, which is just a phony pile of stuff. Mueller comes out. There’s no collusion. And essentially a ruling that no obstruction. And they keep going with it. You know what? People are angry about it.

STEPHANOPOULOS: I don’t think that’s why he found — but we don’t have time for that now. We’ll talk about later.

TRUMP: That is what they found. Excuse me. He found no collusion. And they didn’t find anything having to do with obstruction because they made a ruling based on his findings and they said no obstruction.

STEPHANOPOULOS: They didn’t examine collusion. He laid out evidence of obstruction. 

TRUMP: Oh, are you trying to say now that there was collusion even though he said there was no collusion? 

STEPHANOPOULOS: He didn’t say there’s no collusion. 

TRUMP: He said no collusion.

STEPHANOPOULOS: He said he didn’t look at collusion.

TRUMP: George, the report said no collusion. 

STEPHANOPOULOS: Did you read the report? 

TRUMP: Uh, yes I did, and you should read it, too. 

STEPHANOPOULOS: I read every word.

TRUMP: All right, let’s go. You should read it, too, George.

monday-toon-1It’s reminiscent of an Abbott and Costello clip, don’t you think?  A more stupid man has never sat in the Oval Office.  And then the conversation turned to former White House Counsel Don McGahn, who testified under oath to Robert Mueller’s team that Trump had asked him to fire Mueller, and then later that he had asked him to deny that he had ever asked him.

TRUMP: I don’t care what he says. It doesn’t matter. That was to show everyone what a good counsel he was. Now, he may have gotten confused with the fact that I’ve always said, and I’ve said it to you, and I’ve said to anybody that would listen, Robert Mueller was conflicted. 

STEPHANOPOULOS: But why would Don McGahn lie — … Why would he lie under oath? Why would he lie under oath to Robert Mueller?

TRUMP: Because he wanted to make himself look like a good lawyer. Or — or he believed it because I would constantly tell anybody that would listen, including you, including the media, that Robert Mueller was conflicted. Robert Mueller had a total conflict of interest.

After the interview, he tweeted …

“Think I will do many more Network Interviews, as I did in 2016, in order to get the word out that no President has done what I have in … the first 2 1/2 years of his Presidency, including the fact that we have one of the best Economies in the history of our Country. It is called Earned Media. In any event, enjoy the show!”

I think it is a threat to torture us!  And by the way … Trump’s approval rating based on an aggregate of polls rose from 41.2% to 42.5% just last week … an increase of 1.3%.  Can anybody ‘splain to me what the heck he did last week to make more people like him???


Last but not least, I promised a picture of my latest bumper sticker …

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And now, I return you to your own life, and I am going to knead some onion bread for tonight’s supper.

GOP Supporting ‘Rule of Law’ Have Sponsored Ad To Push US Senate To Secure US Elections

If you think that we are not in the midst of a Constitutional crisis, if you believe that somehow it will all work out fine … you need to read this post by Gronda. We are on a dark path headed to … the destruction of fair elections, the demolition of law and order, and the shredding of the U.S. Constitution. Thank you, Gronda, for your hard work and for so much valuable information.

Gronda Morin

“This ad from Republicans for the Rule of Law calls on Congress to act, as the president clearly won’t, on the urgent matter of protecting our elections from foreign interference. It will air Monday on cable news networks. If you agree, do forward it to your member of Congress.”

Image result for images of helsinki trump russia summit

It’s a sad state of affairs when the experts who surround the President Donald J. Trump can’t discuss Russia having successfully launched a full throttle cyber and propaganda attack in 2016 on our US elections system, and that Russia plans a repeat performance during the 2020 US elections cycle; and to review plans about what’s being done by the US government regarding this issue, without fear of ‘poking the bear’s’ wrath. With this background, it’s hard to justify the US House’s avoidance of it doing it’s…

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Where Do We Draw A Line?

The First Amendment guarantees freedom of speech, and in recent times that has been challenged and the limits sorely tested.  It is a slippery slope, one fraught with the danger of going a step too far in censuring free speech, but it is the opinion of this writer that there must be a line … somewhere.  Last night I came across one of the right-wing pundits who I believe has crossed the line no matter where the line is.  His name is Josh Bernstein, and he is an online commentator.  His online show is called, predictably, the Josh Bernstein Show.  His bio says he is an anthropologist, writer, news anchor, political analyst, and more, but I rather doubt most of that, and don’t have time to spend trying to confirm or deny.

What brought him onto my radar was his call for Trump to “sharpen up them guillotines” to use on special counsel Robert Mueller in response to Mueller’s comment during his public statement on Wednesday that “If we had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so.”  Bernstein went into attack mode, accusing Mueller of taking bribes.josh-bernstein.png

“How much were you paid to do that press conference? All of you are just disgusting, despicable excuses for human beings and, honestly, I hope you all go down. Treason. President Trump said treason. Guess what? I agree with that. … You know what they do for treason? U.S. Code 18 § 2381. They put you to death, that’s what they do. Let’s sharpen up them guillotines, let’s bring out Old Sparky, let’s make sure that those lethal concoctions are ready to go, because you people deserve it!”

Now, we’ve all become used to the hate speech that emanates from both sides of the political spectrum, but most viciously from the far right, and most of us take it with a grain of salt these days.  But I sense a more ominous tone here.  The danger is not in him saying it, but in people hearing it, and some people hearing it as a call to action.

If this were an isolated episode in Mr. Bernstein’s hate speech, I might be more inclined to chalk it up to the ravings of a lunatic and move along, but it is one of many.  In January, he had this to say about democrats …

“Democrats don’t care about Americans, they don’t care about their security, they don’t even care about their paychecks.  The bottom line is, and I hate to say this, these are the types of people that Americans fought against in World War II. These are the ones who should be sterilized so we can start over.”

In October, after Alex Baldwin made a statement that through the electoral process, we need to effect a change in government, Bernstein called him treasonous and said he should be banned.  He went a bit further, though …

“These idiot liberals, these morons that want to bring us down to a third-world level, these people should be locked up for treason. Liberals like to say, ‘Well, it’s very patriotic to say something nasty about your own country.’ You know what? No it’s not. It’s treasonous.”

He has called for all Muslims to be ‘eradicated’ …

“These people need to be eradicated from Western Europe, they need to be eradicated from the United States, they need to be eradicated, I would say, pretty much from everywhere, because they have shown time and time again—whether you’re a peaceful Muslim, whether you’re a radical Muslim—you’ve shown time and time again that you just cannot deal and cope with being in a civilized society. So we’ve got to do something about it.”

I could go on and on, but you get the idea.  Why is this man allowed to say these things on the airwaves?  Because of the 1st Amendment right to free speech.  I think by now you all know that I fully support the right to free speech and freedom of the press.  But, I’ve said more than a few times, with every right comes an accompanying responsibility to use that right with conscience.  Josh Bernstein is taking his right, but not exercising his conscience.

Picture a white supremacist, or a hater of gay people, or an Islamophobe sitting at his computer one night, watching one of Bernstein’s videos calling for the execution of President Obama, Hillary Clinton, Robert Mueller, or just ‘liberals’ in general.  The man has a few guns, maybe a few beers under his belt, and decides to take up the gauntlet.  I don’t need to paint the picture, do I, for we’ve seen it far too many times already.

Remember last October when Cesar Sayoc sent pipe bombs through the U.S. mail to a number of prominent Democrats and Trump critics, as well as CNN?  Fortunately, he was stupid, the bombs were discovered, and nobody was hurt.  But, what about next time, or the time after?  Remember the mosque shootings in Philadelphia last year and New Zealand this year?  What inspired those killers?

I think that the time has come to draw a line somewhere.  Alex Jones’ conspiracy theories about the Sandy Hook school shooting has had terrible consequences for the families of children who died in that horrific event.  In December 2016, Edgar Maddison Welch entered Comet Ping Pong pizzeria in Washington, D.C., armed and planning to kill whomever he came across.  His inspiration was the conspiracy theory that would become known as Pizzagate.

Words have consequences.  While I would not wish to stifle the ability of the press or anyone else to speak freely and offer an opinion, I think we must draw the line at calling for the death of another.  Mr. Bernstein just happened to cross my radar, but how many more are out there calling for the death of an individual or a group that we don’t know about?  I think that when you allow a right or a privilege to be abused, it ultimately ceases to be a right.  Think about it.

Again …

It happened again, my friends.  Twelve lives … snuffed out with a pull of a trigger.  We just keep killing each other … for no reason or any reason … it’s so easy, isn’t it?  Go to Wal-Mart, buy a gun.  Mad at the boss?  Hey, let’s go shoot a few co-workers … that’ll show ‘im!  Mad at the wife?  Hell, just shoot ‘er!  Bet she’ll never burn the rice at supper again!

In 1787, the Founding Fathers as we’ve come to refer to them, made a couple of big mistakes.  The first was that they believed that humans had consciences and would use them.  The second, they failed to foresee how the citizens of this country would develop a love, an obsession really, of guns and all things that go ‘boom’.

Did you know that there were 47 multiple victim shootings in May, according to the Gun Violence Archive? Just last weekend, nine people were hurt, and one was killed in the neighboring city of Chesapeake, Virginia when gunfire broke out at a party.

For those who may be tempted to send meaningless ‘thoughts and prayers’ to the families of the victims in Virginia Beach, let me suggest that instead you send apologies.  Yes, apologies. We have had opportunity after opportunity to elect people to office who were committed to implementing stricter gun regulations, but time after time we have failed to do so.  Instead, we send people to Congress who are in the pockets of the National Rifle Association, people who place the value of the right to own a gun above the value of the right to life, so the blame lies squarely on our shoulders.

Our apologies to the victims and their families …

  • Christopher Kelly Rapp
  • Ryan Keith Cox
  • Laquita C. Brown
  • Tara Welch Gallagher
  • Mary Louise Gayle
  • Alexander Mikhail Gusev
  • Katherine A. Nixon
  • Richard H. Nettleton
  • Joshua A. Hardy
  • Michelle “Missy” Langer
  • Robert “Bobby” Williams
  • Herbert “Bert” Snelling

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Impeaching Trump: What would the Founders say?

Impeachment, or as Trump calls it, “the I-word”, is on the minds of many of us these days. It is debatable whether impeachment would be successful at this juncture, hence the caution being exercised by Speaker Pelosi. Our friend Jeff over at On the Fence Voters has done his homework and pondered the situation from the perspective of how the framers of the U.S. Constitution might have viewed it, and I think the results of his pondering are worth sharing. Thank you, Jeff, for this thoughtful work and for allowing me to share …

On The Fence Voters

In the course of any given day lately, I find myself grappling with the following question: What would the Founders do about it? Or, even better—what were they thinking and what were their arguments as they went about writing that sacred document we call the United States Constitution?

Actually, it’s a practice I’ve been doing for quite some time. I mean, between gun rights, abortion rights, immigration, and so many other issues, our Constitution is the basis for trying to figure out how to deal with these controversial issues. Often, we try to gauge what the intent of the Founders was. We can read their words in such publications like The Federalist Papers, and other discussions and arguments they were engaged in, that have been documented in letters, debates, and of course, The Constitutional Convention itself.

Currently, though, the impeachment process is front and center. Ever since the Democrats took…

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On Stripping The Rights Of Women …

Today I’m going to touch on a subject that is controversial, to say the least:  abortion.

A number of states, the most recent being Alabama, have recently passed highly restrictive and misogynistic abortion laws.  Anti-abortion evangelicals are patting themselves on the backs thinking, no doubt, that they have once again proven themselves the rulers over women’s bodies.  But make no mistake … these laws are only a tool.  The legislators and governors who have passed these laws are well aware that they don’t hold water, for when there is a conflict between federal and state law, federal law trumps state laws, no pun intended.

The federal law on abortion was established in 1973 with the U.S. Supreme Court decision in the case of Roe v Wade in which the Court ruled that the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution provides a fundamental “right to privacy” that protects a pregnant woman’s liberty to choose whether or not to have an abortion.  It is not within the rights of the State of Alabama or the State of Georgia to change, ignore, or override that ruling.  Period.

So … why are they passing these ‘illegal laws’, you might ask.  Because … long story short, they are hoping for a lawsuit against them that will reach the Supreme Court.  And when it does, they are hoping, believing, that the Supreme Court will then use that lawsuit as a basis to overturn Roe v Wade.

One of Donald Trump’s campaign promises that gained him a large number of followers was that he would put justices on the Supreme Court that would overturn Roe v Wade.  It is an emotional issue that gained him the support of the evangelicals.  However, the Supreme Court cannot simply say, “Let’s overturn a decades-old decision because the president would like us to.”  A case must come before them that challenges that decision before they can take it under advisement.

You might notice that the states did not pass these dranconian abortion laws when President Barack Obama was in office and the Supreme Court was still largely apolitical.  You’ll also notice that Trump was in such a hurry to appoint a second justice to the Court that he had a quiet little talk with Justice Kennedy, and shortly thereafter Justice Kennedy announced his imminent retirement.  And you’ll further notice that there was a mad dash by Trump and his boot-licking Senate to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, thereby giving the court a 5-4 right-wing, conservative majority, despite the fact that the Court is intended to be apolitical.

The stage is set … now the states who have passed these anti-abortion laws that rob women of their rights to have control over their own bodies will sit back and wait for the inevitable lawsuits claiming, rightly, that the states have no right to restrict a woman’s right of choice.  Then will begin the inevitable back and forth through the courts until sometime next year, perhaps even sooner, the cases will reach the U.S. Supreme Court.

Trump is relying on the five conservative justices to vote in favour of overturning Roe v Wade.  Those justices are:

  • Clarence Thomas
  • Samuel Alito
  • John Roberts (Chief Justice)
  • Neil Gorsuch
  • Brett Kavanuagh

Justice Steven Breyer warned in a dissent to another decision earlier this week …

“Overruling a case always requires special justification. I understand that, because opportunities to correct old errors are rare, judges may be tempted to seize every opportunity to overrule cases they believe to have been wrongly decided. But the law can retain the necessary stability only if this court resists that temptation, overruling prior precedent only when the circumstances demand it.”

The Alabama bill, which has been passed by the state legislature and is expected to be signed into ‘law’ by Governor Kay Ivey, bans abortions at every stage of pregnancy and criminalizes the procedure for doctors, who could be charged with felonies and face up to 99 years in prison.  The Georgia bill, recently passed and signed by Governor Brian Kemp (remember him … the guy with the gun pointed at his daughter’s boyfriend?), is only slightly less restrictive, banning abortion after about 6 weeks, often before a woman even realizes she is pregnant.

Those who are so dead-set against a woman’s right of choice, call themselves “pro-life”, but this is a misnomer, as I have noted before.  They are often the same people who support the death penalty.  They are often the people who protest their tax dollars going to help feed and clothe the poor.  Many are the same ones who fought so hard against ACA, which provided affordable healthcare to those who would not otherwise have any.  Pro-life?  No, only anti-women’s rights.

If people are so against abortion, doesn’t it make sense to support such things as birth control, family planning and counseling, and other measures to prevent unwanted pregnancies?  But no, the evangelicals are against all of those, too.  They support de-funding such organizations as Planned Parenthood who help with all women’s health issues, and they argue against company-sponsored health insurance plans covering birth control.  Sorry, folks, you cannot have it both ways!

Thus far through the years, state laws attempting to restrict abortion have all been struck down by the Supreme Court as being unconstitutional.  Will that precedent hold?  I cannot say for sure, but I’m less confident now than I would have been two years ago.  More than 60% of the people in this nation support a woman’s right of choice, but these days it seems that the minority is the only voice that is heard.  If the Supreme Court ultimately overturns Roe v Wade, it will be a slap in the face to every woman in the U.S.  What will be next?  Will they take away our right to own property?  Our right to vote?  Think about it.