Tag Archives: US Constitution

Stupidity rules in some quarters

Sigh …

Actually, that’s a heavy sigh laced with anger at the moronic tenor of that message.

The photo showed up on my Facebook feed this morning. I don’t know where it was taken, or certainly who these individuals are, but oh my does that picture enrage me.

Those folks’ “freedom” isn’t worth a nickel more than anyone else’s “safety.” For Americans to protest their government’s effort to protect us from a killer virus is to suggest a blatant and dangerous ignorance of what government is empowered to do … under the U.S. Constitution.

I just felt compelled to share this picture with readers of this blog. It speaks so loudly to the idiocy that has infected our political discourse in light of this public health menace.

Trump trots out flag-burning non-starter

Donald Trump’s mediocre campaign rally today produced few talking points, but one of them does surface.

He said from the podium in Tulsa, Okla., that anyone who burns Old Glory should be arrested, charged and if convicted sent to jail for a year.

Huh? Earth to The Donald: The Supreme Court has settled that one. It said that burning the Stars and Stripes in a political protest is protected under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. It is, according to the court, a legitimate form of protest against government policy.

I agree with Trump on one point only: Anyone who burns a flag in my presence is not going to win me over to whatever point of view they are espousing. I hate the act and am repulsed by it. However, it’s a legit form of protest that the nation’s founders protected when they wrote the First Amendment.

Then again, political reality never gets in Trump’s way when he’s trying to ignite the cheers of his fans at political rallies.

Concern over Trump turns to fear

My concern over the horrifying possibility of Donald Trump being re-elected to a second term as president of the United States is giving way to outright dread.

I fear for the country. And for the system of government that the Nitwit in Chief has co-opted.

Having been impeached by the House of Representatives and then having been acquitted by the Senate in a sham trial, Trump already has wielded some of the ill-gotten political capital he was able acquire. Trump continues to issue executive orders doing away with regulations approved during the Obama administration. He continues to bully his foes and continues to threaten to do things that flout constitutional norms.

So then the question for me becomes: What will this idiot do during a second term? There can be no way to predict anything when it involves this clown.

Consider his reaction to the George Floyd killing in Minneapolis and the uproar it has produced in cities all across the land. What will happen if the demonstrations continue? What might the Control Freak in Chief do if he deems that all those protests — even those of the peaceful variety — are more than he can bear to witness?

The bullsh** he touts about sending in “heavily armed” troops to quell protests is scary in the extreme. How many more general grade officers will stride down the path blazed by former Defense Secretary James Mattis, or former White House chief of staff John Kelly, or former Special Operations Commander Admiral William McRaven? They all have told us how they fear what Donald Trump will do, how he seeks actively to divide the nation, how he ignores constitutional principles.

I long have held out hope that our Constitution would protect us from presidential predilections. Gerald Ford told us in August 1974 that “our Constitution works” as he assumed the presidency in a time of dire peril for the nation. I was a young whipper-snapper then, full of political piss and vinegar. The trial and turmoil we’re experiencing these days seems different to me now that I am so much older.

However, I am clinging to the hope that the Constitution that worked so well during that earlier crisis will continue to do its job … even as the current presidential fraud seeks to inflict grievous damage.

It is a frightening spectacle to watch. Oh, how I want this upcoming election to produce the desired result.

May the flag fly proudly … always!

It’s time to wish us all a happy Flag Day.

We love Old Glory, the Star Spangled Banner, the Stars and Stripes.  By whatever name we call it, we cherish our national symbol.

That is the more important point I want to make with this brief blog post. It is a symbol of the nation our founders created.

Those wise men wrote our Constitution and ratified it in 1787 after winning our independence from the English crown. The flag has come to mean many things to millions upon millions of Americans then and in the two-plus centuries since that time.

What it means to me is simple, but a bit nuanced. The flag flies as a symbol of the liberties we enjoy as citizens of a great nation. Among those liberties is the right — as expressed in the very First Amendment to that Constitution — to register peaceful protest. If we don’t like what our government does for us or to us, we are able to assemble “peaceably” without recrimination.

Yep, that means no tear gas, no clubbing by cops, no handcuffs and, dare I say it, no knees pressed into the back of our necks while the police are detaining us.

We are able to speak our minds.

So, the flag is far more than a piece of cloth stitched together in red, white and blue. It is an ideal by which we live and for which we fight. The ideal is being challenged these days as the nation grapples with injustice, which it always has done.

However, the flag will continue to fly and it will continue to represent the ideals we hold dear as proud citizens of this most exceptional nation.

Kneeling is a legitimate form of peaceful, civil protest

OK, here it comes again: the discussion over whether “taking a knee” while they play the National Anthem dishonors Old Glory.

I didn’t want to re-enter this discussion, but I am going to do so anyway. I’ll just need to prepare for some blowback.

Americans are protesting today against the treatment of African-Americans by some police departments and officers. It’s been a longstanding problem that the nation has so far failed to face on a national level. The George Floyd tragedy brought it to our attention in graphic, tragic and reprehensible fashion.

You saw the former cop kneeling on Floyd’s neck, snuffing the life out of him. Now we have re-ignited the discussion of whether professional athletes have dishonored Old Glory when they take a bended knee while they play the National Anthem.

No. The flag is not dishonored.

What does the kneeling represent? It represents a form of civil protest against certain practices and policies enacted by law enforcement agencies. The demonstration against those policies is, at its very essence, the basis for the founding of this great nation and the flag that flies over government buildings.

The nation was built by men who protested religious oppression. They created a governing document that laid out certain civil liberties in the first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution. The first of those amendments addresses several key provisions: Congress shall make no law that establishes a state religion or interferes with a free press or prohibits the right of citizens to speak freely and to seek “redress” of grievances against the government.

Is that clear enough? It is to me.

Kneeling during the playing of the Anthem speaks against policies that many of us find objectionable. It is in no way a statement of disrespect to the flag, to the nation, to the men and women who fight to preserve our freedoms, or to those who serve the public.

Yet this form of civil protest has been perverted into something unrecognizable to the men who sought to make a hallmark of the government they created.

It all started when a pro football player took a knee to protest. Donald Trump called him and other pro athletes “sons of bitches.” He said they should be tossed aside, ignored, punished for their alleged disrespect of the flag. That is as shallow and idiotic a response as I can imagine.

Here’s my request: If we disagree with the method some folks use to protest a public policy, then focus the disagreement on the act itself … and stay far away from suggesting it disrespects or dishonors the principles on which the founders created this country.

Good heavens! Taking a knee in peaceful protest is the embodiment of what the founders intended!

We are witnessing an unprecedented rebellion

Don’t accuse me of overstatement, because I believe in what I am about to pronounce.

It is that we are witnessing an unprecedented rebellion among former general-grade military officers who once worked at the highest levels of the chain of command. They are rebelling against the astonishing ignorance of the current commander in chief.

The first of them to speak out is the former defense secretary and retired Marine Corps general, James Mattis. He has accused Donald John Trump of being a threat to the U.S. Constitution. He said he is witnessing for the first time in his storied military career a president who is making no effort to unite the country, but is working diligently to divide it.

Then came the endorsement of Mattis’s comment from another retired Marine general, former White House chief of staff John Kelly.

Then we heard from retired Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff along with another Joint Chiefs chairman, retired Admiral Michael Mullen. They, too, are appalled at Trump.

Joining them was the former Admiral William McRaven, the special operations command boss who coordinated the 2011 raid that killed Osama bin Laden. He blasted Trump over his clearing the streets of peaceful protesters so he could stage that hideous photo op in front of St. John Episcopal Church … when he held the Bible in front of the boarded-up house of worship that had been damaged by rioters.

Current Joint Chiefs Chairman Army Gen. Mark Milley and current Defense Secretary Mark Esper have bolted from Trump’s decision to send active-duty military personnel into our cities to put down protesters rallying to decry police brutality in the wake of George Floyd’s hideous death at the hands of rogue cops.

The custom has been for retired general-grade officers to keep their political views to themselves. Since custom has been tossed aside by Trump, then I left to presume the former officers feel unrestrained these days from speaking their minds.

All of this, these men say, is antithetical to the very notion of our Constitution, of the principles on which the founders created this nation. The president seeks to dispatch members of the world’s most destructive, most lethal military force to work against citizens who are guaranteed constitutionally the right to seek redress of government policy.

Yep, we have a dangerous man at the helm.

Gen. Mattis unloads on Trump … yes!

What do you suppose will be Donald John “Stable Genius” Trump’s response to criticism leveled at him by a man generally viewed as one of the few bright lights of the president’s administration?

This comes from former Defense Secretary James Mattis, who said in a statement to reporters: “Donald Trump is the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people — does not even pretend to try. Instead he tries to divide us. We are witnessing the consequences of three years of this deliberate effort. We are witnessing the consequences of three years without mature leadership.”

Is this the ranting of a “loser”? Of a “low-IQ” rat? Or of someone who is disloyal to the president and the country he served with honor and distinction while wearing a Marine uniform?

Mattis, a retired Marine Corps general who is revered by the men and women who served under his command, has spoken out eloquently and forcefully at what he has witnessed — along with the rest of us — in the conduct of the commander in chief.

Mattis has said that Trump is violating Americans’ constitutional rights by using military troops to curtail peaceful protests in the wake of the George Floyd killing by four cops in Minneapolis. The nation has erupted in indignation over the perception of widespread police brutality. Trump’s emphasis has been on ending the protests, which have become violent in many cities.

Mattis is concerned that Trump is trampling over citizens’ civil liberties.

Trump’s ham-handed response to the protests drew Mattis’s specific condemnation. As Politico reported: Mattis called the decision to clear protesters in Lafayette Square an “abuse of executive authority” and said that Americans should “reject and hold accountable those in office who would make a mockery of our Constitution.”

Donald Trump’s response to this criticism no doubt is going to reveal the shallowness and emptiness of the president. I’ll stand with Gen. Mattis, who I consider to be a patriot and a statesman.

Get the kid off the stage

Jared Kushner clearly married “up,” if you presume becoming a member of the Donald John Trump family constitutes a sort of promotion.

The young man’s father-in-law is now the president of the United States. Trump had the bad taste to place Kushner in the role of “senior adviser,” even though the kid has no experience advising anyone of anything, especially when it concerns high-level federal policy.

Kushner needs to fade away, far from the klieg lights. Off the stage. Gone, man!

He isn’t qualified to do anything of importance. For example …

He hinted just this week that there might be a reason — if the coronavirus pandemic isn’t arrested — to delay the date of the presidential election. To be fair, he backed away from what he implied. Still, Kushner seemed to suggest in the first instance that he was offering a belief on something about which he has zero authority, let alone any knowledge.

This boy wonder has been put in charge of cobbling together a comprehensive Middle East peace deal. He hasn’t made the grade. He also has been tasked with reforming government operations. No good there, either. Then he declared the other day that Daddy-in-Law Trump’s pandemic response has been a “great success story.” Seriously, Jared? Sheesh!

The Constitution declares that the presidential election must occur on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November. This year it’s Nov. 3. The question will be the manner in which we cast our ballots. Moving the date is a non-starter.

Someone should inform Jared Kushner of that fact, which has been as lost on him as it has on his know-nothing father-in-law.

Canadian PM acts decisively on guns; no 2nd Amendment to block him

What has just occurred in Canada cannot happen in the United States of America, but I have to tell you that I wish somehow that we could follow the Canadian model on how to stem gun violence.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced an immediate ban on the sale and use of assault-style weapons in the wake of a Nova Scotia shooting that killed 22 victims in April.

That means you can’t own an AR-15, or an M-16 or an AK-47. Period.

As The Associated Press reported: “Canadians need more than thoughts and prayers,” he said, rejecting the reaction of many politicians after mass shootings.

Trudeau cited numerous mass shootings in the country, including the rampage that killed 22 in Nova Scotia April 18 and 19. He announced the ban of over 1,500 models and variants of assault-style firearms, including two guns used by the gunman as well as the AR-15 and other weapons that have been used in a number of mass shootings in the United States.

I am left to say, merely, “Wow!”

The Canadians don’t have a constitution that contains an amendment that guarantees that the “right to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed.” That gives the prime minister a clear path to take unilateral action.

Spare me the dogma associated with gun-owner rights. I do not want to move to Canada. I am a proud American patriot who believes in the U.S. Constitution, including the Second Amendment that guarantees gun ownership.

However, I remain baffled, bamboozled and blown away (no pun intended) by our inability to legislate any kind of modest gun reform that could prevent the sort of carnage through which we suffer with alarming frequency.

The AP reports: Trudeau said the weapons were designed for one purpose and one purpose only: to kill the largest number of people in the shortest amount of time.

“Today we are closing the market for military-grade assault weapons in Canada,” he said.

Owners of these weapons use them for that purpose here, as well, yet our political structure is hamstrung by fealty to the Second Amendment and the inability or unwillingness of politicians to buck the gun lobby.

But here we are with two nations of comparable physical size, but with huge differences in population. They also are governed by vastly different documents and precepts.

We need not be held hostage in this country by gun lobbyists. I continue to believe there exists a legislative solution to gun violence that keeps faith with what the founders wrote when they drafted the Second Amendment to our beloved Constitution.

Pandemic turns traditional political dogma upside down

Do you want another goofy example of how political norms can be twisted beyond all recognition?

Consider this: Conservatives for decades have been fond of relying on the 10th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution as an argument against ham-handed federal intervention. The amendment reads: The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

Got that? Good!

These days, though, we hear progressives/liberals holding up the 10th Amendment against what they determine to be Donald Trump’s ham-handedness in dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.

You see, Trump declared that as president he has “sole authority” to order state governors to relax restrictions they have placed on residents of their states. I should point out that Trump has reneged a bit on that bodacious assertion. Still, it’s out there.

The reality, though, is quite different as explained in the10th Amendment. The president has no authority over health issues per se. That authority rests in state capitols. Trump, though, believes he can just tell the governors what to do and that they are obligated to do what he says.

Oh, no.

Governors, mostly Democrats among them, are quick to remind Trump that he was elected “president” and not anointed “king” in 2016. Therefore, he is restricted by the Constitution’s clearly written limits on executive power.

Yes, the Donald Trump Era has changed many once-staid political norms. It’s how he fashioned the presidency once he took office. He’s fine with ruffling it all up, or so he implies.

Except that the U.S. Constitution is a document that shouldn’t be trifled with. The founders got it mostly right when they drafted it in the late 18th century. Yes, they’ve done some tinkering with it over the many years since the nation’s founding.

The 10th Amendment, though, is written with as much clarity as any of those amendments that spell out our Bill of Rights. The only difference these days is the change in those who support and those who oppose its message.