‘Representative democracy’ takes a hit

I need to stipulate something up front that shouldn’t need to be stated, which is that we all live in what we call a “representative democracy.”

What does that mean? To me it means that the men and women who serve in our nation’s public offices need to represent the will of the people they govern.

OK, are we clear on that? Good! Then consider this:

Every reputable public opinion poll taken reveals that a substantial majority of Americans favor maintaining abortion rights for women. Gallup, Harris, Quinnipiac, Roper, Ipsos — all of ’em — tell us that most Americans want women to have the right to govern their own bodies.

The U.S. Supreme Court, though, today said the U.S. Constitution does not guarantee a woman’s right to terminate a pregnancy. The ruling comes as the court has struck down the Roe v. Wade landmark ruling that stood as settled law since it was announced in January 1973. Women no longer are able to obtain an abortion.

Most Americans believe in providing abortion rights for women. A minority in Congress and in our legislatures believe something else.

Where I come from, when the minority rules supersede the beliefs of the majority, we call that “governing by tyrannical means.”

Is that what we are becoming?


SCOTUS might just be getting warmed up

The U.S. Supreme Court is feeling its Wheaties today after handing down a ruling that effectively ends legalized abortion in the United States of America.

It’s a dark day in American juris prudence, at least as I see it.

But … here’s some real bad news: The nation’s highest court now could be feeling so emboldened that it will take dead aim on such constitutional guarantees as the right to marry someone of the same gender as you.

Let’s ponder that for a brief moment.

Texas once had a law on the books that was called colloquially the “anti-sodomy law.” It banned same-sex marriage. I have no need to explain the origin of the “anti-sodomy law” description.

Then the Supreme Court, in a stunning decision just a few years ago, declared that the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment applied to same-sex couples as well as straight couples, that everyone in this country is entitled to “equal protection under the law.” The ruling was hailed as huge step toward recognizing gay marriage as legal.

It has now been established as “settled law.”

Or … is it?

The court might believe it is ready to impose its own form of morality on a nation well could have an entirely different view. The gay marriage ruling has been essentially hailed as a victory for inclusion of all Americans under a constitutional clause that many had believed had excluded them from its protection.

Is the Supreme Court really prepared to walk down that path, just as it has decided that Roe v. Wade, the decision that had been settled law for 50 years, now no longer is valid?

Folks, we well might have a U.S. Supreme Court that is preparing to run amok.


SCOTUS might spur political uprising

The U.S. Supreme Court’s stunning decision announced today that tosses aside a long-settled law enabling women to obtain legal abortions well could create a midterm campaign issue for the ages.

Or … it might fizzle out like warmed-over soda pop.

The court ruled 6-3 that the Constitution does not guarantee a woman’s right to an abortion, which was the basis for the1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that legalized the procedure in the United States.

Conservatives are joyous at the ruling. The rest of us? Well … we’re not.

The midterm election now could hang on whether enough voters are concerned enough to elect members of Congress, governors and state legislators who believe that women have a right to terminate a pregnancy.

My hope is that it does energize the electorate. That it does stem the so-called “red wave” that threatens to sweep Democrats out of control in Congress. That it does elect state legislators and governors in states that already have dropped the hammer on hapless women who now no longer can obtain an abortion legally.

The consequences of this decision are far-reaching and frightening to many women across the land. It won’t end abortion. It only makes it more dangerous as desperate women seek them. What then? Who cares for women whose bodies are devastated by botched procedures?

We hear it said over and over: that “elections have consequences.” We now are paying for the travesty that occurred in 2016 when Donald J. Trump slithered his way into the White House and — with the help of a GOP majority in the Senate — managed to get three individuals confirmed to the SCOTUS.

The right-wing cabal on the high court has set the cause of women’s rights back for decades to come. It now falls on the rest of us to ensure that our ballots count in this year’s midterm election … and beyond.


No ‘real conservatives’?

Wow, man. Nimrods exist in every nook and cranny, even among avid readers of blogs — such as mine. One of them showed himself by making the dumbest assertion I can imagine about the House select committee examining the 1/6 insurrection.

This particular nimrod, a fellow with whom I used to work in Amarillo, said that the panel contains “no real conservatives.”

Holy partisanship!

I will respond with this brief post. What in the world would you call Reps. Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, the two Republicans chosen to serve on the panel?

Both of them are as true-blue — or ruby-red — conservative as you can get. They both have opposed traditionally, for instance, efforts to control firearm ownership, massive spending on domestic programs, abortion rights, increasing the minimum wage … shall I go on?

I won’t. Suffice to say that Reps. Cheney and Kinzinger are conservative lawmakers, a point I and others have sought to make since their appointment by Speaker Nancy Pelosi to serve on the insurrection committee.

They also happen to believe — contrary to some faux conservatives — in the rule of law and in their fealty to the Constitution.

Does that make them Republicans In Name Only? No. It does not. It makes them true to their principles.


SCOTUS strikes down Roe … let the fight commence

Whatever crap you might hear from this day forward about how conservatives will not tolerate “judicial activism” or “legislating from the bench,” think of this day when the Supreme Court did exactly that with its decision striking down a woman’s constitutional right to obtain an abortion.

The U.S. Constitution, said the court in a 6-3 ruling, does not guarantee a woman’s right to an abortion, and it now hands the issue over to the states to decide individually.

This is a dark day in American judicial history.

The SCOTUS has struck down the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that declared women had a right under the Constitution to terminate a pregnancy. Previous court rulings had upheld that right.

No longer. The Supreme Court, with its super-conservative majority, has acted in a fashion that used to be anathema to judicial and political conservatives. It has exercised extreme judicial activism in tossing aside what had been considered “settled law.”

Didn’t conservatives once frown on such activism? Didn’t they excoriate progressive judges for crossing that line?

Roughly half the states already have laws on the books that will now take effect. They will make abortion illegal. In Texas, for example, doctors can be charged with felony crimes and sentenced to decades in prison if they perform an abortion. Texas even allows its residents to reap bounties if they tattle on their neighbors who they know have obtained an abortion.

It might not stop with just criminalizing abortion. There well might efforts to overturn other SCOTUS decisions legalizing gay marriage, which the court has ruled is protected under the Equal Protection clause in the 14th Amendment.

Does this hideous decision end abortion? Hardly. Women will continue to terminate their pregnancy, even if it puts them in serious — possibly mortal — danger.

The Supreme Court, moreover, has just furthered the cause of conservative judicial activism. Those on the right-wing fringe, therefore, can spare me the highly dubious argument that the court merely called “balls and strikes” from the bench.

Oh, no! It weighed in with a ruling that denies women a basic right that had been protected under settled law … and the U.S. Constitution.


Body language reveals much

I watched virtually every minute of Day Five of the House select committee’s televised hearing on the 1/6 insurrection, but one image from my day in front of the TV stands out.

U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., was questioning the Justice Department officials summoned to testify. The discussion turned to a Defense Department request made in early January 2021 to examine whether an Italian firm was able to change ballots cast for Donald Trump into votes for Joe Biden.

The look on Kinzinger’s face as he was grilling the witnesses was, to say the least, most edifying. It was as if he couldn’t believe (a) that he was asking such a question and (b) that the Defense Department was actually exerting any effort to uncover such nonsense.

The request reportedly came from Donald J. Trump. Yep, the POTUS himself wanted to know whether DOD could determine whether there were any Internet spooks monkeying around with the returns.

I mention this for an important reason.

It is that at no time during the frontal attack on the Capitol on 1/6 did Donald Trump bother to call the Defense Department to deploy troops to quell the violence that killed several police officers and injured dozens of others.

Oh, no! He was fixated on an election he lost to Joe Biden … which lends some authenticity to Rep. Kinzinger’s apparent disbelief in the testimony he received from the DOJ officials sitting before the committee.


Top cop needs to start casting about

Pete Arredondo is now on what they call “administrative leave” as a result of the many questions and criticism surrounding his response to the massacre at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.

If I were Arredondo, I would start looking for a new job and it had better not have a thing to do with law enforcement, which is what he does at this moment as chief of the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District Police Department.

You see, Arredondo’s “abject failure” in commanding the response to the shooting at the school is why he is on leave. For my money, I cannot believe the Uvalde ISD board of trustees is going to keep him on the job. For that matter, the school superintendent needs to start drafting the letter terminating the chief from his job.

It’s been several weeks now since the gunman strolled into Robb Elementary and killed 19 precious fourth-graders and two educators who died trying to protect them. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott initially praised the cops’ response to the shooting before declaring he was “livid” over being “misled” about the response.

Now comes reporting about the police being able to have responded much more quickly than they did. Who was in charge of the police response? Chief Arredondo! He choked. He didn’t send in the tactical officers even after they reportedly had the equipment they needed to take the shooter out.

Arredondo has clammed up. He has refused to speak publicly. Indeed, the Department of Public Safety hasn’t exactly acted in the public interest, either.

Parents and loved ones of the victims are crying out for answers. They deserve them.

Pete Arredondo needs to be shown the door and told to do something other than police work for the rest of his life.


What if these folks had remained?

The U.S. House select committee that Speaker Nancy Pelosi impaneled to examine the 1/6 insurrection is performing a stellar public service in delivering evidence to Americans who want to know the truth behind what happened on that horrifying day.

But … you know what? It could’ve gone sideways in a major hurry had the House GOP leader’s selections to the committee been allowed to stay on the panel.

Kevin McCarthy selected several Republican House members to serve on the panel, but Pelosi — acting within her authority as the House’s presiding officer — nixed those picks.

One of them, I hasten to add, was none other than Jim Jordan, the Ohio GOP lawmaker who has made quite a (nasty) name for himself with his bloviating bluster while seeking to deflect any blame for the insurrection from his guy, the 45th POTUS.

I was thinking of Jordan today as I watched Day Five of the televised hearings and wondering: How would these hearings go if wild men such as Jordan been kept on the panel?

I have been trying to wrap my noggin around that thought. I say that, though, wondering if there isn’t a way for the panel to summon more Trump-friendly witnesses to justify the events of 1/6 and how the insurrection wasn’t what it damn sure looked like to me and millions of others who saw it unfold in real time. It looked like a frontal assault on our democratic process with one aim: to overturn the free, fair and legal results of the 2020 presidential election.

You can bet your first-born child that a dedicated Trumpkin serving on the committee would spin the insurrection into something that none of us would recognize.

The committee that emerged from the mess left at its creation, though, is a bipartisan panel, comprising two Republicans along with seven Democrats. It has performed beautifully in collecting and presenting evidence to the public.

I also want to offer a high-five to Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., who has conducted the hearings with decorum, grace and class as it has slogged through the mountain of evidence that keeps getting higher after every session.

There’s more to come? Yes. I am waiting with bated breath.


How do they stand behind The Big Lie?

How in the name of all that is holy and sacred, all that is just and truthful, all that is rational and reasonable does anyone continue to subscribe to The Big Lie that the 2020 presidential election was stolen?

That is my takeaway after watching Day Five of the 1/6 House select committee’s hearing on the insurrection instigated by the 45th POTUS.

Indeed, Donald Trump keeps insisting the election is being victimized to this day by electoral thieves. You know what? He’s telling the truth! Because it is Donald Trump who is committing the attempted theft!

Just as he blasted the media for putting forth “fake news” while at the same instant questioning whether Barack Obama was qualified to run for and serve as president, Trump is doing the same verbal shuffle with The Big Lie.

The televised hearing today highlighted the testimony of three former Department of Justice officials — including Jeffrey Rosen, the former acting AG at the end of the Trump administration — who told House committee members of Trump’s efforts to subvert the Constitution. These men worked for Trump!

I will admit readily that these hearings have riveted me. They have me transfixed by the testimony. They have demonstrated beyond a shadow of doubt in my own mind of the existential threat Donald Trump poses to our democratic process.

But as committee vice chair Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., pointed out succinctly in her closing remarks, there remain those who will refuse to accept what the rest of the world knows is the truth about Donald Trump.

That he is a dangerous, evil man.


SCOTUS misfires on this ruling

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul is understandably perplexed at today’s ruling handed down by the U.S. Supreme Court.

The court ruled — 6 to 3 — that New York’s limitation on concealed handgun carry laws was too restrictive. It said in a ruling written by Justice Clarence Thomas — that the state could not impose certain restrictions on concealed firearm regulations outside the home.

Hochul, who appeared visibly distressed by the court’s decision, wondered why the First Amendment has restrictions on “free speech,” by declaring “one cannot yell ‘fire!’ in a crowded theater,” but that the Second Amendment seems to have no restrictions … none at all, in the eyes of those who believe it is sacrosanct.

Yep, it’s just another demonstration that the gun lobby continues to win the arguments over matters related to the right of those to “keep and bear arms.”

Hochul said as well that when the founders approved the Second Amendment, the nation was armed “with muskets.” She said she would prefer to return to a musket-carrying society.

Me … too!