Tag Archives: US Constitution

Flags are symbols, nothing more

So faux patriots like to “wrap themselves in the flag,” as if that is a demonstration of their love of country.

It is a demonstration only of their ignorance of what Old Glory means.

I see the flag as a symbol of the principles on which the founders created the nation when they convened a constitutional convention after we won the revolution. The liberties contained in the nation’s governing document imply a belief that we are free to protest when our government messes up.

Thus, when I see someone burning Old Glory in a public square, I shrug it off. Hey, that’s their right. Now, does flag-burning mean I will embrace whatever cause is being protested? Hardly. If anything, such an act will turn me off.  Then again, the flag symbolizes that, too.

I recall the time Donald Trump attended a political event, walked out onto the stage and just gave the Stars and Stripes hanging nearby a good, old-fashioned hug. He meant to demonstrate that he, too, is a patriot, that he just loves the flag so much he wanted to embrace the stitched cloth … as if such an act really matters. It doesn’t.

This is the same man who urged rally crowds to “knock the crap” out of protesters. Hmm. Is that in keeping with what the founders intended? I think not.

The faux patriots also should be mindful of the ignorance they demonstrate when they fly the Stars and Bars next to Old Glory. Remember that the Confederate States of America went to war with the United States of America because some states wanted to keep slaves in bondage.

Just remember that the flag is nothing more than a symbol. It conveys many complicated messages, some of which involve granting citizens the right to protest our government and to, yes, burn that very flag.


Constitution lays it out there

Section 4 of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, speaks with crystal clarity about how our government must treat the debt it owes.

Here is what it says: “The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned.”

Wow, man. “Shall not be questioned,” the amendment states.

You know what this means? It means that the Republican dodge in demanding spending cuts before approving an increase in the debt ceiling is, um, an unconstitutional tactic.

President Biden is in the middle of talks with congressional leaders of both parties. He met with them in the Oval Office the other day. They’re planning another meeting on Friday. He said he is “considering” invoking the 14th Amendment if he and the GOP cannot reach an agreement on the debt ceiling.

I am not a constitutional scholar, but I certainly know a declarative statement when I see one.

Section 4 of the 14the Amendment is as declarative statement as anything I can find in the Constitution.

Joe Biden is as fluent in constitutional language as any man who’s ever held the office of president. Mr. President, you need to remind your congressional colleagues of what the nation’s governing document tells them.


It’s time for politics

The massacre at the Allen Premium Outlet Mall has produced the usual mantra from politicians and others who want to ignore the issue of “gun regulation.”

They are telling us that “this is no time for politics.” Excuse me? It is past time for politics.

They purport to be speaking for grieving families in shock over the assault on their lives by a lunatic who opened fire with an AR-15 rifle. It was the 199th mass shooting in the country this year … on the 128th day of the year!

At issue is how to control the purchase of firearms and keeping them out of the hands of loons such as the moron who opened fire in Allen. That is purely a political solution.

It starts with enacting legislation that is faithful to the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment. Is there a solution out there? I believe there is. Does a ban on weapons designed to kill people on the battlefield violate the amendment’s guarantee that we can “keep and bear arms”? No, it does nothing of the sort!

What about universal background checks that could flag individuals with histories of mental instability? The Allen mall shooter was discharged from the Army in 2008 because of “mental issues.” Yet he still owned an AR-15. Is it OK to wonder if a background check could have kept the gun out of his hands were he to seek to purchase it? What’s more, how does that violate the rights of anyone with zero such issues? It doesn’t!

I am weary of the refrain in the wake of these tragedies that “this is no time for politics.” These solutions reside in the halls of government, where politicians roam and where they — if they ever grow a spine — could enact laws that make us safer.


It’s a secular document!

Marjorie Taylor Greene doesn’t know the Constitution she took an oath to defend and protect, as she exhibited tonight in a “60 Minutes” interview.

The fire-breathing Republican congresswoman from northwest Georgia said the United States needs to become a “Christian nation,” which prompted the interviewer, Lesley Stahl, to remind her that the First Amendment to the Constitution prohibits the establishment of a state religion.

Greene answered that the founders sought “spiritual guidance” when the drafted the nation’s governing document.

OK. Yes. They did. However …

The document they produced doesn’t make a single reference to Christianity, or to Jesus Christ or the New Testament. What’s more, Article VI in the Constitution says specifically that there shall be “no religious test” required of anyone seeking public office in the United States of America.

What part of “secular government” does this idiot not get?

I just had to weigh in against this moronic testimony from a second-term member of Congress who is earning her spurs by spouting dangerous demagoguery.


Now he takes the Fifth?

Hey, let’s flash back to around the time of the 2016 presidential campaign, the one that Donald J. Trump won in the strangest political fluke in U.S. history.

Someone asked him about a political foe who was “taking the Fifth Amendment” to avoid self-incrimination. Trump’s response was that “anyone who takes the Fifth must be guilty of a crime.”

Well … maybe so, maybe not. Donald Trump’s point, though, wasn’t that far off.

Fast-forward to a year ago. We now have seen video evidence of Donald Trump testifying before a New York state grand jury on a financial case that was under investigation. What did the former president do? He took the Fifth! Not once, or twice or even dozens of times. He hid behind the Fifth Amendment’s protection more than 400 times while being questioned about his company’s financial dealings.

Why bring this up? Because the pathological liar wants to be POTUS again. At least that’s what he says. He is facing a potential indictment for crimes he might have committed against the government of the United States.

Donald Trump is entitled to invoke the protection afforded all citizens under the U.S. Constitution. I don’t question the legitimacy of his Fifth Amendment assertion. I just wonder — out loud — whether he is as “guilty of a crime” as he accused others who have invoked the same privilege.


Free speech not always totally free

Many years in journalism taught me many valuable lessons about the law, the Constitution and people’s ability — or their occasional  inability — to abide by various rules.

Let’s examine one of the clauses contained in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, the one that says “freedom of speech, or of the press” shall not be “abridged.”

Many people assume — incorrectly, in my view — that the free-speech clause means one can say anything they want anyone they choose without any consequence or punishment.


I’ll cite this blog as an example of what I mean. The Constitution protects bloggers such as me, but only to a point. It says the government should “make no law” that limits what people can say, but it does nothing to keep me from blocking people from popping off irresponsibly. It is, therefore, my call to determine who is being irresponsible.

When I see someone commenting on a public official, I seek to weigh the value of the individual’s comment. If it lends any value to the public debate, then bring it on … by all means!

I lost count long ago of the arguments I would have with readers of opinion pages I edited in Oregon and in Texas who would challenge my decision to nix commentaries submitted for publication. They would say “but the Constitution gives me the right to say what I want.” No … it doesn’t. It gives me the right, I would respond, to determine what is suitable for print.

I would tell the reader that they need to buy a printing press, load it with ink and paper and say whatever the hell they want to say.

Most recently, I have nixed commentaries on this blog that suggest that President Biden is suffering from “dementia.” I will not allow that defamatory comment to stand on my blog. If the individual whose comments I have blocked continue with that trash, then I will block that individual from using this venue for any purpose.

It is my right — under the Constitution — to do such a thing.

There. Are we clear? Good.

Have a great day.


MAGA cult makes me yearn for Contract with America class

I never thought it could happen … but it has. The MAGA cult that dominates what passes for today’s Republican Party makes me yearn for a time when another class of GOP officeholders seized power in Congress.

The famous 1994 election that brought us the Contract With America led to Republican control of both congressional chambers for the first time in 40 years.

What makes that revolution different from this one is simple: issues.

The Contract With America class ran on issues. They vowed to enact term limits for members of Congress; they wanted to make Congress live by the laws it enacts on the rest of us; they sought a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution. There were others, but the point is that the CWA crowd did something that the MAGA cabal has failed to do.

The CWAers sought to enact issues. Do we hear anything coming from the MAGA crowd that speaks to issues? No. They are vowing only to punish Democrats. They want to put Dr. Anthony Fauci in the dock and question him about the COVID-19 vaccines he has championed. They want to bring charges against Hunter Biden, the president’s son. They intend to punish any Democrat who played a major part in impeaching Donald Trump twice.

The CWA crowd didn’t push issues that I particularly liked at the time. The fact that it did run — and win — on issues rather than vengeance makes me yearn for the “good old days” when we could debate policy matters rather than quarrel over punishing our foes.


MAGA cult = political arsonists

The MAGA cult that has seized control of the Republican agenda in the U.S. House should really think long and so very hard about what it intends to do regarding the national debt.

The right-wing cabal within the GOP caucus wants to insist on spending cuts if the government seeks to increase its debt ceiling. What the right-wingers seemingly want is to cut Social Security and Medicare.

If they do not get their way and the nation defaults on its debts — for the first time in U.S. history — then all hell (and then some!) is going to break loose.

Americans’ retirement accounts well could vanish. Investors will bail out of the stock market en masse, driving stock portfolios into the dumper. The economy will collapse.

The national debt ceiling must be increased. Period, full stop and all that crap! Yet the MAGA crowd is insisting on something that’s never been considered, let alone been done … which is to cut spending as a tradeoff for doing what should be a routine matter.

Our nation’s founders enshrined our “full faith and credit” into Article IV of the Constitution, declaring that it must be honored — or else! The cultists who strong-armed concessions from Kevin McCarthy in exchange for their votes to make him speaker of the House, are ignorant of the founders’ intent. Then again, they’re ignorant about how to govern.

That is not dissuading them from making demands that are unreasonable, immoral and perhaps even unconstitutional.

They are hellbent on torching our system of government.


Pollyanna? No, an idealist

One of the harshest criticisms I have received over many decades offering commentary on issues of the day came from a colleague of mine.

He called me a “Pollyanna.” I cannot remember the specific issue that prompted the dig, but it likely had something to do with the political climate of the time and my wish for a return to a kinder time. I guess my critic/friend didn’t ascribe to the same ideals as I did then … and still do today.

I might invite the Pollyanna brickbat once again by declaring that no matter how desperate the current environment appears, I am going to rely on my faith in the U.S. Constitution … yeah, the same Constitution that Donald Trump said we should suspend.

For starters, the Constitution is far stronger and more durable than the insane rants of a disgraced politician. Moreover, we have been through many crises that rival or even exceed the current tempest brewing over efforts to reject election results, or return Trump to the White House.

We endured two world wars, and in the past 75 years two other wars — in Korea and Vietnam — that tore at our fabric. We went to war in the Middle East, prompting yet another crisis of confidence.

We have endured presidential assassinations dating back to President Lincoln’s murder in 1865, presidential scandals — one of which forced a president to resign — the Great Depression and a Civil War.

What has been the common denominator, the one political structure that survived? The U.S. Constitution. It has held the nation together, albeit while showing plenty of wear and tear around the edges.

It will continue to hold us together. No matter how hard the MAGA cultists/traitors seek to undermine it, the Constitution will endure. So will our democratic republic … and so will the electoral process that is taking its share of heavy hits from those who have declared war on our founding document.

This is not the feel-good wish of a Pollyanna. It is the assertion of an old man, a veteran who went to war for his country and a patriot who remains committed to the glorious idealism that our nation’s founders envisioned.


Day of reckoning for GOP?

There should be no doubt about it, that the Republican Party’s hierarchy needs to stage a “come to Jesus” meeting on an issue involving the titular head of the party … the immediate past president of the United States.

Donald J. Trump has all but declared war on the Constitution, the document he once swore to defend and protect. He now believes that it is time to “suspend” the cherished governing document so that he can be reinstalled as POTUS.

So far —and it’s still early in this game of political chicken — too many Republican honchos have remained silent on this utterly frightening call from the former POTUS. There has been hardly any direct condemnation of this kind of rhetoric. Indeed, when pressed Sunday on the “This Week” TV news show, GOP Rep. Dave Joyce said he could support Trump if he is the party’s nominee for president in 2024. ABC News’s George Stephanopoulos pressed the congressman several times to disavow and condemn the language that came from Trump; he refused. Simply astonishing!

This is an unacceptable world view. To say out loud that it is time to suspend the Constitution is so beyond the pale it defies any sort of logic or reason.

Is there a chance on this good Earth that Trump will succeed? Not a chance! This idiocy, though, does fan the embers of those who continue to believe The Big Lie about the 2020 presidential election and it keeps alive the moronic view that Trump actually won an election that he lost.

Donald Trump needs to be chopped down and tossed into the political trash heap. The only viable means to ensure he is silenced is for the Republican Party leadership to condemn him — by name! — and turn its back on the trash he continues to sputter.

One obstacle stands in the way. It is the collective cowardice of those who purport to cherish the Constitution.