Sunday, August 19, 2018

Sitting on Hands, Not Inconceivble: Impeachment, Abortion Rights, Agent Orange, An Enemy of the People and the Florida Primary

Do Not Sit on Your Hands

Some of us liberals are extremely alarmed about the autocratic tendencies of the President.   Others feel that our democracy will survive, despite its processes having failed and produced a President and many other elected officials who do not believe in, nor understand, “what makes America great.” That is, of course, our reliance upon the rule of law and the checks and balances provided by the Constitution.  These seem to be beyond their comprehension. 

The President attacks those checks and balances on a daily basis, lies on a daily basis and perverts the nation’s laws to carry out heinous acts, such as the family separation of immigrants seeking asylum.  This is not a time to sit on one’s hands and assume that everything will eventually return to normal in our country.  It is a time for reaction to the President's excesses.  It is not a time for inaction.  Things do not automatically "get better."  

In other nations, when ugly autocracy raised its head and the citizenry sat on their hands, things did not return to normal.  Wars had to be fought for that to happen.  Do not sit on your hands.  Words are not enough.  Become active.  And that means more than just voting.  Find candidates whose programs you support and volunteer to work for them.  Do not sit on your hands.  Others who have done that suffered because of their inaction.
Jack Lippman

A Good Thing for the G.O.P.

Although it is unlikely, It is not inconceivable that President Trump might be impeached.

It takes a simple majority in the House of Representatives to pass Articles of Impeachment, and it is likely that the Democrats will have such a majority after the November elections.  To act on these articles, however, and rid the country of its President, two thirds of the Senate must vote to act on them.  The Democrats will not have such a majority in the Senate.  Even control of that body by them is unlikely this year.

In the Senate, however, many Republicans quietly resent a President who in addition to possibly being guilty of committing high crimes and misdemeanors,  has taken over their party and turned it into his own personal vehicle.  They want to regain control of their party.  Further, some are beginning to feel that the growing unpopularity of the President will affect the electability of all Republican candidates so long as he remains the titular head of their party.  In their eyes, the removal of Donald Trump from the Presidency would ultimately be a good thing for the G.O.P.

Therefore, when it comes to voting on any Articles of Impeachment, it is not inconceivable that a sufficient number of Republican Senators, for these reasons, will join with their Democratic colleagues to vote to impeach, thereby recapturing control of their party.  This will cost them the votes of Trump’s die-hard supporters and lose them some important elections but at least it would give them their party back.  Right now, they have no party of their own.  Theirs was sold to Donald Trump in exchange for the votes of his loyal supporters.

Aware of this possibility, even though it is still unlikely, the President is in his attack mode flailing out against those who criticize him. His weapons include security clearances, firings, retirement benefits and intemperate pejorative “tweets” (tweeting is the tool of the illiterate) used against those who criticize him. When backed into a corner, he fights back most viciously, for he knows his alternatives just might be on their way to being reduced to two:  Impeachment or a Nixonian resignation.

This scenario, although unlikely, is not inconceivable. 

Enemy of the People:  Select One!

First, examine their records.
John Brennan
Donald Trump


Florida Governor's Race

If someone were to ask me whom I voted for (and I already have voted by mail) in the Florida Democratic primary for governor, I would reply that I took this opportunity to vote for the candidate whom I feel best represents the uncompromised goals of the Democratic Party.   I voted my conscience, as I should have done in the 2016 Presidential primary.  

(The major candidates, in alphabetical order, are Andrew Gillum, Gwen Graham, Jeff Greene, Chris King, and Philip Levine, plus two minor candidates who together  are unlikely to get more than a few thousand votes.)

Abortion Rights

There’s a lot of talk about Rowe vs. Wade, the Supreme Court decision which legalized abortion in this country, being reversed because of the President’s appointments to the Supreme Court (Gorsuch last year and Kavanaugh likely to be confirmed this year).  These justices believe that Court decisions should not act to “create” rights not originally defined in the Constitution.  This was the position of the late Justice Scalia, who always looked backward, never forward.  (Don’t drive a car that way; you might get into an accident.  Same applies to the SCOTUS.)

The idea that abortion is wrong is a religious teaching, clearly a part of Roman Catholicism, and embraced by some in other religions as well, including some Evangelical Protestants and some Orthodox Jews.  Lately, these folks have been claiming that laws and court decisions allowing abortions discriminate against them since they contradict their beliefs, and amount to taking away some of their First Amendment rights, which specify that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” They feel the free exercise of their religion is to some extent “prohibited” since laws allowing abortion make their beliefs concerning abortion illegal.

I consider this extremely tortured reasoning.  The danger it poses is that this kind of thinking could be extended to other “rights” created by Court decisions such as those legalizing same sex marriage and gay, lesbian and transgender rights, things which are counter to the religious beliefs of many, usually the same people who believe legalized abortions prohibit the free exercise of their religion. 

What these folks, and this includes many judges, miss is that the First Amendment disallows laws prohibiting the free “exercise” of religion.  Believing something taught in one’s religion is not the same as “exercising” or performing an act taught in one’s religion. 

Example: A law against labelling kosher and halal foods would make close to impossible the free exercise of an act many Jews and Muslims believe in as part of their religion, the avoidance of prohibited foods.  Therefore, such a law would violate the First Amendment.  A law, or court decisions, protecting such labelling, on the other hand, would not affect anyone’s beliefs and would not violate the First Amendment because it would not prohibit the “free exercise” of anything whatsoever.    

Carry this analogy on to abortion where laws and court decisions allowing it do not take away any rights whatsoever from those whose religious beliefs condemn abortion.  They can oppose it "till the cows come home" but they are not prevented from believing abortion to be wrong.  

Religious opponents of abortion, and that is what most anti-abortion supporters are, should stop concerning themselves with what choices other people may make in dealing with their body’s reproductive mechanisms.  Their opposition should not take the form of a jihad nor should it be based on a corruption of the First Amendment as to what rights it protects.

Agent Orange and the Truth

A friend recently referred to the President as “Agent Orange.”  Curious as to the possible origin of that nickname, I found myself checking out a July column in the U.S. edition of the Guardian where Richard Wolffe wrote an incisive article about the President’s aversion to truth and in which he uses that expression, alluding to the possible control of our orange-haired President by a foreign power. To check it out, all you have to do is CLICK HERE.

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