Ford/Kavanaugh Hearing

What I saw/heard at the Ford/Kavanaugh hearing on September 27 was a sharp contrast – Dr Ford quietly but steadily presenting her case and answering questions about the event in question; and Judge Kavanaugh on passionate edge defiantly defending against what he saw as extreme partisanship in the process of his nomination and a giant conspiracy by Democrats against him.

Afterward, Republicans seem to have lined themselves up with a single narrative: (1) Sympathy for Dr Ford and her very traumatic experience 36 years ago, but no proof that Kavanaugh was the cause. (2) Continuing strong support for Judge Kavanaugh’s defense, despite no way to corroborate his professed innocence, and (echoing Kavanaugh) blaming extreme partisanship and a giant conspiracy by Democrats to keep a well-qualified, decent man from taking a seat on the court for the next 3 or 4 decades.

First, Republicans are intentionally blinding themselves to the fact that only 2 parties were interviewed, so this was a classic example of she said/he said, and proof one way or the other is lacking. Such is the nature of yesterday’s “investigation”. A full investigation would include others involved directly or indirectly – notably Mark Judge and the 2 other women who have accused him, in addition to others (other party attendees, etc). But Republicans are determined to get this man in NOW. Are they afraid of what an investigation might reveal? They seem oblivious to the possibility that the man really did commit that crime and now continues to lie about it – in which case we would have a criminal and a liar on the highest court in the land. If, on the other hand, a real investigation showed Dr Ford to be mistaken (maybe it was some other guy), then Kavanaugh would be exonerated and take that seat without a blemish on his record; why wouldn’t they want that?

Second, when Republicans rail against the Democratic “conspiracy” (Lindsey are you listening?), they conveniently forget their own actions when they conspired to prevent President Obama’s well-qualified nomination from ever being considered.

Like most people, I do believe Dr Ford’s account. But, despite her assurances that she is 100% sure the perpetrator was Kavanaugh, the small possibility that she mistook him for someone else still niggles at me. To clear up this doubt, people on both sides should be demanding an investigation more thorough than just an accuser and a defendant stating their stories.

In the aftermath, I come to the strong feeling that whether he did this or not, Kavanaugh is unsuited for this appointment because of the extreme partisanship expressed in his shrill statements and answers yesterday. If he is convinced of a Democratic conspiracy out to get him (without a burden of proof of conspiracy), how can he be an impartial judge when a liberal or Democrat appeals to the court in the future? The man is biased, if nothing else.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Time for a Few Theses?

Time for Catholics to abandon their corrupt church and build a new one? Do we have a volunteer to nail some theses to the Vatican wall?

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Real Problem?

One of those Facebook posts that is only an image containing text:

THE PROBLEM IS NOT GUNS
IT’S HEARTS WITHOUT GOD
HOMES WITHOUT DISCIPLINE
SCHOOLS WITHOUT PRAYER AND
COURTS WITHOUT JUSTICE

Implying that instead of focusing on controlling guns, we should get right with God and justice and teach proper values in the homes, and the problem will go away.

Let’s take this logic to our North Korea problem:

THE PROBLEM IS NOT NUCLEAR BOMBS
IT’S ATHEISM
COMMUNISM
DICTATORSHIPS AND
ANTI-DEMOCRACY GOVERNMENTS

So instead of getting Kim to give up his nuclear arms, we should focus on setting him and his country straight on religion and politics and justice, and the problem will go away.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Students marching for gun control

Students marching because they are upset about America’s gun policies have been belittled and even attacked, often with the statement “Marching won’t make any difference; staying in school will.” Indeed, they might not make a difference – yet.

That is what was said at the beginnings and middles of all the major social-change movements in our nation’s history – abolition of slavery, women’s rights, the right to organize in the workplace, civil rights, the Vietnam War, gay rights. All these movements took years to have effect, but then, because of the persistence and vigor of the protagonists, the effect was enormous, resulting in long-overdue profound shifts in the nation’s attitudes toward these issues.

These students are looking at this issue with fresh eyes, wondering why adults all around them have been unable to right an obvious wrong. Certainly, the passions of youth, still picking through their place in a world that has existed for millenia before them, will mellow with time. But they have lit a light that others will follow, and patience and persistence may result in another shift in the nation’s attitude toward this issue. Following Martin Luther King, who advocated patience and persistence with “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

America’s Contemporary Sin

Slavery has often been called “America’s original sin” because the gridlock on the issue at the establishment of our nation did not address it and great suffering continued. I propose that the Second Amendment to the Constitution has become America’s contemporary sin because the gridlock on this issue does not allow us to properly address it and great suffering follows.

The Second Amendment is a single sentence. Lost in almost all arguments on both sides are the first two clauses regarding “A well regulated Militia” and “security of a free State”.

Second, the last clause uses the term “bear arms” without defining “arms”. Did the authors really intend to include any and all possible weaponry as arms to be protected? Modern military weaponry? Hand grenades? Smoke bombs? Suitcase nukes?

Third, the wording, with those weirdly placed commas, has always been troublesome. Just about everybody can recite the last clause: “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” Despite the insertion of a comma that just muddies the issue.

But who can remember for an hour what the first two clauses say: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State,”? Being confusing when attached to the last clause, it makes it difficult to recall the wording.

A well formed sentence, being necessary to understand the issue, the right of the people to a new amendment, shall not be infringed.

Understandable? Maybe not. Let’s try:

Because the Second Amendment wording is far from clear, and confusing, and because the Supreme Court has not adequately interpreted it, the Congress shall review the wording and study what the people think should be the intent of such an amendment and propose either revoking it or amending it to read in such a manner that it is abundantly clear in its intent.

Seems reasonable to me. But I shudder to think what the current Congress would do with such a proposal. Between the lobbyists and the no-compromise positions of citizens on both sides, either an ungodly mess or complete stalemate would result.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Dump the Johnson Amendment?

I don’t think so. For tax exempt nonprofit groups, this is the deal you made with the nation’s taxpayers: Taxpayers will pay a bit more in taxes so your group does not have to pay (tax exempt). And your group does not use its position to promote political candidates. This is not a free speech issue. You don’t pay me for my political views. If your tax exempt group is now allowed to promote candidates, it amounts to taxpayers like me paying for the promotion of your political views.

This is NOT preventing religious people from speaking from the pulpit or soliciting political donations. If they want to promote politicians, they do not get to make me pay for that. They can give up their tax exemption and then they can speak politically all they want.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

New Social Media

Troll armies.
ID theft.
Cyber warfare.
Fake news.
Fake phone calls.
Fake ads.
Legitimate ads but tons of them on TV, billboards, radio, everything on the internet, popping up, crawling over what we want to see.

Everywhere we go we’re in a sea of words, maybe 1/3 of them informational, the rest are flinging tons of outrageous stuff at us every time we want to check our email or chat with friends, trying to sell us something.

How about a new no-ads no-crap-heap-dodging social media:

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

NYTimes: Native American Secrets Lie Buried in Huge Shell Mounds

Native American Secrets Lie Buried in Huge Shell Mounds https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/19/science/native-americans-shell-middens-maine.html

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

“Republicans” Lie, Cheat, and Sabotage

The current pack of “Republicans” get most of what they want done by
lying, cheating, and sabotage. Walker and Trump are racking up about a
lie a day or more, with congressional “Republicans” nodding away. They
cheat with things like gerrymandering and voter ID laws. And when they
find they don’t have the power to repeal the ACA, they sabotage it by
holding up subsidy payments to insurance companies and relying on their
old standby – lies. I’m not talking about conservatives here; these guys
are not conservatives – not since the Tea Party and then Trump’s merry
band took over. They should have started their own party and stood up
alongside the Republicans and Democrats.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Second Amendment Has Become an Excuse for Inaction on Gun Violence

Archaic confusing language. Rarely interpreted in context of “well regulated militia”. Says “arms”, not “guns”. Says right to “bear arms”, not “buy guns”. Guns are a product manufactured by profit-making companies. Not a fundamental human right, not like freedom of speech and religion and assembly, which people DO, not BUY. Don’t ban them, but treat guns like any other product with safety issues – regulate them. And get them out of the Constitution.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment