Tuesday, May 31, 2022

There is apparently nothing that will change their minds...

This is a political post. 

Angeli Rose Gomez is a mom in Uvalde, TX. During the shooting she drove to the school to get her kids. And the cops put her in handcuffs. So, she then got out of the handcuffs, jumped the fence and went into the school and got her kids. While the city police stood outside waiting for backup for nearly an hour.

The same city police who bragged on social media about how every officer had Level 4 body armor. The same city police who in a town of 16,000 maintained it's own SWAT team. The same city police whose budget ate up over 40% of the jurisdiction's budget.  The same police who, after couple of officers were grazed after being fired upon, stood outside an active shooter situation at a still occupied public school for more than FORTY MINUTES. I'm going to be honest, the response of Uvalde police department is beyond the pale. The law enforcement who did finally enter were Federal Agents whom the police onsite actually instructed to wait because... well, something.

Ironically, the state's commission on law enforcement's 2020 training manual states clearly "a first responder unwilling to place the lives of the innocent above their own safety should consider another career field."

The fact that we're still having to discuss mass shootings is horrifying. The fact that we haven't had the time and are still processing the previous week when someone walked into a public space and opened fire is even more horrifying. And now we're hearing the kids 911 calls and finding out that some of the children may have "bled out" from their wounds and  could have been saved had there been earlier intervention. We should all be outraged by children now relating stories of covering themselves with blood as camouflage and crawling out of windows to escape while law enforcement stood by. Hell, the Canadians are so outraged by what happened to US that they're changing their gun laws. But we aren't.

Or we should. Because the NRA convention (which by the way was a gun free event due to safety concerns) was held down the road not five days later. And the same folks who swore this was a terrible tragedy spoke at the event about the importance of being able to own a gun. Because the only thing that beats a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. This is the part where you should be really upset. Because the argument that a "good guy" with a gun could have stopped this tragedy is upended by the reality that at least 19 "good guys" stood idly by trying to formulate an attack plan/waiting for backup while children died. Some argue that if the teacher had been armed maybe it wouldn't have been so bad. I guess in a way, making clear that teachers are much braver than police officers.    

Isn't it weird how the story officials are telling us keeps changing? And how if this were someone explaining to the officials, like maybe the police, that they'd immediately get suspicious in regards to what actually happened. But we're not.  

Even as I write this the fallout gets worse and worse. The day after the Governor sat on a stage and lauded the heroism of the brave police officers. Various officials couldn't sing their praises loud enough. But social media is the devil, and video from the scene and those 911 calls rose from the ether and made them out to be fools. Now they're all backtracking, pointing fingers and whatnot. Abbott has revised his story to the ol' tried and true 'say it was a mental health issue', conveniently forgetting HE just cut the state's mental health budget. Officials in that Uvalde city police department are now ducking calls from the state.Because whatever caused this, easy access to guns and ammo did NOT add to the problem. Or so they say.
Seriously, WTF?
This is the America we live in. The conservatives want to Make America Great Again. Like in the 50's. And considering this rampant gun culture and the Supreme Courts latest rulings, I guess they meant the 1850s. 

Thursday, May 5, 2022

I Woke up to a Nightmare

This is a political post.  

"Men and women of good conscience can disagree, and we suppose some always shall disagree, about the profound moral and spiritual implications of terminating a pregnancy, even in its earliest stage. Some of us as individuals find abortion offensive to our most basic principles of morality, but that cannot control our decision. Our obligation is to define the liberty of all, not to mandate our own moral code."

GOP appointees Anthony Kennedy, Sandra Day O'Connor and David Souter, joint opinion.
Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey, 1992

One of the fundamental issues with a number of our current Democratic leaders is that they still believe that these types of Republicans are in control of that party to some degree. Today, I think we have enough evidence that we can firmly say that they are not. And thus, the republic begins to teeter.

I was quite frankly stunned when I saw the article about the leak from Supreme Court. Roe v. Wade has long been held to be the third rail of American politics. An issue so hot, so divisive, that it was better to just let it lie where it was and yell back and forth over it, a lesson I thought was well entrenched in the political mind. I'll admit I was one of those who thought that even the now firmly conservative court would use the death by a thousand cuts approach since all they had was time. But impatience makes for odd decisions, so now somebody has pulled out an axe. And so it's about to get messy. 

All these justices sat there as nominees during their hearings and said the "right" things. Alito called Roe an important precedent. Kavanaugh said that Roe had been affirmed many times. Goursh said that Roe was the law of the land and he accepted it. And Barrett swore that a judge just can't impose their will on the American people. And it appears that none of them were telling the whole truth. Or really any parts of it, as all have booked seats on this train and are standing at the station eager to leave. My law school professor used to call the Supreme Court America's council of wise men (and women). And they were supposed to be above it all, unshackled from politics. But here we are. And the republic begins the sway.

I read about half of Alito's draft and the arguments I see are weak, if not in areas absolutely cartoonish. It's obvious he has it in for Roe. His argument hangs heavily on the idea that constitutional protection only applies to "deeply rooted traditions," which he seems to think have to have started prior to the 20th century to have any validity. In that vein, he goes on to cite "quickening" laws from the 1860's as the precedent for how abortion should be considered in the eyes of current law. You know tradition and all. Further, he seems confused and insulted as to why the 1973 Roe court would have consulted the American Medical Association instead of case law from Andrew Johnson's administration. I dunno, perhaps for medical facts? He then takes every measure of fetus growth listed in the plaintiff's argument as gospel (although it's been frequently noted by medical professionals as questionable if not just plain incorrect), gives no weight to the past almost 50 years of Roe's legal application or to the vast and tectonic shift in social mores and public viewpoints since, um, the Beatles ruled the music charts, all while working hard trying to awkwardly give deference to a viewpoint determined when a contemporary hot topic was whether or not Freedmen (former slaves) should be allowed to vote. It would considered be a work of insanely convoluted legal comic art if wasn't the project of a sitting Supreme Court Justice.

The misinformation and fakery is so obvious. I mean, the Conservatives say that this will to give the right back to the people so they can decide. But instead of the states putting it on the ballot and actually asking what the citizens really want, a lot of the conservative loaded legislatures are teeing up draconian regulations in wet eyed anticipation of the ruling. Which should be a telling sign of bad faith. I'm guessing someone (The Grand High Conservative Poobah?) did the math in their head and figured that with the gerrymandering they've already done, getting it banned outright in the majority of states wouldn't be an issue. And I heard that the real plan is try for a national ban after they win the midterms. If they win the midterms? It just sounds crazy right now that they still might win. Right now we're all hoping that long feared political backlash actually and that blue wave finally washes in. We hope.

By the way, has anyone considered the possibility that one of the Justices leaked the draft. I mean, as we've made it clear, there would be no consequences in that case, right?

And for the uninformed, please stop screaming at the Democrats to do something. They're not lazy or playing a game, they just don't have enough firepower to combat this. They control the Senate by a tie-breaker and two Senator are DINOs. Most of our leaders, with odd exception Hillary Clinton, didn't see the long game and have gotten caught unawares. They, like Biden, see the guys they've known for years and still think they're dealing with reasonable people. They're not.  No, here, it's not the Democratic will to do something here, it's the ability. They've tried, they just haven't been able to pull it off.

So the answer is to vote, to agitate, to get out there and move some furniture. Give the people who want to give you universal healthcare and an end to corporate welfare some more ammo. There is no magic bullet, we won't get this done in a single march or one term of the Presidency. We need it all to put this living, breathing and evolving Republic back on firm foundation. Because I think a long fight has just begun.