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Monday, June 27, 2022

Will the abortion pill make overturning Roe mute?


    The coming abortion fight will be in red states that will try to outlaw their residents from getting the abortion pill from a doctor in a blue state in a telemedical Zoom call.   At the time of the Roe ruling abortions were done in a doctor's office.  Now the abortion pill means that is no longer the case.  Now 54% of abortions are performed by a pill.  Look for that percentage to rapidly grow because of the ruling from the Supreme Court last week.  Will red states be able to make it illegal for a woman to receive the pill in the mail from an out-of-state doctor?  How will red states prosecute a doctor in another state who prescribes an abortion pill?  

     Although it might now be as effective as an abortion pill, the "morning-after" pill is another easy-to-get option that red states might try to outlaw.  Women today have options to end a pregnancy that didn't exist in 1973 when Roe was decided.  The battle moving forward will be fought on different grounds than in the past.  Red states will fight a losing battle like they always try to do.  This is where we are headed.


      There is hypocrisy when red-state officials talk about the options pregnant women have in their states to support them to bring a pregnancy to term.  Republicans' concern only applies to a fetus and being pro-life has always ended at birth.

Sunday, June 26, 2022

Now we know how far Republicans want to take our County "back"


       Listening to Republicans for the past 40 years about "taking our County back," it was never clear how far they wanted to go back.  We might have thought that maybe they were talking about the 1950s before the current Civil Rights legislation and the changing non-white population decrease.  But with the recent ruling of the Supreme Court on legal abortions, we know that the time they were referring to was much, much earlier.  Justice Alito's opinion makes reference to a 17th Century justice, Sir Matthew Hale, who believed that life began when the first movement of a fetus was felt by the mother.  For conservative justices, the reality that social issues like abortion were not addressed in our Constitution means that they should not be protected today.  The founders of our country had no idea of what social issues would occur in the future and thought that the amendment process could be used to address those issues.  With our divided country today we might never be able to pass any constitutional amendment that requires two-thirds votes in Congress and three-fourths votes of the states.  The divisions between the red and blue states are moving our Country in two very different directions.  How we remain one united country given this reality remains unclear in the future.


     Justice Thomas remains an embarrassment to the Supreme Court.  His belief that judicial ethics should not apply to anyone who has a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court shows a high level of arrogance. As a justice who came to the Court under a cloud of sexual misconduct his selective reading of the law to fit his political beliefs shows the Court to be a highly politicized institution undeserving of respect.  If he desires our Country to be governed by the 18th-century beliefs of our founders he should realize that only a Supreme Court ruling in 1967 in the Loving v. Virginia allowed his interracial marriage to be legal or the numerous rulings that paved the way for a black person to serve on the Supreme Court. 

P.S. 1

  I don't have a date yet for the "March on Washington" to oppose the Supreme Court ruling but I predict it will be the largest march since the "Women's March" of 2017.  Maybe the largest march in history.  We may look at our divided country as a red or blue division but it is really a division between a religious country and a secular country.  Right now we have a Supreme Court that is trying to push our country in a minority religious direction. Those on the "Religious Right" may come to regret getting what they have fought for over the past 50 years.

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Another reason to jettison the Southern states


    It shouldn't be a surprise that the Southern states are the biggest polluters in the US.  This region's use of coal and oil in energy production and their choice of vehicles means that they account for 40% of the pollution produced in the US.  Per capita pollution produced in California is just half what is produced in Texas.  It may be a simplistic example of this reality but waiting to be picked up at airports in California and Texas shows this clearly.  In California, you see few trucks and many Priuses and Teslas.  In Texas, you see many more trucks and large SUVs.

Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Interesting population changes in Maryland over the past 50 years

    When we look at the changes in the population of Maryland over the past 50 years it is apparent that Baltimore City and Allegany County are the only two jurisdictions to lose population and the Washington suburbs and Central Maryland counties had large increases.  This reality has changed Maryland politics from Republican to Democrat.  In the 1970s many Republicans were moderate and liberal Republicans.  They have all mostly shifted to the Democrat Party.  Nowhere has this been more true than Howard County which was a conservative county in the 1960s and 70s but the development of Columbia has made the County "deep blue."  


Monday, June 13, 2022

One mental health issue is the cause of mass shootings


  This morning we hear of the possible compromise on new gun legislation that seems to be a win for Republicans who want to frame the problem with mass shootings as a mental health issue.  Republicans realize that doing nothing after the recent mass shootings might hurt them in November so they throw out the usual weak solutions that will not have an impact on mass shootings and hope the electorate will see them as not tone-deaf to the recent shootings.  Conservatives and gun-rights supporters have always wanted to see the solution to mass killings with semi-automatic guns as being related to mental health services.  I agree but probably not with the same mental health problem.  The mental health problem that I see is one of gun fetish.  The need to accumulate massive amounts of guns beyond any possible need for protection is a sign of an irrational attachment to guns that shows an overcompensation for some other personal inadequacy.  Half of the guns owned in America today are owned by just 3% of gun owners.  These gun owners are identified as owning between 8 and 140 guns.  The need to have a personal arsenal that could equip a small armed division is a sign of something that indicates a serious mental issue.  The other reality in this gun culture is that this mental illness seems to be related to the inadequacy of male mental health development.  The period of time for males from 18-21 seems to be a dangerous time for some males to be able to buy that AR-15.  I am not sure how any screening program will screen out all those potential mass shooters short of banning the sale of those weapons to the general population.  The only proven reality to stop mass shootings is the banning of assault weapons and not mental health programs. 



Saturday, June 11, 2022

United State of Canada

   The United States of Canada will have no Second Amendment, Electoral College, Senate Filibuster, or Trump-dominated Republican Party.  Sounds like a good deal.  We would have to go to the Caribbean instead or Florida to get warmer Winter weather.

Thursday, June 9, 2022

When a major political party stops believing in democracy


      As we wait to hear the January 6th Committee lay out their case for how Trump tried to negate Biden's election victory, we are also remembering the Watergate Committee's 50th anniversary this week.  Is it a coincidence that both these occurrences involved Republican presidents? Could these events have happened with Democrat administrations?  Why did the Republicans of the 1970s recognize that what Nixon did was so wrong that he couldn't continue being the leader of the Republican Party?  Why has that changed to the 2020s when Trump can continue to be the dominant force in Republican politics? Do the Republicans today have less adherence to our democratic ideals than the Democrats?  Why do many Republicans like to talk about our Country not being a democracy but a Republic as if a Republic didn't have democratic qualities?  Hasn't the Republican Party begun to resemble an authoritarian party where you can only accept the results of an election if you win?

    The signs of the Republican Party having authoritarian qualities have been apparent for many years.  The change can be traced back to the time in the 1970s when the authoritarian segregationist southerners switched from the Democrat Party to the Republican Party.  Nixon's "Southern Strategy" pushed out the liberal members of the Republican Party and started the trend of each party being more one-dimensional in their political ideology that we see today.  The Republican Party has been more blatant in its belief that the means justify the ends.  Their use of the filibuster and their unwillingness to correct the undemocratic aspects of the Electoral College are just 2 of their undemocratic positions.  Nothing more authoritarian recently is shown than McConnell's refusal to give Obama a chance to appoint a Supreme Court judge using a flimsy excuse of the electoral having a say in who could make the selection and then ignoring it when Trump was up for re-election.  Do you really think the Democrats would have tried to pull that off?

     All of this gets us back to January 6th.  Can you imagine the Democrats in Congress supporting an attempt by a Democrat president to do what Trump did on January 6, 2021?  While you can find times when the Democrats use their leverage to accomplish their political goals, they still seem unwilling to violate the democratic norms that have governed our Country in our history.  One example of this is with the Supreme Court.  As much as they feel that the Republicans have used unfair tactics to control the Court the Democrats would have a hard time getting enough support to expand the Court to correct the imbalance that presently exists.  They also can't get enough support to modify the filibuster rule because they still have some conservative members.

     The future of politics in the US right now is uncertain with one of our political parties being so untied to the democratic norms that have defined our politics of the past.  The Liz Chaneys of the Republican Party are being eliminated because they don't adhere to the authoritarian tendencies of a political party ruled by an authoritarian leader.  They haven't gotten to the place that Putin has by poisoning his opposition but the new revelation that Trump was "OK" with the mob hanging Vice President Pense gets a little too close to that level of authoritarianism. 


    Even though it might now be seen as a sign of Republican authoritarianism the way the two political parties handle incidents of sexual misconduct is another sign of how the Republican party has lost its moral compass that you would expect from a political party in a democratic country.  The tolerance that the Republicans have had for their official sexual misconduct reflects their transformation into an authoritarian party that places adherence to their party above moral misconduct. 

Wednesday, June 1, 2022

"I may not be educated but I have 'common' sense"


     Every time I have heard the expression about someone being uneducated but having common sense I wonder at what point in the education process you start losing your common sense?  I have never been sure why we would be born with common sense that starts to slowly disappear as we start the educational process.  Probably the best segments of the Daily Show are the segments that Jordan Klepper does when he interviews Trump supporters at one of the Trump rallies.  When Trump said he "loves the poorly educated" it explains how so many millions of people seem devoted to Trump. 

    One sign of intelligence is an awareness of how much you don't know and the sign of unintelligence is to overestimate what you know.  One of the best studies on this point is the study done by Kruger and Dunning.  This explains Trump and his supporters.