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EAGANBLOG ARCHIVE
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Judgment Day
I have this dream
Of being chased
By demons clad
In black

I try to run
But my poor legs
Have suddenly
Gone slack

Now they circle
All around me
They’re going to
Attack!

Their stifling robes
Cut off my air
I choke and cough
And hack

The Supreme Court’s
Out to get me!
(I’d thought they had
My back)
Less Free
We all want to be free — to be able to do whatever we want, as long as we’re not hurting somebody else. That is part of the deal we enter into in forming a free society. Simple.

But that’s just the first part of the deal. The second part is not so simple. Somehow, we have to agree on what counts as “hurting somebody else.” That’s where the law comes in. And elections…and the courts.

Historically, the courts tend to step in to preserve individual rights against overreach by the state or society in general. The recent overruling of Roe v. Wade is a rare exception to that rule. That decision takes away the right of a woman to have an abortion — a right that existed for 50 years.

Those who have opposed that right argue that the fetus itself is an individual, and that it has the same right to continue as any of us, even though it may be completely dependent on another individual to maintain life. That is essentially the view taken by the court in Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization in ending Roe.

I disagree with that view. My understanding of the word “individual” is considerably different from theirs. Individuals stand separate and alone. The exact moment when that occurs, of course, is pretty uncertain. Roe pinned the time at the moment of fetal “viability,” but that moment has been steadily pushed backwards by developments in medical science. That inherent vagueness should be a cause for concern, in my view, but not a cause to strip a women of dominion over her own body.

Furthermore, if giving birth itself were to threaten the life of the mother, then she should have the right to defend herself, no matter if the fetus is viable or not.

87% of my fellow citizens agree with me on that point. 84% support the mother’s right to choose in cases of rape and incest. 64% support Roe as written. A strong majority of citizens do not agree that abortion of a fetus before it is viable counts as “hurting somebody else.” The deal we have all made in creating a free society, then, has been broken by our Supreme Court. That is a violation more fundamental than any mere statutory offense. Or even a Constitutional one.

The chief, unspoken argument that the Court is making is not a legal one. The reasoning in Dobbs, is largely facile and dismissive. No attention is paid to those who will be hurt by this decision. What cannot be argued, however, is that the Court had the power to do this. They had the votes to do it, and they used them. They had a very specific agenda, and they pursued it in spite of the law and the will of the people.

If that seems overstated, then I invite you to read Clarence Thomas’ concurring opinion in Dobbs. He makes no effort to hide his disdain for established law or the views of the electorate. He declares with pride that he wants to similarly overrule cases that establish rights to practice contraception, have sex with whomever we want, and marry the person we love.

I don’t think there is a majority or even a near-majority of public support for taking away these established rights. Nor is anyone hurt by their free exercise. Thomas is simply offended that these rights exist. All he needs to do is convince four of his fellow conservative justices to go along with that agenda.

They will do it because they can, our free society be damned.
Cuff Him
I had given up any hope that Donald Trump would ever face justice. To be more precise, I had decided that allowing myself to hope for that, in this context, would only come back to bite me in the long run.

I reasoned that the ex-President had evolved such a well-practiced system of avoiding accountability that he was effectively beyond the law. The technique of endlessly lying, while saying the quiet part out loud, had somehow combined to seal him off from any consequences for his actions. To hope for anything different would only lead me deeper into disillusionment.

Recent developments, however, have caused me to reconsider my position. The hearings of the January 6 Committee have opened me to a new possibility. What is different now is that I no longer burn for revenge — any more than I burn for revenge against COVID-19.

Seeing Trump suffer for his wrongdoing is no longer the point. Self defense (and along with it, the defense of our system of laws) is what I would like to focus on. I now say vaccinate the public with the truth — all of it — and try to weaken this repellent virus in any way we can.

And that means prosecuting him to the fullest extent of the law.

To do that, we will have to prove actual criminal intent. Did Trump know that what he was doing was wrong? That’s the hard part, because he will contend that he honestly believed there was election fraud and that what he wanted Mike Pence to do would have been legal.

Let’s start there. We know now that if he really did believe those things, he was wrong. And when his own trained investigators and legal experts told him he was wrong, he consistently refused to listen. Didn’t want to hear it; wasn’t curious about their exhaustive research; hadn’t a single question about their reasoning. An innocent man would have been all ears. His lack of interest in learning the truth about his claims, then, is evidence of his criminal intent.

Furthermore, rather than report the findings of his staff, he concealed them. In fact, he continued to claim the truth of his debunked claims — to the world and to his obedient followers. And he still does even now. So not only was he not curious about the truth, but the truth was irrelevant to him. This is also evidence of intent.

in other words, he was being willfully, aggressively ignorant. He purposely ignored the message that his experts and advisors delivered, and chose instead to look for for new messengers, no matter how dubious or corrupt they might be. This search for justification — as opposed to actual proof — of his “beliefs” demonstrates that his main concern was not, “Are my beliefs true?”, but rather, “Can I get away with it?” More evidence of bad faith — and of intent.

Willful ignorance is not the same as plain old clueless ignorance, of course. Like children, the truly clueless are not capable of forming the criminal intent required for these crimes. Those who consciously avoid the truth, however, should make us wonder, Why would he work so hard to cultivate the appearance of cluelessness? The only reasonable inference: he knew what he was doing and saying was wrong.

Still, it is quite possible that a prosecution of Donald Trump for the crimes he has committed would not result in a conviction. He has deluded enough citizens into believing the Big Lie that it might be impossible to find a jury of 12 people that would convict him — of anything, no matter what the evidence.

We should try, though. Not in order to punish him, not even to see justice done, but rather in self defense and in defense of our system of government. Let him claim ignorance or stupidity or temporary insanity or even honest belief. Those claims will not stand against the mountain of evidence to the contrary.

And if he gets off, so be it. If a single MAGA juror manages to thwart justice, the full truth will still be there for anyone who is open to it. Trump will be weakened, wounded. He will not be president again. He won’t be in jail, but the virus will be contained.
Courting Danger
I agree completely with Mitch McConnell. He is alarmed by the recent arrest of a disturbed young man near the home of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. The man, who was armed with a pistol, a knife, a screwdriver, and a nail punch, admitted to police that he was there to kill Mr. Kavanaugh.

Mitch would like to address this threat with some legislative action to beef up police protection for Kavanaugh and the other justices. I agree that these officials — so vital to the preservation of the rule of law in this country — should be kept safe. But let’s not overreact. Instead, let’s ask ourselves if such a law would have done anything to prevent this attempted assassination from happening.

The answer is no. The would-be killer would still harbor violent fantasies about the justice. Furthermore, such a response to this danger would only penalize law-abiding citizens by subjecting them to possible arrest for carrying weapons to lawfully defend themselves. You know — from hyper-violent BLM protesters that might be in the area. We would all be less safe if that were to happen.

Wouldn’t it be better to expand on Sen. Ted Cruz’s idea of eliminating superfluous doors from school buildings by making sure there is only one door in and out of the Justice’s house? A fully locked door? Or, why not follow Steve Scalise’s idea of stopping the killing by bringing back school prayer? We should insist on more prayer in the Kavanaugh household! God will surely take care of the rest.

We could even address the roots of the problem — uncontrollable murderous rage. Why can’t the greatest nation on earth provide full mental health services for all of its citizens? It can, of course — as long as they can afford it.

Better yet, let’s arm the Supreme Court Justices themselves! To the teeth, I say! The only thing that stops a homicidal maniac with a gun is a drunken frat boy jurist with a gun. If Brett had been packing heat (I recommend an AR-15 fully converted to automatic) it would never have even occurred to this guy to take him out.

These are simple, commonsense solutions. That is exactly what we need to keep such a hypothetical tragedy from ever happening again…while preserving our precious freedom to blow each other to kingdom come
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Yes, voting matters. Polls do not.
~ H, Santa Cruz