Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Majority of People Supports Roe v. Wade...Or Do They?

Yesterday I tuned into the Morning Joe political show.  The discussion focused on the newly-appointed, not yet confirmed, Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.  The hosts put up a new NBC / Wall Street Journal poll which showed 71% of the people were against reversing Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 case that established a constitutional right to abortion.  

As is typical with the media, these "Do you support Roe v. Wade" poll results were accepted as proof
that the pro-life position on abortion is highly unpopular and it is a winning political issue for Democrats who skew heavily pro-choice.  Of course, that overlooks the fact that the pro-life Republican Party have been beating the Democrats at the ballot box us using the abortion issue for 40 plus years.  But let's not confuse left-leaning journalists with facts.

NBC News reporter Heidi Przybyla appearing  Morning Joe program said the notion that Roe established "abortion on demand" is simply a false anti-abortion rights talking point  She then decried the possibility, if Kavanaugh is confirmed, that, even if Roe is not overturned, there will be a continued chipping away of abortion rights with the court allowing states to enact restrictions.

The "abortion on demand" language may be a pro-life talking point but that does not make it false.  In 1973, the Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade did read into the Constitution a sweeping right to abortion that included unfettered abortion on demand during the first two trimesters of pregnancy.  In 1992, Planned Parenthood v. Casey reaffirmed Roe v. Wade, modifying its holding only slightly by replacing the artificial second trimester cutoff point, which no longer approximately reflected viability which had moved to an earlier point due to medical science advances.  Casey did allow states to enact more regulations on abortion prior to viability, but only if those regulations did not impose and "undue burden" on the right of a woman to seek an abortion.  That means government cannot place "substantial obstacles" that result in any woman wanting an abortion being able to get one. 

Since 1973, states have tried to pass laws regulating the abortion procedure. Most of these laws are highly popular with  the public, but they have been struck down as not being permitted under Roe/Casey.    Let's examine some of the latest (May 2018) Gallup polling on abortion.
Abortion should be legal under all circumstances: 29%
Abortion should be legal under most circumstances:  14%
Abortion should be legal only in a few circumstances: 35% 
Abortion should be illegal in all circumstances:  18%
Should abortion be legal in the first trimester:   60% yes, 34% no.
Should abortion be legal in the second trimester: 28% yes, 65% no.Should abortion be legal in the third trimester:  13% yes, 81% no 
Should abortion be legal "when the woman doesn't want the child for any reason":  46% yes, 53% no 
Other measures requiring parental consent and informed consent laws are also quite popular although those poll questions were more dated.
The highlighted responses are completely contradicted by the actually holding of Roe v. Wade.  So then why is Roe so popular?  

Simple.  It is because the general public does not know the sweeping abortion rights Roe v. Wade establishes as required by the Constitution.  No doubt those people answering the polls think the decision only provides a very limited right to abortion,.  

That Roe v. Wade, the one establishing only a limited right to abortion, is the one they want upheld.  Unfortunately, that is not the real holding of Roe v. Wade.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

In Declaring Support for Trump, Indianapolis Star Cartoonist Confuses Trumpism With Conservativism

Let me just say that  I am long a fan of Indianapolis Star cartoonist Gary Varvel's work.  In an era in which our local paper has shrunk in size, importance and quality, the Star has managed to retain one of the best, if not the best, political cartoonist in the country.  The fact he has also been (note the use of the past tense) a solid conservative, makes it even better.

In a column yesterday, Varvel explained how he went from being a Trump critic to a Trump supporter.
Gary Varvel
The thesis of his pieceis that Trump has proven himself a true conservative by his actions and thus deserving of the cartoonist's support.

In a comment to the article, I wrote how Varvel is confusing Trumpism with conservativism.  Here is that comment with some editing and additions:
Sorry, Gary Varvel, but I respectfully must question your conservative bona fides. You may have been late joining the Trump cult, but you're clearly drinking the Kool-Aid now, abandoning all objectivity and independent thought at the door. I'm sorry, but we real conservatives don't support huge federal deficits, including supporting a tax cut funded completely by borrowing against the next generation. We don't support ridiculous trade wars that result in higher prices for consumers and costs Americans their jobs.  
We real conservatives don't attack American democratic values and institutions, including calling our free and independent press "the enemy of the state." (No one knows better than me the liberal bias among reporters. But our free press is the only thing that can ultimately hold public officials accountable.) 
We conservatives support the rule of law. Trump clearly believes he is above the laws that others need to follow.
A true conservative would be upset about a foreign power, especially one hostile to American interests, meddling in our elections and would demand to know what happened.  Instead, Trump and his minions in Congress are doing everything they can to obstruct and discredit the investigation, protecting not only the administration from accusations of wrongdoing but Russia as well.  That is not conservativism.
We conservatives support open, honest government.   We don't support elected officials using their positions to personally enrich themselves as this President and others in his administration have done. Corruption should not be something tolerated because of the team jersey one is wearing.  
We real conservatives don't engage in race baiting and respect women, including those who are harassed in the work place or are sexually assaulted by powerful men.  Conservatives support women feeling empowered to speak out.  Trump mocks those women and their new found freedom to support sexual harassment.  To Trump, the man is always wrongly accused...unless he's a Democrat.
Real conservatives value democracy around the world and support liberty and human rights. Trump attacks democratically-elected leaders who defend freedom in their own countries while embracing dictators who kill political opponents and journalists and engage in horrific human rights abuses. 
I'm sorry, Mr. Varvel, you are no longer a "conservative." You are a Trumpian. There is a difference. A huge difference.

Friday, July 6, 2018

Indiana GOP Leaders Reaction to Attorney General Groping Allegations Reveals Double Standard

The Indianapolis Star reports:

Three of Indiana's top Republican leaders called on embattled Attorney General Curtis Hill to resign following allegations that he inappropriately touched four women at an Indianapolis bar in March.
In coordinated statements Thursday night, Gov. Eric Holcomb, House Speaker Brian Bosma and Senate leader David Long demanded that Hill, a fellow Republican, step down immediately. They also called for an Indiana inspector general investigation — which Inspector General Lori Torres said Friday morning would occur. 
Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill
A chorus of other voices, including Lt. Gov Suzanne Crouch and Secretary of State Connie Lawson, both Republicans, would soon join.
In their joint statement, Long and Bosma said they believe Hill's accusers "are telling the truth regardless of the attorney general’s denial of these allegations."
Then you have a statement a few days ago from Indiana Republican Party Chairman Kyle Hupfer:
“It’s important to be clear: As the Republican Party, we have zero tolerance for sexual harassment, and that’s the standard to which we all should adhere. Actions like these alleged have no place in public life or anywhere else."
Sounds good, except when you consider that Chairman Hupfer is also a big supporter of President Trump who is credibly accused of sexual assault by some twenty women, sixteen more than the number who accused Hill.  Last night at a rally in Montana, Trump mocked the #MeToo movement that has encouraged women like Hill's accusers to come forward and talk about sexual harassment.  Yesterday was also Fox News executive Bill Shine's first day on the job joining the Trump administration with the title "Assistant to the President and Deputy Chief of Staff for Communications."    Shine was fired at Fox News for his role in covering up sexual harassment at the network, including incidents involving Roger Ailes and Bill O'Reilly.

Attorney General Hill should not concern himself about resigning because there will no doubt be a job waiting for him in the Trump administration.