Monday, June 27, 2016

Women’s Abortion Rights Guaranteed in U.S.

Although election talk had people thinking most important court issues in the U.S. would not be settled until a new president chosen, the Supreme Court wasn’t willing to wait.
It has voted 5-3 to overturn a Texas anti-abortion ruling. Media and abortion rights’ activists are saying it ends the argument on abortion for ever.
Many states like Texas had been scrapping away at abortion rights guaranteed in Roe v Wade in 1973. It essentially held that interfering with a woman’s right to an abortion would interfere with her right to privacy.
Because Texas and other states couldn’t take away the basic right, they sought to make it more difficult.
It used a common trick. State law restrict abortions to top of the line hospitals with the kind of equipment needed to perform major surgery.
That left a state like Texas, with a population of 27 million, with only 19 abortion facilities and ten of them were scheduled to close, the Daily Beast reported.
Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer wrote that this “places a substantial obstacle in the path of a woman seeking a previability abortion.”
Many medical experts had testified that the vast majority of abortions did not require trauma 1 level care.
The headline in the Beast said: “Supreme Court’s Texas Decision is the Greatest Victory for Abortion Rights Since Roe v. Wade.”
In the first case the court held that the right of privacy in the 14th Amendment guaranteed women the right an abortion.
The Washington Post said the latest ruling was made because the Texas law was using “unnecessary health regulations that have the purpose or effect of presenting a substantial obstacle to a woman seeking an abortion.”
Stephanie Schriock, president of the pro abortion group EMILY’s List, called the decision “a victory for women everywhere, reaffirming out right to make our own reproductive health care decisions no matter where we live.”

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Hillary Takes Big Lead

Hillary Clinton is building a double-digit lead in the U.S. presidential race despite all the hijinks of Bernie Sanders and golfing blunders of Donald Trump.
Pundits, who depend on a race for their jobs, are focusing on a poll that shows the race close. MSNBC has Clinton ahead by only one point when all the third-party candidates are thrown in.
The Washington Post-ABC poll released Sunday shows Clinton leading by 12 points. NBC only mentions its own poll.
What kind of journalism includes only the news that supports its views? Later, they did mention the 12-point lead but played it down.
NBC says the polls are worrisome. Will they continue to say that if Hillary gets a 20-point lead?
The most respected Republican columnist, George Will, had said he would support Clinton. On Sunday he said he was no longer a Republican.
Describing the poll showing a 12-point lead, Politico said: “Respondents overwhelmingly said that Clinton is more qualified to be president and has a better personality and temperament than Trump.”
If Sanders begins supporting Clinton her numbers could rise.
“Support for Donald Trump has plunged as he has alienated fellow Republicans and large majorities of voters overall in the course of a month of self-inflicted controversies, propelling Democrat Hillary Clinton to a double-digit lead nationally,” the Washington Post and ABC said.
It didn’t help that the whole world watched as Trump admitted he didn’t know what Brexit was.
As he did when the recession hit a decade ago Trump saw the decline of the British pound as good news for him. It meant more people would travel to his Scottish golf course.
For Americans, as Clinton worried, it would mean fewer British tourists in the U.S.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Tyranny of the Majority

In the 1830s, the French government sent political scientists to the United States to see how the country they helped create was doing.
The assumption was that democracy would be a tremendous success.
What they found and reported on in “Democracy in America” was not all positive.
Alexis-Charles-Henri ClĂ©rel de Tocqueville predicted democracy can be just “a scenario in which decisions made by a majority place its interests above those of an individual or minority group, constituting active oppression comparable to that of a tryant or despot,” Wikipedia reports.
The U.S. has a presidential candidate to wants to deport Hispanics and Muslims.
Wikipedia adds of the term: “The term was widely employed in mid-nineteenth-century America in conjunction with a series of moral questions (Sabbath, temperance, racial equality) that gave rise to organized minority groups in American political life.[9]
Lord Acton also used this term, saying:
The one pervading evil of democracy is the tyranny of the majority, or rather of that party, not always the majority, that succeeds, by force or fraud, in carrying elections.
The History of Freedom in Antiquity, 1877
The concept itself was popular with Friedrich Nietzsche and the phrase (in translation) is used at least once in the first sequel to Human, All Too Human (1879).[10] Ayn Rand wrote that individual rights are not subject to a public vote, and that the political function of rights is precisely to protect minorities from oppression by majorities and "the smallest minority on earth is the individual".[11]
In Herbert Marcuse's 1965 essay "Repressive Tolerance", he said "tolerance is extended to policies, conditions, and modes of behavior which should not be tolerated because they are impeding, if not destroying, the chances of creating an existence without fear and misery" and that "this sort of tolerance strengthens the tyranny of the majority against which authentic liberals protested."[12]
For those cheering exit of the United Kingdom from the European Union, consider these questions.
Also, consider whether such a powerful decision should be made by a small majority.
The vote was 52 percent to 48 percent, or 17,410,742 to leave and 16,141,241 to stay.
Scotland, which rejected independence two years ago by a bigger margin, feels betrayed
Scotland First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said she would push for a vote to allow it to stay in the EU.
Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump, who was in Scotland, praised the decision.
Other world leaders have warned an exit could create havoc, and Trump’s endorsement could hurt him in his campaign against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
She issued a cautious statement supporting the rights of all sides in the dispute.”
Despite non-stop punditry on television and the Internet the fact is no one knows what is going to happen.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Courts May Seize Control of Gun Issue
Many of of us who were taught in American schools were told that the Civil War was not over slavery. The issue was states' rights.
Putting aside the fact that it obviously was fought over slavery, we also were taught in schools that the states' rights issue protected Southern slave-holding states.
Numerous Court decisions enforced that view.
But in fact the states' rights of northern, anti-slave states were ignored. They had passed laws prohibiting slave-holders seizing slaves who had gotten on the Underground Railroad and reached abolitionist territory.
The federal courts overturned these laws.
The irony now is that states' rights may be used to dramatically expand gun control.
This week, while Congress refused to pay stronger laws even after Orlando, the U.S. Supreme Court took a different. By not acting.
The court refused to hear a case challenging a law banning semi-automatic guns in Connecticut. The law was passed after 26  died at the Sandy Hook school.
Also, in a separate case in California, a federal appeals court ordered two counties to follow state law that required people carrying concealed weapons to have permits. The counties had said no permits were needed.
Most states require permits for concealed carry.
The Supreme Court is short one member, split between conservatives and liberals. The betting is that if Hillary Clinton wins the presidency there will be a court open to state laws that more carefully control guns.
Then the issue becomes whether a state should have such a right. It has long been the opinion of rightwing Republicans that states should decide things such as abortion. Could gun control soon be among them?
It worked, though slowly for same sex marriage. It may not be the fastest way to bring sanity to U.S. gun policy but it may work.

Monday, June 20, 2016

What if a Billionaire Decides What is News

Many in the media are worried that if a certain candidate gets elected our free press could disappear.
But does it even exist now.
Hardly a week goes by, according to some critics, when the media does not ignore important stories because the government or the rich want them suppressed.
A Harvard study says the media created presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump.
Most would involve matters that involve or might involve national or international security.
They could even involve non-controversial events.
Imagine a horrible story about an alligator killing a little boy makes world news.
Within a few days a mother rushes to the aid of one of her children, its head in the mouth of a mountain lion.
She rescues the child, authorities come and kill the animal and a second nearby mountain lion.
The mother and the boy are rushed to a hospital in a nearby major city. Injuries are minimal.
The media reports the story but without naming those involved. There are none of the usual quotes of what it was like getting the boy’s head out of the mouth.
Several days pass and the names remain secret. The family releases a statement saying they appreciate the support of everyone. No names. No details.
Keep in mind that government employees were involved in the incident. A few news sites publish critical comments saying the mountain lions should not have been killed.
Doesn’t this sound like a national news story. Wouldn’t TV stations be fighting for film of the family?
Or perhaps it shouldn’t be assumed that good stories always make the news, at least not with any details.
Such an event did happen recently. They used to say on popular American TV shows that the names were changed to protect the innocent.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

The Medium was the Message

Canadian communication professor, Marshall McLuhan, 40 years after his death, has been shown to be a fortuneteller more than a communications theorist.
The unlikely rapid rise of businessman Donald Trump as a presidential candidate, and what may be the even more dramatic decline, shows that the medium truly is the message.
The Canadian died in 1980, before the Internet became the world’s lingua franca. But his determination that electronic transmission of news itself was more important than the news delivered became a widely accepted article of faith in the 2016 presidential race.
No matter how racist, stupid, insulting or outrageous Trump became he got more coverage and high poll numbers.
He had actually had his own “reality TV” show spawned by his billions in the real estate industry.
He also got more viewers for the networks that telecast them when he became a candidate.
“It may not be good for America, but it’s damn good for CBS,” said CBS CEO Les Moonves in February. “They’re not discussing issues, they’re throwing bombs at each other.”
The inmates were in charge of asylum.
Harvard Kennedy School’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy studied the beginnings of the race and found there was an “invisible primary,” before the voting, that made it possible for Trump to gain popularity.
The report found claims the media favored Trump over the other
candidates, and in fact created him.
It has been reported that Trump got $2 billion in free coverage on American television. Hillary Clinton, who led in early polling, got the least and most negative coverage. Bernie Sanders got less coverage than Trump but it was much more favorable.
Trump bragged at one point that he could shoot someone and his ratings would rise.
It has been said that no one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of Americans.
But put another way, perhaps his precipitous fall, which has Republican leaders talking of replacing him as their candidate, it may make sense.
Perhaps people became bored with Trump?

If that is the problem then his show will simply be cancelled.