Maine Writer

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Location: Topsham, MAINE, United States

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Friday, June 24, 2022

The Big Lie reality check in Texas

Face the truth!   The Dallas Morning News

Echo opinion letter published in the The Dallas Morning News
I enjoyed your half page of letters concerning the January 6 hearings. I find it incredible that even after all the compelling evidence that has been shown, some readers still can’t believe what their eyes and ears tell them is true. Their bogus arguments boil down to two premises:

1. We should ignore the first-hand evidence brought out by the committee and not worry about the attempt to throw out the lawful votes and the will of the people and attack members of Congress, because we need to focus instead on worldwide inflation, oil prices, the falling stock market and the 20-plus-year-old immigration issue.
Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, center, testifies as the House select committee investigating the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol on June 21, 2022, as Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers, left, and Georgia Deputy Secretary of State Gabriel Sterling, right, look on. (J. Scott Applewhite / ASSOCIATED PRESS)

2. We should reject their evidence because it is “partisan.” There are no pro-Donald Trump members on the committee. The fact that Trump’s attorney general, campaign manager, his own daughter and many of his own staff admitted that the “Big Lie” is a big lie can’t be real because the committee just doesn’t like Trump.

Sorry, I can’t buy either one. I like to live in reality.

Julie B. Morgan, Keller


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Thursday, June 23, 2022

January 6 Committee is protecting democracy as we know it!

Echo letter to the editor published in the Los Angeles Times:
Former Attorney General William Barr and former guy Trump

Transcript excerpt from William Barr as presented at the January 6, 2022 Committee hearings: "The (Justice) department, in fact, when we received specific and credible allegations of fraud, made an effort to look into these to satisfy ourselves that they were without merit. And — and I was in the posture of trying to figure out — there was an avalanche of all these allegations of fraud that built up over a number of days. And it was like playing Whac-A-Mole, because something would come out one day and then the next day it would be another issue. Also, I was influenced by the fact that all the early claims that I understood on — were — were completely bogus and silly and usually based on complete misinformation. And so, I — I didn't consider the quality of claims right out of the box to give me any, you know, feeling that there was really substance here. [End videotape]."
Rep. Liz Cheney (R) of Wyoming is co-chair of the House January 6 Committee 

Dear Editor: Watching the January 6 House hearings has at times been grotesque for what they have visually portrayed, and more so for what each of the interviews and video clips illustrated about what was happening within the Trumpziizm's government. 

Also, it is satisfying to see the unadorned truth and the cause-and-effect relationship between the Trump camp, the then, the former president himself, and the events leading up to and on the day of his leading of the attempted coup.

The remarks by the committee chair Rep. Bennie Thompson and vice chair Rep. Liz Cheney were solemn and resolute, the case was laid out well, and it was readily supported by irrefutable statements from multiple participants. And there's much more to come.
If at the conclusion of the hearings, the Republican Party still supports any of the perpetrators of the "Big Lie" that the election was stolen from former President Trump, and if its leaders are elected or reelected to office, then democracy as we know it is ending.

Barry Bauling, Calabasas, California

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Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Wyoming has a patriotic heroine in Liz Cheney!

 Dear Editor (Echo! Meaning, I agree with this essay) published in the Cowboy State Daily:

It is a curious obsession that keeps me tied to Wyoming, where I lived and worked for thirty-five years, and where my children and grandchildren still live. 

There are many wonderful things about Wyoming: the trout-fishing on mountain streams, the clear night skies in the mountains when there are too many stars to count and the kindness and warmth of old friends.

Nevertheless, there are other things are not to like about Wyoming, these days.  Chief amongst those unfortunate aspects of life in Wyoming is the fact that the loudest voices on Wyoming social media (including Facebook) are persons with extremist views and a low level of historical and political literacy.

These people have now taken over Wyoming's Republican Party and claims to represent the average Republican voter, when, in fact, they just represent angry anarchistic activism.

This kind of so-called Republican would make Eisenhower and Nixon ashamed.

They would make Eisenhower ashamed because he always put the nation’s welfare first and did not see government as the enemy, but rather as a vehicle for accomplishing worthwhile social goals like building the interstate highway system and integrating the military and schools.

Eisenhower had seen what really bad governments looked like in Europe, and he understood that an imperfect but essentially benign government like that of the United States was a force for good in the world.

He did not want to tear down the government. Likewise Nixon, despite his many personal failings, understood that the United States government had the power to do good in the world: to bring about peace between warring factions, to use government power to control inflation and to improve the lives of Americans.

The current crop of Wyoming culture warriors who emphasize guns, abortion, gender and race in their campaigns while name-calling “RINO” seem to be completely ignorant of real Republican presidents like these and like Reagan and even George W. Bush.

Instead, they idolize the habitually lying, boasting, bullying, preening narcissist and degenerate who preceded the current guy, and they thoughtlessly smirk, sneer and jeer at those who oppose them, often those who oppose them by speaking the truth.

To the current Wyoming Republican leadership, truth is anathema. No reasonable adult, for instance, doubts that Trump and his allies deliberately tried to subvert the results of the last presidential election by a combination of fraud, trickery, subterfuge, force and violence.

That is why there was a seditious riot at the Capitol on January 6, 2021, and that is why all the stupid and unsuccessful lawsuits against the election results have failed.

The enemy of these people, the one who has drawn their vitriolic ire the most, is Liz Cheney, Wyoming’s lone representative to Congress.

Liz Cheney strong!

Representative Cheney is routinely called a “RINO” on social media in Wyoming, when she is, in fact, an ideologically committed Republican and, except for the fact that she is not slavishly obeisant to Trump, she is a loyal party functionary. 

Many of her Wyoming critics do not understand that kissing Trump’s feet (or other parts) is not the equivalent of being a good Republican.  Most of her Wyoming critics really don’t have any ideology, they are just angry.  Additionally, for many of them “RINO” is the only epithet they can spell that won’t get them thrown off Facebook.

There are lots of things to not like about Liz Cheney, including her record of voting the party line so closely for most of her career. 

But there is this to admire about her: when most Republican politicians either adopted the big lie that Trump had won the election, or slunk off and said nothing about that lie, Liz spoke up and called it what it was. 

When Trump organized and deployed a seditious criminal riot at the Capitol on January 6, 2021, Liz called it what it was and placed the blame where it belonged by voting for impeachment.

To judge from posts on Wyoming news pages on Facebook, truth-telling and historical and political literacy are in short supply among the loudest of Wyoming Republicans.

Liz should take some solace in the fact that although the loudest and emptiest of the Wyoming Republicans are often on Facebook, they are probably not the majority.

She should be proud also that truth telling is its own reward-it brings the reward of being able to hold one’s head up despite maintaining an unpopular position.

When the next volume of Profiles in Courage is published Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger will probably figure prominently in it. The current Wyoming Republican leadership and its degraded cheering section on social media, however, will recede into the obscurity they deserve.

Michael Krampner lived in Wyoming for 35 years and practiced law there, during that time.  Besides a law degree from the University of Wyoming College of Law, he also earned a Ph.D. in history from The University of Maryland.  He currently lives in Jerusalem, Israel.

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Americans are paying attention to the January 6 Committee

J/6 Opinion: I thought the January 6 committee wouldn’t matter. 

But I was wrong, essay by Max Boot published in The Washington Post.

I admit to having been skeptical, ahead of time, of the hearings planned by the House select committee investigating the events of Jan. 6, 2021. What more is there to be said, I wondered? 

Frankly, the evidence of Donald Trump’s guilt in inciting an insurrection was already so obvious that it was hard to imagine that the committee would have much to add. This was not, after all, a situation such as Watergate, where the scandal happened behind closed doors. The entire nation saw Trump’s incendiary remarks and tweets, and the riot that followed, on national television.


I am happy to say I was wrong. The committee’s hearings are exceeding expectations, because it is not behaving like a typical congressional committee. There is no grandstanding and no preening. There are no petty partisan squabbles. There is not even the disjointedness that normally occurs when a bunch of politicians are each given five minutes to question each witness. There is only the relentless march of evidence, all of it deeply incriminating to a certain former president who keeps insisting that he was robbed of his rightful election victory.


The committee’s recent hearings — there have been two (now 6/21 three) in the past week, with more planned — have been organized like carefully choreographed television productions, and I mean that as a compliment. The committee has been focused on doing what all good television productions, whether factual or fictional, do: telling a story that enthralls the viewer.
January 6 Committee hearings Chairman Bennie Thompson and Co-Chair Liz Cheney

Only a few of the committee members have spoken so far. Imagine what heroic self-restraint it takes for elected officials to understand that they can make a greater impact with their silence than with noisy blather. The members are allowing their staffers to play an unusually prominent role not only in questioning witnesses on tape but acting as narrators for mini-documentaries laying out what they have found.

The biggest complaint against the committee, heard at ever-increasing decibels from Republicans, is that it is a partisan hit job — and never mind that two prominent Republicans sit on the committee. Rep. Liz Cheney (Wyo.) and Rep. Adam Kinzinger (Ill.) are denigrated as RINOs (Republicans in Name Only) because they had the courage to act on House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s convictions. (McCarthy initially held Trump responsible for the mob attack but voted against impeaching him.)

Accusations of partisanship have been amply refuted by the hearings, which have been entirely factual and notably free of partisan rancor. There have been no anti-Trump, much less anti-Republican, rants. The committee members are focused with forensic, factual intensity on the question of Trump’s responsibility for the events of January 6. They are making a case beyond any reasonable doubt in the court of public opinion, even if it remains to be seen whether there is sufficient evidence to indict Trump in an actual court of law.

The biggest complaint against the committee, heard at ever-increasing decibels from Republicans, is that it is a partisan hit job — and never mind that two prominent Republicans sit on the committee. Rep. Liz Cheney (Wyo.) and Rep. Adam Kinzinger (Ill.) are denigrated as RINOs (Republicans in Name Only) because they had the courage to act on House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s convictions. (McCarthy initially held Trump responsible for the mob attack but voted against impeaching him.)

Accusations of partisanship have been amply refuted by the hearings, which have been entirely factual and notably free of partisan rancor. There have been no anti-Trump, much less anti-Republican, rants. The committee members are focused with forensic, factual intensity on the question of Trump’s responsibility for the events of January 6. They are making a case beyond any reasonable doubt in the court of public opinion, even if it remains to be seen whether there is sufficient evidence to indict Trump in an actual court of law.


Barr’s statement was seen by some lawyers as evidence of the “criminal intent” that would be needed to convict Trump of crimes, such as sedition. Whether that is accurate or not, Trump’s own aides have made an open-and-shut case that he is not fit to run Mar-a-Lago, much less the United States of America. Either Trump is spectacularly delusional or spectacularly dishonest. Take your choice. Or maybe he’s both? Whichever the case, he has no business returning to the nation’s highest office.

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Tuesday, June 21, 2022

January 6 Capitol attack demands justice for law enforcement

Maine Writer opinion: Americans learn more information every day about what happened on January 6, 2021, when #TFG incited an insurrection against the U.S. Capitol and threatened a coup against democracy; but, at the end of the day, the law enforcement officers that were charged with defending the building were left to deal with the brutal physical and mental health consequences. Although the Secret Service and other security protected the vice-president and the members of the joint session of Congress on January 6th, the fact is, the Capitol Police and Washington DC law enforcement continue to live with the horror.  No one protected them.

Smith v. Trump:  On January 6, 2021, U.S. Capitol Police officers risked their lives to protect our democracy. They faced a violent, mass attack on the Capitol driven by racist, white supremacist rhetoric and intentional misinformation aimed at overturning the legitimate results of an election. And not coincidentally, it was an election in which record numbers of Black voters made their voices heard. The violent attack was designed to threaten and intimidate those involved in conducting and protecting the election certification process. It was not just an attack on people or property, but an attack on democracy itself.

January 6, 2021 U/S. Capitol insurrectionist mob!

Maliciously targeting those charged with conducting and protecting the certification of our elections mocks the very ideals of our constitution. This attack requires a response! We cannot rely on the political process to play out. We must act quickly to confront the lies that fueled the violence on January 6 in order to repair the damage done to our country and to deter future efforts in upcoming elections in 2022, and 2024.

That is why the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law filed suit on behalf of eight U.S. Capitol Police officers who defended the U.S. Capitol on that fateful day, naming as defendants former President Donald J. Trump, Stop the Steal, the Proud Boys, the Oath Keepers, and other organizations and individual members of far-right extremist groups and political organizations responsible for the insurrection. These officers put their lives on the line to protect the votes and voices of everyone in this country, including Black voters and other voters of color.

The lawsuit, Smith v. Trump, argues that the attack on the Capitol violated the Ku Klux Klan Act* and was led by many who are self-described white supremacists. As the lawsuit alleges, former President Trump and others deliberately spread election fraud claims and incited violence against members of Congress and the law enforcement officers whose job was to protect them.

Even after being sued in court and targeted by prosecutors, many of the defendants and their supporters continue to glorify the attack and minimize the harm they caused, not only to the plaintiffs and other officers, but to the country as a whole. The organizations and individuals who participated in the violent insurrection on January 6 are responsible for an attack on our democracy. The Smith v. Trump lawsuit seeks to hold them accountable.

The Plaintiffs filed an Amended Complaint on December 3, 2021, adding detail as to various defendants’ actions in furtherance of the unlawful conduct alleged in the complaint. It also adds as a defendant the Make America Great Again PAC, which FEC records indicate is carrying on the work of Defendant Donald J. Trump for President, Inc., the former president’s campaign organization for the 2020 election.


*The Ku Klux Klan Act, of 1871, the third of a series of increasingly stringent Enforcement Acts, was designed to eliminate extralegal violence and protect the civil and political rights...

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Monday, June 20, 2022

Russia is perpetrating evil and Ukrainian genocide

Russia's justifications for invasion don't Hold up any better now than in February.  Echo essay by Lawrence Wittner* published in the History News Network.


The Russian government’s justifications for its war in Ukraine―the largest, most destructive military operation in Europe since World War II―are not persuasive.

Although Russian President Vladimir Putin’s primary argument in defense of the Russian invasion has been the threat of Ukraine joining NATO, that action, had it occurred, would have been perfectly legitimate under international law. The UN Charter, which is an instrument of international law, does not ban membership in military alliances. And, in fact, a great many such alliances are in existence. Russia currently heads up the Collective Security Treaty Organization, a military alliance comprised of six nations in Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

Of course, Putin’s focus upon NATO is based on the notion that Russia’s national security would be endangered by the existence of a NATO nation on its border. But why should Russia’s national security concerns be more valid than the national security concerns of nations on Russia’s borders―particularly nations that, in the past, have been invaded and gobbled up as territory by Russia or the Soviet Union? Moreover, if a feared threat to national security provides valid grounds for a military invasion, this would also justify military attacks by many nations. Finally, the degree of danger to Russia posed by NATO might well be questioned, as the Western alliance has never attacked Russia during the 73 years of NATO’s existence.
Dangerous Putin strategies

Furthermore, as a practical matter, before the Russian invasion occurred, Ukraine’s joining NATO was not imminent, for key NATO nations opposed membership. Indeed, in late March of this year, more than two months ago, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky offered to have Ukraine give up its NATO aspirations and become a neutral nation. But the Russian government has not accepted this termination of the supposed NATO danger as a sufficient reason to end Russia’s invasion. Indeed, the Russian war effort grinds on, ever more ferociously and destructively.

Putin’s claim that Ukraine requires “denazification” is particularly hollow. Like most other nations, Ukraine has fascists among its population. But, unlike many other nations, where fascist views are rampant, and where there are large rightwing political parties, and fascist elements in the government, rightwingers in Ukraine draw only about 2 percent of the vote, and have only one representative in Ukraine’s parliament and none in its executive branch. As Russia’s vastly exaggerated claim of Nazi control of Ukraine is based heavily upon the existence of fascists within the Azov regiment, it’s worth noting that most of that fighting force was either killed or captured during the Russian siege of Mariupol. Ironically, Putin himself has been a strong supporter of neofascist parties throughout Eastern and Western Europe and they, in turn, have celebrated him.

Whatever the justifications, the massive Russian military invasion of Ukraine is a clear violation of the UN Charter, which has been signed by all the war’s participants. In Article 2, the Charter says: “All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state.” Lest there be any doubt about the relevance of this statement to the Ukraine situation, the International Court of Justice ruled on March 16 that the Russia must halt its military operations in Ukraine. After a UN Security Council resolution along these lines was vetoed by Russia, the UN General Assembly, by a vote of 141 countries to 5, passed a resolution demanding that Russia “immediately, completely, and unconditionally withdraw all of its military forces from the territory of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders.” The only 5 countries that supported the Russian position were Russia, North Korea, Syria, Belarus, and Eritrea. Even some of Russia’s closest friends, such as China and Cuba, abstained rather than back Russia’s violation of international law.

Danger!

Aside from its illegality, the Russian war in Ukraine is clearly an imperialist war. It is an attack by one of the world’s mightiest military powers upon a much smaller, weaker nation, with the clear goal of seizing control of all or part of Ukraine and annexing it to the Russian empire. Although, the Russian government formally agreed to respect Ukraine’s independence and sovereignty by signing the 1994, Budapest Memorandum, in 2014, Russia seized Crimea and militarily intervened in eastern Ukraine to support pro-Russian separatists. In a lengthy public statement Putin issued in July 2021, he denied the existence of an independent Ukrainian nation. Then, three days before the massive Russian invasion of February 24, 2022, he announced that Ukraine was “Russian land.”

This June, in a clear reference to his military conquest of Ukraine, Putin compared himself to Peter the Great, the eighteenth-century Russian czar whom he praised for waging decades of war to take back Russian territory from foreign rule.

Of course, Putin and his apologists are correct when they observe that, at times, other major powers have also flouted international law and the opinions of the world community. But that abysmal standard for the behavior of nations could justify almost anything―from torture, to nuclear war, to genocide. It’s hardly a prescription for the just and peaceful world that people of all nations deserve.

Maine Writer- Meanwhile, the evil Vladimir Putin is ordering genocide in Ukraine when children are being captured by Russians for the purpose of brain washing them against their culture, language and history. 

Lawrence Wittner is a Professor of History Emeritus at SUNY/Albany and the author of Confronting the Bomb (Stanford University Press).

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Sunday, June 19, 2022

Mrs. Clarence Thomas: Ginni Thomas did not just suddenly erupt on January 6

Echo report published in The Hill, by Kimberly Wehle*

Maine Writer opinion introduction: Indeed, Ginni Thomas exposed a career of supporting right wing extremism during the  January 6, 2021 seditious riots, where rioters chanted "Hang Mike Pence". Mrs. Clarence Thomas didn't just suddenly show up during that dangerous riot. Rather, she participated in the lead up to it and encouraged the intentions.

In my opinion, this shadowy figure was paid to plant pipe bombs in Washington DC on January 6, 2021. Where did the money come from?  Does Ginni Thomas know where the money came from? #FollowThheMoney

Ginni Thomas- Mrs. Clarence Thomas: Unpacking potential conflicts of interest on the Supreme Court.

The House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection wants to speak with Virginia “Ginni” Thomas, a conservative activist and wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. Committee Chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) recently announced plans to invite her to appear.

Congress wants to hear more about her bombshell texts with former President Trump’s chief of staff Mark Meadows in which she urged that something be done to thwart Joe Biden’s White House win. Her husband, Clarence Thomas, a sitting justice, is now under intense pressure to recuse himself from cases relating to the 2020 election and the January 6 violence, short of resignation or possibly even impeachment.


An interview with the January 6 committee is vitally important, not only for what Ginni Thomas has to say about her texts, but because under oath testimony could reveal even deeper conflicts of interest infecting the nation’s highest court — and thus its very legitimacy, writ large.

In three election-related cases, Clarence Thomas voted in a manner seemingly consistent with his wife’s far-right activism, and failed to recuse himself in contravention of a federa
law mandating disqualification from any proceeding in which his impartiality may be questioned, including due to the interests of a spouse.

Most disturbingly, he was the sole dissenter in a decision requiring the National Archives to turn over to the Jan. 6 committee White House records relating to the subject matter of its inquiry. 

Who paid for this scaffolding! Who constructed it? #HangMikePence was not a spur of the moment violent mantra. Instead, this deadly scaffolding exhibit was pre-planned and paid for. #FollowTheMoney

Ginni Thomas’s texts were provided voluntarily by Meadows before he stopped cooperating. It’s reported that Ginni Thomas may have communicated with others in the White House, too — if her husband’s vote reflected a desire to keep his wife’s involvement in Jan. 6 from public scrutiny, he was clearly flouting his ethical and legal obligation of actual — let alone perceived — neutrality.

The New Yorker’s Jane Mayer exposed a litany of potential conflicts arising from Ginni Thomas’ tightness with radical ideologues, noting even back then — before the text scandal — that “the claim that the Justices’ opinions are politically neutral is becoming increasingly hard to accept.” 

Ginni Thomas, who is a lawyer herself, runs a lobbying firm called Liberty Consulting, and is on record as declaring the “deep state” a danger to America because of “transsexual fascists” on the left.

She attended a “Stop the Steal” rally in Washington, D.C. on January 6, and posted a since-removed “LOVE MAGA people!!!!” message on Facebook that went viral. 

Evil MAGA sedition on January 6, 2020
Mrs. Clarence Thomas complained about Trump’s November 4 loss on a private Listserv called Thomas Clerk World, which includes a number of her husband’s former Supreme Court law clerks, including attorney John Eastman.


Eastman penned the infamous memos outlining a bogus theory for justifying former Vice President Pence’s stalling of the Electoral College certification. Pence ultimately refused, and a federal judge just this week pinged Eastman as “likely” having committed three federal crimes along with his client Trump, in that connection. (The court’s opinion specifically had to do with attorney-client privilege and work product claims, and thus has no bearing on actual criminal liability, which would have to come through the Justice Department.)

Ginni Thomas also served as a director of C.N.P. Action, a dark money group that, according to Mayer, “behind closed doors, connects wealthy donors with some of the most radical right-wing figures in America.” She’s also on the advisory board of Turning Point USA, a pro-Trump student group that reportedly sent protestors to the January 6 rally.

She has partnerships with right-wing groups that have other Supreme Court business, including Project Veritas, which is known for making secret videotapes of progressive public officials, and Cleta Mitchell, who was on the call in which Trump urged Georgia’s secretary of state to “find” enough votes to swing the state’s electors to him — ostensibly illegally.

Ginni Thomas was also a paid consultant to a group that filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court in support of Trump’s Muslim travel ban, which was ultimately upheld over the dissenting votes of Justices Stephen Breyer, Elena Kagan, Sonya Sotomayor and Ruth Bader Ginsberg. And she serves on the board of a conservative group that filed an amicus brief in a Supreme Court case involving race-conscious affirmative action at Harvard. (Although during her Supreme Court confirmation hearings, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson pledged to recuse herself from that case, due to a six-year role on the Harvard Board of Overseers, Thomas has not.)

Meanwhile, the host of hot-button issues now pending before this Court is hard to match in recent memory. They include the fate of Roe v. Wade and the constitutional right to make decisions to end a pregnancy (a right the court already effectively overruled by refusing to halt the Texas six-week abortion ban). 

They also include the vitality of the longstanding separation between church and state, in a case involving whether taxpayer dollars must fund religious education, as well as the question of whether states and municipalities can regulate handguns outside the home. Another question of major constitutional significance currently pending before the court is whether the Environmental Protection Agency can regulate to meaningfully slow climate change.

Each of these cases presents a possible sea change in constitutional law itself if the court reverses longstanding precedent — whether expressly or under the guise of disinterestedness. Conservative groups would presumably want the new conservative majority to upend existing law on all of these fronts. If agencies cannot constitutionally enact regulations, big business wins. If states can’t constitutionally pass laws protecting the public from gun violence, proponents of an unfettered Second Amendment right win. If states must fund right-wing religious schools if it funds non-sectarian ones, the Christian right wins. And so on.

What’s more, an unpacking of potential conflicts-of-interest on this court could mean that past cases are tainted, too. The implications of looking backward and not just forward to future January 6 cases — as appears to Democrats’ primary focus when it comes to Clarence Thomas and his wife’s problematic texts — are hard to fathom.

One might argue that it’s better not to know what we don’t know, because the stakes of knowing are too high. But unfortunately, not knowing is the real problem here. If Congress doesn’t get to the bottom of things, it might soon be too late.

*Kimberly Wehle is a professor at the University of Baltimore School of Law and author of “How to Read the Constitution — and Why,” as well as “What You Need to Know About Voting — and Why” and “How to Think Like a Lawyer – and Why.” 

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Saturday, June 18, 2022

Gun violence can be stopped by We The People: Voices to eradicate hate

File this opinion letter under the subject of Oh My God!
By John Nave, published in the Topeka Capital-Journal online:

We the People can use our voices to eradicate hate, bigotry, racism and discrimination. Gun violence is targeting racial minorities!
America continues to witness heinous mass school shootings.

Working families send their children to school, not knowing it would be the last time they kissed their cheeks or hugged them.

Teachers who unconditionally committed their lives and love to students and profession, not knowing this would be their last day to teach.
Twenty-one people are dead — 19 students and two teachers — after a shooting on May 24, 2022, at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.

I don't know a single person in this country who has not been affected by the senseless act of extreme violence against innocent children and teachers, like what sadly occurred in Uvalde, Texas.

It is beyond my imagination that an 18-year-old, on his birthday, had the ability to purchase weapons, ammunition and then react to his world this way. It appears that he hated life, himself and took his anger out on his community and innocent people and innocent children of his community, which didn’t deserve it.

Uvalde is a community made up of working families, much like the communities across Kansas and our nation. These communities are working to create the American dream. Sadly, these families now endure unimaginable pain that will never go away.

Many will look to their elected officials for answers. All will ask questions: Are the laws and regulations about gun safety already on the books being followed? Are they strict enough! Are they appropriate for each state, city and community?

Now is not the time to point fingers. Now is the time to learn and understand all aspects of the Uvalde Texas massacre and the other terrible tragedies — then work together to ensure it never happens again. That it cannot happen again.

As a labor leader, I witnessed sad days, but nothing in my memory can compare to the pain my family recently experienced. Last month, my granddaughter graduated from the Marine corps and, while home, became an innocent victim of a drive-by shooting.

Gratefully and by God’s grace, she survived and lives with the impeded bullet as she continues to serve our country.

While I cannot honestly know what the families in Uvalde are going through, I understand it.

Today, as I share my thoughts and sadness, I speak for the Kansas AFL-CIO and our close-knit members as we mourn and offer our prayers to the Uvalde community and other communities who have also experienced senseless violence.

We the People must, as a whole, accept the responsibility to address hate, bigotry, racism and discrimination in all forms. It is time to use our voices to eradicate and prevent this from happening ever again.


  • We the People can look at what we can do to prevent this violence. 
  • We the People have the opportunity to be part of the solution. 
  • We the People have to work together to to protect our communities.
  • We the People need to do whatever is necessary to stand up and make sure our laws and regulations are more effective, so our communities can prevent these types of horrific tragedies.
The clock is ticking for the people of Texas and our nation. The time is now to call upon our officials and our citizens to set aside politics and work together to come to the proper solution, no matter what that may be!
  • We, the people must and can do this! 
  • We, the people must and can do better!
John Nave is the executive vice president of the Kansas AFL-CIO.

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