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Posts published in “Day: February 27, 2021”

Law and order (with an *)


The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. No, no, never, never, uh-uh-uh.

Period. Full stop. The Second Amendment is explicit and absolutely absolute. If you insist on continuing this silly conversation about gun control, well, you leave my no choice but to shoot you. I have that right.

What's that? Murder laws? Please. Try reading the Constitution for a change. It says nothing about murder. Why give me the right to own firearms but prohibit me from shooting people? That would be stupid.

Sure, there are other laws regarding murder, but they're not in the Constitution. So I choose to ignore them. Yamhill County Commissioner Lindsay Berschauer has my back. She wants to turn the county into a Second Amendment Sanctuary.

At last! We're finally applying the concept of "sanctuary" to deadly weapons instead of poor people.

In Lindsay's lurid fantasies, no county employee could enforce state or federal gun laws -- including background checks, regulations on sales and transfers, and restrictions on ammunition and accessories. Some state law says you can't pack a rod because you're "dangerous"?


County officials won't hassle you. They get it. You go out on a blind date. The dame gets mouthy. You need to be prepared. Don't like it? Take it up with the Second Amendment.

Lindsay can be a bit mouthy herself at times, what with taking a man's job and all, but under that ritzy $10 hairdo of hers, she has a point. She knows her stuff. It doesn't matter what they do in Salem or D.C. The Constitution is the final word on everything.

So I personally look forward to Lindsay taking down the stupid metal detector you have to pass through just to attend a county commission meeting. You know those guys won't even let you bring so much as a pocket knife in the courthouse? I once had to walk all the way back to my car and put my machete in the trunk.

This is what happens when you elect Democrats. Suddenly, you're no longer allowed to bring a machete into a county courthouse just to give your legal argument a little extra oomph.

As a respected member of Fourth Estate, I never go anywhere without my pen, notepad and machete. Not only is the Second Amendment absolute, so is the First Amendment.

Congress will make no law abridging the freedom of the press. None. Zero. Zip.

That means that I, as a credentialed member of the news media, can do whatever I want, whenever I want. If I want to show up at Lindsay's doomsday bunker (you know she has one) at midnight with my machete and 50 of my closest newsroom buddies ... hey, freedom of the press. Look it up.

Once you embrace the Constitution, you can cherry-pick whatever laws you want to obey. The Oregon Constitution, for example, says legislative sessions should be open to the public.

If that public happens to be in the mood to break doors and windows, attack legislators and spread the plague, you know what they say in the GOP. You can't make the omelette of freedom without bashing a few eggheads.

When the Oregon Constitution was chiseled in stone in the 1850s, the wise white men who wrote it said absolutely nothing about Zoom meetings or attending meetings and submitting testimony electronically.

Why? Obviously, they disapproved of 21st-century technology.

They wanted the public in the building, regardless of even the most extenuating circumstances. So when a mob of respectable lunatics came kicking and screaming Dec. 21, state Rep. Mike Nearman, R-Independence, did what any patriotic idiot would do. He let them in.

Mike and Lindsay obviously got their political science degrees from the same chewing gum wrapper.

They realize they must obey inviolable constitutional absolutes and ignore all those weak-need feather merchants and their incessant whining about public safety, common sense and baseline sanity.

The state and federal constitutions supersede all of that and establish edicts that give no quarter to interpretation by anyone other than Lindsay Berschauer, Mike Nearman and a few hundred of their gun-toting, window-smashing friends from the National Alliance of Angry White Mobs.

Booyah, I say because I'm macho.

We live in dangerous times. And dangerous times call for dangerous people. Otherwise, everything would be a lot less dangerous. Why is this so difficult for people to understand?

Mike Nearman articulated it at a town hall Feb. 16 in way only Mike Nearman can that doesn't at all sound like he just chugalugged a quart of cough syrup.

“A republic is based on the rule of law," he said. "That means we have a Constitution. There’s one transitional state. It’s between a republic and an oligarchy, and it’s a whatever-you-want-to-do-ocracy, or a whatever-you-can-get-away-with-ocracy and that’s kind of what we’re in right now."

Wow. If that isn't straight from the horse's ... I better say "mouth."

Such impassioned political oratory reminds me of a simpler time, specifically my boyhood days at Barnett Elementary School when Marvin Klomp realized his 3-minute oral report on civics was actually supposed to be eight minutes.

More importantly, Mike is right.

We live by the rule of law. What kind of country would we have if people in public office simply did whatever they wanted or could get away with? What if they took it upon themselves to decide what laws we should follow and what laws we should simply ignore?

God only knows what kind of anarchy we would be allowing to flow through the Capitol doors.

We must follow the Constitution. And the Constitution says grab your guns and clubs. It's a free for all. Apparently to have law and order, we have to have anarchy.

Channeling 60s southern Democrats


On a Monday night 56 years ago next month, Lyndon Johnson ambled his way on to the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives to play the role, as one of his biographers has written, of “one shrewd heartland politician finishing what another had started.”

“The galleries were jammed with whites and blacks, some in street clothes fresh from demonstrations and others in business attire,” historian Randall Woods wrote of the scene. The president’s wife and a daughter were in the crowd, so was FBI director J. Edgar Hoover. But the entire Mississippi delegation was boycotting the speech. Those unreconstructed segregationists Democrats, still embracing the grievance of a lost cause, knew what was coming.

“At times history and fate meet at a single time in a single place to shape a turning point in man’s unending search for freedom,” Johnson said in his low, familiar Texas drawl. “So it was at Lexington and Concord. So it was a century ago at Appomattox. So it was last week in Selma, Alabama.”

The week before – forever etched in American memory as “Bloody Sunday”- voting rights advocates had been routed and brutalized in Selma, Alabama. The next day’s coverage on the front page of the New York Times ran under the headline: “Alabama police use gas and clubs to rout Negros.” A four-column photo showed Alabama state troopers beating a young marcher – future Georgia congressman John Lewis – leaving his skull fractured and blood on his white shirt and tan raincoat.

The ugly, un-American state terrorism at the Edmund Pettus Bridge – the bridge still carries the name of a Confederate general and Alabama leader of the Klan – was a hinge moment in political history, and LBJ seized the moment. He would push a Voting Rights Act (VRA) to finally make real the promise of that earlier heartland politician, Abraham Lincoln, martyred in his pledge to guarantee equal rights for all Americans.

“The real hero of this struggle is the American Negro,” Johnson told the country and the Congress in 1965. “His actions and protests, his courage to risk safety and even to risk his life, have awakened the conscience of this Nation. His demonstrations have been designed to call attention to injustice, designed to provoke change, designed to stir reform.

“He has called upon us to make good the promise of America. And who among us can say that we would have made the same progress were it not for his persistent bravery, and his faith in American democracy.”

Writing recently in The Atlantic, journalist Vann R. Newkirk II correctly asserted that passage of the VRA “finally delivered on the stated ideals of the country,” but now in state after state across the country that ideal “hangs by a thread.”

From Georgia to Arizona, Montana to Idaho, Republican dominated state legislatures are attempting to do what southern segregationist Democrats did in earlier days: make it more difficult, if not impossible for some Americans to vote. It is no accident that this wave of new era vote suppression and denial comes on the heels of a record vote in a presidential election where a Democrat won the White House over a man who over and over perpetuated a big lie about elections being stolen, dead people voting and ballots being manufactured.

By repeating time and again that some Americans are “skeptical about the integrity of our elections” Republicans, including the former president, have manufactured a malicious assault on American democracy. It quite simply amounts to the biggest lie ever told about American politics.

Minnesota’s secretary of state Steve Simon described recently what is happening: “Some folks bring these proposals forward and say, ‘Well, we just need to address confidence in our election systems,’ when it’s some of those very same people, or at least their allies and enablers, [who] have denigrated our election system by either telling lies or at least leveraging or relying on other people’s lies to justify some of these policies.”

This tactic is the voting rights equivalent of the fellow who murdered his parents and then insisting on leniency because he’s an orphan.

The Republican floor leader of the Idaho House of Representatives, a guy so cynical that he blasted federal efforts to provide financial assistance to businesses whacked by the impacts of the pandemic and then ended up taking the aid himself, is a champion of the “many people are saying” logic of voter suppression.

“There are a lot of people in this country looking at what happened in other states — some of those states had ballot harvesting — that feel like they were victimized by the outcome of this last national election,” Mike Moyle said recently as he pushed a bill to restrict your ability to pick up and drop off your elderly grandparent’s absentee ballot.

In the face of precisely no evidence of abuse, Moyle said the quiet part out loud while pushing an earlier even more restrictive bill. “You know what? Voting shouldn’t be easy,” Moyle said. Other legislators are seeking to ruin the ability of voters to take action using the time-test initiative method.

The gentleman from Idaho won’t appreciate the reference, or likely understand it, but he’s a latter-day version of Mississippi segregationist James Eastland who resisted the Voting Rights Act by claiming his state had a right to disqualify certain voters and, after all, some communists must certainly be mixed up in this push to get more people to vote.

In the 56 years since Johnson framed the basic right to vote as a “battle for equality” rooted in “a deep-seated belief in the democratic process,” the two political parties have traded places on voting rights. Democrats, believing that making it easier to vote and easier for more people to vote, have embraced policies like motor voter registration, mail voting and same day registration. Republicans, looking fearfully at what high turnout portends for their long-term electoral success, now broadly reject inclusive policies and endorse conspiracy theories about stolen elections. In 2013, a conservative majority on the Supreme Court gutted a key enforcement provision of the landmark 1965 law, and the GOP resists efforts to address stronger enforcement.

In politics the truth is often hiding in plain sight. Georgia voters, including record turnout among African Americans, elected two Democratic senators in January, one, the state’s first black U.S. senator, the other, the first Jewish senator in the state’s history. More people voting is good for democracy. Attempting to keep more people from voting is good for Republicans.