Political Fix (2 April, 2015)

Author Needs To Turn the Gun on Himself

For $200, a person in California can petition to have a law put on the ballot through the gathering of signatures. Attorney General Kamala Harris then has 30 days to publish a summary and title of the measure.

Orange County lawyer Matt McLaughlin has done just that and filed the Sodomite Suppression Act. It states, “the abominable crime against nature known as buggery, called also sodomy, is a monstrous evil that Almighty God, giver of freedom and liberty, commands us to suppress on pain of our utter destruction even as he overthrew Sodom and Gomorrha.

Seeing that it is better that offenders should die rather than that all of us should be killed by God’s just wrath against us for the folly of tolerating-wickedness in our midst, the People of California wisely command, in the fear of God, that any person who willingly touches another person of the same gender for purposes of sexual gratification be put to death by bullets to the head or by any other convenient method.

No person shall distribute, perform, or transmit sodomistic propaganda directly or indirectly by any means to any person under the age of majority. Sodomistic propaganda is defined as anything aimed at creating an interest in or an acceptance of human sexual relations other than between a man and a woman. Every offender shall be fined $1 million per occurrence, and/or imprisoned up to 10 years, and/or expelled from the boundaries of the state of California for up to life.”

He goes on, but I think you get the idea.

Ms. Harris wants to block the ballot measure but legally cannot. The California State Supreme Court has already ruled on similar cases and has declared an Attorney General cannot reject any ballot measure. Nevertheless, Ms. Harris is still trying. To get this initiative on the ballot Mr. McLaughlin must gather about 366,000 valid names.

This raises the question: Why can’t the state’s initiative process screen out blatantly illegal laws?

The rationale behind the measure, which may actually be to test California’s tolerance of divergent ideas, is hard to determine because no one has been able to find Mr. McLaughlin. Everyone is wondering who this attorney is and what he actually does for a living. He was accepted to the bar in 1998 and listed his address as a Mail Box Express. For those unfamiliar with Mail Box Express, it comes in handy for those who want to avoid creditors, conduct scams, or deal drugs. Right now a petition is circulating to have Mr. McLaughlin disbarred.

Whereas no one really wants our Attorney General to have the power to reject ballot measures she finds personally objectionable, there has to be some bar set when it involves public safety. One hypothesis is that Mr. McLaughlin is testing California’s free speech. The accepted rubric for free speech has been that, if it imperils the lives of others, such as yelling “fire” in a crowded theater, then it would not be covered under free speech. Murder would seem to fall beneath that bar.

There are many less offensive ways to challenge California’s practice of free speech.  Why not file a ballot measure with the Secretary of State that says lying, greasy-haired, skinny, white male lawyers should be put to death by a bullet to the brain? Is Mr. McLaughlin scared that measure might actually pass?

I don’t advocate for murder, but there is one Visalia lawyer in particular that comes to mind – the type who you know who is lying because his lips are moving. He would motivate me to at least sign the petition but I would never actually vote for such a measure. Karma will deal a much harsher justice to lawyers like him than any bullet to the brain could.

Are We Allowed To Die With Dignity? California Is Trying

Five states–Oregon, Washington, Vermont, Montana and New Mexico–have legal protections for doctors who help a terminally ill person die with dignity. Right now, California is trying to join their ranks.

In Montana and New Mexico, a doctor is protected if he or she assists in the suicide of a terminally-ill patient, but there is no oversight. California’s law will be modeled after the Oregon, Washington and Vermont version. Senate Bill 128 would permit self-injestion of a pharmaceutical drug. It would only be available to those with less than six months to live and include supportive services such as hospice and palliative care. The Oregon’s law is 17 years old and has no reported cases of abuse. Last year, 155 Oregonians used the law to help end their lives.

One of those 155 people who ended their lives was actually not an Oregonian, but a Californian. Brittany Maynard was forced to move while dying of a brain tumor so she didn’t have to endure an excruciating death. She made her case very public, saying she should have been able to stay at her home in California and legally obtain end-of-life drugs.

SB 128, the End of Life Option Act is authored by state Sen. Bill Monning, D-Carmel, Assemblywoman Susan Talamantes Eggman, D-Stockton and State Senator Lois Wolk, D-Davis. One of the bill’s endorsers is Senator Dianne Feinstein. She wrote the state senators in a letter, “The right to die with dignity is an option that should be available for every chronically suffering terminally ill consenting adult in California. I share your concern that terminally ill California residents currently do not have the option to obtain end-of-life medication if their suffering becomes unbearable.”

The bill’s first hearing was Wednesday, March 25 in the Senate Health Committee. The bill won approval of the committee by a 5-2 vote along party lines. Since the Democrats have been painted as the party of big government, with a capital “B,” you would think the two votes against freedom would be cast by the Democrats. But that would be incorrect.

While the debate rages, volunteers around the state are already helping suffering people end their lives — surreptitiously, without authorization or official oversight — in private bedrooms across the state.  It makes one wonder, what possible business does our government have telling us who to marry, whether to have a baby, and how to die?

If the bill makes it out of the house and senate there is still the question of whether Gov. Brown will sign it. Assisted suicide legislation isn’t just opposed by Republicans, but also the Catholics. Gov. Brown, a former Jesuit school student, will more than likely oppose the bill but may still sign it into law anyway.

Hypocrisies and Ironies and Lies – Oh My!

What do Ted Cruz, John McCain and Barrack Obama have in common? None of them were born in the United States. Ted Cruz was born in Canada, John McCain in Panama, and everyone knows that Barack Obama was born in Kenya.

Well, actually President Obama was born in Hawaii but, ironically, it has been Sen. Cruz’ most ardent supporters, the Tea Party, pointing fingers at President Obama–claiming he is an illegitimate president because he wasn’t born in the United States. Sen. Cruz says it doesn’t matter that he was born in Canada because his mother is an American citizen.  No one has ever questioned Obama’s mother’s citizenship as an American.

So what gives?

This is just going to be the start of a long and frustrating campaign of contradictions, hypocrisies and ironies swirling around Sen. Cruz, not to mention a very painful process for the GOP. Right now Sen. Cruz is the most unpopular senator in congress, even with his own party. Sen. McCain has referred to him as a “wacko bird.”

First, there is the constitution. Sen. Cruz makes it the lynchpin of his presidential campaign. But what did the constitution say about the separation of church and state? How can Sen. Cruz stand on the constitution and then open his presidential campaign at a Liberty University, a place that offers “a world-class Christian education” for the purpose of “training champions for Christ?” Did he miss the history lesson that explained that even the majority of our founding fathers were not Christian? During his announcement speech he declared he was going to be the uncompromising champion for Christian evangelical voters. So I guess everyone else, including our founding fathers, can just piss off.

Sen. Cruz’ biggest problem, though, is campaigning like a devout Catholic and then trying to pretend to walk like a devout Catholic. His hard-line stance on immigration flies in the face of his religion. Giving sanctuary is a tenet of the Catholic Church, but he doesn’t even have compassion to protect children who were brought here when children. He talks of family values, but despite the Pope’s pleas for compassion for immigrants, he wants families torn apart by deporting the parents of American-born children.

Of course many Republican Catholics are in the same boat as Sen. Cruz in regard to immigration and climate change. The Pope is scheduled to speak to congress in September and is “preparing a major document, called an encyclical, on the environment. It is likely to reiterate his frequent calls for governments and individuals to take steps to combat climate change, a phenomenon he attributes in part to human activity,” according to the Religious News Service.

“Because it is snowing in New Hampshire” as Senator Inhofe sniffed, may fool a few Americans that climate change is not for real, but the Pope is not going to be amused.  The Pope said, “if you are a Christian, protecting the environment is part of your identity, not an ideological option. A Christian who does not protect creation is a Christian who does not care about the work of God; that work that was born from the love of God for us.”

The Political Plot Thickens

What other updates are there in a presidential campaign that hasn’t officially started?

Senator Rand Paul was a little annoyed that Sen. Cruz stole his thunder because he plans on announcing in two weeks. They share a similar religious base. Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker continues to do very well in the polls, often leading the pack. Gov. Walker does have some scandals involving campaign finance that will get more press once his honeymoon is over. As for New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, even his enemies have thrown in the towel–most notably former Colorado Congressman Tom Tancredo, who had formed a PAC just to fundraise against him. Mr. Tancredo gave it up because, “The guy doesn’t have a chance.” There is even a New Jersey Against Chris Christie Facebook page.

Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee is also doing well in the polls, and he should be.  Most people have forgotten that Mr. Huckabee won eight states in the Republican primary in 2008, more than Mitt Romney. Mr. Huckabee may be the number one reason Sen. Cruz announced when he did and where he did – to corner the religious right. But Mr. Huckabee is the real deal. He not only talks the talk but walks the walk.

While Sen. Cruz has temporarily cornered the religious vote, Jeb Bush has cornered all the money. And that is where my column should probably end. When a candidate has cornered the money, its game over.

A well-spoken reader who hates my column and probably won’t be reading it again, commented about last issue’s Political Fix:

Interestingly, you mention only two candidates for POTUS (Hilary and Jeb) as if it has already been decided. This is precisely the point I raised regarding the media and politics. I feel the media increasingly oversteps its place in politics and in deciding elections and who they endorse. While the two you mentioned might very well be in the next election, I for one, can only hope America can do better than that. It is my hope that one day the media will sit back and let the people decide who they put in office.”

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