Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Be Careful What You Pray For

I’m not at all surprised that the Supreme Court ruled 6-3 that it was okay for a coach to lead a Jesus prayer circle on the fifty-yard line of a public high school football field after a game.

The Supreme Court ruled Monday that a school board in Washington state discriminated against a former football coach when it disciplined him for postgame prayers at midfield, the high court’s latest decision favoring the protection of religious faith over concerns about government endorsement of religion.

Justice Neil M. Gorsuch wrote for fellow conservatives in the 6-to-3 decision, saying Bremerton High School assistant coach Joseph Kennedy’s prayers are protected by the Constitution’s guarantees of free speech and religious exercise. He said the school board’s discipline of Kennedy was unwarranted, even under the concern of violating the separation of church and state.

“Respect for religious expressions is indispensable to life in a free and diverse Republic — whether those expressions take place in a sanctuary or on a field, and whether they manifest through the spoken word or a bowed head,” Gorsuch wrote. “Here, a government entity sought to punish an individual for engaging in a brief, quiet, personal religious observance doubly protected” by the Constitution.

Gorsuch was joined by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel A. Alito Jr. and Amy Coney Barrett. Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh joined most of the opinion.

The court’s three liberals dissented, as they had in last week’s ruling that Maine cannot bar religious schools from receiving public tuition grants extended to other private schools.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote that the majority “elevates one individual’s interest in personal religious exercise, in the exact time and place of that individual’s choosing, over society’s interest in protecting the separation between church and state, eroding the protections for religious liberty for all.”

Joined by Justices Stephen G. Breyer and Elena Kagan, Sotomayor added: “Today’s decision is particularly misguided because it elevates the religious rights of a school official, who voluntarily accepted public employment and the limits that public employment entails, over those of his students, who are required to attend school and who this Court has long recognized are particularly vulnerable and deserving of protection.”

I would like to see what would have happened if the coach was a Muslim and put down a prayer rug and faced Mecca. Or if he had stood in the middle of the field and chanted from the Torah. Or even brought out a folding chair and sat in silence as Quakers do. Let’s see what happens when the Satanists or the Wiccans get together on the field.

I can’t prove it, but I’m pretty sure the ruling would have gone the other way.

Monday, June 27, 2022

Pretty Sure He Meant It

From Salon:

On Saturday morning, Texas Senator John Cornyn tweeted a racist comment along with a share of former President Barack Obama‘s statement regarding Friday’s Supreme Court ruling to reverse Roe v. Wade.

Obama, making his statement on Twitter on Friday morning shortly after the ruling was handed down, said “Today, the Supreme Court not only reversed nearly 50 years of precedent, it relegated the most intensely personal decision someone can make to the whims of politicians and ideologues—attacking the essential freedoms of millions of Americans.”

The following morning, Cornyn shared that statement from Obama to his own Twitter account adding “Now do Plessy vs Ferguson/Brown vs Board of Education.”

Brown v. Board of Education, ruled on by the Supreme Court in 1954, did historical justice in wiping away the 1896 Plessy v. Ferguson ruling, making “separate but equal” rightfully unconstitutional.

Following Cornyn’s initial tweet, which received tremendous heated backlash, he fired off another one saying “Thank goodness some SCOTUS precedents are overruled.”

“Let’s help out less intelligent fellow Americans out,” one commenter said in response to Cornyn’s initial tweet. “Plessy stood as law of the land longer than Roe. That was [John Cornyn’s] point. Now if liberals are arguing Brown v. Board of Ed was wrongly ruled because of long standing precedent, then they should openly say so.”

Oh, I get it.  His commenter is saying it’s not about reinstating Plessy and overturning Brown; oh no, it just means that some long-standing precedents can be overturned and it’s about time, too.  It has nothing to do with segregation; how can you even think that?  Uh huh.

I don’t know how anyone could read Mr. Cornyn’s initial tweet and not think that he was advocating overturning Brown v. Board of Education.  If he is advocating overturning long-standing precedents, there are a bunch of  rulings that he could have brought up, such Citizens United v. FEC, that unleashed corporate money on political campaigns, or District of Columbia v. Heller, which turned the Second Amendment into a permit for the O.K. Corral on the streets of America.  But he went with the ruling that finally ended racial segregation in public schools; a ruling that was harmless in its nature and its intent and affirming a right to equality that had been denied.

It’s my nature to give someone at least the benefit of the doubt and see how he and his supporters try to get out of the impression that the gentlebeing from Texas isn’t advocating a return to segregation in the schools.  After all, the Texas Republican Party voted last week to support a plank in their platform calling for the repeal of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.  So I’d love to hear his explanation.

But the cynic in me — and it’s been getting a workout recently — is pretty sure he meant what he said.

Sunday, June 26, 2022

Sunday Reading

When A Right Is Taken Away — Jeannie Suk Gersen in The New Yorker.

We have known for some time that this Supreme Court’s manifest destiny was to overrule Roe v. Wade. Now it has fulfilled it. In the ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, Justice Samuel Alito, writing for a five-Justice majority, eliminated the constitutional right to abortion and handed the states the power to restrict the procedure as they wish. There was little suspense, owing to a leak of the draft opinion last month, from which the Court’s final opinion is not substantially different, but the decision still came down as a surreal shock. The three liberal Justices dissented “with sorrow—for this Court, but more importantly, for the many millions of American women who have today lost a fundamental constitutional protection.”

As expected, Chief Justice John Roberts declined to join his conservative colleagues’ opinion, and concurred only in the judgment to uphold the challenged Mississippi law, which bans most abortions after fifteen weeks. Calling the Court’s overruling of Roe “unnecessary to decide the case,” Roberts would instead have allowed states to ban abortion sometime before fetal viability, but would also have reaffirmed a right to abortion that would “ensure a reasonable opportunity to choose.” That more moderate position might have been the Court’s ruling had Ruth Bader Ginsburg not died during the Trump Presidency and been replaced with Amy Coney Barrett, or had the Senate acted on President Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland, instead of waiting to install Trump’s eventual nominee, Neil Gorsuch. And, had neither of those events occurred, we would still have a constitutional right to abortion in the United States.

The difference between preserving and eliminating a long-held constitutional right involves a crude reality of political machinations and contingency in filling these seats—which makes it galling to read the Court’s righteous condemnation of Roe v. Wade as an exercise of “raw judicial power,” and its self-portrayal as a picture of proper judicial restraint. It is hard to imagine something more like an exercise of raw judicial power than the Court’s removal of the right to abortion, which is precisely what these Justices were put on the Court to achieve. As the dissent put it, the Court is “rescinding an individual right in its entirety and conferring it on the State, an action the Court takes for the first time in history.”

Some have speculated that last month’s draft-opinion leak was intended to make it difficult for Justice Brett Kavanaugh to defect from the majority and join the Chief Justice’s compromise position. Kavanaugh didn’t defect, but he did write a notable concurrence that seemed to take some distance from the possible perceived extremity of the majority. It confirmed that he is the Justice whom the majority will need to worry about keeping on board if they wish to go further than Dobbs in the future.

Kavanaugh flexed this muscle by addressing questions about decisions that may come after Dobbs. “The Constitution neither outlaws abortion nor legalizes abortion,” he wrote. As a result, “this Court does not possess the authority either to declare a constitutional right to abortion or to declare a constitutional prohibition of abortion,” he proclaimed, and in so doing seemed to indicate that a possible future development—the eventual enshrining of a constitutional right of the fetus—is not something for which he would provide a fifth vote. Similarly, regarding the constitutional rights to contraception and same-sex marriage, Kavanaugh made a point of emphasizing, with italics, that “overruling Roe does not mean the overruling of those precedents, and does not threaten or cast doubt on those precedents.” Additionally, he expressed his view that a state may not bar its residents from travelling to another state for an abortion, because of the constitutional right to interstate travel. To the extent that anyone is grasping for a silver lining, Kavanaugh appears to want us to know that he personally intends to—and can—stand in the way of a post-Dobbs parade of horribles, even if his colleagues might want to go there.

And at least one of his brethren plainly does want the Court to go there. Justice Clarence Thomas’s separate concurrence made crystal clear that he would indeed do away with the entire substantive due-process doctrine on which the right to abortion rested, and that would mean eventually sweeping away the rights to contraception, same-sex intimacy, and same-sex marriage. He referred to the fact that the Court used substantive due process in Dred Scott v. Sandford to affirm the right of enslavers to enslave people, and he concluded that “the harm caused by this Court’s forays into substantive due process remains immeasurable.”

Thomas’s comments contradict the majority opinion he signed, in which the Court claimed that other rights protected by the Court’s substantive due-process precedents are safe, the reason being that only abortion involves an interest in the life of a fetus. The Dobbs ruling’s insistence that the Court should not impede states from making policies in which they weigh the interest in life for themselves, through their democratic processes, is tragicomic, even gruesome, coming the very day after the Court did just that in striking down a New York State gun-licensing law, based on the Court’s expansion of an individual right to bear arms under the Second Amendment.

In Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the plurality that reaffirmed Roe v. Wade wrote that “liberty finds no refuge in a jurisprudence of doubt”—meaning that, if the public is in doubt about whether constitutional rights are in danger of disappearing, that is not liberty. Dobbs leaves no doubt that the federal constitutional right to abortion is gone. And it ushers in an era of grave doubt about the status of liberty in the United States.

Doonesbury — 1-800-SHYSTER

Saturday, June 25, 2022

Friday, June 24, 2022

Roe v. Wade Overturned

Not unexpected. Still shameful.

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Friday overruled Roe v. Wade, eliminating the constitutional right to abortion after almost 50 years in a decision that will transform American life, reshape the nation’s politics and lead to all but total bans on the procedure in about half of the states.

The ruling will test the legitimacy of the court and vindicate a decades-long Republican project of installing conservative justices prepared to reject the precedent, which had been repeatedly reaffirmed by earlier courts. It will also be one of the signal legacies of President Donald J. Trump, who vowed to name justices who would overrule Roe. All three of his appointees were in the majority in the 6-to-3 ruling.

The decision, which echoed a leaked draft opinion published by Politico in early May, will result in a starkly divided country in which abortion is severely restricted or forbidden in many red states but remains freely available in most blue ones.

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. voted with the majority but said he would have taken “a more measured course,” stopping short of overruling Roe outright. The court’s three liberal members dissented.

What’s next in terms of overturning precedent?  Brown v. Board of EducationGriswold v. ConnecticutLoving v. VirginiaObergefell v. Hodges?

Women, your body is now owned by the state.

Happy Friday

Stupid Is …  Notes from Charlie Pierce on the gang that couldn’t shut up.

WASHINGTON—I would have preferred a mass bust like the one they dropped on the mob families in Apalachin, New York, back in 1957, where there was one big gathering of ratfckers in one place, and the law broke in, and all the ratfckers had to scatter through the woods in a blind panic and their good shoes. But this will do, people. This will surely do. From the Washington Post:

Agents conducted court-authorized law enforcement activity Wednesday morning at different locations, FBI officials confirmed to The Washington Post. One was the home of Brad Carver, a Georgia lawyer who allegedly signed a document claiming to be a Trump elector. The other was the Virginia home of Thomas Lane, who worked on the Trump campaign’s efforts in Arizona and New Mexico. The FBI officials did not identify the people associated with those addresses, but public records list each of the locations as the home addresses of the men.

Among those who received a subpoena Wednesday was David Shafer, the chairman of the Georgia Republican Party, who served as a Trump elector in that state, people familiar with the investigation said. Shafer’s lawyer declined to comment. Separately, at least some of the would-be Trump electors in Michigan received subpoenas, according to a person who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing investigation. But it was not immediately clear whether that activity was related to a federal probe or a state-level criminal inquiry.

The Feds also grabbed the cellphone belonging to the Nevada state GOP chairman. So, basically, if you took a call from any member of the Cockamamie Corps working for Camp Runamuck in the aftermath of the 2020 election, the DOJ would like a word with you. And if you happened to talk to the person, the DOJ would like several words with you—and, perhaps, with your attorney as well. This was a serious roundup of serious varmints, and there’s every indication that it is not even close to over, especially if these folks start turning on each other, which they will, because they can’t all be as stupid as Rudy Giuliani.

FBI agents delivered a subpoena to Lane on Wednesday morning at his home in Virginia, according to the person who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing investigation. After leaving the Trump campaign, Lane has worked for the Republican National Committee’s election efforts in Virginia, this person said. A video posted online in 2020 appears to show Lane handing out paperwork for electors at the Arizona Republican Party’s Dec. 14 alternate elector signing ceremony in Phoenix.

They had videos, because of course they did. They had a ceremony. Throughout this whole sorry episode, from the day of the insurrection onward, I had running through my head the scene from The Wire in which Stringer Bell is pitching the idea of a co-op to the leaders of all the other drug gangs and, at the end, he catches Shamrock writing the minutes of their meeting.

Is you taking notes on a criminal fucking conspiracy?

Videos. Facebook. Twitter. Instagram. Ceremonies for the appointment of fake electors. These people simply could not shut up. Stringer Bell would have taken one look at these clowns and gotten out of the business entirely. Thursday’s public hearing of the House Select Committee, the last one for a while, will focus on how the plotters tried to pressure the DOJ to get in line with the fake-electors scam. In the current DOJ, I suspect this will occasion great hilarity.

Thursday, June 23, 2022

Pigeon Droppings

Rusty Bowers, the Arizona state representative who testified the other day before the January 6 committee that Trump tried to strong-arm him into changing the results of the 2020 election, says he’s still a Trumper.

Arizona House Speaker Russell “Rusty” Bowers’ voice wavered as he spoke to the House Jan. 6 committee Tuesday about his belief in a divinely inspired Constitution. His conviction was clear when describing the offense he took at former President Donald Trump asking him to break the law. In testimony that’s being likened to Jimmy Stewart in “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,” Bowers said violating the Constitution “because somebody just asked me to is foreign to my very being.”

Like the fellow Republicans who joined him on Tuesday’s panel, Bowers was willing to speak the taboo that has condemned so many of Republicans: Trump lost the 2020 election to Joe Biden and tried to persuade officials like Bowers to help him illegally stay in office. But Bowers stood out for his simple yet eloquent musings on the nature of courage and democracy.

It was easy to get lost in the moment that Bowers created — but then reality comes crashing in. In an interview with the Associated Press, Bowers said of Trump: “If he is the nominee, if he was up against Biden, I’d vote for him again. Simply because what he did the first time, before Covid, was so good for the county. In my view it was great.”

So, yeah, Trump tried to overthrow the government of the United States and install himself as president, but hey, up until then he was my kinda guy.  We heard the same rationalization in 1974 about Nixon: hey, he was a great president until he tried to fix the 1972 election.  Such a shame he had to resign.

I’m sure there’s some psychological term for this inability to reconcile the totality of a situation with how it runs headlong into morality, not to mention legality, as long as you get what you want for yourself.  History is replete with people and entire populations who accepted horrific attacks on freedoms and social norms as long as they didn’t shit on your lawn.  Mussolini made the trains run on time; so what if he caved to the Nazis and deported the Jews.

This is a part of a larger picture.  I still get robo-calls about my car warranty and my Microsoft computer sending out “bad things.”  That’s because for every call I delete or send to spam, there’s ten or a hundred who fall for it and willingly send thousands of dollars to some scammer’s cube farm in India.  If they didn’t work, they wouldn’t still be in business.  It’s the same with politicians: if the lie and bullshit worked the last time, it’s going to work again as long as you give the marks the false hope that their life will get better if you blame all your problems on someone else and warn them that the opposition is going to use the same tactics that suckered you in.   (Case in point: Wackos like MTG warn of rioting and violence from the “radical leftists” at the same time the members of the January 6 committee are getting security details because of an increase in death threats from Trump supporters.)

In short, no one ever lost an election by exploiting the greed, fear, and paranoia of the average American.  Works every time.

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

So Go Already

Last weekend the Texas Republican Party voted to return to those golden days of 1859.

Thousands of Republican activists meeting in Houston this weekend for the state’s party convention agreed to a resolution that rejects the outcome of the 2020 presidential election and refers to Joe Biden as an illegitimate president.

The delegates also called for the repeal of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, which was passed to end discrimination against Black Americans at the polls.

Separately, a party platform presented to convention delegates labeled homosexuality “an abnormal lifestyle choice.” According to the Texas Tribune, the platform also advocates for children to learn in school about “the humanity of the preborn child,” promoting new messaging after the state has taken steps to vastly restrict abortion.

They also voted to encourage a referendum to secede from the union.

Fine with me. The federal government will save billions of dollars in Social Security and Medicare — there are a lot of retirees in Texas — not to mention that every time there’s a tornado, flood, hurricane, wildfire, ice storm, and electrical grid failure, Texas comes with their hand out for your tax dollars to pay for it. No more of that welfare.  The U.S. Senate would get rid of two senators, John Cornyn and Ted Cruz, for whom the term “asshole” barely begins to cover it. Every Texan would have to apply for a passport to cross the border, and hundreds of corporations would pull up stakes and move somewhere else. After all, it would be slightly ridiculous to have American Airlines have their headquarters in a foreign country.

And this:  “a party platform presented to convention delegates labeled homosexuality ‘an abnormal lifestyle choice.'”  Wrong on all three counts, cowboy.  What’s “normal” for some is “abnormal” for someone else, and a political party in the thrall of a dictator doesn’t get to determine what’s what.  It’s not a “lifestyle;” it’s a life.  And it’s not a choice.  No one came to me and asked me if I wanted to be gay, and no one “groomed” me (trust me, grooming by any definition is not something I aspire to).  I also know a fair number of Texans who are hard-core conservative Republicans who are as gay as pink shoes.  Making sexual orientation a political issue only leads to bigotry and hatred, and they’ve already covered that by wanting to repeal the Voting Rights Act.  The only reason they want to do that is because they know that if everyone, including minorities had equal access to the voting booth, they’d be out on their ass, and they can’t have that.  As the hearings in the January 6th committee have shown, the only way they can win is by cheating and thievery.

So go already.

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

June Solstice

Summer begins in the northern hemisphere at 5:13 a.m. here in Miami with the June solstice.  It means the beginning of winter in the southern hemisphere.

As you’ll remember from Grade 8 Earth Science class, summer is short for latitudes farther north and south, but they get more daylight during the summer months.  After ten days in Alaska, last night was the first time I’d seen full dark at night since June 9.

Monday, June 20, 2022

Grateful

I am grateful for the time I’m able to take to go to Valdez, Alaska, and be among the brilliant, funny, quirky, energetic collection of actors, directors, designers, caretakers, and the audience who gather there for eight days to celebrate playwrights and our craft.  It is exhausting and exhilarating: twelve hours in three flights to get there and then get home, but worth every minute, even if the route is unexpectedly circuitous.  I took over a hundred pictures while I was there, and not just of people.  Yesterday when everything was over and we had time to kill, three friends and I took a mile-long hike along the Dock Point Nature Trail just east of the town to see just a little bit of what that vast Last Frontier has to offer in June.

And in the end… the road home from the Valdez Convention and Civic Center after the last event.  It’s not goodbye; it’s intermission.

Sunday, June 19, 2022

Sunday Reading

What We Learned — Susan B. Glaser in The New Yorker.

It’s been hard, these last couple of weeks, to watch and rewatch the horrifying events of January 6, 2021. As the House select committee investigating the attack on the Capitol has conducted its televised hearings, they have played video clips of the violence over and over again. No image is more memorable—and more disturbing—than that of the wooden gallows Donald Trump’s supporters erected on the Capitol lawn as rioters chanted “Hang Mike Pence! Hang Mike Pence!” The committee documented that those threats were real. According to an F.B.I. affidavit the panel highlighted on Thursday, a government informant said that members of the far-right militant group the Proud Boys told him they would have killed Pence “if given the chance.” The rioters on January 6th almost had that chance, coming within forty feet of the Vice-President as he fled to safety.

The malice of those in the crowd toward Pence, the holier-than-thou evangelical Christian who had spent the previous four years as Donald Trump’s slavishly loyal sidekick, was remarkable.

“If Pence caved we’re going to drag motherfuckers through the streets,” one rioter was captured on video saying. “He deserves to burn with the rest of them,” another said. A man with a bullhorn agitated the crowd. “Mike Pence has betrayed the United States of America,” he informed the already agitated mob. “Mike Pence has betrayed this President.” He finished with a threat and a promise: “We will never, ever forget.”

The explosive ending of the Trump Presidency has always been a story about the rift between Trump and Pence—two of the most mismatched figures ever to be thrown into a marriage of political convenience. For four years, Trump had tested and tried his sanctimonious No. 2, but Pence never broke. Not in public, not, as far as we can tell, in private, either. He was famous during the Trump years for doing and saying almost nothing that would make news. When he debated Kamala Harris during the 2020 campaign, his most memorable moment was when a fly landed on his impeccably coiffed white hair and he did not react for the full two minutes that it sat on his head.

But on January 6th, Pence finally did break with Trump, refusing to go along with the President’s absurd, illegal, and unconstitutional plot to have his Vice-President single-handedly overturn the will of the American people and block Congress’s confirmation of Joe Biden’s victory. On Thursday, the House committee devoted its hearing to attempting to explain Trump’s scheme to pressure Pence—which unfolded in a series of inflammatory Presidential tweets, angry phone calls, and bizarre White House meetings that were a mix of constitutional-law seminars and live reënactments of “The Godfather.” The committee introduced a new villain to a national television audience: John Eastman, the former law professor who concocted the absurd legal theory that Pence could unilaterally overturn the election—a concocted counterpart to what U.S. District Judge David Carter recently skewered as “a coup in search of a legal theory.”

If the hearing was designed to eviscerate the professional standing of Eastman, it succeeded blisteringly well. He was shown to be inconsistent, not on the level, and legally and historically shoddy in his work. Greg Jacob, Pence’s former counsel, testified that Eastman even acknowledged, at one point, that he knew his theory was unconstitutional and would likely be unanimously rejected by the Supreme Court—if it ever got there. The committee’s biggest reveal of the day was an e-mail from Eastman to Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani, asking for a Presidential pardon for himself. “I’ve decided that I should be on the pardon list, if that is still in the works,” Eastman wrote. Lawyers who don’t think they did anything wrong are not in the habit of asking for pardons. When called for a deposition by the panel, Eastman cited his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination a hundred times, Representative Pete Aguilar of Texas revealed.

But, of course, Americans don’t really care about John Eastman. Nor should they. It was President Trump who desperately seized on Eastman’s absurd argument that the Vice-President determines the winner of Presidential elections. It was Trump who brought this buffoon into the White House, Trump who demanded that Pence attend repeated meetings with him, and Trump who charged ahead with the plot.

Trump did not care what Eastman’s legal theories were. He just wanted him to provide one. His goal was to keep power by whatever means necessary. Once again, the January 6th panel presented compelling evidence that Trump personally orchestrated the campaign—inflaming the mob when Pence did not cave in, as Trump apparently expected, after four years of caving in. In a dramatic phone call from the Oval Office on the morning of January 6th, with his family arrayed around him listening, the President berated and castigated his Vice-President. Trump called him a “wimp,” according to one witness. A former aide to Trump’s own daughter Ivanka recalled Ivanka telling her that Trump had called Pence a “pussy.” When Pence rebuffed him anyway, Trump, a few hours later, tweeted his anger at Pence’s lack of “courage”—even as the mob stormed the Capitol. “It felt like he was pouring gasoline on the fire,” one of his White House officials, Sarah Matthews, testified regarding the tweet.

Purely by coincidence, I’m sure, Thursday’s hearing took place on the seventh anniversary of the day when Trump kicked off his Presidential campaign with that famous escalator ride down to the lobby of Trump Tower. Soon after the hearing ended, I received a fund-raising e-mail from Trump asking, “Do you remember this day 7 years ago?” and promising that if I sent him money by 11:59 P.M. I would both get my name on “the 2022 Trump Donor Wall” and have my gift “INCREASED by 600%.” (How, exactly, was not clear.) The Trump grift continues.

And that, really, was the bigger point of Thursday’s debates about the language of the Electoral Count Act of 1887 and the powers vested in the Vice-Presidency. Trump remains not only an e-mail-fund-raising huckster but also the subject of historical inquiry. He continues to be what the retired federal judge Michael Luttig, a conservative legal icon who advised Pence, called him at Thursday’s hearing: a “clear and present danger” to the nation.

Doonesbury — Fluid leak.