Make America Great Again? Compared to when? When black Americans were being denied their civil rights, in some cases being lynched, during the era of Jim Crow? When Americans of Japanese descent were having their property stolen from them and being forced into prison (internment) camps? How about when women couldn’t vote? When slavery was legal? Or, when our nation was actively pursuing the displacement, or actual extermination, of Native American populations as policy? No, America’s greatness rests not in an imagined glorious past, but in the hearts, minds and actions of citizens from each generation standing up for what is right.


R.L. Hutson



Human torturers

Our grandfathers fought and died to protect the world from people like Gina Haspel. On May 16, Haspel was confirmed by the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee to be the new director of the CIA. Unfortunately, Haspel has a reputation for participating in human torture. Her activities in places such as “Detention Site Green” in Thailand reveal that Haspel made the poor decision to participate in human torture over and over. One can only feel sorry for the last of the Greatest Generation, who will soon leave this world knowing that our leaders, our soldiers and our citizens are now seen by the world as human torturers. Sen. John McCain, a Vietnam War veteran who was tortured, is dying from brain cancer knowing that the cleverest human torturer is now being promoted and the need to protect him from human torturers is no longer necessary. America has been taken over by human torturers. Why fight it?


The problem is not that we have forgotten the lessons we learned at Geneva and Nuremberg. The problem is we no longer possess the national character to value and appreciate international law. The various Geneva conventions taught us not to torture, and the trials at Nuremberg taught us that we will be punished for allowing human torture.

Haspel should be punished, not promoted.

Gene Mason



From the web

In response to a July 9 Arkansas Blog post “Trump picks former Whitewater prosecutor for Supreme Court”:

There’s a brave new world ahead. I’m probably too old to witness the end result, but I don’t think it’s going to be good.


This nomination needs to be put on hold until after the midterm elections since Trump is still under investigation. A traitor to this country shouldn’t have the power to appoint a new judge who will rule on the Russia investigation and the crimes Trump has committed.


plainjim, there’s a new world ahead, but I don’t see a lot of courage in it.


Can anyone think of another country where the nomination of a judge raises so much consternation and debate?



Is it possible to stall the confirmation hearings until after the midterm elections? Barring that, is it possible that Mueller wraps up his investigation before then? Otherwise, we need a miracle of some sort.


Cato is correct. In most of the world, the appointment of jurists does not receive the attention it does in the United States. In Britain, the House of Lords is the ultimate “supreme court” and, of course, those “jurists” receive their titles by birth. I don’t know how the other European democracies appoint their “ultimate” jurists because we never hear about the procedure. Supreme Court justices don’t always act like their handlers thought they would. The point is, I believe, in a democracy whoever wins the election should be able to make the appointments he or she wants. I thought that when Obama was president, and, despite the fact that the Republicans refused to even consider that appointment, I can’t say that it should change the traditional system for confirmation. In that vein, the Republicans should not have unseated Abe Fortas, and the Democrats should not have blocked Robert Bork. We have had “good” Supreme Courts, and we have had “bad” Supreme Courts, but the country is still the symbol of freedom throughout the world. That is why thousands of people risk everything to come here. Our system must have worked pretty well throughout the years.

We may have a conservative Supreme Court for years, but things change. Presidents lose their office; people die, and not always the ones we expect to. We had a liberal Supreme Court during the Earl Warren years, followed by a polarized court that depended upon one person to make the ultimate decisions on laws, first Sandra Day O’Connor and then Anthony Kennedy. That was not a good situation. I think we may see a moderating influence in the years ahead by Chief Justice John Roberts. He has a sister who is an admitted lesbian, so he cannot be deaf to the concerns of the LGBT community. He found a convoluted way to uphold the Affordable Care Act, which shows me he wants to provide health care for all. Though he is Catholic, he is also a firm believer in precedent, so I don’t believe he would vote to overturn Roe v. Wade.

The bottom line is, don’t panic. We have lived through some very bad Supreme Courts, as Cato will attest to, and still we survive and even prosper.