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The strangler, Tom Cotton 

The strangler

Last week, participants in the Delta Grassroots Caucus meeting in Little Rock asked a lot of questions of Republican Senate candidate Rep. Tom Cotton via Skype and he owned up proudly to his record of opposition to popular program after popular program.

Yes, he opposed the farm bill. Too much money for food stamps.

Yes, he thinks food stamps are a bad investment. If people starve, maybe they'll get off their butts and work.

He opposes spending money on highway beautification. Aesthetics? Blah.

He likes highway spending but he doesn't want to spend money on mass transit in big cities. Sure. It makes far more sense to spend millions on rural freeways in Arkansas that serve a small number of people at high cost rather than efficient mass transit that takes pollution machines off the road.

He's a proud opponent of the paycheck fairness act. Why should women be paid the same as men for the same job? The men who make these pay decisions have good reason for them and that's good enough for Tom Cotton. Oh sure. He supports the concept of equal pay for equal work. Just not an avenue in the courts to get it.

Cotton may be right. The long efforts of the Kochs and others to instill in voters the belief that strangling government will be good for them might result in election of a strangler. If so, there'll be a rude awakening for a lot of voters.

The bigotry to come

The Arkansas Legislative Council meets at 9 a.m. Friday, June 20. Sen. Jason Rapert (R-Conway) will be back with his demagogic resolution to reaffirm legislative support for Amendment 83 and its legalized discrimination against gay people who wish marriage equality and to otherwise ignorantly proclaim that Circuit Judge Chris Piazza abused his oath of office by doing precisely what judges are empowered to do — indeed are sworn to do — uphold both the state and U.S. Constitutions.

Will a majority of the legislative council really declare judges in Arkansas have no power to interpret the Constitution? Mind you, this isn't expression of a difference of opinion on interpretation. The Rapert resolution flatly states the judge has abused his authority and violated the separation of powers doctrine. If that's so, Piazza has joined dozens of judges around the country who've reached precisely the same constitutional decision on the constitutionality of attempting to legalize discrimination against a group of people on account of their sexual orientation. It is a precise parallel to the judges who overrode the "will of the people" and said states could no longer segregate black children or prevent mixed-race couples from marrying. They, too, in the Rapert School of Law violated their oaths and defied the separation of powers doctrine.

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