Friday, February 10, 2017

Tail Gunner Dick

U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions soon will assume his duties as President Donald Trump’s Attorney General. His nomination was opposed by leading Democrats in the U.S. Congress chiefly because he was not Eric Holder.  At one point during his cross examination of Sessions, U.S. Senator and mud thrower from Connecticut Dick Blumenthal subtly suggested that Sessions might have a soft spot in his heart for the KKK. Blumenthal noted that Sessions had received some awards during his twenty years in the Congress, among them an award from the David Horowitz Freedom Center, Frank Gaffney's Center for Security Policy and the Federation for American Immigration Reform, the latter of which Blumenthal noted is classified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, according to a story in the Washington Examiner.

"Given that you did not disclose a number of those awards,” Blumenthal asked, “are there any other awards from groups that have similar kinds of ideological negative views of immigrants or of African-Americans or Muslims or others, including awards that you may have received from the Ku Klux Klan?"

In one bold stroke, Blumenthal had marked David Horowitz -- author of “Radical Son,” a record of Horowitz’s accession from Red diaper baby radicalism to conservativism, and “Progressive Racism,” which Blumenthal, a progressive himself, might want to skip reading – as a KKK sympathizer; it only remained after that to tie Sessions to Horowitz, not easily done since both are honorable men who disdain the KKK, which has never been welcoming to Jews such as Horowitz or Sessions who had, according to Alveda King, niece of Martin Luther King, “worked to prosecute the Ku Klux Klan. He has worked to desegregate public schools.”

A little mud goes a long way. “Mud sticks,” Said Cardinal John Henry Newman, “sticks, but does not stain.”

Prior to Judge Gorsuch’s interrogation by hostile Democrats, a prelude to his almost certain appointment to the Supreme Court, Gorsuch, making the rounds of U.S. Senators, had a chat with Blumenthal, who previously had announced that Gorsuch would be closely questioned, much in the manner of tail gunner Joe McCarthy running over the reputation of one of his hapless victims. Some commentators wondered if Gorsuch would be borked by Blumenthal or some other stiff and morally superior grand inquisitor.

Robert Bork was borked by then Senator Edward Kennedy. Less than an hour after Bork had been nominated, Mary Jo Kopechne’s chauffeur exploded on the floor of the Senate, “Robert Bork's America is a land in which women would be forced into back-alley abortions, blacks would sit at segregated lunch counters, rogue police could break down citizens' doors in midnight raids, schoolchildren could not be taught about evolution, writers and artists could be censored at the whim of the Government, and the doors of the Federal courts would be shut on the fingers of millions of citizens.

But would Blumenthal be able measure up to Kennedy’s surreal, though politically useful, rhetoric? And does Blumenthal believe that such sentiments expressed by a senator concerning a sitting judge and a nominee for the Supreme Court are  "disheartening" and "demoralizing," words purportedly used by Gorsuch to describe a tweeted remark issued by President Donald Trump concerning a judge who stayed a temporary interdiction of refugees. Trump, as everyone knows, is prone to pull the tweeter trigger when grievously disappointed, and Gorsuch, known to be jealous of the independence of the judiciary, already has acknowledged so characterizing the tweet.

Trump birched the federal judge in Seattle for having stayed a constitutional presidential order to ban unvettable refugees from seven crumbling states in the Middle East from entering the United States. Citing the statute that gives presidents broad authority to restrict immigration, Trump said the ruling of the "so-called judge” was "ridiculous and will be overturned." The stay is not harmless. The Washington Times, not a KKK publication, is reporting, “A staggering 77 percent of the 1,100 refugees let in since Judge James L. Robart’s Feb. 3 order have been from the seven suspect countries. Nearly a third are from Syria alone — a country that President Trump has ordered be banned altogether from the refugee program. Another 21 percent are from Iraq. By contrast, in the two weeks before Judge Robart’s order, just 9 percent of refugees were from Syria and 6 percent were from Iraq.”

Here is Blumenthal speaking to CNN, mountainizing the molehill: “I said to Judge Gorsuch and I believe that ordinarily a Supreme Court nominee would not be expected to comment on issues or political matters or cases that come before court, but we're in a very unusual situation. We're careening, literally, toward a constitutional crisis. And he's been nominated by a president who has repeatedly and relentlessly attacked the American judiciary on three separate occasions, their credibility and trust is in question."

Naturally, we want courts to be independent of the two other branches of government. But the courts, unlike Caesar’s wife, should never be above criticism – even from a twittering president, especially when the court has attacked a clearly constitutional measure, however disagreeable, that is for the most part self-elapsing and issued to secure the safety of the nation. Why should the president be prohibited from launching verbal sallies one regularly sees in hundreds of robust editorials or political commentary pieces?  Propriety and good manners never stopped Ted Kennedy.

It is doubtful they will stop the mud-throwing senator from Planned Parenthood

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