Friday, November 22, 2013

Kaboom! Nuclear Option Goes Off

Oh the horrors, Democrats finally took the nuclear option.  The fainting couches at Fox News are full to the brim.  Viewers are treated to clips of Democrats warning Republicans about using the nuclear option to confirm Bush’s judges, ad nausea.

So, let’s take a little trip down the memory hole.  George Bush lost the 2000 election by over a half million votes and lost Florida in spite of his brother’s and family friends’ machinations.  After James Baker filed the lawsuit Bush v. Gore, daddy’s pals on the Supreme Court made an extra-judicial decision to overturn the election.  Bush and Cheney came into office making a full assault on our Democracy as if they had an overwhelming victory.

Starting with Bush’s pick for Attorney General John Ashcroft, the judicial system in the U.S. was forever pushed far right. 

According to Democracy Now here’s a sample of John Ashcroft’s legacy prior to being nominated for AG:

He persistently attempted to block school desegregation in his state; a federal court threatened to hold the state in contempt for his failure to comply with a court order.

He gave a lengthy interview to the Neo-Confederate magazine Southern Partisan, in which he praised Confederate leaders who fought to preserve slavery, including Robert E. Lee and Jefferson Davis.

He distorted the record of a highly qualified African American state Supreme Court Judge and misled his colleagues in the Senate, successfully sabotaging the judge’s nomination to a federal district court.

He received an honorary degree from Bob Jones University and spoke there just three years ago; the Christian university has a segregationist history and until recently banned interracial dating and marriage.

But was Ashcroft filibustered?  No, he went on to become Attorney General and spent about $8,000 for drapes to cover “Lady Justice’s” naked breast.  He wrote the Patriot Act and allowed the torture of prisoners.  Republicans said over and over, the President has the right to an up or down vote on his choices.

Upon arrival in the White House, Bush fired all judges and began filling those seats with the biggest cavalcade of clowns in this country’s history.  Attorneys from Pat Robertson’s Regent University and Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University were prominent in the Bush Administration.  Bush’s nominees had a basic requirement, an extreme religo-crazy agenda. 

Two of Bush’s appointees that Democrats objected to were Janice Rogers Brown and Pricilla Owen.  Both were right-wing extremists.  So Republicans made a deal with Democrats, pass Bush’s picks and we will avert the “nuclear option”.  Those nut cases are still on the court today making judgments on personal religious philosophy rather than established law.

Then there was the controversial December 7, 2006 midterm dismissal of nine U.S. attorneys who were George W. Bush appointees.  There had been a mid-term election and these attorneys failed to indict Democratic politicians ahead of the election.

One of those fired attorneys was David Iglesias, who was the subject of the movie “A Few Good Men” and was played by Tom Cruise.  Iglesias a Republican and a JAG officer had received a positive performance review just before he was fired by Bush.

Iglesias was the U.S. Attorney for New Mexico where Republican Representative Heather Wilson was up for reelection.  New Mexico’s Republican Senator Pete Domenici and Representative Wilson made phone calls to Attorney Iglesias to pressure him to bring charges of corruption against Democratic Senate President Pro Tem, Manny Aragon before the election.  The FBI had been investigating Aragon for possible kickbacks in connection of construction of two courthouses in Albuquerque.

According to a 2007 article by Michael Coleman in the Albuquerque Journal:

Former U.S. Attorney David Iglesias told Congress on Tuesday that Sen. Pete Domenici and Rep. Heather Wilson made "inappropriate" calls to inquire about public corruption cases.

Iglesias told House and Senate committees the calls from his fellow Republicans marked the first time he had ever received inquiries about an ongoing federal investigation from a member of Congress.

"I got the distinct impression I was to take action before (the general election)," Iglesias testified.

Monica Goodling, a Regent University (Pat Robertson) grad had been in charge of decisions on the hiring and firing of the attorneys.  At a congressional hearing on the political firings of the seven attorneys she admitted judges were hired on the basis of political predisposition.

So here we are today, the Democrats finally invoked the nuclear option.  Finally.   Our Government has been paralyzed by the Republican Party.  We must move forward.

Republicans aren’t interested in compromise, nor are they interested in sanity.  They filibuster everything, from appointments of staff and judges to the most minor legislation.  If you were dealing with sane, reasonable people you wouldn’t have to resort to the nuclear option of passing appointments with a simple majority.  But alas, we are not dealing with sane, reasonable people; we are dealing with the new Republican Party.  Sane need not apply.  Kaboom!

By Patricia Baeten

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