Yesterday's Times editorial was entitled "Senators In Need of a Spine." You know it's really bad out there when even the nation's leading mainstream newspaper feels compelled to ask -- What's with the Democrats?
Even the NY Times calls for action to stop Alito.
What's with the Democrats?
The first perfidious accommodation of the Dems to the Republicans' aggressive attacks on the nation's justice system came with the crisis over the use of the nuclear action. A group so-called centrist Dems and Republicans (the Gang of 14) agreed to back away from the precipice; i.e. the Dems would not use the Filibuster (except for "extraordinary circumstances") if the Republicans agreed not to change the Senate rules outlawing its use. By agreeing to this, the Dems painted themselves into a corner from which they, apparently, are afraid or unwilling to break out.
The next shameful aquiesence came with the nomination of John Roberts. By allowing the Republicans to control the tone and rules of the hearing process, by playing by their absurd rules (i.e. no questions allowed that would determine how a justice might vote on crucial questions - why even bother with hearings, in that case?) and fearing attacks on them from the corporate media that colludes with the Administration, this extremist was confirmed easily, with only 22 Democrats voting opposition.
And now Alito ... who, if confirmed, will be the most conservative of all the justices, bar none. His appointment will tip the balance so the court's decisions will be consistently anti-woman, anti-labor, anti-civil rights and liberties and 100 percent pro-corporate. So the question must be asked of the Democrats - just what "extraordinary circumstances" were you thinking of that would allow you to resort to a filibuster, the one legal and constitutional tool available that could still the hand of the Right as they attempt to take over the third branch of our government? If not now, then when?
Why do they cower so? What terrifies them? Losing the next election? Being branded trouble makers, sore losers and whiners by the likes of the corrupt Frist and DeLay? Are those reason enough to collapse, to meekly acquiesce, to hand over our country, our rights, our standards of living to the Bush and Cheneys?
What ever happened to the noble idea of standing on principle and fighting for what you believe in? The patriots who founded our republic put their lives on the line for their principles. The Democrats, in their pitiful cowardice, have disgraced those heroes of our nation's birth struggle.
Just look at these sorrowful statements --
"Everyone knows there is not enough votes to support a filibuster" -- Harry, I'm the Democrat's leader, Reid, Dem., Nevada and Senate Minority "Leader."Pathetic.
"Judge Alito told me that he respected the separation of powers and would not rule in support of a power-hungry President. I liked that answer, and I liked Judge Alito. He struck me as a man of his word, and I intend to vote for him." -- Robert, I'm the No. 1 expert on the Constitution in the U.S. Senate, Byrd, Dem., W-Va (voting for Alito -- with friends like that, who needs enemies?).
HARRY SMITH, CBS ANCHOR: "Your colleague, Senator John Kerry, is interested in putting together a filibuster to block the confirmation of Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court. Do you want to help him out?"
SENATOR BIDEN: "No. I think that a filibuster is not likely to bear any fruit here. We already have four Democrats who've announced they're going to vote for Judge Alito. That gets it down to a pretty slim majority." -- Joseph, it's all about ME, the Senate's No. 1 pompous blowhard, Biden, Dem., Delaware.
Today, finally, Senators Kerry and Kennedy announced that they would stand on principle and filibuster against the appointment. An email and phone avalanche ensued as Americans across the country called on their Senators to stand up and be counted by supporting the filibuster. NY Senators Schumer and Clinton have both said they will support the filibuster.
Fox "News" and the rest of the corporate media, echoing Republican talking points, have been pronouncing that the confirmation is a "done deal" for weeks now. They hate when reality collides with their GOP party-line pronouncements. So they have gone ballistic at the notion of a filibuster, belittling it and declaring it dead on arrival. That aside, it remains to be seen if the seething anger from below can push the feeble Democrats to block the nomination. Time will tell. Have you called your Senator today? (and every day so their phone rings off the hook - perhaps they'll get the message. Toll Free - 1-800-393-1082)
Hillary Clinton is perhaps the Senator that should know better than any other the meaning of "vast right-wing conspiracy." After all, it was she who uttered those words and properly so, as the vicious thugs that comprise the Republican party attempted to unseat her husband for the high crime of sexual impropriety.
Now that truly high crimes are pervading Washington - crimes that threaten our democracy and our very Constitution - one hears very little from the NY Senator as she plans to run for President in 2008. The current president, George II, sent our youth to die in an immoral and illegal war based on lies. Congress voted to allow the President to pursue his war against Iraq.
Ever growing opposition to the war has led the Administration to increase repressive, McCarthyite tactics against protest at home. To be able to pursue the war in Iraq the President has polluted our democracy while bankrupting the Treasury and impoverishing more and more Americans. The Administration has imprisoned people without charges or trials, has allowed the widespread use of abuse and torture and has trampled on the Constitution by disobeying the law requiring warrants for wiretaps and spying on the American people. If ever there were justification for charges of Impeachment, these serious misdeeds demand such action now.
New Yorkers overwhelmingly oppose the war, as do most Americans. So we must ask why our Senators, both Clinton and Schumer are still supporting it. Pataki (he's running for President in 2008 also) has just called for a $500 increase in tuition at the state university. This, while the President's new budget calls for a $13 billion dollar cut in college loans, one more casualty of the Bush war economy. For Clinton and Schumer to be silent on Iraq, or, beyond silence, to support the war - as they have done time and time again with voice and with votes - this treachery should not go unanswered by their constituents. The Republicans are able to get away with these regressive policies by standing on the backs of Democratic silence, acquiescence and even support.
The peace groups, Code Pink, Brooklyn Parents For Peace and Peace Action have called for a continuing vigil outside Hillary Clinton's office, every Friday from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. Her office is at 780 Third Avenue at 49th Street.
Today's vigil was a spirited event - people dressed in pink (ala Code Pink) with large rubber ears. Signs wanted to know if Hillary was listening to the needs and demands of her constituency. Passers-by took flyers and many agreed that their Senator should be outspoken against the war. If you can make it next Friday, you'll be helping push the Democrats to be more outspoken. Like the Times said - they're lacking spine. We can help supply it! Be there.
Friday's vigil at Hillary's office on Third Avenue -- "We won't support you while you support the war!"
Hillary - Are you listening? New Yorkers demand their Senator represent their opposition to the war.