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Friday, January 27, 2006
FRIDAY'S AUDIO BLOG
or, CONSTITUTIONAL JEOPARDY

Here is the piece heard on KOPT Friday morning.

In the immortal words of Commander James Montgomery Scott of NCC 1701, "It's green."

It's a 2.2 meg download. The (hilarious) piece runs exactly 4:44.

Download the MP3 (right click and "save as"):

http://www.hartwilliams.com/jeopardy.mp3

Stiff upper lip and all that. Chin up.

Courage.
.
Wednesday, January 25, 2006
LOOKING FOR HORATIUS
or, WHOOPS

(NOTE: I'm still working on a big project. Will be back soon.)

The person I felt most sorry for was Senator Arlen Specter, (Disgrace, PA).

Not for tomorrow: I will feel great sadness at their plight in the months and years to come. But for today, Specter had a rare opportunity, but he didn't grasp it, and will fade, deservedly into that vast graveyard of petty politicians who grasp and twist and flutter to get their names on bridges and libraries, and who, in a generation are forgotten by all, save their more bragadocious descendants -- as though they, unborn, had a hand in getting that scratched brass plate onto that bridge abutment.

They are, one and all, Ozymandias. And Specter joined their ranks today.

We were looking for a Horatius, but, sadly, we only got a Specter. And all's the more pity for it.

For a long time, I have felt it only appropriate that the eventual gravestone for Bob Dole must needs read: "Here Lies Bob Dole, who cared more for his Party than his Country."

The epitaph still applies, but it applies to an awful lot more Senators than I had previously considered. One is Arlen Specter.

For one brief, shining moment, Specter had a chance to put the welfare of every woman in the United States above partisan opportunism. As the Chair of the Judiciary Committee, he voted last, and, had he followed his pro-choice beliefs rather than his partisan skullduggery, he might have prevented what is about to occur.

All he had to do was vote "no" on the lying, prevaricating, ethically challenged Judge Alito. Specter is no fool (at least not at that level), and knows full well WHY Alito was nominated, how far he is from the judicial mainstream and how far from the American mainstream, and, since Specter's not running for office again, he has nothing to lose.

Indeed, he's one of those small Ozymandii who is obsessed with his "legacy," and stopping Alito would have been an act of solitary courage to rank with Horatius at the Bridge. (About whom more later).

But he meekly acquiesced, abandoning principle for party, and bravely writing his epitaph as a mirror reflection of Bob Dole's. Perhaps he was too stupid to recognize the moment he held in his liver-spotted hands. Perhaps he really hates women secretly. Perhaps he truly DOES believe that the government has a right to treat a woman as a brood mare, as the other Republicans do. But his failure to stand up to Alito nails his posterity down, once and for all.

And for that, I truly pity him. All the bridges in the world can't erase the stain of his shameful cowardice.

And now we're back to that spot I wrote about on May 15, 2005 in the blog entitled "Lies My Senator Told Me." (The "cliffhanger" that concludes the printed version of SKIING UPHILL, Vol. 1). Then, the gutless "gang of fourteen" came to the "compromise" that shoved still more radically fascist morons onto the Federal judiciary -- following that Nazi Orin Hatch's vile plan to completely restock the Federal bench with ultra-right-wing clones.

In return for their pathetic compliance, the Democrats in the "Gang of Fourteen" received a promise that the Republicans wouldn't break the rules of the Senate in as slimy a piece of Parliamentary legerdemain as has ever been seen, by changing the rules of the Senate to override a filibuster with a 60-senator vote for cloture to a simple majority. (This would require the presence of Dick Cheney to hold the 51st vote, just in case, and to misinterpret parliamentary procedure.)

It was explained to us that this was to "keep our powder dry" for the grave fights ahead over Supreme Court justices.

Well, in return for the whimpering, simpering complicity of the "compromising" Democratic senators, they received the "promise" that the Republicans involved in the compromise wouldn't allow the "Nuclear Option" -- that phrase that the Republicans want to pretend was invented by Democrats, which was coined by that "Democrat" Trent "I love Segregation" Lott.

Well, the Republicans from the Gang of Fourteen have already fundamentally repudiated that deal. The Democrats were only supposed to use the filibuster in "extreme" circumstances, but like the Quislings that they are, they failed to notice that "extreme" was to be defined by the Republicans.

Yesterday, Senator Lindsey Graham, (Asshole, SC), stated that if they tried anything, the Repug-thugs would "clean their clocks." He was one of the "Gang" of "moderates," you might remember. He was also the fellow who triggered the famous Mrs. Alito crying jag with his code word and his phony protestations that Alito was being smeared.

Nothing is needed to smear Alito beyond the facts, and evidently the facts are too damning to allow discussion, testimony or even the attention of the catamite press, who meekly made the story Mrs. Alito's crocodile tears, and not Alito's evasions, his lies, his distortions or his sneaky, grade school challenge to the entire anti-war generation of the 1960s as "disgraceful."

And, like Hitler, the "up or down vote" was pulled as a cudgel this morning by Mad King George. It was a follow up threat. It was a demand that Alito not be filibustered. But no one in the catamite press notices. If anything, their cheerleading for the Apocalypse has only become more pronounced. Here's my Hitler parallel. See if you think it's an accurate one:

http://www.deproverbio.com/DPjournal/DP,1,1,95/HITLER.html

... this "politische Phrasenvernebelung" (political smoke-screen of phrases) had a marked influence on the general German population right from the start which, however, for the most part did not become aware of "what reality lies hidden behind such expressions."
And, like Horatius, we in the streets recognize that the very fate of the Republic may well be at stake. Alito represents Etruscan king Lars Porsenna, who had allied himself with deposed Roman tyrant Tarquin to reconquer the newly minted Roman Republic in 510, BCE.

These far-right wingnut judges may well reinterpret the Constitution out of existence. But the compliant senators want to save the tactic of filibuster for 'extreme' cases.

What the hell could be more extreme than this? A truly right wing wingnut, the fifth Catholic* on the Court and a judge who finds himself constantly protesting decisions made by his conservative colleagues on the Court of Appeals.

[*Note: I am not anti-Catholic, as might seem the case from recent writings. I AM against the Catholic heirarchy interfering in our internal secular politics, and the recent position of the Church has been to openly interfere in presidential elections -- witness Father Frank Pavone and his "Priests for Life" all but openly campaigning for Bush, and then-Cardinal Ratzinger's suggestion that Catholic John Kerry be denied Communion for his pro-choice stance. This is deadly dangerous, and a majority of Catholic jurists INVITES papal mischief. Sadly, this has not and cannot even be discussed, else "anti-Catholic!" screeching be heard.]

But now this has been defined as not 'extreme' enough, by the so-called "compromisers" of the "Gang of Fourteen," one of whom is even threatening the Senators (and, by extension, all women) in schoolyard bully terms. We'll Clean Your Clock, says Lindsey Graham.

Tick, Tick, Asshole, sez I.

The constitutional crisis came, and Specter proved himself the craven worm we'd feared him to be. May his bridges rust.

The constitutional crisis comes, and the Democrats of the Senate are seemingly equally craven. May THEIR bridges rust.

Here is the story of Horatius, who single-handedly saved Rome, taken from the classical text [Livy's History of Rome from its foundation 2.10; tr. Rev. Canon Roberts] (and not from the Lord MacCauley poem that was wildly popular in the British Empire of the Nineteenth Century]:

On the appearance of the enemy the country people fled into the City as best they could. The weak places in the defenses were occupied by military posts; elsewhere the walls and the Tiber were deemed sufficient protection. The enemy would have forced their way over the Sublician bridge had it not been for one man, Horatius Cocles. The good fortune of Rome provided him as her bulwark on that memorable day.

He happened to be on guard at the bridge when he saw the Janiculum taken by a sudden assault and the enemy rushing down from it to the river, whilst his own men, a panic-struck mob, were deserting their posts and throwing away their arms. He reproached them one after another for their cowardice, tried to stop them, appealed to them in heaven's name to stand, declared that it was in vain for them to seek safety in flight whilst leaving the bridge open behind them, there would very soon be more of the enemy on the Palatine and the Capitol than there were on the Janiculum.
So he shouted to them to break down the bridge by sword or fire, or by whatever means they could, he would meet the enemies' attack so far as one man could keep them at bay. He advanced to the head of the bridge. Amongst the fugitives, whose backs alone were visible to the enemy, he was conspicuous as he fronted them armed for fight at close quarters. The enemy were astounded at his preternatural courage. Two men were kept by a sense of shame from deserting him, Spurius Lartius and Titus Herminius, both of them men of high birth and renowned courage.

With them he sustained the first tempestuous shock and wild confused onset, for a brief interval. Then, whilst only a small portion of the bridge remained and those who were cutting it down called upon them to retire, he insisted upon these, too, retreating. Looking round with eyes dark with menace upon the Etruscan chiefs, he challenged them to single combat, and reproached them all with being the slaves of tyrant kings, and whilst unmindful of their own liberty coming to attack that of others.

For some time they hesitated, each looking round upon the others to begin. At length shame roused them to action, and raising a shout they hurled their javelins from all sides on their solitary foe. He caught them on his outstretched shield, and with unshaken resolution kept his place on the bridge with firmly planted foot. They were just attempting to dislodge him by a charge when the crash of the broken bridge and the shout which the Romans raised at seeing the work completed stayed the attack by filling them with sudden panic.

Then Cocles said, "Tiberinus, holy father, I pray thee to receive into thy propitious stream these arms and this thy warrior." So, fully armed, he leaped into the Tiber, and though many missiles fell over him he swam across in safety to his friends: an act of daring more famous than credible with posterity.

The State showed its gratitude for such courage; his statue was set up in the Comitium, and as much land given to him as he could drive the plough round in one day. Besides this public honor, the citizens individually showed their feeling; for, in spite of the great scarcity, each, in proportion to his means, sacrificed what he could from his own store as a gift to Cocles.

So, WANTED: One Horatius. Will supply all armor, appurtenances, excellent pay and benefits. Apply U.S. Senate. And please, time is CRITICAL.

Courage.
.
hart williams
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