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"My constituents didn't hear the intelligence I heard." [View All]

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No Elephants Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-06-13 08:59 PM
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"My constituents didn't hear the intelligence I heard."
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It's Clarence Thomas's confirmation "deja vu all over again."

As background, the SCOTUS had not held that a hostile work environment was illegal until 1986. Before that, a worker had to prove that he or she had been denied a promotion or a a raise or some other job benefit because of refusing romantic or sexual advances from a superior, a cause and effect relationship that is very hard to prove.

During Thomas's 1991 confirmation hearings, Anita Hill testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee, which was headed by Biden, the Democrats then controlling the Senate (and the House, but the House doesn't vote on confirmations). After her testimony, the Senators on the Judiciary Committee began remarking on the calls they had been getting from women.

They said things like they had never received so many calls before. They said things like they had never heard from so many women before. They cited things things their own wives and daughters had said to them. Maybe it was bs, but they seemed taken aback. (Then again, apparently, I'm gullible.)

So, having heard from so many of the Constituents that they purport to represent, Clarence Thomas became the first African American nominated to the Supreme Court whose confirmation the Senate rejected. And that is the story of why Clarence Thomas never became a Supreme Court Justice.

Well, no. The Senate Judiciary Committee split 7-7 and therefore sent the matter to the full Senate with no recommendation either way. The Senate confirmed 52-48, with 10 Democrats joining the Republicans, just enough to sent Thomas over the top plus a couple of votes to spare just in case.

Just as an aside, the Amash-Conyers Amendment, for reining in mass surveillance, got defeated in the House after backlash from the public to Snowden's revelations, 217 to 205. Again, a majority plus a few spare votes, just in case. Lots and lots of talk at the time, though, about how very close the vote was.


"An analysis indicates that those who voted against the amendment received 122% more in campaign contributions from defense contractors than those who voted in favor of it."


Well, now we come to bombing Syria. We don't have to watch the hearings anymore to find out what members of Congress are saying about calls from the public, as in 1991. In 2013, they're all over media, especially MSNBC and Fox.

And one after another is saying very similar things, from pundits, strategists and spokespersons, like Howard Dean, to House members to Senators. In effect, the spiel goes something like this.

"The public is all over this, like brown on rice. Calls are coming in by the thousands. The calls are running 99 to 1 against bombing. And I sure do agree that no one wants to bomb. And I would love to do what my constituents are telling me to do. But the public--doesn't have the intelligence that we have." (In Howard Dean's case, it was "I don't have the intelligence the President has."

In between, there will be lots of talk about using chemical weapons on children and how sure we are that that happened and how horrible that is. There may even be assertions that Assad was responsible. But there will be zero talk about evidence that Assad was responsible.

I'm getting Clarence Thomas confirmation deja vu. How about you?

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