If 6 Was 9

Hi Sam,
Thanks for that disturbing morsel (below). Here’s my instant reaction…

Lately I have been suffering from a kind of mental phase-shift, unconsciously turning things inside out as I hear them, reversing the intended meaning to reflect the truth contained within a morsel of twisted news. Here’s an example…

Nina Totenberg reports that (Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day) O’Connor began by conceding that courts do have the power to make presidents, or the Congress, or governors…” then I had to stop and reverse tracks – after I read the rest of the sentence, realizing the phase shift. “…the power to make presidents, or the Congress, or governors, as she put it, really, really angry.”

Now I get it!

Courts have the power to make legislators angry

Nonetheless, this power of the WhoDo (as described above) can, in this rare instance, simultaneously include both Al Gore and George Bush – no matter which way my mind spins it.

You’ve got the power!
What power?
The power of the hoodo.
You do!
I do what?
You’ve got the power!

This all started back when the Ministry of Truth (MT) started churning out gems of framing-art like a bill that reduces controls on air polluters, and then gets labelled “The Clear Skies Initiative,” or the bill that allows forests to be clear-cut that’s entitled “The Healthy Forests Act.”

When we invaded the wrong country (and became terrorists) in the War on Terror and the WMD excuse was eventually re-written by the MT (empty) to claim we are there to spread Democracy (Patriot Act) and to rid one nation of an evil dictator (which one? this one? that one?) who tortures, imprisons and kills his own citizens (in Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo?)…

While Zogby polls show that 72% of the troops want the US out of Iraq in a year or less, shockingly, 85% of those questioned believe they are fighting in Iraq “to retaliate for Saddam’s role in the 9-11 attacks.” Remember Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s Office of Strategic Influence?

In the immortal words of Condi Jimi Hendrix, “Excuse me, while I kiss this guy.”
Deborah Schoeneman reports that it happens to the best of us… “At a recent dinner party hosted by New York Times D.C. bureau chief Philip Taubman and his wife, Times reporter Felicity Barringer, and attended by Arthur Sulzberger Jr., Maureen Dowd, Steven Weisman, and Elisabeth Bumiller, Rice was reportedly overheard saying, “As I was telling my husb—” and then stopping herself abruptly, before saying, “As I was telling President Bush.” Jaws dropped, but a guest says the slip by the unmarried politician, who spends weekends with the president and his wife, seemed more psychologically telling than incriminating.”

Yin/yangly yours,

On 3/12/06, samclem wrote:O’Connor Decries Republican Attacks on Courts
March 10, 2006 from Morning Edition NPR

STEVE INSKEEP, host: Supreme Court justices keep many opinions private, but Sandra Day O’Connor no longer faces that obligation. Yesterday, the retired justice criticized Republicans who criticized the courts. She said they challenged the independence of judges and the freedoms of all Americans.

O’Connor’s speech at Georgetown University was not available for broadcast, but NPR Legal Affairs Correspondent Nina Totenberg was there.


In an unusually forceful and forthright speech, O’Connor said that attacks on the Judiciary by some Republican leaders pose a direct threat to our Constitutional freedom. O’Connor began by conceding that courts do have the power to make presidents, or the Congress, or governors, as she put it, really, really angry.

But, she continued, if we don’t make them mad some of the time, we probably aren’t doing our jobs as judges. And our effectiveness, she said, is premised on the notion that we won’t be subject to retaliation for our judicial acts. The nation’s founders wrote repeatedly, she said, that without an independent Judiciary to protect individual rights from the other branches of government, those rights and privileges would amount to nothing. But, said O’Connor, as the founding fathers knew, statutes and constitutions don’t protect judicial independence, people do.

And then she took aim at former House GOP leader Tom DeLay. She didn’t name him, but she quoted his attacks on the courts at a meeting of the conservative Christian group Justice Sunday last year, when DeLay took out after the courts for rulings on abortion, prayer and the Terry Schiavo case. This, said O’Connor, was after the federal courts had applied Congress’ one-time-only statute about Schiavo as it was written, not, said O’Connor, as the congressman might have wished it were written.

The response to this flagrant display of judicial restraint, said O’Connor, her voice dripping with sarcasm, was that the congressman blasted the courts. It gets worse, she said, noting that death threats against judges are increasing. It doesn’t help, she says, when a high-profile senator suggests there may be a connection between violence against judges and decisions that the senator disagrees with. She didn’t name him, but it was Texas Senator John Cornyn who made that statement after a Georgia judge was murdered in the courtroom and the family of a federal judge in Illinois murdered in the judge’s home.

O’Connor observed that there have been a lot of suggestions lately for so-called judicial reforms, recommendations for the massive impeachment of judges, stripping the courts of jurisdiction and cutting judicial budgets to punish offending judges. Any of these might be debatable, she says, as long as they are not retaliation for decisions that political leaders disagree with. I, said O’Connor, am against judicial reforms driven by nakedly partisan reasoning.

Pointing to the experiences of developing countries and former Communist countries, where interference with an independent judiciary has allowed dictatorship to flourish, O’Connor said we must be ever vigilant against those who would strong-arm the Judiciary into adopting their preferred policies. It takes a lot of degeneration before a country falls into dictatorship, she said, but we should avoid these ends by avoiding these beginnings.

Nina Totenberg, NPR News, Washington.

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