Thursday, March 14, 2013

To Senator Ted “Tea Party” Cruz, R Texas: At long last sir, have you no decency?

Once again the State of Texas is shamed and embarrassed by the conduct and bearing of a member of the state’s congressional delegation, namely freshman Senator Ted Cruz, often described as “the darling” of the Tea Party. Cruz joins a long list of past and present “wacko birds,” (in the words of John McCain,) from Texas. Cruz was involved yesterday, (March 14, 2013) in a sharp exchange with Senator Diane Feinstein concerning her pending bill which would ban assault weapons. Cruz, in his normal arrogant, haughty demeanor, challenged Feinstein’s understanding of the Constitution. Carolyn Lochead, writing in her SF Blog, described the scene this way:

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a 20-year veteran Democrat, clashed fiercely with Tea Party-backed newcomer Ted Cruz of Texas, when the freshman began lecturing the Californian about the Constitution during a debate over Feinstein’s assault weapons ban. The ban passed the Senate Judiciary Committee on a party line vote. The clash was reminiscent of an exchange Feinstein had nearly two decades ago with the since disgraced Larry Craig, an Idaho Republican, who lectured the “gentle lady from California” on firearms during debate over Feinstein’s successful 1994 ban that expired in 2004. (Craig left the Senate after being charged with soliciting gay sex in a men’s room. Craig is now defending his use of campaign funds to pay for his criminal defense.) No issue is more emotional for Feinstein. She became mayor of San Francisco as a result of the assassination of George Moscone, and was the first to discover supervisor Harvey Milk’s body, slipping her finger into the bullet hole as she sought a pulse. Feinstein said children at Sandy Hook elementary in Newtown, Conn., were “dismembered” by an assault weapon. Cruz asked Feinstein whether she would “deem it consistent with the Bill of Rights” if Congress did the same thing to the First Amendment that she contemplates with the Second Amendment. Her assault weapons bill bans certain weapons, so Cruz asked whether Congress could ban certain books. The Stanford-educated Feinstein replied, “I am not a sixth-grader,” and said her bill specifically exempts 2,271 weapons. “Is this not enough for the people of the United States?” she asked? “Do they need a bazooka?” Undeterred, Cruz persisted with his rhetorical question. Texas GOP colleague John Cornyn attempted to help him out. But Judiciary Committee chairman Patrick Leahy at that point inserted himself in Feinstein’s defense, suggesting that Texas education boards banned books. In the meantime, Feinstein, with an assist from fellow Dems, came up with the rebuttal that the First Amendment indeed does not permit child pornography. Feinstein said all constitutional rights must meet certain tests. Cruz reminds of an earlier Senator who similarly smeared and attacked those he perceived as political enemies. Senator Joe McCarthy of Wisconsin. McCarthy has gone down in history for his infamy and his name is now included in the term everyone recognizes as the ultimate in political skullduggery, “McCarthyism!”

Below is a passage from Wikipedia about Senator McCarthy:
An increasing number of Republicans and conservatives were coming to see McCarthy as a liability to the party and to anti-communism. Congressman George H. Bender noted, "There is a growing impatience with the Republican Party. McCarthyism has become a synonym for witch-hunting, Star Chamber methods, and the denial of ... civil liberties."[84] Frederick Woltman, a reporter with a long-standing reputation as a staunch anti-communist, wrote a five-part series of articles criticizing McCarthy in the New York World-Telegram. He stated that McCarthy "has become a major liability to the cause of anti-communism", and accused him of "wild twisting of facts and near facts [that] repels authorities in the field".[85][86] The most famous incident in the hearings was an exchange between McCarthy and the army's chief legal representative, Joseph Nye Welch. On June 9, the 30th day of the hearings, Welch challenged Roy Cohn to provide U.S. Attorney General Herbert Brownell, Jr. with McCarthy's list of 130 Communists or subversives in defense plants "before the sun goes down". McCarthy stepped in and said that if Welch was so concerned about persons aiding the Communist Party, he should check on a man in his Boston law office named Fred Fisher, who had once belonged to the National Lawyers Guild, which Brownell had called "the legal mouthpiece of the Communist Party".[87] In an impassioned defense of Fisher that some have suggested he had prepared in advance and had hoped not to have to make,[88] Welch responded, "Until this moment, Senator, I think I never really gauged your cruelty or your recklessness ..." When McCarthy resumed his attack, Welch interrupted him: "Let us not assassinate this lad further, Senator. You've done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?" When McCarthy once again persisted, Welch cut him off and demanded the chairman "call the next witness". At that point, the gallery erupted in applause and a recess was called.[89] [edit] Edward R. Murrow, See It Now Edward R. Murrow, pioneer in broadcast journalism One of the most prominent attacks on McCarthy's methods was an episode of the television documentary series See It Now, hosted by journalist Edward R. Murrow, which was broadcast on March 9, 1954. Titled "A Report on Senator Joseph R. McCarthy", the episode consisted largely of clips of McCarthy speaking. In these clips, McCarthy accuses the Democratic party of "twenty years of treason", describes the American Civil Liberties Union as "listed as 'a front for, and doing the work of', the Communist Party",[citation needed] and berates and harangues various witnesses, including General Zwicker.[citation needed] In his conclusion, Murrow said of McCarthy: His primary achievement has been in confusing the public mind, as between the internal and the external threats of Communism. We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty. We must remember always that accusation is not proof and that conviction depends upon evidence and due process of law. We will not walk in fear, one of another. We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason, if we dig deep in our history and our doctrine, and remember that we are not descended from fearful men ... We proclaim ourselves, as indeed we are, the defenders of freedom, wherever it continues to exist in the world, but we cannot defend freedom abroad by deserting it at home. The actions of the junior Senator from Wisconsin have caused alarm and dismay amongst our allies abroad, and given considerable comfort to our enemies. And whose fault is that? Not really his. He didn't create this situation of fear; he merely exploited it—and rather successfully.[90]