April 16, 2022

Short takes, no. 5


Editor’s note: The usually voluble (as opposed to “valuable”) Mr. Morley is back with another of his by-now-legendary (in his own mind) brief takes. OK, the second one here isn’t very laconic, but it is broken down into seven bites.

I should point out that, owing to technical difficulties (a ready excuse), the posting of these observations has been delayed. I invite the reader to look on what follows as well-seasoned news and commentary.

1. Move along. No political agenda here. According to the AP on March 24, 2022, “The White House has removed Dr. Mehmet Oz — best known as daytime TV’s host of ‘The Dr. Oz Show’ — and former football star Herschel Walker from the President’s Council on Sports, Nutrition and Fitness as both men run for [the] U.S. Senate.... [A] White House official said Oz and Walker were asked to resign because the White House doesn’t permit candidates for federal office to serve on boards.” No word on whether the AP verified the previous existence of such a policy or whether any other federal board members had been sacked or not sacked in similar circumstances.

2. Here comes the judge! (Spoiler Alert! She’s not a biologist.)

A. New Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson had some strange moments in her Senate hearings. On the one hand, she declared herself to be an originalist, “reminding senators [in case they might have forgotten] that the Constitution gives Congress the power to make laws and the courts the power to interpret them.

“‘Judges can’t make law; judges shouldn‘t be policy makers,’ she told the senators.” No kidding!

B. Several times Jackson suggested that judges need to look at the “original documents” and “original meaning” in “interpreting the text.” Living Constitution? By no means: “I do not believe that there is such a thing as a living Constitution” that changes over time, she said. Instead, she would focus on “what that meant to those who drafted it.”

C. Asked whether she believed equal protection of the law applies to human beings, Jackson replied “I actually don’t know the answer to that question, I’m sorry.” (Translation: “I think this is a trick question, so let’s move on.”)

D. In what turned out to be a blown opportunity, Senator Marsha Blackburn (R–Tenn.) asked Jackson to define “woman.”

  Jackson: “No, I can’t.”

  Blackburn (nearly falling out of her chair): “You can’t?”

  Jackson: “I can’t. Not in this context. I’m not a biologist.”

  Blackburn should have followed that with: “Well, then you agree that ‘woman’ is defined biologically.”

  Oh, well. As for “this context,” can Jackson actually believe that the definition of “woman” which is all over legislation, statutes, and law over the past 60 or 70 years, isn’t relevant “in this context”?

E. In a discussion of substantive due process, Jackson allowed: “I don’t quite remember the basis for the Dred Scott opinion.” One might be tempted to say that a first-year student in law school would be familiar with one of the five best-known Supreme Court cases, but one would be wrong. Because even a pre-law college student would know this.

F. Brown’s responses are typical of what everyone has come to expect from Democrat nominees to the Supreme Court: the Supremo Shell Game. If they personally agree with previous Court decisions, these are described as “the settled law of the Court.” If they disagree with previous Court decisions, these are “bad or dubious precedents,” or they say “I can’t respond to that because cases involving that issue may come up before the court.” This is why stealth candidates usually make it through Senate confirmation, even when they clearly are lying about their actual views.

G. Is there anyone out there who will be surprised if Jackson turns out to be far more regressive once safely ensconced in office for life? Jackson is 51 years old.

3. The AP, for some reason, insisted on inserting in almost every story it did on the Jackson hearing the little-known fact that “Jackson is making history as the first Black woman nominated for the court, which once upheld racial segregation in America and for 233 years has been filled mainly with white men.” As for “first Black woman nominated,” given that Jackson is not a biologist, we don’t really know whether she or he is a woman or what. As for the 233 years, the AP doesn’t provide any information about how many such candidates would have actually been even vaguely qualified at least for the first century and a half. Some believe that Sacajawea might have been nominated if she had attended law school (or any school for that matter). But I digress.

4. Senator Cory Booker (D–N.J.) hit a new low by asserting that Republicans have hit a “new low” in the hearings. Apparently Booker has been in suspended animation for the past 50 years or so as the Robert Bork, Clarence Thomas, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett Senate hearings were held. Fortunately for him, the memories of the American sheeple go back only a few weeks at best, so one can imagine near-unanimous shakings of empty heads in agreement. Booker himself continues to reach for new highs in hypocrisy and demagoguery.

5. Booker, of course, faces stiff competition for asinine behaviour. CNN commentator Jeffrey Toobin — whose personal indiscretions cannot be mentioned in a family publication such as TLD (the prurient can see for themselves at en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeffrey_Toobin) — claimed that Republican questioning about Jackson’s leniency in a child pornography case was “about appealing to the QAnon audience.” Toobin went on to say, “This cult that is a big presence in Republican party politics now where Senator [Joshua] Hawley [R–Mo.] is trying to ingratiate himself and run for president with their support” (sic). (Source: news.yahoo.com/cnns-toobin-hawley-questions-child-145325636.html.)

Yes, I’m having trouble parsing that last sentence, but it pretty much says that the Republican Party is dominated by QAnon, and if you can’t get the support of Orange Man and QAnon, you are toast in any Republican primary. Unfortunately, Wikipedia won’t tell us how many people are in QAnon, but given that QAnon and the GOP share identical views on all important and unimportant matters, there is probably a complete overlap between QAnon membership and Republican membership (possibly even including Mitt Romney and Indiana’s Eric Holcomb).

6. Toobin was not to be outdone in the conspiracy sweepstakes. In a March 22, 2022 piece, the New York Times cleverly developed a conspiracy story about the QAnon conspiracy centering on the conspiracy behind the questioning of Jackson about child pornography. Where all this conspiracy talk by the regressives began is unclear, but the first “dog whistle” may be been blown earlier on March 22 by “[a] White House spokesman [who] this week accused Mr. Hawley of pandering to the conspiracy theory’s believers among his party’s rank and file, calling his comments an ‘embarrassing QAnon-signaling smear.’” But rest easy, dear TLD readers, signaling, conspiracies out the wazoo, and dog whistles to the contrary notwithstanding. We’ll continue to bring you the facts behind the facts behind the facts.

7. Wikipedia’s entry on QAnon is a case study in gratuitous guilt by association. Know somebody with ideas shared by QAnon? He/she is a member of QAnon. Support a cause that later is supported by QAnon? You are a closet member of QAnon. Use Parler instead of Facebook? You are a fellow traveler with QAnon.

Parler, which Wikipedia refers to as a “free speech” social media platform (one has to assume that the quotes cast aspersions on Parler) is described as having “gained in popularity among QAnon followers and conservatives in general in early 2021. Gab also became increasingly popular in these environments, especially after Parler went offline for several weeks following the Capitol attack.” No mention here that Parler was forced offline, but is somehow associated with “the Capitol attack.” Nor is it mentioned that most of the communication by January 6ers was done on Facebook. Probably just an oversight. Ω

April 16, 2022

Published in 2022 by WTM Enterprises.

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