JABbering Stooge

Monday, June 13, 2005

Why does Rep. Sensenbrenner hate democracy?

I should've seen this coming when I last posted about Rep. James Sensenbrenner's abuse of power.

Well, Sensenbrenner is back in the headlines again. This time, the Wisconsin Republican, of his own accord, adjourned a meeting of the House Judiciary Committee, in violation of House Rules requiring a motion to adjourn - apparently because he didn't like what was being said about the USA PATRIOT Act in the committee meeting.

As noted in the press release by committee member Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-FL), there were several problems with the way the meeting was run.

One point stands out in particular:

The Chair gave one of the witnesses an order for information he wanted submitted to the Committee and gave a deadline of one week even though other witnesses in previous hearings have not been given such deadlines. (begins at 1:50:45 on video)

Notice that those "stalwart patriots" who wholeheartedly endorsed the PATRIOT Act are either taken at their word that the law has made America impervious to attack or are given an indefinite amount of time to "find" (read: fabricate) evidence to that effect, while those "obstructionist traitors" who don't verbally fellate the Republican Party 24/7/365 are given one week to compile the voluminous data on abuses of the PATRIOT Act and analyses of the law's constitutionality (or lack thereof) that, in all likelyhood, will be rejected out-of-hand.

Also, during the hearing, there were several instances in which Sensenbrenner cut off Democratic members or cut off witnesses by claiming that their time was up, even when it clearly wasn't. Most prominently was when he cut off Rep. John Conyers in order to lie about the presence or absence of certain committee members. It kind of reminds me of a certain portion of the Monty Python "Argument" sketch:

Conyers: Argument is an intellectual process. Contradiction is just the automatic gainsaying of any statement the other person makes.
(short pause)

Sensenbrenner: No it isn't.
Conyers: It is.
Sensenbrenner: Not at all.
Conyers: Now look.
Sensenbrenner: (Rings bell) Good Morning.
Conyers: What?
Sensenbrenner: That's it. Good morning.
Conyers: I was just getting interested.
Sensenbrenner: Sorry, the five minutes is up.
Conyers: That was never five minutes!
Sensenbrenner: I'm afraid it was.
Conyers: It wasn't.
Sensenbrenner: I'm sorry, but I'm not allowed to argue anymore.
Conyers: What?!

Although, if what The Brad Blog said on the subject is true, then this incident has been some time in coming:

We are told by a Democratic Staffer who The BRAD BLOG has just spoken to, and who was present at today's debacle, that the Majority has been quite disturbed by those previous hearings for some time, and, in fact, during the airing of Conyers' Media Bias forum (it ran as taped on C-SPAN at 8:30pm ET a few Saturdays ago), an email was sent to a Judiciary Committee staffer which said, in effect, "I'm watching your forum right now, hope you enjoyed it, it will be your last."

Of course, this is the same Rep. Sensenbrenner who had the gall to say the following about Howard Dean's recent comments:

Your delusional outbursts have forced senior members of your own party to distance themselves from you. While I agree that you're "not very dignified" I sincerely hope you refrain from further personal attacks. These attacks are contrary to the respectful political debate the public deserves.

I would like to refer "Tex" Sensenbrenner to my earlier comments about "deulsional outbursts."

In response to this travesty, I sent "Tex" Sensenbrenner the following e-mail:

Representative Sensenbrenner,

I was extremely shocked by, appalled at, and disappointed in your ridiculous, childish actions at the House Judiciary Committee meeting on June 10, 2005. The actions you took, up to and including the premature adjournment of the meeting, are contemptible, unethical, in violation of House Procedural Rules, and constitute conduct unbecoming a public servant. I would like to remind you that you were elected to serve the country as a whole, and the people of your district in particular, not to serve the narrow interests of an elite few who wish to turn this country into a totalitarian theocracy.

To wit, in addition to illegally adjourning the meeting, you refused to recognize the Democratic members’ points of order or points of personal privilege on several occasions, lied about the presence or absence of Democratic committee members, disparaged your Democratic colleagues on the record on several occasions (a violation of House Rules), and threw up all sorts of roadblocks to equitable participation by those critical of the USA PATRIOT Act that witnesses testifying in support of the PATRIOT Act never had to go through. All of this information is available in the press release on the web site of Representative Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-FL) (http://www.house.gov/apps/list/press/fl20_schultz/judgavelledoff.html).

What’s worse, this isn’t the first time that you have acted in such a way. In April, you “misused an official committee report to mischaracterize in a derogatory manner amendments offered by three Democratic Members. As a result, the House was required to authorize the filing of a supplemental report, which contained significant changes, to correct the record,” in the words of Representative Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). When confronted by Representative Louise Slaughter (D-NY) about your abuse of power, you chose to throw a temper-tantrum, saying in effect, “You don't like what we wrote about your amendments, and we don't like what you said about our bill.”

If this is what the Republican party means by “the adults are in charge now,” then frankly, I’d rather have the children back in power.

But what really galls me is that, in light of these two incidents, you have the nerve to lecture Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean on civil public discourse.

If this is how you, and the rest of the Republicans, have chosen to conduct yourselves, particularly in full view of both domestic and foreign press, then I weep for the future of our grand experiment in representative government.


James A. Baker
JABbering Stooge (http://jabberingstooge.blogspot.com)

A few hours later, I got back the following automated response:

Thank you for contacting me. This is an automatically generated response to confirm the receipt of your e-mail.

If you are a constituent in my congressional district, please be sure to include your full name, street address, city, state and zip code with all communication to ensure a written response.

I would also like to invite you to receive e-mail updates on issues impacting Wisconsin and current events in the House of Representatives via my House Legislative Update. To sign up, visit http://www.house.gov/sensenbrenner/listserv/
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To keep up with my positions on various issues and progress in Congress, please feel free to visit my website at http://www.house.gov/sensenbrenner. It is updated regularly and is intended to be a source of information to you. It lists the various constituent services I provide including my schedule of Office Hours and Town Hall Meetings, how to set up an appointment with me, and tours that can be arranged for you and your family when you visit Washington, DC. Through my Press Releases and Weekly Columns, you can see what I am working on, and there is even a section targeted to help students.

If you are not a constituent, please note that your communication has been received and recorded.


Member of Congress
(emphasis and bolding mine)

I'm sure that by "received and recorded," he means that I've been included on his list of "seditious left-wing wackos" (which probably includes every public figure that doesn't praise Commander Codpiece to the sky - a list from which the names of "liberals" such as Senator Joementum and Alan Colmes are conspicuously absent) that he plans to forward to Homeland Security to keep tabs on.

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