Mercury Rising 鳯女

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Archive for January 26th, 2011

The Democrats’ sellout on filibuster reform

Posted by Charles II on January 26, 2011

To get a sense of how cynical a betrayal this is, I suggest reading Gold and Gupta. Issues related to rules changes have been a problem for almost a hundred years. In 1979, Robert Byrd laid out the reasoning for how filibuster reform could be accomplished. The principle is well known: one Congress may not bind another. Otherwise, the nation could face a danger and be unable to defend itself from it because of obsolete legislation. The original Senate operated by rules that allowed debate to be ended by majority vote on any issue; in 1806, unlimited debate was introduced essentially by accident. And the Senate has itself used the Constitutional option, first–when isolationists attempted to block American ships from defending themselves from U-Boats– to set rules on cloture, then to reduce the number of votes needed for cloture:

Article I, Section 5 of the U.S. Constitution empowers the Senate to “determine the Rule of its Proceedings.” In 1917 and on many occasions since 1917, the Senate has debated whether this constitutional rulemaking power allows a simple majority to alter the Senate’s Standing Rules at will. At least four times, changes to the Senate Standing Rules were influenced by attempts to use the constitutional option. And throughout Senate history, a simple majority has changed Senate procedures governing debate by setting precedents or adopting Standing Orders that altered the operation of the Standing Rules without amending their actual text. Over two centuries, the Senate’s constitutional rulemaking power has been exercised in a variety of ways to change Senate procedures. As Senate parliamentary process further evolves, this power plainly will be exercised again. At issue is when, how, and to what effect.

So, what was accomplished today? No filibuster reform. We might see the following reforms:

limit the number of executive branch nominations subject to Senate confirmation; make it more difficult for senators to anonymously block legislation or nominees; and end a stall tactic that lets senators force clerks to read aloud the complete text of a bill if the measure has been made public.

That is, if the Republicans are so nice as to let the Senate do these things.

I have rarely been as disgusted with the Democratic Party as I have been today. If there is a renewed financial crisis– or a natural disaster, or any other reason to pass legislation in a hurry– the Democrats have left the Senate Republicans, who represent a clear minority of Americans– in control of their body. This is not an exaggeration: they will let Americans suffer or die rather than confront how corrupt the Senate has become. We know, because tens of thousands of Americans have been dying every year for lack of medical insurance while these sons of b—–s sat on their hands and said there was nothing they could do.

Added: the citation is THE CONSTITUTIONAL OPTION TO CHANGE SENATE RULES AND PROCEDURES:
A MAJORITARIAN MEANS TO OVER COME THE FILIBUSTER* MARTIN B. GOLD** & DIMPLE GUPTA Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy Volume 28 (2004)

Posted in Democrats, Senate | 4 Comments »

How Do Bachmann And Ryan Get Away With It?

Posted by Phoenix Woman on January 26, 2011

Look no further than the cowardly (and/or bought off) legacy media.

The thing about Bachmann and Ryan is that the mainstream press holds back the worst of their excesses. The press, for instance, doesn’t generally say flat-out that Ryan’s math is bullshit. And the worst stories about Bachmann — stories that could have kept her from winning her first election if the local corporate legacy media had reported them — were spiked.

But if either of these people were liberals, and tried to get away with such bullpucky, they’d have been laughed out of public life ages ago.

Once again: This is why I talk about the GOP/Media Complex.

Posted in GOP/Media Complex, IOKIYAR, Michele Bachmann, Republicans, Republicans acting badly, Republicans as cancer, WTF? | Tagged: , , , | 3 Comments »

 
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