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Category:Accidents & Explosions, News & Politics
Tags:boom goes the dynamite, The Decline of Western Civilization, suck my balls 2017, John Gorsuch
Submitted:Old_Zircon
Date:04/07/17
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Comment count is 26
Nominal
I lack the knowledge of senate procedure and am too lazy to look it up.

If a simple majority can change the threshold, how do filibusters ever happen? Why wouldn't the party with the current majority do away with it the instant they get in, then reinstate the rule right before they lose it?
Old_Zircon
As far as I know it was only because democrats didn't want to be the ones to do it.

If they'd done it years ago during the beginning of the first Obama term a lot of shit we're all dealing with today wouldn't have happened.

Bort
Procedural knowledge. First of all, let's understand cloture. Let's say you wanted to form a debate society; one thing that would come up in every debate is, how do you know when the debate is done? Well you might impose a rule like 60% of attendees have to agree that the horse is dead, time to close debate move on. That is the Senate's cloture rule and it's worked well for a long time.

The filibuster is a minority declaring that they won't end debate, ever, unless they get their way. They're technically debating but really they're just holding up the process. The flaw in the cloture process was that there is no penalty to filibustering; I have long been in favor of imposing a penalty such as, to sustain a filibuster, 41 filibusterers have to remain in the chamber at all times or else a simple majority can achieve cloture. Shoulda been fixed in 2011 or 2013, but it wasn't.

So what's this nuclear option? It exploits a different hole in the Senate rules: while it takes a supermajority to change a rule, it takes only a simple majority to INTERPRET a rule. That sounds benign until you realize that "interpret" can mean anything, and can cut the legs out from any law. That's the danger of the nuclear option: you don't want both sides deciding that they can they "interpret" their way to do anything they want.

In November 2013, the Democrats "interpreted" that a simple majority satisfies the supermajority cloture requirement on most executive appointments, yes you read that right, they "interpreted" that 51 means 60 in this circumstance. What the Republicans did the other day was they simply extended that "interpretation" to Supreme Court nominees.

We are now in a place where Republicans can basically rule on a whim; they're shameless enough to "interpret" their way to achieve any end they want. The only thing holding them back is that they don't want to set any precedents they might regret when the Democrats take control of the Senate again, possibly as early as 2018.

Nominal
To be fair, the republicans' goal in 2013 was unprecedented in that they wanted to shut down EVERYTHING Obama tried to do. It was court circuit judge appointees at the time (they refused to confirm ANY of them). This then not only extended, but grew to them not even giving Merrick Garland a hearing, much less confirmation.

The democrats at least gave all of Trump's picks a hearing. Some even voted to confirm them.

I guess I just thought there were more consequences than precedent setting. Why is this even still a concern with the current state of republican insanity? They'll bend and break every rule in the name of pure partisanship no matter what.

Of course they'll never be voted out of power. The legacy of Bernie now ensures that protest voting against impure traitor dems will be the priority rather than kicking republicans out.

We're stuck with a giant progressive block who thinks that fixing a shit sandwich means starting with the stale bread.

Nominal
see: all the wailing and moaning they pitched over "partisanship" filibustering a supreme court pick and blocking a needed government function after they did it (to a worse extent) less than one year ago.

Old_Zircon
Thanks Bort, that definitely clears up a few things I was hazy on and states the rest of it in a clearer way than I would have been able to. I disagree that this is a net negative in the long run I do agree that penalties would probably have been at least theoretically better than completely eliminating it (for supreme court confirmations, unless I'm mistaken they only eliminated it for this specific context and it's is still possible to filibuster in general) because even though it has mostly been used by the RNC to push forward their agenda despite it typically not actually representing the interest of the majority of their own constituents much less the population at large and generally having been a net negative for the country for the last few decades at least, I can appreciate that there are situations where it might actually be good to have.

Bort
I think there's a perspective that we, as mere hoi polloi, lose sight of (rightly or wrongly): we tend to think in terms of individual outcomes, while dedicated public officials think in terms of a functioning system of government. Good public servants are reluctant to change rules that have generally worked in the past and are inclined to hope for a return to sanity. The question is how many individual bad outcomes you're willing to allow in hopes of a return to proper functioning, and that's a tough one.

I think the Democrats called it wrong in 2011 and 2013 and also in 2013. By 2011 and 2013 I refer to not fixing the filibuster on day one; the fix I proposed would have preserved the value of the filibuster while making it harder to abuse. The second 2013 error I refer to is using the nuclear option -- ruling that 51 sometimes equals 60 is just begging for a divide-by-zero error -- but I recognize the corner they'd painted themselves into by that point.

SolRo
I think the reality is that the precedent has been set that it's okay to eliminate the filibuster when it's politically convenient.

For republicans at least.

I still don't see democrats doing it in anything but exceptional situations (see republicans blocking -everything- because Obama). Which is a terrible mistake as they'd be screwed by a hyper partisan republican side unless dems get an overwhelming majority of seats.

So in the perpetual swinging from one political side to the other that America does, you'll see years of republicans ignoring or bypassing rules to pass terrible hyper partisan legislation and then followed up by years of democrats not passing anything useful or fixing the republican damage because they insist on having the moral high ground. Everything they will try to pass with be compromised into being ineffective and saddled with pork amendments to try bribing republicans to cooperate.

Bort
I should clarify why the first day of 2011 and 2013 are important. On the first day of a Congress, the Senate adopts the rules it will operate by for the following two years, and a simple majority is all it takes to pass a new set of rules. So on day one of 2011, or 2013, the filibuster could have been fixed correctly.

There are some people who say "the Democrats should have fixed the filibuster at the start of 2009 but they didn't therefore they hate America". But there is nobody, and I mean nobody, who anticipated that filibuster abuse would be an issue in 2009 and 2010. If anyone can find a single pundit or politician who predicted the filibuster abuse, show me a link.

Old_Zircon
"Bort
I think there's a perspective that we, as mere hoi polloi, lose sight of (rightly or wrongly): we tend to think in terms of individual outcomes, while dedicated public officials think in terms of a functioning system of government."


Not me, I've been a committed incrementalist since Iw as old enough to understand what that meant.

Old_Zircon
Bort, I've got to run to catch a bus (working late today) so I don't have time to find many sources, but here's one of the top Google hits for "filibuster abuse," a Time article from 2009 quoting Joe Lieberman's call for an end to rampant filibuster abuse back in 1994:

http://content.time.com/time/politics/article/0,8599,1933802,0 0.html

"Considering how controversial they've been, it's not surprising that politicians tend to flip-flop on filibuster use. In 1994 Senator Lieberman, then a Democrat, called the filibuster "an obstacle to accomplishment" and "a symbol of a lot that ails Washington today." Today Lieberman, now an independent, backs Republicans on health care reform and plans to filibuster the bill when it makes it to the Senate floor. Just goes to show everyone likes the filibuster when it's their time to use it."

Bort
Can you find anyone predicting the Republicans would take the filibustering to unprecedented levels in 2009? That's what I'm looking for.

Raggamuffin
In 2010 the republicans were completely open about willing to take every opportunity to be obstructionists, which presumably includes filibuster abuse as well as the later government shutdown and debt ceiling threats.

http://www.politico.com/story/2010/10/the-gops-no-compromise-p ledge-044311

SolRo
Didn't boner say his "job" was to 'make sure Obama is a one term president' as soon as he won?

Nominal
Didn't weaponized filibustering begin with, and largely continue as support for, opposing civil rights for blacks? A mostly conservative tool from day 1?

Old_Zircon
"Bort
Can you find anyone predicting the Republicans would take the filibustering to unprecedented levels in 2009? That's what I'm looking for."


I misread and thought you said BEFORE 2009. No, nobody predicted it would be specifically that year. People also didn't predict that we would have a black president in 2009, and while a lot of people DID predict the financial crash, they didn't specifically place it in 2008. How this changes the fact that filibuster abuse has been a well known, bipartisan problem since at least the Carter administration (and that's being very generous) I'm not exactly clear on.

Nominal
Civil Rights Act of 1964

"On February 10, 1964, the House of Representatives voted in favor of the bill, HR 7152. When the House-passed bill arrived in the Senate on February 26, 1964, Majority Leader Mike Mansfield placed it directly on the Senate calendar rather than refer it to the Judiciary Committee, chaired by civil rights opponent James Eastland of Mississippi. On March 9, when Mansfield moved to take up the measure, southern senators launched a filibuster against the bill. The Senate debated the bill for sixty days, including seven Saturdays.

At the time, a two-thirds vote, or sixty-seven senators, was required to invoke cloture and cut off debate in the Senate. Since southern Democrats opposed the legislation, votes from a substantial number of senators in the Republican minority would be needed to end the filibuster. Minnesota Senator Hubert Humphrey, the Democratic whip who managed the bill on the Senate floor, enlisted the aid of Republican Minority Leader Everett M. Dirksen of Illinois. Dirksen, although a longtime supporter of civil rights, had opposed the bill because he objected to certain provisions. Humphrey therefore worked with him to redraft the controversial language and make the bill more acceptable to Republicans. Once the changes were made, Dirksen gained key votes for cloture from his party colleagues with a powerful speech calling racial integration "an idea whose time has come."

On June 10, a coalition of 27 Republicans and 44 Democrats ended the filibuster when the Senate voted 71 to 29 for cloture, thereby limiting further debate. This marked the first time in its history that the Senate voted to end debate on a civil rights bill. "

Before that, Strom Thurmond set the record during the civil rights act of 1957.

The first real abuse came from some other civil rights case in the 30s where once again southern conservative shitheads railed against blacks being human, though I forget the exact name or details to look up.

Bort
"I misread and thought you said BEFORE 2009. No, nobody predicted it would be specifically that year. People also didn't predict that we would have a black president in 2009, and while a lot of people DID predict the financial crash, they didn't specifically place it in 2008. How this changes the fact that filibuster abuse has been a well known, bipartisan problem since at least the Carter administration (and that's being very generous) I'm not exactly clear on."

The issue I was raising was the Democrats' Monday morning quarterbacks who, in response to the Republicans' ongoing obstruction starting in 2009, insist that the Democrats should have seen this coming -- who think, come December 2008, the Democrats should have been saying "we need to fix the filibuster before the Republicans start obstructing everything we try to do".

So, are you about to claim that you could foresee it, and if so, link or it didn't happen.

Nominal
and there is no way the republicans are going to lose their majority in 2018. Only 8 are up for reelection then while HALF of democrats will be. Only 1, maybe 2 of those races are considered close. More than double that are projected close races for democrat incumbents.

Absolute best case: Republicans lose 1 seat

More probable case: Dems lose a couple, putting republicans closer to the 60 mark and eliminating the slim chance that a couple sane defectors could prevent them from getting 60 votes on anything. It's even likely that the ghost of Bernie will lead to even more Dems getting ousted.

This is all assuming we're not in a goddamn war by then.

cognitivedissonance
This is on the historical level of Cicero suspending due process to execute the Catiline Conspirators. The Republic is dead.
Binro the Heretic
I used to work with a guy who looked a lot like Mitch McConnell except he didn't wear glasses and had a receding hairline. He had that same wobbly jowly face and the same shitty attitude, though.

Anyway, this guy would just take part of your lunch. Seriously, he would grab food right from in front of you in the break room and start to walk off with it. If you didn't chase him down and demand it back he would eat it. And he would actually taunt you with it when you did ask for it back. He was a literal overgrown schoolyard bully.

He took an apple from me once and because I only demanded that he put it back instead of actually standing up and confronting him, he had started to eat it by the time I went down the hall to get it back. The next day he taunted me with, "You need to bring some more of those apples. That was delicious."

Finally, a coworker, who is a hero and a genius, figured out the perfect way to deal with his goofy ass. He helped himself to something of hers. She was new and this was the first time it had been done to her. She thought it was a silly joke and laughingly asked for it back. When he left the room with it, she expected him to come back. When he didn't and she found out he did that to other people, she was upset, but instead of complaining to the boss, she worked out the perfect strategy for dealing with him.

She stopped him in front of a group of people, including one of the managers and said something like, "I'm so sorry. I didn't know you couldn't afford to feed yourself. I'll bring you a lunch from now on so you don't have to steal other people's food."

The guy was very senior in the company and very well paid. He could afford to feed himself and, in fact, had take-out delivered every day, a real luxury. Stealing bits from the employees who could only afford to brown-bag it was a way of showing dominance.

According to the people who witnessed the exchange, there were a few good chuckles. The guy flushed and looked like he might explode for a second, which would have gotten him into serious trouble if not fired outright. He managed to get it under control, though and said something like, "Oh, no, I was just fooling around. I'll get you something tomorrow to make up for it."

The guy never stole food again, but he still had other little ways to push around people who couldn't retaliate. Still, it was good to see someone get back at him just once.

Anyway, when I first saw Mitch McConnell, I instantly hated him because of his strong resemblance to the asshole. I suppressed that instinct, trying not to judge a book by its cover, etc. Of course, then ol' Mitch turns around and proves himself to be exactly the same kind of asshole. I hope his reckoning comes soon. I hope what we're seeing is the last desperate attempt of the old rich White dudes to keep clutching on to the power they used to control.
Nominal
I keep seeing you blame everything on old white dudes monopolizing power. How did supporting Bernie over Hillary challenge this status quo?

Change begins at home, Binny.

Binro the Heretic
Hillary is an old White dude.

Hillary and Bill too, really, are Democrats in name only. They're extremely wealthy, politically connected and they never really do anything to help the working class or the impoverished. They just kept the machine humming along.

Bort
I don't see anything wrong with preferring Bernie to Hillary in and of itself.

Where I draw the line is with people who felt that Hillary was so terrible that it was okay to risk a Trump presidency. This includes Susan Sarandon and her ilk, the McPoyles over at Bo News, and the dull Bernie-or-Busters who were enjoying their Hillary Derangement Syndrome so much that they were willing to wreck the country. I don't give a pass to those people who supported Hillary but made it clear at every turn how much it pained them, because they were still trying to convince as many people as possible not to support her.

Speaking of HDS, Binro, it took me about a second and a half to find a list of Hillary's accomplishments that actually help people. Imagine what you could have found if you ever once looked:

http://addictinginfo.org/2015/04/13/heres-a-list-of-hillary-cl intons-accomplishments-so-quit-saying-she-doesnt-have-any/

Nominal
You harp on EVERY social and political issue that it's the fault of entrenched old white dudes in power, without exception nor critical thinking.

You finally had the first chance ever to elect a woman to the highest office of the land, and you eagerly bought into the demonizing bullshit against her all so you could vote for the oldest and whitest dude of them all.

It's all just empty rhetoric with whatever current cause will make you more popular with the cool kids. You are the Hot Topic of social issues.

Binro the Heretic
I did vote for Hillary. I had no expectation that she would make things better, but I knew she wouldn't make things worse.

Had Bernie been nominated, I would have gone in with the same expectations.

I don't pin my faith on politicians fixing things.

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