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Has U.S. Democracy Been Trumped? Bernie Sanders wants to know who owns America?

#19321 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2021-December-15, 08:27

View Postpilowsky, on 2021-December-15, 00:18, said:

To be fair, suspension of disbelief is a psychological skill that people are trained in from birth.
Wouldn't it be great if there was a "lone moral agent" who "knows the difference between right and wrong" - Shane, The Punisher or Batman?
Or better still, some bloke who was sent by his Father (only son as it happens) to Earth and for some reason decided to stick around and solve the trolley car problem - Superman amongst others.

Not only do you suspend your disbelief but you are absolved of all personal responsibility.
Step inside that small confessional where the man whose got religion'll tell you if your sins original.

If it is try playin’ it safer, drink the wine and chew the wafer….
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter. / "I need ammunition, not a ride." Zelensky
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#19322 User is online   pilowsky 

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Posted 2021-December-17, 04:21

In news just in the Christmas tree erected in Manhattan by Fox media was attacked by an arsonist.
Fox news is concerned that it may be the work of Antifir.
non est deus ex machina; även maskiner behöver lite kärlek.
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#19323 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2021-December-17, 08:02

View Postpilowsky, on 2021-December-17, 04:21, said:

In news just in the Christmas tree erected in Manhattan by Fox media was attacked by an arsonist.
Fox news is concerned that it may be the work of Antifir.

Only in Massachusetts. That’s in Americir
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter. / "I need ammunition, not a ride." Zelensky
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#19324 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2021-December-17, 17:18

Katie Robertson and Jonah E. Bromwich at NYT said:

https://www.nytimes....on-lawsuit.html

A judge on Thursday rejected an attempt by the Rupert Murdoch-owned Fox News Media to dismiss a $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit brought by Dominion Voting Systems over the network’s coverage of the company’s role in the 2020 presidential election.

In the ruling, Judge Eric M. Davis of the Superior Court of Delaware, where Fox is incorporated, wrote that he had denied Fox News Media’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit because it was “reasonably conceivable that Dominion has a claim for defamation.”

Dominion, an election technology company, sued Fox News Media in March, accusing it of advancing lies that devastated its reputation and business. More than two dozen states, including several carried by former President Donald J. Trump, made use of Dominion, a Denver company founded in 2002, in last year’s election.

Along with another vote tabulating company, Smartmatic, Dominion was at the center of a baseless pro-Trump conspiracy theory about rigged voting machines that gave the election to President Biden. The false claims were promoted by the president and his advisers, including Rudolph Giuliani and Sidney Powell, who appeared on Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network.

In May, Fox filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit, arguing that Dominion’s lawsuit threatened the news media’s First Amendment right to chronicle and assess newsworthy claims.

In his ruling, Judge Davis disputed the arguments put forth by Fox, including that its employees were reporting in a neutral manner on statements made by advisers of the then-president and that claims made on its channels were opinion, and thus constituted protected speech.

The judge wrote that he was not persuaded by Fox’s “neutral reportage” and “opinion” arguments. He added that the company either “knew its statements about Dominion’s role in election fraud were false” or that it “had a high degree of awareness that the statements were false.”

Judge Davis also noted that Dominion had objected in writing to Fox’s coverage, seemingly to no avail. The allegations made by Dominion in its complaint, he wrote, “support the reasonable inference that Fox intended to keep Dominion’s side of the story out of the narrative.”

A Dominion spokeswoman said in a statement: “We are pleased to see this process moving forward to hold Fox accountable.”

In a statement on Thursday, a Fox spokeswoman said, “We remain committed to defending against this baseless lawsuit and its all-out assault on the First Amendment.”

The 52-page ruling included examples of statements made on shows hosted by Mario Bartiromo, Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity, Jeanine Pirro and Lou Dobbs, whose Fox Business Network program was canceled in February.

The judge wrote that those hosts had provided platforms to people who were spreading the false narrative of election fraud involving Dominion and that the hosts’ own statements sometimes lent weight to the baseless claims. Also figuring in the court’s decision to allow the case to go forward was the fact that other Fox journalists had publicly stated the claims of widespread vote fraud were false.

“The nearby presence of dissenting colleagues thus further suggests Fox, through personnel like Mr. Dobbs, was knowing or reckless in reporting the claims,” Judge Davis wrote.

Barring a successful appeal of the ruling, Dominion now has the power to compel Fox to produce internal documents related to the issues raised in the suit and to have its employees testify in deposition.

Don Herzog, who teaches First Amendment and defamation law at the University of Michigan, said in an interview that Fox faced a decision: It could settle, which might be seen as an admission of wrongdoing, or it could go through the discovery process, which could eventually make its internal communications public.

Timothy Zick, a professor at William & Mary Law School who specializes in First Amendment law, said that Fox would be more incentivized to settle the suit than it previously was. “The danger for them is that a lot of embarrassing email correspondence and other documents will come out, if they don’t settle the case,” he said. Mr. Zick added that Dominion might not be willing to settle.

The prospect of the publication of Fox’s internal communications concerning its coverage of the 2020 election follows the recent disclosure of text messages sent by its hosts to Mark Meadows, Mr. Trump’s final White House chief of staff, during the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. On their shows this week, the hosts Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham vociferously defended the messages, which made vivid the close relationship between the network and Mr. Trump’s administration. Mr. Hannity and Ms. Ingraham said that nothing in their text messages differed from their public statements.

Fox faces another high-stakes legal battle over its election coverage because of a defamation lawsuit filed in February by Smartmatic.

The day after Smartmatic filed its suit, Fox Business Network abruptly canceled “Lou Dobbs Tonight.” Mr. Dobbs, a loyal supporter of Mr. Trump, was the host of the channel’s most-watched show.

In its suit, Smartmatic cited a false claim made by Ms. Powell on “Lou Dobbs Tonight” that Hugo Chávez, the former president of Venezuela, had a hand in the creation of Smartmatic technology, designing it so that the votes it processed could be changed undetected. (Mr. Chávez, who died in 2013, did not have anything to do with Smartmatic.) Mr. Dobbs had also referred to the supposed vote conspiracy as “cyber Pearl Harbor,” borrowing a phrase that had been used by Ms. Powell.

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#19325 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2021-December-18, 06:02

Heather Cox Richardson said:

https://heathercoxri...mCCaZmrHqSS-i1E

The momentum behind the January 6th committee appears to be picking up. This morning, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) told Spectrum News that the attack on the Capitol on January 6 “was a horrendous event and I think that what they’re seeking to find out is something the public needs to know.”

McConnell arranged Trump’s second impeachment to guarantee an acquittal, and he tried to scuttle an investigation of the insurrection. His wife, Elaine Chao, was transportation secretary in the Trump administration and resigned her position on January 7, 2021, saying that she “simply cannot set aside” how troubled she was “as supporters of the President stormed the Capitol building following a rally he addressed.”

The committee has been effective, interviewing hundreds of witnesses without leaks, issuing a broad range of subpoenas, and referring uncooperative witnesses to the Department of Justice for contempt of Congress. That efficiency is possible because the committee is not constantly fighting the sort of grandstanding and construction of false counternarratives we saw Republicans engaging in during the impeachment hearings.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) tried to keep that sort of disinformation in play by putting far-right Representatives Jim Jordan (R-OH) and Jim Banks (R-IN) on the committee, but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) rejected them and put Representatives Liz Cheney (R-WY) and Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) on the committee instead.

Now it turns out that Jordan was part of the insurrection McCarthy wanted him to investigate: Jordan texted Trump’s White House chief of staff Mark Meadows on November 5, offering a plan for how Vice President Mike Pence could toss out Biden’s electors and throw the election to Trump.

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#19326 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2021-December-18, 09:55

I can't remember the details, maybe it was a cartoon, maybe an old movie, but a guy comes home and finds his wife in bed with another man. The man in the bed jumps up running for the door shouting "It's not me". Groucho Marx maybe. It seems that's where a number of Republicans are with Jan 6. I haven't read, and won't be reading, the thousands of pages from Meadows. But as I get it, they have explicit messages signed and dated about who urged what as the insurrection was approaching and then underway. And then who did, or did not, do what to address it. From your post: "Jordan texted Trump's White House chief of staff Mark Meadows on November 5, offering a plan for how Vice President Mike Pence could toss out Biden's electors and throw the election to Trump." That's pretty explicit. I gather there are numerous messages, signed and dated, with "dated" meaning to the minute, of Republicans pleading with Trump, as the insurrection unfolded, to address the problem. There is really no place to hide. Jan 6 happened because Trump and his supporters wanted it to happen. Pence survived, but some cops didn't, and whether democracy survives is still an unsettled matter. "It's not me"? Yes, it is.
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#19327 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2021-December-21, 06:00

Matt Yglesias said:

I don’t have a lot to say about the latest blowup between Joe Manchin and Democratic Party leaders over Build Back Better except to say that I think the whole notion of “leverage” in this situation is a farce. Joe Biden carried 25 states in 2020, and those states send 47 Democratic Party Senators to Washington. It is very lucky for progressives that Jon Tester and Sherrod Brown choose not to espouse significant deviations from the Biden agenda (though Democrats may come to regret that if those seats flip GOP in 2024), and they are also lucky that Joe Manchin is much more progressive than the median voter in West Virginia.

But unlike in Arizona where you plausibly could do better than Kyrsten Sinema, any other person who represents West Virginia in the Senate will be worse than Manchin. Indeed, we’re actually lucky that Shelley Moore Capito is a relatively moderate member.

Democrats and progressives are lucky to have Manchin in that job. It is not his fault that progressives couldn’t persuade the voters of Maine or Florida or North Carolina that their agenda was worth supporting in a way that would have made him irrelevant.

I also think that Manchin’s stated objections to the House Build Back Better draft are perfectly consistent with the Senate passing an excellent piece of legislation. The back-and-forth between him and the White House suggests some deeper and more profound breakdown, but that is a problem for a psychotherapist. All I can really do at this point is take everyone at their word. So here’s how I see it:

Months ago, Democratic leaders (over what we now know to have been Joe Manchin’s explicit wishes) unveiled a $3.5 trillion package chock full of all kinds of stuff.

Moderates balked, and the White House (trying to come closer to Manchin) announced support for a framework closer to $1.75 trillion.

House leadership, not wanting to actually cut half the stuff from the $3.5 trillion package, instead brought the headline price down largely by scheduling lots of programs to phase-in and phase-out on a weird schedule.

The recent breakdown is that Manchin said no to that idea. He will back $1.75 trillion in spending, which is a lot. But he wants it to actually be $1.75 trillion in spending.

Progressives can be mad about this, but the fact is that $1.75 trillion in spending without phase-out gimmicks is better on the merits than what House leadership put together. Manchin is not ruining anything by pointing this out. He is making life harder for his colleagues in the sense that they will have to pick winners and losers. But it’s much better to do six good programs than to half-ass a dozen of them. And the reality is that $1.75 trillion is a lot of money; you can do a lot of good stuff for $1.75 trillion.

Here’s what I’m sad about, though: the expanded Child Tax Credit is just way too expensive to fit within that framework if made permanent. The expanded CTC is one of my favorite policies, and it’s not going to work with Manchin’s demands. Back in September, David Shor and Simon Bazelon did a piece for Slow Boring in which they advocated applying a much sharper means-test to the program as a way to save it. Reaction to that idea on Twitter was very bad, but at a minimum, I think you now can understand what they were thinking.

But I have another idea for saving the CTC — keep it at its pre-Biden size, but make it fully refundable on a permanent basis.

https://www.slowbori..._tk5PB7-HC9JZ0A

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#19328 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2021-December-21, 09:31

Way way back, when the infrastructure bill passed, I suggested we should tout that as a success and then see what more could still be done, building on this success. Selected bills, one at a time. I recommended against a 3.5 trillion everything plan. I was pretty sure it would not go through, I wasn't at all sure it should go through, and the optics would change from success at passing a big bill to utter failure from pushing for a triple size doomed bill.

I am not really saying "They should have listened to me", why would they do that, but I am saying they might have thought this through a bit better. People have forgotten about the infrastructure bill, they remember BBB as a failure, and the Dems are heading into 2021 with little recent success to run on other than removing some statues and changing the name of some parks.

This sort of pessimism is not natural for me. But. But.

I can hope Yglesias is right that "I also think that Manchin's stated objections to the House Build Back Better draft are perfectly consistent with the Senate passing an excellent piece of legislation.". That would be very good. This would be a very good time for me to be wrong.

As to "The back-and-forth between him and the White House suggests some deeper and more profound breakdown, but that is a problem for a psychotherapist. "
Uh oh. Psychotherapy often helps people realize that they need to get a divorce.
Ken
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#19329 User is offline   Chas_P 

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Posted 2021-December-21, 19:06


Best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible,
low stress, non-addictive, gender neutral, winter solstice holiday,
practiced within the most joyous traditions of the religious persuasion
of your choice, but with respect for the religious persuasion of others
who choose to practice their own religion as well as those who choose
not to practice a religion at all; plus, A fiscally successful, personally
fulfilling, and medically uncomplicated recognition of the generally
accepted calendar year 2022, but not without due respect for the
calendars of choice of the other cultures whose contributions have
helped make our society great, without regards to the race, creed,
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(disclaimer: This greeting is subject to clarification or withdrawal. It
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unintended emotional stress these greetings may bring to those not
caught up in the holiday spirit.)

#19330 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2021-December-21, 21:36

The dumb f*#k Michael Flynn has brought suit against the Jan. 6 investigation for “violating his rights”. You do have a right. retired General, your 5th Amendment right against self incrimination- so honor the subpoena and go exercise the “right” you are whining about.
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter. / "I need ammunition, not a ride." Zelensky
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#19331 User is offline   awm 

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Posted 2021-December-22, 02:05

View Postkenberg, on 2021-December-21, 09:31, said:

Selected bills, one at a time.


There would be a lot of benefits to putting smaller bills up for a vote. If they weren't trying to fold a dozen things into one gigantic bill, it'd be easier to see where congresspeople stand on particular (very popular) programs, and harder to demagogue against the bill by calling it a "grab bag of liberal priorities" (rightly or wrongly). We might be able to avoid the situation where the individual elements of the bill are all very popular while the bill overall is not. Ideally we could also avoid the sort of accounting gimmicks that Manchin complains about (where we make a bill look deficit neutral by having the spending expire well before the funding mechanism does, with the tacit assumption that spending will be extended by a later congress).

The problem with all of this is the Senate rules. Because of the filibuster (and the Democrats' narrow majority, and consistent obstruction by the Republicans), the only way to pass any of these things is through the "reconciliation" process, which can only be used a limited number of times per congressional session. This pretty much destroys any potential for passing multiple selected bills one at a time, not to mention that the Senate rules permit a very large number of delaying tactics on a per-bill basis (so attempting to pass multiple bills will take forever).

Of course, the Senate rules can be changed by a majority vote, but this would require Manchin (and Sinema) to get on board.
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#19332 User is offline   johnu 

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Posted 2021-December-22, 02:39

View PostWinstonm, on 2021-December-21, 21:36, said:

The dumb f*#k Michael Flynn has brought suit against the Jan. 6 investigation for “violating his rights”. You do have a right. retired General, your 5th Amendment right against self incrimination- so honor the subpoena and go exercise the “right” you are whining about.


I have to defend Michael Flynn. Russian agents only have to answer to the Kremlin, not the US of A, and QOP traitors only answer to the Confederate States of America.
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#19333 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2021-December-22, 07:46

Matt Yglesias on December 21 said:

The night is dark and full of terrors, but today is the turning point in the struggle to bring daylight to the northern hemisphere.

If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
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#19334 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2021-December-22, 08:30

View Postawm, on 2021-December-22, 02:05, said:

There would be a lot of benefits to putting smaller bills up for a vote. If they weren't trying to fold a dozen things into one gigantic bill, it'd be easier to see where congresspeople stand on particular (very popular) programs, and harder to demagogue against the bill by calling it a "grab bag of liberal priorities" (rightly or wrongly). We might be able to avoid the situation where the individual elements of the bill are all very popular while the bill overall is not. Ideally we could also avoid the sort of accounting gimmicks that Manchin complains about (where we make a bill look deficit neutral by having the spending expire well before the funding mechanism does, with the tacit assumption that spending will be extended by a later congress).

The problem with all of this is the Senate rules. Because of the filibuster (and the Democrats' narrow majority, and consistent obstruction by the Republicans), the only way to pass any of these things is through the "reconciliation" process, which can only be used a limited number of times per congressional session. This pretty much destroys any potential for passing multiple selected bills one at a time, not to mention that the Senate rules permit a very large number of delaying tactics on a per-bill basis (so attempting to pass multiple bills will take forever).

Of course, the Senate rules can be changed by a majority vote, but this would require Manchin (and Sinema) to get on board.


Thanks.
It means that we are stymied, but thanks for some clarification.
There are times I think it might still be right to try for small bills. Maybe we could hear Republicans saying something like "I oppose getting children out of poverty, poverty is good for kids, it toughens them up".

As an aside I have a question. I don't think I ever heard the phrase "reconciliation process" until a few years ago. If asked, I would have guessed it had something to do with marriage counseling. I actually paid attention in my Civics class in high school, but I guess "reconciliation process" is a modern invention. Are kids taught about this in school now? I am trying to think of how a teacher would present it: First we have a Senate to vote on things. Then we have the filibuster to stop senators from voting on things. Then we have the reconciliation process to allow senators to vote on things. Then we set limits on the use of the reconciliation process, we do that to stop senators from voting on things.
Maybe this structure needs some work?
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#19335 User is offline   awm 

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Posted 2021-December-22, 10:32

View Postkenberg, on 2021-December-22, 08:30, said:


As an aside I have a question. I don't think I ever heard the phrase "reconciliation process" until a few years ago. If asked, I would have guessed it had something to do with marriage counseling. I actually paid attention in my Civics class in high school, but I guess "reconciliation process" is a modern invention. Are kids taught about this in school now?


Wikipedia article about reconciliation in the senate. It didn't exist until 1974, so you certainly didn't learn about it in high school. While I went to high school from 1989-1993 (so the process did exist then), I don't remember hearing about it until the 2000s, and then only because I follow political news pretty closely. No idea whether today's high schoolers learn about it in school.

Basically the idea is that Congress is supposed to pass a budget each year detailing how the federal government will raise and spend money, and this budget shouldn't be subject to filibuster (otherwise we'd never pass a budget). There are rules around the process -- all provisions must be related to either raising or spending money (so things like banning partisan gerrymandering or giving "dreamers" a path to citizenship are not permitted). Of course, this is just part of the Senate rules (as is the filibuster itself -- it's not in the Constitution) and could certainly be changed. Senate rules have been changed many times in the past (most recently by the Republicans, to eliminate the filibuster for Supreme Court appointments).
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#19336 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2021-December-22, 12:19

I have been thinking a little more about Senate problems.
Thought 1: The filibuster, at its best, keeps one party from totally running over the other. We could imagine 51 senators of the same party and viewpoint telling the other 49 "You guys might just as well go home. We don't need your votes, we don't need you, tough luck guys, but we will be passing exactly what the 51 of us decide to pass."

Thought 2: Ok maybe thought 1 has merit, but the other side of this is that now 49 senators can tell the other 51 (I know about Veep breaking ties, I am ignoring that for this argument) "You guys think you are actually going to pass something? Forgetaboutit"

Thought 3: I guess it all sort of worked with the infrastructure bill. We need roads and bridges, the Ds and enough Rs came together to get something done.

Thought 4: Roads and bridges are nice but if that were all we needed then Congress could be in session for a couple of weeks and then go home. We also need other things.

Thought 5: The real problem comes from the limitations of those we have elected. To get things done we need senators who are willing to work with other senators to do things that are important to the country. As long as "Why on Earth would I work with you" is the prevailing attitude, we are stuck.

I am still looking for the Thought 6 that begins "Here is how we solve this problem".
Ken
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#19337 User is offline   Cyberyeti 

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Posted 2021-December-22, 13:09

View Postkenberg, on 2021-December-22, 12:19, said:

I have been thinking a little more about Senate problems.
Thought 1: The filibuster, at its best, keeps one party from totally running over the other. We could imagine 51 senators of the same party and viewpoint telling the other 49 "You guys might just as well go home. We don't need your votes, we don't need you, tough luck guys, but we will be passing exactly what the 51 of us decide to pass."

Thought 2: Ok maybe thought 1 has merit, but the other side of this is that now 49 senators can tell the other 51 (I know about Veep breaking ties, I am ignoring that for this argument) "You guys think you are actually going to pass something? Forgetaboutit"

Thought 3: I guess it all sort of worked with the infrastructure bill. We need roads and bridges, the Ds and enough Rs came together to get something done.

Thought 4: Roads and bridges are nice but if that were all we needed then Congress could be in session for a couple of weeks and then go home. We also need other things.

Thought 5: The real problem comes from the limitations of those we have elected. To get things done we need senators who are willing to work with other senators to do things that are important to the country. As long as "Why on Earth would I work with you" is the prevailing attitude, we are stuck.

I am still looking for the Thought 6 that begins "Here is how we solve this problem".


I'm not sure how you would phrase it, but allowing only a limited number of filibusters per session (however long you set that up as), with safeguards to prevent bringing in what would be one bill now as a lot of small bills. Basically not allowing filibustering everything, but making the smaller group pick their battles carefully.
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#19338 User is offline   awm 

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Posted 2021-December-22, 13:10

View Postkenberg, on 2021-December-22, 12:19, said:

I have been thinking a little more about Senate problems.
Thought 1: The filibuster, at its best, keeps one party from totally running over the other. We could imagine 51 senators of the same party and viewpoint telling the other 49 "You guys might just as well go home. We don't need your votes, we don't need you, tough luck guys, but we will be passing exactly what the 51 of us decide to pass."

Thought 2: Ok maybe thought 1 has merit, but the other side of this is that now 49 senators can tell the other 51 (I know about Veep breaking ties, I am ignoring that for this argument) "You guys think you are actually going to pass something? Forgetaboutit"

Thought 3: I guess it all sort of worked with the infrastructure bill. We need roads and bridges, the Ds and enough Rs came together to get something done.

Thought 4: Roads and bridges are nice but if that were all we needed then Congress could be in session for a couple of weeks and then go home. We also need other things.

Thought 5: The real problem comes from the limitations of those we have elected. To get things done we need senators who are willing to work with other senators to do things that are important to the country. As long as "Why on Earth would I work with you" is the prevailing attitude, we are stuck.

I am still looking for the Thought 6 that begins "Here is how we solve this problem".


A few observations about this:

1. The Senate is (by design) quite unrepresentative, offering low-population rural states the same number of senators as high-population states. Adding the filibuster on top of this allows a senators representing a pretty small number of people to grind the country to a halt; right now the Democrats' 50 senators already represent around 40 million more people than the Republicans' 50 senators. The US government already has a pretty large number of veto points to protect the minority (two legislative houses elected at different tempos and representing people/states in different proportions, plus the presidency, plus constitutional protections and the courts), and it's not clear why we need a super-majority requirement in addition (not to mention that this requirement isn't in the constitution).

2. If we insist that we somehow need the filibuster (and keep in mind, Republicans will probably get rid of it as soon as there's something they want to pass and can't -- look at the games they played with Supreme Court justices over the last few years), we need to at least make it painful for the minority rather than an automatic matter of course. The simplest solution is to require 41 senators to block something (rather than requiring 60 to advance it); this would mean that the minority needs to actually keep 41 senators on the floor at all times to maintain the blockade (which might restrict it to the really important stuff).

3. We really need to pass voting rights reforms. There will never be a bipartisan agreement on this; Republicans are passing voting restrictions (and even scarier, bills allowing gerrymandered state legislatures to override the will of the people in the state) on party line votes at the state level. If we don't set out some rules at the federal level, we will quite likely lose our republic entirely. A lot of the current situation where there's no incentive to compromise comes from the prevalence of "one-party" districts and states (where a challenge from within one's own party is the only way to lose the seat) and anything that makes these seats more competitive will help encourage moderation.
Adam W. Meyerson
a.k.a. Appeal Without Merit
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#19339 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2021-December-22, 14:46

View Postawm, on 2021-December-22, 13:10, said:

A few observations about this:

1. The Senate is (by design) quite unrepresentative, offering low-population rural states the same number of senators as high-population states. Adding the filibuster on top of this allows a senators representing a pretty small number of people to grind the country to a halt; right now the Democrats' 50 senators already represent around 40 million more people than the Republicans' 50 senators. The US government already has a pretty large number of veto points to protect the minority (two legislative houses elected at different tempos and representing people/states in different proportions, plus the presidency, plus constitutional protections and the courts), and it's not clear why we need a super-majority requirement in addition (not to mention that this requirement isn't in the constitution).

2. If we insist that we somehow need the filibuster (and keep in mind, Republicans will probably get rid of it as soon as there's something they want to pass and can't -- look at the games they played with Supreme Court justices over the last few years), we need to at least make it painful for the minority rather than an automatic matter of course. The simplest solution is to require 41 senators to block something (rather than requiring 60 to advance it); this would mean that the minority needs to actually keep 41 senators on the floor at all times to maintain the blockade (which might restrict it to the really important stuff).

3. We really need to pass voting rights reforms. There will never be a bipartisan agreement on this; Republicans are passing voting restrictions (and even scarier, bills allowing gerrymandered state legislatures to override the will of the people in the state) on party line votes at the state level. If we don't set out some rules at the federal level, we will quite likely lose our republic entirely. A lot of the current situation where there's no incentive to compromise comes from the prevalence of "one-party" districts and states (where a challenge from within one's own party is the only way to lose the seat) and anything that makes these seats more competitive will help encourage moderation.


I very much like the idea of requiring 41 filibustering senators on the floor to maintain the filibuster. Your general assessment is very pessimistic but, I am sorry to say, also pretty realistic. We are in desperate need of having people in leadership positions who think a well-functioning democracy is more important than getting their own way on everything. When push comes to shove, we need good people. Good structure yes, but bad people can screw up anything.
Ken
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#19340 User is online   pilowsky 

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Posted 2021-December-22, 15:19

The Democracy in the United States - and Australia - operates at a macro level in the same way as a large dysfunctional family.
Most of the time things grumble along tolerably.
Some people go out and earn money.
People contribute to cleaning the home and taking out the garbage to the extent they are able.
Sometimes one member of the family decides they need to make a major purchase - a car perhaps.
They consult one of the other people - a decision gets made.
The others get no say.


After a while, one of the people decides that they want to get a job as a stand-up comedian, or get pregnant or take a few years to walk from Kensington to Katoomba.
Or become a Bridge grandmaster.
And they want major support from the other people for their personal activity.


Its moments like these that test the fabric of a society.


Democracy is a metal that is hardened in the furnace of difficult decisions. Sometimes it melts.
Right now it looks like a snowman in the Sahara.
non est deus ex machina; även maskiner behöver lite kärlek.
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