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View Diary: Apparently, You Can't Filibuster Incompetence (127 comments)

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  •  To get all technical on you (none)
    the rules of the Senate are amended by a majority vote, not 2/3.

    Ending debate (cloture) on a rule change requires a 2/3 majority of those present and voting (differently from all other cloture votes, which require 3/5 of the membership). While it is difficult to imagine the circumstances under which one would vote for cloture on a rule change and then vote against the rule change, they are two distinct votes.  In the case of legislative filibusters, there are many examples of a Senator voting to end debate - based on one set of reasons regarding the debate and the Senate schedule - and then voting against the measure that had been blocked by the filibuster.

    •  Thank you for the clarification. (none)
      Frist & Co. seem to see their way to implementing this rule change without having to deal with having to end debate on the proposed rule change with a 2/3 majority of those present.

      Is there a procedural gimmick they're going to use? Absent the time it might take you to explain this detail, could you direct me to a site where I might find this info?


      Defeat the sound-bite.

      by sbj on Sat May 21, 2005 at 06:51:08 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Technically - again - it is not a rule change (4.00)
        The text of the Senate rules will be changed not a whit, thus: no rule change.

        In the most commonly anticipated scenario, as I understand it,

        1. The presiding officer will rule - against the advice of the Parliamentarian - that a 51% vote has been adequate to end debate and cloture has been invoked (with all the rules intact for 30 additional post-cloture debate, etc).

        2. Reid will protest and demand that, by the rules, that rule interpretation be submitted to the Senate for a majority vote.

        3. Since the Republicans assumedly have a majority to uphold the ruling, the Democrats will filibuster on Reid's motion.  

        4. Frist (= Dobson) will move to table the motion altogether.

        5. Frist's motion is non-debatable and requires only a majority vote.

        6. If Frist gets his majority - this is where the rubber meets the road - consideration of Reid's motion is completed and the presiding officer's ruling stands.

        That's how I understand it, anyway, from the Senate rules. I may well be wrong, but I am confident I will be corrected by a more knowledgable Kossack. Also, there are variations on this scenario, I believe, that may go down different paths.

        Nota bene: When Byrd changed the rules to reduce the cloture requirement from 2/3 to 3/5, he proceeded in such a way that the order of motions eventually required that 2/3 of the Senate agree to the change.  Frist (for Frist read Dobson) and Cheney (for Cheney read Satan) have maneuvered matters so that never is more than a majority required.

        •  Molto bene! (none)
          (I know, I'm using Italian in reference to your Latin, but your explanation was "very good").

          It seems, then, that when the agents of Dobson/Satan launch their final assault, the key undemocratic component, (at least as far as the spirit of our democratic system is concerned) centers around their ignoring the parliamentarian's advice and proceeding forward from there.

          Robert Byrd is one of the grand old characters in the Senate these days, but I was never a particular fan of his in the past. In this instance, however, the fact that he seems to have followed a more respectable course when he amended this rule at least indicates some respect for the spirit of the rules and for the Senate itself, not to mention respect for the country. The Dobson/Satan cabal exhibits no such respect.

          I hope there are enough rational, ethical, thoughtful repubs who will realize the ignominy of going down in hstory as members of the group who succumbed to the thuggish extortion and intimidation of the fascist Dobson and his crazed minions.

          Thanks again for the technical explanations.

          Defeat the sound-bite.

          by sbj on Sat May 21, 2005 at 07:57:27 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Grazie! (none)
            All I know I have learned from Kos. I imagine a search of previous posts will produce a more succinct description of the scenario than mine, if anyone is confused.

            I have just (a) read a post from Pho more recent than mine which seems to validate my scenario based on the WaPo, and (b) posted a response to him calling attention to Frist/Dobson's lack of allegiance the Senate as an institution, which allegiance among other Senators may be the salvation of the Republic (not meaning to exaggerate, I do not exaggerate). Q.v.

            •  The salvation of the Republic is surely at stake. (none)
              Fascism in one guise or another has destroyed lots of rational democracies over the years, and it always starts from within.

              Regardless of the fact that Huey Long was not a paragon of virtue in the Senate, he did give us the memorable quote;

              When fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in an American flag.

              Defeat the sound-bite.

              by sbj on Sat May 21, 2005 at 08:57:26 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Great quote! (none)
                but I think what we face - and must oppose, as many Romans did futilely - is the establishment of 'empire'.

                The French, you know, experienced a fairly happy 18 years of empire in the 1850s and 1860s under Napoleon III (by blood no Bonaparte at all, of course), until l'addition was presented in 1870 (which they paid - in francs and in blood until 1945) . . .

                Perhaps our great hope is: I knew Eugenie, Eugenie was a friend of mine, and Laura, you are no Eugenie!'

                [Extra credit: Who is our Plon-Plon?]

                •  Yes! It's extremely unlikely that (none)
                  Laura (I think of her sometimes as Clarabelle to George's Howdy Doody), will ever set any fashion or style trends, or display anything much in the way of innate intelligence like Napoleon III's Empress did. As for the unremarkable Plon Plon, I suspect that the Bush daughters might follow in his footsteps as far as remaining historically obscure is concerned.

                  Empire, of course, is always the goal of a few powermad lunatics in any prosperous and expanding society. And of course those who most thoroughly fall prey to their own delusions of grandeur never learn from history. Each new bunch of these aspiring tyrants think that for them, it will be different. They're so infatuated with their own plan, so enamored of the preposterous belief in their own infallability that they become irrational.

                  I believe the aspiring empire builders we confront now carry the seeds of their own destruction embedded in their reactionary agenda. As Dobson/Frist, Santorum and the like come to believe they have more power, they are less able to conceal the depths of their pathology, their blazing insanity. And the more of their true nature is revealed, the more of their own followers they unnerve.

                  Even though creatures like Dobson and Robertson and Falwell are modern day evangelical versions of Hitler, even though they've already managed to exploit the fears and weaponize the ignorance of tens of millions of people, I believe they already reached their apogee and have begun the downward course of their influence. This doesn't mean they won't seize more powers in the short term, nor does it mean they won't cause more damage, but in the end they've already lost their bid for a theocratic America. There will be no Christian Empire in america, let alone across the globe.

                  Similarly for the Cheney/Wolfowitz/Perle/PNAC cabal, as enthusiastically as they are pursuing global hegemony through perpetual war, they have already lost too. They don't have the resources or the power to takeover the world. Rome conquered most of the know world because it was supremely powerful and the territories it seized were disorganized. But as a nation, we aren't that powerful in this modern world. Even if we defaulted on all our foreign debt, even if we were to gain control of all the petroleum resources for a time, we have no viable internal economic engine to sustain such an assault on the rest of the globe. Similarly, if the religious crusaders seized the government and replaced democracy with authoritarian religious rule, the economy would collapse within days, and big business won't let that happen.

                  If Hitler had had to contend with the internet, I doubt WW2 would have happened. Just like Gutenberg's press helped break the repressive grip of the church and pave the way from the end of the Middle Ages on toward the Renaissance and the Enlightenment, so it is that I see the internet fulfilling a similar incredibly valuable role for us today.

                  So, I'm blabbing away like crazy here, but I guess my point is that if we can protect the democratic principles that we rely on for maintaining the  essential value and beauty of our country, then we can better oppose the psychopaths who would have us become barbarians. With this in mind, I surely hope enough repubs come forward and knock the Dobson/Frist monster back into it's cave.

                  Defeat the sound-bite.

                  by sbj on Sat May 21, 2005 at 11:00:35 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Marvelous post, hardly 'blabbing' (none)
                    but I note that you neglect the Roman tactic - to some degree emulated by the French - of granting citizenship to 'furriners' who served their empire with greater fidelity than born-citizens.

                    This entire line of empire-building is as yet untapped by our current emperor, for reasons - frankly - I cannot fathom.  Himself has seemed to recognize the potential of immigration-for-conquest but has been markedly unsuccessful in marketing it to his worshipers; I have to guess this is 'Phase II' of the plan.  

                    At the moment, I do not doubt that every bullet fired and every guwumpke (sp?) consumed by the Polish contingent in Iraq is paid from your taxes and mine, even though the accounting has not been publicized.

                    In summary, I think there are still arrows in the quiver.

                    Finally, 'This is my daughter Plon (Barb) and my other daughter Plon (Jenna)' - that one had not occurred to me!  Well done!

                    •  Yes! Plon and Plon. (none)
                      I was so clever I didn't even realize the clevrness until you pointed it out. I return the "Well done" to you for catching this rhetorical marvel.

                      As for our hapless leader and the unfathomability of his behavior to us mere mortals, I think basically that his cognitive dexterity is so woefully inadequate that basically he understands virtually none of the substance or particulars of the so-called big ideas perpetrated on us in his name. In short, he's an imbecile without a clue as to what's really going on.

                      I think his guest-worker type immigration thing is something he actually feels strongly about on a personal level, one of the few things he's brought up about which he displays any hint of genuine humanity in his explanation. But I doubt very seriously that he understands this idea in the context of any strategic benefit it might have. It's not likely that it occurred to him that with his friends looting the economy at an astonishing clip that it might be smart to allow a whole bunch of really poor people willing to work for next to nothing to come here in order to forestall the eventuality of our own "soon to be former" middle class citizens actually having to clean their own houses and offices and pick their own veggies in the field. I just don't believe he has a mind that can calculate such things as strategy or tactics, except in the broadest terms.

                      I don't know about Phase I, II, etc. but if I had to guess, in the domestic arena I would say Phase I is "loot the economy". Phase II is "loot the economy some more and roll back as many environmental protections and civil liberties as you can". Phase III might include more of phase II plus "Destroy all the social programs so that only the strong survive", but it might also be "martial law" depending how restless we "native" might become.

                      Whatever happens, it's going to be a wild ride. I'm mindful of the old Chinese curse; "May you live in interesting times".

                      Defeat the sound-bite.

                      by sbj on Sat May 21, 2005 at 11:59:09 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Ah, but I believe he is sinister, not dextrous (none)
                        I am almost certain that Commander Cuckoo Bananas is left-handed! Do you think not?

                        (BTW: A young friend insists that all the wisdom of the universe is encompassed in Seinfeld and the Simpsons; conservative that I am, I hold out for a role for Taxi, although with not much conviction.)

                        I agree that it is refreshing to hear the chimp expound on immigration just because it seems like 'politics the way it used to be'.

                        With the draft will certainly come martial law.

                        As Dobson (don't bother to read Frist - he doesn't existentially exist) knows that he must demand laws against legal abortion to keep the women in the first 5 rows of his congregation from availing themselves of it and their husbands of paying for it for those women and the husband's mistresses and their sons' girlfriends (catholic cardinals ditto, of course), the rethugs know they will need a draft to entice their own adherents into the chimp's foreign adventures.  

                        Remember when the budget was in surplus and the campaign was about 'no nation-building' and SS lockboxes?  Was that a century ago? 'Interesting times', indeed!

                        •  I would say "mean-spirited" rather (none)
                          than "sinister" if for no other reason than that "sinister" carries with it the implication of cleverness and cunning that I just don't believe the hapless one has the ability for.

                          I see him more as someone whose emotional and cognitive development was arrested in the petulant adolescent stage of life. He might kill your cat or burn your house down if you don't give him what he wants, but as for planning more clever and demonic acts of malice, well, that's what Cheney and Rove are for.

                          As for Dobson, (and his attendant ghoulish chimera Frist), his psychopathology will not permit the acknowledgement of any authority save that which flows from himself. He/they pay lip service to the deity they purport to worship and revere, but so did Hitler. And in any case, just as rape is about power, not about sex, so it is that the Dobson agenda is about power, and not about spirituality.

                          The former budget surplus does seem like a false memory these days, but the "no nation building" campaign position I think holds firm. However, I think it is a promise kept by the Bush regime because they are only engaged in "Mock nation-building" in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Cheney demons need chaos and violence in these places as the pretext for maintaining the large military force there in perpetuity, and a stable democratic government in either of those places would jeopardize their plan. So I see civil war as their goal, and, tragically for Iraqis and Afghans, the most likely eventuality.

                          Defeat the sound-bite.

                          by sbj on Sun May 22, 2005 at 09:33:42 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Can we agree, then, on gauche? maladroit? (none)
                            I do have a problem with your last paragraph, given that the little monkey was lecturing us - and the world - earlier in the week on our own history and how the Iraqis today are just like the Americans under the Articles of Confederation and just need . . . patience (yeah, patience! that's the ticket!) [Of course, that is just a week after he lectured us on the perfidy of Yalta and how it was just like Molotov-von Ribbentrop (perfidy! ka-ching! another winner!)]

                            I have to believe he has in what remains of his rum-soaked cerebrum turned the corner on nation-building . . .

                          •  I heard that ridiculous lecture, (none)
                            which once again revealed his complete lack of understanding about what he's talking about. In comparing the Iraqi struggle for freedom to the American forefather's struggle, he doesn't seem to understand that it was when the Americans finally drove the occupying forces out in ignominious defeat that the structural work of developing a free society began. He doesn't seem to get it that in the case of Iraq, it's the Bush army that is the occupying force, and that as a result, his analogy represents the reverse of what he thinks it does.

                            He probably does believe his policy is furthering democracy and freedom and all that other grand stuff. but it's only cause Cheney (Satan) and Rove (Rasputin without the charm), tell him.

                            Gauche? Most certainly. Maladroit? In spades. Bumbling hapless nitwit who's extremely dangerous by dint of his position and massive personal ignorance? Closer. But then I don't want to look like I'm beating up on the village idiot by describing him further. He is, after all, a victim of psychopathic minds far more clever than his own.

                            Defeat the sound-bite.

                            by sbj on Sun May 22, 2005 at 11:33:33 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Rasputin without the charm! I yield! LOL (none)
                            This board is rolling off the bottom now, so I look forward to sharing with you on another in coming days!

                            I do agree that one could become a serious drunk by playing the 'Bob' game against all the badministration's references to 'foreign fighters' in Iraq, as though we had stolen their country fair and square the way we once did Panama. LOL

                            'This is my daughter Plon and my other daughter Plon' - that one will stay with me a while.


                            If you are going to eat the ham, you should be willing to watch the hog being slaughtered

                            by Clem Yeobright on Sun May 22, 2005 at 12:14:18 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  One final transmision on this thread. (none)
                            the link here is to a great article by Stirling Newberry that touches on much of what we discussed.

                            See you soon. I'll look for you on the threads.

                            Defeat the sound-bite.

                            by sbj on Sun May 22, 2005 at 01:52:44 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Got it! (none)
                            Wow! I will look for an opportunity to share it in other threads (if I may).

                            Catch ya on the flipside!

                            If you are going to eat the ham, you should be willing to watch the hog being slaughtered

                            by Clem Yeobright on Sun May 22, 2005 at 02:24:11 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  By all means share it. (none)
                            That's what we're here for anyway. See you on the flip.

                            Defeat the sound-bite.

                            by sbj on Sun May 22, 2005 at 02:38:27 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

        •  So if there's no rule change (none)
          Does that mean the same set of circumstances could occur again for every one of the disputed nominees?  I mean, could Reid protest again at the next attempt to impose cloture, and the Repubs would all have to vote down the filibuster yet again, or does some precedent get set such that the new cloture "rule" becomes the default?

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