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The postal service bill (or at least some version of it) passed the Senate by 62 votes, enough to pass what our own David Waldman calls the "painless fililbuster".  And that got me thinking.  Why should a filibuster be painless?  Seems to be a filibuster ought to be painFUL.  Right now we've got the equivalent of a pretend filibuster, but with real consequences for us, the people who have to live with the results caused this absurd procedure.

Which brings to mind a classic Star Trek episode, A Taste of Armageddon:

And from the Wiki:

The landing party soon discovers that the entire war between the two planets is completely simulated by computers which launch wargame attacks and counterattacks, then calculate damage and select the dead. Citizens reported as "killed" must submit themselves for termination by stepping inside a disintegration booth. Anan 7 informs Kirk that the simulated attacks and following executions is the agreed system of war decided by both sides in a treaty with Vendikar. A conventional war was deemed too destructive to the environments and societies of both planets.

Kirk is then informed that during the last Vendikar attack the Enterprise was destroyed by a tri-cobalt satellite, and the entire ship's crew must be terminated within 24 hours. Although the landing team is exempted from execution, they are arrested and held hostage until all Enterprise crew members report to the planet for execution. Mea 3 has also been reported as a casualty.

And that's exactly what we've got here.

In the good old days, this was a filibuster:

One of the most notable filibusters of the 1960s occurred when southern Democratic senators attempted, unsuccessfully, to block the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by making a filibuster that lasted for 75 hours, which included a 14 hour and 13 minute address by Senator Robert Byrd. The filibuster ended when the Senate invoked cloture for only the second time since 1927.
So I say, let them talk.  Let them have a real filibuster.  Let's stop letting the hideous Senate rules, which no one gives a shit about outside of the Senate, ruin our democracy.  That's why we don't have a Dream Act, for instance.  

Of course the Democrats in the Senate are just as responsible as the Republicans for this, and this is due to the ancient Democratic principle of keeping the powder dry.

In a classic post (In the Vaults Where the Dry Powder is Stored), our own Blueness wrote, on August 5, 2007:

Like you, I have watched, these past six years, the Democrats, over and over and over again, collapse when confronted by George W. Bush. Like you, I have heard these Democrats say, every time, as they raced past in headlong retreat, that they were just "keeping our powder dry" for more propitious moments in which to strike blows against the Empire.

Some months ago it hit me: damn, that must be a helluva lot of powder they've got stored up by now. Stored . . . somewhere. But where, I wondered, was it? And was there any chance that, say, more hardy souls might get their hands on it?

Tonight, tipped off by Gore Vidal, I found the powder. Sure enough: all dry as a bone. Stored in massive vaults, hidden away in sub-basement warrens snaking under The Smithsonian Institution. I have seen it, people. And let me tell you: there must be more powder down there than was expended in the Revolutionary War.

Well, let's break into the dry powder vaults.  Get William Shatner or some other hammy actor to bust up the Senate rules, Taste of Armageddon style:
Kirk and Spock make their way to the wargame computers, and once there, Kirk destroys the entire system while Anan looks on in terror. He exclaims that the planet is doomed; with the treaty broken, the people of Vendikar will fire their conventional weapons again. Vendikar had in fact been in contact already to complain about Anan 7's government being slow to meet their treaty obligations created by Kirk's interference. Now, an immediate retaliation with real weaponry is imminent.

What's the real reason why the "painless filibuster" exists?

83%5 votes
16%1 votes

| 6 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (5+ / 0-)

    You have exactly 10 seconds to change that look of disgusting pity into one of enormous respect!

    by Cartoon Peril on Thu Apr 26, 2012 at 07:48:00 AM PDT

  •  The law of unintended consequences (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cartoon Peril

    Some morons decided it was too hard on aging senators like Strom Thurmond to be forces to stand on their feet and speak for hours, so now we have a Senate where it's necessary for a party to have at least 60 votes (or 65 if it's a Democratic majority) if the body is going to function at all. Changes in the rules of the Senate can be made by majority vote the first day of the session, but each party is afraid of what the other party would do with a supermajority.

    Knowing all that we should be able to fix it, but no.

    -7.75, -8.10; All it takes is security in your own civil rights to make you complacent.

    by Dave in Northridge on Thu Apr 26, 2012 at 09:16:37 AM PDT

    •  it could be argued that the majority rules (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Cartoon Peril

      you could make a case that if a party has the majority it is because the consensus of the population wants to have the policies espoused by that party.

      This argument has more weight when one party holds all three branches.

      In the spirit of fairness the party that lost should admit that they lost and after the 2008 elections the Republicans did not do that. However, the party that won should also be confident enough to claim that it won! And the Democrats hardly did that.

      Fearing what the other party would do, should fortunes be reversed, indicates that politicians are more concerned about preventing actions than getting legislation passed. It shows that they're happy to wait forever to do anything meaningful.

      This also creates an interesting situation in voting. With 60 votes being needed, why should we worry if elections don't go our way, as long as we have 41 good Senate votes? Judge appointments? Filibuster. Crazy right-wing legislation? Filibuster. Wait 4 years, claim Romney is a do-nothing President who can't get anything done. Retake the White House, waste 4 more years with a Democratic President, equally unable to move the country forward.

      Meanwhile cash will keep flowing in.

      EXECUTIVE SUMMARY OF POST FOR ANYONE WHO THINKS IT'S TOO LONG: The "painless" filibuster is a con by scammers only interested in taking your money.

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