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