Patterico's Pontifications

6/24/2021

Shot, Chaser: The New York Times on the Filibuster

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:29 am



Yesterday, I had occasion to revisit a post of mine from 2017, documenting the shifting stance of the New York Times on the filibuster. As I note, my post was occasioned by an op-ed piece and not an editorial, but the post documents a very consistent history of editorial flip-flopping on the issue . . . according to which party held the Oval Office (usually the same party as the Senate, when the issue of the filibuster merited an editorial). I’ll just quote my entire 2017 post in full as the shot, and then I’ll follow it with the chaser.

Shot:

The New York Times, facing a Republican Senate and President, today prints a shock op-ed piece arguing that the filibuster is a venerable tool that should not be discarded. (Yes, I’m joking about it being shocking.) The piece is titled Why Republicans Shouldn’t Weaken the Filibuster:

The Senate has historically been the one place in our government where legislative minorities are protected, with rules to check overzealous majorities.

The twin pillars of the body’s uniqueness are unlimited debate and unfettered amendments. The minority can almost always have some influence on legislative outcomes. This has often made the Senate the cradle of compromise.

. . . .

It’s important to keep the filibuster. With it, presidents must try to win the minority’s support for nominees. This has helped to keep nominations in the judicial mainstream.

But wait. Wasn’t it Harry Reid who changed the filibuster rule for nominees? You might have thought that, but let the op-ed writer mansplain it for you:

It is often written that the Senate “changed” the filibuster rule. It did nothing of the sort. Democrats voted to interpret the words “three-fifths of the senators duly chosen and sworn” to mean a simple majority.

(Go ahead and read that paragraph again, as many times as you need to, for it to make sense. I’ll wait right here.)

They didn’t change the rule, you see. They merely interpreted it to mean something other than what it says.

It’s a lovely little piece of pro-filibuster rhetoric. Filibuster good! Go, compromise! Hooray, deliberation! Down with “overzealous majorities”!

I wondered: where is the impassioned attack on the filibuster in the pages of the New York Times? You might be surprised to learn that you can find one. All you have to do is turn back the clock to November 21, 2013, when there was a Democrat Senate and a Democrat President. At that time, the official position of the New York Times was: nuke that filibuster!

For five years, Senate Republicans have refused to allow confirmation votes on dozens of perfectly qualified candidates nominated by President Obama for government positions. They tried to nullify entire federal agencies by denying them leaders. They abused Senate rules past the point of tolerance or responsibility. And so they were left enraged and threatening revenge on Thursday when a majority did the only logical thing and stripped away their power to block the president’s nominees.

In a 52-to-48 vote that substantially altered the balance of power in Washington, the Senate changed its most infuriating rule and effectively ended the filibuster on executive and judicial appointments. From now on, if any senator tries to filibuster a presidential nominee, that filibuster can be stopped with a simple majority, not the 60-vote requirement of the past. That means a return to the democratic process of giving nominees an up-or-down vote, allowing them to be either confirmed or rejected by a simple majority.

. . . .

Republicans warned that the rule change could haunt the Democrats if they lose the White House and the Senate. But the Constitution gives presidents the right to nominate top officials in their administration and name judges, and says nothing about the ability of a Senate minority to stop them. (The practice barely existed before the 1970s.)

Filibuster bad! Yay up-or-down vote! Hooray for democracy! Down with obstructionism!

For further hypocrisy, let’s dig even deeper into the past. Let’s consult The New York Times editorial board on May 18, 2005, editorializing against the judicial filibuster, at a time when we had a Republican President and Senate majority:

Of all the hollow arguments Senate Republicans have made in their attempt to scrap the opposition’s right to have a say on President Bush’s judicial nominees, the one that’s most hypocritical insists that history is on their side in demanding a “simple up-or-down vote” on the Senate floor. Republicans and Democrats have used a variety of tactics, from filibuster threats to stealthy committee inaction on individual nominations, in blocking hundreds of presidential appointments across history, including about one in five Supreme Court nominees. This is all part of the Senate’s time-honored deliberative role and of its protection of minority rights, which Republican leaders would now desecrate in overreaching from their majority perch.

. . . .

Democrats have hardly been obstructionists in their constitutional role of giving advice and consent; they have confirmed more than 200 Bush nominees, while balking at a mere seven who should be blocked on the merits, not for partisan reasons. This is a worthy fight, and the filibuster is a necessary weapon, considering that these are lifetime appointments to the powerful appellate judiciary, just below the Supreme Court. In more than two centuries, only 11 federal judges have been impeached for abusive court behavior. Clearly, uninhibited Senate debate in the deliberative stage, with the minority’s voice preserved, is a crucial requirement.

. . . .

A few moderate senators from both parties – realizing that the Senate’s prestige is at stake, as much as its history – are seeking a compromise. We hope President Bush will step in to help find a solution. Otherwise, warns his fellow Republican Arlen Specter, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, the result will be the harmful crimping of minority rights in a proud deliberative body and “a dark, protracted era of divisive partisanship.”

Filibuster good! Go, compromise! Hooray, deliberation! Down with “overzealous majorities”!

And now, for the cherry on top of this hypocrisy sundae. When another Democrat was president, in 1995, they felt the same way they did when Obama was President:

Once a rarely used tactic reserved for issues on which senators held passionate convictions, the filibuster has become the tool of the sore loser, dooming any measure that cannot command the 60 required votes. . . . Now is the perfect moment for them to unite with like-minded Democrats to get rid of an archaic rule that frustrates democracy and serves no useful purpose.

Filibuster bad! Yay up-or-down vote! Hooray for democracy! Down with obstructionism!

You could get whiplash trying to follow the way they careen back and forth between positions — unless you kept their actual principle in mind: we support whatever helps Democrats. Then their positions become very easy to follow.

To be fair, today’s piece is an op-ed, not an editorial. But there is a reason that they solicited an op-ed piece from “a co-author of’“Defending the Filibuster: The Soul of the Senate.’” That reason probably isn’t because they just like to air all possible positions. The reason just might have something to do with Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell.

I bet the traditional flip-flop of the official house position of the editorial board will be coming soon in an editorial, likely in the next couple of months.

If they had any shame, they wouldn’t even consider it. But if you think they have shame, you may want to re-read this post.

I know, it’s a hefty shot, and it demands a hell of a chaser.

So I looked up whether the New York Times had taken a position on this issue this year. I was asleep at the switch when they did, in March, but you’ll never guess what they said!!!1!

Just kidding; you guessed.

Chaser:

For Democracy to Stay, the Filibuster Must Go

. . . .

In the upper chamber, a supermajority of 60 votes is required to pass even the most middling piece of legislation. That requirement is not found in the Constitution; it’s because of the filibuster, a centuries-old parliamentary tool that has been transformed into a weapon for strangling functional government.

This is a singular moment for American democracy, if Democrats are willing to seize it. Whatever grand principles have been used to sustain the filibuster over the years, it is clear as a matter of history, theory and practice that it vindicates none of them. If America is to be governed competently and fairly — if it is to be governed at all — the filibuster must go.

They are nothing if not consistent: we support whatever helps the Democrat.

66 Responses to “Shot, Chaser: The New York Times on the Filibuster”

  1. Roll the 2005 tape.
    The Dems are nothing if not hypocritical on the subject.

    Paul Montagu (5de684)

  2. Similar to the Dimmies recent claims that they’ve always supported Voter ID.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  3. Great post Pat.

    While Republicans certainly have their fair share of criticism in this *cough* Garland *cough*, the rank hypocrisy from Democrats is something to behold.

    whembly (2e3fb6)

  4. sult The New York Times editorial board on May 18, 2005, editorializing against the judicial filibuste

    This must be getting confusing. In 2005, the New York Times editorialized against abolishing the judicial filibuster.

    Democrats voted to interpret the words “three-fifths of the senators duly chosen and sworn” to mean a simple majority.

    That may be how they did it procedurally, by appealing a ruling from the Parlimentarian, but this was commonly described as changing the rule.

    Sammy Finkelman (51cd0c)

  5. Or you could look at the substance of the point. When the filibuster was used rarely, and as a last ditch check on Republican nominees, the Times was concerned. Currently the filibuster has become used routinely to block discussion or amendments. It is purely a de facto change to the Constitution that for some unexplained reason the Senate needs 60 votes for ordinary legislation but can use 51 votes for judicial nominations, or budget issues or tax cuts.

    It does not foster debate, it ends it. The voting rights bill will not be debated on the floor of the senate, it will not have discussion of amendments, it will not be the subject of compromises.
    It simply vanishes. The filibuster gives a minority veto power over government. Not influence, not a chance to push for compromise. Veto.

    I realize this does not bother Republicans much because by and large as a party they’ve given up on the idea of democracy, or that democratic processes are worth preserving.

    As noted in your excerpts above, the D’s used filibuster to block a few judges. The R’s under Mitch used the filibuster to blockade all judicial nominations. A change in quantity is a change in kind and a reasonable explanation for a change in opinion.

    Victor (9ebafe)

  6. Victor wrote:

    The R’s under Mitch used the filibuster to blockade all judicial nominations.

    Which is how Sonia Sotomayor’s and Elena Kagan’s nominations to the Supreme Court were defeated, right?

    The libertarian, but not Libertarian, Dana (78a597)

  7. @6 is the usual revisionist history

    for the record:
    https://www.wsj.com/articles/breaking-judicial-norms-a-history-11600639835

    JF (e2d7ec)

  8. Hyper-partisanship is the only game in town right now….and hyper-partisans will always use ideological purity to justify any hypocrisy…no matter how blatant. Go to RedState (ok, maybe spare yourself the pain) and you will find commenters who are equally willing to get rid of the filibuster when it is politically advantageous…..to, in essence, do it to them, before they do it to us!

    Who even talks about compromise and working across the aisle any more? Any such talk will get that politician ex-communicated from the cable news arena, pilloried on Talk Radio, savaged on internet media,and finally bullied on vast social media like Twitter and FB. With that triad +1 firmly in place because of economic incentives and human weakness….who expects moderation and civilty to win the day? I expect things to get worse until something breaks…..with steadily more violence and corruption. It’s some legacy we’re leaving to the next generation……

    AJ_Liberty (ec7f74)

  9. The late John MacAfee had it about right:

    A world in which dogs write poetry is more believable than the world as seen through the eyes of the media.

    May he rest in peace.

    JVW (ee64e4)

  10. The libertarian, but not Libertarian, Dana (78a597) — 6/24/2021 @ 10:05 am wrote:

    Which is how Sonia Sotomayor’s and Elena Kagan’s nominations to the Supreme Court were defeated, right?

    The Democrats held the majority in 2009 and 2010 when they were confirmed.

    Rip Murdock (d2a2a8)

  11. As noted in your excerpts above, the D’s used filibuster to block a few judges. The R’s under Mitch used the filibuster to blockade all judicial nominations.

    It was Barack Obama who, upon losing the Senate majority to the Republicans, declared that he had a pen and a phone and that he would be content to rule by Executive Order, bypassing Congress when he felt they weren’t bending to his will. Given that, why should any of us blame Sen. McConnell for deciding that the Senate would in return decline to allow the President to fill the federal payroll list with his allies? Cooperation is a two-way street.

    JVW (ee64e4)

  12. I don’t think we should get rid of the filibuster and that it’s short sighted for either party to do so. OTOH, I don’t think it makes any sense as it currently exists. The parties should have to put some skin in the game rather than one just saying “hey, we are going to filibuster” and the other going “well, I guess that’s it then.” Maybe going back to actual filibustering for a certain amount of time (like several days for 24 hrs a day, not like an hour) frex. If a party really wants it enough, they ought to be able to get forty people in the chamber for 8 hrs a day for 3 days and arrange for people to trade off talking for 24 hrs for 3 days straight (or whatever). The rest of us have to manage to stay at work for 8 hrs a day, senators should be able to manage it from time to time.

    Nic (896fdf)

  13. Squinty McStumblebum does rambling ‘infrastructure’ presser w/Pantssuit Queenie, auxiliary nurse, at his side- goes into whisper mode. Keep calling Senators his ‘colleagues’ and says they’ve ‘never lied’ to him.

    O.M.G.

    Memo to Xi- take Taiwan.
    Memo to Vlad- roll into Ukraine.

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  14. As far as “interpreting” the Senate Rules, it’s a common enough practice to use the “appeal of a ruling” procedure to change an interpretation, by majority vote, of a rule that officially takes a super-majority (here, 2/3rds) to change.

    If you spend any time in Roberts-Rules-land you will see this done. Sometimes it’s even honestly done when the Rule is ambiguous.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  15. Majority rule: 50 plus one.

    Both these royalist parties suck.

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  16. This is how they used to do it: a 2/3rds vote

    Filibuster Rule Reformed By Senate in 56‐27 Vote

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  17. So when quoting the Times, one must look at it in the proper light. Whatever benefits the far left is considered important and whatever propaganda is necessary to push that agenda must be used.

    Now continue to remember that whenever using the Times as a source in the future.

    NJRob (d35bc7)

  18. The filibuster provides hysteresis. There is a dead zone between passing a law, and its repeal, that provides stability. IF we had no such rule then every time parties swapped they throw out all the new laws and replace them with the old ones.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  19. Comeback tour hits snag

    A Missouri court has ordered televangelist Jim Bakker and his church to pay $156,000 after viewers purchased a fake COVID-19 cure during the pandemic.

    https://www.foxnews.com/us/televangelist-jim-bakker-restitution-fake-covid-cure

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  20. 10.

    John MacAfee had it about right:

    A world in which dogs write poetry is more believable than the world as seen through the eyes of the media.

    In other words, was he saying, that the Peanuts comic strip, by Charles M. Schulz is more real than the world as reflected in the media?

    https://www.pinterest.com/cindygramly/snoopy-poems

    After a book – I thought it was called “Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines” but that’s the name of a movie about a slightly different subject – the one I am thinking anout was about world war i flyers and it was a Book of the Month Club selection I think – after that book came out in 1967, Snoopy became, in his fantasy, and sometimes in the world of the comic strip, a World War I ace pilot, always going against the “Red Baron” People weren’t paying much attention to world war I before that. (because it was all overshadowed by World War II.)

    Review of a new book:

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/charlie-browns-america-review-peanuts-and-politics-11623968897

    …While these strips were in plain view for all to see, conservatives and liberals interpreted them in markedly different ways—and some missed the message altogether.

    Blake Scott Ball examines this phenomenon in “Charlie Brown’s America: The Popular Politics of Peanuts.” An assistant professor of history at Alabama’s Huntingdon College, he believes that “Peanuts” was “never simply an escapist endeavor, but regularly touched on the lived experience of socially and politically conscious Americans in the postwar era.” He is fascinated by “how often people of opposing viewpoints loved the same comic strip but for contradictory reasons,” as well as how a great cartoonist succeeded, through his “adept usage of both ambiguity and allegory,” to “create space for multiple interpretations.”

    Sammy Finkelman (51cd0c)

  21. Mr Murdock wrote:

    Which is how Sonia Sotomayor’s and Elena Kagan’s nominations to the Supreme Court were defeated, right?

    The Democrats held the majority in 2009 and 2010 when they were confirmed.

    Ahhh, but remember, I was responding to Victor’s claim:

    The R’s under Mitch used the filibuster to blockade all judicial nominations.

    The minority filibusters, not the majority.

    Justice Sotomayor was confirmed 68–31, with nine Republicans voting for confirmation. Justice Kagan was confirmed 63–37, with five Republicans voting for confirmation.

    President Trump’s three nominees? The Democrats did filibuster the nomination of Neil Gorsuch, forcing Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who I am very proud to say is a Kentuckian, to exercise the ‘nuclear option,’ and he was only confirmed 54–45, with just three Democratic votes, Heidi Heitkamp, Joe Manchin, and Joe Donnelly. Brett Kavanaugh? We all remember how the Democrats tried to slander him; he was just barely confirmed, 50-48, and only Joe Manchin among the Democrats voted for confirmation. Amy Barrett? Another Democratic filibuster, and she was confirmed 55–43, with only three Democrats in favor, Joe Donnelly, Tim Kaine, and Joe Manchin.

    Samuel Alito? He was the younger President Bush’s nominee, and the odious John Kerry tried to get a filibuster against him, though that effort failed; confirmed 58–42, he had the support of only four Democrats. Even the non-controversial John Roberts had 22 Democrats vote against him!

    The libertarian, but not Libertarian, Dana (78a597)

  22. NJRob @18 re: NYT:

    When it’s strict fact you can generally rely on it, especially if it is published the next day.You may have to ask yourself: “Was this an ascertainable fact?”

    And the worst effects of bias is omission. It sanitizes the news. And sometimes the most important things are buried at or near the end of a story.

    And yet it reports things (and can, like other outlets, provide leads for further searching, or drop in extra facts)

    https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/20/science/covid-lab-leak-wuhan.html

    https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/22/business/economy/china-vaccines-covid-outbreak.html

    https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/23/science/coronavirus-sequences.html

    By rooting through files stored on Google Cloud, a researcher says he recovered 13 early coronavirus sequences that had disappeared from a database last year.

    The NIH explained that the researcher owned it and he claimed he deleted it because it had been updated.

    What it means actually is that a coronavirus escaped from a lab in Wuhan twice – the first time in late August, and the second time in early to mid October. The first time it was probably successflly contained.

    Sammy Finkelman (51cd0c)

  23. Corrections:

    https://peanuts.fandom.com/wiki/World_War_I

    Snoopy’s first appearance as a World War I fighter-pilot was in the Peanuts comic strip from October 10, 1965.

    So it wasn’t because of a book published in 1967. (maybe it is the book I was thinking of, but it was published a bit earlier.)

    Also, I think the Snoopy poems, of which there seem to be a lot, are not from the comic strip. But maybe there are some.

    “It was a dark and stormy night” as the start of a book Snoopy is perennially trying to write, is from the comic strip.

    Sammy Finkelman (51cd0c)

  24. Nic (896fdf) — 6/24/2021 @ 10:53 am

    This is a point worth repeating as often as this comes up. I suspect anyone wanting the current version of the filibuster or no filibuster is just arguing for their side.

    frosty (f27e97)

  25. Sammy – “It was a dark and stormy night” is from the opening sentence of Paul Clifford, a novel by Edward Bulwer-Lytton.

    Many critics consider it an excellent example of bad writing, so the phrase inspired a bad writing contest. I have a couple of collections of opening lines from the contest, and have enjoyed them over the years. Here’s the 1984 winner:

    The lovely woman-child Kaa was mercilessly chained to the cruel post of the warrior-chief Beast, with his barbarian tribe stacking wood at her nubile feet, when the strong clear of the poetic and heroic Handsomas roared, “Flick your Bic, crisp that chick, and you’ll feel my steel through your last meal.”

    If you miss Peanuts, you can see re-runs here. (I am a little troubled that so many of our best comic strips are re-runs.)

    Jim Miller (edcec1)

  26. Correction: “strong clear voice“.

    Jim Miller (edcec1)

  27. woods lovely, deep, dark
    it ain’t no walk in teh park
    miles to go before I bark

    —- Rusty teh Plagiarist Retriever

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  28. A Missouri court has ordered televangelist Jim Bakker and his church to pay $156,000 after viewers purchased a fake COVID-19 cure during the pandemic.

    A hold over from the scam and sham 1980’s. Reaganomics!

    Junk bonds, anyone? 😉

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  29. On topic: Thanks to Our Gracious Host for reminding us of the NYT’s shifting positions on the filibuster.

    I haven’t paid close attention to their shifts, but as I recall they usually do not admit they are changing their position — again — when they do.

    Jim Miller (edcec1)

  30. #22

    Ahhh, but remember, I was responding to Victor’s claim:

    The R’s under Mitch used the filibuster to blockade all judicial nominations.

    The minority filibusters, not the majority.

    I was referring to the earlier blockade of lower court appointments which led the Dems to get rid of the filibuster for lower federal judges under Harry Reid

    Victor (9ebafe)

  31. #19

    The filibuster provides hysteresis. There is a dead zone between passing a law, and its repeal, that provides stability. IF we had no such rule then every time parties swapped they throw out all the new laws and replace them with the old ones.

    If a new law is unpopular it deserves throwing out. If it’s popular a party will suffer for trying to throw it out. The R’s had a few years of total federal control to get rid of Obamacare. They failed to get a majority for it because Obamacare was sufficiently popular as to make it difficult to repeal.

    If you can imagine some D policy that you think should stay in place, even if R’s regain control through democratic elections and a majority of the vote, I’d be curious.

    Victor (9ebafe)

  32. As noted in your excerpts above, the D’s used filibuster to block a few judges. The R’s under Mitch used the filibuster to blockade all judicial nominations.

    It was Barack Obama who, upon losing the Senate majority to the Republicans, declared that he had a pen and a phone and that he would be content to rule by Executive Order, bypassing Congress when he felt they weren’t bending to his will. Given that, why should any of us blame Sen. McConnell for deciding that the Senate would in return decline to allow the President to fill the federal payroll list with his allies? Cooperation is a two-way street.

    Remind me, which came first? And do you think Mitch would have acted any differently if Obama had said something different.

    In any case I was referring to judicial nominations which were systematically filibustered by R’s until Reid ended the judicial filibuster. As for appointments otherwise, Mitch’s willingness to use Senate power to block Obama from governing by leaving federal offices empty is distinct from legislation v executive action, though also egregious.

    Victor (9ebafe)

  33. By the way, I went back to look at the first OP Ed cited in the original post, defending the filibuster, which turned out to be by a guy named Richard Arenberg, a long time Democratic Senate aide.

    There’s a transcript of a recent debate (Jan. 2021) regarding the filibuster in which he participated, in case anybody is wondering if his opinions have evolved:

    https://www.brookings.edu/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/gs_20210122_debating_filibuster_transcript.pdf

    The short answer is that they haven’t. He still thinks the filibuster is a good idea. But what he would do is amend it so that the motion to proceed can’t be filibustered (like was done for the voting rights bill) and thus closing off debate before it even begins:

    MR. ARENBERG: Well, first off, I have, for a very long time, I have supported making the
    Motion to Proceed non-debatable or limited debate on it, so that — and I think that has value as a reform because it would enable the majority leader as part of — we always say the majority leader, you know, the leader really only has two powers in the Senate: setting the agenda and the right of first recognition. And neither of those are even in the rules.

    But the setting of the agenda would have more teeth to it if the majority could move
    matters to the floor without having to overcome that initial filibuster. And it’s my view that there’s no value added to that filibuster, no significant value added.

    It’s an interesting debate and I recommend reading it. But in any case, conflating Arenberg’s lonely position now on the left with a 2005 NYT editorial is disingenuous.

    The current Republican policy agenda is pretty much appointing judges, cutting taxes and slashing regulations, none of which require overcoming filibusters. What the filibuster does instead is simply make the Senate even a less democratic institution than it would otherwise be, and confirm the tilt of the entire federal government , presidency (Electoral College), H of Reps (Gerrymandering and urban concentrated D voters), Senate (disproportionate influence of low populated rural states) and Supreme Court (See presidency and Senate) towards the R’s.

    The U.S is increasingly undemocratic already. The filibuster, especially in its current form where it allows for an immediate veto, as opposed to simple slowing down of legislation, is just one more giant step towards confirming minority rule.

    Victor (9ebafe)

  34. Miguel Estrada says hello.

    NJRob (01231a)

  35. The thing about nominations is that that, after all, is simply and up or down, yes or no vote. Legislation has possible amendments. O’d like amendments to be conducted and debated off the floor, with final votes being fixed at 3 am or 3:30 am on legislatice days. They could handle that.

    Sammy Finkelman (51cd0c)

  36. 32. Victor (9ebafe) — 6/24/2021 @ 4:06 pm

    They failed to get a majority for it because Obamacare was sufficiently popular as to make it difficult to repeal.

    Obamacare wasn’t popular, but some provisions were – at least more popular than repealing the whole law – the the Republicans did not have any plan that took care of high risk people. That was sound.

    Sammy Finkelman (51cd0c)

  37. State legislatures somehow don’t have this problem. I think most state legislative bodies are neither like the House (with its rule committee rules) or the Senate *with its filibuster or 60% of the body margin to really do anything.

    In New York State, of course, most things are done behind closed doors, and not through committees.

    Sammy Finkelman (51cd0c)

  38. I thought we had all seen through the “wink and a nod/bait and switch/smoke and mirrors” illusion which is the filibuster during the Bush and Obama years, but apparently not. It’s no more real than Diane Feinstein’s teeth. It’s just a way the chiselers give each other cover for not delivering as promised to their constituency or as demanded by their big money owners (sic).

    The NYT is playing along as though it were a real thing the way Super Luchas “reports” on professional wrestling. That’s its racket.

    nk (1d9030)

  39. Mr Finkelman wrote:

    NJRob @18 re: NYT:

    When it’s strict fact you can generally rely on it, especially if it is published the next day.You may have to ask yourself: “Was this an ascertainable fact?”

    And the worst effects of bias is omission. It sanitizes the news. And sometimes the most important things are buried at or near the end of a story.

    The ‘paper’ I read most often is The Philadelphia Inquirer, and I’ve wound up saying it, over and over and over again: black lives don’t matter to the Inquirer unless they are an innocent child, a ‘somebody,’ or a cute little white girl. The paper doesn’t even bother to report on murders in the city anymore, because one black gang banger killing another black gang banger simply isn’t news anymore.

    The Inquirer actually ran four stories on a white teenager killed outside of Nockamixin Park, an hour outside of the city, an accidental shooting by a hunter it is supposed, but we see nothing about the dead gang bangers.

    The libertarian, but not Libertarian, Dana (78a597)

  40. Victor (9ebafe) — 6/24/2021 @ 4:20 pm

    The senate is designed to be undemocratic. It’s a feature not a bug.

    is just one more giant step towards confirming minority rule.

    Oh no! That sounds horrible. Not minority rule. And a giant step toward it?

    I’m thinking minority rule might be a step up.

    frosty (f27e97)

  41. Sammy Finkelman (51cd0c) — 6/24/2021 @ 5:00 pm

    There’s not as much at stake in state legislatures. That’s one of the many effects of the concentration of power at the federal level.

    frosty (f27e97)

  42. @41, I’m torn. The lack of legislative solutions has pushed issues to the courts or executive branch. I feel like this has lead to suboptimal solutions.

    Time123 (9f42ee)

  43. I was referring to the earlier blockade of lower court appointments which led the Dems to get rid of the filibuster for lower federal judges under Harry Reid

    The percentage of confirmed judges in Obama’s 1st term was comparable to Bush’s 1st term. Reid really had no excuse.

    During the first terms of the five most recent Presidents (Reagan to Obama), the 30 confirmed Obama circuit court nominees were tied with 30 Clinton nominees as the fewest number of circuit nominees confirmed. The percentage of circuit nominees confirmed during President Obama’s first term, 71.4% was the second lowest, while the percentage confirmed during G.W. Bush’s first term, 67.3%, was the lowest.

    President Obama’s first term, compared with the first terms of Presidents Reagan to G.W. Bush, had the second fewest number of district court nominees confirmed (143 compared to 130 for President Reagan) and the second lowest percentage of district court nominees confirmed (82.7%) compared with 76.9% for President G.H.W. Bush).

    Paul Montagu (5de684)

  44. The libertarian, but not Libertarian, Dana (78a597) — 6/24/2021 @ 5:33 pm

    The paper doesn’t even bother to report on murders in the city anymore,

    I suppose you mean with few exceptions. Something that got political attention, maybe. something in certain parts of Manhattan.

    Ad for gang bangers – I don’t think they really acknowledge they exist.

    Maybe occasionally it slips in – there’s so much material in the New York Times:

    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/26/arts/music/tekashi-6ix9ine-gangs.html

    In 2016, the Brooklyn rapper Bobby Shmurda pleaded guilty to conspiracy and weapons charges in connection with his association with the G Stone Crips.

    But they sometimes report (or echo) real news:

    https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/19/world/asia/Afghanistan-withdrawal-contractors.html

    Even if it could get to the chopper to try to service it, the Afghan military would face another escalating problem: It is heavily reliant on American and other foreign contractors for repairs, maintenance, fueling, training and other jobs necessary to keep their forces operating, and those contractors are now departing along with the American military, leaving a void that leaders on both sides say could be crippling to Afghan forces as they face the Taliban alone.

    Sammy Finkelman (51cd0c)

  45. Memo to: Squinty ‘if-you-ain’t-for-me-then-you-ain’t-black’-McStumblebum
    Subject: Pressers

    “Whisper” was a Bond villain henchman. And black.

    “What?!” – James Bond [Roger Moore] ‘Live And Let Die’ 1973

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  46. Remind me, which came first?

    Sure, Victor. Obama’s “pen and phone” comment came in January 2014. The GOP won the Senate majority later that November and became the majority party in January 2015, one year after President Obama’s comment. Does that help? Perhaps Cocaine Mitch had good reason to distrust the motives of President Messiah.

    JVW (ee64e4)

  47. “The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.” – Mitch McConnell, Oct 23, 2010

    Davethulhu (13b53b)

  48. A somewhat less famous quote:

    “Look, there will be no compromise on stopping runaway spending, deficits and debt. There will be no compromise on repealing Obamacare. There will be no compromise on stopping Democrats from growing government and raising taxes,” Pence told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt Thursday evening. “And if I haven’t been clear enough yet, let me say again: No compromise.” – Mike Pence, Oct 21, 2010

    Of course we all saw how strong these principles were once the Republicans gained power in 2017.

    Davethulhu (13b53b)

  49. The filibuster makes an undemocratic senate 18% of the population control 52 senate seats, even more undemocratic. We see with trumpsters how a minority of social outcasts can destabilize the system and effect the ruling majority. Trump lost the electoral collage by 44,000 votes in 3 states az, ga. and wi. even though biden got 7,000,000+ more votes. What if the democrat party was not able to kick the green party off the ballot in 2020 in those states thanks to ballot access laws passed by republicans to keep the libertarian party off of the ballot and all three states reverted to 2016 when green party was on ballot. What trumpsters are doing now would look like nothing to what the voting majority, the media and government deep state would be doing now. AOC not biden would be running the democrat party planning general strikes and demanding blues states bring trump to justice if he dare enter their states. The military high command loathes trump. Biden and the democrat establishment would no longer be able to protect conservative republicans from the left as they have done since 1932. The filibuster needs willing partners not AOC hanging republican senators from lamp posts. Only biden and democrat corporate establishment protects mitch mcconnel from dancing in the air.

    asset (ec12c5)

  50. I was referring to the earlier blockade of lower court appointments which led the Dems to get rid of the filibuster for lower federal judges under Harry Reid

    How about the earlier, earlier blockade of W’s appointments by that same Henry Reid, who a few years later saw the horror of his own creation. Karma is a bi*ch.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  51. They failed to get a majority for it because Obamacare was sufficiently popular as to make it difficult to repeal.

    Victor, were you forced onto Obamacare? If not, STFU, you have no idea what you are talking about. Obamacare was “popular” primarily because 90% of Americans were unaffected by it and chose to believe the propaganda.

    If you were self-employed or early retired, it was an effing nightmare with out-of-control premiums — with the heavy users given countervailing subsidies and low copays. The people who HAD insurance in the former private marketplace were often priced out of health insurance entirely.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  52. Kevin M (ab1c11) — 6/24/2021 @ 11:48 pm

    Obamacare was “popular” primarily because 90% of Americans were unaffected by it and chose to believe the propaganda.

    All they knew was nobody declined or charged more because of pre-existing conditions, and people up to age 26 being allowed to stay on their parent’s policies.

    Sammy Finkelman (51cd0c)

  53. OT: The Florida condo collapse

    1. Historically, they give u on rescue much too soon anddo much too little. Maybe it will be different this time, if something intervenes.

    2, They are deliberately avoiding saying what caused this (of course they cannot know for sure at this point but that does not mean that they know nothing) and news media are under-reporting good educated guesses.

    However, it is being reported…..

    It was built on what was wetlands, and the building has been sinking perhaps unevenly. And the collapse may have been caused by a desire to pass inspection, thus being directly caused or precipitated by government acting stupidly, and not taking into account what people will do.

    A building this age must pass re-inspection after 40 years, and it was built in 1981. The reason for the re-approval is that salt water may corrode things. Maybe they were concentrating on the wrong things. Work was underway, and there is a report, I think, of a truck having been on the roof not long ago. This could have put pressure on the building. (major accidents can be caused by repairs or testing)

    https://miami.cbslocal.com/2021/06/24/miami-dade-condo-collapse-paul-danforth-engineering

    3. The people. It is reported that there were 102 (survivors?) and 99 people missing, 37 of the 102 were rescued, 45 from balconies in parts left standing but they couldn’t get out and 2 from the colllapse. At least three dead bodies have been retrieved.

    More

    4. It has a long time Jewish community, and a more recent South American population, many from Venezuela and Argentina. There were many visitors present, including the sister of the First Lady of Paraguay and her friend, both of whom are missing.

    5. Ivanka Trump now lives a block away.

    Sammy Finkelman (51cd0c)

  54. Mr Finkelman wrote:

    The paper doesn’t even bother to report on murders in the city anymore,

    I suppose you mean with few exceptions. Something that got political attention, maybe. something in certain parts of Manhattan.

    Ad for gang bangers – I don’t think they really acknowledge they exist.

    They don’t, because it doesn’t fit Teh Narrative.

    The Inquirer, the publisher, Elizabeth Hughes, of which declared she would make it “an anti-racist news organization,” has made it as racist as she could have. The city’s problem is systemic racism and “gun violence,” as though firearms simply levitate and shoot people by themselves.

    I have a lot of articles tagged Philadelphia Inquirer.

    Yes, that’s a shameless blog plug!

    But, not to worry: the Inquirer isn’t the only racist newspaper! The Lexington Herald-Leader, a McClatchy newspaper, has a habit of publishing the mugshots of white criminal suspects but not of black suspects. They haven’t been consistent in this, and sometimes do the right thing, but often don’t.

    The libertarian, but not Libertarian, Dana (78a597)

  55. SF: There were many visitors present, including the sister of the First Lady of Paraguay and her friend, both of whom are missing.

    Actually, she and her husband, their three children and a female employee.

    The boy who was rescued was rescued because of a passerby, not because they were diligently searching. This is the way it happens too much with “professional” rescuers.

    They are all afraid of causing further collapse. They use sonar. But when they detect something, they’re not really following up. They make excuses as to why it might really mean nothing. Banging could just be debris moving around. Some of the missing might not have been in the building (out of town?) They stopped what little they were doing yesterday, first because of a thunderstorm, and then because a fire broke out in the debris. The boy was heard and spotted by a man walking his dog on that side. I guess they couldn’t ignore such a report. They apparently didn’t go to look for the boy’s mother, whom the boy said was also there.

    One woman who was rescued had her leg amputated. I don’t know if this is related.

    Some names and descriptions (family structure) of missing people are in various news stories.

    There are names of people who got out. One lived on the third floor with his wife and he found debris blocking the way out when they went down to the basement. They and a neighbor had to be taken out by forklift by firemen from their balcony.

    Sammy Finkelman (51cd0c)

  56. It’s always been known that Biden was going for two infrastructure bills – a bipartisan one and one supported only by Democrats but now he said he wouldn’t even sign the bipartisan bill until and unless the Democratic infrastructure bill passed the Senate (through reconciliation)

    Sammy Finkelman (51cd0c)

  57. Very noisy work had been going on at the building that collapsed for about three months, alot of it on the roof without advance notice.

    The Wall Street Journal has the best article on the Florida condo collapse

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/miami-area-condo-collapse-causes-massive-emergency-response-11624532492

    The headline in the printed paper is better:

    Heavy Death Toll Feared
    In Fkiruda Tower Collapse

    Neighbors said buildings need to reinforce their concrete facades frequently to withstand the corrosive effects of seawater. At least one resident of the complex had complained that the homeowners’ association failed to repair damages to cracked building walls, court records show. Work was being done on its roof, and building inspectors had visited the tower recently, said Surfside Commissioner Eliana Salzhauer.

    There was some kind of a roofing project approved in April and in May approval was received to upgrade a mobile phone tower.

    This area is just north of Miami Beach.

    Sammy Finkelman (51cd0c)

  58. As regards Reid and judicial nominations, I finally went back to look at the specifics of his getting rid of the filibuster for lower federal courts (my previous comments had been based on memory) and it turns out the deciding factor was R blocking all nominations to the D.C. court of appeals, one of the most important federal courts. Though this was just part of R general obstruction:

    When Republicans took control of the House of Representatives after the 2010 elections, the President’s chances for pushing through meaningful legislation vanished. But the Senate, which is responsible for confirming judges, remained in Democratic hands—and in 2013, Reid took charge of the issue. The Senate had confirmed only five Obama appointees to the federal appeals court in the election year of 2012, but Reid moved to double the pace in 2013. Republicans responded by filibustering almost every judicial appointment to the appeals court and slow-walking appointments to the district court, which had been routine and uncontroversial under earlier Presidents. Reid fought back, and kept pushing the President’s nominees. In time, though, Reid came to a crossroads.

    Reid had fifty-five Democrats in the Senate—enough for a majority but not enough to beat back Republican filibusters. So, in December, 2013, Reid invoked what became known as the nuclear option. With Reid’s blessing, Senate Democrats changed the rules so that only a majority would be required to move lower-court judgeships to a vote. Freed from the threat of filibusters, Reid pushed through thirteen appeals-court judges in 2013 and 2014, a group of exceptional quality. They included Patricia Millett, Nina Pillard, and Robert Wilkins on the D.C. Circuit. For the first time in decades, that court now has a majority of Democratic appointees. Other confirmations included such luminaries as Pamela Harris (a noted professor and advocate) on the Fourth Circuit, Jill Pryor on the Eleventh, and David Barron (a Harvard law professor and Obama Administration lawyer) on the First. None received more than sixty votes, meaning that they would not have been confirmed had Reid not changed the rules. In future decades, many of these judges will be candidates for promotion if a Democratic President has a Supreme Court vacancy to fill. At the same time, Reid pushed through more than a hundred district-court judges in his last two years as Majority Leader. Of course, almost all of these judges will serve long after Barack Obama and Harry Reid have left office.

    https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/how-harry-reid-changed-the-federal-courts

    Interestingly, R’s at the time and later said that attempting to fill all the vacancies of the D.C. Circuit was “packing” the court, because they didn’t really need all those judges. Subsequently Mitch hasn’t hesitated to fill all vacancies that ever arise without concern about whether a particular judge is needed.

    I mean, that is, if hypocrisy is suddenly to be an important thing to worry about.

    Victor (9ebafe)

  59. @58. A taste of Gaza in Miami.

    Sad.

    Expect litigation into mid-century on this one.

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  60. @59 bullcrap, victor

    as the link @8 shows in detail, every single instance of “R general obstruction” was preceded by a breaking of precedent by D general obstruction, without exception

    JF (e1156d)

  61. DCSCA (f4c5e5) — 6/25/2021 @ 12:39 pm

    @58. A taste of Gaza in Miami.

    The reason something roughlly similar happened in Gaza (we’re not talking about the buildings that were warned) is that Hamas had built tunnels under Gaza with tracks in which they transported rockets ad launchers. They ran under buildings. Israel decided to bomb them only where they crossed a street. But in one of them there were nearby explosives, and the portion under a building collapsed.

    Besides some buildings in Gaza, and the World Trade Center (which also pancaked) it reminded me of a building in San Francisco:. Except the building hasn’t yet fallen. They maybe caught it in time, and were not fixing things ti pass inspection.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Millennium_Tower_(San_Francisco)

    On December 4, 2018, Ronald Hamburger, the senior principal engineer at Simpson Gumpertz & Heger, revealed in a press release on a final resolution to the Millennium Tower’s tilting and sinking problem by underpinning the building. The solution will involve the installation of 52 piles along the north and west sides of the tower beneath the sidewalk that reach down 250 ft (76.2 m) into the bedrock of downtown San Francisco and be tied with the original 60–90 ft (18.3–27.4 m) deep foundation piles. It is estimated that about 50% of the tilt will be evened out over a period of 10 years as the south and eastern sides of the building come back into re-alignment with the now sunken north and western sides of the building, at which point the remaining south and eastern sides of the building will be anchored to the bedrock, permanently resolving the tilting and sinking of the building. The fix will cost about $100 million.

    Sammy Finkelman (51cd0c)

  62. The number of people rescued from the rubble is 4. They claim banging noises and detection by dogs (?) could be rubble shifting. Meanwhile they are afraid firemen (? or debris could call on rescuers. they are looking where people aren’t. Small fires periodically break out and rain falls and there is (probably poisonous) dust in the air.

    Number of people unaccounted for: 159. This was once said to be 99, and maybe 3 people were rescued since.

    Number of housing units destroyed: 55.

    When and after this happened, the building shook.

    Sammy Finkelman (51cd0c)

  63. One perspn heard things the night before.

    There was constantly water in the parking garage,

    Four is the total number pf bodies recovered. Tehe last person pulled oout alive was 36 hours ago.

    Family members, in particular one family is complaining. The faher of three brothers had an apartment on the second floor and they found a chair. A sister and abrther in law were also un the apartment, They say that if the official people are not willing to g in, let them go in and they have people who are willing. Bit they are doing slow de-layering (like it was an archaeological dig?!) from the top and trying to dig a hole from the bottom, and there are not that man people there at one time. They work in 15 minute shifts, What they are seeing is the standard building collapse procedures, and it’s wrong.

    There’s a constant fire in the part of the building that did not collapse and they are worried, in principle at least, about more collapsing. They say they are risking their lives.

    Dade County metropolitan police homicide detectives are in charge of the scene. (although nobody suspects it was on purpose)

    The first lawsuit has been filed.

    Sammy Finkelman (51cd0c)

  64. The rubble of the 12 story building is 3 floors high.

    The search and rescue protocol is self defeating.

    Sammy Finkelman (51cd0c)

  65. 56 * correction

    I wrote:

    The boy who was rescued was rescued because of a passerby, not because they were diligently searching. This is the way it happens too much with “professional” rescuers.

    They are all afraid of causing further collapse. They use sonar. But when they detect something, they’re not really following up. They make excuses as to why it might really mean nothing. Banging could just be debris moving around. Some of the missing might not have been in the building (out of town?) They stopped what little they were doing yesterday, first because of a thunderstorm, and then because a fire broke out in the debris. The boy was heard and spotted by a man walking his dog on that side…..

    The man walking the dog was walking the dog at the time of the collapse, not later in the day. That important detail didn’t make it into the first story I read.

    The boy’s mother was retrieved, but was dead.

    The boy was 15 years old, and his name is Jonah Handler. His mother’s name was Stacie Fang, aed about 54. The man walking the dog was Nicholas Balboa, aged 31, who was from Phoenix, Arizona and was visiting his father. who lived in Surfside. These details were in the Wall Street Journal Sat/Sun June 26-27, 2021 edition.

    Sammy Finkelman (51cd0c)


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