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This blog is the work of an educated civilian, not of an expert in the fields discussed.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Overnight Stunt

And Also: The relevant Senate committee has approved a bill that would allow the FCC to fine even "fleeting" obscenities and indecent language on television, after an appellate court noted such application was an unreasonable application of current law. Don't they have anything better to do than b.s. like this?

Some have referenced the Democratic filibuster of a few appellate judicial nominees as a precedent to the Republicans blocking a vote on the occupation. On some level, yes, it is -- such delays have been long standing methods to further the function of the Senate as collegial branch that respects the rights of the minority. It is not absolute ... currently, it can be overridden by sixty votes. Thus, the desire of some to declare a "nuclear option" to do away with the whole thing is dubious ... and, a bit ironic, since I doubt that many wanted it to be done when the Democrats were in the minority.

All the same, there are differences. First off, judicial confirmations are a purely Senate function. The occupation and related issues are congressional in nature, and it is notable that the House has already voted on a few particular issues (filibusters are also being used on non-Iraq matters) being blocked. Second, the last election suggests the people's will is being violated -- they have "spoken" on the issue, and it is unclear how a similar statement can be said to have been made on judicial nominations. Finally, on the merits, the issue is more fundamental* and the negative just not defensible.

Some want to wait so that Gen. Petraeus can testify, though not only do we now have reports (e.g., NYT today) that generals are telling us that nothing remarable one way or the other can be said now, it is unclear if he himself is such a grand judge of the situation at hand. Or, that it suddenly will change Republican votes to any real degree, even being sympathetic to the man's bona fides personally. BTW, the National Intelligence Estimate suggests we have been giving on the job training for those who might attack the U.S. I had to laugh at the irony of it all.

Anyway, ultimately, one has to agree that the night long session (overall, Congress seems to have some late hours of late, especially the House ... though the latter often to have face time) is on a basic level a stunt. After all, what is a stunt but a one time deal that is mostly for show? The true path to change is hard and continual action. I reference here (both the post and the Monfort reply) as a clear statement of my basic belief. The same applies to sympathetic souls like Sen. Sanders (I-VT) who assures us he is real upset, but doesn't seem to really want to firmly DO anything but hope something will change now that the Congress is blatantly actively furthering Bushie b.s.

After all, there aren't the votes, and we shouldn't give the other side ammo. But, if simple legislation like card checks for unions are blocked, we apparently don't have the votes for much of note. Likewise, as the last link suggests, what is offered quite arguably HELPS the administration in various cases. If the leadership backs something and backs in consistently, come back to me when it fails. The mind-set seems to be not to even try. This defeatist b.s. is obscenity, and not fleeting at that.


* The issue of control of the courts is fundamental as well, but in practice, a few nominees were held up. The net effect was trivial in many ways as compared to the death and destruction in Iraq. This is underlined by the fact that the most controversial nominees turned out to be confirmed anyway. The issue continues to be of concern.