Thursday, January 20, 2022

Repeatedly offered pieties about the sanctity of the filibuster

Voting rights got voted on in the Senate. Yesterday afternoon Walter Einenkel of Daily Kos wrote about what happened leading up to the vote. He included a photo of the Congressional Black Caucus standing outside the Senate as a show of support for voting rights. Einenkel included videos of various Democrats speaking in favor of the bills. Then Manchin did a little speech with a visual aid that said, “The United States Senate has never been able to end debate with a simple majority.” Of course, Twitter users hammered him. One was Brian Tyler Cohen who noted the last three Supreme Court nominees were confirmed with a simple majority – which Manchin voted for – because in those cases the filibuster had already been eliminated. This morning Laura Clawson of Kos reported on how the votes went. On the actual voting rights bill the votes was 50-50, but since 60 votes were needed (because of the filibuster) VP Harris didn’t need to break the tie. With the vote 50-50 both Manchin and Sinema voted for it. Then the Senate turned to whether the filibuster could be suspended for voting rights bills. That failed 48-52, with Manchin and Sinema voting no. Clawson wrote:
Both Manchin and Sinema repeatedly offered pieties about the sanctity of the filibuster, but both also voted to waive the filibuster to lift the debt ceiling just last month. Both function in a Senate in which nominees, including to lifetime judgeships, are confirmed by majority votes. And if they want to claim a concern for the history of the Senate, well, the talking filibuster, in which senators can hold off a bill as long as they can keep talking but cannot simply block a final vote without significant effort, has a rich history. The filibuster is not that sacrosanct, in other words. Manchin and Sinema just don’t really want to pass voting rights legislation.
I listened to another Gaslit Nation bonus Q&A episode (one has to be a member to listen). I listened because I asked a question. And it was answered! I had asked: What would happen if a senator revealed which of his Congressional colleagues had been a customer of Jeffrey Epstein’s child trafficking. The answer: Depends on the party. Democrats run from scandal and bend over backwards to keep things clean (or at least appear to). So an accused Democrat would have a hard time and may be driven out. Republicans would think little of the scandal unless indictments are filed. That person would stay in power or would get a cushy job at Fox News or conservative think tank. Nothing happens. As an example, see Matt Gaetz, still in office in spite of scandal because there no indictments yet. Also see the Panama Papers that revealed all sorts of corruption – and nothing happened. Epstein and his colleagues have dirt on a lot of people in high places. They could threaten exposure if those people didn’t dance to their tune. Which means Epstein’s colleagues are the deep state controlling the government. A couple other questions from this 55 minute episode caught my attention. One asked: Why do Schumer and Pelosi allow Manchin and Sinema to blow up Biden’s agenda? Moscow Mitch would not allow something like that to happen. Short answer Schumer and Pelosi need to cover their asses. They have been leaders in the Senate for a long time. They’ve been identified as receiving corrupt donations. Their time in leadership saw a great rise in inequality. They have followers just as inflexible as those for the nasty guy who threaten those who criticize Shumer or Pelosi. I’ve mentioned Rep. Katie Porter who, with her whiteboard, is known for criticizing corporate officials. It seems that whiteboard is getting little use. The reason is Porter was taken off the House Financial Services Committee. Corporate donors must not have liked the grilling. Dan Price tweeted about her removal and included some of her speeches. The GN podcast linked to a Washington Post article. And an American Prospect article discussed a secret Democratic steering committee (which demanded I log in, so I didn’t read it). We need people like Porter to explain the corruption from a seat in Congress. It is not surprising she was pulled. GN linked to the site Sludge that has articles about corruption. The one at the top right now is about major US corporations that speak against voter suppression laws yet donate to their sponsors. Alas, I can’t see a way to search for stories about Porter. The nasty guy’s efforts to keep his official White House records out of the hands of the January 6th Committee had been through lower courts. There his claims were denied – the public interest is more important than his claims of executive privilege or his desire to keep records private. Brandi Buchman of Kos reported yesterday the issue went before the Supreme Court. They refused, on a vote of 8-1, to hear his case. That means the lower court decision stands and the National Archives can start giving about 700 pages of documents to the Committee.

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