Friday, February 26, 2010

Reconciliation Barney Style

Let's say you want to pass a bill in the US Senate.

To start, a bill requires a majority to pass. It gets proposed and talked about in committees, then it goes to the floor.

In the senate, before they pass a bill, they have to talk about it. If someone wants to delay the vote, they can filibuster. A filibuster is the procedure by which the senate can talk as long as they like (resulting in hours of CSPAN programming of senators reading the newspaper) unless 2/3 votes for cloture. Except the democrats changed it to 3/5 of senators "duly chosen and sworn" in the 1970s. So you only need 60 votes to stop anyone from talking about a bill and push the bill to a vote. Those 60 votes are what's referred to as a "supermajority", because those 60 can override any filibuster and thus put any bill up for a vote and pass anything they wish.

The democrats, up until the election of Scott Brown, had a 60 vote supermajority. They could push any bill to a vote, overriding any filibusters or objections, and then simply pass them. The democrats, up until Scott Brown's election in Massachussetts, could've passed anything they wanted in the senate. Nothing procedurally stood in their way.

The American people, by the tens if not hundreds of millions, opposed the democrats' attempts at forcing government-run health care.
Just a few.

This resulted in a few democrats being unwilling to commit to a vote for health care, because they doubted they'd be reelected in their home districts. Thus there were specific payoffs included in the "health care" bill to provide money for the senators' home districts. Specifically the "Louisiana Purchase" to secure Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu's (D) vote and the"Cornhusker Kickback" to secure Nebraska Senator Ben Nelson's (D) vote. The purpose of this pork was to help the senators counter their constituents' complaints by saying "look what I got for you".

Even then, the democrats couldn't get it together. Enough democrats were afraid for their own seats. They also may have been afraid of falling out of favor with the administration. Those who would be in favor with the administration might get some cushy job as a department secretary or an ambassador - something they could maintain their personal quality of life and status with.

So what's a democrat set on passing a bill whether the people want it or not to do? Reconciliation.

So what exactly is reconciliation? The short version is that you can pass a bill with 50 votes and ignore the filibuster. It's supposed to be primarily for tax bills.

It seems like it can lead to a tyranny of the majority, by simply overruling the minority. A lot of people oppose it.

Especially racist bigot hatemonger extremist right-wingnut rethuglican teabaggers who hate Obama like these racist bigot extremist right-wingnut rethuglican teabaggers:

Oh, wait.

I guess abuse of power only matters when it's republicans trying to confirm a judge using a rule the democrats created, rather than democrats trying to control 1/6th of the US economy, using the rule they created in the 1970s.

Liberal fascism in action.

Monday, February 22, 2010

The Overton Window

I didn't know there was a name for this political tactic beyond being a shameless asshole of unparalleled magnitude, but it's called The Overton Window.

Let's say you're a loud spoiled brat, and you want a $10/week allowance. Right now you get $5. So you scream and cry and rant and rave and throw a tantrum while demanding $100/week allowance. Your dad starts to entertain your tantrum and tells you you'll have to do more chores if you want $100/week.

You scream and rant some more and your mom tells your dad to be reasonable, and finally they give you a $20/week allowance, even though you do no more chores. They compromise their principles in order to be moderate and civil and compromise with you. You, as the shamelessly aggressive greedy brat, get what you want by pushing things to a ludicrous extreme, and you take advantage of their natural human desire to want to get along and avoid conflict.

Let's say you're a wacky insane radical, and you want $1000. So you scream and rant like a lunatic and push for $1,000,000,000. You've pushed so far past the fringe that you've reset the location of the fringe. The other side compromises based on where the edge of rational discourse now exists.

When you get $1,000,000, you've received a thousand times what you initially asked for; but the other side sees the compromise and thinks they've beaten you by only giving you 1/1000th of what you really wanted.

But now next time, when you push for $5,000,000,000, and they compromise again, you get another $5,000,000. Which is five thousand times what you initially wanted. You just keep pushing so hard that the new voice of "moderation" is one that's past the fringe.

Now, if you're reading The Patriot Perspective, you're probably not a wacky insane radical. Unless we've hit the big time, in which case you're reading through our past articles looking for discrepancies, and if so, feel free to call me or JBH when we're on Mark Levin's show just so we can hear him yell "get off the phone, you big dope!" But I digress.

Let's say some wacky radicals want to push for total government control of health care. And it's rejected. So they push harder. And they push harder.

So eventually the other side gives in and gives the ranting, screaming-child irrational radical a little bit of what it wants.

This is also apparent in a more immediately lethal extreme throughout Islamic nations, where killing gays, abusing women, and calling for the extermination of the Jews, the murder of apostates, and execution of missionaries or those who even question Mohammed is considered normal discourse and action, not some insane fringe. In fact, it's the accepted policy and laws of many nations that are represented at the UN. The discussion isn't how to save or convert groups they dislike, as in other religions, or even how to coerce, as in the more extreme, but to destroy.

The result of the use of the Overton Window as a tactic is that this:

results in death, rather than discussion. Murder, riots, and violence are viewed as a normal consequence, rather than as a lunatic aberration. Rejection of free speech is viewed as a good, moderate response, rather than a contemptible assault on individual rights.

The huge new taxes linked above proposed for US govt control of health care are the new extreme, and the simple US govt control and big new taxes are viewed as the good, moderate response, rather than a contemptible assault on individual rights.

Radicals force their extremism further and further through force and intimidation, and they gradually get what they want every time principles are compromised, no matter the type of radical. The tactic of The Overton Window is used by those with no reason to their argument, but who use coercion against the civility of those they wish to force.

Bullying, screaming, and violence beat reason in their world. Threatening a greater extreme doesn't lessen their initial exteme goal.

All we have to do to stop it is refuse to acknowledge any argument but reason.


Disclaimer: If you're offended by Mohammed with a bomb in his turban, reason away with your argument. The cartoonist's argument of Islam as violent stands. If you accept reason and fact, you have to acknowledge that. Though we detest jihadis as a general rule here at TPP; consider it noted that not all Muslims are violent. I've known several over the years who were really nice folks who I'd like to have as neighbors. But a comparison of the murderously intolerant side of Islam in contrast to the benevolent side is another discussion.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

The New Colossus

Today is the first time I can recall hearing this in its entirety, which amazes me in several ways.

The New Colossus
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
Emma Lazarus, 1883

We usually only hear the last few lines. The comparison is made in an excellent speech here, around the 3 minute mark.

Or watch the entire speech here.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

A Study In Contrasts

The Jawa Report has brought up the comparison in motives and apologies made for Islamic terrorist scumbags and those apologies hypothetically being given to the suicidal scumbag who flew into the IRS building in Austin:

The IRS out of the US NOW!!1!1!11!eleventy!!

It's worth noting that while it's heavy sarcasm, the ludicrousness of the arguments are well illustrated by the contrast.

When jihadis in New York or Washington or Mumbai or any number of other places around the globe are killing innocent people, the same idiotic arguments are used. When reapplied, the arguments are seen as flimsy excuses for terrorism that are only given by those who ideologically support terrorism.


Michelle Malkin points out the contrast between the Austin nutjob and the University of Alabama killer, and their coverage in the media.

Very telling contrasts all around.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Funky, Cold


She can consider herself disowned by the TEA Partiers.

You'd think that someone who otherwise seems to understand Constitutional principles wouldn't believe that 9/11 truther crap. Oh well, the hole she dug herself is one she'll never climb out of. Good thing she dug it before the primary.

I guess we'll just have to yell louder at Rick Perry to get things done.

But it gives me an excuse to link this.