Sunday, December 19, 2010

Lindsay Graham is not a serious man (and the Constitution makes his frivolity of perhaps life-and-death significance)

Sandy Levinson

The New York Times reports that South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsay Graham may well vote against the New Start Treaty because he is upset that the Senate voted to repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell. That is not a serious argument, especially given the consequences, attested to by the US military, many former Republican Secretaries of State and, indeed, President George H. W. Bush. Dare I award Graham, who aspires to "seriousness," the appellation of "thug" if he takes the treaty down in a partisan effort to put President Barack "in his place" at the back of the political bus? If he honestly opposed the treaty, then that would be another matter. But there is no evidence that he does. Such is the modern Senate, which, thanks to our dysfunctional Constitution, allows a petulant minority of "willful men" to torpedo important international treaties.


This is not a huge deal, but the below post (which does not allow comments, hence why I am posting here) did not provide the proper context for Holbrooke's final words, which seem to have been in jest:

If you want to complain about something, look at the passage, just a few hours ago, of the new food safety bill. Passed by an unscheduled "unanimous" vote around midnight on a Sunday.

You and I both know there wasn't any quorum present. Fifty one Senators getting together without notice at midnight on Sunday? Not bloody likely! The only people present were the actual Senate leaders, if they didn't 'phone it in' themselves, and just agree to pretend they'd been there.

This is the sort of leadership abuse, enabling "the Senate" to act without the knowledge or consent of virtually the entire membership, that makes a joke of the idea of representative democracy. How can it matter that you've elected somebody to the legislature, if their own voting is circumvented by phony 'unanimous' votes?

Got a comment about THIS abuse?

I wonder if any of the 100 Senators, Democrats, Republicans, Independents, are as uptight as Brett on this "unanimous" vote. If none of them complains, perhaps the reason is that there was virtually no dispute as to the merits of the bill. Perhaps Brett has spotted something in the bill that 100 Senators and their staffs did not that is bad for Americans. I can understand a substantive snit, but this procedural snit is like pulling the one remaining hair from a bald pate. As abuses go, on a scale of 1 - 10, this is a minus 5.

As to Lindsay Graham, he always reminds me of Opie on the old Andy Griffith Show, but that mouth of his doesn't fit his face at times. Let's go back to Bill Clinton's impeachment proceedings and recall Graham's prosecutorial role in the House. Apparently his Opie qualities were not enough to carry the day. But his efforts got him face time to move up to the Senate later on. Perhaps he is now considering a presidential run since the current Republican contenders seem lackluster.

Is this what Brett is reduced to?

The bill was previously supported by over 70 senators but had some provision that technically had to arise in the House. As Shag notes, perspective please.

Not that our supposition is the test here as to quorum calls. One Republican could have challenged if they so desired. One was surely always around to protect against any Dem trickery. The Founders probably were aware that all rules will not be enforced 100% all the time.

As to Graham, I guess McCain still has one pal to grumble with. Graham has his moments of sanity, but I too remember him being an impeachment manager. He's still a son a ***** apparently.

Sandy, if you think any constitutional reform is going to protect us from the vagaries of petulant politicians, you are deeply deluded.

By the way, for our factually-challenged friend Brett, the Congressional Record reports that the Senate adjourned at 7:12 pm yesterday. Not exactly "midnight." Oh, and earlier in the session, they confirmed a federal judge with a roll call vote of 92-0. So it's not like Senators weren't around.


Many in the GOP are justifiably pissed that the Dems pushed off half their unpopular agenda items past the election to avoid accountability to their constituents. These were hardly small issues. This reprehensible Congress was the first to fail to enact a budget and then played chicken with the entire tax code.

Then, when the voters fired over 70 Dems and a few key RINOs in the election, the Dem Congress tries to jam through their unpopular agenda items in a lame duck session with the votes of fired Dems and RINOs.

The 20th Amendment was supposed to stop these anti-democratic abuses, but technology in the form of airlines overcame the shortened transition period.

The silence on this blog concerning these Dem lame duck abuses was deafening. This is in sharp contrast to calls here for George Bush to resign in favor of Obama the day after the 2008 election to hasten the advent of the wonderful past two years of Dem government.

Thus, any semi-objective observer of this blog would wonder whether the concern here is for small or large "D" democratic governance.


Your implication in the "back of the bus comment" that the GOP is acting out of racism in their opposition to the START treaty is contemptible.

In reality, Obama was AWOL in selling the treaty to the GOP while he was negotiating it with the Russians. As was the practice with the "I won" regime of the past two years, Obama ignored the GOP on START apart from talks between State and a single GOP senator. Our utterly brilliant former professor of con law and AWOL senator apparently forgot that he needs 2/3 of the Senate and far more than one GOP vote to ratify his treaties.

Apart from being pissed at the lame duck session abuses, the GOP's substantive concern is missile defense. The Russians have been trying to kill SDI since Reykjavik and have already succeeded in bullying Obama to reneg on our promise to stage missile defenses in East Europe. The treaty contains ambiguous limiting language concerning missile defenses and the GOP would like to know what assurances our less than steadfast CiC has provided the Russians on this matter.

After his earlier executive orders and promises to Congress concerning Obamacare have proven to be worth less than tissue paper, the GOP is hardly buying the current Obama letter promising that we retain full flexibility on missile defense.

Obama has an easy fix - allow the GOP to offer an amendment to START stating that the Senate understands this treaty does not apply directly or indirectly to missile defense. For example, the Senate inserted its own definition of torture when enacting the international torture treaty. The fact that Obama does not offer this easy fix either means that he is too inexperienced/incompetent to know it exists or he does have an understanding with the Russians to limit our missile defenses. Either is a proper reason for the Senate to take a far closer look at this treaty.

It seems that a Colorado white (but read-faced) w(h)ine goes with lame duck. And the oversensitivity of our yodeler in his reaction to Sandy's "back of the bus" comment implies quite a bit. It sounds like a "Tom-Tom" Tancredo response.

By the Bybee (%@$#&), when is the tome(aine) on Obama to be published? Not in time for XMas this year? It would have been good for stuffing a "stalking."

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This is from the ratification resolution as reported out by Kerry:

(b) UNDERSTANDINGS.-The advice and consent of the Senate to the ratification of the New START Treaty is subject to the following understandings, which shall be included in the instrument of ratification:

(1) Missile defense.-It is the understanding of the United States that-

(A) the New START Treaty does not impose any limitations on the deployment of missile defenses other than the requirements of paragraph 3 of Article V of t he New START Treaty, which states, Each Party shall not convert and shall not use ICBM launchers and SLBM launchers for placement of missile defense interceptors therein. Each Party further shall not convert and shall not use launchers of missile defense interceptors for placement of ICBMs and SLBMs therein. This provision shall not apply to ICBM launchers that were converted prior to signature of this Treaty for placement of missile defense interceptors therein.

(B) any additional New START Treaty limitations on the deployment of missile defenses beyond those contained in paragraph 3 of Article V, including any limitations agreed under the auspices of the Bilateral Consultative Commission, would require an amendment to the New START Treaty which may enter into force for the United States only with the advice and consent of the Senate, as set forth in Article II, section 2, clause 2 of the Constitution of the United States; and

(C) the April 7, 2010, unilateral statement by the Russian Federation on missile defense does not impose a legal obligation on the United States.

So as you can see this missile defense b.s. is just that.

"If none of them complains, perhaps the reason is that there was virtually no dispute as to the merits of the bill."

Or perhaps they're just too afraid of the ability of the Senate leadership to retaliate against them, to risk raising a fuss about it.

I don't really care whether the Senators didn't mind. I'm entitled to have the Constitution obeyed by my government even when my government doesn't mind violating it.

And I'll raise "procedural snits" any time this sort of crap gets pulled. How can you have any claim to object when something you don't like gets done by illegal means, (The quorum clause IS the "highest law of the land", in case you didn't notice.) if you are fine with things you DO like being done illegally?

problem is Brett, as Glenn noted, it didn't happen. :)


Unlike Obama, Kerry appears to have some elementary knowledge of the treaty ratification process.

Team Obama is free to spike the Kerry dig into the GOP's court and start long, long belated discussions with the the GOP votes he needs for ratification.

Barry, the Oval Office is a fine place to have one on one meetings to stroke prospective votes. Also, that telephone on your desk is there for a reason besides making golf dates and vacation plans. LBJ and Reagan spent hundreds of hours speaking to Congress critters on that phone to get their legislation through.

Of course, you don't have hundreds of hours, do you? Jamming the GOP votes you need against a Christmas in a lame duck session after a repudiation election is hardly the ideal manner to stroke and win votes from the opposition.

Guess you will have to wait until January to start doing your job and try to convince another 6 GOP senators of the wisdom of your treaty.

Still learning on the job after two years. Frigging amateur hour.

The Russians gave the GOP an assist by warning the Senate not to amend the START treaty along the lines Kerry is suggesting.


If Obama did not make promises to the Russians concerning missile defense under START, why would the Russians care about an amendment stating that START did not affect our missile defense?

Time to drag Clinton and the treaty negotiators in front of the foreign relations committee in January to answer questions about what they promised to the Russians.

Does Brett with this claim:

"I'm entitled to have the Constitution obeyed by my government even when my government doesn't mind violating it."

have standing or is he limited to ranting sitting down? We don't need no stinkin' quorum when it's unanimous. I guess it's time for the NOAGN* crown to pass from our yodeler to Brett's pate. "LONG LIVE THE ...."

*nit on a gnat's nut

For some reason I've been thinking it's time for a sequel to "THE RUSSIANS ARE COMING, THE RUSSIANS ARE COMING!" with the setting this time in Colorado instead of New England and a drone in place of a submarine. Lots of vodka, resulting in an increase in the need for DUI defense attorneys. Maybe there'll be a local cast including "Tom Tom" Tancredo and some of the other "usual suspects" who have been sipping tea (ahem) lately.


Are you saying that the Russians are not coming, Sandy is wrong that this treaty is a matter of "life and death," and this treaty does not amount to a "nit on a gnat's nut" against the array of challenges facing the country?

We agree for once.

Set this for a hearing before the foreign relations committee next spring and put an end to arguably the worst Congress in American history.

Apparently farce has not as yet entered our yodeler's mind, although the Tea Party's CO seems to have.

But the life and death aspect relates to the impact, inter alia, of no mutual inspections if the treaty is not affirmed, leaving the world once again relying on MAD as deterrent, reversing steps to lessen nuclear weaponry that had included Republican Presidents. This might keep our yodeler looking under his bed every night before going to sleep.

But I'm ready to testify if our yodeler can set up hearing (wearing two bags over my head in case one breaks).

Apparently our yodeler is demonstrating short term memory loss with this:

" ... and put an end to arguably the worst Congress in American history."

with respect to the Bush/Cheney years that culminated in the Great Recession in 2008, 8 years of looking in piles for ponies - and still no WMD!


Dude, the Dems controlled Congress for the entire recession.

The 1993 Dem Congress laid the road to the subprime mortgage mess which caused the recession by changing the CRA and other banking law.

Feel free to compare the 1995-2006 GOP Congress and the 2007 to 2010 Congress by any measure.

Guess who had veto power over Congress in 2007-8?

Guess who'll have veto power over Congress in 2011-12?

Now our yodeler's longer term memory kicks in with 1993 as the cause of the Great Recession of 2008. Next he'll go back to the New Deal for blame, followed by a revival of Hoover and Bush/Cheney as the best Presidents.

Look at the economy from 1993-2000 and compare it to Bush/Cheney's economy of 8 years. Bush/Cheney started with a Clinton surplus, took it away with tax cuts and unfunded wars that have yet to disclose promised WMD. A lot of people made money during the Clinton years, including Dick Cheney and Halliburton, the latter by means of bribes. (I know, I know, that matter was settled for $250 million, but there was no admission of guilt. For Halliburton and Cheney, that's chump change.)

Revisionism is the game of the Republicans: "If mistakes were made, they weren't by us." But too much has been seen by too many of us us and written and documented to get away with it for long - except, apparently for those who rely upon Fox News.

By the Bybee (&*%^#$@), has our yodeler's tome(aine) gone preemptively to remainder bins? As I recall, it was 85% finished over a year ago.

I've had some time to look further into the "Food Safety" thing.

First, what happened Sunday night, (And I STILL can't find any report on when the vote actually took place; It's not listed in Thomas.) was a motion to amend H.R.3082, a bill which the Senate had already passed. And the subcommittee in charge of amending it is directed to send the amended bill to the House.

So the amended bill isn't even being voted on by the Senate, not even a 'unanimous voice vote', it's just being sent to the House as if the Senate had voted on it.

I've seen no reason here to change my longstanding opinion; voice votes should be utterly abolished in Congress, they should ALL be roll call votes, every last one.

I thought of our yodeler's overreaction to Sandy's "back of the bus" comment as I read this morning Paul Finkelman's Opinionator essay at the NYTimes website titled "States' Rights, but to What?" on the 150th anniversary yesterday (12/20/10) of South Carolina's secession from the United States, in particular this paragraph:

"In short, during the decades leading up to the 1860 election Northerners and Southerners battled over whether, and how, the states or the federal government would control the future of slavery. In this period the Southerners almost won. But, for South Carolinians, Lincoln's election appeared to be a takeover of the federal government by opponents not just of slavery, but of the fugitive slave las that they believed maintained the delicate balance between pro- and anit-slavery sentiments."

Currently, with America's first African American President, we seem to have a similar battle, not over slavery, but whatever Pres. Obama proposes. No, the issue is not slavery but we cannot rule out race. I made reference to revisionism in an earlier comment here with respect to our yodeler and on another post on this Blog regarding the upcoming sesquicentennial [what a great word!] anniversary of the beginning of the Civil War. Efforts at revisionism must be challenged, constantly.

Thanks, Brett, for the reminder to reread Don Quixote. Maybe your tilting at windmills may help to diminish our reliance on fossil fuels, you old fossil, but you'll have to do it sitting down as you have no standing.

Brett can't find the exact time (fwiw, neither could I, but other stuff seemed to happen after it), but speaks of "what happened Sunday night" when the Senate ended business at about 7 P.M. Since he is a stickler, I call him on the use of "Sunday Night."

It is my understanding that the point of the vote, which he should find reassuring up to a point, was that the original had a tax provision in it that had to originate in the House. So, they had to amend a House version of the law to meet constitutional requirements. And, then send it off to the House.

They did so without controversy for a bill over 70 senators originally voted on. Brett thinks that recorded votes are necessary on very measure. That won't be a waste of time at all. The Constitution does not require it unless a minority of either House asks for it. An amendment therefore might be warranted.

All those in favor, say ... oh ... vote ...

Brian Tamahana's recent post on the late Richard Holbrooke doesn't accommodate comments. I've been resisting too long as this post reminded me that as Buddy Rich was being wheeled into the operating room the nurse asked if was allergic to anything and he responded: "Yes, country music*." I've been in surgical situations (myself and family members) where humor often dominates. I think Holbrooke had a sense of humor with his alleged remark. I imagine if he had survived, he would be retelling his comment with quite a bit of elaboration. But it would be nice if peace came to Afghanistan. If there is a God, might she perform a miracle this holiday season?

*The late, great alto sax Charlie Parker very much enjoyed country music.

Graham also said that he was very tired and didn't know if he could get to it. The treaty, as Sen. Kerry recently noted, was out there to be discussed for quite some time, a Republican request for delay agreed to more than once.

It is somewhat non-germane, so I apologize for harping on it, but one more thing on the food thing. From Lincoln's Cooper Union speech:

"It went through all its stages without a word of opposition, and finally passed both branches without yeas and nays, which is equivalent to a unanimous passage. In this Congress there were sixteen of the thirty-nine fathers who framed the original Constitution."

Any vote that is not recorded can thus be assumed to be unanimous, on the floor statements or visual evidence of saying "nay," given limited value to those who so desire. Happy Solstice all.

BD: Dude, the Dems controlled Congress for the entire recession. Feel free to compare the 1995-2006 GOP Congress and the 2007 to 2010 Congress by any measure.

Shag: Guess who had veto power over Congress in 2007-8?

Bush vetoes of Dem 110th Congress legislation caused the recession? Actually, Bush and the Dems cooperated extensively, including on TARP and enacting new green subsidies.

BD: The 1993 Dem Congress laid the road to the subprime mortgage mess which caused the recession by changing the CRA and other banking law.

Shag: Next he'll go back to the New Deal for blame, followed by a revival of Hoover and Bush/Cheney as the best Presidents.

Knock down straw men much? The mortgage mess started in 1993, not in 1933 or 2001.

As usual, by refusing to address the point, you have conceded it. The 111th Congress is arguably the worst in American history by every relevant measure.

"Brett thinks that recorded votes are necessary on every measure. That won't be a waste of time at all.The Constitution does not require it unless a minority of either House asks for it. An amendment therefore might be warranted."

I don't call it a waste of time, I call it a safeguard against a few Senators getting together, and holding "unanimous" votes which nobody in the minority objects to because they made sure only supporters were there.

And I call it a safeguard against those Senators whose constituents happen to not like the vote being lied to about how their Senator voted.

"Unanimous" votes have in the past been used to circumvent quorum requirements, to get votes passed that the majority opposed. They've been used to avoid accountability for unpopular votes. They will be so used in the future. I don't particularly CARE if the majority of Senators were ok with it happening. The abuses of voice votes far outweigh the minor convenience they entail in an era where we have this thing called "electronic voting".

And I simply don't think constitutional requirements such as the quorum clause, or the requirement that both chambers have actually voted on the same measure, are properly waived just because our elected lords and masters find them inconvenient. I think the mere fact that a requirement IS in the Constitution is reason enough to enforce it absolutely.

Is the rule of law only for the ruled, and not for the rulers?

Brett, if the minority was so pressured, they would remain pressured even if they had to put their names on record. This happens repeatedly.

Who is "lying" here? Politicians of course lie. So be it. Since, as noted, this is a unanimous vote, they would lie if they claim to have "really" voted against it. The unanimous vote is on record.

Any abuses you claim to occur didn't suddenly come up or anything. The Senate by design has loads of votes, since things on slower there, and more means of delay are present. Electronic voting or not, it takes time to count the votes on record.

Even if the Senate did a lot less this would be a big waste of time and there wouldn't be enough time. I realize you are mad that the people vote for senators who want to do more stuff, but in a previous thread you did support democratic accountability.

Fine enough to strictly enforce the laws. Stop everyone who travels 56mph too. Oh wait, in the real world that won't happen. The real world part of the Constitution's vision, there always will be some possibility of gaming the system. Sorry.

But, it still helps if you actually use examples that actually occurred. References to "elected lords and masters" isn't helpful to me either though you might like such name calling or digs of some fictional individuals who seem them that way.

Requiring on record votes for every single thing, trivial or not, is a waste of time, especially since what occurred here is on record and accountability can be applied.

Again, it didn't happen at night, it was on record, a technical fix to correct an oversight in respect to a bill already voted ON RECORD by over 70 senators, and was a poor example of nefarious action.

Just to make sure we beat this dead horse senseless, I would like to point out that Brett, even after his investigation, came back with even more wrong facts. The Food Safety Bill was not HR 3082, that is the continuing resolution. The Food Safety bill was HR 2751, and it was passed in regular order, i.e., the bill was placed before the Senate and voted on, by voice vote. It was not motion to amend, and there was no reference to any committee.

As for the time, you can read the CR and see that there were about 3hours of debate on the START treaty preceding the Food Safety vote, and there were some items after the bill as well. So (since the Senate convened at 12N and adjourned at 7:12), we can at least say with some certainty that the food bill vote was sometime between around 3 pm and around 7 pm.

Our intrepid yodeler is stuck on a time warp:

"The mortgage mess started in 1993, not in 1933 or 2001."

Maybe the proof of this is in our yodeler's upchucking - excuse me, - upcoming tome(aine) to be preemptively binned. But so many things happened between 1/21/01 - 1/21/09 during Bush/Cheney that cannot be swept under the rug regarding the Great Recession of 2008: Let me count the ways ....

And with respect to this echo of a feeble yodel:

"As usual, by refusing to address the point, you have conceded it. The 111th Congress is arguably the worst in American history by every relevant measure."

what is the point I refuse to address? And your opinion on the 111th Congress has yet to be addressed by history (since it continues); perhaps you have pulled this out of your no longer dormant backpack of lies. Now the role of Republicans in "the 111th Congress is arguably the worst (of a congressional minority) in American history by every relevant measure," especially in the Senate. I think Sandy will back me on this.

BD: "The mortgage mess started in 1993, not in 1933 or 2001."

Shag: But so many things happened between 1/21/01 - 1/21/09 during Bush/Cheney that cannot be swept under the rug regarding the Great Recession of 2008: Let me count the ways ....

Such as?

Bush's contribution to the mortgage mess was HUD in 2003 increased the mandated percentage of Freddie and Fannie's portfolio dedicated to purchasing CRA subprime junk mortgages from the Clinton level of 50% to 55%.

Apart from that contribution, Bush simply had the bad luck of being in office when the subprime borrowers started defaulting in 2006, the housing bubble burst in the beginning of 2007 followed by the current recession.

While it served the Dems politically to blame Bush in 2008, they never offered any evidence apart from coincidence. Given their fingerprints were all over this mess, the Dems were wise to avoid actual facts.

Our Yodeler's memory needs refreshing as he asks:

"Such as?"

The subprime mortgage/securitization ballooned with decreasing regulation during the Bush/Cheney 8 years.

(This is the first drop in the Shag from Brookline version of the Chinese Water Torture.)

But surely our former Backpacker is aware that there were several parts to the 2008 Great Financial Meltdown in addition to subprime mortgages. Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae got into the incestuous subprime games late in the day during the Bush/Cheney years. What happened in 1993, if anything at all, was exacerbated between 1/21/01 - 1/21/09. Freddie and Fannie's underwriting standards were much stronger than the non-GSE subprimes during Bush/Cheney that finally (in 2006, as I recall) for competitive reasons Freddie and Fannie had to hold hands with the private sector"s subprimes.

Sooner or later that once dormant backpack of lies will go back to the New Deal for blame. Or perhaps at least to the Reagan years with S & L debacles that trained financial firms for deregulation fun and games that exploded during 1/21/01 - 1/21/09. (Why do these things happen in Republican administrations?)

Just a coincidence the near Depression occurred in 2008? Our yodeler is apparently impressed with his echoes of lies reverberating the hills of CO (apparently alive with the sounds of hatred for everything Obama). If he had a petard, he long would have been hoisted with it. I sense writer's block.

A few minutes ago I was finishing up on the first section of yesterday's (12/20/10) NYTimes and read Kate Zernike's National section article "Proposed Amendment Would Enable States to Repeal Federal Law" that identifies Randy Barnett as the "intellectual godfather of " the claim of unconstitutionality of the healthcare mandate and as the guru behind the proposed repeal amendment. Those who peruse the VC blog surely know Barnett as as self-promoter but with "Comments Off" on his posts there. The article also quotes Sandy (who is not a self promoter) in detail in opposition to the proposed repeal amendment. Sandy's position is consistent with his position on the need for a constitutional convention expressed at this Blog.

This proposed repeal amendment seems like a crusade by Barnett since his Raich case failed to pass muster with Justice Scalia and overcome Wickburn [sic]. Randy has had his constitutional nose out of joint (pun intended) ever since Raich.

BD: "Such as?"

Shag: The subprime mortgage/securitization ballooned with decreasing regulation during the Bush/Cheney 8 years.

Such as? What deregulation? How did it cause the production of one additional subprime mortgage.

Instead of a lack of regulations, it was the regulators - the Fed, HUD and Justice - that pushed toxic mortgages and then created a secondary market for them at Freddie and Fannie.

Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae got into the incestuous subprime games late in the day during the Bush/Cheney years.

Your ignorance on this topic is truly a thing to behold. Here is a handy timeline:

1995 - HUD required F&F to dedicate 42% of their portfolio to subprime mortgages.

Steven A. Holmes, “Fannie Mae Eases Credit To Aid Mortgage Lending,” New York Times (September 30, 1999).

1997 - After complaints from F&F that the new subprime mandate conflicted with their underwriting standards, HUD enacted regulations reducing those standards.

Carol D. Leonnig, “How HUD Mortgage Policy Fed The Crisis,” Washington Post (June 10, 2008).

1999 - Clintoistas Franklin Raines and Jamie Gorelick enacted a decade long program at Fannie to buy up toxic mortgages.

“Fannie Mae’s Targeted Community Reinvestment Act Loan Volume Passes $10 Billion Mark,” Business Wire (May 7, 2001).

These corrupt Dems resigned in disgrace in 2003 in a subprime bonus scandal.

“OFHEO to Sue Former Fannie Execs,” (November 27, 2006).

Gorelick was the Typhoid Mary of Clinton bureaucrats, causing disaster wherever she went. This was the fool who erected the walls preventing the sharing of intelligence that came to roost in 9/11.

2000 - HUD required F&F to dedicate 50% of their portfolio to subprime mortgages.

(This is the first drop in the Shag from Brookline version of the Chinese Water Torture.)

I don't mess with chinese water torture. Rather, I go straight to the 2x4 upside your thick scull.

Freddie and Fannie's underwriting standards were much stronger than the non-GSE subprimes during Bush/Cheney

Freddie and Fannie formed a secondary market buying up this trash. In order to do so, F&F had the same standards as the Countrywides from which they were buying. HUD saw to that in 1997.

I can keep up this 2x4 instruction so long as you want to keep repeating "thank you sir, may I have another." Unlike you, I have spent the past couple years researching this and have my sources endnoted in a finished chapter.

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Our yodeler needs some fact checking, which may be holding up publication of his tome(aine). AIG was the fault of Freddie and Fannie? Lehman was the fault of Freddie and Fannie? (Two more drops, drip, drip.)

And this:

"Freddie and Fannie formed a secondary market buying up this trash. In order to do so, F&F had the same standards as the Countrywides from which they were buying. HUD saw to that in 1997."

is Alice-in-Wonderland stuff.

But our yodeler still ducks that the 2008 Bush/Cheney financial/economic meltdown had many facets other than subprime mortgages.

Underfunded wars - another drop, drip.

By the Bybee (*%^&$#@), how many drips does it take to constitute Bush/Cheney waterboarding?

The WaPo editorial (12/21/10) "Food Safety Act gives long-needed power to the FDA" focuses upon the substantive aspects of the Act approvingly (with not a scintilla of Brett's procedural concerns), praising Congress for taking action.


Speaking of outlaw executives, you might want to post about this latest outrage:

Take a peak at the WaPo editorial of 12/22/10 "Mortgage question: How to replace Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac" on the debate above.

Yeah, I know I'm in the minority on my procedural concerns.

The system seems to have swallowed my comment explaining this, but to briefly recap, I'd got the bill number out of a report on the Sunday passage which got it wrong, and since the bill number they DID give had FDA food safety language in it, I didn't have any basis to think it was wrong.

On the time, I'm willing to accept I was mistaken, though I'd be more confident of that if somebody could actually provide me with a record of when this vote took place. CSPAN footage would be nice, to confirm they actually gave members time to say "Aye" and "Nay"...

Yeah, the bill would undoubtedly have passed if they'd done a roll call vote. So the question you really have to ask is, why the freak didn't they?

I say, too often the answer to that is that they didn't do a roll call vote because that would prove they didn't have a quorum present.

I'll be keeping our intrepid yodeler's forecast:

"The 111th Congress is arguably the worst in American history by every relevant measure."

on my screen as a reminder to remind him of it from time to time after the 111th Congress ends. History doesn't make instantaneous conclusions, so it seems most rash to express such an opinion prematurely. Perhaps our former Backpacker will take the George W. Bush approach on how history will treat his (and Dickie's) administration: Not until after his demise.

Just imagine, if and when our yodeler's tome(aine) is ever published, the trove that would be available to reviewers/readers with his commentaries on this Blog and others, including his opinion on the 111th Congress.

Brett's next screed may deal with the voice vote on the passage of the 9/11 responders health care bill.

Brett. It's not that you are in the minority. Many are around here. It's that your reasoning doesn't convince.

There is a written record of the vote. Brett wants "visual evidence" now. They actually do televise C-SPAN. Why not get a copy? It might have been doctored though. Who knows?

The reason there was no roll call on this and other matters is because it was deemed a waste of time. I know you want to replace a system in place from the beginning, but they don't agree. The original vote was roll called. This was just a technical fix of that one.

Again, that's why it was not controversial. As Glenn noted, senators were around that day and other stuff happened afterward. There was time to vote on the matter if senators felt some big need for it. It wasn't secret. It is on record.

Find something else.

At Talking Points Memo, Brian Beutler posts (12/23/10) "111th Senate Breaks a Filibuster Record" with a graph by way of an update. Sandy and Jack might be interested and perhaps comment.

Volokh Conspiracy has a post referencing Prof. Levinson's visit to C-SPAN & provides room for comment.

E. J. Dionne's WaPo column 12/27/10 "Don't spin the Civil War" states so much better my comments on this and other recent posts on this Blog on the subject.

Along similar lines is Eric Foner's 12/20/10 article "The American civil war still being fought."

I go a tad beyond them in pointing out that resentment of (not just disagreement with) America's first African American President may contribute to spinning, refighting the Civil War by some who should know better.

Look, Joe, there was an on record vote, (IOW, an actual vote.) where in excess of 20 Senators voted against the bill. Now there's a voice 'vote' which is supposedly 'unanimous'.

What's your theory here? That 20 plus Senators abruptly changed their minds? Or that every last opponent of the measure was absent, purely by coincidence?

Those are pretty much the only non-abusive explanations for how the vote could have been genuinely unanimous, if it actually took place.

OTOH, if they simply held the vote without a quorum, with only supporters present, it's easy to explain why a bill with in excess of twenty opponents could pass 'unanimously'. Or, similarly, if they simply ignored anyone who voiced an objection, you'd get a 'unanimous' outcome, but it wouldn't have been an honest vote.

This procedural stuff really does matter, Joe. It's important, because things like quorum requirements are there to prevent real abuses. They're like the breaker in your electrical panel; They might seem a waste of time most of the time, but they'll save your life the time they're actually needed, and they won't be there when needed if you just dismiss them as pointless.

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Brett is now standing on his head, which does not give him legal standing other than to rant. Are those 20 plus Senators complaining? (If so, cites please.) Because of Brett's current position, it can't technically be said that he is the only one in step. But this is beyond even making mountains out of molehills.

I stated my theory repeatedly, Brett.

The bill was passed by a supermajority, but had a technical problem. The technical problem was fixed by voice vote. The cause lost, the minority senators did not see the point of going on record again. This is not some conspiracy. Things like that happen a lot in the Senate and outside the Senate.

You AGAIN bring up the quorum issue. We aren't taking you seriously here not only because you have a problem with the facts on the ground but because there is no evidence of that here and in fact since a federal judge was confirmed the very same afternoon (not "night") by over 90 senators.

Procedure matters as does realizing that the Constitution allows voice votes for a reason. Ditto finding better examples.

The Legal History Blog has a current post by Dan Ernst: "Chafitz (and Appleby et al.) on the Filibuster" regarding Chafitz's article that the Filibuster is unconstitutional.

Also, the post references a petition by academics (legal, historians and political scientists) that includes our own Sandy Levinson, concerning the Senate's 60-vote rule tied into the Filibuster. Perhaps a post by Sandy on the petition might be appropriate for this Blog.

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