“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Slaughtering the Constitution

What you ask is the Slaughter Rule? Simply stated, it is the US House of Representatives claiming that they passed a Senate bill without actually having done so. It is a method, contemplated by the Democrats, to pass the healthcare bill. It is unconstitutional and it is illegal.

Mark Levin has rightly been calling it an attack on the US Constitution. What does the Constitution say?

The Constitution of the United States:

Article I, Section 7 says “the votes of both Houses shall be determined by yeas and nays, and the names of the persons voting for and against the bill shall be entered on the journal of each House respectively.”

Minority Whip Eric Cantor, commenting on the Slaughter extra-constitutional action:

“I can infer that we’re going to see a rule that will deem the Senate bill as having passed, and at the same time not even have 72 hours to even look at what they are passing.”

Slaughter says House still has options on health care procedure despite parliamentarian's ruling
By: Susan Ferrechio
Chief Congressional Correspondent Washington Examiner
03/12/10 2:21 PM EST

House Democratic leaders say they are prepared to take up the Senate health care bill, even though it appears it cannot be passed simultaneously with a second bill that would make corrections to it.

I talked to Louise Slaughter, D-N.Y., chairwoman of the House Rules Committee, the panel that will be responsible for formatting the way the House debates and votes on health care reform. Congress Daily reported last week the Slaughter was considering a rule that would deem the Senate bill passed only after the House approved the second bill that makes corrections to it. The Senate parliamentarian, however, ruled on Thursday that the Senate can only take up a reconciliation bill if the original Senate bill is first signed into law.

"We knew that," Slaughter told The Examiner. "That's not news to me. We always believed we had to have a signed bill before we reconcile." Slaughter would not say what strategy the House would employ to pass the bill. "We're looking at a lot of things," she said, adding that the Senate parliamentarian, "cannot rule on what we have to do over here."

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., also acknowledged Friday that the House would have to pass the Senate's $1 trillion health care bill first before either chamber can take up the second bill, which would remove the Senate legislation's tax on expensive insurance policies and some special deals cut for certain senators.

Pelosi left up in the air whether the bill would have to be signed into law, though she acknowledged a ruling by the Senate parliamentarian Thursday that it would.

"We'll pass the Senate bill, once we pass it the president signs it, or doesn't," Pelosi said. "People would rather he wait until the Senate act..."

Pelosi said the ruling by the parliamentarian, provided at the request of Senate GOP leaders, "isn't going to make any difference except maybe the mood that people are in. The fact is, once that it is passed in the House it is going to be the law of the land."

House Democrats have been staunchly opposed to passing the Senate bill first because they worry the corrections bill will never pass in that chamber.

When asked about that opposition by a reporter at her news conference Friday, Pelosi said, "That's another thing," but she suggested her rank-and-file would ultimately vote for the bill because it would expand health care coverage to 31 million people.


  1. As I told doug in regards Health Insurance and Care Reform, many moons ago ...

    Something will pass.

    They will achieve something to hang their hats upon. None of them, let alone any of us, will have a clue as to the particulars, for a while.

    As to the Constitutionality of any particular Congressional Rule, Los Supremos have never ventured there, and if they did, could be ignored with legal if not social impunity by the Congress.

  2. Washington (CNN) -- Steve Hildebrand was one of the top advisers who helped put President Obama in office, but he has a stark warning for his old friends at the White House and on Capitol Hill.
    "I think that there is a real shot we [Democrats] are going to get slaughtered in elections this fall if we aren't leading the efforts to reform Washington," Hildebrand said. "We campaigned in '06 and '08, and if voters don't see that change, we haven't lived up to that promise."
    Hildebrand, a highly regarded strategist in Democratic circles who helped deliver the crucial state of Iowa for Obama, is an outside consultant pushing issues such as campaign finance and lobbying reform.
    He came to the White House on Wednesday for a quiet meeting with the president's senior adviser, David Axelrod, to express a fear that Republicans are seizing the high ground on cleaning up Washington, on issues such as the ethics probe of Rep. Charlie Rangel, D-New York.

  3. "...before either chamber can take up the second bill, which would remove the Senate legislation's tax on expensive insurance policies and some special deals cut for certain senators."

    Think they misreported the Cadillac Plan change.
    It is my understanding that it is only removed for those making less than $250K.

    All those Cadillac plans for a bunch of previously outraged union stooges will be shielded from the Cadillac tax, whereas non-union small businesses will receive punishment appropriate to their sinfullness - pursuit of PROFITS!

  4. It's hard to say where the HC bill sits right now. And frankly all we can do is wait.

    With regard to the "write a letter" campaign Doug posted in an earlier thread, it's meaningless at this point (unless you've got a minimum of $100 million to send in with it). The Dems are determined to pass it and the GOP will oppose.

    I too think they will get something passed. Or did. Now I'm not sure.

    If Pelosi had the votes right now it would already be passed. And things are getting kind of tricky for Nancy.

    Supposedly, they have written off Stupak and those who oppose the current bill due to the abortion issue (although from some comments by Stupak it appears Nancy got some of those people to come over to her side).

    However, if the Dems decide to ignore existing rules on reconciliation they could be opening up another problem for themselves on the count. There were already Dems who didn't like the idea of using reconciliation anyway. If the rules are changed to make reconciliation meaningless, the process may become objectionable to others.

    I would assume that the Dems are counting on HC being such a massive program that any future GOP congress would be unable to rewind it once it is passed. However, even if true, changing the reconciliation rules as indicated on Deuce's post would be a game changer for all future legislation.


  5. Biden can change the rules at will, although one might think they might tire of operation suicide run 2010.

  6. Public opinion is the only reason it was not passed long ago, Quirk.
    Not all pols can be bought off when the price to be paid is losing their cherished position of royalty in DC.

    Stupak being an exception, resisting for mere moral objections over the trivial matter of life.

  7. My surprise comment in the previous thread was addressed to Rufus, Quirk.

    The fact that student loans have served only to fuel college cost inflation far beyond the norm bothers him not at all.

    As expected.

  8. Deuce said...
    There are probably no more than 100-200 workers that have an actual claim. The World Trade Towers were office buildings, nothing more, nothing less.

    Office buildings are taken down all the time. Once they were down and after a few days, the rescue opertaion became a clean up opertaion.

    The WTC site is on a 16 acre site. 10,000 claims to remove debris from a sixteen acre site?
    The Judge has put a hold on things as he finds out how much the lawyers are to be paid.

    Two towers pulverizing 160 stories of asbestos coated beams is not a normal occurrence, Deuce, whether you believe they should be compensated, or not.

    The burning shitfield those folks worked in for weeks was a special case.

    Those 16 acres had a hell of a lot more debris on them than your average Kansas cornfield.

  9. At this point, I wonder if the Dems are merely posturing for their core constituencies. Are they blowing smoke in the face of defeat?

  10. (The planes impacted the structures above the asbestos coated beams) folks less time to exit.

    All thanks due to the EPA.

  11. FWIW
    Video footage shows most people engaged in recovery/cleanup at the WTC site wearing heavy-duty respirators.

    I can't help but believe that this is a massive cash in on the bandwagon.

  12. If they had the votes now, they would have the vote now, Whit!

  13. re: 10,000 claims:

    The folks working in the immediate aftermath are the people who were lied to about air quality.

  14. Have to agree with Doug. There are always going to be people trying to game the system. However, it appears there were many people whose health was seriously affected.

    Do we do away with disability insurance too?

    The best way, which I think I read they were doing, is to check out the validity of each individual case.


  15. "In a giant auction, the federal government has agreed to sell for pennies on the dollar most of the 120,000 formaldehyde-tainted trailers it bought nearly five years ago for Hurricane Katrina victims. But the sale of the units, perhaps the most visible symbol of the government's bungled response to the hurricane, has triggered a new round of charges that it is endangering future buyers for years to come.

    "Consumer advocates and environmentalists are outraged that the government resold products it deemed unsafe to live in, saying warning stickers attached to the units will not keep people from misusing them.

    "Besides formaldehyde, units might be plagued by mold, mildew and propane gas leaks, FEMA acknowledged..."

    Gov't to Sell Tainted Katrina Trailers

    One more instance of your government at work for you.

    By the way the US has already spent $225 million just on storage for the trailers.

    Heck of a job Brownie.


  16. Early on.

    Few proper respirators here:

    Take your pick

    My main complaint is the Govt Lying about air safety in the immediate aftermath.

  17. Doug, you're just being an asshole. Welcome back; I hope you weren't sick. I missed you pounding on my head every morning.

    They're "loans," Doug. If our country is going to continue to enjoy this extremely high living standard, compared to the rest of the world, we're going to have to have a very highly qualified workforce.

    We've got to keep pushing our productivity to the moon. That can only be done if our workers are highly trained, and educated.

    I have absolutely no idea what's in the "Student Loan" Bill, and why they want to change the program. And, neither do you. As a result, I'm neither fer it, or agin it. I merely stated that I think the program is important, and that I hope they don't "muck it up."

  18. If they had the votes now, they would have the vote now, Whit!

    That's true, I guess I am wondering if they know they can't pass anything and are now just trying to BS their own people.

  19. You can bet on one thing; those "maybes" are getting beat to a crisp.

  20. I suspect that those FEMA trailers simply need a good "airing out" which I doubt that they have ever gotten. New construction materials particularly adhesives "off gas" for a while. Usually good ventilation is all that is needed.

  21. "Usually good ventilation is all that is needed."



  22. I prefer the ".308 ventilation" method.

    But, in extreme cases the .50 cal method is acceptable.

  23. Something frightening in those Obama support numbers:

    Obama has been dancing around 52-48%. That implies there are 48% of the US population that believes that the only way for them to get ahead is through government support programs.

    Legalize the resident emigrants and he has a solid majority.

    I need to think about this some more, but I have a theory that the system is institutionalizing this disenfranchisement in ways unintended.

    For instance, credit scores for employment. How does an unemployed or underemployed person break out of that cycle? They cannot buy a car, rent an apartment, get a job, get a credit card because they do not have good credit.

    They get payday loans at 400% APR to make it from pay check to paycheck when they have a job.

    I was listening to c-span and evidently every military base is surrounded by these payday loan people. There numbers have expanded from a few thousand to 20,000 in ten years.

    Start adding these things up, and the upward mobility open to Americans in the fifties , sixties and seventies doesn't look so good, except for union members and government workers.

    When 51% or more of the population supports an Obama or worse, somebody more competent than Obama , we have a problem.

  24. By the way, except in very rare cases, exposure to asbestos dust takes fro 25-40 years to show up as a problem.

  25. Most of the lung cancer claimed because of asbestos was from workers in asbestos plants, ship builders, crews and railroads. As the asbestos money pool got bigger, household members made claims.

    Over 90% of all lung cancers are due to cigarette smoking.

    Virtually all lung cancer cliamants with asbestos related exposure were smokers.

  26. It's a constant tug of war, Deuce. You, or I, would not want to live in a country that had a "One-Party" System.

  27. I believe that the credit bureaus have become a scrouge. Of course, I understand that if you want to play the game, that's the way it is.

  28. And, let's face it, people will, virtually 100% of the time "vote their pocketbook." To do anything else is, usually, downright irrational.

    About 50% of the population votes for the party that they perceive as being best for the poorest 50%.

    If you were a poor man, and wanted your children to have the opportunity to get an advanced education you would vote for the party that is going to help make that possible.

    If you were a poor person, and struggled with being able to Afford (or, even get) healthcare your whole life you would vote for the party that championed Medicaid, Medicare, and SCHIP. To do anything else wouldn't make any sense.

    Any elderly Black woman that voted for the party that tried to declare ketchup a vegetable for her grandchild's school lunch would have to have her head examined.

  29. On topic:
    "Slaughtering the Constitution"

    During the Bush years, the left claimed that the constitution was being shredded, now the right is concerned. To this wingnut, no one can shred the Constitution like "Progressives" who have shown a propensity to lie, lie, lie when it advances their agenda.

    This morning I got a report from a gentleman who recently made a trip to Cuba. Basically, Cuba is divided into the Communist apparachik "haves and the have nots." They confirm that Michael Moore, Chief Propagandist, lied about the quality of Cuban healthcare which is the typical two tier system.
    I worry that our "new normal" of reduced revenues and budget cuts (see Allen's reference to rising tuitions in Georgia) will also lead to a two class society.

  30. We have Always had a "two-class" society, Whit. How many rich kids did You know that went to Vietnam?

    One class got college deferments, the other class got drafted.

    One class owned the cotton gin (or, at least, the General Store,) and the other picked the cotton.

    Sure, tuitions are rising; but, more and more poorer kids are getting to Go to college. The "rich" are paying more, and the poor are getting some help.

    But, the funny thing is, the "rich" end up benefitting, also. They end up with a better workforce, and a more prosperous citizenry to buy their products.

    A lot of old life-long Republicans like myself, once they're retired, look back on it, and realize that a lot of the things that they railed against turned out to be to their benefit as much as anyone's.

  31. Reduced Revenues aren't the "new normal," though. We're in a Recession. We damned near had a Depression. Revenues are already picking up again. Something the Republicans aren't, for some reason, mentioning.

  32. rufus said...
    And, let's face it, people will, virtually 100% of the time "vote their pocketbook." To do anything else is, usually, downright irrational.

    I dont vote my pocket book...

    However most people do, and most people will be smarting in the next 3 years...

    anger, what a wonderful emotion...

  33. Party of stupid.
    Westbury or someone claimed January total consumption was an all time high.
    Hard to believe, but heard it on Hewitt.
    Costco and Walmart here have almost always been packed.

  34. Right, WIO.
    Hope GOP keeps attention on Healthcare debacle, and does not rely on economy to help them in the next election.

  35. (Sat Mar 13, 01:02:00 PM EST reply to Rufus
    Sat Mar 13, 12:07:00 PM EST)

  36. Doug, I don't know what, exactly, Westbury was talking about, but things could be looking considerably better by Nov.

    On the other hand, we could be back in the dumps.

    The point is, it's Not a "sure thing," either way.

    The good news for the Pubs is, if the people are pissed off, and depressed in April it's hard to get'em turned around by Nov.

    The Dems are probably in pretty bad shape no matter what happens from here.

  37. This morning I got a report from a gentleman who recently made a trip to Cuba. Basically, Cuba is divided into the Communist apparachik "haves and the have nots." They confirm that Michael Moore, Chief Propagandist, lied about the quality of Cuban healthcare which is the typical two tier system.

    - whit

    Maybe it goes without saying, but I'll say it anyway:

    Michael Moore - playing the fool or playing his would-be audience for same - reported what he was shown by his minders. Claims regarding Cuban health care that have the intent of burnishing the Castro cred have long been torn down.

    Over the past decade especially, the majority of the population has had to confront such a severe deterioration of an already meager standard of living that hard currency goes begging for food and other necessities.

    Any and all declarations regarding the well-being of the common Cuban and even the remotely benign nature of the political cult that continues to govern him/her, issues from either internal propaganda or foreign fantasy.

    Given even the relatively recent cultivation of tourism, they are in dire straights, kept afloat only by a system of remittance that is itself grotesquely exploitative.

  38. That was a response to Rufus, Trish.

  39. "But, the funny thing is, the "rich" end up benefitting, also. They end up with a better workforce, and a more prosperous citizenry to buy their products."

    No denying that the rich end up benefitting. However, whether the "more prosperous" citizenry is better off is more of a philosophical question.

    It's our old argument, Ruf. You point out all the things people have these days that they didn't have before. I point out the costs that aren't usually mentioned.

    Today the two income family is recognized as more than just common. The number of women in the workforce currently exceeds the number of men. This was not the case 30 - 40 years ago. Median income has remained flat over the past thirty years. Even so, if you double houshold income by doubling the people working, the natives can afford to buy a few more trinkets.

    Then there are the socioeconomic implications of not having the mother at home with the kids which opens up an entirely different discussion.

    With regard to your argument that we are much better off because of all the "stuff" we have now that we didn't have before, I'd have to question that too.

    Somethings are obvious. If you have two people working, your going to need two cars.

    Others are not so clear. One of my degrees was in marketing and I seem to recall the old product life cycle meme, introduction, growth, maturation, and decline. Some items like Coke and Pepsi because of their unique taste have been able to prolong that life cycle. Others, like TV's fall under the sway of Moore's law. However, Moore's law merely shortens the product life cycle dramatically.

    Not too many years ago a large screen HD TV could cost $5,000. Last year you could get them for about $500. Next they will be coming out with 3D tv's. However, while you can argue that the quality of the tv's are much "better" today that also involves our perception.

    If the large screen, HD TV had never been invented, people would be spending the same $500 on an old style vacuum tube TV. If they weren't aware that the HDTV were possible, would they feel deprived? Would it affect their lives all that much?

    As for productivity, much of what we have seen in the past 30 - 40 years has been the result of improvements in IT, automation, robotics, etc. which have benefitted from Moore's Law principles. However, some argue that there is a limit to how much we can expect under current trends. For instance, circuits are down to the microscopic level. At the atomic level they become so small that the components simply melt away (kind of the peak-oil of cuircuit technology). Which means that at some point we'll need a new type of circuit to keep the productivity moving.

    The optimist will say something will come along. That's possible but it doesn't address the jobs that are disappearing or paying less than they used to.


  40. Trish,
    Wish you had heard Prager
    (no big fan here)

    He's just returned from a promo cruise to someplace in Europe.

    His description of coming back to the good old USA reminded me of a post by you.

    Listed all the things that we appreciate more with age, number one (excluding the personal) being how much he loves this country.

    (Europe providing the perfect contrast)

    God Bless America,
    and f... the petty bureaucrats!

  41. "The optimist will say something will come along.

    That's possible but it doesn't address the jobs that are disappearing or paying less than they used to.
    Nice post.
    I am confident
    "something will come along."

    Not so confident the parentless households will not exact a heavier toll than they already have in the welfare state decimated black family.

    (which is why I feel little guilt while pounding on Rufie's [block] head.)

  42. The civility in here today is almost unbearable.

  43. "His description of coming back to the good old USA reminded me of a post by you."

    God bless the homesick American - and they are everywhere.

    At the same time, I got suddenly, discretely weepy on my last flight out of Bogota.

    I did rather anticipate that.

  44. Q, just let me say this:

    I'm a Very Big Fan of Indoor Plumbing in February.

  45. If my Kids are well, you can't make me sad.

    If my kids are sick, you can't make me happy.

    I don't want Anyone's kids to be sick if I can help it.

    The first of the Three Jewels (Tao) is Compassion.

  46. BTW, Doug, I'd just bet you that whole "welfare broke up the black family" meme is a canard. I'd love to see the statistics that back that up. This isn't a challenge to you. I know that is the accepted storyline. It just suddenly struck me that I don't really believe it.

  47. Too damned civil for me. It's putting me to sleep. Later.

    nap time.

  48. She could be singing about the entire country, still the Atlantis for so many millions:

  49. "Q, just let me say this:

    I'm a Very Big Fan of Indoor Plumbing in February."

    The sign of the true optimist:

    Happiness = A warm shit.

    The Second of the Three Jewels (Tao) is Contentment.