Why Bunning’s Hold Is Ridiculous

Here is a link to a rundown about what is occurring due to Sen. Bunning’s hold:

  • Unemployment benefits for 400,000 people
  • State reimbursements of $190 million a day
  • Two thousand Federal workers furloughed
  • Construction jobs shut down due to lack of inspectors

Things are supposed to resume later this week, but it’s still a huge bureaucratic mess that I’m sure is causing immense anxiety. Bunning’s rationale is also pretty stupid in light of the big picture: the bill represents about 0.6% of the deficit and is towards universally agreed upon projects. However, his hold isn’t what I find ridiculous, the fact that a minor legislative hiccup caused the derailment is ridiculous.

The last six months or so the Democratic leadership has repeatedly spent all of its time on non-time critical bills and then pushed through required bills during the 11th hour. Whether it’s Bernanke’s reappointment, or attaching the last unemployment extension to the defense spending bill, the messaging is that it must pass or else there will be dire consequences and there is no time for questioning! Of course it’s been known for months or years that there would have to be action by that date and the rush is completely of the leadership’s own making.

I realize that this has long been fairly standard practice and — along with turning legislation into a grab bag of proposals — I find it to be the most pernicious action by Congress and one that helps fatally undermine the entire idea of a Republic. If I were in Congress I would vote against every bill that was stuffed with pork or riders (look at what they attach to the defense and transportation bills sometime) and every bill that was generated with a false sense of urgency. I really wonder how many bills I would even have the option to vote yes on. I find it tunnel visioned to vilify Bunning when he is merely exercising a common procedural tactic. The blame that this led to failure lies solely at the feet of the Senate leadership in particular and Congressional culture in general.

Update: Commenter merkin makes the point that this stuff was in the larger jobs bill that Reid never brought to the floor, so it takes a little fire out. However I still argue that they should have tackled these extensions before they passed the $15 billion jobs bill that wasn’t time critical and requires extensive reconciliation with the house.

Update #2: Commenter The Master says that “hold” is the wrong terminology.

“What Bunning is doing is not a ‘Hold’; a Hold is a specific action taken by a Senator to prevent a hearing for a nominee that requires Senate confirmation. He’s not doing that.

Nor is it a Filibuster, as so many in the MSM and the blogosphere keep calling it. Bunning is simply refusing to allow the bill to move on Unanimous Consent, i.e. he is refusing to vote for it. Unanimous Consent, as the name implies, means all present vote for it and none present vote against it. It is a technique used (generally) for uncontroversial legislation.

The Democratic leadership can easily pass this bill. All they have to do is introduce it to the floor, debate it, possibly consider some amendments to it, and vote on it. Yes, this will take a little time, and your point on the routine creation of false urgency by the leadership (Democrat and Republican) is well taken.”

Author: MIKKEL FISHMAN, Economics Editor

27 Comments

  1. We got tomatoes and oranges that need picking! Why should we pay people to sit at home watching TV collecting unemployment? Don't like stoop work? “Tough S. . .”

  2. I agree that the common congressional behavior of 11th hour legislation is terrible. I also agree that the current leadership is to blame for allowing this behavior under their watch.

    But…
    ” I find it tunnel visioned to vilify Bunning when he is merely exercising a common procedural tactic. “

    Bunning knows the environment and he is taking advantage of it as a tactic at the expensive of suffering Americans. He is making a choice and you want to give him a pass because his party isn't in control of Congress.

    That is like not prosecuting soldiers for torture because CheneyCo created a culture of torture.

    It isn't very often that conservatives agree that people are not fully responsible for their choices. Maybe you guys are moving to the left?

  3. Bunning is RIGHT! No more Waste ful money spent on lazy, stupid workers. My GrandPapa used to tell this rubbish “Get a Job BUM!”, when they asked for money outside of his Factory! Remeber – Support the Bush Tax Cuts for the wealthy! Call your Congressman NOW and demand action on this critical issue so they do not expire!

  4. I find it tunnel visioned to vilify Bunning when he is merely exercising a common procedural tactic. The blame that this led to failure lies solely at the feet of the Senate leadership in particular and Congressional culture in general.

    I could not agree with you more, Mikkel. I've actually tried making somewhat of a similar point on several of these Bunning threads Kathy started, but in the process have been called a knee-jerk reactionary, deplorable, hypocritical, and <gasp> a centrist. You better prepare yourself, because you just might get some heated commentary coming your way for actually thinking.

    Whether it’s Bernanke’s reappointment, or attaching the last unemployment extension to the defense spending bill, the messaging is that it must pass or else there will be dire consequences and there is no time for questioning!

    Isn't this primarily Rahm Emanuel's strategy on never letting a good crisis go to waste? But then again, I would argue that almost all politicians feel this way. We spent the first 8 years of this decade exploited by fear. It turned out to be a rather effective psychological tool at least, so I guess it continues.

  5. “That is like not prosecuting soldiers for torture because CheneyCo created a culture of torture.”

    Honestly I expect more of you than an extreme false equivalence. Torture is recognized as a domestic and international war crime, with explicit instructions in the soldier code to refuse all unlawful orders. This is a procedural move.

    And yeah he is acting craven but the point is that the ability for one person to determine the fate of the country because the competence of leadership and checks and balances of other branches have been destroyed is the sign of a severely dysfunctional government. Hate him all you want, but in the scheme of things it's just a symptom of a much greater underlying disease.

    Also if it makes you feel better I'm not a conservative and have always argued that people's choices and the concept of “fairness” must be seen in the light of past, present and future expected environment.

    I've also written repeatedly that unemployment benefits must not be cut off, and I'm writing a post arguing for a new massive jobs program…but that just means I care more about the systemic failure of leadership by Congressional Democrats and Obama on this issue more than a single senator.

  6. “We spent the first 8 years of this decade exploited by fear. It turned out to be a rather effective psychological tool at least, so I guess it continues.”

    The most depressing thing about the Democrats is their full embrace of fear based tactics and Orwellian language. While most of what Obama has done are things I anticipated (although disagree with vehemently) and hope he will come around on, his actual messaging has made me repulsed completely. Of course since I think most of the opposition is clinical at this point, that just makes me apathetic.

    Since most people assume a dichotomy in all things, it's hard to get people to listen to how the underlying soul of the new leadership is nearly identical to Bush, even if the specifics may seem different. It's quite enjoyable to watch Yves Smith and Marshall Auerback explain this at Naked Capitalism and watch them be celebrated by people that would hate what the authors preferred policy is (Smith is to figure out how to dismantle all the too big to fail banks even if it meant temporary nationalization and Auerback wants New Deal 2.0) and yelled at by people that would otherwise agree.

    This is the problem with fear based Orwellian messaging, it destroys the ability to think rationally and eviscerates the meaning of policy or strategy, not to mention the protective mechanisms of the government. The normalization of these tactics leads to things I strongly oppose like the Patriot Act, unquestioned military spending, huge corporate subsidies, transportation pork, and in extreme cases, war. How could I live with myself to not care about them if ostensibly used in the service of something I feel is good? I say ostensibly because there is no larger plan or point to these extensions, they are just the actions of desperate, unimaginative and weak willed politicians doing the bare minimum to keep their house from being stormed by the desperate.

  7. “The blame that this led to failure lies solely at the feet of the Senate leadership in particular and Congressional culture in general.”

    True. The Dems have created their past reputation notably on this (and on the leftward lurch) but it's a general Congressional problem — and that, in turn, arises from the overgrowth of Washington and its excessive power and influence, in place of our constitutional federal Republic.

    I suspect it will get worse, not better, in the years to come — too many beneficiaries among the public as well as those in Washington have wholeheartedly welcomed this “modern revolution” in our Republic. (It'll remain that way, oversized and overreaching de facto national government and unitary state, even with the demographic and other problems in the coming decades, just get uglier than it is now, as scarcity or an Era of Limits intervenes.)

  8. “9%+ unemployment for the rest of the decade and an entire generation will be lost as the young will see rates close to 20% fully unemployed and 30% underemployment”

    I.e., the Euro-dreamers among those on the Left are going to get what they want, even if they don't realize it.

  9. Reid tried to reach an all inclusive jobs bill working through Baucus Grassly axis which would have included the unemployment benefits extensions. The bill became an all inclusive “grab bag of pork” and special interest tax cuts.

    Reid killed this effort and broke it into many smaller bills each requiring a vote and each subject to action similar to Bunning's, where a single Senator, who is not getting enough from the bill can block it. In this case a bill extending the benefits for one year.

    So it seems he did what you say he should have, not built one huge bill and yet you complain he didn't do it right? The bill Bunning blocked was a simple status quo extension to allow time to work on the longer extension. Bunning blocking it is the disruption to the way things are done, not anything the leadership did or didn't do.

  10. Yes you make valid points. My point still stands that the $15 billion jobs bill they did pass was not time critical and they should have done this one first, even though it didn't have tax credits to sexy it up.

  11. Honestly I think Reid was caught off guard by the Republican's failure to filibuster the jobs bill.

    I am not overly surprised at Qbama's decisions to continue so many of Bush's policies. Obama is much more of a centrist than the left hoped for and that the right makes him out to be. This is one of the reasons that the right has moved so far right since Obama's election, they have had to justify they extreme rhetoric.

    Also the left failed to realize how far Bush moved to the center in his second term. Bush repudiated torture and proposed closing Gitmo. He stabilized the situation in Iraq by withdrawing from 80% of it and establishing a timeline for total withdrawal. The far right was just as angry at him as they are at Obama. Who knows, given two or three more terms of being President he might have learned and evolved enough to be a half way decent one. Unfortunately the country needed an up to speed President in 2000.

    The major failure of the Bush years has still not been recognized. Since 1980 the right has been very successful in winning elections with a few short tag lines or slogans that could be repeated as answers to any questions, government is the problem, government is too big, taxes are too high, the country is going bankrupt, regulation is bad, etc. We all know them by heart. But when Reagan or Bush I got into office they governed pretty much as moderates, ignoring the slogans. (and the other electoral artifice they created, the cultural wars)

    What happened in the Bush II administration is that it included large numbers of people raised listening to these platitudes who honestly believed they constituted valid principles for governing the country. And that is what they tried to do, in the process creating the messes surrounding us to today. It is these people who are trying everything they can to obstruct the solutions we so need today, like a large, true jobs bill.

  12. Torture is recognized as a domestic and international war crime, with explicit instructions in the soldier code to refuse all unlawful orders.

    It, unfortunately, isn't recognized by all. DaMav for instance would like to give the torturers and their enablers all awards.

  13. 1+1=2
    100+100=200

    Sure, 2 < 200, but it is still the basic operation of addition. I think my point was pretty obvious, even if I used a very nasty example to make it.

    You are excusing Bunnings behavior because of the congressional environment currently supported by democratic leadership. Sorry for the distasteful example, but I still believe the basic logic fits.

    And if it makes you feel any better….I think CheneyCo and the soldiers involved should have all been tossed in jail. So logically, I completely agree that Obama, Reid, and Bunning are to blame for this situation.

    Sorry for assuming you are a conservative, but it appeared to me that you were trying to excuse Bunning's behavior….which only a conservative would make the stretch to do.

  14. I reject the worldview you are implicitly assuming in your numerical example as representative of the real world. Mathematically that worldview is called linear, since the response is proportional to the input but the dynamics are the same, and logically that means you can use decomposition to derive clean cause and effect.

    Complex networks don't exhibit linear behavior. They could have nonproportional output and swift changes seemingly out of nowhere from the same input. In complex networks you cannot logically derive cause and effect, the system dynamics influence the timecourse of the system and the responses to it, which in turn may change the system itself.

    All of this may seem like it's out of the blue for what you wrote, but to me it's not…it's a fundamental paradigm shift for interpreting the world. When I look at things I only very rarely try to look at the immediate cause, I look more for system dynamics and robustness. Robustness is the measure of how well the system can withstand unexpected, sometimes entirely random, input. For example our financial system is extremely fragile in its nature and there are millions of things that can go wrong that cause a cascade which will destroy the entire system. Using post hoc reasoning, people like to assign A implies B reasoning (i.e. if only we saved Lehman then…) but in reality those can only be known after the fact. I knew the financial system was going to come close to complete collapse long before it happened even though I didn't know the exact time (I thought it was going to happen in 2007 not 2008) or proximate cause because it was obvious that it was inevitable based on the characteristics. In fact at this juncture it is still inevitable we are going to see even a larger crash because we haven't actually changed any of the root dynamics, it could be a month, it could be a year, it could be five — probably not much longer — and all the people that understood and warned about the economic troubles years ago all agree on this.

    So to your point, I blame the Congressional environment because it sets the dynamics and it is fragile. By operating the way it does, it is guaranteed to have a system failure at some point. I have long been concerned about this dynamic and wouldn't know when it would strike, and hopefully this will be rather minor compared to what could have happened. Heck a few weeks ago we were a day or two and one vote away from technical default on our government debt. What if one Democrat had a bad day?

    The people that have power are the ones I blame first because they have direct control over the dynamics, everything else is secondary, especially when the dynamics are meant to manipulate people and people irrationally lash out against manipulation [let alone want to cynically score political points]. Now does that mean I think he should be off the hook? No of course not, there is still individual responsibility. I think that the Republicans are always creating terrible dynamics and breaking the point of a Republic through their party always voting en bloc as a way to score political points for “opposing” things — not really opposing a lot of times, it's just all kabuki theater. Of course the Democrats do the same thing through their mock opposition or support and then crumbling just enough at the last second.

    Just like I wrote the GDP is a measure of an inane economic outlook, I believe that stuff like this is a symptom of an increasingly ineffectual government. To me that is what is important to remember and fight against, otherwise you get caught up in what Greenwald so expertly describes where the villain and hero constantly rotate (even individuals flipping back and forth) and everyone is too caught up in that to get out.

    As for torture, I strongly believe that a country that accepts torture and executive based indefinite detention is not long for this world. The Founding Fathers saw this, in fact it was one of the few things they near unanimously agreed upon. It was George Washington's first order as CIC. What Bush did and Congress enabled is so monstrous not in the act itself (which people have pointed out the CIA has done for decades…although that's a different matter) but in the normalization of that mindset as an acceptable response to “threats.” Once you cross that rubicon there is no turning back, as I believe it unleashes the worst elements of society and man in times where we need the best. After all, as military experts have pointed out, torture not only destroys the soul of the victim, it destroys the soul of the torturer. When a government has a formal program of torture it has to eventually put people that are soulless in positions of power, and that is when you get the KGB and North Korea, etc. that expends its energy on pointless sadism. That is why it was so immensely important to prosecute all involved and dismantle any smell of it and why I fear for this country when the next terrorist strike or war hits…let alone a largescale domestic disturbance. It is already a growing refrain that bankers should be tortured and indefinitely detained, not just prosecuted for laws they have broken like any just society would do. With bloodlust like that of course it is easier to let them escape.

    So no I don't think the logic fits at all. Bunning did what was “natural” i.e. cynically bucking the mainstream system and the system was too fragile to compensate for it, torturers gave into the nascent system and helped perpetuate it into the mainstream.

  15. The “common procedural tactic” is not supposed to be kept a secret until the bill hits the floor at a time when a large number of Senators have left town for weekend functions. This was uncommon in the extreme, by a Senator that is widely regarded by his colleagues as mentally unstable.

    The remarkable aspect of Bunning's craziness: republicans finding it not worthy of criticism, lest it effect their shooting war against the Nigerian Socialist enemy.

  16. Jeez….I obviously have to be more descriptive….

    What is my point….

    Your rebuttal consisted of details about the torture example, while my point was on a much more abstract level….which from your last comment demonstrates that you are there too.

    We are both aware of the debate between personal choice and how a persons environment effects choices. In this debate, there is the debate on how much a person is responsible for their choice within a given environment.

    I acknowledged in my first comment that I agreed that the congressional environment set by its leaders was their fault, but I was not going to give Bunning a pass for his choice….regardless to the environment allowed by Democrats.

    Now because the debate on environmental effects on choice is riddled with small factors that sometimes equate to small effects…I decided to use the math example to demonstrate that even though my first example is extreme…it still falls into the general debate of regarding environmental effects on choice.

    I seriously have no idea why you jumped all over my math example….or torture. I believe my first comment was pretty clear….

    yes…environment does make a difference, but we are still responsible for our choices.

  17. Several good points in there Mikkel. I think that you may be in a severe minority though when it comes to looking at the long-term, along with your focus on dynamics and robustness. The digital age (with instant access to anything) has fostered the 5-minute attention span, or put more bluntly, instant gratification. I read a good study awhile ago for a lit review that reported a significant majority of people in the study would only skim the first few paragraphs of a lengthy news article and never read the rest. My apologies for this being nothing more than anecdotal, I'll need to dig for a link, but perhaps you're aware of some similar patterns on the short attention span phenomenon.

    The people that have power are the ones I blame first because they have direct control over the dynamics, everything else is secondary, especially when the dynamics are meant to manipulate people and people irrationally lash out against manipulation [let alone want to cynically score political points].

    I agree with you completely here. It gets pretty tiring to listening to all of the ills of the minority party (regardless of which one). I've often asked people to give me a reason to vote for their candidate rather than against the other. Strangely enough, I just don't think that's the way it works right now and perhaps the short attention span thingy has a lot to do with it.

    Just like I wrote the GDP is a measure of an inane economic outlook, I believe that stuff like this is a symptom of an increasingly ineffectual government. To me that is what is important to remember and fight against, otherwise you get caught up in what Greenwald so expertly describes where the villain and hero constantly rotate (even individuals flipping back and forth) and everyone is too caught up in that to get out.

    The evidence is right in front of our eyes. Just how effective is government right now? A plethora of polls exist out there showing us all that the masses have nearly given up. How many times in the past two weeks alone have we heard the phrase “broken government”? This really isn't anything new; but many on the right are latching on to it as a sign of weakening Dem clout in the system. A lot of Dems are most likely going to lose their elections this fall and be replaced by Repubs. How long will it be before those Repubs get voted out for the same reasons the Dems before them were?

    Greenwald makes an excellent point. Look at where Obama and the Dems were just one year ago…what happens if he starts polling in the GW territory of 25 – 30%? Will he still be considered 'the hero' (i.e. the anti-Bush) or will he suffer the same fate? Right now, Dick Cheney is more popular than Congress; that says an awful lot as to where our system currently is.

  18. Well first of all I really hate lazy hyperbole because it completely destroys an attempt at trying to have a conversation, especially because you never know where the other person's trigger points are. My particular trigger point, one of the few at all about anything, is torture. Comparing practically anything to systemic torture is a terrible comparison for me, and I've written many posts in the past trying to convince people why it is so. I'm not sure they changed any opinions though. But yeah I try to avoid literal hyperbole (although I love metaphorical hyperbole) because it is like a minefield and you just happened to get your legs blown off.

    If you disagree that the leadership is more at fault than Bunning, then I'd be receptive to you just saying so. This is because it is an opinion…I can try to explain why he's not in my worldview, but if you have a different worldview then that is something I just have to accept. Unlike most people I really feel like all consistent worldviews have important contributions to give and I respect people that have them even if they are different, especially because I think it is impossible to “prove” that they should change them, this can only come about from a personal existential crisis IMO, where their worldview fails them to the the point that they have to come to grips with it. Personally this has happened to me several times. I went off on you partially less for what you said and more because it didn't seem consistent with my — admittedly very shallow — understanding of you based on your comments.

    In any case my jumped all over you example was an attempt to explain that I have an entirely different worldview than well, just about anyone. What is so “obvious” to most people I often challenge, and often times I hold seemingly arbitrary positions. Up is down, and down is sideways. This is because the systems perspective is so ingrained in the way I look at the world. To me it is plainly obvious that being in our out of the system and position in the system completely changes what is expected because I view the system itself as the primary reality of the world. I think that people should be “held responsible” for the choices they make in context of the system, but that's not some objective measure in my mind.

    I believe that this mindset gives me an incredible advantage in life as I've had great success both personally and professionally (in several fields) with it. It has allowed me to make predictions and insights that are impossible with a more traditional worldview and I really believe that when all is said and done systems theory will radically change how people perceive reality, just as Newtonian and quantum physics did. I'm starting to reach out to people that share this perspective and get them to work on concrete problems so the mainstream starts getting exposed to it, which right now they do only through climate science and that is the primary reason why there is such opposition. Climate science itself is the father of this type of thinking, I'm just trying to apply it more broadly…which I think we will be successful with, I dunno if in my lifetime.

    Sorry for getting so philosophical but it is key to understanding where I am coming from in my arguments. Of course even people htat have this general mindset disagree on specifics, but I've come to accept that I just have to keep at what I'm doing and people that have it will come out of the woodwork to collaborate…

  19. I wish I could blame technology for attention span jchem, unfortunately I am much more pessimistic about humanity's ability for rationality in general.

    Experiment after experiment has shown that in general people weight the first information they hear about something very strongly (about three times) and that they weigh things based on the number of times they hear it with disregard to source. This not only means that people have an inability to discriminate between those that know what they are talking about (or at least have consistent logical arguments) but even the number of individual speakers. Throw in herding behavior and there is a real mess. You can have 80% believe one thing, but if the 20% speaks 5x more frequently then most people will go with them.

    I think if you look at history (red scare, yellow journalism, so on and so forth) it is evident it is part of the human condition. Technology allows us to better self delude and rationalize our intrinsic irrational behaviors, but I don't believe it creates it.

    Of course part of buying into a systems view and looking at history is the question about inevitability of “failure” as part of the cyclical dance. The Chinese have a saying that wealth does not pass three generations. They argue that the first generation builds it from troubles, the second maintains it but still has connection to the past and the last has no connection and squanders it, leading to downfall. Similar concepts exist in all eastern thought and increasingly western thought in existentialism and post modernism…although they all talk about timescales upon timescales. Individuals have their cycles, so do families (as in the three generations) but so do countries and ideologies and civilizations.

    The idea is that the nature of systems and reality creates this, and there is really very little you can do in the scheme of things. Nietzsche calls this “eternal recurrence” and says it is the most horrifying thought imaginable and argues the only way to cope with it is to accept your role in it, as if an actor in a play. I personally believe that we are on the worldwide decline part and while I hope that we can avoid it, it appears more and more inevitable, which then suggests the point is how to cope with it in the present and future.

  20. Thanks for taking the time to write that.

  21. DLS linked to this book which is introduction to systems worldview I am discussing.

    “It is remarkable that Dana is able to explain with such clarity such systems concepts of stocks, flows, feedback, time delays, resilience, bounded rationality, and system boundaries and to illustrate each one with multiple informative examples. Her statement that goals that optimize subsystems will sub optimize the functioning of the total system, is truly profound.

    The bolded part is an example of a completely counterintuitive statement that completely changes your thinking once you've grasped its implications.

  22. I don't think I would go so far as saying ubiquitous technology created the short attention span; rather, I would argue that it has promoted it in ways we never initially thought of. One need only look at news aggregators and the 24-hr news cycle to see what the story of this 10-minute block of time is. Within an hour, that story gets replaced by a new one, someone out there tweets about it or links to it on their Facebook page, and soon everybody latches on to it. Some may not have had the time to actually read the original, but now they know that someone on their side agrees with them, they don't have to. Perhaps its just a case of some letting others do the heavy lifting (I call it the telephone effect, after the old game).

    The Chinese 3-generation saying is indeed telling. I have students taking some of my classes right now that have no idea what the Cold War was, why the 60's were so chaotic, that someone tried to assassinate Reagan, or how any of us “old folks” could possibly live without the use of cell phones or the Internet. Today's 18-year olds were born in 1991-1992; around the time that grunge music threw a big wrench into what was considered popular. It would frighten me to think that without MTV, many wouldn't even know about that. This may actually reduce the 3-generation rule down to two.

    What I'm trying to say, specifically regarding technology, is that it is everywhere and it is constantly updated. What news stories are important today? How many of them will be remembered tomorrow, next week, or even next month? Within a few years time, its completely forgotten about because it gets buried under thousands upon thousands of permutations (aka spin). You can see it pretty good now with Bunning and his actions (h/t Dr E) as well as Orrin Hatch and his drivel today in WaPo. Many who are linking to Hatch ask if he thinks we're stupid, or if we've somehow forgotten history. Of course he does, and chances are, he's right.

    I don't want to put all of our ills on technology, and I apologize if I'm veering a bit off topic here. My only excuse is that one of my research projects right now concerns technology and how its used in the classroom as well as how broadly its used among the general public. Thank you (and DLS) for the link to that book; the summary over at Amazon is certainly food for thought. I'm sure you probably saw this already, but if you haven't, check out this latest by PEW; their findings are raising quite a few eyebrows in academia:

    Understanding the Participatory News Consumer

  23. I think you are right in what you're saying, I'd just argue that what is important is not any objective measure of attention span or speed of information, but span/speed relative to the dominant social constructs…if that makes sense.

  24. Makes sense to me. Thanks for the interesting discussion. If you do get a chance to finish that book by Meadows, I'd be interested to get your thoughts on it. I actually just checked it out of our library and am looking forward to digging in.

  25. I seriously doubt I'm going to get around to reading it, it's a bad habit of mine. I actually read very little of anything, I normally just try to understand the basic core assumptions, then logically/intuitively deduce what that would mean in a full paradigm and then glance at material to see if I am on the right track and to have a reference to show someone to explain what I'm talking about (like in this thread I didn't really get my ideas from Jung/Nietzsche etc per se, I was exposed to them mildly at some point but then the implication came when needed and I started searching to see who said what I was thinking and they just happened to be the ones I found that were most resonant). If I need specific details I try to find an expert that can be responsive to my questions and they help me fill in what I am being too abstract about what possible items I missed.

    This is all a long way of saying that I'm assuming the book is going to be great because when I was thinking about the nature of the world (specifically exponential growth in complex systems and its implications) and how to design a society that paid attention to that I searched to see what other people had said along the same lines and she was the mother of this systems oriented societal thinking. I read a few of her essays and (as usual) was astounded that it hadn't been widely adopted because it all just makes so much sense and is so obviously right.

  26. Mikkel,

    My, my, the comments here have moved quite far afield of the original topic of the post. At the risk of being a party pooper, let me go back to your original topic. Specifically:

    Your title is wrong.

    What Bunning is doing is not a 'Hold'; a Hold is a specific action taken by a Senator to prevent a hearing for a nominee that requires Senate confirmation. He's not doing that.

    Nor is it a Filibuster, as so many in the MSM and the blogosphere keep calling it. Bunning is simply refusing to allow the bill to move on Unanimous Consent, i.e. he is refusing to vote for it. Unanimous Consent, as the name implies, means all present vote for it and none present vote against it. It is a technique used (generally) for uncontroversial legislation.

    The Democratic leadership can easily pass this bill. All they have to do is introduce it to the floor, debate it, possibly consider some amendments to it, and vote on it. Yes, this will take a little time, and your point on the routine creation of false urgency by the leadership (Democrat and Republican) is well taken.

    Whatever Bunning's motivation, the fact is that he's being pressured to vote 'yes' on a bill where he doesn't want to do that–all in the name of sparing the Senate leadership the ordeal of doing it right. The way they should have. The way they may yet have to.

    Never mind the whole impending 'Reconciliation' trainwreck. If the only way the Senate can get anything done is Unanimous Consent, then we are truly doomed.

  27. Thanks for the clarification on terminology. I will update the post…but yeah what you are saying was my understanding, they just had to introduce it and move it through the process. If it really was uncontroversial as people are saying then they could have done that in a day or two no big deal.

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