[Plura-list] How the filibuster dies

Cory Doctorow doctorow at craphound.com
Sat May 22 11:29:14 EDT 2021

Today's links

* How the filibuster dies: Lessons from Adam Jentleson's "Kill Switch."

* This day in history: 2001, 2006, 2011, 2016, 2020

* Colophon: Recent publications, upcoming/recent appearances, current
writing projects, current reading


🏊🏿‍♂️ How the filibuster dies

I am, frankly, afraid of what's going to happen in the 2022 midterm
elections. If the GOP block the Dems from passing any legislation - even
the Jan 6 Commission bill! - then it's going to be very hard to mobilize
millions of habitual non-voters to show up for the midterms.

And at least one of those bills - HR1, the "For the People Act" - has to
pass soon if we're going to head off possibly irreversible voter
suppression that will require Democrats to win even-larger
supermajorities to win office.

The 2020 elections - and the shambles in Arizona - highlighted just how
much of US national politics is controlled by the states.

If you think that the GOP Congressional caucus is unhinged, you don't
wanna see what's going on in the state parties:


With a razor-thin hold on the Senate, the Dems need bold action and
unity to pass HR1.  But establishment Dems like Manchin and Sinema act
like their path to re-election requires them to sabotage the Dems on
core issues like the $15 minimum wage.


Manchin's commitment to keeping the filibuster makes him into a de facto
agent of the GOP, inasmuch as this means that he can single-handedly
prevent the Dems from materially improving the lives of tens of millions
of Americans.


Manchin has publicly pledged to destroy the Dems' midterm chances - and
forseeable future - by defending the filibuster. This utterly
disheartens me. With the US is on the cusp of either charting a new
path, or collapsing into autocracy, this is no time for decorum.

But this morning, I read a post by Ryan Grim that gave me hope. Grim
starts from the undeniable observation that when a thing doesn't happen
immediately, it's easy to think it'll never happen. But history tells us
that things do, indeed, *happen*.


He cites Adam Jentleson's KILL SWITCH, a 2021 history of the Senate and
its rules, including the filibuster, as a means of defending the
country's premier undemocratic, anti-majoritarian institution.


Jentleson lays out the path to change as a three act structure. In Act
I, the filibuster moves from an obscure issue to something that Dems and
the Dem Senate caucus are talking about, with all-round recognition that
the filibuster is broken.

That's already happened: even Manchin has supported reinstating the
"talking filibuster" (the Mr-Smith-Goes-to-Washington version).

Next is Act II, in which the GOP illustrates that merely reforming the
filibuster will do no good, because they are so intransigent that there
is no place for comity in the chamber.


The GOP's certainly doing everything it can to hasten Act II along.

I mean, McConnell publicly announced his intention to operate in bad
faith to kill the Dems' agenda - the same threat that Obama failed to
take seriously in 2009 -  and he's backed up his words with deeds.

The GOP's indefensible reversal on the Jan 6 Commission is gift-wrapped
proof that they cannot be negotiated with. If the GOP is blocking an
investigation into a lynch-mob that came within a whisker of murdering
*Mike Pence*, what *won't* they block?


If Senate Republicans filibuster the Jan 6 Commission bill, they'll make
the case for killing the filibuster more clearly than any Democrat
could. Manchin is on record as saying "I’m still praying we’ve still got
10 good solid patriots" among the GOP Senators.

This is Manchin signalling that he might bend on the filibuster, if the
GOP force him to.

Grim: "If he’s forced to for the good of the country, because there
aren’t enough good solid patriots willing to put that country first,
well...The filibuster is not a suicide pact."

Grim thinks that this could happen as early as next week, when the
Senate votes on whether to proceed with the Jan 6 Commission. If that
happens, we'll move on to Act III.

Act III is the fight over what replaces the filibuster - what the new
rules will be. This is the GOP's last chance to save the filibuster, if
ten GOP Senators will vote in favor of the commission, end the crisis,
and take filibuster reform off the table.

That's what usually happens when the Senate gets to this point. It might
happen again. But even if the GOP saves the filibuster this time, the
crisis itself will have given Manchin the political cover - and personal
experience - to consider killing the filibuster *next* time.

"If the option is a global financial crisis or a vote to reform the
filibuster in order to raise the debt ceiling, the choice even for
Manchin is an obvious one: ditch the filibuster. That would be the final
act of the play. "

Killing the filibuster is key to giving us HR1, the PRO Act, health care
reform and a $15 minimum wage. And once Dems start making laws, the GOP
obstruction plan becomes counterproductive: simply shouting *no* to
everything means GOP Senators deny themselves any say.

Grim: "Ending the filibuster is far more likely to bring on
bipartisanship than keeping it."


🏊🏿‍♂️ This day in history

#20yrsago Linux virus fixes your computer

#15yrsago HDMI, the Manchurian DRM – a Broadcast Flag dormant until 2010

#15yrsago U. Florida cops ask fiction writer for fingerprints, DNA

#10yrsago Byron Sonne: Canadian security geek jailed for taunting G20
security theatre

#10yrsago Vindictive game company invites employees to pan reviewer’s
novel after bad review

#10yrsago GOP legislative aide works on punitive voter ID bill, boasts
of illegally voting in another district

#5yrsago Sex Criminals: Robin Hood bank robbers who can stop time when
they orgasm

#5yrsago JJ Abrams urges Paramount to drop its lawsuit over fan Star
Trek movie

#5yrsago NRA endorses Trump

#1yrago Mum uses GDPR to force Gran to take down pics

#1yrago Copyright bots are slaughtering classical musicians'

#1yrago How spy agencies targeted Snowden journalists

#1yrago Monopolies killed corporate R&D

#1yrago Spotify's trying to kill podcasting

#1yrago Black Americans' covid mortality is 2.5X white mortality

#1yrago On Madame Leota's side-table

#1yrago Private equity's healthcare playbook is terrifying


🏊🏿‍♂️ Colophon

Today's top sources: Naked Capitalism
(https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/), Fipi Lele.

Currently writing:

* Spill, a Little Brother short story about pipeline protests. Friday's
progress: 254 words (1854 words total).

* A short story about consumer data co-ops.  PLANNING

* A Little Brother short story about remote invigilation.  PLANNING

* A nonfiction book about excessive buyer-power in the arts, co-written
with Rebecca Giblin, "The Shakedown."  FINAL EDITS

* A post-GND utopian novel, "The Lost Cause."  FINISHED

* A cyberpunk noir thriller novel, "Red Team Blues."  FINISHED

Currently reading: Analogia by George Dyson.

Latest podcast: How To Destroy Surveillance Capitalism (Part 06)

Upcoming appearances:

* In conversation with David Dayen (Second Life Book Club), Jun 4,

* Book launch for Terry Miles's Rabbits (Book Soup), Jun 7,

Recent appearances:

* How to Destroy Surveillance Capitalism: Seize the Means of Computation

* Interoperability and Alternative Social Media

* Mohanraj and Rosenbaum Are Humans

Latest book:

* "Attack Surface": The third Little Brother novel, a standalone
technothriller for adults. The *Washington Post* called it "a political
cyberthriller, vigorous, bold and savvy about the limits of revolution
and resistance." Order signed, personalized copies from Dark Delicacies

* "How to Destroy Surveillance Capitalism": an anti-monopoly pamphlet
analyzing the true harms of surveillance capitalism and proposing a
(print edition:
(signed copies:

* "Little Brother/Homeland": A reissue omnibus edition with a new
introduction by Edward Snowden:
https://us.macmillan.com/books/9781250774583; personalized/signed copies

* "Poesy the Monster Slayer" a picture book about monsters, bedtime,
gender, and kicking ass. Order here:
https://us.macmillan.com/books/9781626723627. Get a personalized, signed
copy here:

Upcoming books:

* The Shakedown, with Rebecca Giblin, nonfiction/business/politics,
Beacon Press 2022

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