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Posts tagged as “Peter DeFazio”

DeFazio and security theatre

Peter DeFazio

Peter DeFazio

Too bad if Oregon Representative Peter DeFazio didn't blow up at airport security (minus the "do you know who you're talking to" bit - that part wouldn't have been excusable). He has said, counter to a report in Roll Call, that he didn't invoke his title or create a "ruckus" when he was pulled out of line at Portland, while making a flight, for a random security check. Elements of the Roll Call report, a brief item, which said that additional security was called on DeFazio, evidently have not checked out.

He was quoted this way: "I didn't lose my temper. I was not happy and I told them it was a stupid practice."

Good. More people should be doing that. We need more ruckuses.

Carla Axtman at Blue Oregon recalled in a post today that "Last week when flying out of Denver, I was pulled out of line for a random security check (after already having my ID and boarding pass reviewed twice). Having removed my shoes, coat, scarf, jewelry, and apparently my dignity, I was forced to stand inside a rotating silver container that resembled a cylindrical phone booth. While the machine went through the scanning process, I was talked through a series of arm and foot movements while the rest of the line gaped."

This isn't security. It is, as Atlantic writer Jeffrey Goldberg has reported, "security theatre" which is "designed to make travelers feel better and catch stupid terrorists. Smart ones can get through security with fake boarding passes and all manner of prohibited items." As Goldberg repeatedly has, just to make the point. (His article is highly recommended.)

We can come up with only one practical reason for this exercise: To get Americans more accustomed to the idea that they have no right to privacy, that there's no legal bar to search and seizure, that they are cattle and not citizens. That may sound a little conspiracy-headed, but no better explanation comes to mind.

Meantime, as to DeFazio: Come back at it again, maybe a little harder next time.

An odd couple, and an idea

Two Northwest House Democrats turned thumbs down on the conference committee stimulus package. Idaho's Walt Minnick, coming from the Blue Dog conservative side, wasn't hard to understand; like most of the other critics, he thought there was too much spending and too little likelihood the bill would get the job done. And he had the credibility of having developed an alternative of his own: “My bill was a high-powered rifle. This bill is a shotgun, and it will add nearly $1 trillion we do not have to a debt already out of control.” So, siding with the Republicans.

But then there too was the nay from Oregon's Peter DeFazio - for almost exactly the opposite reasons. Too many cuts from the bill for spending proposals, in DeFazio's view.

Of course, no one knows exactly what will work best to pump some adrenaline into the economy.

Some further attention ought to go, though, to one suggestion DeFazio had - a procedural one applying to the Senate.

The idea in the Senate is that to pass controversial legislation, you have to have not just a simple majority (50 senators and the vice president, if all are present and voting) but 60 votes to override a filibuster. The Senate rule basically is that you can't stop a senator from speaking on the floor - for hours or days - unless you round up 60 votes for "cloture." In recent years, we haven't seen many real filibusters, instead abbreviating to the idea that you need 60 votes to force a bill to the floor if the minority says it even might try to filibuster.

DeFazio's suggestion (according to the Bend Bulletin): Eliminate the niceties. If the Republicans, or anyone else, wants to filibuster, let 'em filibuster. Make 'em work for it. Let it all out there. For that matter, entertain us - and point up what's at stake at the same time.

Here's a case where some bread and circuses could actually result in better lawmaking . . .