A Week of Stunning Change
On Thursday November 21st, the Senate voted to eliminate filibusters on most presidential appointments. Too many appointments were being held up for petty political reasons. 50 "Yes" votes, not 60, are now required for an appointment to be accepted. The Senate now has 53 Democrats and two Independents who caucus with the Democrats. Republicans can no longer hobble the Obama administration by blocking his chosen leaders for the Executive branch from running their departments. They can no longer attach generic wish lists to appointments.
This rule change stands as a warning - other rules that require 60 votes can similarly be discarded if they are misused.
On Wednesday November 20th, Vermont approved their own state level single-payer healthcare system.
"The slogan of the program: Everybody in, nobody out."
On November 18th, Secretary of State John Kerry said that the Monroe Doctrine is dead. It has guided two centuries of American domination of South American countries. It died something of a natural death: it has been invoked less and less in recent years as a reason for our influence there. But once upon a time, it justified our converting democracies into banana republics. No more.
A bill that will ease the resettling elsewhere of the detainees at Guantanamo is before Congress.
A bill that will make public the level of civilian deaths due to drone strikes is before Congress.
And surely there will be more.