We Are Tottering on the Edge of Disaster

Do you ever have a feeling that civilization is hanging by a thread? For example, we’ve got deadly weather patterns around the world screaming “climate change.” Recent heat destroyed millions of ocean creatures, and somehow this didn’t make headlines.

Here in the U.S. it’s unlikely voting rights bills will pass. Yesterday the brave Texas Democrats in Exile met with Joe Manchin to impress on him the critical need for voting protections. Today, Manchin is spitting in their faces by traveling to Texas for a fundraiser hosted by GOP donors. As much as some people in media continue to hold out the hope that Manchin (and Sinema) will budge on the filibuster, we know that Manchin is under orders from his billionaire donors (capital management, equity firms, hedge funds) to leave the filibuster alone.

Meanwhile, the Dealth Cult Republicans continue to stampede the faithful over the coronavirus cliff. Tennessee joined in the great red state race to the bottom by ending programs that encouraged and provided vaccines — all vaccines — to adolescents. Republicans in Congress hope to enable the spread of the Delta variant nationwide by banning “tyrranical” federal mask mandates on interstate transportation.

Is there anything to be hopeful about? At the moment, the reconciliation infrastructure bill looks good. There’s a $3.5 trillion infrastructure plan in Congress that has broad support in the party. From what I can see the progressives will support it, and so far the blue dogs haven’t said they’d oppose it. And Paul Krugman is happy.

The way it was: Some years ago I attended a meeting in which President Barack Obama asked a group of economists for unconventional policy ideas. I distinctly remember him saying: “Don’t tell me that I should spend a trillion dollars on infrastructure. I know that, but I can’t do it.”

The way it is: Top Democrats have agreed on a proposal to spend $3.5 trillion on public investment of various kinds, to be passed via reconciliation on top of a $600 billion bipartisan plan for physical infrastructure spending.

Give a lot of the credit to Bernie Sanders, who was proposing much more spending but compromised “down” to $3.5 trillion. This is how negotiating works, people.

It’s too soon to say the reconciliation bill is a sure thing, but at the moment it’s about the only good news we’ve got.

9 thoughts on “We Are Tottering on the Edge of Disaster

  1. I appreciate your optimism – borderline that it may be.

    Joe Manchin is sucking up money from wealthy Tejanos – suggested contribution $13,500 split between Manchin's reelection campaign and his 'leadership' PAC.  

    I wish I had a large portion of your optimism, but I do not. 

    Federal legislative action to counter vote suppression is going nowhere.  Without that legislation, can the state republican governments stack the deck to where the word democracy is not applicable?

    Federal legislation to seriously address the global climate crisis is going somewhere between nowhere and being watered down to meaninglessness.  Can the planet survive long term as a home to the homo sapiens species unless real action is taken soon?

    I am old and don't give a damn about these for myself any longer, but I have grandchildren and great-grandchildren whose future is far from assured.

  2. Do you ever have a feeling that civilization is hanging by a thread?



    The good news? So far food production and distribution is hanging in there.

  3. My 1st Turd – To me, this is the worst of the sea of poo-poo surrounding us: The weather.  I KID! I KID!!!  NOT quite just weather, but the whole enchilada.  Our climate.

    America's West and NW are broiling.  Northern Europe is drowning.  There's weird crap happening all around the globe.  The "6th Extinction" is moving along quite "nicely," thank you

    And our planet is just beginning to experience ever more violent climate change.  Man-made climate change. It’s going to get worse. Much worse.

    Our only chance?  We gotta "science" our way out. We have to undo that which we done did.

    But, as we've known ever since Newton first explained to us in his 3rd Law:  There's going to be an comparable reaction in some other way.  And then, the question may end-up being, "Is our 'fix' worse than the problem?"

    My 2nd Turd – I do have high hopes for the Democratic infrastructure plan!  However, we can never forget that like Bruce Springsteen was "Born To Run," "Moscow" Mitch was 'Hatched To Sabotage."  Hence:  OY!  I'll believe it when I see it!"

    My 3rd (and final) word-turd – Manchin is showing us – as if we didn't know by now – that he's got more than just a hint of troll in him.  And as for Sinema?  Well, she clearly is a trollete (IS TOO A WORD!!!).  Now…  Mebbe…….. 🙂


  4. The good news may be embedded in the bad news. Trump is inserting himself in the 2022 elections. he's basing everything on the false claim the election was fraudulent. This is going to energize anti-Trump voters in an election Trump isn't on the ballot.  His lawyers, Rudy, Lin Wood, and Miss Kraken are in varying depths of deep doo-doo. They're going to recant everything they introduced as evidence of voter fraud which will be ignored by the cultists but can make a dent w/ independent voters.

    Trump has abandoned Rudy because of overbilling. Rudy may get charged over Ukraine. If he does, Rudy doesn't have the money for a team of shysters who could beat the rap. If it happens, Mayor Bug-eyes will have two options – go to jail or cut a deal. He knows where the bodies are buried.

    The NY legal stuff has snared the CFO for Trump and his son. It looks like Trump's lawyers  are handling the case for W. At some point in time Weisellberg will realize he's being thrown under the bus, maybe his son also. If he implicates (with proof) Trump's kids then things can get wild if W and the Trump kids testify. If Trump is charged and W and the Trump kiddies testify against daddy, that's the stake through Trump's heart. Not to mention jail time. (But that will drag out until 2024 or later.)

    The Trump US Supreme Court will end Roe and throw women under the bus. Women vote more than men do. (In the next 12 months)

    Covid has killed as many Americans as the Civil War but from here on out, the casualties will be on one side ONLY.  Fox lunatica re on tape with their anti-vax rhetoric. The governor of FL is selling ant-Fauci items. I have no idea how long GOP leaders can cheerlead for killing their own followers but I do believe there will be a price to pay as the Delta varient is doubling in RED states with the grim reaper following. All the dead on one side.

    I think 2022 will be bloody with a lot of unarmed victims of color especially targeted at demonstrations. The martyrs will prove who the aggressors are. (Not Antifa.) MLK (in my opinion) understood this. Non-violent demonstrations which provoke extreme violence from the other side build support for the cause, at a high price.

    I'm not sure who is teetering but all the chips are on the table with the 2022 midterms. If we hold the  House and increase our margin in the Senate. With blood in the streets and Democrats in office targeted for assassination (I do not think I'm overstating) killing the filibuster and packing the court may be in reach AFTER 2022.

    Maha, you have my permission to pull this up and score it in Jan 2023. Lot's of pedictions. I think I'll be right over 50% of the time but damn if I know which ones.

  5. Civilization has always been hanging by a thread.

    Okay, that's not quite right. 

    Sometimes it's in free fall.  

    In fact, if you follow Aristotle's Physics, you can see that it's always in free fall.  Circular motion, a sort of orbit, is the natural motion we see in all natural objects, and civilization is just a phenomenon, a natural object. 

    The good news from this perspective is that the downward trajectory we can see in so many aspects of civilization we grew up with, is actually one and the same motion as the upward swing in aspects we aren't used to noticing.  The old norms lose their strength over people, and society seems to be falling apart, but the old norms have to decay and die in order for new norms to grow in strength.  Can't have those green shoots of new order grow except in the decay of the old.

    The bad news you already know.  Destruction is destruction, and no future good order adequately compensates for the season of destruction we sure seem headed for in the near term.  Letting go of the old order and seeing as clearly as possible the new patterns on which civilization will rest is the best we can do to minimize whatever destruction is not needed, is purely gratuitous.

  6. I wish I wasn't, but from where things look right now I can't help but be bearish on dem chances in 2022: Republicans take the House and Senate, as voter suppression laws already passed in the states get solidified without challenge, damn near guaranteeing that with the help of state legislatures and a republican House, they will be able to do in 2024 what they tried and failed to do on Jan 6, 2021, but this time without the violence.  It will be a "legal" coup, with a president elect DeSantis being the first president "elected" while losing both the electoral college and the popular vote.  If that happens the SC gets stacked even further and they'll have a lock on power for decades to come.  It will be at that moment when we can stick a fork in our democracy, as its been "cooking" for some time.  But then it will be well and truly done. 

    There are some things that can make this nightmare scenario less likely:

    If Trump is their nominee.  If he is, I believe Trump and the GOP will be overwhelmed at the polls, in numbers far too large to be overcome through voter suppression schemes.  Trump is less popular than he was when he left office, and he's done nothing but make himself even more odious to the electorate.

    If democrats get the $3.5 trillion infrastructure bill passed, with things like allowing Medicare to negotiate for prescription drugs to lower prices.

    If democrats find a brain and stop fighting progressives, and then a spine when it comes to messaging and start telling the unvarnished and plain truth about what the republican party is and the threat it poses.  

    If the democrats get at least two out of the three I believe we can stave off the nightmare scenario of republican control.

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