Is This the Darkness Before the Dawn?

Sorry for the absence. I needed a break.

There is a lot of doom and gloom in headlines today. President Biden’s poll numbers are tanking, the pandemic is still jerking people around; nothing is getting done in Washington. “President Biden has been in office for less than nine months, and suddenly everyone wants to declare his first term a failure,” writes Paul Waldman.

Let’s hope this is the dark before the dawn. A lot of what is going wrong is out of Joe Biden’s hands, of course. Even so, a lot of people are coming out of the wordwork to advise Democrats to give up on much of their desired policies and reforms and just pass something. And maybe that’s all they can do, given the deadly obstructionist duo of Manchin and Sinema blocking any means to successfully implement the President’s agenda.

Part of the problem may be that the old pecking order among Democrats has shifted. Marianna Sotomayor writes in the Washington Post that Liberal Democrats have become the mainstream of the party and less willing to compromise with dwindling moderates. Less willing than what? I’m sure we all remember that in times past, when “moderates” were the majority, they “compromised with the progressive caucus not at all. It was their way or the highway.

Moments after President Biden instructed House Democrats to make concessions or risk derailing passage of his economic agenda, members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus hastily gathered in the depths of the Capitol on Oct. 1 to talk strategy about what policies they could sacrifice.

No one was ready to compromise.

According to several lawmakers who participated in the two-hour meeting, members stood up one by one to vouch for establishing universal pre-K, making the child tax credit permanent and guaranteeing 12 weeks of paid family leave. Others mentioned the need to expand Medicare to cover dental, hearing and vision, which would get them one step closer to the progressive goal of Medicare-for-all.

But with no set decision on what policies could be sacrificed, members of the almost 100 strong caucus left Friday’s meeting for a two-week recess with an agreement not to give an inch publicly while they continued to consider privately how to respond to the reality that some of their priorities would probably have to be jettisoned from Biden’s “Build Back Better” economic package.

“We’re at the table. Do not negotiate against ourselves,” Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), the CPC’s chairwoman, told her caucus, according to two people in the room, in a statement that has since become a suggested talking point for members.

They shouldn’t have to compromise with themselves. The people who are in the way — Manchin, Sinema, and the small contingent of conservative House Democrats — need to be the ones meeting and making a counter offer. But they won’t.

Changing the subject — Over the weekend I saw a television news story about how police officers in many parts of the country are refusing to get vaccinated and may be fired. Note that in 2020, covid was the leading cause of death among police officers.  “The grim trend has continued in 2021, with COVID killing more officers than all other causes combined, including gun violence and car accidents,” it says in the San Francisco Examiner.

This is going to cause short-term understaffing in a lot of police departments. I wonder, though, if this might not be a good thing in the long run. The refusers are likely to be hard-right Trump supporters, I suspect. Quality of policing overall may improve with them gone.

12 thoughts on “Is This the Darkness Before the Dawn?

  1. Maja, I hope the downtime helped you.

    I am tired.  At age 73, I dread that I may live long enough to see democracy disappear from my country.  I dread that another 4 or 8 years or more of inadequate actions addressing climate change will seal the fate of this planet to becoming a living nightmare after 2 or 3 or 4 future generations and their progeny.  I have no optimism left that control of the country will ever be removed from the wallets of the billionaires.

    Maja, you are appreciated – glad to have you back.


  2. I hope it's the darkest towards dawn now.

    But I'm afraid the darkness of this darkest moment might mean the coming of still more and darker darkness.

    I'm not an optimist.

    I'm not a pessimist.



  3. I remember the last summer of Obama's last year in office. My companions were optimistic that Hillary Clinton – a woman – would be president next. I told them to enjoy the last few months of summer, while it lasts.

    That's my same advice now. My fear is that Biden-Harris will be the last Democratic president we will ever have. There's a reason why the Republicans brazenly hold to the big lie – they believe it's a winning position to take. It has nothing to do with truth or reality, just a practical means of holding on to power.

    It's also my contention that Trump would've been in his second term were it not for COVID. Here's to hoping that this same virus, and the vaccine requirements around it flush the Trumpsters from police departments.

  4. We have a simple choice.  Vote for a Democrat or kiss democracy bye bye.  So really no choice.  It's Biden or really…What Democrat, save a rare few, would not be better than the previous guy.  Most any Democrat would do.

    Democrats are an amalgamation, not an organized political party.  We understand that none of the ideals we represent can have their way all of the time, because we each might get a turn, although it tends to be a case of always fruit preserves tomorrow.  The GOP is the party of spoiled children, who drastically want to have their cake and eat it too.  They survive by exploitation and inheritance by in large, and think they have real merit.  If they have real merit it is not in the area of seeing the big picture and how to make our country work for a larger majority.  Only democracy will give us a chance for than to happen.  Now they auger holes in the ship of state because they are not getting their way.  Well such are the ways of spoiled children.  


  5. IMO, the 'strategy' of Sinema and Manchin is to sow chaos. If they get the progressives bickering about what goes overboard, then nothing ever comes up for a vote because all unity disintegrates among Democrats who aren't named Sinema or Manchin. Nothing comes up for a vote and the two who created the disorder avoid the blame.

    Another scenario – Democrats hang together (with or without a scaled-down bill) but THEY PUT IT  UP FOR A VOTE. Why? It's the only way to force those two clowns irrevocably out in the open as the culprits. And they don't want to take the blame. 

    This might force the whole thing into defeat. However, the "democrats in disarray" meme can be resisted if all but two Democrats tried to pass legislation for the people. We can claim )truthfully) that if we expand our majority in the Senate, we can make those two irrelevant and make them top on the list to primary ASAP.

    OT – I finished my book. Technically a memoir, it's more an adventure story built around what motivated me to make the flight, the difficulty of learning to fly, logistics and messaging and the legal crisis after. Most don't know much about that because I could not speak frankly about the injustice before sentencing without incurring the wrath of the judge. 

    Some is serious, much is funny, and I embedded my thesis in the book about what corruption is, how it works, and how we can end it. I had to sneak that in because I'd like an audience who isn't necessarily political but can be taught in small bites despite an aversion to politics.

    I can send advance copies in digital format for free. (.pdf is easy to read – needs no special software) That's my offer to the Mahablog crowd. Go to my website and request a copy in the Contact section.  Leave the message, "Maha sent me."  with your Email. This is no imposition and it costs me nothing.


    • Started reading your memoir this morning.  Taking a break after Chapter 4 to give myself a chance to decompress from the emotions that chapter evoked.  Best of wishes on getting a wide distribution and readership – have ordered 3 copies to help with that.

      • Many thanks for the order. I'm waiting for my first shipment after I approved the proof of the book. Probably ten days to two weeks. I will let you know.

        Re: Chapter Four. Toughest thing I ever wrote but it sets the direction for the story. That comment is wearing my writer's hat. Wearing the father's hat, it still hurts but I reached balance – not in denial of what he did, not feeling any less affection for who he was, and allowing the regret of potential wasted.

        • I just finished reading your book.  I had to talk myself into stopping long enough to have a quick lunch a couple hours ago.  It was engrossing and to me mental soul food for thought.  I will read it again after some days of giving it more thought.    

          I highly recommend taking Doug's offer and download the .pdf and reading the book.  

    • Doug, Thank you for the PDF copy of your book. Your writing style and story telling abilities are exceptionally good. I found your writing to be riveting and didn't break from reading it until chapter 12. You impart a lot of wisdom throughout the parts that I've read thus far, and you've answered questions to the things I was curious about but never asked because I felt it was too intrusive. Not so much about your son's death, which is a tragedy you've shared with us, but more to the strain put on your marriage as a result of your decision to embark on your historic flight.

       I find it difficult to even imagine the stresses on a marital relationship when the means of financial support are ripped from underneath you and the weight of the federal government is bearing down wanting their pound of flesh. I'm glad you made it through.

      One of the things I found comical during your ordeal was watching the Congressional hearings about how you managed to penetrate sacred airspace and seeing a lineup of star studded police chiefs and department heads all tripping on their feet trying to distance themselves from what you managed to do. The head of the National Park Service had to tell your buddy Jason Chaffetz ( who wanted you shot down) that the park service does not have an air defense capability.

  6. The pessimist in me says hell in a handbasket, but the optimist in me says its a rollercoaster ride and a long slow slog back to the top when the thrills begin.

    We must ignore the right wing media, including the networks who engage in both sides do it and if it bleeds it leads. Polls these days are the bastard children of biased questions and garbage logarithms. 

    Keep on message. Remind people of the 700,000 deaths from covid that a large majority was caused by you know who. Remind people of the January 6th insurrection that the media seem to regard with the same fear as if they were holding a live hand grenade.

    And, remember that the 2022 election season has already begun and  Democrats especially progressives must get in the game.

    In Florida US Rep Val Demmings is running for the Senate seat currently held by Marco Rubio, who in my circles is known correctly as "El Trajo Vacio". Local media is so silent you wouldn't even know there is a senatorial election next year. I've done what I can to get the word out and assist in the financial war of politics, but I too, am old and poor. I try to get others to do what they can. In Florida that can be very difficult because of all the 3'X5' Trump flags and 8'X10' embossed trump signs that are still up all over, and the fact that Trumpsters have more guns than Afghanistan.

    Still, if we can keep on message and get the word out, we can still win the numbers game at the polls where it counts.


  7. One of my father's favorite parables had to do with his time in WWII.  He was an officer in the Army transportation corp.  After the war they had a lot of troops to move on ships back to the states from the Pacific.  On one crossing his ship was quite crowded with troops, and their was some concern about if the ship's crew could control them.  The captain handled the situation by getting on the ship's bull horn and making the following statement.  On this ship everyone has a job to do and I expect every single one of you to do it.  For the vast majority of you your job is to stay the hell out of the way.  

    The United States has a job to do also.  We are too gridlocked to lead in the world, too jingoistic to follow any successful countries' model,  and too arrogant to get the hell out of the way.  We have a national psychological problem that needs a good dose of humility.  The future is bright if we figure out that for the vast majority of us the vast majority of the time is to just stay the hell out of the way.  This is especially true for those who tend to bifurcate, to think in black and white with no shades of grey.  You know, the way the previous loser of the last election (PLOTLE) was.   We must move on from his Manichaean Philosophy/ Theology dating back to the third century which one can assume he does not even know he resembled and propagated.  Mani, like the PLOTLE, was no great prophet or latter day saint.  Both the eastern and western worlds have moved on from that form of thinking.  

    We in the United States are woefully ignorant of the ABC's of a solid, unbiased, comparative religion 101 class.  A bit of quiz on that subject area might be the gateway to the humility we desperately need.  It might also solve a lot of our problems if all elected officials had to pass a minimum competency test in that area to get onto a ballot.  The PLOTLE could not have done it without cheating IMO.

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