I had a rough battle with cancer a few years ago. During that time I had an incident that turned me into a believer in Jesus. When I tell any of my old friends they basically either shrug or roll their eyes. I'm not trying to convert anyone so it just ends there. I will tell you though that the biggest room in my house is one I built, a chapel. The house was built in 1928. I added a room a few years ago. It has 2 glass doors, 2 skylights and 28 windows, 2 of which are immense. I use it to pray every morning. Prayer for me is not ritualized like in a church... it's a conversation with God. Sometimes I get homework assignments.
Along similar lines, I'm also watching-- and have spent much of the pandemic watching-- 5 seasons of the 13th Century Turkish TV series (on Netflix), Resurrection-- Ertugrul. I came for the history and stayed for the spiritual inspiration. I love being inspired. But if 13th Century Muslim religiosity doesn't do it for you, how about the clear definition of 21st Century billionaire class religion. I won't give anything away. Just watch the fabulous clip up top. (Watch the part where the whole audience spontaneously bursts out in applause.)
Ertugrul-- the quasi-historical figure-- is successful because he isn't fighting for greed. He's fighting for Justice (jihad). Don't you just love it when someone-- like Bernie, say-- is fighting for Justice and not for what our politicians are usually fighting for. A progressive contender got in touch today to tell me he's going to launch a campaign against a member of Congress who has a very progressive record-- I mean, in terms of votes, more progressive than Ilhan, Rashida, Ro, Jamaal, Cori... more progressive than AOC! Holy Mary, Mother of God! How do you take that on from the left? Here's what I was told: "This member is still the same old corporately funded politician that contributes to the local breed of politicians. We need someone who can push a radical, not an incremental agenda. Everything this one does is about careerism-- not because of dedication to helping the constituents or because of any heartfelt values system... and constituents will see through all of this eventually as we launch and move forward with our campaign." OK, well... sincere good luck with that, kardeş. (Resurrection-- Ertugrul is in Turkish with English subtitles. I've been to Turkey, starting in 1969, over a dozen times and I love the country and picked up some of the lingo. The series is bringing it back to me, although I was more used to referring to my brothers as ağabey--pronounced abi-- rather than kardeş. I'm told they both work in the way I mean them above. So don't say you didn't learn anything today.)
The difference between someone fighting for Justice and fighting for careerism will be apparent on Thursday when Pelosi and Hoyer force the Democrats to vote for the conservative and inadequate infrastructure bill while the Manchin-Sinema-GOP-blocked reconciliation bill sits stalled in the Senate. This is a tweet storm Bernie wrote a few hours ago that explains why actual progressives will vote no: "Let’s be crystal clear. If the bipartisan infrastructure bill is passed on its own on Thursday, this will be in violation of an agreement that was reached within the Democratic Caucus in Congress. More importantly, it will end all leverage that we have to pass a major reconciliation bill. That means there will be no serious effort to address the long-neglected crises facing the working families of our country, the children, the elderly, the sick and the poor. It also means that Congress will continue to ignore the existential threat to our country and planet with regard to climate change. I strongly urge my House colleagues to vote against the bipartisan infrastructure bill until Congress passes a strong reconciliation bill."
And here's a note that arrived in my in-box from the Patriotic Millionaires this afternoon:
Last night, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi announced to her caucus that she plans to bring the bipartisan infrastructure bill up for a vote this Thursday, separate from the budget reconciliation package. This stands in direct contrast to the agreement reached within the Democratic caucus that both bills would proceed simultaneously, and must be rejected by all Democrats who care about advancing the party’s full agenda.
Speaker Pelosi claims that the two bills can’t proceed together because they need more time to negotiate details of the reconciliation bill, but there is no real reason (aside from moderate threats to derail the entire process) that the infrastructure bill needs to pass this week. The correct decision, and the one that progressives in the House must force her to make, is to delay the infrastructure vote until the reconciliation bill is ready.
Moving infrastructure forward first would jeopardize everything that Democrats have worked so hard to achieve over these last months, and put the party at risk of completely failing to follow through on its promise to voters. The Biden Build Back Better Agenda in the reconciliation bill is what the entire Democratic party ran on, from the White House to the Senate to the House of Representatives, and it is what their constituents expected to receive when they gave Democrats control of the federal government.
The people want the federal government to invest in our country’s future, and they want to tax the rich to help pay for it. None of that will be possible without the passage of the full budget reconciliation bill.
It’s obvious to see that a vote on infrastructure before the details of reconciliation are worked out would give the conservative members of the Democratic party immense power to shrink the scope of the package’s important investments in American families, or kill them outright. Centrist and corporate Democrats have been digging their heels in and doing everything they can to protect their wealthy sponsors and avoid taxing the rich, even if it means going in direct opposition to what the Democratic party wants and what the voters have demanded. For the sake of this country, the rest of the Democratic party cannot allow that to happen.
Thankfully, it appears that enough members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus have vowed to vote against the infrastructure bill until it is directly paired with the reconciliation package, meaning this Thursday’s vote is likely to fail or be pushed back even further.
We support House progressives in their decision to vote no on this inadequate package, and we hope that many of their other Democratic colleagues will join them in supporting the President’s overwhelmingly popular agenda.
Rashida fights for Justice: "Let me be clear: bringing the so-called bipartisan infrastructure plan to a vote without the #BuildBackBetter Act at the same time is a betrayal. We will hold the line and vote it down. This is not the time for half measures or to go back on our promises."
So does Ro: "The House is going to be unified. We need to get one number from one senator, and we need to make it very clear that’s holding everything back. You’re going to get a consensus on the agreement amongst all the House Democrats, and I think you have consensus from 49 senators. So we are literally waiting on one senator to give us a number. Maybe Sinema could show up at our caucus, and she could see the consensus here."