The Senate on Sunday afternoon passed Democrats’ sweeping health care, tax and climate bill, sending it to the House of Representatives, in a significant victory for President Joe Biden and his party.
The final, party-line vote was 51-50, with Vice President Kamala Harris breaking the tie.
The bill – named the Inflation Reduction Act – would represent the largest climate investment in US history and make major changes to health policy by giving Medicare the power for the first time to negotiate the prices of certain prescription drugs and extending expiring health care subsidies for three years. The legislation would reduce the deficit, be paid for through new taxes – including a 15% minimum tax on large corporations and a 1% tax on stock buybacks – and boost the Internal Revenue Service’s ability to collect.
It would raise over $700 billion in government revenue over 10 years and spend over $430 billion to reduce carbon emissions and extend subsidies for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act and use the rest of the new revenue to reduce the deficit.
The House of Representatives needs to pass this exact bill, without amendment, before it can go to Joe Biden's desk to be signed into law. It is expected they will do so this week.
It is extremely frustrating how much progressive Democrats had to give up to put together a bill that the two most conservative Democratic senators would support, because they could not afford to lose even a single vote. It is even more frustrating that other provisions could not be included, because the Senate's rules would have required the whole bill to pass with sixty votes instead of fifty one - and that the Senate still has no will to eliminate that rule.
But because this bill is going to become law, the U.S. will not damage the global climate as much as it has been, and will make progress at repairing it. In the grand analysis, this law will save lives. On top of that, the healthcare system is going to get better, and corporations are going to pay more taxes.
Getting the Senate to do anything half this important is like squeezing blood from a stone. This is a good day.
I think the funniest thing about the Great Russian Chaos Agent Conspiracy is that the alleged goal of it is to "weaken" the US by making people more politically polarized and divisive so the US can't fuck with Russia abroad which like. Has that actually worked? Has spreading "division" really translated into any meaningful weakening of the US empire? Has it stopped Congress from sending like +$60 billion dollars (last I checked) of weapons and "aid" to Ukraine? Has it stopped overwhelming bipartisan consensus on continuing to expand and feed the US war machine and imperialist empire? Has it stopped the mass media from toeing the line and slavishly supporting everything the US does? Has it somehow significantly impacted the ability of the US to send its state-sponsored terrorists aka intelligence agents and troops abroad to occupy and destabilize other countries? Do the Facebook ads and tweets and posts Russia is allegedly responsible for do jack shit to affect any of that? Because the answer seems to be a pretty resounding no.
So then the question becomes if Russian chaos agents aren't meaningfully impeding the US' ability to conduct imperialism through the power of posting why is our ruling class and their media so obsessed with reporting on it and making people paranoid about it? Aside from the grift and monetary incentives always to be found in nationalist xenophobia (which is exactly what this is) it has sufficiently marginalized anti-imperialist and anti-capitalist thought and action even more than it already was. It's been especially effective at doing that with people who otherwise think of themselves as "liberal", "progressive", "open-minded" etc. as evidenced by the number of times I've been called a Russian bot by people on here self-identifying as "socialists" and "anarchists". Ironically in continuing to stoke fears about Russian chaos agents sowing division and destroying democracy the US ruling class is only making people more polarized and distrustful of each other. So really who needs Russian chaos agents when you have respectable patriotic liberals like these?
For my U.S. followers:
So far the places that have announced that they have and will send more financial assistance or stimulus checks or tax rebates for their residents are California, Delaware, Colorado, Virginia, South Carolina, Oregon, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, and Idaho.
Check if it applies to you.
This isn’t and has never been about abortion. It is about women’s rights.
And the ugly truth? They never wanted us to have them.
« Foreigners follow American news stories like their own, listen to American pop music, and watch copious amounts of American television and film. [...] Americans, too, stick to the U.S. The list of the 500 highest-grossing films of all time in the U.S., for example, doesn’t contain a single foreign film (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon comes in at 505th, slightly higher than Bee Movie but about a hundred below Paul Blart: Mall Cop). [...]
How did this happen? How did cultural globalization in the twentieth century travel along such a one-way path? And why is the U.S.—that globe-bestriding colossus with more than 700 overseas bases—so strangely isolated?
[...W]hen 600 or so journalists, media magnates, and diplomats arrived in Geneva in 1948 to draft the press freedom clauses for [...] the U.N. Declaration of Human Rights [...], definitional difficulties abounded. Between what the U.S. meant by “freedom of information” and what the rest of the world needed lay a vast expanse. For the American delegates, the question belonged to the higher plane of moral principle. But representatives of other states had more earthly concerns.
The war had tilted the planet’s communications infrastructure to America’s advantage. In the late 1940s, for example, the U.S. consumed 63% of the world’s newsprint supply; to put it more starkly, the country consumed as much newsprint in a single day as India did over the course of a year. A materials shortage would hamper newspaper production across much of the world into at least the 1950s. The war had also laid low foreign news agencies—Germany’s Wolff and France’s Havas had disappeared entirely—and not a single news agency called the global south home. At the same time, America’s Associated Press and United Press International both had plans for global expansion, leading The Economist to note wryly that the executive director of the AP emitted “a peculiar moral glow in finding that his idea of freedom coincides with his commercial advantage.”
Back in Geneva, delegates from the global south pointed out these immense inequalities. [...] But the American delegates refused the idea that global inequality itself was a barrier to the flow of information across borders. Besides, they argued, redistributive measures violated the sanctity of the press. The U.S. was able to strong-arm its notion of press freedom—a hybrid combining the American Constitution’s First Amendment and a consumer right to receive information across borders—at the conference, but the U.N.’s efforts to define and ensure the freedom of information ended in a stalemate.
The failure to redistribute resources, the lack of multilateral investment in producing more balanced international flows of information, and the might of the American culture industry at the end of the war—all of this amounted to a guarantee of the American right to spread information and culture across the globe.
The postwar expansion of American news agencies, Hollywood studios, and rock and roll bore this out. [...] Meanwhile, the State Department and the American film industry worked together to dismantle other countries’ quota walls for foreign films, a move that consolidated Hollywood’s already dominant position.
[...A]s the U.S. exported its culture in astonishing amounts, it imported very little. In other words, just as the U.S. took command as the planetary superpower, it remained surprisingly cut off from the rest of the world. A parochial empire, but with a global reach. [And] American culture[’s] inward-looking tendencies [precede] the 1940s.
The media ecosystem in particular, Lebovic writes, [already] constituted an “Americanist echo chamber.” Few of the films shown in American cinemas were foreign (largely a result of the Motion Picture Production Code, which the industry began imposing on itself in 1934; code authorities prudishly disapproved of the sexual mores of European films). Few television programs came from abroad [...]. Few newspapers subscribed to foreign news agencies. Even fewer had foreign correspondents. And very few pages in those papers were devoted to foreign affairs. An echo chamber indeed, [... which] reduced the flow of information and culture from much of the rest of the world to a trickle. [...]
Today is not the 1950s. [... But] America’s culture industry has not stopped its mercantilist pursuits. And Web 2.0 has corralled a lot of the world’s online activities onto the platforms of a handful of American companies. America’s geopolitical preeminence may slip away in the not-so-distant future, but it’s not clear if Americans will change the channel. »
— “How American Culture Ate the World”, a review of Sam Lebovic’s book A Righteous Smokescreen: Postwar America and the Politics of Cultural Globalization