An old friend and faithful reader sent me this query: Biden’s Defense/National Security Team looks like a tired Obama 2.0 retread. Iran nuclear deal back? Middle East entanglements/deployments suddenly fashionable again? Drone strikes? Russia fixation? Averting eyes from China?
He’s right about the retread. As Biden himself promised to his corporate sponsors, nothing would fundamentally change under his administration. Think about that for a moment. He’s been running for president off and on for 30+ years, and yet when he finally wins, he’s got no vision. None. He just wants to occupy the Oval Office and change nothing.
What’s the point of running for president and being a leader if you want to do nothing? I don’t see the point, but I understand Biden’s corporate sponsors who profit from the status quo. They like America and the way rich people are gaining even more money and power — why change a good thing?
We see this with America’s military-industrial-Congressional complex. A retired general who works for Raytheon is announced as the next “civilian” defense secretary. Men who were for the Iraq war, a disastrous decision that you’d think would be disqualifying, are those who get high positions as national security advisers or as secretary of state. Not a single progressive or skeptical voice against war gets hired, even though the last 20 years of endless wars have been disastrous.
The “defense” budget at $740 billion remains untouchable. It recently passed with strong, veto-proof, bipartisan support in Congress. The main American enemy of the moment is Covid-19 and the collateral damage of deaths, loss of jobs, bankruptcies, and forthcoming evictions and foreclosures, yet Congress can’t pass a stimulus bill to help the working classes. Yet a stimulus bill for weapons makers is easily passed — we just happen to call it the NDAA, or the national defense authorization act.
Remember when there were serious Congressional debates about guns and butter? We settled those in favor of the guns. Domestic issues take a back seat to the need to fund the Pentagon and its global network of bases and installations. We’re so busy exporting money and violence that we don’t even see how we’ve become our own worst enemies.
Biden didn’t have much of a slogan when he ran for president. It was something like “build back better.” It really should have been “same as it ever was,” as in the same “legalized” corruption, the same misguided priorities, and the same stale ideas.
Imagine running for president with no new ideas … forgive me for repeating myself, but how sad is that?
41 thoughts on “Biden’s Motto: Same As It Ever Was”
Here is an excellent read……
Thanks. I liked this passage: “Sullivan said last year that America should be “doubling down” on Venezuelan sanctions. So an idealist, in hopes of liberating the masses, supports policies that immiserate them, even though history shows that sanctions aimed at regime change basically never work. Realists, in contrast, ask a simple question: What vital American interest is served by inflicting misery on a small faraway country in hopes that something magical will eventually happen?”
Yes — what vital interest is served by spreading misery everywhere? Especially when we have plenty of misery at home that we need to address?
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The hours aren’t great, but you can’t beat the perks ….
When was the last time – which generation – went into politics out of sense of service? The Presidency is merely another job to aspire to, like a Little Leaguer hoping to one day reach the World Series.
Once you get to the Oval Office, are you really concerned with making a difference? You hire people to come up with ideas for you (or recycle or maintain the old ideas). Yes, there may concerns about “your legacy” but for the most, it seems little more than the final step to a lifetime seat on the gravy train.
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With apologies: “a sense of service” and “for the most part.” Sheesh.
(Good Lord!): “may be concerns.” Here in The Netherlands, I’m living anywhere from 6 to 9 hours in the future … occasionally there are complications.
BUTSUDANBILL is onto something here for sure! FDR may have been motivated by a desire to pull the nation out of the Great Depression, but as a member of a Ruling Class family himself he above all wanted to preserve Capital’s ability to dominate labor. Since the end of WW II, the aim of US presidents has been to defeat any gains made by regimes embracing Socialism, even if only by words. This is to maintain the hegemony of the US, which only grew and grew in this recent period. Then along came #45, primarily concerned with his own glorification (in which he only succeeded in his own very warped mind and the similarly demented minds of his supporters). But these past four years, fear not, the day to day business at State and “Defense” ground on. The Machine outlasts even the most disastrous clown imaginable to occupy the Big Desk at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
George McGovern, of course. Jimmy Carter’s heart was in the right place (though let’s not forget he lusted in his heart in his famous “Playboy” interview).
Perhaps more than a few politicians have an idea, even an ideal, of service. But it’s relatively easy to lose that if the roots are shallow. I’ve heard Nancy Pelosi say she’s all about serving the people — even feeding them! — when we can all see she isn’t.
I come back to campaign finance reform. Government funding of elections. Because right now politicians are most often obsessed with money and reelection — hardly an obsession that’s translatable to service to regular Americans.
Mid Term Elections are a good feature of the American System.
If a US President doesn’t measure up to how he/she portrayed themselves in getting elected, the US Voter can chastise them, or reign them in, via the Senate or House.
The downside of that System is, as soon as anyone is Elected to the House holding the purse strings, the 1st thing they have to focus on is being re-elected in only 2 years, and have to look for those special interests having the money the average Voter just trying to survive, doesn’t have. Those who can donate $thousands, carry more weight and get a better hearing than those who can only afford to donate $100 or less.
You pose the nonrhetorical question and then answer it yourself. That’s fine with me, but let me reinforce it. The lack of vision or promise not to change things is Biden’s vision of his administration. It’s maintenance of a moribund status quo that has served him well in the past but is wildly out of sync with the present.
Regarding spreading misery, that’s a psychopath’s prerogative for creating the steepest possible delta between the top and bottom as a means of elevating one’s god-like status. It’s barking mad, of course.
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“barking mad”! EXCELLENT!!
It should be obvious Trickle Economics is a thing of the Past.
All the Stats, Facts and Figures show the cash is flowing up to the richest at the TOP of the Pyramid System we are surviving in.
We know what happens to all Pyramid Systems, when there is little money left to suck up from the Masses at the BOTTOM.
We are rapidly approaching that inevitable Economic Collapse.
The U.S. economy as one vast Ponzi scheme — I can see that.
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Because US stock markets have continued to climb to new all-time highs despite the pandemic, they will continue to climb. UNTIL THEY CEASE TO DO SO. Only thing I can’t say for certain is the exact date!
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Saw a figure just yesterday, asserting that on average $50 Billion PER ANNUM has flowed “up” to the 1% of the 1% over the past X number of years (perhaps it was since the Crisis of 2008? may have been a longer span of time). Of course Trickle Down has never “worked” for the working class. But it does seem to have worked to dupe the gullible into believing snake oil salesmen like Reagan are “on their side.”
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Well, sir, without a time machine and the ability to influence the machinations of the DNC, we will NEVER KNOW if a younger Dem. candidate could have defeated Trump last month. Mr. Yang had some interesting ideas; Ms. Williamson had VERY interesting ideas; Gov. Inslee may not have been Mr. Personality, but he understands the depth of the Climate Crisis; ‘Mayor Pete’ probably had some good ideas. I also found Cory Booker and Beto O’Rourke interesting. (To your chagrin, Bill, I still don’t know what Ms. Gabbard really stands for politically!) But speaking of treading over the same old ground, what’s the point in even discussing this? What’s done is done!
Yes. Candidates with interesting ideas who are not controllable are marginalized. Let’s not forget that Andrew Yang, for example, was largely ignored by MSNBC. And Tulsi Gabbard, for criticizing America’s wars, was smeared as a Russian agent/asset by NBC and our favorite warrior woman, Hillary Clinton.
Be like Joe. Promise nothing will change and get angry at Progressives — there, that’s the ticket.
Joe and Pete are pretty chummy right now! Pete claims title of only former Primaries opponent to be nominated for a Cabinet slot (Kamala Harris doesn’t count, since VP slot isn’t a Cabinet position).
Greg: I think the point of discussing this is to recognize no change is coming from either major party.
We need to start a new party — that’s the point — that actually works for the people.
Yes, it’ll be hard. But we need a real alternative to Trump/Biden and their future clones every four years.
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Won’t happen in balance of my own lifetime. If the Ecosphere goes into a catastrophic collapse, national governments may do likewise. Then local autonomous “governments” may spring up, like in Post-Apocalypse movies (!!). Don’t count on them being “progressive,” by and large! (See 1936’s “Things to Come” movie, based on H.G. Wells!) Morlocks! That’s it, Morlocks will rule the Earth! (See 1960’s charming MGM version of “The Time Machine.”)
Just do a search on something like “Tulsi stands for”
From a guy who has the t-shirt and the bumper sticker.
Tulsi could impress me if she was to resign her commission in Army Reserve, to protest Pentagon’s Eternal State of War. But I reckon she doesn’t want to lose her benefits!! That’s an old, old story.
(1) Regarding your inability to recognize principle and integrity in Congresswoman Gabbard’s several excellent positions — like legalizing drugs, pardoning Julian Assange, and getting out of worthless regime change wars (as in Syria and Afghanistan), etc. — you might want to acknowledge your own chagrin rather than attributing it to Bill Astore.
(2) Consider the difference in meaning between “standing for” and “lying down for.” The first applies to Tulsi Gabbard, and explains the Democratic Party establishment’s fear and loathing of her. The latter describes Senator Bernie “The Cuck” Sanders, who Russia-gated himself (at the invitation of Michael Bloomberg) and spent his own campaign championing “his friend” Joe Biden, which predictably earned him nothing but the Junior-Right-Wing Faction’s usual contempt for anything “left” or “socialist.” More than anything, Bernie “did not want to become another Ralph Nader,” and in this — unlike his own campaigns for illusory influence in the Democratic Party — he “succeeded.”
(3) Getting in a dig at Tulsi Gabbard and then trying to dismiss in advance any rebuttal — by alluding to “the same old ground” — reeks of dialectical cowardice. And as I recall many prior discussions in this forum, your opinions regarding Congresswoman Gabbard did not so much “tread” on this metaphorical ground as lightly skip over it without leaving a footprint.
(4) People often continue to discuss issues, events, and personages after those have receded into previous time, as all things do. We do not cease discussing them because they continue to prove instructive, especially as many in “the present” so often recapitulate past errors while studiously refusing to learn from them. (Tulsi Gabbard: No; More Orwellian Permanent War: Yes)
Feel free to tread on the ground above, but this time try and leave a trace of your passing. (Hint: Instead of the tautological thought-terminating-cliché, “What’s done is done,” you might want to explore Shakespeare’s “What’s past is prologue.”)
It’s mind-blowing that AOC argues there’s no alternative to Nancy Pelosi as Speaker. No one in the entire Democratic Party in the House who’s ready. Think about that.
AOC says she herself isn’t ready. Run anyway, dammit. Use your power. If you win, you’ll grow into the job. You can hardly be worse than Nancy “Let them eat Jeni’s ice cream” Pelosi.
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“No alternative to Nancy Pelosi” as Speaker of the House? You mean the self-described “master legislator” who turned down a larger Covid-Relief offer from President Trump before the election only to now ask for one a third (or more) smaller after Trump loses to somebody not named Trump? Sounds to me just like the first time Nancy Pelosi took up the Speaker’s gavel after the 2006 mid-term elections. As I described her immediate betrayal thirteen years ago:
Nancy the Negotiator
Nancy the Negotiator
Gives up first; surrenders later;
Takes her cards from off the table,
Then recites her loser fable:
“We don’t have the votes we need,”
Nancy says, in tones that bleed:
“Mean Republicans will whine
If we do not toe their line.”
Nancy bows to George and Dick
While her skinny ass they kick;
Writes them checks both blank and rubber,
Then proceeds to lamely blubber:
“We don’t like what Dubya’s doing.
Still, we quite enjoy the screwing.
Masochism’s what we offer,
Helping crooks to loot the coffer”
“Sure, the squandered blood and treasure
Goes to those we will not measure.
Still, we promise you’ll adore us
If you mark your ballot for us.”
“Choices you don’t have assail you,
Leaving only us who fail you.
Nonetheless, we’ve gotten fatter.
Why, then, should we think you matter?”
Michael Murry, “The Misfortune Teller,” Copyright © 2007
When it comes to the US Marketing Territory and Population Containment Zone, “What’s past is” [not just] “prologue,” but epitaph as well.
At this point, I think Pelosi holds the Speakership kind of like an “emeritus” post. When’s the last time either party “rose up” and “overthrew” their Speaker? It just ain’t done, like pressing Fed. charges against a former POTUS just isn’t done.
Austerity at home, more wars abroad. Well put in this interview.
Watching from CanaDa, it makes perfectly natural human sense to me why Putin would prefer Trump over Clinton and Biden. They are the Devils he knows.
It was the Obama/Biden/Clinton/ Nuland regime that orchestrated the 2014 Coup d’Etat in Ukraine, changing the Russian friendly government the majority Russian speaking Ukrainians in Crimea and East Ukraine VOTED FOR, for a Neo-Nazi anti-Russian government.
It was that US aggression that precipitated the rebellion in the East, and moved Russia to annex Crimea that was part of Russia from 1773 to 1954, when it was turned over to Ukraine Administration as an Autonomous Region when Ukraine was part of the Soviet Union.
The US has made regime change of governments it can’t control as American as Apple Pie.
The 2014 US orchestrated Coup in Ukraine was the FINAL STRAW for Putin, waking him up to realize it was futile trying to appease the US and the West for better Relations.
That RUDE awakening for Putin was what motivated him to enter the 2011 Syrian World War a year later, in 2015, and along with his Allies Assad and General Soleimani, STOPPED the 2001 US WAR PLAN in it’s tracks, to change the Assad government .
The US NEVER Learns from it’s delusions and mistakes. Trump, the Law and Order Man, is using US Troops like Common Thieves and a Criminal Gang, already being in Syria in violation of International Law, and uses them to STEAL Syria’s oil. Americans don’t care!
According to the whistle-blower US General Wesley Clark, who revealed it in 2007, BEFORE the demise of Libya and Syria in 2011, the 2001 US WAR PLAN called for changing the regimes of Iraq, Libya, Syria, Lebanon and at THE END, Iran. Lebanon is now another failed State in the 2001 US WAR Plan. There can be NO DOUBT Trump is still following that 2001 US WAR PLAN, leading to THE END with IRAN.
The Soviets could not foresee the demise of the Communist Economic System, like Americans can’t see the demise of the Capitalist Economic System and the FAUX Pax Americana.
While American Capitalist POWER Brokers and War Profiteers refuse to see the Truth and Good in it, the Chinese have developed a hybrid State Capitalism-Communism system, that raised some 800,000,000 of it’s Citizens out of Poverty and homelessness just in the last 30 years, since they learned how to play the American Capitalist Game better than the American Capitalists who brought it to China.
The FACTS on the ground are such that in the HQ of American Capitalism, with the American Carnage of increasing numbers of poor and homeless on American Streets, can be seen NOW, even BEFORE the new Administration takes over.
If Biden appoints Mike Morell to be CIA Director, along with the other anti-Russians in the Biden Cabinet, this World will be in Deep Dodo!
Excellent points clearly stated. My congratulations.
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>> What’s the point of running for president and being a leader if you want to do nothing? <<
Abraham Lincoln gave a great answer to this question, back in 1848.
"Now this is the whole matter— In substance, it is this: The people say to Gen: Taylor “If you are elected, shall we have a national bank?” He answers “Your will, getlemen, not mine” “What about the Tariff?”— “Say yourselves”— “Shall our rivers and harbours be improved?” “Just as you please” “If you desire a bank, an alteration of the tariff, internal improvements, any, or all, I will not hinder you; if you do not desire them, I will not attempt to force them on you” “Send up your members of congress from the various districts, with opinions according with to your own; and if they are for these measures, or any of them, I shall have nothing to oppose; if they are not for them, I shall not, by any appliances whatever, attempt to dragoon them into their adoption”
As President Eisenhower used to say when people tried to hustle him into doing something he considered unwise: “Don’t just do something. Stand there.”
It’s interesting how some dismissed Ike as a plodder. As unoriginal. Yes, Ike wasn’t a traditional intellectual, but he was a thinker and was willing to speak truth. And he didn’t panic.
Excerpt from General-President Eisenhower’s ‘Cross of Iron’ speech delivered April 16, 1953.
Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.
This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its labourers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children.
The cost of one modern heavy bomber is this: a modern brick school in more than 30 cities. It is two electric power plants, each serving a town of 60,000 population.
It is two fine, fully equipped hospitals.
It is some fifty miles of concrete pavement.
We pay for a single fighter plane with a half million bushels of wheat.
We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed more than 8,000 people.
Ike’s “Cross of Iron” speech is not dissimilar to William Jennings Bryan “Cross of Gold” speech delivered July 9, 1896.
There are two ideas of government. There are those who believe that if you just legislate to make the well-to-do prosperous, that their prosperity will leak through on those below. The Democratic idea has been that if you legislate to make the masses prosperous their prosperity will find its way up and through every class that rests upon it. […] Having behind us the commercial interests and the labouring interests and all the toiling masses, we shall answer their demands for a gold standard by saying to them, you shall not press down upon the brow of labour this crown of thorns. You shall not crucify mankind upon a cross of gold.
Yeah, I definitely feel like the 1% are pissing down on me (“leak,” get it?)!!
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The US DoD Budget when Eisenhower delivered his Cross of Iron speech was $60 Billion.
Today, thanks to Trump, it’s $740 Billion.
Trump said, “I’m not saying the military’s in love with me. The soldiers are.”
“The top people in the Pentagon probably aren’t because they want to do nothing but fight wars so all of those wonderful companies that make the bombs and make the planes and make everything else stay happy.”
That’s what he said!
What he DID, was give all “those wonderful companies that make the bombs and make the planes” more money than ever before.
Imagine the Good that could be done for Humanity, if the US Leadership of the allegedly Most Christian Nation on Earth and the BIGGEST supplier of the Weapons of Death and Destruction to the World, would see this one most important line in their Bibles should be preached from the roof tops,
“Not by military force and not by physical strength, but by My spirit,’ says the Lord of Hosts.”
The Christ in them must be so weak, they don’t have the Faith or Courage to exhort the sheep from their Pulpits, to at least raise their voices, and prepare the Way for the return of Christ Jesus when he shall Finalize it, and judge between the nations and reprove many peoples, and they shall beat their swords into plow shares and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift the sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.
If they did that, it would be considered Political, and they could lose their Tax exempt status.
I don’t think Donald Trump ever claimed to have the least, tiny bit of “Christ in him.” And I have zero doubt that privately he’s an atheist. But the “Evangelical” phenomenon in the US is essentially a political movement, and the sheep in that fold are instructed to vote Republican.
These words could’ve been written/spoken by a Socialist! But note that it was very early in Ike’s first term, and he was “set straight” for the most part subsequently. It definitely took some guts to “settle” for a “stalemate” on the Korean Peninsula, though. Gen. MacArthur, of course, wanted to drop nuclear weapons onto that zone.
What a QUAINT notion! Striving to “do the people’s will,” eh? Nowadays, of course, corporations are the people!
re: Eisenhower, we must also remember Sen. Joe McCarthy was riding high, declaring Ike’s “own” State Dept., etc., to be infested with Reds!! Holdovers from Truman admin., mostly, would be Joe’s explanation. Career bureaucrats willing to serve whatever party holds the presidency, in other words. But they merited no respect from the ‘Tail-Gunner’ from Wisconsin.
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