Early Returns on 2021

No bread? Let them eat ice cream!

W.J. Astore

So far, 2021 is looking much like 2020. Nancy Pelosi is once again Speaker of the House, with progressive leaders like AOC extracting no meaningful concessions for their votes. Jimmy Dore had suggested progressives could use their leverage over Pelosi to force a vote in the House on Medicare for All, but of course the progressives caved and cravenly supported Pelosi, who like Joe Biden is against Medicare for All.

America, you will never get a single-payer, publicly-funded, health care system. If you can’t even get a vote on one during a pandemic that will soon kill 400,000 Americans, you will never get a vote. America’s health care system is a wealth-extraction system that profits off the sick and dying. That system simply will not change because politicians like Pelosi and Biden are bought and paid for. Short of a revolution or a truly progressive third party, Americans will continue to suffer bankruptcy and death due to our for-profit wealth-care system that puts profit before patients.

Trump, meanwhile, is conspiring along with a dozen or so sycophantic senators to contest the election he lost. Trump, who has the virtue of saying the quiet part out loud, pressured the Georgia secretary of state to “find” about 12,000 votes for him so that he could be declared the winner. This circus is the lead story in U.S. media today, as if Trump has finally put his foot in it. But he’ll soon pardon himself, I’d wager, and even if he doesn’t the incoming Biden administration won’t do anything to prosecute him on any charge.

In other news, Americans will have to be satisfied with means-tested $600 checks (don’t spend that all in one place), instead of the $2000 checks that Trump advocated for. Interesting, that princess of virtue, Nancy Pelosi, was perfectly satisfied with $600 checks until Trump demanded $2000. Only then did Pelosi mount a weak effort for the higher figure, which was quickly killed by Scrooge himself, Mitch McConnell. Suck on that, America.

Speaking of Trump failures and revealing moments in Congress, Trump’s veto of the NDAA (the Pentagon budget) was easily overturned, as America’s representatives professed their bipartisan support of “our” troops. I’ll believe in that “support” when Congress finally acts to end America’s disastrous wars overseas. Perhaps on the twelfth of never?

Finally, it was good to hear that Julian Assange will not be extradited to the U.S., though the judge’s ruling in the UK was made on the narrow grounds that the U.S. prison system is so oppressive that Assange would likely commit suicide here, given his current mental state. Of course, the U.S. government doesn’t care that much about prosecuting and imprisoning Assange. Assange, like Chelsea Manning, Reality Winner, and other whistleblowers, has been made an example of. This is all about intimidation of journalists and other potential whistleblowers, and it’s working.

Readers, what’s caught your eye in the opening week of 2021?

19 thoughts on “Early Returns on 2021

    1. I’ve been advocating for taking the guillotine out of mothballs for some time now. But there is the “little problem” that its use in France in late 18th Century got “slightly out of hand.”

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Yes, a reign of terror would be horrible. It’s something our self centered monster currently occupying the White House seems to relish on his terms of course. My resentment is toward the income inequality and current tax policies.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. We should bump Melania and Ivanka right to the head of the queue for those saying (in essence) “Let them eat cake”!! [Note to Secret Service: Just kidding!]

          Liked by 1 person

  1. Yes, 2021 amazingly similar to 2020 so far.
    As for Assange – the only small mercy – the verdict is weird to say the least. He’s held in Belmarsh, the UK’s max-security prison for supposed ‘terrorists’ where the risk of suicide is as big as in the US. Is it a way not to extradite while ‘saving face’ by not dropping any of the charges and simply bury him in the local black hole until the end of his days ? We’ll see on Wednesday, when his lawyers will appeal for bail.
    As T. is now completely derailed, maybe he would pardon him out of pure spite ?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My fear is that this was one judge’s opinion on the matter and that a higher judicial body can rule otherwise. (I confess I’m not clear on at what level this decision was made.) Also, remember that BoJo (Prime Minister Boris Johnson) is a Trump ally. Not quite a clone, like that jerk in Brasil, but an ally. We can only continue to advocate for freedom for Assange and hope for the best for him. Now, how about Trump handing the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Devin Nunes and Jim Jordan to reward them for their defense of him in the impeachment proceedings? He will thereby totally cheapen any “value” one may have previously invested in that award. This man has been simply an utter disgrace to this nation–except, of course, in the eyes of the 70+ million of our fellow citizens who support him!–and my offer to personally help him pack his belongings out of the White House by Jan. 20 stands.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Well, there’s that pragmatism thing again. As long as GOP can kill any legislation in Senate they don’t care for, votes in the House have limited possibilities. Acting on principle?? What a quaint notion! I imagine so many Dems in the House are in pockets of the lobbyists that “M4A” would likely fail to win a majority vote….In other news, an NFL player, it was reported, had opted to take his salary in units of Bitcoin! He looked like a genius last week when Bitcoin traded at near $35,000–remember, it’s a purely imaginary “currency”!!–today it’s down to $27K. And so it goes…

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  3. It is time for Americans to reflect on the past…only then they can hope to have a better future…. not only for themselves but for the whole humanity. History tells us NEVER FORGET….and time for reflection is now….
    An EXCELLENT write up…
    https://www.counterpunch.org/2021/01/01/victor-jaras-hands-an-anti-fascist-memoir-festo-and-brief-personal-history-of-neoliberalism/
    One can only hope, Biden administration will not be continuing the perpetual wars.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the lead to Desiree Helegers article. It was painful yet enlightening.
      As far as I have seen and understand…
      Presidents march to Capitals desires…
      I’m pretty sure there will be no detours from the long and winding road we have traveled for a our entire life….Profits should be plentiful on the Boulevard of Ballistics… and the returns handsome on the War Exchange….The faithful will bring their tithes into the storehouses of Medical Tyranny….And…
      The undertakers will continue to traffic in a brisk business, as they deliver their products to the Gatekeepers of the Graveyard….May we all soon sing in solidarity, as one voice United, demanding that this madness cease! May peace and love be inside all populations hearts and upon every nations tongue in 2021. May we all be released and free from suffering.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The “Boulevard of Ballistics” — the “War Exchange” — the “storehouses of Medical Tyranny” — how appropriate.

        Certain people are making a killing off of killing, whether overseas in wars or here in the “homeland” by denying people lifesaving health care coverage.

        And so those “Gatekeepers of the Graveyard” are kept busy indeed, as are the undertakers.

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      2. Admirable sentiments, but to paraphrase Frederick Douglass, Power yields nothing without a Struggle. On the healthcare for all front, a few years ago Jeff Bezos, Jamie Dimon and Warren Buffett put their heads together to contemplate a new approach, one that would provide reasonably affordable care for most everyone and still turn a profit for the executives. They have now THROWN IN THE TOWEL on the project. The current System is just too corrupt, complex and generally effed-up for these blokes to deal with.

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  4. From Matt Taibbi:

    “After all that upheaval, the White House is about to be re-occupied by a political fossil from the eighties, surrounded by a zombie cabinet of Iraq War supporters, drone assassination proponents, corporate lawyers, lobbyists, and neoliberal economists, coming from places like Amazon, DuPont, and Raytheon (the Pentagon appointment of the current Henry Kissinger Chair from the Center from Strategic and International Studies was a nice homage to the unchangingly vile character of America’s royal court). How bad any of this is in comparison with the chaotic presidency of Donald Trump is arguable, but it surely represents the triumph of Sameness, a powerful reminder that in America, you ultimately can’t beat City Hall. Or can you?”

    https://taibbi.substack.com/p/tk-newsletter-2021-has-to-be-better

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    1. With the disclaimer that I am NOT an “anarchist,” and a note to FBI that my intent is not to incite anyone to any specific act (i.e. following observation is rhetorical), I have to say that the only way to “beat City Hall” is to RAZE City Hall!! City Hall is just too solidly entrenched. As was the Tsarist regime in Russia prior to Nov. 7, 1917!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Our two papers of record are making a lot of how the GOP controlled Senate could change hands based on today’s Georgia election. Another national body, the Supreme Court, could also change hands if the Biden administration has the courage to expand that court’s membership.

    My list of new justices include Merrick Garland, Stacey Abrams, Cory Booker, and a special man, Cornel West. I can just see him putting his arm around the shoulder of Brother Thomas as he is welcomed to the Court!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. If we picture the Senate tied at 50-50, VP Harris would be the tie-breaker when necessary. BUT…do the Dems have sufficient internal discipline to pass any legislation remotely “progressive” or to seat a SCOTUS nominee deemed “controversial”?? That is a crucial question. Cornel West! I wouldn’t have thunked of that myself. Yeah, he would sure as hell be in that category of “controversial”!

      Liked by 1 person

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