Is the USA the new USSR?

A shining example of awesome splendor and timeless exceptionalism

W.J. Astore

A Few Heretical Thoughts as America Celebrates Itself

Back in the days of the Cold War with the Soviet Union, most Americans took pride in not being like the USSR, or our image of the USSR. We, the USA, were not a militaristic empire. We, the USA, didn’t have state propaganda. We, the USA, took in Soviet dissidents who spoke out against state abuses of power and for personal freedoms. We, the USA, didn’t have old sclerotic leaders who were simply figureheads for elites. We, the USA, didn’t have military forces in the streets to maintain order. And so forth.

I was thinking about this today because Trump didn’t pardon Edward Snowden, whose only sanctuary is Russia. I was thinking about this today because some of the more interesting shows with critical coverage of the USA are on RT, a Russia-owned network. (I’m thinking here of shows hosted by Jesse Ventura and Chris Hedges. Their outspoken criticism and honesty is rarely heard on America’s mainstream media networks.) I was thinking today of a mainstream media that’s celebrating the inauguration of an aging man, Joe Biden, who’s visibly in decline and who is a tool for the establishment. I was thinking today of the nation’s capital that resembles an armed and fortified camp for a “peaceful” transference of power.

These are uncomfortable thoughts, I know.

Similarly, my wife and I were joking this morning about what the Washington Football Team should call itself, now that the “Redskins” has finally been rejected as impolitic and inappropriate. An innocuous name like the Washington Monuments came to mind. But if we wanted to be more honest, how about the Washington Lobbyists? The Washington Bullies? Or the Washington Awesome Splendor of Timeless Exceptionalism (WASTE)?

The idea for the latter name came from a recent statement the Trump administration released in support of a “Garden of American Heroes.” Here’s a sample of the rhetoric:

The garden’s purpose is “to reflect the awesome splendor of our country’s timeless exceptionalism.”

The garden of heroes “is America’s answer to [a] reckless attempt to erase our heroes, values and entire way of life. On its grounds, the devastation and discord of the moment will be overcome with abiding love of country and lasting patriotism. This is the American way.”

A garden of heroes is a perfect antidote to “a dangerous anti-American extremism that seeks to dismantle our country’s history, institutions and very identity.”

So, what Trump was saying is that America’s main enemy is “a dangerous anti-American extremism” that’s seeking to destroy our very identity. Meanwhile, anti-Trump forces are similarly arguing that Trump and his minions represent a dangerous anti-American extremism that’s out to destroy our way of life. Not much room for compromise and unity here, is there?

The Soviet Union collapsed in part due to internal tensions and disorder, massive military spending, and lost wars. A sclerotic leadership was incapable of changing course, and by the time the empire attempted to change course with Gorbachev, it was too late for restructuring and openness.

Is it already too late for the USA? Or does today’s pomp and ceremony promise a new beginning? Readers, what do you think?

107 thoughts on “Is the USA the new USSR?

  1. Let’s start this commentary off with a proper salute to #45…
    There’s a thorn in America’s garden of it’s own imagined Eden…
    Here’s to the truth teller
    Woodie Guthrie …
    What do you have to say sir?

    Old ManTrump
    I suppose that Old Man Trump knows just how much racial hate
    He stirred up in that bloodpot of human hearts
    When he drawed that color line
    Here at his Beach Haven family project

    Beach Haven ain’t my home!
    No, I just can’t pay this rent!
    My money’s down the drain,
    And my soul is badly bent!
    Beach Haven is Trump’s Tower
    Where no black folks come to roam,
    No, no, Old Man Trump!
    Old Beach Haven ain’t my home!

    I’m calling out my welcome to you and your man both
    Welcoming you here to Beach Haven
    To love in any way you please and to have some kind of a decent place
    To have your kids raised up in.

    Beach Haven ain’t my home!
    No, I just can’t pay this rent!
    My money’s down the drain,
    And my soul is badly bent!
    Beach Haven is Trump’s Tower
    Where no black folks come to roam,
    No, no, Old Man Trump!
    Old Beach Haven ain’t my home!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You’ve said all that there is to say: “A sclerotic leadership was incapable of changing course.”

    It’s not even just sclerotic – it’s reactionary. No different here and now and into the plausible US future.

    Has anyone done a study on the comparative chest candy of the Soviet and American military leaders over time? The rise of the baubles in relation to the waning military competence is an indication of national decay. Compare Ike, et al. to today’s JCS, COCOMs, etc. The latter look a lot like late-era Soviet generals. Lots of awards for pleasing their bosses.

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    1. On the other hand, the Soviet military officers of the era recalled here largely EARNED their chest-fruit-salad, leading the defensive war against murderous Nazi invaders. When I visited Moscow in 2013, surviving veterans of that horrific war still came out in public, in uniform, to pose for photos with tourists and bask in public adulation. Somehow I can’t muster up any admiration for US officers, should they choose to take up this practice. If Gen. Westmoreland was still around and took this up, a segment of the citizenry would worship him, yes. I would throw a bucket of (fake) blood on him, given the opportunity.

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        1. Yes, a tragic milestone, to reach 500,000 before long, largely due to deliberate irresponsible behavior on an individual by individual basis. Dr. Fauci now quoted as opining that MAYBE we can BEGIN relaxing when Autumn arrives. Keep wearing your masks and washing your hands frequently, folks. Oh, another news item: 25% of healthcare workers, THE frontline workforce, reportedly don’t want to be vaccinated. Some have expressed my initial concern that the products were rushed to market (for the record, I am ready to get my shot as soon as it’s available), but bear in mind how many people in general population voted for Trump. I’ll bet ya dollars to your donuts that’s a major factor, too. * Healthcare workers are not immune (d’oh!) to Trumpian toxic beliefs.

          * I’d be willing to bet Bitcoin to your donuts, if I “owned” any!!

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          1. But….did not the Orange One initiate Operation Warp Speed and try to drive a quick turnaround for producing the vaccine? Granted, he did this for his own selfish reasons, but I would think his followers would be rushing to reap the benefits of his “largesse”…?

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          2. Of course you could be one of those people who bought bitcoins cheap years ago, and would be rolling in clover after the stupendous price rise in the value of bitcoins, except that they can’t remember their fucking passwords!

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  3. I venture in here before reading any other feedback: 1.) the portrait painted here of USSR simply reflected the US’s official propaganda; 2.) an inauguration inside a circle of troops is not an aspect of the general decay of the society, but a response to the very specific threat we saw erupt on Jan. 6; 3.) we have seen troops in the streets here at home many times in the past, and will again if the Established Order feels threatened; 4.) in his final weeks in office, Trump went out of his way to throw more love to his White Supremacist followers, by opposing additional removal of Confederate monuments and names of Confederate officers from military installations. “Garden of Heroes” indeed!!; 5.) I beat you to suggesting name of “Washington Lobbyists” for the former Redskins by weeks, buddy! Let’s give credit where it’s due! [insert smiley here]

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  4. All this talk of “unity” — it brings to mind a scene from Star Trek, “Space Seed,” in which Spock responds to a Caesar-like Khan:

    “Unify, sir? Like a team of animals under one whip?”

    Unity, unify, it’s all good in theory, but for what purpose and to what end?

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    1. Biden speaks of healing the wounds inflicted by Trump’s intentional fanning of the flames of HATRED. As I’ve said many times here, HATE was and remains the fuel for Trumpism. [When I tuned in online streaming of the inauguration at just before noon, Biden was already speaking. Was he trying to demonstrate his eagerness to get the ball rolling? But I caught most of his speech.] This was predictable; an incoming Obama administration, if we were to scramble the timeline of our history in a thought experiment, would have spoken the same. Or even (get ready to gag) an incoming Hillary Clinton. It is the necessary thing to say, and I perceived that Biden was pretty sincere. Remember how ill at ease his predecessor always appeared when reading a prepared speech that hinted slightly at a need for national unity? His insincerity was on his face and in his voice. All that said, we have to recognize that the deep divide in USA today, certainly not initiated but vigorously encouraged by Trump, CANNOT be erased with ease. But THE EFFORT must be broached. What I dread is that we will be asked to come together to support some new military adventure abroad, or expansion of existing ones, and “May God protect our troops” will be the theme of the day. President Biden, if you want to protect the troops, don’t put them needlessly in harm’s way!!

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      1. inspiring and heart-swelling comment, greglaxer. you must have been raised by inspired and heart-swelled caretakers… the progenitive products of whom in our present neoteric generations can only be longed for by those of us in the phasing-out generation who are long past our sell-by dates.

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    2. One of my favorite Scenes in the whole Trek Franchise, back when all were in their Primes as Actors as well as physical specimens. Khan would’ve been “Times Man of the Year” I’m cracking myself up. Too bad tho. that absolute power corrupts absolutely, and for all its ills Democracy is still Mans best hope– the will of the people and all…

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    1. And Afghanistan has been called The Burial Ground of Empires. A rugged land with rugged inhabitants, unconquerable by outside forces. (A not bad description of Vietnam, also, come to think of it.) The American Empire is morally AND financially DEAD already. It just doesn’t have the good sense to keel over and make a very loud THUD upon the soil! But that is coming, as war and preparations for war continue to build a Tower of Babel of National Debt to the moon. If Biden really wants to try to “make friends of enemies” he should 1.) conclude a peace in Afghanistan ASAP; and 2.) stop making NEW enemies by ceasing new US military aggressions abroad. This, unfortunately, is not at all likely in the real world.

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  5. “…an aging man, Joe Biden, who’s visibly in decline and who is a tool for the establishment.”
    Why must you continue to denigrate Joe Biden? That attitude may have served a constructive purpose when he was competing with another presidential candidate whom we preferred. As of today, it’s obsolete, and in no way constructive.

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    1. Why is it obsolete today? Because he’s president?

      He’s now the most powerful person in the world, surrounded by people who are deferential to him. He needs us to hold him to account. He doesn’t need us to shut up and bow before him.

      Aging is inevitable, but I hope he maintains his vigor, despite the rigors of the job. Calling him a tool of the establishment is simply stating facts; I hope he shows some ability to separate himself from his manipulators and would-be masters.

      Recall that his wife Jill was willing to admit Joe had flaws, and she specifically mentioned health care. Be like Jill.

      https://news.yahoo.com/jill-biden-maybe-you-have-to-swallow-a-little-and-vote-for-joe-142524433.html

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          1. As I said elsewhere here, I missed beginning of Biden’s speech, but of what I caught he only fumbled one line. He looks his age, basically. Should he be criticized for that? Bernie Sanders, the preferred candidate of many who comment here, is essentially the same age. The Dem. establishment was not willing to back a younger candidate. So Joe is what we have, he’s off to a flying start undoing some of Trump’s executive actions, and that’s what we should be looking at for now. If the US escalates its overseas military aggression–which I anticipate is what the future holds–I will raise my voice loudly and clearly in protest. But that decision will not be made by Biden alone, and his chronological age will be quite irrelevant.

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          2. I don’t understand this: “and that’s what we should be looking at for now.”

            Why? And when can we start looking at other things?

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          3. Your obsession with criticizing Biden has about crossed the line into a pathology of its own!! Not becoming, sir, to you or Bracing Views. That’s MY opinion, which I ain’t shy about sharing.

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        1. We’re all aging. Joe Biden is 78, and I don’t think I need to remind readers of all his gaffes during the primary.

          We know the rigors of being president. We know that Reagan’s slow mental decline was hidden from us during his 2nd term. We need to be aware that Joe isn’t getting any younger; that he’s likely a one-term president; that it’s possible his health may decline quickly due to his age and the demands of the job.

          I think “ageism” would be saying he can’t do the job due to his age, and I’ve never said that. I also supported Bernie Sanders, who is a year older than Biden but who’s shown no decline in speaking ability. So I don’t think the ageism charge sticks here.

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          1. A reasonable reply, Bill. But I would like to see a cessation of the endless repetition of the “charges” against Biden, including carping on his age. Most of us who use this website agreed long ago that he represents The Establishment and that there were other candidates available we preferred. Well, this being the USA, we got Biden! You yourself predicted it would be a Biden/Harris ticket, and I posted that the fix was in on Biden’s behalf early in the Primaries. So, we have “Old Joe” in the Oval Office, and he is signing Executive Orders to roll back some of Trump’s egregious actions. The Fascist demagogue is still at large, and apparently didn’t attempt to issue a self-pardon (perhaps such a document is hidden somewhere?!). The matter of crucial importance for this country, and the rest of the world, is that “democracy” (a fair election) DID prevail, and Trump was unable to discard the results.

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        2. We all get Old “IF” we’re Lucky… What I don’t like seeing even more, and I’m not naming Names tho, but its the lack of Hope, and the ever present Cynicism… If people aren’t happy with it all just leave it alone, navigate away from it we don’t need Critics now– only doers! Lets get down to Work. The easiest thing to do is to be critical.

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          1. Empty cynicism is bad, but so too are empty hopes. Remember how Obama ran on “hope” and “change”? And then did very little to live up to all the hype?

            We need both critics and doers. Now is not the time to shut up and go to brunch and trust Joe to handle it.

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          2. I’m not aware of a “positive” brand of cynicism!! What rational people–apparently only a slim majority in US today!–employ in analyzing phenomena is SKEPTICISM, an essential element in scientific thinking. The new admin. is trying to address the pandemic rationally, but inherited a jumbled mess, and now we stare at shortages of the vaccines themselves.

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    2. The shortest “Honeymoon” on record I’ll guarantee you that here and in Politics aka. The dirtiest game in Town…:/ :o)

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    3. I ask in turn: Why must some persons construe criticism as “denigration”? As a matter of recently observed fact, Joe Biden has had some scary moments when his mental focus seemed to get away from him entirely. “You know . . . the thing!” As well, the former “Senator from Payday Loans” has a sordid record — spanning decades — of exuberant war-mongering, not to mention toadying subservience to corporate cash, both foreign and domestic. Therefore, no American citizen should let up on him for a moment. He demanded that we Americans lavish great power and privilege upon him. Pity and Victimhood don’t go with that position. If he can’t stand the heat, to paraphrase President Harry Truman, then the old fart shouldn’t have insisted that we appoint him Chief Chef of the country’s Kitchen.

      As for all that inaugural babbling about “unity,” that only means “capitulation to Republicans” when the Republicans attain power. When the Democrats attain power — see Presidents Clinton and Obama — it means the same. As Jimmy Dore quoted an African leader’s observation: “America also has a one party state. But with typical American extravagance, they have two of them.”

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    4. Hear! Hear! Bracing Views has verged on bearing renaming to “We Hate Biden.” Puts me, as harsh a critic of “our” System as you’ll find, in a very strange position to have to defend the new POTUS! In what I heard in real time, he only botched one line badly, the bit about “rural versus urban.” I’ll take someone who fumbles his lines over the Fascist demagogue we just got rid of any old time. BTW, I could scarcely believe my eyes when I saw he had walked part of the way from Capitol to the WH! I guess he felt sufficiently secure due to heavy, and necessary, protective forces.

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      1. Oh, for goodness’ sake. It’s not about “hating” Biden. It’s about his positions, his policies, his record. For example, he’s already backtracked on a single-payer option for health care, and he rejects M4A, which 86% of Americans support. He’s also being miserly on Covid relief checks (he promised $2000, then says he meant $1400).

        By pointing these and similar positions out, do I hate Biden as a result?

        Liked by 1 person

        1. This is a simple error on your part, sir. It was none other than Trump who proposed boosting second round of Covid relief from $600 to $2000. Congress took him up on the larger figure, but the legislation got stalled. I actually received the $600 lightning-fast (I was stunned, really), so the $1400 figure represents the balance of what we have coming, assuming McConnell & Co. don’t still find a way to scuttle the program.

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        2. I should have elaborated. First, Biden didn’t want any specific sum going to the people! Then we got $600 after a lot of fighting and compromising by people like Bernie Sanders, then Trump argued for $2000, which spurred AOC and those like her to finally fight for $2K, which was stalled by Mitch in the Senate.

          Then Biden went to Georgia and promised $2000 checks. He didn’t say it would be paid in two installments, $600 followed by $1400. He implied the $2000 was on top of the $600 already approved. Well done, Joe.

          So, I don’t think this is a simple error on my part, and “miserly” seems rather generous considering how Biden initially wasn’t fighting for any specific amount.

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      2. Speaking of “hating” Biden, my wife reminded me of an old neighbor, “Mary.” Mary had neighbor across the street with a dog. That dog would come and poop on Mary’s lawn, almost every day, and Mary got fed up. So Mary asked her neighbor if she could please stop her dog from pooping on her lawn, and the neighbor replied, “You must hate me.”

        Mary said, no, I don’t hate you. I simply want your dog to stop pooping every day on my lawn.

        I don’t “hate” Joe Biden. I simply want him to help people get affordable health care, a living wage, while bringing our troops whom he professes to love so much home from needless wars. And if he reneges on promises and poops on our collective lawn, we should be willing to call him out.

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        1. I believe if you look closely, you’ll see all these “Biden-hater” brickbats have a “He’s not Trump!” tag attached to them.
          No one who sits in the Oval Office should get a free pass, neither on Day One nor on their last day in office. This isn’t the Campfire Girls or Pee-Wee League sports, and you don’t get a participation trophy for showing up and “doing your best.”
          The righteous indignation expressed over a stated desire for our new President to act by-gawd Presidential and do his job for The Nation would be laughable if it weren’t so pathetic.
          Mr. Biden is in the Big Leagues now. He wanted the job and now that he’s got it, it’s time to put up or shut up.

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          1. Dude, he’s already “putting up” with rollbacks of some of his predecessor’s more odious executive actions.

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  6. I didn’t see any CNN broadcasts of former President Trump’s parting speech at some airbase on his way back to Florida, but I could just imagine a scene in the movie Love at First Bite where the communist apparatchiks come to evict him from his castle while the local peasants jeer as he departs: “Go ahead, have your fun. But without me around, Transylvania will be as exciting as … Bucharest … on a Monday night.”

    Then I caught a livestream by Jimmy Dore taking a call-in impersonation by Mike McRae referring to Joe Biden’s palindromic rhetoric as “incoherent phlegm.” Stuff like “not the spring in our step but the step in our spring,” etc. Simply priceless.

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    1. By “him” in the first paragraph above, I meant Count Vladimir Dracula, of course.

      And as for jeering peasants, I would have to include two ageing political crones, Nancy Pelosi and the snake-haired Medusa (HRC) hysterically podcasting that “all roads lead to [Vladimir] Putin” who — to hear them tell the tale — “ordered former President Trump” to “incite” the most inept and shortest-lived fascist “insurrection” in the entire history of such events.

      And for some reason all those armed soldiers patrolling the streets, and the barbed wire strung up on fences throughout the nation’s capital reminded me of Saigon where the United States government had installed a corrupt and repressive government that the Vietnamese people had to forcibly evict from their lives. Just free-associating images and memories here . . .

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      1. That Putin! His powers are limitless. What is he, Sauron? I picture an immense all-seeing eye in the east. When will he unleash his Nazgûl against us? Or has he already?

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        1. A bit of observation about the US Marketing Territory / Batshit-nuts asylum feeling all-threatened-by-Closet-Monsters-and-other-bad-stuff, from the Vinyard of the Saker blog (January 20, 2021) Zone B exists, thus there is hope, I promise you!:

          . . . Now let’s place two US propaganda items side by side and take a look, ok?

          (1) The USA has the most powerful economy on the planet.
          (2) Russia is the #1 adversary of the USA (at least according to the Dems, the GOP places China as #1 and Russia only as #2)

          Do you see the problem?

          If the USA is so powerful, how is it that it failed to crush Russia? What about Iran? Or, in extremis, Venezuela? Yet, even the the last case, the “best” this supposed World Hegemon did was send a few clueless ex-special ops to get caught and give a case of hysterical laughter to the entire Latin American continent!

          And these folks want to take on China or Russia?!

          Peuhleeze!

          . . . [snip] . . .

          ” . . . And no, neither Russia nor China is busy trying to sabotage or undermine the USA – US leaders are doing that much better job of that than any Russian or Chinese ever could. So why even bother (and never mind the risks!)?” [emphasis added]

          Really. The civilized world has more and better things to do — like building continent-spanning high-speed rail networks — than to waste time and energy assisting Americans determined to slit their own throats — with the butter knives Americans had China make for them.

          Inauguration Day in the Washington D.C. equivalent of Baghdad’s Green Zone. And the cosplay Mongol Hordes didn’t even show up for a cell-phone selfie.

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          1. Oops. My apologies. The italics for the Saker quotation should have ended with “[emphasis added]”. Responsibility for the last two paragraphs rests with yours truly.

            But, yes, Americans do excel at scaring their own selves shitless. Even Donald Trump could do it:

            Michael Tracey @mtracey
            “Trump’s rise was the ultimate triumph of politics and entertainment fusing together into one all-consuming spectacle: a skill he’d honed on 12 seasons of The Apprentice. You just couldn’t turn away. Meanwhile everyone will get bored and flip the channel from Biden in about 2 days.”

            Which goes to show how little it really takes to scandalize and terrify middle-class Americans (not to mention Corporate Media executives watching their ratings plummet). Or, perhaps the bed-wetting and diaper soiling has only gotten started. Who knows what the bearded witches (Pelosi and Clinton) have to prophesy about Omnipotent Vladimir and the “roads” that lead to him — even when they can’t find Moscow (much less the Kremlin) on a map.

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  7. “Is it already too late for the USA?”

    It depends on how flexible people are willing to be with their terms. Something labeled “the USA” can go on for many decades longer. The label “democracy” can go on being used in the future to describe whatever the speaker approves, no matter how far from real democracy it is.

    In 1832(?), Chief Justice John Marshall wrote, “…our Constitution cannot last.” At first thought, we think, “Oh, Marshall was wrong.” But he wasn’t. American civic life now doesn’t reflect the intentions of the founders much at all. America just continues to evoke “the Constitution” to justify what they want to do.

    The country would be better off embracing a fresh start, a Constitution 2.0.

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    1. Long before Marshall chimed in, Jefferson had expressed the firm belief that the Constitution would be revised about every other generation, to reflect the changing realities of the world. Changes ended up being addressed via amendments, as we know. Some of them were very slow in coming, such as abolition of slavery and women’s right to vote. Those aspects of our history are nothing to brag about. As I have commented here some time ago, though, I think the Constitution HAS served the elites–who penned it, after all!–very well indeed. That’s why PROPERTY still has greater rights than human beings!

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  8. A solid essay here by Caitlin Johnstone on the need to hold Biden and the Democrats to account:

    “And this period will provide ample opportunities to highlight the fact that that’s exactly what the Democratic Party exists to do: kill all leftward movement in the most powerful government on earth. As the US continues its soul-crushing neoliberal policies at home and its murderous neoconservative policies abroad with the same degree of psychopathy it displayed in previous administrations, we must draw attention to the fact that it is the Democratic Party which bears responsibility for these things.

    The sooner Americans can discredit the Democratic Party as a legitimate vehicle for progressive change, the sooner they can start looking for other tools. The first step to escape is to stop pushing against the fake door falsely labeled ‘exit’.”

    https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2021/01/21/the-next-two-years-will-be-the-democratic-party-at-its-most-transparent/

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, Ms. Smarty-Pants Aussie Caitlin Johnstone, I am content for the moment to celebrate that Donald John Trump FOUND the Exit door early Wed. morning. You want a freaking REVOLUTION in USA? (Perhaps you’d like to come here to lead it, Caitlin?) I do, but I am far too much of a realist to believe it could happen in my own lifetime, if ever. A fascistic overthrow of the Established Order could happen, though. All voices of dissent would be quickly silenced. The diametric opposite of the PROGRESS we hanker for.

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  9. Here’s a good article by Danny Sjursen on Biden, foreign policy, and war:

    “That’s because Biden basically is who he says he is and who he’s always been, and the man’s simply never been transformational. One need look no further than his long and generally interventionist past record or the nature of his current national-security picks to know that the safe money is on more of the same. Whether the issues are war, race, crime, or economics, Uncle Joe has made a career of bending with the prevailing political winds and it’s unlikely this old dog can truly learn any new tricks. Furthermore, he’s filled his foreign policy squad with Obama-Clinton retreads, a number of whom were architects of — if not the initial Iraq and Afghan debacles — then disasters in Libya, Syria, West Africa, Yemen, and the Afghan surge of 2009. In other words, Biden is putting the former arsonists in charge of the forever-war fire brigade.”

    https://tomdispatch.com/the-future-of-war-american-style/

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    1. I was planning to look at Sjursen’s article later today. But this excerpt just repeats what some of us have been saying for weeks now about the likely lack of change in Washington’s policies re: war, foreign intrigues, interventions, etc. How many times will we “have to” go over this turf again? And ya know what? “Old dog” Biden just MIGHT have some pleasant surprises for us. How about keeping open eyes and open minds for a while? Or is that asking too much? The “normal” Biden seeks to restore left a lot to be desired, BUT it didn’t include a “Muslim travel ban,” a “Big Beautiful Wall on our Southern border,” etc. Is that not so??

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  10. Geez the Guy has been in Office for less than 24 hrs…I think we can all agree on one point– that there is plenty wrong with all of us, and there is plenty that needs to be done if we are to expect progress…

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    1. You comment “I think we can all agree on one point– that there is plenty wrong with all of us, and there is plenty that needs to be done if we are to expect progress…” should be framed and on everyone’s wall.

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    2. Of course, “there is plenty wrong with all of us.” But I’d be very careful applying these words to the most powerful leader in the world as a form of excuse. Well, Biden’s only human. He’s flawed, just like the rest of us … C’mon, man. He’s tryin’.

      I’ve heard intelligent people say Trump “did the best he could” with Covid. Well, there’s plenty wrong with all of us, so let’s take it easy on Trump, Biden, and so on…

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      1. Given DJT’s early attempts to altogether dismiss the gravity of this virus crisis, I would HIGHLY QUESTION the alleged intelligence of anyone who was awake (aware of what was going on in USA) and felt Trump did his best on our behalf. Oh, wait…perhaps this was a reflection on his pathetic failure to address the crisis having stemmed from his own pathetic level of functioning in the world? Wow, words can be misconstrued so easily!

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        1. The person I have in mind is intelligent and caring — and a Fox News watcher. When you get your news from one source, and it confirms your biases, you say things like “Trump did his best.”

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          1. Professor, I would amend your comment to say:

            “When you get your news from one source, and it confirms your biases, AND YOU ABANDON CRITICAL THINKING, you say things like ‘Trump did his best.’”

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    3. Also, let’s not conflate flaws with choices. Again, all humans are flawed; we are imperfect creatures. But flaws are not choices, though flaws may contribute to bad choices.

      I want to focus both on Biden’s known record (he first won office in 1972) and his choices today. A fact-driven critique. I really don’t care what’s “wrong” with him.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Just read this new article by David Sirota. Again, it’s not about bashing or “hating” Joe. It’s about being active and informed citizens with our eyes wide open.

    “Biden not only promoted the lies that led America into the Iraq War and was not only part of an administration that let Wall Street off the hook for its fraud — he also more recently repeatedly lied about his public record and promises throughout the Democratic primary. At one particularly illustrative moment, Biden was asked if he ever gave Senate floor speeches touting Social Security cuts, and he flatly denied it — just brazenly lying.

    During the primary, I recall being somewhat surprised not by Biden’s lying, but by the Trump-esque quality of his lying, and the media’s tolerance for it. This wasn’t artful spin or word parsing to circumvent uncomfortable topics. This was unapologetic, straight-to-camera bullshitting about the biggest issues of the day, and it evoked barely a sigh from the press corps covering the campaign — a sign that something has fundamentally changed.”

    https://www.dailyposter.com/p/there-is-truth-and-there-are-lies

    I know — but Biden doesn’t lie as much as Trump did! A very low bar indeed, America.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. A low bar, for sure, but given that essentially everything Trump stated in public was a gross exaggeration or outright fabrication/lie…yes, Biden IS an improvement.

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  12. Four years from today the scorecard will be tallied. Everyone in this thread has many compassionate desires for their fellow inhabitants of this spectacular creation. I’m rooting for a streak to be broken. Since I grew up a Cubs fan we waited over 100 years for our World Series drought to be broken. Some say it was a curse based on a goat’s right to enter the Ivy encrusted sanctuary of the chewing gum magnate.
    Here’s hoping the steak of Bush dropped more bombs than Clinton, who probably dropped more bombs than preceding fearless leaders. And OBama dropped more bombs than Bush and Trump bombed more than OBama. Well here’s to us failing miserably on this streak. Oh and please put a word in for real change in the nations water, soil, and air qualities. Modern practices are poisoning us all and we are a sick people because of it.
    I know this is asking a lot. But when much has been given; much is expected. Please make me proud … up until now I will say that the score fore my generation is… Oligarchs $billions
    Common mankind……?

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Washington Lobbyists as the team name…that is GENIUS. If it comes to pass, I will not hesitate to give you credit of coming up with the name.

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    1. Hey, I made that suggestion (Washington Lobbyists) months ago!! Let’s give credit where it’s due! [grumpy-face emoji here]

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  14. Sadly, it already appears that Biden will be a repeat of Obama, as we hear talk of bipartisanship and working closely with Republicans. Funny how Republicans just do whatever the hell they want when they have the power …

    “But it is clear that Biden is at a crossroad and still unsure which way to go. He can follow his boss, Barack Obama, who pursued bipartisanship, comity and compromise–accommodating corporate power. Or he can break toward the path of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who did battle with oligarchy, stood down fascism and welcomed the hatred of the rich.

    One thing he cannot do is try to go in both directions. The lesson of the Obama administration is that you can have appeasement or transformative progress, but you almost certainly cannot have both.”

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/jan/22/to-achieve-a-real-legacy-biden-will-have-to-be-more-radical-and-ready-to-fight

    Liked by 1 person

    1. A bit of Bonapartism, eh? (Trying to plant one foot in each of two camps and avoid getting killed by one side or the other!) Someone in MSM already deemed Biden’s agenda “progressive.” “Just” rolling us back to “normalcy,” i.e. a state wherein Dept. of Education is NOT run by a sworn enemy of public education, etc., etc., will appear progressive, I guess. I’m not sure Congress will let Biden do all by Executive Order he’s trying to do. Unless I misheard CBS News Radio while in my car today, Joe wants to increase SNAP benefits, minimum wage and some other beneficial changes for us common folks. Perish the thought!! Also, we’re all shocked, no doubt, that McConnell is still committed to obstructionism. CNN characterized the situation as “GOP Still Controls the Senate.” As I myself have been suggesting here. And, in the clearest sign that the nominee for War Secretary is anything but an advocate for PEACE (another shock, eh?), Senate overwhelmingly voted him in today. No GOP footdragging on that front! So Gen. Austin is no longer a mere nominee.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.” – Upton Sinclair

    Joe and the Dems will never “get” NOT appeasing the GOP, because their finances depend on NOT doing anything progressive.

    Liked by 1 person

        1. 🙂 I think Joe is going to be exactly what he’s always been. A corporate tool. Just look at his health care “plan.” Just look at how Covid relief has been punted until March. Just look at all the neocons in his cabinet that supported wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, etc.

          Joe’s platform was basically “I’m not Trump,” so he has no real mandate to achieve much of anything other than a return to Obama circa 2015. And look who emerged in 2015, riding the down escalator to hell, to run for president?

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Point #1: Unless I misheard CBS News Radio today, Biden is taking action for Covid relief via Executive Orders; Point #2: what purpose is served by this ENDLESS tape loop on Bracing Views about how terrible Biden is??? Enuf is enuf is enuf already!!

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          2. OK, I’ll rise to the bait. The point is not how “terrible” Biden is. The point is to hold him to account, like we’d do with any politician. Biden said he supported a public option; now it seems he doesn’t. Biden says he was for $2000 checks; now it appears he’s for a $1400 check, but you won’t see it until March at the earliest, assuming Joe can get that mythical bipartisan support from Mitch & Co. And so on.

            I will continue to hold Biden accountable, just as I’ve done with Trump. If the repetition is grating, there are many pro-Biden sites you can go to. Try CNN and MSNBC, for example.

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          3. I’m not gonna take the time to scan back over this website in search of exact statistics, but I suspect you have spilled far more vitriol over Biden than his Fascist predecessor.

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          4. That is simply not true. The “tags” to the right show how much I’ve written about certain topics. Just by looking at the tags, you can see I’ve written far more about Trump, Donald Trump, and the Trump administration than I’ve written about Joe Biden. This is hardly surprising, since Trump has dominated the U.S. political scene for the last five years.

            I warned about Trump very early on in July of 2015: https://bracingviews.com/2015/07/13/donald-trump-and-american-fascism/

            In March of 2016, I declared Trump had disqualified himself for the presidency:
            https://bracingviews.com/2016/03/04/last-night-donald-trump-disqualified-himself/

            My coverage of Trump really speaks for itself. I’ve been more outspokenly critical of Trump than I’ve ever been of Biden. The record proves it.

            If you’re going to make assertions about me, I’d really prefer that you review my articles before doing so. Do the research — or say nothing.

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          5. Tom Friedman wrote a column the other day in which he noted how gratifying it would be for Biden and the Dems to “surprise us on the upside.” While I don’t often find points on which to agree with Mr. Friedman, I do share his hope in this case. To say I’m optimistic would be a gross overstatement; I’m merely praying to be surprised.

            Liked by 1 person

    1. Denise, can you define for us sharply what you require of Biden to credit him with at least SOME progressive actions? Personally, I’m certainly liking most of his initial Executive Orders. If you can do this, be warned, I will ask YOU to commit to eating a hat in public if he surprises you by meeting the standard!! Will Uncle Joe turn out to be “the new FDR” after all? Again, personally, I highly doubt it, but…life is full of little surprises! The GOP opposed FDR’s policies vigorously. In today’s political climate, becoming “a new FDR” would be drastically more difficult. After all, the Dems don’t really control the Senate, their majority in House shrunk in last election, and the GOP has become THE Party of KKKrazies!! But I’m keeping as open a mind as I can.

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      1. I already gave him props for Keystone. But to be truly Progressive? You asked for it. First, push HARD for universal healthcare, even if it’s M4A, which is arguably not the ideal solution. He’s still against M4A, and is even backing away from his promised public option.

        Second, appoint people other than corporate tools and war profiteers to his Cabinet and other key posts (Deb Haaland being the notable exception).

        Third, adopt the Green New Deal as his goal. Being carbon-neutral by 2050 isn’t sufficient, even if we could achieve that the way we’re currently going.

        Fourth, in terms of gun control, reinstate the assault-weapons ban, at the very least.

        Fifth, re economics: Reinstate Glass-Steagall, at the very least. Also, make sure Bezos and his friends personally pay their fair shares, along with their corporations. No more net-zero-tax years for GE.

        Sixth, communications: reinstate the Fairness Doctrine.

        I can’t say which measures would be most effective for immigration and racial justice, as I’m not really in a position to judge fairness. But Biden’s 8-year path to citizenship seems reasonable in regard to the former issue, as far as I know.

        Those are the minimums. To accomplish all of the above, Biden is going to have to use every tactic he knows. He will have to relinquish his pie-in-the-sky notion of “bipartisanship,” because otherwise, he will accomplish almost nothing that can’t be easily reversed by the next guy. He needs to play hardball, and come around to the idea of eliminating the filibuster. His adversaries across the aisle will invoke the 60-vote majority at every turn, so inviting them to kumbaya time will NOT work.

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    2. not if they are galvanized by the inestimable danny sjursen, whose inspiring critiques and polemics on tomdispatch should be more widely divulgated. sjursen also quotes the redoubtable upton sinclair, whose pencraft should be on every US high school’s required-reading list in history, govt, english, and citizenship classes… as should the internet blogs of tomdispatch, ponderments, bracing views, and the alternative media articles offered by counterpunch…. marketing proactivists, please HELP!

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      1. Um….not sure U.S. high schools even have government classes these days, and for sure, not Civics. I understand that history is usually a one-semester survey course, with the emphasis on dates, so as to prep for standard tests.

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        1. ‘questuosae tragoediae de plebes’ [is latin even offered anymore in US high schools?]. the absence of civics classes is yet another ‘tragedy of the commons’. as w/ the massive denuding of amazonia and deforestations that have run-amuck in cambodia and indonesia, US high schools are deliberately denuding students’ cortical furniture. speaking of sagan [tnx philip astore], his PALE BLUE DOT and BROCA’S BRAIN should also be added to US high schools’ required reading lists… that is, if US high schoolers can still read.

          Liked by 1 person

  16. I’m just getting the “Here comes the new Boss same as the Old Boss” Feeling here. Albeit different “Vitriol” if you will, but in the risk of sounding like a “Broken Record” give the new Guy a break… His name is still wet in the Big Book! You need to get some new material “Younger Bear” I concur with Greg on this one. I feel the poor guy you’re giving him 2 Strikes before he even gets in the Box…! Now lay into me…:o)

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    1. I’m changing the name of the site to Bracingly Bashing Biden.

      There’s lots of “new material” out there. I’m sure my readers will vote with their feet, or fingers, or mouses. Try MSNBC, CNN, and other sites that are eager to praise Biden and make you feel good about your Dear Leader.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. BTW, I wouldn’t describe Biden as a “poor guy.” I’d save that descriptor for people who are truly poor in body and spirit.

      And Biden’s name still being “wet”? He was first elected in 1972. He has a very long record — and much of it isn’t pretty.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think I’ve already said, time will tell. And that I hope Biden surprises all of us. But I don’t think it’s wise to suspend criticism for 100 days. Indeed, criticism may drive Biden to build back better, as he might say.

        If we all remain silent or passive and wait for Our Dear Leader to come through for us, he may never come through. Remember what happened to all those “hopes” and “changes” from Obama.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Moreover, he hasn’t gone to any lengths to demonstrate any changes of heart he may have had to separate him from the Joe Biden of the Anita Hill debacle. Again, I’m with Tom Friedman: I hope to be surprised on the upside, but ain’t holdin’ ma breath.

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  17. For those seeking unhinged pro-Biden coverage, it’s out there, believe me! A sampling, courtesy of Matt Taibbi:

    John Heileman at MSNBC compared Biden’s speech to Abe Lincoln’s second inaugural, and suggested that the sight of “the Clintons, the Bushes, and the Obamas” gathered for the event was like “the Marvel superheroes all back in one place” (this was not the first post-election Avengers comparison to be heard on cable). Rachel Maddow talked about going through “half a box of Kleenex” as she watched the proceedings. Chris Wallace on Fox said Biden’s lumbering speech was “the best inaugural address I ever heard,” John Kennedy’s “Ask Not” speech included. The joyful tone was set the night before by CNN’s David Challen, who said lights along the Washington Mall were like “extensions of Joe Biden’s arms embracing America.”

    Feel free to applaud such coverage, but I won’t be joining you.

    https://taibbi.substack.com/p/the-echo-chamber-era

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  18. Fair enough… I thought Biden’s speech was a little long, but said pretty much what I expected he’d say. I don’t scare easily, but I feel a palpable fear in the Country @ present over the Economy & the Pandemic primarily that I’ve never seen before in my 65 years as a Citizen so i understand the balm these Journalists must be feeling as they also had to endure much manning the Trenches covering that Boob Trumps last 4 Dismal yrs. in Office… I have no other opinion on past performances of any other Democrats @ this time only hoping for a clean fresh start…Several hundred years from now maybe sooner all of this will not have mattered in the least I think if we don’t get our collective houses in order and I mean a whole new World Order in order to save our Fragile World as Carl said so eloquently –the only World we’ll ever know.

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      1. Yes, Denise being a member of The Planetary Society the Quote: its from Dr. Sagan’s Speech, and excerpt from his Book “The Pale Blue Dot” One of my favorite Books from Carl when Voyager 1 was 4 Billion miles away from Earth and captured Mother in a Crescent like a mote of Dust suspended in a Sunbeam… Carl says it much more eloquently how there’s no one coming to save us as currently known, and it behooves us to treat each other more kindly, and cherish this “Pale Blue Dot” the only home we’ve ever known… Check it out!!!

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  19. Too late. Vision is required and our population has little clarity of what is really going on… we never know what we see or read or hear is true.
    You broke the mold on that. I seek you out for clarity.
    America was raised on fear of Russia. Maybe Russian kids were raised that way, too.
    How convenient. The Military Industrial Complex wins that argument every time.

    Liked by 1 person

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