The same “injustice” system that unlawfully locked up the Central Park Five will continue unabated with Biden and his “top cop” sidekick.
“The stimulus has been cut off since July, the eviction moratorium is about to end, and people are suffering, dreadfully.”
It feels like I’m raining on everybody’s parade. CNN’s Van Jones emotionally declares after the “victory” that he believes in Joe Biden. Does that mean he believes in Biden’s history of mass murder internationally, mass incarceration and surveillance domestically, and threatening to veto national health care during a pandemic? People are happy they no longer need to see Trump’s face or hear his voice, but they can only be happy if they keep the pictures of starving Yemeni children out of their mind. As a Jew who grew up with pictures of the Holocaust revealing hell itself, pictures of Yemen bring me the same grief and despair.
Jones says "Being a good man matters.” Biden probably sexually assaulted Tara Reade, he certainly likes being physically affectionate to young girls, and it is quite likely Biden won the election by a hair because the story of his son Hunter using his father’s VP position for business dealings was shamelessly censored by mainstream media. Trump was the perfect caricature of the norm in politics -- crass and uncouth. Caitlin Johnstone nails it; “Biden Will Have The Most Diverse, Intersectional Cabinet Of Mass Murderers Ever Assembled.” A good man?
“Trump was the perfect caricature.”
Trump laid bare how rotten to the core our sociopathic state is, but instead of the Democrats owning their blunders, their 2016 loss was blamed on Russia -- very lucrative to the weapons industry -- as a distraction. The post mortem on the election says the moderate and right-wing of the Democratic Party won, and the progressives should back off. Once again, the broad swath of Bernie folk are given the finger. No single payer, no student debt forgiveness or free college... issues before COVID. Now we have historic unemployment, shuttered schools and a looming housing crisis that is painful to imagine. We are all hiding in fear behind masks. Biden says he will support those who voted against him as well as those who voted for him. But what has he offered to tackle our myriad, historic crises? Will he be true to his promise to increase the minimum wage to $15? Talk is cheap.
With the biggest voter turnout in history, Trump once again appeared the populist, sensitive to the working class, which as the reality show host famous for “You’re fired!” is beyond comprehension. But the abject failure of the Democrats to address any of the continuing crises, from COVID to institutionalized racism, left the disenfranchised masses with only Trump to express their desperation.
“Now we have historic unemployment, shuttered schools and a looming housing crisis.”
As in 2016, the Democrats learned nothing from the Bernie and Trump phenomena. After Bernie was cheated out of the 2016 primary, many of his supporters voted for Trump because the Democrats didn’t speak to them about bread and butter issues, and they still don’t. If it’s not clear that Bernie would have beat Trump in 2016, it’s certainly clear that he would have swept Trump this year. But the suits on Wall Street, who pull the strings, decided better Trump than Bernie because Bernie would have taken a slim section of their repulsive wealth.
That Biden’s win against the unstable racist was close is damning enough. What is more damning is that he’s promised that “nothing will fundamentally change,” so the utter bankruptcy of the Democrats will be glaring. And of course, anti-war is not on their agenda at all, as they voted even more money for the obscenely bloated military than Trump asked for. Trump told his supporters to distrust the post office and vote only on election day, which any seasoned politician knows is a risky strategy, particularly under COVID. In spite of that, Trump got more votes this year than Clinton did in 2016.
It is now clear that Trump was never part of the in-crowd, but an outlier. He is “bleeding Republicans,” who are joining the Democrats in declaring him unfit. Obama, early in his first term, said he didn’t realize how much of a “playbook there was.” He obviously followed it, meticulously, and Trump didn’t, although Trump dropped the MOAB (Mother of All Bombs) and others to show he would play cricket with the weapons manufacturers and their servants. The NYT said he had “heart” when he bombed Syria. Trump was surprised to see that “The top people in the Pentagon...want to do nothing but fight wars so that all of those wonderful companies that make the bombs and make the planes...stay happy, but we're getting out of the endless wars…” That was his death warrant just like JFK revealing his desire to “splinter the CIA into a thousand pieces and scatter it into the winds” after the disastrous Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba.
“Anti-war is not on the Democrats’ agenda at all.”
Van Jones said the results didn’t provide the “moral victory” that Democrats wanted after seeing children being taken away from their mothers at the border and Black children being called “the n-word” at school under Trump’s leadership. Children in cages at the border is of course a bone-chilling image, but the same “injustice” system that unlawfully locked up the Central Park Five, most of them minors, will continue unabated with Biden and his “top cop” sidekick. Mass incarceration increasingly and repeatedly tears children from their parents and sends them back into poverty. Bone chilling.
Prison Policy states, “The U.S. incarcerates more than any other country and more than five times higher than most of the countries in the world...The growth in the U.S. prison population can be more closely attributed to ideological policy choices than actual crime rates...Mass incarceration has not managed to significantly enhance public safety, but instead has consistently and disproportionately stunted the social and economic wellbeing of poor communities and c
ommunities of color for generations.”
“The growth in the U.S. prison population can be more closely attributed to ideological policy choices than actual crime rates.”
Does anybody think Biden will come close to addressing those concerns? He is more likely to increase the injustice, as he still brags about pushing the crime bill that exponentially increased the prison population to over 2,000,000.
Does anybody think Biden will protect the environment, since he vowed to expand fracking? He believes in science if it doesn’t offend his doners. Even re-signing the Paris Climate Accord is too little and too late. And lest we forget, the US military is the biggest planetary polluter by far. We have never been closer to midnight for climate catastrophe or nuclear war. It is staggering that discussion, let alone formal debate, about peace is entirely missing from the conversation.
In August, Margaret Kimberley said, “We will hold their feet to the fire is one of the saddest or perhaps funniest of all quadrennial proclamations….Even if the people were sufficiently well organized to call anyone to account, they would be begging Biden and Harris to act in direct opposition to the interests of the donor class who put them in their positions...Of course there are sincere folks who swear they will speak up when the horrible Democrat foisted upon them gets into office and promptly carries out orders from the rulers. But like clockwork, they are told that the congressional majority isn’t big enough to give the president any leeway.”
“Discussion about peace is entirely missing from the conversation.”
People are already saying Biden can’t accomplish anything because the Republicans control the Senate and that Mitch McConnell alone can prevent anything. That’s a cop-out. Obama had both houses of Congress during Sandy Hook and we didn’t even get gun control. Celebrated Obamacare is such a failure that many who are forced to pay market rate premiums cannot bring their children to the doctor because the co-pay is hundreds of dollars.
A functioning democratic government requires debate and strategy to achieve its goals. President Lincoln offered jobs to congressmen in exchange for their votes against slavery. Bernie was known as the “amendment king” because he was so good at crossing the aisle. But Pelosi, the ultimate partisan, said Trump only sent $1,200 checks because he likes to sign checks. She obviously doesn’t worry about her bank balance. The stimulus has been cut off since July, the eviction moratorium is about to end, and people are suffering, dreadfully. What will the Democrats go to the mat on? There must be something.
“Obama had both houses of Congress during Sandy Hook and we didn’t even get gun control.”
Any semblance of the “left” was neutered after Obama’s victory. His two terms can brag of seven new wars of mass murder overseas, legalized kidnapping (extraordinary rendition), secret kill lists on “Terror Tuesdays” when he agreed who a drone could kill, Guantanamo continuing, increased surveillance and deportations, bailing out the banks, and prosecuting more whistleblowers and sources than all prior presidents combined. If that’s what the first Black president delivered, I shudder to think what Biden will do.
Biden will be the first president in recent memory who promised to be more interventionist and attacked his opponent for being insufficiently hawkish. Trump was seen as less warlike than both Clinton and Biden, which is why military families preferred him, as they suffer the losses from war. Former State Department employee William Blum asserts: “A terrorist is somebody with a bomb but no air force.’’ The US commits war crimes daily, as a global cop and occupier, with over 900 military bases overseas, and more than half of our discretionary taxes going to the military. Will Biden fix that?
“Biden attacked his opponent for being insufficiently hawkish.”
Biden said he's against the Yemen War. He can end it on his first day. Can we hold his feet to the fire on that? Will we hold his feet to the fire to de-escalate tensions with Russia, China, Iran, N. Korea or Venezuela? How many decades, under many Democratic presidents, has Cuba -- 90 miles from Miami -- suffered under illegal sanctions? During the Vietnam war, we held our Democratic president accountable, chanting “Hey, hey, LBJ. How many kids did you kill today?” We still must stop the killing.
It will be easier to see through Biden’s empty shell, filled only with loyalties to Wall Street and overseas business exploits, than Obama’s articulate, charming style. But only those comfortable enough can now sit back and breathe a sigh of relief that we outlived the Trump era. Those suffering on the streets, in poverty, unemployed and uninsured under COVID, will continue to resist. They are beyond incremental change. Joe “nothing will fundamentally change” Biden must fundamentally change his position, or we must make the change. By any means necessary.
The danger is that Joe will put us all to sleep. To show that we will continue to resist, let’s start with a demand that Trump as incumbent, or Biden as President-elect, agree to sign the new START treaty, which Putin has repeatedly agreed to sign if the US does, and which expires in February? Imagine having an anti-war movement again. Don’t celebrate, organize. Basta!
Riva Enteen, former Program Director of the SF National Lawyers Guild, is a lifelong peace and justice activist, retired social worker, lawyer, and editor of "Follow the Money," a collection of Pacifica Radio's Flashpoints Interviews. She can be reached at [email protected]
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