Thursday, February 18, 2021

Joe Biden Is As Depraved As Ever

So a president creepily calls an eight-year-old girl whom he just met "Baby," and then further demeans her by ordering her to stop worrying her pretty little head about ever catching Covid, and other children ever catching Covid, or even about her parents and other children's parents ever catching Covid. 

You're forgiven if you thought that I was talking about Donald Trump.

But since it was Joe Biden's exhibition of creepiness and mendacity and sexist disdain, delivered in that over-familiar grandfatherly way of his, the whole world is feeling ever so much better now. Or so the gushing corporate media informs us.

Video of Biden's comforting bald-faced lies to young Leyla Salas at a CNN town hall Tuesday night quickly garnered thousands of "likes" and countless glowing media reviews.   

Her mother Jessica addressed Biden:  "As we’ve been talking about coronavirus, which is very real and scary and it’s especially scary for children who may or may not understand. My children Leyla, 8, here and my son Mateo 7 at home often ask if they will catch COVID and if they do will they die. They are watching as others get the vaccine, and they would like to know when will kids be able to get the vaccine.”

Biden telegraphed the aggressive lie he was about to tell the child by prefacing it with the usual condescending flattery beloved of hucksters and politicians from time immemorial: "Leyla, beautiful name!"

With that obligatory gaslighting out of the way, Grandpa Joe got away with a whole series of whoppers.

“We haven’t even done tests on children as to whether or not certain vaccines work or not or what is needed. You’re the safest group of people in the whole world, number one. Number two, you’re not likely to be able to get exposed to something and spread it to mommy or daddy. And it’s not likely that mommy and daddy will be able to spread it to you either. So, I wouldn’t worry about it baby, I promise you. But I know it’s kind of worrisome.”

My own two-year-old granddaughter recently caught Covid from her Daddy, who caught it at work because his job does not allow him to work from home. The spreading of this virus occurs in thousands if not millions of other families every single day.

The whole point of Biden's act of shameless lying to a little child is to get the schools reopened so that Mommy and Daddy can get back to work and won't have to rely on paltry government relief checks while they inconvenience their bosses with their chronic absences from work. For the leader of a party which so prides itself on its devotion to "facts" and "science," Biden is certainly not living up to the standards of what the liberal class  calls the "reality-based community." Of course, when liberals criticize Trump and the Republicans for their own ignorance and stupidity, they're also willfully ignoring the truth that Trump and the Republicans are mainly feigning their own ignorance and stupidity as a sick way to impress a voting base that they, in turn, condescendingly assume are stupid and ignorant.

It's a vicious cycle and a closed feedback loop. The relentless performance of ignorance and stupidity at the very highest levels of the media-political complex does (unlike their wealth) have the effect of trickling down on the audience. This result is desirable for them, not so much for us. Think, for example, if Biden's reassuring lies make children and the adults who love them now think that they're so impervious that they don't have to wear masks any more.

Biden, a much more seasoned politician than Donald Trump could ever hope to be, is able to hide his disdain for people by flattery, cajolery and "harmless" teasing. He topped off his shameless lies to Leyla by joking, "Oh, you're getting old. You're in second grade!"

This avuncular joshing only serves to trivialize the girl's extremely rational and fact-based concerns. Maybe somebody can tell Biden that children have a pretty good sense of when they're being lied to and don't much care for good-natured and insincere teasing from adults that they don't know. There's something creepy about strangers feigning intimacy with your kids. I know it always made my maternal hackles rise. I suppose Leyla and her mom could be somewhat grateful that at least social distancing etiquette precluded Biden from grabbing their shoulders or - god forbid - sniffing their hair at the CNN town hall.

Biden's depraved idea that kids, working parents and teachers are somehow miraculously immune from Covid also was broadcast at his last debate with Trump, when in calling for schools to re-open, he preposterously said: "And by the way, all you teachers out there — not that many of you are going to die, so don't worry about it. Don't worry about it. Come on."

This cavalier remark, coming as it did within the hailstorm of Trump's own preposterous lies, garnered zero pushback in the corporate media. It is apparently acceptable to Joe Biden that a certain percentage of educators do die from Covid in the interests of capitalism. This is the same kind of depraved thinking that makes a certain amount of civilian fatalities (euphemised as "collateral damage") acceptable in our endless wars of aggression.

Looking back over the transcript of that final debate with Trump, I'm reminded that Biden also framed the Black Lives Matter movement in a truly bizarre way, claiming that wealthy Black people get stopped by police as often as poor Black people do, and therefore we should not demonize any wealthy people.

"It's about having the ability to be free from violence as you're accumulating wealth," he actually said. It's not, apparently, about having the right to be free from violence as you're walking down the street and not making any money out of simply living.

That twisted, market-based neoliberal logic also was manifested at this week's CNN town hall with Biden's strange rationale for not forgiving $50,000 in student debt through executive action. Falsely claiming that he doesn't have that authority (although he does, he says, have the right to cancel $10,000 of a person's debt) he then went on to warn that Ivy League grads would only unfairly bilk the government on loan forgiveness largesse and thus steal funds from Pre-K programs.

 It's the same old, same old kind of means-testing rationale that dooms social programs for people who need help. Conservative politicians erect strawmen, such as Reagan's famous Cadillac welfare queen, to justify cuts to programs. This argument is also currently being made to reduce the amount of Covid relief, for fear that too many wealthy undeserving people and other cheats will score government aid.

It's a variation of "the whole class must be punished" if the culprit does not come forward. And since the culprit in our neoliberal oligarchic system is alternately an outright figment of the fevered reactionary imagination or the reigning principal of the school himself, the punishment and the beatings of the powerless by the powerful will continue. Until, perhaps, the powerless revolt.

Another example of Biden's twisted reasoning for not giving people nice things in order for them to even survive in a time of unprecedented crisis is his refusal to order single payer health care for the treatment of pandemic victims.

During the primary campaign, even in the face of polls showing at least 80 percent Democratic support for Medicare For All, Biden doubled down on his own opposition. That Italy was then reeling from a Covid outbreak and its hospitals were overwhelmed was all the proof Biden needed to conclude that Italy's single payer system does not work. He actually correlated universal health care and guaranteed coverage with the actual disease. He insisted that Italy's humane payment system had an adverse effect on the pandemic.

How is this fallacious nonsense any different from Texas Gov. Greg Abbott blaming liberal wind turbines for his state's devastating winter weather crisis and humanitarian catastrophe?

Unlike Joe Biden, I am not a medical expert who, by the wave of a magic wand and shameless lying to a child, can make Covid go away. So I will not speculate whether he suffers from clinical dementia.  But judging from his half-century as a right-wing politician relentlessly trying (and often succeeding at it) to out-Reagan Ronald Reagan himself, I think it's safe to say that this man is as depraved as they come.


Jay–Ottawa said...

Leave it to the NY Times to print all the news that’s … acceptable. In today’s digital edition there’s a story about the latest decline in US life expectancy. (Can it be a pattern is forming?) What is mainly blamed for the latest dip from 78.8 years to 77.8 is of course the plague, which toll is on top of the ongoing opiate overdose plague, which was the main culprit for a previous life dip and for which there is no vaccine, other than short-lived Narcan.

The Times goes on to report “the disproportionate effects on communities of color.” Much of that is blamed on their sorry tendency to develop hypertension and diabetes and otherwise skip appointments to the doctor.

“I knew it [the drop in life expectancy for Blacks and Latins] was going to be large but when I saw those numbers, I was like, ‘Oh my God,’” Elizabeth Arias, the federal researcher who produced the report, said of the racial disparity. Of the drop for the full population, she said, “We haven’t seen a decline of that magnitude in decades.”

Might there be other causes of the trend to lower life expectancy? By my count, the word ‘economics’ is mentioned only twice in the article, and there is very little focus on income disparity and private health insurance as having a central role in the decline of American health.

“She noted that life expectancy in America began to lag behind that of other developed countries in the 1980s, a divergence that has puzzled researchers. One theory is that growing economic disparities have also made their way into the health of Americans.”

Economic disparity is but “one theory” –– even though wealth and health track beautifully on all the charts. Nevertheless, many competing theories must be entertained as explanations for the experts to remain “puzzled.” (Cue Paul Krugman for more acceptable theories.) Here’s what I think: You remain puzzled if your salary or your publication depends on your remaining puzzled. (h/t Sinclair Lewis)

Money –– most especially the lack of it by billions of people –– is the root of all evil.

THE FIX: Provide your population with free quality education. Find a way to curb the runaway financialization of everything. Restore a balance at home between manufacturing and the service economy, both of which must provide well-paid jobs. Cut back the defense budget drastically. Legislate into perpetuity a progressive tax structure. And don’t forget how to catch up with those wily “other developed countries” simply by passing M4A, and, trust me on this one, baby, misery will decline and life expectancy will rise. I hope someone with a sub to the NYT will pass that theory on to its puzzled writers and researchers.

Mark Thomason said...

Covid was useful to bash Trump. It was exploited.

Now they don't actually want to do the hard work, pay the prices of fixing it.

Notice that what Trump "failed" to do was "provide leadership" to places like California, that would never have accepted *his* leadership in *anything* anyway. If Trump said to close for Covid, they'd have wanted to stay open.

Trump did not tell them to take care? That was their excuse then. What is it now?

Proof? They now want to re-open early and pretend the problem will go away. It was useful then, and now it isn't.

None of this defends Trump. I just point out that those who attacked him and still use him as whipping boy are liars, always lied as much as he did, and are even worse now they think they've won and can get away with it.

Jay–Ottawa said...

According to a Lancet white paper on the US healthcare system: “By 2014, well before Donald Trump, the nation’s wealthiest 1 percent were living, on average, 15 years longer than the poorest 1 percent.”

Long live the disparities. Money, more than genes, is a reliable predictor of longevity. Your family physician (assuming you have a family physician) orders labs, imagery and specialist input to discover the “what” that will most likely do you in. But clue in your favorite statistician about your financial situation, and his or her tables will tell you, without the MD’s data, just about when you can expect to show up for your funeral.

Valerie Long Tweedie said...

I was just listening to theanalysisnews with the guest, Thomas Frank. Frank was saying that a lot of the Republican base in Kansas voted for Biden. What he didn't say - and I was thinking - was - Biden IS a Republican!!! I knew we were f - - - - d when the Democrats chose Biden to go up against Trump. I mean BIDEN of all the choices the DNC had to back. It was a horrific pill to swallow that I actually voted for Biden as a protest vote against the lunatic Trump. As I did it, I knew I was only buying a little time.

Am I surprised that Biden is acting this way? No, I am not. He is, after all, a neoliberal Republican.

He seemed a little senile in the Town Hall. Is he another Reagan? Probably.

Mark Thomason said...

"Am I surprised that Biden is acting this way? No, I am not. He is, after all, a neoliberal Republican.

"He seemed a little senile in the Town Hall. Is he another Reagan? Probably."

What would Kamala Harris be then? It may be an urgent question.

She is as neolib Republican as California Democrats had to offer.

Erik Roth said...

I urge watching and listening to this.
Just as what Obama didn’t do led directly to Trump, now Biden is following that same pattern.
Like Sarah Palin said in 2010: “How's that hopey, changey stuff working out?”

“Not Doing This Is a Choice”: Biden Drags His Feet on Canceling Student Debt Despite Campaign Pledge —
February 18, 2021

Valerie Long Tweedie said...

In reply to Eric:

I don't think there is any question that Biden is an Obama re-run. I think all we can do is support Progressive politicians - as imperfect as they are - and make our displeasure known. I read somewhere that both Biden and Kamala Harris tend to go whichever way the wind blows so if there is a big enough stink they might bend on particular issues. But it will always be an uphill battle. And Manchin, doesn't help.

And, yes, I do think Biden's policies (like Obama's) will pave the road for another Trump - perhaps a smoother version. As I wrote, my vote for Biden wasn't an endorsement, it was just buying a little time.

Hope springs eternal.

Kat said...

He's not the good sort of misogynist that you work with to fight the war machine
Nor is he the good sort that will fight the terror of cancel culture (I guess left is a stretch here)