The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

And Here I Had Some Faint Hope for Biden

After the election, Senate minority leader Schumer noted that Biden, using an administrative order, could wipe $50K worth of student debt off every student loan debtor. Coming from someone so senior, this seemed like a serious proposal. It was hard to believe Biden would do something like that (after all, the bankruptcy bill that made discharging student loans in bankruptcy was his baby), BUT he does need a win and Schumer isn’t exactly a radical left-winger.

So I held out some small hope Biden might actually do it; something wide-based which would make a huge difference in people’s lives. Something BIG and GOOD.

But Biden is a means-testing, caviling centrist to his core, apparently unable to even conceive of broad based popular actions:

President-elect Joe Biden affirmed his support for erasing some student debt “immediately.” The provision calls for the federal government to pay off up to $10,000 in private, nonfederal student loans for “economically distressed” borrowers.


This is okayish, and it will help some people, but no one is going to be singing Biden’s praises to the heavens. He was offered an easy win, with party centrist support, and he refused to do it.

It’s good politics, it’s good economics (it frees up a ton of demand), and it’s morally the right thing to do.

(I am fundraising to determine how much I’ll write this year. If you value my writing and want more of it, please consider donating.)

But, and this is important, Biden almost certainly doesn’t believe that. He believes in the sanctity of debts, that the government should knee-break (errr, “enforce”) for private lenders, and that only the most desperate or the richest Americans should get help from the government.

This is how he has acted throughout his career. This is what he thinks is right, and proper, so it is what he is doing. The idea, pushed by many liberals, that he could be pressured to implement or champion left-wing policies once he was elected was always ludicrous. Even more ludicrous were the comparisons with FDR. FDR was already a left-winger when he became President; as governor of New York, he had run the most aggressive relief program in the US.

When FDR said “Make me do it” what he meant was that he already wanted to do it, but needed public pressure and support. It was his way of saying “Make a lot of noise and demands, I want you to.”

Biden doesn’t want to do left wing populism. He never has during his career and he’s not going to change.

Again, that doesn’t mean he won’t be better on some things (Iran, national parks, Covid), just that he’s not going to govern the way progressives want. In Biden’s case, you truly WILL have to make him do things, like gays forced Obama to support them by both donation-striking and getting in his and his wife’s personal space, and making their lives uncomfortable.

Since most progressives aren’t willing to do that (gays remember AIDS and know their rights and power are a matter of life and death), very little will be gotten from Biden that is good. He is going to have a ton of pressure on him from the right, as well, and in his career he has shown much more willingness to give the right what it wants than the left. This, again, is because he actually believes the right is legitimate and that the left isn’t.

It’s going to be a long few years, though, given his frailty, we may wind up talking about President Harris.

Take care of yourselves, and don’t expect big help from the new administration.




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  1. Jeremy

    “Biden doesn’t want to do left wing populism.”

    No kidding !

    THE BIDEN TRANSITION TEAM has appointed Michael McCabe to its agency review team at the Environmental Protection Agency. McCabe, who served as Biden’s communications and projects director between 1987 and 1995 and as deputy administrator of the EPA at the end of the Clinton administration, led DuPont’s defense of the toxic PFAS chemical PFOA.

    Joe Biden has named President Obama’s former top immigration adviser Cecilia Muñoz to his transition team. During her time in the White House, Muñoz often justified Obama’s harsh immigration enforcement policies, including the administration’s deportation of thousands of Central American children and its decision to kill an executive order that would have halted deportations.!

    On and on it goes. Two cheeks of the same backside.
    Just awful.

  2. Jeremy

    “No matter how cynical you get, it is impossible to keep up.”
    ― Lily Tomlin

    “160+ groups are calling on JoeBiden to withdraw Heidi Heitkamp from consideration for USDA Sec. To create a healthy, sustainable food system we need a Secretary who protects family farmers & environment — not corporate, industrial agribusiness.”

  3. Jeremy

    Please make it stop!

    ” (Biden’s) …. campaign site, which is still up and running, includes a section titled, “Plan for Black America” where he promises to “decriminalize the use of cannabis and automatically expunge all prior cannabis use convictions.”

    The fact that this language was in the pre-election press release but missing from the most recent ones has many activists very concerned.

    Activists have good reason to be concerned that Biden won’t follow through on his promise, considering that he was one of the architects of the drug war and has been against cannabis legalization throughout most of his career.”

  4. Keith in Modesto

    “Since most progressives aren’t willing to do that (gays remember AIDS and know their rights and power are a matter of life and death), very little will be gotten from Biden that is good. ”

    Well, the Climate Emergency is barreling down upon us. Some estimate we have less ten years to get to net zero carbon emissions to have any hope of mitigating the worst effects. That seems like a matter of life and death. Maybe that will get progressives to get serious enough to make a difference.

  5. Jeremy

    “When Biden bombs it will be with regret rather than relish. They will be humanitarian bombs, just like Barack O’Bomber’s were. That there will be rather more of them, and in fresh countries too, is something, dear reader, you will have to prepare yourself for.”

    Enough said, you’ve got the message, I’m done.

  6. Jeremy

    I should add for those readers not familiar with George Galloway, here he is in all his glory completely destroying politicos at a Senate hearing some years ago.

    Just brilliant, and a thing of beauty to behold.

  7. Ché Pasa

    Yes, just as those who were paying attention knew what Obama was (and gleefully still is), those who’ve been paying attention know Old Joe inside out.

    For what it’s worth, he’s probably not going to start a war, though there might be some snotty country in the Middle East that starts one for him. We should be prepared for that.

    No, he will not govern from the “left” and he won’t be persuaded to do so by advocates and activists in and out of Congress. He is a “working class – corporatist.” He’s done some good in his time. And much that’s not very good. He governs and will govern the way he thinks he’s supposed to. Caring for those above and not kicking those below too hard, but just hard enough to keep them on the treadmill. Those who fall off, too bad, so sad. Give them a nice funeral, will you?

    From appearances, he may be facing an impossible situation come January 20, and won’t be able to govern at all. What then?

  8. nihil obstet

    We can only hope that Biden’s failure advances the drive for a genuine third party. There are signs that more of the true left will no longer accept that it has no place else to go other than the Democratic Party.

  9. Willy

    If Biden moves left, he’ll have right wing hell to pay. And not the sane kind. Figure that one out.

  10. kråke

    No third parties, no pressure from milquetoast progressives, no real end to emissions, further abortion restrictions, more money and goodies to cops, more punching to the left, more banal bromides about souls and nations.

    Meanwhile, the neo-Romantics of the ancestral health/natural immunity movement are going full volkisch.

    That’s the ground we’re on.

    You know what that means. We all know what this portends.

  11. kråke


    What then?

    Broadly, the same thing that finance capitalism was already preparing for: triaging wide swaths of the former ‘developed world’, a more open adherence to population restriction, then active efforts to reduce ‘surplus’ people, policy austerity compounding climate instability, and a great dying.

  12. kråke


    The ‘true left’ in the US is much, much more likely to be swept up in palingenesis than it is to to discover itself as a revolutionary party.

    The American left is ill-formed, untested, vulgar, empty-headed and deformed by virtue of being American before its adherents ever become ‘left’.

    The conditions for the emergence of a Leninist, Maoist or Marxist left are gone. The New Left has become sentimental octogenarians in adult diapers. And the kids are, to put it generously, god damned morons

  13. Willy

    The ‘true left’ needs to overcome all the disinformation coming from socially skilled plutocrats and their mindless repetitious minions. I’ve recommended nostalgia, thinking back to when America’s ‘true left’ made America great, when it came up with New Deals and mixed economies and reasonable regulations and fought Soviet and Maoist communism and nationalistic fascism alongside their more conservative (and less numerous) brethren. But too many naysayers around here tell me this is impossible.

    Things got this way somehow. Why can’t things go back, or not this way?

  14. Zachary Smith

    “Why Biden Will Keep the U.S.-Imposed Cold War Rolling”

    That’s the title of a new essay at the Counterpunch site. The output there is pretty darned uneven, but I like this one. I’d never heard of author Vijay Prashad till now, but a look at his wiki makes me think I might like him too.

    I’d predict Biden will try to govern as if it’s Obama’s third term. He is probably going to be a lot better behaved than Trump, but other than that, I fear we any other improvements will be few and far between. Given Biden’s long track record, we may not be even that lucky.

  15. different clue

    Here is a photo-toon satirically showing the difference between basic DC FedRegime militarism and basic DC FedRegime militarism during a Social Justice Wokeness Democratic Administration . . . like the possibly-incoming Joemala Administration.

  16. different clue

    One has to click on the link, and then click on the resulting picture again to get the full picture.

  17. Joan

    @Willy, I agree with you.

    The last generation of Americans that I agreed with was likely the Lost Generation (as Ian has talked about) who pushed for regulation of the rich and knew what both the roaring twenties and the Great Depression could do to America.

    Land management and urban planning that took place under subsequent generations is something I don’t agree with at all. Americans live in a rotting hell created by their parents and grandparents (or to be fair, created by the rich and powerful, and then locked in, once a generation was born into it). Americans live in the ghost towns of the countryside, or a rent bubble city with homeless everywhere, or a sprawling suburb of expensive and cheaply made matchbox homes that require a car to get anywhere.

    Furthermore, my experience tells me that a voting majority of Americans are in favor of this. They could change but they choose not to, which signals that they agree with what is happening. I finally realized that fighting against this would just destroy me in the process and not produce any kind of tangible results. I needed to accept that I had fundamental differences in values regarding land management and urban design, and that other people certainly didn’t have to agree with me, nor could I change their minds.

    This was reinforced by close calls of nearly getting struck by cars while on my bicycle. I finally came to the conclusion that my own people wanted to murder me, so I prioritized emigration. Imagine airdropping a Japanese, Taiwanese, or Central-Western-Northern European into America. Someone who felt high density living and cooperation was normal, that of course you need adequate public transit in a city, etc. That is how I have always felt in America, a painful cognitive dissonance. I’m so glad to be out, and I hope to lay down roots and never have to go back.

  18. Joe Biden’s win is not a healing, it’s a reprieve …

    I stand by my post of a week and two weeks ago, Trump has been voted out (roughly) 50/48/2% – fifty (50) percent against Trump, forty-eight (48) percent for Trump and two (2) percent jerking-off. This is not a mandate, this is not change. Of greater concern is we appear to have traded the reich-wing worship of a false prophet for a liberal messianic slate of unrealistic, unrealizable expectations.

    We’re facing four (4) more years of the same bullshit we’ve put up with for the last twelve (12), if not twenty-five (25). Nothing has fundamentally changed.

    It’s a reprieve, what you do with it is on you.

  19. Paul Harris

    And yet we still keep on voting for the same politicians, in the hope that they’ll do what they promise. We need new policies new parties new politicians, otherwise there is no point in continuing to vote. There really isn’t.

  20. Jeremy

    Anybody get to see three US Consultant Docs at yesterday’s Senate hearing begging them to Authorize the use of Hydroxychloroquine to treat Early Covid ?

    Incredible – and because Trump mentioned it a while ago its use has become politicized and the US population has been denied it.

    If you have time, watch the whole thing – and share widely as it won’t be reported in the US media.
    Mind blowing stuff.

    Start at the 17 min mark.

  21. Jeremy

    A little much needed light relief!

    “Bongo Bide

  22. Jeremy

    “An unholy union of the National Security State and the neocon-backed and corporate-funded Democratic Party are about to assume power: with media-supported internet censorship a key weapon.”

    Read and weep.

  23. Ten Bears

    You are welcome … to drink fish tank cleanser.

    Please, go ahead on ‘er. ASAP!

  24. Plague Species

    Damned if we do, and damned egregiously with extreme prejudice if we don’t. Either way, there is no way out. Biden is more of a pragmatic, slow-motion damnation. Trump is a horrific blitzkrieg damnation in every conceivable way.

    This, for example, is horrific. This is cult behavior. They are at least 73 million but may be as much as 100 million. Almost, if not, half the adult population in this country is under a spell. They are full-fledged cult members and America is quickly devolving into Jonestown 2.0.

    “People want it to be influenza, they want it to be pneumonia,” Doering said. “We’ve even had people say, ‘You know, I think it might be lung cancer.’ … Even after positive results come back, some people just don’t believe it.”

    Doering said multiple patients target nurses like her with their “anger and hatred.”

    “They call you names and ask why you have to wear all that ‘stuff’ because they don’t have COVID because it’s not real,” she tweeted on Saturday.

    “I think it’s just a belief that it’s not real and nursing happens to be on the receiving end of that,” she told CNN.

    “It just makes you sad and mad and frustrated and then you know that you’re just going to come back and do it all over again,” she added.

    Doering also noted on Twitter that some patients argue with her that President-elect Joe Biden “is going to ruin the USA.”

    She, Doering, is not alone. My daughter who will graduate with a Wildlife Biology degree this May, is working while matriculating. She has worked at a local restaurant for the past four years in fact. She’s a hard-working steadfast loyal employee and she has to take shit every shift just as this nurse has to take shit, from the very same cult members. Her customers chastise her constantly. They poke at her and taunt her and try to coerce her to take off her “silly mask.” She is double masking now, in fact, considering the surge in this pandemic. She needs the money so she just can’t stop working. The owners of the restaurant, scumbags in fact, support their patrons treating their staff this way and in fact engage in the same behavior. They frequent their own restaurant as though they are the cult member patrons and do not wear masks. It’s Bizarro World. The owners, by the way, are drug addicts and alcoholics. No lie.

    Yet, I am labeled not credible and Q Anon in defense of a bastard who is cheering on Sydney Powell to win in her defense of Donald Trump so McDonald Jones Trump can remain POTUS and finish off what he has started and that is murdering as many Americans as possible and collapsing America with maximum deaths and casualties in the process. I am labeled Q Anon while my daughter puts her life on the line serving Q Anon patrons and taking their abuse. To the person who labeled me Q Anon, f you. My daughter is ten, yes ten, times the man you could ever be. She faces this virus, as does my son and my wife, every day and those who spread it in order to survive economically. She is putting her life on the frontline of this war every day. It is her personal Vietnam. And you have the temerity to call her father Q Anon and defend a disgruntled faux “Leftie” pig who wishes Sydney Powell, and I guess Ghislaine Maxwell too, well. Pathetic. If this is the “Left,” fascism has already won because the “Left” incurably cannibalizes itself engaging in self-destructive behavior like this.

  25. j

    From the \”Just When You Thought It Couldn\’t Get Worse\” Dept.

    Susan Rice for Sec. of State?
    God help humanity.

    \”No one in high levels of U.S. government has been more intimately complicit in the death of more than six million Africans in the Democratic Republic of Congo than Susan Rice, the bloodstained Democratic Party political operative who is actively seeking the job of secretary of state in the incoming Biden administration. If recent history is a guide, we can expect the entirety of the Black Democratic establishment to support this uber-criminal’s elevation as a fitting reward to Black voters for putting Joe Biden in the White House – thus implicating all of Black America in the largest genocide since World War Two.\”

  26. Ché Pasa

    A new ruling coalition? Nonsense. It’s the same one we’ve endured for decades with slightly different players and modestly less chaos.

    The Trump crime family’s efforts to blow it all up and install their own capos and gumbas in power has failed, but even if they’d succeeded, “nothing fundamental would change.” Continuity of government and all that.

    Yes, gangsters are in charge, just like they have been since dirt was new. The Trump crime family are just less polite about it. You want something different? Go for it. But it’s not going to happen by playing the same game by the same rules (so-called) that produces what we’ve got, and can’t seem to get out from under.

  27. kråke


    There is no going back.

  28. kråke


    No, man. Just no. Not new parties and new politicians. That leaves the owners alone, in a position to buy up and co-opt whomever is next to be “new”.

  29. S Brennan

    2024 could/would have been a reform year.

    The DNCers “led” by Schumer & Pelosi have would be seen as unmitigated disasters but a Biden win would forestall such by as much as, depending on the breaks, three DNC administrations plus at least one R and probably two. So think 2040! But that’s assuming the R’s don’t run another Hitler…which would force Blues to eat another shit sandwich…no?

    And with “lefties” making excuses for the Blue-Prez already:

    “For what it’s worth, he’s probably not going to start a war, though there might be some snotty-[*] country in the Middle East that starts[*] one for him. We should be prepared for that.” – Ché Pasa

    I mean c’mon, if I was a DNCer type I’d be laughing at the “liberals”, “progressives” & “lefties” groveling before Biden…as long it’s blue, they really don’t care who. No reform is possible with losers like the “lefties” on this site, you’re a bunch of Bangkok whores just waiting for the next blue suit to walk down the street. Wait a minute. That’s unfair to prostitutes, they charge, here, “liberals”, “progressives” & “lefties” give all of themselves over to a blue suit…for free.

    Finally, poverty line in my state is 17G. That allows you to get subsidized Obamacare but, if one starts making money, you know, like heaven forbid, get a job, you all of it back. So, an insurance valued at an inflated value of $1600/mo, where you pay $400/mo until get a job, say at the end of June, well guess what? You will owe “taxes” for 3/4 of a year’s of subsidies, let’s see $1200 x 9 = $10,800. I am pretty sure that’s what the Biden program will look like. A program for losers, willing to remain losers; for the rest of their lives or, have the living shit taxed out of them if they take a good job.

    *[Ché I know your pretty insular but surely you’ve noticed that it’s always the other guy who starts a war when a Blue Prez is in office, only when there’s Red Prez is war unnecessary.

    So yeah, I am prepared to watch D’s say virtually nothing, at least while it matters, about a Blue Prez starting another regime change war. The silence was deafening when Obama coup’d Honduras; they were, as you say, getting a little snotty; nor when Obama bombed the living shit out of Libya because his paid for wahhabist terrorists were unable to close the regime change deal, they were, as you say, getting a little “snotty”; nor when the US paid Nazis in Ukrainians needed a little help overthrowing a regime that was up for election in 5 months, they too were, as you say, getting a little snotty and then who could forget, oh but we already did…didn’t we? Well, the millions of dead innocent civilians killed under Obama were, as you say, getting a little snotty weren’t they? ]

  30. the pair

    he’s a credit card whore. usury is his meal ticket (and his son’s) and he’ll tinker on the edges only as much as his minders allow.

    (sorry for the super-hard right websites i had to provide as sources.)

    as for iran, the POTUS is hardly the one calling all those shots and even the most “diplomatic” efforts since 1979 have amounted to “the israelis want us to bomb you and get bombed in return so please let us inspect your nuclear stuff and we’ll cut back a little on the starvation snactions”. it’s ironic that the insane and highly illegal neocon iran/contra affair was probably the height of decent relations with tehran.

    the closest we’ve had to (class traitor and better for it) FDR was obama coming into his first term. sadly he was another spineless capitalist and told the banks “i’m protecting you from the torches and pitchforks” whereas FDR had the same tribal duty and actually produced a decent system for those of us outside that tribe (even if it was a pacifier and not excatly hardened to prevent the kind of sabotage we’ve seen since).

    i still maintain biden will be another carter; one term of doing nothing much only to be swept out by a charismatic stuff suit who says cute, clever things in speeches to disguise the imperial psychopathy behind the curtain.

  31. G Raymond

    So you wanted a magical flying unicorn that shits Mars Bars, and instead you had to settle for the removal of an unhinged tyrant from office. Must suck to be you.

  32. Willy

    Character matters. Demonstrated behaviors matter. The Bolsheviks employed terrorism before they gained power and they tripled down on terror once they had power. Should that have been such a surprise? Why wouldn’t Trump simply become more of himself once in power?

    Trump was a mistake, an uncontrollable strategy by wishful thinkers hoping he’d burn Washington down in exactly the way they’d fanaticized. Yeah right. And I leave my door open hoping my garbage can bears will put on carpenters belts and help me remodel the place.

    Biden may be nothing more than a status quo placeholder. But at least we don’t have to worry about him going all dictatorial on our asses, where our limited say becomes no say. Or even worse since we’re “far left marxists”.

  33. Zachary Smith

    Anybody get to see three US Consultant Docs at yesterday’s Senate hearing begging them to Authorize the use of Hydroxychloroquine to treat Early Covid ?

    Incredible – and because Trump mentioned it a while ago its use has become politicized and the US population has been denied it.

    According to my first link, Donald “Orange Man” Trump owned stock in the company making the miracle drug. So he hyped the stuff, but didn’t take it himself when he came down with Covid. That link mentioned something I’d hadn’t heard about before – Senator Ron Johnson was the author of the “Right-To-Try” Bill signed by Trump in 2018. He admitted his legislation was created to do harm to the FDA. If his wiki is even half true, this Johnson fellow is a genuine ***hole. Why the hearings if patients can already use any treatment they please?

  34. GlassHammer

    “This is okayish, and it will help some people, but no one is going to be singing Biden’s praises to the heavens. He was offered an easy win, with party centrist support, and he refused to do it.” – Ian


    This is Biden, Schumer, and the rest of the party leadership mending a break in the Democratic Party’s base (specifically the vanguard of the base) that split the college educated into those that got the education and made it ( i.e. Warren’s base, Biden’s base, Klobuchar s base, Buttigieg base) and those that got the education and diddn’t make it (Bernie’s base). Debt is the one thing that cuts across the college educated base regardless of one’s success.

    This isn’t about “righting a wrong” or “good policy” (whatever the hell that means these days).

    This is shoring up the base at minimal cost and knocking the wind out of the part of the vanguard no on knows how to manage (i.e. The Bernie Base).

    And the Democrats need this to work because the college educated is the one block they can’t lose especially now that Republicans ate into their minority base.

  35. S Brennan

    “So you wanted a magical flying unicorn that shits Mars Bars, and instead you had to settle for the removal of an unhinged tyrant from office.” – G Raymond

    No Raymond, what we had to “settle for” was another shit-sandwich served up by pathetic DNCers like yourself. Looking at the vote tallies, it looks like Biden was a far more popular politician than Obama.

    And while I despise Obama [and kin], that’s horseshit, Biden didn’t have a landslide sweep of historical proportions and simultaneously lose house and senate seats. Anybody who is acting too purposely stupid to not understand that the numbers don’t add up ought to be, as Plague Species suggested…”means tested” before being given a ballot.

  36. Willy

    Gotta admire those legal masterminds Sidney Powell and Mayor McCheese. It’s hard heroic work combating a multinational cabal of communists, socialists, progressives, liberals, centrists, neoliberals, RINOs, democrats, Soroses, Chavezes and Tucker Carlsons… plus all those long hours processing firehoses so full of evidence it makes ones brains liquify and run down their face.

    Can we just quit being so rude and demanding so they might spray us with all their evidence?

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