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At least Biden's Team Isn't Worse Than Trump's Team

Although I would have voted for Rahm in this poll too, I couldn't believe Bruce Reed didn't get one vote. I mean he's really, really terrible-- and even more eager than Biden to cut so-called entitlements which is how people like them see Social Security and Medicare. But Rahm is such an easy choice. And then yesterday, the Biden squad threw another arch villain's name into the pot-of-dreck, Rhode Island's corrupt neoliberal governor Gina Raimondo as a likely Secretary of Health and Human Services. Is she ever puke-worthy! When she was Rhode Island's treasurer, she wasn't just a corrupt Wall Street shill, she was caught trying to cut Rhode Island's pension benefits. As bad as Trump or Rahm Emanuel? No, but that's too low a bar to judge anyone by. As far as giving Raimondo a health-related post, she's been a catastrophe on the pandemic and Rhode Island has fared far worse than any other New England state:

  • Rhode Island- 55,699 cases per million residents.

  • Connecticut- 34,058 cases per million residents.

  • Massachusetts- 33,984 cases per million residents.

  • New Hampshire- 16,424 cases per million residents.

  • Maine- 9,082 cases per million residents.

  • Vermont- 7,149 cases per million residents.

Rhode Island's COVID death rate (1,313 per million residents) is the 6th worst in the country.

If you're sitting around waiting to Biden to appoint someone good to something... don't hold your breath. He's always been the bottom of the barrel and he's only interested in finding other hacks from that end of the barrel. Norman Solomon, writing for Salon this week, looked at why some liberals and arms control experts are backing war profiteers for Biden's cabinet. He was specifically referring to Secretary of State-designee Antony Blinken and Secretary of Defense-designee Michèle Flournoy, who "shamelessly teamed up to cash in while rotating through high positions at the State Department and Pentagon. At the same time, Blinken and Flournoy... have backed nonstop U.S. warfare... Some foreign policy specialists with progressive reputations are voicing support and evasive praise for prospective Cabinet members-- as though spinning through revolving doors to broker lucrative Pentagon contracts is not a conflict of interest, and as though advocating for an aggressive U.S. military posture is fine. Rationalizations are plentiful, but the results are dangerous. It's an insidious process, helping to set low standards for the incoming administration. Enablers now extol potential Cabinet picks who've combined pushing for continuous war and hugely expensive new weapons systems with getting rich as dealmakers for the military-industrial complex."

I'm already shuddering at the idea of watching even worse Republicans in the Senate abusing the nominees and rooting the Republicans to derail the Biden nominations. Solomon:

Flournoy is grimly notable for urging potentially catastrophic military brinkmanship with China. Like her unabashed pursuit of wealth from the weapons industry, her dangerously aggressive approach toward China is anything but a secret. Yet in her current quest to run the Pentagon, she has received unequivocal support from numerous individuals who are respected in progressive circles, including those with avowed dedication to beating swords into plowshares.
From the top of the influential and well-heeled Ploughshares Fund, Joe Cirincione and Tom Collina have jumped onto the Flournoy bandwagon. Days ago, Cirincione proudly tweeted news coverage of the "Open Letter on Our Support for Michèle Flournoy to Be the Next Secretary of Defense," which he had signed along with Collina and 27 other "nuclear experts."
Other signatories of the open letter included Rachel Bronson, president and CEO of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, as well as Arms Control Association board chair Tom Countryman and executive director Daryl Kimball. Former Defense Secretary William Perry also signed.
Cirincione's tweet, touting the pro-Flournoy open letter, ran into pushback from longtime peace activist Marcy Winograd, who tweeted back: "Joe, pls read her essay, 'How to Prevent a War in Asia,' which should be retitled 'How to Start a War in Asia.' Did you know she wants to continue to send 'defensive' weapons to Saudi Arabia while we 'pivot' to SCS [South China Sea] & more war games next to 2 nuclear powers?"

Solomon went back to Winograd for what he calls, accurately, a cogent assessment of where support for this garbage Biden is putting forward is coming from: "Progressives may be tempted to trade truth for access to the powerful and privileged, thinking they can influence the course of events if they bite their tongue when Flournoy talks of fighting and prevailing in a war with China. But this sort of thinking is misguided. The power progressives hold must be wielded now before it's too late, before Flournoy is crowned and the U.S. slips further into decline, mired in a high-stakes high-tech arms race-- or worse, another endless war, this one with a nuclear-armed nation of over 1.3 billion people."

The good news is, as Solomon points out, that "Outside the Beltway bubble, grassroots groups are organizing to put up a fight against nominees who have repeatedly pledged and shown their allegiance to the warfare state... Biden's historic value was to defeat Donald Trump, and progressives played a vital role in that defeat-- while often being candid about the many awful parts of the Biden record. Now progressives should emphatically challenge every odious aspect of the Biden administration, every step of the way."

Amen, that!

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