The Unz Review • An Alternative Media Selection
A Collection of Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives Largely Excluded from the American Mainstream Media
 BlogviewTed Rall Archive
Hey, Joe! These Are Our Demands
Email This Page to Someone

 Remember My Information


Bookmark Toggle AllToCAdd to LibraryRemove from Library • BShow CommentNext New CommentNext New ReplyRead More
ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
These buttons register your public Agreement, Disagreement, Thanks, LOL, or Troll with the selected comment. They are ONLY available to recent, frequent commenters who have saved their Name+Email using the 'Remember My Information' checkbox, and may also ONLY be used three times during any eight hour period.
Ignore Commenter Follow Commenter
Search Text Case Sensitive  Exact Words  Include Comments
List of Bookmarks

Progressives and other leftists promise/threaten to pressure/take to the streets to make demands of President-elect Joe Biden if/when he falls short of our expectations. We on the left don’t want to be one of those bad bosses who tells you your work isn’t good enough but never says what they expect from you in the first place, so you’re reduced to fumbling around in the dark.

Because there isn’t a political party or other formation that can credibly speak for a broad base of the American left, and because the left is divided between work-from-the-inside Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez/Bernie Sanders types and street-level activists, no one has defined a clear metric to judge the Biden administration’s personnel, policy and legislative actions. As we saw under former Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, vague demands foment the lack of accountability that allows Democrats to wiggle away and take us for granted.

We need a clear set of demands.

I think our demands should look something like the following, and that not if, but when Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris let us down, we should point to our demands when we hold them to account for their sins of omission and commission in the streets and in voting booths.

Planet Comes First

No other issue matters if the earth and the people on it are dead or the climate crisis has prompted the collapse of human civilization. In any classic trade-off between short-term economic growth and longer-term environmental prosperity, reducing carbon omissions to net zero as close to overnight as possible (2030 is too long) and taking every possible step to reduce air, water and other kinds of pollution must become any responsible political leader’s top priority. Biden’s campaign literature called the Green New Deal a mere “crucial framework for meeting the climate challenges we face.” Screw that watered-down pablum. AOC’s Green New Deal should be expanded and broadened, with a radically shortened timeline, and signed into law on Jan. 20, 2021.

Immediate Relief for COVID-19’s Economic Victims

No one should suffer economic ruin due to government-ordered lockdowns to stop the coronavirus pandemic. Everyone evicted for nonpayment of rent or whose home was foreclosed upon after March 15, 2020, should be given housing of equal or higher quality at the government’s expense, zero rent, for at least one year. All back rent currently outstanding should be forgiven. All overdue mortgage payments should be forgiven. Banks and landlords should be made whole by applying to a new federal program funded by reductions in the defense budget. Not only should the $600-per-week supplemental unemployment benefits that expired on June 30 be renewed, but checks for that amount dating back to July 1 should be issued at once. Furthermore, any American who is currently underemployed or unemployed should qualify for those $600-per-week payments regardless of whether they previously used up their time-limited benefits. Going forward, there should be no time limit on collecting unemployment benefits.

Fully Socialized Medicine

We tried for-profit medicine. It failed even before COVID-19. It’s time to join the modern world. Hospitals, labs, research centers and clinics should be nationalized into a fully socialized national health care system. Doctors and other health care workers should become federal employees. Health insurance companies, no longer needed, can shut down.

Fully Socialized Higher Education

The college and university model no longer works. It doesn’t make sense to require young men and women to take on staggering student loan debt that low, entry-level salaries will never allow them to repay, much less settle down and buy a house. Private colleges and universities should be nationalized by the federal government, which also has the benefit of being a fair punishment for charging full tuition for online education during COVID-19. State and local colleges and community colleges should be folded into a fully federalized system of higher education that is as free as primary and secondary public schools. After all, employers’ insistence on hypercredentialization has turned the bachelor of arts degree into the new high school diploma. Both should be cost-free.

Restart the Police

It is painfully obvious to anyone with an ounce of sense that American policing is an engine of oppression rather than protection. That means it needs to be reinvented from the ground up. Reform isn’t enough. Taking away military hardware and training recruits with a guardian rather than a warrior mentality are starts, but systematic racism and the fact that the police view us as threats rather than as employers require starting from scratch. Every police officer — local, state, federal, postal, transit, whatever — should be fired. They should not be allowed to reapply for their old jobs. The police should become like abortions: legal, safe and rare. We need fewer cops. Most should be unarmed. None should be in the business of issuing fines. No one should be rewarded simply because they arrest more people. We shouldn’t be recruiting cops out of the military. Cops should be peace officers, not an occupation force.

Empty the Prisons

Many inmates represent no threat whatsoever to society. Prison causes deep-seated psychological problems for the prisoners themselves; their friends and families; and society in general. Close down jails and prisons.

End the Wars

Article 2(4) of the U.N. Charter and international law are clear: The only legitimate casus belli is in self-defense, either to an armed attack or the clear and imminent danger of such an attack, such as an army massing along another nation’s border. Any involvement in armed conflict that does not qualify as one of these must be discontinued. Drone assassinations are immoral and illegal, as are proxy wars like the U.S.-backed conflict in Yemen and wars of choice, such as those in Afghanistan and Iraq.


Throughout the campaign, centrist Democrats told progressives that they should vote for Joe Biden and then push him to the left after he won. They even said that they would march in the streets alongside leftists. Well, Biden won because progressives voted for him. Now it’s time for the centrists to make good on their promises. Pushing for these and other progressive goals would be a good start.

• Category: Ideology • Tags: 2020 Election, Democratic Party, Joe Biden 
Hide 23 CommentsLeave a Comment
Commenters to FollowEndorsed Only
Trim Comments?
  1. IvyMike says:

    Asking pigeons to poop gold.

  2. anon[196] • Disclaimer says:

    Joe doesn’t give a shit what you think. He’s going to be president because he sucked lots of CIA clit at a time when the incumbent puppet ruler was misbehaving. So CIA stole the election for him. You had nothing to do with his installation and he knows it.

    We’re well into the Solzhenitsyn zone. So the overarching principle is his, Don’t believe them, don’t fear them, don’t ask anything of them. You go over the government’s head to the world. Tell the treaty bodies and charter bodies how CIA’s vegetable failed. THEY give a shit what you think. The outside world will help you rake US government apparatchiks over the coals in front of the whole world. Instead of one fake futile four year electoral cycle you have five review cycles with teeth: the UPR, HRC and CAT review, the IACHR, the CERD.

    Don’t just hold him to 2§4, though that’s a good start. Drop wrenches in the works until they show good-faith accession to the minimal standards of the civilized world, the rock-bottom prerequisites for state sovereignty: the International Bill of Human Rights; the UN Charter – all of it, including Article 51; and the Rome Statute. And more more more until all the core conventions are formal US commitments. That puts economic policy under the microscope at ECOSOC. It puts the police state under the CAT and HRC. They key is, don’t waste your time talking to the USG, petitioning, demanding, fuck that shit, go directly to the treaty bodies that police the government’s binding commitments. The institutional framework for this is vastly better than your shit police state: more institutional integrity, tighter more objective standards. The authorities are in Geneva.

    This kleptocracy does not have the capacity or legitimacy to entertain demands. It’s dogshit you scrape off your shoe.

  3. Jmaie says:

    Close down jails and prisons.

    This is why we can’t have nice things, by which I mean there’s no adult conversation going on. It’s either 100% this or 100% the opposite when the answer is somewhere in the middle…

    • Agree: meamjojo
    • Replies: @Greta Handel
  4. No says:

    Imagine thinking that the govt which just locked you down for going on a year in order to weaken you to the point of accepting your UBI serfdom gives 2 shits about compensating you for your lost home. Who is this guy (the author)?

    • Replies: @haha
  5. Wyatt says:

    AOC’s Green New Deal should be expanded and broadened, with a radically shortened timeline, and signed into law on Jan. 20, 2021.


    Immediate Relief for COVID-19’s Economic Victims

    Wouldn’t have been a problem if Dem governors and lawmakers hadn’t been cunts about the whole “95% effective cure for 99.99% survivable virus” thing.

    Fully Socialized Medicine

    Part of the reason the healthcare system has failed is because it was even partly socialized. Medicare eats up 25% of the federal budget to cover between 16-20% of the population. Hospitals were able to overcharge because the government can’t audit for shit.

    I can’t even bother with the rest of this garbage. This is a picture of Ted Rall and you can tell just by looking how many chromosomes he’s missing.

  6. roonaldo says:

    So what’s the problem? I programmed my “Go Back in Time to Change the Future Machine” with all your demands, ran the program, and am just now pulling up the “Sneak Peek” feature to view the results, set to kick in within the hour.

    Hold on a sec…must be a minor glitch in the program—AOC has declared herself “God-Queen-Bitch-of-the-Universe,” the power is off and it’s gettin’ cold, and hordes of looters are tearing up the neighborhood.

    No sweat, I’ll just hit control-alt-delete and the undo button and…what the…aw c’mon, whaddayamean “system failure-run for your life”??

    Well, shit…I’m awfully sorry, folks. I may as well take off my mask now and load the forty-four…better save the last round for…

  7. meamjojo says:

    My demands are more pedestrian and therefore more likely to be attainable.

    Biden needs to strengthen the agencies that help and protect the consumer in our everyday lives. The CFPB needs to be brought back to life, the FTC and FCC need less bureaucracy and more consumer action while the FDA needs to become an agency that works for the good of the medical consumer, not the medical industry. I also want to see more antitrust actions against the likes of Google, Comcast, etc.

    Speaking of Comcast, the FCC needs to something about the long hated Comcast monthly “Broadcast TV” and “Regional Sports” fees, which together add over $20 extra/month to consumer bills BUT are not being included in the price of any advertised packages, which is pure bait & switch. That’s hundreds of millions if not billions in extra costs to consumers annually!

    What happens is Comcast advertises, for example, some package that cost $89.95/month for 12 months but then you discover that with taxes and fees, that package is closer to $120/month. And if they raise these fees during your 12/24 month contract, you get nailed with them anyway despite having the contract. This should be made illegal. We need a strong oversight agency to take this bull by the tail and look the situation in the eye. Don’t wimp out on us Joe!

  8. @Jmaie

    Tom Engelhardt’s replacement often writes like an overwrought, cutout NPRog. He never answers questions or provides citations because he knows little of his subjects, and can only distinguish himself among his “[w]e on the left” peers by how strongly he feels about the Climapocalypse, “systematic racism,” etc. Rather than dig in and make a persuasive argument, he rakes up a pile of narratives, which have to be stated as comprehensive and absolute. Some others:

    [T]aking every possible step to reduce air, water and other kinds of pollution must become any responsible political leader’s top priority.

    Everyone evicted for nonpayment of rent or whose home was foreclosed upon after March 15, 2020, should be given housing of equal or higher quality at the government’s expense, zero rent, for at least one year.

    Private colleges and universities should be nationalized by the federal government

    Every police officer — local, state, federal, postal, transit, whatever — should be fired. They should not be allowed to reapply for their old jobs.

    Sloppy and hyperbolic, things someone might say after three beers in a freshman dorm.

  9. @meamjojo

    If you think that you need politicians to save you from TV, perhaps you should consider dropping both.

  10. I’m confused. Are we supposed to say “Hold my beer” first or “Watch this”, then “Hold my beer.”

    This should make a hell of a video.

    • Replies: @SaneClownPosse
  11. @meamjojo

    You don’t need Broadcast TV or Sports TV in your life.
    Get outside and live life actively.

    • Agree: meamjojo
    • Replies: @meamjojo
  12. @another fred

    Handing your beer off to a fellow alcoholic for safe keeping.

  13. According the U.S. National Debt Clock we’re only 27 trillion in debt now.

    And, now Ted wants to heap another 20 trillion on that funeral pyre.

    The AOC Green giveaway to Democrap/Republiturd cronies is only 10 trillion all on its own. Of course, we all know that’s just the initial estimate.

    That would mean we’d need another department all on its own on par with the Military Industrial Complex so that we could lavishly throw worthless dollars down another rat hole.

    But, we’d be saving the planet.

    Ah, what the hell, its only money. And, we all know a square of TP has more intrinsic value than a Federal Reserve Note.

    So, get with the program. Write your congressman and request your fair share of the filthy lucre unless you’re a white privileged cis-normative-male. In case of that circumstance you might want to seriously consider slicing off your tallywhacker and drinking soy lattes so you can grow breasts.

  14. There are some things in the lefty playbook of Ted Rall that the ‘social Right’ would like to see as well … like some sort of national health care system, pronto. End to the wars, too.

    ‘Empty the prisons’ needs some nuancing. Yeah, there’s a lot of non-violent crims, a lot of excessive brutal over-long prison sentences, a lot of people in jail who are flat out innocent … but there are also some truly rough characters, who do not need to be out in public just yet.

    And on that front, one thing that merits being the very FIRST act of a new President, would be to instantly commute every death sentence in the USA, declaring a total end to the barbaric capital penalty in America. It is an appalling blot on the ‘progressivism’ of St Barack Obama that he let executions continue … when the USA got along fine with no executions for nearly 10 years 1967-77

  15. meamjojo says:

    Did 11miles hike/job, 2200ft of elevation gain outside Saturday. Plus 120 knuckle push-up’s in 6 sets of 20 with a 9lb pack on my back Does that count? I’m 69 yo.

    • Replies: @Greta Handel
  16. @meamjojo

    And how much tube time in the past week?

    • Replies: @meamjojo
  17. meamjojo says:
    @Greta Handel

    I NEVER watch TV as a single focus. I am always on the computer and watch the TV with maybe 1/3 of an eye. Much of what I do watch and rewatch are science & Nature programs.

    Is this OK w/you?

    • Replies: @Greta Handel
  18. @meamjojo


    Television has enabled and thrived on the decline in critical thinking and written and oral communication, as is evident in comparing, for example, the speech (written or oral, composed or extemporaneous) of public figures. I haven’t owned one for years, detest their presence in restaurants and other public spaces, and wouldn’t watch 99.9% of the programming if paid twice the amounts you were complaining about upthread.

    How you spend your time is, of course, up to you. The importance of TV to you seems unusual here, though.

  19. haha says:

    OK, genius. You want the prisons to be emptied out and the cops to be disarmed. And you go on to write, “Many prison inmates represent no threat whatsoever to society. … Close down jails and prisons.”. No doubt you will be more than happy to house some of the displaced inmates in your home.

    Tell me you were being satirical.

  20. haha says:

    In response to your musing about “Who is this guy (the author)?”

    All I can say is he is a unique genius, a genius who can write despite lacking a single working brain cell in his head. Maybe that is why Ron publishes his stuff, to show off his collection of writers of all ilk.

  21. kapoore says:

    You lost me with the green new deal. As a former environmental activist, I learned the hard way that the environment is just a wedge issue of control. These people don’t really care about the environment because if they did they wouldn’t be spraying these nanoparticles of aluminum that are killing insects (poisoning the nervous system) to supposedly combat global warming when we are going into global cooling. This is all CIA op stuff. (Yes, to my alarm and surprise the CIA has an airforce) Carbon dioxide is not a problem, it is a benefit. It is plant food and if we run out of it everything will die. Why not focus on cleaning up the oceans or whatever, but this carbon credit thing is just more excuses to tax some to make others very rich. We should let Africa develop its resources so that women don’t have to cook on dung open fires, but have stoves like the rest of the world. The green new deal is not progressive it’s oppressive and cruel. We don’t have a replacement for fossil fuels and you recommend that all these people go without heat as we plunge into the grand solar minimum freezing, cold. I hear that alternative fuels like solar and wind wreck havoc on the environment…lithium batteries, etc. So… not a good idea to make the rich richer and give them more control over hmmm our ability to exhale without a monitor.

  22. The word “demands” immediately turns me off. Every time I hear somebody with a set of demands, I picture a hostage negotiation.

    When somebody demands something of me, I automatically refuse on principle. Or spite, which is principle’s gloriously evil twin.

  23. Ted Rall, the Stalinist, demands that the U.S. become the new Soviet Union.

    What a surprise.

Current Commenter

Leave a Reply - Comments on articles more than two weeks old will be judged much more strictly on quality and tone

 Remember My InformationWhy?
 Email Replies to my Comment
Submitted comments have been licensed to The Unz Review and may be republished elsewhere at the sole discretion of the latter
Subscribe to This Comment Thread via RSS Subscribe to All Ted Rall Comments via RSS
Our Reigning Political Puppets, Dancing to Invisible Strings
What Was John McCain's True Wartime Record in Vietnam?
The major media overlooked Communist spies and Madoff’s fraud. What are they missing today?