Supporters of the Democratic frontrunner would be happy to have his unelected, unaccountable handlers run the country, says Caitlin Johnstone.
By Caitlin Johnstone
I didn’t watch the last Democratic presidential primary debates because I figured that without Rep. Tulsi Gabbard in there shaking things up it would be a boring, vapid parade of insubstantial verbal foam, and I love myself too much to go through such a horrible ordeal. By all accounts my prediction was correct, but I did miss one thing that’s been making the rounds in video clips for the last couple of days which I find absolutely bizarre.
Most of you have probably heard about Biden’s infamous “record player” comment by now, but for those of you who missed it, Biden was asked by debate moderator Linsey Davis to defend some comments he made about America’s problems with racism in the 1970s, and he responded by essentially saying that black people don’t know how to raise their kids so they need to be taught how by social workers. Biden has been receiving mainstream criticism for his racist and paternalistic position, along with plenty of mockery for saying that parents need to be told to “make sure you have the record player on at night” so that kids hear enough words in early childhood.
It is pretty clear that Biden was trying to communicate an idea that is premised on a deeply racist and condescending worldview, so it’s to be expected that people would want to talk about that. It’s also to be expected that people would be making jokes about how the cute old man said “record player” like a grandpa. But what isn’t being discussed nearly enough is the fact that what Biden said was also a barely coherent, garbled word salad stumbling out of a brain that is clearly being eaten alive by a very serious neurological disease.
I’ve typed out a transcript of what Biden actually said, verbatim. There are no typos. I’ve also noted where Biden closes his eyes, probably to concentrate, which he does whenever he seems to be struggling especially hard to string words together. Try to read through it slowly, word-for-word, resisting the instinct to mentally re-frame it into something more coherent:
“Well they have to deal with the — Look, there is institutional segregation in this country. And from the time I got involved I started dealing with that. Redlining. Banks. Making sure that we’re in a position where — Look, talk about education. I propose that what we take is those very poor schools, the Title 1 schools, triple the amount of money we spend from 15 to 45 billion a year. Give every single teacher a raise that equal [closes eyes] raise to getting out — the 60-thousand dollar level.
“Number two: make sure that we bring into the help the — [closes eyes] the student, the, the teachers deal with the problems that come from home. The problems that come from home. We need — We have one school psychologist for every 1500 kids in America today. It’s crazy. The teachers are reca — Now, I’m married to a teacher. My deceased wife is a teacher. They have every problem coming to them. [Closes eyes briefly] We have make sure that every single child does in fact have 3-, 4- and 5- year-olds go to school — school, not daycare. School. We bring social workers into homes of parents to help them deal with how to raise their children. It’s not that they don’t wanna help, they don’t want — they don’t know quite what to do. Play the radio, make sure the television, [closes eyes tightly] the — ‘scuse me, make sure you have the record player on at night, the-the-the-the phone, make sure the kids hear words. A kid coming from a very poor school, [closes eyes] a very poor background, will hear 4 million words fewer spoken by the time they get there.”
Notice how it gets more garbled the longer he speaks. The response I transcribed was about 80 seconds in length. That was just one small part of a debate in which the former vice president performed no better and forgot three of his fellow candidates’ names.
Compare this befuddled, incoherent mess with footage of a younger Biden, like his famous quip about how Rudy Giuliani only ever mentions “a noun and a verb and 9/11” in a sentence, or this clip where he said if Israel didn’t exist America would have to invent it to protect its interests in the Middle East. Biden has always been notoriously gaffe-prone, but he was also sharp, alert and articulate enough to deliver a punchline. As journalist Michael Tracey has been pointing out, what we’re consistently seeing over and over again from the former vice president now are not “gaffes,” but clear signs of cognitive decline. Contrast the difference between Biden’s younger footage and what was seen at the last debate with footage of Bernie Sanders throughout the decades, who has remained virtually identical save for appearance and hoarseness. Age does not account for this difference. Biden’s brain is dying.
It is certainly understandable that people are concerned about the presidential frontrunner having a racist worldview. But what’s really weird and creepy is how few people are discussing the obvious fact that the presidential forerunner is also clearly suffering from the early stages of some kind of dementia. The brain that spouted the gibberish transcribed above would probably score poorly on a basic test for the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease, yet discussion of his inability to complete a coherent sentence is relegated to the margins of political discourse. This is someone who is campaigning to have access to the nuclear codes, yet we’re only talking about how he’s kind of racist and not about the fact that his brain is turning into Swiss cheese right before our eyes. It’s freaky.
It’s freaky, but it kind of makes sense. One common difficulty in getting early treatment for people with Alzheimer’s disease is that those suffering from it often go to great lengths to hide their impairments, and another difficulty is that their families are often deeply in denial about their loved one’s mental decline. According to the Mayo Clinic, “Some people hide their symptoms, or family members cover for them. That’s easy to understand, because Alzheimer’s dementia is associated with loss, such as loss of independence, loss of a driving privileges and loss of self.”
I think we’re seeing precisely this happening, both with Biden, and with his supporters. Biden himself is clearly doing everything he can to feign mental competency, and as a powerful politician aiming to accomplish a lifelong ambition to become the U.S. president he’d certainly have a lot of ego invested in doing so. His supporters seem to be doing all kinds of denial mental gymnastics around his cognitive decline as well; just check out the responses to this Washington Post tweet for its article about Biden’s “record player” response.
Biden: "Make sure the record player is on at night" so kids hear more words https://t.co/szcq0vjVPP
— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) September 13, 2019
Here are a few examples:
“Don’t pretend you didn’t understand what he was saying.”
“Actually, I recently saw a turntable for sale at Best Buys & vinyl records are back on the market. Try to keep up, WaPo.”
“My 22 year old son and all his friends play records on record players these days. If you’re insinuating that Joe is out of touch, you’re out of touch.”
“Actually currently, there are some people playing record players because they find the vinyl record has better sound quality. I think you are just picking and choosing who to go after.”
“He was saying they not hearing enough words. We did. We were read to. We listened to children’s albums. We had conversations. He was trying to get at the importance of those things. He didn’t do a great job on communicating it but he was right.”
“Twitter snark aside, there are studies to back up that claim.”
“He got 80% of the way through the debate without an embarrassing gaffe that highlights his age. Of course, Trump couldn’t get halfway through a debate without threatening his opponent with imprisonment.”
“Honestly…so what. I got the sentiment.”
“Not sure why people are being so condescending. Vinyl outsold CD last year, so, you know, record players are everywhere these days. You could say he’s stuck in the past or you could say he’s trending. Be kind.”
We saw this same impulse to protect and compensate for Biden’s mental decline from audience members during the debate, who gasped out loud when Julian Castro suggested that Biden had forgotten what he’d said two minutes ago. Many rank-and-file Democrats are so desperate for an end to an administration that is making them increasingly anxious and neurotic that they find it cognitively easier to compartmentalize away from the obvious fact that Biden is in a state of mental decline than to turn and face that reality. So they make excuses and pretend that his demented word salads are perfectly rational, hip references to the resurging popularity of vinyl records.
The only people who are absolutely acutely aware of Biden’s cognitive decline and yet still want him to become president are his handlers. There is no way his consistent pattern of verbal unintelligibility has gone unnoticed by those who are responsible for facilitating his election, and indeed The Hill reports that his “allies” have been floating the idea of scaling back his campaign appearances and scheduling them for earlier in the day when he’s not tired to help minimize his “verbal flubs.” These people are aware that Biden is losing his mind, but they are pushing him toward the White House anyway.
If Biden supporters were really intellectually honest with themselves about what’s going on, they’d see that they don’t actually want Joe Biden to be president, they want his unelected, unaccountable handlers to be president. From a position of intellectual honesty they’d be taking the position of arch neocon Bill Kristol, who once said he’d “prefer the deep state to the Trump state.”
And of course that wouldn’t be a first among U.S. presidents even in recent history. Ronald Reagan had early signs of Alzheimer’s disease during his presidency according to his own son, and George W. Bush was infamously just a puppet of his handlers like Dick Cheney. Indeed it would be possible to have an actual, literal Jim Henson puppet as president of the United States without America’s unelected power establishment skipping a single beat.
But that’s exactly the point: having a real human being in there with even a semi-functional mind can put some inertia on the most sociopathic impulses of America’s unelected permanent government. Both Donald Trump and Barack Obama are of course horrible presidents who have continued and expanded the Bush administration’s most evil agendas, but Obama slowed down the push to arm Ukraine against Russia and slammed the brakes on a full-scale bombing campaign on Syria, while Trump was unable to get along with John Bolton and is losing interest in Venezuela while resisting the push to start new wars. Despite all their flaws, they’ve resisted the permanent government’s worst impulses in some key ways. If it’s just Biden’s handlers and the unelected power establishment, there’s no humanity anywhere near the brake pedal.
Joe Biden thanks his longfriend timefriend who's a friend and has been a friend in and out of public life. pic.twitter.com/EoUWZeW0an
— Florian (@BetaODork) August 22, 2019
So this makes sense to talk about no matter how you look at it. But we’re not. In mainstream discourse we’re speaking as though this is just a charmingly gaffe-prone old man who makes a few controversial statements from time to time but would still make a fine president, when really he shouldn’t even be allowed a driver’s license.
And I just find that really creepy and uncomfortable. As someone who’s never been able to leave elephants in rooms alone, the fact that the leading presidential contender is neurologically incapable of speaking coherently for eighty seconds sticks out like dog’s balls and it’s absolutely freakish that this isn’t front and center of our political discourse right now. Biden’s dementia should be the very first thing we discuss whenever his name comes up, not the last.
Caitlin Johnstone is a rogue journalist, poet, and utopia prepper who publishes regularly at Medium. Follow her work on Facebook, Twitter, or her website. She has a podcast and a new book “Woke: A Field Guide for Utopia Preppers.”
This article was re-published with permission.
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This looks like a repeat of the way Hillary Clinton’s serious illness was played down before the last election.
The most famous one was at the fifteenth anniversary commemorations of 9/11 in New York, less than two months before the 2016 election. She had to leave early and nearly collapsed while being helped into the car that took her away.
She reappeared in public about two hours later, looking like she had recovered physically. But her mental state did not appear too good when she said with a big smile, “It’s a beautiful day in New York.” She apparently didn’t know what event had brought her to New York on that particular day.
Regrettably, the usually brilliant Caitlin Johnstone is becoming in this article “agist”.
Biden has always been a poor public speaker, not having his thoughts in order and speaking nonsense – when not having prepared notes or a teleprompter to back him up. Now that he is old, this is stereotypically ascribed to senility, Alzheimers etc. The “sharp, articulate” younger Biden that Johnstone refers to was presumably Biden reading off prepared speeches (written by Neil Kinnock and others) off the teleprompter. Most of the time he was never sharp and articulate.
There are a few politicians – Obama and Gabbard among them – who have the ability to speak extemporaneously “fit to print”. But this is unusual, among politicians and human beings generally.
Biden should be criticized for his failed policies – support for the Iraq War, Libya, Syria, criminal justice policy etc., as well as for corruption in Ukraine, that is, for substantive reasons.
“Biden’s Brain Is Swiss Cheese and It’s Creepy We’re Not Talking About It”
And what is new about that?
Trump? Bush? I could add Obama, the Peace Prize winner who dropped bombs for eight solid years.
Wake up, Presidents do not really control the empire anyway, so except for embarrassment, it really does not matter.
Indeed. And plenty of people are talking about it, just not the Washington Post or the New York Times.
‘his “allies” have been floating the idea of scaling back his campaign appearances and scheduling them for earlier in the day when he’s not tired to help minimize his “verbal flubs.” These people are aware that Biden is losing his mind, but they are pushing him toward the White House anyway.’
We saw this with Hilary toward the end of the 2016 campaign. There are two thing going on here. The first is a sense of entitlement which is programmed to the point of being inbred among elites. And the second is the accelerated mental decay that goes with having to uphold so many lies. It is a toxic mix.
So that makes Trump what????
Yes, Biden is getting older and probably has memory loss. No doubt.
But look at Trump’s resume. It speaks for itself. And hopefully he is on his way out.
There was a movie back in 79 starring the late Peter Sellers as an intellectually handicapped man whod soent years in a walled garden of a big house. The home owner dies and Chance the Gardener by a series of comic circumstances winds up being spoken of as a potential successor to the ailing POTUS who he winds up becoming a confidante to . Its all about inane misinterpretations of the simple comments of a childlike innocent. Finally a secret service agent does some digging and finds the truth. Bidens candidacy is thus life imitating art.
The fun of the two header pix of the last story and this as you scroll up and down with them ( the last one reversed to make this one) reminds me of drawing on little pads as a kid making the stick figure move across the page as you flip through the pad from start to finish.
It has been my contention that Biden’s powerful backers from the military-industrial-intelligence-media complex are fully aware of his mental state, and that is precisely why they want him to be president. Why? He would only be a figure-head president. He would be given a suggested running mate as well as a list of candidates for cabinet and other appointed positions (as Obama was given) and Biden would follow that in making appointments. Policies of his administration would be consistent with the interests of the military-industrial-intelligence-media complex.
Another Bush, exactly.
That’s a much smoother path than the loud noise of a Trump or the hypocrisy of an Obama.
In any case, no matter who it is, unless the person wants to share John Kennedy’s fate, he or she will not challenge the real power.
Today, a longtime friend’s response when I sent him this article was, “The divisions on the left will get Trump reelected- it’s sad.” I explained to him that blaming the “left” is foolish for several reasons. For one, there is no real vibrant left in this country; we strangely exist on the suppressed fringes though our positions are often supported by the many. Secondly, the only “leftish” candidate among the Democratic throng with any chance of staying in the race, is a nominally left politician, Bernie Sanders, who still supports enough imperialistic endeavors to make a true leftist cringe. Thirdly, it’s disingenuous to blame the left wing of the Democratic Party when the center right, which is the vast bulk of it, won’t take responsibility for the grievous wrongs they’ve inflicted on the masses of Americans crying out for a lessening of the grossest inequality not to mention the pain inflicted on peoples the world over with our military misadventures! He wrote back that I was lecturing him. So be it. He demanded an apology for “being mean.” I apologized, but told him I had to be honest. If he was going to “blame the left” for a potential second Trump term, I was sure as heck going to call him out on it. If anything, I told him, it’s the center right Democrats who are going to hand Trump another term, based on past experience like in 2016! I’m telling you guys, this country is nuts. Thank goodness for CN and some of you commenters. You keep it real. It’s so frustrating to try and discuss reality with the politically propagandized and/or ignorant masses of Americans. Supporters of corporate Democrats are the worst to try and reason with. Good God. I guess things need to hurt them a little bit more for them to wake up. I’m a stranger in a strange land.
Caitlin, thank you for the transcription version of the word salad out of ‘uncle Joe’. I think so many people are used to hearing Trump, when he doesn’t have a teleprompter to read, that Biden almost seemed ‘normal’ in DC circles.
By the way, when I listened to him and he talked about the-the-the phone, his antecedent was the “record player” and he almost gaffed “phonograph”. Of this I am certain, and he caught himself just in time. He got as far as phone…..
If there is such a description as a “debate blurt” Uncle Joe qualifies as a blurter. I also spared myself the pain of having to listen.
Dear God, Caitlin – you are so right! And thanks for printing the whole 80 seconds so we can see the nonsequetors and jumbled thinking clearly. Also thanks for the link to the video of Bernie over the years. If this doesn’t convince waverers, nothing will. I’m forwarding this to everyone.
‘Our nuclear was getting very tired.. Now we have it in, as we would say, tippy-top shape. Tippy top. We have new and we have renovated and it’s incredible. We all should pray we never have to use it.’ Trump was speaking in response to questions about the US’s military capability amid increasing tensions between America and Iran.
Read the quotes and more: https://metro.co.uk/2019/09/20/donald-trump-talks-gibberish-nuclear-weapons-announces-trip-mars-10782103/?ito=cbshare
It was already observed by many analysts of the American political scene that a wide sector of the population wishes the members of Legislative and Executive to exhibit proper feelings, and an undue stress on thinking is duly derided as elitist. Thus the best candidate for the highest office would complete education at some elite universities and spend the rest of his life erasing all traces of education except of moments of bragging “I am plenty smart”. Biden was a perfect complement to “elitist” Obama, thus he was recruited to squash “perfesser” Warren and subsequently, Trump. If there is anyone who could make Trump look “elitist”, that would be Biden.
One of Trump’s attractions to “the deplorables” was that he speaks like the man on the street, and expresses what they feel (“proper feelings”) and think. Biden’s word salad will just make Trump look smarter, not elitist.
On the other hand, fake progressive Elizabeth Warren will appear elitist vis-a-vis Trump.
Kids this is exactly what the intelligence community wants, someone who they can claim needs to be told what to do or be kept discreetly out of the loop, so currentlly Joe maybe the chosen one just as Bill Barr is reported to have told Slick Willy.
We end up where we are at the moment because our security state apparatus is ran by the intelligence community who do not really want a strong intelligent, clear minded president who can actually think for himself. Ask Barrack Obama!
For years I’ve used this analogy, crude as it maybe, that when the newly elected president is called on for his national security briefing it is always a tense encounter because this “Newby” is about to have a come to Jesus meeting with this most abusive of all government entities. The intelligence community. He is “shown the way”he will act because if he doesn’t this community who has relieved him of one his go—-s will come and relieve him of the other.
This started as a joke on my part, I’m now convinced it reflects reality.
At some point many here will understand that since around the time of the murder of JFK , CIA has framed things in this manner.
CIA decided under Dulles that they were the only ones capable of leading this country, mainly because they wanted it ran their way and no other. Don’t take my word for it though, read Arthur B. Darling’s “THE CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY, AN INSTRUMENT OF GOVERNMENT TO 1950 copy right 1990 Penn State Press. (This work was classified for quite a long while.)
Doing so will help make your mind more flexible , jeesh what a slog to get through it.
So the first thing that works in CIA et al’s favor is politicians who have been in DC long enough to be worn down and thoroughly compromised by blackmail of one sort or another and there fore vulnerable.
I figured if Caitlin could say “dog balls ” which I think was a great analogy I could say gonads.
Time to sit down Joe.
Thanks again to Consortium News for their great efforts at informing the masses.
Methinks the reason the corporate media tends to avoid Biden’s mental deficits is because his malady is de rigueur for the ancient politicians that inhabit Washington’s landscape. Listen to speeches or even short comments during interviews from the likes of Trump, Pelosi, Schumer and a host of other doddering fossils that are gerrymandered into lifetime sinecures.
Well stated, Caitlin. And, while we’re talking about aging, I was disappointed to read Jimmy Carter’s remarks that he “couldn’t have done the job” at 80. He couldn’t do it when he had it-not because he wasn’t smart enough, but because he is by nature a micromanager. That nature has enabled him to accomplish a great deal, but it surely helped destroy his presidency. Bernie would, on the basis of who he is now, be fine. Uncle Joe would be exactly what you described.
ROTFLMAO. You are, of course, right. But the US has been on a course of electing ancient men to the highest office. We ran off the rails in 1980 when we elected St. Ronnie. By his second term it was as plain as the nose on your face that St. Ronnie had dementia. We need younger people running the show. And we need a cognitive test. Being younger is no guarantee of cognition. Shrub couldn’t string a coherent sentence together either. And our current dog catcher, Donnie Murdo, has the attention span of, well, a mouse. Both Presidents that were young enough to qualify were really Republican-lites and Obama couldn’t lead the way down a marked trail. The Deep State has been running the country for some time now. Congress doesn’t confirm enough appointees to take control of the government for months if not years after the election and the government has become so complex that it can’t be controlled by an outside agent. People outside the government simply can’t push the right buttons to make things happen.
“… we need a cognitive test.” What a fascistic presumption! What else — a literacy test in the spirit of Southern states through the first half of 20th century? Plus, why should we discriminate against vegetables?
More seriously, even literacy test can be biased. The current system, forcing politicians to answer questions so we can figure out how dumb they are, is actually reasonable, provided that we pay attention.
Actually, Biden seems to decline in the polls, but it is hard to tell if this is a steady trend.
If Biden mental decline continues, he’ll eventually be as senile as Trump. Then he’ll be qualified to be president.
We have no influence over the decisions our elected representatives make for us in our name. Most of what we call politics is staged, and most of our recent presidents have been actors reading words written for them by someone backstage. A senile president, reading those words off a teleprompter, is the natural result.
He is only part of the show, a red herring in a smokescreen.
Anyway, it looks like life would be painful to live in the White House for anyone with a brain.
Oh, Caitlin, you speak such wisdom cutting through the tripe of media, pundit and politician manipulation as you always do!
Does this mean that deep state has decided that the best way to keep Pompeo in power is to do everything to get Trump reelected ?