Monday, March 23, 2020

Boy, am I a big baby and other things.

Okay, I read C.I.'s "Talking entry" this morning (she posted it last night) and I felt awful.  I felt ashamed and embarrassed.

Friday, I started feeling overwhelmed by the coronvirus.  I was worrying about my daughter and Elaine and, yes, myself.  I was worrying what was going to happen to my family back in Boston.  I was worried and I just didn't want to deal.  I got offline.  I told THIRD that I wasn't going to work on this edition.  I basically just played with my daughter -- we did board games (Life, Monopoly and Clue) -- and we watched some TV but mainly listened to vinyl records -- we took turns picking them out.

I never did my fifth post of the weekend that I usually do on Fridays or Saturdays. 

Then I read C.I.'s piece and I felt . . .

Selfish.  Really selfish.  She's keeping up her regular schedule and she's blogging and posting even though she's got no sight in one eye and the other eye comes and goes -- this is because of her diabetes (retinal bleeding) and because one eye has developed a cataract. 

I'm whining and she's got so much to deal with (beyond what she shares online) and she just keeps her head down and focuses on what needs to be done.

I asked Martha and Shirley (who work the e-mail accounts for THE COMMON ILLS) and, as I feared, some of the e-mails complaining about C.I. not covering this or that were actually noting that I didn't cover anything (I wasn't the only one in the community but this is about me taking responsibility for my actions).

I knew that.  When I read the talking entry, I knew C.I. was getting slammed for the lack of effort on the part of the rest of us.  I knew it. 

I let down the community and I own that and I am sorry for that.  I will try not to let fear stop me the way I did over the weekend. 

This is from Jake Johnson's piece at COMMON DREAMS:

Senate Republicans late Sunday failed to force through a $1.8 trillion coronavirus stimulus package that Democratic lawmakers, union leaders, and progressive advocacy groups condemned as a massive bailout for corporate America that would have done little to address the urgent economic and medical needs of ordinary people.
A procedural motion to advance the Republican bill, formally known as the CARES Act, received just 47 votes Sunday, well short of the 60 needed for passage. Every Senate Democrat present voted no.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) scheduled another procedural vote on the legislation for Monday morning at 9:45 am ET as talks over the bill continued through the evening Sunday.
One of the most contentious sticking points in rapidly moving negotiations over the Republican measure was its call for the creation of a $500 billion business relief program that would be controlled by the Trump Treasury Department, headed by former Goldman Sachs banker Steve Mnuchin. The fund would set aside around $58 billion for the airline industry and $17 billion for "sectors considered critical to national security," Roll Call reported.
Democrats and progressive critics condemned the program as a corporate "slush fund" and demanded that any bailout money for businesses come with strict oversight and conditions, such as strong worker protections against layoffs and a permanent ban on stock buybacks.

America needs real help and the Congress needs to get to work on providing it.  At THIRD, they did "Democrats need to get real" and I will add to that.  $2,000 per American is the bare minimum.  People need to be able to pay bills.  They need to be able to pay rent, for example.  When the coronavirus is over (hopefully some day soon), some renter doesn't need to be faced with a $7,000 bill because they owe ten months of rent on their single room or efficiency apartment.  That's ridiculous.

Another thing?  We need to know that our jobs are there when the coronavirus is over.

We need to know we return to those jobs and we return to them at the rate we were making.  We don't need to have to reapply.  We don't need to be told that we can have our jobs back but at $4.00 less than we were being paid.

Any money going to business needs to be tied to guarantees that protect the workers.

That's a basic.

I am not seeing leadership from the Democrats -- other than Bernie and the squad.  That is unacceptable.  Nancy needs to start leading and fighting for the American people or she and the Democratic Party can just kiss our ass.

Joe Biden spent all of last week hiding.  That's not leadership.  He needs to announce that he's dropping out of the race.

And if you're not getting how awful he is on Iraq, go read Ava and C.I.'s "TV: The Lemmings" which focuses on the Marvel actress who got beat up online last week, the mini-series SELF-MADE (on NETFLIX and it is worth watching so check it out) and the middle section -- the longest section -- is about Iraq and what Joe Biden did.  It goes so far beyond his vote.  Be sure to read what they wrote.

I did call Jim today and apologize for bailing on THIRD.  He said everyone understood and that, honestly, they were considering bailing too but Ava and C.I. had stayed up Saturday night through Sunday morning working on their TV piece and when everyone read it, they agreed that they needed to put together an edition. 

To all of you who read my stuff here, I apologize.  I'll try to keep my head down and stay focused on the work that matters. 

I am supporting Bernie and I should have been writing something over the weekend.  Bernie and the squad did a roundtable about addressing the needs of the people.

Make it a point to stream it. 

Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Monday, March 23, 2020.  Hidin' With Biden may emerge today but let's hope Joe doesn't see his shadow and then hide out for another week, Bernie Sanders shows leadership yet again, rumors abound that the DNC might have their eye on a new candidate, Iraq's new prime minister-designate is fending off rumors, and much more.

In the e-mails, a lot of you are noting this FOX NEWS article which opens:

Have Democrats found an alternative to Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders for the party’s 2020 presidential nomination?
Some seem to think so: The hashtag #PresidentCuomo -- referring to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo -- was trending on social media Saturday as the party’s voters continued to mull who should take on President Trump in November.
Just a day earlier, the hashtag #WhereIsJoe was trending as some wondered why Biden's national profile seemed to shrink amid the crisis -- a situation Biden said he planned to address next week.

Some of you are curious, some of you are in a panic.  I doubt that's a serious option; however, if it is, we could all do much worse than Andrew Cuomo.  Joe Biden, for example, is much worse than Andrew Cuomo.  Andrew is a leader.  I am supporting Bernie Sanders.  If Bernie does not get the nomination, I will gladly support Andrew.  If Joe gets the nomination, it is extremely doubtful I will be voting for him.

There is his Iraq War history (see Ava and my "TV: The Lemmings" because it goes way beyond just voting for the war).  There is his inappropriate behavior with girls and women and his refusal to take it seriously.  There is his crooked family profiting constantly from his holding public office.

But most of all, there is right now.

The last two weeks have been his chance to prove me and anyone else who says he's not fit to be president wrong.  We don't say he's not ready because unless we live to be 120, Joe will probably never be ready.  But we note his inability to speak accurately, his other health problems, etc and we note that he's not fit to be president.

The nation is in the midst of a crisis and it's Hidin' With Biden time.

He could have proved me wrong.  But he didn't.  He failed to show leadership.

Bernie Sanders?

Here is Bernie hosting a roundtable on coronavirus live that was streamed online.

That was Friday.  Saturday?

The live stream teach-in.


"AOC, OMAR, TLAIB AND BERNIE ON CORONAVIRUS: This is an unprecedented moment and we have got to think in an unprecedented way. Join our livestream on the coronavirus response with Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib, featuring musical guests including Grandson."

While Bernie's addressing the American people, it's Hidin' With Biden time.

He is unfit for office.  He has shown no leadership at all and he's no leadership because he has none to give.

THE HILL notes that he has not spoken on camera since last Tuesday and that a big donor raised the issue in a fundraising call yesterday.

So Joe's big donors are worried and that may get him off his lazy ass and he may something this morning.  Because his big donors are worried.

Otherwise, he'd be silent.

Useless Joe.

Hidin' With Biden is not leadership.

I want Bernie to get the nomination.  As the Stones long ago warned us, you can't always get what you want.  If Bernie doesn't get the nomination, I have no problem with Andrew Cuomo getting the nomination.  I know Andrew and I like Andrew.  But, whether you like him or not, I don't think you can deny that he's shown leadership in the last weeks while many others haven't.

Bernie's shown leadership.  He is my first choice.  But, yes, I could accept Andrew over Joe because Joe's done nothing -- as usual.  This is the Joe we all know, inept, rudderless, unable to lead.

The only thing America needs to hear from Joe is, "I'm closing my campaign and no longer seeking the party's presidential nomination."

He's yet to say that and may never utter those words -- but they are clearly what his actions are stating.

He's useless and he's made himself useless.

The co-chair of Bernie's campaign, Nina Turner, Tweeted:

Proud that our campaign is showing up and connecting every day. The resilience of our people has always come through in times of crisis. Together we pray, heal and inspire.
is asking us to BE about it, not just talk about it. America needs an organizer-in-chief

Bernie's showing up and Bernie's leading.  Joe?  He's making calls to big donors.  That's all he's doing.  Didn't Bernie and his supporters just raise money for others?  Marty Johsnon (THE HILL) notes that they raised over two million for charities that are working with coronavirus issues.  And Joe can't do that, he's too busy hitting up big donors for more cash for his campaign.

COMING HOME.  A great film that Jane Fonda produced and that she won a Best Actress Academy Award for the film and a Golden Globe as well.  Though the soundtrack was never issued on vinyl or CD or (thus far) streaming, it's a strong soundtrack which includes this song by the Rolling Stones.

You don't know what's going on
You've been away for far too long
You can't come back and think you are still mine
You're out of touch, my baby
My poor discarded baby
I said, baby, baby, baby, you're out of time

Well, baby, baby, baby, you're out of time
I said, baby, baby, baby, you're out of time
You are all left out
Out of there without a doubt
'Cause baby, baby, baby, you're out of time

It's as though Mick and Keith wrote it about Joe.

He doesn't know what's going on.  He's having a TV studio built in his home, that's what he told the mega donors, and he'll begin addressing the country that way.

He needs a TV studio in his home?

The world has truly passed Joe Biden by.  He apparently checked out some time in the 90s and is not even aware of the YOUTUBE stars that began populating the celebrity landscape in the '00s.  Or maybe he thinks they built TV studios in their homes too?

He is so out of touch.

The country is in a crisis and he'll address it . . . just as soon as the rec room's done being turned into a TV studio.

He's crazy if he doesn't think people are noticing.  Sample comments from Twitter (search "Hidin with Biden"):

Very presidential Sanders was telling people the path forward and having congress people share what they are doing. While lyin' Biden is hidin' away with staffers worried about how to prevent his gaffers. What'd he have, another aneurism?

#WhereIsJoe Nobody knows and his fans are even freaking out thinking they can pull the same with Bernie. We're seeing the guy live in stream each day while Biden is Hidin'. #WhereIsJoeBiden #WheresJoe #BernieForPresident

Bernie’s ass been everywhere this week...where you been? With hidinwith Biden??

Watching him right now. He did a live stream round table discussing plans that need to be implemented. He had AOC, Omar and Tlaib on. You know, because his brain isn't stuck in the Jim Crow south of the 1950's. Where have you been? Hidin with Biden?

Where's Bernie? He's where he always is. In the front line fighting for economic justice. Fighting to save the environment. Fighting to save American democracy. Fighting to end the greed & corruption that's destroying this country. THAT'S WHERE HE IS. #WhereIsBernie

Very presidential Sanders was telling people the path forward and having congress people share what they are doing. While lyin' Biden is hidin' away with staffers worried

The only leader that is presidential in this moment
. We need someone who will #DumpTrump and isn't #HidinwithBiden. #WeDeserveBernie

Joe has shown no leadership and the press has been fine with it.  It's the people who are calling it out and noting how non-presidential this is.  The press is acting like it's normal but that's the corporate press for you.  And, note, even Joe's mega-donors know this isn't normal and know that he can't continue to do this.

The coronavirus is an issue around the world. Iraq is now on day five of its coronavirus curfew.  UN WOMEN IRAQ notes that women are greater effected in Iraq by the coronavirus because it places burden on the healthcare system -- nearly 1 in 5 women in Iraq are employed by the healthcare system -- and because women do the bulk of the care at work and home. They also note that the healthcrisis has exacerbated gender inequalities.   MIDDLE EAST EYE reports:

Iraq has imposed a nationwide total lockdown until 28 March in order to enforce measures to fight the coronavirus pandemic.
The country has logged a total of 233 coronavirus cases and recorded 20 deaths, but there are concerns that many more are going undetected as only 2,000 people of the country's 40-million population have been tested so far. 
Most of Iraq's 18 provinces have already imposed their own local curfews, but the new measures will include the whole of the country, according to a  decision by the government's crisis cell.
Schools, universities and other gathering places would remain closed, as would the country's multiple international airports, it said in a statement seen by AFP. 
Many had feared a potential influx of cases from neighbouring Iran, where 1,685 people have died after contracting the Covid-19 respiratory illness, according to the latest official toll on Sunday. 

Iraq first shut its 1,500km border with Iran about a month ago and deployed troops to enforce the decision.

AFP adds, "Most of Iraq's 18 provinces had so far imposed their own local curfews but the new measures would include the whole of the country, according to a new decision by the government's crisis cell."  RUDAW's Lawk Ghafuri Tweets:

The latest update from #Iraq - 33 new cases confirmed today by Iraq’s Ministry of Health. - 23 died, as 3 more died today after contracting #Coronavirus. - Total #COVIDー19 cases in Iraq so far is 266. #StayHome

And AP's Samya Kullab adds, "Iraqi authorities began issuing #coronavirus-related instructions to the public via loudspeaker system that one civil defense official said hasn’t been used since wars of the 1990s.MIDDLE EAST MONITOR adds, "Meanwhile, the Iraqi Minister of Health, Jaafar Allawi, said the average number of coronavirus infections is 15 per day, stressing that the country is fully prepared to respond to any increase in the numbers of infected people."

Daniel Benaim and Michael Hanna (THE NEW REPUBLIC) offer this assessment of Iraq:

Iraq confronts coronavirus without a government in place. Iraq’s ineffectual prime minister, hamstrung by pressure from Iraqi militias and neglect from Washington, abandoned the job after the Soleimani killing. Millions of Iraq’s people live in urban slums; hundreds of thousands more Sunnis, displaced from areas once ruled by ISIS, are still living in tent camps, where social distancing will be impossible. Absent swift and affirmative action, coronavirus could spread quickly among the most vulnerable Iraqis. Yet the country’s political elites remain enmeshed in their parochial interests, unable to unite around new leadership at this critical moment. 


The European Union Mission in Iraq has called for expediating the formation of a new Iraqi government in order to urgently deal with the coronavirus pandemic.
The EU Mission expressed in a statement solidarity with the Iraqi people during this unprecedented crisis, adding that it hopes that a government is urgently formed to address challenges in the areas of health, security, politics, economy and human rights and particularly the disturbing spread of coronavirus.
The mission called on everyone to deal with this threat very seriously, confirming the European Union’s unwavering support for the unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Iraq.

Adna al-Zurfi is the current prime minister-designate and currently attempting to form a Cabinet in the designated 30 day period.  Adil Abdul Mahdi?  He was the prime minister and remains in a 'caretaker' role.  In November, he announced his resignation.  In December, he gave his I-really-really-really-mean-it-I'm-resigning notice.  Still no new prime minister.  Iraqi president Barham Salih announced Mohammed Allawi as prime minister-designate.  He wasn't able to put together a Cabinet and he announced that he was resigning as prime minister-designate.  As noted in the  Tuesday, March 17th snapshot, Salih has now named Adnan al-Zurufi prime minister-designate.  He has 30 days, per the Constitution, to put together a Cabinet or risk Salih naming someone else as prime minister-designate. 

MEMO notes, "The Supreme Judicial Council of Iraq has disputed the appointment of lawmaker Adnan Al-Zurufi as Prime Minister-designate to form a transitional government on the grounds that the president has no constitutional right to appoint him."  Their power is questionable (as are their actions and have been for nearly two decades now), the federal court has already ruled Salih was within his rights.  ASHARQ AL-AWSAT reports he is under pressure and insisting that the US is not part of his being named prime minister-designate nor was there any backdoor deal:

He noted that holding US citizenship doesn’t mean he was chosen by the US, rejecting such an “unacceptable alibi”.

“I am mainly concerned about building balanced relations with all regional countries, as well as establishing balanced state relations with regional and international powers on the basis of shared interests while prioritizing our national interests.”

Regarding his options in light of many crises, one of which is the relationship with his Shiite partners, Zurfi said he launched Sunday official consultations to form the new government.

The Iraqi official stressed that he is working on forming a government in which all parties participate, pointing out that it is a crisis government due to the nature of the challenges it faces.

He further noted that its mission will be only for one year, during which preparations will take place for holding early elections in the country.

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