Thursday, March 19, 2020

We need leadership

Kevin Gosztola (MINTPRESS NEWS) reports:

Shadowproof — The United States is in the middle of the acceleration phase of the coronavirus pandemic. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), this is the period, where the virus infects people and social distancing is crucial to slow the outbreak.
Yet, in a reckless move that defied the concerns of medical professionals, state officials in Arizona, Florida, and Illinois listened to politicians and proceeded with previously scheduled in-person voting in their primaries.
Over 2,500 people, including more than 150 medical professionals, signed on to a petition that was sent to state officials. It strongly urged them to extend mail-in voting and reschedule primaries. (Disclosure: I co-organized the petition, which was sent to state officials.)
Multiple states postponed their primaries before in-person voting took place on March 17. Rather than respect the fact that states were trying to protect the health of voters and poll workers, the Democratic National Committee threatened states with the loss of delegates if they did not hold their primaries before June 9.
On March 16, Ohio Republican Governor Mike DeWine and Dr. Amy Acton, the state’s health department director, showed leadership and declared polling places a health emergency risk. They postponed in-person voting until June. The Ohio Democratic Party sued the state the following day.
The sociopathic nature of the Democratic Party establishment, as a health crisis plunged the country into a recession, demonstrated how reprehensible party operatives are willing to be in order to shepherd their preferred candidate closer to a presidential nomination.
Dysfunction that officials knew would occur resulted in voter suppression that made it impossible for numerous citizens to cast their ballot. Conditions stopped many other citizens from participating in the primaries.
Altogether, the results of the Arizona, Florida, and Illinois primaries were the product of an illegitimate electoral process carried out during a national state of emergency.

Very good points.  The DNC leaders would rather risk the safety of people than do soemthing to help anyone.  That's reality.  That's Joe Biden.

Luke Savage (JACOBIN) notes:

In the United States, on the other hand, the story so far consists in a confusing and uneven patchwork of measures and proposals. Though events continue to move quickly, it can safely be said that the official response of the Democratic leadership (and centrist Democrats in general) has fallen dangerously short of what will be necessary given the scope of the crisis — raising the tragicomic prospect that the country’s nominal liberal opposition will find itself outflanked on the left by a right wing GOP led by Donald Trump.
An early sign of complacency came last weekend as Nancy Pelosi trumpeted a plan to guarantee sick leave to American workers during the pandemic. The problem? The legislation came with so many caveats and exemptions that it actually covered only 20 percent of the American workforce — leaving out big companies such as Amazon and McDonald’s entirely. As CNN reported, the outcome was the result of a nonconfrontational position on the Democrats’ part, despite their majority in the House of Representatives. Summing up the absurdity of this posture, commentator Kyle Kulinski accurately observed: “Instead of passing a bill through the House giving all working [people] paid time off and forcing the GOP to vote against it, Dems agreed that 20% of the population can have it and then bragged about it.”
If only to further weaken confidence in their capacity to navigate the crisis, the Democratic-led House actually scaled back paid-leave provisions — significantly rewriting and watering down an existing bill on Monday. According to the Wall Street Journal, the move came “following pressure from businesses worried about financial burdens.” Moreover, under the revised legislation:
For the next 10 weeks paid leave would be limited only to workers caring for a child whose school or day care had been shut. Healthcare providers and emergency responders, as well as workers who had been in quarantine or caring for a family member affected by the virus, wouldn’t be eligible for the additional 10 weeks of leave.
There is, it should be said, no liberal monopoly on either complacency or dogmatism, and there’s every reason to believe both will remain proudly bipartisan traditions throughout the remainder of the crisis. For their part, conservative ideologues Arthur Laffer, Stephen Moore, and Steve Forbes today released a statement calling on the government not to “expand welfare and other income redistribution benefits like paid leave and unemployment benefits that will inhibit growth and discourage work.” The White House, meanwhile, is clearly hoping to leverage the moment to pass another round of tax cuts, having treated the initial phase of the crisis with an attitude that can only be called criminally negligent.
Nonetheless, centrist Democrats are also in the process of bungling the rapidly evolving debate around direct cash transfers — set to become urgent over the next few weeks, amid layoffs and the inevitable slowdown of economic activity, and already being floated by the Trump administration. Though House Democrats like Ilhan Omar and Ro Khanna are touting more ambitious proposals, there has seemed little appetite for direct, no-strings-attached cash transfers among the Democratic leadership thus far. Yesterday, Politico reported that none other than Nancy Pelosi “essentially shot down” the idea at a private caucus meeting last week — potentially positioning the leadership of America’s liberal opposition to the right of former Republican presidential nominee Senator Mitt Romney.
A statement released by Pelosi’s office yesterday that, among other things, makes reference to “expanded refundable tax credits,” suggests the conservative posture currently favored by the Democratic leadership is unlikely to change any time soon.
Failure to change course could prove catastrophic. Now, more than ever, the most vulnerable sections of the US population need an opposition willing to defend their interests decisively and without hesitation. This would necessitate a more confrontational and overtly political posture toward the incumbent administration and its many glaring failures. But it would also require a more adversarial attitude toward big business and other constituencies keen to put their own interests ahead of the general public’s as the situation worsens.

We need leadership.  Nancy Pelosi is supplying none.  Go read Rebecca's "that worthless nancy pelosi."

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

Wednesday, March 18, 2020.  Bernie Sanders continues to address the needs of the nation, if we need to address the economic hardships in this country during this troubled time why does the opinion journal THE NATION continue to have a paywall, the Iraq War continues even though Medea Benjamin seems unaware of that reality.

Starting in the US where business-as-usual-Biden went about demonstrating yet again that he drives with his eyes on the rear view mirror, Senator Bernie Sanders spoke about coronavirus and how we go forward.

Senator Bernie Sanders: So this is a moment that we've got to be working together in going forward together.  What I wanted to do tonight, along with you, is to talk about a series of proposals that we are working on right now and that we'll introduce to the Democratic leadership as to how we can best go forward.  And in this unprecedented moment, this will require an unprecedented amount of money and my own guess is that we'll be spending at least two trillion dollars in funding to prevent deaths, joblessness and avoid an economic catastrophe.

John Queally (COMMON DREAMS) notes:

The plan would guarantee that all healthcare needs related to the coronavirus would be free and available to all, including testing, any treatments, and ultimately—when available—the vaccine. The plan also calls for a dramatic investment in the public health system—including an urgent overhaul in terms of testing for the virus—and increased preparedness and support for frontline medical workers, hospitals, clinics, and community health centers. It would also mobilize the National Guard, Army Corps of Engineers, and military resources to build healthcare capacity nationwide.
On the economic front, Sanders' plan would issue direct cash payments, in the form of $2,000 check to every American each month for the duration of the crisis. The plan would also establish what the Sanders campaign calls the "Emergency Economic Crisis Finance Agency," which would be charged with handling the financial downturn unleashed by what is now a global pandemic.

"We must guarantee that everyone who needs care can get it for free, ensure that all workers continue to receive paychecks so they can make ends meet," Sander said, "and stop giant corporations and Wall Street from profiting off the outbreak."

Bernie wants you to visit the campaign site to review the plan and to offer your input.

Senator Bernie Sanders: We want to hear from you not only your ideas about how we can best go forward, talk about your experiences.  In every state, there is a different level crisis in every occupation there is a different level of concern.  Please communicate with us so that we can get the best understanding possible of what's going on in our country and how together we can come up with some effective remedies.

Here's some input, Bernie.  Stop sending floats into clinics when they may have been exposed to coronavirus.  May have been.  A community member in Kentucky is furious because yesterday, at the front desk, she worked with a float who was informed, via e-mail, that the clinic she was at the day before -- a float doesn't have a fixed clinic, they float to various clinics based on need -- had a possible coronavirus patient and they were waiting on the results.  After reading that e-mail and telling the others at the front desk, that float was allowed to stay and remain working.  The only thing that changed is she put on a mask.  It was 2:00 pm.  She'd been there since 8:00 am.  That mask wasn't helping anyone at that point.

Floats are going to spread coronvirus from clinic to clinic.

What, I e=mailed back, would have been the policy if it was known the patient she was around the day before had coronavirus?  She would need to self-monitor for 48 hours, checking her temperature every two hours.  If fever came up, she would not be allowed to work at a clinic.

And if she's one of those who doesn't develop fever?  Everyone at each clinic is just screwed.

There needs to be a better system.

Kentucky community member wanted to share that her clinic was one of those we were noting the other day that has everyone mask up except for the front desk staff.  She said if everyone on the front desk masked up, there would no chance of the float having spread anything before she received her e-mail yesterday afternoon.

At Bernie's website, go to this specific page to read what he's proposing.  At the bottom of that page, it's noted: "To leave feedback, send an email to"

There were primaries yesterday because public health is not a real concern obviously.  Jake Johnson (COMMON DREAMS) reports:

Ignoring urgent pleas from medical professionals and other health experts to postpone primary elections amid the coronavirus outbreak, Democratic National Committee chairman Tom Perez late Tuesday encouraged states to go ahead with their scheduled contests, claiming "we can in fact have voting and protect our workers, our voters, our candidates."
"I think it's a false choice to suggest we either have to protect safety or protect and ensure our democracy," Perez said in an interview with NPR late Tuesday as voters in Arizona, Florida, and Illinois went to the polls despite widespread calls for a delay. Former Vice President Joe Biden swept all three states.

Perez urged upcoming states to make vote-by-mail available to all voters, but it is unclear whether such a solution could be implemented in short order.

This isn't a federal election.  This is a political primary.  The DNC controls it.  They could have done that.  What they should have done is postpone the primaries.  Create, at each state's Democratic Party website, a place where you requested a mail-in ballot and a phone number for people to call for a mail-in ballot (not everyone has computers or internet access).  That does not take weeks and weeks to implement.  This could be done by each state in five working days.  The request would come in by phone or computer, the DNC worker would verify that the person was registered, a mail-in ballot would be sent out.

That is what should have been done.

This November, there will be a general election.  It needs to take place.  Even during the Civil War, we did not suspend elections.  We need to be using the primary to implement mail-in voting (which the state of Oregon already does -- everyone votes by mail there) across the US and we need to be prepared to do that in the general if the coronavirus is still an issue then (as it most likely will be).

The myth of electable is why the country's in another crisis.  The press tells us that their favorite, whomever it is at the moment, is the most electable.  In this cycle alone, we've seen them insist that Kamala Harris was electable and that Tiny Pete was though neither ever demonstrated any indication that they were -- at any point in the election.  Joe Biden is supposed to be electable.

He most likely is not.  A group of delusionals -- Cher, Vincent Tiny Penis and others -- have rushed to insist he is.  When is the last time Cher was ever in the majority?  When she recorded "Believe"?  That was last century.  She's not had a true hit since then -- not a hit song, not a hit film and, no, not even a hit fashion show masquerading as a Broadway play.  She's hardly in touch with the masses.

Bernie beats Trump

Bernie Beats Trump
✓ Only campaign with more donations than Trump
✓ Beating Trump in over 60 polls
✓ Fastest campaign ever to reach 1 million donors

Bernie is electable.

And the masses are who will vote.  That means leaving the zombie cult that is the Democratic Party.  Democrats alone will not deliver a victory.  You have to have a candidate who can reach beyond that.  Bernie can which is why he is seen as electable.  Joe, however, tends to run off most independents because he is so problematic, inappropriate with girls and women, unable to string together a coherent sentence, lying non-stop over and over.

The zombies of the Democratic Party will gladly overlook these things.  Voters not addicted to lies and distortions won't be so eager to do so.

And they see Joe's staff as problematic as well.  Anita Dunn, for example, donated her time to Harvey Weinstein as he was facing charges of rape and assault -- he has since been convicted and sentenced to over 20 years.  Maybe the Poster Gal for Rape and Harassment shouldn't be in your campaign?

Anita gets worse.  Jefferson Morely (COUNTERPUNCH) explains:

After Sunday night’s Democratic presidential debate, Anita Dunn, senior adviser to Joe Biden’s campaign, defended the vice president’s performance in a briefing with reporters.
Last year, Dunn, who served as communications director in Barack Obama’s White House, did a similar duty for NSO, the spyware firm founded by former Israeli intelligence officers. The NSO Group created the infamous Pegasus intrusion tool, which has been used to harass and disrupt journalists from India to Mexico to Saudi Arabia—and also to pick Jeff Bezos’ pocket.
As Avi Asher-Schapiro of the Committee to Protect Journalists noted on Twitter, Dunn is “Managing Director at SKDKnickerbocker, a firm that managed the US public relations work for NSO Group.”

Dunn’s work for NSO indicates a willingness to defend private power against the public interest. Her condescending remarks about Bernie Sanders’ performance evoke the arrogance that pervades the intersection of big government and corporate power in Washington. She represents the reasons why some of Sanders’ supporters are reluctant to support the former vice president. She embodies the difficulty of unifying the progressive and moderate wings of the Democratic Party going into the 2020 presidential election.

Let's gripe about trash.  Katrina vanden Heuvel, I'm looking at you.  THE NATION is not reporting.  It's opinion columns which are all over the internet already.  So this nonsense that you have a paywall is pure b.s.  That you would do so during a presidential election year is appalling.  That you would do so while your opinion columns promote the need to grasp the suffering that workers are going through right now is outrageous.

We were going to highlight Katrina's latest column.  I'm sure it's her generic rah-rah but we were going to highlight it.  The person I'm dictating the snapshot to says that the paywall notice tells them they have 2 free articles left for the month (you get 3 from Queen Katrina, "Let them read three!").  But he can't get around the paywall notice to copy anything from the column.

Garbage.  And Katrina for you, in a crisis, to claim to be a journalist and yet have a policy that readers can only read 3 articles a month without paying you?  Greed. You are deluded and out of touch.  You should be ashamed of yourself.  I'm embarrassed for you.

Also needing to take a slice of the shame pie?  Medea Benjamin and the man she writes with.  They give you 12 ways the invasion of Iraq 17 years ago have harmed.  Do we ever put Iraqis front and center?  No, that would require paying attention.  So Medea and her man note that Iraqis have died and been left injured.  That's it for the Iraqi people.  They live in greater poverty today than they did under Saddam but that's not noted.  Iraqi women have seen their rights stripped away but that's not noted by Medea and her man.  Birth defects have increased dramatically due to weapons the west used in Iraq but, again, Medea and her man look the other way.  Iraq is not a land of widows and children but they don't comment on that.  Iraq has a government that regularly attacks the Iraqi people but that's not noted.  It's a really funny way to look at the effects of the ongoing Iraq War -- by ignoring the Iraqi people.

Also strange, they don't seem to get that the Iraq War never ended.

MILITARY TIMES carries Andrew Milburn's column this morning.  It's entitled "The Iraq War is not over yet."  Readers of MILITARY TIMES are better educated about Iraq than readers of 'peace' 'activist' Medea Benjmain's scribbles.  And, hey, Medea, where's that Iran War?

You suddenly remembered Iraq in January, remember?  You ran around like Chicken Little "The sky is falling! The sky is falling!"  You told us all that the US would be at war with Iran in a matter of days.  We had to gather, we had to protest!

You couldn't recognize the brave Iraqi people who were already protesting -- had been since the start of August.

But you could scream that war with Iran was going to happen in weeks if not days.  As usual, you didn't know what you were talking about.

The following sites updated: