Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Iraq snapshot

Tuesday, March 31, 2020.  Joe Biden continues to stumble and bumble around, while the corporate media treats him like he's the nominee there are still 27 primaries to take place and over 1300 delegates up for grabs, the corporate media ignores that and they ignore Tara Reade.

Starting in the US where Joe Biden is not the Democratic Party's presidential nominee despite spin from the media.  1991 delegates are needed to win the nomination.  Currently, Bernie Sanders has 914 and Joe Biden has 1217 -- neither has reached the 1991 threshold.  More to the point,  Setting aside territories and DC, there are still 23 states that have yet to hold a primary.  Joe Biden is not the nominee.

When over 20 candidates were vying for the nomination, the corporate media insisted they couldn't cover all of them, they could only cover the top ones.  Well there are now only two candidates for the nomination and yet MEET THE PRESS and MSNBC and other garbage keeps bringing on Joe and acting as though he's the nominee.

No, we don't have a nominee until the primaries are over or one of the candidates reaches 1991.

That's reality.  The corporate media needs to be covering Bernie Sanders' campaign as much as they are Joe Biden's or they are not a free press, they are not journalists.  There are two candidates and the nomination could go to either right now.  The corporate media's decision to freeze out one candidate in an active primary is not journalism and needs to be called out.  Repeating -- neither has reached 1991 delegates and there are 23 states who have yet to hold their primaries.  Counting states, DC and territories, there are 27 primaries still to be held in this race and over 1300 delegates still up for grabs. The race is not over.

Appearing on in-the-tank-for-Joe MSNBC yesterday, Tim Haines (REAL POLITICS) reports Joe was still faced with the question on people's minds: "Where is Joe Biden?"

MSNBC, YASMIN VOSSOUGHIAN: Mr. Vice President, I've got to be honest with you, over the last two weeks or so I've had a lot of people ask me online, every single day, where is Joe Biden? As a candidate for president, are you making yourself visible enough, especially during this crisis, because it is a fine line to walk. You certainly don't want to be seen as the candidate who is politicizing a pandemic when Americans face this crisis.

His answers included "I've been on the phone."  Yes, Joe, we saw that video.

It's rather embarrassing but if Joe wants to bring it up again, so be it.

Jack Brewster (FORBES) notes Joe declared in the MSNBC interview yesterday that the coronavirus has not led to him changing his mind about Medicare For All -- he still opposes it.  Is that really a surprise?  When has Joe Biden ever been able to learn from a mistake?


Eoin Higgins (COMMON DREAMS) adds:

"Are you now reconsidering your position when it comes to single-payer healthcare?" asked Vossoughian.
"Single payer will not solve that at all," Biden replied, referring to the strained U.S. healthcare system. 
The former vice president's rejection of Medicare for All in the midst of a global pandemic was not lost on observers.
"The primary voice speaking out against single-payer right now in the middle of an epidemic is Joe Biden," noted Dig Left researcher Andrew Perez.
Biden's remaining rival for the Democratic nomination, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), has made his outspoken support for Medicare for All a central plank of his campaign. 
Critics of the former vice president bemoaned his "doubling down" on a position which seemed sure to result in electoral ruin. 

"This is a losing politics," tweeted The Nation literary editor David Marcus. "In almost every state that's held a primary so far, including those Biden has won, exit polls show a majority of Democrats prefer single payer."
The question of whether the U.S. would be better suited to handle the crisis with a Medicare for All system has persisted throughout the coronavirus outbreak, which is expected to get worse and peak in the coming weeks and months. Progressives mourned a California teen who died last week, likely from the coronavirus, after being turned away from a hospital for a lack of insurance and questioned the viability and morality of a healthcare system where something like that could happen during a raging pandemic. 

"How can anyone defend this system?" tweeted Claire Sandberg, the Sanders campaign's national organizing director. "Treatment must be free for all."
In addition to the California teen's death, progressives have cited mass layoffs and unemployment as a reason to transition to a healthcare access arrangement not dependent on one's employer providing health insurance.

While Joe was denying the need for Medicare For All yesterday, Bernie was explaining the need.

Joe's inability to grasp why Medicare For All is a need is a lot like the people who refuse to grasp the need to address climate change.

On MSNBC, Joe gave  a very poor interview.  Joshua Caplan (of the right-wing BRIETBART) notes, "Appearing Monday on MSNBC, former Vice President Joe Biden erroneously referred to Wuhan — the Chinese city (of the Hubei province) in which the deadly coronavirus originated — as 'Luhan province."  William Davis (THE DAILY CALLER) adds that Joe stumbled throughout the interview and had to repeatedly refer to notes in his hand because he repeatedly got lost while answering basic questions.  Senility is not pretty.  Right-winger Pat Buchanan (at CNS NEWS) states, "He pops up infrequently in interviews out of the basement of his Delaware home where, sheltering in place, he reads short scripted speeches from a teleprompter."  No, Pat, that's not true.  He also does interviews from his basement where he has to repeatedly refer to note cards.  For those not grasping why we, a left-wing site, note right-wing outlets, have you forgotten that Joe's 'electable' -- or claims to be?  He keeps swearing he's going to bring in right-wing votes.  Right-wing outlets and polling (of independents, moderates and swing voters) are not bearing that out, but that is his claim.


Joe Biden’s latest poll numbers against Donald Trump should make every Democrat in this country nervous. The former Vice President is suffering from a near-complete lack of enthusiasm with American voters, including his own supporters, and that’s exactly what happened with Hillary in 2016. The establishment and the voters are making the same mistakes they made in 2016, and they’re going to yield the same results, as Ring of Fire’s Farron Cousins explains. 

Farron Cousins: A new ABC news and Washington post poll was released over this weekend that shouldn’t leave anybody that calls themselves a Democrat feeling hopeful about the 2020 presidential election. This latest poll looked at the head to head match-ups between Donald Trump and Joe Biden and it looked at enthusiasm. It looked at where each candidate stood on the issues in terms of support from the public and it revealed that yes, we are reliving 2016 folks. Not only is Joe Biden statistically tied now with Donald Trump and head to head matches, whereas just a month ago before the whole pandemic, Biden was beating him by a fairly decent margin and now they’re tied. Even after Donald Trump bungled the response for the pandemic, he is still tied with Joe Biden. So impeachment didn’t affect him. Pandemics not affecting him. Joe Biden’s in trouble. But honestly, folks, that’s not even the worst part of this poll. The worst part is that much like Hillary Clinton, there is absolutely no enthusiasm among Democrats to vote for Joe Biden.
Only 24% of Democrats say that they are very enthusiastic about voting for Joe Biden. That number is over 50% by Republicans who say they’re very enthusiastic about voting for Donald Trump. That spells disaster, and that’s Joe Biden’s biggest problem. That enthusiasm gap. Why, why should we vote for you? What are you offering? How are you going to make our lives better? Here’s the thing I think a lot of people don’t quite understand. You know, we have sat here every single day for the last three plus years talking about all of the horrible things that Donald Trump has done. All of the people he is injured, all of the economic harm he has inflicted. All the attacks on healthcare, all the empty promises, all of it. But here’s the thing. Most of the things that Donald Trump has done do not personally affect most Americans. The trade wars have absolutely devastated American farmers.
That’s, that’s true. That is a policy that is 100% Trump that had a very real impact on these people’s lives. They have lost a lot. But look at the average person walking down the street. Okay. Has their life changed since Donald Trump came into office? Did it get worse? Did it get better or did it stay the same? For most people, the answer is it stayed the same. And that’s the problem, folks. If things aren’t getting worse for too many people and you have a candidate who’s not offering anything different than those people are thinking, well, nothing’s changed for me as it is. You’re telling me nothing’s going to change under you. So why should I switch horses right now in mid stream? Like, why not, why not just keep with the guy who hasn’t effected my life?

And that’s where the enthusiasm gap comes in. Now, if Joe Biden were actually out there offering something to benefit most people instead of a health insurance plan that still leaves 10 million to die, maybe he’d have a little bit more support. If he was offering debt-free college, student loan forgiveness, a green new deal, anything like that, there would be enthusiasm. But he’s not offering that. He’s offering people more of the same without realizing most people’s lives haven’t actually changed under Donald Trump. And I know that’s a sad reality for people to accept, but it’s reality nonetheless. Honestly, look at your day to day life. Tell me what’s different between now and five years ago. You’re still paying astronomical cost for pharmaceuticals, but you also did that under democratic presidents. If you’re not a minority, and I know that sounds horrible, but you’re not experiencing the hate crimes that we have seen increase under Donald Trump and most people don’t even think about those things.

Alex Swoyer (WASHINGTON TIMES) adds:

Exit polls from Michigan and Missouri on Super Tuesday, when more than a dozen states cast their ballot for a Democratic nominee, revealed less than half of all Democratic voters were enthusiastic about Mr. Biden.

The lack of enthusiasm for Mr. Biden could be concerns over his age and health, said Towson University professor Richard E. Vatz, a scholar of political rhetoric and campaigning.

In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, Joe has no answers.  When asked -- like on THE VIEW -- he refers people to his website where a confusing paper that someone wrote exists.  Branko Marcetic (IN THESE TIMES) notes that the paper answers nothing and we'll zoom in on this section of Branko's report:

On the other hand, Biden is supporting the coronavirus emergency bill that has been the subject of days of congressional wrangling, including its provisions of direct checks of $1,200 per American making less than $75,000 a year, and $500 per child. Biden has cautioned that “it’s not everything that I would want,” and indeed, these provisions have come under heavy criticism from progressives. Not only does the bureaucracy involved mean the payments will come far too late for many families, but the means-tested, one-time sum of $1,200 falls far short of the proposals for universal payments of $2,000 a month per family for the duration of the crisis, $1,000 a month per American until a year after the crisis is over following an initial payment of $2,000, and $2,000 a month per adult and $1,000 per child, all respectively proposed by progressives like Sanders, Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), and Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA).
Does Biden prefer a larger payment? If so, how much larger? Would it be means-tested or universal? Would it be a one-time check or continuous? How does he feel about the potentially months-long delay involved? And does he still prefer to devolve power to state and local governments to distribute this money?
Biden himself hasn’t clarified. His defenders say he’s trying not to step on Democrats’ toes during negotiations; yet as the prospective nominee, not only is he meant to be setting the party’s agenda, but he should also be putting forward ideas that will compete against Trump come the general election, who has improbably ridden his catastrophically bungled response to the crisis to his best-ever approval ratings.

Biden’s approach to mortgages and evictions faces similar confusion. Contrary to his statement on The View, there is no eviction freeze laid out in Biden’s plan. Rather, he leaves it up to governors and mayors to draw on the Emergency Fund “to implement rental assistance, no-interest forbearance or mortgage payment relief.”

Now Bernie and Elizabeth Warren were repeatedly hounded by the media with 'how will you pay for it' on plans related to Medicare For All, college tuition, etc.  But no one asks Joe how he will pay for his plan, nor do they even try to pin him down on specifics.

As for the $2,000 a month that Americans need?  Jake Johnson (COMMON DREAMS) explains why that will probably not happen -- the GOP and Donald Trump are saying last Friday's stimulus will be the last.  If that surprises you, you weren't paying attention.  It's now up to Nancy Pelosi to show some leadership and demand the American people get the money they need.

At THE NATIONAL, Toby Harnden points out:

Now he is unable to hold fundraisers at the homes of wealthy donors or whip up enthusiasm with large rallies. Trying to ask people facing economic ruin to donate cash to a politician can look unseemly. So, too, does running television advertisements lambasting Mr. Trump.
Mr Biden, a full-time politician for five decades, is a traditionalist who shows little aptitude for the mastery of digital tools. On camera, he is an uncertain performer prone to stumbles and misstatements of fact.
The former vice president’s impromptu home television studio is an imperfect setting for broadcasts. In a speech last week, he apparently lost track of his teleprompter and suddenly stopped talking before frantically motioning to off-screen aides.

Coughing repeatedly and often touching his eyes and nose, Mr Biden was chastised by one host for sneezing into his hand rather than his arm. At times he has been plain puzzling, such as when he stated: “We have to take care of the cure. That will make the problem worse no matter what.”

Regarding the first paragraph above, it wouldn't be that hard for Joe to note that, if he became the nominee, he would accept public financing for the general election.  That's what everyone did post-Watergate until Barack Obama's Wall Street contributions (passed off as small donors until the press finally took a serious look) in 2008 led him to become the first to opt out of public finance.

Meanwhile "Did Joe Biden assault staffer Tara Reade"?  That's a key question.  In RELEVANT MAGAZINE's latest podcast, they explore the charges of assault that Tara Reade, former staffer of then-Senator Joe Biden, has made against the nominee.  As  Mike noted in last week's community roundtable:

This week, Tara Reade became an issue for Joe when Ryan Grimm reported on her allegations for THE INTERCEPT and noted that TimesUp! refused to help her.  He then discussed that on THE HILL's RISING with Krystal BallKatie Halper interviewed Tara about her story.  Those late to the party can refer to my "Tara Reade was assaulted by Joe Biden" and "Joe Biden assaulted Tara Reade" and C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot," "Iraq snapshot" and "Iraq snapshot."  Anna North (VOX) explains, "Reade says Biden sexually assaulted her, pushing her against a wall and penetrating her with his fingers. When she pulled away, she says, he said he thought she 'liked' him."  The corporate media has been reluctant to cover the issue all week. 

Robby Soave (REASON) notes the corporate media's silence on Tara Reade:

The mainstream media have remained bafflingly silent about Tara Reade, a former member of then-Senator Biden's staff who claims that he sexually assaulted her in 1993. Reade's name has only appeared twice in The Washington Post, and both were quick asides: A news roundup from April of last year briefly acknowledged an earlier, milder version of Reade's accusation, and a recent rapid-fire Q&A asked a Post political reporter to weigh-in on the political ramifications "of the Tara Reade bombshell." (The nature of the bombshell is not described.)
And while the coronavirus pandemic is obviously dominating news coverage, CNN has made plenty of time for Biden. Chris Cillizza is still ranking Biden's potential veep choices, and the network conducted a virtual townhall event with the candidate last Friday. Reade's name didn't come up, and it has never appeared at CNN.com. At NBC, it's the same story: Chuck Todd interviewed Biden but didn't ask about the allegation.

At INDIANA DAILY STUDENT, Liam O'Sullivan notes:

Sexual assault allegations obviously didn’t prevent President Donald Trump from winning the White House in 2016. But at the time, mainstream media networks urged us to believe the president’s accusers. This time, however, legacy news media has largely ignored the allegations. Tara Reade, a former staffer for then-Sen. Biden, told her story in an interview with podcast host Katie Halper that circulated across social media nearly a week ago, but mainstream liberal news organizations have not reported on it.
That same practice of believing women when they come forward has apparently not applied to Reade. If we are to believe the president’s many accusers, which I do, then we also need to accept that Reade’s accusations are being made in good faith.

Conservative outlets have seized the opportunity to point out the hypocrisy. The National Review, for example, published a story with the headline “Joe Biden, Democrats, and Sexual Assault: They Never Learn.”

[. . . ]

For some, Biden’s alleged conduct isn’t a barrier to support at all. Podcaster Stephanie Wittels Wachs said in a now-deleted tweet, “For the sake of argument, say Biden is a rapist. Trump is also a rapist. So why not vote for the rapist with better policies?”
That ghoulish sentiment is wrong on the face of it. We should not trust someone with credible sexual assault allegations against him with women’s policy, regardless of his political record.
Believing Reade and holding Biden to this standard may hand Trump the presidency. That’s a very real possibility, but if the Democratic Party has principles, it needs to follow them now.

Personally, when faced with a choice between two alleged rapists, I would elect to choose neither. It’s not like he has the nomination quite yet anyway. Bernie Sanders is still running and thus far has had no sexual assault allegations publicized against him. It’s time for principles to prevail, and that means not risking the election of another sexual predator.

We'll close with this ALJAZEERA report on Iraq's healthcare system:

New content at THIRD:

The following sites updated: