Friday, January 01, 2021

2020: The Year Long Walk Of Shame

2020 was a ball of confusion.  You'd roll out of bed, head hurting, wondering how you got here and, more importantly, how quickly you could leave?

Like NBC's failed and failing streaming service PEACOCK, it never made sense.  Yes, they were correct at PEACOCK, you did watch ABBOTT AND COSTELLO MEET DR. JEKYLL & MR. HYDE but why in the world they thought that translated into you'd be interested in watching SAVED BY THE BELL: WEDDING IN LAS VEGAS?  Well, no one knows.

Or take January 2020 when THE WALL STREET JOURNAL - NBC polling and CNN polling had Joe Biden a distant second to Bernie Sanders but tired and mentally fading Joe ends up the nominee.  If you think about it clearly -- shake your head, maybe a drink a cup of coffee or fix some hangover cure -- you realize that the behind the scene machinations of Barack Obama landed Joe the nomination.  March 2nd, Carol E. Lee, Kristen Welker, Josh Lederman and Amanda Golden explained just how it happened in "Looking for Obama's hidden hand in candidates coalescing around Biden" (NBC NEWS).

While that explained how it happened, it didn't explain other things.  Like?

For one, how the press went out of their way to downplay Bernie's campaign.  In fact, when Bernie announced he was dropping out, Gregory Krieg, Ryan Nobles and Annie Grayer (CNN) had the nerve/gall to type, "Sanders' exit caps a stunning reversal of fortune following a strong performance in the first three states that voted in February. The nomination appeared his for the taking until, on the last day of February [. . .]"  Huh?  When had the press ever noted Bernie's strong performance in the first three states?  They had actively worked to underreport his success in Iowa and New Hampshire, after all.  But once the campaign was dead, everyone was willing to admit that, in January, he had been in the lead.

For two?  It didn't explain was how Bernie Sanders could be such a betrayer and drop out of the race.  Because that's what he did, he betrayed the people who made his campaign.  They wanted many things including Medicare For All, including a Green New Deal.  And there was Bernie dropping out -- dropping out while the pandemic was making it so clear that the United States need a healthcare system like Medicare For All and not one that was employer based.  A lot of people were realizing, as the pandemic took hold and jobs were lost, that the system we have just does not work.  And Bernie could have stayed in and made that point.

Earlier, he'd trashed Zephyr Teachout for noting that Joe Biden had significant issues in his public record.  In his public record.  And yet Bernie apologizes for what Zephyr wrote.  

He was pathetic before he ran.  I never mistook Bernie for anything but a self-aggrandizing sell out.  In the House, we were told (when they begged for money) that Bernie couldn't do anything because he had to run for the House every two years.  Then when he mounted his Senate campaign, we were told that this would allow him to really fight because he'd only need to be elected every six years in the Senate.  Nothing changed.  He was still a weak and cowardly elected official who spoke well in interviews but did nothing in Congress.

Bernie was a good presidential candidate for one reason only: The people who supported the issues he said he cared about.

And then he betrayed them.

A lot of people couldn't face that reality.  JACOBIN still tries to spin it like it didn't happen.  We saw that in 2019 with Tulsi Gabbard who self-presented as anti-war but never held Joe Biden's feet to the fire in any debate and actually vouched for War Hawk Joe in one debate and in numerous interviews that immediately followed that debate.

Politicians, you really can't trust them and you certainly shouldn't fall in love with them.

Maybe that's a silver lining of Joe Biden winning the election?  He's a politician that damn few Americans could fall in love with -- and exit polling indicates damn few did.

So maybe 2021 will find an electorate that's comfortable making demands and ignoring the hacks and whores that are already doing everything they can to shriek, "Don't you dare say anything bad -- or even true -- about Joe!"


2020 was the year that you jut couldn't trust.  Masks, we were told as the pandemic started, weren't necessary and might even hurt you. March 8th, Dr. Anthony Fauci stated that "there's no reason to be walking around with a mask." Then that changed.  By fall, various commentators (and former child actress Alyssa Mialno) were attacking Americans who didn't feel masks were important and they never seemed to grasp that maybe the mixed messages throughout the pandemic might be among the reasons that we aren't all on the same page today.

The US response was like other countries in that everyone learned as it went along and that no one -- in any country -- was truly prepared for a pandemic despite measures and protocols in place.

The US response was not like other countries in that the US government felt no need to provide for its citizens.  Italy, France, etc -- they had measures in place to ensure the citizens didn't go under economically.  In the US?  A one-time $1,200 check was supposed to tide you over for at least eight months.  Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and other members of Congress do grasp, don't they, this comes to $150 a month?  

$150 a month, wow, you can pay rent and stock up the fridge with that amount of money -- provided you owned a really good time machine and were willing to go back in time further than 1960 because even in 1960 the average rent was $200 a month.

How out of touch is this US Congress?

Or, like many a selfish lover, do they just tell you whatever to get what they want from you?


2020 came to an end without a second stimulus check as Isaiah's THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS "The Grinch Who Stole The Stimulus and Christmas."  She let a stimulus die in October, one that could have put money in the hands of the American people in time for Christmas.

"What makes me amused if it weren't so sad, is how you all think that you know more about the suffering of the American people than those of us who are elected by them to represent them at that table," Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi lectured CNN's Wolf Blitzer October 13th when he asked her why she wasn't on board with the stimulus -- see video below.

"Have you fed them? We feed them, we feed them," Nancy insisted.

And it was true, yes, provided you could live -- rent and food -- on that $150 a month that 2020's only stimulus check averaged out to.


From 2016 forward, the press broke all the basic rules of journalism with regards to Donald Trump.  And not even the warnings from Ted Koppel or Tom Brokaw could make them return to practicing honest journalism (or what had passed for it previously).  

But 2020 brought something even worse.  It wasn't just that they would run with unsourced rumors or even lie about Donald Trump (see Erik Wemple's report on Natasha Bertand for just one example),  now they were regularly ignoring real news stories if those stories painted their favored candidate, Joe Biden, in a poor light.

2020 made clear that the press failures of the last year weren't going to vanish when Donald Trump left and that they were now part of what passed for a functioning press.

Tara Reade came forward with credible allegations that then-Senator Joe Biden assaulted her while she was an intern in 1992.  The press ignored the allegations forever and a day.  

Then PBS' NEWSHOUR ridiculously 'investigated' by speaking to a list of people that Joe Biden's campaign provided.  Then there were all the attacks that were printed, whispers from the Biden campaign that the press didn't feel the need to disclose.  

The repugnant Michael Tracey felt the need to weigh in.  Tara Reade could not have been raped, he explained, because of her money problems and some people who knew her once and didn't like her. Michael Tracey feels he knows better than anyone -- including those who've studied assault -- and possibly that's because he's an expert on the actions of a rapist?  Don't know but I do know that no rapist first asks his victim for a credit report.

Hunter Biden has no ethics and may have broken laws.  But we never got to have that conversation in the press.  The Hunter story played out the same as the Tara Reade story -- the press refused to investigate and instead spent their time explaining how the story was wrong and shouldn't even be discussed.

October 16th, THE NEW YORK POST published a story and this was followed by Twitter and Facebook censoring the nation's oldest newspaper still in business, it was followed not by newspapers and networks showing an interest in the computer and e-mails or demanding that Joe Biden answer (he still hasn't) on the record whether or not this laptop was Hunter Biden's, it was instead followed by attacking THE POST, its reporters and its sources.

And this is not a momentary defect.  This is now what journalism resorts to: If they don't like the story, they're going to censor it.  NPR's ombudsperson Kelly McBride quoted NPR's Managing Editor for 'News,' Terence Samuel, declaring of the laptop story, "We don't want to waste our time on stories that are not really stories, and we don't want to waste the listeners' and readers' time on stories that are just pure distraction."  For more on that garbage, see Ava and my "Media: NPR doesn't trust its listeners" at THIRD.  But the most important point?  Hunter Biden is under federal investigation -- and we only learned that after the election.  Isaiah's THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS "Hunter Biden Finally Gets A Little Press Attention." 

a little attention

After the election, after weeks of being told 'nothing to see here,' turns out there was something to see there.  As Jonathan Turley pointed out:

“Hunter is stuck on the roof.” That is what the transition team for Joe Biden should have said this week, instead of declaring that Hunter Biden is under federal investigation. The surprise was a lot to handle for many who have been insulated from real news about the case for weeks. The Biden team evidently never heard the old joke about the man who calls home during a trip to speak with his brother who was house sitting.

When asked how things are going, the brother blurts out, “Fluffy is dead.” The man is shocked and yells that is not how you tell someone their cat died. Instead, he claims, you build up to it and say the cat is stuck on the roof, and then call back to say she fell. After the brother apologizes, the man asks how their mother is doing, and the brother pauses before replying, “Mom is stuck on the roof.”

The problem is that Americans were assured that Hunter Biden was nowhere near the figurative roof. Before the election, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff said the story involving the laptop was a “smear” from Russia. Some 50 former intelligence officials also insisted the laptop story was likely the work of Russian intelligence. Cable hosts and journalists laughed at the laptop story as fake news, and there was a virtual blackout on further coverage, until that loud thump after the election.

Most striking about the media blackout is that, as with the Trump-Russia collusion story, the media was coaxed to buy into a false narrative. Reporters became so invested in the denial that they couldn’t afford to acknowledge growing evidence of possible wrongdoing. If Hunter Biden and his uncle did conduct a global influence peddling scheme, these reporters were at best dupes and at worst enablers of a coverup, so the story could not be true.

The public shock was palpable because so many have been hermetically  and journalistically sealed off from any negative reports on the Bidens. The media was openly in the bag for candidate Biden, and he was left unchallenged in ridiculous claims like his often repeated line “no one has suggested my son did anything wrong.”


Again, this is no longer a temporary defect, this is now a factory feature of journalism -- and that should bother everyone.


Glenn Greenwald.  I'm not a fan of Glenn Greenwald's but I also don't hate him.  I will give him credit when he deserves it -- and I have done so here frequently.  

But it's October 31st and I'm on the phone with a friend who's an artist and the biggest lover of Glenn Greenwald I've ever known -- so much in love with Glenn, in fact, that if I had either his number or the number of his husband David Miranda, I'd be tempted to call and warn them about this woman.  Seriously, if she could, she'd stalk Glenn.

Or she would have.  

We're on the phone, she's called me and she launches into an attack on Glenn about how he's self-serving and this and that and blah blah blah.

Why?  Because he's left THE INTERCEPT and it's because they refused to honor his contract -- his column on Hunter Biden should have been published.  

Why can't this idiot see that?

'Some people have to be so negative,' the dumb idiot says.  And I'm listening to her and remembering that she's a really dumb idiot, one who tries to pretend she's thirty years younger than she is (she can pass for ten but only because she's grossly overweight which limits her facial wrinkles), and I'm thinking, "Oh, hell no.  I can't go through this again."


She bought the lies about Russia.  She bought 'em, she repeated 'em.  This wasn't for a day or two or even a few months.  No, she bought this for years and it became so difficult to be around her.  In February of 2019, she finally realized that they were lies.  Finally.  I can't do this again.

Because I insist upon talking politics?  Oh, no.  No, I have degrees in poli sci.  I don't discuss politics with just anyone.  Some people you quickly grasp are not smart enough to participate in such a conversation.  So for nearly three years, I had to change the topic repeatedly and find other subjects to discuss to maintain the friendship.

Screw that.  I put up with that nonsense from a lot of friends for far too long.  I'm not going through it again.  If they want whore or worship whores -- big surprise, Big Fatty turned on Glenn when she started listening to the original whore Sam Seder -- do it away from me because life is too short and I'm sick of forgiving and overlooking.  Those days are gone.  The Madness of Donald Trump is ending and those of you who cannot cure yourself of the sickness you've inflicted n all of us?  I don't have time for you.

Glenn told the truth and for that he was attacked and savaged.

You can read about it here.  And along with that article at INFORMATION CLEARING HOUSE, you can read Glenn's writing at SUBSTACK.

You can -- and you should.  I'm not Glenn's fan or booster.  But I do support what he did and I am appalled and disgusted by Naomi Klein and others who've attacked him.  


Along with Glenn, someone else who gets attacked?  Jimmy Dore.

On that same October 31st phone with Big Fatty, when I said, "How in the world is Glenn writing about what happened at THE INTERCEPT hurting the country?"  Because that's what Big Fatty said it was doing.  I still don't know because instead of answering my question, Big Fatty responded, "Oh, you're just like Jimmy Dore."

No, I'm really nothing like Jimmy Dore (and he's nothing like me) and I'm sure we're both glad for that.  Jimmy Dore's carved out his own position.  I'm not indebted to anyone for this site.  I state all the time, "I'm not a nice person."  When NPR friends were promoting this site, I asked them to stop.  I asked ALTERNET to pull us from their links.  I don't owe anything to anybody outside this TCI community.  The site turned 16 years old back in November.  We've got our following and we built it, I don't owe favors to anyone.  I can say what I want as a result -- which is the thing that Jimmy and I do share.

October 31st, I learned that the Joe Biden posse -- Big Fatty, who swears she believes Tara Reade and who was a huge Bernie supporter, became part of the Joe Biden posse in September -- was also declaring war on Jimmy Dore.

Lucky Jimmy probably realized it before then.  Lucky because when you realize you're hated it really frees you up.  I've noted this before, if you want to make me nervous shower me with kindness.  You give me hate?  Hate I can live with.  I don't know how many directors thought they were going to destroy me only to learn the hard way that I don't crumble or cave in during difficult situations.  You think you're going to bully me on a set and make me cry?  You're going to be the one grabbing the tissue because, if I have to, I can live on hate, I can thrive on it.

So knowing how hated he was becoming may have been a gift to Jimmy and may have freed him to do what no one else could or would do: Press for a House vote on Medicare For All.

It's needed, it's 100% needed.  

But no one thought of how to do it before Jimmy did.  ("No one" includes me.)  Jimmy came up with it and he's led on this issue and, in the process, he's kept the fight for Medicare For All alive and the issue on the minds of many Americans.  

Here's his most recent video on Force The Vote -- and here's where you can sign the petition.

And to be clear, Jimmy's kind of Moqtada al-Sadr here.  I don't like Moqtada but I don't mean that comparison as an insult to Jimmy.  In 2012, thug Nouri al-Maliki was not honoring his promises made in the legal contract that was The Erbil Agreement.  A number of political types, including Moqtada, informed him that they would move for a no-confidence vote in Parliament if he didn't honor the agreement.  Throughout the lead up to this move, Moqtada repeatedly stated publicly that Nouri could stop the no-confidence vote at any time by implementing the agreement.

Force The Vote is asking for a vote on Medicare For All to take place the last week of January.  How do you Force The Vote?  Threaten to withhold your vote for Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House.  If Nancy fears this is a real movement, she can (and might) agree to a vote on Medicare For All before a Speakership vote even takes place.  That's what Force The Vote is about, letting Nancy know that if she wants votes to be Speaker of the House, she needs to agree to a rollcall vote on Medicare For All.  And it's not being done in secret -- my point in comparing Jimmy to Moqtada -- it's being done in the open and she can put an end to immediately by announcing a vote will take place.

The people who are demonizing Jimmy Dore over this do not have your best interests at heart.  We should all be applauding Jimmy for what he's come up with.  


But we can't, can we?  Not about issues that matter.  We can't talk about the fact that Iraq is the second deadliest country in 2020 for journalists with at least six killed in 2020 (see this Reporters Without Borders yearly review) and countless more arrested and threatened with arrest.

What got them killed?  The same thing that got so many detained and arrested: Covering the ongoing protests.  

You'd think this is an issue that would matter but you look at various US sites -- actual news sites as well as left and 'left' websites -- and you won't read about it.

There's so much you won't read about.  Kelley Beaucar Vlahos (INFORMATION CLEARING HOUSE) asked an important question this week, "What does it look like when you 'liberate' a country that hasn't asked for it, when you unleash a violent chain of events creating the conditions for an even worse tyranny than before?"  It's one of many questions that we should be asking in this country since we are responsible for starting the Iraq War.  


What do the Iraqi people think about the protests?  Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung conducted a survey and you can  (PDF format warning) read about it here.  From the report:

In the poll 66% of Iraqis expressed optimism about the future.  The 31-45 age group are the most optimistic about the future (71%).  Contrary to the other regions, the majority of Kurds in the KRI are pessimistic about the future (37%).

In general, 60% of Iraqis support "the events", i.e. the protests, that are happening since October 1st, 2019.  More men (63%) tend to support "the events" than women (57%).  Iraqis from Central and Al-Furat Al-Awsat regions (both 67%) support "the events" more than the other regions, especially Iraqis from Kurdistan (53%) and the Northern regions (55%).

We asked the participants for the name they would ascribe to "the events": Most Iraqis call the current events a demonstration (44%) or a revolution (31%).  Fewer call it an uprising (17%) or a movement (7%).

For the Iraqis, "the events" are a clear result of the accumulated conditions it preceded.  89% strongly or somewhat agree to that (Top 2 Boxes = T2B).  For the vast majority "the events" erupted as a call against corruption (93% T2B).  While the majority thinks that it all started with clear demands and it was later exploited and modified (67% T2B).  Iraqis mostly disagree that the protests are not being manipulated by either local parties (56% L2B = Lower two Boxes) or by external parties (58% L2B).  

[. . .]

Most Iraqis agree that it is true that "the events" have some deficits, but describe them as necessary (89% T2B).  They support "the events", but do not support blocking roads.

That's what the Iraqis think.  What do Americans think?  They'd need US media to seriously report on the protests in order to form an opinion and the reality is that the Iraq protests have largely been ignored since January of 2020.

Is it a topic that, in the US, we have to avoid because we realize our collective guilt on the issue of Iraq?  That our government destroyed the country?  That our government is responsible for turning it into a country of orphans and widows?  That our government is responsible for the huge rise in birth defects in Iraq (as well as in the families of some US veterans)?  That our government has repeatedly worked to install one prime minister after another who did not reside in Iraq in 2002 because they'd fled the country years before?

Exactly how does that work?  The US crowns a coward who fled Iraq and only returned when the US invaded and the people of Iraq are supposed to rally around that coward?  

Things are about to get a lot worse in Iraq -- and who would've thought that was possible?  The Iraqi government is about to impose austerity measures and the dinar has already been devalued.  Hatem Hussein (ALMADA) reported that economist state this move will increase the percent of Iraqis living in poverty to 60% of the population.  

We can just talk is nothing but a line being used to score.  They don't want to talk, not about issues that really matter.  They'd rather go to town, for example, on a yoga instructor than tackle actual issues of war -- let alone peace (see this "Iraq snapshot").


2020 was disgusting, depressing and disappointing.  But the good news is, that as we do our walk of shame away from it, we should be a little wiser.  We can always hope, anyway.     



Past year-in-reviews

2019: The Year For Dummies
2018: The Year of Media Self-Exposure
2017: The Year of Chicken Little
2016: The Year of WTF
2015: The Year of the Ass
2014: The Year of Self-Exposure
2013: The Year of Exposure
2012: The Year of Avoidance
2011: The Year of the Slow Reveal

  • 2010: The Year of Enough
  • 2009: The Year of Living Sickly
  • 2008: The Year of Living Hormonally

  • 2007: The Year of Living Useless

  • 2006: The Year of Living Dumbly

  • The Common Ills Year in Review 2005

    The Common Ills Year in Review

    Ruth's "Ruth's Streaming Report," Kat's "2020 in music" and Martha & Shirley's "2020 in Books (Martha & Shirley)" went up here earlier.  Ann's "2020 in films" and Stan's "2020 in films" (joint-post) went up at their sites and will be reposted her later as will Rebecca's "sexiest men of 2020."