Wednesday, April 01, 2020

Whoopi Fetchit Goldberg

Whoopi was never much of an actress but what's really sad is that, at 64, you look back on her film career and you're struck by how she played the stereotype over and over.  She's a modern day Steppin Fetchit which is probably why White people have enjoyed her more than Black people.  We see her shucking and jiving and playing insulting stereotypes. 

Those stereotypes have always produced chuckles from a lot of Whites -- that's the reason AMOS AND ANDY was a success to begin with.

Whoopi's 64 and she's played Aunt Jemimiah maids and nannys and buffoons -- buffalo-butted buffoons. In a varied career, you could look at Ota Mae in Ghost and enjoy her.  But in Whoopi's filmography, it's just one more insulting stereotype.

Whoopi attacked Bernie Sanders on THE VIEW on Wednesday.  Why?  Because she's a Joe Biden lover.  Of course she is.  She's a corporate whore completely out of touch with Black America -- let alone Young Black America.

Which is why she really needs to go.  She offers nothing on THE VIEW.  She's out of touch with Black America.  Maybe that's why she's on the show?  ABC needs a White-based faux Black?  That would be Whoopi.

"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):
Wednesday, April 1, 2020.  If the corporate media is going to pretend Joe Biden is already the nominee is it equally fair to start presenting as "presumed rapist Joe Biden"?  We look at that and many other things including Amanda Marcotte's latest nonsense.

Joshua Collins is running for Congress and Tweets under Joshua4Congress and this is one of his Tweets:

This is gonna make a lot of people mad, but because of the very credible rape allegation against Joe Biden, I have decided I cannot vote for him if he's the nominee. Y'all can vote for whichever rapist you want, count me out.

Meanwhile Meg Slay Tweets:

Symone Sanders tweeted her support for Blasey Ford + #MeToo
. She said if her rapist ran for president, she would come forward even if it was 50 years later. Now that she's a Senior Advisor to Joe Biden, who has been accused of sexual assault, Symone has scrubbed her tweets.

Yes, we're starting in the US with presumed rapist Joe Biden.  That is what he is, right?  He's not the presidential nominee for the Democratic Party but REUTERS calls him that here -- no, not in the text of the story but in the caption to Elizabeth Frantz's photo.  So if REUTERS can call him that with 27 primaries still to take place, over 1300 delegates still up for grabs and neither he nor Bernie Sanders having yet reached the 1991 delegate total needed to grab the nomination, I think an argument can be made that referring to him as "presumed rapist Joe Biden" is in line with the garbage that the corporate media -- and Bitch Amanda Marcotte -- are serving up.

Kamille Houston (THE DAILY PENNSYLVANIAN) observes:

Last week, former Senate staffer Tara Reade alleged that Joe Biden sexually assaulted her when she worked in his senate office in 1993. Last year, Reade told the Union that Biden touched her inappropriately on her neck and shoulders, but recently said a sexual assault also occurred. In the past, multiple women have made complaints against the former Penn presidential practice professor for touching them inappropriately or making them uncomfortable, though Reade’s is the first allegation of sexual misconduct.
[. . .]
On-campus political groups like Penn Democrats and Penn for Bernie are calling on Biden's campaign to investigate and address Reade's allegation. 
Penn Dems, who recently endorsed Biden for president, still support him despite the allegation.
In a written statement to The Daily Pennsylvanian, Penn Dems executive board expressed that they take allegations of sexual assault "extremely seriously," and reference their status as a group certified by Penn Violence Prevention's Anti-Violence Engagement Network.
“Tara Reade deserves to be heard and journalistic organizations have an obligation to investigate her allegations," the statement read. "VP Biden should also address them further immediately.” 

Over on the right-wing, Debra Heine (AMERICAN GREATNESS) notes, "It’s been nearly a week since former Joe Biden staffer Tara Reade leveled credible accusations of sexual assault against the presumptive Democrat nominee for president, yet ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC and CNN have yet to report on the troubling story, according to Newsbusters.Brad Polumbo (WASHINGTON EXAMINER) adds, "Interestingly, some left-wing outlets such as the Intercept and Vox have covered the accusation, but major liberal national newspapers and networks have almost uniformly ignored it. (The Hill did cover it, in a television interview that’s worth watching.)"  Polumbo also notes this study by the conservative media watchdog the Media Research Center which found:

Since Reade went public, candidate Biden has given long interviews, including: an hour-long CNN town hall on March 27, where he faced 23 questions (13 from CNN’s Anderson Cooper, ten others submitted by audience members); nine minutes on NBC’s Meet the Press on March 29, where he faced nine questions from moderator Chuck Todd; and nearly a quarter-hour on Monday’s MSNBC Live with Katy Tur, where he faced an additional nine questions.
Out of 41 total questions, Biden didn’t face a single one about his new accuser.

Branko Marcetic (JACOBIN) explains:

In 2017, the resignation of Senator Al Franken (D-MN) over a series of allegations that he had groped or kissed women without their consent was viewed as a pivotal moment in the long history of sexual abuse on Capitol Hill. As the allegations mounted, thirty senators from his own party, joined by two independents, placed what he later called a “tremendous amount of pressure” on Franken to resign, which he did.
Now, as a sexual assault allegation against Democratic front-runner and former vice president Joe Biden trickles from the world of online news into the mainstream media, all but one of those thirty-two senators are staying silent.
Last week, Tara Reade, a former staffer of Biden’s, alleged that in 1993, he had pushed her up against the wall and groped and penetrated her with his hands, telling her afterward, “You mean nothing to me.” Although Jacobin was unable to reach Reade and has not independently corroborated her story, the Intercept’s Ryan Grim, who originally broke the story, spoke to Reade’s brother and friend, who recounted hearing the story from her at the time. Grim had originally also broken the story about then–Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s accuser, Christine Blasey Ford.
Biden has previously said that “for a woman to come forward in the glaring lights of focus, nationally, you’ve got to start off with the presumption that at least the essence of what she’s talking about is real.” His senior adviser, Symone Sanders, whose personal website describes her as “a champion for women,” had said in 2018 she believed Ford’s allegation, stressing that she didn’t “think anyone that has ever done that, whether it was once in their life or fifty times, deserves to sit at the highest precipice of power.” Biden’s campaign has called Reade’s allegation “false.” 
Jacobin reached out to the twenty-nine Democratic and independent senators who had called for Franken’s resignation three years ago and are still in office, in some cases leaving multiple voicemails and emails, and sometimes speaking directly with staffers. Some of those senators have since endorsed Biden for president, including Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Kamala Harris (D-CA), and Cory Booker (D-NJ). Of those twenty-nine, only one — Ohio’s Sherrod Brown — offered a statement in response:
“Every woman has a right to be heard without fear of intimidation or retribution, and I will always fight for that right.”

Perhaps the most surprising silence came from Senator Gillibrand, who has carved out a profile as a champion of women and sexual assault victims. Gillibrand has fought for years to ensure accusers in the military can be heard and see justice, and she was the first senator to call for Franken’s resignation in 2017, without an investigation into the allegations first.

Nolan Finley (DETROIT NEWS) observes

I do tend to believe Reade. As I said, her allegations fit into Biden’s pattern of interactions with women, and there’s no doubt the two knew and worked together.
But she and Ford share in common a lack of evidence to support their claims, beyond their own word.
Ford’s word was good enough for the left to embrace as a weapon against Kavanaugh. No one is thanking Reade for telling her story. Few are even listening to her tell it.
#MeToo should change its motto. Believe all women, except when their stories are inconvenient to our political agenda.

On Tuesday, Tara Reade spoke to DEMOCRACY NOW! about her allegations:

TARA READE: I actually tried to tell the story to some extent in 1993, in the sense that I wanted to talk about it, but I was too afraid. My mother had encouraged me to file a police report, and I did not, and I should have. So I filed a sexual harassment claim, where just I filled out a paper and then did not hear back.

AMY GOODMAN: Can you give us the circumstances, how you ended up — what was the day, how you ended up alone with Joe Biden? Explain what happened that day.

TARA READE: I was approached by my supervisor. She handed me a gym bag and said, “Hurry, Joe wants this, so get it to him. He’ll meet you down towards the Capitol.” And I went down the stairs, and I don’t remember exactly where I was, because there’s connections between the Russell Building and all of that and the corridors, but we were in a semi-private location. It wasn’t a room. It wasn’t, you know, the Russell Office Building — I mean, in his office. It was down in the corridors. And I handed him the gym bag.
And then he — it was one, as I described, fluid moment. He was talking to me, and he said some things that I don’t recall. And I was up against the wall. And he — I remember the coldness of the wall. And I remember his hands underneath my blouse and underneath my skirt, and his fingers penetrating me as he was trying to kiss me and I was pulling away. And he pulled back, and he said, “Come on, man. I heard you liked me.” But he was angry. It was like a tight voice. And he tended to smile when he was angry. And he isn’t like the Uncle Joe like everybody talks about now. He was younger. He was my dad’s age at that time and very strong. And he looked insulted and angry. And I remember feeling like I had done something wrong when he said that statement. And then I was standing there when he said — he was still near me. He said — pointed his finger and said, “You’re nothing to me. You’re nothing.” And he walked away.
And I don’t remember exactly where I went after. I think I went to the restroom to clean up, but I don’t remember precisely. The next memory I have is sitting on the cold stairs, on the Russell Building back stairs, where the big windows are. And I remember just my whole body shaking. And I remember knowing that — knowing that I had made him angry and that my career was probably over. And I didn’t comply. And I didn’t comply when I was asked to serve drinks at a cocktail party for donors, because, apparently, Joe Biden said, according to a legislative staffer, that I had pretty legs, and he thought I was pretty, and I should serve the drinks. And my supervisor had encouraged me to do so, and I did not. So, sitting on those stairs, the reality hit me.
The next thing I remember was that night and talking to my mom, and she was like, “You need to file a police report. It’s a sexual assault.” And I didn’t think of it as sexual assault, and I didn’t really understand. And I was trying to just get over the shock of it, because I looked up to him. He was supposed to be a champion of women. And I was so thrilled to be at that office and so honored, and it shattered my life and changed the trajectory of my whole career and life. And I lost my job after I complained, and I was fired.

AMY GOODMAN: And how exactly did you complain, Tara? You filed a complaint of sexual harassment against Senator Biden at the time? Now, let’s be clear, this is 1993, two years after he led the Senate Judiciary Committee around the Anita Hill charges against Clarence Thomas. So this is soon after that. You filed a complaint. Did you talk about this happening?

TARA READE: No, I didn’t talk about the sexual assault. What I did was I went through office protocol, which would be to go to your supervisor. And if you’re not happy, you go to the next supervisor, and then the next one would be the chief of staff. And I did go up the chain verbally. And there were a couple of meetings — more than a couple, actually. And there were people taking notes. I mean, I know they took notes. And some were more informal in the hallway, with Marianne. And I was basically — after I had not served the drinks, that whole, you know, episode, I was immediately told, like within a few days, by Marianne’s assistant that I dressed too provocatively, that I was too — that I needed to be less noticeable. And then Marianne got me in the hallway, because I was annoyed by that, and she said, you know, “You want to just keep your head down and do as you’re told, if you want to last here.”
And I went to them and told them I was uncomfortable. So I couched it in those terms. We didn’t use the term “sexual harassment” a lot back then. And I remember saying I was uncomfortable and why. But nothing happened. And in fact, I was put in a windowless office, and I had my duties taken away from me. I was given a desk audit. I was told to call one of my upper-level supervisors even if I went to the restroom. I was not to call or talk to other staffers or go to legislative hearings. I was told that I was given a month to find another job. And I sent out my résumés. And before I did that, because of this retaliation, I told my mother, who gave me the term “retaliation” and explained to me what was happening, and said to march in there and file a sexual harassment claim. And I said — and she used the word. And I said, “Well, you don’t just march into their office. Like, that’s not how this is done.”
So, I had gone through that protocol. Then, when that didn’t work, I went to the outside, which was like a — they had a temporary office set up, so it was Senate personnel or something like that, and I was given a clipboard. I filled out a form and talked about just the incident of the sexual harassment, feeling uncomfortable. And I was told at the window that somebody would call back, you know, call me back in. And they never did.
I ended up looking for work, couldn’t find it. I volunteered for the Robert F. Kennedy memorial. I was fortunate enough to work in the VIP tent and with the family, and it was helping me emotionally, because I was trying to recover from the trauma of what had happened that day. And I didn’t share it with many people at all at that time. It’s just not something that was easy to talk about. It’s not easy to talk about now.
And when I came out in April, I started again — I had the intent to tell the whole history with Biden. But one of the first questions out of the reporter’s mouth was, “Yeah, but it wasn’t sexual, right?” when he was talking about the sexual harassment. And it shut me down. And that’s not his fault. It’s my responsibility, I know, to be brave and to be courageous and say the words. But it just put me off from being able to talk. And then, when the story was hitting, there was so much blowback and smearing on social media that I just didn’t feel comfortable. So I was trying to find a way to tell my story to a legitimate news agency. I didn’t want it sold or, you know, sensationalized or anything nonsense like that. I wanted to have the deeper conversation of how hard it is for survivors of sexual assault and sexual harassment in the workplace to go up against powerful men, because I have not received any payment for this, I have not received any compensation, because the facts are, you know, women are not paid to talk. They’re paid to stay silent. And so I wanted a women’s organization around me, and that’s why I went to Time’s Up.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And, Tara Reade, could you talk about your experience then with Time’s Up, when you went to them and you were hoping that they might be able to assist you in this?

TARA READE: Yes. I went to Time’s Up. They were very gracious. I filled out a form, first of all, on — you know, you do it online. And then I was called about January 24th-ish, right around there, and emailed back, and then we had a phone interview. There was about 20 emails between us, and there were several meetings on the phone. And what they did was they prepared a paragraph describing my case, and they were going to give me attorney referrals. And if you’re economically challenged or you need help with funds, they will help you with a public relations platform for one month, so access to a public relations firm, to tell your story with their platform, and also to have an attorney, which is what I was seeking because of the social media smears. I wanted like cease and desist for some of the things that were being said. I wanted protection, of some sort, and not to be alone.

AMY GOODMAN: And describe then what happened, I mean, this report in The Intercept of you waiting to hear from Time’s Up and then what you learned afterwards about its links to the Biden campaign through the PR firm.

TARA READE: It was absolutely stunning. In the 20-plus emails and the multiple conversations that we had, not one time, not once, did they say that they were connected to Anita Dunn, who worked for Harvey Weinstein and advised him and helped him keep — silence some of the women that came forward. Not one time did they talk about the payments that were made to the Joe Biden campaign. Now, bear in mind, in their defense, they said that that’s second removed. But part of their services was to provide a platform, you know, a public relations platform. I don’t understand, as a survivor — and I’m not an investigative reporter. I’m not an investigator. I’m just speaking as a survivor. It violated my trust, when I read Ryan Grim’s article. I found out with everyone else. And I’m still processing that. I shared my story with them again and again, with the attorneys that they sent to me. And each time I was rejected by each attorney. One attorney said, “We’ve met as a firm, and we have decided there is no legal strategy to safely tell your story, because it’s Joe Biden.”
And what I want to say is that’s wrong. That’s unconscionable. Anyone who has a claim or an assertion of something that’s happened of misconduct should be able to speak freely without reprisal. And as you can see in the social media, I am being ripped apart. I’ve had my family and my friends contacted. I’ve had my bankruptcy posted. I have had the fact that I had a name change, which was sealed, and a sealed Social Security change for safety, because I’m a domestic violence survivor. And I’ve been dragged through it. But I don’t care. I don’t care about that. They can try to strip away everything about me, but they won’t take my dignity, and they won’t get my silence, because all that does is make me more determined to tell my story, and it doesn’t change the fact of what happened in 1993.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And, Tara Reade, throughout all this time, when you were engaged in discussions with the Time’s Up folks, they never mentioned their relationship with Anita Dunn, or — and how did they finally notify you that they could not be involved?

TARA READE: They started an email. But then I called Ellie, asking her what was going on. It was taking some time, and I kept getting rejected by attorneys. And she said, “I was going to just email you, but I have to tell you that our 501(c)(3) status would be at risk. We can keep referring attorneys to you, but we cannot provide you funding.” So then I wanted to escalate it to the director, and so we had a meeting with the director and the program manager. And I pushed back a little, and I said, “I can’t help who did this. Where do I go? How do I get help? How do I get a woman’s organization to help me?” And her response was, “Keep in communications with us. Our attorneys have advised us our 501(c)(3) could be at risk because it’s a presidential election, and we can’t appear biased.” So, I accepted that response at that time —

Whenever anyone tells the truth, some will come along to try to destroy them.  I will give Tara the benefit of the doubt unless/until I hear something that makes me rethink her statements.  I do not believe we blindly believe all who claim to be victims of assault or rape.  I do believe we do let all who make that claim air their claims in public so that we can have a public dialogue and debate.  That is what we do in a democracy and it's also what we're really left with when a crime may or may not have taken place in private -- meaning no witnesses to the crime itself.

But there are those who will shut down discussions -- not with facts, not with anything but smears and lies.  Enter Bitch Amanda Marcotte.

I think I've earned the right to call her that, right?  John Edwards?  I've always shared how I met him after the VANITY FAIR profile, how it was a meeting to explore supporting him for a presidential run and how -- even with his wife in another room -- Grabby Hands John didn't know boundaries and I had to physically push him off me.  I've never hidden that story.

But Amanda worked for him, didn't she?  Not then.  Years later.  Her hate got her fired (she's got a problem with Christianity and Christians) but she was trying, in 2007, trying to put that jerk into the White House.  So I think that alone gives me the right to call her what she is: a bitch.

She's also a racist as she demonstrated in her book IT'S A JUNGLE OUT THERE with its racist illustrations portraying innocent White women attacked repeatedly by Black men.  Kate Tuttle (THE ROOT) noted in real time:

When the book came out in early March, few seemed to notice anything wrong. The first dozen reader reviews on its Amazon page were uniformly glowing, with many mentioning how they'd long admired the author's blog. It's a Jungle Out There: The Feminist Survival Guide to Politically Inhospitable Environments is Amanda Marcotte's first book, but the author is a seasoned blogger. A 30ish white woman from Texas, Marcotte wields a freewheeling I-don't-care-who-I-piss-off voice as she attacks sexism, homophobia and other patriarchal behaviors on her blog, Pandagon. Your typical third-wave feminist, she has also railed against racism and other ills because hey, you don't have to personally experience a social wrong to want to right it, right?
You can see where this is going, can't you? Turns out Marcotte's book, whatever sharp wit and political insight it conveyed, painted a thousand more with its illustrations: vintage comic-book images of a blonde chick rampaging through a tropical forest, battling seemingly endless variations of an undifferentiated brown horde.
In retrospect, it's surprising it took all of two weeks for the black blogosphere to rally against the thing. By the end of March and for the first two weeks in April, women of color from BlackAmazonto Angry Black Woman had attacked the book's publisher, Seal Press, a small San Francisco-based house that advertises itself as being "by women, for women."
For these women, the controversy was yet another outrage in the long and discouraging history of white feminists discounting, misunderstanding and disrespecting women of color. It turned out that this wasn't the first time Seal Press had shown what many saw as racial insensitivity—back in 2007 they had to scuttle an original cover for Marcotte's book that featured a King Kong-like ape-ravishing-white-woman image. And, some pointed out, where were the women of color among their author list?

Dodai Stewart covered it for JEZEBEL:

There's a furor going on in the feminist blogsphere. The issue is complicated, but what follows is an attempt to give a general gist of what's gone down: On March 29 in Cambridge, the blogger known as Brownfemipower (BFP) spoke at WAM (Women, Action & the Media conference). Apparently, Brownfemipower (who has been called "one of the most important feminist bloggers in the history of the web") spoke about the racism and sexism faced by immigrant women in the US in our current "build a wall" climate. On April 2, writer Amanda Marcotte published an article on RH Reality Check called "Can A Person Be Illegal?" (It was republished a few days later on Alternet.) The jumping off point was a New York Times article about a 22-year-old immigrant from Colombia whose immigration agent used the threat of deportation to rape her. (The woman recorded the assault on her cell phone and the guy was busted.) Marcotte's article made many of the same points BFP made in her speech (the text of which she posted on her blog immediately after the conference.) BFP was not credited or linked to; Amanda Marcotte maintains that though she reads BFP's blog, she did not "steal" her ideas from BFP. In fact, Marcotte replied to a post on Feministe thusly:
"Considering the severity of the accusations leveled at me—plagiarism is not a minor thing to accuse someone of—my right to defend myself with the much-maligned facts shouldn't be a matter of question, regardless of race. I'm extremely eager to address racism, but I won't be made a scapegoat who has to roll over to scurrilous accusations to make anyone feel better. If you have to unfairly malign someone's reputation to make your point, then you have to reconsider if you have a point. Maligning people's reputations—making up lies and then spreading them around and saying, "Well, where there's smoke, there's fire" is a right wing strategy. I am deeply disturbed to see it picked up by people who ostensibly on the side of the angels."
Some WOC (women of color) bloggers maintain that BFP's views were marginalized because she is not white; Marcotte is white, gets and has a book deal. The book in question? It's a Jungle Out There: The Feminist Survival Guide to Politically Inhospitable Environments. Which, to make matters worse, is illustrated with retro comics picturing a blonde, white woman wearing animal print. Writes Holly from Feministe: "You know, the jungle. Where the savage brown people and ferocious animals are defeated by heroic white folks." 

So she's not just a bitch, she's also a racist.  What a glorious life Amanda must have.  Can we also note that the supposed 'feminist' likes to pretend she supports women in politics.  Well those of us with the scars of 2008 know a different reality.  Not only did she start off working for and supporting Grabby Hands John Edwards for the presidential nomination of the Democratic Party but when Edwards dropped out, she immediately announced her support for . . . Barack Obama.  Not for the only woman in the race: Hillary Clinton.  Hillary was never Amanda's first choice or her second choice.  Might she have ended up the third choice?

Amanda likes to rewrite history but there's this thing called reality that will always trip her up.

All of this is to give you the background on the bitch who is defending the media and attacking Tara Reade with garbage that she's posted to SALON.  As she fluffs and offers excuses for the media's refusal to cover Tara's story, she also -- objectively, you understand -- terms Katie Halper "podcaster Katie Halper, an avid fan of presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, released an episode of her podcast containing" -- a fan?  That's Amanda's way of short changing Katie Halper and insulting her.

Katie's a journalist.  She's a writer.  She's a comic.  She's a podcaster.  She's many things.  Calling her a "fan" of Bernie Sanders -- excuse me, "an avid fan" seems insulting and demeaning -- and seems that way because it's how it's intended.

Please note, Amanda's defending the corporate media and, in her first paragraph, is mocking and insulting a member of the independent media.

We get you, bitch, we see where your priorities are.

We covered Joe's awful stumbling -- even with note cards -- in his Monday MSNBC interview in yesterday's snapshot.  But as others weigh in, we'll note their takes as well.  Emily Jacobs (NEW YORK POST) notes:

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden conducted a gaffe-filled interview on MSNBC Monday, kicking off his media appearance by referring to the epicenter of the coronavirus by the wrong name.
“I suggested we should have people in China at the outset of this event, when it all started, in Luhan Province,” Biden told the network, meaning to refer to the city of Wuhan, in Hubei Province, where the virus originated.
The Democratic front-runner went on to claim that the Trump administration withdrew CDC staffers in the months leading up to the virus outbreak, likely stemming from a Reuters report from last week claiming that the administration slashed CDC staff in China.
“We had people in our administration, we had CDC people in other countries because we wanted to anticipate when in fact another virus would occur, when in fact a pandemic might occur as a consequence of a spreading virus in another country, to act quickly. The president withdrew those people,” Biden said.

The problem, however, is that regardless of staffing cuts, the CDC began offering to send a team of experts to the Chinese province back in early January, according to the New York Times.
As he did last week, Biden again gave the wrong date for a USA Today op-ed he penned on the virus, again claiming it was posted on Jan. 17 when it was actually Jan. 27.
The ex-VP also mixed up his drugstores and government agencies, accidentally referring to CVS as CVC.

Jeff Katz (WRVA) points out:

The former vice president said, "The president has to move more rapidly. You know, we know from experience that speed matters. We know that you can’t go too fast, it is about going too slow. In order to avoid that, those very high numbers, we have to do at least several things."
Looking down at his notes, Biden continued, "One, we have to depend on what the president is going to do right now."
Then, losing his train of thought, he said, "And first of all, he has to tell - uh uh wait until the cases before anything happens. Look, the whole idea is he has got to get in place things that were shortages of. "

Meanwhile another US service member has died in Iraq.  Howard Altman (MILITARY TIMES) reports, "A service member with Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve died in a non-combat related incident in Erbil, Iraq, March 30, the command announced.  The cause of death remains under investigation, but COVID-19 is not suspected, officials said in a media release. No other details were provided."  STARS AND STRIPES notes the death here.  This is the sixth death of a US service member in Iraq since the start of this year.  At ANTIWAR.COM, Scott Horton offers:

Can anyone think what our society might have spent six and a half trillion dollars on instead of 20 years of war in the Middle East for nothing? How about the trillion dollars per year we keep spending on the military on top of that?
Invading, dominating and remaking the Arab world to serve the interests of the American empire and the state of Greater Israel sounds downright quaint at this point. Iraq War II, as Senator Bernie Sanders said in the debate a few weeks ago, while letting Joe Biden, one of its primary proponents, off the hook for it, was “a long time ago.” Actually, Senator, we still have troops there fighting Iraq War III 1/2 against what’s left of the ISIS insurgency, and our current government continues to threaten the launch of Iraq War IV against the very parties we fought the last two wars for. This would almost certainly then lead to war with Iran.
The U.S.A. still has soldiers, marines and CIA spies in Syria, Afghanistan, Somalia, Libya, Mali, Tunisia, Niger, Nigeria, Chad and only God and Nick Turse know where else.
Worst of all, America under President Donald Trump is still “leading from behind” in the war in Yemen Barack Obama started in conspiracy with Saudi then-Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman back in 2015. This war is nothing less than a deliberate genocide. It is a medieval-style siege campaign against the civilian population of the country. The war has killed more than a quarter of a million innocent people in the last five years, including at least 85,000 children under five years old. And, almost unbelievably, this war is being fought on behalf of the American people’s enemies, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). These are the same guys that bombed the USS Cole in the port of Aden in 2000, helped to coordinate the September 11th attack, tried to blow up a plane over Detroit with the underpants bomb on Christmas Day 2009, tried to blow up another plane with a package bomb and launched the Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris, France since then. In fact, CENTCOM was helping the Houthi regime in the capital of Sana’a target and kill AQAP as late as January 2015, just two months before Obama stabbed them in the back and took al Qaeda’s side against them. So the war is genocide and treason.

The following sites updated:

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Science post

Let's do a science post and let's focus on Mars. Ashley Strickland (CNN) reports:

One of the biggest mysteries in piecing together the story of Mars' past is a key question: Where did the water come from? Researchers may have found a large clue in tiny slices from Martian meteorites that fell to Earth, according to a new study.
Mars was likely a warm, wet planet billions of years ago before its atmosphere was slowly stripped down and whisked out into space -- leaving behind the thin atmosphere and frozen desert planet we know today.
But how did the water get to Mars in the first place? To understand that, researchers have to look at the layers of Mars. Like any planet, it has a core, mantle, crust and atmosphere. Fortuitously, Martian meteorites contain samples of the planet's crust. The crust is also where the largest reservoir is estimated to be on Mars, containing 35% of the total estimated water beneath the surface.

Mike Wall (SPACE.COM) adds:

Barnes and her colleagues analyzed two Mars meteorites: Northwest Africa (NWA) 7034, also known as Black Beauty, and Allan Hills 84001 (ALH84001), probably the most famous Red Planet rock of all time. In the mid-1990s, a team of researchers announced that they'd found compelling evidence of Martian life in ALH84001. Most other scientists were not convinced, and the claim remains controversial, and debated, to this day.
Barnes and her team determined the hydrogen-isotope compositions of Black Beauty and ALH84001, which interacted with water in the Martian crust about 1.5 billion years ago and 3.9 billion years ago, respectively.
Isotopes are versions of an element that have different numbers of neutrons in their atomic nuclei. For example, the hydrogen in "normal" water has no neutrons in its nucleus, whereas the hydrogen in deuterium, or "heavy water," has one.
Studies of Mars meteorites over the years have found a wide variety of hydrogen-isotope ratios. But, in the new study, which was published online Monday (March 30) in the journal Nature Geoscience, Barnes and her team found that Black Beauty and ALH84001 have very similar amounts of normal versus heavy hydrogen.

Christopher Carbone (FOX NEWS) offers:

Their analysis, which was published today in Nature Geoscience, showed that Mars likely received water from at least two vastly different sources early in its history.
The variability the researchers found seems to imply that Mars, unlike Earth and the moon, never had an ocean of magma completely encompassing the planet.

So that's interesting. So much we learn. There's a lady in our church back home in Georgia who is 102 years old and she remembers -- and has photos of -- the Oklahoma land rush. Can you imagine all the changes she has lived through? Meanwhile, the Mars helicopter is due to take off in a few months. Meghan Bartles (SPACE.COM) reports:

NASA's next mission to Mars will carry what is meant to become the first aircraft to fly on another planet, and that experimental helicopter just spun its blades on Earth for the last time.
The Mars Helicopter is scheduled to launch in July with the new Mars rover, now dubbed Perseverance, as an add-on project to the primary Mars 2020 mission. NASA is still striving to meet that launch date despite continuing closures enacted to slow the spread of the serious respiratory disease COVID-19 caused by a new coronavirus.

Now my favorite land rover on Mars will always be Curiosity. But there will soon be another land rover on Mars. And we know the name of the land rover. Lisa Grossman (SCIENCE NEWS FOR STUDENTS) reports:

Meet Perseverance. It’s NASA’s next ambassador to the Red Planet.
The Mars rover’s new name was announced March 5. NASA held a six-month “Name the Rover” competition. It drew more than 28,000 entries from students in kindergarten through high school. Students were asked to make their name suggestions in essays.
The winning entry came from 7th grader Alex Mather. He became interested in becoming a NASA engineer after he attended the space agency’s Space Camp at age 11.  

Alex read from his winning essay at the official naming event, which was broadcast from Lake Braddock Secondary School in Burke, Va. “We are a species of explorers, and we will meet many setbacks on the way to Mars,” he said. “However, we can persevere.”

On science, be sure to read Cedric's "A giggle in difficult times" and Wally's "THIS JUST IN! WE ALL COULD USE A LAUGH!" joint-post which is humorous but is about space.

"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):
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 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: