some 1 needs to take joe's keys away

good heavens! you must stream this video.

In a bizarre, meandering livestream put on by Joe Biden's campaign today, he forgets what year it is and when, if he doesn't lose, he would be in office. At another point, he seemingly forgets he's on a live stream and walks out of frame. The feed cuts away to a logo instead.

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joe biden is not fit to drive a car, let alone be president. 

i would not trust him to drive a car on the freeway, let alone be president.

take his keys away!!!

let's close with c.i.'s 'Iraq snapshot:'

Friday, March 13, 2020.  The US government bombs Iraq (in that war that never ended -- someone might need to ask Joe Biden about that since he keeps claiming credit for ending it) but first we focus on the coronavirus with regards to the US.

Starting in the US with the race for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination.  Jake Johnson (COMMON DREAMS) reports:

Sen. Bernie Sanders addressed the public Thursday on the "health and economic crisis" facing the United States as the coronavirus spreads across the nation, causing layoffs, threatening entire industries, and exposing gaping holes in America's social safety net.
"Now is the time for solidarity," Sanders said. "Now is the time to come together with love and compassion for all, including the most vulnerable people in our society."
Sanders demanded that President Donald Trump declare the coronavirus a national emergency and urged Congress to immediately work to ensure that everyone in the U.S. can access the healthcare they need "without cost." The Vermont senator also said that any coronavirus vaccine must be free and available to all.

"Now is not the time for price-gouging and profiteering," Sanders said.
The Vermont senator went on to call for an "immediate moratorium on evictions, on foreclosures, and on utility shut-offs so that no one loses their home during this crisis, and that everyone has access to clean water, electricity, heat and air conditioning."

Those are the issues at stake, Bernie is correct.  He's very presidential.

If we are lucky in the United States, warmer weather will send the coronavirus away for a few months -- it will not defeat it but, if we're lucky, it will send it away for a few months.  It would mirror 1918's influenza in that regard.

If we're not lucky?  Temporary measures will be more than temporary.

That means a loss of jobs.

Broadway is closed down, late night shows are suspending production (in part due to issues involving booking guests -- it's a lot harder in the current climate), Disney Land and Disney Wold and Universal's amusement park are shut down, tours at movie studios are shut down, concerts are suspending, the NBA has 'paused' the season . . .

These are jobs lost.

Not just for athletes and performers but also for the people who feed you at these places and events, the people who clean up these places, the people who . . .

Nursing homes are examining options and one that many are going with or leaning towards is not transporting their residents off the facility for basic doctor's appointments, only for critical ones.

All of this is impacting the economy.

For how long?

That's the issue right now.

For many Americans, it is a pay check to pay check existence and that is in good times.

Should the warmer months not put the virus on hold, these closing could go on and on.  And, no, the economy will not be able to handle that.  People will not be able to handle that.

You will see evictions, you will see utilities shut off.

Unless the right thing is done, what Bernie's calling for.

A lot of people are trying to make political hay out of this moment -- a lot of 'resistance' garbage.

US President Donald Trump has made some ridiculous statements and I have not slammed him for it because I assume he's trying to manage public perception.  I'm not that kind of person.  I believe you throw all the information out there and keep the public aware.

But we are being managed -- by Republicans and Democrats -- so it doesn't surprise me that Donald would be doing the same.  The role of the president is often little more than national cheerleader on an international stage.

Mistakes that he and his administration make should be called out.  They should be called out because we've got to do better.  That's not do better after the election, that's right now in this moment of crisis.

Bernie's proposing a real plan and that's what we need.  We should be pressuring our Congressional representatives as well as Donald Trump to implement what Bernie is calling for.

Peter Gowan (JACOBIN) explains:

As the reality of the coronavirus takes hold globally, our capacity — or lack thereof — to deal with the crisis is suddenly a burning question. Housing security is a looming concern, and without a Homes Guarantee, many people are at risk.
Widespread availability of public and social housing, universal rent control, the abolition of homelessness, and a tenants’ bill of rights are necessary measures to protect people from predatory behavior by landlords and unjust evictions. But we do not live in that world yet, and emergency measures in the field of housing will be required to stabilize and protect people during the unfolding public health crisis of our time.
In a crisis where we suddenly need to work less, and so risk reduced paychecks or even layoffs, many renters are fearing eviction and even homelessness if they cannot make a payment. This needs to change.
Socialists and progressives can and should be demanding an immediate emergency program to stabilize people in their homes until the crisis has passed. Against the profits of landlords and developers, we must demand the basic measures to support public health, allowing people to take time off work without fear of eviction.
The measures proposed below should be considered in addition to, not as a replacement for, workers’ protection from layoffs, as well as guaranteed free and universal testing, treatment, and, ultimately, vaccines. We must also demand extensive paid sick leave. But without controls on the housing market, it is likely that pressures and fears will persist.
s a baseline, we need laws to guarantee people the right to remain in their homes for the duration of this period and its immediate aftermath. As a first step, we should impose a freeze on all rents, backdated to 2019, and a moratorium on all evictions, foreclosures, as well as a suspension of mortgage interest accrual on owner-occupied and rental housing. This will ensure people are stabilized in their homes for the duration of the crisis, regardless of whether they are working or not.
A nationwide rent freeze means no increase in the price of rent over what the monthly price was in December 2019. Any rent increases since then, or announced during the process of passing the law, should be rolled back to December prices. (If the tenancy began after 2019, the rent should be frozen at the lowest monthly value charged since the tenancy began). This should apply to single-family rentals and group house tenants as well. It must be universally applicable to all people renting housing, and should be applied on the basis of the unit or room rather than the tenant, so if somebody leaves a home voluntarily, the landlord cannot charge more than the previous tenant paid to lease it.

It must apply for the duration of the coronavirus crisis — potentially ceasing after a three-to-six-month period elapses, the clock starting once the total number of cases falls below one-third of its peak — and automatically resetting if the number of cases rises above that number again.
In order to prevent price gouging after this period, annual rent increases should be indefinitely restricted to the level of the local consumer price index or 3 percent, whichever is lower — as proposed by the Homes Guarantee campaign. This should remain the baseline for an extended period, ideally permanently.
Throughout the duration of the crisis (including the cool-off period), all evictions must be suspended. People should still be required to follow reasonable lease terms and pay the frozen rents if they are capable of doing so, but highly punitive sanctions, including evictions, should be off the table entirely
These are the required measures in order to ensure confidence that staying home from work will not result in potential homelessness. If a less effective “stick” results in some people not paying rent they owe, that is a far less severe issue than people going to work with the coronavirus. In the aftermath of the crisis, in order to ensure no retaliatory evictions occur, tenants should be guaranteed that a tight just-cause eviction law will be imposed federally on a permanent basis, limiting the legitimate reasons for eviction to a small set of circumstances, proven in a court of law.

The government should offer to acquire properties whose landlords no longer wish to own them permanently at a significant discount, and convert them to income-based rents, capped at a percentage of tenant incomes, in order to ensure people who lose their jobs are still able to pay their rent without potentially clogging up the adjudication offices. They should also potentially establish a fund to compensate landlords whose tenants are not paying their frozen rents due to hardship. While landlords in general are not an especially sympathetic group, this would help to soften the blow for the more sympathetic actors who could otherwise sink the proposal. The backdated rent freeze ensures that this fund cannot be exploited by landlords increasing the rent to extract value from the government, which would otherwise be a serious concern. Applications for this fund should require proof that the property already meets all local housing codes and is safe to inhabit — any legally required repairs should be taken out of compensation.

Sarah Lazare (IN THESE TIMES) addresses these issues and more in her latest piece:

My best friend works as a standardized patient, which means she is a practice patient for medical schools to train and test students. One day she’ll play an older woman with a pulmonary embolism, her face stricken with worry, the next someone with depression, limp and listless. Each workday medical students fumble at her bedside, and at her body, some nervous and gentle, others over-confident and brusque, as she guides them through learning their craft. It’s not bad for wage work, with each gig paying somewhere between $16 and $25 an hour, although this doesn’t always cover the time spent learning the part, let alone biking miles through Chicago’s potholed streets so she can make it from one 3-hour gig to the next.
Even though it’s not bad, she’s living—like most people in this country—on a razor’s edge. One of her gigs this week was cancelled because of the COVID 19 outbreak, which is now officially a global pandemic. Her employer paid her for the job, because she got less than 24-hours notice, but she will receive no pay for the other upcoming events this and next week that have been cancelled. One of her other gigs (all her jobs are non-union) has a two-week cancellation policy, a source of comfort to her. But what if that workplace gets shut down for more than two weeks? What if all of her jobs are shut down for six? If her income dries up, there’s no designated person to swoop in and help her, no bailout or government agency that has her number and will make sure she’s okay. She’s about two months out from not being able to pay rent or buy food.
My friend’s situation is unremarkable. She’s slightly better off than many Americans, 40% of whom don’t have enough money in the bank to weather a $400 emergency. She’s got $1,960 in her checking account, and $2,010 in her savings—although the latter will all go to her taxes, which are high because she's classified as an independent contractor at some of her jobs. Perhaps most critically, she has access to extended networks of white wealth that people of color don’t have, and she can call on them in a pinch.
But like 27 million Americans, she doesn’t have health insurance. Of the last two bike accidents she got in, one was serious, but she couldn’t afford to go to the doctor, so she instead relied on friends who are nurses. One diagnosed her with a concussion over the phone. According to a Gallup poll from 2019, 25% of people in the United States say they or a family member “put off treatment for a serious medical condition in the past year because of the cost.” My friend, like all these people, can’t afford to miss work due to sickness, let alone treat what’s wrong with them when there’s not a global pandemic. What will she do if she gets COVID 19?
The GOP just blocked an emergency paid sick leave bill from advancing in the Senate. Oil and gas companies are pressing the White House to grant them a bailout from a downturn linked to COVID 19, and at the same time urging the Trump administration to avoid supporting any paid sick leave policy. Just like we lack a federal paid sick leave law, we have no guaranteed paid bereavement leave in this country. And in case we’d forgotten our precarity, Joe Biden just reminded us by suggesting that if he were president he’d veto Medicare for All—a universal, single-payer healthcare program—because it’s too expensive.
According to the Economic Policy Institute, higher-earning wage workers are “more than three times as likely to have access to paid sick leave as the lowest paid workers.” But only 30% of the lowest paid workers—who are more likely to have contact with the public in restaurants, daycares and retail outlets—get paid sick leave. Workers are not taking this sitting down. In New York, Chipotle employees are walking off the job and publicly protesting the company for allegedly penalizing workers who call in sick. "They want us to shut up," worker Jeremy Pereyra, who says he was written up by Chipotle for calling in sick, told Gothamist. "They want us to stop. But we're not going to stop until things get better."

The first round of job losses is already here. The Washington Post reports that some drivers at the Port of Los Angeles were sent home without pay, others laid off. Travel agencies in Atlanta and Los Angeles let people go, as did a hotel in Seattle, a stage-lighting company in Orlando, and Carson’s Cookie Fix bakery in Omaha, hit by declining customers. “If my job’s laying off people, I can only imagine other employers are as well,” said Baiden King, who lost her job at the bakery, telling the Post she plans to move back in with her parents. “I’m not sure anyone will be hiring.”

If we implement what needs to be done (addressed above) and we get lucky and the warmer months send the coronavirus reeling, what do we do?  We learn from 1918.  We don't act complacent and think it's all over.  We realize it could (and most likely would) return again in the next winter.  We pour serious money and time into a vaccination and treatment process.

Too many mistakes have already been made.  It's time to focus on doing what needs to be done.

[Dona adding to C.I.'s snapshot: A number of e-mails to the public account are asking about the 1918 Influenza Pandemic.  This has been addressed by Ava and C.I. in various community newsletters. For non-community members, you can refer to Ava and C.I.'s "TV: The future is out there" which addresses the way some PBS member stations are taking a needed -- and old -- documentary on that pandemic and only allowing people who donate money to stream it online. ]

Turning to Iraq, BBC NEWS reports:

The US has launched retaliatory air strikes against a pro-Iranian militia group in Iraq after a rocket attack killed two of its soldiers.
The strikes targeted five weapons storage facilities across the country, the US defence department said.
The Iraqi military says three soldiers, two policemen and a civilian were killed in the US counter-strikes.
It said the US had carried out "a blatant attack" on Iraqi military sites in Babil province and an airport under construction in Karbala province. It also said the headquarters of the Popular Mobilisation (PM) forces - an umbrella militia which is officially part of the Iraqi security forces - was hit.

Jason Ditz (ANTIWAR.COM) adds, "Other reports suggest the US hit as many as 5 militia sites inside Iraq, and while there is no confirmation it is expected there will be more casualties to come. The US has confirmed those attacks, despite only saying they think the militia’s guilt is “likely” and that investigations will continue."  ALJAZEERA notes:

Iran on Friday warned US President Donald Trump against taking "dangerous actions" after the overnight air raids.
"The United States cannot blame others ... for the consequences of its illegal presence in Iraq and the nation's reaction to the assassination and killing of Iraqi commanders and fighters," foreign ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said.

"Instead of dangerous actions and baseless accusations, Mr Trump should reconsider the presence and behaviour of his troops in the area," he added.

Arthur Scott-Geddes and Jack Dutton (THE NATIONAL) report another government's response:

British Foreign Minister Dominic Raab on Friday praised the US-led response to an attack on coalition forces in Iraq, calling it "swift, decisive and proportionate".
On Thursday, the United States carried out several air strikes against an Iran-backed militia in Iraq that it blamed for a rocket attack that killed two US troops and a British soldier, 26, the previous day.
The Pentagon confirmed the US had struck five Iran-backed militia weapons stores in Iraq.
The strikes were "defensive, proportional and in direct response to the threat posed by Iranian-backed militia groups", it said.
The Pentagon said US President Donald Trump had authorised the military to response to Wednesday's attack, blaming Iran-backed militia.
On Friday, Mr Raab warned that attacks on coalition forces will lead to a strong response.

"UK forces are in Iraq with Coalition partners to help the country counter terrorist activity and anyone seeking to harm them can expect a strong response," he said in a statement.

The following sites updated:


will & grace

molly shannon was back on 'will & grace' tonight.  she was very funny.  she was part of jack and karen's story. 

karen had ordered a wing and it was delivered to the mansion by mistake (she and stan are no more).  so she and jack went there with the intent to grab the ring and leave.

but stan has a new girlfriend ... yes, val.

for those who don't know val, that's molly shannon's character.  she's been on the show multiple times.  val is at odds with grace.

in her 1st episode, she became friends with will and this led to a battle with grace.  then there's the episode where val's obsessed with jack and his 'just jack' show and the 1 where val and grace become friends until val starts stealing from grace, and the 1 where val passes herself off as a decorator and tries to steal grace's client, and the 1 where grace is running for an industry office (interior design industry) and val runs against her and ...

this is the last season of the show - sadly - so it's good that we got molly shannon's val 1 more time.

the will and grace storyline was weak.  demi lovato was good as will's surrogate and probably made the nonsense work but it was just marking time.  will and grace realize they're old.

only now?

debra's hair looked good though - probably the best her hair's looked all season.

let's close with c.i.'s 'Iraq snapshot:'

Thursday, March 12, 2020.  The press continues the coronation of Joe Biden.

Starting in the US with the race for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination.  And, first, an apology.  I guess it's the cold I've been trying to shake since January in New Hampshire but somehow I missed all the primaries that took place yesterday, the ones Joe Biden won.

What's that?

There were no primaries yesterday?

Oh.  Hmm.  So all the new talk in the last 24 hours about how Joe has the nomination and all of that is just . . . talk.  Imagine that, the media calling the race over before the people get to vote.

No, they're not biased at all.

Well, maybe they're excited because of history?

I mean, every vice president must go on to be president in the Democratic Party, right?

Al Gore went on to become President Al Gore and Walter Mondale went on to become President Walter Mondale and Humbert Humphrey went on to become President Hubert Humphrey, right?

Oh, that's wrong too.

In fact, the only Democratic vice presidents who went on to become president in the post-WWII era did so because the presidents they served under died -- Truman became president when FDR died and Johnson became president when JFK was assassinated.

That's been the only path on the Democratic Party side.

Well Joe's a winner, though, right?  He's got the youth all jazzed and excited and -- Oh, he doesn't have that either does he.  You know Bill Clinton's campaign theme was "Don't Stop Thinking About Tomorrow" (Christine McVie's song for Fleetwood Mac), I guess Joe's will be the Beatles' "Yesterday."

Joe believes . . . in yesterday.

That's not going to help us address today, let alone tomorrow.  Nor is it a winning campaign slogan.

But don't worry, come November, if Joe fails to win the White House, it won't be his fault.  No, the press and the DNC will blame the American people.  The loss won't be due to an out of touch candidate who couldn't offer the people any of the basic needs, it'll be those dumb voters who just couldn't see that a corporatist who told idiotic stories -- most of them lies -- about his own past to ignore the present was the answer to the future.

Joe can't even stand for the next debate (his campaign demands that he and Bernie be seated) but, hey, he's up for four years as the leader of the country.

Replying to
I have no sympathy for Joe Biden as he's written off my entire generation and our concerns like the 08 crisis never happened.
Quote Tweet
Jose L. Velez
Replying to @peterdaou
Seething disdain is what I have for mumbling lying joe insulting an entire demographic and then telling them he has no sympathy for them. #BidenIsAGiftToTrump

Replying to
Could Joe Biden count to ten without getting lost?
Replying to
You think Biden will beat Trump? Have you seen the video of all the uncomfortable little girls? Look these people are going to destroy Joe Biden. He doesn't have the integrity to stand up to that kind of assault. He is all the things they said about Hillary and more.

Luke Savage (JACOBIN) observes:

Having remained largely hidden from view after his comeback on Super Tuesday, the former vice president made headlines thanks to a needlessly testy exchange at a Detroit auto plant and complained that “The Bernie Bros are here!” when interrupted by green and anti-NAFTA protestors at a campaign event elsewhere in the city.
Biden’s most significant public appearance since last week, however, took the form of a sit-down with MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell — his first and only substantive interview in more than a week. Touching, among other things, on health care, the Iraq War, and the Trump administration’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, Biden’s strange and rambling appearance can only be called an alarming harbinger of what lies ahead, should he ultimately become the Democratic nominee.
In a span of less than twenty minutes, while facing a decidedly friendly and nonconfrontational interviewer, Biden offered some clue as to why he’s maintained such a low profile this past week despite having recovered his status as the race’s front-runner.

[. . .]

Later in the interview, Biden was asked by O’Donnell about his support for the Iraq invasion. If his remarks about health care could charitably be called incoherent, here they were nothing short of Orwellian.
Look, the reason I voted the way I did was to try to prevent a war from happening. Remember, the threat was to go to war. The argument was because Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. So [Bush] said, “I need to be able to get the Security Council to agree to send in inspectors to put pressure on Saddam, to find out whether or not he’s producing nuclear weapons . . .” I didn’t believe he had those nuclear weapons. I didn’t believe he had those weapons of mass destruction. What happened was we went in, determined that they hyped what, in fact, was occurring. There was no concrete proof of what he was doing, and they still went to war.
Biden’s spin on the events of 2003 echoes language he used in January at a Democratic debate in Des Moines and elsewhere on the campaign trail. In reality, Biden was one of the Iraq War’s most crucial boosters and advocates — as evidenced by a giant paper trail of video clips and Senate transcripts. As Jacobin’s Branko Marcetic wrote last summer: “A review of the historical record shows Biden didn’t just vote for the war — he was a leading Democratic voice in its favor and played an important role in persuading the public of its necessity and, more broadly, laying the groundwork for Bush’s invasion.”

Biden’s pattern of gaffes and dishonesty, though certainly remarked upon, have not as of yet proven much of a liability to his campaign. Despite spending parts of February telling an entirely fabricated story about being arrested in apartheid South Africa, the former vice president won the South Carolina primary handily and rode the momentum into a strong showing on Super Tuesday a few days later.

Iraq, the topic everyone gives Joe Biden a pass on.  More deaths in Iraq.  Barbara Starr, Ryan Browne, Nicole Gaouette and Paul LeBlanc (CNN) report:

Two Americans and a British national were killed in a rocket attack on a military base in Taji, Iraq, that one US official said is likely the work of Iran, raising the prospect that military tensions could flare up in the region once again.
US Central Command spokesman Capt. William Urban confirmed that two US service members and one coalition service member were killed in the Katyusha rocket attack.

Two U.S., one British personnel killed in Iraq rocket attack: officials reut.rs/3cUs82n

As we noted last night, "If you're paying attention, that's 4 US Americans killed in Iraq so far this week.  (If you're not paying attention, Gunnery Sgt Diego D. Pongo and Capt Moises A. Navas were killed on Sunday.)"

Four US troops have been killed in Iraq this week and, despite this being a presidential election year, this isn't a topic the US press wants to discuss?  This isn't something that they want to question Joe Biden or Bernie Sanders about?

USA TODAY;s Kim Hjelmgaard Tweets:

While everyone is quite rightly focused on the #coronavirus pandemic, it appears an event (rocket attack near U.S. military; possibly by an Iran-backed group) that nearly led to a war between the U.S. and Iran kind of happened again. Only no one noticed

KRG Prime Minister Masrour Barzani Tweeted the following:

I strongly condemn the attack on coalition partners in Taji Base and express condolences to the victims’ families. This attack, at a time when ISIS remains a serious threat in Iraq and the region, will only strengthen extremist groups. Full statement.

Britain demands Iraqi authorities take action to hold to account those responsible for a rocket attack in #Iraq which killed one British and two American personnel.

Meanwhile, the Gulf Center for Human Rights notes:

Human rights defenders, journalists and lawyers have been kidnapped and killed in Iraq since the beginning of the month, reports the Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR), which calls on the government to end the lawlessness. Most of them have been targeted by armed groups, but at least one activist was detained by government security forces.
On the evening of 10 March 2020, an unidentified armed group assassinated human rights defender Abdulqudus Qasim (picture 1), a theatre/television producer and actor, and his colleague, Karar Adel (picture 2), a human rights lawyer who worked at the Maysan Federal Appeal Court. The gunmen stopped the car in which they were traveling in the middle of Al-Amara city and instructed them to get out, then shot and killed them immediately.
Qasim, dedicated his Facebook page to show his unlimited support for the popular movement and he had told his colleagues that he expected to be killed by the outlaw militias. In a recent interview with him he said, “I am 37 years old, from the city of Al-Amara. I entered the world of theater after the Iraqi regime change in 2003. I am striving for change and fighting unawareness and superstition, and this is what I have worked on in many theatrical works."  Likewise, Adel dedicated his Facebook page to support popular protests. They have been advocates of non-violence, and have participated in protests since they began.
Their fellow protesters participated in their funerals, expressing their sorrow and determination to continue their protests until they achieve their goals. Former dictator Saddam Hussain had already executed Qasim’s father, and one of his colleagues described him as "the martyr and the son of the martyr."
On 09 March 2020, an unknown armed group kidnapped journalist Tawfiq Al-Tamimi (picture 3), who reports on the governorates for the official “Al-Sabah” newspaper, which is issued by the Public Authority for Information and Communications. Masked gunmen intercepted the car in which he was traveling after he left his home in Baghdad's Ur neighborhood and took him by force to an unknown destination.
On 07 March 2020, Al-Tamimi, known for his moderation and professionalism, posted on his Facebook page a photo taken of him with his colleague, publisher and writer Mazen Latif, who was kidnapped on 31 January 2020 by a group of gunmen in civilian clothes riding in a shaded pick-up truck and taken to an unknown destination. He asked at the end of the post, "When are you coming back?"
On 02 March 2020, civil society activist Ali Sabah Al-Mousawi (picture 4), was arrested by government security forces while he was leaving Al-Tahrir Square and heading towards Abu Nawas Street. He is now being held in Al-Muthanna airport detention facility, where hundreds of peaceful demonstrators are being held in connection with their participation in the popular protests. Al-Mousawi has participated in Al-Tahrir Square protests since their inception.
For more information on recent human rights violations in Iraq, please see GCHR’s Third periodic report on violations during the ongoing popular demonstrations.
GCHR calls on the Iraqi authorities to:

  1. End the lawlessness in Iraq that has enabled armed militias to act with total impunity to murder and kidnap civil society activists, journalists, human rights defenders and lawyers;
  2. End the practice by security forces of arrested peaceful protesters and holding them without charge, and immediately release all those being held in violation of their right to freedom of assembly; and
  3. Uphold the rights to freedom of expression and assembly, and ensure that human rights defenders, lawyers and journalists can carry out their work freely and without fear. 

The following sites updated