Monday, January 20, 2020

Truest statement of the week

Data has proven that the rich have a longer life expectancy than the poor in the US and UK. Now a new study shows that wealthy men and women generally have eight to nine more years of “disability free” life after age 50 than the poorest American and English adults.
The findings were published Wednesday in the Journals of Gerontology: Series A

-- Kate Randall, "Rich in US and UK live nearly ten more healthy years than the poor" (WSWS).

A note to our readers

Hey --

Monday morning.

Let's thank all who participated this edition which includes Dallas and the following:

The Third Estate Sunday Review's Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess and Ava,
Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude,
Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man,
C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review,
Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills),
Mike of Mikey Likes It!,
Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz),
Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix,
Ruth of Ruth's Report,
Wally of The Daily Jot,
Trina of Trina's Kitchen, 
Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends,
Isaiah of The World Today Just Nuts,
and Ann of Ann's Mega Dub.

And what did we come up with?  What we're calling the stripped down edition:


-- Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess, Ava and C.I.

Editorial: Will we use our voices?

What will US media cover today?  And let's include US social media in that as well.  More garbage?  More daily outrage?

Might they stop a moment to cover what's going on in Baghdad.

Iraq: Baghdad police use tear gas, live fire as protests rage

A months long protest has been taking place across Iraq.  Might we start to really notice it in the US?  We are the reason, grasp that, for the protests.

We started an illegal war, our government did, and tried to hide it behind a fig leaf of 'democracy.'  The Iraqis have been devastated by our war.  But they do want to control their own destiny, they want self-rule.

They've taken to the streets for that.  They have put their own lives on the line.  Any chance we might not just recognize that but use our own resources to amplify it?

  1. Tear gas near 's Tiyaran square today as security forces try to push back protestors from the highway. A 21-year-old protestor dead after being shot by security forces. With no movement on new government, protests escalating. Photo by Ahmed Qusay.

TV: Do not feed the beast

How do you handle the media?  Over the years the answer to that has changed.  Once upon a time, if there was a story you didn't like, you just ignored it.  If you were the subject or a part of the story, you just ignored it.

You ignored it.  The story often went away.  If it was a story you had to tell but you didn't want it to be big news, you had a press release/announcement issued on a day no one was paying attention to the news -- Thanksgiving day, for example, was always a good day for a news dump.  If you had to announce it outside of a holiday, do it on a Friday afternoon.

There have been various developments over the years that have modified that approach.  First, there was CNN followed by the copycats and then came social media.  News -- or at least commentary -- is a 24 hour, 7 day a week thing.  We shouldn't short change, social media.  It's also responsible for the daily outrage cycle.

And let's be clear: We will gladly vote for either Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders as president.  Our personal preference is Bernie, but we will gladly vote for either Elizabeth or Bernie should one get the nomination.

With those basics covered, let's talk Elizabeth and Bernie.

The two senators are running for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination.

Last week, the two billed as friends had a conflict.  Let's go to Trina because she's an honest broker and the same can't be said for everyone:

I would argue that was the case -- enough money is not being invested into core health priorities. That is why we need Medicare For All and need it today. Immediately, in fact. I'll be focusing on real issues. I'm not in the mood for the nonsense. And, no, one side is not innocent. Warren went public with her tale only after Bernie Sanders did negative phone banking on her:

The controversial talking points attacking Elizabeth Warren that Bernie Sanders' campaign deployed were given to teams in at least two early voting states on Friday, three Sanders campaign officials confirmed.

Volunteers and staffers used the script on Saturday while canvassing for votes. But later in the day, after POLITICO reported on language in the script describing Warren's appeal as limited to the highly educated and financially well off, the campaign pulled it back.

The script mostly focused on Sanders' ability to beat President Donald Trump in a general election. But one page included attacks on the electability of Warren, as well as Joe Biden and Pete Buttigieg.
I'm not in the mood for the nonsense. Both need to grow up. And quickly. More to the point, the rabid supporters need to grow up.

 Two Fridays ago, Bernie's campaign went negative on Warren.  Public complaints were made by Elizabeth Warren on Sunday, January 12th and Bernie Sanders responded that "no one is going to trash Elizabeth" and "We have hundreds of employees. Elizabeth Warren has hundreds of employees. And people sometimes say things they shouldn't."  As the report Trina quoted above makes clear, this wasn't 'rogue' employees of the Sanders' campaign, this was part of the campaign, it was scripted and it was planned.  It was an attack.

That's not the end of the world.  The fact that either Bernie lied or he was kept out of the loop of his own campaign is the only novel or interesting point about the attacks.

What happened next?

Someone leaked to CNN.  Was it Elizabeth herself?  'Rogue' campaign workers?

No one knows.

The best guess is that Elizabeth and her team were angered by the scripted attacks and decided to fight back.

From Tuesday's Iraq snapshot:

Let's set the scene.  Senator Bernie Sanders, as of weekend polling, looked to do well in Iowa and New Hampshire.  He looked to do so well that many could argue it was over for Senator Elizabeth Warren.  In politics, anything can happen, but there was a good chance that in a matter of weeks, Elizabeth would be shutting down her campaign.  If that had taken place, what would be the next step?
To ensure Bernie won the nomination by picking up her supporters.

It's not difficult.  It's just his supporters who are.

Yes, Virginia, there are such things as a Bernie Bro.

Yesterday, MJ Lee (CNN) reported that a meeting took place in December 2018 at Elizabeth's DC apartment.  She met with Bernie.  They agreed they didn't need to go negative on each other in their planned campaigns for the nomination.  They agreed to a number of things.  At some point, as reported by Lee (based on four sources telling her), Bernie stated he did not believe a woman could win in 2018. 

And all hell broke loose online.

Bernie's response was to deny the conversation.  He may be telling the truth, he may not be.  As noted in the snapshot, if the remarks reported were made that's not sexism.

That's a belief, yes, that a woman could not win against Donald in 2016.


The report never made the case that this was discussed in detail.

So that requires everyone to fill it on their own.

Some on the left -- Democrats and non-Democrats -- have charged that Donald Trump won the 2016 election as a result of deep seated racism in the country.  This argument has many flaws -- including having its roots in the false smear campaign Spencer Ackerman instituted in 2008 "call them racists."

That's his accomplishment, that's his lasting legacy, poisoning the well of public discussion.  Here's his 'deep thinking' in full:

"I do not endorse a Popular Front, nor do I think you need to. It’s not necessary to jump to Wright-qua-Wright's defense. What is necessary is to raise the cost on the right of going after the left. In other words, find a rightwinger's [sic] and smash it through a plate-glass window. Take a snapshot of the bleeding mess and send it out in a Christmas card to let the right know that it needs to live in a state of constant fear. Obviously I mean this rhetorically.
And I think this threads the needle. If the right forces us all to either defend Wright or tear him down, no matter what we choose, we lose the game they’ve put upon us. Instead, take one of them — Fred Barnes, Karl Rove, who cares — and call them racists. Ask: why do they have such a deep-seated problem with a black politician who unites the country? What lurks behind those problems? This makes *them* sputter with rage, which in turn leads to overreaction and self-destruction."

Live in a constant state of fear that you will be falsely called a racist so you do not critique a political opponent?  That's Spencer Ackerman contribution to the public discourse -- going on a private list and plotting with other journalists on how to kill a story that's negative about his candidate.  That's Spencer Ackerman encouraging the response to a political critique to be a destroy everyone with a false claim of racism.

Boys and girls, that's toxic masculinity and it's all Spencer ever has to offer.

At THE NEW REPUBLIC, for example, in an editorial meeting, he declared he would "skullf**k" a dead terrorist.  Also at THE NEW REPUBLIC, having a hissy fit that the political magazine was not covering baseball, he sent an e-mail to the magazine's editor Franklin Foer threatening to use a baseball bat to "make a niche in your skull."

His toxic masculinity damages us all.  Some people look at him and think, "He opposed the Iraq War."  Well, when the country turned against it, he opposed the Iraq War.  Before that, he championed it.  Others note that he supported Hillary Clinton.  In 2016, he did.  In 2008, he smeared her, he lied about her, he trashed her.  That terrorist he was going to "skullf**k?"  Killed in a strike in Iraq.  But this month's drone strike?  He's had a hissy fit and wants to refer to the man with quotes as a "terrorist."  Not a terrorist, as a "terrorist."  He also lies that Donald Trump's the one who designated him a terrorist when that designation occurred during the Obama administration.

Spencer is a victim of his toxic masculinity.  We should pity him.  And maybe when he gets called on it, we can pity him.  Until then, he needs to come with a warning label.

He's not the only one.  We'll get back to that.

So a number of people on the left insist that Donald won because of racism.  Some have insisted it's because of sexism.  Maybe Bernie looks at the political landscape and sees that argument?

War Hawk Joe Biden does.  He argues that sexism was used on Hillary but can't be used on him -- because he's a man.

Bernie's comments were non-specific and were also non-sexist.

The goal that both Elizabeth and Bernie share is defeating Donald Trump.  That requires analysis on both their parts and Bernie's may have included the belief that Donald would tap into sexism if going head-to-head with a woman again.

Again, Bernie denies the conversation.  If he said it, it wasn't sexism.  But he denies the conversation.

He also denied that his campaign had an official position of trashing Elizabeth in phone bank calls.

Does that mean he's lying about the conversation?

He might be, he might not be.

But the Bernie Bros came out online to trash Elizabeth.  And part of the trashing that Jimmy Dore, Max Blumenthal, Aaron Mate and many others launched included bringing up Elizabeth's false claim that she was Native American.  She's a liar, went their bellowing, because she lied before.

Which forgets Bernie's responses on Sunday, January 12th, right?

No one wins in a he-said/she-said.  

The smart thing would be to let it die.

In the current media climate, the best way to bury this whole thing was to ignore it.  Which was our plan until the nonsense attacks on Elizabeth Warren.

Warning labels?  Norman Solomon needs one as well.

Norman wrote a column that showed up Thursday all over the internet.  In it, Bernie is pure as snow.  That attack on Elizabeth from his campaign?  It apparently never included Bernie saying publicly that it hadn't happened.

We're not in the mood.  No one is except you men and women with/addicted to toxic masculinity.

Now Norman never seriously called out Barack Obama for leaving office with US troops still on the ground in Iraq despite his 2008 campaign 'promise' to remove all US troops.

Does that matter?

Yes, it does, goes to pattern.

In 2008, Norman went all over the airwaves of PACIFICA insisting Hillary was a liar about this or that but Barack was a truth teller, was the hope we needed, was this and was that.  Interestingly, he was presented as an objective observer.  He was never forced to identify himself on air as what he was: a pledged delegate for Barack.  In fact, PACIFICA did that lie a lot -- see our "Panhandle Media" from 2008 about how a KPFA broadcast carried by all PACIFICA stations -- and some non-PACIFICA outlets -- featured a 'wide range' of experts -- Democrats and non-Democrats -- who all felt Barack won a debate against Hillary -- left unsaid over the airwaves was that every guest on that special had already announced their support for Barack Obama.

This kind of lying -- and that's what it was, lying -- does not help anyone.  It was this kind of lying that resulted in some Hillary supporters voting for John McCain in the 2008 election.

In 2016, some Bernie supporters -- rightfully outraged by the DNC creating a playing field that favored Hillary and harmed Bernie -- didn't vote for Hillary.

We saw some elements of PUMA in 2008 become so angry -- rightful anger, to be sure -- that they painted themselves into a corner and became Republicans.  The same is true of some Bernie supporters in 2016 -- Zach Haller is only the most visible one.

Bernie has an enthusiastic base -- a point that has been made repeatedly at THE COMMON ILLS by one of us for months, the most enthusiastic -- but he's going to need more than that.

In both the race for the nomination and then the race for the presidency (should he get the nomination, which we hope he does), he's going to need more than that.

He's going to need members of the left (Democrats and non-Democrats) supporting him.  That will include Elizabeth Warren's supporters.

So stop attacking Elizabeth Warren if you want to help Bernie.

You might think it's the way to the nomination, but it's really not.  More to the point, your attacks  bring hate on Bernie from Elizabeth supporters, you're begging for an election defeat in the general.

That's not just going to harm Bernie, it's going to harm us all because the centrists in the party are going to use that election to justify centrists candidates -- they will make it another 'Oh, George McGovern was too left to win.  We need to move to the center.'

The same is true, by the way, if Elizabeth gets the nomination.

And it could be Elizabeth and if she gets it we will support her.

We would have no problem supporting either one.

We're happy to let voters determine which one they want.

The same is not true of the toxic boys.  Both Norman Solomon and David Swanson attacked Elizabeth weeks ago, long before the he-said/she-said.  We don't like that nonsense or pretense.  David, for example, was offering that Elizabeth would be a really great vice president.

And, David, you would make really great cuck.

Oh, is that insulting you?  Is that suggesting that you can't qualify as a real husband and satisfy your wife?  Hmm.  That's kind of like you suggesting that Elizabeth can't cut as a president but could be a vice president.

A vice president is less than nothing and we all know it.

So when you come to 'talk to' 'the ladies,' grasp that we're not buying your bulls**t.  We know you're trying to take out Elizabeth.  At least now, the pretense of anything else has been stripped away.

Norman thought he could deceive and manipulate opinion in 2008.  He thinks he can do it now.

Norman, how about you just tell the truth?  Is that really too much for you?  Once upon time, for example, you cared about Iraq.  How about letting us know if that was for real or just a pretense too?  We still care about Iraq, Norman.  We don't see that from you though.

That's the other thing, when you do this crap, when you pull these stunts, you disrespect us all.

Either be an honest broker or grasp that you're a con artist because that's what everyone else is grasping.

Amy Goodman?  She used to have an audience.  Used to.

Now despite being offered all over the place -- public access, PACIFICA, other radio stations -- people aren't buying it anymore.  She's disgraced herself.  Yes, we called her out in real time as she walked away from Iran -- and into the arms of Barack.  We called her out throughout 2008 and into 2009 noting that she was doing an inaugural event for Barack -- so much for independent journalism.  We called out a lot of those whores.  Today, it's not uncommon for leftist to know the truth about Amy.  We helped build that.  Not just here but speaking to students in high schools and colleges across the country, year after year.  In fact, we also stress another reality: No one owns your vote.  Politicians have to earn it.

The same is true of trust.

If you want it, you have to earn it.

We're not here to trick you into believing something.

Example, last year, an off-hand remark about Michael Jackson resulted in an e-mail.  Great care was taken in the response to it which boiled down to, don't let anyone take away your hero, not us, not anyone.  If you believe different, you have every right to.  If Michael Jackson is your hero, more power to you.

We're offering information.  We're marking arguments and critiques.  We're reporting as we see it.  If you disagree, that's fine.  It's not the end of the world.  That's even true of this piece.  You can respond, "I don't care!" or "I don't think attacking Elizabeth will hurt us!"  That's fine.  Have your say.  We're going to have ours.

And what we see is a landscape that needs a Bernie Sanders or an Elizabeth Warren as president.

We don't need Joe Biden.

Sunday the 12th, we saw internal polling from four campaigns.  Regarding Iowa, Bernie appeared to have a lock on it.  That might have prompted Elizabeth's actions as well -- we don't know.  But what it should have prompted was not feeding this conflict online with attacks on Elizabeth.

Bernie was in the lead.  Attacks on Elizabeth do not help that.  Since the attacks took place, Elizabeth has found new support and new supporters -- Sally Field is only one example.

There is no “safe” candidate, there is only the right candidate. And there is no question about who she is! I’m proud to be All In for !

You gonna attack Norma Rae?  The Flying Nun?  Mrs. Doubtfire's boss?

Where's that going to get you?

Stop attacking Elizabeth and stop alienating her supporters.

Critiquing her is not attacking her.  Your 'jokes' about her are attacks.  Your rage in Tweets is attacking her.

Those attacks do not bring people to Bernie.  No outsider or undecided is going to say, "Look at the way they tore into that woman! Bernie's got my vote!"  And, as a result of attacking Warren,  some Elizabeth supporters will not big tent Bernie should he get the nomination.

The media wanted to make this story.  No question.  In part to take down Bernie?  Probably so.  But mainly because it's cheap.  Tacky, yes.  But we mean inexpensive.  Covering a feud over nonsense (again, Bernie's remarks, as reported -- again, he denies making them -- are not sexist) is the easiest thing in the world.  You don't have to ask for extra resources -- that your editor or news manager is going to deny.  It's easy, you just look for some Tweets from the Bernie Bros and there's your story.  And while Bernie has not fed into sexism, his Bernie Bros are.

Not all of Bernie's supporters are Bernie Bros.  We are Bernie supporters, we're not Bernie Bros.  Most of his supporters aren't.  But a very vocal and loud segment -- a small segment, to be sure -- are Bernie Bros.  And they are hurting him.

They're hurting him by keeping this story alive when Bernie wins on real issues, not on garbage.  They're hurting him by alienating Elizabeth Warren supporters.

Enter The Sad Man: Michael Moore.  Where there is sexism, there is always Michael Moore.  The self-serving failed filmmaker (and also failed Broadway show creator and failed TV content creator -- he's just a failure all around) offered his attacks on Elizabeth including his podcast "The Sad Downfall of Elizabeth Warren."  He's a sexist pig and always has been.  When not attacking women, he's attacking Mumia Abu Jamal or someone else who needs support.

Guess who had it right?  David Sirota.  David is the speechwriter for candidate Bernie.

Let's set the background for what's going on.  January 9th, Trina wrote "Joe Biden will destroy Medicare and has said so in the past."  Trina has called out many politicians over the years.  When Elizabeth Warren was the hot new poster the left had to have, Trina, who lives in Boston, was pouring water on the craze by noting Elizabeth was a Republican for the bulk of her adult life.  She's called out many things at her site.  She loves WSWS but she's called them out when they were misreporting what was going on in Boston (and Trina has a lot of relatives on the police force).  She mainly focuses on food and Medicare For All (on the latter, she's a nurse and she's advocated for Medicare For All since the start of her site).  But when she posted that on Joe?

She got e-mails attacking her like crazy.  To be clear, she's called out Hunter Biden's ethic problems.  She got a few e-mails over that.  But she got approximately 350 e-mails attacking her for noting that Joe Biden is out to destroy Medicare and has been for some time.

At THE COMMON ILLS, the point is not to tell you who to vote for.  And at that site (which one of us runs), you will find various candidates -- from various parties -- noted.  When this nonsense took place last week, it was noted that from now on, David Sirota was the only one being noted from either camp (Bernie or Elizabeth's camps).  Why?  Because he could be counted on to focus and grasp reality.

He's not made his Twitter feed about Elizabeth Warren.  He knows that won't help Bernie.  He has made it about Joe's attacks on Medicare.

Day after day this week, Tweet after Tweet, David has focused on what matters.  Here is just one example.

CNN’s : “Joe Biden is on record over the last 20-30 years of at times saying we should means-test Social Security, maybe we should have a government spending freeze that would include Social Security & Medicare”



By focusing on what matters, a topic that had strong pushback two weeks ago now has traction in the media.

Great job, David Sirota.  Bernie's campaign benefits and, we believe, the country benefits.

 This has been a hard piece to write for two reasons.  First, we don't want to cover this ginned up conflict between Bernie and Elizabeth.  As media critics, we're required to. Second?

It's taken over four hours to do a first draft on this.  Why?  We're both sick.  We both have the flu.  We're stopping to throw up constantly.

But guess what?  Come Monday, we'll be back in New Hampshire again.  We'll be on the ground again speaking to potential voters.  We're good at that.  We took out the front runner there before and we're hoping to recreate that this year.  Yes, that would mean taking out Joe Biden this year.

We'll be talking up Bernie and, yes, Elizabeth.  We'll be focusing our fire where it matters: On Joe.  America can't afford four years of Joe Biden as president.  Should it happen, we will survive.  But we would be better off with a President Bernie or a President Elizabeth.  So we will speak and stress the positives of both of those two while explaining in great detail how Joe has harmed Iraq, how he's a threat to Medicare, how he has no ethics "as a Biden."  And this go round?  We're putting special emphasis on any women's group that has single mothers in it so we can highlight how Mr. Compassion is denying his grandchild and letting his grandchild do without as his son Deadbeat Dad Hunter Biden refuses to pay child support for the child he has denied was his (but DNA has demonstrated it is Hunter's child).  Joe Biden and his wife have raked in over $15 million in the last three years but Joe's going to let his grandchild live in poverty and go unrecognized?  Oh, hell no.  That's not going to play with them.

That's how we're going to spend our time next week.  Today?  Today, we've had to address nonsense because this nonsense will only hurt Bernie Sanders.  Had it not taken place, we firmly believe that in about four weeks, Elizabeth would have been closing her campaign.  That's what internal polling was suggesting.  She didn't have the support to continue beyond New Hampshire.  The garbage that men and women suffering from toxic masculinity pulled, however, may have changed that.

So we have to focus on this topic that we wanted to avoid.  There's no real winner here -- except for Nancy Pelosi.  Because we had to focus on this, we're not able to explore the reality that the Speaker of the House chose to go on Bill Maher's HBO cesspool of Muslim hatred.  Why in the world would she do that?  'Woke' Nancy embraces him?  Bill has also been a sexist his whole life.  Why would Nancy want to endorse that?  Those are questions we should be asking because this really is a battle about real issues and Nancy poses as our friend while insisting that Americans cannot have Medicare For All.  She's not our friend.  And stunts like going on Bill Maher's sexist and racist program demonstrate that.

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