Monday, February 24, 2020

Truest statement of the week

More than 110,000 people cast ballots in the Nevada caucuses, with the final total likely to break the previous record, set in 2008 when Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton fought to a near-draw in the state. Sanders’ support in the initial vote—essentially the popular vote among caucus-goers—was 33 percent, compared to 17 percent for Biden, 16 percent for Pete Buttigieg, former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, and 13 percent for Senator Elizabeth Warren.
Senator Amy Klobuchar was in fifth place, with 10 percent, and billionaire Tom Steyer, who pumped $15 million into television advertising in the thinly-populated state, trailed with 9 percent.
The breadth and depth of the support for Sanders was summed up in this paragraph from the New York Times —a newspaper that has intransigently opposed Sanders throughout his political career, and recently endorsed Senator Elizabeth Warren and Senator Amy Klobuchar for the nomination.
After noting the failure of several other candidates to win support among diverse sections of the population, the Times admitted: “Only Mr. Sanders, with his uncompromising message that working-class Americans affected by injustice can unite across ethnic identity, has shown traction in both predominantly white Iowa and New Hampshire and the more black and brown Nevada.”

-- Patrick Martin, "Sanders wins sweeping victory in Nevada" (WSWS).

Truest statement of the week II

The evidence abounds: A Medicare for All single-payer system would guarantee comprehensive coverage to everyone in America and save money.
Christopher Cai and colleagues at three University of California campuses examined 22 studies on the projected cost impact for single-payer health insurance in the United States and reported their findings in a recent paper in PLOS Medicine. Every single study predicted that it would yield net savings over several years. In fact, it's the only way to rein in health care spending significantly in the U.S.
All of the studies, regardless of ideological orientation, showed that long-term cost savings were likely. Even the Mercatus Center, a right-wing think tank, recently found about $2 trillion in net savings over 10 years from a single-payer Medicare for All system. Most importantly, everyone in America would have high-quality health care coverage.
Medicare for All is far less costly than our current system largely because it reduces administrative costs. With one public plan negotiating rates with health care providers, billing becomes quite simple. We do away with three-quarters of the estimated $812 billion the U.S. now spends on health care administration.

-- Diane Archer, "Here's What 22 Separate Studies Found: Medicare for All Would Cost Less Than the For-Profit Status Quo" (COMMON DREAMS).

A note to our readers

Hey --

Monday night.

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? 

Ava and C.I. wrote the TV piece.  They did not work on the Medicare For All piece. 


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

Editorial: They've already accomplished a great deal

THE WASHINGTON POST's Louisa Loveluck Tweeted:

Iraq's protests have faced the full force of the state, & the fact they persist is a victory in itself. But now they must decide how to channel that influence into real political change, writes in this clear-eyed analysis.

Whatever the protesters decide to do will be their decision.  They deserve praise for what they have already accomplished -- and, yes, just protesting daily despite the threats is an accomplishment.

147 days of anti-government protests continue in Baghdad, Iraq Violent clashes between protesters and riot police continue near al-Khilani Square in Baghdad.

In addition, they have managed to oust a prime minister.

Their brave actions have been recognized and embraced by the Iraqi people.   IIACSS looks at the support for the protesters in Iraq:

1. the independent research group, the only representative of the GAF International Research Foundation conducted a survey of Iraqi public opinion on the events that took place in October 2019 and are still ongoing. The research conducted with Iraqis representing all the provinces of Iraq and in various social, demographic, economic, educational and sexual sectors was based on more than 2000 interviews conducted face-to-face and computerized by the group of researchers and according to the latest technology used in this field. The survey was conducted during February 2020. Where the random sample method (PPS) was used.
2. Top Results:
1. There is absolute support for more than 85 % for demonstrations and in various regions, including more than 80% of support among the kurds while the ratio has reached much more in the rest of the regions. While various southern and Baghdad provinces have shown a very close level of support for demonstrations, the provinces of diyala, kirkuk and Mosul have shown the highest levels of support compared to the other provinces that were occupied (or parts) by ISIS gangs.
2. The percentage of Iraqis who support the demands of the protests and are legitimate over 90 % WHILE ONLY 5 % of those who say it is illegal, and the percentage of those who say it is an external conspiracy on Iraq only 10 %.
3. The two highest demands in support of the two leaders are to hold those responsible for killing and killing protesters and then early elections.
4. About 50 % of Shia and more than 15 % of the year reported that they personally participated in these demonstrations in different ways and at least once. The citizens of Mosul and Tikrit showed the highest desire to participate in the demonstrations if they broke out in their wallets compared to the other provinces where the demonstrations did not break out.
5. Although there are some relative differences, Iraqis have not encouraged any of the major political leaders to discontent their political performance. None of the political leaders (other than the Kurds) were able to reach 20 % of confidence in their performance.

TV: The documentary weak on facts

TV tries to do history. It usually fails. When they offer a minis-series like ROOTS of THE WINDS OF WAR, we can applaud that they're dramatizing a larger truth. But when they start calling themselves documentaries, it tends to fall apart quicker than you can say "Produced by Tom Hanks." THEY'VE GOTTA HAVE US is about as offensive as any documentary could ever be. NETFLIX presents it as one of their original programs which is probably lie number one. This is a BBC program -- which goes a long way towards explaining the racism. Why is a White man making a documentary entitled THEY'VE GOTTA HAVE US?


The documentary is supposed to be about African-Americans and film. It's not about that. It's not about that by any stretch of the imagination. It is about Mike Connolly, a White man, producing a project to enshrine his obsession with Spike Lee.

Spike Lee has directed many strong films. He is not, however, the Lord Jesus Christ. Someone might want to break the news to Connolly. At one point, Connolly's stretching the truth so much that that the documentary appears to suggest DO THE RIGHT THING brought rap into film. It didn't. KRUSH GROOVE (1985) and WILDCATS 1986 both predate it. But it gets worse. In the need to make Spike the Messiah, Connolly's crowd offers many ridiculous claims -- such as when Nelson George shows up to insist Spike altered dance and that only Rosie Perez could have danced the dance at the start of DO THE RIGHT THING which was unlike anything before. 

Every step in that choreography is a rip off of Michael Jackson's music videos. That tends to happen when someone's not a trained dancer. She would go on to 'choreograph' a few videos and would rip off in those as well.

The documentary suffers from a lack of perspective and history throughout. Let's go to the 70s.

The 70s, in the documentary, are about Blaxploitation. A shout out to Pam Grier, for example, is all we really get. But the 70s were more than that. There was SPARKLE, there was CAR WASH, LET'S DO IT AGAIN, UPTOWN SATURDAY NIGHT, ROSS 110th STREET . . . These and so many other films are ignored. What's worse? Richard Pryor's legacy is insulted.

Richard Pryor was a movie star, the first African-American male movie star since Sidney Poitier. That's buried, that's ignored. Instead, they note him briefly with a clip of him stammering in character and say that he wasn't smooth like Eddie Murphy.

Richard Pryor was a trailblazer. He deserves a lot more than that. He was a movie star, someone people paid money to see. Two of his seventies films starred the first African-American movie star since Dorothy Dandridge: Diana Ross.

She's completely left out of the documentary. Now when bi-racial Halle Berry won the Academy Award and felt the need to salute all African-American women who came before and did not include Diana Ross, there was a controversy that ended with most just assuming that Halle didn't know her history. But THEY GOTTA HAVE US is supposed to be history. So how do they excuse ignoring Diana Ross?

Diana Ross was a movie star. Her name got a film made. She was the first African-American woman to be paid a million dollars for a film (THE WIZ). She was nominated for an Academy Award and a BAFTA for LADY SINGS THE BLUES -- the first African-American female to be nominated in two decades for those two awards. And then there's MAHOGANY. Not only did Diana star in the film, Berry Gordy directed it. Unlike the Blaxplotation films Connolly was wet dreaming over (while admitting they were directed by White men), MAHOGANY was directed by an African-American male. Berry Gordy's MOTOWN PRODUCTIONS would make the feature films LADY SINGS THE BLUES, MAHOGANY, THE WIZ, THANK GOD IT'S FRIDAY and THE LAST DRAGON. Berry was a movie mogul and it's an insult that he wasn't even mentioned in the documentary.

There are so many insults in the documentary.

Let's note this:

BLACK FILM MAKING GOES BACK TO THE all-black Lincoln Motion Picture Company, established in Los Angeles around 1916. Then, during the Harlem Renaissance in the 1920's and into the 1940's, the independent producer and director Oscar Micheaux created many films for black audiences. These films -- romances, comedies, dramas and adventures -- depicted black people in their rich variety, from the pious bourgeoisie to less savory characters. For the next 30 years there were sporadic Hollywood films about blacks -- almost always directed by whites -- and of course the ascension of Sidney Poitier. In the 1970's, the "blaxploitation" films -- like "Super Fly" -- became the first black movies to receive significant attention from the general public, though these films, too, were frequently made by whites. Star vehicles for Bill Cosby, Richard Pryor and Eddie Murphy followed.

That's not in the documentary. That's from Karen Grigsby Bates' "THEY'VE GOTTA HAVE US," THE NEW YORK TIMES June 14, 1991.

So a White, British man makes a film about Black filmmakers and rips off an African-American woman's 1991 article? A White man is saying "They've gotta have us"? And we're left remembering Angie edict on 30 ROCK, "Don't do impressions of other races."

Or other's experiences?

We pondered that when Carmen Ejogo was speaking. We pondered this as she spoke with a melodic voice. We pondered this because we saw SELMA (not a great movie) and we were appalled by the squeak Ejogo spoke in as Coretta Scott King. We wrongly assumed that was the actress' only speaking voice. Now that we know better, we especially find her performance insulting. In the documentary, you get an idiot blathering on about how he thinks the script was better once Ava DuVernay got ahold of it and added the scene with Coretta. If, like most Americans, you missed the movie, you missed Coretta confronting MLK on his affairs -- a scene that never took place in real life but one Ava injected into a historical drama and one that a documentary now praises.

Are you starting to see the problem?

Samuel L. Jackson is shown in an interview for a radio station where he talks about the fact that maybe MLK should be playing by an African-American and not by a British Black person. It's dismissed. Instead we hear about the training, the this and the that. But there's something more. There's living it. And we do agree with Samuel L. Jackson that an African-American should have played MLK. Knowing now that Carmen Ejogo does not speak in that squeak, we especially believe that an African-American woman should have played Coretta.

A documentary has to deal with reality. Time and again, Connolly refuses to do so. The point of this three-part series appears to be two-fold: Spike Lee is God and British actors are better than American actors. We don't find either point to be truthful.

Hey, Cher, we need Medicare For All

Whether it's wearing face tape which comes loose on the red carpet of the UK premiere of BURLESQUE or whether it's dating Gene Simmons or whether it's doing disco to death or whether it's doing those awful hair care product infomercials , Cher's responsible for a lot of embarrassments. When she's serving up Tweets slamming Bernie Sanders and offering a photo of Hitler, she's really crossing a line. No longer is it, "Hey, everybody laugh at the funny lady!" Now she's actually a threat to Medicare For All.

Universal healthcare is not a new idea -- except maybe to Cher. Abigail Abrams (TIME MAGAZINE) offered this history last year:

The idea of the government ensuring that people have access to health care began long before Medicare. While local governments experimented with health care for centuries, the first national health insurance program came from Germany’s Otto von Bismarck in the 1880s. Other European countries followed with their own versions of government health care for workers, and by the early 1900s, reformers in the U.S. were advocating for a similar system.

The push was closely tied to the labor movement, according to Northern Illinois University history professor Beatrix Hoffman, who studies the politics of health reform. But businesses and doctors attacked the idea of government health care, and it soon died. This opposition also killed President Franklin Roosevelt’s desire to add health coverage to the Social Security Act in 1935. And when President Harry Truman took up the cause after World War II, the American Medical Association and other opponents used Cold War scare tactics to paint “health security,” as it was known then, as socialized medicine and kill the plan again.

“The defeat of the Truman plan was so massive, it was such a big failure, that supporters decided they were going to stop trying for universal coverage,” Hoffman says. “That’s when they invented the idea of Medicare for the elderly only.”

FDR's dream for America? It took place in many other countries. In fact, after the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the US government ensured that the Iraqi people would have universal healthcare.

Back in the US, the biggest push was probably from the late and legendary US House Rep John Conyers who began proposing The United States National Health Care Act or Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act the same year that the US invaded Iraq (2003, in case Cher's reading).

Australia, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, the Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom -- so many countries have universal healthcare.

In 2014, THE NEWSHOUR (PBS) noted:

Back in 1945 — a mere seven months into a presidency he inherited from Franklin D. Roosevelt — Truman proposed a “universal” national health insurance program. In his remarks to Congress, he declared, “Millions of our citizens do not now have a full measure of opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health. Millions do not now have protection or security against the economic effects of sickness. The time has arrived for action to help them attain that opportunity and that protection.”

The first was to address the number and disparity of physicians, nurses and other health professionals, especially in low-income and rural communities where there were “no adequate facilities for the practice of medicine” and “the earning capacity of the people in some communities makes it difficult if not impossible for doctors who practice there to make a living.” To begin to correct this problem, Truman wanted the federal government to construct modern, quality hospital across the nation—especially where they did not yet exist.

The second issue was the need to develop and bolster public health services (both to control the spread of infectious diseases and improve sanitary conditions across the nation) and maternal and child health care. With respect to the latter, Harry Truman reminded Congress, “the health of American children, like their education, should be recognized as a definite public responsibility.” Third, he sought to increase the nation’s investment in both medical research and medical education.

The fourth problem addressed the high cost of individual medical care. “The principal reason why people do not receive the care they need,” Truman noted, “is that they cannot afford to pay for it on an individual basis at the time they need it. This is true not only for needy persons. It is also true for a large proportion of normally self-supporting persons.”

And fifth, he focused on the lost earnings that inevitably occur when serious illness strikes. “Sickness,” Truman cogently explained, “not only brings doctor bills; it also cuts off income.

So FDR and Harry Truman and John Conyers -- three legendary figures -- tried to fulfill an American need. Need -- not want.

Cher's an H. Ross Perot supporter so maybe she doesn't consider herself to be a Democrat. But shame on any Democrat who knocks universal healthcare. We should be picking up the torch from FDR, Truman and Conyers. We should see it as our duty to fulfill this need. Thanks to the work of a lot of nurses as well as Bernie Sanders, Medicare For All entered the popular conversation in the last years. Despite attempts to dismiss it, the people favor it. Even the Kaiser Family Foundation has had to note that:

For many years, Kaiser Family Foundation has been tracking public opinion on the idea of a national health plan (including language referring to Medicare-for-all since 2017). Historically, our polls have shown support for the federal government doing more to help provide health insurance for more Americans, though support among Republicans has decreased over time (Figure 1). But this never translated into majority support for a national health plan in which all Americans would get their insurance from a single government plan until 2016 (Figure 2). A hallmark of Senator Sanders’ primary campaign for President in 2016 was a national “Medicare-for-all” plan and since then, a slight majority of Americans say they favor such a plan (Figure 3). Overall, majorities of Democrats and independents favor a national Medicare-for-all plan while most Republicans oppose.  

It's a need.

Nurse Barb Kalbach (COMMON DREAMS) explains:

Rural hospitals, local nursing homes, and care facilities are the lifeblood of our small towns across the heartland. We’re watching our farms and small towns wither away as the countryside empties out and our health declines.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. A system that puts the wellbeing of our community ahead of the bottom line of a select few can and will deliver the care we need, where and when we need it, and keep our rural communities alive and vibrant.

Which brings us to the Medicare for All Act of 2019 introduced by Rep. Pramila Jayapal of Washington state. Instead of allowing private corporations to decide who pays for health care and how much, we would put our financing back into public hands — and our health care decisions back into the hands of patients and their care provider.

Under Medicare for All, virtually all aspects of our health care will be covered. This includes, but isn’t limited to, medical, dental, vision, hearing, prescription drugs, mental health, addiction treatment, and much more.

Medicare for All also covers long-term and in-home care as well. What a gift to our families, especially those that often go unseen by an industry dominated by profit: the elderly and people with disabilities. Long-term and in-home care allows people to stay near their families or in their homes, rooted in the communities we call home.

Perhaps most importantly for Iowa and other rural communities, Jayapal’s bill includes a special projects budget for capital expenditures and staffing needs of providers in rural or medically underserved areas.

It's a need.

Yesterday, Bernie appeared on 60 MINUTES. CNN is calling this exchange "disastrous" -- we disagree:

Cooper: Do you know how all — how much though? I mean, do you have a price tag for — for all of this?

Sanders: We do. I mean, you know, and — and– the price tag is — it will be substantially less than letting the current system go. I think it’s about $30 trillion.

Cooper: That’s just for “Medicare for All,” you’re talking about?

Sanders: That’s just “Medicare for All,” yes.

Cooper: Do you have — a price tag for all of these things?

Sanders: No, I don’t. We try to — no, you mentioned making public colleges and universities tuition free and canceling all student debt, that’s correct. That’s what I want to do. We pay for that through a modest tax on Wall Street speculation.

Cooper: But you say you don’t know what the total price is, but you know how it’s gonna be paid for. How do you know it’s gonna be paid for if you don’t know how much the price is?

Sanders: Well, I can’t — you know, I can’t rattle off to you every nickel and every dime. But we have accounted for — you — you talked about “Medicare for All.” We have options out there that will pay for it.

How is that a disaster?

The American people aren't worth it? Is that what Cher thinks? Maybe the Armenian should stick to wearing Native American garb and singing "Half-Breed" (we all know Cher's not Native American, right?).

Here's an example of a real disaster -- telling people the Iraq War would be paid for with oil revenues which, for the record, Dick Cheney did say. Trillions of dollars later, no oil revenue was ever used to pay for the Iraq War.

The support for Medicare For All is growing. Cher and the rest will be tired relics of the past. ABC NEWS reports that the Black Voters Matter Fund announced in Charleston, South Carolina today that they are backing it and quotes Nick Rubin stating, "Everyone deserves healthcare, and getting the care you need shouldn't be a financial burden. No one should ever have to decide whether they're going to pay their rent or get the pharmaceuticals they need to have a good life." It's not exactly "The times we live in have less value Than Bob Dole's useless arm," but we like it.

We deserve better than Biden

joes poop
Joe Biden the front runner? In what world. Nevada just voted. The good news for Joe? He came in second. The bad news? The winner, Bernie Sanders, got nearly three times as many votes as Joe did. At what point, after his iffy showings in Iowa, New Hampshire and now Nevada, are we going to face reality that Joe just isn't the candidate American wants or needs?

Joe's big claim is that he will turn the clock back to 2016 back when everything was perfect -- in his mind. It wasn't perfect. There were drone killings. There was the ongoing Iraq War. There was illegal spying on the part of the government. There was no serious effort to address climate change.

But Joe wants to return us to, well, ignorance.

And some are on board with it. The comfort of stupidity is grasped by some.


A better world is possible. It will not come via reactionaries who are in the pocket of big business.

We need dreamers and visionaries who can carry us forward.

Thus far, four states have made their preference known. Joe wasn't the first choice in any of the four states. At what point does that sink in? Some fools continue to insist that Joe and only Joe can win. Really? Four times at bat and he's struck out every time. Joe's the Tim Tebow of politics. At what point do we get how very little South Carolina matters -- win or no win?

There has never been any enthusiasm for Joe. His events are half-full at best. To beat Donald Trump in November, the Democratic Party will need a candidate who can rally the people. who can inspire, who can draw crowds. That's not Joe Biden. That has never been Joe Biden. That will never be Joe Biden.

joe being joe

Our choice is Bernie Sanders. But an argument can be made that others can inspire as well. On that list, you might find Mayor Pete (whom we do not care for) but you would never find Joe Biden. On that list, you would find Elizabeth Warren, but you would never find Joe Biden. There's no reason to elevate a so-so candidate.

If Joe had any self-respect, he'd drop out. The least the rest of us can do is not enable him.

Illustrations are Isaiah's THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS "Joe Biden discovers his voting record" "Joe's gaffes" and "Joe Being Joe."

Jussie's got a defense!

early april fool

Professional hoaxer Jussie Smollett is back in the news. The man who staged a hate crime and destroyed a TV series was back in court today. Reading Megan Crepeau and Jason Meisner's CHICAGO TRIBUNE report, we were intrigued by this part:

Across the packed courtroom gallery sat brothers Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo, key prosecution witnesses who told police Smollett paid them to stage the attack. The defense has, in turn, accused them of actually beating Smollett and then lying to police about what happened.

Really? That's what they're going with?

We're reminded again of Dave Chappelle's routine.

"This is MAGA country"? Since Jussie already knew Abimbola and Olabinjo how exactly did (a) he not recognize their voices and (b) mistake them for White?

Jussie's got a defense, it's just not a good one.


Illustration is Isaiah's THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS "Early April Fool."

Tweet of the week

USA so needs , more than ever, as outbreak will demonstrate.

The Face of Loreal

Nope ! Nope ! It was not mutual abuse!! Amber Heard ... she is a compulsive abuser!! A Liar ! Hellooooo! What more evidence do you need to punish this f**king woman or whatever she is...Misandrist! Not good for the society. She hurts people!

Long ago, C.I. noted at THE COMMON ILLS that 'hero' Amber Heard would be undone by a tape that would expose her. That tapes has now been released -- where she gleefully admits to hitting her then-husband. Spouse abuse should not be tolerated and, considering Loreal's past advertising problems, we're surprised that they'd choose to go with the face of an abuser as the face of their product.

Eight years ago, the FDA was warning it to stop using misleading advertising.

Calling an abuser "beautiful" seems pretty misleading to us.

I’m not even a huge fan of Johnny (I was an AH fan) but I am going to stand w/ him because HE was UNDOUBTEDLY a victim of domestic abuse from the hands of Amber Heard. He’s an abuse SURVIVOR now & we must stick up for real survivors, not phony liars.

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