Back in November, Howie and Angela Walker published this:
Our campaign has just begun to organize and fight for real solutions to the life-or-death issues of climate, poverty, racism, and nuclear war for which the two-capitalist-party system of corporate rule has no solutions. We are running out of time on these issues. Real solutions can’t wait.
In the immediate days ahead, our campaign will be in the courts and in the streets if necessary to fight for full and accurate vote counts so the real winners of this year’s elections take office.
Regardless of the relative balance of power after this election between the two corporate parties in the presidency, the Senate, the House, and the state houses, our campaign will mobilize support for our demands and for Green and independent socialist candidates in the next election cycle.
We will not be waiting for future elections to mobilize support for our demands. We will be educating the public, building coalitions, and mobilizing actions to advance our program.
To advance this program, we need more than single-issue organizations and campaigns that compete with each other for attention, time, and money. We need to build a political party that brings issues and constituencies around a common program and mutual support.
Building that party must become a common effort of Green and other independent socialist and progressive parties and groups who want a united mass party of the working people and all who love peace, justice, freedom, and the environment.
Uniting the existing independent left is not enough. We must organize into the party the people who now vote in low numbers because they feel the two corporate parties don’t represent them. These people are disproportionately working class, people of color, and young. They are the future mass base of an independent party of the green and socialist left.
The path forward to becoming a major party in US politics is from the bottom up. We must build a mass-membership party rooted in strong local chapters that can elect thousands to local office and, on that foundation, to state legislatures and the House as we go into the 2020s.
Click here to sign the pledge to keep fighting to build the left party we need!
What follows are the key demands we will be fighting for.
GREEN NEW DEAL
Enact an Ecosocialist Green New Deal for zero-to-negative carbon emissions and 100% clean energy by 2030 because that is what climate science indicates we must do to avert catastrophic climate calamity. It must be ecosocialist, emphasizing public enterprise and planning in the energy, transportation, and manufacturing sectors in order to rapidly transform all productive sectors—power, transportation, buildings, manufacturing, and agriculture—to zero emissions and 100% clean energy. Immediate Green New Deal demands include:
- Ban Fracking: A ban on fracking and new fossil fuel infrastructure.
- No Nukes: No new nuclear power plants and a rapid phase-out of existing nukes.
- Bioplastics: Ban new petrochemical plastics infrastructure and replace petrochemical plastics with biodegradable bioplastics.
- Just Transition: Up to five years of existing wages and benefits for displaced workers and five years of tax revenues lost by local governments due to the clean energy transition.
ECONOMIC BILL OF RIGHTS
Working class life expectancies are in decline after 45 years of wage stagnation while housing, health care, and college costs have risen dramatically. The Economic Bill of Rights will end poverty and economic insecurity.
Job Guarantee: A public job meeting community-defined needs for social services and public works for all willing and able to work who cannot find a living-wage job in the private sector.
A Guaranteed Income Above Poverty: An income guarantee built into the federal progressive income tax structure so that people whose income is below the poverty line receive regular income to bring them above the poverty line.
Affordable Housing: Build quality public housing until everyone has an affordable housing option.
Medicare for All: Reintroduce into Congress the legislation for a community-controlled National Health Service, the Josephine Butler United States Health Service Act, which was before the Congress from 1977 until 2010. It will provide all medically necessary services to all US residents financed by progressive taxation with no out-of-pocket costs to patients. It will socialize and democratize not only health care payments through a single public payer, but also health care delivery through public hospitals and clinics, health care providers as salaried public employees, and locally elected health boards for community control and accountability.
Lifelong Public Education: Tuition-free public education from child care and pre-K through post-secondary colleges, trade schools, and continuing adult education. Cancel existing federally-held student debt. Establish an affordable interest-free federal student loan program going forward with payments scaled to income.
A Secure Retirement: Increase Social Security benefits so that every senior can afford to retire and live above the poverty line.
Ending systemic racism requires structural institutional changes that shift power from racist gatekeepers controlling access to employment, education, housing, the justice system, and other resources to community control by racially-oppressed communities.
Community Control of the Police: Establish police commissions, publicly elected or selected by lot like juries, with the power to hire and fire police chiefs, rid police forces of racists and sadists, set policies and budgets, and investigate and discipline officer misconduct.
Legalize Marijuana and Decriminalize Hard Drugs: End the war on drugs that has particularly targeted Black, Latino, and Indigenous people for mass incarceration. Legalize, tax, and regulate marijuana like alcohol. Decriminalize possession of hard drugs for personal use so the addicted can get treatment instead of prison.
Empower Racially-Oppressed Communities: A federal program of investment in community-controlled housing, schools, health care, and businesses to build up impoverished communities, particularly racially-oppressed communities that have been segregated, discriminated against, and exploited for generations.
Reparations: Pass the Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African-Americans Act (H.R.40/S.1083).
Take peace initiatives to end the US global military empire, reduce world tensions, and create favorable conditions for negotiations toward complete and mutual nuclear disarmament under the terms of the new Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. The peace initiatives should include:
- A 75% cut in US military spending.
- Withdrawing from the endless wars.
- Withdrawing from the over 800 foreign military bases.
- A pledge of no first use of nuclear weapons.
- Stopping the US “nuclear modernization” program that is deploying destabilizing new strategic and tactical nuclear weapons.
- Disarming to a minimum credible nuclear deterrent.
- A Global Green New Deal providing aid for health care, education, clean water, clean energy, and environmental restoration, particularly in low-income countries.
The Republicans practice voter suppression through voter roll purges, discriminatory ID requirements, insufficient polling stations, and other tactics against predominantly Democratic social groups and communities. The Democrats practice voter suppression by suppressing the Green Party’s access to the ballot. Electronic vote recording systems are vulnerable to vote flipping. The single-member-district, winner-take-all system magnifies the power of pluralities and minimizes the representation of political minorities. Private campaign financing is legalized bribery by wealthy special interests. We need many reforms of the electoral system to create a full democracy based on one person, one vote.
Fair Ballot Access: End party suppression. Federal legislation to require each state to enable any independent or new party candidate to qualify for the ballot through a petition of no greater than 1/10th of 1% of the total vote cast in the district in the last gubernatorial election, with a 1,000 signature maximum.
Voting Rights: End voter suppression.
- Restore the Preclearance Provision to the Voting Rights Act: Require Department of Justice approval of state election law changes to ensure they do not discriminate against any class of voters.
- Universal Voter Registration: A federal standard that states must follow to register all eligible voters.
- Right to Vote Amendment: Put an affirmative right to vote in the constitution so laws and rulings affecting voting rights face strict scrutiny in the courts.
- Restore Felon Voting Rights: Felon disenfranchisement is a relic of Jim Crow era suppression of Black voters that has grown with mass incarceration in recent decades to disenfranchise over 6 million citizens who are disproportionately Black, Latino, and Indigenous. The US should join most of the world’s democracies in recognizing that conviction-based restrictions on voting rights are violations of human rights.
Voter-Verified Paper Ballots: A federal standard that requires all voting systems to produce a paper record of each vote that can be audited and recounted. This paper trail will provide a reliable way to check that voting machines were not compromised by human error or malfeasance. The federal standard should ban Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) voting systems that record votes directly on electronic devices or transmit results over the internet because they leave no way to check if votes were altered. All voting equipment such as optical ballot scanners and software should be publicly owned and open source for independent public inspection and testing instead of private and proprietary.
Nonpartisan Election Administration: The US is unique among electoral democracies in having elections administered by partisans of the two governing parties. Replace partisan administration of elections with an independent nonpartisan agency to administer elections.
Ranked-Choice Voting and Proportional Representation:
- Abolish the Electoral College
- Elect the President by a National Popular Vote using Ranked-Choice Voting
- Elect Executive Local and State Offices by Ranked-Choice Voting
- Proportional Representation in Legislatures through Ranked Choice Voting from Multi-Member Districts: This reform should be enacted for municipal, county, state, and federal legislatures. Establish proportional representation using ranked-choice voting for the House of Representatives by enacting the Fair Representation Act (H.R.4000)
Public Campaign Finance and Open Debates: Full public campaign financing such that each candidate who qualifies receives an equal public campaign grant sufficient to reach the voters of their district with their message and campaigns with public money, not private money. A condition of receiving the grant is participation in a series of publicly-sponsored debates.
We The People Amendment: Enact H.J.Res.48, the We the People Amendment to the US Constitution to end corporate personhood by establishing that only natural human beings, not artificial corporations, are persons entitled to constitutional rights and by establishing that money is property, not protected speech. This amendment will undo the Buckley v. Valeo, Citizens United v. FEC, and McCutcheon v. FEC decisions that prevent effective campaign finance regulation. The amendment will enable we the people through our elected representatives to publicly and fully regulate and finance public elections, as well as more effectively regulate corporations.
Supreme Court Reform: The US Supreme Court has become an anti-democratic super-legislative council of lifetime members who often create law and strike down laws created by the elected branches of government. Congress should reassert its power under the Exceptions Clause of the US Constitution to regulate the composition and jurisdiction of the court, such as requiring a supermajority to annul federal laws. Congress should pass laws to restore or protect rights, such as a new preclearance provision in the Voting Rights Act and codifying Roe v. Wade to protect abortion rights. Congress should enact term limits for justices by enacting the Supreme Court Term Limits and Regular Appointments Act (H.R.8424), which will stagger terms of 18 years to give each president two appointments per term.
Howie Hawkins and Angela Walker were the 2020 presidential ticket of the Green Party of the US and the Socialist Party USA.
Click here to sign the pledge to keep fighting to build the left party we need!
This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"
Wednesday, December 30, 2020. Iraq, RISING, Hilaria Baldwin, etc -- we cover a great deal this snapshot.
A lot to cover today. First, for weeks we've been noting videos on Jimmy Dore's Force The Vote to force the vote on Medicare For All. Below the videos, there is the description which usually includes the link to the petition. We have not noted the petition in the snapshots so let's do that -- click here to sign the petition to Force The Vote for Medicare For All.
Now we're going to go personal business. As disclosed before, I know Alec Baldwin (and like him, he's a smart person and a loyal person). His wife is receiving some bad publicity. He defended her and now he is receiving bad publicity. So I am going to weigh in. I went back and forth on it. This site is not about promoting my friends. But this 'news' 'story' deserves a comment or two. And had RISING not decided to trash Hilaria, I probably wouldn't be commenting.
Hilaria Baldwin, for whatever reason, created an identity for herself. She is not a Latina. Why did she do it? Krystal Ball insists it was to profit and to make money.
I don't think so. I think Hilaria wanted to be Latina. I think that was a driving want in her life.
Why did Michael Jackson want to have plastic surgery? Because Joe Jackson abused him and destroyed him and, in Michael's mind at least (I believe Michael), didn't love him. So Michael could not take looking in the mirror and seeing anything of the person who was so horrible to him. The actress Merle Oberon? Why did she pass for Anglo White? Because she wouldn't have had the career she had otherwise.
Why did Hilaria do what she did? I have no idea but it wasn't a prank or a lark.
Krystal and her guest just ripped into Hilaria and it wasn't deserved. Hilaria didn't steal any position or post by presenting herself as Latina. She created a figure and she lived that life. Why? That goes to her reasons which we might get at some point -- especially if we'd stop with the scorn and the ridicule. She had a reason for what she did and money and power were not the reasons.
Alec defended his wife. For that he's being mocked and attacked. For that he's being mocked and attacked? I'm going to guess by a lot of pathetic people who have never known love and probably never will. If you've been in love even once, you should be able (a) to understand what Alec did and (b) to be proud of him for defending someone he loves.
Now we've talked about Hilaria here and I know some e-mails will come in and insist, "This is not a topic to cover!" You know what, you're probably right. But I'm defending someone in the midst of a dogpile -- and I've always done that. Equally true, we've eaten our vegetables. All week long, we've covered serious issues.
RISING? When do they ever cover the ongoing Iraq War? When do they ever even use it to note, for example, that the same Nancy Pelosi that balks over the price tag of Medicare For All never balks at the much, much larger price tag for the Iraq War?
And let's be really clear. I consider Alec a friend and everyone who knows me knows that. I had no idea until RISING what had taken place because people knew not bring the story to me. I don't like gossip about my friends. So yesterday, I'm trying to find political things to post and going through everything e-mailed as well as anything I can find. And that's when I stumbled across the segment on Hilaria. I don't like gossip about my friends. All RISING did was gossip. And what's even worse than that, they did it poorly.
Rachel whatever was the co-host with Krystal and they went to town on Hilaria.
They brought in some supposed feud with Amy Schumer -- but never explained what that had to do with anything other than getting Amy's name in a sentence -- apparently to star power up their gossip item. They showed a clip of Hilaria asking the (English) name for a cucumber. Strangely, they didn't credit the person who made that a major issue on Twitter . . . last week. I found all sorts of things after their 'report.' They scavenged the work of others while mocking Hilaria.
Hilaria is a self-made businesswoman. She was given no credit for that. It reminded me, honestly, of the attacks and glee of the attacks that the press offered on Martha Stewart in the early '00s. Those attacks mocked Martha and mocked what she did. It wasn't 'manly' enough to focus on food and home and they made that very clear as they trivialized Martha. Never once did they point out the skills and the knowledge Martha possessed that allowed her to succeed.
Krystal wanted you to know that Hilaria was body shaming pregnant women.
What a dumb idiot Krystal was in that moment. And she's probably not going to get listed on a praise feature at THIRD next week as a result. We discussed that feature and started it and she was going to be noted as an important voice. I don't think so now. We'll note others, but not her.
Hilaria posing with her child or without her child in some stage of 'undress' (I have no idea, I'm not on Instagram and I never will be -- I have a thing called a life, maybe Krystal could try getting one) is not about body shaming pregnant women.
Let's pretend for a moment that it was about body shaming to show just how tiny Krystal's mind is.
If Hilaria showing off her body -- if that's what she was doing -- is body shaming, Krystal, you stupid idiot, then it's body shaming large women who are large without having just been pregnant. Do you get it? You threw a life raft to women who'd just had a baby while letting all other large women sink and drown. That's how stupid you are. You're a f**king idiot.
Why? Watching the segment, it was clear why: Jealous.
Jealousy, thy name is Krystal Ball.
Hilaria makes money from yoga -- instructor, studios, DVDs, etc. Her body is very much her work.
Years ago, when Krystal was still wetting her diapers, there was one attempt after another to regularly destroy Jane Fonda. At one point, they came from the UK. A rumor to destroy her was that she'd had a heart attack. Too much working out!!!!! What did Jane do to refute that rumor? She invited the press in the next morning to watch as she did The Workout. During those years -- when Jane did very little acting (THE DOLLMAKER, AGNES OF GOD and THE MORNING AFTER -- plus playing a security guard on one episode of the TV show she was producing based on her hit film 9 TO 5), Jane's business was fitness. She had her workout studios, she had best selling books, she had best selling recordings (vinyl, cassette and, yes, videos including the first one that revolutionized the video industry). Her body was her work.
So if Hilaria is showing her body, she's showing what yoga can do. Her body is the advertisement for her work.
This isn't, for example, Alyssa Milano and her hint of nipple posing. Unless we're falling back to TEEN STEAM, Alyssa has nothing to do with working out. But damned if that woman doesn't cheesecake her own ass into oblivion. Now that I object to. A woman trying to ride feminism -- Alyssa is not feminist and the set of CHARMED proved it -- in a desperate attempt to revive a dead career while also posting cheesecake photos? At 48, she long should have stopped posting her braless picks -- and with the obvious difference in boob size (did she get lazy and nurse one of her kids on just one boob, is that why they're so off now?) you'd think she'd stop promoting her body.
Because an actor is supposed to be about acting and, especially after a certain age, you really shouldn't be doing cheesecake. By a certain age, your talent should speak for itself. So that when you appear on a cover, for example, someone says, "Wow. Not only is _____ a great dramatic actress, she looks really good as well." Cheesecake might get you in the door but if it's your selling card, you're probably not really an actress.
Now I've never heard Krystal object to Alyssa or anyone doing cheesecake. We do and we have. I'm very glad that a woman in a man's circle jerk now has learned to put on a bra from time to time and to also stop standing in front of the camera heaving her tits as though she's Suzanne Somers in the opening credits and Mrs. Roper just 'watered' Chrissy's back while watering the plants so Chrissy turns over in shock and does a deep sigh so her breasts go up and down (not a slap at Suzanne, she's a sweet lady and THREE'S COMPANY was decades ago and when she was starting out -- and it was meant to be funny).
But a yoga instructor she's going to shame? Denise Austin, Joanie Greggains, Jane Fonda and many other women in the fitness business grasped -- as Joe Weider and many other men did as well -- that their own bodies were their best advertisement for fitness.
Never having spoken to Hilaria once, not knowing one person who knows Hilaria, not knowing anything, Krystal and Rachel did a gossip segment and it was a segment where everything turned on conjecture and every bit of conjecture could only be the worst possible reason. She lied for this reason, she posed for a picture for this reason, she's body shaming --
The hate and the scorn in that piece?
I'm sorry, wasn't it just last week -- yes, it was -- that I was calling Krystal out because yet again she'd brought on guest that no one should bring on. This was a 'writer' and a 'reporter' but, golly gee, this is the man THE DAILY BEAST fired for repeat plagiarism. And, after he was fired, turned out he was doing the same at his outlet right before that and in his books. He was stealing constantly. And he lied each new time he got caught.
Now you're going to go after a fitness guru? You're going to attack her because she's not Latina like she says and because she uses her body as a billboard for what yoga can do?
But you're going to promote -- without apology and without remorse -- Gerald Posner?
You really need to take a look in the mirror, Krystal, and you did come off petty and jealous.
Again, please show me the segment that RISING did in the twelve months-plus about the ongoing Iraqi protests. Please show me where they spoke to anyone about how the government forces were attacking the protesters.
They don't do the vegetables, they just do candy.
And I'm getting really damn tired of their Whiteness. This goes to Jimmy Dore too. It's past time that you invite on Margaret Kimberley and Glenn Ford. Margaret especially has an audience that you all are not reaching. Jimmy, it is a huge mistake to build a pro-Medicare For All argument around White voices only. It's an issue that effects all communities. And bringing on Margaret or Glenn (BLACK AGENDA REPORT is their outlet if anyone's unfamiliar) would make the discussion taking place as broad-based as the issue truly is. Brihana Joy Gray and Nina Turner sprinkled into the discussion is not enough (a) because they're not on that often and (b) they owe their fame to White outlets. We were talking about Luther Vandross (Betty and I) in "Roundtable" and the White music fans to this day don't seem to get just how important and popular Luther was. That's because he really didn't crossover. He was built by soul radio stations and the listeners saw him as "their" Luther because of his lack of crossover (two top ten hits on pop radio is not a crossover). By the same token, a Margaret or a Glenn who has come up outside the White circle jerk and against the odds is someone who rose on the strength of their talents and someone who comes with an audience that you are not reaching. It's amazing that the whole circle jerk -- and this includes Katie Halper on her own and with USEFUL IDIOTS -- can't find Margaret or Glenn on their contact list and invite them to be guests. Glenn and Margaret have a lot of important information and analysis to share, reason enough for them to be guests. But you're also opening yourself up to more viewers who aren't watching right now. It's smart for discussion, it's smart for the issue and it's smart in terms of building your audience. So what's the problem, what's the barrier? Why aren't Glenn and Margaret invited on?
Betty's daughter just walked in to show me something. This is so typical of what I'm talking about right now. Betty's daughter found an RS feed of Betty's site with comments. Betty's being attacked by several in the comments. Why? For calling out the race hustlers -- the White men who use racism and pretend they're not racists (Tim Wise, Paul Street, etc) -- and the result? Betty, a Black blogger, is being trashed by White commentators for calling out Wise and Street and others. That's the circle jerk, boys and girls, it never died. Barack made them shut up because they wanted him elected in 2008, but the racism of the left never went away. And if you're not aware of that racism and if you're not aware of how it impacts African-Americans on the left and how they use social media, then you just might be someone who doesn't grasp that failure to invite Margaret Kimberley and Glenn Ford to the party means some may interpret it as Whites only party.
There has been far too many attacks on bloggers of color over the years for people to still not grasp how some are rightly wary when approaching a new voice or program.
Hilaria created a character that she wanted to be. Why she wanted to be that way is something she should share. I don't see malice or profit in the equation. I'm sorry she's been embarrassed. I'm sorry that Alec defending his wife is seen as something to mock.
I'm especially sorry that day after day we cover the Iraq War and we do it largely by ourselves in this country. Joel Wing covers it. Margaret Griffis covers it. Did I forget anyone? Probably not because that's how short the list is.
Kelley Beaucar Vlahos (INFORMATION CLEARING HOUSE) notes:
What does it look like when you “liberate” a country that hasn’t asked for it, when you unleash a violent chain of events creating the conditions for an even worse tyranny than before?
Those who witnessed Iraq in the wake of the American invasion in 2003, the failures of reconstruction, and the rise and fall of ISIS, say one need look no further than that country today to get your answer.
The Washington Post last week reported that there are still a million internally displaced Iraqis who fled the 2014 takeover of ISIS and the ensuing war to overthrow it — with many living in soon-to-be-shuttered government-run camps. Meanwhile, COVID has sent an already fragile economy spiraling toward collapse, with salaries in the major cities left unpaid, reconstruction projects stalled or completely aborted. A new central government is still trying to find its legs, more than a year after deadly street protests washed over the country. According to experts who spoke with RS, direct attention from the Western powers that sent this country on its present course is scattershot, with aid easily corrupted by a burgeoning kleptocracy across the provincial governments and Baghdad.
“The trauma on Iraq has been despicable,” said Abbas Kadhim, who spent his own youth in an Iraqi IDP camp in the 1990s before coming to the United States, where he observed the 2003 war and its aftermath from a distance. Now he is the director of the Iraq Initiative at the Atlantic Council in Washington, trying to rebuild broad diplomatic and political bridges with Baghdad.
“This is really the part we have to reckon with when we talk about what happened in Iraq and what it will take to build back. There are things going on in that country that will take decades to undo,” he said in an interview with RS.
That's the opening. It's an important piece and Peter Van Buren makes some important comments in the article. The war is not over, just US media interest in it. Tyler Olson and Audrey Conklin (FOX NEWS) report:
Georgia Senate candidate Rev. Raphael Warnock spoke at events organized by a religious group that called on Christians to repent for military action in Iraq between at least 2007 and 2009.
Warnock, the senior pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, was part of a group called the "Christian Peace Witness for Iraq," seeking to "foster a serious nationwide discussion on following Jesus in matters of conscience and duty, violence and nonviolence, war and peace" through its "Conscience in War" project.
Warnock spoke at a March 2007 Christian Peace Witness event at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., according to multiple reports. One video from Fox 5 D.C. showed Warnock (time stamp: 2:05) speaking at the altar of the cathedral during the event.
FOX thinks they're shaming Ralphael with that report. I don't see how. He seems a lot more serious to me because of the report. He's a person of a faith and he's applying his faith. Isn't that what happens every Sunday across the country in houses of worship. How is this inconsistent? It's not. But I guess, to FOX NEWS, the war is trivial and something to be mocked?
In other news, DEUTSCHE WELLE is concerned about possible violence in Iraq on January 3rd. That is something the US media should be covering but they can't. The only thing they cover is Donald Trump's pardons and pretend that's coverage of Iraq. Three Iraqi community members in Iraq are wondering if anyone in the US reads Arabic media? No, they apparently do not. They apparently do not grasp that the pardons are not a major story in Iraq. They were a 24 hour news cycle and Iraqis have much more to deal with than something from 13 years ago. Americans don't grasp that in part because of a trashy media (Hey, Amy Goodman, looking at you -- don't you wish you could still get away with publishing in HUSTLER each month, I'm sure trash like you does) and because of the self-importance that we Americans always embrace.
Now REUTERS is reporting that someone at the UN says the pardons are a violation of international law. So what? International law doesn't trump a damn thing in the US. If that's news to you, you are deeply uninformed. The pardons have been issued. It's over. People need to grasp that. "But it's fun to beat up Donald Trump, right? And we get to pretend that we care." They don't care a damn thing about the Iraqi people.
Jared Keller (INFORMATION CLEARING HOUSE) notes:
Unfortunately, the average American appears to have a relatively high tolerance for war crimes abroad. According to a 2016 Red Cross report, Americans “are substantially more comfortable with war crimes than are populations of other western countries like the United Kingdom, France, Switzerland, and even Russia,” as The Week put it at the time. “When asked whether ‘a captured enemy combatant [can] be tortured to obtain important military information,’ just 30 percent of Americans said ‘no,’ the lowest of any country surveyed except Israel and Nigeria.” Indeed, one 2018 poll suggested that a significant portion of Americans believed U.S. service members shouldn’t be prosecuted for overseas war crimes simply because “war is a stressful situation and allowances should be made.”
That isn’t to say American’s aren’t entirely immune to the perils of war crimes; indeed, they care more about U.S. war crimes abroad than they did during the Vietnam War, according to research. In a December 2019 poll of more than 1,000 Americans, researchers asked Americans if they approved or disapproved of Trump’s decision to pardon Lorance despite his 2012 conviction for killing civilians in Afghanistan. Forty-one percent approved of the pardon and 59 percent did not, the researchers found. “In 1971, Lt. William L. Calley Jr. was court-martialed and convicted of murdering 22 civilians in the 1968 My Lai Massacre,” the researchers noted. “He was sentenced to life in prison. A 1971 Gallup/Newsweek poll found that 11 percent of Americans approved of the verdict.”
Their research, published in the Washington Post, reveals that war crimes, like most other issues surrounding the military, break down along partisan lines when it comes to their impact on civilian populations: just 12 percent of Democrats and 45 percent of Independents approved of Trump’s Lorance pardon, while 79 percent of Republicans fully approved. But what’s more telling is the written commentary from respondents, which indicates that “many Americans appear to believe that if troops are fighting a just war, they should be excused from responsibility for violent acts, even war crimes,” as the researchers wrote in the Washington Post.
“Our survey finds that respondents who agree that the ‘United States was morally justified in going to war against Afghanistan when the war began in 2001’ are significantly more likely than those who disagree to support Trump’s pardons, by 52 to 22 percent,” the researchers wrote. “As one pardon supporter explained, the ‘Lieutenant was fighting for our freedom.’ Another simply wrote, ‘soldier is protecting our country.’ Those who said the war was morally justified were 14 percent more likely to support the pardons, even when controlling for party identification as well as age, race, gender and education.”
So do war crimes matter to the average American? In the short term, it appears that war crimes and their related pardons are simply new battlegrounds in the ever-expansive culture war between left and right, liberals and conservatives, that seems to have enveloped modern politics rather than becoming matters of human dignity in their own right. And that’s a damn shame.
For the record, Keller's opposed to the pardons.
If you're late to the party, I'm not opposed to any presidential pardon. Henry Kissinger's a War Criminal but if he got a pardon, I wouldn't be opposed. It's a presidential power and it's one that I think should be used more. I would advocate for Leonard Peltier, among others. I don't stomp and scream over a pardon because I don't want to be a hypocrite. A pardon is an act of a president granted by the Constitution. Though it provides legal protection, it does not wipe away the historical record.
In terms of Blackwater, they served more time, the four, than did any of other Americans who shot Iraqi people (civilians). All of the other incidents are forgotten by Americans but not by the Iraqi people. This wasn't uncommon. An Iraqi community member pointed out that in 2004, the same crowd today was presenting Blackwater as heroes when some of their members were killed and this was used to justify an assault on Falluja. She's right.
When Erik Prince, head of Blackwater, and the various people -- Republicans and Democrats -- responsible for the war start facing criminal charges, talk to me about justice. Until then, four people served a little bit of time -- much more than should have considering the deal the US State Dept made in the immediate wake of the assault. No one wants to discuss that either, not in the US. We're going to pretend that the crime took place, an immediate outcry universally followed (PBS mocked the dead and injured, that's reality) and then a quick trial put them away. That's not what happened.
The pardons have taken place. They cannot be overturned. "Give it up, Jake, it's Chinatown," as they say at the end of the film.
Blackwater becomes the story because (a) it lets a certain crowd trash Donald Trump and pretend that makes them political and informed, (b) it was a story in the news for years so they know something about it and can pretend to be informed, (c) it's a way to call out US War Crimes without actually calling out US War Criminals in the elected official realm and in the US military, (d) it gives their pathetic lives some meaning.
"What about the Iraqi people!" Learn to read Arabic. I don't know what to tell you other than Iraqi social media is full of stories of murders by Americans and pointing out that their family members are being swept aside yet again while this one incident is covered and recovered and covered again.
On the pathetic whose lives will apparently end on January 20th, Glenn Greenwald (IHC) notes:
Asserting that Donald Trump is a fascist-like dictator threatening the previously sturdy foundations of U.S. democracy has been a virtual requirement over the last four years to obtain entrance to cable news Green Rooms, sinecures as mainstream newspaper columnists, and popularity in faculty lounges. Yet it has proven to be a preposterous farce.
In 2020 alone, Trump had two perfectly crafted opportunities to seize authoritarian power — a global health pandemic and sprawling protests and sustained riots throughout American cities — and yet did virtually nothing to exploit those opportunities. Actual would-be despots such as Hungary’s Viktor Orbán quickly seized on the virus to declare martial law, while even prior U.S. presidents, to say nothing of foreign tyrants, have used the pretext of much less civil unrest than what we saw this summer to deploy the military in the streets to pacify their own citizenry.
But early in the pandemic, Trump was criticized, especially by Democrats, for failing to assert the draconian powers he had, such as commandeering the means of industrial production under the Defense Production Act of 1950, invoked by Truman to force industry to produce materials needed for the Korean War. In March, The Washington Post reported that “Governors, Democrats in Congress and some Senate Republicans have been urging Trump for at least a week to invoke the act, and his potential 2020 opponent, Joe Biden, came out in favor of it, too,” yet “Trump [gave] a variety of reasons for not doing so.” Rejecting demands to exploit a public health pandemic to assert extraordinary powers is not exactly what one expects from a striving dictator.
A similar dynamic prevailed during the sustained protests and riots that erupted after the killing of George Floyd. While conservatives such as Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AK), in his controversial New York Times op-ed, urged the mass deployment of the military to quell the protesters, and while Trump threatened to deploy them if governors failed to pacify the riots, Trump failed to order anything more than a few isolated, symbolic gestures such as having troops use tear gas to clear out protesters from Lafayette Park for his now-notorious walk to a church, provoking harsh criticism from the right, including Fox News, for failing to use more aggressive force to restore order.
Virtually every prediction expressed by those who pushed this doomsday narrative of Trump as a rising dictator — usually with great profit for themselves — never materialized. While Trump radically escalated bombing campaigns he inherited from Bush and Obama, he started no new wars. When his policies were declared by courts to be unconstitutional, he either revised them to comport with judicial requirements (as in the case of his “Muslim ban”) or withdrew them (as in the case of diverting Pentagon funds to build his wall). No journalists were jailed for criticizing or reporting negatively on Trump, let alone killed, as was endlessly predicted and sometimes even implied. Bashing Trump was far more likely to yield best-selling books, social media stardom and new contracts as cable news “analysts” than interment in gulags or state reprisals. There were no Proud Boy insurrections or right-wing militias waging civil war in U.S. cities. Boastful and bizarre tweets aside, Trump’s administration was far more a continuation of the U.S. political tradition than a radical departure from it.
The hysterical Trump-as-despot script was all melodrama, a ploy for profits and ratings, and, most of all, a potent instrument to distract from the neoliberal ideology that gave rise to Trump in the first place by causing so much wreckage. Positing Trump as a grand aberration from U.S. politics and as the prime author of America’s woes — rather than what he was: a perfectly predictable extension of U.S politics and a symptom of preexisting pathologies — enabled those who have so much blood and economic destruction on their hands not only to evade responsibility for what they did, but to rehabilitate themselves as the guardians of freedom and prosperity and, ultimately, catapult themselves back into power. As of January 20, that is exactly where they will reside.
Here's a link to Caitlin Johnstone -- I've been trying to work in a link to one of her articles for over a week.
We'll wind down with this from the Green Party:
Green Party of the United States
For Immediate Release:
December 22, 2020
Michael O’Neil, Communications Manager, email@example.com, 202-804-2758
Holly Hart, Co-chair, Media Committee, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202-804-2758
Craig Seeman, Co-chair, Media Committee, email@example.com, 202-804-2758
“The COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare the glaring inadequacies of the nation’s current hodge-podge of insurance options,” said Mark Dunlea, a New York-based Green Party organizer , co-founder of Single Payer New York and former head of the Hunger Action Network. “This is not the time to shy away from promoting Medicare-for-All. The Democratic Party had the power to pass a genuine universal health care bill in March 2010 and instead squandered the opportunity out of deference to private insurance and other health-care lobbies. The height of the pandemic, along with the promise of the vaccine, is the best time to correct this tragic mistake.”
“Congress members who support Medicare-for-All should push for a vote on HR1384 now as the tip of the spear for more comprehensive COVID-19 relief,” said Gloria Mattera, Green Party National Co-Chair, who works as Director of Child Life at a public hospital in New York City and serves on the executive board of Physicians for a National Health Program — NY Metro Chapter. “They should take the opportunity during the coming weeks to educate the public about how we can improve medical care for everyone while drastically cutting the cost of coverage and treatment, eliminating co-pays, deductibles, out-of-pocket fees and surprise bills. We can replace the private bureaucracies that keep denying and restricting treatment and end the epidemic of bankruptcies over medical costs.”
A Medicare-for-All vote will challenge Democrats and Republicans to take action on a crisis that the two-party establishment keeps ignoring: the lack of healthcare for millions of Americans who lack coverage, the private insurance bureaucracy's restriction and denial of treatment for those who have coverage, and the soaring cost of treatment and prescriptions that has drained the savings of hundreds of thousands of Americans.
“Corporate lobbyists and their PR departments are going on the offensive and will spread misinformation, said Laura Wells, former Green candidate for California state controller. “The healthcare industry front group demonizing Medicare for All and a public option has amassed $36 million for its campaign heading into 2021." (The Green Party supports Medicare-for-All, not the public option.) According to a recent poll conducted by the PEW Research Center, an increasing majority of Americans support government-provided health care coverage for all.
“The Green Party has run and will continue to run strong candidates for the US House and Senate, all of whom support Medicare-for-All and a Green New Deal,” said Trahern Crews, Green Party National Co-Chair and Green Party National Black Caucus Co-Chair. “The country desperately needs people in Congress who don't have to answer to the leaders of the two corporate-money parties. Both major parties are in the pockets of Wall Street, ensuring more of the same corruption and exploitation. The Green Party and Green candidates don't accept contributions from corporate PACs. Having Greens seated in Congress and every other level of government will end the dynamic in which Democrats and Republicans compete bitterly over political power but are in consensus on leaving economic power to the 1%.”
For More Information
Green Party Petition at GP.org: $600 and No Medicare-For-All Vote? Bah-Humbug! Tell Congress, Trump and Biden: "Don't 'Scrooge' us on Medicare-For-All and COVID Relief!"
A New Congressional Budget Office Study Shows That Medicare for All Would Save Hundreds of Billions of Dollars Annually,Bruenig, Matt. Jacobin, December 19, 2020
The Next War Against A Public Option Is Starting, Sirota, David and Andrew Perez. The Daily Poster, December 9, 2020
“Every. Single. One.”: Ocasio-Cortez Notes Every Democrat Who Backed Medicare for All Won Reelection in 2020, Queally, Jon. Common Dreams, November 7, 2020
Increasing share of Americans favor a single government program to provide health care coverage, Jones, Bradley. Pew Research Center, September 29, 2020
COVID 19 and Medicare for All, Physicians for a National Health Plan - PNHP
Green Party Platform on Single-Payer Health Care
The Hawkins Healthcare Plan, Green Party 2020 Presidential Candidate Howie Hawkins
Green Party of the United States
Newsroom | Twitter: @GreenPartyUS
Green Party Platform
Green New Deal
Green candidate database and campaign information
Green Pages: The official publication of record of the Green Party of the United States
The following sites updated: