Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Amen, Jeff Melton, amen

First up, "We voted Green (Ann and Jess)" went up a little while ago at Third.  Jess was going to write it so that they could be done with the edition.  And then he asked me if I wanted to co-write?  Absolutely.  Thank you, Jess.  We are both Greens and I think we made some good points.

I know Jeff Melton makes important points in his essay:

As always, in 2020, mainstream Democrats have tried every possible means to thwart challenges to their left. A media smear campaign against Bernie Sanders and other progressive candidates, rigging of the Democratic primaries, and ultimately the uniting of the Democratic Party elite behind Joe Biden cemented the nomination of yet another corporate Democrat. Allegations of corruption and sexual harassment and assault, and Biden’s long track record as a faithful servant of corporate America, warmonger, architect of mass incarceration, and friend of the world’s worst polluters, have all been swept under the rug in favor of the story that Biden is a “decent man” who will return America to “normal.”

Anyone who questions this narrative, let alone backs a third-party Presidential candidate such as the Green Party’s Howie Hawkins, is derided as “irresponsible” and regarded as essentially a Trump supporter. Fearmongering to the effect that fascism is imminent if Trump is not defeated is used to bully even progressives residing in “blue” or “red” states into voting for Biden. Electoral reforms such as ranked choice voting that would eliminate voters’ fear that withholding their votes from a Democrat could result in a Republican victory are ignored or opposed by most Democrats. Meanwhile, the Democrats have made a concerted effort to prevent voters from even being aware of Green candidates, using legal challenges to disqualify Green candidates from the ballot in several states despite their comfortably surpassing the required number of signatures on ballot ballot access petitions; in New York, they tripled the number of required signatures.

Unfortunately, rather than challenging the Democrats’ fearmongering and scapegoating, many leftists are echoing it. For example, in a recent open letter (“Dump Trump, Then Battle Biden”) in Common Dreams, fifty-five prominent leftist activists and writers asserted that the “most urgent task” of the left was “defeating Trump . . . with as big an Electoral College margin as possible, to undermine his predictable efforts to steal the election” — as if attempting to steal Presidential elections were not already a standard Republican practice that succeeded in 2000 and 2016. They even advocated that leftists vote for Biden in solid “blue” or “red” states such as California and Alabama, apparently attributing to Trump magical power to steal electoral votes in heavily Democratic states and create additional ones out of thin air in states he is already winning.

Rather than making an empirical case that Biden being elected would be better for the country than Trump being re-elected, they resorted to empty hyperbole: “Protestations that Biden is beholden to elites are true but beside the point. The lesser evil is evil, but in this case, the greater evil is simply off the charts.” How the difference in perpetration of evil between Trump and a man with a 47-year career of war crimes and corrupt, bigoted, and ecologically catastrophic policies who, like Trump, has been credibly accused of rape is “off the charts” was not explained. It’s hard to imagine that Republican extremists such as John Kasich, John Negroponte, Bill Kristol, and Rick Snyder who have endorsed Biden do not consider him sufficiently evil for their tastes. More likely, the broad bipartisan coalition of members of the ruling class who have endorsed Biden consider him the “more effective evil.”

The authors of the open letter not only advocated voting for Biden without conditions, but they engaged in shaming leftists who refuse to vote for him, claiming that “the message that not voting in swing states sends in 2020 is that we are okay with Trump for four more years as long as we don’t have to sully our hands by voting for Biden.” The suggestion that those who refuse to vote for either Trump or Biden are doing so because they are “too pure” to vote for Biden, rather than because of deep dissatisfaction with both, and with a political system that has foisted them upon us is, frankly, offensive. Why is it “purist” to demand of presidential candidates that they not be men accused of sexual misconduct by multiple women? Or that they stop persecuting, jailing, and torturing whistleblowers and journalists, fracking and drilling the hell out of the planet, or engaging in perpetual war and the support of fascist-led coups against foreign governments? Why is it “purist” to demand that they support universal health care and a real Green New Deal, instead of spending more of the federal budget on the military than the next 10 nations combined?


Thank you, Lawanda for e-mailing me that.  I hadn't seen it or I would've already highlighted it. It's a great essay.

This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

 Tuesday, November 3, 2020.  The nightmare continues. 

Election day.

BLOOMBERG NEWS didn't write the lines the two candidates above said, they only highlighted them.  It's embarrassing.  Donald Trump's message is "I'm not Sleepy Joe."  Joe Biden's message is "I have no idea where I am which is why, with two microphones in front of me and no crowd noise because no crowds come to see me, I'm going to yell like an idiot."  Did they isolate his scream?  Is this a smear job like with Howard Dean where they eliminated the crowd noise to make Howard look crazy?  No.  No, there was no crowd noise.  Joe makes himself look crazy.

It's election day and the media continues to cover the duopoly.  Over at MINTPRESS NEWS, Alan MacLeod notes:

The two-party system is clearly failing Americans, with both candidates for the United States’ top job largely disliked by the public. The latest survey from the Pew Research Center finds that Biden only has a 46% favorability rating, with Trump trailing at 42%. This is, in fact, an improvement from 2016, which pitted the two least popular major candidates of all time against each other in a historic race which left Americans far from enthusiastic about their electoral process. Only one-third of Democrat voters claim they are voting for Biden, with two-thirds telling pollsters that they feel compelled to vote against Trump. Meanwhile, around a quarter of Republicans are doing the same, voting not for Trump, but against Biden and his agenda.

And while Trump and Biden spend fortunes attacking each other in the media, it is often difficult to establish meaningful differences between their platforms on a number of issues. Today, the president again accused the 77-year-old Delaware native of supporting a ban on fracking, something Biden has vehemently and repeatedly denied, despite pressure from his base to do so. A number of polls have shown that the public clearly supports a complete ban on the practice. Likewise, on foreign policy, healthcare, and defense, the two parties display many more similarities than differences. Luckily, there are other options.

He goes on to discuss the Green Party, the Libertarian Party and the Party for Socialism and Liberation.  Howie Hawkins is the Green Party's presidential candidate.

We'll note this from Howie's campaign.

Howie Hawkins, 67, from Syracuse, New York, is a retired Teamster and veteran who has been active in movements for civil rights, peace, unions, and the environment since the 1960s.

He was the first US politician to campaign for a Green New Deal in 2010, in the first of three consecutive runs for New York governor. New York enacted several policies that only Hawkins had campaigned for after he received 5% of the vote in 2014, including a ban on fracking, a $15 minimum wage, and paid family leave.

Hawkins’ vice-presidential running mate is Angela Walker, 46, a truck driver in Florence, South Carolina who is a veteran, union and racial justice activist.

The Green presidential ticket is on the ballot in 30 states representing 73% of American voters and 381 electoral votes. Including the other states where the Green presidential ticket is qualified for write-in votes, 96% of Americans representing 514 electoral votes of the total 538 electoral votes will be able to vote for the Hawkins/Walker Green Party ticket.

Jo Jorgensen is the Libertarian Party's presidential candidate.

This is the most recent statement from Jo Jorgensen's campaign:

GREENVILLE, S.C.; November 2, 2020—  Dr. Jo Jorgensen, the Libertarian candidate for president, has this to say to voters who are considering voting for the “lesser of two evils” — instead of for a candidate they really want:

“Are you among the twenty-five percent of Americans who disapprove of both Donald Trump and Joe Biden? Are you unhappy with the prospect of either of them being elected? 

“Are you also inclined to think one is worse than the other, and that maybe you should ‘hold your nose’ and vote for the ‘lesser of two evils’?

“If so, please ask yourself, ‘How has voting for the lesser of two evils been working for me?’

“If your answer is, ‘Not so well,’ try something different.

“The only way you’ll ever see real change is to vote for real change.

“I am the candidate for real change. I offer proposals that will result in millions of sustainable, private-sector jobs. Health care that is actually affordable. Ending our pointless, counterproductive wars in Afghanistan and the Middle East. Effective criminal justice reform. Financial responsibility in Washington D.C., and no more debt! 

“Are you ready to stop falling for the ‘lesser of two evils’ trap?

“If so, please vote for me, Jo Jorgensen, this election. Vote for real change for real people.”

Dr. Jo Jorgensen is the only presidential nominee besides Trump and Biden who appears on this year’s ballot in all 50 states plus the District of Columbia.

Gloria La Riva is the candidate for the Party of Socialism and Liberation.

This is the most recent statement from Gloria's campaign:

“Racism is the Disease. Revolution Is the Cure!” and “Jail Killer Cops! Re-Open the Cases!” read signs of the hundred-or-so attendees of a rally for socialist presidential candidate Gloria La Riva on September 18 in Roxbury, Massachusetts. La Riva recently achieved ballot status in 14 states and Washington D.C. and is currently doing a nationwide speaking tour. This particular rally was organized by the Party for Socialism and Liberation’s Boston branch. 

The rally overlooked Nubian Station, Boston’s busiest bus station and a hub for working class Black and brown people. Nubian Square and the surrounding Roxbury neighborhood are facing extreme gentrification as developers exploit the community’s incapability to contend with rising rents. It is where the twin crises of the COVID-19 pandemic and unemployment have hit particularly hard. It is one of the more heavily policed neighborhoods in Boston. 

“Winter is coming. It’s getting cold now.” La Riva began her speech by addressing those worries directly. “People shiver outside, and they will die and freeze to death because this city will not open up public buildings. There’s hundreds and hundreds of empty buildings now [that are] shut down because of the pandemic. Give people a place to live. Cancel the rents for all the people. And that includes mortgages as well, even for small landlords.” 

“We're fighting for everyone, for everyone who struggles to pay the rent, who doesn't know if they're going to have a job tomorrow. [For everyone] who faces discrimination for being Black, Latino, indigenous, or any other person of color. Or just being a white working class person who also can't make it, who’s part of this exploitation of our country. We're all exploited if you're not a capitalist.” 

During the rally, protesters became witnesses to the brutality faced by many Roxbury residents as a Black teenager ran past the rally followed by six police officers. As he rounded a corner, he was tackled to the ground and handcuffed before being punched in the mouth several times by a white officer. Gloria and other rally attendees caught up to the assault and began filming, but the officers kept insisting that everyone back away before the arrest was finished. Gloria refused to leave, telling the officer "we have a right to be here." Later that night, members investigated further to learn that the teenager was a 16-year-old Roxbury resident and that this incident was part of a string of similar arrests.

“To take on this monstrous, racist, vicious system of capitalism, the most vicious capitalist country in the world… is going to take organization, discipline, and a determined fight until we win, which we will.”

This last point seemed to particularly resonate with many attendees. “I want to get more involved with actually doing politics, not just reading about it,” local resident Jack Pierce told Liberation News. “The president has massive overarching powers over foreign policy. They could shut down military bases and pull out troops.” 

“We demand that the U.S. lift the blockade of Cuba!” La Riva shouted. “End the sanctions on Venezuela!” Her anti-war track record drew massive applause. Julien Osborne, a student at Emerson College emphasized to Liberation News how there are “a lot of issues with the United States today. There always have been, including oppression of indigenous people and minorities, imperialism all over the world. [The US] crushes democratically elected and revolutionary leaders, and simply doesn’t treat people with human decency, domestically or abroad.” 

La Riva supporter and PSL member Lile Kaumeheiwa summarized her rationale for voting socialist well: "The great thing about having a socialist candidate is that they are not caught up with meaningless reforms, or with fake lip service and things that are meant just to pacify the community rather than really changing it. Voting for a socialist means they are not bound by corporate entities, Gloria is truly going to bring us exactly what she says.” 

What kind of future is the PSL campaign trying to bring? La Riva’s words:“Imagine a world where childcare is free; where a home is yours because the workers built it; where mass transit is free; where the earth can start to heal because we will stop all that insane production for profit; where everyone's rights will be respected. All culture, all languages, all people. The Palestinians will have their homeland, where true solidarity will flourish. And that will require organization, determination, and a party like the Party for Socialism and Liberation. We got more votes in 2016 than any socialists in 40 years. One, that’s a testament to our party organization, and two, the growing interest in socialism. What counts is the struggle after.”

Today some will vote.  Apparently that includes singer-songwriter Tracy Chapman who performed "Talking Bout A Revolution" in front of a microphone with "VOTE" on it on Seth Meyers' bad show.  How bad is the host?  He called it her "hit" and, sorry, "Fast Car" is the hit from her self-titled debut (number six on the pop charts), "Talking Bout A Revolution" only made it to number 75.  Poor, stupid Seth.  He hasn't looked so bad since he blamed the subprime mortgage crisis on new home owners.  Poor, stupid Seth.

Tracy last appeared on network TV when David Letterman was winding down his CBS show and she performed "Stand By Me."  She last issued an album of new material in 2008.  Point being, she needs to put together a new album.  

On the issue of voting, some people vote by not voting.  It's a valid choice in a democracy and the number of non-voters continues to grow.  These are not people who are 'lazy,' these are often people who have been left out of the conversation, people who campaigns do not target and are not interested in.  

John Stauber discussed voting in a recent interview:

As divided as America is, it will become even more so in the months and years ahead because neither the election of Biden nor the re-election of Trump will be uniting.  Both the Democrats and the Republicans are girding for a political struggle that will likely have the election winner undetermined on November 3rd, and a protracted fight between the Trumpists and the Biden forces in the courts and streets seems guaranteed.  Whichever is sworn in as President in January 2021 will be rejected as illegitimate by the other’s followers.   

Corporate capitalism over the past half century has created an oligarchy that has rotted away the American economy and is shattering Earth’s ability to sustainably support us.   Racism and racial hatreds have always been endemic to America, but when the pieces of the economic pie get smaller and smaller for everyone there is amplification of racial fears and hatreds.  These divisions serve to prevent people from focusing on the oligarchic system itself and uniting to bring it down and replace it with one that serves people and the planet.

Both Parties are owned by and beholden to the corporate elite who rule America, both serve Wall Street and the American military industrial empire, and together they squash any party that dare question or oppose corporate capitalism.  They are aided by their media corporations, the major propaganda arm of the ruling elite and promoter of the capitalist economy.  

It’s a simplistic but highly effective system of control and looting, and most Americans feel helpless and thus respond by not voting.  Trump voters hate the Democrats, and Democrat voters hate the GOP, and the super-rich smirk as their control and power increases whoever wins.  The COVID pandemic has been an injection of steroids into these divisions, collapsing small businesses and throwing tens of millions of working and middle class people into an economic and psychic depression.  For the elite the pandemic has facilitated a massive theft and looting as they have gobbled up more and more control and wealth from both the governmental and private sector.

[. . .]

I have come to the conclusion that elections primarily exist to provide the appearance of democracy while thwarting real democracy.  They divide people into one of two capitalist-driven political business operations, the Democrats or the Republicans.  Elections result in billions being poured into corporate media to purchase paid propaganda, and the media corporations make sure that only the oligarchy’s two Parties receive any positive coverage.  Elections are essential to continued social and political control by the corporate elite through their system of two party oligarchy.  A majority of voters don’t vote, probably because they see the process as not serving their interests, but there is no unity of opinion and certainly no movement-building among non-voters at this time. 

In Janet Jackson's "Got Till It's Gone," it's noted "Joni Mitchell never lies."  

Of John Stauber, it could be said, "John Stauber never whores."  And he often pays the price for that.  

On those who vote, they often have to make difficult decisions.  

For example, looking at his record, the following people highlighted by THE CONVO COUCH are not going to be voting for Joe Biden and many explain why in the video.

Jimmy Dore notes that Joe Biden is no friend of the world.  In fact, I'd say it takes a lot of xenophobia to rally round Biden if you know Joe's true record.

Alan MacLeod points out:

Yesterday, The New York Times published a long piece discussing the 77-year-old’s plans for Latin America. The Times was hopeful, noting that Biden would seek to “repudiate” Trump’s “hardball approach” to the region, which has caused a great deal of harm, rallying round shared goals of combating climate change.

Yet buried deep in the article is perhaps the most eye-opening sentence:

Mr. Biden’s advisers say they would seek to revive the anti-corruption campaign that set off political earthquakes across the Americas starting in 2014, but largely stalled in recent years.”

What the authors are referring to is a continent-wide campaign to unseat progressive leaders that ended in the jailing of Brazilian president Lula da Silva, the impeachment of his successor Dilma Rousseff, and the rise of the far-right authoritarian Jair Bolsonaro. The so-called Operation Car Wash (“Lava Jato” in Portuguese) was ostensibly an attempt to root out corruption at all levels of society. Yet leaked documents and recordings have shown that, from the beginning, it was a naked powerplay attempt by Brazil’s rich elite to retake control of society from the progressive Workers’ Party administrations through legal means.

Joe Biden destroyed Iraq.  He destroyed it by supporting the Iraq War, voting for it and attacking those opposed to it.  He destroyed it by continuing to vote for it while in the Senate.  He destroyed it by distracting from reality with his xenophobic plan to impose a federation on Iraq (he was going to split the country up into three regions based on sect).  He destroyed Iraq by refusing to honor the votes of the Iraqi people in 2010.  Instead, he brokered The Erbil Agreement that overturned the votes in order to give Nouri al-Maliki a second term (a term the voters didn't want him to have).  He destroyed Iraq by giving thug Nouri a second term and it's that second term that led to the rise of ISIS in Iraq.

Joe has been wrong on Iraq every time.  And please note, in April of 2008 (we reported it in real time) when 'just' a senator, Joe Biden talked in an open hearing about how Nouri was a thug and he did not represent the Iraqi people and there was no real government in place.  But two years later, he's working behind the scenes to give Nouri a second term.  Joe knew better.

FRANCE 24 reports on the attacks on journalists in Iraq.

Not noted in their report is the government's attack on journalist Suadad al-Salhy who has been threatened with arrest for the 'crime' of reporting.

IRAK | La periodista iraquí Suadad Al-Salhy puede ser detenida por desvelar información relacionada con el ayatolá Jamenei
Right pointing backhand index
RSF pide a las autoridades de Irak que no ejecuten la orden de arresto y se retiren los cargos contra ella Inglés

The following sites updated:

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