Monday, June 6, 2022

What we watch



That's   Isaiah's THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS "The DUI explained." which went up over the weekend.  So did Kat's "Kat's Korner: Party at HARRY'S HOUSE" about an album I just can't stop listening to: Harry Style's Harry's House.

Okay, whaat do I watch on TV?  That's what Edith wanted to know in an e-mail.  I mainly use YOUTUBE TV.  According to YOUTUBE TV, here is what my husband and I watch the most:

1) American Dad

2) Will & Grace (original run)

3) Call Me Kat

4) The Nanny

5) Martin

6) The New Adventures of Old Christine

7) At Home With Amy Sedaris

8)Big Sky

9) Superman & Lois

10) Keeping Up Appearances


1) 1935's Mark of The Vampire

2) 1968's Hot Millions

3) 1944's Kismet

4) 1950's Stage Fright

5) 1940's The Letter

6) 1954's Witness To Murder

7) 1958;s Horrror Of Dracula

8) 1988's Dangerous Liaisons

9) 1978's California Suite

10) 1977's Julia

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

 Monday, June 6, 2022.  A British man gets 15 years for theft in Iraq and we look at how there's a historical aspect to sheep-herding for the Democratic Party and if you're not addressing that, you're not addressing anything.

And you try to tie together some connections

You get some ribbons and some bows

And get back out on the road again

-- "Juliet," written by Stevie Nicks, first appears on her THE OTHER SIDE OF THE MIRROR


The DSA -- Democratic Socialists of America -- has a nasty history.  Michael Harrington was a reactionary, red-baiting piece of trash who did not encourage young activists (he attacked Tom Hayden and Alan Haber for their seminal Port Huron Statement).  Back in 2013, Joe Allen explained it at SOCIALIST.ORG:

What did the tradition that Harrington championed represent during the Vietnam era?

The Socialist Party that he had joined by the end of the 1950s was increasingly distinguished by shrill anti-communism on issues of U.S. foreign policy. Norman Thomas, the leader of the SP at the time, was a founding member of American Friends of Vietnam, along with Sen. John F. Kennedy and Cardinal Spellman of New York. The group became known as the "Vietnam Lobby"--and spent the '50s pressing for greater U.S. military and political assistance to the Diem dictatorship in Vietnam and its crusade against "communist aggression."

When a new generation of young activists, politicized by the civil rights movement, emerged in Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) and very gingerly challenged the suffocating anti-communist consensus, they were met with utter hostility. Harrington led the attack on the authors of SDS's founding document, the Port Huron Statement.

Sunkara writes that this was "an error that Harrington would later recognize and lament." But why did Harrington take the position in the first place? Because it was the logical product of his tradition's support for anti-communist crusades at home and abroad. This attitude was why people who became radicalized during the 1960s and early '70s viewed the old social democrats--among which Harrington was one of the youngest--as redbaiters from the left edge of the liberal establishment.

Harrington may have had his regrets about how he responded to SDS and the New Left, but he never dropped the anti-communism that underlaid that response.

Did Harrington support the Vietnam War? It's true that he never said in so many words that he backed the U.S. war in Southeast Asia. What he did do--over and over again, even as it placed him more and more at odds with the growing antiwar movement--was echo the chief ideological justification of the U.S. war: anti-communism.

"I am anti-communist on principle," Harrington declared in 1965, "because I am pro-freedom." Such a declaration at that particular political moment was, at the very least, a huge concession to the guiding principle of U.S. foreign policy throughout this era, used to justify all sorts of criminal behavior in the world, from "police actions" in Korea and the Dominican Republic to CIA-sponsored coups all over the place.

Harrington's stated position on Vietnam was support for negotiations to end the war. But the antiwar movement of that era more and more came to identify this as a pro-war stance. For one thing, it accepted the legitimacy of U.S. imperialism playing a part in determining the future of Vietnam and Southeast Asia. For another, it accepted the continuation of the war effort while negotiations took place.

In the introduction to a 1965 book titled We Accuse, a collection of writings, speeches and other documents from opponents of the war, James Petras explained the antiwar movement's growing rejection of calls for negotiations in favor of demanding immediate withdrawal. Referring to a 1965 debate between Hal Draper of the Independent Socialist Clubs and pacifist Robert Pickus, speaking for the "negotiated peace" position, Petras wrote:

To oppose American intervention in Vietnam, as Hal Draper pointed out in his debate with Pickus, is to call for the immediate withdrawal of the U.S. To call for it "later" (under whatever pretense) is to legitimize violence in the here and now--since one cannot impose utopian dreams on what the U.S. Army does in fighting a war of conquest. One would not be too irreverent to refer to this type of "peace" approach as "War now--Peace later."

Whether or not one agrees with this characterization, it can't be denied--and Sunkara agrees on this score--that Harrington was deeply and wrongly hostile to the radicalizing antiwar movement. R.W. Tucker, a contemporary of Harrington's, recalled a 1970 convention of the Socialist Party where Harrington, as chair of the convention, "presided over a spurious expulsion of the entire Wisconsin delegation, consisting of 22 antiwar delegates, and then bullied through a resolution on the war that in effect supported it."

Episodes like this put Harrington, it seems to me, on the wrong side of the divide between pro-war and antiwar.

THERE'S A lot more to say about Harrington that neither Sunkara nor I have even brought up yet. For example, Harrington spent much of his later life trying to create what he called the "left wing of the possible." He argued for leftists to orient, whatever their criticisms, on the Democratic Party as the only realistic vehicle for achieving political change.

Such an orientation has a powerful practical appeal, particularly for newly radicalizing activists. It certainly did for me. It seemed to combine both the realism necessary to deal with U.S. politics and the idealism of fighting for socialism. But does it work?

Whatever doubts might have lingered for me about the question were cleared up by a debate between Harrington and Peter Camejo during the 1976 presidential election campaign, when Camejo was running as the presidential candidate of the Socialist Workers Party.

I read the transcript of the debate when it was published by Pathfinder Press several years after it took place. Harrington and Camejo were both in top form. Harrington was subtle and nuanced. But I thought Camejo, arguing for the importance of socialists remaining independent of the two capitalist parties in the U.S., won the debate.

I wasn't surprised by Harrington's pitch for a "lesser evil" vote for Jimmy Carter over the incumbent and unelected Republican President Gerald Ford, but I was struck by one particular point. Harrington said, "The conditions of a Carter victory are the conditions for working class militancy, and the militancy of minority groups, and the militancy of women, and the militancy of the democratic reform movement. We can actually begin to make victories on full employment, national health and issues like that."

I knew from my own experience of the Carter years that none of this happened--the mass movements didn't advance because of a Democratic victory. And if we replace Carter with Mondale, Dukakis, Clinton, Gore, Kerry or Obama, can we say any different? This strategic "engagement" urged by Harrington weakened the left terribly during the post-Vietnam war era.

Sunkara believes that once Harrington's writings are understood in their context, "some value can be gleaned from his work"--and this is certainly true, as it is for many other political figures.

But it's also true that Harrington's political career demonstrates pitfalls for the left on critical issues, including its relationship to the Democratic Party, the tradition of anti-communism among some socialists, and confusion, at best, about opposition to U.S. imperialism. Hopefully, the left we seek to rebuild today can learn the negative lessons of Michael Harrington's legacy, too.

In 2000, historian Kimberly Phillips-Fein wrote a ridiculous piece for IN THESE TIMES rationalizing Michael Harrington's many failures but even that enabler couldn't avoid the basic truth: 

He opposed Communism in the 50s, and in the 60s he did not support the anti-war movement. He never held a position of influence in any large institution. The Other America is a moving book, but Harrington’s reputation as the man who discovered poverty” is wildly overrated, and his actual influence on the War on Poverty legislation was negligible.

Right now, REVOLUTIONARY BLACKOUT, Sabby Sabs, Katie Halper, BLACK AGENDA REPORT, Jimmy Dore, THE CONVO COUCH and others act as though they can't understand why certain toy radicals keep sheepherding people -- this is the reason.

This is what to pay attention to.  It's why the feminist movement went from active and accomplishing things to pathetic.  Gloria Steinem was a failure as anything but a token for the press.  Little doll for the press to play with and support.  When she had a true rival, Betty Friedan, Gloria fought.  She fought unsuccessfully (see Miami, 1972) but she fought.  Germaine Greer disagrees on that and you can refer to HARPER'S for her piece "McGovern, the big tease" (October, 1972).  Germaine may have been right.  But what she did in 1972 compared to how she whored in 1976 looks like fighting for 1972 to me.  I may be grading on a curve or being too easy -- I certainly made that mistake in the past with Gloria.  By 1976, having vanquished Betty Friedan, Gloria was elevated by friends in the press to a leadership role that she used to weaken the movement (see Veronica Geng's "Requiem for the women's movement," the November 1976 cover story of HARPER'S).  That might have been because she's pathetic and weak herself.  REVOLUTION FROM WITHIN makes that case as her idea of 'success' for the feminist movement is a front cafe that she runs where, in the shadows, a few women gather to learn about feminism.  But the movement went from active and making demands to submissive and begging.  

If Sabby, Margaret Kimberley, and others want to show America where just going along blindly with the Democratic Party leads, they can look at pre-Gloria feminism where women occupied the offices of magazines to demand better representation and coverage, for example, and to today where ROE V WADE may be overturned.  It's the cowardice of Gloria.  (Some would argue its her CIA ties.  Since we're discussing DSA we should note that DSA has always been willing to collaborate with the CIA because of shared goals and the makeup of the CIA.)  

ROE V WADE may no longer be the law of the land.  If that happens, abortion may become illegal in certain states.  If that happens, plans to transport females across state lines for abortion in other states would be illegal acts -- a fact that weak-ass feminists don't want to tell you right now.  (Not all feminists are weak-ass.  This is not an attack on feminism.  It is, however, an attack on where some feminists have led us.)  This is a very sad moment and I see Feminismt Majority, for example, at least trying to raise issues but I don't see Gloria popping up, do you?

She was there when needed.  Right?  By whom is the question.  She showed up to justify women voting for Joe Biden.  That's when pathetic drew her ugly face back in front of the cameras, went on a little press tour to justify Joe's grotesque grabbing of women.

And the bitch passed it off as feminism -- groping, the new consciousness-raising!!!!  

I wrongly defended Gloria for too many years and thought her ineffectual nature was a phase she would grow out of.  It is her core state and she has betrayed women over and over.  And I'm not in the mood to defend her anymore.  When THE NEW YORK TIMES wrote about her CIA work as fact -- because it is -- I was again asked to defend Glroia.

Let me explain defending Gloria to you, that means we use our personal friends in the media and ask them to intervene for her sake.  Seems we all spent much more time doing that than we ever did focusing on advancing women.  Gloria was always a distraction and, in hindsight, a disappointment.

To be clear though, I never took part in her organized efforts to smear or silence Redstockings.  I did take part in efforts where she was under attack from men.  They knew better than to ask me to defend her against other feminists because everyone knew how disappointing I found Gloria.  

We're moving on, I can talk about her at length another time.

The point is feminism was alive and vibrant and women were taking action and making demands and accomplishing a great deal.  Then Gloria eases Betty out (I hope Susan Faludi would write differently about that now then she did in BACKLASH -- it was a bit more than the media loving a young blond) and we're done.  We have no major victories that we fight for.  We're encouraged to do pathetic actions that are nothing more than begging for crumbs from the Democratic Party.

And that's where we are today in terms of the left.  It's the point Margaret makes, it's the point the late Bruce Dixon and Glen Ford made.  It's a point that needs to be made and it's something we need to grasp that is not just happening.  

Take the Dem party over from inside!  

That's Michael Harrington, folks.  Too stupid and lazy to build something, he wanted to take it over.

But they don't, do they.  What they really do is use the Democratic Party to elevate themselves, to keep themselves front and center as useless voices.

And when you call out, say, Bill Fletcher for it -- as we did in 2008 -- he goes on COUNTERSPIN and insists that you're "red-baiting."  When I'm not a red-baiter.  When, unlike DSA, I'm not in fear of Communism.

But I do believe people have a right to know the political plan that's taking place whereas DSA  believes they can trick their way into power.

DSA, like any organization, probably has some caring members.  Probably people are wonderful at a lunch or party.  But the organization itself has nothing to be proud of.  They're a bunch of opportunists who think they can trick and deceive and that tricking and deceiving is a-okay because they are working for a larger good.  

Eric London (WSWS) reports today:

At a recent panel event hosted by the Democratic Socialists of America’s (DSA) chapter for the state of Maine, Vladyslav Starodubstev, a leader of the Ukrainian pseudo-left Sotsialnyi Rukh (Social Movement), put forward the chilling perspective that “the war creates the possibility for a push of socialist ideas in Ukraine.” The panelists and DSA moderators stated their agreement with the speaker and demanded the US government deploy more tanks, missiles, and howitzers to wage war against Russia, regardless of the risk of nuclear holocaust.

This was the outcome of an event cynically titled “Ukrainian, Russian and Polish socialists speak out for peace,” moderated by DSA member and former International Socialist Organization (ISO) leader Todd Chretien.

It is a strange kind of “peace” meeting that calls for deploying American weapons, praises NATO and the Pentagon, explicitly opposes any negotiated settlement to the war in Ukraine and urges “solidarity” with a government dominated by neo-Nazis.

Starodubstev got right to the point:

“The Ukrainian people have a right to fight,” he said, “Left-wing people can support Ukrainian people to fight to be Ukrainians. To support this fight, people need to voice their opinion for sending weapons to Ukraine and for limiting the military possibilities of the Russian regime, by pushing also for sanctions. This is my main point. Diplomatic solutions won’t work. To have a diplomatic discussion, to negotiate something, one needs to have power.”

Beyond Starodubstev, the event also featured Zofia Malisz, a representative of the Polish pseudo-left party Razem. Malisz echoed Starodubstev’s call for expanding the war.

“We should deliver weapons to Ukraine,” she said. “You strangely find yourself in a situation where you may actually agree in practice with the US State Department. You suddenly find yourself in alliance with whatever NATO is doing.”

In reality, there is nothing “strange” about this. The DSA and its international associates represent a section of the upper-middle class whose material interests correspond with Wall Street’s drive for world domination. They “agree in practice” with American imperialism because they share the same social interests. For its entire history, the DSA has formed a part of the State Department and imperialist apparatus. DSA founder Michael Harrington said, after all, that the organization would play “a pro-American, Cold War, State Department kind of role.”

If the left wants to get real in the US, that's going to mean knowing your history.  That's going mean using your brain to make connections.  For those thinking I'm soap boxing, I'm not.  I didn't use my brain for years.  I didn't know Gloria was DSA until I was online here.  It had never come up.  I don't ask people their group orientations.  I work on issues and I work to build bridges.  And that allowed me to mistake Gloria for both a friend and ally.  By the 90s, I was repeatedly apologizing for her behavior as she made one promise after another to people in need and then failed to keep these promises.  By the '00s, when it was women from Afghanistan making these comments to me, I moved privately away from her.  I took the break public when, due to being online, people began educating me on the reality of Gloria -- a reality I wasn't prepared to deal with prior.  

Point being, we all need to learn.  

When the US government pushed for war with Russia through the proxy Ukraine, we saw the DSA at work.  Some were surprised by what they were seeing.  Don't be surprised.  CODESTINK has always been DSA.  Why are you in bed with them?

Because you're both working on the same issues?  I've been there.  But the reality is, you're not working on the same issues.

________, you're not working on the same issues with CODESTINK.  You think you are because they're supposed to be about peace.  But there they are championing Ukraine, pushing propaganda (Ann Wright, how could you?) to jusitfy war.  It's the same stuff John V. Walsh and Justin Raimondo called CODESTINK out on at the end of the '00s when they decided to call for the US to stay in Afghanistan, remember?  

This is the group that made their name opposing the Iraq War.  That would be the ongoing Iraq War, the one they stopped caring about ending when Barack Obama was elected.  

I do not have shared goals with CODESTINK.  I thought once that I did.  But they don't pursue anything -- they drop every cause if something else comes along.  They're not about winning peace.  They are a bout being used by Jodi to elect Barack -- again, her being a bundler for Barack and her using her minions to 'birddog' other candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2007 and 2008 exposes CODESTINK for what they really are.  She owed, the group owed it to make honest disclosures.  They  are fake asses.  If you're going to pretend along with them, you're just running in place and you're not helping anyone advance.

(_____ has called them out in the past -- and done so publicly -- but felt the need to 'reteam' with them in 2020 and wrote me here to defend the decision.  There is no defense for it.  Especially if you are currently calling out sheepherding and efforts to settle for far less than what this country needs.)

Here's John Stauber (he's not the writer I'm referring to in the parentheticl above):

The phony #Dem peace-posing #progressives like #Bernie and #TheSquad are now all-in for war on #Russia. Such cowards. They and/or their organizations and partners enjoy receiving money. Pigs at the trough.

Back before Twitter did their 'blue check' nonsense, we could copy and past John's Tweets into a post -- just grab his Tweets from the last 24 hours.  The blue check move meant that no longer worked -- a large black X would obliterate the Tweets.

And since John doesn't appear to write much beyond Twitter these days, we don't note him very often.  But he's an important voice and someone who has repeatedly chosen truth.  Not just this year, but for decades.  And it doesn't matter that some fake voices then attack him.  He still chooses truth.

I don't know why he doesn't write more.  I do wonder why he's not asked to come on YOUTUBE programs.  You want to know about politicians selling us out, tricking us, about sheep hearders deceiving us?  John Stauber's your guest for the hour.

Let's deal with some nonsense: 

Our father is facing the death penalty in Iraq. #FreeJimFitton - Sign the Petition! via

Your father?  And you just Tweeted this minutes ago?

If it's really your father, you should have known he's not facing the death penalty.  This was reported    hours ago:

A British citizen was sentenced Monday by an Iraqi court to 15 years in prison after being convicted of attempting to smuggle artifacts out of the country, in a case that has attracted international attention.

The verdict handed down to retired geologist Jim Fitton, shocked the court in Baghdad, including his defense attorney. He and his family have argued that Fitton, 66, had no criminal intent.

“I thought the worst case scenario would be one year, with suspension,” Fitton’s lawyer Thair Soud, visibly shocked, told The Associated Press.

German national tried with Fitton was found not to have had criminal intent in the case and will be released.

Judge Jabir Abd Jabir found that, according to the government’s investigation, Fitton had criminal intent to smuggle the artifacts that he had picked up and intended to transport them out of the country.

You're saying your his family, let's take you at your word.  The Iraqi judicial system is harsh, at best.  But you didn't care, did you?  You were fine with that up until it was your father.  You're very good at self-interest and being selfish.  You're just not much of a human being.

Maybe that's reflecting your father's influence in your life.  You presented him to the press as the modern day Indiana Jones.  Yeah, it did appear that way in one regard, he was 'rescuing' artifacts - which is also known as theft.

According to you, he was smart and didn't mean to do anything wrong.  If he knew anything about anything, he knew there was a long history of the west stealing Iraq's historical treasures.  He had no business taking anything other than pictures -- did he not have a camera or a camera on his cell phone?  He wanted to steal and he got caught.  And he made the mistake of being a westerner who stole from Iraq -- after Hobby Lobby and others had gotten slaps on the wrist from their own governments.

All things considered, he got a pretty fair deal in that court judgment.

Now he goes off to an Iraqi prison?  I guess, you, his family, are now concerned about that.  It's a shame you couldn't have been concerned before hand -- Iraqis have spent years being disappeared in prisons, being tortured.  Maybe you'll learn from this, as a family, that there's a great big world outside of your bubble and that we're not going to drop everything to suddenly focus on the plight of prison in Iraq for . . . a British man.  

Again, Iraqis have faced for years what your father's about to.  Some of us called it out and pointed out that Nouri al-Maliki had started it.  

Your dad stole and he stole in Iraq.  Now he's facing justice -- or what passes for it -- in Iraq.

If the UK government decides to insist upon his release?  I would love that because that strengthens the case for Julian Assange's release.  Otherwise?  Not interested, sorry.  Not interested in helping your father get away with theft.

Over the weekend, Kat's "Kat's Korner: Party at HARRY'S HOUSE" went up as did Isaiah's THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS "The DUI explained."  The following sites updated:

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