Saturday, August 31, 2019

The Dem race for president: Iraq, amends and fake assery

I do find it strange that Tulsi Gabbard hasn’t used her candidacy to more explicitly hold Joe Biden accountable for his vote and support for the war in Iraq.

Exactly.  She's instead gone out of her way to defend him -- her media appearances after the July debate.  She's lied for him.

She's a fake ass.  I'd call her a coward for her performance in the July debate -- we'll come back to that -- but her lies in the media after the debate?  Joe never apologized for voting for the Iraq War.  He went out of his way in April to say he was not sorry about anything he had ever done.


Tulsi got raves for going after Kamala.  Has anyone paid attention to that?  She stumbles, she's inarticulate, she has to look down and so much more.  This wasn't strength.  This was a pathetic and scared child.

But while she attacks like a coward, for Joe she lies.  She really does need to drop out.  Most of her support -- granted it's not a big number -- could then go over to a real candidate who stands a chance at the nomination.

I've had an e-mail to the public account saying I'm harder on Tulsi than I am on Marianne Williamson (true) and that's because I know Marianne (no, it's not).  I do know Marianne and I do like her.  But I'm not easier on her because of that.

If I know you and you're doing something wrong, I'm going to call you out even louder.  I know Joe Biden and I like Joe Biden.  If he would get honest about Iraq, a lot of my criticism would be a lot less.

In 2008, I knew all the candidates running except Barack.  I had met Barack briefly when he was running for the US Senate.  Elaine and I met him at a private fundraiser.  We exchanged very few words before Elaine and I walked away from him and out of the fundraiser -- without donating.  He was supposed to be against the Iraq War and there he was saying that US troops were there so end of story.  Why the hell would we support that?

Of that field, Joe was probably the person I liked best.  That didn't help him here, look at the coverage I provided.  My biggest regret about 2008 has been Joe.  A week before he dropped out of that race -- I've written about this before -- he made a truthful speech about Iraq and I wanted to note that here but it was a busy time and I thought I had time to wait.  Instead, he dropped out of the race before the end of the next week.

Dennis Kucinich?  I was accused of being a huge supporter of his.  Those people don't know me and don't know anything about me clearly.  I loathe Dennis.  I was at the 2004 Boston convention when Dennis sold out his supporters.  And I was very clear to this crying young woman, that is Dennis.  That is always Dennis.  He never stands for anything.

I loathed Dennis but he got treated fairly until he 'released' his supporter in Iowa.  That's why Barack won. If it had been a primary, he wouldn't have won because you can only vote once.  But Dennis gave Barack his supporters.  When he did that?  He proved he wasn't a real candidate and we were no longer obligated to cover him.

I've said already that Marianne's not going to win the nomination.

Let's talk about that for a second.

This is early in the campaign.

Joe Biden may rise or sink when others start paying attention. The same is true of Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.  Cory Booker or Kamala Harris could increase or fade.

But those are viable candidates.  If you're below five percent now, I don't see how you get the nomination unless you dramatically restructure your message -- and political campaigns move about as quickly as a glacier.

If you're above 5% at this point, when those not really paying attention currently start to pay attention you could seriously increase.  And if you do, the momentum could strip some weak supporters away from other candidates.

But if you've been getting publicity and press for most of the year and you're still polling at 1% -- or even at 2% -- I don't see how you continue to kid yourself.

Whatever it is -- you, your reputation, your positions -- whatever it is, people don't like it.

At the start of the campaign, you can argue you poll low because people don't know who you are so they need to get to know you.

Tulsi has now been on CNN, MSNBC, FOX NEWS, TMZ,  Joe Rogan's podcast, covered by every press outlet, done HILL TV, you name it.

This is not a question of people not knowing who she is.

They know who she is, they just don't want to support her for president.

For some, she'll never overcome her earlier public homophobia.  Too bad, Tulsi.  This is the 21st century.  We've never discussed that issue here before but we'll mention it now.  She was an adult and she damn well should have known better.  Someone who came of age in the 1940s?  Being gay was seen as a sickness -- 'enlightened' then meant seeing it as a mental illness.  Someone born then was taught -- by the education system, by the press -- that being gay was wrong.  Tulsi did not grow up in that time.  She is post-Ellen.  (Or AFTERELLEN, to give a nod to a website.)  There is no real excuse for her homophobia.  It's in the past.  Well I'm glad.  I'm sad it took her running for president this year to make such an announcement.  Seems to me that if it were in the past, she would have made the statement a long time ago.

Many LGBTQ members and supporters of the LGBTQ community do not trust Tulsi and that is on her.  Her homophobia was public knowledge when she entered the campaign.  Only when it became an issue earlier this year did she really have any sort of statement.  After her statement?  When has Tulsi ever again mentioned LGBTQ?  I've heard, for example, Kirsten and Amy and Elizabeth speak of the African-American transgender women that have been killed this year, but I've heard nothing from Tulsi on any LGBTQ issue.

It's my problem with Hillary on Iraq.

In 2007, I didn't lean towards any Dem candidate.  In 2008, I ended up supporting Hillary.  I've written about that here many times.  But we were in New Hampshire and she was campaigning there.  We were speaking on campuses.  A friend who was a professor asked me to help him out.  He had a forum where the campaigns were sending people in to speak and the Hillary person had to drop out.  Could I do him a favor and speak for Hillary's campaign?  No, I couldn't because I didn't know her campaign well enough.  I do know Hillary.  I could speak to her strengths if that's what he wanted but I needed him to note in his introductions of us that I was not with Hillary's campaign and I was asked to advocate for her.

Which he did and then I spoke of Hillary, the good things about Hillary.  I was clear that I did not support her vote for Iraq.  On Iraq, I spoke of her strengths.  She had become a serious critic at times in the Senate.  The vote was wrong, the support was wrong.  If she was willing to address that, I said, I could file it under we all make mistakes and if we learn from them maybe we become better people.

After I spoke, I went outside to think because I really wasn't thinking of who I would be voting for.  I was covering the campaigns here.  Speaking of her strengths -- and she does have many -- I realized that I probably would lean towards her.  Then came the attacks on her for her eyes welling up in New Hampshire.

Then came Iowa and people dropping out.

Hillary was now the clear choice.  Barack had made position clear on Iraq to my face.  He was not great critic of Iraq -- not the war, not the US created government there.  He was a fake ass.

The Cult of St. Barack -- as I noted in 2008 here -- would never hold Barack accountable if he was elected but you could be sure that Medea Benjamin, Norman Solomon, Keith Olbermann, and all of the other Hillary haters would never stop demanding accountability -- which is okay because we need accountability from our public servants.

So that was another reason I could support Hillary.

In 2016?  No way.  Hillary lost my support.  Probably her being Secretary of State was never going to help.  She's pragmatic and Barack was a deceiver.  Their styles did not mesh and he did not help her brand.  She was saying she regretted voting for the Iraq War but, as Secretary of State, she was in the position to make amends and did nothing.

Now in April of 2008, Hillary publicly called Nouri al-Maliki a "thug" in a public hearing.  She was exactly right.  But because of that, Barack would not put her over Iraq.  Her dealings on Iraq were solely with Hoshyar al-Zabari (the Foreign Minister).  So she did have limitations, I know.  But she was asked by a friend -- one of her closest friends -- to shine a light on Iraqi women.  She was asked to do this days before she was to deliver a major speech on human rights.  She gave that speech, she mentioned tons of countries, she never once mentioned Iraq.

If she regretted her actions, she needed to make amends.  She refused to do so.

Tulsi says she was wrong to have been a homophobe.

I think we all agree that was wrong, Tulsi, but what are you going to do about it now?  Now that you're not a homophobe, how are you going to make amends?

She hasn't and that's why people don't believe that she's not a homophobe.  That's on her.

Marianne, let me wrap up quickly.  Marianne doesn't have a chance of winning and I'm sorry about that.  I think she'd be a wonderful president.  Does Marianne realize where she stands? I would guess that she does.

So why stay in?

I think (I've not spoken to her about this) that she remains in the race because she has a compulsion, a duty, to raise issues.  Marianne in her campaign speeches is Marianne at the debates.  (Unlike Tulsi who clams up on the debate stage and forgets that she's supposed to be the anti-war candidate.)  She's raising issues of a sickness in our country and how we need to heal ourselves.  It's important message and you could consider her a Jeffersonian.  She's there for the issues and the big one to her is that we need to find our better nature, we need to believe in the democracy we claim we have.

I have no problem with anyone staying in if they fight for their big issue.

But Tulsi has yet to take on War Hawks in any debate and, in July, she was on stage with the only Dem candidate who voted for the Iraq War and she refused to challenge him.  (Joe did much more than just vote for the war.)  Worse, she went on to apologize for him in media interview after the debate.  Tulsi has betrayed her big issue and she needs to bow out, she's a fake ass and I don't have time for fakery.

One more thing before we close down on this topic.

Bigger proof that I didn't use my personal feeling to shape the coverage here.  In 2007 and 2008, not only did I treat Dennis like a serious candidate until Iowa (Jan of 2008), I also treated John Edwards as a serious candidate.

Mr. Grabby Hands.  I met him face to face after the VANITY FAIR article.  His wife was in the other room.  I was there to see if he was a candidate I could support.  That's why I went.  For him, I was there for another reason.  With his wife in the other room, Mr. Grabby Hands made what we'll kindly understate as "a pass."  I didn't let that effect my coverage of him here.  When he dropped out, I went after him constantly as he tried to interject himself in the race and influence its outcome.

But while he was a candidate, I treated him as fairly as anyone else.

The following sites updated:

in mexico, a new dawn for independent unions?

By David Bacon
NACLA Report on the Americas, 7/2019

In his speech to Mexican Congress during his December 1, 2018 inauguration, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador charged that 36 years of neoliberal economic reforms had lowered the purchasing power of Mexico's minimum wage (now worth about $4 U.S. per day) by 60 percent. "Neoliberal economic policy has been a disaster, a calamity for the public life of the country," he charged. "During the neoliberal period we became the country with the second highest rate of migration in the world-24 million Mexicans, living and working in the United States... We will put aside the neoliberal hypocrisy. Those born poor will not be condemned to die poor."

At the end of April of this year the new government took one step toward undoing this neoliberal inheritance, when the Chamber of Deputies and then the Senate passed a labor law reform bill proposed by López Obrador's party, the National Regeneration Movement (MORENA).

Workers and independent and progressive unions in Mexico have high hopes that the new government will undo many of the policies that have tilted the economic and political playing field sharply toward corporations. Labor law reform is just one component of such a process, but the debate around it highlights the extent to which conditions for workers and unions have deteriorated in three decades, and their impatience to reverse course.

People greet the inauguration of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.

The new labor reform deals primarily with the rights of unions and the workers that comprise them. For more than half a century, a set of established, conservative ("charro") unions have been tied to the government and the Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI), which ruled for most of that time. In return for political support, "charro" leaders held office sometimes for life, with no accountability to their members. Labor boards made up of representatives of conservative unions, employers, and a pro-employer government made it extremely difficult for workers to form independent organizations. In thousands of workplaces, "charro" unions and employers negotiated secret "protection" contracts guaranteeing labor peace. Whenever workers would try to organize independently to win better wages and conditions, employers would usually claim a "protection" union already represented them, which would pose an enormous legal obstacle to the workers in any attempts to establish their own unions.

In the quarter century since the negotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), however, independent and progressive unions have grown despite the obstacles. The strength of the old unions, meanwhile, appears increasingly hollow as their membership declines.

[. . .]

David Bacon is a California writer and photographer, and former union organizer. He has written about Mexican labor and politics for 30 years. He is the author of The Children of NAFTA (UC Press, 2004), The Right to Stay Home (Beacon Press, 2013), and most recently In the Fields of the North / En los campos del norte (Colegio de la Frontera Norte and UC Press, 2017).

Exhibition Schedule
Exhibitions of photographs are scheduled for the following venues and dates:

In the Fields of the North / En los campos del norte
Scheduled exhibitions:

September 1, 2019 - December 22, 2019
Hi-Desert Nature Museum, Yucca Valley
January 5, 2020 - March 1, 2020
Community Memorial Museum of Sutter County, Yuba City
March 15, 2020 - June 21, 2020
Los Altos History Museum, Los Altos
March 21, 2021 - May 23, 2021
Carnegie Arts Center, Turlock

In Washington’s Fields 
Scheduled exhibition:

February 5, 2020 - July 15, 2020
Washington State History Museum, Tacoma, WA

More Than a Wall - The Social Movements of the Border
Scheduled exhibition:

August 29,, 2020 - November 29,, 2020
San Francisco Public Library

Scheduled exhibition:

April 10, 2020 - May 1, 2020
Uri-Eichen Gallery, Chicago IL

In the Fields of the North / En los Campos del Norte
Photographs and text by David Bacon
University of California Press / Colegio de la Frontera Norte

302 photographs, 450pp, 9”x9”
paperback, $34.95 (in the U.S.)

order the book on the UC Press website:
use source code  16M4197  at checkoutreceive a 30% discount

En Mexico se puede pedir el libro en el sitio de COLEF:

Los Angeles Times reviews In the Fields of the North / En los Campos del Norte - clickhere

En los campos del Norte documenta la vida de trabajadores agrícolas en Estados Unidos -
Entrevista con el Instituto Nacional de la Antropologia y Historia

Entrevista en la television de UNAM

David Bacon comparte su mirada del trabajo agrícola de migrantes mexicanos en el Museo Archivo de la Fotografia

Trabajo agrícola, migración y resistencia cultural: el mosaico de los “Campos del Norte”
Entrevista de David Bacon por Iván Gutiérrez / A los 4 Vientos

"Los fotógrafos tomamos partido"
Entrevista por Melina Balcázar Moreno - Laberinto

Das Leben der Arbeiterschaft auf Ölplattformen des Irak

Die Kunst der Grenze für "eine andere Welt"

Die Apfel-Pflücker aus dem Yakima-Tal

"Documenting the Farm Worker Rebellion"
"The Radical Resistance to Immigration Enforcement"
Havens Center lectures, University of Wisconsin, click here

San Francisco Commonweallth Club presentation by David Bacon and Jose Padilla, clickhere

EN LOS CAMPOS DEL NORTE:  Farm worker photographs on the U.S./Mexico border wall
Entrevista sobre la exhibicion con Alfonso Caraveo (Español) REALITY CHECK - David Bacon blog

Cat Brooks interview on KPFA about In the Fields of the North  - Advance the time to 33:15

Book TV: A presentation of the ideas in The Right to Stay Home at the CUNY Graduate Center

Other Books by David Bacon

The Right to Stay Home:  How US Policy Drives Mexican Migration  (Beacon Press, 2013)
Illegal People -- How Globalization Creates Migration and Criminalizes Immigrants  (Beacon Press, 2008)
Recipient: C.L.R. James Award, best book of 2007-2008

Communities Without Borders (Cornell University/ILR Press, 2006)

The Children of NAFTA, Labor Wars on the U.S./Mexico Border (University of California, 2004)

En Español:

EL DERECHO A QUEDARSE EN CASA  (Critica - Planeta de Libros)


For more articles and images, see and

Some Tweets from Sarah Abdallah

  • Today marks 42 straight weeks of anti-Macron protests in , and still not one single mainstream media camera in sight.
  •   Retweeted
    Why does the connive with the in trying to "extradite" the person who opened our eyes to US crimes? Assange is a hero of our times
  •   Retweeted
    Raise your hand if you remember that Obama poured billions of US taxpayer dollars into arming Al-Qaeda and ISIS terrorists for an illegal regime change war in , destroying one of the world’s safest countries and oldest civilizations ✋
  • Obama dropping a bomb every 20 minutes on 7 different countries in a single year alone, sure seems like a bigger scandal than a tan suit to me.
  • One of the world’s most powerful militaries though? The Israeli army only seems to feel brave when it’s gunning down unarmed Palestinian demonstrators in besieged or arresting Palestinian children at school in the occupied West Bank.
  •   Retweeted
    Events that are not worth a headline: “ Israeli drones terrorize Lebanese civilians” “ Israel violates Lebanese sovereignty” “ Israel violates several UN resolutions”
  • It’s been 8 years since Obama and his NATO buddies destroyed , setting off a global refugee crisis and empowering Al-Qaeda terrorists who now sell human beings in open air slave markets. Much bigger scandal than a tan suit, don’t you think?
  •   Retweeted
    Israel occupied our land for years, butchered our people, violates our sovereignty, backs Jihadist terrorists against us, steal our resources, destroyed Beirut and the southern villages and refuses to withdraw from Lebanese territories. This is what Lebanon is working on stopping
  • Lebanese Army has fired on an Israeli drone flying over South . This is what ACTUAL self-defense looks like.
  • The man who helped cook up false intelligence about WMDs in , launching an illegal war that killed and displaced millions of human beings, gave rise to ISIS and set the Middle East ablaze, is now feigning concern about “destabilizing the globe”.
  •   Retweeted
    I spoke to Julian at the weekend. His psychological torture is unabated. He remains isolated in his small cell, mostly 23 hours a day, denied proper exercise. He has lost more weight. Although 'approved', phone calls to his parents are still not possible. Britain 2019.
  •   Retweeted
    Without , Syrian Christians like me would have been massacred by the terrorists armed, funded and trained by the and . These war-mongers are working overtime to try and demonize the great victory Iran helped us achieve over the USA and Israel's terrorist forces.
  • Yeah, Obama’s all about defending democracy. Except in Honduras, Venezuela, Iran, Libya, Paraguay, Syria, Ukraine and Brazil. Then democracy gets chucked out the window in favor of coups and color revolutions that serve US-Israeli hegemonic interests. 🤗
  • Today is a good day to reiterate that has not attacked another country in over 200 years. Israel, on the other hand, since its creation, has bombed: • Palestine • • Syria • Egypt • Jordan • Iraq • Tunisia • Sudan • Yemen Who is the real aggressor here?
  •   Retweeted
    In the last week, has illegally bombed , and . What do Israel have to do before countries shout stop to this total breach of International law? Who is the greater threat to world peace, Israel or ?
  • Imagine the international outcry if Putin, Assad or Maduro dropped bombs on 3 neighboring sovereign countries in the same day. Yet Israel bombards , and simultaneously, and no one from the so-called “free and civilized” Western world even bats an eyelash.
  • Only in a world completely turned on its head is Israel launching unprovoked aggressions against , and during the course of a mere weekend somehow considered “defending itself from imminent threats.”
  • But dropping white phosphorus, depleted uranium, cluster munitions, and other illegal weapons on civilians in the wars you backed against Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, Gaza, Libya, Syria and Yemen was totally fine?
  •   Retweeted
    Replying to 
    Israel's bombing of Iraqis, Syrians, Lebanese and Iranians has NOTHING to do with Israel "defending itself" - rather, is attempting to punish Iraq, , and for DEFEATING THE TERRORISTS THAT ISRAEL HELPED ARM AND FUND:
  •   Retweeted
    is escalating aggressively in the region, striking sovereign, -member states , & in violation of international law. Important to note that any retaliatory measures from within any of these states against Israel & its military allies are legal.
  • In a span of just 24 hours, Israel has dropped bombs on three sovereign countries: , and , targeting the very people who fought and defeated ISIS. “The only democracy in the Middle East” is safeguarding and emboldening jihadist terrorists. Let that sink in.
  •   Retweeted
    The West's favourite Russian dissident, , is released from custody. Meanwhile western dissidents and continue to languish in the jails of the 'free world' for exposing that world's war crimes and high crimes.
  •   Retweeted
    Water cannons at protesters in Hong Kong offend Western media far more than live ammunition by Israel against protesters in Palestine. via
  • Israel is bombing again (the Bekaa Valley this time) in the middle of the night amid total silence from the international community. If the situation was reversed however, you can bet every penny you have that there’d be no end to the global condemnation and outrage.
  • Horrifying. In the last few days alone, Iran bombed Iraq and , sent drones with explosives into , and shot dozens of protesters in Palestine. Oh no, wait. That’s just Israel terrorizing its neighbors like it has done everyday since 1948. Nothing to see here. 🤗
  • What about Obama’s Kill List?
  •   Retweeted
    Replying to 
    Al-Qaeda associated terror groups and ISIS never attack Israel. Ever. Israel is also known to have helped treated them with hospital care and monetary assistance in the Golan Heights. Also Israel has been providing weapons to Jihadists in Syria for years!
  •   Retweeted
    A THREAD ON 'S SUPPORT FOR JIHADIST TERRORISTS IN : Israel has been supporting both and in Syria:
  • Two Israeli drones were downed tonight in ’s southern suburbs after violating ’s airspace. Israel wasn’t content with merely bombing as people were sleeping, so it decided to terrorize Lebanese civilians in the middle of the night too.
  •   Retweeted
    This video exposing the editor for gaslighting his own newsroom has been "demonetized". So won't even let you criticize the NYTimes anymore. And all the Frogs in the pot continue to ignore rising temperatures.