Friday, October 02, 2020

Iraq snapshot

 Friday, October 2, 2020.  We look at some of the candidates running for US president and, in Iraq, protests hit the one year mark.

Startng in the US where we are weeks away from a presidential election.  Glen Ford (BLACK AGENDA REPORT) points out:

The voters that Trump referred to in the debate as “the left,” are actually at the center of the U.S. political spectrum, where super-majorities favor the positions taken by Bernie Sanders during the primaries. Exit polls in South Carolina and on “Super Tuesday” showed that the same Democrats that voted for Joe Biden nevertheless favored Sanders’ positions on the issues, but opted for Biden in fear of Trump and his rabid White Man’s Party. It’s a simple formula that allows Democrats to promise their base nothing — except that they are not Trump or some other flagrant racist.

“The U.S. is a corporate dictatorship where the rich have two parties and the rest of us effectively have none.”

The trick will continue to work until voters, especially Blacks, stop rewarding Democrats for their serial betrayals. There is nothing smart or “strategic” about falling for the same trick every election cycle – and anybody that tells you different is in on the con game. 

The corporate Democratic stranglehold on Black America results in Black voters electing officials to office who resist the demands put forward by Black protesters in the street. We cheer the Black Lives Matter activists that demand defunding, abolishing and community-controlling the cops, but then vote to make president a politician who “wrote the bill” that imprisoned millions of our people and who continues to oppose cuts in police budgets. Such political schizophrenia extends to notables in the “movement,” like Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors. “I think we can call for Biden and [Kamala] Harris to be challenged for their past while also being the cheerleaders for them to win the election November 3.”

In fact, you can’t “challenge” Biden and Harris for their anti-Black behavior as elected officials by continuing to elect them. The vote is the reward.

Black folks and progressives are not to blame for Donald Trump, but do bear responsibility for the Democrats that are not much different from Trump on every issue that counts except race – and in Biden’s case, not even that.

The debate was bad.  How bad?  Bad enough to send huge volumes of traffic to the websites of Howie Hawkins (Green Party) and Jo Jorgensen (Libertarian Party).

There are choices beyond Joe Biden and Donald Trump for those wishing to vote in November.  And then there were three.

The William Weld Award for King Face Ass goes to . . .  Joseph Kishore.  For those who missed it, in 2016, Gary Johnson ran for president on the Libertarian ticket and his running mate was William Weld who used his press time to .  . drum up votes for Hillary Clinton (the Democratic Party's presidential candidate).  

Trina documents the fake assery in "We're done with you, candidate Kishore."  She's written a strong piece and what Kishore penned following the debate (with David North) is a plea for 'lesser of the two evils.'  There's no Socialist critique of either Donald Trump or Joe Biden.  There's no argument of 'vote for me.'  Kishore is a fake ass.  

And considering the way WSWS has called out JACOBIN and David Sirota, that's not minor.  Trina points out that the most recent attack can easily be turned around on them to call out Kishore and North's nonsense.  

She's right.  

But we need to really grasp that David Sirota's not running for president.  JACOBIN has fielded no nominee.  But the SEP is WSWS and they do have a nominee: Joseph Kishore.  For a presidential nominee to argue that it's 'lesser evil' time is disgusting.  Return whatever donations your campaign received and announce that you're out of the race.  Stop fake assing.

Kishore never had a real campaign.  Jerry White, a previous SEP nominee, generated content and encouraged coverage.  Kishore couldn't even make a video once a month for his campaign.  

It was pure fake assery and, if we're still around in four years, we will not start out covering the SEP candidate for that reason.  Should the candidate demonstrate that they're running a real campaign, we may cover them but they will be greeted with silence from us at the start -- and have to prove themselves -- as a direct result of Joseph Kishore's fake ass campaign.  My time is valuable.  I don't have time to search the web because your campaign is so s**ty and so fake assery that, even at your own 'campaign' website, you're unable to put up new content.  (A link to a copyrighted article at WSWS is not campaign material.  It's just more fake assery.)  

By the way, WSWS has their new look debut this morning.  Easiest take away?  You have to scroll at least four times as long to get through the main page.  It's using larger type -- and maybe that was an issue for some readers -- but there's no real improvement.

And then there were three . . .

Gloria La Riva is running for president on the Party for Socialism and Liberation's ticket.  New Mexico's NPR station KRWG reports:

In addition to New Mexico, La Riva is on the ballot in 14 other states: Arkansas, California, Colorado, District of Columbia, Florida, Illinois, Louisiana, Minnesota, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont and Washington state. She is an official write-in candidate in Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, Kentucky, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Texas, and West Virginia.

The link also contains an interview with Gloria.  Excerpt.

I personally came to the conclusion about Socialism being the solution to capitalism when I was in college many years ago and I grew up in a working class family -- a Mexican mother who was an immigrant from Mexico, my father Mexican-American, a postal worker.  My mother would work the typical immigrant jobs -- cleaning house, a seamstress and sweat shops.  And we suffered what many people suffer today: eviction, foreclosure, lack of money, not enough income, racism.  And I realized, by going to college, that it wasn't just the problems of one family but the problems of the system.

In that brief excerpt, Gloria offers more of value than either Donald Trump or Joe Biden did at the debate.  In response to the debate, Gloria's campaign issued the following:

Tonight’s debate between Donald Trump and Joe Biden was testament to how little choice voters truly have in this so-called democracy. Gloria La Riva and Sunil Freeman are running in the presidential election to give voters a real alternative -- one that stands for the rights of the working class and in opposition to war, racism and the destruction of the environment. On these existential issues of our time and so many others, Trump and Biden have more in common than they pretend. Neither have a program to meet the scale of these crises — and under either one, they will only deepen.

One major theme of the debate was taxes, with Joe Biden posturing as the champion of “the middle class” by favorably comparing his own personal tax payments with Trump’s. Of course it is an outrage that someone as fabulously wealthy as Donald Trump paid virtually nothing in taxes for years. But it is also a common practice among the elite that rules this country. 

Notably, one of the key ways that the ultra-rich and their corporations evade taxes is by setting up a shell headquarters in Delaware, a state with no corporate income tax. Joe Biden served as the Senator from Delaware for 36 years, becoming by far the most powerful man in the state’s politics. During these decades, Biden was silent on the issue. Couple that with his record of voting to gut social programs, embracing anti-worker free trade agreements and shielding the big banks from accountability for the 2008 financial crash -- Biden’s sudden change of heart about tax evasion by the wealthy is a display of utter hypocrisy and cannot be taken seriously.

We condemn Donald Trump’s racist attacks on the Black Lives Matter movement and his attempts to portray the righteous uprising as mindless violence and rioting. Gloria La Riva, Sunil Freeman and the entire PSL have been in the streets all summer as proud participants in the movement. But we cannot forget Joe Biden’s record either. Biden was a principal architect of mass incarceration through his authorship of the draconian 1994 crime bill, which he justified with rhetoric demonizing Black youth. Biden launched his political career as an avowed opponent of school desegregation and has repeatedly, publicly praised Senators who were among the most notorious defenders of Jim Crow apartheid -- Strom Thurmond, James Eastland and Herman Talmadge.

Neither candidate is willing to even consider the type of dramatic action that needs to be taken to tackle the Coronavirus pandemic and associated economic crisis. The PSL’s La Riva/Freeman campaign demands the immediate cancellation of rent and mortgage payments with no accumulation of debt, full replacement of all unemployed workers’ incomes, free healthcare for all and international cooperation to develop a vaccine. 

The Gloria La Riva/Sunil Freeman ticket stands for a new system — socialism — where the working class and oppressed hold economic and political power, and the needs of the people and the planet are planned for and guaranteed. 


Howie Hawkins live Tweeted the debate.

He also recorded this response to the debate.

In that video above, Howie notes, "The Green Party's on the ballot in thirty states, we're a write-in all but four states that don't count write-ins.  On the ballot, we have 381 electoral votes, 73% of the American people can vote for us.  And, with the write-ins, 96% of the American people can vote for us.  And that's 514 out of a possible 538 electoral votes.  A good criterion for debate inclusion would be if you're on enough ballots to get a majority of the electoral college and win the election, you should be in the debate."

Howie's campaign issued the following written statement on the debates:

For Further Information:
Virginia Rodino, Press Secretary,
Robert Smith, Deputy Press Secretary,


On Tuesday, September 29, our candidate was shut out of the debates. We noted to our supporters and during our media interviews how ours is the only campaign that discusses and has answers to the issues that American families care about. True to form, Trump and Biden participated in what is now considered the worst debate in our nation’s history. Through the evening of the debate, traffic to our website spiked, and soon after our website crashed. It is clear that voters are desperately seeking an alternative to corporate parties that just take our votes for granted and offer no solutions to the crises that American families are facing. Unprecedented times call for unprecedented action. Vote Hawkins/Walker.

Libertarian Party candidate Jo Jorgensen is on the ballot in all fifty states.  Her campaign issued the following:

GREENVILLE, S.C.; September 28, 2020—  Now that a U.S. court has effectively vindicated whistleblower Edward Snowden, Libertarian for president Dr. Jo Jorgensen says there’s no reason not to pardon him now. She urges President Trump to pardon both Snowden and Julian Assange.

Earlier this month, a U.S. federal court ruled that the National Security Agency’s mass-surveillance program exposed by Snowden was illegal and possibly unconstitutional. 

Because of Snowden’s actions in 2013, Americans learned that the government had been recording and storing individuals’ phone records and other information in massive databases without a valid warrant.

“Both Edward Snowden and Julian Assange should be pardoned immediately,” said Jorgensen. “Neither man ever harmed anyone. They stand accused of victimless ‘crimes.’”

Assange released documents that revealed lies being told to the American people about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“If I am elected president, I will immediately pardon both Edward Snowden and Julian Assange,” she said. “They are both owed gratitude for their bravery and important revelations.”

Last month, Trump said he was considering pardoning Snowden. Trump had previously called him a “traitor” and a “spy who should be executed.”

“Please don’t wait, President Trump,” pleaded Jorgensen. “I urge you to pardon Snowden and Assange right away. Justice delayed is justice denied.”

While working for the NSA as a contractor, Snowden discovered that the agency was assembling dossiers on Americans in violation of their Fourth Amendment rights.

After he saw former National Intelligence Director James Clapper falsely deny the charges in testimony before Congress, Snowden made the brave and risky decision to blow the whistle by leaking related NSA documents to the press. He has been living in exile in Russia for over seven years.

Clapper later admitted in a letter to the chair of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence that his sworn statement was “erroneous.”

Assange is the founder of WikiLeaks, which in 2010 published material provided by then U.S. Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning (then Bradley Manning) that exposed some of the ugly underbelly of the U.S. wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Assange, a citizen of Australia, and Snowden have both been charged with violating America’s Espionage Act.

“The only danger posed by either Snowden or Assange was to the careers and reputations of government officials,” said Jorgensen, “especially ones who worked under the Obama–Biden administration and who were acting in violation of the people’s right to privacy or who used their positions of power to instigate and lie about U.S. wars.”

“This is not just about two men,” she said. “Pardoning Edward Snowden and Julian Assange would help end the surveillance state, as well as our endless wars. It would also make it safer for those who have uncovered government wrongdoing to come forward and blow the whistle. This is how we will restore and preserve America’s cherished freedoms.”

Grasp that Jo Jorgensen can tell you where she stands on Ed Snowden and Julian Assange but Joe Biden won't even answer -- even in the debate -- whether or not he agrees with packing the court.  And confronted with Hunter Biden's money grabs, he insists it's 'fake news.'  Joe's a liar.  Here's Jimmy Dore on the Hunter Biden issue.

The Biden corruption is not a one-time thing -- nor is it limited to Hunter alone.  It's the way the family works and it's unethical.  Here's the latest campaign commercial from Jo's campaign.

I really don't get the lack of MSM coverage of the third party candidates.  It's whoring on behalf of corporations, I get that.  But in terms of news value, in terms of human interest,, these candidates have stories that could inspire America -- even inspire people who aren't going to vote for them.  Angela Walker?  She's Howie's running mate.  She's part of a campaign and she has to work a job to cover her bills. Last week, Juwan J. Holmes (LGBTQ NATION) reported:

There’s a Black woman running for vice president who has worked tirelessly for decades on behalf of others, challenged powerful figures, and is unapologetic about her career and identity.

Kamala Harris might have immediately come to mind as this candidate, but all of this also applies to Angela Nicole Walker, who is running for VP on the Green Party ticket. But not only is Walker a Black woman, but she is a bisexual Black woman – among many other things.

In an exclusive interview with LGBTQ Nation, Walker talked about standing by her convictions while being an out, third-party candidate. She has long identified as bisexual, although she says the term pansexual also fits because she is attracted to trans and gender non-conforming people as well.

She has many identities that make her who she is, including – among other things – being an introvert, an Army veteran, a “relatively young” grandmother of five, an accomplished activist, a Southerner, astrology hobbyist, and a vegetarian (“I can’t really claim Vegan,” Walker admits, “because I have leather work boots… and there’s still honey in my cabinets.”)

She is one of a handful of Black people – let alone out Black women – to run for the second-highest executive office in the country. This is Walker’s second consecutive run, putting her alongside Angela Davis as two history-making, out Black women to run twice for the vice presidency.

The article also notes, "Incredibly, Walker is running for office while maintaining a full-time job as a dump truck driver."  That's a story.  That's a news magazine story (60 MINUTES, for example), it's a print journalism story, it's an independent media story.  But it's being avoided.

You'll also note that celebrity lesbians like Jane Lynch -- who go ga-ga over every White gay male running for office -- won't even acknowledge Angela Walker.   Sad.

Back to Jo, below is her latest, free wheeling, ask me anything interview.

Contrast the ask-me-anything approach of Jo with the other Jo: Joe Biden.  He won't answer questions, he still can't even name one person he would nominate to the Supreme Court if he were president.  He had a hissy fit when Donald brought up Hunter in the debate and implied family's were off limits before bringing up -- Joe himself bringing up -- his other son Beau to try to hide behind Beau's military service.  Yes, Beau served.  You are not Beau, Joe.  You did not serve in Vietnam.  You sought one deferment after another.  You played on the football and baseball teams in high school but insisted that you had asthma and couldn't go to Vietnam.  In college, you continued to play on the school's team while you continued to claim you had asthma and couldn't serve as a result.  Having graduated from college (finally, law school -- and barely), you then rushed your first wife into one pregnancy after another to continue to avoid serving in Vietnam.  (Dick Cheney also fathered children to avoid Vietnam.)  

Joe Biden did not serve.  He needs to stop hiding behind his dead son.  But notice how his family is off limits . . . unless and until he can use them to cover his own inexperience or lacking.  

(I do not believe anyone should have gone to Vietnam.  I remain opposed to that war.  But don't hide behind others after you yourself didn't serve.)

Turning to Iraq, Lujain Elbaldawi (AL-MONITOR) reports:

In a heartbreaking scene, long lines of protesters marched in Baghdad’s Tahrir Square holding photos of more than 600 people who were killed in the last year of protests in the capital and other provinces in the south.

Since last week, protesters have been decorating the squares where they have been gathering. In Tahrir, in the heart of Baghdad, dozens of artists are painting new murals and hundreds of demonstrators are cleaning the streets and reorganizing the tents.

Last night, scores of tuktuks, the small vehicles that have become part of the fabric of the protests, paraded in Tahrir Square, proclaiming the uprising will continue until its demands are met.

A year ago, on Oct. 1, 2019, the demonstrations began with Iraqis demanding a "homeland," an end to foreign interference and corruption and the provision of basic services. The demonstrations soon turned into a popular uprising from Baghdad to Basra in the far south of Iraq, including the influential Shiite city of Nasiriyah. It has spread to 10 Iraqi governorates, where the main squares have become the sites of sit-ins and covered in tents.

The uprising became a milestone in the post-2003 political process and an icon for a new non-sectarian Iraqi national movement, bringing together the full spectrum of society and uniting its demands under one umbrella.



Thousands mark anti-government protests anniversary in Iraq

Lee Keath Tweets:

A year ago, a young Iraqi lawyer Ali Jasb was snatched off a street in his home city, one of dozens who disappeared amid Iraq's wave of protests. follows his father's search for justice in the face of widespread fear of powerful militias.

Sanar Hasan Tweets:

In Tahrir Square, central Baghdad, demonstrators women carry pictures of women who were killed by the militias and the authorities a year ago during the protests #Iraq

The following sites updated: