Saturday, August 29, 2020

US forces being cut in Iraq (not a withdrawal, sadly) and the UN calls out the attacks on Iraqi civilians

Gordon Lubold and Michael R. Gordon (WALL STREET JOURNAL) report, "The Pentagon is cutting the U.S. force in Iraq to about 3,500 troops, U.S. officials said, a roughly one-third reduction that President Trump is expected to tout as progress toward winding down what he has described as endless wars."  Bitch boi Oliver O'Connell (THE INDEPENDENT which, for the record, egged on the Iraq War) harps, "It is expected that President Donald Trump will promote the move as evidence that he is fulfilling a promise to wind down US involvement overseas in what he calls 'endless wars'."  Donald calls it an "endless war," does he?  And what does Oliver O'Connell call a war that will hit the 19 year mark in March?  Premature ejaculation?  Oliver's clearly a nasty, little power-bottom who expect a long, long ride.  At the very least the idiot should have worded it "in what he and others call 'endless wars'" since the term's been used by elected Democrats and elected Republicans.  But for THE INDEPENDENT, the Iraq War is a gas.  Even Paddy Cock-burn at the height of his playing (he no longer even pretends to be interested in Iraq) wasn't about calling out the war. But then, if there was any real significant difference between Cockburn's position and that of the paper's notorious hawk John Rentoul, Cockburn wouldn't have been at the paper to begin with.  Joyce Karam (THE NATIONAL) reports:

Pentagon spokeswoman Commander Jessica McNulty told The National that a reduction in US forces will take place due to improvements in the capabilities of Iraqi forces.

“We are reducing troop levels as the Iraqi capability to defeat ISIS remnants and prevent its resurgence improves,” Commander McNulty said. 

A reduction is not a withdrawal.  Barack did a reduction which the Pentagon rightly called a "drawdown" and not a "withdrawal."  He did a reduction and then, in the fall of 2012, began sending more troops back in -- first with Special Forces -- late to the party on that? We covered it repeatedly in the fall of 2012 -- one example, "Let the fun begin (Ava and C.I.)"  that I wrote with Ava the day after the 2012 election:

Lies about Iraq drove the 2008 election and they drove the 2012 election as well.

The country was transformed to the elephant in the room for 2012 that no one could be honest about.  President Barack Obama  lied that he'd 'ended' the Iraq War, he misled people into believing that all US troops had left Iraq, and he failed to inform Americans that he was negotiating to send even more US troops into Iraq.

While the uninspiring victory speech last night blended The Hollies "He's Not Heavy, He's My Brother" ("The road is long") with Jerry McGuire ("You've made me a better president"), it also made clear that the administration was on fumes even before the second term officially begins in January.

The administration is as empty as the media.  If you doubt that, September 26th, the New York Times' Tim Arango reported:

Iraq and the United States are negotiating an agreement that could result in the return of small units of American soldiers to Iraq on training missions. At the request of the Iraqi government, according to General Caslen, a unit of Army Special Operations soldiers was recently deployed to Iraq to advise on counterterrorism and help with intelligence.

September 26th it was in print.

Days later, October 3rd, Barack 'debated' Mitt RomneyAgain October 16thAgain October 22nd.
Not once did the moderators ever raise the issue.

If Barack's sitting before them and he's flat out lying to the American people, it's their job to ask.  They didn't do their job.  Nor did social menace Candy Crowley who was apparently dreaming of an all-you-can-eat buffet when Barack was babbling away before her about how he wouldn't allow more "troops in Iraq that would tie us down."  But that's exactly what he's currently negotiating.

Maybe Candy Crowley missed the New York Times article?  Maybe she spends all her time pleasuring herself to her version of porn: Cooking With Paula Deen Magazine?

That is possible.

But she was only one of the three moderators.  Bob Schieffer and Jim Lehrer also moderated.  Of course, they didn't foolishly self-present as a fact checker in the midst of the debate  nor did they hit the publicity circuit before the debate to talk about how they were going to show how it was done.

In June of 2014, he would publicly begin sending more US troops into Iraq.  He would be in the White House for two terms, eight years, and would not keep his 2008 campaign promise to end the war and bring all troops home.  Like his other broken promises -- ending veterans homelessness, marching on picket lines with workers, closing the torture center at Guantanamo Bay -- Barack didn't keep it. And the press refused to hold him accountable.  Eight years of Lois Lerner and other scandals and the press actively looked the other way -- even when Barack was caught spying on AP -- and that goes a long way towards explaining how Donald Trump won the 2016 election.

XINHAU notes:

That would bring U.S. force levels roughly back to where they were in 2015 when the United States was in the early phase of its campaign against the Islamic State, according to the report.

The report said the actual number of troops left might be slightly more than 3,500, due to Pentagon counting rules that often exclude troops on temporary assignments.

Currently, there are over 5,000 U.S. troops deployed in Iraq to support Iraqi forces in battles against remnants of the Islamic State, mainly for training and advisory purposes.

In the midst of the Democratic Party's national convention, Iraq's prime minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi visited DC.  The visit was overshadowed and little covered.  Robert Burns (AP) notes:

Trump met last week at the White House with Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi.

“We look forward to the day when we don’t have to be there,” Trump said then. “We were there and now we’re getting out. We’ll be leaving shortly and the relationship is very good. We’re making very big oil deals. Our oil companies are making massive deals. ... We’re going to be leaving and hopefully we’re going to be leaving a country that can defend itself.”

Mustafa became the prime minister on May 7th.  Thursday, the United Nations issued a report entitled "Human Rights Violations and Abuses in the Context of Demonstrations in Iraq October 2019 to April 2020."  The 64 page report notes multiple crimes against civilians.  From the executive summary:

In October 2019, demonstrations started in multiple governorates across Iraq on an unprecedented scale, initially driven primarily by young people giving voice to their frustration with poor economic, social and political prospects. This report, Human Rights Violations and Abuses in the Context of Demonstrations in Iraq, details human rights violations and abuses perpetrated against protesters and persons expressing political dissent from 1 October 2019 to 30 April 2020,with a view to promoting accountability and preventing future violence.
The report was prepared by the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) through its Human Rights Office and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).
The findings presented are based on more than 900 interviews conducted in Iraq with various sources, including people involved in protests, human rights monitors, political and civil activists, journalists, lawyers, family members of killed protesters,as well as on observations from demonstration sites, visits to detention facilities,and meetings with various Government officials and other relevant interlocutors. The findings in this report suggest extensive human rights violations and abuses that appeared aimed at ending the protests, including the violent targeting by armed actors of protesters and persons expressing criticism of political parties and armed groups with various ties to the State. While the current Government,formed in May 2020,has indicated its commitment to accountability for demonstration-linked violations and abuses, the continued impunity for these acts remains a serious concern. Since October 2019,the human rights environment deteriorated markedly in relation to the rights to freedom of expression and to peaceful assembly, with the fragile civic and democratic space shrinking further. Protesters and people openly and candidly expressing discontent remain at great risk.

During the country wide demonstrations which began on 1 October 2019, extreme levels of violence were witnessed.
UNAMI/OHCHR documented credible reports of the death of 487 protesters and the injury of 7,715 at protest sites.Those killed included at least 34 children and one woman. On 31 July 2020, the Prime Minister of Iraq indicated that violence during demonstrations up to that date had killed at least 560 people, including individuals and security personnel, with the majority of victims being young and over half based in Baghdad.The establishment of a fact-finding body for the sake of accountability was one of the first commitments of the Government formed in May 2020, which it has since reiterated on several occasions. UNAMI/OHCHR also documented the use of unnecessary and excessive force against protesters in several governorates, but mainly in Baghdad, Dhi Qar, Karbala and Basra. When using force in situations that gave rise to deaths and injury, including when protesters acted violently, security forces in multiple incidents failed to progressively escalate the use of force, to distinguish violent from non-violent protesters,and to respond proportionately. Security forces used unnecessary lethal force against protesters,with frequent reliance on live ammunition and the use of less-lethal weapons-such as tear gas -in a deadly manner. They also used less-lethal weapons capable of causing unjustified and unnecessarily severe injury, including air rifle pellets and shotgun pellets containing buckshot rounds.
[. . .]
UNAMI/OHCHR also documented a pattern of targeted and arbitrary arrests of persons supportive of the demonstrations and/or expressing political dissent. Moreover, protesters provided reports of ill-treatment and torture while in detention. Many of those detained were unable to inform anyone of their whereabouts for several days, leading to concerns about incommunicado detention and to increased reports about the high numbers of missing people.
Additionally, UNAMI/OHCHR recorded undue restrictions on the right to freedom of expression, including a total block on the internet, restricted access to social media platforms, raids on satellite television channels and attempts to interfere with broadcasting. Journalists also reported being injured at the site of demonstrations despite being identifiable as press, being assaulted and harassed, having their equipment confiscated or material deleted, and, in some cases, being temporarily detained.

NPR's lucky so few people in America pay attention to Iraq.  Otherwise, people would be reading the above and thinking about the 'report' (we called it out in real time) where the first protester was killed by the firing of canisters into the crowd.  Be real embarrassing for NPR if people looked at the justification offered on air for that criminal act.  

In fact that moment of shame is only rivaled by WASHINGTON WEEK when Gwen Ifill found the shooting of Iraqis by Blackwater on September 16, 2017 amusing -- the notion that Blackwater would hurl objects at the Iraqi people as they drove past them just tickled her.

It's amazing what members of the whoring press find amusing and cute and worthy of defending.  It's a shame for NPR that the UN doesn't agree with their on air 'talent.'

In other Iraq War news, Ginger Buchanan Tweets:

Pentagon backs awarding Medal of Honor to Alwyn Cashe, who died saving fellow soldiers in Iraq

Chandelis Duster (CNN) reports:

US Army Sgt. 1st Class Alwyn C. Cashe was on patrol on October 17, 2005, in Samarra, Iraq, when a roadside bomb detonated near the Bradley fighting vehicle carrying the Florida native and his fellow soldiers. Cashe, 35, suffered fatal burns while pulling the soldiers from the burning vehicle. He died on November 8 of that year at the Brooke Army Medical Center, Fort Sam Houston, in San Antonio, Texas.
Defense Secretary Mark Esper told lawmakers in a letter this week that Cashe's actions "merit the award of the Medal of Honor." If awarded, Cashe would be the first Black service member honored with the distinction for actions in Iraq or Afghanistan.
Esper's determination comes after a bipartisan push from lawmakers to upgrade Cashe's Silver Star Medal, the third-highest US military combat honor, to the Medal of Honor, which is the nation's highest award for combat valor. 

The recent five hour documentary aired by the BBC (and a smaller version aired by PBS on FRONTLINE -- one hour and fifty-three minutes and nineteen seconds versus the five hours of the actual documentary) is the subject of media criticism.  Edward Pentin (NATIONAL CATHOLIC REGISTER) explains:

A new five-hour documentary series on the social impact of the Iraq War made for the BBC and PBS has been roundly criticized for entirely ignoring the plight of Iraq’s persecuted Christians and other minorities.

In an Aug. 20 open letter to the BBC, Chaldean Catholic Archbishop Bashar Warda of Erbil in northern Iraq said the airbrushing of any mention of the country’s minorities in the program, called Once Upon a Time in Iraq, raised “grave concerns” about the program’s editorial process.

Made by British filmmaker James Bluemel and aired on the BBC over the summer, the series aims to offer a “personal archive from civilians and soldiers from both sides of the conflict.”  

Those interviewed share their personal accounts and recollections of life under Saddam Hussein, the U.S.-led invasion, and the years of chaos and hardship that followed, including sectarian violence and the atrocities carried out by the Islamic State group, which occupied parts of northern and central Iraq from 2013 to 2017.

The following sites updated:

The following sites updated:

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Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America’s Proposal to Credential Medically-Trained Vets Introduced in Congress

 From IAVA:

August 25, 2020

Washington, DC – Today, legislation reflecting Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America’s (IAVA) call to bring veterans with medical experience to the fight against COVID-19 has been introduced by Representatives Conor Lamb (D-PA) and Neal Dunn (R-FL). The Supporting Education Recognition for Veterans during Emergencies (SERVE) Act, to prevent medical staffing shortfalls across the country, would direct the VA to identify veterans with former military medical occupation specialties and share volunteered information with state departments of veterans’ affairs and labor, VSOs, and state-credentialing bodies, to facilitate the credentialing process at the state-level.

“Taxpayers have already invested billions in veterans to receive medical training and show grit under pressure,” said Jeremy Butler, CEO of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. “There are hundreds of thousands of veterans with critical medical knowledge and experience. They are an untapped resource and should not be kept on the sidelines. The bipartisan SERVE Act is something all Members of Congress should be able to get behind and pass this year to address the continuing crisis.” 

“As a veteran myself, I can attest to the incredible amount of detailed training and experience veterans receive while serving in our military,” said Representative Dunn. “It is a waste to all of our industries and communities to not allow them to utilize their talents and skill sets upon return to civilian life. During the current pandemic, these individuals could make significant contributions to our communities given their extensive medical skills. It’s high time we formally recognize their special training and give them the opportunity to further serve our nation.”

“It’s simple – veterans have received some of the best training available and want to contribute after they return to civilian life,” said Representative Lamb. “The emergency medical training they get during their military service is in dire need.  We need to make it easier for our veterans to serve our communities during this pandemic.”

Team Rubicon and IAVA’s petition to allow credentialing of veteran military medical providers prompted the Congressmen to draft the SERVE Act. IAVA then worked with both Representatives to identify specific gaps and opportunities for credentialing veterans.

Founded by an Iraq veteran in 2004, IAVA is the non-partisan leader in advocacy, public awareness and 1-on-1 care management and peer support. We organize locallydrive historic impacts nationally and fight for over 400,000 veterans and their allies nationwide. If a veteran or their family is in need of assistance now, please reach out to IAVA’s Quick Reaction Force at or 855-91RAPID (855-917-2743) to be connected promptly with a veteran care manager who will assist you. Visit IAVA’s The Vote Hub at to register to vote and find polling information.

Gloria La Riva wins ballot access in Utah

 From Gloria La Riva's campaign:

This November, Utah voters can vote for a revolutionary socialist. On Aug. 17, the office of the Utah Lieutenant Governor announced that Gloria La Riva had filed for access to the ballot for president of the United States, and on Aug. 24, validated the filing.

For third-party candidates, gaining ballot access is always challenging. While the Republican and Democrat parties receive an automatic spot on the ballot, the state of Utah requires third-party candidates to collect 1,000 signatures of registered voters to earn ballot access. This process became a unique challenge since the COVID-19 health crisis has prevented most major social gatherings.

Undeterred by these challenges, members of the Salt Lake branch of the Party for Socialism and Liberation petitioned at busy street corners, parks and farmers’ markets to collect signatures. Equipped with masks, hand sanitizer, and alcohol wipes, the petitioners worked hard to make residents feel safe as they engaged with them.

Members from the Denver and San Diego chapters supported the Utah campaign by traveling into Salt Lake City and spending their days canvassing. These big pushes for signatures made a consistent campaign possible. Meeting the goal for signatures required weeks of consistent work, but several positive moments kept the revolutionary optimism high through the end of the campaign.

At the farmer’s market one morning, another group with clipboards was walking around. One of them approached a PSL member and said, “we get paid per signature, how much are you all getting paid?” The PSL member smiled before explaining that we do this work voluntarily because we’re all Marxists and we support Gloria La Riva’s political program. Wide-eyed, this petitioner replied, “Alright, give me a pamphlet.”

On another day, a comrade approached a young person playing basketball in the park. This person took one look at the clipboard in the petitioner’s hands and yelled, “I won’t vote for anyone that isn’t a communist!” With a smile on their face, the petitioner handed him Gloria La Riva’s pamphlet and said, “Surprise.”

A ‘grand finale’

The small moments of celebration didn’t lack a grand finale. The last Saturday night of the campaign, petitioners were lucky enough to meet members of Leonard Peltier’s family at the park. Vonda Eagle Horses, a relative of Peltier, greeted them with hugs, cheering, “Free Leonard Peltier!” She told stories about her experiences in the struggle for indigenous liberation. Then she introduced the group of petitioners to a former member of the American Indian Movement who had taken part in the Occupation of Alcatraz. It was a moving experience that happened right when we needed it most — the last few days of the campaign.

After more than four weeks of daily canvassing, members collected 1,900 signatures, which the Salt Lake County Clerk validated, and the Utah Lieutenant Governor’s Office filed. This made Utah the 13th state to admit Gloria La Riva onto the 2020 presidential ballot.

The two ruling-class political parties of the United States dominate every major media outlet, which means that revolutionaries must take their political ideas to every popular platform possible to reach the working class. “As communists, our job is to meet the people where they are.” said West Valley City Organizer Amanda Peterson. “The people are voting in the political system we have now, so we should make sure our ideas are present on their ballots, even if we those ideas are opposed to that very system.”

Gloria La Riva will be the only candidate at the polls presenting socialist solutions such as: ending poverty, protecting families from eviction, ending racism and police violence, and combating COVID-19 in the U.S. The success of this ballot access campaign demonstrates the power and potential of people’s movements, as well as the interest from the community in political ideas that focus on their interests and not those of Wall Street.

The socialist answer to the paltry $600 million Flint settlement

I've taken this from WSWS to get some campaign info on Joseph Kishore's presidential campaign up here:

        By Joseph Kishore—SEP Presidential Candidate
24 August 2020

Workers have every right to view with suspicion the paltry $600 million Flint settlement for victims of the water poisoning.

In reality, even before legal fees are deducted, the deal is barely a slap on the wrist for the massive social crime that poisoned an entire working class city of 90,000 beginning six years ago. Motivated by the mad pursuit of profit by wealthy investors and their politically connected cronies from both capitalist parties, the devastating impact on men, women and children continues today.

The losses suffered by Flint residents are incalculable—dozens, if not hundreds of preventable deaths, countless miscarriages, immense loss of income, plummeting home values and life-long illnesses for adults and particularly children whose rapid growth development can be more severely impacted by neurological and emotional damage produced by lead poisoning.

The Flint water crisis began in April 2014 when the state-appointed emergency manager severed the city’s water system from Detroit, its water source for the previous 50 years. Flint began drawing water from the polluted Flint River through a privatization scheme called the Karegnondi Water Authority (KWA).

In defiance of even minimal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards, no corrosion control measures were implemented in the switch, causing lead to leach from the aging pipes, along with harmful bacteria. Large financial interests were behind the KWA. In the same month the city changed to the Flint River, KWA sold $240 million in bonds to more than 30 investors, including JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo and firms that played key roles in the 2013 bankruptcy of Detroit. Today, the bondholders are still being paid, while not a single Flint resident has been made whole.

Democratic Governor Whitmer and the corporate media have called the preliminary settlement, which is expected to receive court approval within 45–60 days, “historic” and have declared that it is “bringing closure” to the residents of the city. Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said it is “a step forward in the healing process for Flint.”

It is nothing of the sort. Flint is a microcosm of a society ruled by complete indifference and hostility to the well-being of the majority, the working class. The method applied to the Flint water is now being applied in the coronavirus pandemic. The Trump administration, Michigan Republicans and the Democratic Party are not concerned about saving lives or the well-being of the population, but in protecting corporate profit.

The US is an epicenter of the pandemic, with almost six million cases and more than 180,000 deaths. The policy of both parties has been to end the supplementary unemployment benefits and demand the deadly reopening of the schools to force parents back to work so profits can be churned out for Wall Street.

By late March, in what can be called the Great Wall Street Heist of 2020, the Congress of millionaires passed the CARES Act with a nearly unanimous vote. The bill gave hundreds of billions to corporations and sanctioned the multi-trillion-dollar bailout of Wall Street by the Federal Reserve. The bailout was many thousands of times greater than the $600 million settlement in Flint.

Unlike Flint residents who will have to provide evidence-based proof of blood lead levels from six years ago, the corporations got their money with no strings attached and no need to prove their justification for compensation. And while the super-rich did not have to wait long for their money, the people of Flint will surely wait months, if not years, as demonstrated from lawsuits surrounding Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, the BP oil spill, wildfires in California, Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, and on and on.

There will also be amnesty for all the criminals who are responsible for the water poisoning and its cover-up. Angry social media posts calling for jail sentences for former Governor Rick Snyder and others prompted Attorney General Nessel to tweet: “To be clear, the Flint settlement absolves the State of MI and its public officials of civil responsibility. Solicitor General Hammoud and Pros. Worthy [Prosecutor Kim Worthy] continue their investigation into criminal actions by state actors and the quest for justice and accountability is not over.” In June 2019, Nessel dismissed all pending criminal charges—including involuntary manslaughter—against eight officials implicated in the water poisoning of the Flint population.

The insulting amount of $600 million begins and ends not with what the people of Flint need but with what the financial oligarchy says they can “afford.” As a matter of fact, it will be the Michigan taxpayers who will be funding the $600 million settlement, not the wealthy.

The Socialist Equality Party fights for what is needed by the working class, not what the capitalists can afford. We call for the following urgent measures:

• Life-time guaranteed medical care for all children and adults free of charge and on a completely equal basis.

• Life-time educational and social programs to provide for special needs children.

• Full replacement—not simply of the lead service lines, but of the entire water infrastructure system.

• Full compensation for declining home values, loss of income and as well as compensation for six years of paying high water bills for water that residents do not drink.

• All those responsible for the water poisoning and its cover-up must be criminally prosecuted.

The claim that there is no money is a lie. The three wealthiest individuals, in the United States, including Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Microsoft founder Bill Gates and CEO Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, have a combined wealth that exceeds that of the bottom 50 percent of the American population, that is, 170 million people.

While 40 percent of the Flint population lives in poverty, more than one fifth of the American population is now unemployed, and millions are deprived of basic needs and confront an uncertain future of evictions, hunger and joblessness, the fortunes of the ultra-rich have not only recovered, they are improving substantially.

This struggle requires the independent political mobilization of the working class and a complete break with the Democrats and Republicans. To meet the needs of the working class for safe and free water, along with all other social rights, requires ending the economic dictatorship of the corporate-financial oligarchy. The vast fortunes of the ruling elite must be expropriated and used to meet the needs of the majority.

The coming weeks and months must be dedicated not to the election of Biden and Harris, but to the organization and unification of the struggles of teachers, autoworkers and others, into a mass social and political movement against the entire ruling class and the capitalist system. Only through the development of the class struggle can the working class make right in Flint.

Follow the Socialist Equality Party 2020 presidential election campaign

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Gloria La Riva on 15th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina

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

Gloria La Riva and members of the Party for Socialism and Liberation will be in New Orleans and Lafayette, Louisiana this weekend to mark the 15th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, as the people once again endure and overcome the effects of Hurricane Laura. They will bear witness and report on the people’s struggle, and help in material aid efforts.

Statement by Gloria La Riva, Party for Socialism and Liberation Candidate for President 2020

Fifteen years ago, on August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina made landfall on the coast of Louisiana. The levee system intended to protect New Orleans, a city below sea level, from flooding failed, inundating more than 80 percent of the city and surrounding parishes (counties), costing thousands their lives and hundreds of thousands their homes, jobs and more.

Originally intended for upgrading by 1978, the levee system remained incomplete and poorly maintained, and suffered multiple catastrophic breaches when the hurricane hit. Earmarked funds that could have fixed the problem — $250 million — were diverted by the Army Corps of Engineers to the war in Iraq. $250 million was equal to less than five hours of the Pentagon budget.

The severe flooding plunged over 100,000 homes, businesses and nearly the entire city underwater, and also flooded wide areas of Louisiana and Mississippi. More than 1,800 lives were lost, overwhelmingly poor people from the city’s mainly African American communities. To this day, more than 130 people remain listed as missing.

Hurricane Katrina was a natural disaster made a thousand times worse by the criminal actions and inactions of the government at federal, state and local levels. As the huge storm approached, people were told to evacuate, but those without access to cars – over a quarter of the city’s population – were provided no assistance to do so by the government. Buses and trains that could have transported tens of thousands to safety were withheld by the city government.

Instead, flooded-out residents who remained in New Orleans were told to go to the Superdome or convention center. Tens of thousands who did found no preparations had been made to provide food, water, adequate toilets or any other essentials. In the Lower Ninth Ward, where many people died trapped in their homes by the rising waters, rescue operations were catastrophically understaffed.

On the morning of August 30, President George W. Bush, vacationing in California told a press conference, “we dodged a bullet.” Just hours later the levees broke and the massive flooding began. By then Bush was out of touch. Urgent appeals by the governor of Louisiana to Bush for federal aid as the death toll rose went unanswered for two days. When he returned, Bush appointed Michael Brown, a former executive of the International Arabian Horse Association who had no disaster experience, to head up the Federal Emergency Management Agency relief operation. His brief tenure at a critical time was another disaster.

People stranded in flooded neighborhoods desperately seeking food and water were branded “looters” by the racist politicians and corporate media. Police were authorized to shoot to kill. Those seeking to flee New Orleans on foot were often turned back by armed police and vigilantes on bridges leading out of the city, and several killed.

Their homes flooded, their personal belongings abandoned, their family members missing, their resources stretched thin, the destitute people of New Orleans struggled to survive by any means available to them. Yet even in light of these overwhelming hardships, people came together to help each other. Long-time friends and complete strangers cobbled together air mattresses and floating doorframes to ferry the stranded to safety. People from all across the nation drove in to provide mutual aid with food and water and blankets and labor. The compassion and solidarity on display in New Orleans was nothing short of heroic.

Now, while the leaders in Washington and Baton Rouge – many in the pocket of Big Oil –continue to deny the reality of climate change, we have just witnessed another monster storm devastate southwestern Louisiana and eastern Texas. At the same time, California is suffering through record fires for the third time in four years. Sea rise caused by the massive melting of polar ice threatens coastal cities and entire countries and is magnifying the impact of storms like Katrina and Laura. We cannot go on like this!

As my ten-point program states: “Capitalism and production for profit are destroying the planet and threatening all life … urgent steps are needed to reverse climate change. Ultimately, only the replacement of capitalism with a socialist system can assure the future of the people and the planet.”


Gloria La Riva, the 2020 Party for Socialism and Liberation presidential candidate, traveled to New Orleans in the days immediately following Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and produced the video, “Heroes Not Looters,” documenting hundreds of rescues carried out by youth with very few resources.


Joe Kishore Interview: The Socialist Equality Party’s Presidential Bid


Follow on Twitch: Julianna welcomes the Socialist Equality Party's Presidential Candidate, Joe Kishore, to the show, to discuss his campaign and what is means for the fight for social equality and against Capitalism. And how he's using a strategy of world Socialist Revolution that is “not national but international”, because what happens in the United States impacts people across the globe. Joseph Kishore is the Presidential Candidate for the Socialist Equality Party (SEP) in the United States. He has been the National Secretary of the SEP since 2008 and has been active in Socialist politics since 1999. He is a regular writer for the World Socialist Web Site ( For more info on Joe and the SEP, visit And make sure to follow Joe on Twitter at For more Julianna, follow her on Twitter at and @juliannaforlano on Instagram and Facebook! ——— is a progressive media company specializing in next generation live streaming and digital strategy. Our YouTube channel focuses on interviews with noted progressive voices, animated explainers, livestreams from protests around the country, and original political commentary. Main site: Facebook: Twitter: Instagram: YouTube:

Small-government fans welcome Libertarian presidential nominee to Little Rock

 From Jo Jorgensen's campaign:

Dr. Jo Jorgensen delivers the Natural State her message of greater individual freedom

GREENVILLE, S.C.; Aug. 28, 2020— Dr. Jo Jorgensen, the Libertarian presidential nominee, visits Little Rock on Friday to rally supporters and speak to media. She will speak on her plan to reduce the size of the federal government, end the war on drugs, and recall U.S. military men and women home to defend America’s own shores. 

Jorgensen wants to restore to the presidency such conservative principles as small government, individual rights, and personal freedom. 

“Republicans don’t have to settle for a Republican in name only, and they don’t have to hold their noses and vote for a Democrat, either,” she said. “I am happy to provide a fiscally responsible, small-government option to these disaffected voters.”

Also being featured at the Little Rock rally will be former Libertarian National Committee Chair Nicholas Sarwark and Ricky Dale Harrington, Jr., Libertarian candidate for U.S. Senate.

Harrington’s campaign aligns with Dr. Jorgensen’s pledge to end the drug war; he believes people shouldn’t be in prison if their so-called crime had no victim. “They should be dealing with a doctor or a therapist,” he said, “not be thrown into prison, where they’re subjected to gangs, abuse, sexual assault, or mental health issues.”

Dr. Jorgensen’s campaign stop in Little Rock features down-ticket candidates, includes media availability, and is scheduled as follows (subject to change; times shown in local time zone):

Friday, August 28; Little Rock, Arkansas 
5 P.M.: First Security Amphitheatre, 400 President Clinton Ave.

For a full list of the candidates’ upcoming campaign events, visit

Media advisory: Rain or shine! The candidate will have media availability at most tour stops. A mult box will be available at the rallies, although no risers. Personal distancing protocols will be followed; hand sanitizer and masks will be provided. 

For questions or to schedule an interview with Dr. Jorgensen during her visits, contact: 

  • Arkansas; Fri., Aug. 28: Michael Pakko, Libertarian Party of Arkansas Chair, via e-mailat, or by phone at (501) 396-9804