Wednesday, July 6, 2022. Free speech rights to include the right to protest, Clarence Thomas and his cohorts don't feel loved, Iraq still struggles to form a government and much more.
Nick Barrickman (WSWS) reports:
On Saturday, Supreme Court Marshal Gail A. Curley sent letters to the Republican governors of Maryland and Virginia demanding that the states crack down on protests that have swelled outside of the homes of the Supreme Court’s right-wing members following the overturning of Roe v. Wade last month.
Protests have remained a constant outside the homes of the court’s various far-right members in the months after a memo revealed the plan to strike down the constitutional right to an abortion.
In the letters, Curley, a West Point graduate and former military lawyer who has also been assigned the job of hunting down the source of the Supreme Court’s May memo leak, demanded that state officials in Maryland and Virginia “prohibit picketing at the homes of Supreme Court Justices.”
“For weeks on end,” she complained, “large groups of protesters chanting slogans, using bullhorns, and banging drums have picketed Justices’ homes” in the two jurisdictions. This, the officer claimed, “is exactly the kind of conduct that the [state and local] laws prohibit.”
As an example, Curley cited a Montgomery County, Maryland, ordinance that declares a “person or group of persons must not picket in front of or adjacent to any private residence.” Instead, picketers must march “without stopping at any particular private residence.”
Oh, that's so sad. Some people are disturbed, are they? That's just so unfair. You know what, Gail, I don't think most people give a damn and, more to the point, your little ordinances and codes, I think The Constitution actually trumps those and I don't see any 'due process' reasoning that would allow your clients special access to the law.
It's time for the garbage to come back down to earth. You know, the place where a lot of people are suffering. Mike Ervin (THE PROGRESSIVE) notes some of the concerns of the disabled and challenged communities:
“People with disabilities have the fundamental right to make decisions about our lives and bodies . . . this includes the right to decide whether or not to continue a pregnancy,” the statement reads. “People with disabilities are more likely to experience sexual assault, and people with some disabilities face increased and serious health risks from pregnancy. Disabled people need and deserve access to affirming and accessible reproductive health care services, including abortion.”
One of the groups that signed on to the statement, the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund, spoke out forcefully on its own, too, in a statement that began, “Disabled people have the right to self-determination and bodily autonomy. We have the right to make our own decisions. Our human rights include reproductive rights. Abortion rights are disability rights.”
The National Disability Rights Network also put out a short statement that said, “Today it was the right to an abortion, tomorrow it could be other important rights like choice of who one can marry or access to other types of reproductive health. For people with disabilities, it might also mean whether or not they have a say in being sterilized, or whom they have intimate relations with, or the choice to live in the community. . . . This uncertainty that the Supreme Court can take away rights that people have had for decades is bad for all American society, including people with disabilities in so many different ways.”
What Clarence Thomas and others did impacts lives. Now they're bothered that some protesters are picketing. Tough. You decided to overturn ROE and you are out of step with the American people. The American people have every right to protest and I don't care if it disturbs your peace, you've more than disturbed the peace of millions.
Are the protesters making you realize that you're not liked? Well you're not. Consider that a gift of reality.
Here's another thing -- stop wasting US tax dollars on your stupid and meaningless investigation. The American people have not screamed "WHO LEAKED IT!!" We don't care. Stop wasting our money. It was leaked. The ruling has been issued. It's over.
You think you're so much more important than you are and you're conducting a war on a Whistle Blower. What a sad and pathetic court you've become. No longer trusted by the American people, suffering a double digit loss in trust since last year alone.
You brought it on yourself. Stop whining to state authorities and live with the world you've created. Congress has already passed legislation to fund your protection. What a bunch of cry babies. Hey, here's a thought, are the protests disrupting your life? I bet a lot of them would go home if you retired. So you need peace? Announce your retirement.
And shame on you if you pretend to be a free speech advocate but for some reason have spent over two weeks now whining on behalf of the Supreme Court. First Amendment includes the right to protest. It is a free speech right.
Branko Marcetic (JACOBIN) notes:
As an increasingly rogue Supreme Court snatched the remnants of the right to abortion away from 40 million women around the country, party leadership boldly ruled out doing much about it. President Joe Biden wouldn’t expand the number of judges on the court or curb its jurisdiction, as progressives like Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) suggested. He and his team fret that this “would be politically polarizing” ahead of the midterms and “undermine public trust in institutions like the Supreme Court” — the implication being that the court’s attack on abortion rights somehow did neither of those.
As calls to eliminate the Senate filibuster and pass Roe into law grew louder, the Biden administration ruled that out too, dispatching Vice President Kamala Harris to CNN to deliver the bad news. “What do you say to Democratic voters who argue, ‘Wait a minute, we worked really hard to elect a Democratic president and vice president, a Democrat-led House, a Democrat-led Senate — do it now’?” asked Dana Bash.
“But do what now? What now?” replied Harris, who went on to insist the votes weren’t there to eliminate the filibuster and ruled out using the presidential bully pulpit to get them.
Ocasio-Cortez and others had suggested a creative move: putting abortion clinics on federal lands in states where it was illegal. Was that something the administration might consider? “It’s not right now what we are discussing,” said Harris. Elsewhere, administration officials expressed worry that taking such a step would open those seeking abortions to prosecution or violate the Hyde Amendment, which bars using federal money to fund abortions. (On the last point, it was up to, once more, Ocasio-Cortez to explain why that wasn’t the case.)
Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) member Representative Cori Bush (D-MO) and others have called on Biden to declare a public health emergency as a result of Roe being overturned, something that could open the way to paying patients’ travel expenses. So far, the administration hasn’t done anything of the sort, with one White House advisor warning that if it took that step, “It’s very possible that the next incumbent of the Oval Office would declare an emergency for the life of fetuses,” which was “exactly the kind of politicization of public health that we really need to avoid.” In other words, yet more action stymied by a misguided, conservative obsession with preserving norms and institutions.
A slew of such novel ideas has now been suggested by individual members of the party. What’s notable is the near-total absence of an echo from the White House, even though practically the entire globe has known for two whole months Roe would be overturned.
The latest polling shows Joe Biden with 36% approval rating, as Ruth noted last night. He won't codify ROE (put it into law), inflation is out of control, he has wasted billions of tax dollars on Ukraine -- didn't Barack Obama it wasn't in the US national interest -- and it just gets worse.
There is a rising tide of warnings that the US, Europe and other areas of the world are rapidly moving towards a recession as significant data point in that direction.
Under the underline “No more whispers,” Politico reported on Monday: “From Wall Street to Washington, whispers about a coming economic slump have risen to nearly a roar as the Federal Reserve ramps up its battle against the highest inflation in four decades.”
The article cited price spikes—inflation in the US is 8.6 percent—aggressive interest rate hikes which have led to the worst performance by Wall Street’s S&P for the first half year since 1970 and a fall in consumer confidence to a record low.
Economists, it continued, were not only worried that a downturn will happen, but that it will happen soon.
With so much economic activity in the US economy, both on the business and consumer side, dependent on credit, the interest rate hikes carried out so far are having a significant effect.
And here's Andre Damon (WSWS):
The New York Times reported Monday that dozens of US ex-military personnel are operating on the ground in Ukraine and that retired senior US officers are directing portions of the Ukrainian war effort from within the country.
Coming after revelations that the United States was directly involved in coordinating and planning the assassination of Russian generals and the sinking of the Moskva, the flagship of the Russian Black Sea fleet, the report further refutes the false claim by the Biden administration that the United States is not at war with Russia.
In its report, the Times wrote:
Americans are in Ukraine. An unknown number are fighting on the front lines. Others volunteer to be members of casualty evacuation teams, bomb disposal specialists, logistics experts and trainers. At least 21 Americans have been wounded in combat since the war started, according to a nonprofit organization that evacuates them. Two have been killed, two have been captured and one is missing in action.
In February, US President Joe Biden said, “Our forces are not and will not be engaged in a conflict with Russia in Ukraine.” In March, Biden reiterated, “The idea that we’re going to send in offensive equipment and have planes and tanks … going in with American pilots and American crews, just understand, don’t kid yourselves, no matter what you all say, that’s called World War III.”
Since that announcement, the United States has provided over 200 armored personnel carriers and over 20 helicopters to Ukraine, as well as M109 self-propelled armored howitzers, Harpoon anti-ship missiles and HIMARS long-range missiles.
In addition to these military armaments, it is now clear that the United States has sent troops. The US military claims that these forces, including one colonel and one lieutenant colonel, are operating on their own and are not under the command of the US military.
But these denials are a lie, meant to deceive the American people, who overwhelmingly oppose their government going to war with Russia. The officers admitted as much, telling the Times that their actions give the United States “plausible deniability.”
Joe Biden's war of choice. It's destroying the economy. It's destroying the country. But, hey, Sean Penn loves it. So, good, right?
Wrong. And they should all be ashamed of themselves.
Ajamu Baraka points out:
Moving over to Iraq, Mohammad Ali Shabani Tweets:
Public protests in October 2019 swept the southern and central provinces of Iraq. Protesters were demanding better living conditions, amendments to the country’s election law, and holding early elections.
More than 600 people were killed by Iraqi security forces and militias. Consequently, Iraq’s then-elected prime minister Adel Abdul Mahdi was forced to resign and Mustafa al-Kadhimi was appointed as PM to pave the way for snap elections that were held in October last year.
But it seems that Sadr will choose escalation and public protests in order to prevent his opponents from forming their own consensus cabinet.
Sadr in a statement on 22 June refuted allegations that he made the withdrawal decision under the direct threat of Iran, but he admitted for the first time that pro-Iran militia groups have been using Iraq’s judiciary as a political tool and pressuring non-Shia political blocs.
Salih Mohmmed al-Iraqi, a controversial personality on Twitter thought to be close to Sadr, in early July first identified the reasons that made the Shia leader withdraw from Iraqi politics, mainly accusing parliament speaker Mohammed Halbusi and KDP leader Masoud Barzani of "treason" in what they promised Sadr.
First off, The October Revolution did not begin with Moqtada. He waited weeks to glom onto it as he sought to see how popular it was. By the time he threw his support behind it, it was already massive and he was just riding the coat tails. If the article -- which repeatedly notes that massive protest -- is trying to tie to that to Moqtada, that's a mistake. And after he gave support, he ordered the protests to end. And they ignored him. And then he started lecturing about how they shouldn't allow men and women to protest together. And they mocked him.
And, yes, Iran did order him to exit.
We're going to wind down with this from Patrick Wintour's report for THE GUARDIAN:
Turkey should face charges in front of the international court of justice for being complicit in acts of genocide against the Yazidi people, while Syria and Iraq failed in their duty to prevent the killings, an investigation endorsed by British human rights lawyer Helena Kennedy has said.
The groundbreaking report, compiled by a group of prominent human rights lawyers, is seeking to highlight the binding responsibility states have to prevent genocide on their territories, even if they are carried out by a third party such as Islamic State (IS).
The lawyers, grouped under the title of the Yazidi Justice Committee (YJC), said there was accountability under international law for states to prevent the crime of genocide under the Genocide Convention. Sir Geoffrey Nice QC, chair of the YJC, described the genocide of the Yazidi people as “madness heaped on evil”.
“Mechanisms in place could have saved the Yazidis from what is now part of their past, and part of their past partial destruction,” he said.
It is widely accepted that genocide was attempted against the Yazidis, a religious minority, from 2013 in Iraq and Syria. The report, which followed a three-year inquiry that investigated the conduct of 13 countries, concluded three of them failed in their duty to take reasonable steps to prevent the genocide.
In the case of Turkey, the committee went further by accusing its leaders of being complicit in the massacres, alleging it failed to police its borders to halt the free flow of IS fighters, including a significant number of Turkish nationals. Turkish officials have said the criticisms are baseless.
The committee claimed that from April 2014, Turkish officials turned a blind eye to the sale, transfer and enslavement of Yazidi women and children, and helped train fighters affiliated with IS to fight its Kurdish enemies in Syria, so strengthening the perpetrators of the genocide.
The following sites updated: