Thursday, July 26, 2018

Mark Zuckerberg and Gloria Steinem -- two in need of comeuppance

Now these are some headlines I like to see:

Putting Zuckerberg's $16.8 Billion Wipeout Into Perspective By Bloomberg

It's only a fifth of his net worth.  Well good.  Now let's hope the fates wipe the rest of it.


The DSA does not represent the emergence of socialism, nor is it even a legitimate expression of a growing radical upsurge. As with the campaign of Bernie Sanders, it is a defensive reaction of the Democratic Party and the ruling class motivated by fear of a genuine movement of the working class.
Nothing in the Ocasio-Cortez/DSA platform would have raised any eyebrows in the Democratic Party of the 1960s and early 1970s, which had to strike an occasional “left” posture under conditions of the mass radicalization of workers and youth in that period. The DSA wish-list—“Medicare for all,” free college education, a $15-an-hour minimum wage—says nothing at all about the socialist transformation of the US and world economy: not a word about public ownership of the means of production, or the confiscation of the massive wealth accumulated by the billionaires.
And most tellingly, not a word about foreign policy: the DSA’s version of “socialism” is completely compatible with the defense of the interests of American imperialism around the world. This is the most critical point, under conditions of ferocious infighting between rival factions of the ruling elite over foreign policy, particularly in relation to Syria and Russia.
The alignment of the DSA with American imperialism is intrinsic to its political DNA. The organization was founded in 1982 through the merger of two moribund and anti-communist organizations: the Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee of Michael Harrington, and the New American Movement, one of the more conservative remnants of the New Left radicals of the 1960s.
Harrington and DSOC were political descendants of Shachtmanism, the right-wing breakaway from the American Trotskyist movement in 1940, which became the launching pad for many careers in anti-communist politics. Max Shachtman himself, after backing American imperialism in the Korean War, ended his days as an adviser to AFL-CIO President George Meany and a fervent supporter of the Vietnam War.
Harrington followed only a slightly less reactionary trajectory. He was aligned with that section of the Democratic Party and the AFL-CIO bureaucracy that came to oppose the Vietnam War in the late 1960s and early 1970s, because they regarded it as undermining the global interests of American imperialism, as well as destabilizing the United States politically.
The union officials kept the DSOC/DSA afloat financially, and Harrington in turn covered up their betrayals of workers’ struggles, as when William Winpisinger of the International Association of Machinists, a DSOC member, isolated and sabotaged the PATCO air traffic controllers strike against Reagan in 1981. The DSA today is still heavily backed by a section of the AFL-CIO officialdom, and acts as their political apologist and “left” cover.

Why am I telling you that?  Because for years Gloria Steinem presented as an independent with many assuming she was a Democrat.  But she was a Democratic Socialist.  Read the above again with Gloria in mind.  Get how this media appointed leader of feminism was the worst thing feminism could have ever had imposed on it?
It tells you a huge amount about Gloria.  Remember that Gloria also didn’t just work for the CIA (and spy on suspected Communists) but she also praised the CIA and said that they were working for the same thing she was.  I would seriously question that statement and that point of view.  But when you realize the foreign policy views of Democratic Socialists traditionally, it makes perfect sense that Gloria Steinem would be one.  She really has been hideous for feminism.  We needed someone strong and the media appointed a sell out who caved all the time.  No wonder Betty Friedan couldn’t stand her and drew attention to Gloria’s CIA past (and questioned whether it was a CIA present).


"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):
Thursday, July 26, 2018.

Somewhere along the way professionalism flew out the window.  Woke, for some, appears to translate as babble incoherently.  No one needs to know your every thought, hope, dream, nightmare, opinion.  Here our focus is Iraq.  We will cover other topics -- abortion rights, for example -- but our focus is Iraq.  If I'm doing something else, like last Saturday's book review, I know I better have covered Iraq first.

With that in mind, let's turn to Human Rights Watch.  We'll get to Kenneth Roth but he's always an embarrassment so let's start with Sarah Leah Whitson.  In yesterday's snapshot, I noted Mohammed Tawfeeq's two Tweets before addressing Sarah and HRW::

says authorities “Deliberately disabling the internet is a sinister restriction to the right to freedom of expression and strongly indicates that the authorities have something to hide."

said in a statement “We are closely monitoring the escalating situation across southern and are extremely worried by reports that security forces are beating, arbitrarily detaining and even opening fire on peaceful protesters,”

Amnesty International was addressing the issue last week.  Maybe if Human Rights Watch employees could drop the conspiracy theories, they'd have noticed it last week instead of this week?  Sarah, editing an exchange out of a press conference does not make it "a fake press conference."  It makes it an edited video and it makes it a censored video.  And these edits happened when Barack Obama was president as well -- even if Rachel Maddow didn't scream from her padded cell about it.

There are real issues in the world.  HRW doesn't seem interested in those issues -- or in human rights -- if you check out their Twitter feeds.  They're conspiracy nuts, that's what they look like and this will come back to bite them long after Trump is gone.

There are real world issues.  Sarah doesn't appear to grasp that reality.

Here's what she had reTweeted.  Again, there's a world of difference between "fake" and "edited" (or "censored").

The White House has posted a fake version of the video of the Trump-Putin press conference with a damaging Q & A where Putin said he wanted Trump to win edited out. 1984.

Not only was that nonsense -- heated rhetoric -- not only did it have nothing to do with human rights.  Turns out, it was also false.

The latest conspiracy theory from -- that the White House edited out a key question from Trump-Putin presser -- turns out to be false. shows that error came from a live video/audio switch issue. Will she & correct?
  • Maddow's claim was widely picked up, including by : (). They should update that, along w/ correcting false claim that Maria Butina is an "Accused Russian Spy" ().
    The irony of 's now debunked claim is that it was centerpiece of a lengthy segment that culminated in her accusing Trump & the Russians of "deliberate trafficking in unreality." An apt description of her own Russiagate coverage: ()

    Rachel Maddow is a fool and anyone who knows the embarrassing way she used her parents to stay on AIR AMERICA RADIO knows that (at least with MSNBC she just blackmailed them like a grown up -- her whole sexist charge to AP that she immediately dropped when they offered her a job).

    But Sarah Leah Whitson represents Human Rights Watch.  She's supposed to traffic in honesty.  People depend upon that organization.  She's yet to reTweet the fact check from THE WASHINGTON POST.  She put false information out there by reTweeting and she's yet to correct it.  It never should have gone up to begin with.  It's not about human rights.

    Nor is this at the top of Twitter today:

    Americans show their love for ⁦

    That is not funny.  That is disgusting.  If that was Harry Belafonte's star destroyed, I'd hope we'd realize how offensive that is.  I would hope we'd be outraged if it was Carole Lombard's star.  The Walk of Fame is not about one person, however.  And to encourage or applaud or giggle over the destruction of any piece of it is outrageous.

    This is a tourist attraction, this is piece of entertainment history.  It is not funny that any star was destroyed no matter who the star was.  This is offensive.  It's not a political statement, it's the destruction of history.  I'm appalled that HRW -- which repeatedly calls out the destruction of historical sites in other countries -- thinks they can giggle and be amused over this.

    The only reason to put that on her Twitter feed was to call out the destruction of an ongoing historical project.   Does she not understand that she works for Human Rights Watch and that she's judged by a different standard as a result.

    What is Sarah's position?  She is Director of Middle East and North Africa for Human Rights Watch.  Nora Eprhon wrote the screenplay for WHEN HARRY MET SALLY . . . which includes the line, "Everyone thinks they have good taste and a sense of humor, but they couldn't possibly all have good taste."  Or a sense of humor.  Nor should they.  Far too many people who are not famous for a sense of humor or employed for a sense of humor are getting into trouble for jokes or 'jokes.'

    Sarah's Twitter needs to reflect her role at HRW.

    Where's Iraq?

    قوات الأمن العراقية تطلق النار على المتظاهرين
    BREAKING report: security forces repeatedly used unlawful lethal force -- bullets and beatings -- not just against protesters at various protests, but against protesters they detained: 3 killed, 47 injured so far

    Two Tweets.  One in English and one in Arabic.  When?

    When HRW finally releases a statement on the Iraqi government attacking the protesters.

    This week, HRW finally got around to doing what Amnesty International did last week.

    Maybe if Sarah would stop fancying herself the new host of THE DAILY SHOW and, instead, focus on what's she supposed to, HRW could have issued something much sooner, before the death toll rose further, in fact.

    Let's go over to Kenneth Roth.

    Ken Roth has controlled Human Rights Watch for 25 years, answering primarily to a small cadre of billionaire donors and elite foundations. I call on the dictator Roth to step down and hand over control to a real constituency, especially those on the other side of Western guns.

    And he's done it very poorly.  We'll get to one issue in a second.  Let's deal with impartial and non-partisan which HRW should be.  As we noted repeatedly in snapshots over the summer of 2016 up to the 2016 election, Kenneth didn't need to be using his Twitter feed to martial votes for Hillary Clinton.  He thought he was cute.

    Kenneth has never been cute.

    A lot of people should be off social media.  They don't appear to realize the damage they do (and are doing).  HRW has enough troubles without the nonsense on Twitter from Kenneth and Sarah.

    Not even the death counts by anti-Sandinista “human rights” NGO’s in Nicaragua claim the govt killed 300 demonstrators. The number is closer to 60, including armed militants. About as many were killed on govt side. Also, Ken Roth is an imperialist fraud.

    HRW has enough problems.  I'll be kind and leave it with Max Blumenthal's Tweet (there are many more examples -- like the terrorists known as the White Helmets).  By engaging in the nonsense Sarah's doing, she's degrading HRW.  She and others need to be Tweeting about issues that matter.  HRW has enough image problems without directors at HRW adding to them.

    Southern Iraq has experienced protests before. But these ones are larger, angrier, and the government has no immediate solutions.

    Eleanor Beevor (ALBAWABA piece noted above) explains:

    The lack of basic energy needs feels like an especially cruel irony to the residents of Basra, who are living on top of Iraq’s vast deposits of “black gold” – its crude oil. Iraq exports the majority of its oil, and has even doubled its exports over the past decade. Yet due to corruption and inefficiency, southern Iraqis have seen no returns from the vast wealth beneath their feet. But without the adequate infrastructure, Baghdad cannot turn this natural wealth into relief for its citizens in a hurry even if it wants to. Protestors have made their frustration with this paradox clear – several have attacked oil installations
    This leaves the Iraqi government with extremely limited options for calming the protests. Citizens have completely lost faith in their established authorities and the parliament in Baghdad. During these demonstrations, protestors ransacked government buildings, ministries and branches of the different political parties to vent their frustrations. But what will be especially challenging for the government is that, unlike southern Iraq’s previous protests, there is no figurehead with which to negotiate, and no single agenda that can be addressed quickly.
    Beevor goes on to quote NIQASH reporter Mustafa Habib but we'll note this from his latest article:

    The demonstrations about poor state services started in Basra on July 14 but have since spread to nine other provinces, as well as the capital, Baghdad. But there have been no similar protests in Sunni Muslim-majority provinces – and that is despite the fact that the living conditions there are not necessarily better in central and northern Iraq, and in some cases, could even be worse. So why isn’t anybody protesting there?
    “We share the concerns of our people in the south,” Abdul Rahman al-Fahdawi, one of the community leaders among Ramadi’s tribes in Anbar, told NIQASH. “Our living conditions are not much better than those in Basra or Dhi Qar and in some cases, they may even be worse. Our homes have been destroyed and there is no infrastructure because of the military operations against the terrorists. But we cannot participate in the demonstrations because we will be accused of being terrorists and Baathists who want to destroy the government.”
    When people in Sunni Muslim areas started anti-government protests several years ago, they were peaceful, al-Fahdawi adds. “But the government never responded to our protests for over a year,” he says, which eventually made it possible for the rise of the extremist Islamic State, or IS, group, who base their ideology on a particularly extreme and perverted view of Sunni Islam. The IS group played upon the Sunni population’s dissatisfaction with the Iraqi government, then headed by prime minister Nouri al-Maliki, and the way the government cracked down on the protestors. 

    The following community sites -- plus Cindy Sheehan and Black Agenda Report -- updated: