I'm just not feeling it. Sorry. I'll note Sam Smith's "Young." I'll also note Betty's "80s video stars" which I really enjoyed reading. Betty's done an essay and then some.
I'll note that I haven't really listened to Sam's new album. LOVE GOES is probably great. My problem with it? Every time I try to play it, my daughter says no and screams for Joni. That three album disc (vinyl) set is just something she wants to hear over and over again. I'm glad she loves music and, goodness knows, Joni's an artist so I was okay with it this weekend but I've got to make time to listen to Sam's album.
"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):
Tuesday, November 10, 2020. The election continues to dominate the news, we look at some of the third party campaigns and the UN assists the Iraqi government in making more people homeless.
Starting in the US with the presidential election. Jonathan Cook (ICH) points out:
Unlike the liberals and the Trumpists, many in
the US have come to understand that their
political system offers nothing but stultifying
stagnation for ordinary Americans by design,
even if it comes in two, smartly attired
They see that the Trump camp rages ineffectually against the corporate elite, deluded into believing that a member of that very same elite will serve as their saviour. And they see that the Biden camp represents an ineffectual rainbow coalition of competing social identities, deluded into believing that those divisions will make them stronger, not weaker, in the fight for economic justice. Both of these camps appear resigned to being serially – maybe ritually – disappointed.
Failure does not inspire these camps to seek change, it makes them cling all the more desperately to their failed strategies, to attach themselves even more frantically and fervently to their perceived tribe.
That is why this US election – at a moment when the need for real, systemic change is more urgent, more evident than ever before – produced not just one but two of the worst presidential candidates of all time. We are looking at exactly what happens when a whole society not only stops growing but begins to putrefy.
Also weighing in is Richard D. Wolff (COUNTERPUNCH):
No matter who won, what U.S. politics lacks is real choice. Both major parties function as cheerleaders for capitalism under all circumstances, even when a killer pandemic coincides with a major capitalist crash. Real political choice would require a party that criticizes capitalism and offers a path toward social transition beyond capitalism. Countless polls prove that millions of U.S. citizens want to consider socialist criticisms of capitalism and socialist alternatives to it. The mass of voters for Bernie Sanders, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and other socialists provided yet more evidence. However, the system allowed and enabled a near-fascistic right wing to take over the GOP and the presidency. At the same time, it aided and abetted the Democrats in excluding a socialist from even running for that presidency. Trump and Biden are long-standing, well-known cheerleaders for capitalism. Sanders was, in contrast, a critic.
A new political party that offered systemic criticisms of capitalism and advocated for a transition to a worker-coop based economic system would bring real choice into U.S. politics. It would place before the electorate a basic question of vital importance: what mix of capitalist and worker-coop organized enterprises do you wish to work for, buy from, and live with in the United States? Voters could thereby genuinely participate in deciding the range of job descriptions from which each of us will become able to choose. Will we mostly have to accept positions as employees whose jobs are designed exclusively by and for employers? Or will all job descriptions include at least two basic tasks: a specific function within an enterprise’s division of labor plus an equal share (alongside all other enterprise workers) of the powers to design and direct the enterprise as a whole?
Any community that wishes to call itself a “democracy” for more than rhetorical, self-promotional reasons should welcome a one-person, one-vote decision-making process governing how work is organized.
Most adults spend most of their lives at work. How that work is organized shapes how their lives are lived and what skills, aptitudes, appetites, and relationships they develop. Their work influences their other social roles as friends, lovers, spouses, and parents. In capitalism, the work experience of the vast majority (employees) is shaped and controlled by a small minority (employers) to secure the latter’s profit, wealth accumulation, and reproduction as the socially dominant minority. In a real democracy, the economy would have to be democratically reorganized. Workplace decisions would be made on the basis of one person, one vote inside each enterprise. Parallel, similarly democratic decision-making would govern residential communities surrounding and interacting with workplaces. Workplace and residential democracies would have significant influences over one another’s decisions. In short, genuine economic democracy would be the necessary partner to political democracy.
Over at WSWS, Genevieve Leigh notes AOC's selling out of the voters in her CNN STATE OF THE UNION appearance and the article at THE NEW YORK TIMES over the weekend and Leigh concludes:
What the 2020 elections and their aftermath have definitively shown is that nothing progressive can be advanced within the framework of the Democratic Party and its so-called “left” representatives such as Ocasio-Cortez and Sanders. A Biden administration will rapidly come into conflict with the working class, fueling a growth of the class struggle and posing the necessity for a mass independent movement fighting for socialism.
There is an immense constituency for socialist politics in the working class in the US and around the world. But the organic striving for an alternative to capitalism must be turned into a conscious movement armed with a revolutionary socialist and internationalist program. This requires the development of a new political leadership in the working class. The central issue is the building of the Socialist Equality Party and its youth organization, the International Youth and Students for Social Equality.
I have no real problem with Genevieve and think she does a great job of documenting AOC's sell out but it is true that, if she believes the last two paragraphs of her own article, she might need to speak with David North and Joseph Kishore at her own magazine. I don't know how the lunatic conspiracy theories that they were allowed to pimp in the last six weeks prior to the election were supposed to help build the SEP and, in fact, those articles were really designed to scare and frighten people into voting for Joe Biden.
All by itself, that's bad enough; however, when you factor in that Joseph Kishore was the presidential nominee of the WSWS and pretending to run for president, it's even more disgusting.
The world is awful enough. You don't have to invent fantasies and present them as reality. If we're around in 2024, there's a very good chance that we will not note the SEP candidate. That will be due to Joseph Kishore spending the final six weeks of his passive campaign refusing to make a case for himself and the SEP and, instead, offering lunatic fantasies about what Donald Trump might do in an effort to sheep-herd people into voting for Joe Biden.
I liked Joseph Kishore up until then. I found him a strong writer and, while I didn't think he'd win the presidency, I hoped he'd build up the SEP.
Instead, he dropped his own campaign to churn out the vote for Joe. It read like he was scared -- of winning, of advancing the SEP, of breathing.
I don't handle fear well. And I don't like those who try to campaign on fear. We called out THE NATION when they pulled that crap about this-is-the-torture-election. No, not this year, Several election cycles back.
I expected more from Joseph Kishore. Equally true, prior to the last embarrassing six weeks, he didn't do much of anything. His campaign site -- such as it was -- just directed you to WSWS where he had commentaries posted. He was unable to do a video a week. Or even one a month.
I don't know why the SEP ran a candidate to begin with if they didn't want to spread the word about the SEP. Maybe it's not constructive for them to run a candidate at this time and they should just focus on issues?
They need to look at what they did this election cycle and figure out what they're striving for because Joseph Kishore's campaign was a waste of time and distracted WSWS from very real issues -- even before David North and Joseph Kishore started their End Of Times nonsense.
While we're noting third parties, let's note this from the Green Party:
Greens Also Retain Ballot Status in Washington D.C. As Nationwide Results Continue to Roll In
WASHINGTON — Overcoming immense challenges including “anyone but Trump”, pandemic campaigning conditions, nationwide panic about election integrity and four years of smears from the corporate oligarchy, the Green Party emerged from Election Day with 11 wins in the state of California and Oregon, and achievements elsewhere.
Green Party of the United States
For Immediate Release:
November 06, 2020
Michael O’Neil, Communications Manager, firstname.lastname@example.org
Holly Hart, Co-chair, Media Committee, email@example.com
Craig Seeman, Co-chair, Media Committee, firstname.lastname@example.org
Greens across the country are celebrating 26-year-old Emmanuel Estrada’s winning the office of Mayor of Baldwin Park, CA. That makes him, along with Mayor Bruce Delgado in Marina, CA the highest elected Green official in the country.
“We’re going in at the right time to reform the image of the city, to reform the image of City Hall, and we’re in the perfect position to do that,” said Estrada, who took out a second job to finance his campaign.
This week’s Green wins add to 10 electoral victories from earlier in the year.
“We have weathered the storm,” said Green Party National Steering Committee member Hillary Kane. “Since 2016, the two-party power structure accelerated their efforts to exterminate us, to scapegoat us for their own failures and corruption. We have endured and we are already rallying to come back stronger than ever.”
Green victories in races that have been called, so far, include:
Emmanuel Estrada, Mayor of Baldwin Park, CA
David Grover for City Council of Trinidad, CA (re-elected)
Sylvia R. Chavez for City Council (At-Large) of Calipatria, CA
Sharron Parra for Hyampom, CA Community Service District
Michael Paul Hansen for Humboldt County, CA Community Services District
John Abraham “Abe” Powell for Montecito, CA Fire Protection District (re-elected)
Randy Marx, Fair Oaks Water District (Sacramento County) (re-elected)
Matthew Clark, Granada Community Services District (San Mateo County) (re-elected)
Jane Jarlsberg for Joshua Basin Water District, Division 3 in San Bernardino County, CA
Josiah Dean for City Council of Dufur, OR (re-elected)
Michael Clary for Soil and Water Conservation, Zone 4 in Coos County, OR (re-elected)
In the races of Jake Tonkel for City Council in San Jose, CA and the re-election of Jessica Clayton to the Brick Township, NJ Board of Education, the candidates are awaiting final tabulation of votes.
“Greens are so grateful to our 2020 class of 210 candidates who contested offices at every level of government” said Green Party National Co-Chair Tamar Yager. “We are especially proud of Lisa Savage winning 5% of the vote as the first Green to run in a Ranked Choice Voting Election for US Senate (ME) and Franca Muller Paz for the inspiring ‘Green-Red’ coalition she led in her run for Baltimore City Council, earning 36.6% of the vote,” continued Yager.
“Ann Wilcox’s grassroots campaign for At-Large Member of the Washington DC City Council has renewed ballot access for the DC Statehood Green Party, allowing local Green candidates to remain competitive,” said Kane.
“We are constantly asked why Greens run for citywide and statewide offices, and for president, in lieu of smaller districts,” Kane continued. “In many cases, it’s because we have a candidate with a unique and essential political agenda the Democrats and Republicans will otherwise erase but, just as often, it’s also because rules set up by the duopoly require winning votes for the bigger offices in order to have a ballot line to compete for the local ones,” said Kane.
“2020 has been a rough year for Greens,” said Green Party National Co-Chair Kristin Combs. “It’s been a rough year for the entire country. But the machine that suppresses candidates’ rights and voter choice is breaking down. Almost 1.5 million people in Massachusetts cast ballots in favor of Ranked Choice Voting when many had never heard of it before this year — and the ‘Yes’ campaign team’s grassroots education efforts were severely hampered by COVID-19,” said Combs.
Green leaders also expressed support and appreciation for Howie Hawkins and Angela Walker, the Green Party’s nominees for President and Vice-President.
“Their Eco-Socialist, Left-Unity campaign was desperately needed to offer real solutions for 2020,” said Green Party National Co-Chair Gloria Mattera. “Howie and Angela ran for a Green New Deal. Both Biden and Trump oppose the Green New Deal. They ran for Improved/Expanded Medicare-For-All. Both Biden and Trump reject that. They ran on dismantling the US military empire. Biden and Trump are both war hawks.”
“Now we ask Greens to organize to ensure every vote is counted, which we demand in every election, and organize to win. Spring elections are just around the corner.”
For a list of 2020 Green Party Candidates and Results as They Become Available, visit gp.org/2020_candidates.
Howie Hawkins was the Green Party's presidential candidate. Ann noted this statement from his campaign:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 7, 2020
For Further Information:
Virginia Rodino, email@example.com
Robert Smith, firstname.lastname@example.org
Hawkins and Walker React To Trump’s Defeat
We are happy to see Trump go. Good riddance!
This election was a referendum on Trump. Biden was Not-Trump, nothing more. Biden has no solutions for the climate, poverty, racism, and nuclear war.
The Hawkins/Walker campaign thanks our supporters for their donations and campaign work in a difficult year for the Green Party and independent socialists. The media blanked us out. After the Democratic establishment closed ranks to defeat Bernie Sanders, most progressive leaders lined up behind Biden without making any policy demands on him. The Biden administration is now free to ignore them.
We will continue to fight for a Green New Deal, an Economic Bill of Rights including Medicare for All, and a reprioritization of federal spending from militarism to caring for the people and the planet. We will continue organizing toward a major party of the green and socialist left and supporting the election of thousands to local office and, on that foundation, to state legislatures and Congress as we go into the 2020s.
We are running out of time on the climate, declining working-class life expectancies, and the new nuclear arms race. Real solutions can’t wait.
We are determined, not defeated.
Howie ran a real campaign. And Howie stood for what mattered.
A few years back, it was Howie who came up with the Green New Deal. And it will be Hoeiw and people like him who introduce the important ideas that influence our future. People like Joe Biden are just reactionaries, they can't actually lead.
I agree with Ann's call. I didn't follow the 2000 Green Party campaign -- Ralph Nader was the nominee. He lost me with his idiotic comments in a ROLLING STONE INTERVIEW -- no, Ralph, problems high heels cause is not the most pressing issue for the feminist movement and statements like that really made me dislike you. But I did pay attention to the 2004 campaign, the 2008, the 2012, the 2016 and the 2020.
I thought that he and Angela Walker ran one of the best. Cynthia McKinney and Rosa Clemente (2008 -- I voted for them) might be the only ones to surpass them. But that's a ''might be.''
Howie fought and took stands and he didn't go silent when idiots and CIA-factions attacked him. I also am very pleased that Greens are finally grasping what Ava and I said back in 2008 -- stop treating Amy Goodman like she's your friend because she's not. She has never given the Green Party equal time. This go round, she made that very clear by refusing to have Howie on DEMOCRACY NOW! even once, by refusing to even give a headline at the top of the show to the Green Party's political convention and by mentioning Howie only once, when they allowed a liar to lie about ballot access issues on the show. Shame on Amy. And shame on Juan Gonzales as well. Juan was once a lion, now he's a declawed, cowardly fool. That moment was as embarrassing but, if I'm honest, Juan really sold out in 2008. That year started with him calling out Barack -- and Amy keeping him off the show. Then Juan of the Barack-alognie column came on board and got to be on the show. Whores got whore. Et tu, Juan?
Howie ran a very strong campaign. The biggest problem he had was the passing of Kevin Zeese who kept the campaign fired up. Dr. Margaret Flowers, his partner, notes the election at DISSIDENT VOICE:
As many people around the country and the world celebrate the media’s announcement of the defeat of President Trump, those who advocate for transformational changes in the political, economic, legal and social systems are talking and writing about the challenges we’ll face under a Biden/Harris administration.
Democracy, literally ‘people power,’ is feared by the wealthy elites. Whether they are represented by Democrats or Republicans, they work to suppress it. Social movements can expect to face significant hurdles under a Biden administration in the next four years. However, if we know what to expect, we can use tactics to get past them and have some victories.
If conditions don’t improve, then there will be greater polarization and conflict within the country. This will give the state more justification for repression. If we succeed, and win victories for the poor and working class while building democracy at the grassroots level, we will be on a path towards the transformation we seek.
When the media called the election on Saturday, there were celebrations by Biden-supporters in the streets. People popped champagne corks and honked their horns. Some people see the election of Biden/Harris as a huge victory and hope it will mean changes that impact their lives positively.
Glenn Greenwald brings things back into perspective in his article comparing the Trump administration to the past two presidencies. Even though Trump was portrayed, especially by liberals, as some sort of monster, Greenwald writes:
There is nothing done by the Trump administration that can be rationally characterized as a radical aberration, some dramatic break, from U.S. tradition. Quite the contrary: none of Trump’s actions and policies are in some new universe of savagery, lawlessness, or radicalism when compared to those who preceded him in power.
Although Trump was very open about it, neoliberalism, militarism, racism and imperialism will continue under a Biden presidency. Biden did not even feign progressivism during the campaign. As Caitlin Johnstone points out in “US Murder Machine Now under Competent Management,” “Trump ran on a platform of scaling back US interventionism, as did Obama, as did even Bush, but Biden did the opposite. He is beginning from a much more hawkish position than he [sic] predecessors right off the bat.” The big question is whether or not Biden will be as competent as Obama was at getting away with it.
During the Obama administration, the peace movement struggled to survive even while Obama militarized Africa, surrounded China, destroyed Libya, increased drone attacks and more. Note that these are countries with majority non-white populations. People were reluctant to criticize the first black president and funding for the peace movement disappeared.
The Black Alliance for Peace and other groups have been working to rebuild an anti-imperialist peace movement over the past four years. In their recent statement, the Black Alliance for Peace reminds us that the situation does not change for colonized and oppressed people no matter who sits in the “white people’s house.”
Kevin Zeese's passing is among the big losses of 2020
I'm not finding a statement from Gloria La Riva's campaign. She was the presidential nominee for the Party for Socialism and Liberation. She had many technical issues beyond her control. There was a period where GOOGLE was censoring her website -- the standard 'malware' nonsense. And the last full week of the campaign, she had an important event that had to be called off due to technical issues. But Gloria ran a strong campaign and was very effective in promoting her ideas and beliefs across the landscape -- a candidate who can speak Spanish and English will always be sought after and Gloria gave some very strong interviews to Spanish language outlets.
While I don't see a statement from Gloria, the Party for Socialism and Liberation issued the following:
More than 70 million people voted to oust Donald Trump in the Nov. 3 election. This was not a vote for Joe Biden, a truly uninspiring candidate who only became the nominee when the Democratic Party ruling class establishment united to stop Bernie Sanders from getting the nomination in early March. Nor did the historic voter turnout for Biden signify support for his pro-Wall Street, pro-war positions and his role as an architect of the current system of policing and mass incarceration.
In the last few minutes, the major corporate-owned media networks all announced that Joe Biden had sufficient electoral college votes to become the next president of the United States.
It is noteworthy that Fox News, which has been so vociferously cheerleading for Donald Trump during the last four years, also called the election for Biden and dramatically changed the tone of its coverage to be very supportive of Biden and the campaign he ran.
Donald Trump insists that he will fight on. He argues that he is the true winner of the election and the only reason that he might not be president is because of widespread election fraud. This is not true and as more and more of the mail-in vote arrived in Pennsylvania, Georgia and other states it became crystal clear that Trump in fact had lost the electoral college vote in a very narrow contest that almost exactly replicates the narrow outcome in 2016 but with the margins reversed.
Trump broke the cardinal rule of U.S. capitalist politics when he denounced the election system as a fraud. Maintaining the image of a peaceful transfer of power between the two ruling class parties for more than a century has been considered a core element of American capitalist governance. The peaceful transfer of power bestows legitimacy upon the system. Every system requires either undiluted brute violence that is routinely dispensed on oppressed classes, or it relies on its legitimacy with a sector of the population which is then, of course, supplemented by the threat of violence and state coercion. “Democracy” is the preferred form of class rule because achieving legitimacy with a significant sector of the working class and intermediate strata makes the system easier to maintain. It avoids the tension and conflict which makes class rule more complicated and unstable.
Trump’s motivation is very narrow and personal. Once out of office, he and his family will be subject to multiple criminal prosecutions and civil legal cases in many states on issues related to tax evasion, financial fraud and other such crimes. If Trump becomes a civilian, he loses his immunities for state-based prosecutions on financial crimes. This will be Trump’s future and he knows it. The ruling class will not sacrifice the legitimacy of its political system to protect Donald Trump in his post-presidency civilian life.
Trump has spent the last days trying to use ultra-right and fascist mobilizations to stop the vote count. But he has become increasingly isolated. His base of support within the capitalist establishment is crumbling and that will continue. The fact that Fox News and the Wall Street Journal editorial board have turned against him in his quest to condemn the election process is a clear indication that his fate has been sealed.
The 2020 presidential election was a referendum on Trump. The Democrats did very badly in the rest of the election. They lost seats to the Republicans in the House and they failed to win the Senate. The fact that it was a close election at the presidential level at a time of the biggest healthcare catastrophe and mass unemployment in living memory shows how little the Democratic Party has to offer the masses of people. The Democratic Party ruling class establishment adopted a center-right orientation and refused to embrace the demands for Medicare for All; a cancellation of rents and mortgage payments during the pandemic; canceling student debt; or meaningful policing reforms. Ironically, the same Democratic Party establishment now blames the left for its failures in the down ballot contests during the election.
The Party for Socialism and Liberation has argued since 2016 that Donald Trump is merely a symptom of a larger disease. Late stage capitalism is destroying not only the working class and poor but big sectors of the middle class. As the billionaires get ever richer and more powerful, the level of human suffering inside “the richest country in the world” increases rapidly. The larger disease is capitalism, and the cure is to replace the system that fosters poverty amid plenty and destroys workers as a tiny class of the ultra rich concentrate wealth and power. The solution lies not with the Democratic Party but with the replacement of capitalism by a humane, rational and sustainable social system: socialism.
The task at hand is to build a mass movement demanding that the Biden White House take immediate emergency measures to eradicate mass unemployment; provide a livable guaranteed income for all of those who have been made jobless; cancel rents, evictions and foreclosures; cancel student debt; and adopt a Medicare for all healthcare system. At the same time, we have to mobilize greater opposition to U.S. militarism and war, which is not even slightly diminished under a government led by Joe Biden.
Jo Jorgensen was the Libertarian Party's presidential candidate. Jo's campaign issued the following:
Jorgensen’s Libertarian presidential campaign was cost-effective
A ‘grassroots effort propelled by heart and hard work,’ says Dr. Jo Jorgensen
GREENVILLE, S.C.; November 7, 2020— The presidential campaign of Libertarian Dr. Jo Jorgensen relied more on volunteers, efficiency, and persuasion than on money to win votes.
With 1,731,055 votes won as of Nov. 7, the Jorgensen campaign spent a modest $1.73 for each vote. The campaign raised and spent approximately $3 million.
The Jorgensen campaign topped the cost-effectiveness of all other Libertarian presidential campaigns. Of the last three runs, former Governor Gary Johnson’s 2012 and 2016 campaigns spent $3.13 and $2.66 per vote, respectively, and former Congressman Bob Barr’s 2008 campaign spent $2.68 per vote.
In contrast, Democrat Joe Biden’s campaign spent $12.50 per vote, which rises to $18.40 per vote when dark money* is included.
In the Democratic primary election, Bernie Sanders spent $28.87 per vote, and Elizabeth Warren spent $50.09.
“This grassroots campaign was propelled by heart and hard work,” said Jorgensen, “and it was guided by veteran Libertarians who helped make our modest funds go far.”
The Jorgensen campaign recruited at least 9,423 volunteers. The average donation to her campaign was $32.
*According to the Center for Responsive Politics’ analysis at OpenSecrets.org, citing the campaign’s Oct. 14 reports.
We'll probably note Jo again later this week. But for now, let's note that Jo campaigned with the people, among the people. Jo wasn't the Hiding Jo (that would be Joe Biden). She went all over on her campaign bus and held events. Which is the only way to run a non-fear based campaign. She attracted actual crowds. She presented herself well throughout. Had she been brought on for the debates, I think she might have won one of the two debates -- maybe both.
Iraq War veteran Adam Kokesh notes a Libertarian victory in this election:
Turning to Iraq where the number of Covid 19 cases has now topped 500,000.
In the face of the pandemic, with the help of the United Nations, the Iraqi government is eager to make more people homeless by closed the camps for the displaced.
The rapid closure of displacement camps in Iraq could leave more than 100,000 people without shelter in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic and as winter approaches, an aid group has warned.
People in camps in seven provinces were being forced out with little notice, the Norwegian Refugee Council said.
The government expects them to return to their areas of origin.
But many of those were destroyed during the war against the Islamic State (IS) group and still have not been rebuilt.
Louisa Loveluck (WASHINGTON POST) notes:
Iraq’s Displacement Ministry said in late October that it was moving ahead with closures as part of a program of “safe and voluntary return.” Aid groups and human rights researchers say that in practice, civilians are often ordered to leave their displacement camp on short notice and without clarity on whether it will be possible to return to the areas they came from.
On the journey, some risk being waylaid at checkpoints because of a lack of adequate paperwork or because their names are on lists of alleged Islamic State members or are similar to listed names.
Human rights groups say these lists are often unreliable and based on confessions carried out under torture.
“Closing camps before residents are willing or able to return to their homes does little to end the displacement crisis,” Jan Egeland, secretary general for the Norwegian Refugee Council, said Monday. “On the contrary, it keeps scores of displaced Iraqis trapped in this vicious cycle of displacement, leaving them more vulnerable than ever, especially in the middle of a raging pandemic.”
The following sites updated: