Thursday, August 03, 2017

With or without you -- Dem party

When I think of the Democratic Party, I think of this song by Cher:

"I don't want to live without you, God, it hurts to be alone.  But living with you or without you, cuts my poor heart to the bone."  It's "With Or Without You."

And like Cher gives up on the lover that's me and the Democratic Party.

Tom Hall (WSWS) reports on the state of fake assery:

The Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) will open its national convention today in Chicago. Despite the populist and left-sounding rhetoric that will be on display in the various speeches, roundtables, workshops and resolutions, the DSA is a pro-capitalist organization steeped in a tradition of anti-communism and bitterly opposed to the political independence of the working class.
The meeting is taking place as the various ostensibly “left” organizations that operate in and around the Democratic Party attempt to grapple with the deep disgust with that big business party among workers and young people, which was strikingly revealed in the Democrats’ 2016 election debacle.
The political radicalization and growth of anti-capitalist sentiment found an initial expression during the Democratic Party primary contest in mass support for the self-described “socialist” Senator Bernie Sanders, who claimed to be leading a “political revolution” while actually working to channel opposition back behind the Democrats and their eventual nominee, Hillary Clinton.
Clinton ran a pro-war campaign and evinced indifference to the questions of poverty and social inequality that dominated popular sentiment during the Democratic primary campaign. With Clinton widely despised in the working class as a personification of the corrupt political status quo, her candidacy produced a sharp drop in turnout among traditional Democratic voters and, in economically devastated former industrial states, a shift to Trump, who presented himself as the anti-establishment alternative, by a section of low-income workers who had voted for Obama in 2008 and 2012. Studies have shown that anti-war sentiment in these regions and hostility to Clinton’s anti-Russia agitation also played a major role.
The alienation from the Democrats has only deepened since the election, with the Democratic Party basing its opposition to the new administration not on Trump’s attacks on immigrants and democratic rights more broadly, his assault on social programs, or his appointment of fascists and Wall Street billionaires to top White House and cabinet posts, but rather on his reluctance to continue the confrontational policy against Russia initiated under Obama. Approval ratings for the Democrats have actually fallen at a faster rate than for the Republicans, according to a Gallup poll released in May.
Nothing is more frightening to the pseudo-left than the discrediting of the Democratic Party, which raises the specter of a break with bourgeois politics by the working class and the formation of a new, socialist working class movement. Organizations and publications such as the International Socialist Organization (ISO), Socialist Alternative and Jacobin are discussing some kind of political regroupment, either within the Democratic Party or nominally independent of it, to achieve their shared goal of shoring up and refurbishing the political credibility of that party and of capitalist politics overall. Toward this end, they continue to promote Sanders, who claims to be leading a “political revolution” to reform the Democratic Party.
Within this reactionary political milieu, the DSA’s star is rising. It is seen as an organization that could play a central role in these plans. Thus, the ISO had DSA-aligned Jacobin magazine co-sponsor its annual conference for the first time this summer, with DSA vice-chairman and Jacobin editor-in-chief Bhaskar Sunkara appearing as a featured speaker.

"When I walk out this time, it'll tear me apart." 

Yes, but it's the right thing to do.

We need a new party for the left.

This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" for Thursday:

Thursday, August 3, 2017.  Samantha Bee, first do no harm -- and other topics.

Changing your political party name and logo is recycling....

That's the logo for Ammar al-Hakim's new party.  Last week brought news that he was leaving the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq and forming National Wisdom.

Again, elections are supposed to coming up in Iraq.  You really don't get that from following coverage in the western media.

But you rarely get any Iraq coverage period.

Yesterday afternoon, Audie Cornish (NPR's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED) spoke with Human Rights Watch's Belkis Willie:

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:  There is a revenge campaign happening in Mosul. This started when Iraqi forces were fighting to retake the city from ISIS, and it's gone on since Iraq regained control of it. Soldiers have been rounding up and prosecuting anyone suspected to be a member of ISIS or related to one or a sympathizer of the terrorist group. In many cases, those detained are abused and executed. Human rights observers say the tactics being used by the military are war crimes.

BELKIS WILLE: I mean in terms of executions, we're seeing men being shot. We're seeing even more grotesque cases - for example, men being thrown off cliffs into the Tigris River and then being shot upon as they land. Numerous cases of really severe torture, sometimes leading to death.

Last week, Human Rights Watch noted:

An Iraqi army division trained by the United States government allegedly executed several dozen prisoners in Mosul’s Old City, Human Rights Watch said today. Two international observers detailed the summary killings of four people by the Iraqi army’s 16th Division in mid-July 2017, and saw evidence that the unit had executed many more people, including a boy.
 The US government should suspend all assistance and support to the 16th Division pending Iraq’s full investigation of the allegations and appropriate prosecutions, Human Rights Watch said. Under the “Leahy Law,” the US is prohibited from providing military assistance to any unit of foreign security forces if there is credible evidence that the unit has committed gross violations of human rights and no “effective measures” are being taken to bring those responsible to justice.
“The US government should make sure it is no longer providing assistance to the Iraqi unit responsible for this spate of executions but also suspend any plans for future assistance until these atrocities have been properly investigated,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “Given the widespread abuses by Iraqi forces and the government’s abysmal record on accountability, the US should take a hard look at its involvement with Iraqi forces.”[. . .]
 Under the “Leahy Law,” the US government is required to suspend assistance to the 16th Division until the Iraqi government takes three steps, which are often known as “remediation components”: impartial and thorough investigations; impartial and thorough prosecutions or administrative actions, as appropriate; and proportional sentencing or comparable administrative actions.
Despite acknowledging that Iraqi forces committed violations of the laws of war during the Mosul operation and promising to punish those responsible, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has yet to demonstrate that Iraqi authorities have held any soldiers accountable for executing, torturing, and abusing civilians or captured fighters.

ABC NEWS covered the abuses.

The other broadcast outlets haven't really made time.

From NPR's broadcast yesterday:

CORNISH: You've said that the persecution of ISIS suspects now could inadvertently drive more people toward extremism. Why do you think that?

WILLE: I think you really need to look at ISIS and why ISIS for so many years was able to draw in so many recruits - young, Sunni Arab men - throughout Iraq and Syria. And it comes with a history.

Since 2003, with the fall of Saddam's government and an incoming Shia government that put Shia fighters into the military and brought in Shia militia, what we saw was rampant abuse that usually took the form of torture, executions, really targeting Sunni Arab men. These were the very men that ultimately joined ISIS, saying, we're sick of this complete impunity for Iraqi armed forces. And if this battle opens the floodgates to that very abuse that pushed men to join ISIS, we're going to continue to see young men wanting to join.

Let's turn to Samantha Bee.

I've not written of the ugly woman here, I believe Ava and I have (we've written of her at THIRD but we may have edited it out of the final draft, I'm not sure right now, I'd have to take a moment to think).

So her basic cable show gets, for her network, good ratings.  Not great ratings.  They haven't had great ratings in years.  But everyone pretends like she's a late night host even though late night hosts need to do at least four days of programming a way if they follow the Johnny Carson pattern (Monday repeat, Tuesdays through Fridays new shows).

Apparently, Samantha can't work regularly.

But she can go to Iraq.


Because her attempt at being the new Don Rickles needs to spread?

Is she afraid that Iraqi comics might not have mastered her move of piling on thousands of words to say nothing while winding up the rage louder and louder and louder?

In one clip, she claims to find a Bernie Bro in the KRG.  And she explains -- she's trying to sing but she can't carry a tune -- that he didn't call her a bitch or a c**t so she's so happy.

Bernie Bros was a myth created by Hillary's emasculated male supporters.  (I'm not calling all -- or even the majority -- of her male supporters "emasculated" -- I'm referring to the Peters and the Davids).  It was an attempt to paint Bernie Sanders and his supporters as sexist.  To do that, they repeatedly pretended women didn't support Bernie -- even though women did.

Remember when 'feminist' Gloria Steinem went on TV (Bill Maher, isn't that where CIA feminists go?) to 'explain' that young women were supporting Bernie to get "boys"

She's perpetuating lies about Bernie supporters.

But then, her whole act perpetuates lies about feminism: that we're loud and ugly.

I don't get Samantha.  In England, for example, if someone on TV can't be pretty, they generally cultivate a unique look and, through the sheer will of their personality, they become attractive.  But Samantha's convinced a blow out and what appears to be a trip to the Clinique counter will result in a miracle.  It's not happening.

But here's a tip to Samantha, you're an entertainer.

Granted, you're not that entertaining, but that is your profession.

You are in a foreign country.

Maybe don't parade your potty mouth?

Iraqi women are fighting for their rights yet again.

That's why Atwood's HANDSMAID TAIL is so laughable as a TV series in the 21st century -- we can only imagine 'horror' if it happens in the west.  The Water Cooler Set will treat this fantasy as tragic but the realities that Iraqi women -- or any non-west women -- face will not be cause for alarm even though these are realities and not a novel from the 1980s.

Iraqi women are fighting to have a stand in their country.  Your potty mouth visiting (the safer northern region) is not helping them.

You are a foreigner and you become the 'foreign devil' when you break taboos.  Iraqi women fighting for their rights do not need to risk being compared to you.

I get it, you're an ugly woman who overcompensates by being loud and vulgar.  You have serious ego issues so you need to make it all about you.  Fine.  Do that in the US.  Don't go to places where your act will help set back women's rights.