Thursday, August 20, 2020

Look who's running for Congress again



Earlier tonight, Isaiah's THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS' "Ellen's Latest Lies"  went up.  And another thing I need to note is Patrick Martin's latest at WSWS:

In the course of the 2018 elections, a large group of former military-intelligence operatives entered capitalist politics as candidates seeking the Democratic Party nomination in 50 congressional seats—nearly half the seats where the Democrats were targeting Republican incumbents or open seats created by Republican retirements.

Some 30 of these candidates won primary contests and became the Democratic candidates in the November 2018 election, and 11 of them won the general election, more than one-quarter of the 40 previously Republican-held seats captured by the Democrats as they took control of the House of Representatives.

In 2020, the intervention of the CIA Democrats continues on what is arguably an equally significant scale: besides the reelection campaigns of the 11 representatives who won seats in the House in 2018, half a dozen of those who lost 2018 races are running again in 2020. Some of these are running for House seats again, while others have been promoted by the Democratic Party leadership and are running for the US Senate. And an entire new crop of military-intelligence operatives is being brought forward, some running for Republican seats targeted by the Democratic leadership as possible takeovers, others in seats not currently considered competitive.

The bottom line: at least 34 Democratic candidates for the House of Representatives have a primarily military-intelligence background, up from 30 in 2018, as well as three of the party’s 35 candidates for the US Senate, compared to zero in 2018. For each branch of Congress, this represents about 10 percent of the total.

As we explained in 2018, the extraordinary influx of candidates coming directly from the national-security apparatus into the Democratic Party is a two-sided process: the Democratic Party establishment welcomes such candidates as a demonstration of the party’s unshakeable devotion to the interests of American imperialism; and military-intelligence operatives are choosing the Democratic Party over the Republican Party in large numbers because they are attracted by the Democrats’ non-stop campaign against the Trump administration as too “soft” on Russia and too willing to pull out of the Middle East war zone.

The CIA needs to be dismantled.  It has done nothing but create chaos around the world and overthrow real leaders elected by the people to install despots (like Pinochet).  The world would be a better place without the CIA.  A much better place.

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

Thursday, August 20, 2020.  Another day, another wasted 'convention' night.

The farce goes on -- and the farce goes on -- yes, the farce goes on.

Last night, at the Democratic Party's national infomerical pretending to be a convention, Barack Obama spoke.  A number are seeing his words as a repudiation of THE NEW YORK TIMES' 1619 Project (click here for WSWS' latest criticism of the project with links at the bottom of the piece to earlier pieces).  Some will pretend it was inspired, some will pretend it's wonderful.  Even if you're paid to whore, honestly, what's the point?

Words from Barack?

Like his promise to shut down the prison/torture center at Guantanamo? 

I'm sorry did he keep it?  Hell no.

His promise to remove all US troops from Iraq?

Again, no.

Oh, I know, his second term promise to end veteran's homelessness, he kept that one, right?  Wrong.

How much did the whorish, corporate press have to do with the election of Donald Trump?  I don't mean in 2016.  I mean the previous eight years when they refused to tell the truth.

When Barack failed to keep the promise he made on veterans' homelessness, you didn't see him called out.  You saw them whore with 'it's a little better than it was, he deserves credit for that . . .'  The president of the United States made a promise to the people and he did not keep it.  Those were the facts.  But the press couldn't serve up the facts, they had to whore.

And this whoring came after they lied about Iraq.  They lied to sell that war and they lied to keep it going.  The press has the reputation it has earned.  It's a bad reputation and that's its own fault.  We saw the corporate press work overtime to demonize Bernie Sanders.  

I've noticed, by the way, that 'bravery' among the so-called independent press has been redefined.  This week, as the DNC's infomercial plays out endlessly, 'bravery' for the 'independent' press has been redefined as silence.  Go to, for example, IN THESE TIMES and find nothing on the convention.  The same with COUNTERPUNCH and CONSORUTIUM NEWS.  

Now THE PROGRESSIVE does serve up an article -- a really bad one -- by Ruth Conniff, a really bad writer, but that was published elsewhere, they're just republishing it.  It's cute, by the way, how Ruth whores.  It's a typical convention, she insists at the opening.  She falsely presents Julian Castro to readers as though he were part of the actual televised convention when, in fact, he was not.  But if you trudge through all her words, you finally find criticism.

Via Ruth?

Oh, no.  She's a whore.  She hides behind her children.  Her children were dismayed.

Ruth?  She loved it.  She loves conventions.  She loves it.  

She shows up late to praise Michelle Obama.  The same Michelle who used the opener of her podcast to trash young voters with her special guest Barack who joined her in trashing young voters?

When does she ever go high?  Seems like Michelle's been low-balling it her whole life.

So hopey-changey showed up last night to offer some new lies.  Let the sunshine in, indeed.

About the only time Barack's been remotely interesting these days was when POLITICO published their article explaining that Joe Biden had Daddy issues.  Joe's lukewarm run this year?  All about proving Daddy underestimated him -- in a recasting, Barack is playing Daddy.   Yes, that's how pathetic Joe Biden is, he's made Obama his daddy, Barack who is over 18 years younger is Joe's Daddy figure.  

By the way, CONSORTIUM's silence really surprises me.  In yesterday's snapshot, I noted that Colin would speak Wednesday night.  Wrong.  He had already spoken the night before that snapshot.  I got lucky and missed Colin's entire speech.  This was for real by the way, not like in 2008 when Spencer Ackerman hated Hillary Clinton and was pimping Barack so he pretended CSPAN went out in the hearing so he wouldn't have to cover Hillary -- who did a better job than Barack who just breezed in, if you'll remember, while John Kerry held his hand -- that was his hand that John's was holding, right? -- to make him look better.

I honestly missed Colin and I'm not going to cheapen that gift by taking the time afterwards to stream that speech.  I might have if CONSORTIUM had done any work.

I mentioned in yesterday's snapshot that Colin's problems don't start with the Iraq War.  Had he spoken Wednesday night (and I caught it), the plan was to go all the way back to Vietnam and his betrayals there.  Why?  Because the truth matters, of course.  And also because the late Robert Parry did significant work exposing the realities of Colin Powell.  So we would have been referencing his work up at CONSORTIUM.  But why should we bother when CONSORTIUM didn't even bother?

Again, multiple people appear to have mistaken silence for bravery.  

The belief seems to be, 'If I just swallow this s**t burger' -- to use Nina Turner's phrase - 'and don't praise it, I'm not really a whore.'

If you're eating a s**t burger, you pretty much are that and much worse.

Kamala Harris spoke.  The junior senator from California.  If she becomes Vice President, do we finally get Kevin Leon as a senator?  Or Loretta Sanchez?  It's amazing, as I look back on it, how my state has led on . . . suppressing Latino leadership.  

At WSWS, Niles Niemuth offers:

Harris’ closing remarks at the convention last night were preceded by those of Obama, of which we will have more to say later. Suffice it to say that Obama, the first African American to be nominated by the Democrats and win the presidency, proceeded to bail out the banks, continue the wars of George W. Bush, implement a policy of drone murder, and deport more immigrants than any of his predecessors.

It was the right-wing policies of the Obama administration that paved the way for the ascension of Trump to the presidency.

The Democrats hope that the endless celebration of the trite, empty symbolism of Harris’ candidacy will serve as a repeat of Barack Obama’s run for president in 2008, deploying identity politics to cover over the right-wing content of her record and that of the Democratic Party. This is the logic of the reactionary politics of racial, ethnic and gender identity, promoted incessantly by the pseudo-left opponents of Marxism.

However, the elevation of an increasing number of women, African Americans and other ethnic minorities into positions of power, from city councils, to mayoral offices, police departments and the presidency itself, has done nothing to advance the interests of the working class. In fact, over the last four decades wealth inequality has grown most rapidly within racial groups, as a small layer of the population has been elevated into positions of power and privilege while conditions for those of all races and genders in the bottom 90 percent have deteriorated.

In addition to Obama, the likes of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, national security advisors Condoleezza Rice and Susan Rice, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton—and, one might add, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and German Chancellor Angela Merkel—have shown that women and racial minorities can pursue the interests of the financial oligarchy as ruthlessly as any other representative of the ruling class.

There is something fitting in the selection of Harris to co-lead the Democrats’ ticket. The response of the Democrats to the mass multi-racial and multi-ethnic protests against police violence that erupted earlier this year was to divert them into the politics of racial division, using the reactionary and false claim that what was involved was a conflict between “white America” and “black America,” rather than a conflict between the working class and capitalism. This effort now culminates in the selection of the former “top cop” of California as the Democrats’ vice presidential candidate.

This is aimed at blocking the emergence of powerful, united movement of the working class. The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the criminal indifference of the entire ruling elite to the lives of the working class. As was shown with the near unanimous passage of the trillion-dollar CARES Act bailout, their concern is for their stock portfolios and corporate profits at the expense of more than 175,000 people who have now died and the more than 5.5 million who have been infected by coronavirus.

I'm not a Kamala fan.  I thought in terms of presentation, she gave a strong speech.  In terms of facts?  I'm sorry I've spent all week making the hard calls while the likes of Krystal Ball pulled their punches.  I know they won't with Kamala, there's a special hatred that have for the woman.  I don't hate her, I just don't like her and that has nothing to do with anything in the last few years, I go back before her ascent, long before, to the days where she was . . . Oh, let's be kind and just stop the thought there.  She'll get plenty of attacks today and, again, in terms of presentation, she can't be faulted for her speech last night.

Which brings up two men: Barack and Joe.

Let's start with Barack and his new sassy do.  Who was that sassy senior on stage last night?  I thought at first Ciecly Tyson had showed up and without her wig but, no, it was Barack.  And he's still not learned to speak -- though liars will tell you he's moving and he's amazing and he's . . .

Sandy Dennis.

All these years later, he's still Sandy Dennis.  In 1962, Sandy became a star on Broadway in A THOUSAND CLOWNS.  She never gave a different performance in all the years that followed.  In February of 2009, Ava and I observed:

We watched Monday in full as Barack uh-uh-uhed and spoke in that robotic manner that allows him to find more unnatural pauses than Estelle Parsons and Kim Stanley combined. "He's our Method president!" we quickly gasped while wishing we could have one president this decade capable of normal speech. If he gets any worse, he'll be Sandy Dennis.

Last night made clear that he is Sandy Dennis.

And he is a lousy speaker.  For anyone to pretend otherwise at this late date is just sad.  

Once upon a time, he was a blank slate the nation could project upon and that allowed many to believe that a crooked Chicago politician could deliver change.  But those days are long gone and who's still deluding themselves?

Kamala was way ahead of Barack as a speaker.  Forget what she's saying, regardless of the topic, Kamala is a strong speaker and has always been one.  And she was strong last night.

If there was any speech of significance (meaning more than 60 seconds) in the convention to praise, it would be Kamala's speech.

I didn't catch MSNBC but I'm sure RISING will tell us what happened later today.  Did they praise Kamala?  Did they give her the praise she deserved?

The reason I'm asking is, unless they give Joe another 'vitamin' shot before training the camera on him for his speech tonight, Joe's speech is going to look very weak when compared to Kamala's and that's really going to be the entire campaign going forward.  In terms of energy, drive and speech, Kamala's going to outshine him every day.  

I'm not sure how that plays into building support for Joe.

Hillary chose Mr. Bland and, one good thing there, many can't remember his name to this day -- allowing her to shine.  (Tim Kaine, if you forgot.)

Hillary showed up last night.  In pink -- or white?  Looking awful with yet another new hair style.  Why does she keep changing hairstyles, a friend asked noting that since 1992, she's changed every four to six months at least.  Good question.  Best answer: She's still not one that's flattering.

Poor Hillary.

She's not a speaker.  Her flat, grating voice went on and on as she delivered her speech from -- what was that, a Lazy-Boy?  

Moving on to other topics, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeop Tweeted:

Had a productive meeting with Prime Minister today to reaffirm our partnership and discuss the U.S.-Iraq Strategic Dialogue. The U.S. will continue to work with Iraq on ways to address their economic challenges in light of COVID-19 and decline in oil prices.
5:34 PM · Aug 19, 2020

Iraq's Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi is in the US.  He's scheduled to meet with US President Donald Trump.  They are supposed to discuss a number of topics including the continued US military presence in Iraq.  The government of Iraq notes the following joint-statement issued by it and the US government:

The following statement was released by the Governments of the Republic of Iraq and the United States of America:

Begin text:

The Government of Iraq, led by Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein, and the Government of United States, led by Secretary of State Michael Pompeo, held a meeting of the Higher Coordinating Committee today in Washington, D.C. as described in the 2008 Strategic Framework Agreement for a Relationship of Friendship and Cooperation between the United States of America and the Republic of Iraq (SFA). The two sides reaffirmed their commitment to a robust and productive bilateral relationship. Separate sessions covered economics, energy, health and environment, political and diplomatic issues, security and counterterrorism, and education and cultural relations.


In the economic session, Iraq outlined its ideas for economic reform plans that would unleash faster growth and a more vibrant private sector. The United States reiterated its support for Iraq’s economic reforms and identified areas of cooperation that could help Iraq implement its plans. Both countries discussed coordination with international financial institutions to help Iraq recover from low oil prices and COVID-19 and put the country on a more sustainable fiscal path. Both nations plan to cooperate on e-government, financial sector reforms, and private sector partnerships to boost U.S.-Iraq trade and investment. The two governments look forward to holding a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) Council meeting later this year to follow up on the June 2019 meeting.


In the energy session, the United States and Iraq discussed the Government of Iraq’s efforts to increase domestic electricity and gas production, reduce wasteful gas flaring, and implement energy market reforms. The two governments plan to hold an Energy Joint Coordination Committee meeting soon to discuss these topics in more detail. On the sidelines of today’s meeting, the Government of Iraq signed substantial energy agreements with U.S. companies, including General Electric, Honeywell UOP, and Stellar Energy, as well as Memoranda of Understanding with Chevron and Baker Hughes, as concrete examples of the U.S.-Iraq energy partnership. Iraq and the United States noted ongoing cooperation with the International Energy Agency (IEA) to develop plans for electricity tariff reform in Iraq. The two governments plan to continue cooperation with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member-states and Gulf Cooperation Council Interconnection Authority on Iraq/GCC electricity connections and energy investment. The United States welcomed the progress in the talks between the Iraqi Federal Government and the Kurdistan Regional Government with regard to budgetary and energy issues.


In the health and environmental session, the United States and Iraq noted their ongoing partnership to combat COVID-19 and their intent to sign a Memorandum of Understanding to expand bilateral health trade. The two governments also discussed ongoing cooperation on environmental, water, and scientific issues and plan to hold a separate Joint Coordination Committee meeting on those topics.


In the political and diplomatic session, the United States reaffirmed its respect for Iraq’s sovereignty, territorial integrity, and relevant decisions of the Iraqi legislative and executive authorities. The two sides discussed how the United States could best support the Iraqi government as it prepares for parliamentary elections, including by increasing support for the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq. Both nations reiterated their support for freedom of expression and media freedom, and the necessity to hold accountable the perpetrators of violence against peaceful protesters. The United States supports Iraq’s efforts to improve relations with its neighboring states and plans to assist the Iraqi Government in this endeavor. The United States reaffirmed its continued commitment to supporting Iraq in advancing durable solutions for internally displaced persons that are voluntary, safe, and dignified, and to help those communities that have been targeted for genocide by ISIS. The two sides recognized the need to improve access for humanitarian organizations.


In the security and counterterrorism session, the United States and Iraq reaffirmed their commitment to achieving common objectives through bilateral security coordination and continued cooperation between the Iraqi Security Forces and the U.S.-led Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS. The two delegations praised the growing capabilities of the Iraqi Security Forces and their joint success in the fight against ISIS, which has enabled the Global Coalition to transition to a new phase focused on training, equipping, and supporting the Iraqi Security Forces. The Iraqi government expressed its gratitude to the Global Coalition and asserted its willingness to facilitate this transition and confirmed its obligation as host country to provide protection for the Coalition’s personnel and diplomatic facilities in Iraq. Adapting to the requirements of this new phase, the Global Coalition has been able to depart from some Iraqi military bases and reduce combat forces in Iraq. The two sides plan on separate technical talks to manage the timing and transition to the new phase, including any associated redeployments from Iraq. The U.S. and Iraqi delegations recognized the progress of the Iraqi Federal Security Institutions and the Kurdistan Regional Ministry of Peshmerga Affairs in coordinating their efforts to combat ISIS remnants and discussed ways to further this cooperation.


In the education and culture session, the two governments discussed both past and current U.S. support for Iraq’s efforts to strengthen higher education in cooperation with American universities in Iraq, through the Fulbright program, and through the U.S. Embassy’s Higher Education Partnership initiative. The United States and Iraq identified additional ways to support Iraq’s plans to address higher education reform priorities and strengthen U.S.-Iraqi university partnerships. The two sides also reviewed progress in the return of the Baath Party Archives to Iraq as an important artifact of Iraq’s history. The two delegations discussed their mutual efforts to preserve Iraq’s rich cultural heritage and religious diversity and reaffirmed their commitment to cooperating in the return of Iraqi cultural property illegally imported into the United States to their rightful place in Iraq.

The following sites updated: