Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Leslie Bennetts and that awful book she wrote about Joan Rivers

I didn't blog last night.  I watched the debate.  It was almost midnight when I finished tidying after the debate (we were all in front of the TV for the debate -- four of our adult children, my husband, and three of our grandchildren).  I kept checking WSWS waiting for their debate commentary to go up.  At two in the morning, I said, "Forget it." I went to sleep.

I've seen what went up and I am so not impressed.  If I blog twice tonight, I'll explain how awful I found WSWS nonsense -- and it was nonsense.

Instead, I'm focusing on the hideous Leslie Bennetts and her hideous book LAST GIRL BEFORE FREEWAY: THE LIFE, LOVES, LOSSES AND LIBERATION OF JOAN RIVERS.

Ida e-mailed that she saw the book at a used bookstore and picked up.  "I hated it and each page made me hate it more.  Then I thought, didn't you review this book?"

I did.  "Leslie Bennetts writes about something but it's not Joan Rivers" back in 2018.  Among other things, I wrote, "However, this is the worst book ever.  It’s awful in every way imaginable."

And I stand by that.  Ida agreed.

I have never hated a book -- or an author -- as much as I do that book and that author.  

She is a bitch and tries to be bitchy in a passive voice.  She hides behind Gloria Steinem -- a woman who's no hero.  

She says Phyllis Diller, when she became a comedy star in the sixties, dressed like a drag queen.

No, she didn't.  She dressed like Cruella de Ville, yes. 

She offers insults like that over and while also slamming Joan Rivers for wanting to be pretty.  

I will never read another book by Leslie Bennetts.  She is an awful human being and a lousy writer.


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


 Tuesday, September 29,  2020.  One day till the big debate  . . . 

I woke up this morning and, while working out, thought, "Oh, I missed the debate last night!"  Then, after a moment, I was okay with that.  But I didn't miss it, it's tonight.  They're calling it a presidential debate.  That's not really true.

Donald Trump is the president of the United States.  He's not debating, for example, Emanuel Macron -- the president of France.  He's debating another person who would like to be president of the United States: Joe Biden.

Another person.  


There are other people running for that office.  

Howie Hawkins, for example, is running on the Green Party ticket, Gloria La Riva is running on the Party for Socialism and Liberation's ticket and Joseph Kishore is running on the Socialist and Equality Party's ticket.  

In addition, there's Jo Jorgensen.

For years, the claim has been that limiting the 'debate' to the Republican and Democratic candidates makes sense because they are the only ones who could logically win due to ballot access issues.  That is not a valid reason for limiting the debates.

However, in 2020, that 'reasoning' is even more problematic.  Jo Jorgensen, the Libertarian Party's presidential candidate, is someone who can be voted on in every state.

'Wait, wait, wait, you can do a write-in in any state.'  You can do that but if the name you write-in is not a recognized write-in candidate, your vote may not count depending upon your state's laws.  If you write in Bernie Sanders, for example, in Texas, your vote will go to Joe Biden because, in that state, they 'interpret.'  If you write in any Democrat -- living or dead -- your vote will go to whomever's the top of the ticket.  Rebecca noted that in "why would you write-in bernie sanders?" last week.

Jo Jorgensen can be voted on in every state.  She's met the rules and guidelines.  She should be on the stage tonight.  We should point out that Jo's had it a little bit easier than Howie Hawkins.  Both have had to fight to meet the various rules and guidelines -- which differ from state to state.  But for Jo, meeting those guidelines was largely the end of it.  For Howie?  

He's had to meet the guidelines and then face legal challenges from the Democratic Party.  They've spent a lot of money keeping him off the ballot.  And we call this a democracy?  And Democrats often want to chant "Count every vote!"  The hypocrisy needs to be called out.  We need a better system and we need one that has fairness built in.  

Disenfranchising voters is something we on the left love to point out when Republicans do it.  Greg Palast, in fact, has built a career out of doing just that.  But disenfranchising voters is also keeping candidates off the ballot.  And partisan judges -- Democrats -- who go along with these efforts need to be called out and probably removed from office because they're not holding office to promote the Democratic Party, they're holding office to upholds the law.  

Why do we allow this to happen?  Clearly, the Democratic Party does not value We The People -- two primaries in a row, they've rigged it so Bernie Sanders couldn't get the nomination.  Two general elections in a row, they've given us distasteful candidates who don't run on issues.  And they don't trust the voter enough to allow choices.  There's nothing that Howie Hawkins is offering, issues he's running on, that Joe Biden couldn't co-opt and grab.  But Joe doesn't want to run on issues.  He is against Medicare For All, he is for destroying the environment (as evidenced by his recent pro-fracking comments).  Instead of trying to grab voters from Howie, the Democratic Party uses their energy to keep Howie off the ballot -- the ultimate act of disenfranchisement.  

This year's game plan is to keep every left or left leaning candidate for president off the ballot and present only two choices: Joe or Donald -- with Donald being the man the party and their media counterparts have demonized non-stop.  They're trying to ensure that you have no choice.  And the media is disgusting.  Playing games, choosing sides.  They want to pretend that they're part of a vibrant democracy but they aren't.  They lie for Joe, they fluff for Joe.  Anyone watching this, anyone impartial, should be appalled by how the system has been gamed this go round.

B-b-b-but it's different, it's the election of our lifetime!!!!


No, it's really not.  And that lie's been used over and over -- in 2004, THE NATION called it the torture election, remember?  That's what was on the table.  And we'd never be the same and we'd never and we'd never that and blah blah blah.

Some crazys insisted Donald would postpone the election because it was a pandemic.  Didn't happen.  But I'm seeing a lot of people postponing ethics and truth this cycle to give Joe a 'break' because this is such an important election, so important that facts and standards no longer matter.  So we all pretend, for example, that it's okay Jill Biden is campaigning more than her husband.  In what world?  He's hiding behind her skirts.  If he can't campaign for the job, he's not up for it.  How pathetic that he hides away and he knows the bulk of the press will go along with it and offer excuses and justifications.

There are no legitimate excuses.  He's trying to promote social distancing?  Were that the case, his wife wouldn't be on the campaign trail.  

And the media won't point that out, they won't do their job.  She slaps down Jake Tapper who has a legitimate questions about Joe's 'gaffes' (lies) and says that Donald Trump makes that question moot.  No, Jill, he doesn't.

If you're going to lie, I'm going to have to call you out.  And I avoided mentioning you the whole time your husband was president (violating that only once for a veterans issue) because I do like you and if I noted you, it was only fair that I criticized you if you were wrong.

Jill, you're wrong.

Joe's running to be president.  If he succeeds, Donald is an ex-president.  So how are Joe's gaffes (lies) moot?  They're not.  They go to several important issues and Jake should have pushed back on you.  The press should push back on you.  

Your husband is allegedly running for president -- apparently, Jill's his legs, the new First Lady Roosevelt -- and that means every question deserves answers.  He is answerable to We The People if he wants to be president and it is really shameful to pretend otherwise.

This is just one more election.  The country will still be standing after election day.  And all the people who've whored and lied better grasp that no one needs them anymore.  Norman Solomon, you're a joke.  I tried to forgive you but we clearly can't.

You're a little whore who forgot that Lt Ehren Watada was the issue.  Not some journalist covering him (I'll leave her name out of it, apparently she didn't ask for Norman's repulsive actions).  Instead of supporting Ehren, you chose to publicly insist that he do this or that.  In the midst of his Article 32 hearing? While his future hung in the balance?  You wanted to put additional pressure on him?

F**k you, Norman, f**k you.

You followed that nonsense with injecting yourself into a couple's relationship and the couple divorced, you know who I mean.  To this day, you were the instigator and that is on you.

Then you decided to go PACIFICA RADIO and other stations trashing Hillary Clinton in 2008 -- while failing to inform listeners that you were a supporter of Barack Obama, a pledged delegate.  Now you included that in your syndicated columns and you made that disclosure there because you knew that failing to do so could end your syndicated career -- your writings not good enough to justify syndication and you know it.

So you lied to people over and over.

Then you show up in 2019 and you start trashing Elizabeth Warren because that's what you do, what you've always done, when it comes to women.  That's who you are, a pig.  You were for Bernie!!!! But then you were for Joe.  And it wasn't enough to support Joe, you then had to trash third party candidates.

I get it, Norman, not only are you a whore, but you also couldn't write convincingly of Joe Biden.  So you instead teamed up with  others and start trashing third party candidates.  (The previous sentence originally included one name and the question of: "___ why did you send me into a meeting with a CIA recruiter -- a meeting you passed off as an academic meeting."  I've long told the story here about how I refused CIA recruitment in college.  And I've been very kind by leaving ____'s name blank.  As with Saint Beau, people can be put on notice that I'm pretty damn tired of holding my tongue.  ____ should get honest about their CIA ties.  Or they should retire from public life because I've been about as kind to _____ as I plan to be.)   

Norman, you're useless.  Your trash and now your trash with an odor that everyone can smell.  Clearly, you do not value independent thought or the American people.  The 2024 election cycle will be much better without you.  A reality that you, and many others, will be forced to face.  

Once upon a time, Norman pretended to give a damn about the Iraq War.  He used for publicity.  These days, he pimps War Hawk Joe Biden.  These days, he refuses to demand accountability for the ongoing war.

Not everyone's as cowardly and pathetic as Norman Solomon.

General debate Item 4: Human rights situations that require the Council’s attention 

25 September 2020 

Thank you, President, 

We are deeply concerned about the systematic and widespread human rights violations in Iraq. We have raised this issue many times before UN relevant bodies and are still of the firm belief that the situation requires special attention by this Council. 

It is appalling that international crimes committed by powerful states against other states are too often erased from humanity’s collective memory and replaced with propaganda to cover up the millions of lives destroyed and extinguished through these crimes. We call attention to the 2003 illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq for which not a single person responsible has been brought to justice. The victims of that heinous war are entitled to the protections of international law and cannot be removed from our collective memory. 

 Therefore, International-Lawyers and Geneva International Centre for Justice repeat their calls to establish an international, independent Commission of inquiry to investigate all human rights violations in Iraq since 2003 in order to hold all perpetrators accountable. 

It is also appalling that the Iraqi government continues to evade calls for accountability for thousands of disappeared persons by branding them as terrorists solely on the basis that they derive from certain ethnic regions in Iraq. Human rights defenders in Iraq are subjected to abductions and assassinations merely for exercising their fundamental rights. 

Impunity enables these violations to persist and we repeat our call upon the Council to take all necessary measures to stop these grave violations. 

Thank you.

Meanwhile Nahal Toosi, Lara Seligman and Natasha Bertrand (POLITICO) report:

President Donald Trump is weighing closing the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad as intelligence agencies in recent weeks have picked up specific threats against American forces in Iraq, including against the embassy itself, according to three people with knowledge of the intelligence.

Over the past week, senior U.S. officials have told their Iraqi counterparts that they will close the massive, heavily fortified embassy within days unless Iraqi leaders do more to rein in the Iranian-backed militias lobbing rockets at and otherwise threatening the diplomatic outpost, people familiar with the issue said. 

It’s not clear how imminent any potential attack might be, or whether it is the driving factor in the administration’s recent push to reduce the number of U.S. troops in Iraq. But the situation bears echoes of another fraught incident: the attack on the U.S. consulate and another facility in Benghazi, Libya, that killed four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens. 

Looking at the same basic details, Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr insists that civil war will break out in Iraq if this issue isn't addressed while an unsigned piece at ALJAZEERA insists that the Iranian government will see it as a sign of impending war with Iran if US diplomats pull out of Iraq.

How will you read the tea leaves?

Study war no more
Lay down your arms
Study war no more
Lay 'em down lay 'em down now
Study war no more
Lay down your arms
Study war no more

Newsreels rattle the Nazi dread
The able-bodied have shipped away
Molly McGee gets her tea-leaves read
You'll be married in a month they say
"These leaves are crazy!
Look at this town there's no men left!
Just frail old boys and babies
Talking to teacher in the treble clef"

She plants her garden in the spring
She does the winter shovelling
Tokyo Rose on the radio
She says she's leavin' but she don't go

Out of the blue just passin' thru
A young flight sergeant
On two weeks leave
Says "Molly McGee no one else will do!"
And seals the tea-leaf prophecy
Oh these nights are strong and soft
Private passions and secret storms
Nothin' about him ticks her off
And he looks so cute in his uniform

She plants her garden in the spring
He does the winter shovelling
But summer's just a sneeze
In a long long bad winter cold
She says "I'm leavin' here" but she don't go

"Sleep little darlin'!
This is your happy home
Hiroshima cannot be pardoned!
Don't have kids when you get grown
Because this world is shattered
The wise are mourning
The fools are joking
Oh what does it matter?
The wash needs ironing
And the fire needs stoking"

She plants her garden in the spring
He does the winter shovelling
The three of 'em laughing 'round the radio
She says "I'm leavin' here" but she don't go

She plants her garden in the spring
They do the winter shovelling
They sit up late and watch the
Johnny Carson show
She says "I'm leavin' here but she don't go

-- "Tea Leaf Prophecy," written by Joni Mitchell, first appears on her CHALKMARK IN A RAINSTORM.

Isaiah's THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS "The Set Up" went up last night.  The following sites updated:

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Sick of apologists for corporatist Democrats



Monday evening, Isaiah's THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS "The Set Up" went up.  I'm sick of Nancy Pelosi.  Democrats need a fighter and Nancy never fights for the average American.  She just fights for the rich.  I'm sick of apologists for the Democratic Party as well.  Genevieve Leigh (WSWS) writes:


Under conditions of unprecedented political crisis in the United States, Jacobin magazine, which is politically affiliated with the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), is ever more openly positioning itself as both a defender and adviser to the Biden campaign.

In one of the latest articles in this vein, David Sirota and Andrew Perez (“To Fight Trump’s Rising Authoritarianism, Dems Must Drop Their Learned Helplessness”) respond to Trump’s declaration last week that he would not accept a peaceful transfer of power in the event he loses the upcoming presidential election. The authors also condemn his attempt to rush through a Supreme Court nominee that could be a major factor in deciding the next president in the event of a contested election.

In characterizing the significance of these developments, Sirota and Perez write: “This is a crime in process—specifically, a coup that will be engineered remotely by Zoom, as Republican lawmakers now plan to leave Washington without passing a pandemic relief bill and return only for votes to install a new Supreme Court justice to throw the election.”


Trump is indeed attempting to prepare an electoral coup. He is utilizing the election campaign for this purpose, including the incitement of far-right and fascistic elements and threats to invoke the Insurrection Act to deploy the military throughout the United States.

The pressing question facing workers and youth is how this descent into dictatorship and fascism can be stopped. The perspective offered by Jacobin magazine is to channel all opposition behind the Democratic Party.

Sirota and Perez spend a great deal of time reviewing and criticizing the response of the Democrats to Trump’s plotting. They criticize Chuck Schumer’s signal late last week that Senate Democrats would not be waging any serious opposition to Trump’s nomination, along with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s retreat on her empty threats to shut down the government.

Perez and Sirota conclude that the feckless prostration of the Democratic Party is the product of Democrats’ “learned helplessness.” They write that the pathology of the party is “anti-opposition” and one that “embraces any capitulation—no matter how amoral—in the name of electability, living to fight another day, and good manners.”

One could hardly have a more inane analysis of American politics than that offered by Jacobin magazine. According to Perez and Sirota, the Democrats are cast as the Cowardly Lion in the Wizard of Oz, who laments his lack of courage. If only the Democrats had the nerve! Then Dorothy would find her way home to Kansas, and American democracy would be saved from dictatorship.

Absent from the analysis of Jacobin is any reference to the class interests that the Democratic Party represents. The Democratic Party is the oldest capitalist party in the US. It represents a powerful faction of Wall Street, the military and the intelligence agencies, in alliance with privileged sections of the upper-middle class.


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

 Monday, September 28, 2020.  Joe Biden gets caught in another lie while the US government talks shutting down the Baghdad-based embassy.

Is Joe Biden making a mistake in not campaigning?  Yes, he is.  The lie has been that he's doing this due to the Coronavirus.  But if that were true, if Joe were trying to set a good example, wouldn't his wife be off the campaign trail?  

For example:

Jill's out campaigning.  Why isn't Joe?

The idiot on the Democratic Party side needs to be called out.  Instead, she gets to spew and spew.  RISING really doesn't do a good job of holding people accountable.

Joe Biden does not have firm support and poor debate performances can send 'supporters' fleeing.  Liz Peek (FOX NEWS) notes:

Can the Democrat candidate survive 90 minutes of an unscripted, fast-paced presidential debate without claiming to have been in the Senate for 180 years or putting the COVID-19 death toll at 200 million Americans, goofs he has made in recent days? Can he endure the challenges sure to come from President Trump without wandering off into the ether?

That is the question, the elephant in the room.

More problems for Joe?  He can't stop lying.  Lee Brown (NEW YORK POST) reports:

Delaware State University has denied that Joe Biden has ever been a student there — after the presidential candidate’s claim that he “got started” at the historically black college.

The 77-year-old Democrat made his claim while praising historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) during a town hall event last October before the South Carolina Democratic primary, video shows.

“I got started out of a HBCU, Delaware State,” he told pupils at Wilson High School in Florence, which was founded in 1866 by the Freedmen’s Bureau for Black children seeking an education.

Hmm.  Remember when Anita Dunham and Joe Biden tried to weaponize a transcript to discredit a woman who was accusing Joe of assault?  Anthony Zenkus Tweets:

I am a recognized expert in gender-violence and trauma. I have trained over 1,000 judges in NY State. I have been a director at two rape crisis centers. I have known hundreds of victims throughout my career. I have heard Tara Reade. I know Tara Reade. And #IBelieveTaraReade.

Tara is highly credible.  I remember when St. Beau Biden shut down the man stating he had sex with Barack Obama -- Saint Beau used his position as an AG.  I have no idea whether or not the man was telling the truth.   But one man went public with claims and a Democratic AG stepped forward when the press was finally interested -- stepped forward and snuffed interest.  Remind you of supposed fallout that was going to come from Tara's previous court testimonies?  Interesting how that story went no where after it was used to attack Tara's reputation.  It's a pattern.  We should all grasp that it's a pattern.

Berkley Brannon announced, as Tara's story was gaining traction, that he was launching an investigation into her credentials.  That was May.  It's four months later.  How long does it take to investigate a resume?  It was a nice distraction, an easy way to get an already reluctant press to walk away from a story they never wanted to cover.

Turning to Iraq, Sunday Isabel Coles and Michael R. Gordon (WALL ST. JOURNAL) broke the news regarding a line in the sand -- or threat -- the US government was drawing/making in Iraq, "The Trump administration has warned Iraq it is preparing to shut down its embassy in Baghdad unless the Iraqi government stops a spate of rocket attacks by Shiite militias against U.S. interests, Iraqi and U.S. officials said Sunday, in a fresh crisis in relations between the two allies." Farhad Alaaldin (RUDAW) explains, "Baghdad’s Green Zone, which includes the American embassy, was subjected to 19 attacks with Katyusha rockets and mortars in September alone, some of which reached their targets inside the embassy’s vicinity, in addition to 25 IED attacks on convoys serving international coalition forces and an attack on a British diplomatic convoy in Baghdad on 15th of September." John Davison (REUTERS) notes, "The concern among the Iraqis is that pulling out diplomats would be followed quickly by military action against forces Washington blamed for attacks."  Louisa Loveluck, Missy Ryan and John Hudson (WASHINGTON POST) add:

“We hope the American administration will reconsider it,” Ahmed Mulla Talal, a spokesman for Prime Minister Mustafa ­al-Kadhimi, said Sunday. “There are outlaw groups that try to shake this relationship, and closing the embassy would send a negative message to them.”

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo notified Kadhimi of the plans Saturday night, according to an official familiar with the matter. Two Western officials in Baghdad said their country’s diplomatic missions had been informed of the plan.

It was unclear on Sunday whether the White House had signed off on a possible departure and what might prompt the Trump administration to shelve the plan. If the administration moves forward, closing the embassy is expected to take 90 days, a window that would give Washington the opportunity to reassess the decision, said a diplomat familiar with the situation.

Is it a real possibility or just a weak threat that won't be backed up?  How serious is the US government right now?  That's open to debate apparently.  Justine Coleman (THE HILL) notes:

It was unclear on Sunday whether the White House had signed off on a possible departure and what might prompt the Trump administration to shelve the plan. If the administration moves forward, closing the embassy is expected to take 90 days, a window that would give Washington the opportunity to reassess the decision, said a diplomat familiar with the situation.

And it's not just the US government calling out the attacks.  Strangely enough, Moqtada al-Sadr has been making noises about this throughout last week.  YENISAFAK notes, "On Friday, al-Sadr called for an investigation into repeated attacks on foreign missions in Iraq and bringing perpetrators to justice."  MIDDLE EAST IN THE FIELD Tweets:

Muqtada Al-Sadr the famous Iraqi Shiite cleric spoke against rocket attacks on US embassy.

Anas Ameer Tweets:

 Iraqi Shia cleric “Muqtada al-Sadr” called for an investigation into repeated attacks on foreign missions in Iraq and bringing the perpetrators to justice.

The call came after two Shia groups (Hezbollah & al-Nujaba) threatened to launch more attacks against #US forces in #Iraq.

On Arabic social media, this has registered and has some wondering if Moqtada is on the US payroll.  

In related news, XINHUA reports:

The U.S. embassy in Iraq announced on Sunday that it will conduct a series of emergency tests and drills after a recent series of attacks.

"Over the course of the next two days, the U.S. embassy will be conducting a series of tests and drills of our emergency procedures and equipment," the embassy said in a statement.

The statement did not give further details about the drills, but observers believe such drills are meant to enhance the protection of the embassy to prevent the landing of mortar rounds and rockets.

The following sites updated:

New content at THIRD:

  • Saturday, September 26, 2020

    Why does Oliver Stone lie?

     I try to like Oliver Stone, I really try.  We're supposed to be on the same side politically.  But then he'll speak and I just cringe.  Here he is from an interview he just did with Jacobin when he's asked why it took so long for Vietnam films to find an audience:

    They’d seen some movies before my movies, which were the Sylvester Stallone version [the Rambo franchise] and the Chuck Norris [the Missing in Action] version. There was The Deer Hunter (1978), Apocalypse Now (1979), and Coming Home (1978). Coming Home was very realistic but didn’t do very well. Apocalypse Now and The Deer Hunter were very successful but at the same time not very realistic. They were strong, metaphoric films. The other films that were notable were jingoistic and garbage.


    I don't like liars.  "Coming Home . . .  didn't do very well."  What a f**king lie.

    It did better than The Deer Hunter.  Do you know how they sold The Deer Hunter to get Oscars?  By not showing it.  That's not me making it up.  That's what they did.  If more people had seen it, it wouldn't have won the few Oscars that it did.  Jane Fonda's Coming Home won for script and for best actress (Fonda) and for best actor (Jon Voight).

    More to the point, it was an actual hit film.  It made money.  It cost 3 million to make and brought in 12 times that.  The Deer Hunter cost 15 million to make and brought in three times that.

    Coming Home was one of 1978's top money makers.  The Deer Hunter wasn't.

    It made its money in 1979 -- after the Oscars.  Coming Home was released in 1978 and made money.

    The Deer Hunter was released in two theaters in December 1978 -- two theaters to qualify for Oscar nominations.  It didn't even make a million dollars in 1978.  So when you go to Crapaperdia or whatever bulls**t website that tells you The Deer Hunter was number ten in 1978, they are LYING.

    It is not the tenth biggest money maker of 1978.  It made nothing in 1978.  It made its money in 1979 -- especially after its Oscar wins.  Anyone telling you otherwise is a f**king liar.

    Now why is Oliver pretending that Coming Home didn't do well?

    Uh, because he worked on it and didn't get credit because his work wasn't all that important.

    Maybe Oliver should have disclosed that in the interview?  

    No recipe this week, I'm not in the mood.  I don't like liars.

    Not the world's biggest Jane Fonda film but she busted her ass to make Coming Home and it was a hit.  Give her the credit she deserves.

     I was about to post when I called C.I.  She said I was right about The Deer Hunter and to go to The Numbers and I could find the top grossing films for 1978 and would see that The Deer Hunter wasn't on the list.  It's not.  Coming Home is the 15th most successful film of 1978.  Again, The Deer Hunter, only released in two theaters in December of 1978, is not on the list.

    Go to 1979 and you'll see that The Deer Hunter didn't make the top ten that year -- it's at number 11.

    Crapapedia's a damn liar.

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

     Friday, September 25, 2020.  As usual, we look at some of the candidates running for president and we also note how the current mess (crisis?) re: the Supreme Court was completely predicatable.

    Starting with the issue of the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg.  Margaret Kimberley (BLACK AGENDA REPORT) points out:

    The Supreme Court is supposed to be the issue that ends all arguments. The fact that the Democrats mishandled this situation so badly is one of the reasons they have deified the late justice Ginsburg. They have to divert attention from the mess they created. The federal courts would not play such a large political role if the Democrats were serious about winning and keeping legislative majorities. When Barack Obama was president they lost more than 900 seats in state legislatures, the House of Representatives and the Senate.

    The loss of the Senate was particularly devastating. Ginsburg should have stepped down when Obama still had the Democratic Party control needed to nominate a replacement. Instead, the 80-year old who had already been diagnosed with cancer was supremely arrogant. In 2014 Ginsburg was dismissive of prudent calls for her to retire and said so publicly . “So tell me who the president could have nominated this spring that you would rather see on the court than me?” Thanks to her hubris, Democrats are now caught in a mixture of panic and overly deferential mourning.

    [. . .]

    The Republican Supreme Court super majority is a very bad thing for the country. But it all came about because of the Democratic Party. The sooner voters abandon them and build progressive politics for themselves, the better. The people must save themselves and the first thing they can do is detach themselves from the losers. Giving money to their PACs is a waste and so is idolizing a dead justice. For that matter, idolizing a dead political party is equally foolish.

    RBG should have stepped down.  And this we must honor her dying wish nonsense?  I'm sorry, when did the US become the Make A Wish Foundation?  And when did an 87-year-old woman become a young child whose life would be tragically cut short?

    Ruth did not own a seat on the court.  She cannot 'will it' to anyone.  If she wanted a say, the answer was to resign, not hold on when she clearly was incapacitated.  She lived a long life -- longer than women who live in poverty, as we noted in "Ruth Badger Ginsburg (Ava and C.I.)" -- she made decisions that we are now stuck dealing with.  She was no saint and this problem we now address is one of her own making.

    As some began to accept reality, people got nervous about how the Dems in the Senate would handle a nominee from US President Doanld Trump.  John Bresnahan and Marianne Levine (POLITICO) report on the panic over the realization that Ranking Member on the Judiciary Committee Dianne Feinstein might not be up to the job.  She is 87 years old, for example, the same age that RBG died at.  From the report:

    Some Democrats privately fear that Feinstein could mishandle the situation and hurt their chances of winning back the majority.

    Feinstein sometimes gets confused by reporters’ questions, or will offer different answers to the same question depending on where or when she’s asked. Her appearance is frail. And Feinstein's genteel demeanor, which seems like it belongs to a bygone Senate era, can lead to trouble with an increasingly hard-line Democratic base uninterested in collegiality or bipartisan platitudes.

    [. . .]

    A Democratic senator, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said a group of Feinstein’s colleagues want Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) or Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) to serve as the top Democrat on the Judiciary panel for the upcoming nomination hearings, which are expected to be extraordinarily contentious. This senator is worried that potential missteps by Feinstein could cost Democrats seats.

    Sorry, people, she's the Ranking Member.  It's the role she was given and I don't see her saying, "Here, take the baton."  I really don't see her saying that.  Back to the article:

    Other Democrats privately said there have been complaints to party leaders that Feinstein is not capable of handling the Judiciary post in the current situation. Some of these senators said Feinstein should have retired rather than run for reelection in 2018 at age 85. Feinstein’s age was an issue in that campaign and was raised repeatedly in news reports, but she defeated Democrat Kevin de Leon by almost 10 points.

    Wait, you mean we wouldn't be in this situation right now if Dianne hadn't run for re-election or if a bunch of reactionary (and some xenophobic) jerks (most not even in California -- meaning they couldn't vote in the race) hadn't attacked Kevin Leon?  We supported Kevin here.  We pointed out Dianne had already lost her grip on reality and that either she would be 91 at the end of her term or leave office early --  possibly due to death.

    I didn't want Dianne in the Senate to begin with.  So don't come crying to me over the mess you made on the carpet.  This was all seeable if you only opened your damn eyes.  Rebecca noted in her January 12, 2006 piece on the Alito hearing (which NYT linked to and remains one of her most popular posts) "alito hearings: like really bad sex:"

    diane feinstein, to name 1 of the worst offenders, could shoot scattershot (although she acted as though she were tossing out lillies throughout the hearings) in the other days but on the final day, she didn't need to be bringing up new issues. this is where you make the case to the people.
    not where you suddenly introduce a new topic.

    and for some 1 who interrupted ted kennedy repeatedly the day prior as he asked about caps, wasn't it strange that she didn't have a question on that? when kennedy was speaking yesterday, she couldn't stop interrupting. today? she's moved on.

    miss diane gets my vote for most useless and i'm not fan of kohl. but miss diane was supposed to be fighting for women and instead we got a timid school marm trying to get the rowdy class to like her.

    it's not just her. that's a point c.i. made tonight in the roundtable. c.i. pointed out that arlen specter couldn't stop treating her like she was a 'special' and not a real senator. he referred to her 'dramatic entrance.' there was another specific example c.i. brought up but i'm forgetting it now. but the point is, she is treated that way by others on the committee.

    as an adult, she should ask them to cut it out. instead she seems tickled by the patronizing attitude.

    i'm looking for the non-action figure miss diane. she comes non-fully poseable. she's in a seated postion. you can extend her legs or bend them depending upon whether you want her to sit in a chair or to sit on the floor. she wears a lovely dress with several layers. she comes with white gloves and the cutest little purse that matches her hat, her belt and her shoes. the non-action figure has a silly grin pasted on its face and is called 'miss diane, girl senator.'

    the tea set is purchased separately.

    Miss Dianne, Girl Senator.  And Ted was furious about Dianne interrupting in the middle of his questioning, his time that he was using to build to  a point that feckless Dianne destroyed.  That was 2006 and Ted wasn't hiding how he felt, I was in a room with seven other people after that day's hearing where Ted unloaded on how incompetent Dianne was in that hearing.

    So you cheered on a woman who, when functioning, was an imbecile and now she's way too old and way too incompetent and we need strength so suddenly you're concerned?

    Or as they say in DEATH BECOMES HER, "Now a warning?"


    This was all predictable -- no crystal ball required.  

    That's Ruth's death, that's Dianne's incompetence.  This moment built slowly and over time but people didn't want to get honest and face reality.  That's why we are where we are now.

    And more lies aren't going to help.  Pretending that RBG's 'dying wish' matters is a lie.  There's nothing in the Constitution about that.  There's no law and there's no custom.  

    Am I thrilled at where we are in this moment?  Hell no.  But as someone who worked to avoid this moment, I hope to hell we can at least make this miserable moment a teachable moment and learn from it.

    But maybe there are no teachable moments to a public that's become fixated on lies and 'tactics' and thinks the ends justify the means?  The Democratic Party, my party, has long been headed to the gutter but certainly we moved a lot quicker once we brought David Brock into the fold.  What he did to Anita Hill was unacceptable and his so-called 'confession' -- in ESQUIRE article form or later in the book -- was not a confession.  It was dishonest and self-serving and left out the fact that he got his feelings hurt when his blond gal-pals (you know who I mean) would make homophobic statements.  They were cruel and racist women but he was fine with that and glad to make them his hags until they dished a little too much about gay people in the same hateful way they talked about people of color.  

    David didn't leave the GOP, he was exiled. 

    And not only were we stupid enough to embrace him (Hey, Naomi Wolf, I'm looking at your crazy ass), we put him in positions of power, funded him, so he could bring his sewer tactics over from the GOP and use them for 'our side.'

    That's not my side.  

    And it shouldn't be the Democratic Party's side.  But it is and that's where we're at now.

    That's a new commercial from Howie Hawkins who is running to be the next president of the United States on the Green Party ticket.  Can you watch it and be honest?  Because it has happened twice.

    And somehow, everyone's supposed to just accept it?  Pretend like 2016 didn't happen?

    You ignore reality at your own peril  -- RBG's death should make that very clear.    

    But so many ignore it.  Some are such David Brock-ers that they even create lies to pretend Joe Biden wasn't the Iraq War cheerleader (and bully) that he was.  And, goodness knows, no one wants to talk about how Iraq fell apart during Barack's presidency and how Joe was in charge of Iraq.  It wasn't the drawdown of US troops, it was Joe backing Nouri al-Maliki for a second term when the Iraqi people voted him out of office in their 2010 election.  Joe shows up in Iraq, after The Erbil Agreement is set and tells the Iraqis some stupid story about Ireland that's got nothing to do with their own situation.

    Emma Sky at POLITICO in 2015:

    However, when Biden phoned up the two leaders that week, he did not stick to the agreed line. Instead, he told Maliki that the United States would support him remaining as prime minister, and he told Allawi that he should accept Maliki as PM. In the Arabic media, there was confusion as to why the United States and Iran should both choose Maliki as prime minister, and this fuelled conspiracy theories about a secret deal between those two countries.

    When I met Rafi, he was incredulous: “How come one week the U.S. was telling everyone that Maliki should step down and the next week telling Maliki he should be PM?” He went on: “Why is the U.S. picking the prime minister? This is Iraq. This is our country. We have to live here. And we care passionately about building a future for our children.” He was deeply upset.

    Biden visited Iraq at the end of August 2010. By then, Hill had been replaced as ambassador by Jim Jeffrey. In internal meetings, one U.S. adviser argued that Maliki was “our man”: He would give us a follow-on Status of Forces Agreement to keep a small contingent of U.S. forces in Iraq after 2011; he was a nationalist; and he would fight the Sadrists. Furthermore, the official claimed that Maliki had promised him that he would not seek a third term. “Maliki is not our friend,” replied another official, Jeff Feltman, the assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern Affairs, exasperated at the delusional nature of the discussion. But Biden had been persuaded by the arguments that there was no one but Maliki who could be prime minister and that he would sign a new security agreement with the United States. The Obama administration wanted to see an Iraqi government in place before the U.S. mid-term elections in November. Biden believed the quickest way to form a government was to keep Maliki as prime minister, and to cajole other Iraqis into accepting this.

    “Iraqiya genuinely fear Maliki,” General O explained. They were scared that he would accuse them of being terrorists or bring charges of corruption against them, and would arrest them. Maliki had accused Rafi of being the leader of a terrorist group, for instance—allegations that were totally unfounded. General O described how Maliki had changed so much over the past six months. He had become more sectarian and authoritarian. Iraqis had reason to fear him.

    I tried to explain the struggle between secularists and Islamists, and how many Iraqis wanted to move beyond sectarianism. But Biden could not fathom this. For him, Iraq was simply about Sunnis, Shia and Kurds.

    I tried another tack: “It is important to build belief in the democratic process by showing people that change can come about through elections—rather than violence. The peaceful transfer of power is key—it has never happened in the Arab World.” At the very least, either Maliki or Talabani needed to give up his seat; otherwise, they would both think they owned the seats. Biden did not agree. He responded that there were often elections in the United States that did not bring about any change.

    Biden’s easy smile had evaporated. He was clearly irritated by me. “Look, I know these people,” he went on. “My grandfather was Irish and hated the British. It’s like in the Balkans. They all grow up hating each other.”

    The conversation ended, as we had to head over to the meeting with Iraqiya members. Some were in suits, others were wearing their finest traditional robes. There were Sunni Arabs, Shia Arabs, Turkmen Shia, Kurds and a Christian. The full tapestry of Iraqi society was sitting facing us—distinguishable only by their dress, clearly showing us the sort of Iraq they wanted to live in.

    Biden started off smiling: “I know you people. My grandfather was Irish and hated the British.” Everyone turned toward me, the Brit. The Iraqis were grinning, expecting there was going to be a good spat between Brits and Americans. How could I stop Biden making a totally inappropriate comment about them all being Sunnis and hating Shia? Thinking on my feet, I said, “Don’t look at me, Mr. Vice President, I am not the only Brit in the room.” One of the Iraqis piped up: “I have a British passport.”

    Biden lost his train of thought and moved on. He said that one of his predecessors, Al Gore, had technically won more votes in the 2000 presidential election, but for the good of America had stepped back rather than keep the country in limbo while fighting over the disputed vote-count.

    Allawi pretended not to understand that Biden was suggesting he give up his claim to have first go at trying to form the government, letting Maliki remain as prime minister. The meeting finished. After we left, I was sure the Iraqis would be wondering why on earth Biden had mentioned his Irish grandfather and Al Gore. If only President Obama had paid attention to Iraq. He, more than anyone, would understand the complexity of identities, I thought—and that people can change. But his only interest in Iraq, it appeared, was in ending the war.

    Be very still and silent for a moment and I think you can hear Iraq collectively telling Joe Biden to f**k off every time he whines that Donald Trump might not accept the election results this year.  He overturned an election in Iraq and now he wants to be a hypocrite and worry that someone else might not accept the results?

    Howie participated in an event in the Bronx with Margaret Kimberley.

    Howie's not the only one running for the office of president.  Along with Joe Biden and Donald Trump, Jo Jorgesen is running.  She's the Libertarian Party's presidential candidate.

    Jo will be on the ballot in all fifty states and should be on the debate stage next month as a result.  (See "How We Can get Jo Jorgensen in the Debates Plus ho....")  She's out and about -- unlike the other Joe.

    Maybe that should be a slogan for her campaign?  Unlike the other Joe?

    Jo is out and about, interacting with voters.  Sitting down for unscripted and freewheeling interviews.  She's a real candidate.

    Joe Biden's become the veal candidate -- fattened up in his cage.

    Unlike the other Joe in the race, Jo Jorgensen can answer as to who she'd put on the Supreme Court if she had that power.

    Libertarian for president Dr. Jo Jorgensen chooses liberty-minded jurists

    GREENVILLE, S.C.; 9/23/2020 – The Libertarian Party and its Presidential candidate Dr. Jo Jorgensen join the nation in mourning the death of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. 

    She was a dauntless supporter of civil liberties, and her close friendship with her ideological opponent Antonin Scalia demonstrated her respect for civility, despite differences.

    President Trump and Senate Republicans now aim to replace Justice Ginsberg before the election. If Democrats succeed in stopping them, the next president will be faced with the immediate task of nominating a justice to the Supreme Court.

    Today Dr. Jo Jorgensen, Libertarian for president, named a list of legal experts that she would consider for this nomination, should she be elected.  

    “We need justices who, unlike the majority of those appointed to our highest court over the past 100 years, will strictly uphold our Constitution,” said Jorgensen. “We must restore the limits that our Founders imposed on federal authority and rigorously defend both individual liberty and property rights.”

    The following individuals are on Dr. Jorgensen’s list of potential U.S. Supreme Court nominees:

    Richard Epstein is a law professor and director of the Classical Liberal Institute at New York University. A study published in The Journal of Legal Studies identified him as the 12th most often-cited legal scholar of the 20th century.  He is known for his prolific writings on subjects pertaining to law, economics, classical liberalism, and libertarianism.

    Judge Andrew Napolitano was a New Jersey Superior Court judge and hosted the daily TV talk show Freedom Watch on Fox Business News. He is a syndicated columnist published in ReasonThe Washington Times and elsewhere and is a frequent commentator and news analyst on Fox.

    Randy Barnett is on the faculty of the Georgetown University Law Center and a senior fellow at Cato Institute. His eleven published books include Restoring the Lost Constitution: The Presumption of Liberty. He was involved in the legal challenge to Obamacare — National Federation of Independent Businesses v. Sebelius. 

    Clint Bolick is an associate justice on the Arizona Supreme Court. In 1991 Bolick co-founded the Institute for Justice. In 2007, he became VP of Litigation at the Goldwater Institute where he was a frequent critic of Sheriff Joe Arpaio. 

    Eugene Volokh has been a UCLA law professor since 1994 and is the originator of the prominent legal blog, the Volokh Conspiracy. He clerked for Judge Alex Kozinski on the 9th Circuit and for Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. 

    Janice Rogers Brown served as Circuit Judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and was an associate justice of the California Supreme Court. In a speech to the University of Chicago Law School Federalist Society she said, “Where government moves in, community retreats, civil society disintegrates, and our ability to control our own destiny atrophies.” 

    Dana Berliner is the senior vice president and litigation director at the Institute for Justice. She was co-counsel representing the homeowner in Kelo v. New London, the notorious case where SCOTUS ruled that eminent domain could be used by a city for the sole reason of increasing its property tax base. 

    Anastasia Boden is a senior attorney at Pacific Legal Foundation specializing in litigating against anti-competitive licensing laws and laws that restrict freedom of speech. She graduated from law school at Georgetown where she was Research Assistant to Professor Randy Barnett. 

    Timothy Sandefur is the vice president for litigation at the Goldwater Institute and an adjunct scholar at the Cato Institute. He’s the author of numerous books including Frederick Douglas: Self Made Man and The Right to Earn a Living. He argued against Obamacare before the U.S. Supreme Court. 

    Scott Bullock is President and General Counsel of the Institute for Justice. He was co-counsel in Kelo v. New London. 

    James Ostrowski has practiced trial and appellate work for more than 35 years. He was an attorney for Ron Paul and is the chief organizer of He writes extensively on a variety of topics for the Mises Institute and has published four books, including Progressivism: a Primer on the Idea Destroying America

    Alan Gura was co-counsel for the plaintiff in District of Columbia v. Heller, which upheld the individual right to own a firearm. It was one of two landmark constitutional cases that he argued successfully before the U.S. Supreme Court. The National Law Journal named him one of the “100 Most Influential Lawyers in America.”

    Jonathan Turley teaches torts, criminal procedure and constitutional law at George Washington University Law School. He is ranked the 38th most cited public intellectual in a study by Judge Richard Posner. He received the columnist of the year award from the Aspen Institute and The Week for his columns on civil liberties. 

    Damien Schiff is a senior attorney at Pacific Law Foundation where he successfully argued the precedent-setting property rights case, Sackett v. Environmental Protection Agency when he was 33 years old. He was nominated to the Court of Federal Claims but not confirmed. 

    Clark Neily was co-counsel for the plaintiff in District of Columbia v. Heller, which upheld the individual right to bear arms. He was a senior attorney at the Institute for Justice before joining the Cato Institute in 2017, where he is Vice President for Criminal Justice overseeing civil asset forfeiture, police accountability, gun rights, overcriminalization and constitutional law. 

    Nadine Strossen was the youngest person ever to head the ACLU. She is a staunch First Amendment advocate and a founder of Feminists for Free Expression. Among her books is “Hate: Why We Should Resist It with Free Speech, Not Censorship”. 

    Jacob Hornberger was Director of Programs for the Foundation for Economic Education and founded the Future of Freedom Foundation where he serves as president  He placed second in the delegate count for the 2020 LP nomination for president. 

    Don Willett serves on the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals and was previously a member of the Supreme Court of Texas. According to the outlet SCOTUSblog, “Willett views the role of judges as protecting individual liberty by striking down laws that infringe on it.” Willett has also been named by President Donald Trump as a potential Supreme Court nominee.

    Again, unlike the other Joe, Jo Jorgensen's a presidential candidate who will talk about the tough issues and do so clearly.

    Gloria La Riva, unlike Joe Biden, is not afraid to tell the people what she believes.  She doesn't whisper to Wall Street one thing -- pillow talk -- and tell the American people something else.

    Gloria's running on the Party for Socialism and Liberation's ticket.  People in fifteen states will be able to vote for her and have their vote counted.

    Gloria La Riva and Sunil Freeman gain ballot access in Rhode Island

    As of Friday, September 11, Rhode Island becomes the fifteenth state to welcome socialist candidates Gloria La Riva and Sunil Freeman to the ballot for the United States presidential election on November 3. This ballot access was achieved by obtaining close to 1600 signatures — 600 more than the state’s requirement.

    PSL members residing in Massachachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut joined efforts to organize the petition gathering. Many organizers traveled multiple hours daily in order to contribute, some while fasting over the month in observance of Black August. Collection of petitioned signatures was also challenging due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Canvassers were sure to adhere to physical distancing protocols such as wearing masks and sanitizing equipment.

    Petitioning was done at local Farmers’ markets, Flea markets and at Kennedy Plaza, the main bus station of Providence. The canvassing pitch, “Would you like to help put a socialist on the ballot?” was often met with a resounding “hell yes!” In working class neighborhoods such as Central Falls and Pawtucket, socialism and La Riva/Freeman’s election manifesto were enthusiastically discussed by Black and brown residents. As a Black mother signed the petition, her young son asked “What is socialism?” She responded, “It is for your future.”

    Many residents who supported ballot access for La Riva/Freeman were not allowed to vote despite living and working in RI. Immigrants are disqualified from voting making them unable to provide a valid signature on any ballot petition. Organizers noted one resident who took a flyer, read through the program and nodded. When they signed the petition, they left the address column empty due to not having a home. Without a home, their petition will be rejected. These examples are not exceptions, but evidence of a rule. The United States electoral system is built to prevent working and oppressed people from participating politically.

    Petitioning for ballot access was part of a larger goal for PSL organizers to deepen relationships with working class struggles in RI. Canvassers joined uprisings against police brutality and demonstrations for rent cancellation. They took part in an event where educators demanded a safe reopening of schools and another where residents spoke out against the proposed destruction of Providence’s main transit hub. Organizers were there to provide a broad socialist response to local struggles. Rather than leaving the politics to the two capitalist parties, fighting and winning is the alternative that putting socialism on the ballot offers.

    Joseph Kishore is the SEP's candidate for US president.  He has an upcoming event this Sunday.

    The 2020 election is unlike any in American history.

    Donald Trump, surrounded by fascist aides, is threatening to appeal to the military and neo-Nazi groups to keep himself in office by use of force, raising the specter of dictatorship. Joe Biden and the Democratic Party, whose unofficial campaign slogan is "nothing will fundamentally change," are more fearful of social opposition than anything else and are hostile to mobilizing masses of people to fight fascism. Instead, they are running a right-wing campaign aimed at portraying Trump as insufficiently bellicose toward Russia and China. Sanders, Ocasio-Cortez and the Democratic Socialists of America fecklessly tag behind Biden.

    The death toll from the coronavirus pandemic has reached 200,000 in the US and nearly 1 million worldwide. The response of both parties in the US has been to force workers back to work and students back to school to fuel big business and boost Wall Street. Strikes and protests against unsafe conditions at workplaces and schools are growing, coalescing with opposition to the never ending spate of police murders that witnessed the largest nationwide demonstrations in decades.

    The working class needs political leadership. Joseph Kishore and Norissa Santa Cruz launched their presidential campaign to fight to develop a revolutionary socialist leadership in the working class. For this reason, federal judges, Democratic and Republican alike, have denied them access to appear on the ballot. At Sunday's meeting, Kishore and Santa Cruz will address the current political crisis and lay out the programmatic response of the Socialist Equality Party.

    With David North, Joseph wrote the following:

    The United States presidential campaign is being transformed into a coup d’état by Donald Trump, who has declared that he will not accept the results of any vote that goes against him.

    At a White House press conference Wednesday evening, Trump was asked whether he would “commit here today for a peaceful transfer of power after the election.” He replied: “We’re going to have to see what happens. You know, I have been complaining very strongly about the ballots. And the ballots are a disaster.”

    When his questioner persisted, Trump said, “You’ll have a very peaceful trans—there won’t be a transfer frankly. There will be a continuation.”

    Trump’s determination to rapidly appoint a new Supreme Court justice to fill the seat left by Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death is a critical element of the unfolding criminal conspiracy. Trump intends to stack the Supreme Court with lackeys who will rubber stamp his repudiation of the election results. “I think this [the election] will end up in the Supreme Court, and I think it’s very important that we have nine justices,” Trump said at the news conference.

    That the preparations for an overthrow of the Constitution are well advanced is now widely acknowledged. A column published Wednesday in the Atlantic, headlined “The Election that Could Break America,” outlines what it called a nightmare scenario for November 3, involving the mobilization of right-wing vigilantes and the seizure of uncounted ballots. The Atlantic references discussions within the White House over how to overturn the election results if they go against Trump:

    According to sources in the Republican Party at the state and national levels, the Trump campaign is discussing contingency plans to bypass election results and appoint loyal electors in battleground states where Republicans hold the legislative majority. With a justification based on claims of rampant fraud, Trump would ask state legislators to set aside the popular vote and exercise their power to choose a slate of electors directly.

    In doing so, Trump would be acting on the basis of Justice Antonin Scalia’s argument in Bush v. Gore 20 years ago, when the Supreme Court intervened to shut down vote-counting in Florida and hand the election to Bush.

    Trump is not running an election campaign. He is setting into motion a plot to establish a presidential dictatorship. This is a continuation of the entire conspiracy initiated with his June 1 speech threatening to invoke the Insurrection Act and deploy the military against domestic protests.

    There is a staggering contrast between the ruthlessness with which Trump and his co-conspirators are implementing their plans and the fecklessness and cowardice of the Democratic Party and its presidential candidate, Joe Biden. Even as Trump is planning to stack the Supreme Court to facilitate his illegal seizure of power, the Democrats have declared that there is nothing that can be done to stop Trump’s appointment of another justice before the November election.

    After Republican Senator Mitt Romney announced Tuesday that he would support Trump's filling of the Ginsburg vacancy, the Democrats abandoned their “resistance” strategy, such as it was, of finding four Republicans who would break with Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and oppose a confirmation vote.

    Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer has declared that “all options are on the table,” but only after the Supreme Court nominee is confirmed, and then only if the Democrats win control of both the Senate and the White House. But the Supreme Court pick is central to Trump’s strategy of maintaining his position in the White House.

    On Tuesday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who proclaimed that her quiver was “full of arrows,” reached an agreement with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to extend funding for the federal government until after the election, removing the threat of a government shutdown in response to Trump’s effort to push through his Supreme Court nomination.

    With this craven capitulation, the Democrats are not only giving up a seat on the Supreme Court, they are going a long way toward surrendering to Trump’s coup.

    Adam Schiff, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said on Wednesday that Trump is seeking “to discredit the votes of millions, stack the Supreme Court to disenfranchise millions and perpetuate himself in office,” warning that this is “how you see democracies end.”

    Schiff’s only response, in addition to blaming “foreign assistance” for Trump’s actions, was to propose legislation to restrain future presidents. He expressed the hope that voters would “turn out in such massive numbers that there’s a landslide repudiation of Trump and Trumpism.”

    The Constitution does not require that a presidential candidate receive a landslide to unseat the incumbent. Schiff’s statement amounts to a declaration that the Democrats will capitulate to Trump if Biden secures anything less than an overwhelming victory.

    Elissa Slotkin, one of the House Democrats closest to the intelligence agencies, stated yesterday that Trump is attempting to carry out a coup d’état, and implied that he was acting with high level support. “The President can’t successfully refuse to accept the results of the election without a number of very high officials aiding him,” she tweeted.

    But her response was merely to appeal to the military, stating that she has been seeking assurance from Pentagon officials that they would ensure a transfer of power if Trump refuses to concede. “To the attorney general, secretary of defense, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and secretary of homeland security,” she said, “history is coming for you, and you will have to make a choice.”

    The pathetic response of the Democratic Party and its presidential candidate to Trump’s conspiracy is determined, above all, by its fear that any call for resistance would trigger a mass movement from below that would get out of control and threaten the capitalist oligarchy.

    The Democrats fear such a development more than anything. Their entire focus over the past four years has been to divert popular opposition to Trump behind the conflicts within the ruling class over foreign policy, centered on the demand for more aggressive action against Russia.

    To subordinate the fight against Trump to the Democratic Party can lead only to a political catastrophe.

    Workers must recognize that American democracy is collapsing. The language of Trump is the language of fascism, dictatorship and civil war. The Democrats, meanwhile, are providing Trump with the ability to carry out his coup d’état, and if they were to come to power, they would implement the same basic class policy.

    Beneath the political crisis in the United States, what is unfolding is a massive confrontation between the corporate and financial aristocracy, which controls both political parties, and the working class. Trump’s coup plotting is entirely bound up with the ruling class policy of “herd immunity”--the drive to force workers to continue working and reopen schools amidst the expanding pandemic, and the utilization of the pandemic to orchestrate a massive redistribution of wealth to the rich.

    For the working class, the fight against the pandemic, the massive social crisis, the unending wave of police violence and the threat of dictatorship is entirely bound up with the fight for socialism.

    The critical issue now is the development of a mass movement of the working class. The logic of the rapidly developing crisis poses before working people the need to prepare for a political general strike. Popular organizations, controlled by working people, should be established in order to prepare resistance to Trump’s criminal conspiracy.

    The growing wave of strikes, protests and demonstrations—including those sparked by the whitewashing yesterday of the police murder of Breonna Taylor in Louisville—must coalesce into a general strike, demanding Trump’s removal from office.

    Joseph Kishore and David North


    The author also recommends:

    The Civil War Election
    [9 September 2020]

    Trump runs for Führer
    [28 August 2020]

    A call to the working class! Stop Trump’s coup d’état!
    [4 June 2020]

    No to American fascism! Build a mass movement to force Trump out!
    [14 October 2019]

    Palace coup or class struggle: The political crisis in Washington and the strategy of the working class
    [13 June 2017]

    The following sites updated: