Friday, August 23, 2019

Bruce Dixon, Taylor Swift, Elizabeth Warren

Bruce Dixon was an important voice.  I followed him from THE BLACK COMMENTATOR over to BLACK AGENDA REPORT.  He passed away recently and he is greatly missed.  Dr. Matthew Quest (BAR) notes:

Bruce Dixon’s life and struggles might be the subject of a novel whose story patiently unfolds in surprising ways to reveal lessons about the battle for survival and the pursuit of defiant joy. Of course, observers of concise history and politics do not have that much time. Most memorials and reminiscence about Bruce remind that he was a giant, and a great warrior. Perhaps we hesitate to say, like most of us, Bruce, the toiling working class father and husband, was always outnumbered, and always outgunned. This must be placed in conversation with a far more remarkably obscure notion. Rarely has Barack Obama’s name been mentioned in the many recollections of what made Bruce great. It is if some wish to subtly apologize in the Age of Trump for how many times Bruce thrashed the previous emperor of the world. But, what type of memorial to a hero leaves out the dragon or nemesis that was bravely confronted?
It should be simpler than it has been. Why not make it plain? Bruce Dixon should enter history, with Margaret Kimberly and Glen Ford, as the most distinguished critic of the Black political class in the Age of Obama. If Black History, US History, or World History is written fairly, even if necessarily concisely, this should be his sentence if not a paragraph. Who could overlook or minimize that Bruce Dixon was the enemy of everything President Obama stood for, and that Obama was the enemy of everything Bruce stood for? Surely, countless of Bruce’s articles testify to this. Here are just a few fragments of Bruce Dixon’s views of President Obama.
Say His Name: Remember the name of Bruce Dixon’s Nemesis?

President Obama, with dastardly civility, deported way more immigrants than Trump. He target-assassinated from the sky many without trial in foreign lands. Obama overthrew Libya and was an unwavering supporter of Israel, even when its leader pissed on his leg. Obama was not an advocate of healthcare for all, but used a discourse of “access” to obscure collaboration with Big Business. He bailed out Wall Street and left working people to fend for themselves as they lost homes and faced consumer debts. Obama used his own image to defame struggling Black men through respectability politics. Obama was an apologist for mass incarceration and police murder under white and black mayors and police chiefs. He repressed real investigative journalism and whistle blowers who exposed his state surveillance and war crimes. 

Again, Bruce Dixon is greatly missed.  Let's move over to music, where Taylor swift has announced she'll be recording her earlier albums.  From NPR's MORNING EDITION:

Tomorrow Taylor Swift will release her seventh studio album. And then she says she plans to go back to the recording booth. But it won't be with new music. Swift is planning to rerecord all of her old songs from her self-titled first album right on through to 2017's "Reputation."


TAYLOR SWIFT: (Singing) Look what you made me do. Look what you made me do.

KING: So why all the rerecording? Ownership. Swift could not get her original master recordings when talent manager Scooter Braun bought them from her old label, Big Machine Records. Taylor Swift was upset, and on Tumblr, she wrote about Braun's involvement with Kanye West and Justin Bieber, artists that she's had bad blood with in the past.


SWIFT: (Singing) 'Cause, baby, now we got bad blood. You know, it used to be mad love. So take a look, what you've done.

KING: Rerecording your entire catalog sounds like a massive undertaking, but it's not unheard of. Artists like Def Leppard have rerecorded their hit songs to get control back from record labels.

AMY WANG: This is a bigger and bigger issue because it has a lot to do with how they control their own image.

KING: That's Amy Wang, the senior music business editor at Rolling Stone, and she says this move by Swift is sort of in line with how she's handled the rest of her career.

Taylor's new album is LOVER and it is out right now, 8/23. 

I'm following Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren's campaign.  Right now they're my two picks and I would be happy to vote for either.  Here are some Tweets from Elizbeth Warren:

  •  Pinned Tweet
    The United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world. Our policies are tearing families apart and devastating communities—and they aren't making us safer. I've got a plan to completely reform the criminal justice system from front to back.
  • Every single day of this campaign matters. As Democrats, we have to be willing to get out there and fight for our country. No more defense—we need to play offense and be the party of big, structural change.
  • Black women are more likely to be breadwinners for their families, yet they’re paid less on average. That’s just wrong. We have a lot of work to do to close that pay gap—and I’m in this fight all the way.
  • It should be quick and easy for anyone to join a union, including graduate student workers. I stand with student workers at and at universities across the country who want to unionize. Their voices must be heard.
  • My granddaughter Lavinia helped me welcome the crowd last night at our Los Angeles town hall. I love being her Gammy and sharing this fight with my family.
  • Every kid should know that when they fight from the heart, they can win—and that includes running for president. And we pinky promise so they won’t forget.
  • We need to do everything we can to support “gig economy” workers. It’s time for all Democrats to support AB 5 and back full employee status for gig workers.
  • It was great meeting your family, Julia! I’m so glad to have you (and your munchkin) in this fight for big structural change.
  • Yay! Thank you Los Angeles, and thank you Laura and Kelly!
  • Climate change is an existential crisis we all face—and it’s going to take big, structural change to solve it. I can’t wait to talk about my plans to protect our planet and tackle climate change at the Climate Crisis Town Hall next month!
  • Surprise, surprise. Donald Trump and his administration are rolling back regulations for their Wall Street big bank buddies. The rich and powerful are tilting the rules to work in their favor, putting everyone else at risk. That ends when I’m president.
  • For decades, the government has helped perpetuate the systemic discrimination that has denied women of color equal opportunities. It’s time for us to right those wrongs—and boost our economy in the process.
  • Our punitive system does little to keep us safer—and it is separating families and devastating entire communities. If we want real justice in this country, we have to make big, structural changes to reform the criminal justice system.
  • For the exact same crimes, Black Americans are more likely than whites to be arrested, charged, wrongfully convicted, and given harsher sentences. The evidence is clear that there are structural race problems in the criminal justice system.
  • I hope to see you there! Chip in any amount to our 100% grassroots-funded campaign, and you’ll be automatically entered to win.
  • America’s public lands are our greatest treasures. But the Trump administration is selling them off to oil and gas companies for pennies on the dollar. It doesn’t have to be this way—and I have a plan to clean up their mess:
  • Trans immigrants like Zuleika—and other vulnerable asylum seekers—face unimaginable risks while the Trump administration forces them to wait in Mexico. My immigration plan ensures they'll be safely and humanely welcomed at ports of entry.

  • Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

    Thursday, August 22, 2019.  Another Democratic hopeful drops out, Israel's bombings of Iraq continue to outrage and more.

    The number of people seeking the Democratic Party's presidential nomination is one person smaller.

    I know you agree that our mission to defeat climate change must continue to be central to our national discussion -- and must be the top priority for our next president. But I’ve concluded that my role in that effort will not be as a candidate to be our next president.



  • As disappointing as this is, it is only right to recognize what we have accomplished and how far we have come together.

  • The tremendous grassroots outpouring of 130,000 individual donors, from every state in the nation, is a testament to the movement that we’ve built together. We hit this high bar set by the DNC. Together, we changed and shaped the entire national dialogue around climate change.

  • Many of the campaigns started with little attention to climate, but since our campaign began, we’ve seen almost every serious candidate put out a climate plan; we’ve seen climate come up in both debates; and we now have two networks hosting nationally-televised climate forums.

  • Most importantly, we have introduced a detailed and comprehensive policy blueprint for bold climate action and transformation to a clean energy economy. We will fight to ensure this gold standard of climate action is adopted and executed by our party and our next president.

  • As we turn to the future, I will have more to say about what comes next for me in the days ahead. I will continue to lead, to demand bold action, and to do everything in my power to ensure the fight to defeat climate change stays at the top of the national agenda.

  • But for now, I want to once again thank everyone who helped in this effort. We have so much to be proud of. Make no mistake, we also have a lot more work to do.

    So early to bed, early to rise, work like hell, and organize. Together, we will continue the fight to defeat the climate crisis.

    For those keeping track, Jay Inslee voted against the Iraq War when he was in the US Congress.  Under current DNC guidelines, he's apparently ineligible for the presidential ticket.  2004's ticket was John Kerry and John Edwards -- both of whom voted for the Iraq War.  2008 and 2012 was Barack Obama and Joe Biden -- Joe voted for the Iraq War (Barack was not in the US Congress in 2002).  2016 saw Hillary garner the nomination and she voted for the Iraq War.

    Jay's position was of no interest to the media.  Last month''s debate saw him attempting to speak about Iraq in response to a question from Jake Tapper only to be ignored and cut off by Don Lemon.  Don didn't want to talk about an ongoing war and the suffering, he preferred to waste everyone's time on a hypothetical impeachment discussion -- no one who wins the nomination, should they become president, will have any power of impeaching Donald Trump.  Impeachment is a matter for the US Congress.

    Jay ran a campaign based on issues.  The media had no use for issues and they largely ignored him.

    He was an important voice.  Unlike Tulsi Gabbard, he tried to use his debate time to discuss war.  He was there to discuss issues, not provide cover to War Hawk Joe Biden.

    In other news, Liz Sly (WASHINGTON POST) reports:

    Iranian-backed militias in Iraq warned Wednesday that foreign aircraft flying over the country may be treated as “hostile” amid growing suspicions that Israel is responsible for mysterious explosions at militia bases.
    The warning came in a statement issued by Abu Mahdi al-Mohandes, the deputy commander of the powerful coalition of Shiite Muslim militias known as Hashd al-Shaabi, or Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), which includes paramilitary groups that owe allegiance to Iran. 
    The statement blamed Israeli drones for four big blasts at militia bases over the past month, all of them at warehouses storing ammunition and weapons, and accused the U.S. military of aiding the strikes by allowing Israel to use U.S. bases in Iraq.
    “We have informed the Joint Operations Command that we will regard any foreign aircraft flying over our headquarters without the knowledge of the Iraqi government as hostile, and will deal with it accordingly,” the statement said.
    Israel has apparently been bombing Iraq for some tie now.  Peter Beaumont (GUARDIAN) adds:

    The claim came after the findings of an Iraqi government inquiry into the huge blast at the facility of the Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF) were leaked.
    A spokesman for the PMF said it had intelligence that showed the US had brought in four Israeli drones earlier this year to work as part of the US fleet in Iraq and target militia positions in the country.

    Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis said the PMF would from now on use “all means at its disposal to deter and prevent such attacks on our positions”.

    Last week, Iraq made a move that surprised some.

    Ken Hanly (DIGITAL JOURNAL) reported, "The US-led coalition in Iraq has issued a statement indicating that they intend to comply with demands from the PM Adel AbdulMahdi respecting the use of Iraqi airspace for US warplanes."  Meghann Myers (MILITARY TIMES) explained:

     U.S. military officials in Iraq will now seek out Iraqi approval before launching any air operations, a move made a day after that nation’s prime minister announced a ban of unauthorized flights, including those involving coalition forces fighting ISIS.
    Top leaders with Operation Inherent Resolve, the joint task force leading anti-ISIS efforts in the country, have met with Iraqi defense officials to discuss the mandate to have every helicopter, unmanned aerial vehicle and fighter aircraft launch pre-approved, according to a Friday release from the Pentagon.

    “As guests within Iraq’s sovereign borders, CJTF-OIR complies with all Iraqi laws and direction from the Government of Iraq,” the release said. “The U.S.-led coalition immediately complied with all directions received from our Iraqi partners as they implemented the Prime Minister’s order.”

    KURDISTAN 24 added,"The orders came after rumors spread on the Iraqi social media networks with some activists claiming the explosion in the militia’s munitions warehouse was in the result of an air attack by an Israeli fighter jet. Multiple Iraqi officials made the same claim."  Israeli government sources (unnamed) have claimed to the Israeli press that the government was responsible for two bombings of Iraq awhile ago.  From the June 30th snapshot:

    How is this not an act of war?

    Israel has expanded its operations against Iranian targets to Iraq, where Air Force jets have struck twice in ten days, a report said Tuesday morning.
    Israel commonly conducts strikes in Syrian territory, targeting Iranian missile shipments meant for Lebanese terror group Hezbollah to use against the Jewish state, but strikes in Iraq by Israel have not been reported since the 1981 bombing of a nuclear reactor.

    That's from Michael Bachner's report for THE TIMES OF ISRAEL.

    Repeating: How is this not an act of war? 

    What if it was the US that was bombed?

    Let's use Recep Tayyip Erdogan as an example because on his visit to the US he had his goons attack peaceful protesters -- and by the way, Barack Obama was president and refused to condemn that publicly.  But Recep decides peaceful protesters are terrorists so he decides to send Turkish war planes over Baltimore to bomb the city.

    We would rightly see that as an act of war.

    How is this any different?

    Tzvi Joffre and Anna Ahronheim (THE JERUSALEM POST) add:

    Israel used their F-35i stealth fighter jets to conduct attacks on Iranian targets to Iraq in the past month, hitting two Iraqi bases used by Iranian forces and proxies and storing Iranian ballistic missiles, the London-based Saudi daily Al Sharq Al Awsat reported on Tuesday.  
    The first attack happened on July 19 at a base in Amreli in the Saladin province of Iraq. Iraqi and Iranian sources blamed Israel at the time, and Al Sharq Al Awsat reported that "diplomatic sources" confirmed this to be true, specifying that the attack was carried out by an Israeli F-35.

    Al-Arabiya reported that Iranian-made ballistic missiles were transported to the base shortly before the attack via trucks used to transport refrigerated food. The identity of the aircraft which conducted the attack was unspecified at the time, and the US denied any involvement. Iranian Revolutionary Guard and Hezbollah members were killed in the air strike, according to Al-Arabiya, however the Iranian-backed al-Hashd ash-Sha'abi (Popular Mobilization Forces - PMF) denied that any Iranians had been killed in the attack, according to Fars.

    Again, if Turkey did that to the US, we would rightly see it as an act of war.  The only way we wouldn't see it as such would be if we learned that whomever our sitting president at the time was, that the sitting president had given an okay for the operation.

    So that's really the first question to be asking right now.

    Did the Iraqi government give permission?

    We know the Parliament didn't.  Allowing Israel to drop bombs on Iraq would be a very unpopular position in Iraq.  Anyone known to have supported it would not only have trouble being re-elected, they might be targeted with violence.  More to the point, though, the body is too large to keep a secret so if the Parliament signed off on it, it would have been known before the attack took place.

    So did the leadership sign off on the attack?  That would be the prime minister -- who has the actual power -- and the president.  The presidential post is supposed to be a ceremonial one with no real powers to speak of.  But Barham Salih has gone out of his way to grab powers and the US press, mirroring the US State Dept's position, has gone out of their way to treat him like a leader of the country.  Adil Abdul-Mahdi is the prime minister.  He's the only one who should have had the power for the okay (if Parliament's approval was not sought, he's the only one who could have given permission).

    So the recent attack on the munitions warehouse is the third attack that the Israeli government is suspected of having carried out.  These attacks are likely the reason for the prime minister addressing the issue of Iraqi air space -- finally addressing.

    The notion that Israel is bombing Iraq has outraged the Iraqi people (as well as their neighbors).

    Meanwhile in news of hysterics . . .

    This is no longer funny. Danish troops fought alongside the US in Afghanistan and Iraq. 50 Danes died. The president dishonors the alliance and their sacrifice. On the same day he sought to appease Putin by supporting his return to the G8.

    Clutch the pearls, Tom, with your anus.  Nothing the president has in the Tweet you reposted is worth gasping over.  And you're the one who is "no longer funny" as you try to use the illegal Iraq War to prop up your stupid argument because you're too inept to argue policy.  This has nothing to do with the ongoing Iraq War.  This has nothing to do with X number of people killed -- or when!  You trot out Iraq to use as a prop, you try to silence a serious conversation by hiding behind that topic but otherwise you ignore the ongoing suffering in Iraq, ,the ongoing war.

    You're pathetic.  I don't expect much from Donald Trump -- I didn't vote for him.  But right now, I'm more appalled by you than by his Tweet.  You have serious issues and you actually are a menace to honest and free debate.

    The following sites updated: