Saturday, August 15, 2020

Who's the idiot of the week?

 Starting with Jimmy Dore.

There should be a number of people in jail right now and I'm not so sure Sally Yates ends the list, I believe it goes so much higher than her, all the way up to Barack and Joe.


As Patrick Martin points out, Congress has gone on ANOTHER break while the American people go with it.   Andre Damon (WSWS) reports:

The United States set two milestones on Wednesday: 1,503 people died from COVID-19, the highest level in three months, and the S&P 500 stock index reached its highest mid-day level ever.

One hour after the markets closed on Wednesday, President Donald Trump, the architect of the American response to the pandemic that has left more than 170,000 people dead, devoted almost the entirety of his daily coronavirus “task force” briefing to boasting about the surge of the stock market. In his remarks, Trump outlined the theory governing the pandemic response of the White House, the cockpit of American capitalism.

Pointing to a group of slides prepared by Lawrence Kudlow, director of the United States National Economic Council, Trump related the surge in the stock market to the fact that the economic contraction due to lockdowns in the United States was lower than in other countries.

“The stock market is up almost 300 points again today,” Trump said. “Our economy is performing significantly better than Europe—which people have to understand very strongly; it’s performing better than any market anywhere in the world actually.”

Trump claimed that $9 trillion in financial wealth had been created since March, and that stock values were up by close to 50 percent. “That’s a number that nobody has ever heard of before,” he said, calling the figures “incredible.”

Moving to the next slide, Trump added, “You’ll see the virus-induced economic contraction in the United States has been far less severe than it was with our peers and peer nations.”

According to the figures Trump presented, real GDP fell in the United States by 10.6 percent in the first six months of the year, compared to 15 percent in the Euro area. What Trump left out was the fact that, despite the weaker economic contraction, unemployment surged in the US at a vastly higher level than in Europe.

The statistics Trump fumbled to present were consistent with the observations of epidemiologist Michael Osterholm, who explained the fact that the United States is the world’s epicenter of COVID-19 because the country lifted lockdowns much earlier than countries that had more effectively contained the disease.

 We're the idiots of the week if we keep electing the fools that refuse to protect us.  That's Pelosi, Trump and Schumer and everybody else who thinks taking a break while Americans suffer in a pandemic is acceptable.

Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

 Friday, August 14, 2020.  Turkey continues to attack Iraq and we look at the US race for president.

Starting in the US and starting with Maya Rudolph.

As ENTERTAINMENT TONIGHT notes, Maya is willing to play Senator Kamala Harris again.  As we noted yesterday, "Oh, no, not Joe Biden."

Last September, Maya played Kamala for the first time on SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE>

Audience member: What if Joe Biden gets implicated in this Ukraine scandal in some way?

Senator Kamala Harris: Oh, no.  That would be terrible.  Not Joe Biden.

That got huge laughs.  It fed into a narrative.  The same way Woody Harrleson's portrayal of Joe Biden's racism ("Oh and I should point out that it was a segregated pool just to put everyone on edge for the rest of the story.") led to laughter.

Kamala was seen as ambitious.  In part because she was a first term senator and in part because she was a woman.  Barack Obama was also a first term senator and also had about three years behind him in the Senate when running for the presidential nomination.  SNL never did a bit about him being ambitious because it's considered a good quality in a man.

Kamala has done a good job in the last two days in terms of how she's projected herself.

But there's the ambition baggage already laid at Kamala's doorstep and there is the sexism.  So if those two points are factored in, any troubles on the horizon?

How about the fact that Kamala looks smarter then Joe, looks more attentive than Joe and looks more capable than Joe?

What do you do when the vp candidate outshines the top of the ticket?

How does that play out with an electorate?

And how does that play out with an electorate that's concerned about a number of issues -- including the pandemic?

Are people going to want to change horses mid-stream?

If the person looks capable, maybe.

But Joe doesn't look capable.  He's hidden himself away.  He's had one proposal and then another -- he was talking in June about an executive order needed by a president to make masks a mandate and this week he changed it to letting the governors decide and issue.  He's done nothing to lead and, yes, he is supposed to be the leader.  He's not just the presumed nominee, he's a man who spent decades in the US Senate and then went on to be vice president for two terms.  Supposedly, he's spent his entire adult life training for this moment.

And what he's shown isn't impressive at all.

Kamala's attacking Donald Trump.  Repeatedly now.  For the coronavirus.  It should be attack and move on.  The longer she repeats the attack, the more people wonder why Joe has had so little to say and when she starts talking about the early days of this pandemic?

Joe Biden and his campaign said it was safe to vote -- deaths proved that wrong.  Joe was all go out and vote for me.  It's safe.

It wasn't.  Joe's history on the pandemic is not a strong one.  

And when Kamala hits Donald Trump on this issue, it not only brings up Joe's own bad behavior, it also makes people think, "Wait, for months and months, it's been patty-cakes and now Kamala's going after Trump?"  Meaning, "Where's Joe Biden been with the hard hitting criticism?"

Kamala's strong.

Will America let her run as a v.p. candidate at full strength?  Will the Biden campaign?  These may have been some  of the concerns Sarah Palin was getting at when she offered congratulations to Kamala this week and also offered some cautions.

This will be informative, watching this play out.  And while gender will impact on how Kamala is seen and how she is received, it's also true that had Joe selected, for example, Julian Castro, many of these issues would be at play -- including Julian being portrayed as ambitious and including Julian having to struggle to avoid outshining Joe.  Barring Joe's ability to clone himself or select Dan Quayle as a running mate, any v.p. candidate would have to struggle with trying not to outshine Joe.

Eugene Puryear doesn't plan on voting for Biden-Harris.

Puryear states, "I'm going to vote for Gloria La Riva and I think everyone should."  Gloria La Riva is the US presidential candidate of the Party for Socialism and Liberation.  He knows Gloria very well.  In 2008, for example, he was on the PSL's presidential ticket as Gloria's running mate.

Third party candidates have to deal with a number of obstacles that the duopoly candidates don't have to.  For example, GOOGLE last week refused to take you to Gloria's campaign website -- they insisted it might have "malware."  Joe Biden and Donald Trump?  Their campaign sites would never experience those warnings.  Right now, this morning, there's trouble with Gloria's campaign Twitter account -- we linked to her personal Twitter account in the previous paragraph.

It's not a level playing field and even with all the advantages that a Biden or Trump has, it's not enough for them and their supporters, they have to work to ensure that third party candidates receive little to not attention.

Joseph Kishore is the presidential candidate for the Socialist and Equality Party.  At WSWS, he notes:

With the selection of Kamala Harris to be the running mate of Joe Biden, the framework of the 2020 elections has been set. As was to be expected, the Democrats have chosen the most right-wing candidates to run the most right-wing campaign possible.

There is a certain inevitability to the choice of Harris. In July of last year, the World Socialist Web Site -- based on a survey of who would be the worst, most reactionary and at the same time most suitable choice for second spot on the Democratic Party ticket—predicted that Harris would most likely be named the vice presidential candidate if she failed to win the nomination. She had all the ruthlessness, narcissism and careerism requisite for the job, plus the ethnic background to suit the Democrats’ obsession with racial and gender identity.

Kamala Harris is a dyed-in-the wool political reactionary.

This year has seen mass demonstrations throughout the country in response to the police murder of George Floyd. As a direct result of the policies of the ruling class, nearly 170,000 people have died to date in the coronavirus pandemic, with the daily death toll now at more than 1,000. There is growing anger in workplaces over the homicidal back-to-work campaign and broad opposition among teachers to the efforts to reopen the schools. Tens of millions of people are unemployed, and they have been cut off from federal benefits and face being evicted from their homes.

In the midst of this monumental political, economic and social crisis, and against the backdrop of so much suffering, the American people are to be offered the “choice” between the fascistic Trump, the conman from New York, and a Democratic Party ticket headed by a corporate shill from Delaware and an ex-prosecutor from California. This says everything about the degraded state of American politics.

Following the announcement by Biden on Tuesday, the media leapt into action with its nauseating effusion of state propaganda. The selection of Harris has been universally proclaimed to be “historic,” a watershed moment.

In terms of her politics, there is clearly nothing “historic” about Harris. As district attorney in San Francisco (2004-2011), attorney general in California (2011-2017), and, finally, US senator (2017 to the present), Harris has compiled a track record of backing the police, locking up workers and immigrants, covering up for the banks and supporting militarism and war.

Wall Street is certainly happy with the choice. “A VP pick that big business can back,” ran a headline on the inside pages of the New York Times. As for the military, its main concern is what will happen if the aging Biden doesn’t make it through a full term. Since the beginning of the Trump administration, opposition from the Democratic Party has been focused on issues of foreign policy. Harris, who has no other agenda than her own self-promotion, will be silly putty in the hands of the military-intelligence apparatus.

The “historic” character of the Harris nomination is premised entirely on her race and gender. She would be the “first African-American vice president,” the “first Asian-American vice president” and the “first female vice president.” She already is the “first Black woman on the national ticket of the Democrats or Republicans.” Everything is about the symbolism involved in the choice of Harris, with not a word about the program of a Democratic Party administration.

As if any of this makes a bit of difference for workers, whatever their race, gender or ethnicity. As if, moreover, the world has not already had the example of Obama, not to mention Clarence Thomas, Condoleezza Rice, Susan Rice, Hillary Clinton and many others.

Jo Jorgensen is the Libertarian Party's presidential nominee.  In the video below, one of her supporters explains why Jo is his candidate and why others aren't.

Jorgensen's campaign issued the following statement earlier this week:

GREENVILLE, S.C.; August 13, 2020—  Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, who has stressed that he wanted to pick a running mate who is “simpatico” with his own views, has chosen former prosecutor Sen. Kamala Harris. By choosing her, Biden, who was the architect of the 1994 crime bill, has “doubled down on his penchant for using the law against people who commit nonviolent, victimless crimes,” said Dr. Jo Jorgensen, the Libertarian candidate for president.

During her tenure as attorney general for California, Kamala Harris oversaw the incarceration of over 1,500 people convicted of cannabis violations.

“What Kamala Harris did in the courtroom would put her in good company with the most brutal police on the streets,” said Jorgensen. “She is guilty of prosecutorial brutality, the silent partner of police brutality.”

“Compare a typical episode of police brutality–getting slapped around and thrown in jail for a night–with being thrown in prison for ten years,” said Jorgensen. “That’s the kind of prosecutorial brutality for which Kamala Harris is notorious.”

In 1998, Daniel Larson was wrongfully charged and convicted of possession of a knife. After ten years in prison, the Innocence Project took his case and got him exonerated. Kamala Harris fought his release every step of the way. To add insult to injury, her office put the kibosh on Larson’s suit to get compensation for wrongful incarceration.

Harris also liked using her power as a D.A. to threaten parents whose kids were absent from school. From 2004-2011, she sent a letter to every San Francisco parent of public-school students, threatening to prosecute them for truancy under a law that punishes the parents if their child is more than 30 minutes late for school, 20 times.

“Kamala Harris’s idea of helping kids who don’t show up for public school is to threaten their parents with a $2,500 fine or jail time,” said Jorgensen.

“The president sets the tone for law enforcement in our country, and the vice-president is next in line,” said Jorgensen. “If we want to put an end to police brutality, the last thing we need is a champion of prosecutorial brutality one heartbeat away from the White House.

Howie Hawkins is the Green Party's presidential nominee.  Howie's campaign issued the following statement regarding the selection of Kamala as Joe's running mate:

August 11, 2020


Howie Hawkins,
Angela Walker,

Kevin Zeese, Press Secretary, 301-996-6582,

Kamala Harris Is Another Reason To Vote Green

History of Harsh Law Enforcement and Corporatism

(August 11, 2020 – Syracuse, NY) Former Vice President Joe Biden’s selection of Senator Kamala Harris as his running mate shows Biden doubling down on his long history of excessive law enforcement and support for the war on drugs. 

In a year of national uprising against police violence, Kamala Harris who spent 25 years in law enforcement is an ironic selection. Her campaign for president ended quickly as she dropped out of the race two months before the Iowa Caucus and three days before the filing deadline to be on the ballot in her home state of California, where she was behind in the polls. Part of her decline was caused by voter dismay at her reversal on Medicare For All, when she flip-flopped to a policy that subsidized private health insurance and misleadingly continued to call it Medicare for All.

While Joe Biden was the principal legislative architect of the drug war and mass incarceration from his time on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Harris’s record as a prosecutor and Attorney General was as a foot soldier in the drug war and mass incarceration. As the San Francisco  District Attorney drug-related prosecutions increased from 56 percent in 2003 to 74 percent in 2006. In 2019, she admitted smoking marijuana in college but while Attorney General of California from 2011-2017, Harris sent at least 1,560 people to prison over marijuana-related offenses. In 2014, a week after the New York Times called for legal marijuana, Harris laughed when asked if she supported it. Now, she supports ending federal laws against marijuana, a position not held by Biden.

While Biden sponsored mandatory sentencing, Harris defended one of the worst mandatory sentencing laws in the US, California’s ‘three strikes law’ that also applied to “minor” felonies. She campaigned against a voter initiative that would have reformed this to require serious or violent felonies for life sentences. Harris did not take a position on two ballot initiatives in 2012 and 2014 that would have reduced punishment for low-level crimes and given judges more flexibility at sentencing. Both initiatives passed without her support.

After the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO, police accountability was on the agenda in the California legislature. Harris refused to take a position on racial profiling by police. As Attorney General she refused to investigate highly questionable police shootings in Los Angeles 2014 and in San Francisco in 2015.

Barry Sheppard interviewed Howie for BLACK AGENDA REPORT:

Sheppard: Tell me about yourself

Hawkins: I am a 67-year-old retired Teamster living in Syracuse, New York. I became active in the 1960s as a teenager in the San Francisco Bay Area in movements for civil rights, peace, unions, and the environment.

After watching the Republicans and Democrats oppose or delay civil rights in 1964 and then jointly support the escalation of the Vietnam war in 1965, I committed to independent working-class politics for a democratic, socialist and ecological society.

Since participating in its first national organising meeting in August 1984, I have been active in the Green Party. I was the first US candidate to campaign for a Green New Deal in 2010, while running for New York governor as the Green Party’s candidate. I ran again in 2014 and 2018 for governor. Each time, we received enough votes to qualify the Green Party for the New York ballot for the next four years.

How is the Green Party challenging the power of fossil fuel interests? How does your ecosocialist Green New Deal differ from that being proposed by left Democrats such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC)?

We want to socialize the whole energy sector, including the coal, oil and gas companies, in order to reinvest the earnings from fossil fuels used during the transition to clean energy in clean renewable, instead of more coal, oil and gas.

Our ecosocialist Green New Deal  emphasises public enterprise and planning in the energy, transportation and manufacturing sectors in order to implement a rapid transition to zero-to-negative carbon emissions and 100% clean energy by 2030.

The Green New Deal was the Green Party’s signature issue in the 2010s. The Democrats took the slogan at the end of 2018, but diluted its content. The non-binding resolution for a Green New Deal introduced into Congress by AOC eliminated key policies in the Green Party’s Green New Deal, including a ban on fracking and new fossil fuel infrastructure, a phase out of nuclear power, and deep cuts in military spending to help fund the Green New Deal. The Democrats’ Green New Deal extended the goal for zero emissions from 2030 to 2050.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi has never let the House vote in the non-binding resolution, while in the Senate, all the Democrats voted “present” instead of for it, except the four Democrats who voted “no” with the Republicans. The Democrats will not enact a Green New Deal, as Biden’s pro-fossil fuels energy policies and the 2020 Democratic platform make clear.

What is the significance of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) upsurge? Are we on the cusp of a new radical movement?

The significance of the BLM upsurge is that for the first time in US history, a majority of white people support a Black-led movement against systemic racism, according to public opinion polls. We may be on the cusp of a new radical movement because so many young white people are active in BLM street demonstrations in solidarity with people of color.

Whether that movement becomes a radical movement that changes the structures of power, or a reform movement that limits itself to asking the existing power structure to change some policies, remains to be seen.

Howie also discussed his campaign this week on INFORMED AMERICAN.


Meanwhile the government of Turkey continues to behave like a criminal and a bully.  Earlier this week, they killed 3 members of the Iraqi military.  They have refused to acknowledge those deaths, let alone apologize for them.   And today?  Reports of more deaths as a result of Turkey.  RUDAW's Lawk Ghafuri Tweets:

Two were killed & another wounded in another suspected Turkish airstrike in #Kurdistan region of #Iraq, according to a local official. The attack comes after #Baghdad warned that Iraqi security forces have military capabilities to face the Turkish attacks.

Jason Ditz (ANTIWAR.COM) notes:

Turkey has long been a hassle for the Iraqi government, with Turkish troops active in the country’s north, and refusing to leave despite not having permission to be there. This is growing, after a Turkish drone killed two Iraqi officers in Iraqi Kurdistan.

Iraq is now seeking help from Arab League nations to apply diplomatic pressure and try to convince Turkey to withdraw from the country. Iraq repeatedly slams Turkey over “flagrant aggression” in the border area.

The following sites updated:

Friday, August 14, 2020


 So last night, MARVEL AGENTS OF SHIELD came to an end with a two hour finale on ABC.  I watched it today on YOUTUBE TV.

Let me stop there for a second.  

Please read Ava and C.I.'s "TV: Who gets to be the focus?" which talks about the streaming services and the lack of diversity.

Especially read "The Troubles With HULU" -- a roundtable Ava and C.I. did with Betty, Stan and Dallas about HULU and it's screw-the-subscribers attitude.  Then drop back to Ava and C.I.'s "TV: HULU has a serious problem on its hands" and Dallas' "HULU has "no definite answer" -- or any real customer service" from the week before.

As a result of these issues, we cancelled our HULU subscription.  We've switched to YOUTUBE TV instead.  It's about ten dollars more a month but it's worth it and our daughter is thrilled with the change because it offers her more children's programming that she did not even know was out there. 

 I'm not going to pay someone eighty or so bucks a month to disrespect me.  (Elaine and I have add-ons, I think the live HULU TV only -- no add-ons -- is like $59 or $69 a month.)  Refusing to listen to the paying customers and ignoring them?  If that's the HULU model, good luck with that but I'm not going to pay for it.

And I loved HULU -- LOVED HULU.  I can remember how much my life changed online because of HULU.  I never would have discovered FRINGE (a show I loved) without HULU because I was a teenager and my generation really wasn't going to rush to the TV at this certain hour that the network wanted to play a show.  I watched MODERN FAMILY every Thursday morning at breakfast on HULU.  I loved HULU.  But they didn't want to listen to the customers, so bye.  

Back to MARVEL.

I don't want to do spoilers -- stop reading here if you plan to watch the last episodes and haven't yet.

How about I just do impressions?  That way anyone who's waiting until the weekend to stream won't be upset?  It's two hours dropped in the middle of the week and I do understand that some people might need to or want to carve out time over the weekend for it.

So impressions.

First off, WTF Fitz?

Was he supposed to be an avitraix?  However, you spell it.  A female pilot from the early 20th century?  Or maybe a 'girl motorcyle' rider from the 60s?

What was that ridiculous outfit he had on?

And had he lost too much weight or was he just badly groomed because his face -- specifically eye brow area -- looked ridiculous.  

It really pulled me out of the story and I didn't give two s**ts about Fitz by the second episode.  He looked so damn weird and freakish.

Jemma, except for the last group scene, didn't really get much to do.  I think that they made her victim until the end.  Go back and check my comments in earlier seasons, I really hated how it was always Jemma in jeopardy, damsel in distress.  It's a shame they couldn't have done better for her in the ending.

Coulson?  Always gets on my nerves, always got on my nerves, but the bastard had me pulling for him in the last 30 minutes of the two hour episode.  Well done Clark Gregg.  Praise for you and you know I'm not someone that easily praises you.

Mack.  They let him be the spirit of the team in the last two hours -- why couldn't they have done that all along?  Mack was a great character played by a brilliant actor (Henry Simmons).  He should have had much more screen time in every episode and shouldn't have been played as a sidekick as they too often did with him.  I hope he does another sci-fy show and I hope he's a lead on this one, a real lead, because he's amazing.  

Daisy.  They did the bare minimum with her.  Her ending felt real -- and easy for the writers.  I was thinking she deserved a lot more.  

May was a surprise throughout the two hours and Ming-Na better do another action show.  She was great on ER, but she was really even better on this show.

Yo-Yo.  Was there a budget problem?  There were at least two times in the two hours that we needed to see Yo-Yo using her powers and we didn't get to.  Did they not have the budget?  I also didn't understand her ending in terms of where she is -- physically but also in terms of her relationship with Mack -- and where he is.

 I'm confused by Deke's ending because of timeline issues.  Daniel is also one that confuses due to the timeline.  But with Daniel, he's at least in the future.  With Deke, he's in the past and what does that mean in terms of the future -- does he get born?  I don't get it.  

I like Deke.  I'm glad they gave a line to Mack near the end about Deke.  It made up for his storyline ending.  (Deke's storyline ending.)

The show ended better than most of this season was and the two hour finale was better than anything on the previous season.

Still I would've loved to have seen Bobbi and Lance and Ward.

If you haven't watched it but you watched the show at some point during its run, make a point to stream it, I think you'll like it. 

And next week, I'll do a recap after I'm sure everyone who wants to watch it has had the time to do so.

Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Thursday, August 13, 2020.  Senator Kamala Harris' record gets some examination from the media now that she's Joe Biden's running mate and Turkey issues a statement saying Iraq had this week's attack coming to them and refusing to acknowledge -- let alone apologize for -- murdering 3 members of the Iraqi military.

Senator Kamala Harris continues to dominate the news, having been selected as Joe Biden's running mate -- Biden being the presumed presidential nominee for the Democratic Party.   Dan Conway (WSWS) notes:

Joseph Biden’s selection of the first-term Senator and former state Attorney General from California Kamala Harris as his running mate comes as no surprise and solidifies the Democratic Party establishment’s right-wing ticket for the 2020 presidential elections.

As was the case in her bid for the Democratic Party nomination earlier this year, Harris’s mixed ethnicity—her father is Jamaican and her mother is Tamil—was a significant factor in the calculations behind her selection by Biden. In the remaining three months before election day on November 3, the Democrats are clearly doubling down on race and gender identity politics.

Indicating the consensus behind the Biden-Harris ticket, both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders quickly endorsed her selection.

Also at WSWS, Patric Martin points out:

Harris has frequently traded on her status as the first black woman to be district attorney, the first black woman to be state attorney general, the second black woman to hold a US Senate seat, etc., as a political screen to cover the right-wing policies she advocates and the social class that she defends: the corporate elite of multi-millionaires and billionaires.

She has now joined this class herself, thanks in part to her marriage to millionaire entertainment industry lawyer Douglas Emhoff. The couple had an adjusted gross income of $1.88 million in 2018, putting them in the top 0.1 percent of American society.

Objectively speaking, there is little to distinguish Harris, with only four years in the US Senate, from other potential alternatives for the vice presidency. She is not notably more qualified than dozens of other senators, governors or representatives. But in the eyes of the advocates of identity politics, in and out of the corporate media, Harris’s mediocrity and right-wing politics count for nothing compared to her skin color and gender.

In her unbounded opportunism and ruthless pursuit of her own career and economic interests, Harris personifies both the social psychology and class basis of identity politics. It is the politics of privileged layers of the upper-middle class, including but not limited to minorities, that use race, gender and sexual orientation to conceal the fundamental class divisions in capitalist society, channel social opposition behind the Democratic Party, and carve out a greater share of the wealth of the top one percent for themselves. It is organically hostile to the interests of the working class and socialism.

Identity politics was the key to Biden’s own campaign for the presidential nomination, which he based on the mobilization of support from the Congressional Black Caucus and African-American businessmen and Democratic Party operatives, trading on his role as Obama’s vice president. Prior to the Obama administration, he had no significant connection to civil rights struggles and won no significant black support in either of his own presidential campaigns, in 1988 and 2008.

Branco Marcetic (JACOBIN) offers:

Harris’s possible ascension to the White House solidifies what Biden’s nomination already represented: the defeat, at least temporarily, of the left of the Democratic Party by the party’s corporate faction, and the determination of its elites to barrel ahead with the shallow, corporate politics of the Obama era, a politics mainly concerned with lowering the expectations of ordinary people.

Indeed, one of the reasons it was hard to imagine anyone else but Harris ending up on the ticket is that she so snugly embodies the modern Democratic Party — which also means almost everything you’re about to hear about her has little to do with who she actually is.

Far from the “progressive prosecutor” Harris has been masquerading as since angling for a 2020 run, her record bears no resemblance to figures who might actually fit that description, like Larry Krasner or Keith Ellison. Even in a party that embraced Biden- and Clinton-style tough-on-crime policies, Harris stands out for her cruelty: she fought to keep innocent people in jail, blocked payouts to the wrongfully convicted, argued for keeping non-violent offenders in jail as a source of cheap labor, withheld evidence that could have freed numerous prisoners, tried to dismiss a suit to end solitary confinement in California, and denied gender reassignment surgery to trans inmates. A recent report detailed how Harris risked being held in contempt of court for resisting a court order to release non-violent prisoners, which one law professor compared to Southern resistance to 1950s desegregation orders.

Harris loves to laugh. Watching Harris cackling like a cartoon villain about prosecuting parents of truant schoolkids is one of the more bone-chilling things you’re likely to see in politics. Other things Harris found funny? The idea of building schools rather than prisons, and the concept of legalizing pot. Five years later she laughed again, this time while running for president and fondly recalling her pot-smoking days, as she mugged for a younger audience. Extra hilarious was the fact that her office had convicted nearly 2,000 people for marijuana offenses while she was San Francisco’s district attorney.

Harris’s callousness toward the poor and powerless has been matched only by her sympathy for the rich and powerful. Most notoriously, Harris overruled her own office’s recommendation to prosecute the predatory bank of current Treasury secretary Steve Mnuchin, who later donated to her Senate campaign, then allegedly tried to cover up her inaction.

Responding to the announcement, Ajamu Baraka Tweeted:

Politics in the U.S. is so right-wing that a ticket of two neoliberal pro-imperialist servants is actually being pushed as progressive. Meanwhile, workers are living with uncertainty, fear & desperation while bourgeois politics play politics with providing social protections.

While Liza Featherstone offered:

no, no people, we really don't HAVE to spend any of our too-brief time on earth having feelings about Biden's running mate

At COUNTERPUNCH aka BEHIND THE TIMES, they publish an article this morning about . . . who Joe Biden might pick.  Yes, Joe made that announcement two days ago.  Shhhh, don't wake them, it's still early.  If COUNTERPUNCH is sleeping in, IN THESE TIMES is doing lines of the hard stuff.  How else to explain Natalie Schure's laughable article entitled "Now Comes The Difficult Work of Pushing the Biden-Harris Ticket Left"?

I'll snort where she's snorting.

But either she's all out or Natalie doesn't share.  Which would explain this sober analysis from Sarah Lazare:

Sen­a­tor Kamala Har­ris (D‑Calif.) has not made war and mil­i­tarism a cen­ter­piece of her pres­i­den­tial cam­paign. She’s giv­en no major for­eign pol­i­cy” speech, and she did not respond to a series of sim­ple yes-or-no ques­tions about glob­al pol­i­tics from FiveThir­tyEight (Joe Biden and Pete Buttigieg were the only oth­er major Demo­c­ra­t­ic can­di­dates to decline). On her cam­paign web­site, Har­ris’ only state­ment on for­eign pol­i­cy” is just over 500 words — and it’s more a screed against Trump (he’s men­tioned sev­en times) than a cogent vision. In the realm of inter­na­tion­al pol­i­tics, she’s prob­a­bly best known for say­ing in Jan­u­ary that we can­not con­duct our for­eign pol­i­cy through tweets,” a state­ment that con­veys noth­ing, oth­er than oppo­si­tion to Trump.

But this cam­paign brand­ing doesn’t mean Har­ris has no for­eign pol­i­cy.” Just look­ing at war (with­out get­ting into oth­er crit­i­cal for­eign pol­i­cy issues, from cli­mate to trade agree­ments to covert oper­a­tions), Har­ris has dis­cern­able stances. A close look at her record shows that, to the extent she has tak­en posi­tions, they are defined by her close rela­tion­ship with the right-wing lob­by out­fit Amer­i­can Israel Pub­lic Affairs Com­mit­tee (AIPAC), bel­li­cose rhetoric toward North Korea and Rus­sia, and reluc­tance to cospon­sor key pieces of leg­is­la­tion aimed at pre­vent­ing war with Venezuela and North Korea. On issues of mil­i­tarism, she’s square­ly in line with — and some­times on the right of — a hawk­ish Demo­c­ra­t­ic establishment.

It’s now less palat­able for Democ­rats to be pub­licly cozy with AIPAC, due to grow­ing sol­i­dar­i­ty with Pales­tini­ans among the base of the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty, and dis­com­fort with AIPAC ally Ben­jamin Netanyahu’s open align­ment with Trump. Yet, Har­ris has forged close ties with the orga­ni­za­tion, which advo­cat­ed for the 2003 inva­sion of Iraq and opposed the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran. In March 2017, she told the AIPAC Pol­i­cy Con­fer­ence, Let me be clear about what I believe. I stand with Israel because of our shared val­ues, which are so fun­da­men­tal to the found­ing of both our nations.” At the 2018 con­fer­ence, Har­ris gave an off-the-record speech, in which she boast­ed, As a child, I nev­er sold Girl Scout cook­ies, I went around with a JNFUSA box col­lect­ing funds to plant trees in Israel.” The JNFUSA, or Jew­ish Nation­al Fund, has direct­ly par­tic­i­pat­ed in land theft and eth­nic cleans­ing cam­paigns tar­get­ing Pales­tini­ans and Bedouins.

In 2019, Har­ris announced that she’d skip AIPAC’s con­fer­ence (along with Bernie Sanders, Pete Buttigieg, Eliz­a­beth War­ren, and four oth­er can­di­dates) but then, a few weeks lat­er, host­ed AIPAC lead­ers in her office to talk about the right of Israel to defend itself,” as she put it.

These posi­tions are not just the­o­ret­i­cal. As Har­ris bragged in her 2017 AIPAC talk, “[The] first res­o­lu­tion I co-spon­sored as a Unit­ed States sen­a­tor was to com­bat anti-Israel bias at the Unit­ed Nations and reaf­firm that the Unit­ed States seeks a just, secure and sus­tain­able two-state solu­tion.” She was refer­ring to S.Res.6, intro­duced by Mar­co Rubio (R‑Fla.) in Jan­u­ary 2017, which object­ed to a UN Secu­ri­ty Coun­cil Res­o­lu­tion adopt­ed in 2016 that declared Israeli set­tle­ments a vio­la­tion of inter­na­tion­al law. By con­trast, Sanders and War­ren did not cospon­sor the res­o­lu­tion. It nev­er came to a vote.

Also at IN THESE TIMES, Marie Gottschalk observes:

When Har­ris was elect­ed dis­trict attor­ney of San Fran­cis­co in 2003, the prob­lem of mass incar­cer­a­tion was invis­i­ble to the wider pub­lic. To her cred­it, she chal­lenged the idea that pros­e­cu­tors should incarcerat[e] peo­ple for as long as pos­si­ble, no mat­ter the crime, no mat­ter how much it costs to incar­cer­ate them, and despite the doc­u­ment­ed fact that our cur­rent prison sys­tem rarely pre­vents offend­ers from com­mit­ting new crimes when they come back out.” Ear­ly in her tenure, she took a coura­geous stand not to seek the death penal­ty in the case of a man accused of killing a police offi­cer, and her office was also less like­ly than many oth­er juris­dic­tions to deploy Cal­i­for­ni­a’s dra­con­ian three-strikes law. 

These are ear­ly bright spots in what is oth­er­wise a trou­bling record. A judge exco­ri­at­ed her DA’s office for its lev­els of indif­fer­ence” to defen­dants’ con­sti­tu­tion­al rights in its fail­ure to dis­close infor­ma­tion about a scan­dal in the crime lab’s drug analy­sis unit that led to the dis­missal of 700 cas­es. A tech­ni­cian had been skim­ming cocaine and tam­per­ing with evidence.

As attor­ney gen­er­al, Har­ris suc­cess­ful­ly cham­pi­oned leg­is­la­tion to crim­i­nal­ize tru­an­cy and pun­ish par­ents with fines and incar­cer­a­tion. She also sided with Gov. Jer­ry Brown to stymie imple­men­ta­tion of Brown v. Pla­ta, the most con­se­quen­tial pris­on­ers’ rights deci­sion in more than a gen­er­a­tion, by repeat­ed­ly return­ing the case to the low­er courts. The U.S. Supreme Court had declared that Cal­i­for­ni­a’s gross­ly over­crowd­ed pris­ons were uncon­sti­tu­tion­al and ordered the state to reduce its inmate pop­u­la­tion. Andrew Cohen of the Bren­nan Cen­ter for Jus­tice char­ac­ter­ized these attempts to weasel out” of the Supreme Court’s rul­ing as noth­ing short of contemptuous.”

In The Truths We Hold, Har­ris lauds implic­it bias train­ing as her weapon of choice to reduce police shoot­ings of peo­ple of col­or. There are much more effec­tive and proven mea­sures, like stricter use-of-force reg­u­la­tions for police depart­ments and man­dat­ed inde­pen­dent inves­ti­ga­tions of shoot­ings — but they are stri­dent­ly opposed by many police offi­cers and their unions, and Har­ris has not force­ful­ly advo­cat­ed them.

Har­ris has tak­en sim­i­lar­ly trou­bling posi­tions on many oth­er key crim­i­nal jus­tice issues, includ­ing the use of soli­tary con­fine­ment, civ­il asset for­fei­tures, the crim­i­nal­iza­tion of sex work, and puni­tive res­i­den­cy and oth­er mea­sures lev­eled on peo­ple con­vict­ed of sex offens­es. She resist­ed key efforts to mod­er­ate California’s three-strikes law. Har­ris peri­od­i­cal­ly has tout­ed her­self as a fierce oppo­nent of the cap­i­tal pun­ish­ment, but as attor­ney gen­er­al, she appealed a fed­er­al judge’s rul­ing that the state’s enforce­ment of the death penal­ty was uncon­sti­tu­tion­al. She con­tin­ued to come down on the side of the death penal­ty as the case made its way through the fed­er­al courts and took no pub­lic posi­tion on a 2012 bal­lot mea­sure to repeal cap­i­tal pun­ish­ment in California.

Kate Sullivan (CNN) reports:

Former Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin offered advice and congratulations to Sen. Kamala Harris on Tuesday shortly after the California Democrat was announced as former Vice President Joe Biden's running mate.

Palin was on the ticket with Sen. John McCain of Arizona in 2008, the second woman to be on the ticket of a major political party. When Harris accepts the nomination next week at the Democratic National Convention, she will become the third woman and first Black and South Asian American woman nominated for the role.
"Congrats to the democrat VP pick," Palin wrote in an Instagram post. "Climb upon Geraldine Ferraro's and my shoulders, and from the most amazing view in your life consider lessons we learned." In 1984, Democratic Rep. Geraldine Ferraro of New York was the first woman to be on a major party ticket.

Jimmy Dore offers his thoughts on the selection of Harris in the video below.

We'll return to the topic of Kamala Harris in the future, hopefully, tomorrow  and, hopefully, we'll include "Oh, no, not Joe Biden."

But in Iraq . . . 

Yemen Details Tweets:

#Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Kuwait, and Jordan express their solidarity with #Iraq and call on #Turkey to stop its violations against the country.


JUST IN: France says Turkey's drone attack in Iraq breached the country's sovereignty

If you thought the government of Turkey might share any remorse or regret over killing three members of the Iraqi military, you were wrong.  ALJAZEERA notes:

In a statement early on Thursday, Turkey's foreign ministry said the PKK presence also threatened Iraq and that it was Baghdad's responsibility to take action against the rebels, and Ankara would defend its borders if the PKK's presence is allowed.

"Our country is ready to cooperate with Iraq on this issue. However, in the event PKK presence in Iraq is overlooked, our country is determined to take the measures it deems necessary for its border security no matter where it may be," the ministry said. "We call on Iraq to take the necessary steps for this."

HURRIYET covers the statement here.

The government of Turkey violated Iraq's sovereignty and international law, their actions killed three members of the Iraqi military.  They issue a statement and it takes no responsibility for the deaths nor does it note regret.  It just says, in typical thug fashion, 'you made us do this.'  Selcan Hacaoglu (BLOOMBERG NEWS) notes:

Turkey rebuffed Iraqi criticism of its cross-border attacks on autonomy-seeking Kurdish militants, which Baghdad says killed two of its military officers this week. The Turkish Foreign Ministry statement didn’t refer to Iraq’s claim of a Turkish drone attack near their shared border, but told Baghdad it was responsible for taking measures against Kurdish separatists based in northern Iraq.

Read more at:
Copyright © BloombergQuint
Turkey rebuffed Iraqi criticism of its cross-border attacks on autonomy-seeking Kurdish militants, which Baghdad says killed two of its military officers this week. The Turkish Foreign Ministry statement didn’t refer to Iraq’s claim of a Turkish drone attack near their shared border, but told Baghdad it was responsible for taking measures against Kurdish separatists based in northern Iraq.

Read more at:
Copyright © BloombergQuint

 Turkey rebuffed Iraqi criticism of its cross-border attacks on autonomy-seeking Kurdish militants, which Baghdad says killed two of its military officers this week. The Turkish Foreign Ministry statement didn’t refer to Iraq’s claim of a Turkish drone attack near their shared border, but told Baghdad it was responsible for taking measures against Kurdish separatists based in northern Iraq.

Serge Tweeted:

Turkey is now not only occupying parts of Iraq but also killing Iraqi soldiers. There must be severe consequences for this, otherwise the killing of Iraqi soldiers by Turkey will be normalized as well.

In other news of occupying Iraq, Eric Schmitt (NEW YORK TIMES) notes:

Turkey rebuffed Iraqi criticism of its cross-border attacks on autonomy-seeking Kurdish militants, which Baghdad says killed two of its military officers this week. The Turkish Foreign Ministry statement didn’t refer to Iraq’s claim of a Turkish drone attack near their shared border, but told Baghdad it was responsible for taking measures against Kurdish separatists based in northern Iraq.

Read more at:
Copyright © BloombergQuint

 The top American military commander in the Middle East said on Wednesday that U.S. troop levels in Iraq and Syria would most likely shrink in the coming months, but that he had not yet received orders to begin withdrawing forces.

Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr., the head of the Pentagon’s Central Command, said the 5,200 troops in Iraq to help fight remnants of the Islamic State and train Iraqi forces “will be adjusted” after consultations with the government in Baghdad.

General McKenzie said he expected American and other NATO forces to maintain “a long-term presence” in Iraq — both to help fight Islamic extremists and to check Iranian influence in the country. He declined to say how large that presence might be, but other American officials said discussions with Iraqi officials that resume this month could result in a reduction to around 3,500 U.S. troops.

Despite President Trump’s demand last fall for a complete withdrawal of all 1,000 American forces from Syria, the president still has some 500 troops, mostly in the country’s northeast, assisting local Syrian Kurdish allies in combating pockets of ISIS fighters.

The following sites updated: