Saturday, September 26, 2020


Season two of THE BOYS is really something.  And, best of all, Shawn Ashmore is on this week's episode.  He's a great actor and I really liked him in THE FOLLOWING and as Iceman in the X-MEN films.  He's Lamplighter on THE BOYS.

THE BOYS is about a superhero fighting team owned by a corporation.  The Seven, they're called.  In season one, Starlighter became part of The Seven.  She was the newest member and she replaced Lamplighter who supposedly retired (we never saw him in season one).  We do learn that he killed Mallory's grandchildren.

Mallory (played by the same actress who now plays Elizabeth's mother on THE BLACKLIST) was CIA but she quite when Lamplighter slaughtered her grandchildren.  She's now part of the resistance who are out to take down The Seven and the corporation behind them.

So Starlighter is with Jack, which makes her with the resistance.  They go to an asylum that Stormfront (a new member of The Seven) is connected to.  Starlighter, Jack, Billy (leader of the resistance), Frenchie, Marvin (I can't call him Mother's Milk) and Kimiko (who has super powers).  

Frenchi, Marvin and Kimiko go into the asylum.  Billy won't let Starlight go in because she'd be recognized.  So he, Jack and Starlight are in the van outside.  They see Stormfront fly in and try to warn the gang inside but they're already watching Stormfront in a room with Lamplighter (this was his first episode).  A man there has been injected with the serum that makes you a superhero and he's able to use his powers very well but he's not doing it anymore, he tells Stormfront, not until he can speak to his sister.  She gives Lamlighter a command and he burns the man alive -- Lamplighter can produce flames but needs a source -- like a lighter.  

After Stormfront leaves, chaos quickly ensues when Lamplighter recognizes Frenchie and the two prepare to battle but Cindy -- who is a test subject as well -- uses her powers to set everyone free.  Chaos and violence.  Lamplighter agrees to pair up with Kimiko, Marvin and Frenchie -- especially after Kimiko is the only one able to save them all (remember, she's got powers).

So we learn a lot -- first off, he was not there to kill Mallory's grandkids all those years ago.  He was there to kill Mallory.  He thought it was her under the bed and, after he'd set the grandkids on fire, it was too late when he discovered otherwise.  

We also learn that the corporation isn't trying to create a huge army of supers at the asylum.  They have kidnapped people and brought them there to test the serum on them.  If you get the shot as a child, it's usually stable.  But adults injected later on often have huge problems.  The people are test subjects and they're intended to be killed when they've served their purpose.

Cindy, by the way, will probably figure in big this season.  She has huge mutant powers. She's a telekinetic -- a bit like Jean Grey in X-MEN.  And she's now on the loose, as we see near the end of the episode.

Another one who is on the loose confronts the gang in the van.  He's killed but only after he sends the van -- with Jack in it -- flying.  Jack is badly injured and Starlighter's powers are depleted so she's not able to cauterize the wound.  Billy carries him while Starlighter tries to get a man to give them his car.  He won't and doesn't believe Billy's FBI.  He pulls a gun and Starlighter reacts instinctively and fries him -- it appears she grabbed power from the car battery.

Let's move to the other stories.  One of The Seven is Maive.  She has super strength.  She's in love with Elena.  But this episode, Elena found, on Maeve's cellphone, footage Maeve was going to blackmail Homelander with.  It's a video of a season one incident.  A plane was in trouble and Homelander flew there (on his own power) carrying Maeve.  But there was no way to save everyone and Homelander chose to save none -- not even the kids.  Maeve objected but, in the end, went along.

Elena's horrified by the footage and doesn't care for Maeve's explanation.  It appears they may be over.

Once upon a time, Maeve slept with Homelander.  Now?  He's sleeping with Stormfront.  But doesn't trust her.  He has a tantrum -- he's an overgrown child (and obsessed with milk from the breast) -- and destroys his trailer (the corporation is filming a movie about The Seven with the heroes playing themselves).  Stormfront wonders what happened.  She gets that he has trust issues and explains things to him.  She was born before WWII.  She was the first test subject.  Vaught created the corporation.  He was a German who worked with Hitler.  Stormfront is a Nazi.  She hates non-Whites.  She's wanting purification.  

 The Deep is still trying to get back into The Seven.  They fired him for many things including his assault on Starlighter.  He's fumbled since being fired but now that he's in the cult (Church Of The Collective) and they want him to recruit the newly fired A-Train.  Which he does and A-Train takes the bait.

Meanwhile, Mallory wants to kill Lamplighter but Frenchie doesn't want her to.  Lamplighter tells her to go ahead and kill him but she ends up not doing it.  Now he's part of the resistance?  By the way, The Resistance is 'The Boys.'  It's Kimiko, Frenchie, Marvin, Billy, Starlighter and Hughie.  Hughie?  I've called him Jack above.  He's played by Meg Ryan's son Jack Quaid.  I'm not going to correct it above because I'm sure I'd miss at least one so I'll just leave it and note here that his name is Hughie.

 THE BOYS airs on AMAZON.  If you're a PRIME member, you can watch all of season one at any time.  You can do the same with the episodes of season two so far. But new episodes of season two air each Friday.

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

 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:

Friday, September 25, 2020

Joe Biden is no one's friend

 Starting with Jimmy Dore.

 Joe Biden is the worst, the absolute worst.  There's a reason no one has any enthusiasm about voting for him, there's a reason no one wants to see him become president.  All the 'support' he has is just about not being Donald Trump.  He offers no one any reason to vote for him, no reason to cheer him on.

Danny Haiphong (BLACK AGENDA REPORT) notes:

As the election inches closer, the pressure to support Joe Biden over Donald Trump intensifies for much of the so-called “left”-leaning sections of the United States. Hardliners in the Democratic Party are using fear of Trump as the principle argument for why Biden should be the next president. Susan Sarandon and other Sanders surrogates have proclaimed that a vote for Biden is a vote against fascism . Bernie Sanders has allegedly voiced concerns in private  about Biden’s obsession with courting Republican Party mainstays into the Democratic Party’s crowded tent of corporate donors and intelligence operatives. Still, Sanders and the rest of the Democratic Party have upheld the slogan that Trump is the most “dangerous president in modern American history” without any clarity as to how a Biden administration would resolve the numerous crises facing working class people, especially Black Americans.

Workers are currently struggling with a mass eviction and joblessness crisis on top of the health crisis posed by COVID-19. Over 80 percent of people at risk of eviction from the economic crisis reside in Black or Latino neighborhoods . Official unemployment remains close to nine percent and Black unemployment a full two percentage points higher than white unemployment  despite Black Americans making up a disproportionate number of workers employed in jobs deemed too “essential” to shut down during a pandemic. Black wealth was already heading toward zero prior to the pandemic, with the average Black family possessing just $1700 in total assets.  The trend toward zero wealth is likely to accelerate as the myriad of debts incurred during the COVID-19 pandemic siphon what is left of Black assets into the coffers of the finance capitalist class.

Biden has opposed any kind of significant relief for working people during the COVID-19 pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic has thoroughly exposed the limitations of the U.S. for-profit healthcare system yet Biden has remained firm in his opposition to Medicare for All.  He has also rejected or outright ignored the possibility of a federal jobs program or a universal basic income to ensure that the basic needs of a vast majority of the population are met. Instead, Biden and the Democrats say they want to restore “the soul of the nation.” The 2020 election is thus more of a religious crusade to politically purify Washington D.C. of its Trumpian elements in a bid to make America “great” again.

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

 Thursday, September 24, 2020.  Simplistic stories populate the US media while Iraq's president has a journalist arrested and this somehow is ignored despite the coverage he receives for his UN speech.

At THE HILL, Daniel Depetres argues:

Indeed, Washington's fixation on Iran prevents President Trump's stated desire to extricate U.S. troops from conflicts in the Middle East. Thousands of U.S. service members remain in Iraq and Syria to contain a country that, at best, is a mid-level power in the region. 

While approximately 2,500 U.S. troops are scheduled to withdraw from Iraq over the next two months, 3,000 Americans will continue to operate in the country with a muddled, expansive mission of countering Iranian interference on Iraqi soil. President Donald Trump admitted as much during a 2019 interview. He told CBS News that U.S. forces would remain stationed at the al-Asad base to monitor Iranian activities in Iraq. Fast-forward to today, and the U.S. objective in Iraq is largely the same. According to Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, the top U.S. military commander in the Middle East, U.S. troops are in Iraq in part to check Iran's influence — influence, ironically, the Iranians have accumulated in their next-door neighbor thanks in significant part to the counterproductive, destructive U.S. invasion of Iraq over 17 years ago. "[W]e remain focused on Iran as our central problem," McKenzie told reporters last month.

As a result of this mindset, thousands of U.S. troops are stuck in Iraq, dodging rockets and mortars every month, to watch a nation — Iran — whose GDP is slightly larger than the state of Michigan and whose ability to project influence in the Middle East is limited by its weakness as a military power as well as its neighbors' incentive to resist Iranian expansion. 

Is that true?  Because it doesn't sound true.  Over at COUNTERPUNCH, Medea Benjamin and Nicholas J.S. Davies argue:

If the Democrats manage to push Joe Biden over the finish line in November’s election, he will find himself presiding over a decadent, declining empire. He will either continue the policies that have led the American empire to decadence and decline, or seize the moment to move our nation into a new phase: a transition to a peaceful and sustainable post-imperial future.

The foreign policy team Biden assembles will be key, including his choice for Secretary of Defense. But Biden’s rumored favorite, Michele Flournoy, is not the gal for this historic moment. Yes, she would break the glass ceiling as the first female Secretary of Defense, but, as one of the architects of our endless wars and record military budgets, she would only help to steer the American empire farther down its current path of lost wars, corrupt militarism and terminal decline.

Is that true?  It also doesn't ring true.  In the first commentary, we're being told that, but for Iran, US troops would be out of Iraq.  In the second commentary, we're being told beware Michele Flournoy.

We've warned against Michele here for over a decade.  We covered her appearances before Congress.  She's a frothing at the mouth War Hawk and she's got that look that Joe likes, that look that he likes to flirt with and Michele's always loved to flirt back.  That was one of the objections lodged against her, years later, when Barack was briefly considering her for Secretary of Defense -- (a) where would her loyalties be (to the president or the vice president) and (b) the press that had rolled their eyes over the interaction between Michele and Joe might not be so reticent about covering this if the same behavior was taking place between the Secretary of Defense and the vice president.  Yes, Michele would be a danger as Secretary of Defense.  But that's not really the issue.  Yes, US policy towards Iran impacts on the decision to keep US troops in Iraq.  But that's not the only thing keeping them there.

Both of the arguments above are simplistic.  And I'm left to wonder: Did no one read Kimberly Dozier's report at TIME this week?  Because if you read it, there's no need to single-strand theory this complex issue.

Michele Flournoy?  She's the least of the problems in a Biden administration.  Kimberly interviews the people advising him.  People like scum of the earth Brett McGurk.  All the War Hawks.  They explain that a President Joe Biden wouldn't have 'forever wars' -- instead, he'd just have US troops in Iraq and the rest of the Middle East for his entire term.  They don't like the label 'forever wars,' apparently.  To zoom in on Iraq, Joe's advisers don't offer Iran as a reason.  Again, it is a reason -- "a" -- not "the."  And pretending it's the sole reason leads to simplistic and sloppy writing.  


Biden’s former National Security Advisor Colin Kahl, now an informal advisor to the Biden campaign, says he believes the former Vice President’s regional military strategy would entail keeping a small U.S. special operations presence in places like Iraq and Afghanistan, with the permission of those governments. “Where we have enduring counterterrorism missions, we’ll keep a few thousand troops,” Kahl tells TIME.

This “indirect approach” means working through local forces, but also keeps enough U.S. troops on the ground to act as “sensors,” Kahl says, able to assess the stability of the country and their partner military’s skill, and to fill in gaps in intelligence with U.S. drones and other technology. Though Biden has “very modest views on what we can accomplish through military action across the greater Middle East,” Kahl says, the Democratic nominee also believes “that we have to stay laser-focused” on terrorist organizations like ISIS and al-Qaeda “that threaten the American homeland.”

Kahl compares the two times the U.S. defeated al-Qaeda in Iraq, first under President George W. Bush, and again against the organization’s next incarnation as ISIS.

Is Dozier lazy in her typing or is that last sentence above reflective of her own thinking?  ISIS was not the "next incarnation" of al Qaeda.  That's takes a lot of stupidity to type that sentence -- whether it's Dozier's own opinion or just that of Kahl. 

Brookings Daniel L. Byman April 29, 2015, testifying before the Subcommittee on Counterterterrorism and Intelligence of the House Committee on Homeland Security:

The Islamic State’s influence and model are spreading. Even in many Muslim countries where the Islamic State does not have a strong presence, its rise is radicalizing their populations, fomenting sectarianism, and making a troubled region worse.1 The Islamic State’s successes in Syria and Iraq alarmed many observers in Washington and prompted the Obama administration to overcome its longstanding hesitation to become more militarily involved in Iraq and Syria. But there is one person for whom the Islamic State’s rise is even more frightening: Ayman al-Zawahiri. Although the Al Qaeda leader might be expected to rejoice at the emergence of a strong jihadist group that delights in beheading Americans (among other horrors), in reality the Islamic State’s rise risks Al Qaeda’s demise. When Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi rejected Al Qaeda’s authority and later declared a caliphate, he split the always-fractious jihadist movement. The two are now competing for more than the leadership of the jihadist movement: they are competing for its soul.

Who will emerge triumphant is not clear. However, the implications of one side’s victory or of continuing division are profound for the Muslim world and for the United States, shaping the likely targets of the jihadist movement, its ability to achieve its goals, and the overall stability of the Middle East. The United States can exploit this split, both to decrease the threat and to weaken the movement as a whole.

No, they are not the same group and ISIS is not and was not al Qaeda's next incarnation.

But go through Dozier's article and grasp that if Joe Biden becomes president, the forever wars go on.  Grasp that Michele, not quoted in the article, is the least of the problems.  Did they seize on her, Medea and Nicholas, because she is a "her"?

I find Brett McGurk much more frightening.  He was less so when Bully Boy Bush occupied the White House.  No one took him seriously then.  Well, Gina Chon did.  The press coverage of Iraq, remember that, how we all decried it?  Turns out, when not suffering "blue balls" (his term) in Iraq, married Brett was sleeping with married Gina -- not married to each other -- yeah, it matters we'll briefly note why that is.  And, in exchange, Gina was letting Brett vet her copy and shape her coverage of events.  He was part of the US government.  Now when this came out -- and it came out here first not at, as POLITICO tries to pretend, as some DC paper/website -- this was a huge story, right?

A reporter let a government official alter her copy.  She slept with him and let him decide the coverage of Iraq.  This was not independent reporting and it was yet another story of corruption in the Bully Boy Bush era and administration.  So it was big news, right?

Wrong.  Hillary Clinton loves a cheating man and she brought Brett in to Barack's administration.

The scandal broke when Brett was nominated by Barack to be the US Ambassador to Iraq.

That could not happen.  And one US senator (I would give public credit but they don't want it) made it very clear to Barack that there would be multiple Democrats objecting to Brett's nomination.


Gina Chon was married at the time to someone else.  (Brett and Gina left their spouses to take up with the only people on the earth who can stand them -- each other.)  

In a country where 'honor' killings still take place, putting a man who slept with a married woman in charge of the US Embassy would make every Iraqi woman going into that Embassy a potential target.  Of Brett?  No.  Of fundamentalist Iraqis who were already upset that a foreigner like Brett was in the Green Zone and making policy for their country.  Under Bully Boy Bush, the US had already destroyed the rights of Iraqi women.  As the Democratic senator put it to Barack, the Senate would not just sit by while women were further sidelined in Iraq. (The Iraqi press and Arabic social media had covered the scandal -- the one that was largely ignored here in the US.)

The always laughable CJR pretends a journalistic watchdog. But they refused to cover what came out -- that Gina had allowed Brett to vet and dictate her copy.  THE WALL STREET JOURNAL fired her for this in the midst of the scandal -- and I've heard the tape of that meeting and noted that in real time.  She was fired.  

CJR stands for COLUMBIA JOURNALISM REVIEW.  But they avoided this story.  Why?  Because it was now linked to precious Barack Obama.  Can't talk reality when that happens.  They finally were forced to cover it because one of their idiots went to town on some female reporter who had slept with a local official.  Our own Martha took to the CJR comments to point out the rank hypocrisy and so CJR did a tiny paragraph or two on the issue.

Brett McGurk was always a dangerous person.  But he's much more dangerous than Michele because, due to Barack, the press treats Brett like a wise and trusted person.  He's neither wise nor to be trusted.  He egged on the Iraq War and that's why Bully Boy Bush put him over various programs in Iraq.

He is not to be trusted.  

I don't trust, honestly, any of the men in Dozier's report.  They're all War Hawks.  It's interesting, isn't it, how CODEPINK's Medea always teams up with a man to write.  I guess she's allergic to women, is that it?  And when she does do something it's against Condi Rice or Michele or Hillary or . . .

And I'm not saying any of those women should be off limits.  I am saying we are seeing a pattern of Medea going after women.  Again, Michele's not Brett McGurk.  When has Medea called out Brett?  Did she call out Brett and Gina?  No, she didn't.  You had a government official dictating to a reporter what would be written -- and this was what would be written about a war.  Yet 'anti-war' Medea never said "boo" and never has since.  But now she wants you to know that we must all be wary of Michele.  Not a word about Brett but yet again focus on this woman.  It's always a woman.  

 From June 7, 2012, this is Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "Standing Behind McGurk"

standing behind mcgurk
Isaiah's latest The World Today Just Nuts "Standing Behind McGurk."  White House spokersperson Jay Carney declares, "We continue to stand behind Brett McGurk."  David Plouffe adds, "Mainly because if we stood in front of him, we're scared he'd _____ us."  Isaiah archives his comics at The World Today Just Nuts.

Michele will be called out.  She doesn't have Barack's stamp-of-approval.  Brett's gotten a pass so far.  Medea really needs to take a look at herself in the mirror.

Yesterday, Iraqi President Barham Salih spoke to the United Nations.

The United Nations notes:

Before and after the emergence of the coronavirus, Iraq faced epidemics that were “no less deadly and dangerous to the world – terrorism and corruption,” President Barham Salih told world leaders in a pre-recorded address to the UN General Assembly. 

“If we have defeated the terrorists militarily, the war is far from won,” the President told the Assembly’s annual debate, being held virtually this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. Indeed, he said, Iraq’s war against terrorism was continuing.  

Mr. Salih warned against underestimating the danger of terrorism and stressed the all too real possibilities “of its return and the reorganization of its ranks”, and added that “any complacency, or preoccupation with conflicts in the region, will be an outlet for the return of these deadly groups.” 

Rampant corruption  

He went on to denounce the “rampant corruption and interference” that had harmed his country’s national sovereignty. Such acts would also impede Iraq’s efforts to combat terrorism and extremism. 

Mr. Salih stressed the need to isolate the corrupt elements involved in capital flight. Faced with the scourge of corruption, the President called for the creation of an international coalition on the model of the coalition against terrorism. 

He further urged the international community to stand with Iraq so that the crimes committed against the Yazidis, including the crimes of genocide, do not happen again. He detailed his recent meeting with Yazidi women, during which they told him of “the indescribable suffering” they continue to endure. 

COVID-19 and misinformation 

Calling on developed countries to support developing ones, Mr. Salih stressed the need to fight misinformation, which jeopardizes the lives of millions. Early planning can guarantee equity in the distribution of a COVID‑19 vaccine, he said, stressing that the international community must prevent its distribution from becoming a commercial act.   

Within the limited health‑care infrastructure resources of his country, he said, Iraq is fighting the pandemic, while continuing its ongoing battle against the scourges of terrorism and corruption. 

Change in Iraq 

Forty years of war, blockades and terrorism, he reflected, is the lamentable history that Iraq carries. The plummeting oil prices in the global market and the economic havoc wreaked by the pandemic have exacerbated this burden.   

Around a year ago, the country saw a popular movement in which citizens expressed a desire for change and dialogue. Pointing to reforms undertaken in response, he said that a new Government was formed in 2020.   

The Iraqi people wish to usher in a new political age, he said, noting the intention to hold early elections in 2021. Calling for technical assistance from the United Nations, he said, “we do not want Iraq to become a playground for external forces.”


PBS' NEWSHOUR published the full speech on their YOUTUBE channel.

The western press loves Salih.  He's trying to thwart upcoming elections, he's corrupt and so much more, but they love him.  Especially in the US, they love Salih.  He's not the saint they portray him as.  The Committee To Protect Journalists issued the following yesterday:

New York, September 23, 2020 – Kurdish authorities in Iraq should immediately release journalist Bahroz Jaafer, drop all charges against him, and allow the press to cover and write critically about politicians without fear of detention or legal action, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

Yesterday, police arrested Jaafer, a columnist for the independent news website Peyser Press, in the northeastern Iraqi Kurdish city of Sulaymaniyah and transferred him to the Azmar police station, where he remains in detention, according to news reports and a statement by the Metro Center for Journalists’ Rights and Advocacy, a local press freedom group.

Authorities charged Jaafer with criminal defamation, according to the Metro Center. If tried and convicted under Article 433 of Iraq’s penal code, Jaafer could face up to one year in jail and a fine of up to 100 dinars (about 8 US cents).

The arrest was sparked by a defamation complaint filed by the lawyer of Iraqi President Barham Salih, in response to a column by Jaafer criticizing the president, according to those reports.

“Iraqi authorities should develop a thicker skin and stop resorting to the criminal code to stifle critical reporting and commentary,” said CPJ’s Middle East and North Africa representative, Ignacio Miguel Delgado. “Iraqi President Salih should immediately drop the defamation complaint against journalist Bahroz Jaafer, and local authorities should release him unconditionally.”

On August 29, Jaafer published a column titled “How much longer will the president be driving the wrong side?” in which he criticized Salih, also an ethnic Kurd, for allegedly failing to support Iraqi Kurdistan amid disputes with the national government over land, oil, and the autonomous region’s budget.

Karwan Anwar, head of the Sulaymaniyah branch of the government-funded Kurdistan Journalists’ Syndicate, told local broadcaster Rudaw that Jaafer, a member of the syndicate, is required to remain in detention until a hearing scheduled for September 30, unless he is granted bail beforehand.

The Iraqi president’s media office did not immediately reply to CPJ’s request for comment sent via messaging app. Dindar Zebari, the Kurdish regional government’s coordinator for international advocacy, did not immediately reply to CPJ’s emailed request for comment.

Salih's done nothing to help the Iraqi people -- that includes the Iraqi activists.  Sunday we noted the kidnapping of activist Sajjad al-Iraqi.

The kidnapping of the activist, Sajjad Al-Iraqi, at the entrance to Dhi Qar Governorate.


Mystery still shrouds the case of Sajjad al-Iraqi, an activist who was kidnapped last Saturday by a group of gunmen in the southern Dhi Qar province, Iraq. His predicament has transformed into a security and social crisis that shook the Levantine nation.

In Nasiriyah, where al-Iraqi was kidnapped, tribal chiefs were conflicted over Baghdad dispatching anti-terrorism forces to look for the abducted activist and to arrest the perpetrators. Some welcomed the initiative, while others rejected it.

Despite security taskforces having identifying the abductors, locating their residences and issuing arrest warrants for two of them, no tangible progress was made on the case.  


Iraqi activists are this week gathering in the capital Baghdad to mark the anniversary of the country's bloody anti-government uprising, which saw hundreds of protesters killed by security forces.

October 1 will mark one year since demonstrators first took to the streets calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi and an end to government corruption and economic mismanagement.

The anti-government protests were met with a heavy-handed response by security forces and Iran-linked militias, with tear gas and live fire killing more than 700 demonstrators and injuring thousands

Violence against protesters further galvanised the movement, transforming it into a wider anti-sectarian call for an end to damaging Iranian and American influences in the country.

The following sites updated: