Sunday, July 19, 2020

Grab bag

That's Consoritum News airing a documentary about Julian Assange followed by a discussion.  It's worth watching.  Worth reading? C.I.'s "Cancel Culture, anyone?" which I enjoyed so much that I read it a second time. 

That was this morning.  Right now?

I feel awful.

I can't get cool.  The thermostat says it's 65 but I'm burning up.  I've got a fan on me and I took a cold shower thinking that might help.  I'm about to veg out with BritBox -- maybe Father Brown season eight?  Something anyway.  I just can't seem to cool off.  And I'm drinking iced water non-stop.

I made Trina's recipe "Tomato, Mushroom and Chicken Bake in the Kitchen" and it smells good so I may try to nibble on that.

Or I may just nap in and out while I stream some British mysteries. 

Oh, read Kat's "Kat's Korner: Ellie Goulding and Lady Gaga -- one creates, the other churns" which went up this morning.

Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"
Friday, July 17, 2020.  This morning, we look at the race for the US presidency.

Starting in the US with the presidential race.  Last Saturday, Howie Hawkins became the latest official candidate when he won the Green Party's presidential nomination.

Of winning the nomination, his campaign notes:

Today, Howie Hawkins was nominated by the Green Party of the United States for president of the United States. Hawkins has selected Angela Walker as his running mate as the vice presidential nominee.
Hawkins thanked the Green Party for its support and said “Our campaign will reach out to the tens of millions of voters who are not represented by the two parties of the millionaires and billionaires, to the independent voters who have rejected both parties and to the ‘hold your nose’ voters who reluctantly vote for candidates they do not like, from political parties they do not trust.”
Hawkins is a retired Teamster from Syracuse, NY with long experience in popular movements on civil rights, environmentalism and opposition to war and imperialism. He is joined by Vice Presidential candidate Angela Walker, a veteran working-class activist with decades of experience, starting from her youth, working for racial and economic justice in social movements, unions, and as an independent socialist candidate. Howie and Angela are running to put two workers in the White House at a time when workers are underpaid, mistreated and not provided the essentials needed for economic security.
“The US is a bi-partisan failed state. We need real solutions to the life-or-death problems we face: Covid-19, racism, economic inequality, climate change and the new nuclear arms race,” said Hawkins. “The mishandling of the COVID pandemic has resulted in more than 135,000 deaths. The collapse of the economy has 47.2 percent of working-age people without work while the bi-partisans are bailing out their wealthy friends and families. The people are rising up against racism and police violence but Trump and Biden respond with violence. Neither party will confront the climate crisis but instead continue building fossil fuel infrastructure that heighten the crisis. And, the nuclear arms race is escalating while never-ending wars continue.”
Hawkins/Walker are running on a platform that includes 
  • To address systemic racism, we call for democratic community control of the police, legal adult use of marijuana and  ending the war on drugs, and reparations for African Americans. As a down-payment on reparations, we call for a Marshall Plan for the cities – sustained federal investment in jobs, schools, homes and healthcare to rebuild the racially oppressed communities who suffer from generations of discrimination and exploitation.
  • For Covid-19, our campaign demands a federal test, trace, and isolate program and emergency protection of people’s incomes, employment, homes, and healthcare during the crisis. Pandemic policy should be based on science-based public health measures.
  • The Ecosocialist Green New Deal will create 30 million good-paying jobs so a federal jobs guarantee becomes the engine for getting out of the economic collapse. And, it puts in place policies consistent with climate science to transition to a clean, sustainable energy economy by 2030.
  • An Economic Bill of Rights that ends poverty and economic despair through a living wage job, an income above the poverty level, lifelong public education, comprehensive healthcare,affordable housing and a secure retirement. 
  • Improved Medicare for all with a community-based national health service is the path to providing high quality healthcare to everyone in the United States. This transforms healthcare from an approach designed to create profits for a few into one that  guarantees healthcare to everyone.
Angela Walker, who ran for vice president with the Socialist Party in 2016, said “Voters are confronted with a choice of two unpopular candidates backed by capitalist parties who put the 1% first. We must break this cycle because most of us are not in a position of privilege to afford the so-called lesser evil.”
Howie and Angela immediately challenged Trump and Biden to debates. Hawkins said “I am ready to debate Trump and Biden on these issues, but are they ready to debate me? Trump likes to attack socialists but does he have the courage to debate a real socialist? The Democratic and Republican owned Commission on Presidential Debates sounds like a government agency but is in fact a private corporation designed to keep their competition out.”
The Green Party presently has ballot access in 25 states including D.C., and is in the process of seeking ballot access in all 50 states. The party is already qualified in states with over 300 Electoral College votes, enough to win the election.

Howie joins Joseph Kishore (SEP candidate), Gloria La Riva (Party of Socialism and Liberation, Jo Jorgensen (Libertarian Party) as official nominees running for the US presidency.  Donald Trump is the presumed nominee for the Republican Party and Joe Biden is the presumed nominee for the Democratic Party but those are presumed nominations and not yet official ones.

Kanye West is a rapper, a fashion designer, a social influencer and so much more.  He's also spending money to go for an independent presidential run.  Ben Jacobs (NEW YORK) reports:

On July 4, Kanye West tweeted that he was running for president. It was treated as one of his typical grandiloquent pronouncements. The tweet sparked a lot of opinion pieces, cable news segments, and even a question in an Oval Office interview with Donald Trump. But most people brushed it off. In a follow-up interview with Forbes, West pledged, if elected, to run the White House like the nation of Wakanda from Black Panther. That remark seemed to reinforce the notion that this was just a lark. After all, West had previously compared himself to figures varying from God to Willy Wonka without attempting to establish the Kingdom of Heaven or manufacture an Everlasting Gobstopper.
But this time may — at least for a moment — be different. According to multiple campaign professionals who spoke with Intelligencer, West took early steps last week toward getting his name on the ballot in Florida and other states as a third-party candidate running against Joe Biden and Donald Trump.
On Wednesday, July 8, around the time West tweeted and deleted an image of a fetus at the six-month mark of gestation with the caption “these souls deserve to live,” I was connected with a source who had been approached to work for the rapper’s presidential campaign. The source, who asked not to be named, was a political operative who had experience in this kind of work. I was extremely skeptical — but after talking with this person and others, I was convinced that West (or someone close to him) was at least toying with a real-life plan to build a campaign operation.
The source had been approached about going to Florida on West’s behalf to help gather the signatures needed to make the ballot in the state by the July 15 deadline. This person was offered $5,000 for the week’s work. In order to qualify for the ballot in the Sunshine State, West would need to gather 132,781 valid signatures from Florida voters in less than a week.

Below is Kanye West's "The Glory" from his 2007 album GRADUATION (he samples Laura Nyro's "Save The Country").

And what will the hapless U.S. voter be faced with come November? The incumbent, President Donald Trump, lives in a fantasy world of his own, declaring that the U.S. has overcome the coronavirus problem, even as tens of thousands of new cases are reported every day. As the U.S. seems to finally be facing its racism problem (please don’t expect any major legislation to address it; the will of the people is hardly forefront in the eyes of those they elect to represent them), Trump calls the Black Lives Matter movement ‘a symbol of hate’. He continues to proclaim how he has done whatever better than anyone has ever done it before, and that he knows more about whatever than anyone else. He apparently doesn’t even have a nodding acquaintance with reality, let alone an intimate relationship with it.
And then there is Joe Biden, a man who has been around the Washington establishment for decades and is a charter member of it. An aging Zionist with a knack for misspeaking, it’s possible that Trump will annihilate him in the debates, simply because, unlike the president he served as vice-president under, he can barely speak.
Barack Obama was forty-seven when he was inaugurated; Trump, to date, is the oldest person ever to become president, and Biden would take that crown from him should he be elected. Is there no one in the U.S. qualified to be president who isn’t an old white man? Howie Hawkins of the Green Party is sixty-seven, and Gloria La Riva, 65: mere children by comparison.
A Biden presidency will bring in some changes, but some things will remain the same: hostility towards the government of Venezuela; restricted health care; carte blanche for Israel to steamroll over international law and human rights; Black lives not mattering in the U.S., and U.S. bombs dropping onto innocent people all over the world.
When the U.S. citizenry recognizes the power it has at the ballot box, and rejects the candidates of the two major parties, real change will finally happen. However, it is not to be looked for in 2020.

One of Robert Fatinia's issues is the fate of the Palestinians.  Gloria La Riva issued the following statement

Gloria La Riva Condemns Israeli Annexation Plan Calls for Solidarity with Palestinian People and End to U.S. Aid to Israel

Gloria protests former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak at protest in San Francisco.

I strongly condemn Israel’s planned annexation of much of the West Bank and I demand an end to U.S.aid to the state of Israel. I also call for an immediate end to the annual gift of $3.8 billion in military aid to Israel, an highly militarized state, the only one in the Middle East that possesses nuclear weapons. The U.S. government also provides Israel with billions more in loan guarantees and assistance.
In the midst of a deadly pandemic, tens of millions of people have lost jobs, housing, health care and more. While severely cutting food stamps at a time of rapidly growing hunger, the Trump administration is sending billions to fund the brutal occupation and repression of the oppressed Palestinian people.
Trump, while promoting the worst neo-Nazi, racist and anti-Semitic elements, simultaneously pretends that his support for Israel is based on sympathy with Jewish people! Through the backing of Israel’s annexation of Syrian land in the Golan Heights, the moving of the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, and the so- called “Deal of the Century,” the Trump administration had given a green light to Israel to seize much of the West Bank. The worldwide uprising against racism, however, caused the administration to block Israel – at least temporarily – from annexing 30% or more of the West Bank.
As despicable as Trump and his cohorts are, it would be wrong to see the support for Israel and its anti-Palestinian apartheid system as just a Republican project. In fact, going back to the creation of the state of Israel in 1948 and the driving out of most of the Palestinian population, the Democratic Party has been the main supporter of vast military, economic and diplomatic support for Israel.
Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic candidate for President supported every form of aid to Israel in his 36 years as a U.S. Senator and eight years as vice-president.
Neither the Democrat nor Republican leaders’ support for Israel has anything to do with sympathy for Jewish people. They view Israel as a vital extension of U.S. military power in a key strategic region of the world. Israel’s wars against Egypt, Syria, Lebanon and the Palestinian people were also proxy wars against countries and movements viewed as enemies by Washington.
My campaign, the La Riva for President 2020 Campaign, and the Party for Socialism and Liberation, we express our full solidarity with the people of Palestine, and the various ongoing movements to bring mass attention to their struggle for emancipation, such as the international call for BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions). My campaign calls for no annexation and supports true self-determination for the Palestinian people including the right of return to their stolen homeland for all Palestinian refugees.”

Ballot access is a huge issue in any election.  Kanye is attempting to get ballot access currently.  Joseph Kishore has been before the courts arguing for ballot access in Michigan.  Jo Jorgesen noted the issue of ballot access yesterday:

RICHMOND, Va., July 16, 2020 —  U.S. District Court Judge John A. Gibney, Jr. for the Eastern District of Virginia ruled on Wednesday to ease the signature requirement for “third-party” presidential candidates, in light of the difficulty of petitioning presented by the COVID-19 pandemic along with other constraints imposed by local and state governments.
Judge Gibney granted a 50-percent reduction in the signature requirement. Parties must now collect 2500, rather than 5000, signatures by August 21 in order to have their presidential candidate placed on the Nov. 3 ballot in Virginia.
Virginia’s Phase 3 guidelines for social distancing strongly encourage people to “maintain six feet of physical distance when outside of home.”
“While Libertarians are grateful for the reduction, we continue to feel it is unreasonable to insist on in-person signature requirements during a pandemic,” said Libertarian Party (LP) of Virginia Chair Nick Dunbar. “We will continue to work with the Virginia Board of Elections and the State Assembly to develop a contactless ballot-qualification method.”
Dunbar noted that the 50-percent reduction granted by Judge Gibney is less generous than was the 65-percent reduction granted to a Republican U.S. Senate candidate earlier this year.
Despite the difficulty, Dunbar expects Libertarians to meet the new requirement and place Dr. Jo Jorgensen, the Libertarian candidate for president, on the ballot.
“This is an important step toward ensuring that more than five million voters in Virginia can vote their conscience this fall,” said Dr. Jorgensen, who advocates a far smaller government; much lower taxes; competitive, low-cost health care; and an end to U.S. involvement in foreign wars.
On Monday, Dunbar presented testimony, along with representatives for the Constitution and Green Parties, regarding the obstacles to petitioning they faced this season and the resultant projections of signatures they expect to collect, based on past petitioning efforts.
Almost two dozen alternative-party voters, practicing social distancing and wearing masks, watched the testimony as Judge Gibney considered pro and con arguments. He cited First Amendment rights and other considerations in support of lessening the requirement for this election cycle.

Still on ballot access, Alan Gilman (WSWS) reports:

On Wednesday. the Socialist Equality Party’s candidates for United States president and vice-president, Joseph Kishore and Norissa Santa Cruz, filed a set of legal documents responding comprehensively to the arguments made by California Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom and Secretary of State Alex Padilla.
The SEP’s lawsuit was filed on June 30 in federal court in California against Newsom and Padilla, challenging the state’s continued enforcement of a requirement that candidates gather 200,000 physical signatures between April and August in order to gain access to the November statewide ballot.
The lawsuit argues that this requirement is “effectively impossible” to meet “in light of the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic and the state’s countermeasures to it.”
The SEP candidates, who are the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, argue that had their supporters attempted to publicly petition to obtain signatures for ballot access, they would have severely jeopardized not only their own health and lives, but those of the public as well.
The SEP candidates are arguing that since California refuses to provide any practical way for them to participate in the elections, in violation of their democratic and constitutional rights, the judge should order their names placed directly onto the November ballot.
On July 12, the California attorney general’s office, which represents Newsom and Padilla, filed its opposition to the SEP candidates’ request.

Getting media attention can be almost as hard as getting ballot access if you're not part of the corporate duopoly system.  Jo Jorgesen spoke last week with THE CHARLOTTE OBSERVER's TALKING PREPS about sports and politics during the pandemic.

Also noting the pandemic is Joseph Kishore who Tweeted.

Toledo autoworkers demand immediate shutdown of production, as #coronavirus cases spiral out of control. "Everyone in there has been exposed... We are informing each other on Facebook. We are doing it ourselves" because the UAW is doing nothing.

On the coronavirus, KURDISTAN 24 reports:

On Thursday, the Kurdistan Region’s Ministry of Health announced 151 new coronavirus infections, 118 recoveries, and 11 fatalities over the previous 24 hours.
In its daily COVID-19 statement, the ministry reported that 138 individuals have been quarantined in the same period of time, making a total of 1,721 now in quarantine in 24 different locations in the region, the statement also added that 1,729 tests have been conducted in the same period.
According to the most recent government data released to the public, 151 of these tests came back positive, 108 in Sulaimani province, 24 in Erbil, 13 in Halabja, and 6 in Dohuk.
The health ministry statement also pointed out that 118 patients had recovered over the past day and that the total number of coronavirus infections in the autonomous region so far has reached 10,265.
At the same time, the Iraqi government’s High National Health and Safety Committee in Baghdad announced earlier on Thursday that it was lifting some of current pandemic restrictions across the country, including allowing airports to reopen on July 23.
Also on Thursday, the federal Ministry of Health and Environment reported that there were currently 28,000 actives cases of the highly-infectious disease across the nation as well as 2,000 new infections and 90 deaths in the past day.

Jean-Yves Le Drian is visiting Iraq.  AP notes, "France''s foreign minister warned of the persistent threat from the Islamic State group in a visit to Iraq on Thursday, his first official trip outside the European Union since the coronavirus pandemic erupted.  Jean-Yves Le Drian met with his Iraqi counterpart, Fuad Hussein, in Baghdad; the two discussed a broad range of subjects, from IS prisoners of French origin held in Iraqi jails, to the continuing threat posed by IS militants and France''s ongoing investment projects in the country. "  FAMAGUSTA GAZETTE adds, "During his visit, Le Drian and his accompanying delegation met with Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi in the Green Zone in the Iraqi capital Baghdad, where the two sides discussed the bilateral relations and issues of common concern, according to a statement issued by al-Kadhimi’s media office."

We'll close with this documentary PBS' FRONTLINE is carrying.

The following sites updated:

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