Sunday, September 20, 2020

We are screwed

 At DISSIDENT VOICE, Roger D. Harris offers some blunt truths:

In the midst of the pandemic, when health insurance claims would be expected to be out of control, health insurers have been garnering obscene profits benefiting from the public health emergency. Amongst the superrich, Jeff Bezos of Amazon added $87.1 billion to his net worth since the beginning of the year and Elon Musk of Tesla accrued another $73.6 billion.

Thanks in large part to the habitual intervention by the Federal Reserve for the owners of finance capital, Market Insider predicts “2021 could be a boom year for stocks,” while prospects for working people look grim and ever grimmer. Yes, Bernie Sanders was right that the “system is rigged” for the capitalist class.

Will a Democratic victory in November change any of this? Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, the current highest ranking Democrat, said it all: “we’re capitalist and that’s just the way it is.” Her net worth is $120 million.

Even major “liberal” Democrats, such as Elizabeth Warren, are doctrinaire “capitalist to the bone.” When asked to explain herself, the senator said: “I believe in markets and the benefits they can produce…for people.” True enough. The “people” who benefit from capitalism are the capitalists.

How about Democratic Party progressives like the “The Squad,” you ask? In the “graveyard of social movements” that is the Democratic Party, they are relegated to diversity window dressing with AOC getting only 90 seconds of fame at the Democratic National Convention.

Nominal independent Bernie Sanders tried an end-run for the presidential nomination but ran into the DNC’s “no progressives rule.” And if Biden wins in 2020 and Harris in 2024 and 2028, 2032 would be the first chance for a progressive Democrat to even try to run.

Speaking of the Democratic National Convention, Bernie Sanders praised Uncle Joe for – of all things – his health care policies. Michelle Obama carried chutzpah to new heights, criticizing Trump for immigration practices inherited from her husband. Can’t the best speech writers that money can buy come up with more convincing mendacities?


The duopoly is offering no one who will improve the lives of non-wealthy Americans.  I do not believe a vote for a third party candidate is a waste of time.  But if it were, would it really matter at this point?  A vote for one of the duopoly has become a waste of time.  I would say that we are better off getting excited about real candidates with real programs, the Howie Hawkns, Jo Jogensens, Gloria La Viras, and Joseph Kishores.  They actually believe in something.  

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

  Friday, September 8, 2020.  With the US presidential elections weeks away, we look at some of the campaigns for president.

In the United States, a presidential election is scheduled to take place in November.  Around the world, people vote but only in the 'beacon' of democracy are your presidential choices so limited.  The corportae duopoly controls pretty much everything.  That's the Democratic Party and the Republican Party.  They refuse to allow any other party onstage for the debates.  The presidential debates are not operated by the media.  The two parties operate the debates.  That's not a democracy.

More time is spent this year attempting on keeping the Green Party off the ballot in states.  But, as Jimmy Dore has noted, Joe Biden doesn't want any of the hundred or so million who have stopped voting to vote for him.  Instead, he's all about scraping up one or maybe two Republican voters.

He offers nothing for the people.

This same duopoly is among the reason the illegal war on Iraq started -- and why it continues to this day.

In the either/or system that the duopoly creates and maintains, it was easy for the craven to portray themselves as noble.  And that's how you got Democrats in office in 2002 agreeing to support the Iraq War so that they didn't get 'clobbered' with it in the 2002 mid-terms.  

The duopoly keeps us from having real choices in our voting and real and needed changes in our lives.

Ann raises a very good point in "Don't talk to me about voter suppression" -- there is no real difference between what we see as voter suppression and suppression of candidates.  Howie Hawkins, the Green Party's presidential nominee, addresses that in the video below -- noting how the Democratic Party worked to keep the Green Party off the ballot this November.

Howie's campaign issued the following:


More information:
Andrea Mérida,

Greens Denounce Wisconsin Supreme Court Decision

(Syracuse, NY – September 14, 2020) Green Party nominees for President and Vice President, Howie Hawkins and Angela Walker, rejected the decision handed down earlier today by the Wisconsin Supreme Court, to deny placing them on the November 2020 ballot.  The Green Party has been on the ballot in Wisconsin for every presidential election since 1996.

Several years ago, the workers of Wisconsin occupied the state capitol building with shouts of “this is what democracy looks like.”  Angela Walker mobilized her Milwaukee transit workers local union into that defense of workers’ rights.  Unfortunately, today, the state Supreme Court demonstrated something completely different from what most people consider to be democracy: a choice on their ballot.

“The court majority failed to recognize the partisan Wisconsin Election Commission’s repeated unlawful actions, said Andrea Mérida, campaign manager.” Mérida continued, “now we have a dangerous precedent where a major party can effectively decide which minor parties can participate in elections, by conjuring up arbitrary requirements on the fly to remove its opposition. Regardless, the fact remains that we met all of the legal requirements for ballot access and followed the WEC’s instructions to the letter with regards to Angela Walker’s change of residence.”

“We were screwed. As the dissenting opinion explains, the actual facts and the law show that we are qualified for the ballot. Partisan hacks should not be running elections for their own parties. They set up the absentee ballot snafu. The decision is a travesty of justice,” said Hawkins.

“Our campaign rejects the idea that we should be punished for what the court majority considers an untimely legal response.  As noted in the dissenting opinion, our campaign filed only two days after the Commission certified their list of independent candidates.  As a working-class campaign that cannot afford attorneys on retainer, unlike the two major parties, it takes time for us to find legal representation, formulate a response and file documents,” Angela Walker said.

The campaign is currently weighing out its legal options, and Wisconsinites may now have to write-in Howie Hawkins and Angela Walker in order to vote for the only presidential ticket that fights for a Green New Deal, Medicare for All, and fair elections and ballot access. The campaign vows to continue to fight alongside the Wisconsin Green Party to regain its ballot status, which will require one percent of the statewide vote, or about 20,000 votes.

Joseph Kishore is the presidential candidate for the Socialist Equality Party and he Tweeted:

The SEP denounces the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruling barring the Green Party from the ballot, an anti-democratic action that was supported particularly by Democrats. The US political system is not a democracy. The state is an instrument of class rule, controlled by the oligarchy.

And he Tweeted:

In the case of the socialist campaign of the SEP, the courts have ruled that our supporters had to gather tens of thousands of signatures in the midst of the pandemic to get on the ballot, which would mean sacrificing our lives and the lives countless thousands.

Kevin Reed (WSWS) reports on the efforts to keep Howie off the ballot in Pennsylvania:

In the second such action by a state court this week, the Pennsylvania state Supreme Court ruled Thursday the state could exclude Green Party candidates Howie Hawkins and Angela Walker from the ballot for the 2020 presidential elections.

In the 5-2 decision on partisan lines, the state supreme court overturned a lower court ruling that supported the Green Party against a decision by the Bureau of Elections to use an obscure technicality to throw out the nominating petitions that qualified their candidates for ballot status.

The ruling, which was endorsed by all five Democratic justices, states, “Because the procedures for nominating a candidate for office by nomination papers were not strictly followed here … the Secretary is directed to remove both candidates’ names from the general election ballot.” The two Republican judges said in a dissenting opinion they agree that the nominating petitions had been filed improperly but that the Green Party should be given the opportunity to fix their paperwork.

As was the case in the ruling by the Wisconsin state Supreme Court on Monday, the political purpose of the Pennsylvania ruling is to keep the Green Party from providing an alternative for voters who might otherwise cast ballots for Democrats Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.

In the 2016 election, Hillary Clinton lost to Donald Trump by 11,000 votes in Michigan, 23,000 in Wisconsin, and 44,000 in Pennsylvania. In each state, Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein received more votes than Clinton’s margin of defeat.

This led the Democrats, and their media apologists, to blame the Greens for a defeat which Clinton brought on herself by running a right-wing, anti-working-class campaign which allowed Trump to posture as the advocate of coal miners, steel workers, auto workers and others whose livelihood had been destroyed by the policies of big business and the Obama-Biden administration.

One conclusion drawn by the Democrats from the experience of 2016 was that the basic democratic right of third parties to ballot access and of the public to vote for a candidate of their choosing must not be allowed to disrupt the two-party system of Wall Street, the Pentagon and the CIA. Over the past two months, they have blocked the Green Party from obtaining ballot status in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania and the Socialist Equality Party from obtaining ballot status in Michigan—the same three states which were the margin of defeat for Clinton in the Electoral College.

Chris Brennan and Jonathan Lai (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER) call the Pennsylvania decision "a big win for Pennsylvania Democrats" and not so much a 'victory' for "Hawkins, a retired Teamster from New York, and Walker, a labor activist who drives a dump truck in South Carolina" -- and certainly not a victory for voters.  Robert Alft is running for District 46's state senate seat in New YorkHe writes  a letter to the editors of THE ALTAMONT ENTERPRISE:

Howie Hawkins and the Green Party best represent the progressive policies I want. If I add one more vote to Biden, it will signal my approval for a candidate I cannot support.

So, please do not lecture me about “throwing away my vote” or “letting Trump win.”  That’s not how democracy works.

Candidates have to bring policies to voters that voters want, so voters will vote for them. Elections are about putting people in office that best represent them.

Imagine a world that really encouraged voting?  Instead, you've got voter shaming, voter intimidation and you've got legal efforts to keep people off the ballots.  That doesn't sound like democracy.

Jo Jorgensen is the Libertarian Party's presidential candidate.  Unlike Joe Biden (Democratic Party presidential nominee), Jo has been traveling throughout the country and meeting voters.  She's addressed the press at every stop -- also unlike Joe Biden.

She won't be on the debate stage in October.  That makes no sense at all.  Her campaign noted this week:

As of today, the Libertarian Party (LP) has received confirmation that the campaign of Dr. Jo Jorgensen for president and Jeremy “Spike” Cohen for vice president has met all states’ ballot-access requirements, according to the LP’s chair, Joseph Bishop-Henchman. Therefore, the Libertarian ticket is now officially on the ballot in all 50 states plus the District of Columbia. American voters — regardless of where they live — will see the Jorgensen–Cohen ticket on their ballots this November. 

Dr. Jorgensen advocates free-market health care to bring costs way down, a foreign policy of non-intervention, and an end to the failed and destructive War on Drugs. Her campaign gives voters a viable alternative to Donald Trump and Joe Biden, who will be the only other presidential choices to appear on every ballot.

The year 2020 marks the fifth time the Libertarian Party has succeeded in placing its presidential ticket on the ballot in all 50 states, having done so previously in 1980, 1992, 1996, and 2016. No other alternative party in over 20 years has achieved universal ballot access in a presidential election.

Jorgensen will be on the ballot in all fifty states -- but she won't be on the debate stage?  In what world does that make sense?  

Unlike Hidin' With Biden, Jo meets with the press, she takes questions, she speaks without a teleprompter (and hasn't confused Iraq with Iran).

Another candidate for president?  The Party for Socialism and Liberation's Gloria La Riva who Tweeted:

These police murders haven't slowed down. The struggle, protests night after night must continue! Every city, every town! #BlackLivesMatter


On Iraq and the upcoming US election, Brian Cloughley writes at COUNTERPUNCH:

It is apparent that the Iraq policies of Trump and Biden don’t rest on religious belief or indeed any sort of conviction, and that both are prepared to change course as the voting breezes might blow.  Trump’s order of troop withdrawal from Iraq is nothing but a public relations ploy and Biden’s declaration on September 10 that he “supports drawing down the troops” was entirely negated by his follow-up that he would keep a “small force” in the Middle East to “prevent extremists from posing a threat to the United States.” What garbage.

Nobody knows what the long-term U.S. policy might be for the country that Washington destroyed, and neither presidential candidate has the courage, conviction or ability to produce one.

Reports by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch are depressing in their descriptions of the situation in Iraq, and it is obvious that Iraq is going further down the drain while Washington is incapable of preventing the slide that will ruin the lives of even more Iraqi citizens.  Whether it’s Trump or Biden in the White House next year, Iraq is doomed.

Meanwhile, Howie Hawkins will be calling for Wall Street to pay its share.  His campaign issued the following:


Howie Hawkins, Green Party for President

News Advisory

For More information:
Howie Hawkins,
Robert Smith,

Hawkins to Hold News Conference Friday, Sept. 18 on Wall Street to Call for Stock Transfer Tax

Hawkins Will also hold fundraiser in the Bronx on Sept. 19 and Join the Sept. 20 March for Climate Justice through Racial Justice

When: 11 AM, Friday, September 18,

Where: New York Stock Exchange, 11 Wall Street, NYC, NY

What: Green Presidential Candidate to call for Stock Transfer Tax

Note: After the news conference Hawkins will speak at noon in front of City Hall, and will join the March for Climate and Racial Justice, Sunday, September 19, 1 PM, Columbus Circle Manhattan

Howie Hawkins, the Green Party candidate for President, will speak in favor of a federal Stock Transfer Tax in front of the New York Stock Exchange, 11 Wall Street, at 11 AM on Friday, September 18.

Hawkins, a three-time gubernatorial nominee for the Greens, has long advocated that New York stop rebating the century-old state stock transfer tax to Wall Street speculators and use the funds to invest in domestic needs, such as saving local governments, climate mitigation, workers, small businesses, school and hospitals. Hawkins will march over to City Hall at noon to speak about the state’s fiscal crisis, with Cuomo imposing a 20% cut in aid to local governments and schools. Hawkins will call on de Blasio to support the Stock Transfer Tax and urge Cuomo to do so too.

On Sunday at 1 PM at Columbus Circle in Manhattan, Hawkins will join the March for Climate and Racial Justice. In his 2010 Gubernatorial run, Hawkins called for a Green New Deal that combined a rapid (10-year) transition to zero carbon emissions with an economic bill of rights focused on guaranteed living wage jobs, Medicare for All, housing, and education. Hawkins for decades has advocated for an overhaul of the criminal justice system, starting with community control of the police. He has also advocated for reparations for slavery and to target climate funds to communities of local and low-income neighborhoods.

On Saturday night Hawkins will hold a socially-distanced, backyard fundraiser in the Bronx.

The following sites updated: