Tuesday 1st of December 2020

making the US better again and again (2)...

Why is it ‘magnanimous’ when Jacinda Ardern delays an election but an ‘assault on democracy’ when Trump merely suggests it?New Zealand’s PM Jacinda Ardern has shut the nation’s borders, interred the few still allowed to enter and now postponed the election for a month – but it’s all okay because she’s the ‘right kind of leader’.

Ardern has postponed the elections in New Zealand for a month so the country can deal with a new spike in Covid-19 cases. The Kiwi PM has become something of a darling of liberal outlets around the world who larrup praise on her progressive outlook, being a female world leader and, most recently, the way she has dealt with the pandemic. 

New Zealand has so far only had 22 deaths related to Covid-19, which is obviously all down to Ms Ardern and nothing to do with the fact that New Zealand is sparsely populated, over a thousand miles away from any other country and has five times as many sheep as people.

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only bad jokes about trump allowed...

We need a new, anti-woke TV station to stave off comedy’s impending EXTINCTION at the hands of cancel culture


by Michael McCaffrey


With political correctness running roughshod over Hollywood, now is the perfect time for a billionaire to invest in a streaming service that prioritizes entertainment over wokeness.

We now live in an age where the Cancel Culture Clan routinely don their white robes of self-righteous totalitarianism and roam the comedy landscape of today and yesteryear searching for any heretics who have violated the ever-changing rules of the Church of Wokeness.

It was either Sir Isaac Newton, Huey P. Newton or Fig Newton, I can’t remember which, who once famously said, “for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.” And so it is with the politically correct panic of our time. 

This is why I believe that anti-wokeness is poised to be a major growth sector in the entertainment industry in the coming years.


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Can we expect that Julian Assange is freed when Kamala becomes President? Unless Trump pardons Julian before hand... That would be swell.

a mixed bag...

Joe Biden’s choice of Senator Kamala Harris of California as his vice-presidential running mate has not been universally well-received on the left. Harris is seen by some as a conventional hawk, a Netanyahu apologist and a lawyer who punished African Americans.

A debate may be had as to whether these charges really stack up; certainly Harris’s record is diverse rather than monochrome.

In her time in the Senate, Harris has voted for six out of eight military spending bills. 

This July, unlike her former rivals for the Democratic candidacy – Elizabeth Warren, Amy Klobuchar, Cory Booker and Kirsten Gillibrand – she voted with her other senatorial rival Michael Bennet against Bernie Sanders’ amendment “to reduce the bloated Pentagon budget by 10 percent and invest that money in jobs, education, health care, and housing in communities in the United States in which the poverty rate is not less than 25 percent”. 

On the other hand, last December, in one of her pair of rebellions, she joined Sanders in not voting for the 2020 military spending bill; this was two weeks after she had withdrawn her candidacy. Those named above also did not vote (making up the only members of the Senate so to do), save Gillibrand, one of six senators who voted against, and Bennet who voted for. 

When it came to specific issues, Harris opposed the Saudi war in Yemen and argued for rejoining the Iran nuclear pact, like all the other Democrat runners for the nomination.

Regarding Israel, Harris was excoriated for meeting officials of the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) in her office. However, she did not join the AIPAC’s vehement attack on allegedly anti-Semitic remarks by Rep Ilhan Omar who is Somali-American, declaring that “like some of my colleagues in the Congressional Black Caucus, I am concerned that the spotlight being put on Congresswoman Omar may put her at risk” [quoted in The Jerusalem Post July 12th 2019]. 

Harris opposes the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement that targets Israel, but she is on record as speaking out against the annexation of West Bank settlements [interview for PodSaveAmerica April 17th 2019] and, along with her Democrat rivals, supports the two-state solution.

Without explicitly committing to recognition of a Palestinian state, she has written that “Palestinians should be able to govern themselves in their own state, in peace and dignity, just as Israelis deserve a secure homeland for the Jewish people” [Council on Foreign Relations questionnaire, August 21st 2019]. That seems indistinguishable from support for self-determination. Harris’s husband is Jewish.

Some white commentators evidently feel no discomfort in judging a woman of mixed heritage (Tamil Indian and Jamaican) on race. They discount the point made by the LA Times that “…many black voters are wary of her 27 years as a prosecutor enforcing laws that sent African Americans to prison. Often left unsaid is that Harris, a former state attorney general and San Francisco district attorney, did not play a role in passing those laws” [October 24th 2019].

It may be true that California incarcerated a disproportionate number of black men during Harris’s time, but is there any state penal system that doesn’t hold a huge number of black people for very long periods? As a prosecutor, she will have had to deal with the defendants the police put before her. It seems unhelpful to risk this becoming a proposal that Harris is “the wrong kind of African American”.

Harris’s record as a law officer and senator can be seen to bear comparison with any progressive lawyer and legislator in the country on homicide rates, domestic violence, sex crimes, gun crime and firearms availability, transnational crime, hate crime, LGBT+ rights, race bias in the police, immigration, trafficking, drug dealing convictions, possession offences, recidivism, social media rights, right-to-know access, truancy, environmental crime, transgender cases, corruption among public officers, business fraud, legal loopholes, mortgage foreclosure and locally on Propositions 8 and 21. 

In court, she has won billions of dollars for citizens from financial enterprises, speculators and fraudsters.

There is some evidence that she has sometimes temporised on the death penalty, parole access and body cameras for police officers. But there are few who take public roles that require far-reaching decision-making who do not find that those roles are apt to temper their beliefs and inclinations. 

The balance of judgment ought not to condemn Harris out of hand. Voters cannot reasonably expect long-serving public officials to be meticulously consistent, preternaturally wise, hieratically noble and scrupulously on-message on a daily basis.

What’s more, it needs to be remembered that in politics, women, people of colour and progressives are judged by far more stringent standards than reactionary white men, who only need to be idiosyncratic and/or combative to be seen as godheads. 

Because of the nature of the executive roles taken by both Biden and Harris, they were more vulnerable to generalised attack from their rivals for the Democratic nomination than any of those rivals in the televised debates. 

Someone in a thread on my Facebook page declared that Harris “got taken to absolute bits by Tulsi Gabbard”, but checking on the July 2019 debates shows no such case. 

Gabbard’s remarks, which accounted for just one minute of over 130 minutes of debate time, were broad and unsupported. It’s easy to throw out accusations that may or may not be true or fair. 

As Jeremy Corbyn could confirm, it’s impossible to defend a career against amorphous assaults. Harris was expected to expound her working method and philosophy in her own prescribed one minute. She made a fair fist of it.

But let’s step back from the particular. How close to an exemplary ideal do candidates need to be in order to avoid being decried by those whose votes they need? 

There’s an ancient saw about voting for Anyone But [Name of Candidate]. Many of those who will vote – “holding their noses” in the cliché – for Biden and Harris may very well do so only to ensure that Trump and Pence are ejected from office. Unusually this year, though, it’s hard to imagine there would be many votes for the incumbents in an Anyone But Biden and/or Harris camp.


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trump bad — biden good...

Opinion: Biden isn't Trump — but that's not enough

The Democratic convention has ended with an impassioned acceptance speech from Joe Biden. The presidential candidate has been talked up as the anti-Trump. But he'll need more to win over young voters, says Carla Bleiker.

What a relief! Joe Biden's speech on Thursday night, which capped off the Democratic National Convention and had him accept his party's nomination for president, was pretty great. Biden didn't mumble his way through cringe-inducing half sentences in which the end sounded like it had nothing to do with the beginning — something audiences had to witness during some of the Democratic primary debates.

Instead, his acceptance speech was a passionate plea in which he raised his voice when speaking out against "cozying up to dictators" and choked up when he talked about his oldest son, Beau, who passed away in 2015 from brain cancer. "While he is no longer with us, Beau inspires me every day," Biden said, his voice breaking a little bit.

So, emotion in all the right places without overdoing it and cohesive sentence structure. Calling that a success would have been a joke just a couple of years ago. But Americans have seen different from this candidate — and they've seen different many, many times from their current president, Donald Trump.


Read more: https://www.dw.com/en/opinion-biden-isnt-trump-but-thats-not-enough/a-54644348


Gus: According to expert accountants, the world Trump got mentioned far more than the word Biden at the DNC convention.


Meanwhile, some picky fact checks:

Claim 1: "We lead the world in confirmed cases. We lead the world in deaths."

Mr Biden criticised President Trump's response to the coronavirus outbreak saying he had failed to protect American people.

The US does have the highest number of coronavirus cases and deaths in the world, with more than 5.5 million confirmed cases and 174,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.

It also has a larger population than many other countries.

If you look at deaths per capita - as a proportion of each country's population - the US is no longer top of the list but remains in the top ten worst hit countries. [Gus note: the US was NEVER the lead of cases per capita, and has stood from the early onset at number 8 on the list of 10]

The US has recorded more than 52 coronavirus deaths per 100,000 people - according to Johns Hopkins University - but there are a handful of countries that have recorded more on this measurement, including the UK and Italy.

It is worth remembering that there are differences in how countries count coronavirus deaths, making exact comparisons difficult.

Claim 2: "More than 50 million people have filed for unemployment this year." 

Mr Biden was talking about the impact of the pandemic on the US economy. 

The 50m figure is right and is based on the total number of Americans who have filed jobless claims since the virus struck, according to US Labor Department statistics.

The number of people currently claiming unemployment benefits is 14.8m, according to the latest release of weekly figures. It has been declining since May, when there were more than 20m claims.

The unemployment rate is still much higher than pre-pandemic levels and currently stands at 10.2%.

Mr Biden also said: "Nearly one in six small businesses have closed this year."

But a recent survey of small business owners in the US suggested that only 1% of small businesses had closed permanently by mid-July this year.

A further 12% said they had closed temporarily, but even accounting for these it is less than the one in six Mr Biden claimed.

Claim 3: President Trump said there were "very fine people on both sides", when asked about a far-right rally in 2017. 

Mr Biden said one of his goals would be to "wipe out the stain of racism" and he recalled the far-right protests in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017 which led to violent clashes and left one counter-protester dead.

He said: "Remember what the President said when asked, he said there were, quote, very fine people on both sides".

Mr Biden said that after this moment "I knew I had to run" for president.

According to a transcript of a press conference on 15 August, President Trump did say - when asked about the presence of neo-Nazis at the rally - "you had some very bad people in that group, but you also had people that were very fine people, on both sides."

During the same press conference, Mr Trump went on to say "I'm not talking about the neo-Nazis and the white nationalists, because they should be condemned totally."


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Gus: please note that the Obama administration and BIDEN supported the neo-Nazis in Ukraine...


Oh... and this is the cartoon I wish I had made:


In Kamala's list here (made up by Gus), one should add religious bigotry, evangelicals, trickery and so forth...

As mentioned before, Gus thinks the election in November will be decided between the abortionists and the right-to-life evangelicals — not about light and darkness... ( I was going to say how much sunshine comes out of each candidate's arse, but I will not) — and also decided by the way Mr Murdoch plays the fiddle... :






not a "return to normal", please...

IF THERE HAS been a silver lining to Donald Trump’s presidency, it’s that it’s been an impetus for some form of national self-reflection in the liberal establishment. That urge has manifested itself in Joe Biden’s campaign, which has gone to great lengths to portray itself as one of moral renewal after the degradation of the Trump years. Promising a return to a more familiar style of U.S. foreign policy, Biden’s platform claims that under his leadership, the United States can “reclaim our longstanding position as the moral and economic leader of the world.”

It is no defense of Trump to say that a straightforward “return to normal” is in no one’s interest. A major legacy of the governing establishment of which Biden is a champion are the post-9/11 wars that have killed hundreds of thousands of people in the Greater Middle East, wrecked entire societies, and caused great trauma to the minority of Americans who have sacrificed their lives, family members, or mental and physical well-being in combat.

Biden himself has played a role in this dismal history. As a U.S. senator, Biden voted in favor of the disastrous 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq, later floating a plan to partition the country along sectarian lines that many warned would have plunged it into even greater chaos. Making matters worse, he has often equivocated on his decisions rather than honestly confronting them under questioning.

There is not much to gain by dwelling forever on the wounds of the past. But in order to take seriously Biden’s claim to moral leadership in foreign policy, there is a minimum debt that he — and other U.S. political leaders responsible for the post-9/11 wars — owes to those who have paid the price for their destructive fantasies: an apology.

American leaders are famously averse to apologizing, viewing it as something that degrades rather than ennobles a powerful nation. “I will never apologize for the United States, I don’t care what the facts are,” former President George H.W. Bush affirmed in a 1988 speech delivered to a group of Republican leaders. Bush père stuck to his no-apologies policy even while overseeing serious moral outrages during his term. These types of acts may not have penetrated America’s innocent self-image. But they’ve hardly escaped notice abroad.

It is often argued that the United States had good intentions behind even its worst foreign policies. But outcomes also matter. After all the death and destruction wrought by the 2003 U.S. invasion, Iraq today is an even worse place to live than it was under Saddam Hussein: a chaotic mafia state where ordinary people live in fear of a hundred petty tyrants rather than one great one. In Afghanistan, after two decades of war, the United States is preparing to make peace with the Afghan Taliban — something that it could have spared Afghans much suffering by doing on far more favorable terms as far back as 2002. Rarely in history has so much toil been expended to make people worse off than when they began, including Americans.

U.S. governing elites have coped with these incredible failures by generally either ignoring or denying them. Insulting the American public by refusing to honestly acknowledge the reality staring them in the face, that the wars begun with grand promises had ended in total calamity, helped open the way for Trump’s presidency. However disingenuously, Trump was able to call out something that was glaringly obvious to average Americans but that political leaders refused to acknowledge.

This is no defense of Trump, who has continued the worst traditions of the same elite establishment that he once harried — including by pardoning a war criminal. But returning to the exact status quo that made his rise possible in the first place hardly makes sense. It took a toxic brew of selfishness, greed, decadence, and sectarianism to elevate someone like him to the White House. But it also took a lot of killing and dehumanization of innocent people around the world.

CONSERVATIVE FIGURES calculated by the Brown University Costs of War Project estimate that U.S. wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen, and Pakistan have killed over 800,000 people. We will never know the true cost in the numbers of lives destroyed by injury, bereavement for lost loved ones, or the destruction of homes and livelihoods. Thousands of U.S. soldiers and contractors have also been killed or left with physical and mental wounds that will follow them for the rest of their lives. Intoxicated by the maelstrom of crises, both domestic and global, there has been little accounting for these tragedies ­­– the impact of the wars did not even bear mention at the Democratic National Convention. But in the end, a catastrophe of this scale can’t just be brushed aside.

There is no monetary amount that can counteract the destruction of people’s lives on the scale caused by the global war on terror. Any question of financial reparations for the victims of war is unlikely to gain much traction, particularly since the United States is unable to seriously consider them for historic injustices closer to home. The U.S. military sometimes makes paltry cash payments to the families of the civilians it kills, but despite recent reforms, the military has continuously failed to account for all the civilians it has killed or injured. That, as well as the often-insufficient support the military gives to its own suffering veterans, can add insult to the injury that people have already suffered.

But an apology can give something of value that money cannot. Simply acknowledging the scale of harm caused and taking responsibility for it would give the huge number of innocent victims a measure of restorative justice. The idea is popular and has been suggested in other contexts as well. In a speech at Oxford Union in 2015, Indian politician Shashi Tharoor laid out the incredible harms that British colonialism had inflicted on India. Instead of asking for some incalculable financial restitution, Tharoor ended by asking simply for an apology acknowledging this terrible past, as well as the payment of 1 pound per year to the Indian government in symbolic recognition.


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See toon at top.



Por Jorge Capelán


Lo siento,los que me conocen saben que soy antirracista de muy vieja data y anteriormente he escrito (positivamente) sobre el movimiento estadounidense Black Lives Matter (BLM), pero las cosas que han sucedido los últimos dos años han cambiado dramáticamente la perspectiva. 

Es obvio que los Estados Unidos son un país racista, pero lo que está ocurriendo hoy no es, desgraciadamente, una revuelta genuinamente popular sino más bien una manipulación para resolver el conflicto de poder al interior de la élite estadounidense. Estoy seguro de que ni Malcolm X ni Martin Luther King apoyarían este tipo de protestas, no porque estuvieran de acuerdo con toda la discriminación y la violencia contra los negros y las minorías en los Estados Unidos sino porque esto se está desarrollando en un sentido sectario para arrojar a los Estados Unidos a una guerra civil entre pobres. No era eso lo que estos dos grandes líderes deseaban.

¿Qué me importa a mí como antirracista que boten una estatua de Colón (que por cierto no fue el peor de los conquistadores) cuando en realidad estos grupos, si su compromiso fuese serio, deberían combatir al sistema de racismo y colonialismo actualmente imperante por medio del cual los Estados Unidos oprimen al resto del mundo? 

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I’m sorry, those who know me know that I’m strongly anti-racist and have previously written (positively) about the American Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement, but things that have happened in the last two years have dramatically changed the perspective.

It is obvious that the United States is a racist country, but what is happening today is unfortunately not a genuinely popular revolt but rather a manipulation of events to resolve the current power conflict within the American elite.

I am sure that neither Malcolm X nor Martin Luther King would have supported this kind of protest, not because they would accept at all the discrimination and violence against blacks and minorities in the United States, but because the protests are developing in a sectarian sense to divide the impoverished population of the United States and provoke a civil war. 

This is not what those two great leaders wanted.

What do I care as an anti-racist that they throw away a statue of Columbus (who incidentally was not the worst of the conquerors) when in fact these groups, if their commitment was really serious, should be fighting the currently prevailing system of racism and colonialism through which the US oppresses the rest of the world?

If they are anti-racists and anti-colonialists, they should demand an end to the funding of the Zionist State of Israel, or an end to the colonization of Puerto Rico, or of the blockades of Cuba and Venezuela, or the lifting of the evil Nica Act, or, for example, the dismantling of the colonial structure of the Organization of American States, a living example of US colonialism and Atlanticism in our day, which routinely does such infamous things as the shameful coup d’état against the democratically elected indigenous government of Evo Morales Ayma in Bolivia.

Don’t think that we in Africa, Asia and Latin America have forgotten the 500 or 600 years of European colonialism. But that same colonialism is now killing us today, not centuries ago. It is today that we must stop the genocide.

You can not be antiracist without demanding the end of a world economic order that feeds on human flesh and is the basis of the economies of the United States, Canada and Western Europe.

If one is serious about the problem of racism, one must necessarily be anti-imperialist. One cannot be anti-racist and accept living in the shadow of imperialism, simply because it is only within that oppressive and inhuman structure that racism makes sense. 

Everything else is just excuses, empty talk trying to mask the true nature of power relations in the world. Any seriously anti-racist movement must necessarily be politically independent from imperial interests, and if it is a well-informed movement it must also, of necessity, avoid at all costs falling into the trap of sectarianism.

In contrast, Black Lives Matter receives (and willingly accepts) the full support of the Democratic Party, whose spiritual leader Hillary Clinton should be held accountable for the crimes against humanity committed by the United States against, among many others, the people of Libya. Where they used the racist card to destroy the only society with a true welfare state in North Africa. The only country that made a serious proposal for the economic independence of the African continent by creating their own regional currency and by using its enormous oil and gas resources for the benefit of the African and Palestinian peoples.

If they were anti-racists, they should be holding Joe Biden accountable, since he as well as his son were involved in the US coup in Ukraine, which incidentally was carried out with fascist groups trained by…the US. Do you remember last February 5, when Nancy Pelosi, head of the Democratic caucus, tore up Donald Trump’s State of the Union address?

Well, there was a part of that speech by Donald Trump in which Nancy Pelosi applauded the whole time: It was when Trump presented the anti-Venezuelan imperial puppet Juan Guaidó in the Senate, and when he dedicated himself to attacking countries like Cuba and Nicaragua by vindicating the racist and colonialist ideology of the Monroe Doctrine.

It is impossible behind all this not to see the support that BLM demonstrations receive from the Soros Open Society Foundation, the Ford Foundation, Silicon Valley, Hollywood, CNN, etc. Since when has the avowed zionist Mark Zuckerberg been anti-racist and anti-colonialist? 

All of them are the US power elite, Wall Street, the military-industrial complex (General Collin Powell, the same one who lied about the Iraq war, spoke last week at the Democratic Convention), media power (from Hollywood to Netflix), Big Pharma that wants to put everyone in quarantine…these are the sectors that today, all of a sudden, have become “anti-colonialists”. Isn’t that at all suspicious?

This is not merely a tactical alliance within a process of struggle. BLM has in practice become a political device in the Democrats’ electoral strategy.

The slogan of “anyone but Trump” is a stupid one. Donald Trump, for all his millions, and his support for the National Rifle Association, and with all its reactionary values, is in fact not in command in the United States. 

Indeed, Trump is a thorn in the side of the American (and Western, and racist) power elite who, before being patriotic, are imperialist and globalist. That’s why for them a nationalist like Donald Trump, no matter how reactionary, is the wrong guy to lead the empire politically, and that’s why they want him out of power. 

And that’s why they inflame the street with Black Lives Matter, helping to create an increasingly paranoid, divisive environment in the US, where there is less and less talk of social and economic rights for all and almost only talk of blacks versus whites or of wearing a mask or not.

What the US power elite wants to do is kick over the table of the current world order (which no longer suits them) and replace it with the direct rule of multinational corporations and the mass surveillance of all humanity. 

They know very well that they cannot rescue the dollar, and that is why they want to destroy the world economy in order to remain masters and lords of the resulting ruins. That is the real plan.

Neither Malcolm X nor Martin Luther King would be supporting this.

Malcolm X proposed that black communities should arm themselves to defend themselves and become independent by building their own black power. He would have laughed at anyone who proposed some kind of insurrection to take away the power of the white man. He wasn’t interested in that, he was interested in the power of black people. 

And Martin Luther King, on the other hand, would not have supported this either because of two things: Firstly, because he was a pacifist, and secondly (and I think more importantly) because he wanted a great broad popular coalition of black and white people to build a more just society.

But it’s not a popular coalition that they’re building in America, but the plague of the division between “blacks” and “Nazis,” between the “good guys” who want to throw Trump out and the “evil and ignorant”, the “deplorables” as Hillary Clinton called them, who support him. 

It may come as a surprise to some, and for that reason it’s worth stressing, because CNN does not show it: Black and Latino people also go to the demonstrations in support of President Trump, not necessarily because they are “Nazis” or “racists” or “illiterate”, but because they need to go out and work to earn their living, just like our people here in Nicaragua, while a series of fanatical politicians in the States of the Union want to keep them locked up with the quarantine.

These fanatical Democrat politicians want to lead the United States into a civil war, one tailored to imperialist interests. And they are trying to drag the rest of the world into it as well. Who can be so naive as to believe that the Democratic elites, with the support of the Republican old guard, won’t go to war with China tomorrow? It is not “crazy Trump” threatening humanity, it is the empire preparing the destruction of the world. 

Let’s not fall into the trap they are setting for us.



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See also:

no cuban cigar from the "cruel" US democrat-led congress...


the end of traditional liberalism...


the "loath-trump" republican-democrat alliance to vote for biden-the-warmonger...


the legacy of slavery…


when racism was more civilised and had less anger...


iPhoned, the bourgeois gentilhomme’s neo-idealistic children destroy their inheritance, before bedtime…