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Latest News
Trump is wrecking on his way down, and hatching dangerous ploys. He is dangerous as ever.


Trump now wants to overthrow the Electoral College to reverse the verdicts of the election. Get prepared for the worse.
Will Trump’s Attempted Electoral Coup Succeed?
Joe Biden has won states worth 306 Electoral College votes, 36 more than the 270 needed to win, and received in excess of 5 million more popular votes than Donald Trump. Yet Trump insists the election was stolen from him and he is the victor.


By Marjorie Cohn
The Jurist via Portside

Nov 19, 2020 - Trump started attacking the election months before it happened. He leveled unsupported charges of massive voter fraud from mail-in ballots to create doubt about the integrity of the election. Knowing that Democrats would cast mail ballots in the midst of the pandemic, Trump told his supporters to vote in person on Election Day to prematurely inflate his vote totals.

When he had an apparent lead on election night, Trump claimed victory and demanded that the vote-counting stop. Sure enough, as the tabulations continued, the mail ballots counted after Election Day put Biden over the top.

Trump is setting the stage for an electoral coup. Republicans and the Trump campaign have filed frivolous lawsuits, alleging mostly technical violations of voting procedures, which would not change the outcome of the election even if they were meritorious.

The real goal of this litigation is to create the perception of widespread voter fraud to whip up distrust for the election results. This would “give state legislatures political cover to appoint their own electors,” Robert Reich wrote.

Trump’s lawyers are seeking court orders to delay the certification of the votes in key states so GOP-controlled legislatures can appoint Trump electors notwithstanding Biden’s victories. Trump’s legal team has filed litigation in Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Arizona to prevent state officials from certifying the vote count.

On November 13, judges in Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Arizona dismissed Trump lawsuits. State judges in Michigan have refused Trump’s requests to delay the certification of the vote count. Judge Timothy Kenny rejected the petition of two Republican poll watchers to delay ballot count certification in Detroit, calling misconduct allegations “not credible.” The plaintiffs’ request for an outside audit of the voting tallies would cause such a delay that electors might not be chosen by the mid-December vote in the Electoral College. Kenny, who characterized some accusations as “rife with speculation and guesswork,” said, “It would be an unprecedented exercise of judicial activism for this court to stop the certification process.”

The same day, the law firm Porter Wright Morris & Arthur abruptly withdrew from the federal lawsuit they had filed in Pennsylvania on Trump’s behalf earlier in the week, out of concerns they were being used to undermine the integrity of the electoral process. Also last week, Snell & Wilmer withdrew from representation of Arizona’s Republican National Committee.

“These law firms have been under tremendous pressure as it became clear these claims were baseless, and that they were part of a broader campaign to delegitimize the election,” Wendy Weiser from the Brennan Center for Justice told ABC News.

Both Democratic and Republican election officials in virtually every state reported to The New York Times that there was no evidence fraud or other irregularities affected the election results.

Moreover, on November 12, a joint committee of the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) confirmed the reliability of the election results, calling the November 3rd election “the most secure in American history.” The high-level committee concluded, “There is no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes or was in any way compromised.”

On November 17, CISA Director Christopher Krebs denied that there was a manipulation of the election systems, tweeting, “59 election security experts all agree, ‘in every case of which we are aware, these claims either have been unsubstantiated or are technically incoherent.’ ” Later that day Trump fired Krebs for making a “highly inaccurate” statement, but Trump provided no evidence of his allegation.

Even Trump advisor Karl Rove wrote in a November 11 Wall Street Journal op-ed that Trump’s challenges “are unlikely to move a single state from Mr. Biden’s column, and certainly they’re not enough to change the final outcome.”

Attorney General William Barr is aiding and abetting Trump’s attempted coup. Just weeks before the election, the Justice Department changed its longstanding ban on voter fraud investigations before an election. Although he told department officials after the election that he didn’t see massive voter fraud, Barr saluted and marched to Trump’s orders. On November 9, Barr empowered federal prosecutors to investigate “substantial allegations of voting and vote tabulation irregularities.” Sixteen federal prosecutors in charge of monitoring the election wrote to Barr that there is no evidence of substantial voting irregularities.

Richard Pilger, the Justice Department official in charge of voter fraud investigations left his job in protest against Barr’s order. But just the fact that the Department of Justice is authorizing investigations is designed to cast a cloud over the election. Indeed, a Politico/Morning Consult poll found that 70% of Republicans now think the election was not fair or free, compared with 35% of Republicans before the election. The purpose of Trump’s strategy of falsely alleging fraud from mail ballots combined with Barr’s baseless edict establishes fake doubt about the reliability of the vote tallies.

The Constitution gives state legislatures the power to decide how electors are selected. Article II says, “Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors.” U.S. Code, Title 3, Section 1 requires that electors be chosen on Election Day. However, when a state “has failed to make a choice on [that] day,” then “the electors may be appointed on a subsequent day in such a manner as the legislature of such State may direct,” under Section 2.

But the states did not fail to choose the electors on Election Day. As a result of the voting process, which ended on November 3, Biden garnered more than 270 electoral votes. Trump’s own Department of Homeland Security affirmed that the election was the most secure in U.S. history. Even if charges of fraud were supported, that would not amount to a failure of state voters to choose electors on Election Day. Thus, state legislatures have no authority to select Trump’s electors in the states Biden won.

Trump supporters are targeting Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Arizona – all of which Biden won – by raising allegations of fraud in hopes of persuading their state legislatures to override the will of the voters and appoint pro-Trump electors. All four states require that electors be awarded to the winner of the state’s popular vote on Election Day.

In October, the Republican majority leaders from Pennsylvania’s Senate and House co-authored an op-ed saying that the GOP-controlled legislature would not select electors to overrule the popular vote. They wrote, “The Pennsylvania General Assembly does not have and will not have a hand in choosing the state’s presidential electors or in deciding the outcome of the presidential election.” But on November 10, members of the Pennsylvania legislature announced their intention to investigate voter fraud allegations.

The Republican leader of Wisconsin’s assembly has long maintained that the legislature would not override the will of the voters and he reiterated that view on November 13. But the Wisconsin legislature is also investigating the election.

Republican leaders in Michigan’s legislature say legislative intervention would violate state law although the GOP-controlled legislature has mounted an investigation of the election. Michigan’s majority leader said, “It is not the expectation that our analysis would result in any change in the outcome.”

On November 17, in a dramatic and overtly political move, the two Republican officials on the four-member board of canvassers in Michigan’s largest county blocked certification of Wayne County’s vote count. But hours later, after powerful public comment and fierce outcry on traditional and social media, board chair Monica Palmer and William Hartmann reversed their “no” votes and the board unanimously certified the tally.

Trump called Palmer after the board meeting and also spoke with Hartmann. The next day, the two GOP board members tried to rescind their “yes” votes, claiming they were pressured into certifying the election with the promise of an audit of voting tallies in Detroit, which is 80% black. Jocelyn Benson, Michigan’s Secretary of State, said the resolution requesting an audit was not binding. The small number of votes that could be affected by the audit is not enough to change the election results.

Benson’s spokeswoman stated, “There is no legal mechanism for them to rescind their vote.”

On November 19, Trump invited the Republican leaders in the Michigan legislature to visit the White House on November 20. The Michigan Board of State Canvassers will review and certify the county certifications on November 23.

Arizona’s Republican House speaker affirmed that the legislature is “mandated by statute to choose according to the vote of the people,” but left open the possibility of changing electors if there is “some type of fraud – which I haven’t heard of anything.” At this point, he added, “I don’t see us in any serious way addressing a change in electors.”

Although Republican leaders in those four states deny they intend to replace Biden electors with Trump electors, allegations of fraud – however spurious – could reverse those intentions. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is hinting that Trump could win in the Electoral College...Read More
'People Need Help': AOC Slams Trump's Economic Adviser
for Saying Stimulus Not Needed, Economy's Doing Fine

By Daniel Villarreal
Newsweek

Nov 19, 2020 - In a Wednesday evening tweet, Democratic New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez criticized President Donald Trump's economic adviser Stephen Moore for calling a stimulus package to aid Americans during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic unnecessary because "the economy is doing fine."

"I don't see Republicans budging on the blue state bailout," Moore said, according to Jeff Stein, White House economics reporter for The Washington Post. "The economy is doing fine—much better than anyone expected."

Responding to Moore's comment, Ocasio-Cortez posted a tweet which read, "30 million people in this country are at risk of eviction. Millions of people are unemployed or underemployed from cut-back hours. The economy is not the stock market. We are NOT doing fine. People need help in red states and blue, & our job is to help everyone. This is basic."

In a Wednesday evening tweet, Democratic New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez blasted White House economic advisor Stephen Moore's comment calling a coronavirus stimulus bill a "blue state bailout." In this August 24, 2020 photo, Ocasio-Cortez speaks during a House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing.

Moore made his comment as numerous states are issuing new restrictions or outright shutdowns on restaurants and other businesses and public venues amid rising COVID-19 numbers.

Similar shutdown measures enacted near the end of March and start of April cost the national economy more than $2.2 trillion, according to the Post. Meanwhile, over 11 million Americans still remain out of work, with many having already exhausted their unemployment benefits. Businesses risk shuttering permanently and laying off their workers if non-essential workspaces are closed to help stop the pandemic's spread.

Despite this, congressional stimulus bill negotiations have stalled out with eight months having passed since the last one.

Republicans have blamed Democrats for trying to include non-pandemic related measures in their stimulus proposals, and in response, Democrats have accused Republicans of not providing enough funding for things such as enhanced unemployment benefits, state and local aid, child care and personal protective equipment for medical workers.

In a follow-up tweet, Stein quoted a November 14 Post article stating, "Between the end of September and the end of October, the number of Americans saying it was 'very difficult' to pay their usual household expenses rose by more than 2.3 million, to 34.8 million."

The U.S. continues to have the highest number of infections and deaths due to COVID-19 of any country in the world. On November 13, the U.S. reported its highest ever daily toll of newly confirmed COVID-19 cases with a total of 181,571. On November 17, the U.S. saw its highest COVID-19 daily death toll in six months with at least 1,707 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University....Read More
Robert Reich Debunks Trump’s Post-Election Lies

An expose of some of the baseless claims Trump and his lackeys are promoting in key swing states

By Robert Reich
Salon.com

Nov 18, 2020 - Even though Joe Biden won the highest percentage of the popular vote for any challenger since FDR in 1932, the Trump campaign is fighting in courtrooms across the country in a desperate attempt to overturn the results.

So far, they've been utterly unsuccessful. Why? They have no evidence to back up their claims of widespread voter fraud.

Here's a brief debunking of some of the baseless claims Trump and his lackeys are promoting in key swing states.

In Pennsylvania, a postal worker who alleged he saw a postmaster instruct postal workers to backdate ballots mailed after Election Day walked back his allegations when questioned by federal investigators. In a recording of his interview, the postal worker can be heard admitting he made "assumptions" based on snippets of a conversation he overheard, and declined to stand by his original statement.

And in a court case filed in the state, the Trump campaign claimed that Republican poll watchers had been barred from watching vote counts in Philadelphia. That was a lie: One of Trump's attorneys admitted in court that the campaign did, in fact, have people in the room."

In Michigan, Trump supporters circulated a list of over 14,000 voters who are supposedly dead but cast ballots for Joe Biden. CNN ran a random sample analysis of 50 of the names, and found no instance of a dead person voting.

They have tried to bolster their claim by circulating videos showing voters who have birthdates in January, 1900 returning ballots. But Detroit's Director of Elections explained that "the date of January 1, 1900 is often used…as a temporary placeholder for absentee ballots arriving just before Election Day," – information that has to be inserted in order for the electronic poll book to accept the entry.

Down in Georgia, false rumors of ballots being found in a dumpster behind the Spalding County Election Office circulated widely. But an investigation from the Sheriff's office found that no ballots were found in the dumpster, and that conclusion was affirmed by the Secretary of State's Office.

In Arizona, claims that the use of Sharpie markers on ballots would result in them being tossed sparked a flimsy lawsuit. But the Maricopa County Board of Elections, the State Director of Elections, and the State Attorney General all confirmed that the use of Sharpies did not result in disenfranchisement.

In Nevada, Trump campaign lawyers claimed they had evidence of "criminal voter fraud," because some Nevadans had voted from out-of-state. In fact, the voters in question included military service members and their families, as well as students and Congressional staffers who moved out of state within 30 days of the election, all of whom are legally allowed to cast a vote in Nevada.

And the New York Times reached out to top election officials in every state, and all said they found no evidence of widespread voter fraud.Make no mistake: Trump and his lackeys have no standing to change the outcome of the election. But with GOP leaders pushing his lies, nearly half the country is coming to believe the election was stolen — and that is almost as dangerous.Joe Biden will be our next president. But we need to aggressively knock down every baseless claim made by Trump and the GOP, to defend not just Biden's victory, but also, the trust on which American democracy is based.

Robert B. Reich is Chancellor's Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley and Senior Fellow at the Blum Center for Developing Economies. He served as Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration, for which Time Magazine named him one of the ten most effective cabinet secretaries of the twentieth century. He has written 15 books, including the best sellers "Aftershock", "The Work of Nations," and"Beyond Outrage," and, his most recent, "The Common Good." He is also a founding editor of the American Prospect magazine, chairman of Common Cause, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and co-creator of the award-winning documentary, "Inequality For All." He's also co-creator of the Netflix original documentary "Saving Capitalism."
4th Monday Online discussion:

Political impact of the elections and lessons
from the Biden campaign -- Our strategy

November 23rd 9pm-10:30pm ET

The CCDS/Socialist Education Project will focus on the elections for its monthly program of political education.  Activists will address issues such as analysis of the elections, impact moving forward, and the position of the Left and progressive majority to advance their agendas. 
STUDY ARTICLE: On Evangelical Masculinities

A review of Jesus and John Wayne and a reflection on evangelicals, masculinity, and race

By Daniel José Camacho
The Revealer

Nov 12, 2020 - White evangelicals in the United States fell in love with a foul-mouthed man who never had a born-again experience of faith. Far from being an emblem of “family values,” this man, who cemented his myth and persona by his on-screen acting, had married three times, divorced twice, carried on several high-profile affairs, and helped circulate racist stereotypes to the masses. I’m not talking about Donald Trump but John Wayne. And lest I appear to be committing plagiarism, let me be clear that I didn’t come up with this observation myself but got it from the historian Kristin Kobes Du Mez. Her latest book, Jesus and John Wayne: How White Evangelicals Corrupted a Faith and Fractured a Nation, argues that white evangelicals’ embrace of Trump is the manifestation of a militant masculine ideal that’s been more than 50 years in the making.

When a majority of white evangelicals aligned themselves with Trump in 2016, many people sought to explain the bizarre union with different theories. These are not genuine evangelicals, some protested. Others pointed to economic motivations or to the notion that most evangelicals simply held their nose to choose the lesser of two evils. Some people simply threw their hands up and charged evangelicals with rank hypocrisy. Yet none of these theories hold up strongly upon closer scrutiny. Before facing Hillary Clinton, Trump was able to beat out other Republicans in the primaries who seemed more favorable to evangelicals, like Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio. Du Mez thinks the theories miss something: “. . . for many evangelicals, Donald Trump did not represent the betrayal of many of the values they had come to hold dear. His testosterone-fueled masculinity aligned remarkably well with that long championed by conservative evangelicals.”

In order to make this case, Jesus and John Wayne provides an expansive account of how conservative white evangelicals embraced a rugged and violent form of masculinity since the middle of the 20th century. The book looks at places like Colorado Springs, a hotbed of literal militancy where believers built organizational juggernauts and aggressively made inroads with the military. It covers the who’s who of patriarchal evangelicalism, including figures like Albert Mohler, Eric Metaxas, Oliver North, James Dobson, and the movement’s greatest hits like Wild at Heart and Left Behind. But it also features women like Phyllis Schlafly, who opposed the Equal Rights Amendment, and Sarah Palin, who embodied a conservative feminine ideal that pleased evangelical men. Most importantly, the book sets all of these developments against a longer historical backdrop. In the western expansion of the United States, a new masculinity was forged predicated on a white armed protector bringing law and order to savagery. Here, John Wayne (1907–1979), the prolific actor who often played a cowboy fighting Native Americans in Westerns, towers above all.

Even though John Wayne wasn’t an evangelical, they fervently embraced him. Wayne came “to symbolize a different set of virtues — nostalgic yearning for a mythical ‘Christian America,’ a return to ‘traditional’ gender roles, and the reassertion of (white) patriarchal authority.” Du Mez’s emphasis on Wayne is apt. His name and persona come up over and over again among the evangelical men attempting to define “biblical” manhood. And Wayne proves how white evangelicals were willing to embrace an outsider to their faith, a politically incorrect strongman who could defend their values and vanquish their enemies, well before Trump.

Conservative evangelicals’ affinity for a John Wayne or Donald Trump reveals the limits of reducing religion to beliefs. For a long time, evangelicals and historians of evangelicalism (and often people who were both) defined evangelicals by their professed theology. In 1989, David Bebbington famously characterized evangelicalism by four qualities: conversionism, the belief that lives need to be changed; activism, the expression of the gospel in effort; biblicism, a particular regard for the Bible; and crucicentrism, a stress on the sacrifice of Christ on the cross.

The “Bebbington quadrilateral” became a popular way of describing evangelicals, and one that evangelicals themselves embraced. In this framework, the core of evangelicalism — its particular set of beliefs — is separable from its entanglement with polarized politics. But this seems to be an inadequate description of how religion works, of how belief coincides with and arises alongside various identities. For example, studies have shown that most white evangelicals today are highly motivated by racialized fears of cultural displacement. Considering that segregation was just as important as abortion to the rise of the Christian Right, and that this nation fought a civil war over slavery, would it be wrong to say that whiteness is a crucial component of evangelical identity today, and that this isn’t a new thing or some fall from a pristine tradition?

Du Mez rightfully understands evangelicalism as an interplay between belief and culture. Evangelical identity runs along multiple axes. As Du Mez describes it, this identity includes “a staunch commitment to patriarchal authority, gender difference, and Christian nationalism . . . intertwined with white racial identity.” Evangelicals are not only what they believe about the Bible and Jesus. Evangelicals are also communities and the subcultures they’ve created, the vast networks of Christian institutions they’ve built, which include schools, bookstores, parachurch organizations, and media ministries. If you pay attention to what evangelicals have consumed over the past several decades, like Du Mez assiduously does, then it doesn’t look like a coincidence that they could be attracted to someone like Trump.

In addition to seeing the hyper-masculinity around Trump and his supporters with a new pair of eyes, reading Jesus and John Wayne can give one a strange sense of déjà vu. Are evangelicals attempting to push Christian nationalist policies through the president’s administration? Well, we could go back to Billy Graham’s Christian nationalist influence on Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Does Jerry Fallwell Jr.’s sex life make him a hypocrite given how he opposes the LGBTQ community? Before him there was Ted Haggard who was exposed in having a male escort while pushing for an anti-LGBTQ law, and a long list of other duplicitous men. Will evangelicals really go so far as to oppose democratic norms and support a foreign power known for undermining human rights? It didn’t stop them from supporting the Contras in Nicaragua during the 1980s and from supporting evangelical men like Oliver North who broke the law and lied to Congress about his involvement.

The parallels can go on and on. Du Mez’s point about the politicization of evangelical masculinity is right. Even when conservative evangelical teachings about masculinity appeared to be simply personal and spiritual, they weren’t apolitical. The militant masculine ideal depended on adversaries, either foreign or domestic, and some type of war to fight.

Even if evangelicalism’s history leading up to Trump gives the impression of inevitability, Du Mez highlights episodes that show how things could have been otherwise. One chapter focuses on the Promise Keepers movement of the 1990s. The Promise Keepers held massive rallies in the nation’s capital and sports arenas around the country, attracting up to 700,000 men, in which they were encouraged to honor God, protect their families, and pursue virtue. These rallies often took on a highly emotional nature, featuring men crying and lifting their hands. They also started to emphasize the concept of “racial reconciliation,” and provided a platform for Black men like Tony Evans, Wellington Boone, and John Perkins.

While some of the leaders in this movement held to traditional, hierarchical gender roles, some did not. For example, Gary Oliver published Real Men Have Feelings Too in 1993. At some points, it looked as though the Promise Keepers’ masculine ideal of the “tender warrior” could replace the more rigid and violent masculinity elevated within evangelicalism. So what happened?...Read More
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Native Voters Played a Huge Role in the 2020 Elections

Native voters are often erased from social science data and polls.

Photo: rotestors walk past an image of a Native American woman during a march to Count Every Vote
Protect Every Person on the...JASON REDMOND

By Mikah Carlos
and Nikki Pitre
Teen vogue 

Nov 19, 2020 - Indigenous people (American Indians, Alaskan Natives, and Native Hawaiians) make up 1.7% of the entire national population. There are 574 federally recognized tribes and 63-state recognized tribes in the United States. Bolstered by geography and the quirks of the Electoral College system, there is real power in the Native American vote, power enough to swing razor-thin margins in battleground states.

In 2020, that power was poised to influence 77 presidential electoral votes in addition to Senate, House, and local races, according to the report From Protests to the Ballot Box and Beyond: Building Indigenous Power, by the Center for Native American Youth, Native Organizers Alliance, IllumiNative, and the University of Michigan. Native people know this and have fought for visibility by using their voice and building strong movements during this historic election.

It was therefore disappointing — but not surprising — to witness mainstream media fail to include Native American representation in the projected calculation of voting totals. Following the closing of the polls on Election Day, CNN displayed an exit poll that included the races of voters, such as white, Black, Latinx, and Asian. Another category labeled “something else” was left to cover the remaining 6% of respondents. Political science data has for too long erased Native American people, generally marking us as “other” or as an asterisk, simply because our population is seen as too small to make an impact. Being marked as “something else” further dehumanizes Native people and discredits our contributions to the political process.

The reality is, Native people and community organizers mobilized and saw a record turnout in this election, including in swing states. The erasure of Native peoples as a group in social science data and polling is an injustice to those who, since being granted the right to vote, have overcome barriers including physical access to the polls, voter intimidation, and voter suppression. Native American people were not granted the right to vote in all 50 states until 1962. After all that Native people have been put through, we are deserving of so much more than being lumped together as “something else.”

We have witnessed the influence the Native vote has had in battleground states, including Arizona and Wisconsin (to name just some of the states that went blue in 2020). Democrats won in these states in part because of the mobilization of Native voters; for example, in Arizona, they make up 6% of the state’s eligible voting population, according to the National Congress of American Indians.

Yet their disenfranchisement is within living memory, as Grace Oldham recently detailed in an important piece on voter suppression for the Arizona Republic. Arizona did not grant Native Americans the right to vote until 1948, when two men from the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation sued the state to overturn a ban that prohibited Native Americans from registering to vote because they were “wards” of the federal government.

While the ban was overturned, until 1970, “literacy tests” remained in place, which also systematically disenfranchised our community. Today, Native voters in Arizona continue to face barrier after barrier: lack of polling locations and transportation to polls in rural communities, strict voter ID laws, and delayed or missing mail-delivery access — which is especially critical in a pandemic that is affecting Native communities at significantly higher rates.

We attribute the high Native voter turnout in Arizona to the tireless work of Native youth and grassroots community organizers who held registration drives, encouraged mail-in voting, and coordinated within communities to make sure voters had access to get to the polls if they were voting in person or dropping off their ballot on Election Day. 

These efforts are not unique to the Native communities of Arizona either. Initiatives from national organizations such as Every Native Vote Counts, National Congress of American Indians, Democracy Is Indigenous, and our organization, the Center for Native American Youth, provided many Native Americans with toolkits to work within their communities to encourage voter registration and participation in this pivotal election. The Democracy Is Indigenous campaign focused on leadership development, giving Native American youth access to tools and resources in order to encourage more of them to take part in the democratic process. These youth-designed community projects helped to ensure that members of their community were registered, had voted, and are engaged far beyond this one election year.

We will not be silent in the face of cultural or political erasure. As Native Americans, we are proud to see Native American peoples continue to contribute to American society in ways that are resilient and rich in culture. Perhaps, in a way, CNN had it right after all. In proving our strength by showing up, Native people are, in fact, “something else.”

Nikki Pitre is Executive Director of the Center for Native American Youth at the Aspen Institute. She is a member of the Coeur d’Alene Tribe. Mikah Carlos is the Chairwoman of the Youth Advisory Board at the Center for Native American Youth. She is Onk Akimel O'odham, Tohono O'odham, and Piipaash. ...Read More
Talkin Socialism, from the www.enlightenradio.org, Harpers Ferry, WV.
Election reflections from the TS team. Moderator: John Case
60 minutes
Ten Foreign Policy Fiascos Joe Biden Can Fix on Day One

So much vital work to be done—that must be done—for a more peaceful world.

By Medea Benjamin
& Nicolas J.S. Davies
Common Dreams

"The U.S. should also accept its share of responsibility for what many have called the greatest humanitarian crisis in the world today, and provide Yemen with funding to feed its people, restore its healthcare system and eventually rebuild this devastated country," write Benjamin and Davies. "Biden should restore and expand USAID funding and recommit U.S. financial support to the UN, the WHO, and to World Food Program relief programs in Yemen."

Donald Trump loves executive orders as a tool of dictatorial power, avoiding the need to work through Congress. But that works both ways, making it relatively easy for President Biden to reverse many of Trump’s most disastrous decisions. Here are ten things Biden can do as soon as he takes office. Each one can set the stage for broader progressive foreign policy initiatives, which we have also outlined.

1) End the U.S. role in the Saudi-led war on Yemen and restore U.S. humanitarian aid to Yemen.
 
Congress already passed a War Powers Resolution to end the U.S. role in the Yemen war, but Trump vetoed it, prioritizing war machine profits and a cozy relationship with the horrific Saudi dictatorship. Biden should immediately issue an executive order to end every aspect of the U.S. role in the war, based on the resolution that Trump vetoed.

The U.S. should also accept its share of responsibility for what many have called the greatest humanitarian crisis in the world today, and provide Yemen with funding to feed its people, restore its healthcare system and eventually rebuild this devastated country. Biden should restore and expand USAID funding and recommit U.S. financial support to the UN, the WHO, and to World Food Program relief programs in Yemen.

2) Suspend all U.S. arms sales and transfers to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Both countries are responsible for massacring civilians in Yemen, and the UAE is reportedly the largest arms supplier to General Haftar’s rebel forces in Libya. Congress passed bills to suspend arms sales to both of them, but Trump vetoed them too. Then he struck arms deals worth $24 billion with the UAE as part of an obscene military and commercial ménage à trois between the U.S., the UAE and Israel, which he absurdly tried to pass off as a peace agreement.  

While mostly ignored at the behest of the weapons companies, there are actually U.S. laws that require the suspension of arms transfers to countries that use them to violate U.S. and international law. They include the Leahy Law that prohibits the U.S. from providing military assistance to foreign security forces that commit gross violations of human rights; and the Arms Export Control Act, which states that countries must use imported U.S. weapons only for legitimate self defense.

Once these suspensions are in place, the Biden administration should seriously review the legality of Trump’s arms sales to both countries, with a view to canceling them and banning future sales. Biden should commit to applying these laws consistently and uniformly to all U.S. military aid and arms sales, without making exceptions for Israel, Egypt or other U.S. allies.

3) Rejoin the Iran Nuclear Agreement (JCPOA) and lift sanctions on Iran.

After reneging on the JCPOA, Trump slapped draconian sanctions on Iran, brought us to the brink of war by killing its top general, and is even trying to order up illegal, aggressive war plans in his last days as president. The Biden administration will face an uphill battle undoing this web of hostile actions and the deep mistrust they have caused, so Biden must act decisively to restore mutual trust: immediately rejoin the JCPOA, lift the sanctions, and stop blocking the $5 billion IMF loan that Iran desperately needs to deal with the COVID crisis.

In the longer term, the U.S. should give up the idea of regime change in Iran—this is for the people of Iran to decide—and instead restore diplomatic relations and start working with Iran to deescalate other Middle East conflicts, from Lebanon to Syria to Afghanistan, where cooperation with Iran is essential.

4) End U.S. threats and sanctions against officials of the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Nothing so brazenly embodies the U.S. government’s enduring, bipartisan disdain for international law as its failure to ratify the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC). If President Biden is serious about recommitting the U.S. to the rule of law, he should submit the Rome Statute to the U.S. Senate for ratification to join 120 other countries as members of the ICC. The Biden administration should also accept the jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice (ICJ), which the U.S. rejected after the Court convicted the U.S. of aggression and ordered it to pay reparations to Nicaragua in 1986.

5) Back President Moon’s diplomacy for a “permanent peace regime” in Korea.

President-elect Biden has reportedly agreed to meet South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in soon after he is sworn in. Trump’s failure to provide sanctions relief and explicit security guarantees to North Korea doomed his diplomacy and became an obstacle to the diplomatic process under way between Korean presidents Moon and Kim.

The Biden administration must start negotiating a peace agreement to formally end the Korean war, and initiate confidence-building measures such as opening liaison offices, easing sanctions, facilitating reunions between Korean-American and North Korean families and halting U.S.-South Korea military exercises. Negotiations must involve concrete commitments to non-aggression from the U.S. side to pave the way for a denuclearized Korean Peninsula and the reconciliation that so many Koreans desire--and deserve.

6) Renew New START with Russia and freeze the U.S.’s trillion-dollar new nuke plan.

Biden can end Trump’s dangerous game of brinksmanship on Day One and commit to renewing Obama’s New START Treaty with Russia, which freezes both countries’ nuclear arsenals at 1,550 deployed warheads each. He can also freeze Obama and Trump’s plan to spend more than a trillion dollars on a new generation of U.S. nuclear weapons.

Biden should also adopt a long overdue "no first use" nuclear weapons policy, but most of the world is ready to go much further. In 2017, 122 countries voted for the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) at the UN General Assembly. None of the current nuclear weapons states voted for or against the treaty, essentially pretending to ignore it. On October 24, 2020, Honduras became the 50th country to ratify the treaty, which will now go into effect on January 22, 2021. ...Read More
Our Amazing Resource for Radical Education
There are hundreds of video courses here, along with study guides, downloadable books and links to hundreds of other resources for study groups or individuals.

Nearly 10,000 people have signed on to the OUL for daily update, and more than 150,000 have visited us at least once.

Karl Marx's ideas are a common touchstone for many people working for change. His historical materialism, his many contributions to political economy and class analysis, all continue to serve his core values--the self-emancipation of the working class and a vision of a classless society. There are naturally many trends in Marxism that have developed over the years, and new ones are on the rise today. All of them and others who want to see this project succeed are welcome here.

The Sheriff Fired Her Because She’s a Lesbian.
So She Ran Against Him. She’ll Be the New Sheriff Now


Charmaine McGuffey is the new sheriff in town, defeating both her former boss and a Republican challenger.

By Juwan J. Holmes 
LGBTQNation.com

Nov 4, 2020 - Charmaine McGuffey is going to be the new sheriff for Hamilton County, Ohio.

She defeated Bruce Hoffbauer, her Republican opponent, in the general election with 52% of the vote.

McGuffey made headlines when she announced her decision to run for sheriff. She was challenging her former boss, Jim Neil, in the Democratic primary. Neil had fired her, McGuffey alleged, because she’s an out lesbian.

McGuffey easily defeated him with approximately 70% of the vote, getting sweet revenge.

Both McGuffey and Hoffbauer were lifelong experienced law enforcement candidates. McGuffey promised “responsibility” and “accountability” with people of color if she won the election. Hoffbauer claimed he would have “removed” himself “and been the law enforcement executive” if he saw people kneeling during protests or events.

McGuffey also made it a point to be proud of her identity during the campaign, even touching on it in political ads.

“[My election] would mean that our country is moving forward,” she told LGBTQ Nation in March, “that we really have moved away from the 1950s model of law enforcement, where not just women are embraced in the law enforcement world, but also LGBTQ members of the community can wear a uniform and be quite successful.”

She also carried endorsements from Sen. Sherrod Brown, former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, and former Cincinnati Mayor Roxanne Qualls.

With her win, all five of the Up & Coming Politician nominees for this year’s LGBTQ Nation Heroes Awards of 2020 won their elections. Ritchie Torres and Mondaire Jones won election to Congress tonight, and Kim Jackson won her race to become a Georgia State Senator. Rosemary Ketchum won election to the City Council of Wheeling, West Virginia in June.

McGuffey was the ultimate winner of the Up & Coming Politician Award – now, she is victorious in her run for sheriff as well. ...Read More
Harry Targ's 'Diary of a Heartland Radical'
This week's topic:





Click picture to access the blog.
Qiao Collective
on Xinjiang

Based on a handful of think tank reports and witness testimonies, Western governments have levied false allegations of genocide and slavery in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.

A closer look makes clear that the politicization of China’s anti-terrorism policies in Xinjiang is another front of the U.S.-led hybrid war on China.

This resource compilation provides a starting point for critical inquiry into the historical context and international response to China’s policies in Xinjiang, providing a counter-perspective to misinformation that abounds in mainstream coverage of the autonomous region. Click graphic to access
Our Foreign Correspondent

WHAT BOLIVIA CAN TEACH THE US ABOUT FAIR ELECTIONS



Oct 25, 2020

TV Review 'No Man's Land', A War Tragedy
Featuring Leftwing Kurdish Women Fighters



By Daniel Fienberg
Hollywood Reporter

Nov 18, 2020 - Hulu's eight-part series offers an outsider's perspective on the Syrian civil war and a man's perspective on the female fighting unit known as the YPJ.

It's nearly seven hours into Hulu's eight-episode drama No Man's Land before somebody puts Antoine (Felix Moati) in his place.

Antoine has spent the series touristically meandering through the Syrian civil war looking for his sister, becoming increasingly involved in the bloodshed through sheer inertia rather than ideology or empathy.

"This isn't about you, Antoine!" a character finally exclaims.

Unfortunately, No Man's Land absolutely is about Antoine and I haven't been this conscious of a show focusing on the wrong heroes since… well… last week, when I reviewed The Liberator, a heroic-white-savior World War II drama that Netflix has tried to sell as being the story of a particularly diverse company of soldiers.

So don't be fooled into thinking that No Man's Land is, on any level, the story of the YPJ, an elite unit of Kurdish freedom fighters, all women. It's barely, if at all, a story about the Syrian civil war. It's a story of generally stupid international dilettantes lured to muddy the waters in the Syrian civil war, generally making a fraught situation worse. Actually, if No Man's Land truly had the focus to be about that, I might really appreciate it. Instead it's an outsider's look at a very real, very tragic situation that gets lost in a familiar structure and twisty plot points.

Co-created by Ron Leshem (Euphoria), Maria Feldman (False Flag), Eitan Mansuri (When Heroes Fly) and Amit Cohen (False Flag), No Man's Land begins with a series of wordy title cards explaining the basics of the Syrian civil war. From that point on, it's enough to know that the scary men with beards firing rifles into the sky yelling "Allahu Akbar!" are the bad guys.

Antoine is neither a good guy nor a bad guy. He's still mourning his sister Anna (Mélanie Thierry), who went to Egypt to study archeology and died in a bombing. Watching news footage from Syria, Antoine spots a woman in the background of a shot who puts her hair up in the same way Anna used to. Could Anna be alive? And what would Anna be doing with a Syrian resistance force? This is enough for Antoine to journey to Turkey, much to the chagrin of his pilot girlfriend Lorraine (Julia Faure), and sneak his way into Syria. He soon finds himself embedded with a women's protection unit, tagging along in a squad led by Sarya (Souheila Yacoub), a young fighter who grew up partially in Paris, which is convenient because Antoine came to Syria speaking basically none of the languages native to the land.

We're introduced to Nasser (James Krishna Floyd), Iyad (Jo Ben Ayed) and Paul (Dean Ridge), a London-born trio fighting for ISIS, as best I can tell, because they were bullied when they were blue-collar lads.

Tying things together is James Purefoy's Stanley, a mysterious puppet master.

No Man's Land -- "Episode 5" -Episode 105 -- Finally accepting Anna is dead, Antoine decides to leave Syria. Sarya escorts him, and they become close. Nasser is promoted but after witnessing such atrocities, he wants out. When he meets with Stanley to discuss, he learns that he has been working for Israel’s Mossad, and not helping his county through the British intelligence services. Stanley (James Purefoy), shown. 

Even though each episode gives a different character's backstory in flashback form, nobody's motivation for participating in this deadly conflict is especially interesting or especially clear — nor does it make much sense why the opposing forces are so welcoming of these questionably motivated foreigners.

There's a story in how the ISIS leaders look at the random Brits joining their rifle-shooting and their "Allahu Akbar!"-ing. That story almost comes into focus with the one-episode introduction of a nationality-denying American who's like ISIS' new social media intern, a character who tip-toes around a very interesting idea of how, for ISIS, global propaganda and perception are bigger than anything they're doing in Syria. And how are the Kurds judging the random Yanks and Francs fighting in their ranks? More specifically, how are the women of the YPJ handling an infusion of foreign men mansplaining their own civil war? Each interloper comes with a different agenda, some representing school boy revolutionary dreams, some just looking to find mercenary uses for their military training. It's all interesting and none of it is sufficiently developed.

No Man's Land tries, and sometimes succeeds, in illustrating relationships between characters through frivolous conversation, but there are bigger issues that are ignored — and instead of making the Syrian civil war universal, the show renders it generic. Series director Oded Ruskin executes several intense action scenes and balances the mixture of flashbacks and present day scenes, but he's prone to falling back on dusty desert action and interchangeable villages that lack any real geography or texture.

Lack of specificity hurts the characters. Yacoub has some wonderful moments as a woman who's proving her devotion to a country that's a stranger to her through violence, but the show undermines her character by reducing her to a perfunctory love interest. Thierry, whose standalone work in the sixth episode is a series highlight, makes an implausible character arc believable only to have the character return to being defined mostly through Antoine's eyes. Because we learn maybe two things about his character as opposed to just one, Floyd is the most interesting of the three Brits, but I never stopped feeling like that storyline was just a pale imitation of National Geographic's The State, a much better-researched miniseries about Brits recruited by ISIS.

For all of its interesting and nuanced details on ISIS and the foreigners it lures, The State was dramatically cumbersome and at least No Man's Land moves quickly, with the last episode setting up several plotlines for a second season. Unfortunately, all of those plotlines are steps further away from anything grounded or illuminating about either the Syrian civil war or the YPJ, which sounds like it would be a great subject for a TV show....Read More
Book Review: The Ministry for the Future 

Kim Stanley Robinson on how to solve the climate crisis: watch as an international taskforce tackles global heating in this chilling yet hopeful vision of how the next few decades might unfold

By Steven Poole
The Guardian

Nov 20 2020 - It opens like a slow-motion disaster movie. In the near future, a heatwave of unsurvivable “wet-bulb” temperatures (factoring in humidity) in a small Indian town kills nearly all its inhabitants in a week. The Indian government sends up planes to spray sulphur dioxide into the atmosphere to mimic the dimming effect of major volcanic eruptions. This does not, naturally, meet with unalloyed approval around the world.

A new international climate-crisis body has been “charged with defending all living creatures present and future who cannot speak for themselves”, and is quickly dubbed the Ministry for the Future. It is led by our protagonist, Mary Murphy, former foreign minister of Ireland. Her outfit may or may not also have a black ops wing, but a shadowy terrorist network called the “Children of Kali” has no white ops wing: it uses drone swarms to crash passenger jets and container ships in deadly protest at continuing carbon emissions.

Meanwhile, scientists at the poles are trying to pump water out from under the ice caps to prevent them from sliding into the ocean and raising sea levels catastrophically. Kim Stanley Robinson, who wrote the classic Red Mars trilogy of novels about geoengineering the red planet to be habitable by humans, now offers a story about whether we can geoengineer Earth back into Earth.

Within these pages there is much hard science, of atmospheric and oceanic physics, usually helpfully explained by a passing expert; but also speculative military strategy – the invention of “pebble mob” missiles, which converge on a target speedily from all directions, renders almost all military hardware redundant – plenty of economic history and much comforting detail about the grey civility of Switzerland in winter.

Robinson shows that an ambitious systems novel about global heating must in fact be an ambitious systems novel about modern civilisation too, because everything is so interdependent. Luckily, when he opens one of his discursive interludes with the claim “Taxes are interesting”, he makes good on it within two pages. There is no shortage of sardonic humour here, a cosmopolitan range of sympathies, and a steely, visionary optimism.

Dark comic relief comes from fragmentary dialogues between unnamed speakers. “Have you heard,” one asks, “that the warming of the oceans means that the amount of omega-3 fatty acids in fish and thus available for human consumption may drop by as much as sixty percent? And that these fatty acids are crucial to signal transduction in the brain, so it’s possible that our collective intelligence is now rapidly dropping because of an ocean-warming-caused diminishment in brain power?” The other replies: “That would explain a lot.” Indeed it would.

The Ministry for the Future is published by Orbit (RRP £20). To order a copy go to guardianbookshop.com. Delivery charges may apply.
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