Melanie's first big hit, "Lay Down (Candles In The Rain)." Here she is, from December 29th, performing another of her hits "Brand New Key" on Jools Holland's BBC show.
And here's Melanie performing one of my favorites of her more recent songs "Smile."
I love Melanie, she's a mystick. I also love Roberta Flack. John Elliston (WNC MAGAZINE) reports:
Roberta Flack Muralized
Black Mountain is now home to a sizable tribute to its biggest star: the singer Roberta Flack, who was born in the town in 1937 and lived there until she was nine. Flack rose to international fame as songs like “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face,” “Killing Me Softly with His Song,” and “Feel Like Makin’ Love” propelled her to consecutive Record of the Year Grammy wins, in 1973 and ’74, and this year she was awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.
In late July, a classic ’70s visage of Flack was painted across the west side of Black Mountain Brewing on Broadway Avenue. The artwork was the brainchild of Scott Nurkin, a Chapel Hill-based painter who heads the North Carolina Musician Murals Project. Brewery owner John Richardson jumped at the chance to host the mural, calling it “an important opportunity for Black Mountain to celebrate a strong Black woman and embrace a piece of our history that, for some reason, we haven’t.” Learn more at musicianmuralsproject.com.
The artists who received 2020 Lifetime Achievement Awards Grammys will be saluted with a PBS TV special next month.
Great Performances: GRAMMY Salute to Music Legends will air October 16 at 9 p.m. ET, hosted by producer Jimmy Jam. The honorees, announced earlier this year, include Chicago, Roberta Flack, the late Isaac Hayes and John Prine, rocker Iggy Pop, rap icons Public Enemy and late gospel/early rock 'n' roll pioneer Sister Rosetta Tharpe.
Roberta has many great and wonderful songs but I think my favorite is "Oasis."
It's a great song. Speaking of great, Laura Nyro remains one of the all time greats. She has a legacy of songs that make her a great artist. (Even ROLLING STONE had to include her on their new Best 500 Albums of All Time list.) DUKE BASKETBALL REPORT notes:
We were watching a video of a guy hearing a Van Morrison song for the first time - into the Mystic - and he seemed genuinely moved by it.
That’s kind of how we felt after we came across Laura Nyro.
That’s a name we’ve been aware of for a long time but without knowing any of her music...or so it seemed.
As it turns out, she wrote a lot of songs that are very well known but recorded by other people. Active mostly in the late ‘60s and intermittently after that, this woman was a phenomenal talent. She wrote in American genres but her voice and her lyrics are what set her apart. Her lyrics are brilliant and her voice is powerful.
We’re going to link one of her original songs which you may or may not have heard before called Stone Soul Picnic, and also a cover of Jimmy Mack, the classic by Martha and the Vandellas, which is a superb cover.
My favorite Laura song? I have many. But for today, I'll go with "Once It Was Alright Now (Farmer Joe)."
Closing with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"
Friday, September 25, 2020. As usual, we look at some of the candidates running for president and we also note how the current mess (crisis?) re: the Supreme Court was completely predictable.
Starting with the issue of the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Margaret Kimberley (BLACK AGENDA REPORT) points out:
The Supreme Court is supposed to be the issue that ends all arguments. The fact that the Democrats mishandled this situation so badly is one of the reasons they have deified the late justice Ginsburg. They have to divert attention from the mess they created. The federal courts would not play such a large political role if the Democrats were serious about winning and keeping legislative majorities. When Barack Obama was president they lost more than 900 seats in state legislatures, the House of Representatives and the Senate.
The loss of the Senate was particularly devastating. Ginsburg should have stepped down when Obama still had the Democratic Party control needed to nominate a replacement. Instead, the 80-year old who had already been diagnosed with cancer was supremely arrogant. In 2014 Ginsburg was dismissive of prudent calls for her to retire and said so publicly . “So tell me who the president could have nominated this spring that you would rather see on the court than me?” Thanks to her hubris, Democrats are now caught in a mixture of panic and overly deferential mourning.
[. . .]
The Republican Supreme Court super majority is a very bad thing for the country. But it all came about because of the Democratic Party. The sooner voters abandon them and build progressive politics for themselves, the better. The people must save themselves and the first thing they can do is detach themselves from the losers. Giving money to their PACs is a waste and so is idolizing a dead justice. For that matter, idolizing a dead political party is equally foolish.
RBG should have stepped down. And this we must honor her dying wish nonsense? I'm sorry, when did the US become the Make A Wish Foundation? And when did an 87-year-old woman become a young child whose life would be tragically cut short?
Ruth did not own a seat on the court. She cannot 'will it' to anyone. If she wanted a say, the answer was to resign, not hold on when she clearly was incapacitated. She lived a long life -- longer than women who live in poverty, as we noted in "Ruth Badger Ginsburg (Ava and C.I.)" -- she made decisions that we are now stuck dealing with. She was no saint and this problem we now address is one of her own making.
As some began to accept reality, people got nervous about how the Dems in the Senate would handle a nominee from US President Doanld Trump. John Bresnahan and Marianne Levine (POLITICO) report on the panic over the realization that Ranking Member on the Judiciary Committee Dianne Feinstein might not be up to the job. She is 87 years old, for example, the same age that RBG died at. From the report:
Some Democrats privately fear that Feinstein could mishandle the situation and hurt their chances of winning back the majority.
Feinstein sometimes gets confused by reporters’ questions, or will offer different answers to the same question depending on where or when she’s asked. Her appearance is frail. And Feinstein's genteel demeanor, which seems like it belongs to a bygone Senate era, can lead to trouble with an increasingly hard-line Democratic base uninterested in collegiality or bipartisan platitudes.
[. . .]
A Democratic senator, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said a group of Feinstein’s colleagues want Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) or Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) to serve as the top Democrat on the Judiciary panel for the upcoming nomination hearings, which are expected to be extraordinarily contentious. This senator is worried that potential missteps by Feinstein could cost Democrats seats.
Sorry, people, she's the Ranking Member. It's the role she was given and I don't see her saying, "Here, take the baton." I really don't see her saying that. Back to the article:
Other Democrats privately said there have been complaints to party leaders that Feinstein is not capable of handling the Judiciary post in the current situation. Some of these senators said Feinstein should have retired rather than run for reelection in 2018 at age 85. Feinstein’s age was an issue in that campaign and was raised repeatedly in news reports, but she defeated Democrat Kevin de Leon by almost 10 points.
Wait, you mean we wouldn't be in this situation right now if Dianne hadn't run for re-election or if a bunch of reactionary (and some xenophobic) jerks (most not even in California -- meaning they couldn't vote in the race) hadn't attacked Kevin Leon? We supported Kevin here. We pointed out Dianne had already lost her grip on reality and that either she would be 91 at the end of her term or leave office early -- possibly due to death.
I didn't want Dianne in the Senate to begin with. So don't come crying to me over the mess you made on the carpet. This was all seeable if you only opened your damn eyes. Rebecca noted in her January 12, 2006 piece on the Alito hearing (which NYT linked to and remains one of her most popular posts) "alito hearings: like really bad sex:"
diane feinstein, to name 1 of the worst offenders, could shoot
scattershot (although she acted as though she were tossing out lillies
throughout the hearings) in the other days but on the final day, she
didn't need to be bringing up new issues. this is where you make the
case to the people.
not where you suddenly introduce a new topic.
and for some 1 who interrupted ted kennedy repeatedly the day prior as he asked about caps, wasn't it strange that she didn't have a question on that? when kennedy was speaking yesterday, she couldn't stop interrupting. today? she's moved on.
miss diane gets my vote for most useless and i'm not fan of kohl. but miss diane was supposed to be fighting for women and instead we got a timid school marm trying to get the rowdy class to like her.
it's not just her. that's a point c.i. made tonight in the roundtable. c.i. pointed out that arlen specter couldn't stop treating her like she was a 'special' and not a real senator. he referred to her 'dramatic entrance.' there was another specific example c.i. brought up but i'm forgetting it now. but the point is, she is treated that way by others on the committee.
as an adult, she should ask them to cut it out. instead she seems tickled by the patronizing attitude.
i'm looking for the non-action figure miss diane. she comes non-fully poseable. she's in a seated postion. you can extend her legs or bend them depending upon whether you want her to sit in a chair or to sit on the floor. she wears a lovely dress with several layers. she comes with white gloves and the cutest little purse that matches her hat, her belt and her shoes. the non-action figure has a silly grin pasted on its face and is called 'miss diane, girl senator.'
the tea set is purchased separately.
Miss Dianne, Girl Senator. And Ted was furious about Dianne interrupting in the middle of his questioning, his time that he was using to build to a point that feckless Dianne destroyed. That was 2006 and Ted wasn't hiding how he felt, I was in a room with seven other people after that day's hearing where Ted unloaded on how incompetent Dianne was in that hearing.
So you cheered on a woman who, when functioning, was an imbecile and now she's way too old and way too incompetent and we need strength so suddenly you're concerned?
Or as they say in DEATH BECOMES HER, "Now a warning?"
This was all predictable -- no crystal ball required.
That's Ruth's death, that's Dianne's incompetence. This moment built slowly and over time but people didn't want to get honest and face reality. That's why we are where we are now.
And more lies aren't going to help. Pretending that RBG's 'dying wish' matters is a lie. There's nothing in the Constitution about that. There's no law and there's no custom.
Am I thrilled at where we are in this moment? Hell no. But as someone who worked to avoid this moment, I hope to hell we can at least make this miserable moment a teachable moment and learn from it.
But maybe there are no teachable moments to a public that's become fixated on lies and 'tactics' and thinks the ends justify the means? The Democratic Party, my party, has long been headed to the gutter but certainly we moved a lot quicker once we brought David Brock into the fold. What he did to Anita Hill was unacceptable and his so-called 'confession' -- in ESQUIRE article form or later in the book -- was not a confession. It was dishonest and self-serving and left out the fact that he got his feelings hurt when his blond gal-pals (you know who I mean) would make homophobic statements. They were cruel and racist women but he was fine with that and glad to make them his hags until they dished a little too much about gay people in the same hateful way they talked about people of color.
David didn't leave the GOP, he was exiled.
And not only were we stupid enough to embrace him (Hey, Naomi Wolf, I'm looking at your crazy ass), we put him in positions of power, funded him, so he could bring his sewer tactics over from the GOP and use them for 'our side.'
That's not my side.
And it shouldn't be the Democratic Party's side. But it is and that's where we're at now.
That's a new commercial from Howie Hawkins who is running to be the next president of the United States on the Green Party ticket. Can you watch it and be honest? Because it has happened twice.
And somehow, everyone's supposed to just accept it? Pretend like 2016 didn't happen?
You ignore reality at your own peril -- RBG's death should make that very clear.
But so many ignore it. Some are such David Brock-ers that they even create lies to pretend Joe Biden wasn't the Iraq War cheerleader (and bully) that he was. And, goodness knows, no one wants to talk about how Iraq fell apart during Barack's presidency and how Joe was in charge of Iraq. It wasn't the drawdown of US troops, it was Joe backing Nouri al-Maliki for a second term when the Iraqi people voted him out of office in their 2010 election. Joe shows up in Iraq, after The Erbil Agreement is set and tells the Iraqis some stupid story about Ireland that's got nothing to do with their own situation.
However, when Biden phoned up the two leaders that week, he did not stick to the agreed line. Instead, he told Maliki that the United States would support him remaining as prime minister, and he told Allawi that he should accept Maliki as PM. In the Arabic media, there was confusion as to why the United States and Iran should both choose Maliki as prime minister, and this fuelled conspiracy theories about a secret deal between those two countries.
When I met Rafi, he was incredulous: “How come one week the U.S. was telling everyone that Maliki should step down and the next week telling Maliki he should be PM?” He went on: “Why is the U.S. picking the prime minister? This is Iraq. This is our country. We have to live here. And we care passionately about building a future for our children.” He was deeply upset.
Biden visited Iraq at the end of August 2010. By then, Hill had been replaced as ambassador by Jim Jeffrey. In internal meetings, one U.S. adviser argued that Maliki was “our man”: He would give us a follow-on Status of Forces Agreement to keep a small contingent of U.S. forces in Iraq after 2011; he was a nationalist; and he would fight the Sadrists. Furthermore, the official claimed that Maliki had promised him that he would not seek a third term. “Maliki is not our friend,” replied another official, Jeff Feltman, the assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern Affairs, exasperated at the delusional nature of the discussion. But Biden had been persuaded by the arguments that there was no one but Maliki who could be prime minister and that he would sign a new security agreement with the United States. The Obama administration wanted to see an Iraqi government in place before the U.S. mid-term elections in November. Biden believed the quickest way to form a government was to keep Maliki as prime minister, and to cajole other Iraqis into accepting this.
“Iraqiya genuinely fear Maliki,” General O explained. They were scared that he would accuse them of being terrorists or bring charges of corruption against them, and would arrest them. Maliki had accused Rafi of being the leader of a terrorist group, for instance—allegations that were totally unfounded. General O described how Maliki had changed so much over the past six months. He had become more sectarian and authoritarian. Iraqis had reason to fear him.
I tried to explain the struggle between secularists and Islamists, and how many Iraqis wanted to move beyond sectarianism. But Biden could not fathom this. For him, Iraq was simply about Sunnis, Shia and Kurds.
I tried another tack: “It is important to build belief in the democratic process by showing people that change can come about through elections—rather than violence. The peaceful transfer of power is key—it has never happened in the Arab World.” At the very least, either Maliki or Talabani needed to give up his seat; otherwise, they would both think they owned the seats. Biden did not agree. He responded that there were often elections in the United States that did not bring about any change.
Biden’s easy smile had evaporated. He was clearly irritated by me. “Look, I know these people,” he went on. “My grandfather was Irish and hated the British. It’s like in the Balkans. They all grow up hating each other.”
The conversation ended, as we had to head over to the meeting with Iraqiya members. Some were in suits, others were wearing their finest traditional robes. There were Sunni Arabs, Shia Arabs, Turkmen Shia, Kurds and a Christian. The full tapestry of Iraqi society was sitting facing us—distinguishable only by their dress, clearly showing us the sort of Iraq they wanted to live in.
Biden started off smiling: “I know you people. My grandfather was Irish and hated the British.” Everyone turned toward me, the Brit. The Iraqis were grinning, expecting there was going to be a good spat between Brits and Americans. How could I stop Biden making a totally inappropriate comment about them all being Sunnis and hating Shia? Thinking on my feet, I said, “Don’t look at me, Mr. Vice President, I am not the only Brit in the room.” One of the Iraqis piped up: “I have a British passport.”
Biden lost his train of thought and moved on. He said that one of his predecessors, Al Gore, had technically won more votes in the 2000 presidential election, but for the good of America had stepped back rather than keep the country in limbo while fighting over the disputed vote-count.
Allawi pretended not to understand that Biden was suggesting he give up his claim to have first go at trying to form the government, letting Maliki remain as prime minister. The meeting finished. After we left, I was sure the Iraqis would be wondering why on earth Biden had mentioned his Irish grandfather and Al Gore. If only President Obama had paid attention to Iraq. He, more than anyone, would understand the complexity of identities, I thought—and that people can change. But his only interest in Iraq, it appeared, was in ending the war.
Be very still and silent for a moment and I think you can hear Iraq collectively telling Joe Biden to f**k off every time he whines that Donald Trump might not accept the election results this year. He overturned an election in Iraq and now he wants to be a hypocrite and worry that someone else might not accept the results?
Howie participated in an event in the Bronx with Margaret Kimberley.
Howie's not the only one running for the office of president. Along with Joe Biden and Donald Trump, Jo Jorgesen is running. She's the Libertarian Party's presidential candidate.
Jo will be on the ballot in all fifty states and should be on the debate stage next month as a result. (See "How We Can get Jo Jorgensen in the Debates Plus ho....") She's out and about -- unlike the other Joe.
Maybe that should be a slogan for her campaign? Unlike the other Joe?
Jo is out and about, interacting with voters. Sitting down for unscripted and freewheeling interviews. She's a real candidate.
Joe Biden's become the veal candidate -- fattened up in his cage.
Unlike the other Joe in the race, Jo Jorgensen can answer as to who she'd put on the Supreme Court if she had that power.
Libertarian for president Dr. Jo Jorgensen chooses liberty-minded jurists
GREENVILLE, S.C.; 9/23/2020 – The Libertarian Party and its Presidential candidate Dr. Jo Jorgensen join the nation in mourning the death of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
She was a dauntless supporter of civil liberties, and her close friendship with her ideological opponent Antonin Scalia demonstrated her respect for civility, despite differences.
President Trump and Senate Republicans now aim to replace Justice Ginsberg before the election. If Democrats succeed in stopping them, the next president will be faced with the immediate task of nominating a justice to the Supreme Court.
Today Dr. Jo Jorgensen, Libertarian for president, named a list of legal experts that she would consider for this nomination, should she be elected.
“We need justices who, unlike the majority of those appointed to our highest court over the past 100 years, will strictly uphold our Constitution,” said Jorgensen. “We must restore the limits that our Founders imposed on federal authority and rigorously defend both individual liberty and property rights.”
The following individuals are on Dr. Jorgensen’s list of potential U.S. Supreme Court nominees:
Richard Epstein is a law professor and director of the Classical Liberal Institute at New York University. A study published in The Journal of Legal Studies identified him as the 12th most often-cited legal scholar of the 20th century. He is known for his prolific writings on subjects pertaining to law, economics, classical liberalism, and libertarianism.
Judge Andrew Napolitano was a New Jersey Superior Court judge and hosted the daily TV talk show Freedom Watch on Fox Business News. He is a syndicated columnist published in Reason, The Washington Times and elsewhere and is a frequent commentator and news analyst on Fox.
Randy Barnett is on the faculty of the Georgetown University Law Center and a senior fellow at Cato Institute. His eleven published books include Restoring the Lost Constitution: The Presumption of Liberty. He was involved in the legal challenge to Obamacare — National Federation of Independent Businesses v. Sebelius.
Clint Bolick is an associate justice on the Arizona Supreme Court. In 1991 Bolick co-founded the Institute for Justice. In 2007, he became VP of Litigation at the Goldwater Institute where he was a frequent critic of Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
Eugene Volokh has been a UCLA law professor since 1994 and is the originator of the prominent legal blog, the Volokh Conspiracy. He clerked for Judge Alex Kozinski on the 9th Circuit and for Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.
Janice Rogers Brown served as Circuit Judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and was an associate justice of the California Supreme Court. In a speech to the University of Chicago Law School Federalist Society she said, “Where government moves in, community retreats, civil society disintegrates, and our ability to control our own destiny atrophies.”
Dana Berliner is the senior vice president and litigation director at the Institute for Justice. She was co-counsel representing the homeowner in Kelo v. New London, the notorious case where SCOTUS ruled that eminent domain could be used by a city for the sole reason of increasing its property tax base.
Anastasia Boden is a senior attorney at Pacific Legal Foundation specializing in litigating against anti-competitive licensing laws and laws that restrict freedom of speech. She graduated from law school at Georgetown where she was Research Assistant to Professor Randy Barnett.
Timothy Sandefur is the vice president for litigation at the Goldwater Institute and an adjunct scholar at the Cato Institute. He’s the author of numerous books including Frederick Douglas: Self Made Man and The Right to Earn a Living. He argued against Obamacare before the U.S. Supreme Court.
Scott Bullock is President and General Counsel of the Institute for Justice. He was co-counsel in Kelo v. New London.
James Ostrowski has practiced trial and appellate work for more than 35 years. He was an attorney for Ron Paul and is the chief organizer of libertymovement.org. He writes extensively on a variety of topics for the Mises Institute and has published four books, including Progressivism: a Primer on the Idea Destroying America.
Alan Gura was co-counsel for the plaintiff in District of Columbia v. Heller, which upheld the individual right to own a firearm. It was one of two landmark constitutional cases that he argued successfully before the U.S. Supreme Court. The National Law Journal named him one of the “100 Most Influential Lawyers in America.”
Jonathan Turley teaches torts, criminal procedure and constitutional law at George Washington University Law School. He is ranked the 38th most cited public intellectual in a study by Judge Richard Posner. He received the columnist of the year award from the Aspen Institute and The Week for his columns on civil liberties.
Damien Schiff is a senior attorney at Pacific Law Foundation where he successfully argued the precedent-setting property rights case, Sackett v. Environmental Protection Agency when he was 33 years old. He was nominated to the Court of Federal Claims but not confirmed.
Clark Neily was co-counsel for the plaintiff in District of Columbia v. Heller, which upheld the individual right to bear arms. He was a senior attorney at the Institute for Justice before joining the Cato Institute in 2017, where he is Vice President for Criminal Justice overseeing civil asset forfeiture, police accountability, gun rights, overcriminalization and constitutional law.
Nadine Strossen was the youngest person ever to head the ACLU. She is a staunch First Amendment advocate and a founder of Feminists for Free Expression. Among her books is “Hate: Why We Should Resist It with Free Speech, Not Censorship”.
Jacob Hornberger was Director of Programs for the Foundation for Economic Education and founded the Future of Freedom Foundation where he serves as president He placed second in the delegate count for the 2020 LP nomination for president.
Don Willett serves on the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals and was previously a member of the Supreme Court of Texas. According to the outlet SCOTUSblog, “Willett views the role of judges as protecting individual liberty by striking down laws that infringe on it.” Willett has also been named by President Donald Trump as a potential Supreme Court nominee.
Again, unlike the other Joe, Jo Jorgensen's a presidential candidate who will talk about the tough issues and do so clearly.
Gloria La Riva, unlike Joe Biden, is not afraid to tell the people what she believes. She doesn't whisper to Wall Street one thing -- pillow talk -- and tell the American people something else.
Gloria's running on the Party for Socialism and Liberation's ticket. People in fifteen states will be able to vote for her and have their vote counted.
Gloria La Riva and Sunil Freeman gain ballot access in Rhode Island
As of Friday, September 11, Rhode Island becomes the fifteenth state to welcome socialist candidates Gloria La Riva and Sunil Freeman to the ballot for the United States presidential election on November 3. This ballot access was achieved by obtaining close to 1600 signatures — 600 more than the state’s requirement.
PSL members residing in Massachachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut joined efforts to organize the petition gathering. Many organizers traveled multiple hours daily in order to contribute, some while fasting over the month in observance of Black August. Collection of petitioned signatures was also challenging due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Canvassers were sure to adhere to physical distancing protocols such as wearing masks and sanitizing equipment.
Petitioning was done at local Farmers’ markets, Flea markets and at Kennedy Plaza, the main bus station of Providence. The canvassing pitch, “Would you like to help put a socialist on the ballot?” was often met with a resounding “hell yes!” In working class neighborhoods such as Central Falls and Pawtucket, socialism and La Riva/Freeman’s election manifesto were enthusiastically discussed by Black and brown residents. As a Black mother signed the petition, her young son asked “What is socialism?” She responded, “It is for your future.”
Many residents who supported ballot access for La Riva/Freeman were not allowed to vote despite living and working in RI. Immigrants are disqualified from voting making them unable to provide a valid signature on any ballot petition. Organizers noted one resident who took a flyer, read through the program and nodded. When they signed the petition, they left the address column empty due to not having a home. Without a home, their petition will be rejected. These examples are not exceptions, but evidence of a rule. The United States electoral system is built to prevent working and oppressed people from participating politically.
Petitioning for ballot access was part of a larger goal for PSL organizers to deepen relationships with working class struggles in RI. Canvassers joined uprisings against police brutality and demonstrations for rent cancellation. They took part in an event where educators demanded a safe reopening of schools and another where residents spoke out against the proposed destruction of Providence’s main transit hub. Organizers were there to provide a broad socialist response to local struggles. Rather than leaving the politics to the two capitalist parties, fighting and winning is the alternative that putting socialism on the ballot offers.
Joseph Kishore is the SEP's candidate for US president. He has an upcoming event this Sunday.
The 2020 election is unlike any in American history.
Donald Trump, surrounded by fascist aides, is threatening to appeal to the military and neo-Nazi groups to keep himself in office by use of force, raising the specter of dictatorship. Joe Biden and the Democratic Party, whose unofficial campaign slogan is "nothing will fundamentally change," are more fearful of social opposition than anything else and are hostile to mobilizing masses of people to fight fascism. Instead, they are running a right-wing campaign aimed at portraying Trump as insufficiently bellicose toward Russia and China. Sanders, Ocasio-Cortez and the Democratic Socialists of America fecklessly tag behind Biden.
The death toll from the coronavirus pandemic has reached 200,000 in the US and nearly 1 million worldwide. The response of both parties in the US has been to force workers back to work and students back to school to fuel big business and boost Wall Street. Strikes and protests against unsafe conditions at workplaces and schools are growing, coalescing with opposition to the never ending spate of police murders that witnessed the largest nationwide demonstrations in decades.
The working class needs political leadership. Joseph Kishore and Norissa Santa Cruz launched their presidential campaign to fight to develop a revolutionary socialist leadership in the working class. For this reason, federal judges, Democratic and Republican alike, have denied them access to appear on the ballot. At Sunday's meeting, Kishore and Santa Cruz will address the current political crisis and lay out the programmatic response of the Socialist Equality Party.
The United States presidential campaign is being transformed into a coup d’état by Donald Trump, who has declared that he will not accept the results of any vote that goes against him.
At a White House press conference Wednesday evening, Trump was asked whether he would “commit here today for a peaceful transfer of power after the election.” He replied: “We’re going to have to see what happens. You know, I have been complaining very strongly about the ballots. And the ballots are a disaster.”
When his questioner persisted, Trump said, “You’ll have a very peaceful trans—there won’t be a transfer frankly. There will be a continuation.”
Trump’s determination to rapidly appoint a new Supreme Court justice to fill the seat left by Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death is a critical element of the unfolding criminal conspiracy. Trump intends to stack the Supreme Court with lackeys who will rubber stamp his repudiation of the election results. “I think this [the election] will end up in the Supreme Court, and I think it’s very important that we have nine justices,” Trump said at the news conference.
That the preparations for an overthrow of the Constitution are well advanced is now widely acknowledged. A column published Wednesday in the Atlantic, headlined “The Election that Could Break America,” outlines what it called a nightmare scenario for November 3, involving the mobilization of right-wing vigilantes and the seizure of uncounted ballots. The Atlantic references discussions within the White House over how to overturn the election results if they go against Trump:
According to sources in the Republican Party at the state and national levels, the Trump campaign is discussing contingency plans to bypass election results and appoint loyal electors in battleground states where Republicans hold the legislative majority. With a justification based on claims of rampant fraud, Trump would ask state legislators to set aside the popular vote and exercise their power to choose a slate of electors directly.
In doing so, Trump would be acting on the basis of Justice Antonin Scalia’s argument in Bush v. Gore 20 years ago, when the Supreme Court intervened to shut down vote-counting in Florida and hand the election to Bush.
Trump is not running an election campaign. He is setting into motion a plot to establish a presidential dictatorship. This is a continuation of the entire conspiracy initiated with his June 1 speech threatening to invoke the Insurrection Act and deploy the military against domestic protests.
There is a staggering contrast between the ruthlessness with which Trump and his co-conspirators are implementing their plans and the fecklessness and cowardice of the Democratic Party and its presidential candidate, Joe Biden. Even as Trump is planning to stack the Supreme Court to facilitate his illegal seizure of power, the Democrats have declared that there is nothing that can be done to stop Trump’s appointment of another justice before the November election.
After Republican Senator Mitt Romney announced Tuesday that he would support Trump's filling of the Ginsburg vacancy, the Democrats abandoned their “resistance” strategy, such as it was, of finding four Republicans who would break with Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and oppose a confirmation vote.
Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer has declared that “all options are on the table,” but only after the Supreme Court nominee is confirmed, and then only if the Democrats win control of both the Senate and the White House. But the Supreme Court pick is central to Trump’s strategy of maintaining his position in the White House.
On Tuesday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who proclaimed that her quiver was “full of arrows,” reached an agreement with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to extend funding for the federal government until after the election, removing the threat of a government shutdown in response to Trump’s effort to push through his Supreme Court nomination.
With this craven capitulation, the Democrats are not only giving up a seat on the Supreme Court, they are going a long way toward surrendering to Trump’s coup.
Adam Schiff, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said on Wednesday that Trump is seeking “to discredit the votes of millions, stack the Supreme Court to disenfranchise millions and perpetuate himself in office,” warning that this is “how you see democracies end.”
Schiff’s only response, in addition to blaming “foreign assistance” for Trump’s actions, was to propose legislation to restrain future presidents. He expressed the hope that voters would “turn out in such massive numbers that there’s a landslide repudiation of Trump and Trumpism.”
The Constitution does not require that a presidential candidate receive a landslide to unseat the incumbent. Schiff’s statement amounts to a declaration that the Democrats will capitulate to Trump if Biden secures anything less than an overwhelming victory.
Elissa Slotkin, one of the House Democrats closest to the intelligence agencies, stated yesterday that Trump is attempting to carry out a coup d’état, and implied that he was acting with high level support. “The President can’t successfully refuse to accept the results of the election without a number of very high officials aiding him,” she tweeted.
But her response was merely to appeal to the military, stating that she has been seeking assurance from Pentagon officials that they would ensure a transfer of power if Trump refuses to concede. “To the attorney general, secretary of defense, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and secretary of homeland security,” she said, “history is coming for you, and you will have to make a choice.”
The pathetic response of the Democratic Party and its presidential candidate to Trump’s conspiracy is determined, above all, by its fear that any call for resistance would trigger a mass movement from below that would get out of control and threaten the capitalist oligarchy.
The Democrats fear such a development more than anything. Their entire focus over the past four years has been to divert popular opposition to Trump behind the conflicts within the ruling class over foreign policy, centered on the demand for more aggressive action against Russia.
To subordinate the fight against Trump to the Democratic Party can lead only to a political catastrophe.
Workers must recognize that American democracy is collapsing. The language of Trump is the language of fascism, dictatorship and civil war. The Democrats, meanwhile, are providing Trump with the ability to carry out his coup d’état, and if they were to come to power, they would implement the same basic class policy.
Beneath the political crisis in the United States, what is unfolding is a massive confrontation between the corporate and financial aristocracy, which controls both political parties, and the working class. Trump’s coup plotting is entirely bound up with the ruling class policy of “herd immunity”--the drive to force workers to continue working and reopen schools amidst the expanding pandemic, and the utilization of the pandemic to orchestrate a massive redistribution of wealth to the rich.
For the working class, the fight against the pandemic, the massive social crisis, the unending wave of police violence and the threat of dictatorship is entirely bound up with the fight for socialism.
The critical issue now is the development of a mass movement of the working class. The logic of the rapidly developing crisis poses before working people the need to prepare for a political general strike. Popular organizations, controlled by working people, should be established in order to prepare resistance to Trump’s criminal conspiracy.
The growing wave of strikes, protests and demonstrations—including those sparked by the whitewashing yesterday of the police murder of Breonna Taylor in Louisville—must coalesce into a general strike, demanding Trump’s removal from office.
Joseph Kishore and David North
The author also recommends:
The Civil War Election
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Trump runs for Führer
[28 August 2020]
A call to the working class! Stop Trump’s coup d’état!
[4 June 2020]
No to American fascism! Build a mass movement to force Trump out!
[14 October 2019]
The following sites updated: