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Thursday, October 27, 2016

Trump/Stein -- Stronger Together ||| @DrJillStein 4 @realDonaldTrump

Although Green Party presidential candidate Dr. Jill Stein claims to represent the Left in this election, and Republican Donald Trump is the candidate of the Atl-Right white nationalists, they show surprising unity across the political spectrum.

They both are claiming that the election is rigged:
She uses the logic of "If people can barely see their options on TV [distorted media], then the election is rigged" to agree with Trump without appearing to do so. Clearly she thinks she should have gotten more TV time, even if she did slide in the polls [from 4% to 2%] with each exposure.
Naturally, Trump brings his racism into his reasons he thinks this is a rigged election. That why he speaks of "many polling places." Stein may not subscribe to this aspect of the "rigged election" meme, but her tweets don't reflect that.

They both parrot Putin's line that electing Clinton will start WWIII.

They both do Putin's saber-rattling for him:
Both support Putin's preference for Donald Trump as the next president of the United States:
Both Putin and Assad say the US is behind ISIS, Trump and Stein are more specific. They both blame Clinton:
They are both big users of the stolen emails distributed by WikiLeaks:

17 October, they both say Wikileaks has proven that Hillary Clinton should be in prison:

You can also hear her shouting "Lock her up" with the rest of the pro-Trump mob.

They are both more than happy to use the hacked emails just the way Putin and Assange would want, as a partisan tool to get Donald Trump elected:

Donald Trump and Jill Stein have been together for years, for example after Bashar al Assad killed over 1400 Syrians with sarin, and it looked like Barack Obama might actually carry out this red-line promise, they both came to Assad's defense:

Don't attack Syria

Since Dr. Jill Stein protested in front of Assad's flag in September 2013, hundreds of thousands of Syrians have been murdered by those marching behind it. Those deaths she has not protested.

As you can see, Jill Stein has had a lot in common with Donald Trump for a long time. This year she has become the Green Party presidential candidate so she can protect his left flank, that is draw progressive votes that might otherwise count towards keeping the Atl-Right gang out of the White House. Since she got only 0.38% of the vote in 2012 after showing 4% in the pre-election polls she knows she won't even get to the 5% necessary to get gov't money let alone win the presidency. Only thing she is going this year is driving voters away from the Left and helping to elect Donald Trump president.

My other recent posts relating to this unique election cycle:
Will Wikileaks "salt" the Clinton-Podesta emails before the election?
Trump Super Predator behavior is Workplace Sexual Harassment writ large
Is US Green Party's Jill Stein a holocaust denier?
Jill Stein now claiming Donald Trump is less of two evils
Did Dishonest Jill Stein change her Syria statement on the sly?
Republican support for Green Party @DrJillStein is emerging
Why "Jill not Hill" is a pro-Trump slogan
Donald Trump can only win if Jill Stein stays in

Syria is the Paris Commune of the 21st Century!

Click here for a list of my other blogs on Syria

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Will Wikileaks "salt" the Clinton-Podesta emails before the election?

Fans of the TV series Deadwood will be familar with this lesser known definition of the word "salt." In that Old West series the owner of the Gem Saloon "salts" what he thinks is a worthless claim, with gold nuggets, so that he can swindle a naive prospector from the East by selling it to him. Salting is a tried and true method of the con artist.

So far, the "revelations" stemming from the almost daily release of Clinton/Podesta emails by Wikileaks have been less than Earth shaking, but they have largely established the credibility and authenticity of the dump. Why is Wikileaks trickling out the emails this way instead of publishing them all at once as they've done in the past? This could be the setup. For the sting, Julian Assange could "salt" a release just days before the election with an email that is either fake or altered, but a real "bombshell," a revelation so significant that it might change the outcome of the election, and with little on no time for his opposition, Hillary Clinton, to debunk or disprove it.

This is not a prediction of what will happen but it is a heads up about what could happen. Both the public and the media need to be aware of how this could be played by Wikileaks or the strong power that is feeding it.

Whatever happened to Wikileaks?

Although Wikileaks was founded by Sunshine Press in Iceland in 2006 and already claimed a database of more than 1.2 million documents within a year, it didn't gain wide notice until April 2010 when it shocked the world with the release the gun camera video of the 2007 AH-64 Apache helicopter attack on a group of civilians in Baghdad, Iraq that they titled Collateral Murder:

This was soon followed by two extremely important revelations about the wars the US was fighting. In July 2010 it released the Afghan War Diary, a collection of 76,900 leaked documents about the US war in Afghanistan, and in October 2010 it released the Iraq War Logs, a set of more than 400,000 documents in co-ordination with a number of major media organizations. Both of these document dumps, and especially the video, performed a tremendous public service in exposing the brutality and banality of the war policies of US imperialism. Although one of the major features of the way Wikileaks operates is that they allow anonymous data dumps so that they can credibly claim to not even know the source itself, it is now widely recognized that these three items were gifts to the people from Chelsea Manning, gifts that she will be paying for for a long time.

Chelsea Manning was also the source of more than a quarter million US State Department diplomatic communications that Wikileaks began making public in November 2010 in a release that became known as Cablegate. Among other things, information about the president of Tunisia revealed in those cables, helped him become the first Arab dictator to fall of the popular demands of the Arab Spring just two month later.

Julian Assange is generally credited with founding and leading Wikileaks. He was a member of the founding organization, Sunshine Press Productions, and has since emerged as the leader and one of a handful of people publically associated with Wikileaks. In point of fact, Julian Assange runs Wikileaks.

I joined the staff of Wikileaks Central in January 2011 with developments in North Africa as my beat. Wikileaks Central or WL Central was a Wikileaks endorsed news site administered by our editor in chief Heather Marsh. I was also with the D[aily]Kos-Anons group and at the time there was a lot of synergy between Anonymous, which had kicked off its OpTunisia on 2 January and quickly followed it up with OpLibya, OpAlgeria and OpEgypt, and Wikileaks. Now things are very different, whereas Anonymous has declared war on Trump, Wikileaks has been very much in Trump's corner.

One job of WL Central was to find and break stories from the Wikileaks sources that could have immediate real world impact. The result was some of the most satisfying and effective political work I have ever been involved in.

For example, after demands for longtime president of Egypt, Hosni Mubarak, to step down grew beyond the point where he could ignore them, he made clear what his first line of retreat would be. Whereas he had never allowed for a vice-president, now he appointed his longtime head of state security, Omar Suleiman, as his VP and successor. At WL Central we thought we had the data to shortstop that. We started digging through "the files" and we found a lot of dirt on Suleiman. For almost two weeks we broke a story about Suleiman just about everyday. The power of WL Central was that when we spoke, the mainstream media listened, and what got into the mainstream press got into the regional media too. Soon Omar Suleiman was damaged goods. There was nothing left for him to do but announce Mubarak's resignation and then fade into history with him.

WL Central also played an important role in sparking the Occupy movement. From March 2011 it started agitating for a US Day of Rage, after the Egyptian model, and referenced what would become the occupy movement in an article by the editor in the first issue. It founded the US Day of Rage facebook page on 14 March 2011 and the @usdayrage twitter profile at the same time. These were used to organize the original #September 17 action to Occupy Wall Street.

I also joined the Wikileaks research and publican team for the 2 million emails in the Syria Files and the 5 million emails in the Stratfor Global Intelligence Files. In one major post Barack Obama's Courtship of Bashar al-Assad, 14 September 2012, I made public more than 20 new documents from those treasure troves of data.

The way that Wikileaks handled the document dumps in those days was that for each dump or "file," they would partner with selected researchers, generally journalists from their partner publications, which included The Guardian and the Washington Post on various files, as well as other journalists and bloggers with knowledge in the area. The files would be made available via Tors on a darknet through a search engine similar to the one used for final publication.

When you found a juice bit, you could claim it, so to speak, by submitting a short description of how you were going to use it, where you were going to publish it and when. If that wasn't disputed, you could then invest the time to break that story right, knowing you would be breaking that story. After this research team had spent a few months searching out and publishing the juicy bits, Wikileaks would make the whole archive public by moving it from the Tor network to the Internet. At least that's how it works on the files I partnered with them on in 2012, in 2016 with the Clinton-Podesta Emails, clearly they are using a different model. 2016 is an election year in the United States and Wikileaks has emerged as a partisan player in US electoral politics, but what could be called Wikileaks' turn to the dark side began years earlier.

Wiki to the Dark Side 

In November 2010, separate allegations were made by two woman that Julian Assange had sexually molested them. The troubles from these allegations continue to follow him to this day. They are the reason he is holding up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London. James Ball joined the Wikileaks staff about the same time these allegations surfaced. He later wrote in The Guardian, what he observed:
Julian's arrest loomed, on allegations of sexual assault. Aware he would need money to post surety, he scrabbled for sources of cash. He attempted to access WikiLeaks funds, received through donations.

He approached the Wau Holland Foundation, which manages the bulk of WikiLeaks' finances, to ask for substantial funds – for "the future of WikiLeaks". Quite properly, it refused, as Julian's personal legal action was not one of the stated purposes of the donations.

Assange also tried to obtain the cash held by WikiLeaks' Icelandic division, asking the directors to sign a form authorising the transfer of their (much smaller) coffers.
After three months, Ball left Wikileaks, saying:
I couldn't support its internal culture, its lack of accountability, willingness to lie publicly, and crucially its failure to condemn Shamir. I supported the organisation's principles, but not its methods.
He said Israel Shamir was a Russian "peace campaigner" who had been introduce to the team as "Adam," and it was only after he disappeared with a trove of unredacted documents that most of the team found out who he really was.

In March 2012 a struggle broke out over the purpose and future direction of Wikileaks Central. Its mission had been to make use of the Wikileaks products, the files, and other source materials, to break stories relating to ongoing struggles around the world, with reporting on Wikileaks itself as a clearly secondary function. The staff rallied behind this mission and our editor in chief Heather Marsh, but Julian Assange now clearly had other ideas. He was feeling growing pressure on himself. He demanded that WL Central drop its other activities and report only on Wikileaks. Most of felt he was turning WL Central into his personal PR organization but he had the power to outvote everyone else. Heather Marsh held the domain registration for wlcentral.org, but the site ran on Wikileaks servers and Assange threaten to disown the site and denounce it unless it was transferred to his name and run as he liked. At one point he threaten to just pull the plug and shut the site down entirely until I pointed out that wlcentral.org had thousands of links on hundreds of sites referencing important information and he would be breaking all those links, and it would be known that he was responsible. He backed off then, and wlcentral.org remained up for years. Now in researching this article, I see that wlcentral.org is gone, so those links are broken. Furthermore, the other Wikileaks documents such as the Syria files and GIF files have been moved in such a way that older links to them no longer work.

In April 2012, Julian Assange got his own TV show, World Tomorrow, on the Russian financed RT.com. The guest on his first show was Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah and Linux Beach published Syria is bleeding.

Fast forward to election year

On the very same day Donald Trump was tweeting his love of the latest Wikileaks email dump:
Computer security experts where repremanding Wikileaks for offering malware to the public along with the stolen emails:

In its report titled WikiLeaks Has Morphed from Journalism Hotshot to Malware Hub, 19 August 2016, Backchannel wrote:
Some of the code represented downloaders, which do nothing more than download a second stage of malignant code later. Also in the cache was ransomware, which would encrypt a user’s files until a payment is made. Other programs install a bot that allows a remote attacker to take over your computer. Bontchev, who is an assistant professor at the National Laboratory of Computer Virology in the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, wrote up a report, which he posted on Github, including links to AKP emails that contained malicious attachments.
Backchannel also recognized that Wikileaks had changed in other ways:
More recently, WikiLeaks’ tenor has changed. On July 19, it released an unredacted database of emails from the Turkish party AKP, which also included the addresses and other personal details of millions of Turkish women, as reported by scholar and journalist Zeynep Tufekci. Three days later, in its leak of 19,252 emails from the Democratic National Committee, WikiLeaks once again included the social security and credit card numbers of donors, amidst other sensitive information.
PBS Newshour also noted that Wikileaks was becoming reckless in publishing private individual's personal information, 23 August, in reporting on an AP investigation:
In what the AP calls particularly egregious, WikiLeaks published the names of two teenage rape victims, as well as the name of a Saudi citizen who’d been arrested for being gay. That revelation could endanger the man’s life because, in Saudi Arabia, being gay is punishable by death.
Commenting further on the type of personal informational Wikileaks was making public in its email dumps, Raphael Satter said:
We found all kinds of things.

If it’s personal or sensitive or family-related, we found it. So, we found details of custody battles. We found parents writing to authorities about missing children. We found details of elopements, of divorces, of partners who had sexually transmitted diseases, partners who had AIDS, people who were in debt, in distress, in all kinds of financial difficulty, and, of course, some of the cases that you mentioned earlier, that is to say, people who were raped, including children who were raped.
Discussing these changes further William Brangham of PBS interviewed the AP reporter that wrote the story:
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: I know that, in the past WikiLeaks, has worked with journalists, who will then go through some of this information before it’s released and redact information to try to protect people’s data.

Do you have any sense why that didn’t happen in this case?

RAPHAEL SATTER: That kind of thing has not happened for some time, at least not at any great scale.
As criticisms of Wikileaks continues to mount, even Edward Snowden weighed in.
It was because of Wikileaks that Edward Snowden found himself stranded in Russia. The unsigned Ecuadorian travel documents that Julian Assange got for Snowden were void before he even left for Moscow. Once he got there, he had nowhere else to go.

Wikileaks for Trump?

I also pointed out the exposure of hundreds, if not thousands of private email address in commenting on the DNC email dump just days before the DNC in Timing is everything - Why were WikiLeaks DNC emails released now?, but the main point of that piece was to show that the email dump had been held back so that it wouldn't help Bernie Sanders against Clinton. The releases began after Clinton had been chosen and they could only help Donald Trump.

A number of US intelligence agencies have said Russian state actors have been behind the DNC and Clinton email thieves. Wikileaks denies this but true to its reputation, it won't say who its source is. But we don't need to know who the email thieves are to see that Wikileaks' timing of the releases has not been to serve the public interest. These releases have been timed to serve the Trump campaign. The public service could have best been served by releasing the hacked emails as early as possible. If this material had been released during the Democratic primary process, it is quite possible Hillary Clinton wouldn't be the Democratic nominee, but these email dumps were not designed to help Bernie Sanders. They came too late for that. Robert Mackey wrote in The Intercept, 6 August 2016:
In recent months, the WikiLeaks Twitter feed has started to look more like the stream of an opposition research firm working mainly to undermine Hillary Clinton than the updates of a non-partisan platform for whistleblowers.
One negative aspect of the original Wikileaks pledge to be an anonymous publishing house for any leaker or hacker is that it could allow someone with resources for major hacks, like a state actor, to use Wikileaks to laundry their stolen data to the public. Wikileaks may be relying on this principle to shield it from charges that it is attempting to manipulate the US election, but as long as it is receiving and publishing material that is detrimental to only one candidate. It knows exactly what it is doing.

Much Ado About Nothing

Presidential elections are known for their "October Surprises," new revelations designed to rock the campaigns. Donald Trump's latest campaign troubles started a little after 20:00 UTC on Friday 7 October when the Washington Post released the now famous Access Hollywood video in which The Donald bragged about gropping women. After he denied this behavior during the debate the following Sunday, we have seen a steady stream of women come forward, 11 so far, to say the Trump did what he said to them.

The main counter the Trump campaign has had to this, in fact the core of their anti-Clinton message in these two weeks, has been the steady stream of Wikileaks dumps of Podesta emails, 18 so far, for a total of 50,000 emails from the private gmail account of longtime Clinton associate John Podesta. This latest anti-Clinton campaign was announced by Wikileaks about an hour after the video was released, although obviously it had already been prepared for release in advance.

So far, what has been revealed in these emails has been less than shocking, but with so many emails to comb through, its not that hard to find a few phrases that can be made to sound suspicious in a tweet or headline. So far, that would appear to be their main value. The opposition campaigns now can make just about any claim against Clinton, no matter how outrageous, and point to the Podesta emails as "proof," as with this tweet from Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein:
Notice that no link to a specific email is offered, but Stein assures us the proof is to be found there, somewhere among the 50,000 emails. ISIS isn't funded by the governments of Saudi Arabia or Qatar, although Assad does buy oil from them, and Russian technicians are working in an ISIS controlled gas plant. What Stein is claiming Wikileaks has proven is merely Putin propaganda being spoken out of the left side of his mouth. Here are a few more charges stemming from the stolen emails:
On CNN Gina Loudon, a Trump surrogate claimed the emailed revealed a Clinton playbook to discredit Trump with claims of sexual abuse
Rudy Jullian claims the emails prove Clinton is a socialist because he went to Canada and told them she likes their medical system better
On 21 Oct RT ran with 'His proposal sucks': Sanders savaged by Podesta in WikiLeaks' latest Clinton mails This headline is base this comment Podesta made about Sanders' plan in a private email exchange with Judd Legum. I guess the breaking news here is that Podesta's opinion of Sanders may be less than many Sanders supporters would like:
Thx. His actual proposal sucks, but we live in a leftie alternative universe

This is typical of the sort of "damning" headlines they've culled from the Podesta emails. This doesn't mean the Clinton Foundation is refusing to pay men and women equally for the same work, which is the measure of equality that can correctly be applied to the individual enterprise. It does mean that there are proportionally more men with higher paid skills, but that is the result of inequality in the larger society. Every enterprise has to hire from the available labor pool, and if you were to require that no enterprise hire more, say, male Linux systems administrators, than female ones, you would put the Internet in pretty bad straits for quite a few years. But try explaining that in a tweet.

This may be the WikiLeaks tweet that most clearly shows how they support the Alt-Right candidacy of Donald Trump. A few days after Trump renew his claims that the election was rigged, another county was heard from:

A 140 character limit and still they managed to use "rigged" three times! YourNewWire.com reported, 21 October 2016:
WikiLeaks couldn’t have made it clearer in a series of tweets on Thursday – the US election for the President of the United States is rigged. The establishment have selected their President and by hook or crook she will be “elected.”
Jill Stein found her own way of agreeing with Trump that it's a rigged election:
That tweet was actually a strategic support of Trump because at the time all of his talking heads were trying to excuse his historic refusal to say he would accept the results of the election, because he says it is rigged, by pointing to Gore's refusal to immediately concede the 2000 election to George W. Bush.
Just one more example of how Wikileaks has allowed both anti-Clinton camps to make any claim they can think of and point to the Podesta emails as proof. Libertarian presidential candidate Governor Gary Johnson has not been fawning over the Wikileaks dump, unlike Trump and Stein. In fact, looking at his recent Tweeter stream, this is the only reference to Wikileaks I could find:
I guess he doesn't trust Wikileaks either.

For what its worth...

Circles within circles, patterns repeating in scales. This how we are being played: Wikileaks has built up great credibility over the years because its releases have always proven to the accurate, and served a social benefit that greatly outweighed the criminality of the hack or leak, which in any case, was not done by Wikileaks. This history gives the documents its releases in 2016 about the DNC and Clinton campaign a lot of credibility. The documents aren't just published en masse, as has been done in the past, they are trickled out a few thousands everyday or so up till election day, and indeed, these leaked emails prove to be authentic, day after day. Now the stage is set. To spring the trap, fake or doctored emails with explosive content are salted into the stream a few days before the election. This explosive story breaks too late to be debunked and turns the tide against Clinton or tries too. Watch for it...

Has Wikileaks been turned?

Why this has happened is harder to discern. A very sophisticated state actor or intelligence agency might set up a group like Wikileaks far in advance of its planned usage and even provide it with some good stuff to leak just to build credibility, "chicken feed," in intelligence jargon, so that it is in a position to play a decisive role at the critical moment. This doesn't appear to be the case with Wikileaks. It looked like the genuine article in the beginning because it was. The question is: What is it now and why?

Wikipedia [ no relations ] has this to say about Wikileaks:
In September 2016, the German weekly Focus reported that according to a confidential German government dossier, WikiLeaks had long since been infiltrated by Russian agents aiming to discredit NATO governments. The magazine added that French and British intelligence services had come to the same conclusion and said Russian President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev receive details about what WikiLeaks publishes before publication.[297][298] The Focus report followed a New York Times story that suggested that WikiLeaks may be a laundering machine for compromising material about Western countries gathered by Russian spies.[299]

On 14 October 2016, CNN reported that "there is mounting evidence that the Russian government is supplying WikiLeaks with hacked emails pertaining to the US presidential election."[300] Wikileaks has denied any connection to or cooperation with Russia.[300] President Putin has strongly denied any Russian involvement.[301][302]

A sign of the times

This is the tweet Wikileaks sent out after Ecuador cut Julian Assange's embassy Internet access to uphold "the principle of non-intervention in the internal affairs of other states" according to the official communiqué. Wikileaks knew it was Ecuador that cut off the access but they wanted to generate mystery and speculation. This is how Wikileaks views transparency these days:

And now I'll leave you with a joke that is truly a sign of our times. Notice the replies to the Wikileaks complaint. Someone blames Verizon and the Verizon Support bot immediate chimes in: "You Rang.?" Yeah, Verizon send a repair truck over to the Ecuadorian embassy in London and get Julian back on-line, why don't you?

My other recent posts relating to this unique election cycle:
Trump Super Predator behavior is Workplace Sexual Harassment writ large
Is US Green Party's Jill Stein a holocaust denier?
Jill Stein now claiming Donald Trump is less of two evils
Did Dishonest Jill Stein change her Syria statement on the sly?
Republican support for Green Party @DrJillStein is emerging
Why "Jill not Hill" is a pro-Trump slogan
Donald Trump can only win if Jill Stein stays in

Syria is the Paris Commune of the 21st Century!

Click here for a list of my other blogs on Syria

Friday, October 21, 2016

Dump Trump, Defeat Racism and Misogyny, Build the Left

Republished from In These Times, 17 October 2016

Right now it feels like we're in an "emperor has no clothes" moment. A lot of us see something really clearly, but few of us-radical and revolutionary organizers-are willing to say it out loud.

So we’re going to say it. Defeating Trump in the presidential election is a top priority for the left. And at a minimum, that means mobilizing voters for Hillary Clinton in swing states even if you vote for another candidate in a safe state. We’ve got to beat Trump and Trumpism while building movements that will fight, resist and disrupt a Clinton administration that will be militaristic and pro-corporate.

Most of us on the left feel about the Clintons the way we feel about leftovers that have been sitting in the fridge for too long: repulsed. NAFTA, mass incarceration, Palestine, the 2003 Iraq invasion, legitimizing the coup in Honduras, cozying up to Wall Street—take your pick of crimes that can be laid at the Clintons’ feet. And judging from the DNC, the Clintons will talk a good game on economic inequality while resorting to jingoism and nationalism throughout the election. But if the Clintons’ neoliberal politics induces nausea, then Trump's brew of racism and misogyny makes us projectile vomit.

Many of our friends believe that Democratic and Republican parties, and their candidates, are both worthless, and the left should focus in this election on breaking the two party system; or they believe that a Clinton administration will just create more working-class disaffection and strengthen the extreme right. We disagree. And when we talk to people—whether community activists or simply our neighbors—about this election, we need to be clear about the stakes. When we hear people say they don't know who to vote for because both candidates are equally bad, we get worried.

At every opportunity, Trump has doubled down on racism, sexism and bigotry, to the delight of David Duke, the American Nazi Party, and others like them. A Trump victory—do we even need to say this?—would embolden hard-core racists, Islamophobes, misogynists, and anti-immigrant groups, while promising an assault on workers' rights and intense, perhaps very violent repression of the inspiring social movements that have erupted in the past several years. If you have any doubt about this, listen to his speech at the Republican National Convention.

As many have emphasized, we're not voting for the candidate; we're voting for the terrain our movements operate within. This election will set the stage for our future struggles. In the past eight years, movements— from Black Lives Matter to Fight for Fifteen, Occupy Wall Street to Standing Rock and Ni Uno Màs—have surged and changed the way we talk about everything from police accountability to student debt to deportations to the minimum wage. And more and more activists have learned that it is not enough to elect “good” politicians, that social change requires constant struggle. Under a Trump administration, our movements will be back on the defensive: His Supreme Court appointments alone could mean rollbacks on voting rights, reproductive rights, labor rights, and immigrant rights. And we can expect people to revert to blaming social inequality and systemic injustices mainly on Trump and the Republicans.

What kind of left do we want?

Can we leave the business of defeating Trump and electing Hillary Clinton to others —liberals or progressives—while we concentrate on the genuinely radical work of stoking protest and opposition from Clinton’s left? Can we bank on Trump's low poll numbers? It depends on the left we want to build. The vast majority of union activists and people of color view this election as a battle against open racism. If we want to build a left that engages and is part of these sectors—if we want a left that contends for leadership among the country as a whole—then we can’t afford to leave the basic task of defending democratic rights to others, even as we continue to criticize and protest.

Ideally, we would work to defeat Trump without volunteering or working directly for Clinton’s campaign. We should be able to send people to kick-ass grassroots organizations in swing states to help with election day turnout, organize phone banks from safe states to support their efforts, or maintain a presence at the polls to ensure voters of color are not intimidated. But whatever we choose to do, sitting out this election is not an option.

As we mentioned at the beginning, defeating Trump is not enough. We need movements strong enough to fight a Clinton administration on several fronts—whether Israel/Palestine, free trade agreements, climate change, a $15 minimum wage, or the prison-industrial complex. And neutralizing the appeal of the far right means we need to both strengthen our movements for racial justice andwin over white workers to a progressive class politics as an alternative to Trump’s racist economic nationalism. Finally, we need to build a left that can help anchor a visionary alternative to corporate Democrats. It won’t be easy, but we’ve come this far. Let’s defend what we’ve got in this election, and keep our eye on collective liberation.

In unity and struggle,

Moumita Ahmed, Millenials for Revolution*
Michael Albert, Z Communications*
Thomas Assefa, LeftRoots*
Austin Belali, organizer
Gary Broderick, Durham Association of Educators*
Meghan Brophy, Young Democratic Socialists*
Andres Celin, youth organizer
Reece Chenault, national coordinator, US Labor Against War*
Jung Hee Choi, nonprofit consultant
Christine Cordero, LeftRoots*
Chris Crass, anti-racist author and educator, Kentucky
Sendolo Diaminah, Freedom Road Socialist Organization*
Dan DiMaggio, labor journalist, Democratic Socialists of America*
Louis Head, Southwest Organizing Project*
Ashkaan Kashani, Young Democratic Socialists
Jason Negrón-Gonzales, labor activist
Abdul-Basit Haqq, Local 1067, Communications Workers of America*
Gregory Hom, SEIU 1021*
Sarah Hughes, PSC-CUNY, AFT 2334*
Lynn Koh, War Times*
Emily Lee, LeftRoots*
Charles Lenchner, People for Bernie*, act.tv*, Democratic Socialists of America*
Jack Suria Linares, immigrant rights and labor activist, Democratic Socialists of America*
David Littman, University of Georgia Young Democratic Socialists*
Timmy Lu, environmental justice organizer
Meredith Martin-Moats, McElroy House: organization for Cultural Resources*
Rev. Allyn Maxfield-Steele, faith-based organizer, Virginia
Ariel Morales, housing organizer
Shelby Murphy, Lamar University, Young Democratic Socialists*
Kayla Pace, Young Democratic Socialists*
Shameka L. Parrish-Wright, It's What We Do Special Project, LLC*, Carl and Anne Braden Memorial Center Board*
Cynthia Peters, LeftRoots*
Jardana Peacock, Liberatory Leadership Project*
Maria Poblet, executive director, Causa Justa/Just Cause*
Manju Rajendran, Anti-Oppression Resource and Training Alliance*, Ready the Ground Training Team*
Rapheal Randall, youth organizer
Merle Ratner, Vietnam Agent Orange Relief and Responsibility Campaign*
Spencer Resnick, LeftRoots*
Marc Rodrigues, Student/Farmworker Alliance*, Young Workers: Tampa Bay*
Ashley Rodriguez, Sanders national delegate, El Paso, Texas; Democratic Socialists of America el Chuco del Norte chapter*
Joel Solow, Vote Mob*
Alex Tom, community organizer
Carla F. Wallace, Showing Up for Racial Justice Action, Inc.*
Jayanni Webster, community organizer, Memphis, TN
Zoë Williams, community organizer, Denver, CO
Winnie Wong, People for Bernie*
Chris Zepeda-Millan, scholar activist

* organization affiliation for identification purposes only

In These Times is dedicated to providing an accessible forum for strategic debate on the Left. In this Up for Debate series, we host a range of views on what has become a divisive question: how to approach voting in the November presidential election.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Trump Super Predator behavior is Workplace Sexual Harassment writ large

Michelle Obama is absolutely right that Donald Trump's claims that his bragging about sexual assault amounted to "locker room talk" was an attack on men and well as women because most men don't talk that way. Athletes felted particular offended. LeBron James, of the Cleveland Cavaliers called Trump's remarks "trash talk" and said:
What is locker room talk to me? It’s not what that guy said. We don’t disrespect women in no shape or fashion in our locker room. That never comes up. Obviously, I got a mother-in-law, a wife, a mom and a daughter and those conversations just don’t go on in our locker room.

Coming up with her own version of "locker room talk," Melania Trump does a great disservice to both women and boys when she excuses his bragging about sexual assault as just "boy talk." I heard her tell this to Anderson Cooper on CNN about the time kids get out of school. I thought of the damage this could do to an adolescent boy trying to navigate complicated relationships with the opposite sex. How do you approach girls? What's proper and what's not okay? And he hears this beautiful woman, and potential First Lady, tell him that grabbing girls pussies is quite ordinary, just "boy talk." This "excuse" is very harmful and should be widely condemned. Young men growing up and paying attention to a presidential election for the first time, as I did in 1964 at the age of 16, must be told, in no uncertain terms, that what Donald Trump bragged about doing, and in now being widely belittled or denied by his surrogates, is sexual assault, morally repugnant and criminal.

On the other hand, Michelle Obama's speech was excellent. It didn't mention Trump by name and it soared above petty politics to make some very important points about this episode. I highly recommend you catch it if you haven't yet.

But there is one important point that Michelle Obama missed and I have yet to hear said by all the pundits discussing this: What Donald Trump has been doing for years should be viewed through the prism of workplace sexual harassment and violence. He has been aggressively sexually assaulting women, and not only has he gotten away with it for years, he has gotten away with bragging about it for years. He has been able to do this because he was the actual, virtual, or possible future employer of these women. Or simply because he was a big shot in the world they had to make it in. With his power and connections, they knew that he didn't have to be their direct employer to get them fired, and they knew he loves to fire people. This is what workplace sexual harassment looks like in the age of the independent contractor. The short story is that he could grab women by their pussies and get away with it because he was a capitalist in a class based society.

Donald Trump's accusers
The New York Times has reported that nearly 1 in 5 women in the US have been sexually assaulted. That doesn't mean that 20% of men in the US have commented sexual assault - far from it. The vast majority of these sexual assaults have been committed by a handful of sexual predators. Men like Donald Trump. As this does to press, 10 women have already come forward to charge Trump with sexual assault and word on the street is that the media has been talking to many more not yet willing to go public. It would not be surprising to learn that someone like Donald Trump has victimized hundreds of women over the past 30 years.

Not only would few men brag about sexually assaulting women, most men couldn't get away with it for long without being called on it and sent to jail for it. Very few women would put up with such behavior from a man that had no particular leverage over her, and even in cases where Trump didn't have direct power,  such as Jessica Leeds, who says Trump molested her in the first-class cabin on a flight to New York, they knew he was a powerful and vindictive person willing to resort to any lie to discredit them.

Leeds, certainly found that out the hard way this week even though it took her 36 years to go public. No sooner than she told her story to the media, than Trump and his surrogates were on that same media calling her a liar. Their proof? She said Trump raised the armrest between them and they said that was impossible because armrests couldn't be raised in 1st class. This was a lie made up on the fly. Armrests did raise in 1st class in the Braniff 727 Leeds shared with Trump. Once a CNN Money reporter did the legwork to find the facts they quietly dropped that line of attack but they are still doing everything they can to destroy her.

Donald Trump owns beauty contests for the same reason pedofiles run Boy Scout troops, it is a way to use his wealth to give him access to young women. Miss Washington USA 2013 Cassandra Searles told Rolling Stone how he “lined up [contestants] so he could get a closer look at his property.” Paromita Mitra of Mississippi said she saw this too. Searles also claims, in a facebook post, Trump grabbed her ass and invited her back to his hotel room.
Donald Trump owns beauty contests for the same reason pedofiles run Boy Scout troops.
Former Miss USA contestant Temple Taggart McDowell says Trump kissed her on the lips twice without her consent when she was 21, and four women in the 1997 Miss Teen USA beauty pageant have said Trump would walk into the contestants dressing room while they were changing. He bragged about this practice on the Howard Stern show in 2005 saying “Before a show, I’ll go backstage and everyone’s getting dressed, and everything else, and you know, no men are anywhere, and I’m allowed to go in because I’m the owner of the pageant and therefore I’m inspecting it.” He is clearly aware that his misogynistic practices are enabled by his ownership of capital. He called Alicia Machado, Trump's Miss Universe 1996, who is Venezuelan, "Miss Housekeeping," and when she gained weight, "Miss Piggy." Then he tried to slut-shame her in a series of 5 AM tweets. When Kamie Crawford, who is black, won Miss Teen USA in 2010, she was told prior to meeting him "Mr. Trump doesn't like black people. So don't take it the wrong way if he isn't extremely welcoming towards you. If he is, then u just must be the "type" of black he likes."

Although none of the women that have come forward so far worked directly for Trump, their employment contracts probably prohibit it. Most were in positions that made them vulnerable to Trump's power. Rachel Crooks was a receptionist at Trump Tower in 2005 when she says Trump assaulted her in a tower elevator. She didn't work for Trump directly but for a real estate company in the building. Natasha Stoynoff said Trump forced himself on her in 2005 at his Mar-a-Lago Club in Florida. She worked for People magazine, which certainly would have wanted to maintain access to The Donald. Mindy McGillivray was groped 2 years earlier at the same club as she was assisting a friend, the official club photographer. Cathy Heller was molested by Trump at Mar-a-Lago in 1997. Summer Zervos, a former “Apprentice” contestant, was hoping to get a job from Trump when he molested her. Jill Harth was beauty pageant producer that says Trump tried to rape her in his daughter's bedroom.

And so it goes in the Trump Towers. He is the Super Predator and every women in his domain is fair game. Trump's behavior reflects more than simple male chauvinism, it is the chauvinism of the emperor towards his subjects, the chauvinism that said the king could take any women in his empire at will. The problem revealed by this episode isn't just the bad behavior of one man. The larger problem is the accumulation of wealth and power by the 1% that enables the record of crimes we've seen from Donald Trump.

My other recent posts relating to this unique election cycle:
Is US Green Party's Jill Stein a holocaust denier?
Jill Stein now claiming Donald Trump is less of two evils
Did Dishonest Jill Stein change her Syria statement on the sly?
Republican support for Green Party @DrJillStein is emerging
Why "Jill not Hill" is a pro-Trump slogan
Donald Trump can only win if Jill Stein stays in

Syria is the Paris Commune of the 21st Century!

Click here for a list of my other blogs on Syria

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Green Party @DrJillStein Tweets about Trump's attacks on women

Sorry for the bait and switch. I know I promised you a collection of Green Party candidate Dr. Jill Stein's tweets about Donald Trump's outrageous attacks on women, but I couldn't find any. The whole country is talking about it. Michelle Obama's speech on this from earlier today is not to be missed. Jill Stein tweets almost as much as Donald Trump. I thought sure she would have some good tweets that contributed to this national dialogue, instead I have come up as empty of Gerardo Rivera when he opened the door to Al Capone's hidden vault. Anyway, this is all that I did find on Trump or Clinton, mostly on Clinton. I don't think she really opposes Trump at least not the way he treats women.

In this C-SPAN interview done two days ago she says nothing about Trump's sexual attacks on women. Jill Stein definitely sound's like Donald Trump is the lesser evil, which may be why C-SPAN titled it Jill Stein: Donald Trump is Better on Russia. While those who see in this clip a Stein endorsement of Trump are technically wrong, they definitely should be excused for getting that impression.

My other recent posts relating to this unique election cycle:
Is US Green Party's Jill Stein a holocaust denier?
Jill Stein now claiming Donald Trump is less of two evils
Did Dishonest Jill Stein change her Syria statement on the sly?
Republican support for Green Party @DrJillStein is emerging
Why "Jill not Hill" is a pro-Trump slogan
Donald Trump can only win if Jill Stein stays in

Syria is the Paris Commune of the 21st Century!

Click here for a list of my other blogs on Syria

Was Wikileaks dump a diversion from Trump Super Predator revelations?

I actually wrote the post below several days ago but I didn't publish it because the point it makes, that the first WikiLeaks release of Podesta-Clinton emails on Friday was about an hour after the Trump grope tape was published, was inconclusive. Although that timing can be used to support the claim that WikiLeaks released these emails as a Trump counter measure, it is also possible that it was indeed coincidental, given the rapid pace of developments in this campaign and Wikileak's earlier promise to make new Clinton email releases ahead of the second debate.

But I just heard Donald Trump make the argument at a rally today that turns this timing on its head. He is now claiming that the exposures of Trump as a sexual predator were started in response to the email dump. The timing I document below puts the lie to that.

There's an old cop saying: Never believe in coincidence. For example, it is almost certainly no accident that this tape got leaked days before the second debate. A little after 20:00 UTC on Friday 7 October 2016, the Washington Post released a lewd Trump tape that threatens to rock the Republican campaign to its core.

Less than an hour later, tt 20:32 UTC Wikileaks released the first 2050 of well over 50000 emails from Clinton Campaign Chairman John Podesta

This tweet was followed it quick succession by 20 others detailing revelations about the Clinton campaign from the released emails. Obviously this release had to have been planned well in advance. There is no question that it was a lucky break for the Trump campaign that this story broke just when they badly need a distraction from the lewd tape story.

Was it just fortuitous?

RT was first to report, just 13 minutes later:
Wikileaks releases over 2,000 emails from Clinton campaign chair

Published time: 7 Oct, 2016 20:45
The internet whistleblowing group Wikileaks released over 2,000 emails involving Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta. The release comes the same day the State Department published 350 emails previously deleted from Clinton's private server.

At first inspection the emails date as far back as 2008 to 2016 and cover the gamut from the mundane like "Hillary Clinton’s Chipotle Order” to “Call with HRC” to “My position on the Iran deal” sent from Nancy Rotering to John Podesta. More...
Syria is the Paris Commune of the 21st Century!

Click here for a list of my other blogs on Syria

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Is US Green Party's Jill Stein a holocaust denier?

If you have no sympathy for human pain
The name of human you cannot retain

                        - 13th century Iranian poet, Sa’di Shirazi.
For several years now I have been saying that the Syrian conflict was turning into the first holocaust of the 21st century. Sunday, that conclusion was echoed by Martha Raddatz at the second presidential debate went she asked:

MARTHA RADDATZ: Mr. Trump, we’re going to move on. The heartbreaking video of a five-year-old Syrian boy named Omran sitting in an ambulance after being pulled from the rubble after an airstrike in Aleppo focused the world’s attention on the horrors of the war in Syria, with 136 million views on Facebook alone. But there are much worse images coming out of Aleppo every day now, where in the past few weeks alone 400 have been killed, at least 100 of them children. Just days ago, the State Department called for a war crimes investigation of the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad and its ally, Russia, for their bombardment of Aleppo. So this next question comes from social media, through Facebook. Diane from Pennsylvania asks: "If you were president, what would you do about Syria and the humanitarian crisis in Aleppo? Isn’t it a lot like the Holocaust, when the U.S. waited too long before we helped?"
Monday morning Democracy Now hosted Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein for an extended show call Expanding the Debate in which Stein was given a chance to answer the same questions as those that were posed to the two contenders. In responding to the question above, Jill Stein did not even acknowledge the humanitarian crisis. Since it can't be said that she answered the question, it is good that Amy Goodman just asked her for comments:
AMY GOODMAN: Jill Stein, your final comment, presidential nominee of the Green Party, on this issue of Syria?

DR. JILL STEIN: So, Syria is a disaster, and it’s a very complicated disaster. It is a civil war. It is a proxy war among many nations. It is a pipeline war also between Russia and the Gulf states, who are competing to run their pipelines with fracked gas into Europe across Syria. So, this is a very complicated situation, and there is a hornets’ nest, a real circular firing squad of alliances here that’s, you know, extremely, extremely complicated.
Notice that ordinary Syrians are not mentioned. They exist neither as fighters against the Assad regime nor its victims. The phrase "civil war" hardly covers it, and it is not a "pipeline war", in spite of the attention she gives it. This is an Assad regime description she is parroting, and she is not providing leadership by telling us its "a very complicated disaster." We already know that! This conflict was growing the last time she ran for president four years ago, so there has been plenty of time for her to learn about the situation, particularly the humanitarian war crimes, and at least mention Syria in the Green Party platform.
To present a no-fly zone here as a solution is extremely dangerous.
This would seem to be an odd thing to say because, generally speaking, a no-fly zone is only proposed when civilians are being attacked from the air. The point of a no-fly zone is to protect people from danger, but Stein says creating a no-fly zone could be extremely dangerous. Dangerous to who? Is Stein saying a no-fly zone would be extremely dangerous for the people under the Syrian and Russian killing machines today?
Raising the spectra of "holocaust denier" was my hook. More important than the question of whether the half-million and growing death toll of the Syrian tragedy has risen to holocaust levels yet is whether the main Left candidate for president is in denial about the mass murder of civilians by Russian and government forces in Syria. Her, shall we say, "response" to the question "what would you do about Syria and the humanitarian crisis in Aleppo," contains not the slightest recognition that there even is a humanitarian crisis. She skips over the reason a no-fly zone is needed to arguments against one:
A no-fly zone means we are going to war with Russia, because it means we will be shooting down planes in the sky in order to create this no-fly zone, which is where Russia has a commitment to defending the Assad government.
Odd that she claims to run a moral campaign that asks voters to put principle above the practical, but then, while avoiding the need to come to people's aid, she promotes fear of what the killers might do to us if we interfere as the main reason to do nothing. There were those who opposed doing anything to stop the Nazis from killing Jews for the same reason.
So, remember, there was a ceasefire, which was very hard-won, and that ceasefire was destroyed by the action of the Americans bombing, apparently by mistake, although some people say not by mistake, but it was our bombing of the Syrian troops that destroyed that ceasefire.
This is what happened according to Vladimir Putin, Bashar al-Assad and Jill Stein. Others report that there never was a real ceasefire because Russia reserved the right to bomb terrorists and Russia only bombs terrorists, so while less bombing took place during the "ceasefire," it never really stopped. Aid and food was suppose to be allowed into besieged Aleppo during the seven day "ceasefire," but the Syrian government never allowed it, and the Russians bombed the aid convoy. The US has never targeted Assad's forces and everyone knows the US bombing of Syrian troops 18 Sept. was an accident, although Assad supporters find it useful, for propaganda purposes, to imply otherwise. In anycase, how this can be used to justify the resumption of the slaughter of women and children days later by Russian planes is something awaiting further explanation from Jill Stein:
We need to redouble our efforts here. And we need to acknowledge that war with Russia is not an option. There are 2,000 nuclear weapons on hair-trigger alert. And who was it that dropped out of the nuclear arms control? That was George Bush. That was our part, the U.S., in allowing the nuclear arms race to re-engage. Mikhail Gorbachev, the former premier of the Soviet Union, said last week—
Is she saying that Russia should be able to do whatever it wants in the world, invade and bomb whoever, and never be forcefully opposed because they've got nukes? This is a stand based on fear, not principle or any responsibility to protect human life. If the nuclear arms race re-engages, that will be the fault of the US according to Stein, but who is responsible for Russia's growing military aggression in Ukraine and Syria?
AMY GOODMAN: Ten seconds.

DR. JILL STEIN: —that we are now at a more dangerous period regarding nuclear war than we have ever been. So, it’s really important for the warmongers in the Democratic and Republican parties to be cooling their jets now and for us to be moving forward towards a weapons embargo and a freeze on the funding of those countries that are continuing to fund terrorist enterprises.
And that's what the Green Party candidate for president thinks of what is clearly the worst humanitarian crisis of the 21st century -- not much! This is because she is on the side of Bashar al-Assad. She has even said the US should help "to restore all of Syria to control by the government." From this we can assume that she supports the government's current campaign to crush any opposition in Aleppo and that is the reason for her silence about the humanitarian crisis this is causing. Her stand on Syria raises a couple of questions:

1) Why should people vote for such a person?

2) Is this the best example of leadership the Left can present?

@DrJillStein has dropped from 4% to 2%, meaning not only did she start at the bottom, she has lost support at a greater rate than any other candidate. That's no way to build a party. The Left should be able to do better than that. For more on her foreign policy see: Meet Green Party's Jill Stein, Putin sock-puppet & Assad apologist

Syria is the 1st holocaust of the 21st Century!

Click here for a list of my other blogs on Syria