Saturday, June 27, 2020

Biden can't stop lying and MARVEL AGENTS OF SHIELD sinks in the ratings

Here's the intro to a CNN report:

While former Vice President Joe Biden has been limited in his campaign efforts due to the coronavirus pandemic, the presumptive Democratic nominee has continued to hold virtual town halls, remote interviews with the press, started a podcast and, more recently, has held several in-person roundtables.
Here's a look at several incorrect and misleading claims Biden has made during these events and interviews over the past several weeks. 

He lied.  That's what CNN's saying, he lied.  Now once upon a time, the press wouldn't say that.  But, you may remember, Paul Krugman had a hissy fit in 2016 and insisted that lie be used.  So NYT began saying "lie" -- when it came to Donald Trump.

Why can't we say lie with regard to Joe Biden?  Fair's fair.

Here are some of Joe's recent lies documented by CNN:

Blocking judges

During a June 10 town hall with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Biden was asked about older judges stepping down to allow Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to usher new judges through the Senate. In response Biden suggested that Senate Democrats should somehow block that from happening.
"At this point if he does that I'm going to urge the Democrats in the U.S. Senate to block the ability to have a vote on those judges," Biden said. "We only have 140-some days left to go. We are not going to let that happen."
Facts First: It's unclear how Biden would propose stopping Senate Republicans from approving judges because Republicans only need a simple majority -- which they currently have -- to approve judges.
In 2013, Senate Democrats -- under the leadership of Harry Reid -- removed the filibuster for many Presidential nominations. Senate Republicans now only need 51 votes to break a filibuster and approve a judicial nomination. They currently hold 53 seats.

Hispanic unemployment

During a June 5 speech on the economy, Biden twice claimed that Hispanic unemployment had increased in that day's jobs report.
Condemning comments President Donald Trump made on George Floyd, Biden said "the fact that he did so on the day when black unemployment rose, Hispanic unemployment rose, black youth unemployment skyrocketed tells you everything you need to know about this man."
Later, Biden said, "Latino [unemployment] jumped to over 37%."
Facts First: The jobs report showed that Hispanic unemployment decreased, not increased.
A readout of Biden's speech shows that in referencing the "jump to over 37%" Biden was supposed to say "Latino youth unemployment," which would have been correct.
"Latino youth unemployment jumped to over 37 percent," the readout says. However, Biden incorrectly said Hispanic unemployment had risen twice during the speech.
According to the report, in May the Hispanic or Latino unemployment fell from 16.7% to 15.1% while the Hispanic youth unemployment rate increased from 35.8% to 37.4%.

NAACP endorsement

In an interview with radio host Charlamagne tha God on May 22, Biden falsely claimed that the NAACP has endorsed him "every time I've run."
Facts First: The NAACP does not endorse candidates.
While Biden does have a lifetime membership with the organization and recently participated in an NAACP town hall, the organization has a policy of not endorsing candidates.
After the comment from Biden, the organization issued a statement "to clarify that the NAACP is a non-partisan organization and does not endorse candidates for political office at any level."

White supremacy

In a June 16 interview on Instagram with actress and musician Keke Palmer, Biden claimed that Trump has not acknowledged the problem of White supremacy.
"You know the President has talked about the systematic racism," Palmer said, "but whenever he's asked...he just says that the answer is a better economy, that's what will fix it. But I really don't think that's the answer."
Palmer went on to ask Biden what his plan was to eradicate White supremacy in the US.
"Well first of all, I don't even think Trump's even acknowledged White supremacy," Biden said. "He doesn't even acknowledge it," Biden later added.
Facts First: Trump has condemned White supremacy but only recently said "there probably is some" systemic racism in the US.
Following the mass shootings in Ohio and Texas in August 2019, Trump in prepared remarks said that "in one voice, our nation must condemn racism, bigotry, and White supremacy. These sinister ideologies must be defeated. Hate has no place in America."
Two days after the 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, during which Heather Heyer was killed, Trump issued a statement condemning racism, specifically "the KKK, neo-Nazis, White supremacists, and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans."
This statement came a few days after Trump suggested there were "very fine people on both sides" of the rally and protest, a statement for which he has been sharply criticized by Biden and others.
Trump has also been criticized for not being as forceful or persistent in criticizing White supremacist violence as he has about terrorism by Islamic extremists or crime by undocumented immigrants -- and he has himself used racist rhetoric.
Regardless, it's not true that he has not acknowledged the problem of White supremacy at all.
Several days after the Instagram interview with Biden, Trump addressed systemic racism -- potentially for the first time in his Presidency -- in an interview with the Wall Street Journal on June 17.
"I'd like to think there is not" systemic racism, Trump told the journal, "but unfortunately, there probably is some. I would also say it's very substantially less than it used to be."

Joe can't stop lying.

And his supporters better start calling it out so he stops because, come October, people aren't going to be playing nice with him -- and by people, I mean the press.

MARVEL AGENTS OF SHIELD.  Vickey e-mailed saying "Thank you for covering the show.  I can't stand to watch it.  I had my hopes up when they killed Coulsen but he's still on and worse than ever.  No one I know watches it anymore.  Hope you can stick in until the end."

I will stick in until the end.  I thought the show would get better when they killed him too but they brought him back as a synthetic or something with the character's memories.  He's hideous and dull.

Vickey's e-mail made me think about the ratings.

This season debuted with the lowest ratings ever.  1.8 million viewers watched.  Less people watched the season debut than watched last season's cliffhanger.  Each episode has gotten less and less viewers with the last episode getting 1.3 million viewers.

I think we're all tired of them treating Mac like an extra and of  Clark Gregg's mincing Twinkels.  The show should have let him go but they keep forcing him down our throats.  No one wants to see him.
Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Friday, June 26, 2020.  In the US, Howie Hawkins now appears to be the Green Party's presidential nominee, Turkey continues to terrorize northern Iraq as a new death and a video of children playing makes clear. the Iraqi forces arrest some members of a militia, and much more.

Starting in the United States where another party has a presidential nominee.  Until the Democratic Party's national convention formalizes things, Joe Biden is the presumed presidential nominee of the Democratic Party.  By the same token (until the Green Party holds its national convention next month and formalizes it), Howie Hawkins is now the presumed presidential nominee for the Green Party.. Chris Baker (SYRACUSE.COM) reports:

A Syracuse activist and campaign season mainstay has secured enough support to run for president as the Green Party’s candidate.
Howie Hawkins locked up enough Green Party delegates over the weekend to represent the party in November’s election.
His running mate is Angela Walker, an activist from Wisconsin who previously ran for vice president with the Socialist Party USA.
“Mounting unnecessary deaths from Covid-19 and the uprising against racism have revealed how the two governing parties are presiding over a failed state,” Hawkins said in a press release. “The Green Party is the alternative: Medicare for All, the full-strength Green New Deal, an Economic Bill of Rights, and ending militarized policing at home and abroad.”

Howard Gresham Hawkins (born December 8, 1952) is an American trade unionist and environmental activist from New York. A co-founder of the Green Party of the United States, Hawkins is the party's presumptive presidential nominee. His primary campaign issues include enacting an eco-socialist Green New Deal, which he first proposed in 2010, and building a viable, independent working-class political and social movement in opposition to the Democratic and Republican parties and capitalism in general.[2]
Hawkins has played leading roles in anti-war,[3] anti-nuclear,[4] and pro-worker movements since the 1960s. Hawkins is a retired teamster and construction worker; from 2001 until his retirement in 2017, Hawkins worked the night shift unloading trucks for UPS.[5][6]
Hawkins has run for various offices on twenty-four occasions, all unsuccessfully.[7] He was New York's Green Party candidate for the U.S. Senate in 2006. In 2010, Hawkins ran as the Green Party's candidate for Governor of New York, which restored ballot status for the party when it received more than the necessary 50,000 votes. In 2014, Hawkins ran again for the same office and received five percent of the vote. Hawkins ran a third time for Governor of New York in 2018, and ran for Mayor of Syracuse in 2017.

"The two governing parties are governing over a failed state," Hawkins said Wednesday in an interview. "Look at the coronavirus. We have four percent of the world's population and 20 percent of the deaths." 
And the Green Party, he said, is still very much relevant even as a debate continues to roil the Democratic Party over how far progressives should carry the platform. Figures like Senator Bernie Sanders retain a sizeable following the party, pushing into the party's mainstream issues like universal access to Medicare. 
But Hawkins believes Sanders's impact falls short.
"He's moved the debate to the left, but not the policy," Hawkins said. "Medicare for all was his signature issue. A lot of the Democratic candidates had to relate to that. But now you've got Biden who said if it crosses my desk, I'll veto it."
Hawkins listed four "life or death issues" he's running on: The pandemic, a Green New Deal to combat climate change, fighting economic inequality through a job guarantee and fighting nuclear proliferation. 
Asked about criminal justice reform in the wake of George Floyd's killing, Hawkins said, "it's good to redistribute" some police funding to aid the homeless or drug addiction. 
He's not, however, in favor of abolishing police departments entirely. 
"You're going to need somebody, I don't care if you call them police or not, to go out and apprehend people who are dangerous," Hawkins said. 

At his Twitter feed yesterday, Howie noted that Senator Bernie Sanders is calling for a 10% reduction in Pentagon spending while the:

Green Party Prez ticket is calling for a 75% cut - not 10% -in military budget. To pay for a #GreenNewDeal that goes to 100% renewable energy by 2030, zero carbon emissions, halt to new fossil fuels, living wage jobs for all, single payer health care. Vote Green for a change.

In this community, Ann and Mike have endorsed Howie -- but they have made clear (read what they wrote) that this is not, "I'm voting Howie regardless!"  If Howie doesn't run a real campaign, they are not voting for him.  Jill Stein's campaign in 2012 was pathetic.   If you're new to that observation, see Ava and my "Let the fun begin (Ava and C.I.)" written the day after the 2012 election:

Jill Stein.

As feminists, we wondered six weeks ago, what do we do?

Roseanne had already imploded.  (Cindy Sheehan has a story to tell and then some.)  She couldn't and wouldn't campaign, she apparently wouldn't pay workers she hired for her campaign, she was an embarrassment.

And so was Jill Stein.

As feminists, do we call it as it is?

We debated that for three days.  Jill wasn't going to win the presidency.  In fact, it was obvious she was running off the limited votes she did have a shot at.

But did we tell the truth on that?  Did we call her out?

We crossed the line on gender with the decision -- a feminist one (not "the" feminist one) -- that she was running for public office and therefore had to be treated the same as anyone else would even if, in the closing weeks, we were going to tear her apart.

But . . .

Having dealt with the feminist issue, we still had the issue of third parties.

Was it really fair to beat up on a third party candidate?

Adding to the problems, one of us (Ava) is involved with a lifelong Green (Jess), has a child by him, has made a home with him.

And Jess was very clear that Jill Stein was "a f**king idiot but the Greens need to be on ballots."  And they were.  Texas, for example.  We heard from Billie who early voted for Jill Stein.  She was so excited because Jill Stein was on the ballot.  She didn't have to write her in.  Right there on the Texas ballot was the Green Party.

What do we do?

In the end, we decided, "We don't promote her.  We don't mention her.  That's true here, that's true at Third."

So we bit our tongues.

As she ran a stupid campaign.  As she made a fool of herself and the Green Party.  (Granted, it's a party that loves to make a fool of itself.)

She -- and others -- did a debate with Larry King.  A debate that did not include all.  A new hurdle was invented.

Green Party members, you know what a hurdle is, right?  It's what keeps your candidate out of the so-called presidential debates every four years.  Why the hell would you take part in a debate that did not invite everyone who made it onto a state's ballot as a presidential candidate?

Because hypocrisy is a charge you live to embrace?

Maybe so.

Supposedly the Green Party is opposed to war.

So when Tim Arango reported the White House was negotiating with Nouri to send more troops back into Iraq, Jill Stein should have led on that.

But she's a politician which is just a whore without the desire to please a customer.

So Jill ignored it.

She ignored a lot.

Six weeks ago, in fact, after Barack cratered in the first debate, she and her campaign began going after Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan.


You're a Green.  You're on the left.  The high profile left vote getter just imploded on national TV.  It's the perfect time for you to pick up some of his voters.

But you refuse to try.  You rush to go after Romney and Ryan instead.

Why is that?

Because you are not a real party.

Because you will forever be the little sister of the Democratic Party.

Because every four years, you start off with promise and end up revealing just how craven and disgusting you are.

If we are offering commentary four years from now, please note, being a Green will not save you.  Being third party will not save you. 

So if Howie decides that the way to campaign is to come on like the kid sister of the Democratic Party, Mike and Ann are out the door.  

Journalist Chris Hedges has endorsed Howie.  The Green Party of New Jersey issued the following:

June 25th, 2020
The Green Party of New Jersey is proud to announce that Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, author, and activist Chris Hedges endorsed all GPNJ candidate campaigns for 2020. They are: Howie Hawkins and Angela Walker for President and Vice-President, Madelyn Hoffman for U.S. Senate, and Craig Cayetano for Council in Ward 3 in Hawthorne.
In his letter of endorsement, Chris Hedges writes, “I endorse the Green Party campaigns of candidates Howie Hawkins for President and Angela Walker for Vice President; the campaign of Madelyn Hoffman for U.S. Senate; and the special election campaign of Craig Cayetano for town council, Ward 3, in the town of Hawthorne. These candidates embody Green Party values. They know that the mainstream political parties have not, and will not, invest in people rather than corporations. They will never reform the systems of social control embodied in the police, the war industry, and prisons.”
He continued, “These candidates are facing important deadlines for filing petitions to place them on the November ballot. They need our help in obtaining the signatures to meet election requirements…We must step outside the system, to pit power against power, as tens of thousands of courageous men and women are doing in hundreds of American cities. This process of radical change will not be easy. It will not happen quickly or in one election cycle. It is a process, especially given the ecocide and corporate serfdom that confronts us, that we must embrace as a moral imperative. Voting is a small part of this process, but it sends an important signal to the ruling elites that their time is up, or soon to be up. We must stop fearing them. They must start fearing us.”
Madelyn Hoffman faces a July 6th deadline (technically July 7th at 4pm) for submitting signatures. Her petitions can be signed  on-line here: Anyone eligible to vote in New Jersey who has not signed another petition for U.S. Senate may sign this petition.
Craig Cayetano faces the same deadline for submitting signatures. His signatures can be submitted on-line here:  To sign for Cayetano, you must live in the third ward of Hawthorne.
Howie Hawkins and Angela Walker have until July 26th, 2020 (technically July 27th at 4:00pm) to submit their petitions. Anyone in New Jersey eligible to vote who has not signed anyone else’s petition for President, can sign these petitions. Please help these Green Party candidates get on the ballot in November so they can carry this fight to the voting booth.
The link for electronic signatures for the Hawkins for President campaign is:
Continued Hedges, “Our enemy is the tiny cabal of corporate oligarchs who have seized control of the two ruling parties, the three branches of government, the media, academia, our health services, and the economy. They have usurped our rights to exclusively serve corporate profit. This is especially true in New Jersey, which has one of the most corrupt Democratic Party machines in the nation.”
He concludes, “Thank you for supporting the Green Party. The Green Party and its candidates stand unequivocally with those in the streets fighting institutionalized racism and those organizing strikes and work stoppages among frontline workers. The party seeks to express and honor the aspirations of those leading the current generational and class revolt shaking the foundations of New Jersey, the nation, and the world.”

Gloria La Riva is a presidential nominee.  She's running for the Party for Socialism and Liberation as well as for the Peace and Freedom Party.

There are two other people who have their party's presidential nomination.

Joseph Kishore is the Socialist Equality Party's presidential candidate.

And Jo Jorgesen is the Libertarian Party's presidential nominee.

Turning to Iraq where Turkey continues to terrorize the Iraqi people. 

Call it Operation Claw-Eagle, call it Operation Claw-Tiger, it's terrorism under any name.  Turkey is violating international law and it is violating Iraq's sovereignty.  This morning, ALJAZEERA reports:

On Thursday evening, a Turkish strike hit a pickup truck in a rural area north of the Kurdish city of Sulaymaniyah, said local official Kameran Abdallah.
"It killed one man who was in the car," said Abdallah, without being able to specify whether the victim was a civilian or fighter. "The six wounded consisted of two women, two children and two men, all members of the same family."
On Friday, Baghdad issued a statement calling on Turkey to end its breach of Iraqi airspace and sovereignty, in which a number of civilians were killed, according to local media reports. 
"These actions are a flagrant violation of the principle of good neighbourliness, and a clear violation of international agreements," said the statement issued by Iraq's presidential office.
Since "Claw-Tiger" began, at least five civilians have been killed and hundreds of families have fled their homes.

The Socialist Alliance of Australia condemns the Turkish state’s escalation of illegal cross border air strikes against Kurdish and Yezidi communities in northern Iraq and north-east Syria (Rojava).
We call upon the Australian government to immediately convey the strongest objection to these raids to the Turkish Ambassador to Australia and to recall the Australian Ambassador to Turkey as an act of protest. The Australian government should also call upon NATO and the UN Security Council to act immediately to stop this aggression and to terminate all military aid and supply to Turkey.
The Socialist Alliance extends its unconditional solidarity to the victims of this Turkish military aggression and pledges to continue to build solidarity actions in Australia.
June 26, 2020
The Socialist Alliance is not the only one calling out Turkey's actions.  Christian Peacemaker Teams, USCIRF, the Arab League, the UAE, Egypt and Saudi Arabia have all condemned the actions of the Turkish government.   RUDAW reports that the PUK political party has also called out the Turkish government:

The Patriotic Union of Kurdistan party (PUK) has called the Thursday bombing of the Kuna Masi resort a violation of Iraq’s sovereignty, attributing the unclaimed attack to Turkey, and calling on the Iraq’s presidencies to respond “urgently”.

The PUK bloc in Iraqi parliament issued a statement Friday regarding the airstrike of the Kuna Masi resort in Sharbazhir town in northeastern of Sulaimani province, in which one unidentified fighter was killed and six civilians were injured, according to Shaho Osman, head of Sharbazhir town told Rudaw on Thursday.

An unknown warplane conducted an airstrike targeted Kuna Masi tourist resort in northeastern Sulaimani province on Thursday killed at least one unidentified fighter, and wounded six civilians.

“Continuous violation of Turkish warplanes to the Iraqi sovereignty is a clear disrespect to the formal memorandum the Iraqi government handed over to the Turkish ambassador,” the statement reads.

The PUK bloc also called on the Iraqi Foreign Ministry and the Iraqi representative to the United Nations Security Council to request the convening of an emergency Security Council session to suspend the Turkish military operations inside Iraqi territory and issue a resolution to compensate the families of civilians who have been killed by the military operation.

Other news out of Iraq involves a raid.

AFP reports, "Iraqi security forces arrested more than a dozen pro-Iran fighters overnight, in their first raid against those accused of anti-US rocket attacks, Iraqi officials told AFP early Friday.  Elite fighters from Iraq’s Counter-Terrorism Service raided a headquarters in southern Baghdad used by Kataeb Hezbollah, a pro-Iran faction also identified as Brigade 45 of the Hashed al-Shaabi military forces." Mina Aldroubi (THE NATIONAL) adds:

 Jaber Al Jaberi, an Iraqi member of parliament, told The National that the CTS raid on Kataib Hezbollah was an attempt to exert state authority and a test to see what the reaction might be.
“Indeed the reaction by the so-called axis of resistance was strong, where their armed and hysterical response revealed a lot about them, their capabilities and their non-compliance with the laws of the state,” Mr Al Jaberi said.    

Al Jazeera's Simona Foltyn, reporting from Baghdad, said Iraq's elite Counter Terrorism Service seized at least 10 rockets during the operation, which was "carried out an in effort to pre-empt an impending rocket attack on the Green Zone and Baghdad International Airport, both of which house US troops".
"Subsequently, dozens of armed Kataib Hezbollah fighters arrived in the Green Zone and laid siege to one of the buildings belonging to the Counter Terrorism Service, demanding the release of the detainees, claiming they were arrested illegally without an arrest warrant," she said.

Let's wind down with this:

We are so excited to announce the launch of Ms. magazine's very first podcast, On the Issues with Michele Goodwin! 
You read Ms. online and in print. You follow along on social media. Now, keep up with the feminist movement and even more of Ms.’s substantive, unique reporting with your new favorite podcast. 
Tune in for our premiere episode on Tuesday, June 30 on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Podcasts or
Get a sneak peek of the feminist analysis, insightful conversations and exciting guests to come: a trailer is available now! We hope you’ll give it a listen, subscribe and rate the podcast. 
On the Issues is a show where we report, rebel, and tell it like it is. Join host Dr. Michele Goodwin as she and special guests tackle the most compelling issues of our times, centering your concerns about rebuilding our nation and advancing the promise of equality. 
Listen to a trailer for On the Issuewith Michele Goodwin now — on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.
And we’d love if you help spread the word, too! The number one thing you can do to help the Ms. magazine podcast reach new listeners? Subscribe and rate the podcast on Apple. Let’s show the power of independent, feminist media! 
Meet Your On the Issues Host: Dr. Michele Goodwin is a frequent contributor to Ms. magazine and on She is a Chancellor’s Professor at the University of California, Irvine and also serves on the executive committee and national board of the ACLU. Dr. Goodwin is a prolific author and an elected member of the American Law Institute, as well as an elected Fellow of the American Bar Foundation and the Hastings Center. Her most recent book, Policing The Womb: Invisible Women and The Criminalization of Motherhood, is described as a "must read."
Tune in Tuesday, June 30 for the first episode of On the Issues with Michele Goodwin—Policing in America: A Tale of Race, Sex and Violence. Professor Goodwin and her guests will ask critical questions like: where are the women in the field of policing? And why does it matter?
You have received this e-mail because of your interest in women's issues. To unsubscribe, please click here.
1600 Wilson Boulevard, Suite 801, Arlington, VA, 22209 | 703.522.2214 |

The following sites updated:

Friday, June 26, 2020

MARVEL AGENTS OF SHIELD, Howie Hawkins, elections

It could have been a great episode of MARVEL AGENTS OF SHIELD this week.  As it was, it wasn't even a good episode.

Everything worked -- Mae, Daisy, Deke, Mac, Yo-Yo . . .

And then they had to give a long talky scene to Coulson -- Clark Gregg can't act, he has to twinkle.

And as he yammers on and on, I'm reminded yet again, that Coulson is not the leader of the team -- Mac is -- and that, in fact, Coulson isn't even really Coulson.  He's some sort of synthetic with Coulson's memories.

Yet he gets all the airtime.  Mac's leader but he's still the 'sidekick,' 'the second banana' to Coulson.  At what point does this get acknowledged for what it is?  Racism.

I'm sick of it and I'm sick of a 58-year-old man trying to twinkle. 

Clark Gregg will hopefully never work again.  I'm sick of him.  He's a lousy actor who portrays every character the same and who thinks he's so damn cute.  I'm sick of him.

In other news, Patrick Martin (WSWS) reports:

Statewide primary elections held Tuesday in New York, Kentucky and Virginia saw greatly increased voter turnout despite the coronavirus threat, as voters chose to vote early or cast mail-in ballots. Voting also took place in several districts in Mississippi and North Carolina.
Most of the votes were cast in Democratic Party primaries, where there were multiple contests between candidates backed by the party establishment and those supported by Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
In one of the most widely publicized contests, for the Kentucky US Senate nomination against Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, retired fighter pilot Amy McGrath, the choice of the party establishment, had a slight lead over State Representative Charles Booker. An African-American, Booker sought to appeal to widespread popular anger over the police murder of Breonna Taylor, a black emergency medical technician killed by Louisville cops in a no-knock raid in March. While McGrath campaigned on her military record and had a huge financial advantage, as well as name recognition from her narrow loss in the race for a congressional seat in 2018, Booker had the backing of Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez, and highlighted his own participation in protest marches against the police murders of Taylor and George Floyd in Minneapolis, which McGrath had avoided.
The result of that race will not be known until June 30, the deadline for counting all mail-in ballots. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the vast majority of Kentucky voters cast mail ballots, which had to be postmarked by the June 23 primary date but could be delivered by the weekend.
The actual breakdown, according to the secretary of state—a Republican—was 570,000 absentee ballots, 100,000 early votes, and 156,000 votes cast at polling places on election day. Statewide, there were fewer than 200 polling places open on Tuesday, compared to the 3,700 locations used in previous primary and general elections.
The state’s two largest cities, Louisville and Lexington, opened only one polling station each, inside large arenas, with widely separated voting machines and lines laid out so that voters could observe social distancing. This arrangement apparently worked until near the closing time, when parking lots filled and there was a rush to get inside before the doors shut.
The other high-profile contest ended in the apparent defeat of the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Representative Eliot Engel of New York. He trailed his main opponent, former middle school principal Jamaal Bowman, by a margin of 61 to 36 percent in the primary to select the Democratic nominee in the 16th Congressional District of New York. Engel has held the seat that includes the northern part of the Bronx and portions of southern Westchester County adjacent to New York City, for 32 years.
The only significant differences between the two were age and race—Bowman is 44 and black, while Engel is 73 and white. While Bowman criticized Engel for voting to authorize the Iraq War in 2002, he made no broader critique of the congressman’s right-wing, pro-imperialist and intransigently pro-Zionist record in leading the House Democrats on foreign policy.

In other news, please read Ann's "Howie has to be a better candidate ."  And, as I noted last time, I'm supporting Howie.  I can't vote for Joe Biden.  I won't vote for any of the criminals who brought us the Iraq War.

Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Thursday, June 25, 2020.  MSNBC trots out a War Criminal, Iraq's government still at a loss on how to diversify economy, and much more.

Are all the War Criminals supporting Joe Biden?  It certainly seems that way -- neocons and War Criminals.  If you missed it, MSNBC NEWS GUTTER reported this week:

When it came to Donald Trump's presidency, retired Army Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez bit his tongue for years. Every time Trump took another step the retired general found offensive -- the attack on Muslim Gold Star parents, Charlottesville, DACA, et al. -- Sanchez restrained himself and made no public comments.
This month's developments, including the Lafayette Square scandal, led him to believe he had to step up and speak up. 

That's from Rachel Maddow's staff.  Remember boys and girls, if it's about gay rights, Rachel's strong.  If it's about anything else?  She can't be trusted.

Who is Ricardo?  Well first, let's note he was a Lt Gen and let's point out Ruth's "NN and NPR parade their bias against General Flynn" which notes NPR and CNN are happy to call everyone by their military title they retired at -- even David Petraeus -- except retired Gen Michael Flynn.  Are we not supposed to notice that?

And are we not supposed to note who Rachel Maddow's team is now pimping?  Here's a little backstory on Ricardo that Steven Benen leaves out:

Sánchez was commander of coalition forces during a period when abuse of prisoners occurred at Abu Ghraib and at other locations. In a memo signed by General Sánchez and later acquired by the ACLU through a Freedom of Information Act request, techniques were authorized to interrogate prisoners, included "environmental manipulation" such as making a room hot or cold or using an "unpleasant smell", isolating a prisoner, disrupting normal sleep patterns and "convincing the detainee that individuals from a country other than the United States are interrogating him."[3]
On May 5, 2006, Sánchez denied ever authorizing interrogators to "go to the outer limits". Sánchez said he had told interrogators: "...we should be conducting our interrogations to the limits of our authority." Sanchez called the ACLU: "...a bunch of sensationalist liars, I mean lawyers, that will distort any and all information that they get to draw attention to their positions."[4]
Documents obtained by The Washington Post and the ACLU showed that Sanchez authorized the use of military dogs, temperature extremes, reversed sleep patterns, and sensory deprivation as interrogation methods in Abu Ghraib.[5] A November 2004 report by Brigadier General Richard Formica found that many troops at the Abu Ghraib prison had been following orders based on a memorandum from Sanchez, and that the abuse had not been carried out by isolated "criminal" elements.[6] ACLU lawyer Amrit Singh said in a statement from the union that "General Sanchez authorized interrogation techniques that were in clear violation of the Geneva Conventions and the army's own standards."[7]

That's from WIKIPEDIA.  Sanchez should be in prison for what he did.  Leave it to the always oblivious Rachel Maddow to pimp Ricardo as someone we need to hear from, as someone who's opinion on anything matters.

Lives were destroyed at Abu Ghraib.  What took place was outrageous and it was criminal -- War Crimes.  

The 'resistance' is a joke and always will be because they have no ethics, they have no knowledge, and they blindly root for whatever con man stands in front of them at the moment -- be it Michael Avenatti or Ricardo.  Of course, Ricardo's much worse than con man Avenatti, Ricardo's a War Criminal.  Shame on anyone who tries to rehabilitate him.

You have ethics or you don't.

You care about human lives or you don't.

This is not something where you can be "yes and" on it.  People were tortured because of Sanchez.  Sy Hersh has stated repeatedly that Iraqis were raped at Abu Ghraib.

Shame on anyone celebrating Ricardo for anything.  He belongs behind bars.  If there's an afterlife, you can be sure that he will be soundly punished.  He is not 'fixable,' he is not 'redeamable.'  He is a War Criminal.

From a November 2007 column by Amy Goodman entitled "Have They No Shame?":

 This past Saturday the Democrats chose retired Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez to give their response, the same general accused in at least three lawsuits in the U.S. and Europe of authorizing torture and cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment of prisoners in Iraq. This, combined with the Democrats’ endorsement of Attorney General Michael Mukasey despite his unwillingness to label waterboarding as torture, indicates that the Democrats are increasingly aligned with President Bush’s torture policies.
Sanchez headed the Army’s operations in Iraq from June 2003 to June 2004. In September 2003, Sanchez issued a memo authorizing numerous techniques, including “stress positions” and the use of “military working dogs” to exploit “Arab fear of dogs” during interrogations. He was in charge when the abuses at Abu Ghraib prison occurred.
Brig. Gen. Janis Karpinski, who headed Abu Ghraib at the time, worked under Gen. Sanchez. She was demoted to colonel, the only military officer to be punished. She told me about another illegal practice, holding prisoners as so-called ghost detainees: “We were directed on several occasions through Gen. [Barbara] Fast or Gen. Sanchez. The instructions were originating at the Pentagon from Secretary Rumsfeld, and we were instructed to hold prisoners without assigning a prisoner number or putting them on the database, and that is contrary to the Geneva Conventions. We all knew it was contrary to the Geneva Conventions.” In addition to keeping prisoners off the database there were other abuses, she said, like prison temperatures reaching 120 to 140 degrees, dehydration and the order from Gen. Geoffrey Miller to treat prisoners “like dogs.”

Again, there's a side.  You are responsible for torture?  You belong in prison.  It says a great deal about THE ATLANTIC -- and about Rachel Maddow -- that they rush to embrace Ricardo.

Grasp that Ricardo's not even offering anything.

He thinks Donald Trump is a racist?  Oh, wow, that's an opinion no one's ever expressed before, right?  Let's forget that Ricardo is a War Criminal because he's got this brand new idea that no one else ever had before, he's detected something no one else could!!!!

What a load of rubbish.

Iraq has many problems -- most of them created by Ricardo and people like Ricardo.  Their economy remains in turmoil.  Maya Gebeily (AFP) reports:

So if they need reform, that would mean diversifying the economy.  There was a period, for example, in the early years of the war, when efforts were made to help with the date farm sector   I knocked it at the time and got a nasty e-mail from a US military official.  I knocked the fact that it wasn't a serious effort and it wasn't fixing anything.

We haven't checked on the date farm sector since Bully Boy Bush left the White House.  Was I right?  Was I wrong?

Iraq is to plant 70,000 date palms south of Baghdad, hoping to revive production of a crop it was famed for across the Middle East.
The country once produced three-quarters of the world’s dates but now accounts for just 5 percent after it switched its economic focus to oil and after decades of conflict devastated its farms.
Backed by a state loan worth 10 billion dinars($8.43 million), a Shi’ite Muslim foundation has planted 16,000 date trees outside the holy city of Kerbala, some 90 kilometers (56 miles) south of the capital Baghdad. It is the biggest state-backed farming project for the crop since the U.S. invasion toppling Saddam Hussein in 2003.
“We plan to have more than 70,000 date trees in future,” said Faiz Eissa Abu Maali, the project’s manager, during a tour.

So that was 2018?  Here's a video report from 2018.

So the US tossed some money at the problem and then Barack Obama became president for two terms and then left office and Donald Trump was then president and that's when the Iraqi government decided, "Hey, maybe that project that all the money was spent on over a decade ago, maybe even though we ignored it and didn't fund it when it needed it, maybe we should try to kick start it again?"

Nothing changes because nothing changes.
The money -- US taxpayer money -- tossed out in the early years of the war for the date farming was a waste of money.  That had nothing to do with Iraqi farmers, it had everything to do with a corrupt government that provided no support and continues to provide no support.

How many years is it going to take for that reality to set in?  In 2018, MIDDLE EAST EYE noted:
 The blazing sun beats down on Mohammed Khalil Ibrahim as he points to what is left of his date palms and the damage caused by a scarcity in water. Bent over his cane on his farm in the Iraqi southern city of Basra, the 73-year-old farmer describes how they are sad examples of the fruit-bearing tree. 
“You see the trunks, they're too thin. And the dates my trees produce are barely edible," said Ibrahim.
The Ibrahim family have been farmers for three generations. Back in the 80s, the family owned around 50,000 date palm trees in the city of Basra. Today, only a few thousand trees have survived the drought and salinity and none of Ibrahim’s sons want to take over the farm since it is no longer profitable. 
“Many neighbouring farmers give up and look for work in the cities," Ibrahim said.
Once a water-rich country, Iraq is facing drought, a significant drop in annual rainfall, salinity and a decline in the level of water flowing into the country, following the construction of major dams in Turkey and Iran since the 1970s.
Additionally, a lack of funds targeting the agricultural sector is preventing the development of Iraq's infrastructure. Basra, now a crumbling city, was once dubbed the "Venice of the Middle East" for its network of canals.
Real steps have to be taken and they have not been.  Iraqi leaders like Nouri al-Maliki have enriched themselves by stealing the public funds.  

  • Iran is pressing Iraq to expand its already game-changing oil and gas infrastructure deal with China.
  • Tehran is looking to include Iraq in the Sino-Russian power bloc in order to expand its influence in the oil-rich country.
  • Chinese money, equipment and technology should, Baghdad and Tehran think, allow Iraq to gradually increase its oil production to the 7 million bpd targeted by end-2022.

The above could be very good for Iraq's economy, if they made the deal with China and if they used money (profits) to invest into diversifying the economic base.  But they've refused to do that.  The prime minister focuses on what foreign governments want -- the US or Iran mainly -- and stick their hands into the people's money.  

Let's turn to the topic of the coronavirus.

MENAFM notes, "The daily tally of cases has been rising since the holy month of Ramadan and as many Iraqis flout coronavirus lockdown measures."  XINHUA notes, "The Iraqi health ministry on Wednesday warned of serious health situation, as it recorded 2,200 new COVID-19 cases, the highest daily increase since the outbreak of the disease, bringing the total number of infections nationwide to 36,702.  The ministry also confirmed 79 more deaths, raising the death toll from the infectious virus to 1,330 in the country." 
The minister's statement came during a press briefing along with and after a meeting with the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Iraq, Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, and the World Health Organization (WHO) representative to Iraq, Adham Rashad.
From her end, Hennis-Plasschaert warned against the lack of adherence to health regulations that are aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus.
"We must commit to fighting the spread of the Coronavirus at all levels, primarily through the individual actions of each of us," said Hennis-Plasschaert.
"The local, regional and national health authorities, as well as friends and partners of Iraq, have warned of great consequence in case of taking the virus lightly," she added. "[W]e cannot exaggerate the seriousness of the situation, but fear and misinformation is no less dangerous," stressing the need for "resistance with courage, sound information, practical advice and collective discipline."
Meanwhile Zhelwan Z. Wali (RUDAW) reports that  Sulaimani Province's Health Dept spokesperson Dr Yad Naqishbandi has declared that he has the coronavirus and that, "My health is good and I have quarantined myself at home."  And Hardi Mohammed (RUDAW) reports:

Photos of a coronavirus patient lying on the ground unattended in a Kirkuk hospital have angered his family, who demand answers about the treatment of the man, who later died on Tuesday.
The disturbing photos circulating on social media in recent days appear to show Najat Rasheed, 57, lying on the ground meters away from a bed and an overturned chair. No hospital staff are seen in the photos, and it’s not known who is responsible for taking the photos.

Rasheed, who is Kurdish, had served as a medical worker in the city for 12 years. He was hospitalized in two separate hospitals for 13 days, but died on Tuesday. His son, Sirwan Najat, remained in contact with his father via their mobile phones while he was hospitalized. After losing contact with him Thursday night Sirwan visited the hospital and found his father abandoned. The next morning, he was pronounced dead.

“My father could not breathe. At 7 am I called to ask the medical personnel of the hospital whether he was alive or not. The doctor said that he would check on him, but he came at 10am," he told Rudaw on Wednesday. "They did not serve him at all," Najat says. 

The following sites updated: