First up, Jimmy Dore.
Agree that this is what's needed. Hope that workers have the courage needed to do this. Hopeful but doubtful as well.
Okay, Doug Bandow has an interesting column at ANTIWAR.COM which opens:
As if President Joe Biden didn’t have enough trouble to deal with, he now is supposed to rescue imprisoned Americans around the globe. Last weekend relatives of a couple dozen citizens and residents held overseas sent an open letter to the president demanding action.
Organized by the James W. Foley Legacy Foundation – journalist Foley was kidnapped a decade ago in Syria and later murdered – the letter lamented that "Every day we wonder how much longer our loved ones must endure their captivity, not knowing when they will return home, and not being able to fully understand the efforts the United States government is undertaking to secure their freedom."
There’s no doubting the ordeal that those wrongly detained endure. Hence the pain felt by friends and family members. The letter-writers observed that Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s call had "provided hope to so many families who heard this administration promise that their loved ones’ freedom was a national priority."
However, apparently nothing happened as a result: "as of this letter, so many of us remain in the same situation, or worse, more than 8 months later." So now they are kvetching. "We have not been able to meet with you or even with your National Security Advisor to discuss our loved ones’ captivity, which leads us to believe that your administration is not prioritizing negotiations and other methods to secure their release," they wrote.
Obviously, the president has nothing else important to do. So why haven’t the prisoners been freed?
Frankly, Washington’s options are limited. So most Americans detained overseas remain imprisoned. Tragic, yes. But Biden’s fault, no. This reality obviously upset Blinken’s correspondents. Realistically, however, what do they expect the administration to do?
I get his point. It's one thing to expect your country to lodge an official complaint, it's another to think that we need to send in troops and a rescue mission.
Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"
Wednesday, November 3, 2021. A Virginia election should sound a warning, in Iraq vote counting continues.
Starting in the US where a much watched race for governor was decided at the polls yesterday. Jake Johnson (COMMON DREAMS) writes:
After Democratic candidate Terry McAuliffe—a conservative whose campaign was flush with billionaire cash—fell to Republican private equity mogul Glenn Youngkin in Virginia's closely watched gubernatorial race on Tuesday, establishment Democrats wasted no time pinning the blame on progressives.
The finger-pointing started days before the polls opened in Virginia, a state that has trended blue in recent years and that President Joe Biden won by 10 percentage points in 2020.
Several conservative Democrats, including Sens. Mark Warner of Virginia and Jon Tester of Montana, suggested leading up to the contest that progressive lawmakers' refusal to allow a bipartisan infrastructure bill to pass the House without simultaneous approval of a broader reconciliation package could be at least partially to blame for a McAuliffe loss.
"I've got to tell you, in Virginia, where we've got a gubernatorial race tomorrow, that would have really helped Terry McAuliffe a lot if we had been able to notch that win," Warner—who, like McAuliffe, previously served as Virginia's governor—said in an appearance on MSNBC, referencing Democrats' inability to secure an infrastructure vote last week amid progressive opposition.
I've got to tell you, in Virginia or anywhere else, what could have helped Terry McAuliffe the most was a personality transplant.
A non-descript and out of touch man who offered nothing of value.
Near the end of the race, he started talking about . . . race. 50% of students, he proclaimed, were people of color but 80% of teachers were White-Anglo.
Wait, wait, he's talking about schools and their percentages and --
Which is the mistake. He's the last one to talk about schools. He looked like the hypocrite he was on the campaign trail talking about public schools and praising them while he sends all of his children to private schools.
Schools were never going to be a winning issue for Terry because he couldn't explain publicly why, if he believed so strongly in public schools, he didn't send his own kids to them.
If anyone should have lost it was Terry. If we're talking scales of justice, the loser should have been Terry.
Last week, as the campaign was winding down, White nationalists/KKK-ers showed up at his opponents rally and his campaign and various Democrats (Eric Sewall) condemned the supporters and the candidate.
But they weren't really supporting his opponent and they weren't what they self-presented. They were paid performers. Paid by The Lincoln Project. In their effort to elect Terry, The Lincoln Project perpetuated a hoax. They lied to voters.
After they got exposed, they come up with some b.s. about performance theater and how they were making a point.
The only point that they made was that Terry's campaign would lie about and exploit race.
Yes. He needed to get his fat ass in front of microphone and loudly denounce those actions. If he had, he might have done better in the polls. Leaving it to a minor campaign underling to 'decry' what The Lincoln Project did was not enough.
He was the candidate.
The voters were lied to and it was a planned effort to trick them.
Terry probably wasn't involved in it and probably only found out it was fake when everyone else did. That doesn't change the fact that he had an obligation to denounce what The Lincoln Project did.
There are certain basics that we expect and that's one of them. If he believes in the voters and the voting process, he owed it to everyone to loudly denounce The Lincoln' Project's actions.
It was a vicious smear of another candidate, yes. More to the point, beyond this election, it was an attempt to exploit very real concerns over racial justice and, in doing so, increase tensions around this issue.
The Lincoln Project insulted anyone who believes in racial justice.
Their action was outrageous and Terry should have been on the news of every broadcast saying, "We're better than that in Virginia." Instead, it was send out an underling and hope I can still benefit from it and win the election.
Terry may have still lost but he would have looked like someone who had ethics.
Chances are he would have lost regardless.
We've noted here what the reality is for the country and the do-nothing Democrats in Congress better wake up.
Christmas is approaching. Do they speak to anyone who's not a millionaire? Excuse me, do they speak to anyone who's either not a millionaire or on their payroll?
Doesn't appear so.
For months now, in the Zooms we've been doing, we've heard about how people are being effected. That's healthcare. That's everything. And it matters even more right now because the holidays are approaching. The economy is out of control. Gas prices are too high, food prices have risen. We have no UBI (Universal Basic Income). We have no stimulus checks. What the American people got under Donald Trump wasn't much but as parents scale back, for example, Christmas, you bettter believe that the money from Trump's administration will be remembered. (And don't talk about Joe's check. First off, it was supposed to be delivered under Donald but Nancy Pelosi delayed it and we all know that story, second, Joe ensured that some didn't get the check or get all of it by allowing various entities to withold from those checks.)
Nancy knows where to buy her pricey ice cream, she just doens't shop with regular people.
Gas is up a little? Tell it to the woman we spoke with last week, a single-mother in Louisiana who takes a cab to her morning classes because she can't take the bus in the morning (it doesn't deliver to her campus early enough). So after Joe became president, instead of raising the official price due to rising gas prices, they tacked on a surcharge of $1.50 and then, two weeks ago, they tacked on another $1.50 surcharge. Since Joe Biden has been sworn in, her morning commute to campus costs her $3.00 more a day, five days a week. That's $15 more a week, $60 more a month.
This is the sort of thing that real people are dealing with and the Congress shows no acknowledgement of that.
I've said all along that the pandemic is not over -- comments echoed by the World Health Organization this week. And I've also made the point that if it's so important that people get vaccinated, it's just as important that the government takes care of them.
"We feed them!" Nancy blustered on CNN and it's her most often quoted remark in Zooms. Every one knows the remark and everyone knows that it's not true. Everyone outside the millionaire class is suffering. You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows? Bob Dylan wrote that line and Bernardine Dohrn and others were so impressed that they used it to name The Weather Underground. But Nancy can't stick her finger in the air to see which way the wind's blowing when she's forever got that finger up her ass.
When the money's gone? For some, that day has already arrived in this country. For many more, their fear is that it's around the corner. And Congress and the White House? They do nothing to alleviate these fears, these very real fears.
And We The People are noticing. Get back to work, get your shots and get back to work. But the pandemic is still here. There's no concern for safety. Nor do the vaccines prevent you from getting COVID, as Jen Psaki's demonstrated to the nation. Young, healthy and vaccinated. She still got it. Supposedly while taking all precautions.
There is no leadership and there's no real concern for the American people If I were an incumbent of either party running for re-election in 2022, I'd be worried, very worried.
Pete Buttigieg has every right to take paternity leave. But there's something to be said about setting the tone. He took an appointment in the administration to serve the American people. Was paternity leave really needed for him in a time of crisis? As we have people being warned that Thanksgiving items may not be available and as we can already see certain items not on the grocery shelves or on the menu because of problems in the supply line should the Secretary of Transportation being taking weeks off for paternity leave.
And I'm really offended by this topic because I know for a fact that if Pete was Patricia and she was taking weeks off, some idiot would be saying that proved women couldn't serve in public office.
Tucker made a stupid remark (that, again, seemed like it was really Tucker Carlson's secret wish) but that doesn't mean a conversation should not have taken place. Is Joe, as president, entitled to paternity leave? Is he able to take weeks off?
We're in an emergency situation, a pandemic, and the country didn't have the Secretary of Transportation overseeing the department and now there are supply issues. It was a dumb move.
There are first responders who have already sacrificed so much. There's our own Trina who until the last few weeks was still pulling her clinic duties as a nurse and, on the weekends, having to work in the hospital. Not because she needed money but because of shortages. Even now, a 40 hour paid work week would be a dream for Trina. But she's still having to give evenings to a second shift during the week. She's a nurse. You're telling me that the on-salary Secretary of Transportation isn't expected to make certain sacrifices.
A new baby? Okay, let's try a reduced work week for the Secretary. But weeks of leave? During the pandemic? It looks out of touch. And it looks that way because it is that way.
We The People are living in a very different world than their elected officials. The Democrats ran in 2020 promising damn little. They thought all they had to do was say "Trump" over and over. They haven't delivered what little they promised and things are worse economically for Americans than they were when Donald was in the White House.
That should be very worrying to the Democratic Party.
I guess they could, as a victory strategy, try setting up Donald Trump to be the GOP nominee in 2024. I guess they could try that. But they might want to first ask Hillary Clinton and her campaign how that worked out for them in 2016?
Iraq held an election last month, the worst turnout since the 2003-invasion. Despite the election being held October 10th, they're still waiting on the final official tally of votes. Qassim Abdul-Zahra (AP) reports:
More than three weeks after Iraqis voted in parliament elections, pro-Iran Shiite militias that emerged as the biggest losers are still rejecting the outcome of the vote, thrusting the country into uncertainty and political crisis.
Militia supporters have pitched tents near the entrance to Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone in an ongoing sit-in, threatening violence unless their grievances are addressed.
The unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud are casting a shadow over an election that was praised by the United States, the U.N. Security Council and others for being the smoothest in years and without major technical glitches. The standoff is also increasing tensions among rival Shiite factions that could reflect on the street and threaten Iraq’s newfound relative stability.
Meanwhile, THE NEW ARAB notes a new claim that politicians are being poisoned:
Mala Bakhtiar, who heads the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), claimed an assassination attempt against him was carried out by "comrades" in his own party. He claims there have been numerous attempts to end his life.
Bakhtiar had to be transported to Germany last week after being poisoned but is now in stable condition. He was a presidential candidate in 2018.
Hours after falling ill, Wasta Hassan Nuri, a PUK member and former director of the Asayish - the leading security and intelligence agency in the autonomous Iraqi Kurdistan region -was also poisoned.
His condition has also stabilised.
Lawmaker Yasser Al-Husseini from southern Iraq’s Babil governorate was also reportedly poisoned. He won a seat in the recent parliamentary elections and his son died as a result of the poisoning.
It is not a claim, it's the truth, that activists and journalists have been murdered in Iraq. Yesterday's snapshot noted the conviction of police officer Hamza Kadhim al-Aidani for the murders of journalists Ahmed Abdul Samad and Safaa Ghali. Now Layal Shakir (RUDAW) reports:
Iraqi court on Monday handed a death sentence to a man accused of
killing a TV crew during the nationwide anti-government protests that
broke out across Iraq in late 2019. Dozens of activists and journalists
were murdered in the protests.
The Criminal Court of Basra issued a death sentence for the alleged killer of journalist Ahmad Abd al-Samad and photographer Safaa Ghali, reported state media.
Dijlah reporter Samad and his cameraman Ghali were shot dead whilst covering the Tishreen (October) protests in the southern port city of Basra last year.
Protests broke out in central and southern Iraq in late 2019, calling for an end to corruption, unemployment, and the provision of basic services. Since then, journalists and activists have been a target of militias and armed forces that operate with impunity.
Note that yet again, the court is not releasing the name of the person convicted of murder.
Hassan Ali Ahmed (AL-MONITOR) covers the the case of the two journalists noting:
Aidani confessed to being the driver in the death squad responsible for killing Abdessamad. He said the squad also consisted of Ahmad Twaisia as the team leader, Abbas Hashim to track the victim and shooter Ahmad Abdul-Karim. Aqeel Hadi, another member of this squad, was allegedly responsible for killing Mujtaba Ahmad, a 14-year-old protester in Basra.
Only Aidani and Hadi have been arrested. The other members remain at large and have yet to be prosecuted.
Twaisia was officially affiliated with Katai’b Hezbollah (KH). His photo beside late Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) leader Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis and current leader of the PMU parliamentary bloc Hadi al-Amiri has circulated in social media.
A source in criminal court informed Al-Monitor that Aidani confessed that the squad received their orders from their superiors in KH to systematically target and kill activists, journalists and also members of Iraqi security forces. The superiors convinced their followers that the orders were fatwas issued by Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
The members of the squad worked inside different security forces institutes, using their positions and relations to carry out their operations.
The following sites updated: