Saturday, July 24, 2021

Jimmy Dore, Danny Haiphong, HARD LENS MEDIA, Sarah Ruiz-Grossman

Starting off with Jimmy Dore.

YOUTUBE needs to stop censoring.  Adults should be able to watch what they want.  And, in the US, we are supposed to have freedom of speech.


Around the world, people are suffering. The pandemic has only highlighted just how unfair the system is. And, as my mother points out -- and has been since the start of this pandemic -- we are not "all in this together." That was a PSA meant to lull us while the rich got richer during the pandemic. Around the world, we are seeing workers fighting for their rights -- even as union leaders betray them. This may be a transformational moment. Danny Haiphon (BLACK AGENDA REPORT) notes:

“Disaster capitalism,” a term made popular by author Naomi Klein, describes the many ways in which massive profits are accumulated from tragedy. Hurricane Katrina provides one of the starkest examples of the parasitic nature of capitalism. After the lower 9th ward of New Orleans was decimated and countless Black Americans uprooted, the public school system was privatized in its entirety. The COVID-19 pandemic has also produced numerous examples of “disaster capitalism.” Billionaires such as Jeff Bezos have seen their profits grow handsomely over the past year amid mass death and economic devastation.
A major limitation of the term “disaster capitalism” is that it insinuates that another kind of capitalism is possible. The myth that capitalism is not inherently exploitative or predatory is nothing new to the United States. Since the end of World War II, liberal economists such as Robert Reich have argued that a gentler form of capitalism is possible so long as New Deal-type reforms are a permanent fixture of economic life. Yet no amount of regulations or protections negate the fact capitalism doesn’t merely profit from disasters; it is the disaster.
The owners of capital, the capitalist class, rely on a myriad of institutions to convince the masses otherwise. Government officials and politicians tend to be the most openly vocal champions of capitalism due to their leadership role over the state—the organization responsible for enforcing the suppression of one class to the benefit of another . In his announcement of an executive order comprised of a host of regulations, Joe Biden carried on this tradition by claiming that “capitalism without competition isn’t capitalism. It’s exploitation.”
The problem with Biden’s formulation is that exploitation lies at the very root of capitalism. Capitalist competition has always rested at the foundation of the U.S. settler colony’s economic base. Land theft, genocide, and mass enslavement of Indigenous and African nations gave the U.S. an early competitive advantage over Western European rivals in the quest for global profit and supremacy. Capitalist competition has led to dozens of wars amongst capitalist powers. World War II, a war over colonial possessions, killed three percent of the world’s population—the majority occurring in China and the Soviet Union . History is clear that capitalist competition is sustained by an intense level of violence toward oppressed nations and classes.
But outright violence in the form of war is only the most naked form of the exploitation inherent to capitalism. Capitalism is a system of production based upon the accumulation of private profit. Capitalists own the means of production for this purpose and workers must sell their labor to them to survive. On the surface, this exchange appears fair and “democratic.” Workers receive a wage for their labor so that they can purchase basic necessities and perhaps become rich themselves. Joe Biden is just the latest mouthpiece of the capitalist class to boast of the “opportunities” that supposedly arise for workers under the regime of capitalist competition.
Capitalist competition is defined by several contradictions, all of which form a nexus of exploitation for the working class. Biden’s executive order is reflective of a very important contradiction within this nexus. The policy is geared toward addressing excessive mergers yet monopoly is exactly what capitalist competition generates. In the hunt to maximize profits, capitalists seek to consolidate the capital necessary to expand production at the lowest possible cost. Monopolization is a natural byproduct of capitalist competition which socializes the production process and intensifies the exploitation of the laboring classes.

Here's HARD LENS MEDIA noting how scared business are becoming of workers.

Sarah Ruiz-Grossman (BLACK AGENDA REPORT) explains the reality of working class America:

A full-time, minimum-wage worker can’t afford even a modest one-bedroom apartment in 93% of U.S. counties, according to a new report.
And nowhere in the U.S. can a person working a standard 40-hour workweek at the federal, state or local from The National Low-Income Housing Coalition.
The group considers someone to be able to “afford” rent if they don’t have to spend more than 30% of their income on housing.
The report found that to be able to afford a modest two-bedroom place, workers in the U.S. would have to earn $24.90 per hour, or $20.40 an hour for a one-bedroom.
The federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour. And the average renter in the U.S. earns only $18.78 per hour, according to the report.
Taking into account local minimum wage rates, the average minimum-wage worker would have to put in nearly 97 hours per week (more than two full-time jobs) to afford a modest two-bedroom rental, or 79 hours per week (nearly two full-time jobs) to afford a one-bedroom apartment.
“One full-time job should be enough,” the report says, urging the federal government to raise the minimum wage, provide more rental assistance, fund the construction of more affordable housing and implement stronger renter protections.

And let me include this episode of THE LEFT LENS from this week with Danny Haiphong.

Danny's video is about imperialism but it's worth including



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


 Friday, July 23, 2021.  A bill moves forward in the US Senate alarming some, DoD preps for Monday's big White House visit, and much more.

We all move a little more towards justice and a just society by events of this week.  Senator Kirsten Gillibrand's office issued the following yesterday:

Following Nearly Ten Years of Relentless Advocacy, Gillibrand’s Bipartisan Military Justice Improvement and Increasing Prevention Act Added to the Senate NDAA; Gillibrand Also Successfully Pushed To Include IRC Recommendations to Improve Climate for Sexual Assault Survivors, Expanded Access To Health Care and Mental Health Services, And Deadline for PFAS Testing at DoD Facilities

Today, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and Chair of the Personnel Subcommittee, announced that several of her provisions were included in the Committee-passed National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2022. As the leading advocate on military sexual assault reform in the Senate, Gillibrand successfully pushed for the inclusion of her bipartisan Military Justice Improvement and Increasing Prevention Act (MJIIPA). She also secured several provisions that would improve the quality of life of service members and their families, including an across-the-board pay increase for service members and civilian DoD employees, expanded access to health care and mental health services, and the implementation of IRC recommendations to improve the climate for sexual assault survivors in the military.

“Congress has a responsibility to make sure we provide our service members with greater flexibility, stability, and support - and today, we delivered,” said Senator Gillibrand, chair of the Senate Armed Services Personnel Subcommittee. “After nearly a decade of advocacy, I am grateful that this year’s National Defense Authorization Act contains the Military Justice Improvement and Increasing Prevention Act, which I introduced earlier this year, and which will move the prosecution of sexual assault and serious crimes from the chain of command to independent, trained, professional military prosecutors. In addition, I am proud to have fought for and successfully included several provisions in the FY22 NDAA that will give our service members, their spouses, and their children access to better child care, pay, and a military justice system worthy of their sacrifice. These monumental programs and provisions are now on their way to becoming law.”

Below is a description of Gillibrand’s provisions included in this year’s NDAA:

Amendments to Implement the Independent Review Commission (IRC) on Sexual Assault in the Military’s Recommendations on Prevention, Climate and Culture, and Victim Care and Support

  • Prevention of Sexual Assault and Harassment: This provision implements all of the IRC’s recommendations on the prevention of sexual assault in the military, including comprehensive, commonsense prevention policies to create a robust data-based prevention infrastructure in the military and National Guard to combat a permissive culture of sexual assault and harassment. Specifically, this provision establishes a dedicated primary prevention workforce and implements community-level prevention strategies unique to the environment of service members.
  • Changing Climate and Culture: This provision implements the Climate and Culture recommendations of the IRC, which would codify and direct the use of sexual harassment and assault metrics as a part of readiness tracking and reporting. It would also educate the force on sexual harassment and assault, use qualitative data to select and evaluate leaders being considered for command positions, and enforce the 2017 National Women, Peace, and Security (WPS) Act.
  • Victim Care and Support: According to the IRC, victims are less likely to come forward and report a case of sexual assault or harassment due to lack of support and fear of retaliation and mistreatment by the military community. This provision would professionalize and separate the Sexual Assault Response Coordinator Program from the chain of command. It would improve victim care infrastructure and support by expanding the victim care workforce and service options to meet the needs of all sexual assault and harassment survivors. It would implement the “No Wrong Door” approach to sexual harassment and domestic abuse, which is a systemic approach to providing health care and trauma response to ensure those seeking help are directed to the right resources and receive better, more consistent care. This provision will help foster an environment where victims feel comfortable coming forward and supported during recovery. 

Paid Parental Leave 

Senator Gillibrand supported Senator Duckworth in her fight to ensure that all service members are able to access paid parental leave that will lead to more stable, healthy military families and, ultimately, better retention, recruitment, and readiness. Increasing access to parental leave has proven to have long-term positive effects on the strength of both parent-child and spousal relationships. Currently, many service members only receive 2-3 weeks of parental leave, and foster parents do not receive any form of paid parental leave. This amendment authorizes up to 12 weeks of parental leave for all service members in the case of birth, adoption, or long-term foster placement of a child. This provision will allow service members to care for their families and take time for themselves during a critical adjustment period and will help them achieve long-term success, both professionally and personally.

Reporting on the Use of Non-Judicial Punishment

Currently, there is no service-wide tracking of the use of non-judicial punishment and the DoD is unable to provide widespread demographic data on its use by commanders. Without this information, Congress is unable to do its constitutionally mandated responsibility of oversight when data is not available. This amendment, which had bipartisan support, would require a statistical analysis of the demographic data of the accused, commander and victim as well as information on the offense, investigation and adjudication at court-martial.  

Pay Raise for Military Members

The Senate NDAA, supported by Senator Gillibrand, provides a 2.7% pay raise for service members and the DoD workforce.

Military Child Care

Along with Senator Duckworth, Senator Gillibrand pushed to include funding that will improve the quality and availability of child care services for service members and their families. The FY22 National Defense Authorization Act includes funding to encourage the military services to seek out creative solutions to solve child care availability challenges, including exploring options to create public-private partnerships to increase capacity and availability of quality child care for service members and their dependents and meet the real-life needs of military families. Service members can defer their parental leave to a later year if occupied with a professional circumstance that is deemed reasonable and appropriate. 


Gillibrand successfully pushed to include critical per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) provisions in the final NDAA negotiations. Earlier this year, she introduced the Filthy Fifty Act, which would help expedite the testing, cleanup, removal, and remediation of PFAS at all U.S. military installations and State-owned National Guard facilities by setting testing and cleanup deadlines for PFAS remediation at the most contaminated DoD sites in the country. The bill establishes a list of “priority installations” with 50 bases in the U.S. that have among the highest detections of PFAS. The FY22 NDAA included three provisions modeled after this important piece of legislation, including a provision to establish a two-year deadline for the DoD to complete testing for PFAS at all currently identified military installations and National Guard facilities. Gillibrand also secured a provision that requires the DoD to submit a report to Congress with the status of efforts to remediate PFAS at 50 priority installations, matching those listed in the Filthy Fifty Act, that are among the most contaminated with PFAS. The final provision establishes a schedule with proposed deadlines to complete PFAS remediation at all military bases, National Guard facilities, and formerly used defense sites that have been identified as having a PFAS release related to DoD activities.

U.S-Israel Cooperative Missile Defense

Senator Gillibrand secured $500,000,000 in the Senate text for U.S.-Israel cooperative missile defense programs, which will assist in the development of short, medium, and long-range missile defense systems to protect Israeli citizens. This funding is in line with the 2016 Memorandum of Understanding that includes funding for the Iron Dome, David’s Sling and Arrow programs. 

Assessment and Treatment of Traumatic Brain Injury or Havana Syndrome

Havana Syndrome is the term given to the anomalous health conditions that were first experienced by the U.S. Embassy staff in Havana, Cuba in 2016. Gillibrand secured $30 million for the Defense Health Program to improve the understanding and treatment of Havana Syndrome. This funding and language would provide any U.S. government employee and their family members experiencing symptoms access to the National Intrepid Center of Excellence at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center for assessment in a timely manner. 

Military Health Care

The bill authorizes coverage of preconception and prenatal carrier screening tests for certain medical conditions under the TRICARE program. It also directs the Secretary of Defense to report to Congress on the increase of TRICARE co-pays for Group A beneficiaries. The increased co-pays have resulted in higher costs for service members seeking mental health care and speech, physical, and occupational therapy. Additionally, the DoD is expected to develop a plan to ensure that when beneficiaries are referred for mental health care they receive direct assistance in identifying appropriate mental health providers within the direct care system or TRICARE network.  A 2020 DoD IG report revealed barriers that have led to delays, and in some cases, the inability to receive coverage.

Digital Service Academy

Senator Gillibrand recognizes that the development of digital and technical talent is essential to our national security and innovation needs, and will only grow increasingly essential in the decades to come. To that end, she secured language directing the Secretary of Defense to assess the Department of Defense’s cyber and information operation requirements that includes an assessment of developing a National Cyber Academy to train military and civilian personnel.

Military Justice

Senator Gillibrand is the lead advocate in the Senate for improving the military justice system. Her bipartisan legislation, the Military Justice Improvement and Increasing Prevention Act (MJIIPA), would move the prosecution of sexual assault and serious crimes from the chain of command to independent, trained, professional military prosecutors. MJIIPA was included in this year’s NDAA, along with several amendments based on recommendations offered by the Independent Review Commission. Along with these reforms, several of Senator Gillibrand’s military justice provisions were also included in the bill, including the following:

  • Creates an exception to the Privacy Act to allow victims of crimes to receive information on the administrative adjudication of their case. 
  • Authorizes the Department of Defense Safe Helpline to receive sexual assault reports in both unrestricted and restricted forms, and to provide support to victims making such reports. 
  • Requires the Secretary of Defense to designate an office to track allegations of retaliation by victims of sexual assault or sexual harassment.
  • Requires the Secretary of Defense to include information on race and ethnicity of victims and accused to the maximum extent practicable in the annual Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office (SAPRO) Report. This allows for the exclusion of such information, if necessary, based on privacy concerns, impacts on accountability efforts, or other matters of importance, as determined by the Secretary of Defense.
  • Directs the Secretary of Defense to conduct a legal review to determine the constitutionality of UCMJ Article 52 in light of the Supreme Court decision in Ramos v. Louisiana, holding that the Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution requires unanimous verdicts for criminal convictions in State criminal trials. Article 52 of the UCMJ only requires concurrence of three-fourths of the members present to convict an accused person on a non-capital offense.

Burn Pits

Throughout the preceding decades of deployments, more than three million service members have been exposed to toxins due to the widespread use of burn pits in deployed environments, with many subsequently developing cancers and respiratory diseases. The cause of these illnesses goes unrecognized because doctors fail to connect the toxic exposure with their symptoms. This provision will require Department of Defense doctors to be trained on the signs of toxic exposure in order to receive the appropriate treatment and coverage for these service-connected injuries.

Civilian Access to Special Victim Prosecutors

Victim attorneys have become an invaluable part of the military justice system and ensure the survivors have a trusted guide through every stage of the process, from report through appeals, and cannot be denied this valuable service. Under this provision, Special Victim Counsel and Victims’ Legal Counsel are now authorized to provide victim services to all civilian victims of alleged sex-related offenses committed by a member of the military. Civilian victims are much less likely to see their case adjudicated and would benefit greatly from legal representation throughout the process. 

Sexual Assault Response Coordinator (SARC) Military Occupational Specialty (MOS)

In response to the Fort Hood Independent Review Committee, this provision tasks the Department of Defense with evaluating options for establishing a Sexual Assault Response Coordinator (SARC) military operational specialty (MOS) and reporting its findings and recommendations to Congress.  

Equality in the Selective Service

Senator Gillibrand advocated for the modernization of the Selective Service System to include all persons instead of only males, based on the recommendation of the congressionally-mandated National Commission on Military, National, and Public Service in their Inspired to Serve report. This provision will amend the Selective Service Act to require women to register for selective service. This will ensure gender equality for selective service by having men and women share the responsibility of defense of the United States.

You can't have any victory -- even the indications of one -- without some carping.  Which is how you get Tiny Tommy Spoehr and Little Cully Stimson -- tiny boys, small boys, really tiny -- whining at THE DAILY SIGNAL:

The New York Democrat’s bill—euphemistically misnamed the Military Justice Improvement and Increasing Prevention Act—would strip the authority from military commanders to enforce good order and discipline for those under their command. That, of course, is essential to accomplishing the mission. 

Oh, stick each other's members in your mouths and suck.  You don't have anything worth saying.  Especially true of Tommy who acheived ranking status in the US military but never did a damn thing with that rank to address justice and still doesn't.

We're talking about crimes here and a military system that has tolerated them.  It has looked the other way.  Here's ar eality for the two little boys jerking off in public, military commanders are not and should not be in charge of legal justice.  Where is the check and balance?  No where to be found.  If someone commits a crime, they should be punished  but for far too long military commanders have protected 'favored sons' and for too long they have not treated issues like beating a spouse as a crime.  

They are the problem.  Those type of commanders as well as Tiny Tommy and Little Cully.  

What message is sent when the rules -- laws -- are not followed?

Too many commanders think they're above the law and that they make the law.  They do not.  THey're not members of Congress.  They're not even supposed to interpret the law -- they're not part of the judicial branch.  But over and over they have acted as such and the effects have been toxic and deadly.

We all get that a church shooting most likely would not have happened if the military followed the law instead of acting as though it was above it, right?

Earlier this month, Ann observed:

Do you care about gun control? What I do not understand is why there is always a push for more laws. Seems to me that the problem is more that the laws aren't enforced. Case in point, Davin Kelley. No, not the actress. This is the man who shot up the church in Sutherland Springs, Texas on November 5, 2017. He left 25 people dead another 20 injured.

He never should have had a gun. He was in the military and was 'convicted' while in the Air Force. But military justice thinks it's above the law. So they didn't follow the law, the US military didn't. Though he was convicted of a violent crime by 'military justice' -- domestic violence -- the Air Force did not turn the conviction over to the FBI. Had they done so, he wouldn't have been allowed to have a gun. That was my 'opinion.' Today, that became the way it is because a court ruled. AP reports:


 A federal judge has ruled that the U.S. Air Force is mostly responsible for a former serviceman killing more than two dozen people at a Texas church in 2017 because it failed to submit his criminal history into a database, which should have prevented him from purchasing firearms.
U.S. District Judge Xavier Rodriguez in San Antonio wrote in a ruling signed Wednesday that the Air Force was “60% responsible" for the deaths and injuries at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs. The attack remains the worst mass shooting in Texas history.

So if the military had done their job, the terror might not have taken place. They should pay for this, they should be financially liable. And this should make us grasp that military burying convictions for rape and domestic abuse in the ranks is a danger to our society.

The military's refusal to follow US law has very real consequences.  

And most Americans are unaware to this day of what the military was doing in the '00s to control (lower) the numbers of actual assault.  They weren't working to stop assault, please understand.  They were working to hide assault and to protect rapists.  Raped by a military member?  Well how about we put you over here in this secret group and then no one ever knows that your rapist never faced punishment and are statistics we report are lower than the actual numbers.  This was sold as a program to help survivors.  I sat in disbelief the day in Congress when a bitch -- yeah, they got a woman to front that program -- with DoD babbled on about how this helped women.  

Now I can be wrong and often am.  Before I dicated that day's snapshot, I called three friends whose expertise is rape counseling.  They were shocked by what I was saying and they had me reqad quotes to them from the DoD Queen Bee.  No, that program wouldn't help survivors and no one had bothered to include any expert on rape because this wasn't about empowering, this was about furthering silence, this was about imposing shame on the survivors.  They weren't being lifted up, they were being told to be silent, they were being told to hide what happened to them.  

Do the two tiny-dicked boys want to address that?  Or did The Heritage Foundation not hand them a talking point for that?

Time and again, the culture in the military has been ignored.  It's a toxic environment.  That's why we have to say Post-Traumatic Stress here.  If you attach "disorder" to it, you're going to not reach a number of people -- current members and veterans -- because a disorder is just not something natural and it's a failing on the individual and blah blah blah.  

It's why efforts to combat military and veteran suicides continue to struggle.  

The culture itself is the problem.  I'm not talking about going to war -- I'm not in favor of war -- I'm talking about the system that's in place whether we're talking pace time service, combat or training roles in the world.  

It's why, in the middle of the Iraq War, a US soldier, Steven D. Green, and four of his buddies, all stationed in Iraq, could plot to gang-rape a 14-year-old girl, could plot to leave base in the middle of the night for several hours, break into Abeer Qassim Hamza al-Janabi ;'s home.

It's why they thought that was something that they could get away with.  That they could break into the home, kill her five-year-old sister, kill both of her parents, gang-rape her, murder her and then try to set her body on fire to hide their crimes.

The two tiny dicked boys Tommy and Cully don't know a damn thing about that and don't care about it.  They've never felt threatened and they don't really see assault as a crime, if they did they wouldn't write such garbage.  

US military commanders are not members of three branches of the federal government.  They should not be allowed to act as though they are.  A crime is c rime.  It should be treated the same in the civilian world and the military world.  

The little fellows pose as caring about survivors but they miss the point even when they have the space to make it.  They miss the point that it's not just rape.  They don't even bring up domestic abuse.  Because that's how little they care.  As they themselves are admitting -- without grasping it -- if a man beats his wife with a tire iron but he's necessary for some potential mission some day, the commander can give him a slap on the wrist under the current system.

And, I reject, we all should reject, the notion that some special skill that might be needed some day means a commander can excuse assault or abuse.

The little boys babble on but don't seem to grasp that this action sends a message and says that certain crimes will be tolerated and ignored.  That sends a message.  And do you really want someone in war, to inflict that person on a unit, when he can't follow the basic laws?  Maybe you do.  But don't pretend this is about team morale.  

The little boys pretend a great deal.  They live in the land of pretend.  In the real world, Patricia Kime (MILITARY TIMES) reports:

The decision to prosecute sexual assault or other serious crimes such as kidnapping or murder would be made by military attorneys outside a unit's chain of command under an agreement reached by the Senate Armed Services Committee late Wednesday.

The panel, deliberating a proposed $740 billion defense policy bill this week, agreed to include all provisions of New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand's Military Justice Improvement Act, which calls for removing prosecutorial decisions for serious crimes that aren't inherently related to military service from unit commanders.


While there's success in the Senate, in Nancy Pelosi's House, there's so much lack of organization that you truly have to wonder if there is a living Speaker of the House?  Maybe if she could stop trying to get press and start doing the job (one she's too old for), the House Democrats wouldn't be struggling to figure ou what they're going to do?

In other news, we'll note this from the US Defense Dept:

                                                               Immediate Release

Readout of the U.S.-Iraq Military Technical Talks, as Part of the U.S.-Iraq Strategic Dialogue

July 22, 2021                                      

Pentagon Press Secretary John F. Kirby provided the following readout:

Dr. Mara Karlin, Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs, hosted Qassem al-Araji, Iraq National Security Advisor; Staff General al-Shimary, Deputy Commander of the Joint Operations Center – Iraq; and a military delegation from the Government of Iraq for the next iteration of the U.S.-Iraq Military Technical Talks, as part of the U.S.-Iraq Strategic Dialogue.  

During the meeting, both parties reaffirmed the importance of the U.S.-Iraq bilateral security relationship, their shared commitment to the D-ISIS mission, and the need for U.S. and Coalition to be able to safely support the Iraqi Security Forces.  They also discussed the long-term U.S.-Iraq security cooperation partnership and areas for cooperation beyond counterterrorism.

Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III joined the delegation, reiterated his commitment to the Defeat-ISIS mission, and reaffirmed his steadfast support for the U.S.-Iraq strategic partnership.

Monday, Iraq's prime minister, Mustafa al-Kadhimi, is set to meet with the president of the Untied States, Joe Biden.  In October, elections are supposed to be held in Iraq.  Mustafa wants a second term.  The CIA wants Mustafa to have a second term.

How do they generate excitement about someone who is a complete failure?

Maybe that's why Mustafa is visiting Joe?  For tips?

Oh, we kid.  We joke.

Mustafa is supposed to be the 'victor' who gets US troops out of Iraq and a whorish and lying press is happy to pretend that will take place.

If any troops leave, it will be some, not all.  We've seen this before.  "Combat troops."  That's who is leaving if anyone leaves.  Iraq is a combat zone.  That was already established years ago.  If you're in Iraq and you're a US service member, you are in combat.

But the ones who remain -- if a deal is struck -- will be called "trainers" and that will allow them to lie and claim US troops are out of Iraq.  They won't be.

Some may go with "combat troops" are out.  

Is journalism supposed to obscure or enlighten and inform?

We'll note this REUTERS video.

From yesterday's snapshot:

People in conflict are at risk around the world.  17-year-old Ali Adil is only one such person.  Mina Aldroubi (THE NATIONAL) reports:

An Iraqi social media influencer has attracted the attention of top officials in Washington with a plea to President Joe Biden to help him seek refuge outside of the country.

High school pupil Ali Adil, 17, has been using social media platforms for the last five years to convey the struggles of young Iraqis as they experience few employment opportunities, electricity cuts, poor public services and deteriorating security.

His effort to publicise his plight was spotted by a top US diplomat in the Middle East, Joey Hood, acting assistant secretary at the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs.

In his latest video posted on Instagram, Ali is seen standing on a rooftop on a hot summer's day with the sound of gunshots in the background, telling Mr Biden that he will “commit suicide and jump from the building” if he does not receive help from Washington.

“Biden if you don’t help me I will jump, I’m not joking with you, I’m on the rooftop, if you don’t help me I will die, can you hear the fire in the background? This is normal in Iraq,” the teenager said.

At the US State Dept's Twitter feed, this was posted:

Acting Assistant Secretary Hood responds to Ali Adil:

MEMO notes:

In addition to the global pandemic, there is widespread unemployment in Iraq, failing public services due to widespread political corruption and ongoing security concerns.

Protests have continued in the country since 2019 over various issues including frequent electricity shortages and power outages and lack of accountability for the targeting of activists.

Acting Assistant Secretary at the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs Joey Hood picked up on the video, recording his own response: "Please Allawi, we in America love you, do not jump, I'm not Joe Biden, but Joey Hood, and life is precious."

"Iraq needs you; your voice is important for Iraq, I cannot bring you to the US but if I ever visit Iraq I'll make sure to see you."

Halgurd Sherwani (KURDISTAN 24) adds:

Joey Hood, acting assistant secretary of the US State Department Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, later responded to Adil, pleading with him not to jump.

“We in America love you,” Hood said, encouraging the young Iraqi to vote in elections to change the country’s future.

Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al Kadhimi hosted Adil at his office in Baghdad on Wednesday, stressing that he told the young man he had “complete freedom” to criticize the government.

The following sties updated:

Thursday, July 22, 2021


First up, Jimmy Dore.

Fauci is an idiot who has botched the role of public spokesperson from the beginning. He needs to be replaced if there is going to be any sort of trust

SUPERMAN AND LOIS? The message of this week's episode?

It's not easy being Lois.

Her father Sam, realizing how close he came to harming Clark and Jordan (since Jordan has super powers) told Clark he was getting rid of the kryptonite weapons, would put them in concrete and bury them. And Clark wasn't okay with it. He wants the weapons to exist. In case the world ever needs saving from him. Lois is very angry. She points out that recently his brother might have controlled his brain but was unable to control his heart. Furthermore, if the weapons exist, then the greater the chance that one of his enemies could get a hold of them.

She's yelling and she tells him she feels bad but she can't stop yelling right now because she has to go to the police station since Jordan's gotten arrested so she's going to need to yell to scare him..

She came home to Clark with Jon and Jon was there and not at school because he skipped. She was so upset about the weapons that she didn't have time to talk to Jon about skipping, just sent him to his room.

Jordan and Jon? They both skipped. Lana's daughter felt uncomfortable with all the kids blaming her dad for Morgan Edge (Superman's brother) and the plot to control them. It's not Kyle's fault but everyone is turning on him. So Jordan went off with Lana's daughter to a wooded area. They kissed for the first time but were broken up by a police officer who arrested them.


Smallville was almost destroyed and you had citizens flying through the air and so much more and you got this police woman hunting through woods to find people to arrest for truancy?

Get a grip.

Jon was planning on staying in school. But a female student flirted with him. They went off together but he left her after he found out she was just pumping him for answers. He went home and into the barn and was talking to Luther when Clark came in and discovered Jon had skipped.

At the police station, Lana gets her daughter but here's Kyle's boss trashing Kyle and blaming him. This after the boss earlier swore to Kyle that he was working to get him back in his job -- neither Lana nor Kyle have jobs after the Morgan Edge disaster. Lana confronts him. Lois overhears. She tells Lana that the mayor has a punchable face. She also explains that the people feel powerless and want someone to blame so they won't have to blame themselves and that's why they're blaming Kyle.

It was a good episode but it really was one where everything lands on Lois' shoulders. I didn't even get into the issues regarding reporting and how her father and Clark are pressuring her to cover up the story of what happened.


Here's Mike's "Iraq snapshot:"

Thursday, July 22, 2021.  As Muarafa al-Kadhimi prepares to meet with US President Joe Biden, many Iraqis make requests to Joe.

People in conflict are at risk around the world.  17-year-old Ali Adil is only one such person.  Mina Aldroubi (THE NATIONAL) reports:

An Iraqi social media influencer has attracted the attention of top officials in Washington with a plea to President Joe Biden to help him seek refuge outside of the country.

High school pupil Ali Adil, 17, has been using social media platforms for the last five years to convey the struggles of young Iraqis as they experience few employment opportunities, electricity cuts, poor public services and deteriorating security.

His effort to publicise his plight was spotted by a top US diplomat in the Middle East, Joey Hood, acting assistant secretary at the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs.

In his latest video posted on Instagram, Ali is seen standing on a rooftop on a hot summer's day with the sound of gunshots in the background, telling Mr Biden that he will “commit suicide and jump from the building” if he does not receive help from Washington.

“Biden if you don’t help me I will jump, I’m not joking with you, I’m on the rooftop, if you don’t help me I will die, can you hear the fire in the background? This is normal in Iraq,” the teenager said.

At the US State Dept's Twitter feed, this was posted:

Acting Assistant Secretary Hood responds to Ali Adil:

MEMO notes:

In addition to the global pandemic, there is widespread unemployment in Iraq, failing public services due to widespread political corruption and ongoing security concerns.

Protests have continued in the country since 2019 over various issues including frequent electricity shortages and power outages and lack of accountability for the targeting of activists.

Acting Assistant Secretary at the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs Joey Hood picked up on the video, recording his own response: "Please Allawi, we in America love you, do not jump, I'm not Joe Biden, but Joey Hood, and life is precious."

"Iraq needs you; your voice is important for Iraq, I cannot bring you to the US but if I ever visit Iraq I'll make sure to see you."

Halgurd Sherwani (KURDISTAN 24) adds:

Joey Hood, acting assistant secretary of the US State Department Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, later responded to Adil, pleading with him not to jump.

“We in America love you,” Hood said, encouraging the young Iraqi to vote in elections to change the country’s future.

Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al Kadhimi hosted Adil at his office in Baghdad on Wednesday, stressing that he told the young man he had “complete freedom” to criticize the government.

Ali has "complete freedom" to speak his mind?  The only ones with complete freedom in Iraq are the assassins in the security forces (militias) who kill with impunity.  We'll note this Tweet:

A young girl holds a picture of her brother who was killed by the Iraqi government during peaceful protests. #إنهاء_الإفلات_من_العقاب #EndImpunity in iraq

That's the 'freedom' the Iraqi people see on the streets of their country, the 'freedom' of assassins.  The people?  They suffer.

July 26th, Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kahdimi will visit with US President Joe Biden.  Will anyone in the press pool for that photo-op dare to bring up Ali?  Are they too scared to mention the 17-year-old's name?  

They probably are too scared.  They've gotten their marching orders, sell the failure Mustafa for a second term as prime minister.  If you can't outright lie to create a positive buzz around him, just say he's the best that Iraq could have, right?

Mustafa's Iraq?  Margaret Stanton (The Organization For World Peace) explains:

Dozens of people died in a fire at Al-Hussein Teaching Hospital in Nasiriyah, Iraq. There are various reports disputing the death toll, from the Health Ministry saying 60 to Iraq’s state news industry reporting 92 deaths. This is the second deadly fire to occur in one of Iraq’s coronavirus wards in three months. The police announced that sparks from a faulty wiring system caused an oxygen tank to explode, leading to the fire. Additionally, reports on the hospital’s condition highlighted the lack of basic safety infrastructures, like fire sprinkler systems and fire alarms. 

An anonymous medic told Reuters, “[W]e complained many times… that a tragedy could happen any moment from a cigarette stub, but every time we get the same answer from health officials: ‘We don’t have enough money’.” According to Johns Hopkins University, Iraq has experienced over 17,000 deaths and 1.4 million confirmed COVID-19 cases. It is experiencing a third wave due to the delta variant. The country’s hospitals, which were already neglected from decades of war and widespread corruption, have been severely overwhelmed and strained by the pandemic. 

Iraq’s new isolation wards are missing crucial safety measures, causing doctors and patients alike to fear the hospitals. “[…When I’m on call I numb myself because every hospital in Iraq is at high risk of burning down every single moment,” said Hadeel al-Ashabl, a Baghdad doctor working in an isolation ward like the one in Nasiriyah. Although patients refuse treatment inside hospitals, “it’s also out of their hands.” Local media reported that 13 arrest warrants were issued, including one for the province’s health chief Saddam Sahib al-Taweel by the Integrity Investigation Court. As the government is trying to investigate and find out who is responsible for the fire, angry relatives clashed with police, setting fire to two police vehicles, a Reuters witness said. 

Mustafa's Iraq?  Fuwaz Turki (GULF NEWS) also details Mustafa's Iraq:

Iraq is a resource-rich nation where, if the reservoir of oil it has in the ground is money in the bank, Iraqis today would be wealthy folks. But they are not. The country they inhabit has one of the highest poverty rates among middle-income economies in the world, with a staggering 36 per cent unemployment rate.

Iraq, it seems, has fallen into an abyss. And whenever Iraqis gaze at that abyss, as they daily do, it gazes beckoningly back at them.

Ravaged Syria and Lebanon can now pass the torch on to Iraq — that ancient land between the Tigris and the Euphrates, once the vanguard of Arab and Islamic civilisation — as the epicentre of a suffering humanity living chaotic, helpless lives, at the receiving end of corruption, ineptitude and double-dealing by self-serving elites to whom the rules of the social contract are there to be broken.

Why? Why has it come to this in so many countries in the Arab World, a world once known to an earlier generation as the Arab Nation, where Arabs were confident that one day, and soon, they would live as one united people possessed of a dynamic voice in the global dialogue of cultures?

[. . .]

Next Monday, US President Joe Biden will host Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi at the White House. Were I the American president I would have some rancorous words to say to the Iraqi prime minister, directed clearly not at the visiting diplomat personally but at the excesses that his government has allowed those “political parties” responsible for the tragedy in Nasiriya to get away with.

Taif Alkhudary (THE NEW ARAB) offers:

The fires in Al Hussein and Ibn Al-Khatib hospitals are symptomatic of the larger issue of systemic political corruption in Iraq. This has allowed the same political elites that were empowered by the US and its allies in 2003 to hold on to the reins of government for over 18 years, without providing even the most basic of services to their citizens. 

The deterioration of public services in Iraq can be traced back to the Iran-Iraq war when spending on public goods was already being cut. This deficit was later exacerbated by the most comprehensive sanctions programme to be placed on any country in history, making it difficult to procure medicines and equipment from abroad or to provide comprehensive training to medical professionals. 

Following the implementation of the Muhasasa Al Ta'ifia or the ethno-sectarian apportionment system in 2003, the health system began to deteriorate even further.

This new political system, which was supposed to ensure rights and representation for all, has actually meant that after every election cabinet positions and civil service jobs are divided between the dominant ethno-sectarian political parties. These same parties then appoint their most loyal civil servants to key positions within the ministries they gain. In turn, they use their positions to embezzle public funds and ensure that they end up in party coffers. 

A recent Chatham House report revealed that senior civil service positions have become so lucrative that in recent election negotiations, parties opted to obtain these posts over cabinet positions as means of ensuring that public funds go back into their pockets. This means that instead of funding vital public infrastructure such as health services, political parties use public money to fund their own activities and interests. 

Who among the US press will bring reality to the photo-op next Monday?  Probably no one.  They're not their to tell the truth, after all, they're present to advance a narrative and narratives are pre-determined.

Mustafa offers faux rage from time to time which always fits the narrative.  He never does anything.  He okays a US bombing of Iraq and then he offers public statements (a) pretending to be shocked by the bombing he knew about and (b) pretending to be outraged.  He is in it for Iraq, he lies.  When Iraqi citizens are shot down in the streets by Mustafa's own forces, he won't even bring the killers to justice.  When Iraqi women are raped, he doesn't give a damn.  Matthew Russell Lee (INNER CITY PRES) reports:

Hypocrisy on Iraq by the UN under Antonio Guterres is on display. Guterres has covered up the rapes of Iraqis by UN former staff member Karim Elkorany, arrested then freed on $500,000 bond on September 2, 2020 in connection with drugging and raping women in Iraq while working for the UN in 2016, then allegedly lying to the FBI about it in 2017. See below.

  But on July 21, 2021, with Guterres' main spokesman / censor Stephane Dujarric on extended vacation, the UN Security Council issued a boiler plate statement while refusing to do any oversight of UN rapes, or Guterres' censorship: "The members of the Security Council condemned in the strongest terms the cowardly terrorist attack in Baghdad, Iraq, on Monday, 19 July 2021. The attack, which was claimed by Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da’esh), resulted in at least 30 deaths and at least 50 injured.     The members of the Security Council expressed their deepest sympathy and condolences to the families of the victims and to the Government of Iraq, and they wished a speedy and full recovery to those who were injured.     The members of the Security Council reiterated their support for the independence, sovereignty, unity, territorial integrity, democratic process and prosperity of Iraq.     The members of the Security Council reaffirmed that terrorism in all its forms and manifestations constitutes one of the most serious threats to international peace and security.     The members of the Security Council underlined the need to hold perpetrators, organizers, financiers and sponsors of these reprehensible acts of terrorism accountable and bring them to justice, and urged all States, in accordance with their obligations under international law and relevant Security Council resolutions, to cooperate actively with the Government of Iraq and all other relevant authorities in this regard."

  A superseding indictment belatedly unsealed on October 29 said Elkorany raped a UN contractor, in the US and Dohuk, Iraq. And still the UN did nothing.

 On November 9, another brief status conference in the case, which Inner City Press live tweeted:

AUSA Richenthal says the US is reviewing more electronic devices.

Elkorany's lawyer Dawn Cardi asks for 90 more days' delay, since some of the discovery is marked "Restricted." 

Mustafa is a failure.  Fires are breaking out in hospitals due to lack of oversight.  Hospital staff are quitting because Mustafa never fixes anything, just fires and arrests people.  Installing fire alarms and fire sprinklers?  Mustafa won't get off his lazy ass and order that.  And, in the midst of a pandemic, there are no real precautions to protect the Iraqi people.  Dijilah Tweets:

There are students infected with corona, however, they must attend and take the exam with the rest of the students and in the same class #Biden_save_the_students_iraq

Sanna Tweets:

#الاضراب_العام_الطلابي Iraqi students in universities want electronic exams, and the Minister of Higher Education sacrifices students and forces them to perform them in the halls despite the increase in infection among students..

We're going to wind down with Black Alliance for Peace.  First, BLACK AGENDA REPORT'S Margaret Kimberley speaking about whistleblower Daniel Hale.

And now this statement from BAP:

For Immediate Release

Media Contact:

(202) 643-1136

JULY 16, 2021—The Black Alliance for Peace stands in solidarity with the sentiments and positions the Black Lives Matter coalition recently expressed on U.S. policies on Cuba. The moral hypocrisy and historic myopia of U.S. liberals and conservatives, who have unfairly attacked BLM’s statement on Cuba, is breathtaking. 

Their reaction comes on the heels of another in a series of annual votes in the United Nations, when most of the world’s countries—except for the United States and Israel—overwhelmingly supported ending the murderous six-decade-long economic embargo against Cuba.

Not only do Democrats and Republicans join hands to defy the world by refusing to lift the embargo. U.S. congresspeople as well as the anti-communist and anti-Black corporate press display their duplicity by continuing the subversion against Cuba. This only demonstrates for oppressed working-class and colonized people—once again—that the U.S. ruling class remains united in its hostility to any socialist project and sees all such attempts by global South nations as existential threats to the rule of capital.

BAP welcomes the principled stance taken by BLM and hopes BLM will continue to be a visible force in the ongoing struggle against war, subversion, militarism, intervention and the economic exploitation that is at the center of U.S. imperial policies. Too often, BAP has been a lone voice in opposition, a position fundamental to the Black Radical Tradition.

Progressive Black forces are making the connections between the U.S. reaction to Cuba, Haiti, Colombia and the United States deploying its military on the African continent in the form of the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM). That connection links back to the United States when we understand these policies are directly related to the militarization and violence of police forces in the United States and to the economic and social crisis of the capitalist system.

It is only by making those connections and building an effective unified Black working class-based opposition that real leadership can be given to the movement for substantial social change in the United States. BAP sees this as the historic task of the current Black revolutionary movement. Going forward, BAP hopes we will be able to find a way toward the unity of all Black, colonized, working-class and poor people in the United States.

The following sites updated: