President Joe Biden is turning 80 this weekend, but the big bash at the White House is for an entirely different and more youthful occasion. Naomi Biden, Biden’s oldest granddaughter, married Peter Neal on the White House South Lawn on Saturday.
One day following the nuptials, Biden will mark his spot in
American history as the only octogenarian president, a numerical
milestone that shines a spotlight on a primary issue plaguing Biden with
his opponents: his age. Despite a spate of recent wins –
better-than-projected midterm elections for Democrats, a relatively
gaffe-less trip to Egypt and Asia, and a lackluster presidential announcement from his old rival, Donald Trump – Biden cannot shake being the oldest commander-in-chief America has ever had.
But a glossy wedding of two twenty-somethings, kicking off a fresh
life chapter with music and dancing and revelry, could put a youthful
spin on the 80th birthday weekend. Two people familiar with the planning
of the wedding say it was not a coincidence Naomi Biden’s wedding
weekend coincides with the president’s day – noting the “age issue” is
never something Biden wants to highlight.
“The wedding gives some cover,” says one of the people.
Yeah, a wedding's going to make us forget he's 80-years-old. Right.
Only just over half of Democratic voters want President Joe Biden to run for a second term in 2024 despite better than expected results for the Democrats in last week's midterm elections, a new poll has found.
A Redfield & Wilton Strategies poll conducted for Newsweek found that 51 percent of Democratic voters supported Biden running again in two years, while 37 percent said he should not and a further 12 percent said they didn't know.
Friday, November 18, 2022. Corruption in Iraq, marriage equality and abortion in the US, Will Lehman, BROS and so much more.
and marriage equality. A number of e-mails have come in about those
two topics which are related in many ways. Let's start with marriage
There will be a floor vote in the Senate. Here's Senator Tammy Baldwin's statement on what took place this week:
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) released the
following statement following the Senate vote, 62-37, to advance the Respect for Marriage Act.
we took a step forward in our fight to give millions of loving couples
the certainty, dignity, and respect that they need and deserve. A
bipartisan coalition of Senators stood with the overwhelming majority of
Americans who support marriage equality. We came together to move the
Respect for Marriage Act forward and give the millions of Americans in
same-sex and interracial marriages the certainty that they will continue
to enjoy the freedoms, rights, and responsibilities afforded to all
other marriages,” said Senator Baldwin. “I am proud to
have worked across the aisle to earn broad, bipartisan support for this
legislation, and look forward to making marriage equality the law of the
And it should be the law of the land. But it's not yet. I'll celebrate when it is.
In the meantime we're getting garbage coverage.
reporters printing lies. I've got four to choose from, they all go
with the same lie, but we'll just use one. Playground honor will
prevent us from identifying the author of the one we're using but Google
will snitch on her if you copy and paste the paragraph below into a
If you’re wondering why protecting same-sex and interracial marriage is
even something that needs to be voted on in the year of our Lord 2022,
the legislation was prompted by comments from Supreme Court Justice
Clarence Thomas, who recently said that
the Court should reconsider opinions protecting access to contraception
and same-sex and interracial marriages. (It’s worth noting that Thomas
is also in an interracial marriage, having been married to Virginia
“Ginni” Thomas since 1987.)
Do you see the problem? Three other outlets also can't get it right.
And worst of all, she thinks she's cute with her parenthetical.
Clarry Thomas did not bring up LOVING V VIRGINIA. That's the case that
overturned bans on interracial marriage. He listed marriage equality,
he listed sodomy and he listed birth control. LOVING is founded on the
same due process aspect. But Clarry omitted it precisely because he is
in an interracial marriage -- exposing himself as a hypocrite. Many of
us called him out on it when his concurring opinion (what the reporter
calls "comments") was issued -- that includes Samuel L. Jackson who was
very vocal about the hypocrisy (I would praise anyone for speaking out
but, disclosure, Samuel is a good friend of mine).
I hope it becomes the law of the land and we'll be thrilled here if it
does. But, again, we'll celebrate then, we'll breathe easy then.
We thought ROE was the law of the land until a cabal conspired to shred precedent and overturn fifty years of settled court law.
during those decades, we watched as Democrats chipped away at it. Our
'friend' Hillary, of course, was part of the attack on abortion rights
in the immediate months after the 2004 election. You had a plan by the
party -- by leaders in the party -- to push the Democrats away from
abortion. They paid various little peons to write non-thought pieces on
it. And you had various politicians come forward to move the party
away from abortion rights. Hillary took part in that. THE NEW YORK
TIMES documented it.
So let's step pretending
that We the American People have any groups of friends in Congress when
it comes to reproductive rights. As Elaine noted,
while people are listing Nancy Pelosi's supposed accomplishments as
Speaker of the House, the reality is that she was Speaker of the House
when women lost significant rights. Way to go, Nance.
had ROE and we had years of chipping away at it. Poor women were, of
course, the first to suffer. And we can blame men because men were in
Congress and women really don't come into Congress in significant
numbers until the 1992 genderquake (resulting largely from the country
seeing the way the Senate demonized Anita Hill). But the reality is,
ROE continued to be sliced and diced.
And when it wasn't being chipped away at, it was being used as a political football.
it not only would have saved reproductive rights, it would have pulled a
get-out-the-vote tool from the Democratic Party not to mention a
fundraising tool for the party.
And that, let's
be honest, is why Nancy never led on codifying it and why Barack Obama
broke his campaign promise that the first thing he would do as president
was codify ROE.
If you supported ROE you were held hostage for years by the Democratic Party.
They didn't protect it by making it law, they didn't protect it by ensuring that all women had equal access.
They used it.
And some are e-mailing saying that I'm not celebrating our victory in the midterms.
I don't see it as a victory and I'll explain why.
But we did note WSWS's live coverage blog when they noted the victories in various states in this month's elections.
waited and waited -- in vain? -- for the Feminist Majority Foundation
to put out some statement. Maybe they're not feeling it -- I'm not
feeling it -- and maybe we're both wary for the same reason.
The American people turned out and supported the right to privacy. They did a great job.
But the people usually do.
It's the politicians that don't.
Democrats lost the House. That's reality. They should have lost it by
a bigger percentage, they should have lost the Senate.
Abortion is what saved them.
And as I write that I cringe because they don't have a history of standing up. They have a history of using and abusing.
use an example from this century. As a party, they supported the Iraq
War. After the people turned against it, the party began to find its
voice. (There were members against the war who were in Congress, they
did not steer the party.) Finally, in 2006, Nancy promised us that if
the Dems could get control of just one house of Congress in the midterm
vote, they could end the Iraq War.
The American people gave them control of both houses.
And they didn't end it.
didn't end it because no one had expected control of both houses.
Despite the fact that the public had turned against the war, the idiots
leading the Democratic Party hadn't expected that turnout. So instead
of ending it, it was decided to carry it over for at least two more
years. If opposition to the war could get them control of both houses,
it could also lead to control of the White House.
dying didn't matter. The Iraqis dead and wounded didn't matter, the US
troops dead and wounded didn't matter. The violations of international
law didn't matter.
To the party, the Iraq War was nothing more than a get-out-the-vote tool.
And, to this day, we still have US troops stationed in Iraq.
Yes, abortion is probably the biggest reason that Dems were not wiped out in this month's mid-terms.
why I'm not feeling a 'victory' here is because the party tends to use
women and I can see very easily the Democratic Party refusing to address
abortion by codifying it so that they can use the issue as a
get-out-the-vote and fundraising tool for several more election cycles.
I hope that doesn't happen.
But already Joe Biden's declared this week that ROE won't be codified.
Because before the election, when he needed people to vote Democrat, he said what?
That he was fine with suspending the filibuster to codify abortion rights. Or does no one remember that?
Dems may not control the House, but they have 212 seats to the
Republicans 218 and there are still five more seats to be called. Let's
say that they all went Republican. That would be 223. That's eleven
Isn't Joe the reach across the aisle guy?
He can't get 11 votes in the House from the Republicans?
The Dems can't make deals that would garner the support of 11 Republicans.
Abortion is not a fringe issue, it has majority support.
no excuse for not putting this to a vote. There's no excuse for not
demanding bipartisanship on this issue. It is what the American people
So this nonsense that Joe offered
this week of how the results of the election mean nothing can be done is
nonsense and garbage and too many of us have seen this over and over.
So, yes, I fear abortion is an issue that they are going to string us
along on for several election cycles unless we make it clear that we're
not playing that game.
That means stop lying,
stop spreading lies, stop being silent. It means that we stop
pretending that backstabbers like Hillary Clinton are our friends.
Again, she used the aftermath of the 2004 election to trash abortion
rights -- even THE NEW YORK TIMES called her out on it.
lines were drawn long ago and if you're not going for our right to
privacy, you're not our friend and we're idiots if we pretend otherwise.
if I took the buzz off the victory. I was biting my tongue. Ahead of
the elections and now. I'd planned to address that when we did the
year-in-review here. But that is the reality of the way the party is
with abortion. We have the numbers, we just don't have the
representation in Congress. We would if we'd stop treating them like
our wayward spouses and clucking over them and acting like it was okay
that they forgot to take out the garbage and aren't they cute. They
aren't our spouses. They are our public servants. And we need to
remind them of that.
I am very hopeful that
marriage equality will be the law of the land due to an act of
Congress. And, if that happens, it will be something to celebrate. But
I've watched the Democratic Party with ROE for too many years and Joe's
remark this week indicates nothing has changed or been learned there.
In Iraq, the people also suffer under their government. At THE FINANCIAL TIMES, Raya Jalabi notes
the recent theft of 2.5 billion dollars that was discovered in October
(it took place over the previous twelve months). That was the public's
money and corrupt officials stole it. They now have a new prime
minister (Mohammed Shia al-Sudani) but The Century Foundation's Sajad
Jiyad states, "The fault and the liabilities go all the way to the top.
It implicates a lot of high-level players, including ministers and
ex-ministers, civil servants and well-connected businessmen. So this is
a political issue -- we'll see how far Sudani can go."
Last month, two developments ended the paralysis that has gripped Iraqi politics since the general elections in October 2021.
One, the divide between the Kurds ended with the Kurdistan Democratic
Party (KDP) reluctantly withdrawing its insistence on nominating the
country’s President and accepting the claim of its rival, the Patriotic
Union of Kurdistan (PUK), to put forward its own candidate, Abdul Latif Rashid.
Mr. Rashid was approved as President with majority support in
Parliament on October 13, he nominated Mohammed Shia al-Sudani as Prime
Minister. On October 27, Mr. al-Sudani obtained parliamentary approval
for himself and his cabinet. Thus, after three years of care-taker
administrations, there is finally an elected government in Baghdad,
though few believe there will be peace in the country.
Less than a month after being inaugurated as Iraq’s prime minister, Mohammed Shia Al Sudani
is already reneging on promises he made to secure his governing
coalition. The longer these pledges go unmet, the longer Iraq’s
destabilizing political polarization will persist.
their support for a promise that, once in power, the new prime minister
would withdraw pro-Iran Shia militias, known as Popular Mobilization
Units (PMU), from Sunni-dominated provinces in the northwest.
Al Sudani agreed, and also vowed to issue a general pardon that would open the door for the rehabilitation of the mostly-Sunni ISIS fighters.
Neither of these promises have been kept. Pro-Iran Shia lawmakers have obstructed measures that would undermine the PMUs without disbanding them.
Tensions between the two main Kurdish ruling parties in the Iraqi
Kurdistan region, the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the
Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), are worsening in the aftermath of
the assassination of a counter-terrorism officer.
Hawkar Abdullah Rasoul, known as Hawkar Jaff, a former colonel in the ranks of PUK's Counter-Terrorism Group (CTG), was killed
in the capital city of Erbil on 7 October after a sticky bomb attached
to his vehicle detonated. The KDP accuses its rival party, the PUK, of
being behind the killing.
Bafl Talabani, PUK's president, during an interview with Rudaw Kurdish satellite channel
aired on Tuesday night, said that as a consequence of the killing
arrest warrants have been issued by an Erbil court against himself and
his brother, Qubad Talabani, the Deputy Prime Minister of the Kurdistan
Regional Government (KRG).
The Biden administration has made it clear to Iraq's new prime
minister that it will not work with ministers and senior officials who
are affiliated with Shiite militias the U.S. has designated as terrorist
organizations, two sources briefed on the issue told me.
Still, the U.S. plans to largely work with and give the new Iraqi government and al-Sudani a chance, as Axios recently reported.
is a key partner for the Biden administration in the region, with many
U.S. security and economic interests that need to be preserved.
State of play: The
Biden administration has already decided it will not work with the
minister of higher education, Naim al-Aboudi, who is a member of Asa'ib
Ahl al-Haq (AAH), a Shiite militia that is funded by Iran and was designated as a terrorist organization by the U.S., the two sources said.
The U.S. is also concerned about Rabee Nader, who was appointed to head the Iraqi prime minister's press office. Nader worked
in the past for media outlets affiliated AAH and with the Kata’ib
Hezbollah — a Shiite militia designated by the U.S. as a terror group.
Behind the scenes: U.S.
ambassador to Iraq Alina Romanowski has met with al-Sudani five times
since he took office less than three weeks ago, according to the two
The sources said Romanowski told al-Sudani the U.S.
policy regarding engagement with government ministers and officials who
are connected to militias. The same message was conveyed to the Iraqi
government by other Biden administration officials.
The White House declined to comment on diplomatic engagements with the Iraqi government.
9 percent of UAW members’ ballots have been received by the Monitor so
far because workers don’t know about the elections, and there are
widespread reports of workers not receiving ballots.
lawsuit demands reasonable relief: extend all voting-related deadlines
by 30 days and take real action to inform the entire membership that the
election is taking place.
entrenched UAW leadership is not taking real measures to inform members
of their right to vote or to provide them with ballots in a timely
manner because they don’t want workers to kick them out! This is a
blatant violation of our rights as rank-and-file members of the UAW.
This case is about fighting for the rights of all UAW members. This election will not be legitimate unless we get a real voice
I’m linking to the announcement of the lawsuit demanding the elections
deadlines be extended. I want to ask you to do three things:
that the election deadlines be extended so that every worker can get a
ballot who wants one and can have their votes count.
I need your financial support. Filing this lawsuit costs money, as does
everything else I’m fighting to do to make workers aware of the
elections and my campaign’s call for rank-and-file power. I ask that
you donate whatever you can right away.
Thursday, November 17, Will Lehman filed a federal lawsuit in the U.S.
District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan demanding that the
UAW and the court-appointed Monitor overseeing the election delay all
voting-related deadlines by 30 days due to widespread reports that
workers are unaware of the election and that the mechanism for mailing
ballots has broken down.
Donald Trump is said to be notorious on the golf courses of New Jersey and Florida for demanding “do-overs” when he screws up.
And as Trump’s golf game goes, so goes his political career.
world was given a tantalising glimpse a second ‘banter era’ in the
early hours of this morning, as the repeatedly disgraced,
twice-impeached, riot-provoking, p***y grabbing, classified document
thieving anxiety machine announced his second tilt at the White House.
confirmed his comeback so from Mar A Lago, the very hotel that the FBI
raided just two months ago to recover papers that, if I remember
correctly, included the nuclear codes, George W Bush’s secret egg mayo
recipe and Emmanuel Macron’s inside leg measurement.
As he ambled to the podium, the deejay struck up Les Mis anthem “Can You Hear The People Sing?”
And on the evidence of this week’s mid-term election results, the answer to that question is “no.”
The setting was, of course, different to his 2016 announcement.
meant to say last night: Weight. Per C.I., the only thing Donald's
more sensitive about than his hair is his weight. That's something you
should always include if you want to tick him off. "Waddled" and
"ambled" -- ha ha.
Several Republican Members of Congress are escalating calls for a
forensic audit of U.S. military and non-military aid to Ukraine
following the Russian invasion in February. Those calls for transparency
come as President Joe Biden’s White House just asked the U.S. Congress
for another $37 billion for the war in Ukraine. But is an audit of all
that aid, which includes not just cash transfers but loans, military
equipment, and humanitarian supplies, even possible?
To begin with, we need to answer a simpler question: how much money has the U.S. government sent to Ukraine?
Try Googling the question to find an answer. The search isn’t likely
to be an easy one, as I discovered. There’s no media outlet keeping an
ongoing tally of the cost of the Ukraine war to American taxpayers, and
obviously there’s no government website doing so. Even conservative
American think tanks, many of them stuck in Cold War mentalities,
haven’t focused on financial transparency as they analyze U.S.
involvement in the conflict. A factor that complicates the answer is the
discrepancy between total aid appropriated and committed versus aid
that has actually been delivered. The Biden administration has not been
lightning fast in turning appropriations into actual aid, so there are
significant differences between the two numbers.
The Congressional Research Service, the non-partisan in-house think
tank for Congress, produced a report on total “security assistance” as
of Oct. 21, 2022. Funding in that category, from 2014 to Oct. 14, 2022,
was $20.3 billion. But this points up another complicating factor.
Different sources measure buckets of aid differently: some will talk
about security assistance, some talk of military assistance, some talk
of humanitarian aid. Few offer a clear cut, “This is the total cost of
all U.S. support for the war in Ukraine.”
Eventually I tracked down a database operated by the Kiel Institute, a
German think tank. They have been tracking total military and
non-military aid to Ukraine since the beginning of the conflict. Their
numbers include all aid from Jan. 24, 2022 to Oct. 3, 2022 (the data is
scheduled for an update on Dec. 6).
According to Kiel, the U.S. has transferred military and non-military aid worth $54.43 billion to the government of Ukraine.
The database Kiel has maintained is by far the most granular and
detailed accounting of what the U.S. government has provided to Ukraine,
including descriptions of the individual batches of military equipment.
If you’re interested, you can check it out here.
Let that sink in. $54 billion with Joe Biden now asking for $37 million more -- and all in less than 12 months.
billion. There's nothing that can be done for the American people.
They can't have true universal healthcare. Medicare for All -- favored
by most Americans -- is just too expensive says the government that
sends $54 billion to fund and fuel an unnecessary war and enrich the war
industry while the American people do without and while prices
skyrocket here in the US.
Graham Elwood observes in the video above, "Food costs have almost
doubled in the last year. It's insane. They say, 'Oh, eight and a half
percent inflation.' I don't know what grocery store they're going to.
Not the ones I or any of my friends go to.''
can sit back and watch billions of our dollars go to support a war, to
support an illegitimate regime installed by the US in 2014. Alex Findijs (WSWS) notes that time period in a new article when he comments on Victoria Nuland:
Nuland is another major Obama-era foreign policy official who played a
leading role in the overthrow of the elected Ukrainian government and
selection of its pro-Western replacement in 2014. A leaked phone call
during the Maidan protests that culminated in the forced removal of
Ukrainian President Yanukovych exposed her role in orchestrating the
operation in behalf of US imperialism. “I don’t think Klitsch [Vitaly
Klitschko, mayor of Kiev and former boxer] should go into the
government,” she is heard saying. “I don’t think it’s necessary, I don’t
think it’s a good idea… I think Yats [Arseniy Yatseniuk] is the guy
who’s got the economic experience, the governing experience. He’s the...
what he needs is Klitsch and Tyahnybok on the outside.”
Tyahnybok is a neo-Nazi. As leader of the far-right Svoboda Party, he
played a leading role in the US-backed Maidan protests in Kiev that
culminated in the overthrow of Yanukovych. In a 2004 speech that was
aired on Ukrainian television, he denounced the “Moscow-Jewish mafia
ruling Ukraine” and hailed Stepan Bandera’s World War II Ukrainian
National Army, saying, “They were not afraid and we should not be
afraid. They took their automatic guns on their necks and went into the
woods, and fought against the Muscovites, Germans, Jews and other scum
who wanted to take away our Ukrainian state.”
In 2013, Tyahnybok and another Svoboda Party leader were barred from entering the United States for their open anti-Semitism.
Yatseniuk is a right-wing, pro-Western politician who was installed as
the first prime minister of Ukraine following the February 2014 Maidan
Following her stint in the Obama administration, Nuland
served as CEO of CNAS from 2018 to 2019. She is now the under secretary
of state for political affairs in the Biden administration. She has
links to Pine Island Capital Partners, which has ties with other Biden
administration officials, including Secretary of Defense Loyd Austin.
Both US President Biden and Polish President Andrzej Duda spoke
cautiously regarding a potential tripwire setting off possible all out
war between NATO and Russia. Biden said “There is preliminary
information that contests Russia fired the missile. I don’t want to say
until we completely investigate but it’s unlikely in the minds of the
trajectory that it was fired from Russia.” Duda told reporters that
“There’s no clear evidence of who fired the missile. An investigation is
But firebrand Ukraine President Zelensky, who tirelessly promotes
direct NATO intervention, including strikes on Russia and an No-Fly Zone
over Ukraine, likely triggering WWIII, remains undaunted. He took to
Twitter on his talk with Polish President Duda, expressing “condolences
over the death of Polish citizens from Russian missile terror.”
I’ve said before that President Zelensky is trying to get us all
killed. Unless the US and NATO escorts him to the negotiating table to
end a war he cannot win, he may succeed.
One day after a series of explosions took place in a Polish farming
village, it has become clear that Ukraine fired at least one missile
into Poland, killing two Polish civilians.
imperialist backers acknowledged that it was Kiev that launched the
strike, they have claimed, without a shred of evidence or plausibility,
that Ukrainian air defenses accidentally carried out a precision
airstrike dozens of miles in the wrong direction.
If the Ukrainian
air force was attempting to intercept Russian missiles, flying from the
east, why were its missiles aimed to the west, at Poland? And why were
they able to precisely target an inhabited building in a sparsely
populated rural area? Why did Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky,
Foreign Minister Dimitri Reznikov and an unnamed “senior U.S.
intelligence official” falsely blame Russia for the attack before Polish
authorities had even publicly confirmed details about the strike?
claims that the missile was fired from a “defensive” weapon have no
credibility because the S-300 missile system has a well-known capability
of striking land-based targets.
In reality, the missile strike
was a calculated provocation by Ukraine, possibly with the assistance of
factions within the American state, intended to accelerate direct NATO
involvement in the conflict and preclude any discussion of a ceasefire
or negotiated settlement of the war.
Ukraine’s attack on Poland took place as the G20 was meeting in Bali,
Indonesia, with the United States seeking to whip other countries into
line against Russia. It also takes place amid reported conflicts within
the US government about the extent and pacing of US involvement in the
war, and suggestions from Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General
Mark Milley that the United States might initiate a ceasefire or peace
negotiations over the winter.
Critically, both NATO as a whole
and individual NATO members have now acknowledged that it was Ukraine,
not Russia, that attacked Poland, with Ukraine continuing to insist that
the strike came from Russia.
But a phone call between the two leaders in June played out differently
from previous ones, according to four people familiar with the call.
Biden had barely finished telling Zelenskyy he’d just greenlighted
another $1 billion in U.S. military assistance for Ukraine when
Zelenskyy started listing all the additional help he needed and wasn’t
getting. Biden lost his temper, the people familiar with the call said.
The American people were being quite generous, and his administration
and the U.S. military were working hard to help Ukraine, he said,
raising his voice, and Zelenskyy could show a little more gratitude.
That's anger? Joe shows more anger at progressive activists in the US.
anger would have been telling Zelenskyy to go f**k himself and to grow
the hell up and try fighting his war without begging every other country
for help like a useless little cry baby. Real anger would have been
telling him there was no more US tax dollars for his sorry ass.
billion. Think about what could have been done for the American people
with that money. Think about how a small portion of it could have
ended homelessness in the US. Think about what a portion of it could
have done for our schools. Think about the fact that our government
gave away -- pissed away -- $54 billion while Americans go to bed
Maybe Joe Biden does
have a plan to address hunger and homelessness! Maybe nuclear war is
his plan to end all the world's problems. It would end the world while
ending those problems but Joe -- even before senility kicked in -- was
never accused of being a great thinker.
climate justice activist Vanessa Nakate denounced world leaders Tuesday
for continuing to support new coal, oil, and gas projects despite
overwhelming evidence that extracting and burning more fossil fuels will exacerbate deadly climate chaos.
"The focus for many leaders is about making deals for fossil fuel
lobbyists, surviving the next election cycle, and grabbing as much
short-term profit as possible," Nakate said at an event on the sidelines of the United Nations COP27 climate summit in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt.
Alluding to the presence of more than 630 fossil fuel lobbyists at the meeting, which is being held in a heavily policed
and expensive resort city, Nakate said that oil and gas representatives
are turning COP27 into "a sales and marketing conference for more
pollution and more destruction and more devastation."
Nakate cited the International Energy Agency's 2021 blueprint for achieving net-zero emissions by 2050, which made clear
that investment in new fossil fuel projects is incompatible with
meeting the Paris agreement's goal of capping temperature rise at 1.5°C
above preindustrial levels—beyond which impacts will grow progressively
worse for millions of people, particularly those living in impoverished
countries who have done the least to cause the crisis.
concentrations of carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide—the three
main heat-trapping gases fueling global warming—hit an all-time high last year, and greenhouse gas pollution has only continued to climb this year.
Meanwhile, public subsidies supporting the production and consumption of coal, oil, and gas nearly doubled in 2021, and hundreds of corporations are planning to expand dirty energy production in the coming years, including several proposed drilling projects and pipelines in Africa.
The leaders of the United States are prioritizing great
power competition with China and Russia at a time when much of the
world is demanding that the world's great powers cooperate to address
the climate crisis.
Officials in Washington recently confirmed that they see great power
competition with China and Russia as their top concern in global
affairs, even while acknowledging that the greatest threat to the planet
comes from climate change.
"Simply put, we face two main strategic challenges," National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan explained
in a major policy address last month. "The first is geopolitical
competition." The second "is the sheer scale and speed of transnational
challenges," such as climate change.
"The climate crisis is the greatest of all the shared problems we face," Sullivan added.
For years, officials in Washington have been warning about the return of great power competition.
They say that China and Russia are increasingly challenging the world
order that the United States has dominated since the end of the Cold
"We're at an inflection point in history," Secretary of State Antony Blinken said earlier this month. "The post-Cold War era is over. There is a competition on now to shape what comes next."
The Biden administration's National Security Strategy
claims that the world has entered a new era of great power competition.
Released to the public last month, the National Security Strategy
presents a vision in which the United States is promoting democracy
around the world while Russia and China are pushing autocracy and
"We will prioritize maintaining an enduring
competitive edge over the PRC while constraining a still profoundly
dangerous Russia," the report notes.
Within this framework, the
United States has sought to punish Russia for its invasion of Ukraine
and strengthen the U.S. military presence around China. Not only has the
Biden administration funneled billions of dollars worth of weapons to Ukraine with the goal of achieving the "strategic defeat" of Russia, but it has overseen a major military buildup in East Asia, where the U.S. military now has more soldiers stationed than any other region of the world.
the country has already suffered enough due to the US-led war, Iraq is
also set to be one of the most harmed by climate change.
The marshes of Iraq are no longer suitable for living after mostly
drying up, with the droughts killing most of Dhi Qar’s livestock and
driving inhabitants away.
The effects of the drought are huge, with water scarcity in the
al-Hammar Marshes in Dhi Qar being the main factor in the substantial
financial losses suffered by locals.
Ahmad Jawad Aziz, a resident of the al-Hammar marshes in Dhi Qar, told
Rudaw’s Anmar Ghazi on Tuesday that “life has ceased here, and most of
the residents here make their living on the marshes, by raising fish,
buffaloes, and cows, and harvesting cane,” Aziz continued.
“Now everything has ended here, as the marshes have become a barren desert land.”
Livestock and sheep breeders in the marshes protested against the neglect endured by the al-Hammar marshes.
“There is no initiative by the decision makers in order to alleviate the
brunt of the drought on buffalo breeders, such as providing them with
fodder and granting them soft loans for the purpose of helping them
overcome the crisis and supply safe drinking water,” Abu Hassan
al-Musafiri, Head of the Gilgamesh Foundation for Antiquities and
Al Hadam, 17 November 2022
– Mohsin Faleh is a 30-year-old farmer in the southern Iraqi community
of Al Hadam, Missan governorate. His face was weary as he surveyed the
barren land that bears the scars of a complex water crisis that is
expected to worsen.
“I don't remember the last time it rained; I
think two years ago,” Mohsin commented in early October, on a day when
temperatures hovered in the 40-degrees Celsius range.
has two main sources of water – the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. The
intake of water from both rivers is decreasing at an unprecedented rate,
due to the construction of upstream dams and a prolonged drought.
change, rising temperatures and the diversion of river water also mean
that residents in Al Hadam struggle to access adequate water for use in
their homes. This water scarcity is forcing some residents to uproot
their lives and families.
Iman has six children and meeting her
family’s water needs is difficult and expensive. “We are thinking of
moving to the city because there is no water. We have to buy water,”
said Iman, who was born and raised in Al Hadam.
recalled that rainfall was predictable during his childhood, with rain
arriving every year during the autumn season. The young farmer has
observed dramatic changes to the climate, the soil and the water
resources surrounding his community over the last few years.
conditions are exacerbated not only by the decreased water levels in
sub-canal systems near Al Hadam, but by their high saline content,
making farming nearly impossible.
Dwindling fresh water enables the salty tidewater of the Persian Gulf to
seep into the Tigris and Euphrates, which feed sub-canals like in Al
Hadam. The high salt content then depletes the parched farmland even
more. Even the arrival of autumn rains may not be enough for the
cultivation of farmland to sustain the region’s agricultural
The worst drought Abed Hameed al-Brahimi has ever seen has killed
virtually everything around him: his rice farm, most of his livestock
and chickens - and accelerated a rural exodus that is jeopardising
Iraq's future stability.
His home now resembles a desert, rather
than the green oasis it was a year ago. Without water to irrigate his
fields, he has not planted a single seed of rice, which used to feed his
family of four and provide a surplus he could sell.
His guard dog
does not bark. Thirsty and famished, it barely tilts its head in the
direction of the strangers traversing its domain, oblivious to the
sounds and sights around it.
"What is happening to us has never
happened before. We are completely destroyed," Brahimi, 45, told the
Thomson Reuters Foundation, standing next to his brownfields in
al-Meshkhab, a town some 200 km (124 miles) south of the capital