First up, Graham Elwood.
This goes to what Betty was saying last night in "The world is ending when (science post)" -- there's no real effort to end climate change, none at all. There is no leadership on the issue. It's appalling.
So much is appalling these days.
If you're not getting how creepy the homophobes (and transphobes) are, Alex Bollinger (LGBTQ NATION) has a report that's going to disgust and enrage:
During a Missouri House of Representatives debate on Tuesday, an anti-trans state lawmaker proudly supported 12-year-olds getting married while supporting a bill banning trans youth from accessing gender-affirming care up to age 18 and forcibly detransition trans youth.
He even said that he knew a kid who got married at age 12 and happily informed his colleagues that she is still with her husband.
Effectively, Missouri state Sen. Mike Moon (R) was arguing that a 12-year-old is too young to know what their gender is but not too young to enter into a marriage contract and a sexual relationship, even if it’s with an adult.
Mike Moon? That's the freak, that's the creep, that's the groomer. Don't push that off on LGBTQ+ people, it's all on the Mike Moons and the Glenneth Greenwalds that support them. The John Staubers that support them. The Jonathan Turleys that embrace them.
There's a very real war against the LGBTQ+ community going on. That's unacceptable. I'll be damned if you think you're coming after my brother or his boyfriend. And you know what, my two brothers will be there too. And our four sisters. You may think you have a shot at winning this but you don't. There are too many of us who have family and friends who are LGBTQ+ and we are not going to let you harm them. I wish I had C.I.'s way of seeing. She saw this -- and she apologizes that she saw it so late -- but she saw this war being carried out and she started calling it out months and months ago. It is a war. Shame on the Republicans who carry this out. (And I know not all Republicans are hate mongers. I know that. I am referring to a specific group. And if I'm not always clear on that, I apologize, but this is my brother and his boyfriend and I'm not going to be silent.)
That's BLACK POWER MEDIA. I was streaming their REMIX MORNING SHOW. If C.I. does a headline for them, I'll stream it. By that I mean, all BPM does is headline it "THE REMIX MORNING SHOW" and that's it. I enjoy it when I listen. But when C.I. reposts it, she tries to put a description of some kind in the headline. So like today's episode, when C.I. reposted it she put China and its neighbors and how the proxy war was a failure. I was interested in both topics, so I streamed.
We need to stop throwing our money away on Ukraine. We overthrew the elected government in 2014. We have been spoiling for this fight. We are wasting our money and we are propping up a Nazi regime that is racist -- I started to type "racist as hell" but why should we have to qualify that in 2023? Racist alone should be bad enough, when should all be that evolved to grasp that.
Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"
Benjamin Ferencz died last week at the age of 103. Ferencz was the last surviving member of the team of prosecutors at the Nuremberg trials after World War II, which led to the convictions of many top Nazi officials and since been understood as the exemplar of justice for war crimes.
Ferencz served in the U.S. Army during the war and in its aftermath investigated the conditions at the Buchenwald, Mauthausen, and Dachau concentration camps. He spent the rest of his life advocating for the creation of an international criminal court and accountability for war criminals generally.
These facts appear in his obituaries. What’s missing from all of them in major outlets — including the New York Times, the Washington Post, the BBC, The Guardian, Reuters, and the Associated Press — is Ferencz’s belief that top members of the George W. Bush administration, including Bush himself, should have been tried for war crimes for the Iraq War.
Climate change is predicted to impact us all in the next few decades and one of the hardest hit areas, per climate models, will be Iraq. Already problems are evident. January 10th, Yale's School of Environment published Wil Crisp's article which opened:
For their biodiversity and cultural significance, the United Nations in 2016 named the Mesopotamian Marshes — which historically stretched between 15,000 and 20,000 square kilometers in the floodplain of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers — a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The marshes comprised one of the world’s largest inland delta systems, a startling oasis in an extremely hot and arid environment, home to 22 species of globally endangered species and 66 at-risk bird species.
But now this ecosystem — which includes alluvial salt marshes, swamps, and freshwater lakes — is collapsing due to a combination of factors meteorological, hydrological, and political. Rivers are rapidly shrinking, and agricultural soil that once grew bounties of barley and wheat, pomegranates, and dates is blowing away. The environmental disaster is harming wildlife and driving tens of thousands of Marsh Arabs, who have occupied this area for 5,000 years, to seek livelihoods elsewhere.
Experts warn that unless radical action is taken to ensure the region receives adequate water — and better manages what remains — southern Iraq’s marshlands will disappear, with sweeping consequences for the entire nation as farmers and pastoralists abandon their land for already crowded urban areas and loss of production leads to rising food prices.
The Mesopotamian marshlands are often referred to as the cradle of civilization, as anthropologists believe that this is where humankind, some 12,000 years ago, started its wide-scale transition from a lifestyle of hunting and gathering to one of agriculture and settlement. Encompassing four separate marshes, the region has historically been home to a unique range of fish and birdlife, serving as winter habitat for migratory birds and sustaining a productive shrimp and finfish fishery.
AP notes, "Climate change for years has compounded the woes of the troubled country. Droughts and increased water salinity have destroyed crops, animals and farms and dried up entire bodies of water. Hospitals have faced waves of patients with respiratory illnesses caused by rampant sandstorms. Climate change has also played a role in Iraq’s ongoing struggle to combat cholera." This month began with AL MAYADEEN reporting:
A spokesperson of the Iraqi Health Ministry, Saif Al-Badr, confirmed on Saturday that more than 500 patients are suffering from breathing difficulties as a result of the dust storm taking over the country.
Al-Badr told Iraqi News Agency (INA), "More than 515 patients were admitted to hospitals in Baghdad and the provinces with breathing problems of varying severity due to the dust storm that occurred yesterday [Friday] in the regions of the country," adding that they did receive sufficient medical care and most had been discharged.
As of yet, no casualties have been reported and ambulances remain on standby to deliver aid to those who need it. Dust storms and sand storms are not strangers to Iraq, as they regularly occur in the region and have been known to cause serious health issues.
SEE NEWS notes, "Today, Saturday, the Iraqi Ministry of Health announced that more than 500 people had suffocated due to the dust storms that hit the country on Friday, according to the Iraqi News Agency."
The Mandaeans in Iraq are still in need of protection and support. In the scope of direct talks with the Middle East Consultant of the Society for Threatened Peoples (STP), the leader of the Mandaeans, Ganzevra Sattar Jabbar Hilo Al-Zahrony, and several other Mandaean dignitaries appealed to the Iraqi government not to cut back its support for the small ancient religious community – but to include them when filling political offices. It was also stated that, when visiting Iraq, German politicians should not forget to meet up with representatives of the Mandaeans.
As the Mandaean dignitaries emphasized during the talks at the residence of their leader on Easter Saturday, it would be important to have Mandaean ministers in Iraq and to send Mandaean ambassadors to other countries. Further, they would need financial support to build up a state-approved academy for the Mandaean language and religion. Also, the approximately 2,200 Mandaeans in the German diaspora need support to build a house of worship.
Of the about 100,000 Mandaeans worldwide, not more than 20,000 are still living in Iraq. Other sources speak of only 5,000. As the religious dignitaries told the STP’s Middle East Consultant, it had been an important gesture of acceptance of the small religious community that the Iraqi Prime Minister recently visited the main place of worship of the Mandaeans in Baghdad for the first time. Prime Minister Mohammed Shia' al-Sudani had paid a visit to the religious center of the Mandaeans on the Tigris River in mid-March.
Over the Easter holidays, Sido also visited a few Christian communities in the region. He noticed that more and more Christians are leaving Baghdad, even though the security situation has improved significantly. “If the remaining Christians in Iraq are to have a future, the government must ensure that they feel welcome in their home country,” he summarized his impressions.
The signatories of this letter do not all share political or economic philosophies, but we are united in our astonishment at this war’s massive price tag. Invading Iraq cost the US $2 trillion directly. That’s nearly $9,000 for each taxpayer in the US. However, the Iraq War cannot be divorced from the Afghan War, the larger Global War on Terror or this century's militarism, which has seen Pentagon spending balloon from $331 billion in 2001 to $858 billion today. Including future veterans' care and interest payments, the long-term cost of these conflicts will total $8 trillion by 2050.
Dozens still perish every month in militant violence in Iraq in a seemingly unending war. VA hospitals in the US strain to keep up with a generation of shattered veterans. The war succeeded only in traumatizing millions; creating terror groups where there had been none; and instigating chaos and continual hostilities, while providing hundreds of billions of dollars to weapons manufacturers.
The Iraq War was based on lies that have brought unimaginable suffering to an entire nation and ongoing loss, grief and hardship to hundreds of thousands of American families. It was and is a great crime. And in our view, as men and women who participated in the war in one way or another, the greatest crime of all may be our nation’s inability to hold accountable those responsible for authorizing such atrocities and continuing to watch our government repeat its wars over and over again.
Out Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) has announced she is running for reelection to a third term in Congress.
In a statement, Baldwin said she’s “committed to making sure that working people, not just the big corporations and ultra-wealthy, have a fighter on their side. With so much at stake, from families struggling with rising costs to a ban on reproductive freedom, Wisconsinites need someone who can fight and win.”
Baldwin also tweeted out the announcement, saying, “Wisconsin’s working families deserve a Senator who’s going to fight for them—not a shady special interests or big corporations. We’ve made a lot of progress, but the stakes have never been higher and our work isn’t over yet.”
Baldwin made history in 2012 when she became the first out gay senator in the nation and the first woman senator from Wisconsin. At the time, she declared, “I didn’t run to make history. I ran to make a difference.”
In 2018, she won her first reelection bid against a Trump-endorsed, anti-LGBTQ+ opponent.
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