Friday, July 21, 2023

Stupid Ron DeSantis and cowardly Caitlin Johnstone

 I'm so sick of buttinsky Caitlin Johnstone.

In just a few years Democrats flipped from freaking out about Nazis, shrieking that Trump was going to start a nuclear war, and denying US election results to cheering for Nazis, demanding more nuclear brinkmanship, and accusing anyone who denies election results of treason.

And what happened in Australia during this time?  You know, the country you live in, the one you're a citizen of?  Why are you such a coward focusing on the US constantly when you should be calling out your own government for 101 things -- including their failure to demand the release of Australian citizen Julian Assange?

Are you too much of a coward to call out your own country?

I can cover my country, I'm not a scared weakling.  Norman Eisen and Andrew Warren (DAILY BEAST) report:

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis made headlines recently by visiting New Hampshire for a campaign stop and talking almost entirely about Florida.

His accomplishments as governor of that state deserve attention—but mostly because they are significant steps towards transforming Florida into an autocracy similar to Viktor Orbán’s Hungary. The arc DeSantis is plotting for his state and our nation may be many things, but it is not American.

Our comparison of the two regimes stems from on-the-ground observation. One of us was an ambassador in Central Europe and has visited and written about Orbán’s Hungary. The other was the duly elected county prosecutor in Tampa, Florida, whom DeSantis unlawfully suspended.

The scenes from Florida are by now familiar. A substitute teacher fired for posting a video of empty bookshelves in a public school library. The parents of an LGBTQ+ child wrestling with whether to leave their state because of the government’s hostility. A duly, twice-elected prosecutor suspended illegally and escorted out of the office by an armed sheriff’s deputy.

But the similarities between the Florida that DeSantis has helped create and Orbán’s Hungary deserve more attention here in America.

Like DeSantis, Orbán has used the power of the state to target the LGBTQ+ community while trumpeting traditional values to build his base. The two men have also both demonized migration and migrants. DeSantis has taken it so far that there are criminal investigations in Texas—and possibly in California—of his potential involvement in schemes to move undocumented migrants around the U.S., allegedly tricking them.

And then there is Orbán’s and DeSantis’ shared hostility to the rule of law.

DeSantis has shown remarkable disdain for the law he is sworn to uphold. He has enacted multiple laws which have been found by courts to violate the U.S. Constitution, including legislation restricting discussion of race in schoolscontrolling the speech of social media companiesprohibiting peaceful protestcriminalizing transgender health care, and restricting voter registration. He has unlawfully targeted businesses who speak out against legislation he supports, most notably Disney, and has allegedly flouted campaign finance laws and ethics.

Doo-Doo Ron Ron has a warped sense of patriotism at best.  At worst, he is a menace and a wanna-be dictator.  We would be so much better without him.  Maybe his campaign is struggling so much because most people see that?  

Vice-made documentary covering allegations that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis was present at Guantanamo Bay during a controversial detainee hunger strike was dropped over concerns of potential political consequences, according to Semafor. The Guantanamo Candidate, an hour-long installment of Vice’s documentary series about the Republican presidential candidate’s time as a U.S. Navy JAG officer at the prison complex, was supposed to air on Showtime on May 28. Showtime’s site described the episode as including allegations from “former detainees that he was present at force-feedings that were condemned as torture by the UN.” When the show was quietly pulled, both Vice and Showtime cited “scheduling” in response to questions about the episode’s nonappearance. In reality, sources told Semafor that the Paramount-owned channel dropped it out of fear of political fallout. One insider also said Paramount’s Washington lobbyist, DeDe Lea, had raised concerns about the film.

Reports indicate that at the height of the "war on terror" following the September 11 attacks, detainees at Guantanamo Bay who refused to eat were often strapped down and a liquefied nutrient slurry was pumped into them through a tube forced into their nose — or in some cases, their rectum. The U.N. has classified force-feeding prisoners as a form of torture.

DeSantis, who was a 27-year-old Navy lieutenant judge advocate general at the time, has admitted in interviews that he advised Guantanamo guards on how to force-feed striking detainees in a way he believed was consistent with military law — but he denies allegations that he personally oversaw Adayfi's force-feeding, and as of now there is no publicly known independent evidence confirming or refuting this. Whether or not he was present, Guantanamo policy was notoriously micromanaged by leaders in D.C., making it doubtful DeSantis had a significant role in setting the controversial policy.

According to the report, the allegedly political decision to not air the documentary "came as [Paramount] cut costs to reflect a gloomy streaming business. The company folded a diminished Showtime under the streaming umbrella Paramount+, and laid off a wave of staffers, including the executive who greenlit prestige unscripted shows and documentaries. The new president Chris McCarthy, has a background in less expensive reality TV."

I'm hoping Marcia's post is up but I don't see it yet.  She's covering DeSantis' racism tonight so be sure to check out her site -- it's up!  "Racist Ron DeSantis tries to make slavery a 'good' thing" is the post.  Please make a point to read it.

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

Thursday, July 20, 2023.  Noted transphboe Jonathan Turley just makes s**t up and publishes it these days (that's what happens when bigotry seizes the brain) and he's also struggling with the English language and numbers, thief Shelby White has enough money to keep her out of prison so it's incumbent upon society to make it clear to her that she's fooled on one, a right-wing outlet thinks -- like Turley -- that they can say something's true when it's not (and when you're lying about Barbie, I mean how low an disgusting are you), and much more.

Hefty, hefty, hefty.  I'm so sick of garbage.  Let's deal with garbage at the top.

First off, Jonathan Turley of The Federalist Society -- or are we still trying to pretend that connection does not exist?  He's not a liberal but he plays one to the media.

And the media let's him get away with it as he dumbs us all down.

Jonathan the transphobe has his crotchless panties in a wad -- which means he feels some conservative has yet again been victimized.  Who this time?  Human troll Jason Aldean.  Is there a requirement that male singers who are fat and ugly have to go into country music?  Someone needs to ask the obvious.

So Jonny Turley Tweets:  "Country music singer Jason Aldean's hit single 'Try That In A Small Town' secured two distinctions this week.  It hit number on the country charts and was pulled by the Country Music Television (CMT)."

Are you brain dead, Turley? 

There is no "the Country Music Television."  What language are you trying to speak because it's not English.   The year is 2023 and the channel is CMT.  At their website you will find what they've dubbed popular articles such as "Where can I watch CMT programming?" and "How do I gt back to CMT?"  Not one of the titles includes "Call us the Country Music Television."

What an idiot. 

Second, idiot, it did not "hit number one on the country charts."  CASHBOX is no more.  BILLBOARD is the only game in town in the US.  The song has thus far made it to number 35 on BILLBOARD's hot country songs.  That chart is based on airplay, streams and sales.  BILLBOARD's country airplay chart is based solely on airplay on country music  stations -- and only coutnry music stations.  On that chart, the song has made it to number 24.

We already know you can't handle the English language but apparently numbers are also confusing to you.   Neither 35 nor 24 are number one.   And don't come up with, "It's number 19 on the bubbling under chart!"  Yes, bubbling under . . . the hot 100.  Which means it's number 119.  Get it?

You really need to STFU.  Weren't we just talking about this?  About how you never know what you're talking about when you try to wade in on some pop culture issue.

Number one?  That's a basic fact you f**king idiot.  I can't believe George Washington University continues to employ such an incompetent fool.

If country music used to pride itself on being about “three chords and the truth,” the increasingly belligerent superstar Jason Aldean has a different idea of what the genre should represent: two chords and a beating, or maybe a shotgun blast.

Aldean’s “Try That in a Small Town” is close to being the most cynical song ever written about the implicit moral superiority of having a limited number of neighbors, which is saying something, given how many attempts to write the Great American Small Town Anthem are generated in a single year. At least most of the others at least put up the appearance of celebrating local pride, not prejudice. But for Aldean, it’s about how tiny burgs are under the imminent threat of attack from lawless urban marauders who will have to be kept at bay by any means necessary — meaning, pretty explicitly, vigilantism.

You can just see Aldean speaking up at a town council meeting to keep the interlopers out: First, the outsiders visit your charming off-the-interstate vintage stores, then they’ll be back with their BLM protests and Molotov cocktails. Ban antique shops now, before it’s too late.

“Try That in a Small Town” was risible enough as a single, but in case anything about its lunkheaded songwriting felt like it was left as subtext and not made explicit, Aldean has released a music video for the rising hit. It, too, is in the business of handing out black eyes… to country music, that is, much more than any imagined invaders.

The setting, outside the Maury County Courthouse in Columbia, Tennessee, has proven upsetting for some who know or learn the history of the building. It’s where, in 1927, a white lynch mob dragged a young man named Henry Choate through the streets behind a car before finally hanging him from a second-story courthouse window. Let’s give Aldean and video director Shaun Silva the benefit of the doubt and assume they had not indulged in a history lesson when they decided the same frontage where a Black man was murdered in front of a crowd would be a good place to alternate projected footage of protesters being put down with a draped American flag. (Hard to blame anyone for thinking that this history did show up in Aldean’s or the filmmakers’ web search on the location, but imagining that they knew that and proceeded anyway, as a known dog whistle, is… just tough to contemplate.)

Do you get it now, you piece of garbage?

It's past time that the country got it: Jonathan Turley is a member of the fright-wing.  He's been helping  build test cases to destroy the rights and liberties of American citizens.  Then he writes about these cases while failing to disclose the advice he's offered, the moves he's encouraged.  

So now he's attacking CMT and trying to encourage a boycott against it with his Tweets (there are two, we only quoted one) while screaming 'Free speech!' about Aldean.  Aldean is a transphobe like Turley.  But he's made a disgusting video -- 

Let's stop right there.

Jason Aldean is a little nothing.  I knew he was.  He just gives off that vibe of lying fake ass.

I've had more songs stolen then he's written.

It's not his song.  Real artists -- pay attention micro Jason -- write their own damn songs.  He's had 39 singles (not counting featured artist) and he didn't write one of them -- or, for that matter -- co-write.  He's all product.  He's hollow and fake. He didn't direct the video, he didn't write the song.  He's product that stands where he's told and does what he's told. He's not an artist and he never will be.  As Cass Elliot long ago said about garbage like Aldean, "They have the money, but we'll have the legacy."

Oh, my goodness.  He doesn't even play guitar on his albums.  They let him play on a few tracks, not lead guitar.  Oh, my goodness.  He is such a fake.  

He's not a musical artist.  He's pure product, fake ass. Candy.  A little sweet.  No substance.  No integrity.  

Before we move on -- his 2021 album only sold 19,000 copies.  His 2022 album only sold 13,000 copies. 

So anyway, he didn't write the song and that may explain why he doesn't understand what he's singing.  He didn't direct the video which may explain why he doesn't understand what the video's promoting.  He's a candy ass, a little piece of sugar, product, no depth, no reality.  

His song and video are offensive.  Sheryl Crow has rightly called it out.  That would be Sheryl Crow who has written or co-written over 20 of her own hit singles.  That would be Sheryl Crow who wrote a song so good that Prince covered it.  

See that's what real musical artists do, they write their own material -- been true since the Beatles.  They're the ones who sent the sugar candy acts packing -- the 'boy' singers and the 'girl' singers.  Real musical artists like Carly Simon, Valerie Simpson, Joni Mitchell, Stevie Wonder,  Janet Jackson, Tracy Chapman, Nanci Griffith, Smokey Robinson, Maxwell, Stevie Nicks, Jackson Browne, Carole King, Lauryn Hill, Sting, Mary J. Blige, Jodi Watley, Dolly Parton, Brenda Russell, Chrissie Hynde, Neil Young, Anita Baker, Bob Dylan, Sade, Debbie Harry, D'Angelo, Chase Rice, Lionel Richie, Brian Wilson, George Ezra, Usher, Tori Amos, Van Hunt, Willie Nelson, Janelle Monae, Van Morrison, Billy Joel, etc write their own material.  Diana Ross is an artist with real singing talent and she could get away with not writing her own material but even she's been writing songs since 1981.  And she co-wrote nine of the 13 songs on her latest album, the Grammy nominated THANK YOU, which also features "Count On Me," written by Rhonda Ross -- the daughter of Diana and Berry Gordy.  Let's include "Count On Me" here.  

Great job, Rhonda.  But little flabby Jason Aldean can't write a song.  Good thing other people can write for him.  He's product or, as he would have been called back in the day, plastic.  He's little Mister Connie Francis.  Go try to impress someone else, boy singer, your kind is a dime a dozen.

Jonathan Turley frets over Jason Aldean who must be the Fabian of his heart or at least the Rick Astley.  Remember kids, when you're not an artist and can't write your own songs, you hire others to write them for you.  

CMT has pulled (at least for now) a video.  It is not the end of the world.  Videos have been pulled for far less and The Bill of Rights does not include: "All of your videos shall be and will be played on MTV, CMT and BET in perpetuity." 

Let's also remember this video.

I love that video, I love that song, I love Cher, I've known her for years.  Decades, actually.  And you know what?  MTV would only air that video after midnight.  Yes, it's mild today but apparently it was just too much at the time.  You know what else?  Unlike candy ass Jason Aldean, Cher never whined publicly about it.  Not once.  Again, there are artists and then there is product.

Previous coverage in this community of the idiot product Jason Aldean includes:


And Ann's:

Staying with garbage,  I'm not a Matt Gaetz fan.  He and his wife went to the BARBIE movie. 

Apparently, I've now got to buy a ticket.  Don't have to see it and won't.  Team Jennifer Jason Leigh here.  But I will buy the ticket to show support at a time when books and films are under attack by crazy bigots.  In the article noting Matt seeing the film -- and the marital discord the film has apparently created -- this shows up:

Movieguide, a nonprofit Christian movie review website, has warned readers not to watch the film, as it "forgets its core audience of families and children while catering to nostalgic adults and pushing lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender character stories." The website issues family-friendly movie ratings based on various content concerns, including language, violence, and sex.

“Millions of families would have turned out to the theaters and purchased tickets, but instead, Mattel chose to cater to a small percentage of the population who has proven over and over to abandon the box office," one of its many articles dedicated to the film reads. "Movieguide’s 40 years of research indicate this just isn’t true, and Mattel has made a grievous mistake.”

Sorry you hagged out piece of trash, MOVIE GUIDE (FOR BIGOTS AND IDIOTS), but you don't know Barbie's core audience.  

Not every boy who played with Barbie was gay but a lot of them were and, yes, a lot of boys played with Barbie growing up and continue to.  

When Betty transferred to California for her company, she and her kids moved in here.  Though her daughter is now in college, she wasn't back then and we played Barbies constantly.  I had Barbie toys from when my daughter was little.  We worked a whole room over, Betty's daughter and I, so that it was Barbie Village (as she called it).  That was the toys that were my daughters and the toys that Betty's daughter and I shopped for.  And I never need an excuse to shop for Barbie toys -- dolls, dresses, cars, houses.  If anyone I know mentions that their child is into Barbie, I immediately ask what they have and start suggesting things to purchase. The 1970s Barbie Dream House, for example, is the best.  It's sturdy and no paper backdrops.  You can split it into two halves while you're playing, just great.  If someone tells me their child is into Barbie, I immediately start hard selling that item.  And if they're doubtful, I'll get on eBay myself and buy it.  And I can drop to the floor and play Barbies with kids for hours.  As someone who is forever buying Barbie things for the kids of people I know, and hunting down things that are really hard to find (Trina wanted Tuesday Taylor's Penthouse Apartment for one of her grandchildren and locating one of those in good condition was a real joy), I know a great deal about people who collect or have collected Barbie items.

Women?  Yes.  And some are straight and some are lesbian -- I'm sure some are bi.  Drag queens?  Yes.  Gay men.  Yes. Transgender people?  Yes.

MOVIE GUIDE is a bigot with no brains at all.  They have no idea who plays with dolls and who doesn't.  Barbie, the toy and the company, know their audience is much more than prigs like MOVIE GUIDE families.  I know those prigs.  You meet these women and you say, "Which Ken did you have growing up?"
And they say, with their pale faces with sallow skin due to their dead and sad lives, "My mother wouldn't let us have a boy doll."

Yeah, I can see that, your life's pathetic.  

And those are the MOVIE GUIDE people.  

They buy their poor daughter a Barbie or two over a three year period, cut some holes in a sock and call it a 'dress' for the doll.  Those are not the people that have made Barbie the huge toy and huge money maker.  It's the people who love the doll that have made it so big.  Again, that's straight women, that's lesbians, that's drag queens, that's gay men, straight men, transgender persons and  non-binary as well.    I've come across them repeatedly.  And the only thing more fun than playing Barbie is talking Barbie with others who love the doll.  

So I'll buy a ticket.  If I hear it's good, I'll even go see it.  

Still on garbage, Shelby White.  We last noted that trash June 4th:

Meanwhile, back in April, Adel Fakhir (ALJAZEERA) wondered whee Iraq's antiquities were?  A few more of them have returned home.  May 19th, the Manhattan District Attorney's office announced:

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin L. Bragg, Jr., announced today the return of two ancient stone antiquities, a Mesopotamian limestone elephant and a Sumerian alabaster bull, to the people of Iraq. Collectively valued at $275,000, these artifacts were looted from the ancient city of Uruk, now known as Warka, one of the oldest civilizations in human history.

The figures were stolen from Iraq during the Gulf War and smuggled into New York in the late 1990s. The alabaster bull was seized from the private collection of Shelby White and the limestone elephant from a storage unit that belonged to the convicted trafficker Robin Symes, where it had been hidden since at least 1999. The items were returned during a repatriation ceremony attended by Thomas Acocella, Assistant Special Agent-in-Charge of Homeland Security Investigations New York and Dhafer Abdulrazaq Jalil, Counselor at the Embassy of the Government of the Republic of Iraq in Washington D.C.

“Once again, we see historic and priceless antiquities hidden from the public and sitting in the possession of traffickers and looters. We will not allow New Yok City to be a safe harbor for stolen cultural artifacts,” said District Attorney Bragg.

“I’m grateful for the work by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office for its efforts to repatriate these precious, historic antiquities to Iraq,” said Dr. Salwan Sinjari, Iraqi Chargé d’Affairs to the United States. “These pieces belong to Iraq—and belong in Iraq—and now they will help the Iraqi people better understand and appreciate our own history and culture with this connection to the past. This is another example of the longstanding cooperation, friendship, and partnership between Iraq and United States.”

“It is a great privilege and honor to return to the people of Iraq these two rare and ancient artifacts that reflect their nation’s rich history and heritage,” said HSI New York Special Agent in Charge Ivan J. Arvelo. “Investigating the theft of cultural property, and illicit international trade of art and antiquities, is a unique part of our mission at Homeland Security Investigations, and every repatriation brings us closer to our goal to remove the incentive of those who pilfer a nation’s cultural history for profit.

The Sumerian bull was originally given as a religious offering to the goddess Inanna at her temple at Uruk. This statuette was probably left together with or in substitution for the living sacrificial animals that it represents. Although elephants were known to have existed in Mesopotamia and have appeared in excavations dating to the 4th millennium, they were rarely represented in art, making this limestone figure one of the very few examples to have survived to the modern day.

During District Attorney Bragg’s tenure, the ATU has recovered over 800 antiquities stolen from 24 countries and valued at nearly $160 million. Since its creation, the ATU has recovered nearly 4,500 antiquities stolen from 29 countries and valued at more than $375 million. Under District Attorney Bragg, the ATU has also repatriated more than 950 antiquities stolen from 19 countries and valued at more than $165 million. Since its creation, the ATU has returned more than 2,450 antiquities to 24 countries and valued at more than $230 million.

Assistant District Attorney Matthew Bogdanos, Chief of the Antiquities Trafficking Unit and Senior Trial Counsel, supervised the investigation, which was conducted by Assistant District Attorneys Taylor Holland and Christine DiDomenico; Supervising Investigative Analyst Apsara Iyer, Investigative Analysts Daniel Healey and Hilary Chasse; and Special Agents Robert Mancene, John Paul Labbat, and Robert Fromkin of Homeland Security Investigations. The District Attorney’s Office would like to thank Shelby White for her assistance and cooperation with our investigation.


Let's put a spotlight on one of the crooks.  Torey Akers (THE ART NEWSPAPER) notes:

Authorities seized the bull figurine from Shelby White, the investor, art collector and board member of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The expansive collection she accrued with her late husband, Leon Levy, has come under scrutiny for including many artefacts with uncertain provenance. The district attorney's investigation into the collection has already resulted in the seizure of 89 stolen antiquities valued at over $69m and originating from ten different countries. White cooperated with investigators, according to the district attorney's announcement.

Shelby White is not a poor widow.  She's 84 years old and sitting on millions.  She's used that money to try to buy herself a life in the last two decades. That money bought her a seat on a government committee that was supposed to be figuring out the illegal artifact trade and how to stop it.  Yes, Bill Clinton put the fox in the henhouse.  This latest revelation is not a shock.  She and her dead husband profited from looting and illegal trade.   Sarah Cascone (ART NET) notes:

One, a Sumerian alabaster bull, belonged to philanthropist Shelby White, a member of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s board of trustees. It joins a significant number of other objects from her collection that the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office has seized in the past two years.

[. . .]

Works from the couple’s holdings were among a group of Greek antiquities restituted in March. And earlier this month, the DA returned two seventh-century stone carvings to China that belonged to White and were on loan to the Met—part of a growing cache of antiquities either in the museum’s collection, or on view at the institution, that have been seized and/or repatriated due to looting in recent months. Reports suggest there is more where that came from. 

I'm sure there are many more items to be found in 'their' collection.  WIKIPEDIA notes:

The Levy-White collection has been scrutinised for looted objects: in a 2000 article, archaeologists David Gill and Christopher Chippindale stated that 93 percent of the works at the exhibition Glories of the Past: Ancient Art from the Shelby White and Leon Levy Collection had no known provenance.[15]

Upon search warrants issued by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office on 28 June, 2021, and April 27, 2022, objects were seized from White's Manhattan home and were returned to Turkey and Italy, these objets constituting "evidence of criminal possession of stolen property in the first, second, third, and fourth degrees, as well as of a conspiracy to commit those crimes"[16]

The Office of Manhattan District Attorney General seized 89 stolen antiquities, valued at $69 million and originating from 10 different countries, and returned some of them to Turkey[17] and Yemen.[18]

In May 2023, Chinese antiquities loaned to the Metropolitan Museum of Art by Shelby White were seized and returned to the Chinese Consulate.[19]


Now that we're all on the same page, the dumpster fire is back in the news.  Divya Kishore (MEAWW) reports:

A prominent trustee of the Metropolitan Museum of Art (Met) has come under fire after cops recovered numerous stolen artifacts from her house. According to reports, the confiscated items are worth $69 million and were collected by Shelby White and her late husband Leon Levy over several years.

89 artifacts have reportedly been removed from White's possession by the Manhattan District Attorney's Office Special Antiquities Trafficking Unit in the last two years. An April statement by Manhattan DA Alvin L Bragg, Jr said, "Our investigation into the collector Shelby White has allowed dozens of antiquities that were ripped from their countries of origin to finally return home."

Following the shocking revelation, The New York Post reported that the 85-year-old woman's attorney Peter Chavkin has asserted that his client bought artifacts "in good faith, at public auction and from dealers they believed to be reputable." Philippe de Montebello, the Met's former director, defended Shelby by saying she "is a scholar who bought antiquities in good faith out of a real love and knowledge of the art."

[. . .]

However, there were many who were not convinced by White's apparent innocence as Elizabeth Marlowe, the director of the museum studies program at Colgate University, reportedly said, "There is no way that someone at her level of the market and her depth of collecting and her prominence at the Met - there is no way someone at that level did not know they should be asking for things like export licenses."

Patty Gerstenblith, an expert on cultural heritage issues and a professor at DePaul University College of Law, added, "Her collecting practices do not fit the model of how a museum should be pursuing knowledge and preserving the historical record. I don't think the good works, the support of archaeological work, outweigh the harm that she caused."

She's a thief and she needs to be called out every day of however many years she has left on this earth.  Crooks like her don't go to prison, so public scorn's all we can mete out. 

Meanwhile in Baghdad, their local chapter of Moms For Liberty has been very active.  Ali Jabar and Abby Sewell (AP) report:

Protesters angered by the planned burning of a copy of the Quran stormed the Swedish Embassy in Baghdad early Thursday, breaking into the compound and lighting a small fire and setting off a diplomatic furor.

Online videos showed demonstrators at the diplomatic post waving flags and signs showing the influential Iraqi Shiite cleric and political leader Muqtada al-Sadr ahead of a planned burning of the Islamic holy book Thursday in Stockholm by an Iraqi asylum-seeker who burned a copy of the Quran in a previous demonstration last month.

Following the incident, the Swedish Embassy announced it had closed to visitors without specifying when it would reopen. Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani convened a meeting with security officials and said in a statement afterwards that Iraqi authorities will prosecute those responsible for the arson as well referring “negligent security officials” for investigation.

No word yet on whether other Moms For Liberty like 'Dr' Naomi Wolf and Tulsi Gabbard would be rushing to Iraq to assist mother Moqtada in the mission.   AFP notes:

 "What has happened is completely unacceptable and the government condemns these attacks in the strongest terms. Iraqi authorities have an unequivocal obligation to protect diplomatic missions and personnel under the Vienna Convention," Foreign Minister Tobias Billstrom said in a statement, adding that Iraq's charge d'affaires would be summoned to the foreign ministry.

REUTERS offers this quote:

“It is clear that the Iraqi authorities have seriously failed in their responsibility to protect diplomatic missions and personnel,” Billstrom said in a statement. 

Dropping back to Tuesday's snapshot:

Cardinal Louis Sako, patriarch of the Chaldean Catholic Church, announced Saturday that he is withdrawing from his seat in Baghdad after Iraqi President Abdul Rashid revoked a decree recognizing him as head of the Christian Church in Iraq.

Sako said he will be taking up residence in a monastery in Kurdistan, an autonomous region of Iraq, where he will continue to lead the Chaldean Church.  

In a statement issued July 15, Sako called the president’s action — which calls into question his ability to control Church assets in the country — “unprecedented” and “unfair.”

“It is unfortunate that we in Iraq live in the midst of a wide network of self-interest, narrow factionalism, and hypocrisy that has produced an unprecedented political, national, and moral chaos, which is rooted by now more and more,” Sako wrote. “Therefore, I have decided to withdraw from the patriarchal headquarters in Baghdad.”

What's going on?  A number of things, actually.  AFP noted a few days ago a political conflict:

Cardinal Louis Sako, patriarch of the Chaldean Catholic Church, announced Saturday that he is withdrawing from his seat in Baghdad after Iraqi President Abdul Rashid revoked a decree recognizing him as head of the Christian Church in Iraq.

Sako said he will be taking up residence in a monastery in Kurdistan, an autonomous region of Iraq, where he will continue to lead the Chaldean Church.  

In a statement issued July 15, Sako called the president’s action — which calls into question his ability to control Church assets in the country — “unprecedented” and “unfair.”

“It is unfortunate that we in Iraq live in the midst of a wide network of self-interest, narrow factionalism, and hypocrisy that has produced an unprecedented political, national, and moral chaos, which is rooted by now more and more,” Sako wrote. “Therefore, I have decided to withdraw from the patriarchal headquarters in Baghdad."

 [. . .]

Now comes Abdul to further disgrace the Talabani family and the PUK.  FARS MEDIA CORPORATION notes:

A source at Asianews points out that the whole affair turns on this point: “Someone wants to take control over the assets and properties held by Christians and the Church.” President Abdul Latif Rashid has intervened in recent days with the intention of “clarifying” his decision.

His office issues a statement saying: “Withdrawing  the republican decree does not prejudice the religious or legal status of Cardinal Louis Sako, as he is appointed by the Apostolic See.” According to the Kurdish Muslim leader, “the abolition of the Presidential Decree is intended to correct the situation,” while the patriarch continues to enjoy “the respect and appreciation of the presidency of the Republic as Patriarch of the Chaldean Church in Iraq and the world.”

“However, the president’s decision strips the Chaldean leader – the Patriarch – of the right to administer church assets, which are the target of Ryan 'the Chaldean' and his Babylonian Brigades. ‘It’s no coincidence that the president’s decision came a few days after he met with Ryan,’” a source told AsiaNews.

“For over 100 years, the patriarch, after his papal appointment, had his office recognized by decree by the king and then the president, upholding his status as head of the Church and custodian of its properties.” With the withdrawal of the decree, the primate “will likely lose control over the [Church’s] assets and properties,” the source concludes, but Cardinal Sako “is determined to fight and is already studying ways to appeal in court so that law prevails and justice is done.”

The controversy surrounding the withdrawal of the presidential decree is the latest chapter in a series of attacks that have affected the most respected figure of the Chaldean Church in Iraq, to the point that in recent weeks there has arisen a backlash among Christians in response to the “lies”: an attack against the patriarch and the leadership of the Church by the leader of the Babylonian Movement, Rayan.otes:

Mina Aldroubi (THE NATIONAL) updates the ongoing story:

The US ambassador to Iraq will be summoned by Baghdad over remarks made by a US official about the removal of the head of the Christian Church in Iraq, the government said on Thursday.

Ambassador Alina Romanowski is to be called in after State Department spokesman Matthew Miller described the treatment of Cardinal Louis Sako as harassment.

He said he was troubled by Iraq’s President Abdul Latif Rashid's decision to revoke a decree recognising the patriarch of the Chaldean Catholic Church, as head of the country's Christian Church.

“I will say we are disturbed by the harassment of Cardinal Sako ... and troubled by the news that he has left Baghdad,” Mr Miller said on Tuesday.

“We look forward to his safe return. The Iraqi Christian community is a vital part of Iraq’s identity and a central part of Iraq’s history of diversity and tolerance.”

Mr Rashid's office said the president was "disappointed by accusations levelled against the Iraqi government" by Mr Miller and would summon the ambassador.

 The following sites updated:

  • Thursday, July 20, 2023

    Little Doo-Doo's a disaster

    SCRIPPS NEWS reports more problems for Governor Goofball:

    The state of Florida violates the rights of children with complex medical needs, a federal judge decided late last week. 

    According to the Department of Justice, these children were unnecessarily institutionalized in nursing homes while placing other children at serious risk of unnecessary institutionalization.

    The DOJ claimed that state policies violated the Americans with Disabilities Act. The suit claims the state caused harm by separating children from their families and community. 

    The suit also claims that many parents wanted their children to live at home, but were left with few options other than institutionalization. The federal judge's decision comes after nearly a decade of litigation. 

    If you're not getting it Ronald Dion DeSantis has been governor of Florida since 2019.  That's a reflection on  him.  

    So yesterday, Doo-Doo Ron Ron bumbled through an interview on CNN with Jake Tapper -- Doo-Doo insisting that his campaign was fine and perfect.  Today?  NBC NEWS reports:

    The long knives are out for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ campaign manager amid a cash crunch and flagging poll numbers. 

    Generra Peck, DeSantis’ top aide, is “hanging by a thread,” said one DeSantis donor who is close to the campaign.

    Some of the governor’s allies communicated themselves or through proxies that they want DeSantis to fire Peck or “layer” her — a less-public demotion in which she would have to report to a new boss — according to two more DeSantis allies familiar with discussions around the campaign’s struggles.

    “It is the chatter among donors and it extends beyond the first rung of the bundler class. Money people are losing confidence quickly,” a DeSantis money-bundler told NBC News. “It’s time for that kind of change. It’s time for a shakeup at the top.” 

    The idea that DeSantis needs a shake-up is widely held amongst Republicans, according to conversations NBC News had with roughly a dozen strategists and donors, both affiliated with the campaign and not. 

    He's had to lay off staff because he's not bringing in much money and the early donors have already maxed out.  His campaign is a nightmare.  If he can't run a campaign, how does he think he could ever be president?

    Donald Trump must lay in bed at night laughing when he thinks that Doo-Doo's his big competition for the Republican Party's presidential nomination.  What a disaster little Doo-Doo is. 

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

    Wednesday, July 17, 2023.  Where most would either apologize for a huge scandal or run from it, Robert F. Kennedy Jr tries to fundraise off it, the hate merchants continue to swarm across the country (Junior may be the leader they've been waiting for), a recent protest in Iraq is confusing, and much more.

    Starting in the US, with the hustle for the money that so many useless campaigns depend upon.  Look who dropped into inboxes yesterday, Robert F. Kennedy Jr.  Junior's not been that attentive to the people who signed up for e-mails from his campaign. 

    Sure, if you called him him out on COVID or his standing with transphobes or whatever, you got the "Thank you for your feedback" e-mail asking you to donate money.  But otherwise, they really didn't reach out, now did they?

    They ignored you for all of June until June 21st with "This looks like a $100 million campaign."  They informed in that e-mail that June 30th was looming and they would be announcing the amount of fundraising so please, please toss in some cash.  June 28's "Crucial deadline" reminded you of it again as did June 29's "Join RFK Jr.'s push for strong leadership" and June 30's "Our first million dollar day" and "Just five hours left."  Two in one day tired Junior out so bad, he didn't come begging again until July 7th with "We asked, you delivered." And that was it until yesterday -- eleven days later -- with "Let's show them where the power REALLY is."  

    Contrast that with John Kerry's bid for the Democratic Party's 2004 presidential bid.  By spring 2003, his campaign was e-mailing daily sometimes more than once a day.  And they were a little bit less obviously whorish.  They'd have John or Mary Beth Cahill as the signee and noting this or that issue in the news.  They'd rope it someone else with a statement, like John Glenn.  

    I guess the one area that Junior is on message with is: Gimmie your money. Gimmie.

    And he really needs you to gimmie right now because so many have stopped due to the weekend report of his racist and anti-semitic claims.  If you're late the to the party, RELIGIOUS NEWS SERVICE reported:

    In retrospect, we should have seen this coming.

    Robert Kennedy, Jr., who has presidential ambitions, has long trafficked in conspiracy theories. In particular, he is an anti-vaxxer. 

    This week, however, he went to the truly dark side:

    “Covid-19. There is an argument that it is ethnically targeted. Covid-19 attacks certain races disproportionately,” Mr. Kennedy said at a private gathering in New York that was captured on videotape by The New York Post. “Covid-19 is targeted to attack Caucasians and Black people. The people who are most immune are Ashkenazi Jews and Chinese.”

    So, yes — shocked, but not surprised. 

    RFK Jr. might take a certain pride in the fact that this antisemitic conspiracy theory has a long lineage.

    He refences that body blow to his campaign in the first line of the e-mail, "We deserve a President who's willing to tell the truth, especially when it's difficult."

    So you were telling the truth when you said COVID was created by the Chinese or the Jews or both to target White people and African-Americans?

    It's hard to follow, Junior.  First your response was you didn't say it.  Then you were misquoted.  Then it was supposed to be off the record.

    So now you're saying you told the world the truth?

    It doesn't get better as the e-mail goes along.

    Last week I sat down for a private, “off the record” dinner, with members of the press in New York. Since then, the media has launched a desperate smear campaign to continue their efforts to marginalize me in the eyes of the public.

    No, you didn't sit down for an "off the record" dinner because there is no such thing, you stupid moron.  There's a dinner where conversations are "off the record."  But there's no off the record dinner.

    These attacks are baseless and fly in the face of my own decades-long history of strong support for the Jewish community, as well as my family’s lifelong support for civil rights.

    They're baseless attacks?  Really?  Because I know you and I know Kerry.  And your sister didn't want to call you out publicly.   Here is the statement Kerry Kennedy issued:

    I strongly condemn my brother's deplorable and untruthful remarks last week about Covid being engineered for ethnic targeting. His statements do not represent what I believe or what Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights stand for, with our 50+-year track record of protecting rights and standing against racism and all forms of discrimination.

    Click here to go to The Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Organization to read the statement if you don't believe it.

    And Olafimihan Oshin (THE HILL) reports:

    Former Rep. Joe Kennedy III (D-Mass.) Monday joined other family members in publicly condemning Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s recent remarks on COVID-19, which became public over the weekend and were widely criticized as antisemitic and anti-Asian.

    “My uncle’s comments were hurtful and wrong,” the 42-year-old former congressman wrote in a tweet Monday. “I unequivocally condemn what he said.” 

    I don't think you can hide behind anything with regards to "my family's lifelong" when your family is publicly calling you out and rejecting your statements.  When you've brought real shame to the Kennedy name.  The big bet, among your family, was that your outrageous remarks were going to be about LGBTQ+ people.  No one in your family was expecting you to go for the gold with racism.  

    Yet here we are.

    Junior insists:

    As we all know, the more that my campaign catches on with the American public, the more I will be attacked and smeared by a press whose job it is to marginalize anyone who challenges entrenched interests, such as the military-industrial complex with its endless wars, and Big Pharma with its hijacking of American healthcare.

    You don't believe in universal healthcare and you don't believe in regulating pharmacy so this is just another example of you spitting our words without giving them any thought.  You know that kind of posing played well in your twenties but when you left your thirties, it just looked sad.

    And, excuse me, your campaign catching on.  It's done the complete opposite.  In your campaign's first e-mail you were trumpeting 20% support among Democrats.  But not only have you not increased that number, it actually fell to 16% and that's before you decided to grab a torch and a white sheet as you went around burning crosses on front lawns.

    Junior insists:

    The intensity of their attacks shows they are taking me — and my chances of winning — seriously. They have stooped to this because their other efforts at silencing me have failed.

    No.  People are getting tired of you and no one wants to indulge you anymore.  You're not John-John in your shorts saluting at a funeral.  You're a 69-year-old man named Junior who has disappointed the hell out of so many in such a short time.

    Junior claims:

    We can show them that these smear tactics won’t work outside the echo chamber of corporate media. They won’t work, because of supporters like you who see through these tactics that have been used over decades to smear one peace advocate after another. 

    The echo chamber of corporate media?  Your sister Kerry and your nephew Joe are the echo chamber of corporate media?  Junior, how many steroids are you taking?

    And then he goes in for the hook, let's show the country that racism can raise money!  He writes:

    Imagine what they will think when their vicious smear campaign results in MORE support, not less!

    It's not a vicious smear campaign when people are holding you accountable for your own words.  And your using those words to beg for money -- when you should be apologizing for what you said, you're instead winding down your e-mail with "Let’s show them where the real power is -- in the millions of Americans like you who support a presidential candidate willing to tell them the truth. "

    You really are disgusting.  David Smith (GUARDIAN) reports on a study by the Congressional Integrity Project:

    But the Project’s document argues that Kennedy’s recent comments about Jewish and Chinese people, which were quickly hailed by Neo-Nazis and Holocaust deniers as “100% correct”, were not an aberration but fitted a long pattern.

    Earlier this summer Kennedy touted a meeting with Ice Cube, a rapper who issued bizarre antisemitic tweets, and publicly defended musician Roger Waters, who was embroiled in controversy after donning a costume intended to evoke Nazi attire at a concert in Germany.

    The report says Kennedy has also repeatedly promoted and praised fringe online broadcaster James Corbett, a Sandy Hook and 9/11 conspiracy theorist who has claimed that “Hitler and the Nazis were 100% completely and utterly set up”.

    Kennedy has often allied himself with National of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, who regularly unleashed tirades about alleged Jewish control of media and government. Kennedy met Farrakhan at his Chicago home in 2015, with Farrakhan later tweeting that they discussed “a vaccine that is designed to affect Black males”.

    The Project details how Kennedy himself has frequently invoked Nazi Germany when pushing debunked theories about vaccines. He put out a video that showed infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci with a mustache reminiscent of Adolf Hitler and used the word “holocaust” to describe children he believes were hurt by vaccines in 2015.

    Last year, at a Washington rally organized by his group Children’s Health Defense, Kennedy complained that people’s rights were being violated by public health measures that had been taken to reduce the number of people sickened and killed by Covid-19. He said: “Even in Hitler’s Germany, you could cross the Alps to Switzerland. You could hide in an attic like Anne Frank did.” He later apologised.

    For years, the document says, Kennedy has targeted a particularly dangerous form of vaccine denial at Black people. In 2021 at the height of the Covid-19 vaccination campaign, he released Medical Racism, a film that promoted disproven claims about the dangers of vaccines and explicitly warned communities of color to be suspicious of “sinister” vaccination campaigns.

    Several doctors and experts who participated in the film later denounced it and said they felt used and misled about the message of the documentary. Richard Allen Williams, founder of the Association of Black Cardiologists, called Children’s Health Defense “absolutely a racist operation” particularly dangerous to the Black community.

    Staying o the topic of hate merchants, Canaan Lidor (TIMES OF ISRAEL) reports:

    About 20 protesters in Toledo, Ohio, picketed a festival organized by an LGBTQ advocacy group and later continued outside the Jewish Federation of Greater Toledo, which called the protesters neo-Nazis.

    The events Saturday began outside the Lost Fest event organized by the Equality Toledo LGBTQ advocacy group and continued opposite the offices of the Jewish group.

    “Yesterday evening, over a dozen masked neo-Nazis carrying tiki torches attempted to harass attendees at an LGBTQ+ pride event in downtown Toledo before coming to the Jewish Toledo campus in Sylvania to harass Jews,” Laurie Gross, the president of the Jewish Federation of Greater Toledo, wrote in a statement Sunday cosigned by three other Jewish community leaders.

    “To members of our Jewish community, there are no known active threats at this time,” read the statement.

    The cosignatories wrote that the Jewish community “unequivocally condemns these acts of hate meant to instill fear in our hearts and minds,” adding: “We are stronger than hate. We are united with our partners in the LGBTQ+ community, refusing to be silent in the face of baseless hatred.”

    This is not in isolation.  If you're a woman of any race, if you're Jewish, if you appear to be an immigrant, if you're Asian-American or African-American, these hate groups are coming for you.  They are making no secret of it.  As Ava and I noted last night in "TV: The fork is stuck in her ass and, yes, she's done:"

    Sidebar, we were sent what is supposedly Glenneth's browser history.  If it is accurate, he's even more disgusting than we thought.  If it hadn't been sent this morning, we'd be working on that as a story.  Not on the Glenneth aspect -- we don't know whether it's really his browser history or not -- but on the issue that Twitter is platforming hate speech.  This is much worse than what people usually complain about with regards to Twitter.  This is "White power" accounts promoting Donald Trump while ripping African-Americans, gays, trans, Jewish and pretty much everyone.  And to be clear, they're not using terms like African-American or gay.  
    It is disgusting and it is appalling and there's no way in the world that Elon Musk is doing his job yet is unaware of these accounts. 
    There is a movement to target any group that's a minority.  

    You've got Twitter accounts that are posting videos of women being punched in the face with Tweets about how they shouldn't have any rights, you've got Twitter accounts pimping "White pride" and attacking African-Americans, you've got them using hate speech against LGBTQ+ people yet with all those options of terms to use -- lesbian, gay, bi, trans or queer -- they're resorting to the f-word.

    And this is all over Twitter.  And no one's calling out.  It makes what has been called out on Twitter look like a joke.  

    People need to wake the hell up to what's going on and not think that they are in any way safe.

    Meanwhile, the federal government comes to a halt as two petty US senators have a hissy fit.  Tracy Wilkinson (LOS ANGELES TIMES) reports:

    A handful of senators is blocking the confirmation of dozens of highly regarded Biden administration ambassadorial appointments over largely partisan issues having nothing to do with the nominees' qualifications, Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken said Monday.

    In an unusual head-on confrontation with Congress, Blinken complained that action by some senators is crippling the ability of the United States to project its influence on the global stage, stifling the U.S. voice in critical countries in the Middle East and Europe during the raging war in Ukraine and undermining national security.

    The diplomatic delays come as hundreds of U.S. military promotions — including the appointment of the commander of the Marine Corps, leaving an acting leader in charge for the first time in more than 100 years — blocked by a single Republican senator from Alabama, former football coach Tommy Tuberville. He objects to the Defense Department’s efforts to provide reproductive and gender-affirming care to service members.

    "By failing to confirm these nominees, a handful of senators are keeping our best players on the sidelines," Blinken said.

    Now that's the raving hate merchant Tommy Tuberville.  He's not the only one holding up nominations.  Everyone's favorite home-perm senator, Rand Paul, is holding up another group of nominees.  Patricia Zengerle and Simon Lewis (REUTERS) report:

    U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Monday that a Senate delay in confirming President Joe Biden's nominees for diplomatic positions was undermining national security, echoing similar concerns from defense officials on delays to military promotions.

    Blinken told reporters that he had sent a letter to every member of the Senate urging swift confirmation of dozens of nominees for State Department positions.

    The nominations are being held back by Republican Senator Rand Paul while he seeks information from the administration on the origins of COVID-19.

    Turning to Iraq, at the end of last week, there were two protests in Iraq.  One makes sense, the other's a question mark.  Let's start with the latter. UNITED NEWS OF INDIA notes, "Hundreds of Shia supporters have taken to the streets of the Iraqi capital Baghdad where an anti-American protest was held on Friday, Shafaq News reports. The protesters gathered at the entrance to the Green Zone, where government buildings and the US embassy are located." SPUTNIK adds, "Supporters of Shia groups voiced protest against US meddling in Iraq's internal affairs, as well as Washington's threats to eliminate the leaders of the formations, Shafaq News said."  OUTLOOK INDIA has a photo essay of the protest hereTASNIM types, "Recent reports from US media have suggested that Washington is planning to assassinate leaders of anti-terror resistance groups in Iraq, particularly the Harakat Hezbollah al-Nujaba. The US claims that the group was responsible for a deadly drone strike on US forces in Syria in March."  That's the confusing part.

    And it's not just TASNIm repeating it.  Recent reports?  By US media?  I haven't seen any and I just searched THE WASHINGTON POST, AP, THE NEW YORK TIMES, CNN, CBS NEWS and THE LOS ANGELES TIMES.  Where are these US media reports suggesting the US government "is planning to assassinate leaders of anti-terror resistance groups in Iraq"?  They don't appear to exist.  Maybe someone just had a slow Friday and needed to get out and get their steps in?

    The other protest is easier to follow.  KURDISTAN 24 reports:

    The demolishment of the Al-Sarai Mosque's minaret on Friday morning in Basra sparked protests amongst the Sunni community in Iraq.
    The Al-Sarai Mosque is a Sunni mosque and is one of the oldest historical mosques in Iraq. It was built in 1727 and was renovated in 1902 by Abdulwahab Pasha bin Ahmed al-Qurtas.
    The Governor of Basra Asad al-Edani announced that the demolition of the minaret was due to complaints from citizens that the minaret created obstacles to traffic and the implementation of a strategic road project in the city.

    Okay, that one is easy to follow X took place leading to Y protest.  Again, there have been no US media reports of assassination plans.  And if that detail was left out of the Bagdad reports, the story would be less confusing.  On Basra, Mina Aldroubi and Holly Johnston (THE NATIONAL) report:

    The minaret of Al Saraji mosque in Basra stood 11 metres high and was destroyed at dawn on Friday despite calls by local officials to restore and preserve the site.

    "We consider this a crime against humanity and Iraqis," said Mustafa Al Hussaini, director of Basra's antiquities department.

    He said they were not informed that the structure would be demolished.

    "I am in shock and am getting condolence messages," Mr Al Hussaini added.

    "Some officials are even embarrassed to approach me.

    Most of last week, we were noting the climate change effects taking place in Iraq.  Climate change models predict that Iraq will be one of the worst hit by climate change in the coming years.  Shivam Dwivedi  (KRISHI JAGRAN) notes:     

    Iraq is currently grappling with a dire water shortage, putting the livelihoods of many farmers and food producers at risk. Qasem Karam, an Iraqi fish farmer from the southern province of Basra, is one of those affected. Walking across arid land in the blistering midday heat, Karam gestures towards his dried-up carp ponds, which were once nourished by the Shatt al-Arab river.
    He lamented that everything was now saturated with salt due to water scarcity and pollution, pointing to nearby patches of white salt crust. He mentioned that the ponds had required significant time, money, and effort to establish, and they had a promising economic plan, but it had all been destroyed.

    Most reporting this week has noted the impact on fishing, the impact on farming and the impact on drinking water.   As Laure Al Khoury (AFP) points out, it's more than that:

    With scorching temperatures and power cuts, Wissam Abed cools off from Baghdad's brutal summer by swimming in the Tigris river, but as Iraqi rivers dry up, so does the age-old pastime.

    Near a bridge linking the east of the city to the west, Abed stood in the middle of the river, but the water only came up to his waist.

    "I live here in Adhamiya, like my grandfather did before me. Year after year, the water situation gets worse," said the 37-year-old, referring to his neighbourhood nestled along the Tigris in northern Baghdad.

    Abed waded through the water to the middle of the ancient river, as temperatures reached near 50 degrees celsius (122 Farenheit) and wind whipped through the city like a hair dryer one July afternoon.

    He told AFP he comes to the Tigris "to have fun and feel refreshed".

    Summer in Iraq is a prime example of the convergences of multiple crises weighing down the lives of the 43-strong population: a dilapidated electricity sector, rising temperatures and severe water shortages.

    Another AFP article we noted last week on this topic has been republished this week after the agency determined it to be one of the best reports of last week, so check that out if you missed it last week.

    The water is disappearing.  And what's in the water that Iraq still has access to?  MEMO explains:

    Chemicals and waste materials from various government institutions and power plants are polluting the River Tigris, causing skin diseases and colon cancer.

    Sewage waters are also poured into the River Tigris, which passes through the capital, Baghdad, which has a population of approximately 9 million.

    Liquids containing toxic and chemical substances coming out of Baghdad City hospitals are also released into the River Tigris. In addition, people living in neighbourhoods along the river also throw their garbage into the river.

    New content at THIRD:

    The following sites updated: