Saturday, February 24, 2018

Easy Nachos in the Kitchen

Lance wanted an easy nacho recipes -- "without meat" -- so let's go with this one.

Heat a can of black beans in a pot on the stove -- add spices.  Pepper, cumin and chili powder.  Drain a can of corn and add it to the beans.

Spread a layer of tortilla chips on a plate or platter.

To avoid soggy chips, I'd suggest you drain the beans and corn.  Use a colander or a strainer.

Once drained, add bean and corn mixture to the chips.

Add a layer of shredded cheese -- the warm beans and corn will melt the cheese.

If you've drained but allowed to cool, pop the beans and corn in a microwave friendly dish and re-heat.

After the cheese, add some slice jalapeno peppers.  (You can also slice some green onions and add them with the peppers.)

Other toppings?  You can add salsa and/or sour cream.

That's an easy, meatless, nacho recipe.

Easy also describes the Russia nonsense.  The whole pretense that Robert Mueller will uncover Trump and Russia working together to steal the 2016 election has pretty much collapsed.

Barry Grey (WSWS) explains:


This follows a political counteroffensive by Trump and congressional Republicans in recent weeks, including the release of a memo drafted by staffers for the Republican chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Devin Nunes, documenting the fact that the FBI illegally obtained a warrant from the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to wiretap a former Trump campaign aide, Carter Page, by failing to inform the court that information it used to secure the warrant was paid for by the Democratic Party and the Hillary Clinton election campaign.


The Nunes memo exposed the politically motivated and fraudulent character of the entire anti-Russia campaign mounted by dominant factions of the intelligence and military establishment in alliance with the Democratic Party and major media outlets, led by the New York Times and the Washington Post. Trump and leading Republicans used the Nunes revelations to attack the FBI as waging a political vendetta, while Democrats and most of the media sprung to the defense of the FBI and the intelligence establishment, implying that criticism of the police and spy agencies was tantamount to giving treasonous aid and comfort to the enemy—Moscow.


In the infighting between two reactionary factions of the ruling class, the Democrats are leading the campaign, in the name of defending American “democracy” from Russian subversion, to whip up a war fever and prepare for a military conflict between the world’s two biggest nuclear powers, and simultaneously crack down on free speech and political opposition on the Internet in the name of combating Russian-inspired “fake news.”


It's really sad how many have fallen for the Russia scare nonsense.





This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" for Friday:


Friday, February 23, 2018.


The Iraq War continues and the press helps it continue by forever normalizing it.

The 15 year mark is next month and where are the editorials asking the one needed question: Why?

Even THE NATION, serving up Phyllis Bennis' nonsense (see yesterday's snapshot) couldn't ask the question why or even when does it end?

If we can't even count on THE NATION to ask that question, we really are lost.

Proving just how lost we are . . .



I know there’s a lot going on in the world but I hope people take the time to read this. Civilian casualties from U.S. airstrikes skyrocketed in 2017 in line with Trump’s promises that the U.S. would behave more brutally at war:




You know what I hope?

That people read Murtaza's garbage with a critical mind.

This is another normalizing piece.

A piece that normalizes the slaughter of civilians in the name of war.

Does it seem familiar?

It should but we seem to be the only ones who remember when Richard Nixon pulled this crap in Vietnam.  For those who forgot or never knew it is what sent the Air Force into revolt against Tricky Dick.  He was claiming that they were winding down but, in fact, it was ramping up the air war.

Exactly what Barack Obama did beginning in August of 2014.

Three years later, it appears no one wants to make that connection.

The increasingly awful INTERCEPT wants today to tell you bombing civilians is 'bad' -- but only when it's in large numbers -- in fact, larger numbers than under Barack.

What they're doing is normalizing.

The number of civilians killed when Barack was doing his bombing was not acceptable but toss around the term "terrorism" and watch everyone fall mute.

The terrorism was taking place under US government proxy Nouri al-Maliki.

ISIS was not the initiating event, it was the response.

And it responded to Nouri al-Maliki's targeting of Sunnis -- his arrests and kidnappings of Sunni protesters, his attempts to intimidate Sunni politicians by having tanks circle their homes, by insisting they were terrorists, his disappearing of Iraqi women and girls into prisons where they were beaten and raped . . .

The list is very long.

That's how ISIS took root in Iraq.

So many lies exist to keep the war going.

Reality: Nouri is not the legitimate ruler of Iraq and neither is current prime minister Hayder al-Abadi.

Both fled Iraq decades prior.  They spent their time out of Iraq begging the US to invade.  Once the US invaded, they returned to Iraq.

Grasp that because there's a word for it: Coward.

Too cowardly to stay and fight, they fled their country.

Too cowardly to fight from outside, they begged foreign countries to fight their fight for them.

Now they strut around -- usually with a chip on their shoulder -- in a country that does not know them or consider them their own.

They are US-installed.

The system the US government set up ensures that.

Which is why US troops remain in Iraq -- to prop up the unpopular government that does not represent the Iraqi people, the government that hides in the fortified Green Zone to this day because it is illegitimate.

The US government wants the hydrocarbon laws passed.  Remember Bully Boy Bush's benchmarks?  To this day, that's the only one of the benchmarks the government or the US press has given a damn about.


And along comes THE INTERCEPT to normalize the continuation of this grotesque affront to humanity.

Medea Benjamin waited until Barack was about to leave the White House but (at THE GUARDIAN) she did note in January of 2017:

President Obama did reduce the number of US soldiers fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq, but he dramatically expanded the air wars and the use of special operations forces around the globe. In 2016, US special operators could be found in 70% of the world’s nations, 138 countries – a staggering jump of 130% since the days of the Bush administration.
Looking back at President Obama’s legacy, the Council on Foreign Relation’s Micah Zenko added up the defense department’s data on airstrikes and made a startling revelation: in 2016 alone, the Obama administration dropped at least 26,171 bombs. This means that every day last year, the US military blasted combatants or civilians overseas with 72 bombs; that’s three bombs every hour, 24 hours a day.
While most of these air attacks were in Syria and Iraq, US bombs also rained down on people in Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen, Somalia and Pakistan. That’s seven majority-Muslim countries.

Where in THE INTERCEPT article do you find any effort to explain Barack was dropping "three bombs every hour, 24 hours a day"?

You don't.

Because that crap ass rag operates from the belief that what Barack did was normal.

It wasn't.

But give Glenn Greenwald and his crew time and they will normalize all War Crimes and all attacks on humanity.

Let's look at what's been 'accomplished.'

This is FRANCE 24 reporting in the last 24 hours on Tikrit -- post 'liberation.'



Three years later, three years after 'liberation' and that's what it looks like.

(It's actually two months shy of three years, before anyone e-mails.  The report rounds to three years but the 'liberation' was complete April 17, 2015.)

Over two years for Baiji and "the government has done nothing to rebuild the city," the report notes.

Oriane Verdier: Donating money without addressing widespread corruption in Iraq's government will not be much use -- so says, Sheikh Nadhal Humedi Mohammed, one of many tribal elders and local politicians who have lost faith in the government.

Sheikh Nadhal Humedi Mohammed:  You can't just give the money to the government.  We won't benefit at all. They should come here, see the situation with their own eyes and help the people directly.  Iraq is one of the richest countries in the world.  But as long as you have leaders like ours, the people will remain poor.  We never receive anything.

Oriane Verdier: The war against the IS group allowed the government to rally popular support while turning a blind eye to its own failures. Now that the terrorist group has been officially defeated, the government must address its shortcomings to lead Iraq towards a better future.


So, no, the answer is not just to toss money at Iraq for 'reconstruction' when you know the government is corrupt.  And grasp that it was Barack Obama who refused to keep open the oversight office for Iraqi reconstruction.

Iraq today remains in trouble for one reason.  Former US Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker shares his concerns with FRONTLINE (PBS):

At one point, I think you were talking to [the journalist] Tom Ricks, said that, “The Shia militias are worse than ISIS.”

Yeah. Yeah, I do believe that.

Even after all the videotaped violence, the [Camp] Speicher massacre [in Tikrit], the beheadings of journalists and others, you think that the Iranian-backed militias in Iraq are worse than ISIS?



Sure. ISIS is just about done in Iraq. The Shia militias are ascending. And you could see it back then, that the creation of the PMUs was just, you know, again, part of the Iranian game plan. But what ISIS, or Al Qaeda before it, never could do was permeate the political space, not even in Sunni areas. Well, the militias do.




It's 15 years and the Iraq War continues.




Those who lied to us about Iraq 15 years ago are the same ones lying to us today about Syria and Russia.







When does it end?

Why is that question not even asked by the media -- let alone discussed.







Melanie performing "Motherhood of Love" (first studio album this appears on is Melanie's 2010 album EVER SINCE YOU NEVER HEARD OF ME).


In other news . . .




EXCLUSIVE: The Trump administration plans to scrap a special envoy position that coordinates the campaign against the Islamic State, a move that has raised concerns of a growing U.S. diplomatic vacuum in Syria and Iraq.

and report:








I'm not seeing the great loss of Brett and his blue balls being out of job.

He is the Special Envoy.  Barack created the post for him after Brett couldn't be confirmed as Ambassador to Iraq.

What has Brett done?

Very little.

He's angered Sunnis and Kurds.

He's done little diplomacy (that might be due to Barack and/or Donald Trump).

He's been a flack for the military.

Figure out what his duties were before you lament his position being terminated.

It's no great loss.

The following community sites -- plus Jody Watley --  updated:


































  • Friday, February 23, 2018

    We have no TV channel

    If you never get how fake MSNBC is read Shelley Connor’s latest piece at WSWS:

      


    A report released by the United Nations International Childhood Emergency Fund (UNICEF) reveals that worldwide, 7,000 newborns die each day. While most of the countries that ranked poorly for newborn mortality are impoverished, fragile states, extreme income inequality in a number of wealthy countries costs the lives of thousands of children each year.


    Released on Tuesday, UNICEF’s “Every Child Alive: The Urgent Need to End Newborn Deaths” opens by pointing out that 2.6 million babies yearly die before they turn one month old. Of that number, 1 million die on the same day they are born and an additional 2.6 million infants are stillborn every year. While child mortality rates overall have fallen, the UNICEF report asserts, “newborn deaths now account for a greater, and growing, share of all deaths among children younger than 5.”


    The report ranks the newborn mortality rates of the world’s nations based on statistics from 2016. Pakistan, where one in 22 infants dies before turning one month old, had the highest newborn mortality rate. Japan had the lowest infant mortality rate, with only one death per 1,111 births.


    Predictably, the countries with the highest newborn mortality rates were those plagued by poverty, war, and lack of sanitation. After Pakistan, the countries with the poorest outcomes for newborns were the Central African Republic, Afghanistan, Somalia, Lesotho, Guinea-Bissau, South Sudan, Cote D’Ivoire, Mali, and Chad. Eight of those countries—Somalia, Central African Republic, Afghanistan, South Sudan, Pakistan, Cote D’Ivoire, Guinea-Bissau, and Mali—are designated as fragile states, characterized by instability, crisis, social inequality, and human flight.


    The countries with the lowest newborn mortality rates in 2016 were Japan, Iceland, Singapore, Finland, Slovenia, Estonia, Cyprus, Republic of Korea (South Korea), Norway and Luxembourg.


     

     

     

    When do you hear about the above on MSNBC?

     

    Our alleged ‘liberal’ channel – in fact it’s supposed to be ‘our’ channel.

     

    It’s not.  It’s propaganda for consumerism at best.

     

    Did they care about marriage-equality and lead on the issue for the last two decades?

     

    No, they hired an extreme homophobe – not just a homophobe, but an extreme one – Michael Savage and then pretended to be shocked that he was spewing hatred on the airwaves.  Due to complaints – and Microsoft not wanting to be associated with the hatred – back then MSNBC was Microsoft and NBC – he got fired.  But they knew what they were doing and thought it would go the other way, Savage attacking gays and lesbians would result in huge ratings.

     

    Today, they don’t lead on any real stories.

     

    Or opinions.

     

    How many times in the last year have they called for an end to the Iraq War?

     

    Answer: Zero.

     

    It’s all rumors and innuendo against Donald Trump while they ignore real stories.  But real stories require work and all MSNBC does is put gossip on TV.


    This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" for Thursday:


    Thursday, February 22, 2018.  The Iraq War continues -- as do the lies around it.




    “The power establishment which lied about Iraq, lied about Libya, lied about Vietnam, & is currently lying about Syria is not entitled to the benefit of the doubt that it is telling the truth about Russia & its new cold war escalations with that country.”











    The Russia Scare, many have noted, involves some of the same liars who provided us with the Iraq War.  It does more than that.

    It offers us some of the great fakes of the Iraq War.

    John Feffer?

    Oh, how we know that little bitch.

    A stream of rude and nasty e-mails to this site -- only one of which was noted publicly and noting it publicly resulted in even more of his nasty e-mails.

    FOREIGN POLICY IN FOCUS, you may remember, in a desperate bid to try to ride the Iraq War created a tracker.  They did that with a big to-do and endless announcements.  The Iraqi civilians were not being counted accurately in death, so thank goodness we had FPIF to do it for us, right?

    Except they quickly lost interest.

    They weren't updating it.

    After several months of this, we pointed it out publicly resulting in our initial contact with War Bitch John Feffer.  He had better things to do.

    Well no one asked you to create a counter to begin with, John.

    But if you're going to create one and then ride a few months publicity off it, you need to do a tracker.

    Instead, he created it, got the publicity he wanted and WalkedOn.org -- a faker.

    A War Bitch.

    So it's the Hawks and the Bitches behind the Russia Scare, never forget it.

    Glen Ford (BLACK AGENDA REPORT) notes of the Russia Scares attempt to blame third party candidates and those who chose not to vote:

    Funny thing, though: the Democrats refused to cite the Republicans’ systematic, mass suppression of Black voters through the Cross Check scheme which, as Margaret Kimberley points out in this week’s Freedom Rider, caused 400,000 heavily Black votes to disappear in Michigan. Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein called for a recount in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, and found that Black voter suppression was a major factor, particularly in Detroit. “We are seeing again this evidence in Michigan that communities of color are systematically disenfranchised through the machinery that constitutes really another form of electoral Jim Crow,” Stein told The Guardian . “It’s pretty staggering. Eighty-seven optical scanners [in Detroit] broke on election day.”
    The Democratic Party reluctantly added its name to the recount petition, while at the same time claiming it had seen no “actionable evidence ” of grounds for challenging Trump’s victory. But that’s par for the course. The Democrats have never confronted the GOP’s blatant theft of elections through massive suppression of Black votes. They are bound, apparently, by a gentleman’s agreement among the two parties. John Lewis, the Black congressman from Atlanta who wears his voting rights credentials like a robe of glory, abides by that agreement. The first thing out of Lewis’ mouth after Trump was declared the winner, in November, was a denunciation of “the Russians” – but not Black voter suppression by Republicans.
    “The Democrats have never confronted the GOP’s blatant theft of elections through massive suppression of Black votes.”
    Roughly one year later, Jill Stein -- who fought Black voter suppression harder than the Democrats -- was targeted for investigation by the Senate Intelligence Committee as a possible collaborator with the Russians .

    The suppression of the franchise of their Black base is not considered “treason” or any kind of “high crime” by the Democratic Party, but the siphoning of Black votes away from the corporate duopoly, through voluntary non-voting or support of third parties, is cause to bring out the pitchforks.


    Margaret Kimberley (BAR) observes:

    It is sad and terrifying to watch the reaction from media elites and Democratic politicians. They will allow no counter narrative to see the light of day. After all, they are the ones who made sure that any such questions were disappeared from public discourse. Now they are in full attack mode against the Russian government and anyone who won’t parrot their lies.
    At least one Democratic congressman, Jerrold Nadler of New York, makes the claim that Facebook posts are akin to the attack on Pearl Harbor. When his questioner pushed back he persisted in making the comparison. That can only mean that he and others think that an actual war against Russia is a reasonable course of action.

    Democrats, their pundits and think tanks are doubling down. They are accusing Bernie Sanders of doing Russia’s bidding, despite the fact that he was equally willing to blame that country for Trump’s triumph. All of his post sheep dog genuflecting has done him little good. He endorsed Hillary Clinton and campaigned with her. He told his people to stand down and most of them did just that. He shouldn’t have bothered though, because he is now getting the same treatment as Jill Stein.


    The Dems taking part in the Russia Scare are the same Dems that gave us the Iraq War.

    And they know what they are doing, they damn well know what they are doing.


    Phyllis Bennis has a piece at THE NATION.

    It's useless.

    It's practically garbage.

    Phyl's part of the whole FPIF network.  And, remember, FPIF has defended the use of mass bombings and 'smart' bombs -- we called them out (here for one example) even if others looked the other way.

    Phyl?  Why do we not give up on her?

    Because (a) she can be astute and (b) when called on her lies, when smacked across her lying mouth, as Elaine did to her over Phyl using an undercount on the number of civilians killed in Iraq, if you hit just right, Phyl can come to her senses.

    Someone needs to slap Phyllis real hard.

    It's a curious editorial -- one that leaves the impression that the Iraq War is over.

    If it's over, Phyllis, why are US troops still on the ground in Iraq.

    The editorial hits new lows of whorishness as it names various people -- all Republicans.  I'm sorry, Phyllis, but it was the Democratically controlled Senate, in 2002, that voted for the Iraq War.  Not only does she ignore that, she also ignores certain key others.

    For example, Robert Mueller was part of the whole lie the country into Iraq effort, remember?

    In 2013, Coleen Rowley (MINNESOTA STAR TRIBUNE) wrote:


    Ten years ago, I made the ultimately futile effort of writing to FBI Director Robert Mueller warning that he needed to tell the truth about the Bush administration’s unjustified decision to preemptively invade Iraq and the likelihood it would prove counterproductive. To its credit, the Star Tribune ran the story on March 6, 2003 (“Agent: War would unleash terror, and FBI not ready”), one of only a handful of such cautionary news stories in the war-fevered weeks before the United States launched its catastrophic invasion.
    At the time, Mueller well knew of Vice President Dick Cheney’s lying about Saddam’s connection to 9 / 11 and other administration exaggerations to gin up the war.
    My letter compared Bush-Cheney’s rush to war with the impatience and bravado that had led to the FBI’s disastrous 1993 assault at Waco, where “the children [the FBI] sought to liberate all died when [David] Koresh and his followers set fires.” On a much more tragic scale, hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians were killed and millions more were wounded or displaced. Iraq’s infrastructure was destroyed. Severe problems remain with lack of clean drinking water, electricity and a lack of professionals in Iraq to help rebuild.
    Even worse, the flames of sectarian hatred were ignited, based on religious and ethnic differences, leading to violent civil strife, ethnic cleansing and terror bombings. Those fires continue to burn.

    B-b-b-but Mueller was the hero of the fake left in 2013 the way he is today!!!!!  Coleen would be just as silent as Phyllis is today!!!!

    Uh, no.

    Here's Coleen last summer:

    Beyond ignoring politicized intelligence, Mueller bent to other political pressures. In the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, Mueller directed the “post 9/11 round-up” of about 1,000 immigrants who mostly happened to be in the wrong place (the New York City area) at the wrong time. FBI Headquarters encouraged more and more detentions for what seemed to be essentially P.R. purposes. Field offices were required to report daily the number of detentions in order to supply grist for FBI press releases about FBI “progress” in fighting terrorism. Consequently, some of the detainees were brutalized and jailed for up to a year despite the fact that none turned out to be terrorists.

    All of those currently in bed with Mueller?  Crabs are the least of your worries.

    Phyllis has written an 'editorial' that needs to be called out because it's fakery and whoring.

    If that seems harsh, please grasp that Phyllis writes that it's important for us to remember the truth of what happened . . . but?



    If you think I'm harsh with Phyllis, she's the one saying it's important to remember what happened while lying and disguising what happened.

    Two years before Howard Zinn died, I warned him that he was the one watering down his own legacy.  He didn't listen.  I warned Howard one on one.  Creepy Tom Hayden?  I warned him privately and publicly.  Both men will have to answer for their lies that continued the Iraq War.

    Phyllis better decide real quick if that's the boat she also wants to sink in.

    Consider it "Hard Advice" (Stevie Nicks):




    It is important to remember the real lessons of the ongoing Iraq War:





    On The Iraq War’s 15th Anniversary, Make The World Remember Its Lessons









    And it's important to remember the reality of what the ongoing war is producing:



    Unfair ISIS Trial in Iraq Hands Women Harshest Sentences







    Human Rights Watch notes:

    Six months after about 1,400 foreign women and children surrendered with Islamic State (ISIS) fighters to Iraqi security forces, Iraq’s courts are sentencing the women to life in prison and even to death for non-violent crimes.
    It’s just one indicator of how people viewed as colluding with ISIS are receiving unfair trials.

    The women have been charged with illegally entering Iraq and, in some cases aiding, abetting or having membership in ISIS, which carries the penalty of life in prison or death under Iraq’s counterterrorism law.
    In January, Baghdad’s Criminal Court sentenced a German woman to death. Two days ago, the same court convicted 11 Turkish women and an Azeri. One of the Turkish women was sentenced to death, and the rest to life in prison.
    The chief justice said that in these cases, unlike earlier ones of ISIS suspects, the defendants had lawyers present during their interrogations, which would be a positive development.

    A courtroom observer said that the women’s lawyers contended that the defendants’ husbands or others had tricked them into going to ISIS territory, but maintained that none of the women had been implicated in any violent acts. One woman said in court that her husband took their 2-year-old son and told her to follow him to Iraq or she wouldn’t see her son again.
    The observer said the prosecution did not present evidence contesting the defense. Yet, the judges found all the women guilty of ISIS membership. The woman sentenced to death was found to have knowingly travelled to ISIS territory to join the group with her husband. Human Rights Watch opposes the death penalty in all circumstances as an irreversible, degrading, and cruel punishment.
    The Iraqi authorities should develop a national strategy to prioritize the prosecution of those who committed the most serious crimes. For those suspected only of membership in ISIS without evidence of any other serious crime, the authorities should consider alternatives to criminal prosecution. In these cases, the women are getting the harshest possible sentences for what appears to be marriage to an ISIS member or a coerced border crossing. The Iraqi courts need to redirect their priorities.






    The following community sites updated: