Friday, May 04, 2018

Eggplant Stew in the Kitchen

Ginger wanted to note this recipe from Sparks:


    1 eggplant (1 and 1/2 pounds), cut in 2 inch cubes (approximately) ; the eggplant can be either peeled or unpeeled. the recipe works either way.
    3-4 zucchini, sliced
    2-3 summer squash, sliced
    sliced mushrooms (8 oz.)
    garlic crushed ( 1 teaspoon)
    1 large onion, chopped coarse
    1 can of diced tomatoes (15 oz.)
    olive oil (1 tablespoon)
    1 can of chickpeas (optional)
    pepper to taste
    1 tablespoon of Szechuan sauce or chili powder if desired


In a large pot (about 10-12 quarts) add oilve oil, garlic and onion. Cover and cook under medium flame about 5-10 minutes, then add mushrooms. Continue cooking, 5-10 minutes, and add tomatoes.
When the mixture begins to bubble add eggplant, reduce heat and simmer for about 45 minutes, then add the zucchini and the squash. Continue cooking for approximately 30 minutes longer until all the vegetables are tender. Add chickpeas and spices.

Number of Servings: 10

I loved this recipe but I love eggplants period.  They're probably one of my favorite vegetables.  I like to do a pasta sauce with eggplants as well.

Anyway, as a country, we never have the money for the things we need -- healthcare, for example.  And the reason for that is we plow trillions into the defense industry.

Niles Niemuth (WSWS) reports on how we spend so much on military and weapons and how we now demand others do the same:

Under Obama and now Trump, Washington has pressured its European allies to push their military spending even higher. Germany’s new grand coalition government has pledged to nearly double military spending to two percent of gross domestic product by 2024, while French President Emmanuel Macron plans to increase military spending by 35 percent and has called for a revival of the military draft. In all of these countries, rearmament has been accompanied by an onslaught on social programs and workers’ living standards.

Despite incessant US propaganda proclaiming Russia to be a military juggernaut menacing its neighbors, the country had one of the largest annual declines in military spending, falling 20 percent from 2016. The Kremlin spent $66.3 billion on its military in 2017, little more than one tenth what the US spends.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia, a key ally of the US in the Middle East, took the number three position from Russia, spending $69.4 billion in 2017. The oil-rich kingdom on the Arabian Peninsula expends 10 percent of its annual economic output on its military, the second highest percentage in the world. Much of Saudi Arabia’s military equipment, purchased from the US, has been dedicated to its slaughter in neighboring Yemen, but that is only a prelude to war against its main target, Iran.

Asia and Oceania have seen military spending increase for an unparalleled 29 successive years. The region witnessed a major military buildup under Obama’s so-called “pivot to Asia,” which is being continued under Trump. The arms race in the region is guaranteed to accelerate with India, under the government of Narendra Modi, initiating plans to expand and modernize the country’s military forces to prepare for war with China and Pakistan.

The US sees its war preparations against Russia as the prelude to a military confrontation with China, deemed to be Washington’s most dangerous rival. The US is rapidly building up its naval forces in the region and setting up missile defense systems and other military installations in the region to encircle China, which is responding with its own military buildup.

War is the plan.  They're not ending any wars and they're planning new ones.  Our Congress is filled with cowards.

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

Friday, May 4, 2018.  Eight days until elections are to be held in Iraq.

They said an important message would be coming from Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani on Friday.

Major debate in over forthcoming speech by Shiite cleric Ali about election, some says he would refuse to vote for Shiite factions close to Iran, while some leaders of these factions says days ago they will get negative campaign against them a week before election

Today, the speech was delievered.  REUTERS reports:

Iraq’s top Shi’ite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, suggested on Friday that he had not abandoned his opposition to former prime minister Nuri al-Maliki, who is bidding to return to power in elections on May 12.     
Making a rare intervention in politics, Sistani in his weekly sermon that Iraqis should “avoid falling into the trap of those ... who are corrupt and those who have failed, whether they have been tried or not”.  

As Election Day looms Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani outlines his position on political parties, election campaigns, and recommendations for Iraqi electorate. Summary translation below 


A rebuke to former prime minister and forever thug Nouri al-Maliki who went from a petty crook to millions once he became prime minister in Iraq.  The people starved and suffered but Nouri and his family were living large.  Son Ahmed al-Maliki did not help the family image by purchasing fancy digs in England and multiple expensive sports cars.   None of this went over well in Iraq where the citizens suffered and the officials thrived on corruption.

While stuffing his own pockets with the peoples' money, Nouri also attacked the people.  Sunnis, Kurds, other religious minorities and, yes, even Shia.  His paranoia was why the CIA recommended him for the job of prime minister in the first place as their assessment argued that this paranoia would make him easy to manipulate.

But the paranoia ran wild and probably not even the CIA could have predicted just what would result.  He ran a vice president out of the country, claimed the vice president was a terrorist.  He sent tanks to circle the homes of Sunni politicians in Parliament.  He brought back Saddam Hussein's secret jails and prisons -- in these jails and prisons people were disappeared, people were tortured, people were raped.  He attacked the press.  At one point, he had members of the press kidnapped in Baghdad -- in broad daylight, right off the street.

The "State of Law coalition" belonging to Nuri Al-Maliki do not respect law.

Everyone was an enemy when Nouri was in power.

His persecution of the Sunnis is directly responsible for the rise of the Islamic State.  That's why Barack Obama, then US-president, declared he must not get a third term in 2014 and why he was replaced with Hayder al-Abadi.

But Nouri wants to be prime minister again.

Nouri Al-Maliki An ousted and corrupt former Iraqi PM that is a mass murderer is yet running again in a new bid for the PM position again.

Corruption is an important issue in Iraq.  Along with security, it has been identified in polling as one of the two main issues this election cycle.  In a land of windows and orphans, the officials have gotten rich while the people have suffered.  And this has taken place since 2003 -- a period when Iraq has been said to have taken in $700 billion from oil revenues.

William Armstrong (HURRIYET) reviews Erin Banco's book PIPE DREAMS and notes:

Oil companies have been happy to play along, paying kickbacks to unscrupulous officials and middle men in the form of consultation fees and contract renegotiations. Banco refers to an avalanche of “wheelers and dealers” aiming to cash in on a gold rush-like “oil bonanza” after the invasion of Iraq. She voices outrage at “just how eager American oil companies were, and what lengths some adventurers went to, to try to cash in on the chaos that ensued when the Kurdish government flung its doors open to Western wildcatters.” At one point the book describes the procession of senior U.S. officials passing through a revolving (or revolting) door from public office to lucrative posts in energy corporations active in Iraq. Former U.S. Secretaries of State Rex Tillerson and Condoleezza Rice, former National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley, former Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker, and former top ambassadorial advisor Ali Khedery have all in recent years been on the books at ExxonMobil.

Yes, a number of people have gotten rich off Iraq's oil -- including Nouri al-Maliki, Condi Rice, Rex Tillerson, Stephen Leaker Hadley and Ryan Crocker to name but a few.  No, the Iraqi people have not seen any improvement in their way of life.  All this time later, heavy rains still mean flooding -- which means death in some areas of Iraq -- due to the neglect of the infrastructure.  All the time later, Iraqis still struggle with public services -- electricity and potable water.

Now they gear up for yet another election.

May 12th, elections are supposed to take place in Iraq.  Ali Jawad (ANADOLU AGENCY) notes, "A total of 24 million Iraqis are eligible to cast their ballots to elect members of parliament, who will in turn elect the Iraqi president and prime minister."  RUDAW adds, "Around 7,000 candidates have registered to stand in the May 12 poll, with 329 parliamentary seats up for grabs."  AFP explains that the nearly 7,000 candidates includes 2014 women. Ali Abdul-Hassan and Sinan Salaheddin (AP) report, "Iraqi women account for 57 percent of Iraq’s population of over 37 million, according to the U.N. Development Program, and despite government efforts to address gender inequality, the situation for Iraqi women has declined steadily since 2003.  According to the UNDP, one in every 10 Iraqi households is headed by a widow. In recent years, Iraqi women suffered further economic, social and political marginalization due to decades of wars, conflict, violence and sanctions."    RUDAW also notes that 60 Christian candidates are competing for the five allotted minority seats.  How do they elect the prime minister?  This comes after the general election and is based on who won seats in the election.   Abdulrahman al-Rashed (AL ARABIYA) explains, "To win the premiership, a candidate needs to win the majority of the votes, i.e. the votes of 165 MPs out of 329. Since it is a multi-party system, it is almost impossible to win these votes without sealing political alliances. The governorate of Baghdad is the most important one because it is the largest with 69 seats."  The chief issues?  Mustapha Karkouti (GULF NEWS) identifies them as follows, "Like in previous elections, the main concerns of ordinary Iraqis continue to be the lack of security and the rampant corruption."

As noted in the April 3rd snapshot, pollster Dr. Munqith Dagher has utilized data on likely voters and predicts that Hayder al-Abadi's Al-Nasr will win 72 seats in the Parliament, al-Fath (the militias) will get 37 seats, Sa'eroon (Moqtada al-Sadr's new grouping) will get 27 seats, Nouri al-Maliki's State of Law will get 19 seats, al-Salam will get 18 seats (KDP and PUK parties for the Kurds), Ayad Allawi's Wataniya will get 15 seats. There are others but Dagher did not predict double digits for any of the other seats. The number are similar for the group of those who are extremely likely to vote (Hayder's seats would jump from 72 to 79 seats).  Other predictions?  The Middle East Insstitute's Fanar Haddad insists to Sammy Ketz (AFP) that the post of prime minister will come down to one of three people: Hayder al-Abadi (current prime minister), Nouri al-Maliki (two time prime minister and forever thug) or Hadi al-Ameria "a leader of Hashed al-Shaabi, a paramilitary network that played a pivotal role in defeating IS. Ameri comes from Diyala province and is a statistics graduate from Baghdad University. He fled to Iran in 1980 after Saddam executed top Shiite cleric Ayatollah Mohammed Baqr al-Sadr. The 64-year old is widely viewed as Tehran's favoured candidate."

Eligible Iraqi citizens overseas will be able to exercise their democratic right and cast their vote in Iraq’s parliamentary elections at 136 election centers in 19 countries

There is dispute over how accessible the government has made voting for external refugees.

Instead of focusing on that, much of the western press on this cycle of elections has focused on gadgets.  Electronic voting!!!!!  This is not an examination which questions the security of the machines or cautions on the needs for paper receipts.  It's just gadgets, gadgets, gadgets!  They call it 'reporting' but it reads like advertising copy.

Hussein al-Amir (ANADOLU AGENCY) reports a bombing in eastern Diyala Province which has left 3 people dead.  Violence, the other thing the western press has little interest reporting of late.  Harshes the shining glow of another round of elections.

On elections, let's note this:


May 3, 2018

For more information contact Green Party of Michigan officers:

Eric Siegel, Elections Coordinator, 401-954-9038, electionscoordinator@michgreen
Paul Homeniuk, Chair,
LuAnne Kozma, Communications Coordinator, 231-547-2828 communications@michgreenparty. org
Green Party of Michigan to hold nomination convention May 5 in Flint

Green Party members to gather in Flint from across the state to nominate federal, state, and local candidates

Press conference with candidates at 4:30 pm

(Flint, Mich)--The Green Party of Michigan will hold its 2018 state nominating convention in Flint on Saturday, May 5. Registration begins at 9 am. The convention takes place from 10 am to 5 pm at the University of Michigan-Flint, Harding-Mott University Center, 400 Mill St, Flint MI 48503. 
Candidates seeking the Green Party nomination for federal, state, and local partisan elected offices (or endorsement for non-partisan offices) will be present, vying to represent the party in the November 2018 election.

A press conference with nominated candidates will take place at the end of the convention at 4:30 pm.
The convention agenda and brochure is available here: es_communications/2018GPMINomi nationConvention.pdf

This will be the Green Party of Michigan's tenth convention since it earned its place on the Michigan ballot in 2000. Conventions and county caucuses are how the Green Party and other alternative parties nominate candidates for the November general elections.

The state party's elections coordinator Eric Siegel points out that the state-law-required convention/caucus system doesn't bring Green nominees the publicity of taxpayer-financed primary elections. 
"Every candidate we nominate has to show a solid commitment to the party's values and platform," said Siegel. 

Those values include the Four Pillars of all US Greens: grassroots democracy, social justice, ecological wisdom, and non- violence. The Green Party of Michigan applies its values to key issues of the day in its 2016 Platform, which will be available at the convention.

The Green Party of Michigan's 2016 platform can be seen at the website
Green Party members who would like to be considered for a possible Green Party nomination for partisan elective office should contact Elections Coordinator Eric Siegel prior to May 5 atelectionscoordinator@michgreen for the vetting questionnaire which must be filled out prior to the convention.

The keynote speaker at the event is Rev. Edward Pinkney, of Benton Harbor, who was wrongly convicted of election laws and exonerated by the Michigan Supreme Court just this week.

The Green Party of Michigan is a state party affiliate of the Green Party of the United States (

For other information about the Green Party of Michigan, visit:
You can also “like” the
Green Party of Michigan US

Facebook page and follow GPMI's Twitter feed

For the platform of the Green Party of the United States, see

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GPMI was formed in 1987 to address environmental issues in Michigan politics. Greens are organized in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, and organized in a national party, Green Party of the United States.  ( Each state Green Party sets its own goals and creates its own structure, but US Greens agree on Ten Key Values:
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