Thursday, June 24, 2021

Volvo workers continue to strike, Disney continues its homophobia

Volvo workers continue to strike. Their union is meeting with Volvo representatives which might seem like good news until you remember how the union sold them out at the last meet. Jerry White (WSWS) reports:

Representatives from the United Auto Workers (UAW) and Volvo Trucks North America resumed formal negotiations at a hotel in Charlotte, North Carolina Wednesday. The strike by nearly 3,000 workers at the global truck manufacturer’s New River Valley plant in Dublin, Virginia is now in its third week.
The sessions are not “negotiations” involving two antagonistic parties. Instead, the UAW and Volvo executives are working out a joint strategy to beat back the resistance of striking workers who have decisively defeated two pro-company proposals backed by the UAW.
Last Thursday, Franky Marchand, vice president of Volvo Group and general manager of the New River Valley plant, released a statement declaring that the company would not return to the bargaining table until “the process for the new round of negotiations is clear to all”—in other words, until management received sufficient assurances from the UAW that it would ram through its agreement without failure. One can safely assume that UAW Secretary-Treasurer Ray Curry and other negotiators have given the company such assurances and are now implementing their “process” of wearing down the opposition of workers to another sellout deal.
On the eve of the talks, Volvo Group posted a series of supposed “negotiation updates” on its web site, which make it clear the Swedish multinational has no intention of backing away from its concession demands. The first contract proposals included a de facto cut in real wages given the rise in inflation and steep hikes in out-of-pocket medical expenses for current and retired workers. In also maintained the two-tier wage system, first accepted by the UAW in 2008, which discriminates against younger workers and provides further incentive to management to purge the factory of more senior, higher paid workers.
In a section on frequently asked questions, the PR people for Volvo Group seek to justify the demand to double out-of-pocket medical costs for workers, from the current $1,500 for a family to $3,000 by 2026. A chart on the page includes higher deductibles and co-pays under the category of “large transportation and aerospace companies.” There is also a chart of the pathetically low average hourly factory wages in Virginia ($17.78) and nationally ($18). This presumably justifies Volvo’s proposal for a $20 starting wage next year for workers assembling long-haul trucks selling for $170,000 or more.


 WSWS continues its reporting on the Volvo strike.  Meanwhile, Ava and C.I. continue calling out homophobia (as they've done in their columns for years now) with their latest "TV: Pride?:"


We notice that DISNEY is connected to a lot of actors that have problems with being seen as gay.



Take LOVE, VICTOR's Michael Cimino who felt the need to tell the world that it's really, really hard, being gay on TV is really hard.  Poor straight boy, some members of his family were upset he was playing a gay character.  Golly, imagine how hard he'd have it if he were actually gay.

 

That's why you don't cast a straight guy to play a gay man in a story about how it's okay to be gay -- he opens up his dumb, uninformed mouth to reporters and comes off like an idiot who doesn't begin to understand what the character he plays actually has to go through.


Or take Anthony Mackie who really needs to dig deep and figure out why he's becoming so homophobic.  He's bothered that fans might think Bucky and Sam are attracted to one another in THE FALCON AND THE WINTER SOLDIER.  Even more so, he wants you to know that he's not able to go to a bar with a male friend because people will assume he's gay.


Why?  Is he diving under the table at the bar so he can go down on his male friend?

 

If Mackie's confused about  exactly who is wondering if he's gay, he might try looking in the mirror where he'll find the man most obsessed with that issue.


Representation isn't really where it should be, let alone where it needs to be.  And we're really not at the place where we need to hear how the acceptance of gay people in our society carries with it a hard, difficult stigma for straight people who want to hang out with their own gender.  


As June winds down, it's so very sad and telling that we realize, instead of celebrating PRIDE, too many are busy trying to pimp shame.  


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


 Friday, June 24, 2021.  Today we look at Post-Traumatic Stress, assault and rape in the military, imprisoned Australian Robert Pether and much more.


The signature wounds of the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan for US troops is TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) and PTS (Post-Traumatic Stress).  The "D" in PTS has created a stigma as many in the military noted some time ago.  Retired General Peter W. Chiarelli is probably the highest ranking member of the military who has spoken about this at length and very wisely.  When we refer to it here we refer to it as "PTS" but we don't censor it when others use the "D" with it or if it's an organization with the "D" in the title.  This is from the VA's webpage:


PTSD Basics

Available en Español

PTSD (posttraumatic stress disorder) is a mental health problem that some people develop after experiencing or witnessing a life-threatening event, like combat, a natural disaster, a car accident, or sexual assault. During this kind of event, you may not have any control over what's happening, and you may feel very afraid. Anyone who has gone through something like this can develop PTSD.

It's normal to have upsetting memories, feel on edge, or have trouble sleeping after a traumatic event (also called "trauma"). At first, it may be hard to do daily activities you are used to doing, like go to work, go to school, or spend time with people you care about. But most people start to feel better after a few weeks or months. For some people, PTSD symptoms may start later, or they may come and go over time.

If it's been longer than a few months and thoughts and feelings from the trauma are upsetting you or causing problems in your life, you may have PTSD.

Video

How I Knew I Had PTSD

When you have PTSD, the world feels unsafe. You may have upsetting memories, feel on edge, or have trouble sleeping. You may also try to avoid things that remind you of your trauma—even things you used to enjoy.

Who Develops PTSD?

Anyone can develop PTSD at any age. Some factors can increase the chance that someone will have PTSD, many of which are not under that person's control. For example, having a very intense or long-lasting traumatic event or getting injured during the event can make it more likely that a person will develop PTSD. PTSD is also more common after certain types of trauma, like combat and sexual assault.

Personal factors—like previous traumatic exposure, age, and gender—can affect whether or not a person will develop PTSD. What happens after the traumatic event is also important. Stress can make PTSD more likely, while social support can make it less likely.


This is PTS awareness month.  The PTSD Foundation of America has released the following videos yesterday.




Staying with the US military, another issue is the assault and harassment.  Senator Kirsten Gillibrand has long worked on this issue.  Tuesday, her office issued the following:


Addressing the release of letters from military leadership opposing reforms to the military justice system, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand issued the following statement:

“The content of these letters is disappointing, but not surprising. From racially integrating the armed forces to enabling women to serve in combat to allowing LGBTQ service members to serve openly, the chain of command has always fought to protect the status quo, just as they are doing here. Their arguments are recycled talking points from the battles for progress in the past and are void of any coherent argument beyond the disingenuous ‘good order and discipline.’ It is time for Congress and the administration to exercise their constitutional oversight duties and professionalize and reform the military justice system to reduce bias, increase efficiency and restore the confidence of our service members.”

Senator Gillibrand’s landmark legislation, the Military Justice Improvement and Increasing Prevention Act, has the support of a bipartisan supermajority consisting of sixty-six senators, including 43 Democrats, 2 Independents, and 21 Republicans. The legislation is being blocked in the Senate by Senators Reed (D-RI) and Inhofe (R-OK), the chair and ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, respectively. Tomorrow, Representative Jackie Speier (D-CA) and a broad bipartisan coalition will introduce the House companion bill.


FORBES filed this report yesterday.


The senator notes that she's been calling for a floor vote for nearly 30 days on her bill.  She doesn't note that it's her latest bill.  She's been calling for this for some time.  There is no justice without it.  You would think an attorney would get that.  You would think.  But I was at the hearing where female veterans watched in shock as then-Senator Claire McCaskill tanked an earlier bill of Kirsten's -- everyone was shocked.  The notion that crimes should be dealt with in a court and not by a commanding officer was just too much for Claire's mind.

Rape and assault (and domestic violence) are swept under the rug in the military by refusing to address them openly and with a legal system.  


Jack Reed is the new Claire McCaskill.  He wants to grand stand on what some in the military leadership want -- no real change -- and stand on the fact that these men -- yes, they are all men -- have experience in combat and blah blah blah.


I'm sorry, Jack, find the one that was raped, find the one that was assaulted, find the one that was beat up by a partner.  Find that man, maybe I'll listen to your nonsense.  


Jack is a joke and always has been.


While pontificating on the floor, he failed to tell you that these jerks and asses are the same ones who supported a system that most Americans are unaware of.  It allowed the survivor to be 'unknown.'  Might sound good but in practice, it meant there was no justice and when asked for numbers by the Congress repeatedly, the ones over this program could not provide numbers, would not provide numbers.  No man was ever punished for rape under that system.  And I'm not talking about the distant past.  I'm talking about when Barack Obama was president.  

There has been no accountability at all.  That's why Kirsten Gillibrand has spent eight years trying to move the current bill forward.


The military leaders opposed to these changes are the same ones who ensure that there is no justice, that the rates of assault and rape continue to climb, that domestic violence isn't even tracked.

They see their role not as helping service members but as ensuring that the crimes are nothing more than statistics that can easily be swept aside.  


There has been no effort to address this on the part of Congress.  They have failed to provide oversight over and over.  They have let the people who are in charge and who have denied justice over and over set the terms.


Rape and assault and domestic abuse are crimes.  They need to be dealt with in a court and decided based upon what happened not by some commander who thinks his 'good old boy' didn't mean any harm when he held a woman down and raped her.  We have laws, they need to be enforced.


The military was granted a waiver from the law for years and that's just made clear that without turning these issues over to a judicial system, there is no justice.


Change needs to take place now.

Also filed yesterday, this report from CBS EVENING NEWS.



While some in military leadership still oppose the needed reform, on Tuesday, the changes found support from Iraq War veteran and the current Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin:



Yesterday, I received the final recommendations and complete report of the Independent Review Commission on Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment.

I want to thank Lynn Rosenthal for her exceptional leadership of this commission, as well as the talented experts who worked so diligently to support her.  The work they produced was informed not only by their own significant experience, but by that of so many members of our military, including sexual assault survivors.  

The result is a comprehensive assessment across four lines of effort -- accountability, prevention, climate and culture, and victim care and support -- that recommends creative and evidence-based options.  It provides us real opportunities to finally end the scourge of sexual assault and sexual harassment in the military.  

In coming days, I will present to President Biden my specific recommendations about the commission’s findings, but I know enough at this point to state the following:

First, we will work with Congress to amend the Uniform Code of Military Justice, removing the prosecution of sexual assaults and related crimes from the military chain of command.  

The IRC recommended the inclusion of other special victims’ crimes inside this independent prosecution system, to include domestic violence.  I support this as well, given the strong correlation between these sorts of crimes and the prevalence of sexual assault.

Second, solving this problem requires not just greater accountability, which we need, but also changes to our approach on prevention, command climate, and victim services.  I am reviewing the full scope of the commission’s recommendations in these areas, but generally they appear strong and well-grounded. I have directed my staff to do a detailed assessment and implementation plan for my review and approval.

Third, the Department will need new resources and authorities necessary to implement the IRC’s recommendations. Those we believe we can implement under existing authorities will be given priority.  We will need to work closely with Congress to secure additional authorities and relief where needed.  We will most assuredly require additional resources, both in personnel and in funding. But it may take us some time to determine how much and where they are most wisely applied.

Finally, as in all other things, these changes demand leadership.  I appreciate the support that the Department’s civilian and military leaders have provided to the commission, and the thoughtfulness with which they have advised me as we develop effective ways to implement the changes we need to eliminate sexual assault and sexual harassment from our ranks.

As I made clear on my first full day in office, this is a leadership issue.  And we will lead.  Our people depend upon it.  They deserve nothing less.


In response to Austin's statement, Gillibrand Tweeted:


By agreeing that we should remove the decision to prosecute sexual assault from the chain of command, Defense Secretary Austin rejected arguments that this would harm good order and discipline. So let's #PassMJIIPA and remove ALL serious crimes from the chain of command.
6:36
356 views


Senator Gillibrand spoke with Rachel Martin (NPR's MORNING EDITION) yesterday and explained:


So what we're arguing for is a bright line at all serious crimes. So we would like - and the bill for the last eight years has been advocating for - a bright line drawn at crimes that have a conviction penalty of at least a year or more - so the equivalent of felonies, so serious crimes. So we have been advocating that all serious crimes be taken out of the chain of command and given to trained military prosecutors who are professional and unbiased.

And the reason for this is because in the sexual assault cases, we're just not getting better. We're not convicting more predators. We're not taking enough cases. We're not taking the right cases. And in this issue of racial bias, we see that if you are a Black or brown service member, you are more likely to be punished. And in one of the services, it's up to 2.6 times more likely to be punished if you are a Black service member.

And so the answer to this very tough question is how do you improve the military justice system? And the way we recommend is you take all these serious crimes out of the chain of command and give it to trained prosecutors because commanders aren't lawyers. They're not prosecutors, and they may well have bias. And these are hard cases, and these are cases that deserve a professional person reviewing it properly without bias.


Moving over to Iraq, Australian citizen Robert Pether has apparently been abandoned by his own country which does nothing to object to his imprisonment in Iraq.  (The Australian Embassy staff didn't even meet with Pether until May 3rd, 26 days after he was imprisoned.)   It's now been over forty days that he's been held in a prison with no charge (they say they are holding him for "questioning").  His appeal for bail was denied on May 11th.  He was told by his own government that it was safe to go to Baghdad for a meeting.  He showed up at the meeting but there was no meeting.  Instead, he was hauled off to an Iraqi prison. He remains there.  No trial.  Nothing.  Imprisoned since April 7th.


This week, Ireland's INDEPENDENT.IE Tweeted:


Robert Pether is detained without charge in an Iraqi prison due to a contract dispute between his company and the Iraqi government



Christopher Knaus (GUARDIAN) reports:

Australian engineer Robert Pether is losing hope he will be released from the crowded Iraqi jail where he has spent almost 80 days without charge, his wife says.

Pether was arrested 77 days ago after he travelled to Baghdad to try to resolve a dispute between his firm and Iraqi authorities about the construction of the central bank’s new headquarters. Expecting to meet with officials from the Central Bank of Iraq, Pether and a colleague were instead arrested and initially held in isolation.

He is now being held in a 14-foot cell with 22 other inmates and is no closer to understanding what charges he faces, according to his wife, Desree. The case has been shifted to another court, where Pether could be sentenced to three years behind bars.

“For the last two weeks, he has stopped engaging in any conversation about when he’ll get out,” Desree Pether told Guardian Australia.

“Because our eight-year-old daughter has been drawing pictures for him of them at the beach, and them canoeing … I’ve got her focussing on what she wants to do with Daddy on the summer break in Europe. He won’t talk about getting out at all now, he just refuses to engage in it.”

One of Robert’s sons, Flynn, has just turned 18. The stress of the ordeal forced him to miss one of his final exams. He has also put off plans to go to university and study engineering.

Flynn has previously told Guardian Australia what was happening to his father was “downright inhumane” and “criminal”.

Pether is being allowed out of his cell for 20 minutes some days. Otherwise, the inmates push their bunk beds to the back of the room and sit on the floor.


The world needs to be watching and anyone whose job might send them to Iraq needs to be watching.  This should be a disgrace for the Iraqi government which supposedly wants more foreign companies operating in Iraq.  No trial.  No justice.  Nearly 80 days imprisoned.  All because some corrupt person wants to redo the agreed upon terms of a contract.


Maybe you have time to waste?  If so, stream this propaganda from the US Institute for Peace.



Listen to vapid discussion -- with Planning Minister Khalid Najim and Migration and Displacement Minister Evan Jabro -- and grasp how anything of importance has been sealed away from the conversation so that a fact-free infomercial could be made.  They left out the 1-800 number but that's about the only thing they left out.


 


The following sites updated:



 








Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Balsamic Chicken with Mushrooms in the Kitchen

Monica had a request for a chicken recipe. It needed to be diabetic friendly. It needed to be top of the stove because "it's too hot already this summer to use the oven and make the kitchen even hotter." With that in mind, this is Balsamic Chicken with Mushrooms from the American Diabetes Association:


Ingredients
boneless, skinless chicken breast
(divided into 4 (4-oz) portions)
1 lbs

olive oil
1 tbsp

all-purpose flour
1/4 cup

trans-fat-free margarine
1 tbsp

sliced mushrooms
10 oz

black pepper
1/4 tsp

balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup

low sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup

Directions
Place the chicken breast in a plastic bag and pound thin with a mallet.
Advertisement Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in a skillet.
Dredge the chicken in flour and coat it on both sides. Add the chicken to the pan and sauté 5 minutes per side. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.
Melt the margarine in the pan. Add the mushrooms and pepper and cook for 5 minutes. Add the balsamic vinegar to the pan and bring it to a boil to reduce the liquid.
Add the chicken broth to the pan and simmer 2 more minutes. Add the chicken breast back to the pan and simmer for 5 minutes.


Now for the ongoing strike carried out by the Volvo workers. WSWS reports:


The World Socialist Web Site calls for all Volvo workers and autoworkers to form rank-and-file solidarity committees to break the isolation of the ongoing strike at Volvo Trucks in Dublin, Virginia. These committees should prepare protests, slowdowns and other solidarity actions up to and including the shutdown of Volvo and the entire auto and truck manufacturing industry.
The nearly 3,000 workers at Volvo’s New River Valley (NRV) assembly plant are in the third week of their second walkout this year. Workers have rebelled against two attempts by the United Auto Workers (UAW) to force through a concessionary contract, rejecting both deals by an overwhelming 90-91 percent.
The Volvo workers have taken a heroic stand for the entire working class. They are fighting to reverse the pattern of endless givebacks and concessions, the establishment of multiple tiers, ten-hour workdays, and the attack on the health care of workers and retirees. They are demanding significant pay raises and a cost-of-living escalator clause to meet the soaring cost of consumer goods.
This is a struggle that can and must be won. However, it cannot be won if it is isolated!
The workers at NRV are fighting a global, multinational company. Behind the company stands the entire auto industry. Workers must call up their own reinforcements to join the battle. The aim must be to isolate Volvo, not the Volvo workers.
The United Auto Workers is opposed to taking any action to mobilize broader support for the striking Volvo workers. It has not posted a single statement about the latest strike on its national website or its Facebook page. There is no plausible explanation for this except one: It is deliberately keeping its hundreds of thousands of members in the dark about the strike.
Instead of working to mobilize its members at Mack Trucks and throughout the region, the UAW is seeking to cripple the strike’s effectiveness, confining it to one plant and attempting to starve workers on the picket line with just $275 a week in strike pay, less than the federal minimum wage.


The UAW should be ashamed of what it's doing. And that needs to be known -- how the union is betraying the workers.


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


Wednesday, June 23, 2021.  It's International Widows Day, Paddy Cockburn froths at the mouth over the GOP, the UK is said to lead the fight against ISIS in Iraq, and much more.



When the crazy's uncorked, you just have to shake your head.  A lot of e-mails have streamed in on the insanity of Patrick Cockburn.  In fairness, this isn't his 'town.'  We're aware of his lies and his shoddy reporting.  A woman's publicly executed by a mob in Iraq and he gets how she was killed wrong.  Days after publication, it's changed in his original article and in the repost at COUNTERPUNCH with no notice that he got the means of death wrong.  That's Paddy Cock Burn.  The Arab world has never mistaken him for an honest voice.  While idiots in the US and UK have thought, "He works so hard" or some other similar nonsense, the Arab world has long been aware of his bias and hatred that's on full display in whatever article he writes.  He's another Gertrude Bell and only those truly (and willfully) ignorant of the Middle East could see that as a compliment.  


Paddy's half-assed 'reporting' has never been hindered by facts or his lack of expertise.  


It's a pattern that continues as he's tired and old and wants to be  with family that's migrated to the US (Paddy's not an American citizen -- that does matter, hang on for that). His brother Alex is dead but chose the US as home.  His niece Laura Flanders made her home here. Andrew's here, Olivia Wilde is here.  So apparently he believes that makes him an expert on US politics.  European who has spent years in various non-US countries 'reporting' who grew up in Ireland is going to weigh in on US politics.


Iraqi community members were the first to note -- and mock -- the garbage that COUNTERPUNCH posted on Tuesday -- no link to trash -- where Paddy's Cock Burn wanted the world to know -- he had to let it show -- that the greatest threat to the world ("the most dangerous threat in the world" -- his exact words) is the Republican Party.


To those watching as their military openly executes activists and journalists and anti-corruption officials (often taking a taxi from the scene of the crime, a crime usually caught on video), Paddy's hysterics come off as the nonsense that they are.  


To those who lived through ISIS' hold on Mosul, Paddy just became a bigger joke.


But it's true around the world.  The Israeli government attacks Gaza but Paddy's okay with that.  It's not that dangerous apparently.  Or the pollution corporations carry out on a daily basis.  Or the governments that do nothing to address the climate crisis.  


Despots rest easy, it's a political party -- one only in the US -- that's the most dangerous threat to the world.


He sports his stupidity loudly -- if not proudly -- as he attempts to draw parallels between today in the US and the US on the brink of the Civil War.  Yes, he is stretching.  Yes, he is an MSNBC addict who needs another hit of Rachel Maddow to get through the next few hours.


The Republican Party is a political party.  It's not going down the drain today or before the next election despite the hysterics of some -- include Diane Rehm on that list.  Ava and I almost wrote about her nonsense but decided she's old and she's clearly lost whatever grip she once had.  And, in 2008, she showed she was a coward when discussing the way primaries work -- she was right -- but received pushback from two DNC officials so she dropped a point she'd made several times each week for three weeks.  Diane's old enough to know that where the GOP is today -- in terms of status and 'survival' -- is nothing new and that the Democrats and the GOP -- the duopoly -- have frequently been at that point before.  As someone who majored in political science -- no, Paddy, I'm not offering to tutor you -- I can cite, at length, many, many wasted moments where the so-called press predicted a political party was over.  At the end of the last century, for example, the Democrats were over.  This wasn't a one or two year talking point.  Reagan had won the presidential eleccion in 1980 and again in 1984 and then George H.W. Bush won in 1988.  We had chatter passed off as discussion then the way we do today.  Nonsense about how the Democratic Party was over.  They'd never get the presidency again.  They should try to focus on Congress only.  This and that and it was the end of times and blah blah blah.


Cheap and easy 'coverage' -- space filler.  All you had to do was bring out an idiot like Paddy and they'd prattle on telling you what this or that meant.   They knew because they were communicating with . . . the various voices in their head.


It was garbage and it took attention away from real issues.  


Sort of like the obsession with the GOP's current state does today.  


I've never been a Republican and never will be.  I'm also not someone threatened by a political party's existence.  Unlike Iraq, the US political parties don't have militias.  


They're a political party.  They're redefining who they are at present which is what they have to do -- and what the Democrats have done -- because that's how they survive.  


Looking at the 2020 presidential results, there's no reason or basis for the constant keening over the state of the GOP.  Joe Biden got 51% of the vote, Donald Trump got 46% of the vote.  


That's not a party in demise.  


That's before we even get into the state of the media.  It's not fair, and it's never been fair, and it regularly demonizes the GOP while ignoring the Democrats.  Every attempt has been made in the last years to distort and take offense to any GOP statement.  Click bait or whatever, there's no attempt to calm the f**k down and learn some perspective.


THE NEW YORK TIMES publishes a column by a sitting US senator and then disowns it and apologizes.  That's nonsense.  Calm the f**k down.  You disagree with something on the op-ed pages?  That's why that section of a paper exists, for back and forth.  It's supposed to expose you to a variety of opinions not just preach to the choir.  


Joe Biden snapped at a reporter last wee.  Several e-mails came in attacking me/this site for not covering it.


We had more serious things to address.  Why cover it?  As one blogger e-mailed, "It's how we chip away at Biden!"  


I'm not interested in chipping away.


It's the kitchen sink strategy.  They used it on Donald very successfully..  Inflate every thing -- big or small -- into a major event and trash and tarnish the person.  No one can survive the onslaught.  


Some were angry because if it were Donald Trump, they insisted, we'd be all over it.


Really?  


Where were you the last four years?


We didn't obsess over Donald's Tweets.  We didn't become unhinged because he was in the White House.  We rolled up our sleeves every day and did the work required.  


Sadly, those paid to do the work required can't make the same claim.


I'm all for criticism of Joe -- the failure to address the climate crisis would be a good area to open up for criticism -- but in terms of this site, a 'reporter' asking a 'cute' question and getting snapped at isn't the most pressing issue for this site.  MEDIAITE covered it and should have.  It's their area and scope.  For it to be our area, it would have had to have had something more to it.


It's a sign of dementia!  It's a sign of this or that!


It might just be a sign of a road trip that was too long.  


My favorite of the e-mails from the right over not covering Joe's exchange was the one that said this was a pattern of my refusing to call out Joe.


Really?  I know Joe and have known him for years but I have stated I believe Tara Reid.  I didn't vote for him.  I couldn't and wouldn't vote for him.  That's due to Iraq (I said he had to get honest and he didn't).  But I certainly wouldn't vote for anyone who did what Tara described or who did to Tara what he did to her --- Joe and his team controlled and fed the attacks on Tara.  Again, we don't have a fair press.  We have a gang of thugs who are off the leash and have no standards expected of them.


If I thought Joe's rudeness was the most pressing issue, we would have gone on and on about the exchange.  It didn't really have a huge effect on the world and it wasn't really anything we're interested in.


Patrick Cockburn knows nothing about US politics.  One would hope he'd know something about the world and dangers in it.  But if he's saying the GOP is the most dangerous threat to the world, clearly he doesn't know much about the world.


Anyone confused should pay attention to this video.



Gulls. 


What makes that a news story?


Iraq's water supply is threatened by dams built by Turkey and Iran.  Last month, Sinan Mahmoud and Robert Tollast (THE NATIONAL) reported:


Millions of Iraqis face an intolerably harsh summer, with Turkish dams on the Tigris and Euphrates rivers compounding a year of low rainfall.

The rivers, which account for more than 90 per cent of Iraq’s freshwater, were at historically low levels following scant winter rainfall in the region and snowmelt mainly in the mountains of Southern Turkey, which feeds into the rivers.

Turkey says it is also facing a drought and dwindling water supplies, but stands accused of holding on to supplies in its dam reservoirs.

On 7 May, Syrian Minister of Water Resources Tamam Raad called on Turkey to release more water from the vast Ataturk Dam.

On 21 May, Iraq’s Ministry of Water Resources said Turkey had released some water, but emphasised that the situation was a crisis.

In the capital Baghdad, photos of the Tigris showed an almost non-existent river.


So you've got water issues.  You aslo have pollution issues.  ALJAZEERA filed this report yesterday:



Iraq's becoming more and more polluted.  From the oil, from the weapons used (Depleted Uranium, White Phosphorus, etc), from the burn pits.  It's going to have major impact on the country and, yes, on the gulls.  


Also news ?


Yoko Ono Tweets:


#InternationalWidowsDay shines a light on the injustices experienced by widows. Organisations such as the Loomba Foundation help them to find their voice and help them to secure their rightful position in society. Donate here: cafdonate.cafonline.org/3447



International Widows Day is news.  Samir Sisodia Tweets:


There are an estimated three million #Widows in Iraq and over 70,000 in Kabul, Afghanistan. #InternationalWidowsDay #WidowsDay



Bayan Sami Rahman is the KRG's representative to the US.  She Tweets:


Kurdistan and Iraq have a disproportionate number of widows after years of war and genocide. On #InternationalWidowsDay let’s take steps to recognize the suffering of widows in our country & around the world, protect their legal rights & social status and enable them to be heard
Image




Back to crazy, Paddy Cock Burn's roll dog Moqtada al-Sadr's working overtime with an election coming up as he desperately attempts to convince people he's not the extremist he is.  Sura Ali (RUDAW) reports he's insisting that Saudi Arabia and -- AND -- Iran should not meddle in Iraq.  MEMO notes he's also deploring sectarianism -- as if his entire existence wasn't built on sectarianism. The Shi'ite cleric is in campaign mode ahead of the expected October elections.  


In other news, ISIS remains in Iraq.  Despite media coverage otherwise, it is still active.  MENAFM reports, "A provincial police source stated that on Tuesday, Jun. 22 a father and his son were gunned down on Tuesday by the rebels of Islamic State (IS) in the Iraqi eastern province of Diyala."  And apparently the fight against ISIS is led by the UK.  THE NATIONAL reports:

 UK military commanders said Britain's newest aircraft carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth, has taken on the “lion’s share” of operations against ISIS in Iraq.

In the first posting of the 65,000-tonne carrier, commanders said the ship attracted the interest of Russian warplanes.

“At the moment, we’re taking on the lion’s share of that operation over Iraq, which is a fantastic feather in our cap," said Commodore Steve Moorhouse, aboard carrier in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea.


We'll note this Tweet:


The UK Ministry of Defence released photos of Tuesday's sorties over Iraq in support of Op Shader (defenceimagery.mod.uk/fotoweb/archiv
). I took a shot at geo-locating one of them. Coordinates: 34.664779°, 41.739157°.
Image



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