I wrote the below Friday night.
I don't know what happened. I thought I hit publish.
Patrick Martin (WSWS) has a piece so I want to note it:
A record cold wave extending from the Upper Midwest through the Great Lakes and into New England contributed to numerous deaths across the United States Christmas week. Homeless people and the elderly were particularly at risk, but the greater stress imposed by severe weather has yet again laid bare the social crisis affecting all sections of the working class.
Deaths due to hypothermia (exposure to extreme cold) were reported in Chicago; Cincinnati, Ohio; Rapid City, South Dakota; and Ogden, Utah over the Christmas holiday period.
The victim in Chicago was a 62-year-old man, whose name has not been released, found unresponsive in his car the day after Christmas. His was the fourth death in Chicago attributed to exposure since the current cold season began in late October. The other victims were all men suffering from multiple health problems aggravated by alcoholism.
The man found dead Tuesday at a bus stop in downtown Cincinnati, 55-year-old Kenneth Martin, was homeless. In Rapid City, Alan Jack, aged 69, was found dead outdoors early Christmas morning. The 79-year-old woman, Verna Marriott, found dead the morning of December 23 in Ogden was suffering from dementia and had wandered from the home she shared with her daughter’s family in the middle of the night.
An even greater death toll comes from the rising number of house fires, frequently triggered by space heaters or other precarious methods of keeping warm in severe weather. These fires for the most part represent the intersection of the cold wave with the bad housing conditions endured by impoverished layers of the working class.
I had a third cousin who died when I was little (9?). They lived outside of Boston and the fire was caused by a space heater. They also used their oven as a heater because the apartment heat was so rotten – rotten – they had ‘all bills paid’ which just meant the complex kept it at 45 or so in the winter – that’s not warm.
This is an important issue and one that we rarely talk about but should focus on.
It’s so cold. I think it’s around the country but I know it is in my state. It was like 14 degrees today and I’m pretty sure that was right around four. So our high for today might not have been much higher.
I called Wally’s mom and they had 58 degrees this evening, so I guess Florida isn’t cold. Or too cold. They may see that as cold. Even though we don’t.
And this soup recipe is from Wally’s mother.
3 white onions chopped
1 bag of carrot chips (or 4 carrots chopped)
1 large head of red cabbage (chopped)
2 bell peppers (diced)
10 celery stalks (chopped) or one container of chopped celery from your grocer
Green beans drained from a fifteen ounce can (regular cut or French style)
1 can of beef broth (14 ounces – you can sub chicken if you prefer)
1 dry onion soup mix envelope packet (doesn’t have to be Liptons, can be generic)
1 cans of whole peeled tomatoes (16 ounce cans both – two 16 ounce cans)
One large can or bottle of tomato juice (can use V-8 if you prefer)
Everything goes in the pot (large pot). If all vegetables are covered, great. If not add water until all vegetables are covered. Heat to a simmer (on low heat for about 20 to 25 minutes).
Serve with warm bread.
Are you familiar with this recipe? When she gave it to me over the phone, I said, “You worry about your weight?”
Because I know this as the weight loss recipe – cabbage soup.
She did not know it as that. She said that a friend brings it to picnics and that’s how she learned of it.
Regardless, it’s a healthy and hearty soup.
This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" for Friday:
Friday, December 29, 2017. Iraq is largely absent from the national conversation and the few times it pops into the exchange it's tightly controlled.
This is your government.
Bill Van Auken (WSWS) reports:
US special operations troops are secretly harboring and training former fighters of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) at the remote American base in Al Tanf, Syria near the strategic nexus of the country’s borders with Iraq and Jordan, according to a report issued by the Russian military command.
The charge was made Wednesday by General of the Army Valery Gerasimov, chief of the Russian military’s general staff and deputy defense minister. He said that Russian drones and satellites had detected brigades of ISIS militants in and around both Al Tanf and another US military base near the Kurdish-controlled city of Al-Shaddadi in the country’s northeast.
“They are in reality being trained there,” Gerasimov said in an interview with the Russian daily Komsomolskaya Pravda. “They are practically Islamic State,” he added. “But after they are worked with, they change their spots and take on another name. Their task is to destabilize the situation.” The Islamist fighters, he indicated, are being re-branded as the “New Syrian Army.”
He also notes Quentin Sommerville and Riam Dalati's BBC report about how the US and UK aided the Islamic State in departing Iraq:
Abu Fawzi and dozens of other drivers were promised thousands of dollars for the task but it had to remain secret.
The deal to let IS fighters escape from Raqqa – de facto capital of their self-declared caliphate – had been arranged by local officials. It came after four months of fighting that left the city obliterated and almost devoid of people. It would spare lives and bring fighting to an end. The lives of the Arab, Kurdish and other fighters opposing IS would be spared.
But it also enabled many hundreds of IS fighters to escape from the city. At the time, neither the US and British-led coalition, nor the SDF, which it backs, wanted to admit their part.
Has the pact, which stood as Raqqa’s dirty secret, unleashed a threat to the outside world - one that has enabled militants to spread far and wide across Syria and beyond?
In the Arab world, the accusation has long been that the US government created and sponsored the Islamic State.
This was due to a number of US actions in the region and around the world including the fact that the US empowered the Taliban (don't forget to include Mika's nasty father -- and nasty is right, so many women spoke of his actions towards them -- on the blame list).
But it also included strange moments that would appear to question where the loyalties were.
It's very strange that the BBC can report on Raqqa but the US press will ignore it.
Because the BBC reports it doesn't make it true. But when the US response is silence, it certainly makes it appear true.
When does the American media cover these topics?
If they can put it in the mouth of the 'enemy.' So, last June, Tom O'Connor (NEWSWEEK) writes about how the Iranian government claims it has documents which demonstrate that the US government has been backing ISIS.
Now when, earlier this month, Amnesty International documented the fact that ISIS was using US-made weapons, CNN did cover it. But there was Jim Michaels (USA TODAY) to the rescue, days later, to explain that the weapons "fell into the hands" of ISIS. The press then dickered over whether they were stolen or sold by non-US actors (usually Syrian 'rebels' were cited).
But we're never to consider what so many in the Middle East believe: That the US government has been backing ISIS all along.
None of the above means that the US funded/created/supported/one-or-all-of-the-above the Islamic State. The point is this topic is discussed around the world, in traditional media and on social media, but the corporate media in the US will not have the conversation, will not allow it.
That, more than anything else, lends credence to the rumors and allows them, over time, to be accepted as truth.
The question isn't do governments lie, it's do they ever tell the truth?
NEWS NATION BUREAU notes:
Congress Rajya Sabha MP Pratap Singh Bajwa on Wednesday accused External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj for blocking him on Twitter for raising the issue of 39 Indians missing in war-torn Iraq.
Bajwa tweeted, “Is this the way to run external affairs ministry? Does it behove the office of Sushma Swaraj Ji to block a Member of Parliament for asking tough questions on 39 missing Indians in Iraq?” and shared a screenshot that read “@SushmaSwaraj blocked you.”
[. . .]
The Punjab Congress president Bajwa has been accusing the Foreign Minister of misleading the House on 39 Indians missing in war-torn Iraq.
The 39 Indians have been missing since June of 2014. In June of 2016, the editorial board of THE HINDUSTAN TIMES observed:
Perhaps it is this optimism that guides the families of 39 Indians who are missing from Mosul (Iraq) for the past two years. In June 2014, the Islamic State (IS) was capturing town after town and taking civilians (especially foreign nationals and minorities) hostage. In Mosul, 40 Indian construction workers, mainly from Punjab, were captured, and one person managed to escape. The whereabouts of the 39 is unclear. The government has maintained that it has credible intelligence that the hostages are alive, while media reports state that they have been executed.
Meanwhile, violence continues in Iraq.
And XINHUA reports:
Unidentified gunmen shot dead three family members inside a house early Friday morning at a village in Iraq's central province of Salahudin, a police source told Xinhua.
The attackers broke into the family house in the town of Es'haqi, some 60 km south of the provincial capital Tikrit, and opened fire on the family members, killing three men, wounding two women and two children, the source said on condition of anonymity.
Also on violence, Chatham House's Micah Zenko makes some important points:
Pentagon never acknowledged contractors were in Syria. Dept of Labor just revealed 2 DOD contractors died there last year; 6 injured. bit.ly/2ChNUef
In total, 55 DOD contractors died in war zones (Afghan, Iraq, Chad, Syria, Somalia) in FY2017.
2017 will be 8th year in a row that more DOD contractors died in US wars, than US troops.
You will never know the names or circumstances under which they died. Or, even if they were US citizens (roughly one-third of DOD contractors are Americans).
Because contractors are barely acknowledged and have no identities, their expanded use under 3 presidents makes US military footprint appear artificially smaller.
Hope someday defense analysts and journalists recognize the essential, enabling capabilities contractors provide when writing about US wars. As is, "contractor" is a dirty word or an after thought. END
And the big question this morning -- bigger than who will pay for the rebuilding of Iraq -- comes in a Tweet from Tim Anderson:
The following community sites -- plus Jody Watley -- updated: