Thursday, May 24, 2018

Sweet potatoes and how the Supreme Court betrays the people again

I ended up the victim of click bait.   Something about a myth regarding sweet potatoes being exploded.  Immediately, I feared that I was about to learn the sweet potato was not good for us.  So I clicked and . . . the myth is about its origins only.  Chase Purdy (QUARTZ) reports:

Sweet potatoes have occupied a spot at Thanksgiving dinner tables in the US for more than a century, largely because American history books often cite the root vegetable as one of the country’s native plants.  But there’s a good chance the story Americans tell themselves about sweet potatoes is nothing but a myth.
According to a new study published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the vegetable may actually be an immigrant from Asia.  The sweet potato is part of the morning glory family and scientists have long believed it originated in North America about 35 million years ago, thanks to plant-fossil evidence.  But a research team at Indiana University uncovered and identified 17 much older morning glory leaf-fossil specimens while on a trip to Meghalaya in northeast India, some dating back 57 millions years.
“I think this will change people’s ideas,” one of the researchers said in a statement.  “It will be a date point that is picked up and used in other work where researchers are trying to find the time of the evolution of major groups of flowering plants.”
So that’s the big ‘myth’ being exploded.  Otherwise, sweet potatoes (or yams) are still the same as we have known.

The United States Supreme Court’s 5–4 decision in Epic Systems Corp. v. Lewis eliminates the right of tens of millions of workers to bring class action lawsuits against their employers. With the bang of a gavel, the Supreme Court has effectively stripped workers of their legal rights and guaranteed the flow of even greater fortunes to the corporate and financial oligarchy, which controls America’s legal and political system.
The majority opinion, written by Trump nominee Neil Gorsuch, upholds the legality of mandatory arbitration clauses that bar workers from filing lawsuits. This locks the courtroom doors for coal miners suffering from black lung, construction workers with mesothelioma, fast food workers cheated of overtime pay, farmworkers denied the minimum wage, waitresses sexually harassed by their bosses, and countless other workers suffering forms of workplace abuse and exploitation. It announces “open season” for intensified corporate exploitation at tens of thousands of workplaces across the country.
The decision revives the legal doctrine of the Gilded Age elaborated by the Supreme Court’s 1905 decision Lochner v. New York, which overturned a state law limiting the workday to 10 hours on the absurd grounds that the regulations violated workers’ “right” to work as long as they want. In reality, that ruling safeguarded the power of corporations to exploit workers without recourse.
Today’s Supreme Court followed a similar logic, justifying its decision to eliminate workers’ right to sue with the lie that workers are always free to negotiate better contracts with their corporate bosses.
According to the Economic Policy Institute, roughly 60 million workers—56 percent of all private-sector nonunion workers—now no longer have access to the courts. Arbitration is a sham process set up by the corporations to deprive workers of even the minimal protections afforded by the courts and to spare businesses the cost of litigation.
Arbitration is a sham.  And so is that decision.  Stop pretending we have a Supreme Court that works for the people.  It is bought and paid for by the corporations.  This decision is an argument against lifetime appointments.  In fact, maybe we should move to electing our supreme court justices and doing so for two terms – two four year terms.

The argument against that is that big money would enter into it.  Newsflash, big money is already influencing (controlling) the Court.  This way we might be able to at least get rid of some of the justices who need to be gone.  Ann and I often cross streets in that we frequently grab similar topics.  I think Eric London’s article is really important and that this is big news.  But what’s going on with the teachers is as well.  I called Ann and she’s going to highlight that tonight.  (Could I do both?  I could but I do worry about overload when we start doing news.  Food?  Not so much. )

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

Wednesday, May 23, 2018.  The Hobby Lobby of 'journalists' is in a bit more hot water.

Can we get a MeToo! going to defend the people?  We really need one.

Completely in awe of the work does on her podcast, Caliphate. Equal parts chilling and eye opening. If you haven’t checked it out, you should.


Are you in awe, Joshy?  Well what a piece of trash you must be.

Continue to be fascinated by and her podcast. Certainly someone to emulate as an journalist.

Dylan, at your university, do they not teach that theft is wrong?

Just finished listening to the most recent episode of (#6). Any hope that I had that Abu Huzayfah might be lying is slowly disappearing...although I'm ready for a potential plot twist. Great reporting, riveting story. Just wish I could binge it!

We can't expect JM Davis to worry about theft, she's too busy seeing a war as something she wishes she could "binge" on -- yes, she truly is that stupid.

Now we warned you, for over a year, we warned you that Rukmini Callimachi was trash, that she was a thief and that she was worse than Judith Miller.

We warned you.  And we mainly did so because antiwar Glenn Greenwald couldn't stop slobbering over her at his Twitter account.

Well Glenn-Glenn's moist mouth may have finally dried up.

Today his publication, THE INTERCEPT, is finally finding the issues others of us have already spent time on.

Her theft which is at the basis of her wowie podcast that trash like Tommy Vietor can't stop praising.

  • There is only one problem. She is accused of stealing those documents.
  • From fleeing terrorist oppressors? That's not theft, that's called "investigative journalism."
  • How about from the Iraqi government? 'Investigative journalism' just got a new definition. To Steal important documents of a terror organization without the permission of the "democratically" elected local government.
  • Except:
  • Except, "there is no record, Oral or written, of any Official permission from the Iraqi Army or defense ministry to give these documents away".
    Here is how your "investigative journalist" responds when she has no proof to defend her claim.

    We warned you.

    Maryam Salem (THE INTERCEPT) reports:

    About a week after the piece was published, Farhan emailed Callimachi to ask if she got permission from Iraqi government officials to take the documents, and if she got consent from the people named in the files to publish their names. Farhan didn’t hear back, so she worked with two legal scholars to launch a petition calling on the Times to rethink its use of the documents. The removal of the documents violates international law, the petition authors wrote, calling for them to be returned to Iraq and warning that failure to do so would set a “dangerous precedent for the plundering of material and cultural heritage in conflict zones.” This wasn’t the only academic protest. In early May, Judith Tucker and Laurie Brand of the Middle East Studies Association published an open letter to top editors at the Times,  decrying the “myriad legal, professional, ethical, and moral issues” arising from Callimachi’s story.
    [. . .]
    In their letter to the Times, Tucker and Brand of the Middle East Studies Association said the Iraqi state alone had a right to the documents. “It is only legally designated representatives of the Iraqi state, and certainly not foreign journalists,” they wrote, “who should control the disposition of any documents found in circumstances like those in which Ms. Callimachi and her team operated, in accordance with Iraqi law and regulations governing public records.”
    [. . .]
    Tucker and Brand of the Middle East Studies Association in their public letter to the Times, wrote that the removal of the documents from Iraq with no clear plans to return them “once again empowers outsiders to unduly influence, or even control, the narration of Iraq’s history.” They accused the Times of having “no right to possess or retain these materials,” adding that possession of the files “is not a matter that you or Ms. Callimachi or any other non-Iraqi or non-Iraqi institution is entitled to decide. These materials belong to the Iraqi people.” Their letter also warned that it would be unacceptable for the Times to make the cache publicly available because doing so could endanger the lives of Iraqis named in the documents. This particular warning was in response to the Times publishing copies of about a dozen ISIS documents, including unredacted versions of a tax form, a citation for a teenage boy found to have violated ISIS rules, and a birth certificate.
    Callimachi told The Intercept that the Times is working with an outside partner to digitize and publish the documents online. She directed further questions to a company spokesperson. Danielle Rhoades Ha, the vice president of communications at the Times, did not specifically respond to The Intercept’s questions, sending a statement instead. “The New York Times recovered documents that otherwise would have been destroyed or simply abandoned,” she wrote. “Previously Iraqi security forces had been burning documents they discovered. … In every case, Times reporters were being escorted by Iraqi security forces who assisted in the collection and preservation of the documents.”
    But did those forces have the authority to give those documents away? Saad Eskander, the former director of the INLA, said they did not.

    “The 2016 Law on the Preservation of Records, which I personally drafted when I was the Director General of INLA, states clearly that all types of official and semi-official papers should be administrated by INLA,” he wrote in an email to The Intercept. “This Law also covers records made by Iraqi NGOs. So the above mentioned Iraqi Law does not grant any civilian or military entity the right to decide the fate of Iraqi records, let alone permitting their removal from the country.”

    Again, we warned you.

    Rukmini Callimachi is far worse than Judith Miller.  In fact, she's the Hobby Lobby of so-called 'journalists.'

    March 3, 2017, she typed, "Sometimes I feel embarrassed by the extent of Iraqi hospitality."

    She certainly should.  She certainly should.

    Today, NPR's MORNING EDITION reports that the US government is hopeful that the huge win in this month's elections by Shi'ite cleric and movement leader Moqtada al-Sadr will not mean that US troops.  The report plays Moqtada's spokesperson Sheikh Saleh al-Obeidi declaring, "If the American troops are here in order to train Iraqis, help Iraqis according to certain details accepted to both governments it is accepted by Moqtada al-Sadr."

    Now the US government always claims it was about training.  For example, here's the US Defense Dept this week:

    The coalition training effort in Iraq is all about “making a good force better,” said Italian army Brig. Gen. Roberto Vannacci, the deputy commanding general for training for Operation Inherent Resolve's Joint Forces Land Component Command in Iraq.
    Iraqi security forces continue to press the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria by rooting out and destroying pockets of ISIS terrorists in the country. From the nadir when ISIS was knocking on the gates of Baghdad, Iraqi forces have taken on the terror group and liberated almost all of the territory the group once held.

    The trainers of the coalition’s Operation Inherent Resolve gave Iraqi security forces the training they needed to expel the violent extremist group, Vannacci said during a video teleconference from Baghdad to reporters in the Pentagon.  

    But it is combat.

    Tom O'Connor (NEWSWEEK) notes:

    The U.S.-led coalition against the Islamic State militant group (ISIS) said Tuesday that it only planned on staying in Iraq as long as it was welcome after an opponent of foreign military presence won local elections.
    The remarks come after a political bloc—comprised of Shiite Muslim cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, communists and others—managed to secure the plurality of votes in last week's Iraqi election, raising uncertainties for the future of the U.S. and other foreign militaries helping local forces battle the remnants of ISIS in the war-torn country. Italian army Brigadier General Roberto Vannacci, who serves as deputy commanding general for training the joint land forces component of the coalition, said there has been no change in policy yet, but if there was, it would be up to political leaders at home. 
    "We are here by the request of the Iraqi government. And regardless of who won the election, I think that if this request will continue to be addressed to the coalition, the coalition will remain," Vannacci told reporters during a weekly press briefing at the Pentagon Tuesday.

    But for all the pretense of just waiting to see what happens, behind the scenes?  The US government is very anxious.  REUTERS reports:

    The United States has contacted members of a political bloc headed by former foe Moqtada al-Sadr after his parliamentary election victory put the Shi’ite cleric in a strong position to influence the formation of a new government, a top aide said.
    [. . .]
    Dhiaa al-Asadi, a top Sadr aide, said there had been no direct talks with the Americans but intermediaries had been used to open channels with members of his Sairoon alliance.
    “They asked what the position of the Sadrist movement will be when they come to power. Are they going to reinvent or invoke the Mahdi Army or reemploy them? Are they going to attack American forces in Iraq,” he told Reuters.
    “There’s no return to square one. We are not intending on having any military force other than the official military force, police forces and security forces.” 

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