Sunday, September 09, 2018

Spinach and Mushroom Smothered Chicken in the Kitchen

Elsa e-mailed to suggest this recipe from Taste of Home:


  • 1-1/2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1-3/4 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 3 green onions, sliced
  • 3 cups fresh baby spinach
  • 2 tablespoons chopped pecans
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (4 ounces each)
  • 1/2 teaspoon rotisserie chicken seasoning
  • 2 slices reduced-fat provolone cheese, halved


  • Preheat grill or broiler. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat; saute mushrooms and green onions until tender. Stir in spinach and pecans until spinach is wilted. Remove from heat; keep warm.
  • Sprinkle chicken with seasoning. Grill, covered, on an oiled grill rack over medium heat or broil 4 in. from heat on a greased broiler pan until a thermometer reads 165°, 4-5 minutes per side. Top with cheese; grill or broil until cheese is melted. To serve, top with mushroom mixture.

Health Tip: This low-carb main dish is also gluten-free.

Nutrition Facts
1 serving: 203 calories, 9g fat (2g saturated fat), 68mg cholesterol, 210mg sodium, 3g carbohydrate (1g sugars, 2g fiber), 27g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 3 lean meat, 1 vegetable, 1 fat.

Okay, now what's going on at the University of Illinois at Chicago?  The CIA's taking over the campus.  From WSWS:

Behind the backs of students and educators, UIC agreed in February to partner with the CIA as part of the Signature Schools Program, which includes a handful of other colleges around the country.
The university has provided little information to students about the program. According to a brief statement published on UIC News, which few students read, the CIA will now have “a regular recruiting presence on the UIC campus”; students “will have opportunities to engage in on-campus interviews, information sessions, workshops, simulations and networking activities with CIA personnel”; and “students will participate in unclassified discussions, presentations and seminars that discuss the business of intelligence and learn about employment opportunities within the CIA.”
In other words, the campus is being opened for recruitment into the CIA. According to the CIA’s website, UIC was selected because it provides a large and diverse group of students from which to recruit. Many of the students that contribute to this diversity are the children of immigrants who were forced to flee their country of origin due to the turmoil caused by the regime change operations of the CIA itself. If recruited, these students would be utilized to carry out imperialist crimes of the US government around the world.
The CIA has absolutely no business at UIC or any college campus. As the chief global spy agency of the United States, it is responsible for countless crimes—the overthrow of governments, the fomenting of civil wars, assassinations, torture and spying. A selection of the most harmful and anti-democratic CIA operations includes:
* In 1961, the CIA ordered the assassination of Congolese independence leader and first prime minister of the Republic of the Congo Patrice Lumumba. Between 1960 and 1963, the CIA organized several attempts to assassinate Cuban President Fidel Castro, including the April 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion.
* During the Vietnam War the CIA lead the Phoenix Program. Devised to collect intelligence on suspected Viet Cong members and then neutralize (assassinate, capture or torture) them, the program led to random arrests and the murder of entire households. The brutality of this CIA program caused the death of 26,000-40,000 people.
* In 1967, the CIA began Operation CHAOS. The operation’s mission was to spy on the American people and provide the government with intelligence on individuals affiliated with civil rights, black power, socialist, or anti-war activities. College students were made targets of the CIA under this operation.
* In 1973, the Nixon administration, the CIA and the Pentagon collaborated with the Chilean military in a coup overthrowing the left-wing government of Salvador Allende. The US military-intelligence apparatus was intimately involved in rounding up, torturing, and “disappearing” tens of thousands of Chilean workers, students and left-wing intellectuals. US officials also oversaw the murder of two US citizens, Charles Horman and Frank Teruggi.
* The CIA provided over $40 billion worth of weapons to Afghan fighters in the proxy war with the Soviet Union between 1979 and 1989, under Operation Cyclone. Most of the support went to the Mujahideen, a guerilla military group that included Osama Bin Laden. The CIA has continued to maintain relations with right-wing, Islamic fundamentalist organizations throughout the Middle East up to the present day.
* During the Iran-Iraq War from 1980-1988, the CIA was involved in selling weapons to both sides of the conflict and actively participated in deadly chemical weapons attacks which killed tens of thousands.
* Under the administration of George W. Bush, the CIA violated international law by torturing captives and holding them in “black sites” all over the world without charging them with any crime. The CIA subsequently destroyed video evidence of torture and, under the Obama administration, spied on a US Senate subcommittee carrying out an investigation into it.
The blood of these horrific crimes is on the hands of both Democratic and Republican Party leaders who have fully supported the operations of the CIA since its inception. Indeed, while the Trump administration pursues its warmongering and fascistic attack on immigrants, it is the Democratic Party that has emerged as the main party of the CIA and military-intelligence apparatus. In their conflict with Trump, the Democrats have upheld war criminals like former CIA Director John Brennan as tribunes of democracy.

This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" for Fri
Friday, September 7, 2018.  The protests continue.

In Iraq, protests have been taking place since July.

2: Hundreds of people took to the streets of ’s southern oil city on Thursday for a fourth day of violent protests, where residents, angry over the neglect of their city’s collapsing infrastructure, set fire to political offices.

Iraq's parliament calls an emergency session after a curfew was imposed in the southern city of Basra following a fresh outbreak of deadly protests over poor public services and as shells were fired into Baghdad's fortified Green Zone

Footage of streets of southern city of Basra tonight as protesters set ablaze governmental, political party and militia offices as protests have been growing in the city over lack of basic services:



At least eight protesters died since Monday in Basra (one of them burned inside governor's building) and at least 25 injured as protesters set governmental, political party and militias on fire in protest of lack of basic services and clean water.

Last month, the International Crisis Group was noting 50 protesters had already died.  That was about it for international groups.  Like the bulk of the western press, most took a pass on the protests.  In fairness to Human Rights Watch, two of their main actors were too busy trying to lead the 'resistance' to Donald Trump and covering for the Israeli government (in their assault on Palestinians) to focus on human rights.  By our choices, we will be revealed.

What is happening is not a shock unless you're one of the fools who has spent weeks insisting that these protests do not matter and that they will died quickly.  For weeks and weeks, some observers have expressed that view.

We'll name one person because they did a lot of harm -- intentional or not.  When I would beg and plead for coverage of this to friends in the US media they'd say they'd look into it and then explain -- usually in an e-mail -- that it wasn't a real issue.  Why, didn't I know, even Mustafa Habib at NIQASH -- who we quote all the time -- had pooh-pahhed them.

Yes, I knew he had.  Here:

Protests are expected in Iraq in summer. It’s so hot that a lack of potable water and power to cool things down, or keep food, is enough to drive people onto the streets in anger. But these protests – which spread from Basra to other provinces, including the capital Baghdad – are different from past ones in several ways. For one thing, they appear to be spontaneous and leaderless, their demands are many, often non-specific and in some cases, unrealistic. And if the protestors have one thing in common, it is their distrust of, and lack of confidence in, the whole of the Iraqi political establishment. They are not targeting any one party or sector; basically, they don’t like anyone.

Was he trying to convey that it was a non-story?  I have no idea but that's the impression many got and they used his conclusions to argue for ignoring the protests.

September is the third month of the ongoing protests.  You'd think the media would have covered it seriously long ago.

But that didn't happen.

And without the international spotlight shining, the Iraqi officials could -- and did -- order attacks on the protesters.  And instead of meeting the demands, the Iraqi government has -- as usual -- dithered.  Drinking water that sends you to the hospital for medical attention?  When that happens in Iraq, that water should be bottled and all in the Green Zone should be forced to drink it.  The Green Zone has never had problems with potable water.

The so-called leaders have looked out for themselves while failing the Iraqi people.

The protests have turned down violent?


Maybe now the government will start to listen to the demands.  You cannot brush off basic needs and get away with it.

Barzani supports Basra protests, while Kurdistan grapples with same issues

The Barzani family's charity has been one of the few to step up -- they have provided some potable water for the people of Basra.  I'm confused as to why the central government was unable to do the same.  Nouri al-Maliki, for example, running for prime minister in 2010, was able to use clean water (and ice) in an attempt to bribe voters.  I'm confused as to why Baghdad was unable to deliver safe drinking water to the residents of Basra the minute the reports of hospitalization began coming in.

And forget the inaction of Baghdad, where was the international community?

Since July 10, 2018: I have warned and I have begged. But people wanted to watch the sons of die. Today, I sit in peace knowing that I delivered the message. I will never forget or forgive those who didn’t listen.

0:11 / 1:34



Duaa did speak out.  She used her Twitter feed.  She gave interviews including one for the August 15th broadcast of KPFA's VOICES OF THE MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA.  She did her part.  David M. Witty is someone we've cited throughout the protests because he's another person who's tried to raise awareness.

As for those suddenly expressing interest -- yes, CIA asset John Cole (to use your birth name), we mean you (and, also, your legal name, you never legally changed it -- most pundits don't work under a stage name) -- we're fully aware that you've done nothing and only appear to be interested now because of the protests may have on oil.

Local officials and security sources: the continued closure of the port of Umm Qasr in Iraq and the suspension of operations because of the protests in .

The violence is the natural outcome when the people are put at risk and the protests are not heeded.

The world needs to pay attention to what is happening. They have been doing peaceful and legitimate protests for a long time. Iraqi forces began using violence to suppress them.

If we don't want another large scale cycle of violence in Iraq, the int. comm. needs to speak out.

Exactly.  There are various people expressing their views on what is taking place.  Let's note Lawk Ghafuri.

Thread about Protests & Iraqi Gov't formation race

1-Iraqi government formation & the political gap made people to protest on a large scale in south of in . The race to form the Iraqi gov't started between & after the Iraqi election on May 12th.

  • 2- counted on Ameri+Maliki, while US supported Abadi+Sadr to form the next Iraqi government, and that resulted in complicating the formation of the government in . One of the main elements are Kurds were didn’t join any coalition to form the biggest parliamentary bloc.

  • 3-The Kurds received serious and important promises from Ameri+Maliki () if they join them to form the Iraqi government. However, made pressures on the Kurds to avoid any alliance with Iranian backed coalition Ameri+Maliki.

  • 4-The Kurds followed the orders and didn’t join the Ameri-Maliki coalition, and they started their negotiating with Abadi+Sadr coalition, but their promises were limited especially regarding returns to , and Ameri+Maliki promises were stronger.

  • 5-All that made the formation of the government in more complicated and delaying the formation of the biggest parliamentary bloc to form the government.

  • 6-The delay in forming the government is more related to the Kurds and their conditions, as Abadi+Sadr are not ready to meet all the conditions Kurds have. Also 16th of October incidents in made Kurds to become a rival to Abadi, and US made a huge mistake in this move.

  • 7-Again, made a huge mistake by letting Shia militia to invade and withdraws from the disputed areas, as that made Abadi now to have more rivals rather than having more friends.

  • 8-The protests in will lead into more chaos and will make to rise in coming days, and lately both Iranian consulate in Basra and US embassy in Baghdad became targets by protesters and Militia mortar rockets respectively.

    9-The scene in and will soon escalates into more chaos and protests will force the different militias and political coalitions to clash and above all that and US will bet on their groups in to win the political war and even the clash war if happens.

    10-The scenario that is most probably will lead to stability in is Abadi+Sadr meets Kurds conditions and attract Ameri to join their coalition and remove Maliki from the political race. Otherwise, Iraq will shift into the second by its militias.

    We're also going to note Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani but I'm not seeing any reports on that yet so I'm building from social media.  It's Friday, his message has been clear.  The Ayatollah condemns the attacks on the protesters that have resulted in injuries and in deaths.  He condemns the officials who have failed the people of Basra by failing to provide safe drinking water.  He notes that the officials have received support from foreigners and condemns that as well.  He is against a new government formed on the old ways (which is being interpreted on Arabic social media as him opposing the quota system that has been in use in previous, post-invasion formations -- again, I'm going by Arabic social media, I'm not seeing reports on this yet).  For change to happen, the government needs to change.

    He is one of the most powerful voices in Iraq.  Hopefully, his words will be given consideration.

    The Parliament is to hold an 'emergency' meeting tomorrow -- noted in a Tweet above -- and that's ridiculous.  They should be forming a government.  Hayder is failing the Iraqi people.  They need a government and a government that meets the needs of the people.

    Let's wind down with this press release from Senate VA Chair Johnny Iskakson:

    Contact: Amanda Maddox, 202-224-7777
    Thursday, September 6, 2018
    Camlin Moore, 202-224-9126
    Isakson: VA’s IT, Accountability Positions are of Tremendous Responsibility, Importance
    Committee considers two nominees for VA’s offices of information and technology, accountability and whistleblower protection
    WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, on Wednesday held a hearing to consider the nominations of James Gfrerer to be chief information officer (CIO) and assistant secretary of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Office of Information and Technology (IT) and Tamara Bonzanto to be assistant secretary of the VA Office of Accountability and Whistleblower Protection.
    In his opening remarks, Isakson called the two positions being considered “of tremendous responsibility and importance” and emphasized the need for a responsive, accountable and responsible VA.
    “We want to be able to help you do anything you need to do to succeed, but you’ve got to talk to us,”said Isakson to the two nominees. “You’ve got to work with us. You’ve got to do your job. You’ve got to empower the Department of Veterans Affairs employees to do their job for our veterans.”
    Isakson pointed to VA’s recent failure to meet a critical Aug. 1 implementation deadline for the so-called “Forever G.I. Bill” law that was passed in 2017 because of a delay in standing up its IT system to accommodate the updated G.I. Bill payments as an example of the VA missing the mark when it comes to being responsible for its undertakings.
    “When I heard about [the missed deadline] I said, ‘How could we do that?’ Well it turned out we did it because we weren’t watching our responsibility,” said Isakson. “The change that should’ve been made in the technology center wasn’t made. Checks and balances we have built into the system weren’t followed.”
    The VA’s chief information officer oversees a number of critical projects at the VA, including the massive electronic health records merger, a new system to support the expanded VA caregivers benefits, processing of G.I. Bill payments and many other IT priorities.
    Isakson pointed out to the CIO nominee that, if confirmed “it’s your responsibility” to oversee the implementation of the VA’s many IT systems and priorities. “We’re going to take great pride in finding out where we’re weak and making ourselves strong. We’re going to take great pride in making our agency an agency that’s responsive and responsible to our veterans. We’re going to keep our promises.”
    Isakson said the VA should handle problems going forward in a way that will “identify the problem; locate the person responsible; hold them accountable. And this is where our second nominee today comes into play because she’s responsible for the whistleblower and accountability office that we created in law we passed in 2017.”
    The Office of Accountability and Whistleblower Protection was established in 2017 in legislation that Isaksonauthored, the Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act. The law requires the office be headed up by a Senate-confirmed assistant secretary to ensure full accountability by Congress and the American people, a role that Bonzanto has been nominated to fill.
    “Our committee is working to ensure the new Office of Accountability and Whistleblower Protection meets its responsibility to manage senior executive discipline and protect the rights of whistleblowers,”said Isakson. “Having this leadership position filled is critical to furthering that effort.”
    Isakson noted that the committee has provided the VA unprecedented tools to hold bad actors accountable. 
    “I believe these tools should be used to swiftly remove employees that are not working to enhance the lives of our veterans,” said Isakson. “We owe our veterans the best possible care and support that they have earned. By helping to instill a culture of accountability at the VA, we can see to it that we deliver on that promise.”
    In closing, Isakson said, “I have been looking forward to today’s hearing for quite some time because I think we’re finding the right kind of people now to tackle the jobs and correct the problems I know we have [at the VA]. We’re looking forward to you both being something we can brag about.”
    Isakson announced at Wednesday’s hearing that a committee vote on the nominations of Gfrerer and Bonzanto will be held soon.
    The Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs is chaired by U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., in the 115th Congress. Isakson is a veteran himself – having served in the Georgia Air National Guard from 1966-1972 – and has been a member of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs since he joined the Senate in 2005. Isakson’s home state of Georgia is home to more than a dozen military installations representing each branch of the armed services as well as more than 750,000 veterans.

    The following community sites -- plus Cindy Sheehan and Jody Watley -- updated: