Sunday, March 31, 2019

Instapot in the Kitchen

Here's a recipe for InstaPot black eyed peanuts:

  • Rinse peas and set them aside.
  • Dice 16 ounces of raw bacon into small pieces. 
  • Turn Instant Pot to Saute and let it heat up. 
  • Add peas to the pot and mix.
  • Add 3 cups of water, and 3 cups of chicken stock, some salt, and fresh cracked black pepper.
  • Stir and close the lid and make sure it's latched.
  • Let it do a natural release for 10-15 minutes.

  • Please soak the beans.  I soak all beans except for split peas.  Soaking or not has little effect on me.  I don't get gas or heart burn.  But a lot of people cannot enjoy the beans if you haven't soaked them.

    InstaPot?  Elaine and Mike got one as a gift.  Mike noted it in "Boo, Pete; Yea, Chelsea!" which is where I learned about it.  I called them and they say, "But you hate Instapots," when I ask why they didn't call.  I don't hate them.  I just noted that I did not need one.  Most of us don't need one.  If you have a small kitchen and/or are just starting out, by all means, get one.  But most of us already have a slow cooker, a rice cooker, etc.  Mike had a problem with rice.  Which didn't surprise me.  Elaine not know would surprise me.  When I spoke to her, she explained she told Mike how to do it but he wasn't listening.  That makes sense.  (Mike is my son, for those of you who don't know.)  

    Now there were two important reports on Thursday's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED (NPR) about the Sacklers.  Let's start with this one for background:

    Now to New York where the Sackler family and its company Purdue Pharma are facing more legal trouble. Purdue manufactures that powerful opioid OxyContin. And now, in a sweeping lawsuit, New York's state attorney general says eight individual members of the Sackler family are personally to blame for much of the country's deadly opioid epidemic.
    North Country Public Radio's Brian Mann tracks opioid litigation for NPR, and he joins me now. Hey.
    BRIAN MANN, BYLINE: Hi, Ailsa.
    CHANG: So you and I have already talked this week about how Purdue Pharma has been sued more than a thousand times around the country for its aggressive marketing of OxyContin. How is this lawsuit different?
    MANN: Well, I would say that New York's attorney general just made this personal. I mean, these opioid lawsuits tend to be corporate affairs. The targets are usually companies like Purdue or Johnson & Johnson or CVS. But Letitia James says this one group of individuals is responsible for tens of thousands of opioid deaths.
    LETITIA JAMES: But let us not forget the masterminds, the family enterprise behind this crisis, the family that literally profited off of the suffering, the death of countless New Yorkers - the Sackler family, the owners of Purdue.
    MANN: So she named today these eight members of the Sackler family as defendants along with Purdue and a whole bunch of family trusts and other legal entities.
    CHANG: And why name the Sacklers personally? I mean, why doesn't New York state just go after the companies?
    MANN: Yeah. I think this part is interesting. This lawsuit in documents filed recently as part of civil suits in Oklahoma and Massachusetts have revealed a lot of new details about how the Sacklers ran Purdue. And the claim is that they personally pushed for the aggressive sale of these opioids even as evidence grew that people were dying. And what's alleged here in this New York lawsuit goes even a step further. New York claims the family began squeezing Purdue Pharma, draining billions of dollars as rapidly as possible.

    And now here's the second story about it:

    ANDREW LIMBONG, BYLINE: Even before today's news, two separate gift-giving arms of the Sackler family in the United Kingdom announced they're going to pause all new donations in light of the recent attention. Nan Goldin is not impressed.
    NAN GOLDIN: It's like, you can't fire me, I quit. They did it to save face.
    LIMBONG: Goldin is a famous artist and photographer who's been at the center of a campaign aimed at getting the Sackler name off of museum walls and Sackler money out of museum coffers. She's been open about her own struggles with opioid addiction, which started with a prescription for OxyContin manufactured by the Sackler-owned Purdue Pharma. As she was getting clean, she read an article about the opioid crisis by journalist Margaret Talbot.
    GOLDIN: And in it, she says, where are the activists like ACT UP?
    LIMBONG: ACT UP being the '80s protest group responding to the AIDS crisis.
    GOLDIN: And that was my call to arms.
    LIMBONG: She formed a group called PAIN - Prescription Addiction Intervention Now...
    LIMBONG: ...And led protests at the Guggenheim, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C.
    GOLDIN: I believe the Sacklers live in their museums. That's what they care about. So that seemed the place to get their ear.
    LIMBONG: Brothers Arthur, Mortimer and Raymond Sackler - all now deceased - made their riches manufacturing, and more importantly, marketing drugs beginning in the 1950s. At the same time, they established themselves as one of the biggest names in philanthropy. They and their heirs have donated millions to colleges and museums in the U.S. and Europe. Yet some of those heirs are also the targets of the lawsuits. This week's Purdue Pharma settlement in Oklahoma pledges $270 million to fund research and drug treatment.

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

    Friday, March 29, 2019.  The puppets need US forces on the ground in Iraq -- they always have.

    Christian Caryl (WASHINGTON POST via GULF NEWS) reports:

    “If you ask me, is the Iraqi government bureaucracy successful? Absolutely not,” Iraqi President Barham Salih said in an interview.
    “Is the Iraqi state succeeding? I think there are some prospects for this country to be moving in the right direction. But the legacies of the past, the problems are really, really monumental.”

    He spoke at length on the need to fight a deeply entrenched culture of corruption in the bureaucracy, the government’s failure to provide basic public services such as water and electricity, and the challenge of preventing a [ISIS] revival.

    Good little puppet.  Barham was chosen by the US.  When he went to Mosul last Friday, he found out that puppets may be propped up by foreigners but they are not beloved by the Iraqi people.  The US government props him up and the US press treats him like a real president.  He's not.  It's a ceremonial position.  With Adil Abdul-Mahdi, the actual leader of Iraq, being such a disaster (and also being installed by the US), the focus really has been on Barham for the US press.

    The puppet wants the US to ''remain active'' in Iraq.  And why wouldn't he?  This is the man who, in the same article, grandly declares, "Every time I go out of the presidential palace in Baghdad—and I do try to go out as often as I can—I do see normalcy coming back, more and more."

    "Every time I go out of the presidential palace in Baghdad --"  Does it get more of the people than that?  (That was sarcasm.)  A puppet propped up in a cushy life, so out of touch that he doesn't even grasp how "Let them eat cake" he comes off.

    And that cushy lifestyle?  He has it because of the US government and the troops on the ground ensure that the Iraqi people do not rise up against their corrupt government.  That's always been the concern whether it was late spring 2006 and the Green Zone was almost penetrated by the Iraqi people or whether it was summer 2014 and Barack Obama fretted that Baghdad might be seized and controlled by ISIS.  The puppet government must be kept in place.

    Jerrod A. Laber (INDEPENDENT) observes:

    President Trump has promised repeatedly to end “endless wars,” during both his campaign and his tenure so far in office. Despite this rhetoric, endless — and, frankly, pointless —wars are, sadly, still the American norm.
    Two more Americans were just killed in Afghanistan — a war that the Trump administration realises needs to end, but seems in no hurry to actually do so. In December 2018, Trump announced that all US troops would be withdrawn from Syria, only to later rescind that declaration in favour of a small force of 400 to 1,000 troops to stay behind indefinitely, complementing the more than 5,000 troops in Iraq, who are there to satiate the administration’s obsession with Iran.

    Soldiers who were children when the Afghanistan war began are dying. It’s well past time to bring all of our troops from Afghanistan, Syria, and Iraq home.
    [. . .]
    We assume that American soldiers die in defence of our rights and freedoms, as they protect us from existential threats. We thank veterans for their service and revere the dead as martyrs. By and large, we never dig deep into why they actually fight and die. After all, no grieving mother wants to think her child gave their life for nothing. But in Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan, that’s exactly what’s happening. 

    US troops remain in Iraq because the puppet government has not taken root.  It was always a doubtful project.  The US repeatedly ignored Iraqis who had lived in Iraq to instead install cowards who fled the country and only returned after the US invaded.

    As we have repeatedly noted, if the US was invaded and the invaders installed cowards who had fled the US, we wouldn't support those people.

    That's before you factor in the chips on their shoulders that so many of these cowards bring along.  Nouri al-Maliki was paranoid -- so paranoid that the CIA file on him recommended he be made Prime Minister because his paranoia would make him easy to control.

    On this recommendation, Bully Boy Bush installed him as prime minister in 2006 and Barack Obama gave him a second term in 2010 (via The Erbil Agreement) after the Iraqi people had voted him out.

    Grasp that, not just the democracy aspect.  Grasp how much hatred or indifference -- or both -- the US government truly has to the Iraqi people.  Nouri's paranoia was of epic levels -- to the point where his sanity is in question.  But the US government -- represented by a Republican and then by a Democrat -- was perfectly happy putting a rabid dog in charge.

    Maybe they kidded themselves, for a moment or two, that they had two hands on the leash and could pull him anytime they wanted to.  In the first term, Bully Boy Bush saw the rise of the secret prisons and torture centers under Nouri.  He didn't yank the leash.  In the second term, Barack saw Nouri attack rival politicians (attack -- send the Iraqi forces to raid their homes), attack journalists who covered the protests (in one case, to round them up and torture them -- and this was reported by NPR and THE WASHINGTON POST -- while THE NEW YORK TIMES filed a shameful non-report), attack the protesters, etc.  And Barack didn't yank the leash either.

    The US government put a rabid dog in charge of Iraq and the Iraqi people suffered but it was 'worth it' to the US government because this plant has to take, the roots have to go deep and, until they do, US troops will remain in Iraq.  That's the position of our so-called representatives.

    It's never been about democracy.  You don't value democracy by overturning election results as Barack did in 2010.  You don't instill faith in the ballot box by using The Erbil Agreement to nullify the votes of the Iraqi people.   `

    Missy Ryan (WASHINGTON POST via NATIONAL POST) notes retiring US Gen Joseph Votel feels that ISIS is not defeated (it's not) and he frets over US disengagement.

    Why does the US have to protect Iraq from ISIS?

    In what world does that make sense?

    Yes, Nouri's forces fled in 2014 when ISIS took over Mosul.  Atheel al-Nujaifi was governor of the province then and he has given a very detailed account of how Nouri's forces folded and fled.

    The Iraqi forces would not fight to protect Mosul from ISIS taking over.  They took over in June of 2014.  When did they leave?  Later that year?  The next year?

    ISIS remained in charge of Mosul until July of 2017.

    Why is the US supposed to help?

    A government that allows Mosul, one of their biggest cities, to be controlled by ISIS for three years?  And grasp that this wasn't three years of fighting.  Mosul was allowed to be controlled from June of 2014 with no real effort at liberation until October of 2016.

    Grasp that.  It's important.  It goes to the reality that a puppet government has no real support.

    Every other year, we're told that Iraqi forces need training -- US training.  In what world?  The issue isn't the training, the issue is the lack of support for the puppet government.  That's why so many fled Operation Knight's Charge in 2008 (the Baghdad-based government's assault on Basra).  The Iraqi forces saw huge desertion rates during that battle.

    There is no real government for the Iraqi people to be vested in.

    And the plan is for US troops to remain in Iraq until this puppet government or the next one or the one after finally takes root.

    The kind or blind can say that this is done with 'good intentions.'  Good or not, it's still stupid because it's been done over and over and it has still not taken root.

    Vogel hints and pretends it has -- to Missy Ryan, yes, but in the last Congressional hearing we covered as well -- where he noted it was his last time appearing before the Committee -- and thank heaven for that because maybe the next person in charge will be a little smarter?

    Or maybe that's my stupidity for not grasping that smart never enters into efforts by the US government to control other countries.

    As'ad AbuKhalil (NEW AGE) observes:

    IT HAS been sixteen years since the US invasion of Iraq of 2003. The event barely gets a mention in the US press or is any longer part of American consciousness. Iraq remains a faraway land for most Americans and the remembrance of the Iraq war is only discussed from the standpoint of US strategic blunders. Little attention is paid to the suffering and humiliation of the Iraqi people by the American war apparatus. Wars for Americans are measured in US dollars and American blood: suffering of the natives is not registered in war metrics.

    6 women are seeking the 2020 Democratic Party presidential nomination.  This is historic and will be historic regardless of the candidate -- female or male -- who eventually wins the nomination.  We'll note their most recent three Tweets and for any concerned about the order, it is rotated each time.

    The teacher pay gap is a national failure that’s holding America back. Our country has failed to give teachers the resources they deserve. My plan would provide a $13k raise for the average teacher. I am committed to this fight for our teachers and our future.
    Betsy DeVos wants to give teachers guns — I want to give them a raise.
    I was raised by a mother who taught us that if you see a problem, you don't complain about it. You do something about it. That's why I'm running for president. We have to stand up and fight for our American values.

    The people of Flint, Michigan still have to rely on bottled water. All across America, communities face challenges when it comes to access to clean drinking water. We must invest in our water infrastructure now.
    🎶Back in town-ow-own🎶 
    That’s why I’m calling for a major investment in our roads, highways and bridges.

  • When in Congress, former Congressman Dennis Kucinich championed the creation of a US Dept. Of Peace.Where the State Dept. handles international peace efforts, the Dept of Peace will handle domestic peace issues. Now is the time. Join me in making it happen
    Here is the citizen campaign call about reparations with professor William Darity and Kirsten Mullen
    A handbook for revolutionary love...

  • I’m glad Tim Sloan got canned, but let’s be clear: if he broke the law, he should go to jail like anyone else. My Ending Too Big to Jail Act would make sure that bank executives can be held personally responsible for their banks’ cheating.
  • I kept pushing the Fed to maintain the growth cap on until Tim Sloan was gone. and I told the and to use their power to fire him. Because the millions of Americans who got scammed deserve real accountability.
  • But kept getting caught cheating – on mortgages, car loans, money laundering, and loans to service-members (just to name a few). All the while, Tim Sloan kept trying to scam regulators into thinking the bank had reformed. But we weren’t fooled.

    President Trump just finished his rally, where he made it clear Michigan is a top target in 2020. He and his allies will spend millions to try to turn it red. We're not going to let him. There couldn't be more at stake—join me in fighting back!
    We must secure our borders effectively and fight terrorism relentlessly. But let's be clear: Attacking immigrants and asylum seekers, throwing babies in cages, coddling white supremacists, building a pointless wall—these things aren't just immoral. They also make us LESS safe.
    Women and men should make equal amounts of money for doing equal work. What a concept.

    . Happy birthday! Thank you so much! This is so kind of you. Look forward to seeing you tomorrow for your show!
    Mueller reported Trump did not collude with Russia to influence our elections. Now we must put aside partisan interests, move forward, and work to unite our country to deal with the serious challenges we face.
    49,624! Thank you to everyone reaching out to your friends and family, being a voice for peace in your community. It takes all of us, together.

    The following sites updated: