Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Soft Tacos with Southwestern Vegetables and the FBI needs more oversight and accountability

I always try to note it whenever I see a Liz Peek column.  Here's her latest.  I passed it on to Ruth since she covers impeachment at her site.    I used to note her when WOW was around -- the website with Jane Wagner, Marlo Thomas, Liz Smith, Candice Bergen, Liz Peek and others.    Now this is from Patrick Martin (WSWS):

The report issued Monday by Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz on the FBI investigation into the 2016 Trump election campaign documents the extraordinary political role played by this key police/intelligence agency in influencing the outcomeof the 2016 election.

The report underscores the fraud of the effort by the Democrats to impeach Trump on the grounds that he has invited “foreign intervention” into the 2020 elections. The greatest threat to American democracy comes not from Russia or any other foreign country,but from the operations of the military-intelligence agencies of the capitalist state, which do the bidding of Wall Street and the financial aristocracy.

The report shows that the conflict between the CIA-backed Democrats and the fascistic Trump is a fight between two right-wing forces, both implacably committed to the interests of American imperialism and both hostile to the social and democratic rightsof the working class.

The Horowitz report begins with the decision by the FBI, on July 31, 2016, to open a preliminary investigation into the relationship between the Trump campaign and the Russian government.

This action was triggered by information passed to the FBI by the Australian ambassador to Britain, who encountered a Trump foreign policy adviser, George Papadopoulos, in London. Papadopoulos boasted that Russia had acquired a large number of damaging emailsfrom the Democratic Party and the Hillary Clinton campaign and would soon make them public.

The bulk of the media coverage of the Horowitz report goes no further than this: his claim that the FBI proceeded properly, according to its own rules and regulations, in opening the investigation, and that political hostility to Trump and the Republicansplayed no role in that decision.

But far more significant is the context in which this decision was made and the subsequent actions of the FBI operation, given the codename Crossfire Hurricane, over the next three months.

Throughout the period from July through October 2016, the critical final months of the election campaign, the FBI became the focal point of political conflicts within the US ruling elite and the effective arbiter of the struggle between Clinton and Trump,the two most unpopular figures ever to run as major party candidates for the presidency.

The FBI was out of control.  Now it's time for them to be held accountable.  Failure to do so will make things much worse.  It will allow the FBI to do this again, it will allow the FBI to expand this sort of attack on freedom, it will say there is no oversight and no accountability.

Okay, Renee found a recipe at the Mayo Clinic that she loves.  I hadn't seen this one but I will try it this weekend.  It's for Soft Tacos with Southwestern Vegetables:

1.1 tablespoon olive oil
2.1 medium red onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
3.1 cup diced yellow summer squash
4.1 cup diced green zucchini
5.3 large garlic cloves, minced
6.4 medium tomatoes, seeded and chopped (about 2 cups)
7.1 jalapeno chili, seeded and chopped
8.1 cup fresh corn kernels (about 2 ears of corn) or 1 cup frozen corn
9.1 cup canned pinto or black beans, rinsed and drained
10.1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
11.8 whole-wheat tortillas
12.1/2 cup smoke-flavored salsa


In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until soft. Add the summer squash and zucchini, and continue cooking until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic, tomatoes, jalapeno, corn and beans. Cook until the vegetablesare tender-crisp, about 5 minutes. Add the cilantro and remove from the heat.

Heat a large frying pan (without a nonstick surface) over medium heat. Add 1 tortilla to the hot pan and heat until softened — about 20 seconds a side. Repeat with the remaining tortillas.

To serve, divide the tortillas among individual plates. Scoop an equal amount of the vegetable mixture onto each tortilla. Top each with 2 tablespoons of the salsa. Serve immediately.

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

Tuesday, December 10, 2019.  Joe Biden and his Mini-Me Tiny Pete continue their campaigns but neither has anything to say about the months long protests in Iraq.

Starting in the US with the race for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination where Joe Biden continues to get propped up by the media.

One example of whoring for Joe?   and

It was mid-month December 2007.  Hillary Clinton was the front runner in the national polls.  As for South Carolina?  CNN put her at 42% to Barack's 34%, SURVEY USA put her at 44% to Barack's 40%, CBS NEWS put her at 34% to Barack's 35%.

January 26, the vote finally took place -- no ranked choice voting options, by the way.

And all the polls that had Hillary with a lead or within 1% of Barack?


Hillary only got 26.5% of the vote.  55.4% of it went to Barack.

Get it?

South Carolina will decide after Iowa.  After New Hampshire.  The results of both states prior will cast all the candidates in a certain light.  Should Joe lose Iowa, he will be seen as a loser.  Should he lose both Iowa and New Hampshire, he will be the ultimate loser.

He's already losing in terms of his disgraced son Hunter Biden who, when he's not sending strippers off to buy dildos to use on him or when he's not using illegal drugs, likes to take jobs he's completely unqualified for but gets anyway because his last name is Biden.

Eric Levitz (NEW YORK MAGAZINE) notes Joe's rude attack on the Iowa voter last week:

But this much is beyond dispute: By taking the job at Burisma, Hunter exploited his father’s public power for private gain in a manner that undermined U.S. interests, according to several Obama-administration officials. The State Department’s George Kent testified last month that Hunter’s role at Burisma risked creating “the perception of a conflict of interest” that could undermine America’s standing when it pushed for anti-corruption efforts in Ukraine. Kent says he raised this concern with the vice-president’s staff in 2015. Another Obama-administration official, Amos Hochstein, says he raised the issue with Joe Biden himself that same year.

[. . .]

The Democratic front-runner did not politely tell the man that — while his concerns about corruption were valid — he had actually been badly misinformed. Biden did not patiently explain how Hunter’s conduct differs from that of the Trump children or how he would differ from Trump in his handling of potential conflicts of interest as president. Instead, Biden called the voter a “damn liar,” challenged him to a push-up contest, and appeared to implicitly mock his potential constituent for being overweight. In between these Trump-esque displays of strained machismo, Biden made the patently false claim that “no one has said my son did anything wrong.” In truth, not only have many, many people said Hunter Biden was wrong to take the job at Burisma, Hunter is himself one of those people.

Josh Max (NY DAILY NEWS) adds:

Instead of answering the question, Biden first attacks the questioner with “You’re a damned liar, man,” a huge provocation which, in different parts of America, would result in an immediate physical confrontation. Biden then goes after the guy’s weight. He looks the man up and down and says, regarding the man’s statement that “I see it on the TV…that’s all I got to do is watch it.”
“I know you do. That’s why you’re...I’m not sedentary,” Biden says. “I get up and...”
It's the same response that many bigger people have to put up with when someone doesn't have the brains to stay with what the problem is, and goes right for the fat. Or the skin color. Or the age. Or the person's masculinity or perceived lack thereof. It's the sign of a small mind and a weak fighter.

Indeed.  Back to Eric Levitz:

But the fact that Biden still can’t answer reasonable questions about his candidacy’s chief liability is completely disqualifying. To nominate him despite that fact would be akin to employing a waiter who takes offense at being asked, “What are tonight’s dinner specials?” As the Democratic Party’s standard-bearer, reciting polite, polished talking points about Hunter and Burisma will be a core responsibility of Biden’s job. And by all appearances, he is unable or unwilling to do that.

LZ Granderson (CNN) points out that the incident was part of a pattern with Joe:

A one-off is easy to ignore but these lapses are not a rare occurrence for Biden. I was at the Human Rights Campaign's LGBTQ town hall event in October when the 77-year-old went drifting into some bizarre verbiage about "gay bathhouses" and "round-the-clock sex."
Back in August, Biden said "poor kids are just as bright and just as talented as white kids," which is precisely the kind of well-intended racist sentiment that would have sent liberals into a frenzy had a Republican said it. He called 54-year-old Kamala Harris "kid." Just imagine what the headlines would look like if Trump had done the same. 

From Joe Biden to his Mini-Me Tiny Pete.

This means that Joe Biden and Pete Buttigieg want to pass an agenda Republicans would vote for.

just so you know

Pete Buttigieg’s campaign is everything wrong with politics in America today. The gaslighting, deception, corporate influence, white male privilege, lack of expertise, and no real experience. 

Pete’s campaign has it all.  It’s one giant f**k you to the American people.

Ryan Cooper (THE WEEK) writes of Tiny Pete:

The McKinsey Mayor has a plan: Copy the most successful Democratic politician of the last generation. If an inexperienced but inspiring young black man from Chicago could become president, why not an even less experienced, even younger gay man from Indiana? John McCormick reports for the Wall Street Journal reports that "it is Mr. Buttigieg among the top-tier candidates who is trying the hardest to mimic the former president’s campaign style."
There are just two problems. Pete Buttigieg is running a radically different campaign in a radically different time. Where the party's center of gravity was decidedly moderate in 2008, today it is deeply fissured between moderates and a resurgent left. Thus where the Obama campaign could plausibly both promise optimistic, sweeping change and run on moderate policies, the Buttigieg campaign is going straight for moderates by cynically blasting quality leftist policy like Medicare-for-all and tuition-free college with conservative rhetoric.
Despite his smiling persona, Buttigieg, like Amy Klobuchar, is all about falsely telling the American people what they can't have. Call it the audacity of nope.
Over the past few weeks Buttigieg has started several policy fights with the left. He attacked Elizabeth Warren over her support for Medicare-for-all, demanding to know how she would raise taxes to pay for it — despite the fact that he has still not fully costed out his own plans, which would certainly require at least several hundred billion per year in new taxes (though the campaign has said repealing Trump's corporate tax cut might pay for his health-care agenda). More importantly, Buttigieg failed to mention that his own plan would be more expensive on net than Medicare-for-all, because it would not have the same leverage over prices and would preserve much of the current duplicative and wasteful structure.

Most recently, Buttigieg has attacked Medicare with tendentious libertarian ideology about choice. "You’re not free if you don’t have health care," he said in a recent stump speech, "but you should have the freedom to choose whether you want it." By this view, non-universal Medicare increases choice and is hence better — but elides the fact that it would foreclose the choice of a complete system which covers everyone from cradle to grave, without exception. As usual, libertarian choice rhetoric obscures more than it reveals.

Has Tiny Pete commented on the protests in Iraq?  The corruption in the system the US set up?  He got paid for being part of that system with McKinsey.

All eyes should be on tonight. Massive protests are said to take place this evening as thousands have arrived in Tahrir Square from other provinces. Security has been tightened across the city and demonstrators have been warned not to enter the Green Zone. Pray for Iraq.

NOW, The situation from Tahrir Square


Thousands of protesters mainly from across 's southern  provinces have been streaming into Baghdad's Tahrir Square since yesterday in response to calls for a mass rally in the Iraqi capital on Tuesday, December 10.

  • December 10 also marks the two year anniversary since Iraq's victory over ISIL. Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi commemorated the day by declaring it a public holiday.

    In anticipation of the mass protests, the US Embassy in Iraq reiterated directives to US citizens to avoid traveling to Iraq/protest zones, adding that demonstrations are expected to increase in size from today.

    The protests continue in Iraq.

    Munqith Dagher (WASHINGTON POST) offers:

    Iraq’s recent demonstrations are among the bloodiest protests in its modern history. Nearly 500 Iraqis have been killed and over 17,000 injured in the protests during the past two months, according to reliable estimates. But the protests in Baghdad and southern Shiite provinces should not come as a surprise. The Shiite-dominated government has not provided for the basic needs of its constituents. But what do those participating actually think about the protests?

    In an attempt to get a better understanding of these protests’ dynamics and how protesters’ grievances can be addressed, my research group (Al Mustakilla) conducted a face-to-face poll of around 1,250 interviews with protesters in Baghdad and all main cities in the south of Iraq from Nov. 24 through Dec. 1. While there was no way to do a random probability representative sample, we targeted those participating in the protests with a purposive sample.
    One of the most powerful findings of the survey was the overwhelming importance to protesters of the need to feel significant. In a nationwide poll conducted earlier this year, 3 of 4 respondents said they felt their lives had lost all meaning, while 80 percent said they felt depressed at least one time during the previous six months.
    But participating in these demonstrations appears to have changed those feelings. Almost 94 percent of the protesters said that these demonstrations made them feel like an important person. Almost the same percentage said that participation in these protests made them feel as if they had a voice in the future of Iraq. And 97 percent mentioned that going to protests made them more proud of being Iraqis.

    It took polling for someone to grasp that standing up for yourself increases your self-worth?

    The Committee to Protect Journalism issued the following:

    Beirut, December 9, 2019 -- Iraqi authorities should conduct a thorough and transparent investigation into the abduction of journalist Zaid Mohammed al-Khafaji, secure his release, and hold the perpetrators to account, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
    On December 6, unidentified individuals abducted al-Khafaji, a freelance photographer, from his home in Baghdad and took him to an unknown location, according to news reports. Al-Khafaji was abducted when he returned home after covering protests in Baghdad’s Tahrir Square, according to those reports.

    Protests have taken place throughout Iraq since October over a lack of basic services, unemployment, and government corruption, and have seen hundreds killed, according to news reports.

    “Covering the ongoing protests in Iraq is becoming a highly risky affair that is costing local journalists dearly,” said CPJ Middle East and North Africa Representative Ignacio Miguel Delgado. “Iraqi authorities must step up their efforts to protect journalists; they should get started by investigating the abduction of Zaid Mohammed al-Khafaji.”

    CCTV footage posted to the news website Irfaa Sawtak shows al-Khafaji arriving home by taxi, and two men can be seen exiting a nearby car, dragging al-Khafaji to their car, and driving away.

    Al-Khafaji’s brother, Ali, told CPJ via messaging app today that he had not heard from al-Khafaji or his captors since the abduction.

    At least two other journalists, Mohammad Qahtan al-Shamari and Shojaa Fares al-Khafaji, have been abducted since the protests broke out in Baghdad, according to CPJ reporting. Both were later released, according to CPJ reporting and news reports.

    Also on December 6, an unidentified individual shot Ahmed Muhana al-Lami, a photographer, in the back while he was covering protests in Baghdad’s Al-Khilani Square, according to a hospital document that has been shared on social media and an interview with the paramedic who treated al-Lami’s wounds, which was posted to social media. Al-Lami was transferred to Sheikh Zayed Hospital in Baghdad, where he died of his wounds shortly afterwards, according to a statement by his employer.

    Al-Lami worked as a photographer and camera operator for the Media Directorate of the Popular Mobilization Units, a state-sponsored group consisting of 40 mostly Shia militias, according to the statement from his employer. He covered the Iraqi government’s military campaign to retake control of territory held by the militant group Islamic State between 2015 and 2017, and had been covering the protests in Baghdad since they broke out in October, according to that statement and his posts on social media.
    Initial news reports and the statement from al-Lami’s employer claimed that the journalist was stabbed, but the paramedic said al-Lami had a gunshot wound near his spine, and said there was no evidence of stab wounds.

    At least 14 people were killed in Baghdad on December 6 when unidentified gunmen in cars fired on protesters, according to news reports.

    The following sites updated: