Wednesday, June 03, 2020

Vegetable Salsa in the Kitchen

First up, these were the posts yesterday that covered music:



  • Second, here is a recipe from the Mayo Clinic for vegetable salsa:

    Ingredients
    Directions
    Wash vegetables and prepare as directed. In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients. Toss gently to mix. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to blend.

    Lastly, this is from the Socialist Equality Party:

    In an act unprecedented in American history, Donald Trump has repudiated the Constitution and is attempting to establish a presidential dictatorship, supported by the military, police and far-right fascistic militia acting under his command. The Socialist Equality Party appeals to the working class and all those committed to the defense of democratic rights to oppose this criminal action.
    Speaking on national television, Trump proclaimed: “I am your president of law and order… Our nation has been gripped by professional anarchists, arsonists, looters, criminals, Antifa and others.”
    Trump’s fascistic rant came only minutes after he ordered massively armed military police to launch a violent attack on citizens engaged in a lawful and peaceful assembly outside the White House to protest the police murder of George Floyd.
    The cowardly and vicious assault by military forces on unarmed citizens exercising their First Amendment rights in Washington DC will live in infamy as the beginning of a coup d’├ętat by a criminal administration.
    “These are not acts of peaceful protests,” Trump said, “These are acts of domestic terror.”
    Trump is enraged by the most significant display of multi-racial, multi-ethnic unity of workers and young people in opposition to racist police violence in the history of the United States.
    Trump declared that he will deploy the military, in violation of the Constitution, to suppress protests. Referring to a conference call with governors that he held earlier in the day, Trump said that “a number of state and local governments have failed to take necessary action,” and that he had “strongly recommended” that they “deploy the National Guard in sufficient numbers so that we dominate the streets.”

    He then issued the following criminal threat: “If a city or state refuses to take the actions that are necessary to defend the life and property of their residents, then I will deploy the US military and quickly solve the problem for them.”


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


    Tuesday, June 2, 2020.  Covid and ISIS continue in Iraq. 

    Sometimes you just have to shake your head and wonder at the stupidity.  For example, Rafael Noboa Y Rivera shows up at THE DAILY BEAST to tell you "I'm an Iraq Veteran.  The Cops Are Treating Citizens Like They're Under Occupation."  I'm not questioning the police violence.  It's taking place.  It's documented in video after video of the protests.  I am asking what the hell Rafael is thinking?  This is how you acted in your tour in Iraq?  Or this is what you saw?  You already sold out everyone in 2008, veterans, remember?  You sold out your fellow veterans who, sadly, were willing to be sold out.  Barack Obama didn't want the big protest that veterans were threatening.  He was going to meet with veterans.  Rivera was part of that 'deal' that wasn't.  Barack never met with them, he just strung them along to avoid the headlines of ''Veterans Protest Barack."

    Now Rafael shows up, as Americans are disgusted to see the way protesters are being attacked by the police, to tell us this is what he, the Iraq Veteran, saw under occupation?

    If so, you really need to apologize to the Iraqi people.  And you need to stop acting like what took place there was in any way okay because it wasn't.  Your use of it to make an analogy demonstrates that it was not okay.

    On the protests, here's Margaret Kimberley (BLACK AGENDA REPORT) speaking to Australia's SKY NEWS.



    Violence continues in Iraq.  MENAFM notes, "According to the Iraqi military, two soldiers and two Islamic State (IS) militants were murdered on Monday, June 1st in an airstrike and a bomb attack in the Iraqi provinces of Nineveh and Diyala."  And, KURDISTAN 24 notes, "on Sunday, terrorists killed two members of the Iraqi federal police and the Iranian-backed Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) and wounded six others, according to local media reports and a PMF statement."

    You may remember that it was just last week when we were laughing at the Iraqi military spokesperson who was insisting ISIS had been "vanquished" and was no longer a problem in Iraq.

    There are many problems in Iraq.  That includes the coronavirus.




    Iraq reimposed total lockdowns over the weekend following a surge in COVID-19 cases.
    After meeting with his COVID-19 task force on Saturday, Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi’s government decided to institute a nationwide curfew until June 6, 2020.
    “The joint meeting underscored the importance of all citizens continuing to follow official health advice and physical distancing guidelines, and to comply with the curfew to keep themselves, their families and communities safe,” the government said in a press release announcing the restrictions.
    Under the latest guidelines, only supermarkets, bakeries and pharmacies are allowed to remain open. These businesses cannot have more than five people in them at a time, and both employees and customers must wear masks. Some ministries will be closed, people must wear masks when outside and the closure of Iraq’s airports to commercial flights will continue until June 6. Restaurants will be allowed to deliver, according to the release.
    The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in Iraqi-Kurdistan also began a full lockdown today with similar restrictions until June 6, according to a KRG Department of Foreign Relations tweet.

    MEED notes Iraq has 6,868 confirmed cases of Covid-19, there have been 215 deaths and there have been 3,275 who have recovered.  On the recovered, we'll note this report.





    One way Americans can inhabit this crossroads in the weeks and months to come is by reading Iraqi occupation literature — that is, literature by Iraqis about life between 2003 to 2011, when the U.S.-led Coalition Forces occupied the country. Over the last decade, a number of brilliant fiction and nonfiction books about the occupation have become available in English. Two that stand out among this emerging subgenre are “The Corpse Exhibition and Other Stories of Iraq” by the award-winning Arabic writer and filmmaker Hassan Blasim and “Baghdad Burning: Girl Blog from Iraq” by the anonymous Iraqi software engineer-turned-blogger Riverbend. Others include “The Corpse Washer” by Sinan Antoon, “Frankenstein in Baghdad” by Ahmed Saadaw, “The Beekeeper: Rescuing the Stolen Women of Iraq” by Dunya Mikhail, and “Baghdad Noir” edited by Samuel Shimon.
    These works challenge readers to share in the experience of being occupied. Just three months ago, this experience might have been considered a subject for only niche academic audiences or, worse, written off as the plight of an unlucky pocket of the globe. But the demanding isolation of social distancing, deepening precarity caused by the shutdown of all “nonessential” sectors, and seemingly imminent threat of infection and illness have made these narratives relatable to a wider American public. The idea of being confined, indefinitely, to one shelter was inconceivable for many of us prior to the coronavirus. During the first two weeks of the shutdown, my students, who were forcibly dispersed across four continents in a matter of days, began each virtual meeting by noting how surreal and dystopian it all felt. As one New Jersey-native put it, “It’s like we’re in a ‘Black Mirror’ episode, right?”
    It’s also the first time since the Vietnam War that the U.S. public has been confronted with so many dead bodies, and so many lives that cannot be fully grieved. The drone footage from New York’s Hart Island, where hundreds of unclaimed corpses are being buried in mass graves, crystallizes this phenomenon. It’s also a dilemma shaping our daily lives in less spectacular ways: health care workers broadcasting a patient’s final moments via FaceTime, essential employees beginning their shift after a brief announcement about a coworker passing, reporters updating listeners and viewers with the latest death toll.
    While this is new ground for many Americans, it’s old ground for many Iraqis. The mortality rate in Iraq prior to the 2003 invasion was about 5.5 people per 1,000 per year and rose to 19.8 deaths per 1,000 in the year 2006. That same year, the rate of violence rose by 51 percent in just three months, with an estimated 5,000 deaths per month. The country’s medical facilities struggled to cope with the influx of bodies and the lack of capacity in their morgues, and families hired civilians to search dumps, river banks and morgues for the bodies of missing relatives.

    [. . .]

    One of those features is the trope of Iraq’s occupied civilians as ghosts, jinnis (supernatural spirits in Arabic mythology), or divided subjects — liminal figures existing at the threshold between life and death, waking and dreaming, human and non-human, here and there. “Baghdad Burning” opens about five months after the American invasion with the pseudonymous author resolving to blog about daily life under the occupation because, as she writes, “I guess I’ve got nothing to lose.” She quickly distinguishes herself from the “third world” Muslim women of the Western imagination. A university-educated engineer with a music collection ranging from Britney Spears to Nirvana, the 24-year-old had a budding career and busy social life prior to May 2003. She was free to move — solo and hijabless — around the city as she pleased. All that changed with the occupation.
    Riverbend chronicles the shift from her pre- to post-invasion life in details that are equal parts humorous and harrowing, raw and cerebral. She notes how the American troops carry out conventional forms of combat: killing, wounding and torturing Iraqi people. (Abu Ghraib, she affirms, was a watershed moment). But more often, she attends to the military’s more abstract and indirect engagement with those living in Baghdad. The occupying troops ravage the country’s infrastructure — electricity, water, gas and other basic services are constant problems — and they spread themselves everywhere in order to control and reconstruct the city. They also conduct patrols and raids that operate along the same logic as terrorism: surprise, chaos, asymmetry and mistrust. These strategies seem to facilitate the Islamic State’s domination and violence, a phenomenon that Riverbend highlights in her interrogative about the sounds that wake her at night: “What can it be? A burglar? A gang of looters? An attack? A bomb? Or maybe just an American midnight raid.”
    “Baghdad Burning” also gives readers a window into the psychological and social effects of the occupation. This form of militarism makes Riverbend and other Iraqis feel like they exist in an alternate reality, outside recognizable social and structural forms, like politics and time. When Donald Rumsfeld visits the country in September 2003, Riverbend observes how he moves through Baghdad “safe in the middle of all his bodyguards.” Rumsfeld’s movement is a particularly cruel and distressing element of the occupation for Riverbend, whose own mobility had become radically restricted (by that point, she couldn’t leave home without a head covering and male relative). “It’s awful to see him strutting all over the place … like he’s here to add insult to injury … you know, just in case anyone forgets we’re in an occupied country.” The young Baghdadi woman’s experience of the perverse and unassailable distance between herself and the U.S. Secretary of Defense typifies the occupier-occupied relationship in “Baghdad Burning,” a dynamic that leads Riverbend to the hopeless feeling that “everything now belongs to someone else … I can’t see the future at this point.”


    Last month, UNAMI noted a survey:

    This month the Government of Iraq with the support of UNFPA and UNICEF, unveiled the results of its National Adolescent and Youth Survey.
    The survey was the first of its kind in over a decade, with the last survey taking place in 2009. Its aim is to enable the Iraq Federal Government and the Kurdistan Regional Government to develop adolescent and youth-centered policies based on what adolescents and youth see as priorities.
    The launch took place online due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with the participation of the Minister of Planning, Dr Nouri Al-Dulaimi, the Minister of Youth and Sports, Mr Ahmed Taleb, the Deputy UN Special Representative for Iraq and Humanitarian Coordinator, Ms Marta Ruedas, along with UNFPA Representative, Dr Oluremi Sogunro and UNICEF Representative, Ms Hamida Lasseko.
    “Young people are the innovators, creators, builders and leaders of the future. But they can only live out their full potential if they have skills, health and choices in life and most importantly, an adequate system that meets their inspirations,” explained Ms Marta Ruedas.
    Iraqis between the ages of 10 and 30 were asked about a range of key thematic issues affecting their lives, including health, education and civic engagement. According to the survey, 39% expressed worry about their future financial security and employment prospects. With over a quarter of Iraqis between the ages of 15 and 30 jobless, Iraq is one of the countries with the highest youth unemployment rates in the region.
    “The results show that young people have a clear understanding of citizenship, political and social life and livelihoods as well as their rights and obligations. The survey will be the basis for a clear and transparent process to put together youth-based policies,” said the Minister Taleb.

    Iraq is a country with a young population.  The median age is 20.  By contrast, in the United States it's 38 years-old.  The youth have taken to the streets because of the corruption, because of the lack of jobs, because of issues with diplomas (including hiring issue), because of a government that does not serve the people.

    Mustafa al-Kadhim only became the prime minister on May 7th.  But this is not supposed to be a four year term.  That's the point Ayad Allawi was making when he Tweeted the following on May 26th:

    No public tribunal has yet been formed to try protestors’ killers; and neither have martyrs’ families, those wounded and made handicapped been compensated. In addition, there must be a fixed date for fair and early elections; a new electoral law; and an independent commission.

     


    The following sites updated: