Thursday, July 30, 2020

3 recipes in the Kitchen

From the Mayo Clinic, here's a recipe for Black bean and corn relish:

1 can (15.5 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained (about 2 cups)
1 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed to room temperature
4 tomatoes, seeded and diced (about 3 cups)
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 medium red onion, diced (about 1/2 cup)
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1 green, yellow or red bell pepper, seeded and diced (about 1 cup)
2 teaspoons sugar
Juice from 1 lemon

In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients. Toss gently to mix. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to blend.

You could serve this on top of a tostado, a salad or eat with chips or crackers. It's a diabetic recipes so it's carb smart.

And from Eating Well, here's a recipe for green chile chicken tortilla casserole:

Nonstick cooking spray
1 pound tomatillos, outer husks removed, rinsed
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
½ cup onion, chopped
1 fresh poblano chile pepper, seeded and chopped (see Tip)
¼ cup snipped fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon sugar
½ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon salt
12 (6 inch) corn tortillas, halved
3 cups shredded, cooked chicken breast meat
1 ¾ cups shredded reduced-fat Mexican-style four cheese blend (7 ounces)
1 (16 ounce) jar salsa (see Tip)
Chopped tomato, chopped onion, sliced fresh jalapeƱo chile peppers, sliced green onion, and/or snipped fresh cilantro (see Tip) (optional)

Step 1
Preheat broiler. Lightly coat a 2-quart square baking dish with cooking spray; set aside. Line a 15x10x1-inch baking pan with foil. Place tomatillos in the baking pan. Broil 4 to 5 inches from the heat for 6 to 8 minutes or until softened and charred, turning occasionally. Set aside to cool slightly.
Step 2
In a large skillet heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and poblano chile pepper; cook and stir for 4 to 5 minutes or until tender and onion starts to brown. Step 3 In a blender or food processor combine tomatillos, onion mixture, cilantro, sugar, cumin and salt. Cover and blend or process until smooth, stopping and scraping down sides as necessary.
Step 4
Spread 3/4 cup of the tomatillo mixture in the prepared baking dish. Arrange six of the tortilla halves over the tomatillo mixture, overlapping slightly. Top with 1 cup of the chicken, 1/2 cup of the cheese, and half of the salsa, spreading evenly. Add six more tortilla halves and top with 1 cup chicken, 1/2 cup cheese, and half of the remaining tomatillo mixture, spreading evenly. Add six more tortilla halves, the remaining 1 cup chicken, and the remaining tomatillo mixture. Top with the remaining six tortilla halves and the remaining salsa, spreading to cover completely.
Step 5
Cover the dish with plastic wrap and chill for at least 8 hours or up to 24 hours. Cover and chill the remaining 3/4 cup cheese until needed.
Step 6
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Remove plastic wrap. Cover dish with foil and bake for 40 minutes. Remove foil then sprinkle with the remaining 3/4 cup cheese. Bake about 20 minutes more or until heated through. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving. If desired, garnish with chopped tomato, chopped onion, sliced jalapeno, sliced green onions, and/or snipped fresh cilantro.

Tips: Because chile peppers contain volatile oils that can burn your skin and eyes, avoid direct contact with them as much as possible. When working with chile peppers, wear plastic or rubber gloves. If your bare hands do touch the peppers, wash your hands and nails well with soap and warm water.
Salsas vary greatly in sodium content. Read nutrition labels and choose the salsa with the lowest amount of sodium.

You could make both dishes for a meal and you could even round it out with stuffed avocados:

¼ cup nonfat plain yogurt
2 tablespoons low-fat mayonnaise
2 tablespoons pimientos, rinsed and patted dry
1 small clove garlic, minced
⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
⅛ teaspoon salt, or to taste
2 ⅔ cups cooked crabmeat, picked over
2 ripe avocados, halved
Lemon wedges for garnish
Step 1
Combine yogurt, mayonnaise, pimientos, garlic, cayenne and salt in a blender. Blend until smooth. Transfer to a bowl and mix in crab. Adjust seasoning with cayenne and salt.
Step 2
Divide the crab salad among avocado halves. Serve with lemon wedges.

Moving on to some disturbing news, Niles Niemuth (WSWS) reports:

Shock and anger quickly spread online Tuesday as video posted on social media showed a group of armed men in street clothes snatching a young protester off the street and trundling her into an unmarked van during a peaceful demonstration against police violence in New York City.
While the men refused to identify themselves at the scene of the kidnapping, the New York Police Department (NYPD) later identified them as members of the police force’s plainclothes Warrant Squad.
Outrage over Tuesday’s incident was compounded by its similarity to the snatch and grab detentions carried out in recent weeks by federal paramilitary police in Portland, Oregon. In that city, a tactical wing of Customs and Border Protection known as BORTAC, sent in by President Trump to crack down on protests near the federal courthouse, has been seizing protesters, throwing them into unmarked vans and taking them to secret locations where they are subject to questioning for hours on end. The element of terror and intimidation is enhanced by the fact that the victims do not know who has picked them up or where they are being held. 

So it's not just Portland. Is this the new normal for America? Some would argue it always has been -- especially for activists and dissidents who've long been targeted by various US forces.

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

Thursday, July 30, 2020.  The heat explodes in Iraq and more.

Starting the US where a service member has returned from Iraq.

After nearly three days of travel, the final leg for Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Viviana Molina was down a flight of stairs.

Molina, back early from a six-month deployment in Iraq, surprised her husband, Grand Prairie police Officer Edgar Molina, by interrupting him in the lobby of police headquarters as he conducted an interview with the news media.

The Molinas worked together at the Grand Prairie Police Department until nine months ago, when Viviana enlisted with the Air Force.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many U.S. servicemen and servicewomen deployed overseas have been delayed in returning home.

“I got lucky and got to come home a week early,” Viviana Molina said.

Turning to Iraq where yesterday saw Baghdad reached its highest temperature in recorded history: 51.7 C (125 F).  Summers in Baghdad are always hot.   AP reporting in 2015:

AP reporting in 2016:

AP reporting in 2017:

AP reporting in 2018.

But despite yearly heatwaves, yesterday managed to break the record for all time hottest day in Baghdad.  

Baghdad had record breaking heat on Tuesday at 51.8C, today 49C is forecast, but for Basra in Iraq 53C is likely today, the all time record in Iraq is 53.8C
5:00 AM · Jul 30, 2020

RT's RUPTLY reported earlier this week on some how Iraqis attempted to stay cool by jumping into the Tigris River.

What most can't do is step inside to cool off.  That's because all these years after the launch of the 2003 US-led invasion, all these years of occupation, all these years of US-installed prime ministers have failed to deliver reliable electricity.  Matilda Coleman (UPNEWSINFO) observes, "With the state electricity grid failing, many households were relying on generators to power fridges, fans or air conditioning units, the machines adding a guttural hum to the city’s already-noisy streets."  THE NATIONAL notes:

Iraqi men cool off under a public shower at a street in central Baghdad, Iraq. EPA

Baghdad experienced its hottest day on record on Wednesday, as protests against a lack of basic services continued.

Power shortages, a common occurrence since 2003, led to the latest street protests as people struggled to keep cool.

Temperatures climbed to 51.7°C on Wednesday, surpassing a record high temperature of 51.2°C in the capital.

The protests began on Sunday night in Baghdad and several southern cities, and turned violent in the capital. On Monday, two men died after being struck directly by tear gas canisters that are typically fired in arcs over protesters and on less powerful trajectories.

And to explain how serious this is, let's include GULF NEWS:

Chronic power outages combined with low oil prices threaten Iraq's political stability, and Opec's second-biggest producer must act fast to boost electricity supply or face a new crisis within the next two months.
That's the conclusion of Fatih Birol, the head of the International Energy Agency, which advises the world's richest economies on energy policy.
Iraq faces a widening shortfall in electricity, due largely to a lack of investment in ageing power plants and networks, and the plunge in crude prices this year limits what it can spend to upgrade them. Baghdad must slash red tape and prioritize maintenance and spending on power facilities to stave off social and political turmoil, Birol warned.
'If there are not urgent and concrete steps taken for the electricity sector, we may well have major problems in the next two months in terms of electricity supply, he said in an interview. 'It may well lead to unrest within the country.
In a grim sign of what could come, security forces in Baghdad opened fire Sunday on protesters complaining about power cuts.

Iraq is going through the summer heat (around 50 degrees) and the government decided to cut off the electricity for the people not to protest. Where’s the humanity? Families are suffering and the world is silent. All this in a country rich in oil... F**k the Iraqi government

Heartbreaking story! People in central and south of Iraq sleep inside their car to avoid the scorching heat as the #Iraqi government fails to provide electricity.
2:53 PM · Jul 29, 2020

In the US, is there anything more disgusting than right-wing Senator Tammy Duckworth.  She started her political career pretending to be liberal and knocking the actual leftist out of the Democratic Party primary.  But she lost the general because who the hell wants Tammy?  Rahm and others spent forever grooming her so she could appear 'electable.'  She votes like someone who was groomed and paid for.  She talks like a nutcase. 

Maybe because she is one?

She's spent the last years thinking up nicknames for Donald Trump -- I'm sure the people of Illinois are happy with that hard work -- as opposed to her working to improve their lives.  She's spat on the presidency because she's just trash.

That's all she's ever been and that's all she'll ever be.

Donald Trump did not serve in Vietnam.  Good.  I wish no American had gone to Vietnam.  But because he did not serve in the US military, Macho Manly Tammy has given him all these rude nicknames.  They're beneath her and they're beneath the office of the president.  

It's strange though, isn't it?, how she's trying to become Joe Biden's running mate since Joe also avoided service in Vietnam.  He had, you understand, 'asthma.'  Didn't stop him from playing sports in high school or college.  

Somehow, manly Tammy's not cupping her crotch, spitting on the ground and thinking up nicknames for Joe.

We bring up Freak Duckworth today because she went on ABC and started repeating claims about Russia putting a bounty on US troops in Afghanistan.  Long after the story has been discredited, there's Freak Tammy screeching at the top of her lungs, hiding as always behind her military time, and screaming that others are traitors.  In better days, say the 1950s or 1960s, people would be drumming her out of the Sentate.  Instead, she gets to play Joe McCarthy in drag.

At the start of this month, Joe Lauria (CONSORTIUM NEWS) explained:

The Los Angeles Times reported

Maintaining imperial interests in Afghanistan seems to be one of the main reasons for the so-far uncorroborated, possibly cooked-up “scandal” known now as Bountygate.

Other motives appear to be the same twofer that was at the core of Russiagate: first, unnamed intelligence officials meddling in domestic U.S. politics, this time to undermine Trump’s re-election campaign; and, second, to even further demonize and pressure Russia.

The public has been subjected to daily morsels of supposedly factual stories meant to further deepen the plot. The first item dropped online on June 26 with The New York Times’ initial

It seemed yet another attempt to launder disinformation through big media, giving it more credibility than if it had come directly from the security services. A discerning reader, however, would want more than the word of a bunch of spooks who make a living practicing deception. 

The “evidence” for the story that Russia paid the Taliban to kill U.S. soldiers came from interrogation of Afghan detainees. If the interrogations were “enhanced” the evidence is even more unreliable. 

For the record, Consortium News supports no candidate and has been a strong critic of Trump. But we see intelligence agencies’ insertion into domestic politics to be a greater threat than even eight years of Trump for the precedent it is setting. As spooks like to say, “Administrations come and go. And we’re still here.”

Tammy Duckworth is becoming a public embarrassment.  History will not look kindly on her nor will it approve of the silence of other Democrats in Congress who should have called her out long ago.

The following sites updated:

Millions may die but Moderna is going to make some money

I'm just going to note this from Bryan Dyne (WSWS):

Every day, at least a quarter million people around the world are infected by the coronavirus and more than 5,500 die from the disease. Six months after the World Health Organization (WHO) declared its sixth and “most severe” Public Health Emergency of International Concern, with at least 17.1 million infected and over 669,000 dead, the public cry for a vaccine has grown ever more urgent.

There are now more than 4.5 million cases of COVID-19 in the United States alone and just under 154,000 dead. The pandemic is spiraling out of control. Yet the government months ago abandoned any serious effort to contain the virus.

When questioned about his administration’s disastrous response to the virus, President Donald Trump inevitably ignores the breakdown in testing and the grim statistics of disease and death, touting instead purported progress in developing a vaccine. The unstated premise behind this posture is the homicidal policy of “herd immunity” and the position that the population must learn in the interim to “live with the virus.”

Enter Moderna Inc., a ten-year-old biotechnology firm that is researching one of the 164 different candidates for a coronavirus vaccine. On Tuesday, the Financial Times reported that the company is currently planning to charge the US and other governments $25 to $30 for a dose of its drug. The pharmaceutical giant’s attitude was spelled out most crudely by Stephen Hoge, Moderna’s president, who made nearly $5 million last year and who said at a congressional hearing last week, “We will not sell it at cost.”

Moderna’s price point is high even compared to other companies in the vaccine sweepstakes, such as Pfizer, which has reached a deal with the US government for $19.50 per dose of its vaccine, and AstraZeneca, which has signed a deal with the Netherlands, Germany, France and Italy for $3 to $4 a dose if its vaccine is approved.

Moderna has already received $955 million from the Trump administration’s Operation Warp Speed program, headed by former Moderna board member Moncef Slaoui, as well as technical support through its partnership with the National Institutes of Health. If its drug is approved, Moderna stands to rake in potential revenues of $16.5 to $19.8 billion from US sales alone.

This is a pernicious example of how capitalist private ownership of vital industries such as health care and production for profit turn the search for a life-saving vaccine into a money-making racket.


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

Wednesday, July 29, 2020.  Iraq is slammed with one crisis after another.

Iraq faces many, many problems.  There's the coronavirus.  Zehra Nur Duz (ANADOLU AGENCY) reported yesterday, "The Iraqi Health Ministry said 77 people died from COVID-19 over the past 24 hours, pushing the nationwide death toll to 4,535."  WORLDOMETER notes Iraq has had 115,332 confirmed coronavirus cases so far.  RUDAW Tweets:

The government of France’s most populous region donated 100,000 face masks to the Kurdistan Region’s health ministry on Tuesday as the novel coronavirus pandemic continues to wreak havoc across Iraq.

Iraqi journalist Steven Nabil Tweets about his recent coronavirus test:

The testing was professional and easy, thanks to Texas Army National Guard. thank God the results were negative
Smiling face with smiling eyes
Red heart
1:04 PM · Jul 28, 2020

Coronavirus has been used in Iraq to crack down on dissent.  That's the government using the disease.  It's also been used by terrorist groups -- including ISIS.  Taylor Luck (CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR) notes:

“From approximately March 2020, the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic became a factor in ISIL operational, propaganda, and fundraising activities,” the U.N. Security Council was warned last week.  

ISIS is “consolidating in Iraq and the Syrian Arab Republic,” said a U.N. report to the Council, “and showing confidence in its ability to increasingly operate in a brazen manner in its core area.”

Alarming experts is ISIS’s ability to move freely between eastern Syria and western Iraq – territory that once fell under its “caliphate” – entering towns and villages with relative ease. Its ranks boast around 10,000 fighters, according to U.N. and analysts’ estimates.

“The pandemic came at a time with preexisting conditions on the ground in Iraq and Syria that allowed ISIS to benefit,” says Hassan Hassan, director of the Non-State Actors and Geopolitics program at the Washington-based Center for Global Policy.

ISIS was never defeated.  It was routed out of Mosul -- though Mosul still hasn't been rebuilt.  Routing it out of Mosul wasn't a 'victory.'  They never should have been able to seize Mosul -- let alone hold it for years.  In the time since it was routed out of Mosul, it has remained active.  MENAFN reports, "The Iraqi military stated that two Iraqi policemen and a frontier safeguard were murdered on Tuesday in two assaults by the Islamic State (IS) militants in western Iraq."  Also reporting on Iraq this morning is Lawk Ghafuri (RUDAW):

The Islamic State group (ISIS) has claimed responsibility for the killing of a top Iraqi army commander in Anbar province, west of Baghdad in an "ambush" late Tuesday.

In a statement published on ISIS' Telegram propaganda channel, the extremist group claimed its militants "killed General Brigadier Ahmed al-Lami, commander of 7th division of the 29th brigade of the Iraqi Army in an ambush in Anbar."

The statement also claimed that another officer was killed in the ambush which also injured an Iraqi soldier. 

Yehia Rasool, spokesperson for the Iraqi commander-in-chief released a statement early Wednesday confirming the death of the “brave commander.”

As ISIS rises in Iraq, we need to note this nonsense from Brian W. Everstine (AIR FORCE MAGAZINE):

The U.S. will hand over control of bases in Iraq and is likely to reduce its overall troop level within the country as progress against the remnants of the Islamic State group continues, a senior official with the American-led coalition said.

On July 25, U.S. forces will hand over control of the Besmaya base south of Baghdad to Iraqi forces, and Spain’s training contingent will return home, USAF Maj. Gen. Kenneth P. Ekman, the deputy commander of Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve, told reporters via videoconference July 22.

“There will be some degree of a reduction in force in Iraq, that’s what success looks like,” he said.

Now if it takes the US government lying that ISIS has been defeated to finally get all US troops out of Iraq, okay, I can live with others lying.  But even then, I wouldn't just stay silent in the face of those lies.  ISIS has never been defeated.  It can't be defeated militarily.

For a few brief weeks, then-President Barack Obama told some truths about Iraq.  He noted that the problems were the government -- Nouri al-Maliki was prime minister at the time.  He was right.  ISIS is a threat to stability.  The Iraqi government has never given the Iraqi people anything that they'd want to stabilize -- let alone fight to protect.  

Early last October, while working in his office in Baghdad, a businessman named Hussein Laqees got a phone call from a number he’d never seen before. “We need to talk,” the caller said. The man’s voice was gruff and self-assured, a little menacing. He demanded that Laqees come meet him but refused to give his name.

Laqees demurred, and the call ended. He might have forgotten the whole exchange had a colleague not been in touch a few minutes later with worrisome news. The mystery caller, he said, was from Kataib Hezbollah, a powerful Iraqi militia with strong ties to Iran’s Revolutionary Guards. They had a business proposal to discuss.

When the militiaman called again, Laqees reluctantly agreed to a meeting. He gathered a few colleagues, and they all drove to a house off Sadoun Street in downtown Baghdad, arriving near dusk. Inside, he was led into a dim office and introduced to a small, bald man who got right to the point. “You need to work with us, there is no other choice,” the bald man said. “You can keep your staff, but you must do as we say.” He explained that Kataib Hezbollah would take 20 percent of Laqees’s gross revenue — about 50 percent of his profits.

Laqees refused. His company, Palm Jet, had a five-year government contract to run a V.I.P. terminal at Baghdad’s international airport, along with a nearby hotel; it also works routinely with Western aeronautics firms like Lockheed Martin. He could not have any dealings with a group like Kataib Hezbollah, which is listed by the U.S. government as a foreign terrorist organization (as is the unrelated Lebanese group also called Hezbollah). The bald man replied that if Laqees refused, he would seize everything he owned in Baghdad. Laqees looked at him in disbelief. “I’m an investor,” he said. “There is law.” The bald man shot back: “We are the law.” He told Laqees to give him an answer by noon the next day.

The following afternoon, five Chevrolet S.U.V.s rolled up outside the V.I.P. terminal. Twelve men got out, dressed in black paramilitary gear and carrying guns. They found Laqees in the cafe of the airport hotel, smoking and sipping coffee. He had been calling all his government contacts since the night before, along with the airport’s department heads. No one had called back. It was as if they’d been warned — or perhaps paid off. The militiamen took Laqees’s phone and told him to sign a document relinquishing his contract. He stalled for time. One of his employees slipped outside to take a cellphone picture of the militiamen’s vehicles, but they caught him, smashed his phone and beat him up. Laqees, who is Lebanese, had been working in Iraq since 2011. He knew the country was troubled by crime and corruption, but he believed that the airport, with its hundreds of uniformed immigration and security officials, was different. “I wait 20 minutes, maybe someone will come,” Laqees told me later. “Police, something.” Finally, he walked to the departures hall and caught a flight to Dubai. Days later, Kataib Hezbollah installed its preferred contractor in his place. Laqees has not returned to Iraq since.

Worth also notes:

The militias have been aided and abetted by a new Iraqi political class whose sole ethic is self-enrichment. Over the years, this cross-sectarian cabal has mastered scams at every level: routine checkpoint shakedowns, bank fraud, embezzling from the government payroll. Adel Abdul Mahdi, who was hailed as a potential reformer when he became Iraq’s prime minister in 2018, hoped to subordinate the militias to the state. Instead, they outmaneuvered and overpowered him. His cabinet included people with ties to some of the worst graft schemes afflicting the country.

The United States is deeply implicated in all this, and not just because its serial invasions wrecked the country and helped ravage the economy. America provides the money that sustains it, even as U.S. officials wink at the self-dealing of Iraqi allies. The Federal Reserve of New York still supplies Iraq with at least $10 billion a year in hard currency from the country’s oil sales. Much of that is passed on to commercial banks, ostensibly for imports, in a process that was hijacked long ago by Iraq’s money-laundering cartels. At the same time, the United States inflicts punishing sanctions on two countries -- Iran and Syria -- with which Iraq shares notoriously permeable borders. It is the ideal breeding ground for corruption.

Paddy Cock-burn.  Remember that idiot?  What's our non-American Middle East correspondent writing about right now?  Oh, right, propaganda to get Donald Trump defeated in November. Well, maybe that's better than all his valentines to Adel Abdul Mahdi.  Mahdi was never serious about ending corruption.  If he had been, Worth wouldn't be noting that Mahdi's "cabinet included people with ties to some of the worst graft schemes afflicting the country."

It was always obvious that he didn't know what he was talking about.  Elaine called him out when Bully Boy Bush occupied the White House.  An Iraqi woman was killed because of who she married and there's Paddy Cock Burn getting the details wrong of a public execution.  And THE INDEPENDENT let him get away with it.  He has had one error after another in report after report, he is known in the Middle East as someone who is anti-Arab.  His most recent laughable book claimed that ISIS was defeated.  He's an idiot.  Scott Horton loves Paddy Cocks but that's part of the reason Scott Horton has been so wrong about Iraq over and over.  Remember, Scott cheered on Nouri al-Maliki, cheered him and praised him.  Nouri was -- and remains -- a thug.  He is responsible for the rise of ISIS in Iraq.  But when you get your information from professional liar Paddy Cock Burn, you're going to be misled.

Robert F. Worth offers:

The coronavirus pandemic has now pushed Iraq to the brink of an existential crisis. The global collapse of demand for oil has brought prices to historic lows, delivering a terrible shock to a country whose economy depends almost entirely on oil revenue. But it could also offer the new Iraqi prime minister, Mustafa al-Kadhimi, an extraordinary opportunity to face his country’s most intractable problem. Corruption can now be framed as a life-or-death issue: Iraq must choose between feeding its people and enriching its kleptocrats. Kadhimi has promised to take up this challenge. He is not likely to succeed unless the United States seizes this chance to undo some of the damage it has done in Iraq, and to make common cause with the protesters who are hoping to re-establish their country on a new footing.

That may sound like common sense.  It may also cause alarm because THE NEW YORK TIMES is not known for (a) doing a good job reporting on Iraq or (b) actually wanting to help Iraq.  Could the suggestion that the US back the protesters actually be yet another ploy to sell further US control and occupation of Iraq?  That's a strong possibility.

Equally true: No one in the Oval Office has ever supported the Iraqi protesters.  Not Bully Boy Bush, not Barack Obama and not Donald Trump.  One example, the Hawija massacre.  Let's drop back to April 23, 2015:

Nouri's slaughter.  The April 23, 2013 massacre of a sit-in in Hawija which resulted from  Nouri's federal forces storming in.  Alsumaria noted Kirkuk's Department of Health (Hawija is in Kirkuk)  announced 50 activists have died and 110 were injured in the assault.   AFP reported the death toll eventually (as some wounded died) rose to 53 dead.   UNICEF noted that the dead included 8 children (twelve more were injured).

And where was the US?

Where was the White House?

Did they immediately demand justice?  Or that Nouri step down?  Or express solidarity with the protesters?

No, they just looked the other way and continued holding hands with Nouri al-Maliki.

In fact, at that point they pretty much had their hands down Nouri's pants.

Oh, the Yazidis! Trapped on a mountain top!

But when Nouri's forces killed protesters -- and Hawija is only the biggest slaughter -- Barack Obama was still thrilled to hold hands with the man he installed in 2010.

Because Nouri lost the election.

Despite bribery and bullying, in 2010, he came in second in the elections.

But Barack Obama overturned the election results.  And, via the US-brokered Erbil agreement, he gave Nouri a second term.

Liar Patrick Cockburn ignores that as well.

He wants you to know that Iran decreed Nouri would get a second term in October and that's how it happened.

Well if tehran is so damn all powerful, than their decision in October should have been immediately implemented, right?

But that's not what happened is it?

November 10, 2010, The Erbil Agreement is signed.  November 11, 2010, the Iraqi Parliament has their first real session in over eight months and finally declares a president, a Speaker of Parliament and Nouri as prime minister-designate -- all the things that were supposed to happen in April of 2010 but didn't.

March 7, 2010, Iraq concluded Parliamentary elections. The Guardian's editorial board noted in August 2010, "These elections were hailed prematurely by Mr Obama as a success, but everything that has happened since has surely doused that optimism in a cold shower of reality." 

Bully Boy Bush installed Nouri as prime minister in 2006.

The Iraqi people suffered.

And in 2010, they went to the polls.

And they voted for something other than Nouri.

Despite his bribery, his bullying, the threats and so much more, they voted Nouri out.

But Barack overturned their votes and insisted Nouri get a second term.

So, yes, the Hawija massacre is something Barack bears responsibility for.

US forces are leaving Iraq in small numbers.  Why?  A number of reasons.  Peace isn't one.  Let's note this video.

Chronic power outages combined with low oil prices threaten Iraq’s political stability, and OPEC’s second-biggest producer must act fast to boost electricity supply or face a new crisis within the next two months.

That’s the conclusion of Fatih Birol, the head of the International Energy Agency, which advises the world’s richest economies on energy policy.

Iraq faces a widening shortfall in electricity, due largely to a lack of investment in aging power plants and networks, and the plunge in crude prices this year limits what it can spend to upgrade them. Baghdad must slash red tape and prioritize maintenance and spending on power facilities to stave off social and political turmoil, Birol warned.

“If there are not urgent and concrete steps taken for the electricity sector, we may well have major problems in the next two months in terms of electricity supply,” he said in an interview. “It may well lead to unrest within the country.”

In a grim sign of what could come, security forces in Baghdad opened fire Sunday on protesters complaining about power cuts. Two demonstrators were killed and at least 20 others wounded. Iraq’s Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi ordered an investigation into the killings.

The following sites updated: