Thursday, July 02, 2020

Irish Brown Bread in the Kitchen

Liz Peek is a writer I discovered through Marlo Thomas' WOW outlet. Wish it was still around. It was nice to have a non-partisan outlet. This is from Liz's latest column:

Turns out Joe Biden may have been a critical player in the plot to frame retired three-star Gen. Michael Flynn. But don’t expect reporters to ask him about it. They can’t.
Democrat candidate Joe Biden has not held a press conference in 87 days. Think about that. The man who wants to be the next president of the United States has not seen fit to answer questions about:
The protests and riots which shook Minneapolis, New York, Atlanta, Washington and other Democrat-led cities after the death of George Floyd.
[. . .]
It has been nearly three months of nonstop drama and heartbreak for our country, and Candidate Biden has remained mum. He has occasionally read scripted remarks off a teleprompter, and he has sometimes spoken with local media hosts. But he has refused to answer questions, even from a largely supportive press.
For most Americans, Biden is the Invisible Candidate.
Uncle Joe is running without a doubt the strangest presidential campaign in this nation’s history. Not only is he refusing to engage freely with funders, the press or the public at large, his backers increasingly advise him not to do so.

First, after she published her column, Joe finally, eighty-plus days later, met with the press.

She raises some very good points. There is no excuse for Joe's continued refusal to host a press briefing. He could do that via Zoom, if nothing else. However, I do think it would be safe to do in a space where he and the reporters wore masks. And this notion that you coast your lazy ass to the presidency is not one I endorse.

Liz's column actually goes along with Third's editorial "Editorial: Poor Joe" so be sure to read that. Also Liz refers to "General" Michael Flynn. That is correct. But I am emphasizing that just in case you did not see Ruth's "CNN and NPR parade their bias against General Flynn" which detailed how some outlets are not following the basic guidelines.

Okay, from The Mayo Clinic's diabetes recipes, this is a recipe for Irish brown bread:


2 cups whole-wheat flour
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for kneading and dusting
1/2 cup wheat germ
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups low-fat buttermilk
1 egg, lightly beaten
Heat the oven to 400 F. Have ready a nonstick baking sheet.
In a bowl, combine the flours, wheat germ, baking soda and salt. Whisk to blend. Add buttermilk and egg and stir just until moistened. The dough will be sticky.
Turn the dough out onto a generously floured work surface and, with floured hands, gently knead it 8 to 10 times. Gather into a loose ball.
On the baking sheet, form the dough into a 7-inch round. Dust the top of dough with a small amount of flour. Cut a large (4-inch) X into the top of the dough, cutting about 1/2 inch deep.
Bake until the bread splits open at the X and makes a hollow sound when the underside is tapped, 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool for 2 hours (ideally) before slicing.

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

Wednesday, July 1, 2010.  Coronavirus continues to impact Iraq, Turkey continues to terrorize Iraq, the Iraq War continues with US troops remaining in Iraq, the remains of a US service member are found after she went missing following her disclosures of harassment by a superior, and much more.

Coronvirus is a global pandemic.  Iraq has been especially hurt. How bad is it?  MEANFN reports, "The health ministry of Iraq said on Monday that 1,749 more patients have been diagnosed with coronavirus in the country, which has increased the total number of COVID-19 cases across Iraq to 47,151 as 1,852 more patients have recovered in the earlier 24 hours."  XINHUA adds, "The ministry also confirmed 104 more deaths, raising the death toll from the infectious virus to 1,943 in the country, while 1,786 more patients recovered, bringing the total recoveries to 24,760." The huge numbers put a big strain on Iraq's medical resources.  AP reports Nineveh Province has imposed a curfew.

Unpaid salaries, mask shortages, threats from patients’ families — doctors across Iraq are cracking under such conditions, just as they face a long-feared spike in coronavirus cases.

“We’re collapsing,” said Mohammed, a doctor at a COVID-19 ward in Baghdad who did not use his full name so he could speak freely.

“I just can’t work anymore. I can’t even focus on the cases or the patients,” he said at the end of a 48-hour shift.

Iraq has officially registered more than 47,000 coronavirus cases, with doctors increasingly infected.

“I personally know 16 doctors who caught it over the last month,” Mohammed said.

JANE ARRAF:  This is a war against the coronavirus, and we've lost the war, a government official tells me. He doesn't want his name used because he's not authorized to speak publicly. It's so difficult getting accurate statistics in Iraq that almost no one believes the official ones. And although on paper there are more than enough intensive care beds in Iraqi hospitals, that's not the reality. Dr. Aizen Marrogi is a former senior medical officer for the U.S. Army and at the U.S. embassy in Iraq.

AIZEN MARROGI: Corruption is No. 1. All the medications get - first, second, third day after they arrive, they disappear. The government pays for a lot of employees that don't exist. They're ghost employees.

ARRAF: He says the health care system lacks proper managers, nursing staff and technical expertise. The crisis is a major test for the country's new prime minister. Mustafa al-Kadhimi took power in May after anti-government protests forced out his predecessor. He's promised to fight corruption and rein in Iran-backed militias. But now he's also grappling with a drop in oil prices and a deepening crisis over the virus.

Iraq struggles around many issues.  Another one would be their northern neighbor Turkey which keeps attacking them.  Turkey is bombing Iraq and has sent ground troops into the country.  David Lepeska (AHVAL NEWS) offers:

President Recep Tayyip Erdo─čan’s government has in the past few years sent Turkish soldiers into action in Syria, Libya, and Somalia, and it added to that list two weeks ago when it airlifted commando units into northern Iraq.

Ankara has for years regularly launched airstrikes into northern Iraq against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has led an insurgency within Turkey for three decades and is based in Iraq’s Qandil mountain range. It has also occasionally sent Turkish soldiers across the border for brief missions.

Yet this air and ground offensive may end up like those in neighbouring Syria, where Turkey has taken and held sizeable chunks of territory beyond its borders.

“Turkey is planning to create a buffer zone and split the Kurdish geography,” Bestoon Khalid, a Sulaymaniyah-based journalist and Kurdish affairs analyst, told Ahval in a podcast, adding that such a move would be unprecedented in the mainly Kurdish area of northern Iraq.

“The Turkish media is clearly saying that the objective of these offences is to stay,” he said. “It’s the first time that Turkey is creating control on the ground in the Iraqi Kurdistan region.”

Collaborating with local Syrian rebels, Turkish forces have in the last few years taken hold of three pieces of Syrian territory, including two mainly Kurdish areas, Afrin in 2018 and northeast Syria last October. In both cases, Turkey and its proxies reportedly committed war crimes and human rights violations, such as ethnic cleansing, roadside killings and forced disappearances, according to watchdog group Amnesty International.

Ankara’s incursion into northern Iraq has barely begun, yet it has already raised similar concerns. The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom condemned Turkey’s offensive and urged Ankara to stop after airstrikes hit Yazidi and Christian areas, killing five civilians according to local reports.

Last week, a Turkish air strike hit Kuna Masi village outside Sulaymaniyah, killing one man and injuring at least half a dozen civilians. In a video taken in the moments leading up to impact, two fathers are seen wading in a small pond, teaching their young children how to swim. Suddenly a massive blast is heard, the camera goes flying and people start screaming.

Turning to Iraq where Turkey continues to terrorize the Iraqi people. 

Call it Operation Claw-Eagle, call it Operation Claw-Tiger, it's terrorism under any name.  Turkey is violating international law and it is violating Iraq's sovereignty.  This morning, ALJAZEERA reports:

On Thursday evening, a Turkish strike hit a pickup truck in a rural area north of the Kurdish city of Sulaymaniyah, said local official Kameran Abdallah.

"It killed one man who was in the car," said Abdallah, without being able to specify whether the victim was a civilian or fighter. "The six wounded consisted of two women, two children and two men, all members of the same family."

On Friday, Baghdad issued a statement calling on Turkey to end its breach of Iraqi airspace and sovereignty, in which a number of civilians were killed, according to local media reports. 

"These actions are a flagrant violation of the principle of good neighbourliness, and a clear violation of international agreements," said the statement issued by Iraq's presidential office.

Since "Claw-Tiger" began, at least five civilians have been killed and hundreds of families have fled their homes.

AFP covers the video today and notes:

The local mayor reported that six civilians were injured during the attack and one so-called “fighter”. PJAK (the Party for a Free Life in Kurdistan is the Iranian branch of the PKK) reported that one of its fighters had been killed during the attack and three others were wounded. PJAK added that the fighters were returning from a mission when they were targeted by "Turkish state’s fighter jets and reconnaissance aircraft”.

The military leadership of Kurdistan, an autonomous region in Iraq, said Turkey was responsible for this attack on civilians.

"In the name of the hunting down members of the Kurdistan Workers Party [commonly known as the PKK, this is an armed autonomist group based in Turkey] they [the Turkish government] targeted civilians in the Kuna Masi resort,” said Babakir Faqe, the spokesperson for the ministry of the armed forces of Iraqi Kurdistan (Peshmerga).

Just a few days before this incident, Turkey launched joint operations known as Claw-Eagle and Claw-Tiger with Iran against the PKK in the mountainous region that saddles Turkey, Iraq and Iran. Claw-Eagle, the air offensive, was launched on June 15, while Claw-Tiger, the ground offensive, was launched two days later. The Iraqi government has reported that five civilians have died in the days since the start of this campaign.

Turkey is terrorizing all of Iraq.  Among the groups being terrorized especially would be the Yazidi community.  Nancy Lindborg, United States Institute of Peace, moderates a discussion on the issue of the state of the religious minorities in Iraq.

The Iraq War continues.  Margaret Griffis (ANTIWAR.COM) looks back on last month and offers, "During the month of June, at least 254 people were killed, and 84 more were wounded. Also, 604 victims were found in mass graves. At least 262 people were killed, and 149 were wounded across Iraq during May, so the fatality numbers remained about the same."  Yes, the Iraq War continues and it continues with US involvement.

That's footage of US Marines in Iraq doing target practice in June.  The US Marines posted that video on the military branch's official YOUTUBE channel.  Again, US troops remain on the ground in Iraq.  The war has not ended.  Something to remember as the US heads into the July 4th weekend.  Related, PBS' FRONTLINE issued the following press release on Monday:


Once Upon a Time in Iraq
Tues., July 14, 2020
Streaming at 7/6c at & in the PBS Video App
Airing at 9/8c on PBS and on YouTube | Twitter: @frontlinepbs
Instagram: @frontlinepbs | YouTube:

In the more than 17 years since the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, the country’s people have endured chaos, poverty and sectarian violence.

But today, the Iraq war and its bloody aftermath have largely been overshadowed in Western media, even as ordinary Iraqis continue to deal with the ongoing consequences.

Their voices take center stage in Once Upon a Time in Iraq, an unprecedented, two-hour FRONTLINE documentary special releasing July 14.

Taking Western viewers inside the realities of Saddam Hussein’s rule, the invasion, occupation, civil war and life under ISIS, the film tells the story of the war, the withdrawal and what followed through the personal accounts and lasting memories of Iraqis who lived through it.

Iraqis like Waleed Nesyif, who was a teenager when he started to hear rumors that the U.S. was about to invade. Compared to the American movies he and his friends enjoyed, life under Saddam was oppressive, so he was excited about a new chapter for his country: “When I hear statements like, ‘They hate our freedom and our democracy,’ its like—no, we actually love it, we fricking love it. That’s all we wanted,” he says.

He wasn’t alone: “When I saw them, I felt hope,” Ahmed Albasheer, now a famous Iraqi comedian, says of seeing American soldiers as a teen. He remembers inviting them to his house, eager to practice his English, and hoping Iraq would become “a country like America, this was my dream. Actually, that was lots of people’s dream.”

Um Ibrahim, who tells FRONTLINE Saddam executed 17 people from her family, remembers thinking that after his capture, “things would stay good, fine and safe forever.”

But that hope would be tragically short-lived as the country was torn apart by sectarian violence, and the emergence of ISIS.

In Once Upon a Time in Iraq, this tragedy is told through the eyes of people who experienced it firsthand — from a young cadet in the Iraqi army who recounts surviving an ISIS massacre that killed 1,700 of his peers, to a woman in a nearby town who helped to save the lives of 800 young men threatened by ISIS. A man who joined the terror group himself speaks from prison, sentenced to death.

We also hear from Omar Mohammed, a university professor from Mosul who risked his life as the anonymous author of a blog exposing atrocities committed by ISIS. “It’s very dangerous to forget,” he says of what the Iraqi people have endured over the years. “Because memory [is all t]hat’s left for us.”

As they reflect on the sweep of the past 17 years, the Iraqis featured in the film share insights into what it has meant to survive, and what they now strive for.

“They destroyed a whole country. Plunged it into corruption, sectarianism and war. They did all of that just to get rid of one person,” says a young woman named Sally Mars, who was just six years old when coalition troops entered Baghdad. “But it made me stronger. I learned a tough lesson. I learned the true value of peace.”

Directed by multi-award-winning filmmaker James Bluemel (Exodus), Once Upon a Time in Iraq premieres Tues., July 14. It will be available to watch in full at and in the PBS Video App starting that night at 7/6c. It will premiere on PBS stations (check local listings) and on YouTube at 9/8c.


Once Upon a Time in Iraq is a Keo Films Ltd. production for WGBH/FRONTLINE and BBC. It is filmed and directed by James Bluemel. The executive producers for Keo Films are Andrew Palmer and Will Anderson. The executive producer of FRONTLINE is Raney Aronson-Rath.

FRONTLINE, U.S. television’s longest running investigative documentary series, explores the issues of our times through powerful storytelling. FRONTLINE has won every major journalism and broadcasting award, including 93 Emmy Awards and 24 Peabody Awards. Visit and follow us on TwitterFacebookInstagram, and YouTube to learn more. FRONTLINE is produced by WGBH Boston and is broadcast nationwide on PBS. Funding for FRONTLINE is provided through the support of PBS viewers and by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Major funding for FRONTLINE is provided by The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the Ford Foundation. Additional funding is provided by the Abrams Foundation, the Park Foundation, the John and Helen Glessner Family Trust and the FRONTLINE Journalism Fund with major support from Jon and Jo Ann Hagler on behalf of the Jon L. Hagler Foundation.

Press Contact:, 617.300.5312

In other news,  Vanessa Guillen is dead.  Her body has been found.  She went missing in April.  She had told her family she was a victim of assault.  Christine Carrega (ABC NEWS) reports:

The remains, which will undergo an identification process, were found near where a previous search was conducted on June 22, officials with the Army Criminal Investigation Division said.

"After receiving additional information, agents have discovered what has been described as partial human remains after analysis from a forensic anthropologist," said CID Chief of Public Affairs Chris Grey.

"Due to the ongoing criminal investigation, no further information will be released at this time," Grey said.

The discovery came on the same day that Guillen's family announced they were seeking a congressional investigation into the 20-year-old's disappearance.

Guillen was last seen in the parking lot of her Regimental Engineer Squadron headquarters at the Fort Hood military base on April 22, and has not been heard from since.

Before Guillen went missing, she had told her family that she was being sexually harassed by one of her sergeants at Fort Hood, according to the website her family set up to promote the search. She did not identify the sergeant.
    Guillen, a private first class, was last seen wearing a black T-shirt and purple fitness-type pants, according to the Army CID. Her car keys, room key, identification card and wallet were later found in the armory room where she was working earlier that day.
    Guillen is described as 5 feet 2 inches, 126 pounds with black hair and brown eyes, according to the Army CID statement.

    FOX West Texas Tweets:

    We'll wind down with this:

    The first episode of On the Issues with Michele Goodwin is available now!

    As you’ve come to expect from our reporting here at Ms. magazine, On the Issues is a show that reports, rebels, and tells it like it is. In each episode, Host Dr. Michele Goodwin will tackle a different, critically important and newsworthy topic, in conversation with the thought leaders of our time, including leaders and activists, elected officials, scholars and other special guests. The overarching theme of the podcast will center listeners’ concerns about advancing the promise of equality and rebuilding our nation.


    The first episode—available TODAY, Tuesday, June 30 on Apple PodcastsSpotify and—tackles an issue that is critically important in this current moment: ending police violence in the United States.

    Professor Goodwin is joined in conversation by Laura Goodman, who served in criminal justice for 35 years as a police officer, sergeant and deputy chief of police in major metropolitan police departments; Deirdre Fishel, director and producer of the documentary film, Women in BlueAnne Li Kringen, assistant dean and associate professor of criminal justice at the University of New Haven; and Song Richardson, dean and chancellor’s professor at University of California, Irvine School of Law.

    In this one-hour premiere episode, Dr. Goodwin and her guests explore critical questions about the roles of race and sex in policing, as well as why it matters that there are so few women in law enforcement across the country. They also take on police unions and the hazing that women officers experience.  

    We want to reach as many new listeners as possible, and the number one thing you can do to support Ms. magazine’s podcast is subscribe, rate and review the podcast on Apple. Let’s show the power of independent, feminist media! We can’t do it without your support. 

    Listen to the first episode of On the Issues with Michele Goodwin now—we can’t wait to hear what you think! 

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