Wednesday, August 05, 2020

We have no one to fight for us

What's it like to be unemployed?  It's not good in the best of times.  It's even worse in a pandemic -- not that our Congress cares.  Jacob Crosse (WSWS) reports:

Frustration, anxiety and anger are rising among the roughly 30 million workers who stopped receiving their weekly $600 federal unemployment supplement last week after Congress failed to reach an agreement on a new coronavirus stimulus bill and adjourned for the weekend.

Closed-door talks Monday between Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, on the one side, and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, on the other, reportedly left the two sides far apart on a possible extension of the enhanced jobless benefit.

Both sides are agreed on slashing the already inadequate $600 weekly benefit on the grounds that its recipients, part of the tens of millions laid off due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the incompetent, Wall Street-dictated response of Trump and both big business parties, are being “overpaid.” They are haggling over the details of how much to cut and how fast to cut it.

The social interests behind the cut-off of jobless aid were demonstrated by the response of Wall Street. The Dow shot up 236 points on Monday. The Nasdaq jumped 157 points, prompting Trump to tweet, “RECORD HIGH NASDAQ.”

The refusal of Congress to extend the benefit sets the stage for a social catastrophe. Termination of the federal supplement cuts the weekly income of the unemployed by 60 to 90 percent. Tens of millions of households, already in arrears, face homelessness following the expiration of moratoriums on evictions and foreclosures.

We have no one to fight for us.  We're going to have to fight for ourselves.  First step, stop acting like we're running fan clubs for these losers in Congress.

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

Tuesday, August 4, 2020.  A veteran faces prison for having medical marijuana (prescribed medical marijuana), Joe Biden's past gets examined, and much more.

Let's start in the US with news about a veteran.  Andrew Keiper (FOX NEWS) reports:

By all accounts, Sean Worsley is a war hero. He earned a Purple Heart, along with a laundry list of additional military accolades, for clearing roadside bombs in Iraq.

He also earned a lifetime of post-service ailments, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and a traumatic brain injury (TBI). As a result of his injuries, Worsley was given a 100 percent disability rating from the Department of Veteran’s Affairs. He treated the worst symptoms of both injuries with medical marijuana prescribed to him legally in Arizona. 

Now, Worsley sits in an Alabama jail facing five years in the state’s notoriously violent prison system after admitting to an officer he was in possession of medical marijuana while driving through Alabama and a subsequent probation violation for missing a court date.

[. . .]

The same analysis found that in 2016, the year the Worsleys were arrested, Alabama law enforcement made 2,351 arrests for marijuana possession, over 1,000 more than they made for robbery. That year, Black people in Alabama were four times more likely than their White counterparts to be arrested for marijuana, according to the SPLC. 

He was on medical marijuana and he had his prescription for that with him.  Alabama refuses to recognize medical marijuana.  Now he may go to prison.  Where's the justice?  Where's the outrage?  He has Post-Traumatic Stress and Traumatic Brain Injury.  How is Alabama allowed to decide which medical prescriptions they will recognize and which they won't?  As Keiper points out, if this had been a permit to carry a gun -- from any state -- Alabama would have recognized it.  But they arrested this veteran and said they didn't recognize his out of state medical marijuana prescription.  

This is beyond stupid.  This and other examples are why people are so disgusted with Joe Biden's refusal to support the legalization of pot.  If pot were legal in the US, Sean wouldn't have been arrested.  

It's amazing what the courts will do and what they won't do.

If Sean had beaten his wife, the courts would have possibly ordered him to go into counseling.  That's happened over and over in states around the country.  It's how they 'support' veterans.  A violent crime takes place and it's a slap on the wrist.  Yet something like what happens to Sean is going to result in prison time?  It's outrageous.  

Kay Ivey was sworn in as Governor of Alabama in April of 2017.  Why hasn't she stepped in to get this nonsense dismissed?  (She's a Republican, for anyone interested in party i.d.).  2017 is also when Doug Jones assumed office in the US Senate.  He's running for re-election (he's a Democrat for those who need party i.d.).  Why aren't people demanding he lead on this issue?  Why aren't they demanding action from Richard Shelby (Republican)?  He's served in the US Senate since 1987.  He doesn't know how to address this issue?

Keiper goes on in the article to outline about a million reasons Sean shouldn't be facing prison.  They are valid reasons.  They include: he's disabled, his wife has had open heart surgery and much more.  But, for me, it stops with PTS and TBI.  He had a prescription, he showed the officers his prescription.  They have violated his medical treatment, they have punished him for his medical treatment.  This is outrageous.  They are not medical professionals.  (The state of Alabama ordered him to get drug treatment, the VA said no, he did not have a drug problem, that was a prescribed medication.)  They have no right to overturn a prescription from another state.  

This is not just disrespectful, it's outrageous.  They punished someone for their medical treatment and they stopped that medical treatment.  The state of Alabama needs to be sued.  And I don't know what Sean's attorney was thinking but the ground to argue against what's being done to Sean was always going to be medical.  The state has taken it upon itself to interfere with Sean's medical treatment.  They have put him at risk.  I would also, were I his attorney, bring up the fact that despite Sean's TBI and PTS, it does not appear the state of Alabama offered him any medical treatment for his conditions -- despite denying him what his doctor had prescribed.

You can't interfere with a patient's medical treatment and get away with it.  That's what the case should be about and I wouldn't be surprised if the state of Alabama -- so concerned about 'state's rights' -- didn't end up dropping the charges if they faced a serious legal challenge.

State Sen. Cam Ward, R-Alabaster, who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, said he is aghast that this could happen in Alabama.

“This is an anomaly. This is not the norm,” Ward said. “Most police departments in Alabama do not arrest people anymore solely for marijuana possession.”

Ward said usually when someone is charged with marijuana possession, they are charged with other felonies and marijuana possession is an add-on charge.

Ward said that marijuana possession is a class D offense under the sentencing reform package that he sponsored, which passed the Alabama Legislature in 2016. With a class D offense, there is no prison time.

Shame on every other elected official from Alabama because you're allowing this to take place without even speaking out.  And shame on Ward because he's in a position to do more than offer statements, he could lead on actual actions.  These representatives from Alabama clearly have no respect for the people, you have no respect for the medical profession and you have no respect for the patient-doctor relationship.  Shame on you all.

Jimmy Dore addressed Sean's case a few weeks ago.

Joe Biden?  Jonathan Leaf (AMERICAN CONSERVATIVE) takes on Joe Biden's image as a 'nice guy:'

 For the moment let’s hold off with the rape accusation that’s been leveled against him by a former aide -- at least as credible as those against Brett Kavanaugh -- or the questions about his declining mental condition. Instead, why don’t we examine the mostly forgotten details surrounding the reasons why Biden had to exit from his first Presidential campaign.

Biden will turn 78 in November, and he was first elected to the Senate in 1972. That was before the Watergate investigations and the end of the Vietnam War. So he was actually a political veteran when he announced his first Presidential run in 1987. At that point he was in his mid-40s and in the midst of his third term in the Senate. He was not a political novice, though he was already combing his hair over to hide his increasing baldness. Many people who were alive and old enough to read at the time likely remember that he had to leave that race because of a disgraceful admission: he had giv en a speech as his own which was actually an old stump address of British Labour Party leader Neil Kinnock. Probably they assume that an aide had given him the speech and that he had not known that it was plagiarized. 

This is false.

In fact, Biden had given the speech many times, and he had even told people on at least one occasion that it was a Kinnock speech. More remarkably, in it he had claimed that his family were ordinary coal miners, regular folk who had been unfairly disadvantaged by economic circumstances. But Biden’s background in Pennsylvania’s anthracite country was monied. His father’s family hadn’t been miners but rather oil company owners. Nonetheless, in the speech Biden suggested that his forebears had been so destitute that they had only rarely come up from underground to see the light of day and play an occasional game of football. In Kinnock’s case that had referred to soccer. While Biden had played football—American football—it was at a private Catholic school that his parents had paid to send him to. The speech was about how some people wrongly start out at the bottom, and he had used it to mislead people into thinking that he was one of them.

Nor was this the only talk from which Biden cribbed. On repeated occasions he used pieces from effective speeches he had heard given before by other Democrats he admired, including John Kennedy, Bobby Kennedy and Hubert Humphrey.

He had commenced the race with an announcement address in which he had spoken about the importance of character and values. Attacking Reagan, he had affirmatively declared that, “We must rekindle the fire of idealism in our society, for nothing suffocates the promise of America more than unbounded cynicism and indifference.” But plagiarism and lying were not new to Biden. 

During the race, reporters discovered that Biden had failed a course at Syracuse Law School because he had stolen a paper from a Fordham Law Review article. Five pages of the paper were taken word for word. Showing impressive chutzpah, Biden said that this was unintentional. Biden also claimed that he had graduated in the top half of his law school and had received a full scholarship. In fact, his scholarship was only partial, and he had graduated 76th out of a class of 85 students. 

Biden also spoke frequently during the race of his experiences marching for equality during the Civil Rights era. This, too, was a fabrication. And when confronted about these lies, he challenged the reporters who asked him about them, saying that he had done his part by running for office, asking them what they had done for Civil Rights.

In addition, Biden had managed to avoid service in Vietnam by claiming that he suffered from asthma—even though he had been a star halfback and wide receiver in high school.

Nor did all of these revelations shame him into leaving the race. Instead, he held a press conference in which he insisted that he was going to continue with his campaign, and he only dropped out a week later when it became clear that his persistent lying had defined his candidacy and that it was affecting fundraising. 

Joe supported and continued the Iraq War.   Paul Iddon (FORBES) documents the US military's 30 year presence in Iraq:

August 2020 marks the 30th anniversary of Iraq’s infamous invasion of Kuwait. It also marks 30 years since the U.S. military begun its involvement in Iraq. That involvement has lasted, in one form or another, almost continuously to this day.

On August 2, 1990, Saddam Hussein launched his invasion of Kuwait and conquered the tiny oil-rich sheikdom in a highly effective two-day operation. By doing so, he rapidly turned the United States and most of the world against him.

The George H.W. Bush administration promptly established a multinational coalition consisting of 35 countries. It launched Operation Desert Shield, a military build-up in Saudi Arabia primarily aimed at protecting that kingdom from any potential Iraqi attack. 

Saddam, likely believing the Americans were bluffing with their threat of military force, refused to withdraw from Kuwait by the deadline set by the United Nations Security Council. Consequently, in January 1991, the U.S. launched Operation Desert Storm, an enormous air campaign against Iraq that rapidly devastated both its armed forces and infrastructure.

Television viewers across the world saw the bombing of Baghdad in real-time. The U.S. military showcased its hi-tech military gear, particularly its stealthy F-117 Nighthawk bombers, Tomahawk cruise missiles, and various precision-guided ‘smart’ bombs.

The Iraqi military stood no chance against this superior firepower and technology.

Following Desert Storm, the U.S. launched a ground campaign called Operation Desert Sabre that lasted a mere 100-hours. U.S.-led armored forces battled the Iraqis in the desert and suffered minuscule losses compared to their Iraqi adversary. Iraqi forces fled Kuwait, after infamously looting it and setting its oil wells on fire, and the war was formally ended by a ceasefire by the end of February.

In the lead-up to the war, Bush had promised a quick and decisive victory, insisting that the Persian Gulf War would be nothing like the costly and demoralizing quagmire the U.S. experienced in Vietnam. In many ways, in the immediate aftermath of the Gulf War, the U.S. felt it had gotten over its so-called “Vietnam Syndrome” since it achieved its objectives quickly and suffered very few casualties.

However, the removal of Saddam’s forces from Kuwait and the ceasefire did not end the U.S. military’s involvement in Iraq. In many ways, it was merely the beginning.

Iraqi Shiites and Kurds rose against Saddam in March 1991, shortly after the U.S.-Iraq ceasefire. They believed that Bush’s suggestion that Iraqis should take matters into their own hands and overthrow Saddam from power meant that the U.S. military would support their uprising. Instead, it stood by.

Despite gaining much momentum and ground early on, the widespread uprisings were brutally crushed and countless numbers of people were massacred by Saddam’s ruthless forces.

Bush wanted to avoid becoming entangled in any internal conflict in Iraq. However, images of destitute Kurdish refugees fleeing into the mountains under fire from Saddam’s helicopter gunships resulted in widespread public pressure for the U.S. to do something. 

[. . .]

Saddam remained in power, presiding over large swathes of a largely destroyed and destitute country subjected to a crippling international embargo that further devastated its economy and left many Iraqis hungry.

The no-fly zones remained in place throughout Bill Clinton’s presidency and U.S., along with British and French, fighter jets often patrolled designated swathes of Iraq’s airspace. While Clinton opted to contain Saddam Hussein his administration also took some limited military action against Iraq throughout the 1990s.

In his first year in power, Clinton launched Tomahawk cruise missiles against Baghdad in retaliation over a suspected Iraqi plot to assassinate former President Bush while he was on a visit to Kuwait to commemorate the coalition’s victory in the Gulf War.

In October 1994, the U.S. also promptly deployed forces to Saudi Arabia in Operation Vigilant Warrior when it looked like Saddam was positioning force for a second invasion of Kuwait — which, of course, never happened.

[. . .]

Clinton was succeeded by President George W. Bush, who ran on a platform of isolationism regarding foreign policy in the 2000 presidential elections. Bush’s worldview, however, quickly changed following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Although Saddam’s Iraq had nothing to do with that terrorist atrocity, his regime soon found itself in the Bush administration’s crosshairs.

In March 2003, ditching prior containment efforts, the U.S. outright invaded Iraq in Operation Iraqi Freedom. It toppled the Iraqi regime under the pretext of preventing it from developing deadly weapons of mass destruction. It quickly became apparent, however, that Saddam’s prior efforts at developing such weapons had long since ceased before that invasion.

While the Iraqi armed forces promptly crumbled in the face of the coalition’s superior firepower, the U.S. quickly became embroiled in an occupation and conflict against various insurgents. Its early decision to disband the old Iraqi Army proved fatal since it antagonized tens-of-thousands of Iraqis who had military training overnight.

[. . .]

During the 2008 presidential elections, Barack Obama vowed to bring all U.S. troops home from Iraq. On the other hand, his opponent John McCain once suggested he would support the U.S. military having an open-ended presence in the country that could last up to 100 years. McCain cited long-term U.S. deployments to Germany and South Korea as possible precedents. 


We could go on and on -- and take on a major error in the piece (it's not quoted above).  But I'm wondering if THE WASHINGTON POST plans to fact check FORBES?

Remember how objectivity and fairness and disclosure are all journalism things of the past?  Which is how THE POST allowed Joe Biden buddy Glenn Kessler to pose as a fact checker and run interference for Joe's campaign.  When Glenn lied I don't remember him getting called out elsewhere.  Elsewhere.  Dropping back to the April 9, 2019 snapshot:

Our thoughts are with the families of the three service members killed today in Afghanistan.

Three more lives lost in the endless wars.

That's the reality and reality scares a lot of people.  The laughable Glenn Kessler at THE WASHINGTON POST is scared by these remarks by Beto O'Rourke:

“And then if we really mean it, if we really mean it, we will ensure that this country does not start yet another war before every peaceful, diplomatic, nonviolent alternative is explored and pursued. And those wars that we ask our fellow Americans, these service members to fight on our behalf, 17 years and counting in Afghanistan, 27 years and counting in Iraq, let’s bring these wars to a close and bring these service members back home to their families, to their communities and to their country.”
— Former congressman Beto O’Rourke (D) in El Paso on March 30, 2019

“Do we really want to fight wars forever? Twenty-seven years in Iraq, 18 years, almost, in Afghanistan and counting with no definition or strategy or end in sight. Trillions of dollars we are spending to fight and to rebuild countries that we’ve invaded.” 
— O’Rourke in Ames, Iowa, on April 3
“Given what others are already sacrificing in this country, men and women who are deployed right now in wars that have gone for 17, 27 years in Afghanistan and Iraq.”

— O’Rourke in Storm Lake, Iowa, on April 5

Glenn sets out to destroy Beto because that's what Glenn does.

Liars keep wars going and there's no bigger liar in the world than Glenn Kessler.  He disputes the timeline that Beto offers -- though he does note it's the same one the Air Force's vice chief of staff Gen Stephen W. Wilson has offered in Congressional testimony.

Little Glenn knows so much better than everyone, doesn't he?

Which is why his timeline includes -- oh, wait, it doesn't include the sanctions during the Clinton presidency that killed over a half million.

Mad Maddie Albright, taking a moment from feeding on the bones of the dead to declare that "the price is worth it."

It's a funny sort of timeline that fails to note the long, long war the US government has carried out on Iraq.

Of course, Glenn being the whore he is, he pretends that troops left in 2011.

They didn't.

Dropping back to the December 12, 2011 snapshot:

We'll stop there -- in part because we may be dropping back to the FORBES' article's mistake and that will include pulling from the December 12, 2011 snapshot.

We will note this from the September 19, 2019 snapshot:

How fortunate he's got Glenn Kessler (WASHINGTON POST) on his side to lie for him.  Glenn 'reports' on it today.  Six days after the fact.  He refuses to call it a lie because he waited to 'report' until he got Anthony Blinken's response.  Blinken says Joe mispoke.  Joe doesn't know how to speak?  Joe doesn't know his own record?  Blinken's ridiculous response requires a fact check of its own but, don't worry, Glenn will never do that.

A fact check, by the way, that takes six days to conduct over something this basic really argues that Glenn's not up to doing fact checks -- a point we've made before including when he went out of his way to misconstrue what Beto O'Rourke said in order to call Beto a liar.  The real liar is Glenn Kessler.  And his self-brag that he was reporting on Iraq before and after the start of the war in 2003 should not be seen as a good thing.  The fact that he was reporting on it and doing so in a one-sided manner that failed to question the push to war tells you everything you need to know about liar Glenn Kessler.

Again, Glenn's paid by THE WASHINGTON POST, but he works for Joe Biden.

Margaret Griffis (ANTIWAR.COM) offered her look at July's violence in Iraq:

In June, at least 230 people were killed, and 138 more were wounded. Also, 12 bodies were recovered from a mass grave or from the war rubble in Mosul. At least 254 people were killed, and 84 were wounded across Iraq during June.

At least 24 civilians, 38 security members, and 28 militants were killed. The number of fatalities among the militants dropped dramatically, while about the same number of deaths occurred among civilians and security personnel. The same was true regarding the number of wounded: 24 civilians, 45 security personnel, and two militants.  However, British authorities reported on the deaths of 100 militants in operations that began in April. It is unclear how many of those were only during July, so all are being included in these figures.
Separately, protests turned violent. The slow movement of anti-corruption measures and lack of appropriate services in the blistering summer heat were two of the main complaints. At least five demonstrators were killed, and 67 were wounded.

The following sites updated: