The Educators Rank-and-File Safety Committee will be holding a national online meeting at 12pm CST (1pm EST) this Saturday, January 9, titled, “Stop in-person learning until the pandemic is contained!” We urge all educators, parents, students and workers who wish to join the struggle to close schools and nonessential businesses to register today and invite your coworkers and friends.
The death of 35-year-old El Paso, Texas, teacher Zelene Blancas last week underscores the homicidal character of the ruling class policy of reopening schools and non-essential businesses amid the raging COVID-19 pandemic.
While her school and district were teaching remotely at the time Blancas tested positive on October 20, Texas Republican Governor Greg Abbott had pressured districts across the state to reopen, contributing to a major upsurge of the pandemic throughout the entire region. With Abbott renewing these efforts over the past month by seeking to tie school funding to districts’ reopening status, the district where Blancas taught, Socorro Independent School District, is now considering reopening in February.
Blancas was hospitalized shortly after testing positive for COVID-19. She appeared to be gradually recovering over a few weeks, but then her oxygen levels suddenly dropped and she was intubated on November 22. In total, she spent two months in the hospital before dying of complications from COVID-19.
Blancas had taught for over a decade, and most recently worked as a bilingual first-grade teacher at Dr. Sue A. Shook Elementary School. In 2018, millions of people watched and shared a video she posted on social media of her students greeting one another with their own chosen interactions. From the statements of her loved ones and coworkers, it is clear that the impact she had on both the students she taught and the community she loved reflected a deep commitment to education and a desire to reach every student regardless of his or her background or economic situation.
She is only one face. How many more will there be when the pandemic finally ends? At what point will we all be outraged over how our government has mishandled the pandemic and used it to make the rich richer while letting the rest of America suffer?
This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" for Tuesday:
Tuesday, January 5, 2021. A grab bag of topics as a report that an attack took place on a convoy in Iraq, as the corruption in Iraq becomes more dire, as MOTHER JONES and Kevin Drum can't stay under their rock, etc.
Starting with violence, MRN is reporting the following:
Another US coalition logistics convoy was targeted by a roadside bomb on Tuesday morning in Saladin province.
No further details have been published about the possible casualties, Saberin News reported, adding that no group has claimed responsibility for the attack.
Last night, a US coalition convoy was targeted on the road to the city of Ad Dujayl and the Qasim al-Jabbarin group claimed responsibility.
I see no other coverage to verify that an attack took place. More may come later in the day or this may be misreporting but we've noted it at the top.
Now let's move over to Jimmy Dore detailing The Fraud Squad.
As Susan Sarandon says in THELMA & LOUISE, "You get what you settle for." And if you're fine with getting nothing -- no Medicare For All, no serious work on climate change, etc -- then keep settling and defending The Fraud Squad and all the other fake asses and sell outs in Congress who are supposed to represent We The People but do not do so.
Next topic, Shirley slid over an e-mail insisting I am avoiding "even mentioning Tara Reade." Huh?
From Friday's "2020: The Year Long Walk Of Shame:"
Tara Reade came forward with credible allegations that then-Senator Joe Biden assaulted her while she was an intern in 1992. The press ignored the allegations forever and a day.
Then PBS' NEWSHOUR ridiculously 'investigated' by speaking to a list of people that Joe Biden's campaign provided. Then there were all the attacks that were printed, whispers from the Biden campaign that the press didn't feel the need to disclose.
The repugnant Michael Tracey felt the need to weigh in. Tara Reade could not have been raped, he explained, because of her money problems and some people who knew her once and didn't like her. Michael Tracey feels he knows better than anyone -- including those who've studied assault -- and possibly that's because he's an expert on the actions of a rapist? Don't know but I do know that no rapist first asks his victim for a credit report.
Hunter Biden has no ethics and may have broken laws. But we never got to have that conversation in the press. The Hunter story played out the same as the Tara Reade story -- the press refused to investigate and instead spent their time explaining how the story was wrong and shouldn't even be discussed.
October 16th, THE NEW YORK POST published a story and this was followed by Twitter and Facebook censoring the nation's oldest newspaper still in business, it was followed not by newspapers and networks showing an interest in the computer and e-mails or demanding that Joe Biden answer (he still hasn't) on the record whether or not this laptop was Hunter Biden's, it was instead followed by attacking THE POST, its reporters and its sources.
And this is not a momentary defect. This is now what journalism resorts to: If they don't like the story, they're going to censor it. NPR's ombudsperson Kelly McBride quoted NPR's Managing Editor for 'News,' Terence Samuel, declaring of the laptop story, "We don't want to waste our time on stories that are not really stories, and we don't want to waste the listeners' and readers' time on stories that are just pure distraction." For more on that garbage, see Ava and my "Media: NPR doesn't trust its listeners" at THIRD. But the most important point? Hunter Biden is under federal investigation -- and we only learned that after the election. Isaiah's THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS "Hunter Biden Finally Gets A Little Press Attention."
After the election, after weeks of being told 'nothing to see here,' turns out there was something to see there. As Jonathan Turley pointed out:
“Hunter is stuck on the roof.” That is what the transition team for Joe Biden should have said this week, instead of declaring that Hunter Biden is under federal investigation. The surprise was a lot to handle for many who have been insulated from real news about the case for weeks. The Biden team evidently never heard the old joke about the man who calls home during a trip to speak with his brother who was house sitting.
When asked how things are going, the brother blurts out, “Fluffy is dead.” The man is shocked and yells that is not how you tell someone their cat died. Instead, he claims, you build up to it and say the cat is stuck on the roof, and then call back to say she fell. After the brother apologizes, the man asks how their mother is doing, and the brother pauses before replying, “Mom is stuck on the roof.”
The problem is that Americans were assured that Hunter Biden was nowhere near the figurative roof. Before the election, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff said the story involving the laptop was a “smear” from Russia. Some 50 former intelligence officials also insisted the laptop story was likely the work of Russian intelligence. Cable hosts and journalists laughed at the laptop story as fake news, and there was a virtual blackout on further coverage, until that loud thump after the election.
Most striking about the media blackout is that, as with the Trump-Russia collusion story, the media was coaxed to buy into a false narrative. Reporters became so invested in the denial that they couldn’t afford to acknowledge growing evidence of possible wrongdoing. If Hunter Biden and his uncle did conduct a global influence peddling scheme, these reporters were at best dupes and at worst enablers of a coverup, so the story could not be true.
The public shock was palpable because so many have been hermetically and journalistically sealed off from any negative reports on the Bidens. The media was openly in the bag for candidate Biden, and he was left unchallenged in ridiculous claims like his often repeated line “no one has suggested my son did anything wrong.”
Again, this is no longer a temporary defect, this is now a factory feature of journalism -- and that should bother everyone.
That's Friday. The e-mailer is upset that I "ignored" Tara all December -- check the archives and you'll see that's not the case. The e-mailer points out a Kevin Drum aspect. I didn't ignore that, I wasn't aware of it. I wrote that on Friday. Apparently the day before Kevin Drum attacked Tara at MOTHER JONES.
Why would I know about that? Do you know how long it takes to write the year-in-review? That's a big piece and I don't get online to read anything after except Arabic social media. More to the point, I have been calling out MOTHER JONES for nearly ten years now. When they attacked a rape survivor, I believe I was the only one who defended her. No one else called MOTHER JONES out or the two women who run/ruin the magazine. Kevin Drum? I didn't read that idiot when he was lying to get the Iraq War started, why would I read him now?
I remember FAIR making a huge deal about these pro-war Iraq pundits who were wrong and the media rewarded them. FAIR called out one media outlet after another . . . except MOTHER JONES. MJ was supposed to be a left -- not a partisan, a left -- magazine. And yet when it was time to hire a 'blogger,' they went with Kevin Give Me War On Iraq Drum. And FAIR wouldn't call that out. Because they're hypocrites. The left right now needs to be fighting. "We need to be able to name names," Briahna Joy Gray says in a clip in Jimmy's video above. She's right. But note that FAIR can't/won't name names. Clean up your own yard before you go after others.
Kevin Drum is human trash. We've said that before.
What the slime do? He wrote a year-in-review piece entitled "Top Ten Lunatics of 2020" and for number seven, he offered this:
Tara Reade. Remember her? She insisted that Joe Biden had sexually molested her in some way, but in the end it turned out to be just a fantasy made up by a habitual con artist.
Kevin Drum is trash. Here's a Tweet from Tara on this topic:
Let me note again, MOTHER JONES is run/ruined by two women. They have destroyed the magazine and note who they hire: David Corn (accused of harassment in the work place) and Kevin Drum (We have to have war on Iraq!).
Some don't get why I've called out the hideous WONDER WOMAN 1984. It's a very bad movie on every level but one of the main points is in Ava and my "TV: WONDER WOMAN 1984 is an awful film:"
Cheetah's a secondary character in this film and she's defeated as Max is about to destroy the world. She's a diversion to the plot -- can you imagine a director doing that with the Joker? We can't either. It's an insult to all the character stood for -- a character who's been around since 1943.
Equally true, she's the only other woman -- who's not an Amazon -- who gets more than ten lines of dialogue in the film besides Gal. Why is that? There are so many speaking parts for male actors and so many male characters -- even two homeless men who have more dialogue than the other women in the film. How is this a feminist film? How is this even a film by a feminist?
Well it's not. It's a film that director Patty wrote with two men.
Really? That's what we're going to get? We scream and yell for women to have the chance to direct and they choose to do a superhero movie about a woman and they choose to hire two men to help them write the script? One of the men who came to Hollywood as a result of his reading of PENTHOUSE?
This isn't feminism.
And when you watch the sloppy and stupid WONDER WOMAN 1984, you grasp that it's not feminism either.
Patty Jenkins was in charge of that film and she chose to work with . . . two men. Not two women. Not a man and a woman. Two men. Why are we breaking glass ceilings for Queen Bees who won't help other women? (Queen Bee is a term popularized by Gloria Steinem in her book REVOLUTION FROM WITHIN about women who ensure their own success while doing nothing to help others.) And that's why we called out THE NATION for their dismal record of publishing women when Katrina vanden Heuvel was in charge. We see it at MOTHER JONES where two Queen Bees ensure that women are sidelined yet again.
It's not feminism and when you keep a work place harasser (David Corn) on the payroll, you ensure that everyone in the work place knows that there are no rules which is how you get Kevin Drum's garbage published in the first place.
Due to pushback, Kevin had to remove the number seven entry. But even a large pushback didn't make them issue an apology. Remember when David Corn -- trying to destroy Hillary Clinton -- lied about Bill Clinton. Tons of people e-mailed and called MOTHER JONES. When the lie was finally 'corrected,' they only corrected it on one piece -- David wrote three with the lie that Bill Clinton had pardoned a member of the Weather Underground -- and the 'correction' was half-assed with David saying basically, well he pardoned Marc Rich. And that has hat to do with what?
MOTHER JONES is garbage.
Onto Iraq. In THIRD's "Editorial: Iraq and the Dinar," we noted, "Things are about to get a lot worse for the Iraqi people." At THE NEW YORK TIMES, Jane Arraf writes:
Iraq is running out of money to pay its bills. That has created a financial crisis with the potential to destabilize the government — which was ousted a year ago after mass protests over corruption and unemployment — touch off fighting among armed groups, and empower Iraq’s neighbor and longtime rival, Iran.
Iran in the past has taken the opportunity posed by a weak Iraqi central government to strengthen its political power and the role of its paramilitaries within Iraq.
With its economy hammered by the pandemic and plunging oil and gas prices, which account for 90 percent of government revenue, Iraq was unable to pay government workers for months at a time last year.
[. . .]
That Iraq, one of the world’s largest oil producers, cannot reliably supply electricity to its citizens and has to import electricity is symptomatic of the dysfunction that led to antigovernment protests last year and brought down the previous government.
A version of Jane's report also appears in print in today's NEW YORK TIMES and also at India's ECONOMIC TIMES.
In related news, MIDDLE EAST MONITOR reports:
An Iraqi parliamentary inquest has today revealed that an estimated $239.7 billion (some 350 trillion dinars) has left the country illegally since 2003.
According to the Iraqi News Agency, one member of the Parliamentary Integrity Committee, Taha Al-Difai stated: "The amount was smuggled in the form of fake receipts and a lot of commissions were paid to officials."
"Around $685 billion (1,000 trillion dinars) have been disbursed since 2003," he said, adding that this amount was "wasted in contracting and rampant corruption".
According to Transparency International's 2019 Corruption Perceptions Index Iraq is ranked 162 out of 198 countries with corruption coupled with high youth unemployment being a frequent cause of anti-government protests.
Last year, Rahim al-Darraji, a former member of the Finance Committee in parliament, estimated the looted funds in Iraq at around $450 billion.
Iraq is witnessing a fiscal deficit of 58 trillion dinars in the 2021 budget – almost 38.6% of the total budget of $102 billion, due to the decline in crude oil prices.
Corruption has to be addressed in Iraq. The people have suffered due to it and now they're about to suffer even more.
The following sites updated: