So, to read the corporate press, we're told Joe Biden is doing so much and it's all so wonderful. It's fake assery on Joe's part. That includes the pretense that he's doing anything to help the prison population. Betsey Piette (Workers World) reports:
In an executive order signed Jan. 26 as part of his “racial equity” plan, President Joe Biden ordered the U.S. Attorney General and the Department of Justice not to renew contracts with privately owned and operated-for-profit prisons and federal detention facilities.
What is the impact of Biden’s mandate? Currently there are over 152,000 incarcerated workers held in federal prisons. His order affects roughly 14,000 of those imprisoned in privately run federal facilities, less than 10% of the total federal prison population.
The president’s order does not suspend any existing for-profit private prison contracts, which could take years to expire, nor will it affect contracts private prisons hold with state or local entities. It does not reduce the federal prison population, but simply transfers incarcerated workers from private to public penal facilities.
Significantly, immigrant detainees are not covered by Biden’s directive. Over 80% of detained immigrants are currently held in private for-profit prisons — a practice begun under the Obama administration and greatly expanded under Trump’s presidency.
While hailed by some as an important “first step” toward prison reform, the truth is that Biden’s order barely begins to scratch the surface of mass incarceration. A study released by the Prison Policy Institute on March 24, 2020, reiterated an already established fact: The U.S. locks up more people than any other country. Some 698 of every 100,000 residents are incarcerated; that totals 2.3 million people.
He's a fake ass. And people are buying it because there are so many liars claiming Joe is doing something.
Let me dedicate a song to Joe, Stevie Wonder's "You Haven't Done Nothin'."
This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" for Thursday:
Thursday, February 11, 2021. No real change from Joe Biden but, goodness, doesn't JACOBIN work hard to pretend otherwise?
The US, like the rest of the world, is in the midst of a pandemic. Unlike many other countries, the US does not have universal healthcare. Julia Rock, Andrew Perez and David Sirota (JACOBIN) report:
It is not a revelation that elite media outlets bake ideology into their news coverage and manufacture consent — in fact, a new poll shows Americans sense the scam and are well aware that something is deeply rotten in the news industry.
However, the press-driven discourse about promised $2,000 survival checks offers something new and rare: an unvarnished glimpse of exactly how this consent-manufacturing process works in real time. When you follow the money behind the process, you invariably find yourself where most truth seekers end up in American life — staring into the deadened eyes of billionaires who like things just the way they are.
In 2016, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) sounded an alarm about so-called cognitive capture, warning that the information ecosystem in Washington has been systemically corrupted, allowing unseen interests to use think tanks and media to manipulate the assumptions upon which policy decisions are based.
A few years later, that is exactly what is playing out. Millionaire pundits paid by billionaire media moguls are once again trying to protect millionaire politicians bankrolled by billionaire donors. Marshaling studies produced by billionaire think tanks, they have a goal: denying survival aid to middle-class thousandaires now facing an economic apocalypse.
Do most Americans grasp that the Iraqi people have the healthcare Americans are denied? The US invaded Iraq in 2003 and remains an occupying presence to this day. Many things were destroyed. But even under Bully Boy Bush, the US government knew not to destroy the healthcare coverage. So when the US 'recreated' the Iraqi government, it made sure that a form of Medicare For All carried over. But in the US? That same government denies it for their own citizens.
UPDATE TO "BELOW" statement. I am retracting the apology. The section in question read:
the very same article, except for the headline. At IN THESE TIMES, it's entitled "Antiwar Activists Have Scored an Apparent Victory on Yemen. It’s Time to Keep Pushing" while at JACOBIN they headline it "Biden Says He’s Ending the Yemen War—But It's Too Soon to Celebrate."
and it should have read:
the very same article, except for the headline. At IN THESE TIMES, "Biden Says He’s Ending the Yemen War—But It's Too Soon to Celebrate" while at JACOBIN they headlined it "Antiwar Activists Have Scored an Apparent Victory on Yemen. It’s Time to Keep Pushing."
I'm retracting the apology, their headline is misleading. When I read it on my phone, I didn't say, "Oh, have pity on me!!" I thought that was JACOBIN's headline -- the order was wrong. But I didn't realize that until this evening.
When I thought I had wrongly read JACOBIN's headline, I didn't whine, I didn't bitch, I didn't justify. I just said I was wrong and it was my mistake (see "BELOW" which is still there). Reading on my small phone, I thought JACOBIN had worded correctly and I got it wrong.
I didn't say, "Remember two Sundays ago when I noted I had a bad reaction to medicine. Well it was a synthetic for my diabetes and it gave me seizures and although I'm now off it, my eye sight is really bad right now, really, really bad. So I get an excuse for wrongly insulting someone!" That, by the way, is true. And when I called Dr. Margaret Flowers' article earlier this week, I had to read it three times to make sure I wasn't missing another mention of Iraq because my eyesight is that poor right now. Supposedly, it will improve in a few more weeks. Maybe, maybe not. But I didn't whine and try to hide behind that.
I didn't do that, I owned it and I was fine with owning it. I can make mistakes. I do make mistakes. But in this snapshot, the mistake was not calling out JACOBIN for their headline. I was right there. Somewhere, ITT and JACOBIN's headlines got switched. They are now fixed. ITT has the proper headline for the article. JACOBIN has a b.s. headline.
JACOB's headline is misleading. Somehow when dictating the snapshot, the headlines got reversed -- and that might have been me, I do some links ahead of time and dictate around them. When I thought I had wrongly attacked them, I owned and apologized and left it as was so that my mistake wasn't hidden.
The mistake was not in attacking JACOBIN. They earned that attack and it stands.
BELOW: I misread headline disregard commentary about JACOBIN re that article. My apologies to them for it. I'm not going to remove it and act like it didn't happen. My mistake and I own it.
Joe Biden pushed? On what? Who's pushing him? JACOBIN? Am I supposed to laugh? They've got the same article that's at IN THESE THESE TIMES -- the very same article, except for the headline. At IN THESE TIMES, "Biden Says He’s Ending the Yemen War—But It's Too Soon to Celebrate" while at JACOBIN they headlined it "Antiwar Activists Have Scored an Apparent Victory on Yemen. It’s Time to Keep Pushing."
The headline that JACOBIN puts to the article is false. When does JACOBIN plan to stop whoring for the Democratic Party? That is just ridiculous -- as is their effort to become the fan club bulletin for AOC. But let's stay with Yemen since the liars at JACOBIN want to promote it as a 'success.'
At ANTIWAR.COM, Danny Sjursen (ANTIWAR.COM) notes:
[. . .] President Joe Biden’s announcement – during his first major foreign policy address – that he would end American support for Saudi and United Arab Emirates-led "offensive operations" in Yemen, needs more nuance. In the second month of 2021, it seems all but fated that the specter of Donald Trump – and tribal, loyalty oath-like partisan divides over his contested legacy – shall haunt and poison all discussions of each and every Biden foreign policy move for at least 47 months more. Lost in this reflexive race to familiar factional battle stations will be nearly any coherent analysis of the systemic structures designed to ensure America’s war-show must go on.
Thus, while the president’s rhetorical corrective – and vague promised policy shift – on America’s role in the Yemen catastrophe deserves a cautious (and perhaps equally vague) at-a-boy, Biden shouldn’t be the sole story here. A sober accounting of the U.S. role in this sordid affair demands systemic-, rather than personality-driven, debate and critique. Viewing multi-administration – Obama-Trump-Biden – policy analyses through electoral season lenses is precisely what keeps the war industry cash a’ flowing, and the Yemeni babes a’ dying.
The real story of America’s unforgivable fiasco is how and why such small (for us) dirty (for Yemenis) wars-by-proxy persist through supposedly transformative presidential transitions. For these post-9/11 forever wars, their formula is the disease, and must be fought according. Unfortunately, that means wading through wastelands of rhetorical distraction. Greasing the grotesque wheels of otherwise unexplainably obdurate US support for the Saudi terror war – which, according to recent UN numbers, has left 233,000 Yemenis dead and left some 80 percent of the population reliant on humanitarian aid – is a Washingtonese dialect of linguistic-gymnastics that’s long confused We The People about what’s actually done our name.
It begins with how one defines the terms – and here, let’s say Joe’s words may conceal as much as they reveal. Biden’s bunch of "bestests and brightests" are offered an obscuring assist by an acronym- and euphemism-prone Pentagon populated with countless career "company men.” Plus, lurking over the whole strategic needle-thread is the trumped-up threat of Iran. Only, outside of occasional heart-rending photos of distended young bellies, and too large to comprehend – yet likely underreported – death, disease, and displacement statistics, actual Yemenis rarely factor in Washington’s cruel calculus. That’s the trick – America’s professional policy-makers and -watchers speak in swirling intellectual circles until their complicit war crimes congeal as abstraction.
That's reality. Reality is also that the article JACOBIN chose to run was an IN THESE TIMES article -- credited as such at the very bottom (strange, since they usually note that in the byline under the headline) and that they are changing -- watering down -- a headline from another outlet. In a strong article, David, Julia and Andrew tell us about how the corporate press keeps us ignorant -- who's going to write that article about JACOBIN because little stunts like the one they pulled on Yemen demand such an article be written.
Maybe that same article could tackle the podcast JACOBIN did ''about" Iraq which could not be bothered with noting the Iraqi people and how they have suffered but which could find the two female hosts giggling like little girls at all the insults and inappropriate language the blustering, toxic male guest used (including insulting men as "p**sies"). Woke? JACOBIN's always too bleary-eyed to be awake, let alone woke.
US Senator Rand Paul notes these endless wars at THE NATIONAL INTEREST:
After almost twenty years, we have lost over 7,000 killed, suffered over 50,000 wounded, and spent over $5.4 trillion, in Iraq and Afghanistan alone. And that doesn’t even account for our total human and monetary costs in the greater Middle East over the same period of time. More so, there is no way to begin to count the impact of lives shattered, relationships destroyed, and continued loss of life through suicides.
Some would say this is the cost of war. Perhaps. But in a war, loss should have an objective.
That objective must be to deliver a better state of peace. It should have a theory of victory to make that happen. We teach this to our strategists and future general officers at our war colleges. Under our Constitution, war should have the approval of Congress, and thereby consent of the people, to achieve those war aims.
But yet, after almost twenty years of war we don’t have any of this in a coherent fashion. We are still no closer to victory nor do we even really have a realistic idea of what victory looks like. We haven’t been honest on the conduct of the war. We have continuously shifted our war aims. We have paid staggering opportunity costs, immeasurable amounts of treasure, and most importantly, an unimaginable number of lives—again over 7,000 dead and over 50,000 wounded. After all of this, we owe it to those in uniform, some of who weren’t even born on 9/11, to be brave enough to ask, “When will it be enough?”
War continues because (a) people are silent and (b) there's big money to be made. On the first, JACOBIN can't be bothered with covering the Iraq War seriously. Much better to allow two embarrassing women to giggle over a hideous male trying to play 'naughty boy' then address the Iraq War, right? Maybe some day, AOC will give a speech on the Iraq War and the JACOBIN journalist, after they orgasm, can write about it then? In the meantime, ZNET reposts COVERTACTION MAGAZINE's article by Christian Sorensen:
The U.S. ruling class deploys the military for three main reasons: (1) to forcibly open up countries to foreign investment, (2) to ensure the free flow of natural resources from the global south into the hands of multinational corporations, and (3) because war is profitable. The third of these reasons, the profitability of war, is often lacking detail in analyses of U.S. imperialism: The financial industry, including investment banks and private equity firms, is an insatiable force seeking profit via military activity.
The war industry is composed of corporations that sell goods and services to the U.S. government and allied capitalist regimes around the world. Investment banks and asset management firms hold most shares of every major public war corporation.
The best-known financial firms holding the stock of war corporations include: Vanguard Group, BlackRock, State Street, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, and Wellington Management.
Consider Parsons, a corporation that sells goods and services pertaining to construction, command and control, espionage, and day-to-day military operations. Parsons’ initial public offering in May 2019, valued at roughly $3 billion, earned it an industry Corporate Growth Award. The top holders of Parsons stock are investment banks and asset management firms—including the familiar Vanguard Group, BlackRock, and State Street.
Cyber Wars and Intelligence Go Mainstream as Emerging Corporate Frontiers
New business sectors of war are created and then flooded. For example, the provision of “cyber” was virtually nonexistent in U.S. military contracting until roughly four years ago. A war industry push to militarize IT infrastructure has yielded a bonanza in cyber contracts. Today, “cyber” goods and services are sold stand-alone or as additions to previous contracts.
That's reality. JACOBIN's obsession over a 31-year-old politician whos done nothing much other than win elected office isn't reality. It's embarrassing and disempowering. And the immature AOC is all about the disempowering. Not really feeling it for her on the assault that she announced. Those of us who were assaulted and raped need to stand for others. But AOC didn't do that, did she? No, as Elias Cepeda points out:
Then, Ocasio-Cortez revealed that she was a survivor of sexual assault.
That revelation re-framed the issue a bit for me, though not in a way that I’ve seen many others discuss. So, I’ve decided to write a few words of reflection down, below. Ocasio-Cortez took to Instagram recently and replied to criticism of her centering her own experience during the Capitol raid as well as criticism that she flatly condemned the likes of Cruz and Sen. Josh Hawley and rejected the possibility of working with them on other issues after they personally fanned the violent flames of the attacking White supremacist mobs last month, by contextualizing her claims of trauma during the attack with the revelation of her having been sexually assaulted in the past.
[. . .]
“These folks who tell us to move on, that it’s not a big deal, that we should forget what’s happened, or even telling us to apologize, these are the same tactics of abusers. And, I’m a survivor of sexual assault, and I haven’t told many people that in my life.”
Ocasio-Cortez is right, and she’s brave for discussing all of that. And, I believe her.
I also believe Tara Reade. I also believe Lucy Flores, Amy Lappos, Caitlyn Caruso, D.J. Hill, Sofie Karasek, Ally Coll, and Vail Kohnert-Yount, the women who have publicly and credibly accused U.S. President Joe Biden of sexual harassment and assault that ranges from the type of subtle but predatory behavior we’ve all seen him do in public, on camera, to both child girls and grown women, to even more physically rough assault.
We’ve all, including Ocasio-Cortez, watched Biden make many women and children visibly uncomfortable on camera with his groping, his smelling, and sexual comments. We’ve heard some speak publicly afterwards about how he made them feel unsafe and uncomfortable.
I believe them all and am sick thinking about how we just elected our second-consecutive sexual predator to the Presidency, how Democrats only speak out against powerful men committing these crimes when they’re Republicans. I wish Ocasio-Cortez believed Joe Biden’s victims and cared enough to support them in solidarity, instead of casting aspersions on other survivors like Reade and enabling her perpetrator.
I wish she fought for these girls and women. I wish she spoke out against Biden’s policies and cabinet nominations at the very least on account of that long list above of his direct sexual assault victims the way she bravely speaks out on her own behalf, now.
Is is hard for her to talk about? Oh, boo hoo. I'm just not feeling it. I've written here many times about how there are days I just can't open a vein and relive it. But that doesn't mean I can't stand up for Tara even when I don't want to recount details of what happened to me. Some day, AOC may realize the world doesn't revolve around her. Maybe.
Abby Martin and Lee Camp discuss the realities of Joe Biden's policies here. If that can be embedded I'm not seeing how. (It's ROFKIN, not YOUTUBE.)
Maybe 80 years after the Iraq War, JACOBIN can tell us about it? Jaclynn Ashly look at the 1937 massacre of the Kurds at JACOBIN:
"It’s too painful to think about. What’s the point of talking about it anymore?” Bego says. The ninety-year-old’s voice sounds quiet and emotionless. With the help of a translator, he speaks to me in the Kurdish dialect of Zazaki, having no knowledge of Turkish. “The massacre took everything from us. Whatever we say it doesn’t matter. The government doesn’t care. No one listens to us. We are just talking to ourselves. It’s all just the past now.”
Bego was just nine years old in 1938. It’s a year that painfully gave birth to the identity of the Alevi Kurds in Dersim, descending deep below the earth where their ancestors’ bones snuggle into the contorted roots of the oak trees dotting the length of the mountains.
The historical lands of Kurdistan span throughout areas of Turkey, Iran, Iraq, and Syria. Following the defeat of the Central Powers in World War I, the 1920 Sèvres Treaty was signed between the defeated powers and the Allied Powers. In the treaty, Armenians were promised full statehood in the territories of the former Ottoman Empire, and interim autonomy with the possibility of obtaining full independence was envisaged for the Kurdish areas of Turkey — to be determined by a referendum.
However, these promises never materialized. Instead, the Turkish nationalist movement took hold, under the leadership of Turkey’s founder Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, who led a rebellion against the foreign powers. Atatürk had stated that in areas of Turkey where Kurds constituted the majority, they would be permitted to govern themselves. Most Kurds assumed their fight would result in a multiethnic Turkish-Kurdish state.
Instead, however, Kurds in Turkey, who now make up about 20 percent of the country’s population, found themselves among the victims of a nationalist program aimed at “Turkifying” the country’s minorities by forcibly severing them from their cultures and attempting to assimilate them into a monolithic Turkish identity.
İsmet İnönü, Atatürk’s successor, expressed the country’s nationalist position in 1925, two years after the official founding of the Turkish state. “In the face of a Turkish majority other elements have no kind of influence,” he said. “We must turkify the inhabitants of our land at any price, and we will annihilate those who oppose the Turks.”
The Kurdish language, dress, folklore, and Kurdish names were all banned for decades. Even the words “Kurds,” “Kurdistan,” and “Kurdish” were banned by the government. Up until 1991, the Turkish government only referred to Kurds as “Mountain Turks,” alleging that they were actually Turks whose language had been corrupted over the years.
In 1934, the government introduced the Law of Resettlement, providing a legal avenue to deport Kurds and other non-Turks from their communities and resettle them into Turkish communities in the west.
According to Martin van Bruinessen, a Dutch anthropologist and author, the Turkish government’s aim was to completely depopulate certain Kurdish districts, while “diluting the Kurdish element” in other Kurdish areas by deporting Kurds from their communities and replacing them with Turks.
The following year, in December 1935, the Turkish government issued a special law on Dersim, which had already gained a reputation among Turkish officials for being a particularly rebellious area in the eastern region. The law designated the district into a separate province and placed the communities under direct military control. Dersim was one of the first districts in Turkey the government applied the Law of Resettlement, and residents began being expelled from the province.
The law also officially renamed the province to “Tunceli,” which means “bronze fist” in Turkish; to this day, Tunceli is still Turkey’s official name for the Dersim province. Bruinessen noted that Dersim’s military governor was given “extraordinary powers to arrest and deport individuals and families.”
Not surprisingly, in 1937 Turkey’s military operation caused a rebellion to break out, partly led by Seyid Riza, an Alevi Kurdish chief of one of the numerous tribes that inhabited Dersim. In response, the Turkish army unleashed a campaign of unfathomable brutalities, which included aerial bombardments and alleged poison gas attacks. According to various sources, the Turkish army indiscriminately slaughtered women and children, which included burning them alive.
In September that year, Riza surrendered to the Turkish army in the Erzincan district, which borders Dersim. Two months later, he was executed by hanging, along with his son and several of his closest associates. His body was buried in an undisclosed location — still secret to this day.
Today, Turkey continues to persecute the Kurds. They do so without any regards for humanity, the law or legal and physical boundaries. The press assists them with this.
Here's ALJAZEERA helping out today:
At least three Turkish soldiers have been killed during a new offensive against Kurdish fighters in northern Iraq, according to the Turkish defence ministry.
Turkey on Wednesday launched an operation, dubbed “Claw-Eagle 2”, against Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) fighters in the northern Iraqi region of Dohuk.
Here's THE DAILY SABAH helping out:
Three Turkish soldiers were killed and four others wounded in clashes with PKK terrorists in northern Iraq, the Ministry of National Defense said in a statement Thursday.
The ministry highlighted the heavy blow the Turkish military has dealt to the terrorist group in northern Iraq's Gara region.
Lt. Burak Coşkun and Sgt. First Class Harun Turhan were killed by the terror group during Turkey’s cross-border Operation Claw-Eagle 2 in northern Iraq, the ministry added.
It's left to MEMO to point out:
Despite objections by the Iraqi government, Turkey has been carrying out a number of counter-terrorism military operations against the PKK in northern Iraq, including 'Operation Euphrates Shield' in 2016, 'Operation Olive Branch' in 2018, and 'Operation Peace Spring' 2019.
That's right. The dead Turkey had sent into Iraq? They're not supposed to be in Iraq. The Iraqi people and politicians object to the violation of Iraq's national sovereignty. That's a key detail when reporting on people killed.
We'll wind down with this from Rick Sterling (ANTIWAR.COM):
Victoria Nuland exemplifies the neocons who have led US foreign policy from one disaster to another for the past 30 years while evading accountability. It is a bad sign that President Joe Biden has nominated Victoria Nuland for the third highest position at the State Department, Under Secretary for Political Affairs.
As a top-level appointee, Victoria Nuland must be confirmed by the US Senate. There is a campaign to Stop her confirmation. The following review of her work shows why Victoria Nuland is incompetent, highly dangerous and should not be confirmed.
Afghanistan and Iraq
From 2000 to 2003, Nuland was US permanent representative to NATO as the Bush administration attacked then invaded Afghanistan. The Afghan government offered to work with the US remove Al Qaeda, but this was rejected. After Al Qaeda was defeated, the US could have left Afghanistan but instead stayed, established semi-permanent bases, split the country, and is still fighting there two decades later.
From 2003 to 2005 Nuland was principal foreign policy advisor to Vice President Dick Cheney who "helped plan and manage the war that toppled Saddam Hussein, including making Bush administration’s case for preemptive military actions based on Iraq’s alleged weapons of mass destruction." The foreign policy establishment, with Nuland on the far right, believed that removing Saddam Hussein and installing a US "ally" would be simple.
The invasion and continuing occupation have resulted in over a million dead Iraqis, many thousands of dead Americans, hundreds of thousands with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder at a cost of 2 to 6 TRILLION dollars.
From 2005 to 2008 Victoria Nuland was US Ambassador to NATO where her role was to "strengthen Allied support" for the occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq.
On the 10th anniversary of the invasion, when asked about the lessons learned Nuland responded “Compared to where we were in the Saddam era, we now have a bilateral security agreement … We have deep economic interests and ties. We have a security relationship. We have a political relationship." Nuland is oblivious to the costs. Nuland’s loyalties are to the elite who have benefited from the tragedy. According to online google, "One of the top profiteers from the Iraq War was oil field services corporation, Halliburton. Halliburton gained $39.5 billion in ‘federal contracts related to the Iraq war.’ Nuland’s boss, Vice President Dick Cheney, was the former the CEO of Halliburton.
The following sites updated: