Sunday, Kat's "Kat's Korner: Billy Davis Jr. and Marilyn McCoo still make beautiful art together" and Isaiah's THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS "MSNBC FABRICATOR JOY REID" (above) went up.
Last week, Louisiana became the first Democratic-led state to end the $300-a-week federal unemployment supplement, joining 25 Republican-led states that had previously announced the termination of the vital lifeline prior to its September 6 national expiration.
Governor John Bel Edwards did not release a statement after signing HB 183 late Wednesday night, but during the prior week Edwards described the termination of 48,000 jobless Louisianans’ unemployment benefits on July 31 as a reasonable “compromise.” He explained that that he was trying to find a “reasonable balance” between helping the jobless and helping business owners.
Edwards announced that by ending the benefits five weeks early, he had secured an agreement from Republican lawmakers to raise the state’s weekly maximum unemployment benefit by $28, bringing it to $275 a week, beginning in 2022.
Louisiana’s current maximum benefit of $248 a week is one of the lowest in the nation. The $28 increase will still leave jobless workers with next to nothing to survive on, assuming they are able to navigate the state’s broken unemployment system.
This cruel maneuver is driven entirely by the profit interests of the energy, chemical, commercial fishing and agribusiness interests that dominate the state. It is the latest salvo in the bipartisan campaign to eviscerate pandemic-related social programs in order to blackmail workers into accepting low-paying, dangerous work and undermine their increasingly militant demands for wage increases in the face of soaring inflation.
The early termination of the federal unemployment benefit by state governments has been publicly endorsed by the Biden administration, which has affirmed its intention of ending the program nationwide on September 6.
They are in it together. "They" being the people who screw over workers, the people who steal our tax money to make themselves richer, the corrupt and the crooked.
This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" for Monday:
Monday, May 21, 2021. Violence continues in Iraq, a mother fights for justice for her assassinated son and much more.
Starting with WALK-INS WELCOME WITH BRIDGET PHETASY where Bridget's guest is Glenn Greenwald.
Moving over to Iraq, Senator Rand Paul has a column at THE LEXINGTON HERALD LEADER which opens:
It is easier to start a war than end one. That argument alone should deter us from war and yet . . .time and time again man’s bellicosity combined often with imbecility entices us to war.
The Iraq war was no exception. Sold as a response to 9/11 with propaganda so irresponsible that it convinced some of our guys to graffiti our missiles with words like: “this is payback for 9/11.” Only it wasn’t. Not only did Saddam Hussein have nothing to do with 9/11, deposing him led to chaos and a breeding ground for more terrorism.
Regime change led to an Iraq more aligned with Iran than the US. Regime change required the lives of roughly 4,000 young men and women and the injuries, often severe, of over 31,000.
On Thursday, Congress finally voted to end the war in Iraq, nearly 20 years after it began. Intermittent combat and even renewed wars were fought using the 2002 Iraq authorization. So, the vote to repeal the 2002 AUMF (Authorization for Use of Military Force) has real life implications.
Some from the pro-interventionist side wanted to replace the 2002 AUMF with a new one to continue to authorize war. I say enough war. If you want to send our best and brightest to fight again in Iraq, come to Congress with a specific declaration of why we should return to war. Otherwise, give peace a chance.
Some video reports.
Most left outlets appear to be ignoring the news. I don't see anything at IN THESE TIMES, THE NATION, THE PRGORESSIVE, etc -- at least not on their main page.
And that's probably the right reaction because it doesn't really mean that much. Jeffrey St. Clair (COUNTERPUNCH) points out, "The House voted to revoke the 2002 AUMF in Iraq, which is long overdue. But it’s the 2001 AUMF that continues to authorize the forever wars…"
And they may also be taking a pass on the nonsense of Saint Barbara Lee. She's done nothing for years but flap her gums. Now, when the president of the United States is okay with ending it, it's ended. It has nothing to do with Barbara who did nothing -- including nothing to build support for ending it over the years. She's useless and a fake ass. What's next? Again to Jeffrey St. Clair (COUNTERPUNCH):
In the latest provocative machination from the guy who pledged to end the Forever Wars, Biden is actively considering installing a permanent Naval Task Force in the Pacific with the specific charge to “counter China”…
On nonsense, I want to return to THE NATION for just a moment. They have an article calling for the closure of Guantanamo Bay and it's argued in a 'we lost loved ones on 9/11' which I think is total nonsense. If they want to present that argument as one argument in a group of arguments, fine. But that's not what they're doing.
Does the gulag at Guantanamo need to be closed? Absolutely.
Does that article help anyone?
Not by itself.
By itself, it allows most readers to nod along as they read along and then do nothing. They don't have the 'standing' that the magazine gives the writers. This is walling off discussion. You lost a loved one during 9/11? I am very storry for you. That doesn't give you more of a voice or more insight into this issue that effects the world. It doesn't make your voice anymore meaningful.
During the age of Bill O'Reilly and his demonizing, there might have been some sort of reason for the way THE NATION is selling Close Guantanamo today. Closing Guantanamo is something we should all be arguing against and we all have equal standing. This is being done in our name. This is torture. We have looked the other way for almost two decades. If THE NATION wants to do a broad section of voices, that's great. But as it is, they've just told the bulk of their readers to shut up because this is work that needs to be done by those who have 'skin in the game' because they lost someone on 9/11. It's a nonsense view and I really am disappointed in THE NATION for presenting it.
Violence is ongoing in Iraq. NRT notes:
Two men were killed and a woman was wounded in a shooting on Erbil’s 60-meter Street on Sunday night (June 20).
NRT reporter Murad Ahmed said that a shooter riding in one vehicle opened fire on a group of people in another vehicle, before fleeing.
Erbil Police Directorate Spokesperson Hogr Aziz said that the motive behind the shooting was a “social issue,” a term used by the authorities to refer to non-party political violence or domestic violence.
XINHAU reports, "A farmer and his son were killed Sunday in a roadside bomb explosion in southern part of Iraqi capital Baghdad [. . .] The first attack occurred when an improvised explosive device blasted near the farmer's house in a village, according to a statement by the Iraqi Joint Operations Command (JOC)." In other news, PRESS TV notes:
A rocket attack has reportedly hit an air base hosting the occupying US troops in Iraq’s western province of Anbar, the latest in a series of assaults that have targeted American occupation forces in the Arab country over the past few months.
An unnamed security force said a Katyusha rocket had landed at the Ain al-Asad Air Base, located about 160 kilometers (100 miles) west of the capital Baghdad, on Sunday, without causing casualties.
The assault on the Ain Al-Asad base came as pro-Tehran groups hailed the election of Iranian ultraconservative cleric Ebrahim Raisi as the new president of the Islamic republic, with some saying it reflected the "failure" of America's "pawns" in the region.
The attack also comes 10 days after the US offered a reward of up to $3 million for information on strikes against its citizens in Iraq.
US interests in Iraq have come under repeated attack since October 2019, including with rockets, with Washington routinely blaming them on Iran-backed factions.
Kamal Chomani Tweets of other violence:
Last week, MEHR reported:
A number of members of the Iraqi Parliament called for an immediate response to the Turkish Army and a cease to its advancement into northern Iraq, stressing the need to maintain Iraqi sovereignty, Almaloumah reported.
Fazel Jaber, a representative of the Iraqi Fatah Coalition lashed out at the Iraqi position in this regard and stated that Iraq's position is shameful because it has not taken any action to deter Turkey and to stop its repeated attacks on the sovereignty of Iraq.
The government and other officials must take serious action to deter Turkey and stop its actions in northern Iraq.
Guess who is among the ones making the call? State of Law. Nouri al-Maliki's political coalition. State of Law's Kate Najman is quoted in the article about the violation of Iraq's sovereignty.
Nouri's been preparing for the upcoming elections. I think he's a thug but I'm not an Iraqi voter. He's been out of office (as prime minister) since 2014. Is it long enough for most Iraqis to forget why they disliked him? Elections are coming up, scheduled to take place in October.
The Iraqi Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) said on Sunday that it has approved 8,273 polling centers across the country as part of its preparations for the parliamentary elections scheduled for Oct. 10.
These centers consist of 55,041 polling stations, and each will receive a maximum of 450 voters, said a statement issued by the electoral commission on its website, stressing that the process of distributing polling stations depends on the voters' place of residence.
Moreover, the electoral commission "continues receiving responses from investigation bodies about the candidates' eligibility to verify that he or she is not employed in the armed forces or security institutions," according to the statement.
Initially, 3,523 candidates registered to participate in the elections, including 963 women, but figures will be updated once all candidate statistics are consolidated and cross-checked.
Approximately 185 candidates have already been disqualified but I guess including that wouldn't allow for feel-good coverage?
PBS's weekend edition of THE NEWSHOUR filed a report on Iraq:
An unexploded rocket landed close to a military base hosting U.S. troops in northern Iraq today. There was no significant damage but the attack was the latest targeting the American military presence in the country. About 2,500 U.S. troops remain in Iraq as part of the multinational coalition force in the fight against ISIS. It's the lowest U.S. Military presence in two decades. And while ISIS has lost territorial control, the threat of a resurgence remains if the military were to pull out all together.
NewsHour Weekend Special Correspondent Leila Molana-Allen and videographer Adrian Hartrick were granted access to travel to bases across Iraq that still have a U.S. presence to find out what they're doing and what their future plans are.
Touching down at a Kurdish base in north Iraq, Coalition special forces arrive to provide tactical training.
Just a few years ago this base was full of Americans. But now, like others across Iraq, it's been handed back to local forces. This is what the foreign troop presence in Iraq now looks like: training, equipping, advising.
"No combat troops" has become the top line in efforts to walk the diplomatic tightrope over tensions that US troops still remain in Iraq 18 years after the invasion.
Earlier this year the American military completed an agreed reduction to 2,500 troops country-wide. Now they're in talks to withdraw altogether.
Their stated mission is to defeat ISIS. While the group no longer has any territory, their scattered remnants are still a threat.
What do you think would happen right now if there was a full drawdown?
Col. David Williams:
The definite risks are an ISIS resurgence potentially. The enabling capacity that the coalition provides is really essential to the Iraqi security forces and the Kurdish security forces.
Colonel David Williams is the chief coalition liaison with Kurdish forces in the north. The coalition has provided intensive training for years to the Peshmerga, the Kurdish security forces, equipping them with high-level military gear and, some say, helping them turn a mountain militia into a well-honed and modern fighting force.
They do the same for the Iraqi army; the country's top counter-terrorism force was founded by U.S. Special Forces, and multiple branches of the security forces have been trained by them; while the pandemic ended in-person training, the regular equipment handouts continue.
The Iraqi government says the country's armed forces, who were swiftly overpowered when ISIS swept through much of Iraq in 2014, are now ready to fight the country's multiple security threats alone. Others aren't so sure.
Peshmerga General Sirwan Barzani has worked hand-in-hand with the coalition for years; he says local forces couldn't manage in a year what foreign forces can do in a few days.
Meanwhile a mother fights for justice.
The mother of assassinated activist Ihab al-Wazni held an open sit-in
in front of Karbala's court on Sunday, demanding authorities reveal the
identity of her son’s killer, local activists have confirmed to Rudaw
Dozens of activists supporting Samira al-Wazni gathered in front of the court, 40 days after the assassination of her son, demanding decisive steps to be taken by the government.
Activists said security forces prevented her from setting up a tent at the entrance to the court.
“You are all killers, I will not leave. I am not afraid of you, I will set the governor headquarter’s on fire if my son’s killers stay free” video footage shows her saying.
She delivered a statement in front of the Karbala court, chastising tribal elders.
"Where are you?” she said, addressing them as “a grieving woman who plays a role greater than yours."
"This government is devoid of morality...otherwise, they wouldn't let an old and sick woman sit on the streets and bear the burden of the government's negligence in order to get the blood of her son and obtain her most basic rights with retribution from the criminals.”
The courts and the government may look away but the people are noticing.
And Mohammed Hussein Tweets:
Kat's "Kat's Korner: Billy Davis Jr. and Marilyn McCoo still make beautiful art together" and Isaiah's THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS "MSNBC FABRICATOR JOY REID."