Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Grocery workers

There's new content at The Third Estate Sunday Review.  Ava and C.I. have "TV: NAOMI, PEACEMAKER and INFINITE explore superheroes" which I strongly urge you read.  And Ava, C.I., Dona, Elaine, Betty, Ann, Marcia, Cedric, Jess and I worked on "How daughter Anna helped Frances Moore Lappe destroy her life's work."  I really urge you to read that.  Ava and C.I. had said in the roundtable for last week's gina & krista round-robin that you could take any section of the recipes of the 50th edition to demonstrate how Anna's recipe choices reject everything Frances Moore Lappe's work has stood for.  So we went with bread.  To demonstrate, we noted the nutritional (and also quick and easy) recipes compared to what Anna provides in the 50th edition -- a bread that takes 21 hours to make and is garbage bread because it's white bread and has no nutrional value.

Now please read Hamilton Noah's piece on grocery workers at In These Times.  Here's the opening:

An alarming new survey of thousands of grocery workers across three western U.S. states reveals that they suffer from shockingly high rates of poverty. More than three-quarters of the workers meet the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s definition of food insecure,” and 14% say they have been homeless within the past year. 

The survey, which was funded by the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW) and performed by the nonprofit research group the Economic Roundtable, drew responses from more than 10,000 workers at Kroger, the largest all-grocery chain in the United States. (Kroger also owns other grocery brands including Fred Meyer, Harris Teeter, and City Market.) The workers surveyed live in Southern California, Washington state, and Colorado, and all of them are UFCW members – indicating that the abysmal conditions reported may in fact be better than the conditions of the average U.S.grocery worker, given the fact that all of those surveyed have at least the minimal protections that union contracts provide. 

Peter Dreier, a professor at Occidental College who co-authored the new report, believes that it is one of the largest independent surveys of retail workers ever performed in the United States. We scoured pretty carefully the terrain of polling and surveys that have been done, and didn’t see anything remotely close,” he says. 

Grocery shelves are getting empty again.  NPR notes:

The highly contagious new COVID-19 variant that's causing record infections in the U.S. is undoubtedly one of the biggest stressors on the food industry right now.

Grocery store workers are catching the virus in higher numbers and calling out sick, making it tougher for markets to keep shelves stocked. The stores themselves are finding it harder to source products because of the new strain.

We need our grocery store workers and we need them healthy and well paid.  I don't see the country being run with that realization.  Do you?

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

Monday, January 17, 2022.  Julian Assange remains persecuted, the western press continues to ignore the attacks on Iraqi women and girls, and much more.

As THE DAILY DEBRIEF notes, the persecution of Julian Assange continues.

Youssef Tarchoun Tweets:

Antoine Vey, lawyer for Julian Assange: “This case is above all political, not legal, nor judicial”

Em & Nora notes:

Voglio sostenere anche io #JulianAssange per aver dimostrato quel coraggio che vorrei avere! Diffondere e informate. #FreeJulianAssange

They're saying, in Italian, that they want to support Julian for showing the kind of courage they wish they had and to get the word out.

The whole world is watching.  Joe Biden should be aware of this.  The whole world is watching to see whether he's going to do the right thing and stop persecuting Julian or whether he's just another tin-horn dictator?

All of the crooks responsible for the murder of over a million Iraqis and none of them facing a tribunal, some of them (Tony Blair) receiving honors?  And Julian Assange, who told the truth, is the one threatened?

Maharaj wants you to lead a pilgrimage to Tibet
New York women want me sounding off like a suffragette
I know that each of us is all alone in the end
But the trip still feels less dangerous when you've got a friend
If we stick together
You and me forever
We're safe and sound
The world's just inside out and upside down
The world's just inside out and upside down

-- "Safe and Sound," written by Carly Simon and Jacob Brackman, first appears on Carly's HOT CAKES

"The world's just inside out and upside down" indeed. 

And I got into an argument over the above because I dictate the snapshots and I said, just grab the lyrics online, third verse.  And then they're read to me and those are not the lyrics.  GOOGLE is not always correct.  They'd mispelled "Majaraj" and they'd added words ("turned" was added to "The world's just inside out and upside down," etc.)  I said hold on, when I get off the treadmill, I will go to the music room and grab the sheet music but I am right on this.  (And I was.)  

Something's are clear cut, some are less so.

MINT PRESS NEWS has a brodcast by Seyed Mohammad Maradni that we will not post here.  I have no interest in lies.  Yes, Soleimani was a terrorist.  That said, I've reposted Richard Medhurst's defense of him.  I didn't listen to it, but I posted it.  I'm not surprised we disagree.  But the description for Seyed's pice goes on about how "Western media largely sided with the U.S. after Trump's deicision to kill him.  Suddenly, Soleimani was no longer a hero" blah blah bulls**t and then they cite CNBC.

I'm not in the mood for your lies and garbage.  

Soleimani was hailed by the US media.  Andrea Mitchell embarrassed her damn self and people asked her what the hell she was doing?  Good.  They needed to.  And she wasn't alone.  The Hate Trump Fever was so great that the US media treated Soleimani like a hero and a great person.

He wasn't.

Unlike Andrea and the MSNBC goons, I don't really care who's president -- not to the point of lying.  I'll make the same call regardless of who is in the White House.

Unlike Seyed, I don't lick the taint of any government.  

I will always side with the people.  

By the way, there have been e-mails to the public account about how I am against Daniel Ortega.  I don't know  where this crap starts.  Nicaragua is not our focus here.  I don't write about it.  I have posted THE CONVO COUCH's many videos on the election.  Equally true, I know Daniel and have spoken to him many times over the years -- I've known him since back when the US government was supporting the crooked contras (and that's only one reason, I hate that fat ass on THE VIEW).  We honestly don't discuss politics when we talk.  We discuss music.  That's music native to his country (I spent a lot of time in that area) and that's music native to here.  Do you know who one of his favorite US artists is?  She's already popped up in the snapshot.  Yes, Carly Simon. 

Anyway, I will always stand with the people.  And you can make a hero out of whomever you want but when your hero has terrorized the Iraqi people and done so for years and we have documented it here, don't expect me to stick my tongue on your government of choice's taint.

I don't give a damn about any government.  I care about the people.  And the victims of his terrorist acts in Iraq will always have my sympathies.   

Too many people are too immature and they're desperate for heroes (I'm not) so they back themselves into a corner and there's no way out for them.  My way out is simple.  I support the people.  I'm not interested in glorifying politicians -- most are psychopaths or ego maniacs.  The 'normal' ones rarely do anything of real value for the people that they are supposed to serve.

I enjoy Richard Medhurst's program and I find him a very smart person. Doesn't mean we can't disagree and it doesn't mean that a disagreement results in "write him off!"  He is honest and upfront -- unlike Susan ("Medea") Benjamin and her ilk who seems to confuse peace with being pro-regime of whatever country the US is at war with.  Or the faux 'resistance' who confused their hatred for Donald Trump with an actual political position.  

This morning, MEMO notes:


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An alliance of the two largest Sunni blocs in the Iraqi parliament condemned yesterday the repeated attacks on its leaders and their offices and called for the perpetrators to be prosecuted. The alliance is between Takaddom led by former Speaker of Parliament Muhammad Al-Halbousi, and Al-Azm led by businessman Khamis Al-Khanjar.

The two parties called for the "terrorist group" to be held accountable for the attack on the office of Sheikh Abdul Karim Abtan MP without delay. "Using these criminal methods to change our way forward will not succeed," they insisted, "and will not deter us from our objectives to build a strong, sovereign state without suspicious agendas, free of terrorism and easily available weapons."

Well I guess they'd -- finally -- have to, wouldn't they?  First of all, everyone -- including Shi'ite Nouri al-Maliki -- weighed in on Friday.  It's days later and they're finally weighing -- after rumors on social media have increased -- rumors that they took part in the bombing and did so because they saw Takaddom as a sell out to the SUnnis because of overtures being made to Moqtada al-Sadr.

Yeah, I guess they'd have to issue that statement.

In other news, BOLLY INSIDE reports:

The Iraqi security forces, a Turkish military installation in Zlikan, northeast of Mosul, has been targeted by rocket fire for the second time in two days. “Three missiles landed northeast of Mosul, near the Turkish base. Turkish artillery retaliated with a barrage of shells .”

No Turkish soldiers were hurt in the incident. Two Katyusha rockets were also launched against the Turkish Zlikan base’s surrounds on Saturday.

The presence of Turkish troops in the Zlikan camp has been a topic of long-standing controversy between Baghdad and Ankara, which justifies its presence in the region as a need to fight the Kurdistan Workers’ Party outlawed in Turkey.

Exactly what other countries can Turkey invade and occupy and get away with it?  I'm just wondering since the world has repeatedly elected to look the other way at these war crimes and these violations of Iraq's national sovereignty?

When not invading Iraq, the Turkish government denies it water.  That's a major issue as climate change worsens.  PBS' THE NEWSHOUR reported on climate change in Iraq over the weekend.  Excerpt:

  • Hari Sreenivasan:

    In November, nearly 200 nations gathered in Glasgow, Scotland for the COP26 climate summit. The outcome was disappointing for experts, who wanted stronger commitments to ensure capping global warming. The conference also failed to ease vulnerable countries' concerns about long-promised climate financing from rich nations.

    One of the countries lacking international support is Iraq. As NewsHour Weekend Special Correspondent Simona Foltyn reports, the country is already facing the alarming effects of climate change.

    This story is part of our ongoing series, "Peril & Promise: The Challenge of Climate Change."

  • Simona Foltyn:

    Sunrise in Iraq's Mesopotamian marshes. These historic wetlands are nestled in southern Iraq, where human civilization emerged 7,000 years ago.

    But water scarcity is threatening this habitat and the humans who rely on it.

  • Jassem Ali, Fisherman:

    There's no water. And if there's no water, there's no more fish. There's only bare land left. The water has dried.

  • Simona Foltyn:

    In this area, average annual rainfall for the last twenty years was 10 percent lower than in the three decades prior.

    Declining water levels means the water that is left is increasingly salty , making it largely unfit for humans, animals and vegetation alike. Only small fish survive here now, but they fetch a lower price for the fishermen. Their catch earned them $15 dollars each, the result of two days of hard work.

  • Hassoun Daoud, Fisherman:

    Of course this is not enough. I have a family that depends on me. But this is our life now.

  • Jassem Ali, Fisherman:

    I have four children sitting at home. Two are married and two aren't.

  • Simona Foltyn:

    I ask Jassem Ali if he's thinking about leaving fishing to find work elsewhere.

    "And do what?" he asks in return.

    It's a question that weighs on many people's minds here, explains Jassem Al Assadi, a water engineer who has dedicated his life to protecting the marshes.

  • Jassem Al Assadi, Nature Iraq:

    Chibayish and other towns depend on the water economic activities, buffalo breeders, harvesting the reeds, grasses. If there's no water, everything is dead. The economic life is dead completely here.

  • Simona Foltyn:

    Drought has further compounded another, long-standing water problem here.

    The marshes are fed by the Tigris and the Euphrates rivers, both of which originate in Turkey, as well as other tributaries from Iran. Both countries have built dams upstream, which has gradually reduced water flow.

    The dams have long been a source of regional tensions, but climate change has further raised the stakes.

  • Winding down, last night, I wrote the following:

    One piece I did for the community newsletter that I would've loved to have repeated here was about Nouri Tweeting -- as he backed the legal challenges to the October 10th vote -- that the vote, as it was, wasn't fair to women because it didn't meet the quota set aside for women.

    As I noted, that was hysterical from the man who couldn't find women to put in his Cabinet in his second term, a prime minister who even made a man (Hoshyar Zebari) the Minister of Women's Affairs.  Yet in December of 2021 -- eleven years later -- wants to lament the lack of representation for women in Parliament?

    I covered it in a gina & krista round-robin back in December.

    Did you see anyone in the press eve r cover it?  Nope.  A) Women don't matter to the western press.  B) The press doesn't know history about Iraq -- or doesn't care to share it.  So it wasn't covered by the western media.  

    A man writes to the public e-mail account (common_ills@yahoo.com) to inform me that the western press cares "only about women.  You stub your toe and we have to hear about it for four weeks."  Oh, how interesting it must be in your tiny mind.  Reality, the bulk of what happens to women, crimes against women, are never noted or explored.  Don't confuse mass media attention to some White female celebrity with attention to women.  

    If you're still not getting it, RUDAW's Layal Shakir Tweeted:

    A female university student in Baghdad committed suicide after her father assaulted her in front of her classmates, beating her in public for telling her mother that he married another woman. She ended her life on the same day. #Iraq

    Tell me which western outlet reported on it?  It took place Baghdad -- which is really the only city that western reporters and stringers occupy in Iraq.  Did Jane Araf report on it?  No, The Whore of Baghdad never reports on things like that.  So stop pretending that the western press gives a damn about women.

    Maryam Al Rukabi?  Last month, only AFP (of western outlets) covered her story.  A man was obsessed with her.  She didn't love him and her parents told him she was too young to marry.  He broke into her home and poured acid on her face.   For those who make the mistake of trusting western media, we'll note Rasha al-Aqeedi Tweet again:

    Ok, Twitter. We need your help. This beautiful young woman from Iraq Maryam Al Rukabi refused a marriage proposal. The suitor invaded her home at night and attacked her with acid. He is still free. With enough pressure and international attention, some justice could be brought.

    7:58 AM · Dec 16, 2021 

    She's sixteen years old and she was attacked for refusing to marry an adult male.  He broke into her home and poured acide on her.  You can also refer to Mustafa Goran (RUDAW) for more.

    Again, this was an attack in Baghdad -- home of the western press.  And, again, they ignored it.  This isn't news to them.  That says a great deal about what they endorse and encourage with their silence.

    Just walking along, shopping for food
    Stepping out of the line of fire when people are rude
    Cheap stuff made in China, someone calls it a sale
    Somebody's mama, somebody's daughter
    Somebody's jail

    Beat down in the market, stoned to death in the plaza
    Raped on the hillside under the gun from LA to Gaza
    A house made of cardboard living close to the rail
    Somebody's mama, somebody's daughter
    Somebody's jail

    And I feel the witch in my veins
    I feel the mother in my shoe
    I feel the scream in my soul
    The blood as I sing the ancient blue
    They burned in the millions
    I still smell the fire in my grandma's hair
    The war against women rages on
    Beware of the fairytale
    Somebody's mama, somebody's daughter
    Somebody's jail

    The noise of elections, the promise of change
    A grabbing of power at the top, a day at the rifle range
    Somebody's in danger, somebody's for sale
    Somebody's mama, somebody's daughter
    Somebody's jail

    -- "Somebody's Jail," written by Holly Near, first appears on her album SHOW UP.

    The following sites updated: