Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Irish Stew in the Kitchen

Briana e-mailed that she's diabetic and she enjoys the recipes at Diabetic Gourmet including this one for Irish stew:


  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1-1/4 pounds beef, top round, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
  • 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
  • 3 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch pieces
  • 2 medium parsnips, cut into large chunks (optional)
  • 3 cups low-fat, reduced-sodium beef broth
  • 4 medium russet potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 leek, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley


    • In large pot over medium-high heat, heat oil. Add beef and garlic. Cook, gently stirring until meat is evenly browned. Season with salt and pepper.
    • Add onion, carrots and parsnips. Cook 3-4 minutes. Stir in broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer about 75 minutes, or until meat is tender.
    • Stir in potatoes and simmer another 30 minutes. Add rosemary and leeks. Continue to simmer, uncovered, until potatoes are tender. To avoid potatoes falling apart, do not overcook.
    • Serve hot and garnish with parsley, if desired.

Nutritional Information Per Serving:

Calories: 370
Fat: 8 grams
Saturated Fat: 2 grams
Fiber: 6 grams
Sodium: 427 milligrams
Carbohydrates: 43 grams

And I want to note this from Jacob Sugarman's article for In These Times:

Eleven days before, after months of grueling negotiations, the Fernández administration announced that Argentina had reached an accord to renegotiate its $44.5 billion in debt to the IMF, a powerful international financial institution whose stated mission is to reduce poverty around the world.” In the administration’s telling, the deal, which is expected to be completed later this week, will allow the country to meet its financial obligations without implementing the kinds of brutal austerity measures the fund imposed two decades earlier. Fernández and his economic minister, Martín Guzmán, have found enthusiastic support from Nobel prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz, who hailed the agreement in Foreign Policy for providing Argentina room to continue its economic recovery” and, perhaps more importantly, setting a precedent for dealing with debt restructuring and financial crises that could arise in the pandemic’s aftermath.” (Stiglitz mentored Guzmán at Columbia University and has praised his disciple as Argentina’s bright young hope.”) Yet this view is far from the consensus even within Fernández’s own party, Frente de Todos (Everyone’s Front). As the deal slowly makes its way to Congress for approval, those within the country’s left-wing economic and political circles warn that such a pact will not only reify an illegitimate debt but immiserate the general population — just as it did in 2001.

The IMF, which came into being at the Bretton Woods conference in 1944, has a checkered history in Latin America. From Brazil to Ecuador to Peru, the fund has extended billions of dollars in credit on the condition that its debtors sell off valuable state assets and make sweeping cuts to their federal budgets. Argentina has been one of the IMF’s most reliable clients, accepting 21 bailouts from the fund since 1956 including a record $57 billion in 2018. Like so many of the fund’s investments in the developing world, that loan’s ostensible aim was to restore market confidence by imposing strict spending cuts to the tune of 4.4% of GDP from 2018 to 2020. But the IMF likely had an ulterior motive. Mauricio Claver-Carone, the president of the Inter-American Development Bank and a former U.S. representative to the IMF board, has since acknowledged that the loan was a political favor to the country’s right-of-center president, Mauricio Macri. By flooding Argentina with cash less than a year before the presidential elections of 2019, the fund, whose largest shareholder is the United States, sought to bolster the prospects of a former Trump business associate that the administration saw as a key ally in its efforts to overthrow the Venezuelan government.

The IMF’s gambit backfired spectacularly. Instead of attracting foreign investment and stabilizing the economy, the country’s GDP shrank 2.6% in 2018 and 2% in 2019 amid mass layoffs and soaring utility costs. Inflation climbed to more than 50% annually, and thousands took to the streets in April 2019 to protest the administration’s IMF-prescribed austerity measures. A general strike, the fifth of Macri’s presidency, ground the country to a halt nearly two months later. By the time the Peronists swept back into power in October of that year, Argentina’s poverty rate had climbed from 29% in 2015 to more than 40%, per the Catholic University of Argentina.

Last December, as talks with the Fernández administration drew to a close, the IMF issued an unprecedented report acknowledging that its 2018 loan had failed to deliver on its objectives.” But whether the Fund has internalized the human costs of Argentina’s economic unraveling remains, at the very least, an open question. Rather than postpone its negotiations so that the country might concentrate on its pandemic response, the IMF has continuously pursued its debt even as more than 125,000 Argentinians have died of Covid. Meanwhile, U.S. lawmakers including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D‑N.Y.) and Pramila Jayapal (D‑Wash.) have raised concern about the financial institution’s predatory practices beyond any individual agreement with a developing nation.

In January, 18 Democrats sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen urging her to push the IMF to drop its loan surcharges — additional fees that only add to the debt burden of cash-strapped governments. As of this writing, those charges remain in place, limiting the resources of countries like Argentina to combat the social and economic effects of the coronavirus and all but compelling them to consider budget cuts they might otherwise avoid. 

While the IMF has placed no formal restrictions on Argentina’s fiscal response to the pandemic, left-wing critics have taken aim at the Fernández administration for suspending government assistant programs like the Ingreso Familiar de Emergencia (Emergency Family Income) and the Programa de Asistencia de Emergencia al Trabajo y la Producción (Emergency Assistance Program for Work and Production) when the country was still in the throes of the pandemic in order to pay the Fund.

As a Catholic, I firmly believe that those who work at the IMF will rot in hell for eternity for the way they have destroyed the lives of so many people around the world.

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

 Tuesday, February 22, 2022. Another US convoy is attacked in Iraq, women remain targeted, Julian Assange remains persecuted, what does it say about the Australian government when they can't even protect their own citizens, more US tax dollars wasted as the government tries to sell war on Russia, and much more.

Australia's Minister of Foreign Affairs Marise Payne Tweets:

Russia’s recognition of two separatist territories of #Ukraine is a violation of international law, Ukraine’s territorial integrity & the Minsk agreement. Russia’s propaganda convinces no one. 🇦🇺 continues to work with partners to ensure severe costs for Russia’s aggression.3:23 PM · Feb 21, 2022

Heaven S replies back:

How about the violation of international laws and human rights for Robert Pether? His family are still waiting for you to publicly condemn his mistreatment. 11 months in arbitrary detention in Iraq and no support from you or . #freerobertpether

The Australian government wants to act tough and cheer on a new war?  If I were Australian, I think I'd hold that lousy government accountable for the lies of the Iraq War, for the failure to protect Australian citizens including Robert Pether and Julian Assange.

MIDWEST RADIO covers Robert's case in an audio report here.   Gabija Gataveckaite (IRELAND"S INDEPENDENT) reports:

The family of an Irish-based engineer who has been sentenced to five years jail in Iraq and given a €10m fine has said that the help of the Irish government is their “last resort”.

Roscommon-based Robert Pether, who is an Australian citizen but lives in Ireland, was detained in April and has been found guilty of deception in a “kangaroo court” according to his wife Desree.

He now faces a hefty €10.2m fine and five years in prison after a contractual dispute in Iraq.

Ms Pether and her children, who are Irish citizens, took to Leinster House today to call for the Irish government to intervene and put pressure on the Iraqi government.

“He was working on the project for four years and then he was arrested on April 7 last year and he was imprisoned,” she said.

“There was a contract dispute between his employer and the Central Bank of Iraq, it had nothing to do with him and his colleague, they’re employees and they were used as leverage in a contract dispute,” Ms Pether claimed.

The Austlrain government is inept and refuses to defend its own citiens but repeatedly makes time to play kid sister of the US and UK and join them in war mogering.  How pathetic.  

On the continued persecution of Julian Assange, IRISH LEGAL NEWS notes:

Mr Assange has been held at HMP Belmarsh in south-east London since his eviction from the Ecuadorean embassy in April 2019, where he had spent seven years in order to avoid extradition.

But Professor Nils Melzer, UN special rapporteur on torture, has said the UK is falling foul of international law by keeping Mr Assange imprisoned.

“We have a man locked up in solitary confinement in a high-security prison who’s not violent, who’s not serving a sentence,” he said. “He should be free, perhaps with house arrest.”

The academic said: “[Pinochet] was free to receive as many visitors as he wanted and have access to the public … and that’s precisely, it seems to me, what the government wants to prevent because there is no legal basis for keeping Julian Assange in a high-security prison.”

BD Cassin Tweets:

Don't forget #JulianAssange today. Everyday.

Turning to Iraq where Layal Shakir (RUDAW) reminds that women remain targeted in Iraq for their gender:

A man has reportedly set his wife ablaze in Sulaimani after pouring gasoline over her due to a domestic dispute, a family member told Rudaw on Sunday. The tragic incident comes less than a week after the Kurdistan Region reported its fifth femicide this month.

Shnyar Hunar, 21, and a mother of two was reportedly burnt by her husband early Saturday. She is currently in critical condition as 85 percent of her body has been severely burned.

“I received a phone call at 2:30 am [on Saturday], it was Shnyar’s [Hunar] mother-in-law. She asked me if we could come to Sulaimani. I asked why, she said Shnyar’s legs have been burnt slightly, it’s nothing. I want you to come,” Hunar’s mother told Rudaw’s Horvan Rafaat from Sulaimani’s Burn Hospital.

Hunar’s mother described that her daughter’s face and entire body, with the exception of her legs, had suffered burns. 

Hunar has accused her husband of setting her ablaze after he beat her up following a dispute between the couple.

Meanwhile ABNA reports:A US coalition logistics convoy in Iraq was targeted by a roadside bomb.

A US-led coalition logistics convoy carrying equipment and supplies needed by US troops was targeted by a roadside bomb in southern Iraq.

According to Iraqi sources, the blast took place near the city of Al-Nasiriyah in Dhi Qar province, and no casualties have been reported yet. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

The convoys enter Iraq from the Kuwaiti border and carry items needed by US troops. 

Glad combat missions are over.  At least in Joe Biden's mind.  Remember, too, US 'combat' troops are all out of Iraq.  Joe Biden replaced them all with a line of 'hostess' troops who are trained in serving tea and crumpets.  Right?  The US miliary trains its members in combat.  Joe can fool a lot of idiots but we're not all stupid.

In other news, Verity Ratcliffe (BLOOMBERG NEWS) reports:

Iraq is in talks with Halliburton Co. and Saudi Arabia’s Aramco to carry out oil and gas developments in the west of the country.

Baghdad is in discussion with Halliburton Co. for a technical partnership to develop and operate oil and gas reserves in Anbar province near Iraq’s borders with Syria and Saudi Arabia, Iraq’s Oil Minister Ihsan Abdul Jabbar said in an interview in Qatar. The ministry is finalizing the the commercial terms and scope of work and Iraq’s government will sign the contract once it takes office, he said.

Liz Cheney's trashy father finally gets his way.  The trashy Cheney family, the one the faux 'resistance' has tried to rehab.  Disgusting.

Over at THE NATIONAL, Mina Aldroubi reports:

The Iraqi city of Mosul opened its newly-restored Central Library last week, eight years after terrorist group ISIS destroyed it.

Founded in 1921, it was one of the richest libraries in Iraq, second only to the Central Library in Baghdad.

When ISIS took over the city in 2014, the university library was bombarded by missiles and badly damaged. An estimated 8,000 to 10,000 books and ancient manuscripts were destroyed. A treasured archive recognised by Unesco was also damaged.

In all, around 85 per cent of the library's collection was lost.

Unesco called the sabotage “one of the most devastating acts of destruction of library collections in human history”.

As the Iraq War continues -- with little interest from the western media -- the US government keeps trying to sell war on Russia.  Alan Macleod (MPN) notes:

Amid soaring tensions with Russia, the United States is spending a fortune on foreign interference campaigns in Ukraine. Washington’s regime-change arm, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), has spent $22.4 million on operations inside the country since 2014, when democratically-elected President Viktor Yanukovych was overthrown and replaced by a successor government handpicked by the U.S. Those operations included propping up and training pro-Western political parties, funding pliant media organizations, and subsidizing massive privatization drives that benefit foreign multinational corporations, all in an effort to secure U.S. control over the country that NED President Carl Gershman called “the biggest prize” in Europe.

The National Endowment for Democracy was set up in 1983 by the Reagan administration after a series of public scandals had seriously undermined both the credibility and the public image of the CIA. That the organization was established and continues to function as a cutout group doing much of the agency’s dirtiest work is not in question. “It would be terrible for democratic groups around the world to be seen as subsidized by the CIA,” Gershman himself said, explaining its creation. “A lot of what we do today was done covertly 25 years ago by the CIA,” NED cofounder Allen Weinstein told The Washington Post in 1991.

Since its inception, NED has been a driving force behind many of the most prominent uprisings and coups around the world. The organization currently has 40 active projects in Belarus, all with the goal of removing President Alexander Lukashenko from office. Last year, the country was engulfed by nationwide protests that made worldwide headlines. NED senior Europe Program officer, Nina Ognianova, boasted that her agency was involved in the uprising. “We don’t think that this movement that is so impressive and so inspiring came out of nowhere — that it just happened overnight,” she said, noting that NED had made a “modest but significant contribution” to the protests.

The 2021 protest movement in Cuba was also led by NED-financed operatives, with the organization’s own documents showing how it had for years been infiltrating the Cuban art and music scene in an attempt to turn popular culture against the communist government. Ultimately, the movement failed. However, NED continues to prop up anti-government Cuban artists, media outlets, politicians and public figures.

The following sites updated: