Thursday, February 11, 2021

Call Me Kat

CALL ME KAT is Fox's new sitcom starring Mayim Bialik in the lead role.  She's joined by a talented cast that includes Swoosie Kurtz, Cheyenne Jackson, Kyla Pratt, Leslie Jordan and Julian Gant.

This week's episode (which airs Thursday nights) dealt with Kat trying to decide whether or not she wanted to freeze her eggs in case she later wanted to have a baby.  This was funny and led to free ice cream.  The secondary story involved Leslie Jordan's character hooking up online.  He was giving a guy he'd never met thousands of dollars for hearing aids and they were convinced he was being catfished.  He was doing the catfishing -- he was using Cheyenne Jackson's photo and pretending it was him.

It was a funny episode and Kat is right -- Cheyenne Jackson did look hot in a diaper.  He's a hot guy.

Betty wrote "CALL ME KAT" last week and noted, "I do wish that Mayim and Cheyenne's characters would get together.  They probably won't but they do seem to belong together."

I agree!!!!

Now here's a video of Mayim talking about the show.

C.I. slid that over to me, she thought I might find it interesting.  I did.  


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

 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 FloresAmy 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:

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Connor Mulvaney running for Pittsburgh City Council

Do you live in Pittsburgh?  If so, you've got a real candidate in a local race.

Pittsburgh residents who live in the city’s South Hills neighborhoods have options when it comes to deciding who they want to represent them on city council.

Connor Mulvaney, 27, of Brookline, is seeking the District 4 seat held by Democrat Anthony Coghill. Mulvaney is running as a Green Party candidate.

By Tom Davidson
February 4, 2021

The district includes the city's Beechview, Bon Air, Brookline, Carrick, Mt. Washington and Overbrook neighborhoods.

Coghill is completing his first term on council and has said he anticipates seeking reelection.

Another Democrat, Bethani Cameron, intends to oppose Coghill in the Democratic Primary.

Cameron, 38, of Overbrook, worked in the office of Coghill's District 4 predecessor, Natalia Rudiak, from 2014 to 2017, served as Councilwoman Deb Gross' chief of staff until 2019, and worked as a policy analyst for Allegheny County Controller Chelsa Wagner later that year.

Mulvaney won't face a primary challenge unless another Green Party candidate comes forward.

A Moon Township native, Mulvaney's family has roots in the city's Shadyside neighborhood. He earned a bachelor's degree in journalism from Point Park University and has a master's degree in sustainability from Chatham University's Eden Hall campus in Richland.

He joined the Green Party after Sen. Bernie Sanders' failed presidential bid and said he's found a place that's more in touch with his priorities.

"I personally felt that I needed to find a political home that stood up for the values that I stood for," Mulvaney said.

He's been involved with the Green Party of Allegheny County since last year, he said.

"The most important issue we face is preparing to heal from this pandemic while we figure out how we will prevent District 4 and the City of Pittsburgh from falling victim to similar crises again," Mulvaney said. "We must build resilience in ways that are meaningful for peoples' everyday lives, such as keeping our streets safe and clear, keeping the lights on, and ensuring our families are fed and in good health. We can do all of this and more with a bold approach to policy."

A bakery clerk at Giant Eagle, Mulvaney also works as an organizer for the community group Re-imagine Beaver County and does occasional freelance work as a photojournalist.

He considers himself a Pittsburgh "lifer."

This is his first foray into politics.

"I consider myself an outsider in that respect," he said. "I think having an outside perspective can be useful."

He's interested in improving mobility issues, especially in the South Hills neighborhoods where it's tough to get from place to place if a person doesn't use a car, he said.

"We can be more assertive of our public transit infrastructure with more dedicated bus lanes or bike lanes, and really start to recenter our city around mobility for people to safely get around in the way that they choose instead of only the way that poor urban planning of the 20th century has chosen for them," he said.

He has an upcoming event:

Join us for an evening of local music and community solidarity on Zoom/Facebook Live! Registration info coming soon!

And here's Connor's Twitter feed.

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

 Wednesday, February 10, 2021.  As the Iraq War continues, a US writer warns against falling asleep while the wars drag on (but seems to forget the Iraq War), more executions in Iraq, and much more.

Starting with some questions from Glenn Greenwald:

Why is Maloney obsessed with Parler and not FB? Why did Dems demand the removal of Parler but not FB, even though FB played a far bigger role - vastly bigger - in the planning of the Capitol Riot? Could this be a factor?

It’s a total abuse of power for to use her position as House Chair to investigate Parler’s finances because she perceives it as ideologically adverse. Why isn’t she doing this to FB? Because Sheryl Sandberg maxes out donations to Rep Maloney?

Now let's ask a question: How stupid is America?

Pretty damn stupid, apparently.  Dr. Margaret Flowers suffered a real loss last year and I am so sorry about that.  But we don't give out hugs and kisses here so let's get to her nonsense at BLACK AGENDA REPORT.

 The anti-war movement, Margaret wants you to know, must not go to sleep under Biden.

Who's sleeping, Margaret?

"She said that US interventions in Iraq would improve the lives of Iraqis." 

"She" is Ireland's trash Samantha Power who apparently decided to become an American citizen because the US had a bigger military she could harness for her War Dreams.  Sticky sheets throughout the teenage years as she pleasured herself to War Porn, then American citizenship and the pretense that she was destroying lives as she called for war, war, war and more war!

That sentence about Samantha Power in quotes?  

That's it for Iraq in the column.

I'm not in the damn mood.

Why do members of Congress think they can get away with doing nothing regarding Medicare For All?

Because the American left gives them a pass every damn time.

No one paid for selling the Iraq War, true.  Equally true, no one paid a price for lying that they'd end the Iraq War even though, all these years later, it goes on and on.

Margaret's got plenty of time for Afghanistan.  Even for Venezuela and Iran.  But Iraq gets a single sentence.

I also think the claim that they went silent when Barack Obama became president is a falsehood.

When one of the founders of CODEPINK became a bundler for Barack, CODEPINK began 'bird dogging' candidates.  Not Barack.  Never Barack.  Not even in March 2008 when Samantha Power had to leave Barack's campaign for telling the BBC that Barack's promise to end the Iraq War was just words and nothing binding.  He would, she said on camera, decided what to do after he became president and not be bound by any campaign promise.

Do you know that?

If you don't and you were at least 13 in 2008 you can thank liars like John Nichols who worked overtime to hide that truth for you.  Or Tom Hayden who knew of the interview that March -- I know, we discussed it together in person and on the phone -- and yet he waited until July of 2008 to write about it and then, whore that he is, pretended (a) he had just heard of it and (b) blamed Hillary Clinton and her campaign for not making an issue out of it.  (Hillary's campaign did try to make an issue out of it including issuing multiple press releases.  Barack, however, had already gotten heavy protection -- no, not the Secret Service, the US press.)

CODESTINK used their 'activist' organization to clear the path for Barack to the party's nomination.  So, Margaret, let's stop with the pretense that it was after Barack became president (January 20, 2009) that the peace groups fell silent.  Equally true, the whore of all whores, United for Peace and Justice, used the day after the 2008 election to announce that they had accomplished their mission and were folding tent.

Now I could ignore the article's inability to deal with those truths.

I can't ignore the absence of Iraq.

US troops remain in Iraq.  The Iraqi people continue to suffer.

At FRONTLINE, Patrice Taddonio observes:

Nearly 18 years after the U.S.-led invasion, Iraqi civilians are still feeling the impact of the chaos that followed.

In the new documentary Iraq’s Assassins, releasing Feb. 9, FRONTLINE examines one outgrowth of the political instability and sectarian divides that were inflamed in the invasion’s wake: the rise and prominence of Shia militias with ties to Iran.

These militias played a prominent role in the fight to defend Iraq from ISIS. But in Iraq’s Assassins, journalist Ramita Navai travels to Iraq to investigate allegations that they are now threatening and killing critics and activists with impunity.

We have no follow through in this country, apparently.  We say a lot of words and then, minutes later, we move on to some new cause.

You think Nancy Pelosi didn't notice that?

Nancy, of all people. should have faced accountability.  She said give the Dems one house of Congress in the 2006 mid-terms and they'd end the war.  They were given both house of Congress in that election.  And the results and the turnout convinced them to keep the war going because it could be used to turn out votes in the 2008 presidential election.

She suffered no real fall out.

In a face to face with THE SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE, she faced the closest thing to pushback for her failure.  And what did she do?

She blamed her failure to end the Iraq War on . . . Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

Most Americans who care about Iraq don't even know that.  She tossed Harry under the bus and did so quickly and without blinking -- and the facial skin hadn't been pulled as far back so she could still blink in those days.

Now, in 2021, instead of dealing with any of those realities, a supposed cry to action reduces Iraq to one sentence.  A sentence about Samantha Power.  That's it.

The US government never gave a damn about the Iraqi people but who knew so many people in the supposed peace movement felt the same?

Julia Wraith Tweets:

waged without any logic. Today residents of this city in Iraq are seeing children brought to life with unprecedented birth defects. As we have reported in the past, scientific testing of the sick children & parents in Fallujah show that they were contaminated with U-235 enriched-

Here's another Tweet:

Maybe you should read up as the use if depleted uranium by NATO troops in Yugoslavia and Iraq continues to lead to rates of birth defects in some places 800% more then the world average. What would you call indiscriminate bombing campaigns in the middle east that destroy


Cancer rates, and diseases, birth defects and other things have skyrocketed in countries like Iraq thanks to the toxic waste created by bombs and depleted uranium weapons.

So the Iraqi people can be noted.  The way their lives have been impacted can be discussed.  Just apparently not in an article that says we must not go to sleep under Biden.

Go to sleep?  Margaret, it appears we're sleeping when we can't address Iraq.

And our failure to continue pressing on Iraq sends the message to our elected officials that we're just cranky children who will tire ourselves out if they just let us cry ourselves to sleep.  No need to address our issues.

Staying with Iraq, AFP reports:

 Iraq on Tuesday hanged five people convicted on “terrorism” charges in a notorious southern prison, security sources said, despite an international outcry in recent months over the country’s execution record.
The five men, all Iraqi, were executed in the Nasiriyah prison in Dhi Qar province, the only one in Iraq that carries out capital punishment, the security sources said.
Iraqis fearfully refer to Nasiriyah jail as Al-Hut, the Arabic word for “whale,” describing it as a vast prison complex that “swallows” people up.

Sura Ali (RUDAW) adds:

Human Rights Watch described the mass execution order as politically motivated, rather than a move made out of concern for justice.

"This announcement, unfortunately, speaks to a concern we have had for many years in Iraq that the death penalty is used as a political tool more than anything else," Belkis Wille, the watchdog's senior crisis and conflict researcher, told Rudaw English in January.

As noted in yesterday's snapshot, PBS' FRONTLINE is featuring a report on Iraq.  At their website, Privanka Boghani interviews the filmmaker and reporter behind IRAQ ASSASSINS, Ramita Navai:


Ramita Navai has been reporting for years on the rise of Shia militias in Iraq, their links to Iran and allegations of abuses carried out against Sunni civilians. In her latest documentary for FRONTLINE, Iraq’s Assassins, Navai investigates accusations that these militias have unleashed a wave of assassinations against activists and critics. In the runup to the film’s February 9 premiere, FRONTLINE spoke with Navai about her past reporting and what had changed when she returned to Iraq in September 2020.

What she found surprised her: “When I first covered [the militias], even though we were exposing Shia militia abuses, they were still very much seen as heroes, especially by the Shia population,” Navai said. “That has completely changed.” She says she wasn’t expecting “how, in these few years, they’re now viewed with absolute fear and they’re viewed as villains. They’re no longer seen as the heroes they once were.”

Below, Navai discusses the mass protests in Iraq, the Iran-backed Shia militias now accused of killing their critics and why the militias view activists as a threat.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

How would you explain to an American audience the protest movement in Iraq that took on these powerful Iranian-backed Shia militias? How unusual is that?

I would say these are the most significant protests since the invasion [of Iraq by the U.S.-led coalition in 2003]. Importantly, they’re nonsectarian. So you’ve got Iraqis uniting. Also, they’re intergenerational, and this is the first time that Iraqis of all sects have joined together to demonstrate against the [Iranian-backed] Shia militias, and to demonstrate against what they see as Iranian interference in their country.

And it’s very much a kind of nationalistic protest, [with] Iraqis saying, “We want foreign interference” — which isn’t just the U.S. this time — “foreign interference that’s the U.S. and Iran, we want them out.”

What demands are they making? And was there an event that sparked this movement?

There were mass protests in 2018, so this has been building up. In 2019, the situation got really bad. It was a hot — and when I say hot, we’re talking really hot; we’re talking temperatures in the 40s and in the 50s [degrees Celsius, equivalent to 104 to 122 degrees Fahrenheit] — a hot, long summer with, for a lot of people, either no electricity or disrupted electricity. So, very limited or no access to basic services. And that’s how these protests started.

The anger turned toward the Shia militias and toward Iran because of what people saw as corruption being behind the lack of services. … “There’s money coming in. The state has the money, so where has the money gone? Why can’t they provide basic services, like electricity? It must be down to corruption.” That was the turning point. … [P]rotests started on October 1, 2019. They spread like wildfire from Baghdad to the south. They were in all the Shia cities and towns, throughout Iraq.

You were on the ground in Iraq in 2016 for Iraq Uncovered, reporting on some of these same militias as they were fighting ISIS. Did anything surprise you about them when you returned in the fall of 2020?

So many things surprised me. When I first covered them, even though we were exposing Shia militia abuses, they were still very much seen as heroes, especially by the Shia population. That has completely changed. I was really surprised by that — at how, in these few years, they’re now viewed with absolute fear and they’re viewed as villains. They’re no longer seen as the heroes they once were.

I was really unprepared for how the Shia militias are now terrorizing not only Sunnis but their own. This is a really dramatic and important change. Now, this shift is exactly why hundreds and thousands of Shia Iraqis took to the streets, demonstrating against them.

The video below is the documentary in full.

In other Iraq news, RISK MAP notes protest continue in Kut:

#Iraq: Protests Ongoing In Kut As Of Feb. 9; Clashes Between Security Forces And Protesters #Security

At Human Rights Watch, Belkis Wille explains:

Since 2016, I have visited over a dozen camps across Iraq housing families accused of having a father, husband, or son affiliated with the Islamic State (also known as ISIS). I have spent dozens of hours sitting in the tents of women struggling to figure out how they can get out of the camp, where they are effectively being confined by security forces as punishment for what their relative might have done, so they can offer their children the chance to have a normal life. While all these interviews have been heart-breaking, my visit to Ishaqi camp is the one that has haunted me the most.

In early December 2018, after hours of negotiations, a unit of the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF or Hashad, nominally under the control of the prime minister) finally let me into the infamous camp in Salah al-Din governorate. Unlike other camps, it had no presence or services from international or local organizations. The fighters themselves were the camp’s “management.” Most organizations that tried to enter the camp had been turned back by the fighters, who ran the site as a prison. Of the more than 400 residents, I saw only about 30 men, all older than 60.

At one point I was able to slip away from the fighter assigned to monitor my interviews. The moment he was out of earshot, women stopped talking about the horrific camp conditions, including the lack of fuel and the chronic diseases, and instead started rapidly firing names at me -- dozens and dozens of names of men. They said that a month after security forces brought them to the camp there was a nearby bombing. Afterward, the fighters promptly rounded up all 52 men in the camp between the ages of 17 and 57, accusing them of some link to the bombing, and took them away, along with a few younger boys. Their family members never heard from them again or knew their fate.

For 30 minutes, all I did was write down names, including of boys as young as 10. Before I left, at the request of the women, I tore the filled pages out of my notebook and hid them in my pocket so that the guards would not find them if they searched me.

A few weeks ago my heart sank when I saw a local news article that dispelled any hope that the men whose names I had taken down may be alive, perhaps in a secret prison somewhere. The authorities had just discovered a mass grave next to the camp, which apparently contained the remains of more than 50 people, including children as young as 8 or 10.

I am losing track of the number of times I have documented allegations of killings in Iraq, only to read in the news several months or years later that a mass grave was discovered right where the killings allegedly occurred. And yet I cannot remember a single time where any mass killings by Iraqi forces were investigated.

Until late 2020, tens of thousands of Iraqis, mostly women and children, were living in camps, some that functioned as de facto prisons, because the government and their local community wanted to punish them for their relative’s perceived roles in ISIS by preventing them from returning to a normal life. This changed in October, when the government moved to close all camps across the country, stripping the families of access to food, water, shelter, and health care, and leaving them with nowhere to go and no men left to earn a living.

The authorities closed Ishaqi camp in November. The residents were freed but as with many of the others freed from the camps, other units of fighters are controlling their villages and are not allowing them to return home. So they have been left to fend for themselves. Women across Iraq in the same position have told me and others that they feel unsafe and are at risk of sexual violence.

The mostly women and children who were held prisoner in Ishaqi camp for years deserve to go home, or make a new home elsewhere, and the government should be throwing its full might behind protecting and supporting them.

But these former residents also deserve to know what happened to their loved ones, and impunity for abusive security forces needs to end. The Iraqi authorities can begin to address this apparent atrocity by opening a credible investigation into the incident, starting by locating the former camp residents, many of whom are currently living in squalid conditions in an abandoned train station nearby, to interview them about the details of their relatives’ disappearance and take DNA samples to help identify the remains of those found in the mass grave.

The international community has a role to play too. In 2017 the United Nations Security Council decided to create a team, UNITAD, to help the Iraqi government document and prosecute the grave crimes committed by ISIS, including by exhuming mass graves in Iraq. But it chose to exclude from UNITAD’s mandate investigations into the grave crimes that Iraqi security forces committed in the battle against ISIS.

One-sided justice in Iraq will not serve anyone’s interests, and the families from Ishaqi camp deserve justice for abuses against their loved ones just as much as every victim of ISIS does. The international community needs to have the courage to push as hard for judicial investigations into these abuses as well

Isaiah's THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS "Young Pete On Being In The Cabinet" went up last night.  The following sites updated: