Thursday, December 1, 2022

Not a Mac fan



I'm not a Mac user, sorry.  Really never have been except around 1997.  I was doing videos for college classes and a friend had a Mac so she showed me how to do it on one and I ended up getting one (a used one) and whenever there was a need for a video, I'd haul it out until it finally got too out of date.  I use a PC -- these days a laptop.  Dell is my preference.

So maybe if I was a Mac lover, I'd feel differently.  But APPLE is finally getting called out and, in the words of Lizzo, it's about damn time.  MarketWatch reports:


Mark Zuckerberg has joined the Apple-bashing party.

Just hours after Spotify Technology Inc. Chief Executive Daniel Ek went off on Twitter, charging that Apple “gives itself every advantage while at the same time stifling innovation and hurting consumers,” it was Zuck’s turn.

“Apple has sort of singled themselves out as the only company that is trying to control, like unilaterally, what apps get on a device,” the Meta Platforms Inc. CEO said at the New York Times Dealbook Summit in New York on Wednesday. “I don’t think that’s a sustainable or good place to be.”


“It is problematic for one company to control what kind of app experiences get onto a device,” Zuckerberg added.

Apple’s considerable sway over the app market through its App Store has prompted vitriolic remarks this week from Ek, Tesla Inc. CEO and Twitter owner Elon Musk, Epic Games Inc. CEO Tim Sweeney and others for its onerous commission fees (up to 30%) and in-store payment system.

Earlier in the day, Ek — who has pleaded for Congress to vote on antitrust legislation after years of hearings excoriating Big Tech — tweeted: “So how much longer will we look away from this threat to the future of the internet? How many more consumers will be denied choice? There’s been a lot of talk. Talk is helpful but we need action.”

 

 

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

 

 Thursday, December 1, 2022.  One scandal after another when it comes to the care that the US is supposed to be providing veterans, Iraq's oil returns are down, IRAQI OIL REPORT runs fluff for Bafel Talabani, and much more.


Starting in the US . . . 



THE ASSOCIATED PRESS reports:

Former U.S. Army Sgt. Joel Gomez, 42, of Wheaton died Nov. 22 after developing pneumonia and kidney problems. Gomez, who had been living with quadriplegia since his wartime injury, was buried Tuesday at the Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery in Elwood.

He becomes one of more than 4,400 U.S. military members who have died from injuries suffered during the Iraq war, the Chicago Tribune reported.

Gomez’s spine was broken in two places in 2004 when the armored vehicle he was riding in plunged into the Tigris River during a combat mission to capture enemy soldiers.




 Stacy St. Clair (CHICAGO TRIBUNE) explains:

Gomez had been forced to move into a nursing home a little more than a month before his death because his longtime caretaker, Elva Cuahquentzi, was stuck in Mexico dealing with an immigration issue. He developed pneumonia within a few weeks of arriving at the facility and was so frightened by the level of care, he asked a friend to call 911 and have him taken to a nearby emergency room.

He was admitted to Gottlieb Memorial Hospital in Melrose Park on Nov. 8 and diagnosed with pneumonia. He died in the hospital intensive care unit surrounded by his sister, niece, nephew and a close friend.

Equal parts heartbreaking and infuriating for his supporters, Gomez spent his last conscious days asking for Cuahquentzi and dreaming about returning to the accessible home built specifically for him by the Wheaton community.


Reporting on the funeral, St. Clair notes:

Mourners also paid tribute to Gomez’s longtime caretaker, Elva Cuahquentzi, who had returned home to Mexico to deal with an immigration issue and had not yet been permitted to return. Her departure forced Gomez to move into a nursing home last month, where he developed pneumonia within a few weeks of arriving at the facility and was so frightened by the level of care, he asked Masterson to call 911 and have him taken to a nearby emergency room.

Gomez spent his last conscious days asking for Cuahquentzi and dreaming about returning to the accessible home built specifically for him by the Wheaton community.

Cuahquentzi, 50, remains in Mexico awaiting word on her immigration application. Her son Emmanuel Perez, however, read a letter from her during the service. She described Gomez as her purpose in life and said she loved him as if he were one of her own children.

“Learning to love Joel was easy,” Cuahquentzi said in her letter. “Forgetting Joel will be impossible.”  




Staying with poor care delivered to veterans, Ted Sherman and Susan K. Livio (STARS AND STRIPES) report:

New Jersey wants someone else to take charge of New Jersey’s troubled state-run veteran’s homes.

Gov. Phil Murphy on Wednesday ordered state Department of Military and Veterans Affairs to seek an outside vendor “who can manage systemic changes and provide qualified, administrative staff to help lead these initiatives.”

The move comes after the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services last week cut off federal funding for new admissions at the Veteran’s Memorial Home at Menlo Park after major shortcomings in care and deficiencies in pandemic infection control led to a declaration that residents at the nursing home in Edison were in “immediate jeopardy.”

CMS said on Tuesday that the facility was “currently not in substantial compliance,” threatening fines and other penalties, and warned it could see permanent termination of all Medicaid and Medicare funding by March if the situation at Menlo Park is not corrected.


How do you get to that point?  How much corruption and how much failed leadership have to exist before you get to that point?

Two weeks ago, Lindy Washburn and Scott Fallon (NEWJERSEY.COM) reported:

As COVID raced through the state-run veterans home in Paramus at the start of the pandemic in 2020, an administrator watched with growing alarm as residents died, staff members fell sick and the facility ran short of masks, gloves, gowns and tests. Panic spread as quickly as the virus itself.  

When the death toll climbed to six or seven a day at an institution that typically saw three or four resident deaths a week, that administrator became the whistleblower who called himself “vetkeeper.”  

On April 8, 2020, using his pseudonym and an encrypted email service based in Switzerland, he contacted NorthJersey.com to report what he was seeing.  

“Nearly 40 resident deaths since March 25,” he wrote. “Ten more residents positive, 47 waiting test results ... The public needs to know. I am on the inside. I will keep you posted.”  

The first story of the deaths at the New Jersey Memorial Veterans Home at Paramus, based on information from “vetkeeper” and other sources, broke that evening. “Vetkeeper” arrived at work the next morning to find two news trucks out front, a helicopter overhead and the National Guard on the way.  

But in many respects, it was too late. Nearly a third of the residents at the Paramus veterans home would die of COVID or presumed COVID. In all, more than 200 residents died at New Jersey’s two hardest-hit veterans homes — 86 from confirmed COVID in Paramus and 72 in Menlo Park, with another 47 at the two homes presumed to have died from COVID.   

Now “vetkeeper” has decided to reveal his identity and say more about the veterans home. He is Dave Ofshinsky, former business manager and, for a brief period, assistant CEO for non-clinical affairs at the Paramus home, where he worked for 5½ years.  

He says he is doing so out of frustration at what has not happened since that initial COVID crisis.  

“Nothing has happened from the administration [of Gov. Phil Murphy] on this,” Ofshinsky said in a recent interview at his home. “When it was happening, the governor said there was going to be a ‘post-mortem. We’ll get to the bottom of this.’”



Turning to Iraq, we're reminded that 'access journalism' is all about whoring.  IRAQI OIL REPORT is an outlet that charges for its mediocre content.  Despite charging for its content, it breaks no news, it produces nothing of value.  So I generally ignore it.

But they decided to really whore this time.  The interview Bafel Talabani with one soft ball question after another and pretend he's answering truthfully.  They can't even get to truth in the 396 words of the preamble to the interview.

Lot of words to pretend Bafel's not part of the problem.  The issues with Bafel go beyond he's PUK and the dominant party is KDP (PUK has still not rebounded from the lies of Jalal and Hero Talabani when they spent months defrauding the country and pretending that Jalal was healthy enough to govern as president of Iraq when, in fact, he couldn't speak and he couldn't move and, per the Constitution, he should have been removed from office).  Bafel can't even get along with other member of the PUK -- and that includes his failure to get along with his own blood relatives. 






At the start of November, Amberin Zaman (AL-MONITOR) noted:

The difference today is that not only are the parties at odds with each other, they are also mired in internal rivalries. Lahur Talabany, former co-chair of the PUK who led the Sulaimaniyah region’s intelligence services and the US-trained Counter Terrorism Group, was ousted by his cousins Bafel and Qubad Talabani last summer in a Byzantine power grab. It was the most overt manifestation yet of the intra-family feuds simmering in the Talabani and Barzani dynasties.

Iraq in November earned a billion dollars less in oil revenues than it did in October, the country’s oil ministry announced on Sunday.

According to a statement from the ministry, Iraq in November exported over 99 million barrels of crude oil at an average rate of 3.3 million barrels per day and an average price of $82.4 per barrel.

The country’s total revenue from oil exports in the month was over $8.2 billion, falling nearly a billion short of October’s $9.25 billion revenue.

The drop in the country’s oil revenue comes despite the country claiming to have taken advantage of OPEC+ production cuts by maintaining export levels and increasing revenue.

“Iraq did not reduce its exports according to this reduction, but rather reduced domestic production and invested in the rising prices by stabilizing the export rate, a strategy that succeeded in achieving high financial revenues," deputy general manager of the Iraqi National Oil Marketing Company (SOMO) Saadoun Mohsen told Iraqi state media late last month.



So does that mean there's less money for the corrupt officials to steal?  Or does it just mean, they'll increase the percentage that they steal to make up the difference?

The "heist of the century."  Remember that?  Revealed just weeks ago.  $2.5 billion stolen. 






The following sites updated:

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Howie Hawkins' 100th show

 

That's Howie Hawkins' 100th show:

In our 100th show since the end of the 2020 presidential campaign, Howie will take questions and talk about where the Green Socialist movement is and needs to go.


Howie had kept the Green Party alive.  He has done at least one video a week -- at least one -- he has written columns, all since runing.  Normally, our nominee disappears after the election.


If they do pop up, it's to brag about themselves -- see Jill Stein.


Howie was not my first choice.


On issue after issue, I aligned with Dario Hunter.  That was my candidate of choice.


But Dario was lazy.  And I saw Howie working and going after the nomination and I went with Howie.


And he's continued to work.  And Dario?  After trashing Howie and claiming that he (Dario) would be running for president on another ticket (never happened)?  Dario did nothing.  It's 2022 and it's winding down, that year.  And Dario's done nothing.


You can't even read his Tweets now -- they're 'protected.'


He's done nothing for the party.  He was a whiny, little bitch when the party consolidated around Howie and went on Cindy Sheehan's show to insist that there was a conspiracy to deny him the nomination.


No conspiracy, you just wouldn't get off your lazy ass.  You 'campaigned' by doing a video every four weeks and two or three Tweets a week.


We're the Green Party.  Nobody is going to give us a damn thing.  We have to work to drum up interest and to get our message out.


Howie did that.  


And since the election, he's continued to get the word out on the Green Party.


Big thanks to Howie.  If we're ever going to become a real party, we're going to need people like Howie who don't disappear after an election and wait three or so years before poppping back in.

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


 Wednesday, November 30, 2022.  The Respect for Marriage Act passes the Senate, Tucker Carlson's hate speech is written by his gay underling, chemical weapons attacks are apparently okay when carried out by Turkey, and much more.


Starting in the United States, Senator Tammy Baldwin's office issued the following yesterday:


WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) released the following statement following the Senate vote, 61-36, to pass the Respect for Marriage Act.

“Today, an overwhelming majority of Senators stepped up to protect the freedoms and rights of millions of Americans in same-sex and interracial marriages. I’m proud to have worked across the aisle to get the job done for millions of loving couples in Wisconsin and across the country,” said Senator Baldwin. “Millions of same-sex and interracial couples made this moment possible by living openly as their authentic selves, changing the hearts and minds of people around them. This legislation will protect the hard-fought progress we’ve made on marriage equality and I look forward to the Respect for Marriage Act becoming the law of the land.”

Video of Senator Baldwin’s floor speech prior to the vote on final passage can be found here.  


and CNN) report, "The final vote was 61-36. The bill was supported by all members of the Democratic caucus and 12 Republicans, the same dozen GOP members who backed the bill for a procedural vote earlier this month.  The House will now need to approve the legislation before sending it to President Joe Biden’s desk to be signed into law. The House is expected to pass the bill before the end of the year – possibly as soon as next week."  Ledyard King, Rachel Looker, Sean Rossman  and Savannah Kuchar (USA TODAY) note, "Senators approved the bill in response to concerns the Supreme Court – with a 6-3 conservative majority – would reverse its 2015 decision recognizing the legitimacy of gay marriage just as it overturned in June the Roe v. Wade decision protecting abortion access."


Senator Lindsey Graham elected to vote against the measure.  But then, Lindsey's been showing 'respect for marriage' his entire adult life -- 49 years of confirmed bachelorhood.  He Tweeted, following the vote, about things being ''woefully inadequate.''  Lindsey, Lindsey, a little package shouldn't prevent you from getting married.  I'm sure there are many people who'd be okay with it -- not everyone's a size queen.  But you do you, keep being the nun of the Senate -- Sister Lindsey Graham, devoting himself to politics.  Praise be the upper house.  You grab that Legislative Branch, Lindsey, grab it with both hands. 


Burgess Everett (POLITICO) observes:


Some political evolutions develop over decades, then accelerate in an instant. That’s how it happened for Democrats, who were divided over same-sex marriage during former President Barack Obama’s first term until then-Vice President Joe Biden announced his support 10 years ago. Obama followed, and the rest of the party was not far behind.

It’s been a slower trickle for Republicans. Portman, Collins and Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) were on a fairly lonely island in favor of same-sex marriage for years. And as he left Congress in 2016, former Rep. Richard Hanna (R-N.Y.) — another early supporter — castigated his party for being too intolerant on the issue.

This summer, 47 House Republicans’ surprising support for the same-sex marriage bill spurred a sustained push from Tillis, Portman and Collins to take action — a veritable GOP tidal shift. As former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-Miss.) put it on Tuesday: “Times change. And senators change.”


Jessica Corbett (COMMON DREAMS) explains:


Rights groups and other supporters of marriage equality celebrated Tuesday after 12 Senate Republicans joined with all Democrats present to pass protections for same-sex and interracial partnerships.

The Respect for Marriage (RFM) Act does not confirm the right of same-sex couples to marry nationwide, as the U.S. Supreme Court did in Obergefell v. Hodges, but rather requires states to recognize their marriage licenses. It also does not block states from banning same-sex marriage if the high court's 2015 ruling is overturned—as Justice Clarence Thomas teased in his concurring opinion for the June decision that ended national abortion rights.

While some have criticized the legislation for falling short of what's needed and pandering to religious groups, the 61-36 Senate vote was still widely heralded as historic progress. The amended version is expected to again pass the Democrat-held House—which initially passed the bill in July—before reaching the desk of President Joe Biden, who reaffirmed that he "will promptly and proudly sign it into law."

"As the votes in Congress attest, LGBTQ+ people belong and are part of our families, our communities, and our country. This is a critical victory on the road to the day when all people are fully protected from discrimination and have the freedom to make decisions about their lives and families," said Mary Bonauto, senior director of civil rights and legal strategies at GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD), who argued the Obergefell case.


Dean McColl (GAY TIMES) points out:

The Respect for Marriage Act does not require all states to legalise same-sex marriage.

It requires states to acknowledge same-sex marriage from different states and ensures federal benefits for same-sex married couples.

It also includes a ‘religious liberties’ amendment, which allows non-profit religious organisations to refuse to host same-sex weddings.

Jim Obergefell, who led the case for the national legalisation of same sex marriages, said he is ‘frustrated’ with this amendment and its failure to enforce same-sex marriages in all states.

A recent Gallup poll found 71% of Americans support same-sex marriage becoming a legal right.


At CNN, Zachary B. Wolf offers an overview of The Respect for Marriage Act.  Following the Senate vote, US President Joe Biden released the following statement:


With today’s bipartisan Senate passage of the Respect for Marriage Act, the United States is on the brink of reaffirming a fundamental truth: love is love, and Americans should have the right to marry the person they love. For millions of Americans, this legislation will safeguard the rights and protections to which LGBTQI+ and interracial couples and their children are entitled. It will also ensure that, for generations to follow, LGBTQI+ youth will grow up knowing that they, too, can lead full, happy lives and build families of their own.
 
Importantly, the Senate’s passage of the Respect for Marriage Act is a bipartisan achievement. I’m grateful to the determined Members of Congress — especially Senators Baldwin, Collins, Portman, Sinema, Tillis, and Feinstein — whose leadership has underscored that Republicans and Democrats together support the essential right of LGBTQI+ and interracial couples to marry. I look forward to welcoming them at the White House after the House passes this legislation and sends it to my desk, where I will promptly and proudly sign it into law.


Staying on the topic of elected officials, Alex Bollinger (LGBTQ NATION) reports:


Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) is now trying to speak directly to trans kids and talk them out of transitioning. It’s not going well.

“If you’re under 18 and people are telling you to cut off your breast or have a surgery that turns your penis inside out to make a ‘vagina’ you’re a victim of child abuse,” Greene tweeted. Gender-affirming genital surgery is not performed on minors and top surgery is only performed on minors in rare circumstances and is much rarer than breast augmentation surgery among minors.

“Get away from those people and find safe people who tell you that you’re already perfect,” she continued. “Grow up first.”

Conservatives like Greene have been trying to reframe their desire for transgender kids to change into cisgender kids as “they’re already perfect,” even though Greene and others like her are asking them to change their gender identities. Opponents of transgender rights often support conversion therapy for trans people, which inculcates the false notion that trans people are not “already perfect.”

People reacted negatively to Greene’s statement.


The break up of her 27 year marriage coincides with her 'reach out' -- wonder what that's about?  Poor nutty Marjorie.  Staying with insanity, let's turn to hate merchant Tucker Carlson as Michael Signorile lifts the curtain to expose the actual wiz behind Tucker:




On his first Fox News broadcast following the November 19th mass shooting at Club Q, the LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs in which five people were murdered and at least 17 were injured, Tucker Carlson was undaunted, continuing his relentless smearing of LGBTQ people as “groomers” who are dangerous to children. 

After a perfunctory condemnation of the violence, Carlson pivoted back to railing against “drag time story hour for fifth graders” and “genital mutilation of minors” while a graphic image behind him blared, “STOP SEXUALIZING KIDS.”

The following night, Carlson promoted the grotesque view that the staff and patrons of Club Q — where a drag performance was scheduled on that Saturday night of the attack — had it all coming to them. He brought on a guest who said the shooting was “expected and predictable,” and that “it won’t stop until we end this evil agenda that is attacking children.”

Twisted enough. But even more shocking is the little-known fact that a gay man helped craft, mold and disseminate these bloodcurdling distortions and the horrendous demonization against his own community. 

A gay man supercharges Carlson’s promotion of Florida’s odious “don’t say gay” law, which stigmatizes queer kids, teachers and parents — a brutal campaign in which Carlson at one point said teachers who don’t comply “should get beaten up.” And a gay man empowers Carlson’s crusade against trans teens and and their parents, a crusade in which Carlson stated that hospitals should expect violent threats for providing gender-affirming care.

That gay man, Justin Wells, helped promulgate the kind of hate that leads to violence. A mass shooting that happened in the same kind of nightclub at which Wells, in years past, danced the night away in Miami Beach and elsewhere, liberating himself from the world outside and surely never imagining he’d be shot dead.

Now he’s aided the extremists who deny that sense of safety and liberation to every future generation of queer people.

Wells runs the entire Tucker Carlson operation, and is responsible for imprinting the Tucker Carlson brand, which is all about emboldening white heterosexual male grievance, furthering the racist conspiracy of  “replacement theory” and pushing an increasingly virulent anti-LGBTQ agenda. Wells is Senior Executive Producer of “Tucker Carlson Tonight” and also holds the title of Vice President of Tucker Carlson Digital Products.

“He’s been promoted to a level that no other producer has been since, maybe, David Tabocoff at O’Reilly,” a former Fox employee told me, describing how Tabocoff, who was at Fox with Bill O’Reilly for 16 years, produced O’Reilly’s shows, all of his various specials and interviews, and oversaw his entire brand, including his merchandising. 

“I think that Justin has more power than Tabby [Tabacoff] ever had,” another Fox employee, a former producer, countered. “And there’s not another show that out-rates it. Influence-wise, everyone who’s conservative wants to be on Tucker.” Indeed, Wells has his own website, independent of Fox News’s site, JustinWells.com, something that surprised the former Fox News producer.

On the site, Wells touts his accomplishments: “Television Creator & Journalist. Senior Executive Producer & Vice President at Fox News Media.” It brims with photos meant to convey his power and importance: Wells, out on remotes with Carlson, helping to craft the story; Wells, shoulder-to-shoulder with military Special Forces in front of their Airbus chopper; and Wells, meeting with former President Donald Trump. The site describes Wells as “leading the Tucker Carlson Team across multiple platforms at Fox News Media,” and lays out the Carlson Fox empire he oversees.

Angelo Carusone, President and CEO of Media Matters, the media watchdog group that is laser-focused on Fox News and Carlson, observed, “It’s unlikely that any narrative would get broadcast by Tucker without significant buy-in from Justin.” In a clip highlighted by Media Matters in which Wells was interviewed by Carlson on Carlson's show last year as Carlson’s Fox Nation documentaries began launching, Wells brags about the latitude Fox News executives give him: “They believe in what we're doing and have since we launched ‘Tucker Carlson Tonight.’”

It’s beyond horrific to think a gay man has helped to shape and widely disseminate a message of hate against LGBTQ people. This story is not, however, about a warped closet case, tormented by self-loathing, hiding his true self while bashing those like him. And thus, this story is not an outing, which involves exposing someone who covers up their sexual orientation while publicly presenting as heterosexual — though it certainly may be a startling revelation to a great many. It is, rather, about connecting the dots regarding a reality that seems to have been hiding in plain sight.


Also note that REVOLUTIONARY BLACKOUT continued their conversation on the attacks on the LGBTQ+ community.



Turning to Iraq, there's one story we have to note, from ANF:


Seher Aydar, deputy for the Red Party (R) presented a question to the minister of Foreign Affairs. The question reads as follows: “The Chemical Weapons Convention prohibits the development, production, storage and use of chemical weapons as well as the destruction of such weapons. 193 countries have signed the convention, including Turkey, which is accused of using chemical weapons. The International Association of Physicians Against Nuclear Weapons (IPPNW) Switzerland and Germany write in a report that an independent investigation into possible violations of the Chemical Weapons Convention is necessary. The World Medical Association is also calling for an independent investigation.

Will Norway contribute to an independent investigation?”

The Minister for Foreign Affaris, Anniken Huitfeldt, said in her answer: “I am concerned about increased military activity in northern Iraq. Norway is concerned that warring parties in all contexts comply with international humanitarian law, including the rules on the protection of civilians in armed conflict. We expect all parties to respect international law.

Turkey, like Norway, is a party to the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction (CWC). The member states undertake to destroy any existing stockpiles of weapons. The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) monitors that all member states comply with the Convention's provisions and carries out regular inspections. Chemical weapons are weapons of mass destruction, and the convention's total prohibition is an important contribution to global peacekeeping work. Turkey is a party to all basic international disarmament and non-proliferation regimes.

Allegations of violations of the Chemical Weapons Convention are something Norway takes very seriously. Norway, like the OPCW, monitors all information about possible violations of the convention. I am familiar with the report the representative refers to. These are so far unconfirmed claims and which have not been on the agenda of the OPCW's decision-making bodies. Norway will continue to have a dialogue with related countries on the matter.”


This is not the first time that we've noted Turkey's likely use of chemical weapons in northern Iraq.  Can someone at WSWS please explain what your organization's silence says?  Or, for that matter, your non-stop support of the Turkish government in every attack they carry out on Iraq?  Is it that you hate the Kurds or are you just so in love with the authoritarian regime in Turkey?

The possible use of chemical weapons has allowed even Noam Chomsky to find his voice on the issue.  So why not WSWS?


The following sites updated:


Tuesday, November 29, 2022

The Senate and Pink




Today, the Senate is poised to pass legislation that seeks to protect same-sex marriages in the event that the Supreme Court overturns a landmark 2015 ruling that legalized them nationwide. The push for the bill began after the court overturned Roe v. Wade, sparking fears that it could take away rights beyond abortion. Senate passage would send the bill to the House, where Democrats remain in the majority for the lame-duck session. President Biden has pledged to sign the legislation.


Quit talking already and get it done.  I'm not joking.  Is it perfect?  No.  But I'd give anything for something like that protecting Roe right now.  Now here's some news about Pink:



P!nk is letting her opinions regarding Evangelical Christians’ response — or rather, the lack thereof — to the recent shooting at Colorado’s gay Club Q be known. On Sunday (Nov. 27), the “Never Gonna Not Dance Again” singer reshared a TikTok video that her pal Leslie Jones posted to Twitter. In the clip, Pastor Bob Lerien of the Redeemer Lutheran Church (in Lancaster, Penn.) condemned people of the cloth who have been silent on the tragedy.

“It’s time to be very clear about something. All of you Evangelical and fundamentalist clergy who claim to be pastors and shepherds of God’s flock who step into your pulpits and preach hate and bigotry and transphobia and homophobia, you are blasphemers and you are false prophets,” Lerien started. “If you are proclaiming anything but the acceptance and love of God’s beautiful and beloved LGBTQIA+ children, you are blaspheming against the image of God in which they were created, and you will be judged for the blood on your hands because you are enabling the hate that kills God’s beautiful children.”

The pastor continued, “For all you Evangelical and fundamentalist lay people who fill the pews and offering plates in those churches, you have blood on your hands because your offerings are financing the hate. Your offerings are paying to stoke the fires that lead to people committing these despicable acts of violence against the innocent. And for all my fellow mainline protestant progressive Christian clergy and especially bishops and other judicatory executives who are not speaking out – how dare you. If you are not condemning homophobia and transphobia explicitly from your pulpit, then you are enabling it implicitly in the streets. If you are not condemning it, you are complicit in it. Your silence is violence and the time for neutrality is long over, so suit up and speak up or sit down and shut up.”

In response to the video, P!nk wrote a simple “Thank you” to the pastor for getting his point across. The singer’s tweet makes her one of many celebrities who have spoken up about the Colorado Springs gay club shooting in which five people were killed and at least 18 injured; musicians who have expressed their anger and condolences include Kacey Musgraves, Maren Morris, Hayley Kiyoko and more.


Good for Pink.  That's a great way for someone to use their fame, to try to help and protect others.

For years, my favorite Pink song was "Just Like A Pill."  Then she released "Try."


That quickly became -- and still remains -- my favorite Pink song.


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


Tuesday, November 29, 2022.  Support for Julian Assange grows.


US President Joe Biden continues to persecute Julian Assange.  Yesterday, five major outlets published an open letter:


Twelve years ago, on November 28th 2010, our five international media outlets – The New York Times, the Guardian, Le Monde, El Pais and DER SPIEGEL – published a series of revelations in cooperation with Wikileaks that made the headlines around the globe.

“Cable gate”, a set of 251,000 confidential cables from the US State Department disclosed corruption, diplomatic scandals and spy affairs on an international scale.

In the words of The New York Times, the documents told “the unvarnished story of how the government makes its biggest decisions, the decisions that cost the country most heavily in lives and money”. Even now in 2022, journalists and historians continue to publish new revelations, using the unique trove of documents.

For Julian Assange, publisher of Wikileaks, the publication of “Cable gate” and several other related leaks had the most severe consequences. On April 12th, 2019, Assange was arrested in London on a US arrest warrant, and has now been held for three and a half years in a high security British prison usually used for terrorists and members of organized crime groups. He faces extradition to the US and a sentence of up to 175 years in an American maximum security prison.

This group of editors and publishers, all of whom had worked with Assange, felt the need to publicly criticize his conduct in 2011 when unredacted copies of the cables were released, and some of us are concerned about the allegations in the indictment that he attempted to aid in computer intrusion of a classified database. But we come together now to express our grave concerns about the continued prosecution of Julian Assange for obtaining and publishing classified materials.

The Obama-Biden Administration, in office during the Wikileaks publication in 2010, refrained from indicting Assange, explaining that they would have had to indict journalists from major news outlets too. Their position placed a premium on press freedom, despite its uncomfortable consequences. Under Donald Trump however, the position changed. The DOJ relied on an old law, the Espionage Act of 1917 (designed to prosecute potential spies during World War 1), which has never been used to prosecute a publisher or broadcaster.

This indictment sets a dangerous precedent, and threatens to undermine America’s First Amendment and the freedom of the press.

Holding governments accountable is part of the core mission of a free press in a democracy.

Obtaining and disclosing sensitive information when necessary in the public interest is a core part of the daily work of journalists.  If that work is criminalised, our public discourse and our democracies are made significantly weaker.

Twelve years after the publication of “Cable gate”, it is time for the U.S. government to end its prosecution of Julian Assange for publishing secrets.

Publishing is not a crime.

 

The editors and publishers of:

  • The New York Times
  • The Guardian
  • Le Monde
  • DER SPIEGEL
  • El Pais


For those who've forgotten, Julian's 'crime' was revealing the realities of Iraq -- Chelsea Manning was a whistle-blower who leaked the information to Julian.  WIKILEAKS then published the Iraq War Logs.  And many outlets used the publication to publish reports of their own.  For example, THE GUARDIAN published many articles based on The Iraq War Logs.  Jonathan Steele, David Leigh and Nick Davies offered, on October 22, 2012:



A grim picture of the US and Britain's legacy in Iraq has been revealed in a massive leak of American military documents that detail torture, summary executions and war crimes.
Almost 400,000 secret US army field reports have been passed to the Guardian and a number of other international media organisations via the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks.

The electronic archive is believed to emanate from the same dissident US army intelligence analyst who earlier this year is alleged to have leaked a smaller tranche of 90,000 logs chronicling bloody encounters and civilian killings in the Afghan war.
The new logs detail how:
US authorities failed to investigate hundreds of reports of abuse, torture, rape and even murder by Iraqi police and soldiers whose conduct appears to be systematic and normally unpunished.

A US helicopter gunship involved in a notorious Baghdad incident had previously killed Iraqi insurgents after they tried to surrender.
More than 15,000 civilians died in previously unknown incidents. US and UK officials have insisted that no official record of civilian casualties exists but the logs record 66,081 non-combatant deaths out of a total of 109,000 fatalities.

The numerous reports of detainee abuse, often supported by medical evidence, describe prisoners shackled, blindfolded and hung by wrists or ankles, and subjected to whipping, punching, kicking or electric shocks. Six reports end with a detainee's apparent deat


At WSWS, Thomas Scripps offers:

At long last, these publications have acknowledged that the material published by Assange was of vital public interest and importance, noting that what he released “disclosed corruption, diplomatic scandals and spy affairs on an international scale” and “decisions that cost the country most heavily in lives and money.”

Even now, they write, “journalists and historians continue to publish new revelations, using the unique trove of documents.”

The letter stated, “On April 12th 2019, Assange was arrested in London on a US arrest warrant, and has now been held for three and a half years in a high-security British prison usually used for terrorists and members of organised crime groups. He faces extradition to the US and a sentence of up to 175 years in an American maximum-security prison.”

The authors oppose the use against Assange of “an old law, the Espionage Act of 1917 (designed to prosecute potential spies during World War One), which has never been used to prosecute a publisher or broadcaster.”

The letter concludes that this “sets a dangerous precedent, and threatens to undermine America’s First Amendment and the freedom of the press. Obtaining and disclosing sensitive information when necessary in the public interest is a core part of the daily work of journalists. If that work is criminalised, our public discourse and our democracies are made significantly weaker … it is time for the US government to end its prosecution of Julian Assange for publishing secrets.”

The open letter makes clear that Assange has been the victim of a monstrous campaign of state persecution, costing him years of his life and good health, for revealing state criminality, designed to set a chilling example for others.

But this raises the question: What took so long? Why did it take 10 years for the New York Times and Guardian to call for Assange’s prosecution to end?

The conduct of these newspapers over the past decade has been thoroughly reprehensible. Their efforts to poison public opinion against Assange, to give credence to the false claims and accusations made against him, facilitated the American state’s persecution of this principled and courageous journalist.



You know what?  I'm an adult.  I know we can't turn back time.


What we can do is work on freeing Julian Assange.  What we should do.  If an institution like THE NEW YORK TIMES is finally stepping up, great.  Where were they until now?  


Obviously, not helping.


You've made that point.  You can make it again when Julian's free.  How about we focus on freeing Julian right now?


And here's another point: The government of Turkey has been bombing northern Iraq for years.  So, if you're WSWS, and you're publishing a piece on how Turkey's been bombing Syria lately?  Maybe your hypocritical ass is in no real position to criticize THE NEW YORK TIMES?


We've long noted here that WSWS will attack the Kurdistan (for wanting to have autonomy, for example) and will otherwise ignore it.  Turkey has sent ground troops into the Kurdistan.  It has set up bases there.  It terrorizes the people there with drones and bombs.  And WSWS just doesn't want to deal with that.  The way some outlets turn a blind eye to the suffering of the Palestinians?  That's how WSWS behaves with regards to Kurdistan.


So maybe the high horse Thomas Scripps has just mounted should be traded in for a Shetland pony?


Margaret Kimberley Tweeted:



Probably correct.  He doesn't like being called out on Julian.  He has a grandchild who has begun telling him that this should not be his legacy.


At SCHEER POST, Matt Kennard notes:


The British government assigned at least 15 people to the secret operation to seize Julian Assange from the Ecuadorian embassy in London, new information shows. 

The WikiLeaks founder was given political asylum by Ecuador in 2012, but was never allowed safe passage out of Britain to avoid persecution by the US government. 

The Australian journalist has been in Belmarsh maximum security prison for the past three and a half years and faces a potential 175-year sentence after the UK High Court greenlighted his extradition to the US in December 2021. 

‘Pelican’ was the secret Metropolitan Police operation to seize Assange from his asylum, which eventually occurred in April 2019. Asylum is a right enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. 

The operation’s existence was only revealed in the memoirs of former foreign minister Sir Alan Duncan which were published last year. The UK government routinely blocks, or obfuscates its answers to, information requests about the Assange case. 

But the Cabinet Office recently told parliament it had seven officials working on Operation Pelican. The department’s role is to “support the Prime Minister and ensure the effective running of government”, but it also has national security and intelligence functions

It is not immediately clear why the Cabinet Office would have so many personnel working on a police operation of this kind. Asked about their role, the Cabinet Office said these seven officials “liaised” with the Metropolitan Police on the operation. 


ALMAYADEEN explains:


The secret operation named ‘Pelican’ to seize Assange from asylum, which eventually took place in April 2019, came to light after being revealed in the memoirs published last year by former Foreign Minister Sir Alan Duncan.

As foreign minister for the Americas from 2016 to 2019, Duncan was the key British official in the diplomatic negotiations between the UK and Ecuador to release Assange from the Embassy.

In his memoirs, the Former Minister revealed that he watched live footage of Assange’s arrest from the Operations Room of the Foreign Office alongside personnel carrying out the operation.

After the events took place and Assange was imprisoned, Duncan had drinks at his office for the operation team. “I gave them each a signed photo which we took in the Ops Room on the day, with a caption saying ‘Julian Assange’s Special Brexit Team 11th April 2019,’” he wrote. 

At DISSIDENT VOICE, Paul Haeder writes:


We are in a rape culture. We have a million examples in this neoliberal and neocon country of that. We have the fact of one out of 12 or 15 girls and women losing their viriginity through sexual assault. We have what — one out of five in this country experiencing sexual assault by the time they hit 40 years of age.

The reality is we have Clarence Thomas as one of the Supremes, with his sick attack on Anita Hill, as well as girls and women at large, and then the frat boy Kavanaugh, more male human stain. Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, 55, is a professor of psychology at Palo Alto University who grew up in the suburbs of Washington DC. She’s also a research psychologist at the Stanford University School of Medicine. And her testimony was lambasted by a lot of men. Joe Biden attacked Anita Hill during her testimony to try and keep the Criminal Clarence off the bench. Dear reader, you can provide countless examples of rape culture, misogony, and the unending attack on women.


We'll pair that with this from IRAQI NEWS:


A conference was held last Sunday to launch the campaign for 16 days of activism to end violence against women, under the auspices of the Prime Minister, Mohammed Shia Al-Sudani, according to a press statement issued by the United Nations.

The campaign is in collaboration with the Department for Women’s Empowerment at the Council of Ministers, and in partnership with the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UNWomen), the World Food Program (WFP) and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

The conference highlighted the decisive role of Iraqi women in public life, through government positions, civil society, and human rights movements in preventing and eliminating violence against women and girls, the statement mentioned.

The conference advocated for the ratification of relevant laws, namely the Anti-Domestic Violence Law, the statement elaborated.

In addition to Al-Sudani, the conference was attended by Iraqi MPs, members of the parliamentary women’s committee, the High Judicial Council, ministries of Labor, Interior, Social Affairs, and Health, as well as experts and academics, the statement explained.





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.


Winding down, AP reports:

A member of the U.S. Navy who was injured while helping prevent further harm during a shooting at a gay nightclub in Colorado last weekend said Sunday that he “simply wanted to save the family that I found.”

Petty Officer 2nd Class Thomas James made his first public comments on the shooting in a statement issued through Centura Penrose Hospital in Colorado Springs, where James is recovering from undisclosed injuries suffered during the attack.

Colorado Springs Police Chief Adrian Vasquez said that James was one of two men who helped to stop the shooter who walked into Club Q late on Nov. 19 with multiple firearms, including a semiautomatic rifle, and killed five people. At least 17 others were injured when a drag queen’s birthday celebration turned into a massacre.

James reportedly pushed a rifle out of the shooter’s reach while Army veteran Rich Fierro repeatedly struck the shooter with a handgun the shooter brought into the bar, officials have said.






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