Nothing much this post. I skipped church tonight because I've got a cold. I'll feel so much better when winter is over. I stayed home, on the couch, sipping on some Lipton cup of soup (chicken noodle flavor) while watching Free Guy. (Cedric watched the kids and kept them in the den so they wouldn't get my cold.)
I slep during some of the movie -- because I'm sick, not because the movie's bad.
I woke up during Cass Elliot's "Make Your Own Kind Of Music" swelling on the soundtrack.
Other than Ryan Reynolds, I didn't really know of the performers. I caught Channing Tatum in a bit part but I have no idea who played the woman Ryan falls in love with or who played this person or that.
He's appealing. The film was interesting but I think parts that I found interesting might have been dreams from when I was asleep. So I'll just say it was a colorful and lively diversion.
This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"
Wednesday, February 23, 2022. As US President Joe Biden and his corporate media push for war on Russia, non-corporate voices speak out. In Iraq, a new list of presidential candidates.
The unpopular Joe Biden continues to mislead the country. In the videoabove, HARD LENS MEDIA is talking about a a number of topics including the very real inflation issue. A community member noted in HILDA'S Mix this week that inflation is real, that his efficicancy apartment went up $100 a month. This is the reality so many live under while Marianne Williamson, Katie Halper, Krstyal Ball and Bri-Bri want you to give to them and to their candidates of choice -- candidates who will mislead and disappoint as the last group the ladies whored for did.
Inflation is real. What Joe Biden did to Tara Reade is real. His desire to distract from everything with war on Russia is real.
On Tuesday afternoon, US President Joe Biden delivered remarks from the East Room of the White House announcing sanctions against Russia in response to its recognition of the independence of two provinces in Eastern Ukraine.
The disarray in the White House was reflected in the timing of the meeting itself. Initially scheduled for 2:00 p.m., it was moved to 1:00 p.m. late Tuesday morning. The assembled reporters, however, were kept waiting for an hour and half before Biden emerged to deliver a perfunctory 10-minute statement and promptly left without taking any questions.
In the course of his remarks, Biden asked a telling question: “Who in the Lord’s name does Putin think gives him the right to declare new so-called ‘countries’ on territory that belongs to his neighbors?”
This is a question, however, that much of the world would like Biden himself to answer. The “flagrant violation of international law” that Biden accused Russia of perpetrating is precisely what the United States has repeatedly done, with Biden directly and personally involved.
At one point Biden began to refer to the history behind the present conflict over Ukraine. Referring to Putin’s address Monday on the recognition of Donetsk and Lugansk, Biden said: “Yesterday, we all heard clearly the full extent of Vladimir Putin’s twisted rewrite of history, going back more than a century as he waxed eloquently, noting that…” In mid-sentence, the aging US president thought better of his brief excursion from his written remarks: “Well, I’m not going to go into it.”
Let us, however, “go into it.” One can oppose, as socialists do, the reactionary chauvinism, tinged with neo-tsarist nostalgia, of the Putin regime while exposing the blatant lying and hypocrisy that pervades every aspect of US policy in the present crisis.
The crisis in Ukraine dramatically escalated over the course of the last week, culminating in yesterday’s recognition of the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics by Russia and the subsequent deployment of Russian troops into these areas. The United States and European powers are now rolling out sanctions targeting Russia, including Germany’s suspension of the critical NordStream 2 gas pipeline. The sanctions announced so far by the Biden administration in particular targets the financial sector, sanctioning two major Russian banks and prohibiting people and institutions in the United States from buying Russian government debt. These same states continue to threaten unleashing “unprecedented” sanctions in the event of a further escalation, which would aim to cut the country off from the world economy and cause tremendous suffering among ordinary Russians. Many ruling-class figures in the United States are even demanding that such sanctions be imposed now preemptively.
An emergency session of the United Nations Security Council was held last night, where the United States and its allies condemned Russia and the Russian representative defended its actions. The representative from China stated, “All parties concerned must exercise restraint and avoid any action that may fuel tensions. We welcome and encourage every effort towards a diplomatic solution and call on all parties concerned to continue dialogue and consultation and seek reasonable solutions to address each other’s concerns on the basis of equality and mutual respect.” India, which has a close relationship with Russia, also issued essentially a neutral statement at the security council. The governments of Syria and Nicaragua have supported Russia’s move.
The U.S. government condemned the recognition of Donetsk and Luhansk as a violation of the sovereignty of Ukraine, viewing the deployment of Russian soldiers as a foreign occupation of Ukrainian territory against the wishes of the government. It is hard to imagine a more hypocritical position coming from the country most infamous around the world for its constant invasions and occupations of other nations. Right now in Syria, for instance, the Pentagon has soldiers deployed in separatist-controlled areas of the north despite clear opposition from the internationally-recognized government – exactly the same thing as the United States accuses Russia of in Ukraine.
Since the breakup of the Soviet Union and the socialist camp of Eastern Europe, the imperialist NATO military alliance has steadily expanded eastward, absorbing 14 formerly socialist states between 1999 and 2020. Three of these countries – Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia – were former republics of the Soviet Union itself. The expansion of a hostile military alliance right up to Russia’s border was rightfully viewed as a dire threat. But worst of all would be if Ukraine followed suit. Ukraine was the second largest republic in the Soviet Union after Russia, shares a 1,200 mile border with Russia, and has historically been an invasion route for western European armies marching into Russia. The government brought to power by the 2014 coup in Ukraine was determined to join NATO, and the United States and its allies provided the coup with military, economic and diplomatic support.
The immediate roots of the current crisis can be traced back to this coup that overthrew the government of Viktor Yanukovych, which was pursuing a neutral foreign policy that sought positive relations with both Russia and the west. A protest movement emerged in 2013 with the full backing of the United States – high-level State Department official Victoria Nuland even famously toured a protest site and handed out cookies to anti-government demonstrators. Several weeks later, a conversation between Nuland and U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt was leaked in which Nuland and Pyatt were discussing in detail which opposition figures should play what role in a future Ukrainian government.
The finishing blow to the Yanukovych government was delivered in February 2014 by neo-Nazi paramilitary forces that stormed the presidential palace. Openly pro-Nazi political forces rapidly grew and ascended to positions of major influence in the state following the coup. They, along with other forces in the new Ukrainian government, espoused virulently anti-Russian politics and hostility towards the ethnically Russian population of Ukraine concentrated in the country’s east. Rejecting the authority of the new regime in Kiev, a separatist movement in the eastern provinces of Donetsk and Luhansk emerged, declaring independence and initiating an armed struggle. The most intense phase of this armed struggle was ended with the signing of the Minsk Agreements in late 2014, although relatively minor violations of the ceasefire continued to occur. But the agreements, which called for a national dialogue and the granting of autonomous powers to local authorities in Donetsk and Luhansk, were never fully implemented by the west and the conflict remained locked in a stalemate.
Over the past several weeks, the U.S. government doubled down on this provocative behavior. It constantly issued predictions of an imminent Russian invasion along with apocalyptic casualty estimates without providing evidence. At the same time, the United States and its allies threatened all-out economic war to devastate Russia in the event of an intervention. All of Russia’s core demands — a pledge to not bring Ukraine into NATO, stop sending it heavy armaments pointed at Russia — were described as “non-starters.” This was designed to paint Russia into a corner, putting it in a position where it either takes military action or appears to have been pushed back in humiliating fashion by the west’s threat of sanctions. Beginning last week, there was a major intensification of ceasefire violations, with the Ukrainian military launching artillery barrages and other attacks on Donetsk and Luhansk. As the crisis unfolded, Russia’s clearly stated goal was the initiation of a dialogue between itself and the west over a new security framework for Europe that would take into account Russia’s interests.
The only way to have a stable peace and spare the people of Eastern Europe from the ravages of war is for just such a diplomatic arrangement to be reached. Any further attempts by U.S. imperialism to inflame the situation risks catastrophe for the working class of Russia, Ukraine, the United States and the entire world.
Only a few short months after the chaotic US defeat in Afghanistan, the US is pushing a war with Russia, a major nuclear power. US officials insist that the Russians will invade Ukraine. Russia has repeatedly denied this.
In recent days the US and some of their allies have closed their embassies and asked their nationals to leave Ukraine.
The Ukrainian military has a force of 150,000 troops, that are U.S. trained and armed with modern US weapons, near the Russian border and the independent regions in Donbass. These independent regions have taken a stand in opposition to the right-wing, coup government in Kiev, since 2014. The Ukrainian military has started heavy shelling of the independent areas of Donbass, which have returned the fire.
Every U.S. war in our lifetime has been based on false information, repeated relentlessly by the corporate media. There is deep apprehension that the US and the Ukrainian government are preparing a “false flag” incident that could lead to a major conflict.
The US has tens of thousands of troops in Europe, it is putting troops on high alert and sending more. They are not only arming the Ukrainian military, but they are expanding NATO bases and sending additional arms and missiles to other NATO countries in the region.
It is important that the US antiwar movement come together to oppose these dangerous war moves. Please join us on Tuesday.
Please join us for this important meeting and discussion with leaders from the antiwar movement including:
Leela Anand – ANSWER coalition
Bahman Azad – US Peace Council
Ajamu Baraka – Black Alliance for Peace, 2016 Green Party vice presidential nominee. He will give an opening statement.
Madea Benjamin – CodePink
Sara Flounders – International Action Center
Margaret Flowers – Popular Resistance, Maryland Green Party
Bruce Gagnon – Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space, Maine Green Independent Party
Margaret Kimberley – Black Agenda Report, Green Party of New York
Jeff Mackler – United National Antiwar Coalition
Nancy Price - Women's International League for Peace and Freedom
Susan Schnall – Veterans For Peace
David Swanson – World Beyond War
Joe Lombardo will chair. Green Party of New York
Sunsara Taylor Tweets:
In Ukraine the US would be fighting at a geographic disadvantage and, as noted earlier, doing so almost alone. The only European government that has responded to the Ukrainian crisis with much apparent military enthusiasm is the United Kingdom. Certainly not France or Germany. And no one else – Portugal, Montenegro, Italy, Belgium, and other cheap-riders – is likely to do any more than send token contributions to a fight. And despite Farkas’ apparent fantasy of a global coalition like that which took on Saddam Hussein’s moribund military in 1991 – but, notably, not in 2003 – few African, South American, or Asian states are likely to volunteer to take on Moscow.
Most important, American military action could be justified only to defend a vital interest. Ukraine’s sovereignty does not constitute one. If it did, Kyiv would be in NATO. Put bluntly, what happens to Ukraine will have little impact on the defense of America – territory, population, constitutional liberties, national prosperity. And that is the standard by which US decisions on war should be measured, especially one with a real military power.
Democrats and Republicans alike are expressing criticism that the Biden administration had been insufficiently ruthless in measures taken against Russia.
Ultra-right Republican Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) declared, “Biden-Harris officials are to an enormous extent directly responsible for this crisis. He and his administration instead settled for an endlessly deferred and wholly uncredible strategy of responding to Putin’s aggression after an invasion.”
A leading Trump supporter in the House, Representative Jim Banks (R-Indiana), said that he is “still hopeful that President Biden will show the backbone that’s been missing all along and we’ll hit Putin where it counts, by restoring the Trump sanctions on Nord Stream 2.”
Anti-Trump Republicans were less critical of Biden and equally enthusiastic about a belligerent policy towards Russia. MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell welcomed former Trump national security advisor John Bolton on her program yesterday, providing him a chance to demand Biden take an even more aggressive stance toward Russia.
NBC wrote that Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) has “been on the phone ‘all morning’ working with Democrats on an emergency supplemental funding package” aimed at expanding sanctions, as well as military aid for the Ukrainian government.
Biden faces substantial pressure from within the Democratic Party as well. Representative Jim Hines (D-Connecticut) stated that Biden was wrong for not immediately calling Russia’s actions in Donetsk and Lugansk an “invasion,” tweeting, “If you know the history of aggressive dictators, you know it’s critical not to lose clarity. Putin is invading Ukraine. Full stop. He’s done it before, and he will do it again if we don’t impose full sanctions.”
Senator Bob Menendez (D-New Jersey) similarly declared, “I think we can stop equivocating as to whether we have an invasion or not. I think the West, the United States has to make it very clear to Putin that the consequences begin now.”
Three of the Democrats who were part of the official congressional delegation to the Munich Security Council last weekend were former CIA, military and State Department officials, including Elissa Slotkin of Michigan, Jason Crow of Colorado and Tom Malinowski of New Jersey. Slotkin, a longtime CIA and National Security Council official, emphasized the broader geopolitical issues in the Ukraine confrontation, tweeting, “Make no mistake: this is about more than just Russia and Ukraine. China is watching our every move to see if the international community will stand up against Putin’s aggression. This is a moment to show that we won’t let them rewrite the next century.”
And the UK SOCIALIST WORKER notes:
Socialist Worker opposes all external military mobilisations, aggression and invasion of Ukraine. But the key issue is about much more than who fired first in any particular week. Imperialism is not just about major powers bullying and oppressing smaller ones. Capitalist imperialism is about competition between major powers.
It is fundamentally about economic rivalries, but these grow over into potential or actual military escalation. This is the system that has plunged people into war again and again. No single flashpoint can be abstracted from those wider trends. The path to war in Ukraine began long before the shots were fired this week. The Nato military alliance, the European Union, Britain and the US are central to ramping up the conflict.
The US has for decades sought to compensate for its declining economic power by increasing its military clout. If it cannot guarantee to intimidate other nations by squeezing them economically, it seeks to do so by guns, missiles, drones and invasion. But that has come unstuck in Iraq and Afghanistan. This has further panicked a US ruling class that is obsessed with the rise of China as well as Russian re-emergence.
Meanwhile, Joe Biden's most infamous target, Iraq, remains in ruins with a corrupt government tht does not function.
Per the country's Consittution, the president of Iraq should have been named weeks ago.
But it hasn't happened.
THE NEW ARAB reports on the new list of presidential candidates (after a boycott derailed a vote on the first group):
Listed candidates include President Barham Ahmed Saleh, the candidate of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), and Reber Ahmed, the candidate from the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), who the Sadrist and the Sovereignty Alliance of Sunni parties have reportedly said they would back.
Ahmed, who is currently Iraqi Kurdistan's interior minister has replaced Zebari as the KDP's presidential candidate.
The president of Iraq has been Kurdish since the 2003 overthrow of Saddam Hussein's regime.
Applications for the presidency were excluded for reasons including candidates lacking political experience, not having a university degree, being involved in accountability and justice procedures, not meeting the age requirement, among others.
The exact date for the presidential elections has not yet been specified.
Karwan Faidhi Dri (RUDAW) adds, "During a session of the legislature earlier in the day, Mohammed al-Halbousi, the previous and incumbent speaker of the parliament, said that the new president will be voted upon at the end of next week."
Elections were held October 10th. Still no president, still no prime minister.
This is the system the US installed, this is the great result of war. Remember Iraq before you start war with Russia.
Lucile Wassermann (AFP) reports in the video below about the huge increase in the illegal selling of endangered wild life in Iraq.
The following sites updated: