Thursday, February 24, 2022

Instacart -- a griping post

Marcia has written at length about the problems with Walmart grocery delivery.

I'm going to write about Instacart.

I'm outraged by it.  

They have the worst gorcery ordering website.  You can't just complete your order, they have to take you through this offer for their service and you have to click next over six times just to order.  I've had a problem before where I had selected my groceries, selected my payment method and assumed my order was in.  No, I hadn't clicked on "next" to go through six more pages.

Tonight, a different problem and I will never use them again. 

I am still sick.  And was not able to go to work today.  I slept most of the day but woke up long enough to order groceries -- including pre-cooked items because I wasn't planning on cooking.


The driver calls me and wakes me up and gives me some b.s. story about how he mistimed and I won't be able to get my groceries on time.  Okay.  I can delay dinner an hour or so.  Oh, no, it'll be tomorrow. 


I can't believe it.  I'm furious.  They only have one driver?  No one else can grab the order that he's miscalculated on?

I tell him that the gorceries tomorrow is unacceptable and all he can say is he'll cancel the order.

Escuse me.  Whatever.  I won't use them again.

But here's what really pissed me off.

Tonight, I see an e-mail from them before I get on to blog.  They're going to refund my money.

Of course they are.  Don't act like you're doing me a damn favor.  You either refund it or you're guilty of theft.


But grasp that to place my order, I had to pay then.  Not tomorrow, not a week from now.  They can't deliver my ordre so it's cancelled.  But I have to wait five to ten days for the refund.


Now we're okay, we have enough money to do that.  But not everyone is that lucky.  A 70 dollar plus grocery ill for groceries not delivered due to them and they think it's appropriate to hold onto someone's money for five to ten days?

That's outrageous.  No one should waste their time using Instacart.

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


Thursday, February 24, 2022.  Greed.  It accounts for Joni Mitchell's posturing against Joe Rogan and it accounts for the US drive towards war on Russia.

We're starting with Joni Mitchell because we live in a world of greed where even people who should know better try to steal more money and feel entitled to do so.  You may know "The Circle GAme" (written in response to Neil Young's childhood laments), you may not.  Its one of Joni's better known songs.  It first appears on her LADIES OF THE CANYON album, the version below is from her double disc live album MILES OF AISLES.

When the nonsense attacks by Joni and Neil and other greedy souls began on Joe Rogan I tried not only not to go scorched earth (it would be very easy for me to do on Neil Young and anyone who knows both of us would never fault me for doing so due to our past history).  I also tried to keep those dicussions in the community newsletters.  But as soon as they popped up there, communicy members with sites began posting on how I had explained it was about greed and not about Joe Rogan.

In Sunday's "TV: Some people court and deserve scorn," Ava and I noted the greed, the first time outside of a community newsletter that I did so:


COUNTERPUNCH's Jeffrey St. Clair deserves more than a little scorn for this nonsense,"Spotify pays artists (or the corporations or hedge funds which own the rights to the music) about $0.005 per stream, which means Joni Mitchell’s 'Clouds' would have to be played 2,000 for Mitchell to make $10." Joni Mitchell has no song "Clouds."  She did write "Both Sides Now," the song Jefferey's attempting to name. The song hit the charts in 1968 when Judy Collins had a top ten hit with it.


Are you grasping reality?  The song is over 50 years old.  And Joni's still making money from it?  She should be on her knees offering thanks (the last major artist to record the song was Herbie Hancock in 2007).   Copyright law needs to be going the other way -- not increasing the number of years something can be held but decreasing the number of years before it becomes public domain.  

Excuse us for not crying over someone's online royalties when she's charging hundreds of dollars for archive recordings on vinyl.  Archive recordings.  The cost was already paid for recording.  All they have to do is put them on a format.  Her greed knows no bounds.

We told you that's what her beef with SPOTIFY was about.  They're paying 1/6 less than traditional radio stations.  And they're doing that for a reason, they reach a smaller audience.  All listeners to our mythical landlocked radio station WCCP would hear Joni Mitchell's "Three Great Stimulants" when we played it.  SPOTIFY is on demand.  If one or two people listen to a song, that's not going to result in much.  If Joni (or whatever artist) does something to be in the news, they can see a huge increase in their streams.  

But, again, you did the song fifty years ago.  You got a lot of nerve expecting us to feel sorry for you,having made millions from it, that all these years later you're being paid a nickel for every stream.  She and Jeffrey are out of touch.  

Let's not sob for the rich who are only getting a little richer instead of much, much richer.

Money, greed gives so much away.

In the video above, Jnoi delivers a spoken intro:

That's one thing that's always, like, been a major difference between, like, the performing arts to me and being a painter, you know? Like, a painter does a painting, and he does a painting. That's it, you know? He's had the joy of creating it, and he hangs it on some wall, somebody buys it, somebody buys it again or maybe nobody buys it and it sits up in a loft somewhere till he dies. But he's never - nobody ever says to him - nobody ever said to Van Gogh, ''Paint a 'Starry Night' again, man!' You know? He painted it, that was it." 

Here's another thing Van Gogh never said, "You paid for my painting and bought it in 1970?  Well you're looking at it now, so pay me the same price again."

Jon Imtchell hasn't recorded a new tune since 2008's SHINE.  She -- and Neil and others (including her apparent identical twin these days: David Crosby) are so damn entitled that they think what they've done, what they've got in the can that everyone's already heard and purchased in multiple formats is so good it rivals what a comedian is doing right now.  So good, in fact, that it surpasses a comedian's new, live work.

They're tripping.  

Reality on Joni Mitchell and money from her work.  She had a comfortable living because David Geffen babied her throughout the 70s.  Carly Simon was deralied by David intentionally because the minute he got control of Carly's label back in the shoe store days of WARNER, he set out to undercut her and did so repeatedly.  Joni was his pet and anyone -- including Carly, Laura Nyro, Judee Sill, etc, was going to be destroyed in order to set Joni up as the queen.  That war goes on to this day from him and his friends -- PBS allowed it to be aired not that long ago, the attacks on Laura Nyro.  They brought on a fat f**k who spent the bulk of his life in the closet, David's best friend, and allowed him to attack Laura as disloyal and as this and as that.

Shortest version of the story (I knew Laura through Peggy Lipton), David had taken Laura to COLUMBIA and Clive Davis when her first album didn't do well on the smaller VERVE.  As part of his payment -- 'payment' -- as manager, David demanded half of Laur's publishing to the songs she wrote.  PBS didn't feel that was worth noting.  David never again got that from any artist and if Laura hadn't been so young he wouldn't have gotten it from her   She was 20 years old, he was her manager.  He had no right to half her publishing.  

He was supposed to be her friend.  

David's really not anyone's friend ( a reality Carrie Fisher learned too late).

Laura's songs became huge hits for other people: "And When I Die," "Wedding Bell Blues," "Eli's Coming," "Save The Country," "Stoned Soul Picnic," "Sweet Blindess," "Stoney End," etc.

And David was banking half of that money from publishing.  When he did nothing.

Laura's own career, that he was supposed to be managing, was not advancing.  She was expanding her audience album by album, tour by tour.  But David wasn't giving her his full attention despite earning half her publishing.

He also was more interested in other acts and going out of his way to promote them, for example, like a certain supergroup where everybody hates each other but they can come together to rail against Joe Rogan.

As people, including Clive Davis (who I've known for years, decades) were pointing out realities to her -- like even Albert Grossman wasn't taking half of Bob Dylan's publishing, that it just wasn't done, that Marty Erlichman started working with Barbra Streisand for free as her manager, Laura's counters of "well he's my firend" became softer.  She began to realize that he had exploited her.

He was now about to set up ASYLUM so he could move from managing to label head.  He wanted Laura on the label.  She noted that she got along with Clive very well and was happy at COLUMBIA.  She didn't feel he listened in their talks so she made a point to outline that in three hand written letters to David. 

She had allowed herself to be maniulated before so he thought she would again and David's never been anything but a manipulator so he thought he'd get his way.

Then came the $20 million deal.  Laura's publishing.  David brokered that to enrich himself.  Laura did not want it to be about money and was not sure she even wanted to proceed with the deal but he talked her up and found time to act (pretend) like he was a friend again.

But, as Clive pointed out, he was doing nothing for her career.  Now Clive wanted Laura to stay at COLUMBIA.  I don't mean to portray Clive as a saint.  But Clive pointed out what COLUMBIA could do -- and had done -- and that David was starting this new label, he was already saying that Joni would be the prize and what was going to happen to Laura?  He'd made $10 million off her, was he really going to work to help her career anymore?

And it was obvious that he wasn;t.

He no longer felt the need to lie that they were lovers.  David was in the closet back then.  And he felt the need to lie when he was 'just a manger' because he wanted to appear more powerful than he was and he also wanted to appear straight.

As Laura's doubt about David increased, a writer (he knows who he is and most of us do but David is vengeful so I'll leave the writer unnamed because David doesn't know this detail) who had done a big profile on Laura contacted her to tell her that David had told him that he shaped the songs, that Laura's talent was unformed and that he was the secret behind her songwriting.

That was it.

Laura wasn't going to his new label.  She called Clive and told him she was staying at COLUMBIA -- which is where she stayed her entire career with the exception of one live album.

David and his cronies have spun that as David's heart was broken, poor David, it was awful, it was the end of an affair, it was . . .

It was business.  He betrayed her as a friend, he betrayed as a manger and he exploited her.  As a manger, he was supposed to be promoting her, not telling reporters that he took her raw talent and processed it into hit songs (a lie, by the way, David had nothing to do with her songwriting).  

A billionaire who stole his first ten million is someone PBS allowed to lie and trash a dead woman who was actually one of David's first victims.

Joni knew she benefited from David.  In 1975, as part of the effort to allow Joni to 'conquer' Carly, David rushed out THE BEST OF CARLY SIMON ("VOl. 1" was the concession Arlene Rothberg insisted upon, Carly's manager).  It immediately cut into Carly's album sales, as David knew it would, as Joni knew it would.  As David's friend and his non-sexual living companion, Joni was protected.  She didn't want a best of and she didn't have to have one.  She was very clear publicly about this: A greatest hits meant the record stores (which is what they were back then) moved to stocking that and whatever your new album was.  Without it, her catalog would be available at most ercord stores.

Joni Mitchell's BLUE was not  a hit when it first came out.  Throughout the seventies, her best selling album was COURT & SPARK and that was really it in terms of selling a million copies.  By keeping BLUE in stock all that time including through the CD boom, it eventually did sell a million copies.  Even so, Carly's WE HAVE NO SECRETS outsold BLUE.  And imagine how many more copies that early seventies album would have sold if it wasn't pulled from most record stores after THE BEST OF came out.

Joni benefited from a campaign carried out by David to harm other female singer-songwriters.  

But let's pretend her hands are clean in the field of commerce.

Even were that the case, she's been paid repeatedly.

She -- and Jeffrey St Clair -- want to pretend that something she recorded five decades ago or more is worth the same money as Joe's podcast?  His new pdocast.  

The one that SPOTIFY broadcasts?  You can stream Joni on SPOTIFY, on AMAON, on YOUTUBE, on . . .

It's old work and it's not exclusvie.  But she wants money, money, money.  

And we're supposed to believe that she's entitled to more than a few coins each time one person streams one of her songs that she wrote and recorded decades ago?

She's been overpaid for years.  That was the falling out in the 80s with David Geffen.  He felt she was ungrateful, she felt the same about him, but that is what it was about.  Her albums didn't sell and she was being a paid a huge amount of money.  (Money was also at the root of Neil and David's conflict and why David sued Neil.)

The video above?  Posted by Joni Mitchell's org in 2015.  One of her more famous songs and it only has 24,000 streams.  Only.

In ten years, on YOUTUBE, just at Pink's official channel, "TRY" has had 499,850,557 streams.

And one of Joni's best known songs has had 24,000.  Pink's "Try" will hit the 500,000,000 mark by the end of March.

The greed involved is appalling.  She was always paid more than she was worth as an artist.  Now she's paid the same performance rate by any one else who lets SPTOFIY post their music and she's paid by the stream.  

If Pink only makes a nickle off each stream of "Try," it's not her faul that she's making a huge amount more than Joni.

I love Joni's albums.  I think she's a gifted singer-songwriter.  I also think she's an embarrassment right now.  When people who attended the Kennedy Center Honors made jokes to me about Joni's looks (saying she looked like David Crosby), I responded that she's nearly eighty.  But, honestly, as she embarrasses herself now, those cutting remarks I refused to entertain back then?  I'm now giggling over.

She did look like David Crosby.  :D

She has gotten paid her fair share and then some.

We don't see factory workers being paid for years after they put together a Ford.  But she is still getting paid (and copryight law needs to refgormed for the people, not for the greedy).  It's not enough?

You stupid ass.  You haven't worked on it in decades and you're still beging paid for it, take the win.

Greed was behind the attacks on Joe from artists.  Joni is embarrassing herself and spitting on her life's work by her calls for censorschip.  She's gotten too cushy and too insulated and no one can talk to her, every conversation is a monologue -- which is why I haven't spoken to her since she got out of the hospital except to check on her three times.  I have no desire to be across the table from someone who is going to come up for air after three hours of extolling their own greatness.  She has no interest in others anymore (but passes off her cat fetish as some sign of humanity) and no real interest in the outside world.  She's grown more and more reactionary with each passing year.

We'll always have the art and it's frozen in time, fortunately, untouched by her recent actions.  But her image isn't untouched, she's destroying it herself and there's no one around her who has the guts to tell her.

Greed destoryed her.

Greed's destroying the US and certainly what passes for democracy here.  Tom Hall (WSWS) reports:

A federal judge in Texas issued a ruling Tuesday upholding a previous anti-strike injunction against 17,000 conductors and engineers at the BNSF Railway (Burlington Northern Santa Fe). The original injunction was issued last month after workers overwhelmingly voted to strike against the company’s new “Hi Viz” attendance policy, a points-based system designed to squeeze more availability out of the existing workforce and pave the way for layoffs and cost-cutting.

[. . .]

But the reference to the inviolability of “supply chains” has an added significance given the advanced plans by the Biden administration for war with Russia over Ukraine. The aim of this campaign is to attempt to suppress the enormous social tensions at home and within Washington itself through a torrent of patriotic, warmongering propaganda and to enforce “national unity” by putting American society on a war footing.

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg put this most bluntly in comments last year referencing the prospects of conflict with China, when he declared, “The new China challenge provides us with an opportunity to come together across the political divide. At least half the battle is at home.”

There is a staggering hypocrisy in Washington’s professed deep concern for the national rights of Ukraine while it is savagely attacking the democratic rights of workers at home.

The corrupt, pro-corporate unions are critical to Biden’s strategy. The BLET (Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen) and SMART-TD (International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers—Transportation Division) unions at BNSF, obviously aware of the deep opposition and frustration among railroaders, issued a letter criticizing the ruling but called on workers to allow the process to play out. However, as Judge Pittman himself admitted, the entire legal process established by the RLA and other labor laws is designed from start to finish to benefit the companies.


Eric London (WSWS) notes fake-ass Bernie Sanders rushing to prop up Joe Biden's move for war with Russia:

No American politician, let alone Sanders, is in a position to criticize others for waging pretextual wars in violation of international law. For 31 years, Sanders has sat in Congress, a body which is responsible for approving and funding ruthless wars of aggression, for laying waste to entire societies and killing millions of people under false pretenses and in blatant violation of international law.

Over this three-decade span, Sanders has played a critical role providing a “progressive” spin to the war aims of American imperialism, legitimizing the US government’s aims and false justifications as it staggers from one bloody crime to the next. The routine goes as follows: the ruling class allows Sanders to cast “no” votes when his “aye” vote is not required and promotes his image as “anti-war” in order to capitalize on his support when the time comes to sell the population the latest humanitarian lies for its wars of imperialist plunder.

Fake Ass Bernie.  Eric London goes on to note all of Benie's efforts to embrace imperialism over the years and that is shocking.  But, for me, the most telling moment will always be the Senate Veterans Affairs hearing.  That morning, the news had just broken about the large number of veterans dying due to the VA not seeing them, the wait lists, the hidden wait lists that we allowing them to continue the backlog but off the official books and much more.

And there was Bernie, Chair of the committe.  And he was hectoring the other members that these details didn't matter, he wanted the hearing to focus on alternative medicines.

Dead veterans?  Bernie's pet cause of alternative medicine?  Who won out?  Who do you think.  A fake ass who never should have been allowed to chair the Senate VEterans Affairs cCommittee.  He was appalling then and he's a fake ass to this day.  "I'm not going to dro pout . . . until a week later when I say I am."  Reitre, old man, retire.  Sit across from Joni for the rest of your days and eeach edliver speeches to one another about your own greatness.

Greed and lies.  The Iraq War is being used to sell war on Russia.  FACT CRESCENDO notes that a vidoe of Russia attacking Ukraine is actually . . . Iraq War footage:

The video is not a footage from the clashes between the Russian and Ukrainian army. The video originally shows US Special Forces raiding the Golden Mosque in Iraq in 2004.

[. . .]

Fact Crescendo found the viral video on social media to be False. This video shows US Special Forces raid on Golden Mosque in Iraq in 2004. The video does not show footages of the ongoing clashes between Russian and Ukrainian army. 

Over at THE ALTANIC, Prashant Rao has set up house.-- apparently AFP didn't allow him the freedom to advocate war that he so needs.  So he speaks with David Petraeus.  

An expert on what?



Losing your security clearance?

Being stripped of your CIA post?

I'm not really sure where we find honor or admiration in the life of David.  Sorry.  Prashant tries to build up David's counter-insurgency work.  That's killing the local population though Prashant won't tell you that.  Did he leave AFP out of fear that they might start doing historical coverage of the French war on Indochina?

Prashant was never a great reporter.  But he still had his soul intact.  Until now.

The greed and entitlement is appalling.

"Save my soul, save myself."  Indeed, Tracy Chapman, indeed.

For the record, that went up on her official YOUTUBE channel the same year Joni's "The Circle Game" went up on Joni's YOUTUBE channel.  Joni's got 24,000 streams.  Tracy?  9 million.

Again, Joni can be greedy all she wants but the sad reality is what the numbers she delivers do not justify her greed.


The following sites updated:

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Free Guy

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.

Joseph Kishore (WSWS) observes:

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 Party for Socialism and Liberation notes:

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. 

The US Green Party notes:

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:

All these people mocking Cardi B, but her statement is better than all the US chauvinist pundits: “I'm really not on NATO’s side. I'm really not [on] Russia’s side. I'm actually in the citizens’ side, because at the end of the day, the world is having a crisis right now.”

Doug Bandow (ANTIWAR.COM) argues:

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.

Eric London (WSWS) observes:

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.”


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:

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

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I'm a Green Party member.  Let me take a moment to recommend Betty's "Delilah Barrios is running for governor of Texas" from last week.  From Howie Hawkins' YouTube channel, here's a Green discussion of ecosocialism.

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

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

Australia's Minister of Foreign Affairs Marise Payne Tweets:

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

Heaven S replies back:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BD Cassin Tweets:

Don't forget #JulianAssange today. Everyday.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Over at THE NATIONAL, Mina Aldroubi reports:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The following sites updated: