Saturday, November 19, 2022

Call Me Kat

Call Me Kat airs on Thursdays, on Fox. 

This week's episode?

Leslie Jordan's Phil was on.  He was dating Queen Dicktoria whose non-stage name is Jalen.  The queen is very popular and Phil was jealous and insecure.  He began trying to spend every non-working minute with Jalen.  And it was too much.  He was falling asleep at work, he was tired all the time.

Jalen finally had to tell him he couldn't go out, that he was more of a homebody unlike party guy Phil.  Phil was relieved and they were going to couch for awhile.

The gang went to see Queen Dicktoria's show and Carter was upset because no one came onto him at the drag club.  He thought he would be catnip.  Fortunately, when the gang went back, Carter did get a compliment and it made his day.

Max and Kat were part of the gang at the drag club, of course.  But they were also the main story.  They were trying to get some time together, watching a movie, etc.  But?  Every time Slyvia would interrupt and Kat would have to go help her regardless of the time or what she was doing.


Because Sylvia's going blind.  Remember that?  It was not a storyline we needed in a good year.  In a season where Phil will soon die (Leslie Jordan died last month in real life), we really don't need this storyline.

At one point, Max told Sylvia it was too much for Kat.  Sylvia's solution?  She's thinking of moving into assisted living.  Kat didn't want that but then her dead father appeared to her and now she's okay with whatever Sylvia wants.

If I didn't note it already, Vikie Lawrence will be on at least one episode playing Phil's mother.  The two worked together on The Cool Kids. 


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

Friday, November 18, 2022.  Corruption in Iraq, marriage equality and abortion in the US, Will Lehman, BROS and so much more.

Abortion and marriage equality.  A number of e-mails have come in about those two topics which are related in many ways.  Let's start with marriage equality.

There will be a floor vote in the Senate.  Here's Senator Tammy Baldwin's statement on what took place this week:

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) released the following statement following the Senate vote, 62-37, to advance the Respect for Marriage Act.

“Today, we took a step forward in our fight to give millions of loving couples the certainty, dignity, and respect that they need and deserve. A bipartisan coalition of Senators stood with the overwhelming majority of Americans who support marriage equality. We came together to move the Respect for Marriage Act forward and give the millions of Americans in same-sex and interracial marriages the certainty that they will continue to enjoy the freedoms, rights, and responsibilities afforded to all other marriages,” said Senator Baldwin. “I am proud to have worked across the aisle to earn broad, bipartisan support for this legislation, and look forward to making marriage equality the law of the land.”

And it should be the law of the land.  But it's not yet.  I'll celebrate when it is.  

In the meantime we're getting garbage coverage.  

So-called reporters printing lies.  I've got four to choose from, they all go with the same lie, but we'll just use one.  Playground honor will prevent us from identifying the author of the one we're using but Google will snitch on her if you copy and paste the paragraph below into a Google search:

If you’re wondering why protecting same-sex and interracial marriage is even something that needs to be voted on in the year of our Lord 2022, the legislation was prompted by comments from Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, who recently said that the Court should reconsider opinions protecting access to contraception and same-sex and interracial marriages. (It’s worth noting that Thomas is also in an interracial marriage, having been married to Virginia “Ginni” Thomas since 1987.)

Do you see the problem?  Three other outlets also can't get it right.

And worst of all, she thinks she's cute with her parenthetical.

No, Clarry Thomas did not bring up LOVING V VIRGINIA.  That's the case that overturned bans on interracial marriage.  He listed marriage equality, he listed sodomy and he listed birth control.  LOVING is founded on the same due process aspect.  But Clarry omitted it precisely because he is in an interracial marriage -- exposing himself as a hypocrite.  Many of us called him out on it when his concurring opinion (what the reporter calls "comments") was issued -- that includes Samuel L. Jackson who was very vocal about the hypocrisy (I would praise anyone for speaking out but, disclosure, Samuel is a good friend of mine).  

Now I hope it becomes the law of the land and we'll be thrilled here if it does.  But, again, we'll celebrate then, we'll breathe easy then.

We thought ROE was the law of the land until a cabal conspired to shred precedent and overturn fifty years of settled court law.

And during those decades, we watched as Democrats chipped away at it.  Our 'friend' Hillary, of course, was part of the attack on abortion rights in the immediate months after the 2004 election.  You had a plan by the party -- by leaders in the party -- to push the Democrats away from abortion.  They paid various little peons to write non-thought pieces on it.  And you had various politicians come forward to move the party away from abortion rights.  Hillary took part in that.  THE NEW YORK TIMES documented it. 

So let's step pretending that We the American People have any groups of friends in Congress when it comes to reproductive rights.  As Elaine noted, while people are listing Nancy Pelosi's supposed accomplishments as Speaker of the House, the reality is that she was Speaker of the House when women lost significant rights.  Way to go, Nance.

We had ROE and we had years of chipping away at it.  Poor women were, of course, the first to suffer.  And we can blame men because men were in Congress and women really don't come into Congress in significant numbers until the 1992 genderquake (resulting largely from the country seeing the way the Senate demonized Anita Hill).  But the reality is, ROE continued to be sliced and diced.

And when it wasn't being chipped away at, it was being used as a political football.

Codifying it not only would have saved reproductive rights, it would have pulled a get-out-the-vote tool from the Democratic Party not to mention a fundraising tool for the party.

And that, let's be honest, is why Nancy never led on codifying it and why Barack Obama broke his campaign promise that the first thing he would do as president was codify ROE.  

If you supported ROE you were held hostage for years by the Democratic Party.

They didn't protect it by making it law, they didn't protect it by ensuring that all women had equal access.  

They used it.

And some are e-mailing saying that I'm not celebrating our victory in the midterms.

I don't see it as a victory and I'll explain why.

But we did note WSWS's live coverage blog when they noted the victories in various states in this month's elections.

I've waited and waited -- in vain? -- for the Feminist Majority Foundation to put out some statement.  Maybe they're not feeling it -- I'm not feeling it -- and maybe we're both wary for the same reason.

The American people turned out and supported the right to privacy.  They did a great job.

But the people usually do.

It's the politicians that don't.

The Democrats lost the House.  That's reality.  They should have lost it by a bigger percentage, they should have lost the Senate.

Abortion is what saved them.

And as I write that I cringe because they don't have a history of standing up.  They have a history of using and abusing.

I'll use an example from this century.  As a party, they supported the Iraq War.  After the people turned against it, the party began to find its voice.  (There were members against the war who were in Congress, they did not steer the party.)  Finally, in 2006, Nancy promised us that if the Dems could get control of just one house of Congress in the midterm vote, they could end the Iraq War.

The American people gave them control of both houses.

And they didn't end it.

They didn't end it because no one had expected control of both houses.  Despite the fact that the public had turned against the war, the idiots leading the Democratic Party hadn't expected that turnout.  So instead of ending it, it was decided to carry it over for at least two more years.  If opposition to the war could get them control of both houses, it could also lead to control of the White House.

The dying didn't matter.  The Iraqis dead and wounded didn't matter, the US troops dead and wounded didn't matter.  The violations of international law didn't matter.  

To the party, the Iraq War was nothing more than a get-out-the-vote tool.

And, to this day, we still have US troops stationed in Iraq.

Yes, abortion is probably the biggest reason that Dems were not wiped out in this month's mid-terms.

But why I'm not feeling a 'victory' here is because the party tends to use women and I can see very easily the Democratic Party refusing to address abortion by codifying it so that they can use the issue as a get-out-the-vote and fundraising tool for several more election cycles.

I hope that doesn't happen.

But already Joe Biden's declared this week that ROE won't be codified.  


Because before the election, when he needed people to vote Democrat, he said what?

That he was fine with suspending the filibuster to codify abortion rights.  Or does no one remember that?

And Dems may not control the House, but they have 212 seats to the Republicans 218 and there are still five more seats to be called.  Let's say that they all went Republican.  That would be 223.  That's eleven seats.  

Isn't Joe the reach across the aisle guy?  

He can't get 11 votes in the House from the Republicans?

The Dems can't make deals that would garner the support of 11 Republicans.  

Abortion is not a fringe issue, it has majority support.  

There's no excuse for not putting this to a vote.  There's no excuse for not demanding bipartisanship on this issue.  It is what the American people support.  

So this nonsense that Joe offered this week of how the results of the election mean nothing can be done is nonsense and garbage and too many of us have seen this over and over.  So, yes, I fear abortion is an issue that they are going to string us along on for several election cycles unless we make it clear that we're not playing that game.

That means stop lying, stop spreading lies, stop being silent.  It means that we stop pretending that backstabbers like Hillary Clinton are our friends.  Again, she used the aftermath of the 2004 election to trash abortion rights -- even THE NEW YORK TIMES called her out on it.

The lines were drawn long ago and if you're not going for our right to privacy, you're not our friend and we're idiots if we pretend otherwise.

Sorry if I took the buzz off the victory.  I was biting my tongue.  Ahead of the elections and now.  I'd planned to address that when we did the year-in-review here.  But that is the reality of the way the party is with abortion.  We have the numbers, we just don't have the representation in Congress.  We would if we'd stop treating them like our wayward spouses and clucking over them and acting like it was okay that they forgot to take out the garbage and aren't they cute.  They aren't our spouses.  They are our public servants.  And we need to remind them of that.

I am very hopeful that marriage equality will be the law of the land due to an act of Congress.  And, if that happens, it will be something to celebrate.  But I've watched the Democratic Party with ROE for too many years and Joe's remark this week indicates nothing has changed or been learned there.

In Iraq, the people also suffer under their government.  At THE FINANCIAL TIMES, Raya Jalabi notes the recent theft of 2.5 billion dollars that was discovered in October (it took place over the previous twelve months).  That was the public's money and corrupt officials stole it.  They now have a new prime minister (Mohammed Shia al-Sudani) but The Century Foundation's Sajad Jiyad states, "The fault and the liabilities go all the way to the top.  It implicates a lot of high-level players, including ministers and ex-ministers, civil servants and well-connected businessmen.  So this is a political issue -- we'll see how far Sudani can go."

Last month, two developments ended the paralysis that has gripped Iraqi politics since the general elections in October 2021. One, the divide between the Kurds ended with the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) reluctantly withdrawing its insistence on nominating the country’s President and accepting the claim of its rival, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), to put forward its own candidate, Abdul Latif Rashid.

Once Mr. Rashid was approved as President with majority support in Parliament on October 13, he nominated Mohammed Shia al-Sudani as Prime Minister. On October 27, Mr. al-Sudani obtained parliamentary approval for himself and his cabinet. Thus, after three years of care-taker administrations, there is finally an elected government in Baghdad, though few believe there will be peace in the country. 

Less than a month after being inaugurated as Iraq’s prime minister, Mohammed Shia Al Sudani is already reneging on promises he made to secure his governing coalition. The longer these pledges go unmet, the longer Iraq’s destabilizing political polarization will persist.

Sunnis traded their support for a promise that, once in power, the new prime minister would withdraw pro-Iran Shia militias, known as Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), from Sunni-dominated provinces in the northwest.

Al Sudani agreed, and also vowed to issue a general pardon that would open the door for the rehabilitation of the mostly-Sunni ISIS fighters.

Neither of these promises have been kept. Pro-Iran Shia lawmakers have obstructed measures that would undermine the PMUs without disbanding them. 

And in the Kurdistan in northern Iraq?  THE NEW ARAB reports:

Tensions between the two main Kurdish ruling parties in the Iraqi Kurdistan region, the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), are worsening in the aftermath of the assassination of a counter-terrorism officer.

Hawkar Abdullah Rasoul, known as Hawkar Jaff, a former colonel in the ranks of PUK's Counter-Terrorism Group (CTG), was killed in the capital city of Erbil on 7 October after a sticky bomb attached to his vehicle detonated. The KDP accuses its rival party, the PUK, of being behind the killing.  

 Bafl Talabani, PUK's president, during an interview with Rudaw Kurdish satellite channel aired on Tuesday night, said that as a consequence of the killing arrest warrants have been issued by an Erbil court against himself and his brother, Qubad Talabani, the Deputy Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).

The Biden administration has made it clear to Iraq's new prime minister that it will not work with ministers and senior officials who are affiliated with Shiite militias the U.S. has designated as terrorist organizations, two sources briefed on the issue told me.

Why it matters: Mohammed Shia al-Sudani became the prime minister after he was endorsed by the pro-Iranian factions in the Iraqi parliament, known as the Coordination Framework. These factions include some Shiite militias on the U.S. Foreign Terrorist Organizations list.

  • Still, the U.S. plans to largely work with and give the new Iraqi government and al-Sudani a chance, as Axios recently reported.
  • Iraq is a key partner for the Biden administration in the region, with many U.S. security and economic interests that need to be preserved.

State of play: The Biden administration has already decided it will not work with the minister of higher education, Naim al-Aboudi, who is a member of Asa'ib Ahl al-Haq (AAH), a Shiite militia that is funded by Iran and was designated as a terrorist organization by the U.S., the two sources said. 

  • The U.S. is also concerned about Rabee Nader, who was appointed to head the Iraqi prime minister's press office. Nader worked in the past for media outlets affiliated AAH and with the Kata’ib Hezbollah — a Shiite militia designated by the U.S. as a terror group.

Behind the scenes: U.S. ambassador to Iraq Alina Romanowski has met with al-Sudani five times since he took office less than three weeks ago, according to the two sources.

  • The sources said Romanowski told al-Sudani the U.S. policy regarding engagement with government ministers and officials who are connected to militias. The same message was conveyed to the Iraqi government by other Biden administration officials.
  • The White House declined to comment on diplomatic engagements with the Iraqi government. 

Turning to union news, we'll note this:

Let's close with BROS -- and I told you they were going to move the DVD and BLURAY release up.

The following sites updated:

  • Thursday, November 17, 2022

    Grab bag (Call Me Kat, Vickie Lawrence, Diana Ross, etc)

    Be sure to read Ava and C.I.'s "TV: Duplicity and Diversity."  I'm waiting for Call Me Kat to start airing on FOX -- a few minutes to go.

    On the radio today, they said Vickie Lawrence would be guesting on Call Me Kat -- episode is not filmed yet -- and that she'll be playing Phil's mother.  Phil was played by Leslie Jordan who passed away.  He and Vickie starred in The Cool Kids together.

    I don't know how the show goes on without Phil, by the way.  He was a really important part of the show.  He was generally the audience's reaction.  I wonder if they'll bring on a new character?  

    Like I said recently, it's kind of like when Coach died on Cheers.

    Bones and All, by the way, is not a film I plan to watch.  The commercial for it just came on which is why I'm noting it.  

    Now here's "Thank You."


    That's the title track to Diana's latest studio album, the one she's Grammy nominated for this year.

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

    Thursday, November 17, 2022.  As climate change threats increase, Joe Biden wastes billions on Ukraine. 

    Steve Robinson (MAINE WIRE) reports:

    Several Republican Members of Congress are escalating calls for a forensic audit of U.S. military and non-military aid to Ukraine following the Russian invasion in February. Those calls for transparency come as President Joe Biden’s White House just asked the U.S. Congress for another $37 billion for the war in Ukraine. But is an audit of all that aid, which includes not just cash transfers but loans, military equipment, and humanitarian supplies, even possible?

    To begin with, we need to answer a simpler question: how much money has the U.S. government sent to Ukraine?

    Try Googling the question to find an answer. The search isn’t likely to be an easy one, as I discovered. There’s no media outlet keeping an ongoing tally of the cost of the Ukraine war to American taxpayers, and obviously there’s no government website doing so. Even conservative American think tanks, many of them stuck in Cold War mentalities, haven’t focused on financial transparency as they analyze U.S. involvement in the conflict. A factor that complicates the answer is the discrepancy between total aid appropriated and committed versus aid that has actually been delivered. The Biden administration has not been lightning fast in turning appropriations into actual aid, so there are significant differences between the two numbers.

    The Congressional Research Service, the non-partisan in-house think tank for Congress, produced a report on total “security assistance” as of Oct. 21, 2022. Funding in that category, from 2014 to Oct. 14, 2022, was $20.3 billion. But this points up another complicating factor. Different sources measure buckets of aid differently: some will talk about security assistance, some talk of military assistance, some talk of humanitarian aid. Few offer a clear cut, “This is the total cost of all U.S. support for the war in Ukraine.”

    Eventually I tracked down a database operated by the Kiel Institute, a German think tank. They have been tracking total military and non-military aid to Ukraine since the beginning of the conflict. Their numbers include all aid from Jan. 24, 2022 to Oct. 3, 2022 (the data is scheduled for an update on Dec. 6).

    According to Kiel, the U.S. has transferred military and non-military aid worth $54.43 billion to the government of Ukraine. The database Kiel has maintained is by far the most granular and detailed accounting of what the U.S. government has provided to Ukraine, including descriptions of the individual batches of military equipment. If you’re interested, you can check it out here. 

    Let that sink in.  $54 billion with Joe Biden now asking for $37 million more -- and all in less than 12 months.

    $54 billion.  There's nothing that can be done for the American people.  They can't have true universal healthcare.  Medicare for All -- favored by most Americans -- is just too expensive says the government that sends $54 billion to fund and fuel an unnecessary war and enrich the war industry while the American people do without and while prices skyrocket here in the US.

    As Graham Elwood observes in the video above, "Food costs have almost doubled in the last year.  It's insane.  They say, 'Oh, eight and a half percent inflation.'  I don't know what grocery store they're going to.  Not the ones I or any of my friends go to.'' 

    But we can sit back and watch billions of our dollars go to support a war, to support an illegitimate regime installed by the US in 2014.  Alex Findijs (WSWS) notes that time period in a new article when he comments on Victoria Nuland:

    Nuland is another major Obama-era foreign policy official who played a leading role in the overthrow of the elected Ukrainian government and selection of its pro-Western replacement in 2014. A leaked phone call during the Maidan protests that culminated in the forced removal of Ukrainian President Yanukovych exposed her role in orchestrating the operation in behalf of US imperialism. “I don’t think Klitsch [Vitaly Klitschko, mayor of Kiev and former boxer] should go into the government,” she is heard saying. “I don’t think it’s necessary, I don’t think it’s a good idea… I think Yats [Arseniy Yatseniuk] is the guy who’s got the economic experience, the governing experience. He’s the... what he needs is Klitsch and Tyahnybok on the outside.”

    Oleh Tyahnybok is a neo-Nazi. As leader of the far-right Svoboda Party, he played a leading role in the US-backed Maidan protests in Kiev that culminated in the overthrow of Yanukovych. In a 2004 speech that was aired on Ukrainian television, he denounced the “Moscow-Jewish mafia ruling Ukraine” and hailed Stepan Bandera’s World War II Ukrainian National Army, saying, “They were not afraid and we should not be afraid. They took their automatic guns on their necks and went into the woods, and fought against the Muscovites, Germans, Jews and other scum who wanted to take away our Ukrainian state.”

    In 2013, Tyahnybok and another Svoboda Party leader were barred from entering the United States for their open anti-Semitism.

    Arseniy Yatseniuk is a right-wing, pro-Western politician who was installed as the first prime minister of Ukraine following the February 2014 Maidan putsch.

    Following her stint in the Obama administration, Nuland served as CEO of CNAS from 2018 to 2019. She is now the under secretary of state for political affairs in the Biden administration. She has links to Pine Island Capital Partners, which has ties with other Biden administration officials, including Secretary of Defense Loyd Austin.

    Ukraine shot missiles into Poland.  And then said Russia did it.  Walt Zlotow (ANTIWAR.COM) notes:

    Both US President Biden and Polish President Andrzej Duda spoke cautiously regarding a potential tripwire setting off possible all out war between NATO and Russia. Biden said “There is preliminary information that contests Russia fired the missile. I don’t want to say until we completely investigate but it’s unlikely in the minds of the trajectory that it was fired from Russia.” Duda told reporters that “There’s no clear evidence of who fired the missile. An investigation is ongoing.”

    But firebrand Ukraine President Zelensky, who tirelessly promotes direct NATO intervention, including strikes on Russia and an No-Fly Zone over Ukraine, likely triggering WWIII, remains undaunted. He took to Twitter on his talk with Polish President Duda, expressing “condolences over the death of Polish citizens from Russian missile terror.”

    I’ve said before that President Zelensky is trying to get us all killed. Unless the US and NATO escorts him to the negotiating table to end a war he cannot win, he may succeed. 

    Andre Damon (WSWS) explains:

    One day after a series of explosions took place in a Polish farming village, it has become clear that Ukraine fired at least one missile into Poland, killing two Polish civilians.

    While Ukraine’s imperialist backers acknowledged that it was Kiev that launched the strike, they have claimed, without a shred of evidence or plausibility, that Ukrainian air defenses accidentally carried out a precision airstrike dozens of miles in the wrong direction.

    If the Ukrainian air force was attempting to intercept Russian missiles, flying from the east, why were its missiles aimed to the west, at Poland? And why were they able to precisely target an inhabited building in a sparsely populated rural area? Why did Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Foreign Minister Dimitri Reznikov and an unnamed “senior U.S. intelligence official” falsely blame Russia for the attack before Polish authorities had even publicly confirmed details about the strike?

    The claims that the missile was fired from a “defensive” weapon have no credibility because the S-300 missile system has a well-known capability of striking land-based targets. 

    In reality, the missile strike was a calculated provocation by Ukraine, possibly with the assistance of factions within the American state, intended to accelerate direct NATO involvement in the conflict and preclude any discussion of a ceasefire or negotiated settlement of the war.

    Ukraine’s attack on Poland took place as the G20 was meeting in Bali, Indonesia, with the United States seeking to whip other countries into line against Russia. It also takes place amid reported conflicts within the US government about the extent and pacing of US involvement in the war, and suggestions from Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley that the United States might initiate a ceasefire or peace negotiations over the winter. 

    Critically, both NATO as a whole and individual NATO members have now acknowledged that it was Ukraine, not Russia, that attacked Poland, with Ukraine continuing to insist that the strike came from Russia.

    And $54 billion of our dollars going to these liars.  For a war that's going to push the entire world closer to nuclear war.  And on top of everything the lack of gratitude grates.  , and

    But a phone call between the two leaders in June played out differently from previous ones, according to four people familiar with the call. Biden had barely finished telling Zelenskyy he’d just greenlighted another $1 billion in U.S. military assistance for Ukraine when Zelenskyy started listing all the additional help he needed and wasn’t getting. Biden lost his temper, the people familiar with the call said. The American people were being quite generous, and his administration and the U.S. military were working hard to help Ukraine, he said, raising his voice, and Zelenskyy could show a little more gratitude.

    That's anger?  Joe shows more anger at progressive activists in the US.

    Real anger would have been telling Zelenskyy to go f**k himself and to grow the hell up and try fighting his war without begging every other country for help like a useless little cry baby.  Real anger would have been telling him there was no more US tax dollars for his sorry ass.

    $54 billion.  Think about what could have been done for the American people with that money.  Think about how a small portion of it could have ended homelessness in the US.  Think about what a portion of it could have done for our schools.  Think about the fact that our government gave away -- pissed away -- $54 billion while Americans go to bed hungry.


    Maybe Joe Biden does have a plan to address hunger and homelessness!  Maybe nuclear war is his plan to end all the world's problems.  It would end the world while ending those problems but Joe -- even before senility kicked in -- was never accused of being a great thinker.

    And you can see that in Joe's approach to climate change.  Kenny Stancil (COMMON DREAMS) notes:

    Ugandan climate justice activist Vanessa Nakate denounced world leaders Tuesday for continuing to support new coal, oil, and gas projects despite overwhelming evidence that extracting and burning more fossil fuels will exacerbate deadly climate chaos.

    "The focus for many leaders is about making deals for fossil fuel lobbyists, surviving the next election cycle, and grabbing as much short-term profit as possible," Nakate said at an event on the sidelines of the United Nations COP27 climate summit in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt.

    Alluding to the presence of more than 630 fossil fuel lobbyists at the meeting, which is being held in a heavily policed and expensive resort city, Nakate said that oil and gas representatives are turning COP27 into "a sales and marketing conference for more pollution and more destruction and more devastation."

    Nakate cited the International Energy Agency's 2021 blueprint for achieving net-zero emissions by 2050, which made clear that investment in new fossil fuel projects is incompatible with meeting the Paris agreement's goal of capping temperature rise at 1.5°C above preindustrial levels—beyond which impacts will grow progressively worse for millions of people, particularly those living in impoverished countries who have done the least to cause the crisis.

    Atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide—the three main heat-trapping gases fueling global warming—hit an all-time high last year, and greenhouse gas pollution has only continued to climb this year.

    Meanwhile, public subsidies supporting the production and consumption of coal, oil, and gas nearly doubled in 2021, and hundreds of corporations are planning to expand dirty energy production in the coming years, including several proposed drilling projects and pipelines in Africa.

    Also at COMMON DREAMS, Edward Hunt warns:

    The leaders of the United States are prioritizing great power competition with China and Russia at a time when much of the world is demanding that the world's great powers cooperate to address the climate crisis.

    Officials in Washington recently confirmed that they see great power competition with China and Russia as their top concern in global affairs, even while acknowledging that the greatest threat to the planet comes from climate change.

    "Simply put, we face two main strategic challenges," National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan explained in a major policy address last month. "The first is geopolitical competition." The second "is the sheer scale and speed of transnational challenges," such as climate change.

    "The climate crisis is the greatest of all the shared problems we face," Sullivan added.

    For years, officials in Washington have been warning about the return of great power competition. They say that China and Russia are increasingly challenging the world order that the United States has dominated since the end of the Cold War.

    "We're at an inflection point in history," Secretary of State Antony Blinken said earlier this month. "The post-Cold War era is over. There is a competition on now to shape what comes next."

    The Biden administration's National Security Strategy claims that the world has entered a new era of great power competition. Released to the public last month, the National Security Strategy presents a vision in which the United States is promoting democracy around the world while Russia and China are pushing autocracy and creating instability.

    "We will prioritize maintaining an enduring competitive edge over the PRC while constraining a still profoundly dangerous Russia," the report notes.

    Within this framework, the United States has sought to punish Russia for its invasion of Ukraine and strengthen the U.S. military presence around China. Not only has the Biden administration funneled billions of dollars worth of weapons to Ukraine with the goal of achieving the "strategic defeat" of Russia, but it has overseen a major military buildup in East Asia, where the U.S. military now has more soldiers stationed than any other region of the world.

     Though the country has already suffered enough due to the US-led war, Iraq is also set to be one of the most harmed by climate change.

    This morning, RUDAW reports:

     The marshes of Iraq are no longer suitable for living after mostly drying up, with the droughts killing most of Dhi Qar’s livestock and driving inhabitants away. 

    The effects of the drought are huge, with water scarcity in the al-Hammar Marshes in Dhi Qar being the main factor in the substantial financial losses suffered by locals. 

    Ahmad Jawad Aziz, a resident of the al-Hammar marshes in Dhi Qar, told Rudaw’s Anmar Ghazi on Tuesday that “life has ceased here, and most of the residents here make their living on the marshes, by raising fish, buffaloes, and cows, and harvesting cane,” Aziz continued.

    “Now everything has ended here, as the marshes have become a barren desert land.”

    Livestock and sheep breeders in the marshes protested against the neglect endured by the al-Hammar marshes.

    “There is no initiative by the decision makers in order to alleviate the brunt of the drought on buffalo breeders, such as providing them with fodder and granting them soft loans for the purpose of helping them overcome the crisis and supply safe drinking water,” Abu Hassan al-Musafiri, Head of the Gilgamesh Foundation for Antiquities and Marshes said. 

    The International Organization for Migration shares:

    Al Hadam, 17 November 2022 – Mohsin Faleh is a 30-year-old farmer in the southern Iraqi community of Al Hadam, Missan governorate. His face was weary as he surveyed the barren land that bears the scars of a complex water crisis that is expected to worsen.

    “I don't remember the last time it rained; I think two years ago,” Mohsin commented in early October, on a day when temperatures hovered in the 40-degrees Celsius range.

    Iraq has two main sources of water – the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. The intake of water from both rivers is decreasing at an unprecedented rate, due to the construction of upstream dams and a prolonged drought.

    Climate change, rising temperatures and the diversion of river water also mean that residents in Al Hadam struggle to access adequate water for use in their homes. This water scarcity is forcing some residents to uproot their lives and families.

    Iman has six children and meeting her family’s water needs is difficult and expensive. “We are thinking of moving to the city because there is no water. We have to buy water,” said Iman, who was born and raised in Al Hadam.

    Mohsin recalled that rainfall was predictable during his childhood, with rain arriving every year during the autumn season. The young farmer has observed dramatic changes to the climate, the soil and the water resources surrounding his community over the last few years.

    Drought conditions are exacerbated not only by the decreased water levels in sub-canal systems near Al Hadam, but by their high saline content, making farming nearly impossible.

    Dwindling fresh water enables the salty tidewater of the Persian Gulf to seep into the Tigris and Euphrates, which feed sub-canals like in Al Hadam. The high salt content then depletes the parched farmland even more. Even the arrival of autumn rains may not be enough for the cultivation of farmland to sustain the region’s agricultural livelihoods.

    And REUTERS notes:

    The worst drought Abed Hameed al-Brahimi has ever seen has killed virtually everything around him: his rice farm, most of his livestock and chickens - and accelerated a rural exodus that is jeopardising Iraq's future stability.

    His home now resembles a desert, rather than the green oasis it was a year ago. Without water to irrigate his fields, he has not planted a single seed of rice, which used to feed his family of four and provide a surplus he could sell.

    His guard dog does not bark. Thirsty and famished, it barely tilts its head in the direction of the strangers traversing its domain, oblivious to the sounds and sights around it.

    "What is happening to us has never happened before. We are completely destroyed," Brahimi, 45, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation, standing next to his brownfields in al-Meshkhab, a town some 200 km (124 miles) south of the capital Baghdad.

    "This year our lives ended all at once."

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