Thursday, June 24, 2021

Jerry White, Jonathan Turley, Ava and C.I.

Volvo workers are striking. Their union has betrayed them. Trina covers this regularly at her site. If you are late to this news, please refer to Jerry White's latest at WSWS. Jerry White notes:

Under a photo of the three UAW officials posted on the Local 2069 Facebook page, striking workers left several angry comments. “We all told them what we thought of the last TA (tentative agreement) this morning and what we’re expecting,” one worker wrote. Another said, “I think they are just bull-shitting us. The International doesn’t care about us and never has.”
Pointing to the last three contracts the UAW agreed to, another worker posted, “All we really want is what we already had and made concessions so they could SUPPOSEDLY stay in Virginia and keep building trucks, so they wouldn’t move to Mexico. Now they’re making billions and got greedy and want us to keep giving while they keep taking. It’s time for them to give back what we already had.”
The UAW is also continuing to black out any information about the Volvo strike on its website and Facebook page. The executives at the UAW’s misnamed Solidarity House headquarters in Detroit fear if other autoworkers learn about the rebellion of the Volvo workers, they will support it, up to and including joint action to shut down the auto and truck manufacturing industries and overturn decades of UAW-backed concessions.
The terrible impact of four decades of the UAW and other industrial unions’ support for wage-cutting was highlighted by the headline of a Wall Street Journal article earlier this week, which proclaimed, “Wage gains at factories fall behind growth in fast food.”

The strike has been vastly under-reported with WSWS being the only left outlet to provide coverage.

Jonathan Turley covers press lies in an entry today:

 I recently discussed how the Inspector General and a federal court have dismissed the widely reported conspiracy theory that the Lafayette Park area was cleared last year to make way for President Donald Trump’s controversial photo op in front of St. John’s Church. I noted that University of Texas Professor Steve Vladeck (who is a CNN contributor) was one of those claiming this theory as an established fact. Vladeck has now responded with a defense that is striking in its sheer mendacity.  It is, however, illustrative how false narratives are promulgated in the media and then, when shown to be unsupported, are dismissed or barely acknowledged. What makes this response different is the effort to shift the blame to a Hill reporter, who actually states the opposite of what Vladeck suggested. Indeed, Vladeck achieves a Trifecta of sorts in misrepresenting the Hill column, my column, and his own column.

Many of us criticized Trump’s photo op in front of the church as well as the level of force used to clear the area of Lafayette Park. Yet, media and legal experts like Vladeck went further to claim that former Attorney General Bill Barr cleared the park in order to hold the photo op. There was never evidence to support that factual conclusion.  I testified in Congress not long after the clearing of the area and stated that the conspiracy theory was already contradicted by the available evidence. I encouraged Congress to investigate the question and establish the truth of the matter. The issue was not whether it was worthy of investigation but whether it was established as fact.

We recently discussed how the Inspector General report on the Lafayette Park protests and the debunking of this conspiracy theory. Inspector General of the Department of Interior conducted an investigation over the last year and found that the clearing was not done “to allow the President to survey the damage and walk to St. John’s Church.”

This week, federal judge Dabney L. Friedrich has dismissed the lawsuit by the ACLU and Black Lives Matter as based on unsupported and unsubstantiated claims against the federal agencies. What is most striking in the opinion is the utter lack of evidence presented by ACLU, which encouraged the Court to assume a conspiracy to clear the park for the photo op and to deny the right to protest. The court found nothing but pure conjecture. Ironically, the court allowed the lawsuit against the MPD under Mayor Muriel Bowser to continue. The Bowser Administration admitted recently that it used tear gas near the park on that night and that such use was perfectly reasonable— a striking departure from what Bowser has stated publicly.

Read in full to see how the press refuses to take accountability.  No wonder the US is so lowly ranked when it comes to citizens who trust their own press:

The United States ranks last in media trust — at 29% — among 92,000 news consumers surveyed in 46 countries.
Just 29% of people surveyed in the U.S. said they trust the news, compared to 45% in Canada and 54% in Brazil.


What we might have applauded decades ago on an episode of PARTY OF FIVE is now woefully behind the times.  

We notice that DISNEY is connected to a lot of actors that have problems with being seen as gay.

Take LOVE, VICTOR's Michael Cimino who felt the need to tell the world that it's really, really hard, being gay on TV is really hard.  Poor straight boy, some members of his family were upset he was playing a gay character.  Golly, imagine how hard he'd have it if he were actually gay.


That's why you don't cast a straight guy to play a gay man in a story about how it's okay to be gay -- he opens up his dumb, uninformed mouth to reporters and comes off like an idiot who doesn't begin to understand what the character he plays actually has to go through.

Or take Anthony Mackie who really needs to dig deep and figure out why he's becoming so homophobic.  He's bothered that fans might think Bucky and Sam are attracted to one another in THE FALCON AND THE WINTER SOLDIER.  Even more so, he wants you to know that he's not able to go to a bar with a male friend because people will assume he's gay.

Why?  Is he diving under the table at the bar so he can go down on his male friend?


If Mackie's confused about  exactly who is wondering if he's gay, he might try looking in the mirror where he'll find the man most obsessed with that issue.

Representation isn't really where it should be, let alone where it needs to be.  And we're really not at the place where we need to hear how the acceptance of gay people in our society carries with it a hard, difficult stigma for straight people who want to hang out with their own gender.  

As June winds down, it's so very sad and telling that we realize, instead of celebrating PRIDE, too many are busy trying to pimp shame. 

They really did a tour de force with their latest TV piece.

"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):

 Friday, June 24, 2021.  Today we look at Post-Traumatic Stress, assault and rape in the military, imprisoned Australian Robert Pether and much more.

The signature wounds of the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan for US troops is TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) and PTS (Post-Traumatic Stress).  The "D" in PTS has created a stigma as many in the military noted some time ago.  Retired General Peter W. Chiarelli is probably the highest ranking member of the military who has spoken about this at length and very wisely.  When we refer to it here we refer to it as "PTS" but we don't censor it when others use the "D" with it or if it's an organization with the "D" in the title.  This is from the VA's webpage:

PTSD Basics

Available en EspaƱol

PTSD (posttraumatic stress disorder) is a mental health problem that some people develop after experiencing or witnessing a life-threatening event, like combat, a natural disaster, a car accident, or sexual assault. During this kind of event, you may not have any control over what's happening, and you may feel very afraid. Anyone who has gone through something like this can develop PTSD.

It's normal to have upsetting memories, feel on edge, or have trouble sleeping after a traumatic event (also called "trauma"). At first, it may be hard to do daily activities you are used to doing, like go to work, go to school, or spend time with people you care about. But most people start to feel better after a few weeks or months. For some people, PTSD symptoms may start later, or they may come and go over time.

If it's been longer than a few months and thoughts and feelings from the trauma are upsetting you or causing problems in your life, you may have PTSD.


How I Knew I Had PTSD

When you have PTSD, the world feels unsafe. You may have upsetting memories, feel on edge, or have trouble sleeping. You may also try to avoid things that remind you of your trauma—even things you used to enjoy.

Who Develops PTSD?

Anyone can develop PTSD at any age. Some factors can increase the chance that someone will have PTSD, many of which are not under that person's control. For example, having a very intense or long-lasting traumatic event or getting injured during the event can make it more likely that a person will develop PTSD. PTSD is also more common after certain types of trauma, like combat and sexual assault.

Personal factors—like previous traumatic exposure, age, and gender—can affect whether or not a person will develop PTSD. What happens after the traumatic event is also important. Stress can make PTSD more likely, while social support can make it less likely.

This is PTS awareness month.  The PTSD Foundation of America has released the following videos yesterday.

Staying with the US military, another issue is the assault and harassment.  Senator Kirsten Gillibrand has long worked on this issue.  Tuesday, her office issued the following:

Addressing the release of letters from military leadership opposing reforms to the military justice system, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand issued the following statement:

“The content of these letters is disappointing, but not surprising. From racially integrating the armed forces to enabling women to serve in combat to allowing LGBTQ service members to serve openly, the chain of command has always fought to protect the status quo, just as they are doing here. Their arguments are recycled talking points from the battles for progress in the past and are void of any coherent argument beyond the disingenuous ‘good order and discipline.’ It is time for Congress and the administration to exercise their constitutional oversight duties and professionalize and reform the military justice system to reduce bias, increase efficiency and restore the confidence of our service members.”

Senator Gillibrand’s landmark legislation, the Military Justice Improvement and Increasing Prevention Act, has the support of a bipartisan supermajority consisting of sixty-six senators, including 43 Democrats, 2 Independents, and 21 Republicans. The legislation is being blocked in the Senate by Senators Reed (D-RI) and Inhofe (R-OK), the chair and ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, respectively. Tomorrow, Representative Jackie Speier (D-CA) and a broad bipartisan coalition will introduce the House companion bill.

FORBES filed this report yesterday.

The senator notes that she's been calling for a floor vote for nearly 30 days on her bill.  She doesn't note that it's her latest bill.  She's been calling for this for some time.  There is no justice without it.  You would think an attorney would get that.  You would think.  But I was at the hearing where female veterans watched in shock as then-Senator Claire McCaskill tanked an earlier bill of Kirsten's -- everyone was shocked.  The notion that crimes should be dealt with in a court and not by a commanding officer was just too much for Claire's mind.

Rape and assault (and domestic violence) are swept under the rug in the military by refusing to address them openly and with a legal system.  

Jack Reed is the new Claire McCaskill.  He wants to grand stand on what some in the military leadership want -- no real change -- and stand on the fact that these men -- yes, they are all men -- have experience in combat and blah blah blah.

I'm sorry, Jack, find the one that was raped, find the one that was assaulted, find the one that was beat up by a partner.  Find that man, maybe I'll listen to your nonsense.  

Jack is a joke and always has been.

While pontificating on the floor, he failed to tell you that these jerks and asses are the same ones who supported a system that most Americans are unaware of.  It allowed the survivor to be 'unknown.'  Might sound good but in practice, it meant there was no justice and when asked for numbers by the Congress repeatedly, the ones over this program could not provide numbers, would not provide numbers.  No man was ever punished for rape under that system.  And I'm not talking about the distant past.  I'm talking about when Barack Obama was president.  

There has been no accountability at all.  That's why Kirsten Gillibrand has spent eight years trying to move the current bill forward.

The military leaders opposed to these changes are the same ones who ensure that there is no justice, that the rates of assault and rape continue to climb, that domestic violence isn't even tracked.

They see their role not as helping service members but as ensuring that the crimes are nothing more than statistics that can easily be swept aside.  

There has been no effort to address this on the part of Congress.  They have failed to provide oversight over and over.  They have let the people who are in charge and who have denied justice over and over set the terms.

Rape and assault and domestic abuse are crimes.  They need to be dealt with in a court and decided based upon what happened not by some commander who thinks his 'good old boy' didn't mean any harm when he held a woman down and raped her.  We have laws, they need to be enforced.

The military was granted a waiver from the law for years and that's just made clear that without turning these issues over to a judicial system, there is no justice.

Change needs to take place now.

Also filed yesterday, this report from CBS EVENING NEWS.

While some in military leadership still oppose the needed reform, on Tuesday, the changes found support from Iraq War veteran and the current Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin:

Yesterday, I received the final recommendations and complete report of the Independent Review Commission on Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment.

I want to thank Lynn Rosenthal for her exceptional leadership of this commission, as well as the talented experts who worked so diligently to support her.  The work they produced was informed not only by their own significant experience, but by that of so many members of our military, including sexual assault survivors.  

The result is a comprehensive assessment across four lines of effort -- accountability, prevention, climate and culture, and victim care and support -- that recommends creative and evidence-based options.  It provides us real opportunities to finally end the scourge of sexual assault and sexual harassment in the military.  

In coming days, I will present to President Biden my specific recommendations about the commission’s findings, but I know enough at this point to state the following:

First, we will work with Congress to amend the Uniform Code of Military Justice, removing the prosecution of sexual assaults and related crimes from the military chain of command.  

The IRC recommended the inclusion of other special victims’ crimes inside this independent prosecution system, to include domestic violence.  I support this as well, given the strong correlation between these sorts of crimes and the prevalence of sexual assault.

Second, solving this problem requires not just greater accountability, which we need, but also changes to our approach on prevention, command climate, and victim services.  I am reviewing the full scope of the commission’s recommendations in these areas, but generally they appear strong and well-grounded. I have directed my staff to do a detailed assessment and implementation plan for my review and approval.

Third, the Department will need new resources and authorities necessary to implement the IRC’s recommendations. Those we believe we can implement under existing authorities will be given priority.  We will need to work closely with Congress to secure additional authorities and relief where needed.  We will most assuredly require additional resources, both in personnel and in funding. But it may take us some time to determine how much and where they are most wisely applied.

Finally, as in all other things, these changes demand leadership.  I appreciate the support that the Department’s civilian and military leaders have provided to the commission, and the thoughtfulness with which they have advised me as we develop effective ways to implement the changes we need to eliminate sexual assault and sexual harassment from our ranks.

As I made clear on my first full day in office, this is a leadership issue.  And we will lead.  Our people depend upon it.  They deserve nothing less.

In response to Austin's statement, Gillibrand Tweeted:

By agreeing that we should remove the decision to prosecute sexual assault from the chain of command, Defense Secretary Austin rejected arguments that this would harm good order and discipline. So let's #PassMJIIPA and remove ALL serious crimes from the chain of command.

Senator Gillibrand spoke with Rachel Martin (NPR's MORNING EDITION) yesterday and explained:

So what we're arguing for is a bright line at all serious crimes. So we would like - and the bill for the last eight years has been advocating for - a bright line drawn at crimes that have a conviction penalty of at least a year or more - so the equivalent of felonies, so serious crimes. So we have been advocating that all serious crimes be taken out of the chain of command and given to trained military prosecutors who are professional and unbiased.

And the reason for this is because in the sexual assault cases, we're just not getting better. We're not convicting more predators. We're not taking enough cases. We're not taking the right cases. And in this issue of racial bias, we see that if you are a Black or brown service member, you are more likely to be punished. And in one of the services, it's up to 2.6 times more likely to be punished if you are a Black service member.

And so the answer to this very tough question is how do you improve the military justice system? And the way we recommend is you take all these serious crimes out of the chain of command and give it to trained prosecutors because commanders aren't lawyers. They're not prosecutors, and they may well have bias. And these are hard cases, and these are cases that deserve a professional person reviewing it properly without bias.

Moving over to Iraq, Australian citizen Robert Pether has apparently been abandoned by his own country which does nothing to object to his imprisonment in Iraq.  (The Australian Embassy staff didn't even meet with Pether until May 3rd, 26 days after he was imprisoned.)   It's now been over forty days that he's been held in a prison with no charge (they say they are holding him for "questioning").  His appeal for bail was denied on May 11th.  He was told by his own government that it was safe to go to Baghdad for a meeting.  He showed up at the meeting but there was no meeting.  Instead, he was hauled off to an Iraqi prison. He remains there.  No trial.  Nothing.  Imprisoned since April 7th.

This week, Ireland's INDEPENDENT.IE Tweeted:

Robert Pether is detained without charge in an Iraqi prison due to a contract dispute between his company and the Iraqi government

Christopher Knaus (GUARDIAN) reports:

Australian engineer Robert Pether is losing hope he will be released from the crowded Iraqi jail where he has spent almost 80 days without charge, his wife says.

Pether was arrested 77 days ago after he travelled to Baghdad to try to resolve a dispute between his firm and Iraqi authorities about the construction of the central bank’s new headquarters. Expecting to meet with officials from the Central Bank of Iraq, Pether and a colleague were instead arrested and initially held in isolation.

He is now being held in a 14-foot cell with 22 other inmates and is no closer to understanding what charges he faces, according to his wife, Desree. The case has been shifted to another court, where Pether could be sentenced to three years behind bars.

“For the last two weeks, he has stopped engaging in any conversation about when he’ll get out,” Desree Pether told Guardian Australia.

“Because our eight-year-old daughter has been drawing pictures for him of them at the beach, and them canoeing … I’ve got her focussing on what she wants to do with Daddy on the summer break in Europe. He won’t talk about getting out at all now, he just refuses to engage in it.”

One of Robert’s sons, Flynn, has just turned 18. The stress of the ordeal forced him to miss one of his final exams. He has also put off plans to go to university and study engineering.

Flynn has previously told Guardian Australia what was happening to his father was “downright inhumane” and “criminal”.

Pether is being allowed out of his cell for 20 minutes some days. Otherwise, the inmates push their bunk beds to the back of the room and sit on the floor.

The world needs to be watching and anyone whose job might send them to Iraq needs to be watching.  This should be a disgrace for the Iraqi government which supposedly wants more foreign companies operating in Iraq.  No trial.  No justice.  Nearly 80 days imprisoned.  All because some corrupt person wants to redo the agreed upon terms of a contract.

Maybe you have time to waste?  If so, stream this propaganda from the US Institute for Peace.

Listen to vapid discussion -- with Planning Minister Khalid Najim and Migration and Displacement Minister Evan Jabro -- and grasp how anything of importance has been sealed away from the conversation so that a fact-free infomercial could be made.  They left out the 1-800 number but that's about the only thing they left out.


The following sites updated:


Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Sara Flounders, Jonathan Turley

Sara Flounders is -- and has been for many years -- is an important voice. With Roger D. Harris, she wrote the following:

With the possible extradition of a Venezuelan diplomat to the US on bogus charges, an emergency human rights delegation organized by the International Campaign to Free Alex Saab was quickly dispatched to Cabo Verde, where he is imprisoned. This island archipelago nation off the west coast of Africa is one of the smallest, poorest, and geographically isolated countries in the world.
The international human rights delegation did not gain Alex Saab’s freedom. They were even denied a visit with him. But breakthroughs were made raising the visibility of the case, which involves enormous political, legal, and moral issues with long-term political consequences.
The case involves the abduction of a diplomat by the world’s sole superpower locked in an unequal struggle to destroy the formerly prosperous, oil rich country of Venezuela. The attack on Venezuela is not motivated on the US part by the imperfections in Venezuelan society, but on Venezuela’s past successes in fighting poverty, promoting regional integration, and acting like a sovereign nation. Otherwise, the US would be lavishing Venezuela with aid instead of the apartheid state of Israel, the narco-state of Colombia, and the absolute monarchy of Saudi Arabia.
The kidnapping of Alex Saab is a dramatic and far-reaching effort to enforce the illegal US-decreed policy of economic sanctions. The US is attempting to impose its will on a country by deliberately attacking the civilian population. Illegal sanctions are a conscious policy of imposing economic havoc to “make the economy scream.”
Saab, a Venezuelan diplomat abducted by the US government a year ago, was held under torturous conditions. The illegal denial of diplomatic immunity by the US is a violation of international law. 

Since March of this year, the Swiss have dropped the charges stating that there was insufficient evidence yet Saab continues to be held. Kidnapping, torture, what a wonderful world, eh? We've strayed so far from reality, we may never come back.

Now here's Jonathan Turley on a Supreme Court ruling:

For those seeking to portray the Supreme Court as, to use President Joe Biden’s words, “out of whack,” the Court itself continued to disappoint critics this week with another major and nearly unanimous decision in the long-awaited decision in Mahonoy v. B.L. While many of us in the free speech community hoped for a bright-line decision protecting student speech, the decision sharply rebuts the sweeping claims of schools (from high schools to universities) of authority to monitor and punish off-campus speech.  What is striking about the language is that the Court secures near unanimous decision by limiting the reach of decision.

Free speech victories often come on behalf of a motley crew of litigants from animal sacrificers to Neo-Nazis to, this week, foul-mouthed high school cheerleaders.

The fact is that popular speech rarely needs protection. In the case of Brandi Levy, the cheerleader in Mahonoy v. B.L, she was denied the right to swear a blue streak after being rejected for the varsity squad at Mahanoy Area High School in Mahanoy City, Pennsylvania.

The Supreme Court ruled Wednesday 8-1 in her favor and, while she remains silent Levy most likely had a fittingly spicy way of acknowledging her major win for free speech. Notably, while Levy was suspended from the team, there will likely be no repercussions for the school administrators who violated her free speech rights and litigated this ill-conceived case all the way to the Supreme Court. There are rarely any costs to school officials who deny free speech to students, even after countervailing decisions.


"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):

Wednesday, June 23, 2021.  It's International Widows Day, Paddy Cockburn froths at the mouth over the GOP, the UK is said to lead the fight against ISIS in Iraq, and much more.

When the crazy's uncorked, you just have to shake your head.  A lot of e-mails have streamed in on the insanity of Patrick Cockburn.  In fairness, this isn't his 'town.'  We're aware of his lies and his shoddy reporting.  A woman's publicly executed by a mob in Iraq and he gets how she was killed wrong.  Days after publication, it's changed in his original article and in the repost at COUNTERPUNCH with no notice that he got the means of death wrong.  That's Paddy Cock Burn.  The Arab world has never mistaken him for an honest voice.  While idiots in the US and UK have thought, "He works so hard" or some other similar nonsense, the Arab world has long been aware of his bias and hatred that's on full display in whatever article he writes.  He's another Gertrude Bell and only those truly (and willfully) ignorant of the Middle East could see that as a compliment.  

Paddy's half-assed 'reporting' has never been hindered by facts or his lack of expertise.  

It's a pattern that continues as he's tired and old and wants to be  with family that's migrated to the US (Paddy's not an American citizen -- that does matter, hang on for that). His brother Alex is dead but chose the US as home.  His niece Laura Flanders made her home here. Andrew's here, Olivia Wilde is here.  So apparently he believes that makes him an expert on US politics.  European who has spent years in various non-US countries 'reporting' who grew up in Ireland is going to weigh in on US politics.

Iraqi community members were the first to note -- and mock -- the garbage that COUNTERPUNCH posted on Tuesday -- no link to trash -- where Paddy's Cock Burn wanted the world to know -- he had to let it show -- that the greatest threat to the world ("the most dangerous threat in the world" -- his exact words) is the Republican Party.

To those watching as their military openly executes activists and journalists and anti-corruption officials (often taking a taxi from the scene of the crime, a crime usually caught on video), Paddy's hysterics come off as the nonsense that they are.  

To those who lived through ISIS' hold on Mosul, Paddy just became a bigger joke.

But it's true around the world.  The Israeli government attacks Gaza but Paddy's okay with that.  It's not that dangerous apparently.  Or the pollution corporations carry out on a daily basis.  Or the governments that do nothing to address the climate crisis.  

Despots rest easy, it's a political party -- one only in the US -- that's the most dangerous threat to the world.

He sports his stupidity loudly -- if not proudly -- as he attempts to draw parallels between today in the US and the US on the brink of the Civil War.  Yes, he is stretching.  Yes, he is an MSNBC addict who needs another hit of Rachel Maddow to get through the next few hours.

The Republican Party is a political party.  It's not going down the drain today or before the next election despite the hysterics of some -- include Diane Rehm on that list.  Ava and I almost wrote about her nonsense but decided she's old and she's clearly lost whatever grip she once had.  And, in 2008, she showed she was a coward when discussing the way primaries work -- she was right -- but received pushback from two DNC officials so she dropped a point she'd made several times each week for three weeks.  Diane's old enough to know that where the GOP is today -- in terms of status and 'survival' -- is nothing new and that the Democrats and the GOP -- the duopoly -- have frequently been at that point before.  As someone who majored in political science -- no, Paddy, I'm not offering to tutor you -- I can cite, at length, many, many wasted moments where the so-called press predicted a political party was over.  At the end of the last century, for example, the Democrats were over.  This wasn't a one or two year talking point.  Reagan had won the presidential eleccion in 1980 and again in 1984 and then George H.W. Bush won in 1988.  We had chatter passed off as discussion then the way we do today.  Nonsense about how the Democratic Party was over.  They'd never get the presidency again.  They should try to focus on Congress only.  This and that and it was the end of times and blah blah blah.

Cheap and easy 'coverage' -- space filler.  All you had to do was bring out an idiot like Paddy and they'd prattle on telling you what this or that meant.   They knew because they were communicating with . . . the various voices in their head.

It was garbage and it took attention away from real issues.  

Sort of like the obsession with the GOP's current state does today.  

I've never been a Republican and never will be.  I'm also not someone threatened by a political party's existence.  Unlike Iraq, the US political parties don't have militias.  

They're a political party.  They're redefining who they are at present which is what they have to do -- and what the Democrats have done -- because that's how they survive.  

Looking at the 2020 presidential results, there's no reason or basis for the constant keening over the state of the GOP.  Joe Biden got 51% of the vote, Donald Trump got 46% of the vote.  

That's not a party in demise.  

That's before we even get into the state of the media.  It's not fair, and it's never been fair, and it regularly demonizes the GOP while ignoring the Democrats.  Every attempt has been made in the last years to distort and take offense to any GOP statement.  Click bait or whatever, there's no attempt to calm the f**k down and learn some perspective.

THE NEW YORK TIMES publishes a column by a sitting US senator and then disowns it and apologizes.  That's nonsense.  Calm the f**k down.  You disagree with something on the op-ed pages?  That's why that section of a paper exists, for back and forth.  It's supposed to expose you to a variety of opinions not just preach to the choir.  

Joe Biden snapped at a reporter last wee.  Several e-mails came in attacking me/this site for not covering it.

We had more serious things to address.  Why cover it?  As one blogger e-mailed, "It's how we chip away at Biden!"  

I'm not interested in chipping away.

It's the kitchen sink strategy.  They used it on Donald very successfully..  Inflate every thing -- big or small -- into a major event and trash and tarnish the person.  No one can survive the onslaught.  

Some were angry because if it were Donald Trump, they insisted, we'd be all over it.


Where were you the last four years?

We didn't obsess over Donald's Tweets.  We didn't become unhinged because he was in the White House.  We rolled up our sleeves every day and did the work required.  

Sadly, those paid to do the work required can't make the same claim.

I'm all for criticism of Joe -- the failure to address the climate crisis would be a good area to open up for criticism -- but in terms of this site, a 'reporter' asking a 'cute' question and getting snapped at isn't the most pressing issue for this site.  MEDIAITE covered it and should have.  It's their area and scope.  For it to be our area, it would have had to have had something more to it.

It's a sign of dementia!  It's a sign of this or that!

It might just be a sign of a road trip that was too long.  

My favorite of the e-mails from the right over not covering Joe's exchange was the one that said this was a pattern of my refusing to call out Joe.

Really?  I know Joe and have known him for years but I have stated I believe Tara Reid.  I didn't vote for him.  I couldn't and wouldn't vote for him.  That's due to Iraq (I said he had to get honest and he didn't).  But I certainly wouldn't vote for anyone who did what Tara described or who did to Tara what he did to her --- Joe and his team controlled and fed the attacks on Tara.  Again, we don't have a fair press.  We have a gang of thugs who are off the leash and have no standards expected of them.

If I thought Joe's rudeness was the most pressing issue, we would have gone on and on about the exchange.  It didn't really have a huge effect on the world and it wasn't really anything we're interested in.

Patrick Cockburn knows nothing about US politics.  One would hope he'd know something about the world and dangers in it.  But if he's saying the GOP is the most dangerous threat to the world, clearly he doesn't know much about the world.

Anyone confused should pay attention to this video.


What makes that a news story?

Iraq's water supply is threatened by dams built by Turkey and Iran.  Last month, Sinan Mahmoud and Robert Tollast (THE NATIONAL) reported:

Millions of Iraqis face an intolerably harsh summer, with Turkish dams on the Tigris and Euphrates rivers compounding a year of low rainfall.

The rivers, which account for more than 90 per cent of Iraq’s freshwater, were at historically low levels following scant winter rainfall in the region and snowmelt mainly in the mountains of Southern Turkey, which feeds into the rivers.

Turkey says it is also facing a drought and dwindling water supplies, but stands accused of holding on to supplies in its dam reservoirs.

On 7 May, Syrian Minister of Water Resources Tamam Raad called on Turkey to release more water from the vast Ataturk Dam.

On 21 May, Iraq’s Ministry of Water Resources said Turkey had released some water, but emphasised that the situation was a crisis.

In the capital Baghdad, photos of the Tigris showed an almost non-existent river.

So you've got water issues.  You aslo have pollution issues.  ALJAZEERA filed this report yesterday:

Iraq's becoming more and more polluted.  From the oil, from the weapons used (Depleted Uranium, White Phosphorus, etc), from the burn pits.  It's going to have major impact on the country and, yes, on the gulls.  

Also news ?

Yoko Ono Tweets:

#InternationalWidowsDay shines a light on the injustices experienced by widows. Organisations such as the Loomba Foundation help them to find their voice and help them to secure their rightful position in society. Donate here:

International Widows Day is news.  Samir Sisodia Tweets:

There are an estimated three million #Widows in Iraq and over 70,000 in Kabul, Afghanistan. #InternationalWidowsDay #WidowsDay

Bayan Sami Rahman is the KRG's representative to the US.  She Tweets:

Kurdistan and Iraq have a disproportionate number of widows after years of war and genocide. On #InternationalWidowsDay let’s take steps to recognize the suffering of widows in our country & around the world, protect their legal rights & social status and enable them to be heard

Back to crazy, Paddy Cock Burn's roll dog Moqtada al-Sadr's working overtime with an election coming up as he desperately attempts to convince people he's not the extremist he is.  Sura Ali (RUDAW) reports he's insisting that Saudi Arabia and -- AND -- Iran should not meddle in Iraq.  MEMO notes he's also deploring sectarianism -- as if his entire existence wasn't built on sectarianism. The Shi'ite cleric is in campaign mode ahead of the expected October elections.  

In other news, ISIS remains in Iraq.  Despite media coverage otherwise, it is still active.  MENAFM reports, "A provincial police source stated that on Tuesday, Jun. 22 a father and his son were gunned down on Tuesday by the rebels of Islamic State (IS) in the Iraqi eastern province of Diyala."  And apparently the fight against ISIS is led by the UK.  THE NATIONAL reports:

 UK military commanders said Britain's newest aircraft carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth, has taken on the “lion’s share” of operations against ISIS in Iraq.

In the first posting of the 65,000-tonne carrier, commanders said the ship attracted the interest of Russian warplanes.

“At the moment, we’re taking on the lion’s share of that operation over Iraq, which is a fantastic feather in our cap," said Commodore Steve Moorhouse, aboard carrier in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea.

We'll note this Tweet:

The UK Ministry of Defence released photos of Tuesday's sorties over Iraq in support of Op Shader (
). I took a shot at geo-locating one of them. Coordinates: 34.664779°, 41.739157°.

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