Tuesday, June 13, 2023

Truest statement of the week

The New York Times published yesterday a column by Paul Krugman dismissing the role of Ukrainian fascists in the mass murder of Jews and Soviet citizens during World War II and minimizing as mere “shadows” their prominence in the present NATO proxy war against Russia. Krugman’s comment, “The Eyes of the World are Upon Ukraine,” is a thoroughly dishonest and cynical apology for Ukrainian fascism, past and present.  

The column comes one day after the appearance of a Times feature article, “Nazi Symbols on Ukraine’s Front Lines Highlight Thorny Issues of History.” In that piece the Times editors attempted, as WSWS International Editorial Board Chairman David North noted, to palm off “deep historical and present-day links of Ukrainian nationalism to Nazism and genocide” as a mere “public relations problem for media propagandists, who are trying to sell NATO’s proxy war as a struggle for democracy.”

The Times article evoked considerable outrage, both because it lifts the lid on the embrace of Nazi ideology in the Ukrainian military, and because it acknowledges that the Times and other media outlets have been censoring images of Ukrainian soldiers wearing “patches featuring symbols that were made notorious by Nazi Germany and have since become part of the iconography of far-right hate groups.”

Krugman, who usually writes Panglossian commentary on the economy, was brought in to put out the fire. Unfortunately for the Times, Krugman is completely ignorant of history.


-- Tom Mackaman, "Paul Krugman’s dishonest apologetics for Ukrainian fascism" (WSWS).


Truest statement of the week II

As the American conservative movement has morphed from racist dog whistles and white-grievance politics to full-blown fascism and white nationalism, Black MAGAs have enlisted as soldiers in the war against civil rights, voting rights, liberal democracy and racial justice. Unable to achieve their unpopular and toxic policies through the ballot box, MAGA intends to bring about their goals through white nationalist minority rule. And Black MAGAs are eager to oblige.  

Lacking principles, these Black white nationalists say and do anything to please Trump, Trumpism and the white supremacist base. Never speaking ill of white folks, Black MAGAs will blame the Black community for anything and everything, never stand up for Black people, never help us and always throw us under the bus. They lack self-respect and scruples. However, they do collect a paycheck, which they will enjoy until such time as they are rendered useless and their services are no longer needed.       

Perhaps the most useful of the Black MAGAs is Clarence Thomas — whose wife Ginni is an insurrectionist and whose benefactor Harlan Crow is a Hitler fan who bankrolls the MAGAtization of the Supreme Court and other causes that undermine Black people — is the most prominent example of Black MAGAs. Early on, Anita Hill tried to warn us about Clarence, who is lacking and character and whose judicial opinions against Black people are almost cartoonishly cruel. After all, Thomas wanted to have a man executed before allowing him a DNA test. In another case, the justice thought it was fine for a corrupt, racist Mississippi prosecutor to try a Black man for murder six times and strike all the Black prospective jurors in his crusade to have the man executed.

Thomas — the man who wants you to pull yourself up by your bootstraps, even while his bootstraps were purchased by a wealthy white man named Harlan Crow — is not alone.


--  David A. Love, "Black MAGAs are a clear and present danger" (THE BLACK COMMENTATOR).

A note to our readers

Hey --

Still Monday on the west coast.

Let's thank all who participated this edition which includes Dallas and the following:

The Third Estate Sunday Review's Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess and Ava,
Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude,
Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man,
C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review,
Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills),
Mike of Mikey Likes It!,
Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz),
Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix,
Ruth of Ruth's Report,
Wally of The Daily Jot,
Trina of Trina's Kitchen, Marcia of SICKOFITRDLZ,
Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends,
Isaiah of The World Today Just Nuts,
and Ann of Ann's Mega Dub.

And what did we come up with?  





-- Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess, Ava and C.I.




Editorial: Remember Iraq, remember the fake asses?

You hear people in the US insist that they can end the proxy war on Russia.  End that?


They can't even end the Iraq War.  Iraq remains occupied.  US troops remain on Iraqi soil.

Remember this?

2007.  And then they found something else to do.  They didn't end the war.  They just found something else to do.

Iraq Veterans Against The War?  They got some publicity out of it but they don't exist anymore.  US troops remain on the ground in Iraq and supposed Iraq Veterans Against The War just doesn't care.

Guess it was never about justice for the Iraqi people.

Cindy Sheehan.  Remember when she was wrongly called "the Rose Parks of the Iraq War"

Rosa started protesting in 1943. She didn't stop four years later.  She didn't protest racism for four or so years and then drop that to start protesting against the treatment of cows in India.  She was an activist who stayed active and stayed focused.

As bad -- and illegal -- as the war the US government carried out on Iraq, something just as sad would be the Iraqi 'activists' in the US who made big speeches that were covered in Iraq, that the Iraqi people learned of.  And then, a few years later, the same American citizens didn't give a damn about the lives destroyed.  The War Hawks destroyed Iraq.  Supposed anti-war activists were going to atone and make up for their country's actions but, you know, words are easy, actual work is so damn hard.

Which is how you get the idiots in the US who will start insisting upon reparations for the Iraqi people.  They don't care about the Iraqi people.  If they did, they'd grasp that any reperation money the Iraqi government go their hands on would never get to the people.  Iraq is regularly ranked, year after year since the US invaded, as one of the worst and most corrupt governments in the world.

No, when they talk reparations for the Iraqi people, what they're really saying is, "Throw some money at the problem so I don't have to be bothered with it any more."

Let's join in song:  They'd like to teach the world to fake ass and keep them company . . .

MEDIA: No, Mother Tucker did not have 60 million people watch his video

Sewer rat Tucker Carlson returned to 'broadcasting' via Twitter.   As Samantha Benitz (RADAR) noted, FOX "NEWS" immediately notified Tucker Carlson's legal representatives that he was in violation of the terms of his contract.  Despite the idiots like Marjorie Taylor Greene acting as though this was unheard of, most TV contracts contain a clause that should you leave (quit or be fired).  It's called a non-complete agreement.  When THE TONIGHT SHOW had its drama, we would have thought everyone learned about the clause.

Recap, NBC was looking for a way to make even cheaper programming -- something they're always eager to do -- and thought the answer to that would be THE JAY LENO SHOW (2009).  So they took Jay out of THE TONIGHT SHOW and forced him to do five hours a week in prime time.  Having no real plan for this -- other than to occupy airtime -- NBC's idea bombed.  THE JAY LENO SHOW bombed and THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH CONAN O'BRIEN had lost millions of viewers from when Jay was behind the desk.  NBC needed Jay to return to their cash cow.  Cancelling THE JAY LENO SHOW was not difficult.  But now what to do with Conan? Various things were proposed -- including letting Conan keep THE TONIGHT SHOW -- but it airing in a later time slot (the slot he had vacated).  Being jerked around, Conan wanted to leave -- and who could blame him.

This then started the nonsense that Conan would be doing a new program elsewhere.

Not that easy.  Conan had a non-compete clause.  He taped his final NBC show on January 22, 2010.  

People felt sorry for him.  As they should have.  And that sympathy was really good because it allowed him to get out of the non-compete clause.  It would be dropped nearly two months later by NBC.  Nearly two months later.

Mother Tucker's firing was announced April 23rd.  And he doesn't have public sympathy.  Some rabid trash like Marjorie Taylor Greene, Megyn Kelly and Glenn Greenwald have sympathies for the conspiracy theorist who attacks the left, attacks immigrants, attacks LGBTQ+ people, attacks feminists, attacks . . . Well, everyone.

And since being fired, Mother Tucker has not come off sympathetic.  FOX "NEWS" can hold him to the non-compete clause -- the way NBC held Jay Leno to his.

Non-compete clause.  We have to repeat that because Glenneth Greenwald -- supposedly a one-time successful lawyer (maybe he considered success to be merely a practicing laywer) -- has yet again made clear that he doesn't understand contract law.  

Tucker decided his future was in the gig economy and with TWITTER -- where Matt Taibbi goes to play dungeon sub.  And Glenneth had a lot to say on TWITTER including this "This is pathetic of Fox. They fired Carlson, and now their position is: he's not allowed to speak. He didn't go to a competing network. He has no contract with Twitter. He's just speaking on social media."  He's not being silenced, he just can't host a program.  Don't sign the contract if you don't like what's in it.  That's what negotiations are all about.  That's why you need to read them yourselves before you sign them.

But more to the point, this: "CNN's collapse continues. Tucker returns with a Twitter show watched by millions" and  "Meanwhile, the only part of media that is growing is independent. The public sees what corporate media has become." and "The sad, pathetic, decaying corporate media's reaction to Tucker's explosive Twitter debut was everything you'd expect and more."

So which is it?  Tucker's triumphing in new media -- that's supposedly kicking "corporate media" in the butt -- or is he isn't?

Glenneth you're the one pretending to be his mouthpiece -- shouldn't you be able to make a coherent legal argument?

As we've said for years now (nearly two decades) for an alleged lawyer Glenneth has always struggled with the most basic legal concepts (such as breach of contract).

We should love stupid people.  They give us so much to write about.

No advertising and no subscriptions?  Tucker will be rolling in . . . no money.  

Equally true, he did not get 17 million views.  

The Great Glenneth Greenwald has been lying about the numbers as well.  But can we pause that for a moment.  Glenneth's jazz hands have been a problem since he debuted his new talk show -- while his husband lay dying in a hospital -- so very William Faulkner meets Grace Metalious.  But there's a new problem.  Does he have lice or bed bugs?  What's with his inability to stop scratching his upper arms of late?  

We'd warn people not to embrace him but, honestly, we can't imagine anyone ever wanting a hug from Glenneth.

At any rate, Glenneth was tossing around Tweets praising Mother Tucker for his "explosive Twitter debut" -- yes, it was like diarrhea -- "CNN's collapse continues. Tucker returns with a Twitter show watched by millions."

Oh, Glenneth, if you couldn't lie you'd have to sit there silently.

60 million people did not watch Tucker.  10 million people did not watch Tucker despite Glenneth's claim:

Tucker Carlson is the most successful host in the history of cable news. Even in his "stripped-down" Twitter form, he attracted an audience almost no corporate media employee could get close to. Is it possible this partially motivates the universal disdain they have for him?

Tucker's got 60 million viewers!  

That's what some are lying.

No, he doesn't.  Max Blumethal's wife is both ugly and hippy and that's enough reason not to note her stupidity.  But that transphobic Tweet she pinned to her feed in February?

People aren't watching it.  The numbers increase but people aren't watching.  You click on her TWITTER feed and start scrolling and doing that will start her video streaming.  It doesn't mean you're watching it.  In fact, you have to make a point to stop if you want to turn on the audio.  Even if you don't turn on the video, even if you scroll past it quickly, it still counts as a stream.  And it does that each time you visit her Twitter feed.

John Stauber posted Mother Tucker's 'big' show four times last Tuesday to his TWITTER feed.

He really is a car crash and so he attracts rubber neckers.  Let's say 20,000 people visited his feed and scrolled.  That means Tucker's video streamed 80,00 times.

Megyn Kelly, Glenneth, all the usual trash, reposted Tucker's video.  

He did not get 60 million viewers.  It was -- automatically streamed -- many, many times.  

People are not watching Tucker.  
At YOUTUBE, they've put in some measures to try to prevent that sort of miscount.  But if you have a YOUTUBE page and put a video on the home page and it starts streaming when you go to the home page?  That counts as you streaming it.  You might go to another page at that YOUTUBE account in two seconds, say the "about" page, but the video started streaming the minute you hit the home page and they're counting that stream.


Twitter doesn't do that and doesn't care to.  

Repeating, Tucker is not a Twitter star.  He was reposted on hundreds of accounts.  The number actually taking the time to watch the video is very small.  And you can argue it's probably around the number of users leaving comments -- which Glenneth said was 29,000.

At the end of Carlson’s first show, a 10-minute monologue in a barn, with a wide shot showing he was operating his own teleprompter, the host said he would bypass the mainstream media to tell viewers the truth, as Russians under communism once found ways to hear broadcasts from other countries.

He said: “We’ve come to Twitter which we hope will be the shortwave radio under the blankets. We’re told there are no gatekeepers here. If that turns out to be false, we’ll leave … We’ll be back with much more very soon.”

It was one of those rare moments where Tucker told the truth.  Shot-wave radio?  Yes, some Russians used them to listen to VOICE OF AMERICA -- the US propaganda outlet around the world.  So just a VOA lied intentionally to people around the world for years and years, Mother Tucker plans to do the same.  We honestly couldn't have thought of a more apt comparison for his new show.


Jim: Roundtable time again. And a lot to cover.  Remember our e-mail address is thethirdestatesundayreview@yahoo.com and we can also be reached via common_ills@yahoo.com.  Participating in our roundtable are  The Third Estate Sunday Review's Dona, Ty, Jess, Ava, and me, Jim; Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude; Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man; C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review; Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills); Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix; Mike of Mikey Likes It!; Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz); Ruth of Ruth's Report;  Wally of The Daily Jot;  Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends; Isaiah of The World Today Just Nuts and Ann of Ann's Mega Dub. Betty's kids did the illustration. You are reading a rush transcript.
 Jim (Con't): Last week, Andy Muschietti, the director of the forthcoming FLASH film declared that if there is a second film, Ezra Miller won't be replaced.

Mike: Won't be replaced.  Hmm.  So Henry Cavill and Gal Gadot are written out but a thief, a bully and a crazed drug addict -- who may endanger the lives of minors -- will be back in the role.  How very kind.  The whole film should have been reshot with Grant Gustin in the lead.  

Stan: I agree and I'll add that I believe THE FLASH TV show was axed because of the film.  August 1, 2022, it was stated the season about to start would be the show's last.  And I think that was due to the strong push online for the film to be reshot with Grant Gustin in the role. I won't pay to see the movie.  If my curiosity is peaked, I'll buy a ticket to another film and go in and see it.  But I doubt I'll even do that.

Marcia: This is nonsense.  And they cancelled BATGIRL.  Refused to even release it on HBO but they'll put out THE FLASH.

Rebecca: Marcia, as you know, it's worse that.

Marcia: Right.  Thanks.  I almost forgot.  This nonsense of it's not good enough to release?  BATGIRL was not supposed to be released to theaters.  It was a made-for-TV movie.  How bad was it that they couldn't even release it?  It's amazing how they axe BATGIRL and remove Gal Gadot from her role.  The merger of WARNER BROS and DISCOVERY was harmful for women and people of color.  DISCOVERY seems to believe that the country's benchmark is a bunch of White people in bad and cheap reality shows.

Stan: And, on Wonder Woman, let's remember that this third film was nixed.  It wasn't, "Okay, Patty Jenkins, we're not 100% with that idea, pitch us another WW film."  Nor was it, "Okay, we need to find a new director for this third film."  It was, "That's it.  No more Wonder Woman films."

Ava: And WONDER WOMAN 1984 was released at the height of the pandemic and released on HBO MAX the same day it opened in the few theaters that were open.  It still managed to gross $46 million in North America and $122 million overseas.   

Stan: And, again, this took place while the film was available for streaming on HBO MAX.  I didn't care for WONDER WOMAN 1984 but it did well enough for us to get a third installment.  

Jim: Okay, let's turn to sports.  The old gray mare just ain't what she used to be, ain't what she used to be.

Dona: Jim's referring to Alabaman Governor Kay Ivey who turns 79 this year and really shouldn't be holding office at that age.  We really need a revolution in this country in terms of who we support.  I am tired of decisions being made by people over 70.  That's in Congress, that's in the states.  She's an elderly hater who should be picking out a grave site since she has nothing to offer the world that we live in today.  She's spewing about sports and, let's be honest, girls didn't play sport in her day.  Her transgender hate is part and package of who the old fool is.  She's already said that gay people shouldn't be allowed to adopt.  Two years ago, she was screaming about trans girls in girls sports, and she banned them.  Last year, she banned gender affirming medical care for everyone under 19.  She said, "I believe very strongly that if the Good Lord made you a boy, you are a boy, and if he made you a girl, you are a girl."  Well God clearly made you an idiot and a bigot.  So, do us all a favor, Kay and have a heart attack so we can clear you half-dead carcass off the highway already.  Pat Robertson needs company in hell.

Ty: Amen.  I'm so tired of these bigots, especially the elderly ones.  I've already told everyone I know that if I get that out of touch, pull me aside and say, "Ty, you don't know the world around you.  You spend too much time at those early bird dinners and watching FOX 'NEWS' and reading professional transphobe Jonathan Turley."  If my brain went or I got scared as I got older, I would want someone to do me a favor and tell me, "You've strayed from the good."  And, for the record, Dona and I are both Christians and, Kay Ivey, we reject your attempt to own Christ -- especially attempting to own him in order to spread hate. 

Jess: I love what Ava and C.I. wrote about these attacks and what it really stems from -- a reactionary group feeling overwhelmed and impotent during the pandemic and desperate to prove that they aren't cowards.  But they were cowards.  They whined and moaned yet repeatedly did what they were told.  

Wally: Its the impotency of the ultra conservatives and they lash out in anger.  They're too scared to lash out at anyone they see as their equal --

Betty: Or superior.

Wally (Con't): -- right, or superior, so they lash out at the groups they think they can get away with attacking.  They're bullies plain and simple.

Ann: Little cowardly bullies.  I can't imagine how scared they must be living in a world of hate and finding comfort in it.  

Cedric: Remember, they are encouraged to live in that hate by hate merchants -- bullies like Jonathan Turley, Marjorie Taylor Greene, Lauren Boebert, Ron DeSantis --

Dona: Kay Ivey!

Cedric (Con't): Yes, Kay Ivey and so many more.  

Ruth: I was so disappointed when John Stauber joined their ranks.  I had respect for him prior to that.  

Rebecca: But  he's nuts these days.

Ruth: Completely nuts.  Everything that happens in the world, per Mr. Stauber, is a conspiracy carried out by George Soros.  He is obsessed with Mr. Soros.

Ann: And he looks unhinged.  You have to wonder: Is the crazy so set in at this point that he doesn't even realize what a joke he's become or does he have bits -- seconds -- of sanity and realize he's really gone too far?

Ruth: Ann, I think he is completely nuts.  100%.  I think he crossed a line awhile back and it was such a set-in-stone line that he can never come back.

Trina: And never should be allowed to come back.  The hatred he's preached is disgusting.  And, yes, I liked his writing once upon a time.  But that's not a pass.  You can't become a hate merchant and attacks trans people and gay people and expect to be welcomed back to the left.  

Elaine: No, you can't.  Those people get what's coming to them. I'm thinking of someone who has had difficulty this month and more than deserved it.
Kat: Or Pat Robertson.
Elaine: Or Pat Robertson!  Exactly.  The world's a far better place without him. 

Ann: Someone else who should have problems, my opinion, would be THE VANGUARD.


Marcia: Agreed.  Did you see their latest?  It's not going up at THE COMMON ILLS, is it?

Jim: C.I.'s shaking her head "no."

Cedric: It shouldn't.  

Ann: No.  It should not.  Ty, C.I., Elaine, Betty and I have all called out The Green Party for too often acting like it's the kid sister of The Democratic Party.  THE VANGUARD like it's the kid sister of Krystal Ball.  It's tired and it's ineffectual.  And it's embarrassing as hell.

Mike: Agreed.  Little bitch bois thinking they're men.  Grow up.  Their latest video is mainly an attack on Jimmy Dore.  I'm not a Jimmy Dore fan.  I can find other things to talk about.

C.I.: And Jimmy can be right at times.

Mike: Right, he can be.  But they're doing their usual waste of airtime by trashing Jimmy again because he dared to criticize Mommy Krystal.  Grow the f**k up you two cowards.  Transgender people need to be defended.  Krystal Ball is a celebrity and you're hoping she'll give you a rose and pick you to be part of a thruple with her and Kyle.

Ann: They praise transphobes like Glenn Greenwald and Aaron Mate, but they call out Jimmy Dore.  It's getting very one sided and they're also stupid asses as they lap at the crotch of Cornel West.

Jim: We're inserting a video here that C.I. and Betty asked to noted.  It's an hour long -- a little over -- so we don't have time to stream it all.


Betty: When you stream, go to the eight minute mark.  Do five or so minutes there if you don't have time for the full video.

Ann: There are so many serious issues with Cornel's campaign -- including the lack of any issues or substantive discussion.  Including his praise last month for Ron DeSantis --

Betty: In the video we have added, it's noted that Cornel 'forgot' to disclose that the testing that he agrees with DeSantis on?  He's on the board of the company that does that test.  Just slipped Cornel's hypocritical mind.

Ann: Wow.  And I thought my opinion of him was already low.  

Ava: And no one's saying he can't run.  Anyone can.  If you want to run, go for it.  But we are saying there are a lot of whores for Cornel.  And that we will call out.  He's not going to be president.  The People's Party never did the work required to build a party or to get ballot access.  They're using a celebrity to try to shortcut the process.  

Betty: And a hideous celebrity.  We should be worried about where Cornel stands on abortion, on LGBTQ+ and so many other issues.

Isaiah: Let me be clear, I go to church, but his "Brother" and "Sister" bulls**t does not appeal to me.  He's a cartoon of what some White people think we are.

Stan: Very good point.  And he's not taking on any real structures.  He's a candidate for the system.  And don't get me started on how he can't focus on Black issues because his campaign is so much more than that.

Betty: Stream the video when you get a chance, Stan, because they cover that.  Even in his announcement, he ran to the White class system.

Ruth: I found it strange that he announced on Russell Brand's show.  Mr. Brand is not American and cannot vote in this election.

Marcia: Good point.  

Betty: He has avoided as many Black based programs as he can.  Because of criticism, he's now doing a few.  

Kat: Back to THE VANGUARD.  I want to like the boys but they're just so stupid.  Maybe you learn history before you want to talk about things that happened in the past?  I'm sorry, they -- especially the short haired one -- don't know history and make all these b.s. statements that are not reality based.  I would be humiliated if I said even half of the crap they did.  

Wally: I want to go on record saying THE VANGUARD is garbage.  I don't have time to stream a circle jerk.  If you want to address issues, bitch-bois, do that.  But you're daily effort to run interference for Krystal is tiresome.  That's not an issue.  Nor do we need the "Roger Waters is in trouble!" b.s.  I counted 72 videos on YOUTUBE that went up in a 48 hour period about his various problems.  I don't give a s**t about one.  Stop wasting our time with your celebrity crushes -- be it Krystal or Roger or whomever.  There are actual issues -- Julian Assange, the attacks on the LGBTQ+ community, the need to get a serious strategy for reproductive rights, the physical assaults on transgender women -- especially African-American transgender women -- which I see as too frequent to just lump that in with the many other attacks on the LGBTQ+ community, the Iraq War that everyone seems to want to look the other way on.  I'm sick of it.  

Cedric: I agree with you, Wally, 100%.  And I'm not forgetting that THE VANGUARD already embarrassed themselves with their hour on Krystal getting married.  What a bunch of little bitch bois.  I can't stand them.  And I'm not a Jimmy Dore fan but this nonsense of attacking him at least once a week has gotten really old.  Especially when it's not about an issue, it's just that he dared to point out that fug-ugly Krystal Ball did this or that.  

Isaiah: An hour on Krystal's wedding.  They haven't done an hour on Iraq if you combined everything they did this year.  

Kat: And none of the YOUTUBERS can be concerned with Iraq -- even the ones who pretend to want to stop wars.  If you want to stop wars, you can't just talk Ukraine.  You have to look at where US troops are currently stationed.  You have to look at what areas the US has occupied.

Elaine: Also who they are unleashing the IMF and the World Bank on.

Jess: Yes.

Cedric: Take Max Blumenthal's fug-ugly wife.  She doesn't talk Iraq but pretends she's some anti-war warrior.  She's just another trashy whore picking up one topic, while dropping the other and pretending she's doing something when all she's doing is looking butt ugly.  Max is balding, yes, but damn, son, he could have done better.


Jim: And Dona's giving me the sign that we need to wind down.  This is a rush transcript.



Books (Trina, Kat, Ava and C.I.)



We're attempting to again increase book coverage in the community.  Kat's "Travis Stewart's bad book supposedly on Stevie Nicks" went up last week and Trina's "Austin Breakfast Tacos: The Story of the Most Important Taco of the Day" went up Saturday.  Both were books you read via AMAZON's KINDLE UNLIMATED.  Thoughts on that service first.


 Kat: I am glad that they update their content but I seriously object to content that is nothing but WIKIPEDIA.  I question the use of that nonsense.  When you're reading a 'book' that's nothing but copy and past from WIKIPEDIA and, sadly, too  much of it is.

Trina: I would agree that the quality is often lacking.  Again, we have a full house at my place and between the kids, the grandkids, my husband and myself, KINDLE UNLIMITED is a good option.  We aren't wasting our money.  If you were doing it just for yourself, I'm not sure that you would get your money's worth.



Trina: I do.  It's a really great cookbook.  First, breakfast taco recipes.  They are a ton of them.  There are complicated ones and simple ones, there are recipes that use multiple ingredients are as little as three -- bean, cheese and tortilla, for example.  The bulk of the people sharing in the book grasp what Anne Lappe didn't as she offered frou-frou nonsense in her bad version of her mother's DIET FOR A SMALL PLANET.  Second, it also works as a history book.  You're getting the history of how breakfast tacos were scorned by many in Austin when they first show up but the taste wins everyone over.  You're getting the history of how the makers grew in Austin -- in many cases, we're looking at generations of a family.  Third, there are all these tips, as people share their stories, that you use to vary your tortillas.  It's just a really great book.  It's a joy to read.


Kat: Apparently, it's not a prerequisite, in the digital age, to have any knowledge of the subject in order to write a biography.  Travis Stewart knows very little about Stevie.  He doesn't know the lyrics to her songs -- which he repeatedly gets wrong, especially with regards to "Rhiannon."  He thinks RUMOURS -- their album that sold over 40 million copies -- came out in 1975 and that they recorded their most successful selling album after RUMOURS.  He can't even get song titles right.  That includes, shockingly, "Gold Dust Woman."  It's right there in the title of his book and he gets it right there.  But in chapters, he repeatedly and wrongly calls it "Gold Dust Lady."  This is the worst book.  I don't get how you write a book on someone and know so damn little or how you write this and think it's worthy of publication.  If it had depended upon an actual printing press back in the pre-digital age, no one would have published it because there are just so many inaccuracies.


Trina, there was a recipe from the book you were going to share here.


Trina: Yes, Jess is a vegetarian so I thought I'd go with a vegetarian recipe.   Let me note that nopales are cactus pads. You can buy them in most groceries and any decent mercado in the area will have them for sure.  Here's the recipe:


1/2 ounce of each of your favorite fresh vegetables (for this recipe, it includes nopales, mushrooms and tomatoes)

1/2 tablespoon vegetable oil

2 eggs

Corn tortilla

Before making the taco, boil the nopales in water with a little bit of salt for about three minutes.  You can cut the nopales in small pieces or leave them whole.  At Papalote, we like to cut them before cooking.  Once the nopales are soft, place them under cool water and drain.  Then, beat the 2 eggs and pour them on a hot griddle with oil.  All all the vegetables and mix with the eggs for about 30 to 45 seconds.  Meanwhile, heat the corn tortilla on the griddle until it is soft and warm.  Once ready, wrap the eggs in a taco.


 Thank you.  Kat, a Stevie's fan reading this and they're thinking, "Great.  I wanted to read a book about Stevie but now I know this one isn't worth reading."  Do you have a book you'd recommend?

Kat:  Yes.  Stephen Davis' GOLD DUST WOMAN: STEVIE NICKS.  It's well written, it's factual.  If you want a book on Stevie, that's where to go.


Previous book discussions this year.

"Books (Marcia, Ann and C.I.)," "Books (Ruth, Ava and C.I.)," "Books (Isaiah, Ava and C.I.)," "Books (Mike, Ava and C.I.)," "Books (Kat, Ava and C.I.)," "Books (Marcia, Ava and C.I.)," "Books (Trina, Ava and C.I.)," "Books (Rebecca, Ava and C.I.)," "Books (Isaiah, Kat, Ava and C.I.)," "Books (Stan, Ava and C.I.)," "Books (Kat, Ava and C.I.)," "Books (Marcia, Ava and C.I.)," "Books (Ann, Ava and C.I.)," "Books (Trina, Ava and C.I.)," "Books (Marcia, Ava and C.I.)" and "Books (Ava and C.I.)."






2023 passings

Lisa Presley -- Elaine noted her passing.

Christine McVie -- Kat covered her passing.


Adam Rich -- Marcia noted his passing.


Jeff Beck -- Kat noted his passing.


Lance Kerwin -- Rebecca noted his passing.

Barrett Strong -- Ruth noted his passing.


Lisa Loring -- Rebecca noted her passing.


Burt Bacharach -- Rebecca noted his passing.


Raquel Welch -- Elaine noted her passing.


Stella Stevens  -- Rebecca noted her passing.


Richard Belzer -- Ruth noted his passing.  


Kevin Alexander Gray -- C.I. notes his passing.


Pat Schroeder -- Kat noted her passing.


Lance Reddick -- Mike notes his passing.  


Darcelle XV -- Elaine notes his passing.


"Mark Russell" -- Ruth notes his passing 


"Elizabeth Hubbard" -- Trina notes her passing.


"Mary Quant and more Peabody nominations" -- Elaine notes a passing.


"Harry Belafonte" -- Kat notes a passing.

Gordon Lightfoot" -- Kat notes a passing.


"jacklyn zeman, rose schlossberg, john travolta and..." -- Rebecca notes the passing of Jacklyn Zeman.


"Iraq snapshot," "Tina Turner (1939 to 2023)," "The groundbreaker Tina Turner," "Tina Turner," "Lauren Boebert gets burned by AOC," "MAX and NETFLIX, Eva Longoria," "Tina Turner, Eric Swalwell, John Roberts," "They've ruined their reputation," "Hate merchant Tulsi Gabbard," "tina turner passed but the hideous gop lingers," "Tina " and "The wrong people are dying" -- The community notes the passing of Tina Turner.


 "Gay actor George Maharis has died" -- Stan notes the passing. 

"10 great songs that Cynthia Weil co-wrote" and "Cynthia Weil" -- Marcia and Kat note Cynthia Weil's passing.

"Hate merchant Pat Robertson has passed away" -- Kat notes the end of Pat Robertson.














"Mafia Wives (Susan Williams' WHITE MALICE)" -- C.I. reviews this book.


 "The Sewing Circle" -- Marcia reads Axel Madsen's THE SEWING CIRCLE.


 "Ellen Sander's The Lifestyle That Classic Rock Unleashed" -- Trina reviews this book.

"Phyllis Diller 1917 – 2012: News, Quotes, Interview" -- Ann reviews this book.

"Call Her Heroic (Ava and C.I.)" -- Ava and C.I. review this book.

"Boze Hadleigh's Hollywood Gays" -- Marcia reviews this book.


"Robert Sellers wrote a book of garbage" -- Kat reviews HOLLYWOOD HELLRAISERS.   



"SCREAM VI and THE BOYS" -- Stan reviews Ron and Clint Howard's THE BOYS.



"the world according to joan" -- Rebecca reviews this book.


 "Elton John and Whitney Houston" -- Kat reviews Elton John's autobiography and a biography on Whitney Houston.

"DON RICKLES: THE MERCHANT OF VENOM" -- Isaiah reviews this book.




 "Vincent Price and Universal" -- Marcia reviews John L. Flynn's 75 YEARS OF UNIVERSAL MONSTERS and Vincent Price's I LIKE WHAT I KNOW: A VISUAL AUTOBIOGRAPHY.







"JOAN BAEZ: THE LAST LEAF" -- Ruth reviews  this book by Elizabeth Thomas.


 "A JOYOUS TRANSFORMATION: THE UNEXPURZGATED DIARY OF ANAIS NIN, 1966 -1977" -- Ruth reviews a book by Anais Nin.


"An aging queen writes a bitter book about The Way We Were" -- Marcia reviews a bad book about THE WAY WE WERE.



"Travis Stewart's bad book supposedly on Stevie Nicks" -- Kat reviews a bad book supposedly about Stevie Nicks.


"Austin Breakfast Tacos: The Story of the Most Important Taco of the Day"-- Trina strongly recommends this cookbook.






Trina reviews a book on breakfast tacos

Trina reviews a new cookbook.

Austin Breakfast Tacos: The Story of the Most Important Taco of the Day

Let's start out with some recipes.

This is Breakfast Taco Recipe:

6 large eggs

2 tablespoons water

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 tablespoon butter 

1 poblano or aneheim pepper, seeded and diced

Salt and pepper, to taste

4 tortillas, your choice

1 large avocado, cubed

Roasted salsa

1 bunch cilantro, chopped

2 ounces cotija cheese, crumbled

Warm pan on medium heat.  Vigorously whisk eggs with water and cayenne pepper; set aside.

Melt butter in pan.  Once foam subsides, add diced peppers and season with salt and black pepper to taste.  Saute until soft, about 5 minutes.

Add egg mixture to pan with the pepper and scramble until almost done.  Remove pan from heat and scramble another minute until cooked through.

Divide egg and pepper mixture among 4 warmed tortillas.  Garnish each taco with 1/4 of the avocado, roasted salsa, chopped cilantro and cotija cheese. 

This is Simple Sausage, Egg and Cheese Taquitos

1 roll of sausage (I like Jimmy Dean All-Natural or Maple Pork Sausage, but any kind works fine)

5-6 eggs

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1 teaspoon paprika

8 corn or flour tortillas

Salsa or hot sauce of your choice

1/2 cup shredded cheese (cheddar, American or any Mexican style you prefer)

Liberate about half of the sausage roll from its container and roll it into small,  1/2-inch balls or crumbles and cook on a skillet over medium heat until browned.  Put aside.

Crack eggs in a bowl and add salt, pepper and paprika.  I like lots of paprika, but you may prefer a little less.  Scramble the eggs and begin cooking on a sprayed or oiled pan over medium heat. 

Add the sausage to the eggs once they've cooked, and mix well.

Cook the tortillas until they're brown and firm and fill them with your eggs/sausage mix.  Add salsa and cheese and enjoy!

This is Miga Con Todo Taco:

1 teaspoon oil in frying pan

3/4 ounce onions

3/4 ounce tomatoes

3/4 ounce green jalapeno peppers

1/2 handful of corn tortilla chips

1 egg

1 tortilla of your choice

3/4 ounce shredded cheddar cheese

Cook onions, tomatoes, green jalapeno peppers and corn chips in the oiled frying pan for 1 minute.  Add eggs, mixing and cooking well with the veggies and corn chips.  Add migas to hot tortilla, add cheese and fold.

These -- and many more -- recipes can be found in Austin Breakfast Tacos: The Story of the Most Important Taco of the Day.  


Could a book on breakfast tacos really work?  By that I mean, could you do a whole cookbook on breakfast tacos?  Yes, if you do it out of the breakfast taco capitol of the nation -- Austin, Texas.  There is a wide variety of recipes in the book.  There are ones with vegetables, ones with meat, ones with beans and egg, there is just a wide variety.  And there are so many tips on cooking them.  Some wait to add the eggs until the end, some start with the eggs and then add meat.  There are tips regarding mingas -- like putting them in flour or using old tortilla chips and not fresh ones.  There are so many things you can pick up from this book.

And there are narratives, like Diana Valera of Tamale House East whose grandfather came to Austin and started Tony's Tortilla Factory and whose parents opened Tamale House in 1959. She and her brother went on open food places.  She got out the business for awhile but then her five children wanted to get in the business so she joined them in opening Tamale House East.   Here she is speaking about what it's all about:

It's like a mini home-cooked meal in a tortilla.  It takes a lot of effort and love to put the ingredients that go into it.  It's not like flipping burgers.  The more ingredients it has, the more care and love it has.  But I think in addition to that is the evolution of the appreciation of our culture.  And part of a culture is their food, their music, their language.  There have been a lot of people who have traveled to Austin and discovered what wonderful tacos we have and have written about it and done stories about it.  For the longest time, our own community didn't know what a gem they had, which was our whole culture and our food.  Mexican food is so varied.  Every taco is a little piece of art.  I get into the kitchen, and a customer might ask me how much are you going to put of that ingredient?  And I say, well, put on some music and lemme see.  That's how I personally do it.  I'll remember recipes from my mother or that I've seen elsewhere.  It's a creative endeavor.  When someone comes in, they can tell that.  They can look at a taco, the greens, the reds.  It's colorful like a Mexican flag or a Mexican costume.  Then people visually see the presentation of the taco, they get excited, and when they put it in their mouth, they  say, "Wow, I've discovered something."  And every time someone tries it, I can tell people enjoy it.  It's a very rewarding experience to make someone happy.  It's a vey basic instinct in all of us that if you satisfy someone's hunger or a craving for delicious food, you make them happy.  And they want to come back.  And they want to share that with their friends.''


Pauline Avila of Joe's Bakery and Restaurant explains:

Tacos were the standard food for Mexican people.  I remember making the tacos and taking them to lunch, and we would take them to my dad and my brothers working in the field.  And we would take tacos to school since they didn't have any money to give us for lunch.  But we had to hide them so the other kids wouldn't laugh at us.  It was only a nickel for the lunch, but my mom didn't even have that.  A lot of the kids who didn't have enough money to buy lunch would also have tacos, and we would eat them behind the burning alley where they would burn the trash.  Now everybody eats tacos.  Back then, there was a lot of discrimination against Mexican people.  When Joe went to a restaurant, they would have a sign that this section if for white and the other section was black and Mexican people.  I'd say maybe even in the '60s you would start to see white people/black people eating tortillas.  The breakfast tacos, bean and egg, chorizo -- all those were popular even in the '60s.

It's a really good book that holds your attention and provides numerous reasons why breakfast tacos are not just for breakfast and why they are so popular.  I highly recommend the book.

Now I want to note this video.

Ava and C.I. noted that ABC news documentary in "Media: Why did Max Blumenthal targeted Rachel Maddow?" (this Sunday or Monday, at The Third Estate Sunday Review, they'll be taking on the myth of Tucker Carlson's audience of 'millions').

Eric London (WSWS) reports on Donald Trump's latest charges:

Thursday’s filing of a 38-count federal criminal indictment against former President Donald Trump marks a new and unprecedented stage in the crisis of the American political system. At a critical juncture in the escalating US-NATO war against Russia and with the first Republican presidential primary only seven months away, an explosive conflict between the two main factions of the ruling class has burst to the surface.

This is the first time in US history that the Department of Justice has charged a former president with breaking federal law. Even in 1974, at the peak of the Watergate crisis, Gerald Ford sacrificed his political credibility and ultimately his presidency by pardoning Nixon in order to prevent a trial that the ruling class feared would destabilize the political system and weaken the world position of US imperialism.

In contrast to the ongoing state prosecutions and civil suits against Trump that are based on his sexual improprieties, the DOJ indictment, unsealed Friday, is far more consequential.

The indictment asserts that Trump usurped core state powers by retaining top secret military documents related to US war plans for personal political use. It details how Trump and his cronies stole top secret documents obtained during his time in the White House and hid them at Trump’s mansion in Mar-a-Lago, Florida. It includes transcripts of audio recordings and text messages in which Trump and his employees essentially admit that they were aware the conduct was illegal.

The detailed character of the indictment indicates that a section of the state apparatus has decided that the time has come to try to remove Trump from the political arena once and for all.

The document concludes by charging Trump with 38 counts of criminal activity, including 31 counts of violating the Espionage Act, each of which carries a potential 10-year sentence for “gathering, transmitting or losing defense information.” The remaining counts assert that Trump and his valet, Waltine Nauta, conspired, lied and withheld information during a federal investigation over the handling of classified documents. The conspiracy count has a maximum sentence of 20 years.

From the standpoint of the working class, there is no “democratic” side in the prosecution. The brutal imperialist politician Trump is not a victim or opponent of the war machine, and the Democratic Party-led prosecution is only interested in challenging Trump on the most right-wing basis possible: to advance its war aims against Russia.

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

Friday, June 9, 2023.  A lunatic in Congress claims (lies) that the FBI has stated that they can't protect a witness, no-surprise Tara Always Changes Her Story Reade is yet again changing her story, the heavens open with relief as the angels realized there wasn't a snow ball's chance in hell that Pat Robertson was going to be at the Pearly Gates, and much, much more.

Well Pat Robertson finally did something good for America -- he died.  Too bad he couldn't have done it years ago.  For more see Kat's "Hate merchant Pat Robertson has passed away."  Paul Rudnick notes:

Pat Robertson has died. He said gay people caused hurricanes and wore special rings which spread AIDS, and that gay marriage was worse than murder. He's survived by this poster on the wall of Mike Pence's bedroom pic.twitter.com/Shf5NThGZk

— Paul Rudnick (@PaulRudnickNY) June 8, 2023

Let's go from crazy Pat Robertson to crazy Tara Reade.   TWITTER's had to provide 'context' to a recent reTweet by Tara noting that it's a lie.  Poor Tara, if she were capable of embarrassment or shame, this would be a very difficult time for her.  

But all of her Tweets should come with context since she's so estranged from the truth.  For example, Tara's labeled this piece by Froma Harrop to be "slut shaming."  Is she that stupid or is she now on drugs?  It's not slut shaming.  Froma does not go into Tara's past relationships or even mention them.  She's very clear that she doesn't believe Tara regarding her allegation that Joe Biden assaulted her in the nineties.  I honestly do believe her but that's not "slut praising" anymore than Froma's slut shaming her.   People don't have to believe her.  Ruth went over this in "Tara Reade threatens to sit on George Takei and squash him" when Ruth pointed out George Takei not believing Tara was assaulted is not him slandering her.  No one has to believe her and due to her own credibility issues she's made even more people doubt her.  

That's not what I really want to note.

I also am not eager to point out her latest lie.  Per her 'representative' (a woman who can't practice law in the US or in Russia -- apparently, Tara's such a credit risk she can't get a local attorney in either country), Tara told US Rep Matt Gaetz that she received "intelligence" in Russia.  She hasn't received intelligence -- or common sense -- in any place she's lived or traveled.  But Tara told Matt -- and according to her 'rep' she said so on THE HILL -- that she's received "intelligence" that her life was being threatened and he advised her to stay in Russia.

First off, if true, let me say two words I'll probably never say again: Thank you, Matt Gaetz.  Now if you could encourage some other whack jobs to leave the country . . .

Here's the thing though, Tara's stated already that Matt's the one who warned her.  That seemed suspect but that was her story.  Matt warned her and that's why she's staying in Russia.

Now she's claiming that she got the "intelligence."  

Take a moment to laugh and then we'll pick right back up.

I wish we had time to call out Sabby Sabs and all the other garbage praising Robbie of THE HILL for bringing nut job Tara Reade on.  But we don't.  We will note he's a transphobe and a gay basher and so, Sabby Sabs, we're not at all surprised to see you praising him.

That's not why we bring it up.  Nor to ask why Tara is obviously unable to get shampoo in Russia -- but did get a really bad dye job.

No, we're bringing her up because of the crazy in Congress.  And this time let's zoom in on US House Rep Anna Paulina Luna who Tara can't stop reTweeting -- Tara loves those homophobes.  Anna Lunatic is someone who needs to be brought before the ethics board.  Maybe if Democrats regain control of the House they do that?  This Tweet should never have happened:

The FBI stated "they were afraid the informant would be killed if unmasked"?  So the FBI, you insane lunatic, that has protected many witnesses against the mob, has stated they have a witness that they can't protect?  Goodness that would be front page news . . . if it actually happened.

But it didn't.  And Crazy Lunatic didn't make that statement on the floor of Congress, she did it in a Tweet which means she's not protected from lying.  

That lie needs to be hammered and hammered.  Merrick Garland needs to issue a statement noting that the FBI has said no such thing.

These people just make up crap and then those already struggling with reality -- people like Tara -- hear it and start repeating it as truth.

If the FBI told Congress that they had a witness they couldn't protect, one of two things would happen in the real world:  Kevin McCarthy, as head of the House of Representatives, would be announcing that to the American people or they all wouldn't be saying a word because they were briefed on it in a closed session.  

But Lunatic puts it on TWITTER.  I do feel some sympathy for Anna Lunatic.  If George Santos weren't in this Congress, she'd be getting a lot more attention for all of her lies -- including that "Mexican" grandfather that in fact was German.  She's got her string of lies but George always manages to soak up all the attention.  Your day will come, Luna Lunatic, your day will come.

And, sadly, seriously sad, we will no longer be noting Bonnie Erbe's TO THE CONTRARY.  It has been a great program and has addressed many important issues -- I'm sure it will continue to do so.  But I was informed last night about two panelists and I'm sorry I'm not promoting the program anymore.  I had no problem with their conservative fiscal views or other conservative views.  But there is a difference between conservative views and the views of hate merchants.  Applause to Bonnie for her work over the years and hopefully my walking away will mean some others will be interested in promoting the show -- the longest running show focusing on women still in production.  

Bonnie was attacked in 2008 for refusing to join the dogpile on Sarah Palin.  Bonnie has been a brave face and voice for feminism.  I applaud her.

But there is a war going on in this country, a war against the LGBTQ+ community and I will not have this site, this platform do anything to promote that war.  And grasp that this means anyone can be dropped from getting noted here if I'm dropping Bonnie.

"What could we have done to stop the attacks on the LGBTQ+ community?"  LGBTQ NATION asks that at their site.  I have an answer for that and it's not pretty and probably not anything they want to here.  But in September, those of us who are arm-in-arm with the LGBTQ+ community fled like fairweather friends and a number of LGTBQ+ members -- especially sassy young Twinks -- decided to trash the man everyone was fleeing from instead of standing up.  Every tactic that now works for them when they go after Dylan or whomever, they practiced that back in September and people were too damn stupid to realize what was at stake.  They're using the same tactics -- that they perfected last September -- to attack African-Americans -- and if you're struggling to see that, you are the problem.

I can't go into this right now, it would take hours and hours.  I might write about it this weekend.

But that's the past and I can't change that.  But what I can do to stop attacks right now is not promote or elevate hate merchants.  


Let's note whistle-blower Chelsea Manning as we turn to Iraq. Monday April 5th, WIKILEAKS released US military video of a July 12, 2007 assault in Iraq. 12 people were killed in the assault including two Reuters journalists Namie Noor-Eldeen and Saeed Chmagh. Monday June 7th, the US military announced that they had arrested Chelsea Manning and she stood accused of being the leaker of the video. Leila Fadel (Washington Post) reported in August 2010 that Manning had been charged -- "two charges under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. The first encompasses four counts of violating Army regulations by transferring classified information to [her] personal computer between November and May and adding unauthorized software to a classified computer system. The second comprises eight counts of violating federal laws governing the handling of classified information." Manning had been convicted in the public square despite the fact that she's been convicted in no state and has made no public statements -- despite any claims otherwise, she had made no public statements. Manning was now at Quantico in Virginia, under military lock and key and still not allowed to speak to the press. Paul Courson (CNN) noted [Chelsea] is a suspect and, "He has not admitted guilt in either incident, his supporters say."  She was attacked repeatedly and then convicted and then pardoned.  Alonso Matinez (EL PAIS) notes today:

In an interview with the Financial Times, Manning revealed that she rarely faces hecklers regarding the intelligence leaks, but occasionally experiences attacks related to her transgender identity. She expressed her resilience, stating that she has become accustomed to such criticism and that it no longer greatly affects her.

Turning to Iraq-related issues, MIDDLE EAST EYE notes:

A former Miss Iraq, Sarah Idan, has officially announced her run as a Democrat for US Congress in California’s 30th District in November 2024. 

Idan currently lives in Los Angeles and is the founder of Humanity Forward, a nonprofit bipartisan organisation “committed to building bridges among Muslims and Jews in order to surpass borders and promote reconciliation, tolerance, mutual understanding, and peace”. 

The seat is currently held by Adam Schiff, who will be leaving to run for the Senate. Schiff, who was the House Intelligence Committee chair in 2021, had welcomed the US administration's pledge to release a declassified report on who killed Jamal Khashoggi, calling for the document to be made public "without delay".

Western oil companies are exacerbating water shortages and causing pollution in Iraq as they race to profit from rising oil prices after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Water scarcity has already displaced thousands and increased instability, according to international experts, while Iraq is now considered the fifth most vulnerable country to the climate crisis by the UN. In the oil-rich but extremely dry south, wetlands that used to feed entire communities are now muddy canals.

Mahdi Mutir, 57, worked as a fisher his entire life. For years, Mutir and his wife woke at dusk, sailing along a thick network of canals in Al Khora, a few kilometres north of Basra. The harvest was meagre but enough to provide food for the family of seven.

That changed last year. Now, at the height of the rainy season, Mutir’s boat lies stranded in the mud.

“It is the water station the Italian company built: they need water for their oilfields,” Mutir said, pointing at the black smoke rising from the Zubayr oilfield on the horizon.

To help extract oil, companies pump large quantities of water into the ground. For each barrel of oil, many of which are later exported to Europe, up to three barrels of water are pumped into the ground. And as Iraq’s oil exports rise, its water has dramatically fallen.

The whole world is facing drastic climate change but climate models suggest that Iraq will be among the worst effected.  Back in March, Amr Salem (IRAQI NEWS) reported:

The United Nations stressed that Iraq is suffering from a real water crisis, calling for collective action to find solutions to this crisis, the Iraqi News Agency (INA) reported.
The statement was made on Sunday by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Iraq and Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI), Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, during her participation in Iraq Climate Conference held in the southern Iraqi city of Basra.
“There is an urgent need to find solutions to the water crisis in Iraq,” Plasschaert stated.

Urgent and it only gets more urgent each day.  Already problems are evident.  January 10th, Yale's School of Environment published Wil Crisp's article which opened:

Three years ago, the vast marshlands of southern Iraq’s Dhi Qar province were flourishing. Fishermen glided in punts across swathes of still water between vast reed beds, while buffalo bathed amid green vegetation. But today those wetlands, part of the vast Mesopotamian Marshes, have shriveled to narrow channels of polluted water bordered by cracked and salty earth. Hundreds of desiccated fish dot stream banks, along with the carcasses of water buffalo poisoned by saline water. Drought has parched tens of thousands of hectares of fields and orchards, and villages are emptying as farmers abandon their land.

For their biodiversity and cultural significance, the United Nations in 2016 named the Mesopotamian Marshes — which historically stretched between 15,000 and 20,000 square kilometers in the floodplain of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers — a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The marshes comprised one of the world’s largest inland delta systems, a startling oasis in an extremely hot and arid environment, home to 22 species of globally endangered species and 66 at-risk bird species.

But now this ecosystem — which includes alluvial salt marshes, swamps, and freshwater lakes — is collapsing due to a combination of factors meteorological, hydrological, and political. Rivers are rapidly shrinking, and agricultural soil that once grew bounties of barley and wheat, pomegranates, and dates is blowing away. The environmental disaster is harming wildlife and driving tens of thousands of Marsh Arabs, who have occupied this area for 5,000 years, to seek livelihoods elsewhere.

Experts warn that unless radical action is taken to ensure the region receives adequate water — and better manages what remains — southern Iraq’s marshlands will disappear, with sweeping consequences for the entire nation as farmers and pastoralists abandon their land for already crowded urban areas and loss of production leads to rising food prices.

The Mesopotamian marshlands are often referred to as the cradle of civilization, as anthropologists believe that this is where humankind, some 12,000 years ago, started its wide-scale transition from a lifestyle of hunting and gathering to one of agriculture and settlement. Encompassing four separate marshes, the region has historically been home to a unique range of fish and birdlife, serving as winter habitat for migratory birds and sustaining a productive shrimp and finfish fishery. 

AP has observed, "Climate change for years has compounded the woes of the troubled country. Droughts and increased water salinity have destroyed crops, animals and farms and dried up entire bodies of water. Hospitals have faced waves of patients with respiratory illnesses caused by rampant sandstorms. Climate change has also played a role in Iraq’s ongoing struggle to combat cholera."  And now action? Or what might pass for it.   Khalid Al Ansary (BLOOMBERG NEWS) reported:

Iraq’s Prime Minister Mohammed Shia Al-Sudani on Sunday kicked off an initiative to plant 5 million trees and palms across the country in an attempt to alleviate some of the deleterious impacts of climate change, a statement from his office said.

Iraq has suffered years of drought, and more than 7 million people have been effected or lost their incomes from agriculture and fishing, Al-Sudani’s office said. The war-torn, oil rich country has experienced higher temperatures, persistent drought, an increase in dust storms and a crop area cut by half, all impacts of extreme weather caused by climate change.

Real action would be addressing the use of water by the oil industry -- water that's not going to the people.  

On veterans' issues, Senator Bill Cassidy's office issued the following:

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. delivered remarks during today’s hearing on examining veterans’ access to long term care.


Thank you, Mr. Chairman.


Thank you to our witnesses for being here today to discuss how we can ensure veterans have access to the long-term care and support they need.


Our veterans sacrificed for us, so we owe it to them to work to identify gaps in care and find ways to improve the experience they receive when they work with VA to fulfill their long-term care needs. 


Access to quality long-term care is an important part of honoring our commitment to our veterans.


It’s an issue that affects the veteran, their families, the caregiver, and the community around them.


We must improve coordination between the VA, community providers, and other stakeholders so that veterans and their families do not have to struggle to access the support they earned.


As the population of aging and disabled veterans increases, VA will need to ensure high-quality and adequate staffing for VA medical facilities, clinics, and community living centers, while also expanding its footprint in the community.


I support VA’s efforts to honor veterans’ preferences for when, where, and how they receive long-term care. Veterans should have ultimate control over their health care decisions from VA.


We must also focus on caregiver support and recognize the vital role caregivers play in the well-being of our veterans. We must provide caregivers with the necessary resources, training, and support to ensure they deliver the best care.


Our hope is that your testimony will help us figure out how to do that.


I thank you again for your testimony.


Let us honor our veterans' service and sacrifice by making sure they get the best care we can give them.


Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I yield.


Watch his remarks here.

Also on veterans issues, we're going to note this from Senator Tammy Baldwin's office:

Baldwin Successfully Pushes VA to Reexamine & Pay Earned Benefits to 600 Veterans After Doctor Misdiagnosed Conditions

Doctor who misdiagnosed veterans was terminated from Tomah VA Baldwin has been advocating for new exams, proper compensation, and an investigation into doctor for 1.5 years

WASHINGTON, D.C. – After more than a year and a half of advocating on behalf of Wisconsin veterans, Senator Tammy Baldwin successfully pushed the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to identify and reexamine approximately 600 veterans whose neurological conditions were misdiagnosed by a doctor at the Tomah VA Medical Center. As a result of the misdiagnoses, these veterans had been denied proper benefits, compensation, and treatment. The VA will now work to complete reexaminations and grant equitable relief for impacted veterans. The doctor responsible for the misdiagnosis, Dr. Mary Jo Lanska, MD, has been terminated from the Tomah VA.

Since 2021, Senator Baldwin has been working with multiple Wisconsin veterans who reported that their traumatic brain injuries (TBI) and other conditions were misdiagnosed by Dr. Lanska. Senator Baldwin had been calling on the VA to investigate the pattern of misdiagnoses, ensure misdiagnosed veterans get a new exam, and get the veterans the proper compensation and benefits they are deserved.

After Senator Baldwin successfully pushed the VA to review all of the compensation and pension exams that were done by Dr. Lanska and reach out to impacted veterans, the VA announced today that they identified approximately 600 veterans who received an exam from Dr. Lanska that they plan to order reexaminations of and grant equitable relief.

“Our veterans served us and we have an obligation to serve them when they come back home. Unfortunately, many of our Wisconsin heroes did not get the care at the VA that they deserved," said Senator Baldwin. “I am glad to see that after years of working alongside some of our veterans, hundreds of Wisconsinites who have been wronged by the VA will be getting the care and benefits that they earned.”

In a March meeting, Senator Baldwin pressed VA Secretary Denis McDonough to investigate the pattern of misdiagnosis and shared the Wisconsin veterans’ concerns. In August 2022, Senators Baldwin and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) sent a letter to Secretary McDonough highlighting their concerns about TBI misdiagnosis at the Tomah VA and pushing for answers about the process for veterans who may have been improperly diagnosed and not receiving the benefits they deserve. After hearing from additional veterans, in September 2022, Senator Baldwin called on the VA to conduct a comprehensive investigation into the practices of this doctor to determine whether there is a broader pattern of her misdiagnosing patients’ neurological disorders that are preventing veterans from receiving care or benefits they earned.


Senator Tammy Baldwin is an out lesbian and this is Pride Month so I'm going to try to note something from an out member of Congress in each of the snapshots for the rest of the month.  Again, focusing on what we can do.  Again, I recommend LGBTQ Nation's "What could we have done to stop the attacks on the LGBTQ+ community?" which, hopefully, we'll get everyone who cares about equality and fairness brainstorming.

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