The pandemic. Boo. Will it ever end? One thing I want when things go back to normal (if they ever do)? Pizza buffet. For years, decades, that has been a favorite thing of mine. I don't care which establishment, I just love a pizza buffet.
I like it when money's tight because I can stock up. And, yes, I have been known, in hard times, to take a slice or two, wrap it in napkins and put in my purse. I love it in good times because I can eat multiple kinds of pizza. I can have a slice of Canadian bacon, a slice of Italian sausage, a slice of mushrooms and black olives, a slice of pepperoni, a slice of pineapple and Canadian bacon, a slice of hamburger, etc. Otherwise? If I have pizza outside of a buffet, I'm limited to only one pizza -- maybe two.
So Ive whined about that for two weeks. C.I. surprised me. She organized a surprise pizza party for me. Toni showed up first, then Maggie and Dak-Ho and then Sumner and the pizzas arrived in the middle. I hadn't seen my buddies in several months -- I do talk to them -- especially Maggie -- on the phone constantly. But we wore our masks while we made our plates of pizza and we ate them outside.
C.I. invited everyone and she also ordered six pizzas -- six different ones. So we got that variety I wanted and I had leftovers to send everyone home with. She's a really good friend.
As Maggie was helping me put the left over pizza slices into freezer bags and hand them out, I said I'd note this pizza party in a quick blog post and then go to bed because I'm tired. Maggie said to tell the story about the crazy woman. We were in DC last January, right before the pandemic, when that happened. I told Maggie about it in real time over the phone and she periodically makes me retell it. I don't know that it's that funny but she laughs every time. Once, you're a good friend. Repeatedly? Maybe the story's interesting, I don't know if it's funny.
But we were on whatever the DC train is. And we sit down -- Wally, Ava, C.I. and myself. Actually, I think Wally stood, there may not have been enough space. And this woman across from us who clearly had an elevator that stopped on the 13th floor of the building (buildings don't usually have a 13th floor due to superstition) starts speaking to C.I.
Did you know that you can't disguise your voice?
That's how she starts.
Then she tells C.I. that criminals are dumb. They think they won't be recognized. Or they think that they can change their clothes and no one will recognize them. But there's this thing where you have more than facial recognition, you also notice how people carry themselves and there's the voice and that's how criminals get caught.
Let me tell you, she tells C.I., I haven't seen you in several months, it was T&G Grocery back in August, it was months ago, but I've got this gift and it's why the FBI keeps trying to hire me. But I remember you.
C.I. goes, "Yes, August. I remember you too."
And the woman continues to talk and talk and talk until we get off at Wisconsin and North Street.
C.I. had never met the woman and never been to T&G Grocery. But she humored the woman -- and the woman did recognize C.I., she just couldn't place from where. Usually, people want to do a selfie with C.I. or get her autograph. Some want to embrace or shake her hand -- I'll never forget when that man broke her finger shaking her hand. She was so nice about it and waited until he was gone to say, "Let's go to the hospital." He was so excited to meet her that he gripped her hand so hard he ended up breaking her finger. And she was so nice and just smiled and never indicated that it was broken or that she was in any pain. But Maggie loves all the stories about how people react when the meet C.I. And the one about the crazy lady in DC, which I probably tell better when I'm not typing it, is her favorite story.
Oh, go read Ava and C.I.'s "TV: Looking back."
Closing with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"
Friday, November 20, 2020. We explore continued talk about the announced drawdown of some US troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, Tara Reade, the Iraqi militias, Joe Biden's efforts to staff a Cabinet, and much more
As noted in Wednesday's snapshot, US President Donald Trump has announced a drawdown of US forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. Drawdown -- not a withdrawal. For Iraq, it means 500 US troops will be leaving. Why do we have IndyMedia?
We really don't. Most of those sites closed long ago. PORTLAND IMC continues. Reading this article by Henry Browning, you have to wonder why? He repeats the false claim of War Hawks of harm this would cause. He offers no voices that dissent with that view and he certainly doesn't question it himself. For those of us who were inspired by IndyMedia in the early '00s, this is very sad. The only comfort is that the comments offer back and forth.
USA TODAY does what IndyMedia refuses to do, offers a voice not rejecting a drawdown. Geoff LaMear offers:
After the Trump administration’s consideration of military strikes on Iran for its nuclear program, the rocket attacks in Iraq’s Green Zone, where the U.S. embassy is located, on Tuesday have the potential to draw the United States closer to a conflict with Iran. But President Trump should keep military retaliation off the table. Military action has incentivized — not deterred — Iran and its proxies in the past, endangering U.S. personnel.
Military force hasn’t made American personnel safe. In the last bout of hostilities with Iran, Kata’ib Hezbollah, an Iran-aligned militia group in Iraq, conducted a rocket attack in December 2019 which killed a U.S. contractor. In response, the U.S. hit Kata’ib Hezbollah hard, striking five of the group’s facilities. If military action could deter further attacks, that should have been the end of it. But it wasn’t.
[. . .]
The longer U.S. forces stay in Iraq, the longer they are in harm’s way. And as was seen in the previous tit-for-tat last December, a single American death acts as a flash-point that risks a war.
[. . .]
U.S. military presence in Iraq risks harm to personnel which in turn can bring the U.S. into a war with Iran. The costs are high and the benefits are nonexistent with the defeat of ISIS. The Iraqis are the ones best suited to preventing ISIS from reemerging and opposing a vassalization of their country by Iran. Therefore, it behooves both Trump and Biden to declare that that end has finally come.
Edward King is the president of Defense Priorities and he issued this statement:
Reducing US troop levels to 2,500 in both Afghanistan and Iraq is responsible – it would be irresponsible to not get to zero. The ongoing military occupations of Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and the greater Middle East are costly mistakes that come at the expense of higher defense priorities.
Talk of a ‘conditions-based’ withdrawal is a stalking horse for staying indefinitely, or forever. There is no such thing as an immaculate withdrawal from these conflicts, and there’s no reason to think the ground reality will improve after nearly 20 years of waiting.
The militias in Iraq are now part of the security forces. Supposedly, Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi is attempting to address this. Supposedly. Maybe the time to object was long before he became prime minister? The move never should have taken place. Since the merger, what's been learned is that they do not fall under the command of the prime minister. So they get to be included with Iraqi forces and they don't have to follow the same rules and orders that the Iraqi forces are expected to follow. They made news awhile back by announcing some form of cease-fire. Now they are saying it's over. Dilan S. Hussein (RUDAW) reports:
The leader of an Iranian-backed Iraqi militia group announced the end of
a conditional ceasefire suspending attacks on American interests in the
country after a child was killed by rocket fire on Baghdad’s green zone
“The truce with the Americans has ended due to its conditions not being met,” Qais al-Khazali, leader of Asaib Ahl Al-Haq, said in a Thursday interview with Iraqi state media.
Late on Tuesday, rockets landed in Baghdad’s green zone killing a child and injuring five other civilians, just hours after the Pentagon announced it was reducing United States military presence in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The leader of the Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq movement said the Iraqi government is entitled to have a monopoly on carrying and using weapons in order to restore stability to the country.
However, Qais al-Khazali noted that the Iraqi resistance forces will continue carrying arms as long as the country is in danger.
Speaking in an interview with the Al-Iraqiya TV, which was aired on Thursday, Khazali said resistance forces carry weapons for a specific goal and reason.
“Once that goal is achieved, they will lay down their weapons,” he noted.
He said he is opposed to rocket attacks against the US embassy, and so are many other groups, as it is a diplomatic site.
Let's hope that term was applied by Iran's news outlet and was not used by al-Khazali himself. First off, "the resistance" in Iraq, since the US-led invasion kicked off in 2003, has been Sunni, not Shi'ite. Second, Asa'ib Ahl al-Haq is a Shi'ite militia. al-Haq is stating that they will ignore the Iraqi order at the present time. Again, there have been no benefits for the Iraqi government since they brought the militias into the Iraqi forces.
Yesterday, we noted that, after decades of being closed, Iraq and Saudi Arabia were reopening their shared border. The editorial board of GULF NEWS (via EMIRATES NEWS AGENCY) weighs in with:
For the first time in 30 years, the border between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Iraq is now open, with transport trucks, goods and food stuffs crossing between the two Arab nations at the Arar frontier post. The strategically important crossing had been closed since 1990 when the Kingdom severed ties with Iraq after Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait.
The reopening of the border marks a new milestone in the long and historic relationship between these two Arab neighbours and it’s a day that has long been anticipated by members of the Gulf Cooperation Council. By unsealing the gates, removing the physical barriers and letting traffic and trade flow once more, it is a clear statement that Iraq’s standing is now restored and it is indeed open for business once again.
The reopening of the border at Arar is the latest positive development to accrue from the ongoing dialogue between Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman Abdul Aziz of Saudi Arabia and Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al Kadhimi, and both deserve kudos for their efforts in bringing Iraq back into the tent of Arab brothers. Simply put, the reopening of the border is a good day’s work and positive for all.
The events of 1990 and subsequently have profoundly affected the region. But time, dialogue and goodwill between Arabs has triumphed; old quarrels have been set aside, and there is more to be gained by opening borders. Arabs together are much stronger.
THE NATIONAL weighs in with this video.
And FORBES offers this video report.
Also yesterday, we reposted an interview with Tara Reade and included this: "[Tara Reade's LEFT OUT: WHEN THE TRUTH DOESN"T FIT IN is available at AMAZON.]" This resulted in drive-by e-mails. Griping. And we were already getting those. (Drive-by e-mails refers to e-mails sent to the public e-mail account -- firstname.lastname@example.org -- as opposed to community members who e-mail our private e-mail address.) The drive-bys started with the claim that I wasn't supporting Tara because I wasn't supporting her book. I've supported Tara throughout. I believe her. This was noted in Ava and my election overview earlier this month.
I twice noted her book was coming out. And then I stopped. Not because I didn't support Tara but because we've had problems before. When I promoted it here, community members asked if I knew it wasn't available on AMAZON? No, I did not. It was available through some website none of us knew. Probably a great website. But we've danced this dance before. Holly Near teamed up with Emma's Revolution and it should have been a great experience. It wasn't. I soured on the nonsense of including a man's song -- **Holly was a lesbian, she's now a straight woman who identifies as a lesbian, or whatever** and Emma's Revolution is supposed to be pro-women -- there was no reason to include it. Don't want to study war no more?
I believe Laura Nyro wrote a song about that, did we forget that?
Come on down to the glory river.
Gonna wash you up, and wash you down,
Gonna lay the devil down, gonna lay that devil down.
I got fury in my soul, fury's gonna take me to the glory goal
In my mind I can't study war no more.
Save the people, save the children, save the country now
Come on down to the glory river
Gonna wash you up and wash you down
Gonna lay the devil down, gonna lay that devil down
Keep the dream of the two young brothers
Gonna take that dream and ride that dove
We could build the dream with love, I know,
We could build a dream with love, children,
We could build the dream with love, oh people,
We could build the dream with love, I know,
We could build the dream with love.
There's a king at the glory river
Babes in the blinkin' sun sang
"We Shall Overcome".
-- "Save The Country," written by Laura Nyro, first appears on her 1969 album NEW YORK TENDABERRY
I don't have a lot of interest in crap garbage and when supposedly pro-women artists go out of their way to do a self-proclaimed 'womanist' album and they're covering a song by a man when they should be honoring a woman -- who said it much better -- I don't have use for them.
But the point was we noted the album before it came out, noted it the day it came out and where to get it and it was a nightmare. People paid two and three times for the album before getting the download file -- if they got it. It was a nightmare for many community members and I said "Never again." I'm not recommending an unknown site to purchase from again. It was too much. So, no, I didn't stop supporting Tara. I did stop noting the book immediately with the plan to note it when it was at AMAZON -- it's now at AMAZON and has been for a couple of weeks.
[Added: In her review of Matthew Sweet and Susanna Hoff's UNDER THE COVERS VOL. 2, Kat noted some of the problems with the Holly Near album and downloading -- noted it in the final paragraph of her review..]
As for the more recent slam, no, I do not get anything from that link. I know there's some way you can refer and get a portion of the payment. I'm not interested in that and it doesn't happen here for me. If we highlight, for example, a COUNTERPUNCH article that notes a way to purchase a book, I do include that link and that portion of a purchase -- whatever the percent -- would go to COUNTERPUNCH.
Here's another interview Tara's done this week with Ryan Glover.
I believe Tara. I find her highly credible. I don't find Joe Biden credible at all.
Joe is said to be attempting to get a position in his administration (if he's sworn in -- no e-mails complaining, December 14th, the electoral college will decide the issue) for War Hawk Susan Rice. Glen Ford (BLACK AGENDA REPORT) notes:
No one in high levels of U.S. government has been more intimately complicit in the death of more than six million Africans in the Democratic Republic of Congo than Susan Rice, the bloodstained Democratic Party political operative who is actively seeking the job of secretary of state in the incoming Biden administration. If recent history is a guide, we can expect the entirety of the Black Democratic establishment to support this uber-criminal’s elevation as a fitting reward to Black voters for putting Joe Biden in the White House – thus implicating all of Black America in the largest genocide since World War Two.
Rice is a protégé of former secretary of state Madelaine Albright, who in 1996 infamously described the sanctions-induced death of half a million Iraqi children as “worth it ” to punish the Saddam Hussein regime. But Rice has bested her mass murderous mentor in total career body count. As President Bill Clinton’s national security advisor (1993 to 1997), senior director for African Affairs (1995 to 1997) and Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs (1997 to 2001), Rice was the point person in Washington’s massive coverup of the invasion, pillage and depopulation of Congo by the armies of U.S. client states Rwanda and Uganda. In service to the Obama administration (ambassador to the United Nations, 2009-2013, national security advisor, 2013-2017), Rice smothered a United Nations Mapping Report that documented Rwandan and Ugandan crimes against Congo, including potentially genocidal offenses, and protected Uganda from the International Court of Justice’s award of $10 billion in damages to the Democratic Republic Congo.
“Rice was the point person in Washington’s massive coverup of the invasion, pillage and depopulation of Congo.”
When the United Nation’s highest court issued its verdict in 2005, the death toll in Congo was estimated at 3 million. By 2010, with Ambassador Susan Rice at the United Nations, the uninterrupted genocide had claimed six million lives, while the looting of Congo’s vast mineral resources financed the rise of a gleaming skyline over Kigali, the capital of Rwanda, a nation that has no significant mineral deposits. Multinational corporations are the biggest beneficiaries of the ”blood” minerals; it is these conglomerates whose interests Susan Rice protects.
Today, Congolese speak of eight million dead, but nobody in the Congressional Black Caucus is listening. Half of the Black Caucus voted against a measure that would have halted President Obama’s bombing of Libya , in the summer of 2011. Obama claimed that the Euro-American air war in support of mainly jihadist opponents of Muammar Gaddafi’s secular government was not subject to the War Powers Act, because no Americans had died – a totally novel definition of war in which only American bodies matter. Rice was then ambassador to the United Nations, where she successfully pressed for a “no fly zone” as a cover for NATO’s war against Libya. “This resolution should send a strong message to Colonel Qadhafi and his regime that the violence must stop, the killing must stop and the people of Libya must be protected and have the opportunity to express themselves freely,” Rice told reporters . But the bulk of violence was committed by U.S.-backed “rebels” against Black Libyans and south Saharans working in the country. Tawergha , a Black Libyan town of almost 50,000 people, was utterly destroyed, its inhabitants killed, imprisoned or scattered – with not a peep of complaint from the Black American woman at the UN or the First Black President of the United States. The branded faces of Black migrant workers sold into slave markets are Rice and Obama’s Libyan legacy.
Erin Brokovich has an open letter to Joe at THE GUARDIAN over his attempt to bring DuPont into his administration.
**NOTE added by Dona to C.I.'s snapshot, Ava and C.I. covered Holly Near's 'whatever' back in 2019 with "TV: PBS' long con" which included:
AMERICAN MASTERS is on season 33 and imagine our shock to tune into it on KQED and discover that they were profiling Holly Near.
See, she has no real accomplishments.
And she also can't get honest. That's why we really loved that moment of truth in the broadcast where, panning up the magazine cover featuring Holly's picture, the camera came across "Michelle Shocked on coming out."
Holly, like other 'lesbians' Michelle Shocked and Ani diFranco, used being a lesbian as a marketing strategy. Without it, she'd have no career at all. So it's really funny to watch someone (we'll abide by playground honor and not snitch) tells the camera, "I think her career suffered."
The following sites updated: