Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Interesting (and original) essay at ANTIWAR.COM

At ANTIWAR.COM, Mary Miller writes:


There has never been a better time to be vegan. From plant-based options popping up at national restaurant chains to faux-leather fashion on the runway, anything you can do, we can do vegan – including go to war?

It sounds like an oxymoron, but it’s true: painting itself as plant-based is the new favorite tactic of the international war machine. On January 1, Democratic Majority for Israel made a tweet bragging about the many alternatives to animal products utilized by the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) in 2020. VegNews, the biggest vegan outlet in the world, rang in the new year with praise of the South Korean military’s recent decision to offer meatless meals to enlistees.

This trend started long before 2021. Though the US military has been reluctant to explicitly appeal to vegans, its enlistees frequently do advertising of their own: PETA shared an interview with a vegan soldier in 2011. VegNews routinely runs articles in praise of militaries around the world, from Switzerland to Finland to, again, Israel. Israel is particularly adept at marketing to vegan tourists, and the IDF has followed suit with its soldiers.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that armed forces around the world are using veganism and environmentalism to appeal to young people. Video games, Hollywood blockbusters, alluring promises of sign-up bonuses and free education: these are recruitment tools of global militaries, and the United States armed forces in particular, that respond to the desires and trends popular with young people. Given that veganism is an increasingly popular movement and one that is both aesthetically appealing and deeply rooted in emotion, it’s a natural choice for the military’s next big marketing campaign. What is surprising, however, is that it appears to be working. 


I was looking for something different to note and found this.   I like that Ms. Miller's written an actual think piece and I like that she has chosen a topic that is not already on the internet 8 million times and counting.  

I will be very interested in reading future pieces to see where she goes.



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

 Wednesday, January 13, 2020. Impeachment?

The Congress can do whatever it wants.  For example, if they wanted to, they could serve the American people and provide Medicare For All.  They can do what they want.  That said, some of the things that they want to do are things that they shouldn't do.

Case in point: Impeachment.  

The lack of reflection in the media is probably par for the course but still shocking.  

"This" -- a columnist huffs referring to what Keesha has termed "a home invasion" but pearl clutchers insist was a coup -- is what happens when you never hold Donald Trump accountable.


What world are you living in?  When was Donald Trump given a pass?  Maybe during the 2016 campaign -- when Hillary Clinton's campaign worked with the media to ensure Donald got the GOP nomination because they thought he would be the easiest to beat in a general election.  Otherwise?

Everything he did resulted in push back and criticism.

Some was valid.  All was not valid.

And if you really want to understand what happened last week in DC, maybe shut your mouth that's been motoring through the last four years without thought.  Maybe the fact that you were so surprised by what took place goes to just how out of touch you are with what's actually been going on.

A little over 74 million people voted for Donald Trump in 2020.  A little over 81 million people vote for Joe Biden.  

If you're trying to heal the nation -- as opposed to grandstand -- impeachment really isn't the way to go.  

There are seven days until Joe Biden is sworn in as the next US president.

At what point does the media, especially the media, take a look at their own actions.  One 'scandal' after another.  I remember telling Big Fat six months after Donald was sworn in, "I'll worry about that if it goes a full week without some sort of whispered correction."  What was I talking about?  Clearly a 'scandal.'  Even I don't remember which one.  But day after day, it was a scandal that often resulted in a whispered retreat.  Because there was no story there.

All journalistic standards were dropped for the laast four years -- even the pretense of them.  If I could see it -- and I'm someone that's loathed Donald for decades -- plural -- you better believe his supporters could see it.

I've noted that attacks on Stevie Nicks in the seventies and eighties didn't hurt her.  They just bound her fans tighter to her.  

Apply the same standard to Donald Trump.  His supporters -- and there are millions of them (the majority are peaceful citizens) -- saw what went down.  Even now, the media lies about it.  'We've never held Donald accountable!' they wail while any honest person just shakes their head.

They were not reporting on the election in 2020, they were actively attempting to shape the vote.  If there was a story negative on Joe Biden?  It was killed, dismissed, attacked.  We saw it with the Hunter Biden scandals -- he's under a criminal investigation and that was pertinent -- and we saw it with Tara Reade's credible accusations.  We saw it over and over.  We saw his campaign -- treated with kid gloves -- attack the media repeatedly and the media back down.

If you want to get honest about the rage some people exhibited last week in DC, then get honest.

If you want to make things better?  You don't make them worse by trying to impeach him seven days before he's out of office.  It might feel good for those who love to grandstand and soap box but it's not good for the country, it's not good for the Constitution and it's not good for healing the nation.

Did he do something to warrant impeachment?  Last week, I noted I was still open to a sound argument on that.  None has been provided.  His words did not incite violence.  This is like when idiots claim that  a video game or a rap song incited violence.  No.

His words were standard political speech -- and as political speech, they are Constitutionally protected.

There is no sound reason to impeach him.  Sorry, Nancy Pelosi, vengeance isn't a sound reason.

So for four years there were no standard at all and now we're going to toss them aside even more to impeach him?  74 million people voted for him.  That's very close to half the American people who voted.  And you're going to impeach him when there is no impeachable offense?  What message do you think that sends to the country?  What message does that send to those who voted for him.

Try this one on for size: You think DC is what Trump supporters do?  So you're going to egg the peaceful ones with impeachment to try to inspire more violence?  Is that your plan?

Are there no grown ups in the room?

Nancy Pelosi's personal vendetta with Donald Trump has been a four year embarrassment.  It's time someone put her in check.  Donald gets impeached for political speech?  Oh, great that means from this day forward the opposition party in Congress will be attempting to impeach the sitting president for political speech.

I get that journalists are stupid -- they're basically general studies majors -- people too 'spacey' to pick a major to begin with.  So they don't know much of anything to begin with. 

But if you think a mob descended on DC last week and you think that was something you never want to see again, a baseless impeachment isn't going to get you there.

A baseless impeachment will sew more anger and frustration and, yes, probably, violence.  

We're taking this issue very seriously.  Gina and Krista did a surprise round-robin last night.  It wasn't planned.  It was around nine o'clock when I got informed.  They're doing it -- the gina & krista round-robin -- every day until Biden's sworn in.  Because they think this issue is that serious.  (That's why you've got no community posts today -- it was a surprise to all of us, it ended at 2:00 am my time and I think we all went to bed.)

This isn't a game, this is the status of the country.  

There are no grounds for impeachment.  Again, I've said it before, I'm sure impeachment would pass in the House.  But the trial takes place in the Senate.  And while you may think it's a sure thing, it's not.  I've already heard from two Democratic senators who loathe Donald and yet are bothered by the implications.  

Once Donald is in the rear view mirror, you're going to see Democratic support in the Senate crumble a lot more.  

To his supporters, that won't matter. 

To them, this will be further proof that there was a standard for Donald and a standard for others.

Impeaching someone as they're on the way out the door?

It's nonsense.

If they had strong grounds for it -- which I've waited for -- it would be one thing.  But there are no strong grounds.  Political speech is Constitutionally protected speech.

The push for impeachment is a joke and Nancy's only determined to make it more so.  Jonathan Turley notes:

Speaker Nancy Pelosi shocked many in Washington by appointing Eric Swalwell as a house managers in the impeachment of President Donald Trump as he continues to face calls for his removal from the House Intelligence Committee due to his alleged intimate relationship with a Chinese spy.  Swalwell has been bunkered down to avoid questions from the media and the public, but he will now be one of those prosecuting the case against the President.

He allegedly first met the spy, Fang Fang or Christine Fang, in 2011. She not only raised money for Swalwell but reportedly had a personal relationship with him. She also pushed successfully for his office to accept an intern. He cut ties with her in 2015 after the FBI contacted him. Pelosi made no mention of the scandal in heralding Swalwell’s credentials:

“Congressman Swalwell serves on House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, where he chairs the Intelligence Modernization and Readiness Subcommittee, and on the Judiciary Committee,” Pelosi’s office said in a statement. “He is a former prosecutor and is the son and brother of law enforcement officers.  He is serving his fifth term in Congress.”

Usually a speaker selects House managers to reinforce the credibility and integrity of the case against a president. Even before the current scandal, Swalwell was viewed as a member who was a raw partisan. Last year, it was revealed that (despite long denials) the FBI did send an agent to report on his observations within the Trump campaign. As I discussed in a column, Democratic members spent years mocking allegations that there was any spying or surveillance of Trump or his campaign by the FBI. That was just a conspiracy theory. Now however there is proof that the FBI used a briefing in August 2016 of then candidate Trump to gather information for “Crossfire Hurricane,” the Russia investigation. It turns out that it did not really matter after all and Rep. Eric Swalwell did not miss a step. Swalwell declared that such targeting of the opposing party and its leading presidential candidate was “the right thing to do.” That’s it. A conspiracy theory suddenly becomes a commendable act.

What is the point of the proposed impeachment?

To remove Donald from office?  He's gone on the 20th.   And the House impeaching does not mean that the Senate removes.  A trial takes place and Senators aren't as . . . frothy and mad as House members.  The Senate's always prided itself on being more detached and dignified (Nancy would never last a single term in the Senate).  

So there's no solid reason for impeachment, it's not necessary to get Donald out of the White House (November's vote did that) but it's going to be pushed through for what reason?  

It's going to divide the nation and keep the country looking backward.  It's going to harden divisions.  And it's going to have a political cost in the next round of elections.

None of that would matter if the reasoning was solid.  But there is no solid reasoning here.

And people are already pointing out that Nancy didn't just refuse to impeach Bully Boy Bush, she publicly attacked and shamed then-US House Rep John Conyers for attempting impeachment.  Bully Boy Bush started an illegal war that left millions dead -- Iraqis, the British, Americans, etc.  An illegal war started with lies.  And that wasn't impeachable but political speech is?

Or is Nancy's point here #CONGRESSOFFICESMATTER!!

For a brief moment, members of Congress had to live in the same world that American school children do every school day and it was just too much for Nancy & company to handle.  Now, please note, it's okay that this is normal for American children but for our prissy members of Congress?  Oh, no, no.

Nancy has been a disaster in Congress and she now appears bound and determined to make sure that no one ever says she ever put the needs of the country first.

Karwan Faidhi Dri (RUDAW) reports:                                                                             

Iraq’s population has surpassed 40 million, the country’s planning ministry said on Tuesday – with 40 percent of the population under the age of 15.

"Iraq's population reached 40,150,000 people in 2020", the ministry said in a statement released on Tuesday.

Children aged 0-14 make up 40.4 percent of Iraq’s population, the ministry said. People aged 15-64 and make up 56.5 percent of the population.

Just three percent of Iraqis are over the age of 65, the ministry said.

The ministry’s figures are based on its “central statistical system, as per international standards”, according to its statement.

XINHAU adds, "The Ministry of Planning announced last year that the population of Iraq exceeded 39 million by the end of 2019, while the number of population in 2018 exceeded 38 million."  No one points out that a census has not taken place.  Iraq has not had a census for decades.  So this population figure it just an estimate -- one that lags behind the CIA's own estimate.

Elections are due to take place in Iraq in June.  ARAB REFORM notes:

On 24 December 2019, the Iraqi parliament approved a new electoral law. However, it took over 11 months for President Barham Salih to ratify it as parliament fought over an annex to the law defining Iraq’s electoral districts.

The law, which the president finally ratified with reservation (hyperlink in Arabic) in early November 2020, is a complete departure from those passed since 2003 and which were used to organize four parliamentary elections between 2005 and 2018. Instead of adopting one electoral district as in the 2005 elections – the first after the 2003 Iraq invasion – or designating each of Iraq’s 18 governorates as a single district like in the three subsequent elections, this new law divides Iraq into 83 electoral districts. These districts are based on the number of quota seats set aside for women in parliament, as the Constitution requires that 25% of the parliament’s 329 seats be designated for women.

The law emerged following pressure from demonstrations, the largest in Iraq’s recent history, demanding comprehensive political and economic reforms. Foremost among their central demands was the adoption of a just electoral law that would reduce the monopoly of parties in the parliament and allow for the entrance of independents and small and newly established parties. The Shiite Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, who holds significant religious power in the country, supported the demonstrations and its demands, thereby helping accelerate the law’s adoption. However, the new electoral law will maintain the influence of several well-established political forces and ensure their victory in upcoming elections.

Moving over to violence, Turkey continues to bomb northern Iraq.  They continue to claim they are killing 'terrorists' but local reports note that they are wounding and killing farmers and villagers.  This has been going on for years now.  Yasmine Mosimann (RUDAW) notes:

Turkey’s sustained aerial pursuit of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in Iraq is posing an existential threat to the country’s already dwindling Assyrian community, according to a new report.

Published on Monday by the Assyrian Policy Institute (API), the report, titled ‘Caught in the Crossfire’, examines how decades of cross-border conflict between Turkey and armed Kurdish group the PKK has impacted Assyrians, an ethnic minority group in Iraq.

“The airborne attacks often occur in close proximity to areas mainly inhabited by Assyrian, Yazidi, and/or Kurdish civilians, posing significant risks including: endangerment of civilian life, displacement, traumatization, destruction of property and agricultural lands, and threats to livelihoods,” reads the API report.

While the unrest indiscriminately affects civilians living in the Kurdistan Region’s border regions, ethnic minority groups including Assyrians are especially vulnerable to the violence because of their unique experiences of systematic discrimination and violence both past and present, states the report, which is based on interviews with impacted families.

Covering the same study, Wladimir van Wilgenburg (KURDISTAN 24) notes:

The report stated that Turkey’s ongoing feud with the PKK in northern Iraq has made life “unsustainable” for civilian populations in targeted areas.

“When pursuing the PKK in Iraq, Turkey has consistently failed to take adequate precautions to minimize incidental and/or collateral damage to civilians and civilian objects,” it added. “By operating from or near civilian areas, the PKK endangers civilian populations, including Kurds, Yezidis, and Assyrians.”

Some sites just posted -- Rebecca had an idea for a theme: