Today, Marcus Day (WSWS) reports:
Yesterday more details emerged of the latest tentative agreement between snack food giant Frito-Lay and the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers union (BCTGM) at the company’s plant in Topeka, Kansas, where 600 workers have been on strike since July 5.
After workers have already rejected four consecutive sellout contracts, the BCTGM is attempting to ram the deal through today before workers have had the chance to even look at the agreement. The vote today is being held only two days after the deal was announced. Workers have been provided no information on the agreement prior to the vote, with Frito-Lay stating that it was withholding details “at the request of the union.”
However, as specific aspects of the proposal have begun to leak out in the press, it is clear why the union is seeking to keep the terms a secret until springing them on workers at the vote itself. In a number of respects, the contract is even worse than previous deals endorsed by the BCTGM, which workers have already voted down four times in a remarkable show of courage and determination.
On Thursday, local Topeka news station WIBW reported that it had acquired a copy of the contract proposal. Based on a review of its summary, the deal would maintain the low-wage regime at Frito-Lay, with insulting below-inflation raises, and keep in place the brutal long hours and mandatory overtime that workers have been striking to do away with.
I will not tell you what to do but I will share what I am doing. I am not a strike breaker. While the workers strike, no Pepsi products are being bought by me. I love Pepsi. Always did, even as a child. Maybe because Joan Crawford used to do those Pepsi commercials during 'event TV' -- like Mary Martin's PETER PAN. But I love it.
Yet? I am buying Diet Coke instead and will continue to do so until the strike is over. I am not buying any Frito-Lay chips. I have switched, for the duration of the strike, to Pringles which are made by Kraft. My grandchildren love potato chips and I am using this strike as a moment to explain how we can all do something to show our support for others who are taking brave and needed stands.
We have not seen strong unions in the last years -- not in terms of leadership. So I really do hope people will support these workers -- at Frito-Lay and elsewhere -- who are fighting for a fair wage and a chance at a future.
Here is a BREAKING POINTS report on the strike:
And I said earlier this week that I was going to try to note a video from Richard Medhurst, THE CONVO COUCH, and Katie Halper each week. I do enjoy those programs. I have noted THE CONVO COUCH and Mr. Medhurst already this week, so here is THE KATIE HALPER SHOW:
This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"
Friday, July 23, 2021. A bill moves forward in the US Senate alarming some, DoD preps for Monday's big White House visit, and much more.
We all move a little more towards justice and a just society by events of this week. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand's office issued the following yesterday:
Following Nearly Ten Years of Relentless Advocacy, Gillibrand’s Bipartisan Military Justice Improvement and Increasing Prevention Act Added to the Senate NDAA; Gillibrand Also Successfully Pushed To Include IRC Recommendations to Improve Climate for Sexual Assault Survivors, Expanded Access To Health Care and Mental Health Services, And Deadline for PFAS Testing at DoD Facilities
Today, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and Chair of the Personnel Subcommittee, announced that several of her provisions were included in the Committee-passed National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2022. As the leading advocate on military sexual assault reform in the Senate, Gillibrand successfully pushed for the inclusion of her bipartisan Military Justice Improvement and Increasing Prevention Act (MJIIPA). She also secured several provisions that would improve the quality of life of service members and their families, including an across-the-board pay increase for service members and civilian DoD employees, expanded access to health care and mental health services, and the implementation of IRC recommendations to improve the climate for sexual assault survivors in the military.
“Congress has a responsibility to make sure we provide our service members with greater flexibility, stability, and support - and today, we delivered,” said Senator Gillibrand, chair of the Senate Armed Services Personnel Subcommittee. “After nearly a decade of advocacy, I am grateful that this year’s National Defense Authorization Act contains the Military Justice Improvement and Increasing Prevention Act, which I introduced earlier this year, and which will move the prosecution of sexual assault and serious crimes from the chain of command to independent, trained, professional military prosecutors. In addition, I am proud to have fought for and successfully included several provisions in the FY22 NDAA that will give our service members, their spouses, and their children access to better child care, pay, and a military justice system worthy of their sacrifice. These monumental programs and provisions are now on their way to becoming law.”
Below is a description of Gillibrand’s provisions included in this year’s NDAA:
Amendments to Implement the Independent Review Commission (IRC) on Sexual Assault in the Military’s Recommendations on Prevention, Climate and Culture, and Victim Care and Support
- Prevention of Sexual Assault and Harassment: This provision implements all of the IRC’s recommendations on the prevention of sexual assault in the military, including comprehensive, commonsense prevention policies to create a robust data-based prevention infrastructure in the military and National Guard to combat a permissive culture of sexual assault and harassment. Specifically, this provision establishes a dedicated primary prevention workforce and implements community-level prevention strategies unique to the environment of service members.
- Changing Climate and Culture: This provision implements the Climate and Culture recommendations of the IRC, which would codify and direct the use of sexual harassment and assault metrics as a part of readiness tracking and reporting. It would also educate the force on sexual harassment and assault, use qualitative data to select and evaluate leaders being considered for command positions, and enforce the 2017 National Women, Peace, and Security (WPS) Act.
- Victim Care and Support: According to the IRC, victims are less likely to come forward and report a case of sexual assault or harassment due to lack of support and fear of retaliation and mistreatment by the military community. This provision would professionalize and separate the Sexual Assault Response Coordinator Program from the chain of command. It would improve victim care infrastructure and support by expanding the victim care workforce and service options to meet the needs of all sexual assault and harassment survivors. It would implement the “No Wrong Door” approach to sexual harassment and domestic abuse, which is a systemic approach to providing health care and trauma response to ensure those seeking help are directed to the right resources and receive better, more consistent care. This provision will help foster an environment where victims feel comfortable coming forward and supported during recovery.
Paid Parental Leave
Senator Gillibrand supported Senator Duckworth in her fight to ensure that all service members are able to access paid parental leave that will lead to more stable, healthy military families and, ultimately, better retention, recruitment, and readiness. Increasing access to parental leave has proven to have long-term positive effects on the strength of both parent-child and spousal relationships. Currently, many service members only receive 2-3 weeks of parental leave, and foster parents do not receive any form of paid parental leave. This amendment authorizes up to 12 weeks of parental leave for all service members in the case of birth, adoption, or long-term foster placement of a child. This provision will allow service members to care for their families and take time for themselves during a critical adjustment period and will help them achieve long-term success, both professionally and personally.
Reporting on the Use of Non-Judicial Punishment
Currently, there is no service-wide tracking of the use of non-judicial punishment and the DoD is unable to provide widespread demographic data on its use by commanders. Without this information, Congress is unable to do its constitutionally mandated responsibility of oversight when data is not available. This amendment, which had bipartisan support, would require a statistical analysis of the demographic data of the accused, commander and victim as well as information on the offense, investigation and adjudication at court-martial.
Pay Raise for Military Members
The Senate NDAA, supported by Senator Gillibrand, provides a 2.7% pay raise for service members and the DoD workforce.
Military Child Care
Along with Senator Duckworth, Senator Gillibrand pushed to include funding that will improve the quality and availability of child care services for service members and their families. The FY22 National Defense Authorization Act includes funding to encourage the military services to seek out creative solutions to solve child care availability challenges, including exploring options to create public-private partnerships to increase capacity and availability of quality child care for service members and their dependents and meet the real-life needs of military families. Service members can defer their parental leave to a later year if occupied with a professional circumstance that is deemed reasonable and appropriate.
Gillibrand successfully pushed to include critical per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) provisions in the final NDAA negotiations. Earlier this year, she introduced the Filthy Fifty Act, which would help expedite the testing, cleanup, removal, and remediation of PFAS at all U.S. military installations and State-owned National Guard facilities by setting testing and cleanup deadlines for PFAS remediation at the most contaminated DoD sites in the country. The bill establishes a list of “priority installations” with 50 bases in the U.S. that have among the highest detections of PFAS. The FY22 NDAA included three provisions modeled after this important piece of legislation, including a provision to establish a two-year deadline for the DoD to complete testing for PFAS at all currently identified military installations and National Guard facilities. Gillibrand also secured a provision that requires the DoD to submit a report to Congress with the status of efforts to remediate PFAS at 50 priority installations, matching those listed in the Filthy Fifty Act, that are among the most contaminated with PFAS. The final provision establishes a schedule with proposed deadlines to complete PFAS remediation at all military bases, National Guard facilities, and formerly used defense sites that have been identified as having a PFAS release related to DoD activities.
U.S-Israel Cooperative Missile Defense
Senator Gillibrand secured $500,000,000 in the Senate text for U.S.-Israel cooperative missile defense programs, which will assist in the development of short, medium, and long-range missile defense systems to protect Israeli citizens. This funding is in line with the 2016 Memorandum of Understanding that includes funding for the Iron Dome, David’s Sling and Arrow programs.
Assessment and Treatment of Traumatic Brain Injury or Havana Syndrome
Havana Syndrome is the term given to the anomalous health conditions that were first experienced by the U.S. Embassy staff in Havana, Cuba in 2016. Gillibrand secured $30 million for the Defense Health Program to improve the understanding and treatment of Havana Syndrome. This funding and language would provide any U.S. government employee and their family members experiencing symptoms access to the National Intrepid Center of Excellence at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center for assessment in a timely manner.
Military Health Care
The bill authorizes coverage of preconception and prenatal carrier screening tests for certain medical conditions under the TRICARE program. It also directs the Secretary of Defense to report to Congress on the increase of TRICARE co-pays for Group A beneficiaries. The increased co-pays have resulted in higher costs for service members seeking mental health care and speech, physical, and occupational therapy. Additionally, the DoD is expected to develop a plan to ensure that when beneficiaries are referred for mental health care they receive direct assistance in identifying appropriate mental health providers within the direct care system or TRICARE network. A 2020 DoD IG report revealed barriers that have led to delays, and in some cases, the inability to receive coverage.
Digital Service Academy
Senator Gillibrand recognizes that the development of digital and technical talent is essential to our national security and innovation needs, and will only grow increasingly essential in the decades to come. To that end, she secured language directing the Secretary of Defense to assess the Department of Defense’s cyber and information operation requirements that includes an assessment of developing a National Cyber Academy to train military and civilian personnel.
Senator Gillibrand is the lead advocate in the Senate for improving the military justice system. Her bipartisan legislation, the Military Justice Improvement and Increasing Prevention Act (MJIIPA), would move the prosecution of sexual assault and serious crimes from the chain of command to independent, trained, professional military prosecutors. MJIIPA was included in this year’s NDAA, along with several amendments based on recommendations offered by the Independent Review Commission. Along with these reforms, several of Senator Gillibrand’s military justice provisions were also included in the bill, including the following:
- Creates an exception to the Privacy Act to allow victims of crimes to receive information on the administrative adjudication of their case.
- Authorizes the Department of Defense Safe Helpline to receive sexual assault reports in both unrestricted and restricted forms, and to provide support to victims making such reports.
- Requires the Secretary of Defense to designate an office to track allegations of retaliation by victims of sexual assault or sexual harassment.
- Requires the Secretary of Defense to include information on race and ethnicity of victims and accused to the maximum extent practicable in the annual Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office (SAPRO) Report. This allows for the exclusion of such information, if necessary, based on privacy concerns, impacts on accountability efforts, or other matters of importance, as determined by the Secretary of Defense.
- Directs the Secretary of Defense to conduct a legal review to determine the constitutionality of UCMJ Article 52 in light of the Supreme Court decision in Ramos v. Louisiana, holding that the Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution requires unanimous verdicts for criminal convictions in State criminal trials. Article 52 of the UCMJ only requires concurrence of three-fourths of the members present to convict an accused person on a non-capital offense.
Throughout the preceding decades of deployments, more than three million service members have been exposed to toxins due to the widespread use of burn pits in deployed environments, with many subsequently developing cancers and respiratory diseases. The cause of these illnesses goes unrecognized because doctors fail to connect the toxic exposure with their symptoms. This provision will require Department of Defense doctors to be trained on the signs of toxic exposure in order to receive the appropriate treatment and coverage for these service-connected injuries.
Civilian Access to Special Victim Prosecutors
Victim attorneys have become an invaluable part of the military justice system and ensure the survivors have a trusted guide through every stage of the process, from report through appeals, and cannot be denied this valuable service. Under this provision, Special Victim Counsel and Victims’ Legal Counsel are now authorized to provide victim services to all civilian victims of alleged sex-related offenses committed by a member of the military. Civilian victims are much less likely to see their case adjudicated and would benefit greatly from legal representation throughout the process.
Sexual Assault Response Coordinator (SARC) Military Occupational Specialty (MOS)
In response to the Fort Hood Independent Review Committee, this provision tasks the Department of Defense with evaluating options for establishing a Sexual Assault Response Coordinator (SARC) military operational specialty (MOS) and reporting its findings and recommendations to Congress.
Equality in the Selective Service
Senator Gillibrand advocated for the modernization of the Selective Service System to include all persons instead of only males, based on the recommendation of the congressionally-mandated National Commission on Military, National, and Public Service in their Inspired to Serve report. This provision will amend the Selective Service Act to require women to register for selective service. This will ensure gender equality for selective service by having men and women share the responsibility of defense of the United States.
You can't have any victory -- even the indications of one -- without some carping. Which is how you get Tiny Tommy Spoehr and Little Cully Stimson -- tiny boys, small boys, really tiny -- whining at THE DAILY SIGNAL:
The New York Democrat’s bill—euphemistically misnamed the Military Justice Improvement and Increasing Prevention Act—would strip the authority from military commanders to enforce good order and discipline for those under their command. That, of course, is essential to accomplishing the mission.
Oh, stick each other's members in your mouths and suck. You don't have anything worth saying. Especially true of Tommy who acheived ranking status in the US military but never did a damn thing with that rank to address justice and still doesn't.
We're talking about crimes here and a military system that has tolerated them. It has looked the other way. Here's ar eality for the two little boys jerking off in public, military commanders are not and should not be in charge of legal justice. Where is the check and balance? No where to be found. If someone commits a crime, they should be punished but for far too long military commanders have protected 'favored sons' and for too long they have not treated issues like beating a spouse as a crime.
They are the problem. Those type of commanders as well as Tiny Tommy and Little Cully.
What message is sent when the rules -- laws -- are not followed?
Too many commanders think they're above the law and that they make the law. They do not. THey're not members of Congress. They're not even supposed to interpret the law -- they're not part of the judicial branch. But over and over they have acted as such and the effects have been toxic and deadly.
We all get that a church shooting most likely would not have happened if the military followed the law instead of acting as though it was above it, right?
Earlier this month, Ann observed:
Do you care about gun control? What I do not understand is why there is
always a push for more laws. Seems to me that the problem is more that
the laws aren't enforced. Case in point, Davin Kelley. No, not the
actress. This is the man who shot up the church in Sutherland Springs,
Texas on November 5, 2017. He left 25 people dead another 20 injured.
He never should have had a gun. He was in the military and was 'convicted' while in the Air Force. But military justice thinks it's above the law. So they didn't follow the law, the US military didn't. Though he was convicted of a violent crime by 'military justice' -- domestic violence -- the Air Force did not turn the conviction over to the FBI. Had they done so, he wouldn't have been allowed to have a gun. That was my 'opinion.' Today, that became the way it is because a court ruled. AP reports:
U.S. District Judge Xavier Rodriguez in San Antonio wrote in a ruling signed Wednesday that the Air Force was “60% responsible" for the deaths and injuries at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs. The attack remains the worst mass shooting in Texas history.
The military's refusal to follow US law has very real consequences.
And most Americans are unaware to this day of what the military was doing in the '00s to control (lower) the numbers of actual assault. They weren't working to stop assault, please understand. They were working to hide assault and to protect rapists. Raped by a military member? Well how about we put you over here in this secret group and then no one ever knows that your rapist never faced punishment and are statistics we report are lower than the actual numbers. This was sold as a program to help survivors. I sat in disbelief the day in Congress when a bitch -- yeah, they got a woman to front that program -- with DoD babbled on about how this helped women.
Now I can be wrong and often am. Before I dicated that day's snapshot, I called three friends whose expertise is rape counseling. They were shocked by what I was saying and they had me reqad quotes to them from the DoD Queen Bee. No, that program wouldn't help survivors and no one had bothered to include any expert on rape because this wasn't about empowering, this was about furthering silence, this was about imposing shame on the survivors. They weren't being lifted up, they were being told to be silent, they were being told to hide what happened to them.
Do the two tiny-dicked boys want to address that? Or did The Heritage Foundation not hand them a talking point for that?
Time and again, the culture in the military has been ignored. It's a toxic environment. That's why we have to say Post-Traumatic Stress here. If you attach "disorder" to it, you're going to not reach a number of people -- current members and veterans -- because a disorder is just not something natural and it's a failing on the individual and blah blah blah.
It's why efforts to combat military and veteran suicides continue to struggle.
The culture itself is the problem. I'm not talking about going to war -- I'm not in favor of war -- I'm talking about the system that's in place whether we're talking pace time service, combat or training roles in the world.
It's why, in the middle of the Iraq War, a US soldier, Steven D. Green, and four of his buddies, all stationed in Iraq, could plot to gang-rape a 14-year-old girl, could plot to leave base in the middle of the night for several hours, break into Abeer Qassim Hamza al-Janabi ;'s home.
It's why they thought that was something that they could get away with. That they could break into the home, kill her five-year-old sister, kill both of her parents, gang-rape her, murder her and then try to set her body on fire to hide their crimes.
The two tiny dicked boys Tommy and Cully don't know a damn thing about that and don't care about it. They've never felt threatened and they don't really see assault as a crime, if they did they wouldn't write such garbage.
US military commanders are not members of three branches of the federal government. They should not be allowed to act as though they are. A crime is c rime. It should be treated the same in the civilian world and the military world.
The little fellows pose as caring about survivors but they miss the point even when they have the space to make it. They miss the point that it's not just rape. They don't even bring up domestic abuse. Because that's how little they care. As they themselves are admitting -- without grasping it -- if a man beats his wife with a tire iron but he's necessary for some potential mission some day, the commander can give him a slap on the wrist under the current system.
And, I reject, we all should reject, the notion that some special skill that might be needed some day means a commander can excuse assault or abuse.
The little boys babble on but don't seem to grasp that this action sends a message and says that certain crimes will be tolerated and ignored. That sends a message. And do you really want someone in war, to inflict that person on a unit, when he can't follow the basic laws? Maybe you do. But don't pretend this is about team morale.
The little boys pretend a great deal. They live in the land of pretend. In the real world, Patricia Kime (MILITARY TIMES) reports:
The decision to prosecute sexual assault or other serious crimes such as kidnapping or murder would be made by military attorneys outside a unit's chain of command under an agreement reached by the Senate Armed Services Committee late Wednesday.
The panel, deliberating a proposed $740 billion defense policy bill this week, agreed to include all provisions of New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand's Military Justice Improvement Act, which calls for removing prosecutorial decisions for serious crimes that aren't inherently related to military service from unit commanders.
While there's success in the Senate, in Nancy Pelosi's House, there's so much lack of organization that you truly have to wonder if there is a living Speaker of the House? Maybe if she could stop trying to get press and start doing the job (one she's too old for), the House Democrats wouldn't be struggling to figure ou what they're going to do?
In other news, we'll note this from the US Defense Dept:
Readout of the U.S.-Iraq Military Technical Talks, as Part of the U.S.-Iraq Strategic Dialogue
Pentagon Press Secretary John F. Kirby provided the following readout:
Dr. Mara Karlin, Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs, hosted Qassem al-Araji, Iraq National Security Advisor; Staff General al-Shimary, Deputy Commander of the Joint Operations Center – Iraq; and a military delegation from the Government of Iraq for the next iteration of the U.S.-Iraq Military Technical Talks, as part of the U.S.-Iraq Strategic Dialogue.
During the meeting, both parties reaffirmed the importance of the U.S.-Iraq bilateral security relationship, their shared commitment to the D-ISIS mission, and the need for U.S. and Coalition to be able to safely support the Iraqi Security Forces. They also discussed the long-term U.S.-Iraq security cooperation partnership and areas for cooperation beyond counterterrorism.
Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III joined the delegation, reiterated his commitment to the Defeat-ISIS mission, and reaffirmed his steadfast support for the U.S.-Iraq strategic partnership.
Monday, Iraq's prime minister, Mustafa al-Kadhimi, is set to meet with the president of the Untied States, Joe Biden. In October, elections are supposed to be held in Iraq. Mustafa wants a second term. The CIA wants Mustafa to have a second term.
How do they generate excitement about someone who is a complete failure?
Maybe that's why Mustafa is visiting Joe? For tips?
Oh, we kid. We joke.
Mustafa is supposed to be the 'victor' who gets US troops out of Iraq and a whorish and lying press is happy to pretend that will take place.
If any troops leave, it will be some, not all. We've seen this before. "Combat troops." That's who is leaving if anyone leaves. Iraq is a combat zone. That was already established years ago. If you're in Iraq and you're a US service member, you are in combat.
But the ones who remain -- if a deal is struck -- will be called "trainers" and that will allow them to lie and claim US troops are out of Iraq. They won't be.
Some may go with "combat troops" are out.
Is journalism supposed to obscure or enlighten and inform?
We'll note this REUTERS video.
From yesterday's snapshot:
People in conflict are at risk around the world. 17-year-old Ali Adil is only one such person. Mina Aldroubi (THE NATIONAL) reports:
An Iraqi social media influencer has attracted the attention of top officials in Washington with a plea to President Joe Biden to help him seek refuge outside of the country.
High school pupil Ali Adil, 17, has been using social media platforms for the last five years to convey the struggles of young Iraqis as they experience few employment opportunities, electricity cuts, poor public services and deteriorating security.
His effort to publicise his plight was spotted by a top US diplomat in the Middle East, Joey Hood, acting assistant secretary at the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs.
In his latest video posted on Instagram, Ali is seen standing on a rooftop on a hot summer's day with the sound of gunshots in the background, telling Mr Biden that he will “commit suicide and jump from the building” if he does not receive help from Washington.
“Biden if you don’t help me I will jump, I’m not joking with you, I’m on the rooftop, if you don’t help me I will die, can you hear the fire in the background? This is normal in Iraq,” the teenager said.
In addition to the global pandemic, there is widespread unemployment in Iraq, failing public services due to widespread political corruption and ongoing security concerns.
Protests have continued in the country since 2019 over various issues including frequent electricity shortages and power outages and lack of accountability for the targeting of activists.
Acting Assistant Secretary at the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs Joey Hood picked up on the video, recording his own response: "Please Allawi, we in America love you, do not jump, I'm not Joe Biden, but Joey Hood, and life is precious."
"Iraq needs you; your voice is important for Iraq, I cannot bring you to the US but if I ever visit Iraq I'll make sure to see you."
Joey Hood, acting assistant secretary of the US State Department Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, later responded to Adil, pleading with him not to jump.
“We in America love you,” Hood said, encouraging the young Iraqi to vote in elections to change the country’s future.
Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al Kadhimi hosted Adil at his office in Baghdad on Wednesday, stressing that he told the young man he had “complete freedom” to criticize the government.
The following sties updated: