Saturday, August 13, 2022

Iraq sees the effects of climate change early and the political stalemate continues

THE SUN reports:

To feed and cool his buffaloes, Hashem Gassed must cross 10 kilometres (six miles) of sunburnt land in southern Iraq, where drought is devastating swathes of the mythical Mesopotamian Marshes.

The reputed home of the biblical Garden of Eden, Iraq’s swamplands have been battered by three years of drought and low rainfall, as well as reduced water flows along rivers and tributaries originating in neighbouring Turkey and Iran.

Vast expanses of the once lush Huwaizah Marshes, straddling the border with Iran, have been baked dry, their vegetation yellowing. Stretches of the Chibayish Marshes, which are popular with tourists, are suffering the same fate.

“The marshes are our livelihood -- we used to fish here and our livestock could graze and drink,“ said Gassed, 35, from a hamlet near Huwaizah.

Southern Iraq’s marshlands were inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2016, both for their biodiversity and their ancient history.

But now, beds of dry streams snake around the once verdant wetlands, and the area’s Um al-Naaj lake has been reduced to puddles of muddy water among largely dry ground.

Maybe some day, in the earth's moments, people will take climate change seriously?  Maybe.

Iraq is going to be one of the hardest hit countries by all projection models.  

There's no government in place currently to address it in Iraq.  But other countries have existing governments and they're not addressing it either.  

Protests continue in Baghdad.  Followers of Moqtada al-Sadr protested Friday but the cult saw a large number of people show up to protest Moqtada and his demands.  NEWSGRAM reports:

Members of al-Sadr's parliamentary bloc resigned but instead of allowing his rivals — the Coordination Framework — to try to form a government, al-Sadr has demanded the parliament be dissolved and that early elections be held. It's unclear whether he has any legal basis for those demands.

The inter-Shiite power struggle has left Iraq in political limbo and exacerbated the economic crisis. The impasse, now in its 10th month, is the longest in the country since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion reset the political order.

"We are protesting against the occupation of parliament and those who threaten the judiciary," said university student Abbas Salem, who was part of the rally Friday by Iran-backed groups.

Salem carried a poster of a top Iranian general, Qassim Soleimani, and a top Iraqi Shiite militia leader, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, who were killed in a U.S. drone strike in January 2020. He said he worries that if al-Sadr forms a government, he will disband the Popular Mobilization Forces, an umbrella of mostly Iran-backed Shiite militias.

Another protester, Ahmad al-Maliki, 52, said they are opposed to al-Sadr followers' "occupation of parliament" and added that Iraq needs a new government as soon as possible.

As these protests continue, others are getting fed up.  Laure Al Khoury (AFP) reports:

Two rival Shiite Muslim blocs are holding competing sit-ins in Baghdad, ramping up tensions in conflict-weary Iraq, but shopkeeper Mustafa says he's more worried about how he's going to make a living.

"We have no work," said the man in his forties as a lone fan pumped hot summer air around his clothes store.

The two camps are "defending their personal interests", he charged, declining to provide his surname due to security concerns.

Political deadlock has left Iraq without a new government, president or prime minister following general elections 10 months ago.

[.  . .]

An anti-government protest movement that erupted in late 2019 was instead met with a deadly security crackdown.

"We didn't even manage to cross the bridge that led to the Green Zone," said 50-year-old communist activist Ali Jaber, recalling the 2019 protests.

"It took them eight minutes," the civil servant said of the Sadrists, alleging "indulgence" by the security forces.

He dismissed the demands of both the Sadrists and their rivals.

"It's not a fight to build a state, it's the ultimate political conflict in the name of their own interests," he said. "They are in another world."

Analyst Lahib Higel from the International Crisis Group said the demonstrations were "less a people's revolution than an intra-elite fight, mainly pitting Sadr and his political backers against Maliki and his".

The standoff has "exposed once more the fragility of Iraq's post-2003 political system", she said.

We've been noting the Iraqi consensus that Moqtada was getting a pass (due to the sitting prime minister) that other groups did not when they protested in the past.  We noted the rumor circulating over a week ago that the sitting prime minister had issued a stand-down order to security forces regarding Moqtada's cult.  We also noted that there were people who frustrated by the protests and that a call for new elections will most likely, if it takes place, see Moqtada get his more traditional results -- far less representation in Parliament -- because he only did well because so many chose to sit the election out.

Moving over to music,  Bobbie Gentry wrote and recorded "Ode To Billie Joe" which went to number one in1967.

Other notable covers include Diana Ross & the Superemes' from their album REFLECTIONS . . .

And The 5th Dimension's cover from their double album LIVE!

It's a great song and we're noting it because CRAPAPEDIA.  Someone e-mailed the public account about the Dylan parody number of this song that WIKIPEDIA notes.  As I read over the other recordings, I see no mention of these two covers.  REFLECTIONS, by Diana Ross & the Supremes, actually sold as did The 5th Dimensions' LIVE!  I'm sure there must be a 'logical' reason CRAPAPEDIA has again short-changed the same groups of artists that they forever short change.

The following sites updated:

Never My Love (Digitally Remastered 1997) (The 5th Dimension)


How a Gay Show Changed TV... and Was Forgotten

Even Corporate Shills Are Slamming The IRA Bill

Retired US Army Colonel on Ukraine, Taiwan & the state of the US Empire

Briahna Joy Gray on Bernie 2024 - Will He Run? Should He?

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At Least 17 Children Now Found Dead After Israeli Attacks On Gaza: Katie Halper


Abortion clinics are under attack!


The fight to protect our climate


Friend, let’s start with the good news.

The Inflation Reduction Act has passed the United States Senate – it’s most important hurdle for success. It allocates $300 billion towards clean energy and fighting climate change, while setting a critical target to reduce carbon emissions 40% by 2030.

These are steps in the right direction. Especially after years of borderline inaction by Congress, it’s heartening to see that progress is possible – and it is almost entirely due to the powerful advocacy by climate advocates for years.

But, we’re not out of the woods yet. The Inflation Reduction Ace unfortunately hands a number of victories to Big Oil and Gas, to the detriment of local communities who have been perpetually forgotten. People who live close to their refineries, their extraction areas, and more, are still at massive risk of health problems and death.

Check out Rev Yearwood's interview on PBS where he outlines the positives and negatives of the Inflation Reduction Act, and how organizations like Hip Hop Caucus are ready to continue the fight for climate justice in the future. Watch here >>


This is a moment to reflect on our victories, but not one to become complacent. Thank you for everything you’ve done, and thank you for staying with us as we fight to put an end to the death sentence issued to our communities by Big Oil and Gas' business plan.

In Solidarity,

Team Hip Hop Caucus

Imperialism, Self-Sufficient Gardening, Seeds of Change


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Start your day smarter with a dossier on the most important world news, rounded off with a shot of intriguing and offbeat stories. Like the president, you deserve no less.

Aug 12, 2022


The Department of Justice and Donald Trump want the warrant for Monday’s search released to the public. Police in Ohio shot and killed a man suspected of attempting to enter an FBI field office while armed. The U.N. Security Council has been warned of a possible nuclear disaster in Ukraine if both sides don’t act quickly. And South Korea’s president has pardoned the heir to the Samsung empire in a controversial move. All this and more in today’s PDB.

All We Think About Is…Going Green


Being eco-friendly has never been easier. Say hi to your new favorite sneaker – made from organic cotton and natural rubber. Stylish, comfortable, timeless, and consciously made. You can’t go wrong.

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Mar-a-Lago Hiding

The DOJ Wants You to See the Trump Document Investigation Warrant

The Department of Justice has sought to release the warrant used in Monday’s search at former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago property due to the “substantial public interest in this matter.” Trump took to his Truth Social platform to say he would not oppose any release: “I am going a step further by ENCOURAGING the immediate release of those documents.” Specifics about the material, which reportedly concerns nuclear weapons, are yet to be released. If the warrant is unsealed it could disclose information about the Trump White House’s handling of sensitive documents, as well as details of the FBI investigation. (Sources: WaPoAP)


Armed Man Shot, Killed After FBI Office Standoff

Authorities say the man, identified as Ricky Shiffer, tried to enter the FBI’s Cincinnati field office carrying a nail gun and an AR-15 rifle. After fleeing the scene he led local police on a car chase before an hourslong standoff in rural Ohio. A motive is still being investigated, but media reports suggest an account bearing Shiffer’s name made posts on Trump’s Truth Social platform which called for “patriots” to kill federal agents on Tuesday. “Violence and threats against law enforcement, including the FBI, are dangerous and should be deeply concerning to all Americans,” FBI Director Christopher Wray said Thursday night. (Sources: CNNNYT)

‘Grave Hour’

Nuclear Complex Specter Haunts Europe, UN

Russia blames Ukraine, Ukraine says it’s Russia’s fault. The Russian-held Zaporizhzhia nuclear complex in south-central Ukraine was struck five times Thursday, sparking serious fears of a nuclear fallout amid the crisis. It’s prompted the U.N. nuclear watchdog to push for a demilitarized zone and Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to demand both sides back off the area. “This is a serious hour, a grave hour,” International Atomic Energy Agency head Rafael Grossi told the Security Council in an emergency meeting Thursday night, urging that the IAEA must enter “Zaporizhzhia as soon as possible.” (Sources: ReutersThe Guardian)

All’s Well

South Korea’s Samsung ‘Prince’ Pardoned in Bribery Scandal

Lee Jae-yong was convicted of bribery and embezzlement in 2017 and served 2 1/2 years. President Yoon Suk-yeol’s pardon will reinstate all of Lee’s rights, as needed by the company to help navigate post-pandemic headwinds, the government said. Lee has twice been jailed for bribery, this time for paying $8 million to former President Park Geun-hye and an associate to win backing in a merger. Revelations of that scandal led to mass protests erupting in Seoul each weekend, and the jailing of Park. Lotte Group Chairman Shin Dong-bin and 1,691 others were also pardoned ahead of South Korea’s Liberation Day anniversary Monday. (Sources: BBCYonhap)


Here are some things you should know about today: 

‘Monster.’ Wildfires in southern France have forced 10,000 people to evacuate as firefighters battle to tame the blaze. Firefighters from across Europe descended on France to help as the fire reached day three on Thursday. (Source: ReutersNew recipe. Johnson & Johnson will ditch its talc-based baby powder next year and introduce a corn starch product to replace it. Women have blamed the powder for causing ovarian cancer — a charge the company has long denied. (Source: BBCMourning. Mali descended into three days of mourning Thursday after dozens of soldiers were killed in twin terror attacks last weekend. The government has blamed an Islamic State-linked group. (Source: DW)

Nice (Kicks)


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Grab them while they’re hot with your exclusive 20% off discount code: OZY20.This special offer is just for OZY readers.


Hot in Here

Climate Crisis: Arctic Heating Up Nearly 4 Times Faster Than Rest

Scientists previously thought the region was only heating up twice as fast as the rest of us. “The Arctic is more sensitive to global warming than previously thought,” researcher Mika Rantanen said of the findings. It’s exactly 3.8 times faster than the rest of the world, according to satellite data tracking changes from 1979 to 2021. Human-caused climate change is the main culprit behind the rapid heating, but other factors, such as the warming of sea ice — which then turns into darker water, heating sea ice even faster — and air pollution from Europe are also driving the process. (Source: NPR)

Privacy Settings

The FTC is Coming for Big Tech’s User Data

The Federal Trade Commission gave an “advance notice of proposed rulemaking” on Thursday, flagging likely reforms to regulations around user data. Data brokering — the practice of collecting data, organizing it and then selling it on — is “commercial surveillance,” the FTC said, and leaves users vulnerable to hacks or data breaches. Commissioner Rebecca Slaughter noted the agency wasn’t looking at replacing legislation — rather, it’s a move to reform its own regulations. FTC efforts to bring big tech to heel over breaches and other transgressions have been stymied by a 2021 Supreme Court ruling that limits financial penalties it can impose. (Source: Gizmodo)

We Need to Talk About Ezra

Vermont Police Attend ‘The Flash’ Star’s Property in Family Search

Vermont State Police are looking for a 25-year-old woman and her three children, believed to be living with Ezra Miller at their Vermont farm. Police attempted to serve the woman with an emergency order to seize the children into protective custody, but were repeatedly rebuffed by Miller, who claimed the family no longer lived there. Officials believe it may be an attempt to dodge the order, but concerns over Miller’s state of mind have been building in recent months following a string of assault allegations and burglary charges. Warner Bros. Discovery is slated to release The Flash next summer. (Sources: Rolling StoneAV Club)

Stay Safe

Anal Sex Popularity Is a Back Door to Health Issues: Report

Britain’s National Survey of Sexual Attitudes found that among 16-to-24-year-olds, rates of heterosexual anal sex have grown from 12.5% to 28.5% in recent decades. But it’s potentially dangerous, warn surgeons Tabitha Gana and Lesley Hunt. They have found an increase in health problems in women engaging in the sex act, including a rise in trauma injuries. “Women have less robust anal sphincters and lower anal canal pressures than men, and damage caused by anal penetration is therefore more consequential,” the pair wrote in a recent journal article. They advocate more careful screening to reflect the trend. (Source: The Guardian)

Bye-Bye, Birdie

Judge Junks LIV Golfers’ Grab for PGA Tournament

Not quite a hole-in-one. A California judge has struck down efforts from Saudi Arabia-backed LIV golfers to force the PGA Tour to rescind a temporary restraining order against them competing in the FedEx Cup playoffs. “The evidence shows almost without a doubt that they will be earning significantly more money with LIV Golf than they could reasonably have expected to make through TOUR play over the same time period,” Judge Beth Labson Freeman ruled Thursday. If LIV golf is the future, Freeman pondered in her judgment, why do Talor Gooch, Matt Jones and Hudson Swafford still want to play PGA? (Source: ESPN)

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