Taylor Swift is touring the U.S. with the Eras Tour and in her latest stop in Chicago delivered a speech in support of the LGBTQ+ community.
“They are loving who they want to love, they are identifying how they identify, and allies who get to support them in and celebrate them in that,” the singer-songwriter said. “This is a safe space for you. This is a celebratory space for you. And one of the things that makes me feel so prideful is getting to be with you, and watching you interact with each other, and being so loving, and so thoughtful, and so caring.”
While Swift celebrated the community, she reminded the concert-goers, “We can’t talk about pride without talking about pain.”
“Right now and in recent years, there have been so many harmful pieces of legislation that have put people in the LGBTQ and queer community at risk. It’s painful for everyone. Every ally, every loved one, every person in these communities,” said Swift.
Swift reminded the arena that these issues motivate her to stay vocal during election cycles. “That’s why I’m always posting, ‘This is when the midterms are’ and ‘This is when these important key primaries are.'” Swift then proposed her fans ask candidates, “‘Are they advocates? Are they allies? Are they protectors of equality? Do I want to vote for them?'” before heading to the ballot box.
Good for Taylor. We all need to be standing up and we all need to be making clear that these attacks on the LGBTQ+ community are unacceptable. There is a war going on. Don't let any idiot tell you otherwise and don't let any liar convince you it doesn't matter. Dr Warren J Blumeenfeld (LGBTQ NATION) notes:
Under the guise of “freedom” to determine their children’s “education,” we are seeing parents, legislators, governors, and school administrators attempting to place severe limits on the teaching of our nation’s past and the legacies of this history upon the lives of people and institutions today.
Republican legislators throughout the U.S. have enacted new laws and policies intended to define the narrow parameters of what and how students will discuss our country’s past and our present.
As Santayana reminds us: “Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”
We now have an opportunity to avoid the mistakes of the past by speaking out against the racism and cultural genocide that surrounds us.
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.
Meanwhile, Sara Manisera and Daniela Sala (GUARDIAN) report:
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:
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.
One Iraqi is in Las Vegas and is global news.
Iraq’s Amir Albazi clinched a massive UFC flyweight victory when he narrowly defeated former title challenger Kai Kara-France via split decision at UFC Fight Night on Saturday.
Albazi (17-1) defeated Kara-France (24-11) in five rounds of competition at the UFC Apex facility in Las Vegas. Two judges gave the fight a 48-47 for Albazi, while a third gave the fight a 48-47 for Kara-France. It’s the biggest win of Albazi’s UFC career. He was 7th ahead of the 125lb fight while Kara-France was 3rd.
Immediately after the results were read, Albazi claimed the winner of a flyweight title fight between champion Brandon Moreno and Alexandre Pantoja on July 8th.
“There’s no name,” Albazi said of what he wants next. “The only thing I want is to get the title. Nothing else matters.” [UFC 294 in] Abu Dhabi on October 21st. I know they are going to Abu Dhabi. Whoever wins this [title fight on July 8]I want to be next.”
Kat's "Kat's Korner: Simply Red's just marking TIME" and "Kat's Korner: Summer means Miley and The Jonas Brothers" went up today and the following sites updated: