We talked about it for about three hours tonight and he knows I'm writing about it here.
Bryce works with a woman I'll call Diet Coke.
She is a nightmare.
On a typical day, like Monday, she shows up at work, clocks in, takes her place at the desk next to Bryce and begins crying. Sobbing at her desk.
What was the problem?
She'd taken it in to get it fixed (and scammed the insurance company, but that's another story) and it was driveable but it's got a slight problem (which I bet, from Bryce's recap of Diet Coke's details, is a strut issue).
So she's whining and crying because she wants it back at the dealership but her husband said no because he's working until 11 each night and does not want to follow her to the dealership early in the morning to drop it off and then take her to work.
Equally true, you're not going to get it fixed this week until Friday.
It's Christmas, people.
A fact her husband also pointed out.
But Diet Coke comes in and starts that nonsense. And it takes 30 minutes to get her to stop crying.
30 minutes Bryce is pulled away from her work.
She then is glum and bah-hum-bug until she's outright rude and mean.
Right before lunch, people in another department stop by with two plates of goodies for Bryce.
She has a fit as they leave.
"I've been working here for six years! You're not even here six months! Nobody brings me treats!"
Well maybe because you're such a bitch.
That's what Bryce should have told her.
(One of the women dropping off the plates? Diet Coke squealed on her last month for the 'crime' of being four minutes late.)
Instead he has to deal with pouty.
He tells her to take what she wants.
She just gets mad and starts griping.
He hands the cry baby one plate and suddenly she's smiles.
Then she goes to lunch a little while later.
Comes back crying.
She and her husband had a fight.
30 more minutes calming her ass down.
And this is the typical day.
And it goes on.
But I'll stop it there.
This isn't Bryce's problem, this is the work's problem and the boss needs to address it.
Every day, she's blubbering at her desk.
(She's a 52-year-old woman obsessed with Hello Kitty -- so we know she has huge problems.)
She saps everyone's energy with her crap and Bryce is forced to spend at least an hour every day humoring her to get her to stop crying.
She needs to be told to leave her problems at home or find another job.
If this were a sick child or parent she was having a problem about, fine.
But crying that her husband told her she cannot keep all fifty of her Hello Kitty dolls littered around the living room does not qualify as problem you need to be crying about at work.
I have a very nice woman at my work who does get down because she's caring for her sick adult child.
I have no problem working with her.
It's completely understandable if she's depressed.
But this nonsense of, "He told me he didn't want the Hello Kitty shower curtain in the bathroom anymore" leading to tears at work?
And I should have added, on the plate of goodies, she griped at Bryce -- in a loud, screaming voice.
And that's the other thing he has to endure. And he will say to her, "Please stop yelling at me. I'm not going to talk to you if you're going to yell at me."
And that doesn't stop her.
Some crazy person screaming at co-workers in the office should have been pulled into the boss' office long ago.
Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"
Starting with WikiLeak's latest exposure. Last week, they released a report the CIA prepared for US President Barack Obama. The report, dated July 7, 2009, is entitled [PDF format warning] "Making High-Value Targeting Operations an Effective Counterinsurgency Tool" and is the CIA's flash-card style explanation to Barack of counterinsurgency and the value of killing.
The term they use is "High-Value Targeting" which they explain:
We define high-value targeting as focused operations against specific individuals or networks whose removal or marginalization should disproportionately degrade an insurgent group's effectiveness. The criteria for designating high-value targets will vary according to factors such as the insurgent group's capabilities, structure, and leadership dynamics and the government's desired outcome.
The biggest shock of the brief paper is how much they dumb it down -- apparently not expecting much of their intended audiences.
A few things emerge.
On Iraq, we learn that cleric and movement leader Moqtada al-Sadr was smart to spend those long periods of time outside of Iraq -- the Sadr movement was targeted and, the report makes clear, not just by the United States, "The Iraqi Government has been using HVT efforts to eliminate irreconcilable Sadrist militant leaders and moderate the Sadrist movement. "
An outstanding arrest warrant was out on Moqtada al-Sadr and it was often noted, while he was in Iran, that one of the reasons he remained out of the country was that he suspected/feared Nouri al-Maliki would issue it to have him arrested.
Clearly concerns of being targeted by the government were valid ones.
Also clear, the CIA is a huge embarrassment when it comes to referencing, "In Iraq, Jaysh Muhammad (JM) suffered a significant setback in late 2004 after British replacements in short succession, according to the Jordian General Intelligence Directorate." You're the CIA and you're shoring up a point with "according to the Jordian General Intelligence Directorate"?
Then again, maybe that was another part of dumbing it down for the intended reader?
Also writing? Joshua J. McElwee (National Catholic Reporter) notes:
Pope Francis has written a Christmas letter to the dwindling Christian community in the Middle East, offering his solidarity in what he calls their "enormous suffering" amid the horrific and sustained violence of the Islamic State militant group.
Issuing the almost 2,000-word letter in eight languages Tuesday, the pope also says that he wishes to visit the region and condemns continued arms trafficking there "in the strongest possible terms."
Arms trafficking sales are big business -- legal sales and illegal sales. The leading legal arms trafficker to Iraq would appear to be the United States. Doug Cameron (Nasdaq) reports:
U.S. government approvals for U.S. weapon sales to Iraq have nearly tripled this year to almost $15 billion, promising much-needed work for U.S. weapons factories if the proposed deals can overcome congressional concerns.
The slew of deals includes $3 billion in possible sales announced last week that still need to be approved by Congress and would boost sluggish U.S. demand for General Dynamics Corp.'s M1A1 Abrams tanks as well as Humvee armored cars produced by closely held AM General LLC.
In August, Iraq's current Prime Minister, Haidar al-Abadi, took over leadership of the country. Seen as a potential reformer and an inclusive figure by the standards of the country's politics, the US believed that Abadi could have helped restore Iraq's national unity in fact of the ISIS assault.
That has not happened so far and Abadi's attempts to unite Iraq have largely been ignored. According to Tim Arango of The New York Times, Abadi ordered Iraq's military and its allied Shiite militias to fly the Iraqi national flag instead of Shiite religious banners. Military commanders and soldiers have not heeded the order.
Sunday, at Third, we wrote "Editorial: US troops fighting in Iraq" which noted that Bloomberg News became the first outlet to report on US forces on the ground in Iraq engaging in combat:
Bloomberg News' Zainab Fattah and Aziz Alwan report:
U.S. soldiers clashed with Islamic State militants, helping the Iraqi army repel attacks against the town of al-Baghdadi in the western Anbar province, Al Jazeera TV reported, as Kurdish forces advanced in the north.
The U.S. troops were from al-Assad military base, the biggest in Anbar, First Lieutenant Muneer al-Qoud from the Iraqi police said by phone.
When's Barack planning to get honest with the American people?
We could have well asked (and probably should have) when the rest of the US press planned to get honest with the American people?
The only one that's explored the topic since that editorial?
Bill Van Auken provided a substantial report on the issue which included:
All the claims that US forces are merely “trainers” and “advisers”—not combat troops—and only act in self defense amount to carefully crafted semantics designed to conceal the political fact that, three years after proclaiming an end to all US military operations in Iraq, the Obama administration has launched a new war in which US troops are once again carrying out combat operations.
The reports of US soldiers engaging in combat came as it was announced that the main element of the 1,500 more US troops that President Barack Obama ordered to Iraq in the immediate aftermath of the midterm elections will be drawn from the 82nd Airborne Division’s 3rd Brigade Combat Team based at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. One thousand paratroopers from the brigade are supposed to be deployed in January. They are in addition to a 250-member unit from the same brigade, whose deployment was announced in early December and is expected to begin by the end of the month. Each of these deployments is supposed to last for nine months.
In a statement released after the first deployment was announced, the brigade’s commander, Col. Curtis Buzzard, said those being sent were from a “well-led and highly trained unit with extremely talented and adaptable paratroopers. I know they are ready for any contingency and am confident they will accomplish the mission.”
The 82nd Airborne, which specializes in parachute assault operations, was among the main combat units used in the invasion and occupation of Iraq. Its actions in Anbar province in the early days of the occupation included the April 2003 killing of 20 unarmed residents of Fallujah who had attempted to protest against the American troops occupying a local school. The massacre provoked popular resistance, which led to subsequent US sieges that demolished most of the city, killed thousands and reduced Fallujah’s population by at least 60 percent.
A lot of worthless bloggers still lie that McClatchy Newspapers told the truth during the lead up to the Iraq War and during its early years.
No, it did not.
That is a lie.
I'm sorry that so many are so damn stupid.
The company dates its history to 1857.
And, yes, it was around in 2002 and 2003 and 2004 and 2005 and . . .
It did no ground breaking reporting.
It did nothing.
Just like today, it does nothing.
It's not reporting on US forces fighting in Iraq.
It's not reporting on anything to do with Iraq that the US government want you to know.
That's what the media -- including McClatchy -- did in 2002 and 2003 and . . .
Knight-Ridder was the newpaper chain that told the truth.
It is no more.
McClatchy bought it out in 2006.
Why give McClatchy credit when they did nothing.
And lying and pretending that they did allows McClatchy not just to have some undeserved credit but it leads people to believe if there was anything to know, McClatchy would cover it 'because they did before!'
McClatchy works overtime to offend no one in the government which is why it's prospered forever and a day as a dull paper for dull readers who never want to be challenged or jarred.
Anna Mulrine (Christian Science Monitor) reports:
A former aide to General David Petraeus warns that as the Pentagon prepares to send another 1,500 US troops to Iraq to help “destroy” the Islamic State fighters, there may be an even greater danger that forces face: Iranian-backed Shiite militias.
The power of these militias has been growing throughout the country this year after Iraqi security forces were unable to prevail – and in some cases shed their uniforms and ran – while battling Islamic State fighters.
The Shiite militias are well-trained, in many cases by Iranian military commanders, and battle-tested. During the height of the Iraq war, these militias were responsible for the deaths of hundreds of US troops.
And they were supported by Nouri al-Maliki and if the new prime minister (al-Abadi) wants to reel them, he clearly lacks the ability to do so.
There's the pretense of 'change' in Iraq but nothing's really changing. Some officials still have hope or at least pretend to for the public. The Deputy Prime Minister speaks to Manaf al-Obaidi (Asharq Al-Awsat):
Iraq’s National Guard project will go ahead, despite opposition from some domestic political parties, Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Saleh Al-Mutlaq said.
In a broad-ranging interview with Asharq Al-Awsat, Mutlaq criticized the time it is taking for Baghdad to establish a National Guard, part of a wider project to take the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) across Iraq’s various governorates.
“This [National Guard forces] must be established based on laws. The law establishing a National Guard must be issued by parliament, but until this time parliament has yet to put forward the draft bill for this to vote on. There are some parties that do not want this project to see the light of day,” Mutlaq said.
“These parties are well-known and want to ensure that these areas [of Iraq] remain under their control. They fear any new power emerging in the western areas of the country,” he added.
Those words might carry more weight if Saleh didn't have his own problems (most pressing currently, charges of corruption being made against him by Members of Parliament).
Margaret Griffis (Antiwar.com) counts 228 violent deaths in Iraq today.
Lastly, David Bacon's latest book is The Right to Stay Home: How US Policy Drives Mexican Migration. This is from Bacon's "Hard Winter For California Farm Workers" (New America Media):
In October in California's farm worker towns, the unemployment rate starts to rise as the harvests end. In Coachella, not far from the wealth of Palm Springs, one of every eight workers has no job. In Delano, where the United Farm Workers was born in the grape strike 50 years ago, it's one of every four, as it is in other small towns of the southern San Joaquin Valley. On the coast in Santa Maria and Lompoc the rate is 13.8 and 15.5% respectively. In the Imperial Valley, next to the Mexican border, the unemployment rate is over 26% in Brawley and Calexico.
This is a reality invisible to the state's urban dwellers. Los Angeles has a high unemployment rate for a city, but it is still less than rural towns at 8.7%, or one of every twelve workers. And in San Francisco and Berkeley the percent unemployed is 4.3 and 5.9 -- less than a quarter of the rate in Delano.
Then the winter really hits. By February one of every three workers in Delano and Arvin is unemployed. In Salinas it goes from October's one in ten to February's one in five. Coachella is one in every six. And in Brawley, Calexico, Lompoc and Santa Maria unemployment just never goes down.
Winter is the hard time, when the money made in the summer and fall has to keep the rent paid and kids fed while nothing is coming in. With immigration papers workers can get a little unemployment insurance benefit, but with no papers workers can't collect it -- in fact, any benefit that requires a Social Security number is out of reach. Everyone in this season can use a little work, but for undocumented people especially, even a few days of work make a lot of difference.
bill van auken
the new york times
the christian science monitor