COVID continues to plague the world, including the US. Among the worst hit currently in this country? Michigan. Detroit's Channel 4 reports:
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Monday that the state’s response to rising COVID cases should be to begin shutting things down.
But the governor is refusing.
An uncomfortable disagreement with Michigan has handed President Joe Biden his most controversial and politically unpalatable moment yet since assuming responsibility for the US' response to the pandemic.
His administration's blunt rebuff of a plea by his ally and Michigan's Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer for an increased supply of vaccines to combat a Covid-19 spike represents the kind of tough decision the President and his team will increasingly face on the exit road from the crisis.
As a case in point, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Federal Drug Administration on Tuesday ordered a pause in the administering of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine following six reported cases of a rare blood clot among 6.8 million US recipients. The move is unlikely to seriously set back the US vaccine drive since most doses going into US arms are from other manufacturers. But it underscores how sensitive the administration is to any incidents that harm public confidence in vaccines.
Can you believe it? Gretch The Wretch was almost Joe's pick for VP, remember? Before she imploded -- over many things including her husband's abuse of government employees because of his desired yacht usage -- there were many insisting she was the best choice. Wonder if they'll admit that they were wrong now?
Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"
Tuesday, April 13, 2021. A Twitter personality is targeted, FACEBOOK serves tyrants, the Yazidis continue to suffer and much more
Starting off with something too many people friended. James Farrell (SILICON ANGLE) reports on FACEBOOK:
A new investigation accuses Facebook Inc. of allowing world leaders and politicians to use the platform to manipulate the public, despite being told about it by staff.
In a report by The Guardian today, the newspaper said it had seen internal documents that revealed how Facebook treated 30 cases across 25 countries in which politicians had surreptitiously used Facebook either to drum up support for themselves or to attack opponents.
“The investigation shows how Facebook has allowed major abuses of its platform in poor, small and non-western countries in order to prioritize addressing abuses that attract media attention or affect the U.S. and other wealthy countries,” said the report. It added that in the countries of Afghanistan, Iraq, Mongolia, Mexico, or in parts of Latin America, cases were either ignored or pushed to the back of the pile.
From FACEBOOK, let's move over to TWITTER. Genevieve Leigh (WSWS):reports:
On April 8, two plainclothes police officers were dispatched by Capitol Police to the home of Ryan Wentz, an anti-war activist and producer for Soapbox, an online media company, over a tweet involving Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
The police officers showed up outside Wentz’s home in Los Angeles on Friday. Wentz recounted the experience to the World Socialist Web Site: “I have a fence in front of my house. I saw these two heads bobbing up and down, and they were calling my name. I was waiting for food delivery and thought that’s what it was about.” After Wentz saw their badges and refused the officers’ request to have a discussion inside his home, they began questioning him about the alleged tweet.
“They said that they were here [at my house] on behalf of the Capitol Police because I had threatened to kill a sitting member of Congress in a tweet. They said that I had tagged the sitting member of Congress in the tweet.” Wentz says he never has and never would threaten anyone.
“Only after two minutes or so into the discussion did they say it was AOC.” Wentz then recalled that he had tweeted about Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez the day before.
Ocasio-Cortez’s office has denied that the congresswoman or anyone in her office reported Wentz’s post.
[. . .]
Wentz tweeted shortly after the police “visit” to his home: “I felt scared, intimidated, and violated. [The police] knew my name and where I live. It was done on behalf of a congresswoman who advocates against police state tactics.”
The fact that either a tweet criticizing Ocasio-Cortez or a tweet in which Wentz was tagged but did not author could lead to police harassment at Wentz’s home has serious implications for the entire working class.
“I want her to publicly condemn this. If she is progressive, which I don’t think she really is, then there is no reason she would not condemn this police intimidation. I want her to condemn this as an egregious overreach.” Wentz continued, “But more than that. I want her to respond to the political content of the criticisms made. The issue of Palestine deserves more than a word salad of a response from someone branding themselves as a socialist.”
These developments come in the context of a series of political exposures by the World Socialist Web Site of Ocasio-Cortez’s defense of the Biden administration.
The WSWS article on Ocasio-Cortez’s interview with Democratic Left denouncing socialist opponents of Biden was read by more than one hundred thousand workers and young people. It created a political crisis within the Democratic Party as it exposed the fraudulent pretenses of the main representative of the “left-wing” of the Democrats.
Fake Ass AOC better grasp that reality is becoming obvious and more and more people are waking up and her little media created image of being someone who ever did a damn thing is falling apart. She is a p.r. creation and that's all she is. She does nothing in Congress and, again, that reality is becoming obvious.
Her threadbare resume should have led people to question the narrative and the media push behind AOC from the very beginning. As we said, and then a former US senator (Democrat) repeated on CNN, a glossy individual who hasn't really accomplished much of anything. That remains the reality of AOC.
Staying with the useless, Melvin A. Goodman He's got another useless article at COUNTERPUNCH and you have to wonder why they insist upon runnig his garbage? It's of little value, superficial and often factually wrong. More to the point, if Melvin wants to write about something, maybe he coud write about his time in the CIA? I can't imagne that if Alexander Cockburn were still alive, COUNTERPUNCH would be running all this propaganda from former CIA persons. Another way he could be of value? He could write about how John Hopkins University promoted the Iraq War. But then he'd have to take on his employer and, as his writing makes clear, the only person Melvin attacks is the unfortunate who read his garbage.
Where are the Iraqi people in Melvin's writing? No where to be found. He writes like a trained imperialist because that's what he is and COUNTERPUNCH seriously needs to ask what offers of value because I see nothing.
The Iraq War hit the 18th year mark last month and as long as outlets like COUNTERPUNCH continue to allow rats from the CIA to infest their website, I don't see that changing.
It goes without saying that the 2003 invasion of Iraq was a belligerent one, violating international law - both jus ad bellum and jus in bello. While justification of the war was rooted in disinformation as international inspectors testified, US-led forces relied on depleted uranium weapons and used white phosphorus indiscriminately.
Though neither the UN Security
Council nor the international community supported this war, its
architects were never held accountable. They cannot be tried in the
International Criminal Court as they have not ratified the Rome Statute, nor will they be tried in other courts under Universal Jurisdiction because no one is willing to prosecute them.
In line with its imperialist origins, international law was designed to protect powerful countries and disempower others. Its enforcers effectively contributed to the murder of over half a million Iraqi children under a corrupt oil-for-food programme, and 25 years of crippling and inhumane sanctions. Instead of holding the powerful accountable, the practice of international law enabled injustice.
[. . .]
Consequently, Iraq has no legitimate transitional justice mechanisms that focus on restorative efforts towards peacebuilding. Instead, there is a culture of impunity where both state and non-state militarisation continuously violate civilians with no accountability.
The treatment of the Iraqi protest movement in October 2019, which has gained widespread public support proves the point. With over 700 protestors killed and dozens forcibly disappeared, this protest movement revealed the deep levels of impunity in government and militias invested in ruthlessly crushing it, and reveals the failure of the US-led state-building process.
The US-led invasion of Iraq was
waged with impunity, so it should be of no surprise that impunity would
be its legacy. When the architects and parties involved in the invasion
were not held accountable for war crimes and were allowed to rebuild a
state through belligerent intervention, they were not inclined to set up
a system rooted in accountability and justice.
This is not to deny Iraqi agency and responsibility in state-and non-state sponsored crimes since 2003, but to examine the roots of the militarised system in place today. Due to this war, Iraqis today are fighting for their sovereignty and self-determination on several fronts: against terrorism, foreign-supported militias, and their own government.
Staying with analysis of the Iraq War, ALBAWABA reports:
The United States has been "systematically" destroying Iraq for 30 years, and seeks "nothing but destruction" in the West Asia region, says Bill Dores, a writer for Struggle/La Lucha and longtime antiwar activist
"There is no possible justification for a country to keep troops on the soil of another country against the wishes of its government and people," Dores told Press TV in an interview on Monday. "That's true in Iraq. That's true in Syria."
[. . .]
He further alluded to a quote from African American activist Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in regard to the US war on Vietnam.
"The same is true of Washington's endless war for plunder in the region they call the 'Middle East.' The United States should conform to the wishes of the Iraqi people and get all its troops out of their country immediately. It should end all overt and covert intervention in that part of the world that includes sanctions and arms to Israel," Dores concluded.
Here's the PRESS TV report referenced above.
In other news, the CBC reports on the continued struggles of the Yazidis in Iraq.
Also covering the story, Tahsin Qasim (RUDAW) reports:
Despite its liberation from the Islamic State (ISIS) four years ago, only a handful of Yazidis have returned to the war-ravaged village of Siba Sheikh Khidhir.
Returnees have begun protesting the lack of basic services.
[. . .]
"There is no water or electricity here. During the summer we are forced to take shelter in the ruined buildings just to escape the heat," said Shirin Khalal.
Barack Obama began openly sending US troops back into Iraq to rescue the Yazidis, remember? All this time later and they have nothing. Melvin Goodman would probably applaud that -- the way he does the restoration of minor things in his column -- gifts from the empire -- but this is nothing to be proud of.
The Iraq War is one long lie after another, falese promises that leave the Iraqi people suffering.
The following sites updated: