Monday, May 22, 2023

No time to waste trying to help those who won't help themselves

I was asked in three e-mails about Linda.  I don't know if named her before -- she's the friend who exasperated my patience and my girlfriend and I had to cut off.

If you're late to this story, in 2019 and 2020, I wrote about her.  Her name is Linda.  I probably used a pseudonym but I honestly don't care at this point.

Linda became a friend in 2014 because a friend at work (Mariah) pushed her off on me.  The friend was going to another job and made me promise to be Linda's friend.  She didn't have any friends and she had one problem after another.

So I did the best I could as did my girlfriend.

And all she did was come over for a meal and gripe or start fights.  And she wouldn't do what her doctor told her to.  She had kidney issues and needed to get her weight under control.  We offered to walk with her.  That happened twice -- once in 2014 and once in 2015.  Now we walk every day.  Only twice did she walk.  She wouldn't do anything and she was already overweigh.  At five foot and three inches, in 2019, she was 450 pounds.  And not doing a damn thing about it.

Oh, she'd claim she was dieting -- as she spent over 30 dollars at Burger King for a meal for herself.  She would not walk.  She would not get any exercise.  My girlfriend bought her one of those things where you can get steps in at your desk.  She wouldn't use it.

Her kidneys were getting worse and worse.

Then in 2020, she began passing out.  

How is it today?

Don't know, don't care.  

If you won't help yourself, that's on you.  She is now on dialysis.

She can't work.  She doesn't do anything at all but eat.

She lives with her parents, goes to dialysis and eats and eats and eats.

I was calling her but every time I would call she would text, "I'm eating, call back in 30."  And I'm sorry but my time is valuable too.  I went six weeks where I tried to call her three times a week.  Didn't matter the time, she was always eating.  

She should be worried and losing weight.  She should be walking.  She's not.  She has a twin sister and she's going to get a kidney from her.  

Why not yet?  The doctor she has now told her she needs to lose forty pounds before they can do the surgery.  And she's been at her parents for a few months short of three months and they have a backyard.  She won't even take her lazy butt out to the backyard to walk.  

I bumped into Mariah last month and told her I'd done all I can do for that woman.  Mariah said she understood and was sorry because she didn't realize that everything was going to go sideways.  "I honestly thought Linda would start walking."

She never has.  She's a lazy person who was told in 2021 that she was dying.  Even that didn't prompt her to get off her lazy ass.  Though I did have to listen to her whine and cry over the phone.  At midnight and later.  

I don't have time to invest in your problems if you're not going to even try to help yourself.  Her big decision each afternoon is where she's ordering DoorDash from and then the same again in the evening.  It's always fast food -- which she's not supposed to eat.

I have no more to give her.  

Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"


Monday, May 22, 2023.  As US dollars fly to the Ukraine, the American Taliban works to destroy democracy while, in Australia, Stella Assange calls for the release of her husband Julian.



The American way?  I think all the dollars that could have supported that have instead been sent to Ukraine.  Barry Grey (WSWS) reports:

At a press conference Sunday following the G7 summit in Hiroshima, Japan, President Joe Biden called on Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy to meet face to face to revive talks on a bipartisan plan to slash social spending in return for raising the nation’s debt ceiling and averting a default.

Biden spoke after talks between a team of White House advisers and negotiators named by McCarthy broke off on Saturday. The entire debt limit and budget negotiation process has from the start been heavily stage-managed in an attempt to stampede public opinion.

On Sunday, Biden repeatedly pointed to his proposal to cut more than $1 trillion in discretionary spending as part of a budget deal, making clear that his government is committed to imposing a new wave of austerity measures that will further undermine education, health care, housing, home heating assistance and other vital programs relied upon by millions of working class families.

Biden announced that he would be calling McCarthy from Air Force One while flying back to Washington. Later on Sunday, McCarthy dropped his accusatory tone toward Biden, called the telephone call “productive” and said the two would meet face to face at the White House on Monday. He also said the negotiating teams for each side would resume their talks later on Sunday.

What neither he nor the Republicans nor the corporate media point out is the direct connection between the new austerity drive and the ever-expanding cost of the US-led war against Russia in Ukraine. While Biden was in Japan, the US government announced that it had allotted another $375 million to arm Ukraine, part of a feverish escalation that includes providing the right-wing nationalist government in Kiev with F-16 nuclear-capable jets.

In the barrage of propaganda over the supposed necessity to slash social programs to avert the nation’s first-ever default on its debt obligations—which, according to Treasury Secretary and former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, could come as early as June 1—nothing is said about the role of military spending in driving up the debt.

In fact, social spending as a percentage of GDP has declined sharply since 2011, when the last Democratic administration, headed by Barack Obama and Joe Biden, followed its multitrillion-dollar bailout of the banks after the financial crash of 2008 with the bipartisan Budget Control Act of 2011. That measure imposed a decade-long cap on discretionary spending, sharply reducing in real terms government outlays for education, health care and other vital social needs.

Military spending, however, has exploded. Last year, the Biden administration allocated $113 billion for the war in Ukraine and enacted a record $1 trillion defense budget.


How far in do you think the Soviet Union was on Afghanistan before the people realized that the sink hole was going to cost them their country?  From Boston University's GUIDED HISTORY:

During the 1970’s, Soviet-American relations underwent a thawing period, known as the Detente. This period witnessed the cooperation of the two nations in space, strategic arms limitation talks (otherwise known as SALT), and multiple summits and discussions. This period was abruptly ended in 1979 when the Soviet Union, under the orders of its leader Leonid Brezhnev, led an invasion of Afghanistan after internal political tensions between the Afghan Communists and the Mujahideen rebels threatened the stability of the region.

The historical significance of this event is mainly embodied in the collapse of the Soviet Union twelve years after the invasion of Afghanistan.  The war put immense stresses on the faulty, centralized economic system of the nation, and along with the radical social reforms set by Mikhail Gorbachev, led to the collapse of the nation. This war would be known as the equivalent to the Vietnam War for the United States, both in economic stresses brought upon by the war, and by the social discontent that it caused.


Meanwhile, the American Taliban works in this country to destroy rights and democracy.  The Dodgers won't allow a drag group, Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, to participate at a Pride event.  Why?  A right-wing group -- yes, it is right-wing, look at its board of advisors  --   The Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights is having a fit that this drag group dresses up as nuns -- and has done that for years,  Grasp that.  We tend to look amazed when, in other countries, people have hissy fits over cartoons or artistic renderings that send their religious idiots into states of violence.  But what's the real difference between that and attempting to disinvite this group to a Pride event?  There is none.  They are the American Taliban and they and their board of advisors -- Brent Bozell, Linda Chavez, Mary Ann Glendon, Alan Keyes, Tom Monaghan, and George Weigel -- pretend to want to protect children.  But they do nothing to protect them from priests.  

The American Taliban is destroying the country.  

Florida is the most obvious spot.  It's where the goon Ron DeSantis just cost the state 2,000 high paying jobs due to his never ending war on DISNEY.  On Saturday, The NAACP issued the following travel alert:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

May 20, 2023

Contact: Chyna Fields cfields@naacpnet.org

WASHINGTON – Today, the NAACP Board of Directors issued a formal travel advisory for the state of Florida. The travel advisory comes in direct response to Governor Ron DeSantis' aggressive attempts to erase Black history and to restrict diversity, equity, and inclusion programs in Florida schools. 

The formal travel notice states, "Florida is openly hostile toward African Americans, people of color and LGBTQ+ individuals. Before traveling to Florida, please understand that the state of Florida devalues and marginalizes the contributions of, and the challenges faced by African Americans and other communities of color." 

"Let me be clear - failing to teach an accurate representation of the horrors and inequalities that Black Americans have faced and continue to face is a disservice to students and a dereliction of duty to all," said NAACP President & CEO Derrick Johnson. "Under the leadership of Governor Desantis, the state of Florida has become hostile to Black Americans and in direct conflict with the democratic ideals that our union was founded upon. He should know that democracy will prevail because its defenders are prepared to stand up and fight. We're not backing down, and we encourage our allies to join us in the battle for the soul of our nation."

The travel advisory was initially proposed to the Board of Directors by NAACP's Florida State Conference. NAACP's collective consideration of this advisory is a result from unrelenting attacks on fundamental freedoms from the Governor and his legislative body. 

"Once again, hate-inspired state leaders have chosen to put politics over people. Governor Ron DeSantis and the state of Florida have engaged in a blatant war against principles of diversity and inclusion and rejected our shared identities to appeal to a dangerous, extremist minority," said Chair of the NAACP Board of Directors, Leon Russell. "We will not not allow our rights and history to be held hostage for political grandstanding. The NAACP proudly fights against the malicious attacks in Florida, against Black Americans. I encourage my fellow Floridians to join in this fight to protect ourselves and our democracy."

Following Gov. DeSantis' so-called leadership in driving the state to reject students' access to AP African American studies course in March, the NAACP distributed 10,000 books to 25 predominantly Black communities across the state in collaboration with the American Federation of Teachers's Reading Opens the World program. The majority of the books donated were titles banned under the state's increasingly restrictive laws. The NAACP continues to encourage local branches and youth councils to start community libraries to ensure access to representative literature.

The NAACP encourages Florida residents to join this effort to defeat the regressive policies of this Governor and this state legislature. Interested residents and supporters can visit www.naacp.org for additional information and updates. 

###


The American Taliban is carrying out a war on democracy.  At THE CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, attorney Michael F. Roessler writes:


Republicans in North Carolina and across the nation are using drag as the leading edge of their campaign to roll back decades of progress for queer people. As lawmakers file anti-drag legislation — like House Bill 673, which would make drag a crime if performed on public property or in the presence of anyone under the age of 18 — Republican Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson calls queer people “filth” and compares us unfavorably to cow excrement. Meanwhile, the GOP’s state and national platforms continue to characterize us as corrosive to civil society and seek to strip us of our marriage rights.

Read more at: https://www.charlotteobserver.com/opinion/article275590336.html#storylink=cpy

And now, thanks to Rep. Tricia Cotham’s decision to join the Republicans, the party enjoys super-majorities in both houses of the legislature. Given this political reality, getting too cozy with the LGBTQ community by sponsoring a drag event would mean “our Bar Association-backed legislative agenda will be negatively affected,” Morgan told SOGI members. So he canceled the event: Abandoning queer people and endorsing homophobia were costs the NCBA was willing to pay to preserve its political clout in Raleigh. Its pledge to us was conditional. We were expendable.

Read more at: https://www.charlotteobserver.com/opinion/article275590336.html#storylink=cpy

Not that selling us out was easy. Morgan said the decision to cancel the drag event pained him. Maybe he felt real pain. Maybe, if it were up to him, he would gladly welcome his queer colleagues into full political, social and cultural equality. Maybe his heart is as good as he says. But his heart doesn’t matter nearly as much as his actions, and the ethical conflict he experienced while contemplating the drag event’s cancellation — along with the choice he made about which side of that moral struggle to endorse — brings to mind Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s letter from Birmingham Jail. As he sat incarcerated for working to dismantle racial segregation, King’s letter targeted not the virulent racists who put him behind bars, but the well-meaning moderates who considered themselves allies of the civil rights movement, even as they expressed disapproval of King’s methods. These purported friends of “lukewarm acceptance” and “shallow understanding,” King wrote, will often leave us “gravely disappointed” because they “prefer a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice.” And so it is today in the fight for LGBTQ equality.

 

A trespasser who has since been identified as Charles Jake Messimer is facing the internet’s heat after verbally attacking a Rogue River, Oregon homeowner for their LGBTQ flag. The former walked up to a stranger’s house and questioned them as to why they had the flag hoisted. A video of the same was then uploaded online leading to many hoping to find more information about him. He has since been accused of being against Antifa and Black Lives Matter along with being against the Pride community.

The video in question garnered immense traction online once posted by popular TikTok figure TizzyEnt. In the video, the homeowner can be seen asking Charles Jake Messimer if she can help him. He goes on to say- “what makes you guys think it’s right to fly that flag.” He was referring to the resident’s Pride flag.

The videographer responded by saying:

“I mean my right as a community member. Can you please get off my property before I call the police?”

Messimer responds by saying- “call them all you want. It’s not acceptable anymore.”

The trespasser then accused the homeowner of spreading a “disgusting agenda.” He then shouted at her to “get out of Rogue River.”

At the time of writing this article, the video which was uploaded to TizzyEnt’s Twitter page had amassed over 400K views and counting.


In other news, Stella Assange is Julian's wife. She spoke to The National Press Club of Australia.



Stella Assange: I think we need to recognise that we are in a much worse situation in terms of press freedom, the public’s right to know, citizens right, than we were in 2010 when WikiLeaks published about the Iraqi and Afghan wars and the publications that Julian is now being prosecuted for.  Those publications, that moment in time, represented probably press freedom at its strongest, internet freedom at its strongest.  And since then we have seen a series of legislative moves across the Five Eyes and elsewhere as well to stop that kind of thing in different ways and also to limit citizens freedoms in different areas.  I think the publication – it was right for the time and Julian was not prosecuted, he was not indicted until 2017.  So, we’re in a much worse position now than we used to be and that is why it is so important to reverse course because it is not just Julian, the implications of this case mean that we are diverging from this protection that used to exist and unless we are just going deeper and deeper into a far removed [place] from where we used to be, from press freedom at its strongest, from our citizens freedom at their strongest and at the same time, it is not just our freedoms that are being limited – it is that the state has become enormously more powerful through surveillance tools and so on.  Our rights as citizens, our rights as the public, we need to defend those because that’s all we have and then of course the ability to speak the truth, to publish the truth is central to that.


THE GUARDIAN quotes her stating:


Australia is the United States most important ally, that is clear. Maybe this was not the case 10 years ago.

It is important to recognise that Australia plays an important role and can secure Julian’s release.

Julian’s life is in the hands of the Australian government. It is not my place to tell this government how to do it, but it must be done.

Julian has to be released.

I place hope in Anthony Albanese’s will to make it happen. I have to. This is the closest we have ever been to securing Julian’s release. I want to encourage and do everything in my power to help that happen.



Julian Assange remains imprisoned and remains persecuted by US President Joe Biden who, as vice president, once called him "a high tech terrorist."  Julian's 'crime' was revealing the realities of Iraq -- Chelsea Manning was a whistle-blower who leaked the information to Julian.  WIKILEAKS then published the Iraq War Logs.  And many outlets used the publication to publish reports of their own.  For example, THE GUARDIAN published many articles based on The Iraq War Logs.  Jonathan Steele, David Leigh and Nick Davies offered, on October 22, 2012:



A grim picture of the US and Britain's legacy in Iraq has been revealed in a massive leak of American military documents that detail torture, summary executions and war crimes.
Almost 400,000 secret US army field reports have been passed to the Guardian and a number of other international media organisations via the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks.

The electronic archive is believed to emanate from the same dissident US army intelligence analyst who earlier this year is alleged to have leaked a smaller tranche of 90,000 logs chronicling bloody encounters and civilian killings in the Afghan war.
The new logs detail how:
US authorities failed to investigate hundreds of reports of abuse, torture, rape and even murder by Iraqi police and soldiers whose conduct appears to be systematic and normally unpunished.

A US helicopter gunship involved in a notorious Baghdad incident had previously killed Iraqi insurgents after they tried to surrender.
More than 15,000 civilians died in previously unknown incidents. US and UK officials have insisted that no official record of civilian casualties exists but the logs record 66,081 non-combatant deaths out of a total of 109,000 fatalities.

The numerous reports of detainee abuse, often supported by medical evidence, describe prisoners shackled, blindfolded and hung by wrists or ankles, and subjected to whipping, punching, kicking or electric shocks. Six reports end with a detainee's apparent deat



The Biden administration has been saying all the right things lately about respecting a free and vigorous press, after four years of relentless media-bashing and legal assaults under Donald Trump.

The attorney general, Merrick Garland, has even put in place expanded protections for journalists this fall, saying that “a free and independent press is vital to the functioning of our democracy”.

But the biggest test of Biden’s commitment remains imprisoned in a jail cell in London, where WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been held since 2019 while facing prosecution in the United States under the Espionage Act, a century-old statute that has never been used before for publishing classified information.

Whether the US justice department continues to pursue the Trump-era charges against the notorious leaker, whose group put out secret information on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Guant√°namo Bay, American diplomacy and internal Democratic politics before the 2016 election, will go a long way toward determining whether the current administration intends to make good on its pledges to protect the press.

Now Biden is facing a re-energized push, both inside the United States and overseas, to drop Assange’s protracted prosecution.








The following sites updated:


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