The White House's plan is less ambitious than that of the European Union, which has already said that 55 percent of vehicles must be zero-emissions in 2030, increasing to 100 percent of all new passenger vehicles by 2035. It's also less ambitious than China's plans, even though losing competitiveness to China is frequently referenced in the White House statement. It's definitely less ambitious than the UK strategy, which phases out new internal combustion engine vehicles in 2030. (As with fuel efficiency standards, California again leads the federal government in action, having declared 2035 as the year it will no longer allow sales of new gasoline or diesel cars and light trucks.)
The question of whether any of these requirements will even be implemented also remains. As already noted, four years of inaction and stalling by the previous administration—not to mention heavy lobbying against stricter efficiency standards by General Motors, Stellantis, and Toyota—have set back US decarbonization efforts heavily compared to Europe and China; there's little reason to believe a change in control of Congress or the White House would result in a different outcome in the next few years.
We need real leadership. We got Joe. Hard not to be depressed.
"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):
Thursday, August 5, 2021. What's going on with the Talabanis?
Starting in the US where THE HILL reports:
“My dad is deeply troubled about where our party is, deeply troubled about where the country is,” Cheney said during an event hosted by the Aspen Institute.
She said her father, who served under former President George W. Bush, has been a “tremendous source of advice and guidance and wisdom for me.”
That's where she gets her "advice and guidance and wisdom" from? Well that certainly explains why she's so damn stupid, doesn't it?
I thought she was just so repulsive and stupid because of karma for being a deferment baby. That's what she was. Her father who destroyed Iraq was a young man once. And the US was at war with Vietnam. And Dick Cheney didn't want to go. So he had Liz and the others in the litter.
As Timothy Noah (SLATE) explained in 2004:
Cheney’s unself-consciousness about this is (or at least was) so pronounced that in 1989 he told George C. Wilson of the Washington Post, “I had other priorities in the ‘60s than military service.”
What Chatterbox never realized until recently, however, is that Cheney’s eldest daughter, Elizabeth Cheney, likely owes her very existence to her father’s avoidance of the Vietnam draft.
The Washington Post’s Phil McCombs made the intimate calculations in a profile published in April 1991, when Cheney was defense secretary. The timeline:
Aug. 29, 1964: Dick and Lynne Cheney marry.May 19, 1965: The Selective Service classifies Dick Cheney 1-A, “available immediately for military service.”July 28, 1965: President Lyndon Johnson says draft calls will be doubled.Oct. 26, 1965: The Selective Service declares that married men without children, who were previously exempted from the draft, will now be called up. Married men with children remain exempt.Jan. 19, 1966: The Selective Service reclassifies Dick Cheney 3-A, “deferred from military service because service would cause hardship upon his family,” because his wife is pregnant with their first child.July 28, 1966: Elizabeth Cheney is born.Jan. 30, 1967: Dick Cheney turns 26 and therefore becomes ineligible for the draft.
Dedicated students of obstetrics will observe that Elizabeth Cheney’s birth date falls precisely nine months and two days after the Selective Service publicly revoked its policy of not drafting childless husbands. This would seem to indicate that the Cheneys, though doubtless planning to have children sometime, were seized with an untamable passion the moment Dick Cheney became vulnerable to the Vietnam draft. And acted on it. Carpe diem!
Who says government policy can’t affect human behavior?
That's Dick Cheney. A War Hawk unless he has to serve and then he has 'better' things to do. And he's hailed as hero by his daughter that got him out of serving. Liz is a War Hawk as well. Why didn't she serve? It's interesting how so many War Hawks are so quick to find something else to do but are more than happy to send others to fight wars.
Iraq is an ongoing tragedy. Maybe Liz Cheney needs to grasp that her father is a War Criminal and no one needs to hear from him or her? Sorry that I can't join the faux resistance in rooting on a piece of trash like Liz Cheney or her father.
Sorry that I can't overlook the million-plus Iraqis who are dead or the others who have been left wounded, the ongoing suffering, to celebrate the hideous Dick Cheney and his butt ugly daughter.
Before we move outside the US, we'll note this statement from Senator Dick Durbin's office:
Durbin Statement On Senate Committee Vote On Repeal Of 2002 Iraq AUMF
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) released the following statement regarding today’s Senate Foreign Relations Committee vote on the repeal of the 2002 Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) in Iraq:
“Our Constitution is clear—only the United States Congress has the power to declare war. For too long, Congress has abdicated this most serious of responsibilities. I support this bipartisan effort to terminate the Authorization for the Use of Military Force against Iraq. As one of only 23 Senators to vote against the 2002 Iraq War authorization, it is long overdue that we turn the page on this war.”
In a speech on the Senate floor today, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) reiterated his intention to bring the repeal up for a vote in the Senate later this year.
Let's move over to northern Iraq, to the semi-autonomous Kurdistan Region. Amberin Zaman (AL-MONITOR) reports:
The power struggle for leadership of Iraqi Kurdistan’s second most powerful political party has escalated once again, as one of the contenders declared he was not pulling out of the fight, raising fears of protracted instability in what remains the most secure and Western-friendly part of Iraq.
Lahur Talabani, the ousted co-chair of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), declared Tuesday that authorities had issued a warrant for his arrest and dozens of men both armed and unarmed had gathered outside his home in Sulaimaniyah over the past two days in a bid to scare him into leaving the country.
He was shorn of all of his powers in a bloodless coup by his cousins Bafel Talabani and Qubad Talabani last month. He said he had no intention of caving and would “face this plot head-on” and “will not leave my nation until my last breath.”
The drama is unfolding against a backdrop of mounting public fury with the elites that share power in the Kurdistan Regional Government — namely, the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) led by the Barzani family, and the PUK that was founded by Bafel and Qubad’s late father, Jalal Talabani. Nechirvan Barzani is the president of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, and his cousin Masrour Barzani is the prime minister. Qubad Talabani is the deputy prime minister and, unlike Lahur Talabani who is openly hostile to the Barzanis, has excellent relations with the KDP.
The family dysfunction plays out on the public stage. Ara Tweets:
There is a whole story about the betrayals of the Talabanis. They are out of touch and have demonstrated that repeatedly. After deceiving the country about Jalal's health -- he should have been removed from office for being incapacitated -- what was the family's next big public move? To do the US government's bidding. A Talabani rushes back to Iraq, from his home in the US (his home in the US, that's where his home is) and opposed the KRG non-binding resolution asking whether Kurds would rather be part of Iraq or their own autonomous nation.
Cheered on by the US press, he was a bit of a celebrity . . . outside of Kurdistan. That resolution passed by approximately 95%. Do you get how out of step the Talabanis are with their fellow Kurds? Do you get the damage the family continues to do to the PUK.
Sure, they get US tax payer money to line their own pockets but, at some point, they need to grasp that they won't get that money if they have no influence over the Kurds. And they're approaching that point. Soon they may not be able to afford pricey homes across the US. Zack Kopplin (THE NEW REPUBLIC) noted last year:
Bribing one politician is bad. Bribing all the politicians is worse. The U.S. Department of Justice is investigating a group of companies in Kurdistan, Iraq’s semi-independent northern region, that appears to be doing the latter in order to secure a monopoly on Pentagon fuel contracts worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
A previous New Republic investigation outlined how Kurdish and American firms used shell companies with connections to the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, one of the region’s two major political parties, to dominate fuel sales to the U.S. military and inflate prices. But PUK-aligned groups aren’t the only ones cashing in on these American fuel purchases: A tangled network of corruption illustrates how ostensible rivals can cooperate to rip off the Defense Department.
According to Kurdish government documents provided to the Government Accountability Project, where I work, additional shell companies also connect the fuel-fleecing to the Kurdistan Democratic Party, the region’s other major political faction, led by former President Massoud Barzani and his powerful family, a clan of American-sponsored kleptocrats. The billionaire Barzanis are Kurdistan’s “unofficial monarchs,” said Kamal Chomani, a nonresident fellow at the Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy and editor in chief of the Kurdistan Times, an independent news outlet. “We always referred to them as the Mafia,” said a former U.S. government adviser in Iraq, who requested anonymity to speak candidly.
The Barzani family’s assets span the globe. “It was never practical to keep track of that stuff,” a former U.S. anti-corruption official said about the vast Barzani holdings, which were spread from Syria to Switzerland. And, in an awkward twist, some of the millions swindled from the U.S. military may have ended up as investments in California’s luxury real estate market.
While the scope of the Barzanis’ wealth is vast, its source is simple: The money comes from Kurdistan’s rich oil and gas industry and deals like the Pentagon fuel purchases. Requests for comment sent to an adviser for Kurdish Prime Minister Masrour Barzani, as well as to a public relations firm that previously worked for the Barzani family, went unanswered.
Tracing the Kurdish fuel deals leads to a Virginia-based logistics company, DGCI. For at least , DGCI has been the Pentagon’s go-to fuel provider in Kurdistan and has been dogged by questions about its connections to Kurdish politicians.
Most recently, DGCI was contracted by the U.S. military to deliver wildly overpriced jet fuel, at rates as high as $10 a gallon, to an American base at the international airport in Erbil, Kurdistan’s capital. The Erbil airport is a key staging point for fuel deliveries into Syria, part of America’s continued involvement in that country’s civil war.
[. . .]
In Kurdistan, monopolies happen because you have power or pay off those who do. DGCI is paired with a Kurdish conglomerate called Zozik Group; together, they share ownership of a subsidiary called Triple Arrow. Zozik, which did not respond to my requests for comment, has faced long-standing allegations that it’s a channel for bribes to PUK officials, as detailed in the earlier New Republic investigation.
But PUK connections alone don’t explain DGCI’s overpriced deliveries to Erbil, which is outside the party’s primary territory. Even early in the U.S. occupation of Iraq, State Department officials conceded internally that corruption in Erbil “centers more on the Barzani clan,” according to diplomatic cables published by Wikileaks. In Erbil, “the Barzanis have to have at least half of the shares of big businesses,” said Abdulla Hawez, a Kurdish journalist and researcher. Sources said that Zozik and DGCI cooperated with companies linked to Barzani’s Kurdistan Democratic Party bloc in order to deliver fuel to the U.S. government.
The Barzanis greed is so obvious that even THE NEW YORK TIMES has covered the $47 billion Beverly Hills mansion that US taxpayers appear to be fotting the bill on.
Kanaa Ayoub Tweets:
There is a huge story that's being ignored by the bulk of western media.
The following sites updated: