Monday, October 04, 2021

Truest statement of the week

Warren blamed Amazon for failing to limit searches or choices: “This pattern and practice of misbehavior suggests that Amazon is either unwilling or unable to modify its business practices to prevent the spread of falsehoods or the sale of inappropriate products.”

In her letter, Warren gave the company 14 days to change its algorithms to throttle and obstruct efforts to read opposing views.

What was most striking about this incident is that Warren was eager for others to see her efforts to promote a form of censorship.

Once considered unAmerican and authoritarian, censorship has become a rallying cry from the left. Indeed, a new poll shows roughly half of the public supports not just corporate censorship but government censorship of anything deemed “misinformation.”


-- Jonathan Turley, "Enlightened Algorithms: Democrats Call For Increased Corporate Controls To Protect Citizens From Their Own Dangerous Curiosities" (JONATHANTURLEY.ORG).



Truest statement of the week II

In the same week that Biden delivered a speech at the United Nations where he argued that force had to be “our tool of last resort, not our first,” and that “many of our greatest concerns cannot be solved or even addressed by the force of arms,” the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), that represented another record-breaking increase in Pentagon spending, was passed in the House of Representatives. The message, following that of the racist Theodore Roosevelt , is that if there is going to be dialog the U.S. is still going to “speak softly and carry a big stick” to keep the natives in line.

The authorization to spend 780 billion dollars on the military, which included an increase of twenty-four billion dollars more than the Biden White House requested, came just a few days after Biden announced to the world that the U.S., United Kingdom and Australian governments (AUKUS) would collaborate to provide nuclear powered submarines for Australia. Without mentioning the real target of that dangerous escalation, the Chinese and the world understood that this was a message intended for them.

So, no one listening to President Biden in that General Assembly gathering took the U.S. administration seriously. And certainly, those of who have been the victims of U.S. violence should not either. We know though painful experience that white supremacist, colonial hubris imprisons U.S. policy makers rendering them unable to change course away from their disastrous commitment to global full spectrum dominance.


-- Ajamu Baraka, "U.S. Congressional Support for More War spending and AUKUS Anti-China Pact Exposes Cynicism of Biden’s UN Speech Calling for More Diplomacy" (BLACK AGENDA REPORT).








Truest statement of the week III

The Hunter Biden e-mail coverup may not be the most contemptible example of the modern political media’s corruption, but it is probably the most demonstrable.

Politico reports that Ben Schreckinger’s new book, “The Bidens: Inside the First Family’s Fifty-Year Rise to Power,” corroborates much of the New York Post’s pre-election reporting on Hunter Biden’s e-mails. Two of them stick out: The first is a 2015 missive from a Ukrainian businessman thanking Hunter for the chance to meet Joe Biden — then, still vice president. The second is a 2017 e-mail in which a proposed equity breakdown of a venture with Chinese energy executives included the line, “10 held by H for the big guy?”

Of course, The Post story already had more substantiation than the histrionic and fallacious Russia-collusion scoops the nation had been subjected to for four years. The Post had reported, in great detail, how it had physically obtained Hunter’s laptop. It had interviewed the owner of the Delaware computer shop where Hunter had abandoned his computer. It had Hunter’s signature on a receipt and on-the-record sources with intimate knowledge of Hunter’s interactions. Later, the e-mails were authenticated by forensic specialists



--  David Harsanyi "The Hunter Biden e-mail coverup is the clearest evidence yet of media corruption" (NEW YORK POST).

A note to our readers

Hey --

It's Monday night.

Let's thank all who participated this edition which includes Dallas and the following:

The Third Estate Sunday Review's Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess and Ava,
Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude,
Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man,
C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review,
Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills),
Mike of Mikey Likes It!,
Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz),
Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix,
Ruth of Ruth's Report,
Wally of The Daily Jot,
Trina of Trina's Kitchen, Marcia of SICKOFITRDLZ,
Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends,
Isaiah of The World Today Just Nuts,
and Ann of Ann's Mega Dub.

And what did we come up with?





-- Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess, Ava and C.I.







Editorial: NASA embraces homophobia

Betty called it last week, "Shame on NASA."  NASA should be ashamed.

If you missed it, they've elected, in 2021, to honor a naming a telescope the James Webb Space Telescope.  MORNING EDITION (NPR) explained:

NELL GREENFIELDBOYCE: No one objected, so Webb got the honor. Recently, though, some scientists and historians have raised concerns that Webb was complicit in the lavender scare of the 1950s and 1960s, when gay government workers were interrogated and fired. For example, NASA employee Clifford Norton lost his job and later sued. Chanda Prescod-Weinstein is a cosmologist at the University of New Hampshire. She wants the telescope renamed.

CHANDA PRESCOD-WEINSTEIN: At best, Webb's record is complicated/not great. And at worst, we're basically just sending this incredible instrument into the sky with the name of a homophobe on it.

GREENFIELDBOYCE: Over 1,200 astronomers and space enthusiasts signed a letter asking NASA to reconsider the name. The agency said it would investigate the matter. Now, NASA Administrator Bill Nelson has put out a statement saying, quote, "we have found no evidence at this time that warrants changing the name of the James Webb Space Telescope." But NASA hasn't provided any other information about the investigation. This frustrates Prescod-Weinstein.

PRESCOD-WEINSTEIN: I really just want to see rationale, and I want to see openness. And right now we're not seeing either, and that breaks my heart.

GREENFIELDBOYCE: She says, as a black, queer scientist, this is hard to hear from the space agency she loves.

It's 2021.  People are calling for statues honoring the Confederacy to come down.  But NASA, in 2021, is going to honor a homophobe by naming a telescope after him?  

This is not minor.  This goes to what we value and what we don't value.  NASA is sending a message that they do not value the LGBTQ community.  That's not a message we want to embrace.

As Betty said, shame on NASA.


TV: Can we Impeach WSWS?

For years now, we've condemned The Water Cooler Set, aka paid TV critics who run in a pack and aren't capable of independent judgment or motion.  They've destroyed TV time and again, these faceless, constantly replaced. and quickly forgotten.  The constantly replaced exception would be THE WASHINGTON POST's disgusting Tom Shales who survived so long -- too long -- mainly because most people were unfamiliar with his work.  If they had been, they would have called for his head long before he was finally laid off in 2010.  Any accurate dictionary would run a photo of him next to their definition of the term sexist.


a new illst



But as bad and destructive as The Water Cooler Set is, turns out there's worse, far worse.  Patrick Martin.  WSWS' writer often covers topics of merit -- even when WSWS is sinking under its own insanity, you can usually count on Patrick Martin to turn in something worthwhile.


Not anymore.


Ryan Murphy's FX anthology series AMERICAN CRIME STORY is now in its third season with this season being entitled IMPEACHMENT.  Right there, in that previous sentence, we've provided you with more facts and more accuracy than Patrick Martin managed in a 3,456 word 'review' of IMPEACHMENT.

In fact, in his entire review, Ryan Murphy's name never appears.  Ryan's the show runner, the executive producer, the director of two of the ten episodes in the season and the reason AMERICAN CRIME STORY exists to begin with.  But somehow Patrick Martin never manages to mention Ryan Murphy.


Sarah Burgess and Flora Birnbaum's names aren't mentioned by Patrick either but WSWS usually ignores women, after all.  Who are they?  Writers who wrote or co-wrote seven of the ten episodes.  Leave it to a writer like Patrick Martin to think the actual writers aren't worth mentioning.

Patrick does manage to clutch his testes long enough to mention one writer: I-jack-off-in-Zoom-meetings Jeffrey Toobin.  In fact, Patrick name checks Toobin four times.  Toobin wrote the book that is the framework for the series.  Source material.  Yeah, those in the industry know how many awards are given for source material.  Hint: As many as they deserve -- which would be zero.  Source material is material from another medium.  They give Emmy awards for adapting source material, they don't give Emmys for source material.  

He can't acknowledge -- let alone, address -- the direction or the writing of the series but he can cite Jeffrey Toobin repeatedly.  We guess that meets the 'standards' at WSWS.

As, we assume, does this:

Sarah Paulson was previously best known for her portrayal of prosecutor Marcia Clark in the first mini-series on American Crime Story, “The People vs. O.J. Simpson,” for which she won an Emmy as best actress in 2016.


They do have editors at WSWS, don't they?  She "was previously best known for"?  Who writes like that?  Who gets paid to write like that?  You say someone is best known for something, you don't say that they were previously best known for something.  And if you're going to say that they are best known for something, then it needs to be what they're best known for.


And reality, Sarah's not best known for -- or previously best known for -- the first season of AMERICAN CRIME STORY.  


Check the ratings, she's best known for Ryan Murphy's other series AMERICAN HORROR STORY.  She's now done nine seasons of that series.  And AMERICAN HORROR STORY?  More people watched the first episode of the third season of AMERICAN HORROR STORY than watched any episode of AMERICAN CRIME STORY's THE PEOPLE VS OJ SIMPSON season.  Add in that AMERICAN HORROR STORY is a streaming hit on many platforms where it continues to be watched and viewers are pretty much done with AMERICAN CRIME STORY after an episode airs and, no, Sarah Paulson is not best known for AMERICAN CRIME STORY.  (More people also watched the first episode broadcast of season four of AMERICAN HORROR STORY than watched any episode of AMERICAN CRIME STORY's THE PEOPLE VS OJ SIMPSON.  True  of the first episode of season five . . .  We could do this all day long.) 

He also 'evaluates' other performances -- even those he really hasn't seen:

As for Owen, his Clinton has an edge, the ruthlessness required to survive and excel in the brutal arena of capitalist politics. This is apparently true of his wife as well, although Edie Falco has not yet made much more than a cameo appearance in the series.

When you have to offer the qualifier that someone's acting "is apparently" something -- because you haven't yet seen it --  maybe you'd be smarter not to offer anything?  Just saying.

As for Clive Owen?  He's awful.  He's wrong for the part and he's awful in the role.

He doesn't sound like Bill Clinton and he never seems like Bill.  He comes across as an actor struggling to nail down a role but failing.  Repeatedly.  More troubling?  His frame.

Bill Clinton didn't have a nice body.  Nor was he thin during this period.  Is vanity stopping Clive Owen from delivering a performance?  The show has no problem showing Monica Lewinsky (Beanie Feldstein) and Linda Tripp (Sarah Paulson) as packing pounds.  And that's accurate and how it was in real time.  They may have slapped a fake nose on Clive but his body still comes off GQ ready and we're honestly wondering about his own narcissism and failure to commit to the role.

Patrick Martin can't be bothered with that, he's too immersed in the sexism of WSWS and, possibly, in his own sexism.  Which is why he's thrilled -- gleeful -- that a scene of Bill Clinton with his attorney has Bill saying he can't apologize to Paula Jones because Hillary will never let him.

Ah, yes.  Gleeful cackles from Patrick. 

When the laughter dies down, can Patrick explain to us what was so funny or, for that matter, accurate?  If Bill Clinton required permission from Hillary to do anything, it's doubtful he would have had as many affairs as he did.  Forgive two women for sprinkling reality on your sexist hilarity, Patrick.

IMPEACHMENT works in providing sympathy for both Linda Tripp and Monica Lewinsky.  Certainly more sympathy than the media ever gave either woman.  Linda's a frustrated worker who is out for blood because no one takes her seriously and because she has an inflated sense of self.  With Monica, it shows you who she was before she became the strong woman who stood up to Kenneth Starr.  

Did we really need IMPEACHMENT?

We honestly don't think so.  It covers a period of lying -- lying by Bill,  lying by the media.   And it's still about lying.

Doubt us?  Patrick actually types the following:

Contrary to moralizing critics at the time, like the disgusting Senator Joe Lieberman, and more recent #MeToo advocates, like Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, the mini-series treats Clinton’s affair with Lewinsky in a mature and apparently honest way. Lewinsky was infatuated with him. Clinton, presented as lonely and isolated, was moved by her enthusiasm, and a relationship began. It was, to be blunt, a relationship between two consenting adults. It is not portrayed as exploitative or based on Clinton’s power over Lewinsky as her employer -- here Lewinsky’s role as a co-producer and contributor to Impeachment adds weight.


It's not a consenting relationship.  It's a very powerful man, the most powerful man in the world, lying to a young woman.  It's amazing what Patrick Martin's revealing about himself in the paragraph we just quoted.  He only watched the first three episodes but in those episodes you see Bill lie to Monica repeatedly.  You see him hustle her out of the White House.  You see her believe the lie that he'll bring her back.  You see her wait and wait by the phone.  You see him use her over and over.  

Patrick deems that abusive relationship to be a "consenting" one.  We're really worried -- both about his mental health and about his own personal relationships.

His outlet being WSWS, facts never matter -- which is how we get this:

In probably her last public statement that was entirely truthful, Hillary Clinton denounced the “vast right-wing conspiracy” to force her husband out of office—Toobin took the title of his book from this comment, and he clearly agrees with it.

Her statement wasn't at all truthful.  She made it on THE TODAY SHOW.  She was referring to Monica Lewinsky.  She was stating that the rumor of an affair was all "a vast right-wing conspiracy."  We know that because we try to nail down the facts and we did so, going to the original transcript of that interview, when we wrote about why we believed Juanita Broaddrick's accusation of rape against Bill Clinton.  

That was a few years back and we could provide a link but then we'd be guilty of what we find most offensive about WSWS' 'review' of IMPEACHMENT.

It's got nothing to do with IMPEACHMENT.  It's got everything to do with them linking to a bunch of articles that they wrote years ago and trying to pretend like they did something that matters.

Did something that matters?  They can't even review accurately.  And if there was a reason to do IMPEACHMENT this season, it was to take a fresh look at those late 90s events.  That Patrick saw it as an excuse to link to 14 WSWS articles from 1998 says everything you need to know about WSWS.  In 21 years, per WSWS, nothing has happened to add meaning or context, nothing has changed, nothing has evolved.  Humanity is at a fixed point and never progresses, if you believe their argument.  What's really strange is that they give lip service to Socialism, they just never manage to actually practice it at WSWS.  Maybe Ryan Murphy could make that the subject of next year's AMERICAN CRIME STORY?


Ty's Corner



In 2005, this site started.  Keep that in mind.  It's important to my commentary.


FRED HAMPTON LEFTISTS is a group I used to like.  They did important work.  I'm not real fond of them right now.



This video goes a long way towards explaining why I'm fed up.


For a nice take on the drama, read C.I.'s "FRED HAMPSTON LEFTISTS, Richard Medhurst, Glenn Gr..."  I love C.I.  I'm glad she high roaded it.  I'm also able to disagree with her.  It doesn't harm our friendship.  My boyfriend and I live at her home.  If C.I. and I disagree over something, we disagree.  It's not a blow up.  It's not hurtful words.  It's just a disagreement.  There's certainly never any of her saying, "Get out!"  


Sadly, that maturity can't be found at FRED HAMPTON LEFTIST.   

C.I. notes that she came in late on the live broadcast and she wrote her piece before the video was up.  I've streamed the entire posted video.  C.I. thought that because she came in late, that's why she was confused about exactly what happened.  I've streamed the entire posted video and I can't make out what happened.

All the drama.  Sabby Sabs, you seem the most mature of anyone in the discussion so let me ask you, are you and your friends in f**king high school?  Then grow the hell up.

You've created drama where there is none.

You're not dealing with issues.  You're scapegoating and your off in your own drama when you could be covering something important.  Help me out, FRED HAMPTON LEFTISTS, when's the last time you ever covered the ongoing Iraq War?

Oh, that's right.  Never.  

But you've got time for this garbage.

As an African-American man it pains me to see an otherwise strong outlet descend into such utter bulls**t.  That's all this is.

Some woman named Kerri Barber is out at FHL.  Why?  They say because she was 'bad' and she called for CJ to be ousted.

I say?  I say she's out because she's White.  That pisses me off.  We need White allies.  

If what she did was so wrong, wanting CJ out, then why weren't the others kicked to the curb?  RJ claims he's taking responsibility for his own actions -- refusing to talk to CJ, moving to oust him, blah blah blah.  But if RJ really takes responsibility and really believes Kerri needs to be kicked out, then RJ needs to kick himself out because he's just as guilty as Kerri.

They all need to go, every damn one of them.

And, Sabby, that includes you.  You are the Queen of All Bulls**t in that video.  What's your defense again?  I'm going to paraphrase because I can't stand listening to that bulls**t one more time, 'I looked around and everybody wanted CJ out so I went along."

Oh, shut the f**k up.  Just shut the f**k up.  

You pretend to be a strong voice and now you're telling the world that even among friends you can't voice your own damn opinion?  How pathetic are you?

All of the FHLs who participated in that pathetic, embarrassing broadcast need to be called out.  This is not a strong face that has people saying, "Look at them! I'm proud of them!"

I have no idea -- even after wasting my time on that crap ass video -- whether CJ should have been fired in the first place.  While claiming you are being straight forward, you aren't.   In the video, those present are saying it was wrong to fire CJ.  But only one person is being held accountable: Kerri Barber.  She's not present, so how nice of you'll to all gang up on her.

CJ's made it worse by constantly Tweeting about her since the broadcast and Sabby's made herself a bitch by reTweeting CJ.

Get your s**t together, Sabby, or I will ban you here.  I'm not so starved for authentic voices that I'll put up with this s**t.

Also grasp that the defense you and the rest are presenting is laughable and makes you look like morons.  To portray Kerri as a racist is to say that you, proud African-American revolutionaries, are too dumb to grasp when you're around a racist.

Playing the victim and playing dumb dupes doesn't make me trust you nor does it make me root for you.

As you babble on through the video that I've been fair enough to post at the top, what becomes very clear is that there was a power struggle.  That's all.  And you chose sides.  Then you got some pushback so you chose sides again and decided to sacrifice Kerri Barber.

I'm sure it plays with a lot of dumb people -- especially if they're White.  I noticed Caitlyn Johnstone couldn't wait to jump into the discussion.  Apparently, there's nothing more pressing in Johnstone's own Australia than addressing an intramural battle in a US podcast team.

But we're not stupid in the African-American community and we don't fall for the okey-doke.  CJ was voted out by everyone.  Only one person took the fall.  

Stop thinking you put one over on us.

And tell raging drama queen CJ to stop Tweeting about Kerri.  It's abuse at this point.  CJ got his job back.  He should be flying high.  Instead, he continues to go after Kerri who apparently has even shut down her Twitter account.  She's not the one stirring s**t up, CJ and Sabby are.

Shame on you. 

This is embarrassing.  

Get your act together or stop trying to present yourselves as voices of our community because Black people deserve a lot better than what you've provided.




In 2018, community sites took turns covering a book every week.  You can see "In 2018, we read books" to review that coverage.  We didn't want to repeat ourselves in 2019 or 2020.  So when Marcia came up with a way to cover books but with a twist, we were all for it.  Marcia's idea was for us to digital books -- we're largely a printed text crowd -- and to use AMAZON's KINDLE UNLIMITED.  So for 2021, we'll be trying to do a book a week and trying to just use KINDLE UNLIMITED. This week, after many weeks with nothing, we're returning to the feature to speak with Kat about her "I'm With The Bland."

Kat, you're covering John Simon's TRUTH, LIES & HEARSAY: A MEMOIR OF A MUSICAL LIFE IN AND OUT OF ROCK AND ROLL, a book you did not enjoy.

Kat: Not all.  It's dull and his scope is dull.  If you've been around Joni Mitchell, you don't devote a paragraph to her.  Cass Elliot is worth more than two to three pages.  Janis Joplin deserves better than you calling her ugly looking and providing two cruel drawings suggesting she's ugly and that she smells.  There are over five chapters on The Band -- an uninteresting group that, all this time later, has only one album that sold over a million copies.  The Band is not pivotal, it is not groundbreaking.  Joni, Cass, Janis, Leonard Cohen, Paul Simon are pivotal but they get a brief, in passing nod and that's it.  It's as though it's 1990 and he can cast a film with Marlon Brando, Jane Fonda, Anne Bancroft,  Denzel Washington, Jessica Lange, Cher and Richard Pryor and he says no to all of them but casts Jerry Van Dyke.  And I don't blame or fault him for the fact that all his stories about The Band are dull and boring -- that's The Band.  I do blame him for choosing to write about them over and over and over when they are of no interest at all.

Along with who he chooses to emphasize, you also question his other judgments including his declaration that Robbie Robertson is a better songwriter than Bob Dylan.

Kat: I am not a Dylan groupie but I am always willing to give him his due.  The notion that Robbie Roberston is a better songwriter than Bob Dylan?  That's laughable.  Robbie didn't write "Knockin' On Heaven's Door," "Like A Rolling Stone," "Blowing In The Wind," "Masters of War," "Don't Think Twice It's Alright," "It Ain't Me Babe," "I Shall Be Released," "All I Really Want To Do," "Maggie's Farm," "A Hard Rain's A Gonna' Fall," "Subterranean Homesick Blues," "Shelter From The Storm," etc.  That's Dylan.  Robbie Robertson has nothing.  Zilch.  He's written some workman like ditties.  Nothing of lasting value. 


 You really disliked the book.

Kat: I loathed it on every level.  It was poorly written. It was poorly thought out.  And it was boring as hell.


What are you thinking about KINDLE UNLIMITED?


Kat: Probably done with it at the end of the year.  Not impressed.



 KINDLE UNLIMITED (Trina, Ava and C.I.)


 "KINDLE UNLIMITED (Marcia, Ava and C.I.)"


"KINDLE UNLIMITED (Ruth, Ava and C.I.)"


"KINDLE UNLIMITED (Jess, Ava and C.I.)"


"KINDLE UNLIMITED (Jim, Ava and C.I.)"


"KINDLE UNLIMITED (Kat, Ava and C.I.)"


"KINDLE UNLIMITED (Kat, Ava and C.I.)"


"KINDLE UNLIMITED (Betty, Ava and C.I.)

"KINDLE UNLIMITED (Stan, Ava and C.I.)


"KINDLE UNLIMITED (Betty, Ava and C.I.)"

"KINDLE UNLIMITED (Isaiah, Ava and C.I.)"

"KINDLE UNLIMITED (Elaine, Dona, Ava and C.I.)"

"KINDLE UNLIMITED (Mike, Ava and C.I.)"

"KINDLE UNLIMITED (Trina, Ava and C.I.)"

"KINDLE UNLIMITED (Stan, Ava and C.I.)"

"KINDLE UNLIMITED (Marcia, Ava and C.I.)"

"KINDLE UNLIMITED (Kat, Ava and C.I.)"

"KINDLE UNLIMITED (Rebecca, Ava and C.I.)"




 Trina about her "Remember Hollywood Squares?"






Iraq's October 10th elections

The early elections have only been scheduled because of the brave protesters. The October Revolution  kicked off protests in the fall of 2019 and forced the prime minister to step down and early elections to be announced.  As ARAB WEEKLY notes, "Tens of thousands of Iraqi youths took to the streets to decry rampant corruption, poor services and unemployment. Hundreds died as security forces used live ammunition and tear gas to disperse crowds."  This is what forced the resignation of one prime minister and has led to national elections which are supposed to take place October 10th.  (Members of the Iraqi military will vote October 8thTwo election simulations have been carried out by the IEC and the third and final one will take place September 22nd.)    that the candidates for Parliament include 951 women ("close to 30% of the total number of candidates") who are running for the 329 seats.  Halgurd Sherwani (KURDISTAN 24) has reported Jeanine Hannis-Plasschaert, the Special Representiative in Iraq to the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, declared that Iraq's "Female candidates face increasing levels of hate speech, violence, and blackmail intended to force them to withdraw their candidacy." 

Sinan Mahmoud (THE NATIONAL) counts 3,249 people in all seeking seats in Parliament  BROOKINGS notes this is a huge drop from 2018 when 7,178 candidates ran for office.   RUDAW is among those noting perceived voter apathy, "Turnout for Iraq’s October 10 parliamentary election is expected to be a record low, with a recent poll predicting just 29 percent of eligible voters will cast ballots." Human Rights Watch has identified another factor which may impact voter turnout, "People with disabilities in Iraq are facing significant obstacles to participating in upcoming parliamentary elections on October 10, 2021, due to discriminatory legislation and inaccessible polling places, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. Without urgent changes, hundreds of thousands of people may not be able to vote.  The 36-page report, “‘No One Represents Us’: Lack of Access to Political Participation for People with Disabilities in Iraq,” documents that Iraqi authorities have failed to secure electoral rights for Iraqis with disabilities. People with disabilities are often effectively denied their right to vote due to discriminatory legislation and inaccessible polling places and significant legislative and political obstacles to running for office."  And Human Rights Watch Tweets:

“Every election day is the most depressing day for me,” said Suha Khalil, 44, who uses a wheelchair said she has never participated in an election. “Everyone goes to vote and I am stuck at home waiting for the day to end.” #IraqElection Take action:

The Assyrian Policy Institute Tweets, "Electoral reforms in Iraq instituted following the Iraqi protests did not involve minority stakeholders and failed to address the exploitation of the minority quota system.  Assyrians will largely be deterred from voting on Oct. 10 as a result."

 Another obstacle is getting the word out on a campaign.  Political posters are being torn down throughout Iraq.  Halgurd Sherwani  (KURDiSTAN 24) observes, "Under Article 35 of the election law, anyone caught ripping apart or vandalizing an electoral candidate's billboard could be punished with imprisonment for at least a month but no longer than a year, Joumana Ghalad, the spokesperson for the Iraqi Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC), told a press conference on Wednesday."  And there's also the battles in getting out word of your campaign online.  THE NEW ARAB reported weeks ago, "Facebook is restricting advertisements for Iraqi political parties and candidates in the run-up to the country's parliamentary elections, an official has told The New Arab's Arabic-language sister site."

THE WASHINGTON POST's Louisa Loveluck Tweeted: of how "chromic mistrust in [the] country's political class" might also lower voter turnout.  Mina Aldroubi (THE NATIONAL) also notes, "Experts are predicting low turnout in October due to distrust of the country’s electoral system and believe that it will not deliver the much needed changes they were promised since 2003."  Mistrust would describe the feelings of some members of The October Revolution.  Mustafa Saadoun (AL-MONITOR) notes some of their leaders, at the recent  Opposition Forces Gathering conference announced their intent to boycott the elections because they "lack integrity, fairness and equal opportunities."  Distrust is all around. The President of Iraq has identified corruption as one of the biggest issues in Iraq.  Halkawt Aziz  (RUDAW) reported on how, " In Sadr City, people are disheartened after nearly two decades of empty promises from politicians."   Karwan Faidhi Dri (RUDAW) explains, "People in Basra are not hopeful that the parliamentary election will bring about meaningful change and reform. The southern Iraqi province has seen several large anti-government protests in recent years."  AFP notes, "But the ballot has generated little enthusiasm among Iraq’s 25 million voters, while the activists and parties behind the uprising have largely decided to boycott the ballot."

How to address apathy?  Ignore it and redo how you'll count voter turnout.  RUDAW reports, "raq’s election commission announced on Sunday that turnout for the election will be calculated based on the number of people who have biometric voter cards, not the number of eligible voters. The move will likely inflate turnout figures that are predicted to hit a record low."  As for the apathy, John Davison and Ahmed Rasheed (REUTERS) convey this image

Iraq’s tortured politics are graphically illustrated in a town square in the south, where weathered portraits displayed on large hoardings honor those killed fighting for causes they hoped would help their country.

The images of thousands of militiamen whose paramilitary factions battled ISIS hang beside those of hundreds of young men killed two years later protesting against the same paramilitaries.

KURDISTAN 24 quotes political leader Ayad Allawi stating, "Corruption, illegal weapons in the hands of militias, armed groups, political money, and regional interference are the reasons for having no suitable election environment in Iraq."  While Chatham House's Renad Masnour notes Iraq's current system is "unable to . . . provide sufficient jobs or services."  ANEWS Tweets:

#Iraq's President #BarhamSalih says he expects difficulties in carrying out the country's coming elections.


After the election, there will be a scramble for who has dibs on the post of prime minister.  Murat Sofuoglu (TRT) observes, "The walls of Baghdad are covered with posters of Iraq’s former leaders, especially Nouri al Maliki and Haidar al Abadi, as the country moves toward its early elections on October 10. Both men however were forced out of power for their incompetence, and yet they are leading in the country’s two powerful Shia blocks."  Outside of Baghdad?  THE NEW ARAB explains, "However, in the provinces of Anbar, Saladin, Diyala, Nineveh, Kirkuk, Babel and the Baghdad belt, candidates have focussed on the issue of the disappeared and promised to attempt to find out what happened to them."

Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr has 90 candidates in his bloc running for seats in the Parliament and one of those, Hassan Faleh, has insisted to RUDAW, "The position of the next prime minister is the least that the Sadrist movement deserves, and we are certain that we will be the largest and strongest coalition in the next stage."  Others are also claiming the post should go to their bloc such as the al-Fatah Alliance -- the political wing of the Badr Organization (sometimes considered a militia, sometimes considered a terrorist group).  ARAB WEEKLY reported, "Al-Fateh Alliance parliament member Naim Al-Aboudi said that Hadi al-Amiri is a frontrunner to head the next government, a position that can only be held by a Shia, according to Iraq’s power-sharing agreement."  Some also insist the prime minister should be the head of the State of Law bloc, two-time prime minister and forever thug Nouri al-Maliki.  Moqtada al-Sadr's supporters do not agree and have the feeling/consensus that,  "Nouri al-Maliki has reached the age of political menopause and we do not consider him to be our rival because he has lost the luster that he once had so it is time for him to retire."

In one surprising development, Dilan Sirwan (RUDAW) has reported: "Iraq’s electoral commission aims to announce the results of the upcoming parliamentary elections on October 10 within 24 hours, they announced on Thursday following a voting simulation."





Tweet of the week

Richard Medhurst Tweets:

Did Russia take down Facebook and Instagram under Putin's orders? More tonight on the Rachel Maddow Show

Funny and to the point.

Why they protest in Iraq

We talk about all the money spent on today's wars and it is a great deal but it's not been paid.  The Cost of War's Stephanie Savell notes it's been a "credit card" war and that at some point the balance comes due.  In the meantime?  She notes, "We will owe $6.5 trillion in interest alone by 2050."  

And no one's lives have been improved.  Certainly not in Iraq where United Nations' estimates have approximately 30% of the population living in poverty.  In the video below, ALJAZEERA reports on the increase in slums and poverty in Iraq.

This is why protests broke out in the first place.  More realities come via Renad Mansour (Chatham House) analysis:

Early elections do not address the roots of the problem, which is that the political system does not represent a growing part of the population. Iraq’s leaders struggle to maintain public authority. They do not share the country’s wealth with most of the population and are less able to gain popular support with ideological arguments than before.

More critically, since the last election in 2018, instead of systemic reform and improvement to address the decline in public trust evident in that year’s low turnout, the political system has become more violent.

Beyond the killings in protest squares, the system has developed mechanisms to thwart activists and civil society mobilizers before they mount demonstrations, with targeted assassinations, detention, torture, and intimidation of civil society and activists. The armed groups and militias kill in broad daylight, caught on CCTV cameras enjoying impunity for their work in protecting the political system.

Western diplomacy and aid during this time have sought to support efforts to rebuild trust between the elite and citizens. However, these Western initiatives have not engaged with the root of the problem, namely unaccountable governance.

Iraq’s entrenched political system has proven resilient to the challenge posed by protesters. In addition to the violence that defends the system, the elite have been unwilling to fundamentally reform. Despite the officials in this government who sympathize with the grievances of protesters, the ruling parties continue to compete and cooperate for the proceeds of state coffers, with little going back to society.

Corruption is politically sanctioned. It is part of the system. After this election, like the past ones, they will come together to divide not only ministerial positions but also senior civil servant positions in ministries. These positions will serve as channels to procure contracts and wealth from the Iraqi state.

And the people of Iraq will be screwed over again.  This is why so many are apathetic about the upcoming election, this is why some are calling for a boycott and it's why people turned out in the capital of Iraq as last week was winding down.

As noted in Friday's snapshot, protesters came together in Baghdad.  This is The October Revolution and it is still ongoing. So are the attempts by Iraq's security forces to harm them.  There are reports of the protesters being beaten on Friday.  Some are noting a 'lower' turnout on this anniversary than last year but they're failing to note that security forces were posted to prevent the gathering from becoming as large or larger.  

Let's note some videos.

Ibn Ninewa Tweeted:

Two years ago today, protests erupted in Baghdad, leading to an unprecedented movement in Iraq. Masses of people from a multitude of religions, social classes, and political standings aimed to take back their nation devastated by wars, foreign intervention, and corruption. (1/2)

These peaceful protesters were met with tear gas, live ammunition, and other deadly weapons by their so-called government. Up to 1,100 people were killed for demanding the most basic of rights. Two years later, we still want our homeland back. (2/2) #سنتين_وبعدنا_نريد_وطن


Hundreds of #Iraqis have taken to the streets in #Baghdad to mark two years since fierce protests roiled the #Iraqi capital, fuelled by anger over corruption and unemployment.

IG NEWS reports:

In the midst of a heavy security presence, the demonstrators, who began marching towards Tahrir Square, the center of the 2019 protests, raised Iraqi flags and pictures of young men killed during the bloody repression of the demonstrations at the time, killing about 600 people and wounding more than 30,000.

The banners also included pictures of activists who were later killed, such as Ihab al-Wazni, head of the protests coordination in Karbala, who was shot dead in May by armed men in front of his house with silencer pistols.

Others held banners reading “When will we see the killers behind bars” and “We want a homeland, we want change”, while the demonstrators are still calling on the government to hold those responsible for the assassinations of activists accountable.

Friday’s demonstrators also raised banners reading “Electing the same faces is a massacre for the homeland,” “No, no to corrupt parties, no to corrupt politicians,” and “Do not elect the one who killed me.”

AFP notes:

Brandishing Iraqi flags and portraits of “martyrs”, they marched to Tahrir Square, an epicenter of the 2019 revolt, surrounded by a large number of riot police, AFP correspondents said.

“When will we see the killers behind bars?” and “No to corrupt parties, no to corrupt politicians,” said placards carried by the demonstrators who included women dressed in black.

On October 1, 2019, widespread rallies erupted across Baghdad and the south of the country against a government seen as corrupt, inept and beholden to Iran.

Protest-related violence killed nearly 600 people, including some shot dead while walking home from demonstrations.

THE WASHINGTON POST's Louisa Loveluck Tweets:

The most striking thing about these small protests are the parents who come to commemorate the children they lost. For every slain protester there are relatives left behind in grief and, often, deepening economic misery. “We live with the pain everyday,” a mother, Fatima, said.


With heavy security presence in roads running up to Baghdad’s Tahrir Square tonight, we witnessed riot police grabbing several young men and appearing to beat them in the dark.

Layal Shakir (RUDAW) reports:

Hundreds of Iraqis demanded justice for demonstrators killed during the 2019 October (Tishreen) protests at a rally in Baghdad on Friday, the second anniversary of the protest movement and just over a week ahead of parliamentary elections. 

“This is my son. He went after his rights, his country … he was killed,” Muhamad al-Zubaidi, carrying a photo of his son, told Rudaw’s Dildar Harki.

The Tishreen protests condemned state corruption, failing public services, and high unemployment. They lasted several months and were met with violence and repression from state forces and militias backed by Iran that left at least 600 dead and thousands wounded. 

And the ASSOCIATED PRESS reports:

Hundreds of riot police and federal policemen fanned out in Baghdad ahead of the planned march.

“We don’t want a paradise, we want a nation,” read one of the banners carried by protesters who gathered Friday at Fardous Square and marched toward Tahrir Square, the epicenter of the October 2019 protests.

Another banner read: “You will not silence the voice of Tishreen,” Arabic for October, as Iraqis refer to the protests after the month they broke out. 



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