Saturday, August 08, 2020

Laura Nyro

 YOUTUBE is such a treasure.  You can find so much on there.  Like an E TRUE HOLLYWOOD STORY on Cass Elliot that can't get its fact right -- even about when albums were released.  But you can also find some really good stuff.  Like this brief film about Laura Nyro.

And here's a 1989 interview Scott Simon did with Laura.


Laura was a highly gifted singer-songwriter.  And her piano playing was very inventive -- her chords, her tempo, you name it.   Here's another 1989 interview:

Here's a 1969 interview she did.

Laura needs a biography and not that b.s. that Michele Kort assembled.  C.I. told us about that.  How Michele went around seeking every story she could get about Laura and then refused to credit anyone.  A lot of people shared information with her because they loved Laura.  It was not too much to credit the fans who passed things on.  

The book Michele wrote was insulting and had no appreciation for Laura's music.  She barely understood the lyrics but she had no understanding of music.  Words, Michele could almost handle words.  I can't think of a worse book ever written than Michele's book about Laura.  

There were people who could have helped her there.  But when fans started complaining about the way she was treating them in e-mails, that got out.  C.I. never trusted her and wasn't about to share s**t with Michele about Laura.  She and other artists who knew Laura knew to avoid Michele.  I think even Todd Rundgren avoided Michele.

Michele wanted to tease about Laura being a lesbian.  She didn't even have the courage to even upfront that.

Yes, Laura was a lesbian.  That's great, that's wonderful.  You'd think Michele, who was a lesbian, wouldn't have been so squeamish about that in the book.  

The whole thing read like a really bad Wikipedia page.  

Laura deserved so much better.  Maybe someone like Alice Echols will take up the call and write a real book about Laura and her place in music history?

Closing with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"


 Friday, August 7, 2020.  Another Friday, another look at those who are running for president.

Food for thought, at INFORMATION CLEARING HOUSE Stephen M. Walt offers:

What’s the dumbest idea affecting the foreign policy of major powers? There are plenty of candidates -- the domino theory; the myth of the short, cheap war; the belief that a particular deity is “on the side” of one nation and will guarantee its success; etc. But right up there with those worthy contenders is a country’s belief that it has found the magic formula for political, economic, social, and international success and that it has the right, the responsibility, and the ability to spread this gospel far and wide.

In some cases, this impulse arises from (mostly) benevolent aims: The leaders of some country genuinely believe that spreading (through force, if necessary) their ideals and institutions to others will genuinely benefit the recipients. Defensive motives may also be operating: A state may believe that it cannot be reliably secure unless other countries have similar if not identical institutions. U.S. leaders once worried that America could not survive alone in a world dominated by fascism, and Joseph Stalin believed the Soviet Union needed “friendly” countries on its borders, by which he meant countries governed by Leninist parties patterned after the Soviet model.

Of course, such claims may simply be a reassuring story that ruling elites propagate to justify aggressive actions undertaken for more selfish reasons. Whatever the motivation, if their efforts were successful the world would gradually converge on a single model for political, economic, and social life. Individual national variations would be modest and declining in importance, limited to purely local concerns (such as national holidays, cuisine, preferred musical styles, etc.). In theory, even some of these features might begin to lose their individual features over time.

This hasn’t happened, however, due to an intriguing paradox. Thus far, the only political form that has commanded nearly universal global acceptance is the territorial state itself, along with the closely related idea of nationalism. As Hendrik Spruyt, Stephen Krasner, Dan Nexon, and others have explored, the territorial state was only one of several political forms coexisting in early modern Europe, and its eventual emergence as the dominant political form was a contentious process that might have turned out differently. Many factors contributed to its ultimate success, and one of them was the idea of sovereignty: the principle that every government got to run its own affairs as its rulers (or, eventually, its citizens) saw fit. And once that principle took firm hold, individual local variations were reinforced and entrenched.

How potential leaders see the world is an important piece of information.  So the corporate media rarely asks questions that would lead to answers which might inform the electorate.  In the US, a presidential election is scheduled for November.

Among the contenders?  Joe Biden.  He is the presumptive presidential nominee of the Democratic Party and he was scheduled to accept the nomination at the party's political convention later this month but Joe's not attending now.  Playing hard to get?  Playing something, to be sure.  The biggest talk in Clintonista circles is that Joe's campaign was behind reviving the nursing home scandal in New York (to harm Andrew Cuomo) and trying to gain traction with stories they've been planting to do a hit job on Gavin Newsom.  While Joe hid under his rock, Cuomo and Newsom became national figures during this pandemic and reminded more than a few voters of what a leader actually looks like and, guess what, it's not Joe.

Asked a question about taking a cognitive test, Joe asks if the African-American correspondent was a junkie using cocaine?  "C'mon, man," you look and sound ridiculous.  Later in the week, Joe would also insist that the Latino community was diverse . . . unlike the African-American community.

"C'mon, man," it's not 1950.  You sound like an idiot -- an out of date idiot who's never heard the term "racist," let alone understand it.  

He's a joke around the world.  And I thought corporate Dems insisted we were trying to restore the country's reputation?  

He won't be attending his own convention and he avoids answering serious questions from the press but he wants to be president?  Howie Hawkins declared at his own press conference this week:

Howie Hawkins: Trump is a loser but I'm saying now Joe Biden is complicit. He lives within commuter distance of the White House press corps and he's hiding in his basement. He could convene them to have a socially distanced news conference like, say, [New York Governor] Andrew Cuomo was doing early in the pandemic and point the direction this country needs to go in.  And he wants to be president?  Well show us.  Instead, he seems content to let Trump allow, you know, tens of thousands people to die.  And it's hurting Trump's politics but Biden, he's complicit in those deaths because he could -- he can command the attention because of being the presumptive Democrat nominee.  And he's just standing back.  And that makes me as angry at him as I am at Trump.  You know, my campaign has put out eight statements on this issue [the coronavirus pandemic] since March 3rd and we keep trying, you know, to the extent that we can get a platform, say what this country needs to do now is the Defense Production Act invoked to get a test-contact-and-trace-quarantine program [. . .]

Of that press conference, Howie's campaign notes:

Millions of evictions are coming as the federal eviction moratorium and local moratoriums runout. Unemployment is at record levels with more than 35 million lost jobs. Businesses are closing.

Medicare needs to be expanded to cover everyone in the midst of this pandemic health crisis as more than ten million have lost their health insurance due to job loss on top of the 28 million who already did not have insurance.

$2,000 per month should be provided to every person through the existence of this pandemic.

Rents and mortgages should be paid for by the federal government during this economic collapse.

Emergency regulations are needed from OSHA for workplace standards regarding COVID-19.

Enhanced unemployment should be considered as it is essential to stopping the economic collapse from worsening.

These are common sense steps that would be taken if the US were not a failed state.

In the long-run to remake the economy after this collapse, we cannot rely on private enterprise alone. We need to rebuild the economy around a Green New Deal that would transform the economy to clean and sustainable energy by 2030. Economists just put forward a plan for massive public investment to decarbonize the economy. This is what our plan calls for.

Donald Trump says climate change is a hoax, but the Democrats and Joe Biden act like climate change is a hoax. Biden is continuing the strategy of the Obama era which relies on fracked gas and oil and nuclear energy, two false, dangerous and expensive energy sources rather than calling for the transition to clean sustainable energy that is needed.

Another Joe is running for president, Joseph Kishore who is running on the Socialist Equality Party's ticket.  This week, the campaign got some bad news.  Shuvu Batta (WSWS) reports:

A panel of three judges on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has denied a request by the Socialist Equality Party’s candidates Joseph Kishore and Norissa Santa Cruz for their appeal to be heard before ballots are printed in California.

On July 27, a panel of three Ninth Circuit judges issued a decision that reads, in its entirety: “In light of the late date of the appeal, it cannot be calendared for resolution prior to August 26, 2020. The previously established briefing schedule remains in effect.” The "previously established briefing schedule" will result in the case being heard after ballots are already printed.

In response, candidates filed an emergency motion for reconsideration. This motion was denied yesterday, August 5, in a one-sentence decision that states only that the motion was "denied," without giving any reasons.

The decisions denying the candidates’ requests for an expedited schedule were made by Chief Judge Sidney R. Thomas (appointed by Democrat Bill Clinton) and Circuit Judges Mary M. Schroeder (appointed by Democrat Jimmy Carter) and Consuelo Callahan (appointed by Republican George W. Bush).

The ruling means that that the clock will effectively run out on the SEP candidates' case. The ballots will be printed without the SEP candidates' names on them before the Ninth Circuit judges will make any decision on the candidates' right to have their names printed on the ballots.

In the SEP candidates' lawsuit against California Governor Gavin Newsom and California Secretary of State Alex Padilla, the candidates challenged the state’s decision to enforce its ballot access requirements, which require independent candidates to collect nearly 200,000 physical signatures in order to appear on the ballot, in the middle of the raging pandemic.

In California, petitioning for ballot access opens up in April and closes by August, leaving independent candidates 15 weeks to accomplish this task—15 weeks in 2020 that were marked by a state lockdown and a a deadly infection spreading out of control.

The SEP initially filed the lawsuit on June 30. On July 12, the Attorney General for California responded on behalf of Newsom and Padilla, arguing that if the Socialist Equality Party candidates won their lawsuit it would cause “an unmanageable and overcrowded ballot for the November presidential general election that would cause voter confusion and frustration of the democratic process.”

The SEP candidates replied to this argument three days later, pointing out that it was California state officials “who are frustrating the democratic process—by insisting on the enforcement of ballot access requirements that are effectively impossible for Plaintiffs to comply with without endangering the safety and lives of their supporters and the public at large.”

We should note that while the press spent hours again this week 'covering' who Joe Biden might pick as his running mate, Joseph Kishore has picked his running mate: Norissa Santa Cruz.  And he did it without expecting pats on the back for picking a woman.  Joe Biden seems to think the act of picking a woman should result in a monument at Seneca Falls.  Howie Hawkins is the Green Party's presidential candidate and, guess what, he also picked a woman as his running mate: Angela Walker. He did it without weeks of press speculation and soft, easy coverage.  Joe harasses women, he's been credibly charged with rape by Tara Reade, and we're supposed to forget all of that because, at some point, some day, he's going to pick a woman to be his running mate.  Our expectations are at a record low.

Some women on a presidential ticket aren't v.p. candidates.  Jo Jorgesen, for example, is the Libertarian Party's presidential candidate and Spike Cohen is her running mate (the potential vice president).  Her campaign issued the following:

Jorgensen’s supporters hopeful of 50-state ballot-access despite challenges

MARTINSBURG, W.V.; August 4, 2020—  Dr. Jo Jorgensen, the Libertarian presidential nominee, will be attending campaign rallies Wednesday through Friday in West Virginia, Kentucky, and Tennessee, to thank supporters and give media interviews.

“Dr. Jorgensen’s commitment to the Libertarian Party platform is in large part what secured her nomination this May,” said Cristi Kendrick, Jorgensen’s Region 3 campaign director, and herself a candidate for the Kentucky state house, district 66. “And she’s not backing down on that promise to delegates–promoting her bold positions of ending the drug prohibition, recalling our soldiers home from foreign lands, and striking at the heart of the colossal federal debt.”

Kendrick added that as a down-ticket candidate, she couldn’t be luckier than to have Jorgensen pounding the pavement for Libertarian candidates nationwide.

The events are part of a 16-day, 20-city campaign bus tour partially focused on supporting petitioning efforts. Earlier this week, petitioners delivered 7,731 signatures to the Maryland elections office, well in excess of the minimum requirement of 5,000; and in Pennsylvania, more than 10,500 signatures toward the 5,000 minimum. 

Several states have reduced the number of petition signatures required during the COVID-19 pandemic as a result of party lawsuits. Only Pennsylvania and Maine refused to do so.

Campaign officials said Monday that petitioning efforts in the remaining states look promising for the Libertarian presidential and vice-presidential ticket of Dr. Jo Jorgensen and Jeremy “Spike” Cohen to appear on ballots nationwide. 

“Our goal is to give voters in all 50 states and the District of Columbia a choice for millions of new jobs, free-market health care, low taxes, and a peaceful, non-interventionist foreign policy.”

“I have been blown away by people’s excitement about our campaign,” Jorgensen said Tuesday while on the road. “This year, even many non-Libertarians have been moved to join this campaign explicitly focused on growing individual freedom and slashing big government. I look forward to meeting with voters in West Virginia, Kentucky, and Tennessee.”

On Friday, the campaign bus will head to Mississippi, followed by Louisiana.

Dr. Jorgensen’s campaign stops in (subject to change) are as follows:

Wednesday, August 5
12 P.M. — Charleston, W.V.  West Virginia State Capitol, 1900 Kanawha Blvd. East
7 P.M. — Lexington, Ky.: Old Fayette County Courthouse, 215 W. Main St.

Thursday, August 6
6 P.M. — Nashville, Tenn.: Centennial Park, 2500 West End Avenue

Friday, August 7
6 P.M.–7:30 P.M. — Collierville, Tenn.: VFW, 347 South Center Street

Media advisory: Rain or shine! The candidate will have media availability at most tour stops. A mult box will be available at the rallies, although no risers. Personal distancing protocols will be followed; hand sanitizer and masks will be provided. 

Yesterday, Jo sat down with Leyla Gulen to discuss her campaign for president.

Gloria La Riva is heading the Party for Socialism and Liberation's presidential ticket.  On Saturday, Gloria's campaign got some good news, she is now also the presidential nominee for the Peace and Freedom Party.  Gloria stated:

We are honored to be the nominees of the Peace and Freedom Party. We are running not just to represent voters, but to represent the millions without the right to vote: undocumented immigrants, permanent residents, prisoners and parolees who are unable to cast a ballot. This is their country too.


U.S. presidential candidate Gloria La Riva, who will appear on the ballot in New Mexico and other states on the Party for Socialism and Liberation’s ticket, expresses solidarity with the July 13 uprising at San Juan County jail by prisoners demanding more COVID-19 testing, better health care, and access to adequately nutritious food. 

Short clips from inmate video calls during the uprising were released on July 27 and showed one person describing the conditions: “It’s because everybody is getting sick and they keep bringing in people who are sick. They don’t feed us. We’re tired of it! They don’t give no health care … nothing!”

The criminal neglect and abuse of prisoners was the catalyst for the day-long revolt. 

Currently, 43 percent of inmates inside San Juan County jail have contracted the virus. When the Navajo Nation, partly in San Juan County, called for an investigation of prison conditions, county officials refused.

Jail administrators have reduced hot meal service to once per day during the pandemic with the shiftless excuse that there are not enough inmates to cook meals. One prisoner told The NM Political Report in July, “Most of the staff that were in the kitchen cooking, the inmates that were cooking, most of them are in here [pods for people who test positive], with COVID themselves.”

Fuel for rebellions, hunger strikes, and resistance

The situation in San Juan County jail is no different than the torturous prison conditions everywhere in the United States. Prisons across the country are overcrowded and filthy, and the people locked inside by the millions are deprived of basic access to nutritious food and health care. Rampant human rights abuses, and now the spread of COVID, are becoming the fuel for rebellions, hunger strikes, and resistance of all kinds behind prison walls, which help shine a light on the abuses that the capitalist state desperately tries to hide. 

“I condemn all aspects of the racist prison system! I denounce the politicians who wrote and signed the bills that laid the groundwork for the mass incarceration that has devastated Black, Latino, Native and poor white communities, especially the Democratic Party presidential candidate Joe Biden,” La Riva said.

Biden was quoted in 1993, saying that “every major crime bill since 1976 that’s come out of this Congress, every minor crime bill, has had the name of the Democratic senator from the State of Delaware: Joe Biden.” One year later, a grinning Joe Biden sat directly behind President Bill Clinton on the White House lawn as he signed the largest “crime” bill in U.S. history, one that sent incarceration rates into outer space. 

La Riva and the Party for Socialism and Liberation call for the immediate release of prisoners at-risk of COVID and a drastic reduction in the prison population. 

La Riva says she will continue to support the fight for human rights and dignity for the prisoners at San Juan County jail and the millions of other oppressed and working class people behind bars in the largest prison complex in the world.

End mass incarceration now!

Gloria spoke with Christina Tobin about her run for the presidency.

Howie Hawkins is the Green Party's presidential candidate and, like Jo Jorgensen, he spoke with Leyla Gulen this week.

Howie held a press conference this week.  It's not on YOUTUBE or we'd embed it.  But you can click here to stream it.  Here are some of Howie's upcoming events:

August 17: Howie will be in Philadelphia with the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign for a march, about housing and the economic collapse, that will go to Joe Biden’s national office. Lives Over Luxury protest begins at 4 pm at the Liberty Bell and goes to Biden’s campaign Office (1500 Market Street) on August 17 during the Democratic Convention. See

August 18: Howie will be petitioning in Virginia for ballot access

August 19: Howie will be at an event with the Bethesda African American Cemetery Coalition that will highlight the history of this Black community from the slave-plantation era, to an African American town to being forced out by white suburban development. See Bethesda African American Cemetary Coaltion.

Every Tuesday evening the Hawkins/Walker campaign does a livestream with questions and answers via social media. On August 11 the guest will be Ralph Nader.

 Meanwhile, Rebecca Kheel (THE HILL) reports:

About three-quarters of U.S. adults say they support bringing U.S. troops home from Iraq and Afghanistan in a new poll commissioned by the libertarian Charles Koch Institute obtained exclusively by The Hill.

In the poll, which surveyed 2,000 U.S. adults, 44 percent said they strongly support bringing U.S. troops home from Iraq and 30 percent said they somewhat support doing so.

For Afghanistan, 46 percent said they strongly support bringing troops home and 30 percent said they somewhat support it.

The following sites updated:

Thursday, August 06, 2020

I don't break bread with garbage

 I have no idea why asses like MSNBC hosts try to present Republican trash as people we need to be friends with.

Now I am not calling all Republicans trash.  There are many wonderful Republicans.  Probably the bulk of them are wonderful people.  But there's this group of whores and liars who hate Donald Trump and they're garbage.  They go around trashing Donald Trump and, on the left, we shouldn't be applauding them.  They do things like this:

They make reference to Mr Trump’s deferments from military service during the Vietnam war, calling him a “coward” and a “lying draft dodger”.

I don't know what I hate more -- macho blowhards or hypocrites?

They do get it, as they attack Donald Trump for not serving in Vietnam, don't they, that their beloved Joe Biden faked his way out of Vietnam as well?

High school and college athlete who claimed asthma to avoid serving?  That was Joe Biden.

I hate hypocrites.  And I'm not talking about Joe on this.  Joe's not being a hypocrite here.  And I'm glad he didn't serve in Vietnam and that Donald didn't serve.  I wish no one had.

But I am sick of these macho b.s. Republicans who try to pretend they're our friends now and show up to trash Donald Trump but never think about how it looks when they attack him for lying to get out of an illegal war without grasping that Joe Biden did the same thing.

Closing with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Thursday, August 6, 2020.  Oh, look, one of those 'trusted' voices on Iraq -- one who, of course, got everything wrong -- is back again to tell us all how great things are going in Iraq.

Yesterday afternoon, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL published a ridiculous piece of garbage by Sam Gollob and Michael O'Hanlon.  The piece is entitled "At Long Last, Iraq Is Getting Back On Track" -- and that title tells you everything you need to know.

You'd think THE JOURNAL would avoid this sort of garbage if only to protect whatever's left of their name.  It's not a great paper by any means but their opinion section has long harmed their image and allowed a lot of partisan Democrats to attack them for anything and everything, whether they did it or not.  

Look at the hideous Paul Greengrass.  If the #MeToo movements was going to start removing directors from positions of power, you would have thought Greengrass would have been an early starting point.  But his actions on the set remain as non-criticized as the garbage he churns out.  For our purposes, we're looking at the hideous movie THE GREEN ZONE.

The flick completely ignored its source material (Rajiv Chandrasekaran's IMPERIAL LIFE IN THE EMERALD CITY) to film a lie.  In the bad and boring movie, facts are tossed aside so that the lie can be told: It was that bad WALL STREET JOURNAL that lied us into Iraq.  Amy Ryan plays the bad reporter whose work features every baseless claim -- presented as fact -- that the Bully Boy Bush administration made.  And her character works for THE WALL STREET JOURNAL.

The character, as anyone watching the film knows, is based on Judith Miller who was the star reporter for THE NEW YORK TIMES.  It also cribs from a bad front page story that Chris Hedges wrote for THE NEW YORK TIMES.  But somehow, history gets rewritten in this bad movie so that the big offender was . . . a reporter for THE WALL STREET JOURNAL.  

Two things on the above, first off: Chris Hedges.  I like Chris.  I'm not his press agent.  It's not my job to get him good press.  We regularly highlight his work on RT and will continue to do so; however, that doesn't mean that we lie about what took place.  We are right now talking about pre-war Iraq press coverage.  The character Amy Ryan plays speaks with an anonymous source supplied to her by the government and publishes lies given to her from him.  You can't talk about that and not talk about what Chris Hedges did unless you are more committed to advancing Chris Hedges than to telling the truth.  The first front page 'report' linking 9/11 to Iraq -- falsely linking -- appeared weeks after 9/11 -- Chris Hedges had the byline, it ran on the front page of THE NEW YORK TIMES.  Not one claim in that article stands up today.  The government set Chris up with that 'insider' because they wanted their lies told to the world as fact.  Chris made it happen.

I don't hate Chris.  I like Chris.  But if we're talking about the press lies that got us into war with Iraq, Chris' report is part of those lies.  Yes, Chris went on to speak out against the war and suffered professionally for doing so.  And that's part of Chris' story as well.  But this isn't the "Chris Hedges snapshot."  It's the "Iraq snapshot."  And we're not going to use Judith Miller as our daily pinata the way so many others have.  Judith Miller printed a lot of lies and she believed them all.  She was gung-hu in Iraq, once the war started, and trying to commandeer troops to find those WMDs that she honestly -- and foolishly -- believed were in Iraq.  We have held Judith Miller accountable for what she did and will continue to do so.  We will not, however, present the lie that it was just her and we will not pretend that no one else needs to be held accountable.  To this day, my problem with Chris, he has not been accountable.  He will admit that his front page report is nonsense.  And after his main source was outed, he did agree with MOTHER JONES that the Iraqi exile had been a source.  But, as we have long pointed out, the article claimed two sources.  If the source lied -- Chris says they did, and I believe him -- then you have been burned by your source and you do not have to protect them.

We knew Judith Miller's source was Scooter Libby.  We noted that in 2004.  Long before the court case.  When Judith elected to go to jail rather than betray her source, that was fine, we applauded her for that.  But Scooter didn't burn Judith.  (He just told her Valerie Plame was a CIA agent.)  Chris was burned and he should have long ago exposed the other source and written at length about how that interview came to be -- everyone he knew at the paper that promoted the story as news, everyone in the administration that was part of providing the paper with the sources.

We called out someone who we highlighted in a video yesterday.  I don't even want to say her name.  She deserved to be called out for what we called her out for.  Saying every US servicemember who went to Vietnam was a War Criminal was an outrageous and offensive statement.  The political leaders who sent them to Vietnam?  They're all War Criminals.  But the service members who were lied to and who were sent there are not War Criminals unless they were raping or murdering children or . . .  In the Iraq War, Steven D. Green is a War Criminal -- he plotted and took part in the gang rape of Abeer and he murdered her, her sister and her parents.  The Americans at Abu Ghraib -- unless they were whistle blowers -- were War Criminals.  But every American that served in Iraq is not a War Criminal.  The political leaders who sent them to Iraq and keep them in Iraq are War Criminals.

My job is not to be a press agent for anyone.  My job is to explain to the best of my ability what is happening and what happened.  Most of us say something that deserves calling out from time to time -- including me.  And if I'm covering something and it's applicable, we're going to call them out.

Second: At this late date why is anyone treating Michael O'Hanlon as someone to listen to?  How many times can you be wrong about Iraq and still have the press treat your loony opinions as worth listening to.

Iraq is not back on track anymore than the 'surge' brought political stability to Iraq, anymore than Iraq had WMDs (they didn't) or even of the other positions O'Hanlon has argued over the years.  The only consistent aspect to his public statements about Iraq?  That they have been wrong over and over.

Iraq is in the midst of a pandemic -- like the rest of the world.  Their economy is in tatters.  They have (still) the issue of the lack of electricity and potable water.  In fact, IOM Iraq Tweeted this morning:

IOM #Iraq is rehabilitating the only water treatment plant in Al-Qurna district, #Basra governorate, with funding from
Flag of Qatar
. The project will give 100K people access to drinking water, and improve the livelihoods of local communities.

Protesters are being killed.  There is no political consensus behind the new prime minister.  Go down the list, by no means is Iraq "getting back on track."  Bobby Gosh (GULF NEWS for this link, we highlighted this yesterday at BLOOMBERG NEWS) observed this week:

All the crises he inherited have deepened. The coronavirus pandemic, already alarming when Kadhimi was sworn in, has since only grown more frightening, forcing him to announce fresh lockdowns.

The Iraqi economy, having suffered extensive collateral damage from the oil war, has weakened. Powerful, Iran-backed militias have grown more brazen. Corruption, already ingrained in the body politic, seems to have metastasised across every aspect of the state.

Even the weather has been worse than expected. Iraq is now wilting in the hottest summer ever recorded, with temperatures nearing 52 degrees Celsius (125 Fahrenheit) in Baghdad and 53C (127F) in Basra last week.

The heat threatens to bring the protests against electricity and water shortages — a summer fixture in the Iraqi political calendar — to a fever pitch. Some demonstrations in Baghdad have already boiled over into clashes with security forces: Two protesters were killed last Monday.

On the protesters, how telling that the same week the world learned of the kidnapping and torture of 16-year-old Hamid Saeed by Iraqi forces, O'Hanlon would show up to insist that Iraq was back on track.  How telling and how typical.  Mina Aldbroubi of THE NATIONAL Tweets:

For more on Saeed, see:

INDIA BLOOMS notes another rocket attack on the Green Zone yesterday.  But, hey, O'Hanlon says back on track!

In last Saturday's "Kadhimi wants to push back elections longer than necessary," we noted that Mustafa al-Kadhimi has announced early elections. They will take place, he said, in June of 2021.  As we noted, Iraq does not need that long to prepare for parliamentary elections.  They have done it in much less time -- look at the fall of 2009 and all the hand wringing that it would delay elections yet they still took place in March of 2010.  Jasper Hamann (MOROCCO WORLD NEWS) writes:

The political blocs that stand to lose in new elections will have sufficient incentive to try to stall them. Nahrain University Political Science Professor Yaseen al-Bakri told Al Monitor that “they want the current parliamentary term to be completed and avoid going to early elections because they are well aware of the little chances they have in the early elections.”

Stalling the electoral process could be as easy as hampering progress towards the establishment of a new electoral law. While parliament has passed the law, it has not sent the law to the president for approval because of disagreements between parliament’s rival factions.

Who are these unnamed political blocs?

And does he mean stall in Parliament?

The stall has traditionally come from one of Iraq's vice presidents -- they have multiple vice presidents.  Often, it is over something like the issue of the displaced and the refugees and are provisions made to allow them to vote?  

The law is not sent to the president, it's sent to the the three presidencies.  That includes the Vice Presidents.  I really think something has happened in the last years.  Either out of ignorance or out of a desire to elevate the office of the president of Iraq, journalists keep pretending that the highest position in Iraq is the president.  The presidency was given to the Kurds.  It is a ceremonial position.  If it had true power, you can be sure that Shi'ite majority Iraq would never have given the post to the Kurds.

News out of Kurdistan this morning is of the death of a prominent political figure.  RUDAW reports

A prominent Kurdish nationalist from Iran has died in Sulaimani on Thursday after a battle with COVID-19.

Jalil Gadani, a long-time member of the Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran (KDPI), passed away at Hiwa hospital in the Kurdistan Region’s eastern city on Thursday after being in intensive care for almost a week, according to an official statement published by the group on Thursday. 

Gadani, who has been involved in Kurdish Iranian politics for more than six decades, split from the KDPI in 2006 with a number of senior members to form the splinter group called Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP-Iran). He held senior positions in both parties for decades.

"Jalil Gadani was a book that was written over a 60 years period, my condolences to the Kurdish people," said Facebook user Hassan Ahmed.

While Michael O'Hanlon is praising Iraq as 'back on track,' Halgurd Sherwani (KURDISTAN 24) reports a disturbing incident that took place on Sunday:

On Sunday, Iraqi security forces detained a Kurdistan 24 team that was covering a clash between Kurdish villagers and several Arab families in the disputed Kirkuk province.

The incident occurred in the Guli Tapa village in southern parts of Kirkuk, where a confrontation ensued over land-ownership disputes. Shortly after, a Kurdistan 24 media team, made up of a reporter and a cameraman, arrived on the scene.

Local Kurds in Daquq district, where Guli Tapa is located, claimed that the Iraqi Federal Police had supported Arab families coming and attempting to take over lands Kurds own.

Upon arrival, "we were detained by a unit of Iraq's Federal Police for three hours in a window-tinted car," said Soran Kamaran, Kurdistan 24's reporter in Kirkuk province. Kurdistan 24 cameraman Nawzad Mohammad was accompanying Kamaran.

"We were told [by the security forces] that they do not allow such incidents to be reported," Kamaran said. He added that the police unit also confiscated their equipment and still hold on to them.

Syrian journalist Richard Medhurst Tweets

There are entire generations of kids in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Libya who have known nothing but war their entire lives. They've grown up with PTSD, anxiety, depression because of Obama. No one talks about the toll on their mental health. Are they not human? Don't they matter?

New content at THIRD:

The following sites updated: