Saturday, December 05, 2020


 Do you like Yungblud?  

I recently discovered his music, I really like "Teresa" from his new album WEIRD!  NME has a report on him that includes:

The Doncaster-born musician painted himself as a lovelorn reject on 2017’s self-titled debut EP, but on the cover for ‘Weird!’ – featuring seven different versions of himself, including two kissing – he embraces his generation’s penchant for complicated and contrasting personalities. He says that he tried to use the cover to reflect the influences that punk fashion hero Vivienne Westwood, Squeeze lyricist Chris Difford and even, er, Aldous Snow – the fictional rockstar played by Russell Brand in 2010 film Get Him To the Greek – have had on him.

“I feel like I’m seven different people at once and I wanted to reflect that in this cover,” he tells NME a couple of weeks later on Zoom, sporting yellow-tinged “Elvis Costello glasses” and a messy red-topped mop. Make that eight, then.

Whoever Yungblud strives to be on any given day, he plays each role with serious conviction on the brilliantly bonkers new album. There are My Chemical Romance theatrics on ‘The Freak Show’ and ‘Theresa’, a splash of Beastie Boys braggadocio on mind-bending ‘Superdeadfriends!’ and Lily-Allen-meets-Blur’s-’Parklife’ on the Britpop-nodding romp ‘Charity’. It’s a complete riot, committed to being a mash-up of all of his influences, reflective of his generation’s genreless listening habits.

“I always ask myself three things when I’m writing a song,” he explains. “Firstly, ‘Am I telling the truth in this song?’ Then I ask myself, ‘Could anyone else sing it?’ And does this mean everything to me right now in this moment?’ If those questions get answered, then I’ll record it and release it – and I think every song on this album fits that criteria.”

The Yungblud from three years ago would probably also like to know that he got this current point by being authentically himself. He’s gone from drinking Stella Artois with a then-unknown Lewis Capaldi to being one of the most influential and impactful rock stars of the decade. His 2018 debut album ‘21st Century Liability’ and 2019 follow-up EP ‘The Underrated Youth’ were explosive statements for a rebel with a cause.

He since has collaborated with blink-182 drummer Travis Barker and pop megastar Halsey, gained praise from Dave Grohl and Taylor Swift, shut down New York’s Times Square for the launch of ‘Original Me’’s music video, and bagged an NME Award for Best Video in February this year. But this thing has nowhere near peaked yet: his first arena shows are booked in the UK for next year. At no point has he compromised his sound or beliefs.

His origin story reads like one from a comic book: Harrison was born in Doncaster, but a move to a performing arts school in London aged 15 didn’t pan out – he found himself struggling to fit in with the cliques. He used the rejection to fuel his own community, the Black Hearts Club (BHC), a diverse collection of outsiders who find solace in his music. Their stories include discussing mental health and sexual fluidity, while campaigning for trans rights and anti-racism: the Yungblud umbrella welcomes and listens to all.



Here's a video performance that was just released 3 hours ago.



And I'll note "Mars."



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

 Friday, December 4, 2020.  Protests continue in Nasiriyah despite Moqtada's killing protesters there last Friday.

This morning, protests take place in Nasiriyah, one week after cleric and public menace Moqtada al-Sadr sent his thugs in to kill civilians there.  KIRKUK NOW Tweets:

Protests in the southern Iraqi city Nasiriyah (in Dhi Qar province) continue today. Security forces are spread out throughout the city, blocking main roads. Big demonstration expected after Friday sermon: local sources. Map:;

Dilan Sirwan (RUDAW) reports:

Protestors returned to Habboubi Square, the focal point of the southern Iraqi city's protests, to rebuild more durable structures using bricks after Sadr’s supporters attacked them and burned their tents down last Friday. Protesters were forced out of their tents and shot at by Sadr supporters, leaving at least seven people dead and scores wounded in a city which has significant bloodshed since demonstrations began last October. 

A week later, protestors rallied again, chanting their “cowards do not build freedom” slogan, demanding their rights from the government, and asking that killers of protesters pay for their crimes.

“We will continue protesting – it is our constitutional right that no one can take away,” Amir Karim, a protestor told Rudaw’s Halkawt Aziz.

The protestors of Nasiriyah have several demands.

“We want the people who shed our blood to be hanged, we are families of those martyrs and they need to pay for their murder,” a protestor said. “We have no electricity, no proper sewage system, no form of life.”

For any who missed last week's assault, let's drop back to Monday's snapshot to note this:

Friday saw an attack on the peaceful protesters in Nassariya.  This was an attack, it was not a ''clash.''  The protesters had been in al Haboubi Square for some time.  When Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi ordered the Baghdad square attacked and the tents torn down a month ago, he attempted something similar in Nassaiya.  It did not fly in the city, it did not fly in the province (Dhi Qar Governorate).  Mustafa had to back down and the protesters continued their peaceful protest.  As Sinan Mahmoud (THE NATIONAL) observed yesterday, "The coronavirus and violence against demonstrators has seen the moement slow elsewhere but it endures in Nasiriyah."

Friday, they were attacked.  The death toll has now risen to 16.  With over 80 more left injured that number could continue to increase.  

Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr ordered the attack.  Dilan S. Hussein (RUDAW) reports that Moqtada told his cult to "clean up the 'atheism' that he said had taken over the city's streets" before sending them out on Friday.  They arrived at the square with loaded guns, in four-wheel vehicles and with props.  

 Basra journalist Mohammed Qasim Tweets:

#Muqtada al-Sadr’s militia mixed alcohol with the #Rainbow flag, meaning that homosexuals and #alcohol are corruption and must be eliminated, and this is a public violation of #human rights.

Moqtada gave the orders and then sicked his rabid cult on the protesters.  

This was a planned assault.  Not only does the Iraqi government need to disarm his goons, they need to put them on trial.  Equally true, it was not necessary for the cult to enter the town square (al Haboubi square) -- where the peaceful protesters were -- and have been for over a year -- in order to get to any destination. They chose to enter that square, they did so with props and they did so with guns.  And they chose to enter the square in "four wheel drive vehicles."  This was not a 'clash,' it was a planned assault.

Ridha al-Rikabi was among those attacked last Friday.  Moqtada's cult shot Ridah in the head.  Monday, AFP reports, he passed away and the streets of Nasiriya were filled with thousands of people who turned out to march in his funeral.

Here are two Tweets of the thousands who turned out.

The funeral of Rida Al-Rikabi who died of his injuries after supporters of #Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr opened fire at protesters in #Haboubi Square, Nasiriyah on Nov 28. #ساحة_الحبوبي
Quote Tweet
Amer Ibrahim عامر إبراهيم
تشييع الشهبد "رضا الركابي" الذي استشهد متأثراً بجراحه بعد حادثة إقتحام #ساحة_الحبوبي قبل يومين .
0:21 / 1:23

The attack wasn't just a physical assault, it is also believed to be part of an effort by Moqtada al-Sadr to become the next prime minister.  Mustafa al-Kadhimi, Iraq's current failed prime minister, has stated elections will take place on June 1st -- parliamentary elections.   Iraq Security and Humanitarian Monitor notes this timeline:

On November 21, the Cabinet asked for IQD60 billion to finance the Iraqi High Elections Commission and PM Kadhimi later stressed that Parliament must pass an election financing bill to allow the Commission to prepare for the June 6 polls. On November 22, Parliament discussed a controversial Law on Information Technology Crimes that was condemned by rights organizations fearing that it will damage free speech and silence dissent. On November 26, representative Ahmed al-Jubouri (aka Abu Mazin) said the recently formed Iraqi Front has halted its efforts to remove Speaker Mohammed al-Halbousi. On November 27, followers of Moqtada al-Sadr rallied for mass demonstrations in several provinces and clashed with protesters in Nasiriyah’s Haboubi Square. Gunmen believed to be Sadr followers killed seven people, wounded 90 and burned protester tents in Haboubi Square. A Sadr aide blamed protesters acting on “foreign agendas” for the deadly clashes and threatened more violence. PM Kadhimi fired the police chief and formed a crisis cell led by his National Security Advisor Qasim al-Araji. Thousands of Sadrists also gathered in Baghdad’s Tahrir square after Sadr said he will participate in the next elections to achieve a Sadrist majority and choose the next PM. On November 28, three more protesters died as Iraqi riot police stormed the protest square at Kut City. more…

Omar al-Jaffal (AL-MONITOR) explains:

Iraqi Shiite cleric and leader of the Sadrist movement Muqtada al-Sadr has launched what looks like an early electoral campaign in preparation for the parliamentary elections slated for June 6. Sadr had said before that he would not participate in the elections this time, but he has changed his mind and declared that not only will he participate in the elections, he also plans to win a majority required to gain the premiership.

Sadr has ordered his followers to gather on Dec. 4, in a mass demonstration attending Friday pray and declare unity against the opponents. This was seen as mobilization for widespread participation in the early parliamentary elections.

In the same vein, thousands of his supporters answered Sadr’s call to demonstrate in Tahrir Square in the center of Baghdad on Nov. 27, demanding “an end to corruption.”

Sadr did not attend the protests to address his supporters, some of whom were wearing army fatigues. He sent a representative, Sheikh Khudhayer al-Ansari, who tried to emulate the religious and political oratory style of Sadr and his father, Mohammed Sadiq al-Sadr.

Sadr’s propaganda among his supporters is that he “does not seek to be in power” but “wants to vanquish those who want to harm Iraq.”

The top Shiite cleric tried to reassure the people and political forces that his move to win the elections will not be through “violence, killings, starting fires, blocking roads, bombing, occupation or any form of injustice.”

Nonetheless, Sadr’s supporters put on quite a violent show in the city of Nasiriyah, capital of the Dhi Qar governorate, raising speculation that Sadr might resort to violence to snatch a victory in the early elections and secure the position of prime minister.


Drama Queen and Cult leader Moqtada al-Sadr has long wanted to be prime minister.  An arrest warrant from the early years of the war has held him in check in the past.  Whenever he feared it might be executed, he would flee to Iran and hide out there for months.

Moqtada now appears to think it is time to seize the day and become prime minister.  The Iranian government held him in check in 2010 -- a fact few observers ever even noted.  Moqtada betrayed his followers that year -- he held a poll for them to explain who they supported for prime minister with the promise that he would honor their wishes but then the Iranian government (like the US government) wanted thug Nouri al-Maliki to have a second term.  Moqtada immediately threw his support behind Nouri and betrayed his followers (again).  No one likes to note that reality.  But it happened in public.  It's a fact.  

Moqtada's a betrayer -- repeatedly.

He's also a failed 'leader.'  He's been resorting to homophobic attacks since April.  Again, we've noted it here.  Western media outlets seem unable to note it -- TV or print or radio.  

This is when Moqtada really attempts to tear apart the protest movement that most state took off on October 1, 2019.  (They're wrong.  It started September 30th but the western press didn't report on that massive protest so the 'record' now has it beginning on October 1, 2019.)  

Tearing apart that movement is behind the attack last Friday.  Why is Moqtada doing that?  He has nothing to run on.  His followers still live in slums -- in Baghdad, Sadr City is the most physically disgusting area of the city, "slum" does not begin to describe it.  Moqtada never achieved anything himself.  (I think he got accounting training when he was hiding out in Iraq at one point and working as a hotel clerk.)  Even his position of 'leader' came about by accident.  Moqtada didn't lead anyone.  Daddy's little boi just took over when Daddy died.  And since taking over, he's delivered nothing for the people.

So what does that have to do with the protest movement?  It has delivered.  It has shined a light on the corruption in Iraq, it has demonstrated how ineffective the government is and it has provided a voice to many Iraqis that are left out of the conversation by the politicians who supposedly represent them and by the international media which supposedly covers them.

Most important?  They toppled Hayder al-Abadi's government.  He was prime minister when the protests began.  They sent him packing.  Mustafa only became prime minister on May 7th.

That's a huge accomplishment, sending a sitting prime minister packing.  Ousting him before his term has ended.  Former US President Barack Obama had to apply a lot of pressure to oust Nouri after his second term ended.  After it ended.  But the protesters managed to oust an ineffective prime minister before his term ended.

That's amazing.

And Moqtada wants credit for it.  AFP reports that Moqtada's been Tweeting various claims including that he's responsible for installing Mustafa and for changing the electoral law.

He's not responsible for that.  His cult did briefly participate in the protests before he pulled them, then sent them back in, then pulled them, then . . .  

He needs something to run on.  While the actual protesters are still protesting and in the news, it's a lot more difficult for him to cliam

His sick cult runs a campaign of intimidation against anyone who speaks out.  Even MPs are scared of Moqtada (three have e-mailed the public account in the last few days expressing alarm over Moqtada's actions, alarm they don't feel safe expressing publicly).  The protesters aren't scared of him.  They laugh at him.  They mocked the drama queen when he tried to take control of the movement in April -- after walking out yet again -- by insisting that men and women could not protest together.

Moqtada gets nervous around women.  He's rather impotent.  

Moqtada campaigning for prime minister right now can make claims like he has and will be laughed at by many and the press -- the Iraqi press, the US press isn't interested -- can quote them and be objective.  If they protesters are silenced and sent home, will the press -- on their own -- have the backbone to challenge Moqtada's claims?

Moqtada is a very dangerous sociopath and that's reality.  He manages to hold it together for a few years -- during which time, he is on medication for his bipolar disorder and anxiety but he, according to two close to him, feels the medication is a sign of weakness so he goes off it and we get crazy Moqtada -- the real Moqtada that the medications conceal but not overrule.


But he and his goons don't scare everyone.  We'll note this Tweet:

2. Leader visits the Rāfidhī Muqtada al-Sadr, leader of Sunni death squad Jaysh al-Mahdi, responsible for killing 1000 Sunnis in Baghdād in ONE DAY, and gifts him 30 brand new cars.

That's Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the photo with Moqtada -- the photo's from their July 2017 meet-up.

And we'll note this Tweet:

A Basra National Ballet presentation. Muqtada al-Sadr staring in. “ Dancing with Grizzly Adams” Watch #Sadr through interpretative dance befriend a bear and fall in love. Co-staring The Basra Bear. Brought to you by #Iran

Oh, Moqtada, the whole world laughs at you.   Let's note this Tweet:

The terrorist Muqtada al-Sadr is the biggest head of terrorism in iraq

No one respects Moqtada, he's a sick f**k.  Even his cult knows this on some level.  

But Mustafa is working with Moqtada -- or using him.  It's become very clear that Mustafa wants a second term as prime minister despite stating he would be prime minister for one brief term that would end when parliamentary elections resulted in the seating of a new Parliament and the naming of a new prime minister (after the 30 days as prime minister-designate).  So it appears Mustafa is using Moqtada to meet Mustafa's aims.

Mustafa has repeatedly claimed that he is protecting the protesters.  But he's not.  And no one who has killed a protester has been brought to justice.

No, Mustafa wants the protests over as well.  They are a testament to his failures.  So he's using 'security' as an excuse to carry out attacks on the protesters.  This Tweet:

Observers: The military force sent by (Kazemi) to the city of Nasiriyah aims to end the demonstrations and arrest the activists, not to protect the demonstrations.

The protesters have been followed, stalked, attacked, injured and killed.  They're not backing down.

Nassiriyah re-raises the slogan "People want to overthrow the regime" in response to latest violence against protestors.
Quote Tweet
حسين آل ثانـيَ 
Flag of Iraq
Down-pointing red triangle
على دين الناصريه ... وماتقول!

Mustafa, Moqtada and the other cowards who fled the country when things got rough for them (under Saddam or since) don't understand the protesters because they don't understand courage.  

That's what the protesters have -- courage.  And they can see a better Iraq that serves all the citizens.  That's what they're fighting for and that dream is not going to die no matter how many times the protesters are attacked.  

Turning to the US, from yesterday's snapshot:

The wars go on.  And so does the incompetence of Joe Biden who, please remember, helped start the illegal war and continued it.  He's putting together a cabinet and it's a cabinet of eye sores.  Neera Tandem, for example, presided over a toxic work culture at the Center For American Progress where women were repeatedly harassed on the job and where their complaints were not taken seriously.  Neera finally 'addressed' the issue after the media reported on it -- she did so by holding a staff wide meeting where she outed one of the women who had gone to the press.

That should mean the end of any career in management Neera might have.  But Joe looked at it and said, "Hey, she's my kind of girl.  I'm accused of harassment by multiple women and accused of assault by one woman.  I could send a strong message that I will not tolerate harassment in my administration but, what the hell, let's run with Neera instead."

I don't believe Gina Raimondo tops Neera but she's certainly just as bad.  Julia Rock and Andrew Perez (DAILY POSTER) report:

I was wrong.  She isn't just as bad.  She had the brains to drop out.  Kenny Stancil (COMMON DREAMS) reports:

Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo, a Democrat who had emerged as the frontrunner to be President-elect Joe Biden's health secretary despite overseeing one of the deadliest Covid-19 outbreaks in the United States, announced Thursday that she has removed herself from contention for the job, much to the delight of progressives who had strongly opposed her candidacy and potential nomination. 

Neera is too stupid to care about the damage she's doing to Joe's presidency.  Before he's even sworn in, she's brought too much grief and, if she had any sense or wanted to help Joe, she would announce she was declining the nomination to head OMB to 'spend more time with my family.'

Neera's too stupid and too arrogant.  Gina at least has some sense.  She realized the very real damage her nomination was doing to the incoming administration and she bowed out.  

At JACOB, Meagan Day and Branko Marcetic have articles about Biden's campaign that are worth checking out.  Also worth checking out is ON THE ISSUES WITH MICHELE GOODWIN.  That's a podcast Michele is doing for Ms. Magazine.  The podcat is audio but after the audio is posted, they are putting transcripts up as well.

The following sites updated: