Friday, June 18, 2021

Diana Ross, Chase Rice, Nelly, Machine Gun Kelly, Pink

Five new tracks?

First off, read Elaine's "5 great Diana Ross tracks" and Betty's "Diana Ross."  Diana released a new track this week, "Thank You."

Really love that track and have high hopes for Diana's new album which will come out in September.  Next up, Chase Rice released a new video, "If I Didn't Have You."

That is a great song from an album (THE ALBUM) filled with great songs.  Please check it out if you haven't already.

Third, Pink's "All I Know So Far" which is about three weeks old but that's still new.

Pinks not to be counted out.  Her career's been varied and had strong and long legs.  "All I Know So Far" proves she can still thrill and surprise.

Fourth, and also three weeks old, is Maching Gun Kellys "Love Race." 

The video gives the song new life. 

Fifth, this week Nelly released "Lil Bit."

Nelly seems to be having a creative resurgence of late.


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

 Friday, June 28, 2021.  We look at refugees for today's snapshot because . . . 

Sunday is World Refugee Day.  UNHCR explains:

What is World Refugee Day?

World Refugee Day is an international day designated by the United Nations to honour refugees around the globe. It falls each year on June 20 and celebrates the strength and courage of people who have been forced to flee their home country to escape conflict or persecution. World Refugee Day is an occasion to build empathy and understanding for their plight and to recognize their resilience in rebuilding their lives.

Why is World Refugee Day important?

World Refugee Day shines a light on the rights, needs and dreams of refugees, helping to mobilize political will and resources so refugees can not only survive but also thrive. While it is important to protect and improve the lives of refugees every single day, international days like World Refugee Day help to focus global attention on the plight of those fleeing conflict or persecution. Many activities held on World Refugee Day create opportunities to support refugees.

When is World Refugee Day? When did World Refugee Day start?

World Refugee Day falls each year on June 20 and is dedicated to refugees around the globe. World Refugee Day was held globally for the first time on June 20, 2001, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees. It was originally known as Africa Refugee Day, before the United Nations General Assembly officially designated it as an international day in December 2000.

What happens on World Refugee Day?

Each year, World Refugee Day is marked by a variety of events in many countries around the globe in support of refugees. These activities are led by or involve refugees themselves, government officials, host communities, companies, celebrities, school children and the general public, among others. 

UNHCR notes that Germany is the country that hosts the most refugees (1.2 million -- with over two-thirds being from Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria).  And the agency Tweets:

The COVID-19 pandemic brought the world to a standstill. But wars didn’t stop. A record number of people were forced to flee their homes by the end of 2020. We need peace now more than ever.

The pandemic continues but, note, the lockdown did not result in a decrease in the number of refugees for 2020.   In fact, the numbers increased with an estimated 82/4 million worldwide being refugees.  The Kurdistan  Region of Iraq hosts a large number of refugees.  NRT Tweets:

Kurdistan Region hosts 928,674 refugees and IDPs: JCC Erbil and Duhok each host about 40% of total, Sulaimani 19% #NRTnews #Iraq #TwitterKurds #IDPs #Refugees

UNHCR issued the following:

United States. Afghan refugee design World Refugee Day logo

Hangama Amiri, an Afghan-Canadian artist and former refugee is the designer of the 2021 World Refugee Day Twitter emoji.   © UNHCR/Ashley Le

NEW YORK – UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, and Twitter have teamed up with a refugee to design an emoji honouring the millions of people forced to flee war and persecution.

UNHCR and Twitter commissioned Afghan-Canadian artist Hangama Amiri to create the emoji for World Refugee Day, celebrated each year on 20 June. It is the first time the emoji has been designed by a refugee. The design features a blue heart cupped between two hands to symbolize protection and solidarity. It goes live today and will be activated on any tweet that uses the hashtags #WorldRefugeeDay, #WithRefugees and #RefugeeDay, in any of 12 languages, through 23 June.

“Twitter is pleased to continue our partnership with UNHCR with the creation of this emoji honouring those who are forced to flee war and persecution,” said Twitter’s Director of Public Policy, Government and Philanthropy for Middle East and North Africa, George Salama. “We are especially proud that this year for the first time, the emoji has been designed by a refugee, Afghan-Canadian artist Hangama Amiri. We hope that Hangama’s story will inspire others and the emoji will help to raise awareness and demonstrate solidarity with the refugee community worldwide.”

Hangama Amiri was born in a refugee camp in Pakistan and displaced multiple times as a child due to the conflict raging in her native Afghanistan. As a young refugee, Amiri said drawing helped her feel safe and make sense of things around her. 

While living in Tajikistan, she received a scholarship after winning an art competition held by UNHCR. In 2005, she and her family were resettled in Nova Scotia, Canada. She recently completed a graduate degree at the Yale School of Art in the United States. Her colourful textile work explores issues related to feminism, geopolitics and memory and has been exhibited across Europe, Canada and the United States. 

“I decided to come up with an idea around hope, togetherness and love,” Amiri said. “As a refugee, the love around me was the only thing I held on to.” She created a tangible version of the digital emoji by sewing together scraps of colourful fabric, a technique she uses frequently in her artwork. 

More than 80 million people around the world have been forced to flee their homes, seeking refuge within their own country or across borders. 

The United Nations designated 20 June as World Refugee Day 20 years ago to mark the 50th anniversary of the 1951 Convention on the Status of Refugees. Twitter has worked with UNHCR for several years to raise awareness of the rights, needs and hopes of forcibly displaced people.

This World Refugee Day, UNHCR calls for the greater inclusion of refugees in our communities, and especially access to health care, education and sport.  

“The shared experience of COVID-19 has taught us that we are stronger when we work together,” said Gisella Lomax, Head of Social Media at UNHCR. “This year’s World Refugee Day emoji is about togetherness and love, and we encourage Twitter users to share it as a sign of solidarity for all people forced from home.”

Throughout the pandemic, social media has been a lifeline to many for vital health information, for news, for interactions with friends and family and more. It has also been important to organisations like UNHCR, where social media - and especially Twitter - is a central part of our communications and external outreach, enabling us to inform, inspire and mobilise action. UNHCR is grateful to Twitter for their long-standing partnership and support for our work and the refugee cause.

Abdallah al-Obaid shares his story at UNHCR:

Stay away from the windows!” my first grade teacher shouted as the school shook from an explosion. The windows shattered into a million crystal shards. I was the target.

Through the suffocating smoke, I crawled outside the burning classroom lightheaded. I held onto my teacher, afraid of being left behind, afraid of inhaling the smoke or the smoke inhaling me. I saw flames outside the window and shards of glass over my friends’ bodies. I never saw them again.

A few weeks before the bomb, my father received a death threat for notifying American forces about a government torture facility. His patriotism put our family in mortal danger. It cost him, and our family’s future in Iraq -- and very nearly our lives.

I hid in an empty fridge under the stairs during air raid sirens. I overheard my parents talking in the living room. My mom said, "We have to leave. Iraq is not safe anymore.” When I heard that discussion, I was a child -- the next day I became a refugee.

We fled to Jordan and for eight years lived with no citizenship, no health insurance and very limited opportunities. While a refugee, I learned to play the guitar. I was finding my voice through music. As I healed, I was becoming more aware of those around me, and I grew a desire to help ease their physical and emotional suffering. It was in Jordan that my dreams of one day becoming a doctor began to take shape.

In 2013, after eight years of living as refugees, my family was accepted to resettle in the United States. We landed at the JFK airport and after six hours of background checks, the immigration officer said, “Welcome to America.”

Abdallah at Emory

We moved to Winder, Georgia, and at first, I had the feeling that I was losing my voice again. Before I even started school, the board of education decided it was impossible for me to pass the state tests and suggested I repeat 9th grade. But I was hungry to move forward and I petitioned the school board to let me take the state exams. I taught myself English by reading the dictionary, and word by word, I learned English, and passed all the exams. I was finding my voice again, this time in another language. A few short years later, I graduated as the student body president and was accepted to Emory University.

At Emory, I began volunteering as a medical interpreter at a clinic in Clarkston, Georgia. One of my first experiences as an interpreter was with a refugee from Syria. He arrived at the clinic disoriented and spoke no English. At that moment, I was helping him find his voice.

“He’s on Lisinopril, Bisoprolol and Aspirin,” I told the doctor. I listed his medications and medical history. He said “shukran, Arabic for thank you, to me. I said to him in Arabic, “I too once spoke no English. I am here for you.” Then we talked about his favorite foods and his family. It mattered to me to learn about him and to try and help him feel more comfortable in that moment.

Volunteering as an interpreter at the clinic only fueled my interest in pursuing a career in the medical field. Although still a college student, I wanted to do more. I became an EMT.

My first patient had a cardiac arrest. I got the call over the radio, “Med 67 you are dispatched to a house fire!” There was no house, only flames. This smell of smoke was familiar.

Flashbacks leaked into my mind as if I were standing in my classroom again. A woman lay on the grass. Motionless. I started CPR. With each compression, my hands would slide on her burned skin, “1, 2; 9; 29…” Sweat was dripping from inside my gloves as we got to the ER. I did everything I could, but I could not save her.

The realization of my own powerlessness was humbling. Sometimes, even doing everything right is not enough, and that is okay. 

Abdallah in EMT uniform

Soon after beginning my job as an EMT, the COVID-19 pandemic gripped the world. I was now a first responder working in the midst of a global pandemic. In the last year, I’ve not only witnessed the disparity of healthcare in different communities in Georgia but experienced how unprepared and under-equipped we were at times to safely do our jobs during a public health crisis as first responders. My hope for the future is to become a doctor and care for my patients, but I also want to be part of a movement that creates a system where no one feels left behind.

The culmination of everything I have experienced in life, medicine is my commitment to science and to people. Healing takes time: even with music, it took me years to overcome the stigma of being a refugee, and the trauma I faced as a child. At the heart of every patient interaction is my desire to listen, as a human, and help the other person find their own voice.

Abdallah illustrated

I traveled 7,000 miles for a chance for a new home, for a future. Not many refugees are as lucky as I am. I am one of the few refugees given another chance. In 2019 I became an American citizen, and I’m so happy about that, but I still think of everything I lost. Like my family home in Iraq. We had a garden filled with white gardenias that I used to play in as a kid. Still to this day, when I want to think about Iraq and my childhood, I light a gardenia-scented candle and for those moments I’m back in our courtyard.

Today, I am grateful for where I am. The dream of becoming a doctor that began to take shape as a child in Jordan is becoming a reality. I was recently admitted to the Tufts University School of Medicine. There is a lot more to do but I know with hard work, and support from family and friends, I will find my voice once again, this time, as a doctor.

Abdallah's story is just one voice from the Refugee Youth Storyteller’s Celebration we are sharing in recognition of World Refugee Day on June 20.

April Hunt writes about Abdallah for Emory University's website here.

In 2020, the government of Turkey celebrated World Refugee Day by bombing a refugee camp in Iraq -- but they did so in April so maybe that's why most of the world didn't note that government's 'humanitarian' contribution?   This year, they did the bombing just a few weeks prior to World Refugee Day.  Karwan Faidhi Dri  (RUDAW) reported:                                                                            

Three people were killed in a suspected Turkish airstrike near Makhmour camp in northern Iraq on Saturday afternoon.

“It was an airstrike and took place near Makhmour refugee camp. According to confirmed information, three people have died,” Sirwan Barzani, commander of Peshmerga forces on the Makhmour-Gwer front, told Rudaw.

A resident of the camp, who asked to be identified only as Ahmed, had earlier told Rudaw that Turkish air forces bombed the camp, killing at least one person and injuring a second.

Rashad Galali, deputy head of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) office in Erbil, also told Rudaw that three people died.

Makhmour camp hosts more than 12,000 Kurdish refugees who fled persecution by the Turkish state, mainly in the 1990s. It is located in areas disputed between Erbil and Baghdad. 

REUTERS report on the bombing included this:


U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield visited Ankara last week and said she told officials that "any attack targeting civilians at Makhmour refugee camp would be a violation of international and humanitarian law".

After the bombing, Turkey refused to acknowledge the deaths of civilians -- a pattern -- but instead quickly claimed to have killed 'terrorists' -- again, a pattern.

Khazan Jangiz  (RUDAW) reported Wednesday:                                                                           

An Iraqi security and ministerial delegation visited the Makhmour refugee camp on Monday to investigate recent Turkish attacks on the camp that have killed four people.

"Baghdad's joint delegation searched the camp. We called for the protection of civilians, and we said that the Kurdistan Region has not allowed our people to enter Erbil and Duhok for two years," Haji Kachan, co-chair of the Makhmour Camp Council, told Rudaw on Monday.

Makhmour camp hosts more than 12,000 Kurdish refugees who fled persecution by the Turkish state, mainly in the 1990s. It is located in areas disputed between Erbil and Baghdad. Ankara believes the camp has ties with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). On June 5, a Turkish airstrike near the camp killed three people and on Friday, Turkey claimed it killed a senior PKK official near Makhmour.

The Iraqi government delegation that visited included representatives from the interior and migration ministries, as well as security officials. They asked to set up an Iraqi administration in the camp and make some changes in order to increase protection for the residents, according to Kachan.

The deputy commander of Iraqi Joint Operations on Monday said they need to boost protection for the camp. “Security will be enhanced with the presence of local police forces,” said Lieutenant-General Abdul Amir al-Shammari.

The world watches as most media outlets just present unverified claims made by the Turkish government as facts just as the world watches as the Turkish government takes no acc ountability for the destruction they caused and are causing.  

Meghan Bodette Tweets:

is quick to respond every time the Turkish military faces a minor setback in its efforts to illegally occupy more of Syria and Iraq. When a violent racist attacks an opposition party and murders a Kurdish woman, they tweet about refugees and the Dust Bowl.

Wrapping up quickly.  What does a BAD FAITH interview have to do with an ECONOMIST article e-mails are demanding we note?  That neither are going to be noted.  Elections are supposed to take place in Iraq this October.  And we're not going to part of the latest wave of Operation Happy Talk.  They've scaled back, yes, but it's still propaganda.  As for the interview on BAD FAITH?

Not interested.

A disgusting piece of trash is now a co-host of a YOUTUBE program.  Since he became a host and since  Krystal and Saagar left, the show has lost its audience.  Look at Bri-Bri come along to offer him a rescue line.  Oh, he admits, now, that FORCE THE VOTE was a good strategy?  Now?  After it no longer matters, after he's slandered and slimed so many people?

He doesn't mean it.  He's just trying to save his job because the numbers on that program are awful.  Meanwhile, Krystal and Saagar are doing just fine with a huge start to their new program. BREAKING POINTS.  We're not here to save a piece of trash's job.  Nor are we stupid.  He needs people to talk about him -- which is why we're not mentioning his name -- and we're not going to help him out.  I doubt this sincerity for good reason and I don't see that interview as worth promoting.

Speaking of, a number of you have noticed that a friend of mine is no longer being promoted here.  You know what she did, come on, you know.  That's why I threw my weight behind her competitor who will now have stations that my now former friend could have had.  We all know what she did.  And on that, I guess the answer there is for me and everyone else to grasp that she might be able to do fluff and funny fluff but we really don't need 'truth' from a woman who never really went to school and who certainly spent more time in rehab than she ever did in a classroom.  Airheads gotta produce wind, I guess, and she certainly did.  Done.  And, as with the piece of trash noted above, the best way to address it was not to address it.  A statement here?  That would have fed the media circus she was attempting to create.  So we just stopped noting her, stopped mentioning her.  As though nothing had ever happened which is really her career from this day forward.  

Elaine's "5 great Diana Ross tracks" is now up.  I didn't see it and I was there when she wrote it last night so I checked, she forgot to hit publish.  It's up now and the following sites have also updated.

The following sites updated:

  • Wednesday, June 16, 2021

    Chase Rice

    At TASTE OF COUNTRY, Evan Paul notes:

    Some of my favorite songs on country radio in July 2021 are: 
    Chase Rice and Florida Georgia Line, "Drinking Beer. Talking God. Amen." This is a bonfire jam, no doubt. This isn't the first time Chase Rice has teamed up with Florida Georgia Line, though — he co-wrote "Cruise" with the boys back in 2012. You can expect this song to jump up the charts quickly in the coming months. 

    Elle King and Miranda Lambert, "Drunk (And I Don't Wanna Go Home)" is going to be the song of the summer this year. Mark my words. It sounds so fun and it has twice the star power with Elle and Miranda both on it.

    Zac Brown Band, "Same Boat" has the same vibe as their songs "Chicken Fried" and "Toes," but the lyrics are more about how we all need to get along as a whole and make the world a better place. I like the sound of this song and I do believe it will be here for a long time.


    C.I. highlighted Chase's song back in April or March.(Elaine just said it was April 7th). So I really forget that it's still new. It takes a while to climb the charts. So here's the video

    Here's the video.

    I remember when, on WIKIPEDIA, the song was like #75 on the country chart. It says 17 right now at WIKIPEDIA but they haven't updated. This week it moved up to 16.

    So it's still climbing. Back when C.I. highlighted the official video, it was 200,000 something views. The audience has built for the video big time. It's at 1.7 million views currently.

    This is from a CMT interview he did:

    CMT: How has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted how this album came together?

    Rice: It got messed up just like a lot of people’s anything, lives, it got messed up last year. So it’s really cool to see “The Nights” finally make it on a record. I always planned on having “The Nights” be on the final part, no matter what it was and so I was excited about that. “If I Didn’t Have You,” I was like, “Man, this song is old, I wrote it like three years ago, but I’ve always wanted to put on a project.” So it was like these songs that didn’t have a place finally had a place. Part three was the hardest thing I’ve done because I had to step away. I needed my sanity so I stepped away and let the producer, Zach Kale, finish the project, which is not the way I did it on part one and two. I got into a completely different mindset because I was off all year last year and I was like, “Man, these songs are perfect.” We finalized it while I’m also writing my next record, which is going to be a full album either later this year, or early next year.

    What can you tell me about the next project?

    I’ve written three tracks on the record by myself. Who knows how many more I will, but I’m in the middle of recording that one right now. Once I dive into this next record, which I haven’t even fully dove into because obviously we’re focused on part three right now, but it’s going to be something pretty special.

    What life lessons or hobbies have you picked up over the past year that you think you’ll carry forward?

    In my mind, I was like, “If they’re going to make us take a year off, then I’m going to take advantage of it.” Because in the beginning I was pissed. Then a month or so goes by and I have a group of friends that continues to hang out at my farm, that I can play these songs for sitting around fires, sitting around my bar and going to their places, hanging out with their families, their kids. I got to live life for the first time in eight years and while doing that, I finished the album and the coolest part for me is the next record that’s coming because of the time off. Man, these songs that I’m looking at, it’s going to be insane.

    For many artists, one positive thing that has come from the pandemic has been time to focus on writing.

    I’m never going to do it again where I tour, tour, tour while I’m trying to write for a project. I’m going to always, now from here on out, take time off to write a record because that’s what I’m finding with this next album that I’m putting together is the songs are just a whole other level because they’re not trying to be something, they just are.

    You have a Top 20–and climbing–hit right now with Florida Georgia Line on “Drinking Beer. Talkin’ God. Amen.” It’s the first big thing you have done with them since “Cruise” a decade ago.

    It really is. Ten years later, which is nuts. I wrote this new song with Corey Crowder, Hunter Phelps and Cale Dodds. I posted it on Instagram and [FGL member] Brian [Kelley] responded right away. He said, “Man. Hit, hit, hit.” Something like that. He was excited, you could tell. Corey is a producer for them, so what I didn’t realize the whole time it was happening was, they kept hearing it and they kept being more intrigued by it so Brian originally hit me up for all of us to produce it together. And then that slowly turned into us being in the studio together and just seeing each other and finally hanging out again for the first time in 10 years. Brian texted me, he was like, “Hey man, what if we just did this CR-FGL collab? Let’s go.” As soon as he said that I was on it. I said, “All right, if we’re going to do it, let’s do it right and make sure that it’s perfect.”


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

     Wednesday, June 16, 2021.  What progress can the Iraqi government claim and look at Ana Kasparian pretending she's a sister who's been harassed.

    Yesterday, the Government of Iraq Tweeted:

    Cabinet Spokesperson, the Minister of Culture , holds a press conference in Baghdad to brief the media on today’s Cabinet meeting and developments in Iraq.

    And how do you think those briefings go?

    Our economy is still oil-based and we are in danger of being left behind should other countries seriously commit to renewable energy.  Part of the reason we fail repeatedly to attract foreign investment that would allow us to diversify our economy is due to our well known rampant corruption throughout the government.  The other part?  People are scared to do business with us.  Arresting and imprisoning Australian Robert Pether is not helping us there.  We have provided no real reason to the world for his arrest.  We have made no serious moves to hold a trial.  It appears to the world as though we just arrested him to either force better terms on our existing contract or to void the contract.  When we resort to kidnapping foreign business persons and throwing them in jail, we get a bad image on the stage?

    Think it goes like that?  

    Yesterday, DessyMac Tweeted:

    Aust Eng Robert Pether & Egypt Khalid Zaghloul TRAPPED AND ILLEGALLY ARRESTED 69 days ago in Iraq. EMPLOYEES held as leverage in a CONTRACT DISPUTE. NO charges. IRAQ IS NOT A SAFE PLACE TO WORK. #FREEROBERTPETHER #zahahadid #iraq #Australia #egypt #Engineer

    Think they brought up Chatham House's paper, presented tomorrow, about Iraq's "politically sanctioned corruption"?

    When they got around to the issue of  security, did it go something like this?

    Iraq continues to maintain a standing army.  Though we have brought the various militias into the military -- guaranteeing a salary for them -- they continue to refuse to recognize the Prime Minister as the Commander and Chief of the military.  At the end of last month, when thug leader Qasim Muslah was arrested, his co-horts responded with threats, they stormed Baghdad and they encircled the Prime Minister's compound.  

    #Iraq : Who will win show of force as commander in PMF Qasim Muslah is arrested on suspicion of orchestrating assassination of prominent pro-democracy activist? First top official in Hashd al-Shaabi arrested over wave of killings of activists since October 2019 - #قاسم_مصلح

    Mina al-Oraibi Tweeted earlier this month:

    Iraq releases top Iran-backed militia commander Qassim Musleh. Courts claim it was due to lack of evidence, yet thousands of innocent Iraqis languish in prisons for YEARS without trial or evidence.


     Adam Tweeted the following:

    There is no security&no law to have fair election.Same faces if not worse (militias)will be elected this time. Imagine Qassim Musleh was freed as they provided the Judge with Musleh’s passport that he was in Iran at the time of the killings.They stamped it in the Iranian embassy

    Musleh’s has 4000 militia members under his control ,at least 100 members in his death squad . He would certainly send his thugs to commit crimes. He was freed for lack of evidence !!

    Where's the progress that they can note at any weekly meeting?  Just not feeling it.


    We're due to hold elections in October.  We still don't have basic laws in place though, like how to guarantee security during the election process.  We have, however, disqualified over 135 people from running for Parliament.  We've done little to ensure that Iraq's who have had to leave the country will be able to vote and, honestly, we don't much care about that.  We're really eager that we might be able to just not hold elections since Joe Biden is now US President.  Remember 2010?  We held elections in March of that year.  Nouri al-Maliki refused to step down despite losing.  For over eight months, the government came to a standstill until Joe Biden, then Vice President, oversaw The Erbil Agreement -- a contract that overthrew the election results and just gave Nouri a second term?  We're hoping he does something similar this year but sooner and before we have to hold elections and pay all the costs that will entail.

    Over the weekend, THE NATIONAL offered:

    Mr Al Kadhimi faces an uphill struggle reining in militias linked to powerful political parties backed by Iran, who gain funds from the Iraqi state and have infiltrated government ministries and the security forces.

    These groups, including militias within the state-sanctioned Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF), have been working to implement Tehran’s foreign policy in Iraq. These include the ousting of US and other foreign coalition forces invited by the Iraqi government to help fight ISIS.

    Iran-backed PMF groups also stand accused of killing hundreds of Iraqi protesters who are demanding an end to Iranian-influence, corruption and poor services

    Mr Al Kadhimi’s attempts to hold the groups to account have often stumbled.

    In June 2020 the prime minister was pressured to release 14 members of the Kataib Hezbollah militia who were accused of attempting to fire rockets at foreign forces stationed within Baghdad international airport, and had been arrested at the scene by the state's Counter Terrorism Service.

    Last week, the Iraqi Higher Judicial Council ordered the release of a PMF commander, Qassem Musleh, who was accused of murdering an activist and running protection rackets.

    Militias are using murder and intimidation to force Mr Al Kadhimi into a corner and preserve their powerful role in the Iraqi state.

    On June 7, the campaign to undermine his government took a more ominous turn when Col Nebras Shaban, an officer in the intelligence services, was shot dead near his home.

    Mustafa al-Kadhimi has been prime minister since May 7, 2020.  As noted earlier, elections are expected to be held this coming October in Iraq.  A month or a couple of months from now, they may have a prime minister.  (2010 holds their longest record for the time between elections and announcing a prime minister-designate -- 2010 saw the process take over eight months due to the political stalemate).  Mustafa has not accomplished much.

    His inability to protect the activists or to hold their murderers accountable has led some to say that they will be boycotting the upcoming elections.  Mustafa had a chance to turn it around earlier this month when he ordered the arrest of a militia thug but then the man was released without a trial.

    Can he win over the activists -- and the many Iraqis who support the activists -- before the elections take place?  Who knows but Sura Ali (RUDAW) reported:

    Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi met on Saturday in Nasiriyah with protestors and the families of a number of activists who were killed in the October (Tishreen) 2019 movement, stating violence against activists comes as part of a “battle the state is waging against corruption.”

    Kadhimi’s media office said the PM met the mother of protestor Omar Sadoun, one of dozens who were killed in the so-called Nasiriyah Massacre that occurred on November 28, 2019, one day after demonstrators torched the Iranian consulate. 

    He also met with the family of Anas Malik, who died earlier in June of this year from wounds he sustained in the massacre two years ago. 

    In addition, Kadhimi met the mother of a prominent Nasiriyah activist, Sajjad al-Iraqi, who disappeared on the evening of September 20, 2020, after being kidnapped by unknown gunmen. 

    "The absence of activists and the assault on them comes as part of a battle waged by the state against corruption and devastation and the expansion of corrupt abusers…..the youth chose their place in the trench of confrontation with these people from the moment they went out to protest for Iraq," Kadhimi said.

    Upcoming elections already carry a great deal of back door negotiating.  For example, Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr already entered a conditional agreement with Mustafa regarding possible partnership and now Moqtada's attempting to seal a similar agreement with the Kurds.  Of elections in Iraq, Guy Burton (INTERNATIONAL POLICY DIGEST)  observes:

    There the connection between leaders and society has become weaker. Despite the presence of many political parties and electoral competition, many voters feel disconnected from the political process. The negotiations which take place to form governments after elections provide little space for the public while Iraq’s post-2003 governments have been perceived as distant and unrepresentative. That contributed to growing frustrations in society in relation to the lack of economic opportunities and income, poor public services, and growing public insecurity and disorder. This culminated in an outburst of protests during 2019 and 2020. As a result, when Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi came to power last year, he proposed to bring elections forward.

    On the topic of upcoming elections in Iraq, Xofran el-Radi (JNHA WOMEN'S NEWS AGENCY)  reports:

    Women were removed from all fields, from politics to social life, from art to economy for centuries. But women have reentered these fields after struggling for their rights all around the world. One of these fields is politics. Women have been struggling to be effective in this field. Women have been removed from this field in many countries. In many countries, women have been actively working in this field by participating in politics with the gender quota system.

    In a world where women are murdered, subjected to violence, and to all kinds of injustice, women’s participation in politics is very important. Women’s participation in politics means that more laws will be enacted on issues such as violence against women, femicide, sexual abuse, suspicious deaths of women, and punishment of perpetrators. Last year, the Baghdadi government decided to hold a snap election and announced that the Iraqi parliamentary elections would be held on June 6 but were delayed as the Independent High Electoral Commission asked for more time to organize the elections. Iraqi women activists and members of the media have been carrying out awareness campaigns for the upcoming elections.

    Women deal with real issue every day and around the world.  So I'm just not in the mood for bitches.  I'm less and less in the mood for bitches.  In fact, see February's "DUMB BITCHES or SISTERHOOD IS NO EXCUSE FOR PRAISING A BAD BOOK.''

    Feminism is not your excuse for doing a sorry ass job.  Feminism is not a cloak that protects you from criticism.

    I'm referring to the hideous Ana Kasparian who suffers from toxic masculinity but is now trying to cry and moan that she's been harassed by Jimmy Dore.  It was years ago but poor Ana didn't have the strength to speak up until now. Shudder, cry, sniffle, bad Jimmy, noted that her skirt was so short you could see her thong!  Oh the horror, oh the outrage.  It was like, Ana needs you to know, being raped.

    So many ways to reply.  First off, dumb bitch, we aren't as stupid as you hope we are.

    Bulls**t.  Thats the call to your claim.  You wore an outfit that was inappropriate.  Not the first time.  You wore it in the workplace.

    Ana, you dress like a slut.  That assessment came from one of your co-workers years ago.  I've never spoken to Jimmy Dore, I don't know him.  But I am friends with a woman you worked with.  And you were an embarrassment.  "Slutting around"?  I use that term from time and that friend -- I'm sure you know which woman I'm talking about -- taught me that term and applied it to you.

    You came in day after day, while she and other women were trying to get a toe-in at TYT and you'd be dressing like a slut, "goodies on display," as she said and flirting with men, hanging all over them.

    That's you, Ana.

    And you be you.  But don't turn around and whine that someone made a joke about your outfit. 

    It was a pattern with you.

    And it's not sexism.  It's you not knowing how to dress appropriately in the work place and not knowing how to keep your hands off men -- including Cenk.

    Long before I could even put a face to your lousy name, I knew all about you.  And that was based on the opinion of women, actual feminists, who knew you and who worked with you.

    Jimmy made a joke about your inappropriate outfit.  Get over yourself.

    And stop pretending you're a feminist.  Your work demonstrates that you are not.

    Women deal with real issues every day and you and TYT ignore that.  You offer smutty grabage not real issues and you do nothing for women so just drop the pretense.

    Jimmy, a comedian, made a joke.  Get over yourself.

    ADDED at 1:32 PM 6/16/21: And, Ana, your use of the term "f*g" not so long ago in the work place is also well known by people who worked with you -- as are your 'jokes' that speak of homophobia, so keep pulling at that strand and see where it lands you.

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