Saturday, August 29, 2020

Women in space

 I'm still waiting for NASA to post their stream from Wednesday afternoon about women.  Until then, here are two videos.

R.O.V.E.R.S. Presents: NASA - Women in Space


"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):

 Friday, August 28, 2020. A look at some of the liars trying to bully voters and some of the campaigns  beyond the duopoly.  

Last night, at the Republican's national convention, President Donald Trump spoke and formally became the GOP's presidential nominee.  At VOX, Little Ezzie Klein squirts in tighty whiteys as he masturbates to his fantasy of a direct link between Bully Boy Bush and Donald Trump.  "From the Iraq War to the coronavirus: why Republicans fail at governance" is how the little priss subtitles his article.  We don't link to garbage -- that's the article and that's Ezzie.

Ezra Klein got name-checked, shouted-out on RISING this week which makes me question whether or not we'll continue to note RISING here.  I am not joking.

There's the Journo-list scandal.  That's where Ezra and others worked overtime to craft media narratives, worked overtime to figure out what to lie about.  For example, Katha Pollitt watches the 2008 GOP convention and feels Sarah Palin was strong in her speech.  She shares that 'horror' with her friends on the list.  At THE NATION, she writes a column slamming Palin and never notes that Palin was an effective speaker.  Or there's all the work they did on how to call anyone questioning St. Barack's sainthood or maidenhood as a racist.  Spencer Ackerman came up with that delightful technique.

Ezra did all of this behind the curtain, deceiving the world.

And it wasn't his first time.  If you're unhappy with the way the internet turned out, lay it at Ezra Klein.  For years, he cultivated an online circle-jerk which involved other bloggers and young interns and reporters at various sites -- including the supposed journalistic watchdog CJR.  In fact, CJR did a daily blogger roundup that was nothing but a circle-jerk of Ezra and the other friends -- and they never explained that to the readers -- did they tell their editors?  

His whole career is built on lies.  

He wants to trace a line between Bully Boy Bush to Donald Trump -- a line that leaves out Saint Barack, of course.  Even though Barack promised to bring US troops home from Iraq but left the White House, after two terms, with troops still stationed in Iraq.

Ezra's a known liar.  If that's who RISING is going to reference then I will judge by the company that they keep and I will stop noting them here. 

Ezra's career is based on astroturf.  He's the left's version of Jeff Gannon -- or how about the center-left's version.

Ezra is a whore and he's shading reality to let Barack off the hook.  I have no use for it.

He never cared about the Iraq War -- except how it could be used for partisan gain.  Anyone who gave a damn about the Iraq War wouldn't have gone into business with Matthew Yglesias who screamed for the war and demonized whole countries and their people.  

The Democratic Party is going to have to get honest at some point about their own history.  The Iraq War was one of the greatest crimes of this century.  The refusal of the party to be honest is why, in 2020, they've got another ticket with someone who voted for the Iraq War.

Grasp that.  The Iraq War started in 2003.  In 2004, the ticket was John Kerry and John Edwards -- both voted for the Iraq War.  In 2008 the ticket was Barack Obama -- who despite the lies of Patricia J. Williams on KPFA -- was not in the Senate and did not vote against the Iraq War (he even stated that he would probably have voted for it if he'd been in the Senate at that time) and his running mate was Joe Biden who voted for the Iraq War.  In 2012, Joe was on the ticket again.  In 2016, Hillary headed the ticket and she voted for the Iraq War.  In 2016, Joe heads the ticket and he voted for it.

B-b-b-but C.I., the running mates haven't voted for the war!!!!

No one on the ticket since the war began has voted against the Iraq War.  The ticket has always been someone who voted for the war and someone who wasn't in Congress to vote against it.

If Bernie Sanders had gotten the nomination this year -- a rigged system and backroom deals kept him from getting the nomination -- he would have been the first one on a Democratic Party presidential ticket since the war began back in 2003 who had actually voted against the war.

The Iraq War is the biggest crime of the 21st century, it is a global crime that destroyed the lives of many.  But somehow not only is there no accountability, but the people responsible for it keep getting rewarded.

That's Joe Biden.  That's Matthew Yglesias, that's the hideous Kevin Drum.  Grasp that.  MOTHER JONES could hire anyone.  But instead of hiring a blogger who went up against the press and called out the Iraq War, they use their 'left' money to support Kevin Drum who did everything he could to ensure that the Iraq War started.

People are dead because of him.

But MOTHER JONES employs him and not someone who rightly railed against the Iraq War.  They go with a Kevin Drum and not a David Lindorff.  There was no accountability at all for bringing on the Iraq War.  Politicians, journalists, bloggers, all of them -- if you were for the Iraq War, your career was made.

It was made from the blood of dead and wounded Iraqis, Americans, British, Australians (Jake Kovco), etc. People are dead and injured because of the actions of Joe Biden, Kevin Drum, Matthew Yglesias and others.  They shouldn't be applauded, they should be shunned.

There have been no demands for accountability because . . . Well who would make them?  Corporate media hides behind Judith Miller but she wasn't the only one egging on the Iraq War as a 'journalist.'  So what about media watchdogs?  CJR proved that they were just whores long, long ago -- long before they got their own little Harvey Weinstein who can't keep his hands off women.  FAIR?  There's nothing fair about FAIR and that includes their blatant hypocrisy.  They once called out PBS for having a limited number of women on THE NEWSHOUR.  Ava and I responded at THIRD with a series on how FAIR's own program, COUNTERSPIN, had an even smaller number of female guests during the same time period.  On Iraq?  FAIR loved to hector the corporate media about hiring this or that pro-Iraq War pundit.  But somehow, it wasn't their job to note that MOTHER JONES and other 'left' outlets were doing the same.

Barack Obama failed America but, let's be honest, he never would have gotten to fail America in the first place if FAIR and others hadn't already failed the county.

We almost noted RISING's segment yesterday on a 'people's convention' yesterday.  Then, after I'd copied and pasted, I listened to the segment and Cornel was telling people to vote for Joe Biden.  That's not an independent organization.  I didn't post that segment.  We did post a thing on it that did not promote a candidate.  But John Stauber is exactly right in the following Tweet:

Stop pretending that #PeoplesConvention is something radical and outside the oligarchy’s 2 parties. The overwhelming majority of participants are advocating for #BidenHarris2020. #ColorRevolution in America, #cooptation on behalf of

, that’s what this s**t is.


If they're anything but a get-out-the-vote org for Biden, they'll surely be noting other candidates for president.

Candidates like the Green Party's Howie Hawkins whose campaign issued the following this week:

August 23, 2020


Kevin Zeese, Press Secretary

Robert Smith, Media Coordinator

Hawkins Releases 12 Years of Tax Returns and Asks, Where Are Trump’s?

Green Party presidential candidate Howie Hawkins released the last 12 years of his tax returns today.“It’s easy, Donald Trump. What are you hiding?,” Hawkins said.

Hawkins also asked why the Democratic Chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, Richard Neal (D-MA), refuses to take advantage of a law passed by New York a year ago that enables Congress to access Trump’s New York State tax returns, which closely follow the federal income tax forms in what they report.

“What are the Democrats hiding?” Hawkins asked. “They could get Trump on tax fraud like the Feds got Capone. The New York law means his tax returns are there for the taking. The Democrats are not standing up to Trump, they’re sitting on their hands.”

Journalists and law enforcement investigators are interested in Trump’s tax returns because they suspect they will reveal, when checked against bank and insurance records, that Trump is guilty of bank fraud, insurance fraud, and tax fraud. Trump may not want to show his returns because they may show he is not as rich as he claims to be, he didn’t pay taxes he owed, he donates little or nothing to charity, and he has extensive financial ties to Russians.

The sources of the cash that Trump obtained for property investments in the early 2000s, after decades of borrowing to purchase properties, has also raised suspicions that Trump raised his cash by laundering money through his properties from corrupt oligarchs in Russia, the Middle East, and Latin America.

Trump is the only major party presidential nominee since Watergate to refuse to release any past tax returns. A series of rulings by federal courts, including the US Supreme Court, have rejected Trump’s claims that his tax records cannot be subpoenaed by congressional committees or Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance, Jr. But appeals by Trump and further proceedings in lower courts mean Trump’s taxes are unlikely to be revealed before the November election.

Hawkins said, “It is not hard to figure why Trump is hiding his tax returns. But why are the Democrats not getting Trump’s New York tax returns out to the public before the election?”

Hawkins own tax returns are not so interesting. They show a modest income from wages as a UPS Teamster truck unloader and, since he retired 2018, from pensions, as well as investment income from mutual funds.

Hawkins disclosed that in 2019 he received $1,480 in wages, $116 in interest, $12,697 in dividends, $15,201 in pensions, and $12,053 in capital gains for a total income of $41,547. He paid a federal income tax of $578.

In his last full year of work in 2017, his tax returns show that he earned $28,443 in wages, $83 in interest, $9,332 in dividends, and $43,438 in capital gains for a total income of $81,438. The capital gains came from Hawkins selling shares in a stock index mutual fund to buy shares in a bond index mutual fund in order to balance his retirement savings as he approached retirement. He paid $3,382 in federal income taxes.

Hawkins tax forms for 2009 through 2013 can be found here.


Whores like Missey Comley Beattie are working the street, out in full force, to tell you not to vote for Hawkins.  Remember when Missey used to pretend she gave a damn about the Iraq War.  Well whores age and they get uglier, Missey sure has.  She needs to take her disease ridden body out of the public square.  She's whored for far too long.  For those who wrongly assume Missy's syph posing as writing at COUNTERPUNCH this morning is her first attempt at whoring, let's drop back to Ruth's comments in 2009:

I laugh elsewhere at CounterPunch.

Like when I read Missy Comley Beattie. What an idiot. I used to support her, bad writing and all, then 2008 revealed who the real War Hawks were. In her latest useless scribbles, "The Placebo President," Ms. Beattie insists:

Some of us knew. We just knew. We knew because we’d arrived at the truth of politics in American--that anyone who really might deliver change would never receive the Democratic or Republican nomination. Because there is a rule, larger than the will of the people, mandating the survival of the status quo, U.S. corporatocracy and U.S. imperialism/Zionism. Some of us cast our vote for a Green or Independent, those who are considered “spoilers.” Our candidates lost and so did the world.

Some of us knew? Yes, Ms. Beattie. Some of us did know. I knew. I spoke out all during 2008 when it mattered. I spoke out against Barack Obama throughout 2008, from start to end. I spoke out, after the Democratic Party primaries ended, in favor of Ralph Nader and I voted for him.

Ms. Beattie would have you believe she needs to be included with me. The woman is lying.

Ms. Beattie spent the first half of 2008 lying that Hillary Clinton was a racist because Ms. Beattie, like so many of her crowd, cannot stand for a woman to be successful. Ms. Beattie promoted Barack Obama and lied about Hillary not stop.

You can Google her name and "White Heaven" if you need an example. She did not call out Barack Obama. But she could not. She is a third-rate, minor player, a supporting cast to CODESTINK and Jodi Evans was banking it all on Barry O. Ms. Beattie could not insult her mistress' candidate of choice. Poor relations, crust of bread and such. That is Missy Beattie.

She's a tacky whore riddled with disease. 

Howie Tweeted:


has a terrible 47-year record of being wrong, but Trump has a terrible 4-year record as president -- pandemic, economic collapse, racial uprising, climate crisis, growing inequality. Two failed candidates for a failing nation. #RNC2020

At RING OF FIRE, pig boy Farron Cousins tries to act like he's not trying to vote shame:

If you want to vote for the green party, because you say the Democrats done nothing to earn your party fine. Although I am curious to know what the green party has done to earn your vote other than not being the Democrats. I do think that’s a valid question. Not necessarily shaming, but you know, if you’re gonna offer one explanation, offer an explanation for that. I like the green party. I think Howie Hawkins is a loser candidate because the guy has run for office so many times and he’s lost every single time. Cause that’s the problem with the green party, great platform, decent enough party. They pick the worst candidates ever. And that’s why they’ve lost so much power over the last decade. Like they’re almost nonexistent now because they pick the dumbest candidates possible. But if that’s your candidate, you do your thing. You vote for that.

Oh, stop pretending, you ugly eye sore.  It's Green Party, first of all and you know that.  Equally true, "the Democrats done nothing to earn your party"?  WTF?  I know you're an idiot but how stupid are you?

People can vote for whomever they want.  In a democracy you own your vote.  And bullies like Farron are disgusting.  

Farron feels that the Greens have picked the worst candidates.

Help me out.  When did Farron cover the candidates vying for the nomination of the Green Party this year?  Or how about in 2016?  Or 2012?

He's just an ugly eye sore.  Where's Lady Bird Johnson with a beautification program when we really need one?

(He's trash.  They got their link only because of RFK Jr.)

Farron insists that the Green Party has been harmed by its candidates.  That's a cute little lie, isn't it?  Jacob Crosse (WSWS):  

In a series of blatantly undemocratic actions, Democratic Party state election commission members have kicked Green Party candidates off of the ballots in several states within the last week. The moves express the fear within the ruling class over the growth of social opposition and display the political gangsterism of the Democratic Party.

The moves come as Democratic state governors in Michigan and California and bourgeois courts have blocked the Socialist Equality Party’s candidates from the ballot, forcing them to gather signatures despite the coronavirus pandemic. While the SEP opposes the politics of the pro-capitalist Green Party, we defend the democratic right of its presidential nominee, Howie Hawkins, to appear on the ballot in all 50 states.

With regards to the Greens, the Democratic Party’s immediate concern is that any left-wing choice in the November election will subtract votes from the right-wing Biden/Harris ticket. Several last minute decisions have effectively barred Green Party candidates up and down the ballot from appearing in Texas, Montana and Wisconsin.

On Wednesday, three separate rulings in Texas courts blocked Green Party candidates from appearing on the November ballot, including US Senate candidate David Collins, 21st congressional district candidate Tom Wakely and candidate for railroad commissioner Katija Gruene.

Collins, Wakely and Gruene were all ruled ineligible for failing to pay filing fees, newly passed by the state legislature last year, which required candidates to pay as much as $5,000 to appear on the ballot. The ruling was made two days after a deadline for write-in candidates to file.

Green Party lawyers are challenging the filing fees in court as an unconstitutional burden, however, a ruling will likely not be handed down before the ballot certification deadline.

Voter suppression?  Don't whine about it if you aren't going to call out efforts to rig the system by keeping candidates off the ballot.

That's Howie's response to Donald Trump's speech last night.

Joseph Kishore is the Socialist Equality Party's presidential candidate.

Joseph Tweeted about the RNC convention here.

Gloria La Riva is the presidential candidate for the Party for Socialism and Liberation.  She Tweeted:

Trump's talk of the people "who built America" is a picture of "Davy Crockett, Buffalo Bill," not a word of the gigantic wealth, building by millions of enslaved African people & descendants, not a word of massive land theft & genocide of Native people. Total white supremacy.

Here she is discussing her campaign.

And here's a supporter of Gloria's discussing why she's supporting Gloria and the first point of Gloria's ten-point plan.

Jo Jorgensen is running for president on the Libertarian Party's ticket.

The following sites updated:

Thursday, August 27, 2020

What's your favorite Adele song?

 I love her hits but my favorite song has always been "Rumor Has It."

More than anything on any of her albums, "Rumor Has It" is my favorite Adele song.

And I love the bridge. 


"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):

 Thursday, August 27 2020.  The GOP convention continues, as does violence in Iraq, CNN has some ethical issues to address, and much more.

The Republic Party's convention continues.  We're dropping back to Tuesday because of Ruth's "CNN's conflict of interest when they attack Nick Sandmann" -- she is correct.  Elaine noted Jonathan Turley's commentary:

We have previously discussed the case of former Covington Catholic High School student Nick Sandmann who was repeatedly and falsely called a racist in an encounter with a Native American activist in front of the Lincoln Memorial. Various media organizations have apologized or settled cases with Sandmann for their unfair coverage, including CNN. However, when Sandmann spoke at the Republic National Convention, CNN’s political analyst Joe Lockhart again attacked him personally after he criticized how the media got the story wrong.  CNN’s Jeff Yang also attacked the teenager and even suggested that his speech proved that he was not innocent. Fellow CNN analyst Asha Rangappa attacked former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley as yielding to a racist America for not using what Rangappa suggested was her real name as opposed to “Nikki.” It turns out that Nikki is her lawful middle name and the Hill’s Saagar Enjeti noted it is “a Punjabi name.” That however is an appeal to reason not rage which seems to have little place in our national discourse or media coverage.

The personal attacks on speakers were beyond the pale, but hardly unprecedented.  What happened to Sandmann was a disgrace for the media and he had every right to speak publicly about his treatment by the media.

Sandmann is a pro-life kid who wanted to demonstrate against abortion.  He sought to play a meaningful role in his political system, which is what we all have encouraged.  Indeed, CNN has aired many such calls for young people to have their voices heard. He was in Washington as part of the annual “March for Life.” This is one of those voices.  Sandmann spoke about his horrific experience in being labeled the aggressor in the confrontation when all he did was stand there as an activist pounded a drum in his face. Sandmann said this morning in an interview that he only learned at 3 am in the morning on the bus home that he was being labeled a racist who attacked or harassed this activist.

In addition to Lockhart, CNN opinion writer Jeff Yang said that the speech confirmed to him that he was guilty all along.

Ahsa's an idiot and liar who doesn't understand the law and we've called her out many times before.  But in terms of her stupidity, she's free to flaunt it -- no idea why CNN wants to pay for it, however.  But Joe Lockhart and Jeff Yang and anyone else paid for by CNN?

They just had a huge ethical violation.

CNN settled with Nick.  That would mean he was off limits unless disclosure was involved -- Twitter really doesn't allow for disclosure in a single Tweet so they should have stayed off Twitter.  They also should have gotten permission from CNN before offering any opinion about Nick.  

CNN discredited and smeared Nick.  Nick sued.  CNN settled out of court. 

That puts CNN staff in a position where there is a conflict of interest.

News coverage alone -- forget the opinions of CNN opinion writers -- would be problematic at this point.  Ethically, it would be very problematic.  Though, maybe like Chevron planned, they could buy off Columbia Journalism Review to look the other way?

That wouldn't change the ethical issues involved. 

Yang and Lockhart shouldn't have opined in any form about someone who successfully won -- a settlement is a win -- against CNN.  They are biased on the very face of it.  This is unethical.  CNN needs to address this internally.  I spoke to a news producer at CNN about this a few minutes ago and was told that they were mortified that CNN employees were offering personal opinions on Nick.  It doesn't look good for the company.

Lockhart and Yang can insist that they are opinion writers and they were offering their opinions.

Guess what?  No one's disputing that.  The issue is this is someone who brought a lawsuit against their employer.  That is a conflict of interest.  The ethical code requires them to avoid the appearance -- even the appearance -- of a conflict of interest.  There is no question it is a conflict of interest for them to weigh in on someone who sues the company they work for.

Joe Lockhart is pure trash and always has been.  He's not George S, naive and young and hopeful and taken by an administration that was 'all too human.'  Joe came in when the corruption was evident and he used his position in the Clinton administration to trash women.  He's filth and it doesn't speak well for CNN that they hired him.

Now let's drop back to Monday.  Monday, Donald Trump spoke about something.  I really don't care.  But certain stupid elements in the Democratic Party did.  (Some smarter ones had no problem and noted just give Donald enough to rope to hang himself in front of the American people with airtime.)

What was their problem?


Shut up, cry babies.  You regularly work to exclude the Green Party, the Libertarian Party and anyone else from the debates, you actively seek to keep the Green Party off the ballots and you want to whine that a sitting president got airtime during the day?

The hypocrisy displayed by certain elements within the Democratic Party is appalling.

The Green Party got no live national TV coverage of their convention and even go-to-where-the-silences-are Amy Goodman didn't note the convention or that Howie Hawkins became the party's nominee.  So stop whining and stop being so entitled.

Donald's concerned some smart elements of the Democratic Party.  Not because of Monday but because he is out and about.  They're starting to note what I've already said long ago (and I've said it to some of the ones now noting it): Hidin' with Biden isn't going to be an effective campaign strategy.

Donald can stumble and fumble.  And he'll look inept.  As long as his opponents are out and about.  If they're hiding?

The average American is going to look at it as Joe's is sheltering and providing no leadership at all while Donald is out among the people at least trying.

Some are insisting that Kamala is the answer.

She is not the answer.

People foolishly insist that Kamala shouldn't have to answer questions about Tara Reade.  That's nonsense.  Al Gore was forced to answer questions regarding Bill Clinton.  Kamala is on the ticket with Joe and that alone means she should answer questions -- and that's before we get into any previous comments she may have made on the topic.

But Kamala has baggage.  She needs to be likable and she needs to be a solid running mate.  That means you don't outshine the top of the ticket.

She can easily do that without even trying.

But when the campaign starts using her as the focal point -- as they plan to this week with her delivering a 'response' to Donald Trump's acceptance speech -- it's not a good look.

She is not top of the ticket.  Were this 2004 and she were John Edwards, we would rightly ask, "Why is he speaking?  Where's John Kerry, the actual presidential nominee?"

They cannot continue to hide Biden away and not have the American people notice and risk the American people concluding that Joe Biden just isn't up for the job.

Is Kamala qualified to be president?  I have no doubt that she is.  But she's not top of the ticket, Joe is.  And the v.p. nominee is not supposed to outshine the presidential nominee.

Kamala brings another risk, of course, and that's her gender.  Hillary cemented hatred against herself during Bill Clinton's initial run for the presidency.  Two-for-one, co-presidency and other foolish ideas pushed by the press went a long, long way towards souring some against Hillary.

In what is expected to be a close election, can the Democratic Party really afford to let Kamala outshine Joe?  

At WSWS, Patrick Martin offers his take on last night's convention.  I don't find anything of value in the critique, to be honest.  Patrick's a Socialist -- which is fine, nothing wrong with that -- and he's offended by the notion that Joe Biden will deliver Socialism to the US -- something Republican speakers at the convention keep stressing.

To a Republican, Joe may very well come off as a Socialist or Socialist leaning.  That's partly due to our inability and refusal in this country to allow Socialist viewpoints in the MSM so that people could know what an actual Socialist is.  Joe is a corporatist War Hawk who works overtime to appease the Republican Party -- a point Patrick doesn't really make in his commentary.

I found nothing illuminating in his work.  I find the hysteria over Q-anon or whatever his or her name is to be silly in the extreme.  A very offensive racist has endorsed Joe Biden.  I haven't wasted our space here with that tidbit or tried to make it about Joe.   I did not and do not believe that it was Bernie Sanders' responsibility to denounce any of his supporters -- whether it was Joe or Cenk. 

There are very real issues and Patrick doesn't seem up to discussing them in his essay -- we all have off days and maybe that was one for Patrick (or maybe I'm having an off day this morning -- I certainly was earlier this week when I think I dictated the worst snapshot ever -- I had a fever and was throwing up in the midst of that -- throwing up from the chemo.  I would have liked to see him take on the notion of what Socialism is and what Socialists are because that should be the main purpose of WSWS -- educating the country about what our media does not deliver to most Americans.

Senator Rand Paul spoke on Tuesday night.

He's been slammed for his remarks regarding the Iraq War or had 'mostly true' from so-called 'fact-checkers.'  Jordain Carney, at THE HILL, offers nonsense:

 Paul, speaking as part of the virtual Republican National Convention, sought to contrast Biden with President Trump. Trump ran in 2016 as a noninterventionist candidate, and Paul, a GOP senator with libertarian leanings, said Trump agreed with him that "a strong America cannot fight endless wars."

"Compare President Trump with the disastrous record of Joe Biden, who's consistently called for more war. Joe Biden voted for the Iraq War, which President Trump has long called the worst geopolitical mistake of our generation," Paul said.

"I fear Biden will choose war again. ... Joe Biden will continue to spill our blood and treasure. President Trump will bring our heroes home," Paul added. 

Though Biden has said since 2005, and reiterated during the 2020 primary, that his vote for the Iraq War was a mistake, it sparked years of skepticism from progressives and provided an opening on foreign policy for Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who voted against the 2002 authorization.  

He hasn't called it a mistake.  He's called trusting Bully Boy Bush a mistake.  There's a difference, there's a huge difference.  I'm sick of the garbage in American media that either can't follow Iraq or just don't care to.  Your stupidity is appalling and it's intentional.

Joe's actions go beyond the vote.  And we long ago noted how media favorite Michael R. Gordon suddenly was disappeared when he started calling out the Obama administrations actions -- led by Joe -- in 2010 and how it impacted Iraq.

Nikki Haley offered this Tweet in the last 24 hours:

Joe Biden was Vice President when ISIS emerged, following the Obama administration’s decision to basically abandon Iraq. The terrorist group carved out a caliphate across the Middle East, beheading Americans along the way.

I'm including it because I want to address it in tomorrow's snapshot.  

Violence continues in Iraq.  AL-MONITOR notes:

The United Nations said one of its convoys was hit by an explosion Wednesday in northern Iraq; there were few other details. Two UN employees were reported injured.

Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, who heads the UN’s Iraq mission, told the UN Security Council via videoconference that an improvised explosive device had detonated near the convoy. “Conditions for humanitarian actors are also hazardous in certain areas as was starkly highlighted Wednesday by the IED explosion that impacted a World Food Program convoy in Ninevah,” she said.


Human Rights Watch issued the following yesterday:

Unidentified gunmen have since August 14, 2020, assassinated two protesters and wounded another four, all linked to a youth protest group with political aspirations in Basra, in southern Iraq, Human Rights Watch said today. They are the most recent victims of killings of hundreds of protesters in Baghdad and southern Iraq since October 2019, including by abusive security forces.

The authorities have done little to stop the killings. Despite promises since May from Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi for accountability for excessive use of force by security forces, no senior commanders have been prosecuted. Instead, a few commanders have been fired, and low-level security force members have been prosecuted.

“The situation in Iraq has devolved to the point that gunmen can roam the streets and shoot members of civil society with impunity,” said Belkis Wille, senior crisis and conflict researcher at Human Rights Watch. “It’s unclear whether the federal government is even able to rein in the violence at this point and ensure justice for victims.”

The recent Basra victims had ties to the Al-Basra Civil Youth group, which youth protesters founded in 2014 to organize protests in the city, three members told Human Rights Watch. Members of the group recently decided to form a new political party to participate in parliamentary elections planned for June 2021.

“Since then, unknown Facebook accounts have launched a defamation campaign against our group, including by calling us anti-Islamic, because we are a secular movement,” one member said. Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) forces beat at least two journalists covering security force abuses at a protest in demanding justice for the killings.

On August 14, two masked armed men in civilian dress shot and killed Tahseen Osama Ali, 30, in his apartment and wounded his brother in the leg. The group members said that Ali was a prominent member of the group. In an August 9 Facebook post, Ali accused Basra’s police chief, Lieutenant General Rashid Falih, of failing to protect protesters and allowing criminal gangs to roam the city and kill activists and journalists.

On August 16, one of the group members said that as he was returning home from Ali’s funeral at about 10 p.m., he spotted a white Toyota Crown Royal Saloon car with blank license plates following him, but he was able to evade it. He said that someone knocked on his door two hours later, but when he opened it he only saw a car speeding away.

On August 17, Ludia Remon, an activist with close ties to group members, said unidentifiable armed men in a white Toyota Crown Royal Saloon opened fire outside her home on her and two friends involved in the protest group, Fahad al-Zubaidi and Abbas al-Subhi. Remon was hit in the leg and al-Subhi in his back, wounding both, she said, before they were able to drive away. The attackers’ car was visible in CCTV footage of the incident.

On August 19, an unidentifiable armed man on the back of a motorcycle shot and killed a protest movement leader, Reham Yacoub, as she was leaving the gym in her car. The attack also wounded a friend of hers in the car. Yacoub also had ties to the group.

“We are under threat,” said the member who had been followed. “A senior security official that I know warned us that our group is being targeted but didn’t know by whom. I have now gone into hiding.”

On August 17, after the attack outside Remon’s home, Prime Minister al-Kadhimi fired Chief Falih, and the governorate’s director of the National Security Service, an intelligence agency that reports to the prime minister. But he did not refer anyone in Basra for prosecution for the killings, as far as Human Rights Watch has been able to determine.

In 2018 in Basra, Interior Ministry forces injured dozens of people and killed several with excessive force when trying to disperse protesters.

On August 16, 2020, protesters gathered outside of the home of the Basra governor, demanding accountability for Ali’s death. Two journalists who attended the protest said that armed forces in SWAT uniforms beat them with wooden batons, kicked and slapped them when they saw the journalists filming SWAT forces beating protesters, and opened fire with live ammunition into the air. Some protesters were also throwing rocks and Molotov cocktails at SWAT forces and lighting cars on fire, the journalists said.

One of the journalists said she went to court on August 18 and filed a criminal complaint against a SWAT commander for hitting her so hard that it burst her eardrum. “Since that day, unknown Facebook and Instagram accounts have been attacking me, accusing me of being supported by the US, and accusing me of giving money to protesters to turn out,” she said. “If they know about the criminal complaint I filed, I don’t know how they found out, I didn’t post anything about it.” She said that these allegations were tantamount to calling for her to be assassinated.

The protests across Iraq that began in October 2019 have continued. Clashes with security forces have left close to 560 protesters dead in Baghdad and Iraq’s southern cities, according to the federal government’s own estimates. In May. when al-Kadhimi took office, he formed a committee to investigate the killings of protesters. But as of late August, the committee had yet to announce any findings. In July, the federal government announced it would compensate the families of those killed, and that it had arrested three low-level security forces members. As far as Human Rights Watch has been able to determine, no senior commanders have been prosecuted.

On July 6, unidentified gunmen on a motorcycle assassinated a prominent political analyst, Hisham al-Hashimi, outside his home in Baghdad. Al-Hashimi was well connected to Iraq’s political elite, including its prime minister and president. Before the killing, al-Hashimi had focused much of his work on researching and criticizing abusive behavior by the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF or Hashad), formally under the prime minister’s control. Despite commitments from al-Kadhimi, as far as Human Rights Watch has been able to determine, no one has been arrested for the killing and authorities have not provided any transparency on the progress of the investigation.

The Iraqi federal government should make the preliminary findings of the investigative committee into the deaths of protesters public immediately and set out a clear timeline for the committee’s final report.

The government should make public the number of investigations it has referred to the judiciary into armed forces’ behavior, including into PMF members, since protests began in 2019, including the most recent killings. It should include details of the outcomes of the investigations, including sentences given and sentences served, as well as other disciplinary action taken. The government should publicize the steps it is undertaking to investigate killings by non-state armed actors and results achieved. It should present publicly all measures it is currently undertaking to prevent future abuses by armed forces in protest contexts.

“The renewed targeting of protesters in Basra highlights the continued climate of impunity and efforts by armed actors to silence dissent,” Wille said. “Until authorities properly prosecute these horrific killings, protesters are risking their life every time they head out into the streets.”

We noted that with a Tweet in yesterday's snapshot because there wasn't room to include it in full.

The following sites updated:

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

NASA and women

 NASA was supposed to air a woman's equality special.  Maybe they did?  I can't find it at NASA's website or YOUTUBE.  I'm tired of waiting so I'm just going to post their special from last year.

"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):

 Wednesday, August 26, 2020.  Human Rights Watch calls out the targeting of Iraqi activists, Turkey bombs to death two Iraqi civilians and we take a look at the RNC and at a very xenophobic response to one speech.

The Republican convention continues this week.  Last night Malania Trump spoke.

CNN offers this transcription:

Good evening, it seems like just yesterday that we were at our first convention, where my husband accepted the Republican nomination and then became our 45th president of the United States. He had the energy and enthusiasm for (someone) who should lead this nation. It's real today as it was four years ago. I know I speak for my husband and the entire family when I say we have not forgotten the incredible people who were willing to take a chance on the businessman who has never worked in politics. We know it was you who elected him to be commander in chief. And we know it is you who will carry us through again. We were humbled by the incredible support then and we are still grateful today.
I want to acknowledge the fact that since March, our lives have changed drastically. The invisible enemy, Covid-19, swept across our beautiful country and impacted all of us. My deepest sympathy goes out to everyone who has lost a loved one and my prayers are with those who are ill or suffering. I know many people are anxious and some feel helpless. I want you to know you are not alone. My husband's administration will not stop fighting until there is an effective treatment or vaccine available to everyone. Donald will not rest until he has done all he can to take care of everyone impacted by this terrible pandemic. I want to extend my gratitude to all of the health care professionals, front line workers and teachers who stepped up in these difficult times. Despite the risk to yourselves and your own families, you put our country first and my husband and I are grateful. I have been moved by the way Americans have come together in such an unfamiliar and often frightening situation. It is in times like this that we will look back and tell our grandchildren that through kindness and compassion, strength and determination, we were able to restore the promise of our future. Businesses stepped up, and volunteers stepped in. People were eager to share ideas, resources, and support of all kinds with neighbors and strangers alike.
It has been inspiring to see what the people of our great nation will do for one another, especially when we are at our most fragile. Speaking of strength and determination, we recently celebrated the 100 year anniversary of the passage of the 19th amendment. Yesterday, on the north lawn of the White House, we unveiled an exhibit dedicated to women's suffrage. The exhibit called on children from across the country to send art honoring the meaning of this important time in women's history. When I was judging the entries, I reflected on the impact of women's voices in our nation's story, and how proud I would be to cast my vote again for Donald this November. We must make sure that women are heard and that the American dream continues to thrive.
    Growing up as a young child in Slovenia, which was under communist rule at the time, I always heard about an amazing place called America — a land that stood for freedom and opportunity. As I grew older it became my goal to move to the United States and follow my dream of working in the fashion industry. My parents worked very hard to ensure our family could not only leave and prosper in America, but also contribute to a nation that allows for people to arrive with a dream and make it reality.
    I want to take the moment to thank my mother and father for all that they have done for our family. It is because of you that I am standing here today.
    I arrived in the United States when I was 26 years old. Living and working in the land of opportunity was a dream come true, but I wanted more. I wanted to be a citizen. After 10 years of paperwork and patience, I studied for the test in 2006 and became an American citizen.
    It is still one of the proudest moments in my life, because with hard work and determination I was able to achieve my own American dream. As an immigrant and a very independent woman, I understand what a privilege it is to live here and to enjoy the freedoms and opportunities that we have. As first lady, I have been fortunate to see the American dream come true over and over again. I have met many inspiring women, children, parents, and families who have overcome life-changing issues that include addiction, homelessness, family members who are ill or have passed away, abuse of all kinds and many other challenges that would make most people give up. The past 3-1/2 years have been unforgettable. There are no words to describe how honored, humbled and fortunate I am to serve our nation as your first lady.
    After many of the experiences I've had, I don't know if I can fully explain how many people I take home with me in my heart each day. From brave soldiers who give up so much so that we can be free to children of all circumstances, who I have met around the world. Thank you for inspiring me. It is my greatest honor to serve you. When I speak to members of the military, despite sacrificing time with their families, (experiencing) the fear of war or suffering loss, they have no regrets about serving our country. The same goes for their families and the families of first responders, who often watch their loved ones walk out the door, not sure if or when they will come home. When I speak to families who have lost someone, the pain mixed with pride I hear in their voices is something I think about often. So thank you to all who serve our country in the military and as first responders. And thank you to the families who wait for them, you are all heroes in your own right. I have also been moved by the many children and families I have spent time with at hospitals, schools and other locations around the world. Children who are dealing with pain or illness that would break even the strongest adult. Parents who are grateful to wake up every day and see that their child is still alive. These families are a testament to what faith and medicine, strength and science can do.
    On my first international trip as first lady, my husband and I visited places of great significance to the three major religions. Islam, Christianity and Judaism, one special memory from the trip is of a young boy. I had the privilege of visiting him while at Bambino Gesu hospital in Rome, Italy. While there I read the little boy a story and learned that he and his family had been waiting for a heart for a very long time and he had a grim prognosis. His situation brought my staff and me to tears and we spoke of little else as we flew to Belgium for the next part of our trip. Upon landing just a few hours later, we learned that a heart had been donated and would be going to the little one. I think about him often. Along with so many amazing and strong young patients across our own country. More profound and sadly unavoidable examples of our country's strength and character have occurred in the communities that have been impacted by natural disasters. Hurricanes, tornadoes, and flooding must show the ugly side of mother nature but in their aftermath they can show us a beautiful side of humanity. My husband and I have visited many places that have been affected by natural disasters and we are deeply moved by the strength of the people who have lost everything and the kindness of neighbors and communities. The common thread in all of these challenging situations is the unwavering resolve to help one another.
    I recognize the stories I just told about people who survive extraordinary circumstances. But Donald and I are also inspired by the millions of Americans who wake up each day with a simple yet courageous goal of providing for their families and keeping them safe. You are the backbone of this country. You are the people who continue to make the united states of America what it is, and who have the incredible responsibility of preparing our future generations to leave everything even better than they found it.
    Just as you are fighting for your families, my husband, our family, and the people in this administration are here fighting for you. No matter the amount of negative or false media headlines or attacks from the other side, Donald Trump has not and will not lose focus on you. He loves this country and he knows how to get things done. As you have learned over the past five years, he is not a traditional politician. He doesn't just speak words. He demands action and he gets results. The future of our country has always been very important to him, and it is something that I have always admired.
    In fact, it is to help ensure a better future for our next generation that I launched Be Best -- my initiative to help children achieve their fullest potential. Be Best has one simple goal: teaching youth about the importance of their well-being, both mentally and physically. This also includes understanding online safety and the dangers of opioid and drug abuse. Through Be Best, my office and I have been able to highlight people and organizations that are doing extraordinary things in our country and around the world. I continue to believe that by shining a light on these positive examples others across the country will be inspired to do their part or our next generation. Helping children is not a political goal; it is our moral imperative.
    When I think back to a defining moment of Be Best, my mind goes to a trip I took to Africa. On that vast and beautiful continent, I was able to visit the countries of Ghana, Malawi, Kenya and Egypt. One of those visits in particular had a profound impact on me. Ghana, on the coast of West Africa, was the first stop on my trip and I experienced first-hand its warm people and their traditions. While there, I visited the Cape Coast Castle and learned more about the beginning of a cruel, and often deadly, journey in the era of the slave trade. I was horrified when I listened to the guides tell me so many inhumane stories and I gained new perspectives. This time in our history, we must never forget so that we can ensure that it never happens again.
    Like all of you, I have reflected on the racial unrest in our country. It is a harsh reality that we are not proud of parts of our history. I encourage people to focus on our future while still learning from our past. We must remember that today we are all one community comprised of many races, religions and ethnicities. Our diverse and storied history is what makes our country strong, and yet we still have so much to learn from one another.
    With that in mind, I'd like to call on the citizens of this country to take a moment, pause, and look at things from all perspectives. I urge people to come together in a civil manner, so we can work and live up to our standard American ideals. I also ask people to stop the violence and looting being done in the name of justice, and never make assumptions based on the color of a person's skin. Instead of tearing things down, let's reflect on our mistakes. Be proud of our evolution and look to our way forward. Every day let us remember that we are one nation under God, and we need to cherish one another.
    My husband's administration has worked to try and affect change when it comes to issues around race and religion in this country. He is the first president to address a special session of the United Nations General Assembly to call upon countries across the world to end religious persecution and honor the right of every person to worship as they choose. He has made substantial investments in our historically black colleges and universities. This president also continues to fight for school choice, giving parents more options to help their children flourish. My husband knows how to make a real change. From the day that I met him, he has only wanted to make this country the best it can be.
    For many years, I watched him grow concerned and frustrated, and I'm so proud to see the many things he has done in such a short time. America is in his heart. So while at times, we only see the worst of people in politics on the evening news, let's remember how we come together in the most difficult times. And while debate rages on about issues of race, let's focus on the strides we have made and work together for a better tomorrow for everyone.
    Our administration has also devoted historic resources and produced life-saving results by raising awareness around opioid addiction and drug abuse, especially for children. When so often the headlines are filled with gossip, I want to take this moment to encourage the media to focus even more on the nation's drug crisis. This disease is one that affects everybody. It pays no attention to race, age, or socioeconomic status. Addiction has touched every part of our society in some way. And now, more than ever, we have programs and medicine to combat it.
    We just need to talk about it openly, and you the media have the platforms to make that happen. To the media industry and as a country I ask that we all commit to helping in our fight against drug addiction by talking about even more. Especially as we battle the Covid pandemic we need to remember that suicides are on the rise as people who are struggling with loneliness and addiction feel they have nowhere to turn. Parents, please talk to your children. Teachers and caregivers pay attention to signs of addiction. Lawmakers, pass legislation that allows those who ask for help to do so safely and without fear and to provide resources for organizations that help people impacted by addiction. When the stigma is removed, people will no longer be ashamed to ask for help and lives will be saved. And if you are struggling with addiction, there is no shame in your illness. Please seek help, you are worth it. In my next four years as first lady, I will continue to build upon "Be Best" and work with individual states to back legislation to take care of our most vulnerable. I plan to continue the work I have started with children in foster care. As well as the minority community and tribal nations. I want to ensure children are protected and communities have the resources needed to combat drug addiction and child neglect or abuse. Like my husband and the administration I will continue to encourage education that supports a child's individual needs.
    It is vital that children are given the building blocks to succeed. I also look forward to continue my work to restore the people's house, which is a lasting symbol of pride for our nation. I believe this iconic home needs to be care for and preserved so it can be enjoyed by the people of this country and visitors from around the world for years to come. I am passionate about this beautiful house, the grounds and all they represent.
    And now, I have a special message for the mothers of this country. This modern world is moving so fast, and our children face challenges that seem to change every few months. Just like me, I know many of you watch how mean and manipulative social media can be. And just like me I'm sure many of you are looking for answers, how to talk to your children about the downside of technology and their relationships with their peers.
    Like every parent in this country, I feel there is so many lessons to teach our son and the responsibilities as his mother but there are just not enough hours in the day to do it all. I remind myself that I am more fortunate than most and still have days that I look for wisdom and strength to do the very best I can for him. I am more fortunate than most and still have days that I look for wisdom and strength to do the very best I can for him. To mothers and parents everywhere you are warriors. In my husband, you have a president who will not stop fighting for you and your families. I see how hard he works day and night. And despite the unprecedented attacks from the media and opposition he will not give up. In fact, if you tell him it can not be done he just works harder. Donald is a husband who supports me in all that I do. He has built an administration with an unprecedented number of women in leadership roles and has fostered an environment where the American people are always the priority. He welcomes different points of view and encourages thinking outside of the box. I know I speak for my husband and the family when I say we are so grateful that you have trusted him to be your president. We will be honored to serve this incredible country for four more years.
      As you have heard this evening, I do not want to use this precious time attacking the other side because as we saw last week, that kind of talk only serves to divide the country further. I am here because we need my husband to be our president and commander in chief for four more years. He is what is best for our country. We all know Donald Trump makes no secrets about how he feels about things. Total honesty is what we as citizens deserve from our president, whether you like it or not, you always know what he is thinking. And that is because he is an authentic person who loves this country and its people and wants to continue to make it better. Donald wants to keep your family safe, he wants to help your family succeed. He wants nothing more than for this country to prosper and he doesn't waste time playing politics.
      Almost four years ago, we went into election day completely underestimated. Despite what is being said again this year, I know, just as you do that Americans will go to the polls and vote on the behalf of their families, our economy, our national security and our children's futures. To vote for those ideals, is not a partisan vote, it is a common sense vote. Because those are goals and hopes that we all believe in. I believe that we need my husband's leadership now more than ever in order to bring us back once again to the greatest economy and the strongest country ever known. God bless you all, your families, and god bless the United States of America.

      We are noting the speech because there are things I do not tolerate.  Those things would include attacking someone because they have an accent.  

      Malania's English is fine, possibly perfect.  She has subject-verb down, for example. This is not her native tongue.  So great job learning English -- one of many languages that she speaks.

      If she didn't speak English well, it would be understandable and nothing to mock, but she speaks English very well.  

      I've not dealt with Malania here and I've only really noted her in a piece Ava and I did in 2016 about a comedy show -- one we had been looking forward to -- thought the way to represent Malania Trump was to mock her accent.  This was done by a woman of color, a woman who herself had been mocked, a woman we know.  And we were grossly disappointed in that woman.

      Last night, Bette Midler chose to mock Malania.

      I don't like Bette, I never have.  I will give her credit when she does something right (she was excellent in season two of THE CANDIDATE, for example) but she's always been too rough and too much of a liar.  I have always spoken out for LGBTQ so it amazed me, for example, when Bette's career was resurrected by DISNEY, Bette pretended not to know any gay people.  She didn't know what went on in those baths she was performing in, for example.  There's a VANITY FAIR cover story of Bette that resulted in everyone laughing at her and hastening the end of her film career as a leading lady.  It was so many lies.

      Bette's hard and she's rough and she's street and she's tacky.  And she demonstrated it last night with her Tweet.  She should be ashamed of herself.

      The United States is a nation of many immigrants.  Bette spat on every one last night.  What Malania had to say didn't matter to Bette.  She just wanted to mock Malania.  

      Bette looks hard, tough and mean-spirited.  It's a look she's known for in the industry.

      Ruth covered the Tweet last night.

      There was no need for it.  Elaine noted Jonathan Turley on two adults terrorizing a small child because he had a MAGA hat.

      Where is Joe Biden?

      These are his supporters.

      Joe and his campaign are at war.  I was asked about that hat incident.  I said get Joe in front of the camera, have him speak to the fact that it was wrong, have him say it's wonderful when any child in America knows who the president is and that we can support who we want in this country.  None of that would have been hard for him or out of character for him.  They attempted to talk him into doing it.  At one point, he was going to and then he decided no, he wouldn't.  It's a shame.  It would have made him seem a lot more caring.  Americans would have applauded it because, outside of the Bette Midlers, who's going to be so low as to support adults terrorizing a child.  (I hope both women are sent to prison, that's what should happen.  They are old enough to know better and they have no excuse for what they did.)

      Joe claims he would restore the tone if he were president.  Taking on that incident, calling it out, would go a long way towards backing up that claim.  He probably won't call out Bette Midler's nonsense either. 

      What she did was hideous.  Not criminal, but it was hideous.  She made a lot of people question themselves -- "Do people think that about me when I speak?"  

      There is nothing wrong with an accent.  

      And anyone that has come to the US speaking another language and has learned English needs to be applauded because they learned a foreign language.  Many born in the US know only one language.  

      There is no excuse for the bias and hatred aimed at immigrants and it's appalling whether it comes from someone on the right or someone on the left.  

      Barry Grey (WSWS) calls Malania out with the following:

      In an overt appeal to racism, his wife declared, “They’re not satisfied with spreading the violence and chaos into our communities, they want to abolish the suburbs altogether, by ending single-family home zoning. This forced rezoning would bring crime, lawlessness and low-quality apartments into now thriving suburban neighborhoods… So, make no mistake, no matter where you live, your family will not be safe in the radical Democrats’ America.”

      Whether you agree with his analysis or not, please note that Barry took on the speech itself, he did not attack an immigrant for having an accent.

      What Bette did was vile.  

      No immigrant deserved that.  It's amazing the xenophobia and racism that Bette and so many others have gotten away with.

      I hope I'm making it clear how offensive that was.  In case I'm not, this is from Ava and my "TV: MAYA & MARTY" from June of 2016 and we're referring to Lorne Michaels in the first sentence below:

      Maybe a non-elderly man who wasn't cloistered in Manhattan would've realized last week's skit mocking Melania Trump was crossing a line?

      Melania Trump, for those who do not know, is the latest woman unfortunate enough to be married to Donald Trump.

      For some reason, she was mocked by Maya Rudolph in a skit whose 'humor' revolved around the fact that Melania has an accent because she was born in Slovenia.

      That's progressive humor?

      Mocking someone because of their accent?

      Turning them into "the other"?

      It's amazing how often, on the left, we drop our beliefs if we think it will help us.  It's why so many will quickly traffic in racism (hello, David Brock) or sexism (Keith Olbermann, you are never forgotten) to attempt a takedown 'from the left.'

      It was a disgusting moment.

      It was also a puzzling one.

      If you needed to do political -- and we honestly do not believe a summer variety show needs to -- skit, last week it would have made more sense to do a skit about Hillary Clinton's e-mails since all of her public statements were rebuked by the report from the State Department's Inspector General.

      So a skit on that would have at least passed for timely.

      Even stranger still, the skit featured Kate McKinnon.

      That would be the same McKinnon whose been getting laughs this year and last on SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE for her impersonation of candidate Hillary Clinton.

      But McKinnon didn't play Hillary.

      She just participated in a tasteless skit making fun of the fact that a foreign-born person had an accent.

      It was offensive and it wasn't funny -- not even in a so-crudely-offensive-you-laugh-in-shock manner.

      Four years later and we're still putting up with this nonsense?  

      Better days are coming but not fast enough.  As Cass sang, "There's a new world coming." 

      May we all live to see that new world.

      Turning to Iraq, the Turkish government continues to terrorize the Iraqi people.  Yesterday, their bombings left two civilians dead.  Over the weekend, Maya Carlin (JERUSALEM POST) offered:


      Although Turkey’s military incursions targeting Kurds in Iraq are not new, Baghdad’s response to its latest round of hostilities is unprecedented. Iraq’s newly instated prime minister, Kadhimi, has pledged to reexamine some of Baghdad’s regional relationships. Kadhimi’s political platform centers on the prioritization of Iraq’s sovereignty and condemnation of foreign intervention in the country. He has consistently denounced Iran’s interference in Iraq’s political sphere, as well as the scope of US military presence on the ground.

      Although Kadhimi views Turkey’s military presence in Northern Iraq as a threat to its sovereignty, he will likely stop at diplomatic measures to counter Ankara’s violations. Kadhimi is currently grappling with escalating US-Iranian conflict on Iraqi soil, economic collapse, the spread of coronavirus and rebuilding his citizens trust in government. The prime minister cannot afford to completely cut off ties or to wage military action against its neighbor amid this uncertainty. Ankara’s surge in military action in the Iraq’s northern districts is likely intended to test the prime minister’s resolve in countering foreign presence. In fact, Turkey’s foreign ministry announced it would sustain its cross-border operations against Kurds in northern Iraq as long as Baghdad continues to “overlook the militants’ presence in the region.”

      Does the prime minister have the strength to defend Iraq's national sovereignty?  He doesn't appear to have the strength to defend Iraqi activists at present.  This morning, Human Rights Watch's Belkis Wille Tweets:

      #Basra gunmen killed 2 activists, wounded 4- situation in Iraq has reached point where armed groups can shoot members of civ society in streets with impunity. Not sure whether federal gov is even able to rein in violence or ensure justice for victims
      1:22 AM · Aug 26, 2020

      Among the activists killed was Dr. Reham Yacoub.

      #البصرة ، ناشطة ومتظاهرة.
      12:50 PM · Aug 19, 2020

      Anas Bakhash devotes an episode of his program AB TALKS to Iraqi women (there is closed captioning in English).

      New content at THIRD:

      The following sites updated: