Saturday, December 05, 2020


 ON THE ISSUES WITH MICHELE GOODWIN.  This is a podcast that Ava and C.I. have been promoting.  It's a podcast put out by MS. MAGAZINE.  Michele Goodwin is the host and she's Black (like me) so I wanted to check it out since women of color tend to get overlooked when people cover and promote programs.

What are you missing if you haven't checked out the show yet?

This week's episode included:

00:03:26 Dr. Patricia Jones Blessman:

Well, one of the first issues connecting the pandemic to violence is the stay at home orders. We know in any times when holidays or vacations, whenever families are spending more time together that those are usually times when you see an uptick in the amount of domestic violence that gets experienced. So, whether it’s due to a quarantine or working from home, families are basically essentially stuck at home together in a relatively small area, and this can create sort of a perfect storm or petri dish for increased violence. Globally, we’ve seen an uptick in reporting. It used to be that one in three women would report some incidents of physical abuse or some harassment and now globally it seems like it’s one in two worldwide. 

Interestingly, the amount of reported intimate partner violence has actually decreased. But we suspect that that may be due to the inability, some of the barriers to actually reporting it, because if you’re stuck together in a house in a relatively small area then there’s not enough privacy to be able to make that kind of phone call. So we’re concerned about that. Some of the reasons we’re concerned about that is because the number of murder/suicides where the person, the receiver of violence usually has been killed along with the person who perpetrates it. So we see a steep increase in the murder/suicide rate. 

We know that travel restrictions can impose or impact escape or safety plans and reasonably so, there’s a fear of entering a shelter because of the potential exposure to COVID. 

00:05:34 Michele Goodwin:

So these are some significant challenges then that women are facing during COVID who are at home. To be clear, this crosses the socioeconomic spectrum, isn’t that right?

00:05:46 Dr. Patricia Jones Blessman:

Correct. We know that domestic violence impacts women or hits women of all socioeconomic statuses, so rich, poor, doesn’t matter. We know that women across the board are impacted by that. 

00:06:01 Michele Goodwin:

And isn’t it true then that the abusive situations that you speak to, they affect women in the household but they also affect children, too, and I know that you are and have been an incredibly significant psychologist in relation to matters that affect families and that also affect children. What are some of the concerns there that mothers, women, aunts, grandmothers have to be concerned about?

00:06:28 Dr. Patricia Jones Blessman:

Well, first of all, children I’ve spent a large part of my career working with children who have been sexually abused or physically abused in their homes, and so the pandemic creates a situation where children are not…because they’re not able to go to school and not able to go visit, perhaps the auntie or the grandmother or the play mom or a safe person that they might talk to, to let them know what’s going on with them or even just to go to school that they are more at risk and this is a much more dangerous time for them. 

There was a case here, I mean it has gotten extreme. There was a case here in Chicago where a child was in a Zoom class and the abuser wanted her…had her engage in oral sex in…it was recorded on a Zoom class. Presumably, the abuser didn’t know that that was what was happening. But those are the kinds of things that children can be exposed to or that can be happening to children, unbeknownst to us. 

00:07:51 Michele Goodwin:

And in that case, there are other kids then who also then saw that and traumatized by that as well. 

00:07:57 Dr. Patricia Jones Blessman:

Exactly. Because they watched. They saw it and knowing that their classmate went through that experience. And of course whether that was a godsend or a lucky thing that it happened to be caught, that it was on tape, that we were able to catch the perpetrator and bring some justice for that child but not every child is going to be in that kind of situation. Not every child is going to have the ability to be able to report what’s going on and to document what’s happening to them. 

00:08:36 Michele Goodwin:

And in situations like that, what’s the recommendation? So as a psychologist, are there places that children can turn to that you recommend and that women can turn to that you recommend just for our listeners?

00:08:50 Dr. Patricia Jones Blessman:

But we also know that abusers will try to keep them socially isolated and so I know that this is going to be challenging but finding creative ways to find some privacy and some space to be able to reach out to either a hotline or someone that’s trusted in their community, someone that they feel comfortable talking to, that it becomes even vitally important to have check-ins or wellness checks with your village, with the people around you that you’re close to. I know there’s a Facebook post that was going around where it’s if you say certain keywords that your girlfriends knew something was going on and to check in on you and to come by or to stop by. So people have had to get very creative about how we want to keep our sisters and our children safe during this time. 

00:09:53 Michele Goodwin:

I’m so glad that you raise that because the reality is that a lot of women put the mask on every day, right along with their makeup and domestic violence is a real issue. Economic violence happens to be a real issue and sometimes there are women that are encountering both and it’s across the socioeconomic spectrum. Sometimes it’s even women who are in college, who are in medical school or who are in law school. So just know that we hear you and that we see you.



Did you catch that topic on RISING?  No.  And notice how a show with a female host can bring on female guests.  


Make a point to check it out.  Michele is a wonderful host and the conversations are natural and free flowing.  It's a weekly podcast -- and you get audio and a transcript.



"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):

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

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

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

Dilan Sirwan (RUDAW) reports:

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

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

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

The protestors of Nasiriyah have several demands.

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

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

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

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

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

 Basra journalist Mohammed Qasim Tweets:

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

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

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

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

Here are two Tweets of the thousands who turned out.

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

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

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

Omar al-Jaffal (AL-MONITOR) explains:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Moqtada's a betrayer -- repeatedly.

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

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

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

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

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

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

That's amazing.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

And we'll note this Tweet:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Turning to the US, from yesterday's snapshot:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The following sites updated: