Monday, October 25, 2021

John L. Williams' AMERICA'S MISTRESS: EARTHA KITT, HER LIFE AND TIMES.

NEW FACES?  Have you seen the film?  I haven't.  I didn't even know of it until I read John L. Williams' AMERICA'S MISTRESS: EARTHA KITT, HER LIFE AND TIMES.


It's a film that I'll return to later.  The book traces her life from birth in South Carolina (with an unknown father -- to this day) to international stardom.  At eight, she moves to New York (by train).  We learn about her becoming part of the Katherine Dunham Company.

Williams argues that Dunham was both an influence and a major role model for Eartha.  

With Dunham's dancers, Eartha appeared in her first Broadway production and promptly fell for Josh White who was also in the production.  He was a folk and jazz artist -- guitar and vocals -- and he had a massive hit with "One Meatball."  After the show, she would go with him to Cafe Society where he would perform a midnight show and this was her introduction to the cafe scene.  The fact that White was married didn't bother her but it ended when he chose another woman to be his opening act for a national tour.    


We learn of her triumphs in London and then in Paris.  She leaves Dunham and goes off on her own.  She appears with Orson Welles in Paris and then in Germany -- a version of FAUST.  Then she reinterprets "C'est Si Bon" and quickly becomes a night club sensation. Her return to the US and her triumph at the Village Vanguard . . . Broadway with NEW FACES . . .  It just all seems to happen so quickly and zip by.

Too quickly.  Not enough time is spent, for my tastes, providing context.


Eartha was part of the Harlem Renaissance when she started in NYC and continued to be part of that crowd.  


Let's come back to NEW FACES and wind down.  Eartha's Broadway revue became a motion picture that was released in 1954.  I wasn't even aware of it.  While reading the book, I made a point to watch it and wonder why this isn't the film heavily promoted during Black History Month on TCM.


It's a lively performance from Eartha.  I think some times when we (Black people) are programmed for they think we just want dour and serious.  It's that thinking that led to huge mistake that is THE WONDER YEARS reboot.


Yes, our parents went through hard times and, yes, we're still going through hard times as a race.  But we have had joy as well.  And we don't need a series or a day of TCM programming trying to depress the hell of us with story after story about how the elders we loved did nothing but suffer.  


Eartha's life had sadness and brightness.  She was a trailblazer who paved the way for Diana Ross and many other people and she was a woman roadblocks were thrown in front of.  It's past time a film of her life was made.  Rihanna could play the part.


This is a book that you can buy on AMAZON KINDLE, John L. Williams' AMERICA'S MISTRESS: EARTHA KITT, HER LIFE AND TIMES.  It's only $1.99.  It's not a free read with KINDLE UNLIMITED, sorry.  

 
"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):

Monday, October 25, 2021. Climate change in Iraq has the Ministry of Water Resources considering filing a complaint with the United Nations, while Moqtada dithers Nouri stays busy, a historical finding in northern Iraq emerges and Anthony Fauci is a dog killer who needs to be shown the door.


As conflict over water resources increases, RUDAW reports:

Iraq’s water ministry has suggested Baghdad file a case against Iran with the International Court of Justice in order to guarantee its right to shared water resources, state media reported Sunday.

“The Ministry of Water Resources submitted a memorandum and an official letter to the higher authorities in the Council of Ministers, the president’s office, the [parliament] speaker’s office, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to file a case at the international court in The Hague to establish Iraq’s water rights with neighbouring Iran,” technical advisor to the ministry Aoun Dhiab told state media.

Iraq is heavily dependent on water sources that are shared with neighbouring countries Iran and Turkey, which are both building dams on their rivers. 


BBC NEWS notes that Iraq is one of the most climate sensitive spots on the earth.  





Iraq is hit heavy by climate change.  Louisa Loveluck and Mustafa Salim (WASHINGTON POST via ANCHORAGE DAILY NEWS) explain:

Dozens of farming villages are abandoned, but for an isolated family here and there. The intrusion of saltwater is poisoning lands that have been passed for generations from fathers to sons. The United Nations recently estimated that more than 100 square miles of farmland a year are being lost to desert.

Years of below-average rainfall have left Iraqi farmers more dependent than ever on the dwindling waters of the Tigris and Euphrates. But upstream, Turkey and Iran have dammed their own waterways in the past two years, further weakening the southern flow, so a salty current from the Persian Gulf now pushes northward and into Iraq’s rivers. The salt has reached as far as the northern edge of Basra, some 85 miles inland.

In the historic marshes, meanwhile, men are clinging to what remains of life as they knew it as their buffaloes die and their wives and children scatter across nearby cities, no longer able to stand the summer heat.

Temperatures in Iraq topped a record 125 degrees this summer with aid groups warning that drought was limiting access to food, water and electricity for 12 million people here and in neighboring Syria. With Iraq warming faster than much of the globe, this is a glimpse of the world’s future.


Climate change is impacting the entire world but Iraqis, as the BBC noted, a sensitive area.  US intelligence has indetified it as one of 11 countries that will hit hardest by climate change.  Last we noted this from ROYA NEWS:

Weeks before the COP26 Climate Conference, which will be held in Glasgow in early November, US intelligence said that "the geopolitical tension will worsen because there will be disagreements among countries over how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement."

The report, which includes a summary of the investigations of all US intelligence agencies, added that the melting of the ice in the Arctic "essentially increases strategic competition for access to its natural resources."

Elsewhere, with rising temperatures and more extreme weather extremes, "there is an increased risk of water conflicts and migration, especially after 2030," the report said.


Julie Watson, Ellen Knickmeyer and Nooman Merchant (AP) explain:


The estimate identified 11 countries of particular concern: Afghanistan, Colombia, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, India, Iraq, Myanmar, Nicaragua, North Korea and Pakistan. It also lists two regions of concern: Central Africa and small island states in the Pacific Ocean.

Strains on land and water could push countries further toward conflict. In South Asia, much of Pakistan relies on surface water from rivers originating in India. The two countries are nuclear-armed rivals that have fought several wars since their founding in 1947. On India's other side, about 10% of Bangladesh's 160 million people already live in coastal areas vulnerable to rising seas and saltwater intrusion.

Intelligence officials who spoke on condition of anonymity under agency rules said climate change could indirectly affect counterterrorism by pushing people seeking food and shelter to violent groups.

The intelligence community needs more scientific expertise and to integrate climate change into its analysis of other countries, the officials said.

The United Nations says there may be as many as 200 million climate-displaced people worldwide by 2050.


Olivia Gazis (CBS NEWS) notes:


Countries will increasingly compete to secure their own interests, including in places like the Arctic, where melting sea ice has fueled a race to access oil, gas and mineral resources and to establish new shipping routes.

While wealthier, more developed countries, including the U.S., are in a "relatively better position" to deal with the costs and risks associated with climate change, the report says that "impacts will be massive even if the worst human costs can be avoided."  

The assessment says some unforeseen events could alter its projections, including a significant technological breakthrough or, conversely, a global climate disaster that would mobilize countries to take action.


The Atlantic Council notes the findings and speaks with their own Sherri GOodman as well as the Scowcroft Center's Barry Pavel and Peter Engelke:


  • Most everyone understands the environmental threat of rising temperatures. But digging into the first-ever National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on climate, among the other Biden administration reports, reveals “what we all are thinking but have not yet acted upon effectively,” Barry says. 
  • The big takeaway: “The boiling threat to the habitability of the planet represents both a central threat in and of itself, but also will spawn a multitude of new security challenges while exacerbating existing ones,Barry tells us.
  • What do those security challenges look like? The “scariest” takeaway “from a threat perspective is that parts of the planet will be uninhabitable from either heat or sea-level rise in the coming decades,” Sherri reveals, “and that many highly vulnerable parts of the world are ill-equipped to prepare for or manage this risk.”
  • It’s enough for the American public to start thinking about the threat posed by climate change in a similar way to how we’ve thought about terrorism for the past two decades, Sherri explains. “Climate change, like terrorism after 9/11, is not just about the ‘away game,’ but also about the ‘home game,’ in the US,” she says. “And yes, like terrorism, we can’t eradicate it in just one location. We must have a global strategy with allies and partners. It’s an ‘all hands on deck’ effort.”

  • Peter opts for a different analogy for this “existential threat” to the United States: the Cold War, when “policy makers adopted a long-term mindset to design strategic whole-of-society responses to meet a generational challenge.”  


Earlier this month, the United Nations Environment Program noted:


A new report, published ahead of the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) has called for a radical change in how governments plan, deliver and manage infrastructure - emphasising the often-overlooked role infrastructure plays in combating climate change, mitigation, and adaptation efforts. The new report, Infrastructure for climate action, is co-published by UNOPS, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the University of Oxford.

The research looks in detail at the influence of infrastructure on climate action across energy, transport, water, solid waste, digital communications and buildings sectors. The findings highlight that infrastructure is responsible for 79 per cent of all greenhouse gas emissions, as well as 88 per cent of all adaptation costs and therefore the sector is centrally important to achieving the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals.

“As we seek to bridge the infrastructure gap and improve the quality of life of people everywhere, it is critical that we invest in sustainable infrastructure that adapts to future uncertain climate conditions; contributes to the decarbonization of the economy; protects biodiversity and minimizes pollution. Sustainable infrastructure is the only way we can ensure that people, nature and the environment thrive together” said Inger Andersen, Executive Director of UNEP.

The report calls on governments to treat infrastructure as a priority sector for climate action. It also calls for unified planning to tackle emissions from infrastructure.

The authors argue that in order to tackle climate change, governments need to radically rethink how infrastructure is planned, delivered and managed in order to make it suitable for a low-emission and resilient future.

Speaking on the publication of the new report, UN Under-Secretary-General and UNOPS Executive Director, Grete Faremo said: “Our world is facing a climate emergency, with changes that are unprecedented, intensifying and, in some cases, irreversible. There is still time to act, but we need to do this urgently.

“This report highlights that radical changes to how we approach infrastructure are needed to stop the worst effects of climate change. It is ultimately crucial that we get this right as the infrastructure decisions made today will determine the quality of our common future.”


In other news, THE JERUSALEM POST serves up an opinion column by Seth J. Frantzman that they try to pass off as news reporting.  It's condescending and distorting garbage that doesn't improve relations between Iraq and Israel but, in fact, gives Iraqis reasons to distrust Israeli outlets.  


The vote was not fair to some of the parties objecting and for Seth to not acknowledge that makes him dishonest.  How as it not fair?  The militias are part of the security forces.  I didn't support that move and I still say it was and remains a huge mistake, that's not the issue though.  The issue is that they were shipped off to various polling places for election day.  October 10th was when most of Iraq voted.  October 7th was when the security forces voted.  That was supposed to be all of them since they would be deployed to polling places around Iraq.  But the electoral commission announced a week prior to the early vote that it would not include some militia groups.  These militia groups who were excluded are among those unhappy with the results.  They're right to be.  They were taken out of their homes and home neighborhoods by the government to ensure security and safety at polling centers around the country.  Yet that same government did not support their right to early voting   Many of them were unable to vote on election day.  That's what you call the disenfranchised.


I'm not fan of the militias.  But I'm also not going to deny that they have a valid complaint.  And to pretend that they don' thave a valid complaint or worse, Seth goes with worse, to ignore that complaint is to be dishonest.


He then goes on -- in what is presented as a news article (when it is an opinion column) -- to argue that people protesting the count -- specifically the militias -- could undermine the government.


The government's decision to strip large numbers of their right to vote doesn't concern Seth.  But people protesting this move?  That's what he objects to.


This column is filled with lies.  Seth's better than that.  However, I won't be able to convince Iraqi readers of that.  And that's on Seth and no one else.


Equally true, there is a chance that what has taken place has created a powder keg.  If it has and if it goes off, those who were dishonest ahead of it have removed themselves from the discussion because they've exposed themselves as dishonest brokers.


On the elections, now two weeks old, RUDAW notes:



However, the political system in Iraq is “fundamentally flawed,” according to researcher Farah Sabir.

“It’s the same faces [in Iraq] since 2003,” she said. “I say the protests will be back with stronger force if the political system behaves with this deficient mentality from 2003.” 

IHEC last week announced the official preliminary results in the parliamentary election, following the manual count of polling stations that faced technical issues. It also gave parties the option to file complaints about the updated results

The elections handed unexpected victories and devastating blows. Sadr’s movement is leading the election by a large margin, securing more than 70 seats, according to preliminary results, and is expected to be the main force in forming the new government once the results are finalized.

Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr claimed victory a day after the vote. Three days later, he formed a negotiating committee to hold talks with other parties in order to form a government. In a statement on Sunday, Sadr said they will work on building coalitions that are “national” and not “sectarian” in order to form a “serving government that will protect the homeland and its security, sovereignty, and dignity of its people.”

He appears to be looking to form a mixed government, gathering the strongest parties of Shiites, Kurds, and Sunnis, but “Sadr will not form the government,” according to Abdullah.

“In Iraq, whoever has won the elections, didn’t form the government … someone else came and formed the government,” he said.



There's a great deal more reality in the paragraphs above than the western press has been providing in their own coverage.   And did you catch this news:

Iranian controlled Shia political parties will hold a meeting in #Baghdad this evening to discuss results of Iraq’s parliamentary elections, led by Nouri al-Maliki. Older picture: #Iraqelection2021
Image



Former Iraqi Prime Minister and the leader of the State of Law Coalition, Nouri Al-Maliki, has planned a meeting on Sunday evening to convene the Shia factions who are concerned with the results of the parliamentary elections.



Are you surprised Nouri's not just sitting on his ass in waiting?  That's not his style.  Moqtada is drifting around aimlessly and Nouri's plotting to steal the power from him.  The two are bitter enemies.  Does the western press not get that?  They have hated each other for years.  

Moqtada is a kingmaker?


He may become one.  At present?  He's not.  He's part of a stalled system.  And while Moqtada dithers and is unable to pull together an alliance, you better believe Nouri al-Maliki is working on putting together an alliance.  Or did we all forget 2010?


Nouri's State of Law bloc came in second to Moqtada's bloc.  Do we really think what happened in 2010 can't happen again?  Or are we just ignorant of recent history?  Or maybe we just discount Nouri's drive?  If it's the latter, we're wrong to do so.


It's amazing how little attention is being given to Nouri.  AL-MONITOR is one of the few outlets to emphasize the success Nouri had in this election:


Political parties affiliated with Iraqi militias faced significant defeat, while their ally Nouri al-Maliki earned a remarkable victory al-monitor.com/originals/2021



In other news, NDTV reports:


Archaeologists in Iraq revealed Sunday their discovery of a large-scale wine factory from the rule of the Assyrian kings 2,700 years ago, along with stunning monumental rock-carved royal reliefs.

The stone bas-reliefs, showing kings praying to the gods, were cut into the walls of a nearly nine-kilometre-long (5.5-mile) irrigation canal at Faida in northern Iraq, the joint team of archaeologists from the Department of Antiquities in Dohuk and colleagues from Italy said.

The carvings, 12 panels measuring five metres (16 feet) wide and two metres tall, show gods, kings and sacred animals. They date from the reigns of Sargon II (721-705 BC) and his son Sennacherib.

"There are other places with rock reliefs in Iraq, especially in Kurdistan, but none are so huge and monumental as this one," said Italian archaeologist Daniele Morandi Bonacossi.

THE DAILY SABAH notes, "The carvings, 12 panels measuring 5 meters (16 feet) wide and 2 meters tall, show gods, kings and sacred animals. They date from the reigns of Sargon II (721-705 B.C.) and his son Sennacherib."  AFP quotes archaeologist Daniele Morand Bonacossi:

 

“The paintings depict the Assyrian monarch worshipping in front of the Assyrian gods,” he explained, saying that all seven major gods are depicted, including Ishtar, the goddess of love and battle, who is depicted riding atop a lion.

The irrigation canal was carved out of limestone to transport water from the hills to the fields of farmers, and the carvings were done to honor the king who ordered its creation.

“Not only was it a religious picture of prayer, but it was also a political moment, a sort of propaganda scene,” Morandi Bonacossi continued.

“In this way, the monarch intended to demonstrate the locals that he was the one who built these vast irrigation systems, so… the people should remember this and be faithful.”



Like the militias, my opinions on Anthony Fauci are on the record and well known.  The White House wastes too much time each news cycle defending him which is always an indication that the person needs to go.  Add in that he's been wrong too many times and we need to move beyond 2019  -- meaning Joe Biden, as president, needs to pick a new head and not carry over this embarrassment.  Leighton Woodhouse (SUBSTACK) has an appalling report on Fauci:


The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the division of the National Institutes of Health run by Anthony Fauci, funded a recent experiment in Tunisia in which lab technicians placed sedated beagles’ heads in mesh cages and allowed starved sand flies to feast on them alive. Then they repeated the test outdoors, with the beagles placed in cages in the desert overnight for nine consecutive nights, in an area of Tunisia where sand flies were abundant and ZVL, the disease caused by the parasite that the sand flies carry, was “endemic.”

The experiment was just one of countless tests done on animals with the funding of the NIH, and of NIAID in particular, over the course of decades. Estimates of the number of animals experimented on each year in the United States range from the tens of millions to over 100 millionmost of them paid for with taxpayer money. The White Coat Waste Project, a non-profit that advocates against federal animal testing, says that more than 1,100 dogs are experimented on in federal labs annually. 

For the amount of money and the amount of suffering entailed, little is produced. Much of it is pointless to begin with, but even the experiments that purport to measure the safety and efficacy of drugs are all but useless. In NIH’s own words:

Approximately 30 percent of promising medications have failed in human clinical trials because they are found to be toxic despite promising preclinical studies in animal models. About 60 percent of candidate drugs fail due to lack of efficacy.

That’s a 90 percent failure rate.

Most of that failure is due to the fundamental differences between human physiology and the physiologies of mice, or rabbits, or dogs. But even between animals with much closer physiologies, the predictive power of animal tests is unimpressive. Between mice and rats, there’s only a sixty percent chance you’ll get the same result. And when you repeat experiments on the same species, only 4 out of 5 times is the result the same — and closer to 2 out of 3 times with toxic substances.

And yet the tests continue unabated, for three reasons: institutional inertia, NIH Director Francis Collins, and Anthony Fauci.


Fauci is a dog killer.  If nothing else makes the administration dump him, that should.

 

The following sites updated:






 

Sunday, October 24, 2021

Eartha Kitt and Rihanna

Please go read Ann's "The 'Peyton Place' Murder."  I'll be posting a book review either Monday or Tuesday.



Eartha Kitt is the subject of the book I'm reading.




It's past time for a film about Eartha and Rihanna should play her.

 

 

"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):

Friday, October 22, 2021. Climate change, no progress on forming a new government in Iraq and, yes, another day of St Powell.


Starting with this from ROYA NEWS:

Weeks before the COP26 Climate Conference, which will be held in Glasgow in early November, US intelligence said that "the geopolitical tension will worsen because there will be disagreements among countries over how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement."

The report, which includes a summary of the investigations of all US intelligence agencies, added that the melting of the ice in the Arctic "essentially increases strategic competition for access to its natural resources."

Elsewhere, with rising temperatures and more extreme weather extremes, "there is an increased risk of water conflicts and migration, especially after 2030," the report said.


Yet senators Joe Macnhin and Jon Tester are opposed to a carbon taxJulie Watson, Ellen Knickmeyer and Nooman Merchant (AP) explain:


The estimate identified 11 countries of particular concern: Afghanistan, Colombia, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, India, Iraq, Myanmar, Nicaragua, North Korea and Pakistan. It also lists two regions of concern: Central Africa and small island states in the Pacific Ocean.

Strains on land and water could push countries further toward conflict. In South Asia, much of Pakistan relies on surface water from rivers originating in India. The two countries are nuclear-armed rivals that have fought several wars since their founding in 1947. On India's other side, about 10% of Bangladesh's 160 million people already live in coastal areas vulnerable to rising seas and saltwater intrusion.

Intelligence officials who spoke on condition of anonymity under agency rules said climate change could indirectly affect counterterrorism by pushing people seeking food and shelter to violent groups.

The intelligence community needs more scientific expertise and to integrate climate change into its analysis of other countries, the officials said.

The United Nations says there may be as many as 200 million climate-displaced people worldwide by 2050.


Olivia Gazis (CBS NEWS) notes:


Countries will increasingly compete to secure their own interests, including in places like the Arctic, where melting sea ice has fueled a race to access oil, gas and mineral resources and to establish new shipping routes.

While wealthier, more developed countries, including the U.S., are in a "relatively better position" to deal with the costs and risks associated with climate change, the report says that "impacts will be massive even if the worst human costs can be avoided."  

The assessment says some unforeseen events could alter its projections, including a significant technological breakthrough or, conversely, a global climate disaster that would mobilize countries to take action.

In Iraq, the effects are being felt.  INTER REVIEWED notes:

Throughout marshes usually hailed as the unique Backyard of Eden and on the baking lands past, inhabitants now face a alternative. “Will we keep or will we go?” sighed Raad al-Ghali, a buffalo herder within the historic marshland of Chibayish whereas lately sheltering within the shadow beside his tent.

“Everyone seems to be struggling as of late. We don’t know what to do.”

In Chibayish’s labyrinth of winding waterways, water ranges have dropped. Salt and air pollution are killing the reeds. To maintain their animals alive, residents fill rickety boats with consuming water bought miles away.

Close by fields have turned brown. Orchards and roses have disappeared, and the palm bushes are dying slowly. Within the border city of Siba, water for irrigation is so salty it’s poisoning the harvest.

“We used to develop greenhouses of cucumbers,” recalled a farmer, Abu Ahmed, 52, standing in his desiccated farm. “Now we don’t actually have a single cucumber’s price of contemporary water. How can we proceed right here?”


Iraq will have to import more food goods.  ISIS never left Iraq and it previously used some effects of climate change to take control back in 2014.  There are numerous threats that were and remain present and are unique to Iraq as well as issues that they, like other countries face.



Meanwhile THE FINANCIAL TIMES OF LONDON weighs in with:



When Iraqis braved violence to vote in their country’s first election two years after the 2003 US-led invasion toppled dictator Saddam Hussein, then President George W Bush stated that Iraqi “men and women have taken rightful control of their country’s destiny”. Yet 16 years and five parliamentary elections later, Iraqis are still waiting for Bush’s words to ring true.
In this month’s election, just 41 per cent of registered voters bothered to cast ballots, the lowest turnout in the post-Saddam era. The apathy underscored the disillusionment Iraqis have for the democratic experiment ushered in by the Bush administration that promised so much but has, so far, delivered so little.
At successive elections, Iraqis’ common refrain is that the same old factions are competing in a system rotten with corruption and patronage, a system that has squandered the oil-rich country’s wealth and failed to provide jobs and basic services.
The latest election was won by a bloc led by Moqtada al-Sadr, a maverick cleric whose Mahdi Army spearheaded the Shia resistance against the US-led occupation and was a protagonist in the sectarian violence that pushed Iraq to the brink of civil war. In politics, he models himself as a champion of the Shia poor and a nationalist who will negate the competing — and destabilising — influences of the US and Iran.


Voter apathy?  At a time when the US president is Joe Biden?  It's cure the way editorial board ignores the fact that in 2010 then-Vice President Joe Biden oversaw The Erbil Agreement which set aside the Iraqi peoples votes and gave a second term to Nouri al-Maliki.  It's cute the way that they rush to hail Moqtada as the victor.  


His bloc -- not party -- got the most seats in the election.  But not enough seats to create a government.  It's days later and he's not been able to move forward which indicates that a large number of others don't want to join a Moqtada coalition.  It wouldn't be that surprising if thug Nouri announced in a few days that he had enough members to form a government.  Nouri knows how to sway political leaders.  Moqtada apparently is still learning.  All.  These.  Years.  Later.


Mina al-Oraibi (THE NATIONAL) offers:


It is close to certain that the next government will be formulated largely by cleric Moqtada Al Sadr, who is set to have the largest number of seats in Parliament. By the current tally, the Sadrists will hold 73 of the 329 seats in parliament – the largest grouping in the legislature. But Mr Al Sadr will need to go into a coalition in order to get a majority capable of forming a government. The horse-jockeying and coalition-forming efforts currently taking place in Baghdad can take months – as has happened after previous elections. But more worrying is uptick in the rumour mill about fraud and ballot box tampering. The longer the process takes, the more damaging it is to the prospect of a stable transition. The transparency and orderliness in the lead-up to election day on October 10 is slowly but worryingly giving way to questions about the opaque nature of counting votes, finalising tallies and forming the government.

As political brinkmanship between various parties continues, Iraq’s Independent High Election Commission (IHEC) is currently looking into 1,372 appeals contesting the declared results of the elections. An IHEC official told The National this week that he does not foresee a major change in the final outcome of the elections as a result of the appeals. However, with the deep fragmentation among the parties, one or two seats changing sides can make all the difference in who forms the next government.

After looking into the appeals, IHEC will send them to the Judicial Commission, which will then review them. Once the Commission clears those appeals, the results will be sent to the High Federal Court for ratification. When they are ratified, Iraqi President Barham Salih will have to call Parliament into session. At every step, there will be efforts from a myriad of political actors, and particularly those who are set to lose out, to influence the results.

Iraqis fear the possibility of the electoral process failing like it did in 2010. In those elections, the former prime minister Ayad Allawi’s nationalist bloc, Al Iraqiya, won more seats than any other, with 91 seats, and so should have formed the government. However, then incumbent prime minister Nouri Al Maliki, with his State of Law list gaining 89 seats at the time, formulated a coalition of parties after the elections that allowed him to usurp Mr Allawi's success and form the government. Mr Al Sadr has already alluded to 2010 in remarks last week, insisting that he is “no Allawi”.


At this point, there's no new government,  THE NEW ARAB takes a look at what took place in the Kurdistan:


At the same time, the vote has changed the political reality in Iraq’s autonomous Kurdistan Region, giving more power to some parties while humiliating others.

The election saw a record low turnout, with many boycotting the vote due to scepticism about the system and widespread disapproval of the parties who have ruled the country for years. On average, however, more Kurdish voters showed up to the polls than in other Iraqi provinces.

The official preliminary results from the Iraqi Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) late on Saturday showed that the Kurdistan Region’s ruling party maintained a larger vote share in Iraq than it did in the previous 2018 election.

The Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) has preliminarily pocketed 33 seats, an increase from the 25 they earned in the controversial 2018 elections. The party was already celebrating victory for six days when the official preliminary results came out, with crowds flooding the streets celebrating with fireworks, and, at times, celebratory gunfire.

The results came as a shock for other parties. While the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) continued to enjoy influence by winning 16 seats, only two less than the previous election, their partner in the Kurdistan Coalition hit rock bottom.

Gorran (Change Movement) faced an electoral humiliation, with the party going from five seats in the Iraqi parliament to zero this time around.


Those results aren't shocking.  We noted them on Monday, yes.  We also noted ahead of the elections, weeks ahead, that the PUK was going to do even worse than they did previously.  The PUK still thinks that they should be able to hold the presidency (of Iraq) and you have to wonder why they think that is?  They're no a *majority* party.  What makes them any more important than other minority parties in the Kurdistan.  (The Kurds, by custom, get the presidency of Iraq.)



Moving over to the sad news that Colin Powell wasn't Jesus Christ.  It is now three days and counting yet despite the hosannas in the press, St Powell of The Blot has not risen.

And in the midst of the effort to sell Colin as a saint, this stupid Tweet went up.


There is no society today where mass murder is more normalized across such a wide spectrum than the US. Best illustration is progressive Democrats praising Colin Powell, rather than just staying silent. They also have no words for his victims in Iraq, Central America, Vietnam.


A well known educator brought that to my attention.  He called and asked why I hadn't pointed that out.  I didn't know about and why haven't you pointed it out, I asked back.  He has to go on programs like Aaron's and can't ruffle feathers.  I will never be on any podcast -- that's not a salm, that's me being lond done with media.  Even now, you have to be a friend or a friend of a friend to get me to speak to you, I'm just done with interviews.  Equally true, Aaron doesn't cover entertainment so there's no reason offline me would ever be asked.  But Aaron Mate Tweeted that nonsense.


And it goes to the glorification of Aaron Mate.  He's as mispraised as Colin Powell.  I'm still waiting for his great scoop.  He likes to point out that DEMOCRACY NOW gets things wrong today.  But they also did while he was there and he kept his mouth shut.  I guess that's his m.o., irght?  Keep your mouth shut because that is what he's advising.


We'll highlight THE GREY ZONE and we'll even highlight Aaron but I don't mistkae him for some ground breaking journalist.  At his best, he steers some attention to the work of others.  At his best.  When Jimmy Dore brings him on, I try to avoid it because I know Aaron is nothing but a little bitch boi.  Are you surprised that he defended Ryan Grim and covered for Ryan on jimmy's show?  Are you surprised that as evidence of corruption within tthe Biden family continues to mouth, Aaaron dismisses it to Jimmy Dore and excuses corruption?


Why are you surprised?


This is the little bitch who was with DEMOCRACY NOW! for how many years?  Every episode Amy Goodman ended by verbalizing the credits (because it started as a radio show).  And every episode for years, she mispronounced his last name.  How pathetic do you have to be that you don't go to someone and explain that's not how you say your name?  


So in the face of massive lies and the rwriting of history, Aaron's advice is for people on the left to close their mouths and say nothing.  That certainly explains his lousy career.  I guess he's content to let Max be the voice of truth at THE GREY ZONE.  FOrtunately, Max's back is strong enough that he can carry Aaron . . . for now.


Nashwa Lina Teets:


1 in every 5 Iraqis has someone in their family who died because of the invasion of Iraq. More than half of all babies born in Fallujah between 2007 and 2010 were born with a birth defect. The average lifespan in Iraq is 70. Powell died at 84 surrounded by family.


That's called perspective.  Aaron lacks it. 

Iqbal Jassat (IOL) writes:


Any fair reading of Powell’s central role would dispute the narrative that there was an “intelligence failure” nor would it withstand the slightest scrutiny.

It thus begs the question why Powell has escaped censure if facts point out that top experts in their respective fields within the US intelligence community had correctly assessed that Iraq did not have WMD or ongoing WMD programmes?

Powell was an integral part of the Bush administration’s neocons who subverted intelligence for a specific agenda. In other words, the policy was not based on the intelligence, but the CIA’s intelligence products were rather based on the policy.

Though Powell and Donald Rumsfeld died without any accountability for the horrendous war crimes perpetrated, one hopes that George W Bush, Condoleezza Rice and all others who were the architects of America’s illegal wars will face prosecution.


Thomas Knapp (COUNTERPUNCH) notes:


Iraqi journalist Muntader al-Zaidi (famous for throwing his shoes at then-president George W. Bush during a 2008 Baghdad press conference) puts it bluntly: “I am saddened by the death of Colin Powell without being tried for his crimes in Iraq. But I am sure that the court of God will be waiting for him.”

Assurances of a final judgment in the afterlife aside, Powell’s life since 2003 has been a case of justice delayed, his death a case of justice denied.

Other Iraq  war criminals, however, remain at large.

Bush fancies himself an artist these days, when he’s not hobnobbing with Ellen DeGeneres at football games.

Former national security advisor (and Powell’s successor as Secretary of State) Condoleezza Rice teaches at Stanford.

Former US Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz went on to head the World Bank and currently enjoys a sinecure at the American Enterprise Institute.

And there are others.

They’re not paying for their crimes. They’re not absconding to non-extradition countries one step ahead of arrest and trial. They’re enjoying the good life, seemingly unworried at the prospect of ever facing justice.

That’s something that can, and should, change.



The following sites updated: