Saturday, September 04, 2021

Komodo dragon

I have a friend who has a lizard as a pet.  It's a pretty cool lizard but I never thought much about it beyond that.  Then I read the following at NPR today about Komod dragons:

Scaly and with forked tongues, Komodo dragons are the largest lizards to still walk the Earth.

But their days here may be numbered.

A new report from an international biodiversity conservation organization says the fearsome reptiles are edging closer to global extinction.

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature's (IUCN) Red List, an assessment of the health of tens of thousands of species across the globe, Komodo dragons have gone from "vulnerable" to "endangered."

Why is the Komodo dragon — or Varanus komodoensis — so threatened? Climate change.

Rising global temperatures and higher sea levels, IUCN says, will reduce the Komodo dragon's habitat by at least 30% over the next 45 years.

"The idea that these prehistoric animals have moved one step closer to extinction due in part to climate change is terrifying," said Dr. Andrew Terry, conservation director of the Zoological Society of London.


 To be clear, my friend doesn't have a Komodo as a pet.  It's illegal to have that kind of a lizard as a pet.  NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC notes:

What is the Komodo dragon?

Reaching up to 10 feet in length and more than 300 pounds, Komodo dragons are the heaviest lizards on Earth. They have long, flat heads with rounded snouts, scaly skin, bowed legs, and huge, muscular tails.


Komodo dragons have thrived in the harsh climate of Indonesia's Lesser Sunda Islands for millions of years. They prefer the islands’ tropical forests but can be found across the islands. Though these athletic reptiles can walk up to seven miles per day, they prefer to stay close to home—rarely venturing far from the valleys in which they hatched.


Once a year, when they’re ready to mate, female Komodo dragons give off a scent in their feces for males to follow. When a male dragon locates a female, he scratches her back and llicks her body. If she licks him back, they mate. Males also sometimes wrestle one another to earn mating rights. Pregnant females then lay about 30 eggs, which they bury in the earth until they hatch eight months later.

When there aren’t any males around, female Komodo dragons have other means of reproducing: As they have both male and female sex chromosomes, female dragons can reproduce asexually in a process called parthenogenesis.


As the dominant predators on the handful of islands they inhabit, Komodo dragons will eat almost anything, including carrion, deer, pigs, smaller dragons, and even large water buffalo. When hunting, Komodo dragons rely on camouflage and patience, lying in wait for passing prey. When a victim ambles by, the dragon springs, using its sharp claws, and serrated, shark-like teeth to eviscerate its prey.


The Komodo dragon has venom glands loaded with toxins that lower blood pressure, cause massive bleeding, prevent clotting, and induce shock. Dragons bite down with serrated teeth and pull back with powerful neck muscles, resulting in huge gaping wounds. The venom then quickens the loss of blood and sends the prey into shock.

Animals that escape the jaws of a Komodo will only feel lucky briefly. Dragons can calmly follow an escapee for miles as the venom takes effect, using their keen sense of smell to home in on the corpse. A dragon can eat a whopping 80 percent of its body weight in a single feeding.

Threats to survival

While asexual reproduction does allow female Komodo dragons to replenish their population—an evolutionary advantage—it has a significant drawback: This reproduction process only results in sons. The dearth of other females within a population has led to evidence of inbreeding. The reptile’s reluctance to stray far from home exacerbates the issue as the species’ population declines and fragments.

The Komodo dragon survived for years and now human actions on the earth may destroy it.

"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):

 Friday, September 3, 2021.  Turkey bombs a refugee camp in Iraq, the US government's bribe of Moqtada al-Sadr doesn't appear to be paying off, Iraqi voters lukewarm to the October elections and if THE VANGUARD is acknowledging women, it must mean that they've found some women to slime yet again.

I'm not a nice person, I admit it.  I try to be nice.  And then crap like this pops up.

THE VANGUARD.  That's exactly the segment they should never have done.  Two men who rarely speak to women on their program -- you can go a whole month without them finding a woman to speak to -- wanting to weigh in on women.  Because, apparently, (a) they're experts on women and (b) what the world sorely needs is another man telling women what is and is not, what matters and what doesn't.  

Stream it -- figure out whether you should laugh or cry.

Needs a hair cut has the nerve to say of the women on THE VIEW -- and I'd assume past and present because they're talking about the past and the present, ""First of all, no one on THE VIEW is really all that qualified to be talking about politics."

I believe what he means to say is that women aren't qualified to speak of politics.

THE VIEW was created by Barbara Walters.  She is a famous journalist.  She even interviewed Bashar al-Assad in 2011 and did so because of the war drums pounding -- not to encourage war but to  give Americans a look at who Assad was.  And she did it over the initial objections of ABC brass.  That was one of Barbra's last power moves as a journalist.  

Meredith Viera -- whom I loathe -- may be a game show host to the little weiner boys of THE VANGUARD, but Vieira was a professional journalist. She joined THE VIEW in 1997.  She began her professional journalism career in 1975 -- along the way, that includes being a correspondent for 60 MINUTES and WEST 57TH.

Lisa Ling was one of the best hosts THE VIEW ever had and Lisa was and is a journalist. 

Rosie O'Donnell ran MCCALLS (into the ground, some might argue, but the magazine was already struggling before she came on board) from 2000 to 2003. 

Joy Behar is a comedian who has long been a talk show host. 

We could go through the list all day.

But many of the women have journalism backgrounds.  

And they're not required to have that.  "All different backgrounds" -- that's what Barbra introduction to each show would note, she wanted to bring together women to discuss the news of the day.

I'm not claiming THE VIEW was ever epic breaking TV.  But it was a step forward and I need to note something before Barbra Walters passes so she can get the credit she deserves.  Today, there's THE CHEW and so much else outright copying THE VIEW.  And we've had, for example, a news/public affairs program (CBS MORNING NEWS) that featured Norah O'Donnell and Gayle King at the same time.  When THE VIEW came on, women weren't on.  They were the smiling wifey that a Jane Pauley (I've never been impressed with that ___) or a Joan Lunden (who was at least a sweet person) portrayed next to the male host -- and female guests weren't really on that often -- not on the Sunday chat & chews, not on the public affairs programs.

Barbra wanted a program that was made up of women -- plural -- who would conduct interviews and comment on the events of the day.  She wanted to take the TV cameras to the majority of the world -- women.  It was successful and it's been so copied that it's very easy, all these years later, to not give her credit for what she did and what she accomplished because it seems so natural and so obvious.  But what she did was groundbreaking for commercial, broadcast television.  (Bonnie Erbe did something similar for public television with TO THE CONTRARY WITH BONNIE ERBE starting in 1992, five years earlier.)  Barbara deserves credit for that.

When she passes, her obits should note the ground she broke as interviewer and how she went on to break more ground with THE VIEW.  I'm not a friend of Barbara's and I'm not a big fan of her work but I do give her credit for what she did on TV.  And, to her credit, she never shied away from reactions.  I haven't watched THE VIEW in years and that's probably because Barbara's no longer a part of it.  When she was, I could call her after the broadcast and she'd take the call even though she knew if I was calling, I was calling to gripe.  My calls usually didn't even open with a hello.  They usually opened with an "I'm enraged."  Such as when Meredith proved to be the ultimate bitch on air and, no, I will never forgive her for that.  Joy has stated to me that she went too far that episode (yes, you did, Joy) but was caught up in the times.  Caught up in the times?

This was when THE VIEW went right wing -- shocking for viewers of today's show.  They didn't just go right wing, they spent 'hot topics' trashing Jane Fonda.  Excuse me.  Lisa didn't trash Jane.  Lisa watched with discomfort as the others trashed Jane.  Lisa tried to speak up but was talked over (yelled over) by Joy and Meredith.  Which I also pointed out to Barbara who wasn't on that day's show but was on the next day's show and made a point to sit next to Lisa for support.  It was outrageous..  It was the biggest nonsense you'd ever seen in the world and there are people in their 20s who probably would never believe it happened, certainly not on the 'lefty' VIEW.  It happened.  And I will never, ever forgive Meredith for it. The venom and hate that she snarled and unleashed?  I will never forgive her.  They were so eager to appear to be Republican that they went to town on Jane in the most disgusting way.  It was out of bounds.  And that point was made, to Barbara's credit, by Barbara on the next day's show.  

So don't think I'm some devotee of the show who catches every episode.  

But I do appreciate what Barbara did and how she changed television.  

So let's give her credit for that.

Let's also note that this was supposed to be different points of view.  It would be great if that were true.  And we do get different corporate points of view.  The show's never really had an activist on -- Rosie's the closet to an activist they've had on.  But, yes, they do bring different life experiences to the show which was the point Barbara had in mind.  Cindy McCain's daughter grew up wealthy because of Cindy and part of the political circuit because of John.  Starr Jones was -- as she never tired of insisting on air -- a lawyer.  You had people with a lot of lived experiences and others who were "just starting out" as Barbara used to note in the introductions.  You had married mothers, you had single mothers, you had this, you had that.  Different walks of life.  

They're not qualified to discuss politics?

Because they're women?  

I don't understand that -- is it because I'm a woman, VANGUARD hosts?  I don't understand because they're all American adults largely speaking of American politics and, when 'tackling' the world, doing so from a very US-focused and centered view.

They're not qualified to discuss politics?  

I get that the tiny wiener boys were busy sprouting hairs when the Iraq War began out but let me help them out by explaining we never need to live through that again.  Their puberty?  No, people dictating who was and wasn't qualified to be on TV discussing.  Peace activists were shut out.  Voices calling for a slower rush to war even were also shut out.  

The answer is never less voices, the answer is always more voices.  That's what makes for a thriving democracy, an inclusive public square.  

So I am appalled that they would say that anyone wasn't qualified to talk politics but I'm especially appalled by their ingrained sexism that allowed them to declare that of a show hosted by women when you grasp how many shows are hosted by men and THE VANGUARD hasn't questioned them.

Not qualified to discuss politics?

Again, I've got to laugh.  And note, "Look who's talking."

THE VANGUARD thinks the women of THE VIEW aren't qualified to talk politics but these boys think they're qualified to discuss a topic?  Let's see, the other time we called these boys out, it was because they were trying to repeat Rose McGowan's criticism of CAA without understanding it.  (CAA has a long, long history of exploiting and abusing women.  Alyssa's connection to CAA is not as a client -- Alyssa has no career, she's only at CAA because of her husband.)  In fact, as I remember the criticism we offered here, it also included that they devoted a segment to Rose McGowan, THE VANGUARD did, and never managed to pronounce her name correctly once.  And that was a segment a few months ago, not years and years ago.  Rose has been a known quantity since SCREAM -- it's a little late in the game to not know how to pronounce her name (though I wasn't aware McGowan was an uncommon name).  

Maybe people who don't do the basic work required ahead of a segment to know how to pronounce the name of a woman their segment is about are the last people to question anyone else's qualifications?

And that shoddy work continues in the segment at the top of this snapshot.  THE VIEW is not a cable show -- as stringy hair wrongly insists it is.  And stocky boy insists that he'd watch the program with his grandma every afternoon.  Uh.  No. Not if you were watching it when it aired -- maybe you watched it on a VCR?  THE VIEW is a morning show and was when it started.  Afternoons, back then, were reserved for soap operas by ABC.(Back then?  Stocky talks of watching with Grandma when Rosie was a host.)  

Politics effect everyone's lives.  We all have some level of awareness we can bring to the table on most topics.  No, no one is an expert on everything and there are times when its prudent to just listen.  But to suggest that the women of THE VIEW have not been qualified to talk about politics?  Long before THE VIEW, Rosie was an outspoken anti-guns activist and an advocate for equality in adoptions (the latter is, in fact, what led to her coming out).  

I would love to know what topics THE VANGUARD boys feels they are experts on -- other than beating off.  

It's insulting and this is a left program.  This is what we get.  Two Silent Bob and Jay f**kers who think that only some people are allowed to weigh in and that they themselves are the two to decide who should weigh in.  Smoke your blunt, play with your junk and go back to bed, boys.

Meanwhile, the Turkish government continues to persecute the Kurds.  Layal Shakir (RUDAW) reports:

Turkish bombardment targeted a refugee camp in northern Iraq’s Makhmour early Friday morning resulting in material losses, a source from the camp told Rudaw.

“At around 8:20 am, today [Friday] Turkish airplanes hit an empty house in Makhmour camp,” the source, who preferred to stay anonymous, said. No casualties were reported, they added.

Media affiliated with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) Roj News also reported the attack saying the attack shattered the windows of some houses and damaged the houses of some civilians.

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


Cahids Dersim Tweets:

According to first reports several civilian homes have been damaged following #Turkish airstrikes on #Makhmour Refugee Camp this morning (RN) #TwitterKurds

And we'll note this Tweet:

NATO member #Turkey bombs Makhmour Refugee camps -#Turkish war planes are conducting airstrikes against the Makhmour Refugee Camp -#Makhmour Refugee Camp is home to nearly 12,000 Kurds -Footage from the aftermath of Turkish airstrikes that target the Refugee Camp this morning

I don't believe the Turkish government is targeting terrorists.  I think they're targeting Kurds in the same way that, 100 years ago, they targeted the Armenians.  But regardless of which side you fall on that, do we not agree that bombing homes is terrorism?  What the Turkish government repeatedly brags of is terrorism.   Harry Istepanian observes:

Airstrike targeting Makhmour Refugee camp, Turkish aggression is continuing almost on daily basis.

Meghan Bodette Tweets:

I led this

discussion about illegal Turkish attacks on Kurdish refugees in Makhmour in June with local official

and experts


. Now, Turkey has reportedly bombed the camp again. The world needs to act.

The world does need to pay attention.  And maybe the boys of THE VANGUARD will pay attention, after they've attacked every woman they can in one show after another?

Dana Taib Menmy Tweets:

Turkish war planes on early Friday resumed bombing UN sponsored Makhmur refugees camp which is located 60 km southwest of Erbil, the capital city of Iraqi Kurdistan region. Makhmour Refugee Camp is home to nearly 12,000 Kurds who have fled Turkish state attacks in the mid-1990s

Elections one month away and Iraq's Prime Minister Mustafa al-Khadimi doesn't even have the strength/power/resolve to get Turkey to lay off the bombings long enough for people to go to the polls.  He's perfectly content to allow Turkey to violate Iraq's sovereignty -- and so content that he's an attempting to purchase weapons from them.  

Elections one month away.  US taxpayer money was recently used to purchase . .    . optics.  The Biden administration okayed a bribe to Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr to get him to announce he was going to take part in the elections.  (As we noted weeks ago, his bloc was never out of the race.  We noted that when one member of his bloc explained how the press had gotten the 'withdrawal' wrong.)  So US tax dollars went to someone that the US government has, at various times, tried to paint as a murderer.  But, stay calm, America, your dollars purchased . . . optics.

There was hope on the part of the US State Dept that the bribe would result in others deciding to participate in the election.  Just deciding because the US government has fits of cheapness.  Pay off Moqtada with no concerns and then suddenly the well dries up.

Moqtada's announcement last weekend has had absolutely no influence.  

Hatem Hussein (ALMADA) reports that those not named Moqtada who had announced that they would not be participating are standing by their decision.  This includes certain leaders and members of The October Revolution as well as political blocs such as the Communist Party,   The position is that participating in the election is participating in an attempt to restore a corrupt system.  The Communist Party's Jassim al-Halfi notes that they called for their boycott at the end of July and that nothing has changed -- no reforms have been made -- so their position has not changed.  Layal Shakir (RUDAW) reports:

The Iraqi people’s general attitude toward the elections has turned “cold”, a prominent member of the Sadrist movement told Rudaw on Thursday, as parliamentary elections approach.

The public “mistrusts political blocs,” Issam Hussein, a popular Sadrist commentator, told Rudaw’s Hawraz Gulpi, “especially with the behavior of the political blocs in the past 18 years.”

The situation for people in central and southern Iraq is dire, according to Hussein, noting that there are few job opportunities in the areas, leading people to migrate to the Iraqi capital of Baghdad for work. 

“It is believed that such citizens don’t have the will to head to the ballot boxes,” he added.

So they paid off Moqtada but Moqtada's new public stance wasn't enough to inspire his cult?  

Last month, the world lost Glen Ford of BLACK AGENDA REPORT.  Richard Medhurst notes Glen in the segment below.

Richard Medhurst  speaks with BLACK AGENDA REPORT this week about the media.  Excerpt below:

Earlier this year, Britain’s telecommunications regulator OFCOM revoked CGTN’s license. CGTN is an English-language news outlet based in China. The accusation was that CGTN was controlled by the Chinese Communist Party and that it allegedly failed to disclose this.

Two weeks later China revoked the BBC’s broadcast license in China and Hong Kong. (BBC is tax-payer funded and run by the British government). You can imagine the reaction. Total outrage by Western outlets, calling China authoritarian and all sorts of Sinophobic stereotypes– meanwhile these same voices barely said a thing when CGTN was banned in the UK two weeks prior.

Press TV, based in Iran, suffered a similar fate when OFCOM revoked its broadcast license in 2012. There always seems to be an excuse to take English-language foreign outlets off the air, yet we’re supposed to believe the countries doing this are impartial and supportive of a free press.

Again, it’s important to note that this isn’t just about censoring a publisher or broadcaster inside one’s own border, which is bad enough. What the United States did in June was to completely knock out these news sites, for everyone worldwide.

In the same way the United States seizes (a nice way of saying “steals”) Iran’s fuel tankers and then sells off the oil, or gets the Bank of England to seize Venezuela’s gold in London– these news sites were also seized in a brazen act of piracy.

The claim that the United States has jurisdiction over .com domains and that these news sites didn’t obtain an exemption from sanctions is nonsense. These websites were targeted specifically because they are news sites, and because they publish critical truths about the United States, Israel and Western imperialism.

When supposed “democracies” dub the work of foreign journalists “misinformation”, accusing them of being military units and using that to silence them, you should be extremely worried.

How many times have we heard Rachel Maddow whine about “Russian hackers”? How often do we hear these baseless claims of Chinese, Russian or Iranian “cyberattacks”, in an attempt to malign these countries? Yet all of a sudden when the United States hacks and takes Iranian and other websites offline, all these outraged voices are nowhere to be found.

If Iran had taken a single American news site offline – never mind 33 of them– there would be global outrage. Every U.S. politician and pundit would be screaming from the rooftops, calling it an act of war and an attack on democracy. But in this case, the mainstream media barely bothered to cover or question the Biden administration’s actions. All of a sudden, a continuation of Trump policies and attacking the press don’t seem to bother the liberal left that screamed about “voting out fascism”. The hypocrisy is blinding.

The following sites updated:

Thursday, September 02, 2021


Mars news. BBC's Jonathan Amos reports:

The US space agency's Perseverance rover looks to have retrieved a rock sample on Mars at the second attempt.
The robot's drill made a neat hole in a thick slab dubbed "Rochette".
New images appear to show a rock core was securely picked up. A previous attempt last month saw the sample crumble to dust.
If Perseverance has been successful this time, it would represent the first ever rock section collected on another planet intended for return to Earth.

And as a result? Adam Smith (INDEPENDENT) reports:

Nasa’s Perseverance rover has drilled into its second rock with a view to collecting samples, after the first one strangely went missing.
The space agency has chosen the rock “Rochette”, located on a ridge called “Citadelle” near the Jezero Crater on the Red Planet, for examination

And here's a nice visual of one of Perseverance's findings:



"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):

Thursday, September 2, 2021.  We look at Iraq's upcoming elections

Next month, Iraq is supposed to hold parliamentary elections.  AL-MONITOR Tweets:

Hundreds of international observers are gearing up for the legislative elections in Iraq on Oct. 10 in an attempt to help Iraqis conduct transparent and fair elections

Many obstacles remain to a fair election.  THE NEW ARAB reports:

Facebook is restricting advertisements for Iraqi political parties and candidates in the run-up to the country's parliamentary elections, an official has told The New Arab's Arabic-language sister site.

Iraq's judiciary council requested that Facebook take down posts that relied on "defamation" and "fuelled sectarianism", the official from the Media and Communications Commission, a state agency, told Al-Araby Al-Jadeed.

The United Nations mission in Iraq last week called on Iraqi election stakeholders and the media to avoid misinformation in the run-up to the vote, which takes place on 10 October.

Officials are hoping to avoid a repeat of the 2018 election, which faced widespread accusations of fraud.

2018 is not the election that needs to concern anyone.  2010 is the election that should trouble.  Back then, Joe Biden was the vice president of the United States.  The Iraqi people turned out in March of 2010 to vote.  They got a prime minister in . . . November.  Why the long delay?  Nouri al-Maliki was the incumbent.  They voted him out of office.  He refused to step down.  This brought things to a standstill and was known as the political stalemate.  It lasted for over eight months.  Instead of demanding that the vote be respected, the US government went around the voters.  They negotiated a contract known as The Erbil Agreement.  It overturned the results and gave Nouri al-Maliki a second term.  That's the election that should concern observers today.

But to many avoid the topic.  To this day, 'expert' Patrick Cockburn has never written of The Erbil Agreement -- despite the huge ramifications this had on Iraq which include -- but are not limited to -- the rise of ISIS in Iraq, fostering a mistrust of voting among the Iraqi people . . .

In 2016, certain parts of the US media and certain parts of the US political sector would whine and outright lie about Russia and and the 2016 election.  These same elements never once expressed outrage over the US government overturning Iraq's 2010 election.  

Nor did they express outrage over the person being given that second term -- a person known for torturing and for secret prisons.  Nouri was chosen by Bully Boy Bush originally in 2006 because it was thought that he would be easy to manipulate based upon his CIA assessment which rightly noted that he was extremely paranoid.  (We noted that finding here years before WIKILEAKS published the State Dept cables -- check the archives.)  His paranoia was what made him so dangerous to the Iraqi people but clearly that was never a concern to the US government -- the safety of the Iraqi people.  

To this day, the ramifications of the US imposing Nouri for a second term are not dealt with or acknowledged by many.  A sort of xenophobia ('what do those kind of people deserve anyway!') cloaks what took place.  It's also minimized due to the large number of whores who lied.  Quil Lawrence is only one example of someone practicing something other than journalism -- as he took to NPR airwaves to declare Nouri the winner before ballots were even counted.  Lovely Quill still has his job -- for NPR, I mean.  Don't know if he was ever paid by the US government -- he might have just been donating his services.  Deborah Amos, by contrast, did do actual reporting.  She did an analysis, in fact, about the election.  Anyone paying attention and interested in honesty would have known Nouri was not cruising to an easy victory as so many in the US press were insisting in late 2009 and early 2010. 

Arziz Kader offers a Tweet with wisdom:

With elections eventually looming in Iraq, get ready for the "We started a million new projects" schtick suddenly by ruling parties.

That's right.  The lead up to the elections are when politicians pretend to care.  I especially loved how, a month before the 2010 elections, Nouri brought large ice to a village without potable water -- had been that way all throughout his first term but when he needed votes, he brought them ice.  

The western press is working overtime to re-elect Mustafa.  Mustafa is the White House's choice for prime minister so the western press has taken to portraying him as successful.  He was part of another do-nothing conference over the weekend and, like the one only months ago, it accomplished nothing but we're supposed to see it as his success and he's so powerful and he's so . . .  He's nothing.  He's accomplished nothing.  But the press is working overtime to pretend otherwise.  It's as though someone's cloned Quil Lawrence and we now have thousands of Quils.

Ariz also observes:

I've never seen Slemani roads etc look as good as right before an election for example. It is the one time of the election cycle where some surface investments actually get made.

When not harming the Iraqi people, Mustafa goes after harming the world. Akshat Rathi and Khalid Al Ansary (BLOOMBERG NEWS) report:

Satellites detected a large release of super-warming methane gas over southern Iraq last month.

The methane cloud, spotted by geoanalytics firm Kayrros SAS using European Space Agency satellite data, was halfway between Baghdad and Basra, an oil and gas hub in southern Iraq. The rate of release was about 130 tons per hour, which has approximately the same climate-warming impact as 6,500 U.K. cars running for a year.

Remember, no real regulation in Iraq -- that's why the hospital fires keep happening -- Mustafa has everyone on the honor system -- and the Iraqi people and the entire world pay the cost.

On next month's expected elections, Mustafa Saadoon offers:

It seems the international community is trying as much as possible to help create a stable electoral atmosphere,paving the way for the formation of a new government and parliament capable of restoring the situation to what it was before the protests of Oct

Restore it to what it was before The October Revolution?  What it was before the protests began was a corrupt system?  I hope that Twitter's character limit explains that Tweet.  I hope that's not a fully formed thought being expressed but one narrowed due to character limits.  Yes, Mustafa al-Khadimi is an awful prime minister; however, dropping back to October of 2019 is not an improvement, that was just another disaster.

The upcoming elections have caused a lot of stress and a lot of tensions.  That's been apparent everywhere including in the KRG and in one of their political dynasties: The Talabanis.  Lorraine Mallinder (IRISH TIMES) reports:

It was a great story. Lahur Talabani was the south London boy who brought the fight to Islamic State in his native Kurdistan, playing a leading role in intelligence and counterterrorism. A staunch Kurdish nationalist, he called out the corrupt elites and stuck his neck out for his fellow Kurds in Syria and Turkey.

At least, that was the image. Lahur was feted by the rank and file of his Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), the party he led with Surrey-raised cousin Bafel Talabani. In the city of Sulaymaniyah, the PUK’s power base in eastern Kurdistan, he wielded this star power on social media. But it all fell apart when team Bafel started lobbing accusations of smuggling, extortion and spying at him – to name some of the milder claims.

Now Lahur’s home is surrounded by armed men, with checkpoints set up in the surrounding neighbourhood. His media outlets, apparently a must-have for all leading politicians here, have been shuttered. He “temporarily” handed all power to his cousin – to no avail. Under pressure to leave the country, he has sought recourse in the courts, professing a possibly misguided faith in the independence of Kurdistan’s judiciary on his Facebook page.

This unseemly bust-up in the filthy rich political clan, second in power only to the mighty Barzanis, who control the dominant Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), would have locals on the edge of their seats, were they not preoccupied with more pressing matters – such as rampant poverty, power outages and this summer’s acute water shortages. This, in a region pumping out about half a million barrels of oil a day.

With neighbouring Turkey and Iran taking an interest, there could be more to this than meets the eye. But the consensus seems to be that it’s merely a spat between two power-hungry cousins slugging it out for supremacy, following the death of party granddaddy Jalal Talabani – Lahur’s uncle and Bafel’s dad. 


On the candidates, we'll note this Tweet:

“The #KDP has nominated 17 women out of 52 candidates in the upcoming parliamentary #elections in #Iraq”: Dr. Viyan Suleyman, Secretary of #Kurdistan #Women’s Union.

STRATEGY PAGE offers these observations:

     Iraq’s Shia controlled government faces more dangerous threats locally; internal corruption and Iranian efforts to turn Iraq into a client state or unofficial part of the Iranian Shia Islamic empire. The current situation is that you have about 90 percent of Iraqis opposed to corruption, many of them very opposed. Since 2015, there have been repeated public gatherings that evolved into large anti-corruption demonstrations that continue. Many of these demonstrations are anti-Iran as well. While corrupt Iraqi officials and pro-Iran Shias are on the defensive, they are still a major factor in Iraq and Iraqis in general don’t want this to degenerate into another civil war. They just want less corruption, an improved standard of living and a major reduction in Iranian efforts to control Iraq.

The religious dictatorship in Iran is now dominated by the extremists, or “radicals”. Most of the extremist attitudes come from the IRGC (Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps) who suffered greatly from the return of economic sanctions in 2017. Because of these sanctions the IRGC Quds force, which handles foreign wars and terrorism, saw its budget cut by half since 2017, forcing major reductions in Quds activities in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. The IRGC was created in the 1980s to protect the new religious dictatorship and suppress, with violence, if necessary, local opposition to the new religious overlords. The IRGC has become increasingly assertive in backing radical solutions to problems and that has created a growing number of nationalist clerics, including some eligible to be one of the twelve senior Shia clerics who run the Guardian Council. The senior clerics have become divided into mutually antagonistic factions. The “moderates” are those who want to put Iran’s interests first and concentrate on the economy and reducing the poverty that is visibly turning more Iranians against their government, Islam and all the foreign wars the radicals have dragged Iran into. These “realists” are also nationalists and often called “moderates” by foreigners. The IRGC believes force is the key to Iranian power and all Iranians must support that. Most Iranians do not support the IRGC and for over a decade have become increasingly open about that opposition. The IRGC has killed over a thousand of these protestors over the last few years. As a result of this the Guardian Council has blocked nearly all “nationalist” candidates from running in the latest national elections. This meant the new parliament and senior leaders were dominated by IRGC and Quds Force veterans, including several recognized as terrorists or guilty of war crimes.    

Glenn Greenwald Tweets:

One of the most hilariously deranged behavioral tics of Democrats is that they insist their loss in 2016 is more than fault of

than Hillary Clinton. Susan is trending today - 5 years

Click here for the full thread.

No, Hillary's loss is not Susan Sarandon's fault. Shame on whores like Jill F who insist otherwise.  What we know about Jill is that while people were fasting for peace and Iraq was being ethnically cleansed, 'feminist' Jill was posting bikini selfies to her website as she took a much 'needed' vacation.

She's not to be taken seriously.  Susan Sarandon is a kind hearted person who puts her principles on the line.  Applause to Sue

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