Saturday, August 20, 2022

Iraq continues to suffer due to another Moqtada hissy fit

A new story out of Iraq, AP reports:

The U.S. Air Force said Saturday it was the subject of a “propaganda attack” by a previously unheard-of Iraqi militant group that falsely claimed it had launched a drone attack targeting American troops at an air base in Kuwait.

The statement by the Air Force’s 386th Air Expeditionary Wing came hours after the group calling itself Al-Waretheen, or “The Inheritors,” put out an online statement claiming that on Aug. 12, it targeted Kuwait’s Ali Al Salem Air Base. The statement included a video showing a drone being launched from a stand, but offered no evidence of an attack or any damage done at the base. 

The Inheritors?  Never heard of them.  Are they for real?  Did they launch a prank?  Did they launch an attack?  

In continuing news, the political stalemate remains.  October 10th, Iraq held elections.  All these months later, they have failed to name a prime minister or a president.  MEMO notes:

Sabreen Khalil lost her husband to COVID last year, leaving her to raise seven children alone, but Iraqi government funding to help her and hundreds of thousands of families in poverty is blocked by political stalemate, Reuters reports.

With politicians deadlocked over forming a new government since an election in October, rival Shia Muslim factions in Baghdad, on Friday, continued their weeks-long protests which have prevented Parliament from meeting.

The standoff has raised fears of renewed unrest in a country where militias wield significant power and is already taking a toll on the most vulnerable.

"I am a woman and, all of a sudden, I had to take the responsibility of seven children alone … it broke my back," Khalil said, speaking of the impact of her husband's death.

Sitting on the floor in her one-bedroom brick house in the village of Saada on the outskirts of Baghdad, she said she cannot afford treatment for her chronic illness and that her children have to skip some meals as food prices soar.

People are suffering and many are blaming cult leader Moqtada al-Sadr who took months and months to form a government and failed over and over.  He then stomped his feet and had all of his MPs resign from Parliament.  They have been replaced with the second runners up in the October vote.  Now he wants the Parliament dissolved by the judiciary who has responded that only Parliament has the power to dissolve itself.  The United Nations has called for dialogue.  Iraq's caretake prime minister echoed that call and organized a meet up this past week.

Guess who chose not to participate?

That's right, cry baby Moqtada.

And yet, he now tries to issue another demand.  PRESS TV notes:

Prominent Iraqi Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr says he has submitted a proposal to the United Nations to hold a public debate with all political factions in Iraq, as the country’s political crisis continues to deepen.  

In a post on his Twitter account on Saturday, Sadr wrote that he has not received a tangible response from the Iraqi political parties in this regard, adding that their response did not address the demands of the people or the revolutionaries.  

No dialogue unless he controls it?  Yes, he's blocking movement again while the Iraqi people suffer.  And why does he want to be in charge of a dialogue anyway?  Mid-week he explained he boycotted the meeting of various political heads because "I will not sit with the corrupt and those who want evil."  Unless, of course, he can be in charge.

The following sites updated:

Iran Nuclear Deal: Europe Desperate, Tehran Demands Assurances US Won’t Break Word (Again)

If Hunter Biden had ‘corpses’ in his basement Sam Harris ‘would not have cared’

The U.S. Put Putin Into Power


Painting Hope in the Metaverse


Your World.
Bold & Bright

The newsletter to fuel — and thrill — your mind. Read for deep dives into the unmissable ideas and topics shaping our world.

Aug 20, 2022


The OZY Genius Awards (OGA) are back! And renowned Brooklyn-based artist Sophia Victor is here to make the program look better than ever. Victor recently teamed up with OZY to create an original collection of NFTs that celebrate the brilliant young minds and contributions made by a select group of former OZY Genius Award winners — the first of which is profiled below in today’s newsletter. Victor spoke with OZY about her passion for painting, her evolution as an artist, and the metaverse as the next frontier for art and activism. (Don’t forget to watch this space for upcoming news about our search to find the next class of OZY Geniuses).

Sophia Victor takes her
famous art to the metaverse

Just an experiment

Portraiture has been at the center of Sophia Victor’s work since her early days of painting at the prestigious LaGuardia High School of Music and Art, the only specialized high school for the arts in New York City. The Brooklyn-based artist, famous for her activism and large public murals, discovered her passion while working on a portrait of her father. “Everything at that point was just an experiment,” she said.


Victor, who was formerly known as Sophia Dawson, said her early pieces were created as “vibrant, over-the-top” portraits to evoke reactions of joy, excitement, honor and adoration. “I really enjoyed being a part of that reaction,” she says.

A larger purpose

But the purpose behind her art changed when a close family member, a woman she describes as a second mother, was imprisoned at Rikers Island and then sent upstate to serve a ten-year prison sentence. “I went from just doing things to get a reaction out of people to [making art] that would invoke a remembrance of a person.”


Victor says having a family member incarcerated opened her eyes to a community of relatives who every week get on the trains and buses, go through security, and subject themselves to search by prison guards to visit their loved ones behind bars. That experience gave her compassion for a demographic to which she suddenly belonged. The lasting effect of this experience paved the way for her later work, “To Be Free, ” a series of portraits depicting current U.S.-held political prisoners from the Black Liberation Movement. It also led to her involvement in workshops by Artistic Noise, a Harlem-based nonprofit organization for adolescents detained at facilities such as Rikers Island. “I realized art can transform a space. It can tell a story that no one has time to listen to,” she says.

New frontiers

Now the muralist is venturing into a new medium: digital art for the metaverse.  Victor recently teamed up with the OZY Genius Awards program to create a series of original non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, which will be minted this fall. She is optimistic about the potential of NFTs for artists and contends that the digital world, in her experience, made the arts community much more accessible by bringing together artists, collectives and art dealers from across the world into one space.


Victor emphasizes the benefit of potential immediate visibility that comes with an exhibition in an open digital platform. The issues reflected in her work are urgent, she says. In that sense, the process of preparing an exhibition in a physical space — all the steps from finding a location and partners, to months of promotion — can feel “selfish” and counterproductive to the cause. The digital world, on the other hand,  is free from those restrictions, and can help spread “the word behind the work.”

Elevating the importance of action

There is, however, another side worth considering. Victor says the internet is good at raising awareness and amplifying the causes of social justice, but at the same time minimizes the visibility of both victims and activists. She also observes how being active in the space of social media can make us complacent about our political activism. Social media activism, in her eyes, does not necessarily carry the same gravity as physically getting together to act.


The series created for OZY, spotlighting nine previous winners of the OZY Genius Awards, will be Victor’s first major digital commission opening her work to new audiences and elevating her career to a new level. Having spent years transforming the lives of young people on Rikers Island and across New York, Victor says she’s excited to make a positive imprint on the metaverse and engage with its community.

— by Sylwia Serafinowicz 


TRYING Means Discovering: Innovation Under the Sun! 

Solar on the Go: OGA Winner
Antonia Ginsberg-Klemmt

A sunny revolution

It's not always easy to change the world — but that's not slowing down Antonia “Toni” Ginsberg-Klemmt. The 22-year-old renewable energy entrepreneur's GismoPower™, a fully portable solar carport, is primed to revolutionize solar and help consumers take the power into their own hands.


“This is actually a startup that can change the world, or change the whole idea of affordable renewable energy,” affirms Ginsberg-Klemmt, who, with her engineer father, designed the first compact, fully collapsible, affordable and very powerful system to use at home — all before her 20th birthday. Now, a few short years and several prestigious grants later, the Florida native is sailing toward her goal. But the journey hasn't always been smooth.


By integrating a modular portable solar carport and EV-Charger, GismoPower's patented MEGA™ system (Mobile Electricity Generating Appliance) can easily generate enough energy to power a home and an electric vehicle (EV). In Florida, though, this system doesn't fall under any easy regulatory category." And that's causing some friction with the state's power company. “Florida’s regulations favor the utilities over distributed solar,” Ginsberg-Klemmt said. “When individuals control their own electricity generation, Florida Power and Light (FPL) loses money. Utilities monopolize the power industry. What they're trying to do is have consumers pay for them to control electricity generation. We need to take that back.”

Florida by way of California

To bypass regulatory red tape, Ginsberg-Klemmt plans to get her GismoPower MEGA rack officially UL-listed with Intertek as an electricity generating appliance. “Appliances that consume electricity can easily be purchased and plugged into the electric grid with ease and without onerous permitting, but as soon as someone wants to generate and feed electricity into the grid, permitting purgatory breaks loose. We should no longer accept this unjustified roadblock,” said Ginsberg-Klemmt.


While the Sunshine State may be in no mood to capitalize on its greatest free resource, other states are. “We packed up three GismoPower MEGAs and drove them to California, where we have plenty of support. We also know now that we have enthusiastic support in North Carolina, where our first clients just ordered a second system. So we're thinking, ‘Okay if we can get these systems approved in California and North Carolina, then hopefully we'll be able to bring everything back to Florida.’”


Not only has Ginsberg-Klemmt found enthusiastic backing in two other states, she's gained the seal of approval from several impressive organizations, including the U.S. Department of Energy, which has awarded her a $206,000 SBIR grant. She also won this year’s $175,000 American Made Solar Prize and others, for a grand total of $437,000.

Difficulty isn’t a deterrent

In her spare time, the soon-to-be college senior also taught herself CAD (computer-aided design) to digitally render blueprints as her projects mount and her designs evolve. “I've done all our different prototypes and sent them to the structural engineering firm to create signed and sealed plans. They review my work and basically put their stamp of approval using my drawings. I'm like, ‘wow, I can be an engineer. This is totally possible!’ So it's been very, very fun. But also very difficult.”


Difficulty is something Ginsberg-Klemmt and her role models — including climate activist Greta Thunberg and Green New Deal champion Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez — have no problem facing head-on. And neither does her father and business partner, Achim Ginsberg-Klemmt, the other great influence in her life. “If it weren’t for my dad, I probably would not have gotten into solar energy,” she says. “I was born in Hawaii and literally raised on a sailboat. We moved off the boat when I turned 6, but I remember the solar panels on the back of the boat and my dad telling me that it was thanks to those panels that we had lights in the cabin or that we could plug in our laptop for playing games.”

Two birds, one stone

At home in Florida, Ginsberg-Klemmt got her original idea from her own EV: “Every time I plugged in my Nissan Leaf at the college, I knew that electricity was still coming from FPL [Florida Power and Light]. Back at my house, I knew we were running on sunshine. Why could we not shade my car and create energy from the burning Florida sun at the same time? It’s absolutely not rocket science!”


It wasn't just Ginsberg-Klemmt's dad who believed in her — her first solid financial backing came in 2021 in the form of a $10,000 OZY Genius Award. “OZY was basically our little feeder into this insanely amazing experience.”


With exciting projects, partnerships and possible prizes on the horizon, Ginsberg-Klemmt thinks more about what's working than what isn't, and is nothing if not sunny about what lies ahead. “I tried surfing for the first time, and that was for me kind of a visualization like, ‘Hey, you won't catch every wave but, you know, if there's a wave that works for you, just take it.’” We, and the world, can be very glad Toni Ginsberg-Klemmt has taken this wave.

— by Jennifer Ladonne

Community Corner

Do you have a Genius idea?


OZY is a diverse, global and forward-looking media and entertainment company focused on “the New and the Next.” OZY creates space for fresh perspectives, and offers new takes on everything from news and culture to technology, business, learning and entertainment. / #OZY

Curiosity. Enthusiasm. Action. That’s OZY!


A Modern Media Company


OZY Media, 800 West El Camino

Mountain View, California 94040

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Your Answers: What Brings Happiness?


Your World.
Bold & Bright

The newsletter to fuel — and thrill — your mind. Read for deep dives into the unmissable ideas and topics shaping our world.

Aug 20, 2022


When we asked what brings happiness to your life, you spoke up. You also shared your thoughts on loneliness, the cap on refugees in the U.S., and what Zimbabwe should do with its untapped oil reserves. Got something to say? Drop us a line. We’re learning from you!

– Bev and the OZY team

Hope + human kindness

Letters have been edited for length and clarity.

Your advice on loneliness

I am ever more certain that the feeling of loneliness people describe is, in fact, a great gift — a human distress signal urging us to create real connection. We are mammals, after all, and we do not survive without one another. Heed this warning. Take it as seriously as a fever. Loneliness is dangerous.

Sheila H., Portland, Oregon


I’ve discovered it’s the small things done to bring joy to others that add up to a happier me. I hope the same discovery happens to others.

Jane G., Andover, Massachusetts

It’s not all bad news

Declining fertility in the developed world provides hope that the human population will soon reach its peak. The advancement of robotics and other technologies holds the promise of transitioning to a world in which a much smaller global human population enjoys a high standard of living on a cleaner, wilder and more beautiful Earth.

Kent I., Sonoma, California

Raise the number of refugees in the US?

The U.S. should raise the cap on Ukrainian refugees. The U.S. is a large country and many Americans have big hearts. We have an obligation to help Ukrainians, Central Americans and others who are fleeing persecution.

Paula S., Durham, North Carolina


I live in Pennsylvania. Our small city is hosting about a dozen refugee families from Afghanistan. The main issue is housing. Our local housing market is typical of the entire nation: Rents are going up and there is a huge shortage of housing. We have a very large Ukrainian population in this state, which may result in individuals taking in fellow countrymen. But that won’t be enough, I fear, to counteract the housing shortages and expanding rental costs. Right now, the government is placing refugees into motels. I don’t know how long this can last. In short, it’s not about how much we welcome refugees. It’s about finding them places to live. 

Linda D., Carlisle, Pennsylvania

Dogs, nature are sources of happiness

In a recent Daily Dose, we explored the idea that dogs may ease our “species loneliness,” and nearly 300 of you responded to our poll asking what brings happiness into your life. A whopping 75% said your dog. In addition, 71% said that trees bring happiness, and many of you wrote in your own answers to say the ocean, rivers, lakes and streams bring you joy, as does sitting quietly in nature. Other popular answers? Friends and grandchildren, gratitude and staying aware of what’s good in life are all sources of happiness.


It’s worth noting that not a single person wrote to say money, or the newest iPhone, brings happiness.


on The Carlos Watson Show!

Climate dilemma

Should Zimbabwe allow new oil drilling?

Yes, Zimbabwe should be allowed to drill if the people want it. They should be free to do what they want!

Katrina P.


Zimbabwe should be allowed and encouraged to develop its energy sector. This would reduce dependence on foreign aid and enable the country to become more self-reliant, which is also empowering for the people, allowing them to break free from the control of "more developed" European countries.

Kimberly A., Tacoma, Washington


The oil must stay in the ground. Who should pay compensation to Zimbabwe? The cause of global warming is the burning of fossil fuels over the last 200 years, mainly by the rich countries of Europe and North America and, more recently, Australia, China and India. The international oil companies have profited and they must therefore pay for oil resources to remain in the ground and make greater efforts to develop sustainable energy to replace oil.

Ros W., Durham, England

Let’s talk water, not just energy

I’m 80 years old and have seen what man has done to our country in that time. I’ve lived in a recreational vehicle full time for 30 years, and everywhere I travel in any direction, I observe construction on new housing and businesses. No one seems concerned about water and sewer systems for all these new subdivisions. I saw my beloved Eel River run absolutely dry. Here in California, all new construction has to have a hookup for electric cars. I will never be able to buy an electric car. I think all new construction instead should have recycled water storage for watering the landscape.

Linda J., Contra Costa County, California

Community Corner

What’s on your mind? Share your thoughts with the OZY community.


OZY is a diverse, global and forward-looking media and entertainment company focused on “the New and the Next.” OZY creates space for fresh perspectives, and offers new takes on everything from news and culture to technology, business, learning and entertainment. / #OZY

Curiosity. Enthusiasm. Action. That’s OZY!


A Modern Media Company


OZY Media, 800 West El Camino

Mountain View, California 94040