Paintings with messy lines of black and grey with splashes of green
and red cover the walls of Tara Abdullah’s studio on the top floor of
Sulaimaniyah’s old tobacco factory. Kurdish
lettering and motifs of femininity and masculinity are prominent. More
delicate pencil portraits peek from an alcove in one corner.
Abdullah plugs in a small space heater to ward off the winter chill
in the industrial cavern, apologizing about the mess of electrical
wires, sound cables and paint cans strewn about, left over from her most
“It’s my dream place,” she said of her studio, where she has worked
for the past 10 years. “Everything I’ve ever made here, it’s all part of
a big web that helps create the new artwork I’m trying to do.”
Sulaimaniyah is frequently referred to as the Kurdistan Region of
Iraq’s “culture capital” and is a young city by regional standards. It
was founded in 1784 and has attracted poets, musicians, merchants and
political activists ever since. In 2019, it was designated a UNESCO City of Literature.
Its warrenous bazaar and park-studded downtown feel alive and timeless
compared with the ersatz Dubai under construction in Erbil, the
Kurdistan Region’s political capital.
The city also serves as a base for painters, sculptors and graphic
artists who take advantage of the growing infrastructure of galleries,
studios and training programs where they can hone their craft and
exhibit their work.
With talk of an artistic resurgence in the Kurdistan, it's worth noting Elissa.
She has been among the highest-selling female Middle Eastern
artists since 2005. In 2005, she became the first Lebanese singer to
receive the World Music Award for Best Selling Middle Eastern Artist, an award that she received again in 2006 and 2010. She has currently sold over 30 million albums worldwide. Elissa is also one of the richest celebrities in Lebanon, with a reported estimated wealth of over $40 million. As of 2019, Elissa has over 50 million followers on social media. In 2018, Elissa appeared as a judge on The Voice: Ahla Sawt, the Arab edition of The Voice.
Lebanese superstar Elissa will perform live at the Duetto hall, in Erbil, Iraq, on Monday, March 20.
is set to present several of her popular and latest songs.
In other news, kidnappings are increasing in Baghdad. This week, RUDAW reported on one:
distraught families of two young girls - both cousins - who were found
dead just 12 hours after they were abducted over the weekend in Baghdad,
called on the Iraqi government to hold those responsible accountable.
Aya Hassan 6, and Fatima Abbas 7 were kidnapped by three suspects in Baghdad's Jamila area on Wednesday.
Just 12 hours later, their dead bodies were found, 25 kilometers from the capital’s Sadr city.
"First of all, we are calling on the state, the interior minister and
Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani, and all the relevant authorities
that just like how they [the murderers] burned our heart, they must be
handed over to us," Hassan Majid, the distraught and sobbing father of
Aya told Rudaw over the weekend.
The suspects were arrested on Thursday and the families of the murdered
girls call on the Iraqi government to execute them as soon as possible.
Some are e-mailing regarding Nina Turner's new YOUTUBE program. I've been noting it here. I wasn't aware, until after streaming that it was part of THE YOUNG TURKS network. I don't endorse TYT and never have. I will continue to note Nina's program. We noted Nina throughout the 2020 campaign for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination -- repeatedly reposting her Tweets.
I'm not interested in who you should vote for and I'm not interested in pimping out votes. Any segment that by its title appears to be pimping will not be noted here. I don't have time to stream everything. When Nina herself was running for office, I did not take sides. I couldn't vote in the election and had friends who were for Nina and friends who were for Shontel Brown (who won). You didn't see pro-Nina videos or pro-Shontel videos up here. (A friend who has her own YOUTUBE program and was very pro-Shontel was upset that I would note her show but not those videos and I explained to her that I wasn't getting in it and she understood.) I'd really prefer we focus more and more on issues -- especially in those years that aren't presidential election years.
I'm not interested in who Nina wants me to vote for. I am interested in issues. That'll be the basis for what gets highlighted from her show.
False information is being
shared about the Wisconsin Green Party’s relationship to a February
19th, 2023 demonstration in Milwaukee which was organized as a sister
event for the “Rage Against the War Machine” rally held in Washington,
DC on the same date. The Wisconsin Green Party did not partner with any
other organizations, endorse, or in any way support “Rage Against the
War Machine” or the organizing of the February 19th event in Milwaukee.
question of supporting the demonstration was discussed amongst members
of the WIGP Coordinating Council in the weeks preceding February 19th,
and was considered again during the February 15th, 2023 Wisconsin Green
Party Coordinating Council meeting. Following this discussion, WIGP
leadership voted 6-2 not to endorse the rally.
Those who opposed endorsing the
February 19th rally recognize that peace on a global scale cannot be
achieved without social justice. The views and goals of numerous
organizations and individuals who planned and participated in the Rage
Against the War Machine Rally contradict the Wisconsin Green Party’s
commitment to social justice and equity for all as outlined as part of
our party’s Four Pillars:
The Wisconsin Green Party opposes
all manifestations of racism, sexism, xenophobia, and discrimination.
We fight to end the root causes of these issues through education and
empowering people through collective action. We fully respect the rights
and sovereignty of the Native American Nations. We defend civil rights
and liberties against any encroachments and seek to expand their scope.
We envision social justice in which people are actually treated equally
before the law and in their day to day lives.
The primary organizers of Rage
Against the War Machine overwhelmingly support the unjust and
exploitative economic system of capitalism that consistently puts
profits before people, engages in tactics of class war to maintain
hegemony, and drives war and imperialism as its imperative for endless
growth inevitably erupts in wars for resources and economic supremacy.
The event prominently featured a lineup of speakers known for racism, antisemitism, transphobia, homophobia, pro-war views, sexual misconduct, and vaccine skepticism.
At least two featured speakers were employees of Russian state media
who have been disseminating the Russian government’s line on the war in
The event was attended and
enthusiastically received by a variety of neofascists, cultists, war
supporters (many flying Russian flags), and members of white supremacist groups.
These elements did not “just show up” as unwelcome guests - starting
from the featured speakers and sponsoring organizations, the lead
organizers deliberately fostered an atmosphere that not only tolerated,
but encouraged right-wing extremists and pro-war forces to attend. More
detailed information about the repellent views of many featured speakers
and sponsoring organizations is included below.
Also of note is the fact that the
event’s self-appointed lead organizers Angela McArdle of the Libertarian
Party’s Mises Caucus and Nick Brana of the “People’s Party” registered
Rage Against the War Machine as a 501(c)4 nonprofit corporation, and raised over $100,000 over the course of planning and promoting the event. What this money is being (or will be) used for largely remains a mystery.
Other anti-war organizations and
activists have expressed concern about the Rage Against the War Machine
Rally, making similar points. These include the World Socialist Web Site, LA Progressive, Jacqueline Luqman of Black Agenda Report and Black Power Media, and Ajamu Baraka.
Baraka, a National Organizer for the Black Alliance for Peace and 2016
Green Party Vice Presidential candidate, tweeted: “The white left in the
U.S. is deeply delusional. Elements of the left actually believe a
radical movement leading to revolutionary change will be led by white
activists with Black & colonized people as backdrops.
We stand in solidarity with these
voices, as well as others whose concerns about this event and its
speakers, participants, and larger intentions were marginalized and
The rally’s poor attendance and
reception, despite raising over $100,000 and being amplified by
far-reaching right-wing media outlets like Fox News and Alex Jones’
Infowars, demonstrates clearly that the anti-war movement will only
discredit and destroy itself if it attempts to join forces with known
grifters, cultists, right-wing extremists, white nationalists, sexual
predators, and pro-war trolls.
The Wisconsin Green Party remains
committed to a peaceful world without war; this includes social and
economic justice. Anyone claiming to represent the Wisconsin Green
Party in reference to supporting or partnering with any of the events of
February 19, 2023, whether national or local, is operating in direct
contradiction of the democratic majority decision of WIGP leadership.
Dave Schwab, WIGP Co-chair and National Committee delegate Sam Chance, WIGP Co-chair and National Committee alternate Mike McCallister, WIGP Coordinating Council CD-4 representative and National Committee delegate Melissa Minkoff, WIGP Coordinating Council CD-2 representative and National Committee alternate
More information regarding Rage Against the War Machine organizers and invited participants:
Scott Ritter, who was invited as a featured speaker, recently wrote on Twitter: “I
don’t claim to be anti-war; never did. There are rabid dogs out there,
and we need Atticus Finch’s to shoot them. I do, however, object to the
senseless shooting of healthy dogs. Ukraine is a rabid dog. Russia is
Atticus Finch. Thus ends my lesson.” While the Libertarian Party then
asked Ritter to drop out of the rally due to his pro-war advocacy and
past conviction for sex crimes involving a minor, he nevertheless
released a Rage Against the War Machine rally speech online and was a featured guest at the after-party hosted by the Center for Political Innovation, a sponsor of the rally.
The Center for Political Innovation, a rally sponsor that advocates for a national-socialism-like ideology of “MAGA Communism”, invited Matt Heimbach and Shandon Simpson,
neo-nazi organizers of the 2017 Unite the Right rally in
Charlottesville where fascists murdered a counter-protester, to the
rally and the CPI afterparty, where they had a recruitment booth for
their rebranded organization “Patriotic Socialist Front”. Heimbach and his associatesflew Russian imperial flags at the rally.
speaker Diane Sare was a US Senate candidate in the LaRouche Party,
connected to the LaRouche movement, a political cult based on adherence
to the ideology of Lyndon LaRouche. As LA Progressive summarized, “In
decades past, the virulent anti-Semite, racist, homophobic, neo-fascist
and degenerate conspiracy theorist, LaRouche and his thugs collaborated
with various local police agencies to spy on and disrupt left
organizations. Armed with clubs and nunchucks (wooden bars connected by
chains) and other weapons, likely with police and FBI collaboration,
they repeatedly organized, via their well publicized “Operation Mop-Up,”
violent physical attacks on left organizations, focusing on public
forums of the US Communist Party and the Socialist Workers Party. Their
stated objective was to physically obliterate these organizations.”
Jordan Page, another featured speaker and musical guest, wrote the anthem for the Oath Keepers,
a “far-right anti-government militia whose leaders have been convicted
of violently opposing the government of the United States, including the
transfer of Presidential power as prescribed by the US Constitution… As
of January 2023, nine members have been convicted of seditious
conspiracy for their roles in the January 6 United States Capitol
Garland Nixon and Wyatt Reed are both employees of Sputnik
International, a Russian state media outlet that disseminates the
Russian government’s line on the war.
Featured speaker Tulsi Gabbard, a former
member of Congress turned Fox News pundit, was heavily promoted by Rage
Against the War Machine despite Gabbard’s record of support for war, increased military spending, drones, torture, and the brutal military occupation of Palestine.
Featured speaker Daniel McAdams of the Ron Paul institute tweeted
"I'm with Russia 100%" in support of Russia's oppressive anti-LGBTQ
laws and referred to the LGBTQ community as "perverts" who "sexually
attack our children".
It’s a frustrating thing, not being able to sleep. It’s confusing, especially when you’ve spent the whole day feeling tired. In fact, I think one of my first thoughts this morning, when I woke up on the tour bus, 40 minutes outside of Prague, one of my very first thoughts of the day was ‘I can’t wait to sleep tonight’. And here I am, it’s half past one in the morning, and I cannot, for the life of me, get to sleep.
I really have felt tired today, but that’s not to suggest that I haven’t enjoyed myself. Quite the opposite, I really do love Prague. I hope one day to be able to return for a week or so, make a proper holiday of it. We checked into the hotel. I looked at myself in the mirror, ‘you look knackered, George’ I shook myself out of the very real desire to climb straight into bed, and instead got myself ready for the day, shower, shave, fresh clothes out of the suitcase. Come on, George, get out there. Me and Jimmy met on the street and set out, aimlessly walking, chatting back and forth. We carried on like this for three or four hours. Crossed the river, climbed up a huge set of steps, visited little shops, brought gifts for people we love*.
We had a day off and we did it well.
The shows, and I’m not just saying this, have been amazing. Especially last night in Warsaw, the audience could not have been warmer, so much fun, properly joyful. Thank you, Warsaw. Thank you.
(It’s now Wednesday 22nd February)
I didn’t get to sleep until 4am after writing the other night. We’re sat backstage in Vienna now and I wanted to Just quickly say, the show in Prague last night was up there with Warsaw. Thank you so much to everybody that made it down. A few of us went for a stroll earlier on and were taking a moment to take it in, this feeling, on the move, performing, exploring. It’s all a dream.
If you’ve made it out to one of the shows over the last week, thank you.
I hope you’re well.
*I did also buy myself a Albert Einstein bobble head, but instead of his head nodding up and down, his right hand is raised up towards his head, his index finger pointed at his temple, and it’s this hand that rocks back and forth, suggesting he’s just had an idea. It’ll take pride of place at the studio. I’ll get used to him being there and for the most part stop noticing him, and then occasionally, he’ll grab my attention and I’ll think of Prague, of touring Europe, I’ll wonder what great idea he’s having and I’ll feel inspired and empowered, knowing that a novelty Albert Einstein is on my side.
It’s early friday morning and I’m on the bus headed Rome. I’m pleased to be on the go. The sun hasn’t risen up yet, meaning I’ll see the sunrise on voyage. I love that!
I can’t describe in words how excited I am since at this time, next week, I’ll be in Milan, ready to watch you live at the Forum. I’ve been looking forward to this moment for a year and now it’s so close it feels unreal 🥺. It’s time to listen to your albums all over again, better get ready to sing along the whole gig hahaha
Reading this week journals made me even more impatient! Please do write more backstage stories as I love knowing what goes on behind the scenes 😊
Sending lots of love. See you next week!
Yours truly and v pumped, Raffaella
When I first discovered Weiss watches, I was really impressed by the quality and especially the fact that they are American made. As a fan of the brand, it was an honor to partner with them on this limited-edition version and it was fun getting to be creative in a new way. I’m proud to wear this watch every day and I hope fans of my music, UNC football, or just all-around great craftsmanship love it, too.
Starting with the war on the LGBTQ+ community, let's note this report from QUEER NEWS TONIGHT on the over 120 anti-LGBTQ+ bills introduced in January by Republican politicians across the country. Over 120.
Critics have long argued that theTimes is
falling short in its LGTBQ+ coverage, particularly of trans kids, but
the debate around the publication’s standards exploded into public view
Thousands of Times contributors signed onto an open letter, organized by the Freelance Solidarity Project and
delivered to leadership on 15 February, which voiced “serious concerns
about editorial bias in the newspaper’s reporting on transgender,
nonbinary, and gender nonconforming people.”
letter accused the storied paper of violating its own ethical standards
around neutrality by treating “gender diversity with an eerily familiar
mix of pseudoscience and euphemistic, charged language, while
publishing reporting on trans children that omits relevant information
about its sources.”
letter pointed to a recent article referring to a person seeking
gender-affirming healthcare with the term “patient zero,” and another
instance where a source’s affiliation with an anti-trans hate groups
The document noted with dismay that coverage by The New York Times has
been cited by various GOP officials who are waging attacks on trans
youth in court and in legislatures across the country; it argued that
the Times was fueling a similar media-political feedback loop
that saw previous generations demonise those with HIV/Aids and those who
You may remember the great Glenneth Greenwald snickering and pooh-pahing the letter. It's because he doesn't know journalism. He had some legal training -- not good legal training -- though I do love the story from those years about how he went on a transphobic rant when a group of friend proposed they see PARIS IS BURNING, it's so very Glenneth -- but he's had no journalistic training at all and he doesn't understand what it's about to this day.
It's no surprise that Glenneth would join NYT in endorsing the attacks, that's how he made his pathetic name, after all, by joining NYT's war on Iraq. That is his history.
You'd think by now he'd put some effort into being a decent human being but you would be wrong.
And he runs with others who are, at best, disappointing.
Blumenthal is disgusting.
He attacked Jaqueline Luqman on Jimmy Dore's YOUTUBE program -- with Aaron Mate nodding along. He lied about her.
Max, pull back my friend. You don't want to go down that road. Black folks had legitimate concerns regarding some of the elements involved in that rally & the experience to know that rally was not going to stop nuclear war. This could be basis for a respectful conversation.
Until your interview on Dore where you misrepresented what I said and your tweets today, NO ONE mentioned you OR ANY OF THE SPEAKERS BY NAME. The focus of my article was the Mises Caucus & their policies as they now lead the Libertarian Party. NONE of my comments wee about YOU.
And to be PERFECTLY clear, since it is obvious that reading the article is the one thing you didn't actually do, I wrote about one of the political parties that organized & sponsored the rally. I did not write about speakers or attendees or speak about them.
Max, there are many in the U.S. that are just not used to having Africans who can speak to the complexities of international geo-politics. But I did not think that you were one of them. We don't "mock" white folks, we don't do the race BS, but we do engage in principle struggle.
Since you do actually know me & still act as if you can't pronounce my name & don't understand what I said, your opportunistic reframing of my actual words reflects more on your character than anything else. I was CLEAR when I asked what ppl would do when nuclear war is avoided.
He attacks Jaqueline Luqman with lies and then we see his followers throughout the thread -- a bunch of White racists and Indian
racists attacking her for her race. And no one's supposed to notice
Let's pretend that at least one or two of Max's fans honestly do not get it and let's try to walk them through slowly.
someone is racist, they aren't your friend. It's not a
can't-we-work-together-in-Congress Dem and Rep issue. This is someone
signing up for your destruction. No, you cannot ask African-Americans
to just try to get along with racists. Do racists stay racist their
whole lives. No. People can learn and they can grow. But it's not the
responsibility of an African-American to educate a White racist (or one
from India). Nor should anyone dismiss concerns of violence.
African-Americans have very good reasons -- historical -- for not
electing to mix with racists. You're too entitled and privileged if you
can't see that on your own.
And asking them to 'work together'?
How very Phyllis George of you, Max, how very Phyllis George.
Gayle King put CBS THIS MORNING on the map, the show was a joke for
decades. Never so much as when Phyllis George had her infamous moment.
Gary Dotson had just been released from prison after the woman who said
he raped her, Cathy Webb, admitted she lied. CBS just knew the thing
to do was have them both on the program at the same time. At the end of
the segment, Phyllis suggested, "How about a hug?" (CRAPAPEDIA is yet
again wrong, she did not ask them to "hug it out" -- she did not use
those words, nor would anyone have in 1985 -- so CRAPAPEDIA needs to
take them out of quotes. I would love it if I didn't have to dictate
and anticipate e-mails at the same time. But I did say, "Stop, look up
Phyllis George on CRAPAPEDIA and tell me if they quote her." They did.
They have it wrong. Refer to Tom Shales, WASHINGTON POST report in real time --
May of 85 -- and if the link for it isn't there when this goes up, give
me an hour or two -- we're doing Zooms -- and I'll have put it in
what Max basically wants, an African-American to give a racist a hug
and then come work with him and the racists on his issue.
That is disrespectful and its ignorant.
how dare you ask the oppressed to make nice with their oppressor. On
the face of it, Max should have realized how stupid this was.
and his ilk whine about both-side-ism all the time. What's more
both-side-ist than asking someone targeted with racism to work with a
racist. Civil rights and racism are not two equal views.
Max chose to go with racists and transphobes and that's, sorry, because he is both.
why Anya Panya can't stop mocking trans persons online at her Twitter
account. It's why Max can't recognize that African-Americans are not
his minions. Just because he wants -- he says -- to avoid a nuclear war,
doesn't mean they give up their own agency and their own beliefs to toe his
line. But when you don't see a person as a person due to their race,
when you think you own their actions -- and, indeed, think you own them,
that's racism. Racism is also evident in Max's response to Jacqueline.
He attacks her because she won't do what he wants, he attacks her with
lies and tries to ignite his White (and Indian) mob against her. Max,
you're doing everything but disclosing her address as you hand out white
It is not a good look for you.
For those who have or will call on me to debate #MaxBlumenthal on his wild & false claims: 1) The right of Africans to organize w/who we choose & for what reasons is not up for debate. 2) We do not need the approval of anyone to validate why we choose our coalitions. The End.
upon a time, Max, you were a very cute little boy who had the widest
smile and the biggest heart. If you've let the world beat that out of
you, that makes me want to cry. That's who I saw for years now when
others picked on or attacked you and why I rushed to your defense over
and over. You are so much better than your current behavior indicates. You owe it to who you were
to take a look at how you're behaving right now.
Anderson: I was bartending that evening when the attack began. I felt
more terrified than I ever have before. I ran for my life that night
and hid -- praying and hoping the violence would end. When I stared
down the barrel of that gun, I realized I stood no chance against a
weapon of that power, magazine capacity, and seemingly automatic firing
rate. While I prepared for my life to end in that moment, I prayed. I
panicked. And I prayed some more. God must have heard my prayers
because two brave men stopped the shooter moments before he would have
inevitably found me. I saw my friend lying on the floor, bleeding out,
knowing there was little to no chance of surviving the bullet wound. I
had to tell him goodbye while I continued to fear for my life, not
knowing if the attack was truly over.
The shooting also left twenty-five people injured. We'll quote former US House Rep Carolyn Maloney from a US House Oversight Committee press release on that hearing:
“Last month, a person with
an AR-15-style assault rifle entered Club Q—a nightclub that served as a
haven for LGBTQI+ people in the Colorado Springs community—and opened
fire on unsuspecting bar patrons and staff. The attacker’s depravity
robbed us of five innocent lives—Daniel Aston, Raymond Green Vance,
Kelly Loving, Ashley Paugh, and Derrick Rump,” said Chairwoman Maloney
in her opening statement.
“Let us honor them by recommitting to the bold action necessary to
ensure that every person in the United States can experience the freedom
to live authentically and safely—regardless of who they love or how
The great Glenneth, of course, rushed forward to insist that the shooter being non-binary meant that it wasn't homophobia.
It was shocking because you'd think if anyone would be an expert on internalized homophobia, it would be Glenneth.
As we noted then, it was very likely that the shooter was dealing with issues of homophobia -- whether the shooter was non-binary or not.
Detective Rebecca Joines testiftied that Aldrich ran a neo-Nazi
website that featured a white supremacist training video glorifying mass
shootings, posted an image of a Pride parade with a rifle scope trained
on it, and used anti-LGBTQ+ and racist slurs
while gaming. Joines said that while those who knew Aldrich were
unaware that they identified as nonbinary, Aldrich had told them that
their mother, Laura Voepel, was nonbinary and had taken them to gay
bars. Aldrich’s defense showed a photo of Aldrich and Voepel at Club Q
taken in August 2021.
We'll wind down with this from the one and only Jody Watley, the legend, the trend setter, the
show stopper, the dance queen, the fashionista, the all around wonderful
person, will be hosting her own program starting next month. Reposting
from Jody's site:
“Check out Jody Watley! She
is out here making boss moves. For instance, in celebration of Women’s
History Month, the musical icon will host a new monthly 2-hour show
exclusively on SiriusXM’s The Groove. The first guest will be Emmy
winning actress Sheryl Lee Ralph.