Saturday, May 09, 2020

Legend and pioneer Little Richard has passed away

The legendary Little Richard has passed away.  The rock and roll pioneer shaped and changed the face and sound of rock and roll.  Along the way, he became a cultural institution -- appearing in films like Jayne Mansfield's THE GIRL CAN'T HELP IT and Bette Midler and Nick Notle's DOWN AND OUT IN BEVERLY HILLS.

Chris Morris (VARIETY) reports:

Flamboyant singer-instrumentalist Little Richard, whose high-voltage, keyboard-shattering R&B singles supplied lift-off for the ’50s rock ‘n’ roll revolution, has died. The musician, whose birth name was Richard Penniman, was 87, although some sources say he was older. His death was confirmed by his son, Danny Jones Penniman, who told the New York Times the cause was cancer.
Richard’s manic 45s for Los Angeles indie label Specialty Records — “Tutti Frutti,” “Long Tall Sally,” “Rip It Up,” “Jenny Jenny,” “Keep A-Knockin’” and “Good Golly Miss Molly” — became major crossover hits in the pop sphere and influenced succeeding generations of rockers.
Pompadoured, mustachioed, slathered with pancake makeup and popping his mascara-painted eyes — “Ooh my soul, I’m the prettiest man in rock ‘n’ roll,” he declaimed — and graced with an ego as outsized as his personality and his voice, the daringly androgynous musician established himself as the wildest performer of his musical era.

Anita Bennett (DEADLINE) notes:

Born Richard Penniman on Dec. 5, 1932, the Macon, Georgia native would eventually find fame and inspire generations of musicians including David Bowie and Otis Redding. Little Richard’s catalog of hits is still performed to this day, with his songs recorded by such acts as The Beatles, The Kinks and the Everly Brothers, among many others.

She also notes music legends such as Ringo Starr, Mick Jagger, Quincy Jones and Keith Richards are among those Tweeting about Little Richard passing.  Douglas Wolk (HOLLYWOOD REPORTER) adds:

In 1957, Little Richard released his debut album, Here's Little Richard, one of the earliest start-to-finish classic LPs in rock history. The album reached No. 13 on the then-named Best Selling Pop Albums chart. But in October of that year, while on a tour of Australia, the most flamboyant star of his time announced that he was quitting the music business to join the ministry.
When he returned to recording in 1959, it was as a gospel singer, to muted responses; the 16 Billboard chart hits he'd recorded during his initial stint at Specialty would overshadow the rest of his career.
By 1962, though, he started performing his secular material on stage again (and recorded a few singles credited to "The World Famous Upsetters"). The Beatles, enormous fans of Richard's from the start, opened for him on tour; the whooping refrain of "I Saw Her Standing There" was an obvious homage to Richard, who went on to incorporate it into his own repertoire.
He spent the following decade or so hopscotching between labels, recording iffy remakes of his hits, working with soon-to-be-famous musicians including Jimi Hendrix and Billy Preston and occasionally turning up briefly on the charts. ("Bama Lama Bama Loo" in 1964 was basically a "Tutti Frutti" sequel; 1970's "Freedom Blues" made the top 50 of the Billboard Hot 100.)
In the mid-'70s, after years of an expensive cocaine habit, he quit rock again and returned to the religious life. "I have rejected homosexuality. I have rejected sex. Now I get my thrills from the ministry," he told his biographer Charles White for 1985's The Life and Times of Little Richard: The Quasar of Rock.
He wasn't always so severe, though: a couple of years later, he told John Waters for Playboy, "I love gay people. I believe I was the founder of gay. I'm the one who started to be so bold tellin' the world!" He would also identify as "omnisexual," bisexual and gay in various interviews over the years, telling Penthouse in 1995, "I've been gay all my life and I know God is a God of love, not of hate."

He was a complicated person.  My take?  Gay and couldn't deal with it -- or at least not deal with being seen publicly as gay.  WIKIPEDIA offers this:


Penniman said in 1984 that he played with just girls as a child and was subjected to homosexual jokes and ridicule because of his manner of walk and talk.[132] His father brutally punished him whenever he caught him wearing his mother's makeup and clothing.[133] The singer said he had been sexually involved with both sexes as a teenager.[134] Because of his effeminate mannerisms, his father kicked him out of their family home at 15.[4] In 1985, on The South Bank Show, Penniman explained, "my daddy put me out of the house. He said he wanted seven boys, and I had spoiled it, because I was gay."[106]
Penniman first got involved in voyeurism in his early twenties, when a female friend would drive him around and pick up men who would allow him to watch them have sex in the backseat of cars. Penniman's activity caught the attention of Macon police in 1955 and he was arrested after a gas station attendant reported sexual activity in a car Penniman was occupying with a heterosexual couple. Cited on a sexual misconduct charge, he spent three days in jail and was temporarily banned from performing in Macon.[135]
In the early 1950s, Penniman became acquainted with openly gay musician Billy Wright, who helped in establishing Penniman's look, advising him to use pancake makeup on his face and wear his hair in a long-haired pompadour style similar to his.[27] As Penniman got used to the makeup, he ordered his band, the Upsetters, to wear the makeup too, to gain entry into predominantly white venues during performances, later stating, "I wore the make-up so that white men wouldn't think I was after the white girls. It made things easier for me, plus it was colorful too."[136] In 2000, Richard told Jet magazine, "I figure if being called a sissy would make me famous, let them say what they want to."[137] Penniman's look, however, still attracted female audiences, who would send him naked photos and their phone numbers.[138][139] Groupies began throwing undergarments at Penniman during performances.[140][141]
During Penniman's heyday, his obsession with voyeurism carried on with his girlfriend Audrey Robinson. Penniman later wrote that Robinson would have sex with men while she sexually stimulated Penniman.[138] Despite saying he was "born again" after leaving rock and roll for the church in 1957, Penniman left Oakwood College after exposing himself to a male student. After the incident was reported to the student's father, Penniman withdrew from the college.[142] In 1962, Penniman was arrested for spying on men urinating in toilets at a Trailways bus station in Long Beach, California.[143] Audrey Robinson disputed Penniman's claims of homosexuality in 1985. After re-embracing rock and roll in the mid-1960s, he began participating in orgies and continued to be a voyeur. In his 1984 book, while demeaning homosexuality as "unnatural" and "contagious", he told Charles White he was "omnisexual".[106] In 1995, Penniman told Penthouse that he always knew he was gay, saying "I've been gay all my life".[106] In 2007, Mojo Magazine referred to Penniman as "bisexual".[144] In October 2017, Penniman once again denounced homosexuality in an interview with Three Angels Broadcasting Network, calling homosexual and transgender identity "unnatural affection" that goes against "the way God wants you to live".[145]

The abuse and condemnation from society at that time would have been bad enough before you added his fath's abuse and condemnation.  I hope, at least privately, he found some peace with his sexuality. Legends and trail blazers don't have easy lives, so I hope at least privately he was able to find peace.

Also, be sure to check out Megyn Kelly's interview with Tara Reade.

Closing with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Friday, May 8, 2020.  Tara Reade's case against Joe Biden only gets stronger.

Walker Bragman Tweets:

With each new piece of evidence providing corroboration for her story—affirmations from people she told over the years, a video of her mother calling Larry King, and now a court document—it becomes harder to brush Tara Reade aside. This is the real test of the Me Too movement.

In the US, Tara Reade has charged that Joe Biden assaulted her in 1993.  More proof emerged yesterday backing up Tara and Megyn Kelly began airing parts of her interview with Tara.  First with the latest proof.  Matt Fountain (SAN LUIS OBISPO TRIBUNE) reports:

A court document from 1996 shows former Senate staffer Tara Reade told her ex-husband she was sexually harassed while working for Joe Biden in 1993.
The declaration — exclusively obtained by The Tribune in San Luis Obispo, California — does not say Biden committed the harassment nor does it mention Reade’s more recent allegations of sexual assault.
Reade’s then-husband Theodore Dronen wrote the court declaration. Dronen at the time was contesting a restraining order Reade filed against him days after he filed for divorce, Superior Court records show.

Read more here:
In it, he writes Reade told him about “a problem she was having at work regarding sexual harassment, in U.S. Senator Joe Biden’s office.”
[. . .]
Dronen, who still lives in San Luis Obispo County, confirmed he wrote the declaration.
“Tara and I ended our relationship over two decades ago under difficult circumstances,” Dronen said in an email to The Tribune on Thursday. “I am not interested in reliving that chapter of my life. I wish Tara well, and I have nothing further to say.”

Read more here:

Read more here:

By any standards past survivors have been held to, Tara's case has been proven.  Sarah Al-Arshani (BUSINESS INSIDER) adds:

Dronen also wrote that Reade told him she left the position after striking a deal with the chief of staff of Biden's office. 
"It was obvious that this event had a very traumatic effect on (Reade), and that she is still sensitive and effected (sic) by it today," Dronen wrote.

At her YOUTUBE channel, Megyn Kelly has posted two sections of her interview with Tara.

Kelly is expected to post the full interview later today.   At THE NATION this morning,  Sarah Nesbitt and Sage Carson note:

If Democrats hope to hold themselves up as principled defenders of survivors’ rights and fair process in the post-Kavanaugh era, they must establish a formal, unbiased investigation into Tara Reade’s allegations against the presumptive Democratic nominee.
So far, they’ve fallen far short of this standard. When asked on April 30 about Reade’s allegations against Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi responded, “There is also due process and the fact that Joe Biden is Joe Biden.” In so doing, Speaker Pelosi joins a long line of powerful individuals who have invoked “due process” and “he’s a good good guy” arguments to ensure that their political allies will avoid accountability and scrutiny.
When politicians and other powerful people strategically call for “due process” to defend their political allies, what they tend to mean is “no process.” This strategy has been wielded by liberals and conservatives alike—in schools, in workplaces, and in the mediato avoid confronting the possibility that someone they know, trust, or believe in may have perpetrated violence. It has also been used by powerful men themselves, like Harvey Weinstein, to try to avoid public criticism. Until Pelosi supports a framework through which Reade’s allegations can be given a fair hearing, it is hard to read her statements as anything but a disingenuous attempt to boost an ally, particularly as the evidence corroborating Reade’s claim mounts.
Pelosi isn’t the first to erroneously invoke the legal right to due process. As Alexandra Brodsky has written, the constitutional guarantee of “due process” is a far cry from the baseless notion that “no one can be mad at you unless a judge has donned robes.” The right arises when the state threatens to take away a right to which the accused person is normally entitled. This includes instances where someone faces jail time for an alleged crime, or the possibility of a court order that limits where they can physically go as the result of an alleged assault. Further, the extent of the process due depends on the gravity of the right at stake. The fact that a fair investigation may expose Joe Biden to public shame and potential repudiation does not implicate his due process rights.
Cynical invocations of “due process” are familiar to survivors. Take, for example, the modern campus sexual assault movement. In the 2010s, survivors of sexual violence organized on campuses across the country to demand action from their schools and the Department of Education after their reports of assault and abuse were routinely swept under the rug. This led to critical but incremental change: In 2011, the department released a Dear Colleague letter, a non-binding piece of federal guidance, that clarified for schools that Title IX’s prohibition on sex discrimination means institutions must respond fairly and promptly to allegations of sexual misconduct. But even the mere prospect of accountability activated a backlash from men’s rights advocates invoking “due process” to stack the procedural deck in favor of students accused of sexual misconduct. 

As Tara's case grows ever stronger, pig boys panic.  For example, Joe Scarborough found time to Tweet against Tara this morning.  Hey, Joe, how did that dead intern end up your office again?  Also taking a break from sniffing his own ass, Michael Tracey Tweets to the world that he's investigated and he's about to go to town on Tara.  Michael, sniffing your own fingers is not investigation and the whole world already knew you were a sexist pig. 

Expect more of their nonsense in the days to come because so many have given a pass on smears. So much for everyone having a right to be heard.  And if you missed it, Tara's attorneys hare hideous and pure evil.  Why?  One donated to a Trump campaign, one defended Max Blumenthal or . . .

Krystal Ball Tweets:

Another smear. This lawyer regularly represents victims including Weinstein survivors and Fox News employees. His last donation was to Hakeem Jeffries. Why don’t you do some journalism on all the lawyers who turned Tara down bc of the politics?

The media has done a lousy job.  It was C-SPAN who, this week, brought on  RAINN's (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) vice president Heather Drevna to discuss the way survivors can respond to an assault.  THE NEWSHOUR didn't do that, NPR didn't do that, MSNBC didn't do that . . .  Go down the list.  So we get all these outraged statements from fools who don't know the first thing they're talking about -- that would include Senator Dianne Feinstein.  Sarah Jones Tweets of DiFi:

she will be in her 90s when her term is up and maybe that's why she's still talking about sexual assault like it's 1965

Ebony Purks (THE PAISANO) observes:

It seems suspicious that news outlets have been relatively quiet about Reade’s story for weeks because, naturally, it is the news’ responsibility to report facts objectively. Whether the allegations against Biden are true or not, the story deserves attention. For a former staffer to come forward with assault allegations against a front-running presidential candidate is major, and for news outlets to blatantly ignore Reade’s allegations sends a harmful message to women.
By not reporting the story, these media outlets are picking a side, and the side they are picking is against the facts, the facts being the existence of Reade’s accusations. It was frustrating to only see the discourse of Reade’s story from Twitter users rather than reporters. I know liberal news outlets are hesitant to report the story because it is somewhat close to November, and they may feel Reade’s story gives Trump leverage over Biden’s presidential campaign. As we all know, the Trump presidency is perhaps the most controversial and messy presidency America has seen, and liberal news outlets do not want to report anything negative on America’s only chance at beating Donald Trump: Joe Biden.

However, it is not the news outlets’ responsibility to decide how people receive the facts; it is their job to report the facts.

Tara Reade tells Megyn Kelly that Joe Biden should drop out of the race but that she doubts he will.  His dropping out would be the best thing for the party and for the world.  His campaign created no enthusiasm and now he's polling worse than Hillary Clinton did at the same time in 2016.  And his policies are disgusting.  Reese Erlich (PROGRESSIVE) examines Joe's foreign policy record and notes:

By far Biden’s most reprehensible stand was his strong support for the 2003 invasion and occupation of Iraq. As documented by Professor Stephen Zunes in The Progressive, Biden forcefully supported the war, but later claimed he opposed it. (Of course, Trump lied about his support for the war as well.)
When the Iraqi occupation failed in the mid-2000s, Biden infamously called for splitting Iraq into three parts along sectarian lines, so the United States could continue imperial control at least in Kurdistan.
Even today, Biden favors maintaining some troops in the region, using the excuse of fighting ISIS. “I think it’s a mistake to pull out the small number of troops that are there now to deal with ISIS,” he’s said.
Biden hasn’t learned the lessons of the Afghan war either. After nineteen years of failed war and occupation, he still wants to maintain some troops in the country.
“I would bring American combat troops in Afghanistan home during my first term,” Biden tells the Council on Foreign Relations. “Any residual U.S. military presence in Afghanistan would be focused only on counterterrorism operations.”

But whoever wins in November will have to face the new reality: People in Afghanistan and the United States are fed up with the war. All foreign troops will have to withdraw.

In Iraq, as noted yesterday, there's a new prime minister.  Omar Abdulkader  (CBS NEWS) reports

After five months of difficult negotiations, Iraq's parliament approved the intelligence chief Mustafa Al-Kadhimi as the country's new prime minister on Thursday. The long-time spy master, who appears to have U.S. backing, will now lead a government to replace the one forced to resign months ago amid widespread protests.
But his biggest challenge may be convincing a fed-up public that he'll act in their interest before he acts in the interest of the U.S. or any other foreign power.
"This government came as a response to the social, economic and political crises our country is facing," al-Kadhimi told lawmakers Thursday. "It is a government that will provide solutions, not add to the crises." 
Iraq is facing a coronavirus-fueled financial crisis, crumbling infrastructure battered by years of war and scant investment, ongoing political instability and the threat of a resurgent ISIS testing its beleaguered security forces.
While addressing those issues, Kadhimi must also prevent his country becoming a literal battlefield in the for-now-still-rhetorical war between its neighbor and ally Iran, and its more distant but more powerful ally the United States.

Jean Shaoul (WSWS) offers:

Al-Khadimi, who spent 25 years in exile in the UK and US, is on good terms with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and is viewed as a US spy. He appeared initially to have the support of some of the Shia parties after Iran, which in practice controls parliament and can therefore neuter him, gave the nod.
However, Kataeb Hezbollah, one of militias within the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) close to Iran and part of Iraq’s armed forces, accused him of complicity in the January 3 assassination of Iran’s General Qassem Suleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, a prominent member of the Iraqi government and PMU leader, aimed at undermining Iran’s political influence in Iraq. Their killings have spawned major disagreements among the various Shia factions, with four PMU units loyal to Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani breaking from the PMU, which Washington is seeking to exploit.

Al-Khadimi has still to fill several posts in his cabinet after parliament refused to endorse some of his nominees, including the key oil and foreign affairs ministries. But his line is clear: he said he will uphold the political sectarian system known as muhasasa and work with Washington in the “strategic dialogue” over relations between the two countries scheduled for June.

Amnesty International issued the following today:

The newly-formed government in Iraq must ensure human rights are placed at the heart of its agenda, and reverse course from decades of impunity, Amnesty International said in a new open letter.
Writing to new Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhim after the government was sworn in yesterday (7 May), the organization highlighted continuing concerns relating to the lack accountability for the authorities’ violent response to protests last year and early this year; in the aftermath of the conflict against the armed group calling itself ‘Islamic State’ (IS); and also concerns relating to COVID-19 and domestic violence.
“This new government has an opportunity to ensure that the promotion and protection of human rights in Iraq is prioritized after years of appalling violations,” said Razaw Salihy, Amnesty International’s Iraq Research.
“The Iraqi people have paid too high a price for decades of impunity and what have so far been repeatedly hollow promises by the authorities. We welcome the government’s stated commitment to hold those responsible for protesters’ killings accountable, and to prioritize addressing the needs of the internally displaced people.
“It must now translate these promises into immediate and meaningful action, including addressing the Iraqi people’s longstanding socio-economic grievances.”
COVID-19 and domestic violence
In response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Iraq has been placed into partial lockdown which has led to a rise in cases of domestic violence.
The letter adds: “The uptick in cases of domestic violence reported by media and civil society organizations, in some instances leading to the death of women and the severe injuring of a young girl, demands immediate action by the government to ensure that women and girls can access essential services and protection.”
Response to protests
Protests in the country late last year and early this year were met with a brutal response by authorities, leading to the unlawful killing of hundreds of people and leaving thousands more injured.
According to research carried out by Amnesty International, security forces - including members of the Popular Mobilization Units, as well as unknown gunmen - met the largely peaceful protesters with live ammunition, hunting rifles, live fire consistent with sniper fire, tear gas and water cannons.
Amnesty International is calling on the government to urgently rein in security forces, and initiate thorough and independent investigations into the killings. The letter adds: “The authorities have had months to change course away from violent repression. They must reassure protesters that they have a right to expect that the security forces will protect them and not arbitrarily kill and maim them and that their government will address their grievances, particularly their demands for their social and economic rights to be met.”
Aftermath of ‘Islamic State’ conflict
The letter also addresses several issues relating to the conflict against IS, including the collective punishment of internally displaced Iraqis with perceived affiliation to IS, the fate of thousands of men and boys who were forcibly disappeared by security forces during the conflict, impunity for human rights abuses committed by all parties to the conflict, and crimes committed against ethnic and religious minorities in northern Iraq.

The full text of the open letter can be read here.

The following sites updated:

  • Thursday, May 07, 2020

    Brian Howe

    Brian Howe has passed away.  Ben Beaumont-Thomas (GUARDIAN) reports:

    Brian Howe, the singer who fronted the British rock supergroup Bad Company for eight years, has died aged 66. He had a heart attack at his Florida home.
    Howe’s manager Paul Easton said: “It is with deep and profound sadness that we announce the untimely passing of a loving father, friend and musical icon.”

    Bad Company originally formed in 1973 by Free singer Paul Rodgers and Mott the Hoople guitarist Mick Ralphs. After Rodgers left to form another supergroup with Jimmy Page, the Firm, Bad Company recruited Howe in 1986, and he went on to perform on four subsequent albums.


    In his final tweet, Howe recalled his lifetime accomplishments — and one goal he would sadly never end up fulfilling.
    “I’ve done a few things in my life,” he wrote on April 26. “I have sold millions of records and toured the world for the last 35 years but I want to appear on Tv with #RickyGervais who in my opinion is a genius.”

    WIKIPEDIA notes,:

    With Rodgers gone, the remaining two members partnered with new managers Bud Prager and Phil Carson and teamed up with ex-Ted Nugent vocalist Brian Howe (who was introduced to them by Foreigner's Mick Jones) as the new lead singer. In addition, they hired Steve Price as the new bass player and Greg Dechert (ex-Uriah Heep) on keyboards. Howe's vocal style brought more of a pop-rock sound to the band, which Atlantic Records, looking to bring the band back up to arena status, was looking for after declining turnouts to previous live performances and the dismal sales of Rough Diamonds. The band hired Foreigner producer Keith Olsen to produce the new lineup's initial album, 1986's Fame and Fortune. Burrell agreed to rejoin the band and was name checked on the Fame and Fortune album, even though he didn't play on it. But just before the supporting tour, he left once again (Steve Price then returned). Among the subsequent projects Burrell was involved with was a nine-piece jazz outfit called The Tam White Band.
    Reflecting the musical style of the mid-1980s, Fame and Fortune was laden with keyboards, unlike previous Bad Company albums, but was only modestly successful. The single "This Love" managed to reach No. 85 on the Singles charts but was not the success the band hoped for. But things were about to change.
    In 1987 Dechert was dropped from the lineup as the group decided not to play up the keyboards in their sound as much. They toured that year supporting Deep Purple.
    For the next Howe-era album, 1988's Dangerous Age, the band replaced Olsen with producer Terry Thomas, who got rid of most of the keyboards and returned the band to a guitar-driven sound. Thomas also added small amounts of keyboards as well as rhythm guitars and backing vocals and wrote most of the songs with the band. Dangerous Age fared better than its predecessor, spawning several MTV videos and the AOR hits "No Smoke Without a Fire" (#4), "One Night" (#9) and "Shake It Up" (#9, also No. 89 on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles chart). The album went gold and hit the Top 60. For the Dangerous Age tour, the band was augmented by Larry Oakes (keyboards, guitar), who had also played with Foreigner. Price and Oakes both left at the conclusion of the tour.
    The band's next album, Holy Water, written mostly by Brian Howe and Terry Thomas, was released in June 1990. The album, also produced by Thomas, was enormously successful both critically and commercially, attaining Top 40 and platinum status by selling more than one million copies. Holy Water was the band's first album on the Atlantic subsidiary Atco. The album spun off the singles: "If You Needed Somebody" (#16), the title track "Holy Water" (#89) and "Walk Through Fire" (#28). "Holy Water" also hit No. 1 for 2 weeks on the AOR charts with "If You Needed Somebody" reaching No. 2. The album received significant radio airplay (five songs made the AOR charts in all) and spawned several video hits. Felix Krish played bass on the CD while Paul Cullen was recruited for live shows.
    Ralphs, who was taking care of personal and family matters, sat out for most of the Holy Water tour, although he did perform on the album. Beginning in June 1990, Ralphs was replaced on the road and in the videos by ex-Crawler guitarist Geoff Whitehorn. Ralphs returned later on during the tour (in April 1991) and Whitehorn went on to join Procol Harum in December 1991 with whom he still plays to this day. Also joining at this time was ex-ASAP guitarist Dave "Bucket" Colwell as second guitarist. Their subsequent tour, supported by Damn Yankees, was heralded as one of the top 5 grossing tours of 1991 during a year which saw many other rock acts facing a downturn in concert attendance brought on by rising ticket prices and economic recession.
    The final studio album of the Howe era, 1992's Here Comes Trouble, featured the Top 40 hit "How About That" (#38) and "This Could Be the One" (#87). The album went gold. Before touring in support of Here Comes Trouble, the band added ex-Foreigner, Roxy Music and Small Faces bassist Rick Wills and Colwell, a protégé of Ralphs, was now a full-time member. The band toured with several acts, including Lynyrd Skynyrd, and recorded a live album, What You Hear Is What You Get: The Best of Bad Company on the Here Comes Trouble tour. The critically acclaimed album, released in November 1993, featured live versions of hits from both the Rodgers and Howe eras of the band.
    Howe left the band in 1994. Regarding his departure from the band, Howe stated: "Leaving Bad Company was not a difficult decision. It had got to the point where nobody was contributing anything to songwriting and quite frankly, the band was getting very very sloppy live. I quite simply, along with Terry Thomas, got tired of doing all the work and then getting nothing but resentment for it from Mick and Simon."[12]

    Here's one of the band's best known songs.

    Closing with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

    Thursday, May 7, 2020.  Iraq has a new prime minister while the United States still has its Joe Biden problem.

    "I believe Tara Reade, yes I do," Lucy Flores told PLANET AMERICA (Australia's ABC).  Tara has stated Joe Biden assaulted her in 1993.  And the mainstream media has largely ignored the story.  Kelly McBride weighed in with her conclusions on why NPR waited forever to cover the story.  The media's reluctance to cover it has allowed some like hypocrite Alyssa Milano to argue that the claims must not be true because the press isn't covering them and it allowed the attacker -- and his attack squad -- to set the terms of the conversation.  Why?  The people who set the terms of the conversation are people who experts in the topic.  Twitter is full of Tucker Carlson's applying 'standards' that are not standards.  As we noted yesterday,  it was C-SPAN that brought on RAINN's (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) vice president Heather Drevna.

    Heather Drevna: What I can say is we shouldn't dismiss someone's allegations of assault merely because their story has changed or what they have told audiences has differed at times.  You need to take into account her explanation for why the details she described last year don't all match what she's alleging now, why the complaint might not match what she's alleging now.  You also need to take into account that she told some friends and family members at the time of the alleged assault.  It's not unusual for a survivor to take years to process the trauma that they have experienced and just because they've not come forward publicly immediately after events may have occurred doesn't mean that they did not happen. 

    C-SPAN, not CNN.  Not CBS.  Not PBS.  Not NPR.  Not . . .

    Survivors are being smeared by idiots who know nothing about the topic.

    Reade’s case is made stronger than Ford’s by the existence of corroborating witnesses. Her mother called into a television show hosted by Larry King in 1993 to say her daughter had problems with a prominent senator. Reade’s brother as well as a former neighbour named Lynda LaCasse, a committed Democrat and Biden supporter, recall having been told about the assault not long after it happened. Given these facts, it would be hypocritical for those who condemned the judge to maintain their support for the senator, a fact that Fox News and right-wing media are likely to highlight incessantly in the six months leading up to the presidential election.

    Biden is a thoroughly mediocre candidate. He underperformed in previous runs for president, has articulated no vision for change, seems unable to open his mouth without making a gaffe, and looks aged and unsteady. His closest competitor in the primaries, Bernie Sanders, a year older at 78 and recovering from a heart attack, came across as a bundle of energy in comparison. Democrats turned to Biden because he was well-known and well-liked, a safe pair of hands, their best bet against the existential threat represented by Donald Trump. Those hands now look far from safe.

    If you offered America nothing but "I'm electable" and then it really becomes obvious that maybe you're not, what do you have to offer?  Not much.  Chris Kahn (INDEPENDENT) explains:

    Democratic hopeful Joe Biden's advantage over US President Donald Trump in popular support has eroded in recent weeks.
    Mr Biden seems to be paying a heavy price for a lack of visibility with voters during the pandemic, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll.
    The opinion poll conducted on Monday and Tuesday found that 43pc of registered voters said they would support Mr Biden in the November 3 presidential election, while 41pc said they would back Mr Trump.
    Mr Biden led by six percentage points in a similar poll last week and by eight points in a poll that ran from April 15-21.

    Democrat Rebecca Parsons is running for the US House of Representatives in Washington's sixth district.  She Tweets:

    #JoeBiden must withdraw. #TaraReade's allegation is part of a pattern of behavior. 7 other women have accused Biden of inappropriate touching. He's on video invading the space of women and girls. We MUST defeat Trump. We do that by defending our moral standards. #BidenDropOut

    Rebecca Parsons is not alone.  Holly Otterbien (POLITICO) reports:

    Jess Scarane is campaigning for Joe Biden’s old Senate seat with a striking message for a Delaware Democrat: She believes his accuser, Tara Reade.
    Scarane, who said she is a victim of sexual assault, tweeted in March that when she listened to Reade talk about her claims, “the assault I experienced as a teen at my first job came rushing back. She was telling my story, too. Almost word for word.” She has called on Chris Coons, the incumbent she is trying to oust and a top Biden ally, to support an investigation.
    “I debated sending the tweet that I first did, probably for hours,” she told POLITICO. “Because I was not only exposing my own story, but I think there’s still a lot of fear and potential ramifications by just saying this deserves to be taken seriously.” 
    Scarane is one of more than a half-dozen progressive House and Senate challengers — almost all of them millennials — who have said publicly that they believe Reade’s claim that Biden sexually assaulted her in 1993 when she worked as his Senate aide or otherwise spoke out in support of her. Though most are long-shot candidates with limited resources, their remarks could stoke division at a time when Biden is trying to unite the party’s warring factions. Their stance also risks exposing a rift between some younger and older Democrats as Biden works to strengthen his position as the Democratic nominee.

    There is another strand, however, those who pretend to support survivors until one of their own are accused.  This craven group then falls silent.  Ingrid Jaques (DETROIT NEWS) reports:

    Gov. Gretchen Whitmer once wrote, “Sexual harassment is not a partisan issue and is unacceptable no matter who does it.”
    That comment, from a November 2017 tweet before Whitmer became governor, has since been deleted from her personal Twitter account. 

    And so has the sentiment behind it, apparently. 
    While Whitmer has had no problem calling out sexual harassment and assault when a Republican’s reputation was at stake, she isn't concerned when the alleged bad behavior is exhibited by Joe Biden, who is eyeing Whitmer as a contender for his running mate. 

    Gretch The Wretch is damaging her own political career.  Violet Ikonomova (DEADLINE DETROIT) notes:

      Whitmer’s statements are consistent with a set of talking points circulated by the Biden campaign to surrogates, which incorrectly cite an inconclusive New York Times investigation as proof “this incident did not happen.”
    Survivors and advocates have taken issue with Whitmer’s response, calling it a politically convenient rush to judgment that undercuts the #metoo movement. The case is not closed, they argue, noting that media outlets continue to uncover more information and documents that could shed light on what happened have not been made public.
    “I think to see any person who comes forward diminished is a disservice to every single victim who’s still holding onto their story and future victims who should be able to tell their story,” said Huff, who says she was raped more than a decade ago but never named her assailant because he was well-respected and she feared no one would believe her. “When people ask why victims don’t come forward, Whitmer’s response is why.”
    It’s a sharp contrast from the way in which Whitmer was received seven years ago when, during a speech on the floor of the state Senate, she shared that she’d been raped as a college student. Whitmer’s goal at the time was to “put a face” on the people who would be affected by a controversial bill to ban private insurance plans from covering abortion. She didn’t succeed in changing any votes, but she has said her words did encourage more women to come forward with their own stories.
    Whitmer has since become somewhat of a local face for the #metoo movement, speaking out on sexual harassment at the state Capitol and quickly ousting a former campaign manager who’d been accused of “inappropriate behavior” with former co-workers. Last year, she concluded her speech at a campus sex assault symposium at Eastern Michigan University with this message for survivors: “I see you, I hear you, I believe you … I carry you in my heart every day, and I’ll never stop fighting for you.”
    Huff and two other survivors with whom Deadline Detroit spoke said they felt Whitmer should have stayed silent or called for a more robust investigation before shooting down Reade’s claim.

    “For her to just say I don’t believe her, that’s a slap in the face to women in general,” said Nicole Reid, 35, of Port Huron. “Would she have believed me? Would we have believed her? Would she have wanted someone to believe her?”

    People are calling out Gretch The Wretch's inconsistencies.  And while she refuses to believe Tara Reade, it should be pointed out that there are many who are noting that her own story remains very short on details.  The doubt she's raising about Tara?  It's creating doubts about her own claim -- a claim she used to rise to fame and political prominence.  You reap what you sow.

    Turning to Iraq, THE WEEK notes:

    Early Thursday, Iraq's Parliament selected Mustafa al-Kadhimi to serve as the country's new prime minister. Iraqi officials have said the 53-year-old former intelligence chief is acceptable to both the United States and Iran, The New York Times reports. Iraq has been without a prime minister since late last year, when Adel Abdul Mahdi resigned amid anti-government protests; he has been leading a caretaker government. Kadhimi has already met with protesters, taking a different approach from the previous government, which at times used the military against demonstrators. In addition to social unrest, Kadhimi will also have to deal with the coronavirus pandemic, which has locked down Iraq, as well as historically low oil and gas revenues.

    Iraq has been searching for a new prime minister for six months now.  The most recent prime minister had been forced out back in November but remained in the post in a 'care taking' role. Mustafa is the third person to be named prime minister-designate during this period.  Ahmed Rasheed and John Davison (REUTERS) note, "Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi, Iraq’s intelligence chief and a former journalist, will head the new government. He will begin his term without a full Cabinet, however, after several ministerial candidates were rejected."  What they fail to note?

    For starters, to move from prime minister-designate to prime minister, the Iraqi Constitution calls for only one thing: the creation of a cabinet.  Not a partial one.  The Cabinet requirement is supposed to show that the designate can govern.  The ability to form the Cabinet demonstrates that the designate can work with Iraq's various political blocs.

    Thus far, the Constitution has not been followed.  That's one of the many reasons that Iraq does not progress -- the government is repeatedly headed by someone who can't even form a Cabinet that gets Parliament approval.

    At this point, there are 22 ministers in the Cabinet -- 22 positions.  This number can -- and often does -- change.  How many positions was Mustafa able to fill?  15.

    The following sites updated: