Saturday, August 22, 2020

Cass and Michelle -- the coolest of Mamas

 First up, make a point to read Elaine's "The Mamas and the Papas' PEOPLE LIKE US" -- it's an amazing review.  And it notes the way's Cass was growing as an artist. Great job, Elaine.  Jennifer Gonsalves (MEAWW) notes Cass Elliot:

Easily one of the best queer anthems out there, 'Different' sees Elliot sing about the painful loneliness and struggle that goes along with being different and following your own path. But through all that pain, she asserts that she would, "Rather be different than be the same," highlighting the unique joy that exists in being true to oneself. Elliot, who had dealt with considerable criticism for how she looked, including waves of fatphobia that continue to plague her legacy, knew quite well the struggles of daring to be different in a world that valued conformity.

So hearing her singing about choosing to be different anyway is exactly the kind of affirmation everyone needs to hear more of. The song eventually progresses from its theme of isolation to one of community: the 'different' protagonist finds friends and allies along the way, soon realizing they are stronger together, further stating that being 'different' isn't so bad.


 Here's Cass with "Different."

The collection the video features the cover of?  I reviewed that in August 2005.  I still listen to that album regularly -- probably once a month.  It gathers all her solo work from 1968 to 1971.  You also get three previously unreleased songs Cass recorded:  John Sebastian's "Darling Be Home Soon," Joni Mitchell's "Sistowbell Lane" and  Terry Cashman, Gene Pistill and Tommy West's "For As Long As You Need Me."  In 2009, Cass' CASS ELLIOT and THE ROAD IS NO PLACE FOR A LADY were released on CD and I reviewed them here.

The other mama in the Mamas and the Papas?  Michelle Phillips.  Luis Buenaflor Jr. (PANAY NEWS) notes:

MY COLUMN Friday last week started with this: “It was one of those rainy afternoons, sitting by the window waiting for my muse. It was not a writer’s block. There was really nothing worthwhile to write about, so much so that you’d rather have a chilled glass of Chablis and listen to Michelle Phillip’s album Victim of Romance and Rarities”.

Well, I did have that glass of chilled Chablis – make it a bottle – while listening to Michelle Phillip’s album Victim of Romance and Rarities. One song did stand out and evoked memories from this sentimental old fool.

Victim of Romance & Rarities’is singer and songwriter Michelle Phillips’ first and only solo album, and was released in February 1977. The song No Love Today from that album sparked a subtle comeback of her as a singer after a long hiatus following the breakup of her former group, Mamas and the Papas sometime in 1971.

When VICTIM OF ROMANCE came out on CD, I wrote about it here.  I didn't do a review proper because, back then, I was only reviewing new releases.  The CD release offered ten bonus tracks -- two of which were alternate versions of the songs on the original vinyl lp.  My favorite was "Aloha Louie."


 Michelle wrote that song with John Phillips.  My favorite tracks tended to be the ones she wrote on this album so that's "There She Goes," "Guerita," "Having His Way," "Aces With You," "You Give Good Phone" and "Lady of Fantasy."  I also love "Aching Kind" and "Victim of Romance" -- both written by John Martin -- and the two covers "Baby As You Turn Away" and "The Shoop Shoop Song."

 Here's "Guerita."


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

 Friday, August 21, 2020.   The informercial wrapped up last night.  Did anyone rush to the phones to buy up what was being sold?

Last night, and the infomercial passed off as a convention came to an end.  It could have come to a noble end or just continued to be a public embarrassment.  Which do you think happened?

Joe Biden:  Thank you.  Thank you.  I could talk at length tonight about my experience in the Senate, as Vice President, things like that.  But I want to be worthy of your vote and I want to be worthy of your trust.  So let's get things straight from the start, America.  I have made mistakes in my life.  And I am making real efforts to learn from them.  My vote for the Iraq War was a mistake -- a huge mistake.  In the past, I've sounded like a spoiled child as I tried to pass that vote off as being the fault of someone else.  I voted for it, it was the wrong vote.  That's on me and I want to learn from that moment.  I want to grow from it.  There are so many Americans and, yes, so many Iraqis who lost their lives.  Earning your trust means acknowledging also my mistakes after the war started.  Instead of demanding accountability and a strategy and goals that could be measures, up until February 2008, I repeatedly focused on splitting Iraq up into three parts as though that was an answer.  I finally gave up on that misguided idea not because the Iraqi people had rejected the idea -- they had long rejected it -- but because my fellow senators made it abundantly clear that this idea had no Congressional support.  Still, I did not call for all US troops out of Iraq.  

I'd like to tell you that I had this blistering moment of insight and, from that moment forward, I was on a steady course.  But that wasn't the road I took.  Yes, in April of 2008, I did issue a statement where I declared,  "The President confirmed what I've been saying for some time -- he has no plan to end this war.  His plan is to muddle through and then to hand the problem off to his successor.  So the result of the surge is that we're right back where we started before it began 15 months ago: with 140,000 troops in Iraq, spending $3 billion every week, losing 30 to 40 American lives every month -- and still no end in sight."  Even more important, and more on the money, I chaired a Senate Committee hearing on April 11, 2008.  In that hearing, I made several statements that, even right now, I am proud of.

I talked of the agreement the Bush White House was trying to put together with Prime Minister Nouri al-Malikki and how it raised "many red flags with me and other Americans.  We've pledged we're not only going to consult when there is an outside threat, but also when there is an inside threat.  We've just witnessed when Mr. Maliki engaged in the use of force against another Shia group in the south, is this an inside threat?"  Maliki turned out to be an inside threat.  When I was Vice President, we began a drawdown -- not a withdrawal as promised -- and, the day after the drawdown,  Maliki began using tanks to circle the homes of his political opponents in Parliament  He began openly persecuting his political rivals.  Whereas before he had used secret prisons and torture cells on various Iraqi civilians, he was not declaring war on elected officials who did not agree with him.  

Now in that April 2008 hearing, I did have the insight or luck to see what lay on the road ahead.  That is why I noted that Bush's proposed agreement was requiring that we "take sides in Iraq's civil war" and that "there is no Iraq government that we know of that will be inplace a year from now -- half the government has walked out."

Let's stop for a moment register that.  In April of 2008, I made some very accurate remarks.

In March of 2010, two years later, when I was Vice President, Iraq held elections.  The big loser?  Maliki.  And he refused to step down.  For eight months he refused to step down.  President Obama had tasked me with Iraq, put me in charge of Iraq.  The Iraqi people, despite threats and despite violence on election day, turned out to vote for their future.  We, the United States, said we were bringing democracy to them, gifting them with democracy, if you will.  And yet we did not stand by the results of that election.  Instead, we went around those results.  We tossed them aside.  I was part of the American group that negotiated a treaty or contract known as The Erbil Agreement.  It gave Maliki a second term -- a second term the voters did not give him.  To get that second term, we drew up this contract among the various political parties.  To get them to sign on, we had promises written into the agreement that they wanted -- the Kurds, for example, wanted the referendum on Kirkuk -- promised in the Iraqi Constitution -- finally implemented.  We swore this was a binding contract.  Maliki got his second term with that contract and then refused to honor the agreement.  What's worse?  We didn't demand that he honor it despite our earlier promise that we would -- a promise that President Obama repeated to Ayad Allawi, the winner of the election,  November 11, 2010, when The Erbil Agreement seemed in jeopardy, President Obama personally called Allawi to assure him that we would stand by that contract which, included for Allawi, becoming the chair of a newly created National Council On Higher Policy..  As Ben Lando, Sam Dagher and Margaret Coker (Wall St. Journal) reported, "Mr. Obama, in his phone call to Mr. Allawi on Thursday, promised to throw U.S. weight behind the process and guarantee that the council would retain meaningful and legal power, according to the two officials with knowledge of the phone call."  

Throughout 2010, I failed to step in.  I failed to insist that we stop making deals with Maliki.  I failed to insist that we show the Iraqi people the importance of voting and that their vote matters.  Since 2010, the voter turnout in Iraq has gone down and that's a direct result of the US government, of me, tossing out their votes in 2010 because we thought Maliki would better serve the United States.

Not only did that undercut belief in democracy for the Iraqi people, it also set the stage for the rise of ISIS in Iraq.  It was a disaster, Maliki's second term.  As he persecuted Sunnis, ISIS rose in response.  Were it not for his second term, you can argue that ISIS would not have risen in Iraq.

How did I, in 2008, realize what Maliki was?  Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, while she was a US Senator in 2008, called Maliki a "thug" in an open hearing and she was correct about that.

So what changed?

What changed was that 'we' were in charge now.  Not the Bush administration, us.  President Obama, Samantha Power, Hillary Clinton, myself and others.  We were in charge.  Instead of working from what we knew, we worked on hubris.  We were so much smarter that we could do all the things Bush had tried already and that had failed already but because we were doing them, somehow they would magically work out this time.


As I look back on Iraq, my biggest regret is how hubris misled me.  It was and is a hard lesson to learn.  But I'm standing here before you -- goodness knows, this is an open setting -- and I'm explaining what went wrong and what I did wrong.

My belief is that I have learned from these things.  But by sharing this with you, I can make sure that you will hold me accountable.  I can make sure that if I'm president and start talking war on some nation, you the America people will say, 'Hey, Joe, reflect for a moment and make sure this is what your gut is telling you is right and that you're not a victim of your own hubris again.'  Because we are in this together and I want to be your president.  But, more than just wanting to be your president, I want to be the best president you can have.  That requires us working together: You supporting me when I'm right and you questioning me when I'm wrong.  We can only do that by being honest with one another.  

That was a great speech.




Sadly, Joe didn't give it.

Joe has never gotten honest about Iraq and, as we learned last night, he probably never will.

Where is the foreign policy discussion?  Many people keep asking that.  It's not at the convention.  It's not in the press.  They can't talk foreign policy, apparently, while Joe refuses to honestly reflect on his role in one of the worst foreign failures of this century.  It wasn't just the vote.  It was all that followed after.

It is all the continues to this day.  But we pretend that the Iraq War ended, that the occupation ended, that all US troops left that country.  That's not what happened at all.

And we certainly did not 'gift' Iraq with democracy.  Instead, we have repeatedly installed one corrupt leader after another who has refused to meet the basic needs of the Iraqi people -- it's as though all these despots are cousins of Nancy Pelosi.

Joe was dishonest to his core.  He looked like a liar onstage because he was one.

He's the guy that assaults a girl in high school and then gets his friends to shut her up so he can accept the honor of class valedictorian and give a speech that ignores all his vile actions.

And on that?  No, he did not apologize to the various women he made uncomfortable and groped over the years.  I suppose the bar is so low now that we're expected to be grateful that he didn't make jokes about it -- the way he did in April 2019 when speaking before a union.  He did not apologize to Tara Reade.  He did not take ownership for anything.

He stood on stage with no remorse and no humility.  He pretended he was the choice of the people when, in fact, he was the choice leaders in the party enforced upon the people.  He pretended the country loved him when, in fact, if he wins it will only be because the country dislikes Donald Trump more.

He had no remorse, no humility and no modesty.

Should he win the presidency, be prepared for a nightmare.  His attacks on the press, for example, are treated as funny or something to be ignored and not as the actual warning signs that they truly are.

At WSWS, Patrick Martin offers:

The Democratic National Convention concluded Thursday night with the formal acceptance of the party’s presidential nomination by former Vice President Joe Biden, after a final two-hour session that was full of empty clichés, inane rhetoric and nauseating insincerity.

The atmosphere Thursday was more of a religious revival than a political event. There was incessant emphasis on the personal moral superiority of Biden compared to Trump, accompanied by increasingly maudlin testimonials to Biden’s alleged deep concern for children, the downtrodden, and virtually anyone who crossed his path. One former White House official referred to Biden’s “empathy skills,” a phrase which recalls the old wisecrack: “Sincerity—if you can fake that, you’ve got it made.”

The sheer contempt for the intelligence of the population and the viewing audience was summed up in Biden’s acceptance speech. His speechwriters appeared to have been trying to cram every possible trite phrase into a single 20-minute address.

He ran through a laundry list of promises, from climate change to racism to student debt, none of which the Democratic Party has the slightest intention of actually carrying out. Only two phrases had real meaning.

Biden reassured Wall Street and the billionaires, “I’m not looking to punish anyone.” This sent a message to the financial aristocracy that, while the candidate was compelled to make demagogic attacks on the wealthy for electoral purposes, these would have no lasting consequences. “Nothing will change” for the super-rich, he told a Wall Street fundraiser last year, and that pledge he will keep.

And the former vice president denounced Trump for being too soft on Russia, threatening to hold Vladimir Putin accountable for allegedly paying bounties to Taliban fighters who attacked American troops in Afghanistan. This phony story is just the latest fabrication by the New York Times in its four-year-long campaign to provoke a US war with Russia.

The tone for the convention’s final day was set by the report Thursday afternoon that a group of 73 former national security officials from four Republican administrations were endorsing Biden and denouncing Trump in an open letter to be published in the Wall Street Journal. The list includes an array of militarists and police-state operatives who are responsible for the death of millions of people in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia.

Among the most prominent and most deserving of prosecution for war crimes endorsing Biden are:

  • John Negroponte, with a bloody record from the contra terrorist war against Nicaragua to the occupation of Iraq in the 2000s;

  • Colin Powell, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the 1991 Persian Gulf War, and secretary of state during the 2003 Iraq War, in which he played a central role in justifying a war based on lies;

  • Michael Hayden, former director of the National Security Agency and later CIA director, who oversaw CIA torture programs and domestic spying;

  • Robert Blackwill, deputy director of the National Security Council with responsibility for Iraq war policy in 2003–2004;

  • Michael Leiter, director of the National Counterterrorism Center under the younger Bush; and

  • William Webster, director of the FBI under Reagan and of the CIA under the elder Bush.

The support of these former leaders of the military-intelligence apparatus only underscores the real character of the conflict between the Democratic and Republican parties, the twin political instruments of the American ruling elite.

Howie Hawkins is the presidential candidate from the Green Party.  He offered the following response to Joe Biden's speech.

Thursday, his campaign issued the following:


August 20, 2020


Kevin Zeese, Press Secretary

Robert Smith, Media Coordinator

RELEASE: Hawkins Calls for Biden to Stand Up to the Fossil Fuel Industry

Charges that the Democrats have weakened his initial Green New Deal Proposal


Howie Hawkins, the Green Party candidate for President, said today that America needed a true Green New Deal, not the watered-down version that the Democrats have used for branding and from which they are increasingly running away from.

Hawkins, who initiated the call in the U.S. for a Green New Deal in his 2010 campaign for Governor of New York, co-authored an op ed that outlines the history of the proposal. Whatever Happened to the Green New Deal?

Hawkins advocates a ten-year timeline (now 2030) to get to zero greenhouse emissions.

Hawkins and Angela Walker, his VP running mate, challenged Biden and the Democrats to stand with climate activists to end subsidies for fossil fuels, to immediately halt both fracking for natural gas and any fossil fuel infrastructure, and to rapidly phaseout the use of fossil fuels. The Democrats recently dropped the ban on subsidies from their revised platform and have always opposed a firm goal of halting fossil fuels. The Democrats also diluted their restriction on taking campaign contributions from fossil fuel interests.

“Scientists tell us that we have years, not decades, left to avoid catastrophic climate change. Already tens of millions are being negatively impacted by extreme weather and air pollution. The number of climate refugees are rapidly expanding, including at our own borders. We need a full-scale emergency mobilization to confront this crisis, similar to what we did in World War II, not some tinkering with the all-of-above energy policy promoted by the Obama-Biden administration,” noted Hawkins.

Hawkins noted that many of the key provisions of his ecosocialist GND were missing from even Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez’ initial proposal, such as the need for public ownership and democratic control of the energy system and cutting the military budget by 75% or more to help pay for the program. Many proposals labeled by Democrats as GND promote a 2050 timeline to get to “net zero” emissions while failing to include the Economic Bill of Rights included in Hawkins’ proposal, building upon FDR’s proposals in 1944: a guaranteed living-wage job, a guaranteed income above poverty, affordable housing, Medicare for All, lifelong tuition-free public education, and a secure retirement by doubling Social Security benefits.

Hawkins proposes a 10-year, $27.5 trillion a program to achieve zero-to-negation carbon emissions and 100% clean energy by 2030. It also includes an additional $1.4 trillion a year for the Economic Bill of Rights. Hawkins supports the conversion of industrialized, pesticide-dependent corporate agriculture to organic farms owned by working farmers that rebuild carbon-capturing living soils. Hawkins also supports taxing the rich and making corporate polluters pay to help fund the GND.

“The ecosocialist approach recognizes that capitalism’s destruction of the climate and exploitation of people are part of the same process. It recognizes that in order to harmonize society with nature we must harmonize human with human by ending economic exploitation and all forms of oppression. It calls for an ecosocialist economic democracy that meets the basic needs of all within ecological limits,” added Hawkins.

Yesterday's snapshot led to an angry e-mail from an aged journalist.  You know the three-name I mean.  The idiot who attacked me for getting his name wrong here -- when, in fact, I had pull quoted Bob Somerby and it was Bob Somerby who got his name wrong but Bob's a man so three-name never contacted Bob.  By the same token, three-name thought he could go to war on Ruth.  That didn't work out for him either.

Is he retired?  Does he just show up DEMOCRACY NOW! for a living these days?

At any rate, three-name wanted to me to know that "there's such a thing as lead time!  You don't understand that we write and then it gets published.  That could take two to three days!"

Old man, no one asked you for a damn thing, certainly not your useless opinion.

My comments were about alternative media being silent on the conventions.  IN THESE TIMES, COUNTERPUNCH and anyone else does not worry about lead time.  This isn't the world of print journalism.  WSWS has been able to run articles every day about the convention.  RISING has been able to do segments every day about the convention.  

Go back to sleep because maybe, when you wake up next time, you'll be in the 21st century.  But even then, we won't need to hear from you.

(He had time to Tweet about Steve Bannon yesterday, I see.  Didn't need lead time for that, did he?)

Gloria La Riva is the US presidential candidate for the Party of Socialism and Liberation.  She Tweeted:

Hillary Clinton, who boasted when Gaddafi was butchered in Libya's overthrow, leaving so many African refugees subjected to slavery, demonized for seeking refuge in Europe. Her biggest supporter was Madeleine Albright, who thought 500k dead children in Iraq was worth the price.
8:53 PM · Aug 19, 2020

And she Tweeted:

I saw the genocide committed against the Iraqi people, due to George H. W. Bush's bombing war in 1991, Bill Clinton's sanctions that killed over a million Iraqi people and Madeleine Albright's despicable claim that it was worth those 500,000 dead children by total blockade.

Joseph Kishore is the presidential candidate from the Socialist and Equality Party.  He offered the following Twitter response regarding Joe's supporters:

1) War criminals and militarists supporting Biden in the 2020 election: A thread.

2) John Negroponte. Former DNI, oversaw vast expansion of NSA spying. Former US ambassador to Iraq. US Ambassador to Honduras from 1981-1985, overseeing US support for the contras' vicious war of disappearances, torture and mass killings against the Sandinistas.

3) Colin Powell, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff [C.I. note: actually Secretary of State] during the 2003 invasion of Iraq. At the United Nations, provided the case for the Bush administration, consisting of lies, to launch a war that killed hundreds of thousands of people.

4) Michael Hayden, former director of the NSA (1999-2005) and the CIA. Implicated in mass illegal surveillance of the American population. Supervised the CIA’s “black site” torture centers under Bush.

5) John Bellinger, national security legal advisor under Bush. Implicated in the CIA torture program.

6) Robert Blackwill, US national security council deputy for Iraq from 2003 to 2004, during the invasion. Leading member of the Council of Foreign Relations, who in 2015 wrote “Revising US Grand Strategy Toward China” advocating confrontation with China.

7) Joseph Collins, US deputy assistant secretary of defense for stability operations under Rumsfeld during the Bush administration. Key planner for the US occupation of Iraq.

8) Chester Crocker, Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs (1981-1989) under Reagan. Architect of the "constructive engagement" accommodation of the Reagan administration with apartheid South Africa.

9) Richard Falkenrath, Deputy Homeland Security Advisor under Bush, instrumental in developing and strengthening the DHS to oversee anti-immigrant policies and attacks on democratic rights within the US.

10) Aaron Friedberg: Deputy assistant for national-security affairs and director of policy planning for vice president Dick Cheney (2003 to 2005). National Security Advisor for the Romney campaign in 2012. Strong proponent of more aggressive action against China.

11) Colleen Graffy, the US deputy assistant secretary of state for public diplomacy under Bush. Said of prisoners in Guantanamo Bay who committed suicide: "It does sound like this is part of a strategy... a good PR move."

12) Miles Taylor, intern under VP Cheney during the Bush years, staffer throughout the Bush administration, chief of staff for Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen under the Trump administration.

13) Michael Vickers, longtime defense department official under Republicans and Democrats. Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence under Obama. Under Reagan, a senior CIA agent who helped direct its huge covert war to oust the Soviet-backed regime in Afghanistan in the 1980s.

14) Ken Wainstein, Homeland Security advisor under George W. Bush.

15) William Webster, director of the FBI (1978-1987) and director of the CIA (1987-1991). Among those who signed a letter to Obama demanding the quashing of investigations into CIA torture under Bush. (Obama agreed).

16) Dov Zakheim, Defense Department official under Reagan and then part of Bush's foreign policy team during the 2000 elections, along with Condoleezza Rice, Richard Armitage, Robert Blackwill, Stephen Hadley, Richard Perle, Robert Zoellick and Paul Wolfowitz, and Scooter Libby.

17) Philip Zelikow, member of the George W. Bush's transition team. Executive director of the 9/11 Commission, which whitewashed US foreknowledge and complicity in the 9/11 attacks.

18) Barack Obama, president of the United States. Shielded Bush admin war criminals from prosecution. Continued the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Implemented a policy of drone assassination without due process, including of US citizens.

19) Joe Biden... US Senator from Delaware and vice president under Obama. Voted for the 2003 invasion of Iraq, based on lies. Instrumental in supporting war in Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria and many other countries.

Jo Jorgensen is the presidential candidate for the Libertarian Party.


 Isaiah's THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS' "Ellen's Latest Lies" went up yesterday.  The following sites updated:

  • Thursday, August 20, 2020

    Music: Dua Lipa. Missy Elliott, Madonna, Bright Eyes and Cher



    That's Isaiah's THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS' "Ellen's Latest Lies." Love it.  I also love Dua Lipa's "Levitating" which features Missy Elliott and Madonna.

    I love Missy Elliott, true.  And she's great on the track but even I have to admit that Madonna's not coasting on this one the way so much of her '00s and '10s collaborations have felt.  

    The SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE notes that dance track.  They also note:

    Bright Eyes, “Down in the Weeds Where the World Once Was” (Dead Oceans)

    Somehow, it’s been nine years since the last release from Conor Oberst and company, though everyone’s been busy in the meantime: Nate Wolcott has scored films, Mike Mogis runs a recording studio in Omaha, and Oberst has had success both solo and in collaborations.

    The album is being billed as one of the most truly collaborative writing projects for the band, and it shows, with all sorts of firsts (Gospel choirs! Bagpipes!), yet it still feels like a homecoming.

    I love Bright Eyes and am thrilled we're going to have a new album.  NPR notes:

    This Friday at 4 p.m. ET, join us for an online listening party for Bright Eyes' new album, Down in the Weeds, Where the World Once Was, hosted by All Songs Considered's Bob Boilen and featuring a live conversation with Bright Eyes members Conor Oberst, Mike Mogis and Nathaniel Walcott.

    You can RSVP via NPR Presents and watch via YouTube.

    Be sure to check out Megan Reynold's Cher story at JEZEBEL.

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

    Thursday, August 20, 2020.  Another day, another wasted 'convention' night.

    The farce goes on -- and the farce goes on -- yes, the farce goes on.

    Last night, at the Democratic Party's national infomerical pretending to be a convention, Barack Obama spoke.  A number are seeing his words as a repudiation of THE NEW YORK TIMES' 1619 Project (click here for WSWS' latest criticism of the project with links at the bottom of the piece to earlier pieces).  Some will pretend it was inspired, some will pretend it's wonderful.  Even if you're paid to whore, honestly, what's the point?

    Words from Barack?

    Like his promise to shut down the prison/torture center at Guantanamo? 

    I'm sorry did he keep it?  Hell no.

    His promise to remove all US troops from Iraq?

    Again, no.

    Oh, I know, his second term promise to end veteran's homelessness, he kept that one, right?  Wrong.

    How much did the whorish, corporate press have to do with the election of Donald Trump?  I don't mean in 2016.  I mean the previous eight years when they refused to tell the truth.

    When Barack failed to keep the promise he made on veterans' homelessness, you didn't see him called out.  You saw them whore with 'it's a little better than it was, he deserves credit for that . . .'  The president of the United States made a promise to the people and he did not keep it.  Those were the facts.  But the press couldn't serve up the facts, they had to whore.

    And this whoring came after they lied about Iraq.  They lied to sell that war and they lied to keep it going.  The press has the reputation it has earned.  It's a bad reputation and that's its own fault.  We saw the corporate press work overtime to demonize Bernie Sanders.  

    I've noticed, by the way, that 'bravery' among the so-called independent press has been redefined.  This week, as the DNC's infomercial plays out endlessly, 'bravery' for the 'independent' press has been redefined as silence.  Go to, for example, IN THESE TIMES and find nothing on the convention.  The same with COUNTERPUNCH and CONSORUTIUM NEWS.  

    Now THE PROGRESSIVE does serve up an article -- a really bad one -- by Ruth Conniff, a really bad writer, but that was published elsewhere, they're just republishing it.  It's cute, by the way, how Ruth whores.  It's a typical convention, she insists at the opening.  She falsely presents Julian Castro to readers as though he were part of the actual televised convention when, in fact, he was not.  But if you trudge through all her words, you finally find criticism.

    Via Ruth?

    Oh, no.  She's a whore.  She hides behind her children.  Her children were dismayed.

    Ruth?  She loved it.  She loves conventions.  She loves it.  

    She shows up late to praise Michelle Obama.  The same Michelle who used the opener of her podcast to trash young voters with her special guest Barack who joined her in trashing young voters?

    When does she ever go high?  Seems like Michelle's been low-balling it her whole life.

    So hopey-changey showed up last night to offer some new lies.  Let the sunshine in, indeed.

    About the only time Barack's been remotely interesting these days was when POLITICO published their article explaining that Joe Biden had Daddy issues.  Joe's lukewarm run this year?  All about proving Daddy underestimated him -- in a recasting, Barack is playing Daddy.   Yes, that's how pathetic Joe Biden is, he's made Obama his daddy, Barack who is over 18 years younger is Joe's Daddy figure.  

    By the way, CONSORTIUM's silence really surprises me.  In yesterday's snapshot, I noted that Colin would speak Wednesday night.  Wrong.  He had already spoken the night before that snapshot.  I got lucky and missed Colin's entire speech.  This was for real by the way, not like in 2008 when Spencer Ackerman hated Hillary Clinton and was pimping Barack so he pretended CSPAN went out in the hearing so he wouldn't have to cover Hillary -- who did a better job than Barack who just breezed in, if you'll remember, while John Kerry held his hand -- that was his hand that John's was holding, right? -- to make him look better.

    I honestly missed Colin and I'm not going to cheapen that gift by taking the time afterwards to stream that speech.  I might have if CONSORTIUM had done any work.

    I mentioned in yesterday's snapshot that Colin's problems don't start with the Iraq War.  Had he spoken Wednesday night (and I caught it), the plan was to go all the way back to Vietnam and his betrayals there.  Why?  Because the truth matters, of course.  And also because the late Robert Parry did significant work exposing the realities of Colin Powell.  So we would have been referencing his work up at CONSORTIUM.  But why should we bother when CONSORTIUM didn't even bother?

    Again, multiple people appear to have mistaken silence for bravery.  

    The belief seems to be, 'If I just swallow this s**t burger' -- to use Nina Turner's phrase - 'and don't praise it, I'm not really a whore.'

    If you're eating a s**t burger, you pretty much are that and much worse.

    Kamala Harris spoke.  The junior senator from California.  If she becomes Vice President, do we finally get Kevin Leon as a senator?  Or Loretta Sanchez?  It's amazing, as I look back on it, how my state has led on . . . suppressing Latino leadership.  

    At WSWS, Niles Niemuth offers:

    Harris’ closing remarks at the convention last night were preceded by those of Obama, of which we will have more to say later. Suffice it to say that Obama, the first African American to be nominated by the Democrats and win the presidency, proceeded to bail out the banks, continue the wars of George W. Bush, implement a policy of drone murder, and deport more immigrants than any of his predecessors.

    It was the right-wing policies of the Obama administration that paved the way for the ascension of Trump to the presidency.

    The Democrats hope that the endless celebration of the trite, empty symbolism of Harris’ candidacy will serve as a repeat of Barack Obama’s run for president in 2008, deploying identity politics to cover over the right-wing content of her record and that of the Democratic Party. This is the logic of the reactionary politics of racial, ethnic and gender identity, promoted incessantly by the pseudo-left opponents of Marxism.

    However, the elevation of an increasing number of women, African Americans and other ethnic minorities into positions of power, from city councils, to mayoral offices, police departments and the presidency itself, has done nothing to advance the interests of the working class. In fact, over the last four decades wealth inequality has grown most rapidly within racial groups, as a small layer of the population has been elevated into positions of power and privilege while conditions for those of all races and genders in the bottom 90 percent have deteriorated.

    In addition to Obama, the likes of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, national security advisors Condoleezza Rice and Susan Rice, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton—and, one might add, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and German Chancellor Angela Merkel—have shown that women and racial minorities can pursue the interests of the financial oligarchy as ruthlessly as any other representative of the ruling class.

    There is something fitting in the selection of Harris to co-lead the Democrats’ ticket. The response of the Democrats to the mass multi-racial and multi-ethnic protests against police violence that erupted earlier this year was to divert them into the politics of racial division, using the reactionary and false claim that what was involved was a conflict between “white America” and “black America,” rather than a conflict between the working class and capitalism. This effort now culminates in the selection of the former “top cop” of California as the Democrats’ vice presidential candidate.

    This is aimed at blocking the emergence of powerful, united movement of the working class. The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the criminal indifference of the entire ruling elite to the lives of the working class. As was shown with the near unanimous passage of the trillion-dollar CARES Act bailout, their concern is for their stock portfolios and corporate profits at the expense of more than 175,000 people who have now died and the more than 5.5 million who have been infected by coronavirus.

    I'm not a Kamala fan.  I thought in terms of presentation, she gave a strong speech.  In terms of facts?  I'm sorry I've spent all week making the hard calls while the likes of Krystal Ball pulled their punches.  I know they won't with Kamala, there's a special hatred that have for the woman.  I don't hate her, I just don't like her and that has nothing to do with anything in the last few years, I go back before her ascent, long before, to the days where she was . . . Oh, let's be kind and just stop the thought there.  She'll get plenty of attacks today and, again, in terms of presentation, she can't be faulted for her speech last night.

    Which brings up two men: Barack and Joe.

    Let's start with Barack and his new sassy do.  Who was that sassy senior on stage last night?  I thought at first Ciecly Tyson had showed up and without her wig but, no, it was Barack.  And he's still not learned to speak -- though liars will tell you he's moving and he's amazing and he's . . .

    Sandy Dennis.

    All these years later, he's still Sandy Dennis.  In 1962, Sandy became a star on Broadway in A THOUSAND CLOWNS.  She never gave a different performance in all the years that followed.  In February of 2009, Ava and I observed:

    We watched Monday in full as Barack uh-uh-uhed and spoke in that robotic manner that allows him to find more unnatural pauses than Estelle Parsons and Kim Stanley combined. "He's our Method president!" we quickly gasped while wishing we could have one president this decade capable of normal speech. If he gets any worse, he'll be Sandy Dennis.

    Last night made clear that he is Sandy Dennis.

    And he is a lousy speaker.  For anyone to pretend otherwise at this late date is just sad.  

    Once upon a time, he was a blank slate the nation could project upon and that allowed many to believe that a crooked Chicago politician could deliver change.  But those days are long gone and who's still deluding themselves?

    Kamala was way ahead of Barack as a speaker.  Forget what she's saying, regardless of the topic, Kamala is a strong speaker and has always been one.  And she was strong last night.

    If there was any speech of significance (meaning more than 60 seconds) in the convention to praise, it would be Kamala's speech.

    I didn't catch MSNBC but I'm sure RISING will tell us what happened later today.  Did they praise Kamala?  Did they give her the praise she deserved?

    The reason I'm asking is, unless they give Joe another 'vitamin' shot before training the camera on him for his speech tonight, Joe's speech is going to look very weak when compared to Kamala's and that's really going to be the entire campaign going forward.  In terms of energy, drive and speech, Kamala's going to outshine him every day.  

    I'm not sure how that plays into building support for Joe.

    Hillary chose Mr. Bland and, one good thing there, many can't remember his name to this day -- allowing her to shine.  (Tim Kaine, if you forgot.)

    Hillary showed up last night.  In pink -- or white?  Looking awful with yet another new hair style.  Why does she keep changing hairstyles, a friend asked noting that since 1992, she's changed every four to six months at least.  Good question.  Best answer: She's still not one that's flattering.

    Poor Hillary.

    She's not a speaker.  Her flat, grating voice went on and on as she delivered her speech from -- what was that, a Lazy-Boy?  

    Moving on to other topics, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeop Tweeted:

    Had a productive meeting with Prime Minister today to reaffirm our partnership and discuss the U.S.-Iraq Strategic Dialogue. The U.S. will continue to work with Iraq on ways to address their economic challenges in light of COVID-19 and decline in oil prices.
    5:34 PM · Aug 19, 2020

    Iraq's Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi is in the US.  He's scheduled to meet with US President Donald Trump.  They are supposed to discuss a number of topics including the continued US military presence in Iraq.  The government of Iraq notes the following joint-statement issued by it and the US government:

    The following statement was released by the Governments of the Republic of Iraq and the United States of America:

    Begin text:

    The Government of Iraq, led by Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein, and the Government of United States, led by Secretary of State Michael Pompeo, held a meeting of the Higher Coordinating Committee today in Washington, D.C. as described in the 2008 Strategic Framework Agreement for a Relationship of Friendship and Cooperation between the United States of America and the Republic of Iraq (SFA). The two sides reaffirmed their commitment to a robust and productive bilateral relationship. Separate sessions covered economics, energy, health and environment, political and diplomatic issues, security and counterterrorism, and education and cultural relations.


    In the economic session, Iraq outlined its ideas for economic reform plans that would unleash faster growth and a more vibrant private sector. The United States reiterated its support for Iraq’s economic reforms and identified areas of cooperation that could help Iraq implement its plans. Both countries discussed coordination with international financial institutions to help Iraq recover from low oil prices and COVID-19 and put the country on a more sustainable fiscal path. Both nations plan to cooperate on e-government, financial sector reforms, and private sector partnerships to boost U.S.-Iraq trade and investment. The two governments look forward to holding a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) Council meeting later this year to follow up on the June 2019 meeting.


    In the energy session, the United States and Iraq discussed the Government of Iraq’s efforts to increase domestic electricity and gas production, reduce wasteful gas flaring, and implement energy market reforms. The two governments plan to hold an Energy Joint Coordination Committee meeting soon to discuss these topics in more detail. On the sidelines of today’s meeting, the Government of Iraq signed substantial energy agreements with U.S. companies, including General Electric, Honeywell UOP, and Stellar Energy, as well as Memoranda of Understanding with Chevron and Baker Hughes, as concrete examples of the U.S.-Iraq energy partnership. Iraq and the United States noted ongoing cooperation with the International Energy Agency (IEA) to develop plans for electricity tariff reform in Iraq. The two governments plan to continue cooperation with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member-states and Gulf Cooperation Council Interconnection Authority on Iraq/GCC electricity connections and energy investment. The United States welcomed the progress in the talks between the Iraqi Federal Government and the Kurdistan Regional Government with regard to budgetary and energy issues.


    In the health and environmental session, the United States and Iraq noted their ongoing partnership to combat COVID-19 and their intent to sign a Memorandum of Understanding to expand bilateral health trade. The two governments also discussed ongoing cooperation on environmental, water, and scientific issues and plan to hold a separate Joint Coordination Committee meeting on those topics.


    In the political and diplomatic session, the United States reaffirmed its respect for Iraq’s sovereignty, territorial integrity, and relevant decisions of the Iraqi legislative and executive authorities. The two sides discussed how the United States could best support the Iraqi government as it prepares for parliamentary elections, including by increasing support for the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq. Both nations reiterated their support for freedom of expression and media freedom, and the necessity to hold accountable the perpetrators of violence against peaceful protesters. The United States supports Iraq’s efforts to improve relations with its neighboring states and plans to assist the Iraqi Government in this endeavor. The United States reaffirmed its continued commitment to supporting Iraq in advancing durable solutions for internally displaced persons that are voluntary, safe, and dignified, and to help those communities that have been targeted for genocide by ISIS. The two sides recognized the need to improve access for humanitarian organizations.


    In the security and counterterrorism session, the United States and Iraq reaffirmed their commitment to achieving common objectives through bilateral security coordination and continued cooperation between the Iraqi Security Forces and the U.S.-led Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS. The two delegations praised the growing capabilities of the Iraqi Security Forces and their joint success in the fight against ISIS, which has enabled the Global Coalition to transition to a new phase focused on training, equipping, and supporting the Iraqi Security Forces. The Iraqi government expressed its gratitude to the Global Coalition and asserted its willingness to facilitate this transition and confirmed its obligation as host country to provide protection for the Coalition’s personnel and diplomatic facilities in Iraq. Adapting to the requirements of this new phase, the Global Coalition has been able to depart from some Iraqi military bases and reduce combat forces in Iraq. The two sides plan on separate technical talks to manage the timing and transition to the new phase, including any associated redeployments from Iraq. The U.S. and Iraqi delegations recognized the progress of the Iraqi Federal Security Institutions and the Kurdistan Regional Ministry of Peshmerga Affairs in coordinating their efforts to combat ISIS remnants and discussed ways to further this cooperation.


    In the education and culture session, the two governments discussed both past and current U.S. support for Iraq’s efforts to strengthen higher education in cooperation with American universities in Iraq, through the Fulbright program, and through the U.S. Embassy’s Higher Education Partnership initiative. The United States and Iraq identified additional ways to support Iraq’s plans to address higher education reform priorities and strengthen U.S.-Iraqi university partnerships. The two sides also reviewed progress in the return of the Baath Party Archives to Iraq as an important artifact of Iraq’s history. The two delegations discussed their mutual efforts to preserve Iraq’s rich cultural heritage and religious diversity and reaffirmed their commitment to cooperating in the return of Iraqi cultural property illegally imported into the United States to their rightful place in Iraq.

    The following sites updated: