Saturday, November 07, 2020

Happy birthday, Joni

We're in a pandemic.  People are without jobs.  Frustrations and panic at are high levels and the Congress has done nothing to provide a second stimulus.  In this environment, especially make a note to read singer-songwriter David Rovics' piece at DISSIDENT VOICE.  I reviewed his HALLIBURTON BOARDROOM MASSACRE album back in 2006.  You can also check out his YOUTUBE channel.

As I noted last time ("Joni's got a birthday coming up"), November 7th is Joni Mitchell's birthday.  So happy birthday to one of our greatest singer-songwriters.

Happy birthday, Joni.


Several artists such as Margo Price, Taylor Goldsmith, Sarah Jarosz and more got together to create The Joni Project, a cover of Joni Mitchell songs done by ten different artists. The artists that were challenged to cover some of Mitchell’s work weren’t just picked at random, they were chosen because they all find her to be an inspiration to their music careers.

“Another challenge is life in a pandemic, so it’s with extra gratitude that we thank the 10 artists whose talent and heart you’ll hear. Some sounds are from the days of in-person shows and some come from artists homes, but bringing us all together is Joni Mitchell,” said WFUV.

The artists involved in the tribute also took the time to elaborate on what Mitchell means to them and the kind of impact she has had on them and their careers. Some artists went on to explain how specific songs by Mitchell bring back memories from younger years.

WFUV radio station presented The Joni Project today on air but also plan to air the covers on November 7, which happens to be Mitchell’s birthday, at 3 p.m. as well as November 8 at 8 p.m. The hour long tribute is also available for listen here.

TREBLE also notes this broadcast:

On Saturday, November 7, Joni Mitchell turns 77, and to mark the occasion, Fordham University radio station WFUV has announced The Joni Project. Intended to “measure the impact” and pay tribute to Mitchell’s body of work, the project brings together a number of different artists to cover songs from throughout the singer/songwriter’s catalog. It’s the second such project that WFUV has undertaken, following last year’s The Bruce Project, in which artists covered songs by Bruce Springsteen.

Among the participating artists are Sarah Jarosz (“Cactus Tree”), Courtney Marie Andrews (“Both Sides Now”), Son Little (“Woodstock”), Madison Cunningham (“California”), Margo Price (“River”), BAILEN (“A Case of You”), The Mountain Goats (“The Hissing of Summer Lawns”), Matthew Caws of Nada Surf (“Coyote”), Flock of Dimes (“Amelia”), and Taylor Goldsmith of Dawes (“Come In From the Cold”).

Read and listen here.

Read our Beginner’s Guide to the music of Joni Mitchell.

An event coming up is reported by Daniel Langhorne (LAGUNA BEACH INDEPENDENT):

The Festival of Arts of Laguna Beach’s online concert series continues with Kiki Ebsen’s Joni Mitchell Project at 5:30 p.m. on Nov 12.

The latest installment of a monthly series dubbed “Concerts on the Screen” is this well-liked Joni Mitchell tribute band. Tickets are $25 per household for the general public and free with registration for festival members. To register and purchase tickets today visit Pre-registration is required.

“During this time, music feels more necessary than usual,” said Susan Davis, director of special events at Festival of Arts of Laguna Beach. “This is why we are excited to continue offering virtual concerts to our members and fans. We hope everyone will once again join us as we relive a past performance of Kiki Ebsen’s Joni Mitchell Project.”

Joni's music holds up and it rich and, honestly, so rich we can -- or I can -- sometimes miss a great song even when I'm loving the album it's on.

The great thing about music is our interaction with it.  A point C.I. made in the roundtable for the gina & krista round-robin that I'm stealing.  If she writes about it at THE COMMON ILLS or at THIRD, please note, I'm cribbing from her (she was speaking regarding music on an area other than Joni).  When she was talking about that, I thought immediately about a song on Joni's NIGHT RIDE HOME.  I loved NIGHT RIDE HOME when it came out and the title track and "Come In From The Cold" immediately stood out.  "Cherokee Louise" is a strong song that I probably really got into on day two or three.  I enjoyed CHALKMARK IN A RAINSTORM (the previous album) but I really loved NIGHT RIDE HOME immediately.  "Nothing Can Be Done" and "Two Grey Rooms" are songs I took longer to absorb.  

Sometimes, music hits us immediately.  Sometimes, we discover a song because a friend raves over it and we go back and listen again and realize we just somehow missed it.  

For me "Passion Play (When All The Slaves Are Free)" is not a song I really loved and really embraced until the last ten or so years.  It took C.I. noting it repeatedly at THE COMMON ILLS and, be honest, it took the times we are living in for it register as strongly as it now has with me. 

Here are the lyrics.

Magdalene is trembling
Like a washing on a line
Trembling and gleaming
Never before was a man so kind
Never so redeeming

Enter the multitudes
In Exxon blue
In radiation rose
Now you tell me
Who you gonna get to do the dirty work
When all the slaves are free?
(Who're you gonna get)

I am up a sycamore
Looking through the leaves
A sinner of some position
Who in the world can this heart healer be
This magical physician

Enter the multitudes
In Exxon blue
In radiation rose
Now you tell me
Who you gonna get to do the dirty work
When all the slaves are free?
(Who're you gonna get)

Enter the multitudes
The walking wounded
They come to this diver of the heart
of the multitudes
Thy kingdom come
Thy will be done

Oh climb down climb down he says to me
From the middle of unrest
They think his light is squandered
But he sees a stray in the wilderness
And I see how far I've wandered

Enter the multitudes
In Exxon blue
In radiation rose
Now you tell me
Who you gonna get to do the dirty work
When all the slaves are free?
(Who're you gonna get)

Enter the multitudes
The walking wounded
They come to this diver of the heart
of the multitudes
Thy kingdom come
Thy will be done

Oh all around the marketplace
The buzzing of the flies
The buzzing and the stinging
Divinely barren
And wickedly wise
The killer nails are ringing

Enter the multitudes
In Exxon blue
In radiation rose
Now you tell me
Who you gonna get to do the dirty work
When all the slaves are free?
(Who're you gonna get)

It's an amazing song and here's a video.

I really love that song.  I also love Ava and C.I.'s "Media: The scream in our soul" so be sure to check that out.

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

 Friday, November 6, 2020.  And the count goes on -- yes, the count goes on.

"Here we go again" is how Kathleen Wallace opens her column that went up at COUNTERPUNCH on Thursday.  Yeah, I know.  Kind of familiar -- see Wednesday morning's "Here we go again (Ava and C.I.)" but we -- Ava and I -- were true to our own voices, so no one can really copy us though, goodness knows, many have tried and failed over the years.  Hey, IN THESE TIMES, what happened to that entertainment media coverage?  No, it's not as easy as it looks -- especially if you're trying to offer a feminist perspective but, hey, thanks for playing.

And playing's all Kathleen Wallace is doing.  I planned to highlight her but I read and read and it just got worse and worse.  'COVID didn't register!'

Yeah, it did but your head's been up your ass so long that you never got what was going on.  The center-left meme was that Covid-19 meant the country would turn away from Donald Trump collectively and now here comes Kathleen to tell us, "I also thought covid would be a gamechanger, but the Trump supporters view the shutdowns as the enemy, not the virus."

Why admit at the top of your column that you were wrong and just cling to your insulting beliefs that got you into this mess to begin with?  

For months, the media and much of the left has lived in an artificial world that was far from reality-based.  There are people on the right who just see the pandemic as something that's been overblown and/or some sort of plot but that's true of some on the left as well.

What no one seems to get about a number of Donald Trump supporters is that they're not as stupid as the MSNBC talking point crowd.

They know damn well that the hissy fits over what Donald did in February and Joe Biden's claims of what he would do are largely nonsense.  Reality, in February and March, Joe and his campaign were telling people -- in the midst of the pandemic -- to go to the polls and vote.  Joe presented no plan for a response to the pandemic.  

Did Donald flounder?  Yes, he did.  But many people remember that so did the CDC.  Many remember when we were told there was no point in wearing masks  Then we were told to wear masks.   People can look at those events and they can see that everyone was learning as they went along.  

The Democratic Party leaders tried to weaponize Covid for the election.  And you got a lot of childish and petty little brats -- who need to grow the hell up, quite frankly -- reinventing the narrative the same way they tried their neoliberal reinvention of government in the 90s (that was the Clintonesque destruction of the safety net and you can refer to the book REINVENTING GOVERNMENT if you're late to that party).  It was disgusting to see people try to profit politically off the pandemic.  

And maybe if you did something other than 'learn' about the world from MSNBC, you'd have known that.  We spoke to group after group and heard this called out repeatedly.  I'd be surprised if out of the hundreds in the last two months, more than 21 of them were Trump supporters.  The bulk identified as Democrats (though many were clear that they would not be voting in the election due to Joe's position on fracking or his assault of Tara Reade or both).  And they were appalled by the way the pandemic was being used as political football.  Nancy Pelosi's refusal to provide a second stimulus also fell under that umbrella.  People were outraged by that and saw that as yet another example of a party wanting your vote but refusing to do anything to get it.  And then came Joe's I-promise-you-nothing campaign and you had a political party that stood for nothing other than trying to shape opinion.  

I don't know why, in the face of the rebuke that is this election, you'd say, "I got is wrong but let me tell you about all the other things I believe without any basis in fact and let's pretend like they are right."

Throughout the last four years, opinions have been presented as facts and this from the 'neutral' media?  It rained is a fact.  What someone felt about the rain is an opinion -- that seems to confuse a number of so-called reporters at various corporate outlets.  

Wallace really shouldn't write a word.  She's a stupid and sexist fool.  Doubt me?  Note this passage:

This falls completely on Obama and the corrupt DNC machinery. As you all know, prior to Super Tuesday, Obama pulled the strings of the other primary candidates, creating a situation that unearthed a most inorganic Biden victory. He got them to pull out and support Biden en masse. Though Obama was reported to have said “don’t underestimate Joe’s ability to f**k things up”, he opted to intervene in the democratic process of a legitimate primary. Elizabeth Warren (oh don’t upset her with snake emojis) helped out too, making sure the progressive vote was splintered. It makes you wonder what was going on there. She sells her soul for no payout, it seems.

Did Elizabeth help out?  That's an opinion but if you think she helped out and you also think this falls completely on Barack -- your words -- then why is it that you seen to blame them equally?  That's what you're doing in that paragraph.  Four sentences calling out Barack and three calling out Elizabeth.

And note the sexism, Elizabeth is the one who "splintered" the progressive vote.  Not Bernie.  As a man, apparently, the progressive vote belonged to Bernie.  As a woman, apparently, Elizabeth was supposed to sacrifice and step aside.  Was this the election or post-WWII America?  Go home, girls, the men are back!

What an offensive piece of trash Wallace is.

Again, there are facts and there are opinions.  It's a fact that they both sought the nomination.  It's an opinion that one should have dropped out (we never called for either to drop out -- we did note that people needed to back off and stop the sexism against Elizabeth and that failing to do so would only hurt Bernie).  Elizabeth and/or her supporters could argue throughout the primary that Bernie lost last time and he'd lose again.  They could have argued that Bernie had the nomination stolen from him last time and that he'd have it stolen again.

They could have pointed out the reality that Elizabeth stood up to Joe in the debates while Bernie undercut his own talking points and his own stands with 'my friend Joe' comments.

They could have pointed to the attacks during the primary from Bernie on women like Zephyr Teachout.  What did Zephyr do?  Oh, yeah, she wrote the truth about Joe Biden's record -- a record that Bernie was running against.  And Zephyr was rewarded for that well researched and well thought out column by being attacked and disowned by Bernie and his campaign.  Or the backstabbing of Briahna Joy Gray.  If you were shocked by Bernie's dismissive attitude towards Briahna, so sorry that you didn't know s**t as usual.

It wasn't surprising in the least.  I sat through those awful VA hearings the Senate Committee held under Bernie's leadership (I also sat through Daniel Akaka and Patty Murray's hearings which set the standards for any Senate hearings).  I saw Bernie's patronizing attitudes towards women -- women on the committee, women testifying before the committee.  A group of women veterans and I spent one post-hearing lunch together counting up all the sexist terms Bernie had used in the hearing and all the ways he'd been patronizing to women but never to men.

Did Bernie tell Elizabeth that he didn't think a woman could win? 

We don't know.  But those of us who have seen Bernie in action do know that it wouldn't be a surprise.  And, when that rumor came up, we said here, check the archives, whether it was said or not, it shouldn't be the end of the world.  The statement, as reported, was that someone didn't think the country would elect a woman.  That's an opinion and it's an opinion of what others think.  It wasn't a statement, as reported, that a woman shouldn't be president or that Bernie said he wouldn't vote for a woman.  It was a politician looking at the landscape and trying to read it and coming to a conclusion.

Our advice was to leave it alone and that was partly because we knew Bernie's past very well.  Just leave it alone and let it fade.  But his supporters couldn't do that or wouldn't do that.  And Bernie couldn't either and he had to give the story new life by confronting Elizabeth at the end of the debate.  As she was heard saying, "You called me a liar."  And that is what he did.

None of this is written as an Elizabeth lover.  Had she gotten the nomination, I would've voted for her.  I probably would've voted for anyone other than Joe.  I certainly would've voted for Beto, Julian, Marianne . . .  

But I am not an Elizabeth Warren fan nor am I even a supporter.  I don't mean a supporter or her presidential campaign, I mean a supporter of her public work.  I think she's done a very poor job on a lot of things.  I would include that the time to let us know that a program isn't working is long before the money's all been distributed.  I think she's been very dishonest about her past -- I'm referring to the Republican thing, not the Native American aspect.  Trina was very familiar with Elizabeth Warren and her politics and the minute Elizabeth ran for the Senate, Trina was telling you she wasn't all that and that she had started out a Republican.  Trina lives in Boston and knew exactly what Elizabeth was and wasn't.

And we called out Elizabeth through out the campaign including when she decided to use impeachment as a campaign booster.  Didn't work for her.

So Elizabeth's not perfect and I'm not saying she is.  I'm not a supporter of Elizabeth Warren.  But, please note, Kathleen Wallace, when I'm writing about what happened and trying to explain it, I'm not just offering a one-sided version of a narrative that rescues all my beloveds and paints everyone else as the devil.

Kathleen is unhappy with Bernie's loss.  But she's not going to blame him apparently.  So she'll blame Barack (who does deserve a portion of the blame, he clearly pulled strings behind the scenes) and she'll blame Elizabeth but she won't blame Bernie.

Here's what Kathleen thinks is a critique of Bernie:

This is all not to say that Sanders isn’t clearly at fault in this situation as well. He embraced the sheepdog role and after the first Lucy football incident, he should have run as an Independent if he was serious about truly winning the presidency. How many people who couldn’t afford it plunged what assistance they could into his campaign? It’s a pretty craven and bitter move to do to those young idealists. At some point, you have to hold to your convictions. Say what you will, but these scary Trumpers do hold to their (often toxic convictions) and it’s powerful. They win that way. Bernie has done much to push progressive ideals and has done well introducing them to a large audience, but he also has been instrumental in ripping the hearts out of those who truly believed in his platform. How can you be for the ideas that he offered and still hit the campaign trail for a Biden? Sure, sure the bigger threat thing is what is always given as the excuse— but he likely knew exactly what would happen this second time around. He coalesced progressive support around him during the primary, keeping a trend towards any third party leanings down. He was an instrumental cog in all of this….again.

So his portion of the blame, per Kathleen, is the sheepdog role -- a role he played after he dropped out.  And his other one was refusing to run as an independent.  Again, that would happen after he dropped out.  

Bernie, in her mind, made no mistakes until then.  And the mistakes she attributes to him feed into her belief that he's a good guy.  He may very well be a good person but she doesn't offer that possibility for Donald Trump or Barack Obama or Elizabeth Warren or anyone she disagrees with.  Are we not supposed to notice that?

As the pandemic was making clear the need for Medicare For All, who dropped out?  

Bernie.  It was the perfect time to speak out about his platform and how, look around at the people in need in this crisis, this is why we need Medicare For All.

But he didn't do that.  He grumbled about David Sirota and Nina Turner when they were busting their asses for him.  He called out Zephyr and, after the election, Briahna.  This is leadership?

It's whoring.  

And you could float the idea that it's another reason Elizabeth didn't drop out.  She was running against a man who did nothing.  Naming post offices, that was Bernie's Congressional accomplishment.  Yes, I started that talking point but I didn't do it to help Hillary (I actually favored Martin in 2016) and I didn't realize the campaign would run with his lack of accomplishments in Congress -- both the House and the Senate.  I was just applying the same standard to all.  It's not my job to fluff and flatter.

And Elizabeth does have some accomplishments in the Senate and she might have stayed in the campaign for that reason.

More to the point, she doesn't need a reason to stay in other than she wants to.  She's not stealing anything from anyone by making a forceful case for herself.  

I'm raking my brain for when we hear this sort of talk about a man.  Other than the lunatic ravings of Al Gore's self-appointed online defender/mistress Bob Somerby (in his attacks on Bill Bradley), I'm not remembering it.

If Bernie's campaign was so weak that it couldn't survive another person campaigning openly, then it wasn't strong at all.

Now it's another thing to suffer through what the DNC did to him in 2016 and the strings Barack pulled this go round.  Those were not done publicly, they were largely hidden.

But Elizabeth wanted the nomination and she sought it publicly.  If Bernie couldn't handle that, I don't know that he could have handled the nomination.  

Wallace is worried about Pete Buttigieg and that made me laugh the most at her column.  Barack was the shiny, new toy in 2008.  Pete can't be that.  He tried to be it in 2019 and 2020 but it didn't happen.  And in 2024 or 2028, he's not going to be anything but another fat assed male politician.  Am I the only one whose noticed how much weight he's put on?  Or how fat his face is?  Barack was shiny and new with his thin trim self -- to the point that people spoke of anorexia.  True or not, he did look lean and hungry and it gave his words an impact that a soft and fat politician just wouldn't have.  Barack looked lean and hungry and that amplified his message of change.  When roly-poly Pete lumbers out on stage in four years or eight years, a call to change from a fat cat politician will ring as hollow as it always does.

I kept searching her column -- which was sent into the public account by fifteen different people -- or at least fifteen different e-mail accounts -- for something to praise and include.  I thought I was going to from the byline.  But it's a really bad column.  And don't think you're brave by noting Joe grabbing a woman's ass and including a mention of #MeToo if you can't mention Tara Reade.  Tara told the truth.  Kathleen did mention Anita Hill.  It's safe to do that, isn't it?

Thing is, I was around back then and it wasn't safe.  But people -- women and men -- wouldn't let it die. We didn't walk away from it.  And these same people today, we're not walking away from Tara Reade.  Joe will never live Tara down.  It's the sort of thing the media can dismiss for a year or so but it's the sort of thing that festers and grows and that becomes so firm that even the cowardly -- Kathleen, for example -- finally feel that they can speak out about it -- the way she feels she can support Anita all these decades later.

I wanted to praise Kathleen.  But she wrote a sexist article which opens with her admitting she was wrong but never goes on to try to attempt to re-evaluate any of the prejudices and mistaken beliefs that led to her being so wrong.  

Most of all, I'll never support any argument -- made by a man or a woman -- that a woman's role is to sacrifice her goals and dreams so that a man can get ahead.  I will always stand against that sort of nonsense.  

In Iraq, Dilan S. Hussein (RUDAW) reports:

 Iraqi President Barham Salih on Thursday officially signed recent electoral reforms into law, dividing provinces into smaller voting constituencies for the 2021 election.

"The law was passed after a long debate. The reform of the electoral law was a national demand to secure Iraqis' right to choose their representatives without fear of forgery, manipulation and the exertion of pressure on voters," said Salih.

"I call upon all state institutions to swiftly fulfill the required conditions for conducting early fair and free elections," he added. "Electoral corruption is a serious scourge that threatens the peace and stability of our community as well as the country's economic viability."

This would appear to mean that elections are moving forward (June 6, 2021). THE MEDIA LINE notes a possible snag, "Yet a dispute about how to replace retiring judges of the Federal Supreme Court, which rules on constitutional challenges, needs to be settled prior to elections."  Of the new law, AP explains, "The new law changes each of the country’s 18 provinces into several electoral districts and prevents parties from running on unified lists, which has in the past helped them easily sweep all the seats in a specific province. Instead, the seats would go to whoever gets the most votes in the electoral districts."

Karen Steele has a letter to the editors of THE BALTIMORE SUN which includes:

 Oct. 22 was the tenth anniversary of the publication of the Iraq War Logs (“Julian Assange is no hero,” May 15, 2019). The documents revealed war crimes, more than 15,000 previously undocumented civilian casualties and evidence that the military killed innocent people and mislabeled them as enemies for statistical purposes.

These revelations were only possible because Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning acted out of conscience, and WikiLeaks bravely published them after the Washington Post and New York Times hesitated. The coverage won countless awards, but also led to Ms. Manning spending years in prison and WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange facing an unprecedented 175-year sentence.

Two more things.  Time permitting, I'd like to explore the good and the bad about Brad Bannon's HILL column -- explore it this weekend.  Second, this weekend, NOW and The Feminist Majority have a virtual conference:

You won’t want to miss an up-to-the-minute feminist analysis of the 2020 election. Join the Feminist Majority and the National Organization for Women (NOW) for the last in a series of free virtual conferences this Saturday November 7th at 12:30pm ET on the power of the feminist vote and what is at stake as a result of the 2020 election.




Our exciting plenary session will feature an election analysis panel led by Feminist Majority president Eleanor Smeal, featuring feminist pollster Celinda Lake of Lake Research and Barbara Arnwine, president and founder of Transformative Justice and its national voter protection project.


The second panel discussion will feature feminist political action committees that propelled feminist candidates to victory chaired by Bear Atwood, vice president of NOW. The keynote address will be delivered by Congresswoman Barbara Lee of California. The conference will close with a discussion with NOW president Christian Nunes on where we go from here.


You won’t want to miss this opportunity to engage with important feminist leaders and organizers who are working to protect the decades of progress made and are paving the way for even more feminist victories ahead. Register now!


If you have already registered please look for an email from NOW Conference 2020 that contains a link to join and if you haven’t registered, please do so now! If you have any issues registering or joining the conference please email

For equality,

Ellie Smeal Signature
Eleanor Smeal
President, Feminist Majority 



Feminist Majority
1600 Wilson Blvd
Arlington, VA 22209
United States

The following sites updated:

Thursday, November 05, 2020

Joni's got a birthday coming up

 What am I writing about tonight?  I doubt you will be surprised.  Joni Mitchell's JONI MITCHELL ARCHIVES VOL. 1:  THE EARLY YEARS 1963 - 1967 came out last Friday and it's amazing.  I reviewed it in "Kat's Korner: The art of Joni Mitchell.NPR is covering it.  This is from the intro:


A treasure trove of mostly unheard early Joni Mitchell recordings has just been released. Joni Mitchell Archives Vol. 1: The Early Years (1963-1967) has 119 tracks, including 29 original songs she wrote and recorded but never put out before now.

On this special edition of All Songs Considered, NPR Music's Ann Powers and I explore these early works of Joni Mitchell and play selections from the new box set from Rhino. This includes some of Joni Mitchell's first-known recordings, like a radio studio recording made in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan when she was just 19-years old. We also hear some live concert recordings, including one made at the Ann Arbor Canterbury House 53 years ago, and demos she made on a home reel-to-reel tape machine. This includes one she made for her mom in 1965. Over the course of this remarkable box set — and nearly six hours of music, we hear Joni Mitchell grow from a singer of folk songs to a playful and sophisticated lyricist with a brilliant voice.


 And here is the audio of the NPR report.

And this is from WFUV:

FUV is all things Joni Mitchell this week as we celebrate The Joni Project, airing Friday at noon and over the weekend, our collection of artist covers celebrating Joni and her life of making music, along with our EQFM Album ReCue pick for this week, Blue

We are adding to the party with a giveaway of a digital download copy of the new box set, Joni Mitchell, The Early Years (1963-1967) Volume 1This newly released collection spans the early years of Joni's long and illustrious career.

By the way, Saturday is Joni Mitchell's birthday.  I say, "Yea!"  Back in 2017, with the health scare, I was really afraid that Joni was not going to be with us by the end of that year.  She's talked about her recovery -- and apparently getting back to speed on walking and movement -- is an ongoing struggle but she is with us still and she's got a new cat that she loves and I hope Saturday is a brilliant and happy birthday for her.

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


 Thursday, November 5, 2020.  The ballot counting continues in the US, the corruption continues in Iraq, and much more.

What a difference a day makes?  Yesterday morning, on many programs, including RISING, Democrats were stating that the mail-in ballots would have to be counted and this race was going blah blah blah.  But now Joe Biden's trying to declare victory?

One of the things that this elections has made clear is that we can't move towards mail-in ballots under the current system.  Example of why?  Arizona being called for Joe Biden yesterday with less than 75% of the votes being counted.  It's now at 88% counted and Joe is only 2.4% ahead of Donald Trump.  12% of the vote remains uncounted -- of the known vote, that's not including any ballots en route and post marked on election day -- and its being called?

We should move towards universal mail-in ballots.  We can't at this time because of the fact that people aren't honest.  Now if this was California and it only had 62% of the vote counted and it was declared for Joe, I wouldn't blink twice.  California is a Democratic state.  But this is Arizona which is supposedly in play.  

The rush to declare Arizona?  Makes you wonder if Katharine Harris is their Secretary of State this year?

In 2000, many of us wanted to see all the ballots counted (yes, I supported Al Gore but I wanted to see all the ballots counted regardless of whether they favored Gore in the end or not).  There was a media rush created insisting that we had to know and we had to know now, wrap it up, wrap it up.  No, we didn't need to know immediately.  The new president is sworn in when?  Middle of January.  We certainly could have waited and allowed, for example, the recount to be finished in Florida.  By the same token, there is no need to rush the count this go round.  We need to be fair and we need to be transparent.  That this even has to be said is rather sad and a sorry comment on the current state of politics in the United States.

Can we move towards online voting?

That's a big question we got yesterday when we were speaking to various college groups.

We could but the problem there is the same problem we've had with the machines of the '00s.  Verifiable?  Do we print a paper receipt that's kept?  Black box voting is a term that was very popular in the '00s and a major voting concern for some.  

There's a lot we need to ponder between now and the next election.

In two different groups, students brought a new voter shaming technique that emerged this election, one I had ignored.  The minute that they mentioned I remembered vaguely hearing that in a commercial.  Apparently, the commercial was all over YOUTUBE.

You have to vote, the commercial argues, because while your ballot is secret, your neighbors will be able to find out whether or not you voted due to the voting rolls.  

This is the United States of America and you do not have to vote.  Back when the USSR was around, some commentators used to note that was part of the freedom -- that in the USSR you had to vote but in a democracy you do not have to vote.  The bullying and shaming and attempts at voter intimidation seem to only increase each year.

Do you have to vote to avoid your nosy neighbors?  

No.  You can tell them that you're registered at your parent's address, for example.  You can tell them you did a mail-in ballot and it must have been a 'spoiled' ballot or not received.  You can  also tell them -- and should consider telling them -- "Get out of my f**king business you spying piece of trash."  Because that's really what they are.  It is not their business whether you voted or not.  The Tattle States of America, is that what we're becoming?

Probably so.  

Voter disenfranchisement is an issue that has many levels and that should be explored between now and the next election.

Clearly, the biggest segment of disenfranchisement are non-voters who do not feel part of the system.  That's something that really needs to be explored.  Another area of disenfranchisement is when you can't vote for your candidate due to ballot access.


The Democratic Party's efforts to keep the Green Party off the ballot were disgusting and dishonest and most looked the other way.

Don't come crying to me when you feel disenfranchised if you spent your time trying to keep someone off a ballot.

If you want to increase voter turnout, you need to make voting easier.  That's not just access to a ballot to vote on, that's also access to a ballot -- meaning candidates have ballot access.

It's a funny sort of limited call for voting offered by the Norman Solomon's of the country.  Vote!!! But just vote for the candidate I tell you to and ignore the efforts to keep others off the ballot. 

On the election, C. Alexander Ohler ("a former senior analyst for the U.S. Department of State in Iraq and currently serves as a visiting fellow at the University of Tennessee. ) argues a win for Joe is bad for Iraq at THE HILL:


Directly after taking office, President Obama appointed Vice President Biden to oversee U.S. operations and diplomacy in Iraq. At that time, Iraq had begun to stabilize. The once-formidable al Qaeda in Iraq had been all but defeated and relegated to the outskirts of Mosul and civilian deaths fell to about one-fourth of what they had been before the “surge.” 

But by the end of the vice president’s first term, civilian casualties in Iraq rose by almost 400 percent to over 20,000, and ISIS (a.k.a. ISIL, IS, [. . .]) flew its black flag from Syria through northern Iraq to a point about 60 miles outside of Baghdad.

What happened during the period that Biden oversaw Iraq? In 2009, Iraqiyya, a multi-sectarian and moderate political party founded by Sunni leader Rafe al-Essawi and Shia leader Ayad Allawi, challenged then-Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s State of Law Coalition in the 2010 national election and won with a narrow victory.  

Iraq’s parliamentary system designates that the winning electoral party has the first shot at forming a coalition government with other parties. Maliki, however, influenced the court and had the interpretation of the law altered that led to a six-month standoff in which Maliki, backed by Iran, retained power but was unable to form a coalition government. 

Joe Biden and the Obama administration faced a decision: to support the democratic results of the election or to back Maliki’s bid to retain power. Against the advice of Ambassador Robert Ford, a six-year diplomatic veteran of Iraq, General Ray Odierno and others, Biden and then-Ambassador Hill decided to backstop Maliki and the State of Law Coalition.

The administration’s reasoning is not entirely clear. Michael R. Gordon and retired Lieutenant General Bernard E. Trainor report in their book, “The Endgame: The Inside Story of the Struggle for Iraq, from George W. Bush to Barack Obama,” that Vice President Biden was convinced that Maliki would deliver a Status of Forces Agreement.

[. . .]

Regardless of the reason, Biden’s fateful decision to support Maliki would seed political turmoil in Iraq that, according to General Petraeus and others, paved the way for the rise of ISIS

Upon securing the premiership, Maliki reneged on several power-sharing agreements with Iraqiyya. Instead, the prime minister moved to consolidate power by exerting control over independent Iraqi institutions and appointing high-level security positions without required constitutional approval that transformed Iraqi security forces into sectarian instruments. The Status of Forces Agreement never materialized, and immediately after the withdrawal of U.S. forces in 2011, Maliki placed tanks in front of the homes of Sunni leaders in the Green Zone.

If that sounds familiar, it should.  We've been making that argument here for over eight years now.  Glad it's at THE HILL today but is there a reason no one could make it before?  Is there a reason that this issue couldn't be explored by the press before the election?

Is there a reason that it never came up in any debate -- not in the Democratic Party debates not in the Democratic-Republican debates of the general election.

Joe ran through the campaign citing his wisdom and experience and Iraq.  Yet that never got challenged for the reality of that record.  The closest it came to being challenged was him being asked about his vote for the war -- an action that took place in 2002 before the war started.  Everything he did as a senator after that vote and as vice president for eight years -- when Barack put him in charge of Iraq -- as vice president was ignored. 

Can someone offer an honest explanation and not just an excuse or rationalization?

Over at the US government's Carnegie Endowment for Peace (a misnomer), Kirk H. Sowell writes:

Since taking office, Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi has faced a series of fiscal and security crises amid collapsing public services and protests. The collapse in global oil prices due to the coronavirus pandemic and the Saudi-Russia oil price war caused Iraq to face an internal solvency crisis as early as June. This fiscal crisis has short and long-term implications. In the short-term, Baghdad continuously struggles to pay public sector salaries, which required the state to borrow from the Central Bank over the summer. With low oil revenue, the state’s monthly profits are covering just over 50 percent of its expenses. In the longer-term, Iraq faces a looming macro-fiscal state collapse—potentially within the next year.

The state is struggling to cover its monthly expenses. Over successive governments, the size of the public sector has grown to the point that Iraq needs to spend more than its total revenue on basic payments—public sector salaries, pensions, food aid, and welfare—to keep a majority of Iraq’s population out of destitution. In 2019, oil revenue averaged $6.5 billion per month, and with modest non-oil revenues (largely customs, well less than $1 billion per month), this covered operational expenses with a small amount left over for capital spending. Since the recovery of oil prices after the March collapse, Iraq’s monthly oil revenues have averaged just over $3 billion/month, hitting a high of $3.52 billion in August. In testimony before parliament in September, Finance Minister Ali Allawi revealed1 that with revenues at these levels, the government was still borrowing 3.5 trillion Iraqi Dinars (IQD) — just over $3 billion—from the Central Bank each month.

On October 10, as Iraq’s cash crunch became more acute, Allawi explained that state employee compensation rose from 20 percent of oil revenues in 2005 to 120 percent today. To help the public understand why the government of such an oil-rich country was broke, he explained that a government of this size should have at least $15 to 20 billion in funds to pay monthly expenses on an ongoing basis, but when this government took office, only about $1 billion was available.2 This is in part due to weak revenues, the result of low oil prices and Iraq’s adherence to OPEC’s limitations on oil exports. In the past, Iraq’s oil exports have reached 3.5 million barrels per day (bpd), yet they decreased to 2.5 million bpd in recent months. Prominent figures, including former oil minister Ibrahim Bahr al-Ulum, have argued in favor of leaving the OPEC agreement unilaterally. Yet Allawi, speaking before Parliament, explained that while he agreed that OPEC’s quota formula was unfair, Iraq needs the OPEC agreement to keep oil prices from collapsing. More recently, according to the Iraq Oil Report, the government has signaled that it may try to thread the needle by increasing exports by 250,000 barrels per day to satisfy critics—an amount above its quota, but still about 750,000 barrels per day below peak production, and thus hopefully too small an increase to incur Saudi retaliation.

Iraq’s monthly oil revenue to collapsed from $6.2 billion in January to just $1.4 billion in April. The figure recovered to $2.9 billion in May and has gradually improved since, but in August was still just $3.5 billion. Since the government only had about $3 billion in expendable reserves in May, it became clear that Iraq could not pay state employees in June. Salaries over the summer were paid as money became available. As late as July 28, the prime minister’s spokesman admitted that employees at the Culture & Antiquities Ministry (apparently the lowest priority), were still waiting to be paid.

Kirk's preaching austerity.  Oh, boo, hoo, poor little government only took in X billions a month.  Oh, boo, hoo.  That's more than many countries ever do.  If you addressed the corruption, the people would be better off but you don't want that, what you want is austerity.  It's not about helping the Iraqi people, it's about gutting their social programs.  You want them in a for-profit, capitalistic system and that's all this is about.  Quit pretending otherwise.  This is an attack on the Iraqi people. 

If you were concerned about anything resembling reality, you'd note that Iraq's population is around 35 million and bringing in X billion a month should be more than enough to ensure a high standard of living for every Iraqi.  The failure to make that happen goes to corruption.

Equally true, these efforts to prop up Mustafa are getting really pathetic -- what happened to the promise that he would be a prime minister only until early elections (June 2021) could be held?

Kirk overlooks that promise, he's too busy preaching his own wants and desires: austerity.

The following sites updated:



Wednesday, November 04, 2020

Nate Bargatze


I love Nate Bargatze.  He's hilarious.

Closing with "Here we go again (Ava and C.I.):"

Last night, as Joe Biden floundered, FACEBOOK rushed to assure everyone that he was still alive.

"Joe Biden is live now."  If only the campaign were.

The day after the election and six states not yet called and 83 electoral votes up for grabs.  It's anyone's race.  Here we go again.

Come on now
Oh oh oh oh oh
Here we, here we, here we go again
Well, boy
I caught you slipping (mmm), ooh, you must be trippin'
'Cause now I know, oh, yes I know, mmm
About your other girls in your past, in your black book
A very long time ago, oh oh oh oh
Well, you must think I'm crazy
You must think I'm blind
If you want to keep me, boy
Then stop wasting my time
Here we go again
It's the same old song
You're thinking you're gon' do me
Like the other ones before, baby
Here we go again
It's the same old song
Ooh, straighten up your act
Or else I'm walking out the door

All this time (all this time) I thought that I (I)
Was the one who had the problem, oh yeah, mmm
I gave you everything, hoping things might change
But still you ain't around, so, whoa oh oh
You must think I'm foolish (oh yeah)
You must think I'm blind (Do you think I'm blind?)
If you want (if you want) my precious love (my precious love)
Then stop telling me lies (stop wasting, wasting my time)
Here we go again
It's the same old song
You're thinking you're gon' do me
Like the other ones before, baby
Here we go again
It's the same old song
Ooh, straighten up your act
Or else I'm walking out the door

-- "Here We Go Again," written by Troy Lee Broussard,Trina Broussard, Jermaine Dupri, Trey Lorenz, Mauro Malavasi, David Romani and Wayne Garfield, first appears on Aretha Franklin's A ROSE IS STILL A ROSE.

Here we go again.  

If anyone's image is improved right now, if anyone's stock is on the rise, it's Hillary Clinton's and, no, we're not joking.

Joe may yet pull out a victory.  But that's not what he promised -- a squeaker.  He and his whores swore he was going to beat Donald Trump and beat Donald in a landslide.  We're not just talking about the polls in the lead up to the general election, we're talking about from 2019 and forward.  He had, what was the word?  Oh, yeah: Electability.

The unstated implication was that Hillary didn't have it.  

He was going to be better than Hillary.  Why was that again?  Help us out?

Because he was promising better programs than she did?

No, that wasn't it.

Because America would unite together for the historic first of electing a White man president?

No, not that either.

Because he was such a better speaker than she was?

No, no.  

What was it?

Oh, yeah, because he had a penis.  It probably no longer functioned as a sex organ but he had a penis.  That's what this was about from day one.  Woody Harrelson nailed it in the first SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE skit when he told America to rest at ease: Daddy's home.

All it took was that dangling Y chromosome -- that was the unspoken but implicit promise.

The 2020 election was all about disrespecting women.

We realized that back in February but leave it to professional bachelor Keith Olbermann to come along yesterday and really nail the point down.

Tuesday Keith Tweeted, "Yes,  @realDonaldTrump has always been, will always be, and on the day of his bid for re-election, still is: a whiny little Kunta Kinte."

Poor Keith, it wasn't the mid '00s and people weren't so desperate for anyone to call out Bully Boy Bush that they'd look the other way.  Instead, he was slammed for racism.  (Kunta Kinte first appears in Alex Haley's 1976 ROOTS and when the book was turned into a mini-series in 1977   LeVar Burton and John Amos played the role.)  

Faced with an outcry, Keith deleted the Tweet.  After the deletion he Tweeted, "I was using an old 70's-80's technique for calling somebody a c*** without writing/saying c***, just using a sound-alike to call Trump a c***. Deleting previous, largely because this one clarifies the c*** part.''

Confronted with his racism, Keith struggles to stay aloft and figures the best way to do so is with sexism.

The c-word.  It's an insult to women in the US.  In 2008, it was pretty much shocking to see Matthew Rothschild and others using the word and giggling over it.  Matthew giggled at the so-called PROGRESSIVE about an anti-Hillary group whose initials spelled the c-word.  The words become less shocking -- how quickly and how coarsely our discourse has become -- and we usually refer to it as Cher's favorite word.  

But back to Keith.  There he is, in trouble, desperate to save himself from charges of racism and he offers sexism.  And he does so because this country doesn't give two s**ts about sexism or about women.  That's the reality 2020 drove home.  

Elizabeth Warren and Tulsi Gabbard were both on the receiving end of sexism.  It's easy to chart that.  But it's equally true that all of the women running for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination were targeted with sexism.  That was especially obvious early on with Kirsten Gillibrand who was attacked by Al Franken's fools.  Al had multiple complaints from multiple women.  He also had a damning photo that the USO found both disgusting and embarrassing.  Because Kirsten led the calls for his resignation -- a resignation Al went along with -- she was attacked repeatedly in 'progressive' circles.  

History was re-written by Al Franken and his idiot cult who astro-turfed over the reality that Al supported the Iraq War.  Who ignored his non-stop sexism which stands out most to us when he had Meg Ryan on as a guest for his awful AIR AMERICA RADIO program.  Meg was against the Iraq War and spoke of that and the need for an immediate withdrawal.  Al?  The coward waited until after she was off mike and leaving to tell his listeners that Meg wasn't really informed and, of course, more informed people like himself knew better.

That is the perfect example of 'mansplaining.'  But Al's cult is as sexist and dumb as Al Franken.

This go round, Tulsi, Elizabeth, Kirsten, Kamala Harris, Marianne Williams and Amy Klobuchar sought the Democratic Party's presidential nomination.  Six women.  And often, you would read gripes that this or that woman needed to drop out because her presence was hurting another woman's chance to sew up the nomination.  

Interesting, though, there were 29 candidates.  If six were women were the others non-Cis genders?  No, they were men.  23 were men.  And no one ever made the case that if this or that man would drop out that it would help another man because there were too many men in the race.

23 men in the race and a-okay.  But six women and suddenly we're reading that too many women were in the race? 

Too many women for whom?

As Norman Solomon and others made clear repeatedly, six was too many but so was one.  Just one woman was enough to qualify as 'too many.'  So they repeatedly slimed Elizabeth Warren.  And then when everyone dropped out at the urging of Barack Obama so that the race was now down to Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden, these same pigs who'd made one sexist argument after another against Elizabeth started whining about how she wasn't endorsing Bernie.  They should have been glad -- doing cartwheels, in fact -- that Elizabeth was being kind enough to stay out of it.  She was always going to endorse Joe over Bernie due to the problems she and Bernie had and due to the way his worst supporters had treated her and, let's be honest, because she saw the writing on the wall: Democratic leadership wanted Joe.

You saw the hatred for women in what the press made the biggest moment in the Democratic Party debates -- Tulsi's trashing of Kamala.

This was ground breaking, so many commentators (including Michael Tracey) insisted.  Tulsi had destroyed Kamala.

We never saw it that way.  And we were right.

"Destroyed" Kamala ended up the running mate on the ticket.  That doesn't sound like she was destroyed.  Maybe Tulsi was?  Maybe Andrew Yang was?  Maybe Beto was destroyed?

Kamala wasn't destroyed.

But sexism fueled the way the media viewed and portrayed the exchange.  They turned it into a cat fight and celebrated it with glee.

What they should have done is examined both candidates.  Were the charges true of Kamala, the charges Tulsi made.  (Yes, they were but the press really didn't want to go there.)  And they should have examined Tulis and her behavior in that debate.  Consistent?


Not at all consistent.  She walked onto the stage as the self-proclaimed anti-war candidate.  And this is the debate where she attacked Kamala on something other than war.  It is also the debate where she was expected to take down Joe Biden.  This expectation came not only from her supporters but also from the press because of all she'd said in the lead up to the July debate that finally found her onstage with Joe.

So if she went gunning for Kamala, you know anti-war Tulsi went gunning for Joe, right?  Wrong.  She gave him a pass.  It was shocking.  It was shocking to watch.  It was shocking to the moderator of the debate CNN's Jake Tapper.  So shocking to him, in fact, that he took the question back to Tulsi and gave her a second chance.  All she offered was that Joe Biden had apologized for voting for the Iraq War.  No, he had not.  He apologized -- or said  a weak 'sorry' -- only for trusting Bully Boy Bush.  He didn't regret his vote.  He regretted the way Bully Boy Bush executed the illegal war.

That's not an apology.  It also doesn't get into all that he did as a senator after the war started or the damage he did as vice president when Barack had put him in charge of Iraq.  That included his initial backing of the awful Ambassador Chris Hill over the top US commander in Iraq Gen Ray Odierno, that includes his brokering The Erbil Agreement -- a legal contract that overturned the votes of the Iraqi people and gave Nouri al-Maliki a second term -- the second term that led to the rise of ISIS in Iraq . . .

That's not the full list.  And anyone who's 'anti-war' and running to become president damn well should have known that.

Tulsi refused to confront, call out or even fact check Joe.  

And we're not just talking about the debate.

The press is sexist and they loved reducing that debate to a 'cat fight' between two women.  As a result, Tulsi got two to three days of press coverage the likes of which her campaign hadn't seen before and would never see again.  During those interviews, over and over, 'anti-war' Tulsi vouched for Joe Biden.

If you're not thrilled with Joe as a nominee, never forget that anti-war Tulsi went into the July debate determined to knock one person off the stage and it wasn't the only one on the stage who voted for the Iraq War.

29 candidates.  Many dropped out.  But we saw the sexism in play when Kamala dropped out.

As noted here in the December 4th "Iraq snapshot:"

Let's close this discussion with numbers.


That's the number of Tweets Michael Tracey has done about Kamala Harris since the news broke that she was dropping out of the race.


That's the number of Tweets Michael Tracey did about Steve Bullock since the news broke that he was dropping out of the race.

24 and 1.  It's an obsession and, yes, it's Bash The Bitch.  As Ava and I noted when Katie Couric was the target in 2006:

For some of the left, though not all, that's at the root of their pursuit of Couric. It's the gift of impunity that allows them to operate in a fact-free environment as they compose the charges against Couric. But those who hear such a statement and nod agreeably are also engaged in the national pastime of bash-the-bitch.
Bash the bitch is as American as apple pie and rush to judgement, so who are we to complain? If it makes us "America haters" to say "Just a minute now" then so be it. Let all the ones partaking in bash-the-bitch wrap themselves in Old Glory, we'll call it the way we see it.
Here's what we see. A woman's trashed. For what she did?
Oh cookie, please, it's for being a woman. Read the commentaries. "Cheerleader" is a trumped up charge -- as usual, the true crime is gender.

Michael Tracey and a lot of others need to look at their actions in the last 24 hours.  There's a lot of latent sexism bubbling up.

Throughout 2019 and 2020, we felt like it was 2008 all over again.  That's when anything could be and was said about Hillary.  2016 saw a huge improvement.  And we wondered at the time if that was because we'd all grown or if was because Hillary being the nominee meant some partisans had to keep it in check?

It was clearly the latter to judge by 2020.

Tara Reade told the truth.  And she was slimed for it.  We're moving over to that topic because a lot of women need to be called out.

Some women supported Joe Biden.  Guess what?  If you're not a feminist, we don't really care.  If you're a feminist, we do care.  If you're a feminist, your support was outrageous.  Joe is accused of assault and you prioritized him over a woman.

Why do women not come forward?  Because they're not believed or because the dominant society justifies the assault and makes excuses.  Linda Hirshman is not a feminist.  If that's too harsh, at least join us in saying, "She's not a good feminist."

She says she believes Tara but she was voting Joe.

Don't call yourself a feminist.  If you believe a woman and you back up her attacker, you're not a feminist.  

A woman could be and was sacrificed and we were told it was for the good of the many.

No, it wasn't.  

And they were backing Joe, these 'feminists,' at a time when they didn't have to.  There was talk, because Joe was still so weak in the polls (as he is right now), that Andrew Cuomo or Gavin Newsom might be able to sweep the convention.  Those 'feminists' could have used their voices to publicly pressure the DNC into selecting an alternate candidate like either Cuomo or Newsom.  Instead, they three in the towel and, with their words and actions, made clear that, to them, rape is no big deal, that, to them, the suffering of women is no big deal.

And, in the end, wasn't that Joe's real campaign slogan?

Lucy Flores and other women bravely came forward to talk about his harassment and their reward was Joe issuing a non-apology video and days later making fun of their complaints as he spoke to a union audience.

Over and over, it was made clear that women did not matter.

That was true in the selection of Joe because the underlying point was that he would beat Donald unlike Hillary.  Senile, feeble Joe was going to do what Hillary couldn't.

He may yet accomplish that.  But the election remains up for grabs as we write this and he has not delivered anything he promised.

Anything?  Excuse us, that's imprecise.  The only thing he and his supporters ever promised was that he was electable.  They insisted that he was more electable than Bernie Sanders, they implied that he was more electable than Hillary Clinton and now, as he struggles throughout the vote counting, it's becoming even more obvious that he was never the best choice.

Maybe some of the above will be explored if he loses?  Probably not.  A lot of liars are very vested in the pretense that Joe was the best our party could do.

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