Thursday, May 12, 2022

Rickie Lee Jones in concert, POP MATTERS goes sexist and racist on Diana Ross

overheard conversation


From earlier tonight, that's Isaiah's THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS "Overheard Conversation."  Below is Rickie Lee Jones in concert.

I really love Rikie Lee and that was a pretty awesome performance.

I wasn't planning to write about Diana Ross three times this week.  However . . . 

Peter Platkowski is an idiot. I was just going to link to his writing and note that Diana Ross' RED HOT RHYTHM & BLUES was 35 today. But then I started reading his garbage. It's a POP MATTERS so of course it's garbage. They hire sexists which reinforce the sexist garbage. I've taken on POP MATTE#RS for over a decade now.

But I didn't realize how bad it was until I started reading it to C.I.

It's really bad.


To celebrate and explore Black pop music, Diana Ross’ 17th studio album—Red Hot Rhythm & Blues (1987)—is an ambitious and affectionate way of honoring the past and present of Black music. Of course, it’s also a way for Ross to place herself within that history. Along with the LP itself, she headlined a television special that was a simultaneous advertisement for the album, and she a filmed homage to the music that influenced her sound. ­The project was Ross’ contribution to the story of Black popular music, as Ross told its story by covering songs from yesteryear and recording current material. On the television special, she made this tribute visual by paying homage to American popular music, and she specifically highlighted the influence of Black artists.
Diana Ross’ place in pop history, as well as Black pop history, is secure. With the Supremes, she defined pop music of the 1960s, and her generational influence was almost as integral as the Beatles. The Supremes projected an image of class, elegance, and aspiration. As music journalist Mark Anthony Neal points out, “Motown, particularly The Supremes, were symbols of breaking racial barriers.” He also stresses that the success of the Supremes “said a great deal about the position of Black women in society”.
As the leading group from the legendary Motown Records, the Supremes fulfilled label founder Berry Gordy’s main ambition: to elevate profoundly gifted and talented performers into superstars. Crossover in the 1960s meant finding success among white audiences, which Gordy sought by having his artists record pop standards, sing Broadway show tunes, and appear at supper clubs and prestige venues like the Copacabana.

That's how he starts out and he knows nothing. He's linking to other POP MATTERS articles and I'll probably take those out. Mark Anthony Neal, if summarized correctly by Peter is a moron.

He goes on, Peter, to talk about this or that training the Supemes had in grace or whatever.

Wrong. Diana wanted to be a fashion designer and she took additional classes. After the Supremes were big, he did have other things like classes in manners. Nope, not for Diana and Mary. They were not poor and they were raised with manners and it's a real White racist who runs with the notion that Diana needed training classes from Berry -- do they not know that Diana's sister is a doctor> Other MOTOWN artists may have need a push here or ther -- many refused them (including Gladys).

Does the idiot think Diana was on MOTOWN with this 1985 album? C.I. asked me that and pointed out that Peter knows nothing about anything.

The special?

Diana did that with ABC because why?

She promoted each RCA album with a tour. Except for this one. Why not? She was pregnant. She gave birth to Ross Arne in 1987 and immediately after, in 1988 to Evan Ross.

Peter writes of how, in the 60s, Black artists were ripped off by White ones in the US and

No. That's the 50s. What a moron. (Dionne Warwick feels she was ripped off in the 60s by British singers who would cover the songs she had hits with in the US.) Pat Boone made an entire career out of ripping off Black artists in the 50s.

Peter insists:

Because Berry Gordy favored Ross, she escaped much of the tragedy that befell many other Black artists of the time. The television special dramatizes the adversity that Black artists faced in the mid-century. In a nod to her Oscar-nominated work in Lady Sings the Blues (1972), Ross portrays a legendary—if somewhat forgotten—soul-jazz singer named Birdie Pickett who, in a flashback, has her material scooped up by a less soulful white singer (played by Bernadette Peters). This happens at the behest of the white label executives looking for mainstream/commercial success. The scene is followed by a sequence that begins with Little Richard’s fiery “Tutti Frutti” followed by a syrupy version crooned by Pat Boone. In an archival interview, Boone even admits to not understanding the lyrics and being pressed to record the tune.

No. That's not true at all. He favored Marvin and Marvin ended up dead, shot by his own father.

Diana did not get rich off MOTOWN. That's why she finally decided to leave MOTOWN. RCA was offering her $20 million and she hadn't made that at MOTOWN -- in all her hit making years. And they weren't going to offer her that either. Diana in the 70s made money from films (including one million for THE WIZ) and she made money off tours. She did not make money off her recordings. MOTOWN, as a recording label, almost went out of business in 1978 due to lack of funds and huge debts.

And, to be clear, everyone at MOTOWN believed they had gold records when they didn't. Berry didn't allow the RIAA -- or anyone -- to audit sales figures in the 60s. He would claim that this or that artist had a gold record and sometimes they'd even paint a record gold, put it in a frame and take a picture of presenting it to the artist. But those weren't actually gold records.

J.Randall Taraborrelli has written of this better than anyone. He's done that in part because it had to be explained to him. He savaged Diana in a book -- CALL HER MISS ROSS. And that was based upon, among other things, Martha Reeves' bitter and one-sided stories and gossip. He rewrote the book a decade later and it was a more accurate portrayal of MOTOWN and of Diana.

Berry rightly wanted to break the color barrier. The Supremes were the act to do that with Diana leading them. Without Diana, it would not have worked. And one of the reasons Flo was fired was because she was hurting the group's image by showing up drunk and by putting on weight and emphasizing the weight gain on stage.

Berry and Diana broke down barriers together and we really don't need some snippy little White guy trying to imply that Diana succeeded in part or in whole because she was involved with Berry.

Petey thinks he knows something but he doesn't. He's bothered by "Shockwaves" from the album and it's too contemporary for the 80s and doesn't hold up today.


That's ag irl group number intended as such, a sixties sounding song. How stupid do they raise them in Chicago?

Pretty damn stupid. Petey writes:

When she left the label in 1981—for RCA Records—she cleaved a symbolic tie and became an artist on a far less singular label. This meant that she was no longer part of that important story, which was never more apparent than on the 1983 television special Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever. Alongside Marvin Gaye and Michael Jackson, and the Jackson 5, Ross was a major figure on the Motown label. Truthfully, her music with Motown defined Black pop music for much of the 1960s and 1970s. Thus, it was a wistful feeling to see Ross pay tribute to Gordy and her old label and reunite with the Supremes, yet be firmly placed in the “yesterday” camp of the title. Like Gaye and Jackson, she represented a glorious past that both she and Motown were facing in the 1980s by weathering shifting pop fashions and trends.

When Diana did MOTOWN 25, she did so as a huge star Michael was coming off his career defining THRILLER album and he used that to leverage Berry into letting him perform "Billie Jean." Pay attention to this story, I've heard it from Berry himself (C.I. and Berry are good friends). Michael wasn't going to do the special, he said. Suzanne de Passe, MOTOWN producer putting together the special, thought Michael would do it if he was approached personally. Berry went to Michael and asked. Michael would only do it if he could perform "Billie Jean." He told Berry that he had learned from Berry and knew not to just give his talent away, he wanted something in return.

Get it? Good.

Marvin performed MOTOWN songs -- two from his WHAT'S GOING ON album of 1971. So what the heck is Petey going on about?

And Marvin was not a superstar. "Sexual Healing" was his only pop hit for years. Previously, his last pop hit was 1979 when he sang "Pops We Love You" with Diana, Stevie Wonder and Smokey Robinson. That was 1979. He only had one more hit after that, "Sexual Healing" which made it to number three. After Diana had that hit with Marvin (and Stevie and Smokey) in 1979, she had top 40 hits with "The Boss," and then, from 1980 to 1983, "Upside Down" (number 1), "I'm Coming Out" number 5), "It's My Turn," "Endless Love" (nine weeks at number one), "Why Do Fools Fall In Love," "Muscles," "So Close" and Pieces of Ice." As for album sales? Marvin's WHAT'S GOING ON was certified gold in 1971. He didn't get another certification until 1982's MIDNIGHT LOVE. From just 1979 to 1983, Diana had gold and platinum albums with THE BOSS, DIANA, WHY DO FOOLS FALL IN LOVE and SO CLOSE. as well as with her 1981 collection ALL THE GREAT HITS.

I don't know why Petey wants to try to act as though Marvin was more successful than Diana. That was never the case. And he did all the groooming classes, by the way, and thought he'd be Frank Sinatra -- Berry watched Marvin bomb in concert as Marvin tried to be a crooner when his audience just wanted the hits.

He also wants to whine that Diana only did one song with Luther Vandross producing while Aretha and Dionne did albums. Yes, Aretha did two. The first one she was pleased with somewhat. Th second one resulted in too many fights. The first one went gold in 1982, the second one, 1983, did not go gold. He wanted to do a third one and Aretha said no. Luther worked with Dionne on 1983's HOW MANY TIMES CAN WE SAY GOODBYE. It was a disappointment in terms of sales (especially following the massive success she had the album before that Barry Gibb produced, HEARTBREAKER).

I may do a review of that album, by the way, so I'll save thought on that.

But Luther had some pop success with Aretha on a 1981 album. Then he didn't on the second Aretha album and then he didn't with Dionne. But Diana's supposed to do an album with him because why exactly?

Petey types, "He created pop magic for his other idols, Aretha Franklin and Dionne Warwick, in the 1980s, and this fantastic work indicates that the pair should have made more beautiful music together." Aretha did not want to do the second album with him. She did it and regretted it. He did not deliver sales or chart miracles to Dionne.

I love these men who think they know Diana's career better than she does. If she'd listened to them, she'd still be struggling to pay bills.

This is really outrageous that Peter doesn't know what he's talking about. Doesn't grasp how RCA was not promoting her songs to pop radio. 1984's hits were despite RCA -- "All of You" was promoted by COLUMBIA -- Julio's label; "Swept Away" was helped up the charts by topical issues such as Hurricane Diana storming the coast at the same and "Missing You" would falter throughout until Diana performed it on THE AMERICAN MUSIC AWARDS. "Telephone" had none of those breaks but made it to top ten on the soul charts. In 1983, RCA stopped promoting Diana to pop radio and openly mocked her songs.

Diana has a better record of hits than Paul McCartney, that's her peer group. She first hit in 1964. She needs to be applauded for what's she's accomplished. Her last album, THANK YOU, made it to number 7 on the UK album charts in 2021 and since 2017, she's had four number ones on the US dance charts. I think she's doing pretty amazing.

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

Thursday, May 12, 2022.  Today, we look at the fake assery.

The lies and the fake assery never stop and that includes from the media.  Deepa Shivaramn (NPR) types up the following:

The Women's Health Protection Act, a Democrat-led bill that would effectively codify a right to an abortion, failed to pass, as expected, after it did not reach the Senate's 60-vote threshold. All Democrats voted for the legislation except Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, and all Republicans opposed the bill.

In a rare occurrence, Vice President Kamala Harris presided over the vote, which was 49-51.

[. . .]

Because it was never likely to pass, the vote was effectively symbolic. "I think it's really important to have this vote to show where everyone stands," Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota told NPR on Tuesday.

I'm sick of the damn lairs in congress and I'm sick of them in the press.

The bill needed 51 votes.  The 49 were expected.  Yes, even Bob Casey Jr. because he knows how unpopular outlawing Roe is in Philadelphia.  Joe Manchin should have been held in line with carrots or sticks.  The stick should have included, we will priamry you.  And they should primary him.  He never votes with the party when they need him.  He gives cover to Republicans who would otherwise look extreme "Even Democrat Joe Manchin . . . "  

It should have been explained to him wha tthe consequences were.  Barac k Obama explained to Dennis Kucinich that if he didn't vote for ObamaCare that he would not be in the US Congress.  (Dennis caved and,  ha ha, lost re-election anyway.)

That would have brought you fifty.  You needed one more with Senators Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski the two you nudge.  It shouldn't take much and that's where you use the carrots.  

But let's say you couldn't get either of them to budge -- hugely doubtful --but let's say it.

It would have been a fifty to fifty bote.  What happens then?

The tie breaking vote comes from the sitting vice president Kamala Harris.  All that needed to be explained to Joe was how hard the party would come down against him and that they would primary him.  

they didn't fight for it, they didn't do a damn thing except pose and preen.

And that shouldn't cut it.

Nor should we buyi into the lie that if we turn out in November, then our Dems in Congress will pass the law making Roe legal.

It's not going to happen.  ANd you're trash if youre presenting that lie as truth.

Forget everything that is going on right now.  Th ehistorical pattern is that the party in power (Democrats) will lose at least one house this fall in the mid-terms.

So that's two years of nothing.

Now Nancy Pelosi told us ahead of the 2006 mid-terms that to get US forces out of Iraq, we had to deliver one of the two houses of Congress to the Democratic Party.  We delivered both houses to the party.  

Earlier this week, in what the US government is calling a "mistake," US forces shot up homes in Iraq.

US forces didn't leave Iraq.  

They used people, they lied to them and since theyd done so well lying about ending the war in 2006, they used it to grab the White House in 2008.

Barack never pulled all US troops from Iraq -- it was a drawdown, not a withdrawal.  In addition, in the fall of 2012 he began sending US troops back into Iraq -- a detail that the presidential debates chose to ignore that year despite THE NEW YORK TIMES reporting on it and having a general on record explaining it.  Then in 2014 even more were sent in.

What does the US Congress do?

If they can't protect a woman's right to choose right now, when are they going to?


And I don't need to hear their lies about 'when they grow up.'

Nancy Pelosi is is 82 years old, Chuck Schumer is 71.

they've been in Congress for years, they've been in leadership for years.

They aren't cute little six-year-olds telling us that some day, when they're big, they're going to be ballerinas and cowboys.  

This is the job they wanted and they need to do their job.

The press needs to stop lying for them.  

zAll they needed was to get Joe to vote yes and it would have gone to tie-breaker Kamala even if Lisa and Suan had refused to come on board.

And that would have given Kamala something historical to run on.  

People say I'm not hard enough on her.  They give her nothing.  Can you imagine Joe Biden putting up with the scraps the administration tosses to Kamala?

The Democrats need to ge ttheir act together or the people need to face the fact that the party never will.

Now they are going to suffer a loss in the mid-terms this fall.  That's  a given before you add in the realities.  There is the very unpopular Ukraine issue.

A lot of people are finally noting that Barack Obama refused to support the fighters with money the way Joe is doing.  Barack wa shappy to overturn an election there in 2014 and install Nazi linked people.

He just wasn't so stupid that he was going to send large amounts of US monies to racists.  That's what Ukraine is.

And that's what the media loves, right? 

They look like them -- I'm sure they do, in their heart of hearts, they look just like the US corporate media -- racist.

That's why they don't care about the wars in AFrica.

But they'll show up to stand with their racist brothers and sisters.

And Barack realized that his bi-racial card -- he claimed bi-racial until he lost to Bobby Rush -- would get pulled historically if 'the first Black man to be US president' also gave billions to a racist regime that used the N-word for Black people and that the Peace Corps had to provide an advisory warning on.  

Joe Biden doesn't care.  He thinks he can bamboozle again -- maybe come up with a story about someone named June Bug?  

But there were serious racial issues at play and Joe ignored them and shoved this down the throats of the American people.  

It's unpopular and it's only going to get more unpopular.

Some people are angry that Us (Bono and The Edge) went to Ukraine.  I'm not.  That photo of them on stage with the Ukraine musician as that musician flashed White power signs?  People are seeing it and they are reacting.  And they should be.  

Then you've got all the pro-Nazi Tweets that the 'leader' keeps Tweeting out.

The world is watching this and there will be accountability for those who have argued that the American people should live in poverty and face 40 year high inflation rates while Joe Biden and our Congress supported racists in another country.

There will be hell to pay.  

And I'm talking historically.  Jen, you didn't get out soon enough to save your lily white ass.

Now in the immediate future?

Abortion is not going to rally people to the polls for Democrats.  It never has.  It has let them peel off a group of voters in tight elections.

People will be focused on the economy in the mid-terms -- and in the next presidential election.  In the mid-terms people will be coping with the way Joe Biden has ruined their lives.

A woman e-mailed, I've mentioned her before.  She's a single mother in college.  Her classes start early in the morning and there's no way she can get there in time by public bus.  She takes it back home but she would miss class if she tried to take it in the morning.  So she has to pay for a cab.  And, in 2020, that cab ride cost her $7.13 before the tip.  Today>  Well, yesterday, she wrote that the prices had again gone up and the same trip was now #12.13 cents.

That's without any tip.

People can't afford that.

He has screwed up the country and he and Congress are out of touch.  

How many seats they lose in the mid-terms will depend upon whether or not they codify Roe.  And, if theyre not doing right now, they're not going to do it.   They'll always have an excuse and they'll always use it -- as they have in the past -- to turn out votes in close elections.

From the US House website -- a page maintained by the House of Representatives:

Laws begin as ideas. First, a representative sponsors a bill. The bill is then assigned to a committee for study. If released by the committee, the bill is put on a calendar to be voted on, debated or amended. If the bill passes by simple majority (218 of 435), the bill moves to the Senate. In the Senate, the bill is assigned to another committee and, if released, debated and voted on. Again, a simple majority (51 of 100) passes the bill. Finally, a conference committee made of House and Senate members works out any differences between the House and Senate versions of the bill. The resulting bill returns to the House and Senate for final approval. The Government Printing Office prints the revised bill in a process called enrolling. The President has 10 days to sign or veto the enrolled bill.

They fight for trouble, where ever there's freedom, NATO troops are there.  NATO issued the following:

 On 10 May 2022, Major General Giovanni Iannucci from Italy assumed command of NATO Mission Iraq, following a change of command ceremony held in Baghdad. He succeeds Lieutenant General Michael Lollesgaard from Denmark, who had assumed his command on 6 May 2021.

On the occasion of the change of command, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg offered the following recognition: ''I commend Lieutenant General Lollesgaard for his outstanding services and exemplary leadership, and for the daily efforts that he and his personnel undertook to ensure the progress of our mission, in close coordination and cooperation with the Iraqi authorities. And I welcome the arrival of Major General Iannucci to head up our mission. I look forward to working closely with him as he leads our capacity-building activities in support of the Iraqi security institutions and armed forces, as requested by the Iraqi government.''

NATO Mission Iraq was launched at the NATO Summit in Brussels in July 2018, following a request from the Iraqi government. Established in Baghdad in October 2018, it is an advisory and capacity-building non-combat mission that assists Iraq in building more sustainable, transparent, inclusive and effective security institutions and armed forces, so that they themselves are able to stabilize their country, fight terrorism, and prevent the return of [ISIS].

All efforts of NATO Mission Iraq are carried out with the consent of the Iraqi government and conducted in full respect of Iraq’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

NATO Mission Iraq is another concrete demonstration of NATO’s readiness to address all challenges to the Euro-Atlantic region, from any direction, through a 360 degree approach to security.

Isaiah's THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS "No Soul To Save" from earlier tonight.  The following sites updated:

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Diana Ross albums

no soul to search


That's Isaiah's THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS "No Soul To Save" from earlier tonight.

I'd written earlier this week about grabbing Diana Ross' LAST TIME I SAW HIM from C.I. to listen to and that resulted in several e-mails asking me about Diana's albums.

No, I have not heard all of her albums, sorry. Like most people, I know Diana from the hits. Now with the Supremes, she had 12 number ones alone,.30 songs went top 100 pop, 28 songs went top 100 R& B, 1 dance hit ("Someday We'll Be Together" 1990 remix went to number 7 on the dance chart) As a solo artist, 42 top 100 pop, 51 top 100 R&B, 29 top 100 AC and 27 top 100 dance. If you add that together, she's had 72 top 100 pop songs, 79 top 100 R & B songs, 29 top 100 AC and 28 top 100 dance.

So, yeah, that's a lot of songs to know even before you get to her albums.

The Diana Ross albums I knew before I became friends with C.I.?

REFLECTIONS with the Supremes and ANTHOLOGY with the Supremes. DIANA ROSS (first solo album with "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" and "Reach Out And Touch Somebody's Hand"), DIANA ROSS (1976 - album with "Love Hangover" and "Do You Know Where You're Going To") and then we hit a steady string starting in 1979: THE BOSS, diana, WHY DO FOOLS FALL IN LOVE?, SILK ELECTRIC, ROSS, SWEPT AWAY, EATEN ALIVE, RED HOT RHYTHM AND BLUES and WORKIN's OVERTIME.

WORKIN' OVERTIME was the last one I bought for years and years. After I met C.I. and we became friends, I purchased her UK live album (GREATEST HITS LIVE) and I bought THANK YOU and love it.

So I'm exploring her non-hit 70s recordings by listening to so many of the 70s albums. Right now, I'm listening to EVERYTHING IS EVERYTHING It was her second solo album and her second album of 1970 She does Aretha's "Call Me" and Burt Bacharach and Hal Davis' "Close To You" on the album as well as the Beatles "Come Together" and "The Long And Winding Road." Diana's been interpreting the Beatles longer than any American artist, I believe. The group hit in 1964 and that same year saw Diana singing lead on five Lennon and McCartney songs on the Supremes album A LITTLE BIT OF LIVERPOOL.

So the songs she's covered by the Beatles include "Come Together," "The Long and Winding Road," "Hey Jude," "A World Without Love," "A Hard Day's Night," "You Can't Do That'," "Can't Buy Me Love,' "I Want To Hold Your Hand," "Eleanor Rigby" and John Lennon's "Imagine."

Considering how artists like Judy Collins who ignored the Beatles in real time (in 1965, she finally discovered them long enough to do "In My Life" and then she forgot them again) have done whole albums, it surprises me that no one's thought to have Diana do an album of Beatles songs. In fact, I'd love to hear her interpret them, do an album interpreting Dinah Washington, one of the Temptations and one of Stevie Wonder.

If she did a Stevie album, I'd love for her to cover "Master Blaster," "As," "Ribbon In The Sky," "Love's In Need Of Love Today," "I Beleive When I Fall In Love," "Isn't She Lovely," "Overjoyed" (she's done this on a Christmas album already and I love her version), "All I Do," "All In Love Is Fair," "Higher Ground," "I Ain't Gonna Stand For It" and "All In Love Is Fair."

Diana always finds a way into a song that's unique.

Don't get me wrong, I'd love another album of new material immediately. But it was so long before we got THANK YOU (and that is a wonderful album but if we could get something sooner by her doing a tribute album or two, I'd be thrilled.

I thought I was done. How could I suggest a cover album and not suggest the obvious: Ashford & Simpson.

1) "Solid"
2) "Mighty, Mighty Love"
3) "Count Your Blessings"
4)"Times Will Be Good Again"
5) "Ill Be There For You"
6) "High Rise"
7) "Is It Still Good To Ya"
8( "Clouds"
9) "Your Precious Love"
10) "Uh-Uh-Oh-Oh Look Out Here It Comes"
11) "Hungry For Me Again"
12) "Till We Get It Right"
13) "Cookies and Cake"
14) "Ain't Nothing Like The Real Thing"

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

Wednesday, May 11, 2022.  US President Joe Biden continues to persecute Julian Assange for the 'crime' of journalism, elements in Ukraine get more public about   support for Nazis, Iraq is being destroyed by the early stages of climate change, and much more.

As US President Joe Biden continues to persecute Julian Assange, Duncan Campbell (GUARDIAN) writes:

Priti Patel now has to make one of the most important decisions of her career: will she bow to heavy pressure from the United States and send a vulnerable man who has been convicted of no crime to face an indeterminate number of years in an American jail where he may experience intimidation and isolation? Her decision is imminent and all other legal avenues have been explored.

This was the scenario 10 years ago in the case of Gary McKinnon, the computer hacker who, working out of his north London bedroom, trawled through the computer systems of Nasa and the US defence department in search of information about UFOs and left behind some mildly rude messages about the systems’ sloppy security. The home secretary was Theresa May, who halted extradition proceedings at the last minute. 

Now Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder and also a vulnerable man – who has been in Belmarsh high-security prison for three years without being convicted of any crime – is facing extradition, with the issue due to be decided this month. Once again, the home secretary has an opportunity to demonstrate, as May did, that respect for justice and humanity are much finer and more enduring qualities than appeasement.

It is worth recalling the words of party leaders in support of McKinnon after Labour home secretaries – to their great shame – declined to intervene in the years after his initial arrest in 2002. Nick Clegg, then leading the Liberal Democrats in opposition, said that McKinnon “has been hung out to dry by a British government desperate to appease its American counterparts”. David Cameron, before he became prime minister, had said: “McKinnon is a vulnerable young man and I see no compassion in sending him thousands of miles away from his home and loved ones to face trial.”

The current case is different in that, while McKinnon remained at liberty, Assange has been held in custody alongside murderers and terrorists after the seven years he spent in the Ecuadorian embassy, seeking political asylum. He should have been given bail long ago to be with his wife, Stella Moris, whom he married in prison in March, and their two young children; he could simply be electronically tagged and monitored. It is also different in that he faces charges under the Espionage Act which carries a potential sentence of 175 years. And yes, the US criminal justice system does actually impose such medieval sentences.

Last year, at the Summit for Democracy, Joe Biden pledged to support a free press: “It’s the bedrock of democracy. It’s how the public stay informed and how governments are held accountable. Around the world, press freedom is under threat.” As it happens, it is 50 years since Daniel Ellsberg was being prosecuted under a similar law to the ones Assange faces for releasing the Pentagon Papers which exposed the lies and hypocrisies of the Vietnam war. He is one of Assange’s staunchest supporters. This week he told me that “this extradition would mean that journalists, anywhere in the world, could be extradited to the US for exposing information classified in the US”. He argues that it would also set a precedent that any reporter could be extradited to other countries for exposing information classified in those countries. 

Assange also has the backing of all organisations that battle on behalf of freedom of expression, from Amnesty International to Reporters Without Borders. As Julia Hall of Amnesty International puts it: “Demanding that states like the UK extradite people for publishing classified information that is in the public interest sets a dangerous precedent and must be rejected.” 

Johnny Harris provides this overview of Julian's case.

Joe Biden could stop the persecution and the war on The /first Amendment at any time.   He chooses not to stop it.  There is no functioning adult in the world.

We'll note this Tweet:

Addressed to the Speaker and the Members of the House of Representatives: Bring Julian Assange hom... via

The world is watching and cannot stop laughing at the hypocrisy that is Joe Biden.

Joe is the hypocrite that's backing Nazis in Ukraine.  Isaiah's THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS "UTool Of Empire" detailed how U2 couldn't visit war zones when the people weren't European (racism) and how they took the stage with a Ukrainian performer who was flashing White Power signs while photographers were taking pictures.

Let's note these related Tweets:

Zelensky's official TG channel commemorated the Victory over Nazism Day publishing .... a photo of Ukrainian military with the WWII SS Nazi Totenkopf division symbol
Ukrainian media retranslated the photo. The photo was later deleted

And these from Margaret Kimberley:

This is a bit awkward. Happy Victory Day!

Well this is awkward. Zelensky posted a photo to celebrate the defeat of Nazism but posted a photo of a soldier wearing symbols of you guessed it, the Nazis. Remember this when someone tries to tell you that Nazi influence in Ukraine is just Putin's propaganda. #VictoryDay
Quote Tweet
Internet never forgets, Zelensky the clown posted a picture of a Ukrainian soldier with an SS nazi tottenkopf patch to congratulate people on the defeat of 'nazism'.
Show this thread

A Ukrainian group paid for this ad which I'm told appears in Times Square. The USSR was America's ally in WWII. Is Times Square pro-Nazi? Why allow an ad disparaging Hitler's defeat? They owe the people of New York an explanation.

Turning to Iraq . . .

In the last six weeks, Iraq has been hit repeatedly with heavy dust storms leaving thousands hospitalized. Alisa Chang (NPR) explains, "Over 5,000 Iraqis needed medical care after the country was hit by a severe sandstorm last week. At least one person was killed. This was the seventh major sandstorm to hit the country in the span of one month. And while sandstorms are not uncommon in this part of the world, their increasing frequency and severity has caused concern among climate experts."  AP notes, "Nine African heads of states attended Monday's opening session of the UN's COP15 talks to fight desertification and land degradation that have devastated large swathes of the continent amid climate change. Iraq is one of the most vulnerable country to climate change where dust storms are recurrent, having consequences on people's health."  FRANCE 24 points out, " Dams built upstream in Turkey and Iran are also choking the country’s rivers, and farmers can no longer access the water needed to grow their crops."  Dylan O’Driscoll & Shivan Fazil of The Wilson Center write:

The UN Environment Programme has ranked Iraq as the fifth most vulnerable country to climate change. In recent years, it has increasingly witnessed extreme heatwaves with temperatures reaching above 50°C. Iraq’s mean annual temperature also is predicted to increase by two degrees Celsius by 2050

The effects of these trends are clear. Drought and associated environmental degradation have eroded rural livelihoods in Iraq by heightening resource competition and posing severe implications for social cohesion. The impacts of climate change also interact with the shortfalls in basic services and lack of economic opportunities, exacerbating several key drivers of insecurity in an already fragile country.

This past year has been particularly dry and dusty. Annual rainfall has decreased amidst prolonged periods of drought, diminishing water supplies and taking a toll on agriculture production. Water flows from the Tigris and Euphrates have diminished due to upriver damming in Turkey and Iran. Rising temperatures and declining rainfall affect soil moisture and make dust storms more frequent. Over the past month, Iraq has been hit by dust storm after dust storm, which has brought life to a grinding halt and sent hundreds of people to the hospital with respiratory illnesses.

This water scarcity aggravates existing tensions, and makes the downstream riparian communities in the historically poorer south more vulnerable. These communities are also a hotspot for anti-government protests. Ironically, the climate is also making this year’s flash floods deadlier. These deluges have devastated homes—and killed at least a dozen in Iraqi Kurdistan.

Extreme weather events are only one aspect of how climate change is making a perilous situation in Iraq worse, compounding existing vulnerabilities. Iraq has already witnessed a breakdown of the social contract with mass protests across the country over inadequate public services, unemployment, corruption, and poor governance. Climate change will further exacerbate these issues, and in turn feed grievances and drive instability. It is imperative that climate adaptation play a part in the Iraqi government’s response to addressing the many grievances of those who live there.

We'll wind down with this from Margaret Kimberley (BLACK AGENDA REPORT):

On May 2, 2022, a memo written by Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito was leaked to . Alito made clear that the court with a 6 to 3 conservative majority intends to overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision which made abortion legal in the United States.

Reaction to the news was swift and predictable. Liberals expressed outrage and marched on federal courthouses and even to the homes of Supreme Court justices. Barack Obama released a long winded 700 word statement declaring himself, and his wife, strongly opposed to the court’s imminent decision. The statement is amusing because it gives the impression that Obama had nothing to do with the current state of affairs.

As a presidential candidate in 2008 Obama promised to sign the Freedom of Choice Act , which would have codified abortion rights into federal law. But once in office he never pushed congress to pass it. In typical Obamaesque fashion he would claim to believe that women had the right to choose abortion, but that he didn’t want to demonize the opposition, and he wanted to find consensus on the issue. After his usual routine “on the one hand this, but on the other hand that” on April 29, 2009 he finally said out loud what was clear. “The Freedom of Choice Act is not my highest legislative priority.” It wasn’t even his lowest legislative priority. Obama never lifted a finger to get it passed, even in his two years in office when he had majorities in the House and the Senate.

Knowing full well that Roe v. Wade hinged on having a supportive Supreme Court in place, he dithered on doing what he had the power to do. In 2013 he knew that the democrats might lose control of the senate in the 2014 election. He asked Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, already 80-years old and a cancer patient, to step down. She declined and he didn’t press the issue. In 2016 conservative Justice Antonin Scalia died and senate republicans refused to even hold hearings to confirm Obama’s nominee Merrick Garland. Obama had the option of making a  recess appointment that would have put Garland on the court but he didn’t do that either. Such a move would have been controversial, and perhaps Garland’s presence would have been short, but it would have made clear that democrats were as committed as they claimed to be on the issue of abortion rights.

Instead they play games with democratic voters. Any unhappiness with the democrats is met with the plea to protect the federal judiciary from conservatives. This ploy is nothing but a cynical effort to keep left leaning democrats in the fold and to discredit anyone who questions the party’s continued failures to do what the people want them to do.

Now the liars and hypocrites like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi who once claimed abortion was a “fading” issue are sending fundraising appeals to brain washed liberals who will again write checks and declare their devotion like Stockholm Syndrome hostages. Hillary Clinton’s foolish appeals to conservatives included choosing anti-choice senator Tim Kaine as a running mate and at times saying she was “ambivalent ” about abortion are now forgotten as the supposed left of the party remain lost.

They are lost because they don’t know the most basic rules of political mobilizations. Instead of harassing SCOTUS justices at home, they should be harassing their democratic representatives.


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