Saturday, August 27, 2022

Joni Mitchell, New Kids On The Block, The Monkees

Just a musical grab bag post of musical items in the news this week.  Some Joni Mitchell news:

Joni Mitchell has collected a shelf-full of awards over her half century-plus career, but she said few have been sweeter than the honorary doctorate bestowed on her on Tuesday evening (August 23) by the Berklee College of Music in recognition of her contribution to music.

“Since her debut in the late 1960s, Joni has been a force for change in the industry, blazing the trail for women in music with an unwavering commitment to achieving the status rightfully due her as one of the world’s great musical artists,” Berklee President Erica Muhl said at the event, which was held at a private residence in Santa Monica, California. In addition to lauding Mitchell’s trailblazing musical career, Muhl said the evening was also a chance to “highlight Joni’s important work as an activist and champion for women in music” via a collaboration with the Berklee Institute of Jazz and Gender Justice, an organization she said has done “pioneering work in this same area.”

With her signature wit on full display, Mitchell, 78, paid homage to both her childhood piano teacher and her parents in a speech that was both self-deprecating and thoughtful. She collected the award while reminiscing about the piano instructor who called her out for not following the sheet music, quoting the words that echoed in her head as a child.

“‘Why would you want to play by ear when you can have the masters under your fingertips!’ And she whacked me across the knuckles with her ruler,” Mitchell said with a laugh while recalling her early lessons, according to a story about the night’s event. “So I said to her, ‘But the masters had to play by ear to come up with that stuff.’ And she whacked me again. I wonder if she saw any of this [tonight]. It’s my moment of revenge.”

The night also included video clip tributes from many of Mitchell’s admirers, including Eurythmics and solo star Annie Lennox, who said, ” I’d never have thought about becoming a singer-songwriter if I’d never heard Court and Spark and all the beautiful, beautiful pieces of work that you have created over your lifetime.”

What is your favorite Joni album?  I think this is my top ten in this order (though the order changes depending upon my mood).


That's not an easy list to do.  If I pulled the two live albums, for example, I'd have room for NIGHT RIGHT HOME.  In other music news, a New Kids on the Block member has gotten married.  PEOPLE reports:

The New Kids on the Block singer, 53, revealed to Entertainment Tonight that he and longtime love Harley Rodriguez quietly tied the knot.

When asked about the ring on his finger, Knight said "we did" get married.

"But everybody just assumed we're married, so, I never say yes or no 'cause I don't wanna lie," he added in the interview, published Wednesday.

ET added that while the couple is officially hitched, they haven't celebrated yet due to the pandemic.

The former teen heartthrob — who shot to fame in the late '80s with his bandmates, younger brother Jordan, Joey McIntyreDonnie Wahlberg and Danny Wood — was first introduced to Rodriguez back in 2008.

After getting engaged in 2016, the pair began planning their wedding, with sights set on tying the knot in 2021, before delaying the nuptials due to COVID concerns.

"We were going to get married on the farm this year under a tent and then have the ceremony in our barn," Knight told PEOPLE of their plans for last year, referring to the expansive property where he and Rodriguez live in Massachusetts. "We had everything lined up: the caterers, the entertainment. We were going to get married under candlelight. And then that all just stopped."

Here's a video report from PEOPLE.

I hope it's a happy and loving marriage.  They make a cute couple.  Now The Monkees.

That's from last Sunday on CBS THIS MORNING.  They've done a lot of strong musical segments this year.  Let me note Ruth:

  • Sonny & Cher and The Monkees
  • Sonny & Cher

  • And I agree with Ruth, The Monkees were TV actors, they were not a group.  Not only did they not record together -- when they finally got control of the studio (and I mean, Mike brought in his friends, Davy used these people, nobody wanted Peter on their tracks, etc) but on the tour I photographed them on, Davy wouldn't even perform on a song that Peter and Mickey did.  He'd leave the stage every time.  This wasn't a group, it was four actors.  And they made a great TV show and some nice pop music was put out in their name.

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

    Friday, August 28, 2022.  War Monger Joe Biden, the Iraqi judiciary, Liz Cheney, Terry Gross, so much to coer.

    Michelle Olson Tweets:

    Amnesty International: "Were Julian Assange to be extradited or subjected to any other transfer to the USA, Britain would be in breach of its obligations under international human rights law" #FreeAssangeNOW

    Yet the persecution of Julian Assange goes on.  US President Joe Biden doesn't care about anything except destroying Julian because Julian told the truth about War Crimes in Iraq.   Julian's 'crime' was revealing the realities of Iraq -- Chelsea Manning was a whistle-blower who leaked the information to Julian.  WIKILEAKS then published the Iraq War Logs.  And many outlets used the publication to publish reports of their own.  For example, THE GUARDIAN published many articles based on The Iraq War Logs.  Jonathan Steele, David Leigh and Nick Davies offered, on October 22, 2012:

    A grim picture of the US and Britain's legacy in Iraq has been revealed in a massive leak of American military documents that detail torture, summary executions and war crimes.
    Almost 400,000 secret US army field reports have been passed to the Guardian and a number of other international media organisations via the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks.

    The electronic archive is believed to emanate from the same dissident US army intelligence analyst who earlier this year is alleged to have leaked a smaller tranche of 90,000 logs chronicling bloody encounters and civilian killings in the Afghan war.
    The new logs detail how:
    US authorities failed to investigate hundreds of reports of abuse, torture, rape and even murder by Iraqi police and soldiers whose conduct appears to be systematic and normally unpunished.

    A US helicopter gunship involved in a notorious Baghdad incident had previously killed Iraqi insurgents after they tried to surrender.
    More than 15,000 civilians died in previously unknown incidents. US and UK officials have insisted that no official record of civilian casualties exists but the logs record 66,081 non-combatant deaths out of a total of 109,000 fatalities.

    The numerous reports of detainee abuse, often supported by medical evidence, describe prisoners shackled, blindfolded and hung by wrists or ankles, and subjected to whipping, punching, kicking or electric shocks. Six reports end with a detainee's apparent death. 

    Stella Assange Tweets about a new filing:

    NEW: Julian #Assange's Perfected Grounds of Appeal will be filed with the High Court this afternoon. JULIAN ASSANGE Appellant v GOVERNMENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA Respondent Case No: CO/2334/2022

    Meanwhile, no work has been done by the Austrlain government to protect Julian -- they've apparently forgotten he's an Australian citizen.  John Jiggens (INDEPENDENT AUSTRALIA) notes:

    WHEN LABOR WON the Federal Election in May 2022, the hopes of supporters of WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange soared. In 2021, Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus had issued a statement saying that Labor wanted the Assange matter ‘brought to an end’, while Labor’s leader Anthony Albanese had declared that he couldn’t see any purpose to keeping Assange in gaol. Enough is enough,” he affirmed.  

    That hope was fuelled further when, in the Government’s first week, the ABC reported on 26 May that Albanese was a signature to an online petition, the Bring Julian Assange Home Campaign. Signing the petition seemed odd because it went to Albanese as Prime Minister.

    However, Albanese did not deny the story, which was confirmed by a reliable source who disclosed Albanese had signed up on his first day in office, even before he flew off to Tokyo for the Quad meeting with the Japanese PM, the Indian PM and U.S. President Joe Biden. Despite Albanese’s alleged championing of Assange, there was no indication that he discussed his U.S. extradition. 

    At a press conference on 31 May, a Guardian journalist asked Albanese whether it was his position that the U.S. should be encouraged to drop the charges against Assange and whether he had made any such representations to the U.S. Government. Albanese sidestepped the question, replying it was his position “that not all foreign affairs should be done by loud hailer”. Labor claimed it was practising quiet diplomacy.

    While Joe Biden tries to destroy Julian, Terry Gross tries to destroy the truth.  It's Terry so you know a man was involved -- she got a break and that's a last break a woman ever deserved in her mind.  See "Terry Gross Hates Women (Ava, C.I. and Ann)" and "Terry Gross Still Hates Women (Ava, C.I. and Ann)."  We supposedly want the ERA in this country but we can't even demand NPR books an equal number of women as guests.  So of coruse, Terry's latest embarrassing moment was when she was talking to a man because, honestly, when is she on air without a man?  Sam Husseini (ANTIWAR.COM) reports:

    In a remarkably unhinged analysis, NPR host Terry Gross and New York Times Magazine writer Robert Draper claimed that Russia is a communist country – as they went on about how detached from reality rightwing Republicans are.

    Here’s the crux of the clip (many thanks to Bryce Greene), which almost comes off like a comedy sketch (text at bottom):

    After I and others tweeted about this, NPR posted this correction:

    POST-BROADCAST CORRECTION: In the audio version of this story, Terry Gross incorrectly states that Russia is a communist country, when she meant to say that Putin was the head of the KGB during the communist era.

    Which almost makes it worse. If you substitute what NPR now claims Gross meant to say, it really doesn’t make any sense. Gross and Draper were riffing off each other in what can most charitably be described as a ridiculous example of groupthink.

    It displays the all-too-frequent smugness of liberals, going on about other people’s failing to fact check, in this case talking about seniors with “a lot of time on their hands” – while getting the most elementary facts wrong. It’s remarkable projection.

    The “correction” ignores that Draper similarly remarked that Putin is “the one great promoter of that [communist] ideology.”

    The “correction” is also wrong because Putin wasn’t “head of the KGB during the communist era” – he quit the KGB in 1991 as a lieutenant colonel. He would be appointed head of the successor group, the Federal Security Service, in 1998, years after the fall of communism in Russia, by U.S. tool Boris Yeltsin.

    (One of Draper’s most recent books is To Start a War: How the Bush Administration Took America Into Iraq, which came out last year. If Google books search is to be believed, the book is something of a cover-up. It has nothing on Biden’s presiding over the rigged hearings that helped ensure the invasion, which Biden has continuously lied about.)

    Joe Biden is a War Mongerer.  You vote for one and soon enough you're applauding other War Mongerers which explains the faux left's love for the disgusting Liz Cheney.  Margaret Kimberley (BLACK AGENDA REPORT) notes:

    Soon to be former Wyoming congresswoman Liz Cheney is the flavor of the month for liberals. The cause of the undeserved adulation is her condemnation of Donald Trump and his role in the January 6, 2021 Capitol riot.

    She lost her Republican Party primary precisely because she turned on Trump, who is still loved by the masses of republican voters. Conversely, the idol worship from democrats has reached bizarre levels, including support for a Liz Cheney presidential campaign.

    Of course that was Cheney’s goal all along. She saw attacking Trump as her own ticket to the Oval Office. She always has been a rank opportunist. She began her political career challenging republican senator Mike Enzi by claiming that the arch conservative wasn’t conservative enough. Voters in the very red state of Wyoming weren’t fooled and she later had to settle for its lone congressional seat.

    Liz Cheney and her father Dick Cheney are among the republican establishment class. Cheney père was the man chosen to guide dim bulb George W. Bush as his Vice President. That’s how they work. The white masses are not to be trusted with their choices and more reliable people are chosen to keep them in line.

    But Trump was cut from a different cloth. The establishment didn’t want him, but he surprised them with his win and insisted on going his own way. Of course they got what they wanted from him, including a long sought after tax cut for rich people, more deregulation and a foreign policy that upped the imperialist ante by punishing countries such as Iran, Venezuela and Cuba for daring to exist at all.

    Trump was indeed different, and fought with party leaders and refused to concede after his November 2020 defeat. His army of incompetent lawyers like Rudy Giuliani ran around the country trying to throw out votes wholesale. They were laughed out of every courtroom but Trump didn’t care. He riled up his supporters and even attempted to interfere with the vote counting process in states directly.

    That sort of behavior is anathema to the Cheneys and their ilk. After all Dick Cheney helped Bush 43 steal his election in November 2000. Sending a mob into the Capitol is amateurish and not their thing. Doing the dirty work of voter suppression was and Bush the younger cheated his way into office when his brother the Florida governor took mostly Black Floridians off the voter rolls. In 2004 they repeated the crime, this time in Ohio and the craven John Kerry refused to fight for every vote.

    In Iraq, the political stalemate continues.  Elections were held October 10th and yet no prime minister or president.  August 30th might provide some movement.  RUDAW reports:

    Iraq's Federal Supreme Court set August 30 as the date to convene to decide on the case of dissolving the parliament filed by a Sadrist official, it said on Thursday after demonstrators gathered at the gates of Iraq's top judicial body.

    "The subject matter of the case included the ruling to dissolve parliament and oblige the President of the Republic to set a date for holding legislative elections in accordance with Article 64," the statement read.

    Nassar al-Rubaie, the head of the Sadrist Movement's political wing, submitted the case to the court following leader Muqtada al-Sadr's calls on the judiciary to dissolve parliament.

    Iraq's Supreme Judicial Court earlier in August said it lacks the authority to dissolve the parliament and it does not reserve the right to interfere in legislative or executive matters. 

    Iraq’s Federal Supreme Court said it will hold a session next Tuesday, August 30, to discuss the case for dissolving parliament amid a political deadlock.

    The court said it will discuss the case brought by the head of the Sadrist movement's political body, Nassar Al Rubaie, according to a brief statement carried by the Iraqi News Agency.

    The case submitted by Mr Al Rubaie calls for a ruling to dissolve parliament and force the president to set a date for holding legislative elections in accordance with the Iraqi constitution.

    Let's wind down with this press release from IAVA:

    August 25, 2022

    New York, NY – On Tuesday, August 30th, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America’s (IAVA) Senior Advisor Matt Zeller, will join Khalil Arab, SIVs & Allies Program Manager for Combined Arms, Rye Barcott, Co-Founder and CEO of With Honor, and Mohammad Raffiq Bawar, Afghan Initiatives Coordinator for the Travis Manion Foundation to discuss the withdrawal from Afghanistan, the evacuation efforts, resettlement efforts, the Afghanistan Adjustment Act and more.

    “A year has passed since Afghanistan fell to the Taliban. 300,000+ Afghan wartime allies (interpreters & their families) remain left behind. They need our help. IAVA will not abandon them,” said Matt Zeller, Senior Advisor for IAVA. “Events like this are critical because they allow us to share and amplify pertinent information about our Afghan allies. We will fight to ensure that our country keeps its promise to those who served us.”

    “We at Combined Arms have supported Special Immigrant Visa recipients (SIVs) and other non-SIV Allies and their integration in Houston since 2019, well before the fall of Kabul,” said Khalil Arab, SIVs & Allies Program Manager for Combined Arms. “We’ve rapidly scaled our efforts to meet the immediate and evolving needs of the estimated 11,000 evacuees that have arrived in Texas since August 2021.”

    “The passage of the Afghan Adjustment Act is a national security imperative,” said Rye Barcott, Co-Founder and CEO of With Honor. “We must do right by our Afghan Allies, getting them out of the legal limbo they currently face, so our future allies continue to value the American promise. It is critical we hold discussions like this on the work we have left.”

    WHO: Matt Zeller, Senior Advisor for IAVA
    Khalil Arab, SIVs & Allies Program Manager for Combined Arms
    Rye Barcott, Co-Founder and CEO of With Honor
    Mohammad Bawar, Afghan Initiatives Coordinator for the Travis Manion Foundation
    WHAT: Event discussing the withdrawal from Afghanistan, the evacuation, and the current resettlement efforts.
    WHEN:  Tuesday, August 30 at 2:45 pm ET.
    WHERE:  Join the Facebook Live event here. The event is open to the press.

    Combined Arms (CAX) delivers innovative technology solutions that improve the quality of life for veterans and military families. Since 2019, CAX has supported the successful resettlement of over 5,000 Special Immigrant Visa recipients (SIVs) and wartime allies in Houston and across Texas. By design, CAX engages veterans and other volunteers to collaborate with local resettlement agencies to fill resource gaps and provide resource navigation support for recently-arrived SIVs and wartime allies. To learn more about Combined Arms’ SIVs & Allies Program or get involved, please visit:

    With Honor Action is a cross-partisan movement dedicated to promoting and advancing principled veteran leadership in elected public service. As a part of our overall effort to highlight the importance of veterans and veteran issues, we support principled military veterans in Congress and help amplify their cross-partisan agenda that finds solutions for the American people. We also work with veteran candidates on the nuts and bolts of running for Congress, helping them organize their own campaigns and build a winning strategy.

    Travis Manion Foundation (TMF) unites communities to strengthen America’s national character by empowering veterans and families of fallen heroes to develop and lead future generations. In 2007, 1stLt Travis Manion (USMC) was killed in Iraq while saving his wounded teammates. Today, Travis’ legacy lives on in the words he spoke before leaving for his final deployment, “If Not Me, Then Who…” Guided by this mantra, veterans continue their service, develop strong relationships with their communities, and thrive in their post-military lives by serving as character role models to youth. As a result, communities prosper and the character of our nation’s heroes lives on in the next generation.

    IAVA is the voice for the post-9/11 veteran generation. With over 425,000 veterans and allies nationwide, IAVA is the leader in non-partisan veteran advocacy and public awareness. We drive historic impacts for veterans and IAVA’s programs are second to none. Any veteran or family member in need can reach out to IAVA’s Quick Reaction Force at or 855-91RAPID (855-917-2743) to be connected promptly with a veteran care manager who will assist. IAVA’s The Vote Hub is a free tool to register to vote and find polling information. IAVA’s membership is always growing. Join the movement at


    The following sites updated:

    Thursday, August 25, 2022

    Beatles and other musical thoughts

    The Beatles.  They were artists.  They created art.  They had hit records.  So did The Beach Boys.  But Beatles were more than just a pop group.  For some, they really come into their own on RUBBER SOUL but for others (like Michelle Phillips of the Mamas and the Papas) it's REVOLVER. 

    From VARIETY:


    The suspense over which album by the Beatles might be next in line to get a remix and bonus-filled boxed-set treatment is over: It’s officially “Revolver.”

    Apple Corps and Universal Music have confirmed that a deluxe celebration of the 1966 release — which, like the Beatle boxes that have preceded it, will include a Giles Martin remix — is in the pipeline for this fall.

    An official announcement of the project is not expected to come until some time in September, at which point details about the deluxe package’s contents and a release date will be forthcoming.


    I happen to agree with Michelle, REVOLVER is their first real landmark.  

    And, on that, ROLLING STONE embarrassed themselves and music when they put that crap ass half-assed album by Marvin Gaye at number one.  It won't be there in ten more years.  I have no idea if they were trying to be kind, trying to be politically correct, or what.  But WHAT'S GOING ON is garbage.  Marvin was only capable of garbage.

    MOTOWN had one and only one albums artist in the 70s and 80s.  It was Stevie Wonder.  TALKING BOOK, SONGS IN THE KEY OF LIFE, etc, etc.  If they'd put TALKING BOOK at the top of the list, I wouldn't have questioned it.  Stevie is a musical genius.  He did in the 70s what the Beatles did in the 60s.  

    But to go with so-so Marvin who was forever off the charts and is a joke, that was just insane.  

    When you look at the work Stevie did or the Beatles, you're looking at art.  It's like Joni Mitchell's albums.  That's art.  Marvin tried to do commercial but just ended up with bad commerce.  

    Great albums aren't just songs tossed together.  Great albums work thematically.  

    TAPESTRY is a great album (Carole King).  Lauryn Hill's THE MISEDUCATION OF LAURYN HILL is a great album.  Aretha's YOUNG, GIFTED AND BLACK, WHO'S ZOOMIN' WHO and A ROSE IS STILL A ROSE?  Great albums.  Prince's SIGN OF THE TIMES, Harry Styles' HARRY'S HOUSE, Barbra Streisand's THE SECOND ALBUM, Laura Nyro's ELI AND THE THIRTEENTH CONFESSION, Ashford & Simpson's STREET OPERA and LOVE OR PHYSICAL, Sam Smith's IN THE LONELY HOUR, Pretenders' PACKED, HATE FOR SALE, ISLE OF VIEW and LEARNING TO CRAWL -- these are great albums.  

    At best, a Marvin Gaye album is like a Hall & Oates album -- two or three songs that stick in your head and six or seven songs they just recorded as filler so they could put out an album.


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


    Thursday, August 25, 2022.  Monkeypox and COVID 19 continue to spread while Joe Biden stares off into space in yet another senior moment, Moqtada stomps his feet and much more.

    Starting with COVID and monkeypox, Hons Jian and Kimie Saito (WSWS) reports:

    The number of monkeypox cases in Los Angeles County doubled over the past week, after Los Angeles Unified School District opened with virtually no mitigation measures in place. A total of 7,885 COVID-19 cases were also registered in Los Angeles on August 22.

    On the first day of the school year, 50,000 LAUSD students failed to attend classes. While there are number of factors driving high rates of absenteeism, a majority of parents and students are doubtless concerned about walking onto school sites which— for all intents and purposes— have been converted into human petri dishes.

    As of Tuesday, LA County recorded 3,200 COVID cases a day. While this number represents a 7 percent decline over the previous week, experts are expected a sharp increase in cases during the fall and winter seasons.

    Moreover, monkeypox is rapidly spreading among US children, with cases now reported in North Carolina, New York, Georgia, Oregon, California and other states. While the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other public health organizations have been desperate to claim that monkeypox is a disease affecting gay men only, in actuality, the disease affects individuals of all ages and sexual orientations and will have a particularly devastating effect on students at school sites.

    In response to these devastating developments, the district, city and county governments in Los Angeles have been running a public relations campaign to suppress the danger of both monkeypox and COVID-19. Each day since their virtual Town Hall meeting on August 11, the LACDPH (Los Angeles County Department of Health) has argued that COVID-19 numbers have been steadily declining, in an effort to prop up the policy of 'living with the virus' established by the Biden administration and the CDC.

    On the day of their Town Hall almost two weeks ago, LA County officially reported 15 deaths from COVID-19. The number of deaths for August 23, 2022 was 14. According to figures from the New York Times, the number of deaths for Monday was actually 24. For the same day in 2021, the number of deaths was 19.

    Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, there have been 3,386,161 reported cases of COVID-19 in Los Angeles County, a number which is almost certainly a vast undercount, and a total of 33,041 deaths. All of these deaths would have been entirely preventable had there been a rational policy in place to eliminate and eradicate the disease rather than the decided approach of allowing the virus to spread unchecked, prioritizing profits over lives.

    Monkeypox has been around for over 50 years and while there is still much to be learned about the virus, much is also known, including that it spreads through direct contact with infected rashes, scabs, or body fluids from a person with monkeypox, touching objects, fabrics and surfaces that have been used by someone with monkeypox and contact with respiratory secretions.

    Where's the leadership?  

    Where's Joe Biden?  He's had COVID twice in recent weeks and now his wife has as well.  So where's the plan?  He wasn't prepared for monkeypox despite warnings.  His answer?  It appears to be a Doris Day song: "Que Sera Sera."

    You know, if you think back, when he wanted the office, he had all this talk about what he would do.  Does the press ever stop their whoring long enough to remember that?  For example, this is from the Joe Biden campaign for president in 2020:

    The Biden Plan to Combat Coronavirus (COVID-19) and Prepare for Future Global Health Threats


    For more information on Joe’s leadership during the Coronavirus pandemic, please visit here.

    For more information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention regarding the coronavirus, please visit here.

    The American people deserve an urgent, robust, and professional response to the growing public health and economic crisis caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. That is why Joe Biden is outlining a plan to mount: 

    • A decisive public health response that ensures the wide availability of free testing; the elimination of all cost barriers to preventive care and treatment for COVID-19; the development of a vaccine; and the full deployment and operation of necessary supplies, personnel, and facilities.
    • A decisive economic response that starts with emergency paid leave for all those affected by the outbreak and gives all necessary help to workers, families, and small businesses that are hit hard by this crisis. Make no mistake: this will require an immediate set of ambitious and progressive economic measures, and further decisive action to address the larger macro-economic shock from this outbreak. 

    Biden believes we must spend whatever it takes, without delay, to meet public health needs and deal with the mounting economic consequences. The federal government must act swiftly and aggressively to help protect and support our families, small businesses, first responders and caregivers essential to help us face this challenge, those who are most vulnerable to health and economic impacts, and our broader communities – not to blame others or bail out corporations. 

    Public health emergencies require disciplined, trustworthy leadership grounded in science. In a moment of crisis, leadership requires listening to experts and communicating credible information to the American public. We must move boldly, smartly, and swiftly. Biden knows how to mount an effective crisis response and elevate the voices of scientists, public health experts, and first responders. He helped lead the Obama-Biden Administration’s effective response to the 2009 H1N1 pandemic and the 2014 Ebola epidemic. Biden also helped lead the response to the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression and ran point on implementation of the Recovery Act. He knows how to get relief out the door to families, as well as resources to state and local officials to deal with the challenges they are facing.

    And, even as we respond to this crisis, we must prepare for the next one. As President, Biden will establish and manage a permanent, professional, sufficiently resourced public health and first responder system that protects the American people by scaling up biomedical research, deploying rapid testing capacity, ensuring robust nationwide disease surveillance, sustaining a first class public health and first responder workforce, establishing a flexible emergency budgeting authority, and mobilizing the world to ensure greater sustained preparedness for future pandemics. 

    Congress has taken a step forward by passing an initial bipartisan emergency plan to combat COVID-19. The Trump Administration must now heed the calls of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer to put the health and safety of the American people first. Much more needs to be done, now, to bring our country together, respond to this emergency, and set the groundwork for bold, long-term reforms, including ensuring quality, affordable health care and a comprehensive paid leave program for every American. 

    Biden will be ready on Day One of his Administration to protect this country’s health and well-being. But he is not waiting until then to communicate his views on what must be done now to properly serve the American people. Biden believes the following steps must immediately be taken. If Trump does not take them, Biden will on Day One as President.

    The Biden Plan calls for:

    • Restoring trust, credibility, and common purpose.
    • Mounting an effective national emergency response that saves lives, protects frontline workers, and minimizes the spread of COVID-19.
    • Eliminating cost barriers for prevention of and care for COVID-19.
    • Pursuing decisive economic measures to help hard-hit workers, families, and small businesses and to stabilize the American economy.
    • Rallying the world to confront this crisis while laying the foundation for the future.

    Biden understands that this is a dynamic situation. The steps proposed below are a start. As the crisis unfolds, Biden will build on this policy to address new challenges.


    Stop the political theater and willful misinformation that has heightened confusion and discrimination. Biden believes we must immediately put scientists and public health leaders front and center in communication with the American people in order to provide regular guidance and deliver timely public health updates, including by immediately establishing daily, expert-led press briefings. This communication is essential to combating the dangerous epidemic of fear, chaos, and stigmatization that can overtake communities faster than the virus. Acts of racism and xenophobia against the Asian American and Pacific Islander community must not be tolerated.

    Ensure that public health decisions are made by public health professionals and not politicians, and officials engaged in the response do not fear retribution or public disparagement for performing their jobs.     

    Immediately restore the White House National Security Council Directorate for Global Health Security and Biodefense, which was established by the Obama-Biden Administration and eliminated by the Trump Administration in 2018. 


    Make Testing Widely Available and Free

    Ensure that every person who needs a test can get one – and that testing for those who need it is free. Individuals should also not have to pay anything out of their own pockets for the visit at which the test is ordered, regardless of their immigration status. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) must draw on advice from outside scientists to clarify the criteria for testing, including consideration of prioritizing first responders and health care workers so they can return to addressing the crisis.

    Establish at least ten mobile testing sites and drive-through facilities per state to speed testing and protect health care workers. Starting in large cities and rapidly expanding beyond, the CDC must work with private labs and manufacturers to ensure adequate production capacity, quality control, training, and technical assistance. The number of tests must be in the millions, not the thousands.

    Provide a daily public White House report on how many tests have been done by the CDC, state and local health authorities, and private laboratories.

    Expand CDC sentinel surveillance programs and other surveillance programs so that we can offer tests not only only to those who ask but also to those who may not know to ask, especially vulnerable populations like nursing home patients and people with underlying medical conditions. This must be done in collaboration with private sector health care entities. 

    Task the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to help establish a diagnosis code for COVID-19 on an emergency basis so that surveillance can be done using claims data.

    Surge Capacity for Prevention, Response, and Treatment

    Task all relevant federal agencies to take immediate action to ensure that America’s hospital capacity can meet the growing need, including by:

    • Preparing to stand up multi-hundred-bed temporary hospitals in any city on short notice by deploying existing Federal Medical Stations in the strategic national stockpile and preemptively defining potential locations for their use as needed.
    • Directing the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) to prepare for potential deployment of military resources, both the active and reserve components, and work with governors to prepare for potential deployment of National Guard resources, to provide medical facility capacity, logistical support, and additional medical personnel if necessary. This includes activating the Medical Reserve Corps, which consists of nearly 200,000 volunteer health care professionals who stand ready to serve across America; training and deploying additional surge capacity, including U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs/DOD medical equipment and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Disaster Assistance Medical Teams; and directing and assisting existing hospitals to surge care for 20% more patients than current capacity through flexible staffing, use of telemedicine support, and delaying elective procedures.
    • Instructing the CDC to establish real-time dashboards tracking (1) hospital admissions related to COVID-19, especially for ICUs and emergency departments, in concert with the American Hospital Association and large hospital chains, for which the HHS must ensure data is able to be shared, as needed; and (2) supply chain information – including availability, allocation, and shipping – for essential equipment and personal protective equipment, including in the various places where there may be federal reserves. The strategic national stockpile must be used to supplement any shortages that exist, especially for essential medical supplies, like oxygen, ventilators, and personal protective equipment. 
    • Ensuring that training, materials, and resources reach federally qualified health centers, rural health clinics, and safety-net hospitals, which are typically resource-poor and care disproportionately for vulnerable populations that will bear the brunt of COVID-19. This effort will lay the foundation for a deeper and more lasting public health infrastructure for accessible national health care for all.

    Surge tele-emergency room, tele-ICU care, and telemedicine through a concerted, coordinated effort by health care providers to enable staff to manage additional patients and save beds for the very sick. Leverage existing efforts like Project ECHO to ensure health professionals have tele-mentoring and other training resources they need to make informed decisions.

    Support older adults, vulnerable individuals, and people with disabilities. Ensure essential home- and community-based services continue and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid works to provide the waivers necessary for those who rely on medication to have a sufficient supply. 

    Protect health care workers, first responders, assisted living staff, and other frontline workers. 

    • Give all frontline workers high-quality and appropriate personal protective equipment – and enough of it and appropriate training to use it – so they don’t become infected. If our health care workers, first responders, and essential workers like transportation and food workers cannot function, we cannot protect and care for the public. The Biden Plan calls for issuing guidance to states and localities to ensure first responders and public health officials are prioritized to receive protective personal equipment and launching an education campaign to inform the general public about equipment that should be reserved for professionals. 
    • Direct the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to keep frontline workers safe by issuing an Emergency Temporary Standard that requires health care facilities to implement comprehensive infectious disease exposure control plans; increasing the number of OSHA investigators to improve oversight; and working closely with state occupational safety and health agencies and state and local governments, and the unions that represent their employees, to ensure comprehensive protections for frontline workers. 

    Ensure first responders, including local fire departments and Emergency Medical Services, can meet the staffing requirements needed to respond and are trained to recognize the symptoms of COVID-19. 

    Accelerate the Development of Treatment and Vaccines

    Ensure the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority are swiftly accelerating the development of rapid diagnostic tests, therapeutics and medicines, and vaccines. NIH must be responsible for the clinical trial networks and work closely with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on trial approvals.

    Ensure the FDA is working with the NIH to prioritize review and authorization for use of COVID-19 countermeasures and strengthen regulatory science at the FDA to make certain it has the needed resources to evaluate the safety and efficacy of new tools.

    Provide Timely Information and Medical Advice and Guidance

    Work with the CDC and HHS to ensure that health departments and health providers across the country give every person access to an advice line or interactive online advice so they can make an informed decision about whether to seek care or to stay at home. This will preserve the health care system for those who are sick and prevent people who may not need to see a provider from becoming needlessly exposed. Ensure all information provided to the public is accessible to people with disabilities, including through plain language materials and American sign language interpreters. 

    Instruct the CDC to provide clear, stepwise guidance and resources about both containment and mitigation for local school districts, health care facilities, higher education and school administrators, and the general public. Right now, there is little clarity for these groups about when to move toward social distancing measures, like cancelling school, mass gatherings, and travel and when to move to tele-work and distance learning models.

    Ensure firefighters and other emergency responders are notified if they have been exposed to individuals infected with COVID-19.

    Launching Urgent Public Health System Improvements for Now and the Future

    Work with businesses to expand production of personal protective equipment, including masks and gloves, and additional products such as bleach and alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Incentivize greater supplier production of these critically important medically supplies, including committing, if necessary, to large scale volume purchasing and removing all relevant trade barriers to their acquisition.

    Task the U.S. Department of Justice with combating price gouging for critical supplies.

    Take steps in the aftermath of the crisis to produce American-sourced and manufactured pharmaceutical and medical supply products in order to reduce our dependence on foreign sources that are unreliable in times of crisis. The U.S. government should immediately work with the private sector to map critical health care supplies; identify their points of origin; examine the supply chain process; and create a strategic plan to build redundancies and domestic capacity. The goal is to develop the next generation of biomedical research and manufacturing excellence, bring back U.S. manufacturing of medical products we depend on, and ensure we are not vulnerable to supply chain disruptions, whether from another pandemic, or because of political or trade disputes. 

    Establish and fund a U.S. Public Health Service Reserve Corps to activate former Public Health Service Commissioned Corps officers to expand medical and public health capacity. By creating the Reserve Corps, we will have a larger team of health professionals to deploy across the nation to help train health care systems in detection and response, educate the public, provide direct patient care as needed, and support the public health infrastructure in communities that are often under-resourced and struggling.

    That's not even half of his 'big' plan -- click here to read it in full.

    All these plans and all basically in the trash now.  His plan now is maybe you'll get it, maybe you won't, the corporations own my ass and so I'm just going to tell you to go to work and infect everyone.

    He's an abject failure.  

    And all the money goes where?  To Ukraine.  Clara Weiss (WSWS) reports:

    On Wednesday, US President Joe Biden pledged an additional $3 billion in weapons to Ukraine, the largest single funding disbursement since the start of the war six months ago. To date, the US has provided more than $50 billion in weapons and other funding to Ukraine, including long-range missile systems, high-end anti-ship missiles, helicopters and other aircraft.

    Six months since the start of the war, the message is clear: Far from seeking to end the conflict, the US is doing everything to expand and to prolong its new “forever war” against Russia in Ukraine.

    Wednesday’s announcement came after weeks of extraordinary provocations, designed to goad the Kremlin into an expansion of the conflict. Multiple Russian military bases in Crimea were subject to major attacks by Ukraine. On Saturday, Daria Dugina, the daughter of far-right nationalist ideologue Alexander Dugin, was assassinated in central Moscow. All of these operations bear the imprint “made in Washington.”

    With these provocations, the US is seeking to strengthen the forces inside the Russian state apparatus and oligarchy that are calling for Russian President Vladimir Putin to retaliate. The aim is to force the Kremlin into a military response that would create the necessary justification for a further escalation of the war.

    On Tuesday, Ukrainian President Volodymir Zelensky reaffirmed that the goal of his country’s involvement in the war is to retake the Crimean Peninsula, declaring, “the war started with Crimea, and it will end in Crimea.”

    Zelensky’s statement revealed more than it intended to. Indeed, the war with Russia began not in February 2022 but in February 2014. However, it did not start with Russia’s annexation of Crimea in March, but rather with the February 2014 coup that was orchestrated and funded by the imperialist powers. The coup provoked not only Russia’s annexation of the Black Sea peninsula, but also an eight-year-long civil war in which Russian-backed separatists, fighting against the imperialist-armed Ukrainian military, came to control significant portions of East Ukraine.

    Above all, the 2014 coup formed the basis for the open transformation of Ukraine into the launching pad for an imperialist war against Russia. In the eight years between February 2014 and February 2022, the imperialist powers spent tens of billions of dollars to train, arm, expand and restructure the Ukrainian army. Neo-Nazi forces in the Ukrainian state apparatus and military were built up and armed as the principal shock troops of imperialism for the war against both Russia and the working class in the region.

    I think Josephine Nobody or Ned Never Heard Of Before could win in 2024 just by promising to focus on the needs of the American people and stop sending billions to Ukraine.  There is no real support for this war of choice.  They deployed their whores to pimp this war.  They tried to hijack the Academy Awards (they did hijack the Grammys) to sell this disaster.  It didn't sell.  The American people are not in favor of sending billions of their dollars to Ukraine.  This is the biggest theft of tax dollars.  

    Joe Biden isn't fit to be president.  He supported war on Iraq and all these years later US forces remain in Iraq.  Yes, unlike the idiot Tulsi Gabbard, I will call him out on the Iraq War.  And I will never, ever forget her fake ass being exposed in that debate where she was given a chance to call Joe out for the Iraq War and she took a pass.  And then several minutes later, moderator Jake Tapper brought it back to her again to let her have another shot and she took another pass.  Just a fake ass, that's all she is.  

    Again, US troops remain in Iraq.  And Mina Aldroubi (THE NATIONAL) reports:

    US troops in Iraq and Syria are on “high alert” for attacks by Iran-backed groups, a senior US commander said on Thursday.

    US President Joe Biden authorised military strikes on Tuesday against bases the Defence Department said were being used by Iran-aligned groups to attack the US-led coalition in Syria.

    The strikes in oil-rich Deir Ezzor province "targeted infrastructure facilities used by groups affiliated with Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps".

    About six weeks ago, U.S. President Joe Biden boasted in the Washington Post that the Middle East was “more stable and secure” than when he inherited the region from his predecessor, Donald Trump. Among other examples, Biden named Iraq, where rocket attacks against U.S. troops and diplomats had diminished. While he’s correct that fewer Americans have been targeted, this single metric alone is hardly enough to support his claim of stability. By nearly every other measure, Iraq is less stable today than in January 2021—and U.S. interests there more threatened.

    It’s a remarkable turn of events. Just 10 months ago, Iraq improbably appeared poised to form a government committed to diminishing the destructive role played by Iran-backed militias and enforcing Iraqi sovereignty against its bigger neighbor. Now, Iran’s political allies in Iraq have the upper hand, the country’s fragile democracy is threatened as never before, and, for the first time in a decade, violence even among Shiite groups is a possibility.

    But ten months ago, Iraq held elections.  And all this time later, still no one named prime minister or president.  I am saying this part (and have said since August when the money exchanged hands), not FOREIGN POLICY, the Joe Biden administration paid off Moqtada -- who they were backing -- to cancel his public call for the elections to be boycotted.  Moqtada bloc won the most seats (not enough to form a government) and, month after month, he failed at forming a government despite hype and praise from the US press.  Back to FOREIGN POLICY:

    Then the Iran-backed Coordination Framework coalition—Sadr’s Shiite rivals—played their ace card. To prevent Sadr, the Kurds, and Sunnis, who had secured a majority of the seats in parliament, from selecting a prime minister and cabinet, the Iran-backed opposition used their control of the corrupt judiciary to move the goalposts. The Federal Supreme Court ruled that now—for the first time—not just a simple majority but a two-thirds supermajority would be needed to form a government. Unable to reach that threshold, Sadr’s 73 members of parliament resigned en masse in June, and their seats were reallocated to Iran-aligned parties.

    Who masterminded this judicial coup? None other than Nouri al-Maliki, who served as premier from 2006 to 2014 and is best known for his prodigious corruption and vicious sectarianism, which in no small part contributed to the rise of the Islamic State. In January 2021, he reportedly narrowly escaped being sanctioned by the Trump administration. As kingmaker, Maliki would once again be pulling the strings.

    Sadr and Maliki have been rivals for the mantle of Shiite leadership in Iraq since at least 2008, when government forces led by Maliki attacked and defeated Sadr’s Mahdi Army in the Battle of Basra. Given this history of bad blood, Sadr responded to the Coordination Framework’s July 25 nomination of a Maliki ally—Mohammed Shia al-Sudani—for prime minister by directing his supporters to occupy the parliament and prevent a vote for prime minister, which they duly did. It was as if Sadr had taken a page from the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrectionists in Washington.

    What is Joe Biden doing?  Nothing.  Congress keeps sending him letters.  Trying to remind him.  But he's living one senior moment to the next, wondering to himself, "Why did I walk into this room again?"

    Ellie Sennett (THE NATIONAL) covers the latest attempt to wake up Joe:

    Congress is urging the administration of US President Joe Biden to enhance engagement with Iraq and the Kurdistan Regional Government over "a range" of ongoing disputes, while condemning Iran's "blatant violations of Iraqi sovereignty".

    Iraq and the Kurdistan Regional Government's escalating disputes over natural resources have threatened Washington's investment in "supporting a stable, sovereign and democratic Iraq free from malign foreign influence", Michael McCaul, Republican leader of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said in a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

    The natural resources dispute has been exacerbated by infighting among Iraq's political parties, which have failed to form a government since elections in October last year.

    "Meanwhile, the Iraqi people suffer, lacking a government that represents their interests and unable to reap the full benefits of revenues from Iraq’s oil, gas and other natural resources," Mr McCaul wrote.

    Joe reads the letter, stares off into space for a second, looks up and says, "Tapioca.''  Then he wanders off down the hall smacking his lips and wondering where he is?

    The deep political deadlock in Iraq has entered its 10th month with no solution in sight and fears there could be a violent escalation.

    Why it matters: Many are concerned the political crisis — the longest in Iraq since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein — will lead to a flare-up of armed conflict on the streets between supporters of the different parties.

    • A civil war in Iraq could lead to a larger conflict in the region with neighboring countries weighing in.

    State of play: Iraq held early elections in October 2021 in response to a nationwide, pro-reform protest movement that began in late 2019.

    • Since the vote, a political deadlock, mainly among Shiite parties, has prevented the formation of a new government.

    Last October's elections made Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr's Sadrist movement the largest bloc in Parliament.

    • His rivals — the Coordination Framework grouping of Shiite parties, which includes Iran-backed former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki — have thwarted al-Sadr’s efforts to form a coalition government with leading Sunni and Kurdish parties.
    • The Framework, for example, has been able to prevent enough MPs from attending parliament to vote on forming a new government.
    • Al-Sadr has ordered his own MPs to resign and blocked the Framework from nominating its own prime minister.
    • Both camps, which command heavily armed militias, also organized protests in the capital Baghdad in recent weeks.

    The stalemate continues, all these months later.  Moqtada stomps his feet and insists that the Parliament dissolve itself.  It says no.  Moqtada stomps his feet and demands the judiciary dissolve the Parliament.  The judiciary says only Parliament has the power to dissolve itself.  Moqtada continues to stomp his feet.  And Iraqis are getting so tired of him, ten months later he's failed to form a government and now he's preventing others from doing so.  They're tired of the fat man and his cult.

    With the Iraqi Federal Supreme Court finally resuming its activities after suspending them due to a protest by supporters of controversial cleric and political agitator Muqtada al-Sadr, questions have been raised about the Shia leader’s own credentials after he tried to force Iraq’s highest court to overturn last year’s election result.

    With Sadr raising doubts over the legality of the elections he himself had won, there are signs that Iraq’s disparate political forces are manoeuvring to seal a deal that will finally see a government formed 10 months after the vote.

    Kurdish groups and Sunni coalitions are moving closer to overtly Iran-sponsored parties in a move that may sideline Sadr and dampen his rising star once again.

    Sadr may be marginalised after Supreme Court gambit fails

    With feelings of public fury and apathy at the Iraqi political process growing rapidly and in equal measure, there are signs that the players involved in last year’s elections are starting to cut deals that will not only bring about a new government but will also marginalise the election winner.

    Muqtada al-Sadr, the leader of the Sadrist-led Sairoun coalition that won last year’s poorly attended vote, may find that he will face significant blowback from the risky gamble he took over the summer to have all his deputies resign their parliamentary seats, effectively ceding them to his erstwhile rivals in the Coordination Framework.

    His most recent gambit last Wednesday was to threaten and then blockade the Federal Supreme Court, demanding that Iraq’s most powerful judges issue a ruling to order new elections and to overturn October’s result – which was almost entirely in Sadr’s favour and gifted him more than 50 seats in parliament.

    Initially, the Supreme Court announced that it would cease its activities and close its offices as it could not conduct its business while being besieged by Sadrist protesters. However, the Shia leader has now called on his followers to withdraw from Iraq’s highest court, leading to it announcing it is once more open for judicial business.

    The following sites updated: