Thursday, November 17, 2022

Bob Dylan

Singer-songwriter Bob Dylan is in the news.  No, I'm not talking about the aged trick Timothee playing him in an upcoming movie.  Bob's got a book of essays out:

As a longtime Bob Dylan admirer who even caught one of his shows in the Sixties, Chris Frantz of Talking Heads was happy to pre-order a copy of The Philosophy of Modern Song, Dylan’s quixotic collection of essays on more than 60 songs. But when Frantz arrived at the second entry, about Elvis Costello’s “Pump It Up,” he was taken aback to read that, in Dylan’s words, “Elvis Costello and the Attractions were a better band than any of their contemporaries. Light years better.”

“When I read that, I just thought, ‘Jesus, Bob,’” says Frantz, whose band were new-wave peers of Costello’s. “’I understand you dig Elvis Costello, but did you have to put it that way?’”

Dylan’s book — sly, wily, sometimes proudly pulp-fiction musings on music, songwriting, the touring life, marriage, protest songs, polygamy, and sundry other topics — has been enlightening and perplexing to anyone who’s read it since its release earlier this month. That applies to some of the musicians whom Dylan raves about or, like Joe Satriani, besmirches in its pages.

In a chapter on Hank Williams’ “Your Cheatin’ Heart,” for instance, Dylan praises the no-frills musicianship of the country classic: “Each phrase goes hand in hand with the voice.” But he adds, “If Hank was to sing this song and you had somebody like Joe Satriani playing the answer licks to the vocal, like they do in a lot of blues bands, it just wouldn’t work and would be a waste of a great song.”

Satriani, a Grammy-winning, extremely dexterous guitar hero who has certainly played his share of solos, wasn’t aware of the ding until RS pointed it out to him. He takes some comfort in the name-check. “Bob Dylan knows my name?” Satriani asks, but adds, “I think the great Hank Williams and I could have sorted things out and made some great music together.”

In the writeup of “Pump It Up,” Dylan lauds the eclectic music Costello has made since the Seventies and calls the song “among his very best.” But that’s not before he writes that Costello’s music during those early years “exhausted people.” (Costello was unavailable for comment.) According to Dylan, there were “too many thoughts, way too wordy. Too many ideas that just bang up against themselves.” He also surmises that Costello “obviously had been listening to Springsteen too much” when he recorded “Pump It Up.”

These are Dylan's opinions and anyone can disagree.  But Frantz?  Is he serious?  

Talking Heads is not Dylan's kind of band.  Dylan's kind of band is the Heartbreakers -- him with them and Tom and Stevie Nicks in Australia.  He's a roots rock type of guy.  He's never going to be a freak for Talking Heads but someone like the Attractions is always going to have Bob's support.

Again, anyone can disagree or amplify.  But Frantz really seems to be missing the boat.  And he's also offering a weak critique.  I wish he was offering something stronger.  

Bob Dylan's essays?  I'm not planning on reading them.  I know Dylan's work and so I know it's not for me.  I also knew this before the article noted it:

Dylan, however, doesn’t seem to have been listening to many women while writing the book. Of the 66 songs he dissects, only about a half-dozen are sung or co-written by women: Cher’s “Gypsies, Tramps, & Thieves,” Rosemary Clooney’s “Come On-a My House,” and Nina Simone’s “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood,” among them.

And that's why I'm in no rush to read it.  But I will note this from Ava and C.I.'s "NPR hires idiots who strip women of the credit they earned and deserve (Ava and C.I.):"

Bob Dylan released a new track and NPR showed how stupid they truly are.  They took it upon themselves to tell you which songs are mentioned in Bob's new song "Murder Most Foul."  Ann Powers and Bob Boilen compiled a list of 74 songs supposedly mentioned in Bob's new song.


Well, for starters, their list includes Etta James' "Tell Mama."  Huh?  He name checks Etta's "I'd Rather Go Blind" but we're missing where he's referring to "Tell Mama."

We find it curious that they say "Walk On By" is in the mix -- or rather that the say "Burt Bacharach's 'Walk On By'."  All the other songs are identified by who sang them, not who wrote them.  Clearly, Dionne Warwick sang "Walk On By" and had the huge hit with it.  Do they have an aversion to mentioning Dionne Warwick?

Maybe it's an aversion to Amy Heckerling's CLUELESS?  Dionne and Cher are the names of the main characters in that film.  For some reason, they insist that "Bang, Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)" is noted in Dylan's new song. But get this, they credit it to Nancy Sinatra.  Strange because Sonny Bono wrote that song for Cher, Cher was the first artist to record it and Cher's version of the song made it to number two on the charts.  How high did Nancy's version go?  It was never released as a single.  It wasn't known to the public back then.  It was an album cut on an album that didn't even go gold.  Nancy's album HOW DOES THAT GRAB YOU only made it as high as number 41 on the charts, Cher's album containing "Bang Bang" (THE SONNY SIDE OF CHER) made it to number 26.  Oh, and Cher's version of "Bang Bang"?  It sold over a million copies.  It was a huge hit in this country and around the world.

If you're not getting the point, 1970 saw the release of Nancy Sinatra's first GREATEST HITS.  Eleven tracks are on the album -- "Bang Bang" is not one of them.  She only had nine top forty hits so there were still two slots on the album -- either could have gone to "Bang Bang" if anyone in real time thought it was worth noting.  No one did.

Also, if we're not mistaken, Nancy recorded just one Bob Dylan song in the sixties ("It Ain't Me Babe").  Cher?  A lot.  As we noted in January 2017's "CHER SINGS THE SONGS OF DYLAN," from 1965 to 1969, Cher released her version of these ten Bob Dylan songs:

 1) "All I Really Want To Do"
2) "Blowin' In The Wind"
3) "Don't Think Twice, It's All Right."
4) "Like A Rolling Stone"
5) "I Want You"
6) "The Times They Are a-Changin'"
7) "Masters of War"
8) "Tonight I'll Be Staying Here With You"
9) "I Threw It All Away"
10) "Lay Baby Lay"

 Do Ann and her idiot man at NPR think Bob Dylan didn't know Cher or, for that matter, Sonny?

A playful Bob Dylan with Sonny & Cher in 1965 | Bob dylan ...

They not only go back to the sixties, Cher continued to socialize with Dylan long after she and Sonny split.

Cher, Mr and Mrs Dylan | Bob dylan, Dylan, Bob

 Singers Bob Dylan Cher Gregg Allman Paul Editorial Stock Photo ...

Here they are performing "All I Really Want To Do" (Bob's song that Cher took to number 15 on the top forty) at David Geffen's birthday party in 1974.

Joni 'n' Bobby — Cher and Bob Dylan, singing together at a birthday...

Where are the pictures of Nancy Sinatra and Bob Dylan?

Oh, that's right, those pictures don't exist.

Let's be really clear here, F**K Ann Powers.

We've called that fool out before and we will again.  She plays like she's a feminist but she's not.  She constantly strips women of their credit.

"Bang Bang" is Cher's hit.  It is her million selling single.  No one else charted with it in the sixties.  Cher knows Dylan.  Bob knows Cher.  Why in the world would anyone assume that's Nancy Sinatra's version -- never known until asshole Tarantino pulled one of his revisionary and anti-woman moves and put it in his KILL BILL crap -- is the one mentioned by Bob in his new song -- if it's even mentioned in that song?

Ann Powers needs to be called out for the harmful liar that she is.  She constantly finds a way to strip women of their earned credits.  F**K Ann and F**K NPR.

Again, NPR and Ann Power never know what they're talking about when they pretend to discuss music.  Cher rated a mention.  Nancy Sinatra did not.

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

Thursday, November 17, 2022.  As climate change threats increase, Joe Biden wastes billions on Ukraine. 

Steve Robinson (MAINE WIRE) reports:

Several Republican Members of Congress are escalating calls for a forensic audit of U.S. military and non-military aid to Ukraine following the Russian invasion in February. Those calls for transparency come as President Joe Biden’s White House just asked the U.S. Congress for another $37 billion for the war in Ukraine. But is an audit of all that aid, which includes not just cash transfers but loans, military equipment, and humanitarian supplies, even possible?

To begin with, we need to answer a simpler question: how much money has the U.S. government sent to Ukraine?

Try Googling the question to find an answer. The search isn’t likely to be an easy one, as I discovered. There’s no media outlet keeping an ongoing tally of the cost of the Ukraine war to American taxpayers, and obviously there’s no government website doing so. Even conservative American think tanks, many of them stuck in Cold War mentalities, haven’t focused on financial transparency as they analyze U.S. involvement in the conflict. A factor that complicates the answer is the discrepancy between total aid appropriated and committed versus aid that has actually been delivered. The Biden administration has not been lightning fast in turning appropriations into actual aid, so there are significant differences between the two numbers.

The Congressional Research Service, the non-partisan in-house think tank for Congress, produced a report on total “security assistance” as of Oct. 21, 2022. Funding in that category, from 2014 to Oct. 14, 2022, was $20.3 billion. But this points up another complicating factor. Different sources measure buckets of aid differently: some will talk about security assistance, some talk of military assistance, some talk of humanitarian aid. Few offer a clear cut, “This is the total cost of all U.S. support for the war in Ukraine.”

Eventually I tracked down a database operated by the Kiel Institute, a German think tank. They have been tracking total military and non-military aid to Ukraine since the beginning of the conflict. Their numbers include all aid from Jan. 24, 2022 to Oct. 3, 2022 (the data is scheduled for an update on Dec. 6).

According to Kiel, the U.S. has transferred military and non-military aid worth $54.43 billion to the government of Ukraine. The database Kiel has maintained is by far the most granular and detailed accounting of what the U.S. government has provided to Ukraine, including descriptions of the individual batches of military equipment. If you’re interested, you can check it out here. 

Let that sink in.  $54 billion with Joe Biden now asking for $37 million more -- and all in less than 12 months.

$54 billion.  There's nothing that can be done for the American people.  They can't have true universal healthcare.  Medicare for All -- favored by most Americans -- is just too expensive says the government that sends $54 billion to fund and fuel an unnecessary war and enrich the war industry while the American people do without and while prices skyrocket here in the US.

As Graham Elwood observes in the video above, "Food costs have almost doubled in the last year.  It's insane.  They say, 'Oh, eight and a half percent inflation.'  I don't know what grocery store they're going to.  Not the ones I or any of my friends go to.'' 

But we can sit back and watch billions of our dollars go to support a war, to support an illegitimate regime installed by the US in 2014.  Alex Findijs (WSWS) notes that time period in a new article when he comments on Victoria Nuland:

Nuland is another major Obama-era foreign policy official who played a leading role in the overthrow of the elected Ukrainian government and selection of its pro-Western replacement in 2014. A leaked phone call during the Maidan protests that culminated in the forced removal of Ukrainian President Yanukovych exposed her role in orchestrating the operation in behalf of US imperialism. “I don’t think Klitsch [Vitaly Klitschko, mayor of Kiev and former boxer] should go into the government,” she is heard saying. “I don’t think it’s necessary, I don’t think it’s a good idea… I think Yats [Arseniy Yatseniuk] is the guy who’s got the economic experience, the governing experience. He’s the... what he needs is Klitsch and Tyahnybok on the outside.”

Oleh Tyahnybok is a neo-Nazi. As leader of the far-right Svoboda Party, he played a leading role in the US-backed Maidan protests in Kiev that culminated in the overthrow of Yanukovych. In a 2004 speech that was aired on Ukrainian television, he denounced the “Moscow-Jewish mafia ruling Ukraine” and hailed Stepan Bandera’s World War II Ukrainian National Army, saying, “They were not afraid and we should not be afraid. They took their automatic guns on their necks and went into the woods, and fought against the Muscovites, Germans, Jews and other scum who wanted to take away our Ukrainian state.”

In 2013, Tyahnybok and another Svoboda Party leader were barred from entering the United States for their open anti-Semitism.

Arseniy Yatseniuk is a right-wing, pro-Western politician who was installed as the first prime minister of Ukraine following the February 2014 Maidan putsch.

Following her stint in the Obama administration, Nuland served as CEO of CNAS from 2018 to 2019. She is now the under secretary of state for political affairs in the Biden administration. She has links to Pine Island Capital Partners, which has ties with other Biden administration officials, including Secretary of Defense Loyd Austin.

Ukraine shot missiles into Poland.  And then said Russia did it.  Walt Zlotow (ANTIWAR.COM) notes:

Both US President Biden and Polish President Andrzej Duda spoke cautiously regarding a potential tripwire setting off possible all out war between NATO and Russia. Biden said “There is preliminary information that contests Russia fired the missile. I don’t want to say until we completely investigate but it’s unlikely in the minds of the trajectory that it was fired from Russia.” Duda told reporters that “There’s no clear evidence of who fired the missile. An investigation is ongoing.”

But firebrand Ukraine President Zelensky, who tirelessly promotes direct NATO intervention, including strikes on Russia and an No-Fly Zone over Ukraine, likely triggering WWIII, remains undaunted. He took to Twitter on his talk with Polish President Duda, expressing “condolences over the death of Polish citizens from Russian missile terror.”

I’ve said before that President Zelensky is trying to get us all killed. Unless the US and NATO escorts him to the negotiating table to end a war he cannot win, he may succeed. 

Andre Damon (WSWS) explains:

One day after a series of explosions took place in a Polish farming village, it has become clear that Ukraine fired at least one missile into Poland, killing two Polish civilians.

While Ukraine’s imperialist backers acknowledged that it was Kiev that launched the strike, they have claimed, without a shred of evidence or plausibility, that Ukrainian air defenses accidentally carried out a precision airstrike dozens of miles in the wrong direction.

If the Ukrainian air force was attempting to intercept Russian missiles, flying from the east, why were its missiles aimed to the west, at Poland? And why were they able to precisely target an inhabited building in a sparsely populated rural area? Why did Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Foreign Minister Dimitri Reznikov and an unnamed “senior U.S. intelligence official” falsely blame Russia for the attack before Polish authorities had even publicly confirmed details about the strike?

The claims that the missile was fired from a “defensive” weapon have no credibility because the S-300 missile system has a well-known capability of striking land-based targets. 

In reality, the missile strike was a calculated provocation by Ukraine, possibly with the assistance of factions within the American state, intended to accelerate direct NATO involvement in the conflict and preclude any discussion of a ceasefire or negotiated settlement of the war.

Ukraine’s attack on Poland took place as the G20 was meeting in Bali, Indonesia, with the United States seeking to whip other countries into line against Russia. It also takes place amid reported conflicts within the US government about the extent and pacing of US involvement in the war, and suggestions from Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley that the United States might initiate a ceasefire or peace negotiations over the winter. 

Critically, both NATO as a whole and individual NATO members have now acknowledged that it was Ukraine, not Russia, that attacked Poland, with Ukraine continuing to insist that the strike came from Russia.

And $54 billion of our dollars going to these liars.  For a war that's going to push the entire world closer to nuclear war.  And on top of everything the lack of gratitude grates.  , and

But a phone call between the two leaders in June played out differently from previous ones, according to four people familiar with the call. Biden had barely finished telling Zelenskyy he’d just greenlighted another $1 billion in U.S. military assistance for Ukraine when Zelenskyy started listing all the additional help he needed and wasn’t getting. Biden lost his temper, the people familiar with the call said. The American people were being quite generous, and his administration and the U.S. military were working hard to help Ukraine, he said, raising his voice, and Zelenskyy could show a little more gratitude.

That's anger?  Joe shows more anger at progressive activists in the US.

Real anger would have been telling Zelenskyy to go f**k himself and to grow the hell up and try fighting his war without begging every other country for help like a useless little cry baby.  Real anger would have been telling him there was no more US tax dollars for his sorry ass.

$54 billion.  Think about what could have been done for the American people with that money.  Think about how a small portion of it could have ended homelessness in the US.  Think about what a portion of it could have done for our schools.  Think about the fact that our government gave away -- pissed away -- $54 billion while Americans go to bed hungry.


Maybe Joe Biden does have a plan to address hunger and homelessness!  Maybe nuclear war is his plan to end all the world's problems.  It would end the world while ending those problems but Joe -- even before senility kicked in -- was never accused of being a great thinker.

And you can see that in Joe's approach to climate change.  Kenny Stancil (COMMON DREAMS) notes:

Ugandan climate justice activist Vanessa Nakate denounced world leaders Tuesday for continuing to support new coal, oil, and gas projects despite overwhelming evidence that extracting and burning more fossil fuels will exacerbate deadly climate chaos.

"The focus for many leaders is about making deals for fossil fuel lobbyists, surviving the next election cycle, and grabbing as much short-term profit as possible," Nakate said at an event on the sidelines of the United Nations COP27 climate summit in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt.

Alluding to the presence of more than 630 fossil fuel lobbyists at the meeting, which is being held in a heavily policed and expensive resort city, Nakate said that oil and gas representatives are turning COP27 into "a sales and marketing conference for more pollution and more destruction and more devastation."

Nakate cited the International Energy Agency's 2021 blueprint for achieving net-zero emissions by 2050, which made clear that investment in new fossil fuel projects is incompatible with meeting the Paris agreement's goal of capping temperature rise at 1.5°C above preindustrial levels—beyond which impacts will grow progressively worse for millions of people, particularly those living in impoverished countries who have done the least to cause the crisis.

Atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide—the three main heat-trapping gases fueling global warming—hit an all-time high last year, and greenhouse gas pollution has only continued to climb this year.

Meanwhile, public subsidies supporting the production and consumption of coal, oil, and gas nearly doubled in 2021, and hundreds of corporations are planning to expand dirty energy production in the coming years, including several proposed drilling projects and pipelines in Africa.

Also at COMMON DREAMS, Edward Hunt warns:

The leaders of the United States are prioritizing great power competition with China and Russia at a time when much of the world is demanding that the world's great powers cooperate to address the climate crisis.

Officials in Washington recently confirmed that they see great power competition with China and Russia as their top concern in global affairs, even while acknowledging that the greatest threat to the planet comes from climate change.

"Simply put, we face two main strategic challenges," National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan explained in a major policy address last month. "The first is geopolitical competition." The second "is the sheer scale and speed of transnational challenges," such as climate change.

"The climate crisis is the greatest of all the shared problems we face," Sullivan added.

For years, officials in Washington have been warning about the return of great power competition. They say that China and Russia are increasingly challenging the world order that the United States has dominated since the end of the Cold War.

"We're at an inflection point in history," Secretary of State Antony Blinken said earlier this month. "The post-Cold War era is over. There is a competition on now to shape what comes next."

The Biden administration's National Security Strategy claims that the world has entered a new era of great power competition. Released to the public last month, the National Security Strategy presents a vision in which the United States is promoting democracy around the world while Russia and China are pushing autocracy and creating instability.

"We will prioritize maintaining an enduring competitive edge over the PRC while constraining a still profoundly dangerous Russia," the report notes.

Within this framework, the United States has sought to punish Russia for its invasion of Ukraine and strengthen the U.S. military presence around China. Not only has the Biden administration funneled billions of dollars worth of weapons to Ukraine with the goal of achieving the "strategic defeat" of Russia, but it has overseen a major military buildup in East Asia, where the U.S. military now has more soldiers stationed than any other region of the world.

 Though the country has already suffered enough due to the US-led war, Iraq is also set to be one of the most harmed by climate change.

This morning, RUDAW reports:

 The marshes of Iraq are no longer suitable for living after mostly drying up, with the droughts killing most of Dhi Qar’s livestock and driving inhabitants away. 

The effects of the drought are huge, with water scarcity in the al-Hammar Marshes in Dhi Qar being the main factor in the substantial financial losses suffered by locals. 

Ahmad Jawad Aziz, a resident of the al-Hammar marshes in Dhi Qar, told Rudaw’s Anmar Ghazi on Tuesday that “life has ceased here, and most of the residents here make their living on the marshes, by raising fish, buffaloes, and cows, and harvesting cane,” Aziz continued.

“Now everything has ended here, as the marshes have become a barren desert land.”

Livestock and sheep breeders in the marshes protested against the neglect endured by the al-Hammar marshes.

“There is no initiative by the decision makers in order to alleviate the brunt of the drought on buffalo breeders, such as providing them with fodder and granting them soft loans for the purpose of helping them overcome the crisis and supply safe drinking water,” Abu Hassan al-Musafiri, Head of the Gilgamesh Foundation for Antiquities and Marshes said. 

The International Organization for Migration shares:

Al Hadam, 17 November 2022 – Mohsin Faleh is a 30-year-old farmer in the southern Iraqi community of Al Hadam, Missan governorate. His face was weary as he surveyed the barren land that bears the scars of a complex water crisis that is expected to worsen.

“I don't remember the last time it rained; I think two years ago,” Mohsin commented in early October, on a day when temperatures hovered in the 40-degrees Celsius range.

Iraq has two main sources of water – the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. The intake of water from both rivers is decreasing at an unprecedented rate, due to the construction of upstream dams and a prolonged drought.

Climate change, rising temperatures and the diversion of river water also mean that residents in Al Hadam struggle to access adequate water for use in their homes. This water scarcity is forcing some residents to uproot their lives and families.

Iman has six children and meeting her family’s water needs is difficult and expensive. “We are thinking of moving to the city because there is no water. We have to buy water,” said Iman, who was born and raised in Al Hadam.

Mohsin recalled that rainfall was predictable during his childhood, with rain arriving every year during the autumn season. The young farmer has observed dramatic changes to the climate, the soil and the water resources surrounding his community over the last few years.

Drought conditions are exacerbated not only by the decreased water levels in sub-canal systems near Al Hadam, but by their high saline content, making farming nearly impossible.

Dwindling fresh water enables the salty tidewater of the Persian Gulf to seep into the Tigris and Euphrates, which feed sub-canals like in Al Hadam. The high salt content then depletes the parched farmland even more. Even the arrival of autumn rains may not be enough for the cultivation of farmland to sustain the region’s agricultural livelihoods.

And REUTERS notes:

The worst drought Abed Hameed al-Brahimi has ever seen has killed virtually everything around him: his rice farm, most of his livestock and chickens - and accelerated a rural exodus that is jeopardising Iraq's future stability.

His home now resembles a desert, rather than the green oasis it was a year ago. Without water to irrigate his fields, he has not planted a single seed of rice, which used to feed his family of four and provide a surplus he could sell.

His guard dog does not bark. Thirsty and famished, it barely tilts its head in the direction of the strangers traversing its domain, oblivious to the sounds and sights around it.

"What is happening to us has never happened before. We are completely destroyed," Brahimi, 45, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation, standing next to his brownfields in al-Meshkhab, a town some 200 km (124 miles) south of the capital Baghdad.

"This year our lives ended all at once."

The following sites updated:

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Diana Ross



If you missed it, THANK YOU has resulted in a Grammy nomination for Diana Ross.

Hugh McIntyre (METRO WEEKLY) notes:

When the list of nominees for the 2023 Grammys was released earlier this week, most people who tuned in focused on the current day pop stars, rappers, and bands who racked up the most nominations. Beyoncé leads the charge with nine chances to win, followed immediately by Kendrick Lamar with 8, and then both Adele and Brandi Carlile nominations with seven apiece.

Those who looked further down on the list may have noticed one name many did not expect to see, even though she is one of t​​he most beloved recording artists of all time.

Diana Ross was something of a surprise nominee, as her latest album Thank You received a nomination in the Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album category.

This latest nod must mean quite a bit to Ross, as it gives her another chance to collect the biggest prize in music, which until now has eluded her.

Yes, that’s right – Diana Ross has never won a Grammy, and hopefully in a few months that will change.

Thank You marks Ross’s first Grammy nomination in 40 years. She was last nominated in 1983 in one of the R&B categories for her song “Muscles.” In 2012, she was given the Lifetime Achievement award, so while she does have a trophy from the Recording Academy sitting on a shelf somewhere at home, she has never won a competitive prize.

Throughout her career, which includes both her solo work and the music she released as a member of The Supremes, Ross has been nominated for a total of 13 Grammys, tacking on what may become her lucky thirteenth this week.

RATED R&B notes:

Thank You, the music icon’s 25th album, received a nod for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album. The award is for albums containing greater than 50% playing time of new traditional pop recordings, according to the Recording Academy.

Ross’ latest album is up against Michael Bublé’s Higher, Kelly Clarkson’s When Christmas Comes Around…, Norah Jones’ I Dream Of Christmas (Extended) and Pentatonix’s Evergreen.

It marks Ross’ first nomination in 40 years. She last received a Best Female R&B Vocal Performance nomination at the 25th Grammy Awards for “Muscles.”

Diana deserves it for THANK YOU alone but she also deserves it as a career honor.

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


Wednesday, November 16, 2022.  Donald Trump refuses to read the room, he's not the only one, Nouri al-Maliki's in a tizzy over the US Ambassador to Iraq, and much more (including Diana Ross' new Grammy nomination).

Hasn't the world suffered enough?  

Donald Trump plans to run for president again.

He's learned nothing about anything.  Let's start with that hideous wig.  Whether you're Robert Redford or Donald Trump, you're not fooling anyone with your fake hair.  No one believes for a minute that at 70 plus, you're still a sassy blond or have thick hair like that.  It goes to your stupidity, honestly, that you think everyone is fooled.  They're just shaking their heads and talking how that thing on your head resembles road kill.

This delusion fuels him and explains him.  It's why he can go on TV and offer no apology.

There's no apology for the riot, there's no apology for accomplishing nothing with four years in office, there's no apology for anything -- certainly not the slate of losing candidates that he promoted in the mid-terms.

He's ignoring blame and thinking no one will call him on it.  Just like no one will point out how ridiculous -- and fake -- that thing on top of his head is.

76 years old.  A bewigged, bottled blond at 76.  Is he running for president or Miss Coppertone?

The big Trump announcement last night wasn't from Donald.  It came from one of his daughters.  Caroline Linton (CBS NEWS) reports:

Ivanka Trump, the daughter of former President Donald Trump who served as a White House adviser in the Trump administration, said Tuesday night shortly after her father announced his 2024 campaign that she does "not plan to be involved in politics" this time.

"I love my father very much," Ivanka Trump posted on Instagram. "This time around, I am choosing to prioritize my young children and the private life we are creating as a family." 

Her father, meanwhile, declared, "In order to make America great and glorious again, I am, tonight, announcing my candidacy for president of the United States."

And declared it over and over.  What was the point of an 'announcement' that lasted over one hour?  Brevity has never been his strong point and clearly there will be no listening to campaign advisors.  

"Three years ago, when I left office . . ." somebody wrote for him to say, somebody who can't count.  The 2020 election wasn't three years ago and Donald was president until Joe Biden was sworn in January 20, 2021.  

If Donald doesn't even know that three plus one would be four, if he can't even figure out what year we're in, how does he think he can run?

Yes, as he noted, Joe Biden is dazed and out of touch and confuses one state with another and many more troubling issues.  But Joe may not be his opponent again.

There's a reason outgoing US House Rep Carolyn Maloney told the editorial board of THE NEW YORK TIMES (in what she thought was an off the record comment) that Joe wouldn't seek re-election.  It's not just the American people that don't want to see Joe run again, it's also leaders in the party.  

The truth is that both Donald and Joe are too old to govern.  Neither should be running.  Donald could have made that point last night and announced that he wasn't running.  Some might have applauded him for that realization.  38.1 is the median age in the US.  The idea that 2024 would offer a 78 year old Donald competing with an 82 year old Joe for the presidency of the United States only works as a farce starring the late Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon.  

The country deserves so much better.

As Betty noted last night, Dianne Feinstein has no idea what she or her office says.  She just scoots along with someone trailing her elderly body (like a nurse) trying to explain to her what has recently taken place.

Puddles Feinstein, it's disgusting.  They have no ideas and they have no plans and they are deeply, deeply out of touch.  

Donald appeared to have spent the last few days stress eating and it was hilarious to watch the efforts to slim him down and how the suit jacket resembled a mumu.

He couldn't strip off the pounds, so he stripped off the facts.  Noting that his detractors stated, after the 2016 campaign, that he would bring about countless wars, Donald pointed out that he didn't do that.  Had he left it alone, it might have been something we could note.  But he couldn't leave it alone because he can never be honest.  He quickly added, "And yet I've done decades, decades without a war.  The first president to do it for that long a period."

He thinks January 2021 was three years ago and he thinks he did ''decades, decades without a war.''  He was president for four years.  Four.  That's not even half a decade.

Joe's senile.  Donald's insane.

But let's note something here.  Donald didn't end either of the forever wars.  Joe did end one.

Oh but everything is shambles in Afghanistan now!!!!!

As it was always going to be.  Unless you're going to annex Afghanistan and make it part of the United States, stay there forever, that was always going to happen.  

Another year wouldn't have changed it, ten years wouldn't have changed it.  Joe ripped the band aid off.  

He didn't do it on Iraq.  US troops remain there.  The hope being that will exhaust the Iraqi people into something that we'll call 'democracy.'  It won't serve the Iraqi people but we've never actually been interested in them.  Our greed dictates that the Iraqi government do certain things and that's all we care about.  That's why, when the Iraqi people rejected Nouri al-Maliki in the 2010 elections, we refused to stand with the Iraqi people.  Instead, the US government negotiated The Erbil Agreement that overturned the votes and gave Nouri a second term.

Joe ran for president in 2020 and not one press outlet asked him about that.  They constantly talked about the vote -- here in the US -- but they never raised Iraq's overturned vote with Joe.

This despite the fact that it was Joe's decision.  Barack made him the point person on Iraq.  (Hillary had publicly called Nouri a "thug" -- which he was and remains -- in a Senate hearing in 2008 and Barack couldn't put her over Iraq as a result.)  Joe overturned an election.

And Nouri's second term created ISIS.  That's a major development.  And yet the press just ignored it as he ran for president.  Just as they ignored the impact that had on the Iraqi people and the way it resulted in less and less people voting in Iraq.

But the point is, Donald could have ended either or both wars and didn't.  So his pretense to be some sort of prince of peace is laughable.

Put 'em both in an old folks home and find someone who has the energy and brains to help the American people.


Otherwise, this can be the theme song for the 2024 election, the Rolling Stones' "Out of Time."

A number of people on the left are organizing around DON'T RUN JOE:

In 2024 the United States will face the dual imperatives of preventing a Republican takeover of the White House and advancing a truly progressive agenda. The stakes could not be higher. The threat of a neofascist GOP has become all too obvious. Bold and inspiring leadership from the Oval Office will be essential.

Unfortunately, President Biden has been neither bold nor inspiring. And his prospects for winning re-election appear to be bleak. With so much at stake, making him the Democratic Party’s standard-bearer in 2024 would be a tragic mistake.

“Moderate” policies have failed to truly address such pressing concerns as the climate emergency, voting rights, student debt, health care, corporate price-gouging, and bloated military spending in tandem with anemic diplomacy.

Biden triumphed over Donald Trump in 2020 with vital help from extraordinary grassroots efforts in swing states by progressive organizations (including RootsAction). A president is not his party’s king, and he has no automatic right to renomination. Joe Biden should not seek it. If he does, he will have a fight on his hands.

Contact: | Learn more at our FAQ

And at their FAQ, they explain:

Don’t the midterm election results show that Joe Biden should be the Democratic nominee again in 2024? #

Actually, the sharp contrast between public support for Biden and for Democrats overall underscores that he should not run again. Biden’s dismal approval ratings have remained far below the public’s positivity toward the Democratic Party. The party did well in the midterm elections despite Biden, not because of him. While the electorate is evenly split between the two parties, there’s no such close division about Biden. As NBC reported from its exit polling, “two-thirds of voters (68 percent) do not want Biden to run for president again in 2024.” The large gap between approval of Biden and of his party indicates what a leaden weight he is on Democratic electoral prospects.

If Biden announces he’s not running in 2024, won’t that undermine Democrats and possibilities of progressive reform by making Biden a powerless “lame-duck” president? #

As a number of Democrats have pointed out, such an announcement would actually empower Biden to present himself as less political -- interested only in the public interest and not his own personal ambition. The wise thing for Biden to do would be to say that he’ll concentrate on being the best president he can be until Inauguration Day in January 2025. The tone-deaf thing for him to do would be to soldier on -- insisting that he should be president until January 2029 -- while damaging the party’s prospects in the process.

Don’t we owe a debt of gratitude to Joe Biden for having defeated Trump in 2020? #

Biden’s victory over Trump in 2020 was indeed a crucial historic achievement – one that was made possible in large part by unprecedented organizing in swing states by racial justice activists, feminists, union organizers and progressive groups, many of whom did not support Biden within the Democratic primaries. (RootsAction, for example, focused its Vote Trump Out campaign in the battlegrounds of Arizona, Michigan and Wisconsin, which all went for Biden over Trump.)

Why does your statement omit so many pressing issues on which the Biden administration has failed the public interest? #

Our statement is short. It’s not a laundry list. It’s intentionally brief to focus on a single concept: that Biden should not run in 2024, and if he does “he will have a fight on his hands.” We see Biden as a logjam that has to be cleared away if Democrats are to look forward to election victories – and the enactment of big, broadly popular policies that could lead to even more election victories.

Why do you blame President Biden for a lack of progress in his first two years, when Senators Manchin and Sinema and the Republicans were the real culprits? #

We are in no way minimizing the pro-corporate / anti-environmental obstructionism of the GOP and conservative Democrats in Congress, but the #DontRunJoe initiative focuses on President Biden because he himself has been a roadblock to change. On issue after issue, Biden has offered “too little, too late” – from voting rights to abortion rights to student debt to the climate crisis – and he has spent nearly two years demonstrating that he is incapable of using the power of the presidential “bully pulpit” to mobilize for victory. On many issues, he has failed to use his executive authority, including the power to issue executive orders, to defend working families – a failure that can’t be blamed on Congress.

Is this #DontRunJoe initiative a stalking horse for a presidential candidate you support? #

No. RootsAction does not now have a horse in this race. If Biden doesn’t run again, that could clear the path for a progressive candidate with broad appeal who can defeat the GOP in November 2024. Our immediate goal within the Democratic Party is to “dump Biden,” much as the anti-Vietnam-War forces among Democrats set out to “dump Johnson” in 1967, which led antiwar candidates Eugene McCarthy and Robert Kennedy to enter the race.

Doesn’t Bernie Sanders say that he expects Biden to run again and will support him? #

Yes, that’s true. And RootsAction respects Senator Sanders’ views. When we supported Bernie for president in 2016 and 2020, we did not endorse every position or statement he enunciated – nor does he support all of our positions.

Joe needs to go.  So does Donald.  Starting in 2016, Hillary Clinton drove away some with her insane peddling of the conspiracy theory that Russia was behind her loss.  No, dear, that was all on you.  You'd think Donald would have learned something from that but the reality is that Donald is incapable of learning.  Which is why, in his speech last night, he declared, "Many people think China played a very active role in the 2020 election -- just saying, just saying.  Sure that didn't happen."

Keep saying stuff like that, Donald, it'll destroy you faster than anything else will.

You'll run off supporters and you'll prevent new ones from joining you.

On the most basic aspect?  People will wonder, "If China stopped him in 2020, how will he prevent it in 2024 when he's not even in the White House."

You lost and you look like a sore loser.  People don't flock to that.  

Donald's made his declaration and what else can he do?  How will he drum up support for his tired and losing campaign in the next two years?

Both parties need to show the elderly twosome to the exit door.  

Turning to Iraq, two Mondays ago in the snapshot, we noted that Iraq's Parliament was pushing for conscription.  That night at THIRD, we noted the effort failed in Parliament.  Now THE NEW ARAB reports:

Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani said Tuesday his government will not seek to re-establish military conscription - a proposal that has faced opposition among the general public.

Service in the armed forces was mandatory in Iraq from 1935 to 2003, when a US-led invasion toppled former dictator Saddam Hussein, disbanding the army and security services.

In August last year, the previous government submitted a bill to reinstate conscription.

several months later Iraq elected a new parliament, but Sudani's government was only approved last month after a year of political paralysis.

We've given Joe credit for something he did, praise for it.  He is the first US President to appoint a woman as US Ambassador to Iraq since the 2003 invasion. This isn't minor or window decoration.  The US destroyed the lives of Iraqi women and they repeatedly attempted to strip them of their rights to appease the fundamentalists that the US put in charge of Iraq.  Ahead of being sworn in as president in 2009, Barack Obama's team was urged by many to appoint a woman to this post (Ava and I were two who spoke to the transition team about this).    Barack nominated six people to be Ambassador to Iraq during his two terms as president.  Five got confirmed.  All nominated were men.  One nominated, the failure (Brett McGurk), would have meant Iraqi women were putting their lives in danger by working for or even visiting the US Embassy in Baghdad -- a point a Democratic Senator explained to Barack which caused him to finally withdraw McGurk's nomination.  

Joe nominated Alina Romanowski and she is now the US Ambassador to Iraq.  And must be doing at least one thing right because she's got Nouri al-Maliki's State of Law in a huff.  PRESS TV reports:

An Iraqi lawmaker has lambasted US Ambassador to Baghdad Alina L. Romanowski for her seditious moves and attempts to provoke bitter divisions within the Iraqi society, stressing that her divisive stances are detrimental to the Arab country’s national security and sovereignty.

Abbas al-Maliki, a member of the State of Law Coalition led by former Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki, in an interview with the Arabic-language al-Maalomah news agency, sharply criticized Romanowski’s “suspicious” meetings with political and social figures as well as members of civil organizations in Iraq.

“The US ambassador in Iraq behaves like a special envoy as she holds meetings with any political and non-political figure whom she desires, and can make use of all available social and political means for such a purpose. Romanowski believes that she can give orders and tell people what to do and not to do,” Maliki said.

He stressed, “Under the orders of the Iraqi premiership, foreign diplomats must perform their roles in accordance with international norms and principles, and should only communicate with officials from the Foreign Ministry and state authorities through diplomatic channels and submit a plan for their meetings in advance.”

Hey, remember when Nouri didn't get to run for a third term as prime minister and the country had a new one but Nouri refused to move out of the palace?  Yeah, Nouri and State of Law weren't too concerned about "norms and principles" then.  

Winding down with the living legend Diana Ross (as disclosed before, Diana is a friend and I love her).

"All Is Well" is a beautiful ballad and it's a song off Diana's latest studio album THANK YOU -- an amazing album and one of her finest (Kat reviewed it here.) which just resulted in another Grammy nomination:  Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album.  It's truly amazing -- as is Diana.  In the seventh decade of her career, she earns another Grammy nomination -- not many people can brag about that.  

And "it would be so much better if the world just danced" as Diana notes below.

Both songs appear on THANK YOU and if you haven't heard the album yet, AMAZON has it on sale currently -- vinyl version is $19.39 which is 45% off the list price:

  • Thank You

The following sites updated: