Monday, September 25, 2023




That's Isaiah's THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS "Bad News: He's A Floater" from Sunday.

Me?  I did two album reviews on Sunday: album reviews "Kat's Korner: Pretenders are RESTLESS and Alive" and "Kat's Korner: Tyler Childers' RUSTIN IN THE RAIN and living through the pain."  Two.  That's 13 reviews this year so far.  I generally try to do just 11. 

I'm planning at least two more.  One of those will be Dolly Parton's upcoming album.

I've thought about it and she put a lot of work in to do a double disc album.  I can't stand Kid Rock but at least the country now knows he's a hypocrite.  

So I plan to review it.  I figure one in October and one in November and that'll get me to 15 reviews.  And I'm counting the review I did of Miley Cyrus and The Jonas Brothers' album as just one review because it was -- I just grabbed two albums for the review.


Three more.  I'm going to review Dolly's album.  I'm not naming the second one.  But I will be reviewing the Rolling Stones new album.  I forgot that's coming out.  Okay, Dolly's ROCKSTAR comes out November 17th.  The Rolling Stones release HACKNEY DIAMONDS on October 20th.  The third is going to be Cat Power but I'm also leaning towards reviewing Darius Rucker's upcoming album.

I may end up with four more.  Or five.  At this rate.  

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

Monday, September 25, 2023. Australian MPs visited Iraq to talk about Julian Assange, US Senator Bob Menendez got indicted (again), Australians rallied for a free Kurdistan, and much more. 

Starting with Julian Assange who is being persecuted for the 'crime' of journalism.  Julian Assange remains imprisoned and remains persecuted by US President Joe Biden who, as vice president, once called him "a high tech terrorist."  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 deat

The Biden administration has been saying all the right things lately about respecting a free and vigorous press, after four years of relentless media-bashing and legal assaults under Donald Trump.

The attorney general, Merrick Garland, has even put in place expanded protections for journalists this fall, saying that “a free and independent press is vital to the functioning of our democracy”.

But the biggest test of Biden’s commitment remains imprisoned in a jail cell in London, where WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been held since 2019 while facing prosecution in the United States under the Espionage Act, a century-old statute that has never been used before for publishing classified information.

Whether the US justice department continues to pursue the Trump-era charges against the notorious leaker, whose group put out secret information on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Guantánamo Bay, American diplomacy and internal Democratic politics before the 2016 election, will go a long way toward determining whether the current administration intends to make good on its pledges to protect the press.

Now Biden is facing a re-energized push, both inside the United States and overseas, to drop Assange’s protracted prosecution.

Julian remains persecuted.  Last week, a group of Australian MPs traveled to the US to meet with government officials regarding Julian.  Binoy Kampmark (AUSTRLIAN INDEPENDENT MEDIA NETWORK) notes:

It was a short stint, involving a six-member delegation of Australian parliamentarians lobbying members of the US Congress and various relevant officials on one issue: the release of Julian Assange. If extradited to the US from the United Kingdom to face 18 charges, 17 framed with reference to the oppressive, extinguishing Espionage Act of 1917, the Australian founder of WikiLeaks risks a 175-year prison term.

Nationals MP Barnaby Joyce, Labor MP Tony Zappia, Greens Senators David Shoebridge and Peter Whish-Wilson, Liberal Senator Alex Antic and the independent member for Kooyong, Dr. Monique Ryan, are to be viewed with respect, their pluckiness admired. They came cresting on the wave of a letter published on page 9 of the Washington Post, expressing the views of over 60 Australian parliamentarians. “As Australian Parliamentarians, we are resolutely of the view that the prosecution and incarceration of the Australian citizen Julian Assange must end.” 

What's at stake?  Press freedom in the general. Specifically for Julian?  THE SYDNEY MORNING HERALD notes, "The charges relate to WikiLeaks’ 2010 publication of cables detailing war crimes committed by the US government in the detention camp at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, Iraq and Afghanistan. If found guilty, he is facing a maximum jail sentence of 175 years." 

Assange’s family and close supporters were no doubt pleased that the visit occurred. It did have the benefit of again raising Assange’s plight, which has been subjected to frequent and extended media blackouts in Australia, Britain and the US itself.

To be uncritical, though, would be a mistake. The tour by the career politicians had nothing to do with combining the support for Assange with developing public opposition to social inequality, war or the broader assault on democratic rights.

Needless to say, these representatives of big business did not address meetings of American workers about the need to defend Assange. They would not have had anything to say to such an audience, or any basis upon which to make an appeal.

Instead, the tour was framed in generally right-wing terms. The importance of the “friendship” between the US and Australia was repeatedly emphasised. That is a reference to the militarist alliance between the two countries, which currently centres on advanced preparations for a catastrophic war against China.

Notably, the Greens MPs, Shoebridge and Whish-Wilson, were as fulsome as anyone in their praise of this “friendship.” That underscores the fraudulent character of their occasional nationalist posturing against aspects of the alliance, especially the $368 billion AUKUS agreement for Australia to acquire a fleet of nuclear-powered attack submarines from the US and Britain.

Rather, the MPs pitched Assange’s persecution as a potential barrier to the deepening of the war drive. They warned that it could incite popular hostility to the alliance in Australia, and be used by China and other US rivals to expose Washington’s fraudulent invocations of human rights and democracy.

The references to a supposedly broad “cross-party delegation” cannot obscure the fact that this group was a rather motley crew.

The Labor government claims to have made representations in private to the US for an end to the prosecution of Assange. To the extent that those assertions are true, the limited representations have clearly been rebuffed. Labor, whose commitment to Assange’s liberty was always very tenuous and expressed in the most tepid form, has simply dropped the matter. Albanese and other leaders of the government have not mentioned the WikiLeaks founder publicly for months.

It is no surprise that the only Labor representative was Tony Zappia, a backbencher with a very limited public profile.

The complicity of the Labor government in Assange’s persecution has helped right-wing figures pose as defenders of Assange and democratic rights. Alex Antic is on the far-right wing of the Liberal Party. Joyce is also a reactionary, whose political record is associated with the persecution of refugees and other vulnerable layers, as well as aggressive support for the interests of the country’s largest corporations. Both figures, in other words, have nothing to do with the fight for civil liberties.

The implications were made clear by two incidents.

In at least one interview, Joyce used the Assange case to pursue a bizarre vendetta against US actors Johnny Depp and Amber Heard. He has, for years, denounced the pair for allegedly bringing two dogs to Australia without declaring them to customs. Joyce said that just as the US would not accept the extradition of Depp and Heard for that purported wrongdoing, Australians should not accede to Assange’s dispatch to Washington.

The comments only served to lower the tone and downplay the implications of the US pursuit of Assange.

More significant was the fact that the six parliamentarians, including the Greens MPs, held a private meeting with Marjorie Taylor Greene who has nothing to do with defending democratic rights. The Republican was a key backer of Donald Trump’s attempted coup on January 6, 2021. Her other credentials include denouncing Black Lives Matter as a “domestic terrorist organisation” and declaring that Jewish-controlled space lasers were responsible for wildfires in California.

The MPs, in other words, sought to tap into the sewer of the American fascistic right. This is clearly not the constituency for defending the democratic rights of an anti-war publisher.

7NEWS AUSTRALIA offers this video report.

Former Speaker of the House Bronwyn Bishop said the Australian politicians are “wasting their time” trying to release Julian Assange.

“I mean the Americans, there’s no way they’re going to give into a group of Australians who come by for a chat, it’s got no more standing than that,” she told Sky News host Sharri Markson.

“So, I think it’s a waste of time.” 

Update time.  In Thursday's snapshot, we noted that US Senator Bob Menendez was yet again under federal investigation.  Friday, after the snapshot posted, the Justice Dept announced Menendez was indicted (we posted the press release here).  Kevin Reed (WSWS) reports:

New Jersey Democratic Senator Robert Menendez was indicted on Friday by federal prosecutors in New York, along with four others, including his wife Nadine Menendez, on multiple charges of bribery.

The US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York brought the charges against Menendez, a senior senator and chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, for using “his official position” to provide favors to three businessmen and the Egyptian government “in exchange for hundreds of thousands of dollars” for himself and his wife which included “gold bars, cash and a luxury convertible.”

In a Department of Justice press release Friday, US Attorney Damian Williams said a grand jury charged the Menendezes for engaging in “a corrupt relationship” with New Jersey businessmen Wael Hana, Jose Uribe, and Fred Daibes and unnamed Egyptian government officials between 2018 and 2022.

Williams’ statement went on to say the businessmen “collectively paid hundreds of thousands of dollars of bribes, including cash, gold, a Mercedes Benz, and other things of value—in exchange for Senator Menendez agreeing to use his power and influence to protect and enrich those businessmen and to benefit the Government of Egypt.”

Responding eight hours after the indictment, leading Democratic Party leaders in the Garden State, including New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, called on Menendez to resign. Murphy said the allegations are “deeply disturbing” and “implicate national security and the integrity of our criminal justice system.” The governor continued, saying the “facts are so serious they compromise the ability of Senator Menendez to effectively represent the people of our state.”

Clearly, the stench of corruption surrounding the longtime federal legislator from New Jersey—Menendez held a seat in the House of Representatives from 1993 to 2006 and has been in the Senate since 2006—was so strong that the Department of Justice was forced to shut him down.

Senator Menendez was implicated in ethics violations in 2006 for renting property he owned to a non-profit agency that received federal funding. In 2015, he was indicted on bribery and fraud charges involving requests that the State Department pressure the Dominican Republic to enforce a government contract that benefited a Florida businessman, who gave the senator money and paid for his expensive vacation trips on a private jet.

At present, the senator is refusing calls to resign from his seat.  He has announced a press conference later today.  He is not expected to announce his resignation but instead to announce that he is seeking re-election.  41-year-old House Rep Andy Kim announced over the weekend that he was going to run against the 69-year-old (and indicted) Menendez for the Senate seat:

In other news, "Stop killing Kurds!"  In Australia, a demonstration on Saturday included that chant.

A protest on September 23 called on the Australian government to break its silence about Turkey's ongoing war on the Kurds and its recent deadly attacks in the south Kurdistan region of Iraq.

On September 18, three peshmerga (Kurdish freedom fighters) affiliated with the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) were killed and three others wounded in a drone strike on an airport in Sulaymaniyah/ Silêmanî.

At around the same time, Deniz Cevdet Bülbün, the representative the Kurdistan National Congress (KNK) — Kurdish umbrella organisation — was killed in an armed attack on the KNK's Erbil (Hewlêr) office.

"This was an attack on the unity of the Kurdish people," Kurdish community representative Brusk Aeiveri told the rally.

He accused the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) authorities of collaborating with the Turkish state to facilitate attacks like these.

The protest called for a free Kurdistan.  On the KRG, Azhi Rasul (RUDAW) reports:

Iraq’s Federal Supreme Court on Sunday ruled to dissolve the Kurdistan Region’s provincial councils “due to the end of their electoral cycle,” after declaring an amendment for their extension as “unconstitutional.” 

The court stated that Article No. 2 in Law No. 2 of 2019, which amended the provincial councils for the provinces of the Kurdistan Region, was “unconstitutional,” it said in a statement. 

According to provisions from Article 2 of the Iraqi constitution, the amendments went against the principles of democracy and infringed on basic rights and freedoms. 

Elections for the Kurdistan Region’s provincial councils were last held in April 2014, and members of the council were sworn in on June of the same year to serve for four years, until June 2018. 

ALMAYADEEN notes, "It is worth noting that in July 2019, the Kurdistan Region of Iraq's Parliament passed a proposal to amend the law governing provincial councils in the region, including extending the terms of the existing councils to bridge the legal gap created by the expiration of their mandates."  MEDYA NEWS adds, "Journalist Fehim Işık told Medya News that the Kurdistan Regional Government is now considering how to respond to the court’s decision. However, the Kurdistan Region of Iraq has been left without a functioning legislative body since May due to disputed parliamentary elections. This impasse has prevented the parties from taking collective decisions or convening parliament."

Australia's Saturday protest follows last week's visit to the US by Iraq's Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani who addressed the United Nations General Assembly on Friday.  The UN notes:

MOHAMMED SHIA' AL SUDANI, Prime Minister of Iraq, said that his country has always believed in the principles the UN was founded upon.  The spirit of consensus has prevailed in Iraq.  “We now have a Government that enjoys a widespread political coalition that covers all aspects of society,” he added.  It has adopted a programme with crucial priorities that reflect issues that must be implemented without delay and that benefit the people of Iraq. These priorities include employment opportunities, poverty eradication, fighting corruption and enacting economic reforms.  “Iraq has become a safe environment” for investors as well.  A pivotal State in the global oil market, Iraq is also working on a regional corridor that will make transport and trade easier.

Turning to corruption, he said, indeed, his country faced a “corruption pandemic”.  The Government is focused on eradicating “this disease”, he stressed.  It is vital to pursue those who spread corruption.  “We must return the money they have stolen because we believe there is a symbiotic relationship between corruption and terrorism,” he went on to say.  “We want Iraq part of the solution to any international and regional problem,” he added. Iraq is committed to international law and respects all United Nations resolutions.  That is why Baghdad rejects any interference in its internal affairs “regardless of the excuse”.  He stressed that “Iraq will not be a launching point of aggression against any other State.”  To its neighbours, his country extends the hand of friendship.  “We hope to achieve regional integration.”  Iraq’s place in the field of international cooperation must be bolstered.

On the holding of local elections, after a 10-year hiatus, he said the Federal Government is working with the region of Kurdistan and all other regions of Iraq on “equal footing”.  Turning to climate change, he noted that “the land of Mesopotamia” is suffering from a drought, also cautioning:  “The cradle of civilization must not be allowed to die of thirst.” Iraq is working on exerting more efforts between relevant regional States to form a negotiating bloc and to manage cross-border water resources.  He stressed the need to mobilize international efforts to ensure the sustainability of water sources.  On a national level, Iraq has taken steps to lower emissions and combat pollution.  However, institutions are needed to deal with mounting climate challenges.

Further, he underscored Iraq’s “intensifying” efforts in combating drugs and any related activities.  “It is no secret that there is a direct relationship between terrorism and drugs,” he said.  Young people constitute 60 per cent of the country’s population.  “They are the best investment,” he continued, underscoring the many programmes that aim to support students and youth so that they can find employment opportunities.  Students and young people must be empowered with skills that can allow for innovation.  He also recognized the role of women in helping Iraq achieve victory against terrorism. Pledging support to the Palestinian people, he called for an end to the suffering of the Syrian people and stressed that they must be allowed full control of their territory.  “Burning the holy Qur’an is a hate crime,” he went on to say, warning also:  “We, in Iraq, know the bitter taste of religious extremism.”

Lastly, Amr Salem (IRAQI NEWS) is one of the few reporting on a change in Iraqi oil:


Iraq is about to enact an oil and gas law that would give international corporations a part in the nation’s oil output after more than ten years of discussions and delays.

This important step may take place after the municipal elections in December, according to Al-Sabah newspaper.

Despite the most recent developments, there are still outstanding issues between the federal government in Baghdad and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in Erbil.

A planned federal oil and gas council’s proposed leadership is one of the main points of conflict, Ali Mashkour, a member of the Parliament’s Oil and Gas Committee, told Oil & Gas Middle East.

So the goals of the Iraq War finally reach fruition and do so with little comment or attention from the international community?  Iraq's Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani spent last week in the US where he met with many leaders -- business and government -- and addressed the United Nations' General Assembly.   John Lee (MENAFN) reports, "Iraqi Prime Minister, Mr. Mohammed Shia Al-Sudani, held a meeting with members of the American Chamber of Commerce in New York on Thursday evening (local time). The meeting was attended by businessmen, investors, and representatives of major American companies. During the meeting, he praised the efforts of Mr. Steve Lutes, the Deputy Head of the American Chamber of Commerce, for organizing the meeting to inform investors about the business environment in Iraq."

Sunday, Isaiah's THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS "Bad News: He's A Floater" and "Bo Ho?" went up and Kat's album reviews "Kat's Korner: Pretenders are RESTLESS and Alive" and "Kat's Korner: Tyler Childers' RUSTIN IN THE RAIN and living through the pain" went up.   The following sites updated:


Saturday, September 23, 2023

Beyonce, Pantera, Scott Weiland, Corinne Bailey Rae, DJ Kool Herc, Dolly Parton

I've had negative thoughts and made negative remarks about The Hive over the years.  But I will give them their due tonight.  Bil Browning (LGBTQ NATION) reports:

Jon Hetherington had waited 25 years to see Beyoncé in concert. He’d weathered the exhausting process to score a coveted ticket for the Queen’s Renaissance World Tour.

But on the day of the concert, his excitement crumbled when the flight from Eugene, Oregon, to Seattle couldn’t accommodate his wheelchair, leaving him grounded.

After he posted about his crushed dream on social media, the Beyhive went to work. Last night, Hetherington flew to Texas at this singer’s invitation to see her perform. Her team even arranged the flight. 

So good for The Hive.  And while applauding them, take a moment to think about Jon Heatherington and others like him.  For most of us, we buy a ticket, we go to the concert.  There may be some travel involved.  Take a moment to grasp what is means if you're, for example, in a wheel chair and the extra steps that involves.

Okay, headline, "Pantera Drop Off Aftershock Festival, Replaced by Stone Temple Pilots." Sorry Pantera dropped out and wonder why.  But am I the only one who recoils when she reads nonsense like "replaced by Stone Temple Pilot"?  

Scott Weiland was STP.  He's dead.  There is no STP.  The DeLeo brothers look freakier each day -- which is really saying something since they had unibrows going back to the band's formation and one of them is wall-eyed.  Scott was the group.  Without Scott there is no group.  They really need to get a new name.

Over at NME, Nick Levine interviews Corinne Bailey Rae:

Corinne Bailey Rae‘s new album, ‘Black Rainbows’, is a fascinating tour de force. Inspired by multiple revelatory visits to Chicago’s Stony Island Arts Bank, a Black art and culture hub that Bailey Rae calls her “second home”, it’s a bold and unselfconscious collection that defies categorisation. One minute she’s chanting over punky guitar riffs on the thrilling single ‘New York Transit Queen’, the next she’s singing with bell-like clarity on the sublime piano ballad ‘Peach Velvet Sky’. “I just felt very free in terms of how I could use my voice and what the music could sound like,” she tells NME.

By design, ‘Black Rainbows’ is quite unlike any other Corinne Bailey Rae album. “I didn’t want to feel any weight of expectation in relation to what I’ve done before,” the Leeds-based singer-songwriter says when we meet in central London. What she’s done before, of course, is consistently impressive. Released in 2006, her eponymous debut went triple-platinum in the UK after spawning the Grammy-nominated pop-soul bops ‘Like A Star’ and ‘Put Your Records On’. The latter, which was turned into a TikTok hit in 2020 by American indie artist Ritt Momney, remains an enduringly lovely summer anthem.

Use the link to continue reading.  Over at SPIN, John Leland interviews DJ Kool Herc:

Set the scene: 1520 Sedgwick Avenue in the Bronx, August 11, 1973, a summer party in an apartment building’s rec room. Twenty-five cents admission for girls, 50 cents for boys. Olde English 800 or Colt 45 for a buck. Could be just another sweaty night in the city, except that the DJ is up to something different. Instead of playing the hits of the moment, he plays some slow jams — yes — and lots of hard, drum-heavy funk: James Brown’s “Give it Up or Turnit a Loose,” Baby Huey’s “Listen to Me,” the Jimmy Castor Bunch’s “It’s Just Begun.”  

He’s a Jamaican-born 18-year-old named Clive Campbell, or DJ Kool Herc, and he’s noticed that some kids only dance to the parts of the songs when everything drops out except the drums, and then they break wild. So that’s what he gives them: playing the break on one of his Garrard turntables, then repeating it on the other, back and forth, back and forth. On the microphone, he and his friend Coke La Rock call out the names of people in the room, giving them status. 

And MOJO's Grayson Haver Currin interviews Dolly Parton about her upcoming album:

You’re in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but you’ve just made your first rock’n’roll record, Rockstar. Why did it take so long?

I never thought about being rock’n’roll. Country was my vein, mountain music. My husband, Carl, is a rock’n’roll freak, the craziest thing. He only likes rock’n’roll, with the exception that he loves Merle Haggard and Lester Flatt. He’s one of those acid rockers. Led Zeppelin was his favourite group.

Carl, he never really particularly liked country music. He loved me, but he was never really that fond of my music. This is not a bad thing. I wrote one song on this album when I was a girl, the one I do with Simon Le Bon, My Blue Tears. One day Carl heard me singing that song, and he said, “Now, that’s a good song.” We were just young and married, so I remembered. When I got ready to do Rockstar, something told me to do it. It’s one of my favourite songs on there.

Will there be a sequel?

I won’t do another. I won’t need to – 30 songs is a lot. I may sing a song. I just got a call from Elton John the other day, saying, “Would you sing on my album?” Years ago, he did the Country Music Association Awards and sang with me on Imagine. We went backstage, and he knows all these country songs, these classics. We were backstage singing so good together. We said, “Man, we should do a duet of country songs,” but we never got around to that.

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

Friday, September 22, 2023.  Shia al-Sudani uses his US visit to meet with many, Rupert Murdoch heads off for his coffin as the sun rises, Ronald DeSantis drops further in the polls and much more.

Iraq's Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani came to the United States this week to address the United Nations' General Assembly.  He's also met with numerous politicians and world leaders as well as business leaders and journalists.  Late yesterday, the White House issued the following statement:


Deputy Assistant to the President and White House Coordinator for the Middle East and North Africa Brett McGurk and Deputy Assistant and Senior Advisor to the President for Energy and Investment Amos Hochstein met last night with Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani of Iraq to confirm the strong U.S. partnership with Iraq as outlined in the Strategic Framework Agreement between the two countries. The United States took special note of Prime Minister Sudani’s leadership moving Iraq’s policy towards strengthening its own energy security, including with electricity grid connections to Jordan, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia, as well as major energy deals with western firms to capture flared gas in southern Iraq for domestic use and future export. Hochstein and McGurk also welcomed recent agreements between the Government of Iraq and the Kurdistan Regional Government regarding monthly budget allocations, and emphasized the urgency of reopening the Iraq-Turkiye Pipeline as soon as possible. On regional matters, McGurk pledged full U.S. support to help finally resolve outstanding maritime boundary issues with Kuwait, particularly in relation to UNSCR 833. Sudani welcomed this support, and reaffirmed Iraq’s longstanding and clear policy recognizing Kuwait’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, all prior bilateral agreements between the two friendly countries, and adherence to international law, including UN Security Council Resolutions.


In other news, Rupert Murdoch is returning to Bran Castle in Romania.  Paul Rudnick Tweets:

Rupert Murdoch, the media magnate who built an unmatched global media empire over seven decades from a single newspaper he inherited in his native Australia, announced on Thursday that he would step down.

"I have been engaged daily with news and ideas, and that will not change," Murdoch wrote in a memo to employees at Fox News, The Wall Street Journal, and the many other properties that make up his two corporations, Fox Corp. and News Corp. "The time is right for me to take on different roles."

Murdoch's career has been marked by a singular drive for business success, an eagerness to have sway over elections and policies, and the repeated eruption of scandals. Fox News, which he founded in 1996, has played an increasingly prominent role in his profits, his influence, and his crises.

[. . .]

Murdoch's Sun tabloid relied on anonymous police sources to blame soccer hooligans for a deadly stampede after a stadium collapse; in fact, the police's own poor disaster response was found to be responsible. News Corp. later paid hundreds of millions of dollars after it came to light that people acting on its behalf had hacked into the mobile phones, voicemails and emails. The Murdochs closed down one of its tabloids, News of the World, and abandoned hope of taking full control of Sky, a major British satellite television outfit in which it held a significant stake.

In the U.S., Fox News paid nine figures to resolve a growing wave of sexual harassment accusations against then-Fox News chairman and CEO Roger Ailes, among others. It later paid millions of dollars to the family of a slain Democratic National Committee staffer whom it baselessly claimed had leaked thousands of party emails that had actually been hacked during the 2016 campaign by the Russian government.

Yet nothing matched the debacle after the 2020 presidential election.

Murdoch's role in allowing Fox News stars to embrace discredited claims of fraud in that race came into sharp view during a defamation suit filed against the network and Fox Corp. The company settled for $787.5 million this spring, just before opening arguments in the trial were to begin. Dominion Voting Systems, the plaintiff, planned to make Murdoch one of the first witnesses to testify before the jury.

Despite Murdoch's contempt for Trump, Fox amplified his baseless claims of having been cheated out of victory. Documents from that legal case show network leaders were desperate to win back viewers angry that Fox News journalists had projected Trump would lose Arizona on Election Night.

Nothing matched the debacle after the 2020 presidential election? 


I guess that's true . . . if you write a 920 word column and none of the words are: Iraq War.

But in the real world, far away from NPR apparently, the Iraq War is the debacle of the 21st century.  As the UK's HEAD TOPICS notes:

An MSNBC presenter, Mehdi Hasan, linked Mr Murdoch’s influence and Fox’s news agenda to different political events in the past 20 years. He said in a post on X that “some of the worst things we have had to experience in recent years – the Iraq war, the rise of Trump, the Big Election Lie – are all thanks to him and Fox”. headtopics.

At THE NEW REPUBLIC, in a piece titled "Rupert Murdoch Made The World Worse," Alex Shephard writes:

The worst thing that you can say about Rupert Murdoch, who resigned from the board of the Fox and News Corporations on Tuesday, is that no one has had a greater influence on the news over the last half-century. Murdoch’s influence is both incalculable and fantastically corrosive. It is impossible to look at all of the most malignant aspects of the current news environment—its pace, its callousness, its rancor—without seeing his impact. It is also a fully baked cake. Murdoch may be exiting the scene, but there is no undoing the damage he has done.

[. . .]

Much will be made about Fox News, Murdoch’s greatest and most destructive creation. With Roger Ailes, he turned it into a juggernaut and transformed the media. The cable news industry as we know it is, more or less, the invention of Murdoch and Ailes. News had long been packaged as entertainment, but this reached new heights at Fox News. The network itself existed as an answer to long-standing conservative complaints that the media had a “liberal” bias. It portrayed itself as a “fair and balanced” corrective. It was, instead, a new, powerful partisan machine. It worked immaculately.

Fox News, with Murdoch and Ailes at the helm, transformed news into a massive engine of confirmation bias. It was a safe space for Americans, most of them older and white, to have their fantasies affirmed: Immigrants were pouring into the country, crime was out of control, their way of life was under threat from sources both foreign and domestic. For decades, it pushed conspiracies of every stripe and played a major role in pushing numerous disasters, from the Iraq War to the January 6 insurrection. Pushing conspiracies was and is Fox’s business plan: It exists to tell its viewers that their political opponents are not just their adversaries but represent an existential threat.

Before Rupert Murdoch began illegally making inroads in the US media (foreign ownership was forbidden when Murdoch began his media empire building in the US and he had not yet become a US citizen -- wouldn't until 1985), his trashy ways were already well known.  COUNTERPUNCH has republished a 1976 piece by the late Alexander Cockburn

US political races?  So ABC NEWS is the one who let Ronald DeSantis lie this week.  Is that the deal?  He does a sit down interview with you and you agree to let him lie?  From ABC NEWS' report on Linsey Davis' interview with him:

"For example, I served in Iraq back in the day. al-Qaida didn't wear uniforms. You know, the typical Arab male would have had the man dress on. You didn't know if they had a bomb strapped to them or not. They carry around the AK-47s, normal civilians would, so you couldn't even say if they had," he said.

You were a member of JAG.  You were a well protected attorney in Iraq.  

At least he didn't try to lie again about being a Navy Seal.  But he was not in combat.  He was not doing deliveries and driving through hazardous roads and regions as part of his job.  He was in a comfy well protected office.  Green Zone Baby, basically.  

"The man dress"?  How stupid and insulting is this idiot?

He most likely means the dishdasha.  He wants to cite his time in Iraq as experience but he can't even identify a dishdasha or a kandora.  He's an idiot.  A short, little fat man who wears that lesbian vest everywhere he goes.  For someone who hates and persecutes LGBTQ+ people, he sure does like to dress like a lesbian in the 80s -- even that awful hairstyle.  I find it hilarious that he calls out drag queens as though he thinks he's the portrait of manly.

Jeffrey St. Clair (COUNTERPUNCH) notes Ronald's new polling problems:

+ New CNN/UNH poll shows DeSantis in freefall in New Hampshire since the last poll in July.

Trump: 39% (+2)
Ramaswamy: 13% (+8)
Haley: 12% (+7)
Christie: 11% (+5)
DeSantis: 10% (-13)
Scott: 5% (-3)
Pence: 2% (+1)
Burgum: 1% (-5)

Several e-mailed the public account regarding the following Tweets from Glenneth Greenwald.

One of the conceits the Dem-loyal left tells itself is that the corporate media is deeply hostile to it, because they're so threatening to establishment interests. Meanwhile, I don't think I've ever seen the NYT lavish a book with more endless praise than Naomi Klein's new one.
The vast majority of media figures who lucratively branded as radical, disruptive, anti-establishment leftists -- by attaching to the Bernie campaign -- is now indistinguishable from MSNBC liberalism. They don't pretend any more, which I guess is good. They're all in on Biden.
Also, one day someone will have to explain this to me: Those who cheer the same war policy Tom Cotton and Lindsey Graham support are the real left-liberals. Those who oppose the US role in that war are "far-right fascists." These labels are pointless:

I'm dictating this and the Tweets are being pulled from e-mails by the person I'm dictating too.  Wasn't planning on addressing this or I would have embedded the Tweets before I got on the tread mill.  At any rate . ..

1) Naomi Klein's book.  I haven't read the reviews.  I did review it here on Saturday "Naomi Klein's DOPPELGANGER" and on Sunday Ava and I did "Books (Ava and C.I.)" (which I think posted Monday at THIRD).  I do recommend the book -- Jim asked, after he read my review, besides the punctuation what did I like about it?  I don't do puff pieces.  It's a good book.  It's worth reading.  If you're a feminist, you'll be disappointed because you will grasp Anais Nin's importance to Otto Rank (as a patient, as a translator, as a practitioner, as a lover).  So if you're mentioning Rank, you really don't know what you're talking about if you're not mentioning Anais.  That's especially true if you're writing of doppelgangers, doubles, twins.  And Anais Nin's entire output in terms of novels is nothing but the twinning.  Freud really doesn't apply to what Naomi Klein's going after.  Now most readers won't be feminists and that's going to sail over them.  I write from my point of view and if I ever have anything to offer that's the only reason why.  So, again, don't do puff pieces -- noted that in Friday's snapshot because people were e-mailing asking me to review the book.  I do tear-downs all the time.  Didn't do a tear-down on Naomi Klein.  If I'd wanted to, I would have.  And I've even got a helpful parenthetical in my review referring anyone who wants to do a negative review of the book.  And, again, if I wanted to do a tear-down, I could have.  

2) Glenneth hates Naomi.  He's hated her for some time.  This predates his leaving THE INTERCEPT.  In fairness to him, she did come down on the wrong side -- ethically and legally -- when THE INTERCEPT refused to run Glenneth's column about the Hunter Biden laptop.  She slammed him publicly and shouldn't have.  A) One writer to another, she should have stood with him against censorship.  If she couldn't do that, the kind thing to have done was to have said nothing in the immediate aftermath.   Glenneth was an idiot himself.  They violated his contract, so he quit.  He should have sued, that's why you have contracts to begin with.  (I've sometimes made more money from a project I've signed for then one I've completed.)  When I note that's he's not a very smart attorney, that's what I'm talking about.  

3) Glenneth's bad mouthed Naomi for over a decade so factor that in to any of his Tweets.

4) Also factor in his stupidity.  THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW is not taking orders from the editorial board of the newspaper.  It and THE NEW YORK TIMES MAGAZINE operate with a degree of independence.  NYT BOOK REVIEW is -- and always has been -- rather clannish.  NYT did not rave over Naomi Klein, THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW did.  I'd think clarity would be something an 'attorney' would strive for.

5) When he Tweets "The vast majority of media figures who lucratively branded as radical, disruptive, anti-establishment leftists -- by attaching to the Bernie campaign -- is now indistinguishable from MSNBC liberalism."  Huh?  He's made that a part of the thread with his Naomi Tweet.  Is she one of the vast majority . . .?  I don't get what he's trying to say or smear her with.  

Has she presented herself as a radical?  I don't believe she has but I could be wrong.  In terms of Canadian activists, she's pretty much in the mainstream.  (That's not me sneering at her.  I'm not a radical -- I lack the energy.)  Did she attach herself to Bernie's campaign?  If so, that was wrong.  I had originally dictated something on that but we're pulling it because it will be mean towards her and we've said it before so there's no reason to say it again.  There may be at another time but certainly no reason to bring it up while responding to Glenneth's nonsense. I wish she were more and I'm probably harder on her for that reason.  But, objectively, who she is is largely who she self-presents as and I don't believe she's claimed to be a radical.  She's a climate activist mainly.  She's also a mother and I found that section of the book to be the most moving.  

In terms of her work, she's been far more consistent than Glenneth has.  She's also got consistency that he lacks as he tries to grift her and there or play the trickster when he's influencing (or trying to) an election.  Like back in 2008.  

Glenneth doesn't like women.  He's too busy rejecting them and anything feminine so that he can look 'like a man.'  Remember, he was closeted to most in college and did everything he could to fit in with straight bullies.  He gets his attitude towards women from them.  If you went through his Tweets and just compiled statistics, you'd realize how unimportant women are to Glenneth. 

As for the third Tweet?  Just another example of how the supposed attorney lack clarity.  I've been against the proxy war on Ukraine since it started.  When CODESTINK wasn't sure where to come down, I'd already made my position clear.  WSWS are not "far right fascists" and they're also against the proxy war.  There are many more.  But Glenneth creates straw men because he's always been afraid of getting his butt kicked by actual men.  (Which is why I do believe that flash drive contained Glenneth's browser history.)  

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