Thursday, May 23, 2024

Patti LaBelle, Chaka Khan, disgusting Diddy

 I think it really is the end of Puffy, P-Diddy, whatever name he's using currently.  Maria Butt (INDEPENDENT) reports:

Chaka Khan’s daughter has called out rapper Sean “Diddy” Combs for “yelling and screaming” at her mother just days after he apologised for beating ex-girlfriend Cassie in a 2016 video.

The 54-year-old who has been the subject of numerous allegations and lawsuits, shared an apology video on Instagram in which he called his behaviour “inexcusable”.

In the comments section of the video, Khan’s daughter Indira Milini Khan, slammed the rapper for his treatment of the “I’m Every Woman” singer and celebrated his downfall.

“I’m glad this is happening to you, you got in my mothers face and publicly disrespected her yelling and screaming like a lunatic,” she wrote.

She further alleged that Combs ordered his security team to attack her brother as he tried to protect the music legend.

“When my little brother tried to get you out of my mothers face your security jumped my 19 year old brother,” she continued.

That's a story I already knew -- about him being rude to Chaka.  Good for her daughter for calling him out.  Chaka is a legendary singer, yes, but she's also a very kind person.  I was surprised by her kindness and her height.  Onstage, she seems 10 feet tall.  It's stage presence and charisma that makes her seem tall and towering.

P Diddy seems like the tiny little man he is.   He also seems to think that after lying that he beat Cassie Ventura, after denying that it happened, he can just offer some mealy mouthed words now that we've all seen the video.  Cassie has made a statement, by the way.  Maria Butt (INDEPENDENT) reports:

The former rapper posted an apology video on Sunday (19 May) in which he called his behaviour “inexcusable” and said he “takes full responsibility for his actions in the video”.

An attorney for Ventura called the apology “disingenuous”.

However, the 37-year-old, mother-of-two has now released a statement in her own words, speaking out on the incident.

“Thank you for all the love and support from my family, friends, strangers and those I have yet to meet,” she wrote via Instagram on Thursday (22 May).

“The outpouring of love has created a place for my younger self to settle and feel safe now, but this is only the beginning.

“Domestic violence is THE issue. It broke me down to someone I never thought I would become. With a lot of hard work, I am better today but I will always be recovering from my past.”

THE DAILY MAIL adds, "Sean 'Diddy' Combs is being sued by a former model who claims he drugged and sexually assaulted her in 2003. Crystal McKinney (pictured right) filed a lawsuit against the rapper, 54 -- who is currently facing a [sexual intercourse] trafficking probe and multiple other sexual misconduct lawsuits -- alleging that she was assaulted at his studio, as per TMZ."

Let's move over to Patti LaBelle.  My top five favorite Patti songs:

5) "I Met Him On A Sunday" 
4) "If You Asked Me To"
3) "On My Own"
2) "New Attitude"
1) "Yo Mister"

"I Met Him On A Sunday" is a song she did with LaBelle and Laura Nyro on Laura's GONNA TAKE A MIRACLE album.  I think the other four are widely known hits.  I will note that Prince wrote and produced "Yo Mister" and you can hear him singing on the chorus.

Patti LaBelle is approaching a big birthday. “Eighty good ones, right? Eighty!” she says incredulously. “And it’s still getting better.” How are you going to celebrate on Friday? “It’s a surprise. My son’s not telling me anything, but I have my beautiful gown and my beautiful jewels ready. And I have another hairstyle for my outfit. I’m prepared!”

I ask her if she is still performing. She looks at me, shocked. Is she performing? Is she ever not performing? “Last week I got back from Kentucky, Detroit, Saint Louis and Atlanta. I spend at least seven months of the year touring.”

In her most famous incarnation, as the leader of the trio Labelle (alongside Sarah Dash and the phenomenal Nona Hendryx) singing the soul-funk classic, 1974’s Lady Marmalade, she wore a silver space-suit and boots that would put Elton John to shame (he was her pianist before he was famous). Today, she’s equally stylish – black ski-slope hair, huge eyelashes, ferocious silver nails, white diamond hoop earrings and a ruby ring you could land a helicopter on. Her skin is fabulous. She looks a good 20 years younger.

LaBelle is at home in Philadelphia, where she grew up, when we speak on video call. Her house is part Charles Saatchi, part Liberace – abstract sculpture behind her, glitzy chandelier above, shih-tzu barking in the background. When Lady Marmalade was released 50 years ago, it was already her second coming. In the early 60s, Patti LaBelle and the Bluebelles had hits with songs such as I Sold My Heart to the Junkman and cover versions of You’ll Never Walk Alone and Over the Rainbow. They were a classic girl group of their time – dressed in identical gowns, tiaras and gloves.



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


Thursday, May 23, 2024.  Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito sports contempt for the American people, the Israeli government continues attacking hospitals and healthcare workers, students continue protesting around the world, and much more.

Friday morning Amy Goodman (DEMOCRACY NOW!) noted:

In other Supreme Court news, The New York Times is reporting an upside-down U.S. flag, which is a symbol used by Trump supporters and election deniers, hung outside the home of Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito in January 2021, just days before Biden’s inauguration. The revelations are expected to reignite calls for Alito to recuse himself from cases related to the January 6 insurrection, including Trump’s attempt to claim immunity from election subversion charges.


Alito is corrupt and not fit to serve.  Ruth covered this topic on Saturday "Like Thomas, Alito must recuse himself from all Jan. 6th cases" and she asked me for a comment (I wrote about it Friday in the gina & krista round-robin):

There are a number of issues here and multiple red flags.  Alito should recuse himself from any January 6th cases.  Alito states that his wife hung the flag upside down.  He states that it was done in relation to some other protest and has nothing to do with the January 6th attempted insurrection.  He is asking the American people to believe him on that.  That's too big of an ask.  There is the appearance of a conflict of interest and he may very well be lying.  I'm texting you a link to add to what I'm about to say.  Lying?  While attempting to be confirmed to the Supreme Court in 2006, he told Senator Ted Kennedy that ROE V WADE was settled law.  Then came his voting to overturn ROE.  That decision eroded confidence in the Court across the country.  He really is in no place to beg the American people to believe him.  Did his wife do the flag?  He was a judge before he got on the Supreme Court.  His wife knows the rules.  And if she did do it, that actually raises more concerns.  His work colleague is Clarence.  Ginni Thomas was part of the January 6th attempted insurrection.  Was Martha-Ann Alito also part of that insurrection attempt?  Do we need to be concerned as a country over just how deep that insurrection attempt actually was?  These and other questions immediately follow.  So there is the appearance of a conflict of interest.  That requires Alito to step aside on all January 6th cases.  His job is not just to rule.  His job is to rule and to ensure trust in the Court.  Refusing to recuse himself would be failing at his job. And the integrity of the Court is as important as any ruling it issues.  As a member of the Court, Alito has to maintain the integrity of the Court and he can't do that without recusing himself from all January 6th cases.

That was me to Ruth on Saturday.  Alito's a liar.  That's no longer opinion, there's a new story.

Israel’s war cabinet has instructed negotiators to resume talks on a deal to release hostages held in Gaza, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said early Thursday. The statement came after the families of five female Israeli soldiers released footage of their capture by Hamas on Oct. 7, in hopes it would push authorities to restart stalled negotiations."  Hamza Hendawi (THE NATIONAL) reports:
 Shona Murray (EURONEWS) reports:

Netanyahu and his corrupt government have lied repeatedly.  Remember the claim that they didn't attack hospitals?  ALZAZEERA notes:

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!,, The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman, with Juan González.

We now look at the ongoing crackdown on student-led protests in solidarity with Palestine across U.S. college campuses. An encampment at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor is the latest to be violently dismantled by police, and President Santa Ono claimed the peaceful action had become a threat to public safety. Dozens of officers dressed in riot gear, wielding batons, raided the encampment before dawn Tuesday, pepper-spraying and pushing students to the ground as they tore down the camp.

PROTESTERS: [shouting] Move, cops! Get out the way! Move, cops! Get out the way! We know you’re Israel-trained! We know you’re Israel-trained! Move, cops! Get out the way! Go!

AMY GOODMAN: At least four people were arrested Tuesday, while two others were hospitalized after being pepper-sprayed by police. Student protesters set up the encampment about a month ago, demanding the University of Michigan’s endowment divest from companies with ties to Israel. This comes as the school’s president, Santa Ono, is slated to appear before Congress tomorrow alongside the presidents of UCLA and Yale to testify about their responses to the student-led protests and how they’re addressing reports of antisemitism on campus.

For more, we’re joined by Salma Hamamy, Palestinian American student at the University of Michigan, who just graduated earlier this month. Salma is the president of the Students for Justice in Palestine chapter at the University of Michigan. On Tuesday morning, she was pepper-sprayed and beaten by police who raided the university pro-Palestine encampment, joining us from Southfield, Michigan.

Welcome back to Democracy Now!, Salma. Can you describe what happened yesterday? And just to be clear, this has all happened after graduation at Mich?

SALMA HAMAMY: Hi. Yes, it did all happen after graduation. Students at the encampment have been holding down the encampment long after, even after graduation.

And at approximately 5:40 a.m., police came in full riot gear, actually while we were having a church service on the Diag, moving them out and essentially giving us a 10-minute warning, saying that we must be cleared off of the encampment. However, that 10 minutes, surprisingly, turned into five minutes, and they immediately began to charge at the protesters and at the students with their batons and pepper spray. Nearly every step forward that they took, chemicals were being sprayed in every direction. As students were falling to the floor in agony and in pain, they continued to push forward, beating students with batons. And us, standing, we were trying to, you know, hold up onto the students who have fallen down and lift them and take them over to safety. Yet they even began to arrest students in that very moment. So, it was very difficult to keep track of who’s being arrested, because, you know, we unfortunately could not see in those moments due to the chemical attacks directly sprayed onto our eyes. And they constantly pushed us further and further back. It took them about half an hour to entirely remove us from the encampment, as we tried our absolute hardest to remain strong and remain standing at the encampment. However, as we were pushed further and further back, students, unfortunately, were unable to remain standing due to the pepper spray and due to the intense beating with the batons, as well. Students’ phones were even confiscated as we were recording them.

I, personally, myself, was holding a megaphone, and kept a reasonable distance from the cops, as well, as I was chanting, specifically emphasizing why I was there and why I was protesting at the encampment. I repeatedly said that my family has been killed, and that is why I’m here. And as I was saying that through the megaphone, police officers snatched the megaphone out from my hand and threw it behind them.

So, not only was it an attack on the encampment, but it was an attack on us as students protesting entirely. And it was quite a traumatic experience, to say the least, but, unfortunately, not one that was surprising at all given the response that the university has taken against student protesters within the last eight months. This is not the first time that the university has unleashed violent police against students. And currently, as you mentioned, four are now facing felony charges. Three were actually hospitalized. And, you know, due to the inhaling of the pepper spray, several of us are unable to properly breathe at the moment due to the tactics that they deployed.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And, Salma, I wanted to ask you — you mentioned that this repression didn’t just start with the encampment. Many universities, for months now, have been cracking down on even the most minor protests occurring on their campuses. What’s been happening in Michigan over the past eight months?

SALMA HAMAMY: Over the past eight months, we have seen police brutally beat students to the floor, rip their hijabs off in the process, causing several students to have been hospitalized over the course of eight months. We currently now have eight total students facing felony charges and dozens more facing disciplinary repercussions by the university themselves. Even within the smallest protests of us marching into buildings during public, open hours, we have been met with police violence. Us protesting outside, we have been met with police violence.

It seems that as though wherever we stand, the university refuses to engage in dialogue with us to discuss divestment, as we have been demanding for the last eight months. And instead of meeting with us at the table and meeting with us at the encampment, they decided to meet us with violent force and chemical attacks.

AMY GOODMAN: Where do you go from here, Salma? You just graduated. You also helped to organize the protest at the University of Michigan graduation.

SALMA HAMAMY: Yeah. So, one of the reasons that the university decides to attack our encampment is because it is a physical display of our commitment, of our dedication and of our motivation entirely. So, by them thinking that they could take down the encampment, it is in no way ever going to take down our movement or our commitment, because that lies within the people and that lies within ourselves. And we are still standing. So, regardless if we happen to have the tents laid up or we have an encampment or we have various forms of protest, it is always going to remain strong, and it is going to remain stronger than ever, every single time the police try to oppress us, and especially when it is caused by our university.

So, graduates, alumni, staff members, faculty members, broader community members are all remaining united and are remaining united for the Palestinian cause and for the people of Gaza. And we are going to continue to fight back, and especially against these charges that have been placed against these students for protesting a genocide and for protesting our university’s funding of a genocide. So, we will remain strong, and we will remain wherever it is that the movement lies, because it lies within ourselves.

AMY GOODMAN: Do you think part of the dismantling of the encampment had to do with President Ono, president of the University of Michigan, having to testify before Congress tomorrow?

SALMA HAMAMY: Absolutely. I think it is a tactic that they are trying to uphold to protect themselves. However, one thing that is going to be made evidently clear, as it has made evidently clear with every single other raid at the encampment, is that it is not a good look for the university to come in and send police in riot gear. Of course, it is a fear tactic that Congress is trying to put against these university presidents. However, again, it’s not going to deter students away. And it is not a coincidence that around this time President Ono is sending police officers to not only physically danger and harm students, but also having dozens of students be faced with disciplinary charges from the university themselves and also eight felony charges from the prosecutor’s office.

AMY GOODMAN: Salma Hamamy, we want to thank you for being with his, Palestinian American student at University of Michigan, who just graduated earlier this month, and one of the organizers of the protest at the graduation.

 Like others around the world, we’ve been watching as neoliberal and corporate-controlled universities repress, silence, and violate peaceful protesters who are answering calls of conscience. As educators working in our various locales to break free from the structural chains of assembly-line school systems, we’re moved to unequivocally condemn those who order and undertake the beating and arresting of students, faculty, and supporters.

These are the very actions, as well as turning staff against the communities they serve and keeping students from reaching their beds, food, and medications—making campuses “unsafe” and not, as administrators claim, peaceful campus teach-ins and sit-ins.

We applaud and support students and others who are risking vilification, attacks by police and by right-wing extremists, arrest, and expulsion from their universities in defense of human rights and a swift end to the genocidal assault on Palestinians.

What kind of schooling violently subjugates those who lawfully express peace-oriented dissent?

We’re encouraged by this growing movement, which reveals an awakening among students of anti-colonial awareness and worldwide solidarity. On the other hand, the horrific repressive reactions of their institutions starkly reveal the oligarchic infrastructure on which Western formal education is built.

Let’s Reflect on the Purpose of Education

What is this modeling of violence in their own lives impressing on students? Such imperialist brutality is amplified to a much greater degree on the people whose lives and freedom they’re upholding.

What is education for, if it silences discourse on justice, freedom, and equity? What kind of schooling violently subjugates those who lawfully express peace-oriented dissent?

Universities should be spaces for intellectual and compassionate debate. Yet we are witnessing extensive censorship, abuse of power, the squelching of critical thinking, student suspensions, and arrests and firing of faculty members who support peaceful protest. 

Gaza remains under assault. Day 230 of  the assault in the wave that began in October.  Binoy Kampmark (DISSIDENT VOICE) points out, "Bloodletting as form; murder as fashion.  The ongoing campaign in Gaza by Israel’s Defence Forces continues without stalling and restriction.  But the burgeoning number of corpses is starting to become a challenge for the propaganda outlets:  How to justify it?  Fortunately for Israel, the United States, its unqualified defender, is happy to provide cover for murder covered in the sheath of self-defence."   CNN has explained, "The Gaza Strip is 'the most dangerous place' in the world to be a child, according to the executive director of the United Nations Children's Fund."  ABC NEWS quotes UNICEF's December 9th statement, ""The Gaza Strip is the most dangerous place in the world to be a child. Scores of children are reportedly being killed and injured on a daily basis. Entire neighborhoods, where children used to play and go to school have been turned into stacks of rubble, with no life in them."  NBC NEWS notes, "Strong majorities of all voters in the U.S. disapprove of President Joe Biden’s handling of foreign policy and the Israel-Hamas war, according to the latest national NBC News poll. The erosion is most pronounced among Democrats, a majority of whom believe Israel has gone too far in its military action in Gaza."  The slaughter continues.  It has displaced over 1 million people per the US Congressional Research Service.  Jessica Corbett (COMMON DREAMS) points out, "Academics and legal experts around the world, including Holocaust scholars, have condemned the six-week Israeli assault of Gaza as genocide."   The death toll of Palestinians in Gaza is grows higher and higher.  United Nations Women noted, "More than 1.9 million people -- 85 per cent of the total population of Gaza -- have been displaced, including what UN Women estimates to be nearly 1 million women and girls. The entire population of Gaza -- roughly 2.2 million people -- are in crisis levels of acute food insecurity or worse."  THE NATIONAL notes, "Gaza death toll reaches 35,709, with 79,990 wounded ."  Months ago,  AP  noted, "About 4,000 people are reported missing."  February 7th, Jeremy Scahill explained on DEMOCRACY NOW! that "there’s an estimated 7,000 or 8,000 Palestinians missing, many of them in graves that are the rubble of their former home."  February 5th, the United Nations' Phillipe Lazzarini Tweeted:


On bodies trapped under rubble, ALJAZEERA notes this morning:

We’re talking about a three-storey building that housed not only residents but also dozens of other displaced Palestinians in Rafah that made it to Nuseirat three days ago.

I met the neighbours. I met the family. I met one of the relatives of people still trapped under the rubble earlier today. They were telling me heartbreaking things.

Imagine escaping the air strikes in Rafah, looking for a safe space but being killed after three days of evacuating – not only being killed but being trapped where the Civil Defence teams do not have any equipment to remove or pull these people from under the rubble.

I saw Civil Defence teams doing their best to pull people from under the rubble. They were digging with their bare hands, with very basic tools. This was not the first time we have seen this scene. We have been seeing this for more than seven months now.

Unfortunately, it may come to a point where the Civil Defence teams will give up on this house because there are more people being targeted every single hour across the Gaza Strip.

April 11th, Sharon Zhang (TRUTHOUT) reported, "In addition to the over 34,000 Palestinians who have been counted as killed in Israel’s genocidal assault so far, there are 13,000 Palestinians in Gaza who are missing, a humanitarian aid group has estimated, either buried in rubble or mass graves or disappeared into Israeli prisons.  In a report released Thursday, Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor said that the estimate is based on initial reports and that the actual number of people missing is likely even higher."

As for the area itself?  Isabele Debre (AP) reveals, "Israel’s military offensive has turned much of northern Gaza into an uninhabitable moonscape. Whole neighborhoods have been erased. Homes, schools and hospitals have been blasted by airstrikes and scorched by tank fire. Some buildings are still standing, but most are battered shells."  Kieron Monks (I NEWS) reports, "More than 40 per cent of the buildings in northern Gaza have been damaged or destroyed, according to a new study of satellite imagery by US researchers Jamon Van Den Hoek from Oregon State University and Corey Scher at the City University of New York. The UN gave a figure of 45 per cent of housing destroyed or damaged across the strip in less than six weeks. The rate of destruction is among the highest of any conflict since the Second World War."

The following sites updated: