Monday, July 02, 2018

Diana Ross

Please check out "20 greatest vocalists of the 20th century" which we wrote for THIRD.

It's a solid list.

It may look like it was tossed off in a few minutes.  It wasn't. 

C.I. and I got together before the piece.  We wanted Diana Ross on the list (she made it -- she's number five).  That list probably took 2 hours.

And on Diana, there was an attitude of, "Oh, 'Upside Down' is catchy but it's not a great vocal."  So C.I. and I were ready and played "Remember Me" and "It's My Turn."

Diana, like Judy Garland (also on the list), doesn't have some operatic range.  What she does have is the ability to move you with her vocal.  She's amazing and I'm glad she made the list. 

  • Enjoy the summer
  • Fantastic Glorious Night
  • ...much Love & Appreciation to the 17,000 people that shared our moment
  • To my Hollywood bowl amazing, awesome audience I was feeling your love thank U thank U thank U so much appreciation to each and everyone of you. What a glorious night

  • There are some Tweets from the amazing Diana Ross.

    She was everything I wanted to be growing up.  Didn't make it but the journey was worthwhile.

    She was so beautiful (is so beautiful) and so glamourous and so full of life.  And a great mother. 

    I think I'm a good mother.  Glamour and beauty aren't the things I managed for myself but I can appreciate it in others. 

    "Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):
    Monday, July 2, 2018.  Chaos and violence continue as yet another location holding ballots is attacked, ANTIWAR.COM reports May saw triple digit deaths in Iraq, Emma Sky appears not to have read her own book, and much more.

    Tuesday, July 2nd, Iraq is to begin partial recounts of the ballots from the May 12th election.

    "From now and until a new Parliament is in place, Iraq will be in a constitutional vacuum," ALJAZEERA notes.

    Again.  And violence continues to plague Iraq including a bombing which took place yesterday.  AFP explains, "A suicide bombing yesterday targetting a warehouse in Kirkuk where ballot boxes from Iraq’s May elections were stored wounded 19 people, days before a vote recount, a security source said."

    An explosion near a ballot storage site in Iraq's Kirkuk two days before a court-mandated manual recount kills at least one and injures 20 but leaves the election material undamaged, officials say

    0:24 / 0:31

    Suicide Attack to Center of Keeping Votes of Recent Election in ; Photo

    Hamza Mustafa (ASHARQ AL-AWSAT) adds, "This is the second incident of its kind, where the warehouses of ballot boxes in Rusafa, Baghdad, were set on fire on June 10, in an attempt to influence the electoral process, including challenging the results announced by the Electoral Commission, before the parliament decided to freeze its work and appoint judges from the Supreme Judicial Council.:

    The May 12th elections found Shi'ite cleric and movement leader Moqtada al-Sadr in first place, followed by the head of the Shi'ite militias Hadi al-Ameri, followed by current prime minister Hayder al-Abadi.  Slowly, the three have come together to form a post-election alliance.

    Last week, Priyanka Boghani (PBS' FRONTLINE) filed a report which included reactions from various US and British voices:

    Ryan Crocker, a career diplomat who served as U.S. ambassador to Iraq from 2007 to 2009, noted that Sadr campaigned on some of the issues that are most pressing to Iraqi voters. If Sadr’s alliance is the one to deliver on those issues, Crocker said, “We can certainly put up with a little anti-U.S. rhetoric if it brings the country generally to a much better place in terms of long-term stability.”
    Some experts, however, say pragmatism may win over posturing when it comes to Iraq’s future relationship with the U.S.
    Emma Sky, who served as a governorate coordinator in the transitional government of Iraq set up by the coalition in 2003-2004, and as a U.S. military adviser in Iraq in 2007-2010, said she expected there would be more calls for U.S. troops to withdraw from Iraq as the country formed a new government. “But given what happened after all U.S. troops pulled out at the end of 2011,” she said, referring to the swift rise of ISIS, “there may be some pragmatic Iraqi voices that propose a contingent remain to advise and assist.”

    Sadr and Amiri “both view the U.S. as a negative actor in Iraq, in so far as the U.S. is looking to pursue its interests at the expense of what they would see as Iraq’s interests,” Renad Mansour, a fellow at Chatham House, an independent policy institute in London, told FRONTLINE. “But nonetheless, they both also realize that to become statesmen, and to play politics, you can’t have an explicitly inflammatory or antagonistic policy against the U.S.”

    Emma Sky's basically saying "Angel, please don't go."

    I'm out of my mind
    And it's only over you
    People think I'm crazy
    But they don't know
    Thought love had failed me
    But now, they're watching it grow
    Angel, please don't go
    I miss you when you're gone
    They say I'm a silly girl
    But I'm not a fool
    People say they know me
    But they don't see
    My heart's your future
    Your future is me
    Angel, please don't go
    I miss you when you're gone
    They say I'm a silly girl
    -- "Only Over You," written by Christine McVie, first appears on Fleetwood Mac's MIRAGE

    Yes, Emma, you are being a silly girl.

    What exactly do you think US forces could have done to stop the rise of ISIS?

    As documented here in real time and as observed by you in your book THE  UNRAVELING, ISIS rose in Iraq due to then-prime minister Nouri al-Maliki's persecution of Sunnis.

    I'm not sure how you think US forces stop that.

    The day after the drawdown (not a full withdrawal), Nouri immediately orders tanks to begin circling the homes of Sunni politicians in Baghdad.  Days later, he will declare Iraq's vice president Tareq al-Hashemi (a Sunni) to be a "terrorist."  His storming of the homes of Sunni politicians will resort in the murder of the brother of a Sunni politicians.

    Exactly what do you think 

    Do they storm Nouri's home?

    Do they take him off in chains?

    When Nouri begins attacking Sunni protesters, what do US forces do?  When he attacks (and kidnaps) reporters who dared to cover the Sunni protests, what are US forces to do?

    These and so many other actions are being carried out not by recognized terrorists but by the head of the Iraqi government.

    What are US forces, were a huge number still in Iraq, to do?

    I believe we're both aware that Iraq's descent into further madness was ensured when Barack Obama refused  to back the results of the 2010 election, when he overturned the votes of the Iraqi people and used The Erbil Agreement to give a second term to Nouri al-Maliki.  

    And while we can wonder what might have been for Iraq had their votes actually counted, the reality remains that if Barack had pulled all US troops out of Iraq in 2011 (he didn't) or left 20,000 to 30,000 behind (as Nouri al-Maliki wanted) or maintained a force of 125,000, there's little that US forces could have done in 2012 besides try to topple Nouri al-Maliki.

    Is that what was wanted?

    That falls on Barack again.  Not only did he install Nouri in 2010 (via The Erbil Agreement) to a second term, he pressured Jalal Talabani to short circuit the 2011 attempt to vote Nouri out of office.

    I don't really grasp what US forces on the ground in mass numbers during any of this could have achieved.  

    US policy under Barack, up until June 2014, was to support Nouri al-Maliki non-stop and look the other way.  Long before 2010 arrived, it was known that Nouri was torturing in secret prisons and jails, known and reported.  That didn't matter.

    The goal was never democracy.  It was: Who can get this oil & gas law passed?

    Remember those 'benchmarks'?  

    Remember how the Democrats in Congress demanded them?

    Remember how, with few exceptions, they then ignored them except for progress on the oil & gas one?

    (US House Rep Lloyd Doggett did not ignore them but he was soon the only member fighting for them to be utilized.)

    So the issue is not -- and never was -- US troops drawing down in Iraq.

    I think it's highly dishonest for Emma Sky to now walk away from her book in an effort to argue that US troops should stay in Iraq.

    In other news, Margaret Griffis (ANTIWAR.COM) counts up the deaths for last month:

    During the month of June, at least 772 people were killed, executed, or found in mass graves. Another 294 were wounded. The number of fatalities is less than half the number of fatalities reported last month. At least 1,906 people were killed or found dead, and 265 more were wounded during violent attacks in May.

    New content at THIRD: