Saturday, June 06, 2020

Corey Hart -- he's got a new recording

I was not going to post about Corey Hart tonight.  I read Kat's "Quarterflash" and Elaine's "The 80s - Madonna, Cyndi Lauper and Billy Idol" and then Kat's "Jazz: Miles Davis, Ornette Coleman, Sarah Vaughan, Dakota Staton, Doris Day" and thought I should do a music post. 

I was going to write about a one hit wonder who was not a one hit wonder -- despite her image, she had several hits -- especially on the R&B side.  But I was playing videos while I was getting ready to write and it went from Allure's "All Cried Out" to Corey's "Never Surrender."

Only not the "Never Surrender" that I know and I bet you know.  It went to this one.

He had retired.  I thought he called it quits two or three years ago.

First off, Corey is a hot guy.  He was hot then and he is hot now -- especially with the hair cut.  I don't like him with long hair, sorry.  Thin eyebrows and long hair do not go together.

Corey is also Kat's favorite one night stand.  I forget where it was but she met him at a casino.  He wasn't the only celebrity there -- this wasn't in the US.  Was it one of the islands in the Virgin Islands?  I can't remember.  And I'm not telling tales out of school, she's written about it before and how Carly Simon was at the same casino.  Anyway.

Corey Hart is a singer-songwriter.  He's from Canada.  He first hit with "Sunglasses At Night."  He followed that with "It Ain't Enough" which was also a hit.  Then came his second album (BOY IN THE BOX) and his biggest hit "Never Surrender."

The original was a great recording.  But I do like the new version a lot. 

And I like Corey.  He experimented.  Bryan Adams churned out the same album about 10 times.  Every album found Corey exploring.  BOY IN THE BOX was nothing like his self-titled debut.  His third album FIELDS OF FIRE (with the hits "I Am By Your Side," "Dancing With My Mirror" and his cover of "Can't Help Falling In Love") was nothing like what came before.

YOUNG MAN RUNNING, his fourth album, was another variation and remains my favorite of his albums so far.  In fact, let me note two great songs from that album.  "Spot You In A Coal Mine."

I love that song.  And I love the guitar, Corey's vocal, Ruby Turner's vocal, the melody and the lyrics.

You, you've got the market on my heart
I declare right now that it belongs to you
And the whole world is witness too
So take the bad days from here
'Cause I never get what I want
Never want what I get
I'm spoiled rotten to the core
Baby, there is something more
And let me tell you that
I may be blindfolded, turn around
Spit on like a dog in the earth
Spot you in a coalmine
Yes it's true
I can spot you in a coalmine
And I, think of an old Dylan song
When I'm with my buddy Matt
And we're travelin' down the road
The light we never knowed

No I can't bite my lip no more
I've heard this heartbreak story before
I can stand here and watch you with my eyes close tight
Hey, mister baby I know you alright

And "In Your Soul."

I love that song.  And, again, the lyrics. 

Ever since I was a little kid
I have always thought
I could run faster than the wind
Stare up to the sky with open spaces
I could live and die
Well man you can't find that in no book
Never find that in no book
Someone will drag you down
And try to knock you under
Hey mama said with her words of wonder
Don't matter 'cause, 'cause it's in your soul

I have always felt
That I had to prove it to myself
No salvation from the firin' line
A million dreams won't set you free
God I know there's something trapped in me
There's no refuge from the ride
No shelter ever saved a man his pride
Give you pain and never feed your hunger
I won't close my eyes when it rain and thunders
Don't matter 'cause, 'cause it's in your soul

Corey is a great songwriter. 

"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):
Friday, June 5, 2020.  Iraq continues to face many issues, Joe Biden continues to get a pass on all of them. 

Like elsewhere in the world, Iraq is grappling with the coronavirus.  THE NAMIBIAN reported on that issue earlier this week.

REUTERS offers a video report here of the cemetery in Najaf where those who have died from coronavirus are being buried.  On that cemetery where only the victims of coronavirus are being buried, REUTERS reports:

Established after an edict from Iraq’s top Shia cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, it is dwarfed by the nearby Wadi al-Salam cemetery, the largest in the world, but is expanding.
More than 200 people have died since the outbreak began in Iraq in February and the volunteers say they receive two to four corpses each day. The country’s confirmed coronavirus infections have doubled from around 3,000 to more than 6,000 in the space of just over two weeks, according to health ministry figures.
Ibrahim and his comrades joined the brigade part of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) paramilitary umbrella grouping, to fight Islamic State several years ago.
While this enemy is very different, the work is both physically and emotionally draining.
Bodies often arrive at night. The volunteers, in full protective suits, wash and wrap the corpses in black burial shrouds before putting them back in the coffins. They carry the coffins to the graves under the headlights of their vehicles.

Iraq’s Health Ministry on Wednesday said that the total number of COVID-19 cases jumped to 8,168 after setting a new record of daily increase with 781 infections.

The new cases included 437 in the capital Baghdad, 52 in Duhok, 46 in Sulaimaniyah, 41 in Basra, 35 in each Maysan and Kirkuk, 33 in Babil, 28 in Dhi Qar, 19 in Najaf, 18 in Muthanna, 11 in Karbala, eight in Diyala, seven in Diwaniyah, six in Erbil and five in Anbar, the ministry said in a statement.

It also said that 21 people died from the coronavirus during the day, in the highest single-day rise, bringing the death toll in the country to 256, while 4,095 patients have recovered.
Any government count in Iraq is an under-count.  When REUTERS attempted to report on the actual count, an estimate, the Iraqi government briefly suspended them from reporting from Iraq.  Mina Aldroubi (THE NATIONAL) offers:

Iraq’s health care is on the verge of collapse, officials warned on Thursday, as the number of new coronavirus cases increased this week.
“We have concerns about the increase of daily cases. We anticipate the number will double which might result in the collapse of the system as it cannot manage the influx of cases,” director of the public health department, Riyad Abdel Amir, said in a statement.
The country recorded 672 new cases on Thursday, bringing the total number of infections to 8,840, with the majority of infections in Baghdad.
Authorities said 15 people died from the virus, eight of them in the capital, taking the total death toll in the country to 271.
Wednesday was the highest single-day jump in cases as health authorities recorded 781 cases and 21 fatalities. 

The coronavirus is only one major issue facing the Iraqi government.  May 7th, Mustafa al-Kadhimi became Iraq's latest prime minister.  That should not have happened.  Per the Constitution, he is supposed to form a Cabinet to move from prime minister-designate to prime minister -- not a partial Cabinet, not a sort-of Cabinet, a full Cabinet.  No one has followed the post-invasion Constitution with regards to that provision even though it's the only thing a candidate has to do to become prime minister.  The point of the Constitutional article is that it will show that the candidate can work with others, can make deals and can function.  Iraq's dysfunctional administrations since 2003 have demonstrated that the article is important.  But no one bothers to follow it.

May 7th, he became prime minister and Iraq still doesn't have a full Cabinet.  Lawk Ghafuri (RUDAW) reports:

Iraqi parliament has received the names of the seven remaining ministerial nominees for the vacant positions in Prime Minister Mustafa Kadhimi’s cabinet, the Office of Speaker of the Parliament announced on Thursday via Twitter.

Kurdish parties were granted their top pick Fuad Hussein, Iraq’s former finance minister, for the coveted foreign minister position, said Hamadamin Faris, Kurdish MP in Iraqi parliament.

“The KDP candidate for the foreign minister seat is Fuad Hussein,” Faris told Rudaw English. “While, the PUK’s candidate for the justice minister is Judge Salar,” referring to Salar Abdul Satar, a former judge in Kirkuk and Baghdad. 

The Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) is the second largest political party in the Kurdistan Region and has 18 seats in Iraqi parliament.
A parliamentary session to approve or reject the nominated ministerial candidates is scheduled to be held on Saturday, June 6.

Again, a failure to form a full Cabinet has repeatedly led to an administration that struggles to govern.  Repeatedly.  Mustafa Habib (AL-MENESA) observed last month:

It really does feel as though Iraq is on the verge of another crisis – yet again.
“History is repeating itself,” says Samer al-Jibouri, a police officer in Tikrit, the capital of the province of Salahaddin.  “What’s happening now feels so similar to what happened in 2014 [when the security crisis sparked by the extremist Islamic State group began]. We only lack an insane caliph to declare an Islamic state!,” he jokes. “Although we won’t let that happen,” he said staunchly.
The last month has been tough though, al-Jibouri told Al Menasa. “We have been subjected to numerous attacks and ambushes by the terrorists,” he explained. “They’re happening almost daily now. The extremists come at night from remote villages in the desert, places we can’t go after dark. Then they disappear from there in the mornings when our forces enter the villages looking for them.”
From the beginning of April until May 4, security sources estimate that there have been around 50 attacks by armed extremists.
This has coincided with the arrival of the new leader of the Islamic State, or IS, group to Iraq. The man, known as Abu Ibrahim al-Qurashi – whose real name is thought to be Amir Mohammed Sa’id Abdul Rahman al-Mawli al-Salbi – apparently came back to Iraq from Syria because of the deterioration in security in Iraq. Al-Qurashi apparently comes from the town of Tal Afar and is one of the extremist IS group’s founding members.
The map of recent attacks and ambushes runs through the cities previously occupied by the IS group, starting from the west of the province of Diyala, passing through northern Salahaddin, over to the top of Ninewa and Kirkuk, and then through to the bottom of Anbar province. Dozens of Iraqi security forces, including members of the so-called Popular Mobilization Forces, or PMF,  have been killed or injured in these attacks.

No, ISIS is not vanquished or gone -- despite the declaration of an Iraqi military spokesperson two weeks ago.  ISIS remains active in Iraq.  Khrush Najari (KURDISTAN 24) notes, "In recent months, the extremist organization appears to have taken advantage of several current crises Iraq now faces, including the coronavirus pandemic. The group also exploits the long-standing security gap between Peshmerga and Iraqi forces in the disputed areas to carry out attacks against civilians and members of the security forces."

May 26th, Iraqi politician Ayad Allawi Tweeted:

No public tribunal has yet been formed to try protestors’ killers; and neither have martyrs’ families, those wounded and made handicapped been compensated. In addition, there must be a fixed date for fair and early elections; a new electoral law; and an independent commission.

The Iraqi National Accord (INA) bloc accused the Ministry of Defence of circumventing a previous government decision to ban the installation of US Patriot systems, and put forward several principles for any negotiation with Washington.
The parliamentary bloc led by Iyad Allawi announced in a statement published on Thursday, that the Iraqi National Security Council (INSC) decided during the era of former Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi to reject the installation and purchase of Patriot missile systems with the accompanying rockets from the US.
The statement added that the decision was taken: “By majority, not by consensus, and some of the current leaders voted to abstain,” wondering: “How can we respond today to the statements of the current defence minister that the missiles were installed in two bases in Iraq?”
The statement clarified the INA’s position regarding what is being discussed in the strategic dialogue with the US, stressing that the INA’s bloc: “Is not ready to participate in the strategic dialogue with the US or even be part of the negotiation committee now.”

Allawi led the Iraqiya coalition in the 2010 elections.  They were a new group and the US press -- following the dictates of the US State Dept -- wrote them off.  Quil Lawrence and others would tell the country that Nouri al-Maliki had a lock on the votes of the Iraqi people.  Right after the election, Quil would even falsely 'report' on NPR that Nouri had won -- before the votes were counted. 

Nouri did not win in 2010.  Iraqiya won.  And that was a major moment if anyone had bothered to care.  Iraqiya was a rejection of sectarian politics.  It was about forming an Iraqi identity.  It promoted all sects, all faiths, women as well as men, it was about a united Iraq.

And that's how it came to beat the incumbent Nouri al-Maliki.

This was an amazing moment in political history for any country.

But the US press didn't want to talk about that.

Nouri lost.  He stamped his feet and the UN did a recount and tossed him a few more votes but he still lost.

Nouri then refused to step down, creating a political stalemate in the country that would last for a little over eight months.  He was able to do that because the US government backed him.  That was the incompetent ambassador Chris Hill and that was Samantha Power, Susan Rice and, the man tasked with overseeing the whole thing, Joe Biden.

Supposedly, the US wanted Iraq to have a democracy.  But instead of backing up the voters -- and re-enforcing democratic impulses -- the US government backed Nouri al-Maliki for a second term.  He was a known thug at this point.  The world knew of his secret prisons and torture cells.  

But that's who the US backed.  And Joe Biden led that effort, pushing The Erbil Agreement, a contract that overturned the votes of the Iraqi people and gave Nouri a second term.

That second term led to the rise of ISIS.  At what point will Joe Biden and others be held accountable for that?  More importantly, as Joe himself runs around trying to earn votes, why isn't he asked about overturning the votes of the Iraqi people in 2010?

We'll come back to Joe, before we do, let's note that the Baghdad government is also facing the issue of how to get along with the Kurdish government.  Currency 365 discusses some issues between Erbil and Baghdad.

Joe wasn't once the US telephone line to Kurdistan.  He angered the Kurds and betrayed them so he no longer has their ear.  That's another issue that the US press doesn't seem capable of exploring.

Joe has been accused by Tara Reade of assaulting her in 1993.  Mary Margaret Olohan (DAILY CALLER) reports:

Joseph Backholm is at least the eighth person to corroborate aspects of Reade’s claims, following her mother, brother, ex-husband, former neighbor, former coworker and at least of her two friends.
[. . .]
According to Backholm, the two were sitting with other law students on a hotel patio by the water chatting late at night during one of these conferences. Eventually everyone went to bed except Backholm and Reade, who continued discussing Reade’s plans to become a domestic violence advocate.
“She said, ‘When I was in Washington, D.C. I was sexually assaulted by someone you would know,’ and that’s how she phrased it, ‘someone you would know’ and she didn’t give a name,” Backholm said. “I didn’t ask for a name.”

Tara's assertion is credible.  Attacks on her finances have nothing to do with the assault she is claiming.  She has been bullied and smeared because it's just too uncomfortable for some to address assault.  The continued refusal to take this allegation seriously is harming all who are victimized and sending a message that you shouldn't come forward.

Joe Biden is disgusting.  Publicly, he's pretended to support a place for victims to come forward.  Privately, he's unleashed the hideous Anita Dunn on Tara.  

I have lost everything my job, my housing and my reputation I have been called every vile name imaginable & presented as a monster by the media for daring to speak about Joe Biden and what happened in 1993. I have lost all that & more but I am free.

A lot of people have things to answer for with regards to their refusal to address the allegations seriously.  Partisanship does not allow you to ignore this issue.

The following sites updated:

Thursday, June 04, 2020

Cynthia McKinney, Diana Ross

That's a conversation with the one and only Cynthia McKinney from June 3rd.

I'm not in a blogging mood tonight, just too tired, sorry. 

But I can always write about Diana Ross.

I love Diana and I love that song.  It's from her album ROSS which came out in 1983.  Side two -- in the days of vinyl and cassettes, we had two sides -- was the stronger side.  It had "Let's Go Up" (a great song) and "Upfront" (a rocking effort like Tina would do the following year on her PRIVATE DANCER album) as well as "Girls" and "Love or Loneliness."  (Side one wasn't bad but "Love Will Make It Right" went on for about 32 seconds more than I thought necessary.)  "Upfront" and "Love or Loneliness" were both written by Ray Parker Jr.  They're great songs.  And Diana's performance on "Love Or Loneliness" is among her finest.  I love the way she shades the notes.  I love the way she commits so totally to the song. 

"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):
Thursday, June 4, 2020.  Iraq has a host of problems that are not being addressed, Joe Biden continues to lack inspiration and is upstaged by celebrities, and much more.

Starting with Tara Reade who has made a credible allegation that Joe Biden assaulted her.  Jacob Pierce (GOOD TIMES) reports:
“It’s really hard that people are going to tear me apart. But it doesn’t change what happened. This happened in 1993. I was harassed, and I was assaulted, and history will look back on the journalism from this time and judge it,” she tells GT by phone.
Overwhelmed by threats and online harassment, Reade says she is “a poster child for why victims don’t want to come forward.”
“This is destroying my life,” says Reade, who did not speak with GT for our initial story. “I’m not suing Biden. I’m obviously not having any effect on his campaign. His campaign is fine. I tried to come forward in 1993 and in 2019 and now. I just hope it gets easier for the survivors.”
Some former acquaintances of Reade have taken calls from a private investigator and spoken with him. Hummer says the investigator wouldn’t say who his client was, although he insisted it wasn’t the Biden campaign.

It's Anita Dunn, that's the client.  Her dirty work is at play just as it was for Harvey Weinstein. Times Up will always be a dirty joke for making that dirty whore their manager.  It'll be very hard for them to blackmail donations in the future, which, let's be honest, is what they've done and they have nothing to show for the millions that they've extorted.  They are a fake organization pretending to help victims as the money disappears into private pockets and is expensed under 'overhead.'  

Tara told her story.  She has been attacked for it.  People pretend that the slurs and smears means she wasn't assaulted when that's not what they mean at all.  

Her character has no bearing on whether or not she was assaulted.  What we do have is what in every other cases is consider corroborating evidence.  We have her mother's phone call to Larry King.  I like Larry and I've known him for years.  If you missed it, he took time out this week to talk about his friends (Joe Biden and Donald Trump) and to say he didn't believe Tara.

You know what I didn't hear, Larry?

I didn't hear you apologize.

For years, you've maintained that you do the work you do for your audiences.

In 1993, Tara's mother called into your show and asked for help.  Neither you nor your guests offered her any.  You just moved right on.

If you don't believe Tara today, well that's on you, now isn't it?

You had her mother call in and explain her daughter was having difficulty and had just stopped working for a senator.  You didn't have any questions, did you, Larry?  That was a viewer you failed.  So don't ever tell me again how you do what you do because you're there for your audience.  And how dare you, having failed Tara's mother -- one of your viewers, how dare you now smear her daughter.

Shame on you, Larry.  I've defended you many, many times.  I'm not interested in defending you right now and I think you deserve huge push back -- which I hope you get.

Not done with the press.  I stayed silent on Ryan Grimm for over 24 hours.  I wanted to be in a calm place.  He gave an interview to THE WASHINGTON POST -- not linking to the garbage, you can Google it if you want.  

I really am not in the mood for these journalists who try to make it about them.

I'm not in the mood for these circle the wagons circle jerks.  It happens all the time.  Barbara Walters should have been called out for her involvement in Iran-Contra but thanks to the circle the wagons aspect of journalism, she was barely in a 24 hour news cycle. 

More energy, similarly, was put into defending Ronan Farrow than defending Tara Reade.

Ronan's journalism is questionable.  It is not beyond critique.  

But you saw RISING and various others nearly have a heart attack over the questioning of Ronan's work.

Ryan Grim?  No one forced him to write the article he did -- about Times Up not supporting Tara.  

He wrote it.  He was a lousy journalist for not informing Tara of the connection Times Up had to the Biden campaign -- she learned of it when she read his report.  

Now he wants to back off to THE WASHINGTON POST.  Maybe she's telling the truth, maybe she's not, he just reported on Times Up and . . .


He went on various programs discussing Tara Reade the allegation she made and he did so after his report was published, he did so amplifying the work of others.

So don't pretend you filed one report and that's all you did.  

And if you're not sure of what she's saying, maybe you get off your cushy ass and do the damn job you should have done in the first place: report.

I don't mean use the names on the list the Biden campaign's handing out to the press.  I mean actually report -- don't wait for a listener of Katie Halper's show to hear you on it and do the research -- that's who uncovered the call made by Tara's mother to Larry King -- that you should have done yourself.

If you made stronger comments than what THE POST ran, you've got a Twitter account.  You didn't note that you were misquoted or that important statements were left out.  In fact, while you Tweeted THE NEW YORK TIMES smear job on Tara, you didn't even note your interview with THE POST -- nor did you call out THE TIMES smear job.  

You aren't someone who's a journalist, not a good one, not a bad one, you shouldn't even be called a working journalist.  You are a joke and you will always be that.

You put a woman out in public and now you want to try to save face.  Have the guts to say one way or the other whether you believe her.  And stop hiding and pretending that all you did was one story in March.  You used her name to get on programs and that's another thing.

You stupid idiot, learn from your betters. Ellen Goodman walked away from the chat and chews because she knew she couldn't be an insta-expert.  She had her area of expertise but the chat and chews want you to be an expert on every topic.  You clearly are not so stop talking about every topic in the news cycle.  Judging by your remarks to THE POST, you're not even an expert on what you report on (Tara Reade).  

I never respected you and I never liked you.  You are part of the circle jerk involving some of the worst men around.  I count three men who have assaulted women that you've reTweeted since May 31st.  Did you not know -- is that going to be your story like Meryl Streep's lie about not knowing about Harvey Weinstein?

Well you need to know.  You present as an investigative journalist so why are you hanging with rapists?

I believe Tara.  If you don't, have the guts to say so.  If you do, do your damn job.

Nothing that's been said of Tara discredits her allegation.  It's amazing all these 'expert' pieces written and televised and we're the ones who have to point out that assault experts are not part of the conversation?  And after I hit on that repeatedly with Dean, THE TIMES finally sees fit to include them in a report?

Tara told her story and the media at large didn't want to deal with it.  That's evidenced not only by them ignoring it -- until they were provide the oppo research Anita Dunn had overseen for the Biden campaign.  It's also evidenced by the fact that the charge is assault.

It's not whether Joe Biden paid Tara's bills or not.  Her finances are not now and never were the issue.  But that's who the press went to time and again, not experts on assault.  We didn't need one sentence in a CNN broadcast of MJ Lee speaking as though she's an expert on assault, for example, we needed experts on assault discussing the issue, addressing the realities.

Her story changed!

Which means nothing.  

Well it means one thing, it means the people screaming that nonsense are stupid and willing to flaunt their stupidity.  

Experts on assault would have spoken to how it is not at all uncommon for assault to be a slow reveal with the victim revealing more details as her/his comfort level rises.

Experts on assault could have addressed so much and educated the public.

But they didn't want education, the corporate media's been in the tank for Joe Biden all along.  You saw it with their efforts to undermine Bernie Sanders.  You saw it with their attacks on Kamala Harris, Cory Booker and Julian Castro when they dared to question Joe in debates.  

Smears were attached to the story, smears that let rape culture thrive.  The media needs to take accountability for what they have done.  They won't.  Ryan Grim's only one example of someone who will not take accountability.  

And if he no longer knows -- or feels he does -- what happened maybe it's time for him to realize that he doesn't need to be on RISING every week or all the other programs, he needs to be doing the job of journalism.  If he wants to be gas bag pundit, have at it but stop pretending you're a reporter because you aren't.  And, again, heed the wisdom of Ellen Goodman and grasp that you can't be an expert on every issue under the sun just because you happened to reTweet on a few topics you've never reported on.

At THE GUARDIAN, Lauren Gambino asks, "Can Joe Biden convince protesters he would be a 'transformational' president?"  That's why another brainless and braless celebrity was out front yesterday trying to build excitement for Joe (and trying to stop people from protesting).  I'm referring, of course, to Miss Barack Obama.  

You know what, at least Hillary Clinton has the good sense to dial her own presence down right now.  She's not trying to steal focus from the nominee.  She realizes Joe needs to be the headline.  But Barack, who did nothing to stop police violence in his eight years as president and whose best known effort at racial healing was the laughable beer summit, needs some attention so Miss Barack Obama holds a virtual town hall and the corporate media goes into overdrive.

Is Barack the nominee?  


Joe can't excite voters and he can't connect with them.

Which is why the media continues to play the who-will-he-pick game to gin up excitement and interest in a flaccid campaign.  Joe has stated it will be August when he announces his running mate.  But both he and his campaign are so boring and uninspiring that the media daily rushes to the closet to pull down their board game and play Mystery Date.

Gretch The Wretch has a husband who looks corrupt with his lunacy around Memorial Day (the whole yacht thing) and that's not going to play well.  Amy's got major racial issues that aren't going to play well.  Stacey Abrams isn't experienced or competent enough to serve as vice president to a healthy person let alone to Joe who would require a v.p. who could step in at any moment due to his poor health and cognitive decline.   The media's not addressing those realities, it's just playing Mystery Date and that game has not aged well.

By the way, Joe's promise to make a woman his v.p. pick was stupid from the beginning.

There's nothing wrong with picking a woman.

But promising to pick one?

That's nonsense.  

It's one thing to pick a woman because she brings something to the ticket that other candidates do not.  

It's wrong, however, to pick a woman just because you said you were going to.

There's a desperation to it right now as a result.  

And, at the end of the day, the pick will not be seen as the best but instead as the best Biden could settle for after making his public promise.

Charlamagne tha God isn’t joining Team Biden just yet.
The radio personality, speaking to CNN on Tuesday evening, discussed his assessment of how the presumptive Democratic nominee was performing as the country reels over the death of George Floyd and the protests and riots that ensued as a result.
Despite offering praise for former Vice President Joe Biden’s address to the nation from Philadelphia, the host of “The Breakfast Club” radio program said he needed more from the 2020 hopeful.
[. . .]
The African American influencer, who boasts over 2.1 million Twitter followers and has interviewed almost every major presidential candidate this election cycle, went on to say that Biden had a “racist” legislative history in the Senate.
“To me it’s like this: If Barack Obama was JFK, then Joe Biden needs to be Lyndon B. Johnson. You know, he has the opportunity to be as progressive as Lyndon B. Johnson. Lyndon B. Johnson may have been labeled a racist but his record doesn’t reflect that. LBJ’s record showed that he had, like, the most effective progressive record on race and class of any Democratic president of the past 80 years.
“I think, you know, Biden’s record in the Senate actually reflects very racist legislation, but he has a chance to correct that by doing right by black people,” Charlamagne said.
Turning to Iraq . . .

That was April, and Mustafa al-Kadhim wasn't yet prime minister -- he would become prime minister on May 7th.  It needs to be noted that as he prattled on about Iraq's sovereignty and the need to protect it, the Turkish government was bombing Iraq and killing people.  That's terrorism.  Does Mustafa plan to address that?  Does he plan to ask the international community for help with that?  Will he ask the United Nations -- which just extended its own mandate in Iraq -- for help in stopping the Turkish bombings?

 In other problems that need to be resolved, Karwan Faidhi Dri (RUDAW) reports:

The Iraqi government must submit its 2020 draft budget to the Iraqi parliament by June 30, parliamentarians decided during the legislative body’s Wednesday session.

Already six months into 2020, Baghdad is currently still operating its financial affairs based on the country’s 2019 budget law, after the government was paralyzed in political deadlock for most of the year.

Until Mustafa Kadhimi was approved as prime minister alongside his cabinet in early May, Iraq had not had a fully-functioning government since December, when Adil Abdul-Mahdi resigned from the post in the face of mass protests over unemployment, corruption, and the lack of basic services.

Both the previous caretaker and newly-established governments have failed to submit the 2020 draft budget to parliament to be turned into a bill and finally a law. This comes at a time of great financial distress for Iraq, which is simultaneously battling an economic slowdown related to the COVID-19 pandemic, a massive drop in oil prices, an increase in Islamic State (ISIS) attack, as well as budgetary disagreements between Erbil and Baghdad.

Iraq’s parliament held a session on Wednesday in the presence of 184 MPs to review a drafted loans bill, and discuss financial support for impoverished Iraqis, according to a statement from the parliament. 

The following sites updated:

Wednesday, June 03, 2020

Science post

Time for a science post. First up, this Friday, there's something to watch for: A strawberry moon. Aristos Georgiou (NEWSWEEK) reports:

This Friday, a full "strawberry" moon will appear in the sky, as some parts of the world will be treated to what is known as a "penumbral lunar eclipse."
Lunar eclipses—of which there are three main kinds (total, partial and penumbral)—only occur when the moon is full. During the full moon lunar phase, the Earth is located directly between the sun and our natural satellite in space.
Penumbral eclipses are far more subtle than either total or partial lunar eclipses. The former occurs when the more diffuse, outer part of Earth's shadow —known as the penumbra—falls on the face of the moon.

Amanda Kooser (CNET) adds:

A penumbral eclipse is much more subtle than a total eclipse. The moon slips through the Earth's outer (penumbral) shadow, which can trigger a slight darkening of the moon. If you didn't know it was happening, you might miss it. A partial penumbral eclipse like the one on Friday makes it even harder to spot a difference.
Denizens of the moon, however, would notice the effects. "For spacecraft at the Moon such as the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), the reduction in solar power is noticeable," NASA said.
Unfortunately, the "strawberry" nickname for the June full moon doesn't refer to a color, but seems to be an old reference to the strawberry harvest season. NASA's Gordon Johnston rounded up a list of alternative names for this month's moon, including mead moon, honey moon, hot moon and planting moon.

I really did expect it to be a strawberry moon. :( Oh well. I'm still going to watch for it. Let's stay with space -- but the space between!

Sorry, couldn't resist the impulse to put in a Dave Matthews Band song. I know two of their albums pretty well. Okay, this is the space above us on planet earth. Amy Woodyatt (CNN) reports:

Scientists believe they have identified the world's cleanest air, free from particles caused by human activity, located over the Southern Ocean, which surrounds Antarctica.
In a first-of-its-kind study of the bioaerosol composition of the Southern Ocean, researchers from Colorado State University identified an atmospheric region which remains unchanged by human activity.
Aerosol filter samplers probe the air over the Southern Ocean on the Australian Marine National Facility's R/V Investigator.
Weather and climate are closely linked, connecting each part of the world with other regions. As the climate changes rapidly because of human activity, scientists and researchers struggle to find a corner of the Earth unaffected by people.
However, professor Sonia Kreidenweis and her team suspected that the air over the Southern Ocean would be least affected by humans and dust from the world's continents.

SCI TECH DAILY explains:

These results counter all other studies from oceans in the subtropics and northern hemisphere, which found that most microbes came from upwind continents. Plants and soil are strong sources of particles that trigger freezing of supercooled cloud droplets, known as ice-nucleating particles. This process reduces cloud reflectivity and enhances precipitation, increasing the amount of sunlight reaching the surface and altering Earth’s radiative balance.
Over the Southern Ocean, sea spray emissions dominate the material available for forming liquid cloud droplets. Ice-nucleating particle concentrations, rare in seawater, are the lowest recorded anywhere on the planet.
The air over the Southern Ocean was so clean that there was very little DNA to work with. Hill attributed the quality of their results to Uetake and Moore’s clean lab process.

"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):
Wednesday, June 3, 2020.  Unrest continues in Iraq and the US, War Criminal Bully Boy Bush tries to rehab his image, and much more.

Starting with this from Margaret Kimberley (BLACK AGENDA REPORT):

The aftermath of George Floyd’s murder at the hands of Minneapolis, Minnesota police has created a national political crisis. The revulsion caused by this latest killing caught on camera spawned protests in Minneapolis and all over the country. Black people are the angriest, knowing they are at risk of the same treatment and because most police killings rarely result in convictions.
But the mass actions present a problem for the rulers. Anger boiled beneath the surface after years of the race to the bottom austerity regime, the worsening economic collapse in the wake of the COVID-19 quarantine, and another Democratic presidential primary rigged by that party’s donor class to defeat the prospect of even minimalist reforms.

While black people led the way, they were joined by many white people too. They are also angry about Floyd’s death and are primed to rise up against the injustices that are expanding and becoming more deeply entrenched against them as well. While COVID-19 created a health crisis it also left millions unemployed with nothing but meager benefits and a one-time payment of $1,200. 
When these groups began a nascent campaign of solidarity, the system rose up against them in an effort to delegitimize them all. The story of Floyd’s cruel death began to take a back seat in the corporate media. Suddenly the propagandists who pose as journalists became concerned about the presence of white people in the protests. Who were they? Where were they from? What did they want? Were they “antifa” or anarchists or white supremacists? 
They were quickly joined by the political class of black misleaders who did the bidding of their patrons by dismissing the acts of rebellion. St. Paul, Minnesota mayor Melvin Carter fired the first shot when he declared that every arrested protester was not from his state. But in fact the opposite was true, and 85% of arrestees were Minnesotans . Carter sheepishly responded that he had received bad information. The obvious and easily proven inaccuracy makes that assertion highly unlikely.

He and others began using very dangerous talking points. They claimed to grieve for Mr. Floyd and expressed a desire to see justice done while also saying that white protesters were using the demonstrations for nefarious ends. They even evoked the “outside agitator” trope from the bad old days of Jim Crow segregation. They pleaded for peaceful protest or no protest at all and some of them told outright lies.
Atlanta mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms  was among the worst. She accused protesters of disgracing her city, George Floyd’s memory and Martin Luther King’s legacy all in one fell swoop. She told them, “Go home.” According to Madame Mayor every protester was snatching liquor, setting fires and pulling knives on the police. The rebellion was dismissed as criminality and despite any claims of concern for George Floyd, she proclaimed every participant a scoundrel.
For good measure she added, “If you want change in America, go and register to vote!,” as if that act has magical qualities to make bad things disappear. Voting usually produces nothing more than mediocre sell outs like Keisha Lance Bottoms. It certainly won’t end police violence.

As unrest continues in the US, Aisha Ahmad observes:

1 week of this in the United States 884 weeks of this in Iraq

Meanwhile War Criminal Bully Boy Bush is attempting to rehab his toxic and violent image.  Some are going a long with it, others with ethics are calling it out.  Mbuyiseni Ndlozi points out:

You lied about Weapons of Mass Distruction, invaded Iraq in an unjust war leading to deaths of thousands of inoccent people. You should have been charged by ICC for crimes against humanity! But because of white privilage, you have not been held responsible! #GeorgeBushMustFall

In his ridiculous statement, Bully Boy Bush also declared "looting is not liberation."  Really?  Didn't his administration sell it as liberation in Iraq?  April 12, 2003, Sean Loughlin (CNN) reported:

Declaring that freedom is "untidy," Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said Friday the looting in Iraq was a result of "pent-up feelings" of oppression and that it would subside as Iraqis adjusted to life without Saddam Hussein.
He also asserted the looting was not as bad as some television and newspaper reports have indicated and said there was no major crisis in Baghdad, the capital city, which lacks a central governing authority. The looting, he suggested, was "part of the price" for what the United States and Britain have called the liberation of Iraq.

"Freedom's untidy, and free people are free to make mistakes and commit crimes and do bad things," Rumsfeld said. "They're also free to live their lives and do wonderful things. And that's what's going to happen here." 

Bully Boy Bush needs to crawl back under his rock and shame on anyone who cheers him on today as he's on a p.r. tour to improve his well-deserved poor image.

Carter Tweets:

So you’re telling me I’m supposed to vote for the guy endorsed by George Bush? Did everyone just... agree to forget Iraq? Katrina? Gitmo? Abu Ghraib? Tax cuts? Patriot Act? Wtf did Ellen do to y’all?

And Hayati Iraq offers:

A lot of Arabs are supporting BLM which is great but a majority of black people r gnna vote for joe Biden and he’s probably gnna bomb the entire Middle East like Obama did whos gnna riot and protest for us?

Uncle Joe and other garbage the soft left traffics in here in the US does not cut it in the Middle East.  Joe Biden's reputation there is not based on his cute foibles but on his actual deeds which have destroyed the lives of many Arabs.  Earlier this year, Mark Weisbrot (GUARDIAN) noted:

Biden did vastly more than just vote for the war. Yet his role in bringing about that war remains mostly unknown or misunderstood by the public. When the war was debated and then authorized by the US Congress in 2002, Democrats controlled the Senate and Biden was chair of the Senate committee on foreign relations. Biden himself had enormous influence as chair and argued strongly in favor of the 2002 resolution granting President Bush the authority to invade Iraq.
“I do not believe this is a rush to war,” Biden said a few days before the vote. “I believe it is a march to peace and security. I believe that failure to overwhelmingly support this resolution is likely to enhance the prospects that war will occur …”
But he had a power much greater than his own words. He was able to choose all 18 witnesses in the main Senate hearings on Iraq. And he mainly chose people who supported a pro-war position. They argued in favor of “regime change as the stated US policy” and warned of “a nuclear-armed Saddam sometime in this decade”. That Iraqis would “welcome the United States as liberators” And that Iraq “permits known al-Qaida members to live and move freely about in Iraq” and that “they are being supported”.
The lies about al-Qaida were perhaps the most transparently obvious of the falsehoods created to justify the Iraq war. As anyone familiar with the subject matter could testify, Saddam Hussein ran a secular government and had a hatred, which was mutual, for religious extremists like al-Qaida. But Biden did not choose from among the many expert witnesses who would have explained that to the Senate, and to the media.
Biden’s selling points as a candidate often lead with his reputation for foreign policy experience and knowledge. But Iraq in 2002 was devastated by economic sanctions, had no weapons of mass destruction, and was known by even the most pro-war experts to have no missiles that could come close to the United States. The idea that this country on the other side of the world posed a security threat to America was more than far-fetched. The idea that the US could simply invade, topple the government, and take over the country without provoking enormous violence was also implausible. It’s not clear how anyone with foreign policy experience and expertise could have believed these ideas.
Senator Dick Durbin, who sat on the Senate intelligence committee at the time, was astounded by the difference between what he was hearing there and what was being fed to the public. “The American people were deceived into this war,” he said.

Regardless of Biden’s intentions – which I make no claim to know or understand – the resolution granting President Bush the authority to start that war, which Biden pushed through the Senate, was a major part of that deception. So, too, was the restricted testimony that Biden allowed. The resolution itself contained deceptive language about a number of pretexts for the war, including al-Qaida and weapons of mass destruction that Iraq did not have.

At NEWSWEEK, Emily Cadei observed:

Today, Iraq is a mess. The terrorist group ISIS operates across large swaths of the country after storming through northwest Iraq in 2014; while a lack of basic services like electricity has prompted rolling protests by average Iraqis. Iraq's dramatic deterioration, after the country seemed to have been on the right path at the beginning of the decade, has prompted some partisan finger-pointing this year. Republicans have tried to pin the blame on Clinton, the Democrats' 2016 front-runner, who headed up the State Department between 2009 and 2013. Democrats, meanwhile, are blaming former President George W. Bush (and by extension, his brother, Jeb), as well as other Republicans who were cheerleaders for the 2003 invasion, which created the power vacuum in Iraq. 

The scrutiny has yet to land on Biden, who is mulling a bid for the Democratic nomination in 2016, spurred on by Clinton's summer of stumbles. Yet were he to run, the vice president would be the one candidate who really owns Iraq policy, for good or for ill. As Robert Ford, the deputy ambassador at the Iraqi Embassy from 2008 to 2010, puts it, " The vice president has more than a little responsibility in all of this."

[. . .]

Since the United States withdrew its troops at the end of 2011, Maliki has gone after senior Sunni politicians on trumped-up charges, cracked down on Sunni protests, abandoned efforts to integrate Sunnis into the military and otherwise alienated this significant, if minority, ethnic group—the same one whose insurgency last decade led to some of the bloodiest years of the Iraq War. As retired General David Petraeus, the former U.S. commanding general in Iraq, testified in a Senate hearing last month: "The cause of Iraq's unraveling" was the Maliki government's "corrupt, sectarian and authoritarian behavior." That "created the conditions for the Islamic State to reconstitute itself in Iraq, after which it gained additional strength in the Syrian civil war."
There was a period of time in 2010, however, when it wasn't clear Maliki would remain in power. In a major upset, Maliki's State of Law party won two fewer seats than the secular Iraqiya party headed by another Shiite, Ayad Allawi, in the March vote. To critics, this was the turning point when the U.S. should have stepped in and helped Iraqis form a new government, sans Maliki. Khedery calls it "the most crucial period in this administration's Iraq policy, because it was a historic moment where we could have gone down two paths, and some of us desperately tried to go down the correct path, the path that would have respected the Iraqi Constitution and the election results." Everything that's happened since is a direct outgrowth of U.S. leaders' failure to act, Khedery and other critics say.
But defenders of the vice president say the United States didn't have that kind of control over the situation. "The diplomacy in that period was as intense as anything I've seen," Blinken says. "We were pressing not for any individual but for an outcome in Iraq that led to inclusive, nonsectarian government.... Ultimately, the people that emerged did not do justice" to that vision.
Maliki quickly lined up with another Shiite party in a coalition, which he claimed gave him the right to form a government, despite real questions around whether that comported with the Iraqi Constitution. A judge, widely considered to be in Maliki's pocket, ruled it did. But Maliki still didn't have enough support to claim a majority in parliament. So he, in effect, just sat there. On the American side, one former senior U.S. official tells Newsweek that Chris Hill, the U.S. ambassador through mid-2010, "decided early on that it should be Maliki." Hill and a handful of senior advisers in the embassy "went to the vice president and convinced Blinken and Biden" of that as well.
Blinken disputes that the U.S. "put our thumb on the scale." The reality was Maliki "had the most support." Allawi, he notes, was also "trying to see if he could garner the support to form a government" during the stalemate. "The bottom line is, he couldn't."

Anthony Blinken is nothing but a liar.  It's all he's ever been.  The reality was that Allawi won the election.  He had the support of the Iraqi people.  Nouri refused to step down, for over eight months, bringing the country to a standstill.  He was able to do that because he had the support of Chris Hill and Joe Biden.  That's reality.  Blinken is never challenged on his lies.

And, to be clear, Emily Cadei's article was publishes in 2015.  When Joe Biden is actually running for president, the press doesn't feel the need to seriously explore Iraq.

At COUNTERPUNCH, Behrooz Ghamari Tabrizi argues:

The vicious circle of voting for the Democrat’s candidate, no matter how corrupt the party and its nominees are, needs to end. We are always told that the time is not right. Yet, we never hear what the right time would be and when would it arrive. Under what circumstances does one vote her conscience?
If there were any doubts that powers that be will not allow the realization of any meaningful choice in the presidential elections, those doubts should have put to rest after the Clinton-DNC staged a coup against Bernie Sanders during the last presidential campaign. Any genuine examination of how Donald Trump ended in the White House, must have interrogated the DNC conspiracy to sabotage Sanders’ campaign rather than the wild goose chase of the Russian interference, true as it might have been. The DNC handed the presidency to Trump. And they will end up doing it again.
The early success of Sanders’ campaign in 2020, alarmed the party again and made its leadership visibly concerned about the possibility of a contested nomination process. President Obama came out of his long silence since he had left office to assure the party leadership that he would speak up to stop Bernie Sanders nomination. Through a combination of the old party patronage system, disenfranchisement, fear mongering, and campaigns of misinformation, the DNC pulled Biden from the bottom of the list and crowned him on the top as the “presumptive” nominee. A man who could not articulate a thought without meandering sentences and bouts of forgetfulness that alarmed many observers about his mental fitness, became the one who is now to rescue the country from the rising tide of fascism.
The same party leadership who utterly failed to understand that the fault lines of the last presidential election was a vote for or against the establishment, and rallied behind Hillary Clinton who epitomized all that is wrong with the existing order, is now counting on the loyalty of the hardcore democrats to take back the while house with Biden. I am not here to say that Biden cannot win. He might. Trump might have alienated enough people with his vulgarity, diseased mind, nefarious heart, and devious personality that would cost him the presidency. But that cannot vindicate the misdeeds of the DNC and absolve the corruption at its heart.
The Left cannot afford and should not give another pass to the DNC oligarchy. The party has shown time and again that it is incapable of foundational transformation. What today people on the streets of Minneapolis, Houston, Los Angeles, New York City, Chicago, Atlanta, and many other major cities in the country are crying out is not to bring to the office a kinder, gentler, corrupt politician who opposed the necessity of “collective and structural changes” in American society. The Left has given enough carte blanche to the Democrats, time has come for real accountability.

Biden is corrupt. Not once during the entire House investigation of Trump’s abuse of power in looking into Hunter Biden’s lucrative seat on the board of Burisma, a Ukrainian energy company, any Democrats eyebrows was raised about what actually he, the son of the then Vice President of the United States, was doing on that board making hundreds of thousands of dollar a year for doing absolutely nothing. Yes, Trump abused the power of his office and asked foreign entities to abet his presidential campaign. But that does not exonerate Biden. Is there any doubt in any one’s mind that Hunter was sitting on that board because he was Biden’s son? The time for bringing back the old corrupt machine is over.

On the topic of Hunter, it's also true that questions need to be asked about the sweet deal Hunter got with the reserves.  He was too old to serve.  He wasn't qualified.  He had a drug problem.  But all that got swept away and he was made an officer -- with no time in basic training.  He got to step over all the red tape and rules.  As CNN reported after Hunter was kicked out of the Navy Reserves:

Biden was commissioned as an ensign in May 2013 and assigned as a public affairs officer in a Norfolk, Virginia-based reserve unit. A month later, he tested positive for cocaine, and he was discharged in February, according to the report. 

Hunter was not qualified.  That he wasn't qualified is demonstrated by the fact that a month into his supposed 'service' he's kicked out.  He never should have been commissioned to begin with.  Joe Biden has repeatedly bent the rules and circumvented basic ethical guidelines to promote Hunter and others.  It's nepotism and it shouldn't take place.  Joe has no ethics.

He takes credit for pulling US troops out of Iraq but US troops remain in Iraq.  They never all left despite Biden's lies.  And in September 2012, the US began sending more US troops in.  By the summer of 2014, this was done much more openly.  Today, Hamdi Malik (AL-MONITOR) reports:

In a span of less than three months, five “new pro-Iran militias” have announced their plans to escalate attacks on US forces in Iraq. Some of them have claimed responsibility for major anti-American attacks. But evidence indicates this is a propaganda campaign conducted by existing militias rather than an actual escalation. The main desire common among these groups is avenging the death of Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the Popular Mobilization Units’ (PMU) military leader who was assassinated by the United States alongside Iran’s Quds Force commander, Qasem Soleimani, in January.
In the last of a series of videos purporting to attack American forces or interests in Iraq, a group calling itself Tha’r al-Muhandis Brigade (Vengeance of al-Muhandis) claims they fired two anti-aircraft missiles that hit two American Chinook helicopters. In the short clip posted on the social media platform Telegram on May 22 and that has been viewed by Al-Monitor, two militants whose faces are blurred are seen carrying man-portable air-defense systems. The clip shows one of the militants firing a missile into the sky. The cameraman seemingly follows the missile into the sky, and seconds later a Chinook helicopter is seen in the clip. The video does not show the helicopter being hit by the missile. Also, we don’t see a second missile being fired.
But Tha’r al-Muhandis Brigade’s clip seems to be fake. Al-Monitor showed the clip to Ali Chakav, a senior graphic designer at the London-based Iran International TV. After examining the video, Chakav came to the conclusion that the clip is a montage and that footage of the Chinook was later added to the footage of the firing of the anti-aircraft missile.

The following sites updated: