Prince. I can still remember being stunned the day he died. One of the most creative and talented songwriters ever and certainly the most talented and creative of his generation. Prince gave us hits like "Purple Rain," "I Could Never Take The Place Of Your Man," "Raspberry Beret," "Kiss," "When Doves Cry," "Little Red Corvette," "Controversy," "Thieves In The Temple," "Diamonds & Pearls," "I Wanna Be Your Lover," "U Got The Look," "Uptown," "Pop Life," "Batdance," "Paisley Park," "Partyman," "Cream," "The Most Beautiful Girl In The World," "Let's Go Crazy," "Take Me With U," "America," "Mountains," "If I Was Your Girlfriend" and many more.
In addition to the hit singles, there are also the classic albums -- fully realized albums, classic, first-rate ones. SIGN OF THE TIMES, 1999, PURPLE RAIN, THE GOLD EXPERIENCE, PARADE, ART OFFICIAL AGE, MUSICOLOGY, CONTROVERSY, THE BLACK ALBUM, EMANCIPATION, DIRTY MIND, COME, AROUND THE WORLD IN A DAY . . . Only Joni Mitchell has a record like his when it comes to classic albums.
He was a true artist. And it was a great loss to the world when Prince died.
Kim Berry has written a book, with Andrea Williams, entitled DIAMONDS AND CURLZ: 29 YEARS ROLLING WITH ROCK ROYALTY PRINCE. If you subscribe to AMAZON's KINDLE UNLIMITED, you can read it for free.
I was nervous when I started the book. Prince means a lot to me still. But it's a great book and it's one that offers Prince in all his humanity -- his strengths, his weakness, his achievements, his mistakes. He comes alive on the page.
Kim Berry was a hair stylist who knew a woman with a dream job: She did Prince's hair. Then the woman didn't. And Kim got a shot at the job.
She impressed Prince and he hired her. That means basically living and touring around the clock. There was no outside life in the Prince world. That led to giddy times and to bad ones.
She tells all in a caring manner. She talks about how she and Prince would work together on the hair styles and the look he wanted to achieve. How when she was at the end of her own rope from time to time, she'd call her mother who would always find a way to put it in perspective and offer a prayer.
It's an insider's account and it illuminates many stories we've heard part of -- such as the miscarriage of Prince's first child. We learn about Prince's faith, his desire for knowledge and for growth and spirituality. We get to know about the thoughts behind many things that may have shocked originally but are now 'just Prince.'
It's a book you can really enjoy and I read it a chapter a night to really enjoy it. I did not want to rush this experience. I strongly recommend this book.
"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):
Friday, March 19, 2021. We're hours away from the 18th anniversary of the start of the Iraq War.
PRESS TV reports, "Four roadside bombs have separately gone off near convoys of trucks carrying equipment belonging to US-led coalition forces in Iraq’s southern provinces of al-Qadisiyah and al-Muthanna as well as the western province of Anbar." We're almost to the anniversary of the start of the Iraq War and what's really changed?
AP's "Today In History" notes: "George W. Bush ordered the start of war against Iraq. (Because of the time difference, it was early March 20 in Iraq.)" 18 years and so many dead and wounded and for what? The Iraqi people continue to suffer.
Unidentified gunmen today opened fire on the headquarters of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) in Iraq's Kurdish region, a police officer said.
"Unidentified gunmen in a car and motorbike fired with machine guns at the headquarters of the Democratic Party in Halabja, Sulaymaniyah province, at dawn today," a police officer told Anadolu Agency on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on speaking to the media.
"The guards at the headquarters responded to the assailants by firing back at them, which prompted them to flee," the source said, adding no casualties were reported.
The Kurdistan Democratic Party is headed by Massoud Barzani, the former president of the Kurdistan Region. It was formed in 1946 by Massoud's father Mustafa Barzani. Massoud's son Nechirvan Barzani is the current president of the Kurdistan Region and Massoud's son Masrour Barzani is the prime minister of the Kurdistan Region -- both sons are also members of the KDP.
KDP faction at the Kurdistan Region Parliament condemned the attack and urged security forces to find the perpetrators and face them with justice.
It also blamed the local authorities in Halabja, where the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) is dominant, for failing to protect political offices as such attacks on the KDP are fairly frequent in Sulaymaniyah and Halabja.
The PUK is a rival political party. In 1975, members of the KDP split off and formed the PUK which is dominated by the Talabani family. The late Jalal Talabani held the title of president of Iraq from 2006 to 2014.
In other news, ASHAR AL-AWSAT reports:
Iraqi President Barham Salih revealed on Wednesday new legal measures to recover the looted funds from Iraq.
Since 2003, a year after the ouster of Saddam Hussein, almost $250 billion of Iraqi public funds has vanished.
In a televised interview on Wednesday, Salih said that the presidency intends to introduce a code of conduct to put in place mechanisms to recover the stolen money, which may have gone abroad.
"Corruption is dangerous and needs serious mechanisms to tackle it," he added, noting that despite major challenges, a number of rulings took place regarding corruption cases before.
Salih stressed that striking financial corruption was essential to establishing security.
Will the punished include Nouri al-Maliki? The former prime minister and forever thug lives a luxury as does his son Ahmed. This despite Nouri fleeing Iraq in 1979.
That is the common trait of the prime ministers that the US and Iran have imposed upon Iraq -- they are not Iraqis who were living in Iraq their whole lives. They all spent many years in exile and only returned after the 2003 US-led invasion.
Here is a list of all the prime ministers since the start of the US-led war in 2003:
2004 prime minister Ayad Allawi fled in 1971.
2005 prime minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari fled to Iran in 1980/
2006-2014 prime minister Nouri al-Maliki fled in 1979.
2015-2018 prime minister Hayder al-Abadi fled in 1983.
2018 prime minister Adil Abdul al-Mahdi fled in 1969.
2020 prime minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi fled in 1985.
Six prime ministers from 2004 to the present and every single one had fled Iraq.
Would you want to be ruled by a coward? Someone who fled your country and only came back after US troops had landed in your country?
Forget that the prime minister never serve the people, they're also not of the people. Makes it very difficult to establish a legitimate government. And Iraq doesn't have a legitimate government.
That's one of the reasons Iraqis have been protesting since fall 2019. And the response of the Iraqi government? To attack the protesters.
Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi renewed Wednesday the government’s stance on steering clear from the use of live ammunition against demonstrators.
During a meeting for the Iraqi National Security Council (INSC), the PM rejected attempted attacks on private and public properties and the use of live ammunition to disperse protesters. But he called for providing security forces with the proper equipment to fulfill their duties.
Maybe they keep shooting live ammo because all Mustafa every does is jaw bone about not doing it. No one gets punished for doing it. No one will be punished for doing it earlier this week. It's become obvious that Mustafa is all talk.
Protesters in Iraq shut down four government buildings in Dhi Qar Governorate on Thursday to highlight rising unemployment in the region.
The buildings were connected to the directorates of education, electricity, the municipality and the Nassiriya Oil Refinery. Angry protesters also closed the governorate administration and the refinery buildings earlier in the week.
Adam Sullivan (THE GAZETTE) notes:
If the Iraq War were a person, it would have to register for the draft by now but still wouldn’t be old enough to buy beer or marijuana. This week marks 18 years since the United States started dropping bombs near Baghdad.
On this date in 2003, George W. Bush went on television and promised to “disarm Iraq, to free its people and to defend the world from grave danger.” It turns out our government was the grave danger.
It would become a historic foreign policy failure, claiming the lives of well over 100,000 Iraqis in addition to some 4,400 U.S. service personnel, including dozens of Iowans. Nearly two decades in, the war is officially over but America still can’t seem to leave.
In Iowa, with our first-in-the-nation presidential nominating contests and our previous status as a swing state, we’ve had outsized influence on presidential politics over the past couple decades. Twice in my voting life, Iowans have helped nominate and elect presidents who promised but ultimately failed to end the Iraq War. I was in junior high when the war started, but I was old enough to vote in those elections.
Barack Obama used his opposition to military interventionism, flimsy in hindsight, as a key point of difference in his 2008 primary against Hillary Clinton, who supported the 2003 invasion as a senator. Iowans rewarded him with an upset caucus victory that helped propel him to the nomination.
“I’ll be a president who ends this war in Iraq and finally brings our troops home,” Obama told a Des Moines crowd in his victory speech on caucus.
After winning the general election with Iowa’s support, Obama failed to deliver on his 18-month promise for withdrawal. His administration eventually did draw down troop presence by the end of 2011, only to re-engage in 2014 against the Islamic State.
In a letter to the editors of THE GAZETTE, Ed Flaherty writes:
We have spent trillions in the last 18 years on our war in Iraq. Over 4,000 U.S. military members have died, and hundreds of thousands more suffer from PTSD and TBI. We have killed several hundred thousand Iraqis and decimated Iraqi infrastructure. It is time to end our military presence in Iraq. It seems our only purpose there is to have U.S. personnel there as sitting ducks, so when they get attacked, we can escalate our pressure on Iran.
Our invasion of Iraq in 2003 was based on lies. Our continued military presence there serves no useful purpose for Iraq or the United States. This is not a partisan issue, just an issue of common sense and humanity. Support the troops, bring them home.
The war has had various inspiring names: Operation Iraqi Freedom from 2003 to 2010, Operation New Dawn from 2010 to 2011, and Operation Inherent Resolve from August 2014 to the present. At the outset, the Bush administration promised the war would eliminate Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction. That sanctions could never work. That fighting would be quick, cheap at $50 billion to 60 billion, controllable, remake Iraq into a democracy, and be won with few civilian, allied or U.S. military casualties.
If this sounds too good to be true, it’s because it is. The Iraq War at 18 offers lessons for understanding the costs of war. Whatever promises and hopes, war is rarely quick, cheap, effective, or controllable.
The Iraq War continues. US troops remain in Iraq. There has never been an exit strategy. Since the goal appears to try to exhaust the Iraqi people's resistance to a government imposed on them, there probably never will be an exist strategy.
As Iraqis suffer, the US prepares to tell generation after generation, "Sorry, we hocked your future for the Iraq War."
So many lives have been lost, so much money has been squandered.
The Iraqi people have not seen their lives improve. They do not have a government that represents them. They have been told throughout 2020 to prepare for cuts in 2021. This despite the fact that they live in an oil-rich country. This despite the fact that Iraq brings in millions and millions daily. They have been betrayed by the people put in charge.
US troops have been betrayed by a government that lied to start a war, that fails -- to this day -- to honor their healthcare promises to veterans, that lies to continue the war. Specifically, they have a president who supported this war and has never done anything to end it and a Congress who acts as though the war long ago ended. I know Nancy Pelosi's old and addled but I don't think anyone's accused her of Alzheimer's yet.
The Iraq War goes on and on with no end in sight. And 'leaders' of the peace movement are as appalling as so-called leaders in Congress. They got bored and moved on to other topics, ones that might get them publicity. When there's no follow through from the opposition to war, why should the government listen?
The US government doesn't listen.
18 years of war on Iraq in this wave of war. And you'd think the left would be up in arms. But Iraq rarely pops up at the left websites anymore. It may in a few hours when Medea Benjamin remembers the anniversary and finds some man to co-write a column with her?
Maybe they'll pretend they care and we'll all pretend like CODESTINK hasn't spent years ignoring Iraq. And we can pretend that in the summer of 2006, when they staged a big action, they didn't put it on hold to focus on another topic? We can pretend like Leslie Cagen and UFPJ didn't fold tent the day after Barack Obama was first elected president in 2008?
We'd have to do a lot of pretending to believe that THE PROGRESSIVE, THE NATION, IN THESE TIMES, et al give a damn about the ongoing Iraq War. Their output makes clear that they don't.
We'll note this video as we wind down.
The following sites updated: