Friday, September 9, 2022

Our discography of The 5th Dimension

That's The 5th Dimension performing one of their big hits "Up, Up and Away."  Between 1966 and 1975, they had 21 top forty hits on the pop charts, 8 on the soul charts and 22 on the adult contemporary charts. The group was Lamonte McLemore, Marilyn McCoo, Florence LaRue, Ronald Townson, and Billy Davis Jr.   In 1975, co-founders Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis Jr. left the group and went solo (had a huge hit with "You Don't Have To Be A Star."  

So, for me, the group exists between 1966 and 1975 only.  

During that time, they released 10 studio albums and one live album and five compilation (greatest hits, best of) albums.

Back in July, I posted "The 5th Dimension's Portrait album" and noted that Cedric and I were collecting their vinyl albums.  We had two compilations -- both released after the group had broken up.  And I got two studio albums that I noted in the post.  Regina e-mailed that she's a huge fan of the group and she just got Live -- the live (double) album they released before Marilyn and Billy left.  She was wondering what we have?

We've been on a bit of spree.

1) Portrait (noted in my July post)

2) Individually and Collectively (noted in my July post)

3) Up - Up and Away

4) Stoned Soul Picnic

5) The Age of Aquarius 

6) Love's Line Angels and Rhymes

7) Living Together, Growing Together

8) Reflections (the only greatest hits we have that was put out while Marilyn and Billy were still with the group)

9) Live

Live, which Regina also has, is the only live album that was released when Marilyn and Billy were still part of the group.  There's a live album that came out in the 90s, don't know if it's an old concert or one from after M&B left.  But we're just trying to get the ones while the group was the original five.  So we're goon on the live album, we can mark that off.

Greatest hits?  By 1975, they had released five.  Reflections is the only one we own. It's from 1971. 1970's Greatest Hits and 1972's Greatest Hits On Earth are the two best sellers, they both went gold.  The other two are 1969's The Fantastic Fifth Dimension and 1970's July 5th Album -- More Hits by the Fabulous Fifth Dimension.  I'm fine with just Reflections being in our collection to represent their greatest hits.  Greatest Hits on Earth has "The Girls Song" which just barely missed the top forty on the pop charts.  We don't have that recording.

But that's because we don't have The Magic Garden (a studio album).  We plan to get it and we're also scoping out Soul & Inspiration and Earthbound.  Those are the three studio albums we still need to get to have all 

Cedric bought two vinyl albums today, Diana Ross' diana ("Upside Down," "I'm Coming Out," etc) and Why Do Fools Fall In Love? (title track and "Mirror Mirror" are the hits from it).  We're collecting Diana as well as Lionel Richie, Sade, Luther Vandross, the Mamas and the Papas and aa few others.  

This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Friday, September 9, 2022.  A US journalist who covered Iraq has passed away, more US tax dollars are headed to Ukraine (even more), Moqtada al-Sadr has new suggestions (tantrums) in Iraq, and much more.

Let's start with Jeffrey St. Clair (COUNTERPUNCH) providing an overview of the world today:

+ The White House is preparing another $13.7 billion in “emergency funding” for Ukraine. Emergency? What about Jackson, Mississippi?

+ Bill LaPlante, the Pentagon’s top weapons-buyer, said this week that the US trained the Ukrainian missileers on how to use the Harpoon missiles that sank two Russian warships. This is how it always goes: first sell a besieged ally weapons, then train the foreign troops how to use them, then send military advisors for how to deploy the weapons, then send the CIA to pick targets, then send US troops when all of the above fails, kill tens of thousands of people (mostly civilians), then cut and run before you’re chased out of the country by the very people you claimed you wanted to protect…

+ Zugzwang [tzoog-tzwung]: a situation in chess (and life) in which a move must be made, but each possible one will make the situation worse.

+ September 3, 2022 in America: 127 shooting incidents, 134 injuries, 46 fatalities…

+ Despite the fact that drug use of any kind is rarely  the cause of miscarriage or still birth, prosecution of women who test positive for drugs still happens and it’s likely get even more common in the wake of the overturning of Roe v. Wade.

+ Voting is the basement in the abandoned house people keep running into thinking they’ve found the way you, only to find someone in a hockey mask (Pelosi or McCarthy, on any given year) holding a chainsaw to cut off the rest of the Social Security, Medicare, unemployment insurance and Food Stamps…

+ Goldman Sachs analysts spell out the likely consequences this winter from the NATO/US/EU sanctions on Russian oil and gas: “In our view, the market continues to underestimate the depth, the breadth & the structural repercussions of the crisis… We believe these will be even deeper than the 1970s oil crisis.”

More money for Ukraine and Joe Biden's war of choice while the people in the US suffer.  He's delivered nothing of value to Americans and isn't on course to do so.  But in two years, it'll be time for everyone to whore agin and insist that he (or whomever replaces him on the ticket) will work for Americans.  Honest.  This time.  Maybe this time.

Time does have a habit of running out.  Sooner or later, it runs out for all of us.  Lynn Neary (ALL THINGS CONSIDERED, NPR) reports:

Anne Garrels, longtime foreign correspondent for NPR, died on Wednesday of lung cancer. She was 71 years old.

At even deeper than the 1970s oil crisis.”

More money for Ukraine and Joe Biden's war of choice while the people in the US suffer.  He's delivered nothing of value to Americans and isn't on course to do so.  But in two years, it'll be time for everyone to whore agin and insist that he (or whomever replaces him on the ticket) will work for Americans.  Honest.  This time.  Maybe this time.

Time does have a habit of running out.  Sooner or later, it runs out for all of us.  Lynn Neary (ALL THINGS CONSIDERED, NPR) reports:

Anne Garrels, longtime foreign correspondent for NPR, died on Wednesday of lung cancer. She was 71 years old.

At NPR, Garrels was known as a passionate reporter willing to go anywhere in the world at a moment's notice if the story required it. She was also a warm and generous friend to many.

When she arrived at NPR in 1988, she already had a lot of experience under her belt — including 10 years in television news at ABC, where she was bureau chief in both Moscow and Central America.

Garrels made a strong impression on NPR's Deborah Amos. "She was this glamorous television reporter who came here," she said. "She didn't dress like the rest of us in the beginning. And she'd has this long and remarkable career before she landed here ... She was always braver than me, and I always understood that she was braver than me."

That bravery led Garrels into many war zones. And when it came to covering a war, she was there at the beginning, in the middle of the battle, and at the peace table. She was the kind of reporter who would drive alone across a war zone if that's what it took to get the story.

But in a 2003 interview with NPR's Susan Stamberg, Garrels insisted that she was not a "war junkie." "I didn't set out to be a war correspondent," she said. "The wars kept happening."

Ted Johnson (DEADLINE) adds, "During her career she was honored multiple times for her work, including the the George Polk Award, the 2004 Edward R. Murrow Award, the Courage in Journalism Award from the International Women’s Media Foundation and the Los Angeles Press Club’s Daniel Pearl Award for Courage and Integrity in Journalism."

Her most acclaimed reporting came during the 2003 Iraq War. More than 500 journalists, including more than 100 Americans, covered the run-up to the war. But once the United States began the all-out bombing campaign she was one of 16 US correspondents not embedded with US troops who stayed — and for a time was the only US network reporter to continue broadcasting from the heart of Baghdad.

With her vivid reports often picked up by other broadcasters, Ms. Garrels — and her safety — became a story in itself.

Once she was home, other reporters interviewed her about her ordeal. She told of subsisting on Kit Kat chocolate bars and Marlboro Lights, bathing by gathering water in huge trash cans, and powering her equipment by attaching jumper cables to a car battery, which she lugged up to her hotel room every night.

Ms. Garrels told Terry Gross, host of the NPR program “Fresh Air,’’ that she had not thought twice about staying in Baghdad. “My gut instinct told me I would be OK,’’ she said, in part because she worked with a very competent fixer.

She admitted to Gross that she had been worried at times about being taken hostage, but she said she was usually so exhausted at night that she “slept like a baby through the bombing.’’

What really scared her, she said, was the thought of not telling a story as well as she wanted to. “I don’t write easily,’’ she said. “It’s a painful process.’’

Years later, Ms. Garrels said in an interview that while in Baghdad she had experienced a crucial reckoning. When the US Marines and some Iraqis toppled a massive statue of Saddam Hussein, the country’s dictator, she quoted somber Iraqis saying that the arrival of US troops had been humiliating and predicting that the Americans would soon be resented. By contrast, she said, the dominant images on television were of jubilant crowds cheering the fall of the statue.

Ms. Garrels’s editors in Washington were watching television and asked her if she wanted to revise her story, given the discordance between her words and the televised images. No, she told them, insisting that her interviews more accurately reflected the moment.

Her version was borne out by other photojournalists on the ground and by an after-action report by the Army, which said that the Marines had more or less stage-managed the toppling of the statue with a small number of Iraqis in an otherwise empty square.

“That was probably one of the most important moments for me as a reporter,’’ she said, as it reinforced her instincts to trust her own reporting.

Peter Maass Tweets:

I wrote a long story for the New Yorker about U.S. journalists hyping the toppling of a statue of Saddam Hussein in 2003 - so I just want to say that Anne Garrels, who died yesterday, was one of the few to get it right. Listen to her dispatch from Baghdad:

Nearly every major US outlet went with the lie and pimped it hard. It's to Anne Garrels' credit that she avoid the pack mentality. Back to Lynn Neary's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED report for this:

As much as Anne Garrels loved Russia, she is probably best known for her reporting during the 2003 Iraq war. She was one of a handful of foreign reporters who remained in Bagdhad as the war began. As she told Susan Stamberg, she used a satellite phone for her reports and went to great lengths to conceal it from Iraqi authorities.

"And then I decided it would be very smart if I broadcast naked, so if that, god forbid, the secret police were coming through the rooms, that would give me maybe five minutes to answer the phone, pretend I'd been asleep and sort of go 'I don't have any clothes on!' And maybe it would maybe give me five seconds to hide the phone," she said.

Garrels later wrote about her wartime experiences in Iraq in a book called Naked in Bagdhad. NPR's Deborah Amos, who also reported from the Iraqi capital, remembered that Garrels sometimes took extraordinary risks to get a story.

In Iraq, the political stalemate continues.  We're basically one month away from one years since Iraq held elections but still no prime minister, still no president.  October 10th was the day some went to the polls to vote.  All these months later, nothing.  RUDAW notes:

The United States has not abandoned Iraq during its ongoing political crisis, a former US official said on Thursday, noting that parties in Baghdad need to reach an agreement to prevent further chaos in the country.

Iraq is in a deepening political impasse triggered by the parliament’s failure to form a government due to disputes between the major blocs of the legislature over the mechanism of its formation.

“A lot of people who have said that the United States has abandoned Iraq, [and] is starting to abandon the Middle East… The United States is not abandoning anybody. They are realigning, not their necessarily priorities, but their main objectives,” Vincent Campos, former public diplomacy officer at the US State Department told Rudaw’s Diyar Kurda on Thursday, adding that Washington constantly conducts an assessment to determine the right level of needed engagement.

Campos emphasized the need for the political parties to affirm their commitment to efforts aimed at the progress of the country and preventing it from sliding into further disarray.

Noted failure Moqtada al-Sadr continues to grow hi manboobs while also attempting to prevent the formation of a government.  He's now calling for Sunnia and Kurds to resign from Parliament and stating that the current prime minister -- his friend Mustafa al-Kahdimi -- remain as caretaker prime minister until early elections are held.

If they are held, it won't be next month.  The government of Iraq has usually maintained that the need between three to six months to prepare for an election.

The Supreme Federal Court, the highest judicial body in Iraq, has deprived the leader of the Sadrist movement, Moqtada al-Sadr, of his last pressure card to dissolve parliament and go to early legislative elections.

The court's decision came after he failed to achieve the dissolution of the legislature by resorting to street mobilisation, that eventually turned violent.

Analysts say that the decision announced Wednesday by the top court, which ruled that it does not have constitutional powers to dissolve parliament, narrows the options for Sadr and forces him to meet his opponents from the pro-Iran Coordination Framework half-way.

The initiative by his ally, Parliament Speaker Muhammad al-Halbousi, may offer him the opportunity for a political climb-down.

Legal expert Amir Al-Daami told local media, that "the decision of the Federal Court is to the credit of the court, given that it complied with the Iraqi constitution to the letter and did not put itself above the law."

Iraq's top court ruling on Wednesday could be a turning point in the country's 11-month political crisis.

Sadr's bloc won most votes in parliamentary elections last October but he has been unable to form a majority government. His followers stormed the parliament in late July to prevent their rivals from Iran-backed groups from forming the government.

With ensuing rallies, clashes with security forces, counter-rallies and a sit-in outside, the government formation process has stalled.

Moqtada has spent nearly 11 months stamping his feet and he's accomplished nothing.  Well if Joe Biden can fool his supporters, why shouldn't Moqtada be able to do the same.

Anyone paying attention knows that Joe Biden’s accomplishments as president are pretty sparse. The oligarchy allowed his American Rescue Plan stimulus program to go through but then put a stop on Build Back Better or any other legislation that would help the people in a meaningful way. The student loan debt relief plan is a bait and switch scam used against desperate people. Biden brags about allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices with pharmaceutical companies but that won’t happen until 2026 and will only be allowed for ten drugs that are to be named later.

What is a failed president to do? His 2022 midterm stump speech had the odd title , “The Continued Battle for the Soul of a Nation.” No one voted for Biden to be the nation’s religious leader, why the reference to the nation’s soul? That use of language is a sure sign that nonsense is being peddled and Biden didn’t disappoint. His failures are the reason he keeps running against Donald Trump instead of in defense of himself.

Because he and the democrats don’t have much in the way of appeals to voters he just shouts Trump’s signature acronym MAGA, Make America Great Again, over and over again. He said MAGA 13 times in his speech. Never before has a losing president or his supporters been elevated to such a level of attention.

Of course Trump differs from most former presidents by claiming that he didn’t really lose and encouraging his supporters to riot inside the Capitol two weeks before his successor’s inauguration. He still says he didn’t lose and is also back in the news after refusing to turn over subpoenaed documents to the National Archives where they belong.

But Trump’s personal foolishness should be a reason for him to be ignored instead of getting more attention. The MAGA distraction exposes the democrats’ weakness, namely living off their decades old reputation as the party of working people when they have had little or nothing to say for themselves in that regard in the Biden, Obama, or Clinton administrations.

The events of January 6, 2021 were definitely a shock to the public at that time but a year and a half of endless news stories and congressional investigations haven’t moved the needle of public opinion very much. Approximately 40% of Americans would still vote for Trump. The people calling Trump a traitor and wanting to jail him are the same people who would never have voted for him or other republicans in the first place. Trump received more than 70 million votes in November 2020, 10 million more than in his 2016 election. There is little reason to believe that those supporters will change their minds. The democrats may get lucky and keep control of congress after the midterm elections but it won’t be because Biden manages to say MAGA in every sentence.

It is a political dictum that opponents should be attacked and not voters. Hillary Clinton’s pre-election remark about “deplorables” didn’t help her get out the vote in swing states where she most needed them. Biden diverges from traditional political discourse out of desperation so acute that he repeats Hillary’s failed course of action.

He is allowed to spew subpar propaganda because he has no opposition within the democratic party. The so-called progressives stand down when they are told to do so. They are window dressing within window dressing who are allowed to post platitudes on Twitter and fool democrats into thinking they have champions in congress. Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley can even tell an obvious lie that Biden canceled student loan debt and emerge unscathed. Neither she nor other members of “the Squad” or the Congressional Black Caucus have anything to fear when they go along to get along.

They would think twice about joining in the beat down if they feared the voters. Unfortunately most democratic voters have been indoctrinated into thinking that voicing any concerns with their party leadership will lead to republican victory. Black voters are once again caught in what they see as an insurmountable trap of defending democrats regardless of what they do or fail to do.

But that twisted thinking needs to stop. The liberation movement is uplifted at every possible moment yet its real significance, sustained opposition to political power, is rarely mentioned. There is no reason to accept crumbs and thus continue snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. There is no trap for Black or any other democratic voters if they show some determination to speak out when they are being conned.

The following sites updated:

  • Thursday, September 8, 2022

    They have no oversight at Huffington Post

    Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) said Thursday that proposed federal legislation protecting same-sex marriage is unnecessary because the Supreme Court will “never” overturn its 2015 ruling legalizing marriage equality.

    Johnson pointed to the principles of “stare decisis,” a judicial concept that favors the continuation of established precedent, as the reason why same-sex marriage is safe.

    “I mean, stare decisis protects decisions that if they were overturned, it would disrupt people’s lives. I don’t want to disrupt people’s lives,” Johnson told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt.

    The Supreme Court did just that in July, however, when it overturned federal abortion rights. Six conservative justices on the court voted to overrule a 50-year precedent that guaranteed a constitutional right to privacy ― the same precedent the Supreme Court relied on to legalize same-sex marriage by a 5-4 decision in 2015. One justice said the court should go even further and reexamine same-sex and interracial marriage. 

    See the problem?  

    The one justice who noted other decisions was Clarry Thomas -- buffoon and village idiot.  He did say that it should go further and re-examine same sex marriage.  But he didn't say it should re-examine interracial marriage.  The second thing he wanted re-examined was birth control.

    Samuel L. Jackson immediately called out Clarry or Miss Claree if you're nasty.  Samuel L. Jackson noted Loving V Virginia was based on the same logic.  But Clarry didn't call it out.  Why?  Because African-American Clarry is married to a White woman.  That was the whole point Samuel was making: If it effected the hypocrite's life, Clarry wasn't going to question it.

    Again, not to smart at Huff Post.

    This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

    Thursday, September 8, 2022.  John Pilger notes the persecution of Julian Assange and the history of US government propaganda, a threat to the LGBTQ community emerges in Kurdistan, the Iraqi judiciary repeats itself, and much more.

    Starting with this Tweet from Matt Kennard:

    We must get Julian Assange out of prison. Future generations won’t forgive us if we let the US-UK kill him for exposing their crimes. The stakes are impossibly high. For everyone. Act now.

    US President Joe Biden continues his ongoing persecution of Julian Assange.   Julian's 'crime' was revealing the realities of Iraq -- Chelsea Manning was a whistle-blower who leaked the information to Julian.  WIKILEAKS then published the Iraq War Logs.  And many outlets used the publication to publish reports of their own.  For example, THE GUARDIAN published many articles based on The Iraq War Logs.  Jonathan Steele, David Leigh and Nick Davies offered, on October 22, 2012:

    A grim picture of the US and Britain's legacy in Iraq has been revealed in a massive leak of American military documents that detail torture, summary executions and war crimes.
    Almost 400,000 secret US army field reports have been passed to the Guardian and a number of other international media organisations via the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks.

    The electronic archive is believed to emanate from the same dissident US army intelligence analyst who earlier this year is alleged to have leaked a smaller tranche of 90,000 logs chronicling bloody encounters and civilian killings in the Afghan war.
    The new logs detail how:
    US authorities failed to investigate hundreds of reports of abuse, torture, rape and even murder by Iraqi police and soldiers whose conduct appears to be systematic and normally unpunished.

    A US helicopter gunship involved in a notorious Baghdad incident had previously killed Iraqi insurgents after they tried to surrender.
    More than 15,000 civilians died in previously unknown incidents. US and UK officials have insisted that no official record of civilian casualties exists but the logs record 66,081 non-combatant deaths out of a total of 109,000 fatalities.

    The numerous reports of detainee abuse, often supported by medical evidence, describe prisoners shackled, blindfolded and hung by wrists or ankles, and subjected to whipping, punching, kicking or electric shocks. Six reports end with a detainee's apparent death. 

    To make sure no one's confused, Joe Biden is not going after Julian Assange because Julian committed War Crimes in Iraq.  Joe is going after Julian because Julian exposed War Crimes.  In Joe's mind, War Crimes are like his son's laptop in that both should be hidden from the public.

    Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said Wednesday that he has invited relatives of Julian Assange and Che Guevara to attend the country’s Independence Day celebrations next week.

    Left-wing Lopez Obrador said former Presidents of Bolivia and Uruguay, Evo Morales and Jose “Pepe” Mujic, were also invited, along with relatives of Nelson Mandela, US civil rights leader Martin Luther King and US union activist Cesar Chavez.

    Releasing the name list at a regular press conference, Lopez Obrador said the guest list had yet to be confirmed. However, he noted that Morales, who was granted asylum by Mexico when he was forced out of office in 2019, said he would attend.

    The world is watching -- as noted at PRESSENZA:

    Julian Assange, has now spent over 1,200 days in a maximum-security prison. If we consider the date of June 19, 2012, when he first sought Ecuador’s protection from the very charges he now faces, he has now been deprived of his liberty for over 10 years.

    With this in mind, we’re writing to stress the importance of continued pressure in our news reports and broadcasts, including asking our representatives what is being done to bring this situation to an end.

    In light of this, you are probably aware of the positive development that a number of US citizens – lawyers and journalists who worked with Assange – recently sued the Central Intelligence Agency and its former director Mike Pompeo in the Southern District of New York.

    We want to provide a little more information. The plaintiffs are US lawyers Margaret Ratner Kunstler and Deborah Hrbeck; German-American journalist John Goetz; and British-American journalist Charles Glass. They allege Pompeo and the CIA breached their constitutional rights under the Fourth Amendment, protecting against illegal search and seizure.

    This was, they allege, performed on the CIA’s behalf by the Spanish security firm UC Global and its founder David Morales – both also listed as defendants in the complaint.

    The plaintiffs are represented by lead attorney Richard Roth, of Roth Law, and a full copy of the motion filed on August 15 can be found here.

    Thanks to the reporting of Kevin Gosztola of The Dissenter, it has also been confirmed that Judge John Koeltl has been assigned to preside over the case. Positively, as Kevin reports, Koeltl previously ruled in favour of Assange and WikiLeaks in 2019 when the Democratic National Committee tried to hold them liable for publishing its emails three years earlier.

    At CONSORTIUM NEWS, John Pilger reviews the long history of US government propaganda farmed off as 'truth' by a controlled press and we'll pick up with Ukraine:

    The news from the war in Ukraine is mostly not news, but a one-sided litany of jingoism, distortion, omission.  I have reported a number of wars and have never known such blanket propaganda. 

    In February, Russia invaded Ukraine as a response to almost eight years of killing and criminal destruction in the Russian-speaking region of Donbass on their border. 

    In 2014, the United States had sponsored a coup in Kiev that got rid of Ukraine’s democratically elected, Russian-friendly president and installed a successor whom the Americans made clear was their man. 

    In recent years, American “defender” missiles have been installed in eastern Europe, Poland, Slovenia, the Czech Republic, almost certainly aimed at Russia, accompanied by false assurances all the way back to James Baker’s “promise” to Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in February 1990 that NATO would never expand beyond Germany. 

    NATO on Hitler’s Borderline

    Ukraine is the frontline. NATO has effectively reached the very borderland through which Hitler’s army stormed in 1941, leaving more than 23 million dead in the Soviet Union. 

    Last December, Russia proposed a far-reaching security plan for Europe. This was dismissed, derided or suppressed in the Western media. Who read its step-by-step proposals? On Feb. 24, President Volodymyr Zelensky threatened to develop nuclear weapons unless America armed and protected Ukraine.  

    [Related: John Pilger: War in Europe & the Rise of Raw Propaganda]

    On the same day, Russia invaded — an unprovoked act of congenital infamy, according to the Western media. The history, the lies, the peace proposals, the solemn agreements on Donbass at Minsk counted for nothing. 

    On April 25, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin flew into Kiev and confirmed that America’s aim was to destroy the Russian Federation — the word he used was “weaken.” America had got the war it wanted, waged by an American bankrolled and armed proxy and expendable pawn.

    Almost none of this was explained to Western audiences.

    [Read:  Joe Lauria: Biden Confirms Why the US Needed This War]

    Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is wanton and inexcusable. It is a crime to invade a sovereign country. There are no “buts” — except one.

    When did the present war in Ukraine begin and who started it? According to the United Nations, between 2014 and this year, some 14,000 people have been killed in the Kiev regime’s civil war on the Donbass. Many of the attacks were carried out by neo-Nazis. 

    Watch an ITV news report from May 2014, by the veteran reporter James Mates, who is shelled, along with civilians in the city of Mariupol, by Ukraine’s Azov (neo-Nazi) battalion.

    In the same month, dozens of Russian-speaking people were burned alive or suffocated in a trade union building in Odessa besieged by fascist thugs, the followers of the Nazi collaborator and anti-Semitic fanatic Stepan Bandera.  The New York Times called the thugs “nationalists.”

    “The historic mission of our nation in this critical moment,” said Andreiy Biletsky, founder of the Azov Battaltion, “is to lead the White Races of the world in a final crusade for their survival, a crusade against the Semite-led Untermenschen.”

    Since February, a campaign of self-appointed “news monitors” (mostly funded by the Americans and British with links to governments) have sought to maintain the absurdity that Ukraine’s neo-Nazis don’t exist. 

    Airbrushing, once associated with Stalin’s purges, has become a tool of mainstream journalism.

    In less than a decade, a “good” China has been airbrushed and a “bad” China has replaced it: from the world’s workshop to a budding new Satan.  

    Much of this propaganda originates in the U.S., and is transmitted through proxies and “think-tanks,” such as the notorious Australian Strategic Policy Institute, the voice of the arms industry, and by journalists such as Peter Hartcher of The Sydney Morning Herald, who has labeled those spreading Chinese influence as “rats, flies, mosquitoes and sparrows” and suggested these “pests” be “eradicated.” 

    News about China in the West is almost entirely about the threat from Beijing. Airbrushed are the 400 American military bases that surround most of China, an armed necklace that reaches from Australia to the Pacific and south east Asia, Japan and Korea. The Japanese island of Okinawa and the Korean island of Jeju are like loaded guns aimed point blank at the industrial heart of China. A Pentagon official described this as a “noose.”

    Palestine has been misreported for as long as I can remember. To the BBC, there is the “conflict” of “two narratives.” The longest, most brutal, lawless military occupation in modern times is unmentionable. 

    The stricken people of Yemen barely exist. They are media unpeople.  While the Saudis rain down their American cluster bombs with British advisers working alongside the Saudi targeting officers, more than half a million children face starvation.

    This brainwashing by omission is not new. The slaughter of the First World War was suppressed by reporters who were given knighthoods for their compliance.  In 1917, the editor of The Manchester Guardian, C.P. Scott, confided to Prime Minister Lloyd George: “If people really knew [the truth], the war would be stopped tomorrow, but they don’t know and can’t know.”

    The refusal to see people and events as those in other countries see them is a media virus in the West, as debilitating as Covid.  It is as if we see the world through a one-way mirror, in which “we” are moral and benign and “they” are not. It is a profoundly imperial view.

    The history that is a living presence in China and Russia is rarely explained and rarely understood. Vladimir Putin is Adolf Hitler. Xi Jinping is Fu Man Chu. Epic achievements, such as the eradication of abject poverty in China, are barely known. How perverse and squalid this is.

    When will we allow ourselves to understand? Training journalists factory style is not the answer. Neither is the wondrous digital tool, which is a means, not an end, like the one-finger typewriter and the linotype machine.

    In recent years, some of the best journalists have been eased out of the mainstream. “Defenestrated” is the word used. The spaces once open to mavericks, to journalists who went against the grain, truth-tellers, have closed.  

    The case of Julian Assange is the most shocking.  When Julian and WikiLeaks could win readers and prizes for The Guardian, The New York Times and other self-important “papers of record,” he was celebrated. 

    When the dark state objected and demanded the destruction of hard drives and the assassination of Julian’s character, he was made a public enemy. Vice President Joe Biden compared him to a “hi-tech terrorist.” Hillary Clinton asked, “Can’t we just drone this guy?” 

    The ensuing campaign of abuse and vilification against Julian Assange — the U.N. rapporteur on torture called it “mobbing” — brought the liberal press to its lowest ebb. We know who they are. I think of them as collaborators: as Vichy journalists. 

    Barack Obama, Donald Trump, Joe Biden, and the overwhelmingly compliant U.S. Congress, are all to blame for that dictatorial regime’s pursuit against that champion of truth-telling; and the same blame applies to the leadership in UK. On 10 December 2021, BBC bannered “Julian Assange can be extradited to the US, court rules”. Blatantly, both America and England lie in order to refer to themselves as being democracies. In fact, America has the world’s highest percentage of its residents in prisons. But can the Government of Australia be any better, since Assange is an Australian and they’ve done nothing whatsoever to protect him from his would-be executioners? After all: Assange will be dying in prison regardless of whether or not he even becomes formally tried for any alleged crime. That’s a democracy? Of course not! It is a country that is controlled by its roughly 1,000 billionaires. It is an aristocracy. And the public are merely their dupes. And that is the reason why, in the only international poll of this that has ever been published on approval/disapproval of Assange — and its findings then were suppressed — only in the U.S. did a majority of the public disapprove of Assange.

    A protest rally is planned for October 8th, starting at noon, in front of the US Justice Dept in DC.

    Turning to Iraq, Rasha Younes (Human Rights Watch) calls attention to a proposed measure that would greatly limit the rights of those living in Kurdistan:

    On September 4, members of the Kurdistan Regional Government in Iraq proposed an odious bill to Parliament that, if passed, would punish any individual or group who advocates for the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people. The bill is reportedly gaining momentum among parliament members.

    According to the “Bill on the Prohibition of Promoting Homosexuality,” anyone who advocates for LGBT rights or “promotes homosexuality” would face imprisonment up to one year, and a fine of up to five million dinars (US$3,430). The bill would also suspend, for up to one month, the licenses of media companies and civil society organizations that “promote homosexuality.”

    If passed, the law would endanger free expression in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) and eradicate public discussion around gender and sexuality. Even as LGBT people across Iraq have faced egregious violence, including murder, over two decades, the KRI was a comparatively accessible space for activism.

    The proposed bill comes amid a heightened crackdown on free assembly and expression in the KRI, where just last month security forces arrested dozens of journalists, activists, and politicians in advance of planned protests over worsening corruption, poverty, and unemployment.

    The new law would make a bad situation worse for LGBT people in Iraq, who can already be arrested under a range of vague penal code provisions aimed at policing morals and limiting free expression. In June 2021, police in the KRI issued arrest warrants under a “public indecency” provision against 11 LGBT rights activists who are either current or former employees at Rasan Organization, a Sulaymaniyah-based human rights group. As of September 2022, the case remained open pending investigation, though authorities had not detained the activists.

    Advocates who support LGBT rights and document abuses against them should not fear reprisals for speaking up. The Kurdistan Regional Government should immediately quash the proposed bill and publicly guarantee the right to free expression, including around the rights of LGBT people.

    In Iraq, the political stalemate continues.  October 10th, Iraq held elections.  Still no prime minister, still no president.  All these months later.  Overeater and Cult Leader Moqtada al-Sadr failed repeatedly, month after month, at forming a government.  Exposed as a failure, he continues to flounder.  PRESS TV reports:

    Iraq's supreme court says it lacks the constitutional authority to dissolve the country's parliament as demanded by influential Shia cleric and political leader Muqtada al-Sadr.

    In a ruling on Wednesday, which came in response to a lawsuit filed by lawmakers affiliated with Sadr, the country's apex court said it was only the parliament that could dissolve itself if it were to be found in default of its duties.

    After the ruling, Iraqi security forces closed the gates to the heavily fortified Green Zone in Baghdad, the seat of the government, fearing angry reaction from Sadr's followers, according to reports.

    The Arab country has been grappling with a political stalemate since last October when Sadr's parliamentary bloc won the general elections but refused to join an alliance with its fellow legislative factions to form a government.

    I'm going through articles at ALJAZEERA and AL-MONITOR and from various wire services and it's as though everyone has amnesia.  

    The judiciary response?  It's their second response.  From the August 15th snapshot:

    Last week, Moqtada made the demand that the judiciary dissolve the Parliament.  The judiciary has responded.  ALJAZEERA carried an AP article which notes, "Iraq’s top judicial body says it does not have the authority to dissolve the country’s parliament, days after influential cleric Muqtada al-Sadr escalated a political standoff by giving it one week to dismiss the legislature so new elections can be held."

    The response this week was the same as last month.  And what happened last month?  Moqtada then sent his cult to intimidate the judiciary.  

    Let's wind down address a few topics showing up in drive-by e-mails to the public account (  First, Donald Trump is stating that he should be named president.

    We have addressed that over and over.  The people do not elect the president. The electoral college does.  If there was a time to call the vote into question, it was before the electoral college voted.  Once that took place, it was over.  

    There is no process by which the electoral college is overturned.  I believe Al Gore won in the 2000 election -- a topic will come back to.  If one day after the electoral college voted in 2001, there had been proof to this effect, it wouldn't have mattered.  Someone else was named and they were named to a four year term that would only be stopped by death or impeachment.  That's it.  And if Bully Boy Bush had died in 2001, Al wouldn't have become president.  There is an order of succession.  It would have gone to Dick Cheney in 2001.

    There are not do overs as such.  Once the electoral college votes, that's it.

    So let's say Donald Trump had proof -- proof no one questioned or doubted -- that he should have been named president in January 2021?  It doesn't matter.  He can try running again as someone who was denied the office.  But he's not going to replace Joe Biden as president this year or next year or in 2024.  Were he to win the 2024 election, he could become president in January 2025.  But we don't go backwards on that.  

    Those opposed to abolishing the electoral college could make that a point for keeping it.  (I oppose abolishing the electoral college and having the people directly vote for the presidency.)

    Karine Jean-Pierre.  I haven't written a word about her.  She's the White House spokesperson.  If she addresses Iraq, we'll note her.  Right now?  Honestly, not interested.

    E-mails are saying she was fairly called out or unfairly called out on FOX NEWS.  

    They pointed to some election in 2016 that she claimed was falsely decided.

    If that's all she did, so what?

    JFK probably did not defeat Richard Nixon -- Chicago's dead voting put JFK over the top.  

    That's not the only election in doubt.  More recently, the Supreme Court stopped the count in GORE V BUSH.  They didn't have the right or power to stop that vote.  If there is doubt, it goes to the House.  They also are not supposed to do one issue one time cases -- yet they insisted that this was not to be seen as a precedent.  You also had Sandra Day O'Connor having a hissy fit at a party when a network called it for Gore.  After she stormed out of the room, her husband explained that she was planning to retire but she couldn't if a Democrat was going to be in the White House.  For that reason, she should have recused herself from the decision.  She had a vested interest in the outcome -- and the public would forever be left to wonder if she made the decision on legal grounds or because she wanted to retire?  

    Trust is not a minor issue.  When you rise to the level of Supreme Court Justice, or president, or leader of one of the houses of Congress, you're not just supposed to avoid conflicts of interest, you are supposed to avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest.

    Sandra didn't do that.

    You will never, ever convince me that Bully Boy Bush won the 2000 election.  

    And I can say that.  It's a free country.  I said it in real time.  I did not call for people to descend upon DC.  I did not call for violence.

    I can use my words however I want -- that's what free speech means.

    Hillary Clinton, after 2016, looked like a sore loser going around pretending that she won if things were fair.  No, she didn't win.  The rules were in place before she ran.  And, unlike me, she's never called for the electoral college to be abolished.  "I won the popular vote!"  Who gives a damn.  The popular vote isn't how we elect presidents.  She knew that before she filed papers to run for president in 2016 -- hell, she knew it before she tried to win the Democratic Party's presidential nomination in 2008.

    That's the system.  She lost.  She lost because she was lazy and she lost because she wanted to be Barack.  (The complaints -- valid complaints -- about her 2016 campaign largely overlook the candidate she was in 2008 -- that candidate could have won.)  

    I've said she should let it go -- and she should have -- but I didn't say she was crazy (she was a hypocrite since she never called for abolishing the electoral college).  She can use her words how she wants -- that's why she got away with Russia-gate, remember.  She chose to lie and she did get away with it but the record is the record and history will hold her accountable.  

    If that's it with regards to Karine?  Then she hasn't done anything wrong.  Elections have been stolen -- here and in other countries.  It does happen.  She's entitled to her opinion.  She's not entitled to call for violence.  If she called for violence (I doubt she did) Karine and I would have a problem.  But her believing that an election was stolen?  That's her right as a US citizen.  

    And let's clarify on stolen because I've seen the raw data on the polls NPR and others have used recently.

    No.  That's not polling.

    Benito can support Donald Trump and believe that the election was stolen.  He can state that belief.  That does not mean that he believes the votes were counted wrongly, for example.  It just might mean that he believes Donald was the better choice and Joe winning the office was 'stealing' it from a better candidate.  

    For example, a large number of us who belong to the Academy believe that Geena Davis stole the Oscar.  I've referred to her as The Accidental Award Winner.  I don't, for one moment, believe Geena stuffed the ballot box or that she ran off with some ballots and destroyed them.  I just happen to believe that no one gave a better performance that year than Michelle Pfeiffer in DANGEROUS LIASONS.  No one gives a damn about THE ACCIDENTAL TOURIST and everything Geena does in that movie she did in TOOTSIE, in her failed sitcoms, etc.  Geena's work isn't very impressive (THELMA AND LOUSIE, THE LONG KISS GOODNIGHT and AVA are films where she stretches and achieves, she coasted through the 80s).  Michelle tore your heart apart in DANGEROUS LIASONS.  Stan called her "One of the most underrated actors" and I agree (I know Michelle and consider her a friend, however, I have a lot of friends and you don't see me posting about how they should have won this Academy Award or that one). I 100% believe Michelle was robbed, that the award was stolen.  I do not, however, believe that Geena cheated, stuffed the ballot box, destroyed ballots, etc.  The polling could be stronger if they were more precise in their in conveying terms and what they meant.  

    "Stolen" could just mean you think someone else should have won.

    The following sites updated: