Friday, February 22, 2019

Roslyn Kind, Laura Nyro and Melanie

Janice e-mailed asking if I could note this video.

That's Roslyn Kind performing Laura Nyro's "Save The Country."  Kind's been singing for some time now (out of high school, I think, in 1968).  She's most famous as Barbra Streisand's half-sister.  I think, on the track above, she really comes into her own as a singer.

  1. BHBPR client has released a masterful musical number echoing, yet overcoming, the signs of the times entitled "Save The Country"... According to Kind, "I thought this would be the right time to release this first single from the compilation"
  2. This week's Podcast: Singer Roslyn Kind releases new song to “Save the Country,” and The Disco King of Skokie Carey Weiman shares his incredible story recently captured in a documentary seen on PBS via
  3. Singer Roslyn Kind releases new song to “Save the Country,” and The Disco King of Skokie Carey Weiman shares his incredible story recently captured in a documentary seen on PBS

Still on music, Tom Breihan (STEREO GUM) is reviewing number one hits and here he is covering Melanei's "Brand New Key:"

Melanie Safka was a real-deal folk singer, a Queens native who started out performing in a New Jersey coffeehouse and then moved onto the Village folk scene when she was studying acting in college. Melanie is one of those weird cases — an American singer who blows up overseas before she can get arrested in her homeland. Melanie signed to Columbia and scored a couple of hits in European countries, but she was mostly an unknown when she performed at Woodstock in 1969. Playing that festival led her to wrote “Lay Down (Candles In The Rain),” her first American hit. (The wildly romanticized “Lay Down” got to #6 in 1970; it’s 6.)
After stints on Columbia and Buddah, Melanie and her producer husband Peter Schekeryk started their own label Neighborhood Records. (So “Brand New Key” was a self-released record, though the couple did have major-label distribution.) When Melanie wrote “Brand New Key,” she didn’t necessarily think of it as a single; it’s more of a fun, dizzy interlude on her LP Gather Me, which is otherwise a straight-up idiosyncratic folk record in that early Joni Mitchell vein. But “Brand New Key” ended up being memorable enough to overshadow everything else she ever did.

On the face of it, “Brand New Key” is a jaunty, innocent tune about being a kid with a crush. On the song, Melanie keeps rollerskating past the house of the guy she likes. She keeps hearing that he’s not home, until his mother finally tells her that he’s with someone else. And that’s when she starts to catch on: “Sometimes I think that you’re avoiding me.”

NEW YORK UPSTATE reports Melanie will be performing there this summer on the 50th anniversary of Woodstock:

Another original Woodstock performer is returning to Upstate New York to celebrate the 1969 festival’s 50th anniversary.
The Daily News reports Melanie will headline “BataviaStock” at Batavia Downs on Saturday, July 20. The day-long festival will celebrate the music of Woodstock, with five tribute bands representing other original performers: Green River Revival – A Creedence Clearwater Revival Tribute, Abraxas – a Santana and Sly & the Family Stone Tribute, The Who Show – a Who Tribute, and Piece of My Heart – a Janis Joplin Tribute.
Tickets are now on sale at; general admission prices are $10, VIP are $15 and Premium Section seats are $20. Additional fees may apply.

Weird to think that it's about to be the 50th anniversary of Woodstock.

So many who performed there are gone.  Richie Havens, Tim Hardin, Janis Joplin, Jerry Garcia, Joe Cocker, Johnny Winter and Jimi Hendrix have all passed away.  Grace Slick is still alive as are Melanie (obviously), David Crosby, Stephen Stills, Graham Nash, Neil Young, The Who and Carolos Santana -- among others.

"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):
Friday, February 22, 2019.  The Iraq War hits the 16 year mark next month and people are still dying but how many people who want the Democratic Party's 2020 presidential nomination appear to even be aware that wars are dragging on?

Yesterday, we noted Burn Pits 360.  Let's note them again

 Let's get America organized.

Dear friend,

We mentioned earlier this year that 2019 is going to be the year that we make major strides in our fight for those suffering from the toxic wounds of war. While we are working diligently on our end, we need your help to get the conversation moving in your community. The more we are having public discussions on this, the more we can see real advances in our collective cause.

That is why we want to encourage you to do a few things, but first, you need to know who your Member of Congress is. You can do that here.

1) Press your Member of Congress to hold a town-hall in their district.
2) Write to your Member of Congress to support proposed legislation.
3) Call your Member of Congress and demand they support veterans suffering from burn pits.

We will be hosting three townhalls this week with Congressman Joaquin Castro (TX-20), and are encouraging all of you to contact your Member of Congress to do the same.

Also, we are encouraging all of you to write to your Member of Congress to support legislation that is currently being proposed. Click on the link on #2 above to print the letter, sign, date, label, and stick it in the mail!

Let's make 2019 be the year that brings us past the finish line for those suffering from the toxic wounds of war. Let's get organized and fight for our veterans.

Thank you,
Le Roy & Rosie Torres

Burn Pits are a serious issue.  They've done serious harm and people are suffering as a result.  Some who are suffering are family members who have lost a loved one as a result of burn pits.

Let's drop back to a June 13, 2012 Senate Veterans Affairs Committee hearing;

Senator Mark Udall:  Sitting in the audience today is Master Sergeant Jessey Baca a member of the New Mexico Air National Guard and his wife Maria.  [to them] Just give everybody a waive here, you two.  Master Sgt. Baca was stationed in Balad, Iraq and exposed to burn pits. His journey to be here today was not easy.  He has battled cancer, chronic bronchitis, chemical induced asthma, brain lesions, TBI, PTSD and numerous other ailments. Maria has traveled that difficult road with him.   They know first hand the suffering caused by burn pits and they need to know the answers.  It is because of them and so many others like them that we are here today.  Last year, I introduced S. 1798, the Open Burn Pits Registry Act with Senator Corker.  Representative Todd Akin introduced it in the House.  It is not a partisan issue.  We have each met with veterans and active duty members of the military and they have told us how important it is that we act now.  In both Afghanistan and Iraq, open air burn pits were widely used at forward operating bases.  Disposing of trash and other debris was a major challenge.  Commanders had to find a way to dispose of waste while concentrating on the important mission at hand.  The solution that was chosen, however, had serious risks.  Pits of waste were set on fire -- sometimes using jet fuel for ignition.  Some burn pits were small but others covered multiple acres of land. Often times, these burn pits would turn the sky black.  At Joint Base Balad Iraq, over 10 acres of land were used for burning toxic debris.  At the height of its operations, Balad hosted approximately 25,000 military, civilian and coalition provision authority personnel.  These personnel would be exposed to a toxic soup of chemicals released into the atmosphere.  According to air quality measurements, the air at Balad had multiple particulates harmful to humans: Plastics and Styrofoams, metals, chemicals from paints and solvents, petroleum and lubricants, jet fuel and unexploded ordnance, medical and other dangerous wastes.  The air samples at Joint Base Balad turned up some nasty stuff. Particulate matter, chemicals that form from the incomplete burning of coal, oil and gas garbage or other organic substances, volatile organic compounds such as acetone and benzene  -- benzene, as you all know, is known to cause leukemia --  and dioxins which are associated with Agent Orange.  According to the American Lung Association, emissions from burning waste contain fine particulate matter, sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide, volatile organic compounds and various irritant gases such as nitrogen oxides that can scar the lungs. All of this was in the air and being inhaled into the lungs of service members.  Our veterans have slowly begun to raise the alarm as they learn why -- after returning home -- they are short of breath or experiencing headaches and other symptoms and, in some cases, developing cancer.  Or to put it more simply, by Maria Baca, when she describes her husband's symptoms, "When he breathes, he can breathe in, but he can't breathe out.  That's the problem that he's having.  It feels like a cactus coming out of his chest.  He feels  these splinters and he can't get rid of them."  The Dept of Army has also confirmed the dangers posed by burn pits.  In a memo from April 15, 2011, Environmental Science Engineering Officer, G. Michael Pratt, wrote an air quality summary on Baghram Airfield.  And I would respectfully ask that the full memo be included in the record.  Referring to the burn pits near Baghram Airfield,  he said there was potential that "long-term exposure at these level may experience the risk for developing chronic health conditions such as reduced lung function or exacerbated chronic bronchitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma, atherosclerosis  and other cardio pulmonary diseases.  Many of our service members are coming home with these symptoms.  I believe, like you do, Madam Chair, that we are forever in debt for their service, so we must ask the question, "How did these burn pits impact the health of our returning heroes?"  This bill is a step towards finding the answers we owe them.  The legislation will establish and maintain and Open Burn Pit Registry for those individuals who may have been exposed during their military service.  It would include information in this registry that the Secretary of the VA determines is applicable to possible health effects of this exposure. develop a public information campaign to inform individuals about the registry and periodically notify members of the registry of significant developments associated with burn pits exposure.  It is supported by numerous groups including BurnPits 360, Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Association of US Navy,  Retired Enlisted Association, the Uniformed Services Disabled Retirees and the National Military Family Association.  Madam Chair and Ranking Member Burr, thank you for your attention to this important issue.  I look forward to working with both of you and members of your distinguished Committee on this important legislation.  Thank you and a pleasure once again to be with you today. 

Mark Udall is no longer in the Senate.  What's the excuse of others?

We're gearing up for a presidential election in 2020 and the bulk of declared candidates are current members of Congress.

"Kamala Harris for the people."  That's apparently her slogan.  It's all over her website, the one where she's seeking the presidential nomination.  All she really has, besides that bad slogan (that's not even working as a title for an ABC series), is a speech where she goes on and on and on about Dreamers -- they're not really voters, are they, Kamala?  And then dips her toe into consumer debt before doing a single-sentence laundry list of various issues.

So Kamala's basing her current campaign for president around the issue of Dreamers -- people who cannot vote for her?

Don't say she's a dumb-dumb.

Search in vain at her site for the mention of burn pits or any veterans issue.  She can go back to the suffragettes and their battle for the right to vote -- believe they've all died off by now, Kamala -- but she can't even acknowledge veterans and their families.

Now I support Dreamers and I'm for open borders.  But I'm also a poli-sci major and realize that a speech that mentions Dreamers for over ten paragraphs and doesn't have a single-sentence about burn pits or issues that effect veterans isn't a very good speech if you're running for elected office in the US.

It's shiny!  It's topical!  It's just not addressing the primary needs of voters.

Now, yes, Kamala's website is a step up from Harry Braun's website where he explains he's against all immigration to the US, regardless of where the immigrant is coming from. His position is 'science,' you understand.  Don't bother to point out to him that the US letting in immigrants or not really won't address the size of the global population (that's his reason for opposing all immigration).

If Kamala basing her campaign, so far, on Dreamers seems to be a poor election strategy, maybe she should team up with Robby Wells.  What a ticket they'd make!  He's sought the presidential nomination already via the Constitution Party and also as an independent candidate.  This go round, he's trying for the Democratic Party's nomination.  And what better way to scream, "Vote for me, America!," then by unveiling your plan to run the United States at a press conference in . . . Mumbai?  Get those write-in ballots ready, folks.

I'm finding only one candidate's website that notes burn pits, US House Rep Tulsi Gabbard's website:

Key Points
  • Tulsi has led efforts to help service members who have been exposed to burn pits while on active duty, along with their families
  • Tulsi has introduced and co-sponsored legislation to assist those who have been affected, and also serves as a member of the Congressional Burn Pit Caucus
  • Over 140,000 servicemembers and veterans have reported exposure to burn pits and toxic airborne chemicals.
  • Exposure to burn pits can produce serious and potentially life-threatening health effects, including neurological disorders, rare forms of cancer, lung diseases, and more—triggering some to call the crisis the ‘Agent Orange’ of the post-9/11 generation
  • Tulsi introduced H.R. 5671 - Burn Pits Accountability Act, a bipartisan bill, to evaluate exposure to open burn pits and toxic airborne chemicals, and begin the process of ensuring proper care and services for the nation’s servicemembers and veterans
  • Tulsi is an original co-sponsor of H.R. 6027 - Family Member Access to Burn Pit Registry Act, which would allow family members to register in the burn pits registry on behalf of a deceased service member
Tulsi’s Statements/Video
3rd Party Links

Tulsi is the only Iraq War veteran currently seeking the Democratic Party's presidential nomination.  But that doesn't mean others couldn't step up on the issue.  They choose not to.  Kamala Harris, for example, offers a laundry list of causes but veterans or peace don't actually make the list, do they?

Unlike Kamala, candidate Marianne Williamson does note veterans at her campaign website:

Providing Veterans With Their Much Deserved Support

Our veterans are some of the best and brightest citizens we have. To be willing to put their lives on the line so that the rest of us may exercise our freedom is something I am in awe of. I have a deep sense of gratitude for the women and men that serve in our armed forces. It saddens me that they don’t always get the best care and attention that they have earned. That’s why, if I am elected president, I will work closely with veteran advocacy groups to put forth policies that matter most to our nation's active duty service members and veterans.

Every day, an average of 20 U.S. veterans commit suicide. We must not stop working until every veteran and service member has access to the best mental health care and community support. I will direct my VA Secretary to make suicide prevention a top priority.

As for health care, few veterans get the care they deserve, but when it comes to women, the circumstances are most offensive. It’s time we recognize and drastically improve services for women veterans. Especially in light of the fact that women are taking on bigger roles and responsibilities in our military, both in support and combat roles. In fact, the number of men serving in the military is expected to decrease over the next five years, while the number of women is expected to continue to increase. Other than the Department of Defense itself, the Veteran’s Administration is the largest agency in our government. The women and men of the VA are doing extraordinary work every day to care for our veterans and their families. But we can and should do more.

When our service members come home from service, it is critical that they get the support they deserve. As our brave women and men of the military are transitioning out of service and reintegrating back into society, the right support can make all the difference during their transition and in the ensuing months and years. Many veterans don’t even know about the variety of services that are available to support them, nor do they know how to take advantage of them. Solving this lack of outreach to veterans will involve coordinating efforts between the military, the veteran’s administration, and outside non-profit groups and community centers.

Indeed, organization and management will help. Former presidents and past secretaries of the Department of Defense and the VA have made commitments to help bridge the gap between the DoD and the VA for transitioning veterans, and yet there is still no sustainable system to share something as simple and critical as electronic health records.

When these two departments don’t share the data, what happens is veterans get lost in the transition from active duty back to civilian life. They end up not getting the care they need. For example - only 60 percent of all new veterans are registered for VA health care. National Guard members and reservists struggle in their transition between DoD and the VA.  With so many different government agencies not sharing records, these often struggle to obtain their medical and service records, resulting in more delays in applying for VA benefits and services. We have the technology to integrate these silos of information, but past administrations and Congress have not delivered sustainable solutions. The time is now to prioritize these fixes.

Veteran homelessness is another regrettable, painful issue. Addressing this starts with preventing veterans from becoming homeless in the first place. The VA needs a more in-depth understanding of the number of veterans and service members at risk for homelessness. That means understanding who is coming home with PTSD, addiction, and other forms of mental health issues. That means we need more studies and more research into these topics. Many veterans have a hard time keeping housing. Many veterans come home to a broken family. Veterans end up going from place to place, and many can’t find long-term employment. A more manageable system that studies the influences that cause homelessness, and that tracks the needs of veterans, is morally required.

The future of our country and the world depends on our nation’s brave young women and men to continue defending democracy at home and abroad. For those who are willing to raise their hand and swear an oath to protect and defend our way of life, we can and we must do a better job of supporting their success during and after their great service and sacrifices for our freedom.

Lastly, one of the great ways to address this issue is to reduce the number of wars that we fight in the first place. Please see my section on national security for more details on my approach to creating peace in this world, instead of violence.

Where does Julian Castro stand on veterans?  Don't know, it's not on his campaign website.  John Delaney includes this at his website "Fix the VA health care for our veterans."  Did he roll over and go to sleep after typing that?  It must have really tired him.  How strong, how hard hitting.

His words are made all the weaker when you grasp he is a sitting member of Congress.  So if he wanted to "fix the VA health care for our veterans," he could, in fact, do so.  But looking at the last 110 bills he sponsored or co-sponsored, it become clear that fixing the VA is really not an issue for him.

It would, in fact, appear that putting up "Fix the VA health care for our veterans" up at his campaign site is the most he's done for veterans health care in the last few years.

And it's not like new issues are not emerging.

I recently met Sam Fortune, who served in Iraq twice. When he returned, he learned his water had been badly polluted by the very military he'd served. He is one of tens of thousands.

Contrast Delaney's non-action as a member of the US Congress and his eight word statement at his campaign site with non-member of Congress Ken Nwadike Jr. who offers:

  • Provide better mental healthcare and resources for Veterans.

  • Adequately fund the VA to provide quality services and improve the processing time of claims and appeals for veterans to receive proper treatment and compensation.

  • Support programs that create jobs for veterans and ensure that no veteran lives in poverty.

Here's Tulsi on regime change war:

Key Points

  • Tulsi is the leading voice in Congress calling for an end America's interventionist wars of regime change that have cost our nation trillions of dollars and thousands of lives, simultaneously creating more devastation, human suffering and refugees in the countries where U.S. regime change war is waged.  
  • As an Iraq war veteran and a Major in the Army National Guard, Tulsi knows the true cost of war.
  • The result of interventions like Iraq and Libya only propagated more human suffering several times over, resulting in a failed state in Libya and creating a haven for terrorists seeking to establish a caliphate based on their exclusivist ideology.
  • United States' history of interventions impedes our ability to form relationships with countries that are skeptical of our intentions. Countries like North Korea or Iran believe their nuclear weapons are the only thing defending them from invasion.
  • Tulsi believes the United States would be far better off spending the trillions of dollars wasted in interventionist wars on more pressing domestic issues in America, like infrastructure, college debt, healthcare, etc.
  • Research shows the vast majority of Americans agree with Tulsi in her opposition to regime change war: “71 percent of Americans believed Congress should pass legislation that restrained military action. The survey shows that 86.4 percent believe the military should be used only as a last resort. Additionally, 63.9 percent of those polled felt that military aid, both money and weapons, should not be provided to regimes like Saudi Arabia—the West’s top ally in the Arab world.”
  • Tulsi stands against torture: "I strongly oppose the use of torture and 'enhanced interrogations'. In 2015, I voted for H.R. 1735, including the amendment to the 2016 NDAA, codifying President Obama’s executive order banning enhanced interrogation/torture methods. This ban solidified our commitment to United States law and international agreements."


  • H.R. 608 Stop Arming Terrorists Act- Legislation that serves to galvanize the anti-war movement and the opposition to regime change policies that characterize our present foreign policy
  • H.Amdt.636 to H.R.5515: This amendment to bill H.R.5515 removes the clause which allows the US military to go to war without Congressional approval and only provide an after-the-fact report on the operation.
  • H.R. 4108 - To prohibit the use of funds for the provision of assistance to Syrian opposition groups and individuals: This bill would prohibit the US from continuing to provide support in any form to any group involved in the overthrow of the Syrian government.
  • H.R. 1735 - Including the amendment, Section 1045, Limitations on Interrogation Techniques, banning torture and "enhanced interrogations" 

Tulsi’s Statements/Video

3rd Party Links

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard says being confronted with "the high human cost of war" while serving in Iraq influenced her anti-interventionist stance. "I was struck with the names and the faces of my brothers and sisters who were paying the price for this war"
0:15 / 1:56

From Elizabeth Warren's website:

From endless wars that strain military families to trade policies that crush our middle class, Washington’s foreign policy today serves the wealthy and well-connected at the expense of everyone else.
For too long, our economic policies have left workers with the short end of the stick. We need to strengthen labor standards – and then fight to enforce them. That’s why Elizabeth will oppose Trump’s new “NAFTA 2.0” unless he produces a better deal for America’s working families. It’s time to stop prioritizing corporate profits over American paychecks.
A strong military should act as a deterrent so that most of the time, we won’t have to use it. We must continue to be vigilant about the threat of terrorism, but it’s time to bring our troops home – and make sure they get support and benefits they’ve earned.
We should also leverage all the tools of our national power, not just our military might. That means cutting our bloated defense budget and ending the stranglehold of defense contractors on our military policy. It means reinvesting in diplomacy and standing with our allies to advance our shared interests. It means new solutions to new global challenges, from cybersecurity to the existential threat posed by climate change.
Our strength abroad is generated here at home. Policies that undermine working families in this country also erode our strength in the world. It’s time for a foreign policy that works for all Americans, not just wealthy elites.

Where are the others?

Pete Buttigieg is an Afghanistan War veteran but he doesn't note veterans -- or their issues -- at his campaign website.  He doesn't note war and peace.  He does note his biography so apparently he's running a personality based campaign.  Give him a People's Choice Award already and get him off the stage if that's all he has to offer.

Unless your name is Bernie Sanders, what's your excuse?

Bernie gets an excuse because he didn't formally declare until this week.

But one week's about all you're going to get, Bernie.

Now over a decade ago, Ava and I began covering these websites and noting that this is your online office.  You should have the material there.  If you don't have the material, you're not interested in the issue.  Unlike a physical office, you can't claim, "We ran out of hand outs on that."

These are your online offices and they are where you get your information out.

The main information that candidates are currently getting out: We be greedy whores.

You're running for public office.  Yes, you need donations.  But the splash page demanding money and/or e-mail addresses before citizens can access your website portray you as greedy,  money grubbing politicians.  It's time to move past that model.  Ava and i covered all those years ago when it began popping up.

It's past time to realize you can ask for money in other ways -- including a banner at the top of a page.  Ava and I went head to head with Hillary's staff over this issue in 2008.  All these years later, people still haven't learned?  Elizabeth Warren has learned.  She's doing a donation at the bottom of each page.  Good for her.

Bad for Michael E. Arth -- his web site is nothing but confusing and little more than a curiosity.

That's actually true of too many of the men running for the nomiation.

What we're seeing -- and great for women on this but it doesn't speak well for male candidates -- is that three women running for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination -- Tulsi Gabbard, Marianne Williamson and Elizabeth Warren -- can address the issue of war and peace but so many men can't.

AP gushes that Senator Cory Booker is showing voters he "can get tough."  Can he get tough?  Was he tough in the Iraq War?  Oh, he didn't serve.  Tulsi did but he didn't.  But he's tough guy.  He's not some bald softie, AP wants you to know, he's tough boy.  He played solider in the sandlot back in first grade.  AP insists he's "ready to fight."  Good to know.  Good to know he's ready to fight long after he's too old to join the military.  You go, Cory, you tough little boy of 49-years, you go.

Do you have to serve in the military to be president?  No, not at all.

But don't play tough guy and try to big-boy the country when the reality is you're not tough at all, you're just real good at serving corporations and passing the way you step on We The People as being tough.

Andrew Yang's got a lot of issues -- a lot:

Peace doesn't seem to be one of them.  How are you going to end the wars, Andrew?

Salah Nasrawi (AHRAM) maintains:

Backed by a US-led International Coalition, the Iraqi security forces have now almost completely dismantled the Islamic State (IS) group that had earlier seized vast tracts of land in Iraq and Syria and declared a “Caliphate.”

US-backed Syrian opposition forces have launched a “final battle” to capture the last small pocket of land held by IS, effectively bringing an end to the group’s territorial ambitions in Syria.
The defeat of IS marks an important victory, and as the group’s territory has shrunk, its leadership structure collapsed, and the number of its fighters dwindled, the future of the terror group remains anybody’s guess.

With this comes the question of what to do with the US-led coalition forged to defeat the group and in particular with the thousands of US soldiers in Iraq and Syria after the end of IS’s territorial control.

The Iraq War hits the 16 year mark next month.  If you don't have a plan to end it, why the hell are you running for president?

And, no, "more of the same" is not a plan. "Rinse, lather and repeat" may work for shampoos, it doesn't work for wars.

As we noted Saturday, TRT WORLD reported:

Roughly 12,000 civilians have been killed in the US-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria in four years, a human rights commission said on Saturday.
The Iraqi High Commission for Human Rights said in a statement that coalition forces’ airstrikes killed 11,800 civilians — including 2,300 minors and 1,130 women — in the last four years.
The statement also said that 8,000 civilians have been injured in these airstrikes, calling for an explanation on these figures.

The wars need to end.  If you don't know how to end them, maybe you shouldn't be running for President of the United States?

The following sites updated: