Saturday, May 04, 2019

5 great Ashford & Simpson songs

This is from Stephen F. Cohen (INFORMATION CLEARING HOUSE):

§ Nor does Mueller consider alternative scenarios and explanations, as any good historical or judicial investigation must do. For example, he accepts uncritically the Clinton/Democratic National Committee allegation that Russian agents hacked and disseminated their emails in 2016. Again, maybe so, but why did he not do his own forensic examination or even mention the alternative finding by VIPS that they were stolen and leaked by an insider? Why did he not question Julian Assange, who claimed to know how and through whom the emails reached WikiLeaks? And how to explain Mueller’s minimal interest in the shadowy professor Joseph Mifsud, who helped entrap George Papadopoulos in London? Mueller reports that Mifsud “had connections to Russia” (p. 5), although a simple Google search suggests that Mifsud was indeed an “agent” but not a Russian one, as widely alleged in media accounts.
§ Though he may do so in the second volume of the report, Mueller oddly does not focus in the first volume on the Steele dossier, where it surely belongs as a foundational Russiagate document and whose anti-Trump “information” is now widely acknowledged to have been “salacious and unverified.” At one point, however, Mueller delivers a telling report: “Trump would not pay for opposition research” (p. 61). Can this be anything other than a damning, if oblique, judgment on the Clinton campaign, which is known to have paid for the Steele dossier?
§ Toward the end of the first volume (pp. 144, 146), Mueller produces a truly stunning revelation, though he seems unaware of it. After the 2016 US presidential election, the Kremlin “appeared not to have preexisting contacts…with senior officials around the President-Elect.” Even more, “Putin spoke of the difficulty faced by the Russian government in getting in touch with the incoming Trump Administration…. Putin indicated that he did not know with whom formally to speak and generally did not know the people around the President-Elect.”

So much for all the shameful Russiagate allegations of Trump-Putin collusion, conspiracy, even treason. Surely it means the United States needs another, different investigation, one into the actual origins and meaning of this fraudulent, corrosive, exceedingly dangerous, and still unending American political scandal.

I think all of those who whipped up hysteria over Russia should be punished.  Government officials and former ones -- Brennan -- should be behind bars, they were part of an active conspiracy which is illegal.  They attempted to bring the US goverment which is a form of subversion that is also illegal. 

As for the Rachel Maddows?  They should be fired from their jobs. 

Brandon e-mailed asking me to note Ava and C.I.'s "TV: Lower Dullness trumped Higher Love" from two weeks ago about CBS' MOTOWN special.

The shots of the audience were often done well too and we were really glad to see, for example, Valerie Simpson.  We wondered why she wasn't given a segment and then she was -- kind of.  After she was among those asked to stand (the others included Otis Williams, Claudette Robinson and Berry Gordy), they went to a filmed segment of Smokey, Mickey Stevenson and [Brian] Holland-[Lamont] Dozier- [Eddie] Holland with Valerie.

With Valerie at the piano.  While the men were gasbagging, Valerie picked up a few notes on the piano and everyone tarted singing.  She did this again and again throughout the too short segment.
The two hour special could have easily used a half hour of Valerie at the piano.  It would have made for a wonderful and riveting segment.

It would have also helped acknowledge the importance of women to MOTOWN -- not just as vocalists but also as songwriters.  Not only did Valerie herself co-write some of MOTOWN's biggest hits ("Ain't No Mountain High Enough," "Ain't Nothing Like The Real Thing," "The Boss," "Surrender," "Your Precious Love," "You're All I Need To Get By," "Reach Out And Touch Somebody's Hand," etc.), but other women made songwriting contributions as well including Janie Bradford ("Money That's What I Want") and Pam Sawyer ("Love Hangover," "Love Child," "If I Were Your Woman," "I'm Living In Shame").  That really wasn't noted in the special.

Passings were noted but, again, women were largely overlooked.  Tammi Terrell, Teena Marie, Mary Wells, Syreeta Wright and Florence Ballard were noted  Gladys Horton wasn't.  Georgeanna Tillman wasn't noted. Marlene Barrow-Tate wasn't noted. Odia Coates wasn't noted. Patrice Holloway wasn't noted.  Barbara McNair wasn't noted.  Over 20 men were noted but so many women were ignored.

Also ignored?  MOTOWN specials.  We didn't get that.  A number of clips from various specials were noted but the two biggest specials -- in fact, MOTOWN's first specials in the sixties -- were ignored.  Diana Ross & The Supremes and The Temptations teamed up in 1968 for their TV special TCB (the top rated variety special of its year) and they re-teamed for 1969's G.I.T. ON BROADWAY.

MOTOWN 60 should have been so much more.  It should have been so much better.

Along with Ciara, Ne-Yo did a strong job performing "I Like It," "I'll Be There" and "All Night Long."  Diana Ross was excellent -- and she was excellent despite Smokey Robinson's three minute long intro.  As the audience gave her a standing ovation, the camera worked around to show that she was sitting next to Berry Gordy as she began singing "Do You Know Where You're Going To?".  She made her way to the stage and then did several Billie Holiday songs (LADY SINGS THE BLUES -- a Billie Holiday bio -- was MOTOWN's first film and Diana was nominated for an Academy Award for her strong performance).  She performed Billie's "Good Morning Heartache" and "My Man."  On the latter, she added a few more numbers to one line. "Two or three, four, five, six girls he has that he likes as much as me," she sang with a smile before ending the song with, "For whatever Berry Gordy is, I'm his forever more."

Berry then spoke and noted thanks to everyone who had helped make MOTOWN "a legacey of love for everybody."

It should have been so much more but blame producers Ron Basile, Chantel Sausedo and David Wild for what it was.  Especially blame Wild for it since he was also the writer.  If you're familiar with Wild's writing output at ROLLING STONE, you know he's lucky to have a job.

Can anyone explain to us why Suzanne de Passe -- not noted in the special -- wasn't the producer?  She started working with MOTOWN in the 60s, was pivotal to the success of The Jackson Five, she was nominated for an Academy Award for co-writing LADY SINGS THE BLUE (take that, hack David Wild), she's produced hours of TV including LONESOME DOVE, RETURN TO LONESOME DOVE, THE TEMPTATIONS, SMALL SACRIFICES, BUFFALO GIRLS, six MOTOWN specials, NBC's THE MOTOWN REVUE series, SISTER, SISTER, SHOWTIME AT THE APOLLO and much more.  She knows MOTOWN.  She knows TV.  She knows how to entertain.

Basile, Sausedo and Wild don't know how to entertain.  And, goodness, did it show.

de Passe would have given Marvin his due.  She would not have inflated his credit.  She -- like most viewers -- would have presented Stevie Wonder as MOTOWN's greatest singer-songwriter because that's what Stevie is.  Basile, Sausedo and Wild couldn't give him any credit but notice that the only parts of the special that worked besides Diana Ross, Ne-Yo, Thelma Houston, Valerie Simpson and Ciara were the multiple times Stevie Wonder was brought out to perform.  Whether it was "Sir Duke" or "Higher Love" or what have you, Stevie repeatedly delivered and repeatedly brought down the house.  This without anyone ever noting that the finest MOTOWN album of all time, TALKING BOOK, was a Stevie Wonder album or that his run of classic albums includes INNERVISIONS, SONGS IN THE KEY OF LIFE, HOTTER THAN JULY, IN SQUARE CIRCLE and CHARACTERS.  Had the producers realized what they had in a true artist like Stevie Wonder, the special might have been truly special.

I agree with Brandon that it's a strong piece of writing.  MOTOWN also happens to be an area C.I. can cover very easily since she's been friends with Diana Ross, Berry Gordy, Valerie Simpson, Stevie Wonder, Suzanne de Passe and Smokey Robinson for years.

She and Ava did a great job covering the special.  I'm going to note my five favorite Valerie Simpson songs since she was the best part of the special and because she is such a historically important artist. These are going to be songs performed by Ashford and Simpson.  Valerie and Nick Ashford started out writing songs together and, after becoming a couple, continued to write songs together.  One of their early sixties hits was Ray Charles' "Let's Go Get Stoned."  They also wrote classics like "Ain't No Mountain High Enough," "Ain't Nothing Like The Real Thing," "You're All I Need To Get By" and "Your Precious Love."  In the seventies, they became performers as well and racked up many hits including their 80s classic "Solid."  She and Nick were married and raised a family together.  He passed away a few years ago (August 22, 2011).

"Is It Still Good To Ya" (title track to one of their best selling albums).

"Street Corner" from the album STREET OPERA.

"I'll Be There For You"

"The Boss"

A great performance of the Diana Ross classic.

"Mighty Mighty Love" from STREET OPERA also.  We noted STREET OPERA at THIRD a few years back.

"Brick by brick, to make it stick, you gotta use all of you, 'cause that's the glue."

Bonus: "Uh Uh Ooh Ooh Look Out Here It Comes" is a song they wrote for Roberta Flack who had an 80s dance hit with it.

I had never heard their version until a few minutes ago when I was searching for my favorite tracks.

"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):
Friday, May 3, 2019.  The world doesn't need more Keith Olbermanns -- especially not in the White House but reactionary Democrats who are too vapid to come up with their own issues to take before the American people instead want to forever play response mode to Donald Trump.

Leave it to the Democratic Party to make Donald Trump look better by comparison.

On campuses, where Donald Trump is not hugely popular or even popular, the Democrats are managing to make themselves even less popular with this nonsense. Who are the obstructionists?  They better grasp that they are -- in the eyes of many, they are.

I understand that feeling.  To me, they've morphed into the hideous Keith Olbermann and his 'worst person of the week.'  Every day is an outrage and nothing is ever good enough and this person must go and off with this head and impeach this and resign immediately!!!!!!

They come off like hot heads who don't have a bit of common sense let alone the patience or the maturity to govern.

Attorney General William Barr before he testifies?  Arrest him!!!!!  After he testifies?  He must resign!!!!

They're are too strident, they are way too vocal and they do not appear to grasp, even for a moment, how ridiculous they are coming off.

If there was one thing that they should have been able to campaign on in 2020, it should have been "Leadership requires maturity."  But they are coming off as impulsive and explosive as Donald Trump himself, if not more so.

There are real issues facing the American people.  That's what the American people want to hear about.  They want to see leadership.  They're not seeing it at all.

The only good thing to come of this is that Joe Biden's lead is going to fall.  He was supposed to offer maturity.  That's what his backers -- especially among super-delegates -- have insisted.  Yes, he's too far to the right, they would allow, but he's going to show maturity and that's going to cinch the nomination.

His call for Barr to resign not only makes him look ridiculous for the same reason it's making the others look ridiculous, it makes him look ridiculous because he is on the record praising Barr repeatedly over the years.  So he looks ike the fool who rushes after each trend in an attempt to appear relevant.

The Russia fear mongering has wasted the time and money of the American people who are not that fond of paying taxes to begin with but who damn well expect -- and have every right to -- that their tax money will go to a functioning government.  That's not happening.

For those who want to be president, they need to grasp this is the only time that they have to define themselves.  In a few more months, the press will be clearly defining them.  Instead of coming off as hot-headed reactionaries right now, they should be doing their best to come off as presidential, they should be doing their best to define who they are.  Instead, every day they're in response mode reacting to this or that, feeding the daily rage.

Tulsi Gabbard could easily do this and has repeatedly done so, but for some very strange reason she's disappeared despite being a four-term Congresswoman. I just interviewed her today in DC & she's very clear about her reasons for running

Nate Silver is a ridiculous piece of trash.  Elaine's long called him out for his stupidity and we all knew he was wrong about the 2016 election.  He lives in an uninformed bubble and encounters only people who think like him.  He's also just another gatekeeper trying to prevent real candidates from emerging.  Yes, Tulsi is a real candidate.

Why does the Left hate Tulsi Gabbard so much? Full Story:

The media loathes her -- that's Nate, that's the ugly (and painted -- is it paint or spackle, she lays it on so thick to try to hide those acne scars) Samantha Bee, everyone -- and you should be asking yourself why that is.  She's running on issues.  She's a real candidate.

Doubt me?  Look at this fat and ugly bitch below:

Ok fine, I'm calling it. If you're a (straight) (white) man & you're a Democrat & you've decided this is your year? You're functionally sexist. Throw your support to one of the women who's not Tulsi Gabbard. They're all as good or better than you.

Emily's so ugly, I thought she was a man and had to really look at her photo to see she wasn't.  Fat and ugly, a failed journalist desperate to fit in, she's trashing Tulsi Gabbard.  Why?  Because she wants to fit in with someone somehow.  She needs money. She wants to be liked.

Exactly what position does Tulsi hold that is so repugnant?

That we don't need forever wars?

Emily knows she's got to eat -- she's got to eat a lot.  And she knows who butters her bread.  So she attacks Tulsi.

She is one of those pretend feminists.  We saw them being bred by Ms. Magazine in the middle of the last decade when Smeal started sponsoring those b.s. 'security' events.  These fat f**ks think they can use gender to advance themselves.  They're not about feminism.  They're not about improving women's lives.

War destroys and war destroys the lives of women and children more than it does the lives of men.  That's among the reasons that peace is a feminist issue.

Let's stay on this topic for a moment.  Lizz Winstead with her cry for eternal abortions think she's a feminist.  She's not.  She's an ugly woman, yes, and the press stereotype used to be that only ugly women were feminists so maybe Lizz bought into that stereotype?  Who knows?  What I do know is that when she tried to do some form of DAILY SHOW as a stage production, she was castigating Republicans.  Now I agreed with the issues she called them out on.  But, thing is, when Democrats pick up those same banners, Lizz is silent.

She's not a feminist and we need to start being clear about what is and isn't a feminist.

Smeal and a lot of other women should have publicly apologized to Afghan women years ago.  Like their she-ro Hillary Clinton, they're unable to apologize.  They're unable to admit and own their mistakes.  They are wallowing in layers of macho and manly and can't escape that.  Prisoners who accept their chains can never be part of a liberation effort.

We could have a better country but we're not going to get there chasing more of the same.

Democrats • Tulsi Gabbard • Mike Gravel • Bernie Sanders Centrist Democrats • Elizabeth Warren Moderate Republicans • Cory Booker • Kirsten Gillibrand • Kamala Harris Republicans • Michael Bennet • Joe Biden • Pete Buttigieg • Amy Klobuchar • Beto O'Rourke

The Iraq War is 16 years old (this phase of it) and fat and ugly trash like Emily L. Hauser want to deem Tulis the wrong candidate while glomming onto men and women who won't even address the topic of war.

Amber Ruch (KFVS) reports Kentucy Governor Matt Bevin's ordered flags "to half-staff" to note the April 20th death of Spc Ryan Dennis Orin Riley -- who was 22 and on his first deployment to Iraq:

Services for Spc. Riley will be held at 12 p.m. on Monday, May 6 at Richmond Church of Christ, 1500 Lancaster Road. Burial will follow with full military honors at Madison County Memorial Gardens, 210 West Rice Lane.

It is a failure of the US government that the Iraq War continues.  A 16-year-war?  Where are the leaders?  Do you really think FDR could have sold a sixteen year war or would have tried?  This is not leadership.  This is a failure of the American people.  It is a waste of our money.  It is using service members as toys on a battlefield.  It disrespects life and democracy.

And after 16 years, it should be the front issue in any presidential campaign -- even if fat f**ks like Emily L. Huaser don't give a damn.  The rest of us should.  We should be outraged that our nation's children are repeatedly sent to the same battlefields, are repeatedly deployed to do the bidding of corporations.

The US government is not representing the American people.  "Auntie Maxie" is making sure that she and her crooked husband have all the money they want.  The American people have very few friends in the US Congress.  And that's obvious as you watch this nonsense of petty bulls**t about "You lied!" as opposed to seeing actual governance.

The system is broken and more of the same won't fix it.  More of the same will ensure that something new arises because a non-functioning government eventually gets replaced -- with something better or with something worse.

But the Emily L. Juaser's don't care.  They're begging for crumbs and will continue begging until the empire falls.  They have no idea about what happens in their own country, let alone in the world around us.

BAP's Margaret Kimberley () on : "If [the U.S. government] told people what they really did, they would have no support." Watch the whole interview 👇🏿 
Amazing for BAP member organization to experience May Day in Cuba, a country that has effectively resisted the U.S. empire to create a workers' state.
The United States cannot compete with China and Russia's efforts in Africa, hence the U.S. military presence, says Maurice Carney of BAP member organization . Watch the whole interview 👇🏿
We oppose the U.S. attack on Venezuela. But don't be fooled. The "coup attempt" was 70 of men in uniform who we're told are defectors, posing with Guaido. This is a psy-op meant to give Guaido credibility. Still dangerous but no coup.
Few expressions of revolutionary solidarity compare to rolling up your sleeves and working up a sweat with The People.
  • BREAKING: BAP condemns the Trump administration’s attempt to impose a U.S. puppet government on the people of Venezuela. Pls RT 👇🏿
    Demonstrating solidarity with the embattled Bolivarian republic of Venezuela is today’s litmus test of anti-imperialism. Check out what African/Black people have been doing at the latest battleground—the Venezuelan embassy (). 👇🏿

    Donald Trump's presidency should have given Americans the ability to rally against what the US does in the rest of the world.  But the Emily Hausers are too busy -- far too busy -- propping up warmongers in the Democratic Party to give a damn about what goes on in the rest of the world.

    That's how we ended up with the Iraq War -- a bi-partisan crime.  That's how Iraq remains in ruins and we support -- with our tax dollars, with our children -- a US imposed regime that perpetuates the circle of violence in Iraq.

    As Iraq prepares to repatriate 30,000 citizens who left the Islamic State's final pocket, officials are pressing to isolate them in what would effectively be an open-air detention camp. Aid groups have pushed back, but challenges ahead are huge. Our piece.
  • Iraq wants to build a camp for the 30,000 Iraqi ISIS supporters due to be sent back from Syria, but aid workers disagree, writes in her 1st dispatch from Baghdad with the Post’s . Some grim details of the existing camps

    We've noted Tulsi Gabbard above.  There's another woman seeking the Democratic Party's presidential nomination who also cares about issues of war and peace, Marianne Williamson.

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    We need more than a politics that repairs what’s broken or simply perpetuates the status quo. We need a politics that works as a conduit for our highest aspirations, as individuals and as a people.
    This is outrageous. Once someone has paid their debt to society, they have paid their debt to society. The past offender once having completed their time should be welcomed back to society and encouraged to thrive among their fellow citizens.
    An economic system that produces massive wealth creation opportunity to a tiny number of its citizens & massive economic anxiety to millions, is totally corrupt. It does not deserve another shot at another round! Any candidate refusing to name this is an enabler, not a distuptor.
    I’ll tell you what “the economy doing really well” would mean: an immediate infusion of economic hope & opportunity into the life of the average American. Medicare4All, $15 min wage, free college & cancelled college loans. 1% owning more than the bottom 90% is NOT “doing well.”
    Half of America’s college students go hungry - and this is the richest country in the world. Officialdom however tells us that the economy is doing really well! Let’s awaken from the fog of unknowing that has been knowingly before over our eyes.
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