Friday, October 25, 2019

5 must hear Michelle Phillips' tracks

Michelle Phillips is known to many today as an actress. She can act.  She was very good on KNOTS LANDING to name only one example.  But she was famous before she started acting.  Michelle became known to America as a member of the group The Mamas and the Papas.  With John, Michelle wrote the songs "California Dreamin'" and "Creeque Alley."

The group was Michelle Phillips, John Phillips (easily the worst singer in the group), Denny Dougherty (an amazing male pop vocalist) and the one and only Cass Elliot who was a great singer in any genre, one of the greatest singers of the 20th century.

1) "Safe In My Garden"

I don't know that the group ever got better vocally then when Michelle and Cass sang with each other and this is my favorite of their teamings.

2) "Snow Queen of Texas"

The group had broken up a few years prior.  But their label was suing them for another album.  Cass wasn't a big participant on the album which is why it's probably their weakest album.  But there are many strong highlight (and I do like PEOPLE LIKE US).  The strongest?  Probably "Snow Queen of Texas."

3) "Aloha Louie"

If this had been a Mamas and Papas track, it would have been a hit single.  It's a great song and Michelle sings it perfectly.  This is a song that she and John Phillips wrote.

4) "Got A Feeling"

Again, listen to the sound when Michelle and Cass sing together.  It's magical.

5) "There She Goes"

I always loved this vocal.  It's a strong song as well (Michelle wrote it by herself).

"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):
Thursday, October 24, 2019.  Joe Biden's flaccid in the polls, protesters in Iraq prepare for tomorrow's demonstrations, and much more.

Starting in the US where the race for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination continues.

It seems is unable to raise grassroots money as he promises elite donors that nothing will fundamentally change. So now his allies may try to just buy the primary with a super PAC that can rake in unlimited cash from billionaires & corporations

Nomentum Biden continues to underwhelm.

I'll admit I'm baffled: What have we seen from 's campaign that shows he's the strongest to take on Trump? Why do people continue to make that case? and have shown far greater ability to spark widespread grassroots support, and to handle GOP attacks.

It is baffling.  But so are polls that oversample likely voters in the 50 and older category.   What happens when you don't oversample?  Joe's '15 point lead' vanishes.

Elizabeth Warren has edged ahead of Joe Biden after the two candidates were essentially tied for weeks, according to a new Quinnipiac University poll

Caitlin Webber (BLOOMBERG NEWS) reports:

Elizabeth Warren has edged ahead of Joe Biden after the two candidates were essentially tied for weeks, according to a new Quinnipiac University poll showing her with the support of 28% of Democratic and Democratic-leaning voters.
Recent Quinnipiac surveys have shown Warren essentially tied with Biden, but the poll released Thursday reveals her leading all rivals outside of the margin of error. Biden came in second, with support of 21% of voters, followed by Bernie Sanders at 15% and Pete Buttigieg at 10%. The survey, conducted October 17-21, has a margin of error of plus-or-minus 3.1 percentage points.
Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, in the latest poll, represent 43%.  If one dropped out (not calling for that), their voters would most likely go to the other of the two candidates.  Elizabeth voters, for example, will not cross over to Joe during the primaries if Elizabeth drops out.  His road rage attack on Elizabeth in the last debate ensured that.  Even before that moment, there's the fact that the issues that matter to Bernie and Elizabeth supporters overlap and Joe offers nothing.

I believe Joe's campaign wants to use Cher's "If I Could Turn Back Time" as their campaign song because that's all Joe offers.  He's not going to improve your lives, he's just going to turn back the clock a little -- to a time where the US government blew off climate change and other serious issues.  Joe promises 'business as usual.'  As though the American people haven't been under attack for the last decades in every way possible?

Eoin Higgins (COMMON DREAMS) reports:

The Democratic establishment is looking at the party's 2020 presidential primary field and seeing nothing but reasons to fear a progressive nominee—though they prefer one of the two to the other. 
That's according to a number of reports over the past two days which suggest that powerful elites in the party are increasingly worried about the potential of a nomination win by either Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) or Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), both of whom who have made progressive change a centerpiece of their campaigns. 
"The presidential primaries are not going at all the way these rich and powerful Democrats want," wrote The Nation's Jeet Heer on Wednesday. "Their preference is for a centrist presidential candidate."

On Tuesday, New York Times reporter Jonathan Martin found that major party donors are increasingly worried that Warren particularly—Sanders is not mentioned until the article's penultimate paragraph—will take the nomination and are willing to do whatever it takes to stop that from happening. The party elite are courting members of the party like former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), and former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, as well as nominal independents like former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg to jump in the primary race. But nobody, at least so far, is biting. 

JACOBIN carries a speech by Nina Turner about Bernie:

Senator Bernard Sanders is going to knock out the special interests in DC. He’s going to knock out that multibillionaire class that does not believe the work-a-day people in this country deserve a good life. So not only does mama say knock them out, the people say knock them out.
My foundation comes from Barbara Jordan, a congresswoman from Texas. She said these words: “What the people want is very simple: they want an America as good as its promise.” That’s it and that’s all.
So we’re looking for an America where folks don’t die because they’ve got to ration out their insulin. We are looking for an America where hospitals are not closing — hello Hahnemann in Philadelphia. And hospitals are closing all over this country, particularly in rural areas. What the people want is very simple. We want a health care system that is not commodified. That’s it and that's all.
We want finally to have a justice system that doesn’t gun down black folks in their houses. We are at a place in this country where you couldn’t read while black, sleep while black, do nothing while black. We’re going to clean up this criminal injustice system. What the people want is very simple. We need to have some truth and reconciliation about the ravages of racism in the United States of America. That’s it and that’s all.

What the people want is very simple: we want clean water, clean air, and clean food. We must take care of Mother Earth right now. That’s it and that’s all.

While Bernie and Elizabeth run on what they would do, Joe obsesses over Donald.  It's 2016 all over again.  And it didn't inspire last go round.  Joe fundraises off of Donald, he 'banters' with him.  Joe's entire campaign is a response to Donald Trump.  That's not what America needs.  America needs to move forward and if Joe has no bold vision (he doesn't) then he has nothing to offer.

Turning to Iraq . . .

Anchal Vohra (FOREIGN POLICY) insists:

The recent mass protests in Lebanon and Iraq seem at first glance to differ greatly from each other. In Iraq, the protesters mostly consisted of angry young working-class men, and they were quickly confronted with violence. In Lebanon, meanwhile, the protests have been marked by that country’s unmistakable sense of style and festive spirit, and the initiators have mostly been from the upper social classes. In downtown Beirut this past weekend, the sea of protesters included a woman in white-rimmed retro sunglasses with her dog named Pucci and a young man waving a Lebanese flag while lying in an inflatable kiddie pool.
Yet despite the stark contrast between the protests, the rebels in both countries are in fact very similar. They are confronting many of the same political problems and are making essentially the same demand. They want the downfall of their countries’ existing self-serving elites, and big changes to the sectarian constitutional systems that enabled them. The message was summed up by the thousands of Lebanese who have been facing parliament, clapping in sync while chanting: “Thieves … Thieves … Thieves …”

Oh, how lucky we are to have you, Anchal, worthless writer.

Anchal is a journalist, for those who don't know.  She's based in Lebanon and she covers Lebanon.  That doesn't make her an expert on Iraq.  And it shows.

'This is happening in Iraq!!!! Now!!! I am Anchal and I don't need to know recent history!!!! Because I really don't care about Iraq!!!!'

Because if she gave a damn, she'd offer context.

This is happening again in Iraq.  It has happened repeatedly, over and over, since the 2010 elections.  What did Iraqis vote for in that election?  They voted for an end to sectarianism, they voted for a responsive and representative Iraq.  And?  Joe Biden and company overturned the election results (with The Erbil Agrement) so that thug Nouri al-Maliki could have a second term.

Iraqis were fighting their corrupt government before that election.  But that election was a major moment and democracy should have been supported.  Instead, Barack Obama and Joe Biden overturned the election results.

Iraqiya, the winner of that election, was a brand new entity.  It managed to capture the hopes and dreams of so many Iraqis who wanted a unified Iraq.  That was a stepping stone to the future.  Ask Joe Biden why he derailed it and slap him in the back of the head if he goes off on a tangent about Northern Ireland.

In Iraq, the protests are supposed to return tomorrow.

And they're not going to go away.  They will ebb and flow in the coming years, but they will continue because the government refuses to be responsive to the Iraqi people.

In yet another fascinating development , Iraqis change their profile pictures to the in anticipation of the 25th October protests. According to many the symbol represents rising against years of oppression and bullying by the government.

Hussein Ibish (BLOOMBERG NEWS) feels the protests will not succeed and his prediction may be right.  It may be wrong.  But he misses the mark here:

In Iraq, the protests were largely restricted to Shiite-majority cities like Baghdad and Basra. They have not spread to the Sunni-majority areas in the west, or to the Kurdish provinces in the north, both of which have different priorities. The Sunnis are still recovering from the depredations of the Islamic State, and the Kurds are preoccupied with building their own quasi-independent enclave.

Oh, is that what the Sunnis are doing?  Thank you for the ahistorical explanation.

A better explanation is one grounded in the recent history.  The Sunnis protested in large numbers.  What happened to them?  They were targeted.  Their political leaders were targeted.  Nouri al-Maliki persecuted them.  That's why ISIS rose in the first place.

What was the Sunni reaction to the rise of ISIS -- this was reported over and over in real time?  Not my fight. The Sunnis didn't support ISIS and they didn't support the government led by Nouri al-Maliki -- the government that persecuted them.

The Sunnis reaction today is a continuation of their withdrawal from a government that doesn't serve them.

That reaction will change at some point (unless the Iraqi government begins serving the Iraqi people or unless Sunnis are able to press successfully for a semi-autonomous region) and that will be news.

-Iraq’s security forces on high alert as protests are expected in Baghdad and southern provinces on Friday. - Extra security measures taken near the government offices. -Some political parties have already evacuated their offices. -Students at public dormitories asked to go home.

  1. Goodbye Iraq, for now. The excellent takes on the reporting baton for Al Jazeera English as more protests are expected tomorrow, 25th October. The demands are simple. A better future and an end to…

The following sites updated:

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Michael Parenti

Of all the intellectuals, Michael Parenti is my favorite.  He addresses the important issues and doesn't pull punches.

"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):
Wednesday, October 23, 2019.  The protests in Iraq are scheduled to resume this Friday, the UN Mission in Iraq calls out the Iraqi government's treatment of the protesters, Joe Biden's history on Iraq is shameful, and much more.

Starting with Iraq . . .

The Arab Spring rose up to fight corruption, repression, inequality and austerity. The Lebanon and Iraq protests show this spirit is still very much alive. If we want a progressive future, we need to build up a global movement of and for working people.


President of the United States is an important position.  It's good to know that at least one of the people running for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination has noticed the protests that have taken place in recent weeks on Iraq.  it's good to know that at least one of them has noticed.  It's sad to realize that only one of them has noticed.

As Bernie notes this is a workers issue.  The people in Iraq protested in October for many reasons including the lack of jobs and the corruption in the government.

Many civil activist are still missing (kidnapped or arrested) since the beginning of the protests in Iraq.

As we noted at THIRD:

AFP reported Sunday, "Influential Iraqi Shiite leader Moqtada al-Sadr has given his supporters the green light to resume anti-government protests, after the movement was interrupted following a deadly crackdown." Lawk Ghafuri (RUDAW) adds:

Several of Iraq’s central and southern cities, including the capital Baghdad, were rocked by violent protests in early October, which left at least 108 dead and more than 6,000 injured.
In a long statement published on his Facebook page late on Saturday, Sadr called on his supporters and the public to return to the streets on Friday, October 25 to resume the protests. 

Sadr is head of the Sayirun alliance, the largest bloc in the Iraqi parliament. He is also head of the Saraya al-Salam militia, which is part of Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) umbrella, also known as Hashd al-Shaabi in Arabic.

“The government leaders and politicians are in a state of fear because of you, they are completely unable to fix anything within this country,” Sadr’s statement read. “Therefore, I ask everyone to start the revolution which will clean Iraq from corrupters and fools.”

Moqtada's call is for this Friday, October 25th.

Yesterday's ALBASHEER SHOW addressed the protests and the issues surrounding it.

From the broadcast, Ahmad al-Basheer explains that Iraq is a kleptocracy, "We don't have a word for that in Arabic so we call it as it is: a government of thieves  in which the political elite divide the oil wealth of the country among themselves and give business contracts to their friends and positions are allocated on the basis of sect rather than merit.  Each year, thousands of Iraqis graduate from universities and they're unable to find jobs. The private sector is crowded out by crony capitalism.  Ordinary Iraqis see political elites living the good life while they have so little.  Many Iraqis don't have clean water or electricity while the political elites spend the wealth of the country on mansions and fast cars."

Joe Biden come to mind?

Joe Biden can't stop yapping about how, when he was vice president, Barack Obama put him in charge of Iraq.  What did Joe accomplish in that position?  No one wants to talk about that.  He overturned the 2010 election and gave thug Nouri al-Maliki a second term.  That's what led to the rise of ISIS in Iraq.  Way to go, Joe.

In 2008, one year before Joe Biden was put in charge of Iraq, we were talking about the lack of safe drinking water (potable water) and the lack of electricity.  Eight years of Joe Biden leadership and Iraq didn't improve one bit.  Way to go, Joe.

In Nouri's second term, his abuses only deepened.  He attacked the peaceful protesters.  He attacked the press.  The number of the 'disappeared' increased as Nouri gave round up orders that included if you can't find the man you've gone to the house for, arrest his parent, his wife, his children, his brother, his sister, arrest someone.  These people then disappeared into the secret prisons and detention centers.  He turned the military loose on his political rivals -- elected political rivals -- sending tanks to circle their Baghdad homes, using the security forces to conduct dawn raids on their homes.  When did Joe ever publicly speak out on any of that?  Never.  Way to go, Joe.

Nouri attacked Iraqi gays and those who appeared gay.  He conflated the emo music scene with vampires.  He encouraged teenagers to attack anyone who appeared gay or lesbian.  He denied it.  But he sent his security teams into the schools and they advised the children to attack those who were gay or appeared gay.  His lies were made public because his denials stopped once AL MADA published one of the handouts Nouri's forces were giving the kids.  Gay men and women -- and those who appeared to be -- were targeted and beaten and killed.  Then-US House Rep Jared Polis spoke out against it.  (Jared is now the Governor of Colorado.)  Hillary Clinton spoke out against it.  When did Joe add his voice?  Never.  Way to go, Joe.

None of the above was hidden from view.  We covered it here, over and over, in real time.  Let's pick a day at random, September 27, 2012:

When you're thug Nouri al-Maliki serving an illegitimate second term as prime minister of Iraq, you don't take a lot chances.  You perceive someone as a threat?  You try to destroy them.  Hence the rounding up of Sunnis -- including the elderly -- in the last half of 2011 and the targetiing of Iraqiya (the political slate that came in first in the 2010 elections and that, were the Constitution followed and democracy honored, would have put forward a prime minister) by issuing an arrest warrant for Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi, Sunni and a member of Iraqiya, and demanding Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq (also Sunni and Iraqiya) be stripped of his post.  After Saleh pledges eternal love, you drop the process against him and you get a 'conviction' of Tareq from your kanagaoo court.  But being an illegitimate leader means always quashing threats of being exposed.  That's behind the September 8, 2011 murder of journalist Hamdi al-Haimid.  It's also what's behind this morning's Al Mada report.

The paper reports on the concentrated efforts to arrest Facebook activists who took part in the Friday protests that swept Iraq in 2011.   A lot of people don't know about those protests because the White House didn't want you to and a lot of 'news' outlets worked overtime to minimize the story (take your bow, New York Times -- you attacked the protesters -- the ones who were beaten and kidnapped by Nouri's forces, what a proud moment for the paper) or just ignore it (most major dailies not named the Washington Post, most US broadcast outlets who aren't CNN or NPR).

Nouri was the White House's . . . Well, not friend.  You invite friends into your home.  And Barack wouldn't leave the campaign trail this week to meet with Nouri in NYC which is why Nouri cancelled his trip and planned address to the UN on Saturday.  Nouri was the White House's best bet -- according to foreign policy nitwit posing as a guru Samantha Power.  And so the White House didn't just demand a second term for Nouri despite the poor showing for State of Law in the 2010 elections (defeated by the brand new Iraqiya despite Nouri and his goons refusing to allow certain Iraqiya candidates to run for election, despite the targeting and murders of some members of Iraqiya in the weeks leading up to the elections, despite Nouri's non-stop speeches telling Iraqis that Iraqiya was a band of terrorists), they went so far as to negotiate a contract, the Erbil Agreement, assuring the political blocs it was not only legal, it was legally binding.  Even more importantly, they promised the Kurds and others that this US-brokered contract had the backing of the US government meaning it would be followed.  The White House gave the word of the US government.  And then Nouri used it to become prime minister and tossed aside all the points in the contract he agreed to for that second term (such as the creation of an independent national security commission, finally implementing Article 140 of the Constitution which was supposed to take place in 2007, etc.)/  And all the promises the US government made?  Amnesia on the part of the White House as the political blocs have demanded that the Erbil Agreement be honored.

So when you're Nouri, hoping to ride it out through 2014 when, right now, you plan to run for a third term, you launch one power grab after another.  In the US, for example, Barack Obama is President.  Secretary of Defense is Leon Panetta.  In Iraq, Nouri is prime minister.  And Minister of the Defense.  And Minister of the Interior so he's over the police.  And Minister of National Security.  He was supposed to nominate people to those positions and they were supposed to be approved by Parliament.  If he wasn't able to do that in 30 days, per the Constitution, he not only didn't advance from prime minister-designate to prime minister, someone else was namded prime minister-designate and given 30 days to put together a Cabinet.

When you have the White House insisting you get a second term, pesky things like a Constitution do not matter.

Way to go, Joe.

Iraq has seen no improvement.  The country was torn apart and the US government has repeatedly put a den of thieves in charge.  The US government has looked the other way as the basic needs of the people were not met, as the Iraqi people were targeted by their supposed government.

Joe Biden had nothing to say for eight years as Vice President and he still has nothing to say about Iraq beyond, "Bully Boy Bush tricked me into voting for that war!"

The protests are back and have been for some time.

Between 1st- 12th of October, hundreds of unarmed protesters in Baghdad and Iraq's southern provinces were targeted by snipers. "We were unarmed. Why was that young man shot with two bullets to the head?"


Can Anderson Cooper tear himself away from the ridiculous ELLEN SHOW long enough to pay attention to the news?  He was a moderator of the CNN and NEW YORK TIMES hosted debate this month and had time to build a question around Ellen but not around the Iraqi protests.

What a 'proud' decision Anderson made going with Ellen and not Iraq.  The United Nations Mission in Iraq issued the following:

Baghdad, 22 October 2019 – A special report, prepared by the Human Rights Office of UNAMI, outlines key human rights concerns regarding the demonstrations that occurred in Iraq from 1 to 9 October 2019. UNAMI’s interim findings indicate that serious human rights violations and abuses have been committed during the recent protests. The report contains a set of recommendations and urges Iraqi authorities to take concrete steps to ensure accountability, to prevent human rights violations and to enable peaceful demonstrations in the future.

The Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Iraq, Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, said: “Iraq has come a long way, it is essential not to further undermine its many achievements. A climate of intimidation and fear is unworthy of Iraq’s potential as an open and democratic society. The UNAMI report highlights shortcomings and measures to prevent them in the future.”
Ms. Hennis-Plasschaert took note of today’s release of the Investigative Committee’s report: “This is an important step towards accountability, and I urge that further steps be taken to prosecute and punish those responsible. This is of great importance as investigations, delivering accountability for perpetrators and redress for victims, also serve as critical tools of prevention and protection.”
UNAMI’s preliminary findings include credible reports of violations of the right to life, including deliberate killings of unarmed protesters and the excessive use of force by units deployed to manage the demonstrations. The report also highlights concerns regarding the widespread use of repressive measures to limit publicly available information on the demonstrations as well as allegations of arbitrary arrests, threats and harassment. It furthermore calls on all demonstrators to exercise their right to assembly in peaceful and non-violent ways, in keeping with the law.
“The loss of life, serious injuries and harm resulting from the violence during the demonstrations was both tragic and preventable,” said Chief of UNAMI Human Rights Office, Danielle Bell. “Concrete steps to enable peaceful assemblies and protect those participating should be a priority.”
Download the report from here
For more information, please contact: Mr. Samir Ghattas, Director of Public Information/Spokesperson
United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq, Phone: +964 790 193 1281, Email:
or the UNAMI Public Information Office:

Anderson Cooper -- who the world turns to when they need fluff or updates on THE REAL HOUSEWIVES OF . . .

Does the US media plan to continue to ignore the protests?  The protesters injured and killed?  All while patting themselves on the back and pretending that daily 'reports' about what Donald Trump just Tweeted qualifies as serious reporting?

Again, applause for Bernie Sanders, the only candidate for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination to notice the Iraq protests.

On the race for that nomination . . .

Keep in mind there’s an enormous spread for 2020 primary polls. Just in the last week, Joe Biden has been simultaneously hitting 24% and 35%. Warren between 28 and 19. This is a good reason not to overreact to any one poll in particular.

On Joe, let's note his corrupt son Hunter Biden.  This is from Jonathan Turley's column:

“Say it nicer.” No words better sum up the news coverage of Hunter Biden. That instruction given from him to ABC News reporter Amy Robach came after she noted that he was “in and out of rehab” several times for dependency on drugs ranging from cocaine to crack. In fact, the media has been “saying it nicer” for weeks, telling readers and viewers there is “no finding of wrongdoing” by the son of Joe Biden while avoiding any substantive discussion of his controversial business dealings.
During the interview, Hunter Biden moved between muted apologies and indignant denials about alleged efforts to cash in on his father being vice president. The interview was galling for those critical of this common form of corruption. For three decades, I have written about the practice of giving lucrative jobs and contracts to the spouses and children of powerful politicians as a way of gaining influence in Washington.

Hunter Biden’s deals are textbook examples of how political families become rich from public service. Still, many in the media continue to repeat Joe Biden’s position that “no one has asserted my son did a single thing wrong.” That, of course, is untrue. Even if the deals did not amount to crimes, they were wrong. They have always been wrong, but both parties have always protected these deals as a dirty little secret.

Lastly, AP is reporting this morning:

US troops withdrawing from northeastern Syria to Iraq are “transiting” and will leave the country within four weeks, Iraq’s defense minister said Wednesday.
Najah al-Shammari made the remarks to The Associated Press following a meeting in Baghdad with visiting US Defense Secretary Mark Esper, who arrived as Iraqi leaders chafed over reports the US may want to increase the number of troops based in Iraq, at least temporarily.

New content at THIRD:

The following sites updated: