Saturday, November 24, 2018


How sad.

‘ILLEGAL ’ Iraqi MPs demand U.S. troops to leave .

The Iraqi MPs demand the US troops leave but the US people -- those making up the 'resistance' -- are just fine with US troops staying in Iraq. 14 years and counting and these supposed 'lefties' are okay with US troops still in Iraq.  They're not the left.  They're fake asses.

PRESS TV reports:

Iraqi lawmakers have called for the withdrawal of US troops, saying they see no justification for the presence of foreign troops about a year after the defeat of the Daesh terrorist group in Iraq.
The American presence “is, in my opinion, a violation of the Iraqi sovereignty,” Amer al-Shebli, a lawmaker, told Press TV on Friday. “After ending terrorism, the previous Parliament should have taken a serious action to force all foreign forces to leave Iraq,” the MP added.

“Sovereignty is the most valuable asset in any nation. The sacrifices of the Iraqi people in their fight against Daesh show how important their country’s sovereignty is for them. Today, no country will allow foreign military bases on its land,” said another legislator Kadhim al-Sayadi.

Meanwhile, the flooding in Northern Iraq continues.  Yesterday, at least ten people were killed by the floods.  Today?  XINHUA reports, "At least six people died in a wave of floods of torrential rain that fell Saturday on Iraq's eastern province of Wasit, the Iraqi government said."

Displaced families in camps worry about the rain water in their tents and the floods trapping their relatives back home. Winter is harshest on the those that already have it worst in .

Meanwhile NIQASH's Mustafa Habib offers this overview of Iraq:

  1. Interesting things in one package in : President Barham Saleh visits Iran & Saudi Massoud Barzani in Baghdad conflict between Muqtada Sadr & Hadi Amiri is in danger PM Abdul Mahdi fails to complete govt cabinet US control the Iraqi-Syrian border!

Kat's "Kat's Korner: BLOOD RED ROSES, Rod Stewart's latter day classic" and "Kat's Korner: Don't miss Diana Ross' Christmas classic" went up earlier today.

Kat's Korner: BLOOD RED ROSES, Rod Stewart's latter day classic

Kat: Rod Stewart.  He brought us "Maggie May," "Tonight's The Night," "Baby Jane," "Some Guys Have All The Luck," "You Wear It Well," "Hot Legs," "Young Turks," "Passion," "You're In My Heart," "Tonight I'm Yours (Don't Hurt Me)," "Infatuation," "My Heart Can't Tell You No," "Downtown Train," "The First Cut Is The Deepest," "Sailing," "Lost In You," "This Old Heart Of Mine," "Every Picture Tells A Story," "Love Touch," "Da You Think I'm Sexy," "Broken Arrow," "Have I Told You Lately," "People Get Ready," . . .

Rod's always had that distinctive, raspy voice.  But he's also usually chosen strong material.

Sometimes that's paid off, sometime it hasn't.  One of his worst periods of rejection would be 1986 when rock critics just seemed out to get him.  Maybe it was "Love Touch"?  The film (LEGAL EAGLES) it appeared in was among the worst Robert Redford ever made -- and that's really saying something.  ROLLING STONE even savaged him for recording a song by the Beatles ("In My Life").  Didn't matter that he sung it to perfection.  "10 Days of Rain" was also perfection.  But there are periods -- as Carly Simon's explained -- where they're just out to get you ("but if you're willing to play the game, it will be Coming Around Again").  Joni Mitchell put it this way in "For The Roses:"

Oh the power and the glory
Just when you're getting a taste for worship
They start bringing out the hammers
And the boards
And the nails

And they were ready to crucify Rod.  He hung in there and kept making solid music.  Then came the thyroid cancer, the need to re-learn singing and those American songbooks that followed.  Don't hate a torch song but really didn't need all of those songs from Rod Stewart, Mr. Rock and Roll.  I could enjoy the AC hits ("Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered" with Cher and "I've Got A Crush On You" with Diana Ross) but I didn't need the albums that seem to be endless.


This fall, Rod released his 30th studio album BLOOD RED ROSES.  Like his last two, this is a rock album.  Unlike his last two, this is a classic.

I liked it a lot on first listen.  But, as with the Rolling Stones' A BIGGER BANG and The Department of Eagles' IN EAR PARK, I love this album even more, even deeper, the longer I spend with it.

"The joint is jumping, the dee jay is setting them free," he sings in "Look In Her Eyes" which is a story song in the tradition of "Young Turks." 

The joint is jumping; the DJ's settin' 'em free
Johnny from Brooklyn meets Marianne from Queens
They hit it off, he has all the moves
She's fascinated, but leaves him lookin' for clues
She's not pretending; it's just the look in her eyes
She's not suggesting; it's just the look in her eyes
He leads her by the hand
He says, "Dance, little sister, dance"
Is it one of those nights where the stars and the moon collide?

It's a driving, pounding song and the vocals nail it.  Rod produced the song with Kevin Savigar -- in fact, he and Kevin produced the whole album.  They also wrote the song together -- it's one of the nine they wrote together.  The album continues the strong work the two did on TIME and ANOTHER COUNTRY.  But it's better than both of those albums.

"Hole In My Heart" is another miracle.  This one recalls Mick Jagger and Carlos Alomar's "She's The Boss" from Mick's solo album of the same name.  Only the production and energetic vocals prevent it from turning into the five minute whine that "She's The Boss" was.  Energy also keeps the title track ("Blood Red Roses," remember?) floating.  "Rest Of My Life" finds him feeling love for the whole world and the drums get that point across rather cleverly.

The production really has to be noted, it's alive and attention is given to each track.  Carole King did that.  Once.  On TAPESTRY.  As Elton John pointed out to ROLLING STONE,  "With all due respect to Carole King, TAPESTRY was a great album, but the other two albums after that sounded like they were recorded at the same sessions but that Tapestry was the first ten tracks done and the next 20 were done when everyone was getting increasingly more tired."  The arrangements on TAPESTRY were inspired.  So what happened?  Because each album that followed got more and more routine.

Rod and Kevin have breathed life into BLOOD RED ROSES.  Each song has its own textures.  "Grace" is a wonderful ballad and the accordion is one of the instruments -- just one -- that adds a special accent to the song.  "Give Me Love" is rich in riffs and strutting bass.  And then there's "Didn't I?" which is a powerful song.

The Beatles' "She's Leaving Home" is a moving song and an inspired one.  As we go about our lives, we grasp that not all departures will result in happy -- or even just "okay" -- endings.  That's what this song is about.

That's another reason the album is so rich.  Rod's following the Carly Simon path.  He's not trying to be the eternal kid, the I've discovered sex for the first time.  That pose is tired and has been for decades -- as anyone who has listened to James Taylor can tell you.  In the 80s, Carly stood out from so many of her peers because she was willing to write from experience and not try to act like a 20 year old just embarking on life.

Rod's vocals in "Farewell" are great but so are the lyrics he gets to sing:

All dressed up on a Friday night
Getting drunk on cheap red wine
Two north London boys just out on the town
Catch a train up to cool Soho
The Marquee and The Flamingo
Pills and chills and girls in heels and Georgie Fame, yeah
Making out we were millionaires
Anything to get the girl upstairs
What was it you said, humour before looks works every time
Skinny ties and mohair suits
White boys can't sing the blues
This was our time, our space, our songs, our generation
And I'll never know again
Someone as genuine
Someone as wonderful as you
And I can't believe you're gone
That's why I wrote this song
Goodbye my old friend
I'll miss you, yes, I will
So long my best pal
I'll miss you, yes, I will
Oh you, yeah you
Were like a brother to me

I love that song.  I love "Cold Old London," "Julia," "Honey Gold" . . .  I love the whole damn album.

This isn't just a great album, it's one of the year's best.  And every time I think I appreciate all the work that went into this album, I listen to it again and discover I love it even more.  If you're a Rod Stewart fan or just a fan of good music, this is an album you need to have in your collection.

Kat's Korner: Don't miss Diana Ross' Christmas classic

Kat:  A point raised in e-mails over the years, a point raised repeatedly in e-mails over the years, is that I don't appear to like Christmas albums from the rock era on forward; otherwise, I'd review them, right?


I don't like them.  They sound crass and fake.  Case in point, Barbra Streisand sounding like Kate Smith on CHRISTMAS MEMORIES when doing "God Bless America." Bombastic and artificial?  That describes not only Streisand's recording of the track but her entire second Christmas album.  You read that right.  Jewish Streisand has done two Christmas albums because what says sincere more than our Talmudic dabbler doing "O Little Town of Bethlehem" -- you know, the city where, uh, He was born.

I don't believe you have to be the most devout follower of the Son of God to record a good Christmas album -- remember, Jesus embraced and forgave all.  But I don't believe even good artists -- really good ones -- have it in them to make a great Christmas album.

One of the finest will always be A CHRISTMAS GIFT FOR YOU FROM PHIL SPECTOR which didn't rely on just one singer.  Darlene Love brings the house down with "Baby, Please Come Home" while The Ronnettes and the Crystals and Bob B. Soxx &  the Blue Jeans provide real charm.   It is a classic and much more heartfelt (and warm) than anything Streisand's churned out.  It's a brilliant album.  That said, Phil currently resides in a prison in Stockton, California for the murder of Lana Clarkson -- and, barring death, will do so until at least some time in 2028.  Like I said, Jesus embraced all.

For most recordings, the truth is an artist can do a track or two.  Stevie Nicks delivers with "Silent Night," for example.  I'm not sure, however, that -- love her though I do -- I need a full Christmas album from her.

A track or two -- Stevie, for example, ended up doing a great take on "Santa Clause Is Coming To Town" with Chris Isaak in 2004.  And her "Silent Night" was from A VERY SPECIAL CHRISTMAS -- an album featuring a variety of vocalists.  The only one notching up a classic, though, besides Stevie, was the rock group the Pretenders with "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas."  In fact, Chrissie Hynde had already proved herself to have the seasonal chops with "2000 Miles" from the band's 1984 classic LEARNING TO CRAWL.

Other than Phil Spector's Christmas album, only two stand out for me.  First, there's Carly Simon's CHRISTMAS IS ALMOST HERE and CHRISTMAS IS ALMOST HERE AGAIN (with two additional tracks) which is excellent (especially "12 Gates To The City") and argues Carly should do a non-Christmas album with producer Don Waas.  The second success would be Stevie Wonder's SOMEDAY AT CHRISTMAS which qualifies as a classic by any measure.

Some might argue, "Well it's Motown.  Of course, Motown can do Christmas."  Motown can do many things (or could) but Christmas really wasn't one of them.  If you ever doubt that, listen to The Temptation's CHRISTMAS CARD.  Maybe it was the pretense that every member was a lead singer (they weren't) and that they all deserved a solo (they didn't)?  Maybe.  But I really think the problem is what ruins all the Motown Christmas albums except Stevie's:  It's just way too upbeat.  The same with CHRISTMAS WITH THE MIRACLES and Diana Ross and the Supremes' MERRY CHRISTMAS.  It's as though someone (Berry Gordy?) was afraid if things stopped being bouncy bouncy for too long, the teens wouldn't want to buy the albums.

For this holiday season, Motown has, however, issued the finest Christmas album thus far: Diana Ross' WONDERFUL CHRISTMAS TIME.

That's Diana with the title track at Thursday's Macy's Thanksgiving Parade.

If you had to own a Christmas album, I'd certainly recommend this album.  If you had to own a great album of any genre, I'd certainly recommend this one.

Motown issued it.  Or finally issued it.

For years, I've thought, "I'm getting A VERY SPECIAL SEASON."

That's a 1994 Christmas album Diana Ross did.  I've heard this time of year at C.I.'s home and I always want to pick it up.  The first two years, I'd dig through the bins at any store, desperate to find it but never finding it.  Then I asked.  It's a British album.  In England, Diana's career's been very different after 1985 than in the US.  That was because in the United Kingdom, her label was EMI.  While RCA and Motown failed in the US, EMI succeeded.  And she was so in demand there that a number of her albums that were big there (A VERY SPECIAL SEASON, GREATEST HITS LIVE) were never released in the US.  Now you could order the album from AMAZON UK but that requires planning.  If this is the first piece you've ever read by me, planning is not my strong suit.  Carly got it wrong, procrastination -- not anticipation -- is what's making me late, what's keeping me waiting.

So Motown's decision to (finally) release A VERY SPECIAL SEASON is a hallelujah moment not just for the season but also for the genre. Franz Schubert's  "Ave Marie" is a marvel of excellence and emotion as sung by Diana.  "Oh Holy Night" and "Silent Night" also are audio portraits of great beauty.  "Amazing Grace" reminds you that Diana's never done a church album but makes you wish she'd do one in the future.

And the choices she makes to keep the album from having the same track list as every other?  Her cover of Stevie Wonder's "Overjoyed" is both inspired and inspiring.  "What The World Needs Now" works so well it should be on every Christmas album.

In fact, all fourteen songs are perfection.


"Uh, Kat, the album has 20 songs."

Maybe that's why Motown didn't call it A VERY SPECIAL SEASON?

1994 was a Christmas time for Diana.  Not only did she release (outside the US) A VERY SPECIAL SEASON but  she, The Modern Jazz Quartet, The King's Singers and The London Symphony Orchestra released MAKING SPIRITS BRIGHT the same year.

Diana's additional songs on WONDERFUL CHRISTMAS TIME are from that album.  The best tracks from that are probably "Go Tell It On The Mountain" and "The First Noel."

I wish they'd reached back one more year, to 1993, to include Diana performing "It's The Most Wonderful Time of The Year."  That's from CHRISTMAS IN VIENNA, the live recording she did with Placido Domingo and Jose Carreras.

But even without it, WONDERFUL CHRISTMAS TIME is a great album (available on CD as well as digital) and a classic.  It's moving and memorable and provides Diana with songs that demonstrate that she is one of the country's -- one of the world's -- finest singers.  Babs Streisand may hit 19 different notes in one song and try to amaze you with how long she can hold them, but Diana tells a story, sets a mood.  Like Judy Garland before her, Diana makes you feel and when someone does that, they're not just a singer, they're an artist.

Some Tweets from Margaret Kimberley

  1.   Retweeted
    Replying to 
    No. The goal should be regime change in the US media-political class, to eliminate the pernicious influence of fatuous, sinister third-rate minds like yours, you bloodthirsty hack.
  2. Dear Sentinelese, There's a guy named Walsh over here who is seriously whitesplaining. Please send arrows. Thanks!
  3.   Retweeted
  4.   Retweeted
    We're back from Dublin! Read about the impact we made as an independent Black organization at 👇🏿
  5.   Retweeted
    Great panel on Africa at International Conference Against US/NATO Military Bases
  6.   Retweeted
    800 and growing (80 alone on African continent): Margaret Kimberly () on the scourge of US/NATO bases and the movement to shut them down, on News:
  7. Binge watch video from the International Conference Against US/NATO Military Bases. Enjoy!
  8.   Retweeted
    They already do in secret - they love to give him $$$$ for their overblown military budget - they love that he goes after the true free press - they love that he is an easy target to gossip around every minute of the day so they don’t need to talk/ take actions about real issues
  9.   Retweeted
    I’m not joining in the lefty love for this tweet. Trump, nor his precedessors w/ pretty much exact same policies, are/were being Saudi’s “bitch” - Saudi is a US client state. And I mean, are we really still using “bitch” in this way in 2018?
  10.   Retweeted
    Clinton says Europe should make clear that “we are not going to be able to continue provide refuge & support.” Isn’t this the attitude we denounce Trump for? Speaking of irony, Clinton’s regime wars in Libya & Syria (& Iraq, indirectly) fueled the migration she wants to stop.
  11.   Retweeted
    Why are Clinton and Blair are solicited as voices of reason on Europe’s rightward drift and not pressed to take responsibility for their role in it by creating millions of refugees through deranged regime change wars?
  12. Just You Wait, History Proves That Someday Liberals Will Love Donald Trump
  13.   Retweeted
    Don't forget to call out your Hillary-supporting relatives at Thanksgiving dinner today
  14. Hillary Clinton destroyed Libya and created a migrant exodus. But I’m glad she made these comments. I don’t have to say she is vile. She proves it herself.
  15. Medicare for all? “Now that Democrats control the House, they have no real intention of relieving the burden of 30 million uninsured”
  16. “Democratic Party is the primary mechanism that suppresses progressive thought and action in the United States.”
  17.   Retweeted
    That's 28 billion USD. Or about 30 times less than the 2018 US "defense" budget. is the largest nation by land area but with a defense budget many times smaller than the US which is separated by two oceans from its many, mostly elective enemies.
  18. My latest column, The Amazon Robbery.
  19.   Retweeted
    Our friends who participated at the conference with BAP's , and Paul Pumphrey took this bold action ✊🏿
  20. Let's stop US/NATO military interventions. The first step is to dismantle AFRICOM and with it the U.S. role in the new scramble for Africa. This petition is an important part of our mobilization. Please sign. Thanks.
  21.   Retweeted
    This week's Newsletter is out!! We are writing to you from the European Union where we just attended the International Conference Against US/NATO Military Bases held in .