Saturday, October 28, 2023

The historical plunder of Iraq and the continued assault on Gaza

 We're going to start with the story we noted earlier this week, the archeological find in Iraq.  AFP reports:

A dig in the Middle East has uncovered statue of a winged deity, which was almost entirely intact despite its size.

The 2700-year-old alabaster statue depicting the winged Assyrian deity Lamassu was found in northern Iraq on October 24, AFP reports, in almost one piece.

Only the head was missing from the massive sculpture, but that was already in the possession of the Iraq Museum in Baghdad after being confiscated from smugglers by customs officers in the 1990s.

French archaeologist Pascal Butterlin, who led the dig, said he had “never unearthed anything this big in my life before”.

Lamassu?  WIKIPEDIA notes:

Lama, Lamma, or Lamassu (Cuneiform: 𒀭𒆗, an.kal; Sumerian: dlammař; later in Akkadian: lamassu; sometimes called a lamassus)[1][2] is an Assyrian protective deity.[3]

Initially depicted as a goddess in Sumerian times, when it was called Lamma, it was later depicted from Assyrian times as a hybrid of a human, bird, and either a bull or lion—specifically having a human head, the body of a bull or a lion, and bird wings, under the name Lamassu.[3][4] In some writings, it is portrayed to represent a goddess.[5] A less frequently used name is shedu (Cuneiform: 𒀭𒆘, an.kal×bad; Sumerian: dalad; Akkadian, šēdu), which refers to the male counterpart of a lamassu.[6] Lamassu represent the zodiacs, parent-stars or constellations.[7][8]

Goddess Lama

Lamassu at the Iraq Museum, Baghdad.

The goddess Lama appears initially as a mediating goddess who precedes the orans and presents them to the deities.[3] The protective deity is clearly labelled as Lam(m)a in a Kassite stele unearthed at Uruk, in the temple of Ishtar, goddess to which she had been dedicated by king Nazi-Maruttash (1307–1282 BC).[9] It is a goddess wearing a ruffled dress and wearing a horned tiara symbolizing the deity, with two hands raised, in sign of prayer. A. Spycket proposed that similar female figures appearing in particular in glyptics and statuary from the Akkadian period, and in particular in the presentation scenes (common especially in the Paleo-Babylonian era) were to be considered as Lam(m)a.[10] This opinion is commonly followed and in artistic terminology these female figures are generally referred to as Lam(m)a.[3] From Assyrian times, Lamma becomes a hybrid deity, half-animal, half-human.[3]


Human-headed winged bulls from Sargon II's palace in Dur-Sharrukin, modern Khorsabad (Louvre)

From Assyrian times, lamassu were depicted as hybrids, with bodies of either winged bulls or lions and heads of human males.[3] The motif of a winged animal with a human head is common to the Near East, first recorded in Ebla around 3000 BC. The first distinct lamassu motif appeared in Assyria during the reign of Tiglath-Pileser II as a symbol of power.[11][12]

Assyrian sculpture typically placed prominent pairs of lamassu at entrances in palaces, facing the street and also internal courtyards. They were represented as "double-aspect" figures on corners, in high relief. From the front they appear to stand, and from the side, walk, and in earlier versions have five legs, as is apparent when viewed obliquely. Lumasi do not generally appear as large figures in the low-relief schemes running round palace rooms, where winged genie figures are common, but they sometimes appear within narrative reliefs, apparently protecting the Assyrians.[13]

The colossal entrance figures were often followed by a hero grasping a wriggling lion, also colossal in scale and in high relief. In the palace of Sargon II at Dur-Sharrukin, a group of at least seven lamassu and two such heroes with lions surrounded the entrance to the "throne room", "a concentration of figures which produced an overwhelming impression of power."[14] They also appear on cylinder seals. Notable examples include those at the Gate of All Nations at Persepolis in Iran, the British Museum in London, the Louvre in Paris, the National Museum of Iraq in Baghdad, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and the University of Chicago Oriental Institute. Several examples left in situ in northern Iraq were destroyed in the 2010s by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant when they occupied the area, as were those in the Mosul Museum.


Lamassu represent the zodiacs, parent-stars, or constellations.[7][8] They are depicted as protective deities because they encompass all life within them. In the Sumerian Epic of Gilgamesh, they are depicted as physical deities as well, which is where the lamassu iconography originates, physical representations or embodiments of divine higher principles associated with specific celestial origins. Although lamassu had a different iconography and portrayal in the culture of Sumer, the terms "lamassu", "alad", and "shedu" evolved throughout the Assyro-Akkadian culture from the Sumerian culture to denote the Assyrian-winged-man-bull symbol and statues during the Neo-Assyrian Empire. Eventually, female lamassu were identified as "apsasû".[4]

Cast from the original in Iraq, this is one of a pair of five-legged lamassu with lion's feet in Berlin

The motif of the Assyrian-winged-man-bull called Aladlammu and Lamassu interchangeably is not the lamassu or alad of Sumerian origin, which were depicted with different iconography.[clarification needed] These monumental statues were called aladlammû or lamassu which meant "protective spirit".[4][clarification needed] In Hittite, the Sumerian form dlamma is used both as a name for the so-called "tutelary deity", identified in certain later texts with the goddess Inara, and a title given to similar protective deities.[15]


The lamassu in Persepolis

The lamassu is a celestial being from ancient Mesopotamian religion bearing a human head, symbolising intelligence, a bull's body, symbolizing strength; and wings of an eagle to symbolize freedom. Sometimes it had the horns and the ears of a bull. It appears frequently in Mesopotamian art. The lamassu and shedu were household protective spirits of the common Assyrian people, becoming associated later as royal protectors, and were placed as sentinels at entrances.[16] The Akkadians associated the god Papsukkal with a lamassu and the god Išum with shedu.

To protect houses, the lamassu were engraved in clay tablets, which were then buried under the door's threshold. They were often placed as a pair at the entrance of palaces. At the entrance of cities, they were sculpted in colossal size, and placed as a pair, one at each side of the door of the city, that generally had doors in the surrounding wall, each one looking toward one of the cardinal points. 

This is a tale of history, a tale of theft and plunder.   The Met notes:


From the ninth to the seventh century B.C., the kings of Assyria ruled over a vast empire centered in northern Iraq. The great Assyrian king Ashurnasirpal II (r. 883–859 B.C.), undertook a vast building program at Nimrud, ancient Kalhu. Until it became the capital city under Ashurnasirpal, Nimrud had been no more than a provincial town.

The new capital occupied an area of about nine hundred acres, around which Ashurnasirpal constructed a mudbrick wall that was 120 feet thick, 42 feet high, and five miles long. In the southwest corner of this enclosure was the acropolis, where the temples, palaces, and administrative offices of the empire were located. In 879 B.C. Ashurnasirpal held a festival for 69,574 people to celebrate the construction of the new capital, and the event was documented by an inscription that read: "the happy people of all the lands together with the people of Kalhu—for ten days I feasted, wined, bathed, and honored them and sent them back to their home in peace and joy."

The so-called Standard Inscription that ran across the surface of most of the reliefs described Ashurnasirpal's palace: "I built thereon [a palace with] halls of cedar, cypress, juniper, boxwood, teak, terebinth, and tamarisk [?] as my royal dwelling and for the enduring leisure life of my lordship." The inscription continues: "Beasts of the mountains and the seas, which I had fashioned out of white limestone and alabaster, I had set up in its gates. I made it [the palace] fittingly imposing." Among such stone beasts is the human-headed, winged lion pictured here. The horned cap attests to its divinity, and the belt signifies its power. The sculptor gave these guardian figures five legs so that they appear to be standing firmly when viewed from the front but striding forward when seen from the side. Lamassu protected and supported important doorways in Assyrian palaces.

They own that statue in the picture -- or rather, they have possession of it.  Whether or not they have a legal right to it is another story.

One lamassu is displayed in The Chicago University Library and hopefully they have the proper papers for it making it clear that they have a right to it and that it doesn't need to be returned to Iraq.

Let's hope the same about the one displayed in The British Museum and credited to Sir Austen Henry Layard's excavation. 


After wandering for many months, chiefly in Persia, with Bakhtiari people and having abandoned his intention of proceeding to Ceylon, he returned in 1842 to the Ottoman capital Constantinople where he made the acquaintance of Sir Stratford Canning, the British Ambassador, who employed him in various unofficial diplomatic missions in European Turkey. In 1845, encouraged and assisted by Canning, Layard left Constantinople to make those explorations among the ruins of Assyria with which his name is chiefly associated. This expedition was in fulfilment of a design which he had formed when, during his former travels in the East, his curiosity had been greatly excited by the ruins of Nimrud on the Tigris, and by the great mound of Kuyunjik, near Mosul, already partly excavated by Paul-Émile Botta.[3]

"Employed him in various unofficial diplomatic missions"?  Hmm.  Wondering what the paper trail documentation that allows The British Museum to keep the lamassu is?  WIKIPEDIA continues:

Layard remained in the neighbourhood of Mosul, carrying on excavations at Kuyunjik and Nimrud, and investigating the condition of various peoples, until 1847; and, returning to England in 1848, published Nineveh and Its Remains (2 vols., 1848–1849).[3]

To illustrate the antiquities described in this work he published a large folio volume of The Monuments of Nineveh. From Drawings Made on the Spot (1849). After spending a few months in England, and receiving the degree of D.C.L. from the University of Oxford and the Founder's Medal of the Royal Geographical Society, Layard returned to Constantinople as attaché to the British embassy, and, in August 1849, started on a second expedition, in the course of which he extended his investigations to the ruins of Babylon and the mounds of southern Mesopotamia. He is credited with discovering the Library of Ashurbanipal during this period. His record of this expedition, Discoveries in the Ruins of Nineveh and Babylon,[4] which was illustrated by another folio volume, called A Second Series of the Monuments of Nineveh, was published in 1853. During these expeditions, often in circumstances of great difficulty, Layard despatched to England the splendid specimens which now form the greater part of the collection of Assyrian antiquities in the British Museum.[3] Layard believed that the native Syriac Christian communities living throughout the Near East were descended from the ancient Assyrians.[5]

Apart from the archaeological value of his work in identifying Kuyunjik as the site of Nineveh, and in providing a great mass of materials for scholars to work upon, these two books of Layard were among the best written books of travel in the English language.[3]

Layard was an important member of the Arundel Society,[6] and in 1866 he was appointed a trustee of the British Museum.[3] In the same year Layard founded "Compagnia Venezia Murano" and opened a venetian glass showroom in London at 431 Oxford Street. Today Pauly & C. - Compagnia Venezia Murano is one of the most important brands of venetian art glass production. 

Discovered?  It implies more than just effort.  Stolen is the correct term.  Writing earlier this year about NETFLIX's dramatic series BEEF, Lewis Ryder (THE CONVERSATION) noted:

Brits went abroad actively seeking treasures from ancient civilisations. Those that were successful became national heroes. Austen Henry Layard’s plunder from Assyria, for example, was proudly displayed in the British Museum and inspired triumphant novels and plays.

As Britain’s empire expanded and collections deepened, novels dealt with the potentially grim consequences of collectors’ “unruly passions”. These “imperial gothic” stories told of western plunder leading to haunted relics, which wreaked havoc on Brits both at home and in the empire.

Those novels, written in real time, would appear to speak of karma and guilt -- clearly indicating that even in the 1800s, people knew this plunder was wrong.

In 2015, Daniel Silas Adamson (BBC NEWS MAGAZINE) wrote of these British 'finds' (thefts) and key points are:

On the first day of the dig, Layard found the outlines of a royal palace. A week later he was unearthing the huge slabs of alabaster that had lined its walls, panels that depicted the power of the Assyrian king and the grovelling submission of his enemies. Within three or four years, Layard had unearthed the civilisation of ancient Assyria - until then nothing more than a name mentioned in the pages of the Bible - and had filled the British Museum with sculpture and writing from the birthplace of urban civilization.

Published in 1849, his account of his excavations, Nineveh and its Remains, became an immediate bestseller.

But by his own admission, none of this would have been possible without Hormuzd Rassam.

The Englishman may have known how to get funding from the trustees of the British Museum, but it was Rassam who knew how to deal with the villagers of northern Iraq, and spoke Arabic, Turkish and Syriac Aramaic, the language of the Assyrian Christians. It was Rassam who knew how to haggle with a tribal sheikh, how to bribe a local governor with a gift of coffee, how to hire 300 workmen to drag a colossal statue of a winged bull down to the Tigris and float it on a raft of wooden planks and inflated goatskins.

[. . .] 

Archaeology was central to those interests. Across the whole of the upper Tigris, the British were vying with the French for the antiquities of the ancient world. The first to excavate Nineveh had been a Frenchman called Paul Emile Botta, and, although he had suspended his dig to focus on the nearby village of Khorsabad, it was generally understood that the site remained within the French sphere of influence. Rassam, though, was on his home turf, right opposite the town where he had grown up. He was not going to see the treasures of Nineveh, like those of Khorsabad, shipped off to the Louvre.

Without any kind of official permission, and working under cover of darkness, Rassam had his team dig into the northern corner of the mound. In December 1853, about a week into the excavation, a huge bank of earth collapsed and Rassam heard his men shouting "Suwar!" - images. There, in the moonlight, were stone panels that had been carved more than 2,500 years earlier for the rooms of the Assyrian King Ashurbanipal (who ruled from 668 to 627BC). 

Do even a little research and you'll discover Austen Henry Layard arrived in Mosul and told government officials there that he was in the area to hunt boar.  Yeah, lie.  Lie upon lie.  That is how The British Museum ended up with so many Iraqi treasures.  November 1, 1846 he plundered two lamassus.  A few days later, they would take possession of The Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III of which WIKIPEIDA notes:

The Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III is a black limestone Neo-Assyrian sculpture with many scenes in bas-relief and inscriptions. It comes from Nimrud (ancient Kalhu), in northern Iraq, and commemorates the deeds of King Shalmaneser III (reigned 858–824 BC). It is on display at the British Museum in London, and several other museums have cast replicas.

It is one of two complete Neo-Assyrian obelisks yet discovered, the other one being the much earlier White Obelisk of Ashurnasirpal I, and is historically significant because it is thought to display the earliest ancient depiction of a biblical figure – Jehu, King of Israel. The traditional identification of "Yaw" as Jehu has been questioned by some scholars, who proposed that the inscription refers to another king, Jehoram of Israel.[1][2] Its reference to Parsua is also the first known reference to the Persians.

Tribute offerings are shown being brought from identifiable regions and peoples. It was erected as a public monument in 825 BC at a time of civil war, in the central square of Nimrud. It was discovered by archaeologist Sir Austen Henry Layard in 1846 and is now in the British Museum.

Christmas Day, 1846, Layard would begin the process of shipping these stolen goods out of Iraq (no, this was not done openly because they were stealing).

Meanwhile the assault on Gaza continues. ALJAZEERA reports:

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said his country’s war with Hamas has entered its “second stage” as Israeli troops and armoured vehicles push into Gaza in an expansion of ground operations.

In a press conference in Tel Aviv on Saturday night, Netanyahu told Israelis to prepare for a “long and hard” offensive, describing the campaign as the country’s “second war of independence” since 1948.

[. . .]

Al Jazeera’s Alan Fisher, reporting from occupied East Jerusalem, said that Israel has signalled that the ground war in Gaza is now under way.

At COMMON DREAMS, Ralph Nader puts forward a series of questions:

  2. What is the connection between the stunning failure of the Israeli government to protect its people on the border and the policy of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu? Recall TheNew York Times (October 22, 2023) article by prominent journalist, Roger Cohen, to wit: “All means were good to undo the notion of Palestinian statehood. In 2019, Mr. Netanyahu told a meeting of his center-right Likud party: ‘Those who want to thwart the possibility of a Palestinian state should support the strengthening of Hamas and the transfer of money to Hamas. This is part of our strategy.’” (Note: Israel and the U.S. fostered the rise of Islamic Hamas in 1987 to counter the secular Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO)).

3. Why is Congress preparing to appropriate over $14 billion to Israel in military and other aid without any public hearings and without any demonstrated fiscal need by Israel, a prosperous economic, technological, and military superpower with a social safety net superior to that of the U.S.? USDA just reported over 44 million Americans struggled with hunger in 2022. This, in the midst of a childcare crisis. Should U.S. taxpayers be expected to pay for Netanyahu’s colossal intelligence/military collapse?

Under international law, Biden has made the U.S. an active “co-belligerent” of the Israeli government’s vocal demolition of the 2.3 million inhabitants in Gaza, who are mostly descendants of Palestinian refugees driven from their homes in 1948.

4. Why hasn’t the media reported on President Joe Biden’s statement that the Gaza Health Ministry’s body count (now over 7,000 fatalities) is exaggerated? All indications, however, are that it is a large undercount by Hamas to minimize its inability to protect its people. Israel has fired over 8,000 powerful precision munitions and bombs so far. These have struck many thousands of inhabited buildings—homes, apartments buildings, over 120 health facilities, ambulances, crowded markets, fleeing refugees, schools, water and sewage systems, and electric networks—implementing Israeli military orders to cut off all food, water, fuel, medicine, and electricity to this already impoverished densely packed area the size of Philadelphia. For those not directly slain, the deadly harm caused by no food, water, medicine, medical facilities, and fuel will lead to even more deaths and serious injuries.

Note that over three-quarters of Gaza’s population consists of children and women. Soon there will be thousands of babies born to die in the rubble. Other Palestinians will perish from untreated diseases, injuries, dehydration, and from drinking contaminated water. With crumbled sanitation facilities, physicians are fearing a deadly cholera epidemic.

Israel bombed the Rafah crossing on the Gaza-Egypt border. Only a tiny trickle of trucks are now allowed there by Israel to carry food and water. Fuel for hospital generators still remains blocked.

5. Why can’t Biden even persuade Israel to let 600 desperate Americans out of the Gaza firestorm?

6. Why isn’t the mass media making a bigger issue out of Israel’s long-time practices of blocking journalists from entering Gaza, including European, American, and Israeli journalists? The only television crews left are Gazan-residing Al Jazeera reporters. Israeli bombs have already killed 26 journalists in the Gaza Strip since October 7th. Is Israel targeting journalists’ families? Gaza bureau chief of Al Jazeera Wael Al-Dahdouh’s family was killed in an Israeli airstrike on Wednesday. 

Also at COMMON DREAMS, Jessica Corbett notes:

As of Friday, the Israeli war has killed more than 7,300 Palestinians, including over 3,000 children, and wounded about 19,000 others, according to the Gaza Health Ministry. It has also damaged or destroyed around half of the strip's homes, displaced a majority of the population, and as of Friday cut off internet and communication services.

While some powerful figures have cast doubt on that death toll—including U.S. President Joe Biden, who recently affirmed his "rock-solid and unwavering" support for Israel—the ministry has released a document detailing the names, ages, genders, and civil identification numbers of most people killed, and its figures are generally considered reliable by human rights groups, international and Israeli mainstream media, United Nations agencies, and the U.S. State Department.

[. . .]

"They're taking revenge by killing our children," said Wael Al-Dahdouh, the chief of Al Jazeera's Gaza bureau, after he learned while reporting on-air Wednesday that his wife, son, daughter, and grandson were killed in an Israeli airstrike. "What happened is clear, this is a series of targeted attacks on children, women, and civilians."

The world is outraged by this assault.  WSWS continues tracking the protests around the world.  Let's note a protest in NYC yesterday.

Kevin Reed (WSWS) reports:

On Friday evening, a spontaneous action of civil disobedience by thousands of supporters of the organization Jewish Voice for Peace shut down Grand Central Station in Manhattan to protest the escalating genocide against Gaza. The NYPD arrested several of the protesters, but thousands then gathered outside.

Chants included, “Biden Biden you can’t hide, we charge you with genocide” and “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.”

The demonstration showed widespread pro-Palestinian sympathies among the public, including Jewish workers and youth, who packed the main floor of the terminal during rush hour.

The protesters also unfurled banners from the mezzanine that read, “Palestinians should be free” and “Israelis demand cease-fire now.” A large number of the participants wore black T-shirts from Jewish Voice for Peace that said, “Not in Our Name” and “Ceasefire Now!”

The World Socialist Web Site spoke with several of those participating. Asked her response to the Democratic Party’s support for the genocide, one protester said, “I’m horrified. They’re a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Biden is no better than Bush,. In fact, I think he’s worse, if that was possible. The fact that those are the choices we have, there’s something seriously wrong.”

“Most people are against this war, this genocide, [but] they have their own agenda going on.”

Brett Wilkins (COMMON DREAMS) also reports on the protest:

The demonstration was led by Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), with the participation of IfNotNow and other groups, as well as unaffiliated Jews and allies.

"We refuse to allow our own pain and trauma to be used to justify attacks against another people," said Jay Saper of JVP. "We are here to say: Not in our name."

JVP said New York state Sens. Jabari Brisport (D-25), Robert Jackson (D-35), and Julia Salazar (D-18); State Assembly Members Zohran Mamdani (D-36) and Emily Gallagher (D-50); and New York City Council Members Tiffany Cabán (D-22), Alexa Avilés (D-38), Sandy Nurse (D-37), and Chi Ossé (D-36) took part in the protest.

Artist Indya Moore, a signatory to the Artists4CeaseFire letter, said "I am here in solidarity with my Jewish siblings in support of Palestinians, and stand in witness with my ancestors, the Taino, African, and Spanish, colonized and colonizer—in memory of what happened to them, to raise our collective voice of dissent and demonstrate en masse that it is morally irrefutable that we need a cease-fire now and a call to end the genocide of Palestinians."

Added: Forgot I meant to answer an e-mail here.  An e-mail to the public account ( was bothered by a video highlighted today.  On Saturdays, we highlight videos of female musicians.  Today, it was:

  • Come In From The Rain (Diana Ross)
  • Here You Come Again (Patti LaBelle)
  • I Never Meant To Hurt You (Barbra Streisand)
  • You Do It (Diana Ross)
  • Maria McKee - I Can't Make It Alone
  • You Belong to Me
  • Mary J. Blige - Daydreaming (Live)
  • No Easy Way Down (Barbra Streisand)
  • Diana Ross- I Love YouCall Me & Closing Show- Live...
  • Roberta Flack - Jesse
  • Sistowbell Lane (Cass Elliot)
  • What More Can A Woman Do (Sarah Vaughan)
  • Ode To Billie Joe (Diana Ross & the Supremes)
  • Aretha Franklin - Rolling in the Deep / Ain't No M...
  • Cyndi Lauper - 2000 Carey (Tribute to Joni Mitchell)
  • 5th Dimension - Stoned Soul Picnic (1968)
  • Heart - River (1995) [Acoustic]
  •  Stoney End (Diana Ross)
  • Cher - Stars (Remastered)

  • The e-mailer wanted me to know that Joni Mitchell wrote "Carey" -- that's actually in the video and that Cyndi's performing it at a tribute to Joni -- and I should have noted her performance and not Cyndi's performance.

    That is your opinion.  It's not a sound opinion or an accurate one because there was a theme today -- it was women singing songs by female songwriters.  

    The songwriters were . . . Laura Nyro, Joni Mitchell, Aretha Franklin, Carly Simon, Cynthia Weil (with Barry Mann), Carole King (with Gerry Goffin), Janis Ian, Peggy Lee, Melissa Manchester and Carole Bayer,  Adele, Valerie Simpson (with Nick Ashford), Deborah Cox and Bobbie Gentry. 

    So noting Joni performing her own song really wouldn't have been in keeping with the theme, sorry.  We noted Cyndi covering her, Cass Elliot covering Joni and the Wilson sisters of Heart covering Joni.  Laura Nyro?  We noted Barbra Streisand covering her, the 5th Dimension covering her and Diana Ross covering her. Aretha's songwriting was covered in the videos we posted of Diana Ross and Mary J. Blige.  Sarah Vaughan covered a Peggy Lee written song, Anita Baker was covering Carly Simon, Barbra Streisand and Maria McKee were covering Carole King (and Gerry Goffin) . . . 



    Only one artist was noted as a singer and as a songwriter.  That was Aretha.  We noted her performing her cover of Adele's hit and Diana Ross' "Ain't No Mountain High Enough."  On the latter, that was a tribute to Diana on Aretha's part.  Aretha liked and respected Diana and this was to note the long career that, like Aretha had, Diana Ross has -- Aretha covered that and "You Keep Me Hanging On."  Some idiots who claim to be critics and some who knew better but hate Diana tried to pretend that this was a tribute to Marvin Gaye.  It was not.  The title of the album is ARETHA FRANKLIN SINGS THE GREAT DIVA CLASSICS.  That was your first damn clue.  Your second clue was the arrangement -- all those background singers, the gospel feel, etc (none of which is on Marvin's version).  That's not on Marvin and Tammi's version.  That's on the version Ashford & Simpson produced for Diana Ross -- the background singers on Diana's version are Ashford & Simpson, Jo Armstead, Brenda Evans, Billie Calvin, Jimmy Beavers and the Andantes (Jackie Hicks, Marlene Barrow and Louvain Demps).  The arrangement, the rhythm, it's a tribute to the Diana version -- you know, the one that was the actual hit.

    In 1966, Marvin's duet with Tammi failed to make the adult contemporary chart but did make it to number 3 on the R&B chart and squeaked to number 19 on the pop chart.  Diana's 1970's version made it to number six at on the adult contemporary chart, number 1 on the R&B chart and spent three weeks -- three -- at number one on the pop charts. 

    'Feminist' Judy Collins has three albums saluting male songwriters (an album of Dylan songs, and album of Leonard Cohen songs and an album of songs by Lennon & McCartney).  Not one album saluted female songwriters.

    Aretha made the album that others should have made because she was a strong woman and she was a woman who applauded other women.  That's why she's represented on the list as an artist and as a songwriter.



    The following sites updated:

    Come In From The Rain (Diana Ross)

    Palestinian & Jewish Protesters SHUT DOWN Wall Street to Free Palestine

    Here You Come Again (Patti LaBelle)

    "These People Are $#@&ing Disgusting!": Judy Gold Goes Off On MAGA Republicans

    I Never Meant To Hurt You (Barbra Streisand)

    A Strategy of Annihilation - Ralph Nader Radio Hour Episode 503

    You Do It (Diana Ross)

    Ukraine In Trouble As Support Wanes?

    Maria McKee - I Can't Make It Alone

    Claudia De La Cruz and the Party for Socialism and Liberation Presidential Campaign

    You Belong to Me

    Analyst: ‘Support for Palestine in the US Has Never Been Higher’

    Mary J. Blige - Daydreaming (Live)

    No Easy Way Down (Barbra Streisand)

    Republican Tells Kids Trans Rights Interferes With School Shootings

    Diana Ross- I Love YouCall Me & Closing Show- Live At R.A.H. -1973.

    NHL Reverses Anti Rainbow Policy Just Days Before First Pride Night Game


    Roberta Flack - Jesse


    Television's Greatest Performances - Diana Ross

    Sistowbell Lane (Cass Elliot)

    Rep. Takano Statement on Mike Johnson’s Election to Speaker of the House of Representatives After Four Failed Attempts, MAGA Extremist Handed Gavel


    Rep. Takano Statement on Mike Johnson’s Election to Speaker of the House of Representatives After Four Failed Attempts, MAGA Extremist Handed Gavel

    Washington, D.C. -- Rep. Mark Takano (D-Calif.) released the following statement following the election of Rep. Mike Johnson as Speaker of the House of Representatives.

    “After three weeks of complete chaos and inaction that ground Congress to a halt, the House Republican Conference has allowed their extreme MAGA members to set the agenda and hand select Mike Johnson as the next Speaker of the House. Mike Johnson is a proud and fervent election denier, a friend of the extreme religious right, and a climate change denier. He has voted twice against the PACT Act to deny toxin-exposed veterans of the healthcare they have earned. He has fiercely advocated against the civil liberties of LGBTQ+ people.

    “Mike Johnson has weaponized his committee position to target transgender individuals and introduce legislation to suppress sharing LGBTQ+ identities. He is staunchly anti-choice and would like to impose a nationwide ban on reproductive choice. He will no doubt remain committed to those divisive values and bring untold harm to the American people now that he has been elevated to Speaker.

    “Befitting a party that treats expertise with disdain and considers extremism a virtue, Mike Johnson will take up the Speaker’s gavel having never led a House Committee or served in a senior leadership position. He comes to the job with no understanding of its purpose and no respect for its importance. Rather than using the position he has been given to unify, Mike Johnson will use his power to divide our people and diminish our nation.

    “I will continue to fight for the dignity of all Americans even if we have a Speaker with a history of espousing hateful rhetoric. The challenges facing our country are too real and the needs of the American people are too great to do otherwise.”

    What More Can A Woman Do (Sarah Vaughan)

    Vibeology Reviews & Reacts to “Ross” by Diana Ross (1983)

    Ode To Billie Joe (Diana Ross & the Supremes)

    Baldwin Introduces Bill to Support Organic Dairy Farmers


    Baldwin Introduces Bill to Support Organic Dairy Farmers

    WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) introduced legislation to support organic dairy farmers and help them address economic challenges like feed shortages and increased costs. The Organic Dairy Assistance, Investment, and Reporting Yields (O DAIRY) Act of 2023 will increase investments in the organic dairy industry to ensure resiliency and longevity and works to improve data collection for organic milk production to enhance price accuracy and transparency.

    “Wisconsin is one of the nation’s top organic dairy producing states, driving our local economies, feeding families from coast to coast, and keeping our state’s heritage of America’s Dairyland alive and strong,” said Senator Baldwin. “In the face of recent headwinds, I’m committed to delivering the support our dairies need to keep their operations open for generations to come.”

    The O DAIRY Act would:  

    • Extend emergency assistance to organic dairy farmers facing losses, including any time a farm’s net income decreases by over 10% in any given year; 
    • Invest $25 million annually in dairy infrastructure investments, research and innovation;  
    • Call for increased industry organic data collection that will be shared with farmers so they can plan better; and 
    • Direct the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to study the viability of an organic safety net program, which would get aid to farmers faster when disasters hit in the future. 

    The bill is led by Senator Peter Welch (D-VT) and also co-sponsored by Senators Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY). The O DAIRY Act of 2023 has the broad support of farms, dairy cooperatives, producers, and associations across the country, including the Organic Farmers Association, Organic Valley, the National Organic Coalition, and the Center for Food Safety. 

    A one-pager on this legislation can be found here. Full text of this legislation can be found here.


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    Senator Murray, Colleagues Call For Fuel Deliveries to Hospitals and Water Treatment Centers in Gaza


    Senator Murray, Colleagues Call For Fuel Deliveries to Hospitals and Water Treatment Centers in Gaza

    Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, joined U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT), Chairman of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Near East, South Asia, Central Asia and Counterterrorism, and 23 of their Senate colleagues in releasing the following statement calling for fuel to reach Gaza hospitals, desalination plants, and water pumping stations to prevent the loss of innocent life. Fuel shortages in Gaza threaten to halt the aid distribution system, shut down hospitals, and worsen the water crisis in Gaza in the coming days.

    “We condemn Hamas’ horrific terrorist attacks against Israel, for which Israel must hold Hamas accountable. In the course of that endeavor, every effort must be made to protect innocent civilians. Right now, hospitals in Gaza are hours away from running out of fuel that powers ventilators, incubators for babies, and other lifesaving equipment, and diseases are rapidly spreading without power to treat and pump clean drinking water,” the senators said. “To prevent a potential health crisis and help save countless lives, we believe it is possible to transport fuel directly to these hospitals, desalination plants, and water pumping stations with full transparency to prevent diversion to Hamas. There are extensive oversight mechanisms in place that will track the fuel deliveries directly to the intended sites where they can be used immediately to prevent the deaths of innocent civilians, including babies and children. We encourage the Biden administration to work with our Israeli, Egyptian, and UN partners to enable these lifesaving deliveries.”

    Senator Murray has joined numerous calls for humanitarian aid to reach Gaza and has urged President Biden to lead the international community in contributing to the United Nations’ emergency appeal of $294 million to address the immediate humanitarian needs in the West Bank and Gaza. Following the Hamas terrorist attacks on Israel, Senator Murray issued a statement condemning the attacks and voted for the unanimous Senate resolution standing with Israel against terrorism.

    In addition to Senators Murray and Murphy, the following other senators also signed onto the statement: U.S. Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ), Tom Carper (D-DE), Chris Coons (D-DE), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), John Hickenlooper (D-CO), Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Mark Kelly (D-AZ), Angus King (I-ME), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Ed Markey (D-MA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Tina Smith (D-MN), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Peter Welch (D-VT), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI).


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    Once complete in 2024, the project will liberate the Klamath river and several tributaries to once again run free across 400-miles from Oregon through California and into the Pacific Ocean.

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