what a day.
aretha franklin has left us.
i believe in god and heaven and hell (as did aretha) so i believe she's in a better place and with her loved ones like her father and sisters who passed earlier.
but even knowing she's with love and in peace, i still feel sad.
otis and aretha are probably my all time faves. and he wrote 'respect' which she made her signature song.
aretha was outstanding. she could sing anything and she proved it.
she's one of the great voices of our time.
i loved 'see saw' and her version of 'i say a little prayer.'
in fact, aretha's covers were outstanding. she always made the songs her own.
like with 'respect' and 'i say a little prayer.'
her last album was her doing just covers and she was amazing.
for example, 'what a fool believes.'
this is probably my favorite aretha cover song.
she makes it all her own and i prefer it to the doobie brothers' version. i really loved their version until i heard her version.
the backing vocals, the freedom and joy in her voice. i just love it all.
aretha grabbed you. you could be walking through a parking lot and hear her singing from a car stereo and you'd register it. she was 1 of kind.
it is our loss but i do believe she's in heaven now and at peace. god bless you, aretha.
let's close with c.i.'s 'Iraq snapshot:'
Suspected Islamic State member accused of killing police officer in Iraq arrested in Sacramento, where he settled as a refugee lat.ms/2MvkD7B
This is the US Justice Dept's press release on the issue:
Iraqi National Wanted for Murder in Iraq Arrested In California
So Omar Ameen came to the US as a refugee and settled in California. Four years later, he has been arrested and will now be returned to Iraq.
Is he guilty?
He's charged. He's accused. And that's a really big problem. The US government is fully aware of the lack of justice in Iraq. Returning him is very likely the same as sentencing him to die. Whether he is innocent or guilty, he is most likely going to be executed. Trials last minutes in Iraq. Rules and laws are not followed.
Grasp that THE NEW YORK TIMES used to do regular updates on the state of justice in Iraq and even they long ago stopped writing. Mainly because nothing changed. Progress did not arrive.
Omar Ameen may be guilty. Right now he has the presumption of innocence. And it's very sad that he is being handed over to a country where he will not get a fair trial and where the outcome from the charges is death.
In Iraq, tens of strikers begin open sit in in front of Basra Province government building after security forces kill a protester while dispersing a protest. mobp.as/jX8Nm
Margaret Griffis (ANTIWAR.COM) notes, "One protester has died after police fired on a demonstration in Ezzedine Salim, Basra province. Current demonstrators are calling for the release of previously detained protesters."
On KPFA's VOICE OF THE MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA, the issue of the protests was addressed yesterday.
They discussed how Tahrir Square in Baghdad has seen protests but smaller ones and how their is the history of closing streets in Baghdad to prevent masses from gathering in Tahrir Square.
Balsam Mustafa: All of the parties, the Iraqi government, is in the Green Zone. So they were very careful to protect the Green Zone and they, as you said, blocked all of the roads. They prevented the protesters from moving forward and, a couple of week ago, they used water canons to prevent the protests for progressing. and this could be another reason why the protests in Baghdad was less than in the other provinces due to the security measures taken by the government.
As the protests continue, so does the violence aimed at them.
IOHR: Security Forces beat the protestor using batons while breaking up the protest.
This violence is a daily event that those brave enough to go into the streets and protest
Yesterday on KPFA, Balsam Mustafa noted, "There were reports of activists and protesters who were chased and beaten. Many were arrested. Although some of them were soon released on bail, some are still missing."
The demands of the protesters are people needs, the basics. This includes jobs. Baslam noted that in Basra, when new jobs were announced there were "over half a million applicants to only ten thousand jobs."
May 12th, Iraq held elections. Still no government formed. Next month, the KRG holds elections.
#Kurdistan legislative elections on 30 Sept: 773 candidates run for 111 (including 11 quotas) seats, 23 lists. Iraq May elections: 6690 candidates, 87 lists, 329 (9 quotas) seats. What explains such a crowded field? intra and inter identity politics could be one reason.
If a government is not formed in Iraq before September 30th, look for the KRG government to be formed before Iraq's national government is formed.
And the Iraq War continues.
Coalition strikes continue against ISIS targets in the Middle Euphrates River Valley and Iraq-Syria border region.
And US troops aren't leaving Iraq any time soon.
Pentagon: "We have assessed that, even after the liberation of ISIS controlled territory, ISIS probably is still more capable than al-Qaida in Iraq at its peak in 2006-2007...suggesting it is well positioned to rebuild and work on enabling its physical caliphate to reemerge"
The Iraq War drags on and on. At CSIS, Anthony Cordrsman offers his evaluation of Iraq which includes the following:
To repeat, we never bought the lie that ISIS was defeated in Iraq because we never confused their adapting to what, for them, were excellent conditions. Meaning that the goal of terrorists cells and organizations is not to govern or rule. Iraq's government was so inept at the time (headed then by Nouri al-Maliki) that ISIS was able to take areas and govern them. They continue to do that in an area in Anbar Province but that is not their goal or aim and ending that in Mosul did not mean the defeat of ISIS. Suggesting otherwise, as the media did, is a misreading of the basic objectives and of international political theory.
He writes of the need for support to be measure-based and that will (and should) remind everyone that this is a road we've traveled before. The benchmarks. Democrats demanded them from the Bully Boy Bush White House. If Iraq didn't meet certain benchmarks, military support would be cut off. Thing is, it never happened. The benchmarks were never met. And the military aid was never cut. It was nonsense. They should have followed it and stood by their words. Instead, the Congressional Dems (with few exceptions -- Lloyd Doggett would be one exception) saw continuing the Iraq War as a way to win the White House in 2008.
What's going to change with new benchmarks?
Benchmarks are a way to continue the war, not a way to end it. Benchmarks will not be pass/fail as they should be. Instead, we will again see press outlets and the government weasling out of what the benchmarks actually demand to insist that progress is being made.
The following sites updated: