First up . . .
Diana Ross and Tame Impala's "Turn Up The Sunshine from the new MINIONS movie.
Elaine posted "5 Stevie Nicks songs" awhile ago and our daughter is upset. Her favorite song is Diana and Tame's song and we both have blogs and are her parents but have not posted her favorite song even once. I hear you. I am posting it at the top of this post so that you know I hear you.
And it is a good song -- and, no, I'm not saying that just to make peace with my daughter. :D
Okay, Joe Biden went on his march of blood through the Middle East. WSWS notes:
Following his two-day trip to Israel, US President Joe Biden arrived in Saudi Arabia’s western port city of Jeddah on Friday morning, where the blood-stained murderer Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman greeted him unsmilingly with a fist bump at the Al-Salam Royal Palace. This was a far cry from the traditional greeting by leading members of the ruling family for a US president at the airport.
Following a courtesy call to the aging and infirm King Salman, Biden held “a working session” with bin Salman, the de facto ruler, and his ministers. Although Biden had pledged during his election campaign to treat Saudi Arabia as a “pariah state” due to its appalling human rights record and bin Salman’s signing off on Jamal Khashoggi’s gruesome assassination in 2018, the pressing needs of Washington’s geostrategic interests have taken precedence over his avowed scruples.
On Saturday, he will attend a summit with the leaders of the six Gulf States—Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and Oman—plus Egypt, Jordan and Iraq.
Biden’s purpose is to reassert Washington’s standing with some of the most tyrannical rulers on the planet and line them up behind Washington’s proxy war against Russia in Ukraine—justified with the cynical call “to stop mass death and a humanitarian catastrophe.” The war has met a decidedly cool response from Israeli and Arab leaders alike.
Biden is also seeking to cement an anti-Iran alliance as part of US imperialism’s broader efforts to limit China’s expanding economic and political influence in the energy-rich Middle East.
Biden came straight from Israel, a key custodian of US interests in the region, which guarantees it exemption from the human rights standards expected of Washington’s opponents. Notwithstanding its parliamentary façade, Israel is distinguished by its apartheid system of rule within its internationally recognized borders, its military suppression of nearly five million Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, and its near daily killing of Palestinians. Israeli security forces have killed at least 60 Palestinians in the first six months of this year. All this goes without a murmur from this “leader of the free world” and promoter-in-chief of “human rights.”
The visit to Israel itself was something of a sideshow. Its chief purpose was to present a broader substance to his Middle East tour and limit the widely held view that he was going cap in hand to the Saudis.
But that's what he was doing. And he just got bitch slapped on the global stage. CNN reports:
Saudi Arabia's de facto ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, hit back at Joe Biden after the US President confronted him about the 2018 murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi during a meeting between the two leaders on Friday.
I guess he told old man Joe. Remember, kids, you don't need three stooges when you've got Joe Biden.
He is forever the Idiot of the Week.
Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"
Friday, July 15, 2022. Joe Biden takes a blood march through the Middle East and Miss Moqtada al-Sadr throws a lazy Friday get together.
US President Joe Biden visits the Middle East and shows who his friends are. We'll note some commentary and some Tweets. Jeffrey St. Clair (COUNTERPUNCH) observes:
+ The fact that many newspapers and politicians are expressing “moral outrage” at Biden’s flight from Israel to Saudi Arabia but not at Biden’s flight from DC to Israel is a pretty clear indicator of how little “moral authority” the US has (or even pretends to possess)…
+ I’d have thought “our moral authority” had already eroded down to Ordovician strata of bedrock…
+ The Peace Prize Prez, Barack Obama, visited Saudi Arabia more frequently than any other president–four times in 8 years, visits during which the genocidal war on Yemen was plotted, financed and unleashed.
+ In its yearly Children and Conflict Report, the UN charges that Israel killed 78 Palestinian children last year and maimed another 982.
+ According to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, around 80 Egyptian soldiers killed during the 1967 Middle East War are buried in a mass grave under Mini Israel, a popular Israeli theme park.
+ After he heaped praise on the Jewish State, declared himself a Zionist and mumbled vacant promises about an eventual “Two-State Solution,” Biden’s entourage took him through the streets of Bethlehem, where he encountered these signs erected by the Israeli human rights group, B T’Selem…
On Thursday, President Biden said he believes the “vast majority” of Americans are committed to Israel’s security. The president made the comments from Jerusalem after holding a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid.
“I think the vast majority of the American public, not just my administration — is completely devoted to Israel’s security without any ifs, ands, or buts — without any doubts about it,” Biden told reporters.
Biden made the comments a day after an interview aired on Israeli TV where he said progressives Democrats that have denounced Israel as an apartheid state were “wrong.”
“There are few of them. I think they’re wrong. I think they’re making a mistake,” he said. The president added that he makes “no apologies” for his support of Israel.
Nora Barrows-Friedman Tweets:
While the inflation crisis and attacks on basic rights continue in the United States, Joe Biden is traveling abroad to focus on shoring up U.S. domination over the Middle East.
Biden began his tour with a visit to Israel, landing on Wednesday. In a speech upon his arrival, Biden went out of his way to emphasize his ideological support for Zionism – the racist political movement that established the state of Israel on the land of the Palestinian people. Echoing the religious fundamentalist justification for the expulsion of Palestinians from their homes, Biden stated, “[Y]ou need not be a Jew to be a Zionist … Every chance to return to this great country, where the ancient roots of the Jewish people date back to biblical times, is a blessing.”
Biden explained in the same speech, “From here, I’m going straight to a briefing on Israeli missiles and rocket defense capabilities, including the U.S. support for the Iron Dome and Israel’s new laser-enabled system called the Iron Beam.” The U.S. government gives Israel nearly $4 billion every year for military equipment to repress Palestinians and threaten neighboring countries. This is in essence a subsidy for U.S. weapons manufacturing corporations, who receive the contracts to provide these armaments.
Biden has ignored demands for a meeting from the family of Shireen Abu Akleh, the Palestinian-American journalist who was murdered by Israeli soldiers in May while she was reporting on an Israeli raid in the occupied West Bank. Despite being a U.S. citizen, American authorities conducted a sham investigation into her killing that clearly aimed to cover up the criminal role of Israel.
Ford Fischer Tweets about reactions to Joe's tripl
Joe's trip is revealing to many. It says a great deal about the US government.
Land of snap decisions
Land of short attention spans
Nothing is savored
Long enough to really understand
In every culture in decline
The watchful ones among the slaves
Know all that is genuine will be
Scorned and conned and cast away
Dog eat dog
People looking seeing nothing
Dog eat dog
People listening hearing nothing
Dog eat dog
People lusting loving nothing
Dog eat dog
People stroking touching nothing
Dog eat dog
Dog eat dog
-- "Dog Eat Dog," written by Joni Mitchell, first appears on DOG EAT DOG
There may not be a photograph today of US President Joe Biden shaking hands with Saudi despot Mohammed bin Salman. The press has been largely excluded from the Saudi leg of Biden’s four-day trip to the Middle East, and Biden’s aides have announced a new protocol limiting Biden to exchanging fist bumps, not handshakes or hugs, supposedly due to the greatly accelerated spread of the Omicron BA.5 subvariant of the coronavirus.
There is good reason to believe that this policy has nothing to do with any new health concerns for the 79-year-old president. The White House desires to reduce the amount of attention given to Biden’s embrace of a notoriously bloodstained murderer. He is courting bin Salman in an effort to obtain a sizeable increase in Saudi oil production, both to ease the pressure on NATO countries from the cutoff of Russian supplies as a byproduct of the war in Ukraine and to defuse social discontent in the US itself as gas prices have soared to nearly $5 a gallon.
It is his first trip as president to the region where American imperialism has carried out its bloodiest crimes over the last three decades, waging wars in Iraq, Syria and Libya, supporting countless military coups and brutal repression by kings and dictators alike. Millions have died and tens of millions driven into exile. Biden is not seeking to alleviate the plight of those who have survived imperialist aggression but rather to add to the number of victims. He is devoting four days to intensive talks with the two most important US allies and client states in the Middle East. He has spent two days in Israel and will spend two more in Saudi Arabia, with the strategic aim of lining up the two countries behind the US-NATO war against Russia in Ukraine, while promising US support to their preparations for war against Iran.
There is also a brief side trip to Ramallah, which has more the character of a slap in the face to the people of occupied Palestine than an acknowledgement of their rights. In relation to the Palestinians, Biden has continued all the measures adopted by the Trump administration: the US embassy, moved from Tel Aviv by Trump, remains in Jerusalem; the US consulate in East Jerusalem, the main point of contact for Palestinians, remains closed; the Palestinian mission in Washington D.C. remains closed; the US continues to demand that the Palestinian Authority cut off all support payments for the families of those murdered by Israeli troops and settlers, which Israel calls “financing terrorism;” and the US has not changed the Trump policy of recognizing the legitimacy of Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, in violation of international law.
There is an overpowering element of imperialist hypocrisy in the Biden trip. The US government has been engaged for nearly five months in a war against Russia in Ukraine. It has poured in tens of billions of dollars in weaponry and deployed covert military forces. The claimed justification for this confrontation—which risks direct military conflict between countries possessing the world’s two largest nuclear arsenals—is that the United States is defending freedom, democracy and the right of self-determination of the Ukrainian people, as well as warding off a future Russian threat to America’s NATO allies. Yet this policy now leads the president of the United States to embrace two regimes that personify the very crimes that have supposedly justified the US intervention in Ukraine.
Turning to Iraq where Miss Moqtada al-Sadr's cult has turned out in Baghdad.
Moqtada is still upset that the government in Iran ordered him out of the 'kingmaker' role he was failing at. October 10th, Iraq held elections. The western press tried to redeem Moqtada on behalf of the US State Dept (who bribed Moqtada in August to endorse voting in the elections) who saw him as their way to keep Nouri al-Maliki out of power. The western press ignored Nouri and refused to mention his name in the lead up to the election and in all the time that followed.
They lied and said Moqtada was a ''kingmaker." Three times a vote was called in Parliament and three times it did not take place. Moqtada's never accomplished anything so thinking he was going to name the next prime minister was always doubtful.
But even Moqtada had to wake up to some reality. Now the Coordination Framework is pursuing the formation of a government and Moqtad and all his MPs are left out in the cold.
Ruba Ali al-Hassani Tweets:
Moqtada had to pull from other provinces for the 'protest.' Interesting because he was once able to turn out a larger group from Sadr City alone. Those days are gone. Equally true, the term "protest" was not used because his cult was leery of it. Moqtada had to call it a ''national prayer." January 24, 2020 had a much bigger turnout.
They started arriving last night.
Again, he's managed much bigger crowds in the past. And didn't have to pull from other provinces.