Monday, January 15, 2018

RTE: Cranberries Lead Singer Dolores O'Riordan Dies Suddenly

Dolores O'Riordan performing in France in 2016

Dolores O'Riordan performing in France in 2016
Dolores O'Riordan, lead singer with The Cranberries, has died suddenly at the age of 46.
The Limerick woman was in London for a short recording session.
In a statement her publicist said no further details are available at this time.
The statement added that "family members are devastated to hear the breaking news and have requested privacy at this very difficult time."

Original on RTE.IE

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Trump Could Be Jailed In The UK For Hate Speech - And, Like Phil Spector, Would Have To Give Up His Wig! Humorist Martin Lewis Snatches Trump's Weave & Makes Joy Reid Laugh On AM Joy/MSNBC...The UK Celebrates Trump Trip Cancellation - And Why Trump Should Forget About An Invite To The Royal Wedding...

Humorist Martin Lewis on AM Joy/MSNBC: Britain Will Celebrate Trump Trip Cancellation - And Trump Should Forget About An Invite To The Royal Wedding...


Yesterday's cover of The New York Daily News
Last night at Trump International Hotel in Washington...

Internet wags were quick to point out that as recently as last week, a search for "Trump" and "sh*thole" only resulted in negative reviews of Trump hotels... and that "sh*thole" is actually an anagram for "his hotel"...

UPDATE: There are now reports that the Republicans at the meeting who deny Trump said "Sh*t-hole" are privately telling people he actually said, "Sh*t-HOUSE", so they think they have plausible deniability to claim he *didn't* say "Sh*t-hole"...

Apparently confirmed by a Washington Post reporter:

Also from

Jared Kushner's Observer Takes Two Cheap Shots At Anti-Trump Rocker Roger Waters - Misses Both Times Bonnie "Prince" Billy Interview about Susanna WallumrĂžd & his new album "Wolf of The Cosmos" & Charlottesville & a Divided America in the Age of Trump

ThisSmallPlanet Year In Review: "The Sun Will Rise Again Tomorrow" - Top 10 Albums - The Best Music & Politics of 2017

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Two New, Cool Jack White Songs "Connected By Love" & "Respect Commander"



JANUARY 10, 2018


U.S. Remains Vulnerable to Russian Interference without Unequivocal Presidential Leadership, Learning Lessons from European Democracies 
Top Foreign Relations Committee Democrat Makes Series of Recommendations to Counter Putin’s Asymmetric Arsenal, Bolster Defenses Ahead of Future U.S., European, Elections
WASHINGTON – A Senate Foreign Relations Committee Democratic staff report released Wednesday and commissioned by U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), the Committee’s ranking member, details Russian president Vladimir Putin’s nearly two decades-long assault on democratic institutions, universal values, and the rule of law across Europe and in his own country. The report comes one year after Senator Cardin introduced the Counteracting Russian Hostilities Act of 2017, which served as the basis for the sanctions package signed into law last August, and makes a series of recommendations to adequately bolster U.S. and European defenses and counter the growing Kremlin threat to democratic institutions.
Putin’s Asymmetrical Assault on Democracy in Russia and Europe: Implications for U.S. National Security,” finds that President Trump’s refusal to publicly acknowledge the threat posed by the Russian government has hampered efforts to mobilize our government, strengthen our institutions, and work with our European allies to counter Putin’s interference in democracies abroad.
Never before in American history has so clear a threat to national security been so clearly ignored by a U.S. president, and without a strong U.S. response, institutions and elections here and throughout Europe will remain vulnerable to the Kremlin’s aggressive and sophisticated malign influence operations.
“As the extent of Russia’s obvious meddling in the 2016 U.S. election continues to be investigated, it is imperative that the American people better understand the true scope and scale of Putin’s pattern of undermining democracy in Russia and across Europe. That is why I commissioned this report shortly after the 2016 election,” Senator Cardin said. “This threat existed long before President Trump took office, and unless he takes action now, it will continue long after his administration.  While President Trump stands practically idle, Mr. Putin continues to refine his asymmetric arsenal and look for future opportunities to disrupt governance and erode support for the democratic and international institutions that the United States and Europe have built over the last 70 years. 
“President Trump must be clear-eyed about the Russian threat, take action to strengthen our government’s response and our institutions, and – as have other president’s in times of crisis – mobilize our country and work with an international coalition to counter the threat and assert our values,” Cardin continued.
Across eight chapters and several appendices, the report meticulously details the tools the Russian government has repeatedly deployed from its asymmetric arsenal, and how the Kremlin has learned and perfected its techniques attacking democracy both internally and abroad. Such tools – drawn largely from a Soviet-era playbook, but updated with new technologies – include military incursions, cyberattacks, disinformation, support for fringe political groups, and the weaponization of energy resources, organized crime and corruption.
Putin first developed his techniques at home, against his own people. In Russia, he repressed independent civil society, journalists, and the political opposition, while manipulating cultural and religious institutions, the media, and fueling a corrupt kleptocracy to bolster his regime and increase his net worth. Putin’s increasing aggression abroad is directly related to his need to maintain power at home. As he looks to maintain power in Russia, he is likely to step up his attacks on democracies around the world.
Some European countries have shored up their democracies with a strategic, whole-of-government approach: publicly warning Moscow of consequences if it meddles; mobilizing various sectors of society to neutralize and push back against Kremlin disinformation; and confronting Russian efforts to use corruption as a tool of influence. It is time for the United States to take similar actions.
The report includes more than 30 recommendations for the U.S. and its allies.  Key recommendations include:
  • First, Mr. Trump must demonstrate presidential leadership by declaring it is U.S. policy to deter all forms of Russian hybrid threats and begin to mobilize our government in defense. He should establish a high-level inter-agency fusion cell, modeled on the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC), to coordinate all elements of U.S. policy and programming in response to the Kremlin’s malign influence operations.
  • Second, the U.S. government should provide assistance, in concert with allies in Europe, to build democratic institutions within those European and Eurasian states most vulnerable to Russian government interference. As part of this effort, the President should convene an annual global summit on hybrid threats, modeled on the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL or the Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) summits. To reinforce these efforts, members in the U.S. Congress have a clear responsibility to show U.S. leadership on values by making democracy and human rights a central part of their agendas. They should conduct committee hearings and use other platforms and opportunities to publicly advance these issues. 
  • Third, the United States and our allies should expose and freeze Kremlin-linked dirty money.  The U.S. Treasury Department should make public any intelligence related to Mr. Putin’s personal corruption and wealth stored abroad, and take steps with our European allies to cut off Mr. Putin and his inner circle from the international financial system.
  • Fourth, the U.S. government should designate countries that employ malign influence operations to assault democracies as State Hybrid Threat Actors and subject them to a preemptive, escalatory sanctions regime that would be applied whenever the state uses asymmetric weapons like cyberattacks to interfere with a democratic election or disrupt a country’s critical infrastructure. The U.S. government should also produce yearly public reports that detail the Russian government’s malign influence operations in the U.S. and around the world.
  • Fifth, the U.S. government and NATO should lead a coalition of countries committed to mutual defense against cyberattacks, to include the establishment of rapid reaction teams to defend allies under attack. The U.S. government should also call a special meeting of the NATO heads of state to review the extent of Russian government-sponsored cyberattacks among member states and develop formal guidelines on how the Alliance will consider such attacks in the context of NATO’s Article 5 collective defense provision.
  • Finally, U.S. and European governments should mandate that social media companies make public the sources of funding for political advertisements, along the same lines as TV channels and print media. Social media companies should conduct comprehensive audits on how their platforms may have been used by Kremlin-linked entities to influence elections occurring over the past several years, and should establish civil society advisory councils to provide input and warnings about emerging disinformation trends and government suppression. In addition, they should work with philanthropies, governments, and civil society to promote media literacy and reduce the presence of disinformation on their platforms.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Roger Waters Defends Lorde Over Israel Cultural Boycott Controversy

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Thousands Call On Twitter To Ban Trump For Threats Of Violence (Nuclear War)

Thousands of Twitter users reported @realDonaldTrump for violations of Twitter's Terms of Service which prohibits threats of violence. Trump used Twitter to threaten the use of a nuclear device against North Korea, an action which could result in the deaths of millions.

UPDATE January 5, 2018: Twitter responds:

World Leaders on Twitter
By Twitter Inc.
Friday, 5 January 2018 

There’s been a lot of discussion about political figures and world leaders on Twitter, and we want to share our stance.
Twitter is here to serve and help advance the global, public conversation. Elected world leaders play a critical role in that conversation because of their outsized impact on our society.
Blocking a world leader from Twitter or removing their controversial Tweets would hide important information people should be able to see and debate. It would also not silence that leader, but it would certainly hamper necessary discussion around their words and actions.
We review Tweets by leaders within the political context that defines them, and enforce our rules accordingly. No one person's account drives Twitter’s growth, or influences these decisions. We work hard to remain unbiased with the public interest in mind.
We are working to make Twitter the best place to see and freely discuss everything that matters. We believe that’s the best way to help our society make progress.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Coachella & Governors Ball & Bonnaroo 2018 Lineups Announced


I have to say that I am terribly UNDERWHELMED by the Coachella lineup... Governors Ball seems a little better, if only for Jack White.

Seems that circa 2012, my personal taste briefly coincided with the tastes of festival bookers, but no more. Too much hiphop, not enough rock.

Besides a few rock headliners I might like, I was previously accustomed to having many bands I liked in the opening slots. Bands like Parquet Courts, Christopher Owens, Ty Segall, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Foxygen.... but I've never heard of a lot of these bands... and probably never will...

UPDATE: Bonnaroo lineup is interesting... Manchester Orchestra! That's the kind of band I like to see on there.... Also Trombone Shorty (great live... drove him around NYC when he was a youngster... great guy!).... Mavis Staples is great.... wonder if Tweedy will perform with her.... Nile Rodgers is amazing, of course....

Monday, January 1, 2018

Excited About New Albums Coming in 2018 From...

Arctic Monkeys

Car Seat Headrest

Courtney Barnett

The Good, The Bad, & The Queen


Jack White


Parquet Courts

Stephen Malkmus And The Jicks

Titus Andronicus

Ty Segall

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Xmas Message From Sun Kil Moon (Mark Kozelek)

end of year

December 21, 2017

At this time last year, after a final tour date of the year in Rapid City, South Dakota, I made a decision to take a break from touring in 2017. The three previous years were the busiest tour years of my life and it was time to take some time off. It was nice to spend my first summer off, in many years, spending time with my girlfriend and her cat, fishing and visiting friends. But I couldn't and don't know how to stay away from making music. I not only managed to somehow release four albums this year, but also recorded two new records that are in their final stages. Both will be released under the Sun Kil Moon moniker, and are very different albums. One of the albums was recorded in hotel rooms in San Francisco throughout the year, with mobile gear, mostly recorded on a 1960 Fender Jazzmaster guitar. The album was recorded at hotels to take a break from the dark, windowless atmosphere of studios, and to see how atypical recording environments would affect my music. My guess is that the album title and track listing will be announced by February, and I'll likely release the album early next summer.

The other album was written during a Sun Kil Moon tour in November of this year, partly recorded in Copenhagen during that tour, and also at Hyde Street Studios in San Francisco after returning home in early December. The lyrics were written on trains and planes between those concert dates and the music was written quickly when we arrived at soundchecks in various cities. The 3 non-original songs on the album include a cover of The Partridge Family's "Come On Get Happy" in honor of the late David Cassidy, a new, amped up cover version of "Rock 'N' Roll Singer" by AC/DC, in honor of the late Malcolm Young (and features Jordan Cook from Reignwolf on guitar), and another track is "Chapter 87" of John Connolly's novel He, set to music. I'm mixing the album in Buffalo, NY, at GCR Studios, as I write this, and will likely release it in early November next year, as the atmosphere of the album is heavily November themed.

In addition to this, I've just signed off on final score work for a beautiful James Franco directed film "The Pretenders."

Though I only did three tours this year, it was great to share the stage with, and/or make music with many wonderful friends and musicians including Steve Shelley, Sean Yeaton, Scott McPherson, Jim White, Ben Boye, Kevin Corrigan, Josh, Rachel, and Petra Haden, Minna Choi, Neil Finn, Nels Cline, Ramon Fermin, Tony Scherr, Chris Connolly, Holly Throsby, Low, Jordan Cook, and many others.

Thank you to Tony Visconti, John Connolly, and Conor Oberst for the interviews. Thank you to Rough Trade and Redeye for their continued support. Thank you Nathan for the hard work. Thank you to all of my friends (many mentioned above, the rest know who they are) for their love, kindness and inspiration throughout the years. A big thanks to my fans who turned up everywhere from Auckland to Chicago to Dublin. At almost 51 years old, and 25 years into my career, I'm still living my dream - and I'm grateful to all of you.

My 2017 favorites list:
Favorite concert: Thurston Moore Group at The Chapel, San Francisco
Favorite book: Goodwood by Holly Throsby
Favorite movie: Snow On The Bluff (Netflix)
Favorite TV Series: Dice (Showtime)
Favorite fight: Mayweather vs McGregor
Favorite album: Spain- Live At The Love Song

Happy Holidays to all!
Mark Kozelek, December 21, Buffalo NY.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Breeders, Stephen Malkmus, Ringo Starr Play In Bed For Sick Kids

From ...hang the dj

The BreedersStephen Malkmus, and Methyl Ethyl were among 100 acts that participated in Bedstock, the online music festival designed to support hospitalized kids with cancer and other serious illnesses across the country. Yesterday participating artists performed songs in bed for children spending the holidays stuck in bed, while also raising funds and awareness.

The festival was organized by MyMusicRx, an organization that provides hospitalized children with musical instruments, iPads with music apps and games, and more. Bedstock was part of GivingTuesday yesterday, however it's not too late to donate to the cause. Head here to learn more and to donate.

Check out some video from Bedstock below.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

FREE PUSSY RIOT! Pussy Riot Activist Detained In Moscow

Audio of a folk song by Pussy Riot. 
It's called "Putin Has Pissed Himself". Enjoy...

Pussy Riot Activist Detained Outside FSB Building Over 'Butchers' Banner

Telegram @sssmirnov
Pussy Riot band member Maria "Masha" Alyokhina was detained outside the Federal Security Service (FSB) building in central Moscow on Wednesday after unfurling a banner that read “Happy Birthday, Butchers.” 
Dec. 20 marks the 100-year anniversary of the founding of the Cheka, the notorious Soviet secret police force that orchestrated mass executions during the Russian Civil War. The date is celebrated as Security Services Day in Russia.
The FSB building on Lubyanka Ploshchad was previously the headquarters of the Cheka, as well as the FSB’s predecessor, the KGB.
Police detained Alyokhina after the activist attached the birthday banner onto the FSB building, fellow activist Olga Borisova told the Mediazona news website. 
Two photographers were also detained and taken to a nearby police station with Alyokhina, while Borisova said she managed to avoid arrest.

Masha in court today....

UPDATE: Masha was sentenced today to 40 hours "community service" as a punishment for her banner protest. Many activists think her punishment would have been much harsher if not for the international outcry over her arrest. Members of Pussy Riot served hard time in prison for past protests.

Maria Alekhina (Denis Bochkaryov / Facebook)
A member of Pussy Riot was sentenced to 40 hours of community service on Thursday for unfurling a banner that read “Happy Birthday, Butchers” in front of the FSB headquarters this week.
Wednesday marked the 100-year anniversary of the founding of the Cheka, the notorious Soviet secret police force that orchestrated mass executions during the Russian Civil War. The date is celebrated as Security Services Day in Russia.
Maria Alekhina and two photographers were detained for demonstrating out the headquarters in central Moscow on Wednesday without a permit, according to the OVD-Info police monitoring group.
Alekhina pleaded not guilty to the charges, citing a law that permits solo picketers, the Interfax news agency reported.
Alekhina and Pussy Riot member Nadezhda Tolokonnikov were sentenced to two years behind bars in 2013 on charges of "hooliganism" for staging a "punk prayer" in the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow. They were given amnesty in 2013 after serving more than a year of their sentence.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

"Heather Heyer Way" Honors Protester Killed In Charlottesville

"Heather Heyer Way" was dedicated by city officials in Charlottesville, Virginia today to honor Heather Heyer, an anti-racist protester who was killed August 12, 2017 by a deranged alt-right motorist (currently facing murder charges). Heather's mother (pictured) was among the attendees this morning. Thanks to @timdodson of "The Cavalier Daily" for these photos:

                                                         The late Heather Heyer

"People living on the outside... people living on the wrong side..."

Which side is the "wrong side"? Depends who you ask. Who is on the "outside" and how did they land up there? Can they come "inside"?

Will we ever be on the "same side" again?

Are our differences greater than our commonalities?

Can we go forward together despite our differences?

Here's a video that explores of these issues.

Video by Bonnie "Prince" Billy for his cover of Susanna's song "People Living"... from Billy's great, new album Wolf of the Cosmos... feat. footage from Charlottesville...

Related Article: ThisSmallPlanet Interviews Bonnie "Prince" Billy: "People Living On The Outside..." here...

From "The Daily Progress"

Through foundation, Bro looks to strengthen daughter’s legacy

Susan Bro
ANDREW SHURTLEFF/THE DAILY PROGRESS Susan Bro discusses her plans for foundation set up for her daughter Heather Heyer who was killed during the events on August 12th.
December has been a busy month for Susan Bro.
She attended the preliminary hearing for the man charged with murder in the death of her daughter, Heather Heyer, who was protesting the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville on Aug. 12.
Less than a week later, Bro stood on the spot where Heyer died as the city ceremonially designated Fourth Street as Heather Heyer Way in her honor.

On top of all that and a slew of media inquiries and speaking requests that she manages from an office in the Miller Law Group, where Heyer worked as a paralegal, she works for the foundation named for her daughter.
The Heather Heyer Foundation is one of the many ways Bro has sought to keep her daughter’s memory and mission alive and cope with the loss that thrust her into the spotlight.
“It helps me process my grief by doing this for her legacy, but it’s not about me and what I believe — it’s about what Heather believed,” Bro said. “And, fortunately, we believed the same thing, so I can say it with a clear conscience and straight face.”
The foundation was established in late August to memorialize Heyer and to continue her mission of ensuring equal rights for all. Friends and family described the 32-year-old as a civil rights activist who fought tirelessly for social change.
The idea at first was to use the foundation to fund scholarships for local students who had been accepted into or were enrolled in an ABA-accredited law or paralegal program, or an undergraduate program focused on social work, social justice or education.
But the foundation also hopes to grow into something bigger.
Bro founded the organization with Alfred Wilson, who worked with Heyer at the Miller Law Group. Bro serves as president and chairwoman of the foundation’s board and Wilson is the organization’s executive director.
According to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Bro quit her job as a bookkeeper and secretary to manage the foundation.
The foundation received enormous attention at its inception, and Bro was invited to speak at the MTV Music Video Awards on Aug. 27. She was accompanied on stage by the Rev. Robert Lee IV, a pastor from Statesville, North Carolina, who is a distant relative of the Confederate general and speaks often against racism.
In September, Bro was interviewed on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” and was given a $50,000 donation to the foundation courtesy of online image publishing company Shutterfly.
Being invited to speak at big events in large venues on behalf of her daughter and social activism was not something Bro expected in the wake of her daughter’s death.
When MTV asked her to speak at the VMAs, Bro said, she still didn’t think anyone really wanted to hear from her.
“I had no idea that the world was really paying that much attention to Heather’s situation at that time,” she said.

The aftermath of her daughter’s death left Bro wandering in a fog, she said, and sleep didn’t come easily.
“I kind of had to be led around by the hand there for a while until I got my feet underneath me on the ground,” she said.
Bro since has become an advocate for Heyer’s beliefs, sharing the message both through the work of the foundation and her speaking engagements.
For most of her life, Bro said, no one asked her to stand up or to speak out. Heyer, she said, was never much of a public speaker, but Bro, who was a teacher, said that part came naturally to her. Now, she’s amplifying her daughter’s voice.
“She was not a public speaker, she was terrified of public speaking,” Bro said. “Loved talking, loved talking to her customers, loved talking to clients, loved talking to coworkers and friends, could be the life of the party. We can’t tell any stories without laughing about her, and all the pictures I pull up are either family or friends.”

The Heather Heyer Foundation recently partnered with the AIDS Healthcare Foundation for a youth essay contest, asking entrants to describe what they are doing to stand up against hate in their community.
Three winners will be given a $5,000 prize and will be invited to participate in the Rose Bowl Parade in Pasadena, California, on Jan. 1.
“They’re not doing it as a school assignment, they’re doing it on their own,” Bro said. “So we were looking for kids who demonstrated social justice activism in their community in real and meaningful ways. Not just, ‘I wish, I want,’ but what did they actually do?”
The partnership is emblematic of what Bro and Wilson hope the foundation can do beyond scholarships to advocate for positive changes in society.
“Our foundation is already up and moving and promoting social change and encouraging our youth to do just that — stand up, speak your mind and basically ask for equality,” Wilson said.

Justin Marks, a paralegal at the Miller Law Group, met Heyer in high school and the two were close friends.
Watching the foundation grow in such a short time has been amazing to watch, he said.
“I would eventually like it to become one of the biggest equal rights organizations, foundations that exists,” he said. “I think she would be very proud of it.”
When asked what Heyer would think of the foundation, Bro said she hopes her daughter would approve.
“At some point it’s hard to tell how much is her and how much is me,” she said. “I definitely am doing this for me … because this is important to me.”
Bro said she plans to stay with the foundation and continue her child’s social justice mission.
I had a reporter ask me, ‘When are you going to just let other people handle all this?’ I said, ‘And do what? Go home and cry?’” she said. “This is how I make some sense of what happened to my kid.” 
Michael Bragg is a reporter for The Daily Progress. Contact him at (434) 978-7265, or @braggmichaelc on Twitter.