A DRAG QUEEN’S TRIBUTE TO THE LATE, GREAT NATALIE COLE

Natalie is perhaps best remembered for her later, adult contemporary recordings like Unforgettable. But for someone my age, she’d had an entirely different career in the 1970s as an electrifying showstopper before she matured. She burst onto the scene with This Will Be, the ultimate feel good song guaranteed to get all hands clapping and every toe tapping. (Apparently, Aretha turned this song down and there was even a little rivalry between The Queen and Natalie since they were billing her as the “new Aretha.”) Her next smash, Sophisticated Lady, was a funkier groove. I never fully understood the lyrics to that one but I still knew every one of them. And proving that she could do it all, Cole’s seismic ballads Our Love and I’e Got Love On My Mind made her the first female artist to have two platinum albums in one year. I can’t really describe how lucky I was to grow up with music this great on the radio. And Natalie wasn’t some beauty who was packaged for her looks–so she had both the excellent material and the pipes to deliver it. (Oddly, Natalie somehow grew prettier as she aged, wearing more make-up and longer hair than she ever had in her youth. And it worked for her!)

Then there was her mind-blowing live double album. Drag performers have made a fortune in tips from the gems off of Natalie Live! In her patter between songs, she reveals that she is pregnant. She did have drug problems and I have no idea if she was on drugs during this concert. But let’s just say that her energy was very, very up. As in frantic hollering–two albums worth! And that’s why so many queens hoofed it to the wailing uptempo jam Party Lights, the jazzier Mr. Melody with it’s dramatic stops and of course, her insane cover of The Beatles’ Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds, which changes from haunting ballad to rocking masterpiece with one gospel-tinged end section where she screams “Not pearls but diamonds! Not sapphires but diamonds! Not rubies but diamonds! Not opals but diamonds!” This is is soul at it’s absolute finest. I’d love to know what Beatles’ fans think of her bombastic rendition of it. I remember losing my mind when Dina Jacobs performed it at Backstreet in at Atlanta and the bitch had glued rhinestones on the inside of her hands. Like the rest of the crowd, I went nuts. Queens gravitate towards thrilling singers like Jennifer Holliday who make you feel something way down deep and very real. Natalie was just such a gem.

Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds begins with a spoken section. It’s such a draggy intro that it could have been written with queens in mind. Here’s the rap intro–it makes the perfect outro for a superstar.

“As we continue along on our journey, in our time machine, out our window, we pass through many different eras of time. Times when ladies were very, very special. Like Cleopatra, Helen Of Troy, Venus, the goddess of love.”

And like you, Natalie. Thanks for all of your brilliance. You kept this fool dancing and singing and rejoicing for decades.

JUST IMAGINE IF THOSE OREGON GUNMEN WERE BLACK

So gunmen have taken over a federal building in Oregon and I’ve just seen two analysts on CNN agreeing the main job of law enforcement is keeping people safe. As in the people who seized a government building with firearms. Um, isn’t another big responsibility also enforcing laws–which would include preventing gun squads from occupying federal property? Both analysts agreed that time was on the side of law enforcement because the armed “patriots” would get cold, run out of food, etc. So they thought it was best to wait this out and avoid the confrontation that these nuts seem to want.

I wonder how quickly law enforcement would act if these were people of color brandishing weapons? Seems to me that police are killing unarmed blacks because they claim to perceive them to be so threatening that lethal force is often necessary. But when a band of gun-toting whites, some with criminal records, heists a government building, waiting it out is the best policy?

HILLARY TRIES TO PAINT HERSELF AS A SWEET LATINA GRANDMA–AND IT BACKFIRES!

Hillary, the complete phony who will say or be anything in order to get elected and then turn back to do her corporate donors’ bidding, released a campaign geared to hispanics called “7 Ways Hillary Is Like Your Abuela.” (Abuela means grandmother in spanish.) Many latinos responded with outrage, and this link shows some of the the tweets with the hashtag #notmyabuela which trended for a bit as Hillary’s “hispandering” drew ire.

EveryJoe: “Those who have been following the Democratic campaigns from Day 1 will tell you that Clinton still has yet to address several issues that matter to young Latinos. They are the ones who will remind you of Clinton’s inconsistent record on immigration or that the campaign stopped taking donations from private prison lobbyists only after young Latinos spoke out. Young Latinos care about Honduras and say the Clinton’s actions in 2009 should be examined some more. They tell you that at times Clinton sounds like a Republican candidate, only to apologize later. They will also tell you that the Clinton campaign was the last one to comment on Christmas Eve about a new proposed Department of Homeland Security plan to deport more Central American families in 2016. While both Martin O’Malley and Sanders quickly condemned the proposed DHS plan, the comments from a Clinton campaign spokesperson were more muted.”

Reminds me of how Hillary panders to the gay community and then changes her mind or offers non-committal positions on gay marriage as late as 2013. She’s the opposite of a leader. Even when she tries to create a goodwill campaign it backfires–because she’s a corporate hawk who would rather take money from private prisons which latino deportees are placed in!

A few #notmyabuela tweets:

Viva la causa! @70torinoman
Neoliberal
War Hawk
Wallstreet Private Prison Puppet
Mass Incarceration
Mass Immigrant Detentions and Deportations

#NotMyAbuela

@rosaclemente
“She worries about children everywhere” #NotMyAbuela does not support war/dronings which disproportionatly kill children @Hillary Clinton

Chepe Torna Atrás @sabokitty
#NotMyAbuela bcuz how many families were ripped apart, detained at abusive detention centers and deported while HRC was Sec. of State

Chepe Torna Atrás @sabokitty
#NotMyAbuela because no one in my family ever overthrew (or tried to) democratically elected leaders in Honduras, Haiti, or Ecuador

Chepe Torna Atrás @sabokitty
#NotMyAbuela because my ma worked in sweatshops, she wasn’t made rich off sweatshop labor as a member of the Walmart board of directors

http://www.salon.com/2015/12/23/not_my_abuela_twitter_explodes_in_outrage_over_hillary_clintons_hispandering/

OUR GOVERNMENT AND NEWS MEDIA ARE CONSPIRING TO SELL US ON WAR–AGAIN

When you’re hearing about non-stop terror threats like the schools that closed in Los Angeles a few weeks ago after a bogus threat–NYC schools ignored the same threat as clearly a sham–the corporate news media is aiding our war-hungry government in making it seem as though war is our only option for public safety.

Both CNN and the New York Times apologized to their viewers/readers for not asking harder questions of the Bush administration during the lead-up to the Iraq war–which we now know was a huge mistake. Neither CNN or the New York Times are right-wing, yet even these “balanced” and respected media outlets got it wrong. Sometimes because their journalists are denied access to the White House if they are too critical of them, sometimes because they get ad dollars from companies who profit from war and sometimes because of ratings–we’re more likely to stay tuned if there’s a ghastly threat from Saddam or whoever. Even if the threat isn’t real, although a threat from Saddam seemed real enough to Hillary Clinton to make her vote for an unnecessary war. Some foreign policy expert she is. So if middle of the road media is apologizing for simply regurgitating what the government wants, imagine the outright lies which less principled news outlets are spouting in an attempt to generate fear and the war that our government feels is the only solution.

The birth of the public relations industry came from president Woodrow Wilson’s Committee On Public Information, designed to sell the American people on going into World War I. This nasty business is still going on today and it’s masquerading as news. Our government profits from war and our news media is happy to assist by amplifying threats.

Remember the anthrax scare after 911? It was truly horrifying and I recall shaking my own letters to see if they contained any powder. Here’s what Wikipedia says about our governments desperate attempts to link the anthrax scare to Saddam Hussein in order to justify their assassination of him and occupation of Iraq. Oh, I mean Operation Iraqi “Freedom”–because parts of Baghdad are still “free” from electricity and hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis were “freed” from their lives. Millions more were “freed” from their homes.

Wiki: “Immediately after the anthrax attacks, White House officials repeatedly pressured FBI Director Robert Mueller to prove that they were a second-wave assault by al-Qaeda following the September 11 attacks. During the president’s morning intelligence briefings, Mueller was “beaten up” for not producing proof that the killer spores were the handiwork of terrorist mastermind Osama Bin Laden, according to a former aide. “They really wanted to blame somebody in the Middle East,” the retired senior FBI official stated. The FBI knew early on that the anthrax used was of a consistency requiring sophisticated equipment and was unlikely to have been produced in some “cave”. At the same time, both President Bush and Vice President Cheney in public statements speculated about the possibility of a link between the anthrax attacks and Al Qaeda.[94] The Guardian reported in early October that American scientists had implicated Iraq as the source of the anthrax,[95] and the next day the Wall St. Journal editorialized that Al Qaeda perpetrated the mailings, with Iraq the source of the anthrax.[96] A few days later, John McCain suggested on the Late Show with David Letterman that the anthrax may have come from Iraq,[97] and the next week ABC News did a series of reports stating that three or four (depending on the report) sources had identified bentonite as an ingredient in the anthrax preparations, implicating Iraq.[80][81][98]

Statements by the White House[82] and public officials[83] quickly proved that there was no bentonite in the attack anthrax. “No tests ever found or even suggested the presence of bentonite. The claim was just concocted from the start. It just never happened.”[99] But, a few journalists repeated ABC’s bentonite report for several years,[100][101][102] even after the invasion of Iraq, as evidence that Saddam not only possessed “weapons of mass destruction”, but had used them in attacks on the United States.”

 

MORE:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2001_anthrax_attacks  It’s also very interesting to read about the scientist who was eventually blamed for the anthrax attacks. He had “mental issues” and died mysteriously from an overdose of acetaminophen. That well known poison.

HOW THE US GOVERNMENT GINS UP FEAR AGAINST TERRORISTS WHILE DOING BUSINESS WITH TERRORIST BACKERS

We’re seeing polls saying that Americans are most concerned about threats from terrorism, with the economy coming in second. Except, bizarrely, from New Hampshire, where the primary concern is heroin. I guess the doctors who dole out opiate-based pain killers get patients hooked and when they can no longer get prescriptions for synthetic heroin like Vicodin, they turn to the real heroin from the street.

With these new terrorism concerns, we always hear that we’re on edge after San Bernadino and the Paris attacks. There’s only one problem. The Paris attacks were affiliated with ISIS. The San Bernadino attacks were not. A government official initially claimed that the female attacker had posted her allegiance to ISIS on social media. The FBI now claims that is false. But in the hysteria following the CA attack, we heard over and over again about the perpetrators alleged links to ISIS. This leads many to think ISIS is now here in the US. And the retraction by the FBI claiming that the female attacker had not posted about ISIS barely made the news. You repeat one falsehood hundreds of times during the aftermath of a hideous tragedy and it sinks in. ISIS is now in the US! The couple of mealy-mouthed retractions hardly made an impression.

So even though the San Bernadino culprits were a couple of violent, islamic nut jobs, they weren’t connected with ISIS. Yet every time the newfound fear of terrorism is mentioned on the news, they mention both Paris and San Bernadino as a way to gin up fear. These two events were not on an even par. But if we have an enemy, it’s easier to sell the American people on new wars and giving up their personal freedoms to protect ourselves. The fact is, no one from ISIS in the middle east can reach the US to attack us. That’s why more sensible presidential candidates are asking neighboring arab countries to squash ISIS. Of course, there will be a few radicalized nut jobs like the perpetrators of San Bernadino and the Boston bombing, but that’s no reason to go to war in the middle east. How about just checking the warning signs on potential attackers, which the US government ignored on 9/11 and San Bernadino and which the french government ignored before their recent bombings? But then we wouldn’t have an enemy to attack. You can’t bomb an ideology which spreads throughout many countries–and the US bombings create more terrorists just as our stupid war in Iraq created the hotbed in which ISIS developed. Total up the number of people killed in San Bernadino and the Boston bombings and you’ll find that gun deaths from American citizens shooting each other are a far greater number. And the number of police killing innocent blacks is up there, too. But no one is seriously suggesting war on guns or the police who abuse their powers.

I saw the second tower fall at 9/11. So trust me, I want to be safe. But there is no military solution to getting rid of ISIS. Bombing them only recruits more ISIS fighters. No arab country trusts the US foreign policy, so our bombs will do nothing except get US/UK weapons manufacturers paid. Bernie Sanders was ridiculed by suggesting that we get the wealthy Saudis to fight ISIS over there. Rachel Maddow suggested that the GOP-led Congress was blocking one of Obama’s nominees who is an expert at cutting off international monies which fund ISIS. Except for one thing. The US is in bed with the countries who fund ISIS, Al Qaeda and the Taliban. You won’t hear about it on the news, but Saudi Arabia is deeply decimating their neighboring country Yemen with weapons the US sells them and intelligence which we provide them for free. And much of ISIS’s money comes from the Saudis, just as they funded Al Qaeda and the Taliban. Individuals from Qatar funds ISIS, yet the US cooperates with them fully, as does Britain. Kuwaiti citizens have given hundreds of millions to radical group Jabhat Al-Nusra in Syria. Remember the time when the US claimed to be training the Iraqi army, but once that army encountered ISIS troops, they dropped their US weapons and ran, so in effect the US is actually providing weapons to ISIS fighters? Who cares–as long as US weapons manufacturers get paid?

While our news gins up fears against ISIS to stoke the necessity of war, our government is happy to business with the arab countries who fund ISIS and other terrorist groups. War makes money. Peace, apparently does not. But out morally bankrupt government would gladly send US troops to die to protect not Americans, but to protect business relationships with the very countries who fund terrorism. Want to spill that tea to military recruits–that we aren’t in danger and that troops are to lay down their lives to protect US business interests?Obama has claimed that we’ll have no ground troops in Syria, but “special operatives” are already there. I’m glad he found a new name for them to deceive us. As usual, follow the money.

INFORMATIVE LINKS:

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2010/dec/05/wikileaks-cables-saudi-terrorist-funding

http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/iraq-crisis-how-saudi-arabia-helped-isis-take-over-the-north-of-the-country-9602312.html

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/aug/31/combat-terror-end-support-saudi-arabia-dictatorships-fundamentalism

I ADORE MRS. SLOCOMBE!

Lots of talk of Pussy ... when tv was full of innuendos

Who remembers this one Lots of talk of Pussy ... when Tv was full of innuendos

Posted by 50 shades of Northamptonshire on Thursday, October 29, 2015

Here’s her pussy montage from Are You Being Served?

A TELLING GLIMPSE AT HOW STUPID REPUBLICANS ARE

Has Santa Claus been banned from schools? I guess this is part of the “war on Christmas.”

CAITLYN IS WOMAN OF THE YEAR? SHE AIN’T BEEN A WOMAN FOR A YEAR!

CAITLYN JENNER: “If you’re out there and, to be honest with you, if you look like a man in a dress, it makes people uncomfortable. So the first thing I can do is try to present myself well. I want to dress well. I want to look good. When I go out, as Kim says, you’ve got to rock it because the paparazzi will be there.”

First of all, if I am a man in a dress and there’s nothing wrong with that. Don’t insult the community you’re trying to enter.
Second of all, if you don’t want to look like a man in a dress, you might want to keep that giant gorilla hand away from your whittled down face because it’s an instant spook. Aren’t there some injections that can soften those gnarled workman’s hands?

This is the fool being offered as a spokeswoman for the trans or even the entire GLBT community. Babe, it takes more than a reality TV crew setting up a card table where you can pass out condoms at Gay Pride for the cameras for 5 seconds to be an activist. Or casting a bunch of trans “friends” to join you on your dull reality show because you lack the personality to even be the star of your own vehicle. And for Caitlyn to imagine that the average trans woman (or genetic female, for that matter) she allegedly represents has no greater worries than rocking it for the paparazzi is just clueless. So is Caitlyn just dumb or is the “How dumb will that Caitlyn be next?” the only thing driving ratings for the show?

Caitlyn supports the Republican party which campaigns on destroying LGBT rights. Raises money on it! I’m sick of everyone falling all over themselves to be supportive and understanding of this hoax, who votes like an enemy of LGBT rights. And while you may not want to hear it, she’s also a Christian. When were they ever supportive of LGBT rights? The church is the biggest enemy of LGBT anything. Without a Bible to thump as proof, the anti-gay would simply be homophobes. Let’s put it this way: Caitlyn’s as good a spokeswoman for the trans community as the talentless whore Kim Kardashian is a role model for young girls. Take some of your millions and create a center for struggling trans people–your community more than your “missteps.” Otherwise, it just seems like you’re using trans issues which you don’t understand to propel your career.

I actually thought that a former sports hero transitioning could win hearts and minds of older straight guys who idolized Bruce–they are the hardest minds to change with LGBT issues. But even the trans community doesn’t feel Caitlyn is getting it right. Sorry, but I don’t see this as an honest journey with her making mistakes. I see it as drumming up controversy for ratings. And to prove how progressive we are, she’s being suggested as Woman Of The Year? She ain’t been a woman for a year! But I do agree that she deserved last year’s award for Driver Of The Year.

MARTIN SHKRELI REVILED, OBAMA TRIES THE SAME SHIT WORLDWIDE AND IS IGNORED

I was glad to see people cheering Martin Shkreli’s arrest recently. He was arrested for financial improprieties, but he’s the guy who raised the price of Daraprim 5000% overnight. He became the most hated man in America for a time. Well, I got news for you. What Shreli engaged in was unbridled capitalism which values profits over anything. Who cares if people with compromised immune systems can’t gain access to the life-saving drug? The corporation makes more money and that’s capitalism’s goal. It clearly seems unethical to many of this, just as many of us decry corporations outsourcing jobs to foreign countries which have lower minimum wages to save a buck. That’s why we get phone help centers with operators in India whose english can barely be understood. If capitalism is destroying our economy, perhaps Sanders’ democratic socialism is worth looking into as a kinder ideology which values people over profits?
And if Shkreli is so reprehensible, why isn’t anyone upset over Obama’s TPP trade deal? (Besides the fact that our pathetic “news” would prefer to focus on one of Donald Trumps insults than detailing any of the candidates’ tax plan or other issues which would impact all of us long after the sting from Trump’s latest verbal diarrhea dies down.) Obama’s Trans Pacific Partnership, whcih he’s trying ram through Congress with as little debate as possible on a “fast track, would give enable pharmaceutical companies to do what Shkreli did all over the world. Lifesaving, generic drugs would be much harder to come by with this disastrous deal. And let’s never forget that Obama met with Big Pharma at the White House while creating Obamacare in a meeting closed to press in order to reassure the drug industry Americans wouldn’t be able to access to cheaper drugs in Canada–so Big Pharma can continue to gouge us here. From pills to syringes to surgery, Americans pay many times more for the same medical care in other countries. Obamacare did nothing to address that.

Here’s an explanation of the TPP as it relates to drug prices from Public Citizen’s Robert Weissman. Sadly, our mainstream media won’t cover the TPP so you really have to dig to find it. I guess there are too many ads for drugs on the news for our news to slam their advertisers. So don’t we need to reserve some of the ire we feel for Shkreli for Obama if they’re doing something similar? Obama’s doing it on a far more international level.

Robert Weissman: Well, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the TPP, is a collection of provisions that amount to a wish list for giant multinational corporations. It’s really as simple as that. And the most important industry in the whole deal was the pharmaceutical industry, which is why the USTR, the U.S. trade representative, insisted on putting in the provision that Zahara was talking about. It’s why the agency was willing to hold up the entire deal to try to extract more concessions for Big Pharma.
On the underlying issue, what we’re looking at is the degree to which the pharmaceutical industry can impose monopoly pricing on the entire world. And what we’re calling the death sentence clause is particularly about a class of drugs called biologics. These are basically biotech drugs. It’s the cutting edge of the pharmaceutical industry. It’s most cancer drugs. It’s a number of drugs to treat arthritis and a number of drugs to treat smaller disease classes. But it’s the future of the industry. There’s nothing really special about the drugs in terms of market pricing. They’re made differently. They’re made from living cells and proteins as opposed to what are called small molecule chemical drugs, that are traditional drugs. They’re slightly more difficult to manufacture.

But at the end of the day, the issue that was at stake here is whether or not we’re going to have monopoly pricing for eternity for these drugs, or when generic competition is it introduced into the market. And this issue about five, eight or 12 years, among other issues, was about the degree and timing of when generic competition is made available. And as Zahara was explaining, these drugs are priced at such astronomical levels, by and large, that while they’re on patent, they are unaffordable in poor countries. They’re quite unaffordable in richer countries, too, and we’re seeing increasing levels of rationing in the rich countries. But in the poor countries, they’re just out of reach. And the question of when they become available to people who need them is entirely a question of when there’s generic competition permitted, because the price of the drugs has nothing to do with the cost of developing them, nothing to do with the cost of researching them, nothing to do with the cost of manufacturing them. The high prices are entirely due to the monopolies.

So, very unfortunately, USTR made its single most high priority in the TPP negotiations the advancement of the monopoly profit interests of Big Pharma. And that’s what was going on here. Now, Big Pharma wanted 12 years in terms of this death sentence clause, and they didn’t. They got something that’s between five and eight years, and incredibly complicated, but will delay the introduction of generic competition for many, many years. And it’s really—it’s an absolute disgrace, but it’s a sign of what the whole process is to know that the U.S. was willing to hold up the entire deal to win gains for Big Pharma. They didn’t get all they wanted, because the countries in the negotiation pushed back. They were supported by local campaigns and global campaigners who explained what the consequences were. And thankfully, the key negotiators said, “You know what? We actually care little bit about public health. We care about patient rights. We’re not only about the interests of Big Pharma.” That was despite the demands from the U.S. Trade Representative’s Office. And, you know—

AMY GOODMAN: This is President Obama’s Trade Representative Office.

ROBERT WEISSMAN: —even though they stood up, the USTR got a lot for Big Pharma.

AMY GOODMAN: What does President Obama gain by this?

ROBERT WEISSMAN: You know, that is a complete mystery. This is supposedly going to be a big part of his legacy. Well, if you ask Bill Clinton about his legacy with NAFTA, it’s something he’s embarrassed about and doesn’t want associated with him. And that’s what it’s going to be for President Obama if this deal goes through. I mean, I think President Obama has been—you know, he’s unfortunately influenced by Mike Froman, who’s the USTR and a personal friend, who’s a believer in this stuff, but a pure corporate guy. And I think that in Washington, D.C., outside—unlike everywhere else in the country, in Washington, D.C., serious people know that you have to support free trade, and therefore the president has done that. Now, of course, the rest of the country understands it much more clearly through experience. And also, of course, these deals have nothing to do with free trade, exemplified by these Big Pharma protection provisions, which are all about monopolies and undermining and interfering with free trade and free competition.

THE ELECTION WILL NOT BE TELEVISED–OR EVEN ANALYZED–UNLESS YOU’RE TRUMP

Good news. Trump is polling at 39%. But that’s 39% of registered Repubs, which is only 18% of total electorate. So only 7-9% of the total electorate support him. So why is the news making his gaffes the #1 story since the summer? Because they’d rather discuss his latest outrageous statement than analyze what policies serious candidates are offering and how they break down into bread & butter issues for the majority of us. No one is going to care in a month (or week) what Trump said about Bill joining Hillary on the campaign trail. Or what he said about Carly Fiorina’s face. Yet our “news” covers him like he’s the nation’s #1 issue. Why not contrast the candidates’ tax plans or other policies which actually will affect all of us? You can’t have a functioning democracy with an uninformed electorate. We’re very informed on Trump’s latest hogwash, but we know little about how candidates claim they will actually govern if elected. The news has become TMZ. And “liberal” news MSNBC is no better. No one watching MSNBC is voting for Trump–so why give him top billing in every day’s lead story. Possibly because Hillary doesn’t want to nail down any of her positions so she can change them…again.

HAVE A DAZZLING NEW YEAR!

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Bun-Bun on the roof of The James Hotel on Grand Street, NYC, a few days ago.

HILLARY IS MORE OF A HAWK THAN SOME GOP CANDIDATES

To all the women who would like to see a female president and therefore support Hillary Clinton, I hope you don’t have sons or husbands in the military. Just as we had no idea that George W. Bush would launch us into an immoral and needless war in Iraq-which Hillary voted for as a senator–it’s hard to fathom what a hawk like Hillary would do if elected. Bush gave us long tours of duty which created a whole new generation of vets with PTSD–if they even lived. Hillary is more of a hawk than some of the most aggressive GOP candidates like Lindsay Graham. It used to be that the GOP represented war and the Democrats represented less war and more diplomacy. Not Hillary. She’s given some scary, tell-tale signs of how she represents a tough US foreign policy which has failed us. (Bernie is less of a hawk, but no peacenik himself.)

Here’ some analysis from the independent Democractnow.org, which doesn’t run corporate ads which taint their coverage:
Phyllis Bennis: “The two leading candidates—Senator Sanders and Secretary Clinton—both were saying yes to war against ISIS, using conventional military force—bombing, drone strikes and air—ground troops that are not American—and they are both saying go after ISIS, differing on the timing of that.

The one significant difference was on the question of a no-fly zone. And here, Secretary Clinton really played out her well-known hawkishness, where she said we absolutely must have a no-fly zone, and as she put it, both for humanitarian purposes and to challenge Russia, because, of course, ISIS has no planes, al-Qaeda has no planes, so a no-fly zone is going to be targeting planes of either Russia or Iran or Syria, which means the U.S. going to war directly against the Syrian regime and potentially against Russia. So that kind of war talk from Secretary Clinton, when it was her own colleague in the Cabinet, former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, who said, in the context of the Libya mobilization, which Secretary Clinton was leading—she was really the cheerleader on Libya. And it was at that time that the secretary of defense said, “Let’s be clear: A no-fly zone starts with going to war”—in that case, against Libya. What we know is that the anti-aircraft system of Libya hardly existed. And yet, he said, we would have to start with war. In Syria, the anti-aircraft system is a very developed system, which would take an enormous campaign, air campaign—and potentially more—to take out, as they call it, the anti-aircraft system in Libya, that would lead to the ability to impose a no-fly zone against Russian planes. It’s a very, very dangerous position that Secretary Clinton was talking about.”

Bill Curry: Well, first of all, I agree with everything that was just said. I’d also point out, though, that Secretary Clinton, for instance, in a speech to the Foreign Affairs Council a few weeks ago, said—I’m closely paraphrasing—”I agree with President Obama that it isn’t time to send 100,000 troops into the Mideast.” And in point of fact, President Obama’s position is that it’s not time to send any troops in, even though there are some ground troops now, that he chooses to call special operatives. But his point is zero ground troops. The 100,000 figure, these kinds of things are never plucked out of the air. In the debate on Saturday night, Secretary Clinton said, “It’s not time to send tens of thousands.” Well, the most belligerent candidate in the race is Lindsey Graham, and he’s only for sending in 15,000. And so, you wish that the mainstream press did a little better job of parsing all this syntax, but I think that the only fair inference here is that Secretary Clinton is more than ready to take the position that Lindsey Graham is taking, holding down the right of the Republican debate. Her readiness—her apparent readiness to send in some ground troops, under whatever nomenclature, I think she’s made pretty clear.

The question of the no-fly zone, again, you have two countries here—Syria and Iraq—who have invited the Soviets into their airspace. We are not invited by either country to do that. It’s a violation of international law to establish this. And like the Republicans, the secretary doesn’t say, “Well, what do you do if the Russians fly anyway?” And, you know, as always, in all of these issues, what is the next—what happens then, when you’ve actually taken the first step toward war? And so, I really agree with what Phyllis said about what’s not being said here.

And let me just wind up with a couple of points. You’ve had the United Nations in Paris playing really an historic role on climate change just in these last few weeks. You see it taking the first steps on at least outlining a process toward a resolution of the civil war in Syria—not much in that case, but there’s something there. And the fact of the matter is that our safety lies not in the force of arms, but in the rule of law. And that it’s—if we’ve learned anything in the last 15 years, it is that the introduction of ground—of large standing armies and ground troops into these desert wars accomplishes nothing. We’ve seen the limitations of our military, not the reasons to keep growing it. We’ve seen what it can’t do in this fight. And above all, we have seen that our first commitment ought to be to the multilateral resolution of conflict in this world, that this is the end, really, of the age of unilateral military interventionism. And I know that for progressives, in particular, that you can be afraid that the moment you get up and say that, some right-wing yahoo is going to call you a sissy or a subversive, but it’s the truth, and it’s logic, and the facts all support it. And at some point, I think we have to take a greater—we have to have greater faith in the ability of the American people to hear it. This is the hard time. These are things we should have been saying for years. And it’s a hard time, I know, to raise these points, when people are at their most fearful, as they are, understandably, right now. But all the things being said in this debate fall far short of making this country safer or of solving the underlying problems.

And so, I was most struck also by what wasn’t in that debate. We need to talk about how you really resolve these kinds of conflicts and—if I could actually just throw in one last point—about their real roots. Bernie Sanders was right to talk about global warming. That’s not a security threat 50 years from now; it’s having an impact right this second across the world, and it is the greatest threat. And in terms of the roots of these problems, we don’t tell the American people our own history. We don’t tell them the history of interventionism, which has caused so much blowback throughout the world among developing countries. And we don’t tell them what’s happening right now. There’s this trope floating in the air that, you know, Sunnis and Shias have been fighting since the year 750. Not true. Sometimes they’ve fought, and sometimes they haven’t. In the last 40 years, the fighting has really picked up. Why is that? I would argue that part of this is the wages of global corporate capitalism today, that it does lift some people out of absolute poverty, no question, but it suppresses others. It throws people out of the middle class across the world, and it creates a permanent underclass—right now, in particular, of angry, aimless, hopeless young men. And whether it’s Dylann Roof in Charleston or the Tsarnaev brothers, what we’re seeing right now is a creation of this, what a British economist has called the precariat. And it really, really does threaten us. That notion that O’Malley touched on, that there are economic answers, that there is a question here that precedes all the stuff we’re talking about—in the words of an old adage, “If you want peace, work for justice”—that that has to be put on the table. We need to do that now.

MORE ON THE VIDEO LINK BELOW:

HAVE A SPARKLY NEW YEAR LIKE THIS GAL!

THIS GAVE ME A GIGGLE….

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WHY EVEN A CONSERVATIVE LIKE THIS GUY IS VOTING FOR BERNIE SANDERS

A refreshingly earnest message! I love that he starts off wtih everything he disagrees with Bernie on. Hillary could never claim she isn’t bought and sold by corporations. She’s so eager to downplay her corporate backers that she lied about them in the last debate. Bernie has just broken Obama’s record of small donations from individuals. Unlike Hillary, he’s perceived as trustworthy and has even attracted some Republican voters. And Bernie’s done it with a virtual media blackout on his campaign and with with few debates –or debates held on Saturday which are not much viewed. At one point, he was attracting larger crowds than Trump–but getting none of Trump’s headlines. That’s how strong his message is and how much it resonates with the average American who isn’t doing well. Not doing well after 2 terms of Bush, not doing well after two terms of a corporate Democrat like Obama. So what would a corporate Democrat like Hillary fix? What new direction would she take us in? She’s been stealing Bernie’s ideas left and right. He says $15 minimum wage, she says $12. He says he’s against the TPP trade deal, she’s suddenly against it right before the debates begin so she can appear different from Obama, after praising the TPP as Secretary Of State.

For those of you who say Sanders can’t win against a Republican, a new Quinnipiac poll just showed him beating Trump by double digits. (Other polls discounted Bernie and only matched up Hillary with the GOP frontrunners.) Unless you’re in the 1%, a vote for Sanders is a vote for yourself. For your healthcare, for your college fund, for your wages, for your planet, for chrissakes. Hillary may be a forceful and effective person with experience, but who exactly is she working for? Not for me, not for the vast majority of you.

 

REVIEW: LYPSINKA AND JACKIE HOFFMAN IN “ONCE UPON A MATTRESS”

I caught Lypsinka and Jackie Hoffman last night in Once Upon A Mattress at The Abrons Arts Center way downtown on Grand Street. I was instantly impressed by the full live orchestra. There’s nothing quite like a orchestra–and of course Lypsinka milks all the horn hits to assume her nutty, trademark poses. I’ve never been drawn to this musical because you know the fairy tale in advance, there aren’t too many hit songs from it and I think even it’s fans would admit that it’s a little dated. Until you add the non-stop camp factor amply provided by Lypsinka, typecast as evil queen Aggravain and side-splitting character actress Jackie Hoffman cast against type as the ingenue. Both of their performances are thrilling. And while the sets are minimal, this is a full production with a cast of about 12 who sing and dance unbelievably well. All perfectly cast. I’m not the biggest musical fan, but I thoroughly enjoyed this. If you are a musical fan or fan of this musical, I don’t think you’ll find a fresher, funnier, well done take on this slightly creaky classic. The costumes deserve special mention. In this insanely mild weather, seeing the lords and ladies of the court decked out in gowns of exquisite gem tones was like a burst of summer. It runs through January 3rd. See it!

 

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MORE INFO/TICKETS:   http://transportgroup.org/once-upon-mattress

IF OBAMA REALLY WANTS DARK MONEY OUT OF ELECTIONS, HE CAN AND MUST ACT NOW

PLEASE SIGN IF YOU AGREE!

It’s been 2,153 days since Citizens United.

But despite holding the power to fight back, President Obama has still done nothing against secret money in our elections.

Tell President Obama: Take action NOW to get secret money out of politics.

We know Obama understands the problem. He’s said we “basically have millionaires and billionaires bankrolling whoever they want, however they want, in some cases undisclosed, and what it means is ordinary Americans are shut out of the process.”

But so far, President Obama and his appointees have done nothing to stem this tide of secret money in elections.

That’s why O98 and a coalition of our friends have been working on an innovative petition at PresidentObamasLegacy.org. The petition is integrated with the White House’s “We The People” platform, so when we hit 100,000 signatures, he’ll be required to publicly respond.

Let’s make sure President Obama knows the American public is demanding he take action right away to fight secret money in politics – and let’s make sure he responds.

You may be asking, “But what about our do-nothing Congress? Won’t they get in the way?” President Obama has the tools to fight against secret billionaires drowning our elections – and he can use them without Congress.

The President can – and should – immediately:

Issue the #NoSecretMoney executive order, requiring big federal contractors to reveal their political spending,
Publicly call on the leaders he appointed to the SEC, IRS, and FCC to use their authority to reduce dark money, and
Replace the 5 commissioners on expired terms at the dysfunctional FEC – which should be the “cop on the beat” for elections – with nominees who will enforce the law.
We’ve seen Obama take bold executive action to live up to other principles he campaigned on, from blocking the Keystone XL Pipeline to supporting true Net Neutrality. Let’s demand President Obama redeems his legacy on money in politics, by helping us take back our democracy from secret millionaires and billionaires using dark money to drown out the rest of us.

Tell President Obama that inaction is inexcusable on the problem of secret money in politics. He must act immediately.

Thanks for joining us, and thanks for everything you do.

SIGN:  http://presidentobamaslegacy.org/?source=other98-fbshare

THE TMZ-IFICATION OF OUR “NEWS” MEDIA

Have you heard any discussion on the news of how Hillary’s economic plan will shake down versus Bernie Sanders’ plan. I’ve heard more discussion of Republican positions–even on “liberal” MSNBC. Even though Trump is widely considered to be a temporary phenomenon who will drop out of the lead, he’s all we hear about. And every time we hear about what he tweets or his latest racist fear mongering, we hear less of what the politicians who’ll remain in the race are actually offering. It’s a failure of our news media at large. In their grab for ratings and campaign ad $, they have ceased to do their job informing us. The country’s a mess. Hell, the climate is a mess. We aren’t going to be able to make educated choices hearing about a clown from a TMX version of the news. Yet check out CBS head Les Moonves’ comments:

THEINTERCEPT.COM:

Les Moonves, the chief executive of CBS Corporation, cheered on Donald Trump during an investor presentation Monday.

Speaking about the expected flood of campaign advertising dollars, which he described as “phenomenal,” Moonves said that he is glad to have so many Republicans competing for the nomination.

“The more they spend, the better it is for us and: Go Donald! Keep getting out there!” Moonves said. “And, you know, this is fun, watching this, let them spend money on us, and we love having them in there. We’re looking forward to a very exciting political year in ’16.”

MORE:   https://theintercept.com/2015/12/10/cbs-chief-cheers-trump-go-donald-keep-getting-out-there/

WAS LIZA ALREADY ON DRUGS?

A HIGH-spirited Liza Minnelli sings a Christmas song with Cyril Ritchard (Mary Martin’s Captain Hook) in drag as the Big Bad Wolf in Drag.

Posted by Sam Kalidi on Saturday, December 12, 2015

14 KILLED IN SAN BERNADINO, 19 KILLED WHEN OBAMA BOMBED A HOSPITAL. WHO’S THE TERRORIST AGAIN?

12/2/2015: 14 people slaughtered by terrorists at a San Bernadino center for the disabled. In retaliation, we’re bombing ISIS.

10/3/2015: 19 people slaughtered by one of Obama’s drones missing it’s target and hitting a hospital in Afghanistan run by the volunteer group Doctors Without Borders. Patients literally fried in their hospital beds. In retaliation, should the US bomb itself? 19 people is more than 14 and all were killed senselessly.

After the Pentagon changed it’s story 4 times in 4 days regarding the lethal strike on the hospital–a “mistake” which went on for an hour despite all of the top notch, precision weapons and communications our taxes pay for–Obama is now being investigated for war crimes. Why are we still in Afghanistan, the longest war in US history? Obama campaigned on ending it, then extended it and it’s now extended indefinitely. When are we going to start seeing the US as the terrorists we are? And our belligerent foreign policy is directly coming back to bite us, on our own shores in San Bernadino, 9/11 and the Boston Marathon bombing. And abroad, as our misguided wars like the one in Iraq created the chaotic breeding ground for ISIS’s formation.

All the GOP candidates believe more war is the answer, as does Hillary. They fail to see that you can’t bomb your enemies into obliteration–which is why we lost the wars (even with our gigantic military budget) against Iraq and Afghanistan. As an allegedly “Christian” nation prepares to celebrate the birthday of their savior, does anyone else remember how Christians used to call Jesus the “Prince Of Peace”? Is there one presidential candidate who represents peace? Peace is such a joke to the US that comedians like Jon Stewart are the loudest national voices for it. It’s a real shame when no one is even suggesting peace. And now they can’t, because we’re so whipped up against muslims that we’re arguing about how much war we need. Not whether we need to stop all of it because it’s causing our problems. US foreign policy is never seen as trustworthy outside of the US. Unless, of course, we’ve bought allies in one of our famous coalitions of the paid off smaller countries.

MORE:   http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/oct/06/doctors-without-borders-airstrike-afghanistan-us-account-changes-again

A FITTING TRIBUTE FOR HOLLY WOODLAWN BY PENNY ARCADE

A lovely remembrance of the late Holly Woodlawn by Penny Arcade. I especially loved this section below, and loved that Holly identified as a low life to such an extent that A Low Life In High Heels was the title of her autobiography! Here’s to Holly’s amazing life and low life!

OUT.COM: “There wasn’t — there was no title for us.” Holly said. “There was no ‘What are you—gay? Straight?’ I lived with Crystal Loringer for six months, with this girl, y’know? You fucked what you liked. We never thought — I mean, it never dawned on me — ‘gay-straight, this-that, bi-, tri-,’ yeah…You just went, if you liked the person, yeah—you got along, yeah…everybody fucked…People think they are freer now but they are not “Now it’s more: ‘Oh, you sleep with men and you also sleep with women, so you’re bisexual. Oh no, it’s like my friend, Adriano. All his life, y’know—he was turned on by women, He was married, then one day, he met a guy and he’s been going with guys ever since. But he still loves women. But, when they ask me about him—because he’s very handsome— ‘Is he gay?’ I don’t know. Does he like men? Does he like women?’ I say, ‘Yeah.’ Yeah what? Yeah, he likes men, and he likes women. It doesn’t, it doesn’t cross his mind, but now you have to be something, Beside I think it’s stupid, y’know. I mean, if you’re fabulous and you go for the person: Hey, hey, yeah—go for it! That’s always been my credo.”

In the era of Caitlyn Jenner, where a reality television star comes out in a multi million-dollar production for five minutes and is considered the voice of the transgender movement, the lives of people like Holly Woodlawn are not only marginalized and made invisible but trivialized. In this period where many transgender women and their advocates are delicate, touchy and prissy, it would behoove them to understand a Holly Woodlawn, rough and ready, not bothered by pronouns, not bothered if her beard was showing. The new world that stretches from middle-class consensus to wealth and million-dollar homes is an entire galaxy away where the battle for visability was fought and won, on the street by originators like Holly who fought for freedom not acceptance and not contracts. A Caitlyn Jenner erases the visibility of Holly Woodlawn and of the transgender and transsexual women like Holly who will never be Republicans and will never play golf.

Penny Arcade Remembers Holly Woodlawn

MORE:    http://www.out.com/entertainment/2015/12/10/penny-arcade-remembers-holly-woodlawn

DISCO SUNDAY’S SPECIAL GUEST: BLOO LIPS’ LAVINIA CO-OP! THIS SUNDAY!

This Sunday at The Monster, Disco Sundays has a very special guest. Lavinia Coop aka Vin Fox is in NYC for a taste, and will pop by in drag Sunday night for a tipple. Many New Yorkers know Lavinia from her decade here in NYC working the club scene. But before that, she traveled the world with the english theatrical drag troupe Bloo Lips. She’s moved back to London and only visiting for a bit, so pop by from 6-10 and say hi if you’re able!

WHILE TRUMP HOGS ALL THE COVERAGE, OBAMA & CONGRESS ARE LOVING NO CAMERAS ON THEM. HERE’S WHY.

Obama”s still pushing this disastrous TPP trade deal. Everyone wants to talk about the monster Trump, but what Obama’s trade deal will do is monstrous and will hurt most of us. Besides the shenanigans from the campaign trail, work is getting done behind the scenes in DC: Obama’s dirty work.

The job-killing agenda of a corporate Democrat actively trying to ram through “NAFTA on steroids” as his true legacy. And this was corporate Democrat Hillary Clinton’s agenda until she flip-flopped on her support of the TPP right before the first debate so she could seem different from Obama. Same corporate Democrats, same corporate-serving ideology. Check this assessment of the trade deal out before you try to tell me all the great things Obama’s tried to do but was stopped by obstructionist Republicans. Because almost all Republicans in Congress supprt the TPP–so Obama is bucking his own party to ram through a far-reaching trade deal which according to this report, will “harm our economy overall.” Does that sound good to you in any way?

The congressionally created Labor Advisory Committee for Trade Negotiations and Trade Policy (LAC) has just released a scathing report that urges President Obama “in the strongest possible terms” to send the TPP “back to the negotiating table” instead of to Congress, saying the treaty “will harm our economy overall.”

This report was commissioned by Congress to advise Congress and others on whether U.S. trade negotiators met the objectives they were supposed to when negotiating this trade deal. On three basic questions – whether the TPP serves the economic interest of the country, achieves its principal objectives and equitably addresses worker interests – the answers to all three were “no.”

“The TPP is likely to harm U.S. manufacturing interests, cost good jobs, suppress wages, and threaten our democracy and economic security interests,” the report said.

Important Report Says TPP “Skews Benefits To Economic Elites”

MORE:  http://www.nationofchange.org/2015/12/08/important-report-says-tpp-skews-benefits-to-economic-elites/