Monday, April 11, 2016

Truest statement of the week

Clinton is a rather typical sort of politician, the kind who tells people what they want to hear if that will get them the votes they want or the donations they need. And that’s the problem. People start to accept this as the norm and adopt the values of the cynical politicians they support. During the Bush era Democratic partisans were constantly denouncing the Iraq War, calling Bush and Cheney war criminals, referring to it as the worst American policy decision in decades if not longer and yet– a few years later, it doesn’t seem to be all that important to some. It’s “moral purity” to think it matters. It was fine to use as a club with which to beat Republicans, but who cares about hundreds of thousands of Iraqi dead if people point to them as a reason why someone should not be running for the White House?

This isn’t just about Clinton or big name pundits like Paul Krugman. It’s everyone who thinks it is illegitimate to bring up the Iraq War during a political campaign. It’s everyone who thinks Hillary can be excused by claiming she was the innocent victim of Bush deception. Last I looked, the most popular comment under Krugman’s column at the NYT was by a self-described former Sanders supporter who was outraged that Clinton’s credentials were questioned. Of course she is qualified to be President! Credentials and experience, what you put on your resume - this is everything.   

--  Donald Johnson, "Why Clinton’s Iraq decision matters" (MONDOWEISS).

Truest statement of the week II

His Friday column, entitled “Sanders Over the Edge,” follows a blog he posted on the Times web site last Sunday accusing Sanders of being a fifth columnist for the Republicans. Krugman wrote: “Engaging in innuendo suggesting, without evidence, that Clinton is corrupt is, at this point, basically campaigning on behalf of the RNC (Republican National Committee).” [Emphasis added]
Without evidence?! The entire political history of Bill and Hillary Clinton has been steeped in hypocrisy and corruption. Extending back to their days in Arkansas, the Clintons perfected the art of combining “I feel your pain” rhetoric with deal-making with various business interests to advance their political careers. This included Bill Clinton’s connections with Frank Perdue of the poultry empire and Hillary Clinton’s six-year stint on the board of directors of Wal-Mart during her husband’s term as Arkansas governor.
During their years in the White House, the Clintons shifted the Democratic Party further to the right, repudiating any program of social reform or redistribution of wealth from the top to the bottom in favor of traditional Republican nostrums. Their strategy of “triangulation” included new draconian prison sentencing laws and the termination of the sixty-year-old federal welfare program called Aid to Families with Dependent Children, driving millions of the poorest Americans into destitution.
At the same time, the Clintons oversaw the final dismantling of any serious banking regulation, marked by the repeal of the 1930s Glass-Steagall Act and its separation of commercial and investment banking.
Since the end of the Clinton presidency, Hillary and Bill have parlayed their White House tenure into a personal fortune in the hundreds of millions of dollars. The two have collected over $140 million in the 15 years since the end of the Clinton administration, while workers were losing their jobs, retirement savings and homes. A major part of this windfall has come in the form of speaking fees from big corporations and banks. In the first 15 months after she left her post as Obama’s secretary of state in 2012, Hillary Clinton took in $5 million in such rewards for services rendered.

In an earlier period, Krugman staked out a position by criticizing the Clinton administration for its adoption of right-wing positions previously associated with the Republican Party. In August 2006, to cite one example, he complained that “in practice Mr. Clinton governed well to the right of both Eisenhower and Nixon.”

-- Barry Grey, "Paul Krugman smears Bernie Sanders" (WSWS).

A note to our readers

Hey --

A Monday.

First, we thank all who participated this edition which includes Dallas and the following:

The Third Estate Sunday Review's Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess and Ava,
Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude,
Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man,
C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review,
Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills),
Mike of Mikey Likes It!,
Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz),
Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix,
Ruth of Ruth's Report,
Wally of The Daily Jot,
Trina of Trina's Kitchen,
Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends,
Isaiah of The World Today Just Nuts,
and Ann of Ann's Mega Dub.

And what did we come up with:

Donald Johnson gets a truest.
As does Barry Grey.
What will John Kerry's legacy be?  Not real much.
Ava and C.I. take on Fox News Sunday and Barack and Chris.  And they wrote this Sunday and said they weren't in the mood to go in and change "today" to "yesterday" or any such thing.  
Spike Lee directed it.
You can't go to the movies without seeing Capt America stamped on everything.
It is a battle.

Wipe your feet.
We'd including the announcement of this album at our site months ago so we gladly repost Kat's review of it.
What we listened to while writing.
Bernie Sanders' campaign.
From the House Veterans Affairs Committee Chair's office.
From the Green Party.

Mike and the gang wrote this and we thank them for it.


-- Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess, Ava and C.I.

Editorial: John Kerry's continual failure

Last week, Secretary of State John Kerry visited Iraq.



To work on the political solution?



Kerry's entire term as Secretary of State will be viewed as a full on failure and he has no one to blame for that but himself.

As a US senator, he was fully aware of the need for Iraq to make political concessions and moves to bring everyone into the government.

Back then, he knew persecution would breed hostility and render the government illegitimate.

As Secretary of State, he's mistaken himself for the Secretary of Defense and focused on bombing and combat.

He was supposed to provide the administration with careful thought and experience.

Instead, he became yet another garbled scream for war, war, war!

He could have made a difference.

Instead, he failed the American people and the Iraqi people.

He could have been a leader in healing the wounds of the Iraq War.

He could have left a mark in history.

Instead, he's just one more embarrassment on the global stage.

TV: FOX NEWS SUNDAY, corrupt and shameless

The Sunday Chat and Chews are an embarrassment.

We were just noting that a few weeks back in "TV: Chris Wallace versus Chuck Todd in the Battle To Bore The Viewer."

Imagine our surprise when FOX NEWS SUNDAY finally mattered today?


US President Barack Obama appeared on the program for the first time since becoming president in January 2009.

It was all lies and embarrassments.

For both guest Barack Obama and host Chris Wallace.

For example, Barack's been publicly fretting about the Supreme Court and 4-4 ties.  And lying that it's never happened before and try to whip up a frenzy.

A clip was played of drama queen Barack declaring, "As a consequence, we have a 4-4 tie in the Supreme Court and potentially at least two Supreme Court terms in which this vacancy will remain.  That is unprecedented."

He's such a drama queen.

And Chris Wallace failed to call him on that.

Senate Republicans are saying that they will not vote on Barack's nominee -- generic and right-wing tilting Merrick Garland -- due to the fact that Barack's term is due to end shortly.

You can agree with that or not.

But only a drama queen liar would take this stance and try to create a frenzy.

And even splits?

It has happened before.

Just last month, Mark Fahey (CNBC) was attempting to provide reality:

Being reduced to eight Supreme Court justices after the death of Antonin Scalia doesn't necessarily mean the court is doomed to months of unproductive gridlock.
In fact, an evenly split court really isn't anything new. As Justice Samuel Alito pointed out last week, the court has had an even number of justices in the past. Nearly 1 in 5 decisions passed down since 1946 were decided by an even number of votes, according to a analysis.
Evenly split courts, which are usually caused by a recused justice or a temporary empty seat, are common, making about 19 percent of all decisions. Yet only 5 percent of those decisions have been ties, suggesting that most courts manage to secure a majority one way or another.  

If there is a tie, there is a verdict.

The verdict is that the lower court's ruling stands.

That's what happens in a Supreme Court tie.

This is not a national emergency or anything to lose sleep over.

The people of America may speak and force the Republicans to vote on Garland.

Or they may feel who the hell cares?

Regardless, this is not a moment to panic.

But there's the president of the United States lying and trying to create a frenzy for his own personal gain.

It's cheap and it's tawdry.

And Chris Wallace refused to call him on it.

Which was all the more astounding since Barack, in discussing terrorism, defended what Wallace termed his appearance of being "diffident."

Barack insisted he was attempting to keep things in perspective and not overblow things:

Well, I think part of it is that, in the wake of terrorist attacks, it has been my view consistently that the job of the terrorists, in their minds, is to induce panic, induce fear, get societies to change who they are.  
And what I’ve tried to communicate is, "You can’t change us.  You can kill some of us, but we will hunt you down, and we will get you.  And in the meantime, just as we did in Boston, after the marathon bombing, we’re going to go to a ballgame.  And do all the other things that make our life worthwhile.  And you have nothing to offer."  

That’s the message of resilience that we don’t panic, that we don’t fear.  We will hunt you down and we will get you.  

We don't panic.

Except when we tell you too.

Except when we're trying to whine about a Senate vote and we want to lie and alarm you in order to get our way.

Wallace never probed that obvious hypocrisy.

Barack went on to whine about the media, as he always does:

OBAMA:  Well, the perception is going to be changing over time, as people see results, as they get more confident.  
But, and this is the big but, nobody’s going to be 100 percent satisfied -- in a democracy like ours -- with every outcome.  And I think the danger, both among Republicans, and among Democrats, who increasingly just listen to each other.  Or they just listen to people who already agree with them.  Republicans, they have their own TV station.  They’re own radio --

WALLACE:  Go ahead.  You can say FOX News.

OBAMA:  They’ve got their own publications, their own blogs.  Democrats, same thing.  

Increasingly what happens is, we don’t hear each other.  And so what happens then is, when Republicans promise to repeal Obamacare, and it doesn’t get repealed, they’re outraged.  Well, it must be because Republicans were corrupt or unresponsive, or big money got involved.  

We don't hear each other?

Possibly because Barack's spent two terms attacking the press.  He's spent two terms going around the press.  He's used whores who would betray journalism long term goals for short sighted needs of a politician.  These whores include, but are not limited to, Daren Briscoe, Jay Carney, Linda Douglass, Kate Albright-Hanna, Shailagh Murray and Eric Dash.

They've helped an administration circumvent the press.

That should not be forgotten.

It should certainly not be forgiven by their original profession.

They're whores now.

Nothing more, nothing less.

They should not be allowed to do journalism.

They're whores.

From a 2013 Committee to Protect Journalism report written by Leonard Downie Jr. and Sara Rafsky:

In the Obama administration’s Washington, government officials are increasingly afraid to talk to the press. Those suspected of discussing with reporters anything that the government has classified as secret are subject to investigation, including lie-detector tests and scrutiny of their telephone and e-mail records. An “Insider Threat Program” being implemented in every government department requires all federal employees to help prevent unauthorized disclosures of information by monitoring the behavior of their colleagues.
Six government employees, plus two contractors including Edward Snowden, have been subjects of felony criminal prosecutions since 2009 under the 1917 Espionage Act, accused of leaking classified information to the press—compared with a total of three such prosecutions in all previous U.S. administrations. Still more criminal investigations into leaks are under way. Reporters’ phone logs and e-mails were secretly subpoenaed and seized by the Justice Department in two of the investigations, and a Fox News reporter was accused in an affidavit for one of those subpoenas of being “an aider, abettor and/or conspirator” of an indicted leak defendant, exposing him to possible prosecution for doing his job as a journalist. In another leak case, a New York Times reporter has been ordered to testify against a defendant or go to jail.
Compounding the concerns of journalists and the government officials they contact, news stories based on classified documents obtained from Snowden have revealed extensive surveillance of Americans’ telephone and e-mail traffic by the National Security Agency. Numerous Washington-based journalists told me that officials are reluctant to discuss even unclassified information with them because they fear that leak investigations and government surveillance make it more difficult for reporters to protect them as sources. “I worry now about calling somebody because the contact can be found out through a check of phone records or e-mails,” said veteran national security journalist R. Jeffrey Smith of the Center for Public Integrity, an influential nonprofit government accountability news organization in Washington. “It leaves a digital trail that makes it easier for the government to monitor those contacts,” he said. 
 “I think we have a real problem,” said New York Times national security reporter Scott Shane. “Most people are deterred by those leaks prosecutions. They’re scared to death. There’s a gray zone between classified and unclassified information, and most sources were in that gray zone. Sources are now afraid to enter that gray zone. It’s having a deterrent effect. If we consider aggressive press coverage of government activities being at the core of American democracy, this tips the balance heavily in favor of the government.”

That's what the journalists who joined the Obama administration to whore can claim credit for.

They should be ashamed.

They should be mortified.

No Lee Atwater death bed confession will ever make that right.

Wallace didn't touch on that either.

And then came the moment that everyone will talk about.

This exchange.

WALLACE:  Last October, you said that Hillary Clinton’s private e-mail server did not jeopardize national secrets.  


OBAMA:  I can tell that you this is not a situation in which America's national security was endangered.  


WALLACE:  Since then, we’ve learned that over 2,000 of her e-mails contained classified material, 22 of the e-mails had top-secret information.  Can you still say flatly that she did not jeopardize America’s secrets?

OBAMA:  I’ve got to be careful because, as you know, there have been investigations, there are hearings, Congress is looking at this.  And I haven’t been sorting through each and every aspect of this.  
Here’s what I know: Hillary Clinton was an outstanding Secretary of State.  She would never intentionally put America in any kind of jeopardy.
And what I also know, because I handle a lot of classified information, is that there are -- there’s classified, and then there’s classified.  There’s stuff that is really top secret top secret, and there’s stuff that is being presented to the president or the secretary of state, that you might not want on the transom, or going out over the wire, but is basically stuff that you could get in open source.


WALLACE:  But last October, you were prepared to say, "She hasn’t jeopardized."  

OBAMA:  Yes.  Well --

WALLACE:  And the question is, can you still say that?

OBAMA:  I continue to believe that she has not jeopardized America’s national security.  Now what I’ve also said is that -- and she has acknowledged -- that there’s a carelessness, in terms of managing e-mails, that she has owned, and she recognizes.
But I also think it is important to keep this in perspective.  This is somebody who has served her country for four years as secretary of state, and did an outstanding job.  And no one has suggested that in some ways, as a consequence of how she’s handled e-mails, that that detracted from her excellent ability to carry out her duties.

WALLACE:  Mr. President, when you say what you’ve just said, when Josh Earnest said, as he did -- your spokesman -- in January, the information from the Justice Department is she’s not a target, some people I think are worried whether or not -- the decision whether or not, how to handle the case, will be made on political grounds, not legal grounds.  
Can you guarantee to the American people, can you direct the Justice Department to say, "Hillary Clinton will be treated -- as the evidence goes, she will not be in any way protected."

OBAMA:  I can guarantee that.  And I can guarantee that, not because I give Attorney General Lynch a directive, that is institutionally how we have always operated.  
I do not talk to the Attorney General about pending investigations.  I do not talk to FBI directors about pending investigations.  We have a strict line, and always have maintained it, previous president.

WALLACE:  So, just to button this up --

OBAMA:  I guarantee it.

WALLACE:  You --

OBAMA:  I guarantee that there is no political influence in any investigation conducted by the Justice Department, or the FBI, not just in this case, but in any case.

WALLACE:  And she will be --

OBAMA:  Full stop.  Period.

WALLACE:  And she will be treated no different --

OBAMA:  Guaranteed.  Full stop.  Nobody gets treated differently when it comes to the Justice Department, because nobody is above the law.

WALLACE:  Even if she ends up as the Democratic nominee?

OBAMA:  How many times do I have to say it, Chris?  Guaranteed.

An ongoing FBI investigation.

Here's the thing, it's like taking the Fifth Amendment.

If you take the Fifth when appearing before Congress, that's it.

You take the Fifth.

You can't selectively choose what you will or will not discuss.

You take the Fifth, then you don't answer questions.

By the same token, if you say you can't talk about an ongoing investigation?

You can't talk about it.

And Constitutional scholar Barack knows that.

But he continues to say what he wants, to shape a potential jury pool, to put fear into FBI investigators and then, when he's done with the topic, it's all "I can't talk about an ongoing investigation."

He's so corrupt and so shameless.

And, of course, Chris Wallace didn't go there either.

It's all a song and dance, all a shuck and jive.

These talk shows pretend to be public affairs programs but they're not serving the public.

They're not serving democracy.

They're serving egos and that's about it.

FOX NEWS SUNDAY finally mattered today . . . but only because it demonstrated how corrupt and useless these programs are.

Video of the week

If you didn't know already . . .

cpt america


The Battle for the Democratic primary

It's on.  It's between war hawk Hillary Clinton and Senator Bernie Sanders.

And how are they using their social media to make the case?

Here's every Tweet from Hillary's campaign to day.



Hillary's Tweets are done in screen shots because her Twitter has something on it that's throwing out a huge black block that covers the first Tweets.  You can visit her Twitter feed by clicking here.

And here's every Tweet from Bernie Sander's campaign today.

  1. If the United States is serious about moving toward energy independence in a cost-effective way then we should invest in solar energy.

  • We must not take Social Security for granted especially since the program provides dignity and security to millions of Americans every day.

  • I believe the function of banking should not be about making as much profits as possible but rather ensuring affordable loans for Americans.

  • It's not a radical idea to price fossil fuels and their effects on our communities in the form of a carbon tax.

  • Congress must ensure that the greed and recklessness of Wall Street can never destroy the livelihood of everyday Americans ever again.
  • Dr. King told us: You judge people on their character, not on the color of their skin. And I'd add not on their gender or sexual orientation

  • Hard working Hillary appears to be

    Hillary Clinton, the ultimate doormat

    War Hawk and pig at the trough Hillary Clinton wants to be president of the United States.  She's currently attempting to win the Democratic Party's presidential nomination.

    And if she does, what does that mean?

    What does it mean for the United States to have a president who is a doormat?

    You probably think we're talking about the affairs.

    The affairs of Bill Clinton.

    Gennifer Fitzgerald, yes.  Monica Lewinsky, yes.

    Propositioning Paula Jones.

    Etc, etc, etc.

    And there is that.

    But what we also mean is this.

    jon favreau

    Remember that?

    It's 2008, on the left is Jon Favreau, groping Hillary Clinton's breast.

    Favreau was then Barack Obama's speechwriter.

    And Hillary loves to talk about how actions have consequences.

    So that mockery, that rank sexism, that all out endorsement of rape?

    What were the consequences?

    She said it was no big deal -- she saved his job as Jon himself admits.

    She was the doormat.

    Like the doormat she always is.

    So she's going to stand up to a world leader?

    Or just lay there yet again like a doormat.

    Diana Ross releases a masterpiece (belatedly)

    We're reposting Kat's review of Diana Ross' latest album.

    Kat's Korner: Diana Ross releases a masterpiece (belatedly)

    Kat: The general consensus among some is that Diana Ross made the biggest mistake of her life when she left Motown and joined RCA in 1981.

    She had been the Queen of Motown, after all.

    The label was behind her.

    But here's some reality: If Diana had stayed, music would have likely left her behind.

    This became obvious in November when Motown released DIANA ROSS SINGS SONGS FROM THE WIZ.

    Diana's recorded a new album!!!!

    No, this is one from the vaults.

    One Motown kept buried in the vaults.


    As November drew to a close, they finally released the thirteen track album -- proving Motown's still not returned to being smart or first-rate album.

    NBC broadcast their live musical of THE WIZ on December 3rd.

    Motown supposedly released Diana's album on November 27th.

    Did you know?

    We noted it several times at THIRD (including November 15th when we offered our notion that Diana should do a tribute album to Michael Jackson) but I started to think either the album was a prank or Motown had once again made promises it couldn't keep.

    I thought that because we are all over the country speaking about the never-ending wars and, everywhere I go, I always check music stores or music sections in stores.

    I'd see NBC's DVD of THE WIZ, for example, but no Diana album.

    Turns out Motown didn't have the brains (big surprise, right?) to get the album into stores -- let alone to promote it.

    It's available strictly as a download (digital booklet is included).  If you're interested, you can find it at Amazon here.

    Should you?

    Diana's performance as Dorothy was trashed by some.

    She was too old, some argued.

    As if Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta were in high school when they filmed GREASE?

    It's a musical, not a documentary.

    There are problems with the musical she made.

    I never would have picked 'gritty' Sidney Lumet to direct.

    But if I did, I certainly wouldn't carp that the film lacked sparkle.

    When you go with Lumet, you're going with the NYC of the mid-seventies -- and that's what's captured.

    Based on CAR WASH and SPARKLE, I wouldn't have hired Joel Schumacher to write the script (even without knowing of his 'therapy' at the time).

    When Berry Gordy and Rob Cohen teamed with Universal to make THE WIZ (with a one million dollar pay day for Diana), there was so much that was going to be wrong with the film.

    (CRAPAPEDIA tells you Diana went around Berry.  Not true.  We correct the record here.  Berry told her she was too old.  Told Cohen the idea was crazy and Cohen said Diana would mean getting the film made and also mean she could get one million dollars for making the film.  At which point, Berry told Rob to make the deal.  Berry would then surprise Diana with the news.)

    That's before you even bring up it being based as a homage to the pop fad of the time EST (Ron Hubbard's Scientology never had it so good).

    But with all that going against her, Diana triumphed.

    She plays Dorothy as someone scared of her shadow who discovers her inner strength over the course of the film.

    Diana goes all out with her performance.

    And she's stripped of her glamour because this is a Sidney Lumet film -- even his then mother-in-law Lena Horne isn't allowed to sparkle (despite the fact that she's largely playing a star in the sky).

    THE WIZ is a fairy tale for adults, as directed by Lumet.

    And possibly that's the only way to have gone in the seventies.

    The demographics were such in the US, that no one was catering to children.

    Pacific International Enterprises?

    Were those poorly lit, badly filmed 'movies' catering to anyone or just stealing dollars from the wallets of parents?

    It's no surprise that Disney's animated films would only experience a rebirth when the baby boomlet came along.

    So THE WIZ is what it is.

    And, even so, it's better than what NBC broadcast.

    Sorry, kids, those sets were embarrassments. High school productions offer better.

    Equally true, a bad overall vision (the film) is better than no vision at all.

    The film's gone from scorn to applause as the years have passed and it's worth noting that some of the original objection had to do with Diana, or any woman of color, playing Dorothy.

    The music continues to rescue the film.

    As does the magic of Diana Ross and Michael Jackson.

    As the seventies drew to a close, Motown had little magic.

    Disco wasn't natural to Motown.

    Donna Summer and other artists were emerging on other labels.

    Diana's late seventies classic, THE BOSS, came about not because of Berry Gordy and Motown but in spite of them.  She and Nick Ashford and Valerie Simpson camped out in NYC, far from Motown, and made one of the few releases for the label after 1976 that actually mattered.

    As for the 1980 mega smash that was DIANA -- that's Diana Ross again.

    She's recording with Chic's Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards.

    And it's Diana's good taste that demanded remixes (leading Rodgers and Edwards to threaten to take their names off the album -- until, of course, the remixed version became a huge success with hits like "I'm Coming Out" and "Upside Down").

    Diana leaving for RCA meant she finally made money from her recordings.

    Motown gave 'gifts' but wasn't real good about paying and, as late as the 70s, she still needed Motown to co-sign for her to even buy a house.

    RCA was a crap label.

    And she possibly should have chosen a better one to leave Motown for.

    But she was smart to leave Motown.

    Motown had already lost the Jacksons and no one sees that as upsetting or a bad move.  Motown also lost Marvin Gaye and he was better for it.

    Who stayed?

    Stevie Wonder and Smokey Robinson.

    1987's CHARACTERS demonstrates Motown didn't know how to market Stevie's music. (The same could be said of IN SQUARE CIRCLE which should have sold twice as many copies as it did.)  The same is true of Smokey's ONE HEARTBEAT (also from 1987) which featured two huge top ten hits (the title track and "Just To See Her") but only went gold in its original release. (A single disc that is certified gold has sold at least 500,000 copies.)

    So Diana was smart to leave.

    In doing so, she had a string of hits with RCA: "Why Do Fools Fall In Love," "Mirror, Mirror," "Muscles," "So Close," "Pieces of Ice," "All of You" (duet with Julio Iglesias), "Swept Away," "Missing You," "Telephone," "Chain Reaction" and "Dirty Looks."

    From 1981 through 1987, I'm hard pressed to find any artist on Motown's label to score that many hits.  Not even DeBarge can make the claim and even Berry Gordy's own son Rockwell really managed to be only a one-hit wonder with "Somebody's Watching Me" (two hits if you count "Obscene Phone Caller").

    She made two classic albums: SWEPT AWAY and EATEN ALIVE (I'd have left off the Michael Jackson title track).  She made several solid albums that would benefit from reappraisals.

    But if you still don't get that leaving Motown was the smart thing for Diana to do, listen to DIANA ROSS SINGS SONGS FROM THE WIZ.

    You can argue from now until the next musical revolution/innovation whether Diana Ross should have played Dorothy in a live action film.

    What's not open to debate is whether or not Diana can interpret a score.

    And she does an incredible job here.

    She brings each song to life.

    "Wonder Wonder Why" may be one of her strongest performances and, even if you're a fan of "Is This What Feeling Gets?" from the original soundtrack for THE WIZ, you'll love her version here even more.

    Oh, and that's the thing.

    This is not Diana's tracks from the film soundtrack being repackaged.

    In 1978, she went into the studio with Suzanne de Passe and Lee Holdridge to record these thirteen songs.  In the years since, only "Home" has been released (in 2001).

    And that's how you know Motown was over by the 80s.


    These were not expected to be huge sellers or even strong ones.

    The point was to make clear that Diana could handle more than top forty.

    The point was to make clear that Diana was an artist.

    This album was supposed to have been released in January of 1979, following the release of the film in October of 1978 (the film's soundtrack was released in September 1978).

    The digital booklet notes:

    When the film wrapped and Ross returned to Los Angeles, producer/arranger Lee Holdridge received a call from Motown.  "We've got to have her do some cover versions of these songs," he was told with some urgency.
    "We literally ran into the studio in a great hurry to do this," Holdridge says.  Luckily, this was not Holdridge's first time working with Motown or Diana Ross.  "I did all the orchestrations and arrangements for the film MAHOGANY, and 'Do You Know Where You're Going To' was a big hit for her," he adds.  "So she knew exactly who I was.  We knew all the keys and stuff like that, so we tried to emulate what some of the film tracks were like.  Diana was excited about it."

    Months later, Cher would star in her ABC's CHER .  . . SPECIAL featuring a 15 minute segment of her playing all the parts in the musical WEST SIDE STORY.  But before that happened, Diana should have been presented to the public playing all the parts from THE WIZ.

    And the film could have been rescued somewhat by the album being released.

    As it headed to the second-run houses, the dollar theaters, DIANA ROSS SINGS SONGS FROM THE WIZ could've provided incentive to check out the film.  It would have also telegraphed just how strong a singer, how great an artist, she is.

    As she demonstrates on "Don't Nobody Tell Me No Bad News" and on "Believe In Yourself," she could have easily played the role of either Evillene or Glinda The Good Witch in NBC's broadcast last year.  Her medley of "You Can't Win"/"Slide Some Oil"/"(I'm A) Mean Ole Lion" argue she could have handled the roles of Scarecrow, Tin Man and the Cowardly Lion as well.

    "You Can't Win" will forever be identified with Michael Jackson's performance as the Scarecrow but damned if Diana doesn't put her own take on it.

    And she runs with Aunt Em's signature moment "The Feeling We Once Had."  A brave and vital Motown would have issued that track as a single back in 1979.

    The only argument I'd have with the release would be the cover.  I'd have found a way to blend the actual cover with what would be the back cover if this were released on vinyl or compact disc.


    Diana's performing the score to a Broadway musical (plus Ashford & Simpson's "Is This What Feeling Gets?") and Broadway's about glamour, high energy and sparkle.  The photo used above captures that.


    This is a tour de force performance and a reminder of just how talented Diana Ross is.  More to the point, the project's history argues clearly that Diana had to leave Motown which no longer knew how to market, let alone honor, the label's queen.

    This edition's playlist



    2)   Janet Jackson's UNBREAKABLE.


    4) Maxwell's UNPLUGGED.



    7) Carly Simon's HAVE YOU SEEN MET LATELY.

    8) Ben Harper's BOTH SIDES OF THE GUN.


    10) George Harrison's CLOUD NINE.

    Sanders Challenges Clinton on Social Security



    From Bernie Sander's presidential campaign:

    Sanders Challenges Clinton on Social Security

    NEW YORK – U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders on Saturday called for raising Social Security benefits to help seniors make ends meet. He also urged Hillary Clinton to back a plan endorsed by leading Democrats and seniors’ advocates to strengthen the retirement program.

    Sanders’ stops at Bronx Community College and at the United Palace in Manhattan’s Washington Heights neighborhood were part of a presidential campaign tour of New York City boroughs.

    More than 1,000 backers turned out to hear Sanders in Washington Heights and more than 800 supporters in the Bronx packed an auditorium in the Gould Memorial Library and an overflow room at the college.

    Sanders said seniors in New York and across the United States don’t have enough income to heat their homes or feed themselves and many are forced to cut their pills in half to save money on prescription drugs. “These are the people who built this country – our parents, our grandparents. We should not be treating them that way.”

    Clinton, Sanders’ rival for the Democratic Party nomination, has refused to back Sanders’ plan to strengthen Social Security. In fact, Clinton has left open the possibility that she would support raising the retirement age at which seniors become eligible for Social Security. “I would consider it,” she told a town meeting in New Hampshire last Oct. 28.

    In New York, more than 3.5 million seniors, orphans, widows, widowers and disabled people received Social Security benefits last year. The average annual benefit totaled only $15,000.

    Without Social Security, more than 43 percent of the elderly in New York, including more than 48 percent of senior women, would be living in poverty. With Social Security, the elderly poverty rate in New York is 11.6 percent.

    Sanders has introduced legislation to make the wealthiest Americans who make more than $250,000 a year pay the same share of their income into the retirement system as everyone else. Current law now caps the amount of income subject to payroll taxes at $118,500.

    Under Sanders’ plan, a senior making less than $16,000 a year would see income go up by more than $1,300 a year.

    The measure also would increase cost-of-living adjustments. This year, for only the third time in four decades, seniors on Social Security did not receive a cost-of-living increase. Sanders’ legislation would increase COLAs by more accurately measuring the spending patterns of seniors. Under current law, the consumer price index used to calculate annual benefit adjustments does not accurately reflect how inflation in health care costs and prescription drug prices impact seniors.

    The proposal to lift the cap would raise taxes only on the wealthiest 1.5 percent of Americans.

    Sanders’ plan is patterned after a proposal to scrap the cap first brought forward by President Barack Obama in 2008.

    According to new estimates from the Social Security Administration, Sanders’ plan would extend the solvency of Social Security until the year 2074.

    The senator from Vermont who was born and raised in Brooklyn was headed later Saturday to a third rally in Queens before capping the day with a nighttime event at the Apollo Theater in Harlem.

    Miller Statement on Newly Released VA IG Wait-Time Manipulation Reports


    US House Rep Jeff Miller (above) is the Chair of the House Veterans Affairs Committee.  His office issued the following last week:

    Miller Statement on Newly Released VA IG Wait-Time Manipulation Reports

    Apr 8, 2016

    Today, Chairman Miller released the following statement regarding newly released Department of Veterans Affairs Inspector General reports documenting patient wait-time manipulation at 40 VA facilities in 19 states.

    "These reports document dysfunction on the part of both the Department of Veterans Affairs and its inspector general. The fact that the IG only released these documents after public pressure from the media as well as Democrats and Republicans in both the House and Senate is proof that it still has much more to learn when it comes to providing the oversight VA needs and the transparency taxpayers deserve. Nevertheless, the reports outline a host of serious scheduling issues that masked wait times at VA facilities around the country. And in classic VA fashion, almost no one has been seriously held accountable for any of this wrongdoing. In fact, according to VA’s own data, the department has successfully fired just four low-level employees for wait-time manipulation. Right now it’s incumbent on VA leaders to explain why that’s the case given the IG’s findings of widespread wait-time manipulation and other serious problems. And in the meantime, the Senate needs to get in step with veterans service organizations and taxpayers and get behind commonsense legislation like the House-passed VA Accountability Act, which would make it easier for the department to swiftly discipline corrupt and incompetent employees. Until those who caused the wait-time scandal are purged from the VA payroll, the department will never be fixed. Unfortunately, Senate inaction is currently preventing that from happening.” – Rep. Jeff Miller, Chairman, House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs


    The VA Accountability Act (H.R. 1994) passed the House in July of 2015 and is pending in the Senate. It would give the VA secretary the authority to swiftly fire or demote any employee for poor performance or misconduct while protecting whistleblowers and limiting the agency’s ability to place misbehaving employees on paid leave. It would also give VA the ability to recover annuities on pensions of VA senior executives convicted of felonies committed on the job.

    GP ADVISORY Info for media: 2016 Green Convention in Houston, Aug. 4-7

    Don't be a Debra Messing, grasp that the United States includes The Green Party -- and they're holding their national convention this August.

    GP ADVISORY Info for media: 2016 Green Convention in Houston, Aug. 4-7

    WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Green Party's 2016 Presidential Nominating Convention will take place on Saturday, August 6, during the party's Annual National Meeting in Houston, Texas. Green candidates, delegates, and others will meet from Thursday, August 4 through Sunday, August 7, on the campus of the University of Houston, 4800 Calhoun Road in Houston ( ).

    "Following the Republican and Democratic conventions, the Green convention will be watched closely because of widely anticipated dissatisfaction with the projected nominees of both of the established parties," said Tamar Yager, co-chair of the Green Party of the United States and co-chair of the party's Annual National Meeting Committee. "We look forward to welcoming many Bernie Sanders supporters if he doesn't emerge from the DNC as the nominee, as well as other voters who are considering alternatives to the two corporate-money parties and their candidates."

    Along with the nomination, the Green convention will feature panels, workshops, plenary sessions of the Green National Committee, and other events. Many of these events will be open to the media and public.

    The party will hold press conferences featuring Green candidates, especially those running for the presidential nomination and for public office in Texas. Members of the media may register for credentials here ( ) as well as on site during the convention.

    The theme of the Green convention is "Houston, We Have A Solution: Vote Green 2016."

    "Texas Greens are excited to host this historic convention, which will bring attention to so many critical issues in a city that lies at the heart of the corporate empire. We believe Houston is uniquely situated to influence the national political dialogue, and to help lead the way in finding solutions for the future," said Laura Palmer, co-chair of the Green Party of Texas State Executive Committee.

    TENTATIVE SCHEDULE of press conferences, subject to change:

    Thursday, August 4: Introduction to the convention, 4 p.m.

    Friday, August 5: Green candidates running for local and statewide office in Texas and across the U.S., 9 a.m. and 11 a.m.

    Saturday, August 6: Presidential candidates' press conference in the morning; presidential nominee's press conference late in the afternoon, times to be announced. Media are invited to cover the nomination process during the day.

    Green candidates will be available for interview during the convention. For contact and other information about the presidential candidates, see these pages ( and ).

    The convention web site ( ) includes detailed information about transportation, housing, and registration for participants, observers, and media. More information about the schedule of events will be announced and posted as the meeting draws nearer.

    The Green Party's 2012 convention took place in Baltimore, Maryland. Green nominees in previous presidential election years were Jill Stein and Cheri Honkala (2012), Cynthia McKinney and Rosa Clemente (2008), David Cobb and Pat LaMarche (2004), and Ralph Nader and Winona LaDuke (2000 and 1996).

    Information and events for media at the Green Party's 2016 Presidential Nominating Convention in Houston, Texas, Aug. 4-7

    Location: Campus of the University of Houston, 4800 Calhoun Road, Houston, Texas

    Date: August 4-7; Green presidential nomination on Saturday, August 6
    2016 Green Presidential Nominating Convention site:

    Media credentialing page:

    Convention theme: "Houston, We Have A Solution: Vote Green 2016"


    Green Party of the United States

    Green candidate database and campaign information:
    Ballot Access Page
    Green Pages: The official publication of record of the Green Party of the United States

    ~ END ~

    Green Party of the United States 

    For Immediate Release:
    Monday, April 4, 2016

    Scott McLarty, Media Coordinator, 202-904-7614,
    Starlene Rankin, Media Coordinator,
    Tamar Yager, Co-chair of the Annual National Meeting Committee, 540-631-7222, 502-296-3849 (cell),
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