SUMMER'S EDNING--DID YOU ENJOY YOURSELF?
I have not been trolling Facebook as much as usual. It's too gorgeous out and my email access is irregular here in Provincetown. I popped back on and see so much celebrity death and illness and unrest in the world from Ferguson to Gaza to Iraq to countries stricken with ebola. It's unsettling, and I don't think the answer is to ignore issues, which is why I'm often pounding my soapbox about a variety of issues. But the world will always have problems. The question is how much we allow the world's issues to spill over into our own worlds. Don't forget to enjoy yourselves in the last days of summer. We can't control everything in the world but with so much ugliness, sometimes we needed to be reminded that it's important to create joy in our own lives. Corny, perhaps. But the summer is ending. Have a little fun! And feel free to throw this post back in my face the next time I'm ranting about injustices. But I read this article in the Village Voice, which I swore I'd never pick up after Michael Musto left, that reminded me that we must cultivate joy or our existence will be sad. I know I needed to hear this--maybe it will speak to you as well.
An excerpt: "The very nature of partying is to provide a life-saving release from the constant pressure to "take things seriously." Seriousness of the sort you're describing is precisely why things like partying are crucial to our mental and spiritual health. I take joy very seriously, and partying is the formal pursuit and celebration of joy itself. I'm having a party to celebrate life. I'm having a party to celebrate partying itself.
It seems to me that people often equate intelligence with seriousness, and stupidity with playfulness. These people also tend to overvalue a sort of stoic distance and lack of excitement and enthusiasm as somehow being a sign of wisdom and advanced thinking. An austere and somber attitude doesn't make someone smarter or more intellectual. Sometimes people are overly serious because they're afraid of looking unkempt, unimportant, uneducated -- they fear they'll "make a fool out of themselves" if they don't remain dour and stiff. In my opinion, if more people aspired to the level of life-mastery and self-actualization that a true fool has attained, there'd be much less conflict in the world. Fools realize that the most ignorant people are usually the ones most violently accusing others of being ignorant. Fools realize that in most cases, understanding is overrated. Most importantly, fools realize that no one really knows what's going on, starting first and foremost with themselves."
NICKI MINAJ IS FINALLY USING HER REAL VOICE!
Did Obama literally just give a press conference to essentially say:
"Yes, we are going back into Iraq, which I once called "the dumb war"--but this time we admit we admit that we don't have a strategy. Next question."
When asked how complicated the situation is.
"Yes, we are both fighting ISIS in Iraq and aiding them in Syria, but the Americans are so dumb we can get away with it by showing a journalist being beheaded. That means we have to attack someone, because our own are being threatened abroad. Most are never going to take the time to understand the ancient allegiances between warring tribes or that ISIS rose to power because the US destroyed Iraq. And never mind that American diplomats could easily be airlifted out of trouble zones to safety, eliminating the need to attack. We've already lost the American public completely by sometimes referring to these terrorists as ISIS and sometimes as ISIL. Bush got the dummies to support attacking Iraq after 9/11 even though it had nothing to do with 9/11 and had no weapons of mass destruction, fer chrissakes!. And Kerry and I almost got them to go into Syria by replaying footage of gassed children." So US foreign policy doesn't have to make sense. I'll take one more question."
When asked if he was overextending the power of power among the three branches of government by seizing more power for the executive branch just like George W. Bush, he basically said:
"You clearly see how I'm abusing my office, but most Americans are either too dumb or don't care that we are creating a king instead of a president who is above the Constitution, which clearly states that Congress must approve any war. And I can always say I need to act decisively and alone because of the do-nothing Congress. Even though all members of both parties in Congress just miraculously came together to vote on authorizing more money for Israel to attack Palestinians and further destabilize the region that we are, in theory, trying to stabilize. Because we need military bases all over the Middle East because of oil. So America get ready to have your kids die in a war you don't understand to line the pockets of corporations who bribed me and everyone else in the government. Thank you."
JOE GAUTHREAUX, MITCH AMTRAK AND ERICA GABRIEL TEAM UP FOR...
MAKE SURE YOU TAKE TIPS FROM CRAZIES
Parker Molloy is one of the trans activists who was most vocal in the attack on RuPaul and Drag Race for their use of the terms tranny and shemale. As a result of protests, segments on Drag Race were removed because of these terms are allegedly hate speech. During the debacle, Parker tweeted "I f#cking hate RuPaul." which sounded a lot like hate speech to me. She also attacked a post-op transsexual friend of mine and called her a drag queen because my friend still performs and she didn't happen to agree with Parker. This is one of the most hateful things you can say to someone who has had gender reassignment surgery. The trans community calls it misgendering and Parker did it deliberately and cruelly. And there's apparently more hatefulness and hate speech where that came from. Now an organization which seeks to stop the violence against trans people has issued a "violence advisory" against Parker after another especially nasty online scuffle.
This doesn't invalidate Parker's or other trans women's claims that they find certain words hurtful and that people should stop using them--even though many of us in the drag community which often uses colorful language refuses to stop using terms which we do not feel is hate speech. But this does hint at an ugly side of Parker which isn't too concerned with words being hurtful if she's using such strong language that trans websites are issuing violence advisories on her. So I guess her urging someone in the trans community which frequently struggles with suicide to cut themselves and drink bleach are ok, but tranny and shemale are not. She sounds like a very caring person who should have a say in which words should be used and which segments should be cut from which TV shows.
HERE'S TO KATE BUSH!
Many Kate Bush lovers are headed to London to see the off-beat divas last ever 18 sold out shows. Someone offered me a ticket and I even had a dj gig there but scheduling didn't allow me to get over there. But I do love Kate, especially Wuthering Heights. Here, I butcher it at a benefit for gay marriage called Wedrock, with John Cameron Mitchell, Lou Reed, Margaret Cho and many more.
HATE THE MUSIC, LOVE EVERYTHING ELSE!
I'm really glad that Michelangelo Signorile is thinking this way. But if we're going to call out the gay community for supporting fake democrats/progressives who use their support of advancing gay rights to seem liberal on social issues while their policies keep income equality alive, then let's call out Obama and Hillary. They stand for nothing accept getting elected and continuing the status quo to shaft working Americans of every sexual persuasion, gender orientation, religious background and color.
Who Cares If Burger King Is Pro-Gay When It's Hurting Every One of Us?
"The latest is Burger King, which only weeks ago unveiled "The Proud Whopper" to support LGBT pride -- receiving accolades from many LGBT activists -- but now is fleeing to Canada, buying up Tim Hortons, following other American companies engaged in so-called tax inversions, all to avoid paying U.S. taxes. Who cares if Burger King wraps its Whopper in the rainbow if the company is hurting the American economy, American taxpayers and American workers, including LGBT workers?"
I now have concrete proof that Jesus was black, overrated and experienced unnatural childbirth!
WALMART LITERALLY PASSES ON THE SAVINGS TO YOU
PLEASE SIGN IF YOU AGREE!
Before September 8, when the Senate votes on a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United, Daily Kos is teaming up with an ever-growing coalition of Senators, members of Congress and other activists to take back our democracy.
With the deadline approaching, we need to make sure Jon Ingle is signed on with us.
Sign our joint petition to overturn Citizens United, restore transparency to our campaign finance system and get our democracy back on track.
Citizens United drastically changed the way our political system works—giving corporations and special interests the ability to spend virtually unlimited, unchecked amounts of money in American elections.
Right now, the Koch Brothers are set to break $2 billion in spending this election cycle.
We can’t let Citizens United ruin our democracy—we need to take action, and there’s a growing coalition of elected officials supporting us. But we need Jon Ingle.
Sign our joint petition to restore transparency and accountability to our campaign finance system and get our democracy back on track.
Did she work for Malaysian Airlines?
DRIVING MISS CRAZY
Had a chat with a taxi driver in Boston just now. It was a very short conversation, but we covered a lot. He appeared to be from Northeastern Africa, because he possessed that dramatic beauty of one of Iman's cousins. I assume he was straight. Possibly muslim. We probably have very little in common, yet in the short drive from the Provincetown Ferry to Boston's South Station, I think we manage to sum up quite a bit.
He griped about construction causing traffic, referring to a road that was being dug up for new sewage for some deluxe apartment buildings. "Now the rich want to live inside city centers--they weren't too interested when the cities weren't as safe." And boring. We griped about chain stores and the fact that shopping choices were now only national chains. "Try to open a business today," he told me, laughing. I said that that both parties like to talk about the importance of mom & pop businesses being the backbone of the American economy, yet the government largely ignores them and takes money from huge corporations to do their bidding. "Both parties--they are the same," he said. I agreed, saying that both parities existed not to represent the people, but to start wars and lick the butts of the corporations who bribe them with campaign contributions. "Every time you drop a bomb, $1 million dollars," he said." I mentioned that it was a global problem and how NYC had become a shopping mall of chains and he said "Even in Africa! You go to the countryside and you don't see lions anymore. You see chain stores." To which I replied "It's a good thing there isn't more oil in Africa, or you'd see more bombs there."
Why am I taking notes in cabs? Well, I'm on a train home to Manhattan, and the ridiculously prudish Amtrak bans access on their wireless to Democracynow.org or any news site which might tell the truth because it has no corporate advertising. So I'm a little bored. But we're preparing for the idiotic, pre-paid dance that is our elections, where we get to select two parties representing basically the same thing: screw the working public in favor of giant corporations and have rich people send poor kids to war so that they can get richer. The two parties may muddy the water by having one shift more anti-abortion or one be more pro-gay rights, but you end up with the same policies. So we foolishly vote for which candidate we'd most like to have a beer with, based on the narrative the press and their campaign ads have created to deceive us. A drag queen can see it. An African cab driver can see it. I think we all can if we wanted to see. Too bad the people most affected by laws aren't the ones making them. All but the 1% would be a lot better off and a lot happier.
THE NY COM-POST
I'm always surprised and saddened to see people reading the NY Post. I know they have great gossip on Page 6--if you're shallow enough to substitute gossip instead of news. But today's cover should remind us of what the conservative paper really stands for. Minorities, women, gays and average workers continue to buy the paper which continually spits on them and their rights. Even the 50 cents you pay for it contributes to it's ultra-conservative agenda. It's descent into sensational tabloid journalism happened when Rupert Murdoch, the creator of Fox News, took over. Yet New Yorkers who would never dream of watching right-wing Fox News still read the NY Post.
Today's Post cover is an article supporting the police, to provide a counter-opinion to Al Sharpton's march protesting cops choking Eric Garner to death as video shows him saying "I can't breathe." Eric was apprehended selling loose cigarettes on the street. I don't care if he was guilty, just as I don't care if Michael Brown had robbed a convenience store, refused to get out the middle of the street when asked by police or had marijuana in his system when shot by the police with his hands up. The police have no right to be the on-the-spot judge, jury and executioner--that isn't their job. No matter what we're accused of, we have a right to a trial in this country. Not vigilante cops, drunk with power and abuse, shooting whoever they like. Shooting suspects not in the leg to prevent them from fleeing, but shooting to kill. And in the case of Eric Garner, using an illegal choke hold which killed him.
Yet the Post chooses to ignore these abuses and stands blindly with the cops, saying they'll gladly toast the police force on this day. I'm not against the police. As the Post says, they bravely do a difficult job. And we don't hear about the many times they get their jobs right and we're all safer as a result. But that's not to say that police shouldn't be held fully accountable when they screw up royally and lives are lost as a result. At a time like this, with blacks being killed for no reason or murky reasons, the cops are clearly abusing their power and their weapons. For blacks, it's a trend that has never ended. Bill Deblasio won as NYC's mayor partially because New Yorkers' mostly do not want Stop-And-Frisk policies which unfairly target people of color for minor offenses. We definitely don't want fellow New Yorkers Stopped-And-Frisked-And-Murdered. There's a way to make NYC safer from crime without it's residents of color living in fear. And if you are thinking "I don't sell loose cigarettes or break laws so I have nothing to worry about" I hope you'll recall the brutal crackdowns on mainly peaceful, unarmed Occupy Wall Street protesters of all races. They weren't breaking a law either, just exercising their rights to assemble and use free speech. Yet our police somehow interpreted that as a crime. So I hope you'll think about which paper you buy and what a dangerous ideology is behind the gossip you enjoy in the NY Post.
PS: I'm no fan of Al Sharpton, who had the nerve to say on 60 minutes that he would never criticize president Obama in his role as a journalist. (MSNBC is as bad as Fox--just in a different direction.) But this march isn't a popularity contest for Al Sharpton, and he happens to be right to march in defense of Eric Garner's rights and others like him.
A PASSIONATE SPEECH
Which asks a great question: Why are these police shooting to kill if there is no need for it?
AT LEAST HE'S HONEST!
Sunil Dutta, a 17-year veteran of the Los Angeles Police Department and professor of homeland security at Colorado Tech University, has a suggestion for victims of police violence searching for someone to blame: Look in the mirror.
In a column published Tuesday in The Washington Post titled, "I’m a cop. If you don’t want to get hurt, don’t challenge me," Dutta responds to mounting criticism of the policing tactics on display in Ferguson, Missouri, amid the hyper-militarization of law enforcement and accusations that officers have violated the First Amendment rights of both demonstrators and journalists covering the events. In a particularly telling passage, Dutta argues that citizens could deter police brutality if they were simply more cooperative, even when they're unjustly targeted.
MICHAEL JACKSON TAKES THE ICE BUCKET CHALLENGE!
ARE YOU GOING TO CALL OBAMA OUT ON HIS BULLSHIT AFTER HE LEAVES OFFICE?
Barack Obama took time off from his vacation to issue a statement on Ferguson claiming that "“Here in the United States of America, police should not be bullying or arresting journalists who are just trying to do their jobs." Meanwhile, the hypocritical president has been working overtime throughout his administration to silence the press. And this is the guy who campaigned with promises of greater transparency than the hideous George W. Bush administration, which was notorious for limiting the press's access to the White House so that the press feared it would lose access if it asked tough questions. Obama has carried on Bush's work and even expanded it--in direct contrast to his campaign promises. Here's how the White House is putting it's full force behind prosecuting Pulitzer Prize-winning NY Times journalist James Risen. Obama doing exactly what he claims shouldn't be done in Ferguson. But none of the sheep who support Obama will be bothered to question his blatant hypocrisy. It's all right there if you care to see the truth. This administration counts on you not connecting the dots and most of us are happy to oblige.
Columbia Journalism Review: "Just minutes after the president finished his remarks (about reporters in Ferguson), a coalition of journalism organizations at the National Press Club in Washington began a news conference condemning the Obama administration’s attempt to compel James Risen, a New York Times reporter, to identify a confidential source. The menagerie of groups this morning presented a petition, signed by more than 125,000 people, calling on the Justice Department to end its six-year effort to force Risen to testify against his source.
In June, the US Supreme Court turned down a last-ditch appeal from Risen, removing the final legal barrier for federal prosecutors who want him to take the stand.
The coincidental timing puts a spotlight on a White House that has repeatedly defended its claim as the most transparent administration in history. In the past five years, however, the Obama administration has been decried repeatedly for both its secrecy and its aggression toward the press. What’s more, it has pursued more criminal leak investigations than every previous White House combined."
CONFESSIONS OF A COFFEE HAG!
Spending a month in Provincetown has been quite an adjustment for Bunion. While it's a vacation spot for most, I've been working here steadily. But it's nice to get out of the NYC rat race for a month in this undeniably quaint town. One major change I've noticed is how well I've slept--and I'm someone with sleep issues who often relies on sleeping pills. It's been so wonderful that I'm trying to find out exactly what caused the change in my sleeping habits to keep them going once I return home. It is quieter here, so that could account for some of it. But there's a Starbucks right across the street from my apartment in NYC, and while I gripe about chain stores taking over Manhattan, I have yet to find a non-chain store that "gets me going" in the morning if ya know what I mean. (If you don't, let's just say that Starbucks sells the most effective laxatives on the market.) So I have at least one coffee from there every day.
Starbucks' coffee is really strong and it's the first time most Americans have drunk espresso-based drinks. Also, the large sizes are really huge. I wonder how much caffeine is actually in them compared to what we were drinking a decade or two ago? I remember when Starbucks got it's initial national boost and I visited Seattle. When a waiter served me the weakest cup of diner coffee I'd ever had, I told him "I thought that you guys liked strong coffee in Seattle since it was the home of Starbucks" and he replied that the tourists would have a heart attack if they served that. Besides sleeplessness, I also suffer from stress. I had a tightness in my chest and since my dad had a heart attack at age 50 and I'm older than that, overweight and not in the best shape, I wondered if this could be a sign of oncoming heart trouble. So I had a stress test and the doctor determined that my heart was fine--the tightness was simply caused by regular stress. One of the causes of stress? Caffeine consumption. And there's no Starbucks in Provincetown. I've been drinking coffee here, just not those huge venti sizes with tons of caffeine. Though Provincetown coffee still packs enough punch to get me to type this long-ass drivel at 9AM. So I guess I'm going to try to to avoid Starbucks when I'm back home and see if sleep improves and stress is reduced. Does anyone else have any similar experiences? I mean, I know all my friends are thin, young and gorgeous with no health issues. But I thought you just might have heard something from someone else. Because I want my heart to be stressed out by fattening foods, lack of exercise, cocaine and poppers--NOT coffee.
USA'S "HUMANITARIAN" BOMBS
PULITZER PRIZE-WINNING JOURNALIST GLENN GREENWALD ON WHY THE US ONLY DROPS HUMANITARIAN BOMBS IN OIL-RICH REGIONS WHILE IGNORING CRISES WHERE THERE IS NO OIL. AND CONTRIBUTES TO ANY CRISIS WHICH BENEFITS IT, LIKE GIVING BILLIONS ANNUALLY TO ISRAEL TO ATTACK PALESTINIANS.
GLENN GREENWALD: I mean, I think, clearly, you know, that ISIS is a group that is brutal and awful and extremist and dangerous. Nobody likes ISIS. But the U.S. stands by constantly while thousands or more people are put at risk or are even killed. And not only does the United States stand by while that happens, but the United States government is an active participant in the killing of thousands of civilians all the time. As I said, the Israelis just killed hundreds and close to 2,000 people in Gaza, including women, men and children, and not only did the United States stand by, we fed them the arms and protected them at the U.N. It seems like our humanitarianism is triggered only when it comes time to assert control over oil-rich areas. And I don’t think it’s any secret to anybody who has studied the region, including the important oil locations in Kurdistan, as Patrick Cockburn was just saying, that this became an issue for the U.S. government not when certain minorities became put in jeopardy of their lives, but when the flow of oil in that area became jeopardized. And, you know, it’s fine if you want to argue that oil is an important resource and the U.S. government should use military force in order to defend it, but we should at least have that honest debate and not allow political leaders to stand up and deceive us—in this really pleasing, though misleading, way—that we’re really dropping bombs out of humanitarianism.
NERMEEN SHAIKH: So, Glenn Greenwald, what do you think accounts for the fact that the U.S. media, in general, doesn’t question the self-professed motives, humanitarian motives, of the Obama administration, or indeed the many administrations that preceded it who used very similar justifications?
GLENN GREENWALD: Well, like I said, I mean, this trick, this tactic of pretending that aggression and violence and a war are really being done for humanitarian reasons, is not unique to the United States. I mean, you can look at Napoleon and the invaders of the early 20th century and, as I said, al-Qaeda and Gaddafi and a whole range of people. The writer Jonathan Schwarz has compiled a really long list of some of the worst warmongers in history, who have used identical humanitarian explanations as the one the U.S. government gives. And I think one big reason is that because no population, no country, likes to think of itself as an aggressor, as an empire, as warmongers. We all like to think that we’re good people. And so, one of the ways that you get a population to acquiesce to a permanent state of warfare, which is obviously what the United States government is in, and has been in for decades—how do you convince the population to continue to acquiesce to the continuous slaughter of people around the world, to the bombing of multiple countries, in a way that no other country would contemplate? Really, the only way that you can do that is by continuously telling them that it’s being done because you’re benevolent, because we just love humanity and love freedom and love democracy so much that we constantly bomb people in pursuit of those goals. And I think the combination of how adept this propaganda is, when it’s done by the U.S. government and U.S. media jointly, combined with the desire that we all as human beings have to think good things about ourselves, makes it so that, even contrary to all evidence as it is—JUST WATCH IT!
GLOZELL TAKES THE ICE BUCKET CHALLENGE
A BRAND NEW CHALLENGE!
Since people love these challenges so much, I'd like to start a new one that combines the the cinnamon challenge, the #nohate campaign and the ice bucket challenge.
Here's how you do it. Eat a teaspoon of cinnamon. Immediately tape your mouth up and write No Hate on your cheek. Make sure someone is videoing you. Turn yourself upside down and while you are choking on the cinnamon, have someone dump a bucket of ice water into your nostrils until you drown.
You're probably asking, Bunny, what cause would this possibly help? Well, I work for The Darwin Foundation and this challenge help move the process of natural selection along. It would achieve this by weeding out some of the fad-obsessed attention nuts who like to pretend that they are briefly concerned about some disease or missing Nigerian girls they were obsessed with a month ago but haven't thought of in weeks, celebrities desperate to seem relevant and hip to internet trends who usually forget to actually post the donation information for Lou Gehrig's disease which has been suddenly rebranded as ALS and Californians too ignorant to know that there's a serious draught that the ice bucket challenge contributes to. This will allow people with more brain cells to live on and make the best use of the earth's precious resources like cinnamon, ice and water.
FINALLY! A CHAIN LETTER THAT REALLY WORKS!
Forward this message to 10 people and you will get
That's right, FUCK ALL
You won't get good luck, or a nice surprise,
5 grand or a fucking holiday in Jamaica,
Just FUCK ALL.
It's true, it works
I sent it on and got FUCK ALL,
Don't break the chain!
Its the only one of these fucking things that actually works!
Send it on and get FUCK ALL
It's fucking brilliant!
WHEN DID THE POLICE BECOME MILITARY?
Many are appalled to see police who appear to be combat troops treating protesters in Ferguson like some enemy we are fighting overseas. Obama has called for a separation of police and military after the Michael Brown incident. But he's the commander-in-chief of the military, so the police and military couldn't have combined without his approval. He had the FBI coordinate the brutal crackdown on Occupy Wall Street protesters--so you don't have to be black to experience a silencing of all-American dissent in a country which dreams that it is still free.
When did the police and military begin to merge, often receiving free military-grade weapons from the feds? Was it fear after 9/11 that allowed the blur of military and law enforcement? Actually, it began with democrat Bill Clinton's crime bill and has with every president.
DAILYKOS: So we have all these soldiers becoming cops. I've searched for stats and other info on this PROGRAM without much success. But I witnessed first hand the effect of this legislation. All though the 90s and early 2000s, I watched as police forces slowly transformed from a bunch of normal men and women, some with donut bellies, and far more looking like the PEOPLE they serve, to these Rambo looking people, with their military crew cuts, steroid builds, and, most importantly, a certain look in the eye that says, "I control you." (Bunny note: And if you read the whole article, you may be alarmed that these new former military cops have PTSD.)
Why? Because our own government sees its own PEOPLE as the enemy.
WTF? When did the coup d'etat happen and why wasn't I told about it?
In the wake of Ferguson, Obama is calling for a separation of police and military. Too bad this hypocrite wasn't calling for it when he was orchestrating the violence against Occupy Wall Street protesters with the FBI, Dept of Homeland Security with help from the big banks. No US president can bear to hear any criticism against the banks, who we start wars for and bail out while cutting social services. Obama and every president is just their puppet.
Naomi Wolf: "It was more sophisticated than we had imagined: new documents show that the violent crackdown on Occupy last fall – so mystifying at the time – was not just COORDINATED at the level of the FBI, the Department of Homeland SECURITY, and local police. The crackdown, which involved, as you may recall, violent arrests, group disruption, canister missiles to the skulls of protesters, PEOPLE held in handcuffs so tight they were injured, people held in bondage till they were forced to wet or soil themselves –was coordinated with the big banks themselves."
"FBI documents just obtained by the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund (PCJF) … reveal that from its inception, the FBI treated the Occupy movement as a potential criminal and terrorist threat … The PCJF has obtained heavily redacted documents showing that FBI offices and agents around the country were in high gear conducting surveillance against the movement even as early as August 2011, a month prior to the establishment of the OWS encampment in Zuccotti Park and other Occupy actions around the country."
Verheyden-Hilliard points out the close partnering of banks, the New York Stock Exchange and at least one local Federal Reserve with the FBI and DHS, and calls it "police-statism":
"This production [of documents], which we believe is just the tip of the iceberg, is a WINDOW into the nationwide scope of the FBI's surveillance, monitoring, and reporting on peaceful protestors organizing with the Occupy movement … These documents also show these federal agencies functioning as a de facto intelligence arm of Wall Street and Corporate America."
YOUR VOICE--USE IT OR LOSE....Whoops! There it goes!
VERY POWERFUL--PLEASE WATCH TO THE END
A NEW STUDY REVEALS
The Disease of American Democracy
"Their conclusion: "The preferences of the average American appear to have only a miniscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy."Instead, lawmakers respond to the policy demands of wealthy individuals and monied BUSINESS interests -- those with the most lobbying prowess and deepest pockets to bankroll campaigns.
Before you're tempted to say "duh," wait a moment. Gilens' and Page's data come from the period 1981 to 2002. This was before the Supreme Court opened the floodgates to big money in Citizens United, prior to SuperPACs, and before the Wall Street bailout.
So it's likely to be even worse now."
BIANCA DEL RIO IN BED WITH JOAN RIVERS
GUESS WHO IS TAKING THE CHALLENGE NOW?
For those of you who were wondering when the legendary Lypsinka will be returning to the NYC stage, she's back this fall with not just 1 show, but 3! I've seen two of them and loved Lypsinka!:The Boxed Set and her lip-synch to Joan Crawford's insane 1973 interview in The Passion Of The Crawford. I highly recommend that you catch all 3 as she will die soon. Nov 5th-Jan 3rd at the East Village's Connelly Theatre.
FROM FACEBOOK PAGE US UNCUT
Congress goes on vacation without extending emergency unemployment benefits for millions of Americans, including 300,000 veterans. But before members hit the road, they passed $225 million in emergency funding for Israel's military. No wonder this Congress has the lowest approval rating in history. Share to spread their shame. LIKE our page US Uncut
I KNEW THERE WAS SOMETHING SUSPICIOUS...
What if Michael Brown did rob a convenience store? Let's say for the purpose of argument that the video released by police does show Michael stealing cigars, just as I stole stupid shit when I was a kid. Maybe he wasn't always the "gentle giant" early reports described him as.
1. But are the police authorized to shoot people for cigar theft without a trial?
2. The police who apprehended and shot him didn't know about the alleged convenience store incident, so they were just shooting someone for walking in the middle of the street and being black.
3. Why did police release this video against the wishes of the justice department? The Missouri governor claims it was to smear Michael's character. By releasing a video character attack on someone who they killed before releasing details of the shooting, the police smeared their own.
THANKS TO ROBERT KUTTNER FOR BRINGING THIS UP!
Lousy Work: Will it Break Through as a Political Issue?
Of course a look at the unemployment crisis won't break through as a serious issue in the next presidential election. Republicans always favor employers (the few) instead of employees (the vast majority) and Obama has been a failure, too. The actual percentage of unemployed may have dropped under Obama, but this is partly due to part-time jobs, disguising permanent jobs as temps to avoid paying benefits, working more at jobs we already have for less $ and the fact that the percentage dropped because so many have given up looking for work. Permanently. Until they die penniless. Others have given up hopes of retiring and will literally work themselves (ourselves) into the grave.
This article ends asking if Hillary will address unemployment seriously. Dream on. We'll be too busy being shocked by MSNBC criticizing what Fox reported on and vice versa to actually hit upon the actual issues that affect our lives. Just let a GOP politician talk bring up Bill Clinton's affairs as ammunition against Hillary and that low blow will dominate the news for a week. Not the realities of unemployment. Just as republicans brayed about jobs, jobs, jobs during the election and focused on abortions, abortions, abortions after they won, here's the author of this article's assessment of Obama's record up until now.
"After six years of prodding from a labor movement for which President Obama delivered precious little, the president at last began issuing executive orders requiring government contractors to be minimally decent employers."
This author also hits upon a hideous trend I never knew existed--that some of us with jobs aren't sure exactly how many hours we'll be getting. I sure wish our landlords were that flexible!
"The Times addressed the fact that it's becoming normal for workers not to know their schedules more than a few days in advance. The lead piece shamed Starbucks, which prides itself on being a good employer, to enforce its own nominal policy of giving employees decent notice of the hours they are expected to work.
The Times' Sunday article addressed the increasing number of workers in the so called "sharing economy" -- the Task Rabbits and people who offer cut-rate rides via Uber and Lyft, and dozens more web chore-matching services. The dirty little secret of the vaunted flexibility is that you can't make a living at it, or have enough predictability in your life to raise a family.
The shift in labor markets, from an economy where regular payroll employment is the norm, to one where more of us are performing odd jobs, or have regular jobs with indeterminate schedules, ought to be the top domestic political issue. There should be an emergent political consciousness that regular people are getting screwed solely so that greater profits can go to corporations, executive, and private equity speculators."
IS NYC STILL WORTH THE PRICE?
I sat on a plane next to a bunch of older southern gals flying up to NYC to see a bunch of NYC. They were ecstatic about seeing several Broadway shows. Except for Billy Elliot. They singled that out as something they'd never even contemplate seeing. (I assume because of the musical's gay content.) While tourism is important to NYC's economy, there's also a danger in having Manhattan become a tourist trap where clueless visitors from regions of the US who many of us moved here to escape are shaping the content of our entertainment. That's why we see Clay Aiken making guest appearances in Spamalot. Honey, I think I can speak for many New Yorkers when I say that we don't give a crap about Clay Aiken. But he's a draw for the sort of tourists who dumb everything down. New York--not for New Yorkers anymore.
Here's one reason this is affecting not just entertainment, but restaurants. And why our favorite mom & pop restaurants are closing with national chains popping up instead. One would think that tourists with a brain might want to try Ray's Pizza, Gray's Papaya, Magnolia Bakery, Veselka, Veronica's or other local faves, in a town known for it's great food because New Yorkers.
"Chain restaurants were cited as a cause of the closing of local places. “I see no problem in banning chains,” declared Sietsema, citing the ability of zoning to regulate real estate uses. But others pointed out that tourists are attracted to places that are familiar, and chain restaurants are familiar to everyone."
SPENT MY BIRFDAY DOING WHAT I LOVE: FART JOKES!
Here all month. Here's a review:
Provincetown Magazine's Steve Desroches: "She looks like Dusty Springfield after a hard nigh tof drinking. She dances like Goldie Hawn with the runs. She sings like Bobbie Gentry with strep throat. It’s Lady Bunny, the legendary drag queen with a mountain of blond hair, top and bottom lashes that could cause a hurricane when she blinks, and a set of gams that would make Ann Miller jealous, if she wasn’t dead. After visiting Provincetown for quick hits of late night appearances at the Atlantic House, Lady Bunny is presenting her very first show in town, bringing her bawdy humor and psychedelic infused stage spectacle to the storied nightclub.
In this era of extreme political correctness, oversensitivity, and allergies to everything from soup to nuts to ethnic jokes, it’s hard to describe Lady Bunny’s show without wading into the waters of offensiveness. It doesn’t take much to elicit a letter from GLAD calling you transphobic or to light up the Twittersphere with boo-hoos and hurt feelings. Comedy, good comedy, makes you think, and laughter heals. Lady Bunny is smart and it shows. That being said, Lady Bunny’s show is also completely retarded. Yes, it’s the “R” word, but before anyone gets mad and calls Timothy Shriver, consider this: 1) if that word used in a joke offends you, then Lady Bunny will have you in a puddle of tears by the time her show is over, and 2) lighten up, because if a drag queen using that word in a joke is more offensive to you than the fact that because of Congress’ inaction special needs programs across America face budget cuts of hundreds of millions of dollars, then you might be part of the problem.
To explain further, to use that description to capture the aura of Lady Bunny’s That Ain’t No Lady is meant to be of the highest praise as she takes toilet humor and fart jokes and elevates them to a hilarious art form. Seriously. Truly. She go-go dances around stage and drops jaw-dropping one-liners and ingenious song parodies so that by the time she is done, she has mentioned every bodily fluid and function known to medical science and you’re shocked at the glorious gross-out humor and the sophisticated scatological sensibility she brings to the stage. It takes a special talent to deliver a musical homage to smegma that will have you singing along.
In all seriousness, an evening with Lady Bunny is time spent with someone who knows how to quickly take everyone down to a level that elevates everyone to a place where laughter is the currency and every topic is for sale. That Ain’t No Lady is a carnival of sequined diarrhea jokes and tastelessly tasseled put-downs of today’s vapid celebrity culture that would make Joan Rivers say, “Now why didn’t I think of that!?” (Rivers herself makes a shockingly funny video appearance roasting Lady Bunny during the show.)
Celebrated for her stage shows, film appearances, as a judge on RuPaul’s Drag U, and especially as the founder of the drag festival Wigstock, Lady Bunny has specially tailored her show for Provincetown, with references to such important cultural institutions and landmarks as the Dick Dock and whatever Commercial Street shrubbery she’s pulled her latest trick into. That Ain’t No Lady is not just Lady Bunny at her best, but also an example of how Provincetown’s performance scene continues to be dynamic and robust, pulling incredible talent from all over the country to our tiny spit of sand way out in the Atlantic Ocean.
By the way the show is totally, totally transphobic. But save your outraged letters for Congress and not Lady Bunny. Her jokes do way more to help the cause than any Senator ever has."
Lady Bunny presents That Ain’t No Lady at the Atlantic House, 4-6 Masonic Place, Thursday through Saturday at 8:30 p.m. through August 30. Tickets ($19.99) are available at the door. For more information call 508.487.3169.
WHAT DO FERGUSON, MO AND 9/11 HAVE IN COMMON?
So are the people grieving over the unarmed black teen Michael Ferguson are terrorists? That would explain why the footage from the mainly peaceful protests demanding only information about another senseless killing have been met by a police force that looks more and more like the military combat--with combat gear, tear gas, rubber bullets, attack dogs and flash grenades. Can we get some sarin gas in there? Our police force is getting beefed up by expensive military equipment by the federal government. I guess if there's not much war overseas, government officials is happy to silence any protest or dissent and declare war on the people who elected it. You gotta keep those weapons manufacturers paid. Just as our kids can get gunned down in schools in Sandy Hook and nothing gets done because the government wouldn't dare give a crap about the safety of white or black children if it cuts into gun manufacturers' profits. And it isn't just in Ferguson. It was at Occupy Wall Street protests around the country. The scope is ludicrous.
"So we have had the absurd spectacles of $100 million in counter-terrorism funds going to South Dakota (pop. 833,000), a BearCat patrolling a pumpkin festival in New Hampshire, and $90,000 spent on bollards and surveillance at the Seattle Mariners and San Diego Padres’ spring-training facility. And now we have protesters in a St. Louis suburb being confronted with exo-skeletal defenders of the peace who look like they arrived straight from the Maidan or Tahrir Square."
And while there is no shortage of funds to patrol the sinister, seditious types who assemble at a pumpkin festival--A PUMPKIN FESTIVAL--and Ferguson has received tens of millions in riot control and combat gear, the school in St. Louis which Michael Brown had only two robes to share between all graduating seniors. So here's a kid who made it through a tough neighborhood and was on his way to college and he's gunned down. And if locals demand answers, they are treated like enemy combatants. The police and government's message is the same: We're going to kill you, harass you, defund your schools, social security offices, veterans' hospitals, post offices, etc. And if you complain--we'll attack you!
DAILY KOS: "Mike's graduation photograph was taken in March 2014, still many months ahead of when he would be able to graduate in August. Imagine the "why" of this fact:
The grinding poverty in Mike's world only allowed Normandy High School to acquire two graduation gowns to be shared by the entire class. The students passed a gown from one to the other. Each put the gown on, in turn, and sat before the camera to have their graduation photographs taken. Until it was Mike's turn.
What kind of American school would have to share robes across the entire senior class? The kind that's been the subject of a lot of attention from the state board of education.
This district was created by merging two of the poorest, most heavily minority districts around St. Louis—Normandy and Wellston. The poverty rate for families sending their kids to Normandy Schools was 92 percent. At Wellston School District, the poverty rate was 98 percent. Every single student in the Wellston district was African American.
Still, the state education board voted to merge the districts in 2010 (the first change to state school district boundaries in thirty-five years). Plagued by white flight, crashing property values that destroyed tax revenues, and a loss of state funds as the better-off residents of the area sent their children to private schools, the resulting district isn't just short of gowns, it's short of everything. Residents of the district voted again and again to raise their own property taxes, until their rates were actually the highest in the state, but a higher percentage of nothing was still nothing, and district revenues trended steadily down."
We've always got money for weapons. School supplies? Well, not when there are "terrorists" at unruly pumpkin festivals to reign in. Please complain while you still can, and bring your cellphones to film it.
Those War-Ready Cops in Ferguson Are 9/11's Awful Legacy—and Your Taxes Are Paying for It
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MY BIG BIRFDAY RANT!
Hey everybody! Thank you so much for the many birthday wishes. Today, an old whore turns even older. I'm 52 and I'm happy. I have a job which I enjoy and many wonderful friend both online and off. Yesterday in Provincetown, I had lunch with my dear friend Ryan Landry
, and we made each other scream with laughter rewriting "Mama's Turn" from Gypsy Rose Lee. Think "Mama's snorting meth, mama's got a knife, whoops there goes her d(ck, mama's gotta let go. (Cue the projectile diarrhea sound effect.) Then my gal pals from the Illusions of Provincetown
got together for a feast of Oklahoma City-style soul food prepared by Tisch DeWiliams
and oinked by Felicity Layne
, Billie Jean Beetem
and myself. The Miss Florida pageant had just happened a day earlier, so I was riveted by the gossip from this event. Pageants were the original Drag Race and queens and trans are still just as passionate about them as kids are about Ru's televised competition. I was then treated to Dina Martina
's sold out show. I'm not into competition, but I've got to say that Dina is probably the most original drag performer working today. Or maybe ever. Her brain-dead yet genius shtick is so insane that it never gets old. Whoops! Let's not mention getting old today. Anyway, rest assured that I had a blast yesterday and begin a 5 day work week of performing and djing today. And work is a blessing in this economy!
Now you know that what I love even more than drag and music and horse-hung drug dealers are long-winded political posts. If you would grant me a birthday wish, please read this and see if it means anything to you. Neither involve cake or candles or presents, but both are heavy on my mind as I turn another corner so I hope you'll indulge me. And yes, I am now trying to use my birthday to trick you into paying attention to something very serious. And this post is as long as I am in the tooth.
THING 1: Michael Brown is the black kid from St. Louis who was gunned down by the police on his way to his grandmother's house days ago. About to enter college. Unarmed and shot with his hands up in the air. An eyewitness has not yet been interviewed by cops. A crowd that just wanted info has been met with attack dogs, tear gas and flash grenades. The footage, with smoke and explosions looks like a war zone. AND THEY ONLY WANTED INFO ABOUT WHAT APPEARS TO BE A SENSELESS KILLING. So the only thing we can conclude is that nothing was learned from Trayvon Martin's death two years ago. And that we live in a police state. It's here. Especially if you're black.
This quote from The New Yorker about what's been going on in the Ferguson area has got to shock you. I know that you don't want to live in a country like this, and the New Yorker calls this insane dilemma increasingly common. “We have people who have warrants because of traffic tickets and are effectively imprisoned in their homes,” he said. “They can’t go outside because they’ll be arrested. In some cases people actually have jobs but decide the threat of arrest makes it not worth trying to commute outside their neighborhood.”
But it doesn't matter what color you are--we are losing our freedoms to the police force and to the government. Look at the way police treated peaceful Occupy Wall Street protesters, gassing them while they were seated. Local police were given help by the federal government on how to squash riots--that's how desperate our corrupt government is to squelch any criticism of the status quo, how banks and other corporate interests own our government. The one that we vote for to represent us freely reject our constitutional rights to assemble and protest or demand answers from law enforcement agencies which murder blacks. This is not the land of the free if you disagree with the government or if you're a young black male. Surely, this has to outrage you.
And I haven't even mentioned the increased surveillance which we are all subject today. This has been growing over the Bush and Obama administration, but Big Brother is here. Every email, text or phone call you make can be scrutinized. You can't be happy about that. How free are the people of this country if we can't exercise our constitutional rights and protest in the streets and communicate privately? Let me answer that--not free at all.
Blacks were brought to this country in shackles, suffered through segregation and this is still going on? I recently read an article by a black pastor called "Black Life Is Expendable." I was aware that black prisoners were infected with syphilis for 40 years up until the 1970s in the Tuskegee Experiment. I was not aware that black babies were used as bait to lure alligators from swamps. So maybe blacks have been aware all along what is going on in this country and the many other ways that the cards are stacked against them. But the pastor's article was an eye-opener to me. All countries and nationalities have engaged in abhorrent behavior in more barbaric times. Black kids are being shot NOW. In 2014. Or if not shot, being stopped and frisked--which neither Obama, our first president of color, nor the NYC mayor who campaigned on ending stop and frisk and has a black wife are doing much of anything about. Was Deblasio's afro-wearing kid just a prop to make us think something was done about this while he hires Giuliani's police chief Bill Bratton? How easily we are deceived. Two words for Deblasio, who I campaigned for: Eric Garner. He's the unarmed black man who was choked to death by NYC police while saying "I can't breathe" after being apprehended for selling loose cigarettes. Nothing will change unless you raise your voices against this madness.
THING 2: It was touching to see everyone's remembrances of Robin Williams, whose talents clearly touched the lives of many of you. I love that we are a compassionate people who will mourn a great talent or send money to Thailand or Haiti or even volunteer, as my Vietnam vet uncle did, to help out with the recovery effort in Katrina. But I had to sit back and scratch my head over the zillions of posts which bemoaned the loss of a wealthy Hollywood actor who succumbed to his mental health and took his own life. If senseless loss of life is so upsetting to you, where is your concern for 2,000 dirt poor Palestinians who were just killed by Israelis using weapons that your tax dollars bought for them? Where is your concern over the fact that we have re-entered Iraq, which Obama called "the dumb war?" The Bush administration lied to us and took us into a war which killed over 100,000 innocent Iraqis who were never even able to attack the US. I voted for Barack Obama because as a senator, he voted against going into this senseless war. Now he's going back in. The reasons are just as murky as the non-existent WMDS. A few days ago, he declared that there would be no boots on the ground. 150 more soldiers left yesterday to join the 500 who were sent recently. We're going in to fight ISIS, who we support in neighboring Syria. The fact is, the US is all about war. War gets weapon manufacturers paid. War lets us establish military bases in the middle east so that we can keep close watch over oil-rich territory. And the reason it is suddenly so important that we protect Americans in Iraq when we could airlift them out to safety rather than bomb? Why do we need to protect Kurds, Yazidis and other people you've never heard of before a few weeks ago? Because they live in a region which produces a ton of oil. Aside from this region, Iraq's major export is dates. So we don't care about Iraqis, Kurds or Yazidis or American diplomats. We care about securing oil.
Even though Americans are supposedly sick of war, and the country rejoiced when diplomacy won out over more military action in Syria, here we go again. Obama, like Bush, is ignoring congressional approval for use of military force to go back in. Supposedly to protect people with bombs. Protect them against an extremist group who the US helped to create by tearing Iraq apart, while clueless Americans cheered while we dug Saddam out of a hole and murdered him. That led to the chaos which created ISIS. Face it, the USA is the world's largest terrorist organization. We destroyed a whole country and plunged it into chaos for no reason.
For no reason except that the rich folks in Congress vote for poor folks' kids to go and die for the economic gain of a few. When we went into Iraq the first time, the UK was one of our few allies. We have no allies as we prepare to go back in to a country where military involvement has spanned for presidents. Our current president has a Nobel Peace Prize and is now spreading peace with bombs. If the Kurds and Yazidis are such a humanitarian crisis, why aren't any other countries joining the US to help? Wise up to this. It's clear to everyone all over the world how bogus our foreign policy is. It just isn't clear to the American people because we succumb to corporate news spreading pro-government propaganda. How could we have an effective press corps if they are barely questioning why we are going back into a "dumb war." Both CNN and (supposedly liberal bastion) the NY Times both apologized to viewers/readers for not asking harder questions of the Bush administration before we launched Operation Iraqi Freedom. The media isn't asking hard questions now. So it's up to us. I have to believe that the same people who are concerned over one celebrity suicide death are also concerned about mass murders that we pay for with our tax dollars. That we'd care more if we were just presented with the information before we get into another full-scale conflict and are told by propagandists/news that the US doesn't "cut and run" so we have to stay and fight.
Unlike Robin Williams, there are probably no Palestinian or Iraqi actors who have entertained us for decades. So we don't feel a personal connection to them. Also, they're far away and they aren't white or christian. May I suggest this connection and then I'll finally shut up? If we weren't spending trillions on the war that most Americans polled claim to be sick of, we wouldn't be cutting veterans' benefits, closing social security offices, the Post Offices' hours, subsidies for oil to heat seniors' homes. Hell, if all the fortune spent on the war we supposedly don't want was spent here, we could have free health care and repair our crumbling infrastructure. But that would make sense. And that would mean demanding that our government do what we want and represent us. But they can't listen if you are saying nothing. If you can find the online porn or shopping or any address you need online, you can google your representatives or president or mayor and give them a piece of your mind. That's how a democracy is supposed to work.
And now for cake! Thanks very much to the few of you who made it through this lengthy diatribe!
Thanks again for all your birthday wishes. I'm amazed at how many friends and well-wishers I have. I was especially touched and surprised to hear from Elaine Stritch, Robin Williams and Lauren Bacall.
INSANE! (AND IT IS COMEDY, FYI)
R.I.P. LAUREN BACALL
It's nice to know that someone we loved so much returned the respect. I can't even describe the number of times I was floored by her beauty, elegance and star quality.
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Primarily white police force patrolling mainly black neighborhood, in a state in which black residents are 66% more likely to be picked up even though whites in the area are more likely to be found with contraband. The officer who shot Michael, who was unarmed and had his hands up--has not been identified or fired. So it's just business as usual--unless you say something by signing this petition asking for a thorough investigation. Something has to be done if the people whose job is to uphold our laws are breaking them. And murdering people.
"Dorian Johnson, Michael's good friend, experienced the entire police killing from just feet away.2 Detailing the police attack, Dorian reveals the officer's attack from start to finish, with the officer's first words to the teens, "get the f—k on the sidewalk." The officer's aggression escalated, and as Michael stood in the street with his hands in the air, the officer fired the fatal shots. Michael's last words were, "I don't have a gun, stop shooting!" He was set to start college just two days later."
FULL PETITION READS:
"Every day, African American residents of Ferguson and Missouri face possible abuse and death at the hands of officers due to discriminatory policing tactics based on dehumanizing racial stereotypes. Exercise your authority to complete a rigorous investigation of the Ferguson Police Department's racially discriminatory policing, prosecute officers involved to the fullest extent of the law, and begin the firing process for all officers with a record of abuse."
EDDIE MUNSTER IS ALL GROWN UP!
C'mon with that wig and those eyebrows! Can a rich fool in Hollywood not manage to look less perve-y than this? I remember Travolta on Welcome Back, Kotter as one of the sexiest men on earth-though Lawrence Hilton Jacobs was nothing to sneeze at either. I guess it's hard to let your looks go when you were once that hot in a business which takes everyone at face value, but there has to be someone in Hollywood to help him age more gracefully than this. This is bordering on comical.
PROPAGANDA AT WORK
Don't think CNN or MSNBC is any/much better. When we get our news from corporate media whose job is to tell us what we want to hear and attract advertisers, we get garbage.
R.I.P. ROBIN WILLIAMS
I'm sorry to hear the bad news about Robin Williams.Did you hear the bad news about Jerry Seinfeld? He's still alive.
WHY ARE FALLS ALWAYS FUNNY?