Saturday, March 02, 2024

Sonny & Cher's LOOK AT US

 Cher posted that today on YOUTUBE.  She's performing Hedy West's "500 Miles" on her variety show CHER from 10/5/75.

I was not aware she did that solo.  So this is where I get to write -- Had to stop and jump over to The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame to vote for Cher.  You can vote once each day.  Cher needs to be in the hall.

This post is about when Cher started her recording career with Sonny.

In 1965, Sonny Bono and Cher recorded and released their first album LOOK AT US.  (Cher also released her first solo album ALL I REALLY WANT TO DO.) At that time, albums were largely just on vinyl.  There were 8-tracks and there were reel-to-reel tapes but most people bought vinyl.  Singles sold better than albums.  That was starting to change -- album artists like The Beatles, The Mamas & The Papas and others would move us away from AM radio hits.

Pop -- popular music -- was pop, soul, folk, rock and roll, jazz, showtunes, comedy tracks ("Hello Muddah, Hello Father"), etc.  As music grew up rock and roll became rock and folk became folk rock.  Sonny and Cher were pioneers of folk rock and are often not given credit for that.  

LOOK AT US still holds up.  Twelve strong tracks including "I've Got You Babe."  

That was their monster hit.  

They say we're young and we don't know

We won't find out until we grow

Well, I don't know if all that's true

'Cause you got me and baby I got you.

The label released "It's Gonna Rain."  Sonny said no, that's not the hit.  He called in favors at an LA radio station and got them to play "I Got You Babe" instead (he'd been a promo man for Phil Spector).

Sonny was right.  "I Got You Babe" was a smash hit.  An instant number one hit on the pop chart -- it even made it to number 19 on the R&B chart.  

"Unchained Melody" follows.  Cher had sung back up on many of Phil Spector's hits including the Righteous Brothers' "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'."  Multiple people had hits with the song in the 50s but, in 1965, it became a hit for the Righteous Brothers (their version is used in the film GHOST with Demi Moore, Patrick Swayze and Whoopi Goldberg).  Cher had a deep voice and that might be why they recorded it (this is a solo Cher song).  The Crystals' "Then He Kissed Me" comes next -- and you'll note, again, Cher has a deeper voice than Sonny.

"Sing Cest La Vie" comes next and appears to be Sonny attempting to do a "Que Sera Sera."  It features a great vocal by Cher and strong comedic touches by Sonny.  Then "It's Going To Rain" and finally side one closes out with "500 Miles."

That's a fun one to sing along with.

Side two opens with "Just You" which was a top 20 hit for the duo.  "The Letter" follows and it made the top 100.  They do a great job on the standard "Let It Be Me."  "You Don't Love Me"?  I like it when I hear it but I always forget it's on the album between listens.  But the album really ends on a solid note with two strong punches.  "You Really Got A Hold On Me.

Smokey Robinson wrote that classic and, while it's a song that's hard for any artist to mess up, I really think Sonny & Cher nail it.

"Why Won't They Let Us Fall In Love" closes the album.

Ronnie Spector was the lead singer of the Ronettes.  Cher sang back up on their number one hit "Be My Baby."  Phil recorded the song with Ronnie solo (Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich wrote the song -- Phil claimed a songwriting credit but really didn't do anything to write the song).  He didn't release it -- he loved to play mind games with Ronnie. Sonny & Cher knew the song from their Spector studio work.  Now that they were a duo, and out of Phil's orbit, they decided to record it for their album.  Trivia note -- this is one of three songs Cher has recorded that Ronnie recorded first.  Name the other two.

In 1974, she moved to WARNER BROTHERS as a solo artist and it was decided that she should work with Phil Spector producing her.  One of the three songs she recorded with Spector was a cover of the Ronettes' "Baby I Love You."

The third song?  In the eighties Ronnie Spector released an album in 1987 entitled UNFINISHED BUSINESS that included Desmond Child and Diane Warren's "Love On A Rooftop."  Two years later, the song was the sixth track on Cher's monster selling album HEART OF STONE which included the hits "If I Could Turn Back Time," "Just Like Jesse James," "Heart of Stone" and her duet with Peter Cetera "After All." 

"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):

Friday, March 1, 2024.  Marianne Williamson delivers a major speech in San Francisco, THE NEW YORK TIMES mythical rape 'report' continues to fall apart, instead of answering questions about that report the paper is trying to figure out who is speaking to the press, and much more.

Marianne Williamson announced Wednesday that she was unsuspending her campaign for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination and was back in the race..  She spoke at an event in San Francisco last night.


Marianne Williamson:   The Battle of Gettysburg was the battle at which it was decisive.  Once the North won that battle, it was decisive that the Union would in fact survive.  So Abraham Lincoln himself went to the battlefield.  And his words, of course, in The Gettysburg Address is that the men who died there -- for the North -- he said that they had given their last full measure of devotion so that a government of the people and by the people and for the people would not perish from the earth.  My message to you is, once again, although we don't already know this, is it's perishing now.  It's perishing on our watch because we are for all intents and purposes a government of the corporations and by the corporations and for the corporations.  And ever since particularly CITIZENS UNITED and the unlimited permission given to corporate forces to flood our political system with the undue influence of their money, at this point, they hold Washington hostage. Washington is a system of legalized bribery.  I can tell you from being in the belly of that beast, this is how the system operates.  If you don't have, I mean huge money -- I don't mean money, I mean huge money -- Remember the President has a billion dollars for this campaign. If you don't have either huge amounts of money or access to people with huge amounts of money, you don't have a chance of being anywhere near the pinnacles of power in this country.  And that's why you might ask yourself, 'Well given all the things we've been talking about tonight, why don't they pass policies in Washington that make it better?  Why don't they pass policies that help the average American?"  That's because there are so few average Americans in that place.  And how much power is exerted to make sure the average American either doesn't get in or once they do get in they're manipulated to the point where there's just more suckers for the same establishment?  There's only one way to override this at this point. And that is for a peaceful revolution -- a peaceful revolution at the ballot box. John F. Kennedy said that those who keep us from peaceful revolution make violent revolution inevitable. So I believe that we are at a crossroad.  I think we all know that we're at a crossroad. But like I said before, this is a moment for data analysis.  I didn't say anything tonight that everybody here doesn't already know.  I mean maybe I gave a statistic or two that you might not have considered.  But in general it's like the dots are scrambled.  It's not like the dots aren't there.  And it's not that we're stupid people.  It's that we've been trained -- we've been trained to expect too little.  We've been trained to farm out our best critical thinking.  And we've been -- even those of us who are Democrats -- we've been trained to give up the democratic process.  We've returned to Tammany Hall politics -- to men around a table a hundred years ago who got together with cigars and decided who the candidates would be and would come up with these ridiculous policies like, "Oh, no, no, we don't primary an incumbent president." Tell that to those of us who remember Lyndon B. Johnson because Eugene McCarthy primaried him, Bobby Kennedy Sr. primaried him.  We didn't think that was weird.  We thought it was democracy.  People primary sitting senators all the time.  People primary sitting Congress people all the time. But we've just been 'oh! oh! oh!'  This is codependency now.  Because the DNC said "Oh, no, we have to go with Joe.  The DNC says we're going with Joe."  Who the hell is the DNC?    I'll tell you something, political parties are not mentioned in the Consitution. And George Washington, in his farewell address, warned us about them.  He said, he predicted -- and, man, this one rings true -- he said they could form factions of men who were more loyal to their party than to their country.  John Adams would then say he saw political parties as the greatest threat to our democracy.  And I -- many of us in this room -- grew up in a time when political parties sat in the background.  We still honored that democratic principal that political power lies in the hands of the people.  The people would make a decision in a primary who to nominate.  The party would have nothing to do with it until the people had chosen and then they would step in.  But, of course, they decided once Bernie Sanders came along, "Oh, we're not going to have any of that." And then they got away with that.  And then they did it the next time and they got away with that.  And now they don't even pretend. Now they don't even pretend. And we're just going along.  So I ran for president because I feel that we need an economic u-turn -- an economic u-turn in this country. Because I feel we're like a ship headed for the iceberg here and that one major party just heads right towards it and another major political party heading more slowly and will hit it at a different angle.  We have one major political party representing a total nose-dive for our democracy because you can't have a thriving democracy where you don't have a thriving middle class. And the other major political party is moving in the direction of a managed decline. These political parties do not just chop wood and carry water for these corporate forces, they are huge corporate forces.  So seems to me we need to turn the ship around. Now I was very enthralled by Franklin Roosevelt's Economic Bill of Rights which would include universal healthcare, Medicare For All, tuition free college and tech school, a complete elimination of the college loan debt by using   The Higher Education Act.  It would include all of the things we've mentioned.  It would include things like ramping down fossil fuel extraction rather than ramping it up which all of those presidents of the modern era -- Democrats and Republicans -- end up falling in line with Big Oil.  Now one of them pretends not to.  See, one of them has learned what we want to hear so will say things like "I'm the Climate President" and will even make sure that there are healthy investments in green energy in The Inflation Reduction Act and we say, "Oh, that's so good! There are these wonderful, wonderful, very beneficial in the Inflation Reduction Act.  Oh, yes.  Oh, yes."  Guess what?  It's a classic purse thief distraction technique.  That same president has given more oil drilling permits than even Trump did.  That same president okayed The Willow Project.  That same president must know that all of the investment in dirty energy completely nullifies the investments in healthy, green energy.  We are suckers if we're okay with that. And all of the presidents in the modern era -- Republican or Democrat -- are willing to fall in line -- obviously -- with the defense industries.  And so what we need is a guaranteed living wage.  What we need is guaranteed sick pay.  All of those things.  And we need to repudiate the permanent war machine.   Americans are figuring this out.  We need to play peace games, not just war games.  We need a peace academy, not just military academy.  We need armies of peace builders just like we have armies of military personnel. We need a peace academy, not just a military academy, because we need to learn to wage peace.  Even Donald Rumsfeld said we need to learn to wage peace. 

The speech was broadcast live on YOUTUBE (2,844 views -- those may not include live views) and TWITTER (9448 views).  (TWITTER -- I don't work for Elon Musk and I don't have to indulge him.)

It was a major speech covering many important topics and explaining why she was back in the race -- a candidate unsuspending their campaign is news -- it's always news in the rare times that it happens.  Most infamously, it happened in 1992 when H Ross Perot came back into the race.

So news outlets can hire reporters to cover just Taylor Swift or just Beyonce, but there's no one who could cover a speech in a major US city -- one also broadcast live over the internet?

That's rather sad and one more sign of a democracy in peril.

And I'd rather money be spent covering the arts than covering sports so let's add in all the reporting that took place after the Superbowl ended.  I think everyone who wanted to see it, watched it.  The coverage in the days after the game was not needed.


ELETRONIC INTIFADA continues to cover the mythical rapes of October 7th that have still not been documented.  And the revelations that THE INTERCEPT and others have turned up in the last days.

New doubts are emerging about the New York Times’s coverage of sexual violence during the October 7 Hamas-led attack — and the paper owes its readers an open and transparent explanation. 

What’s more, its reporting on this issue has become so questionable that it should assign new reporters to go over the entire story again.

The latest questions are centered around Anat Schwartz, an Israeli who co-authored several of the paper’s most widely circulated reports, including the now well-known and scrutinized December 28 article headlined: “‘Screams Without Words’’ How Hamas Weaponized Sexual Violence on Oct. 7.

Independent researchers scrutinized the online record, and raised serious questions about Schwartz. First, she has apparently never been a reporter but is actually a filmmaker, who the Times suddenly hired in October. You would expect the paper to look for someone with actual journalistic experience, especially for a story as sensitive as this one, written during the fog of war. Surely the paper had enough of its own correspondents on staff who could have been assigned to it.

Next, the researchers found that Schwartz had not hidden her strong feelings online. There are screenshots of her “liking” certain posts that repeated the “40 beheaded baby” hoax, and that endorsed another hysterical post that urged the Israeli army to “turn Gaza into a slaughterhouse,” and called Palestinians “human animals.”

(Just this morning, more evidence emerged online; Schwartz apparently also served in Israeli Military Intelligence.)

Finally, one of her co-authors on two of the reports was Adam Sella, who is her nephew. ********* [see note added below]*****

Let’s pause here. What would happen if the Times suddenly hired a Palestinian filmmaker with no journalistic background, who had recently publicly “liked” posts that called for “pushing Israeli Jews into the sea,” to co-write several of its most sensitive and contested reports? 

(We don’t have to speculate. The Times fired Palestinian photojournalist Hosam Salam in 2022 after one of the pro-Israel media watchdog groups protested about his social media posts.)

After Anat Schwartz’s online history became public, she locked down her accounts and then deleted much of the incriminating content.

The New York Times imposes strict rules on its reporters to maintain the appearance of objectivity. Reporters are not supposed to attend demonstrations of any kind, wear campaign buttons, or post opinions on social media. By hiring Anat Schwartz, the paper clearly violated its own guidelines, and it should publicly explain and apologize.

***********[Added 3/1/24 2:49 PM EST, not her nephew.  Jeremy Scahill explained that on today's DEMOCRACY NOW!

And her partner in this, Adam Sella, is the nephew of Anat Schwartz’s partner, and they’re not married. In fact, Amy, The New York Times, they requested a correction from us, because we had initially said that it was her nephew, which I think in the context of America and other countries you would say. If you’re somebody’s longtime life partner, you would say, “Oh, yeah, this is my nephew.” OK, they’re not blood relatives, and they emphasize that she’s not married. Fine, we corrected that.

My question is: Where are the corrections in The New York Times piece? The New York Times has grave, grave mischaracterizations, sins of omission, reliance on people who have no forensic or criminology credentials to be asserting that there was a systematic rape campaign put in place here. And to publish this article at a moment when Israel was intensifying, after that brief pause where captives were exchanged — intensifying its genocidal attack against the people of Gaza, this played a very, very significant role. And the more we learn about this, the more we discover that the reporting tactics that The New York Times used are certainly not up to the standards that the newspaper claims to be promoting. They will not issue any corrections on what has already been documented to be very problematic sins of commission and omission in this piece.

Use the link for Jeremy and Ryan Grimm's discussion with Amy Goodman on today's DEMOCRACY NOW!]

Jeremy Scahill, Ryan Grim and Daniel Boguslaw (INTERCEPT) reported Wednesday: