The Evening Blues - 5-24-18


The day's news roundup + tonight's musical feature: Johnny Otis

Hey! Good Evening!

This evening's music features blues and r&b musician Johnny Otis. Enjoy!

The Johnny Otis Show - Willie and The Hand Jive

"The function of the prosecutor under the federal Constitution is not to tack as many skins of victims as possible against the wall. His function is to vindicate the rights of the people as expressed in the laws and give those accused of crime a fair trial."

-- William O. Douglas

News and Opinion

Prosecutors Withheld Evidence That Could Exonerate J20 Inauguration Protesters, Judge Rules

Chief Judge Robert E. Morin of the D.C. Superior Court found on Wednesday that federal prosecutors suppressed potentially exculpatory evidence against six Inauguration Day protesters. In a motion filed late last night, attorneys for the defendants accused the government of withholding evidence that could have exonerated their clients — a serious violation of pretrial discovery rules. Attorneys allege that the state withheld evidence by editing a video of a protest planning meeting. Defense attorneys called on the court to sanction Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer Kerkhoff for “blatant hiding of evidence” and requested that the indictment against their clients be dismissed.

At pretrial hearing Wednesday afternoon, Morin agreed that the prosecution had violated the “Brady rule,” which governs the state’s pretrial obligations to disclose exculpatory evidence, but declined to rule on the defense’s motions to dismiss the indictment or suppress the evidence. Morin will rule on those sanctions next week. “The government has abused its power by hiding discovery from all defendants,” the attorneys, led by Andrew O. Clarke and Cary Clennon, wrote in the motion, “purposefully choosing not to disclose Brady information, and calling into question the integrity of all of its third-party video evidence and proffers in open court.”

J20 supporters cheered Morin’s finding, but pushed for serious sanctions. “We hope that the court further recognizes that these violations are characteristic of the U.S. Attorney’s approach to this case from day one and their shameless attempts to criminalize standard acts of organizing and protest,” said Sam Menefee-Libey of D.C. Legal Posse, which is coordinating support for the defendants. “We hope that other aspects of the prosecution’s strategy, including use of right-wing ultranationalist sources and many repressive tactics drawn from the post-9/11 security state, are also shut down by the court.”

Deep State Swamp Monster Says There Is No Deep State

Secretary of State and former CIA Director Mike Pompeo said during a hearing before the House Foreign Affairs Committee today that he does not believe there is a deep state in the CIA, the State Department or the Department of Justice, which is the same as a mob boss saying he doesn’t believe there is organized crime in the Mafia. California Rep. Ted Lieu, himself a virulent Russiagater and aggressive defender of the US intelligence community, asked Pompeo if he believed there was a “Criminal Deep State” at the State Department in reference to a recent tweet by America’s reality TV president. ... It was like watching a two-handed puppet show about two swamp monsters furiously agreeing with one another that there is no swamp. ...

I hardly ever use the term “deep state” anymore. For a time it was a sensible label to use within smaller, well-informed circles to refer to the unelected power structures which remain in America regardless of the shifting tides of its official elected government, but ever since it became a mainstream household term it’s been rendered meaningless by partisan hackery. ...

Democrats meanwhile proclaim that talk of a deep state in America is a baseless conspiracy theory, which is an innately absurd position. Deep state is not a conspiracy theory, it’s a concept used in political analysis to describe the ways that unelected power structures like multinational plutocrats and intelligence/defense agencies tend to collaborate with one another in order to advance their own agendas. The fact that such plutocrats and agencies (A) exist, (B) have power, (C) are unelected, (D) tend to form alliances with each other and (E) try to advance their own agendas is not disputable; the only thing you can dispute is the nature and extent of their operations. ...

Obviously there is a deep state in America, obviously it is extremely powerful, and obviously men like Donald Trump and Mike Pompeo are some of its most valuable foot soldiers. But partisan echo chambers have most Americans so blinkered that they can only see one of two halves of the equation: either the US intelligence community is a plucky band of virtuous patriots resisting a president who is simultaneously (A) stupid, (B) crazy, (C) a Nazi, and (D) a Kremlin agent, or Trump is a populist hero of the people who is fighting the deep state. Through the filters of partisan idiocy it’s impossible to see the otherwise obvious fact that unelected power dominates the United States, and that Donald Trump is in full service of that unelected power.

Trump just canceled his meeting with Kim Jong Un to defend Mike Pence’s honor

President Donald Trump just canceled his meeting with Kim Jong Un scheduled for next month in Singapore because North Korea was mean to Vice President Mike Pence. Trump made the call Thursday morning over the “tremendous anger and open hostility” North Korea showed in a recent statement about the vice president, the president wrote in a letter to “chairman” Kim.

Just hours earlier, North Korea labeled Pence a “political dummy, ignorant, and stupid.” The Hermit Kingdom also threatened to “make the U.S. taste an appalling tragedy it has neither experienced nor even imagined” and added that if the summit did not go ahead, it would result in a “nuclear-to-nuclear showdown.”

Trump, however, didn’t completely close the door on a future meeting and wrote that he looks forward to meeting Kim “some day.” Trump also noted that if Kim changed his mind about the Singapore summit, then he should call or write to Trump — though it’s unclear what that means, given Trump was the one who cancelled the meeting.

'Trump is a fellow traveler of Nixon's madman theory' - Curt Mills

The U.S. and the Fate of the World

Americans ought to be more honest about U.S. military interventionism. There ought to be a serious debate about it. Instead there seems to be three, entrenched foreign policy camps who never talk to each other. The first is made up of avowed imperialists. They are easy to recognize, because they happen to be in power. They are the people for whom there is no such thing as a bad war. They have likely committed the United States to regime change in Iran. And they are currently spearheading an overly aggressive approach in attempting to defuse tensions with a nuclear-armed North Korea—an approach that will probably backfire in the end. This camp would also be the strongest to deny that there is any such thing as U.S. imperialism.

Then there are people who totally reject imperialism in any form, committed by any country, as a grave error. These are the people who recognize that there must be other values that bind relationships between nations—shared values premised on international law, human rights, Individual and spiritual freedom, and the rule of law. I suspect it is a very small camp.

Finally, there is a third group, who’ve I’ve come to see as of two minds. They think it possible to maintain a militant foreign policy, while also saying they are using that foreign policy to spread civilized values. They want to wallow in the false glory that comes from empire, and to feel good about it. Current political discourse in the United States — whether it is in the media, the think-tanks, or from major politicians — largely falls in this camp. For example, most Republicans and Democrats use the language of human rights and freedom to couch their perspective. But the reality of their actions, and the consequences of those actions, makes it impossible to hide an underlying imperialist thread. Thinking people cannot ignore that it was a Democrat, President Barack Obama, who increased the use of military drones in several countries, invaded Libya, maintained and increased America’s presence in Afghanistan, and even committed $1 trillion to enhancing America’s nuclear arsenal.

There has never been a more urgent time for people to really study and consider American foreign policy, and to ask fundamental questions about America’s role in the world. There are people in power today who are literally playing with fire with a nuclear-armed country (North Korea) and who are goading another country (Iran) into seeking nuclear weapons in order to defend itself from the open threat of an American invasion. ... There is another point, too, which needs to be made. The pedigreed leaders who pace the halls of power, their think-tank enablers, and many individual Americans, very often find a false and perverse comfort in the domination, exploitation, and suffering of people who are not Americans. This is truly a despicable thing, and it needs to be called out. It was this type of thinking that created genocide in the United States, against the First Nations and indigenous people. It is this type of thinking which has killed, and which continues to kill, tens of millions abroad.

There is a fundamental choice that Americans have to make. And that is whether they will be okay with imperialism as the defining characteristic of their foreign policy. Whether they want to be known as an imperialist people. I think there is a day coming, sooner than most would like, where that choice will have to be confronted head on.

'John Bolton Must Be Stoked': Experts Put Blame for Canceled North Korea Talks Squarely on Trump's Top Warmonger

As the world scrambles to make sense of U.S. President Donald Trump's bizarre and potentially disastrous letter announcing the cancellation of his planned meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on Thursday, lawmakers and anti-war advocates argued that the Trump White House's repeated regime change threats and national security adviser John Bolton's belligerent rhetoric are to blame for the summit's collapse.

"We can't forget that many in Trump's administration, including his national security adviser and secretary of state, are thirsty for war," Win Without War said in a statement on Thursday. " The American public and Congress must prevent the Trump administration from using this self-inflicted setback to justify a catastrophic U.S. war of choice on the Korean peninsula."

In a Twitter thread responding to the president's letter, Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) wrote simply: "John Bolton must be stoked...This is what happens when amateurs are combined with warmongers."

While Trump insisted that "open hostility" from Pyongyang in recent days was what ultimately led him to call off the summit, Korea experts were quick to point out that White House officials' repeated references to the so-called "Libya model" provoked angry responses from North Korean officials, who have warned constantly over the past several weeks that it views such comments as explicit regime change threats.

Iran delivers ultimatum to Europe: Meet our demands or we’ll start making nukes

Iran isn’t making Europe’s efforts to save the ailing nuclear accord any easier. Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei set out tough demands Wednesday in order for Tehran to stay in the deal — expressing doubt the Europeans would comply or that they would go against the wishes of the U.S.

Returning serve to the White House list of demands issued Monday, which it said Iran would have to meet to strike a new deal, Khamenei outlined his own strict conditions for remaining in the 2015 pact, warning that Iran would resume its nuclear activity if they were not met.

“If the Europeans linger over our demands, Iran has the right to resume its nuclear activities,” he said. “When we see that the JCPOA [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, as the 2015 deal is known] was useless, one way forward is to restart those halted activities.” He added that he did not want to start a fight with the European signatories, “but we don’t trust them either,” because they always fell in line with the United States.

Khamenei’s conditions included that Europe could not object to Iran’s missile tests, or its wider behavior in the region. The Trump administration has criticized the 2015 deal for failing to tackle either of these issues, and demanded that Iran withdraw from Syria and cut off support to Lebanon’s Hezbollah militia if it wants a new deal to avoid U.S. sanctions.

Iran, Syria top agenda at Macron-Putin meeting

131 House Dems Help GOP Pass Massive Pentagon Budget That Includes Billions for Expanded Nuclear Arsenal

While the world responds with alarm over President Donald Trump's spontaneous decision to cancel diplomatic talks with North Korea scheduled for next month—which aimed to ease rising nuclear tensions — 131 Democrats in the U.S. House joined with the overwhelming majority of Republicans to pass a $717 billion Pentagon spending bill that includes massive expansion of the U.S. nuclear arsenal.

The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for fiscal year 2019 authorizes the development of new low-yield submarine-launched nuclear warheads that the Trump administration demanded in its Nuclear Posture Review (NPR), which was released in February and denounced by disarmament advocates as "radical" and "extreme."

On Thursday, anti-war activists and lawmakers shamed the Democrats who voted with the GOP to approve the military spending bill, and warned of its consequences. Rep. John Garamendi (D-Calif.), according to Politico, said the measure "pushes us even further and faster down the path to war, toward a new nuclear arms race."

"Does it make us safer to have a low-yield nuclear weapon on one of our submarines?" Garamendi posed. "Probably not." ...

In addition to allocating $22 billion toward U.S. nuclear weapons programs and $69 billion for U.S. war efforts, the legislation approves the purchase of more than 70 F-35 fighter jets, the addition of 16,000 active-duty personnel, and Trump's request for a 2.6 percent pay raise for the military, the biggest increase in nine years.

"Instead of a blueprint for peace and security, this NDAA continues the practice of endless war with no input or oversight from our congressional leaders," lamented Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), one of 59 Democrats who voted against the bill. "It fails to compel any debate or vote in Congress on our endless wars. And it continues the shameful practice of budgeting our wars off the books with the unaccountable Overseas Contingency Operation (OCO) slush fund."

International prosecutors just accused Russia of murdering everyone on Flight MH17

International prosecutors presented evidence Thursday that they claim proves the Russian military was responsible for the downing of Flight MH17 over Ukraine in 2014, killing all 298 people on board.

Members of the Joint International Criminal Investigation Team MH17 officially blamed Moscow for the tragedy during a briefing in The Hague, backing up an earlier report by investigative website Bellingcat that identified the same Russian brigade as being responsible for the attack. The Kremlin has long denied accusations that its weapons were used in the tragedy, which caused the Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777 to explode in midair.

The evidence collected allowed investigators to “fingerprint” the exact missile used in the attack, and the same missile was recorded several times when it joined a convoy of the 53rd brigade on 23–25 June 2014, a month before the attack. Prosecutors even showed photos of the missile responsible, claiming it is a 9M38 BUK missile that was manufactured in Russia in 1986.

Kiriakou Warns Trump: Mueller, Brennan 'Set Out to Ruin People'

A former CIA officer who was imprisoned for leaking classified information to journalists said he was initially was cleared of charges until Obama-era CIA Director John Brennan got involved. ... "In 2007, the Bush administration investigated me and determined I hadn't committed a crime," he said. However, Kiriakou said that once President Obama took power in 2009, a series of memos showed that Brennan asked Attorney General Eric Holder to reopen his case.

"The injustice is incredible," he said, adding that Brennan and then-FBI Director Robert Mueller "set out to ruin people" they don't like. Kiriakou claimed Brennan sent the DOJ a memo asking the department to prosecute the officer for espionage. The department said it had no evidence of such, but Brennan responded something to the effect of "charge him anyway and make him defend himself," according to Kiriakou.

Mueller, who was involved in the case, is "a man who chooses a person, then looks for a crime to hang on that person," Kiriakou said, adding that Mueller initiated the "John Kiriakou Task Force" to probe him.

Venezuela expels top US diplomat for 'conspiring' against government

The top US diplomat in Caracas, Venezuela and his deputy have been ordered to leave the country after allegedly conspiring against the government, President Nicolas Maduro announced. "I have declared him persona non grata and I announce the exit of the US chargé d'affaires in 48 hours," Maduro said on Tuesday, referring to Todd Robinson. His deputy, Brian Naranjo, was also expelled.

The expulsion comes after Washington denounced Maduro’s victory in Venezuela’s elections on Sunday as a “sham.” Maduro won 4 million votes more than the second-placed opposition candidate Henri Falcon, but the turnout was just over 46 percent.

Washington insists that Maduro is running a socialist dictatorship, with US Vice President Mike Pence calling the election “neither free nor fair” and saying the “fake process” was a blow to the “proud democratic tradition” of Venezuela. The Trump administration sanctioned all purchases of Venezuelan debt on Monday, but stopped short of blocking oil sales.

Maduro slammed the sanctions as “arbitrary and unilateral measures” that constitute a “crime against humanity.” The Venezuelan Foreign Ministry also criticized the “systematic campaign of aggression and hostility” from the United States, which it said was aimed at punishing the Venezuelan people “for exercising their right to vote.”

Malkia Cyril on Facebook’s Civil Rights Audit & How Amazon Sells Facial Recognition Tools to Police

Facebook accused of conducting mass surveillance through its apps

Facebook used its apps to gather information about users and their friends, including some who had not signed up to the social network, reading their text messages, tracking their locations and accessing photos on their phones, a court case in California alleges. The claims of what would amount to mass surveillance are part of a lawsuit brought against the company by the former startup Six4Three, listed in legal documents filed at the superior court in San Mateo as part of a court case that has been ongoing for more than two years. ...

Documents filed in the court last week draw upon extensive confidential emails and messages between Facebook senior executives, which are currently sealed. ... The allegations about surveillance appear in a January filing, the fifth amended complaint made by Six4Three. It alleges that Facebook used a range of methods, some adapted to the different phones that users carried, to collect information it could use for commercial purposes.

“Facebook continued to explore and implement ways to track users’ location, to track and read their texts, to access and record their microphones on their phones, to track and monitor their usage of competitive apps on their phones, and to track and monitor their calls,” one court document says. But all details about the mass surveillance scheme have been redacted on Facebook’s request in Six4Three’s most recent filings. Facebook claims these are confidential business matters. It has until next Tuesday to submit a claim to the court for the documents to remain sealed from public view.

Sterling Brown stungun arrest: Milwaukee police apologize to NBA player

Milwaukee’s police chief, Alfonso Morales, apologized to NBA player Sterling Brown on Wednesday for a January arrest that started with a parking violation and escalated to include use of a stun gun, saying some officers had been disciplined. Brown, a Milwaukee Bucks rookie, responded with a statement that described the incident as “an attempt at police intimidation” and said it “shouldn’t happen to anybody”. ...

The video footage dates from about 2am on 26 January in a Walgreens parking lot. As Brown walks out of the store, an officer standing by Brown’s car asks him for his driver’s license. When Brown gets close to his car’s passenger door, the officer touches Brown and he tells the officer not to touch him.

“Back up! Back up!” the officer yells. “For what? I ain’t did nothing,” Brown responds. He eventually shows the officer his driver’s license. The conversation between the officer and Brown is testy as they wait for additional squad cars to show up. Brown says he has no problem with the officer’s questions and the officer responds that he touched him “because you got up in my face”.

“Really?” Brown responds in disbelief. Brown, surrounded by four officers, is asked to take his hands out of his pockets. Almost immediately a scuffle ensues, with the officers swarming over Brown and one yelling “Taser, Taser, Taser!” Brown is heard groaning in pain on the ground. Brown ultimately was not charged with anything. ... Later in the video, the officer who had the initial interaction with Brown mocks him while talking to another officer about what happened, saying he thought Brown “was being an ass” and “trying to hide something”.

“And now he’s like, ‘I’m a Bucks player, blah, blah, blah. So what,” the officer says.

Harley-Davidson took its tax cut, closed a factory, and rewarded shareholders

In September 2017, House Speaker Paul Ryan traveled to a Harley-Davidson plant in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, to tout the Republican tax bill, which President Trump would sign later that year. “Tax reform can put American manufacturers and American companies like Harley-Davidson on a much better footing to compete in the global economy and keep jobs here in America,” Ryan told workers and company leaders.

Four months later and 500 miles away in Kansas City, Missouri, 800 workers at a Harley-Davidson factory were told they would lose their jobs when the plant closed its doors and shifted operations to a facility in York, Pennsylvania — a net loss of 350 jobs. Workers and union representatives say they didn’t see it coming.

Just days later, the company announced a dividend increase and a stock buyback plan to repurchase 15 million of its shares, valued at about $696 million.

It’s a pattern that’s played out over and over since the tax cuts passed — companies profit, shareholders reap the benefits, and workers get left out. Corporate stock buybacks hit a record $178 billion in the first three months of 2018; average hourly earnings for American workers are up 67 cents over the past year. Harley-Davidson is an American symbol, and President Trump has trotted it out as an example of business success. But as it’s getting its tax cut, it’s outsourcing jobs and paying shareholders.

33 Democrats Voted to Deregulate Big Banks. Here’s How Much Money Banks Gave Each One.

The Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives just voted to roll back financial regulations put in place following the 2008 financial crisis. 33 Democrats captive to big banks’ political donations helped. ...

The vote comes just months after an International Monetary Fund economist published a study showing that nearly every major financial collapse in both Europe and the United States, dating back to the 18th century, came after governments loosened regulations on the financial sector. The includes devastating financial meltdowns like the Panic of 1825 in Great Britain, all the way up to the subprime mortgage bubble’s burst in the late 2000s in the U.S.

“Financial booms, and risk-taking during these episodes, were often amplified by political regulatory stimuli, credit subsidies, and an increasing light-touch approach to financial supervision,” the study’s summary read. “Post-crisis regulations do not always survive the following boom… History suggests that politics can be the undoing of macro-prudential regulations.” ...

S.2155 now heads to to the desk of President Trump, who is expected to sign it despite his statement on the campaign trail in 2016 that the big banks “caused tremendous problems for us.

the horse race

New Poll: Progressive Agenda Priority For Voters

the evening greens

'It’s wrong to stink up other people’s lives': fighting the manure lagoons of North Carolina

For years here in North Carolina - the second largest pork-producing state in the US - the pigs have been outstripping the humans. They currently number around 38 to one in Duplin county, with the impact, say local groups, falling disproportionately heavily on African-Americans, Latinos and native Americans. But in the last few weeks, two court decisions may have tipped momentum in a new direction, awarding compensation and bringing in new penalties for polluters.

The pig farms of North Carolina produce around 10bn gallons of faeces a year, which is more than the volume of waste flushed down toilets by the human population of Germany. The waste falls underneath slatted floorboards and is discharged into murky lagoons that sit beside the barns. There are around 4,000 of these cesspools in North Carolina.

The sludge is broken down and sprayedonto nearby fields. In order to prevent ammonia washing off into water systems, the liquid is sprayed on crops that can, farmers say, soak up a lot of nutrients, such as Bermuda grass. Still, some residents [...] have drinking water wells they’ve had to seal up. State regulators and the pork industry insist that a rigorous system of permits and inspections ensure that this waste doesn’t spill from lagoons into waterways, or drift in a sprayed mist onto nearby residents.

But in April, a jury in Raleigh awarded $50m in damages to 10 neighbours of the Kinlaw farm in Bladen county, which has three waste lagoons. And that case is just the first in a series of 25 similar claims against various hog operations in North Carolina, with the next to start on 29 May. A study of several of the plaintiffs’ homes by Shane Rogers, a former Environmental Protection Agency engineer, found widespread evidence of pig faecal matter on walls, mailboxes and street signs. A miasma of “offensive and sustained swine manure odours” lingers around the homes, Rogers wrote. ...

This opening victory for the anti-hog farm group was swiftly followed by another breakthrough. A civil rights complaint alleging that African Americans [...] as well as Latinos and native Americans are disproportionately burdened by “grossly inadequate and outdated systems of controlling animal waste” was settled with the state, which agreed to a new regime of water and air monitoring, along with a rejigged system of penalties for polluters. A study by the University of North Carolina has found that black people and native Americans are around twice as likely to live within three miles of an industrial hog operation than whites. “Anything white people don’t want, they dump on eastern North Carolina,” said Naeema Muhammad, co-director of North Carolina Environmental Justice Network. “It’s a new thing every day, this crap don’t ever stop. But someone is finally holding this industry accountable for the damage it has done.”

"People's Climate Case": Families Sue EU Demanding More Ambitious Action to Combat Climate Crisis

In what's being called the People's Climate Case, families from eight different countries have come together to sue European Union (EU) institutions for failing to adequately address the global climate crisis that's threatening their livelihoods.

With support from the Climate Action Network (CAN), ten families from Fiji, France, Germany, Italy, Kenya, Portugal, Romania, and Saami Youth Association Sáminuorra in Sweden have filed suit against the European parliament and the council of the EU in the Luxembourg-based General Court, which, as one plaintiff put it, "citizens can turn to in order to achieve something in the name of everyone's interest." ...

Rather than seeking compensation for what they've lost, the families want to force EU institutions to be more ambitious with efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions, transition to renewable energy, and prevent future warming. They are specifically focusing on the EU's goal to reduce emissions by 40 percent by 2030, compared to 1990 levels—which the families say are inadequate.

"Climate targets are no longer about diplomacy, the economy, or climate models. It is really about the protection of people, of very concrete people: their land, their heritage, their property, their culture," said Roda Verheyen, one of the plaintiffs' lawyers. "That is what this case is about and makes clear to the world."

With the case, Verheyen also hopes to set a global precedent. "If it is recognized by the court that climate protection is a human rights issue," she said, "then climate protection can be activated in the courts of all other jurisdictions in the world."

Volcano Lava Reaches Geothermal Plant and Pacific Ocean in Hawaii, Risking Public Health Disaster

Also of Interest

Here are some articles of interest, some which defied fair-use abstraction.

Bolton Trying to Convince Trump to Topple Iran

After my experience with Milwaukee police, I have to tell my story

'They're everywhere': has the decline of the seal hunt saved the polar bear?

The trouble with charitable billionaires

A Little Night Music

Johnny Otis - All Nite Long

Leon Sims & The Johnny Otis Orch - Ain't Nothin' Shakin'

Johnny Otis - The Hash

Johnny Otis - Tough Enough

Johnny Otis - New Orleans Shuffle

Johnny Otis - One Mint Julep

Johnny Otis - Rock Me Baby

Johnny Otis - Hangover Blues

Johnny Otis - The Love Bug Boogie

Arthur Lee Maye & the Johnny Otis Orch. - At My Front Door

Johnny Otis - The Midnite Creeper

Johnny Otis - Oopy - Doo

16 users have voted.


detroitmechworks's picture

About how we must believe Russiagate?

I bet the Democrats hope we don't.


14 users have voted.

I do not pretend I know what I do not know.

Mark from Queens's picture

@detroitmechworks @detroitmechworks
Not that I really care and do make a concerted effort to avoid all sensational “news.”

But this afternoon I had a curious exchange with the event booker at a NYC park who are hiring us to play a show announcing their summer film series. Shawshank Redemption was on the list, but she was telling me they may pull it because of something about him.

Damn, had Jailbreak by Thin Lizzy on the set list for that one. Heh...

Just another Neoliberal zombie now, right. Whose been revealed as yet andother aid and abettor of the dying Dems.

12 users have voted.

(thirty three and a third at TOP)

"If I should ever die, God forbid, let this be my epitaph:


- Kurt Vonnegut

JekyllnHyde's picture

@Mark from Queens

Somewhere, George Orwell is smiling.

8 users have voted.

A riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma

joe shikspack's picture

@Mark from Queens

if you really want to read about morgan freeman's accountability moment, here's a story.

6 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture


heh, the dems had better hope that rob reiner has been a good boy after all of the crap he spewed.

i will never be able to watch spinal tap again without thinking, "what a freaking moron."

8 users have voted.
QMS's picture

looks like trump and company found a bigger bully. chicken sh*ts all.

9 users have voted.

Intelligence is being redefined as the ability to repeat ever more complex instructions.

joe shikspack's picture


while i'm not a big fan of kim jong un, i have to admit that he has the guts to speak his mind freely. it seems to me his characterizations of trump officials bolton and pence have been spot on.

8 users have voted.
The Aspie Corner's picture

Keep it up, PresiDunce Dipshit. Keep it up.

7 users have voted.

Modern education is little more than toeing the line for the capitalist pigs.

joe shikspack's picture

@The Aspie Corner

yep, trump is doing a bang-up job there. sadly, i can't imagine the u.s. just allowing peace to break out between the koreas.

7 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture

Sinister Pretext for War with Russia

Eye witness accounts

”The inhabitants of the nearby villages are certain they saw military aircraft in the sky shortly before the catastrophe. According to them, it was actually the jet fighters that brought down the Boeing.

Eyewitness number one: “There were two explosions in the air. And this is how it broke apart, (Waves her hands to show the plane exploding) And there was another aircraft, a military one, beside it. Everyone saw it….

Yes, yes, It was flying under it, because it could be seen. It was flying underneath…below the civilian plane.”

Fact Number 2: Russia picked up the Ukrainian fighters on their radar.

“Russian monitoring systems registered Ukrainian airforce jet, probably an SU 25 fighter, climbing and approaching the Malaysia aircraft. The SU 25 was between 3 to 5 kilometers away from the Malaysian plane. The fighter is capable of reaching an altitude of 10,000 meters for short periods of time. It’s standard armaments include R-60 air-to-air missiles which are capable of locking and destroying targets within a range of 12 kilometers and which are guaranteed to hit their target from a distance of 5 kilometers.

What was a military aircraft doing on a route intended for civilian planes flying at the same time and same altitude of a passenger plane? We would like an answer to this question? …

To corroborate this evidence we have a picture taken at the regional air traffic control center at Rostov….Ukrainian military officials claimed there were no Ukrainian military aircraft in that area of the crash that day. As you can see, that is not true” (“MH17 Fully Exposed”, The Corbett report; Check minute 34:17 on

Lots of links in the article states that there is plenty of evidence that shows that Russia didn't blow up the plane. One thing that gets lost in the blame game is that the plane was loaded with scientists who were involved in AIDS research. This is a huge loss for everyone.

11 users have voted.

Self-censorship actually silences exponentially more anti-establishment opinions. For every one voice you crack down on overtly, a thousand more silence themselves out of self-preservation

joe shikspack's picture


yep, i remember reading a number of excellent investigative reports on the mh17 incident. robert parry (consortium news) did some very good investigation and analysis some time ago and raised a number of important questions that have never been satisfactorily answered by "the authorities."

4 users have voted.
enhydra lutris's picture

Thanks tons.

6 users have voted.

That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

joe shikspack's picture

@enhydra lutris

great, i hope that we can keep the streak going. Smile

5 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture


gosh, what a surprise, more blowback from idiot western imperialist governments weaponizing jihadis.

6 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture


That their government had allowed the terrorists who blew himself up at the Manchester concert had free reign to go back and forth between the U.K. and Libya before he decided to blow up as many people as he could before his act?

British-born Salman Abedi had recently returned from Libya before he blew himself up at the end of an Ariana Grande concert at the Manchester Arena on May 22, 2017. Less than a week later, Tripoli police arrested Abedi's younger brother and father. Abedi's brother, Hashem, was arrested on suspicion of ties to Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) and plotting an attack in Tripoli. Abedi's older brother Ismail was detained in the UK over the attack.

The government knew the danger that group was to its citizens, but I guess using them to help them destroy Libya was just a wee bit more important to them than people's lives.

I wonder how many terrorists we have living amongst that we don't know about? Oh well, the CIA lets one of worst drug cart leaders live freely in Chicago doing what he does as long as he helps them. Rule of law in this country? What's t?

8 users have voted.

Self-censorship actually silences exponentially more anti-establishment opinions. For every one voice you crack down on overtly, a thousand more silence themselves out of self-preservation

bare knuckle fighting mano o mano

thus 6 police vehicles with at least 6 officers, handcufts, and a taser and wrestled to the ground

the police union supported the policeman

when are they going to stop supporting someone just because they are in a uniform???

only because this man was a celebrity did this incident come to light

should he be thankful that he is still alive?

what will it take to face up to who we are as a country?

10 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture


when are they going to stop supporting someone just because they are in a uniform???

they're not. even our fabulous progressive legislators like raúl grijalva, keith ellison, beto o’rourke and ro khanna vote to support police brutality and fascism.

9 users have voted.
Mark from Queens's picture

@joe shikspack
ass-kissing the fascist cops.

The Blue Lives Matter movement is a political counterattack against the Black Lives Matter movement. It doesn’t include the concept that black lives also matter (notice the catch phrase isn’t “blue lives matter too”), but enshrines a defiant, contrary opinion thinly disguised in a superficially innocuous phrase. In the same way, “America First” or “Make America Great Again” is a thinly disguised, pretend-innocuous phrase that delivers a defiant and contrary message, in this case against ideas like “immigrants have human rights.”

“Blue lives matter” conceals its hatred beneath its language — barely conceals — but conceals it cleverly enough that arguments based on words alone lead nowhere. In many respects the “blue lives matter” slogan is like the American Flag when worn by cops but not nurses — an innocent-looking symbol with an angry, defiant, threatening meaning that’s been widely understood since hippie days.

Affirming that “blue lives matter” is tantamount to saying “Yes, cops can kill.” Affirming the Blue Lives Matter movement, or in this case, voting for Blue Lives Matter laws, throws the Black Lives Matter effort to resist and criminalize police murder under the bus.

Raúl Grijalva, Keith Ellison, Beto O’Rourke, Ro Khanna and other noted “progressives” did just that recently by voting yes on the “Protect and Serve Act of 2018” (roll call here). Anthony Rogers-Wright, writing at Medium:

This Wednesday, with little attention, the House of Representative just passed the “Protect and Serve Act of 2018”sponsored by Representative John H. Rutherford (R-FL). The bill would make it a federal crime, punishable by up to 10 years in prison, for “knowingly causing serious bodily injury to a law enforcement officer, or attempts to do so.” It joins a host of others deemed “Blue Lives Matter” laws, which have been introduced and passed, in part as a reaction to rising defiance to documented brutality and racism practiced by law enforcement in this county.

Well and truly, fuck these people. This is Fascism to the tee. How did all the most significant changes in American history come about(e.g. child labor laws, workday laws, work day hours, OSHA, women's suffrage, collective bargaining, etc. etc. etc.)? Only by people taking to the streets - only that way. If people are afraid that they could be falsely accused of attacking a cop (and the cop is never wrong in the Halls of Justice, the cowardly cry of "resisting arrest" et al) and go to jail for 10 years, well, that's the end of any nascent protest movement. Mission accomplished. Status quo cemented. Change doesn't come about any other way, folks. Listen to Frederick Douglass, read Howard Zinn. It's all there in the People's history. But you won't find it in the American Exceptionalism indoctrination manual school history textbook. The pendulum has swung so far to the right that these losers get to call themselves the Progressive wing, but know nothing about the long line of blood, sweat and tears that gave us any of the benefits we take for granted now.

You reminded me of something I forgot about, which was how disappointed I was with Keith Ellison kowtowing to the Minneapolis PD about the BlackLivesMatter protest there in 2015.

He paid lip service to it, but when the pressure from all the ruling goons got too heavy he threw them under the bus.

U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison said he initially supported the protests, and backs demonstrators’ calls for justice for Clark. More recently, however, he’s become concerned about the broader impact on the neighborhood. He said his office has received calls from people worried about older residents who live nearby in public housing and people who depend on city buses that can’t get through because protesters have blocked Plymouth Avenue N.

“I believe the people protesting, their purpose and their intent is to raise the issue of police brutality, police accountability,” he said. “But the unintended effect is that North Siders can’t use their main thoroughfare, Plymouth Avenue. The unintended effect is domestic terrorists are coming to the protest to start trouble.”

That's the whole idea, Keef. To inconvenience society in order to dramatize the situation.

Another noble, passionate and growing protest deemed a threat to society. Remember when Occupy was thought to be a sanitary concern? Those of us who were there often could vouch that it was probably cleaner and maintained better than the average NYC restaurant kitchen.

(Btw, thanks for the Morgan Freeman story. When will this stuff end? It's not that I don't believe the claims; it's that this is a story which is just as much if not more about the class abuse of status and power than solely about misogyny, as well as the less talked about insatiable quest for fame and the attendant willingness to sell one's soul if necessary).

10 users have voted.

(thirty three and a third at TOP)

"If I should ever die, God forbid, let this be my epitaph:


- Kurt Vonnegut

snoopydawg's picture

@Mark from Queens

New Deal after the Great Depression? It took millions of people who had nothing left to lose to get him to make plans to help main stream Americans, but as many have stated, he did it to save his and his buddies' buttocks from being strung up.

The People Made the First New Deal. Can the People Make Another?

Massive Protest and Organizing Created the New Deal

The kind of electoral victories we need will take far more than standard electioneering and Facebook debates. Let’s look at what it took to create the New Deal so we can see just how challenging the task ahead is. During the Great Depression massive organizing efforts and protest movements were necessary just to reform the two-party system. New Deal history strongly suggests that the current dementer v. demexit debate is largely a waste of time until we organize movements powerful enough to upset the existing order.

But back then they didn't face cops who had military equipment that our masters will unleash on us without a second thought. Or the huge anti protest machines like water cannons that can blow people off the streets as easily as leaf blowers blow leaves off roofs, or sound cannons, microwave devices that can boil people from the inside, etc. But then what other choices do we have other than just letting them win?

7 users have voted.

Self-censorship actually silences exponentially more anti-establishment opinions. For every one voice you crack down on overtly, a thousand more silence themselves out of self-preservation

Mark from Queens's picture

And I can read about it all day. That's one of my favorite parts of American history, as well as the late 1800's. Those Farmers Alliances and revolts really get my dander up and puff out my chest. Those guys were bad-asses who had a great solidarity with one another, and formed cooperatives and collectives to stand united. Read Mary Vorse Heaton's excellent on the ground reportage of those times and George Seldes for the context and exposing of the manipulation of the Press to paint them as Reds.

Seems none of this stuff makes it to the textbooks of how our children learn our American History.

And therein it is. Because we don't know about these fearless Bravehearts and rock hard Unions of working folks we have no idea how to do it anymore. It's all there in the past. Our antecedents looked to one another, saw their own plight as one with all, didn't have social media, tv and gadgets/apps to distract them and soften them with perceived convenience - and went about trying to change society for the better together.

1 user has voted.

(thirty three and a third at TOP)

"If I should ever die, God forbid, let this be my epitaph:


- Kurt Vonnegut