The Evening Blues - 1-9-19


The day's news roundup + tonight's musical feature: Eddie Floyd

Hey! Good Evening!

This evening's music features r&b singer Eddie Floyd. Enjoy!

Eddie Floyd - Knock On Wood

“And the little screaming fact that sounds through all history: repression works only to strengthen and knit the repressed.”

-- John Steinbeck

News and Opinion

Macron Vichy France returns.

French Prime Minister proposes government registry of demonstrators

Following the large turnout throughout France for the eighth week of “yellow vest” (Gilets jaunes) protests this past Saturday, French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe announced on French television Monday night the imposition of an extraordinary law to suppress the demonstrations. Taking up measures initially put forward by the neo-fascists, he proposed that demonstrators be placed on government subversive lists and subjected to financial sanctions. ...

He announced that protesters would be registered on a list in order to ban them from demonstrating, using a method similar to the “hooligan card,” which permits police to prevent certain individuals from entering football stadiums. In addition, he would impose penalties against demonstrations that have not been registered with the prefecture. “The government is in favor of changing our law and punishing those who do not respect this reporting [registration] obligation,” he declared. Philippe also proposed measures to allow the police to impose heavy sentences on protesters. “For those who come in hoods (cagoulé), today it is a misdeed; tomorrow it must be a crime. It must be the thugs who pay and not the taxpayers,” he said. He added: “We cannot accept that some people take advantage of these demonstrations to riot, to break and burn things. These people will never have the last word in our country.”

The prime minister announced a mass mobilization of the police, comparable to that in early December 2018, which closed off the center of Paris. He stated: “Specialized equipment used by the police, such as armored vehicles and water cannons, proved effective. We must therefore seriously consider using these again and increasing their operational capabilities.” He pledged to mobilize 85,000 police, CRS police reserves, paramilitary gendarmes and other forces next weekend, especially in Paris. This makes clear the antidemocratic orientation of President Macron and the European Union, which backs him. In the face of workers’ support for the “yellow vests” and the widespread rejection of European-wide austerity policies, Macron wants to impose the diktat of the banks by force. The attempts by Philippe and Macron to pose as defenders of democracy in order to justify the construction of a police state that tramples on workers’ opposition to austerity and war are nothing but hypocritical lies.

The press has poured out a torrent of slander against the “yellow vests,” labelling them as fascists. It is Macron, however, who is carrying out a far-right policy. Philippe’s proposals repeat the demands that Alliance, the police union close to the neo-fascists, called for following Saturday’s demonstration. These measures would seek to stifle social anger by threatening protesters with preventive arrest and exorbitant fines.

Italy: Salvini praises Yellow Vests, says Macron is a "president against his people"

FBI-CIA Collaboration Reveals Blatant Illegitimacy of Guantánamo Trials

Earlier last month, lawyers for Moath Hamza Ahmed al-Alwi, a Yemeni citizen who’s been detained in Guantánamo since January 16, 2002, petitioned the Supreme Court to review his case. His legal team argues that the US government lacks the authority to detain al-Alwi under the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force and that indefinite detention is illegal. Previously, the district and circuit courts denied al-Alwi’s habeas petition, which is why his lawyers are going to the Supreme Court. Al-Alwi’s case is a reminder of Guantánamo’s reality: The military commissions system is a kangaroo court designed to cover-up CIA torture while dozens of men remain indefinitely detained, and it’s likely that new prisoners could be transferred to Guantánamo. ...

In their petition, al-Alwi’s lawyers argue that because the United States largely ended combat operations in Afghanistan and is mostly supporting the Afghan military, which is doing most of the current fighting, the war in Afghanistan has radically changed. As a result, the relevant conflict in question has virtually ended, which, his lawyers argue, is a reason to end al-Alwi’s indefinite detention. They also argue that indefinite detention violates the laws of war, international human rights law and raises constitutional questions. “Continued imprisonment raises serious constitutional questions — which the Court should avoid by limiting AUMF detention authority — and violates the law of war and other international norms,” they write in the petition.

Meanwhile, the military commissions — which were established by the Bush administration to try and convict Guantánamo detainees for acts of terrorism — are in disarray. Last August, the former judge for the 9/11 case, Col. James Pohl, shortly before he retired, prohibited using statements made by detainees to the FBI “clean team” as evidence. The clean team was a group of FBI and military interrogators who, in late 2006, set out to collect the same information the CIA previously obtained from the half dozen high-value detainees who were held in CIA black sites. Those detainees, who were transferred to Guantánamo in 2006, include the alleged 9/11 plotters. The clean team statements were produced through traditional, rapport-building interrogation techniques rather than torture. The US government is relying on those statements to prosecute the alleged 9/11 plotters and USS Cole bomber. However, the FBI clean team was far from independent; its interrogation strategy and questions had to meet CIA approval — approval from the very agency responsible for the torture. ...

In order for the statements given to the FBI clean team to be reliable, the clean team had to be independent of CIA influence. The fact that the six men were tortured in CIA custody taints the case against them. Information obtained through torture is unreliable, in addition to inadmissible. So it would be hard to “un-torture” the defendants and use that evidence in prosecution. A retired Navy rear admiral John D. Hutson told the Washington Post in February 2008, “There’s something in American jurisprudence called ‘fruit of the poisonous tree’: You can clean up the tree a little but it’s hard to do. Once you torture someone, it is hard to un-torture them. The general public is going to be concerned about the validity of the testimony.” ... In addition to having questions meet CIA approval, the same memo regulates how the FBI can document their interviews with detainees. FBI agents had to “document the interview” on a CIA laptop and a draft of the interview had to be sent to the CIA for classification review. If a detainee mentioned instances of torture they experienced or details about CIA black sites, that information was considered classified by the CIA.

Moreover, a 2008 Department of Justice Inspector General report found that in 2003 the FBI and CIA entered into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) concerning FBI agents who assisted the CIA “in debriefing certain high value detainees and ‘sensitive CIA debriefing sites.'” The memo addressed “how information obtained by FBI agents detailed to such sites will be used and protected” and the FBI “agreed to observe strict need-to-know principles and limit knowledge of the existence of the MOU.” This suggests that the CIA had a significant degree of control over information obtained by FBI agents assisting in the debriefing of high-value detainees.

Kurdish official asks for US clarifications over withdrawal

Syria's Kurds are awaiting clarifications from the U.S. over America's plans to pull out its troops from Syria following comments made by a top White House aide that appeared to counter earlier comments by President Donald Trump, a Syrian Kurdish official said Monday.

Speaking to The Associated Press from northern Syria Monday, Badran Ciya Kurd said the Kurds have not been informed of any change in the U.S. position and were in the dark about the latest comments by U.S. national security adviser John Bolton and what they indicated. "We have not been formally or directly notified, all what we heard were media statements," he said. ...

The back and forth is troubling for the Kurds, who have been America's only partners on the ground in Syria in the fight against IS. ... Ciya Kurd said Bolton, through his comments, acknowledged that Turkey was killing the Kurds and that he wants guarantees that this would not happen. "Turkey constitutes a bigger threat to Kurdish existence than Daesh and all international terrorist organizations," he said, using the Arabic acronym for the Islamic State group.

The Age Of Trump Clearly Shows That Narrative Is Everything

Yesterday President Donald Trump tweeted the following:

The tweet was warmly received and celebrated by Trump’s supporters, despite the fact that it says essentially nothing since “eventually” could mean anything. Indeed, it’s looking increasingly possible that nothing will come of the president’s stated agenda to withdraw troops from Syria other than a bunch of words which allow his anti-interventionist base to feel nice feelings inside. Yet everyone laps it up, on both ends of the political aisle, just like they always do. Trump supporters are acting like he’s a swamp-draining, war-ending peacenik, his enemies are acting like he’s feeding a bunch of Kurds on conveyor belts into Turkish meat grinders to be made into sausages for Vladimir Putin’s breakfast, when in reality nothing has changed and may not change at all.

How are such wildly different pictures being painted about the same non-event? By the fact that both sides of the Trump-Syria debate have thus far been reacting solely to narrative. This has consistently been the story throughout Trump’s presidency: a heavy emphasis on words and narratives and a disinterest in facts and actions. A rude tweet can dominate headlines for days, while the actual behaviors of this administration can go almost completely ignored. Trump continues to more or less advance the same warmongering Orwellian globalist policies and agendas as his predecessors along more or less the same trajectory, but frantic mass media narratives are churned out every day painting him as some unprecedented deviation from the norm. Trump himself, seemingly aware that he’s interacting entirely with perceptions and narratives instead of facts and reality, routinely makes things up whole cloth and often claims he’s “never said” things he most certainly has said. And why not? Facts don’t matter in this media environment, only narrative does. ...

The narrative matrix of America’s political/media landscape is a confusing labyrinth of smoke and funhouse mirrors distorting and manipulating the public consciousness at every turn. It’s psychologically torturous, which is largely why people who are deeply immersed in politics are so on-edge all the time regardless of where they’re at on the political spectrum. The only potentially good thing I can see about this forceful brutalization of the public psyche is that it might push people over the edge and shatter the illusion altogether. Trust in the mass media is already at an all-time low while our ability to network and share information that casts doubt on official narratives is at an all-time high, which is why the establishment propaganda machine is acting so weird as it scrambles to control the narrative, and why efforts to censor the internet are getting more and more severe.

William Arkin On Homeland Security’s Creeping Fascism and Why the CIA & FBI Won’t Save Us From Trump

AMY GOODMAN: And, William Arkin, you also write, “don’t [even] get me started with the FBI: What? We now lionize this historically destructive institution?”

WILLIAM ARKIN: Well, there’s a crazy collateral damage of Donald Trump. And that is that there are a lot of liberals in America who believe that the CIA and the FBI is going to somehow save the country from Donald Trump. Well, I’m sorry, I’m not a particular fan of either the CIA or the FBI. And the FBI, in particular, has a deplorable record in American society, from Martin Luther King and the peace movements of the 1960s all the way up through Wen Ho Lee and others who have been persecuted by the FBI. And there’s no real evidence that the FBI is either—is that competent of an institution, to begin with, in terms of even pursuing the prosecutions that it’s pursuing. But yet we lionize them. We hold them up on a pedestal, that somehow they are the truth tellers, that they’re the ones who are getting to the bottom of things, when there’s just no evidence that that’s the case.

Guatemalan president condemned after ejecting UN anti-corruption group

Guatemala’s President Jimmy Morales is facing international condemnation after announcing the expulsion of a United Nations-backed anti-corruption mission in what critics suspect is a calculated bid to shield the country’s ruling elite – and himself – from investigation.

Addressing journalists in Guatemala City on Monday afternoon, Morales claimed the decision to eject members of the corruption-busting Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (Cicig) group was a result of its “severe violation” of national and international laws.

“Cicig has put at risk the security of the nation, public order, governance, respect for human rights and above all the sovereignty of the state of Guatemala,” the former television comic – who was elected partly thanks to a populist pledge to root out corruption – told reporters.

However, regional specialists believe Morales’s move – which follows a long-running effort to neuter the anti-crime initiative – is in fact intended to help corrupt members of Guatemala’s ruling economic and political elite escape scrutiny.

From 'nation-state' to 'intl organization': US downgrades EU ambassador’s diplomatic status

Trump administration downgrades EU's status in US, without informing Brussels

The Trump administration has downgraded the diplomatic status of the EU mission in Washington, without informing the mission or Brussels, officials confirmed on Tuesday.

The downgrade from nation state to international organisation status reverses an Obama administration decision in 2016 to grant the EU an enhanced diplomatic role in Washington, and is being seen in Brussels as a snub reflecting a general antipathy to the EU in the Trump administration. The president has supported Brexit and has described the EU as a “foe”.

The change, first reported by the German broadcaster, Deutsche Welle, potentially means that the EU mission would have less clout and access to US officials.

“This is a gratuitous and entirely unreasonable swipe at the EU by the Trump administration,” said Nicholas Burns, who was under secretary of state for political affairs in the George W Bush administration. “It coincides with Trump’s campaign to depict the EU as a competitor, and not a partner, of the US. It continues the administration’s delegitimization of international organizations and the supranational organization that is the EU. “Americans should remember that the EU is our largest trade partner and largest investor in our economy,” Burns added. “Trump’s entire policy toward the EU continues to be misguided and ineffective.”

Germany’s huge data leak was the work of a 20-year-old student living with his parents

A 20-year-old hacker living in his parent’s house was the sole perpetrator of one of the largest data leaks in German history, authorities revealed Tuesday. The hacker, who was arrested Sunday, published private information on almost 1,000 high-profile German public figures, including some 900 politicians.

Police said they raided his parent’s home in the central state of Hesse but the suspect destroyed his computer before they arrived. Officials said they were able to confiscate some computing devices from the raid. ...

As to motivation, “the accused stated that he had acted out of annoyance over public statements by the politicians, journalists and public figures concerned,” Georg Ungefuk, spokesman for the Central Office for Combating Cybercrime at the Public Prosecutor's Office, told reporters. ...

Information from politicians from all political parties were published, except for members of the far-right Alternative for Germany (Alternative für Deutschland, or AfD) party. When asked why AfD members were not targeted, investigators said the hacker “did not have them on his screen.”

Keiser Report: US Riskier Than China?

Markets buoyed as US-China trade talks extended amid signs of progress

The United States and China will continue trade talks in Beijing for an unscheduled third day, US officials said on Tuesday amid signs of progress on issues including purchases of US farm and energy commodities and increased access to China’s markets.

People familiar with the talks said the world’s two largest economies were further apart on Chinese structural reforms that the Trump administration is demanding in order to stop alleged theft and forced transfer of US technology and on how to hold Beijing to its promises.

“Talks with China are going very well!” US president Donald Trump tweeted without elaborating, as talks wound down late on Tuesday evening in Beijing. ...

This week’s meetings are the first face-to-face talks since Trump and Chinese president Xi Jinping agreed in December to a 90-day truce in a trade war that has roiled global financial markets. If no deal is reached by 2 March, Trump has said he will proceed with raising tariffs to 25% from 10% on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports at a time when China’s economy is slowing significantly.

Hopes that the US and China would strike a deal, ending their months-long trade deal led to an index of world stocks rising on Tuesday, while the dollar, which hit an 11-week low on Monday, rebounded as the euro weakened on concerns about a slowdown in the euro zone economy.

Nancy Pelosi Blows Black Lives Matter Question

30,000 LA Teachers 'Strike Ready' as District Refuses to Spend $1.86 Billion Reserve on Better Pay, Smaller Class Sizes

Educators and their allies in the second-largest school district in the nation are making a stand for students and education quality this week as more than 30,000 Los Angeles teachers prepare to go on strike, after the school district has refused to use its nearly $2 billion dollar reserve to provide educators with better pay, students with smaller class sizes, and much-needed funding for school programs.

After working for more than a year without a contract, United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) is planning to walk out as early as Thursday if the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) does not meet their demands. The teachers voted almost unanimously last August to go on strike, and state-mandated mediation since the vote has done little to help further negotiations between the two sides.

UTLA argues that the school district has plenty of money set aside to provide educators with a 6.5 percent raise, hire more teachers to ensure smaller class sizes, and hire more nurses, school counselors, and librarians to support school communities. District nurses currently split their time between schools, leaving many buildings without a healthcare provider for much of the week.

“A Racist, Xenophobic Attack”: Immigrant Rights Activist Decries Trump Remarks About Southern Border

'Trump Is the National Crisis': Primetime Address Denounced as 'Bigoted, Childish Con Job' on American People

The national televised address by President Donald Trump was widely denounced on Tuesday night after his performance from the Oval Office—in which he used well-worn racist tactics to dehumanize immigrants and refugees by painting them as violent criminals, but said nothing new or convincing about the need to shutdown the federal government in order to obtain funds to build his "ridiculous" border wall.

Among the progressive organizations responding, People for the America Way (PFAW) characterized the address as nothing more than a "bigoted, childish con job" by the president.

The White House, said PFAW president Michael Keegan, "has repeatedly humiliated itself this week by trying to manufacture bogus statistics about immigration and national security—an attempt so brazen that even FOX News hosts refused to go along with it. None of the president’s lies have been able to generate meaningful public support for his bigoted demands, with only 25 percent agreeing with his reckless, bigoted efforts to build a wall." ...

While Trump vilified those who come to the United States via the southern border, Christine Neumann-Ortiz, executive director of Voces de la Frontera, argued in the wake of the address that immigrants and refugees attempting to flee violence or find a better life are not the problem.

"Trump is the real national crisis," Neumann-Ortiz said. "He is a racist and an elitist who has no regard for families and children at the border seeking refuge from violence and death, or for the millions of working-class families impacted by his shutdown. The vast majority of people do not want this racist and wasteful wall. Trump is denying people their right to seek asylum under international and US law. Now he is holding hostage federal employees and millions of taxpayers, farmers, and families, all to promote his hateful agenda."

Some Democrats want to do a deal with Trump for the border wall. That’s a problem for Nancy Pelosi

The government shutdown is putting House Democrats in a bind. They engineered the single biggest seat gain in 40 years last fall, largely on the promise to fight President Donald Trump’s agenda at every turn, and there’s no bigger agenda item for Trump than the border wall. Still, some newly seated freshmen and senior Democrats say they’re willing to do a deal with Trump and trade wall funding for one of their priorities, such as saving the hundreds of thousands of beneficiaries of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program from deportation.

“If I had the opportunity to vote for some sort of a deal, I would,” freshman Rep. Jeff Van Drew (D-N.J.) told VICE News on the day he was sworn in at the Capitol. That’s putting them in direct conflict with more-progressive members of the House who want Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to draw a line in the sand. ...

Last week, after negotiations broke down once again, one of Trump’s top allies in Congress, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), started pressuring Pelosi to put DACA on the table, and Fox News’ Sean Hannity said the president is on board.

It’s not just the newbies. While the ACLU and other liberal and progressive groups have asked Democratic leaders to not give an inch, several other Democrats from across the spectrum of the party also say they’re open to using this shutdown to get a deal that includes those DACA recipients, or Dreamers. “I think it’s a great suggestion,” Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.), a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, told VICE News at the Capitol. “Comprehensive immigration reform has been something that this country should have addressed years ago, so if this provides us with an opportunity to get that done, I think that’s a good thing.” ...

Even as some Democrats are open to a deal with Trump, it’s hard to find anyone in the party who trusts him, especially after Senate Republicans unanimously supported a bill to fund the government ahead of the holiday season only to have Trump back off his administration’s assurances to Senate Leader Mitch McConnell.

Trump's address: "We heard a sanitized version of what he really believed"

Inside the teardown of Trump’s infamous tent city for migrant kids

The tent city for migrant children in the desert outside El Paso, Texas, is coming down — and quickly. Hastily built over the summer to house migrant children, it became a symbol of the Trump administration’s policy of separating migrant children from their families. Now trucks carrying lumber, toilets, and portable offices are rumbling out of the facility, and workers using cherry-pickers are tearing down the massive tents. ...

As of Monday night, 850 children were still in the camp, HHS spokesperson Evelyn Stauffer told VICE News, which held 2,800 children at its peak in December. Vans operated by BCFS have been ferrying dozens of children to the El Paso International Airport each day. As of last week, the camp held 1,500 unaccompanied minors, meaning it has released more than half of its population over the past five days. ...

HHS says it is releasing children both to their sponsors, who are often family members, as well as to permanent shelter facilities. More children are now being released to sponsor families since HHS lifted its requirement that every member of the household undergo an FBI fingerprint background check. The agency has not answered questions about how many of the children have gone to sponsors versus shelters.

There were 11,400 children in the overall shelter network run by the Office of Refugee Resettlement as of Monday night, HHS said. That’s 1,000 less than the 12,400 reported by the agency on Jan. 2.

the horse race

1.4 Million Floridians Get Their Voting Rights Back Today, Whether Republicans Like It or Not

More than 1 million Florida residents will become eligible to vote on Tuesday as the newly amended state constitution restores voting rights to most of its previously disenfranchised felons. That’s the largest number of people to gain access to the ballot all at once since American women won the right to vote in 1920. Last November, Florida residents voted in favor of an amendment to the state constitution, known as Amendment 4, that restores voting rights to roughly 1.4 million felons in the state who have completed their sentences. (Individuals convicted of murder or sex offenses were excluded from the amendment.) But while the measure was approved by nearly 65 percent of the state’s voters, some Republicans — including Gov.-elect Ron DeSantis — have sought to sow confusion about its immediate validity.

DeSantis, who opposed the amendment during the campaign, indicated that its implementation would be delayed until lawmakers can write it into law during the next legislative session. “They’re going to be able to do that in March,” he told the Palm Beach Post. Some local elections in Florida are scheduled for as early as February, before the next legislature meets. DeSantis’s comments followed slow-walking on the amendment by other state officials, like Ken Detzner, the Republican secretary of state, who indicated in December that he believed the ballot language was unclear and would require state legislators’ review. ...

That ambiguity, critics say, is deliberate and unnecessary. The amendment’s language makes clear that the change is self-executing, meaning that it became part of the state constitution the moment it won voters’ support and that it must be implemented without delay or legislators’ input. The amendment’s language was cleared by the state Supreme Court before the vote, and supporters collected more than a million signatures to get it on the ballot. “It was designed so that there would be no requirement for involvement by any legislators, politicians, the governor, or anyone,” said Melba Pearson, deputy director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida, one of the groups that drafted the amendment. “There is no role for the governor or any legislator in this amendment. Their only role is to make sure that the constitution is upheld and that the will of the voters is respected.”

Sen. Gillibrand Personally Calls Wall St. Execs For Support In 2020

Democrats Don't Just Support Medicare for All, 84% in New Poll Want Party Leaders to Make It 'Extremely Important Priority'

'Are you listening?'

That was the question posed by healthcare justice advocates to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi—and potential Democratic presidential candidates as well—after another new poll showed overwhelming support for Medicare for All by Democratic Party voters.

According to the Politico/Harvard poll (pdf), released Monday, a full 84 percent of Democrats says "providing health insurance coverage for everyone through a taxpayer-funded national plan like MedicareForAll" should "be an extremely important priority" for the party. Politico reports:

While support for a national, taxpayer-funded plan is concentrated on the Democratic side, 60 percent of Republican respondents backed allowing Americans under 65 to buy into Medicare (71 percent of respondents overall supported the idea, and 83 percent of Democrats).

The poll involved a series of questions that made distinctions between a Medicare for All system that covered everyone, a possible "buy-in" option for people under 65, and a more vague "public option" that could be purchased. "The poll showed most people weren't aware of a Medicare buy-in or public option," Politico noted, "but were broadly supportive of the ideas when informed about them."

the evening greens

'It's a nightmare': Americans' health at risk as shutdown slashes EPA

The US government shutdown has stymied environmental testing and inspections, prompting warnings that Americans’ health is being put at increasing risk as the shutdown drags on. More than 13,000 employees at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are not at work, with just 794 people deemed essential staff currently undertaking the agency’s duties.

The remaining skeleton staff are able to “respond to emergencies involving the safety of human life or the protection of property”, according to an EPA planning document. But many routine activities such as checks on regulated businesses, clean-ups of toxic superfund sites and the pursuit of criminal polluters have been paused since 28 December.

“State programs aren’t being funded, enforcement actions have stopped – it’s a nightmare,” said Gary Morton, president of AFGE Council 238, which represents about 9,000 EPA workers. ... In some instances, state officials will be able to continue EPA-aligned tasks, such as deal with hundreds of former industrial facilities and other polluted areas known as superfund sites. An EPA spokeswoman said the agency will “continue to respond at sites where there is an imminent threat to the safety of human life” but that superfund cleanups have halted.

A senior EPA employee, who has been sidelined from work, said it will take weeks for the agency to catch up with its core functions once the shutdown is over. “You’re just keeping the patient alive right now,” the staffer, who asked not to be named, said. Some staff, already disgruntled at the Trump administration’s rollbacks of environmental protections, are preparing to march in protest to the White House on Thursday, with working colleagues urged to call in sick.

The situation at the EPA means “communities across the country are forced to stand by while water and soil go untested, air is fouled, science is suspended, and looming threats from climate change grow more perilous,” said Elgie Holstein, a senior director at the Environmental Defense Fund.

'5-Star Award for Idiocy' as Trump Threatens to Cut Off FEMA Funds to California in Wake of Deadliest-Ever Wildfire Season

As California works to recover from the deadliest and most destructive wildfire season in its recorded history, President Donald Trump declared in a tweet on Wednesday that he has "ordered" the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to cut off federal funding unless the state's officials "get their act together."

Misspelling the word "forest" twice in the same tweet, Trump wrote: "Billions of dollars are sent to the State of California for Forrest [sic] fires that, with proper Forrest [sic] Management, would never happen. Unless they get their act together, which is unlikely, I have ordered FEMA to send no more money. It is a disgraceful situation in lives and money!"

Likely recognizing his spelling errors, Trump quickly deleted the tweet and re-uploaded another with the correct spelling.

Trump's latest Twitter outburst toward California came as the state's newly elected Democrat Gov. Gavin Newsom proposed an additional $105 million in spending to prevent, counter, and recover from wildfires.

"Weird how we're all told it's beyond the bounds of propriety to talk about impeaching a president who capriciously threatens to cut off disaster aid to the country's largest state immediately after its worst wildfire season in history," Simon Maloy, a senior writer at Media Matters for America, added in response to Trump's tweet.

A near record number of U.S. coal plants shut down in 2018. Carbon emissions still made a huge jump, report says.

A near record number of coal plants shut down last year, and the U.S. still emitted 3.4 percent more carbon in 2018 than the year before, according to a preliminary estimate. That’s the second-largest increase in 20 years, fueled in large part by a booming economy that caused people to travel more and manufacturing to surge, according to economic research firm the Rhodium Group, which released the report Tuesday. Only in 2010, as the country rebounded from the Great Recession, did emissions increase more than they did last year.

As the Trump administration rolls back climate and environmental regulations, the report illustrates the extent to which even those policies weren’t sufficient: The authors argue that regulators will have to target new sectors of the economy if they hope to reduce emissions substantially. Back in 2014, the U.S. pledged to reduce its carbon emissions 26–28 percent lower than 2005 levels by 2025. The country now stands farther from achieving that goal than it did a year ago.

Also of Interest

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

A Look Back at Clapper’s Jan. 2017 ‘Assessment’ on Russia-gate

Here’s What a Real Strike Looks Like: 150 Million Say No to Despotism in India

The Trump Administration Is Courting Ecological Disaster in Alaska

A Little Night Music

Eddie Floyd - On A Saturday Night

Eddie Floyd - Raise -Your Hand

Eddie Floyd - But It's Alright

Eddie Floyd - Soul Street

Eddie Floyd - Don't Tell Your Mama (Where You've Been)

Eddie Floyd - Bring It On Home To Me

Eddie Floyd - I've Never Found A Girl

Eddie Floyd - 634-5789

Eddie Floyd - Something You Got

The Blues Brothers Band feat Eddie Floyd

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Raggedy Ann's picture

Watched the shit-show last night and am appalled how no one is covering Herr Drump's comparison (except for the Real News Network) to the wealthy building walls around their houses to keep others out because they love the people "inside" the wall so much. Frightening.

The government workers without paychecks could bring the US to it's knees if they refuse to show up - especially the TSA. I don't want to make flying unsafe (my brother is a flight attendant), but, once again, where is America's courage? MIA

Have a beautiful evening, folks! Pleasantry

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"When will our conscience's grow so tender that we will act to prevent human misery rather than avenge it?" Eleanor Roosevelt

"The secret of change is to focus all your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new." Socrates (469-399 BC)

divineorder's picture

@Raggedy Ann Taking off shoes and belt, etc. just an annoyance that produces little benefit.

Anyway, with you on the shutdown being harmful to employees though.

FWIW We applied recently for Global Entry after learning that our credit card would reimburse us as a benefit. I had resisted it for a long time because it chapped my @ss that they would charge extra and let people who had money benefit.

Found out about this possibility of statement credit through a blog about credit card frequent flyer programs.

A woman commenter said that she wouldn’t do it because of the security theater of invasive scans and gropes, saying it felt to her like the program is saying ‘give me $100 and I’ll quit.’

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A truth of the nuclear age/climate change: we can no longer have endless war and survive on this planet. Oh sh*t.

joe shikspack's picture

@Raggedy Ann

i had a long day yesterday and had no patience for trump last night. it appears that i didn't miss much from the news coverage today. i can't believe that a significant, credulous portion of the population laps that crap up.

frankly, after 3 weeks of working without pay, i would think that a strike can't be too far in the offing. i'm surprised that it hasn't happened yet.

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CS in AZ's picture

@joe shikspack

Excellent collection as always, js.

So much to read and listen to... I get lost in the articles and never seem to get around to saying hello or thanking you for doing this incredible series.

Thank you!!

The essay “The Age Of Trump Clearly Shows That Narrative Is Everything” is interesting. For once I did not instantly recognize the writer as Caitlin Johnston just from the lines you quoted. Usually I do; she has a unique voice. This one is a little more serious, I guess is the word. She brings up many good points that I think are important to notice.

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joe shikspack's picture

@CS in AZ

you're welcome!

yep, this article by caitlin seems to contain a good bit less snark than most of her output. she's really working hard on her concepts around media narratives and trying to get her ideas across to a broader audience.

i think she's barking up the right tree.

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mimi's picture

offical statements, not his tweets, but all the rest?

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joe shikspack's picture


i just looked up last night's speech, it was written by stephen miller. here's an older article about trump's speechwriters.

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divineorder's picture

@joe shikspack prop up Mr. Trump.

And the Dems?

@joe shikspack

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A truth of the nuclear age/climate change: we can no longer have endless war and survive on this planet. Oh sh*t.

joe shikspack's picture


i just read that article and put it in tomorrow night's eb. you're ahead of the curve, do! Smile

it's a great article, btw. this was my favorite paragraph:

Trump’s speech was filled with lies, but it also identified real problems: Public resources are strained — not because of immigrants, but because of the austere policies of political leaders whose primary purpose is to shrink the size of government and the social welfare programs it supports. Resources are scarce — not because of immigrants, but because historically high wealth disparities mean less profit is reaching the workers who created it. Wages are being driven down — not because of immigrants, but because Republicans, occasionally joined by Democrats, launched a decades-long battle against unions, driving membership down from a high of 35 percent in the mid-1950s, to just under 11 percent today. And what Trump said about who is hurting most is true: “Among the hardest hit are African-Americans and Hispanic-Americans.”

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mimi's picture

A thirty year old fu.... up the world?
Lord help us all.

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ggersh's picture

what the fascists bring to us instead

But we fail ourselves if we're too weak to speak the truth and grind through the denial, anger and depression. If we opt for the easy way out, we're just like the addict, who is also opting for the easy way out, i.e. finding refuge in the labryrinthine Kingdom of Lies.

The status quo is a Kingdom of Lies. "Raw data", i.e. facts collected without regard to future interpretaion, are "processed" into the "right kind of data," i.e. data that supports the status quo interpretation, which is that everything's just fine thanks to the wise leadership of our self-serving elites.

The deeper you dig into the statistical foundation of GDP, the unemployment rate, trade deficits, etc., the more questions arise about the accuracy and agenda behind the headline numbers.

People need to wake up, really wake up

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this time it's different

empty suit on Kapernick

"“Kapernick needs to think about the pain he’s causing military families."

joe shikspack's picture


heh, "government statistics." of course they are accurate. of course they are.

sleep well, america.

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divineorder's picture

Bill Mckibben pointed to an interesting article on Trump Admin and Climate Crisis.


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A truth of the nuclear age/climate change: we can no longer have endless war and survive on this planet. Oh sh*t.

joe shikspack's picture


yep, the trial ended this afternoon. it was an interesting process. it was a criminal trial and i was actually surprised at the vast incompetence of the police (it was even greater than i previously imagined), amused and disappointed by the ludicrous fallacies spouted by the prosecutor, saddened by the poor showing of the public defender and gratified by the critical thinking skills of my fellow jurors. i left terribly sad for the victim's family who seemed to be invested in an outcome that was not to be, but pleased that the verdict that the jury arrived at was the correct one.

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divineorder's picture

@joe shikspack through. Does any other country have better results?

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A truth of the nuclear age/climate change: we can no longer have endless war and survive on this planet. Oh sh*t.

joe shikspack's picture


other countries do have better results - significantly less violent crime.

i think that it is necessary to see the big picture. sure, there are ways that we could explore to make our justice system better, more efficient, more accurate, etc. but, the best thing would to make it significantly less busy.

it seems to me that it is generally easy to come up with examples of countries that have much lower violent crime rates and there is one feature of many of them that sticks out for me - they offer significantly more generous social benefits and are more economically equal.

just sayin'

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divineorder's picture

Not that I have any love for Schumer... glad this did not pass:


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A truth of the nuclear age/climate change: we can no longer have endless war and survive on this planet. Oh sh*t.

divineorder's picture

...”Bill de Blasio’s plan to guarantee health care for every New Yorker, explained
The New York City plan builds on a successful San Francisco program to achieve something like universal health care.
By Dylan Scott on January 9, 2019 2:30 pm”

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A truth of the nuclear age/climate change: we can no longer have endless war and survive on this planet. Oh sh*t.

joe shikspack's picture


A 2017 report found that New York’s public hospitals provided 52 percent of the uncompensated care in the state, yet received just 15 percent of the state’s charity care dollars. Private hospitals, on the other hand, were responsible for 42 percent of that care and received 85 percent of the state money.

sounds like diblasio has made good use of his resources. i hope that it works out until the u.s. government can disentangle itself from the tentacles of the insurance and medical industries and provide for the general welfare.

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enhydra lutris's picture

out to the narcissist in chief that his wall cannot possibly be anything other than tiny and puny in comparison to China's. I mean, would anybody by a total weenie build a wall ging in knowing it was doomed to be seriously second class?

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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

well, hell. if you are going to bring up the great wall of china, i have two words for mr. trump.

siege engine. Smile

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dystopian's picture

Of the see-eye-eh and the eff-bee-eye, which is more corrupt? Or is it the same, one just more domestic and the other foreign? I for one certainly did not expect them to save me from Trump since I found out their plan for that was to put someone that refused to follow
basic 101 security protocol and gave top secret information to our alleged enemies, in charge. In other words, the Clinton enema, where everything around them turns to shit.

Is my hearing going or did they just elect a speaker of the house that can barely speak?

Are the Democrats that want to deal with the Donald real democrats?

At least the orange never-ending accident warned California, to stop those fires, or else.

The Consortium piece by McGovern on the 17 phony BS assessment is great.

We are hell bent on Izembek NWR getting split with a road. For commercial purposes, er, I mean medical emergencies (unless you ask the local doctor).

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We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.
Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.
both - Albert Einstein

joe shikspack's picture


Of the see-eye-eh and the eff-bee-eye, which is more corrupt?

great taste, less filling?

for those who don't get that, see this:

Is my hearing going or did they just elect a speaker of the house that can barely speak?

do not adjust your set ...

Are the Democrats that want to deal with the Donald real democrats?

i think that the real democrats (if they ever really existed) became extinct years ago.

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