The Evening Blues - 1-21-19



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The day's news roundup + tonight's musical feature: Dossie Terry


Hey! Good Evening!

This evening's music features obscure blues singer and songwriter Dossie Terry. Very little biographical information is available about him. He cut records on a bunch of labels and wrote or co-wrote songs for Dinah Washington, Floyd Dixon, Ruth Brown, the Drifters, the Clovers, and Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson. Enjoy!

Dossie Terry - Twenty-Four Years

"I cannot say that our country could have no secret police without becoming totalitarian, but I can say with great conviction that it cannot become totalitarian without a centralized national police."

-- Robert H. Jackson


News and Opinion

Oh my. A member of the U.S. political police accidentally told a small truth on national teevee.

Shocking Admission By FBI Veteran Shows Why The FBI Shouldn’t Exist

On the 18th of November, 1964, the FBI’s appallingly corrupt boss J. Edgar Hoover denounced Martin Luther King Jr. as “the most notorious liar in the country.” A few days later, a Hoover deputy named William Sullivan wrote King a letter posing as a disillusioned follower and using powerful, manipulative language to urge the civil rights leader to commit suicide before evidence of his extramarital affair became public. Enclosed was an FBI recording containing evidence of the affair. Whenever America celebrates Martin Luther King Jr. Day we should remind ourselves that it is a known, undisputed fact that the Federal Bureau of Investigation engineered a psyop to manipulate one of the world’s greatest minds into committing suicide. It is also worth reviewing the compelling argument for the case that the FBI was behind King’s assassination as well. ...

We received yet another reminder of the FBI’s true face the other day in an interview with its former Deputy Assistant Director Terry Turchie on Fox’s Tucker Carlson Tonight. In a passing tangent largely unrelated to the rest of the interview, Turchie made the following shocking statement in relation to the ongoing Russiagate saga:

“And I think we can expect more of this, because quite honestly the electorate in some places is putting more and more progressives and self-described socialists in positions. And ironically, years ago, when I first got into the FBI, one of the missions of the FBI in its counterintelligence efforts was to try and keep these people out of government. Why? Because we would end up with massive dysfunction and massive disinformation and massive misinformation, and it seems to me that’s where we’re at today.”


According to his LinkedIn profile, Turchie joined the FBI in July of 1972. COINTELPRO, the program in which leftist groups were actively infiltrated and undermined, officially ended in 1971, and Hoover had died in May of 1972. This was after “Hoover’s FBI” stopped being Hoover’s FBI, yet a “counterintelligence effort” was still very much alive and thriving to undermine the will of the electorate and prevent them from electing leftists to office. This one admission, by itself, is in my opinion more than enough to justify the FBI’s total dissolution. Leaving aside any of their other malfeasance that I mentioned earlier, leaving aside the rest of their other documented malfeasance that I haven’t mentioned, this one admission by Turchie shows clearly that America’s secret police should cease to exist.

Think about it. How can anyone justify the FBI’s continued existence after such an admission? There is an extremely powerful branch of the US government which is known to have been actively undermining the democratic will of the electorate through covert means. Even if you very trustingly subscribe to the belief that the FBI no longer engages in any such practices to any extent (and that would be extremely naive), how can you justify keeping it in power knowing that it did? Where precisely in the FBI’s history is a clear, clean, unequivocal break from what it was doing then declared, documented and evidenced? For what reason was it not razed to the ground decades ago and any of its actual necessary functions transferred elsewhere?

Some interesting stuff is being revealed (really more like being confirmed by documents) in New Zealand about how the "5 Eyes" operates (as a subsidiary of the US intel community) and who they spy on (everybody - including apparently France for purposes of meddling in their most recent elections and for economic espionage) and for what reasons (control and profit). This is a very long article, rich in details and well worth a read if you want to know what sort of obstacles a citizen political movement faces from a surveillance state that views the public as a target for counterinsurgency operations. Here are some excerpts from Susie Dawson's article.

NZ Spy Scandal: Elephants In The Room;
US Used NZ Spies to Spy on Third Countries,
Including France; US Army Ready for Unrest

I’ve spent six years alternately begging major NZ journalists to investigate state-sponsored spying on activists including me, and, out of sheer necessity, reporting extensively on it myself from within the vacuum created by their inaction. So it is somewhat bemusing to now observe the belated unfolding of what ex-Member of Parliament and Greenpeace NZ Executive Director Russel Norman is describing as New Zealand’s “Watergate moment.” In the wake of the bombshell release of a State Services Commission report into the affair, Norman wrote: “My key takeaway is that under the previous government, no one was safe from being spied on if they disagreed with government policy.” ...

This is a remarkable statement from Norman, who once sat on the very government committee tasked with oversight of New Zealand’s intelligence agencies. ... The sands are shifting: Over a dozen government agencies including the New Zealand Police are revealed to have been engaging private intelligence firms such as the notorious Thompson and Clark Investigations Limited to spy on New Zealand citizens engaged in issue-based democratic dissent, activism in general, or who were deemed to present an economic or political ‘risk’ to the bureaucracy or the private sector in New Zealand. ... At its core, this scandal is a reflection of fundamental flaws in the very fabric of intelligence gathering practices in New Zealand, its infrastructure and network – where the collected data flows, whom the collection of that data serves and to which masters our intelligence services ultimately answer. ...

At the 2014 ‘Moment of Truth’ event in Auckland, Edward Snowden spoke of having direct access to “full-take” signals intelligence information from New Zealand while working as an NSA contractor. ... The discovery that the products of our electronic intelligence gathering efforts and the output of our human intelligence network and their informants are being fed directly into the United States “global network” has massive ramifications. Particularly when we consider that the sources of that information may not just be from our overseas/military operations but also from our domestic policing operations. That it could include information obtained not just by our spy agencies and our police agencies – but by their subcontractors, like Thompson and Clark Investigations Limited. ...

Civilians are being caught up in the ever-expanding dragnet of the “global network” – the logical outcome of mixing a perpetual growth model with the surveillance industry:

“The thing about the privatisation of spying is that profit requires growth, and growth in this industry means more targets. So it was never going to be a finite thing. It was never going to be, we will just target the activists. Because, if you just target the activists… first of all, they try to diminish the total number of activists and that would mean less profit. So in order to have more profit, they have to constantly expand the sectors of society that they spy on. We’ve seen this in New Zealand. Surveillance cameras used to be for safety in a dark, dingy area. Now they are absolutely everywhere at all times. They have to have ever-increasing saturation of spying in order to make money from it.”– Diary of a Person of Interest

This is the behemoth Goliath that those of us unlucky enough to be targets find ourselves up against. Far too often targets aren’t ISIS brides, foreign fighters, terrorists, drug traffickers, or even foreign militaries, as the heads of our security services keep claiming. They are instead regular citizens – activists, journalists, dissident academics, researchers, or as we now know even earthquake victims and child abuse survivors. Ex-Green MP Keith Locke has been able to prove that he was targeted since the age of eleven. His victimisation tracks back to 1955, and extends through the new millennium, including three years during which he was a Member of Parliament – a position that is supposed to grant him some immunity from political targeting by security services. As recently as 2013 he was still being referred to as a “threat” in internal NZSIS documents. Why?

Keith writes:

In the SIS documents I was identified as an “internal” threat because I “wish[ed] to see the NZSIS & GCSB abolished or greatly modified”. The documents labelled this a “syndrome”.

Keith Locke isn’t the only New Zealander who wants to see the NZSIS and GCSB abolished or greatly modified.

Medics on high alert: 80-thousand people participated in Yellow Vest protests across France

Israeli military strikes Iranian targets inside Syria

Israel’s military has said it struck Iranian Quds targets inside Syria and warned Syrian forces not to attack Israeli territory or forces. Syrian state media cited a Syrian military source as saying Israel launched an “intense attack through consecutive waves of guided missiles”, but that Syrian air defences destroyed most of the “hostile targets”. Witnesses in Damascus said loud explosions rang out in the night sky for nearly an hour. ...

The strikes followed cross-border attacks on Sunday in which Syria said it repelled an Israeli air attack. Israel said it intercepted a rocket fired at the Golan Heights.

Taliban kill ‘more than 100 people’ in attack on Afghan military base

The Taliban have launched a major attack on an Afghan military compound in central Maidan Wardak province, officials have said, with some putting the death toll at more than 100 people. Monday’s incident at a campus of the National Directorate of Security (NDS) is the latest in a series of deadly attacks in recent months by the Taliban, which has seized control of about half of Afghanistan.

The Afghan authorities said the attack started on Monday morning, when a US-made armoured Humvee vehicle was driven into the compound and blown up. Gunmen also opened fire, before being killed by security forces.

Government officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, have given differing estimates of the death toll. One said it could be as high as 126 people and another said yet more were thought to have been wounded. “Eight special commandos are among the dead,” said a senior member of Kabul’s defence ministry. An official from the Afghan public health ministry said the total of killed and wounded could be about 140 people.

Venezuela claims it has foiled attempted military uprising

Venezuela’s government has claimed to have foiled what appeared to be an attempted military insurrection, blaming the mutiny on “shadowy interests of the extreme right”. In a statement, Venezuela accused a small group of “assailants” from the Bolivarian National Guard (GNB) of “betraying their oath of loyalty to the homeland” by kidnapping four officials in an attempt to steal weapons that began at about 2.50am local time (0650 GMT) on Monday. ...

Diosdado Cabello, a leading chavista (supporter of Chávez) who is widely seen as a possible successor to Maduro, said: “Our Bolivarian armed forces will respond to attacks against the homeland … wherever they come from. “The group of robbers have been neutralised, subdued and captured, in record time, and are already confessing the details.”

Earlier, videos circulating on social media showed a group of armed, uniformed men promising to “re-establish the constitutional order”. A man who identifies himself as 3Sgt Alexander Bandres Figueroa tells viewers: “Get out on to the streets … It is today. It’s today … People, get out, support us. “This fight is for you, for Venezuela,” he adds in a second video entitled “Message to the glorious people of Venezuela from part of its patriotic armed forces”.

Exactly what unfolded overnight remained unclear on Monday. But the newspaper El Nacional said residents of San José de Cotiza, in western Caracas, reported hearing explosions and a confrontation, apparently between members of the group and police special forces, at about 4am. ...

Juan Guaidó, an opposition leader who recently declared himself ready to assume Venezuela’s presidency, described the mutiny as an indication of widespread hostility to Maduro within Venezuela’s armed forces. He called on the military to put itself “on the side of the people, the constitution and against [Maduro’s] usurpation” of power. ... Writing in the Washington Post last week, Guaidó denounced Maduro as a “usurper” and called on the military – whose members are being offered amnesty by Venezuela’s opposition – to turn on him. “The chain of command has been broken and there’s no commander in chief – it’s time to get on the right side of history,” he wrote.

Meet the Team Behind CNN Brasil: A Businessman Accused of Exploiting Slave Labor and An Executive From a Fox News-style Outlet

Last Monday, CNN announced that it will launch a Portuguese-language channel in Brazil. The U.S.-based cable news channel will roll out the latest foreign operation to bear the CNN brand through a license. However, the scandal-prone records of the two Brazilian partners behind the venture are already raising questions over the forthcoming channel’s credibility.

Principal funding for the venture will come from the new channel’s chair of the board, Rubens Menin, a construction magnate who is a vocal cheerleader for far-right Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and whose company has been caught multiple times using modern slave labor. CNN Brasil also announced that it will bring on Douglas Tavolaro as its CEO. Tavolaro previously served as vice president for news of Rede Record, a channel that in 2018 earned the nickname “Fox News Brasil” for its fawning coverage of Bolsonaro’s presidential campaign and the preferential access it secured as a result. When orders from on high at Record demanded that journalists cease criticism of Bolsonaro and increase negative coverage of his competitor, a minor staff revolt ensued and multiple journalists resigned in protest. ...

Over the last 20 years, CNN has made several attempts to create a Brazilian channel, but previous negotiations have never gotten off the ground. A representative from CNN declined to respond to The Intercept’s questions and instead issued the following statement: “CNN does a comprehensive audit of all its licensing partners. This is the case of the licensees who will operate CNN Brasil, who have our full support. As with all licensing agreements, CNN Brasil will program the channel independently, but in line with CNN standards and practices.” But, according to the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas at the University of Texas-Austin,  CNN-licensed media companies abroad are not always viewed as hewing to the guidelines that govern the U.S.-based CNN operation’s journalism.

Brexit deadlock: Theresa May unveils her Brexit 'Plan B'

Corbyn holds back from conceding to calls for second EU referendum

Jeremy Corbyn is likely to refrain from making fresh moves towards backing a second referendum until after the government’s Brexit plan B is voted on later this month, as he seeks to balance pressure from rival wings of his party. Labour strategists believe there is a firm majority both in the shadow cabinet and in parliament against an immediate shift towards full-throated support for a referendum, the Guardian understands.

They are also keen for the focus in the coming days to remain on Theresa May’s efforts to rework the Irish backstop, after her Brexit deal was defeated by a historic margin of 230 votes last week. Labour wants to prioritise pursuing its own version of Brexit – with a customs union, a close relationship to the single market, and stronger protections for workers’ rights and environmental standards.

The prime minister is due to table a motion on Monday setting out the next steps in the Brexit process, which is set to be voted on by MPs on 29 January. If an amendment calling for a people’s vote is tabled, Labour would not whip MPs to vote against it – but has not yet committed to whipping them to support it, either.

World's 26 richest people own as much as poorest 50%, says Oxfam

The growing concentration of the world’s wealth has been highlighted by a report showing that the 26 richest billionaires own as many assets as the 3.8 billion people who make up the poorest half of the planet’s population.

In an annual wealth check released to mark the start of the World Economic Forum in Davos, the development charity Oxfam said 2018 had been a year in which the rich had grown richer and the poor poorer. It said the widening gap was hindering the fight against poverty, adding that a 1% wealth tax would raise an estimated $418bn (£325bn) a year – enough to educate every child not in school and provide healthcare that would prevent 3 million deaths.

Oxfam said the wealth of more than 2,200 billionaires across the globe had increased by $900bn in 2018 – or $2.5bn a day. The 12% increase in the wealth of the very richest contrasted with a fall of 11% in the wealth of the poorest half of the world’s population.

As a result, the report concluded, the number of billionaires owning as much wealth as half the world’s population fell from 43 in 2017 to 26 last year. In 2016 the number was 61.

Among the findings of the report were:

  • In the 10 years since the financial crisis, the number of billionaires has nearly doubled.
  • Between 2017 and 2018 a new billionaire was created every two days.
  • The world’s richest man, Jeff Bezos, the owner of Amazon, saw his fortune increase to $112bn. Just 1% of his fortune is equivalent to the whole health budget for Ethiopia, a country of 105 million people.
  • The poorest 10% of Britons are paying a higher effective tax rate than the richest 10% (49% compared with 34%) once taxes on consumption such as VAT are taken into account.

How the 1% profit off of racial economic inequality

An economy that’s rigged to benefit the richest 1% has left most of America behind. While wages for workers have remained flat for decades, expenses for health care, housing, and most basic needs have risen. Alongside record concentrations of income and wealth at the top, America’s racial wealth divide has persisted – or worsened. As people of color make up a larger share of the diversifying US population, that persistent racial wealth divide is bringing down America’s median wealth. But while wealth at the middle falters, it’s skyrocketing at the top. In other words, the 1% are profiting off ongoing racial economic inequality.

All this is happening against a backdrop of seemingly good economic news. Black and Latino unemployment rates reached historic lows in 2018, and median income has slowly inched up for all households in the last few years. But measures of wealth – what you own minus what you owe – tell a very different story. Those were our findings in Dreams Deferred, a new study on the racial wealth divide for the Institute for Policy Studies.

Since the early 1980s, median wealth among Black and Latino families has been stuck at less than $10,000. The median Black family today owns $3,600 – just 2% of the $147,000 of wealth the median white family owns. The median Latino family has assets worth $6,600 – just 4% of the median white family. In other words, the median white family has 41 times more wealth than the median Black family and 22 times more wealth than the median Latino family.

“Median wealth” refers to the household at the exact middle of wealth distribution – with half of households above and half below. That’s different from “average wealth”, which skews the numbers by including the wealth of the richest 1%. (Average white wealth, for example, was $930,000 in 2016. But the ordinary white person isn’t close to being a millionaire.) Changes in median wealth give us a multi-decade understanding of economic security and well-being. Since 1983, median wealth for all US households declined by 3%, adjusting for inflation. Over this same period, the median Black family saw their wealth drop by more than half. Meanwhile, the number of households with $10m or more skyrocketed by 856%.

Mueller Contradicts BuzzFeed "Bombshell" Trump Story

'Literally What Jesus Told People to Do': In Arizona, Possible Prison Time for Leaving Food and Water for Migrants

Four women were found guilty of misdemeanors and are facing possible prison time for leaving jugs of water and canned food in the Arizona desert for migrants braving the scorching triple-digit temperatures during the summer of 2017. U.S. Magistrate Judge Bernardo Velasco on Friday convicted Natalie Hoffman, Oona Holcomb, Madeline Huse, and Zaachila Orozco—all volunteers with the organization No More Deaths—for entering the Cabeza Prieta refuge without a permit and leaving the items, which "erode the national decision to maintain the refuge in its pristine nature."

The volunteers—who face up to six months behind bars and a fine of up to $500—and other critics of the Velasco's decision argued that the women were simply trying to save lives.

"This verdict challenges not only No More Deaths volunteers, but people of conscience throughout the country," declared Catherine Gaffney, another of the group's volunteers. "If giving water to someone dying of thirst is illegal, what humanity is left in the law of this country?"

Professor Katherine Franke, faculty director of the Public Rights/Private Conscience Project at Columbia Law School, challenged the outcome on legal grounds. "Velasco's guilty verdict in the case mirrored the government lawyers' trivialization of the defendants' religious liberty claims, describing them as 'a modified Antigone defense,'" she said in a statement (pdf). "He failed to undertake even a minimal legal analysis of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, as the law required."

Trump offers temporary protections for Dreamers for a border wall. Dems aren’t having it.

President Donald Trump tried to shift pressure onto the Democrats Saturday by offering a raft of immigration reforms in exchange for $5.7 billion for a physical barrier on the border with Mexico, a demand that triggered the longest government shutdown in U.S. history.

The president’s deal includes a lot of things Democrats have supported in the past: three years of protection for 700,000 so-called Dreamers who were brought to the U.S. illegally by their parents, three-year protections on temporary protected status (TPS) for 300,000 immigrants, $800 million for humanitarian assistance, $805 million for drug detection technology, 2,750 new border agents, and 75 new immigration judges.

“This is a common-sense compromise both parties should embrace,” Trump said in a speech that largely mirrored his primetime television address on a “humanitarian crisis at the border” earlier this month. “The radical left can never control our borders.”

The offer was as much a play for public opinion as a serious policy proposal for Democrats. With a partial government shutdown in its fourth week, and 800,000 federal workers going without pay for a full month, the president is attempting to put the onus on Democrats, who declared the offer dead on arrival.

Pelosi rejects Trump shutdown deal before president announces it

Donald Trump forged ahead on Saturday and proposed a deal to end the US government shutdown, despite Democrats having rejected it before he began to speak. If its timing was striking, the rejection was no surprise. In exchange for temporary concessions on the status of threatened migrant groups, the president doubled down on his demand for a border wall. A senior House Democratic aide told the Guardian the party, which has vowed not to give Trump funding for any wall, was not consulted. ...

Before the president took the podium, House speaker Nancy Pelosi panned his proposal. “Democrats were hopeful that the president was finally willing to re-open government and proceed with a much-need discussion to protect the border,” she said in a statement. “Unfortunately … his proposal is a compilation of several previously rejected initiatives, each of which is unacceptable and in total do not represent a good faith effort to restore certainty to people’s lives. It is unlikely that any one of these provisions alone would pass the House, and taken together, they are a non-starter.”

Democrats put forward their own offer: $1.3bn in border security funding and hundreds of millions for immigration judges and improving ports of entry. They also pointed out that the White House was not embracing a permanent solution for Dreamers, from whom Trump rescinded protections in 2017, but offering only three years in which they could obtain work permits and not fear deportation.

Merkley Calls for FBI Perjury Probe into Homeland Secretary Nielsen After Child Detention Memo Leaked

After releasing a damning draft memo that showed the Trump administration planned to "traumatize" migrant children with family separations and expedite deportation by denying asylum hearings, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) on Friday called for an FBI investigation into whether Homeland Security Sec. Kirstjen Nielsen lied when she testified before Congress about the policy.

In a letter sent to FBI Director Christopher Wray, the senator noted that "compelling new evidence has emerged revealing that high-level Department of Homeland Security officials were secretly and actively developing a new policy and legal framework for separating families as far back as December 2017."

"Despite this fact," Merkley continued, "while testifying under oath before the House Committee on the Judiciary, Secretary Nielsen stated unequivocally 'I'm not a liar, we've never had a policy for family separation.'" Given the "conflicting facts," Merkley formally demanded an immediate investigation.

In addition to her comments before the House committee, Nielsen made similar proclamations to the public, such as when she tweeted last summer: "We do not have a policy of separating families at the border. Period." Her statement was quickly denounced by critics as a "heinous lie."



the horse race



Kamala Harris is running for president

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) entered the 2020 presidential race Monday, announcing in a television interview that she was running for the Democratic nomination.

“I am running for president of the United States and I’m very excited about it,” she said in a Martin Luther King Day interview on ABC’s “Good Morning America.” ...

The 54-year-old, whose bid was widely anticipated, becomes the first African-American to formally enter the 2020 race. In a campaign video released Monday, she framed herself as a champion of equality and justice. ...

A recent New York Times op-ed published accused Harris of being “often on the wrong side of history” during her tenure as California’s AG and claimed she had “fought tooth and nail to uphold wrongful convictions that had been secured through official misconduct.”

A Problem for Kamala Harris: Can a Prosecutor Become President in the Age of Black Lives Matter?

Kamala Harris has a prosecutor problem. he’s running for president as a progressive, but as attorney general of California, she criminalized truancy — making it a crime for kids to be late for school, and dragging into the criminal justice system even more disproportionately low income, predominantly black and latino families. She’s overlooked the misconduct of her prosecutors and fought to uphold their wrongfully secured convictions. She defended California’s choice to deny sexual reassignment surgery to a trans inmate, and in 2014, appealed a federal judge’s holding that the death penalty was unconstitutional. The list goes on and on. But in some ways the details don’t matter. The problem isn’t that Harris was an especially bad prosecutor. She made positive contributions as well — encouraging education and reentry programs for ex-offenders, for instance. The problem, more precisely, is that she was ever a prosecutor at all.

To become a prosecutor is to make a choice to align oneself with a powerful and fundamentally biased system. As Paul Butler, former prosecutor and author of “Chokehold: Policing Black Men,” told The Guardian, “as a lawyer who went to law school with a goal of helping black people and using my legal skills to make things better, the realization that the law itself was a mechanism to keep African American people down was frightening.” He added, “Lawyers are competitive and ambitious, and the way that manifests itself in a prosecutor’s office is you want to get tough sentences. I got caught up in that world. You feel like you’re doing the Lord’s work — you tell yourselves that you’re helping the community.” But, he vividly recalls, the expectation is far from reality. Compare his self-reflection with Harris’s reply when asked about her decision to become a prosecutor: “There is a duty and responsibility to be a voice for the most voiceless and vulnerable and to do the work of justice. And that’s the work I wanted to do.”

Harris’s response might be understandable coming from someone with less experience — a lay person, a law student, or even a junior DA. But who, especially in the era of Black Lives Matter, would flatly describe the enforcement arm of the criminal enforcement as doing “the work of justice?” What person with any experience in criminal court can claim to be an advocate for the “most vulnerable,” without recognizing that the victim in one case is often the defendant in the next — that the issues at play are systemic, and that the justice meted out by the court system is a rough one at best? Harris has stayed away from engaging with these deeper questions in interviews. Perhaps because, as a prosecutor, she understands that there are no good answers.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez rejects Aaron Sorkin's call for new Democrats to grow up

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has hit back at Aaron Sorkin after the Oscar-winning screenwriter said on Sunday that the young Democrats needed to “stop acting like young people.” Sorkin, 57, told Fareed Zakaria in an interview on CNN on Sunday morning: “I really like the new crop of young people who were just elected to Congress. They now need to stop acting like young people, OK? It’s time to do that.”

“I think that there’s a great opportunity here, now more than ever, for Democrats to be the non-stupid party, to point out the difference,” Sorkin said. “That it’s not just about transgender bathrooms. That’s a Republican talking point they’re trying to distract you with. That we haven’t forgotten the economic anxiety of the middle class, but we’re going to be smart about this; we’re not going to be mean about it.” ...

But Ocasio-Cortez, one of the most popular of that new and notably diverse cohort of Democrats, took issue with Sorkin’s characterisation of equality as a political distraction. “News Flash: Medicare for All and equal rights aren’t trends,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted on Sunday afternoon. Ocasio-Cortez is the youngest Democrat congresswoman, at 29, and a vocal left-wing figure in the party. “When people complain about low turnout in some demos, it’s not because communities are apathetic, it’s because they don’t see you fighting for them. If we don’t show up for people, why should you feel entitled to their vote?”

Sorkin, creator of The West Wing, an acclaimed and entirely fictional prestige TV drama about the two terms of a Democratic president, was responding to a question about whether he felt Democrats were “speaking the way that they should” and if he felt the urge to dive in and write speeches for them.



the evening greens

Henry Cuellar’s Policy Preferences Could Destroy the World. But Then Again, He’s a Really Nice Guy.

Two competing values are at work in a coming primary challenge against oil-and-gas-backed Democrat Henry Cuellar, announced last week by Justice Democrats, the group that recruited Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., to run for office. On the one hand, a new report concluded that if the U.S. proceeds on its current course of drilling — which Cuellar has emphatically supported — humanity will crash through its remaining climate guardrails and risk lurching into apocalyptic warming scenarios. On the other hand, Cuellar is a really nice guy, and primaries are awfully divisive. Cuellar’s extreme popularity among his House colleagues is widely known. But the role U.S. reserves of oil and gas could play in future warming scenarios has been less well-established.

A new report from Oil Change International, or OCI, however, alters the equation. Examining projections developed by Rystad Energy, an independent oil and gas consultancy, the new report looks at projected oil and gas development in the United States over the next several decades, and what consequences it holds for the planet. The authors find that, if allowed to continue with projected new fossil fuel projects, U.S. oil and gas production could account for 60 percent of all new oil and gas production through 2030, making the U.S. the world’s largest new source of oil and gas and outpacing expected growth in the next largest producer, Canada, 4 to 1. All of this would happen during the period when the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has said that countries should begin stripping fossil fuels out of the global economy as rapidly as possible. The climate costs of such development are massive, with new drilling set to unleash 120 billion tons of Earth-warming carbon dioxide into the atmosphere by 2050, the equivalent of what nearly 1,000 coal-fired power plants would burn throughout the lifespan of their operations. It would be the single largest burst of new carbon dioxide emissions to enter the Earth’s atmosphere over that period.

The report’s main takeaway isn’t complicated: The United States can either stop digging up new troves of fossil fuels, or take a sledgehammer to the world’s chances at a livable future. ...

Dubbed “Big Oil’s Favorite Democrat,” Cuellar is the first who Justice Democrats will be recruiting a primary challenger for ahead of the 2020 election. When he voted to lift the ban on crude oil exports in 2015, Cuellar said in a press statement that “with the Eagle Ford Shale in my district and the Permian Basin nearby, I recognize the great potential for our domestic oil industry, and I also understand the way in which it is being suppressed by this outdated export ban.” Lifting that ban helped clear the way for the rash of new fossil fuel development over the last few years and will continue to fuel the development analyzed in OCI’s report. In the summer of 2017, he was among the first to join the Congressional Oil and Gas Caucus intended, per inaugural chair Vicente González, D-Texas, to “assure that there is support on this side of the aisle for the oil and gas industry.”

Cuellar has voted 69 percent of the time with Trump. In the 2018 cycle, he accepted $145,000 from PACs linked to oil and gas corporations and has taken $711,627 from the industry over the course of his career. “Taking on someone like Henry Cuellar, who is one of the largest recipients of big oil and gas money in the Democratic caucus, is a way to drive the Green New Deal conversation forward in the Democratic Party and begin to drive home that climate can be an issue that you can lose your seat over if you’re a Democrat,” says Waleed Shahid, Justice Democrats’ communications director. “He does not have a plan to tackle climate change. He has a plan to continue receiving money from his wealthy donors. … You can’t take money from [the fossil fuel industry] and then try to hold them accountable. It just doesn’t work.”

Ecosocialism interview starts about halfway through program:

Economic Update: Ecosocialism

Founders of plastic waste alliance ‘investing billions in new plants’

The founding companies behind a self-styled alliance to end plastic waste are among the world’s biggest investors in new plastic productions plants, according to a European NGO. A majority of the firms which announced this week they were collaborating to try to help tackle plastic pollution are likely to be at the heart of a global boom in plastic production over the next 10 years.

Together the companies have committed $1bn (£778m) over the next five years to reduce plastic production and improve recycling, with an aspiration to raise that to $1.5bn if more members join.

But most of the founding firms have tens of billions of dollars riding on the need for global plastic production to continue growing over the next decade and more.

35,000 Hit Streets of Berlin to Demand Agricultural Revolution

Organizers said 35,000 people marched through the streets of the German capital on Saturday to say they're "fed up" with industrial agriculture and call for a transformation to a system that instead supports the welfare of the environment, animals, and rural farmers. ...

"This protest," said Green party co-leader Robert Habeck, "shows that the desire for a different agricultural policy is now undeniable."

As DW reports

Protesters called out by some 100 organizations asserted that alleviation of climate change and species depletion required a reorganization of EU farming policy, including subsidies, currently amounting to €60 billion ($68 billion) annually, including €6.3 billion allocated in Germany.

That flowed mainly to larger companies focused on boosting yields, they said, but instead the funds should be distributed better to avert further farmyard closures and rural village die-offs.

"With over €6 billion that Germany distributes every year as EU farming monies, environmental and animal-appropriate transformation of agriculture must be promoted," said protest spokesperson Saskia Richartz.

California town sets up 'goat fund me' page to finance four-legged firefighters

A California town threatened by the sort of wildfires that recently wiped out a neighbouring community is appealing for an unusual type of help: a crack team of goats. Nevada City has launched a crowdfunding drive, dubbed “goat fund me”, to recruit a herd to munch through acres of wildfire-prone vegetation at the fringe of town. ...

There is a sense of urgency over the deployment of the goat squadron, with winter providing the best window of time to pare back vegetation that may spread wildfires once summer arrives. While providing a cheaper grazing option than machinery, goats still require the oversight of a herdsman to ensure they don’t go rogue.

A month after launching the funding drive, Nevada City is closing in on its goal, with nearly $17,000 raised so far.


Also of Interest

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

Watch Replay of 13th Vigil for Assange

Glenn Greenwald - Beyond BuzzFeed: The 10 Worst, Most Embarrassing U.S. Media Failures on the Trump/Russia Story

MSM Begs For Trust After Buzzfeed Debacle

'The goal is to automate us': welcome to the age of surveillance capitalism

Who is more dangerous: El Chapo or Carlos Slim?

Hoping to Transform 'Momentum Into Policy', Thousands Expected to Flood Capitol Hill to Demand Medicare for All

GOP Lawmaker Really Doesn't Want Rep. Rashida Tlaib to Let Lawmakers Know What Life Is Like in Occupied West Bank

A Call to Reinvestigate American Assassinations

Could Joe Crowley End Up Being a Lobbyist for Big Console?

Grassroots Coalition Holding Weekend of Action to Make Case for Sanders 2020


A Little Night Music

Dossie Terry - Railroad Section Man

Dossie Terry - She's Alright

Dossie Terry - I Got A Watch Dog

Dossie Terry - When I Hit The Number

Dossie Terry - Lost My Head

Dossie Terry - You Will Be Mine

Dossie Terry w/ Howard Biggs' Orch. - Didn't Satisfy You

Dossie Terry - Skinny Ginny

Dossie Terry - Sad, Sad Affair

(Written by Dossie Terry) Floyd Dixon - Hey Bartender


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detroitmechworks's picture

And unfortunately, they cancelled Judo tonight due to the holiday. Sigh. Ah well, did some pushups, situps and took a 2 mile walk as well as a TON of House cleaning at 5 Am... Should help a bit.

Unfortunately, I don't think we'll be getting any REAL news out of the MSM for the next two years. The horse race has already begun and the positions will change from day to day. All that can be expected is lots of shaming, a lot of empty promises, and a hell of a lot of business as usual. As of Right now, I have gotten the last food stamps I ever expect to see and am operating under the assumption that the Government will not be restarted until the end of the Election Season. 95% certain they won't cut off the Veterans, but need to assume that it's a possibility, especially among stupid Democrats who assume that any DOD funding cuts will naturally be taken from waste first.

Yes, my cynicism is on full display today, but after reading the news, I don't think It's unjustified.

Edit: Never Mind, Judo's Happening! WHOOT!

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8 users have voted.

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

joe shikspack's picture

@detroitmechworks

yep, from here to 2020 it's going to be silly season. most stories from here on out will be seen through the lens of the horse race.

unfortunately, i don't see a quick way out of the shutdown either. neither side of the dispute gives a damn about anything but its political fortunes and the 800,000 people caught in the middle are tolerable losses for these sort of people. after all, the u.s. government has starved more people than that to death for being born in a country with a leader they don't like.

i think that veterans will probably come out ok, the government "leaders" need to keep the military on their side.

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6 users have voted.
Lookout's picture

AL.com had a 90th b'day tribute with several quotes
https://www.al.com/life/2019/01/remembering-martin-luther-king-jr-on-his...

A friend sent me this info about the Salute to Freedom benefit concert in B'ham in 1963...
salute-to-freedom.jpg

Some unpublished pictures of the event are in this article
http://time.com/3877899/march-on-washington-rare-photos-from-a-star-stud...

In 1963 Birmingham (4 min)

Caitlin's piece is so dead on in my view. Didn't know about the NZ spy deal I'll read up on it. New Knowledge and the Integrity Initiative are proof positive they've got operation mockingbird running strong. As you suggest a citizen led revolt has an uphill struggle.

In 1963 Birmingham there was quite the struggle...some progress was made but it seems we remain in the same struggle. Martin suggest in the '63 B'ham speech we must keep moving.

Well have a good evening everyone. Off to see cranes tomorrow. Heard there were some whoopers this year among the 100's of sandhills.

All the best. There were lots of interesting pieces and music in the EB tonight. Thanks for your great collection.

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14 users have voted.

“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

divineorder's picture

@Lookout I love the unique sounds sandhill cranes make!

The whooper recovery story is so amazing, just hope they can continue to survive.

Thanks for the MLKjr info what an inspiring figure.

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5 users have voted.

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

@Lookout

i know that $4 was a lot more money in 1963 than it seems now, but, wow! that's a lot of concert for $4 any year!

sadly, i think that the struggle may continue until we find a cure for human nature. these last couple of years have pointed out to me that we are not as far along in the struggle as i thought we were.

say hey to the whoopers for me!

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Lookout's picture

@joe shikspack

sadly, i think that the struggle may continue until we find a cure for human nature.

Our greed will be our demise.

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5 users have voted.

“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

I think sums it up. When towns are THAT desperate for help and the state and feds ignore them-we should ignore the state and feds. Sidestep the bastards as Much as possible, buy local from people You know(if you can) and stop feeding the corporate beast.
Tough to do when their tentacles are Everywhere.
Hope? Hahahahahahahahahaha. . .
Change? Yeah, lots of it, none good.

merde

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9 users have voted.

Ya got to be a Spirit, cain't be no Ghost. . .

joe shikspack's picture

@Tall Bald and Ugly

i guess if government and its "leaders" are going to work so hard to become irrelevant, it's probably best to help them along.

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4 users have voted.
divineorder's picture

Thanks for the news.

We are doing our usual bail on Winter, and now en route to Costa Rica. Got down to 29 in Austin outside the Global Warmer last night, but was pleasant later in the morning when we put it in storage.

No delay from shutdown so far, just have to hope the planes are all in tune. Smile

We told the TSA guy that we had lobbied to end the shutdown and he smiled in appreciation.

What a disastrous failure, eh? Hope we are not in for some Grande Bargain to make it end, but wouldnt put it past the Dims.

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11 users have voted.

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

@divineorder

bon voyage and safe travels!

travelling south actually sounds pretty good about now. it was in the single digits last night and the winds were just howling. it's in the single digits here again tonight, but the winds have died down so it feels warmer when i go outside.

wow, you got a tsa employee to crack a smile? you deserve some sort of medal! Smile

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4 users have voted.
divineorder's picture

to the Justice Dems as a poke at Cuellar, one of the worst humans around.

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6 users have voted.

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

WindDancer13's picture

This fits into the topic of racism which should be in most people's thoughts on this day. This article Trump’s Baseless Claim About Prayer Rugs Found at the Border purports to stand up against Trump's claim of Islamic terrorists coming across the southern border.

The article does sort of imply that the people making the claim of prayer rugs found in the desert wouldn't be able to recognize one. The same would hold true of those claiming to have also found copies of the Quran at border areas.

However, they fail to mention one salient point: Not all Muslims are terrorists.

In fact, very, very few are. In fact, the vast majority of terrorists in the US are non-Muslim as many studies have shown. As for Trump's slurs against brown people (who incidentally are of the white race), maybe I missed it, but I do not remember when a black or brown person shot up a school or church.

Meanwhile, the article made me wonder if a terrorist was to come across the southern border, would he really be toting a prayer rug or Quran? There are specific rules on how to use, store and take care of both which are not possible while "sneaking" across a border.

>>>

On a different topic: When did "not accurate" become "not true"? (Not arguing the current news, just wondering how one phrase has trans-morphed into the other.)

Thanks for the updates, Joe.

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3 users have voted.

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.--Aristotle
If there is no struggle there is no progress.--Frederick Douglass

joe shikspack's picture

@WindDancer13

it's a sad thing, but logic doesn't hold up well against fear and hatred.

When did "not accurate" become "not true"?

at the same time that imprecision became equivocation.

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6 users have voted.

he writes very inspiring little soliloquies (the classic Bartlet rant about leviticus, and the opening scene rant by bill pullman in Newsroom) but ultimately he believes markets and capitalism are the solution to our biggest problems.

the last time i remember leftists being told to grow up was when some clown went around madison wisconsin before the 2000 election putting posters up on telephone polls literally admonishing nader supporters to "grow up".

i can't think of any reason to view anyone speaking in that tone with anything other than deep, deep disdain.

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10 users have voted.

Sigh

joe shikspack's picture

@UntimelyRippd

if i had a nickel for every time that i was accused of being an uncompromising idealist or even simply "unrealistic" in my demands of political figures, i could afford to run for president. Smile

if i believed that the sort of people who condescendingly tell lefties to "grow up" actually believed in anything of note, i would sneer at them for cowardice in failing to stand up for their beliefs.

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7 users have voted.
WindDancer13's picture

Yes, I had two today.

From your post:

entering the Cabeza Prieta refuge without a permit and leaving the items, which "erode the national decision to maintain the refuge in its pristine nature."

Does this mean that all the people who decided to visit and trash national parks that are closed due to a government shutdown will be arrested and imprisoned? Those visitors did not even have a humanitarian excuse...just it's free and we can do what we want.

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5 users have voted.

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.--Aristotle
If there is no struggle there is no progress.--Frederick Douglass

joe shikspack's picture

@WindDancer13

Does this mean that all the people who decided to visit and trash national parks that are closed due to a government shutdown will be arrested and imprisoned?

of course not. it's our god-given right as americans to crap the place up. as long as no furriners get to do so, doncha know.

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5 users have voted.
WindDancer13's picture

@joe shikspack

Some of my great-great grandparents were not around when I was growing up so they were not able to advise me how foreign-born Americans vs native-born US Americans were supposed to act. Others of my greats-greats were too busy fighting genocide in a country that had been invaded by European foreigners (the ones who now get to trash the land).

Ah, well, live and learn.

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4 users have voted.

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.--Aristotle
If there is no struggle there is no progress.--Frederick Douglass

mimi's picture

... made me angry.

I learned what Steve Bannon is building up in Italy's religious catholic community. I don't know if I am more angry with Bannon or with the catholic church to allow being used for Bannon's extreme right-wing 'not-so-christian values' promotion.

Here are some in depth articles:

Bannon-backed academy plan draws Italian protest

Europe’s far right seems determined to hijack Christianity in its bid for power

Today Catholic fundamentalism is fully mixed with anti-Muslim feeling, disguised antisemitism, racism and a narrow anti-EU nationalism. ....

... Today, especially in eastern Europe, this Catholic fundamentalism is fully mixed with anti-Muslim feeling. At times there is also disguised antisemitism, racism and a narrow anti-EU nationalism.

Radio Maryja, the controversial Polish religious broadcaster, has been a key example of this trend since the 1990s. Similarly, Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban is presented as a Christian bastion against the Islamisation of the European continent.

... They are using Christianity as a Trojan horse to attract conservative voters who are opposed to the progressive and pro-immigration stance of Catholicism under Pope Francis.

Two other links:
Italian monastery base for Bannon ideas

Ex-White House Aide May Turn Quiet Monastery Into Populist Training Area

Read for yourself, if you are interested. 'Wehret den Anfängen' (Resist the beginnings) as one could say in German. I think it's deeply offensive. And Steve Bannon is a dangerous man, who enjoys to have that effect and be seen that way. Yikes.

The fact that I am not a catholic has nothing to do with my disgust.

PS: Good Evening,Joe, and thanks for your work. I can't comment, because I can't read that much that fast. May be tomoroow. Good night.

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joe shikspack's picture

@mimi

well, i suppose that i would be outraged at how jesus is being ill-used by right-wing neofascists in europe, but the thought occurs, why would this wave of despots-on-the-make be any different from those that preceded them?

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3 users have voted.
mimi's picture

@joe shikspack
similar kind of thought I have, when some folks forget that women can be evil too... at least I got that lesson when reading about the female guards at the concentration camps at the age of thirteen. I got the books from the library back then and not through school. Still I don't believe that not covering the Nazi past in my school was intentionally. Just a bad teacher who couldn't stop talking and then she had not enough time was to come to the real essential stuff.

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3 users have voted.
dystopian's picture

Dossie Terry is great! Thanks for the great tunes!

Kamala is a great example of what can happen with hard work, not prosecuting financial fraudsters, and kissing the right rings and Willie Brown.

I seemed to have missed the New Zealand spy scandal as I looked around all the standard mainstream outlets. Wink

Always nice when one of the spooks themselves provides a reaffirmation, thanks Terry Turchie.

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7 users have voted.

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

@dystopian

yep, terry is definitely under-recorded and under-appreciated. he clearly had some serious songwriting talent. i discovered him because mickey baker (spoiler, baker is featured later this week) played on some of his records.

heh, yep, i am always a bit amused when somebody accidentally tells more truth than he intended about government shenanigans.

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4 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture

that did all kinds of dasterly things. Except that they didn't. Would love to post that on DK just to see the response. I'm betting the first one would be "Greenwald wrote and you know where his interests lie." He's as hated there as Assange and Bernie who ruined Hillary's chances of being president. Boo hoo

800,000 are just the government workers not being paid. I'm betting the number of people affected by the shutdown is in the tens of millions if not much higher huh? If February rents aren't paid more people will get eviction notices even though I don't think it's legal for them to do that. March? The economy goes in the toilet.

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7 users have voted.

There is now no depth that cannot be reached in the effort to bamboozle Democrats and keep them stupid and needlessly fearful

joe shikspack's picture

@snoopydawg

heh, over at the gos they have a different set of facts, so obviously, it's just greenwaldian propaganda.

yep, the shutdown has probably already cost the economy far more than the 5 or 6 billion that trump is demanding. by the time they are done with this pissing contest that may seem like small change. if it drags on for too long, there are going to be some serious confidence issues going forward.

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5 users have voted.
detroitmechworks's picture

@joe shikspack Because they just got their last allotment till the government restarts.

Gonna be a lot of hungry kids end of next month. And a lot of people who are going to see only a pane of glass between them and not being hungry any more.

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6 users have voted.

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

joe shikspack's picture

@detroitmechworks

this is a great time to make a donation to a food pantry for those who have a little to spare.

i usually make up a bunch of pb&j sandwiches to give away to folks panhandling in medians and at shopping centers. they are going more quickly these days than usual.

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8 users have voted.
janis b's picture

@joe shikspack

I think this is a fine organisation to support feeding those in need ...

https://www.feedingamerica.org

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7 users have voted.
mimi's picture

@joe shikspack
to the homeless sitting close to their entrances to have a better chance to get something to ead?
Because it's 'verboten'. Reminds me of something that is easily forgotten too, but I have 'no bock' to mention it here.

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3 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture

@mimi

nope, i never have a reason to go to mcdonalds unless i am traveling and need a place close to the highway to relieve myself. Smile

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3 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture

speaking to a daughter who was making the choice to jail people for a living at the start of the mass incarceration crisis of the 1990s.

After reading her parent's history I can imagine how they felt about her choosing to become a prosecutor. Or in other words, part of the system that is unjust to most people who are economically challenged. Yep. A Cop.

But guess where she and her profession is being defended and then by whom. Probably missed the paraphrase, but the color of ones skin shouldn't hide their actions. I'm seeing some of Obama's supporters in a new light. And Hillary's. Same with their gender. Oh, and she didn't refuse to prosecute Mnunckin's heinous foreclosures. Or the other bank CEOs. They didn't commit any crimes. This is from one of the bank supporters. S....e. Scratch one-s head

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9 users have voted.

There is now no depth that cannot be reached in the effort to bamboozle Democrats and keep them stupid and needlessly fearful

joe shikspack's picture

@snoopydawg

yep it's only the republican prosecutors that are heartless bastards.

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5 users have voted.