The Evening Blues - 1-31-19



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The day's news roundup + tonight's musical feature: Louis Jordan


Hey! Good Evening!

This evening's music features r&b singer, saxophone player and bandleader Louis Jordan. Enjoy!

Louis Jordan - Wham Sam

"The notion that public service requires men and women of good character now seems quaint."

-- Elliott Abrams


News and Opinion

Primaries Matter: How a Long-Shot Challenge Shifted the Debate on the War in Yemen

Congress made its most aggressive use ever of the War Powers Act to end an ongoing conflict at the end of 2018, with the Senate approving — and the House coming just short — a resolution that would have required the United States to end its support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen. On Wednesday, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Calif., re-introduced that resolution, and with the House in Democratic control, it’s expected to pass both chambers this year and head to the president’s desk, setting up a confrontation over U.S. involvement in the war.

Since 2015, the United States has provided logistical support to Saudi Arabia, in addition to tens of billions of dollars in arms sales. The resolution, which seeks to end that, picked up momentum in the wake of the butchering of journalist Jamal Khashoggi inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. But inside the House, a much lower-profile development played a critical but overlooked role: a Democratic primary campaign in Washington state. Significant credit for that resolution’s earlier momentum, say people closely involved in the process, belongs indirectly to Sarah Smith, a long-shot congressional candidate who challenged Democratic Rep. Adam Smith in Washington last year, making it to the general election before losing. Adam Smith at the time was the top-ranking Democrat on the Armed Services Committee and is now the panel’s chair, and Sarah Smith mounted her challenge largely in opposition to what she cast as his hawkish foreign policy approach, with a specific emphasis on Yemen.

Adam Smith, facing the challenge from Sarah Smith, became an outspoken advocate of using the War Powers Resolution in the fall to go up against the Trump administration, including by becoming a leading sponsor of a new War Powers resolution on Yemen. Now that he has won re-election, he remains a supporter of the effort, but his enthusiasm for it has changed noticeably. ... His shift in rhetoric underscores the impact primary challenges can have on internal House politics, but it also could make him vulnerable to another challenge in two years. ...

In 2016, Smith was just one of 16 Democrats to vote against defunding Saudi Arabia’s use of cluster bombs. On July 26, 2018, Smith trumpeted his success in winning restrictions on war activity in Yemen in a defense appropriations bill passed by the House. ... On September 6, a month after Sarah Smith clinched a primary win, Adam Smith announced that he was introducing a War Powers Resolution, with Khanna, and Mark Pocan, D-Wisc., to end the Yemen war.

Given his perch on the Armed Services Committee and his influence on matters of foreign policy, Adam Smith’s public push for the resolution was a signal to rank-and-file Democrats that it was an issue worth supporting, and the party broke en masse in favor of the resolution. Both Hoyer and Rep. Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., who chairs the House Foreign Affairs Committee and is another leading hawk in the House, endorsed the Yemen resolution in late September. ... Sarah Smith said that if Adam Smith backslides on Yemen, she’s willing to challenge him again, but she’s watching to see how he does as the chair of the House Armed Services Committee before making the decision. .... “If he fails to meet his obligation, I’m going to make notes of every single time he’s failed and I’m going to challenge him again.”

Lawmakers Reintroduce War Powers Resolution To End Carnage in Yemen and Reclaim Congress' Constitutional Authority

With the government now reopened, a the newly-elected Congress in session, and the U.S. still complicit in the world's worst humanitarian disaster, a bipartisan group of Senators and House members—led by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.)—officially re-introduced a War Powers Resolution on Wednesday in order to block further U.S. military participation in the Saudi-led war on Yemen. While the same resolution in December passed the Senate in an historic bipartisan vote, it was not taken up for a vote in the Republican-controlled House at that time. But now that Democrats control the lower chamber, Rep. Khanna argued the people of Yemen can wait no longer.

With an estimated 14 million people on the brink of famine and 85,000 children already dead as a result of the war, Khanna said "the U.S.-Saudi military campaign in Yemen has triggered the world's worst humanitarian crisis." Now, he added, is time "to end U.S. military participation in the Saudi regime's war in Yemen by reasserting Congress' constitutional role on matters of war and peace."

Passage of the resolution in December, said Sanders, was a clear declaration by the U.S. Senate "that we will not continue to have our military posture dictated by a despotic, murderous regime in Saudi Arabia" and called for both the House and Senate to quickly pass the resolution. "Our immediate job is to end the terrible war in Yemen," Sanders added. "But the time is also long overdue for Congress to reclaim its constitutional right, and to make certain that no president, Republican or Democrat, engages in a military conflict unauthorized by the U.S. Congress."

At a morning press conference, Sanders and Khanna were joined by Sens. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) as well as Reps. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.) and Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) – all key co-sponsors of the joint resolution. Read the Senate resolution here. Read the House version here.

Two steps forward, one step back...

U.S. Senate leader wants U.S. troops to stay in Syria, Afghanistan

The Republican leader of the U.S. Senate offered legislation on Tuesday urging the United States to keep troops in Syria and Afghanistan, as President Donald Trump’s administration moves toward withdrawals of American forces after years overseas.

Saying that Islamic militant groups in the two countries continue to pose a “serious threat” to the United States, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he had introduced an amendment to a broader Middle East security bill urging a “continued commitment” until al Qaeda, Islamic State and other groups are defeated. ...

The measure would be an amendment to a broader Middle East security bill being debated in the Senate. That bill, which includes fresh sanctions on Syria and a measure combating the Boycott, Divest and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel, advanced in a procedural vote on Monday.

There was no immediate word on when the Senate might vote on whether to pass the bill, including the amendment. To become law, it would also have to pass the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives and be signed by Trump, or overcome a Trump veto if he will not sign.

GOP seeks to turn tables on Dems with BDS, Syria bill

Senate Republicans are trying to drive a wedge between Democrats with a Middle East foreign policy bill they’ve brought to the floor this week. ... Republicans have seized on two points of possible tension within the wide-ranging legislation, both of which could split Democrats. The first is an anti-boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) provision that would let states penalize businesses that take part in boycotts or divestments of Israel. The second is a proposed amendment from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) that would urge President Trump to rethink his decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria.

Democrats have been divided for weeks over the BDS provision, and the issue has split a number of the Democrats eyeing the 2020 presidential race from the party’s leadership. ...

The politics for Democrats are more complicated on the Syria provision. Trump’s announcement late last year that he would remove troops from Syria sparked a backlash from Democrats. Though many disagreed with sending troops to the country in the first place, they also disagreed with his rationale for removing troops. ...

“It is problematic,” [Durbin] said. “I didn’t vote that for the war that we’re currently engaged in, if that’s what you want to call it. And I think some of the language by McConnell is very loose and although I want to see our troops come home in an orderly fashion the way he has written this appears to approve military action in Syria by the United States,” Durbin said. ... Durbin argues that the wording suggests that in voting for McConnell’s measure, senators would be voicing support for keeping troops in Syria and Afghanistan without Congress previously authorizing military action in Syria.

Durbin told The Hill that the caucus had not made a decision about whether they would filibuster McConnell’s proposal. The GOP leader will need to flip at least seven Democrats to get over a 60-vote hurdle if Republicans are united.

The U.S. will quit this nuclear treaty with Russia “this weekend,” official says

The U.S. will withdraw from a key nuclear missile treaty with Russia as soon as this weekend, a U.S. official said Thursday, freeing up both countries to press ahead with the development of new weapons of mass destruction. ...

The U.S. claimed the pact, which bans both sides from stationing short- and intermediate-range, land-based missiles in Europe, was broken by the development of a new Russian missile, the Novator 9M729, called the SSC-8 by NATO. ...

“The Russians still aren’t in acknowledgment that they are in violation of the treaty,” U.S. Under-Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Affairs Andrea Thompson told Reuters, adding that a slim chance of saving the treaty remains as “diplomacy is never done.”

Thompson had been holding last-ditch talks with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov in Beijing.

Many Countries at UN Oppose Trump Interference in Venezuela

An excellent ramble through Elliot Abrams' resume. There's too much detail to abstract, so here's something to get you started:

Elliott Abrams, Trump’s Pick to Bring “Democracy” to Venezuela, Has Spent His Life Crushing Democracy

On December 11, 1981 in El Salvador, a Salvadoran military unit created and trained by the U.S. Army began slaughtering everyone they could find in a remote village called El Mozote. Before murdering the women and girls, the soldiers raped them repeatedly, including some as young as 10 years old, and joked that their favorites were the 12-year-olds. One witness described a soldier tossing a 3-year-old child into the air and impaling him with his bayonet. The final death toll was over 800 people.

The next day, December 12, was the first day on the job for Elliott Abrams as assistant secretary of state for human rights and humanitarian affairs in the Reagan administration. Abrams snapped into action, helping to lead a cover-up of the massacre. News reports of what had happened, Abrams told the Senate, were “not credible,” and the whole thing was being “significantly misused” as propaganda by anti-government guerillas.

This past Friday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo named Abrams as America’s special envoy for Venezuela. According to Pompeo, Abrams “will have responsibility for all things related to our efforts to restore democracy” in the oil-rich nation.

The choice of Abrams sends a clear message to Venezuela and the world: The Trump administration intends to brutalize Venezuela, while producing a stream of unctuous rhetoric about America’s love for democracy and human rights. Combining these two factors — the brutality and the unctuousness — is Abrams’s core competency.

Abrams previously served in a multitude of positions in the Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush administrations, often with titles declaring their focus on morality. ... In these positions, Abrams participated in many of the most ghastly acts of U.S. foreign policy from the past 40 years, all the while proclaiming how deeply he cared about the foreigners he and his friends were murdering.


The Single Stupidest Argument In The Entire Stupid Salad Of Russiagate

The other day Hawaii congresswoman and Democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard came out with what remains the strongest rejection of the Trump administration’s regime change interventionism in Venezuela out of anyone likely to run for the presidency in 2020. “The United States needs to stay out of Venezuela,” Gabbard tweeted. “Let the Venezuelan people determine their future. We don’t want other countries to choose our leaders–so we have to stop trying to choose theirs.”

Boom. Unambiguous, unequivocal, and without any of the “Yeah Maduro is an evil monster, but” modifiers that other officials (including Bernie Sanders) have been preceding their feeble objections to Trump’s campaign to topple the Venezuelan government with. Which of course outraged all the usual war pundits, including the Washington Post‘s most reliable military-industrial complex fluffer Josh Rogin. “Again, @TulsiGabbard shares the same foreign policy position as Russia and the Assad regime,” Rogin tweeted in response to Gabbard’s statement. “It’s probably just a coincidence. #TusiAssad2020”

This man calls himself a journalist. He works for one of the most respected and influential news outlets in America. Rogin’s post is obnoxious and idiotic for a whole host of reasons, among them the fact that Trump is consistently painted as a Kremlin stooge by pundits like Rogin, yet opposing Trump is somehow being depicted as Kremlin servitude. But the reason his tweet deserves an article of its own today is because the argument he is using is one you see recurring over and over again in the psychotic, pants-on-head, screaming-at-traffic stupid salad that is collectively referred to as Russiagate. Another way to write Rogin’s tweet would be as follows:

“Hmmm, you think the US should refrain from destroying countries all around the world? You know who else thinks that? The Kremlin! Hmmm, it’s very interesting that you and the Kremlin share that same view all the time, hmmmm, hmmmmmmm, hmmmmmmmmmmm probably just a coincidence though!”

You see this obnoxious McCarthyite talking point regurgitated over and over and over again by people eager to paint anyone who objects to US interventionism and the political establishment responsible for it as Russian agents, and it’s about as moronic an argument as any you’ll ever see. ...

US-led interventionism is literally always disastrous and literally never helpful in modern times, and you don’t need to be aligned with Moscow or Damascus to see that. The power establishment which crushes any nation that refuses to bow to its demands is responsible for the deaths of untold millions of human beings, and wanting that power establishment to crumble is a very legitimate and reasonable thing. Every good and decent person in the world should want the same.

Defense Intelligence Agency warns Chinese military is reaching “critical point of confidence”

The United States Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) published a report this month, “China Military Power,” detailing the strength of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) of China. The report, which goes into great detail about the location, size, and sophistication of China’s weapon-systems, garrisons, command centers, air force, navy, and other tools of war, aims to stoke fear of “Chinese aggression” among the American public, while also signaling to Beijing the extent of US preparations for war. ...

DIA director, Lieutenant General Robert Ashley, emphasized that “China Military Power 2019” showed China’s evolution from a domestically oriented force to a global one. He told reporters the PLA was changing “from a defensive, inflexible ground-based force charged with domestic and peripheral security responsibilities to a joint, highly agile, expeditionary, and power-projecting arm of Chinese foreign policy that engages in military diplomacy and operations across the globe.”

The report details a myriad of ways the PLA is increasing, in the jargon of the Pentagon, its ability to “project power”—that is, to have influence beyond its domestic borders. This includes the development of bombers, cruise missiles, aircraft carriers, hospital ships, submarine port calls in foreign harbors, and more. In particular, the report drew attention to the PLA’s technical and organizational developments, including in hypersonic missiles, where China is allegedly ahead of the US in precision-guided ammunition, defense systems, and 5G technology.

Echoing the changing policy of the US military away from the “war on terror” and towards China and Russia, the report bemoaned that China had taken advantage of “a period of strategic opportunity” early this century, during US entanglements abroad, “wherein [China] presumably would not be involved in a major military conflict before 2020, allowing time for economic and military development.”

A senior defense official, speaking anonymously to Reuters said: “As a lot of these technologies mature, as [China’s] reorganization of their military comes into effect, as they become more proficient with these capabilities, the concern is we’ll reach a point where internally in their decision-making they will decide that using military force for regional conflict is something that is more imminent.” With specific reference to Taiwan, the defense official continued that “the biggest concern is that they are getting to a point where the PLA leadership may actually tell [President Xi Jinping] they are confident in their capabilities. We know in the past they have considered themselves a developing, weaker power.”

French President Macron visits the hangman of Cairo

President Emmanuel Macron’s trip to Cairo on Sunday for talks with Egypt’s bloodstained military dictator General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi was a barely veiled threat, tacitly endorsed by governments around the world, against the working class. For eleven weeks, hundreds of thousands of “yellow vest” protesters in France have marched every weekend to demand higher living standards, tax increases for the wealthy, and an end to repression and militarism. But the financial aristocracy will make no concessions to workers’ social and political demands. Rather, it is preparing a drastic intensification of repression of social protest amid a universal turn of the capitalist class around the world towards authoritarian forms of rule.

The meaning of Macron’s visit to Sisi is unmistakable. Sisi is infamous for his resort to mass murder to drown in blood revolutionary struggles of the working class that erupted in Egypt in 2011. During the 2013 coup against Islamist President Mohamed Mursi, his troops shot thousands in broad daylight on the streets of Egypt’s cities. Since then, more than 60,000 people have been jailed, as the Sisi junta carries out mass show trials of its opponents and resorts to systematic torture, documented by human rights groups, of thousands of political prisoners. ...

In Cairo, Macron made clear France would continue arming Sisi to the teeth against the Egyptian workers. French sales of Rafale fighters and other military hardware to Sisi are to continue despite Macron’s mealymouthed comments on human rights. “I would differentiate between the two subjects,” he said. “They are not linked for us and they never were.” Asked about Amnesty International’s report that French armored vehicles were used in the 2013 repression in Egypt, Macron said France “foresaw they would be used for military purposes.” He claimed that there is “no possible ambiguity” in French weapons sales, that they are intended for the “defense of Egyptian territory against external enemies,” not against the Egyptian people.

Who does Macron think he is kidding? French armored vehicles serve to repress the workers not only in Egypt, but also in France—since Macron took the hitherto unprecedented step of deploying armored vehicles against the “yellow vests.” As Macron escalates repression in France and showers Cairo with weaponry, Sisi can take Macron’s toothless remarks as a green light to use French arms for further crackdowns in Egypt. The French ruling elite’s response to the “yellow vest” protests has been to launch mass arrests and repression on a scale unseen in metropolitan France since the Nazi Occupation. Over 5,000 protesters have been arrested, including more than 1,700 on a single day on December 8. At least four protesters have had their hands blown off by police stun grenades, another 20 have lost eyes from police bean-bag bullets, and one person has been permanently deafened.

French police weapons under scrutiny after gilets jaunes injuries

The French government is under growing pressure to review police use of explosive weapons against civilians after serious injuries were reported during gilets jaunes street demonstrations, including people alleged to have lost eyes and to have had their hands and feet mutilated. France’s legal advisory body, the council of state, will on Wednesday examine an urgent request by the French Human Rights League and the CGT trade union to ban police from using a form of rubber-bullet launcher in which ball-shaped projectiles are shot out of specialised handheld launchers. France’s rights ombudsman has long warned they are dangerous and carry “disproportionate risk”.

Lawyers have also petitioned the government to ban so-called “sting-ball” grenades, which contain 25g of TNT high-explosive. France is the only European country where crowd-control police use such powerful grenades, which deliver an explosion of small rubber balls that creates a stinging effect as well as launching an additional load of teargas. The grenades create a deafening effect that has been likened to the sound of an aircraft taking off.

France’s centrist president, Emmanuel Macron, is facing renewed calls to ban such weapons after Jérôme Rodrigues, a high-profile member of the gilets jaunes (yellow vests) demonstrators was hit in the eye on Saturday in Paris. He is said by his lawyer to have been disabled for life. Rights groups say Rodrigues’s case is the tip of the iceberg. Lawyers estimate that as many as 17 people have lost an eye because of the police’s use of such weapons since the start of the street demonstrations, while at least three have lost their hands and others have been left with their face or limbs mutilated. Injuries have happened at demonstrations in Paris and other cities, including Bordeaux and Nantes.

The government has not commented on specific allegations or given any breakdown of injuries. The interior minister, Christophe Castaner, on Tuesday said only that 1,900 people had been injured in all circumstances since the start of the gilets jaunes demonstrations in November. Lawyers and journalists attempting to compile lists of police weapon injuries estimate at least 100 people have been wounded. A total of 101 investigations have been opened by France’s police watchdog. ... Castaner said because France was dealing with a “crisis” situation, any review of policing would not happen at the present time.

Lawsuit against rubber bullets: Do they need to be used on yellow vests?

Judge Denies Request to Unseal Assange Criminal Complaint Saying There is No Proof it Exists

A U.S. federal judge has ruled against a petition to unseal a criminal complaint against WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange, arguing that there is no proof that it exists.

Judge Leonie Brinkema of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia decided on Wednesday to turn down the request by the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press to make public details of the complaint, the existence of which was made known inadvertently last year.

“The Government opposes the Committee’s application on the ground that it has neither confirmed nor denied whether charges have been filed against Assange and cannot be required to disclose that information before an arrest is made,” Brinkema wrote in her 10-page ruling.

Assange’s named appeared in a totally unrelated criminal complaint, apparently from a copy and paste mistake. The government called it an “unintentional error.”

Brinkema ruled that despite the government’s admission of the error, “The Government has not acknowledged whether formal charges have been filed against Assange and the Committee has not cited any authority supporting the notion that the public has a right to require the Government to confirm or deny that it has charged someone.”

ICE is force-feeding detained migrants on hunger strike to protest abuses

Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers are force-feeding at least six detained migrants on a hunger strike to protest mistreatment, an ICE spokesperson confirmed to VICE News Thursday.

The federal officials at an El Paso, Texas, jail are using nasal tubes to force-feed the protesters, according to the Associated Press, which broke the story. ICE told VICE News officials are force-feeding them under court order.

About 30 inmates from Cuba and India have been refusing food to protest verbal abuse from guards, threats of deportation, and lengthy detainments with no sign of due process, they told the AP. Eleven have been starving themselves for about a month, according to ICE, and some are reportedly so weak they cannot stand up.

"The ICE Health Services Corps (IHSC) is medically monitoring the detainees’ health and regularly updating ICE of their medical status. Efforts are being taken to protect the detainees’ health and privacy," an ICE spokesperson told VICE News. The hunger strikes are not isolated to Texas, either: At least four more detainees, in Miami, Phoenix, San Diego, and San Francisco, are refusing food, according to ICE.

Dialogue: Women’s March Leaders on Anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, Racism & More

On FDR's 137th Birthday, 200+ Democrats Unveil Bill to Expand Social Security So 'Seniors Can Retire in Dignity'

In a move progressives celebrated as an essential step toward ensuring that no one retires into poverty, over 200 House Democrats on Wednesday introduced legislation that would protect and significantly expand Social Security benefits by subjecting the earnings of wealthy Americans to the program's payroll tax. Additionally, the Democratic bill would prevent Social Security benefits from eroding over time by more accurately adjusting them to rising costs of living.

In a statement after the measure was introduced, Social Security Works president Nancy Altman applauded the bill's "unprecedented" 200 Democratic co-sponsors for working to guarantee that "every penny of promised Social Security benefits, including the increases, can be paid in full and on time through the 21st century and beyond, just as they always have been paid." ...

Sponsored by Rep. John Larson (D-Conn.), the Democrats' legislation would set Social Security's minimum benefit at 25 percent above the poverty line in an effort to combat high levels of senior poverty in the United States while ensuring the program's solvency into the next century.

"The minimum benefit, which has eroded since its enactment in 1972, is increased because the cosponsors do not believe Americans should be forced to retire into poverty after a lifetime of work and contributing," Altman noted in an op-ed for Forbes on Wednesday. "The cosponsors also recognize that Social Security's vital benefits are more important than ever. Reliance on Social Security benefits will only increase in the future as a result of the decline in traditional, employer-sponsored pensions and the proven inadequacy of 401(k) savings plans." ...

As the Huffington Post's Daniel Marans notes, the legislation's 200 Democratic co-sponsors shows the party has come a long way from the Obama years, when many mainstream Democrats — including President Barack Obama himself—entertained plans to cut to the popular program.

Hasn't Wasserman-Schultz been primaried out of our collective misery yet?

Wasserman Schultz Sticks a Knife In The Back Of Medicare For All

As some Senate Democrats offer up half-measures that fall far short of Medicare for All and rush to distance themselves from Sen. Kamala Harris' (D-Calif.) expressed support for eliminating private insurance, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) on Wednesday made heavy use of buzzwords and verbal gymnastics—with phrases such as "the moniker of what you call the concept"—in an attempt to paper over these substantive and crucial healthcare policy differences within the Democratic Party. "I think we have to look past the surface-level name for it," Wasserman Schultz said during a CNN appearance when asked about Harris' remarks and what Medicare for All really means.


Single-payer advocates have long warned of efforts by politicians to co-opt Medicare for All as a useful and popular campaign slogan while stripping the program of its substance. As Common Dreams reported last week, Medicare for All advocates have also denounced Democrats like Sens. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), and others for advocating various incremental public option plans that would not adequately confront America's for-profit healthcare crisis. Concisely summarizing the wariness among longtime single-payer activists, Addy Baird of ThinkProgress wrote on Wednesday, "If a Democratic presidential contender offers you Medicare for All, read the fine print."

Harris' remarks in support of eliminating the private insurance industry—which her team has since walked back—during a CNN town hall earlier this week intensified an ongoing national conversation about what Medicare for All would actually look like and how the transformative policy might be implemented.

Keiser Report: Algorithmic Sovereignty

Federal shutdown's legacy may be brain drain to private sector

The longest government shutdown in US history has come to an end, but experts fear its long-term consequences will include a brain drain among professionals who won’t want to work for a federal government they can’t count on to stay open.

The pain of the shutdown and fear of another one may drive away current and would-be government employees – especially those in highly skilled fields such as science, research and technology who can often command bigger paychecks in the private sector.

“The damage is profound,” said Max Stier, the president and CEO of the Partnership for Public Service. “This is something that will take a very long time to fix.” ...

“It’s not a secret you can make more money as a defense contractor or in cybersecurity working for a private company,” said John Harmon, the vice-president of federal sales at the cybersecurity firm Endgame. “If the government isn’t a safe place to work any more, they can look other places.”

While conventional wisdom holds that stability is one of the draws of a government job, Stier said he believes employees are more motivated by their commitment to the mission, whether that means space exploration at Nasa or maintaining federal buildings at the General Services Administration. That too is jeopardized by the shutdown, which forced scientists to leave fragile research languishing in the lab.

This is how horribly teachers are paid in the U.S.

Over the past 25 years, teacher salaries have fallen drastically behind. It’s a phenomenon called the “teacher pay gap,” and two years ago, it reached an all-time high.

Public school teachers earned 19 percent less than workers with similar levels of education and experience in 2017, according to an analysis of the most recent data by the Economic Policy Institute. That’s up from just a 3 percent gap in the mid-90s.

All across the country last year, public school teachers walked off the job to demand better resources and higher pay. The states that have some of the largest pay gaps in the country — like Arizona, Oklahoma or Colorado — saw the biggest surges in teacher activism.

"The issue we're really talking about here is that we have a constant defunding of teacher pay as we have an erosion of public investment in the public school systems more generally,” said economist Sylvia Allegretto, one of the authors on the Economic Policy Institute’s Study. She explained that as public school budgets were cut during the Great Recession, they weren't reinstituted during the economic recovery that followed.



the horse race



'Real populism isn't racist': the Democrat vowing to win back white working class voters

Sherrod Brown may not have decided yet whether he’s running for the White House in 2020. But the Ohio Democrat certainly sounded like a candidate vying for a chance to take on Donald Trump. On Wednesday night, the senator previewed his populist, pro-worker message to a hometown crowd in Brunswick, near Cleveland – the official launch of his “Dignity of Work” tour that will wind through the early voting states of Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina. In his remarks here, Brown laid out the themes that would likely shape a presidential campaign while drawing a sharp contrast with the president.

“Donald Trump doesn’t respect the dignity of work – he has betrayed workers,” Brown, 66, told the crowd of more than 200 longtime supporters, union workers and liberal activists who braved the sub-zero temperatures gripping the region to attend. He accused Trump of peddling “phony populism to distract from the fact that he has used the White House to enrich billionaires like himself”.

“Real populism is not racist,” Brown said, his gravelly baritone rasping as he became more animated. “Real populism is never antisemitic. Real populists don’t engage in hate speech. And real populists don’t rip babies from their families at the border.” While Brown draws clear distinctions between his brand from Trump-style populism, he has also set himself apart from the fiery liberalism embraced by some of his colleagues and potential challengers. He has so far not endorsed key progressive priorities such as Medicare for All or a Green New Deal.

“If he’s going to claim the mantle of working-class hero then he has to also embrace the economic populist policies that are popular with voters,” said Waleed Shahid, spokesman for Justice Democrats, a political action committee that supports progressive candidates.



the evening greens

Monarch butterfly population wintering in Mexico increases 144%

The population of monarch butterflies wintering in central Mexico is up 144% over last year, according to new research.

The data was cheered but scientists quickly warned that it does not mean the butterflies that migrate from Canada and the United States are out of danger. This winter, researchers found the butterflies occupying 14.95 acres (6.05 hectares) of pine and fir forests in the mountains of Michoacan and Mexico states – an increase from 6.12 acres a year ago.

This year’s is the biggest measurement since the 2006-2007 period, said Andrew Rhodes, Mexico’s national commissioner for protected natural areas. A historic low of just 1.66 acres (0.67 hectares) was recorded in 2013-2014.

Jorge Rickards, director of World Wildlife Fund in Mexico which participates in the monitoring, cautioned that the butterflies, like other insects, see their annual populations rise and fall and the monarchs have had a declining trend. This year’s number was positive, but there is no guarantee it will continue.

The first monarchs crossed into Mexico more than a week later than usual on 20 October owing to rain and cold along the Texas-Mexico border, Rhodes said. “Once in Mexican territory, the butterflies occupied an area that gives us a lot of hope for the future,” Rhodes said.

Scientists said the approximately 15 acres coverage should be seen as a minimum for the viability of the migrating monarchs in the future.

PG&E Put Profits Over Wildfire Safety, Judge Says

A U.S. judge berated Pacific Gas & Electric Corp. on Wednesday, accusing the nation’s largest utility of enriching shareholders instead of clearing trees that can fall on its power lines and start fires and making “excuses” to avoid turning off electricity when fire risk is high.

Judge William Alsup in San Francisco did not immediately order PG&E to take any of the dramatic measures he has proposed to try to stop more wildfires. But he warned that he was not ruling out at least some new requirements on the company if it did not come up with a plan to “solve” the problem of catastrophic wildfires in California.

“To my mind, there’s a very clear-cut pattern here: that PG&E is starting these fires,” Alsup said. “What do we do? Does the judge just turn a blind eye and say, ‘PG&E continue your business as usual. Kill more people by starting more fires.'” Alsup is overseeing a criminal conviction against PG&E on pipeline safety charges stemming from a 2010 gas line explosion in the San Francisco Bay Area that killed eight people and destroyed 38 homes.

He proposed earlier this month as part of PG&E’s probation that it remove or trim all trees that could fall onto its power lines in high-wind conditions and shut off power when fire is a risk regardless of the inconvenience to customers or loss of profit. Alsup said his goal was to prevent PG&E equipment from causing any wildfires during the 2019 fire season. PG&E shot back in a court filing last week that the judge’s proposals would endanger lives and could cost as much as $150 billion to implement. ...

Alsup was also critical of the California Public Utilities Commission, accusing it of working slowly and using former PG&E employees. The judge later apologized for those comments but still questioned how so many fires broke out under the CPUC’s watch.

Mussels lose grip when exposed to microplastics

Mussels start to lose their grip when exposed to microplastics, research has found, in the latest example of the damaging effects of plastic pollution on marine life. When blue mussels were exposed to doses of non-biodegradable microplastics over 52 days, they lost about half their power to stick to surfaces. The weakening of their attachment appears to be the result of producing many fewer byssal threads, the thin fibres produced by mussels that enable them to attach to rocks, ropes and other undersea environments.

The research, carried out at the Portaferry Marine Laboratory in Northern Ireland, and reported in the journal Environmental Pollution, is among the first to study the effects of microplastics on marine organisms.

Microplastics have been found across the world in a wide variety of environments, from tapwater and seawater to flying insects and are probably even in the air we breathe. Last year, a study found microplastics in human faeces for the first time. Some are microplastics that have been deliberately manufactured, for instance as microbeads in cosmetics, but most are the result of the breakdown of bigger pieces of plastic debris. There are vast numbers of sources of microplastics – for instance, synthetic clothing can shed tiny fibres when washed – making it difficult to remove them from use.

If mussels are losing their grip in the wild as well as under study conditions, the effects will be felt beyond the mollusc population. Mussels cling together and form reefs, which help them to breed, and shelter myriad other marine animals and plants, playing an important role in the marine ecosystem.

Polar vortex: what is it and how is it linked to climate change?

As its name suggests, the polar vortex is found around the north pole. It’s a band of strong winds, high up in the atmosphere that keeps bitterly cold air locked around the Arctic region. This circulation isn’t considered a single storm, or even a weather pattern as such. ...

Studies have pointed to a recent increase in instances where the polar vortex has bulged down into heavily populated areas. Scientists are gaining a better understanding of why this is happening, with many identifying climate change as an influence.

There’s some evidence that the jet stream, a meandering air current that flows over North America and Europe, is slowing and becoming wavier as the planet warms. The jet stream interacts with the polar vortex, helping bring numbing temperatures further south.

Scientists also point to a complex sequence of events involving sea ice, which is rapidly diminishing in the Arctic. As the ice retreats, summertime heat is absorbed by the dark ocean that lies underneath. This heat is released into the atmosphere during winter, spurring winds that can disrupt the polar vortex.


Also of Interest

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

The United States Is the Most Corrupt Country in the World

Death and Disappearance: Inside the World of Privatised War

Malcolm X Warned About These Bourgeois Hustlers

Howard Schultz Is a Presidential Candidate Only Late Capitalism Could Produce

Backing Paycheck Fairness Act to End Wage Gap, Ocasio-Cortez Says Time to Pay Women 'What They Are Worth'


A Little Night Music

Louis Jordan - Keep a Knockin' (But You Can't Come In)

Louis Jordan - Salt Pork West Virginia

Louis Jordan - Juneteenth Jambouree

Louis Jordan & his Tympany 5 - Time Is A Passin'

Louis Jordan & his Tympany 5 - Saturday Night Fish Fry

Louis Jordan and his Tympani Five - Outskirts of Town

Louis Jordan - Choo Choo Ch'boogie

Louis Jordan and his Tympani Five - Jack, You’re Dead

Louis Jordan - I Know What You're Putting Down

Louis Jordan - Somebody Done Hoodooed The Hoodoo Man

Louis Jordan - Peace Of Mind


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18 users have voted.

Comments

divineorder's picture

Wheweee. Wondered how you were faring, found a very nice pic from NOAA Satellites.

edited autocorrect add more.

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9 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

yep, it's chilly here. i woke up in the wee wee hours last night and checked the thermometer, it was -2 (not counting wind chill). it got up in the low 20's today, it was 12 when i walked in the door a couple of minutes ago and headed for the single digits.

i feel really bad for the folks in the midwest, it's ludicrously cold there. you picked a great time to head south. Smile

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5 users have voted.

for two afghanistan and syria. The immoral war mongers are playing liars poker with countries and entire populations. For the benefit of the weapons whores. Sh*ts gotta end.
Not in my name.

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15 users have voted.

May we be united and strong -- laurel

divineorder's picture

@QMS @QMS

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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

@QMS

apparently the costs of yemen exceed the expected potential gain. pipelinestan on the other hand ...

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9 users have voted.
Shahryar's picture

HuffPo clickbait:

2020 DEM ‘DOVE’ TOOK OVER $100K FROM ARMS DEALERS

and then the headline to drive home the point:

Tulsi Gabbard Claims Anti-War Credentials After Accepting Over $100,000 From Arms Dealers

not that I'm voting for her, just noting that the "centrists" (i.e. corporatists) are after her.

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16 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture

@Shahryar

if one is a fan of negative campaigning and dirty tricks, the fun is going to be on the democrat side of the aisle this go-round.

i hope that the progressives decide not to hold their fire this time. it would be nice to see them stand up for once.

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9 users have voted.

But for most people—not just the working class, but plenty of folks in the professional class as well—Schultz is a figure far closer to home: the clueless, insipid, absolutely self-absorbed boss who wanders through workaday life trailing idiotic assignments, do-nothing initiatives and go-get-’em exhortations in his stupid wake. He is that perfect product of our economic age: the manager as a psychopathic guidance counselor.

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16 users have voted.

The earth is a multibillion-year-old sphere.
The Nazis killed millions of Jews.
On 9/11/01 a Boeing 757 (AA77) flew into the Pentagon.
AGCC is happening.
If you cannot accept these facts, I cannot fake an interest in any of your opinions.

joe shikspack's picture

@UntimelyRippd

heh, schultz and his class deserve every bit of ridicule they get and more.

popcorn time. Smile

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8 users have voted.
Pluto's Republic's picture

@joe shikspack

There are profound strategic game-changers that kick in when you have an Independent Party candidate on the ballot in all 50 states. No matter who wins, he knocks down a barrier that has corrupted and devastated our Good Cop/Bad Cop faux democracy monopolies. He has the bucks to pave that superhighway for future use by the majority of voting Americans, who happen to be Independents.

Putting all policy issues aside for the moment (he's a social liberal; economic conservative) — if he were to win, then elections will never be the same, starting immediately. If he runs for a second term, the floodgates open and Independents will be standing for every office in the land. Their numbers, alone, give them the advantage over both of the current Parties.

They could use the four years of his first term to work out what they want to stand for. Schultz wants to stand for the "people," even though he needs his ass kicked to understand exactly what that means, fiscally. But if Americans can can end up with three large Parties in four years, that breaks the stranglehold of the corrupt Duopoly. Then it's out turn to triangulate, for a change.

There are sacrifices, but we can fix those later. And fix some other lingering nightmares, finally, through voting coalitions. Schultz is all for single payer healthcare in principle. When you do the numbers the right way (with all the reality variables of all counter-parties included), it more than pays for itself.

In 2020, all we got going for us is strategy. We're facing Biden vs. Trump. A sellout vs. a crazy. Just like last time. Think about it.

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11 users have voted.

The purpose of a writer is to keep civilization from destroying itself.
– Albert Camus

@Pluto's Republic
pretty much every duopoly candidate since probably Jimmy Carter, he seemed to genuinely respect the electorate. while the other candidates offered endless fricking soundbite commercials, Perot bought 2 or 3 half-hour slabs of prime-time and spoke directly to the voters as if we were all adults. It was a bit startling.

I've just got my doubts whether coffee dude is made of the same stuff. Perot might've seemed crazy, but he knew how the world worked, he knew how to get things done, and he was a straight talker. I recall reading, among other things, about how during his navy days he straight up refused to submit to the bizarre homoerotic hazing rituals typically carried out on newbies the first time they cross the equator. I'm sure it made him seem like a humorless spoilsport and rendered him an outsider on that ship -- and I'm sure he didn't care. I can relate to that.

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11 users have voted.

The earth is a multibillion-year-old sphere.
The Nazis killed millions of Jews.
On 9/11/01 a Boeing 757 (AA77) flew into the Pentagon.
AGCC is happening.
If you cannot accept these facts, I cannot fake an interest in any of your opinions.

Pluto's Republic's picture

@UntimelyRippd

...late last night. I had written a rant earlier on the truth about how Parties run primaries, which people just don't seem to know — or refuse to accept. I was thinking about how third-parties fail systemically — except that one time that they didn't.

Anyway, USA Today published an Opinion Piece by Howard Schultz. His opinion about himself. It was guileless. Pretty innocent. He should have let me edit, because he said a number of things that were either TMI or clueless, politically. Maybe his wife read it over and told him it was okay. It was entitled:

Howard Schultz: A third-party centrist candidate like me could win the presidency in 2020

Heh. See what I mean? Very self-referential. Postmodern.

Later, he wrote a follow-up promising people that he wouldn't let Trump win, no matter what. Like your best-friend would say. He could be a gift.

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6 users have voted.

The purpose of a writer is to keep civilization from destroying itself.
– Albert Camus
snoopydawg's picture

@Pluto's Republic

Perot ran and split the votes? The league of women voters used to run them and after they quit the debates became boring and useless because of how they are set up so that people can only talk for a minute and then the other person gets 30 seconds to debunk. Silly format.

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8 users have voted.

America is a pathetic nation; a fascist state fueled by the greed, malice, and stupidity of her own people.
- strife delivery

joe shikspack's picture

@snoopydawg

Commission on Presidential Debates

The Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) is a nonprofit corporation established in 1987 under the joint sponsorship of the Democratic and Republican political parties in the United States.[1][2] The CPD sponsors and produces debates for U.S. presidential and vice-presidential candidates and undertakes research and educational activities relating to the debates. It has run each of the presidential debates held since 1988. The Commission's debates are sponsored by private contributions from foundations and corporations.[3]

The Commission's exclusion of third party candidates from the debates has been the subject of controversy and legal challenges.

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7 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture

@joe shikspack

I was wrong about that. Oh well. We all need to have a first time right? j/k

Thanks, Joe.

Smile

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3 users have voted.

America is a pathetic nation; a fascist state fueled by the greed, malice, and stupidity of her own people.
- strife delivery

@Pluto's Republic @Pluto's Republic
while watching a barrista make coffee in Italy ("Wow! If you make coffee pretentiously, people will think it tastes better!"), came back to the US and for reasons I do not know, thieved an ancient, if utterly unprivileged name (as are all American names) to slap onto his candy-coffee outlets. this might not bother me quite so much, were there not a few folks with that surname scattered around in the earliest branches of my American family tree.

as it is, i consider it an insufferable pose -- the firstmost pose in an entire enterprise constructed of pose.

which reminds me of a classic Onion headline from 20 years ago or so: "New Starbucks to open in bathroom of Starbucks."

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11 users have voted.

The earth is a multibillion-year-old sphere.
The Nazis killed millions of Jews.
On 9/11/01 a Boeing 757 (AA77) flew into the Pentagon.
AGCC is happening.
If you cannot accept these facts, I cannot fake an interest in any of your opinions.

Pluto's Republic's picture

@UntimelyRippd

Took up the baton where Swift's Modest Proposal left off, I thought.

[He took] an ancient, if utterly unprivileged name (as are all American names) to slap onto his candy-coffee outlets.

I call it "coffee with a desert topping." I suppose that does add insult to injury. I'll put you down as a definite "no."

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4 users have voted.

The purpose of a writer is to keep civilization from destroying itself.
– Albert Camus
joe shikspack's picture

@Pluto's Republic

well, i have no problem with him running if he wants to try to purchase the white house. and, frankly, if the choice is him or trump or biden, he may not be the worst choice of the three.

i don't know if just breaking the monopoly of the duopoly is enough to create what we need for a party of the 99% to erupt, though. if schultz doesn't form his own party and elect supporters to legislative seats and state legislatures across the country, it seems likely that the duopoly will just spend four years tightening up the rules to exclude the possibility of their grip on power eroding.

ymmv.

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11 users have voted.

@Pluto's Republic

of looking at it, at Schultz.

Thanks for sharing

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3 users have voted.
burnt out's picture

On the water-downed Medicare for All the Dems are pushing now I totally agree with this guy

"If a Democratic presidential contender offers you Medicare for All, read the fine print.
I'd change that a bit though."If a Democratic presidential contender offers you Medicare for All, anything, read the fine print."

And speaking of the fine print, I've been a Bernie fan since day one but although the War Powers Resoution sounds pretty good at first glance there's this; "Congress hereby directs the President to remove United States Armed Forces from hostilities in or affecting the Republic of Yemen, except United States Armed Forces engaged in operations directed at al Qaeda or associated forces," Am I missing something? Near as I can tell terrrorism has been our go to excuse for just about everything since 911 so can't really see where this resolution is going to change much.

On a happier note, seems like the worst of the latest cold wave is over here in Missouri, supposed to get up above freezing tomorrow, and that definitely sounds good.

Have a good one everybody.

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16 users have voted.

All I want is the truth. Just give me some truth. John Lennon

divineorder's picture

@burnt out

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9 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

@burnt out

"Congress hereby directs the President to remove United States Armed Forces from hostilities in or affecting the Republic of Yemen, except United States Armed Forces engaged in operations directed at al Qaeda or associated forces,"

heh. a reasonable person who was keeping up would probably read that to mean that the engagement with the houthis has to be broken off, but the al qaeda fighters in the south are fair targets.

i'm sure that the administration/cia/pentagon has some idiot lawyer (like john yoo) working for them that can fix it all for them, though.

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9 users have voted.

@joe shikspack

we'd be switching sides again. We started out helping the forces fighting Al Qaeda in Yemen, which were, I think, the Houthis. Then we switched to supporting the Saudis, who support Al Qaeda. That's why our military leadership said the following:

http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2015/4/17/us-generals-think-saudi-...

US generals: Saudi intervention in Yemen ‘a bad idea’

April 17, 2015 by Mark Perry

... A senior commander at Central Command (CENTCOM), speaking on condition of anonymity, scoffed at that argument. “The reason the Saudis didn’t inform us of their plans,” he said, “is because they knew we would have told them exactly what we think — that it was a bad idea.”

Military sources said that a number of regional special forces officers and officers at U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM) argued strenuously against supporting the Saudi-led intervention because the target of the intervention, the Shia Houthi movement — which has taken over much of Yemen and which Riyadh accuses of being a proxy for Tehran — has been an effective counter to Al-Qaeda.

Michael Horton, a Yemen expert close to a number of officers at SOCOM and a consultant to the U.S. and U.K. governments, picked up on this debate. Within days of the Saudi intervention’s start, he said in an email that he was “confounded” by the intervention, noting that many in SOCOM “favor the Houthis, as they have been successful in rolling back AQ [Al-Qaeda] and now IS [the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL] from a number of Yemeni governorates” — something that hundreds of U.S. drone strikes and large numbers of advisers to Yemen’s military had failed to accomplish.

Later, in a telephone interview, Horton expanded on that. “These constant reports that the Houthis are working for the Iranians are nonsense, but the view is right out of the neocon playbook,” he said. “The Israelis have been touting this line that we lost Yemen to Iran. That’s absurd. The Houthis don’t need Iranian weapons. They have plenty of their own. And they don’t require military training. They’ve been fighting Al-Qaeda since at least 2012, and they’ve been winning. Why are we fighting a movement that’s fighting Al-Qaeda?”

... But that’s not the view of McCain and other hawkish senators around him. They see Iran’s fingerprints all over whatever goes wrong in the region — a view that alarms Horton. “This is a guy who complained that we were Iran’s air force in Iraq,” he said. “Well, guess what? Now we’re Al-Qaeda’s air force in Yemen.”

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9 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture

@Linda Wood

yeah, it's so hard to tell who our friends and enemies are these days. but that's probably not the way that the crazy neocon leadership looks at it. the u.s. has interests not friends or enemies. we'll bomb everybody (except israel) eventually, just wait, we'll get to it.

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8 users have voted.

@Linda Wood

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5 users have voted.

The earth is a multibillion-year-old sphere.
The Nazis killed millions of Jews.
On 9/11/01 a Boeing 757 (AA77) flew into the Pentagon.
AGCC is happening.
If you cannot accept these facts, I cannot fake an interest in any of your opinions.

snoopydawg's picture

What have the democrats Resisted Trump and the GOP on? Anybody?

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16 users have voted.

America is a pathetic nation; a fascist state fueled by the greed, malice, and stupidity of her own people.
- strife delivery

divineorder's picture

@snoopydawg @snoopydawg

So many of our former colleages had never marched or showed up for nada at least have joined the resistance. They never listened to us before when we opposed the statusquo for years, but as things deteriorate further here maybe they will lead?

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10 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

@snoopydawg

well, i guess the only bright side is that the "resistance" is showing that it stands for nothing except opposing whatever trump does or says regardless of content.

what a bunch of morons.

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10 users have voted.
Pluto's Republic's picture

@snoopydawg

There will be tears:

Another dead end for the special counsel investigation, regarding the infamous Trump Tower meeting in June 2016

Senate investigators have obtained new information showing Donald Trump Jr.’s mysterious phone calls ahead of the 2016 Trump Tower meeting were not with his father, three sources with knowledge of the matter told CNN.

Records provided to the Senate Intelligence Committee show the calls were between Trump Jr. and two of his business associates, the sources said, and appear to contradict Democrats’ long-held suspicions that the blocked number was from then-candidate Donald Trump.

The information came to light recently and could answer one of the key questions over the meeting Trump’s eldest son set up to get Russian dirt on the Clinton campaign. Trump Jr.’s phone calls involving blocked numbers – meaning the numbers are private and do not appear in the phone records – have been a lingering issue as investigators have probed the meeting and whether Trump himself had advance knowledge through any means that his son, son-in-law Jared Kushner and then-campaign chair Paul Manafort met with a Russian lawyer promising dirt on Hillary Clinton.

Trump Jr.'s mysterious calls weren't with his father

There goes obstruction.
Russia, Russia, Russia.

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11 users have voted.

The purpose of a writer is to keep civilization from destroying itself.
– Albert Camus
joe shikspack's picture

@Pluto's Republic

of course the clinton campaign very obviously cultivated contacts with russians looking for dirt on trump.

i sure hope that when the big reveal comes that mueller has made a good faith examination of the clinton campaign's russian connections.

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10 users have voted.
Pluto's Republic's picture

@joe shikspack

i sure hope that when the big reveal comes that mueller has made a good faith examination of the clinton campaign's russian connections.

The conspirators have got a tiger by the tail and can never let go. No matter how silly it gets. If they let go, it would expose the crimes of those poisonous Obama-era implants. I'm afraid it's one of those political DYI projects that never gain traction until they are all dead. If then.

But, I get their point. Exposing them doesn't do the US and its democracy any favors. The Millennials have enough problems with what they're inheriting without that badge of infamy. But, oh, there was so much carelessness and grifting. So many paper trails. So much technical gibberish and evasion. So much money so easy to track. So many documents generated by the crime itself, forget about the cover-up. So many big dummies turned TV experts.

They're all hiding, by the way, at the American University spy school. Which reminds me, poor Butina. I understand that Susan Rice was her mentor, and their offices were right next door to each other. That was also the location of the handoff of the flash drive of DNC documents to the British diplomat, if my memory serves. Small world.

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9 users have voted.

The purpose of a writer is to keep civilization from destroying itself.
– Albert Camus
snoopydawg's picture

@Pluto's Republic

I haven't checked ToP yet though. They think that the Trump tower meeting is one of the most important things about proving the connection between Trump and Russia just because the person that they met with was a Russian lawyer. And it's very bad for Trump to get dirt on Hillary, but there was no problem with her using her party's intelligence agencies to get dirt on him.

Here's Rachel Smith again trying to be relevant.

Mueller is saying that the Internet research agency hacked the Russian lawyer's computer and then altered the information to make it look like... something about something and now he shouldn't have to give the lawyers any more information on his case. When they surprised him by showing up to the hearing he tried to withhold information from them because he said it had national security issues if he did. I wish that judge had made him show what this would have been. More jumping sharks.

Smile

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8 users have voted.

America is a pathetic nation; a fascist state fueled by the greed, malice, and stupidity of her own people.
- strife delivery

Pluto's Republic's picture

@snoopydawg

...was thoroughly debunked yesterday. But they doubled down with something much bigger. It seems the US has been under cyber attack 24/7 since the midterms. The hacker/attackers are trying to change the meanings of what the news talent is reporting — at the same time they are are reporting — in discussion forums all over the Internet. Or something, something.

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6 users have voted.

The purpose of a writer is to keep civilization from destroying itself.
– Albert Camus
snoopydawg's picture

@Pluto's Republic

I love to bring up the things that Israel does here. I like to tweet about that time that Vlad went before congress and told them to block Obama's deal with Ukraine. Oh wait.. that was Bibi and the Iran deal wasn't it?

I wonder if there's a way to flip the switch in people's brains to make them wake up about this. If the truth about Russia Gate ever comes out it will be after we learn what happened to Kennedy and the truth about 9/11. Well the truth about both are out, it's just that no one believes it.

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7 users have voted.

America is a pathetic nation; a fascist state fueled by the greed, malice, and stupidity of her own people.
- strife delivery

mimi's picture

as interim president of Venezuela.
EU parliament recognises Venezuela's Guaido as interim president.

EU politicians voted 429 in favour to 104 against recognising the opposition leader as the interim leader.

EU politicians voted 429 in favour to 104 against, with 88 abstentions, at a special session in Brussels on Thursday to recognise Guaido as interim leader.

In a statement with the non-binding vote, the parliament urged the bloc's 28 governments to follow suit and consider Guaido "the only legitimate interim president" until there were "new free, transparent and credible presidential elections

This is a long video, but worth watching when you have the time and stamina and interest.

Here are videos from what was said:
RECORDED Informal meeting of the Foreign Affairs Ministers (Gymnich), in Bucharest, Romania - Arrivals - Family photo and Roundtable

[edited to turn off autoplay - js]
]
{erased the code for the video - mimi]

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14 users have voted.
divineorder's picture

@mimi

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4 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

@mimi

thanks for the video. i attempted to edit your code to turn off autoplay, i don't know if it worked.

edit:

well it worked for my browser, if it changes something in an unpleasant way for anybody else, i'll put it back the way it was.

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5 users have voted.
mimi's picture

@joe shikspack @joe shikspack
it is autoplaying with firefox. I hate it. Anyhow it is all over my paygrade. I'll pass.#
I will try to erase the whole code for the video. It is really annoying.

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2 users have voted.
Azazello's picture

More from Teodrose Fikre, at BAR: When Politicians Use Marginalized People as Human Shields
Some stuff from the Border -
Yes, there are still some schmucks hiking through the desert with backpacks full of low-grade pot, but this is how the high-value drugs get in: Huge load of fentanyl, meth seized at Nogales port of entry
Also: The Human Caravan You Haven’t Heard About

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11 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture

@Azazello

thanks for the links, great stuff!

i really liked the term "dental refugees" for the thousands of people a day who flee america's wall-street driven medical insurance terrorists.

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7 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture

@Azazello

74 million people who don't have dental insurance. The insurance companies got a sweet deal when they made dental and mental issues separate concerns. We have one body, but have to have 3 insurances to deal with it. Or is it 4? Do people have to pay out of pocket for vision? Yep. We got screwed over this.

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7 users have voted.

America is a pathetic nation; a fascist state fueled by the greed, malice, and stupidity of her own people.
- strife delivery

enhydra lutris's picture

back there. Thanks for the news and Louis J. Just enough bounce for the weather out here.

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4 users have voted.

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

joe shikspack's picture

@enhydra lutris

i'm doing ok, thanks. i really can't complain too much considering what folks in the midwest are dealing with. it's pretty darned cold here, but it's not dramatically colder than the usual lowest temps of the year.

have a great evening!

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4 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture

I'm liking what this guy says. Anyone know how he follows through?

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9 users have voted.

America is a pathetic nation; a fascist state fueled by the greed, malice, and stupidity of her own people.
- strife delivery

joe shikspack's picture

@snoopydawg

i don't know a lot about khanna. he hasn't been around for long. i know he beat reliable progressive mike honda, if i remember correctly by cashing in with the tech sector. (khanna's district is in silicon valley) i'm sure that this oversimplifies the contest, but that's what i remember. i don't follow these things as closely as a lot of other folks do because i view elections more as entertainment than an opportunity to make serious change (as opposed to far-too-slow-to-be-really-useful incremental change).

the other recent ding against him was that he endorsed joe crowley over ocasio-cortez and after that caused a hubbub, he endorsed both of them.

other than that, most of what i've seen of his votes, sponsoring of bills, etc. has been fairly decent.

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5 users have voted.
The Aspie Corner's picture

...so how about some music instead, another song from one of my favorite bands, Saga:

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5 users have voted.

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

Guerrilla Liberalism won't liberate the US or the world from the iron fist of capital.

joe shikspack's picture

@The Aspie Corner

thanks for the tune! have a great evening.

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5 users have voted.
dystopian's picture

that Wham Sam was great...

"The notion that public service requires men and women of good character now seems quaint."
-- Elliott Abrams - What a POS! Except he was showing how it has gotten to be.
==
Saying that Islamic militant groups in the two countries continue to pose a “serious threat” to the United States, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell ...

Yeah but not as big a threat as several groups already here: Billionaires, Republicans, Neolib Dems, the MSM, the MIC, AIPAC, stop me any time...
===
They did the same thing to teacher pay they did to minimum wage. Ignore it.
===
Good to hear the Eastern Monarch population has somewhat recovered from historic lows recently. At least to a point where recovery instead of demise can be considered. The Western Monarch population doesn't seem to be doing so well. Us optimist naturalists always hold out hope there is always some undiscovered place they are at and they will be ok, enough to bounce back.
==
I'm sure a lot of lesser countries and wannabes are pretty envious of that American exceptionalism including 'most corrupt country in the world' title. Eat your heart out less exceptional countries. All the while we feign moral authority to tell the world what to do, with guys like Abrams, Bolton, and Pompeo. Talk about a sh!tshow!
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Fikre at Ghion nailed it calling out the Obama and Kamala ilk for what they are: the bourgeois hustlers Malcom X warned about... what a perfect description.

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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

@dystopian

heh. america is the most exceptionally corrupt nation in the world - and boy do we have some exceptional crooks!

i've been running across fikre's writings in a lot of places recently, everything that i've see has been pretty good and right on target.

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