The Evening Blues - 2-8-19



eb1pt12


The day's news roundup + tonight's musical feature: Willie Cobbs


Hey! Good Evening!

This evening's music features Chicago blues singer and harmonica player Willie Cobbs. Enjoy!

Willie Cobbs - Lonely Boy

“As painful and embarrassing as it may be, the fact remains that we are confronted with a human structure that has been shaped by thousands of years of mechanistic civilization and is expressed in social helplessness and an intense desire for a führer.”

-- Wilhelm Reich


News and Opinion

From Ian Welsh. Worth a full read:

The Rise of the Strongman

…authoritarian leaders around the world have refined a playbook for acquiring and consolidating power. The strategy goes something like this: appeal to nationalism, stoke fear and divide people into an “us” and a “them,” use that polarization to win an election (even if it’s just an internal party vote, as in China), and systematically undermine democratic rules and other procedural safeguards. [quoted from Foreign Policy - js]

Who is dividing America, say, into “us and them?”

Is it just Trump. Or is it a Democratic leader calling a huge chunk of the population “the deplorables?” Whether you agreed or disagreed with Clinton, is this not an internal enemy? What about the Democratic and “Resistance” strategy of demonizing Russia and Putin? Is this different in kind from China demonizing Japan and the West? (Perhaps it is, in that those countries really did despoil China, while Russia has never despoiled America.) ...

There is a general global trend to authoritarianism. In the US it did not start with Trump, and it is already in the acute stage. It entered the acute stage not in 2016, but on September 14th 2001, with the Authorization to Use Military Force (AUMF), when the US Senate decided to give away its war-making authority to the Presidency. (And with the Patriot Act, when the US decided to formally become a soft police state.)

The trend away from meaningful democracy, whatever forms are maintained, is not limited to a few bad apples and one rogue President, Trump. It is, instead, something with deep roots in the hegemonic power of the age, America. ... It will continue so long as the general population are considered sheep. As long as the needs of the many are subordinate to the needs of the few, and as long as large groups of the many are impoverished, they will remain demagogue bait and willing to support authoritarians.

Fear, as FDR understood, is at the heart of all authoritarianism. People are scared. They have good reason to be scared, because their leaders despise them and want to hurt them. And whenever they find someone they think is strong and on their side, they will flock to that person. They will usually be wrong to do so, but abused people usually make bad decisions.

Democrats are the McCarthyites

Comparisons have been made with McCarthyite “Red Scare” of the 1950s. But it can be argued that Russiagate is even worse. Bizarre assertions that were once consigned to the fringe right wing are now repeated on a daily basis by influential corporate media personalities and nearly all Democratic Party politicians. The most prolific Russiagate practitioner is Rachel Maddow of MSNBC. She has ridden that horse so successfully that she now has the highest rated program oncable news. But she may have reached a moment which prompted the famous question asked at the army/McCarthy hearings. “At long last have you no sense of decency?”

Her assertion that Russia might be able to hack into the power grid and freeze Americans to death is quite dangerous. “What would you do if you lost heat indefinitely as the act of a foreign power on the same day that the temperature in your front yard matched the temperature in Antarctica? I mean, what would you and your family do?” It doesn’t matter that experts declared that the claim was highly improbable if not impossible. There is now no depth that cannot be reachedin the effort to bamboozle Democrats and keep them stupid and needlessly fearful.

But even as the case for collusion falls apart, the McCarthyite media find new ways to keep the narrative running. Russian press coverage of Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard’s presidential campaign is called a “campaign of support” for her candidacy. NBC called Russian reporting the “propaganda machine.” The real issue is that Gabbard dares to question U.S. foreign policy dictates. She met with Syrian president Assad and opposes the coup attempt against Venezuela. But stopping such heretical acts from taking place is a central feature of the Russiagate scare. ... The worst possible outcome of Russiagate is that it increases the likelihood of armed conflict between the United States and Russia. The same people who see MSNBC, CNN and national newspapers as divine oracles can be led to support any government act, no matter how dangerous it may be. Liberals who might once have opposed a hot war would now be the first to support it.

The Russiagate pimps are stoking fear and hatred. They spread outright lies and ignorance and they are doing so because of base motives. The Democratic Party rank and file ought to be demanding answers about the 2016 defeat and the previous loss of 900 legislative seats around the country. But they have been so badly misled that they don’t know that they should be asking anything at all. Even people who call themselves progressives are worshipping prosecutorial excess from the Robert Mueller investigation team and applauding surveillance state killers bloviating on cable news programs.

McCarthyism is back and it is being led by liberals. The entire world is endangered because of their leaders’ lies and cover ups and their determination to follow blindly. The outcome will be continued political defeat at home and an increased likelihood of what was once unimaginable, war between two nuclear powers.

Venezuela: first US aid trucks arrive at border blockaded by Maduro

The first trucks carrying humanitarian aid for Venezuela have arrived at the Colombian border city of Cúcuta, as opponents of Nicolás Maduro step up efforts to further isolate the embattled president. The convoy of two large articulated lorries and seven smaller trucks reached the Tienditas international bridge on Thursday, a day after Venezuelan authorities blockaded the crossing with shipping containers and a fuel tanker. ...

Opposition activists and their supporters in the US admit that the aid shipments are part of an effort to peel away Venezuela’s military from the embattled president.

Honking their horns as they passed a gauntlet of reporters, the trucks pulled up outside a warehouse where the aid will be stored until it can be delivered.

The US has pledged $20m in aid to Venezuela, though analysts say that will do little to alleviate food shortages. “Twenty million dollars barely scratches the surface of Venezuela’s needs,” said Adam Isacson, a security expert at the Washington Office on Latin America. “So this is mainly about optics. And it’s smart to try to weaken Venezuelan military loyalty to Maduro by putting the armed forces in a position where they’d have to obey a repulsive order: to block food and medicine. Whether he blocks it or lets it in, it’s a lose-lose for Maduro.” ...

On Thursday the foreign office minister, Alan Duncan, said that the UK was also preparing plans to help aid distribution. He added that the British government was seeking to choke funds that are used to pay the Venezuelan military salaries in a further attempt to undermine Maduro.


Washington issues ultimatum to Venezuela over “humanitarian aid” ploy

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo issued an ultimatum to the Venezuelan government of President Nicolas Maduro on Wednesday, demanding that it throw open its borders to a US-orchestrated scheme to deliver “humanitarian aid.” Washington’s aim is either to provoke a fissure within the country’s armed forces or set the stage for a US-led military intervention. “The Venezuelan people desperately need humanitarian aid,” Pompeo tweeted. “The US & other countries are trying to help, but #Venezuela’s military under Maduro’s orders is blocking aid with trucks and shipping tankers. The Maduro regime must LET THE AID REACH THE STARVING PEOPLE.”

The sudden concern for the “starving people” of Venezuela comes from a US government that has systematically worked to strangle the Venezuelan economy, imposing a financial blockade in August 2017 and an oil embargo last week. The embargo aims to block all sales to and from the state-owned energy company PDVSA, threatening the country with the loss of its main source of foreign exchange and its ability to import food and medicine. Washington’s intention is unmistakable. It seeks to starve the Venezuelan population into submission, render the country ungovernable and carry through a regime-change operation to install a right-wing puppet government. ...

Guaidó and the Venezuelan right, working in close collaboration with the CIA and the State Department, have launched a noisy public campaign over the aid promised by Washington ($20 million), Canada (US$40 million) and the European Union (US$5 million), demanding the opening of a “humanitarian corridor” and declaring that supplies are on the verge of arriving in the Colombian border city of Cúcuta and must be brought into Venezuela under the right-wing opposition’s control, without hindrance. ...

Both the Red Cross and Caritas, the Catholic Church-affiliated aid group, have refused to participate in any operation involving the US “humanitarian corridor,” citing their principles of neutrality and independence.

‘Don't fall into Maduro's trap’: US calls on allies to negotiate only with Guaido

Venezuela opposition plans to get oil money from U.S. fund

Venezuela’s opposition on Wednesday said it would use a U.S.-based fund to receive some of the country’s oil income in a key step to bankroll its efforts to dislodge President Nicolas Maduro.

The fund would receive income accrued by state-run oil firm PDVSA’s U.S. unit Citgo Petroleum Corp since last month, when U.S. President Donald Trump recognised Juan Guaido as Venezuela’s legitimate head of state, opposition legislator Carlos Paparoni told Reuters. ...

White House national security adviser John Bolton said on Wednesday the United States would consider lifting sanctions on senior Venezuelan military officers if they recognise Guaido as interim leader. “If not, the international financial circle will be closed off completely,” Bolton wrote on Twitter. Aside from one senior general, who recognised Guaido in a video and urged others in the military to do the same, most of Venezuela’s top military officers have not defected from Maduro.

Citgo, the eighth-largest U.S. refiner and Venezuela’s top foreign asset, is in the middle of a tug of war as the United States has made aggressive moves to remove it from Maduro’s control and imposed sanctions on OPEC-member Venezuela’s oil industry.

Venezuela - U.S. Aid Gambit Fails - War Plans Lack Support

... The U.S. intent to establish a 'humanitarian aid' supply line into Venezuela has a secondary purpose. Such aid is the ideal cover for weapon supplies. In the 1980s designated 'humanitarian aid' flights for Nicaragua were filled with weapons. The orders for those flights were given by Elliot Abrams who is now Trump's special envoy for Venezuela.

While the trucks from Colombia are blocked at the border other 'humanitarian aid' from the United States reached the country. ... The pictures show sufficient equipment for an infantry squad. Fifteen AR-15 assault rifles (5.56), one squad automatic weapon (7.62) with a drum magazine, and a Colt 7.62 sniper gun as well as accessory equipment. What is missing is the ammunition. Where one such weapon transport is caught multiple are likely to go through. But to run a war against the government pure weapon supplies are not enough. The U.S. will have to establish a continuous supply line for heavy and bulky ammunition. That is where 'humanitarian aid' convoys come in.

Unless a large part of the Venezuelan military changes sides, any attempt to overthrow the Venezuelan government by force is likely doomed to fail. The U.S. could use its full military might to destroy the Venezuelan army. But the U.S. Senate is already quarreling about the potential use of U.S. forces in Venezuela. The Democrats strongly reject that.

A Senate resolution to back Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido, once expected to get unanimous support, has been torpedoed by a disagreement over the use of military force, according to aides and senators working on the issue.
...
“I think it’s important for the Senate to express itself on democracy in Venezuela, supporting interim President Guaido and supporting humanitarian assistance. But I also think it should be very clear in fact that support stops short of any type of military intervention,” [Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J.] told NBC News.

Under the current government most people in Venezuela are still better off than under the pre-Chavez governments. This lecture and this thread explain the economic history of Venezuela and the enormous progress that was made under Chavez and Maduro. The people will not forget that even when the economic situation will become more difficult. They know who is pulling the strings behind the Random Guy Guaido who now claims the presidency. They know well that these rich people are unlikely to better their plight. U.S. politicians are making the same mistakes with regards to Venezuela as they made with the regime change wars on Iraq and Syria.

US Military Plans for All Troops to Be Out of Syria by End of April

The most specificity any officials have offered on the US plan for Syria, Pentagon officials confirmed Thursday that the current in-military timeline is to have all US troops out of the country by the end of April.

Officials confirmed this could be altered by policy changes in the future, but that for now the intention is to withdraw a significant number of the forces by mid-March, and the rest by the end of April.

The State Department was quick to contradict on this matter, saying that there is no timeline for withdrawing from Syria, and that the US is still committed to protecting the Kurdish YPG, and expelling all Iranian troops from Syria.

Net Neutrality Gets HUGE Boost In Federal Court!

Senate GOP Rams Through 44 Lifetime Judges in One Day

With the nation's eyes largely elsewhere in a sea of distraction on Thursday, the Senate Judiciary Committee quietly advanced 44 of President Donald Trump's federal judicial nominees in what civil rights defenders denounced as a "monster markup" that threatens to leave the president's dangerous ideological footprint on the nation's courts for generations to come. ...

Warning that the flurry of judges was a "clear look into the future," Esquire's Charles Pierce explained that the federal judiciary Trump and his Republican allies in the Senate are creating "will play an outsized role in judging any policies put in place by any Democratic president to repair the vandalism and neglect brought onto the institutions of government by this administration. In this case, Donald Trump is forever."

During the committee hearing on Thursday, Democratic Sen. Mazie Hirono (Hawaii) declared that "too many of these nominees have spent their careers opposing the rights of women, minorities, the LGBTQ community, and Americans who need affordable healthcare." Highlighting a few nominees' records, she read some of their public comments and rulings to demonstrate their strongly held far-right views.

The senator also drew attention to the right-wing groups tied to many of the current nominees, adding: "Who gets on the federal court for life is high stakes. Just ask the Federalist Society and the Heritage Foundation who have spent decades and lots of money placing people who are on their ideological page on our federal courts."

"Month after month, we have seen a parade of these so-called conservative activists nominated to the federal courts," she said. "They have been groomed by conservative political ideologues. They want to see Roe v. Wade overturned or narrowed into oblivion, LGBT people permanently consigned to the margins of American life, and constitutional and civil right encroached on by the religious preference of a vocal few." ...

The advancement of the 44 nominees, who are expected to be confirmed in floor votes by the Republican-controlled Senate, follows the release of a study that, as Common Dreams reported last month, outlined Trump's ongoing effort to stack the federal courts with far-right judges.

Dems Accuse Trump Admin of “State-Sponsored Child Abuse” as Separated Migrant Children Scandal Grows

Cost of US-Mexico border forces may total $1 billion

The cost of President Donald Trump's deployment of active-duty troops and National Guard forces to the U.S. border with Mexico could approach an estimated $1 billion by the end of the fiscal year should the missions continue apace until then, according to figures the Department of Defense has released and independent assessments.

Trump said Tuesday during his State of the Union address that he had ordered a new infusion of 3,750 active-duty troops to the border to prepare for a "tremendous onslaught." ...

According to the Pentagon, the additional active-duty forces deployed to the border will conduct mobile surveillance for Customs and Border Protection and install razor wire. The contingent brings the number of active-duty troops currently there to about 4,350, the Defense Department said, down from a high of about 5,900 after Trump ordered the deployment in late October.

An additional 2,200 or so National Guard forces also remain there, stemming from orders Trump issued last April. Taken together, the contingent of forces on the border numbers about 6,550, including both active-duty and National Guard, according to official figures.

Amazon rethinks plan for New York HQ amid fierce opposition

Amazon is reconsidering plans for a new headquarters in New York amid a torrent of public opposition. Executives have had internal discussions about whether to proceed with the New York plan or explore alternatives, the Washington Post reported, citing two sources familiar with the company’s thinking.

In November, Amazon announced it would open a new campus in Long Island City, Queens, where it would employ 25,000 people in one of two major new offices planned after a national competition, the other going to Arlington, Virginia. Supported by the New York governor, Andrew Cuomo, and the mayor, Bill de Blasio, the plan has faced a cascade of opposition from elected officials, activists and unions, angry that the company is set to get up to $3bn in tax breaks and subsidies.

The New York city councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, who represents the Queens neighborhood and opposes the deal, told the Guardian he had heard “some rumbling in the last few days” that “Amazon was teetering or rethinking”. One supporter of the deal he spoke to “seemed genuinely worried, and that led me to believe that it was real”, he said. Van Bramer said he would be glad to see Amazon go.

“This whole thing has been bungled since day one by the mayor and the governor and Amazon,” he said. “Defeating an anti-union company is a victory. I think defeating a company that works with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (Ice) in terrorizing immigrants is a victory. I think defeating an unprecedented act of corporate welfare is absolutely a victory.”

Despite Promises of ACA, Study Shows Two-Thirds of Personal Bankruptcies Still Caused by Illness and Medical Bills

A new study shows how the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has failed to solve one of the major crises in the American for-profit health insurance system that it was supposed to help eradicate: bankruptcies related to high medical bills and other healthcare-related costs. The Consumer Bankruptcy Project (CBP) examined 910 bankruptcies that were filed between 2013 and 2016 and found that, similarly to before the ACA was passed in 2010, 66.5 percent of the bankruptcies were brought about by medical bills families were unable to afford or income loss due to illnesses.

About 530,000 American households continue to see their finances wiped out each year due to medical costs, according to the report, which was published in the American Journal of Public Health.

"Unless you're Bill Gates, you're just one serious illness away from bankruptcy," said Dr. David Himmelstein, the study's lead author. "For middle-class Americans, health insurance offers little protection. Most of us have policies with so many loopholes, copayments, and deductibles that illness can put you in the poorhouse. And even the best job-based health insurance often vanishes when prolonged illness causes job loss—just when families need it most."

The only solution to medical bankruptcies is a Medicare for All system, said Physicians for a National Health Plan (PNHP), one of several national organizations that have led the fight for universal, government-funded healthcare for decades.

Hat tip azazello:

Billionaires take more than they make

By proposing to tax large incomes at a higher rate and to tax the wealth of the very rich, progressive politicians such as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders are forcing a long-overdue re-examination of what billionaires actually contribute.

Are billionaires and other “people of means” (billionaire Howard Schultz’s preferred phrase) the main engines of social progress and economic growth, as many on the right say? Or, are they “vampire squids” sucking the lifeblood of the economy, as a few on the left believe? Are billionaires the greatest makers in the economy, or the greatest takers?

My own view is that most billionaires do create some value, but they generally take more than their share of money and power. Their wealth far exceeds their economic contributions. Plutocrats don’t deserve the guillotine, but neither do they deserve billions of dollars. Plutocrats are, above all, rentiers. Most wealth is created, maintained and sustained by extracting unearned rents from the rest of us. The wealthy take advantage of monopolies, asymmetric information, network effects, regulatory capture, artificial scarcities created by patents, licenses or trademarks, bailouts, subsidies, protectionism, financialization, and globalization. ...

It’s not just wealth that they take, but political power as well. Do you think that Donald Trump, or Howard Schultz, or the Koch brothers, or Mike Bloomberg, or Warren Buffett, or George Soros, or Kanye West could get anyone to pay any attention to their political views if they weren’t already rich and connected? What upsets the ruling class most about Warren, Sanders, Ocasio-Cortez and others isn’t the threat to their wealth — they would barely notice the level of taxes now being proposed. Rather, it’s the threat to their political superpowers.



the horse race



This story looks like it's got the potential to be one of the great distraction stories ever. It's got intrigue, rich and powerful people experiencing public embarrassment and an unmistakable odor of prurient interest.

Jeff Bezos 'blackmail' claim puts focus on National Enquirer links to Trump

A sprawling international scandal involving Jeff Bezos, the owner of Amazon and world’s richest man, and allegations of “extortion and blackmail” by a tabloid publisher, threatened on Friday to also engulf Donald Trump as several key questions went unanswered. Bezos alleges that David Pecker, owner of the National Enquirer and longtime friend of the US president, warned him he would publish revealing intimate photos of him unless he stopped investigating how the tabloid obtained text messages exposing his extramarital affair.

Pecker is chief executive of American Media Inc (AMI), which said on Friday that it “acted lawfully” in its reporting on Bezos and that it would “thoroughly investigate” his claims of blackmail and take “whatever appropriate action is necessary”. But Pecker is also close to Trump, and AMI has admitted in the past that it engaged in a practice known as “catch-and-kill” – suppressing potentially damaging stories – to help the celebrity New York businessman become president. Trump has also waged a running of war of words against Bezos, owner of the Washington Post, which he frequently denounces as part of the “fake news media”. ...

In a TV interview, a Post reporter claimed that Bezos’s camp believes the National Enquirer’s actions might have been politically motivated and that a “government entity” might have got hold of his text messages, though which government might be involved was not indicated. Bezos himself, laying out his allegations in an extraordinary 2,000-word blogpost, noted that Pecker and AMI have been “investigated for various actions they’ve taken on behalf of the Saudi Government”. He added that “for reasons still to be better understood, the Saudi angle seems to hit a particularly sensitive nerve”.

It was not immediately clear why Bezos made the Saudi connection, but political commentators were quick to recall that Jamal Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist and critic of the Saudi government, was murdered at the country’s consulate in Istanbul, focusing often critical attention on Trump’s cosy relationship with the kingdom.

NBC’s Bernie Bashing Segment Sponsored By Defense Contractor

'Paging Senator Collins—This Is on You': Efforts to Oust Maine Republican Intensify After Kavanaugh's Anti-Abortion Vote

After Justice Brett Kavanaugh was condemned on Thursday for declaring "war" on Roe v. Wade by dissenting against the Supreme Court's decision to block a Louisiana anti-abortion law, reproductive rights groups quickly turned their ire toward Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) for casting the decisive vote to confirm the right-wing judge—and ramped up their efforts to oust her in 2020. ...

A grassroots fundraising effort to unseat Collins after her decisive vote last year to confirm Kavanaugh has already raised millions of dollars, and the advocacy group Demand Justice announced in an email to supporters on Friday morning that it will run digital ads in Maine highlighting the judge's dissent in the Louisiana case as yet another reason the Maine Republican should be ousted in 2020.

"Brett Kavanaugh has declared war on Roe, and Susan Collins is the one who made it possible," Demand Justice director Brian Fallon said. "Even as it was obvious to everyone else that Kavanaugh was a partisan warrior committed to rolling back abortion rights, Collins defended her vote for him by promising that he would follow Supreme Court precedent. It only took four months for Kavanaugh to prove Collins' promises were a sham."

Highlighting new reports that Collins received more donations from Kavanaugh supporters than Mainers in the last quarter of 2018, Fallon declared that the Republican senator "now owns every decision" the right-wing judge makes.

"We will make sure the people of Maine don't forget Collins' vote to confirm Brett Kavanaugh," he concluded.

Ocasio-Cortez Meets The Chuck



the evening greens

Ocasio-Cortez & Markey Unveil Sweeping “Green New Deal” to Radically Shift U.S. Off Fossil Fuels

Hawaii could soon ban killing sharks in pioneering law

Sharks could soon become more numerous in Hawaii waters – and advocates say that’s a good thing. Lawmakers in Honolulu advanced a proposed ban on killing sharks in state waters on Wednesday, after receiving hundreds of calls and letters of support from around the country. The law, which would provide sweeping protection for any shark, rather than select species, could be the first of its kind in the United States. ... “These amazing animals are getting wiped out before our eyes, and people don’t even realize what they’re missing out on,” said Ocean Ramsey, a Hawaii-based shark conservationist, researcher and tour operator who has been instrumental in lobbying for the bill, in an interview with the Guardian. ...

Sharks are crucial to Hawaii’s marine ecosystem, and oceans worldwide. “They’re the ocean’s immune system,” Ramsey said. Multiple studies have linked shark populations to overall ocean health. They serve a critical purpose by picking off sick and injured marine animals and keeping smaller fish populations under control. When the shark population declines, large predatory fish can overproduce and decimate the populations of small plant-eating fish, which are crucial to keeping algae down and supporting reef systems. In some places, shark loss has wreaked havoc on local economies, too. In North Carolina’s offshore waters, the overfishing of sharks led to an increased number of rays that consumed the area’s prized bay scallops and forced fisheries to close.

Aside from protecting sharks, the proposed law also expands protections for rays which, like sharks, are slow-growing, long-living animals that begin reproducing at a relatively mature age, and have fewer offspring than other ocean creatures. Ramsey said she hopes the law will be passed in Hawaii and inspire similar laws in other states, and, ultimately, around the globe. “These animals have been around for 450m years, and during my lifetime so many of them will go extinct,” she said. “I want it to stop. It’s not fair to them and it’s not fair to future generations.”

Key West bans some sunscreens to protect coral reefs

Officials in Key West, the popular Florida holiday destination, have decided to ban the sale of sunscreens containing certain chemicals blamed for harming the only living coral reef found in the continental US. The Key West city commission voted 6-1 on Tuesday to ban the sale of sunscreens containing oxybenzone and octinoxate within the island city, which is part of the Florida Keys archipelago found off the southern tip of the state.

The vote followed a public meeting where marine biologists and conservations decried harmful sunscreens, pointing to research that suggests the chemicals alter corals’ DNA and weaken their immunity to disease. The ban will start in 2021. ...

Florida has the world’s third largest barrier reef, with nearly 1,400 species of plants and animals and 500 species of fish, but the reef is vanishing fast. Research has found that roughly half of the reef has disappeared over the past 250 years. Coverage of acropora, the primary genus of reef-building corals, has plummeted 97%.


Also of Interest

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

In Her First Race, Kamala Harris Campaigned as Tough on Crime — and Unseated the Country’s Most Progressive Prosecutor

Could Trump Really Launch a War With Iran?

The Venezuela Myth Keeping Us From Transforming Our Economy

Saker Interview with Michael Hudson on Venezuela

World’s biggest intelligence headquarters opens in Berlin

What Corbyn's terms for backing May on Brexit really mean

Charter Schools Are Pushing Public Education to the Breaking Point


A Little Night Music

Willie Cobbs - You Don't Love Me

Willie Cobbs - Butler Boy Blues

Jumpin' Willie Cobbs - Going up the hill

Willie Cobbs - Too Sad

Willie Cobbs - Eating Dry Onions

Willie Cobbs - Five Long Years

Willie Cobbs - Slow Down Baby

Willie Cobbs - Got A Little Girl

Willie Cobbs - Carnation Milk & If You Dont Know What Love Is

The Allman Brothers Band - You Don't Love Me


Share
up
19 users have voted.

Comments

Raggedy Ann's picture

It's FRIDAY! WOO-HOO!

AOC handled herself well with Chuckie. She's getting lots of practice.

Have a beautiful weekend, folks! Pleasantry

up
13 users have voted.

"If there is not justice for the people, let there be no peace for the government." Emiliano Zapata

joe shikspack's picture

@Raggedy Ann

yep, aoc does present herself well. her intellect and wit appear to be more than a match for her chattering class interlocutors. while i wish she was somewhat more radical in her leanings (particularly on foreign policy) there appears to be much admirable about her. if nothing else, she is probably the most lifelike being that has appeared in washington power circles in years.

have a great weekend!

up
9 users have voted.

up
9 users have voted.

@gjohnsit It's not just Trump voters that are suprised, I've been reading comments elsewhere and am amused. People who comment don't seem to have a basic grasp of taxes, they only look at "what they got back" but seem to have no idea how much they actually paid, or even more significant just how well off they are. Itemizing is done more by the well to do. Many of the loopholes are gone, especially for the upper middle and lower upper class. I think people should be forced to fill out 1040 long form to graduate from high school.

up
5 users have voted.
Azazello's picture

@ban nock
a long, long time ago, we filled out the 1040 long form, which was the only form there was, as a class project. I doubt if most college grads couldn't do it now.

up
3 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture

@gjohnsit

yep, i have been pretty sure from the start that trump's policy would not pass "the wallet test" for most of his base.

playing to the fears and prejudices of his base may turn out not to be enough, trump is actually going to have to make the economy perform for them if he wants to continue the charade of being president.

up
6 users have voted.
WindDancer13's picture

around the US to keep drugs out of their country, maybe? Two US citizens were arrested. How many more were involved?

U.S. seizes record 3,800 pounds of meth intended for Australia

...
Bezos--At least this will give us a break from all the royals stories priming us for a monarchy.

...
The topic isn't funny in the least, but the WP headline is strange: Ex-white nationalist found guilty in beating black man. "Former white nationalist" would leave at least this reader less initially confused about how this white person became not white.

Thanks Joe.

up
11 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

QMS's picture

@WindDancer13
is how we become un-whitish. What color do you favor?

up
7 users have voted.

Listen to your higher mind.

WindDancer13's picture

@QMS

Ursula Le Guin's dreamer George turned everyone a uniform gray. Just thought I would throw that in there. = )

Blue...no! purple...yellow?....ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

up
6 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

QMS's picture

@WindDancer13
first it was 'orange is the new black' , then came the red vs. blue , or vices verses. Justice is not color blind. Green is the new cool. Yellow is mellow, brown you drown. It's all pink in the inside.

up
6 users have voted.

Listen to your higher mind.

joe shikspack's picture

@QMS

up
4 users have voted.
WindDancer13's picture

@joe shikspack

That was my first thought, then I got side-tracked. = )

up
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

TheOtherMaven's picture

@WindDancer13

"Eating purple people, and it sure is fine!"

Someone I used to know got the following passed through the SCA College of Heralds: "Per pale purpure and or, a keyhole counterchanged" (always displayed on a "heater-shaped" (i.e. shield-shaped) ground). They let him get away with a "Per pale peephole heater". Biggrin

up
3 users have voted.

There is no justice. There can be no peace.

joe shikspack's picture

@WindDancer13

trump may have been on to something with the idea of other countries paying for a wall. by the time he's done, the entire world might chip in to ring fence the u.s. and create a no-fly zone.

up
7 users have voted.
WindDancer13's picture

@joe shikspack

to contain the amount of bullshit coming out of him (as well as others). I don't even like wading in snow. I hate to think about what will be needed when he is done.

up
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

QMS's picture

66.5 percent of the bankruptcies were brought about by medical bills families were unable to afford or income loss due to illnesses

Honestly

up
13 users have voted.

Listen to your higher mind.

joe shikspack's picture

@QMS

all of the honest people that i know say, "that sucks!"

up
7 users have voted.
enhydra lutris's picture

It's good to see a couple of potential bright spots in the news. Eveybody have a good Friday and a great weekend.

up
8 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

heh, here's to the bright spot just around the corner.

have a great weekend!

up
4 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture

That is all it takes for a congress member to bring a halt to proceedings. Place a hold on proceedings or democrats on the committee just don't show up. This is just one of many procedural ways that anyone in congress can take to block legislation going forward. The GOP used it numerous times when they were the minority party, but for some reason the democrats are allergic to doing anything that upsets the agendas of the PTB. Because we know that is why they will not fight the GOP's legislation.

The GOP blocked Obama from not only appointing Garland to the Supreme Court, they blocked him from filling judicial appointments which left a gaping hole for Trump to fill. And filling it he is. Schumer has gone along with this scheme letting McConnell appoint judges for basically pennies on the dollar in return for what he gave up and what he got in the deal. With so many right wing judges on the courts at all levels they can stop any progressive legislation that democrats pass if we ever get people in congress who work for us.

I still think that congress made a deal last election. A lot of house republicans would retire leaving seats for democrats to fill and then the republicans get to have the senate and the democrats could have the house. This way McConnell could just ram through as many unqualified judges as he wants and the democrats would promise not to hold him up. Think I'm wrong? Isn't the senate more powerful than the house? When it comes to certain things?

up
10 users have voted.

The public has been conditioned over time—in ways that would make Pavlov’s dawg seem like an in independent thinker

joe shikspack's picture

@snoopydawg

who knows what sort of idiotic deals the bipartisans make in their secret hide-away lair?

it's manifestly obvious that they are not interested in doing our business in good faith, so what else matters?

up
8 users have voted.

I read so you don't have to.

It is mostly about the Virginia thing. Not sure how many bojos, maybe 30. All for simply stating they didn't think blackface of 30+ years ago was enough to require resignation. I didn't find one instance of someone stating their view in an insensitive way either. No hide rates, just bojo. A couple were Bernie derangement syndrome. Admins don't seem to do nuance. Bloodletting seems to have stopped with the new revelations of credible sexual harassment by the lieutenant governor. Same comments that garnered banning on Monday now seemingly scroll on by. Personally I think Markos has some serious issues with race.

Thanks for the clip with AOC and Chuck Todd. I'd heard it was good. Only vid I've watched this week. Very cold here, we huddle around wood stove, cause the house is full of holes and heating system can't deal with these temps.

up
11 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture

@ban nock

heh, thanks for reporting from the great orange circular firing squad. i'd read over there but i don't have the time, patience or popcorn to fill in the intervals between the occasional bits of decent content.

i hope that you get a break in the weather soon. stay warm and have a great weekend!

up
8 users have voted.
Azazello's picture

Here's a review of Stephen Cohen's new book, War with Russia ?: ANTIWAR.COM
Here's another one for the Duh file: Stripping Social Programs Leads to Lower Life Expectancy

up
7 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture

@Azazello

that stephen cohen book sounds interesting, i'll have to check and see if the local library is going to get a copy. thanks!

up
5 users have voted.
Azazello's picture

@joe shikspack
Thank you for all the stuff you bring, night after night.
Do you like the Beatles ? Nah, me neither.

up
5 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture

@Azazello

but how's about this group, dirty mac?

up
4 users have voted.
Azazello's picture

@joe shikspack

up
3 users have voted.
dystopian's picture

@joe shikspack Look at that ragtag bunch! They have no commercial potential whatsoever. That bass player, look at those pants. Lead player seems hesitant. I like the guys voice and
the jazzy drummer though. Do you think someone knows how many times I have watched that vid?

up
4 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

Azazello's picture

@joe shikspack
but it's kind of a depressing song, isn't it.
That TV show was a disaster for the Stones.
They were trying to promote "Sympathy ..." but Brian Jones was too fucked up to play his guitar part.
Keith couldn't do both parts so the song sucked, despite Mick's theatrics.
This may be the best thing to come out of that circus.

up
4 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture

Speaking of blood bath at ToP, I've seen people saying that Bezos is a hero for taking on Pecker and others saying things like this. This is TDS on steroids when they like evil people just because they say bad things about Trump or someone is working against him. Like how it's cool to worship Mueller and our other intelligence keepers.

up
11 users have voted.

The public has been conditioned over time—in ways that would make Pavlov’s dawg seem like an in independent thinker

joe shikspack's picture

@snoopydawg

great article by glenn. i hope that his speculation about bezos' potential change of heart comes true:

In the past, hard-core surveillance cheerleaders in Congress such as Dianne Feinstein, Pete Hoekstra, and Jane Harman became overnight, indignant privacy advocates when they learned that the surveillance state apparatus they long cheered had been turned against them.

Perhaps being a victim of privacy invasion will help Jeff Bezos realize the evils of what his company is enabling. Only time will tell. As of now, one of the world’s greatest privacy invaders just had his privacy invaded. As the ACLU put it: “Amazon is building the tools for authoritarian surveillance that advocates, activists, community leaders, politicians, and experts have repeatedly warned against.”

up
9 users have voted.
Azazello's picture

@snoopydawg
Did they say the same about Tony Wiener ?

up
6 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture

@Azazello

because it would lead them to Hillary's BFF Huma and the fact that all of Hillary's emails were found on his computer. You know, the ones that she said she had deleted because they were personal?
And it's interesting that the FBI has not said anything about how many of them were classified.

up
5 users have voted.

The public has been conditioned over time—in ways that would make Pavlov’s dawg seem like an in independent thinker

dystopian's picture

The Willie Cobbs is great! I gotta soft spot for that Chicago blues sound.

Bout time sharks got some protections, longline fisheries and the fin soup particuarly have been decimating far too many of them for far too long.

Glad to see the sunscreen ban, Carribbean Acropora are in big big trouble. I don't know how they are going to recover at this point, it will not be the same place. The Lionfish situation is not helping either.

So Bezos who works with the CIA spying on everyone and being their mouthpiece with his WaPo, is pissed some spying took place? ROFLMAO! Couldn't have happened to a bigger ass.

Elliot Abrams had nothing to do with the guns in the aid, again.

Tell me again, why don't we care about the starving in Yemen but do in Venezuela?

Thanks for all the great blues all week!

up
6 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

cobbs was another one of those sadly under-recorded songwriter/musicians, oh to be able to go back in time with a really good tape recorder.

heh, i think this bezos mudfight is probably going to be a hot item for a while. i'm pretty sure that we are all going to be sick of hearing about it in short order.

go sharks!

up
4 users have voted.
dystopian's picture

@joe shikspack That is the thing with so so many of the old original artists... Recording sucked. The equipment wasn't even available at first, and then the quality of anything portable like with one vehicle was bad or worse. It is a sad aspect of it all, how little of the early formative stuff there is. There was that PBS or Smithsonian work done a ways back that really got some folks involved to 'quick get out and get everyone on tape' when they realized what happened. But that did not really start until the 60's and 70's when more portable higher grade equipment came out. I have one of the Sony 55 lb. reel to reel units that were considered the cats meow for that. You needed a porter to take in the field to record birds. It was the lightest best quality.

up
2 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

He starts off with this:

Plutocrats don’t deserve the guillotine, but neither do they deserve billions of dollars

And finishes with this:

What upsets the ruling class most about Warren, Sanders, Ocasio-Cortez and others isn’t the threat to their wealth — they would barely notice the level of taxes now being proposed. Rather, it’s the threat to their political superpowers.

Cognitive dissonance, much?

People are DYING around the world 'cause these FUCKS are signing off on it to STAY RICH and POWERFUL.
Same thing was happening in 18th century France when the Need for for its invention produced the guillotine.

I'm SURE Most of these billionaires are good to their wives, lovingly supportive of their children, don't kick their dawg-yet their business acumen leads to literally millions suffering around the world.
They at least shouldn't be allowed to breed.
More later when I finish reading

up
3 users have voted.

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

GreyWolf's picture

up
2 users have voted.