The Evening Blues - 2-18-19


The day's news roundup + tonight's musical feature: Ikey Robinson

Hey! Good Evening!

This evening's music features jazz and blues banjo player Ikey Robinson. Enjoy!

Ikey Robinson - My Four Reasons

“The West exported so much democracy to the Middle East, it ran out of it.”

-- Fuad Alakbarov

News and Opinion

Trump’s Grand Coalition Against Iran Is Completely Falling Apart

France24 reports that Trump’s attempt to dissuade the Europeans from continuing their support for the 2015 Iran nuclear deal has backfired.

On Friday at a Munich security meeting, Germany’s foreign minister, Heiko Maas, replied to the chiding of Vice President Mike Pence that Iran is destabilizing the region. Maas remarked that “Together with the British, the French and the entire European Union, we have found a means to allow Iran to remain in the nuclear accord. Our objective remains the lack of nuclear weapons, precisely because Iran destabilizes the region.” Without the accord, “the region will not be more secure, but would in fact take a further step toward open confrontation.” ...

The European rebuke, with the sardonic raising of a single eyebrow in which French foreign ministers specialize, came in the wake of the US-sponsored anti-Iran conference in Warsaw. Most countries sent low-level delegations and the mete was widely considered a failure. ... Not only could Trump not rally Europe to his anti-Iran crusade, but even the anti-Iran states of the Gulf have split because of the Saudi-led boycott of Qatar. With a deep fissure in the Gulf Cooperation Council and an AWOL Europe, Trump’s grand coalition against Iran has fallen almost completely apart.

Pence Met with Icy Silence in Munich, Praising Trump and Attempting to Bully Leaders on Foreign Policy

Vice President Mike Pence received an icy response from world leaders at the Munich Security Conference Saturday, as he made clear his aim for the weekend was to promote his President Donald Trump's "America First" agenda. The vice president began his remarks by telling world leaders, "I bring greetings from the 45th president of the United States of America, President Donald Trump"—and was met with a long silence before describing Trump's accomplishments as "extraordinary" and "remarkable."

In addition to heaping praise on the president, Pence chastised European and Asian leaders for remaining in compliance with the Iran nuclear deal and called on them to join the U.S. in recognizing Juan Guaido as president of Venezuela, weeks after the right-wing opposition leader declared himself the head of the country despite President Nicolas Maduro winning re-election last May. Pence urged the E.U. to "step forward for freedom" by recognizing Guaido as president.

Slamming European countries for "undermining U.S. sanctions" by staying in the painstakingly-reached Iran nuclear deal, Pence called on world leaders to turn away from Iran while accusing the country of antisemitism.

Warsaw Conference’s War with Iran Agenda, Met with Low Level Delegations from European Allies

A leaked video from the conference reveals that Arab leaders are ready to abandon solidarity with Palestinians.

After 18 Years of War, the Taliban Has the Upper Hand in Afghanistan Peace Talks

Last year, thousands of young Afghans marched across the country, demanding an end to fighting that has destroyed millions of lives since the Soviet invasion in 1979. The grassroots peace movement led to a number of local ceasefires throughout the country between Taliban militants and Afghan government soldiers. ...

That tentative peace effort, a poignant expression of Afghans’ desire to end the violence that has scarred so many families, did not hold. But in recent weeks, there have been increasing signs that another peace deal may be coming together, negotiated from conference tables in Doha and Moscow. The Taliban and a group of former Afghan officials, including former President Hamid Karzai, met in Moscow last week to discuss the future of the country. These talks, along with separate negotiations between the U.S. and the Taliban in Doha, seem to hold out the possibility of ending the violence that has ravaged the country over four decades.

But the talks also offer a serious reality check about the outcome of 18 years of U.S. military presence in Afghanistan. For many observers, the negotiations register as a defeat — recognition that the Taliban has not only survived, but is likely to play an integral role in Afghanistan’s future. It is also clear that there will be a new set of winners and losers in Afghan society, and that Afghans who pegged their hopes to the U.S.-backed government now risk losing limited gains in living standards and civil rights. ...

After nearly two decades, the international community, as well as the U.S. public, has grown bored with the war and exhausted by the work of trying to rebuild Afghanistan. U.S. President Donald Trump successfully campaigned on a promise to end long-running U.S. military engagements at any cost, though this was less as a gesture of peace than a sign of his isolationist “America First” ethos. For ordinary Afghans, who are also tired of their country’s troubles, the current talks will determine whether their future is marked by continued violence or will afford space for gradual healing and reconciliation. The Taliban has announced that it will meet with U.S. officials in Pakistan later this month to continue the negotiations.

Yemen sides agree to begin pullback from Hodeida

U.S. general recommends arming, aiding Syrian fighters after pullout

The United States should keep arming and aiding the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) following the planned U.S. withdrawal from Syria, provided the group keeps up the pressure on Islamic State, a senior U.S. general told Reuters on Friday.

The recommendation by Army General Joseph Votel, who oversees U.S. forces in the Middle East as head of Central Command, is one of the strongest signs yet of U.S. military hopes for an enduring partnership with the SDF despite the concerns of NATO ally Turkey, which says Kurdish SDF fighters are terrorists. ...

In Europe, the plight of the SDF has come into sharp focus. A senior defense official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the issue came up at a meeting of defense ministers on the sidelines of the Munich Security conference on Friday.

“Many of (them) recognize the degree to which the SDF has actually done the hard fighting and dying and they feel a sense of obligation to just not turn our backs,” the official said.

Canadian Reporter In Venezuela Contradicts U.S. News Coverage

Spanish government falls amid Catalan crisis

On Friday, two days after his budget was voted down in the Congress, Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE) Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez called a snap general election for April 28. Sanchez’s government, the shortest-lived since the Transition from fascist to parliamentary democratic rule in 1978, fell over the state prosecution of Catalan political prisoners who organized or supported the October 1, 2017, independence referendum. They face up to 25 years in prison on false charges of having instigated violence during the referendum.

Sánchez criticized Catalan nationalist parliamentarians who voted down his budget in retaliation for his trying of the Catalan nationalist prisoners. “When some parties block the taking of decisions, it is necessary to call new elections,” he said. “There are parliamentary defeats that are social victories,” he added, claiming that supposedly progressive measures inscribed in the budget that the PSOE is abandoning meant that “citizens have seen what we wanted for the country.”

The PSOE is opening the door to the most right-wing campaign since 1978, in which the imposition of austerity and police-state rule is to proceed under cover of opposition to Catalan separatism. Elections in 2015 and 2016 produced hung parliaments, as votes split between the PSOE, the right wing Popular Party (PP), Citizens (Cs), and Podemos. Now, while the PSOE denounces the Catalan nationalists, the PP aims to assemble a narrow right wing majority on the basis of an anti-Catalan coalition with Cs and the new, pro-fascist VOX party. ...

In government, the PSOE was virtually indistinguishable from the PP. Its fundamental agenda was further austerity for the working class, stepped-up militarism in the service of Spain’s geo-strategic ambitions and re-stabilizing the state after the Catalan independence crisis.

CNN & Facebook Coordinate To Silence Dissenting Voices

Yes, Moscow Boosts Western Anti-Imperialist Voices. So What?

In an extremely weird article titled “Russia is backing a viral video company aimed at American millennials“, CNN reports that Facebook has suspended popular dissident media outlet In The Now and its allied pages for failing to publicly “disclose” its financial ties to a subsidiary of RT. According to CNN, such disclosures are not and have never been an actual part of Facebook’s official policy, but Facebook has made the exceptional precondition of public disclosure of financial ties in order for In The Now to return to its platform.

I say the article is extremely weird for a number of reasons. Firstly, according to In The Now CEO Anissa Naouai, CNN knew that Facebook was going to be suspending the pages of her company Maffick Media before she did, suggesting a creepy degree of coordination between the two massive outlets to silence an alternative media platform. Secondly, the article reports that CNN found out about Maffick’s financial ties thanks to a tip-off from the German Marshall Fund, a narrative control firm which receives funding from the US government. In The Now‘s Rania Khalek has described this tactic as “a case where the US government has found a legal loophole to suppress speech, in this case speech that is critical of destructive US government policies around the world.”

Thirdly, and in my opinion weirdest of all, the article goes to great lengths to make the fact that a dissident media outlet supports the same foreign policy positions as Russia look like something strange and nefarious, instead of the normal and obvious thing that it is. The article repeatedly mentions the fact that all the people working for In The Now “claim” to be editorially independent as opposed to being told what to report by Kremlin officials, a notion which Khalek says was met with extreme skepticism when she was interviewed for the piece by CNN. As though the possibility of an American opposing US warmongering and the political establishment which drives it without being ordered to by a rubles-dispensing FSB officer was a completely alien idea to them. ...

As we discussed recently, there will necessarily be inadvertent agreement between Russia and westerners who oppose western interventionism, because Russia, like so many other sovereign nations, opposes western interventionism. If you discover that an American who opposes US warmongering and establishment politics is saying the same things as RT, that doesn’t mean you’ve discovered a shocking conspiracy between western dissidents and the Russian government, it means people who oppose the same things oppose the same things.

It’s almost impossible to function without the big five tech giants

Most people [...] imagine that if they decide to stop using Gmail or Microsoft Outlook or never buy another book from Amazon then they have liberated themselves from the tentacles of these giants. If that is indeed what they believe, then Kashmir Hill has news for them. ... She set out to answer the question of whether it was possible to live a normal life without using the services of Amazon, Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Apple. So, over five weeks, she blocked her access to each one in turn and then, in the final week, cut herself off from all of them. And she reported what she learned as she went.

She had a geek collaborator, Dhruv Mehrotra, who created a special virtual private network (VPN) for her through which all of the approximately 2m data packets she would send in a normal day had to pass before heading out on to the net. The special thing about the VPN was that it would stop every packet addressed to any domain or server operated by the particular tech giant that Ms Hill was seeking to avoid that week. And it was this comprehensive blocking technology that really revealed the ubiquity of the tech giants’ grip on our networked world. The scale of this grip is astonishing. Amazon owns 23.22m domains, Microsoft has 21.57m, Apple runs 16.78m and Google 8.72m. Facebook, surprisingly, turns out to have only a measly 122,880. What this means is that almost every interaction you are likely to have with the internet will at some stage touch one or more of these domains, in which case Ms Hill’s VPN would stop that interaction in its tracks. You may think that a particular website has nothing to do with any tech giant, but then it turns out that the site is actually hosted on Amazon’s or Microsoft’s cloud-computing services. ...

What she has demonstrated in this remarkable piece of journalism is that our lives now run on a technical infrastructure that is owned, operated and controlled by a handful of giant corporations, from which there is currently no escape unless you want to hibernate.

The British Labour Party just split

Seven lawmakers from Britain’s opposition Labour party announced Monday they were quitting the party in protest at leader Jeremy Corbyn’s handling of an anti-Semitism scandal and Brexit. The seven say they’re not forming a new party, but plan to sit together as the Independent Group in parliament. ...

Leader of the party since 2015, Corbyn rose to power with the backing of the grassroots, hard-left Momentum movement. While his unabashedly socialist politics saw the party pick up an extra 30 seats in the 2017 elections, he has alienated more moderate members, who feel he would make a disastrous prime minister. ...

Although only seven MPs quit, many observers are speculating their departure could trigger a second wave of defections. A number of Labour MPs were reportedly very close to joining their colleagues Monday. They could also be joined by disaffected pro-Remain MPs from the governing Conservative party — including those who have been involved in cross-party efforts [...] to push for a second EU referendum. ...

Momentum spokeswoman Laura Parker dismissed the defectors Monday as a “fringe minority” who wanted to return to the discredited politics of the Tony Blair-era. “With a back to the Blair years program of privatization, tax cuts for the rich and deregulation of the banks, they offer no concrete solutions, no new ideas, and have no support amongst the public,” she said.

The UK will defy Trump and embrace Chinese technology giant Huawei

The U.K. will defy the Trump administration and allow British carriers to use equipment from controversial Chinese telecoms giant Huawei, according to a report published Sunday in the Financial Times.

The National Cyber Security Centre will recommend to the government that the U.K. can mitigate any security risks posed by Huawei equipment, sources told the FT. ...

The U.K could become the first of the Five Eyes countries — an anglophone intelligence sharing network comprising the U.S., U.K., Canada, Australia and New Zealand — to break ranks with the White House, which has pushed hard to get global allies to bar the use of Huawei equipment from the rollout of next-generation wireless communication networks.

The U.S. believes Huawei is colluding with the Chinese government to spy on U.S. citizens, though it has yet to provide any credible evidence of this. Huawei has consistently denied any wrongdoing.

ICE stops force-feeding detainees

The U.S. government has suddenly stopped force-feeding a group of men on a hunger strike inside an El Paso immigration detention center, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said Thursday.

The dramatic reversal comes as public pressure was mounting on ICE to halt the practice, which involves feeding detainees through nasal tubes against their will. Last week, the United Nations human rights office said the force-feeding of Indian hunger strikers at the facility could violate the U.N. Convention Against Torture.

On Wednesday, a U.S. district judge said the government had to stop force-feeding two of the detained Indian immigrants, but warned that if their health started to decline he would consider ordering force-feeding again, their attorney said. On Thursday, all force-feeding at the detention center near the El Paso airport had stopped, according to ICE spokeswoman Leticia Zamarripa.

Stephen Miller: 'Trump will protect his national emergency declaration'

Donald Trump will veto any congressional resolution against his declaration of a national emergency, a senior White House adviser indicated on Sunday. Stephen Miller, a hardline and influential voice on immigration policy, also claimed the administration will have built 200 miles of border wall by September 2020, two months before the next presidential election.

Speaking to Fox News Sunday, Miller defended Trump’s controversial decision to declare a national emergency in order to secure funds to build a wall on the US-Mexico border, despite the president’s own startling admission on Friday that the situation is not an emergency and that his use of emergency powers is unlikely to survive challenges in the lower courts. ...

The question of whether Trump’s act was constitutional dominated the Sunday talk shows, administration figures and allies saying Trump was within his apportioned powers, Democrats saying otherwise.

Trump policy requiring asylum seekers to stay in Mexico challenged in court

Civil rights organizations filed a lawsuit Thursday challenging the Trump administration’s policy of requiring asylum seekers to stay in Mexico while their cases play out, saying it “eviscerates” long-standing protections for individuals fleeing persecution. ...

The lawsuit, filed in federal court in the Northern District of California by the ACLU and the Southern Poverty Law Center, among other civil rights groups, names the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement as defendants. It asks the court to vacate the policy and allow asylum seekers to remain in the U.S.

The lawsuit alleges that requiring asylum seekers to remain in Mexico places them in extreme danger, noting that Mexican cities along the border have some of the highest rates of crime in the country and that organized crime is common. Tijuana, the first place for the policy to take effect, is one of the deadliest cities in the world and in the grips of a homicide crisis.

“Asylum seekers in Mexico face a heightened risk of kidnapping, disappearance, trafficking, sexual assault, and murder, among other harms,” according to the lawsuit. “The conditions in Mexico will make it difficult if not impossible for asylum seekers to meaningfully exercise their right to apply for asylum. Asylum seekers who are attacked, kidnapped, or killed in Mexico will be wholly unable to pursue their asylum applications.”

How anti-gentrification activists derailed Amazon’s New York City plans

When Amazon announced its plan to open a new headquarters in Long Island City, Queens, working-class residents worried that the presence of a nearly $1 trillion company in their borough would price them out. Within hours, community organizers started going door-to-door, planning protests, and enlisting the support of local officials to fend off the e-commerce giant. ...

Throughout U.S. history, community opposition has stopped urban development projects, but the victory against HQ2 stands out because of its size and apparent desirability, which dangled the promise of thousands of new, high-paying jobs, according to gentrification experts. “I think this marks a turning point because of the size and power of Amazon, and because it was not a dirty, polluting factory or waste transfer station that was being challenged,” said Trina Hamilton, an associate professor of geography at the University of Buffalo (SUNY) and co-director of its Center for Trade, Environment, and Development.

But more jobs, different jobs, with higher salaries can also catalyze rapid gentrification, or the redevelopment of a neighborhood to match middle-class tastes, which pushes out long-time, low-income residents. It’s a problem New York City knows all too well.

Amazon Pullout Shows What Anti-Capitalist Organizing and Leftist Politicians Can Do

[W]hile resistance to Amazon’s HQ2 was swift and formidable, the task of stopping the deal appeared Sisyphean. So when Amazon announced on Thursday that it was canceling plans for the New York corporate campus, the news was met with delight and surprise. Amazon’s owner, Jeff Bezos, is the richest man in history; Gov. Andrew Cuomo promised the company that he’d change his name to “Amazon Cuomo” were the deal to go through. It is rare to win against a corporate-government power nexus of this magnitude.

The plan’s thwarting offers a lesson in the possibility of forceful collective struggle against seemingly unbeatable Goliaths. It also proves the need for left-wing politicians and organizers to challenge and replace conservative, capitalist Democrats if we are to wrest control of neighborhoods, cities, and public resources away from corporate interests and towards the good of existing communities. ...

It’s true that these politicians played a crucial role. Yet without consistent pressure and door-to-door canvassing from activist and community groups — including immigrant and worker advocate organizations Make the Road NY and Desis Rising Up and Moving, alongside Teamsters and Queens residents — many elected officials would not have taken up a stance against Amazon. New York legislatures of old showed no such sensitivity to anti-gentrification and anti-corporate sentiment. ...

Some of the most vocal New York legislators who opposed HQ2 were newly elected through grassroots campaigns on democratic socialist platforms. ... The victory against Amazon — and its dealmaker allies in New York’s leadership — shows the immediate material effects of upsetting the state and city’s historically centrist and corporate-friendly order, as represented by the governor and the mayor.

the horse race

Trump ally Graham will subpoena McCabe and Rosenstein over 'coup'

Trump ally Lindsey Graham has promised a Senate investigation into claims senior justice department officials discussed invoking the 25th amendment and removing the president from power. “There’s an allegation by the acting FBI director at the time that the deputy attorney general was basically trying to do an administrative coup,” the South Carolina senator, the chair of the Senate judiciary committee, told CBS Face the Nation. ...

The acting FBI director referred to is Andrew McCabe, who Trump fired in March 2018, just short of his intended retirement. He told CBS about the discussions, which reportedly followed Trump’s firing of FBI director James Comey in May 2017, in an interview this week to promote his new book. He also said he authorized an investigation into Trump’s ties to Russia in the aftermath of the Comey firing. The deputy attorney general is Rod Rosenstein, who wrote the memo justifying Comey’s firing, which said it was due to his handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails. ...

Fox News reported on Saturday that James Baker, formerly a senior FBI lawyer, testified to two House committees last year that he was told Rosenstein said he had found two cabinet members who would support such an effort.

Why Did Bernie Abandon Tim Canova & Election Integrity

Democratic party elites silence Ilhan Omar at their peril

Absent an open debate about the party’s values on foreign policy, Democrats are hurtling toward an election more divisive than the one in 2016.

First, on Monday, Omar criticized the influence of pro-Israel lobbyists on Capitol Hill, tweeting that Congress’s stance was “all about the Benjamins”. She was swiftly rebuked by the party leadership in tandem with Republicans, prompting her to apologize. Then, less than 48 hours later, Omar grilled America’s new envoy to Venezuela, Elliott Abrams, over his well-documented material support for multiple Central American governments that committed mass killings and genocide in the 1980s. She also questioned his credibility, noting that Abrams had pleaded guilty to withholding information from Congress as part of his participation in the Iran-Contra scandal.

How did Democratic elites respond? Several pounced again – to defend the Trump administration’s backer of death squads against Omar’s pointed questioning. Kelly Magsamen, a senior official at the Center for American Progress, defended Abrams on Twitter as a “fierce advocate for human rights and democracy”. Likewise, Nicholas Burns, a 27-year diplomat who most recently advised former secretary of state John Kerry, praised Abrams as a “devoted public servant”. “It’s time to build bridges in America,” Burns wrote, “and not tear people down.”

If Democratic leaders were incredulous at Omar’s statements, rank-and-file Democrats were just as incredulous at their party leaders. Why, many asked, is it routine to criticize the influence of NRA money but almost forbidden to question the influence of Aipac money? On top of that, how could Trump’s neocon criminal be lauded as some sort of ally while Omar was treated as a pariah? A Twitter torrent caused Magsamen to delete her tweet and apologize.

Personalities aside, however, the episode is charged with significance for the Democratic party as a whole. Omar is not going away. She represents the party’s younger generation, a more diverse and progressive cohort that came of age in the war on terror. In the election of 2016, such voters balked at Hillary Clinton’s hawkish record and her courting of Never Trump neoconservatives. Now the divide is only wider and more entrenched. Democrats need to have a real conversation, immediately, about the party’s values and goals in foreign policy. Squelch it now and watch it resurge in 2020, with Trump the beneficiary.

Carlos Danger is out of the slammer!

Former Congressman Anthony Weiner Released From Prison

Disgraced former Congressman Anthony Weiner has been released from federal prison after being convicted of having illicit online contact with a 15-year-old girl in 2017. The Federal Bureau of Prisons website shows the 54-year-old New York Democrat is currently in the custody of its Residential Re-entry Management office in Brooklyn, N.Y.

It’s not immediately clear when Weiner was transferred and where he’s staying now, but Weiner will have to register as a sex-offender and spend three years on supervised release under the terms of his sentence.

The bureau website shows Weiner is slated to complete his sentence May 14, a few months earlier than scheduled because of good conduct in prison.

the evening greens

Jair Bolsonaro Praised the Genocide of Indigenous People. Now He’s Emboldening Attackers of Brazil’s Amazonian Communities.

The protection of Indigenous lands is guaranteed by the Brazilian constitution to preserve the rights and cultures of groups that have been persecuted for centuries. Brazil is home to approximately 900,000 Indigenous citizens from 305 tribes, most of whom live on reserves, but more than half of the locations claimed by Indigenous groups have not yet received government recognition. Bolsonaro, consistent with his anti-Indigenous stance throughout his career, said in a televised interview shortly after his election that if it were up to him, “there won’t be any more demarcations of Indigenous land.”

Any rollback of protections for Indigenous lands would pose a dire threat to the Amazon rainforest, which is being rapidly cut down by ranchers, farmers, and extractive industries. ... Meanwhile, armed bands of land grabbers, known as “grileiros,” have been staging attacks on Indigenous communities — a pattern of violence that has surged in the wake of Bolsonaro’s election, according to Indigenous leaders and allies interviewed for this article. “With Bolsonaro, the invaders are feeling more at ease,” Bitete Uru-Eu-Wau-Wau, who lives on an Indigenous reserve, told The Intercept by telephone.

He referred to the invaders as “peons” sent by powerful bosses to cut down trees, burn undergrowth, and plant grass for cattle grazing — the first stage in the vastly profitable criminal enterprise of land-grabbing in the Amazon. ...

About 0.4 percent of Brazil’s population lives on federally protected Indigenous lands, which cover around 13 percent of national territory and contain some of the nation’s best-maintained forests. Climate scientists consider empowerment of Indigenous people and their lands as an important weapon in the fight against climate change. But regardless of who is running the nation, throughout recent history, those concerns have been sublimated to the short-term economic interests of major industries.

Seven rare right whale calves spotted off Florida coast but ‘still isn't enough’

Seven rare right whale calves have been spotted so far this winter off Florida’s Atlantic coast, an encouraging sign for the critically endangered species but one which one expert said “still isn’t enough”.

No newborns were spotted during the last calving season and just five calves were counted during the previous year. ...

Scientists estimate only about 450 North Atlantic right whales remain. Jackson said right whales need to deliver 16 to 18 calves a year just to maintain their current population.

Also of Interest

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

What’s at Stake in Venezuela?

Ilhan Omar, AIPAC, and the 2020 Democratic Presidential Contenders

The FBI Came Close to Staging a Coup

How Much of Venezuela’s Crisis is Really Maduro’s Fault?

The Deep Nation Of Russia

The Green New Deal’s Huge Flaw

What Brett Kavanaugh’s Dishonest Anti-Abortion Dissent Reveals About His Supreme Court Agenda

Locked Inside a Freezing Federal Jail, They United to Protest Their Conditions — Only to Face Reprisals

Hating Neocons Is Becoming Mainstream Again, And It Is Excellent

CBS’s Horror Stories on National Debt Aren’t Actually All That Scary

A Little Night Music

The Rhythm Aces (Jabbo Smith, Omer Simeon, Cassino Simpson, Ikey Robinson) - Little Willie Blues

Jabbo Smith & His Rhythm Aces - Let's Get Together

Ikey Robinson & His Band - Got Butter On It

Ikey Robinson w. Jabbo Smith - Take Your Time

Banjo Ikey Robinson - Pizen Tea Blues

Ikey Robinson - A Minor Stomp

Ikey 'Banjo' Robinson - Get Off Stuff

The Pods of Pepper - You've Had Your Way

Banjo Ikey Robinson & His Bull Fiddle Band - Rock Me Mama

The Rhythm Aces (Jabbo Smith, Omer Simeon, Cassino Simpson, Ikey Robinson) - Jazz Battle

24 users have voted.


joe shikspack's picture

22 users have voted.

@joe shikspack
here's to our lost brother.

15 users have voted.

ending with the good news on the whales. It's not enough, but it's something.


13 users have voted.

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

Explain Bldg #7. . .

joe shikspack's picture

@Tall Bald and Ugly

with any luck, there are more calves that are not hanging out in places where they are easily observed by scientists. (crosses fingers)

10 users have voted.

On Afghanistan, just got a post from Matthew Ho

first part of the article

Time for Peace in Afghanistan and an End to the Lies
by Matthew Hoh Posted on February 18, 2019

It has been more than nine years since I resigned in protest over the escalation of the Afghan War from my position as a Political Officer with the US State Department in Afghanistan. It had been my third time to war, along with several years of working in positions effecting war policy in Washington, DC with the Department of Defense (DOD) and the State Department. My resignation in 2009 was not taken lightly by my superiors and my reasons for opposing President Obama’s “surge” in Afghanistan found support amongst both military officers and civilian officials at senior levels in Kabul and Washington.

I was repeatedly asked not to resign and was offered a more senior position within the State Department. Richard Holbrooke, then the President’s appointed representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan told me he agreed with 95% of what I had written and asked me to join his staff, while the US ambassador, Karl Eikenberry, told me my analysis was one of the best he had encountered and stated he would write an introduction endorsing my resignation letter if I remained with the US Embassy in Afghanistan for the remainder of my tour. In conversation with the US deputy ambassador to Afghanistan he agreed the war was not just unwinnable, but also corrupt, and stated he would not let his children serve in such a war. Further support for my views was provided by my counterparts who were serving as political officers in the most violent parts of Afghanistan: Kandahar, Helmand, Kunar, Nuristan and Oruzgan Provinces. These men and women made clear their agreement with my assessment and my resignation. The support from the military was equally effusive and genuine, often such support included apologies along the lines of “I’d like to resign too, but I’ve got kids heading to college in a few years…” (the golden handcuffs are an incredibly instrumental and integral aspect of the US Empire’s infrastructure). When I asked Karen DeYoung, the Washington Post correspondent who wrote the front page, above the fold story on my resignation for the Post, why she wrote such a piece about me, she replied she could not find anyone at the Pentagon, State Department or White House who disagreed with me. ....

Missed opportunities -- too much money in the military and too many ways to get ahead -- and too many jobs afterwards

A former CIA agent negotiated a settlement in Afghanistan years before Ho (or it might have been the same time, I don't know for sure) in any case the CIA was not interested.

What happened to the wise men of foreign policy????

Our empire follows familiar path of war to the end

16 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture


with any luck, the longsuffering people of afghanistan will finally get the boot of their imperial oppressors off their necks so that they can settle things among themselves.

it will have to be luck. all of the rational arguments have failed.

9 users have voted.

You linked the article by John Kiriakou

The FBI Came Close to Staging a Coup

Holy crap.

I trust John. He outed the CIA torture program and spent 30 months in jail and the ones who authorized it and those who did the deed, they got promoted, like the current head of the CIA

The CIA, FBI and others have been in the business of coups and supporting coups for decades and why would they not do it here in the US?

What is stopping them? A piece of paper?

The corruption of institutions is a national crisis and why should the spooks trust elections when they are rigged?

On the blog by Bob Swern on Bernie's announcement, there is an extended discussion of elections and I made some comments myself.

And Trump is connected to Mafia and to Russia so he constitutes a clear and present danger to the US

And leaders alive know that the Mafia was involved in the Kennedy assignation and they don't trust the people to learn who we are.

Corrupt institutions fighting it out with a corrupt administration and a corrupt congress

Looking forward to hearing more about this

13 users have voted.
mimi's picture

the article by Kiriakou on Consertium News?
The FBI Came Close to Staging a Coup
What do you think, was it a coup attempt or not? And if it were, would you have regretted it to succeed?

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer responded almost immediately, saying “(The president) is being really dumb to do this.” “This” was to take on the intelligence agencies, the so-called Deep State, in public. A few days later, Schumer went on MSNBC to sharpen his warning to Trump, saying, “Let me tell you, you take on the intelligence community—they have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you.”

But Trump was right. The intelligence community—the FBI, CIA, the NSA and other three-letter agencies—are too powerful, too entrenched and two well-funded. And they have far too little oversight. They’re a threat to our democracy, not the saviors of it. That is why it pains me to see Democrats lining up behind them to attack Trump.

May be there will be another coup attempt, much worse of a kind than the one which people are not sure about to have been one or not.

I guess my questions will get no responses. Who would dare to say what they have on their mind.

I would say it wasn't a coup attempt. But then there are good coups and there are bad coups, I guess. What do I know.

10 users have voted.

Ich schreibe was mir paßt - in memory of Steve Biko

joe shikspack's picture



What do you think, was it a coup attempt or not?

i would imagine that the people who were organizing to remove trump from office did not think of it as a coup, and neither would the people who desperately wanted anybody but trump in office would, either. i'm sure that they would and did have a comfortable euphemism for their actions.

in my view, based upon the information i have available their actions don't stand up to scrutiny. it certainly appears to me that mccabe and his crew were arrogating unto themselves the power to overthrow the will of the people as expressed through the election process (such as it is) based upon their own prejudices and fevered imaginations. i don't know if you want to call this coup plotting or another act in the tradition of bush v. gore wherein 9 people arrogated unto themselves the right to vote in the stead of the american people.

And if it were, would you have regretted it to succeed?

president pence? i don't think so. the very closeness of the title to the name scares the hell out of me.

i do not fancy the chances of the human race when a religious lunatic of pence's caliber gets his finger on the button of the largest collection of destructive weapons on the planet. war, famine, pestilence and death are sure to follow pence's investiture in the powers of the state.

12 users have voted.
mimi's picture

@joe shikspack
I feel a little ashamed now. Before I ask a question I should try to answer it to myself. I was not feeling well and I should not 'talk' if I don't. For some reasons more personal than general, I feel the damage that has been done to US-German relations to be much more destructive than anything before. I so much yearn for peace and harmony, especially between the races. I don't see it happen.

Have to sleep now. Good Night.

8 users have voted.

Ich schreibe was mir paßt - in memory of Steve Biko

joe shikspack's picture


I feel a little ashamed now.

no reason to. if you've got questions, ask 'em.

I feel the damage that has been done to US-German relations to be much more destructive than anything before.

i take it that the german people are not so impressed with our bully president. well, you have company, both here in the u.s. and among your neighbors, i'd imagine.

perhaps, though, it is not the worst thing at this point. trump may be hastening the end of the "pax americana" which has sadly been installed at the price of the demise of millions of people (mostly brown) around the world.

i am not blind enough to suggest that a multipolar world would not have its victims as well, but it has the possibility to be better and in the transition, there might actually be an opportunity for a reset of the powers of the global elites.

14 users have voted.
mimi's picture

@joe shikspack

8 users have voted.

Ich schreibe was mir paßt - in memory of Steve Biko

OLinda's picture

Just saying hello joe and Bluesters. So sorry to hear we lost divineorder.

I'm scheduled for surgery at 7:30 tomorrow morning. Hope I will be back!

Thank you, as always, joe.

18 users have voted.

- - - -
If you don't like the Mafia, why don't you join it and change it from the inside?

snoopydawg's picture


I will keep you in my thoughts and hope that your recovery goes smoothly. Let us know how you're doing if you can.

10 users have voted.

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

OLinda's picture


I will try to check back in so at least you know I made it!

10 users have voted.

- - - -
If you don't like the Mafia, why don't you join it and change it from the inside?


The power of positive thinking. We'll see you tomorrow!

11 users have voted.
OLinda's picture


7 users have voted.

- - - -
If you don't like the Mafia, why don't you join it and change it from the inside?

joe shikspack's picture


best of luck with your surgery and your (hopefully speedy and painless) recovery!

do please check in to let us know you are doing ok.

8 users have voted.
OLinda's picture

@joe shikspack

6 users have voted.

- - - -
If you don't like the Mafia, why don't you join it and change it from the inside?

mimi's picture

go 'prematurely' is because I fear to get Pence instead. Horror./nt

10 users have voted.

Ich schreibe was mir paßt - in memory of Steve Biko

snoopydawg's picture

that wants to replace Iran's leadership?

For my friend, divineorder who taught me so much.. I will miss you so very much.

May the sweet angels carry you home.


12 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


oh my. so only the russians would object to a well funded terrorist group toppling the government of a sovereign state.

go figure. might be true.

7 users have voted.
Raggedy Ann's picture

Tipping my hat to all of us referenced to as bluesters by our late pal, divine order.

Dropping down to say hey and comment before I get even more caught up in the news and vids above.

The response Pence received in Munich was a fitting rebuke as was the snub America received in Warsaw. Actions have consequences.

Attended the funeral, on Saturday, of my son’s best friend in grade school. Passed just like DO, but he was 45. Sigh.

Have as best an evening, possible, folks.

10 users have voted.

“It is dangerous to be right in matters on which the established authorities are wrong.”

-- Voltaire

joe shikspack's picture

@Raggedy Ann

i hope that pence is treated to a stony silence and the cold shoulder wherever he goes. he's up to no good.

my condolences on the loss of your family friend at such an early age.

have a good evening!

10 users have voted.
enhydra lutris's picture

10 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

absolutely! a fitting tune for a fellow with rambling on his mind.

have a good evening.

8 users have voted.
dystopian's picture

Wow that Ikey Robinson is amazing! Very cool stuff JS, thanks again!

So the EU didn't send their best people to meet Pence and Pompeo? Pence was a threatening bully to civilized people? Pence is a Dr. Evil if I ever saw one. The Taliban has the upper hand in talks after 18 years of us winning? So much winning.

Turkey says Kurds are terrorists because they hate them. Not because they are.

Aren't we lucky to have CNN and Zuckerberg decide should be the arbiter of what we know. They are sentencing all to be as stupid as them. Poor Rania Khalek, I thought she was great. Like countless others they de-platform any opinions outside their incredibly narrow Overton Window. F'rs.

10 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

lotlizard's picture