The Evening Blues - 3-15-19



eb1pt12


The day's news roundup + tonight's musical feature: Son Seals


Hey! Good Evening!

This evening's music features Chicago blues singer and guitarist Son Seals. Enjoy!

Son Seals & The Chicago Fire Band-The Sun is Shinin'

“Kakimi chertyami oni viigrali holodnuyu voinu?"
This translates roughly to: "How the hell did these people win the Cold War?”

-- Dave Barry


News and Opinion

BREAKING: Everyone Who Opposes War Is A Russian Antisemite

Following the publication of the results of a groundbreaking new study this week, experts are now reporting that every single person who questions western military interventionism is both an antisemitic bigot and a Russian national. Research analyst Les Overton is a senior fellow at the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Democracy (ASPCD), a Washington, D.C.-based think tank whose motives we can only assume are perfectly truthful and unbiased. He told NNC that the ASPCD’s research clearly shows that the rate of correlation between an individual opposing western foreign policy, harboring a virulent hatred of Jewish people, and being a citizen of the Russian Federation is “at least a hundred percent, if not more.” ...

These findings track with revelations exposed by respected foreign policy analyst Max Boot in an article published yesterday in the Washington Post titled “It’s time to retire the ‘neocon’ label“. Boot explains that those who criticize the relentless warmongering of neoconservatism are actually facilitating antisemitism, writing that antiwar voices have been known to use that label “to suggest that Jews are running U.S. foreign policy.” These findings also help explain the fact that British Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and US Congresswomen Tulsi Gabbard and Ilhan Omar have all been found to be arousing suspicion with their irrational affection for Vladimir Putin and irrational disdain for people of Jewish ancestry.

Pentagon Wants to Test A Space-Based Weapon in 2023

Defense officials have asked for $304 million to fund research into space-based lasers and particle beams, and other new forms of missile defense next year.

Defense officials want to test a neutral particle-beam in orbit in fiscal 2023 as part of a ramped-up effort to explore various types of space-based weaponry. They’ve asked for $304 million in the 2020 budget to develop such beams, more powerful lasers, and other new tech for next-generation missile defense. Such weapons are needed, they say, to counter new missiles from China, Russia, North Korea and Iran. But just figuring out what might work is a difficult technical challenge.

So the Pentagon is undertaking two studies. The first is a $15 million exploration of whether satellites outfitted with lasers might be able to disable enemy missiles coming off the launch pad. Defense officials have said previously that these lasers would need to be in the megawatt class. They expect to finish the study within six months.

They’re also pouring money into a study of space-based neutral particle beams, a different form of directed energy that disrupts missiles with streams of subatomic particles traveling close to light speed — as opposed to lasers, whose photons travel at light speed. On Wednesday, officials speaking to reporters at the Pentagon voiced guarded confidence that they would result in something that would in fact be deployable. ...

It’s also a controversial idea and not popular among arms control proponents. “The deployment of interceptors in space would be a disaster for strategic stability. To ensure the credibility of their nuclear deterrents, Russia and China would likely respond by building additional and new types of long-range ballistic missiles as well as missiles that fly on non-ballistic trajectories. Russia and China could also take steps to improve their ability to destroy such U.S. interceptors, thereby greatly increasing the threat to U.S. assets in space,” said Kingston Reif, who directs disarmament and threat reduction policy at the Arms Control Association. ... A February report from the Defense Intelligence Agency suggests that both China and Russia are developing space-based weapons and that they could be in orbit next year.

Warren confronts acting Pentagon chief over $164B war fund request

Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan denied Thursday that a Pentagon war fund has become a slush fund under sharp questioning from Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.). Warren, who is running for the 2020 Democratic nomination for president, was pressing Shanahan on the Pentagon’s request for $164 billion for the Overseas Contingency Operation (OCO) account in fiscal year 2020. ...

OCO is theoretically a war fund only to be used for temporary expenses, though over the years it has increasingly been used for base budget items since it is not subject to budget caps. ...

Warren highlighted that the OCO request for fiscal 2020 is 140 percent higher than fiscal 2019’s $69 billion for OCO.

“So tell me, did the cost of supporting our overseas operations suddenly increase by 140 percent last year?” she asked Shanahan.

“Senator, they did not,” he replied.

Matt Lee grills US Special Rep for Venezuela during briefing

Venezuela Coup Leader’s Oil Plans Revealed: Guaidó Hopes to Privatize State-Controlled Industry

The international news agency Reuters has confirmed that Venezuela’s US-appointed coup leader Juan Guaidó and his right-wing economic advisers drafted a plan to privatize the country’s petroleum industry and open up the oil-rich South American country to foreign corporations. ...

In a March 12 report titled “Venezuela’s Guaido readies to open up oil industry after years of nationalization,” Reuters outlined plans by the opposition to partially privatize Venezuela’s state-owned oil company PDVSA.

Reuters euphemistically noted, “The proposal could provide ammunition for Maduro’s claims that Guaido is a puppet for foreign interests.”

The news agency obtained a copy of the US-backed opposition’s privatization proposal, and detailed it as follows:

Under the proposal, which is expected to be released and discussed at Venezuela’s National Assembly in coming days, private firms could choose to run the day-to-day operations of Venezuelan oilfields, a sharp departure from the Chavez era in which foreign companies could only hold minority stakes and were not granted operational control.

Guaido’s team is proposing a variety of exploration and production contracts to allow private companies for the first time in decades to operate oilfields individually and in partnership with PDVSA. Private companies could also apply to operate oil refineries and retail service stations under the draft proposal.

... The proposal would also let the coup regime completely remake PDVSA, allowing it to reorganize the company, renegotiate its debts, suspend existing so-called “harmful contracts,” and change its relations with current partners — such as Chinese, Russian, and Iranian companies.

Absolutely disgusting:


Venezuela: power returns after blackout but normal service may be a long way off

Power has been restored to much of Venezuela, a week after a devastating blackout struck across the country, crippling water supplies, and cutting off telephone and internet services for millions. But swaths of the country remain without electricity, and experts have warned that normal services may not resume for weeks – or even months.

A new report from the Central University of Venezuela’s faculty of engineering confirmed that the blackout was caused when a bush fire near the Malena substation in eastern Venezuela took out a vital section of the country’s power grid.

The report offered two possible explanations for why the fire had such a devastating impact – both of which imply full supply will not be restored any time soon. The first is that the fire took out part of the transmission network, which could take up to 60 days to repair. The second scenario, would be even more severe. It posits that the fire led to a turbine failure at the El Guri hydroelectric dam, which powers 80% of the country’s electric grid. In that case, repairs could take up to three years and will depend on Venezuela’s embattled government obtaining replacement parts and qualified technicians – both long absent from Venezuela’s electrical infrastructure.

The US withdrew the last of its diplomats on Thursday, and the Stars and Stripes flag over the embassy in Caracas was taken down. ... Washington is reportedly considering fresh financial sanctions that could prohibit Visa, Mastercard and other financial institutions from processing transactions in Venezuela. The restrictions have been described as a way to pile pressure on the embattled president, Nicolás Maduro, but if introduced, they will inevitably create more problems for citizens who are struggling with hyper-inflation and chronic shortages of food and medicine.

Venezuela accuses US of 'terrorist attack' on oil facility

Venezuelans resumed work Thursday after a weeklong hiatus forced by an unprecedented nationwide blackout, but President Nicolas Maduro's government faced fresh problems including a "terrorist attack" on an oil facility.

Three storage tanks at the Petro San Felix heavy oil processing plant in eastern Venezuela caught fire late Wednesday, Oil Minister Manuel Quevedo told state television. There were no reports of casualties. Quevedo blamed Guaido, the head of Venezuela's opposition-ruled congress and self-proclaimed interim president backed by 50 countries, accusing him of collusion with the United States.

On Twitter, the minister said Guaido and the opposition were "intensifying terrorist incursions" against the state-owned oil company PDVSA to impact Venezuela's vital crude exports. "Traitors!" he wrote, adding "the US has decided to rob Venezuela of its oil resources... (and) wants blood to flow."

Oil accounts for 90 percent of Venezuela's export revenues. Production has long slid, crimped by years of underinvestment and mismanagement. Stepped-up US sanctions have further trimmed exports.

North Korea Warns 'Gangster-Like' Tactics of Bolton and Pompeo Undermining Nuclear Talks

Two weeks after U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un cut short their second summit with no agreement or clear path forward, a top North Korean official said on Friday the "gangster-like" behavior of Trump's hawkish top officials helped derail the denuclearization negotiations.

At a gathering of diplomats and foreign media in Pyongyang, North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui expressed disappointment that the summit ended without a deal and threatened to suspend talks. According to The Associated Press:

Choe, who attended the Feb. 27-28 talks in Hanoi, said Kim was puzzled by what she called the "eccentric" negotiation position of the U.S. She suggested that while Trump was more willing to talk, an atmosphere of hostility and mistrust was created by the uncompromising demands of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Adviser John Bolton. She said statements by senior Trump advisers since the summit have further worsened the climate.

"On our way back to the homeland, our chairman of the state affairs commission said, 'For what reason do we have to make this train trip again?'" Choe told reporters. "I want to make it clear that the gangster-like stand of the U.S. will eventually put the situation in danger."

Gaza airstikes: Israel bombs Hamas targets after rockets fired at Tel Aviv

Rockets fired from Gaza target Tel Aviv for first time since 2014

Militants in Gaza have fired two rockets towards Tel Aviv, the first such attack since the war between Israel and Hamas in 2014. Israel has responded by attacking what it called “terror sites” in Gaza. ...

There were no reports of damage or casualties, the Israeli army said, and no group in Gaza immediately claimed the attack, but in a statement, Hamas’s military wing denied responsibility for the attack. ...

As tensions have risen in Gaza over Israel’s lethal response to weekly protests at the frontier during the past year, militants in the enclave have fired hundreds of projectiles into surrounding areas, although not as far north as Tel Aviv. Israel’s military has responded with widespread airstrikes.

Brexit crisis: UK parliament votes to delay EU departure

Looks to me like nobody in the UK wants to take responsibility for the hot potato:

Theresa May has finally got the Brexiters where she wants them

MPs had the chance to take back control of Brexit – wresting this tortured process from a weak, flailing and moribund government – and they ducked it. Sure, it was by the narrowest of margins, losing by just two votes, 312 to 314, but MPs passed up the opportunity to take charge and say, at long last, what kind of Brexit they want. They preferred instead to grant Theresa May yet another lifeline for her own deal – which, incredibly, will come back for a third meaningful vote on Tuesday.

The lever that was offered to MPs, by which they might have finally got a grip on the Brexit crisis, was a proposal from Hilary Benn that would have seen a series of votes allowing MPs to indicate their preferred Brexit plan – whether that be Norway plus or a second referendum or every shade in between. No longer would May retain the initiative, with the power to confine MPs to a single, binary choice: my way or the highway.

Had it gone through, it would have confirmed what the rest of this week had already suggested: that power is haemorrhaging away from this prime minister, that this government is in office but not in power, that it is parliament rather than Downing Street that now calls the shots. But, by a whisker, May’s administration clung on, the party whip having lost not all of its sting. In fact, it was six Brexiter Labour MPs who saved May from what would have been further humiliation, voting against their colleague Benn and giving her a stay of execution.

It now means the prime minister can stage next Tuesday’s vote the way she wants it: as an ultimatum to the ultras of the European Research Group and the Democratic Unionist party. Thanks to another, much more comfortable vote this evening, approving in principle an extension of article 50, those intransigents will now face a sharp dilemma. The ERG and DUP either swallow their objections and vote for May’s deal, or they face the prospect of a long delay to Brexit – perhaps for the best part of two years. Given the mayhem on show these past few days, who would bet what might happen to their precious Brexit project between now and 2021? They might lose it altogether. That is the stark, binary choice May has always wanted to press upon the Brexiters, and the defeat of the Benn amendment allows her to do it.

French human rights watchdog: Civil liberties at risk under Macron amid Yellow Vest protests

Trump suggests that it could get 'very bad' if military, police, biker supporters play 'tough'

President Trump in a new interview suggested that his supporters are tougher than Democrats, and that if they actually play tough things could get "very bad." Trump made the comments in the context of an interview with the conservative outlet Breitbart in which he argued that Democrats play a tough political game.

“You know, the left plays a tougher game, it’s very funny," Trump said in the interview with Breitbart published on Wednesday. "I actually think that the people on the right are tougher, but they don’t play it tougher."

"I can tell you I have the support of the police, the support of the military, the support of the Bikers for Trump – I have the tough people, but they don’t play it tough — until they go to a certain point, and then it would be very bad, very bad," Trump said.

"But the left plays it cuter and tougher. Like with all the nonsense that they do in Congress ... with all this invest[igations] — that’s all they want to do is — you know, they do things that are nasty. Republicans never played this.”


Rights Group Charges Trump's Prolonged Detention of Children 'Completely Illegal'

An immigrant rights group on Wednesday filed a civil rights complaint against the Department of Homeland Security, arguing that the Trump administration is blatantly flouting the Flores agreement—the law that dictates how long the U.S. government can keep children in custody.

The Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES) says that five children have been held at a detention center in Karnes City, Texas for at least 41 days, with at least one held for nearly three months. The prolonged detention is a clear violation of Flores, which prohibits the government from holding children for longer than 20 days, the group argued.


RAICES wrote in its complaint that the group had taken note of the "disturbing trend" at Karnes Detention Center and called for the immediate release of the children, who are as young as five years old. Most of the children are being held with their fathers but some of the families have been separated since first being detained.

"All children in detention, even those detained with their parents, have the same rights under Flores," RAICES wrote. "The Flores agreement states that a child must be released from detention 'without unnecessary delay' so long as they do not pose a flight risk or danger, i.e. they must be released within 20 days. Prolonged detention of children, even with their fathers, is a clear violation of Flores."

Mexico’s president vows crackdown on corruption after report on extortion of migrants

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said on Thursday that his administration is investigating corruption among its immigration and customs agents, responding to a question by VICE News about claims that agents are extorting migrants applying for asylum in the U.S. “The entire immigration and customs system is being cleansed of corruption. This was initiated straight from the National Palace,” he said at his morning news conference.

“To the extortionists, the miscreants who pass themselves off as public servants and officials but are vulgar thieves: There will be no tolerance,” he said, singling out corruption in the agency that controls customs and migration. “This practice may last a month, two months, but no more. They will be fired.”

López Obrador’s comments came one day after VICE News detailed how Mexican officials along the Texas-Mexico border are demanding up to $3,500 from migrants who want to access ports of entry and apply for asylum in the U.S. They are also threatening migrants with deportation if they don’t pay.

The Senate just passed a bill to kill Trump’s national emergency

The United States Senate just sent President Trump its second stunning rebuke in as many days when a flock of Republicans joined Democrats in disapproving Trump’s emergency declaration over his border wall. The legislation now heads to the president’s desk, where it faces a promised veto, Trump’s first.

The 12 Republicans who voted to block Trump from redirecting funds to pay for the border wall say they’re standing up for Congress and its constitutional authority to control spending. ...

The vote caps weeks of behind-the-scenes talks with Vice President Mike Pence being deployed to the Capitol numerous times, and a group of Republicans visiting the White House Wednesday, to try to urge Trump to back down. In the end, the floodgates of Republican opposition were blown wide open ahead of the vote.


Anand Giridharadas: College Bribery Scandal Highlights How America is Rigged for Wealthy & Powerful



the horse race



MSNBC Host: I’d Vote Trump Over Bernie!

House votes 420-0 for Mueller report to be made public

The House has unanimously voted for a resolution calling for any final report in the special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation to be made public. The symbolic action designed to pressure the attorney general, William Barr, to release as much information as possible when the inquiry ends.

The Democratic-backed resolution, which passed 420-0, comes as Mueller appears to be nearing an end to his investigation. Lawmakers in both parties have maintained there will have to be some sort of public discussion when the report is done – and privately hope that a report shows conclusions that are favorable to their own side.

The resolution is unlikely to be passed in the Senate, where the Democratic Leader, Chuck Schumer, tried to bring it up hours after House passage. He was rebuffed when the Senate judiciary committee chairman, Lindsey Graham, objected. But the House vote shows that lawmakers from both parties are eager to view Mueller’s findings after almost two years of speculation about what they might reveal.

Though Mueller’s office has said nothing publicly about the timing of a report, several prosecutors detailed to Mueller’s team have left in recent months, suggesting that the investigation is winding down.


Surprise, surprise - Beetlejuice wants to continue Obama's "all-of-the-above" energy policy.

Beto O'Rourke, friend of the fossil fuel industry, is no climate hero

“We are truly now, more than ever, the last great hope of this Earth,” Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke ended a video announcing his presidential bid. “At this moment of maximum peril and maximum potential, let’s show ourselves and those who will succeed us in this great country just who we are and what we can do.” That sounds pretty green and maybe even refreshing after two years of Donald Trump. But O’Rourke’s candidacy is kind of like the iceberg lettuce of politics. You can load it up with whatever you want, but underneath all the dressing and crunchy topping seems to be a whole lot of nothing. As political scientist Lee Drutman put it: “He knows how to be an empty vessel for hopes and dreams.”

O’Rourke wants to be everything to everyone. To take a look back at his career, that’s an invitation he’s extended to the fossil fuel industry. With just about 11 years to begin rapidly transitioning the US off of fossil fuels – per the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change – an O’Rourke presidency is not a risk the US or the world can afford to take. As an analysis by the not-for-profit news site Capital and Main has shown, his six-year record in Congress – representing a solidly blue district – included siding with Republicans more than his fellow Democrats did, including on some key climate votes.

O’Rourke voted twice to lift longstanding restrictions on crude oil exports. The decision was a boon to the world’s most dangerous industry, making the reckless exploration of reserves in the Permian and Appalachian Basin profitable and helping to set the US on the path to becoming a net exporter of fossil fuels; two years after the vote, exports had tripled. As Oil Change International has found, the continued expansion of these reserves – including in the US – is flatly incompatible with averting catastrophic levels of global warming.

He voted with the Republican party as well to encourage more natural gas exports, and to stop a Democratic bill to ban drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. And as recently as October, O’Rourke voiced his support for an all-of-the-above energy policy that’s out of step with scientific reality, repeating a fossil fuel industry talking point that indefinitely continued oil and gas production is a way to “help us meet some of the challenges of climate change”.



the evening greens

Youth climate strikes to take place in more than 100 countries

Hundreds of thousands of children are expected to walk out of their classrooms on Friday for a global climate strike amid growing anger at the failure of politicians to tackle the escalating ecological crisis. Children at tens of thousands of schools in more than 100 countries are due to take part in the walkouts which began last year when one teenager – Greta Thunberg – held a solo protest outside the Swedish parliament.

Since then the climate movement has snowballed with schoolchildren on every continent except Antarctica taking part.

Friday’s strike is expected to be the biggest yet as evidence mounts of the climate emergency facing the planet. Amnesty International has warned that the failure of world governments to tackle the crisis could amount to “one of the greatest intergenerational human rights violations in history”.

French state faces landmark lawsuit over climate inaction

When French President Emmanuel Macron showed up for a town hall meeting last week in the picturesque provençal town of Gréoux-les-Bains, part of a Great National Debate that has seen him engage with local communities across the country, the star guest from Paris was upstaged by a local schoolboy who, mic in hand, urged him to get serious about saving the planet.

“What do you mean by ecology, since our factories are free to discard their waste at sea, pesticides pollute our soils and thus our food, Europe sends 20,000 tonnes of junked electrical equipment to Nigeria, and plastic rubbish invades our oceans and our planet?” asked the plucky 14-year-old, who went by the name of Charlie. “When are you going to react? You have the power to,” the youngster added. “Or do you think money will buy us a new planet?” ...

On Thursday, four French NGOs – Notre affaire à tous, la Fondation pour la nature et l'homme, Greenpeace France and Oxfam France – filed a lawsuit at the Paris administrative court against the French government, accusing it of failing to act upon its environmental obligations. A petition accompanying their initiative, called ‘L’Affaire du siècle’ or the case of the century, has collected a record 2.1 million signatures.

France played a key part in engineering an agreement at the Paris Climate Conference in 2015, but it has consistently fallen short of its environmental commitments since then. Macron’s own green credentials took a hit last summer when his star environment minister, Nicolas Hulot, quit the government in protest at the lack of progress. Months later, he was forced into an embarrassing U-turn on anti-pollution fuel tax hikes in the face of country-wide "Yellow Vest" protests.

“We want the French state’s commitments and stated ambitions to be translated into concrete action,” said Noelie Coudurier, who heads Oxfam France’s climate section. “And in order to enforce this, we need the courts to recognise the state’s responsibility in failing to meet its targets,” she told FRANCE 24.

Brazil to Open Indigenous Reserves to Mining Without Indigenous Consent

New Minister of Mines and Energy Admiral Bento Albuquerque announced on 4 March that he plans to permit mining on indigenous lands in Brazil, including within the Amazon. He also said that he intends to allow mining right up to Brazil’s borders, abolishing the current ban along a 150-kilometer (93-mile)-wide swath at the frontier.

The Bolsonaro administration’s indigenous mining plan is in direct opposition to indigenous land rights as guaranteed under Brazil’s 1988 Constitution. The indigenous mining initiative will likely be implemented via a presidential decree, which will almost surely be reviewed, and possibly be rejected, by Brazil’s Supreme Court.

Mining companies stand ready to move into indigenous reserves, if the measure goes forward. Brazil’s mining ministry has received 4,073 requests from mining companies and individuals for mining-related activities on indigenous land. Indigenous groups are outraged and they plan to resist in the courts and by whatever means possible.

Brazil’s mining industry has a very poor safety and environmental record. As recently as January, Brazil mega-mining company Vale saw a tailings dam collapse at Brumadinho which killed 193 and left another 115 missing. Public outcry is strong against the industry currently, but how the public will respond to the indigenous mining plan isn’t yet known.

Let the financial district sink. They are the ones who underwrote the prime movers of climate change, let them bail out their own damned ship.

De Blasio unveils $10bn scheme to build new chunk of Manhattan to combat climate change

Bill de Blasio, the mayor of New York, has announced a radical plan to meet the “existential threat” of climate change by constructing a new section of Manhattan , extending hundreds of feet out into the narrow East river, in order to protect Wall Street and other downtown areas. Plans to fund the scheme, however, are far from firm. He said the project, which would cost an estimated $10bn, will aim to be funded partly by private development “if federal funds are not available”. ...

Officials have been developing schemes to fortify New York’s waterfront since Superstorm Sandy destroyed thousands of homes and businesses, and took more than 50 lives in the city, in 2012. De Blasio said it will cost about $500m to fortify most of lower Manhattan from future effects of climate change, including rising sea levels and intense precipitation, by providing grassy berms and removable barriers.

But planners determined that protecting the lowest-lying area, including South Street Seaport and the adjacent financial district at the tip of Manhattan, will require adding more land over several years.


Also of Interest

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

US and Iranian Hardliners Continue the Suffering

‘Washington Doesn’t Like Countries to Have Influence if They Can’t Control Them’

Worry About the Old, Not the Rich, HuffPost Tells Readers

Young People Feel Betrayed by Adults Over the Climate Crisis. Today, They’re Going on Strike.

Plummeting insect numbers 'threaten collapse of nature'

Ahead of Global #ClimateStrike She Inspired, 16-Year-Old Greta Thunberg Nominated for Nobel Peace Prize

Billions of Swedish Krona Supported Anti-Apartheid Struggle

Ocasio-Cortez Demands to Know Why Wilbur Ross is 'Violating the Law' to Include Citizenship Question on Census


A Little Night Music

Son Seals - Bad Axe

Son Seals - Call My Job

Son Seals - Sadie

Son Seals - The Sun Is Shining

Son Seals - I Can't Hold Out

Son Seals - Going Home

Son Seals - Don't Pick Me For Your Fool

Son Seals - Hot Sauce

Son Seals - Frigidaire Woman

Son Seals - Buzzard Luck


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20 users have voted.

Comments

...C99P community to 15-year-old Brandon "TAZ" Neiderauer. He starred in "School of Rock" (*=some reading this may already know of him) on Broadway. So, what's a better "place" to introduce some new music at C99P than a comment in tonight's edition of EB featuring Son Seals? And, yeah, he IS definitely the real deal...

Here he is, at 13, with Buddy Guy (starts around the 9:00 mark)...Buddy's intro is funny as sh*t...

And, here's TAZ, "all grown up," at 14 (and he has an exhaustive national touring schedule and his own band now, as well :-)...gigging at a tremendous music club just north of Westchester County, in Pawling (in Putnam County, about 30 minutes from my house), NY, owned by Daryl Hall (as in: "Hall & Oates"), "Daryl's House"...

...and here he is playing with Ghost-Note (one of about 20 "spinoff bands" from Snarky Puppy):


# # #

Have a great weekend, everyone! (Especially you, Joe!)

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18 users have voted.

"Freedom is something that dies unless it's used." --Hunter S. Thompson

@bobswern

What a talent! Great music selection, and thanks for introducing me!

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9 users have voted.

@Le Frog

...to music (new and old)!

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5 users have voted.

"Freedom is something that dies unless it's used." --Hunter S. Thompson

joe shikspack's picture

@bobswern

good stuff! i liked the piece with snarky puppy, good ensemble playing and dynamics.

thanks and have a great weekend!

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4 users have voted.

I actually thought I was going to be linked to The Onion (after twigging it was "democracy" and not "animals" like I'd initially read).

Maybe, instead of retiring the neocon label, Max Boot can himself retire and we can all call it a day!

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10 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture

@Le Frog

heh, i wish that the aspcd would do something to save democracy from the predations of max boot and the neocons. unfortunately, i fear that if they can still get appointed to a government position or spew their dreck in a major media outlet they will never get the message that their day is over and it's time to retire.

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5 users have voted.

So I went over the link posted by Joe yesterday, watched the disgusting interview, and then read the comments. Sweet Jeesus, every comment, and I mean every comment was negative about Colbert in particular. The comments attacking Colbert were not particularly pro-Tulsi either. Just how he conducted the interview.

So I went back today and looked at newest comments and read latest comments. And same thing. I did not see one comment praising Colbert.

But in looking at the likes/dislikes the ratio as 3 likes for 1 dislike. WTF? I know there are companies and people that mess with likes and dislikes, but really. The question is did CBS artificially mess with the results?

But regardless, this seems to be an example that what is going on the ground in terms of reporting is distorted and skewed. And the mass media is totally missing it. Does Tulsi actually have much more support than establishment press is reporting.

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15 users have voted.

@MrWebster

I do think there is more support out there for her than is being portrayed in the corporate media, and she only stands to gain more. Stephen Colbert though, holy cow. That was like a Bill O'Reilly interview.

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13 users have voted.
Anja Geitz's picture

@Le Frog

And I guess you'll see their true character. I'm almost glad Jon Stewart got out of it before the 2016 election. I don't think I could've stomached watching him turn into a money loving mouthpiece for the establishment.

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13 users have voted.

If we surrendered to earth's intelligence we could rise up rooted, like trees
~ Rainer Maria Rilke

@Anja Geitz

And maybe Stephen Colbert can have a serious and not satirical March to Keep Fear Alive.

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6 users have voted.
Mark from Queens's picture

@Anja Geitz @Le Frog
Took me a while to understand what I was feeling. But it was clear during Obama they became "company men," if not that they had always been.

This guy Steve Almond writing in the Baffler in 2012 nailed it so hard that I'm compelled to put this any and everywhere those two or late night comics are mentioned. The role of the comic/humorist to deliver blows to the status quo is a topic that greatly interests me. As George Bernard Shaw said, "Mark Twain and I are in the same position. We have put things in such a way as to make people, who would otherwise hang us, believe that we are joking." The author invokes three of my all-time heroes in that regard, Bill Hicks, George Carlin and Lenny Bruce. The whole slew of the last few decade's late night comics couldn't hold a flicker to these Herculean men of scathing political satire.

Colbert's iceman evisceration of Bush to his face still stands as one of the great media moments this century. But once the real serious money started pouring in, and he took over Letterman, he suddenly developed "corn-pone opinions," as Mark Twain called them, which means one doesn't say publicly anything that might interfere with his paycheck or have him fall out of public favor/standing with his neighbors' approval.

I've pasted this a few times around here and elsewhere, but here goes again:

"The Joke's On You"
(it's a total Must-Read)

(emphasis mine)

Over the past decade, political humor has proliferated not as a daring form of social commentary, but a reliable profit source. Our high-tech jesters serve as smirking adjuncts to the dysfunctional institutions of modern media and politics, from which all their routines derive. Their net effect is almost entirely therapeutic: they congratulate viewers for their fine habits of thought and feeling while remaining careful never to question the corrupt precepts of the status quo too vigorously.

Our lazy embrace of Stewart and Colbert is a testament to our own impoverished comic standards. We have come to accept coy mockery as genuine subversion and snarky mimesis as originality. It would be more accurate to describe our golden age of political comedy as the peak output of a lucrative corporate plantation whose chief export is a cheap and powerful opiate for progressive angst and rage.

Fans will find this assessment offensive. Stewart and Colbert, they will argue, are comedians, offering late-night entertainment in the vein of David Letterman or Jay Leno, but with a topical twist. To expect them to do anything more than make us laugh is unfair. Besides, Stewart and Colbert do play a vital civic role—they’re a dependable news source for their mostly young viewers, and de facto watchdogs against media hype and political hypocrisy...

What Stewart and Colbert do most nights is convert civic villainy into disposable laughs. They prefer Horatian satire to Juvenalian, and thus treat the ills of modern media and politics as matters of folly, not concerted evil. Rather than targeting the obscene cruelties borne of greed and fostered by apathy, they harp on a rogues’ gallery of hypocrites familiar to anyone with a TiVo or a functioning memory. Wit, exaggeration, and gentle mockery trump ridicule and invective. The goal is to mollify people, not incite them...

Back in October of 2004, Stewart made a now-famous appearance on the CNN debate show Crossfire, hosted by the liberal pundit Paul Begala and his conservative counterpart Tucker Carlson. Stewart framed his visit as an act of honor. He had been mocking the contrived combat of Crossfire on his program and wanted to face his targets. The segment quickly devolved into a lecture. “Stop, stop, stop, stop hurting America,” he told Carlson. “See, the thing is, we need your help. Right now, you’re helping the politicians and the corporations. And we’re left out there to mow our lawns.” The exchange went viral. Stewart was hailed as a hero: here, at last, was a man brave enough to condemn the tyranny of a middling cable shoutfest.

But who, exactly, did Stewart mean by “we”? He’s not just some poor schnook who works the assembly line at a factory then goes home to mow his lawn. He’s a media celebrity who works for Viacom, one of the largest entertainment corporations in the world. Stewart can score easy points by playing the humble populist. But he’s as comfortable on the corporate plantation as any of the buffoons he delights in humiliating.

The queasy irony here is that Stewart and Colbert are parasites of the dysfunction they mock. Without blowhards such as Carlson and shameless politicians, Stewart would be out of a job that pays him a reported $14 million per annum. Without the bigoted bluster of Bill O’Reilly and Rush Limbaugh, The Colbert Report would not exist. They aren’t just invested in the status quo, but dependent on it.

Consider, in this context, Stewart’s coverage of the Occupy Wall Street movement. His initial segment highlighted the hypocrisy of those who portrayed the protestors in Zuccotti Park as lawless and menacing while praising Tea Party rallies as quintessentially patriotic. But Stewart was careful to include a caveat: “I mean, look, if this thing turns into throwing trash cans into Starbucks windows, nobody’s gonna be down with that,” he said, alluding to vandalism by activists during a 1999 World Trade Organization summit. Stewart then leaned toward the camera and said, in his best guilty-liberal stage whisper, “We all love Starbucks.” The audience laughed approvingly. Protests for economic justice are worthy of our praise, just so long as they don’t take aim at our luxuries. The show later sent two correspondents down to Zuccotti Park. One highlighted the various “weirdos” on display. The other played up the alleged class divisions within those occupying the park. Both segments trivialized the movement by playing to right-wing stereotypes of protestors as self-indulgent neo-hippies...

It does not take a particularly supple intellect to discern the subtext here. The twin towers may have symbolized “ingenuity” and “imagination” to Americans such as Stewart and his brother, Larry, the chief operating officer of the New York Stock Exchange’s parent company. But to most people in the world, the WTC embodied the global reach of U.S.-backed corporate cartels. It’s not the sort of monument that would showcase a pledge to shelter the world’s “huddled masses.” In fact, it’s pretty much the opposite of that. To imply a kinship between the towers and the Statue of Liberty—our nation’s most potent symbol of immigrant striving—is to promote a reality crafted by Fox News CEO Roger Ailes. Stewart added this disclaimer: “Tonight’s show is not obviously a regular show. We looked through the vault and we found some clips that we thought might make you smile, which is really what’s necessary, I think, uh, right about now.”

You got that? In times of national crisis, the proper role of the comedian is not to challenge the prevailing jingoistic hysteria, but to induce smiles...

Maddow asked, “What’s the lefty way of shutting down debate?”

“You’ve said Bush is a war criminal,” Stewart replied. “Now that may be technically true. In my world, a war criminal is Pol Pot or the Nuremberg trials. . . . But I think that’s such an incendiary charge that when you put it into conversation as, well, technically he is, that may be right, but it feels like a conversation stopper, not a conversation starter.” This is the Stewart credo distilled: civility at any cost, even in the face of moral atrocity.

By contrast, consider the late Bill Hicks, a stand-up comedian of the same approximate vintage as Stewart and Colbert. “You never see my attitude in the press,” Hicks once observed. “For instance, gays in the military. . . . Gays who want to be in the military. Here’s how I feel about it, alright? Anyone dumb enough to want to be in the military should be allowed in. End of fucking story. That should be the only requirement. I don’t care how many pushups you can do. Put on a helmet, go wait in that foxhole, we’ll tell you when we need you to kill somebody. . . . I watched these fucking congressional hearings and all these military guys and the pundits, ‘Seriously, aww, the esprit de corps will be affected, and we are such a moral’—excuse me! Aren’t y’all fucking hired killers? Shut up! You are thugs and when we need you to go blow the fuck out of a nation of little brown people, we’ll let you know. . . . I don’t want any gay people hanging around me while I’m killing kids!”

Fellow comics considered Hicks a genius, and he did well in clubs. But he never broke into national television, because he violated the cardinal rule of televised comedy—one passed down from Johnny Carson through the ages—which is to flatter and reassure the viewer. David Letterman invited Hicks to perform on his show but cut his routine just before the broadcast. Several years after Hick’s death, an apologetic Letterman ran a clip of the spot Hicks had recorded. It was obvious why Letterman—or the network higher-ups—had axed it. The routine openly mocked everyone from pro-lifers to homosexuals.

To hear Hicks rant about the evils of late-model capitalism (“By the way, if anyone here is in advertising or marketing, kill yourself”), or militant Christians, or consumerism, is to encounter the wonder of a voice free of what Marshall McLuhan called the “corporate mask.” Hicks understood that comedy’s highest calling is to confront the moral complacency of your audience—and the sponsors. This willingness to traffic in radical ideas is what makes comic work endure, from Aristophanes’s indictments of Athenian war profiteers to Jonathan Swift’s “modest proposal” that Irish parents sell their children as food to rich gourmands, from Lenny Bruce’s anguished, anarchic riffs to George Carlin’s rants. “There’s a reason education sucks, and it’s the same reason that it will never, ever, ever, be fixed,” Carlin once said, though not on The Daily Show. “The owners of this country don’t want that. I’m talking about the real owners now. The real owners, the big wealthy business interests that control things and make all the important decisions. Forget the politicians. The politicians are put there to give you the idea that you have freedom of choice. You don’t.”

In a 1906 address at Carnegie Hall entitled “Taxes and Morals,” Mark Twain lambasted plutocrats who advertised their piety while lying about their incomes. “I know all those people,” Twain noted. “I have friendly, social, and criminal relations with the whole lot of them.” He said that word—criminal—knowing that many of these folks were seated in the gallery before him. Twain had this to say about the patriotism of his day: “The Patriot did not know just how or when or where he got his opinions, neither did he care, so long as he was with what seemed the majority—which was the main thing, the safe thing, the comfortable thing.” It’s this quality of avoiding danger, of seeking the safety of consensus, that characterizes the aesthetic of Stewart and Colbert. They’re adept at savaging the safe targets—vacuous talking heads and craven senators. But you will never hear them referring to our soldiers as “uniformed assassins,” as Twain did in describing an American attack on a tribal group in the Philippines.

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11 users have voted.

"If I should ever die, God forbid, let this be my epitaph:

THE ONLY PROOF HE NEEDED
FOR THE EXISTENCE OF GOD
WAS MUSIC"

- Kurt Vonnegut

Anja Geitz's picture

@Mark from Queens

The show later sent two correspondents down to Zuccotti Park. One highlighted the various “weirdos” on display. The other played up the alleged class divisions within those occupying the park. Both segments trivialized the movement by playing to right-wing stereotypes of protestors as self-indulgent neo-hippies..

And I was very ticked off at Jon for framing the segment that way. Great article. In fact after 2016, I stopped watching "comedy" late night shows entirely. Same for NPR's "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me" when I started hearing them parrot the same neo liberal garbage everyone else did. My life now in many respects does not resemble what it did before the 2016 election.

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10 users have voted.

If we surrendered to earth's intelligence we could rise up rooted, like trees
~ Rainer Maria Rilke

mimi's picture

@Mark from Queens
on stage during their "Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear" on October 2010. It was a matching response to Glenn Beck's Restoring Honor rally which took place a couple of weeks earlier at the Lincoln Memorial. I remember that Sarah Palin also was speaking in support of the Glenn Beck's stunt.

There was nothing funny, critical, satirical or hard hitting about Colbert or Stewart. Really boring. Our producer and camera team found it boring to cover for the German News TV.

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9 users have voted.

@Mark from Queens There were a lot of clips that showed where in particular Stewart mocked basically left activism. In this way he was particularly conservative. For example, I saw his first clip on the teacher's strike in WI and it was comparing Walker vs. protesters, and it made protesters look goofy and Walker the serious adult. But I have to say, this changed to pro-teacher--my theory is his mother who was a teacher must have given him hell.

He mocked Code Pink for their protests as violating decorum. Benjamin later called him a slacktivist. He really attacked Assange for being a narcissist who published shit we alread knew. Tell that to Chelsea Manning.

He said that the left should not call Bush a war criminal was another one.

While he cut Fox to pieces, he had what seem a antipathy toward leftist movements and activists. I wonder if he learned his lesson when he tried to contact members of Congress over aid to the 9-11 first responders. They just totally blew him off--I hope he realized that maybe there was a point to Code Pink who like him, could not even get access to air their grievances.

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2 users have voted.
dystopian's picture

@Anja Geitz I always thought that was why Jon gave up. My guess is he was told he wasn't going to be able to say things about Hillary. He saw the handwriting on the wall and walked.

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8 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

@dystopian

to Jon Stewart. I always wondered if he went along with certain messages to get along and then reached a point at which it was no longer palatable for him.

Also @Mark - thank you for linking to that Steve Almond piece. I hadn't seen it before and I really enjoy his writing. (Steve Almond wrote an excellent book called Against Football that I highly recommend.)

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8 users have voted.
Mark from Queens's picture

@Le Frog
Great writer.

And there he is on another subject that I'm passion about and for which he's seemed to have reached a similar conclusion.

Thanks again!

The Baffler has produced so many good pieces, and featured so many great writers. Was reminded of that when I picked up a used book called "Boob Jubilee: The Cultural Politics of the New Economy" which also had on top of the book title on its cover, "Salvos from The Baffler." Of course Thomas Frank is at the heart of it (he founded it I think), and the introduction is written by none other than Studs Terkel. It was written in 2003 and it just shreds the whole budding Neoliberal society by mocking this new mendacious corporate-worship, consumerism on steroids through marketing & branding experts, and its adherents living detached from the people they're supposed to be serving.

Speaking of Frank, his latest book "Rendezvous with Oblivion: Reports from a Sinking Society" really captures the current moment pretty well.

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4 users have voted.

"If I should ever die, God forbid, let this be my epitaph:

THE ONLY PROOF HE NEEDED
FOR THE EXISTENCE OF GOD
WAS MUSIC"

- Kurt Vonnegut

joe shikspack's picture

@MrWebster

heh, colbert has a problem. his audience contains an element that is much further left than he is. people liked him just fine when he was making fun of bill o'reilly and dubya, but a lot of his audience is not down with endless wars - hence the negative comments.

on the other hand, a lot of his audience is probably mainstream dems of the sort that were with "her" and still are. that probably accounts for the likes.

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10 users have voted.
QMS's picture

has been given the green light to portray it as an individual here and there skipping school. No reporting on the tens of millions protesters. The importance of their combined numbers. The truth of their concerns. Their being fed-up with bureaucratic inaction. Just a bunch of personality pieces to gloss over the earthquake these young concerned citizens are bringing to awareness. Shhh, maybe the adults won't notice if we feed them sex and violence instead.

Sheesh

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15 users have voted.

Listen to your higher mind.

@QMS

...the metro New York City area are getting significant press on this, as of the past few weeks...and even tonight!

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11 users have voted.

"Freedom is something that dies unless it's used." --Hunter S. Thompson

QMS's picture

@bobswern
media is still unwilling to do the math. So a million or two strikers is not newsworthy?

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10 users have voted.

Listen to your higher mind.

@QMS

“In Germany now, children are protesting for climate protection. That is a really important issue,” she said. “But you can't imagine that all German children, after years, and without any outside influence, suddenly hit on the idea that they have to take part in this process.”

https://www.politico.eu/article/angela-merkel-climate-protests-russia-qu...

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16 users have voted.
QMS's picture

@MrWebster
These kids, whose future is in doubt, could probably hit on the idea that you are not helping. And so need to do something. Without Russia's help.

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13 users have voted.

Listen to your higher mind.

Anja Geitz's picture

@MrWebster

Talk about swirling down the toilet bowl of "political gamesmanship". Now even children's motives are fair game?

Geez, Angela, it couldn't possibly be that they are worried about crop sustainability and potable water supplies that might compel them "all of a sudden" to become activists for THEIR OWN SURVIVAL!?!

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11 users have voted.

If we surrendered to earth's intelligence we could rise up rooted, like trees
~ Rainer Maria Rilke

dystopian's picture

@MrWebster It just could not be that Merkel and her mates' decades of inaction has finally hit critical mass? So they thought it would never get to this? People saying they have had enough? It must be the Russians if you don't like our neo-lib policies? This virus is all over the place now!

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7 users have voted.

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

joe shikspack's picture

@MrWebster

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5 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture

@QMS

well, we have known for a while that the revolution will not be televised.

real climate change activism is undoubtedly too scary (to you know who) to get serious positive coverage.

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6 users have voted.
janis b's picture

the terrorist attack on Muslims at prayer in two Mosques yesterday in New Zealand. 49 dead, others injured. Murderer is an Australian national in police custody.

The entire country is in a state of shock and profound sadness, and disbelief that something so horrific could happen in our beautiful country.

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13 users have voted.
QMS's picture

@janis b
our sympathies are with you. Yes, we are being saturated with the media's latest convenient distraction to drown out the sympathetic, radical, socially uplifting voices. Another horror visited upon us by intolerance. This is not the way to encourage social cohesion. We know better than what's broadcast.

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12 users have voted.

Listen to your higher mind.

janis b's picture

@QMS

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7 users have voted.
QMS's picture

@janis b
Understand the depth of the media figure's sorrow. Yet, he defends the media's stalwart effort to fight selective intolerance. That part did not ring true to me. Media feeds on fear, intolerance and the whole shock and awe aspect. The media is feeding us a narrative that thrives on skewing issues that create disharmony. It is in the establishment's favour to pit us against each other, rather than focus on the issue of (fascist) government.
Again, sorry an Aussie white racist supremacist wrecked havoc on the NZ psyche. It is odd the intelligence agencies do not seem to prevent maniacs of this stripe to the degree we are protected against the Muslim threat.

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7 users have voted.

Listen to your higher mind.

snoopydawg's picture

@janis b

People who are upset that their countries are being flooded with Muslim immigrants should be taking their anger out on their leaders for destroying those Muslims countries causing them to have to migrate in the first place.

Our country has taken up that violent sword and many of the military members consider themselves Christian and yet they see nothing wrong with invading Muslim countries. If people want to know which religion has killed more people than Muslim they need to look in their mirrors. But as usual, people always think it's those "others" who don't deserve to live in peace. I really don't like hypocrites. Or people who are so blind they won't see themselves in things that are violent.

I'm sorry that this violence has visited your country, Janis.

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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

janis b's picture

@snoopydawg

While America should be giving reparations for all they've destroyed, they continue to make it worse.

While no country is perfect, the terrible sense of a loss of innocence is very painful. I do trust though that this tragedy will be assimilated and built on in a good way here, mostly.

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7 users have voted.
Mark from Queens's picture

@janis b

No, "our thoughts and prayers are with you," nor "it's not the time for..."

No, she said, right now is the time for our gun laws to change.

Horrifying, Janis. Haven't gotten the whole story yet. Obviously a hate crime against Muslims. Can you tell us in a nutshell what happened?

Australia passed serious gun control after their last gun massacre in the 90's, and there hasn't been one since, I think. Is it different in NZ?

So sick of mass murders and gun culture. Especially he-man, rugged Individualist wannabe's who fetishize the 2nd Amendment as being the highest enshrinement of "free-dumb," instead of being the very real freedom they might experience without the strangehold of insurance companies administering their healthcare or their taxes getting lowered taxing the rich more, etc.

Hey Joe, and Blues Brothers and Sisters. More guitars, less guns.

Even Southern Rock icons Lynyrd Skynyrd knew that we should "dump 'em all to the bottom of the sea."

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11 users have voted.

"If I should ever die, God forbid, let this be my epitaph:

THE ONLY PROOF HE NEEDED
FOR THE EXISTENCE OF GOD
WAS MUSIC"

- Kurt Vonnegut

Azazello's picture

@Mark from Queens
That's what Obama would always say, after every mass shooting, despite the obvious, irrefutable evidence that this is who we are.

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9 users have voted.
janis b's picture

@Azazello

the vast majority of NZers, including much of it's government are not them, who you reference.

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7 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture

@janis b

and that's what i like about new zealand and makes me want to emigrate there.

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6 users have voted.
Azazello's picture

@janis b

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6 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture

@Azazello

at this happening and saying shit that makes them look like the hypocrites they are. Their tweets aren't going over well.

"You said it was worth killing 500,000 kids, Madeline so just stfu" was one I read. Then there's Pompeo saying things about the starving Venezuelans after he went after congress for trying to end the Yemen war where millions are starving.

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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

@Mark from Queens

More guitars, less guns.

right on! and also, more equality, less dog-eat-dog.

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6 users have voted.
janis b's picture

@Mark from Queens

In a nutshell, from what I understand -

An Australian national while in NZ for training realised that NZ was an opportune target. It has a significant Muslim population and fairly lax security. The government is facing many valid questions from the media. I believe it is committed to uncovering the how and why, and addressing well what needs to change in the future. It's a viscerally painful time for so many in the country, especially those in ChCh who have already suffered from the trauma of the earthquake 8 years ago. It requires both sensitivity and boldness of government, which I think they possess, mostly.

There’s lots of coverage, as you can imagine. I have read or listened to little today, not having the room for much external information. Bradbury, and the Kiwi Blog always has an interesting perspective ... https://thedailyblog.co.nz/2019/03/16/jacinda-finally-goes-beyond-though...

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5 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture

@janis b

my condolences. i'm so sorry to see something like this happen anywhere, but especially so in a place that seemed to be so sane and decent.

i hope that your country comes through this with a greater solidarity among its diverse peoples and your civil rights intact.

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8 users have voted.
janis b's picture

@joe shikspack

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4 users have voted.
mimi's picture

@janis b
masterminded by outside forces just because your country is known to be so beautiful and beautifully social(istic) even with a female PM ? Can't get over the notion that it was an Australian supremacist, who led the attack.

Democracy Now!
Published on Mar 15, 2019
In New Zealand, a white right-wing extremist killed 49 people in an attack on two mosques in the city of Christchurch during Friday prayers. It is the deadliest shooting in New Zealand’s history. Police have arrested and charged a 28-year-old Australian man named Brenton Tarrant with the attack. The gunman live-streamed the attack and published a manifesto in which he praised President Donald Trump as “a symbol of renewed white identity and common purpose.” We speak with human rights activist and lawyer Qasim Rashid, who recently launched a campaign to run for a seat in the Virginia state Senate. And we speak with Farid Hafez, a lecturer and researcher at the University of Salzburg, senior research fellow at The Bridge Initiative at Georgetown University and expert on Islamophobia.

To me it looks like 'some folks' don't like your country to be so fair and social to say it modestly and thought 'we'll show them' what we can do to nice social countries.

I guess I am just so nihilistic these days that those thoughts were the first I had when seeing the headlines about it. Of course it is just my own gut's conspiracy feelings.

Here is Aljazera's ore factual coverage.
New Zealand mosque attacks: What we know so far
and this about the reactions worldwide to the attack:
The world reacts to New Zealand mosque attacks.
Then compare those worldwide remarks with the lame words in Trump's tweets.

Oh well, I am so sorry that you have to face all this like the rest of the world. I sometimes dreamed to emigrate to New Zealand. Hugs.

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6 users have voted.
janis b's picture

@mimi

I will follow your links when I feel stronger. Love to you, and I hope you will visit one day.

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4 users have voted.

@janis b I'm sorry this got on ya way down there. Christchurch is the jumping off point to get to McMurdo Station in Antarctica. At the end of my gf's third season she got a bonus from Raytheon which included two weeks car camping on the "north island" whatever that means... I forget is NZ two islands? Yeah anyway, she had such a great time and brought back such great memories, I always dream NZ is a different world full of kind people who take care of each other. I'll never forget picking seeds off her tennis shoes at SFO because you guys would impound and destroy them if one invasive seed got stuck. good on you

People are not grass. Words have power, twitter and trump must go, spread the love.

hands up
dont shoot
PEACE

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2 users have voted.
janis b's picture

@eyo

in a day.

Thanks eyo.

You're gf must have enjoyed the warmth and beauty of the North Island.

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2 users have voted.
mimi's picture

just a little hard hat, a yellow vest and a piano ... is all you need.
Have a good night, all.

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6 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture

@mimi

oh my goodness, i can't count the times that i've asked myself that question.

let's see. hard hat - check. hi-vis safety vest - check. piano chops - oops! Smile

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5 users have voted.
mimi's picture

@joe shikspack
just after waking up and being so put off by all the news headlines that I simply didn't want to say anything and get you distracted by something more silly.

I think you are in the right business. Smile

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3 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture

Misguided Spying and the New Zealand Massacre

Now that the bodies of 49 innocent human beings are lying in a Christchurch, New Zealand, morgue — gunned down by a heavily armed terrorist — New Zealand media are asking the obvious questions: why didn’t our intelligence agencies know there were xenophobic, murderous, white supremacists on the loose in Christchurch?

“Questions are being asked of the nation’s security services in the wake of a mass shooting described as ‘one of New Zealand’s darkest days,” Stuff.co.nz reports and quotes a University of Waikato professor of international law, Alexander Gillespie, as saying: ‘If it’s a cell we need to ask why weren’t they detected, because that’s why we have security services and it may be that those services have been looking under the wrong rocks.’ ”

According to the same article, in response to the terrorist attack, “A crisis meeting of national security agencies was held at Police National Headquarters in Wellington after the shooting.“

In the NZ Herald, veteran intelligence reporter David Fisher asked many pertinent questions in an opinion piece titled “Christchurch massacre – what did we miss and who missed it?”
“We need answers,” says Fisher. “The NZSIS [New Zealand’s equivalent of the FBI] – and its electronic counterpart, the Government Communications Security Bureau – have more funding than ever, and almost double the staff numbers they had six years ago. They also now have the most powerful legislation they have ever had.”

We know thanks to the findings of an inquiry by the State Services Commission last December that as many as a dozen government agencies, including the NZ Police, were too busy squandering their resources spying on NGOs such as GreenpeaceNZ; political parties such as the New Zealand Green Party and then-Internet Party aligned Mana Movement, as well as on anti-TPP protesters and activists such as myself.
....
Holding to Account

Agencies that for too long have been blurring thedistinction between what is and isn’t terrorism, must now be held to account.

I was spied on for my independent journalism and my legal, pro-democratic activism. Despite having no history of violence, no access to weapons, no weapons training and no extremist ideological beliefs.

Internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom, founder of the Internet Party of New Zealand, of which I am party president, was spied on by both the New Zealand and United States governments for as little as a suspected civil violation, alleged copyright infringement.

People are rightfully disgusted that the attack was shown live. I'm equally disgusted that shock and awe was also shown live. Hillary is offering thoughts and prayers to the Muslim victims of the attack and is being reminded that she has the blood of millions on her hands and to take her prayers and shove them.

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15 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

yep, whenever left to their own devices, it seems that "security" services tend to focus on suppressing left movements and ignoring the violence of right-wing movements.

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4 users have voted.
janis b's picture

@joe shikspack

that they are facing, and take responsibility for their more unfortunate policies, like spying on the wrong people.

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4 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture

@janis b

one of the great failings of pretty much every government that i can think of is that the justice departments and security services that they operate have far too little independent civilian oversight, review or meaningful transparency.

i'd love to see nz get it right.

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3 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture

@janis b

been spying on. Starts off with "remember when people were afraid of the Muslim kiwis?" That is such a great point. Too often it's some white person who has done the mass killings.

Recently read about how once again the FBI arrested a group of people who were going to do some terrorism except that there is no chance that they would have done it if they hadn't been given everything they needed by the FBI. Even the judge said that just before he sentenced them to prison. One person was mentally challenged. Any time this happens it should be the FBI agent that does the time.

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6 users have voted.

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

janis b's picture

@snoopydawg

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3 users have voted.
Mark from Queens's picture

@snoopydawg @snoopydawg
And I would expand that theory to illuminate how the FBI and the IRS operate also.

The former is in business almost solely to harass, intimidate, arrest, entrap and murder if necessary those involved with LW movements, instead of prosecuting the Economic Terrorists of Wall St and corrupt elected officials.

The latter seems to be able to harness manpower and resources to track down working Joes for a few thousand $ here and there, but not to hire the proper batteries of accountants to look into the rash of offshore tax havens, corporate malfeasance, etc responsible for wrecking the world’s economy.

Which is all to say that we’ve been had, and Anarchic Socialism is the only way out. All systems in their current form are corrupt beyond saving.

There’s a reckoning coming. It’s all unraveling now...

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7 users have voted.

"If I should ever die, God forbid, let this be my epitaph:

THE ONLY PROOF HE NEEDED
FOR THE EXISTENCE OF GOD
WAS MUSIC"

- Kurt Vonnegut

dystopian's picture

Son Seals is great, love that Chicago sound... Great tone on that guitar.

So airplanes are too complicated AND we're gonna have a space force? Fn awesome man!

The whole Venezuela thing is disgusting top to bottom, every aspect of our involvement is like Hillary running an election. Clusterf!*()&^#^%!

Same for the crap we are pulling with N. Korea, the Spain kidnapping and hardware theft is beyond the pale.

Are we sending our best foreign policy?

Beto blows! He is Bait-o, for the bluenomatterwhos.

What Bolsanaro is doing to the Amazon in Brazil is criminal.

Have a great weekend!

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9 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

QMS's picture

@dystopian
The authorities of most of the countries occupied by US military forces have spontaneously decreed that happiness is now a punishable offense. It appears the holes in the empire playbook are so embarrassing, that if fear, poverty, starvation and bigger bombs find people yet displaying some form of happiness, it is to be considered terrorism or religious fanaticism. And must be dealt with harshly.

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4 users have voted.

Listen to your higher mind.

joe shikspack's picture

@dystopian

Are we sending our best foreign policy?

we have only one foreign policy:

Beto blows! He is Bait-o, for the bluenomatterwhos.

he's the texan obama.

have a great weekend!

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3 users have voted.
detroitmechworks's picture

Half a million hits, seeing a new counselor, and things are generally going good. Six more weeks till I resume Judo and general art. Teeth get fixed in two, so even better!

While the news is its usual depressing self, I took the opportunity to write character studies, and dammit, it feels good to exorcise some of those demons. Nothing more fun for me then going over the page until it turns into something worth reading.

One of the things I'm finally learning is the value of patience with regards to art. I always wanted to FINISH in the past. Then I grew up, and realized that the ending is often the saddest part, because I don't want to end the project.

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6 users have voted.

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

joe shikspack's picture

@detroitmechworks

glad that things are looking up!

heh, for me art has always been all about patience since my abilities take a lot more time to develop than my ambitions for them.

have a great weekend!

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5 users have voted.
Unabashed Liberal's picture

had planned to post a couple Medicare graphics, but, prefer to wait until I get by earlier (next week).

Not sure if I saw it here, but, followed a link to JPR, and, saw a post that I just have to comment on. (BTW, I've never frequented the place, due to what I perceive to be censorship going on, over there.)

Anyhoo, below's a Reality Check, which I plan to start doing, regularly.

Getting tired of seeing so much misinformation/disinformation, and what basically amounts to 'old wives tales' or 'urban legends'--verging on flat-out CT--floating around!

Biggrin

Okay, here's the post,

REALITY CHECK

Speaking of which. Has anyone noticed how corrupt MSM has become. Overall, I would say, that FAUX, and ONAN represent the GOP, and CNN and MSNBC, represent the dems. Most would agree. Right?

But I have been noticing all the “Ex” GOP idiots listed below, are getting jobs/spots at MSNBC and CNN, etc. Ever wonder why? Do ya think they are there to support the dems? That’s funny. I wonder about it all the time, and then shit like this video come out. Are they strategically placed? WTF is going on here. Good listen ahead.

Need names? Try these on for size. Rick Santorum, Michael Steele, Nicolle Wallace, Billy Crystal, Joe Scarborough, Kellyanne Conway, Donny Deutsch, Steve Schmidt….

Sure seems rigged to me?

I get “the free press”, and freedom of speech. However, the word “DECEPTION” has now entered the picture as a new norm for freedom of speech..

Beware of potential liars and bullshitters.

Seriously?

Have no clue where this poster is coming from, but, that last sentence could apply to him/her--unless, he's/she's truly clueless.

My point being - of the '8' individuals that he named, '6' are Never-Trumpers, which he/she should have picked up on, if he/she bothered to listen to them.

I'm assuming that 'Billy Crystal' is 'Bill Kristol.' And, even Wikipedia notes Kristol's intense dislike of/comtempt for DT.

Bill Kristol (Wikipedia)

Opposition to Donald Trump

Kristol vehemently opposed the nomination of Donald Trump as the Republican candidate for President in 2016. He has continued to express alarm at Trump's nativist domestic and foreign policy aims, and dismay at conservative Republicans who have accommodated themselves to the Trump administration.[35][36]

In January 2019, Kristol criticized President Donald Trump's planned withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria and Afghanistan.[37]

The two exceptions are Former Senator Rick Santorum, and, of course, Kellyanne Conway.

It would definitely be fair to say that their commentary is generally favorable, to very favorable--especially, Conway's. OTOH, Santorum occasionally criticizes DT's actions and/or policies. (as anyone should, for cryin' out loud)

Since my time will continue to be pretty limited for a while longer, think I'll stick mostly to fact-checking, and Tweeting it out. That, and posting my calendar 'words' and/or 'holidays,' since it's not labor intensive. (Plus, I've always loved vocabulary--even as a young child. Wink )

Hey, hope Everyone's enjoying nice weather, like ours.

Have a good and safe weekend!

[Edited: Added- REALITY CHECK; Moynihan quote]

PleasantryByeMollie

I think dogs are the most amazing creatures; they give unconditional love. For me they are the role model for being alive.
~~Gilda Radner, Comedienne

You are entitled to your opinion. But you are not entitled to your own facts.
~~Daniel Patrick Moynihan

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5 users have voted.

Everyone thinks they have the best dog, and none of them are wrong.

joe shikspack's picture

@Unabashed Liberal

wow, so that's what passes for media criticism these days? ouch!

heh, it hit 75 degrees (and sunny with a light breeze) here today. i'll take it!

i hope the weather is as good where you are. have a great weekend!

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3 users have voted.
Unabashed Liberal's picture

@joe shikspack

more Spring-like than our temps, today. (Although, think it may have reached 71, yesterday. Probably, the warmest temp this year.)

Hey, with my 'thick blood' (if that's what it is), I'll gladly take temps in the fifties, with lots of sunshine! That's truly what I consider 'perfect' weather.

(And, yes--I know that's odd. Biggrin )

It's probably also 'why' I loved Alaska, so much.

Mollie

I think dogs are the most amazing creatures; they give unconditional love. For me they are the role model for being alive.
~~Gilda Radner, Comedienne

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3 users have voted.

Everyone thinks they have the best dog, and none of them are wrong.