The Evening Blues - 4-19-19



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The day's news roundup + tonight's musical feature: Freddie King


Hey! Good Evening!

This evening's music features blues guitarist Freddie King. Enjoy!

Freddie King - The Things That I Used To Do!

“In reading The History of Nations, we find that, like individuals, they have their whims and their peculiarities, their seasons of excitement and recklessness, when they care not what they do. We find that whole communities suddenly fix their minds upon one object and go mad in its pursuit; that millions of people become simultaneously impressed with one delusion, and run after it, till their attention is caught by some new folly more captivating than the first.”

-- Charles MacKay


News and Opinion

Absolutely worth a full read. There are extensive supporting quotes from Mueller's report that eviscerate the MSDNC/Democrat conspiracy theorists.

Robert Mueller Did Not Merely Reject the Trump-Russia Conspiracy Theories. He Obliterated Them.

The two-pronged conspiracy theory that has dominated U.S. political discourse for almost three years – that (1) Trump, his family and his campaign conspired or coordinated with Russia to interfere in the 2016 election, and (2) Trump is beholden to Russian President Vladimir Putin — was not merely rejected today by the final report of Special Counsel Robert Mueller. It was obliterated: in an undeniable and definitive manner. The key fact is this: Mueller – contrary to weeks of false media claims – did not merely issue a narrow, cramped, legalistic finding that there was insufficient evidence to indict Trump associates for conspiring with Russia and then proving their guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. That would have been devastating enough to those who spent the last two years or more misleading people to believe that conspiracy convictions of Trump’s closest aides and family members were inevitable. But his mandate was much broader than that: to state what did or did not happen.

That’s precisely what he did: Mueller, in addition to concluding that evidence was insufficient to charge any American with crimes relating to Russian election interference, also stated emphatically in numerous instances that there was no evidence – not merely that there was insufficient evidence to obtain a criminal conviction – that key prongs of this three-year-old conspiracy theory actually happened. As Mueller himself put it: “in some instances, the report points out the absence of evidence or conflicts in the evidence about a particular fact or event.” With regard to Facebook ads and Twitter posts from the Russia-based Internet Research Agency, for example, Mueller could not have been more blunt: “The investigation did not identify evidence that any U.S. persons knowingly or intentionally coordinated with the IRA’s interference operation” (emphasis added). Note that this exoneration includes not only Trump campaign officials but all Americans.

To get a further sense for how definitive the Report’s rejection is of the key elements of the alleged conspiracy theory, consider Mueller’s discussion of efforts by George Papadopoulos, Joseph Misfud and and “two Russian nationals” whereby they tried “to arrange a meeting between the Campaign and Russian officials” to talk about how the two sides could work together to disseminate information about Hillary Clinton. As Mueller puts it: “No meeting took place.”

Several of the media’s most breathless and hyped “bombshells” were dismissed completely by Mueller. Regarding various Trump officials’ 2016 meetings with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, Mueller said they were “brief, public and nonsubstantive.” Concerning the much-hyped change to GOP platform regarding Ukraine, Mueller wrote that the “evidence does not establish that one campaign official’s efforts to dilute a portion of the Republican platform was undertaken at the behest of candidate Trump or Russia,” and further noted that such a change was consistent with Trump’s publicly stated foreign policy view (one shared by Obama) to avoid provoking gratuitous conflict with the Kremlin over arming Ukrainians. Mueller also characterized a widely hyped “meeting” between then-Senator Jeff Sessions and Kislyak as one that did not “include any more than a passing mention of the presidential campaign.” ...

In sum, Democrats and their supporters had the exact prosecutor they all agreed was the embodiment of competence and integrity in Robert Mueller. He assembled a team of prosecutors and investigators that countless media accounts heralded as the most aggressive and adept in the nation. They had subpoena power, the vast surveillance apparatus of the U.S. government at their disposal, a demonstrated willingness to imprison anyone who lied to them, and unlimited time and resources to dig up everything they could. The result of all of that was that not a single American – whether with the Trump campaign or otherwise – was charged or indicted on the core question of whether there was any conspiracy or coordination with Russia over the election. No Americans were charged or even accused of being controlled by or working at the behest of the Russian government. None of the key White House aides at the center of the controversy who testified for hours and hours – including Donald Trump, Jr. or Jared Kushner – were charged with any crimes of any kind, not even perjury, obstruction of justice or lying to Congress.

The Mueller Report: Glenn Greenwald vs. David Cay Johnston on Trump-Russia Ties, Obstruction & More

Mueller report: press secretary Sarah Sanders admitted to lying to reporters

After Trump fired James Comey, the White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders repeatedly claimed in live press briefings that the rank and file of the FBI had lost confidence in the FBI director, and that “we’ve heard from countless members of the FBI” who did not support him. Those statements had no basis in fact, Sanders later admitted in interviews with special counsel Robert Mueller’s office.

The redacted version of the special counsel’s report released on Thursday included multiple examples of Trump’s current and former press secretaries making false claims to journalists, particularly in the days after Comey’s firing.

Sanders, the current White House press secretary, told the special counsel’s office that a statement she had made to journalists about the Comey’s lack of support within the FBI “was not founded on anything”. Sanders’ claim on 10 May 2017, the day after Comey was fired, that “countless members of the FBI” opposed Comey was “a slip of the tongue”, Sanders told the special counsel’s office in an interview last year.

Sanders repeated that “slip of the tongue” during a press briefing the following day, when skeptical White House reporters questioned her on her claim that Comey did not have support within the FBI’s rank and file.

Mueller Report Drops! Aaron Maté Explains

US Slides Down Annual Press Freedom Ranking, With Watchdog Calling Nation 'Problematic' for Reporters' Rights

An annual accounting of press freedoms around the world describes an "intense climate of fear" in which reporters are being forced to work, calling out world leaders like U.S. President Donald Trump and Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro for their attacks on the media.

Trump's repeated statements that journalists are "the enemy of the people" and his threats to roll back their right to report political news have been a contributing factor in the United States' descent to 48th place in the Press Freedom Index, which was released Thursday by Reporters Without Borders or Reporters Sans Frontières (RSF).

The U.S. slid down the list three places and is now categorized as a "problematic" country for journalists' rights, according to RSF.

"The violent anti-press rhetoric from the highest level of the U.S. government has been coupled with an increase in the number of press freedom violations at the local level as journalists run the risk of arrest for covering protests or simply attempting to ask public officials questions," RSF reported.

The country is behind Slovakia, where an investigative journalist was murdered in 2018 after reporting on the Calabrian mafia's connections in the government; Botswana; and Romania.

Worth a full read:

The ‘Guccifer 2.0’ Gaps in Mueller’s Full Report

As official Washington pores over the Gospel According to Saint Robert, an all-important fact about the Mueller report has gotten lost in the shuffle. Just as the Christian gospels were filled with holes, the latest version is too – particularly with regard to WikiLeaks and Julian Assange. ...

The official story that the GRU is the source doesn’t hold water, as a timeline from mid-2016 shows. Here are the key events based on the GRU indictment and the Mueller report:

  • June 12: Assange tells Britain’s ITV that another round of Democratic Party disclosures is on the way: “We have upcoming leaks in relation to Hillary Clinton, which is great. WikiLeaks is having a very big year.”
  • June 14: The Democratic National Committee accuses Russia of hacking its computers.
  • June 15: Guccifer 2.0 claims credit for the hack. “The main part of the papers, thousands of files and mails, I gave to WikiLeaks ,” he brags. “They will publish them soon.”
  • June 22: WikiLeaks tells Guccifer via email: “Send any new material here for us to review and it will have a much higher impact than what you are doing.”
  • July 6: WikiLeaks sends Guccifer another email: “if you have anything hillary related we want it in the next tweo [sic] days prefable [sic] because the DNC [Democratic National Convention] is approaching and she will solidify bernie supporters behind her after.”Replies Guccifer: “ok . . . i see”
  • July 14: Guccifer sends WikiLeaks an encrypted file titled “wk dnc link1.txt.gpg.”
  • July 18: WikiLeaks confirms it has opened “the 1Gb or so archive” and will release documents “this week.”
  • July 22: WikiLeaks releases more than 20,000 DNC emails and 8,000 other attachments.

According to Mueller and obsequious news outlets like the Times, the sequence is clear: Guccifer sends archive, WikiLeaks receives archive, WikiLeaks accesses archive, WikiLeaks publishes archive. Donald Trump may not have colluded with Russia, but Julian Assange plainly did. [Attorney General Will Barr, significantly calling WikiLeaks a publisher, said at his Thursday press conference: “Under applicable law, publication of these types of materials would not be criminal unless the publisher also participated in the underlying hacking conspiracy]

The narrative raises questions that the press studiously avoids. Why, for instance, would Assange announce on June 12 that a big disclosure is on the way before hearing from the supposed source? Was there a prior communication that Mueller has not disclosed? What about the reference to “new material” on June 22 – does that mean Assange already had other material in hand? After opening the Guccifer file on July 18, why would he publish it just four days later? Would that give WikiLeaks enough time to review some 28,000 documents to insure they’re genuine? “If a single one of those emails had been shown to be maliciously altered,” blogger Mark F. McCarty observes, “Wikileaks’ reputation would have been in tatters.” There’s also the question that an investigator known as Adam Carter poses in Disobedient Media: why would Guccifer brag about giving WikiLeaks“thousands of files” that he wouldn’t send for another month? ...

So four days was indeed too short a time to subject the Guccifer file to proper vetting. Of course, Mueller no doubt regards this as more “dissembling,” as his report describes it. Yet WikiLeaks has never been caught in a lie for the simple reason that honesty and credibility are all-important for a group that promises to protect anonymous leakers who supply it with official secrets. ... Mueller, by contrast, has a rich history of mendacity going back to his days as FBI director when he sought to cover up the Saudi role in 9/11 and assured Congress on the eve of the 2003 invasion that Iraqi weapons of mass destruction pose “a clear threat to our national security.”

Worth a full read:

Behind the Omar Outrage: Suppressed History of 9/11

As Donald Trump sharpens his re-election messaging, he has sought to make a foil out of freshman Democrat Rep. Ilhan Omar, homing in on her identity as a black Muslim immigrant and her brazen defiance of what was once a bipartisan pro-Israel consensus. Trump’s most recent attack was the most inflammatory to date, implying through a characteristically dishonest Twitter video that Omar had played some role in the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Trump was referencing comments Omar made this month during a banquet of the Los Angeles chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR): “CAIR was founded after 9/11, because they recognized that some people did something and that all of us were starting to lose access to our civil liberties,” Omar said during a 20-minute-long denunciation of public bullying and violent attacks against Muslims living in the West. (CAIR was founded in 1994, contrary to Omar’s claim).

As innocuous as Omar’s comments might have seemed, they were easily spun by a right-wing bigot-sphere seeking to portray her as not merely insensitive to the deep wound Americans suffered on 9/11, but as a possible terror-sympathizer. ... In Washington, 9/11 is understood as an act of inexplicable evil that materialized out of a clear blue sky. “They hate us because we’re free,” Americans are still told in a semi-official drone, conveniently excising the attacks that took place on 9/11 from their historical context. This ruthlessly enforced interpretation has had the effect of displacing blame from those who bear direct or indirect responsibility for the attacks onto much more convenient scapegoats like the Islamic faith and its diverse mass of adherents.

In my new book, The Management of Savagery,” I explain which people did what things to lay the groundwork for the worst terror attack on U.S. soil. Not all of those people were Muslim, and few have faced the kind of scrutiny Omar has for her seemingly benign comment about 9/11. As I illustrate, many of them maintained lustrous reputations well after the ash was cleared from Ground Zero. Today, some of their names – Zbigniew Brzezinski, Ronald Reagan, H.W. Bush – are prominently engraved on airports, federal offices, and library halls around the country. Others became the subject of rowdy bestsellers such as “Charlie Wilson’s War,” or saw their exploits dramatized in Cold War kitsch productions like “Rambo III.” And then there were those who waged America’s dirty wars from the shadows, and whose names will scarcely ever be known.

While these figures lay claim to the mantle of “national security,” their true legacy was the callous abandonment of that concept in order to advance imperial objectives. During the Cold War, they forged partnerships with theocratic monarchies and armed Islamist militants, even distributing jihadist textbooks to children in the name of defeating the Soviet scourge. Today, as Rep. Tulsi Gabbard – the lone foreign policy dissenter within the Democratic presidential field – pointed out, they are doing it all over again through their protection of the world’s largest Al Qaeda franchise in Syria’s Idlib province, which came into being thanks in large part to U.S. intervention in the country.

To effectively puncture Trump’s demagogic ploys, the discussion of 9/11 must move beyond a superficial defense of Omar and into an exploration of a critical history that has been suppressed. This history begins at least 20 years before the attacks occurred, when “some people did something.” Many of those people served at the highest levels of U.S. government, and the things they did led to the establishment of Al Qaeda as an international network – and ultimately, to 9/11 itself.

The National Security State - Gore Vidal

Secret IDB Proposal Would Give $48 Billion Infusion to Boost Venezuela’s Economy — But Only After Regime Change

The Inter-American Development Bank is quietly circulating an analysis that foresees an up to $48 billion infusion of capital into the Venezuelan economy should President Nicolás Maduro be removed from office. A pair of confidential documents, both called “Venezuela: Challenges and Opportunities,” outlines a four-year plan to open the country’s beleaguered economy to foreign corporations through privatization, structural reforms, and public-private partnerships. ... Founded in 1959, the IDB offers financing and technical assistance for infrastructure, health, and education projects in Latin America and the Caribbean. The bank is owned by 48 countries: 26 borrowing member countries and 22 nonborrowing member countries. Currently, the five largest shareholders are the U.S., with 30 percent of voting shares; Argentina and Brazil, with 11.2 percent each; Mexico, with 7.2 percent; and Japan, which has 5 percent of voting shares.

The dominant position of the U.S. has raised questions about the bank’s independence. Indeed, U.S. President Donald Trump’s aggressive stance on regime change helped urge IDB officials into pushing the analysis of a post-Maduro Venezuela, a source told The Intercept. The Maduro regime has long claimed that the country’s economic collapse is the result of a capital crunch driven by sanctions and a coordinated financial assault by the United States for the purposes of undermining and overthrowing the socialist government. The emergence of the IDB-led plan will only heighten those suspicions.

The proposal for international largesse could be a boon to an incoming administration. If all went according to plan, the improvements in Venezuelans’ daily lives would allow opposition leader and self-proclaimed interim president Juan Guaidó, or another incoming president, to claim a victory — by benefiting from international assistance that is being denied to the current leadership. Meanwhile, Venezuela would be stripped of its public assets. ... Notably, the IDB documents obtained by The Intercept lay out what the bank calls “priority actions”: eliminating obstacles for private companies, financing international trade, and establishing new legislation to re-privatize government-owned companies.

The proposed infusion of cash laid out in the IDB plan would serve as a carrot to induce foreign governments and business leaders to support the U.S.-led push to overthrow Maduro. The plan calls for $4.5 billion in the first year to repair basic infrastructure, such as electricity, water supply, and transportation. The figures, the bank stresses, do not include “private investments in the oil and energy sectors.” ...

The subsidies and direct support — even on electricity and basic sanitation — in the IDB proposal could help a new government gain popular support and alleviate suffering during a crucial transitional period. But the subsidies and direct support funding would be cut dramatically over the course of four years.

Microsoft Unveils Two Secret Data Centers Built for Classified Government Data

Microsoft unveiled two data centers Wednesday designed exclusively to host the government’s secret classified data. Microsoft’s announcement is part of the company’s plan to compete with Amazon—the only company cleared to host the CIA and Defense Department’s secret and top secret classified data—and comes as both companies compete for a $10 billion military cloud contract called JEDI. ...

Microsoft’s latest moves come as the demand for cloud computing services is at an all-time high, with the Pentagon alone expected to spend $2 billion on cloud in the coming year. ...

The government’s increasing reliance on cloud computing has attracted a bevy of suppliers, pitting longstanding defense contractors like IBM, Oracle and General Dynamics against newcomers like Google and AWS. Microsoft is both a longtime government contractor and a growing commercial cloud provider, and its ubiquitous Office 365 platform has it all but guaranteed to receive a chunk of the Defense Enterprise Office Solutions contract, another multibillion-dollar cloud deal.

Labour MPs to urge Jeremy Corbyn not to 'torpedo' Brexit deal

Jeremy Corbyn is to be urged by a group of Labour MPs not to “torpedo” the prospect of a Brexit deal with Theresa May by insisting on a second referendum. The MPs, including Stephen Kinnock and Gloria De Piero, are set to send the Labour leader a letter early next week setting out their “deep-seated reservations about a second referendum”, which they believe would be “divisive but … not decisive”.

They also express a worry that insisting on a second referendum would cause talks with the government to collapse, arguing that Conservative MPs would never back such an idea.

Labour has committed to keeping a second referendum on the table as an option to stop a “damaging Tory Brexit”, but there are conflicting views at the top of the party about whether to insist on one if Corbyn can secure a deal with the Conservatives.

Keir Starmer, the shadow Brexit secretary, has been at the forefront of making the case for a confirmatory second referendum on any Brexit deal, but others are worried this would lose Labour support in some of its leave-voting heartlands.

Videos appear to show armed militia detaining migrants at US-Mexico border

Armed rightwing militia members detained a large group of migrants at the US-Mexico border and coordinated with US border patrol agents to have them arrested, according to the American Civil Liberties Union, in a series of actions the civil liberties organization called a “kidnapping” and a flagrant violation of the law.

Several videos taken at the border in New Mexico this week appeared to show men belonging to a group that calls itself the United Constitutional Patriots approaching migrant families and children, ordering them to sit down, calling federal agents on them, and at one point potentially misrepresenting themselves by saying “border patrol” as they approached.

“The Trump administration’s vile racism has emboldened white nationalists and fascists to flagrantly violate the law,” the ACLU of New Mexico said in a letter to the state’s governor and attorney general, urging them to “immediately investigate this atrocious and unlawful conduct”.

The ACLU described the group as “an armed fascist militia organization” made up of “vigilantes” working to “kidnap and detain people seeking asylum” and accused the group of directly making illegal arrests.

The group has repeatedly appeared in local news stories in recent weeks, expressing support for Donald Trump’s proposed border wall and presenting themselves as “volunteers” aiding border patrol efforts.

David Dayen on Breaking Up Big Tech and Disrupting DC

Private Health Insurance Stocks 'In Free Fall' as Medicare for All Gains Momentum

With comprehensive Medicare for All legislation now introduced in both chambers of Congress and bolstered by surging grassroots support, health insurance stocks are "crumbling" as investors grow increasingly fearful that single-payer could eventually become a reality.

"Together, the shares of hospitals and insurers lost $28 billion in market value on Tuesday," Bloomberg reported. "The slide in hospital and insurance stocks continued Wednesday, wiping out billions of dollars more in market value from some of the biggest health companies in the U.S."


Blackstone CEO blames gap between rich and poor on income 'insufficiency'

Income “insufficiency”, not inequality, is to blame for the widening gap between rich and poor, private equity titan Steve Schwarzman said on Thursday, becoming the latest billionaire to publicly worry about the issue. The CEO of Blackstone and former Trump adviser outlined what he called a Marshall plan for the middle class on cable channel CNBC – referencing the US initiative that aided the rebuilding of western Europe after the second world war.

Schwarzman’s plan would eliminate taxes for teachers, introduce a higher minimum wage and more technical training for people who don’t go to college.

But Schwarzman, who Forbes estimates to be worth $13.7bn, seemed keen to avoid the term income inequality at a time when inequality, which has been growing markedly for more than 30 years, has become a hot political topic. “I look at this as a systemic problem. This is not anecdotal,” he said. “This is like, half of our society is severely disadvantaged. We can’t allow that to continue, so that means you need policy solutions.”



the horse race



"I’d Vote Bernie" - Says Ann Coulter



the evening greens

Trump policy of less safety and more offshore drilling is 'a recipe for disaster'

Offshore oil and gas drilling in the US is plagued by “systemic failures” in oversight that are being worsened by Trump administration attempts to expand drilling and roll back safety requirements, a new report has warned. The analysis of public documents by the conservation group Oceana found that while some minor improvements have been made since the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster in 2010, a system of lax oversight, paltry fines and overstretched inspectors risks further major oil spills.

This situation is further deteriorating due to the Trump administration opening up almost all US waters to offshore drilling, as well as repealing Obama-era safety rules put in place after the Deepwater Horizon spill, according to the report, released on the eve of the ninth anniversary of the disaster.

“Less safety and more drilling is a recipe for disaster,” said Diane Hoskins, campaign director at Oceana. “We should be implementing safety reforms, not rolling back what we have. Nearly 10 years on from the BP disaster, overarching failures haven’t been remedied.”

The report criticizes the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE), the federal agency that oversees offshore drilling, for relying upon industry-written standards and for regularly granting exemptions to safety rules. Penalties for rule-breaking by drilling companies are capped at little more than $44,000 per violation per day, with just 120 BSEE inspectors tasked with conducting 20,000 inspections in US waters each year. Oceana called this oversight regime “alarming” and demanded a much tougher system of inspections and fines.


'A New Day in New York': City Council Passes Sweeping Climate Bill

The New York City Council passed the world's "largest single carbon reduction effort that any city, anywhere, has ever put forward" on Thursday afternoon, marking a major milestone in the fight against the climate crisis.

The Climate Mobilization Act contains ten provisions for a greener New York. ...

Chief among the bill's provisions were regulations that directly affect city buildings.

The legislation packages together 10 separate bills and resolutions, and calls in its centerpiece bill for a 40 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from city buildings. That level of reduction, and the associated costs of such a move, led real estate interests in New York to oppose the bill, which is known as Intro 1253 in the City Council.

Those efforts were unsuccessful, as the measure passed by a vote of 45-2.

Opponents of the legislation claimed it could have an adverse affect on the city's economy and lead to a drying up of jobs.

But, as HuffPost reported, that doom and gloom future is unlikely:

The new rules would create demand for more than 3,600 construction jobs per year, by one estimate, and another 4,400 jobs in maintenance, services and operations, fueled by the sheer magnitude of the investment required to meet the emissions goals.

According to The New York Times, buildings account for 67 percent of the city's emissions.

We must ensure US public lands stay public, or risk ‘demolition of society’

Who are America’s public lands for? The answer to that question might seem self-evident: the public. The newly confirmed interior secretary, David Bernhardt – officially charged with stewarding them – has a different interpretation. A lawyer and longtime energy lobbyist, he has shuffled between posts on K Street and in the federal government with one goal in mind: handing as much of that land as possible over to corporations, particularly his friends and clients in the oil and gas industry eager to snap up new leases for mining and drilling. ...

A long-dead Hungarian political economist tried to warn us about people like Bernhardt and the interests he represents. For Karl Polanyi, making land (along with labor and money) subject to the whims of the market threatens to throw society out of whack, dubbing them “fictitious commodities”.

“To allow the market mechanism to be the sole director of the fate of human beings and their natural environment,” he wrote, “would result in the demolition of society.” As Polanyi argued, too, the so-called free market Bernhardt and other rightwingers are so keen to support is dependent on a tremendous amount of active government intervention, and indeed contingent on people like him pulling levers with not so invisible hands at places like the interior department, to deliver as many handouts as possible to his friends in industry. There’s nothing natural about that, or about the $20bn in state and federal subsidies oil and gas companies get each year from the government. ...

The Massachusetts senator and 2020 hopeful Elizabeth Warren this week released an ambitious plan to protect public lands from corporations, and “preserve wild, natural places for future generations” to make them “part of the climate solution – not the problem”.

About quarter of America’s land area, fossil fuel extraction on public lands are responsible for about 25 % of the country’s fossil fuel emissions. Warren wants a “total moratorium on all new fossil fuel leases, including for drilling offshore and on public lands”, a position the Vermont senator Bernie Sanders has also supported. She also hopes to strengthen environmental protections on public lands, get a full 10% of the country’s electricity from renewables built on public lands and offshore, make national parks free, democratize decision-making on how public land is used and revive the New Deal-era Civilian Conservation Corps, to “create job opportunities for thousands of young Americans caring for our natural resources and public lands, deepening their lifelong relationship with the great outdoors”.


Also of Interest

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

VIPS Fault Mueller Probe, Criticize Refusal to Interview Assange

DOJ shields details in Julian Assange case due to ongoing criminal probe

Can WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange Get a Fair Trial?

Mueller report confirms Trump team meddled in Egypt's UN resolution on Israeli settlements

Moon of Alabama: First Thoughts On The Mueller Report Release

Nearly 100,000 Pentagon Whistleblower Complaints Have Been Silenced

Pentagon Spending Set to Hit Near-Record Levels, But 'Establishment Says We Can't Afford' Progressive Policies

Extinction Rebellion protests: photos from day four


A Little Night Music

Freddie King - Boogie Funk Woman

Freddie King - I Got The Same Old Blues

Freddie King - Tore Down

Freddie King - Just Pickin'

Freddie King - Hide Away

Freddie King - Same Old Blues

Freddie King - Big Legged Woman

Freddie King - You've Got To Love Her With Feeling

Freddy King - The Stumble

Freddie King - Help Me Through The Day

Freddie King Live in Europe 1973 & 1974


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joe shikspack's picture

@gjohnsit

the thing that makes the people driving this spending such sad sacks is that they are spending many times more money than any of their adversaries, but the result is a military that can't even win a war against a bunch of primitive soldiers with leaders in caves.

it's kinda like u.s. healthcare spending. more than any other major nation, worse outcomes.

seems like there's a theme there. how do you spell profiteering and corruption?

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scandal

The United States military has rejected offers to resolve the growing humanitarian crisis in the Rukban refugee camp in Syria, which sits inside a 55 km zone occupied by the U.S. along the Syria-Jordan border. The U.S. has also refused to let any of the estimated 40,000 refugees — the majority of which are women and children — leave the camp voluntarily, even though children are dying in droves from lack of food, adequate shelter and medical care. The U.S. has also not provided humanitarian aid to the camp even though a U.S. military base is located just 20 km (12.4 miles) away.

The growing desperation inside the Rukban camp has received sparse media coverage, likely because of the U.S.’ control over the area in which the camp is located. The U.S. has been accused of refusing to let civilians leave the area — even though nearly all have expressed a desire to either return to Syrian government-held territory or seek refuge in neighboring countries such as Turkey — because the camp’s presence helps to justify the U.S.’ illegal occupation of the area.

Though the U.S. has long justified its presence in al-Tanf as necessary to defeat Daesh (ISIS), the U.S. government has also acknowledged that al-Tanf’s true strategic importance lies in U.S. efforts to “contain” Iran by blocking a connection from Iran to Syria through Iraq. Al-Tanf lies near the area where the borders of Syria, Iraq and Jordan meet. Thus, in the U.S.’ game of brinkmanship with Iran, Rukban’s estimated 40,000 inhabitants have become pawns whose basic needs are ignored by their occupiers.

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joe shikspack's picture

@gjohnsit

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Lookout's picture

Off to my weekly session. I look forward to reading your piece more thoroughly tomorrow.

The XR occupation is something. They were at Heathrow today...
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/apr/19/extinction-rebellion...

Thanks for the Freddie King and the news!

Here's a clip or two you might enjoy...(2 min)
an honest ad for Julian...

and 4 min from Jonathon Pie on XR...

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

joe shikspack's picture

@Lookout

thanks for the videos! great stuff.

i'm glad to see the extinction rebellion raising hell. i sure hope that it works.

have a great time at your jam!

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Cassiodorus's picture

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"The degree to which liberals are coming to inhabit an alternate reality, impenetrable by facts or reason, is actually frightening." -- Steve Maher

joe shikspack's picture

@Cassiodorus

yep, he's competing with beto for the mantle of obama. i think beto might be winning the substance-free assertions contest, though.

hopefully both of them are just the flavor of the week to be chewed up and spat out before they can reach neoliberal heaven.

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dystopian's picture

Freddie King is great. What a player, what a singer. Major influence on many modern players. Interesting how he had the strap on the right shoulder, not behind the neck, like Albert Collins. Wonder if Freddie too learned banjo first like Albert?

The Greenwald Intercept piece was great. What I was most disappointed in was Mueller giving credibility to the DNC hack per Crowdstrike which is unsubstantiated with any evidence whatsoever. Then the whole Guccifer 2 thing, which is also BS. It seems to me he is trying to cover the tracks of the wrongdoing by the DNC by perpetuating their lies. Just
like he did testifying to Congress about Iraq WMD and Saddam/Al Quaeda ties. The Dems knew they could count on Mueller for that as much as Trump knew he could count on Barr seeing him through. How can you not interview Julian Assange, Kim Dotcom, or Craig Murray for this investigation?

Has anyone checked to see if the poles reversed magnetism? I see in the last week Peter Daou and Anne Coulter talking pro Bernie. Did they get some funny brownies in the mail?

Thanks for all the great tunes all week, and thanks for your hard work here JS!

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

joe shikspack's picture

@dystopian

yep, freddie king had a great touch on the fingerboard that produced amazing tones. i'm not aware of him playing banjo, which is not to say that he didn't, but i've never read that he did in any of the bios that came my way.

holy crap. peter daou? https://twitter.com/peterdaou/status/1117935097544572928

was he visited by three ghosts?

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Cassiodorus's picture

.

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"The degree to which liberals are coming to inhabit an alternate reality, impenetrable by facts or reason, is actually frightening." -- Steve Maher

Azazello's picture

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Azazello's picture

Full moon tonight, look out for the loons.
File this under Neoliberalism Kills: The Depths of Despair Among US Adults Entering Midlife
Here's one for mimi, maybe she'll understand it better than I do: There is No Alternativelessness
Hedges on Russiagate:

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7 users have voted.
mimi's picture

@Azazello ,
I pass it over to her for today (2 am in the night over here) too long. Thanks, I'll say something, if it strikes me fancy. I wished Daub had written this in German.

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2 users have voted.
Azazello's picture

@mimi
When I read it, I thought it was a translation from German because of the syntax, and the way the sentences were put together. I'm guessing that the original was written in German.

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2 users have voted.
mimi's picture

@Azazello
quite a lot in German. He is an associate professor at Standford. I can't find anything about his birthplace, and can only guess about his mother language. I think his mother language might be German. Couldn't find a biography page that includes where he is born. It seems all his education was in the US starting at Swarthmore College, where he got his BA. (2003)
Adrian Daub Wiki

Adrian Daub

If he was born in the US and raised in the US and his mother language is English (meaning here that is mother would be an American), his German writing skills are excellent.
The article you linked to was available only online and only in English. I also felt the sentence structure was somewhat different, but I couldn't figure out why.

Heh, Sherlock, one day we will dig the truth about this mystery writer and kinda music lover too. Smile

We just have to use "Alternative Such-Methoden". Wink
It's not that we would have 'Alternativelessness' here, right?

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3 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture

@Azazello

thanks for the links.

Results. We found evidence of rising despair among this cohort over the past decade. This increase was not restricted to low-educated Whites or to rural areas.

Conclusions. Results suggest that generally rising despair among the young adult cohort now reaching midlife that cuts across racial/ethnic, educational, and geographic groups may presage rising midlife mortality for these subgroups in the next decade.

looks like the "opioid crisis" may be the tip of the iceberg.

hedges, as usual nails it. i love the ny times front page assertion that the mueller report shows the depth of links between trump and russia. awesome propaganda.

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3 users have voted.
lotlizard's picture

@Azazello  
https://stanford.academia.edu/AdrianDaub

I’d like to learn more about Professor Daub. Obviously he has an affinity to Germans, German history, and German culture and I am curious what the background behind that might be.

Though I don’t agree with everything in it, the article is a good one and way better than most superficial and often subtly or openly German-hostile, “well, whaddaya expect from people who were Hitler’s willing executioners” commentary that is more of the norm in English-language media.

One thing I would add is — since Prof. Daub does label German policies “sadomasochistic” — one should not underestimate the effect on the average German psyche of the historical grudges the world bears against their people and nation. As in China and Japan, every grownup “knows” or comes to realize on some level that their country has no real friends and never will have any.

Germans in particular are expected to be masochists on the world stage. “Kick me, stick me up for lots of money, I’ll pay whatever you want; lie to me and take advantage of me, I won’t complain, because Hitler.” The reparations game. The governments of Greece and Poland alone are suddenly advancing new demands that Germany pay their countries, combined, something like a trillion euros.

When you’re a little kid at some point you notice your country are never the Good Guys in Anglo-American-dominated pop culture, books, and movies. “That villain Grindelwald? He’s a stand-in for all the stuff your grandparents and great-grandparents did and the guy they chose to lead them.”

Dresden? Hiroshima? “You guys had it coming. No one shares your pain. Deal with it.”

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5 users have voted.
mimi's picture

@lotlizard
to Azazello and only a minute later read your comment here. Thanks, lotlizard, I didn't mean to take away anything from your comment. Haven't still read the article carefully.

So, what do you think? What is Daub's mother language?

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3 users have voted.
lotlizard's picture

@mimi  
Perhaps he grew up in a bilingual German-American family? Strangely, although he seems to be a well-known writer of articles for the Swiss newspaper NZZ and German newspapers such as the FAZ and Die Zeit among others, biographical details are scarce.

Very irritated this morning to see that the Sächsische Zeitung (40% owned by the SPD via the Deutsche Druck- und Verlagsgesellschaft) continues to catapult the Russiagate propaganda, a Big Lie well past the point of assuming Hitleresque proportions.

https://www.saechsische.de/bericht-zur-russland-affaere-veroeffentlicht-...

Unstrittig ist demnach, dass Moskau versuchte, zu Lasten Hillary Clintons Einfluss auf den Präsidentschaftswahlkampf zu nehmen. Nur fünf Stunden nachdem Trump am 27.7.2016 bei einer Kundgebung Russland öffentlich aufgefordert hatte, die Emails seiner Konkurrentin “zu finden”, machten sich Hacker des Geheimdienstes ans Werk. Das Wahlkampfteam habe sich von den gestohlenen Informationen “einen Vorteil bei den Wahlen” versprochen.

Zu großen Teilen geschwärzt bleibt der Teil, in dem Mueller darlegt, wie die Zusammenarbeit mit Wikileaks gelaufen ist. Die Organisation hatte Emails veröffentlicht, die russische Geheimdienstler gehackt hatten. Im Verdacht als Scharnier gedient zu haben, steht Trumps Intimus Roger Stone, der sich im November vor Gericht verantworten muss.

Why are they doing this? I guess the established parties think the phony bogeyman of Russia as enemy is needed in order to foment fear so people will get behind the latest EU power grab, a centralized EU military.

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2 users have voted.
mimi's picture

@lotlizard
because listening more to the TV news in Germany these days than to the US msm, I feel like someone who gets whacked left and right. I was also wondering what is worse, not having a mother language anymore or not having a home country. But that's just my brain that keeps ticking backwards.

Thanks again. I need to get up and out and do something less irritating... may be mulching the leaves and branches fallen down everywhere in the garden?

Have a good weekend.

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3 users have voted.
lotlizard's picture

@mimi  
I tell them, “Probably the AfD.”

This has two advantages.

First of all, they understand I’m not judging them and their region from high atop my American progressive person-of-color moral perch, somewhere 10,000 feet up on the slopes of Haleakala.

Second, paradoxically this seems to lead to more productive conversations than if I were to stick to the usual “unite against the Right” party line.

In the current political atmosphere, dialog about controversial subjects like immigration tends to conform to a certain script — potentially, a very moralistic and condescending conversation. My (so to speak) volunteering to read the “bad right-wing person” part in the script makes it seem comfortable and natural for the person I’m talking to to slip into performing the “not-as-bad, not-as-right-wing person” part.

They’re then likely to reply with something like, “Well, but some of their positions I really can’t agree with,“ or “Well, but you can’t blame all migrants for the actions of a few.” Result? They convince themselves and immunize themselves against any intrusion of genuinely neo-Nazi ideas.

I could never get that effect by preaching at them from a “moral, forward-looking, and enlightened me versus bigoted, backward, and ignorant you” position.

They come away feeling good both because their fears have been treated as legitimate and because in the little bit of improv theater that just happened, they got to be the “good,” ostensibly more open-minded person.

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3 users have voted.
mimi's picture

@lotlizard
not without feeling that I lie to them just for the reason to "make them feel comfortable to talk their mind to me genuinely and honestly."

I’m not judging them and their region from high atop my American progressive person-of-color moral perch, somewhere 10,000 feet up on the slopes of Haleakala.
...
Result? They convince themselves and immunize themselves against any intrusion of genuinely neo-Nazi ideas.
....
I could never get that effect by preaching at them from a “moral, forward-looking, and enlightened me versus bigoted, backward, and ignorant you” position.

I probably can't get over myself to do that, because I have often felt uncomfortable with the overly polite approaches directed at me, which I felt were phony and forced me to be overly polite back in a dishonest way. I just don't like to have to lie. And I don't expect anyone to lie to me for 'tricking out of me something I don't like to say'.

I think if folks would just sit together person to person and listen to their worries and sorrows, one can understand why they support politicians, who just ignore some facts about those others folks, who have also worries and sorrows of the same sort, but just don't belong to them and their neighborhood.

I find myself more and more not talking at all for the reason I know that most couldn't follow my thinking.

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0 users have voted.
detroitmechworks's picture

Stormtroopers. Armed militias working with government agencies with impunity... Not too much longer and they'll have Hugo Boss uniforms if they get popular enough.

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5 users have voted.

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

joe shikspack's picture

@detroitmechworks

of course that's what they want. they just need a catalyzing event so that they can put their troopers into place.

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3 users have voted.
QMS's picture

with the news and blues

and run after it

way to go Joe!

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3 users have voted.

Listen to your higher mind.

joe shikspack's picture

@QMS

it's only a matter of time. Smile

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2 users have voted.
mimi's picture

Microsoft’s announcement is part of the company’s plan to compete with Amazon—the only company cleared to host the CIA and Defense Department’s secret and top secret classified data—and comes as both companies compete for a $10 billion military cloud contract called JEDI. ...

Whoever cleared Amazon's Besoz to host DoD secret data was not quite clear in his head.... whereas Coulter now has come to see the light ... I think she is getting cold feet about all the stuff she uttered on TV, unlike Maddow, who also needs to clear her head.

Thanks for the EB and Good Night. All the stuff beyond my paygrade and beyond my patience.

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4 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture

@mimi

everything must be profitized privatized.

i think that coulter is just looking for excuses to get behind an alternative to trump. trump is so bad that even coulter can't stomach another 4 years of him. wow.

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5 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture

AL has its own office here in the USA. How convenient for everyone involved with destruction of so many countries.

According to Mueller and obsequious news outlets like the Times, the sequence is clear: Guccifer sends archive, WikiLeaks receives archive, WikiLeaks accesses archive, WikiLeaks publishes archive. Donald Trump may not have colluded with Russia, but Julian Assange plainly did. [Attorney General Will Barr, significantly calling WikiLeaks a publisher, said at his Thursday press conference: “Under applicable law, publication of these types of materials would not be criminal unless the publisher also participated in the underlying hacking conspiracy.”]

Nice timeline and all laid out just in case more charges need to be added to Julian's arrest once he arrives. Mueller is just making stuff up and unfortunately people who buy into Russia Gate will believe it. Oh well. This is why Mueller was picked to do the job of finding some or none Collusion and everything else he came up with. I hope that we live long enough to read the history of this time period. People are going to ask why people continued to believe propaganda.

Have a good weekend off. After tonight's EBs you deserve it.

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4 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

both of those articles from consortium news are great reads and as a bonus they feature the same cast of villains spinning the false narratives years apart. lots of great details worth paying attention to in both articles.

mueller was picked because he can successfully tell the tale that the powers-that-be want told - even if different ones of them want different stories. they and their media are kind of using it as one of those "pick your own path and ending" novels.

yep, i am ready for the weekend! you have a great one, too.

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3 users have voted.

correct:
All A believe X
M is an A
EDIT typo: A believes X M believes X

incorrect:
All A (who are scumbags and deserve to die) believe Y
M believes Y
M is an A, ie, a scumbag who deserves to die.

i begin to suspect that an ongoing course in formal reasoning might useful to some of the community. concepts like implication:
X implies Y
X is true
Therefore Y is true.

which can be reformulated as:
If X, then Y
X
therefore Y

and so on.

understanding, for example, the implications of formal implication can be very useful in avoiding saying stupid things that make one look ... stupid.

EDIT: perhaps it would be more precise to say: "avoiding saying unreasonable things that make on look ... unreasonable."

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4 users have voted.

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

lotlizard's picture

@UntimelyRippd  
And by some weird synchronicity, today being April 20, this example even applies:
“You know who else had their birthday today? Hitler.”

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1 user has voted.

@lotlizard

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1 user has voted.

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

lotlizard's picture

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1 user has voted.