The Evening Blues - 4-22-19



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The day's news roundup + tonight's musical feature: Meade "Lux" Lewis


Hey! Good Evening!

This evening's music features boogie woogie and blues piano player Meade "Lux" Lewis. Enjoy!

Meade "Lux" Lewis (w/Big Joe Turner) - Roll Em

"It is remarkable how easily children and grown-ups adapt to living in a dictatorship organised by lunatics."

-- A.N. Wilson


News and Opinion

Trump’s Veto on Yemen War Is a Sign That the Strongmen in the U.S. and Saudi Arabia Are Winning

On Tuesday, Donald Trump invoked his veto power for only the second time in his presidency. Trump’s move struck down a congressional resolution to end U.S. support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen. In doing so, he stifled a moment of rare bipartisanship, flexing his own authoritarian tendencies to protect a fellow autocrat, the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is known by the initials MBS. ...

The bill, though, just like the president’s objection to it, had much more to do with Trump’s relentless and ill-advised devotion to MBS. The resolution first gained momentum in the aftermath of Khashoggi’s murder in October 2018, a crime that many — including the U.S. intelligence community — have linked to the crown prince. MBS is also responsible for leading the coalition of Persian Gulf states in its four-year offensive in Yemen, which has left thousands of Yemeni civilians dead and millions ravaged by famine and disease. In addition to overseeing this disastrous war, MBS has also ordered numerous crackdowns on his own civilians, including mass arrests and alleged torture of nonviolent human rights advocates. ...

It was no great surprise, then, to see the president resort to veto power to protect MBS’s disastrous Yemen campaign. Beneath the shallow appeals to constitutionalism and national security, Trump is acting in accordance with a now-familiar pattern: gravitating toward fellow strongmen and personality-driven deal-making. This entrepreneurial narcissism has fueled much of the president’s volatile foreign policy, from his on-again-off-again “relationships” with Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un to his rabid devotion to building a wall on the Mexican border. This trend has dramatic implications in the Middle East. Since the collapse of the Arab Spring and in the wake of years of foreign intervention, hopes of democracy in the region have in large part given way to a cast of authoritarian rulers. From MBS in Saudi Arabia to Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Turkey to the recently re-elected Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel, the region has grown increasingly polarized under hawkish, right-wing leaders.

Among this fray, Trump, along with his his son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner, identified MBS as an ideal partner. The president and crown prince share an alarmist message of Iran as a regional menace and both use this stance to justify destabilizing policies, such as the dismantling of the Iran nuclear deal and the war in Yemen. Trump has also lauded MBS and the Saudis for their alleged work to curb extremism in the region, despite reports that Riyadh has cut deals with Al Qaeda fighters in Yemen. ...

The veto, for all its cynical implications about the state of U.S. foreign policy, should also concern Americans at home. Tuesday’s announcement came barely a month after Trump’s first veto, which he used to enforce his border statement of emergency over congressional opposition. So Trump went to the outer limits of legality in pursuit of an irrational pet project, the so-called border wall with Mexico, at great financial and human cost. Such actions are only the logical extension of a presidency that began with the morally indefensible and constitutionally untenable “Muslim ban,” issued by executive order in the first days of the administration. The president has repeatedly availed himself of these personalized, unilateral mechanisms of power. The effects of such a pattern cannot be held at bay by the occasional congressional override or dissident judge. Americans must recognize this dangerous erosion of democratic principles and, fighting fatigue, continue to resist.

The slippery slope to dictatorship: Right-wing populism in Turkey and beyond

The US Should Get Ready for King Mohammed bin Salman

Since the murder of Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2, some American lawmakers have assumed the right and moral authority to dictate the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s succession line-up. In November, Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham accused Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MbS) of being “crazy” and asserted that “he needs to go.” Such rhetoric is significant given that the U.S. has not meddled in the Al Saud family’s internal power struggles since the 1960s. But regardless of the preferences that some politicians in Washington may have regarding Saudi Arabia’s succession, the U.S. will likely have to accept dealing with a King Mohammed.

MbS’s ascendancy, which began in 2015, has transformed Saudi Arabia. Gone is Saudi Arabia’s traditional model of leadership of the pre-MbS era that was based on collective decision-making and consensus building among a large group of princes. By virtue of how much power MbS possesses, it is difficult to imagine any credible challenge to his rule, or position in the succession lineup, no matter the pressure Washington might try to impose. Even before the Khashoggi affair, MbS’s power in Riyadh was so consolidated that the millennial prince faced virtually no constraints from other members of the Al Saud family. In recent months, MbS has only further consolidated his power in the Kingdom despite all the criticisms that MbS has received from lawmakers in the U.S. following the CIA’s conclusion that he ordered Khashoggi’s murder. Not even the political fallout of the journalist’s slaying last year has caused MbS to ease his internal crackdown, or even his targeting of Saudi dissidents overseas with efforts to lure them back to the Kingdom.

Thus, given that the Saudi security apparatus and all the dominant state institutions are under MbS’s consolidated control, it is extremely difficult to imagine any successful opposition to the millennial prince from within. While many in the House of Saud dislike MbS, they lack the ability to collectively stop him. As the Kingdom is an absolute monarchy, the decision to change the succession order can only be made by King Salman. Although Salman, since he became the Saudi monarch in January 2015, has twice dismissed/forced out two other crown princes — Prince Muqrin (in April 2015) and Prince Mohammed bin Nayef (in June 2017) — he has shown no signs of removing his son from succession.

From Riyadh’s perspective, foreign powers need to butt out and stop naively pretending they can influence the process. Furthermore, outside pressure on King Salman to fire his son could backfire and give the Saudi leadership more interest in standing by MbS. As Prince Turki al-Faisal, a former chief of Saudi intelligence and a former ambassador to Washington, put it: “The more [foreign] criticism there is of the crown prince, the more popular he is in the kingdom.” Indeed, officials in Riyadh find it outrageous that American lawmakers are trying to weigh in on Saudi Arabia’s succession question — a redline for the Kingdom’s leadership. For Saudi Arabia’s ruling family, changing the succession lineup under pressure from the U.S. government would signal weakness and subservience to the world’s superpower at a time when Riyadh is working to project Saudi dominance in the Middle East and greater autonomy from the West as the world becomes more multipolar.

Trump Veto Continues Yemen War With Obama Logic

Tripoli hit by airstrikes as Haftar steps up assault on Libyan capital

Several airstrikes, including the first alleged use of armed drones in the conflict, shook Tripoli overnight in an escalation of the United Arab Emirate-backed assault on the Libyan capital led by Khalifa Haftar. The allegations about the use of drones were made by the Government of National Accord (GNA) based in Tripoli, and supported by eyewitnesses.

A Reuters reporter and several Tripoli residents said they saw an aircraft circling for more than 10 minutes over the capital late on Saturday, and that it made a humming sound before opening fire on several areas. Drone strikes make a noticeably different noise from missile strikes.

An aircraft was heard again after midnight, circling for more than 10 minutes before a heavy explosion shook the ground. The UAE established a drone facility at al-Khadim airbase south of Tripoli in 2016, and experts say the ageing fighter aircraft available to Haftar cannot fly by night, making it highly likely that drones were involved.

Haftar’s offensive is aimed at toppling the UN-recognised government in Tripoli and has the backing of Saudi Arabia and Egypt.

Peter Millett, the former UK ambassador to Libya, said: “The use of drones was a significant and tragic escalation that will increase the number of Libyan causalities.”

Trump's Call to Libyan National Army Leader Increases Risk of 'Protracted Urban Conflict,' Experts Say

A phone call from President Donald Trump to Libyan National Army leader Khalifa Haftar helped to escalate deadly violence in the Libyan capital of Tripoli this weekend, as well as undercutting the United Nations' hope for a ceasefire in the country.

A number of airstrikes, allegedly including strikes by armed drones, hit Tripoli in Sunday's early morning hours, escalating Haftar's assault on the city as he attempts to oust the U.N.-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) and take control of Libya. The Libyan National Army's (LNA) attacks on Tripoli have now killed an estimated 227 people, injuring more than 1,000 and leaving at least 16,000 displaced.

The airstrikes followed a conversation Trump had with Haftar last week, which the White House revealed several days later on Friday. A number of sources reported Sunday that Trump appeared to give approval to the leader, who legal experts have accused of ordering his troops to commit war crimes, to move ahead with the air campaign—going against a U.N. Security Council resolution calling for a ceasefire last Thursday.

According to the White House's statement on Friday, Trump told the LNA leader he "recognized Field Marshal Haftar's significant role in fighting terrorism and securing Libya's oil resources, and the two discussed a shared vision for Libya's transition to a stable, democratic political system."

As Patrick Wintour reported in the Guardian:

The airstrikes on Tripoli, first launched last week, appear to reflect the approval given to Haftar by Donald Trump in a phone call on Monday....The U.S. appears to have accepted the view from its chief Middle Eastern allies that Haftar’s assault can be seen as the act of a strong leader fighting jihadist militias in Tripoli. But many independent Libyan experts claim Haftar has no commitment to democracy.

Haftar ordered his troops into Tripoli on April 4, after three years of fighting to secure control of southern and eastern Libya. The strikes in Tripoli have been backed by the United Arab Emirates, reportedly with funding from Saudi Arabia.

Pompeo: 'I was the CIA director. We lied, we cheated, we stole'

Guaido seeks military aid in ousting Venezuelan President Maduro

Venezuelan National Assembly Speaker Juan Guaido this Friday called on people from all over the country to join in a grand march next May 1, Labor Day, to demand the armed forces' aid in ending the usurpation, as he calls the Nicolas Maduro government.

"We call upon all Venezuelan people to take part in the biggest march in the history of Venezuela next May 1 to demand the definitive end of usurpation in Venezuela, to demand once and for all the termination of this tragedy," he said during an "open town-hall meeting" at a plaza in Caracas.

"What has to happen for this to succeed? To whom is this plea directed? Because we already know it's neither Maduro nor the regime, they have nothing to offer. First it must be the armed forces that accompany a people that wants, that needs, that demands to live," he added.

The opposition leader, recognized as interim president of Venezuela by more than 50 countries, was not clear about the destination of the march on a day the government traditionally uses to call public servants into the streets to show their support.

Comedian on course for landslide victory in Ukrainian election

Volodymyr Zelenskiy, an actor and comedian with no political experience other than playing the role of president in a TV series, was heading for a landslide victory in Ukraine’s presidential election, as early results showed him on course to win nearly three-quarters of the vote.

The incumbent, Petro Poroshenko conceded defeat on Sunday evening before results started coming in, as exit polls suggested an overwhelming victory for the 41-year-old Zelenskiy. “I’m leaving office, but I want to make it clear that I’m not leaving politics,” said Poroshenko, acknowledging his failure to win a second term. “I will accept the will of the Ukrainian people,” he wrote on Twitter.

Zelenskiy appeared in front of a crowd of journalists at his campaign headquarters as the polls closed and flashed an impish grin as he pushed his way on to the stage, accompanied by the theme tune to his television show. “We did it together,” he said, thanking his wife, parents and campaign team. “Thanks to all the Ukrainian citizens who voted for me, and to all who didn’t. I promise I won’t mess up.” ...

During the campaign, he offered little information about his policies or plans for the presidency, relying on viral videos, standup comedy gigs and jokes in place of traditional campaigning. His campaign blurred the lines between the real-life Zelenskiy and his on-screen persona. Like the fictional president of his television series, Zelenskiy has promised to clean up politics and end the stranglehold of the oligarchy over Ukraine, but he has offered little by way of specifics. ...

There was little enthusiasm on display for either candidate, with most voters opting for the candidate they considered the least-worst option.

Cole Stangler on Notre Dame, Neoliberalism & the Left in France

Yellow Vests Demonstrate in Paris as Notre Dame Donations Highlight Wealth Inequality

The contrast between the French government's and upper class's response to Monday's fire at Notre Dame and ongoing inaction to combat income inequality, was a primary driver of mass protests in Paris on Saturday.

The Gilets Jaunes, or Yellow Vests, staged their first major protest since large portions of the historic cathedral burned, apparently due to an electrical short-circuit, to call attention to the €1 billion ($1.1 billion) that the country's richest families have donated to help rebuild the church, months after the yellow vest movement began demonstrating against income inequality.

"You're there, looking at all these millions accumulating, after spending five months in the streets fighting social and fiscal injustice. It's breaking my heart," Ingrid Levavasseur, a founder of the movement, told the Associated Press.

France 24 noted that many members of the Yellow Vest movement—which began in rural areas last fall when many struggling French people demonstrated against high fuel costs and President Emanuel Macron's generous tax cuts for the rich, and has since gathered support from a number of ideological groups—mourned earlier this week along with the rest of the country as news of the heavily damaged 674-year-old church spread. ... But grief turned to anger for many, Levavasseur said, as the Yellow Vests watched donations pour in and Macron call for the church to be repaired within five years, exacerbating the perception of many that he is a "president for the rich." ...

One sign at Saturday's demonstration read, "Victor Hugo thanks all the generous donors ready to save Notre Dame and proposes that they do the same thing with Les Miserables," referring to Hugo's classic novels about the cathedral and the struggles of impoverished people in France.


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

Pentagon spending is on track to grow significantly for the fifth consecutive year, but "very few in Congress are questioning" how the U.S. can afford it. That's according to the Washington Post's Jeff Stein and Aaron Gregg, who reported Thursday that "the United States is expected to spend more on its military in 2020 than at any point since World War II, except for a handful of years at the height of the Iraq War."

In his 2020 budget request, Trump called for $750 billion in Pentagon spending. Democrats countered with a $733 billion offer, which would still represent a substantial increase over the Pentagon's 2019 budget. Either number would bring U.S. military spending to "near-historic highs," according to the Post.

"Earlier this year, the Congressional Budget Office projected the United States would spend more than $7 trillion on defense over the next decade," the Post reported, "which is in line with both the White House's and House Democrats' budget plans."


Chelsea Manning to remain in jail after appeals court denies bail request

A federal appeals court on Monday denied a request by the former US army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to be released from jail on bail, and upheld a lower court’s decision to hold Manning in civil contempt for refusing to testify before a grand jury.

The ruling marks a blow for Manning, who has been detained since March after she declined to answer questions in connection with the government’s long-running investigation into WikiLeaks and its founder, Julian Assange. ...

Manning has tried to fight the grand jury subpoena in the Assange case, citing her first, fourth and sixth amendment rights under the constitution. Her attorneys said among other things that the district court had failed to address her concerns that the government was abusing the grand jury process so it could preview or undermine her testimony as a potential defense witness at a trial. Her lawyers have also argued that the courtroom was improperly sealed during substantial portions of the hearing.

But a three-judge panel of the US court of appeals for the fourth circuit did not agree with those claims. “The court finds no error in the district court’s rulings and affirms its finding of civil contempt,” they wrote.

No more free pizza delivery to the Fed:


Arrested Member of armed militia who detained migrants faced similar charges in 2006

A member of an armed civilian group that has detained migrants near the US-Mexico border who was arrested on Saturday reportedly faced similar charges in Oregon 13 years ago. In Sunland Park, Texas on Saturday, FBI agents and local police arrested Larry Mitchell Hopkins, 69, on suspicion of being a felon in possession of firearms.

In Klamath county, Oregon in 2006, Hopkins was accused of impersonating a police officer and claimed to be a fugitive bounty hunter, the Santa Fe New Mexican reported. In his guilty plea, Hopkins acknowledged he had given “the impression to others that I was a peace officer” while unlawfully carrying a firearm as a convicted felon.

Hopkins’ latest arrest came after federal authorities warned private groups to avoid policing the border. Videos circulated on social media have shown armed civilians detaining large groups of Central American families in New Mexico. ...

The ACLU in New Mexico described the group as “an armed fascist militia organization” made up of “vigilantes” and said they were working to “kidnap and detain people seeking asylum”, making illegal arrests and holding migrants at gunpoint.

Cops arrest Florida man who allegedly threatened to kill Omar and Tlaib

Federal authorities arrested a Florida man Friday for allegedly threatening to kill at least three Democratic lawmakers, according to reports. John Kless, 49, called the offices of Rep. Rashida Tlaib, Rep. Eric Swalwell, and Sen. Cory Booker.

"You're going to be the motherfuckers that pay," Kless allegedly told Booker in a voicemail. "Don't worry, you government officials will be in the graves where you belong."

In some of the voice messages, Kless defended President Trump, and in all three messages, he insulted and threatened Rep. Ilhan Omar and attempted to link her to terrorist groups.

In his message to Tlaib, Kless allegedly referred to both Tlaib and Omar using racist, Islamophobic, and gendered slurs. The messages also insulted the Muslim prophet Mohamed and included homophobic innuendo about the two women. Kless also said he’d like to throw Omar off the Empire State Building. ... “You won’t fucking tell Americans what to say and you definitely don’t tell our president, Donald Trump, what to say,” he said.

In his call to Swalwell, Kless allegedly focused on Swalwell’s position on gun control. Swalwell has made gun control his principal issue in his 2020 campaign for the U.S. presidency. "The day you come after our guns, motherfucker, is the day you'll be dead," Kless said, according to a federal indictment.



the horse race



House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer Is Facing a Primary Challenge

Mckayla Wilkes, a 28-year-old administrative assistant, part-time student, and mother of two, has had enough. In late March, she announced that she was mounting a bid for Maryland’s 5th Congressional District, aiming to unseat one of the oldest and most powerful Democratic members, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer. Wilkes is running on a host of progressive policies, but plans to put particular focus on Medicare for All, a Green New Deal, and affordable housing.

A student of political science, Wilkes hasn’t formerly been involved in politics before, but thinks the moment is too urgent to wait. She wants more “relatable people” in Congress and is fed up with Hoyer’s record, which she says does not adequately represent the needs of those living in his district. “We need someone who will be a voice for us, who knows what we go through as daily constituents, and Steny Hoyer has been in office so long he’s never really had to be a regular constituent,” she said. Hoyer, who is 79 years old, was first elected to Congress in 1981.

Wilkes’s challenge comes after an election year in which insurgent progressives like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ayanna Pressley toppled entrenched incumbents, making it to Congress and, along the way, showing that it is possible to shake things up and succeed. The Democratic Party has grown increasingly wary of these types of challenges and is trying to make it difficult for candidates like Wilkes to find support for their campaigns. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee last month said it would cut off vendors that work with primary challengers. Mark McLaurin, the political director of SEIU 500, said the climate is ripe for taking down veteran lawmakers in Maryland. He pointed to the 2018 cycle, when progressives unseated some of the most powerful politicians in the state, including state Sen. Thomas Middleton, the chair of the Senate Finance Committee, who represented part of Hoyer’s district. ...

Wilkes is counting on the fact that a lot of people might be interested in unseating an old, centrist white man who seems often out of touch with the more progressive direction of his party. ... Wilkes’s campaign is just getting off the ground, backed so far by volunteers, including a group of students at the University of Maryland, College Park. She’s planning a kickoff event for the end of May. ... Wilkes’s challenge could become more potent if she gets the support of local and national groups, which would work to help elevate her profile and reach new voters. She said she’s had conversations with Justice Democrats, the group that backed Ocasio-Cortez and Pressley, but is not officially associated with them. Evan Weber, the political director at the Sunrise Movement, the youth-led group that helped put the Green New Deal on the map, recently reached out as well.

Democrats consider Trump impeachment after he sues them for attempt to obtain his financial records

Top Democrat on U.S. House Oversight Committee says Trump lawsuit has no legal basis

Elijah Cummings, chairman of the U.S. House Oversight Committee, criticized as “baseless” a lawsuit filed on Monday by President Donald Trump to try to block subpoenas from the committee seeking years worth of financial documents from the president.

“There is simply no valid legal basis to interfere with this duly authorized subpoena from Congress,” Cummings, a Democrat, said in a statement.



the evening greens

Humanity is at a crossroads, Greta Thunberg tells Extinction Rebellion

Governments will no longer be able ignore the impending climate and ecological crisis, Greta Thunberg, the teenage climate activist, has told Extinction Rebellion protesters gathered at Marble Arch in London.

In a speech on Sunday night where she took aim at politicians who have for too long been able to satisfy demands for action with “beautiful words and promises”, the Swedish 16-year-old said humanity was sitting at a crossroads, but that those gathered had chosen which path they wish to take.

“I come from Sweden and back there its almost the same problem as here, as everywhere, that nothing is being done to stop an ecological crisis despite all the beautiful words and promises,” she told the crowd. “We are now facing an existential crisis, the climate crisis and ecological crisis which have never been treated as crises before, they have been ignored for decades. And for way too long the politicians and the people in power have gotten away with not doing anything. We will make sure that politician’s will not get away with it for any longer.”

Her speech came amid police efforts to forcibly clear Extinction Rebellion protesters from Waterloo Bridge as the group debated whether to continue its campaign of mass civil disobedience. Police said on Sunday night they had cleared all the protesters from Parliament Square. ...

The London mayor, Sadiq Khan, said the disruption was “counter-productive” to the cause of climate change and was stretching resources so much it could damage police’s ability to fight violent crime. ... Last week, the group gained global coverage for the disruption its tactics of civil disobedience caused in central London. On Sunday, the organisers said they intended to change tack and would offer to vacate some sites in exchange for the mayor acting on some of their demands.

The Midwest needs more than levees to survive its “biblical” floods

Along the Midwest’s big rivers, hundreds of miles of levees protect people and property. But when water surged into the Missouri River in March, the levees crumbled — exposing an aging, insufficient flood protection system. The flow, capacity and management of the river has changed a lot since Adams was a kid, he says, but the 50-year-old levees haven’t. And they're not up to the challenge.

Last month’s floods were the most intense the Army Corps of Engineers has ever seen in the Midwest. "It's immense," Bret Budd, Army Corps of Engineers Chief of the Omaha District Systems Restoration Team, told VICE News. "It's a biblical flood for us. It is going to tax the resources of everybody around. We have over 500 miles of levee to provide to reduce the risk of flooding. Of those 500 miles, we had over 50 breaches."

The Corps has been scrambling to patch the broken levees before the rivers rise again — but gaping holes are still unfilled. For now, they’re only able to put temporary fixes in place anyway, so the Corps looking into redesigning their flood control systems to adapt with the changing landscape.

Dallas Goldtooth: Hold Banks Accountable for Financing Climate Chaos & Violating Indigenous Rights


Dutch engineers build world's biggest sun-seeking solar farm

Dutch engineers are building what will be the world’s largest archipelago of islands made up of sun-tracking solar panels. Growing resistance to the construction of wind turbines or fields of solar panels on land has led the renewable energy industry to look for alternative options. Large islands of solar panels are under construction or already in place in reservoirs and lakes across the Netherlands, China, the UK and Japan.

In a development that is to become the largest of its type in the world, construction will begin this year on 15 solar islands on the Andijk reservoir in north Holland. The islands, containing 73,500 panels, will have the sunflower-like ability to move to face the light.

The first phase of the project, involving three islands, each of which will be 140 metres in diameter, is due to be finished by November, once the migratory season for birds has come to an end. Arnoud van Druten, the managing director of Floating Solar, a solar panel supplier, said: “We would like to have started earlier but because of the environmental issues regarding bird seasons, there is only a limited period in the year, these three months, that we can put anything in the water.”

Along with a second project at Hoofddorp, near Amsterdam, which will involve static solar panels, the water company PWN, which owns the land on which the farms will be located, is expected to create enough energy to power 10,000 households.


Also of Interest

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

Notre Dame and the Fight for Sacred Lands

UK Blurring Two Very Different Extradition Claims

John Helmer: The Julian Assange Case Now Puts the US on Trial in a British Court – Is There a Get-Out-of-Jail Card for Assange?

The Prosecution Of Julian Assange Is Infinitely Bigger Than Assange

Revolutionaries in the Middle East have learnt crucial lessons since the Arab Spring

‘The FBI Appears to Be Engaged in a Modern-Day Version of COINTELPRO’

The Best Hot Take on the Mueller Report Is From 1796

Baltimore Police Tried To Kill Keith Davis Jr. - Prosecutors Have Been Trying To Convict Him Of Murder Ever Since

Provincial election losses may help Justin Trudeau's green agenda

Chevron and Exxon Say They Can Turn Around the Failed Finances of Fracking Industry

Jared Diamond: So how do states recover from crises? Same way as people do


A Little Night Music

Meade Lux Lewis - Bear Cat Crawl

Albert Ammons, Meade "Lux" Lewis, Pete Johnson - Cafe Society Rag

Meade Lux Lewis - Denapas Parade

Meade Lux Lewis, Pete Johnson and Albert Ammons - Boogie Woogie Prayer

Meade Lux Lewis - Honky Tonk Train Blues

Meade Lux Lewis (w/Big Joe Turner) - Low Down Dog

Meade Lux Lewis - Chicago Flyer

Meade Lux Lewis - Mr. Freddie Blues

George Hannah w/Meade Lux Lewis - Molasses Sopper Blues

Meade Lux Lewis - Riff Boogie


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18 users have voted.

Comments

detroitmechworks's picture

An electrical fire, by a computer glitch, in a well protected area, that just happened to happen right after everybody was sent home. Funny, I remember that everybody was saying it was clearly the power tools in the area and careless workmen. Which is it? I'd really like a DEFINITE story when they're trying to cover something up.

I mean, totally a coincidence that drones strike Tripoli, and nobody says anything about it except... uhm, might be a longer war... Kings get to unilaterally tell the people that their concerns mean precisely dick, and if I complain about any of this, I'm just the fool who doesn't understand.

No, I think I understand pretty well Media. That's why I'm not usually talking to you. Because every time I do, you just show your contempt for me and my intelligence. The feeling is mutual, at this point.

And Random music, guaranteed to piss off anybody who doesn't understand context.

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9 users have voted.

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

joe shikspack's picture

@detroitmechworks

yep, it's a world full of coincidences.

I mean, totally a coincidence that drones strike Tripoli, and nobody says anything about it except... uhm, might be a longer war...

seems like a bit of a coincidence that trump's best buddy mbs has decided to purchase libya by supporting hiftar and trump decides that it's time to change horses from the un-supported government of national accord to hiftar pretty much overnight.

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3 users have voted.
Raggedy Ann's picture

"It is remarkable how easily children and grown-ups adapt to living in a dictatorship organised by lunatics."

-- A.N. Wilson

Yup! That's our Murica!

Pompeo is an ass, although he tells the truth in that vid; Hoyer might get his ass handed to him; and Poroshenko got his ass handed to him. Lots of assing around these days!

Have a calm Monday evening, folks! Pleasantry

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11 users have voted.

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

-- Voltaire

joe shikspack's picture

@Raggedy Ann

yep, i thought that america had reached its nadir when the laughable buffoon bonzo went to washington. i was so wrong.

that pompeo video is a thing of beauty. it pares down his governing strategy to its essentials and offers transparency as to his moral makeup.

hoyer's ass relocation is something of a long shot, his challenger has a lot of work ahead of her. but her success would be very welcome.

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5 users have voted.
Unabashed Liberal's picture

to say 'hello.' Gotta run a couple errands, but, will catch up with you Guys later.

I was thinking about going to a MFA system, the other day, and wondered if folks realize that both the VA system, and the proposed MFA System, work off of a relatively restrictive RX formulary.

That might not concern some folks, but, it does us, since Mr M has required Tier 5 so-called 'Specialty Drugs' over the past several years. Unfortunately, there are no substitutes for some of those drugs.

Which reminds me, we know that the VA utilizes a RX formulary negotiated with the PBMs and/or pharmaceutical companies, but, what I've not heard firsthand from a veteran, is, if they're experiencing any problem with getting the RX's they need. (Mr M's isn't currently using the VA System.)

BTW, the PtB are already narrowing Medicare Part D formularies. This year, in our two residential locales (which happen to be in the same Part D Region)--Keytruda, the drug that's credited with (partly) saving former President Carter--was dropped from the formulary of every RX plan available to us. IIRC, approximately, 28 plans. Not good. Bad

For that matter, there was a major shrinkage in the number of drugs in all the Part D formularies (in our Region). I went over them with a 'fine-toothed comb,' and, thankfully, the one with the second highest number of drugs in its formulary, fit our needs.

The trade-off was/is a narrower pharmaceutical network, especially, in our southern-most locale. But, what can you do? They have you over a barrel. Help

Thankfully, the rain has passed through, and we're enjoying a couple of cool days, before the heat sets in--I'm afraid, for the rest of the summer season.

Everyone have a nice evening.

ByePleasantryMollie

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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10 users have voted.

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

Steven D's picture

@Unabashed Liberal Sorry to hear that about your healthcare options.

Right now I'm for nationalizing all the pharmaceutical companies. They steal the ideas and work of government funded research more times than not (well, the theft is legal, but I still consider it theft) and then raise prices beyond the ability of most people to pay, insured or uninsured.

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14 users have voted.

"You can't just leave those who created the problem in charge of the solution."---Tyree Scott

Unabashed Liberal's picture

@Steven D @Steven D

Of course, considering the power of the pharmaceutical industry, I don't expect that to happen; however, it would definitely be no skin off my back, considering the drug costs that we've had to bear since 2016.

PleasantryMollie

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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6 users have voted.

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

@Steven D
soaring soliloquies notwithstanding, is a neoliberal dumbass was when I saw a quote from him deriding the idea of government-funded/owned pharmaceutical development.

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6 users have voted.

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

joe shikspack's picture

@Unabashed Liberal

the people putting together the mfa plans have some work to do before medicare is ready for all. i suspect that one of the most difficult tasks will be reining in the power of big pharma and providing everybody access to a wide range of necessary drugs (many of which were developed with assistance from taxpayer funds) without bankrupting people.

i think that, as steven suggests, nationalization of the pharma industry is a wonderful idea.

have a great evening!

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Steven D's picture

listed at the end with the rest of the links, the "Hot take on the Mueller report from 1796," is a travesty. It blindly accepts that Russian interference as stated by Mueller occurred and that it may have affected the outcome of the election (something even Mueller couldn't bring himself to say).

It literally says no reasonable person can disagree Russia interfered based on the two Mueller indictments that involved Russians, ignoring the mounds of evidence in the public domain that those indictments are, at best, highly suspect.

Don't bother reading it.

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14 users have voted.

"You can't just leave those who created the problem in charge of the solution."---Tyree Scott

snoopydawg's picture

@Steven D

It states that the FBI believes that Russia interfered with the election. No proof has been shown how Russia hacked the DNC computers and you know that if it existed it would have been. I'm surprised that he didn't just make it up. One of the companies that Mueller accused of writing the Russian ads wasn't even in existence when it supposedly happened. On the other case Mueller didn't want to share his evidence with the defense because he said it had something to do with national security issues. I'll look for the article on this. Funnier than hell in my book.

Lawyer: Mueller indicted “the proverbial ham sandwich.”

A week ago Friday at a hearing on this same case, Mueller’s team asked for the case to be delayed. The judge politely declined and the initial hearing on the case was held on Wednesday. Mueller’s team is represented by former Clinton Foundation attorney, Jeannie Rhee. CNN applauded Rhee for being on the Mueller team while ignoring her and the entire team’s conflicts of interest –

Rhee represented Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in a lawsuit about her private emails, and she also represented the Clinton Foundation in a civil racketeering case that was later dismissed.

Rhee also represented President Barack Obama’s deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes during the House Benghazi Committee’s investigation into the deadly 2012 terrorist attack in Libya.

Remember that Hillary's lawyers hired Fusion GPS who paid Stella to create the dossier that was used to get FISA warrants. I'd say that there was a conflict of interest. Also 60% of the ads were placed after the election.

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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

@Steven D Seems to go back to Pierre Omidyar as the founder. Greenwald does not have any editorial influence or power on what gets printed.

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joe shikspack's picture

@Steven D

sometimes i post stuff so that folks can get a sense of what is going on in the public mind's marketplace of ideas.

it's an article of faith (literally, i fear) in virtually all mainstream media that "russia interfered with u.s. elections."

some of his other points mitigate the awfulness of his repetition of the big lie a bit. for example these:

Yes, Russia attempted to influence the 2016 election in various ways. No, this was not an “act of war,” and in fact it appears to have been one of the milder examples of foreign meddling in history. ...

Top Democrats also demonstrated — given their enthusiasm for America’s bipartisan subversion of the political systems of numberless countries — that they are ridiculous hypocrites. A week before Election Day in 2016, it was revealed that Hillary Clinton said privately in 2006 that “we should have made sure that we did something to determine who was going to win” that year’s Palestinian elections. To her, it was an act of great incompetence by George W. Bush not to have rigged it sufficiently.

And that wasn’t the end of the core dishonesty of many Democrats. ... The Democratic Party’s leadership does not oppose and in fact welcomes the powerful influence of Israel and the Persian Gulf petro-states on U.S. politics. ...

The fact that the U.S. government has brutally intervened in the politics of dozens of other countries doesn’t mean that normal Americans can’t legitimately be angry about Russia’s 2016 meddling or the GOP’s response. The governments of Iran, Egypt and Chile have done their share of intervening in the politics of other countries, but regular Iranians, Egyptians, and Chileans still have every right to be furious about U.S. interference in their politics.

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lotlizard's picture

@joe shikspack  
media pick it up and amplify it as if it were confirmed fact.

Only the newer elements of the German far Right, plus a very few mavericks on the German Left (e.g. Mathias Broeckers), understand the extent to which the mainstream’s propaganda playbook re Trump and Russia is pure Dr. Goebbels.

it's an article of faith (literally, i fear) in virtually all mainstream media that "russia interfered with u.s. elections."

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enhydra lutris's picture

a sense in which that is redundant, I know, but I choose to ignore it.) Beautiful day here which I, unfortunately, mostly spend weeding and doing some spring pruning, but one really can't whine when the weather is glorious and one can get outside.

Have a great one.

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

joe shikspack's picture

@enhydra lutris

it has been gorgeous here for a few days, too. i have been enjoying it so much, i may take a day off this week to get out and enjoy it while it lasts.

heh, the news rarely rhymes, though it quite frequently repeats in a familiar pattern. Smile

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Unabashed Liberal's picture

with '5' Dem Presidential Candidates is in progress.

PleasantryMollie

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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4 users have voted.

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

@Unabashed Liberal After Bootyjig attacked Sander supporters, Pelosi conspiring against progressives, I figure this will be a repeat of the 2016 cycle with corporatists trying to derail Bernie. And looks like the same propaganda, but now 100X as much--just noticed now "moral panic" articles about how Social Security will go bankrupt (say what?). So WaPo, famous for their anti-Bernie propaganda, went to some academics doing research on tweeters, and asked them to divine the tweeter-sphere about Putin and Bernie. Well, surprise, turns out Putin favored Bernie over Hillary. I will just follow some pundits in the Tweetersphere to loosely track the bullshit (and check out the news here).

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Unabashed Liberal's picture

@MrWebster

about 42 minutes--so far, Klobuchar and Cuomo haven't mentioned any other Dem candidate, including Bernie. Now, Cuomo does interview Bernie next; then, a couple other CNN hosts handle the other 3 interviews.

Anyhoo, if there's a transcript, once it's posted, I'll post it. I'm not breaking my neck to listen, just doing so as I go about my business (blogging, etc.).

But, hey, I get what you're saying!

Have a good one.

PleasantryMollie

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.

@Unabashed Liberal

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Unabashed Liberal's picture

@MrWebster @MrWebster

at EL's OT.

I stand corrected - Klobuchar's interview just ended.

It's Warren up next, interviewed by Anderson Cooper.

Not sure what the rest of the schedule is.

[Edited: Added additional info about Town Hall.]

PleasantryMollie

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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4 users have voted.

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

joe shikspack's picture

@Unabashed Liberal

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3 users have voted.
Unabashed Liberal's picture

@joe shikspack @joe shikspack

until I can read the transcript, but, if I heard Warren correctly, she indulged in a bit of sleight-of-hand, when she was asked "What could be done to save Social Security for millennials?"

(Paraphrased, but, that's the gist of what the young male student asked.)

Even worse--was the applause. Of course, Warren's answer was so long-winded, and obtuse, that, unless an individual had spent considerable time immersed in the Bowles-Simpson "Cat Food Commission" proposal/report, he/she couldn't be expected to catch what she was really implying.

IOW, Warren was advocating for reaching a bipartisan agreement on changing the "bend points" in the benefit formula. This was suggested by the B-S proposal, for everyone but very, very low income folks--making somewhere around $9,000-10,000 annually, roughly. (I'm too lazy to go look it up, but, that's pretty close.) Of course, those 'changes' would result in reduced Social Security monthly benefits (for most).

That's rich. She went on to tout a tiny little 'bump' in benefits for those who live to age 85, (which is good, of course) instead of mentioning the across-the-board cuts which would result for the majority of folks, due to the prescribed changes in the formula bend points.

BadWhew!

Hopefully, CNN will post the transcripts, which, I'll post here.

PleasantryMollie

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

up
6 users have voted.

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

smiley7's picture

@Unabashed Liberal
thanks Mollie.

Raise the damn cap and fix SS and more importantly, like Bernie advocates, increase the amount seniors receive.

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6 users have voted.
Unabashed Liberal's picture

@smiley7 @smiley7


Raise the damn cap and fix SS and more importantly, like Bernie advocates, increase the amount seniors receive.

Hey, have a good one!

PleasantryMollie

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

up
4 users have voted.

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

Evening Joe and all,
Thanks as always for all you give us to think about on a daily basis. Lots of the articles got my attention and desire to do my part to make a difference in the outcomes when possible. The article about Notre Dame and the indigenous people was a very meaningful piece for me to read. Living part time in the American Southwest, this issue is front and center with many of the organizations I do volunteer work with. Right now, there are protests about the attempts to continue fracking near Chaco canyon. Hope some of these can be resolved for the people of the Chaco canyon area.

Even with all the grim news, the spring is beautiful here right now. The roadsides between here and Austin are so alive with color of all the different wildflowers and we are having a very mild spring at present.

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10 users have voted.

Life is what you make it, so make it something worthwhile.

This ain't no dress rehearsal!

joe shikspack's picture

@jakkalbessie

thanks for reading that notre dame/sacred lands article. i thought that it was beautifully written and illustrated the differences between how western minds grasp the pattern language of what is sacred and how native minds understand it.

back a couple of months ago, i remember reading that the blm had deferred leasing (for fracking) areas around chaco canyon. is there anything new?

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snoopydawg's picture

IMG_3400.JPG

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14 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, people like their hypocrisy surrounded by a bodyguard of euphemisms and other rhetorical dodges.

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snoopydawg's picture

I couldn't finish the article on Baltimore's persecution of Keith. First part that bothers me is he went to prison just days after being pumped full of bullets. How inhumane was this? Then for the city to keep trying to put him in there for good. Sure sounds like malicious or malignant prosecution to me. Maybe our resident lawyer will stop by...
Jesus!

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8 users have voted.

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

joe shikspack's picture

@snoopydawg

baltimore is an enormously corrupt place and the "justice" system is riddled with it. the institutions of the city are entirely resistant to any sort of reform and the private sector seems to like it that way.

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smiley7's picture

Just heard a presidential candidate use this phrase: "Outside the 'tweetisphere.'

Gave me pause for at least two thoughts; is that like outside the universe or did they mean twitter is the front pages of today. i can't answer either of my thoughts?

Imagine, people living outside the tweetisphere?

Cheers for the news and blues.

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7 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture

@smiley7

perhaps if we thought of the "tweetisphere" as a dimension or one of a series of overlapping realities?

i dunno. it sounded good to me. Smile

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3 users have voted.

I have had participation as lead attorney, second chair attorney, attorney prior to arrest, bond proceeding, and attorney for first appeal. Have argued before the appellate court, 9th District out of Beaumont, Texas, and instead of 15 minutes, the court granted me an hour, and it was recorded in West Law publication. When I walked out of the court room, Jack Zimmerman hugged me. Google him. In 17 murder cases. Lots of autopsy reports. Pictures at the scenes.
This is just so bizarre that the prosecutors have not been sanctioned, or disbarred, for Brady violations, I just find it nuts. It is OBVIOUSLY nuts.
And yet, I am seeing and hearing about Brady violations here in my hometown all the time.
Whereas every shred of evidence in a civil trial is disclosed to the litigants and ruled upon by the judge for its' admissibility at trial, meaning, no smoking gun, criminal trial is by the seat of your pants.
Defense attorneys see the evidence against their clients, but it is upon the prosecutor to proffer mitigating evidence (evidence suggesting innocence) to the defense attorney. The Supreme court Brady case. If the defense attorney doesn't ask for evidence the defense attorney has no idea exists, the evidence goes under some table in the court reporter's office.
It is not a thing to avoid trial, in my humble opinion. It does rear it's head at appeal. And get Prosecutors disbarred every so often.
Basics: civil cases, persuasion based upon the judicially pronounce evidence, burden of proof is anything from a preponderance of evidence to clear and convincing evidence.
criminal: BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT The State has all burden of proof.

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joe shikspack's picture

@on the cusp

sadly, this case is not the exception in baltimore. we have a combination of a very corrupt and incompetent police department and a very ambitious states attorney existing in a city where the majority of the citizens are poor, poorly educated and haven't anything like the resources to stand up against the system.

the defendant in this case might benefit from national attention scrutinizing the system here, so i'm glad to see the intercept picking up the story.

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4 users have voted.

@on the cusp @on the cusp @joe shikspack @on the cusp
chagrin) of the culture of american jurisprudence, i will note that you are elucidating here one of the worst problems with our legal proceedings.

digression:
i have stated many times, provocatively i might suggest, that the phrase 'professional ethics' rarely finds application to any system recognizable to a philosopher as "ethics". the function of ethics is to protect everybody else from the ethical individual's otherwise unconstrained pursuit of self-interest; it is to protect truth, and integrity. the function of "professional ethics" is to protect the profession. if lawyers/stockbrokers/doctors/accountants/appraisers/realtors weren't constrained to act in their clients' best interests, who the fuck would ever hire one?

And so, in our system of jurisprudence, established as adversarial in its very essence, every professional involved is torn between:
"real" ethics;
"professional" ethics;
other constraints of the law itself.

A prosecutor is obliged, in practical terms, to prosecute a case with the assumption that the defendant is guilty. Realistically, for all but a small and privileged elite, being tried for any crime of any significance brings complete socioeconomic ruin, regardless of actual guilt or innocence, and regardless of the trial's outcome. Who could accept responsibility for this reality, unless able to operate under the epistemological fantasy that the status of Schrodinger's feline is fixed and known, cryptic equations and impenetrable cosmology notwithstanding. Unfortunately, it requires a very remarkable human being to do that while simultaneously serving truth, in the event that the truth is not consistent with the assumption of guilt.

Ah, fuck it. I don't have the energy to bring this back around to some coherent conclusion. All I know is, there are things that are horribly broken, and we the people go along allowing them to be broken only because most of the time they are so very invisible to us. That is the design.

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2 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.

mimi's picture

to defend Julian Assange and stand up him.

Otherwise I feel lost. I like clear reporting without snark or having to figure out what the snark is and what the jokes are and how come I don't understand what everybody else here seems to understand. I am tired of feeling stupid. The more tired I am, the more I respect your work in bringing us all those excerpts, video clips and articles.

I sit this out and wait. May be I feel smarter one day. Miracles are supposed to happen. right. Wink

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5 users have voted.

Ich schreibe was mir paßt - in memory of Steve Biko

joe shikspack's picture

@mimi

heh. in america, much of the real news is now brought to us by comedians. it's a bit like in the age of monarchies when the only person who could speak the truth about things in public was the court jester.

sorry about the difficulties this presents in separating facts from snark.

have a great day!

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

@mimi

This week's Chris Hedges show was posted here earlier, I think, but I only saw it this morning. If you missed it, it's a good summary of of recent events (which are revealed in a calm and clear conversation with journalist Aaron Mate'). We're only beginning to understand what we have been living through, and it is coming out in conversations like this.

To me, the story told through the eyes of journalists, who were the ones marginalized by edict of the totalitarian government that now has the United State's throat in its grip — is the best narrative. It is the starting point and Introduction for everything that has happened over the past two years. It sets up the drama and political chaos that ensued after the 2016 elections, and provides a reflective context for understanding it.

The more we talk about it in the context of journalism, the more the pattern emerges. The more we stare at is pattern of propaganda, lies, and people abruptly transforming into their political opposites — the more likely we are to recognize it the next time. That pattern will be back — that repeating "Little Pearl Harbor Moment" — to manipulate us into sacrifice and submission. But I think we can get ahead of it before it breaks the minds of the American people and makes them delusional. If they can resist the propaganda next time, they will be able to represent themselves politically. Since the American People are paying for the entire thing, every last penny, they might want to weigh in on it. Speak directly to the liars who are exploiting them.

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2 users have voted.

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

@Pluto's Republic @Pluto's Republic
before. I just listen and watch too much to keep it all 'under control' in my mind. I just need to take a break. Thanks for helping me out to see the light at the end of the bankrupt media tunnel.
Hedges says laughing at one point that 'he pities Aaron Mate for having to watch Rachel Maddow'.
I start to pity myself and that is definitely not a good sign. Smile

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2 users have voted.

Ich schreibe was mir paßt - in memory of Steve Biko