The Evening Blues - 12-5-19


The day's news roundup + tonight's musical feature: Arthur Conley

Hey! Good Evening!

This evening's music features r&b singer Arthur Conley. Enjoy!

Arthur Conley - Ha! Ha! Ha!

"I'll turn the page on a growing empire of classified information. We'll protect sources and methods, but we won't use sources and methods to hide the truth."

-- Barack Obama

News and Opinion

Seventeen Years After His Arrest, Alleged USS Cole Plotter Is Still Fighting to See Records of His CIA Torture

Prosecutors in Guantanamo Bay argued on Tuesday that the government should be allowed to continue withholding underlying source documents about CIA torture from defense attorneys representing the alleged mastermind of the USS Cole bombing, even though a judge ruled that the government process of summarizing those documents “produced deletions that could fairly be characterized as self-serving and calculated to avoid embarrassment.” The arguments came after a 21-month pause in the case of Abd al Rahim al Nashiri, a 54-year-old Saudi national who stands accused of engineering Al Qaeda’s assault on the Cole, a U.S. Navy destroyer that was attacked by suicide bombers while refueling off the coast of Aden, Yemen, in 2000. The attack killed 17 American sailors and injured 39 others, and was one of the major acts of terrorism against United States persons overseas in the pre-9/11 era.

In 2002, Nashiri was arrested by authorities in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and handed over to the CIA. He was moved around a network of secret prisons known as black sites, and is one of three detainees whom the agency has admitted to waterboarding (some of his torture may have occurred under the supervision of current CIA director Gina Haspel at a black site in Thailand). Nashiri was transferred to U.S. military custody in 2006, and now faces the death penalty in the military commissions system. ...

Nashiri’s defense team has argued that the details of his torture are essential to defending him against capital charges by enabling his lawyers to show how he was treated, demonstrate that any confessions were coerced, and cross-examine those responsible for his interrogations. But because his torture took place across a network of secret black sites, the government is fighting to protect the agency’s secrecy. ...

Eight years after the current charges were filed, Nashiri’s case is at a point of reset. Earlier this year, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit unanimously ruled that the former judge in the case, Air Force Col. Vance Spath, had created the appearance of a significant conflict of interest by applying for a job with the Justice Department under Jeff Sessions and negotiating its terms while hearing the case, which involved Justice Department prosecutors. The appellate court wiped out more than three years of the case, including hundreds of court motions. The unanimous ruling created a blank slate, allowing the defense to revisit terms of discovery with a new military judge, Army Col. Lanny J. Acosta Jr., who opened a new round of public hearings in the case this month. Previous military judges have allowed the government to withhold classified documents about Nashiri’s interrogation and instead produce still classified “summaries” that are turned over to defense counsel.

But according to Nashiri’s lawyers, CIA cables obtained under the Freedom of Information Act and released earlier this year by the National Security Archive at George Washington University differed significantly from the government’s “summaries.” At the request of the defense, Acosta reviewed the discrepancies, ruling last month that comparing the publicly released cables to the summaries produced during the discovery process “has, at least on these occasions,” shown that the government appears to have left out some material to “avoid embarrassment” and made choices that could be called “self-serving.” “[T]he comparison undermines any contention the redactions are narrowly tailored to a legitimate need to protect national security,” Acosta wrote.

Edward Snowden: If I Came Back to the U.S., I Would Likely Die in Prison for Telling the Truth

Liberals Love the Military

The trauma of Donald Trump’s presidency has created continued insanity for American liberals. They were never very trustworthy, due to their abiding belief in United States exceptionalism and an imagined right for it to intervene in the rest of the world as it pleased. Liberals could be counted on to protest wars which killed Americans in Vietnam or in Iraq. But by and large they trust in imperialist dictates if someone they like is in charge and who doesn’t allow too many of their countrymen to get hurt. Hence their dilemma with Donald Trump. Trump is their anti-Christ, a bad mannered, proudly stupid, racist who expresses the id of the great unwashed deplorable white masses. There are many reasons to oppose him but liberals generally attack from the right. The same people who remember that the surveillance state lied about the WMD threat from Iraq now parrot every word from the same people if they are anti-Trump. Their earlier opposition to war propaganda was more a result of their anti-Bush, anti-Republican stance than anything else. They didn’t really oppose U.S. interventions or stand up for peace. Instead they eagerly wait for a war they can believe in if the rationale is to their liking.

Now this group which labels itself the resistance say nothing about U.S. sanctions that kill Venezuelans and Iranians by depriving their governments of the ability to conduct transactions needed to secure food and medicines. When their favorite news outlets proclaim Evo Morales to be a “strongman” and make the case for the coup that ousted him they go right along and make the case for imperialism carried out by the president they allegedly dislike so much.

The latest example of the liberal herd mentality comes in the form of love for the military. Liberals don’t associate with this institution themselves. They wouldn’t think of sending their kids to the army or the navy. But suddenly they have a love for senior officers if they voice disgust with Trump. “Donald Trump is dangerously undermining the military chain of command,” cries . Apparently the people at Slate missed the day in school which taught that we have a civilian government with the president as commander in chief of the military. No president can undermine the military chain of command. He is the military chain of command. The generals and admirals must follow his direction and they always do so quite happily. They dropped napalm on Korea when ordered to do so. They did the same in Vietnam. They invaded Iraq and as Chelsea Manning and Julian Assange revealed, they mow down innocent people and laugh about their slaughter. This is not a group that liberals usually admire.

But Trump is a shock to their image of themselves and of their country. Most liberals want to be flag wavers as much as conservatives do. So they fantasize about a nation that is basically good with a little injustice that can be fixed when a Democrat is in the White House. The inequality, racism, and international aggression that are at the heart of American history can be forgotten. Trump’s overt racism and general buffoonery make a lie of their beliefs and make them vulnerable to lies and propaganda. ...

Trump is proof that appearance makes all the difference. When Obama was president the U.S. bombed an Afghanistan hospital run by Doctors Without Borders and killed 40 people. That act is the inevitable consequence of military occupations, and obviously not a force for good for the dead people. Obama’s drone strikes weren’t opposed by anyone in Washington and Democratic presidential candidates expressed full confidence in Trump’s sanctions that are killing Venezuelans. The idea of American exceptionalism must be discarded completely. When that happens there will be no foolish notions of good and bad military decisions. There will be an appreciation for civilian government and questions about why the U.S. should have 800 military bases around the world. Of course that would mean questioning nearly every premise of political decision making in this country. That is what liberals would do if they were as smart as they think they are.

Trump mulls sending additional 14,000 troops to Middle East

The Trump administration is looking into sending as many as 14,000 more troops, as well as dozens more ships and other equipment, to the Middle East in the face of a growing threat from Iran, The Wall Street Journal reported. U.S. officials told the Journal that President Trump could decide on such a force increase — which would double the number of U.S. military personnel in the region — as soon as this month. A smaller U.S. deployment could also happen, the officials said.

The administration began increasing numbers of U.S. forces in the Persian Gulf in May, when Trump said he would deploy roughly 1,500 troops, a carrier strike group and a bomber task force to the Middle East to counter Iran's influence there. A month later the Pentagon also announced that it would deploy 1,000 more troops to the same area to address “air, naval, and ground-based threats” in the region. ...

The Pentagon’s No. 3 official, Undersecretary of Defense for Policy John Rood said Wednesday that the Pentagon has seen indications that Tehran may soon attack U.S. targets or interests in the Middle East.

Colombia: thousands take to the streets in third national strike in two weeks

Colombians have taken to the streets for a third national strike in two weeks, piling more pressure on the unpopular rightwing president, Iván Duque, and his proposed tax reforms. Thousands thronged the streets of Bogotá, the capital, shutting down much of the city’s historic centre, indicating that the unrest will continue while Duque engages in a “national dialogue” with strike organisers. ...

Hundreds of thousands of people joined the first national strike on 21 November, and have turned out in daily demonstrations since then, initially sparked by proposed cuts to pensions. ...

Protesters are also angry at the lack of support for the historic 2016 peace deal with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Farc), which formally ended five decades of civil war that killed 260,000 and forced more than 7 million to flee their homes. Others are protesting in defense of indigenous people and rural activists, who continue to be murdered at alarming rates. A recent airstrike against a camp of dissident rebel drug traffickers left at least eight minors dead, adding to protesters’ fury.

Strike poised to paralyse France in showdown over pension reforms

Denouncing Macron's Neoliberal Pension Reforms, Hundreds of Thousands of Striking Workers Bring France to a Halt

In the nation's largest public-sector strike in decades, hundreds of thousands of workers—from teachers to air traffic controllers to rail workers—took to the streets across France and effectively brought large swaths of the country to a stand-still Thursday to protest President Emmanuel Macron's plan to overhaul the pension system.

French unions leading the demonstrations have threatened to strike until the Macron government drops the proposed pension reforms, which workers and critics warn would slash benefits for millions of people.

"We have one of the best pension systems in the world, if not the best," said the General Confederation of Labour, France's second-largest union by membership. "Yet the president has decided, purely out of ideology, to wipe it out."

Macron has signaled that he has no plans to back away from his pension proposal, meaning the strike could continue for days or even weeks.

The Guardian reported that "rail services almost ground to a halt" due to Thursday's strike, "with 82 percent of drivers on strike and at least 90 percent of regional trains canceled."

Twenty percent of France's domestic flights were also canceled, and the Eiffel Tower—one of the nation's largest tourist attractions—was shut down.

Trump cuts short Nato summit after fellow leaders' hot-mic video

A furious Donald Trump cut short his attendance at the Nato summit in London after a group of leaders, including Boris Johnson, was caught on video ridiculing the US president at Buckingham Palace for staging lengthy press conferences.

The notoriously thin-skinned Trump cancelled a planned press conference and branded the Canadian prime minister, Justin Trudeau, “two-faced” after he was revealed on video leading the laughter at Trump’s expense together with other US allies.

Trump said the Canadian leader was probably angry because he called him out over Canada’s failure to meet the Nato target of spending 2% of its GDP on defence, a figure that has developed a shibboleth status in the president’s eyes and underlines his transactional approach to the western defence alliance.

Footage emerged late on Tuesday that appears to show world leaders joking about Trump at the summit, which has been marked by sharp disagreements over spending and future threats, including Turkey’s role in the alliance and China, as well as a clash of personalities that triggered a flurry of incendiary language being deployed by leaders.

The video shows leaders including Trudeau, Johnson, the French president, Emmanuel Macron, the Dutch prime minister, Mark Rutte, and Princess Anne at the Buckingham Palace event on Tuesday evening.

Aaron Maté reacts as Dems officially move to impeach Trump

Pelosi Officially Asks Nadler to Prepare Articles of Impeachment

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi compared President Donald Trump to a despotic tyrant in a press conference Thursday and announced she has asked House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler to prepare articles of impeachment.

"The facts are uncontested," said Pelosi, a California Democrat. "The president abused his power for his own personal political benefit at the expense of our national security."

The House Intelligence Committee released its 300-page report on the president's abuse of power on Tuesday. The document details how Trump used the release of Congressionally-approved military aid to Ukraine to pressure that country's leader, President Volodymyr Zelensky, to publicly announce he was investigating Trump's potential 2020 election rival, former Vice President Joe Biden.

"The president leaves us no choice but to act," said Pelosi.

Dems' Impeachment Report Puts Devin Nunes in Middle of Trump's Ukraine Scandal

House Democrats’ new impeachment report reveals startling new details about one of President Trump’s chief Republican defenders in Congress: Rep. Devin Nunes.

The report lays out how Nunes held repeated phone calls with key players at the center of the Ukraine scandal, including indicted Soviet-born businessman Lev Parnas and Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, at key moments under investigation. And Democrats brought receipts: In the form of phone records subpoenaed from AT&T.

Nunes’ calls with an accused felon wrapped up in Trump’s Ukraine scandal deepen questions about the congressman’s own involvement. Most pressing of all: Why didn’t he disclose his contacts with figures in the drama, despite presiding over last month’s impeachment hearings as the top-ranking Republican on the House Intelligence Committee?

Democratic chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff, said Tuesday he would “reserve comment” about Nunes — but then went on to thrash Nunes for his apparent behavior anyway. “It is, I think, deeply concerning that at a time when the President of the United States was using the power of his office to dig up dirt on a political rival, that there may be evidence that there were members of congress complicit in that activity,” Schiff said. “There’s a lot more to learn about that, and I don’t want to state that that is an unequivocal fact. But the allegations are deeply concerning.”

Keiser Report: OK Boomer Economics

Lawsuit could force secretive network promoting rightwing laws into the open

Alec, the secretive “bill mill” responsible for spreading rightwing legislation across the US, is facing a legal challenge to force it to open up to public scrutiny in a test case that could threaten the existence of the controversial network.

A lawsuit filed on Wednesday in a superior court in Maricopa county, Arizona, questions the way that local state legislators are allowed to participate in Alec events. The filing is timed to mark the opening of Alec’s annual summit in Scottsdale, Arizona, in which elected lawmakers will be teaming up with corporate lobbyists to frame business-friendly legislation in sessions closed to the general public.

The suit argues that Alec – renowned for propagating virulent rightwing laws that attack unions, immigrants and protest groups among others – undermines democracy by replacing the allegiance of legislators to voters with allegiance to big business. It states: “Members of the Arizona public are precluded from presenting their views and interests in a critical stage of the legislative process, addressing policy implications, or otherwise engaging in a robust discussion necessary to the democratic process.”

The suit seeks to leverage Arizona’s “open meetings” law which requires all public bodies in the state to make their events accessible to citizens. Arizona state and the Arizona state legislature are defendants in the case. ... The rules apply to all gatherings where a quorum of public officials is present and where “they discuss, propose, or take legal action”.

Alec’s States & Nation Policy Summit opened on Wednesday at a resort in Scottsdale. Its key discussions will be held in private.

Sweden Provides Free Higher Education, Universal Healthcare, Free Daycare — Why Can’t the U.S.?

'What Cruelty Looks Like': Trump Finalizes Plan to Strip Food Aid From 750,000 Low-Income People by 2020

The Trump administration announced Wednesday that it has finalized a plan to tighten punitive work requirements for food stamp recipients, a move that would strip nutrition assistance from an estimated 750,000 low-income people by mid-2020.

"Pay attention. This is what cruelty looks like," tweeted the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights in response to the completed rule, which would be the first of a series of proposed food stamp cuts to take effect.

The rule change, which was first unveiled earlier this year, would restrict states' ability to exempt people without dependents from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program's work requirements. The rule is set to take effect April 1, 2020. "For able-bodied adults without dependents, U.S. law limits SNAP benefits to three months, unless recipients are working or in training for 20 hours a week," the Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday. "States can waive those limits in areas where unemployment runs 20% above the national rate, which was 3.6% in October."

The Trump administration's proposal to curtail states' ability to waive work requirements sparked a flood of outrage from aid groups, Democratic lawmakers, and ordinary people. During the rule's 60-day public comment period, tens of thousands of people decried the measure as an immoral attack on the most vulnerable by an administration that has worked tirelessly to fatten the pockets of the rich. ...

"The basics of the situation are clear," Rolling Stone's Patrick Reis wrote Tuesday. "When it came to tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy, Trump and Republicans felt the nation's finances were firm enough to give up more than $1,500,000,000,000. When it's time to spend a fraction of that to help poor people eat, that's when the well has supposedly run dry."

Fascism watch:

Attorney General Barr Wonders If Communities That Don't ‘Respect’ Police Should Have Police at All

Attorney General William Barr apparently thinks communities that don’t show police “respect” might not deserve police at all. It’s unclear what, exactly, Barr’s idea of demonstrating respect for police would look like, but he suggested to a room full of law enforcement that police protection should perhaps be contingent on communities showing support for police.

“But I think today, American people have to focus on something else, which is the sacrifice and the service that is given by our law enforcement officers,” Barr said Tuesdayat a Justice Department ceremony honoring police officers. “And they have to start showing, more than they do, the respect and support that law enforcement deserves - and if communities don’t give that support and respect, they might find themselves without the police protection they need.”

Barr compared police officers nowadays to “our brave troops” who served in Vietnam that “weren’t treated very well, in many cases, when they came home.” ...

Many observers also took the comments from Barr as thinly veiled jabs at communities of color that have protested police brutality. Leadership from American Bridge, a liberal lobbying and fundraising group, railed against his statements to HuffPost, which first reported on the speech from Barr. “The attorney general isn’t being subtle, and that shouldn’t surprise us considering this administration’s record,” American Bridge spokesperson Jeb Fain told HuffPost. “When it comes to communities of color, he sees justice and equal protection under the law as subject to conditions.”

Homeland Security proposal would allow facial-recognition scanning on all travelers — even citizens

The Department of Homeland Security wants to be able to use facial-recognition technology to identify all people entering and leaving the United States — including US citizens.

In a recent filing, the DHS proposed changing existing regulations "to provide that all travelers, including US citizens, may be required to be photographed upon entry and/or departure" from the United States, such as at airports. ...

Since the mid-aughts, any non-US citizen traveling to the United States gets their picture taken and fingerprints scanned on arrival, but this has not been a requirement for citizens. In 2017 President Donald Trump signed an executive order to accelerate a full roll out of airport biometrics for all domestic and international travelers. This was also supported by the Obama Administration.

Yet while the DHS said the proposed regulation change is meant to help spot criminals and prevent travel-document fraud, the American Civil Liberties Union noted on Monday that the filing contradicts US Customs and Border Protection's previous statement that US citizens would not be subject to such surveillance.

Trump’s Pick to Lead Homelessness Council Thinks Free Food Is ‘Enabling’

The Trump administration’s new pick to lead the federal response to homelessness is known for advocating against free food and other “enabling“ services. He prefers massive shelters that house the poor temporarily — sometimes under threat of arrest.

Robert Marbut, a consultant for cities looking to end homelessness, has been tapped to lead the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness — a group the administration has repeatedly tried to eliminate. He wouldn’t be named to the position until a council vote on Dec. 10, the group's first scheduled meeting since the previous, Obama-era director, Matthew Doherty, was ousted without a clear reason last month.

Marbut’s potential appointment could mean more disappointment for homeless advocates who’ve pleaded with the administration to find housing solutions rather than the big shelters or criminalization efforts the administration appears to support. Marbut’s views more closely mirror those espoused by Trump’s Council of Economic Advisers in a September report that warned living on the streets and inside some nicer, more private shelters had become too “tolerable” for homeless people. However, Marbut in the past has said he also doesn’t support outright criminalization or jailing people instead of providing some sort of service.

the horse race

Bernie tops the field in California as Warren slides

Bernie Sanders Tops New California Poll—But You Wouldn't Have Known It By Reading This LA Times Headline

A new poll released Thursday found that Sen. Bernie Sanders is leading the 2020 Democratic presidential field in California—but you wouldn't have known it by reading the Los Angeles Times' original headline on the survey, which mentioned Sen. Elizabeth Warren and former Vice President Joe Biden, but not the senator from Vermont.

"Warren and Biden lose ground in California's shifting 2020 Democratic race," read the newspaper's initial headline which, in the face of backlash, was later changed to, "Warren and Biden lose ground, Sanders moves ahead in California's shifting 2020 Democratic race."

While the Times changed its headline, it did not alter the body of the story, which doesn't mention Sanders until the third paragraph.

"The Democratic presidential contest in California remains extremely fluid—but not enough, at least so far, to provide an opening for Michael Bloomberg," reads the story's lede paragraph.

The poll, conducted for the Times by the U.C. Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies, found that Sanders is leading the California presidential primary race at 24% support and has gained 5% since September.

Warren polled in second place at 22% (down 7% since September), Biden in third at 14% (down 6% since September), and South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg in fourth at 12% (up 6% since September). The survey's margin of error is plus or minus 4%.

The newspaper's treatment of Sanders on this poll was for many observers just the latest example of a trend by many mainstream outlets of ignoring, sidelining, or otherwise downplaying the Sanders presidential campaign—a phenomenon some refer to as the #BernieBlackout.

Nina Turner: The Bernie media blackout is real

I guess death threats are the way a nation with hundreds of millions of guns lets you know you've made a dent in U.S. politics.

Yang campaign contacts FBI over death threats in New Hampshire

Businessman Andrew Yang's presidential campaign says it has contacted the FBI after receiving several death threats during its latest swing through New Hampshire.

Emails sent to Yang's campaign and reviewed by The Hill showed a user going by the name "HitmanYang" threatening to shoot members of Yang's camp while they were in the Granite State.

Many of the emails referenced the campaign’s tweets, threatening that if the number of tweets from the candidate reached an unspecified threshold that members of the campaign would be shot.

One of the emails suggested that more than one individual was involved and that money had been pooled to bet on how many tweets Yang's campaign would send over a span of about a week.

Saagar Enjeti: Bitter Hillary still blaming her failures on Bernie

the evening greens

Long-term damage from logging hits ability of Canada's forests to regenerate

Canada’s logging industry has a larger and more damaging impact on forest health than previously thought, a new report has found, casting doubt on the sustainability of forestry management in the country. The findings also raise questions about Canada’s ability to make good on its international climate commitments, which partly rely on forests for carbon sequestration.

In a report released on Wednesday, the Toronto-based conservation group Wildlands League found that “logging scars” – the vestigial remains of roads, landings and turnoffs meant to accommodate heavy machinery – suppress forest regeneration. Because the dirt roads are so heavily compacted, seedlings have little chance of successfully repopulating the area.

Using drones to survey the 27 sites in northern Ontario, Trevor Hesselink, a land-use planner and former forestry policy analyst, found that the scars made up anywhere from 10% to nearly 25% of the areas where forests had once been logged. “The extent of the scarring, and getting on the ground to see the longevity of the suppression effect, surprised me the most,” Hesselink told the Guardian. ...

While the province makes up a small part of the country’s overall logging industry, Hesselink and his team believe the long-term damage to forests is probably more common than many realize. The practice of “full tree harvest” – where entire trees are cut down and moved to a landing area to be processed – is also used in western provinces, where the logging industry is more widespread.

Climate models have accurately predicted global heating, study finds

Climate models have accurately predicted global heating for the past 50 years, a study has found.

The findings confirm that since as early as 1970, climate scientists have had a solid fundamental understanding of the Earth’s climate system and the ability to project how it will respond to continued increases in the greenhouse effect. Since climate models have accurately anticipated global temperature changes so far, we can expect projections of future warming to be reliable as well.

The research examines the accuracy of 17 models published over the past five decades, beginning with a 1970 study and including 1981 and 1988 models led by James Hansen, the former Nasa climatologist who testified to the US Senate in 1988 about the impacts of anthropogenic global heating. The study also includes the first four reports by the UN’s intergovernmental panel on climate change (IPCC).

“We found that climate models – even those published back in the 1970s – did remarkably well, with 14 out of the 17 model projections indistinguishable from what actually occurred,” said Zeke Hausfather, of the University of California, Berkeley, and lead author of the paper.

Trump supporters' private border wall blocked due to concern for butterflies

A judge in South Texas has ordered a group of supporters of Donald Trump, some with rightwing ties, not to build their controversial planned private border wall on a section of land near the Rio Grande.

State district Judge Keno Vasquez on Tuesday issued a temporary restraining order against a group called We Build the Wall, which raised $25m through crowdfunding and other means after promising to build its own private barrier on parts of the border between the US and Texas.

Vasquez set a 17 December hearing for We Build the Wall and its founder, military veteran Brian Kolfage, to appear in court in the south-eastern Texas city of Edinburg, near McAllen on the border. The judge said the project risked causing “imminent and irreparable harm” to the area. ...

The National Butterfly Center and the advocacy group EarthJustice issued a statement on Wednesday calling We Build the Wall’s plans “illegal”.

“The incredible biodiversity found here, supported and enhanced by 17 years of labor and millions of dollars of investment, is integral to the health of a fragile, but vibrant ecosystem and warrants protection against this unlawful incursion,” said Jeffrey Glassberg, president of the North American Butterfly Association, in a statement.

Radiation hotspots 'found near Fukushima Olympic site'

Greenpeace has said it detected radiation hotspots near the starting point of the upcoming Olympic torch relay in Fukushima. Japan’s environment ministry said the area was generally safe but it was in talks with local communities to survey the region before the 2020 Games, which open on 24 July.

The government is keen to use the Olympics to showcase Fukushima’s recovery from the 2011 tsunami. It intends to use J-Village, a sports complex located about 12 miles from the nuclear plant that was damaged in the disaster, as the starting point for the Japan leg of the torch relay taking place in March. ...

Greenpeace urged fresh radiation monitoring and continued cleanup efforts, saying it had detected some spots with radiation levels as high as 1.7 microsieverts per hour when measured one metre above the surface. This compared with the national safety standard of 0.23 microsieverts per hour, and a normal reading in Tokyo of about 0.04 microsieverts per hour. The hotspots showed a reading of 71 microsieverts per hour at the surface level, Greenpeace said.

Also of Interest

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

Intercepted podcast: George Bush, Barack Obama, and the CIA Torture Cover-Up

How to Commit War Crimes – and Get Away With It

Moving Jobs to Mexico Was a Feature, Not a Bug, of NAFTA

In the Midst of the Biggest Wall Street Bailout Since the Financial Crisis, the Fed Presents Alice-in-Wonderland Testimony for Today’s House Hearing

Adam Schiff’s Capacious Definition of Bribery Was Tried in 1787

Germany's SPD steps back from pulling plug on Merkel coalition

Consulting Giant McKinsey Suggested "Detention Savings Opportunities" That Even ICE Staff Viewed as Too Harsh on Immigrants

'Disgraceful Sham': George Zimmerman Sues Parents of Trayvon Martin, Others for $100 Million

Trump's Rightward Shift of Federal Courts Advances as Senate Confirms Anti-Choice Sarah Pitlyk

Many Americans are ready for a black woman president. Just not Kamala Harris

Rising: Yang's dire warning for Democrats on impeachment

Rising: Krystal Ball demolishes Mayor Pete's elite privilege on free college

Rising: Why all the candidates hate Pete Buttigieg

Rising: South Bend Councilman torches Pete Buttigieg, is endorsing Bernie or Warren

A Little Night Music

Arthur Conley - Sweet Soul Music

Arthur Conley - Let Nothing Separate Us

Arthur Conley - I Can't Stop (No, No, No)

Arthur Conley - Get Yourself Another Fool

Arthur Conley - Hand and Glove

Arthur Conley - Funky Street

Arthur Conley - Rome (Wasn't Built In a Day)

Arthur Conley - Burning Fire

Arthur Conley - I'm Gonna Forget About You

Arthur Conley - Love Got Me

Arthur Conley - Baby what you want me to do

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AG Barr...

apparently thinks communities that don’t show police “respect” might not deserve police at all

for once, it seems the 'law and order' folks have stumbled into a brilliant awakening

of course we don't deserve being mistreated by the cops

guess he forgot about the part of earning respect?

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May we be united and strong -- laurel

joe shikspack's picture


heh, barr ought to watch out. those communities could organize their own self-organized peace keeping organization, demand back their share of taxes that go to police organizations and prosper.

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mimi's picture

to have soften the hearts and minds of wall-building-Donald-lovers. In my next life I wanna be a butterfly and dare not to be close to the meany American dreamers.

I am outta here. Good Night for today. And thanks for your work, Mister Shikspack.

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joe shikspack's picture


a butterfly doesn't seem a bad thing to be. have a good incarnation! Smile

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OzoneTom's picture

"...communities that don’t show police “respect” might not deserve police at all"

Although I am confident that they will get plenty of "policing" nonetheless.

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joe shikspack's picture


heh, barr needs to address whether all police departments are uniformly worthy of respect before he goes about demanding that people pay obeisance.

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Thanks for yet another great roundup of news & Blues, joe.

Reg Prof. Jonathan Turley, who was the Republican pick in yesterday's hearings and an impeachment skeptic(for the lack of a better word) :
Remember way back when he used to appear periodically on Maddow's show (yes, I used to watch it once upon a time. ). He was livid at Obama for not investigating Bush-Cheney gang on torture etc. haven't followed him a lot, but putting two & two together using my limited knowledge of him, me thinks he goes by the book not wedded to any party.

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joe shikspack's picture


turley is a decent guy. i've occasionally found him espousing some things that i disagree with, but most of what i've seen from him over a couple of decades has been good arguments and good positions.

i didn't follow the impeachment circus closely, but i did hear some clips of his testimony which seemed quite reasonable.

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mimi's picture

@Funkygal @Funkygal
Turley: Democrats offering passion over proof in Trump impeachment
Are you referring to his opinion piece here?

The most dangerous place for an academic is often between the House and the impeachment of an American president. I knew that going into the first hearing of the House Judiciary Committee on the impeachment of Donald Trump.... Yet I remained a tad naive in hoping that an academic discussion on the history and standards of it might offer a brief hiatus from hateful rhetoric on both sides....

In my testimony Wednesday, I lamented that, as in the impeachment of President Clinton from 1998 to 1999, there is an intense “rancor and rage” and “stifling intolerance” that blinds people to opposing views.

My call for greater civility and dialogue may have been the least successful argument I made to the committee.

Before I finished my testimony, my home and office were inundated with threatening messages and demands that I be fired from George Washington University for arguing that, while a case for impeachment can be made, it has not been made on this record.

I just wonder, if I am too far away from Washington DC, or too dumb, or too old, or too naive or have not enough direct exposure to msm media of US TV, to be able to follow all these stink-bomb-throwing contests.

I like Turley. Each time I listened to him he made me at least 'thinking something over again'. Not that I succeeded in being a little bit more clear on the issues at hand, but at least he prevented me from spewing hateful rhetoric unhinged. That is good enough for me to respect his words.

PS: Apologies if the link to Turley's article has alreadc been posted on C99p and/or the EB. I might have missed it, as I do miss so many things these days.

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We gotta arm countries abroad to suit our own imperial goals ya know.

(By the way, IIRC, Obama suggested food stamp cuts to fund his education deform proposals).
It's all going according to plan.

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@Funkygal stood up to the Repubs. From the same universe where we heard gems like Kamala Harris dropped out bcos racism, sexism blah blah.

Meanwhile, a Kamala hit from the vaults:

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dervish's picture


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"Obama promised transparency, but Assange is the one who brought it."

joe shikspack's picture


yep, when i heard karlan go full bushie warmonger, my jaw dropped. i mean, it's one thing to adopt their policies, but adopting their rhetoric, too, is just rendering satire inoperative.

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Azazello's picture

Here's local coverage of that ALEC lawsuit: Coalition files suit, saying lawmakers are violating Arizona open meetings law
Also in this morning's Daily Star: Tucson joins Pima County in lawsuit against border wall construction in 3 preserves
Tucker tells the truth, What is destroying rural America?

Jimmy Dore will be LIVE in about 10 minutes, here:
Democrats Impeachment Experts Fail Hard


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joe shikspack's picture


that was a good piece from tucker carlson. it's funny how often blind pigs are finding acorns these days.

also, glad to see that there is some cooperative action against trump's wall:

Several environmental groups, including the Tucson-based Center for Biological Diversity, have sued the Trump administration for waiving environmental reviews and other laws to speed up border wall construction through protected areas, including in Pima County. They have sought a decision of the Supreme Court to halt the construction in Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge and the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area.

Tucson council members voted unanimously during Tuesday’s study session to participate amicus curiae — as an impartial adviser in the case, without becoming a party to the suit. Pima County supervisors similarly voted last month.

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mimi's picture

@Azazello @Azazello (edited various formating errors)
good in an honest explanation of what Hedge Fund managers can do to the country.

When he described the crippling decay and decomposition of the rural or smaller town and industrial factory areas surrounding big cities, I remembered the first big confusion I had, when I came to the US/America.

On my first trip from Wasington DC to NYC in 1982, I passed by boarded-up housing neighborhoods and destroyed, deadly silent areas of factories, so haunting that in my mind I thought they were worse than some areas I had seen in former East Germany passing the former GDR from Hamburg to West-Berlin.

I was just so perplexed and never understood why that happened and why those debilitating destroyed areas were never cleaned up and rebuilt. They looked to me like areas in Germany after wwII, where bombs had destroyed so many neighborhoods in Berlin and Hamburg (these were the only cities I had seen in person - and like someone else said here - I believe only what I see in person).

Now the way how Tucker spoke about Hedge Fund managers, I just couldn't forget that Jeff Bezos never was a bookseller before he became 'the world's largest bookseller with over a million book titles in his 'store', but was a Hedge Fund manager at Wall Street. Just that in 1996 probably very few people knew that and weren't aware of it. I don't remember when I read about it the first time, but it wasn't in 1994.

Jeff Bezos hasn’t always had the golden touch: Here’s what the Amazon founder was doing in his 20s
Among other little tid-bits of this article this is what I refer to:

He took a job at the then two-year-old hedge fund D.E. Shaw and became one of the company’s vice presidents in just four years. As a V.P., Bezos was tasked with researching new business opportunities on the rapidly growing Internet, which was held tremendous potential in the early 1990s.

That means now I can feel 'hedged' (which according to my online dictionary means something like 'secured') even by the reporting of a die-hard FOX news anchor like Tucker.

God seem to have a lot of fun to swirl my mind around and make me dizzy...

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Bollox Ref's picture

since 1815 and the exit of Napoleon. They have effective, defensive, armed forces, but neutrality pays dividends over two centuries. Imagine if the US hadn't fought a war since 1812.

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from a reasonably stable genius.

joe shikspack's picture

@Bollox Ref

heh, if the u.s. hadn't fought a war since 1812, i would imagine that the distribution of wealth would be very different. on the other hand, i'm not sure that the u.s. civil war was avoidable given the economic forces contending.

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Rather Orwellian the way that cuts to pensions, etc., are always called "reform".

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joe shikspack's picture


they say that we don't make anything in the u.s. anymore, but it seems to me like we lead the world in the construction and deployment of euphemisms.

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enhydra lutris's picture

Smith, heh. So Max Kaiser sees feudalism, eh? Perhaps here, but what of France, Africa and China?

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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

heh, i'm sure that the ambition of the billionaires angling to become trillionaires is to spread serfdom globally.

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snoopydawg's picture

The transcript.

"You're a damn liar, man," Biden clapped back. "That's not true. And no one has ever said that."

"Look, the reason I'm running is because I've been around a long time and I know more than most people know. And I can get things done, that's why I'm running."

"And you wanna check my shape, let's do pushups together man, let's run, let's do whatever you want to do, let's take an IQ test. OK?"

"Number two, no one has said my son has done anything wrong and I did not on any occasion, and no one has ever said it..."

To which the man replies, "I didn't say you were doin' anyting wrong."

"You said I set up my son to work at an oil company, isn't that what you said? Get your words straight, Jack."

(The man said it was a gas company).

"You don't have anymore backbone than Trump," the man retorts.

Some have noted that Biden appears to call the guy fat.

Simone is saying that ByeDone said facts, not fat. You decide. Either way to attack someone like he did is just over the line. Every time someone has asked Joe about his son he gets ticked off. This is not going away if he becomes the candidate. Trump will continue to nail him on it.

Pelosi is a hypocrite of the worst kind. She quoted the founding fathers for why she is impeaching Trump. But every member has been captured by the banks and corporations and do not put our interests first. She says she is upholding the constitution, but look at how many of our rights have been taken away. The 4th amendment is pretty much gone as is the first when it comes to our right to peacefully assemble to protest the government. Ask Chelsea about her 5th amendment rights.

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

@snoopydawg This is the second voter he’s yelled at in a couple of weeks. Bad look, Joe. Of course, I’ve seen the theory that his supporters just want a Trump on their side (they think) so it probably isn’t going to hurt him there. Still, I’m sure his people are trying to figure out how they keep him away from the public for the next couple of months.

Also, Ukraine is a real sensitive area for Mr. No Malarkey I didn’t do anything wrong. I’ll bet he’s hoping they can end this impeachment without him getting drug into it.

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joe shikspack's picture


i think that it's pretty obvious that if biden is the nominee, trump will reduce him to a blithering, frothing mess, screaming at trump to get off his lawn in no time flat.

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snoopydawg's picture


Did Biden know that at the beginning and is it a good idea to yell at someone else's supporters if you think you will need their vote?

Hard to believe that she worked for Bernie last time.

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

snoopydawg's picture


The crowd may have backed ByeDone, Simone, but it doesn't look like others do.

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

Raggedy Ann's picture

I was going to make a comment to snoopy about Biden, but I'll just drop it here. I just think he gets heated because he has something to hide. I know - I'm the last to figure that out, but just reading that string above speaks volumes. I did not want to watch the exchange or listen to bye-done ~ I could tell just by reading about how heated he got. I'm glad he's responding that way, though because he's showing who he really is. My response - UGH, go home.

Have a great evening, folks! Pleasantry

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“The trouble [with injustice] is that once you see it, you can’t unsee it. And once you’ve seen it, keeping quiet, saying nothing, becomes as political an act as speaking out. There is no innocence. Either way, you’re accountable.”
-- Arundhati Roy

joe shikspack's picture

@Raggedy Ann

it should be pretty clear to anyone paying attention that biden is not capable of taking on trump and that a vote for biden is a vote for four more years of trump.

i guess we'll see how badly the democrats want four more years of trump to rail against and raise money off of his twitter emanations.

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OzoneTom's picture

@joe shikspack
Thanks Joe, that is something that cannot be pointed-out too often.

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snoopydawg's picture

@Raggedy Ann

To call someone a liar when you want others to vote for you sure takes brass ones. Then in the second one he basically said the same thing. And he has got to keep his hands off people. He put both hands on the guy's shoulders which is a sign of dominance and control. What would the secret service do if he had put his hands on Joe or flipped his off him? He is an arrogant git and I hope he gets nowhere near the WH. He thinks he is entitled to it.

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

Raggedy Ann's picture

Hillary in drag.....

He is an arrogant git and I hope he gets nowhere near the WH. He thinks he is entitled to it.

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“The trouble [with injustice] is that once you see it, you can’t unsee it. And once you’ve seen it, keeping quiet, saying nothing, becomes as political an act as speaking out. There is no innocence. Either way, you’re accountable.”
-- Arundhati Roy

mimi's picture

the betrayed comrades ... @lotlizard, @Mark from Queens, @QMS, @janis b

How East Germany’s Answer to Leonard Cohen Was Kicked Out of the GDR

From old times passed by, it still rings a bell in me. Seems to be a much needed 'Ermutigung=Encouragement' today.

His very public expulsion (Bierman's) was the first of its kind, and it created a seismic shock wave within his circles of colleagues and fans. Biermann refused to seek West German citizenship and, while stateless, maintained allegiance to the GDR (or at least its ideals). In response, the citizens of the GDR reaffirmed their loyalty to Biermann: A mass exodus of East German artists and intellectuals followed in Biermann’s wake, as many believed it was better to leave the system than attempt to fix it.

Most damningly, the country’s Writers’ Union published a petition in December 1976 that was signed by many of the state’s most prominent authors. Once the petition was shared with the foreign press, there was no illusion as to who had been in the wrong in the case of Wolf Biermann. Whatever image the Politburo was trying to project to the outside world, its own citizens were now determined to tell their own truths.

Nothing for Ungood.

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