The Evening Blues - 5-25-20



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The day's news roundup + tonight's musical feature: Weldon "Juke Boy" Bonner

Hey! Good Evening!

This evening's music features Texas blues singer Weldon "Juke Boy" Bonner. Enjoy!

Weldon "Juke Boy" Bonner - Call Me Juke Boy

“The state is a fragile organization, and the statesman does not have the moral right to risk its survival on ethical restraint.”

-- Henry Kissinger


News and Opinion

The CIA’s Murderous Practices, Disinformation Campaigns, and Interference in Other Countries Still Shape the World Order and U.S. Politics

In the weeks before the 2016 presidential election, the most powerful former leaders of the Central Intelligence Agency did everything they could to elect Hillary Clinton and defeat Donald Trump. President Obama’s former acting CIA chief Michael Morrell published a full-throated endorsement of Clinton in the New York Times and claimed “Putin ha[s] recruited Mr. Trump as an unwitting agent of the Russian Federation,” while George W. Bush’s post-9/11 CIA and NSA Chief, Gen. Michael Hayden, writing in the Washington Post, refrained from endorsing Clinton outright but echoed Morrell by accusing Trump of being a “useful fool, some naif, manipulated by Moscow” and sounding “a little bit the conspiratorial Marxist.” Meanwhile, the intelligence community under James Clapper and John Brennan fed morsels to both the Obama DOJ and the U.S. media to suggest a Trump/Russia conspiracy and fuel what became the Russiagate investigation.

In his extraordinary election-advocating op-ed, Hayden, Bush/Cheney’s CIA chief, candidly explained the reasons for the CIA’s antipathy for Trump: namely, the GOP candidate’s stated opposition to allowing CIA regime change efforts in Syria to expand as well as his opposition to arming Ukrainians with lethal weapons to fight Russia (supposedly “pro-Putin” positions which, we are now all supposed to forget, Obama largely shared).

As has been true since President Harry Truman’s creation of the CIA after World War II, interfering in other countries and dictating or changing their governments — through campaigns of mass murder, military coups, arming guerrilla groups, the abolition of democracy, systemic disinformation, and the imposition of savage despots — is regarded as a divine right, inherent to American exceptionalism. Anyone who questions that or, worse, opposes it and seeks to impede it (as the CIA perceived Trump was) is of suspect loyalties at best. ...

The all-consuming Russiagate narrative that dominated the first three years of Trump’s presidency further served to elevate the CIA as a noble and admirable institution while whitewashing its grotesque history. Liberal conventional wisdom held that Russian Facebook ads, Twitter bots and the hacking and release of authentic, incriminating DNC emails was some sort of unprecedented, off-the-charts, out-of-the-ordinary crime-of-the-century attack, with several leading Democrats (including Hillary Clinton) actually comparing it to 9/11 and Pearl Harbor.

The level of historical ignorance and/or jingostic American exceptionalism necessary to believe this is impossible to describe. ... This propaganda was sustainable because the recent history and the current function of the CIA has largely been suppressed. Thankfully, a just-released book by journalist Vincent Bevins — who spent years as a foreign correspondent covering two countries still marred by brutal CIA interference: Brazil for the Los Angeles Times and Indonesia for the Washington Post — provides one of the best, most informative and most illuminating histories yet of this agency and the way it has shaped the actual, rather than the propagandistic, U.S. role in the world. ... I speak to Bevins about his book, about what the CIA really is and how it has shaped the world we still inhabit, and why a genuine understanding of both international and domestic politics is impossible without a clear grasp on this story.

Mike Flynn Just Might Walk Free After All

Mike Flynn might get to walk away scot-free after all.

In a surprise move Thursday evening, an appeals court ordered the judge in Flynn’s criminal case to explain his refusal to drop the prosecution against President Trump’s former national security adviser. Flynn had twice pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI during the Russia investigation, but Attorney General Bill Barr’s Department of Justice decided to drop the case.

The highly unusual order signals that a recent Hail Mary appeal filed by Flynn’s legal team actually has a fighting chance, legal observers told VICE News. Before, a lot of folks thought Flynn’s attempt to go over Judge Emmet Sullivan’s head, known in fancy legal-speak as a “writ of mandamus,” would mostly succeed in making Sullivan very, very angry. “This order suggests that the court is taking seriously Flynn’s request for a writ of mandamus, and his argument that Judge Sullivan may not deny the government’s motion to dismiss,” said Barbara McQuade, a former U.S. Attorney in Detroit.

Now, it’s Judge Sullivan who must explain himself. Sullivan, who has previously wondered aloud whether Flynn might have committed “treason,” has to justify himself to the higher court within the next 10 days. ...

Flynn’s legal drama now looks set to play out over the summer in spectacular fashion no matter which way it goes, in the middle of Trump’s campaign for reelection.

FBI Director Wray orders internal review of Flynn investigation

FBI Director Christopher Wray, who was criticized earlier this month by President Donald Trump following a review of former national security adviser Michael Flynn's case, on Friday announced he has ordered an internal review of the investigation.

Wray, in a statement, said he ordered the Bureau's Inspection Division to conduct an after-action review of the Flynn investigation to "evaluate the relevant facts related to the FBI's role in the Flynn investigation and determine whether any current employees engaged in misconduct" and to "evaluate any FBI policies, procedures, or controls implicated by the Flynn investigation and identify any improvements that might be warranted."

Trump administration discussed conducting first U.S. nuclear test in decades

The Trump administration has discussed whether to conduct the first U.S. nuclear test explosion since 1992 in a move that would have far-reaching consequences for relations with other nuclear powers and reverse a decades-long moratorium on such actions, said a senior administration official and two former officials familiar with the deliberations.

The matter came up at a meeting of senior officials representing the top national security agencies May 15, following accusations from administration officials that Russia and China are conducting low-yield nuclear tests — an assertion that has not been substantiated by publicly available evidence and that both countries have denied.

A senior administration official, who like others spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe the sensitive nuclear discussions, said that demonstrating to Moscow and Beijing that the United States could “rapid test” could prove useful from a negotiating standpoint as Washington seeks a trilateral deal to regulate the arsenals of the biggest nuclear powers.

The meeting did not conclude with any agreement to conduct a test, but a senior administration official said the proposal is “very much an ongoing conversation.” ...

One U.S. official said a nuclear test could help pressure the Chinese into joining a trilateral agreement with the United States and Russia, but some nonproliferation advocates say such a move is risky.

US threatens nuclear arms race 'into oblivion' as it kills another treaty and mulls bomb tests

Fumbling the nuclear football: is Trump blundering to arms control chaos?

The Trump administration signaled this week that it was ready to get back in the business of nuclear arms control. A newly appointed envoy, Marshall Billingslea, made his first public remarks to announce talks with Russia are about to resume. “We have concrete ideas for our next interaction, and we’re finalizing the details as we speak,” Billingslea said.

The fact that this relaunch came on the same day that the US was pulling out of the Open Skies Treaty (OST) – the third withdrawal from an arms control agreement under the Trump presidency – underlined the contradictions at the heart of the administration’s approach towards nuclear weapons.

According to those who have worked for him on the issue, Trump is preoccupied with the existential threat of nuclear war, and resolved that he alone can conjure a grand arms control bargain that would save the planet – and win him the Nobel prize. But at the same time, he is clearly thrilled by the destructive power that the US arsenal gives him, boasting about the size of his nuclear button, and a mystery “super duper” missile he this week claimed the US had up its sleeve.

Administration officials have been left to try to confect a coherent-sounding policy out of such contradictory impulses – so far without success.

Do You Consent To The New Cold War?

The world’s worst Putin puppet is escalating tensions with Russia even further, with the Trump administration looking at withdrawal from more nuclear treaties in the near future.

In addition to planning on withdrawing from the Open Skies Treaty and knocking back Moscow’s attempts to renew the soon-to-expire New START Treaty, Trump is also contemplating breaking the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban treaty by conducting the first US nuclear test explosion since 1992, reportedly as an attempt to bring China to the table for joining New START.

Moon of Alabama has already published a solid breakdown of all this, outlining the absence of evidence for the Trump administration’s justifications of its treaty withdrawals and explaining why China has nothing whatsoever to gain by signing on to a trilateral New START Treaty. I have nothing to add to this, other than to ask a simple question.


The question I want to ask is, do you consent to this?

Do you consent to steadily mounting cold war escalations against not one but two nuclear-armed nations?

Do you consent to having a bunch of unseen military personnel rolling the dice every day on the gamble that we won’t wipe ourselves off the face of this earth in the confusion and chaos of rising hostilities due to miscommunication or technical malfunction, as nearly happened many times during the last cold war?

Do you consent to a slow-motion third world war where an oligarch-led alliance of powerful nations works tirelessly to absorb new nations into its imperial blob by any means necessary?

Do you consent to a world where weapons of armageddon are brandished about by imbeciles with inadequacy issues?

Do you consent to a world ruled by people who are so sociopathic that they are willing to inflict endless mass military slaughter and risk a nuclear holocaust just to have more control over the world population?

Do you consent to a world where we risk literally everything because a few overeducated, under-mothered think tankers were able to market an idea called “unipolarity” at key points of interest after the fall of the Soviet Union?

Do you consent to a world where powerful governments team up like a bunch of bitchy mean girls against weaker nations that aren’t in their clique?

Do you consent to governments spending lives, resources and treasure on bloodbaths around the globe and treating terrestrial life itself like some trivial plaything instead of ensuring the thriving of their own populations?

Does this seem like health to you?

Does this seem like sanity to you?

Is any of this something you want? Something you consent to?

Of course not. These questions are all redundant. Nobody with a healthy mind and a clear picture of what’s going on would consent to this madness, no matter what nation they live in.

This whole insane model was rolled out without your consent. You were never asked if you consented, because the answer would have been no.

Nobody gives their conscious and informed consent to this. The new cold war is as consensual as sex after a Rohypnol-spiked drink, and the illusion of consent is just as nefariously and artificially manufactured. People are roofied into sedation by mass media propaganda and endless diversion from reality, and then power has its way with us.

Benjamin Netanyahu appears in court on corruption charges

Defiantly railing against attempts to “overthrow” him before donning a face mask to enter court, Benjamin Netanyahu sat for the first day of his high-profile corruption trial, which threatens to put Israel’s longest-serving leader behind bars and open deep divisions within the country.

Speaking in the corridors of the courthouse ahead of the hearing, Netanyahu decried police and prosecutors he accused of attempting to topple him. “When there is a strong rightwing leader like me, everything is permitted to bring him down,” he said, flanked by loyal ministers. “This is an attempt to overthrow us.”

At the start of the hour-long proceedings, one of the judges – also in face masks and behind clear plastic screens – asked Netanyahu if he had read and understood the charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust. He responded: “Yes, your Honour.”

His lawyer argued for the court to grant a three-month delay to deal with the huge caseload of evidence. The case, with hundreds of witnesses, could last months if not years.

Iran Warns US Not to Interfere with Venezuelan Oil Flotilla

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Saturday warned the United States not to interfere with a shipment of oil bound for Venezuela after the South American nation said it would provide an armed escort for the tankers.

In a statement posted on his website, Rouhani said the United States had created “unacceptable conditions” in different parts of the world, but that Iran would “by no means” be the one to initiate conflict.

“If our tankers in the Caribbean or anywhere in the world face any problems caused by the Americans, they will face problems as well,“ he said. “We hope the Americans will not make a mistake.”

A flotilla of five tankers carrying Iranian fuel for gasoline-starved Venezuela is approaching the Caribbean, with the first vessel, Iranian-flagged tanker Fortune, expected to reach Venezeula's waters on Sunday. The Fortune has been navigating with its satellite signal on since it passed the Suez Canal earlier in May. The four other vessels are following the same route across the Atlantic Ocean.

Venezuela said Wednesday that planes and ships from the nation’s armed forces will escort the tankers in case of any U.S. aggression. 

A force of U.S. vessels, including Navy destroyers and other combat ships, patrol the Caribbean on what U.S. officials call a drug interdiction mission. Venezuelan officials paint them as a threat, but U.S. officials have not announced any plans to intercept the Iranian tankers.

House to consider amendment blocking warrantless web browsing surveillance

The House will consider an amendment that would block law enforcement from being able to access web browsing data without a warrant when voting on legislation reauthorizing surveillance programs next week.

The amendment will be brought by Reps. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) and Warren Davidson (R-Ohio), whose office confirmed Friday evening that a deal was struck with leadership to have the amendment considered. Politico first reported on the deal. ...

The amendment will closely mirror the one brought by Sens. Steve Daines (R-Mont.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) during debate in the Senate on reauthorizing the USA Freedom Act.

That effort fell just one vote short of the 60 vote threshold needed to pass. Several senators who were expected to vote in favor, including Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), were not present for the session.

The version of the Senate bill without the Daines-Wyden amendment was approved 80-16 last week, sending it back to the House. Pressure on the House to resurrect the failed amendment has been high, with major internet companies and privacy associations sending a letter to House leadership earlier Friday urging for it to be supported.

China raises US trade tensions with warning of ‘new cold war’

The prospects of a trade war between China and the western economies ratcheted up on Sunday as Beijing accused the US of pushing relations towards a “new cold war”.

“China has no intention to change, still less replace the United States,” China’s foreign minister, Wang Yi, said on Sunday in the latest escalation in tensions between the world’s two largest economies. “It’s time for the United States to give up its wishful thinking of changing China and stopping 1.4 billion people in their historic march toward modernisation.”

He said US political attacks on China over the coronavirus and global trade matters “are taking China-US relations hostage and pushing our two countries to the brink of a new cold war”.

Wuhan lab says its bat strains were not Covid-19 as US nears 100,000 deaths

The virology lab in Wuhan, the city at the heart of the outbreak, was working on three live strains of bat coronavirus, but none of them match the one that has caused the Covid-19 pandemic, its director has said.

Wang Yanyi, the director of the Wuhan Institute of Virology, told Chinese state broadcaster CGTN that the closest genetic match to the virus spreading around the world was only 79.8%, adding that claims made by US president Donald Trump and others that the virus could have leaked from the facility were “pure fabrication”.

She said: “Our institute first received the clinical sample of the unknown pneumonia on December 30 last year … We didn’t have any knowledge before that, nor had we ever encountered, researched or kept the virus. In fact, like everyone else, we didn’t even know the virus existed. How could it have leaked from our lab when we never had it?”

Trump and US secretary of state Mike Pompeo previously claimed to have a “significant amount of evidence” proving the virus came from a lab but Pompeo later backed away from that claim. He said earlier this month in an interview with Breitbart: “We know it began in Wuhan, but we don’t know from where or from whom, and those are important things.”

The interview with Wang comes as China has begun to hit back against accusations it is to blame for the pandemic.

Coronavirus cases have exploded in Brazil, Latin America's largest economy

'Incalculable loss': New York Times covers front page with 1,000 Covid-19 death notices

As the US approaches the grim milestone of 100,000 coronavirus deaths, the New York Times has filled the entire front page of Sunday’s paper with the death notices of victims from across the country.

In a decision the paper said was intended to convey the vastness and variety of the tragedy, the front page is a simple list of names and personal details taken from obituaries around the US.

The headline is “US deaths near 100,000, an incalculable loss”, with a sub-heading that reads: “They were not simply names on a list. They were us.”

The entire list, which continues inside, numbers nearly 1,000 names – a fraction of the total loss of life in the US during the outbreak so far.

As Nation Mourns 100,000 Dead, Trump Goes Golfing

President Donald J. Trump, who has faced mounting criticism for his administration’s mishandling of the coronavirus crisis and his lack of empathy throughout, decided to leave the White House on Saturday to play golf.

Trump visited his Trump National Golf Club located just outside Washington, D.C., in Sterling, Virginia.

By CNN’s count, this was the president's 357th visit to one of his properties and his 265th trip to one of his golf clubs during his presidency.

Chicago: black people are 30% of its population but 60% of its Covid-19 deaths

Coronavirus has taken a heavy toll on Chicago, with nearly 65,000 confirmed infections in Cook county and about 3,000 deaths. But the virus has hit black Chicagoans the hardest, shining a spotlight on racial inequalities that existed long before the pandemic.

Though black residents make up 30% of the city’s population, they account for 60% of its Covid-19 fatalities. They also have the highest rate of infection statewide, making up a quarter of Illinois’ total confirmed coronavirus cases despite representing just 15% of its population. And, according to a new study from the Chicago Urban League, systemic racism is at the root of the overrepresentation. ...

Black Chicagoans, the study found, are both more likely than their white counterparts to be infected by the disease and more likely to die from it, thanks to a variety of factors including overrepresentation in service industries where social distancing is difficult or impossible; housing conditions in some predominantly black communities; and higher incarceration rates.

The city’s Covid-19 deaths, the study notes, have been concentrated in segregated, mostly black neighborhoods with high poverty rates. Racial discrimination in the healthcare system, environmental factors in predominantly black neighborhoods, and higher-than-average prevalence of preexisting conditions have also factored into the higher morbidity rates, according to the study.

Jimmy Dore on Bernie Sanders, the CARES Act + the Dems Ditch Civil Liberties | Useful Idiots

Cancel Rent Protesters Laid Down ‘Body Bags’ in Front of a Luxury Kushner Property

Organizers with the movement to universally forgive rent during the coronavirus pandemic rallied outside Blackstone Group and Kushner Companies buildings Friday, as part of a campaign to target some of the country’s most prominent real estate investors.

Members of the “cancel rent” movement — which helped orchestrate a wave of rent strikes across the U.S. this month — laid out “body bags” in front of a 53-story, luxury Kushner investment property in Jersey City, New Jersey, on Friday morning. They also held signs that called on the company to stop filing eviction lawsuits against its tenants in New Jersey and Maryland.

“We have worked closely with our residents affected by the COVID-19 pandemic to help in any way we can and, as with all owners in New Jersey,” Peter Febo, chief operation officer at Kushner companies, said in a statement. “Any type of legal action during these unprecedented times is a last resort only utilized in particular circumstances.”


At Blackstone’s headquarters in New York City, activists held banners saying “cancel the rent,” similar to the ones they had draped across the city’s bridges and buildings earlier Friday. Protesters also staged a “die-in” by laying on the pavement outside the company’s office, to represent the tenants they said would perish from evictions or debt. A United Nations advisor claimed last year the private equity firm was contributing to a global affordable housing crisis, which the company disputed.

New York City and Los Angeles Slash Budgets — but Not for Police

As the coronavirus pandemic devastates the economy and tax revenues drop massively across the U.S., cities have begun to prepare for the hard times ahead by proposing slashed budgets and reduced public services at a time when so many of their residents need them more than ever. But the austerity measures won’t be doled out equally across services. In New York City, where officials are projecting a $7.4 billion drop in tax revenue, the proposed budget for next year is $3.4 billion less than last year, with education and youth services facing some of the deepest cuts — and only very modest cuts slated for the police department. In Los Angeles, the police department is the lone city agency that is not facing serious cuts; it is also slated to receive additional funds for police overtime, even as other city workers are furloughed.

Public-interest advocates have long battled to save funds for public services during yearly budget negotiations, but the current health and economic crisis is making the debate over how cities should spend their reduced funds uniquely urgent and fraught. And with crime at historic lows, a growing number of people — including for the first time, some city council members — are now explicitly demanding that cities save money for much needed services by cutting police budgets. ...

Public budgets have always been a reflection of the priorities of those in power, and in the United States that priority for decades has been what leaders have called “public safety,” which in reality has translated into mass criminalization. The U.S. spends some $100 billion annually on policing — most of it coming from local budgets — and an additional $80 billion on incarceration, according to a detailed 2017 report by the Center for Popular Democracy. In cities across the country, policing alone can take up anything between a third and 60 percent of the entire annual budget. ...

Investing in police at the cost of public goods like health infrastructure, education, and social support has a disproportionate impact on poor and black and Latino communities in particular — the same communities that are also most impacted by over-policing and by Covid-19. ...

“Our kids are not untouchable, our seniors are not untouchable, health care during the pandemic is not untouchable, as you have seen cuts from the state, but the NYPD is untouchable,” echoed Jason Wu, a trustee for the Association of Legal Aid Attorneys who has strongly condemned the proposed budget in New York. “I think we are finally at a breaking point where people are having a more nuanced understanding of what the issues are, so it’s not just, do we care about public safety or don’t we care about public safety, but what does public safety even mean?”



the horse race



Ryan Grim Examines: Rep. Joe Kennedy's bid to unseat Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey

Biden prepares to run left and govern to make sure that nothing fundamentally changes.

Joe Biden pushed to embrace radicalism of FDR by scale of economic crisis

During the Democratic primary, Biden spoke of restoring normalcy after four years of Donald Trump, frequently appealing to voters’ nostalgia for the presidency of Barack Obama. But now, as he faces the general election amid the deepening economic turmoil, the presumptive Democratic nominee is reaching for the legacy of a radical American president: Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

“The blinders have been taken off,” Biden told supporters recently during a virtual fundraiser from his Delaware home, where he has been since March. “Because of this Covid crisis, I think people are realizing, ‘My Lord, look at what is possible. Look at the institutional changes we can make.’”

In recent weeks, Biden, who has climbed above Trump in national polls, has openly courted progressive leaders and ideas, adopting some of the populist rhetoric more commonly associated with his vanquished rivals, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. In turn, they have offered their full-throated endorsements, casting Biden, a pragmatic dealmaker who still believes in bipartisan comity, as the perhaps unlikely herald of a new progressive era.

“A shift of frame matters – it’s not to be underestimated,” the California congressman Ro Khanna, who was a co-chair of Sanders’ presidential campaign, said of Biden’s bold messaging. “It’s a totally different vision for what he thinks the next four years should be about.” ...

Critics on the left have scoffed at the notion of Biden as an FDR-style visionary. After all, they say, Biden once told supporters that under his presidency “nothing would fundamentally change”. David Sirota, a former adviser to Sanders 2020 presidential campaign, dismissed Biden’s overtures to the left as performative politics – a “canned SNL skit” that progressives were being asked to accept as “something real”.

Biden Tells Black People “You Ain’t Black”

New documentary explores 'Bernie Blackout,' Nina Turner reacts



the evening greens


Oil Companies Can Set Their Own Rates for Royalties From Drilling on Public Lands Thanks to Trump: Report

In a display of loyalty to what Greenpeace called "the most polluting industry in history," the Trump administration is allowing dozens of oil and gas companies to set their own rates for royalties they're required to pay on revenue generated from drilling on public lands. 

As High Country News reported Thursday, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) contacted its state offices the day after global oil prices plunged to below $0 per barrel as the Covid-19 pandemic caused an unprecedented drop in demand. 

The federal agency, which oversees 96,000 oil and gas wells and more than 24,000 leases on public lands, ordered state officials to encourage more drilling despite an excess supply of oil which was forcing companies to pay for oil storage.

In addition to suspending lease payments, BLM told states to allow companies to apply for relief from royalties, the mandatory taxes on the revenue the fossil fuel industry earns, which are used to support public schools, higher education, and healthcare in Western states.

According to High Country News, BLM instructed state offices to allow oil and gas companies to decide how much they want to pay in royalties for the duration of the pandemic, suggesting that the standard rate of 12.5% be reduced to as low as 0.5%.

"Trump and his fossil fuel cronies continue to use the cover of a deadly pandemic to bail out the fossil fuel industry in every way possible. Public lands should be used for public good—instead they're being handed over to fossil fuel billionaires at rock-bottom rates," Collin Rees, senior campaigner at Oil Change International, told Common Dreams. "We need to phase out all drilling on public lands as quickly as possible, but in the meantime, fossil fuel companies must be held accountable for the damage they’re doing."

"Oil and gas corporations already pay pennies compared to what they make in profits from plundering public lands—land that belongs to the American people—and now they'll pay even less," said campaigner Charlie Jiang. "The Interior Department's priorities could not be more wrong. Nurses need masks. Essential workers need paid leave, hazard pay, and childcare. Employees need paychecks. People need help all over this country. But every day the Trump administration ignores their pleas and caters to billionaire donors instead."

Between April 30 and May 18, BLM offices approved 76 requests by companies for lower royalty rates, with some requesting 0.5% or 0.0%. The royalty relief is being offered as the federal government continues to hold lease sales and auctions across the West, offering drilling leases at bargain prices due to the market's downturn.

Thousands of run-down US dams would kill people if they failed, study finds

More than 15,000 dams in the US would likely kill people if they failed, and at least 2,300 of them are in poor or unsatisfactory condition, according to recent data from the federal government’s National Inventory of Dams.

The country’s neglected and deteriorating dam infrastructure is coming to light as heavy rains and two dam failures in Michigan have caused catastrophic flooding and forced thousands to evacuate their homes in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic. The problem will only become more serious as the climate crisis disrupts rain patterns, experts warn.

The average age of a US dam is 57 years, and many – like the Michigan dams – were built in the early 20th century, when states had not yet set safety standards. US dams received a “D” rating from the American Society of Civil Engineers in its most recent review in 2017.

About 70% of dams are regulated by states, and another 5% are regulated by the federal government. But many are not being forced to make needed repairs, said Mark Ogden, who co-authored the 2017 dam report and is a project manager at the Association of State Dam Safety Officials.


Also of Interest

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

The U.S. Brags About Health Aid to Africa While Bombing Some of Its Most Vulnerable Nations

U.S. Threatens New Nuclear Tests To Push China Into A Treaty It Does Not Want

Biden Should Be Named in Criminal Probe in Ukraine, Judge Rules

Craig Murray Documents Abuse of Process, aka Kangaroo Court, via Butchered Indictment

Iran Tankers Arrive Safely in Venezuela After US Threats

China Derangement Syndrome: Notes From The Edge Of The Narrative Matrix

Hospitals overwhelmed in California and Alabama as national death toll approaches 100,000

In Pandemic, Sunday Shows Centered Official Voices, Sidelined Independent Health Experts

Inside the Influential Evangelical Group Mobilizing to Reelect Trump

Race, wealth and public spaces: US beaches are a new flashpoint of the lockdown

Noam Chomsky on Trump's Disastrous Coronavirus Response, WHO, China, Gaza and Global Capitalism

David Sirota: How CNN, media's fawning Cuomo coverage does a disservice to voters

Aaron Glantz: How Gov't is shoring up landlords, debt collectors instead of homeowners

HuffPost reporter: Will Biden go all in for the military industrial complex?

Jimmy Dore: “This Is The End Of Hong Kong”-China Cracks Down!

Scratching the surface: drones cast new light on mystery of Nazca Lines


A Little Night Music

Weldon "Juke Boy" Bonner - I'm Not Jiving

Weldon "Juke Boy" Bonner - Texas zydeco

Weldon "Juke Boy" Bonner - Hard Luck

Juke Boy Bonner - Runnin' Shoes

Juke Boy Bonner - Well Well

Weldon "Juke Boy" Bonner - Daylight Won't Catch Me Here

Weldon "Juke Boy" Bonner - Just Got to Take a Ride

Weldon "Juke Boy" Bonner- My Blues

Juke Boy Bonner - Let's boogie


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CB's picture

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17 users have voted.
RantingRooster's picture

@CB cleared that up for me. Crazy

That's great!

Drinks

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13 users have voted.

"Men who look upon themselves born to reign, and others to obey, soon grow insolent; selected from the rest of mankind their minds are early poisoned by importance;" - Thomas Paine, Common Sense

@CB half the time!

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11 users have voted.
Not Henry Kissinger's picture

@CB

"The deaths will be announced daily, but we were only testing those who were almost dead to determine if that's what they will die of."

So sad and so true.

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9 users have voted.

The current working assumption appears to be that our Shroedinger's Cat system is still alive. But what if we all suspect it's not, and the real problem is we just can't bring ourselves to open the box?

joe shikspack's picture

@CB

thanks, that was great and easily as informative as most of the "programming" in the media.

have a great evening!

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9 users have voted.
mimi's picture

@CB
chinese to me, which I don't understand, but this video clip in English sounds German to me and, yippie, I got that one !

Thanks You, CB. Smile

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2 users have voted.
RantingRooster's picture

Nobody gives their conscious and informed consent to this. The new cold war is as consensual as sex after a Rohypnol-spiked drink, and the illusion of consent is just as nefariously and artificially manufactured.

I've got a major head ache and my butt hurts a bit, and I don't know why!

Crazy

We can put a nuke on one of these new super sonic missiles in development, and watch it take out half the west coast during it's initial "test". Yeah!

Bomb

I'm so glad humanity found that the purpose in life is to accumulate wealth at the expense of everything else, and to be as much of a selfish prick as is possible! Damn, it's good to be human!

Drinks

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15 users have voted.

"Men who look upon themselves born to reign, and others to obey, soon grow insolent; selected from the rest of mankind their minds are early poisoned by importance;" - Thomas Paine, Common Sense

joe shikspack's picture

@RantingRooster

I'm so glad humanity found that the purpose in life is to accumulate wealth at the expense of everything else, and to be as much of a selfish prick as is possible!

yep, and this year we have a winner in the selfish prick ambition department. it's jeff bezos, whose ambition is to own the planet after launching a series of space malls onto which he will have loaded the vast majority of humanity.

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12 users have voted.
enhydra lutris's picture

casting Biden, a pragmatic dealmaker who still believes in bipartisan comity, as the perhaps unlikely herald of a new progressive era.

They forgot to capitalize Progressive, which, in the context of the statement quoted can only mean the insurance company, right?

Cue Flo.

be well and have a good one.

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10 users have voted.

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

joe shikspack's picture

@enhydra lutris

heh, i think that they have gone over the top. people can't help but notice that they are trying too hard.

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8 users have voted.
Azazello's picture

JD goes live in 15 min. with Danny Sjursen.

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5 users have voted.
enhydra lutris's picture

@Azazello

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6 users have voted.

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

joe shikspack's picture

@Azazello

i missed it, but i'll look for it in the next couple of days on youtube. thanks for the heads up!

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1 user has voted.

Thanks!

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7 users have voted.
Bollox Ref's picture

Trump is a fairly hopeless golfer.

So what is he actually good at?

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9 users have voted.

Gëzuar!!
from a reasonably stable genius.

joe shikspack's picture

@Bollox Ref

trump is a better than average, low-life, scum-sucking, con-man.

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13 users have voted.
Bollox Ref's picture

@joe shikspack

How could I forget.

What a talented man.

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5 users have voted.

Gëzuar!!
from a reasonably stable genius.

CB's picture

@joe shikspack
unlike his predecessor.

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7 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture

.

He just can’t help himself can he? I can’t wait to see how Symone defends this, but of course she will.

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12 users have voted.

"It seems to me that the problem is that group party interests, in this case, are placed above the interests of the entire society and the interests of people,"

joe shikspack's picture

@snoopydawg

heh, we've known for years that even when he had most of his marbles, he couldn't open his mouth without getting himself into trouble.

tell us again about being in the top of your college class or your weekend in prison with nelson mandela?

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10 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture

Hillary is still off her rocker.

Hey though, Hillary, Trump wouldn’t have made that joke in the first place if you hadn’t destroyed your emails that congress had subpoenaed. Right?

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8 users have voted.

"It seems to me that the problem is that group party interests, in this case, are placed above the interests of the entire society and the interests of people,"

CB's picture

@snoopydawg
her nomination for president at the DNC convention.

https://twitter.com/dilanpcook/status/1265047122602348545

Now that Russiagate has fallen on it's ass it is time to ramp up Chinagate. Don't you forget that it was China which infected America with the Wuhan virus that was kept top secret until the beginning of March. It's time to take Hong Kong and show those Orientals that they can't get away with this attack on America's freedums.

(Remember you heard it here first)

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8 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture

@CB

Did you mean to post a different one?

But yeah it looks like Hillary is still trying to make herself relevant and staying in the spotlight just in case her country needs her to step up and save it from Trump.

But as Caitlin wrote Biden can’t save us and return the country back to normal because Trump is normal for our country. All he has done is to take the mask off and expose our rotten under belly. He has broken the tradition of starting new wars. This is not to say that he’s not doing anything Obama/Bush/Clinton et al haven’t done.

Biden said that nothing will change if he becomes president and he’s right. He said that he will continue on in Syria and will keep the oil out of Assad's hands. And he will have to look at the details in Iran before he commits to a new treaty with them. And still no MFA. Not sure what he would do with Venezuela since it was MyBoss that puts the recent sanctions on them and I’m doubtful that he will end our participation in Yemen. Yippee! Now aren’t y’all ready to vote blue no matter who? Even if it’s Herheinous?

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10 users have voted.

"It seems to me that the problem is that group party interests, in this case, are placed above the interests of the entire society and the interests of people,"

CB's picture

@snoopydawg
Tweets no longer work for me. I can't watch them or post them so I have to go to the link to view. They used to work fine. Something to do with my video on Firefox (I think). This started about a month ago. I hate when TPTB upgrade shit.

I really think Her Heiness is going to make a play at the convention. It's obvious it doesn't make much of a difference who we vote for - Obomba proved that. We're going to get the same shit no matter who "serves" us. Just a different tablecloth and dinnerware.

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10 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture

@CB

I have the same problem on my Mac mini. I can upgrade my OS since traveler showed me how, but it’s annoying not to be able to view them. Firefox quit supporting their older browsers.

I agree that Herheinous is waiting in the wings to jump in. Democrats know that Biden is in no shape to be president so I’m thinking that they just want him to get to the convention and go from there. Bernie is only 300 behind. Biden still hasn’t won the nomination yet...

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10 users have voted.

"It seems to me that the problem is that group party interests, in this case, are placed above the interests of the entire society and the interests of people,"

joe shikspack's picture

@snoopydawg

it's like our whole elite ruling class are inmates in an assisted living community for people with dementia.

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15 users have voted.
smiley7's picture

@joe shikspack

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8 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture

@smiley7

heh, yep, and they keep fighting over the shooter.

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8 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture

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5 users have voted.

"It seems to me that the problem is that group party interests, in this case, are placed above the interests of the entire society and the interests of people,"

smiley7's picture

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5 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture

@joe shikspack

I'ma gonna steal that. Thanks!

How was your weekend? We went from down in the 60's with big winds and torrential rains that blew trucks over between SLC and Nevada going west and up to the high 80's tomorrow. I spent the day picking up twigs and branches in my backyard today. It also stripped the trees of dime sized white seeds that are everywhere including inside my back door because they blew in the dawg door and Charlie’s little paws have tracked them all over the house. Fun times.

Oh yeah and no hot dawgs at the cemetery today because of COVID. I figured so I put some roast beef in my pocket and surprised her with it. Hey it’s been a holiday tradition to have dawgs on Memorial Day...

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9 users have voted.

"It seems to me that the problem is that group party interests, in this case, are placed above the interests of the entire society and the interests of people,"

joe shikspack's picture

@snoopydawg

it warmed up saturday and has stayed pretty warm during the days. i got out and mowed the lawn, which i had been putting off during the week since it was cold and rainy most of the week.

ms. shikspack's garden is doing well, the irises have been blooming for a couple of weeks now, and our front yard (which is almost entirely garden now (yay! less mowing) is a riot of color.

we've got some cherokee purple tomatoes sprouting and ms shikspack is trying to get some rhubarb to grow. i love rhubarb pie, so, this would be a major bonus. actually, i love strawberry rhubarb pie, but we have never been able to get to strawberries to grow in our soil.

oh well, so, yes, it's been a great weekend. thanks! i hope that yours has been excellent, too.

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12 users have voted.
travelerxxx's picture

@joe shikspack

OMG! One thing that bothers me to no end here in southeast Texas is that I cannot find rhubarb anywhere. Not even frozen rhubarb. I ask the locals, and they look at me like I've asked them for unobtainium or something. Most don't even know what it is ...never seen it, never grown it, never eaten anything made with it.

Guessing that rhubarb likes cold winters, which leaves this part of the country out. Come to think of it, I've never seen gooseberries here either.

Which brings me to pie. My two favorite pies in the whole wide world are:
1) Rhubarb Custard (sorry, but not strawberry - straight rhubarb)
2) Gooseberry

Both of these seem foreign to southeast Texas and denizen thereof. Frankly, I'd consider it worth a trip to Kansas (or some other place where it freezes hard) to attend a county fair – any county fair almost - that has the obligatory "pie stand." Usually, these are sponsored by a local church and will have some of the best pies ever known to the human race. Almost always you will find rhubarb custard and gooseberry. You've got to be quick though – the "pie board," which has hanging (and rapidly changing) tiles announcing which pies are available at that time – will not have those two pies listed for long. People like me hang around the pie stand just waiting for some lady to bring in a still-warm gooseberry or rhubarb custard delicacy. They're gone in less than a minute, usually.

Rhubarb Custard – pie of the Gawds. The Gawd's assistants make do with gooseberry pie.

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11 users have voted.

@travelerxxx Have no idea what it tastes like.
But I can make a pecan pie with pecans I pick from my yard, so that sort of makes up for the deficit.
Please don't forget about that surgical facility. Send me a pm, I can give you phone numbers and email addresses for you to get first hand info.

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5 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture

@on the cusp

heh, much as i love a good pecan pie, you have not lived until you have had a really good rhubarb pie, perhaps as traveler suggests, a slice of a prize winning pie from a midwest county fair.

dammit. now i'm hungry. Smile

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7 users have voted.

@joe shikspack @joe shikspack work off the calories?
I like my pies a la mode.
Ice cream flavor suggestions?
(With luck, you suggest vanilla...)

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5 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture

@on the cusp

well, if you are going for decadence with your a la mode topping, there's always bourbon vanilla bean ice cream ...

heh.

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5 users have voted.

@joe shikspack a flourish.
You only live once. Take a look at the tiger hug video.
I put my damn face on the back end of a giant tiger. I think the controversy is they are drugged or something, but just as I stepped into the cage, 2 tigers nearby started a vicious fight.
They certainly weren't drugged.
I have 2 clients that bring me cakes made with bourbon. I mean, they are saturated with it.
I can't eat it at the office and legally drive home.
That's what friends are for, right?
Greenwald dropped the ball on Assange, but I have been reading him for years, his analysis on everything else has been breathtakingly accurate. He is an evidence guy. His stuff reads like a legal brief. Sounds like an argument before an appellate court.
It was nice watching the CIA book review video, confirms what I have seen in Kosovo, Columbia, Guatemala, Panama, and on and on.
I am determined to go to Cuba, even if the entire country smells of urine.
One day...

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6 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture

@travelerxxx

even where i live, where rhubard grows quite prolificly, it is hard to find. when i was a kid, it was in the supermarket both fresh and sometimes frozen. now, if you want to purchase it, you have to hit one of the amish markets when it's in season - or grow your own.

when i was a kid, it grew quite well in my backyard garden, which had pretty good soil that had been worked as part of a farm for about 150 years before we started our garden, so the soil was well built up and fertile. my current backyard is on top of a granite dome and the soil is sparse, despite ms shikspack's efforts at building it up for 20 years. so, i guess we'll see if this experiment takes.

have a good one!

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6 users have voted.
travelerxxx's picture

@joe shikspack

Yes, rhubarb seems to like good soil, well drained. The biggest problem I ever really had with it was that it did not seem to like being soaked for a long time. Whenever I had good drainage - assuming the soil was decent - it did fine. If water stood around it after a rain, not so good.

Certainly worth trying it. By the way, you want red rhubarb, not white. I have no idea what white is used for. Certainly not pies. Not the ones I've had anyway.

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5 users have voted.
lotlizard's picture

@travelerxxx  
in the Saturday Evening Post or maybe it was Better Homes and Gardens (this was back in the 1950s), with lovingly painted color illustrations of all these different kinds of pies you could bake from scratch at home using their product . . .

Rhubarb and gooseberry stood out as the two kinds that were totally unknown to me. I immediately wanted to try ’em. Ha! Two agricultural products, and hence two kinds of pies, that were not available anywhere in Hawaii at any price.

Ah, we kids were already living in paradise but we didn’t know it! How we were itching to get away! Everything far away was dressed up to seem so much more meaningful and appealing, made that much more attractive by being embellished with the disclaimer “Offer good only in continental U.S.” . . .

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3 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture

takes me back to my grandma’s garden. Thanks for the reminder of happier times. As for my weekend it’s been like Groundhog Day for over a decade.

In case anyone is interested in their horoscope....

58E5A0E1-2D9E-4657-9104-C12AF439AE10.jpeg

I’m a Libra so I’m looking forward to mine. How’s about the rest of y’all?

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12 users have voted.

"It seems to me that the problem is that group party interests, in this case, are placed above the interests of the entire society and the interests of people,"

Lily O Lady's picture

@snoopydawg

Biggrin

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5 users have voted.

"The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

snoopydawg's picture

@Lily O Lady

It looks like your month is going to be slightly better than mine is going to be. Oh well. Hey take some pictures so I can see how much fun you had okay?

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4 users have voted.

"It seems to me that the problem is that group party interests, in this case, are placed above the interests of the entire society and the interests of people,"

Shahryar's picture

It could be fun. For example, Joe Biden said something weird the other day which was no big thing but now Russian Bots (tm) can't stop talking about it.

Meanwhile, Putin-lover, Tara Reade, has been completely discredited after it was revealed she's a Russian Asset (tm).

And let's not forget the wonderful HEROES Act, proposed by our wonderful Dem caucus and opposed only by Russian Sympathizers (tm).

By the way, the Russian Bot inside my phone does not like that "trademark" thing I've added a few times, autocorrecting it to "y2k". Which is highly suspicious. I interpret that as a warning, that if I continue mocking the "Russia!!!" narrative my phone will go all y2k on me and, as it was feared 20 years ago, will shut down.

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11 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture

@Shahryar

87D69C82-0CCB-49FC-AAFD-0CF539674EF0.jpeg
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12 users have voted.

"It seems to me that the problem is that group party interests, in this case, are placed above the interests of the entire society and the interests of people,"

Good catch!

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3 users have voted.

travel next year will be very pricey.
Very depressing that I am stuck here in this stupid ass country.
I had this experience, hugged a giant tiger in that exact place.
The keeper in that cage was completely unarmed. He had a small stick in his hand.
I will just stay home and be stupid here.

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7 users have voted.
lotlizard's picture

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/tahiti-in-shock-after-12-hours-...

H-bomb possessor privilege — a kind of elite privilege in a class by itself.

Protest with all your means and might.

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2 users have voted.